A VVivacious Review: Norwegian Woody (Let it Beatle #4) by J.D. Walker

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Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5
 
Woodrow Anker lost his parents at the age of three, following which he was raised by the Zumpanos along with their three children – Helen, Rafe and Serge. He became very good friends with Serge but it was Rafe that he looked up to. But now almost thirty, Woody’s once close relationship with Rafe has dissolved into awkward silences and unvoiced hurts made worse by Rafe’s alcoholism. Will their relationship mend or will the feelings they have for one another remain silent forever?
 
I liked the story. It was a short and steamy read. It is written in a very engaging manner. The build-up to the story is very precise and makes for a solid foundation for the story to rest on. The beginning of the story really hooks you in such a way that you won’t pause till you have reached the last page.
 
There is a lot of depth to the characters of this story and all of them made this story even more interesting. In a way reading these characters felt like revisiting someone you already knew instead of being introduced to a stranger for the first time.
 
Personally for me the only hitch in the story is the power dynamics, there is a definite D/s element to Rafe and Woody’s relationship even though it is not verbalized and mostly unacknowledged. Now this was the one part of the story that just hit me sideways, there was no foreshadowing to this aspect of the story, so when it was introduced I was a little off-kilter. I felt like the author deliberately avoided talking about Woody’s feelings for Rafe as a child for some reason, but considering what their relationship is developing into, I find myself very curious as to how Woody realized these aspects of his sexuality. But the off-kilter feeling only lasted so long because the sex scenes in this short were mind-blowingly hot.
 
Overall this was an amazing read.
 
Cover Art by Written Ink Designs. The cover for this story is unapologetically hot and I may have had a case of judging a book by its cover but it was totally worth it. Amazing Cover. Amazing Story.
Sales Links   JMS Books LLC | Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 45 pages
Published March 11th 2017 by JMS Books LLC
ASINB01MUVU6WH
SeriesLet it Beatle #4

A Free Dreamer Review: Don’t Feed the Trolls by Erica Kudisch

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Gaming while female is enough to incur the wrath of the dude-bros, and they’ve come for me. Instead of fighting back, I’ve created an alternate account. Male name, male pronouns. And I’ve met this girl. I’ve always liked girls, and Laura’s adorable and smart and never gives up, and she likes me back. Or rather, she likes the man I’m pretending to be. But I can’t tell her I’m a woman without the mob coming after her too.
And besides: I might not be a woman, not really.
The truth is, I don’t know what I am anymore. I’ve spent my whole life being told how I’m supposed to act and what I’m supposed to be, but none of it feels right. And my lie is starting to feel truer than anything I’ve ever been.
There’s a convention coming up, but the closer it gets, the more I have to choose: lie or fight. But if I don’t stand my ground as a girl, am I letting the haters win?
Then again, those aren’t the only two ways to live.
Being a female gamer myself, I was immediately drawn to this book. Personally, I’ve never experienced discrimination in the gaming world because of my gender. But then I’ve never played MMORPGs like Daphne does (way too complicated for me – I’m a very casual gamer) and I tend to play male characters, given the choice.
If you haven’t guessed from the blurb and my opening: This book is full of gamers. MMORPGs play a major role throughout the story. Having never played games like that myself, some of the typical slang took some getting used to at first. I think it takes a gaming nerd to appreciate the work the author put into creating a realistic gaming world online as well as offline. That was absolutely brilliantly done and felt very realistic.
I loved how diversive this book was. There are so many gender identities, sexual orientations and ethnicities and it’s all portrayed as perfectly normal. Every supporting character had a distinctive and unique voice and I loved every one of them. The musketqueers, Daphnis’ roommates and best friends, will forever have a place in my heart. Their friendship and support was truly unconditional . It was easy to really feel their friendship. Those guys are the kind of friends anybody would love to have.
It was interesting to watch Daphnis’ struggle with their gender in comparison to their roommate Alain, who wasn’t cis either. But for Alain the whole gender identity was rather simple: “Ivy and she when I’m tucked, Alain and he when I’m not.” It seemed downright effortless compared to how much trouble Daphnis has with their gender identity. Certainly a very interesting contrast. While I know my way around the gaming community, I don’t know anything about what it feels like to question your gender identity. So while this seemed quite realistic as well, I can’t guarantee it actually is.
There are some minor things I wasn’t entirely happy about, however. First of all, I would have liked a little more depth overall. Be it Daphne starting to think about her gender identity or the love story, a little more detail would have been nice. As it was, the romance part of the story felt a little bit rushed. And I wasn’t entirely happy about the ending. The HEA just seemed a little too happy for me.
Overall, I absolutely loved “Don’t Feed the Trolls”. It’s a breath of fresh air. Just don’t expect an epic love story and focus more on the other parts.
“Don’t Feed the Trolls” made me think. About gaming, sexism, gender and all things related. Not many books manage that. It hit very close to home and I think I’ll view the gaming world differently from now on.
The cover by L.C. Chase is pretty cool. It definitely works for the story.
Sales Links
Book details:
ebook, 230 pages
Published April 1st 2017 by Riptide Publishing

A Stella Review: Renaissance (Village Love #2) by Lillian Francis

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Smudge really needs to get laid, if only to stop himself wondering about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and why he keeps running away.

After his tumultuous teenage years, Smudge has settled into his quiet life in the sleepy English village of Slopy Bottom. He’s his own boss with the time and space to indulge his artistic creativity. And he has friends. He’s happy. Satisfied. Lonely. And the pool of potential soulmates is almost non-existent. His friends, Rick and Mal, flush with their own happy romance, keep trying to set him up with the most incompatible men, and he’s never finding true love on Grindr. Hell, he’s not even going to manage a hook up based on the kinky messages he’s been getting recently. He’ll just have to slake his desire to find his own HEA in the pages of bosom-heaving romance novels.

Raleigh is the darling of Slopy Bottom’s blue rinse brigade: church organist, mobile librarian, and apparently wedded to his trademark cardigans. He seems to be the polar opposite of the artistic Smudge, whose brightly coloured mohawk and piercings should be a red flag to Raleigh. Yet he’s yearning for company too. It’s just that Raleigh has less expectation and definitely less courage to chase after it, for reasons that he keeps very close to his chest. Reasons that don’t stop him from being drawn irresistibly to Smudge.


Smudge is sure that the way Raleigh runs from him whenever he sees him is cruelly deliberate. A reflection on his bad boy looks and his disdain for Raleigh’s precious church. So why can’t he stop thinking about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and his delicate body? Then Raleigh offers an olive branch of sugar and caffeine, Smudge’s favourite combination, starting them on a road to an awkward truce. And when they are conned into working together on a community project at the local hospital, the proximity ignites a spark that can’t be ignored. But navigating the murky waters that could take their relationship beyond tentative friendship all depends on whether Raleigh can release his secret fears – and whether Smudge is the man to share and allay them.

Renaissance by Lillian Francis was a pure joy to read. I was waiting for Raleigh and Smudge’s story since I first met them in the previous book in the Village Love series. I am very happy the author quickly fulfilled my wish. I loved this new release so much.

This is an “opposites attract” story, Raleigh is the perfect and so beloved librarian of Sloppy Bottom, Smudge is the strange owner of a print shop, full of tattoos, piercings and colorful hair. When these two world will be brought together, something special will happen. I loved them because I love my characters to be damaged like we all are, it makes them real, although I could have saved Raleigh from the deep pain of his past.

The relationship was slow at start and developed, Raleigh and Smudge are really together just at the very end of the novel, plus there is no sex scenes and it was perfect. Imo it shouldn’t have been different and I want to thank the author for the respect she showed to Raleigh with this choice.

The writing was so engaging, it made the reading easy to follow and I particularly enjoyed it in the descriptive scenes. With her style Lillian brought me to Sloppy Bottom and its people and it was a great place.

In Renaissance I found Rick and Mal from Resonance and Resistance, I saw how happy they still were together, how their relationship has grown and become more solid. And then I met some characters I so want and hope the author will give them their own HEA, like Adam and Trevor and Jason and PuondingTorque. I’m so curious to see what she can come up with.

I feel to highly recommend Renaissance by Lillian Francis, one of the best book I read in 2017.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh follows the style of the covers of the series and I quite like it since it’s different.

Sales Links

amazon square borderSW border

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 298 pages

Published April 1st 2017 by Finally Love Press

ASIN B06XZX5MMJ

Edition Language English

Village Love series

Resonance #0,5

Resistance #1

Renaissance #2

Wendy Rathbone on Playing the “V” Card and her release The Android and the Thief’ (guest blog and excerpt)

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The Android and the Thief by Wendy Rathbone
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Available for Purchase at

amazon square borderB&N borderApple borderKobo border

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Wendy Rathbone here today, talking about her characters, writing and her  latest novel,  The Android and the Thief. Welcome, Wendy.

✒︎

Playing the “V” Card

by Wendy Rathbone

My new novel, “The Android and the Thief,” is just out from Dreamspinner. It takes place in the far future where there are cloud cities, space prisons and flying cars, but people are still people with the same wants, needs and desires as 21st century Earth.

The book is a romance with some dark elements but a lot of heart and two main characters who really came to life for me as I wrote.

Khim and Trev are two very different people from two very different backgrounds.

Trev is the youngest son of the head of an organized crime family. He is trapped by his life and a father who will never let him go.

Khim is a vat-grown human android, born adult. He is an indentured man, born to be subservient, a slave to his owners. Created to be a soldier, Khim spends the first ten years of his adult life fighting, killing, following orders. When he is injured and cannot be healed sufficiently to go back into combat, he is sold to a brothel, something he is not trained for. Life for him just got spectacularly worse, and his already weakened programming to be submissive completely breaks down.

One born in privilege, one born in servitude, both men suffer their lack of independence. Because of their sheltered existence, neither is especially cultivated in societal norms, especially relationships. Trev is an introverted bookworm, acrobat thief and computer guy. Khim, having no hope for a future, simply lives for combat, the only job he’s known.

I did not realize, until I got deep into the story with my characters yammering in my ear, that circumstances created both characters to not only be late bloomers, they meet as virgins.

My editor noticed this and made the comment: “Ah, so you’re playing the “v” card.” She did not criticize it, or tell me it was wrong. She simply noticed, and gave me a smiley face.

I thought to myself, “Wow, did I do that?”

Well, yes, I most certainly did.

I think it makes a story fun when you have two characters who are both desperately trying to escape untenable situations while at the same time discovering who they are. Everything around them changes. They must change, too, or failing that, regress to their former, unhappy selves.

Khim and Trev’s love story came about quite naturally. When they finally realize they are in love, it is very exciting for them. Two guys who have had the worst, finally get a bit of reward.

Question for readers: Do you have favorite characters from any media—books, TV, movies—that you love who are innocent, virginal, or even asexual?

Thank you for reading!

Here is an excerpt from “The Android and the Thief”:

Strangers bathed his body in lilac-scented water. They brushed him down, naked, with gold body powder. They rimmed his eyes with blue shadow and caressed his lips with a soft pink sheen.

Khim might have fought them off if, beforehand, they hadn’t made him breathe the curling zotic smoke from the pleasure wands the grooms waved all about his face and head. The smoke aroused him against his will, made him pliant, dizzy. Paralyzed his vocal cords—an invisible gag—and took away all aggression. Aggression under command orders for expert frontline fighting was his own past means of survival. Bereft of that, he had no sense of what to do as his body betrayed him by following every command of the grooms, every lead.

The grooms, three human boys who looked no more than nineteen, seemed pleased at his response. But mostly they seemed bored, applying all the makeup and powder as if they’d done it a hundred times before. Their touches were professional, gentle, not cruel. But except for that gentleness, they seemed uncaring about what he might be going through.

Created to obey, Khim had no words within him for a protest.

Brought onto a small lighted stage on a thin laser-leash by a fourth handsome groom, Khim could see nothing beyond the glow that contained him but shadows and darker man-shapes upon those shadows.

Knowing nothing of this new, nonmilitary world, he felt vulnerable and exposed, and fear fluttered through his stomach and into his chest. He knew what this was about—sex and its darker underpinnings. It couldn’t be otherwise, for he was naked, painted like a doll. He’d witnessed androids fucking without inhibition, but he’d never wanted it for himself. Never felt aroused by his own kind. Never had the sex drive some of the others seemed born with. If something was wrong with him, he never thought about it or cared. He got his pleasure from battle, from storming alien worlds and using his weapons to subvert, kill, destroy. It was enough for him.

But that was no longer his life.

This new thing was something so completely “other” to what he was trained for. He didn’t want it.

But his mind and body were like separate entities now. In this moment, upon this stage, as he tried again to find words to deny, to protest, to negate the proceedings, nothing happened but a few twitches in the sleek, round muscles beneath his henna skin. His voice was cramped down low in his throat, unwilling or unable to come out, and he was turned upon the dais as if he were a doll for all those out there in the shadows to ogle and critique and assess.

If there were conversations about his viability, his virility, his beauty, they were silent, through private systems and digital conveyances. He was privy to none of it, and Khim abhorred that even more.

The groom who’d led him into this dark area leaned away, put a hand up to his ear as if listening. Right after that, the groom made a motion and touched Khim on the wrist. He forced him to lift his right hand up and turn it, showing off the silver gleam of the metal that had replaced the flesh-and-bone hand he had lost in the explosion on Doom in Shadow.

It all took just under a minute. Then the grooms led Khim off by the glowing leash into a dark corridor beyond the little stage, where he was able to overhear just the barest of harsh whisperings.

*

Blurb for “The Android and the Thief” by Wendy Rathbone

Will love set them free—or seal their fate?

In the 67th century, Trev, a master thief and computer hacker, and Khim, a vat-grown human android, reluctantly share a cell in a floating space prison called Steering Star. Trev is there as part of an arrangement that might finally free him from his father’s control. Khim, formerly a combat android, snaps when he is sold into the pleasure trade and murders the man who sexually assaults him. At first they are at odds, but despite secrets and their dark pasts, they form a pact—first to survive the prison, and then to escape it.

But independence remains elusive, and falling in love comes with its own challenges. Trev’s father, Dante, a powerful underworld figure with sweeping influence throughout the galaxy, maintains control over their lives that seems stronger than any prison security system, and he seeks to keep them apart. Trev and Khim must plan another, more complex escape, and this time make sure they are well beyond the law as well as Dante’s reach.

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About the Author

Wendy Rathbone has been writing for years, but since 2012 her focus is mostly on m/m romance. She writes all genres but seems to prefer fantasy and sci fi. She is also an award-winning poet. She lives in Yucca Valley, California, USA.

Wendy Rathbone’s Social Media Links:

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Rathbone/e/B00B0O9BMS/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1490462215&sr=1-2-ent

Newsletter sign up: http://eepurl.com/cqDVcX

Blog: http://wendyrathbone.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendy.rathbone.3

RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Don’t Feed the Trolls by Erica Kudisch

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Don’t Feed the Trolls by Erica Kudisch
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here at Riptide Publishing

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Erica Kudisch here today talking about her latest novel, Don’t Feed the Trolls! Welcome, Erica!

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Hey nerds! Erica Kudisch here promoting my novel DON’T FEED THE TROLLS, a genderqueer romp through internet drama. And if you keep up with the blog tour and its bonus DLC, there’s a $50 prize package achievement for you to unlock. Have fun!

Process Meme

In the bygone days of LiveJournal, I used to fill out character questionnaires for my favorite fanfiction muses. I’ve carried over some parts of the process to my original work, and have a few go-to memes that help me stay on track when I’m developing my main and supporting characters. And one of my favorites that I designed is this version of the Physical Description questionnaire. It was specifically created to counter the height/width/measurements memes that were already out there, which are sometimes really limiting and unhelpful.

I’ve included the template here, for all you writers and readers who think it might help with your own project–and at a future stop on this tour, I’ll use it to introduce the Three Musketqueers, the central characters of DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. Happy writing!

Character Name:

Without giving precise measurements, how would you describe or draw this character’s height and build?

How does this character’s shape compare to other members of the cast? Can he share shoes or clothes with anyone? Does she get mistaken for any other characters when the lights are low? What kind of hiding places can zie share with hir comrades?

How would you describe or draw this character’s coloration?

How does this character’s coloration compare to other members of the cast? Are there any strong familial resemblances? Species differences?

How about your character’s style? Haircuts, clothes, grooming habits, facial hair: do these change over the course of your story?

What does the rest of your cast think of this character’s style? Swoon-worthy, cringe-worthy, or somewhere in between? Are there any budding makeover artists in the house?

What actors, living or dead, past or present, could play this character in the live-action version of your story? What, if anything, would they have to change about themselves to satisfy your artistic vision?

What are your favorite details about this character’s appearance?

About Don’t Feed the Trolls

Gaming while female is enough to incur the wrath of the dude-bros, and they’ve come for me. Instead of fighting back, I’ve created an alternate account. Male name, male pronouns. And I’ve met this girl. I’ve always liked girls, and Laura’s adorable and smart and never gives up, and she likes me back. Or rather, she likes the man I’m pretending to be. But I can’t tell her I’m a woman without the mob coming after her too.

And besides: I might not be a woman, not really.

The truth is, I don’t know what I am anymore. I’ve spent my whole life being told how I’m supposed to act and what I’m supposed to be, but none of it feels right. And my lie is starting to feel truer than anything I’ve ever been.

There’s a convention coming up, but the closer it gets, the more I have to choose: lie or fight. But if I don’t stand my ground as a girl, am I letting the haters win?

Then again, those aren’t the only two ways to live.

Available from Riptide Publishing

About Erica Kudisch

Erica Kudisch lives, writes, sings, and often trips over things in New York City. When not in pursuit of about five different creative vocations, none of which pay her nearly enough, you can usually find her pontificating about dead gay video games, shopping for thigh-high socks, and making her beleaguered characters wait forty thousand words before they get in the sack.

In addition to publishing novellas and short stories as fantastika-focused alter-ego Kaye Chazan (What Aelister Found Here and The Ashkenazi Candidate, both available at Candlemark & Gleam) Erica is responsible for the BDSM musical Dogboy & Justine, and serves as creative director and co-founder of Treble Entendre Productions.

She also has issues with authority. And curses too fucking much.

Connect with Erica:

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Don’t Feed the Trolls, one lucky winner will receive a $30 Riptide credit and a $20 Steam gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 8, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Review Tour: Lillian Francis’ Renaissance (Village Love #2) (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2osfjWz

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2nNiuWc

Village Love Series
Resonance (Village Love) – Currently FREE! Smashwords | Payhip
Resistance (Village Love #1) – On Sale for 99c/99p Amazon US | Amazon UK | Payhip

Cover: Garrett Leigh

Length: 72,000 words

Blurb

Smudge really needs to get laid, if only to stop himself wondering about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and why he keeps running away.

After his tumultuous teenage years, Smudge has settled into his quiet life in the sleepy English village of Slopy Bottom. He’s his own boss with the time and space to indulge his artistic creativity. And he has friends. He’s happy. Satisfied. Lonely. And the pool of potential soulmates is almost non-existent. His friends, Rick and Mal, flush with their own happy romance, keep trying to set him up with the most incompatible men, and he’s never finding true love on Grindr. Hell, he’s not even going to manage a hook up based on the kinky messages he’s been getting recently. He’ll just have to slake his desire to find his own HEA in the pages of bosom-heaving romance novels.

Raleigh is the darling of Slopy Bottom’s blue rinse brigade: church organist, mobile librarian, and apparently wedded to his trademark cardigans. He seems to be the polar opposite of the artistic Smudge, whose brightly coloured mohawk and piercings should be a red flag to Raleigh. Yet he’s yearning for company too. It’s just that Raleigh has less expectation and definitely less courage to chase after it, for reasons that he keeps very close to his chest. Reasons that don’t stop him from being drawn irresistibly to Smudge.

Smudge is sure that the way Raleigh runs from him whenever he sees him is cruelly deliberate. A reflection on his bad boy looks and his disdain for Raleigh’s precious church. So why can’t he stop thinking about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and his delicate body? Then Raleigh offers an olive branch of sugar and caffeine, Smudge’s favourite combination, starting them on a road to an awkward truce. And when they are conned into working together on a community project at the local hospital, the proximity ignites a spark that can’t be ignored. But navigating the murky waters that could take their relationship beyond tentative friendship all depends on whether Raleigh can release his secret fears – and whether Smudge is the man to share and allay them.

 



April 6 – Books Laid Bare Boys, Love Bytes, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
April 8 – Dog-Eared Daydreams
April 12 – Hearts on Fire Reviews, Bayou Book Junkie, Sarandipity, Nerdy Dirty & Flirty, MM Good Book Reviews

Excerpt

“No, no, no! Don’t you dare. Not again.” Smudge tightened his grip on the books in his hand and hastened his pace.

Surely, he wouldn’t? But Smudge knew the exact moment Raleigh clocked him. The way his head shifted between all points of his escape. To Smudge. The door of the mobile library bus. The pull-down steps, currently occupied by Mrs Danridge, one of the frailer members of the Slopy Bottom community. She was Smudge’s only hope that he would make it to the village green car park where the bus was parked.

With the length of the main road of Slopy Bottom stretching before him like a scene out of Alice in Wonderland or the Wizard of Oz, Smudge broke into a jog. The plastic covers of the library books slipped in his sweaty clutches and he slowed to tighten his grasp. He should have put the bloody things in a bag. The last thing he wanted was his choice of reading matter to be scattered across the tarmac of Bridge Street.

Satisfied he wasn’t going to lose his latest round of catnip reads, he raised his gaze and refocused on his target. Mrs Danridge had reached the bottom of the stairs—with a helping hand from Raleigh no doubt.

Talk of the devil. That tousled-haired alleged angel of the village looked straight at Smudge, his gaze dropping to the hand that held the books Smudge needed to return, and then leapt back up the steps.

Smudge paused long enough to take a breath and shout, “Don’t you dare leave, Raleigh Fortier.” Then he put on a new burst of speed even as the steps disappeared from view.

The engine of the old bus roared to life and by the time he’d covered the last four hundred metres, the mobile library had disappeared in a shower of gravel leaving nothing but a cloud of dust.

“Don’t expect me to pay late charges on these,” Smudge shouted after the bus. “I should report your skinny arse. You four-eyed, curly-mopped, fuckwad.” He kicked a larger stone in the direction the bus had disappeared and watched it skitter across the now empty car park.

He turned toward the sound of disapproving tsking and shrugged apologetically at Mrs Danridge. “The library was supposed to be here for another hour.” He attempted to explain his irate behaviour to the pensioner. It sounded lame.

“I’m sure Raleigh had his reasons for closing early.”

Yeah, he hates me. And the feeling is more than mutual.

“He’s a good boy and a cherished and loved member of this village. I’m sure he’ll waive the charges if you explain.” She smiled, but it was tight lipped and nothing like the sunshine that she would have bestowed on Raleigh. Gauges, tats, and a purple faux hawk with green streaks would do that. Or maybe she believed the rumour that he was growing marijuana in the workshop behind his print shop. “And I don’t know who you think you plan to report him to. The mobile library is a local service and has always been run by the church. Certainly in my lifetime. I suppose you could speak to the vicar, but as Raleigh is his organist and you barely set foot in church…” She seemed to remember her Christian sentiments, but she still pursed her lips as though sucking on a lemon. “I can vouch you were here at the right time, I suppose.”

Don’t put yourself out, lady. Putting those feelings into words wouldn’t help his cause. Neither would reporting Raleigh, because, as she rightly pointed out, curly-headed organist versus multi-coloured faux-hawked atheist, the odds were stacked against him.

“I guess so.” It wasn’t just about the money, though. He’d hoped to pick up the next book in the series he’d been reading. He’d requested the book as soon as he knew the release date and it was a popular enough series that Raleigh couldn’t refuse to purchase the book for the library. Not that he’d ever turned down one of Smudge’s requests. Apparently if the people of Slopy Bottom and the surrounding villages wanted to read a book, Raleigh did his damndest to get it for them. “Thank you. I’m sure you’re right and Raleigh had his reasons.”

The words stuck in his throat but he could hardly protest that Raleigh was the spawn of the devil and that this wasn’t the first time he’d driven off and left Smudge standing in the street like a fool. Nobody would believe him. Not of Raleigh.

“I’m heading to the church to discuss the flower arrangements for Sunday’s service. I could take your books and leave them at the vicarage with a note, if you can’t get here at the weekend or on Tuesday,” Mrs Danridge offered, already working the zip open on her shopping trolley.

Tuesday. The day Raleigh did story time on the green with the preschoolers if the weather was nice. The long-range forecast predicted traditional August sunshine for the next fortnight and he’d probably be doing something with the older kids as well since the schools were breaking up this week for the summer.

“No. That’s fine. I’ll catch him Tuesday.” By the sodding neck if Raleigh tried to pull that stunt again. Except he couldn’t strangle the local librarian, not with an audience of under-fives hanging on Raleigh’s every word. “Thank you for the kind offer, though.”

Not that he’d take it up in a month of Sundays. Heaven forbid the village busybodies should get a look at his reading matter. The thought was barely formed when he felt plastic slip from his grip. He flailed for the escaping paperback, and ended up just juggling the remaining five in his hands, as the sixth landed on the ground with a thwack and a spray of dust. A swarthy Arab Prince, bare-chested and bronzed, manhandled a veiled maiden in a desert backdrop. Sins of the Seven Veils. Could have been worse. The latest in the Highland Wolfman series was still in his increasingly sweaty clutches. Well, not the latest; the latest was somewhere on that bloody bus. His cheeks burning, Smudge scooped up the book from the dirt and pivoted away from Mrs Danridge with mumbled words of farewell.

Coffee or back to the print shop? He’d told Pete, his apprentice, he’d be about an hour—he liked a leisurely flick through the titles. Even when he picked his six books, he stayed, studying the artwork on the lurid covers. The library soothed him—even with Raleigh’s presence—and he didn’t want Pete to think he’d hurried back because he didn’t trust the lad.

Across the road, the dual scents of caffeine and sweet baked goods emanated from Latte Nights and Earl E Mornings assaulting his senses and making his mouth water. Maybe Adam had made brownies.

Coffee it was then.

  
About the Series 

Renaissance is book 2 in my series, Village Love. Village Love is set in the fictional Sussex village of Slopy Bottom. I’ll let Rick (from Resistance) tell you how Slopy Bottom got its name.

“It’s one p, Slopy Bottom. The village has been there centuries. Local historians think it started life as Slope Bottom since the oldest houses are on the low slope at the bottom of a hill. The rest of the village spread out into the valley as the years went by but the name stuck. At one point the village was all but owned by a French lord, which could account for the mispronunciation, and it appears to have been Slopy Bottom ever since.”

Who’s this Rick you mention? I notice he’s in the blurb for book two, as well. 

Rick is the village gardener/handyman. His story of how he struggles to fit his sexuality and his London-born Pakistani boyfriend in to his life in his sleepy village home is told in Resistance (Village Love #1). Rick and Mal’s meet-cute is told in a short story, Resonance. As Resonance doesn’t take place in the village it has been assigned as Village Love 0.5.

Do I need to read the other books in the series to read this one? 

No. Each book deals with a separate couple. However, in such as small village people bump into each other all the time. So yes, characters will appear that the reader is introduced to in the previous books.

Will there be more books in the series?

Definitely. I’m gearing up to start work on Book 3, Trevor’s tale. I have very brief story lines, if they work out, for at least a Book 4, and maybe a Book 5. If you read a particular character that you like drop me a line and let me know, I’ve undoubtedly got a plan to pair him with someone!


About the Author

Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.

http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter @LillianFrancis_
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Email: lillianfrancis@rocketmail.com
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Blog Tour for The Rainbow Clause by Beth Bolden (excerpt and $50 gift card giveaway)

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Title: The Rainbow Clause
Author: Beth Bolden
Release Date: April 3rd 2017
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance, Sports

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BLURB

Heisman winner. Member of the National Championship team. NFL Rookie of the Year. Quarterback Colin O’Connor knows he’s become the ultimate romance novel cliché: all the success he’s ever dreamed of but nobody to share it with. Too bad it’s not as simple as asking out the next girl who intrigues him – because the next girl to intrigue him probably won’t be a girl at all.

Unexpectedly, the solution comes in one neat package: Nick Wheeler, lead journalist for a leading sports and pop culture blog. Hired by Colin’s team, Nick comes to Miami to shine a spotlight on the NFL’s most private quarterback.

The heat in Miami rises when Nick discovers that Colin is nothing like the hollow personality he pretends to be in interviews and he’s even hotter in person than on his Sports Illustrated cover. Nick knows this is the story of his career, and after spending his teenage years as a bullied, closeted teen, it hits very close to home. What he needs is to help Colin share his story while keeping their growing relationship from boiling over in the press, but what he wants is to tell the world.

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK

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EXCERPT

Nick went through the cupboards one at a time, finding an obscene amount of protein shakes and powder, and a lot of basic staples that proved Colin probably did know how to cook. That hadn’t been an act, though he was beginning to wonder how much of the Colin O’Connor he’d seen wasn’t. Probably almost none of it, and that was terrifying.

He had just poured milk into his Cheerios when Colin jogged up to the patio and into the house, wearing a pair of loose-fitting athletic shorts, a thin layer of sweat, and nothing else.

Nick choked on air. So much for his peaceful breakfast.

“Good morning,” Colin said with that annoying smile. All innocence with just the tiniest edge of something more. Like he knew exactly what he was doing and how effective it was.

“Morning,” Nick mumbled into his cereal.

“I was going to wake you up for my jog, well our jog, but you seemed to be sleeping pretty soundly.”

Nick tried not to think about what that sort of picture that made. Or that Colin had looked into his room and had seen him sleeping.

“Do you jog every morning?” Nick asked, even though he already knew the answer. Anything to abort that line of thinking.

“Usually about ten miles or so. Went fourteen this morning, felt really good.” Colin reached for his forgotten t-shirt hanging over a barstool and shrugged it on. It stuck to his skin in sweaty patches, which shouldn’t have been attractive but apparently, Colin O’Connor defied logic.

“Bullshit,” Nick mumbled.

“Tomorrow you want to join?” Colin asked like he hadn’t heard as he grabbed a water bottle out of the fridge.

“Not for a fourteen mile jog,” Nick said.

“Not even for ten?” Colin wheedled.

“Not even for ten. You could probably convince me to do about half that.”

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GIVEAWAY: WIN $50 Amazon Gift Card!!

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About the Author

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Beth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with her supportive husband and their beloved cat. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox play baseball. She’s a fan of fandoms, and spends too much of her free time on tumblr.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published two novels, The Lucky Charm and Getting Lucky, and a short story, Eye of the Storm. Her next novel, Summer Attractions, will be released in August 2016.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Amazon

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