Cover Reveal for The Devil’s Breath by A. Nybo

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Title: The Devil’s Breath

Series: The Devil’s Breath

Author: A. Nybo

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Category: Contemporary, Perchance to Dream

Pages: 200

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback 
Blurb:
Henri’s stalker has left him with a paradoxical legacy: his mind rebels at the thought of being touched—the very thing his body craves.
For three years Henri has fought to overcome the horrors of the past. Now on the other side of the world—after leaving Australia for Canada—Henri’s nemesis is hunting him with maniacal focus. Trying to escape, he meets Birch, a kind horse trainer, who’s confounded by Henri’s idiosyncrasies even as he is drawn to him. But when Birch discovers the truth, he encourages Henri not to just survive, but to live.
Maybe even to love.
About the Author
A. Nybo has tried conventional methods (a psych degree and a GC in Forensic Mental Health) but far prefers the less conventional, such as the occasional barbecue in the rain, four-hundred-kilometer drives at 1:00 a.m. for chocolate, and multiple emergency naps in any given twenty-four-hour period. Favorite things to do include that which can be seen (e.g. reading, writing, drawing, walking the dogs, traveling) and that which can’t, such as dreaming (both awake and asleep).
Western Australian born, she has been spotted on the other side of the planet several times—usually by mosquitoes. She’s also discovered Amazonian mosquitoes love her just as much as they do in her home state.

A Stella Review: Three Cakes by Kim Davis

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RATING 1,5 out of 5 stars

When Chicago ophthalmologist Patrick Holt meets transplanted southerner Clayton Teal at a dinner party, the attraction between them is immediate and mutual. Two men bond over Patrick’s love of food and Clay’s love of cooking.

But Patrick and Clay soon realize tasty dinners and delicious desserts sometimes aren’t enough to make a relationship work. Can Clay and Patrick keep their romance from falling flat?

Three Cakes by Kim Davis really didn’t work for me, although I’m a huge fan of short stories; but only when they are well done and this one wasn’t. I have nothing to say about the writing, the problem was the plot, the development of the romance and the characters. The first two were non-existent, the last one pretty useless and boring. I wasn’t able to feel Patrick and Neal, no chemistry, no love, almost two strangers, no emotions involved. I knew nothing about them. The development of the plot left me speechless and bewildered. I didn’t like at all they way they acted with each others.

This is not how shorts should work, I’m truly disappointed by the lack of everything that should caught my attention and let me spend some time in the good company of well done words.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is lovely and cute, I like it.

SALE LINKS  JMS Books LLC  | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 24 pages

Published September 22nd 2018 by JMS Books LLC

ASIN B07GNT42LM

Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: Panther Queen (Morrighan House Witches #3) by Amir Lane

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Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

 

“That’s panther queen to you.”

When cattle rancher Lenna Alvarez rescues a black jaguar, she discovers there’s more to the animal than meets the eye. Bonding with a centuries-old Aztec Warrior wasn’t part of her plans. Then again, neither was simultaneously facing off against an American businessman and poachers encroaching on her family lands.
With her newfound powers, Lenna is sure the poachers don’t stand a chance. Only, Lenna isn’t the only one bringing strange animal powers to the game. The poachers have them too, led by businessman Ansen Peters. Lenna is in over her head, and not even the jaguar can save her.

Ansen Peters doesn’t want the ranch. He wants the jaguar. And he’s willing to kill her for it.

How to review Panther Queen (Morrighan House Witches #3) by Amir Lane?  Ok, let’s compare it to the experience of going out to dinner at a well known restaurant.  They are a fine dining establishment with an elevated cuisine due to their chef and their menu.  You ask for the chef’s special’s and then the courses start to arrive.  Starting with the first course, you are amazed!  It’s a 5 star feast for the literary senses.

Author Amir Lane takes the reader into Brazil’s Pantanal, a little known but enormous and ecologically rich wetland the size of Washington State,  We’re dropped immediately into the life of Lenna and her family’s struggling ranch, we feel the heat, hear the calls of the wildlife all around us, feel the eyes of the caimans lurking just above the waterline…and we’re there.  We’re feasting on the delicious storyline of strong characters in a loving family under threat in a wild environment also perpetually under threat itself.  It’s a narrative meal you can’t resist!  And won’t!

The power, the joy. the sheer vibrancy of the majority of this novel is incredible.  There you are, eating a remarkable rich and delicious eight course meal.  And for six or  seven courses you’re treated to a aromatic banquet of layered flavors….adventure, Mayan religion and mythology, suspense, and high action mixed with familial love and the power of the land. Oh my.
Then comes the seventh and eighth courses.

And it appears that a change has happened in the kitchen and a new chef has taken over because otherwise I can’t account for the utter lack of energy or color or  lack of connection to anything that went before or just plain  no substance at all. What a debacle!  It’s as if the head chef said, “hey, not feeling how to finish up the rest of the meal, so I’m leaving, ciao”.  The owners, in a panic took some hapless stranger off the street to finish remaining dishes and dinner saying this was the plan now carry on.  Smh! Inset every astonished, gobsmacked emoji you can think of here!  Because what happens to this story next is unthinkable.  You  wouldn’t even recognize it as being anywhere near the same novel if I had scattered all the pages like a puzzle and asked you to piece them together again.

I’m going my reasons under one spoiler section for those that are interested because, again, irritated beyond belief that anyone does that to their own story.    If you don’t have an ending, Well, then….You don’t rush to publish you wait until you have the ending the book and your characters deserve.  But you don’t tack on a colorless, lifeless, absurd, and frankly, meaningless ending as was done here.    You had a 5 stars book that ended at a 2.   I could cry at the loss of promise here.

So here’s some spoilers for those that  are interested:

Anyhow to finish with my metaphor.  Here we are at the table and the check comes. We leave a tip.  Not the waiter’s fault.  But ask to  speak to the manager or owner.  We  politely explain that we lost ourselves in the lushness and variety of the majority of the dinner.  It exceeded our expectations.  But all was lost at the end when the final dishes destroyed our taste buds and made us forget exactly why we thought everything before was so wonderful.  Instead we are leaving disappointed and rather sad.  And won’t be returning.

Sorry about that.

 

Cover by Combs.  Great cover. Love all the elements and the color combination.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 198 pages
Published October 17th 2018
ASINB07JJXZ1HY
Edition Language English
Series Morrighan House Witches #3

Rise

Shadow Maker

Bad Omen

Panther Queen

A MelanieM Review: Safe Harbor by David O. Sullivan

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Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5

Best friends since they were children, Mikhail and Solomon later took their friendship to the next level. But they have a falling out after a horrible mistake.

Seven years later, the men are reunited on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean where they both work as waiters. The animosity between them runs deep, but the close quarters at sea bring them back together, with a little help from a fellow shipmate.

Can Solomon and Mikhail move beyond the mistakes they made in the past and rekindle what they had? Or are they fated to only being friends?

How many ways can a author sink a story?  Let me count the ways….

In Safe Harbor by David O. Sullivan the author’s choice of adjectives in describing his characters looms as number one Sullivan’s favorite word when it comes to Mikhail is whimpering. Mikhail enters a meeting late whimpering, he whimpers upon encountering Solomon, he just whimpers all over the place.  Is the author just not aware of the imagery he’s projecting onto his poor character?  Unfortunately, I just ran across another  author with a similar bent who kept describing his main character as sniveling.  Smh!  Do these people not own a dictionary?  Who does that to main characters and why do they think readers will then find them attractive?  Questions, questions.  Plus why didn’t an editor catch that?

Anyway, while poor Mikhail is whimpering away, Sullivan has done an equal injustice to Solomon.  Both men are of the Jewish faith which is clearly of deep importance to them now and growing up.  However, in bringing into Solomon’s dialog some Jewish or Yiddish slang the character comes across more like a 50’s comic or character from a Borscht Belt comedy act or an actor in the plays in  the summer resorts of the Catskill Mountains in the 50’s and 60’s.  It’s a constant rain of ‘Schmucks’ from his lips. You’re a Schmuck, he’s a Schmuck, everyone’s a Schmuck.  Talk about tiresome.  Everyone here is a cardboard character of little to no depth.

Some authors can and have beautifully folded in the Jewish culture, language, religion, and, yes, phrases, into a story effortlessly.  This is not that book.  Here it is jarring and one-dimensional.

Even a rabbi, a fire, and Hanukkah is used, poorly, to illustrate a “miracle” on board and to bring the men back together.  It’s actually cringeworthy.

Often when I say I  couldn’t get to the end quick enough, I mean that in a great way.  I raced to the end because I was so in love with everything that the story flew by.

Here it’s the exact  opposite.  I just wanted it to be over.

How sad.

Cover art is adorable.  How I wish the book reflected what was going on in that cover.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC  | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 53 pages
Published September 29th 2018 by JMS Books LLC
ASINB07H81K7KB
Edition Language English

A VVivacious Review: Teacher’s Pet : Lessons Outside the Classroom (Volume Two) by Lee Welch, Elizabeth Coldwell , Elna Holst, Riza Curtis , Danielle Wayland, Karmen Lee , Morwen Navarre , Maryn Blackburn

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is an anthology of eight stories by various authors that focus on relationships that develop between a student and their teacher. None of the characters, in this anthology, are under 18 so while a relationship between a student and teacher in such a scenario would not be illegal there are still a whole horde of societal repercussions to deal with.

Though, the majority of these stories don’t really focus on that element and are more about redefining these roles because a teacher can be anyone who is sharing their knowledge with you be that in any context. A lot of the stories in this anthology use that scenario where we don’t see teachers and students strictly in the academic sense. Surprisingly, even though I didn’t come into this anthology expecting this viewpoint I was very happy with the way it was adopted because it made for some amazing stories.

1. A Spell for Master Vervain by Lee Welch

Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5

Kit is obsessed with his Master but things take a horrific turn when instead of summoning an incubus-look-alike he ends up summoning the real deal.

Whenever you pick up an anthology it is mostly because you know and like a few of the authors on it but in my case I only knew one author on the list and it was Lee Welch, so there was an absurd amount of responsibility on this story to be amazing but sadly this was not the case.

The characters don’t start off as very appealing and as I read the story I was intensely aware that I wasn’t invested in these characters. There just wasn’t that taboo forbidden feel with Kit’s love for his master and frankly, we just don’t get much of Vervain to have an opinion about him. Though I have to admit by the end of the story I found myself caught in the whimsy of the story and probably would have forgiven all its faults had the story been more developed but alas that was not the case.

To all those who picked up this anthology because of Lee Welch just like I did and who would probably stop after reading this story, I just have to say this – there are some amazing stories in this anthology that you should definitely check out before calling it quits.

2. Finding the Words by Elizabeth Coldwell

Rating: 2 Stars out of 5

Brendan agrees to tutor Zach even though he reminds him of a time prior to the incident that changed his life. Will his new student serve as a catalyst to make his heart take a chance, once again?

This story was off to a good start and I think it had elements that could have made for a great story but after the beginning, the story lost steam. There was absolutely no obstacle to Brendan and Zack’s relationship, it could have been any other relationship and therefore didn’t seem to fit this anthology that does focus on relationships that would be considered illicit at least at the offset. This story, however, had a whole other set of variables to play with but the story didn’t manage to capitalize on them very well either.

3. The Silent Treatment by Elna Holst

Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Reverend Jane Sinclair is all about preaching fire and brimstone nowadays so she gets sent to Yoga Camp by her vicar to help Jane find her quiet centre but she ends up finding a lot more in her sultry Yoga instructor.

I have finally struck gold in this anthology. This story didn’t deliver the expected it delivered the unexpected. It took the teacher-student trope and mixed it up to show me a whole new side to such a relationship and it managed to do it while completing erasing the age gap so I’m stoked beyond belief.

Also, I really loved Jane and Anita but especially Jane as she is the narrator of the story and we get to spend time in her head because that inner monologue was priceless.

4. One small step by Riza Curtis

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Ilya tries to teleport himself a few yards and ends up miles away, where he is rescued by Søren, a mage who agrees to help him get better at his magic for help with his work but for how long can they ignore the sparks between them?

This is a good one. It is a fantasy story and is a fresh take on the student-teacher ideology. Both this and the previous story have teacher-student relationships that are not permanent and are roles taken on during the duration of the story and I’m liking this interpretation because it is fluid and not burdened with my previous expectations.

I really liked this story and the World it details seems really fascinating. I really loved how Ilya ends up with Soren and how their relationship develops. This story was interesting and I loved how these two characters worked together because I can really imagine their life together given how perfectly they aligned with each other.

5. Shedding Doubt by Danielle Wayland

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

Grayson is overweight and embarrassed about screwing up at his gym when he gets help from an unexpected quarter.

This story was really amazing. I fell in love with Grayson and Heath. I loved Grayson’s journey and his outlook on life and I just really loved his character. These two had such a positive relationship it was amazing to read. This was my quickest read yet despite the fact that it is one of the longest stories in the anthology because it was just that good.

“You’re right. I’m sorry for yelling.”

“Me too. For not jumping you already.”

6. Academic Temptations by Karmen Lee

Rating: 1 star out of 5

Savannah is a single mother and the oldest freshman at her college, trying to come to terms with her sexuality when she finds herself attracted to her professor and academic advisor.

This story had too much going on for a short story. This story is glacially paced and feels like a drag which combined with the fact that it is probably the longest story in this anthology, made it feel like torture. The scenes are way too long with too many unnecessary dialogues and too many characters at that.

Anetta is just getting over a break up that had her moving jobs and moving towns and Savanah is a single mother of a five-year-old boy who has moved into a new city to start college that she deferred for 5 years. She is also, only now, really appreciating her sexuality. Savannah is a mix of parts that don’t really work together and when you don’t like the main character of a story it already has two strikes against it.

This story wants to make you believe there is chemistry between its two main characters but there really isn’t.

7. The Sidhe’s Apprentice by Morwen Navarre

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Alistair Brady has been waiting for the Calling since he was born but even when he finds himself with a Master who makes it painfully obvious that it was not his choice to take an apprentice,he finds himself fighting his attraction to his master while at the same time trying to please him.

Wow! This was so good the absolute gem of this anthology. I loved the world building and I loved the characters and the story was mind-blowing. It was so good. This was the kind of story I was looking for going into this anthology. This story incorporated all the elements of this fantastical world so beautifully. Cianan and Alistair were effortless and gave a whole new definition to the term Teacher’s Pet. The writing of the story, it’s pacing, every component of it is perfect.

This was just amazing! I’m really interested in reading more by this author.

8. Press “Copy” to begin by Maryn Blackburn

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

When Libby Highsmith tries to get away with plagiarism in her academic thesis her mentor, Dr Marissa Muniz delights in giving her a punishment strident enough for her to forgive Libby’s blunder, but what Libby suggests has her horrified but… intrigued.

Oh! This one was very good. I liked how it employed the classic tug of war of societal repercussions over romances with an age gap and romances that might arise between erstwhile student-teacher relationships and made use of that to deliver this sumptuous romance.

I really liked the characters, the way the story is told and I absolutely love how the title plays into the plot. It was amazing. This story encapsulates what I was looking for, the delicious power struggle between characters caught in the roles of teacher and student.

This one was the perfect way to end the anthology because it made reading this entire slate of stories completely worthwhile.

Cover Art by Natasha Snow. I love Natasha Snow, her cover art is so, so good. This one was no exception with a sort of chalky black background and the precise use of red. The way that apple is positioned and the way that it is just so unnaturally red screams forbidden.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:ebook
Published October 22nd 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949340389
Edition Language English

Book Blast – The M/M Romance Christmas Box Set by Isobel Starling

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BOOK BLAST

Award-winning author Isobel Starling presents

The M/M Romance Christmas Box Set containing four funny, kinky seasonal romances

Book Title: The M/M Romance Christmas Box Set

Author: Isobel Starling

Publisher: Decent Fellows Press

Cover Artist: Isobel Starling

Genre/s: M/M Romance, comedy, puppy play

Heat Rating:  4 flames 

Length: 46,193 words/262 pages

This is two novellas and two short stories, all with a Christmas theme.

Add on Goodreads  

 

With the holidays approaching Isobel Starling presents

The M/M Romance Box Set 

containing four delightfully humorous and kinky seasonal romances.

This box set is available as an e-book;

you can read it free in Kindle Unlimited 

or listen to the exceptionally funny audiobook by award-winning narrator Gary Furlong.

 

The stories in the box set are:

Fred & Ginger
Chris Miller, a patisserie chef for Big Boy Cupcakes has to rush the last minute order of cock cupcakes for the party of a celebrity, but in his haste to deliver, he falls foul of an over-keen chocolate labrador named Fred, and his handsome owner…

The Christmas Bonus
The Investobank Christmas shindig at the Lorien Hotel puts Jake Walters, and the object of his lust in the same place at the same time… and it’s Christmas!

Daddy Christmas (Daddy Kink short story) NEW!
Ryan Sutherland, a side character from ‘Detective Fox and the Christmas Caper’ at last gets the happy ending he deserves.

Back Where He Belongs (M/M Puppy Play Novella)
Kier Campbell returns to Scotland from Australia to spend Christmas with his family. What he finds there is a gift that is worth more than money could buy.

 Please note: These stories are gay romance stories and contain graphic depictions of sex.

 

The total word count is approximately 46k, the audiobook is just over 4 hours long. These stories have all the Christmas feels to give you a warm glow inside.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US


Amazon UK

 

Audiobook

 Listen to a sample here

Audible US

Audible UK

 

About the Author

Isobel Starling is an award-winning author of gay romance.  Isobel spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland.  She relocated to the UK, and faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art.

The Shatterproof Bond series is an Amazon Gay Romance bestseller and has been translated into French, German and Italian.  

“As You Wish” (Shatterproof Bond #1), narrated by Gary Furlong, won the Audiobook Reviewer Award, Romance Category 2018. Isobel and Gary have produced ten audiobooks together, including whole Shatterproof Bond series.

Isobel will release the first book in her thrilling new fantasy series The Quiet Work in March 2019.

Please sign up to my newsletter here

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Twitter: @isobel_starling

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

 

Decent Fellows Press

 

BOOK BLAST SCHEDULE

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Book Blitz : For The Love Of Luke by David C. Dawson (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 61,267 words
 
Cover Design: L.C. Chase
 
 

Blurb


A handsome naked man. Unconscious on a bathroom floor.


He’s lost his memory, and someone’s out to kill him.


Who is the mysterious Luke?


British TV anchor and journalist Rupert Pendley-Evans doesn’t do long-term relationships. Nor does he do waifs and strays. But Luke is different. Luke is a talented American artist with a dark secret in his life.


When Rupert discovers Luke, he’s intrigued, and before he can stop himself, he’s in love. The aristocratic Rupert is an ambitious TV reporter with a nose for a story and a talent for uncovering the truth. As he falls deeper in love with Luke, he discovers the reason for Luke’s amnesia. And the explanation puts them both in mortal danger.


Excerpt



Chapter 1


RUPERT PENDLEY-EVANS had not expected to find the body of a naked man lying on a bathroom floor that evening. But for Rupert Pendley-Evans, life had a habit of taking odd turns.




HE GUIDED his 1200cc motorbike through the gap between the lines of London’s Sunday evening traffic and stopped at the junction. The journey back from his parents’ estate in rural Buckinghamshire was taking longer than usual. To pass the time, he planned his evening ahead. He would take a shower to wash away the grime of the journey, followed by a glass of chilled pinot grigio.


The lights changed, and the traffic began to move. Rupert’s thighs hugged tight to the fuel tank of his BMW. He turned the bike past the two lines of slow-moving cars and took the fork in the road for Vauxhall Bridge. It would lead him across the Thames to the south bank of the river and at long last home. He twitched the throttle, the engine roared, and the bike accelerated up the outside lane, past yet another line of stationary traffic. Rupert glanced to his right as he reached the middle of the bridge. The last rays of July sun silhouetted the upstream London skyline of Battersea and chic Chelsea. It was good to be back in the metropolis after his dutiful two-day visit to the family seat, in the tiny village of Middle Claydon.


He concentrated on the road before him, the final mile of his journey. Ahead, on the south bank of the river, stood the offices of MI6, home to Britain’s secret service. It was housed in an imposing piece of postmodern architecture made famous by several appearances in James Bond films. The setting sun glinted orange on the smoked-glass windows, giving the building a warm, rosy glow, belying its true purpose.


As Rupert reached the far end of the bridge, the lights stayed green, and he leaned into the curve of the road. It detoured around Vauxhall bus station and took him past a huddle of modern high-rise apartment blocks funded by Russian investors. He wove the powerful bike in and out of the five lanes of slow-moving traffic and relished the liberty it afforded him. At the third set of lights, he took a left onto Paton Road. The brutal high-rise landscape gave way to a street of elegant Edwardian villas. The rows of shabby front doors and grimy windows were evidence of a former era of long-faded grandeur. Rupert was resigned to the thought one day they too would be swept away by developers in pursuit of tax-free profits.


Rupert slowed the bike to twenty miles an hour. The street became a narrow corridor, and he was hemmed in on both sides by rows of parked cars. Halfway down, he slowed the bike to a crawl and turned sharply onto the forecourt of number 54. He stopped in front of one of the bay windows of the double-fronted Edwardian villa and cut the engine.


He fumbled with the buckle on his chin strap. When he at last removed the crash helmet, the fresh breeze cooled his matted hair, and he breathed a sigh of relief. It had been a long journey. He kicked down the bike’s side stand but stayed seated in the saddle. Even though his home was less than half a mile from the bustle of the Vauxhall traffic interchange, it was quiet and peaceful. Rupert listened to the birds singing in the trees on either side of the street. In this tranquil spot, he could fool himself the polluted London air was somehow purer.


The city was in the middle of an English heat wave, and Rupert’s leather jeans clung to his thighs with sweat. He looked forward to stripping off and standing under the shower. He stood up, dismounted the bike, and took off his gauntlets. He unzipped his heavy leather jacket, and the evening air cooled his sweat-soaked T-shirt. Rupert unhooked his small overnight bag from its mounting points on the fuel tank and strode to the front door. He punched in the security code and entered the communal hallway of the house.


Number 54 Paton Road was divided into three apartments, each with its own front door. There were two smaller apartments on the ground floor and a third spanning the whole of the upper floor of the house. The apartments all shared the communal entrance hall. A grand, sweeping staircase led to the floor above. Rupert stood outside the front door of number 54a and fumbled in the pocket of his leather jacket for his key.


As soon as he entered the apartment, he sensed something was wrong. There was a strange, musty smell, and he could hear the sound of water running somewhere in the semidarkness beyond. He dropped his overnight bag on the floor, set his crash helmet on the oak hall table, and walked down the corridor leading to the back of the apartment.


The sound of running water grew louder as he approached his open bedroom door. Standing on the threshold, he could see why. The ceiling was bowed, and a steady stream of water poured down onto the polished wooden floorboards below.


Rupert cursed and ran back up the hallway to retrieve a bucket from the hall cupboard. He returned to the bedroom and placed the bucket under the stream of water. He watched it fill with alarmingly rapidity and cursed again.


Rupert had never met the new resident upstairs at number 54c Paton Road. He knew it had changed hands a few months ago, while he was away working for four weeks in the Middle East. He had planned to introduce himself when he returned, but somehow he never found the time. Rupert wished it could have been in better circumstances.


He went out of the apartment to the main staircase and sprinted up the stairs two at a time. The half-glazed door of number 54c was directly in front of him. Rupert rang the bell. After a short pause, he banged hard on the door for good measure. When he still got no response, he tried the doorknob to confirm the door was locked. He pressed his ear to the glass and listened intently. He could hear the sound of running water After banging on the door one last time, he stood back and breathed heavily. Perhaps the tenant had fallen asleep in the bath. Perhaps he had drowned.


Rupert raised his hand and felt the solid wood frame of the door. It would take a lot to open it His only option was to break the door’s beautiful stained glass panel. He looked around. To his left was a jumble of flattened cardboard boxes, some discarded packing materials, and three full refuse sacks piled against the wall. He needed something that would help him break the glass safely. On the right, tucked in the corner, was a black metal fire extinguisher. Perfect. Rupert picked it up and tested its weight in his hands. Holding it horizontally, he rested its base against the panel. It was a shame to destroy the glass, he thought. But it was a choice between that and a collapsed bedroom ceiling.


The glass gave way with a satisfying crack. Rupert set down the fire extinguisher and picked up a piece of the discarded packaging material. He wrapped it around his hand and cleared shards of glass from the gaping hole in the door. He reached in cautiously and felt for the catch. It turned easily, and the door swung open. Rupert stepped over the broken glass into the hallway of number 54c.


A series of white spotlights in the ceiling illuminated the corridor. Their light reflected off the white walls of the hallway. The sound of running water was loud and came from a doorway down the corridor. He strode down the hallway and stood on the threshold of the bathroom at number 54c. That was when he saw the body.


The man was naked, lying prostrate on the floor. Water from the overflowing bath lapped around him. Rupert stepped into the bathroom, turned off the water, and crouched down beside the body. He lifted the man’s arm and felt for a pulse. The man was alive but unconscious. Rupert reached into the pocket of his leather jacket for his mobile.


“Hello? Ambulance please.” While he waited to be connected, Rupert assessed the situation. The man’s head rested at the foot of the washbasin, his feet stretched out toward the doorway. His short, curly black hair was matted with congealed blood. Some of it turned the pool of water in which he lay a sickening red. The man looked to be about thirty years old and well over six feet tall. He had an athletic, muscular build. Rupert leaned forward to take a closer look at the head wound. He noticed the man’s well-defined cheekbones and his perfect, kiss-shaped lips. Pretty cute, all in all.


Before he could get too distracted, a voice in his ear announced he was connected to the ambulance service.


“Hello? Yes, my name’s Rupert Pendley-Evans. I’m at apartment 54c Paton Road, in Vauxhall. It’s the one upstairs to mine. There’s a guy here unconscious with a head wound. I think he slipped and fell in the bathroom.”


Rupert gave his details and as much information about the unknown man as he could provide. He ended the call, stood up, and took a couple of bath towels from a shelf in the corner. He knelt on the floor and did his best to wrap them around the motionless naked body. The man stirred, sending small ripples of movement across his muscular shoulders. He tried to pull himself up and groaned loudly.


“Hey, fella,” said Rupert. He leaned close to the man’s well-defined cheekbones. “Don’t try to move just yet. Looks like you’ve had a helluva bang on the head.”


The man whispered something, and Rupert leaned closer.


“I can’t hear you,” said Rupert. “Don’t worry, the ambulance is on its way.”


“I’m freezing,” whispered the kiss-shaped lips. The man’s body shook in a spasm of shivering to confirm the statement.


Rupert leaned across and massaged the broad back and shoulders. He hoped it would stimulate the man’s circulation. A set of long black eyelashes flickered open and revealed dark brown eyes.


“Who are you?” asked the man.


Rupert paused before he replied; the eyes held him captivated with their intensity.


“Hey, welcome back,” said Rupert with a sense of relief. “My name’s Rupert. I’m your guardian angel from the apartment downstairs. An apartment that’s now flooded with your bathwater. What’s your name?”


“Luke,” replied the man. He grimaced with pain. “Jeez. My head feels like it’s been run over by a steamroller. And this water’s freezing my balls off.”


“I don’t think you should move until the ambulance gets here,” replied Rupert. “I’m a journalist, not a medic. So I don’t really know what I’m doing. And I don’t want to risk doing you damage if I try to get you up.”


“Then I’ll do it myself,” replied Luke somewhat petulantly. He levered himself partway into a sitting position and leaned against the side of the bath. He looked at Rupert, and his eyes twinkled with an air of triumph. They partly closed for a moment, and Luke’s head lolled from side to side. Rupert caught him before he fell. With difficulty, Rupert held him upright while he sat alongside him and looped his arm over Luke’s shoulder.


“Thank you, guardian angel,” said Luke, and he rested his head on Rupert’s shoulder. He turned his face, and his intense brown eyes stared at Rupert once more.


“What beautiful blue eyes you have,” said Luke. He shook his head and winced with pain. “Oh shit. Inappropriate. The stupid American’s opened his mouth. Forget I said it.” His eyelids drifted shut, and the deep brown eyes disappeared from view.


“Luke? Luke?” said Rupert. “Oh shit. Stay conscious for me.” He gently massaged the American’s arm and shoulders. “I need you to stay awake until the ambulance comes.”


The long black eyelashes flickered, and Luke reopened his eyes.


“That’s better,” said Rupert. “Stay with me. You’ve had a head injury. You’ve got to keep awake. Talk to me. What’s your last name?”


“Diamond. Luke Diamond.” The long black eyelashes flickered shut. Rupert massaged Luke’s shoulders again.


“Hey, Luke Diamond,” said Rupert. “Don’t drift off. Have you got any family I can contact? Is there a friend I should call?”


Luke slowly turned his head from side to side. “Don’t bother.” He leaned his head back against the side of the bath. “You don’t need to call anyone. Okay?”


Before Rupert could reply, a door buzzer sounded insistently.


“That’ll be the ambulance,” said Rupert. “Is your entry phone by the front door?”


Luke said nothing but nodded his head.


“I’m going to lay you back on the floor for a moment,” said Rupert. “Don’t try to get up again. And don’t go to sleep.”


He gently lowered Luke onto the tiled floor of the bathroom. He reached up to the rail beside the bath, pulled down another towel, and wrapped it around the American’s body. Luke mumbled something indistinct, and Rupert leaned in close to hear.


“What was that?” asked Rupert gently.


“I meant what I said,” repeated Luke. “You have beautiful eyes.” He stared intently at Rupert and sighed. “But you should keep away, handsome blue-eyed Englishman. I know I’m just trouble.” The rosebud lips curved upward into a smile.


“I don’t believe that for a second.” Rupert stood and looked down at Luke. “Don’t go away now,” he said and headed out of the bathroom to let in the ambulance crew.
 
Author Bio
 

David C Dawson writes contemporary thrillers about gay heroes in love. For the Love of Luke is his third book, and is published by Dreamspinner Press on October 9th. It’s a romantic suspense about an American who falls in love with a British man in London.


David’s debut novel The Necessary Deaths, was published by DSP Publications and has been described as “a real page turner”. It won Bronze for Best Mystery & Suspense in the FAPA awards. Rainbow Reviews said it was “an exciting read with complex characters”.


DSP Publications published The Deadly Lies, the second book in the series, last December.


He also wrote a short story about a chance encounter with George Clooney for the anthology Love Wins, published by Dreamspinner Press.


David worked for the BBC as a journalist. He now lives near Oxford in the UK, with his ageing Triumph motorbike and two cats.

 
 

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In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway for A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love by Arden Powell

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A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love by Arden Powell
Riptide Publishing
Cover By: Shayne Leighton

Sales Links  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Arden Power here today on tour for the new release A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love.  Welcome, Arden.

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Hi, I’m Arden Powell. I’m here to share writing tips, anecdotes, and behind-the-scenes notes about my new release, A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love. Comment on my blog tour for a chance to win a $20 Amazon.com gift card!

 

About A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love

What he wanted was a music career. What he needed was love.

When Kris Golding leaves his dusty Kansas hometown for a fresh start in New York, he thinks an apartment and a job are waiting for him. But when he finds neither, rather than admit defeat, he takes his chances busking—and meets Rayne Bakshi of international rock band The Chokecherries. Rayne needs a new guitarist, and gives Kris his first break since leaving home.

Rayne wears makeup and glitter and thinks nothing of kissing Kris in front of twenty thousand screaming fans for the attention. Instantly infatuated, Kris begins to question whether he might have a crush on Rayne—could he be bisexual? But since Kris originally claimed to be straight, Rayne’s wary of getting involved offstage.

As their tour gains momentum, Kris’s sexuality becomes the least of his troubles. Between his conservative brother hell-bent on “rescuing” him from his life of debauchery, a peacock that may or may not be the avatar of a cult god, and a publicity stunt that threatens to upend the band, Kris is definitely not in Kansas anymore.

 

About Arden Powell

Arden graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with an Honours degree in English literature and the realization that essay writing is just another form of making up stories. They also came away with an overriding and all-abiding love of semicolons, to the general dismay of their editors.

Arden lives in Ontario with a dog, a fellow human, and an unnecessary number of houseplants.

Connect with Arden:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love, one lucky person will win a $20 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 2, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!