A Stella Release Day Review: Braving the Rapids (Rocky Mountain Boys #2 ) by Brandon Witt

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Estes Park native Todd Fleece works hard to honor his obligations to family and the businesses he inherited, but only his friends and the horses at his ranch brighten Todd’s life. In fighting his attraction to his best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Todd has focused solely on his work, leaving little room in his life for finding love.

Matt Abel’s reckless youth put him on a path to a self-destructive life—his most painful failure was being a horrible father. He excels at extreme sports and living on the edge. Now back in Estes Park and teaching white-water rafting, Matt tries to reconnect with his mother and his grown daughter. When he runs into his ex’s friend Todd, Matt longs for more than a fling.

But achieving happiness isn’t simple, not with Todd’s family conflicts and Matt struggling not to slide back into alcoholism. With hurdles threatening to drive them apart, Todd and Matt try to find the courage to brave the rapids and face a future together….

Well, I really have no clue of how many ways I can use to say Brandon Witt is an amazing writer. I’m in love with his style and each new release is one more proof of his talent. Although some books are more emotional than others, all of them are treasures in how well everything has been depicted and the reader can’t not help but fall in love with them.

In my opinion Braving the Rapids can be considered one of his lighter stories, even if I found myself deeply connected with Todd and Matt lives, especially because I could compare to some of their struggles. And that’s was a bonus. Moreover I am a fan of adult characters and seeing those two men, full of life, full into their lives, full of issues to still solve, but at the same time full of hopes and want for a future together, warmed my heart. The novel is focused on their love story sure but it’s open versus each character single life too, how Todd needs to be strong with his mother’s disease and how Matt is willing to build a relationship with his daughter even if he needs to work on himself first of all.

And then in this second installment in the Rocky Mountain Boys series I found all the people I learned to love in Mapping the Forest, Luis and Gabe and Rob and Paxton. It was great to meet them again and I so hope to have more about all of them.

The cover art by Anne Cain follows the theme of the covers’ series and it’s different from the usual covers I see around and that’s the reason why it’s a winner to me

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 256 pages

Publication Date: November 13th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781635339987

Edition Language English

Rocky Mountain Boys #2

An Ali Release Day Review: Broken Sun (City to City #2) by B.D. Roca

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
James Morgan: outlaw in a ruthless biker club, the Bastard Legion. Willing to do whatever he must to claw his way to the top of the club’s hierarchy.

Two things stand in the way of his ambitions: his heroin-addicted brother and his bisexuality. In Morgan’s world, his attraction to men is a death sentence, and he has no desire to pursue it… until he tangles with Luc Sinclair.

Luc Sinclair: fellow Bastard Legion biker. Tattoo artist. Rebel who wants out of a club he’s grown to despise.

Luc has a sister he’s protecting from a Legion ex-boyfriend. Saving her makes him a target. Morgan intervenes, and all bets are off. The sex is as fierce and passionate as it is dangerous. But when Morgan’s junkie brother learns of the relationship, he sees a way to advance in the Legion and take out a brother he hates. Their three worlds collide—one is left for dead, another fighting for life, and the bond between them broken.

In a dark and violent world where it’s every man for himself, finding their way back to each other and the only truth they’ve ever found will be a long, hard fight.
The other book in this series was one of my favorite reads last year and I was really excited to get my hands on this one. (You can see my review for book one here on our blog).  The first half or so was fantastic and I couldn’t put it down. The chemistry between the two guys jumped off the page.  The situation they’re in is super tough and you feel like it’s them against the rest of the world.  I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen and if they were going to make it out alive and together.  
The magic started to wane for me though as the story hit it’s peak.  The blurb says “the bond between them broken” but I guess I underestimated what that was going to mean to the story.  There is a huge gap where they are not together and that’s just not a story twist I like.  If an author puts the MC’s through hell I want to see them come through it together.  These two did eventually find their way back together and the book ends in a HEA but by that time all the magic was gone for me.  I had a hard time buying their reunion and all the events that happened from that point on.  It was about 40% of the book so it was a big chunk for me to be disheartened by.
It wasn’t until almost the end of this book that I realized how these characters tied in to the characters from the first book.  That being said, this can be read just fine as a standalone.  I think this author is very good and I hope that more people will try her/his books.  The reason I didn’t rate this higher was due to my dislike of the way the plot went but I don’t think that’s reflective of the author’s talent.  A lot of readers may have no problem with it.  
Cover:  The author is also the cover artist and I think the cover is well done.  It’s very attractive and eye catching.  I noticed that the cover on the previous book was also redone and they match beautifully.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 286 pages
Expected publication: November 13th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635336436
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesCity to City #2

A Julia Review: Changing Colors (Seasons of Love #4) by Elyse Springer

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Tony Quinn has a knack for figuring people out. He likes labels, likes to be able to put everyone and everything in tidy boxes. As a theater director, it allows him to run a production without too much drama. But when he meets Gentry—“call me Gee”—in a bar one night, he discovers that some people aren’t so easily defined.

Gee Parnell is unlike anyone Tony has ever met before. He refuses to conform—to Tony’s expectations, or to society’s gender roles. He’s sexy and flirtatious, unapologetic and unashamed. And Tony isn’t sure he’s okay with that. So he breaks things off and escapes back into his well-ordered life.

But then an attack leaves Gee bloody and bruised, and Tony realizes that he isn’t ready to lose him. Not only is the passion between them off the charts, but Gee shows him a different way of understanding people. However, an exciting new job opportunity means that Tony has to decide between hiding his sexuality and his relationship with Gee, and his newfound appreciation for the color and beauty Gee brings to his life.

Changing Colors is the fourth book in Elyse Springer’s “Seasons of Love”-series, which I have been reading and reviewing quite eagerly. At this point I’m only missing the very first entry, “Whiteout”, but I’ll be sure to rectify that in the near future, since I have become a fan of this series.

While having read the previous books is definitely not necessary to get into the story of this one, it does add additional charm to it since characters and events from the other books will be mentioned or have little cameos here and there. As for me, the protagonists of this volume themselves have already been enough to catch my attention and draw me in.

Let’s start with Tony from whose point of view the story is told! He loves his job at the theatre, identifies as being bisexual and has a knack for getting a read on people. I really admired how he put honest effort into trying to accept and get used to Gee’s lifestyle. In the process of this Tony not only has to learn to accept who the man he loves is but who he himself is as well. On top of that he also has to deal with his father who keeps trying to push his son into joining the family company. I enjoyed how the author showed that even though Tony does his best to ignore his father and do his own thing, he still struggles with the preconceptions, fears and worries instilled into him during his childhood. 

Gee was a really intriguing character right from the start. Though he identifies as a man, he does not conform with society’s gender roles and chooses to wear whatever he pleases including bright pink dresses and eyeliner. I found his take on life very inspirational. Just like Tony I respected him for his determination and courage in the face of all the judgement and even physical violence he has to endure from narrow-minded and downright cruel people. Still, it made it necessary for Gee to build up a lot of personal defences around himself, especially when it came to putting his trust in a romantic partner. It was very touching to see how he carefully opened up to Tony bit by bit.

Tony and Gee have to overcome a lot of hardships and inner demons to give their relationship a fighting chance. The way they interact with one another was really endearing and the author did a great job in portraying how much they mean to each other. And the sex scenes are nothing to scoff at either.

Another wonderful entry for this series that I highly recommend to pretty much anyone interested in romance novels! It features a wide cast of diverse characters who each have to overcome their own personal struggles in as well as outside of their love lives. I’m looking forward to seeing what else this author will come up with.

The cover design by Natasha Snow fits in neatly with the rest of the series but at the same time has some lovely details added to it like the shoes at the bottom. It was also a very nice touch to choose the river setting, a place where Tony likes to go and think.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 245 pages

Published October 23, 2017

by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62649-517-3

Edition Language: English

A Caryn Review : Alpha Chef (JT’s Bar #2) by Sue Brown

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I was a bit conflicted about whether I should even review this book, since I wasn’t really impressed with the first in the series, and it was kind of a chore to read Alpha Barman.  But, I thought, it really can’t get any worse, and I usually like this author, so I’ll give her a chance to redeem herself.

Well, maybe she did.  A little.

In Alpha Chef, Jake and Mitch are now back together, and running JT’s bar.  And the rest of the team is still hanging out and sleeping on the floor of the bar (?????  I didn’t get that at all.  Didn’t they have anywhere to go?  A hotel?  Back home?  At least an air mattress???)  Which is convenient, because now Mitch’s little brother Greg is in trouble.

Greg has been in the witness protection program for 14 years, after witnessing an execution.  Greg’s testimony put the murderer in prison, but he’s been moving from place to place, new identity to new identity, always looking over his shoulder as the gang keeps finding him.  When his house and the diner where he works are both torched on the same night, he knows he’s been found again.  When he can’t reach his handler in the US Marshal’s office, he heads for JT’s bar and his older brother Cole, AKA Mitch, whom he hasn’t seen since Cole left for the Army.

Colm Riordan is the most recent marshal in charge of Greg.  There has always been attraction there, but neither man acted on it.  But Greg is in more trouble than he ever was before, and the danger just ramps up both men’s desire.

So, I had many issues with this book.  Greg and Riordan get together out of lust, and I could never see that there was more to the relationship.  The whole background story of how Greg got into WITSEC in the first place was a little stretched.  There were a lot of unnecessary (in my mind) sidebars – Wyatt threatening Moose, the parents showing up, etc.  Even the original team being there in the first part of the book was superfluous since they left before any action occurred.  The action scenes weren’t all that exciting.  New men were introduced to the story near the end, and I guess if they are to be part of the next book in the series it makes sense, but otherwise they added nothing to this story.  There were minor inconsistencies that had me scratching my head, as well as just enough grammatical errors that I got pulled out of the story.  And on a petty note, I kind of object to the term chef being applied to a guy who has been a line cook at a few diners.  But I guess Alpha Fry Cook doesn’t have the same ring to it…

Cover art by Garrett Leigh shows a good looking model, with an appropriately disturbed expression, that I feel represents Greg well.  Except for the fact that Greg has long hair.  Or was the model supposed to be Colm?  Oh well, it’s a good looking model either way…

Sales Links:  Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 250 pages
Published September 27th 2017 by One Hat Press
ASINB07617FCSZ
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesJ.T.’s Bar #2 settingWyoming (United States)

On Tour with Jacob Z. Flores and Blood Drop (The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge #5) (author guest post and giveaway)

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Blood Drop (The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge #5) by Jacob Z. Flores
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art by Paul Richmond

Release date: November 6, 2017

Buy Link: Dreamspinner Press e-book/Dreamspinner Press Paperback

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Jacob Z. Flores here today on his Blood Drop tour. Welcome, Jacob.

Blurb:

A single drop of blood might hold the key to the fate of the magical world, and Aiden Teine must choose between his bond of love and embracing the power to defeat his enemies.

Aiden’s adjustment to being the first vampyre fae hasn’t been easy, but his ties to warlock Thad Blackmoor prevent him from becoming a monster. With Thad, Aiden has a new family, a new purpose, and a new reason to live—though he’s technically undead. There’s one problem: Aiden’s control over his vampyre is weakening. He must learn what’s triggering his violent reactions before he surrenders to the creature within. To complicate matters, Aiden discovers his transformation might not be complete, and he fears what he will become.

Aiden’s search for answers thrusts him into a frightening world filled with deception, new dangers, and apocalyptic visions. The part destiny intends Aiden to play could alter his relationship with Thad forever. If Aiden, Thad, and the entire magical community are to survive Icarian’s latest scheme, Aiden must interpret the meaning of the prophetic blood drop before it falls and ushers in the destruction of all creation—and the warlock he loves.

Blood Drop

The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge (Book 5)

by Jacob Z. Flores

Magic has enthralled me since I was a child. I can still remember those summer afternoons, running around my grandparents’ yard and pretending that I was levitating my enemies or moving objects with my mind. As I grew into an adult, my fascination with the mystical world only grew. The only thing that changed was my realization that I wasn’t telekinetic and couldn’t cast spells.

But, I was only partially wrong.

While I couldn’t summon arcane energies, as an author I could create a magical world and populate it with magical characters. Thus, I began constructing the world on which the Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge is based.

As hard as it is to believe, the journey began in 2015. Two years and four books later, the fifth (and most likely the last) book of the series is set to release on November 6.

I’ve enjoyed exploring this world with everyone. I’ve also had great fun re-imagining warlocks, witches, and wizards and vampires, shifters, and fae. I’m also extremely proud of my boys—Mason, Thad, and Pierce. They have come a long way since book one, but I’m not done with them—yet.

There’s one story left to tell, and it belongs to Aiden Teine, the fire fairy who captured Thad Blackmoor’s heart. Aiden is the narrator for the fifth book, which will answer all the remaining questions from the series. Readers will finally learn the identities of Icarian and the Warlock Hag as well as the devastating truth about the Prophecy of the Three.

However, all endings have a beginning, and that is what I want to share with readers on this tour. I have written a six-part prologue to Blood Drop that will fill in the gap between books four and five and lead right into chapter one. I’ll be sharing each part at the first six blog stops and an exclusive excerpt at the final one. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

So kick back, grab your favorite snack, and enjoy. Don’t forget to enter the blog’s giveaway. One person at every stop will win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Blood Drop Prologue: Part 6

For the past week, I’d felt awful. My head pounded as if a pack of gnomes had climbed inside my brain and were hacking away at it with their pickaxes. My gut wrenched and spasmed, and my normally warm flesh had chilled.

I normally avoided wearing clothes at all costs, so when I slid into a pair of sweat pants and a sweatshirt, Thad knew something was wrong.

“Alright, that’s it.” Thad crossed his arms over his chest and leveled his gaze. “What’s going on?”

I shrugged, not wanting to make this as big of a deal as Thad was about to. “I’m cold.”

“Y-you’re cold?” I couldn’t have shocked Thad more if I slapped him. “You’re a fire fairy. You’re never cold.”

He was omitting the fact that I was also a vampyre. The living dead didn’t have to worry about the cold either. “Must be the weather,” I said while attempting to head downstairs for Sunday brunch with the rest of the family.

Thad blocked my path. Even though I towered five inches over him, his set jaw and flinty gaze made me feel about two inches tall.

“What?”

“Don’t ‘what?’ me.” He poked his index finger in my chest. No one else but Thad could get away with that. “You’ve been acting strangely ever since your hunt last week. I know you’re keeping something from me, but I’ve been giving you your space, letting you work things out in your own time while I finished up my dissertation. But I can’t leave for Salem in a few days when we both know there’s something wrong.”

I should have realized Thad had picked up on the fact that I was keeping something from him. I’d only done that to spare him the inevitable worrying, but he was right. Things were only getting worse. I felt ill, and fire fairies never got sick.

“Tell me.” His anger vanished like smoke in the wind, and a fog of concern rolled upon the shore of his gaze. I loved him so much, and I couldn’t keep my fears from him anymore.

“Will you two quit fucking around in there?” Pierce’s taunting voice bellowed from the other side of the closed bedroom door. Thad’s older brother seemed to only be happy when he was taunting someone in the family. “Brunch is served, and I’ll zap someone in the balls if my bacon gets cold.”

I snarled at the door while Thad placed his hand upon my chest. It was his cue that I needed to calm down.

“We’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“Better make it faster than that.” That was Mason, Thad’s younger brother and a thorn in just about everyone’s side. “You know how much Pierce hates it when his meat gets cold. That must be why he always has his hand down the front of his pants.”

“You’re about to have my foot up your ass,” Pierce challenged.

“Hey, let go!”

A huge scuffle, which sounded like trolls wrestling, exploded in the hall. Thad flung open the door to referee as he always did. I turned away from the chaos and stared out the window. I focused my attention on the sun creeping away from the horizon. The beauty of nature centered me, and right now, I needed that more than anything else.

The pandemonium Pierce and Mason created typically irritated me. Today, I found it appealing. It pulled at the darkness within, threatening to tear down the barriers I’d erected to keep my vampyre in check.

I couldn’t let it out. The last time I did I hadn’t recognized Thad. If my vampyre focused its attention on Pierce and Mason, they might not survive the encounter.

“Will you stop?” Thad screeched again.

“Tell that to him,” Mason yelled. “He’s the one trying to inflict bodily harm.”

I smiled. I’d enjoy seeing the two of them beating each other bloody. It would be an appetizer for the main course, my talons shredding their skin and gorging on the crimson liquid within.

The door slammed behind me, shutting out the commotion as Pierce and Mason stomped down the stairs. The closed door couldn’t keep out the scent of anger and violence. It swirled around me on sweet, coppery currents.

“A-aiden?”

I turned to face Thad. He seemed shorter as if dealing with his brothers had shaved a few inches from his height. That was bizarre, but not as strange as the look of horror that scrunched up his face.

“What’s wrong?”

He pointed at the mirror to my right. “Look at yourself.”

I gasped when I gazed upon my reflection. I flexed my talons as if I were preparing to strike, and my tongue searched the air for its next meal. I’d unconsciously shifted to my vampyre form.

That had never happened before. I’d always been able to control my transitions. If that was no longer the case—

“We’ll figure this out.” Thad stood behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist.

I hoped he was right. If not, Thad and his family were in more danger from me at this moment than they were from Icarian.

To read all 6 parts of the prologue, follow the Blood Drop blog tour and enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card at each stop!

About the Author

Jacob Z. Flores lives a double life. During the day, he is a respected college English professor and mid-level administrator. At night and during his summer vacation, he loosens the tie and tosses aside the trendy sports coat to write man on man fiction, where the hard ass assessor of freshmen level composition turns his attention to the firm posteriors and other rigid appendages of the characters in his fictional world.

Summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, provide Jacob with inspiration for his fiction. The abundance of barely clothed man flesh and daily debauchery stimulates his personal muse.

When he isn’t stroking the keyboard, Jacob spends time with his daughter. They both represent a bright blue blip in an otherwise predominantly red swath in south Texas.

Author Website / The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge Website / Facebook

Giveaway

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card

How?

Leave a comment telling Jacob Z. Flores what you think about the prologue

Jacob will choose a new winner at each stop on the tour, so make sure to visit them all!

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The Blood Drop Blog Tour

11/6 My Fiction Nook

11/7 Open Skye Book Reviews

11/8 Love Bytes

11/9 Happily Ever Chapter

11/10 The Novel Approach

11/13 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

11/15 Divine Magazine

Matthew J. Metzger on Side Characters and his latest novel Walking on Water (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Walking on Water

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: November 13, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 88300

Genre: Fantasy, fantasy, mermaids, trans, magic, fairy tales, bisexual

Add to Goodreads

Matthew J. Metzger on Side Characters

My favourite characters are always my side characters.

I know that sounds a little crazy for an author, and I swear I love my main characters as much as anyone else, but—there’s just something special about side characters!

In my latest novel, there’s a whole cast of side characters built out of their own names. The novel is set in a fictional German kingdom. I was learning a bit of German from my helpers at the time, and loved the way a German translation changed the way a word looked and felt. So Doctor became Doktor, but would have been a different word entirely if someone said, “Call a doctor!” Therefore, our hero—who speaks no German at all—takes that to be his actual name. This also happens with a captain and a small child, whose ‘name’ actually means ‘my son.’

I love the visual look of a word, so the switch from Doctor to Doktor made the character for me. His German ‘name’ looks spikier and harsher, so the character became that way as well. By contrast, the long dip of the J in Janez (the prince) made him softer than the original draft, more refined and gentle than I’d originally pictured.

With main characters there’s only so much their name can influence them—they have to be the way they are for the plot, after all—but with side characters, I find there’s more room to mould them into exactly what I see in the name. So Doctor might have been a kindly sort of person—but Doktor is acerbic, harsh, begrudgingly caring, and uses threats and trickery to work his art. The one time he is openly warm in the entire novel is after the queen jabs her brother-in-law in his wounded thigh with a pin to stop him trying to get up before he’s ready. Doktor approves heartily of such methods, and a flash of warmth and even charm is glimpsed. (Then, obviously, it vanishes once more.)

Something similar happened with Captain Kühe. I drew the character out first—this pompous, blithering idiot of a man who’s far too self-important to fit inside his uniform properly—and went straight for an animal I don’t like to name him. Cows. I hate cows. They’re only good for beefburgers, in my opinion. So the name came so beautifully well-packaged: clumsy to pronounce in my accent, difficult to write without a German keyboard thanks to the umlaut, and too short to support its long letters. Gorgeous.

By the time I’d finished the novel, I had a cast of side characters either born from their names, or their names born from them, in a far more raw way than I can do with main characters, who I not only have to like but I have to write their name over and over and over, so it has to be a good one, and a fitting one. That’s much harder.

But my side characters? That’s where the fun really lies.

Synopsis

When a cloud falls to earth, Calla sets out to find what lies beyond the sky. Father says there’s nothing, but Calla knows better. Something killed that cloud; someone brought it down.

Raised on legends of fabled skymen, Calla never expected them to be real, much less save one from drowning—and lose her heart to him. Who are the men who walk on water? And how can such strange creatures be so beautiful?

Infatuated and intrigued, Calla rises out of her world in pursuit of a skyman who doesn’t even speak her language. Above the waves lies more than princes and politics. Above the sky awaits the discovery of who Calla was always meant to be. But what if it also means never going home again?

Excerpt

Walking on Water
Matthew J. Metzger © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

When the sand settled, only silence remained.

The explosion had gone on for what felt like forever—a great boom that shuddered through the water, a shadow that had borne down on the nest like the end of the world had come, and then nothing but panicked escape from the crushing water, the darkness, and the suffocating whirlwind of sand and stones. In the terror, it had seemed like it would never end.

But it did end, eventually. When it did, Calla lay hidden in the gardens, deafened and dazed. She was shivering, though it wasn’t cold. An attack. They had been attacked. By what? Orcas and rival clans could hardly end the world. And what would wish to attack them so?

She took a breath. And another. Her attempts to calm herself felt pathetic and weak, like the desperate attempts of a mewling child. Where was Father? Her sisters? Where even the crabs that chattered and scuttled amongst the bushes? She was alone in the silent gardens, and Calla had never been alone before.

Slowly, she reached out. Slipped through the towering trunks, to the very edge of the gardens, to where the noise had come from. Drew aside a fern and—

Ducked down, clapping a hand over her mouth to prevent the gasp.

A giant beast lay in the courtyard.

Still. Oh, great seas, be still. She held her breath and closed her eyes. It had to be an orca, a beast so huge, and it would see her if she moved.

Yet even in her fear, Calla knew that wasn’t quite right.

Orcas didn’t come this far south—did they? Father had said they would be undisturbed here. Father had said.

She peeked again. Daring. The beast didn’t move.

Nor was it an orca. It was impossible, too huge even for that. Oh, she’d not seen an orca since she’d been a merling, but they’d never been that big. It had squashed the courtyard flat under its great belly, its tail and head—though she couldn’t tell one from the other—spilling out over the rocks and nests that had been homes, once. It would have crushed their occupants, surely. What beast killed by crushing?

Hesitantly, she drifted out of the garden. Her tail brushed the ferns, and she wrapped her fins around them, childishly seeking comfort.

The beast didn’t move.

In fact, it didn’t breathe. Its enormous ribcage, dark and broken, was punctured by a great hole, a huge gaping blackness longer than Calla’s entire body, and wider by far.

It had been slain.

Bloodless. It was quite dead. How could it be dead, how could its heart have been torn out so, without spilling blood into the water? Where was the column of red that marked its descent? Where was—

Oh.

“A cloud!”

It was no beast.

Calla fled the safety of the gardens in a flurry of excitement. No, that great oval shape was familiar. How many had scudded gently across the sky in her lifetime? How many times had she watched their passage from her window? Beautiful, dark, silent wonders. Oh, a cloud!

She rushed closer to look. How could a cloud have fallen to earth? Father had said they were simply things that happened in the sky, and no concern of theirs. But this one had fallen, lay here and near and so very touchable—and now Calla wanted to touch the sky.

It was—

She held her breath—and touched it.

Oh.

Rough. Sharp. Its body was dark against her pale hand. And hard, so very hard. She had imagined clouds to be soft and fluid, to walk on water as they did, but it wasn’t. Huge and heavy, it was a miracle that it walked at all.

And a home: tiny molluscs clung to it. As she walked her webbed fingers up the roughness and came over the crest of its enormous belly, she mourned its death. This must have killed it. Such a deep, round belly—clouds were obviously like rocks and stone, but this one had been cut in half. Exposed to the sea was a sheer, flat expanse of paleness, with great cracks in the surface. A column stuck out from the middle, and two smaller ones at head and tail. It had been impaled by something, the poor thing.

“Calla!”

The hiss reached her from far away, but Calla ignored it. The poor cloud was dead. It had been slain, and whatever had dragged it from the sky must have been immense, to wield spears like those jutting from its body. And it wasn’t here.

Clouds were harmless. Dead clouds, even more so.

“Calla, what are you doing?”

“Meri, come and see!” she called back to her sister and ducked to swim along its flattened insides. Great ropes of seaweed, twisted into impossible coils, trailed from its bones. Vast stains, dark and pink, smeared its ragged edges. When Calla peered up into the sky, at the stream of bubbles still softly rising from its innards, she could see the gentle descent of debris. It had been torn apart.

Orcas? But an orca pack would have followed it down. Sharks? Calla had never seen a shark, but Father had, long ago when he was a merling, and he’d said they were great and terrible hunters. Were sharks big enough to do it?

“Calla!”

That was not Meri’s voice. Deep and commanding, it vibrated through the water like a blow. Calla found herself swimming up the side to answer automatically, and came clear of the cloud’s gut barely in time to prevent the second shout.

Father did not like to call a second time.

“Here. Now.”

She went. At once. The immense joy at her discovery was diminished in a moment by his stern face and sterner voice, and Calla loathed it. She felt like a merling under Father’s frown and struggled to keep her face blank instead of echoing his displeased expression.

“You should stay away from such things. The guards will deal with it.”

“But Father—”

He gave her a look. She ducked her chin and drifted across to join her sisters at the window. The window. Pah. What good was the window, was seeing, when she had touched it?

“What is it?” Balta whispered, twirling her hair around her fingers.

“A cloud,” Calla said in her most impressive voice and then pushed between Meri and Balta to peer out. The guard were swarming over the cloud’s belly, poking more holes in the poor thing’s body. “Something killed it.”

Meri snorted. “Talk sense, Calla.”

“Something did!”

“You sound like a seal, grunting nonsense.”

“I do not!”

“Girls!”

They subsided under Father’s booming reprimand—although Calla snuck in a quick pinch before stopping—and returned to watching.

“Clouds don’t fall out of the sky,” Meri whispered. “It must be a shark. There’s nothing so big as a shark. Father said so.”

“Father also said sharks don’t come this far north,” Balta chirped uncertainly, still twirling her hair.

“That’s a cloud,” Calla said and peered upwards to the sky, her eyes following the great trail of bubbles, “and I bet something even bigger killed it.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Matthew J. Metzger is an ace, trans author posing as a functional human being in the wilds of Yorkshire, England. Although mainly a writer of contemporary, working-class romance, he also strays into fantasy when the mood strikes. Whatever the genre, the focus is inevitably on queer characters and their relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual, or romantic.

When not crunching numbers at his day job, or writing books by night, Matthew can be found tweeting from the gym, being used as a pillow by his cat, or trying to keep his website in some semblance of order.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Tour Schedule

11/13 Love Bytes

11/13 The Blogger Girls

11/13 Erotica For All

11/13 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

11/14 Happily Ever Chapter

11/14 MM Good Book Reviews

11/14 Bayou Book Junkie

11/15 Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

11/15 A Book Lover’s Dream Book Blog

11/16 Stories That Make You Smile

11/16 Divine Magazine

11/17 Shari Sakurai

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Review Tour and Giveaway – Sue Brown’s Alpha Chef (JT’s Bar #2)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 46,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
J.T’s Bar Series
 
Book #1 – Alpha Barman – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

When Greg Mitchelson’s home is torched and his employer killed, Greg fears it’s retribution for his past testimony against a notorious drug gang. Alone, with no money and only the clothes on his back, Greg turns to Colm Riordan, the Deputy US Marshall who’s protected Greg for the last 3 years. But Riordan doesn’t return Greg’s phone calls, and the local Marshal’s office refuses to help him.

In desperation, Greg goes on the run to Wyoming to find his brother, Mitch, whom he hasn’t seen in over a decade. As he reconnects with his brother, Riordan appears, searching for his missing witness. But Greg needs the answers to a lot of questions before he’ll trust Riordan again. Why didn’t he return Greg’s call? Is Riordan there to help Greg – or kill him?

November 6 – Mirrigold: Musings & Mutterings, BooksLaidBareBoys, Making It Happen, MM Good Book Reviews, OMG Reads
November 11 – Bike Book Reviews, OptimuMM
November 13 – Foxylutely, Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Xtreme Delusions
November 15 – Valerie Ullmer, Jim’s Reading Room, Diverse Reader, Hearts on Fire Reviews, The Geekery Book Review
November 17 – Sarandipity, Dog-Eared Daydreams, Bayou Book Junkie, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Books Lovers 4Ever, Southern Babes Book Blog, Nerdy Dirty & Flirty


Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot, and has become an expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. She had an Aha moment and put pen to paper that same day. Sue may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.



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