New Book Release Blitz for A Dance of Water and Air ( Elemental Magicae #1) by Antonia Aquilante (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: A Dance of Water and Air

Series: Elemental Magicae, Book One

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher: NineStar Press, LLC

Release Date: October 1, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 83600

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, fantasy, trans, magic, elements, court intrigue, arranged marriage, friends to lovers

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Synopsis

Edmund is heir to the throne of Thalassa and a wielder of Water magic. Devoted to his kingdom and his duty to it, Edmund can do nothing but acquiesce to an arranged marriage with the queen of a neighboring kingdom. The marriage and the child it is required to produce will seal an alliance between Thalassa and Aither that is vital to Thalassa’s safety, and far more important than Edmund’s personal misgivings.

Arden is the younger brother of Aither’s queen and a wielder of Air magic. Raised in the politics of the court to support his sister’s rule, he understands the alliance is important to Aither, even as he worries about his sister marrying someone she’s never met. When Edmund arrives in Aither to prepare for the wedding, Arden is tasked with helping him settle in at court. As they spend more time together, Edmund and Arden develop a close friendship, then stronger feelings, but with Edmund’s wedding approaching, they must hide their feelings, even from themselves.

When someone tries to assassinate the queen, Edmund is blamed, and Arden rescues him before he can be executed for a crime he didn’t commit. To prevent a war between their kingdoms and protect them from a dangerous enemy, Edmund and Arden will have to discover who wants to pit Aither and Thalassa against each other and mend relations between the two kingdoms as they evade those searching for them—all while finding a way to be together.

Excerpt

The Dance of Water and Air
Antonia Aquilante © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Edmund swam, long limbs slicing through the clear, warm water. His mind quieted in the repetitive motion, in the weightlessness and the comfort of being surrounded by his Element. Everything washed away, leaving him calm and relaxed, the only time he ever was lately.

If only he could stay there.

He imagined it for a moment. Spending his life swimming and sailing. All his time in the soothing embrace of the water, or at the shore or bank, feeling Water’s power, learning to use its magic. It was a lovely dream. A lovely, impossible dream. With that thought, tension—the tension his morning swim had briefly dispelled—came flooding back. He stopped swimming and flipped onto his back, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath before letting it out in a long sigh.

The sigh had barely left him when he heard the scrape of a shoe against stone. He bit back another sigh and flipped over again to straighten and tread water in the center of the large pool. His secretary stood on the tiled terrace. Peregrine knew better than anyone that this time was Edmund’s and wouldn’t disturb him unless it was urgent. Disaster or grave injury were top of the list.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning, Highness.” Peregrine would never call him by name when someone else might hear, and Edmund would never try to convince him otherwise. Edmund was far too aware of the dictates of his own position. And far too grateful to have found a friend in Peregrine to quibble overly about how they had to behave in public. “I apologize for disturbing you, sir, but the king has called for you.”

A summons from Father certainly counted as a valid reason to disturb him, especially with the rising tensions between Thalassa and their neighbor, Tycen. It seemed Edmund would be cutting his swim short this morning. He struck out for the terrace where Peregrine waited, swimming with steady but unhurried strokes. He wouldn’t dawdle, but if there had been reason to rush, Peregrine would have said.

Soon enough, he reached the terrace and pulled himself up to sit on the edge. Peregrine handed him a towel. He wiped his face first and stood to strip off his soaking wet swim pants and dry the rest of him. Peregrine wouldn’t care about Edmund’s nudity, and he didn’t worry that someone else would come upon them. The pool he chose for his swims wasn’t the largest of the many on the palace grounds, but it was the most private. The terrace they stood on was the only one that connected to the palace, and it was shaded from view. The rest of the area was screened with trees and shrubbery. The smaller terraces on the side opposite them were even more secluded. He’d spent much time in the pool, which was fed by the same underground spring as the rest of the palace waterways, and on the terraces over the years.

Once Edmund was dry, Peregrine handed him the robe he’d left hanging over the back of a chair when he’d arrived. He’d also left a book there—he’d been far too optimistic about his time when he came down here, apparently. He thanked Peregrine and shrugged into the blue-green silk. It was new, something he hadn’t really needed, but he liked the color against his brown skin and the feel of the smooth, cool silk.

“Any idea what my father needs?” Edmund stepped into his sandals and picked up his book from the table.

“None.”

He raised his eyebrow at Peregrine in surprise. Edmund could always rely on Peregrine for more information than seemed possible about everyone from the maids to the king. He’d long since gotten over any misgivings about Peregrine’s seeming omniscience and begun to rely on it. For Peregrine not to have an inkling of what was brewing… Odd. And slightly disturbing.

“I guess we’ll find out.”

Not immediately, of course. A summons through official channels called for more formality. Edmund couldn’t appear in the king’s presence in nothing but a thin robe and sandals. Peregrine kept pace as Edmund walked to his rooms, informing him of other court news and gossip that he might find interesting or useful as they walked.

Edmund’s rooms were a floor up from the garden pool. A guard stationed near the door jumped to open it for Edmund as he approached. He nodded but didn’t slow as he sailed through the door, Peregrine at his heels. His sandals made soft tapping sounds on the green and white tile of the entryway. His sitting room opened up in front of him, curtains fluttering in the breeze blowing in off the ocean below. He had no time to relax there or even to eat the breakfast that was sure to be laid out in the dining room. Instead, he turned left, taking the short hallway leading to his bedchamber, dressing room, and bathing room.

He went directly to the bathing room. Wide windows let in sunlight over the large tub, empty because he usually bathed after breakfast. There was no time to fill it, let alone soak. He settled for rinsing the salt from his skin with water from the basin and briskly rubbed a towel over his shoulder-length hair. Having it drip all over his clothing while he met with Father just wouldn’t do. When he’d squeezed as much of the water from it as he could, he left the towel and went to the dressing room.

Peregrine was there, laying out clothes.

“That isn’t your job,” Edmund said.

“I’m aware.”

“I can select my own clothing.”

“I’m aware of that as well. Put them on anyway.”

Edmund laughed and did as he was told. Peregrine was only saving him time and knew what would be appropriate for him to wear, considering the meeting with Father and the day ahead. He pulled on undergarments and slim gray pants and dropped a sleeveless white shirt over his head. Peregrine held out a dark teal jacket for him, helping him shrug into the embroidered silk. Edmund murmured his thanks and fastened the jacket over his chest, fingers working quickly over the row of little silver buttons. When he was finished, he stepped into shoes and fastened the silver and aquamarine drop earrings Peregrine had just pulled from their box into his ears. It was the only jewelry Peregrine had chosen, and as he looked in the mirror, Edmund had to admit he was probably right in that. The clothing didn’t need more.

“Thank you,” Edmund said.

“My pleasure, Edmund.”

“Perhaps I should have you dress me every day. You have an eye for it. Much better than anyone else. Do you think you’d prefer it to being my secretary?”

Peregrine sent a stern frown at Edmund. “Funny.”

It was, for any number of reasons. Only one being that Peregrine was frighteningly efficient in his present position and far too good at it to do anything else. In fact, he was far too skilled to be anything except a royal secretary, and it was Edmund’s good fortune to have him.

“Shall we?” Peregrine didn’t mention that Edmund shouldn’t keep Father waiting, but he didn’t have to.

“Yes. Catch me up on any changes to my schedule as we walk.”

Peregrine did so, barely consulting his notebook. Edmund listened carefully as they left his rooms and strode through the palace corridors. His own wing, reserved for the rooms of the royal children, was quiet as it was only occupied by him and Kerenza. His sister would still be abed—she preferred to rise late when she had the opportunity—and he had no appointments that might bring anyone to his office until later in the day. When they passed out of the wing, the entrance marked by a three-tiered fountain decorated in mosaics of blue and green tiles, the corridors became more populated. But everyone gave way for the prince and his secretary, bowing as Edmund passed them.

Father’s office was near the council chambers and other administrative offices in the main block of the palace. He worked sometimes in the small private library attached to his rooms, but all his official meetings took place here. If Edmund had any doubt that today’s summons was serious and formal, it would have been dispelled by the location of the meeting.

Peregrine knocked when they arrived, and a moment later, the door was opened by Father’s secretary, who bowed and stepped aside. Edmund bowed slightly as soon as he entered the room, then walked closer to Father’s desk. Peregrine remained back near the closed door. Father looked up from the papers he was examining to study Edmund with a keen eye. Edmund was sure Father was cataloging every detail of his appearance from his attire to his still damp hair.

Father was dressed formally, as Edmund would expect. His jacket was green, heavily embroidered in gold and white, the color vivid against his dark skin. The circlet of his rank sat on his head amid black curls now streaked with gray. Edmund had not worn his own circlet, deeming it unnecessary for the day he had planned; he hoped he wouldn’t regret that decision. The set of Father’s features caused Edmund’s stomach to churn unpleasantly.

“You called for me, Father?”

“Yes. Come sit down. I need to speak with you.” The seriousness of his tone did nothing to alleviate Edmund’s sudden concern.

Edmund took the chair across from Father’s desk, hoping he properly concealed his anxiety. He’d been trained all his life to mask every emotion, so he’d best be able to. He looked at Father and waited for him to speak.

“As you know, we’ve been pursuing an alliance with Aither,” Father said.

And, of course, Edmund did know, though he hadn’t been involved in the negotiations. Aither sat at their western border. Theirs was generally a friendly border to begin with, trade flowing freely between the two countries, but Father and his council had hoped that the looming threat of Tycen’s aggression might worry Aither’s young queen as much as it had them and would tempt her into an alliance. Edmund hadn’t been informed about the state of the negotiations in some time. Had they gone horribly wrong?

“We’ve come to an agreement with Queen Hollis.”

“You—” Edmund stopped. He’d been so sure Father was going to say just the opposite that he couldn’t believe what he’d heard. “That’s wonderful, Father. Did the final agreement go as you’d hoped?”

“We got what we needed from it.”

“Good.” And yet the relief Edmund should’ve been feeling didn’t come. Father didn’t look as if he’d just concluded a successful negotiation, didn’t look as if he was pleased by the outcome. Or…no, not as if he was displeased, but too serious. “Is something wrong?”

“Not at all. However, the promises of increased trade and mutual protection were not enough on their own to secure the alliance we needed.”

Edmund wasn’t surprised, though he hadn’t been privy to the particulars of what Father wanted, aside from Aither standing with them should Tycen press their aggression. “What did they ask for?”

“Queen Hollis and her advisors required more assurance of our compliance, and truth be told, I wasn’t upset to have more of theirs. They’re Air wielders, so they’re different from us, but Water and Air are compatible. Even if I would have preferred an alliance with no deeper entanglements.”

“Father?” A rush of cold spread through Edmund’s veins.

“You and Queen Hollis will wed with the expectation of a child being born within two years. The alliance will be secured by blood and all the stronger for it.”

Purchase

NineStar Press, LLC | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

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

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

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

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril) by Kim Fielding

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Rating: 4.5 stars  out of 5

Jaxon Powers is a rock star who has it all: fame, fortune, gold records and awards, and plenty of money. He agrees to travel to Vasnytsia with Reid Stanfill as his pseudo personal assistant after the state department pleads for his cooperation. The dictator in this small country is a fan. He may be the only fan since he doesn’t allow his people Internet access, and they only see state-run television, so no other access to the world outside their borders. The citizens will be allowed to attend the concert and Talmirov will be seen as a benevolent man.

Once there, they do one concert for the president and then have to wait several days for the big public concert, but Jaxon finds out all is not as it seemed, and Reid is actually a secret agent working to help the resistance in Vasnytsia to overcome tyranny. He also learns that there’s an underground movement of men and women who do get access to his music. He has fans in this country—brave men and women who are not only fans but are willing to help him and Reid escape when their plans go downhill. When the plot is found out and there’s an attempt on Reid’s life, he separates himself from Jaxon so the young man can get home, but even that doesn’t go according to plan and they end up together fighting for their lives.

I’m not giving a lot of detail in this review because this story deserves to be read. It’s not just a love story. It’s the story of unsung heroes—the commoners who rise up to make their country a better place. And it’s the story of Jaxon reaching deep inside and showing who he really is—a young man willing to go out on a limb to help so many people in their struggle for freedom. There’s quiet moments and times for introspection for the young man who was born in Nebraska and left at eighteen to make his way in the world. And there’s time to learn a bit about Reid and his sense of responsibility and perfectionism. There’s not a lot of sex in this story, just enough to secure the romance, so to speak, but it really wasn’t needed to make this story outstanding.

I loved all the secondary characters the author created. Even with the language barrier, they were believable, brave, strong, and certainly interested in their freedom. Looking back, I realize that I feel like these are real people and I wonder how they are doing today. Jaxon was a terrific character with so much to like about him. He owned his faults and tried to live up to his hopes and dreams and when push came to shove, he showed the world a strength of character many wouldn’t have known he had. Reid, however, was difficult for me to like. He was quite cold and standoffish at first. In fact, he was so in denial about the possibility that he deserved happiness and a future with a partner who loved him that it took forever for him to get there. On one hand, that was spot-on for his character, but on the other, it made him more difficult to love. I’m sure it’s a quandary for authors who need to find the perfect balance.

I definitely recommend this story to those who enjoy stories of intrigue and revolution, those who love rock stars, and those who are just looking for a high quality MM romance that has a lot of substance and isn’t bogged down by gratuitous sex scenes.

The cover by Bree Archer shows an excellent representation of Jaxon Powers with his curly red hair and slightly unshaven face. It’s a close-up wearing the clothing he dons while escaping Vasnytsia and it’s set against the background of the plain cement block apartment buildings where the impoverished citizens live. Perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, Dreamspun Desires #67, 200 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1641080558 (ISBN13: 9781641080552)
Edition Language English
Series Stars from Peril #1

A Lila Audiobook Review: Cowboy in the Crosshairs (Turquoise, New Mexico) by BA Tortuga and Narrator: Dorian Bane

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Once upon a time, a prince lived in a magical kingdom called Turquoise, New Mexico.

Well, really, TJ is a small-town police chief. Every Friday he holds court in the diner with the local holy roller, the art colonists, and the horsey people. But the Benes, who own the rodeo company, keep to themselves. TJ knows, because he was once hot and heavy with the oldest Bene son.

When Wacey Bene gets trampled by a remuda and comes home to heal, he’s none too happy to run into TJ, or his two little boys and their momma. The story might end there—if it wasn’t for some pesky bastard trying to kill Wacey.

The law steps in, and the townsfolk are cross about somebody messing with one of their own.

But once the bad guy is put away, can TJ and Wacey make their place in this wild and eccentric town a permanent one?

Cowboy in the Crosshairs is a western comedy with a second chance love story at its center. Everything from Wacey’s name, and those of his siblings, to his mishaps with TJ, added to the comedic style the author often uses. If you are looking for drama, this book is not it.

What it really is… an escape from a traditional cowboy romance. It’s about rodeo, family legacy, and missed opportunities. It’s easy to cheer for Wacey and TJ, and the whole cast added to the out of the ordinary story. I enjoyed their families and their crazy neighbors.

The author did an excellent job bringing the story full circle from the moment the main characters saw each other again, to the hints of their life together after their HEA. The easy love between Wacey and TJ was refreshing and how much they enjoyed each other kept the reader engaged.

This is a good start to a new series. A bit out of the ordinary, but good enough for an easy read day.

I’m not a big fan of Dorian Bane and this narration didn’t help the cause. Yes, it was western, but it took away from the characters. Some of them were too much of a stereotype. I felt like I was listening to The Dukes of Hazzards’ narrator; it worked in some areas, but others were ridiculous.

The cover by Bree Archer fits the story and the series. I’m not sure if the cowboy is Wacey or TJ, though.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Dorian Bane
Length: 6 hours 23 minutes
Published: August 16, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07GJ3VGS2
Edition Language: English

Series: Turquoise, New Mexico
Book #1: Cowboy in the Crosshairs

New Release Blitz for To Save His Prince by Hurri Cosmo (exclusive excerpt and giveaway)

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M/M Romance / MPreg
Date Published: September 21, 2018
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Emory is a humble kitchen servant intent on working hard so he can continue to earn his daily crust of bread. It is a thankless, back-breaking job, but it is exactly where Emory wants to be. In the magnificent West Quay castle. Because that is where the incredibly handsome, extremely talented Crown Prince Riffyn lives. The beautiful, kind, and attentive man stole Emory’s heart years before when he rescued him and his mother from a band of thieves. Now Emory’s only wish is to be close, so he can simply admire and serve the man.
 
But a great evil walks the halls of the castle, and Emory stumbles on a heinous plot to not only kill the prince but a possible plan to overthrow the Kingdom. A wicked scheme that includes the use of magic. Of course, being a lowly servant, no one believes Emory when he tries to raise the alarm, including the prince, who has been commanded to choose a bride now, or one will be chosen for him. Even as Emory’s heart breaks for his prince, he has to find a way to save him. But how, when no one, not even the king, the prince’s own father, can be trusted?

Excerpt 

Emory was surprised when he opened his eyes next. The room was bathed in bright sunlight. Sucking in a breath for sleeping so late into the day, he shot out of the bed and headed for the door he shared with the prince’s chambers. He grabbed the handle and pushed just enough to see what he could be facing upon entering the prince’s room.

Riffyn was up and sitting at his desk, a tray of what must be breakfast sat beside him. Emory could smell the coffee from where he stood, and he longed for just a taste. But then other fragrances assaulted him. There was bacon and fresh bread, possibly something cinnamon, all sitting on that tray.

“Thank you, Duncan,” the prince said.

Duncan?

Emory had totally missed the servant who had brought the tray in. Duncan moved around the prince, his attention on the man’s torso, which was bare and breathtaking. Evidently, Riffyn had only just woke as well. He sat, shuffling papers, as if searching for one in particular. Emory couldn’t help but stare at the prince. Oh, how he wanted to touch him, suck on those dark nipples.

“Let me pour your coffee, Your Highness,” Duncan breathed from behind the prince, far too close to the prince’s ear. But Riffyn gave no reaction at all. He seemed to be intent on the paper he now held in his hand.

Duncan poured the coffee and handed the mug to Riffyn. “Your Highness?”

“Ahh. Yes. Thank you.” Riffyn took the mug and sipped the steaming liquid as he gazed up at Duncan, who had come around the front again. “You have done well, Duncan.” The prince seemed to coo and then smiled at Duncan, who beamed back. Emory’s heart squeezed tight with jealousy, wishing it was him who the prince gave that smile. So much so, he wanted to cry. But then Emory must have made some sort of noise because the prince glanced over at him standing hiding in the doorway.

“Emory! You’re finally awake. Come out. Breakfast is served. There is plenty for the both of us.”

Emory stepped out from the doorway. He could do nothing else when the prince commanded him. But he did not relish the fact that Duncan startled at the sound of his name and swung around, eyes as big as the plates he had brought in.

Emory? What are you doing in the prince’s chambers?”

His tone was accusatory, one of authority, gruff and hateful. In all other instances, Emory would have shrunk at its harshness, knowing he had to have committed a heinous crime. But that was not the case here. He had done nothing wrong. Still, his heart jumped painfully, and he did stop immediately, his stomach protesting, probably believing it was going to be starved of food again for possibly days as was the usual punishment. But then Emory’s gaze met Riffyn’s and he instantly calmed.

“Duncan,” the prince challenged quietly from behind him. “Do you believe I need to explain myself to you when I have a guest in my chambers? Is that your place?”

Duncan scowled at Emory before he turned back to Riffyn. “No, my prince. I apologize for my rudeness. Forgive me, Your Highness.” To Duncan’s credit, he did appear to be apologetic. He waited, hands behind his back, and Emory could tell his gaze was on the floor in front of him even though he was turned away from him. Riffyn glanced up to Emory, smiled, and winked, before he answered Duncan.

“You are forgiven. But it will never happen again, correct?”

“No, Your Highness. Never.”

“Good. You are excused.” Once again, Riffyn glanced toward Emory. “Come, Emory. Sit. I will pour you some coffee.” Riffyn picked up the decanter and poured the contents into an empty bowl. “I apologize I did not have two mugs brought up, but I think you should be able to manage.”

Emory hurried to the desk and took the offered bowl, wanting to remind the prince he was not supposed to be serving him, but due to the fact Duncan had yet to actually leave the room, he chose not to say anything. He hazarded a glance at Duncan and the daggers the man was shooting with his eyes made Emory shiver.

“Are you still chilled from last night? You should have brought a blanket with you.” Riffyn rose and walked to his own messy bed, grabbed the top cover, and pulled it off. It was then that Emory realized he had forgotten about his own state of dress, which was only a borrowed nightshirt, clearly too large for him. It was thankfully rather long, but his legs were still very bare, and he couldn’t even fathom how it must appear to Duncan. Riffyn walked to Emory, swept the blanket around his shoulders, and guided him, with his arm around him, to sit in the chair in front of his desk. “As you can see, we have your amazing fresh sweet rolls. You might actually be tired of them, being you work in the kitchen, but they are my favorite.”

“I’ve… never had them, Your Highness.”

“What? Are you serious? Oh yes. The incomparable Master Merrill. I will see to him today. In the meantime, I dare to say, Emory, you are in for a treat.”

Emory had his back to Duncan now, so he couldn’t see him, but he could feel the loathing pouring off him. Then, gratefully, the doors clicked shut, which told him Duncan had finally left and most likely gone running to tell the kitchen master about Emory’s horrible impropriety of being half naked in the crown prince’s chambers. It would be all over the castle before the next sunrise.

About the Author

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Hurri Cosmo lives in Minnesota where she holds tight to the idea that there, where it’s cold a good part of the year, she won’t age as fast. Yep, she avoids the truth as much as she avoids mirrors. But one of the reasons she loves writing is reality doesn’t always offer up a “happily ever after” and being able to take control of that is a powerful lure. Being a happy ending junkie, writing just makes them easier to find. Oh, she doesn’t mind “real life” and she does try to at least keep it in mind when she writes her stories, but she truly loves creating a wonderful couple, knowing they will fall in love and have their HEA. Every – single – time. And, of course, that is exactly the reason she loves reading this genre, too. Give her a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, and her computer, whether she is reading or writing, and she will entertain herself for hours. The fact she actually gets paid to do it is Snickers bars on the frosting on the cake.
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Blog Tour for With a Twist (The Speakeasy #1) by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn (excerpt and giveaway)

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With a Twist

The Speakeasy Series

K. Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn

Contemporary M/M Romance

Book Length (word count): 95,822

RELEASE DATE: 09.25.18

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BLURB 

Nursing a broken heart, Will Martin throws himself into teaching classes at NYU and writing. An invite from his ex-boyfriend to an uptown speakeasy called Under surprises Will by beginning to heal his bruised spirit, and he finds himself enjoying both the drinks and the company.

Soon after, Will is shaken by news that his father, Republican New York State Senator Bill Martin, has been diagnosed with cancer. Will and his father have been estranged since Will’s coming out, but he reluctantly returns to the family’s home in Garden City, Long Island, to support his family as Bill recovers from surgery.

Senator David Mori is a colleague and mentee of Bill Martin’s. Bill’s conservative views sometimes conflict with David’s more moderate politics and his status as both mixed race and openly gay, but each respects and likes each other, and the men have built a friendship.

Sparks fly when Will and David meet, though Will’s liberal views lead to clashes with David. Will is looking for a no-strings-attached fling and David is leery of getting involved with his mentor’s son, so they keep their affair a secret, in spite of their deepening feelings.

As Senator Martin’s health worsens, Will elects to remain in Garden City where he finds solace with David and continued trips to Under to seek the support of his friends. After David finally admits his feelings have grown beyond a casual sexual encounter, both men must decide how to bridge the divide to create a future together.

Reader Advisory: This book contains expressions of homophobia and racism by multiple secondary characters, references to disownment, and descriptions of terminal illness and death of secondary characters.

Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/with-a-twist

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EXCERPT

“Senator Mori, please, come in.”

Greta sounded very pleased as she welcomed David into the house. Will stifled a sigh and set his tablet on the side table in the sunroom. The man was handsome, but, with the exception of LGBTQ issues, he frequently voted like a typical moderate Republican robot. Will hadn’t worked out exactly how he’d been roped into having dinner with his father’s colleague, but, unfortunately, he couldn’t back out now.

Actually, Will mused, I know exactly how I was roped into this. Agnes Martin had said they were having a small dinner and insinuated it would be rude of him not to join them. By the time Will realized his mother had invited David, he couldn’t refuse. Even if Will had had been able to, he owed David an apology. He had been rude to David the first time they’d met.

Will had also googled him and been relieved to learn David wasn’t ultra-conservative but he still couldn’t wrap his head around a gay man aligning himself with a political party actively trying to damage their community. If Will was being honest, David’s relationship with Will’s father bothered him more. He was envious and resentful of the closeness they had. And hurt. Why did his father appear so much more accepting of David’s sexuality than Will’s? The rejection stung bitterly and made Will want to lash out and make David feel as terrible as he did.

But no matter how he felt, it didn’t excuse his behavior. He stood and headed for the foyer.

Will caught a glimpse of David, who stood talking with Greta. If only the man weren’t so infuriatingly good-looking. Will couldn’t think of the last time he’d found a man so attractive, even Riley.

To Will’s surprise, David wasn’t alone. A medium-sized black and white dog with fawn- colored stripes on its legs and a tail that curled up onto its back stood by David’s side. He held the leash loosely in one hand.

“Hello, David.” Will stuck out a hand for him to shake. David’s expression was friendly and his hands were large and strong around Will’s long, narrow fingers.

“Nice to see you, Will.”

“You as well.” Ignoring how good David’s skin felt against his, Will dropped his hand.

Greta patted his arm. “I’m going to go help your mother get food on the table.”

“Thanks, Greta. I’ll walk David back to the patio in a moment.” After Greta disappeared down the hallway, Will turned his attention to the animal sitting calmly at David’s feet.

“I see you brought a date,” Will said with a small smile. He was such a sucker for dogs. Not to mention hot men with dogs. He crouched and held out a hand. “Hello there, gorgeous.”

“Her name’s Mabel.”

She sniffed him delicately before pushing her snout into his hand in greeting. He laughed and looked up at David as he scratched Mabel behind the ears. David stared down at them with an expression both perplexed and amused.

“She’s beautiful,” Will murmured. “Husky mix?”

David nodded. “Husky and Shiba-Inu mix. Or so said the guy I got her from. She’s mixed like me.”

Will blinked at him and David laughed softly. “Sorry. I’m Japanese on my father’s side, and a whole range of European countries on my mom’s. My brother-in-law is always on me about the jokes my sister and I make about being mixed race. The jokes make him uncomfortable.”

“Your candor took me by surprise.” Will cleared his throat. “How old is Mabel?”

“Two—no, two and a half. I’ve had her since she was a pup.”

Mabel let out a whine and licked Will’s forearm as if pointing out he’d stopped petting her. Will chuckled and resumed.

“Do you have any pets, Will?”

He shook his head and gave Mabel a final pat before he stood. “I live in Manhattan and my building doesn’t allow it.”

David nodded. “I think she’s enjoying the move from Queens to Long Island. She seems to like the beaches and canals quite a bit.”

“When did you move from Queens?”

“A few years ago. On your father’s recommendation, actually.”

“Hmm.” Will made a noncommittal noise. He wasn’t sure what to make of the relationship his father and David had. David’s race wasn’t an issue. Neither of his parents had ever shown themselves to be racially intolerant, although Will had a vivid memory from high school of arguing with his parents about why using the term ‘Oriental’ was really, really inappropriate. At worst, they were occasionally clueless, but even then, they’d listened to his argument and made an effort to change.

Sexuality was a different story, however. How could Bill be vehemently against his own son’s sexual orientation but have no problem working side-by-side with a gay man? And inviting him to his house for meals? Will bristled, but he forced himself to tamp down the irritation. That reminded him, he still needed to apologize to David.

Will cleared his throat. “Uh, before we head back to the patio, I wanted to say I’m sorry about the way I behaved when you were here earlier this week. My temper got the better of me, and I hope you can forgive me.”

“Of course. No hard feelings.” David gave him a warm, open smile.

“Thank you.”

Will’s mother appeared before he could say anything else. “What on earth are you two still doing in the foyer? Let David in, Will.”

“I was getting to know his dog, Mabel,” Will said, feeling slightly abashed. Apparently, all of his manners did go out of the window when he encountered David.

Agnes regarded the dog with a soft sound of delight. “Oh, she is lovely. Even prettier than the pictures you sent me. I am so glad you asked to bring her. You probably felt like you needed a guard dog to fend off the cats. I am so embarrassed Fluffers used your shoe as a litter box.”

A laugh escaped Will before he could stop it. “That old thing is still alive? I haven’t seen him around outside and I assumed he’d died.”

Agnes frowned at him. “Fluffers is very much alive. Just getting a bit senile these days. Thankfully, David was very gracious about it.”

David chuckled. “One should always expect the unexpected when it comes to pets and kids.”

“You are correct.” Agnes smiled at him. “Now, I want both of you to come back to the patio. Appetizers are on the table.”

kevancoles_shortshot

K. Evan Coles is a mother and tech pirate by day and a writer by night. She is a dreamer who, with a little hard work and a lot of good coffee, coaxes words out of her head and onto paper.

K. lives in the northeast United States, where she complains bitterly about the winters, but truly loves the region and its diverse, tenacious and deceptively compassionate people. You’ll usually find K. nerding out over books, movies and television with friends and family. She’s especially proud to be raising her son as part of a new generation of unabashed geeks.

K.’s books explore LGBTQ+ romance in contemporary settings.

Blog — http://kevancoles.tumblr.com/

Twitter — https://twitter.com/K_Evan_Coles

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/ColesKEvan

Facebook Author Page — https://www.facebook.com/kevancolesauthor/

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Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/k.evan.coles

Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16711208.K_Evan_Coles

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Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time writer. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga.  She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

Her books range from short stories to novellas. They explore gay, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.

Email:  brighamvaughn@gmail.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/brigham.vaughn

Facebook Author Page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Brigham-Vaughn/448104198635015

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Tidal Series

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Calm – https://amzn.to/2zp6PE8

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BLOG TOUR for Thrall by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish (excerpt and giveaway)

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Thrall by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish

Publisher: Philtre Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): September 27th, 2018

Subgenre: Mystery

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Synopsis:

Dating Sucks & Love Bites

Happy couple Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra have begun to garner national attention for their quirky New Orleans true-crime podcast, Shadowcast. When Lucy’s brother Harker disappears while researching the popular new dating app Thrall, they’re thrown into a real-life mystery. Aided by their social media expert, Arthur, and Harker’s professor, Van Helsing, they follow the trail, hoping to find Harker before it’s too late.

When their investigation crosses the path of a possible serial killer, the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur. And as they race against the app’s countdown clock, so does the line between friendship and love. What starts as a flirtatious rivalry between computer-savvy Arthur and techno-averse Van Helsing becomes much more, and Mina and Lucy’s relationship is tested in the fires of social media.

As they get down to the wire, the group discovers that nothing on their screens is as it seems—including their enemy.

A modern retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Mina Murray’s Journal

I can’t believe we finished a whole season of Shadowcast. Lucy and I have sure come pretty far from lurking in the occult book store on Magazine and trawling LiveJournal looking for everything on true crime we could find. Ha, take that, everyone who thought I was a total morbid creep! Well, okay, I am morbid but not a creep. Besides, what does it mean to be morbid except to be fascinated by the things that are kept hidden and are excised from “polite” conversation. The guarantee of death is the singular thing every human shares—how odd that it should be the thing we’re glared at for mentioning.

Things with Luce have been great lately. I think in some ways the podcast has given her a thing to focus all her excess energy on, and that focus has brought us closer together. There are still moments when I see my life as it would have been if I’d never confessed my feelings for her. It horrifies me to imagine that life. I’ll never let myself forget that I was scared and shaking with the threat of losing my best friend, but that if I hadn’t taken a risk, I would still be trapped in that purgatory of longing that made every moment I spent with Lucy a bittersweet agony.

I’ve been thinking of asking L if she’s ready to move in together yet. I’ve been wary of being the one to broach all new levels of our relationship, but knowing Lucy if I wait for her to do it then one day she’ll rush up and grab me and say we should move to a castle in the south of France or the mountains of Romania. Which…wouldn’t be the worst thing…

About the Authors:

Avon Gale

Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon, JRPGs and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and she never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.

Avon is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan at Handspun Literary Agency.

Connect with Avon: Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

Roan Parrish

Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

Connect with Roan: Parrish or Perish FB Group | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub | Newsletter

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