A Stella Review: The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring (Butterfly Hunter #3) by Julie Bozza

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Dave and Nicholas, married for seven years now, are happily settled together – but as an Australian prime minister once observed, “Life wasn’t meant to be easy.” An unexpected threat to their beloved waterhole forces Dave to try asserting his unofficial custodianship of the Dreamtime site, and a visit from Nicholas’s nephew Robin doesn’t help as he brings his own surprises. And there’s always the question of Nicholas’s health hanging over their heads …

I have to say I’m very sorry to see the end of the Butterfly Hunter series, I can ‘t have enough of these characters. I would like to read a whole book/series about Robin, or another one on Simon, or Charlie, I would even read a het novel about Denise and Vittorio love. Not just them, all the persons I met during the amazing adventure reading this series was, caught my interest, they made me curious to know so much more and honestly I think it’s something it happened to me very few times.

The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring (I love the title) was perfect conclusion for a series that truly filled my heart with so much love and hope, I was smiling thousand smiles too. In this last installment things became a little complicated for my beloved couple, starting with the arrival in Australia of Nicholas’s nephew, Robin, then the aneurysm that hit Nicholas  and ending with the desperate try at saving the waterhole and the new butterflies. With all these occurrences, the book is fast paced, filled with secondary characters to discover and love. I shared with them so many laughs and a couple of tears when Nicholas was fighting for his life. What more pulls at my heart was the magic I felt through all the book (and series), the deep love that runs deep for the husband, for ex lovers, for the family and friends, and deeper for the land. The huge respect for their region moved me, especially considering how we are treating  and destroying the Earth right now.

Julie Bozza has confirmed to be one of my favorite authors, her writing so poetical, lyrical and mystical is unforgettable, I can’t wait for her to release new stories.

The cover art by Gayna Murphy of Mubu Design is lovely, I like the colours and the style a lot.

SALE LINKS   Amazon |   https://books2read.com/u/3J8gJE

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, second

Published September 15th 2018 by LIBRAtiger (first published November 1st 2014)

ISBN 1925869024 (ISBN13: 9781925869026)

Edition Language English

Butterfly Hunter series #3

A MelanieM Review: Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.

Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.

But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.

Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen is one of those books to hug close to your heart.  Once finished I wanted to pick it up and start it all over again, lose myself in the richness of the relationships the author has created within.  It’s so easy to fall in love here.  To embrace the people and their lives.

Charlie and his daughter, Liv?  You can feel the truth of their lives, the pain of having lived through watching a beloved mother and wife dying of cancer and then her death, the void her loss has meant and the guilt for Charlie.  And the warmth Charlie exudes, the “realness” of that father/daughter relationship just jumps off the page at you until you almost are a part of their lives as well.

Simon is just a connectable.  Viable, human, hurting.  His chemistry with Charlie and his, unbelievably Charlie’s house (a character in its own right) is so vivid that I kept re-reading passages for the shear joy of them.  I loved these two men together.  Their conversations, the funny dialog.  Especially, Charlie’s conversations and Simon’s reactions to them.  Priceless!

But, of course, it’s so much more than that.  It’s Phil, it’s the dog, Liv, Justin, that house…it’s the whole of this story.  It’s every element that combines to bring a town, a family, and this couple together so memorably alive that your heart feels warm and happy and so not ready to see everyone go.  I wanted to stay, seated in their midst, ready for another story from Charlie, another chapter in their lives, their next step forward.  Their next anything….

Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen is beautifully written with wonderful characters and a heartwarming story you will truly love.  Yes, I absolutely recommend it.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  I love this artist’s work but that isn’t the house as I pictured it with greystone and slate roof which is a big fail seeing that it’s a huge part of the story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 337 pages
Expected publication: October 15th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626498389
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series This Time Forever #1

Falling Frightfully Into October! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Falling Frightfully Into October!

 

How I love this month! Or to be more specifically the month of October, only days away!  It’s a time of changing leaves, the arrival of fall, hopefully a crispness of air, and of course, that favorite  of holidays Halloween!  All Hallows Eve. More about the holiday later this month.  But it’s also time to think about all those lovely stories that carry a tinge of horror, a bite of fright, or a element of scare!

So all month I’ll be recommending series and stories to read.  I hope you will be chiming in too.  We need our Frightening Reads Recommendations!

So to get us started heres some that I’ve rec’d from the past:

From Missouri Dalton, author of the recent releases

The Hanged Man’s Ghost (The Night Wars, #1)
The Night Shift (The Night Wars #2)
The Hellfire Legacy

Guidebook Series

Vampirism And You! (Guidebook 01) ~ my review here
Necromancy and You (Guidebook 02) ~ my review here

Pretty Monsters coverPeek A Boo coverTriple Feature coverJosh of the Damned The Final Checkout

Author Andrea Speed:

Josh of the Damned Series – humor and the Supernatural -killer combo along with outstanding covers

Josh of the Damned Triple Feature #1 (Josh of the Damned #3) by Andrea Speed
Pretty Monsters (Josh of the Damned, #1)
Peek-a-Boo (Josh of the Damned, #2)
Night of the Dust Bunnies (Josh of the Damned, #3.5)
Josh of the Damned Triple Feature #2: The Final Checkout (Josh of the Damned #4)
Merry Christmas, Josh! (Josh of the Damned #4.5)
Josh of the Damned: The Complete Collection

The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men by Eric Arvin

And finally, two short tales of such lyrical elegance and narrative poetry I read them over and over in admiration.   These should be on everyone’s must read list!

End Street Detectives by RJ Scott and Amber Kell

Lily by Xavier Axelson

Sand and Ruin and Gold by Alexis Hall

Now from some previous years recommendations:

In A Dark Wood civerKraken coverWinter Kills coverDown cover

 

 

 

 

 

In a Dark Wood by Josh Lanyon: If you want something scary-creepy to make you cower under the blankets and double-check the doors and windows. Look no further. Who knew Lanyon could rival King, in this I see the making of the Master of M/M horror. And this horror buff wants more of this style of writing from Lanyon please.

Winter: Haunted Heart by Josh Lanyon: For those who want more of haunted-creepy, Lanyon has you covered there as well. Check out this lovely ghostly mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed. The audio version’s narrator is excellent if you’re into audiobooks.

Kraken by M. Caspian: Ready for the creature feature now guys? Then check this one out. It takes creepy to a whole new level. You know the slimy, make-your-skin crawl kind. *shiver*

Down by Ally Blue: Features violence and death trapped seven fathoms below the deep. Creatures with glowing purple eyes and sharp teeth and a horror that could annihilate the human race-EEK! Tantalizing beginning and an ending that circled nicely back to it. The author’s writing style didn’t work well for me personally, but many others loved it and the story is most certainly eerie and quite unique.

As for favorite scary reads…
Slasherazzi by Daniel A. Kaine

Favorite shifters…
The Tameness of the Wolf series by Kendall McKenna

Hainted by Jordan L. Hawk

Spirit by John Inman

What are you reading this All Hallows Eve?  We will be adding to the list all month long and gift certificates will be given out!

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, September 30:

  • Falling Frightfully Into October!
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • New Release Blitz for Sadistic Sherlock (Ward Security #4) by Joceylynn Drake and Rinda Elliott
  • Cover Reveal – Burn (Witchbane #1.5) by Morgan Brice
  • A MelanieM Review: Building Forever by Kelly Jensen
  • A Stella Review The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring (Butterfly Hunter #3) by Julie Bozza

Monday, October 1:

  • Cover Reveal Commitment Collection Box Set by Karen Botha
  • Dreamspun Promo Kim Fielding on The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril)
  • Promo Tara lain on Love You So Special
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Surviving the Apocalypse by Tinnean
  • A Lucy Review From the Ashes by C.M. Valencourt
  • A MelanieM Review: A Taste Of Agapi by Chris Ethan
  • A Stella Review: Holiday Tales from Fairyland by Joe Cosentino

Tuesday, October 2:

  • BLOG TOUR THRALL by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish
  • Blog Tour With a Twist by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn
  • TOUR To Save His Prince by Hurri Cosmo
  •  BLITZ A Dance of Water and Air by Antonia Aquilante
  • A Jeri Review: Thrall by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish
  • A Lila Audiobook Review Cowboy in the Crosshairs (Turquoise, New Mexico) by BA Tortuga
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril) by Kim Fielding

Wednesday, October 3:

  • Release Blitz – Claw Marks & Card Games by Maz Maddox
  • Cover Reveal Tour – V.L. Locey – One-On-One (Cayuga Cougars #5)
  • Review Tour Garrett Leigh – Lucky
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady  Review: Of Sunlight and Stardust by Riley Hart & Christina Lee
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: The Librarian’s Ghost (The Supers #2) by Sean Michael
  • An Ali Review: Lucky by Garrett Leigh
  • A Stella Review: All He Ever Needed by Cate Ashwood

Thursday, October 4:

  • Release Day Blitz Of Sunlight and Stardust by Riley Hart & Christina Lee
  • Spotlight Blog Tour and Giveaway for Hard Truths by Alex Whitehall
  • Release Blitz –  – Center Of Gravity by Neve Wilder
  • Dreamspun Promo Sean Michael
  • An Alisa Review: Promises: The Next Generation (Bounty Hunters #5) by A.E. Via
  • An Ashley Review: The Academy by Quinn Anderson
  • A MelanieM Review : Distant Cousins by Eric Huffbind

Friday, October 5:

  • Consulting: Dragon War Chronicles Book One by AG Carothers Blog Tour
  • Harmony Promo Russell J. Sanders
  • Review Tour – Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey #1) by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey
  • A Free Dreamer Review: BURN (Witchbane #1.5) by Morgan Brice
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Of Gallantry and Magic, by Alex Hintermann
  • A MelanieM Review: Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey #1) by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey
  • An Ashley Review The Beach Brat by Louise Collins

Saturday, October 6:

  • Book Blast: The Selkie Prince and His Omega Guard
  • Release Blitz – Nell Iris – Us Again
  • Release Blitz *signal)Tour – Jay Northcote – Not Just Friends
  • A MelanieM Review: Claw Marks & Card Games (Stallion Ridge #2) by Maz Maddox
  • A Stella Review “no way out” by Eric Alan Westfall

 

 

Cover Reveal – Burn (Witchbane #1.5) by Morgan Brice

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Burn (Witchbane #1.5)

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Release Date: September 30, 2018

Genre/s: urban fantasy MM paranormal romance

Sexy, satisfying supernatural suspense.

Blurb

One hundred years ago, a sheriff’s posse killed dark warlock Rhyfel Gremory, but his witch-disciples escaped, and their magic made them nearly immortal. To keep their power, each year one of the witch-disciples kills a descendant of one of the men in the posse, a twelve-year cycle that has cost dozens of lives, including that of Seth Tanner’s brother, Jesse.

Seth uncovers the cycle of ritual murders that feed the witch-disciples’ power, and he saves Evan Malone, one of the warlock’s potential victims. Neither Seth nor Evan expected to fall in love, but when the dust settles, they find themselves on the run and on the road together, heading toward Pittsburgh, on the trail of the next killer.

Seth wonders whether Evan will come to regret his choice to stay together, now that he’s living the reality of Seth’s nomadic life and the risks that come with it. He wants Evan to stay, but he’s afraid that Evan would be better off without him, living a normal life. Evan’s whole world has been upended, but there’s one thing he’s sure of, his love for Seth. Evan worries that he’s a liability, not yet able to hold his own in Seth’s rough-and-tumble world, but determined to do whatever necessary to have Seth’s back. On the way to face the next warlock, supernatural threats abound, forcing them to learn to fight as a team.

Fate and danger threw them together. But once the adrenaline fades, will love last?

About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Look for her other books—Witchbane and Badlands. Coming soon—Dark Rivers (Witchbane novel #2) and Lucky Town (a Christmas Badlands novella).

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook: The Worlds of Morgan Brice 

Twitter: @MorganBriceBook 

Pinterest:  Morgan Brice board

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

New Release Blitz for Sadistic Sherlock (Ward Security #4) by Joceylynn Drake and Rinda Elliott (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Sadistic Sherlock

Series: Ward Security Series #4

Author: Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Publisher: Drake and Elliott Publishing, LLC

Release Date: September 28, 2018

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 64k

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Ten years ago, Dominic Walsh faked his own death. With no true identity, it wasn’t hard. But if he’d stayed, he would have been drawn further into a life he’d never chosen. He has friends and family at Ward Security now and has managed to escape his dark past. There is only one thing he truly wants.

Abraham Stephens.

When Dom was first tasked with watching over his friend’s father, he didn’t expect to fall so hard for the gorgeous silver fox. But Abe is interested in friendship only. He’s at a point in his life where he wants something permanent, not a romp with the sexy redhead who happens to be the same age as his son.

But Abe finds himself drawn deeper into Dom’s life when cryptic messages start appearing—ones that frighten the skilled security specialist. The more Dom tries to hide what’s happening, the more Abe wants to help him.

And maybe, just maybe, he’ll find a way to trust the strength of the bond Dom understood from the start.

Excerpt

Dom insisted on helping him clean the kitchen, and it took all Abe’s concentration to not attack the guy. He wanted to lift him up on the counter and—

“That’s it,” Dom announced. “I can’t handle the way you keep looking at me.” He threw the dishtowel he’d been using and backed Abe into a wall this time. He braced both hands on either side of shoulders and stared hard at him. “We’re doing this at a slow pace. I mean it.”

“Stop being so fucking bossy and come here.” Abe grabbed him and yanked him in for another kiss that rocked his world. The man kissed like he wanted to devour Abe, like he could pull air from Abe’s lungs to survive on that alone. He had a naughty tongue normally—Abe never knew what was going to come out of his mouth—but it was also playful and so damn sensual when he slid it into Abe’s mouth. He wanted that tongue all over his body.

They kissed until his lips became sensitive, to where every rasp of Dom’s lips sent nerves tingling like he was being zapped with tiny bursts of electricity.

Dom pulled back and he kept going until his back hit the island. “Take off your shirt.”

Abe didn’t even hesitate. He was too far gone to worry about his forty-nine-year-old body at this point. If Dom didn’t like him as he was, if he didn’t want to do this again, then Abe would take this one shot to see him, to touch him, and he’d love it. He stepped back and pulled off his Henley and stood there, letting Dom look. “Yours too.”

“In a minute,” Dom breathed as he leaned back against the island and leisurely ran that hot gaze over Abe.

It took all his control to stand still, because he wanted to maul Dom. There wasn’t another word to describe what he wanted to do. Grab him, throw him against the wall or on the couch and just…take him apart. Feel all that searing skin against his. Rub his cock against that taut body…

Dom grinned in that oh-so-wicked fashion of his and crooked a finger. “Come here.”

But Abe had a better idea. He grabbed him and pressed him back into the wall. Dom didn’t wait for him to take the final step close before his hands were on Abe’s chest and his fingers were combing through his chest hair. He ran one palm down Abe’s belly, which didn’t have the bumps and ridges of muscle that Dom’s had. But he couldn’t discount the complete desire he saw in those green eyes and the very hard dick showing in his jeans.

Abe slowly reached out and ran one finger down that hard ridge, and the back of Dom’s head thunked on the wall. “If I come in my pants, no comments about the age thing. I’m thirty-two damn years old and you have me so hot, I’m about to be humiliated for life.”

“Oh yeah?” He popped the top button and unzipped Dom’s jeans. He didn’t push them down—just left them open. “Spiderman? Really?”

“I didn’t think you’d be seeing my boxers tonight, or I would have worn the Batman ones. They’re way hotter.” Dom smirked.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Authors

Who are Drake & Elliott?

Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments. Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | eMail Tumblr |Unbreakable Readers

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New Releases Blitz for Honeymoon for One by Keira Andrews (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 80,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Design
 
Blurb



The wedding is off, but the love story is just beginning.


Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.


Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried, his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he’s happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he’s a bit lonely, it’s not the end of the world.


Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.


Honeymoon for One is a gay romance by Keira Andrews featuring a May-December age difference, a slow burn of newfound friends to lovers, first-time m/m sex, and of course a happy ending.

 
Excerpt
 
As Ethan walked through the resort on Fraser Island the next afternoon after a tour to gorgeous Lake McKenzie, he finally admitted to himself that he was looking for Clay.


Because he’s nice! He’s fun to talk to. Besides, my harmless crush is just that. Harmless. Why shouldn’t I enjoy it? Nothing’s going to happen. He’s apparently straight and I’m on the rebound. But we can be friendly. I like his accent, and he’s a nice guy.


Of course, Clay wasn’t just nice. He was sexy. His accent? Sexy. The Australian slang he used that made him sound like Crocodile Dundee sometimes? Sexy. His broad shoulders and solid build? Sexy. That he didn’t have chiseled abs and was a little soft around the middle? Sexy. Those blue eyes, and how the auburn in his hair gleamed in the sun, especially in his beard and the hair on his arms, and how he had freckles…


Sexy, sexy, sexy.


But the sexiest thing of all was how thoughtful he was. How he made such an effort to make sure Ethan could hear him when he spoke. How he’d told him the secret of the Mission Bay sunrise. How he’d copied the tour guide notes for him. Even back in Cairns, how he’d held Ethan’s backpack while Ethan was snorkeling and watched over him, then later took him to buy a hat.


Ethan was wearing the hat now, and it gave him a giddy little thrill.


Is he straight though?


The question had been niggling at him. Clay had been married to a woman for years and had kids, but of course that didn’t mean he was straight. He could be bi or pan. Although he’d mentioned the right woman coming along.


Still, when Ethan had touched his arm that morning on Mission Beach and looked into Clay’s eyes, he swore there had been a flicker between them. That unnamed frisson of knowing.


Wishful thinking. Don’t be an idiot.


There were four pools at the resort, and Ethan strolled around the first two. It was sunny, and through his polarized sunglasses, the water, surrounding palm trees, and forest beyond were vibrant. He waved hello to Shiv—who was reading on a lounger since there was nothing planned for the day after that morning’s trip to the lake in four-by-four jeeps—and continued on to a smaller, kidney-shaped pool that was more tucked away, and—


Fuck. Clay.


There he was, stretched out on a chaise lounge under the shade of an umbrella and surrounding trees on the deck at the far end of the pool. There were a few adults in the water paddling lazily, others on the more exposed side of the concrete deck sunbathing. Kids seemed to be in the bigger pools, their splashing and shrieks distant noises now.


Oh so casually, Ethan ambled around the pool, stealing glances at Clay from the corner of his eye. The chaises on either side of him were vacant. In fact, that whole shady side of the pool was empty and quiet. There was no music piped in, just the rustle of leaves in the breeze. It was perfect.


Clay wore his sexy-AF aviator sunglasses, navy bathing trunks, and nothing else but his gold-colored watch. It was kind of old-fashioned to wear a watch, and it was sexy. He’d apparently taken a dip, since his hair was wet and darker, and drops of water dried on his skin.


His long, muscular legs were crossed at the ankles. There was a newspaper folded over his stomach, his fingers laced on top of it. His nipples were pink amid the reddish hair on his chest, and as Ethan got closer, he imagined licking those nipples.


Heat roaring through him, he swallowed thickly. This was a bad idea, and he should turn back the way he came. But now he was close enough that if Clay saw him, it might seem rude, like Ethan had turned around and left because he was avoiding Clay. So he kept walking slowly around the curve of the shaded deep end, where one woman in a bikini swam a slow side stroke.


Clay’s chaise was partly reclined, and it was entirely possible he was napping and didn’t have any idea Ethan was even there. Ethan slowed even more so his flip-flops didn’t flap on the concrete.


Okay, if I walk by and he doesn’t notice me, that’s a sign. I’ll keep going and stop being ridiculous.


He was still at least ten feet away when Clay called, “Ethan!” and lifted a hand in a wave.


“Oh, hey!” Ethan replied too loudly. Calm the fuck down. He smiled as he approached. “You found a good shady spot.”


“Yep. Got skin cancer once when I was younger, so I reckoned me and the sun aren’t mates.”


Ethan gaped. “Oh my God. I’m sorry. You said before that you had to be careful, but I didn’t realize.”


“Nah, nah. Don’t be sorry.” He casually motioned to the chaise on his left in invitation. Ethan spread out his striped resort towel and settled in, his heart beating too fast as he took off his hat since they were in the shade. Clay added, “I shouldn’t be so dramatic—it wasn’t melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma. Quite common in Australia. It can’t spread, so it’s not dangerous like other cancers. Still, I had to have surgery to remove it, so it’s not nothing.”


“Wow. I’m glad it wasn’t melanoma. Obviously. Where was it?” he asked before realizing how intrusive that was. Even though Clay really felt like a friend now, Ethan had to remember it was probably mostly in his head. “I’m sorry, I’m being totally nosy! You don’t have to tell me.”


See? This was a bad idea. I’m going to make a fool of myself with this crush. Maybe it’s not so harmless after all.


“No worries. It was on the back of my left shoulder.” Clay leaned forward, angling so Ethan could see. He reached over that shoulder with his right hand, his fingers finding a pale circle of a scar. Just below it was a tattoo, a green sort of shield with a yellow sun rising over a green horizon and five stars dotting the shield. It was a few inches wide and several inches long.


“Cool tattoo.” Ethan had never been compelled to get one, but he enjoyed looking at other people’s. Before he could stop himself, he traced it with his fingertip. Clay’s back was freckled as well, and goddamn, why was that so sexy? The seconds ticked by as he touched Clay, neither of them saying anything.


Finally, Ethan asked, “Does it mean something?” He was still touching, and Clay shivered. Ethan dropped his hand, his mouth dry.


Clay cleared his throat as he sat back. “It’s part of the Cricket Australia logo. On their uniforms there’s a roo on the left and an emu on the right, and ‘Australia’ written underneath.” He laughed and muttered something Ethan missed.


“What was the last part? Sorry.”


“I thought having the full logo was overkill for a tattoo. Didn’t want it too big, but I like having a little something.”


“You really love cricket, huh?”


Clay laughed. “What gave me away?”


Ethan chuckled. “Oh, you were going to tell me about that thing. The…” He racked his brain for the right word. “Ashes?”


“Ah, yes.” Clay tipped his head forward and peered at Ethan over the rims of his aviators with his intensely blue eyes. A thrill of desire shot through Ethan’s veins. Clay asked, “Are you sure you really want to know? No need to humor me, mate.”


“No, I really do!” He laughed, and it came out shaky, so he faked a cough. “I always loved sports when I was younger, and I want to get back into them. Although the Mets were epically bad last season, so I wasn’t very inspired to hop back on the bandwagon.”


“What happened to make you lose your interest? I can’t imagine.”


“Oh. It was…” Ethan motioned to his ears. “I lost interest in basically everything. I was really depressed for, like, four years. But the last year’s been a lot better. I’ve come to terms with it, I guess. But I’m still not the way I was before.”


“Ah.” Clay nodded sympathetically. “I understand. Still finding your footing. It can take a while. When I first moved down to Sydney, it was quite a culture shock. My entire life was upended. Home, work—the whole bit.”


“Yeah.” Ethan hesitated, but the way Clay watched him so patiently and without judgement gave him the confidence to say, “And now, being single again, it’s just so…weird. Like, who am I if… If I’m not with Michael?” Saying his name aloud was painful, but felt good at the same time, to release some of the pressure inside him.


Clay nodded again. “I was half of Mr. and Mrs. Kelly for so long. It hurt to lose that, no mistake.” He smiled sadly. “Hell, I still feel like I’m finding my footing. Thought I should have figured it all out by now, but that’s life for ya, I reckon.”


Warmth filled Ethan’s chest, affection and understanding flowing. “Always full of surprises, right?” And some that were actually good surprises. Like meeting a sexy older man who somehow likes me. Somehow gets me.


“Indeed.” Clay looked at him for a moment. Then he said, “You know, it’s nice to chat about it with someone on the same page. Haven’t really made many mates since I moved, and aside from Facebook, I don’t see the blokes from the Curry. Not that we’d talk much about this sort of thing.”


It made Ethan feel so damn good to be in Clay’s confidence. He had to stop himself from grinning delightedly. Instead, he joked, “Strong silent types in the outback, huh?”


Clay chuckled. “Something like that.” He sipped from a bottle of water. “Glad to have met you.” Then he jolted and looked horrified. “Not saying I’m glad at the trauma you’ve had. It’s awful that your wedding was called off.” He grimaced. “Maybe it’s best for me not to talk about all this after all.”


“No, no. It’s okay. I know what you meant. No offense taken.” He smiled genuinely, relieved when Clay visibly relaxed. But maybe it was time to lighten the subject. Sitting back on his chaise, Ethan said, “All right, tell me all about the mysterious Ashes. Maybe cricket can be my new sport.” And since it was something important to Clay, he really did want to know about it.


Clay grinned. “If you insist.” He sat back and re-crossed his ankles. “What do you know about cricket?”


“Um…nothing? It’s kind of like baseball and takes forever to play?”


Throwing his head back, Clay laughed, exposing his neck. Ethan watched his Adam’s apple. Clay said, “I’ll start at the beginning.”


Ethan nodded and uh-huhed as Clay outlined the basics. Stumps, bats, a wicket, a pitch, creases, bowling—Ethan wasn’t sure he really understood all the info, but he kept nodding, loving the rumble of Clay’s voice.


“Is this making sense?” Clay asked.


“Yes! I mean, it’s a lot to try and take in, but I think I get it.”


“We should watch a match. It’s really the best way to learn.”


Belly somersaulting, Ethan tried to keep his voice casual. “That would be cool, yeah. So what’s the thing about ashes?”


“The Ashes is a test series between England and Australia. Test matches can go five days, as opposed to an ODI—” He cut off. “You’re going to be bored shitless if I go into the overs and innings and all that. In a nutshell, England and Australia play a series every year or so of five matches. It’s very competitive. Lots of patriotic pride tied up in it. The name comes from the late 1800s, when we beat England for the first time over there. Being beaten by the colonies on English soil was quite a shock for the poor pommies, bless their hearts. Our bowler went fourteen wickets for ninety.”


“I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good?” Ethan laughed. Clay laughed as well, and God, he was so hot.


“It was very good. So one of the London papers published a mock obit for English cricket after we won. At the end it said, ‘The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.’ The Brits were determined to get the ashes back, and over the years, mumble mumble.”


A chattering couple walking by made the last part impossible to hear, but Ethan guessed, “Over the years that became the name of the tournament?”


Clay frowned after the couple, who thankfully kept walking. “You’ve got it. Legend goes that when England came back to Australia to play, a lady gave the captain an urn with the ashes of a burnt cricket ball inside. That urn’s in a museum at the MCC in England, but now the winning team gets a crystal version of it to keep until the next series.”


“Are you serious?”


“Mate, I never joke about cricket. Ever.”


Ethan grinned. “I love that the trophy is an urn. That’s awesome. Thanks for explaining all that.”


“I’d give you an ear-bashing all day about cricket if you let me.”


I’d let you do so many things to me.


Before Ethan’s mind could veer too far down the path of wondering what Clay’s beard would feel like against his face if they kissed, Clay said, “Tell me about baseball. Your Mets aren’t doing so well?”


“Not last season. But there was one year when I was a kid? We didn’t make the World Series, but it was still amazing. You know, when everything seems to go right during the season, and the players are all awesome guys and you feel like you know them, and you’re rooting so hard for them. And when they win, it’s just the best feeling in the world.”


Clay grinned. “Nothing like it, mate.” Then he laughed, his shoulders shaking.


“What?” Ethan laughed too. “You get it, right?”


“Absolutely.” Clay looked like he was trying to stop laughing but couldn’t manage it.


What?” Ethan nudged Clay’s bare arm with his fist, resisting the urge to flatten his palm over the firm, hair-dusted muscles. He groaned as he thought back over what he’d said. “Oh, I see. ‘Rooting so hard.’ You know I didn’t mean it like that. ‘Root’ doesn’t mean sex in the US.” He giggled, because he and Clay were apparently twelve.


As they laughed together over the silly joke, Ethan’s hearing aid battery beeped in his left ear. That meant the right likely would go soon too. Grimacing at the loud beep, he said, “Sorry, I need to go change my hearing aid batteries. They beep to let me know.”


“No worries. I’ll try to compose myself. Of course now my mind’s full of stupid jokes.”


Ethan grinned. “Tell me one before I go.”


“Well, did you know Australian’s don’t have sex?”


Hearing the word “sex” come out of Clay’s mouth had Ethan’s balls tingling and his head going light. His voice sounded too high as he said, “No? What do they do?”


“They mate.”


Ethan burst out laughing, and Clay joined in. Sure, it was childish. But he didn’t give a shit. It was fun. Michael would have rolled his eyes because he was always too snobby for puns. And wow, Ethan realized he and Michael hadn’t had goofy fun in a long, long time.


He’d missed feeling so relaxed. Like, he didn’t have to worry about what Clay would think if he made a dumb joke or announced, “that’s what she said” after a double entendre. Because Clay would laugh along with him.


Because Clay was awesome.


Ethan gave him a wave and circled the pool, walking on air. He imagined he could feel the heat of Clay’s gaze on his body. I might have to go jerk off if I don’t get my shit together. He’s only being friendly. Stop imagining things!


The eco resort had raised, wooden, covered boardwalks with guest rooms along them and lots of foliage around. He was smiling to himself—okay, grinning—and waved as he passed Stan and Violet. Inside his room, Ethan kept his suitcases neatly packed and closed since he’d read to never put a suitcase on a bed due to the threat of bedbugs.


A few minutes later, Ethan’s belongings were strewn across the spare bed, his heart racing and mouth dry. His hearing aid batteries weren’t there. “Fuck, fuck, FUCK!”


He pawed through his clothes again. Nothing. Telling himself they had to be somewhere, he tried to be methodical as he searched. Nothing. He ran into the bathroom and looked there again. Nothing. The reminder beeps from his hearing aids as the clock wound down did not freaking help, the right one chiming in now, as he’d expected.


Ethan opened drawers even though he hadn’t put anything away. He dug through the trash bins, which hadn’t been emptied yet by housekeeping. Finally, after searching three more times, he had to declare defeat. His batteries were not there. Trying to catch a ragged breath, he stood in the middle of his room, which looked like a hurricane had passed through.


Then he remembered the little balcony with a forest view. He unlocked the door and slid it open with a bang, his heart pounding. Nothing. He tried to think of when he’d last seen the pack of little round batteries and came up blank. Had he left them in the Whitsundays? He couldn’t imagine doing that, but he’d taken everything out of his big suitcase to reorganize.


And of course he usually kept a couple batteries in his little hearing aid case, but hadn’t replaced them since he’d been on one of the flights when his batteries had gone.


“Fuck!”


If he was on the mainland, it would be easy enough to buy more at a drugstore. Heart in his throat, he rushed out of his room and down the walkway back toward reception. Maybe they had a store. He hadn’t noticed anything—maybe a gift shop wasn’t eco-friendly?—but there had to be somewhere to buy stuff on the island. Right?


Wrong.


The young guy behind the front desk shook his head apologetically. “We only have a few essentials available.” He added something else that was lost in the four ominous beeps in Ethan’s left ear, signaling that battery would die momentarily. Sure enough, after a few heartbeats, it went quiet. The guy was saying something else, and Ethan strained to understand with only his right hearing aid, turning his head and leaning in.


The guy looked at him like he was waiting for a response, and Ethan said, “I’m sorry?”


He waved a hand dismissively, and Ethan easily read his lips since he was used to these words: “Never mind.”


“Can you not fucking—” He caught himself and breathed deeply to choke down the frustration. He lowered his voice, or at least he hoped he did. “Can you please write down what you said?”


Glancing at him warily as if Ethan was a lunatic, the guy scrawled on a piece of hotel notepaper:


I’ll ask housekeeping to go through the towels and make sure nothing was accidentally picked up.


Still breathing hard, Ethan nodded. “Thank you.” He turned and walked away from the desk, his lungs tight. As he descended the wide stairs leading down to a restaurant on one side and the pool area beyond glass doors, he spotted Stan and Violet sitting in the shade outside in an area with padded wicker furniture and tables. He approached them to ask what kind of batteries Stan used.


Of course not the same kind—Stan’s were smaller. He and his wife were very kind and sympathetic, and Ethan was going to fucking cry like the loser he was, so he quickly thanked them and escaped back into the lobby. Where he stood as the minutes ticked by, trying not to completely lose his shit. His right aid was going to go soon, the reminder beep making him wince.


Then Clay was there, his face pinched in concern as he said something Ethan didn’t hear in the murmur of noise from the restaurant nearby and people through the lobby. Ethan told him about the missing batteries and added, “I guess I left them at the last place? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter now. They’re not here.” Clay said something that was probably sympathetic, and Ethan shook his head. “Sorry, it’s hard with only one now. And the right one won’t last much longer.”


Clay nodded and glanced around, then guided Ethan to a little tucked-away corner, his big hand warm and comforting on Ethan’s shoulder before dropping away. Ethan blew out a long breath. “Anyway, I asked Stan, but his hearing aids are different and the batteries won’t fit mine.”


“Damn it.” Clay was clearly trying to speak even more carefully. His sunglasses were perched on his head, and he leaned in, looking at Ethan intently. “Where do you get more batteries? Does it have to be a specialty-type place?”


“No, just a drugstore. But they don’t have one here.”


“I’ll ask the desk when the next boat to the mainland is. If you tell me which batteries, I can fetch them from the chemist and come back as soon as I can.”


Clay’s kindness made Ethan’s eyes burn again with the threat of tears. His right hearing aid beeped, but with Clay’s steady presence, he was able to take a deep breath and calm his spiky pulse. “That’s really cool of you to offer. But no, it’s your day off. I’ll be fine.”


“It’s no bother. I always enjoy a boat ride.”


Clay was amazing. It was entirely a freaking bother, but he was so comforting and unruffled. So sexy. No, no, this wasn’t the time to be thinking about that, but it loosened the massive knot of tension in Ethan’s chest. “I’ll be okay.” He blew out a long breath, glancing around the high-ceilinged lobby. No one seemed to be watching his meltdown, at least. “I’m okay. I can get batteries in the morning. I’m sorry. Sometimes my anxiety just…” He made an exploding motion with his hands.


Clay smiled, and Ethan really, really wanted to kiss him. “No worries. We all have our moments. I can imagine it’s a frightening thing, not being able to hear. Would make a bloke feel awfully…bare. If you know what I mean.”


Do not think about Clay naked. “Yeah, that’s it exactly. Vulnerable, I guess. But it helps—” He broke off. Would it be weird to say it? What the hell. Before he could lose his nerve, he said, “It helps having you here. Thank you.”


Of course now he was a hundred percent thinking about Clay naked, and when Clay slung an arm around Ethan’s shoulders and gave him a manly half-hug squeezy thing, that did not help.


He spoke quietly and steadily near Ethan’s right ear, not shouting like a lot of well-meaning people would. “How about I buy us a couple of tinnies of Four X—they’ll allow those by the pool, but no glass. There’s a bar over by the main deck, and we can take ‘em back to the shade.”


Ethan was pressed against the side of Clay’s big, strong body, a situation his dick was very interested in pursuing further. Afraid of how high-pitched his voice might come out, he simply nodded. Clay clapped his back and let go, and they made their way outside. Ethan tried to get the beer charged to his room, but of course Clay waved him off, not accepting any arguments.


“This shout’s on me.”


Ethan’s brows drew together. “This what?”


“Shout.” He motioned to the cans of beer the bartender put on the counter.


“I thought that’s what you said. A shout’s like a round of drinks?” At Clay’s nod, Ethan grinned. “Cool. Thanks. Then I’ll get the one after.” His smile faded. “I mean, unless you have other stuff to do. You don’t have to hang out with me all day.”


Clay shrugged. “Nowhere else to be, mate.”


Copyright © Keira Andrews
 
Author Bio



After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:


“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”


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New Release Blitz for Distant Cousins by Eric Huffbind (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Distant Cousins

Author: Eric Huffbind

Cover Artist: Eric Huffbind

Genre/s: Contemporary Gay Male Romance

Release Date: September 28, 2018

Heat Rating: 4 flames

This book is intended for mature audiences

Length: 64,000 words / No cliff hanger / HEA

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Blurb

Even the worst mistakes can be forgiven

Konner was looking forward to learning more about his family heritage. What he found was his entire life was a lie.

Konner O’Flattery, a passionate amateur genealogist, has finally gotten back the results of the DNA test he took. He’s been waiting months to uncover what mysteries his DNA has locked inside. But his results aren’t anything like he expected, and he unearths a secret buried since birth. His heart becomes shattered leaving no room for forgiveness. Now, Konner feels compelled to go on a journey to find the truth of who and what he truly is.

Through the miracles of modern technology, Konner meets his distant cousin, Aaron Kirschenbaum. Turns out, he knows exactly who Aaron is, yet they’ve never met. Aaron makes the girls and boys alike swoon from his stunning good looks and velvety voice. Unfortunately, he’s picked up a bad habit of abusing his status for his own personal gain, but nonetheless, is a man with a heart of pure gold.

Konner’s story pulls on the strings of Aaron’s heart. So, he offers to help Konner, in any way he possibly can. Aaron finds Konner to be incredibly attractive, so the two men are swept up into an intense romance filled with sensuous heat and passion.

Distant Cousins is Eric Huffbind’s second published novel, a Contemporary Gay Male Romance. Take a journey with Konner as he finds heartbreak, intrigue, love, passion, and the importance of forgiveness. If you want to rekindle the euphoric high of falling in love, Distant Cousins is the book for you.

Excerpt

Aaron was walking, while an airline employee was pushing Konner in the wheelchair, heading towards the arrivals area. Konner noticed a gentleman, dressed in a chauffeur’s attire, holding a sign that read “Kirkman Party.”

Aaron walked towards the man, who was quick to say, “Good Morning, Mr. Kirkman. My name is James and I’ll be driving you and Mr. O’Flattery to the Hyatt Regency. Do you have any checked luggage we need to retrieve before we leave.?”

“Yes, we do, James.” The driver explained to the airline employee he would take over pushing the wheelchair. Konner had the definitive facial expression of, “What the hell is this all about? A chauffeur?”

Aaron was quick to notice his appearance. “Arnie always arranges for a limousine to meet me when I travel.”

“Oh—I see. Aaron, this is so foreign to me. A house in Bel Air was one thing, but flying first class, and a chauffeured limousine. Let me guess, we’re staying in the presidential suite at the hotel.”

Aaron responded, “Uhhhh…” Followed by clearing his throat. “Actually, yes, we are staying in the presidential suite. I would’ve thought you would like it. You don’t?”

“I wouldn’t say I don’t like it,” Konner answered “I feel like a country bumpkin next to you. I’ve never had your kind of money. And I’m not used to being taken care of, like you are. I’ve always made my own way in the world.”

“Can’t I make life nicer for you? It’s important to me.”

“You mean living the high life is important to you?” asked Konner.

“No. It’s not that. It’s important to me that you live a nice life.” Aaron said. “Let’s talk about it after we get in the limo. Okay?” Konner nodded in agreement.

Within five minutes, they were waiting at the baggage carousel. Aaron pointed their bags out, and the driver obtained the luggage to carry. Aaron offered to push Konner’s wheelchair the rest of the way. Once they were outside, a black stretch limousine was waiting at the curb. The driver placed their luggage in the trunk and then opened the passenger door for the boys. Aaron helped Konner to his feet and into the back seat of the car. The chauffeur closed the door for them and drove them straight away to their hotel.

The back seats were in the form of wrap-around couches. The smell of leather and alcohol floated in the air. As Konner sunk into the smooth feel of the black leather, he noticed a sunroof above them. “Am I too plain for you?” Konner asked.

Aaron felt as if it caught him off guard. “Absolutely not! Why would you think that?”

“Because, you said it was important to you I live a nice life. The high life as I call it. My feelings are a little hurt, you made me feel inadequate. Like I wasn’t rich enough, or fancy enough to meet your high standards.”

“Oh, my God! Sweetheart, nothing could be further from the truth. It has to do with the question you wanted answered when I said you need to ask your parents. It’s all tied together.”

“I see. So, I still need to talk to my parents for the solution.” Aaron gave a yes nod. “It has to be the something that badly hurt you. It’s become obvious your parents must’ve been the offenders.” Another yes nod from Aaron. “Then you don’t look down on me for living a plain-Jane life?”

“No! Not at all! I may live a fancy life, but I swear to you…” Aaron took an audible breath and sighed. “I may be an asshole who’s gone around seducing men, but I’m not a snob. I still want to make your life better, but not for the reason you think. I promise.” Aaron reached for Konner’s face to caress, always enjoying the feel of his facial hair, and gave him a kiss.

“I’d better give Anna a call. Let her know we’re here.” Konner pulled his cell phone from his carry-on bag and dialed her number. “Hi, Anna, it’s Konner. Aaron and I have arrived. We’re staying at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento; that’s where we’re driving to right now… We’d love to have lunch with you and your husband tomorrow…”

About the Author

Eric Huffbind is a man of many talents. Over the course of his lifetime, he’s been a licensed registered nurse, a travel agent, an Uber driver,  a hopeless romantic, and is the eternal social butterfly. Among his passionate interests are history, genealogy, romance, and travel.

The story of Distant Cousins was heavily inspired from his passion for family history; a hobby he has pursued for more than thirty years. Although his novels focus on the romantic relationship of two gay men, regardless of your sexual orientation, his stories are meant to rekindle the spirit and euphoria of falling in love. If Mr. Huffbind’s story moves you through an array of emotions, and it touches your romantic spirit, please share the book with a friend. Mr. Huffbind is a lifelong resident of Southwest Ohio; born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently residing in West Chester, Ohio with his husband Paul and their Pomeranian, Linus.

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An Alisa Release Day Review: Love You So Special by Tara Lain

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Can a man’s secret yearnings be revealed in a tank full of fish?

Artie Haynes knows he’s nothing special, with just-your-regular-brown hair, a solid plumber’s job, not much education, and a family that can barely get off the couch. But Artie has quirks—like his love of tropical fish, a landlord who’s a professor of existentialism, a passion for the amazing piano music he hears at a concert hall while he’s fixing the bathrooms—and the fact that he’s never come out as gay and probably never will. But when he’s hired to build a guesthouse for the pianist whose music enchanted him, Artie is swept up into an unimaginable world.

Francois Desmarais may be famous, rich, and revered as one of the world’s great classical composers and pianists, but he’s soothed and challenged by the inquisitive, stalwart, protective man in his back yard. When Francois’s terrible fear of crowds turns into a dangerous plot, Artie can stay in the closet or prove just how special he is.

This was such a nice story, it’s only loosely connected to the last books but it allows those who haven’t read them to jump right in.  Artie appreciates many things but doesn’t really allow others to see the real him and even allows himself to be pushed down by others expectations.  Francois has been sheltered from many things but hasn’t really had anyone in his corner no matter what until he walks in to his new house and meets Artie.

Both of these characters were great and for many different reasons.  I felt bad for Artie that he thought he needed to hide himself from those around him but was relieved when he wasn’t really hurt when he finally did come out.  Francois felt safe with Artie which gave him some freedom from his fears that kept him back but he also supports Artie to be himself and vows to show him how great he really is.  My only hang up is Francois’s mom, she was an ice queen at the beginning and had a sudden change of heart after Francois is put in danger and Artie helped rescue him; I just can’t see such a sudden change in anyone.

The cover art by Reese Dante is great and I love how it follows the style from the previous books.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 141 pages

Published: September 28, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-961-1

Edition Language: English

Series: A Love You So Story

New Release Blog Tour for Counterpoint (Twisted Wishes #2) by Anna Zabo

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Counterpoint (Twisted Wishes #2) by Anna Zabo

Carina Press
Published September 24, 2018

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Anna Zabo’s tour for Counterpoint, the second story in the Twisted Wishes series.  Check it out below…

 

 

 

Book Synopsis: Twisted Wishes lead guitarist Dominic “Domino” Bradley is an animal onstage. But behind his tight leather pants and skull-crusher boots lies a different man entirely, one who needs his stage persona not only to perform, but to have the anonymity he craves. A self-imposed exile makes it impossible to get close to anyone outside the band, so he’s forced to get his sexual fix through a few hot nights with a stranger.

When computer programmer Adrian Doran meets Dominic, he’s drawn to the other man’s quiet voice and shy smile. But after a few dirty, demanding nights exploring Dominic’s need to be dominated, Adrian wants more than a casual distraction. He has no idea he’s fallen for Domino Grinder—the outlandish, larger-than-life rock god.

Dominic is reluctant to trust Adrian with his true identity. But when the truth is revealed prematurely, Dominic is forced to reevaluate both his need for Adrian and everything he believes about himself.

Pre-order/Buy Links: Carina / Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Google Play / Kobo / universal link

 

Quirks and Warnings: Contains D/s and bondage. Also discusses anxiety and depicts a panic attack.

Tropes and Themes: Secret identity. Geeks in love. hurt/comfort. Finding yourself behind the mask you wear for others.

Excerpt #1:

When Dominic had suggested going to the Met this weekend, Adrian’d been a little disappointed, since he wanted more than just looking at art. He’d wanted a glimpse behind some of those walls Dominic threw up.

Then Dominic had said the magic words: “There’s a tour today where they’re bringing out some of the stringed instruments for a demo, including a seventeenth century guitar.” His eyes had shone with excitement and delight. “I’ve heard recordings—there’s even stuff on the website—but to experience that in person?”

Adrian recognized the shiver of delight, and that had cinched it. He could touch Dominic like that—he wanted to know what else did. And this was music-related, something Dominic tended to push away.

As it happened, the galleries that housed the Met’s musical instrument collection had apparently been undergoing some major renovations over the last couple of years and they were finally in the process of being reopened. As part of that, there’d been some special tours, including performances with instruments from their extensive collection.

Normally, this was the type of thing Adrian would have passed up—tours were tourist traps or designed for school groups—but the way Dominic’s face lit up each time he thought of hearing some instrument from a couple hundred years ago played live…

Yes, he’d seen Dominic in the throes of passion, but that didn’t nearly measure up to the intense need in every fiber of Dominic’s frame. The man was a musician, indeed. He might not talk about his career or his band for whatever reason, but this—this Dominic was willing to share, so Adrian followed, and gladly.

He also adored the feel of Dominic’s hand in his and how utterly unashamed Dominic was to hold his. For someone who could be so shy at times, Dominic was utterly free about expressing his sexuality. Though sometimes, when he looked at Adrian, there was still that haunting sadness or worry. Less and less, though.

They were dating.

And Adrian was grateful for that. He’d rather have Dominic’s smiles and sexy little glances, and not have to worry about whether this was a very long casual thing. Plus, he wanted more, too. More throaty cries, more cuffs and rope, more lazy talks after sex, more of Dominic paging through books and snuggling next to him to read poetry.

As they walked through the Met’s Great Hall, Adrian had that quickening of breath he got whenever he visited a museum. This one topped his list. The Met had art and history—and he was here holding the hand of Dominic Bradley, with his flushed cheeks and a smile Adrian wanted to kiss forever.

This moment, right here, was giddy and full. The seed of deep love. Tantalizing. But calm and sweet. It took everything Adrian had not to get his hopes up yet.

They’d seen each other every weekend since that first one, and a few weeknights, too. More and more, Adrian learned about Dominic, and his childhood in New Jersey. He’d gotten a degree in history with a minor in music from Montclair State University, which explained his familiarity with New York City.

In return, Adrian shared pieces of his own life, beyond the tangled mess of his return to New York. Pieces of his childhood in Brooklyn. His parents’ reaction to his interest in more than just women. His running with his neighborhood crew until college in Buffalo. How hard it’d been to move to a place where he’d needed to learn to drive and own a car. And hadn’t that blown Dominic’s mind, that Adrian hadn’t bothered to get his license until well after he turned eighteen.

Being at the university had also been less diverse in many ways.

 

About the Author

 

Anna Zabo (they/them) writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns and prefers Mx. Zabo as an honorific.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks. They can be easily plied with coffee.

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. (less)

CJ Baty’s Starting Over (The Knights Club #1) New Release Tour and Giveaway

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Buy Links:  Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
Cover Design: Kelly Abell @ Select-O-Grafix
 
Length: 25,000 words approx.
 
Blurb
 

Xavier Knight was starting his life over. A new city. A new club. The past was gone, and he had everything to look forward to… except… love. That ship had sailed, never to return. He was too old to play the games or stack up the one night stands. Until, an old enemy’s son walked into his club and his heart.


Sebastian Brady was through. Through with hiding who he was. Through letting his brother officers dictate his life. And completely through, with his family telling him who he was. He turned his back on his badge and his family’s heritage in the Atlanta police force. But, he never imagined that he’d be serving drinks in a gay bar and working for the hottest silver fox he had ever seen in his life.


Xavier and Seb have a lot to learn from each other. Hopefully, their growing love will survive Xavier’s past, Seb’s family, and a host of characters with secrets of their own, who all work at the Knights Club.

The Knights Club Series

Bk. 1 Starting Over September 18, 2018

Bk. 2 Letting Go October 2018

Bk. 3 Coming Out November 2018

Bk. 4 Learning Trust December 2018

Bk. 5 Deserving Forgiveness January 2019

Story Background

The Knights Club (formerly the Gentleman’s Club) first appeared in the Warfield Hotel Mysteries Series. It was owned by Stony Whitecastle and is located in Atlanta, GA. At the beginning of the Knights Club/Starting Over, Stony is selling the club to Xavier Knight. He renames the club the Knights Club and instead of a private club opens it the public. Some patrons still hold membership though.

This series involves Xavier and his crew of employees and their involvement with a local police family. We meet Sebastian Brady in Starting Over along with his dysfunctional family. Seb’s struggle with his homophobic oldest brother and the shadow of his dead father, Detective Delmonico Brady, haunts Seb as he tries to make a new life for himself.

Occasionally, a character from the Warfield Hotel series will pop up but they are not central to the story line. Everyone who works at the Knights Club has a past and secret they are running from. They are mixed bag of people who have been suffered many things. The Knights Club is their home and the people who work there are their families. But, even families don’t like each other all the time…


 

C. J. Baty lives in southwest Ohio. Her heart, however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire some day. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.



The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to fan fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.


She has a loving and supportive family who don’t mind fixing their own meals when she is in the middle of a story, and a network of friends who have encouraged and cheered her on in her quest of being an author.


One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is: “You are never too old to follow your dream!”


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