A Stella Review: The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel (The Actor’s Circle #2) by Bey Deckard

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Rating 3.75 stars out of 5

The Last Nights of the Frangipani Hotel coverAll James wanted was a little solitude at his favourite resort: bright sunshine overhead, soft, white sand underfoot, and a hammock to read in while the warm breeze rustles through the coconut palms and almond trees. However, when an old acquaintance shows up, and James is obliged to share “his” beach, a profound exchange over a bottle of rum leads to a lust-fuelled encounter in the dark.

Reeling from the intensity of the drunken tryst, James decides to cut his vacation short rather than face what he’s kept hidden under mountains of denial.

However, his escape is thwarted when Rudie, handsome and plainspoken, calls him out on his behaviour and makes him see that life needn’t be spent running away from his desires.

Set at a rundown old resort on a small Caribbean island, The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel is a story about letting go of fear and learning that passion and love can be found in the most unexpected of places.

I heard a lot of this new to me author, Bey Deckard, but I honestly was a little scared by some of his books (like the Baal’s Heart series or the newest one, Better the Devil You Know). When I saw The Last Nights of the Frangipani Hotel, I soon thought it could have been my first. I didn’t even realize it was the second one in a series but at the end it wasn’t a problem because it can be totally read as a standalone.

The Frangipani Hotel is at its last days but James is in love with this place, so he keeps coming here, but this year his quiet is broken by an old friend who takes place next to James. James and Rudie are both famous actors, stressed out by their acting jobs, looking for an escape in the Caribbean Sea. Destiny (not really!) chooses them to be hut’s neighbor. After some drinks, they share a night together (having some really boring sex, let me tell you!).  Rudie is gay, but James is not,  in fact he has an ex wife and two daughters. But the attraction and the magic of the place is too strong to be ignored…

I was really happy to pick this story, it was quick and light and so well written I was able to read it in a one standing, because it was easy to follow. All the story and the dialogues felt very real and normal, I could sympathize with the MCs and their fears. I especially liked the writing style in the descriptive parts. I was able to picture the beach, the shabby hotel and later in the book, the hot sex (it wasn’t boring at all!).

In my opinion The Last Nights of the Frangipani Hotel needs a sequel because the ending wasn’t really how I usually like mine to be, it was more a HFN and I need to see James and Rudie to have their HEA. Still I think Bey Deckard really did a great job at gathering a lot of elements (emotions, life crisis, the enlightenment of James) in a so short a story. I’m not sure I’m ready for his other more dark works, but I’m sure I’m going to read the The Complications of T (read BJ’s review here ).

Highly recommended if you’re looking for a short contemporary story that will let you evade your routine and bring you on a holiday even on a rainy October.

Cover design by Bey Deckard
Cover photo by Strangeland Photography

Both the covers of The Actor’s Circle series are really hot and eye catching. Well done!

Sales Links:  Smashwords  |  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published September 12th 2015 by Bey Deckard
Kindle Edition, 78 pages
ASIN B014RZQ54I
Edition Language English

The Actor’s Circle series

  • The Complications of T #1
  • The Last Nights of the Frangipani Hotel #2

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In the Book Spotlight: Steps to You (Fear #1) by Toni Griffin (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Steps to You (Fear #1) by Toni Griffin
Release Date: September 26, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay

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Sales Links: Mischief Corner Books | Amazon | ARe | Kobo | iTunes | Bookstrand | Smashwords

Our Toni Griffin Interview!

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Toni Griffin author of Steps to You.  Hi Toni, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

• What genre is your book and what drew you to this genre?

Steps to You is a M/M Contemporary story. Ever since I started I’ve been writing in the M/M genre. I love it. the authors and readers are amazing and I can’t think of another I would rather be a part of. I was initially drawn to the MM Genre after reading Bite by Sean Michael way back in 2008, I haven’t turned back since.

• How many days a week do you write?

It all depends. I try to find at least a little time to either write, edit, or work on something related to my writing every day. Some days I’m successful. Others, not so much. When I have a deadline looming I tend to be a little more strict.

• On average, how long does it take to write a book?

When working out averages I don’t think I’ll be including Steps to You in the formula. LOL. This book took me just shy of two years from the first words that I wrote to publication.A Very Holland Valentine was written in a week, when I went to visit my brother in Perth. My latest book, A Bear’s Bear took me between three and four weeks and that ended up at 42k. Depending on the length, it’s usually between one to two months as I can usually only write once my daughter is in bed.

• Do you have a trailer for your book?

If yes, give us the link. If not, do you think you’d like to have one done at some point? I don’t. You know, I’ve never actually had a trailer created for one of my books. I’d love to have one made.

• If I could be a character in a book, I would be _______?

Emma Donahoe. From the Dark Heavens series by Kyle Chan. I think it would be awesome to learn from and fall in love with the ancient Chinese God of War. Magic, martial arts and danger, what more could you want?

RC

Blurb

Is there something in life that you’re afraid of, like heart pounding, shortness of breath, Jesus Christ I’m going to pass out, scared? For Leo Harris that something is heights.

Why his nosy sister would gift him with a pass for the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb is anybody’s guess, let alone expect Leo to make it through in one piece. If it wasn’t for the kindness of a sexy stranger he meets at orientation, Leo doubts he would have been able to step one foot onto the mammoth structure.

Ryan Anderson’s known as a workaholic, as he has no reason not to be, that all changes in one day when he meets Leo. Ryan quickly falls head over heels as he sets out to make Leo his.

Pages or Words: 55,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance

Excerpt

Leo leaned against the brick wall, desperately trying to gather his courage. All he needed to do was cross the street and enter the building opposite. Leo had never considered doing something like this in his life. Hell, he wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for the gift voucher his nosy sister and her equally pain-in-the-ass husband had given him.

“You need to get out of the house more, live a little,” his sister had berated him as he’d stared down at the piece of paper in his hands, unsure exactly what he was feeling.
“I get out plenty,” Leo tried defending himself.
“No you don’t, and you know it. You may physically leave the premises to go to work and do your grocery shopping, but you never go out and have any fun.” Teresa sighed, and Leo really felt the urge to clip her across the back of the head. “You don’t go out clubbing, very rarely go to restaurants, and you refuse point-blank to start a profile on a dating website.”
There was no way Leo was putting himself out there at the mercy of all those desperate men who were just looking for a quick hook-up. He was sure that scattered in amongst all those horny fellas, he might find one or two that seriously wanted a relationship, but he wasn’t willing to wade through all the toads in order to get to his prince charming. If the man existed—and that was a big if as far as Leo was concerned—he doubted they were fated to meet through an online dating service.
“Teresa, I like my life. I’m happy.” Once again he tried to placate his sister, to no avail. Just because she was happily married with two-point-three children didn’t mean everyone else had to be.
“No, Leo, you’re not.” Teresa waved her hand in his face when Leo started to object again. “I know you and I love you. Please just do this for me.” She fluttered her lashes at Leo.
He heaved a sigh, knowing he would give in to her, just like he always did. As annoying and meddling as his sister could be, he did love her dearly and couldn’t imagine a world without her in it. The snickering from across the room was not lost on Leo, but he decided to ignore Blake. After all, the man was just as bad as Leo when it came to giving into to Teresa’s demands.
Leo looked down once again at the piece of paper. “Seriously?”
Teresa laughed at him. “You’re going to love it.”
Somehow he doubted that.

Even now two weeks later, Leo still didn’t like this idea any more than he had when Teresa had given him the voucher for his birthday.
Leo checked his watch and sighed as he realised that if he didn’t get a move on, he would be late. He heaved himself off the brick wall and crossed the road. Leo’s stomach roiled and he hoped to Christ he wasn’t going to be sick.
The large glass doors whooshed open and Leo stepped inside, heading in the direction of the register. As he waited in the line, Leo looked all around him. Men and women perused the shelves filled with jumpers, magnets, trinkets, and stuffed bears all containing the Sydney BridgeClimb logo. His eyes settled on a square column with signed photographs of famous people who had completed the climb.
Before Leo knew it, he was being called to the desk. “Morning,” the cheerful girl behind the counter said.
“Morning,” Leo replied, more than a little subdued. He handed over the voucher and waited. He was asked to confirm he didn’t have any medical problems that would prevent him from completing the climb today, and Leo thought seriously about lying, then reluctantly shook his head.
“Brilliant, you’ll love it up there.”
Leo smiled but was’ sure it ‘came out more like a grimace.
“Here’s your ticket.” She handed Leo a thin rectangle. “And this is your voucher for your photos.”
“Photos?” Leo asked in confusion.
“Yes, when the ticket was booked, three photos were also purchased. You will be able to choose upon your return from a selection the guide will take of you while you’re up on the bridge.”
Crap, Teresa probably wants proof that I actually followed through. “Thank you,” Leo said as he took hold of the photo voucher.
“You’re most welcome.” She pointed to her left. “If you would go up those stairs, your climb should be starting in roughly five minutes.”
Leo nodded and stepped to the side, allowing the next person in line to move forward. He followed the instructions and walked up the large staircase, bypassing all the shelves of tourist memorabilia. If he really wanted something else to commemorate this foolhardy trip, he could always pick it up on the way out.
Upstairs was just a small balcony. Roughly three metres in front of him was a wall with three doors, two on the left side and one nearly in front of him. To his right, there was another square pillar with signed photos along with three touchscreen computer monitors.
Leo headed to the left where there was a large round seating area currently occupied by several people. They were all watching a television screen hung up by the farthest door, which showed people getting ready for the climb through the various stages and gave them an idea of what to expect.
He sat on a small piece of available sofa and watched the screen with rapt attention. Leo was so engrossed in what was going on he nearly missed it when some of the people around him stood. Leo looked around, startled, and noticed one of the doors open with a young man standing in it collecting tickets from those going inside.
Leo checked the clock on the wall and noticed it read the start time of his climb. He quickly stood and made his way over.
“Morning,” Leo greeted as he handed over his ticket.
“Good morning.”
The man gave Leo back the ticket, less the stub, and motioned him inside. The room wasn’t overly large and wasn’t well lit either. A large horseshoe-shaped seating area ran down the sides and back of the room. People sat with clipboards on their laps busily filling out paperwork.
Leo made his way to a vacant space, picked up the board, and unclipped the pen. Just as he was about to start writing, he was distracted as he noticed another person walk through the door. Leo nearly caught his breath at just how gorgeous the guy was. Broad shoulders, a trim waist, and enough height that Leo wanted to climb the man like a squirrel climbs a tree. Short dark brown hair, trimmed on the sides with just a little length on top, his expression was one part kind, three parts sexy, and had Leo wanting to swallow his damn tongue.
The man wore a tank top and a pair of footy shorts, but Leo could see the bike shorts clearly underneath. They hugged his thighs like no one’s business, and Leo wished he was that article of clothing more than anything. His gaze travelled all the way down. The man’s dark curly leg hair covered well-defined thighs and calves, and had Leo wanting to groan. Socks and sneakers completed the outfit.
Leo knew his perusal of the man had only taken seconds, but it felt like he had been staring at the guy for an entire lifetime. When the man headed in Leo’s direction, he found himself hard pressed to pull his gaze away and concentrate on what he was supposed to be doing. Leo wanted to curse his luck when the man took the empty seat on Leo’s left.

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About The Author

Meet & Follow the author:

Toni Griffin lives in Darwin, the smallest of Australia’s capital cities. Born and raised in the state she’s a Territorian through and through. Growing up Toni hated English with a passion (as her editors can probably attest to) and found her strength lies with numbers.

Now, though, she loves escaping to the worlds she creates and hopes to continue to do so for many years to come. She’s a single mother of one and works full time. When she’s not writing you can just about guarantee that she will be reading one of the many MM authors she loves.

Feel free to drop her a line at info@tonigriffin.net anytime.

For more information about Toni’s work, please visit:

Website: http://tonigriffin.net/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/toni.griffin.author

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: 2 e-book copies of ‘Steps to You’ and 2 $5 Amazon Gift Cards.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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Tour Dates & Stops:
28-Sep:Parker Williams: http://parkerwilliamsauthor.com/wordpress/toni-griffins-fear-series-steps-to-you/

29-Sep:Divine Magazine: http://divinemagazine.net/book-stuff/steps-to-you-by-toni-griffin-blog-tour

30-Sep:Three Books Over The Rainbow: https://threebooksovertherainbow.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/blog-tour-steps-to-you-by-toni-griffin/

1-Oct:Inked Rainbow Reads: http://wp.me/p5PC5u-1×5

Unquietly Me: https://unquietlyme.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/new-release-steps-to-you-by-toni-griffin-interview-giveaway/

 2-Oct:   Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Jessie G. Books, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, My Fiction Nook, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

5-Oct: Just Love Romance, Happily Ever Chapter, Havan Fellows

6-Oct: Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Bike Book Reviews

7-Oct: Bayou Book Junkie, Love Bytes

 8-Oct: Molly Lolly, BFD Book Blog

9-Oct: MM Good Book Reviews, The Jena Wade

WillPride

 

A Sammy Review: The Ultimate Team (Juxtapose City #4) by Tricia Owens

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

“You’re not getting your mythical knight in shining armor,” Parker told him softly. “You’re getting a man who’s trying very hard to be good, but has never been shown how to be. You have to stick by him and show him what’s best within him, Calyx. You have to take his darkness and make it light.”

The Ultimate Team coverFollowing the events of the previous book, Starr is holed up in bad and the team is down a man. That is until the captain assigns none other than Parker to the team. But another psypath on the team, let alone a psypath that has history with Black and knows his secrets? That’s dangerous.

Between the team trying to rebuild again and new threats arising from some unexpected places, Starr and Black have to find a way to balance their secrets, half-truths, love, and duty to the team, all while remaining alive. In other words, just another day in Juxtapose City.

“You don’t need a city, a hiding place, to be happy. I can make you happy. I can take care of you.”

It has been so long since I’ve been able to read a book in this series, and I hadn’t had the time to reread the previous ones before reading this, so I was very nervous that nothing would make sense to me, but it gradually came back to me, and within a matter of pages I was lost in the story yet again.

If you’ve read the previous books (and you should read them in order), you know what a hot mess Starr and Black’s world is, not to mention their relationship that evolved from hate. Adding Parker to the team adds an uncomfortable dynamic, but the author handles it well and doesn’t have the problem go away like magic. It’s there and they have to deal with it.

Unlike the previous books, this one had much more of the romance element to it. Starr and Black spend a lot of time dealing with their flaws, particularly the mean streak of jealousy that Starr has, paired with both of their doubts. And some of it is just so painful, like how Black truly thinks he’s this horrible person, and how sometimes Starr isn’t so sure either, but still manages to love him. It straddles a moral boundary that is so intriguing and wonderful.

On top of it all, Tricia Owens manages to continue to bring the steam. We finally (no, but really) get some penetration, though it’s not quite what I was hoping for or expecting, but it’s a step forward. But it just goes to show that she’s been able to keep up the heat and fire without that.

Black, Jake, Haney and Bee had all killed in the course of their work. But looking across the aisle first at Jake and then at Haney, who immediately gave him an encouraging thumbs up―Calyx didn’t see evil in them, or cruelty. They didn’t look haunted like Black, who carried his sins as if he was half a man without them.

This book also provides some insight into Starr and Black’s pasts. We get to see a bit more of where they came from and what Black went through to get where he is now. There are still so many unanswered questions, but you have to expect that in this series and embrace them.

Not for even a second was I bored. I enjoyed each word and am so happy to get some reacquainted with a favorite couple: Starr and Black.

The cover art is nice in that it fits the rest of the series and is cohesive. Unfortunately, the model for Starr doesn’t quite work for me, but besides that it’s not bad.

Sales Link:  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 207 pages
Published March 24th 2015

Sometimes Love Needs A 2nd Chance-Check Out S.A. McAuley’s Where Wishes Go (excerpt and giveaway)

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S. A. McAuley
Book Name: Where Wishes Go

Release Date: October 2, 2015

Buy the book: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B & N | ARe | Kobo | Google Books

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Blurb

Can you have a second chance at a first love? 

Nick Paine is just starting to return to normal after he told his wife he’s gay and asked for a divorce. Despite a daughter he loves dearly and a job he believes in, part of him is stuck in the past. He’s never forgotten the first love he let fade away fourteen years ago.

Adam “Izz” Azzi has settled into a happy rhythm. His daughter is healthy, he’s found a mosque that accepts him, and his work as a modern artist is gaining international attention. While his past is fraught with mistakes and what-ifs, his life now is good, and he doesn’t want to upset any of the balance he’s worked so hard to achieve.

When Nick and Izz are reunited by luck and fate, their attraction is just as undeniable, but what was left unsaid haunts them. They have hope for a future together, but wishing may not be enough.
Pages or Words: 246 pages

Categories: Bisexual, Contempoary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

Excerpt

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CHAPTER ONE

NICK PAINE tried to duck as a gigantic scarlet bird whipped over his head and he began to lose his balance. The first airborne attack was followed a second later by a screech and another swooping red streak that caused him to crouch and fall to his knees. At least he was wearing jeans today instead of a suit.

Katie snorted, let loose a torrent of giggles, and pointed. “He’s not going to hurt you, Daddy.”

“Isn’t it me who’s supposed to be telling you that?” Nick scrunched his eyebrows together and tried to chastise his daughter while also searching the birdhouse for further threats.

Katie rolled her eyes and flipped her long blonde hair off to the side, appearing much older than her eight years. “Come on, Daddy. I’ll protect you.” She offered her hand, and Nick grinned as he stood, taking her tiny hand in his.

It was a Wednesday morning, one in which Nick should have been sitting in a colorless conference room listening to doctors and administrators fight each other over inane operational details, but despite the threat of being pecked to death by tropical birds, Nick didn’t want to be anywhere else.

It was rare he was able to escape from work during the day, and this field trip to the zoo with Katie’s class had been the perfect excuse. The hospital system was always there. It was a twenty-four-hour seven-day-a-week commitment of utter chaos. Nick still wasn’t quite sure how he’d ended up as a vice president by the age of thirty-three, but had to concede his success had a lot to do with the inordinate number of hours he spent downtown. His generous salary was meant to compensate him for the endless hours on call talking nurses and cardiologists off the ledge while also making sure all their equipment and staffing needs were met. He loved his job and he was good at it, but it took him away from Katie way too much for his liking.

Nick pushed aside thoughts of the hospital. He would be flooded with e-mails, texts, and voice mail as soon as he switched his cell back on. Instead he listened to Katie patter on about the different kinds of birds that filled the zoo aviary.

“How do you know so much about them?” Nick asked as he forced his complete attention back to her.

Katie shrugged in a gesture that was too much like her carefree Uncle Roban. “I watch the National Geographic channel.”

“That much?”

Katie huffed. “Yeah, Daddy. A lot. Loads and loads.”

Nick restrained a laugh. Where had she come up with that phrase? She was growing up so fast. Much too fast for his liking. The years just kept slipping by, and as hard as his path had been as of late, Nick was grateful for the luck he did have. Katie was a beautiful girl. Tall and thin, just like her momma, she had blonde hair shades lighter than his that ran down to her waist and snarled easily with how fine it was. He’d given up attempting to brush the mats out a year ago, leaving the task to Katie’s grandmother or her nanny.

“Look at the baby geese!” Katie exclaimed, letting go of his hand and running full tilt down the pathway toward the birds. Then just as suddenly she was veering off again, a delighted squeal emanating from her. “A waterfall!”

Nick dug into his pockets as he walked to catch up, knowing what she was going to ask even before she said anything.

“I want to make a wish,” she pleaded, looking up at him with wide eyes.

Nick placed a quarter in her outstretched hand, earning a satisfied smile from her.

She scrunched her eyes tightly closed and whispered something Nick couldn’t hear, then tossed the coin into the water.

“What did you wish for, baby girl?” Nick asked, as was part of their routine.

“Daddy, you know I can’t tell you,” she protested with a pout. “Or else it won’t come true.”

Of course he knew that. Katie wanted to flip a coin into every fountain they encountered. And she always went about it as if her whole existence was placed into making that one wish come true. But she never told Nick what it was that she silently hoped for.

Nick had to wonder if she would remember this later on. If she would remember what she wished years from now, or at the very least remember enough to tell him later whether or not they came true.

Nick looked into her brown eyes—so much like his but with a fire that was all her own—and his breath caught. Yeah, he was just about the luckiest man in the world. She stood on her tiptoes, cupped her hands around his cheeks, and planted a kiss on his lips that left Nick with an ear-to-ear grin that he wouldn’t be able to wipe off for hours to come.

A PLOP of wet plaster slid down Adam’s head, over his neck, and dripped under the collar of his shirt as Miriam’s laughter receded into the next room.

Well, then. He supposed he deserved that.

He’d been leaving Miriam to her own devices for far too long as he worked nearly nonstop to meet his deadline. Left on her own, Miriam would fill her time with the mischievous, surreptitious, and wicked dealings that could only be born of an Azzi. She was quiet like him, shy at first meeting, with the same black hair and chiseled features that stood out despite her age. Also like him, she was a goof when in her comfort zone, and Adam’s loft—even though it was a professional workspace—was one of the places she was most comfortable in. She had unlimited access to paints, pens, pencils, paper… and the plaster she’d just chucked at his head.

Adam picked up a stained rag and swiped the plaster off the back of his neck. “Miriam!”

He turned on his stool, rotating to face the kitchen area where Miriam peeked her head around the corner, hazel eyes wide and innocent. But Adam knew better than to be fooled by her appearance. He crooked a finger and pointed to the spot next to him.

She crawled on hands and knees, her eyes going Disney forest creature in size as she got closer to him, and Adam had to bite back a laugh. When she got to his feet, she sat with her legs crisscrossed, hands on her knees, and waited patiently for him to say something.

She was such a good kid. Wild at times, yes. But he’d been the same when he was her age. Unlike his upbringing, though, he was never going to allow Miriam to fear what kind of punishment she would receive. To others it might have made him seem like a soft father, but Adam had rules that were nonnegotiable and rules he expected her to challenge and break. He was always fair. Consistent. And he never touched her in anger. That alone made her childhood vastly different than his. Adam was going to protect her innocence as long as he possibly could.

“Miriam—” he started.

“Yes, Baba?” she interjected, then bit at her bottom lip.

Adam sighed. Whether it was genetics or environment, she was so like him it scared him some days.

“Why did you throw plaster at my head?” He asked the question in all seriousness, then heard how ridiculous it all sounded, looked at the growing smirk on his daughter’s face, and that was enough to send him into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Adam swooped her off the floor and hugged her to his chest, tickling her ribs. Miriam squirmed and protested, her high-pitched giggle filling the studio.

“I love you, Miri,” he said as he squeezed her tight.

Miriam tucked her head into Adam’s neck and pulled her arms in so Adam had her wrapped securely.

“I love you, Baba.”

Adam’s heart was full almost to bursting. The laughter was enough to give him a second wind. He needed to work. He had to get this sculpture done. But he didn’t want to let his little girl go.

“Finish, then play with me, ’kay?” Miriam offered.

Adam started to tear up. She knew him better than any person in the world. This brilliant, vivacious, too smart for her own good little girl was his best friend. And Adam wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“Yeah, yeah. No more plaster, though,” he chastised her, then kissed the tip of her nose.

Miriam rubbed her nose in protest and squirmed out of his arms, already retreating at full speed. On to another adventure.

Adam sank onto his stool and turned back to his sculpture. Less than three weeks until his next show. And this piece, the focal point of the entire fiasco, had to be done by then. But Adam found himself pushing the work off. He sought inspiration and didn’t find it. He would rather not show it at all than display something that was so… incomplete.

He picked up his brush and studied the form, then put the brush back down. His fifteen-year high school reunion had been last weekend and he’d had no desire to go, but the memories had been inescapable regardless. It was those memories that had led to this piece…. Led to this creative fog he couldn’t force himself out of.

He would eat first. Maybe they’d take a walk. He’d do his afternoon prayers with Miriam, grounding himself in the tradition of his faith. He wasn’t as active in his practice as his mom was, but he still found strength in the words and tenets. In Islam, he found calm, and a connection to his family and to something that was greater than him.

Then, maybe then, his head would be clear enough to see this project to its end.

 

CHAPTER TWO

“NO, ROB,” Nick said definitively into the Bluetooth mic above his driver’s seat.

“Come on, dude!” Roban yelled on the other end of the phone, and Nick had to turn down the volume on the car speakers because of the sheer volume of the accent-tinged wail. It was only when Rob was really excited or drunk that his Indian accent started to slip through.

Nick took a deep breath and rested his elbow on the armrest. “This is my first day off in five months. I want to spend it with Katie.”

“She’ll be asleep—” Roban started at the same time that Katie, from the backseat, said, “I’ll be asleep, Daddy.”

Nick frowned. Well, then. Apparently the wee ones were joining forces on this one.

“Roban—” he tried again.

“Niiiick,” Roban answered.

Nick stole a glance in the rearview mirror where Katie was strapped into her seat. She had her arms crossed and a disapproving scowl on her face that would make her Uncle Daniel proud.

“Fine,” he relented and Roban gave a much too excited whoop in response. “I’ll go out. But not too late. I have to be at work early.”

“You’re always at work early,” Roban reminded him. “Live a little before your cardiologists drive you into a heart attack.”

“Fine,” he repeated. “But I’m going to drive.” He could try to keep some measure of control over the situation.

“Nope. We’re cabbing it. I’m getting you fucking wrecked. Shit, sorry, Katie,” Roban backtracked, as if he was just remembering he was on speakerphone.

“No worries, Uncle Ro,” Katie yelled from the backseat.

“That’s my girl. Now, Nick. I expect to see you in something else besides a button-down shirt and tie. We’re going downtown. Mayhem will ensue and you must be appropriately attired.”

“It’s a Wednesday,” Nick reminded him.

“Willful Wednesday at the Screamin’ Shillelagh,” Roban responded with a laugh.

Nick stopped at the red light and hung his head in defeat. “Can’t we stay in the burbs?”

“I’ll pick you up at eight” was all Roban said, then his car notified him the call had ended.

Nick shut off his cell and threw it into the passenger seat, then pulled away when the light turned green. Roban would be the death of him. At the very least, the odds were in their favor to end up in a full-on street brawl after closing time. Either way, it wouldn’t be a boring night. Nick chuckled to himself.

“Who do you want to come stay with you, baby girl?” he asked Katie as they drove toward home. Katie was twirling her hair, deep in thought, when Nick glanced back at her. “What is it?” he asked with an edge of worry.

“Can you call Momma? See if she’ll come stay with me?”

Nick restrained a sigh and tried not to feel defeated at the sadness in Katie’s voice.

“Yeah, baby girl. I’ll call her when we get home.”

All laughter wiped away, Nick gripped the steering wheel and steeled himself for the call he was going to have to make.

RC

About The Author

Meet S. A. McAuley:
I sleep little, read a lot. Happiest in a foreign country. Twitchy when not mentally in motion. My name is Sam, not Sammy, definitely not Samantha. I’m a pretty dark/cynical/jaded person, but I hide that darkness well behind my obsession(s) for shiny objects. I’m the macabre wrapped in irresistible bubble wrap and a glittery pink bow, I suppose.
I have a never-ending-abyss-like secret love for poetry. Especially Rumi, Hafiz, and Neruda. You can predict (as well as change) my moods and my writing schedule by my playlists.
Insomnia is my greatest ally and my nemesis. I like cheese and bourbon, not necessarily in that order, but I’m flexible.
If you’re in any fandom, then I’m probably already in love with you. I’m not joking.
I like my tv shows marathoned and I have to use internet blocking software to be productive. I have software called Producteev that I loaded onto my laptop and proceeded to fill out in detail and now I haven’t touched it in a year.
I enjoy normalized chaos.
Hit me up! I love to hear from readers. xx
Where to find S. A. McAuley:
Social Media Links
Website/Blog | Instagram | tumblr |Facebook |Twitter
Email: authorsamcauley@gmail.com
Authorgraph | Goodreads | Amazon
Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Bike Book Reviews, Bayou Book Junkie, Kimi-Chan, Havan Fellows, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Happily Ever Chapter, MM Good Book Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, Andrew Q. Gordon, My Fiction Nook, The Jena Wade, Molly Lolly, Louise Lyons, Iyana Jenna, Dawn’s Reading Nook, It’s Raining Men, Michael Mandrake, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Velvet Panic

Final

Giveaway

Enter to  win a Rafflecopter Prize: Signed paperback copy of ‘Where Wishes Go’ by S.A. McAuley.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
Rafflecopter Code:
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WillPride

A.F. Henley’s Taking Us Into the Wild & Supernatural with Wolf, WY (guest post, excerpt, and giveaway)

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Wolf, WY Cover

Wolf, WY (Wolf #1)
by A.F. Henley

Publisher:  Less Than Three Press
Sales Link:  Less Than Three Press

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We are happy to have author A. F. Henley here today to talk about her latest novel, Wolf, WY, the first in a new series.  Welcome, A. F.!  Tell us a little about Wolf, WY or anything you want to tell us. 

 

 

The hardest thing (for me) about writing blog tour posts is the first few paragraphs of interaction. Should one be endearing? Excited? Analytical? I’ve tried a lot of different things along the way, but I’ve found that my favourite way of managing blog posts is to sit back in my chair and imagine the reader doing the same beside me. What would they ask me about the novel? What would I tell them back? I’ve often found the best thing I can do when discussing my novels is to turn the question back on the asker… What did you think?

Not really a fair question to spring on you guys, though is it? Considering the book doesn’t release for a couple of weeks, you would hardly be in a position to ask clear questions about the novel. So what I’ve decided to do with these posts is give you a sneak peek into the world and the characters that live between Wolf, WY’s beautiful cover. In exchange for your time, I’d like to offer you a chance to win a bunch of great prizes: a signed copy of Wolf, WY, a $20 LT3 gift certificate, and a cool Wind & Fire paw print bangle that will show the world just what you think of our furry four-legged friends. Be sure to read through to the end to find out how to participate.

But enough of me, let’s get to the point. In my last post I introduced you to Wolf, Wyoming as seen through the main character’s eyes using a “tiny teaser” directly from the book. Wolf isn’t the only community in the novel, however. Sheridan is a larger town approximately eighteen miles east of Wolf. For any of you that might have lived in a teeny-tiny community, think of it as the place where you’d head out to do your major grocery run or pick up gifts. Or, as Randy would think of it, the place you’ll head to when the folks are coming for a visit and cream of mushroom soup for dinner just won’t cut it…

So here’s a little sample of Sheridan, WY. Hope you enjoy your visit:

Tiny Teaser: Introducing – Sheridan, WY

There was a box of wine from the liquor store in his trunk, a bag of DVDs from the adjoining video/audio store (purchased, not rented, because not even God could guarantee when he’d make in back to the city), and sixty bucks’ worth of groceries from the Safeway. If nothing else he could eat, drink, and get lost in movies if—when—the weather flared back up.

The city was a mess of slush and snow piles. Elevated trucks with treads as deep as canyons grumbled by, their drivers staring down at Randy like he was driving something as foolish as a Corvette and not a bona fide 4×4 pickup. Brightly bundled kids made all manners of snow critters in postage-stamp-sized front yards while their parents shoveled their driveways clear. Snowmobiles tore up and down the side streets, whipping across the larger streets with a hope and a prayer when the way seemed clear of traffic and law enforcement. The entire city seemed to have become a land of winter worship. It was oddly uplifting, like stumbling across Santa’s workshop, except that it was well after Christmas and all the little elves had been allowed out to play. When Randy pulled into the parking lot of a diner, looked across the street, and saw two people vigorously scrubbing and hosing their snowmobiles at the Sudsy Bath Auto Wash, all he could do was shake his head over the coolness of it.

Wolf, WY Excerpt
© AF Henley, 2015

Blurb

Wolf, WY

There’s nothing like a fresh start, and for Randy, still nursing wounds left by a cheating ex and harboring a deep mistrust for all things corporate, Wolf, Wyoming seems like the perfect place to start over. Secluded, quiet, and self-sufficient, Wolf is bound to not only inspire, but to bring Randy the peace he needs. The view’s not bad, either.

Vaughn O’Connell and his family are Randy’s only neighbors for miles, and while Randy knows it’s somewhat unlikely that a man with three kids is gay, it doesn’t hurt to look. When a misunderstanding brings Randy face to face with both Vaughn and his eighteen year old son, Lyle, Randy’s not sure what to feel about either of them.

But things are not what they appear in Wolf, and the closer Randy gets, the stranger the O’Connell family seems…

Word Count: 70,000
Genre: Gay, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Notes: Wolf, WY contains some explicit content
Book 1 in the Wolf series

Wolf, WY BT Giveaway

The Giveaway

On behalf of the tour, please join the giveaway by taking part in the Rafflecopter below. The prize consists of a ‘Wind & Fire’ paw print charm bangle (a portion of the sales from this “Charms For Charity Bangle” goes directly to Guiding Eyes For The Blind), a $20 Gift Certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market (free books!), and a signed, print copy of Wolf, WY. For all the tiny-whiny terms and conditions, please check out the t’s and c’s posted on the Rafflecopter.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Less Than Three Press.

** Please note that this giveaway is being offered tour-wide and there will be one winner awarded for the entire event.

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY HERE:

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A great big thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me today… without sites like this these giveaways and promo opps would not be possible. I can never express my gratitude enough. And a huge thanks to you as well, my friends, for reading and joining me. Best of luck with the giveaway and I hope you enjoyed the post!

Until next time,

AF Henley ❤

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About the Author

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica. A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.

Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since—an indentured servant to the belief that romance and true love can mend the most broken soul. Even when presented in prose.

For more information please stop by for a visit at http://www.afhenley.com.

Cover Reveal for A Solitary Man by Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy (excerpt)

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COVER REVEAL!

Authors  Shira Anthony and  Aisling Mancy have teamed up to write a red-hot action-packed thriller!

A Solitary Man coming from  Dreamspinner Press November 6th!

A Solitary Man by Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy
Published by Dreamspinner Press

 

Excerpt

Evan pressed the button on his phone to connect. “Freddy? What did you find out?”
Fred laughed. “For this, I’m going to exact a price.”
“You mean the keg I sprang for at graduation doesn’t get me a freebie?” Evan shot back.
“We’ve been out of law school for how many years now? Eight?”
“Nine this year,” Evan corrected.
“Credit’s no good anymore,” Fred answered. “I’m thinking dinner at Ivy at the Shore next time you’re in LA. On you, of course. Including a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.”
“For that,” Evan said with a chuckle, “this had better be good.”
“It’s good. And it was hell to get.”
“Okay, okay. Dinner on me. Assuming you and Margie put me up for the night,” Evan replied. “I’m looking forward to seeing your McMansion.”
“Deal. Took a little digging. Seems your mystery man did some undercover work for the FBI.”
“And?”
“My buddy in the US Attorney’s office wouldn’t give details, but word is Constantine got fed up with the bullshit after a case went bad somewhere down in South America.”
“Drugs?” Evan asked.
“No. He dealt with human trafficking. Specifically, child sex trafficking. My friend says the guy’s good. He tried a few cases where Constantine was the government’s key witness. Knows his stuff. Works his ass off and gets into his work. I got the impression sometimes he gets a little too close.”
Now that was interesting. “Why?”
“Seems the guy’s rabid about protecting kids.”
“Any idea why?”
“Nothing anyone would tell me,” Fred replied.
Evan leaned back in his chair. At least Xav wasn’t a slacker, but it didn’t make Evan feel any better about the prospect of bumping into him at work. “Anything else?”
“Constantine grew up in LA, went to school in Boston.”
“Boston?” Even more interesting. So much for his initial assessment of Xav as a broceanographer.
“Yeah, you’ll love this.”
Evan could almost hear Freddy’s grin over the phone.
“He did undergrad at MIT. Mathematics major. Master’s in criminology from U Penn with an emphasis in cryptology. The FBI was probably falling all over itself to recruit him.”
No shit. This just got better and better. “What the hell’s a guy with that kind of background doing in North Carolina?”
“I could ask you the same question,” Fred shot back. “Of course, if you decide you want your own McMansion….”
“You couldn’t pay me enough to come to work for you,” Evan joked. Fred was serious—they’d had this discussion a half-dozen times before.
“Try me.” Fred paused for a moment and then asked, “This personal?”
Evan had no intention of telling Fred he’d slept with Xav. “Not personal.”
“’Cause word has it he’s gay,” Fred said. “Out but not advertising.” When Evan didn’t take the bait, Fred added, “But you already knew that, didn’t you?”
Evan shook his head and sighed theatrically. “Don’t even go there, Freddy. You know I don’t mix business and pleasure. I just want to know what I’m dealing with. That’s all.”
“You can’t bullshit a bullshitter, man.”
“Thanks for the help,” Evan said, foreclosing the topic. “I’ll let you know next time I’m out your way. Tell Margie she’s a brave woman.”
“Always do. Laters. And make sure you get your sorry ass out here soon.”
“Will do.” Evan disconnected the call and rubbed his mouth. Mathematics major at MIT and a master’s from U Penn? No wonder the FBI had recruited him. And he’d pegged Xav for a surfer! What the hell are you doing in Dare’s Landing, Xavier Constantine?

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About A Solitary Man

Sparks fly when Chance meets tall, sexy Xav at a Wilmington bar and they have the hottest one-nighter of their lives. But Chance doesn’t do repeats, Xav seems detached, and they go their separate ways without a word. Two months later, when closeted Assistant District Attorney C. Evan “Chance” Fairchild meets Dare’s Landing’s newest deputy sheriff, Xavier “Xav” Constantine, Evan isn’t only wary. He’s irritated as hell.

Xavier is a former FBI agent turned deputy sheriff who is hot on the trail of a South American child prostitution ring. Evan is fighting to put an end to rampant cocaine trafficking and chafing under the thumb of an election-hungry boss. When someone tries to kill the thirteen-year-old witness who holds the key to both their investigations, they’re forced to work together as they put their lives on the line to protect him. As Chance and Xav collide in heat of a sweltering North Carolina summer, dodging bullets and chasing bad guys isn’t the only action going on.

Pre-order A Solitary Man from  Dreamspinner Press!

About The Authors

Meet Shira Anthony

Shira loves a great happily-ever-after and never writes a story without one. She’s happy to write what her muse tells her, whether it’s fantasy, sci fi, paranormal, or contemporary romance. She particularly loves writing series, because she thinks of her characters as old friends and she wants to visit them even after their stories are told.

In real life, Shira sang professionally for 14 years, and she currently works as a public sector attorney advocating for children. She’s happy to have made writing her second full-time job, even if it means she rarely has time to watch TV or go to the movies.

Shira writes about the things she knows and loves, whether it’s music and musicians, the ocean, or the places she’s lived or traveled to. She spent her middle school years living in France, and tries to visit as often as she can.

Shira and her husband spend as many weekends as they can aboard their 36′ catamaran sailboat, “Lands Zen,” at the Carolina Coast. Not only has sailing inspired her to write about pirates and mermen, her sailboat is her favorite place to write. And although the only mermen she’s found to date are in her own imagination, she keeps a sharp lookout for them when she’s on the water.

Shira looks forward to meeting you at Gay Rom Lit!

Find Shira on blog | Twitter @WriterShira |Facebook |  Goodreads |Newsletter |
Subscribe to Shira’s monthly newsletter for updates, free fiction, and subscriber-only contests!

About Aisling Mancy

Aisling is an author who lives, most of the time, on the West Coast of the United States. Aisling writes adult fantasy, adult LGBTQIA romance, and fiction for gay young adults ( C. Kennedy).

Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Aisling doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Aisling contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Aisling can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.

Aisling looks forward to meeting you at Gay Rom Lit!

Find Aisling on her blog,  Twitter @AislingMancy, Facebook, Goodreads, and
Aisling does respond to emails because, after all, it is all about you, the reader