A MelanieM Review: Love Tokens by Megan Derr

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

love-tokens-by-megan-derrChanda is the Lord of Honey Flower House, which caters to those who have a taste for the paranormal between the sheets. Being an incubus makes him all the better at the job, even if it also leaves him lonely.

Then a demon appears on his doorstep in search of a missing person, and Chanda is quickly reminded why he prefers the relatively quiet life as master of a pleasure house—but also reminds him of a bitter past he’s tried to leave behind, and dreams he gave up on a long time ago.

 

Really, its Megan Derr and her ability to whisk me away to whatever world she has created that keeps me coming back again and again to her wildly imaginative stories and tales of wonder.  Love Tokens, a fantasy novella, is no different.  Chanda is an old succubus and the owner/proprietor of the Honey Flower House which is basically a paranormal whore house for upscale clients with unusual tastes.   Chanda has his own painful past and that clashes with  the demon sent to his place of business on the hunt for a  missing person.

Derr quickly pulls us into this world with descriptions of the Honey Flower House, from the employees to its patrons right up to the owner itself.  Then Azar makes a disconcerting entrance and the emotional explosions start to go off for them both.  I liked that Azar is a demon that displays demon behavior.  He’s not about to throw rose petals at  Chanda.  He’s all demon and his actions are in accordance with that.  Perfect. Chanda’s a succubus and  the same goes for him as well.  Derr keeps her characters well within a certain behavioral spectrum which I appreciated because it made their relationship work on so many levels – emotional, intellectual, giving this story a wonderful foundation to it.

Yes, I believed in both characters and their romance.

My only bother was that I wish I knew more about the couple at the heart of the “missing man”.  They sort of deserve their own story, don’t you  think?  I would love to know how that whole thing came about…hmmm, maybe a Love Tokens sequel is called for with a return appearance by Chanda and Azar.

At forty pages, this could easily be double that  and never wear out its  potential to be more.  I loved it.   If you are a lover of Derr, fantasy or both, this one’s for you.

Cover art by Natasha Snow Designs.  Guy is hot but the cover could be for any book honestly.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, Second edition, 40 pages
Published February 22nd 2017 by Less Than Three Press (first published October 30th 2012)
ISBN13 9781620049372
Edition Language English

Release Blitz for Nell Iris’ Unconditionally (excerpt)

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Buy Links: JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | iBooks | Google Play | B&N


Length: 16,981


Publisher: JMS Books

Blurb


Flamboyant book café owner Luca Moretti and geeky doctor Gus Hansen have been together for six years when the Supreme Court ruling makes same-sex marriage legal in all states. On June 26, 2015, Gus gets down on one knee and Luca screams yes.


On their wedding day, shortly before the ceremony, Luca’s mother explodes in anger, calling him a freak. The reason? He’s wearing a white veil, sprinkled with crystals.


Their relationship has been strained for a long time, and her words trigger traumatic memories. Instead of walking down the aisle, Luca runs.


Away from his mother. Away from Gus.


Gus counts down the minutes when Luca’s mother comes knocking. He realizes something’s wrong, but when he goes to talk to Luca, his husband-to-be is nowhere to be found.


Can Gus find Luca in time and manage to convince him to come back and get married?

Excerpt

Gus opened the office door, and his breath hitched when he saw Luca. Luca sat on the fake office lawn with his back to the door, a glittering white veil spilling from his head, covering his naked body. He was curled in on himself as if he was trying to make himself smaller. Goosebumps covered every inch of his naked skin, and as Gus stood there watching, Luca shivered.


Gus had only seen him like that once before, after a visit with his mother when Gus couldn’t go with him because of a shift change at the hospital. When he’d gotten home late that night, he’d found Luca lying on the floor, naked and curled into a ball. Not crying, not raging, just exuding quiet despair. Gus would prefer a tantrum, a dramatic screaming match, or even throwing things. This scared the crap out of him.


Without thinking, Gus kicked off his dress shoes and crossed the floor in a couple quick steps. He sank down behind his fiancé and lifted the sparkly hem of the veil with careful fingers. He ducked under it, scooted close, and let it fall over his own head, too.


He snaked his arms around Luca’s waist and pulled him into the V of his legs. A weight he hadn’t been aware of lifted from his shoulders when Luca relaxed and leaned back into Gus’s embrace.


Luca rested his head on Gus’s shoulder, and Gus tightened his grip. He caressed the smooth skin on Luca’s belly with his thumbs and burrowed his nose in his fiancé’s hair, inhaling the familiar scent, letting it calm his worried heart.


“I’m sorry.” Luca’s words were little more than a whisper.


“I love you.”


Gus’s voice cracked on the last word. He hadn’t realized how much the last minutes had affected him. He didn’t want to admit to the little nagging voice in his mind that had whispered, What if? All he knew in this moment was that he was never letting Luca out of his sight again. Or at least not letting him see his mother without Gus being with him.


“Oh, honey, I didn’t mean to worry you.” Luca fidgeted and wiggled in Gus’s arms until he managed to turn around. He wrapped his long legs around Gus and threw his arms around Gus’s neck. The veil got caught between them and Luca moved to take it off, but Gus stopped him.


“No.” He freed the exquisite fabric from its trap, taking great care not to pull off any of the crystals. When the veil covered them both, he put his arms around his fiancé and spread his fingers wide on the small of Luca’s back. He rested his cheek against Luca’s and whispered, “I have no idea what happened, but I’m always on your side. Always.”


“I know,” Luca whispered back.


They didn’t move for several minutes. Gus’s hands wandered up and down Luca’s back, gentle fingers running over the spine. Gus’s heartbeat returned to normal, and they just sat there, breathing together. Inhaling and exhaling as one. In this moment, Gus didn’t care about a worried mother or the waiting guests. He just needed to be close to his fiancé.

Author Bio

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along but let’s face it, she’s not Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!


Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.


Nell is a 40-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, where she spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her life long dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.


Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, and wants to write diverse and different characters.

 
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Release Day Blitz for ‘Guns n’ Boys: Bloodbath (Guns n’ Boys 6)’ by K.A. Merikan (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Guns n’ Boys: Bloodbath

Series: Guns n’ Boys 6

Author: K.A. Merikan

Publisher: Acerbi & Villani ltd.

Release Date: 4th March 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 115 000 words

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, mafia, organized crime, cartel, adopted, undercover, homophobia, assassin

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

“I don’t even know who I am anymore.”
“All you need to know is that you’re mine.”

Seth would follow Domenico to the depths of hell. He promised to always be at Domenico’s side. But hell becomes all too real when they infiltrate the world of Toro – a notoriously security-obsessed arms dealer, who has eyes and ears everywhere.

Seth becomes unable to steal even a moment of intimacy with Domenico, and the tension grinds them down each day. Beyond the deceptive paradise of Toro’s villa, violence is an everyday occurrence, and the swimming pool could just as well be filled with blood. To survive, Seth has to become the man Domenico needs him to be, but in the process, he might lose who he truly is.

With Seth trained up, and Mark as backup, victory is so close Domenico can taste it. They just need to prove themselves to Toro as valuable assets. With each day though, Seth seems to be drifting away from Domenico, hidden behind a mask of cruelty and indifference. It is exactly what Domenico asked of him, so why is it so difficult to see Seth become his mirror image?

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: mafia, cartel, assassin, organized crime, homophobia, human trafficking, undercover, family ties

Genre: Dark, twisted romance / crime thriller

Erotic content: Explicit scenes

Length: ~115,000 words

WARNING: Adult content. If you are easily offended, this book is not for you.
‘Guns n’ Boys’ is a gritty story of extreme violence, offensive language, abuse, and morally ambiguous protagonists. Behind the morbid facade, there is a splash of inappropriate dark humor, and a love story that will crawl under your skin.

Excerpt

“He doesn’t know us yet, but he will once I’m done with him,” Domenico said in a voice so chilling Seth felt odd about having wanted his hands all over in the morning, just hours before. Then again, even now, Domenico’s cool demeanor wasn’t a deterrent. If this side of Dom were something Seth truly despised, he’d have taken any opportunity to leave Dom many times over. Which of course he didn’t because he was a dumb, fat moth to Domenico’s flame, and he’d stick around no matter how many times he got burned.

The prisoner spat out some bloodied saliva and grinned, shaking his head. “Who are you even working for?”

Domenico let out a cloud of smoke, which swirled in the dim space. “We’re working for ourselves, and we’ve had an excellent track record so far.”

The man laughed, shaking his head wildly. “You’re in way above your head! What do you think is in that box, huh? A golden machine gun? Diamonds? You will regret ever stepping foot on our boat.”

Anger boiled over in Seth, and he planted his foot in the man’s stomach. Bile rose in his throat when he thought that the bloodshed and the risk they’d taken to hijack the vessel could have been for nothing.

Dom shifted on top of the trunk. “What is in the trunk?” he asked, almost softly, and nodded at Seth. A signal to keep going. To torture. First beat up, and then what? Cut off the guy’s fingers?

The man curled up as much as he could with his hands tied to the chair, and Seth hesitated, only to get a nasty surprise kick to the shin when their prisoner decided attack was the best way of protecting himself.

“You motherfucker!” This time, Seth had no mercy. He kicked the bastard’s stomach so hard the chair twisted, and he fell over, trapping one of his wrists between the chair and the floor. The choked scream did not soften Seth’s resolve that he was doing the right thing now. This was a man working for a cartel, caught on his way to deliver some goods to Raul Moreno. Why would he be worthy of Seth’s pity anyway?

Domenico leaned forward, watching the man’s face twist in discomfort. “What’s in the trunk?”

The mercenary gave a breathless laugh. “Something as common as mosquitoes,” he uttered, and it must have piqued Dom’s interest, because he stood up and approached.

“What then? Cocaine?”

The man grinned at them with his reddish teeth. “More than that.”

Seth stood back at the other side of the tiny cabin and crossed his arms on his chest. This was one guessing game he wasn’t about to play with the bastard.

Domenico sighed and slowly lowered himself. The burning end of the cigarette in his hand was bright red when it pressed against the mercenary’s cheek. The fucker gave a choked noise, clenching his teeth so hard Seth could practically hear them crack.

“You sure you don’t want to tell me? You’re dead anyway, so what is it to you?” asked Domenico.

“Well, it’s not explosives, so why don’t you just check yourself?” the man hissed after taking a few raspy breaths. Watching it made Seth so tense his muscles felt like made out of concrete.

Domenico sighed and looked back at the trunk.

“It’s sealed,” Miguel said from his spot at the door.

“I know,” Dom muttered, still gazing at the piece of luggage that might as well hold a medium-sized fridge.

The prisoner laughed. “Go on. Or are you scared of Raul Moreno?”

Seth rolled his eyes. “Pathetic attempt at reverse psychology there.”

The guy looked back at him with a frown, and Seth could bet he had no idea what that meant.

Domenico stayed silent, then pulled out a knife and presented it to Seth, handle first. “Open the trunk.”

Seth took the knife and approached the leather-bound box, but he licked his lips and watched the seal, giving himself a few more seconds. He wasn’t exactly afraid of it being explosives, since he doubted their prisoner would encourage them this way, but on the other hand, maybe that was exactly what it was, since the man had to understand by now that he would die soon anyway.

But Domenico knew his job like no other man, and he must have thought of that possibility. If he insisted Seth open the trunk, it had to be fine, even if the contents turned out to be disappointing, like a batch of Raul Moreno’s favorite popcorn.

Seth still decided to ask. “Are you sure? What if it’s a caiman?

“Just be careful. Nice and slow,” said Dom, moving his hand to their prisoner’s neck when Seth kneeled in front of the trunk.

The paper seal marked by some symbols and letters beckoned Seth’s attention, and it almost felt like he was about to slice into flesh. How would they explain the open seal upon arrival? Would they even need to? Maybe it was just a formality no one paid attention to anymore? His stomach clenched as he cut through the paper. The cracked and dusty leather suggested it wasn’t the first time the trunk had been used, and its size held no answers as to what secret it could hold.

Slowly, he opened several metal latches, and then three leather straps that further secured the lid in place. The silence inside the cabin was absolute, and he even heard the rubbing of leather against leather. His last thought before he raised the top of the trunk, which felt oddly heavy and sturdy, as if there was metal under the thick layer of leather, was that it had to be a very specialized container if it had been so clearly used for a long time.

Purchase

Acerbi & Villani ltd.

Meet the Author

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

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