A Caryn Review: Citywide (Five Boroughs #6) by Santino Hassell

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is my first experience reading a book that is almost entirely the result of fan interaction with an author, and it brought to life many of the secondary characters introduced in the rest of the Five Boroughs universe.  I feel privileged to have read the short stories that inspired these longer stories on the author’s Patreon (and if you want to support a favorite author, check and see if they have a Patreon.  The inside peeks into the creative process and the perks – like free stories in Santino Hassell’s case – make it so worth it, and it I have to say I like the feeling that my patronage helps a favorite author break away from the day job and write more!)  As Mr. Hassell says in the acknowledgements, readers asked for more stories about the Queens crew, and this book is the result.

The book is divided into three novellas, each telling about a different couple – or, in the case of the first section, Rerouted, a throuple – during one sweltering summer.  The first section is about Chris, the happy-go-lucky, goofy friend of Raymond’s that is always supportive of his friends, but has previously managed to avoid all their drama.  He’s never felt as sexy and confident as the rest of the group, and somehow has always been on the sidelines.  In the Patreon stories, he had a few hook-ups with Aiden and Jace, the open/poly couple introduced in First and First.  It started out as just sex, but soon all three of them start seeing that this time, it’s something much deeper than that.  Thinking about becoming a permanent third with a couple who’ve been together for 10 years made him see for the first time things he didn’t know about himself and what he wanted – but accomplishing those desires was another story altogether.  All while finding some disturbing and criminal things have been going on in the QFindr offices….

Gridlocked tells the story of Tonya, the fierce former marine genderqueer lesbian who has always been aloof, but ferocious about defending herself and her friends.  She’s been inexplicably drawn to Meredith Stone, society celebrity and sister of the founders of QFindr, since they first met at the QFindr cruise.  They have nothing in common but this intense chemistry, and Tonya is determined to stay away from Mere, because she’s nothing but trouble.  But when the fallout from the homophobic doxing that was going on in the QFindr offices turns into physical threats against Mere, Tonya is the one to save her.  And protecting her leads to a deeper interaction and mutual respect, and the two women find out they have a lot more in common than they realized.

The final novella, Derailed, is about Steph and Angel.  Steph is the very sex-positive woman who was Raymond’s fuck buddy for years, the first of the Queens crew to break out of poverty and fiercely independent.  She won’t let anyone, man or woman, tell her how to live her life, and has shunned relationships because she feels she would have to give that independence up.  She has been satisfied with casual friendships and hookups.  The one constant in her life – especially after Raymond and Chris found their own serious and monogamous relationships – has always been Angel.  He’s been in love with her since high school, and she knows it and has always loved him in her own way.  But her past experiences have led her to believe that she has to depend only on herself, and it takes a weekend of pretending to be engaged to find out just how amazing being with Angel could really be.  Oh, and this section introduces Steph’s younger brother Vincent, who I think will be starring in one of the upcoming books.

I think because these stories were based on the Patreon short stories – some of which were, to be honest, pure smut because that’s what the patrons asked for – there is a much higher level of sex than in the other books in the Five Boroughs series.  I’ve got mixed feelings about that.  For a short, something  5K words or less, a little porn with characters that I know and love can be fun.  These stories are much more involved, and the characters are all much more developed than they are in the Patreon shorts, which is good, but Mr. Hassell has clearly tried to stay true to the original ideas that prompted these stories, and to a large extent, that is sex.  I love that he has created a group of friends and family who all have healthy attitudes towards sex in all of its incarnations – gay, straight, bi, queer, poly, cis, trans, and genderqueer (and I feel like I’ve learned a lot about all the various labels just from reading this series) – but I honestly got a little tired of reading about the constant amazing and mind-blowing sex.  And I am truly hoping that the next book will tone it down a bit.

Cover art by L. C. Chase doesn’t have the amazing models featured on the covers of the other books, but the NYC skyline really is just right for the book.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing |

Book Details:

ebook, 370 pages
Published November 13th 2017 by Riptide Publishing (first published November 11th 2017)
Original TitleCItywide
ISBN 9781626496
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesFive Boroughs #6

A Lila Release Day Review: Romance Redefined by SJD Peterson

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Opposites attract, but are some differences too drastic for a romance to survive?

On the surface, Benson Howard Winthrop III and Hugh Bayard have a lot in common: they’re young, handsome, and blessed to be one of the wealthiest couples in the country. Surely they have everything anyone could want. But Ben is no longer satisfied with their long-running relationship. Hugh’s need to control every situation is suffocating him, and Ben needs to know if he can make it on his own merits by following his passion.

But Ben’s mother isn’t about to let her son live in a rundown apartment as a struggling actor. She’s determined to get him back to his rightful place at the top of the social ladder—and back with Hugh.

Rekindling their romance will require more than doing what’s expected. Ben and Hugh need to understand and embrace each other’s differences. They’ll have to support each other even when one makes a decision the other doesn’t agree with. For their passionate love to grow, they will need to redefine the meaning of romance… only then can they find true happiness.

 

Romance Redefined is a different type of second chances. Few romances have divorce gay couples as protagonists. Perhaps, one of them was married to a woman before or the couple lived together for a significant amount of time before their breakup, but a failed marriage isn’t a common occurrence.

 

In this case, the author did an excellent job showing the intricacies of a previous relationship, not only between the protagonists but between their families and friends. In addition, we get to see how one of the MCs is trying to start a new life away from everyone but still has a special connection to the MC staying behind. Who on his part, hasn’t moved forward after the separation.

 

I enjoyed Ben’s friendships and how he was trying to find himself while he tried to go after dreams he didn’t know he had. On the other side, is easy to see Hugh resistance to the change and his difficulties opening up. I wish we could have seen his POV, but we did have enough information to understand his backstory. There were times I wanted to cheer for Ben’s other suitor, but then Hugh showed his vulnerable side and won us all over.

 

Overall, this is a story of love, possibilities, and understandings. The settings, secondary characters, and events only added to a nice tale. I’d love to see more stories in this world and perhaps, a bit more of Hugh and Ben a couple of years down the road.

 

The cover by Reese Dante is pretty and has an indication of one of the events in the story. It has a really nice love vibe.

 

Sale Links: Dreamspinners | Amazon | NOOK

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published: November 27, 2017, by Dreamspinners Press
ISBN: 9781635338089
Edition Language: English

 

An Alisa Review: But To Love More by Foster Bridget Cassidy

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Mel finally gets to go home for Christmas. In his absence, his hometown has changed, and Carlos, his best friend’s little brother, is all grown up and interested in a relationship. But Carlos has his work cut out for him since Mel’s having trouble seeing past the little brother part and his big brother, Aldo’s determined to keep them apart.

 

Mel hasn’t been home in more than six years and there have been a lot of changes since he left.  Carlos has always has eyes for his brother’s best friend since he realized he liked boys.

 

Carlos has a little work cut out for himself but it doesn’t take all that long for Mel to melt.  I had a little bit of a hard time with the “Love More” philosophy that Carlos had but hoped it works out for them.  It broke my heart to basically see Mel’s best friend, Aldo, throw away their friendship with his attitude and actions towards Mel in regards to his brother.  I can’t help but feel there will never be a way to really repair the damage he caused by his assumptions and actions.

 

The cover art by Freddy MacKay is great and gives a good visual for the characters.

 

Sales Link: Mischief Corner Books |  Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, ~15,000 words

Published: December 2, 2017 by Mischief Corner Books

Edition Language: English

Ken Harrison on Writing, Books, and his latest release ‘Linear Park’ (author interview)

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Linear Park (States of Love) by Ken Harrison
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Kobo |  iTunesGoogle Play  

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ken Harrison here today on tour with his latest novel Linear Park.  Welcome, Ken, and thanks for sitting in our author’s Interview chair.

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Ken Harrison

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I tend to write about what I know, so a good amount of myself goes into everything. In Linear Park, Sean’s backstory comes from a few people I know and my own experiences living with a person with alcohol issues. A lot of Nick’s personality comes from my husband.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

What I’m working on now is contemporary and takes place in New York City and Rhode Island. The main character is an artist, and I know a few artists and have a slight understanding of how things work. Still, I needed to do some research to get specific aspects of painting right. I think for any story that takes place in the real world, there’s a certain amount of research that needs to be done. Nobody knows everything.

Has your choice of reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Yes and no. Back when I was writing erotica, what I read sometimes influenced my stories. I wrote a few stories that were inspired by Jim Thompson and two from cyberpunk fiction. I’m new to romance, so we’ll see what happens.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?

Although I’ve never had to put a story aside because I was too close to it, I need to have some type of emotional response to know that what I’m writing is worthy of my time.  If I don’t laugh or cry, then I’m not attached to it enough to continue.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like realistic endings. If an ending isn’t believable then the entire story can be ruined for me. It’s nice to have everything work out, but not all stories can end that way.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I’ve always read a wide variety of fiction. When I was a kid it was horror and sci-fi. Throughout my twenties, it was mostly women’s fiction. I love Margaret Atwood, Erica Jong, Alice Walker and a few others. I also read a lot of gay and lesbian fiction. I didn’t seek out romance until I was in my forties.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

I love language and the use of words. A book needs to have a tone or strong voice to catch my attention. When I read Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood, I was in love with her prose and sense of voice. Steven King has a way of using the omniscient voice to pull the reader into the story. Jim Thompson has a grittiness to his prose that works with his edgy fiction. I remember reading Ann Beattie and falling in love with the simplicity of her language. She can tell so much in so little. I believe that the best writing uses an economy words.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I’m a tech guy, so I like ebooks. With that said, I also believe in ebook standards and the ePub format. Proprietary formats drive me bonkers, which is why I was pleased when Amazon allowed kindle users to upload ePub files. All ebook readers should use a single file format, IMHO.

What’s holding ebooks back right now is pricing. Small presses, especially romance presses, understand how to price ebooks. Sometimes I look at the price of books coming from the larger publishing houses and cringe. Why would I pay for an ebook that costs as much as a hardcover? An ebook is a file the publisher pays to set up once, then sells worldwide without the cost of printing or shipping; there’s very little overhead. Ebooks are the new mass market paperback and should not be priced the same as trade paper or hardcover.

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

I considered asking to design my own cover for Linear Park, then decided to relax and let somebody else do it. I’m glad I did. It was great to see another person come up with a cover and give input.

What’s  the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

I think the most outrageous story I’ve written thus far was the title story for Ten Thick Inches. A man is hired by a mobster to steal a gold replica of his penis. The entire story is a bit out of control.

If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

Someplace quiet with natural light and a stereo. I sometimes play music in the background, usually Brian Eno or the Cocteau Twins.

What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m working on another contemporary romance now, but have an idea for something much more fantastical when it’s finished. I would also like to write something glitzy, like a gay Scruples or Valley of the Dolls. I’m a sucker for a good glitz novel. I love both those books so much.

Blurb

Sean and Nick’s life together was a fairy tale: childhood friends who became lovers, high school sweethearts who married after college, both handsome professionals. Sean always enjoyed a few drinks, but after the death of his father, his alcoholism spiraled out of control… and it cost him everything.

When Sean loses his job and becomes too surly and unreasonable to live with, Nick has little choice but to end the relationship. Sean can’t blame Nick for giving up—not after the arguments and the lies—but he longs for the happiness and love they shared before he spoiled everything. He resolves to get sober and win back his husband. But even if he wins his battle with alcoholism, will it be too late to save his marriage?

About the Author

Back in the nineties, Ken Harrison wrote erotic short stories for several gay skin magazines and published three short story collections (Daddy’s Boys; Young, Hung and Ready for Action; and Ten Thick Inches). He stopped writing in 2001 to start a small press, Seventh Window Publications, and worked with several great authors and artists. He closed Seventh Window Publications in December 2015. After a year and a half away, he realized that publishing was a big part of his life and went back to writing.

When he isn’t writing, he enjoys cooking, web design, blowing bubbles in the park, dressing up in costumes, and entertaining. Halloween is his favorite holiday and his house is a popular stop for the neighborhood kids. He believes that the only thing better than telling a good story is watching people enjoy his food.

Ken lives in Rhode Island with his husband, who is an avid reader.

Goodreads Author Page

On the Cadge -Relaunched Lessons series blog tour with Charlie Cochrane

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On the Cadge -Relaunched Lessons Series

with Charlie Cochrane

 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Charlie Cochrane as she relaunches one of my favorite series, her Cambridge Fellows Mysteries (aka the Jonty and Orlando stories).  This author has always mixed historical accuracy with a wonderful way with her dialog and settings that kept the feel of her stories deeply settled within the era while never feeling like a dusty history lesson.  No she brings Edwardian, WWI, and posts WWI England alive as well as one of the most delightful (and long established) couples you will want to meet.

Here’s some more thoughts from the author herself….

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Charlie Cochrane

When did you start writing?

I’ve always had times I’ve scribbled down stories, most of them pretty naff. As a teenager I wrote what I guess would be called slashy fanfic these days and there are not adjectives sufficient to describe how truly awful it was. As I’ve matured, so has my ability with a tale. I hope.

From your books do you have one you like best?

That’s like picking a favourite child – an impossible task. However (and I hope my daughters don’t read this, because they always want to know, “Who’s the favourite?”) However, I’d have to confess that the Cambridge Fellows books will always have a special place in my heart as they were the first full length tales I had published and the two main characters are so easy to write.

Are you character or plot driven?

Character, all the time. My idea of a well developed, extensive plot plan would be “Two blokes, Cornwall” or something similar. I just write and see who comes along and where we get. It sometimes feels like watching (or listening to) a series on television or radio, and discovering the story as it goes along. The beauty of modern writing, word processing and the like, is that if I get down the line and the story changes, I can go back over and make things work very easily.

So, if any characters develop at a tangent, I tend to go with them and see what transpires. I only rein them in if they throw the story too far out of kilter. Sometimes they make the story far more interesting than it was going to be!

If you were in a tight corner and had to rely on one of your characters to save you, which would it be and why?

Ruddy Norah – I’m not sure I’d trust any of them! Certainly not Dr. Panesar, who’s a running secondary character in the Cambridge Fellows books. He’d be bound to make things worse by blowing us up or something. Ariadne Peters, from the same books, is a repository of common sense and Jonty Stewart would certainly  keep us all amused no matter how deep the clart we found ourselves  in. Perhaps I’d have to plump for Jonty’s father, who gives the impression of being capable of dealing with any problem, intellectual or moral. With Campbell, the Newfoundland dog from my contemporary mystery series, the Lindenshaw books, to provide the muscular back up.

If you had no constraints of time and a guarantee of publication, what book would you write?

Can I borrow other people’s characters to play with? I want to write a story where real and fictional characters living in the same area meet and work together to make the world a better place. Imagine the fun if Wilfred Owen and Brother Cadfael teamed up to solve mysteries. Imagine the deep philosophical conversations they’d have at the same time.

 What are your favourite books?

I’ll give you two.

The Charioteer. The writing is wonderful; Mary Renault has an economy of language that every author could learn from – she says more with a simple word like “quite” than most people could in a whole page. I re-read it all the way through at least once a year and dip in and out of it, reading a few pages or scenes, on an almost monthly basis. “Charlie, you’re a sad woman,” you cry, and I might have to agree with you, but it’s like listening to a favourite piece of music. You want to hear that again and again so why not read a particularly pleasing piece of prose as many times as you still find it pleasing?

Death at the President’s Lodging. Michael Innes is more loquacious than Renault, but he’s just as dab a hand at characterization. This murder mystery is also one of the most convoluted I’ve ever read, while being scrupulously fair to the reader. It’s also another annual re-read, especially for the joy of the occasionally (unintentionally?) slashy scene.

And now a confession – I have both of these books in audio version. Now I can top up my re-reads with the occasional “relisten”. I’m sure they inspire both the romantic and mystery elements of my writing.

Cambridge Fellows Series (13 books)

There are 13 primary works and 15 total works in the Cambridge Fellows Series

If the men of St. Bride’s College knew what Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith got up to behind closed doors, the scandal would rock early-20th-century Cambridge to its core. But the truth is, when they’re not busy teaching literature and mathematics, the most daring thing about them isn’t their love for each other—it’s their hobby of amateur sleuthing.

Because wherever Jonty and Orlando go, trouble seems to find them. Sunny, genial Jonty and prickly, taciturn Orlando may seem like opposites. But their balance serves them well as they sift through clues to crimes, and sort through their own emotions to grow closer. But at the end of the day, they always find the truth . . . and their way home together.

The first book in the series: St. Bride’s College, Cambridge, England, 1905. When Jonty Stewart takes up a teaching post at the college where he studied, the handsome and outgoing young man acts as a catalyst for change within the archaic institution. He also has a catalytic effect on Orlando Coppersmith. Orlando is a brilliant, introverted mathematician with very little experience of life outside the college walls. He strikes up an alliance with the outgoing Jonty, and soon finds himself having feelings hes never experienced before. Before long their friendship blossoms into more than either man had hoped and they enter into a clandestine relationship. Their romance is complicated when a series of murders is discovered within St. Brides. All of the victims have one thing in common, a penchant for men. While acting as the eyes and ears for the police, a mixture of logic and luck leads them to a confrontation with the murderer can they survive it?

 Lessons in Desire (Book 2, Cambridge Fellows Mysteries)

Lessons in Desire is the second book in the gripping Cambridge Fellows series by Charlie Cochrane. Set in Edwardian England, it explores engrossing mysteries and heartfelt gay romances, all set in the historical walls of Cambridge University.”

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077B7S8F5

 

About the Author

 Because Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her mystery novels include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows series, and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Lethe and Bold Strokes, among others.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie regularly appears at literary festivals and at reader and author conferences with The Deadly Dames.

Website: http://www.charliecochrane.co.uk

Blog: https://charliecochrane.wordpress.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18

Twitter: https://twitter.com/charliecochrane

GR: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2727135.Charlie_Cochrane

On Tour with Curses, Foiled Again by Sera Trevor (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Curses, Foiled Again

Author: Sera Trevor

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: November 27, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 98700

Genre: Paranormal, vampires, witches, undead, abduction, paranormal, addiction, ghosts, homophobia, immortal, magic users, dark, drug/alcohol use, dark, blood play, curses

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Felix is a vampire—a fierce creature of the night who strikes terror into the hearts of everyone unlucky enough to become his prey. Or at least, that’s what he thought was true, until he met John. John is completely unimpressed with Felix, much to his dismay. Felix becomes fixated on proving his ferocity to John—and when that doesn’t work, he strives to make any impression on him at all.

John is a witch, and as all witches know, vampires are notoriously stupid creatures who only have the power to hurt those who fear them. Besides, he’s under a curse much more frightening than any vampire. Felix’s desperate attempts to impress him annoy John at first, but gradually, they become sort of endearing. Because of his curse, John has pushed everyone in his life away. But Felix can’t be hurt, so there’s no harm in letting him hang around.

Felix is technically dead. John has nothing left to live for. But together, they might have a shot at life.

This dark and witty vampire romance for adults is complete at 100,000 words, with no cliffhanger. Despite some dark twists and turns, it ends with a solid HEA.

Excerpt

Curses, Foiled Again
Sera Trevor © 2017
All Rights Reserved

One: The Witch Boys of Sunset Boulevard

Someone smelled delicious.

Felix really ought to have been sated. He had fed that night already, but in spite of his satiety, the new aroma tempted him like nothing before. It was the same dark tang that normally inspired his appetite, but with a sweet note buried in the scent—like an orange at the peak of its sweetness, right on the cusp of rotting. It didn’t take him long to discover the source of the aroma; it was a young man in a hooded sweatshirt, making his way down Sunset Boulevard. He walked with remarkable confidence for being on his own at two o’clock in the morning. Felix grinned. He liked the confident ones; their shock when confronted with the likes of him was always amusing.

He raced ahead of the young man with superhuman swiftness, jumping in front of him with his fangs bared. Felix loved this part, right before the attack—the moment when human confusion and animal terror mixed together as his victim realized their fate. Any moment now, he would scream. Or at least, he would try to. By then it would be too late.

The young man jumped and inhaled sharply at Felix’s sudden appearance. But once he’d given Felix a good once-over, he let out his breath in a relieved puff. There was no screaming, no futile attempt to flee or freezing in terror. In fact, it was Felix who froze in place, confused by the young man’s strange reaction.

As Felix tried to gather his wits to think of what to do next, the young man brushed past him and continued on. Felix shook himself out of his muddle. He brought a hand up to his mouth, feeling to make sure his fangs were still bared. They were. Perhaps the young man hadn’t seen him clearly; the lighting here was particularly poor, and mortal vision was not very good.

He zipped ahead of the young man and jumped out at him again, making sure he was directly under a streetlight. He raised his arms and hissed for good measure.

“You can stop doing that,” the young man said. “I’m not afraid of you.”

“Oh really?” Felix sneered, although in honesty he was taken aback. “We’ll see if your bravery lasts when I sink my fangs into your yielding flesh!”

He attempted to pounce, but nothing happened. He tried again, but his limbs just wouldn’t cooperate. As he stood there in confusion, the young man stepped around him and continued walking.

Once Felix had collected himself, he set out after the young man again, this time trotting beside him. The young man paid him no attention.

“Have you put a spell on me?”

“No.”

“Then why can’t I attack you?”

“Because I’m not afraid of you,” he said. He wasn’t even looking at Felix. “Vampires can only attack people who fear them.”

Felix scoffed. “That can’t be true.”

“Think about it. Can you ever remember a time when a potential victim wasn’t afraid of you?”

“Not that I recall.”

“Then if you only ever confronted people who were afraid of you, how would you have found out you couldn’t attack someone who wasn’t?”

Felix turned that over in his mind. It did make a certain amount of sense.

They continued to walk together. Felix tried to startle him a few more times, hoping it would raise enough fear for Felix to strike, but it didn’t work. The young man’s face remained expressionless, as if Felix weren’t even there. He was a remarkably good-looking fellow, with sandy-blond hair and blue eyes. He was so pleasant to look at that Felix eventually ceased his efforts to frighten him in favor of simply gazing at him. His sweatshirt was not zipped all the way, but the T-shirt underneath was too baggy to give even a suggestion of the body it concealed. He wished the young man would take it off, or at the very least remove the hood.

After some time, they came to an apartment building. The young man approached one of the doors on the first floor. “Well, I would say it was nice meeting you, but it wasn’t, really,” he said as he took out his keys. “Good night.” He unlocked his door.

Felix blocked the door with his body, preventing the young man from entering. “You’ve led me straight to where you live,” he said in his scariest voice. “I could strike when you least expect it, in your very home. Certainly that will frighten you enough for me to attack!”

“Vampires can’t enter a home unless you invite them. Did you really think I wouldn’t know that?”

Felix scowled. “How do you know all this?”

“None of your business. Now unless you want to stand around here until dawn, get your hand off my door and go away.”

“Maybe I do want to stand around here,” Felix said. “You can’t make me leave.”

The young man rolled his eyes. “Fine.” He leaned on the wall a few steps away from the door and took a pack of cigarettes and a silver lighter out of the pocket of his hooded sweatshirt. He perched a cigarette between his pink lips and lit it.

Felix remained where he was. The young man didn’t even spare him a glance as he smoked his cigarette, gazing instead at the smoke as it left his lips and dissipated into the night air. Felix felt annoyed; surely he was more interesting than a cloud of smoke!

“Why are you out alone so late?” Felix asked. “While you may not be afraid of vampires, you are still vulnerable to mortal attackers.” An idea flashed through Felix’s mind. “What if I got a gun? Would you be afraid of me then?”

The young man rolled his eyes again. “Why are you so intent on killing me?”

“I don’t want to kill you. I want to drink your blood.”

“And that’s not the same thing?”

Felix had to think about it. “No, I don’t think it is,” he said. “It’s true that my victims swoon, but I’m fairly certain they survive.”

The young man raised an eyebrow. “You don’t know for sure?”

“There isn’t much reason for me to linger after I’ve fed, is there?”

“I guess not.” He took another long drag of his cigarette. “So why do you want to drink my blood? You’ve already fed tonight.”

Felix looked at him with surprise. “How did you know that?”

“You’ve got blood on your chin.”

Felix wiped his face with the hand that wasn’t holding the door shut. Sure enough, it came away red. “Doesn’t that make you feel at least a little scared?” he asked plaintively.

The young man finished his cigarette with one final inhale, dropped the butt on the street, and then stubbed it out with his toe. “Sorry to say, but it takes a lot to make me feel anything at all.” He pulled out his pack of cigarettes again and took another one. “Would you like one?”

The young man offered the pack and his lighter. Felix stared at the cigarettes and then back at his face. The young man put his hand forward farther. “Go on. Take one.”

Felix frowned, wondering at the young man’s sudden generosity. John stood just out of reach, so Felix had to step closer to him to accept the pack and the lighter. Felix’s fingers brushed over the skin of the young man’s hand. It was so warm.

“Thank you,” Felix said, a little dazed.

“No problem.” The young man’s smile was dazzling.

Felix smiled back and turned his attention to the pack of cigarettes, pulling one out and readying the lighter—

—and then, quick as lightning, the young man slipped inside his apartment and slammed the door shut behind him.

Goddamnit!” Felix shouted after him, pounding on the door. “Come back out here!”

There was no answer. Felix stomped around in a circle, cursing. Once he composed himself, he went back to the door. “Well, I’m keeping your cigarettes! And your lighter! And you’ll never get them back!”

This also failed to get a response. Felix examined the lighter. On one side there was a figure etched into the metal: a dragon, or a demon. Some mythical creature, at any rate. On the other side, there was an engraving: To John. Love, Rob.

A gift, then. Perhaps he could use its sentimental nature to his advantage. “I really mean it!” he shouted. “I’ll throw this lighter in the sewer!”

Still no response.

With a huff, he zipped away. His preternatural speed meant he only had to travel a few moments before he reached the estate in Beverly Hills where he resided with his sister, Cat, and her husband, Richard. The sprawling wrought iron gates were shut, but unlike the young man’s closed door, the gates posed no barrier to him. He launched himself upward and over the curled letters that spelled out the name of the estate: HAPPY ENDINGS. Under it was the image of a boar, cast in iron. The sign’s rusted state made the promise of the words ring a bit false. Nevertheless, it was the only home he had, and he had no desire to meet the dawn.

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Meet the Author

Sera Trevor is terminally curious and views the thirty-five book limit at her local library as a dare. She’s a little bit interested in just about everything, which is probably why she can’t pin herself to one subgenre. Her books are populated with dragons, vampire movie stars, shadow people, and internet trolls. (Not in the same book, obviously, although that would be interesting!) Her works have been nominated for several Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards, including Best Contemporary, Best Fantasy, and Best Debut, for which she won third prize in 2015 for her novella Consorting with Dragons.

She lives in California with her husband, two kids, and a cat the size of three cats. You can keep up with her new releases and gain access to bonus content by signing up for her newsletter.

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Tour Schedule

11/27 The Blogger Girls

11/27 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

11/27 Bayou Book Junkie

11/27 Love Bytes

11/28 The Novel Approach

11/28 Divine Magazine

11/28 Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

11/29 Stories That Make You Smile

11/29 Shari Sakurai

11/30 Erotica For All

11/30 Happily Ever Chapter

12/1 MM Good Book Reviews

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