A MelanieM Review: Demon Familiar (Wanted #1) by Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham (repost)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sometimes when you don’t know what you want, life gives you what you need. 

When Neil Markovic witnesses the murder of his mother by Bone Men his world is thrown into turmoil. On the run from the assassins that killed her, his sorcerer father and the police, Neil finds help in the form of a tall half fae alchemist named Malachai. Mal seems more accepting than most of Neil’s demon bloodline, but curiously immune to his charms.

Malachai Valentine, disgraced scion of a noble Leprechaun clan, back in the Old Country, is happy living as an anonymous scrap dealer. Using his talent for alchemy to make fuel and potions, most days he doesn’t even think of his ruinous past. When a scared young man with a fancy car crashes into his life, at first, Mal thinks he can do without the hassle. But as Neil begins to get under his skin, Mal starts to reassess his hopes and ambitions.

Harassed by megalomaniac fae and stalked by sorcerous killers at every turn, Malachai and Neil must fight to be free, and to find what they both truly wanted.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, murder and non-consensual sex.

When I finished Demon Familiar, I just wanted to do a little teeth gnashing.  Where, oh, where, was the next book in this series? Oh, wait…not to be published until August 2018.  Let the wails commence.  That’s because at the end of this gritty, sometimes tender, occasionally horrific but always, always riveting story I wanted nothing more than for it (and this couple and other characters) to continue.

Demon Familiar by Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham is the first in their new Wanted series and as such left some fairly large mysteries looming large while the overall arc for this story was resolved.  Yes, I was completely satisfied yet I knew just as Mal and Neil’s relationship was going to grow and deepen so would their journey that would continue to explain each of their back histories.  And I can’t wait.

The authors were masters at the tease here.

They gave us intriguing (and so often appalling hints as to events in Mal’s past and elements from Neil’s, that had our own speculations leaning from the tortuous to the downright insane.  And probably being right.  On top of that, they weave Gaelic mythology into an alternate city of  Detroit that’s just familiar enough to be both alien and mundane.  What a marvelous location.  It felt like a character itself with its atmosphere and vivid descriptions.

I loved the way the authors carefully built the relationship between Mal and Neil, while exposing both characters to the readers (alternating pov).  This is a big cast, full of fae, gremlins, demons, and more.  Not high fantasy but more urban fantasy,  the gritty underbelly of society for many.  Think pimps, drugs, whores and thieves.  And with that comes non-con for a section.  It’s only a section but its there and I expect to see it again for reasons I will not go into in the upcoming stories.  Maybe wrong but I don’t think so.  People and beings are in part a commodity in certain sections of town here.

They have just started their world building and it’s only going to get better because the foundation is already rock solid.

I thought it ended a little too soon but I’m hoping the next book picks up directly after the events of this one.  My mind is buzzing over a few clues here and there, and the mysteries left unsolved.  I want more of these characters and more of Mal and Neil.  I want their backstories and I want their future.  I can’t wait for this series to go forward.

Pick this one up which I highly recommend and join me in waiting for the next one to roll out.

Cover art: Posh Gosh.  The red head works for Mal but in no way does the dark haired character work for the incandescent youth Neil.

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 244 pages
Expected publication: June 19th 2018 by Pride Publishing
ISBN139781786516695
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWanted #1

A VVivacious Review: Just A Year (Just A #2) by Jena Wade

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Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Seth and Maddox have been in a long term relationship for a year and a half and just when they think that they can finally be together, Seth’s career drags him in another direction. But as Seth and Maddox keep reminding themselves it’s just for a year. But as it turns out life has other plans for these two…

I guess this story is the culmination of the lesson that Seth had begun to learn in the first book that, time and tide wait for no one. I also liked the fact that while Seth realises that his approach to life might need to be tweaked he still remains to be the guy who plans out everything he can in his life, now, just with the experience of knowing that not everything will work out the way he wants it to.

Seth and Maddox have been in a relationship for quite some time now and seeing them together and in love is amazing. I’m really happy for these two.

This story is further proof that Seth has learnt his lesson of not judging things based on isolated incidents but trying to really see things as they stand instead of painting everybody with the same colours.

I liked how this story contrasted the two sides of  “an entire year” with “just a year”. The former being a realisation of how much life could change in a year and the latter dismissing a year in relevance to a lifetime. I also liked how both Maddox and Seth were yo-yoing between these two points of view.

Overall this was an enjoyable read with another lesson to be learnt at its heart.

Cover Art by Silver Heart Design Studio. I liked the cover.

Sales Links:

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 87 pages
Published May 12th 2018
ASINB07D22KPVF
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesJust A #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Denim (A Material World #4)by KC Wells

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

KC Wells has hit my favorite hot buttons with this story—two sweet older guys, one a sexy construction worker, and the other a bear who has no concept of his own appeal.  Both in their thirties but with two diametrically different views of the world, when Tony spots a cute bear headed into his nearby work site, he has to wolf whistle, right?  Too bad it takes days for Harry to realize he’s the object of the whistles coming from the construction site where the cute guy with the muscles is working.

This story is a journey of discovery for Harry, who begins as a guy with a poor outlook on life—dead end job in a dead end neighborhood with no good future prospects. Forget men—his clubbing days are long gone since he moved back home to take care of his ailing mother who passed away a while ago.  He hasn’t even cleaned out her closets and family memorabilia. Why bother? 

Tony, on the other hand, recognizes his value and enjoys his family, though he’d rather not still be living with his mother at age 30. But he’s full of life and he loves a bear—specifically the one he spots every day, so he sets his heart on Harry and won’t take no for an answer. Fortunately, it works, and though it takes time, he eventually convinces Harry that he really wants him and desires him exactly as he is.  Too bad Harry’s self-esteem is so low that he can’t help believing that Tony would like him better if he were thinner. 

That plan doesn’t work well, thankfully, and by the end of the story, it’s evident that this couple is truly meant for one another.  I appreciated the author’s treatment of Harry’s issues, not making light of his very real fears, but showing the consequences of the actions he chose to make changes.  Tony is a sweetheart with a hoard of friends, many of whom we meet and get to enjoy, and Tony’s persistence, love, and support bring Harry to the peace and contentment he never believed he’d have. 

I recommend this to those who enjoy MM romance among the over 30 group, especially those that feature characters struggling with personal issues and self-esteem.

~~~~

Cover by Meredith Russell features a close-up of a young man in a denim jacket, open to reveal his smooth chest. This represents Tony, the sexy construction worker—spot-on and attention-getting and in keeping with the series theme.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 229 pages
Published June 7th 2018
ASINB07DM7DDC9
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesA Material World #4 settingEngland
Croydon, England (United Kingdom)

An Alisa Review: Expecting (Pine Wood Falls #1) by Sarah Havan

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Conrad Mayfair is finally becoming comfortable in his own skin, so he wants to tell his best friend Mason that he’s gay and in love with him. He can’t seem to get the words out, though. But soon the flirting starts, followed by a weekend of marathon sex, and the shocking news a few months later that Conrad is going to be a father.

Something’s going on with nineteen-year-old Mason Donnelly. He seems to be developing breasts, has felt sick for months, and is constantly tired. After a doctor’s appointment to try to figure things out, his life flips upside down. He learns not only is he intersex, but he’s also pregnant, a condition only made possible because Mason is an omega and Conrad is his alpha.

Conrad and Mason are introduced to a new way of life they knew nothing about. While Conrad is willing to jump in and accept it, Mason isn’t so sure. Together, they have to decide if it’s a life they truly want.

This was a very sweet story and I loved the concept of this taking place in the real world.  Mason isn’t sure about the changes that are happening to his body but he definitely appreciates how Conrad reacts to them.  Conrad has been trying to figure out how to tell Mason how he feels and their hormones seem to get the best of them which pushes them both in the right direction.

Mason has always been thought of as a “late bloomer” but finds out he is so much more and isn’t quite sure how he feels about that.  Now that Conrad has come around to his feelings he is ready to grab Mason and not let go forever.

These two were just so cute, we get to see them coming to terms with themselves and learning more about themselves and each other that bring them even closer together.  I could feel Mason’s confusion and frustration at learning something new that made him doubt how he had felt his whole life but how wonderful it was once he accepted the changes that were happening in his life.  I loved Conrad’s unwavering support and his ability to go with the flow that counteracted Mason’s nerves.  This was a wonderful start to a new series and I can’t wait to read more stories what they come out, I hope we get to see Thomas find his HEA.

The cover art by Melissa Liban is absolutely adorable and perfect for this story.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 262 pages

Expected Publication: June 21, 2018

Edition Language: English

Series: Pine Wood Falls #1

Sandine Tomas On Writing, Characters and The Music of Love (guest blog and giveaway)

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The Music of Love by Sandine Tomas

Dreamspinner Press

Cover art: Bree Archer

The Music of Love Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon:

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Sandine Tomas here today.  Welcome, Sandine and thank you for answering several of our author questions.

 

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Sandine Tomas 

My name is Sandine Tomas and I want to say thanks for the opportunity to share a little about myself and my debut novel, The Music of Love. Stay till the end for information about how to win a free e-book!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I’ve wondered this about authors I’ve loved—how much of themselves have they put on the page. It reminds me of a line from the Anna Nalick song, “Breathe”: “And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd./ ‘Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud.”

The truth is that there is a lot of myself in Julian, the lead character in The Music of Love. He’s a loveable neurotic who second guesses himself. A lot. I might do that from time to time. Except when I don’t.

Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

In creating Julian I did worry about this. He knows he can be annoying. And that’s not just his insecurities – he really can be that way. The thing is, his heart is in the right place. In fact, that’s what attracted me to Julian – his ability to love. He’s the opposite of the repressed, brooding hero. Julian knows he’s emotional and is aware that he falls in love fast and hard. But he’s been burned before and that makes him want to hold back this time. If he can.

Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I love research! I was one of those geeks in college that didn’t mind the research papers. For The Music of Love I researched Washington, DC and Texas. I also researched law cases and based my made-up cases on amalgamations of existing ones. The section of the book where Julian tours with his band includes some real-life stories that have been shared with me. Let’s just say that roach – happened!

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I am firmly a Happily Ever After (HEA) gal. But what I really appreciate is when a story gets to  Happily for Now (HFN) and then continues to challenge the protagonists. My novel gets to the HFN fairly early and then I make the characters really earn their HEA. I need ‘earned’ endings–if obstacles aren’t overcome realistically, it leaves me unsatisfied as a reader no matter how happy the ending. I put Julian and Zachary through some trials. But I was also careful not just to throw random problems at them–I structured the novel to set up Julian’s struggle between his bread-and-butter job and his creative life right at the start. By the time it explodes I think the reader had felt it coming, and the solution required real character growth.

Have you ever had an issue in real life and worked it through by writing it out in a story?

The split between having a creative life and a day job has been very real for me. I felt Julian’s soul tearing as if it were my own. I do hope that, along with the romance (which I hope my readers love,) the theme comes through about how all-too-often we prioritize everyday life over what our soul needs, and the harm done by that. I feel very fortunate with the publishing of my first novel that I have been able to realize a dream.

Excerpt

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from The Music of Love

Zachary held his gaze like he had a thousand times before. A stare that never quit. He came closer and collapsed next to Julian on the sofa, air leaving him in a whoosh. “Oh, thank God, you’re looking at me like I’m me again. Now, please talk to me. What is going on?”

A warm hand tilted his chin back up, eyes glowing grassy-sunshine. Not angry any longer but definitely wary and watching intently.

“I got too comfortable with the job,” Julian said. “The money was nice. And I like all the people. Then. You were there. I loved being with you, getting to see you, hear your laugh over the cube walls. So I can’t pinpoint when it slipped, when the tilt happened, but I’ve been drowning. Only slowly. Like sliding into quicksand. It was getting darker and blander. Zach, it was fading.”

“Your music.” Not a question. And Julian cursed himself for doubting, for not understanding that of course Zachary would say he’d support Julian in anything he wanted to try. That saying he’d support Julian going to law school didn’t mean he wanted that for Julian.

Zachary nodded and exhaled, cheeks still pale and edgy. “Where did the law school business come from? I know it’s not your idea.”

“Timothy came back to the office yesterday when everyone was gone. I’d been locked up in the file room, and he surprised me. He stood there a few moments watching me with the files all over the floor, and I guess it just took me outside of myself. I saw what I imagined he saw: an overpaid file clerk. And as he stood there all I heard was silence.”

Zachary’s eyes flickered molten gold under the side table lamp’s incandescent glow. “Why didn’t you tell me you were so unhappy?” He pushed his hair back with a frustrated swipe. “How come I didn’t know?”

That last was said with self-anger, and Julian couldn’t have Zachary blaming himself.

“I keep a lot inside. Sometimes even I don’t realize it until it kinda boils over.”

“What raised the temperature?” Zachary asked, continuing the metaphor.

“Timothy. He didn’t mean to make me tailspin. He was being nice, complimentary even. Said I’d make a great lawyer, suggested law school, said it was the next step and that—that you’d approve.”

Reacting like a dog with a stepped-on tail, Zachary scoffed, “Talk about your ‘gotcha’ questions.” He narrowed his gaze. “If you’d explained any of this, I would never have said what I did about—”

“I know,” Julian said. “I’m an idiot. I’m sorry.”

.

The Music of Love Blurb

Sometimes the music of love skips a beat….

Paralegal by day, musician by night, Julian has an expiration date stamped on his forehead when it comes to love. No relationship has made it past a year, so Julian avoids romance like the plague and concentrates on his music instead.

Which works fine until gorgeous, smart, and funny Zachary joins Julian’s firm. One look at the man and Julian knows he’s dangerous. No matter what, he can’t fall for Zachary. He has to spare Zachary the pain of dumping Julian at the one-year mark. His brilliant plan? Ask a straight friend to pose as his significant other to keep Zachary away. Not surprisingly, his scheme does little to dampen the attraction—on either side.

When Zachary gives Julian a second chance despite his deception, Julian thinks his curse might be broken. But then he’s faced with the impossible choice between a life with Zachary and living his dream of touring with the band….

About the Author

Sandine Tomas grew up an unapologetic bookworm, making friends with characters from the ancient past to the farthest reaches of the universe. Her career as a marketing writer has given her insight into the divergence between what a person thinks they want and what they truly need. Relationships are at the heart of her writing, and she enjoys creating characters who become so real that their stories beg to be told. Writing allows her to explore people and ideas from all sides, spinning a notion around like a gem until its facets glisten.

Twisting the old adage about writing what you know into writing what you feel, Sandine doesn’t shy away from raw emotions, turbulent circumstances, and above all, deep passions, fueled by humor, honesty, and trust. She enjoys instilling her characters with the flaws, courage, and idiosyncrasies that brings them to life.

Sandine lives in New York with her husband, two daughters and a Golden Retriever named Noodle. An unabashed TV and film enthusiast, she happily binge watches her favorites until her eyes glaze over. Her other guilty pleasures include attending fandom conventions, sleeping in on weekends, and recharging solo by holing up with a caramel macchiato and an amazing book.

Contact Info

Website: sandinetomas.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SandineTomas

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sandine.tomas

Email: sandinetomas@gmail.com

Giveaway Offer

What dream have you had to table (for now!) to keep the lights on? Tell me in the comments and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free e-book copy of The Music of Love! Please provide contact information

New Release Book Blitz Demon Familiar (Wanted #1) by Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham (except and giveaway)

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Title:  Demon Familiar

Series: Wanted #1

Author: Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release Date: June 19th 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 96,000 words

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Alternate Reality

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Sometimes when you don’t know what you want, life gives you what you need.

When Neil Markovic witnesses the murder of his mother by Bone Men his world is thrown into turmoil. On the run from the assassins that killed her, his sorcerer father and the police, Neil finds help in the form of a tall half fae alchemist named Malachai. Mal seems more accepting than most of Neil’s demon bloodline, but curiously immune to his charms.

Malachai Valentine, disgraced scion of a noble Leprechaun clan, back in the Old Country, is happy living as an anonymous scrap dealer. Using his talent for alchemy to make fuel and potions, most days he doesn’t even think of his ruinous past. When a scared young man with a fancy car crashes into his life, at first, Mal thinks he can do without the hassle. But as Neil begins to get under his skin, Mal starts to reassess his hopes and ambitions.

Harassed by megalomaniac fae and stalked by sorcerous killers at every turn, Malachai and Neil must fight to be free, and to find what they both truly wanted.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, murder and non-consensual sex.

Excerpt

Neil set the bushel of summer squash into the panel van with the rest of the produce ready to go to market tomorrow morning and jumped down. Mr. Yaetz patted him on the back. “That’s the last one. Good job, Neil. You best head home now. Don’t want to get caught outside the wards after nightfall, ’specially not in that fancy car.”

Neil stifled a wince and forced himself not to look around to see who might have overheard the mention of his ‘fancy car’. Mr. Yaetz didn’t mean anything by it, but the car was a sore point with his co-workers at the small greenhouse and urban farm lot. None of them had their own vehicle, much less a sleek convertible sports car. Explaining that it was his mother’s, not his, hadn’t stopped the digs about his ‘slumming with the common folk’ or brought him any closer to the camaraderie the rest of them shared.

“Thanks, Mr. Yaetz. I’ll see you tomorrow,” Neil told him and turned toward the front lot. He glanced at the horizon automatically, judging how much time he had. About forty-five minutes, maybe an hour. More than enough for the short drive home. He wasn’t likely to come across any shadow beasts here on the outskirts of the city but a pack hunting farther afield was always a possibility. Of course, if he did run across shadow beasts, they would have to catch him first and the Maserati was both fast and agile.

Neil slid behind the wheel and the powerful engine purred to life. With the sun slowly sinking behind him, he swung the car out onto the road and headed for home.

As expected, Neil pulled into the driveway with plenty of daylight left and no encounters with any creatures that came out after dark. Climbing the front steps, his thoughts preoccupied with a shower and dinner, he almost missed the broken seal on his front door. He stopped cold. The warding glyph, usually a subtle shimmering gold, was inert, dull gray and cracked with lines of black. A sick knot cramped in his belly and Neil pressed his thumb down on the latch and pushed the door open but hesitated on the threshold.

“Mom?”

He listened. No answer.

Neil stepped into the foyer and slowly moved into the hall. A picture had been knocked off the wall and the broken glass from the frame glittered in the fading sunlight streaming in behind him.

“Mom?” he called again, louder.

Something crashed in the kitchen, the metallic clatter of pans hitting the tile floor. Neil ran in that direction.

His mother screamed, “Neil, get out! Get out!”

Heart hammering, he skidded into the kitchen. A black-clad, hooded man held on to his struggling mother. Another man stood next to them with a curved knife in his hand—his eyes were flat black and icy cold as they slid over him. Neil rushed them, yelling, “Get away from her!” The man with the knife lifted his free arm and flung the outstretched fingers of his empty hand at him. Neil hit the stop spell so hard it jarred him from teeth to toes, knocking him on his ass.

“Neil!” his mother shrieked.

He lifted his head in time to see the man who had floored him lift the knife and draw it down the side of her throat and across her shoulder in two professional, vicious slashes. The other man let her go as her eyes went wide and her hands flew up to clutch at the wounds. The blood didn’t spray everywhere like it did in the movies. It welled up in a gush of red that soaked the front of her shirt as she choked and gasped then fell down on her knees.

“Mom! No!” Neil scrambled to his feet. The two men moved toward him in unison as his mother crumpled, face down on the floor. Her body sounded like a wet rag hitting the tiles and a shocking pool of red spread under her.

“Take him,” the one holding the bloody knife said. His voice was low, emotionless and without accent, like an automaton in one of the old films they occasionally streamed when the comms satellite was functioning.

On autopilot, Neil grabbed the pendant that hung on the chain around his neck and ripped it off, throwing it on the floor. The man reached to stop him, but it was too late. The glass pendant shattered and a wall of noxious smoke rose between him and the killers. It wouldn’t hold them long, a minute if he was lucky. Probably less. He turned and ran back down the hall, fleeing the house.

He stumbled down the steps and fumbled the keys from his pocket, hitting the lock button. He yanked the door open and was shaking so badly he dropped the keys on the floor.

“Fuck! Fuck!” He reached down and his fingers just touched the ring as the killers came running out of the front door. Neil grabbed the keyring and jammed the right key in the ignition. For one horrible second, he was sure it wouldn’t start even though he’d just driven the car home. The engine turned over as smooth as a kitten’s purr and he slammed the shifter in reverse just as the man with the blade grabbed the driver’s door handle. Neil put his foot down on the pedal. The tires squealed and the car shot backward down the driveway and into the street.

Blood pounded in his ears, almost drowning out the engine sounds as he threw the car into drive and floored the gas, clutching the steering wheel hard enough to turn his knuckles white. He looked in the rear-view mirror as he sped away. They would come after him. He turned at the next intersection. Then turned again. And again. He tried to focus on what to do next but all he could see was the shock and anguish on his mother’s face before she fell, and that bright pool of red spreading out under her. He looked in the mirror again but saw no sign of the men that had killed her. That didn’t mean anything. They could come, he knew it. He was heading out of the city following pure instinct, but now he slowed the car for just a moment. At the next turn, he doubled back the way he’d come.

Out of the city might seem safer, but it wasn’t. He had little money and the car would take him only so far. He needed resources.

He forced his fingers to relax on the steering wheel but his hands still shook. When he took a breath, it was shaky too. The red had been so stark against her blonde hair. Her eyes…had they been blank before she fell or after she hit the floor? No. No he couldn’t think of that now. He raised and hand and swiped at his wet cheeks.

Bone Men. Their name whispered across Neil’s mind in his father’s voice, from one of his many lessons. Assassins. Twisted by the sorcery that enhanced them, marked by the lives they took. Had she been their target? Was her death retribution for something his father had done? Or…or were they there for him?

His mind raced as fast as his pulse and the car he was driving. He took another deep breath and eased his foot back off the pedal a few degrees. He needed a clear head. He needed a plan. But first he needed somewhere to hide. Instinct told him to find someone he trusted, but his training overrode that idea. He could hear his father’s voice in his ear again. Trust no one, Nielob. If they come for you, go to ground. Speak to no one you know. Hide and wait. I will find you.

Not if he could help it. If he had his way, he’d lose both the Bone Men and his father, for good. The car would get him a good distance but he couldn’t keep it. It was traceable. He’d drive into the city, find someone he could sell the car to for scrap and use the money to get a ticket to as far away as it would take him.

He couldn’t take the car directly to a salvage yard without a title, too risky. He needed a fence. Months ago, while he’d been watering seedlings at work, he’d overheard Carl bragging about how his uncle was going to get a real car, one with a combustion engine. No one had believed him and Carl had gotten mad. Insisted his uncle knew a guy that dealt in contraband autos in the city. Hammersfell Road, next to the old Ackard Motors factory. There was a warehouse where they had raves. The fence organized them. Neil had no way of knowing if the bragging was just lies, but he had filed the information away anyway. His chin gave an odd quiver and the tightness in his throat squeezed hard enough to choke him. No. He couldn’t give in to tears now. He couldn’t afford to let out the sobs that threatened him. A safe place first. The grief tasted of bitter acid and wanted to strangle him, but he swallowed it down and kept going.

Purchase

Pride Publishing | Amazon

Meet the Author

Bellora Quinn

Originally hailing from Detroit Michigan, Bellora now resides on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida where a herd of Dachshunds keeps her entertained. She got her start in writing at the dawn of the internet when she discovered PbEMs (Play by email) and found a passion for collaborative writing and steamy hot erotica. Soap Opera like blogs soon followed and eventually full novels. The majority of her stories are in the M/M genre with urban fantasy or paranormal settings and many with a strong BDSM flavour.

Sadie Rose Bermingham

A storyteller since before she started school, Sadie also enjoys reading, photography, live music and long walks on the beach. Sadie has worked as a bookseller, a pedigree editor for the racing industry and a local and family history researcher. Originally from the north of England, she has been working her way across the UK ever since. She currently resides on the south east coast with her long term partner, where she hopes to buy a mobile home and establish a whippet farm.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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New Release Blitz for The Merchant’s Love (Chronicles of Tournai #6) by Antonia Acquilante (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  The Merchant’s Love

Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Six

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: June 18, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 106100

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, fantasy, paranormal, shifters, cats, magic users, demisexual, bisexual, family drama, royalty, friends to lovers, slow burn

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Faelen, cousin to the prince and son of a diplomat, has finally come home to Tournai after years away. The pull to return was almost tangible, and the sense of rightness at being back is absolute. He wants nothing more than to put down roots and build a life among family while pursuing his linguistic studies. Becoming involved in magic meant to protect Tournai isn’t part of his plans…but falling in love is even more unexpected and unfamiliar, but he finds himself doing just that as his friendship with Maxen deepens into something more.

Maxen, second son of a wealthy merchant family, longs to leave Tournai and see everywhere he can. All his life, he’s found places on maps and dreamed, planning out routes to get to them. For now, he’s tied to Tournai’s capital city by family obligations and his position in their shipping business. Someday, though, he’ll be able to travel. His sudden attraction to Faelen shocks him, but their friendship soon becomes a necessary part of his life. Love, however, has no place in his plans, especially not love for a royal cousin with secrets who wants nothing more than to stay in one place.

For Faelen and Maxen to build something real between them, they must resolve their differences, but when magic goes awry and all Faelen’s secrets are revealed, will Maxen remain at his side?

Excerpt

The Merchant’s Love
Antonia Aquilante © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
In the last decade since his father was appointed ambassador to the kingdom of Teilo, Faelen had been on the grounds of Tournai’s royal palace three times, if he included today. The relief, happiness, and utter sense of home flooding through him as soon as he stepped off the boat had been shocking in its intensity, but not surprising otherwise. Sometime in the middle of the journey, he’d been hit with the bone-deep certainty that he needed to be back in Tournai. He’d mentioned it to Alexander, who admitted feeling the same—which Faelen was happy to hear from his twin, even if it did make the whole thing stranger.

He tried not to dwell on it, which was made a bit easier because of his discomfort that they were arriving unannounced and uninvited.

Well, not entirely uninvited. Faelen’s cousin Etan was getting married in a couple of weeks, and the entire family had been invited to the wedding, but Faelen couldn’t imagine Philip, the crown prince, and Amory, his husband, expected them to descend on the palace for it. Faelen certainly hadn’t expected them to make the long trip to Tournai, but Mother had other reasons for bringing him, Alexander, and Thibault back home.

He and Alexander would be staying in Jumelle longer than that if they had their way.

They alighted from the hired carriage at the palace, a servant handing Mother down and the rest of them following. If the servant was surprised to see Princess Edine and her three sons (and quite a few trunks), he didn’t show it, even if their arrival would cause a scramble to ready rooms for their party.

Faelen stopped as soon as his feet touched the stones of the courtyard and looked up. The palace towers soared above him, white stone glowing in the afternoon sunlight. Like something out of a tale. He’d always thought so, and no amount of visits could end that fancy.

Alexander leaned into his shoulder, just enough to divert Faelen’s attention. He looked into his twin’s face, nearly identical to his own. Alexander’s eyes were without their usual gleam of mischief. “Come on. No time to daydream.”

“I’m just looking.” Still, he set off walking quickly at Alexander’s side, but not so quickly that they’d catch up to Mother and the others who’d gotten well ahead of them. “I always think I’m exaggerating how beautiful it is in my thoughts, but I’m not.”

“No.” Alexander smiled slightly as he trotted up the stairs to the open doors. “We’ll get to see more of it now. Unless we get shipped off to Grandfather with Thibault.”

Faelen went cold all over. No. He loved Grandfather, but he didn’t want to be stuck so far from Jumelle and the university. He and Alexander had been pursuing their studies at the university in Teilo before Mother insisted they return to Tournai. Thibault would be going to Grandfather to help him with running his modest estate, which would one day be his. Faelen and Alexander had no part in that, and Faelen refused to give up all he’d accomplished so far and all he hoped to because of the move.

Alexander clasped his hand. “Don’t worry. We’ll stay in the city.”

The “somehow” was unspoken. Their parents didn’t keep a house in the city. Before the marriage, Father’s family wouldn’t have been able to afford it. With what Mother brought to it, they could have, but it would’ve been pointless with Father’s diplomatic ambitions. Faelen and Alexander couldn’t afford a house on their own at this point, and Mother had made no mention of providing lodgings in her hasty, yet vehement, instructions that they pack everything. Faelen and Alexander had discussed it in whispers on the boat, wondering whether they could take rooms together in the university quarter. They’d talked before about returning to Tournai on their own, but Mother had surprised them before they’d made any plans.

“Of course, we will,” Faelen responded.

“Faelen, Alexander. Don’t dawdle.” Mother’s voice floated back to them, not loud but still echoing in the enormous entry hall.

Alexander rolled his eyes eloquently, and Faelen forced back a smile and nodded. Nevertheless, they obediently quickened their pace to catch up. Mother sailed through the palace corridors, her heels tapping on the marble floors with authority, as if she wasn’t following behind a servant leading them somewhere.

Which turned out to be a small parlor in the guest wing of the palace. Mother’s lips turned down in a slight frown, but Faelen wasn’t sure what she’d anticipated. No one expected them. It was unrealistic to think rooms would be waiting for them at all times.

“Have the princes been notified of our arrival?” Mother asked the servant.

“Their Highnesses are being notified now, Princess Edine. I’ll bring refreshments for you.” He bowed and left at her dismissal.

“I’ll suppose we’ll have to wait, then. I’d prefer to have been settled in our rooms first, but we’ll have to make do.” Mother seated herself in a velvet-cushioned chair near the fireplace where a small fire crackled. Thibault took a chair near her, but Alexander wandered to the windows. Faelen paused for a moment, indecisive, and then drifted over to where Alexander stood.

The windows looked out over the garden, their position one floor up giving them a decent vantage point. In the falling dusk, lanterns had been lit along the paths closer to the palace, and Faelen caught sight of a couple strolling along one of them, the men holding hands and seemingly in no hurry. He squinted, trying to see who they were in the shadows, but the door opened before he could.

He turned to find not a maid with the expected refreshments but Philip and Amory. Philip was Faelen’s cousin—his father had been Mother’s oldest brother—and he’d come to the throne only about five years ago after the sudden, untimely death of his parents. Faelen and his family had returned to Tournai for the funerals and the coronation, the first time he’d been back since they’d left for Teilo when he was all of ten years old. They returned again when Philip shocked everyone by marrying Amory, a man and a commoner. Faelen liked what little he’d found out of Amory then, and Amory had certainly won over Tournai in the meantime. Faelen was hoping to get to know him better—and Philip too, as the last he’d spent time with Philip he’d been a child and Philip just into his teenage years. He looked forward to meeting their son, Julien, as well.

Philip had the look of Tournai’s royal family—something Faelen and Alexander strayed from slightly—with his dark hair and classically handsome features. He carried himself as the ruler he was, and his hazel eyes were sharp as they took in the room. Amory was a match for him in looks with his dark eyes and shining auburn curls. He seemed to have grown into his role, carrying himself with more confidence than Faelen remembered at their wedding.

“Aunt Edine,” Philip said as he came into the room, and they all bowed or curtsied. “And Thibault, Alexander, and Faelen. What a surprise. We didn’t expect you.”

Mother didn’t move to embrace Philip. She wasn’t the type for demonstrations of affection, especially to the crown prince, even if he was her nephew. “We left Teilo quite suddenly. A boat was about to depart that would get us here in time for Etan’s wedding.”

“Etan will be happy you’re all able to attend.” Philip didn’t mention that no one had dreamed they would. “And, of course, Amory and I would be delighted if you would stay here at the palace while you remain in Jumelle.”

“Thank you, Philip. We’d be honored to accept your hospitality.” She left it unsaid that she’d certainly anticipated the invitation. Faelen doubted there had been a thought otherwise in her mind.

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Meet the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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