A MelanieM Review: Hard Contact (Guild Enforcer, #1) by Ali Atwood

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

 

Hard Contact is the first book in the Guild Enforcer Series, a sexy, action-packed gay romance with no cliffhangers and a HEA ending.

On the surface, Ty Lighthorne is a successful bounty hunter based in Boston. Undercover, he’s part of a covert task force regulated by the Fae Justice Guild. Ty and the team pursue paranormal criminals who’ve escaped to the human realm to avoid punishment. Since Ty is a hybrid, half human and half Fae, he’s totally at home in both dimensions.

Reed Harrison’s dream of becoming a piano soloist was in his grasp until tragedy ripped his world apart. When the justice system fails him, he devises his own method of retribution reinventing himself as a licensed bounty hunter.

Ty and Reed are polar opposites, but events force them into partnership and the sexual sparks fly. Reed maintains his distance because he’s all about the mission—hell-bent on revenge. Ty is a mix of toughness and devil-may-care with a strong allegiance to the Justice Guild. He knows better than to trust anyone with his secrets. A hot-blooded affair could threaten both their futures.

Hard Contact is the first novel I’ve read by this author so I’ve no idea if its representative of her other stories.  For me, Hard Contact shows promise but it just didn’t deliver on them.  So let’s start with the positives.

What drew me to pick up and read the story was the synopsis.  I loved the idea of a half fae/half human detective pairing up with a human partner to hunt down a murderer.  Even better when one has a personal connection to the case and said murderer.   Add to that a sexual attraction and evolving romance?  You have me hooked but good!

Atwood’s main characters are nicely done.  I liked Ty and Reed. Ty Lighthorne is given an interesting background (more on that later) as is Reed.  That they both end up working for the same bonds company?  Ok, and on the same job?  Alllllright.  But things start to break down shortly after that.  Nice central characters and great plot.

Which leads to insta love and other issues which I’m starting in on below.

Multiple povs.  Which I normally don’t have a problem if done correctly.  However here one (two others are Ty and Reed) is the killer’s and it really has no purpose other than titillation.  It pops up a couple of times but his character is never fully developed.  This element feels more like a narrative dud than a narrative do, if you know what I mean.

Then there is the world building here which is supposed to supply the novel (and therefore the characters) with a sturdy foundation.  Instead, its more like a shaky one.  You never get a good handle on the concept of Middle Earth here (flying cars? Werewolves?)  Plus there are huge holes in the author’s backstory for Ty and the creation of the Guild Enforcers.  So no one would notice a pattern of  children disappearing at certain age from good homes around the US?  Or the children themselves rebelling?  Wanting to return home?  That whole element is full of  narrative cracks that  need so much work and many more pages if not chapters.

So much that just doesn’t ring true.

And then there’s the important “non entities”.  Ty is a member of a trio of 3 enforcers who are legend.  We see the other two briefly and then not at all other than. Kapow! Look at them  go sort of thing.  Shakes head.

Secondary character development is important.  I can’t stress that enough.  You don’t want your main characters to live in a bubble.  Ty and Reed sort of do here to their and the story’s detriment.

And one last issue.  Having humans know about the Middle Earth is a huge “No”.  Apparently its cause for jail time, etc.  So what does our hero do?  Yes, of course, blithely take Reed through a portal without permission and show him Middle Earth. Smh.  Yes, there is no continuity here.  Just one big narrative crater after another.

Hard Contact is the first in a series but I’m leaving my reading at one book.  There’s just not enough here to make me want to continue.

Cover art:  Books by Khaleesi.  The cover certainly doesn’t say fantasy but could be for any murder/mystery story.  Interesting but a fail for this story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 178 pages
Published June 22nd 2018
ISBN13B07CZPQ165
Edition Language English

An Ali Audiobook Review: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane and Narrator: Gomez Pugh

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.

Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven Harry to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.

In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

This was an interesting book for this author.  She doesn’t write a lot of paranormal and this is the first one I’ve read by her.  The blurb does a fairly good job explaining the plot of the story.  There’s a lot going on here.  Angels and shapeshifters with magic and daring rescues and some romance.  It was a unique plot line and the adventures were fast paced and entertaining.
 
The problem for me I think was the romance vs plot ratio.  This read much like an urban fiction or fantasy story where a lot of time is spent on world building.  That’s fine with me if I know that going in.  I went into this thinking it was going to be more romance based.  Although this is not marked as being in a series I think it might be.  There seemed to be some romance building for Harry’s brothers.  I enjoyed this enough to check out the next books if it does in fact turn into a series.
 
The audiobook was narrated by Gomez Pugh who I thought did a very good job.  His voice was really good for all of the characters which is saying a lot because there were a lot of characters in this book.  They each had unique voices and I always knew who was speaking.
 
Overall I enjoyed this and would recommend it.  I would especially recommend the audio version.
 
Cover:  The cover was done by Reese Dante and I thought it was nicely done.  It does a good job of representing the plot and main character of the book.
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published June 5th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published October 20th 2017)
Original TitleFamiliar Angel
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: With A Kick Collection #1 by Clare London and Joel Leslie (Narrator

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This collection includes Clare London’s first two London-based novellas of the With A Kick series—A Twist and Two Balls and Slap and Tickle. Also included are two short stories featuring the characters in these books—Nice and Snow and Smack Happy.

With a Kick is a new ice cream shop, featuring ice cream for adults, i.e., ice cream made with liquor in a variety of flavors, one of which is named for the shop’s accountant, Bryan, and his new boyfriend, Phiz—Slap and Tickle. Patrick and Lee are the struggling owners who hope to be successful in the little shop located in the heart of London.

Each story is a self-contained romance, but Patrick and Lee are featured in each story that shows the progress of both their relationship and the business.

A Twist and Two Balls— Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage. Unfortunately, his alter ego, Eddy March, hasn’t got further than a bit part in a TV series. One day, when he’s late for an audition, he can’t pay his taxi fare, so he runs off and is chased by the irate driver, Nuri.

This is a sweet romance that starts off with antagonism and moves to love between an awkward, self-proclaimed actor and a cab driver, who has a secret profession. I enjoyed the pace of this story and both characters were terrific. Eddie is hysterically funny as he discovers he doesn’t have enough money to pay Nuri. Nuri, on the other hand, comes off as gruff at first, but it turns out he’s got a sweet marshmallow center.

The two have their ups and downs as does Eddie with his career, but in the long run, it’s family that’s important, and family who help both of them, and the two men get to do what they love best and stay with the person they love best—each other.

Slap and Tickle— This short starts right off with a great scene between Brian, the staid accountant for With a Kick, and Phiz, whose name should have been Spaz. Phiz is a fast-talking, can’t-control-his-mouth klutz, who can’t hold a job because of said klutziness. He also suffers from social anxiety, yet he keeps choosing jobs that require socialization. Joel Leslie kicked it out of the ball park with the voice he gives Phiz. Good heavens, it was perfect! I was hooked immediately, so I was along for the ride as he and Brian got to know each other and began to share their most intimate desires.

This story has a mild BDSM theme and when Brian’s dominant side comes out, Phiz calms and quiets as he finally met a man who can give him what he needs.

Nice and Snow is the first short story—which is actually quite long—and features Nuri and Eddie during their first Christmas season. Nuri is now brushing up on law studies so he can pass the bar exam, and Eddie is working as an actor in a comedy show. Right up his alley, his natural sense of humor has made him very popular.

The story centers on their individual memories of holiday seasons and their plans for this first one. Of course, Nuri’s family wants them to share with them, but Eddie insists they start their own memories because his memories of Santa, Saint Nick, Baba Noel, or whatever name is used are not good ones.

A surprise cab fare and a short ride across town brings both men their Christmas wishes come true. It also leaves them realizing they may have to rethink their beliefs in the jolly old elf. A great story, it provides a nice closure to Nuri and Eddie’s story.

Smack Happy

A delightful short, short story about my favorite character, Phiz, and his Dom, Brian. Phiz is patiently—or impatiently—waiting for Brian to finish his work so he can give Brian a Valentine’s Day gift. Brian finally gives up trying to get anything done when Phiz’s antsy movements and constant interruptions make it clear Bryan had better pay attention to his boy. When Phiz presents him with his gift, the two try it out and find that a good smack on the rear was exactly what Phiz needed to make him happy and peaceful. Add in a taste of Slap and Tickle, the ice cream treat the guys at With a Kick created in their honor, and it’s a perfect Valentine’s Day for these sweethearts. Very cute and a perfect ending for this very nice audio.

Joel Leslie was, as usual, outstanding, and the stories were intriguing and fun. This audiobook sped by and I’m looking forward to the next edition in the series that should be released soon.

Highly recommended.

The cover features a handsome young man and there’s a sweet treat obviously created at the With a Kick ice cream shop in the bottom right corner.

Buy Links and Listen to a sample here

Audible US

Audible UK 

Amazon

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 8 hours and 40 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Jocular Press
Audible.com Release Date: June 20, 2018
Language: English
ASIN: B07DVRZ7SY

Scotty Cade on his Character King Slater and new release From a Jack to a King (guest post and excerpt)

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From a Jack to a King by Scotty Cade
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Paul Richmond

Release Date 07/03/2018

Buy Links for “From a Jack to a King”

Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon  |  iTunes  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Scotty Cade here today on tour for his new release From a Jack to a King.  Welcome, Scotty.

Happy Summer!

Firstly, I’d like to thank Stella and Melanie at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for allowing me to stop in today and spend a little time with you. I truly appreciate your support and the support of your readers.

I’m going to spend a little time with you today to bring attention to my latest release “From a Jack to a King.” The blurb and excerpt will pretty much give you an overview of the novel, and coupled with the fact that I’ve done seven blog spots about the book so far with three more to go, I’d thought I’d use Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to introduce you to King Slater. King is one of the main characters of the novel and although he is a handsome man and one with special talents, like many of us, he’s has his own demons to conquer.

Without giving away any spoilers, King is simply a pleaser. A real people person. That’s obvious by his popularity and fame in the gay porn world. He’s a highly paid porn star but even he makes the bulk of his money by being an even better escort.  Getting paid to have sex on camera or with a guy who’s paying has never been a moral issue for him. He has no shame in his chosen profession nor does he have any grandiose dreams of this lasting forever. He’s well aware his fame will last only as long as his body holds up and his youth stays intact.

But what King does better than anyone is care about his clients. Its not always about sex with his clients and sometimes he simply listens. He can read what a client needs almost instantly and then goes about meeting those needs. He takes pride in that and it keeps his clientele strong.

Now to touch a little on the demons King face on a daily basis. I don’t want to give anything away but King has been forced to separate his work from his personal life. No sex outside of work is the bottom line. He has things to sort through and although his profession makes things way more complicated, he’s taking things one day at a time.

Okay, so King and I will leave you here and let you read the excerpt. But before we let you go, I’d like to know if you were a paid escort or porn star, do you believe its possible to separate work from play. Is sex simply that? Sex? And after doing it all day in front of a camera would you want to go home and do it all night with a partner? If you post, you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing for an e-book of “From a Jack to a King.”

Thanks for spending the time with me and I wish you and yours a wonderful and relaxed 4th of July weekend.

Now here’s your excerpt and lot of other stuff about where to find me and my books, especially “From a Jack to a King.”

Blurb

New York Times best-selling mystery writer Bay Whitman leads the life of a celebrity—at least on the surface. In public he’s self-assured and in control. Women hang on his every word, while men envy his confidence and swagger. But in reality, Bay is a loner. He’s shy and introverted, and his life consists of sitting in a dimly lit room writing his famous Jack Robbins mystery novels. His one vice—gambling. Winning an escort in a poker game will change Bay’s life in ways he never imagined.

Matthew “King” Slater is one of the hottest tickets in gay porn. He spends his days in front of the camera and his nights as a highly paid escort to the rich and famous. Deep down, he craves romance and a real connection, but his past makes it hard to separate the needs of his body from those of his heart. For now, it’s easier to think of sex as just a job. But while doing a shoot in Vegas, King is hired for a tryst at a famous hotel and casino, and his handsome client might blur the line between work and play.

 

Excerpt

One corner of the man’s mouth curled up into a little smile, and his eyes twinkled with mischief. He took a few steps back and resumed his position leaning against the wall. “Now did you? That’s funny. I didn’t realize I was transferrable.”

“Oh jeez.” Bay realized what he’d just said. “I’m so sorry, I’m talking about you like you’re a piece of meat or something.”

The guy laughed, and his entire face lit up. “Hell, I’m not offended. I’ve been referred to as a piece of meat on more than one occasion.”

Bay suddenly wished he was back in the safety of his New York apartment writing about Jack instead of standing in the hall of a Las Vegas hotel talking to his likeness.

“So with whom do I have the pleasure of spending my next two hours? If I may ask?”

“Oh sorry. I’m Bay.” Bay stuck out his hand.

“Bay?”

Bay nodded.

“Odd, but nice.”

“Thanks. It’s a family name,” Bay said. “Look, you don’t have to stay. The guy thought he had a winning hand, but I raised and he was out of money, so he offered you up to even the pot.”

Instead of accepting Bay’s hand, the guy folded his arms over his chest again, smiled, and looked Bay up and down. “And his loss is definitely my gain.”

Bay smiled weakly and warmth crawled up his face. “Yeah. No… I mean—” He realized the man was flirting with him, as Jack did with so many of his conquests. This is uncanny!

Bay withdrew his hand, and the man took a step toward him. “I’m King Slater.”

He was so close now, Bay could smell his spicy cologne. “Nice to meet you, King.” They locked eyes, and King seemed to be waiting for some sort of recognition. But his name didn’t ring a bell.

King appeared amused by Bay’s nervousness and discomfort. “I’ll show myself in,” he said, still smiling seductively at Bay.

Bay watched in amazement as King walked right past him. He even had Jack’s swagger down to a T.

After quickly looking down the hall in both directions before closing the door, Bay followed King into the living room. King suddenly stopped, and Bay almost ran into his back. When King turned around, still grinning, he looked into Bay’s eyes, cupped the back of Bay’s neck, and pulled him close to press his lips against Bay’s in a slow, tender kiss.

A slew of reactions flooded Bay’s head. Stop him came first. Then before Bay could move, King deepened the kiss. His lips were moist and warm, and Bay’s nether regions tingled. He froze, mentally and physically. What the hell? He had never been kissed by a man. Not that he was against it; it had just never happened. Sex had never been a real part of his life. He’d always figured no one would want him, so why bother? Since his fame had blossomed, the couple of encounters he’d had were with women, and on both occasions they’d slept with Jack Robbins, not Bay Whitman. He imagined that neither he nor his partner could have gotten through that experience.

When the kiss ended and King stepped back, looking quite pleased with himself, Bay was speechless. He instinctively touched his lips and recalled the pressure that had been there.

King smiled again. “Don’t be embarrassed, I have that effect on guys all the time.”

 

Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years. He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just eight years ago for publication.  With the Inn and restaurant now sold, you can find him in Greenville South Carolina where he and his husband are restoring a hundred-year-old house or in Charleston South Carolina on their boat simply hanging out.  Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, all of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there.  He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.

Here’s where you can find me:

www.scottycade.com

www.facebook.com/scotty.cade

www.twitter.com/ScottyCade

scottycade@gmail.com

Release Day Blitz for Tight Quarters (Out of Uniform  #6) by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Tight Quarters

Series: Out of Uniform  #6

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: ebook: July 9, 2018 | print: July 31, 2018

Subgenre: M/M Contemporary Military Romance

Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Book Synopsis: Petty Officer Bacon, a navy SEAL and ace sharpshooter, has been on the front lines of more than his fair share of dangerous ops. Yet when a minor injury relegates him to the beta team, he’s tasked with what may be his riskiest assignment yet: the silver fox journalist he’s babysitting is the hottest, most charismatic man he’s ever encountered.

Award-winning journalist Spencer Bryant may have been named one of Pride magazine’s most eligible bachelors of the year, but he’s not looking to change his relationship status. He’s a consummate professional who won’t risk his ethics or impeccable reputation by getting involved with a source. Even a sexy-as-hell military man. But while Spencer can resist his physical attraction to Bacon, he has less control over his emotions—especially when the mission goes sideways and the two men are trapped alone.

Getting out of the jungle alive turns out to be easy compared to facing the truth about their feelings for one another back in the real world. And whether or not they can build a future is a different story altogether.

This book is approximately 82,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Teaser excerpt:

Bacon was hanging on to life by one index finger. Literally. One sore, overused finger was all that separated him and a plunge down the sheer cliff face. The desert sun had sweat rolling down his face, stinging his eyes.

“Come on, Bake. You’ve got this!” Curly called at him. He was already safely on the ridge, along with several other SEAL team members. This was the last step in a grueling training mission that had tried their stamina with a HALO jump followed by a long run over rough terrain and this final climb.

About Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.  The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ  romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Connect with Annabeth: Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Group | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

Giveaway

Rafflecopter prize and code: Reader’s Choice of any Out of Uniform book in paper + surprise swag pack!

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New Release Blitz for Nectar and Ambrosia (Amaranthine Inheritance #1) by E.M. Hamill (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Nectar and Ambrosia

Series: Amaranthine Inheritance #1

Author: E.M. Hamill

Publisher:  Star Bard Books

Release Date: June 30, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Female, Male/Male

Length: 81576

Genre: Fantasy, urban/mythical

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Callie, a Classics major, flees home to protect her family from a monster straight out of mythology.  Visions lead her to Nectar and Ambrosia: the weirdest pub on Earth, where inter-dimensional travelers with attention seeking issues get drunk in between the A-list celebrity lives they create. They can’t pretend to be gods anymore—not since a treaty with the current Supreme Deity promising they won’t intervene in human affairs.

The Doorkeeper of this threshold, Florian, rides herd on the rowdy Amaranthine and offers her shelter and a job. Callie likes the lonely, mysterious bartender more than she should. For Florian, her presence is a ray of light in the gray monotony of his sentence behind the bar, but he keeps a cautious distance—the truth of how he became Doorkeeper could change Callie’s perception of him forever.

When angels show up for a war council over Zeus’s irrational mutters about a comeback, Callie has uncontrolled visions of an apocalypse.  Ex-gods realize she’s the first Oracle Priestess in generations. All Callie wanted was keep her parents safe, and now it seems she must sacrifice her future to keep the rest of humanity safe, too. Ambrosia could be the key to harnessing her visions— or it could cost her life.

War is coming. The threshold between worlds has never been more fragile. Callie must discover who is pulling Zeus’s strings and avert the final battle—before the immortal vying to become the next Supreme Deity kills her first.​

Excerpt

Callie turned away, trying to decide if Florian and all his clientele were delusional or if it was some kind of big role-playing game for rich people. Folks could have a thing about dressing up in furry animal costumes. She supposed they could pretend to be gods and goddesses too. If it was a mythology RPG, they weren’t concerned with the classical part, except for the guy she saw yesterday afternoon. She was relieved to have a rational explanation for the horns.

Something moved outside the glass front door. Her heart seized in momentary panic. What if the monster still lurked out there?

Strange, visible turbulence seemed to ripple the panes. Callie squeezed her eyes shut to clear her sight and prayed it wasn’t the aura of an oncoming seizure. Cool relief extinguished the rising sparks of panic as the effect dissipated.

The door opened and revealed a spiky-haired, punk rock kid years too young to be in any bar. Callie was forced to squint in order see him clearly as he strode in, his outlines strangely blurred and soft. Sullen teenaged fluidity rolled in every line of his body. He surveyed the bar, narrow kohl-ringed eyes settling on the heavily intoxicated Zeus. A sneer comprised of equal parts contempt and satisfaction flickered over his mouth.

“There he is, the great king of the gods,” he muttered. He moved toward the bar, a glare of disdain sweeping over the other patrons. His eyes widened in appreciation as they passed over Callie, a little smirk growing as his gaze lingered too long on the front of her college t-shirt.

Despite her confusion on how he’d arrived, she gave him a thin smile and a cool nod, crossing her arms over her chest. He stopped short, an expression of shock on his face. Then a quick, sunny grin took over. His blurry outlines sharpened as he drew closer and she relaxed her squinted eyes, no longer struggling to focus on him. She decided it was a trick of the neon-tinted lights hanging in garish advertisement on the walls of the bar.

“My, my, my. Who have we here?” His voice, thick with Cockney vowels, dipped to an intimate tone as he approached. His body language changed to something more unsettlingly mature. He was older than he appeared. “Who do you belong to?”

“I’m Callie. I don’t belong to anybody, but I work for Florian,” she corrected him politely. “Can I get you something?”

“Well, for starters, tequila.” He smirked suggestively. “And your undivided attention.”

Callie resisted the urge to roll her eyes. No matter where she worked, the pickup lines were the same.

“I’m sorry, I’m busy working. I’ll ask Florian for your tequila. On the rocks, or a shot?”

“On the rocks, love.”

“I’ll need to see some ID first.”

“You are new here, aren’t you?” He flipped two fingers out, a driver’s license between them.  She took it. No stranger to fake ID’s, this one appeared to be real, and passed him as twenty-one. Still…

“John Smith, huh?”

He captured Callie’s fingers as she returned the license and kissed the back of her hand in old-fashioned courtliness, sea-colored eyes glinting in mischief. An odd, visceral twinge from her early warning system made her startle as his lips touched her skin. Goose bumps flecked her arms. A totally alien sensation overwhelmed her senses: it was as if something crawled off her skin toward his mouth. She shivered in response and tried to pull her hand away. His grin widened as he tightened his grip, apparently delighted by her discomfiture.

“Oh, ho. That’s a lovely surprise. Don’t mind me. I’m incorrigible. Call me Puck.” He scribed an expansive circular gesture with his free hand. “Welcome to the watering hole of the damned bored.”

Callie forced a smile. “Thank you. Now, if you’ll let go of my hand, I’ll get your drink.”

Puck made a mocking bow over her hand and released it, smirking again as he backed away, still admiring her in undisguised interest. Between them, a well-dressed man stepped directly into Callie’s path. He swerved with a graceful spin and apologized as Callie’s sneakers squeaked to an abrupt halt on the concrete floor.

“Sorry, hon. Good evening, gods and goddesses!”

“Herm!” came a shouted group greeting from the room at large.

“And fairies,” the man belatedly added, nodding at the punk rocker.

Puck offered him an extended middle finger and a dangerous smile. Callie’s mouth fell open, recognizing the Armani-suited guy from the previous afternoon.

“Jeeze, homophobic much?” she muttered.

“Trust me love, I am all fairy and he is far from homophobic. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with him being a prick.” Puck glared at the man’s back with undisguised hatred before another lightning-quick mood change and a devilish grin took over. “Make that tequila a double.” He winked at her, eyes making another head to toe rake of her body before he disappeared into the clump of huge Scandinavian-looking, Corona-swilling dart players.

Callie’s hair still prickled on the back of her neck even after Puck left, and she rubbed it, troubled. She turned back to the room, stopped short, and stared. More customers sat at tables and in the shadows of the booths, each group just a little stranger than the last. None of them used the door.

And the Armani guy—he’d stepped into her path. Right out of the air.

Something intensely freaky was happening that she couldn’t rationalize away, no matter how hard she tried.

Was Florian telling the truth?

Instead of fear, a deep, visceral excitement flip-flopped in her abdomen, butterflies on steroids.

She never pinpointed exactly when wonder began to crowd out her reservations. Rushing between the cooler and the tables, she caught snatches of conversation and shouted greetings when others appeared. Having to bite back questions when she delivered their beverages replaced the urge to roll her eyes. She fought to keep a professional demeanor rather than fangirl all over herself when Florian introduced the Armani guy to her as Hermes. Hermes! One of her favorite characters in Greek mythology.

Three hours into the shift, she took a quick bathroom break. Her back against the door, Callie put her hands over her mouth and muffled something that sounded suspiciously like a shriek. Whether it was fear or excitement, she couldn’t quite say. Her breath came fast and short until she got dizzy. She spun the tap on the sink and the shock of cold water on her face helped bring her back down.

“What the hell, Callie? Are you really going to believe this?” she muttered to herself in the mirror. She grabbed a paper towel to blot the moisture away and waded back out into the crowded bar.

Purchase

Star Bard Books | Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback |Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Elisabeth “E.M.” Hamill is a nurse by day, unabashed geek, chocoholic, sci fi and fantasy novelist by nights, weekends, and wherever she can steal quality time with her laptop. She lives with her family, a dog, and a cat in the wilds of eastern suburban Kansas, where they fend off flying monkey attacks and prep for the zombie apocalypse.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

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a Rafflecopter giveaway
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