Afternoon Book Highlight: Seven Tears at High Tide by C.B. Lee (author interview, excerpt and contest)


Seven Tears 1600px COVER-Front

Seven Tears at High Tide by C.B. Lee
Release Date: October 15, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Lee
Cover Design by C.B. Messer


Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing C.B. Lee, author of Seven Tears at High Tide.

Hi C.B., thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi! I’m C.B, thank you for interviewing me on your blog today. I’m from California, and grew up in a small neighborhood that was made up of almost all immigrant families. As a first generation Asian American and as a bisexual writer, I am so excited to be able to write more about characters whose backgrounds are like my own. My current novel is Seven Tears at High Tide, a contemporary romance meets fantasy, where a teenager meets a selkie has to navigate the consequences of wishing for love.

  • What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I would just love to see my stories being read by the people who want to read them. It’s a dream of mine, for people to be able to pick up a story about a character that they might see themselves in.

  • How many published books do you have? Can you tell us something about them?

Seven Tears at High Tide is my first novel! It’s my take on selkie lore, particularly on subverting the trope that follows a lot of the mythology, where a selkie comes ashore and their pelt, and subsequently their freedom, is taken away from them when a human steals it or discovers it. I wanted to write a story where the selkie– and the human both are presented with difficult choices in their relationship, and how they deal with these questions of agency.

  • Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Kevin and Morgan are the two main characters, and they’re both quite special to me! I hope readers think so too. Kevin can be quite stubborn at times, and act before he thinks, but he’s got a good heart, knows who he is and what he wants, and that helps him steer through a lot of difficult choices in the novel. Morgan has a few special supernatural abilities, like an enhanced sense of smell and the ability to read people’s intentions and their heart’s desires, but I think what makes him special is his positivity and his determination, and especially how he cares deeply about others.

  • What are you working on at the moment? What’s it about?

I’m currently working on another young adult novel, about a high school girl who comes from a family of superheroes– except she’s nonpowered, and really just wants to prove herself. She ends up getting a job, along with her crush, working for a mysterious corporation which turns out to be run by the town’s supervillain, and these two girls uncover this huge plot that’s more than just heroes versus villains. And they also fall in love.

  • Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I try to write at least a thousand words a day, if I have a deadline for a particular project. Sometimes I’ll write more, and often times I’ll write less, but I do try to write every day, even if it’s only a sentence!



Kevin Luong walks to the ocean’s edge with a broken heart. Remembering a legend his mother told him, he lets seven tears fall into the sea. “I just want one summer—one summer to be happy and in love.” Instead, he finds himself saving a mysterious boy from the Pacific—a boy who later shows up on his doorstep professing his love. What he doesn’t know is that Morgan is a selkie, drawn to answer Kevin’s wish. As they grow close, Morgan is caught between the dangers of the human world and his legacy in the selkie community to which he must return at summer’s end.


Pages or Words: 234 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Fantasy, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance, Young Adult



They wander into the house, wipe their wet feet on the welcome mat, climb up the stairs and giggle as they pass Ann’s bedroom. She’s dancing with her headphones on, oblivious to the open door, swaying to the beat.

In Kevin’s bedroom, he quickly scrounges up some clean shirts and shorts. “Here, you can wear this,” he says, handing an outfit to Morgan and then ducking into his bathroom to change. He peels off the wetsuit and hangs it up in his shower, then leans his surfboard carefully against the wall, eyeing the crack. He’ll have to fix it tomorrow.

When he returns, Morgan is holding onto the wet board shorts, wearing the outfit Kevin gave him. He looks curiously at the rock collection prominently displayed on Kevin’s bookshelf. “These are beautiful,” he says.

“Here, I’ll take that,” Kevin says, holding out his hand for the bedraggled board shorts to hang in his shower. He’s certain now that they’re the ones from the lifeguard’s lost and found. Kevin’s starting to worry that Morgan doesn’t have any other clothes, but he doesn’t know how to bring it up. Money can be a touchy subject.

Morgan holds Kevin’s favorite specimen, a piece of green olivine on basalt. Kevin once almost convinced Ann it was an avocado roll—it certainly looks like one, bright green speckled with sesame seeds, wrapped in dark seaweed.

“That’s from Mexico. My family went on vacation to Baja last year, and I got that out of an old volcano.” He tries his best to describe the sweltering heat and the excitement of finding geodes and cracking them open with a hammer. Morgan listens in rapt silence as Kevin talks about the find and tilts the olivine so it catches the light. He sets it back in its spot behind its label, slowly so as not to disturb the other specimens, and Kevin is quietly pleased with Morgan’s careful appreciation.

“I changed my mind,” Kevin blurts out.

“About what?”

“I do want this to be a date. For us, to do that,” he says, blushing. “I like you. A lot.”

Morgan’s face breaks into a bright, happy smile.

“And what do we do differently, for this to be a date?”

Kevin can feel the heat on his cheeks. “We can hold hands, if you like. Um, or kiss, if you want to. But we don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. I’m fine just hanging out and watching a movie with you.”

Morgan tilts his head and steps closer. “I want to,” he says, not specifying what, but Kevin knows immediately.

It’s just the quickest brush of lips, but Kevin feels it all the way to his toes. A warm curl of excitement blooms throughout his body, and Morgan’s mouth is warm and wet against his. It’s not like any kiss he’s had, chaste and sweet and over in a second, and yet his heart is still pounding after Morgan leans back. He’s close enough for Kevin to be able to count the eyelashes dark against his cheek.

Morgan ducks his head and asks, “Was that okay?”

Kevin’s a little dazed, but he finds his voice. “Yeah. Yeah, that was great.”


Buy the book:

Interlude Press | Amazon |Book Depository | Indiebound 

Meet and connect with C. B. Lee:

C. B. Lee is a bisexual writer, rock climber and pinniped enthusiast based in California. Lee enjoys reading, hiking and other outdoor pursuits. Seven Tears At High Tide is a first novel.

Connect with C.B. at, on Facebook,,

on Twitter @author_cblee, and on Goodreads at



Tour Dates & Stops:

15-Oct: Prism Book Alliance, Happily Ever Chapter, Velvet Panic, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My,

Michael Mandrake, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

16-Oct: BFD Book Blog, Books A to Z, The Jena Wade

19-Oct: It’s Raining Men, Hearts on Fire, Bayou Book Junkie

20-Oct: Divine Magazine, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Bike Book Reviews

21-Oct: Amanda C. Stone, Just Love Romance, Mikky’s World of Books

22-Oct: Emotion in Motion, Kimi-Chan, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings

23-Oct: Molly Lolly, Love Bytes

26-Oct: Boys on the Brink Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads

27-Oct: Cathy Brockman Romances, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, MM Good Book Reviews

28-Oct: TTC Books and More, My Fiction Nook




Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Interlude Press Gift Card to one grand prize winner plus copies of the Seven Tears at High Tide multi-format eBook to five winners. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Shadows Fall by J.K. Hogan


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Shadows Fall coverTitus McGinty is a natural-born chovihano, medium, witch, Shaman—a Romany who has the gift of seeing dead people everywhere he looks. To most people that may sound intriguing, but to Titus it’s a curse. Spirts don’t just hover, they reach out to him, speaking, calling or making eerie noises. Together, at any given moment, the cacophony is enough to drive him crazy, so he never leaves his home or his coffee shop, both warded to keep the spirits out, without his earbuds firmly in place as he listens to whatever music queues up next on his iPod.

Most spirits hover in the area where they lived or died, never leaving one place, but recently a quartet of females, all grotesquely maimed, are following him around, trying to get him to help them, and he knows there’s nothing he can do.

Homicide Detective Charlie Hale, closeted, handsome, and the type of guy Titus has a hard time resisting, shows up at the coffee shop Titus owns and slowly wins Titus over. The attraction is mutual, but it’s soon evident that Charlie has never acted on his desire for men until Titus rocks his world. The two act on their attraction, but Charlie is shocked when he finds out that Titus might be more than a material witness to a murder he’s recently discovered.

It’s not Titus’s fault that the spirit of a newly dead man leads him into the building where his body is lying shortly after he’s been murdered. The biggest issue is that he has the same markings as the four female spirits who have been haunting Titus and has now joined the others in their pursuit. Titus wants to help, but he also wants peace and quiet so he sends for his grandmother, the Shaman of their gypsy tribe and the only person who might be willing to help him figure out how to keep out the spirits he doesn’t want but communicate with those he does.

Between his grandmother showing up, and Titus’s discovery of that body, his life goes into chaos. Charlie is pressuring him to reveal how he found the body, Charlie’s cop partner is pressuring both of them by threatening to arrest Titus, and the spirits are threatening his sanity by continually trying to get him to understand something. By the time, the chaos is sorted, Titus is on the radar of the serial killer and may become the next victim before he can help Charlie solve the crime.

This is just a very brief summary of a story that was shockingly good. Shocking to me because I’ve never read this author’s work, and I’m not a huge fan of gruesome murder stories. However, this was very well-written, with rich detail and an intricate plotline that piqued my interest.

Both the primary and secondary characters were well-developed and captured my attention right from the beginning of the book. I like a story which engages me immediately, and this certainly did that. Titus was feisty and independent, yet so emotionally needy for close contact with another human being that when Charlie walked into his life, he soaked up the attention like a sponge. And Charlie, tough guy detective and closeted gay man, was so hard shell on the outside with a soft chewy center, i.e. tenderness on the inside, I found myself rooting for him to win Titus’s heart. Grandma Hester Faa was a hoot—picture Ester from the Golden Girls of yesteryear. She too was feisty and took no backtalk from anyone, particularly from some gaje cop who was sleeping in her grandson’s bed. Other support characters could easily constitute a recurring cast for future spinoffs from this story, and judging by the way the author ended the book, I’d say it’s highly likely there will be some.

Actually, the one thing that kept my rating from being five stars was the ending of the story. It felt rushed, with a few subplots left outstanding, including the fate of Titus’s missing employee, Titus’s own future standing with his family and grandmother—will it be closer now or go back to being estranged?—and Charlie’s relationship with his partner—a partner who was very on again-off again. I’m sure much of the reason things stand the way they are at the end of the story are to tie into a future book, however the transition wasn’t smooth and simply felt too rushed and incomplete.

I would recommend this to those who like a creepy mystery with a paranormal element along with some blood and gore all mixed in with their M/M romance. Throw in a little feisty granny and some mighty hawt sex scenes with a virginal cop, and you’ll likely really enjoy this one as much as I did.


The cover, designed by J.K. Hogan, is a photo depicting a young man, with dark hair and dark complexion with a background of a graffiti-marked underground tunnel. Once the story is complete, readers will understand the symbolism of the tunnel, and the young man is an attractive version of Titus McGinty.

Sales Links:  Wilde City Press  | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 329 pages
Published June 10th 2015 by Wilde City Press
ISBN13 9781925313246
edition language English

A Stella Review: Beignets (Coffee Cake #2) by Michaela Grey


Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Beignets coverMalachi Warren barely survived a series of assaults on his life. But survive he did, though not without baggage. Now, Malachi must pick up the pieces of his shattered life—the most important piece being his boyfriend, Bran Kendrick, who is dealing with problems of his own.

Stagnating at his job at a small-town café, Bran’s pride keeps him from asking Malachi—or anyone—for help. Desperate to do something, Malachi secretly pays a celebrity chef with a bakery in New Orleans to take on Bran as his apprentice.

As Malachi and Bran begin to make a new life in New Orleans, the specter of Malachi’s PTSD and the growing stress over the secret he hides from Bran threaten their relationship. Before it’s too late, Malachi must confront his past and face his fears about the future, all without losing himself—and Bran—in the process.

I read Coffee Cake, the first book in this Michaela Grey series, on June and it was a lovely surprise. I didn’t know there was a planned sequel and I was over the moon as soon as I saw Beignets. Being a sequel it really doesn’t work as a standalone,  you have to read the first one to better understand Beignets.

Bran and Malachi are together from six month. After being almost killed, Malachi isn’t sleeping well lately, tormented by a lot of nightmares and he’s not even drawing anymore. He is overload with panic attacks.  Sure Bran will leave him and all his problems behind, Malachi doesn’t know he is the best thing ever happened to Bran. It hurt to watch him be so insecure of himself. Trust me, the love they share is pure, brave and sweet. But Malachi and Bran are young, scared and with some not so light baggage on their shoulders, they are trying to solve their problems together and it’s beautiful and cute see Bran fuss over Malachi as a mother hen but sad too see how they cling to each other, because of the codependency between them is scary sometimes. They both need someone else to lean on.

First let me tell you what I didn’t like. I found the story to be too heavy because there are a LOT of scenes where Malachi is struggling with his panic attacks. They are without a doubt real but maybe in a book it is too much. I simply think the author overdid a little with these scenes. Luckly they are balanced with other parts, light, funny and sweet and I appreciated very them. ‘Beignets’ is interesting as ‘Coffee Cake’, well written and hard to put down, because I loved Malachi and Bran but the second characters too. I enjoyed how the story developed, their move to New Orleans where Bran could join a baker apprenticeship and most of all where they would find their serenity again and  a new family to lean on. This is a book full of love, full of real life struggles and full of hope.

I want to add a little more detail that I noted and liked it. I’m usually not a fan of single point of view, but Michaela Grey did a great job in this series. She used only Bran PoV in Coffee Cake and only the Malachi one in Beignets and in both novels I didn’t get the feeling of missing something, they were complete and well done in let me know what was in each character’s mind, with clear words and actions.

And if you’re like me and don’t live with just the spiritual love but need the sweaty one too, keep calm, you’ll get it. I particularly liked how Bran’s asexuality was never once ignored or lessened but perfectly enclosed in Malachi needs.

That said, sweet Michaela, can you work on Tristan and Callan story? Please?

Cover art by Aaron Anderson. This series’ covers simply rock! I loved the first one, colors and style were perfect. Same love for this one too. It conveys so much sweetness, in every way.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published October 9th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634766326
Edition Language English

Coffe Cake series

Coffee Cake #1
Beignets #2

Coffee Sip and Book Break with ‘Beignets’ by Michaela Grey (excerpt and giveaways)





Beignets_FINAL_lavenderTitle: Beignets

Series: Coffee Cake

Author: Michaela Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Length: 200 Pages
Release Date: October 9, 2015


Malachi Warren barely survived a series of assaults on his life. But survive he did, though not without baggage. Now, Malachi must pick up the pieces of his shattered life—the most important piece being his boyfriend, Bran Kendrick, who is dealing with problems of his own.

Stagnating at his job at a small-town café, Bran’s pride keeps him from asking Malachi—or anyone—for help. Desperate to do something, Malachi secretly pays a celebrity chef with a bakery in New Orleans to take on Bran as his apprentice.

As Malachi and Bran begin to make a new life in New Orleans, the specter of Malachi’s PTSD and the growing stress over the secret he hides from Bran threaten their relationship. Before it’s too late, Malachi must confront his past and face his fears about the future, all without losing himself—and Bran—in the process.


Exclusive to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words excerpt:

Malachi lifted an eyebrow. Okay?

Bran nodded, lips quirking.

Malachi smiled back. I love you.

Bran’s smile widened. I love you too.

Malachi glanced toward the exit to the zoo. Ready to go?

Bran shook his head. I’m okay.

“Okay, how are you doing that?” Sabrina interrupted. Malachi jumped and turned to look at her. She’d propped her elbows on the table and was staring at them with fascination on her face.

“Doing what?” Malachi asked.

“Talking to each other,” Sabrina said, “without saying a word. You just held an entire conversation with nothing but facial movements!”

“Oh,” Malachi said. He glanced at Bran, who just lifted an eyebrow, offering no help. “Gee, thanks,” Malachi said, and Bran grinned.

“You’re doing it again,” Sabrina pointed out.


He’d covered Bran’s back with a pale gray first, from shoulders to hips. It was the exact color of the Vermont sky outside his window: the pearlescent hint of winter, cold and serene.

The trees were next, bare limbs black against the gray sky. The green stretched out under the trees, a wide expanse of withered brown that defied its commonly used name. On the other side of the green, the library rose above the branches, glass and stone and modern architecture. Two figures sat on a bench in front of the library. The smaller one had his head in the other’s lap, knees bent to brace his sketchpad. The taller figure was absorbed in his book, brown hair falling in a haphazard manner over his forehead.

And in the distance under the farthest tree, a tiny, malevolent, brown spotted llama lurked, biding its time.


Dreamspinner Press (ebook)

Dreamspinner Press (Paperback)

Amazon US

Amazon UK

All Romance eBooks

Barnes & Noble


Author PicMichaela Grey told stories to put herself to sleep since she was old enough to hold a conversation in her head.  When she learned to write, she began putting those stories down on paper.  She and her family reside in the Texas hill country with their cats, and she is perpetually on the hunt for peaceful writing time, which her four children make difficult to find.

Michaela started her career with Dreamspinner Press.  Her first book is called Coffee Cake, published in May of 2015, and its sequel is Beignets, coming in October of 2015.  She is represented by Saritza Hernandez, of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Queer romance is her happy place, and she delights in pushing her limits, testing her abilities and forcing herself to write scenarios she’s not familiar with.  Angst is her lifeblood, and she wants you to know that your tears are delicious.  (But don’t worry, she’ll always give you a happy ending.)

When she’s not writing, she’s knitting while watching TV or avoiding responsibilities on Tumblr, where she shamelessly ogles pretty people and tries to keep her cat off the keyboard.

||  Facebook Page  ||  Twitter  ||  Website  ||  Tumblr  ||  Email  ||


Winner’s Prize: Signed Paperback of BEIGNETS

Runner-up Prize: E-copy of BEIGNETS

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Creative Minds Promotions.

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Looking for A New ShapeShifter Story? Check Out Natural Order From Moondancer Drake (excerpt)



Natural Order By Moondancer Drake
Release Date: October 1
Goodreads Link
over Artist Acorn Graphics

*Buy the book from Bella Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


An evening at the movies turns into a living nightmare for Elizabeth Crew as her lover Dusty battles for their lives and the unborn baby Elizabeth is carrying. Dusty’s dying request is that Elizabeth go live with Dusty’s family, where she and the baby will be safe.

Dusty’s family takes Elizabeth into their home with open arms and a bit of concern. What will happen if Elizabeth learns that her new family includes shape-shifters? For Elizabeth, the family secrets are not all that awaits her in the darkness.


“Dusty, who are they?” Beth wheezed out the question she’d asked many times since Dusty saw the men outside the movie house. Still she got no answer. They ran past a trio of poorly maintained apartment buildings. At the back of a large red brick structure, covered in graffiti, the street abruptly ended.

“You’re tired.” Dusty pulled Beth closer with an arm around her shoulders and slowed to a fast walk. “You can’t keep this up, babe. We have to find someplace so you can rest.”

“Where? If we stay in here, they’ll catch us for sure.”

“I’ll find someplace. C’mon.” They turned down a narrow walkway and came across a set of steps that led to the basement of a gray and beige stone building. Dusty stopped and glanced the way they had come. Beth took the respite to catch her breath and study her companion’s bedraggled appearance. Dusty’s straight, shoulder length hair clung to her ruddy brown face in pitch-black clusters. Her once tan Statesman hat was now soggy, dark brown, and rainwater fell from the wide brim in a steady flow of droplets.

Dusty turned back and guided Beth down the stairs, into a doorway. Water-soaked trash littered the stairwell, the musty smell that accompanied the detritus only added to Beth’s despair. Dusty’s hands moved from Beth’s shoulders and slipped the cell phone from her jacket pocket into Beth’s shaking hand. “Stay down here. Call the cops again. Tell them where you are now and what’s happening.”

“What’s happening? I don’t even understand it.”

“I know, babe,” Dusty said in a strained, but gentle tone. “I promise, when we get outta this I’ll explain everything. Stay here and make the call.”

Beth’s eyes widened as the realization hit her and her throat tightened with fear. “You’re going out there, aren’t you? Are you mad? We have to get out of this together,” Beth pleaded. “Promise me. Together.”


Winner of the 2010 Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Paranormal / Horror and Best Characters Development

“Moondancer Drake has created a fantasy which harmoniously plucks elements from many different cultural and spiritual dishes to mix up a delectable fusion feast. Few other authors offer a multicultural, multi-spiritual world as a given, both of which lend strength to the story.” ~ K. Tempest Bradford


About the Author

Moondancer Drake

Moondancer Drake is a Two-Spirit Cherokee author of environmental and spiritually driven multicultural fiction. Moondancer is also a vocal advocate for civil rights and the responsibility of all people to take better care of Mother Earth.

Natural Order Book Details:

NaturalOrderISBN:  978-1-61929-246-8
ISBN  978-1-61929-247-5
Genre: Fiction/Speculative Fiction

Format: Trade Paper, 2nd Ed.  252 pages
Cover Price: $ 17.95 Ebook  $9.99
Publication Date:  October 2015
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises

*Please, if you can, order the book from your local LGBTQ and Indie bookstores. Otherwise the book can be purchased from these online locations.

Email: General inquiries –
Fax:(866) 294-9628
Available from Ingram & Bella Distribution

Cover Reveal for Jessie G’s ‘Strength in Numbers’ (cover reveal and contest)


Front Cover Safety In Numbers - 400w

Safety In Numbers (Sizzling Miami #5) by Jessie G.
Release Date: October 31, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Jessie G. Books
Cover Artist: Andrew Reyna

Buy the book: Amazon Pre-Order Link | ARe Pre-order Link | KOBO


Bros stick together no matter what.”

When Chris and Liam made that promise, they had no idea how important it would become or how it would be tested in the most brutal way. Nine years later, their bond cemented in blood, that relationship is all they have to hold on to.

No matter what happens, this friendship will be the one constant we can count on.”

When Billy and Owen made that promise, they knew exactly how dangerous the world could be. They survived prison by protecting each other and they survived freedom by holding that promise sacred. Now they want more than just to survive and they want it from the brothers whose bond is as strong as their own.

“We are stronger together than we’ll ever be apart.”

When Owen reaches his breaking point, Chris jumps at the chance to make things right for all of them. With the future in their grasp, will they realize their strength is in their numbers and finally become the family they crave?

Author’s Note: This is NOT a foursome, but the story of two couples that needed to be told together.


Pages or Words: 76,000 words
Categories: Gay fiction, M/M Romance, Romance


That silence hid a lot from their friends, but Liam knew Chris was plagued with memories far worse than his. That’s why they decided not to celebrate alone this year. Billy and Owen were expected any minute and it was the first time they invited anyone to join them. The anniversary was bittersweet for them and they chose to celebrate it because becoming brothers meant that much to them. “Do you think they’ll find it stupid?”

Chris just shrugged as if it was no skin off his back what they thought and Liam knew that was just bravado. Fact was, they both very much cared what the two men thought. “Liar.”

His brother sighed and dropped his head back. As if shit wasn’t fucked up enough, they fell for two bastards just as fucked up as they were. “I know you’re worried about Owen. The business with Colin is growing out of their control and I’m not sure why he thinks it’s a good thing. Is he trying to prove something? And the middle of the night phone calls from the FTR? He’s looking more and more fragile every day.”

Liam knew he wasn’t stating anything new. What he didn’t know was what Chris intended to do about it. Lately, when it came to Owen, Chris conveyed zero intent and seemed to be waiting for Owen to read him as effortlessly as Liam did. Their brother bond had been forged through blood and he was afraid Chris’s expectations of Owen were unreasonable. “Do you see his face every time he thinks he’s failed to understand you? The weight of it is crushing.”

Instead of regret, all Liam saw was anger in Chris. It wasn’t a common emotion for Chris and Liam could name every time he saw it. The fact that Chris knew what he was capable of if provoked had made him extremely conscious of that emotion and he often went to great lengths to contain it.

Owen was the very definition of insecure. Just the type to inspire Chris’s protective instincts, which Liam knew for a fact Owen did. Hell, he inspired Liam’s protective instincts. Owen was stubborn though and he often distanced himself, keeping things bottled up until they manifested elsewhere. Like in panic attacks that felt like heart attacks, which he also tried to hide. Liam nearly lost it when they found out that Billy was keeping Owen’s secret.

Chris nodded slowly, as if he completely followed Liam’s train of thought and waited for him to connect the dots. And just like that, Liam understood. “You’re pissed because he doesn’t come to you when the panic sets in. That he hides it from you and they hide it from us.”

It made total sense, but he had to wonder if they were expecting too much. After all, they couldn’t call what was going on with either man a relationship. No, they were four fucked up bastards trying to come together in some romanticwhat? Not a foursome, eww…he loved Chris, but yeah, that just wasn’t happening. And Owen wasn’t his type any more than Billy was Chris’s type. But—always with the fucking buts, right?—what was happening was very definitely happening to the four of them, and Liam now had to wonder if that was the problem, because trying to come together was definitely not the same as being together.

Chris shook his head and shifted in his seat. No, he was right. It wasn’t just their brother bond that made it impossible to move forward as two separate couples. Billy and Owen had formed their own unique friendship in prison and were no more likely to move forward without the other one either. “Just once, couldn’t we have done something the easy way?”

The fire door banged open and Liam turned to see Billy and Owen, arms full of brightly wrapped packages, struggling to pull a huge cluster of balloons through the door. It was a shocking contrast to their dark thoughts and so uncharacteristically sweet of both men. Billy caught their surprised stare and yelled, “Is this where the party’s at?”

“It is now.” It might seem silly, but it was exactly what they needed and exactly who they needed it from. Maybe they hadn’t been expecting too much at all. Liam rose to give them a hand and glanced down to see the look of longing in Chris’s eyes and thought maybe it was time they all expected more.


Back Cover Safety In Numbers - 400w

Meet the Author

Like many readers, the dream of being a writer has been with me a long time. After three decades of trying, I’d begun to doubt. Thanks to social media, I followed my favorite authors hoping to glean some words of wisdom as I pounded out half-formed ideas with alarming regularity. Two repetitive themes emerged: to be a great writer you must read a lot and your butt must be in the chair every day like it’s a job. The more you write, the easier it will be to write and the better you will be at writing. I took that advice to heart and write every day. With six published books to date, three series in the works and a full schedule of releases planned for the next two years, it’s been amazing to have made this dream my reality.

I am a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics and happily ever after. I’m a lover of strong secondary characters and series filled with families, biological or chosen. All are themes you’ll find throughout my books.

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Russell Soots Talks Loss in Writing & in his Brass & Keys (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)




We are happy to welcome Russell Soots here today to talk about his latest release, Brass & Keys (Freshman Beginning) and some of the elements in the book and series.

Russell Soots on Loss as A Core Element in Writing

In much the same way that loss is a part of real life, loss is also one of the core elements of any story; whether it’s the actual occurrence and/or threat of loss.  This is ​ certainly the case for the “Brass & Keys” series including “Freshman Beginning”.  Whether it occurred in the past, present or in the near future, loss drastically affects more than one character in this first book.  In many ways, the manner in which each character faces loss reveals a great deal about them in the story.  For example, do they face it head on? Do they run from it?  Does a specific instance of loss perhaps become an integral, lifelong part of them?  How each character reacts accordingly can give the reader tremendous insight into their mindset, emotions and perhaps even their future actions.

The various types of loss themselves certainly play a key role as well.  Death, the end of friendships and relationships, job loss, financial crises and others can all have profound effects on not just the characters but also the plots, twists and turns of the story as well.   

Loss will always be a part of our lives and the stories we read.  I must confess that every single time I initially write, reread and edit chapters that have to do with loss, I always cry.  I suppose my doing so is based on how such chapters hit close to home with regards to my own loss of family members and friends over the years.  I think it also has to do with imagining that same pain being experienced by characters whom in many ways feel very much like family members and friends to me.   


Brass_Keys_FS_600x900Title: Brass & Keys (Freshman Beginning ) by Russell Soots

Cover Artist:  Sid Love

Length:  266 pages

Release Date: October 15, 2015


Having recently broken up with his sleazeball of an ex, recent high school grad Keldon Stonebridge is a handsome guy who’s optimistic about the possibilities of the summer ahead in his beautiful hometown of Asheville, NC. He intends to fill his days working, playing his saxophone whom he calls his baby, sipping green iced tea and hanging out with friends. He’s far less optimistic about a summer romance.

But then he meets the very handsome Tyler Lawrence. A fellow musician and recent high school grad himself, Tyler also enjoys losing himself in his music and conspicuously avoids speaking about his own ex at all costs. The two quickly fall in love and achieve a bond that truly transcends love and music. It’s a bond that will be greatly tested by loyalty, tragedy and more.


Desperately trying not to panic, Tyler looked into his eyes.  “Keldon, what is it?”, he urgently insisted.

Keldon swallowed hard as he gazed into Tyler’s dark eyes.  A single tear slowly moved down his cheek.  His mouth twitched slightly before finally opening to speak.  “I’m in love with you.”,  he breathed.

Tyler’s eyes flew open so wide he momentarily thought they might pop out of his head. He struggled for a moment to breathe as a grin spread across his entire face and his eyes watered.  He opened his mouth but nothing came out.  Now it was his turn to have difficulty speaking.  Finally, he managed to get the words out.  “I love you too.”, he gushed in a whisper.  For the briefest of moments, they simply gazed into each other’s eyes before their lips collided and tongues intertwined almost violently.  Beyond passionate, their kiss sealed their bodies, hearts and soul together.  It lasted for several blissful moments before they finally parted.  With beaming smiles, they looked back toward the patio where everyone was smiling before looking into each other’s eyes again.

Keldon grinned and threw his head back.  “I’m in love with Tyler Lawrence!”, he enthusiastically exclaimed at nearly the top of his lungs.

As soon as he finished, Tyler threw his own head back.  “And I’m in love with Keldon Stonebridge!”, he excitedly drawled.  They grinned ridiculously at each other for several moments before wrapping their arms around each other in a warm and unbreakable hug.

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Living in central North Carolina, Russell thoroughly enjoys all of the great amenities of the state he’s called home his entire life.  He can typically be found assisting a friend with their small business, writing in coffeehouses, enjoying meals, movies, museums and more with friends as well as fully enjoying the great wonder of life itself.   Twitter   Google +


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