A MelanieM Review: The Botanist (The Sin Bin #3) by Dahlia Donovan

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

When mistaken identity leads a young botanist into trouble, Navy SEALs come to the rescue.

Aled Demers prefers plants over people. He survives an attack in Anguilla alive but emotionally and physically scarred. Back home in Cardiff, he struggles with PTSD and his unraveling life.

Wyatt “Earp” Hardy lives for his SEAL brothers. Retiring from military service brings new challenges for him to face. The last thing he expects is for his next mission to involve falling for the much younger botanist.

If the botanist has the strength to heal, can Wyatt find the courage to love?

If someone wanted a quick introduction to the writing style of Dahlia Donovan and a reason why they should definitely read her stories, then look no further than her novelette The Botanist (The Sin Bin #3).  At 84 pages, it has the emotional heft you would expect of a much larger novel, layered characters and relationships so fully developed that their range and dynamics flow off the page and into your heart.

It starts off with a rescue where Wyatt meet Aled, a victim of mistaken identity.  The result of that leaves Aled a mass of scars, inward and outward, unable to function.  Donovan is able to paint a clear picture of a  man crumbling under the effects of PTSD, it’s painful and you hurt for this gentle young botanist.  So does Wyatt.

This is a gentle story that starts from an act of extreme violence.  Of one man working to free another from the walls of fear and the horrors of his torture that now bind him.  Along the way they fall in love.  It’s the trust, the easing into each others lives, and finally the bravery to go forward…this time in tandem.

This is more a romance, there’s very little actual sex. That makes sense when you consider that most of the story Aled is so damaged that he is not feeding himself.  To have them jump into sex would destroy any authenticity the author is building up between her characters and her readers.  No, the beauty lies in the  conciseness of the narrative and the future unfolding for them both.

You don’t need to read the other stories in The Sin Bin but I absolutely recommend that you do.  The series is about a group of men that  support each other and their partners.  Their lives are intertwined and they make appearances in each others tales.  To read them in order is  to have a great understanding of each man, their “larger family” and back history.  Plus each story is such a wonder in itself, why miss them?

My only reason in not giving this 5 stars is a snippy one, I wanted more.  You will too.

Cover art by Claire Smith is lovely.  I love the Ginko leaf overlay and the faded background that binds all the series together.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Hot Tree Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 84 pages
Published August 26th 2017 by Hot Tree Publishing
ISBN139781925655063
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Sin Bin #3

The Sin Bin Series:

1. The Wanderer – BC & Graham

2. The Caretaker – Tens & Freddie

3. The Botanist (short story) – Aled & Wyatt

4. The Royal Marine – Hamish & Akash

5 The Unexpected Santa (short story) – Gray & Scottie

6. The Lion Tamer – Gray & Scottie

7. The Haka Ever After (short story) – Tens & Freddie

8. TBD – Zeb & Silus

A MelanieM Advent Review Day Calendar:Salvaging Claus Day (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by J. Alan Veerkamp

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

For three years, Filo has reveled in silence and solitude as the sole occupant of a space station, where he maintains the communication satellite.

Everything changes with the appearance of Luz Espina’s lifepod. Filo shares many interests with the flirtatious Luz, though Filo’s isolation has strained his communication skills. Still, Luz pushes all his buttons… and reminds him of the last man he was attracted to—an attraction that ended in disaster because the man was straight. When Luz learns Filo has never celebrated a holiday, he vows to cobble together a Claus Day celebration for them to share. But is it merely a friendly gesture… or something more?

Salvaging Claus Day by J. Alan Veerkamp is not the type of story you normally think of when you conjure up your idea of M/M Holiday Romances.  Its neither contemporary or even that romance with a touch of fantasy. No, this is straight up science fiction with an HFN ending that you sort of have to decide for yourself what you think is happening within the story.

The starting point is typical hardcore syfy.  Filo is a genetically engineered human being, designed for warfare but oddly ill prepared temperamentally for the job.  In this universe, that means he finds he has another aptitude (IT software) and follows that into a job in space.  Here he’s been living by himself since most of the previous crew left for various reasons.  The scenario is real, the descriptions of Filo and his job suitably science worthy and believable.  It feels isolated, scary, and tough.

Until you realize that Filo has a visitor on board…Lux Espina.  Luz came aboard after an accident and they’ve been dancing around each other the entire time he’s been on the station.

The rest of the small story concerns their evolving relationship, Lux helping Filo celebrate Claus Day, something a genetically modified human doesn’t understand, and watching them come together with hot sex, warm sympathetic emotions and much more.

Then the small twist appears.  Such a lovely little thing that sits there evilly daring the reader to keep processing this new thread further in their minds, extrapolating all the possible endings, unable to leave it alone at the simple way the  story closes.  At least it worked that way for me.

It irritated me in the  best way.  So yes, definitely not your typical Christmas romance, but a  terrific one just the same.  I liked it and recommend it as wonderful holiday reading.

Cover art by Paul Richmond is humorous, romantic, and fun as well as being the generic cover for the series.  Loved it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 34 pages
Published December 1st 2017
ISBN139781640802926
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers

A Stella Review: If the Fates Allow Holiday Anthology

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

During the holidays, anything is possible—a second chance, a promised future, an unexpected romance, a rekindled love, or a healed heart. Authors Killian B. Brewer, Lynn Charles, Erin Finnegan, Pene Henson, and Lilah Suzanne share their stories about the magic of the season.

*

Gracious Living Magazine Says It Has to Be a Live Tree
By Killian B. Brewer
Determined to make his first Christmas with his new boyfriend magazine-perfect, Marcus seeks the advice of lovable busy bodies, the Do-Nothings Club. When he learns that his boyfriend, Hank, may have ordered a ring, Marcus’ attempts to transform his home into a winter wonderland get out of hand.

Shelved
By Lynn Charles
When library clerk Karina Ness meets a new patron, lonely business owner, Wesley Lloyd, she puts her own love life on hold and begins a holiday matchmaking mission to connect Wes with her uncle Tony.

Last Call at the Casa Blanca Bar & Grille
By Erin Finnegan
As the one-year anniversary of his lover’s death rolls around on Christmas, Jack Volarde finds himself at their old haunt—a bar called the Casa Blanca, where a new bartender helps him open up about loss, and see brightness in a future that had grown dim.

True North
By Pene Henson
Shay Allen returns to her hometown in Montana for the holidays with her best friend Devon with the intent to return home to L.A. by New Year’s Eve. Instead, the weather traps them in the small town, but the there’s a bright spot: her old crush Milla is still in town.

Halfway Home
By Lilah Suzanne
Avery Puckett has begun to wonder if her life has become joyless. One night, fate intervenes in the form of a scraggly dog shivering and alone in a parking lot. Avery takes him to a nearby shelter called Halfway Home where she meets bright and beautiful Grace, who is determined to save the world one stray at a time.

I’m a fan of holiday stories and I’m a fan of this publisher o I soon jumped at the chance of having this collection of LGBT shorts on my hands. I have to say some titles worked better than others but it still was a pleasurable reading.

Gracious Living Magazine Says It Has to Be a Live Tree By Killian B. Brewer 5 stars

I was waiting for new works from this author since I read Lunch With The Do-Nothings At The Tammy Dinette on January and I was so happy to meet Marcus again here in this short. Marcusa has moved to Georgia six months ago, he’s now working at the Tammy Dinette. He got new friends, new job and a new lover, Hank, the hot mechanic. Since I adored the novel, I was over the moon the author filled my wish to know more about Marcus and his new life. I found them ready to spend their first Christmas together, but most of all, ready to take baby steps toward a real future side by side. And a little misunderstang added more spice to the plot. I loved it!

Shelved By Lynn Charles 3 stars

this is not the first story I read by this author and although I was able to see her amazing writing style, I didn’t loved Shelved as I loved the other books Lynn wrote. Maybe cause there is a “double story”, one with a ff couple and one with a MM couple. And I would have preferred to have just Wes and Tony romance, simply cause I’m more interested in mature MCs. That said, I liked this short story and the amazing people and athmosphere the author created.

Last Call at the Casa Blanca Bar & Grille By Erin Finnegan 3,5 stars

This was the first time I read this author’s work and it was a surprise. To be honest, I’m actually not sure why, cause the writing was really good and intriguing, but I soon at troubles with the reading and I found myself pretty bored, I didn’t understand where the author was going to lead Jack. I was hoping something was going to happened and the story to take a new energy. And then I got an answer, and everything fell into the right place. It gave me hope and faith. A touching short about love and grief.

True North By Pene Henson 4 stars

I like the author writing and I was expecting this to be a FF story, it didn’t go exactly how I was hoping and fearing, the usual fake boyfriend clichè was ignored and the plot went versus the friends to lovers theme. I liked how both girls slowly approached each other after years of being apart. And I adored the ending, the promise of a plan to actually be together, gave the short some reality.

Halfway Home By Lilah Suzanne 3 stars

This short warmed my heart, if you are a dog lover, you can’t not like it and cheer for Avery to come out of her shell and open her life to Grace and to the world. I hoped for her to find some happiness and joy in the arms of a beautiful woman and in the sweet Rudy.

The cover art by CB Messer is adorable.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook

Published December 1st 2017 by Interlude Press

ISBN13 9781945053481

Edition Language English

A Stella Advent Release Day Review: The Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change by Chris Scully

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

In the sunny playground of Palm Springs, growing up was something confirmed bachelor and bad-boy chef Joel avoided at all costs—until a close friend’s death made him reevaluate his priorities. Ever since, he’s been dedicated to helping his widowed friend Perry get back on his feet by teaching him to cook and providing a shoulder to cry on. But when Perry announces that he’s ready to start dating again and then begins receiving gifts from an anonymous secret Santa, Joel is forced to confront the feelings he’s suppressed for so long.

As Joel struggles with jealousy and guilt amid the holiday season, he must decide if he’s ready to grow up and reach for what he’s always wanted but never thought he could have.

This is exactly what I’m looking for in a holiday short, to be engaged and conquered by the characters and the plot since the first words. That’s exactly what the author gave me with this story. I fell in love with Joel and Perry from the start and I couldn’t wait for them to finally act on their feelings. It took some time but that time was needed to better see and understand both men and their  minds, I felt their thoughts in my mind and the deep love they shared for each other and for the beloved Dale.

I want to recommend this short story in the Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar and actually, all the books Chris Scully writes.

The cover art by Alexandria Corza is simple and clean but I don’t like it. In my opinion it misses a connection with the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 66 pages

Published December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN B078CQKKN7

Edition Language English

Series 2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers

An Alisa Review: My Choice, My Chance (Men of Crooked Bend #2) by Taylor Rylan

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5
After a disastrous relationship in college, Jasper Welsh swore he would never let anyone that close to him again. But after watching his twin fall in love with the man of his dreams, Jasper starts to realize that maybe there’s more to life than meaningless hook ups. After all, it’s been almost a decade since he’s taken a chance on someone again.
When a brutal ex almost kills Liam Campbell, he runs away with his best friend to Wyoming for Christmas with Rhett’s family. Little does he know, that even though he’s still broken and bruised, Liam’s life is about to be completely turned upside down when he meets Rhett’s brother, Jasper. But there’s no way Jasper could be interested in someone like him, right?
When Liam’s ex finds him in Wyoming and one of their family members almost pays the ultimate price, will the Welsh family forgive him for bringing danger to their family? Or will they fight for the battered young man and accept him with open arms?
Choices are made, and chances are taken when Jasper and Liam realize that their attraction for one another can’t be denied and must be explored. But with a wedding in the planning stages and an unforgettable bachelor party in Vegas, does the new couple really want to steal the grooms’ thunder?
Oh man, I enjoyed seeing Liam and Jasper find love and their happiness but there was just so much in this book that frustrated me.  Jasper wanted to protect Liam and did everything he could to go slow and almost too slow that he caused Liam to doubt them.  They both continued to doubt their relationship even after reassurances from each other.
How you can live near your sibling and work with him but not tell him who you’re in a relationship with and that you are living together.  Jasper’s thoughts of Sean and how they kept him in the dark was degrading to the man we met in the first book and made him seem much more whiny.  And I just couldn’t help but feel that Jasper was selfish in his secrecy and actions.
Unfortunately the most frustrating part was that this story did run right along with the first book so I felt I was reading much of that again but also that many things seemed to be repeated throughout this book.  By the end between selfish behavior and reading the same things multiple times I just couldn’t really enjoy it anymore.  I am interested in some of the others’ stories but think I’ll have to wait awhile before I can read them with a clear mind if they are similar to this.
The cover art by Jay Aheer is beautiful and follows the same style as the first in the series.
Sales Link: Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 290 pages
Published: August 19, 2017 by Taylor Ryan
Edition Language: English
Series: Men of Crooked Bend #2

Tara Lain on Snow Balls (Balls to the Wall #6) and her Series (author guest post and giveaway)

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Snow Balls (Balls to the Wall #4) by Tara Lain
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art by Reese Dante

Book Links: 

GoodreadsDreamspinner Kindle  | iTunes  | Kobo  | Nook  |  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Tara Lain here today on her tour for Snow Balls

 

Hi everyone. Welcome to the holidays and the celebration of my re-release of Snow Balls, one of my most popular stories.

Recently someone asked me if I base my books on myself or my own life. And, of course, the answer is yes, great pieces of me are transmitted in my books. My belief in true love, my quest for authenticity, my enjoyment of humor is all in there big time. And, of course, actual events also make it onto the page. Bits of people I know, places I’ve been. A lot of details about the town where I lived for 28 years, Laguna Beach, CA, are included in many of my books. And —, oh yes, my hatred of skiing! This latter detail has occupied a complete scene in my brand new re-release, Snow Balls. My hero, JJ LaRousse, who is pretending to be more alpha male than he is, goes cross country skiing with the man he has a passion for. He’s never been skiing, but keeps hoping it can’t be too hard. HA!

Yep, hatred is a good word. I have only been skiing once. It was plenty. Like JJ, I pictured myself shushing along the frozen pathways enjoying the beautiful scenery and the crisp air. Oh so wrong. I spent more time in a heap on the snow with skis tangled like pickup sticks. I could not stay upright for more than a few minutes before I would fly once again into a giant pile of Tara. Painful and humiliating. Not surprising, however. While I am moderately athletic — hiking, walking, Pilates, Yoga — I have always been terrible with anything attached to my feet more challenging than a pair of Jimmy Choos. Even as a kid, roller skating and I were only on passable terms and I never learned to ice skate. Give me a bike and I could go anywhere. On skates, I barely made it down the sidewalk. And skis were even more miserable.

Now, I’ve inflicted this calamity on my poor hero from Snow Balls. And he, like me, has to face the skiing instructor who stares down at his tangled mess of a body and says, “Let’s get organized!”  LOL.

I hope you enjoy Snow Balls and, despite the humiliation I put him through, enjoy rooting for JJ and his happy ever after.

Blurb

JJ LaRousse looks like a quarterback but acts like a queen. He’s trying to be proud of who he is—until a robbery at the famous Laguna Winter Fantasy brings JJ face-to-face with tough cop Ryan Star. JJ hears Ryan likes manly men, so he drops his voice an octave, colors his pink hair, and tries to pass as a football fan.

Ryan Star may be tough, but he keeps his sexuality to himself at work. He learned in New York that being a gay cop can be deadly. His attraction to JJ threatens his secret, but he’s finding it hard to back away from a guy who’s so totally his type. Then, during a ski trip and a confrontation with JJ’s biggest nemesis, all the façades come crashing down. In the aftermath, can Ryan love JJ for who he really is? More importantly, can JJ?

Excerpt

JJ stuck out his fist. Ryan looked a little startled, then bumped it. “So maybe I’ll see you Sunday.”

Ryan nodded. “Yeah. Yeah.”

Star turned and walked a couple of steps. He stopped and looked over his shoulder. “Hope so.” And he walked away toward the entrance to the grounds.

O. M. G. JJ wanted to sit down in the middle of the sawdust. Did he really see that look in Ryan Star’s eyes when the guy said those two words “Hope so”? Something that looked like he cared if he saw JJ again?

JJ certainly cared if he saw Ryan again. But what the hell? A Chargers game? How could he ever fake his way through that?

He took off at a run and made it to the booth in seconds. Rodney was talking to a few customers and David was on his cell, fingering the twinkle lights in JJ’s display. JJ took a deep breath. Finally, David hung up and JJ pounced. “Oh my god of the last kid chosen for kickball, Ryan Star asked me out.”

David grinned. “Of course, I’m a champion matchmaker.”

But what if…. “Actually, I’m not sure it’s a date. I mean, he asked me to go with him, but it could be just a guy thing, you know?”

“Tell me what he said.”

“He said he could pick me up, or we could meet somewhere.”

David screwed up his smooth forehead. “Hmm. That’s too neutral to tell. What else? Where’s he taking you?”

JJ’s grin defined sheepish. “A Chargers game.” JJ grinned anxiously. “That’s football, right?”

“You’re joking, darling?”

“It’s not football?”

“Yes, it’s football, but you’re seriously considering going to a football game?”

“Yes.” JJ’s hands started to flutter. “Oh God, David, what am I going to do? I don’t know anything about it at all.”

“About what?” Rodney stepped up next to David.

David glanced at his miniature friend. “Football. Somehow JJ has managed to get himself invited to a football game.”

JJ wailed. “And I don’t know the first thing!”

Rodney shrugged. “Simple.”

JJ frowned. “What’s simple?”

“Just ask Jerry. He’s the magical knower of all things boringly athletic. He will be your guru of football. Mick might help too.”

Of course, their good friends Jerry and Mick could cram some facts into JJ’s head.

David threw an arm around Rodney’s shoulder. “Brilliant. You’re brilliant, my dear.”

Rod smiled, then looked up at JJ’s head. “And speaking of football, where on earth did you get that ridiculous cap?”

JJ shrugged. “Ryan Star bought it for me.”

David whooped. “That’s it. In answer to your question, Detective Star is taking you on a date.”

 

 

Giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Series Info:

Series’s Name: Balls To The Wall

Books: http://amzn.to/2p4bQgd

Bk #1 Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33349613-volley-balls

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2imkfqv
B&N: http://bit.ly/HighBallsNookTL
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/volley-balls-1

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/volley-balls/id1189190904?mt=11

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/volley-balls-by-tara-lain-8014-b

Bk #2 Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33796355-fire-balls

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2k5WIuf
B&N: http://bit.ly/FireBallsNookTL

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/fire-balls-1
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fire-balls/id1193306447?mt=11

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fire-balls-by-tara-lain-8126-b

Bk #3 Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34774527-beach-balls

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2q5BXlp

iBooks:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/beach-balls/id1218355957?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/beach-balls-1

B&N:  http://bit.ly/BeachBallsNookTL   

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/beach-balls-by-tara-lain-8440-b

Bk #5 Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35214758-f-a-s-t-balls

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sFwv94

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fast-balls/id1231549302?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/fast-balls-1

B&N: http://bit.ly/FASTBallsNookTL

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fast-balls-by-tara-lain-8651-b

Bk #6 Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36098493-high-balls

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/high-balls-by-tara-lain-8904-b

Kindle: http://amzn.to/2fNezpg

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/high-balls/id1275142177?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/high-balls

Nook: http://bit.ly/HighBallsTLBN

Paperback

Paperback  bk 1 & bk2

Volley Balls & Fire Balls

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rD3VoU

B&N: http://bit.ly/VollyAndFireBallsPbTLBN

About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in gay romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 40. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Romantic Suspense, and more. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

Author Links:

Website:  http://taralain.com/

Blog: http://www.taralain.com/blog

Twitter: https://twitter.com/taralain

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/taralain

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/taralain/


Sign Up here: http://eepurl.com/ceU1nj

Social Media Posts

Is it always wrong to pretend to be Mr. Right? Snow Balls @taralain http://amzn.to/2jIN5SP

INTERLUDE TOUR If the Fates Allow Holiday Anthology (excerpts and giveaway)

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If the Fates Allow: A Holiday Anthology

from the Authors at Interlude Press, an LGBTQ Publisher

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host the tour for If the Fates Allow: A Holiday Anthology from Interlude Press.  If you love holiday stories, check out all the wonderful stories the authors have for you below, read the excerpts and don’t forget to enter the  giveaway at the bottom of the post!

SHELVEDLYNN CHARLES

Libraries are honored and respected institutions in our communities. From providing free literature for pleasure and information, to offering quiet work space and free Wi-Fi, a town’s library can be a sanctuary for anyone who wants or needs it.

In large metropolitan libraries, resources can seem limitless: musical scores; complete medical encyclopedia; drawers of historical maps; comic books; movies; books stretching in themes from fundamentalist Christianity to Paganism, from science fiction to horror to westerns to bodice ripping romance. Meeting rooms are available for community businesses, children have their own spaces where they can read, learn and engage their creativity. Some have cafes, most hold free classes for computer usage, job and careers, adult learning, or business and finance. The options seem as endless as the available materials. And their focus is on the entire community: young and old, rich and poor, all races, nationalities, sexual orientations and religions.

The Library Bill of Rights—yes, it’s a thing—requires it. It states that libraries should provide services for all people, present all points of view, challenge censorship, honor privacy of inquiry, and make the library and its full facilities available to all.

What happens, however, if you live in a smaller town, a conservative town? What happens when the administration who runs your library carries strong opinions about certain sectors of their own community? When they refuse to post a Pride display in June, or a collection of books celebrating Ramadan or Diwali? When even finding such books in circulation is difficult or downright impossible?

In “Shelved,” my short romance in the holiday anthology, If the Fates Allow, the story is told by Karina Ness, a library clerk who works in such a library. She has made it part of her mission at this small county library to diversify the catalog, to expand the offerings for her community who aren’t all white, straight, Protestant folk. She, and her new patron friend Wes, talk about the challenges of getting proper library materials when you’re not like “everyone else” in your community.

“Minions don’t have to provide résumés,” Karina explained. “We have to prove we can spell our names and recite the alphabet.”

Wes patted the seat next to him, and she took the invitation. “Not your dream job, I take it?”

“It’s a step. I was an annoying patron who wants to be an annoying librarian, so they gave me an opening.”

“You’re helpful, not annoying.”

“Well, you’re not the conservative circulation manager. Her, I annoy. Regularly. Because this is a library, not a Christian bookstore.”

“See, now. You proved it. You’re the kind of librarian I liked.”

“You were a library kid too?”

“I read like a fiend. Still do, but the books at school didn’t include many people that looked like me.”

“Sadly, they still don’t.”

“No. And once I was a teenager, I couldn’t find books that helped me understand why I thought boys were much cuter than girls.” He smiled. “No offense.”

“None taken. I mean, you’re wrong; girls are much cuter than boys.”

Wes smile broadened. “See? I needed librarians like you. Mom would take me up to the city library where they had more options. Once I could drive, I’d go and find the deepest stack and read everything I could.”

“Because you couldn’t take them home…”

“Nope. Especially with Dad.”

Which brings up another concern. Kids and teens want to see themselves in books—queer heroes fighting for a cause, boys who fall in love with boys, girls who think the girl in her math class is so incredibly hot, trans or enby kids who struggle to find their identity in our binary world. They don’t dare buy the books at the Scholastic Book Fair, or use allowance money to get them at the closest book store. Without a supportive family, bringing materials like that into their homes can be dangerous. Libraries are a safe haven to read, to steal away, to allow their imaginations run wild and to see themselves as their hero in their own story. And for kids in small towns, the haven isn’t as available if the books aren’t there.

In my story, having those types of books available might have made a huge difference to Karinas Uncle Tony, who didnt come to terms with his bisexuality until his 40s.

But it’s not hopeless. Karina Ness might be a fictional character, but she is in every town. Clerks and librarians like her regularly annoy acquisitions managers, some of whom would rather fill the shelves with Christian romance novels, and speak up for kids like Karina by doing what they can to get the materials in the hands of the readers who need them.

When I worked at my small county library, even though our situation was much like what Ive just mentioned, I quickly learned that if you request a book to be added to the circulation, a librarian will do their best to get it for you. Go equipped with titles or themes and talk to the people on the floor. If one person doesn’t seem helpful—or if she’s your Sunday School teacher or your next-door neighbor and you just cannot ask her—find someone else. If face to face isn’t something you’re comfortable with, even the smallest libraries have an online presence where you can make requests via email or an online form. I have never had a request rejected on premise of theme, character nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. If the administration of that library isn’t interested in diversifying its circulation, then help them out by letting them know that their community wants it. Your on-the-floor librarian should be glad to help you. If not, ask another.

Characters like Karina are on staff all over the country. Libraries, big and small, are truly for everyone.

*****

Lynn Charles is an author of queer contemporary romance novels. She lives in Central Ohio with her husband and daughter where a blind dog and his guardian cat rule the roost. She holds a bachelors degree in music education, worked at her county library, and absolutely never judged you for what books you checked out. Her novels Chefs Table (2014), Black Dust (2016)a finalist for the Foreword Review Indie Award in Romance, and Beneath the Stars (2017), can be found at Interlude Press, and most online book retailers. Keep up with Lynn at lynncharles.net.

IF THE FATES ALLOW  ~ SUMMARIES & AUTHORS

Gracious Living Magazine Says It Has to Be a Live Tree by Killian B. Brewer: Determined to make his first Christmas with his new boyfriend magazine-perfect, Marcus seeks the advice of lovable busy bodies, the Do-Nothings Club. When he learns that his boyfriend, Hank, may have ordered a ring, Marcus’ attempts to transform his home into a winter wonderland get out of hand.  Featuring the characters from Lunch With the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette.

Killian B. Brewer lives in his life-long home of Georgia with his partner and their dog. He has written poetry and short fiction since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. Brewer earned a BA in English and does not use this degree in his job in the banking industry. He has a love of greasy diner food that borders on obsessive. Lunch with the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette was published in January, 2017. His debut novel, The Rules of Ever After, is available from Duet Books, the young adult imprint of Interlude Press.

True North by Pene Henson: Shay Allen returns to her hometown in Montana for the holidays with her best friend Devon with the intent to return home to L.A. by New Year’s Eve. Instead, the weather traps them in the small town, but the there’s a bright spot: her old crush Milla is still in town.

Pene Henson has gone from British boarding schools to New York City law firms. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, where she is an intellectual property lawyer and published poet who is deeply immersed in the city’s LGBTQIA community. She spends her spare time enjoying the outdoors and gazing at the ocean with her gorgeous wife and two unexpectedly exceptional sons. Her first novel Into the Blue (Interlude Press, 2016) received a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Romance. Her second novel, Storm Season, was published by Interlude Press in 2017.

Last Call at the Casa Blanca Bar & Grille by Erin Finnegan: As the one-year anniversary of his lover’s death rolls around on Christmas, Jack Volarde finds himself at their old haunt—a bar called the Casa Blanca, where a new bartender helps him open up about loss, and see brightness in a future that had grown dim.

Erin Finnegan is a former journalist and a winemaker who lives in the foothills outside Los Angeles. Her novel Luchador was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2016, and along with her 2014 debut novel, Sotto Voce, received both a Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year award and a PW starred review. 

Halfway Home by Lilah Suzanne: Avery Puckett has begun to wonder if her life has become joyless. One night, fate intervenes in the form of a scraggly dog shivering and alone in a parking lot. Avery takes him to a nearby shelter called Halfway Home where she meets bright and beautiful Grace, who is determined to save the world one stray at a time.

Lilah Suzanne has been writing actively since the sixth grade, when a literary magazine published her essay about an uncle who lost his life to AIDS. A freelance writer from North Carolina, she spends most of her time behind a computer screen, but on the rare occasion she ventures outside she enjoys museums, libraries, live concerts, and quiet walks in the woods. Lilah is the author of the Interlude Press books SpicePivot and Slip, and the Amazon bestselling Spotlight series: Broken Records, Burning Tracks and Blended Notes.

Shelved by Lynn Charles: When library clerk Karina Ness meets a new patron, lonely business owner, Wesley Lloyd, she puts her own love life on hold and begins a holiday matchmaking mission to connect Wes with her uncle Tony.

Lynn Charles’ love of writing dates to her childhood, when thoughts, dreams, frustrations, and joys poured onto the pages of journals and diaries. She lives in Central Ohio with her husband and adult children where a blind dog and his guardian cat rule the roost. When she’s not writing, Lynn can be found planning a trip to New York or strolling its streets daydreaming about retirement. Her novel Black Dust (2016) was named a finalist for a Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year award. Her other novels include Beneath the Stars (2017) and Chef’s Table (2014).

Excerpts

Gracious Living Magazine Says It Has to Be a Live Tree by Killian B. Brewer

Hank ran his hands down Marcus’s back and tucked them into Marcus’s back pockets. He pulled Marcus tight against his body. “So how was it today?”

“It was a good day, Baby.” The warmth of his boyfriend’s body soothed Marcus’s tired muscles, and he relaxed into the embrace. Marcus breathed in deeply at Hank’s collar bone. The smells of the home-cooked food reheating upstairs that lingered in Hank’s cotton shirt mixed with his cologne and filled Marcus with two types of hunger. He satisfied one by turning his face and placing his lips on Hank’s. The other man let out a low hum of pleasure as they kissed. Marcus pulled away slightly and looked into Hank’s eyes. “I’m going to want seconds of that later, but right now I’m starving.”

“Let’s get upstairs and get to rectifying that.” Hank stepped toward the stairs and pulled Marcus along behind him, only letting go of his hand when they reached the narrow stairway and had to ascend single file. “You can tell me all about how the dinner went. Was it a big crowd?”

“Big doesn’t even begin to describe it. I can’t count how many plates I fixed today.” Marcus concentrated on Hank’s backside, which was accented by worn spots on his tight blue jeans, as it bounced up the stairs ahead of him. The sight of Hank’s firm body inches away and the scents of food wafting from the apartment set Marcus’s two hungers warring inside him. As he clomped upward, a loud rumble from his stomach signaled which desire would win this time.

“Was that your stomach?” Hank paused on the stairs and turned to shoot Marcus a concerned look.

“Yeah,” Marcus’s answered as he pushed Hank up the stairs into the apartment, “we need to get some food into me.” Remembering the Do-Nothings admonition not to ruin Hank’s surprise, he added, “I’m so tired I can barely climb these stairs. I don’t think I can cook another thing today. Maybe we should just make a frozen pizza.”

Hank spun around and grabbed Marcus by both wrists. Excitement danced in his eyes, and he shook his shoulders. “I’ve got a surprise for you! I made us a whole Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey and everything!” He pulled Marcus into the apartment and gestured toward the folding table beside the kitchenette along the wall of the large, open loft. “You don’t have to cook any more today!”

The table was covered with a russet tablecloth and had orange tapers burning in the center of a spray of autumn leaves and berries. Two plates sat on brown placemats embroidered with yellow leaves that Marcus recognized from Helen’s kitchen table. He was sure the tablecloth, napkins, and centerpiece belonged to the Do-Nothings as well.

“Oh, Hank. It’s beautiful. You shouldn’t have.” Marcus turned and kissed Hank on the cheek. His stomach interrupted the kiss with a loud grumble. “But, clearly, I’m so glad you did.”

“I wanted to make our first Thanksgiving together a special night.” Hank beamed as he stepped over to the counter and pointed out bowls of food arrayed there. “And I made all your favorites. Cathead biscuits. Creamed corn. And look!” Hank picked one bowl and thrust it toward Marcus. “Real mashed potatoes. Not from a box!”

True North by Pene Henson

Milla Dalya. Shay stopped worrying about the crowd of neighbors and her mom introducing Devon as her girlfriend. She stopped breathing too.

“Old crush,” she’d said to Devon in the car. “Nothing important.” That might not have been the whole truth.

For the first six months of high school, Shay had been first on the school bus each morning. Halfway through freshman year Milla and her twin brother Luka and uncle Ilie had moved into the dilapidated horse ranch up the hill. From then on, Milla and Luka were first on the bus; Shay was second. The three of them rode twenty minutes around the mountain before collecting anyone else.

That first frosty day, Milla had smiled at Shay.

“Oh, no,” Shay had thought as she pulled off her thick gloves and shoved them in her backpack. Milla’s smile was sudden and waywardly infectious. It balanced the seriousness of the girl’s pale, freckled face and silvery eyes.

Shay had managed to smile back and sit four seats away. Not too close, not too far. That was the trip to school. On the way home, Milla had asked Shay’s name. By week two they were sitting at the front of the bus sharing Shay’s iPod and a set of earbuds. When the bus swung around the mountain, Shay’s black, puffy jacket pressed against Milla’s sky-blue one.

They weren’t friends exactly. Shay didn’t have friends. She spent any time that wasn’t a class training in the gym or on the football field. She had goals.

Anyway, they’d never shared a class or a lunch break. Milla was a year older and a grade above Shay. She was soft-spoken and horse-mad, but so were lots of girls in Big Timber. She was quickly surrounded by people. Shay understood that. Milla was pretty and seemed easy with herself—graceful. She fit.

They weren’t friends, but however many other kids Milla could have sat with on the bus, she always saved a seat for Shay. They were bus allies. They ignored Luka and his friends and their never-ending noise. With the help of her iPod, Shay took on the development of Milla’s musical palate. Now and then, between Aaliyah and Amerie, Milla talked about her horses and the farm. Shay talked about fishing and basketball.

They weren’t friends, but every time Shay took the court, home or away, she scanned the bleachers to find Milla among the spectators before the starting whistle blew. And most afternoons Shay would run up the hill beside her house, testing herself on its uneven slope. At the top she’d look down on Milla’s blue-roofed farmhouse. Sometimes she’d see Milla walk across to the stables.

She didn’t jog down the hill to visit. It was simply reassuring to see the place, always there under the huge, blue bowl of the sky.

The whole brief time they’d shared here in nowhere, Montana, every single time Shay had seen Milla, it was as if she was the only person in the room.

Last Call at the Casa Blanca Bar & Grille by Erin Finnegan

Taking a seat at the Casa Blanca was like stepping out of a time capsule in Morocco circa 1941, by way of Hollywood. Located on the ground floor of an aging hotel, it greeted patrons with the sound of big band music on the stereo and framed photos of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman on the walls. Cast on crimson and gold accents, the warm, dim lighting suggested a permanent midnight.

A comfortable oddity compared to its five-star competition up the hill, the Casa Blanca’s style was part homage to the classic film, part tequila bar. The owner insisted on a sense of classic style— no jeans or T-shirts for its bartenders, who wore crisp, white dress shirts and black slacks, though he capitulated on the bow ties when the bartenders rose up against wearing the constrictive neck ware.

Admittedly, the Casa Blanca hadn’t always been Jack’s idea of a great bar. It had been an acquired taste, born of devotion and a willingness to follow. To some, it came across as fashionably ironic: Kasbah décor-meets-Mexican restaurant to a soundtrack from the American songbook. Jack would protest that it was a hipster joint, would try to default to something fashionably modern atop Bunker Hill, an elegant spot with a view, but the Casa Blanca’s quirks and contradictions grew on him over time.

Like a fungus, he would say.

Like love, he would be admonished.

Maybe it became so much a part of his routine because it was where they had spent many of their best moments together, and a few of their worst.

The Casa Blanca was a habit born out of a relationship, a routine that died of unnatural causes one year ago.

Rattan fans swirled overhead, casting erratic shadows across the depths of the near-empty room. Televisions at opposite ends of the bar echoed the play-by-play of ESPN in hushed and reverent tones; the voice of the broadcast team usurped by Peggy Lee.

At the far corner, his back to the entrance, a solitary bartender wiped glasses while glancing at the game.

“You open?” Jack asked.

“So long as you’re thirsty,” he answered without so much as a glance in Jack’s direction, as if anticipating the interruption. “But the kitchen’s closed.”

“That’s all right,” Jack said. He made himself comfortable at a table a few feet from the bar and adjusted his chair to face the television. It might not have been sociable, but he wasn’t here for conversation.

A napkin floated to the table. A bowl of Chex Mix settled in front of his fingertips. “What are you drinking?”

Jack glanced at the bartender’s hands without looking up—the prominent veins hinted at athleticism and the nails were buffed to a soft sheen.

He drank beer at games, but beer was a drink for the sociable, to be consumed among friends. Whiskey had an appropriately solitary feel, but seemed out of place for a warm evening.

“Tequila,” he said. “Casa Dragones.”

“And here I had you figured for bourbon.”

Halfway Home by Lilah Suzanne

She drives to Grace’s house next, even more anxious than she was about staging Rudy’s escape. “Just be glad you don’t have to date,” she tells Rudy, scooping out a bite of drippy ice cream. “You’d be dead inside after a while of that too.” Avery holds out the ice cream lid for Rudy to lick. Can dogs eat ice cream? It’s probably fine. “See? Who doesn’t like vanilla ice cream, right? It’s like all other ice cream owes vanilla its existence. Rocky road. Cookie dough. Moose Tracks. Cookies and cream.” Rudy looks plaintively up at her, so she sets the now-empty carton down on the seat for him. “Okay, yeah. I’m stalling.”

Covering him with the blanket again, Avery cuts the engine, promising to be back quickly before the cold seeps in, then runs up Grace’s driveway before she chickens out. Grace answers with two of her dogs at her heels.

“Hi,” Avery says, clouds of steam puffing out as she speaks. “Sorry to drop by.”

“It’s okay, I’m glad you did.” Grace smiles, and Avery shivers.

“I um, had a weird, yet inspirational, talk with Santa. I mean not real Santa. I don’t think he’s real; you know what I—”

Grace laughs. “I get it, yeah.”

Avery exhales a cloudy breath. “Okay. The thing is, I’ve been settling for feeling nothing because it was safe, or I thought it was, but I don’t want to feel numb anymore. Even though my nose and fingers do actually feel numb right now.” She rubs at her nose. It’s so cold; she has to wrap this up and get back to Rudy. “I just wanted to tell you that I really, really like you a lot. Like I haven’t liked anyone as much as you… ever, actually. Yes, including the person I lived with because— because I was afraid to speak up and say how I really felt. But I’m not anymore. Grace, meeting you was fate. And I don’t even believe in fate, but I don’t know what else it could be. If you need time, then I can give you time. But this is real, and it’s worth the risk to me.” Avery turns and jogs down the steps, not giving Grace a chance to respond. She said what she had say, she did what she needed to do and she’s proud of that, whatever happens or doesn’t happen. “Merry Christmas, Grace.”

Grace calls her name, just once, soft and hesitant. Avery doesn’t turn. The timing isn’t right, and that’s okay. It will be. Avery tucks this moment away, an ember warm and steady in her chest: hope.

Shelved by Lynn Charles

He put the car in drive, cranked up the heat, and grinned. “Point the way!”

She chewed on her bottom lip as she gathered the courage to mention the daydreams that had kept her mind occupied that afternoon. “I’ve been thinking,” she said. She kept her eyes on the road ahead in case her next sentence flopped like a basket of rotten tomatoes. “You might like my Uncle Tony.”

Wes remained quiet; his finger, softly tapping to the music, never paused. “Huh. What’s so special about Uncle Tony?”

Karina dared a glance Wes’s way. He seemed cautiously interested. “Well, he’s… I mean, he’s—” She was not going to say Uncle Tony’s interest in men was the main impetus. That was absurd and wrong, but— “He was married to my Aunt Jodi.”

“Your Aunt Jodi.” Wes pulled up to a traffic light. “If he was married to your aunt—what makes you think he’d be interested in me?”

Karina rolled her eyes. “There are such things as bisexuals, you know.”

“I—I do know, yes. I’m sorry.” He looked at her with a pained smile. “I’m so out of the dating game that I—yes.” He continued to tap his steering wheel to the music. “You said ‘was’ married—is that why it’s past tense?”

“Yeah. He didn’t come to terms with it until later and… she wasn’t keen on the idea.”

“That’s a shame,” he said. “Thing is, I’m not too sure I’m keen on getting back in the dating game.”

“But it’s Christmas!”

“What does that have to do with—” Before taking off from the light, he shot a look at her. “Your love bomb and your Christmas spirit are still tangled.”

She ignored him; of course they were tangled. That was the point. “But, Wes… walks in the snow and packages with pretty bows and eggnog under the tree.”

“You know, some people like being alone at Christmas.”

“Oh, come on. No one likes it; they put up with it. You said you were my age when—look, it was a long time ago, and maybe it’s time—”

“How old do you think I am?”

“You’re forty-six. Turn right up here.”

“Huh. Someone did more than fix my résumé, I see.” The smile he’d been visibly fighting this entire conversation finally broke free.

“Look, Uncle Tony is lonely, and you seem—”

“Lonely?”

“Well. Yes? And I think he’d make you laugh, and he loved James and the Giant Peach as a kid too…” She lingered and hoped that revelation would spark the ultimate flame. When he didn’t flinch, she rushed on. “And he makes the most amazing pasticiotti that should never go unshared.”

Pasticiotti?”

“It’s these custard-filled pastry… pie… things, and they take forever and a day, and he destroys his kitchen and my waistline. He shoves them off on his clients because—” She stopped rambling. Wes was laughing, and they’d driven right by her house. She directed him around the block.

“Does Uncle Tony know you’re trying to hook him up with a failed businessman?”

Giveaway

Book Tour Rafflecopter Giveaway:
Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of If the Fates Allow// Five winners receive the multi-format eBook

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Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Junkyard Heart (Porthkennack #7) by Garrett Leigh

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Junkyard Heart (Porthkennack #7) by Garrett Leigh
Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: GD Leigh

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Garrett Leigh’s Junkyard Heart tour. Thank you for such a wonderful interview.

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Garrett Leigh Interview ~

  •  House of Cards featured Calum Hardy and Brix Lusmoore, and Kim Primrose was a part of their story.  Now we have Junkyard Heart, Kim’s story.  How much of that cast returns?

Pretty much all of them. There’s Kim and his BFF/Ex Lena, Lee, Brix, and Calum. Plus new character Jas, and his family. It was a lot of fun to bring them all together again, and add the new faces to the mix.

  •   Since Porthkennack is such a small, ancient village with tight connections everywhere, will those be as visible as they were in the previous story?

Yes. Kim is a Porthkennack native, and Brix’s oldest friend, so he has the same connections and links that Brix had, as well as some unique to him. For example, much of the furniture that comes out of his woodshop is made from materials scavenged on the beaches.

  •    What draws you to write where such a location is as much a character in the story as Porthkennack is?

I was super excited to be invited to write for the Porthkennack series. I’ve never written about a location such as Porthkennack, and unraveling its mysteries was a complex task, especially when there were four other authors to consider. Pulling all our ideas together was awesome.

  •   Would you or do you live in such a small tightly woven community as Porthkennack?  If you don’t, would you like too and why?  If not, why?

I like the idea of a tiny community like that, but I don’t think I’d want everyone knowing my business! That being said, Porthkennack turned out to be far more diverse and welcoming than you might imagine of a small English town.

  •   When you write a character such as Kim who’s a carpenter, how much research do you do into his profession?  Or the professions of all your characters?  Or does sometimes it work in the reverse?  You get interested in a profession and then assign it to a character?

My partner is a jack of all trades, so the carpentry thing wasn’t too hard. He’s also a pro photographer, so that was Jas covered. I usually to pick professions that I have a good knowledge of beforehand. I worked as a chef for many years, and know a lot about tattooing. My brother was in the military, and I know a lot of nurses who work in various hospital departments. I think it’s a dangerous game to set a book in a profession/location that you know nothing about, and getting bogged down in research can really affect your word flow.

  •  How many more stories do you intend to write in this Porthkennanck series?

No more, I’m afraid. To the best of my knowledge, the Porthkennack series is complete.

 

 

About Junkyard Heart

Tired of the London rat race and the heartbreak that comes with it, photographer Jas Manning returns to Porthkennack, the Cornish seaside town where he spent every childhood summer on his father’s farm. Resigned to year-round rain, wind, and homemade jam, he’s sorely unprepared for the impact that artsy carpenter Kim Penrose has on his heart.

Kim’s free-loving reputation precedes him, and he’s as generous with his inked-up body as he is with his time. The sex is hot, the easy friendship even better, and Jas’s time with him building his family’s new farmhouse canteen is everything Jas was missing in his empty city life.

But Kim’s carefree existence isn’t as simple as it appears. He’s worked hard to vanquish his demons and build his dreams, but the devil on his shoulder is ruthless, and when it comes to call, their happy bubble bursts like it was never there at all. The canteen opening looms, but Kim is gone in more ways than one, and it’s down to Jas to shore up Kim’s soul and convince him that he deserves his place in Jas’s heart.

Available now from Riptide Publishing.

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

Social media:

Website: http://garrettleigh.com

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

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

Cover art enquiries: blackjazzdesign@gmail.com

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Junkyard Heart, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 9, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Spotlight on Only with You (Only Colorado #1) by JD Chambers (excerpt)

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Only with You (Only Colorado #1) by JD Chambers
Publication: December 5th 2017
Cover designer – Garrett Leigh; blackjazzdesign.com

Available for Purchase at:

Amazon global link: http://getBook.at/OnlyWithYou

Goodreads

Blurb

“I guess if the worst thing I’m doomed to in life is mediocre sex, my life isn’t too bad.”

Self-starter and business analyst Zach Keller is living his dream life. He spends his days working from home in his favorite Tolkien t-shirts and pajamas while mothering his best friend-slash-roommate. The fact that his sex life is a bust and his love life is nonexistent? Unimportant. After his college boyfriend berated him for his unconventional desires, Zach doesn’t plan on sharing that part of himself ever again, anyway.

“I’m tired of feeling like I missed out on something by not going to college.”

Craig Pela isn’t lonely. He has tons of friends and weekends packed with activity. He hasn’t needed anyone since he left home at eighteen and never looked back. But everyone around him is moving forward in life, while he still works the same retail job at the same video game store, and it’s making him question his life choices. After all, he doesn’t want to be the loser still playing video games at fifty, does he?

As their relationship develops, Zach’s shy nature melts away to reveal an irrepressible geek that charms the pants off Craig. And Craig’s kind patience and ability to match him obscure quote for quote leaves Zach wondering if he’s finally met the man he can be his true self with. After all, how can someone else love you when you keep a part of yourself hidden.

Book length – 230 pages
Preorder price – $3.99
KU enrolled? – Yes

Excerpt

PROLOGUE

THREE YEARS EARLIER

“Look at that pretty boy watching us,” Eric says with a nod to a slim blond in skinny jeans and leather bracelets that’s been eye-fucking us on the dance floor. Eric’s dick grinds against my ass, and I lean heavily against him, throwing back another shot that miraculously found its way into my hand. They keep appearing, and I keep drinking them without question.

“Uh huh,” I slur and lock eyes with the man Eric pointed out. The blond lifts his drink to his lips and licks them slowly after a suggestive swallow, but his eyes never leave mine.

“Wouldn’t you like to take him home with us? Fuck that pretty mouth?” Eric’s breath is hot against my ear, making me feel even stickier from the sweat of the dance floor. “I bet he’d look so good, laid out between us.”

This is it. Every fantasy I’ve ever had, come to life. Sharing my body with my boyfriend and a stranger who wants me, wants to use me just for a night. Letting my boyfriend take pride in what I’m able to give him, taking what is his and allowing some lucky stranger to see a tiny glimpse, share a small part of me, but never be able to really have me. I’ve been sporting wood all night on the dance floor, but Eric’s murmurings have me diamond hard and tenting my pants as I stumble across the floor to reach our admirer.

“Wanna hang out with me and my boyfriend?” I try to teasingly trail a finger down his arm, but my hands are kind of tingly and I end up palming his biceps instead. I notice Eric rushing past and out the door, so I don’t even wait for a response.

“Come on.” I receive a stunning grin in return for my obviously expert flirting, and he hurries with me out the door to find Eric.

“Are you kidding me right now?” Eric yells, and the giddy feelings that have been bubbling up from my stomach and scattering around my brain like champagne crash faster than a bottle cork in hypergravity.

“Get away from me, freak!” Eric pushes at my sternum, not bothering to hide his disgust.

“But you said …”

“Everyone says it.” The thumping of the club music just around the corner almost drowns out Eric’s snarls. The cute guy with the straight blond hair and leather cuffs left me to Eric’s wrath at the first hint of his displeasure. Fuck. It took so much liquid courage to approach him in the first place. “But it’s just a fantasy. You really are a slut, aren’t you?”

“No, I …” I have no ready response for him, and I need to stop talking anyway. I can’t hide the wavering of my voice the longer this drawsout.

“Lose my number,” Eric says, and I slump against the brick wall of the alleyway as he storms back through the heavy steel doors. Not back to the dorms, to drown his sorrows about my betrayal or his disappointment in the slutty things his now ex-boyfriend wanted. No, he’s returning to the club, probably to pick up where we left off with the twink I approached for him. Or to continue dancing like we were not ten minutes ago, only this time without the shackles of me as his dance partner holding him back.

And now I’m alone, always alone, dizzy and drunk and trying to figure out how to get back to campus. With both Eric and the blond gone, I have no choice but to call CSU’s stupid Ram Ride to get back to the dorms. I’m so fucking stupid. To think I had a real shot with Eric. To think anyone would actually want a guy with the fucked-up desires that I have.

The waves of nausea hit me with barely enough time to lean from my spot on the curb and puke into the gutter. A white car with the tiny green logo pulls up, and it’s a girl’s voice that mutters, “Please don’t puke in the car” under her breath.

I hold onto that one, solitary goal as we make our way back to campus, as if succeeding at not puking in the free drunk-student car suddenly makes me not a total loser.

 

 

About the Author

JD Chambers wanted at various times to be Indiana Jones, Pat Benatar, and Wonder Woman when she grew up. She never considered writing down the stories she crafted in her head. They provided nothing more than entertainment for long drives or sleepless nights, until one particular story insisted it didn’t want to reside only in her noggin.  She hasn’t stopped writing since.

JD finds unlikely heroes, humans courageous enough to be themselves, and spreadsheets incredibly sexy — the last one much to her husband’s chagrin.  Together, they raise three teenagers and the world’s most mellow Chihuahua on the Oregon Coast.

Author website – http://www.jdchamberswrites.com/