A Free Dreamer Review: The Circus of the Damned (Deal with a Devil) by Cornelia Grey

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

TheCircusoftheDamned_500x750Magician Gilbert Blake has spent his entire life conning drunkards in the seediest pubs in the darkest towns, careful to hide the true depths of his power. But when he spends a little too much time in Shadowsea and the infamous slumlord Count Reuben gets wind of his abilities, hiding within the Circus of the Damned may be Gilbert’s only chance at survival.

But there’s more to the Circus than meets the eye. Every time a performer dies, a new one must take his place, or the entire circus suffers the consequences. And while the handsome ringmaster Jesse isn’t one to coerce unwilling performers into giving up their souls to the devil, a recent death in their ranks makes Gilbert exactly what they need.

Yet the longer Gilbert stays with the Circus, the more danger he seems to bring them. Being with Jesse is more than Gilbert could have hoped for, but as Count Reuben’s men continue to search for Gilbert and the Circus loses another performer, they all face running out of time long before the Devil claims his due.

First of all, I had very high expectations of this book, since I absolutely loved   “Devil at the Crossroads by Cornelia Grey. Unfortunately, this book didn’t quite manage to live up to my expectations.

But let’s talk about the things I liked first. Once again, Cornelia Grey gave the trope of the “deal with the devil” an interesting and unique twist. The descriptions of the circus were full of loving details that made the whole setting come alive. I could practically breathe the circus air and see myself talking to all those unusual and strange circus performers.

I could easily relate to the protagonists and found myself head over heels for Gilbert within a few words. Gilbert is a real man – he drinks, he gambles (and cheats), he’s got a foul mouth and doesn’t mind the occasional brawl and he’s absolutely unapologetic about it. He openly admits that his pet mouse is probably a lot more intelligent than him and saved his ass on more than one occasion. I loved how Miss Grey gave even Gilbert’s mouse her own distinct characteristics.

The plot was fascinating from the very beginning. There’s tons of actions and the love story between Gilbert and Jesse develops as more of a side product, which is a huge bonus for me because I love stories with lots of plot and little romance. Once the sex did happen, it wasn’t simply hot. It was sensual and very erotic, even if the action itself was mostly vanilla. The UST up to that point alone had me drooling. Miss Grey definitely knows how to write sex! I loved that there were no sappy declarations of love. Gilbert is a man of action, so he acted and didn’t talk.

Unfortunately, the minor characters didn’t get quite as much love as the protagonists did. Sure, there are lots of weird and unique people, but overall I would have loved to find out more about them. A few more conversations between Gilbert and the other circus performers would have been nice.

The world building was a little disappointing as well. There were some very interesting concepts there, but the bigger picture kind of fell flat. I couldn’t tell if this was a completely different world or if it was a kind of historical AU. That was a real shame.

To sum it up, “The Circus of the Damned” was a very enjoyable read. I’m hoping for a sequel so we get to find out more about the world and the side characters.

Cover  by Kanaxa is one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’d love to have this book as a paperback, simply because it would look so amazing in my real bookshelf. It’s definitely the best of the series.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 347 pages
Published November 3rd 2014 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleCircus of the Damned (A Deal with a Devil Story)
ISBN139781626491656
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: Devil at the Crossroads (Deal with a Devil) by Cornelia Grey

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5            ★★★★★

Devil at the CrossroadsThe devil covets more than his soul …

Six years ago, Logan Hart sold his soul to the devil to become the greatest bluesman of all time—and now the devil has come to collect.

The irony is that Logan squandered his gift. High on fame, money, and drugs, he ignored his muse and neglected his music. And despite managing to escape showbiz in a moment of clarity, it’s too late to redeem himself. All that’s left is to try to go out with some dignity. Alas, the prospect of an eternity in Hell isn’t helping much with that goal.

But Farfarello, the devil who bought Logan’s soul, isn’t ready to drag him down to Hell quite yet. He’s just spent six years working his ass off to whip a bluesman into shape, and he refuses to let that—or the opportunity for more sinful pleasures with Logan—go to waste.

A blues guitarist selling his soul to the devil. Well, been there, done that, right? That’s what I thought when I first read the summary. But “Devil at the Corssroads” is a really interesting take on that trope.

The sex scenes were sizzling hot and made me drool. But even before they got at it, there was this sexual tension that made the butterflies in my belly go crazy. Cornelia Grey definitely knows how to write sensual and erotic characters. “Devil at the Crossroads” pretty much oozes sexiness and passion from the beginning right through the end.

But what made me give this novella five stars wasn’t the hottest sex I’ve read in ages. There’s more to this than simple pornography. I often find novellas lacking something. Usually I feel like it’s incomplete or the plot is not detailed enough or a million other little things that I missed. But “Devil at the Crossroads” is different.

The characters were very well developed and unique. Farfarello really isn’t what you think of when you hear the word “devil”. I loved the way Miss Grey described his looks. Definitely a unique character.

I really liked Logan as well. The shame he felt at ruining his chance at fame was very compelling. I felt really bad for him.

The balance between plot and porn was perfect. The storytelling is utterly compelling. I felt like I was right there with the characters, living their experiences through them. It all felt very realistic. Even though we only got to see short snapshots from those six years, I felt like I knew everything there was to know. And I most definitely liked the ending.

I also loved the references to other famous blues musicians. Talking about Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and the like made me really enjoy the whole setting. I’ve always had a thing for blues, and when Logan mentioned a song title, I immediately felt the urge to look it up. Thanks to this book and a dear online reading buddy, I’ve also discovered my favourite singer: some of Hozier’s songs fit the mood perfectly.


To sum it up, “Devil at the Crossroads” is an incredibly hot novella with unique characters and a very realistic setting. A must read!


The cover by Jared Rackler is absolutely gorgeous. It’s so simple and yet it fits the mood perfectly.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 75 pages
Published September 23rd 2013 by Riptide Publishing (first published September 21st 2013)
ISBN139781626490581
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesDeal with a Devil

Note: While this is technically part one of the “Deal with a Devil” universe, each story can be read as a stand-alone.

A Paul B Review: The Leprechaun’s Gamble (Gifts of the Fae #1) by A.J. Marcus

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Leprechaun's GambleA leprechaun gets but one chance to find love in the mortal realm.  If the leprechaun is successful, they may live out their life with their true love in the mortal world with occasion visits back to the fairy world.  If unsuccessful, they must find love in the fairy world which has proven difficult to do.  Knowing both the reward and costs, young leprechauns gamble to find their true love.

Ailin is one such leprechaun.  Having passed up his chance last year thinking he was too young for such an adventure, he decides to go forth this year.  He knows that the portal will open on St. Patrick’s Day and will have until the equinox a few days later to find his love.  Having found the portal site, Ailin crosses through then casts a spell to protect himself from the rush of other leprechauns coming through.  Once he regains his senses, he heads to town.  On the way, he meets a brownie, a dark fairy from another fairy kingdom.  Ailin ignores the brownie’s temptations and finds a festival in the nearest town.  He is off to find the man who will love him.

Rohan is a farmer to the north of the town.  He inherited his grandfather’s farm recently and loves the simpler life.  He enters a jig dance contest at the local festival.  As competitors begin to drop, he notices the only one keeping up is a good looking red headed man, who happens to be Ailin in his human guise.  Impressed that he can keep up, Rohan offers to buy the man a drink at the local tavern.  The competitive nature in both men leads to a game of darts where wagers are made by the patrons.  Finding the man challenging, he asks the man to come back to the farm with him.  Ailin is overjoyed at the possibility that Rohan might be the one and accepts.  Now he must turn this attraction to true love in the next few days or else he will never find mortal love.

This is the first book in the Gifts of the Fae series by A. J. Markus.  If you are looking for two alpha males you have found it in this book.  Both men acknowledge their competitive nature, which includes the size of their equipment.  Of course both are well hung, as it seems they have to be the best at everything they do.  It was interesting to see Ailin dance around some of Rohan’s questions as Ailin cannot lie to the human but also did not want to reveal his true nature until he know Rohan was the one for him.  Overall it was an enjoyable start to this new series.

The cover art is perfect for this book.  We have the red headed Ailin with his scruff standing beside the dark haired Rohan wearing what looks like a tam o’shanter.    These fit the description of the characters perfectly.  The rainbow above the author’s name is a nice touch.  Kudos go to Carmen Waters for the cover.

Sales Links:   eXtasy BooksAmazon

Book Details

ebook, 53 pages
Published March 14th 2016 by eXtasy Books
ISBN139781487406516
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series:  Gifts of the Fae

The Leprechaun’s Gamble (Gifts of the Fae #1)

Check out the 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Love, Joy, Heartache & Pain by John H. Ames (author guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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AboutTheBook

LJHP_Ames 600x900TITLE: Love, Joy, Heartache & Pain

AUTHOR: John H. Ames

PUBLISHER: Ai Press

COVER ARTIST: Sid Love

LENGTH: 207 Pages

RELEASE DATE: March 31, 2016

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Love, Joy, Heartache and Pain!

Love, Joy Heartache and Pain is my latest work of fiction under my pen name, John H. Ames. There are a few little things behind this novel that you might find a little interesting and odd. I’ll be sharing ten of them with you today in hopes that I might keep you entertained and distracted for a few minutes. So? Are you guys ready? Okay, here we go!

  • Love, Joy, Heartache and Pain is a collection of three short stories that when combined act as a full-length novel. However, I can safely say that each story can stand on their own. You don’t have to read all three. You can only read one or two. You can read them in any order and whenever you want.
  • Each story stars a different couple. You won’t see the same couple in all three stories. You might learn what happened to them and what they are up to, but that will be it. This way each story can stand on its own and complement each other if you read all three.
  • Each story conveys a different emotion that I was going through when I wrote them. Once you read all three stories, you’ll see that I’m a very emotional individual. When I wrote these stories, I was in a very emotional place. Reviews from my first novel dropped and readers bashed it left and right. It really hurt my feelings and the only way to release all that anger and frustration was by writing it down. And let me tell you, the finish result was amazing! I love these short stories. They might not be perfect, but they’re mine and they’re my babies.
  • Each story is dedicated to a special someone. I wanted to thank everyone that has been with me since day one or inspired me in one way or the other. From my fans to my haters, I thanked them all with a short and sweet dedication.
  • The first story channels a little Freaky Friday. I’m a huge movie lover. When I’m not writing, reading, or working, I’m definitely seeing an old movie or the latest one. I can definitely say that the first story was inspired a little by Freaky Friday. Yes, a little. Not a lot since they’re huge differences between the two. I simply borrowed ‘the switching of bodies’ idea and added a lot of more twisted turns. If you read a little closer, there’s a huge A Cinderella Story reference in the first story as well. I won’t tell you where, you just have to read it.
  • Nick and John, from Surviving Elite High, are mentioned in one of the stories. I know lots of you are a Nick and John fan. So I wanted to give you a small preview about my favorite couple in the world. Pretty soon you’ll be able to know what happened to them after graduating from Elite High in Surviving Elite High: The Next Generation.
  • Each story has its very own theme song. I decided to pick a theme song for each one. Do you guys want to know what they are? Fine! You pressured me into telling you. The three songs are: Quando, Quando, Quando by Michael Buble, Spirit Indestructible by Nelly Furtado, and Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by Marilyn Manson. I think each song tells a lot about each story. Look at these three songs like a soundtrack to Love, Joy, Heartache and Pain.
  • The second story is based on an urban legend. We’ve all heard the legend of the Vanishing Hitchhiker. This is the urban legend in where people traveling by car meet a hitchhiker that subsequently vanishes without explanation from their moving vehicle. This urban legend is so popular worldwide that it immediately caught my attention. I was fascinated by it and decided to write my very own version with a very cool and unexpected plot. I really hope you enjoy it because, out of all three, the second story is my favorite one.
  • The last story can be a little controversial since it’s very special in many ways. The Lake View Psychopath can be a little gory and the ending might shock you. Many who have read it have asked me the same question over and over again. Was it all a dream? Did it really happened? Read it and you tell me. The ending is not ambiguous at all. If you look at it closely, you’ll see the answer staring you in the face.
  • I’m seriously thinking about writing another set of three unique short stories similar to Love, Joy, Heartache and Pain. Depending on how well this novel is received, I might pen down a second part to Love, Joy, Heartache and Pain with three different couples and three different stories.

There you go guys! I really hope you enjoyed reading these ten little things. I definitely loved writing them and sharing them with you. These small little things show you that authors don’t simply sit down and write down anything that comes into their minds. Everything is well planned out and calculated. You guys want to stalk me? Look me up at https://johnhenryamesbooks.wordpress.com/ or email me at authorjha@gmail.com. See you soon!

BLURB: A collection of new entwined stories by best-selling Young Adult author, John H. Ames. Love that reaches beyond the boundaries of the physical realm…

Swapatize!

The not so unrealistic detailed account of how my best friend and I swapped bodies for a short period of time. -High school is one of the most excruciating and painful periods of any teenager’s life. To Kyle, it’s hell on earth. Being the target of the jocks made him hate high school more than anything in the world. All he has is his best friend and the center of the jock’s interest, the beautiful Kylie Bursnell. But Kylie is not your typical beauty. She hates the jocks even more than Kyle, especially Lucas Edward Johnson, a jock who is madly in love with her and Kyle’s forbidden dream. After a bizarre and freaky night, they swap bodies and are force to live each other’s live. Can this actually be true? Has Kyle’s dream come true? Will he be able to love Lucas Edward Johnson unconditionally until the end of time? Or is their love nothing but a beautiful dream enveloped in heartache and pain?

The Spirit Indestructible

Brandon Angelo William has it all. He’s hot, popular, shy, humble, and one of the typical and regular guys in high school. But, unbeknownst to everyone, he’s a closeted gay teen who came out to his parents the previous year. They loved and accepted him with open arms so what more could Brandon want? Love. The one thing that his soul and body need. After a late night out with his best friend, Kevin, Brad sees one of the most beautiful guys he has ever laid eyes on. But could the teen in front of him be real? Or is he the legendary hitching ghost that everyone talks about? Brad needs to find out and what he discovers shocks him and changes his young life forever…

The Lake View Psychopath

Jocks beware, he’s here and he’s not scared. Ashton Hall hates his existence at Lake View High. The jocks have made his life a living hell and his friends have completely turned their backs on him. Why? For being gay and dating the love of his life, Austin Young. Almost overnight, they became the center of every joke and every bully’s paradise. To make matters worse, even the school’s coach allows his ‘jock superstars’ to make fun of them.

But everything the night Austin Young is brutally murdered by the jocks and they walk free. Something snaps inside Ashton’s head and the only think he can think of is revenge. Will Ashton come to his sense and let Austin go? Or will he become one of the greatest serial killers of all time?
Excerpt

And there I stood, at the entrance of the school, wishing I were anywhere else but in this goddamn rat hole of hypocrites, liars and backstabbers.

“Move it loser!” Andrew shouted, knocking me to the side.

And then there was Andrew Cooper. He and a couple of his jock friends laughed and teased me as they walked inside the building. Andrew Cooper, the asshole jock, was the main reason why I hated my life at Gelson High. I couldn’t wait for graduation at the end of the year, so he could kiss my white ass goodbye once and for all. I loathed that pathetic little loser with all my heart, body and soul.

“Take comfort in the fact that this is his fifth year here.” A voice behind me caused me to immediately turn around.

And there she was, Kylie Bursnell, in all her glory. Now, since she is my best friend, me, a geeky little loser who’s afraid of a big, muscular jock, many of you may think that might make Kylie either a nerd or a reject from hell. Well, that isn’t the case at all. In fact, Kylie is one of the cheerleaders on the Gelson High cheerleading squad. The girl is a freaking bombshell! Every guy wants her, except for my other best friend, Josh, the rebel of our senior class. That’s the clichéd part of this story. For some reason, he doesn’t like her, or they just don’t click. You may be wondering why a girl like her would even be friends with a loser like me since cheerleaders are mostly shallow, arrogant and mean. Well, she’s not the typical cheerleader, that’s for sure. She is real and down to earth, just like me.

 

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AuthorBio

AuthorPic

Juan H. Alvarado was born in El Salvador C.A. He currently lives in Belize and began writing in 2008. He posted some of his work on an internet website, and after receiving positive feedback, he completed several full-length novels under his pen name, John Henry Ames. His first completed novel is Surviving Elite High. The story chronicles the life of a gay sixteen-year-old boy as he makes his way through life as an outcast in the shadows of an elite high school where he is tormented by two psychopathic bullies. His passions are writing, reading and spending time with the ones he loves.

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TourSchedule

March 31: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words :: The Purple Rose Tea House

April 1: Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents :: Love Bytes Reviews

April 4: Man2ManTastic

April 5: Cia’s Stories

April 6: Elisa – My reviews and Ramblings :: Gay.Guy.Reading And Friends

April 7: Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words :: Divine Magazine

April 8: MM Book Escape

April 11: Frosty’s Book Corner :: Diverse Reader

April 12: Drops of Ink

April 13: Alpha Book Club

April 14: Joyfully Jay

April 15: The Novel Approach

April 16: Prism Book Alliance

 

Kate Steele is Back! Join Her As She Talks Writing and her New Release ‘Amended Soul (Mated Heart and Soul #2)’ (author guest blog, excerpt and giveaway)

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Amended Soul

Amended Soul (Mated Heart and Soul #2) by Kate Steele

Published by Loose id LLC
Cover Artist Valerie Tibbs

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so lucky to have Kate Steele here to talk about her return to writing and her new novel, Amended Soul.  Welcome, Kate, we are so happy to see a new story from you again.

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Hello Everyone! My name is Kate Steele and I’m going to talk to you about writing. Boring, right? Maybe? Still, when I was offered the opportunity to write a short blog piece for Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words I told myself it would be a good thing to do. Trouble is, I’m sitting here trying to think of something interesting and different to say. It’s not the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but with that in mind, let’s begin with something completely open and honest.

I do my best writing in the bathroom. Seriously. I’ve had more ideas and character conversations come to mind in the bathroom than any other place. And no, smarty-pants, not while I’m sitting on the john. Mostly when I’m in the shower. You have no idea how many times I’ve ended up lost in thought, soap in one hand, washcloth in the other, while entire scenes are playing in my head.

What I need is for someone to invent a waterproof tablet with keyboard or some such that I can stick to the shower wall with some of those plastic suction cups. I might end up radically pruney, but I’d have a darn good story going by the time I got through my shower.

Okay, then. Did that loosen everyone up? I hope so because frankly I would like to talk a bit about my experiences while writing my latest book, Amended Soul. I’m going to be quite honest here and tell you this was one of the most difficult books for me to write and not for reasons you might expect. I started and finished this book in 2011 or thereabouts and it was accepted for publication with the usual condition that whatever changes and edits were deemed necessary would be done. As always, I was totally okay with that until my editor and I knocked heads. By this time I had been writing pretty much everyday nonstop for the past six or seven years. I was close to burnout level and the conflict flipped the switch. I walked away leaving Amended Soul behind me.

Four years later and after many times thinking that I felt like writing again, I finally took the bull by the horns and did it. I unearthed Amended Soul, reread it and did major rewrites keeping in mind some of the suggested changes made by my editor. When it was done I was actually much happier with the new version, though some of those editor-suggested changes still bugged me. With the book once again done, I submitted the new version for publication. It was accepted and I was assigned an editor. A different editor, one who felt those unwanted changes I had made were unnecessary, and who suggested they should be removed.

You’d think I would have been happy, right? Wrong. To be told the changes I had unwillingly made and compromised my vision for, were no longer desired was, to put it mildly, a slap in the face. I had invested hours agonizing over and rewriting large sections of the book. And for what? Nothing. No reason at all. I was so shocked and disheartened that I came very close to scrapping the whole project and retreating once again into non-writing limbo.

Thing is, I really wanted to do this book and maybe those years I was away from writing made me see how precious it was to me, this being able to tell a story, and so I persevered and Amended Soul saw its release in March of 2016. It took five years and basically Amended Soul went through three incarnations. The final result was different than I expected it to be. Better in some ways, but not, in my opinion, others, but that’s okay and I’ll tell you why. I learned a very important lesson.

Do not compromise your vision.

Editing is a wonderful thing and essential for a well turned out story. I have the utmost respect for editors, but in the long run the story you write is yours. If suggestions are made that you feel improve things, be honest and flexible enough to go with it. Your readers and ultimately I believe you, the writer, will be glad you did. But you also have to know when to stand fast and stick to your guns. It’s your story and to retain the joy you had in writing it, you have to be true to yourself.

Now that I’ve learned that lesson I’m ready to go on, and in fact have several new works in progress. Coming back to writing has made me happier than I can say, and I’m now keeping pen and paper in the bathroom to write down those ideas and character conversations that so easily come to mind when I’m soaking wet. However, it’s not easy to write on damp paper so please, if anyone ever hears of a waterproof laptop, contact me immediately!     

Amended Soul Blurb

Amended SoulJamie Hardin has had his fair share of ups and downs. He’s been widowed once and divorced once with extreme prejudice. Due to the machinations of his ex-wife, Jamie’s son Rio ran away at sixteen. Now, two years later, Jamie has the chance to reconnect with Rio. To do so, he moves himself and his five-year-old adopted son to a new town, in a new state to start over. The welcome he receives from Rio is everything Jamie had wanted, what he wasn’t prepared for was Jed Matranga. From the moment they meet, a simple handshake is all it takes to light a fire Jamie has no idea how to handle.

Jed Matranga, single werewolf, has just met his mate. In addition to being gentle, caring and clever, Jamie’s emotionally wounded. He’s also not gay. For Jed it will be the challenge of a lifetime to prove to Jamie that trusting his own judgment is the right thing to do, and where relationships are concerned, it’s feelings and not gender that matters.

Amended Soul Excerpt, Warning/Contains Explict Content

Crossing an open stretch of grass, Jamie headed toward a large oak tree he’d spotted earlier in the day. Chill settled against his toes, a product of dew-wet leather, though his skin remained dry. All around him was the sounds of crickets, frogs, and the occasional cry of some night bird in the distance. The fields bordering Mick and Rio’s property had been planted with corn, and Jamie was fascinated by the look of it. During the day, it resembled a living, seven-feet-tall green-and-brown fence—stalks of corn marching around the perimeter in precise, evenly spaced order. Now, enshrouded in darkness, those stalks resembled a rough, shadowy wall.

Reaching the tree, Jamie stopped and leaned against its sturdy trunk, drinking in the night’s ambiance. A slight breeze caused some of the drying corn leaves to dance and make suggestive rattles. The sound prompted thoughts of movies he’d seen in which cornfields had hosted everything from demon-worshipping children to aliens. A sudden shiver slid down Jamie’s spine, and apprehension stole the peace he had found.

Straightening his stance, he prepared to head back to the house. Before taking a single step, Jamie heard the sound of something making its way through the corn. “No way,” he whispered and froze.

A large canine shape stepped from between the concealing stalks, and at that moment, a bank of clouds obscured the sky.

Fear gripped Jamie. In the dark, he strained to see. A dog. It was a dog. Wasn’t it? Jangling nerves screamed at Jamie to run. He held his ground. To run was to be chased. Still, instinct tore at him. Run from danger. Run away. Run!

Jamie trembled with effort. Be still, intellect whispered. Silence reigned. Even the crickets had ceased to sing. Jamie’s breaths rang harsh. Enfolded in darkness, he waited, until the clouds unveiled the moon.

The silvery light revealed a wolf, large and wild. Its unwavering gaze rested on Jamie. In spite of his fear, Jamie was struck by a sense of wonder. The wolf was beautiful. In the moonlight, it became magical, unearthly, unreal. When the wolf moved, reality reasserted itself. Jamie drew a harsh breath. This was no vision.

The distance between them closed. Pausing, the wolf stared. Its muzzle lifted, its nose twitching. Forever passed in seconds until a wavering distortion in the space between them broke the spell of stillness. Blinking to clear his vision, Jamie stared into a darkening veil of nothingness. The wolf was engulfed. What emerged was a man. A naked man.

Jed.

“Jamie? I don’t believe it. What are you doing out here?”

Relief made Jamie light-headed. He sagged back against the welcome support of the oak tree. “Walk,” he said, finding his voice. “Couldn’t sleep. I was taking a walk.”

Jed approached and halted mere inches away. One of his hands landed on the trunk above Jamie’s shoulder, and the other cupped Jamie’s face. Shivers raced over Jamie’s skin as a surge of desire punched him swift and hard. Jed’s eyes glowed, lit from within by something free and untamed. In their gleam, Jamie could see the wolf, its presence mixed with that of the man. Rather than shrink from such an alien sight, he stared, fascinated.

“You all right? I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“I’m fine. My feet wouldn’t move, but my heart tried to make a break for it.”

Jed chuckled. His hand traveled from Jamie’s cheek, over his jaw, and down his throat before coming to rest flat over Jamie’s heart. “It is pounding pretty hard. Jamie, I…”

“What?”

“Earlier today. I pushed.” Jed withdrew his hand from Jamie’s chest. “Probably a little too much.”

The warmth where he had touched Jamie began to dissipate. Losing it felt wrong, like something Jamie would regret. “No.” Jamie grabbed Jed’s hand, guiding it back, holding it in place.

“No?”

Staring at Jed, Jamie struggled to sort his jumbled thoughts and emotions. “I feel something for you.” His admission brought the truth powerfully home. This attraction, no matter how strange and confusing he found it to be, was something he didn’t want to deny. “Damn. This is so…difficult. The truth is, I’ve never been drawn to another man. I’m not exactly sure what the hell I’m doing or even if I should be doing it.”

“I see. Then let me ask you a question. Do you think being attracted to me is wrong?”

“Wrong?” Jamie shook his head. “No. Just different.”

“Maybe it just seems difficult because of your uncertainty. Many people feel that way when facing the unfamiliar.”

Jamie said nothing but took a moment to consider. “To be honest, I’d have to agree.”

“I’m not trying to push you into anything.” Jed’s hand twisted in Jamie’s grasp, his fingers twining with Jamie’s. “But it’s been my experience, once I face the unfamiliar thing—whatever it is—the fear or uncertainty I harbored before doing so, was far worse than warranted.”

“Same here.”

“So, if you don’t think I’ve been too pushy, where do we go from here?”

Jamie’s gaze dropped to Jed’s lips. The upper one was slim and sharply defined, the bottom one, fuller, tempting. “A kiss?”

“I’d like that.”

Jamie watched the corners of Jed’s lips curve upward in a smile. Jamie closed his eyes. He touched his lips to Jed’s. The kiss, though tentative, incited a swirl of pleasurable sensation in the pit of Jamie’s stomach. Their lips slanted, meshed, parted. Their breaths mingled. Exhilaration heightened Jamie’s arousal. He wanted more. A deeper intimacy. With the second kiss, his tongue sought and found Jed’s. The kiss morphed from hesitant to demanding.

Excitement set Jamie’s heart to racing while heat and pressure built in his groin. His cock firmed. Any doubts he had were muted by desire. One hand still clung to Jed’s. His free hand settled against the skin of Jed’s waist. The naked flesh under his fingertips made Jamie hesitate but want pushed him to continue. He slid his hand behind and down, then clutched the upper curve of Jed’s ass. Pulling him close, Jamie ground himself against Jed. Jamie’s cock was fully erect, his need urgent. When Jed pulled back, Jamie voiced a wordless protest.

“Wait,” Jed said. “Your jeans are rough. Can I…” Jed’s free hand went to waistband of Jamie’s jeans.

Tilting his head down, Jamie fastened his gaze on Jed’s cock. It was engorged, thick and ready. As when he’d first touched Jed’s naked skin, Jamie hesitated, waiting for his own reaction. Instead of being repelled by the sight, he was struck by a pulse of pleasurable sensation rippling through him. His own cock felt every bit as hard as Jed’s appeared to be and gave no indication of flagging. Returning his gaze to Jed, he nodded. Gender be damned. Jamie wanted.

“I need both hands,” Jed said. His voice was husky, his breaths short, audible.

He wants this as much as I do. The thought made Jamie’s heart beat faster.

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About the Author

About Kate:

Kate’s love of books started from the moment she read those fateful words: run, Spot, run! It took her awhile to discover she didn’t just have to read and imagine, but that she could also write stories and so here she is writing romance and loving it. Like chocolate – her ultimate favorite food, with pizza running a close second – writing became addictive. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary or science fiction about werewolves, other worldly creatures or the average Joe, she can’t get enough.

As for the everyday details, Kate lives in a turn of the century house located in the midst of Indiana farm country, and is kept company by family, along with demanding dogs, contrary cats and a pair of occasionally sweet, and definitely noisy, lovebirds. When not writing, she reads, is an enthusiastic grower of iris, and a fanatic fan of Japanese manga and anime.

Author, Book Info and Buy Links:

Giveaway

Kate Steele is celebrating both her return to writing and the release of Amended Soul by providing us with a Giveaway of a$10 gift certificate from ARe.   Enter to win by leaving a comment for Kate here and using the Rafflecopter giveaway.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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Join in the M/M Fairytale Fun with Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods by Asta Idonea (guest blog and giveaway)

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Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods Banner

Title: Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods
Author: Asta Idonea
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance
Length: Short Story Collection (novel length)
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Asta Idonea here today to talk about Taking the Magic out of Magic. Welcome, Asta!

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Taking the Magic out of Magic

I decided from the start that Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods would be straight contemporary romance. In the adaptation of fairytales and myths, that obviously poses a conundrum: what to do with all that magic?

There were some fairytales I had to discard at once, for they required a magical element to make the retelling viable. Take that out, and they wouldn’t work. In a paranormal or sci-fi setting there would have been ways around it—but not in contemporary.

When I had my tales in mind, I then had to find ways to keep that sense of magic without any actual hocus-pocus. For me, this meant focusing on the characters and their relationships. The magic had to come from them, be it through the strength of their feelings or the manner in which they handled unexpected situations.

Romance is the driving force within all six of the stories; although, it is different for each. In some, the romance is established and the characters must overcome adversity to stay together. In others, the love is newly found, often unlooked for and in unusual places.

So perhaps it isn’t right to say there is no magic within these tales. There may be no spells or fairy godmothers, but each of the characters experiences a little enchantment as they find the man of their dreams.

Synopsis

Fairytales and Myths for the Modern Gay

The modern age is devoid of magic.

Or is it?

How else could a stolen guitar or a lost shoe lead to love?

What but magic could spark romance at a workplace assessment?

Or turn a mean-spirited monster into a man?

Six fairytales and myths are given a contemporary MM twist in this collection of stories, proving that sometimes the mundane can be magical too.

DRAGGED INTO LOVE (Þrymskviða)
When Theo’s landlord steals a prized guitar in lieu of rent owed, he informs Theo he will return the instrument on one condition: he wants a date with Theo’s twin sister.

LOVE’S CODE (Ariadne and Theseus)
Andre must pass the examination if he wants to keep his job.

However, he is distracted by his unspoken love for fellow programmer, Eren.

GUESSING GAMES (Rumplestiltskin)

Sasha told a little white lie in his job interview and it won him the role.

Only now he is faced with a pile of work he doesn’t know how to complete.

ASSIGNATIONS AND ULTIMATUMS (The Strange Elopement of Tinirau)

Hunter and Ross are in love, but Ross’ father keeps trying to set him up with undesirable, yet powerful, older men, the latest of whom happens to be Ross’ boss.

Beasty Businessmen cover

LOST AND FOUND (Cinderella)
Cillian is dreading the work masquerade ball, but once there he finds himself romanced by a dashing stranger, only to flee when he discovers the man’s identity.

A DEBT IS A DEBT (Beauty and the Beast)

Dunstan Griffin is not a man to let a debt slide, so when debtor Alfred Siskin offers the EA services of his son, Wynn, in lieu of payment, Dunstan accepts.

Book Trailer

Buy Links

Don’t miss the March Sale! All Wayward Ink Titles titles are 35% off on the WIP website, 30% off on AllRomance, and 30% off on Amazon.

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/beastly-businessmen-and-guitar-gods-by-asta-idonea/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CUNOSB6/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01CUNOSB6/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01CUNOSB6/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B01CUNOSB6/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-beastlybusinessmenandguitargods-1997418-149.html

Audio Excerpt

Giveaway

Prizes: 2 x $6.99 WIP Gift Card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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About the author

NICKI J. MARKUS was born in England in 1982, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Nicki launched her writing career in 2011. She published works through Wicked Nights Publishing and Silver Publishing before both companies closed their doors. She is now self-publishing some of her works, including the novella Time Keepers and the fantasy novel The Ragnarök Chronicles.

Nicki also writes M/M fiction under the alternate pen name of ASTA IDONEA and has had several short stories published by Wayward Ink Publishing. She is currently working on her first M/M novella.

Nicki works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys: music, theatre, cinema, photography, sketching, and cross stitch. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel.

Social links:

Website: http://www.nickijmarkus.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickiJMarkus