A MelanieM Review: Ties of Destiny (Curse of the Crown #1) by Caitlin Taylor

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

When forces both inside and outside the palace walls threaten the life of Crown Prince Akoni, he finds himself in need of a guard. Someone who will protect not only him, but also his secrets – and he may have found the perfect man for the task.

Being a soldier is Jeffery’s life. He won’t be defined by his past, but fights for the present, not some future he will never see. Yet, his mandatory reassignment to the palace as Prince Akoni’s personal guard forces him to set aside his plans. His role places Jeffery in the presence of nobles whom he despises, and Prince Akoni is worse than most.

Can two men learn to trust each other, or will the secrets they carry bring about their own demise? Will having Jeffery close to him help Prince Akoni to become King – or cause more deaths? They need to depend on each other, for the sake of the future, because if they cannot, the past will only repeat itself and neither of them will survive.

Ties of Destiny is the first book in the Fantasy series Curse of the Crown.

Well, Ties of Destiny is certainly an unusual sort of fantasy novel.  I enjoyed it immensely even if or maybe because it reads more like a fantasy mystery novel than it does a straight out fantasy fiction.  With most fantasy series, the first story is full of world building, set the stage with our characters, their backgrounds, relationship dynamics, and any huge issues that we know will need to be resolved.

Caitlin Taylor gives us only some of that, along with some astonishing twists in the fantasy genre, like motor cars and trucks.  motorcycles and arms to go along with swords, knives,  and horses.  It’s an odd mishmash of past and present that, tbh, I’m not sure always works, and the explanation could be enlarged on other than history and the obtaining of a special mineral that allowed this society to make jumps in technology. But just like so much else here, perhaps the author is leaving that to future stories.

Yes, there are plenty of places here where Taylor purposely leaves out information.  Jeffery’s background  for instance.  We are given hints, and make certain conclusions, as do all the other main characters around him as to his backhistory (not that of his soldiering days, but the all important beyond).  That’s key, I’m sure to the next story.  Same goes for Prince Akoni where we are missing some rather key details about his father, their relationship, and dynamics.  And the curse of course.

All of these “holes” or mysteries are things you think might be part of the foundation story, but not here.  But Taylor uses these huge gaps to build suspense, anticipation, and yes, frustration with the progress and type of relationship building between Akoni and Jeffery.  Because everything is shrouded in mystery, there’s no communication and therefore, no trust.  A huge issue with these two.

Not that they don’t already have the weight of so much more on their shoulders.  There’s magic gone wonky, unexplained ties, a rebellion, and, yes, more mystery.

Plus we really need more world building as far as what constitutes this monarchy, its regions, religion, etc.  So far we have descriptions of battles, certain cultures likes the Clansmen, which I found fascinating, along with hints from a Southern region, but nothing substantial yet about anything.

Yet for all that, this story is rich in emotion, political deceit, an ominous magical curse, and a heavy threat that hangs over a nation.  Plus characters I’m now heavily invested in.

I haven’t even mentioned the penchant for dominance and bdsm sex have I?  Among multiple partners…  Yes, not your typical fantasy novel.

So what you have here is a wild fantasy story with castles, swords, magic, cars, motorcycles, horses, a variety of  mysteries and missing back histories (on purpose), bdsm sex, D/s light,  along with a bit of a cliffhanger.  Some would call that a hot mess, but really I think Caitlyn Taylor has something here.  The author somehow pulls all those elements together into a whole and makes ou care about the characters, and the plot and where they are all going.  That’s sort of magical right there.

And I can’t wait for the next book to arrive.  If you love fantasy with a quirk, check this out.  I definitely recommend it.

Cover art: Dee Aditya at Decorous Studios.  I really like this cover.  It has an important element from the storyline as well as the crossed swords.  Also important.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 333 pages
Published October 28th 2018 (first published October 26th 2018)
Edition Language English
Series Curse of the Crown #1

A Lila Audio Review: Running Blind (Havoc #2) by S.E. Jakes and Mark Larchmont (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

An ATF agent who lives for danger finds what he craves from an outlaw biker.

It’s impossible for a one-percenter motorcycle club member to simply walk away—and no one knows that better than undercover agent Bram, who’s almost killed for trying. His cover isn’t blown—yet—but it’s only a matter of time. The Heathens won’t be satisfied until he’s dead, so he decides to lay low and heal.

But when his younger brother’s disappearance throws a wrench into his plan, Bram ends up in Shades Run, a town ruled by the notorious Havoc MC. In less than twenty-four hours, Bram finds himself at the mercy of Sweet, Havoc’s president, as he throws himself into the undercover role of a lifetime: himself. A man who’s never belonged anywhere, and who will do anything to protect his younger brother.

When finding Linc seems impossible, Bram is torn between Sweet, Linc, and revealing his true identities . . . and there appears to be no way out. Once again, he risks it all trying to save it all. Only this time he’s got no backup to save him if he falls.

Running Blind is better than Running Wild, which is not an easy feat for the second book in a series. This has the author’s signature grit, those characters that are lovely, but a bit damage. It has a perfect mix of sweet (no pun intended) and dirty. It shows the reader how good is between the characters, all of them.

The plot is complex but doesn’t take away from the romance between Sweet and Bram. They are electric since their first encounter and do not cut corners to establish their relationship. The end is a little rush but by them, the reader is ready to get to the resolution and the happily ever after.

There’s a slight connection between the books, and we get to see Rush and Ryke again. They aren’t an integral part of the plot, but they help it move forward.

Overall, this is definitely a must listen for this year.

It took me a minute to get used to the characterizations by Mark Larchmont. He did a nice job creating memorable characters. At some points though, some of the voices seem similar. Especially between Sweet and Bram.

The cover by L.C. Chase matches the crossroads in the story. It also matches the first installment.

Sales Links:  Riptide | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Mark Larchmont
Length: 6 hours and 11 minutes

Published:  February 4, 2019 (Audio Edition) by Riptide Publishing
ASIN: B07N8GYLN7
Edition Language: English

Series: Havoc
Book #1: Running Wild
Book #2: Running Blind

A Caryn Review: Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3) by E.J. Russell

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 Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This is the third and final book in the Supernatural Selections series.  I have truly enjoyed the ride on this one, but I wish Ms. Russell had not limited herself to only 3 books in the series.  I posed several questions in my review of Vampire with Benefits, as the first two books were building up towards some complex and sinister plot, and I couldn’t wait to see who, or what, was behind the series of inexplicable mistakes that ended up with two improbable, but extremely successful pairings.  This book does indeed answer those questions, but in an incredibly hasty and disappointingly superficial way.  The resolution fell flat after all the foreshadowing in the first two books.  I wish there had been a more substantial villain and motive, but I don’t think that was possible with the length of these books.

Zeke Oz was the front man, and seemingly only visible employee, of the supe dating service, Supernatural Selections.  He showed up multiple times in the previous two books, of course, and was always adorably flustered when everything kept going wrong.  His back story – a demon on the Sheol work-release program – is fleshed out a bit here, as well as the conditions of his life in Sheol that made him so anxious to do the right thing by his clients.  Adorable and innocent are perfect descriptions of him, despite that fact that he is a demon and should by rights be evil and ugly.  He was caught up in an impossible situation between his superiors in Sheol, his bosses at Supernatural Selections, and his AI – angel interface – and was guaranteed to piss off someone, and doing so would probably land him back in Sheol.

And then Hamish walked into Supernatural Selections, complicating Zeke’s predicament even more as his contract was the result of another baffling glitch in the software.  The spells guaranteeing a perfect match were offline, so the witches just told Zeke to make Hamish happy, or else.

Hamish was a member of Hunter’s moon, the band introduced in Bad Boy’s Bard of the Fae Out of Water series.  He was a kangaroo shifter – Australian, of course – and had been hopelessly in love with one of the other band members for decades.  When she found her bliss in a poly relationship, Hamish was devastated.  Everyone around him seemed to be paired up and happy, and in a fuck-it-all type of mood he signed up with Supernatural Selections, hoping they could accomplish what he clearly was a total failure at.  When Zeke told him that the spells were not working and he would have to actually date – well, it wasn’t what he hoped for, but nothing else worked, so why not?

As Zeke worked to make Hamish happy, several things became clear:  Zeke was exceptionally dedicated and smarter than he realized, and Hamish had a depth of compassion and protectiveness that he had never tapped into before.  Both men recognized that what would really make them happy was each other – but how could Zeke stay in the upper world when he was a demon, and freedom and happiness were things he was categorically denied?

The depth of characterization in this book wasn’t as deep as in the others, and I felt that Hamish especially fell in love just a little too easily, given that his heart was supposed to have been so broken in the beginning.  And Zeke was just a little too good.  And then the ending wrapped up just a little too neatly, and on a much smaller scale than I was expecting.  So maybe my relative disappointment in this book was just because I had such great expectations after reading the other two.  All that being said, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and the series, and I probably will reread them in the future.  And I hope the author is not tired of writing in this universe, because I think there is still tremendous potential for more stories there, and I would love to see more of all of of these characters!

Cover art by L.C. Chase again fits perfectly with the series, and Zeke is very cute in his glasses and hoodie, but don’t you think he looks like the same model for Single White Incubus??

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 320 pages
Published February 25th 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Demon on the Down-Low
ISBN 139781626498587
Edition Language English
Series Supernatural Selection #3

An Alisa Review: The Hands We’re Given (Aces High, Jokers Wild #1) by O.E. Tearmann

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Aidan Headly never wanted to be the man giving orders. That’s fine with the Democratic State Force base he’s been assigned to command: they don’t like to take orders. Nicknamed the Wildcards, they used to be the most effective base against the seven Corporations owning the former United States in a war that has lasted over half a century. Now the Wildcards are known for creative insubordination, chaos, and commanders begging to be reassigned.

Aidan is their last chance. If he can pull off his assignment as Commander and yank his ragtag crew of dreamers and fighters together, maybe they can get back to doing what they came to do: fighting for a country worth living in.

Life’s a bitch. She deals off the bottom of the deck. But you play the hands you’re given.

This was a great story.  I loved the world that the author created and I didn’t feel as if I was missing anything.  Aidan is thrown in the deep end when he is assigned to the Wildcards but it may be the perfect assignment for him and for them.

I loved how different all the team members were, we got to see how different life was depending on where they grew up.  The team is really one extended family which is what people really need in this dystopian world.  They were able to bring another couple people into their team but it gives them even more frustration in some ways but great things in others.

Oh man, I felt for Aidan, he has not been given a good hand in life but it looks like he is finally getting the acceptance he deserves.  I could feel how hard everything was for him and how much he wanted it to work out.  Kevin grew up differently than the other Wildcards but he works himself to the bone for them.  He still has to fight what was drilled into his head growing up but he doesn’t let it affect what he feels for Aidan.

I loved the cover art by Fiverr with the coding visuals and playing cards.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 350 pages

Published: September 14, 2018

Edition Language: English

Series: Aces High, Jokers Wild #1

Elizabeth Coldwell on Writing, Characters and her new novel,The Leprechaun Next Door (author interview)

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The Leprechaun Next Door by Elizabeth Coldwell

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art: Adrian Nicholas

Buy links: Dreamspinner Press

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Elizabeth Coldwell here today talking about writing, characters and her new novel,The Leprechaun Next Door. Welcome, Elizabeth.

 

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Elizabeth Coldwell

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

Not that much, I don’t think. When it comes to writing MM fiction, the characters are more how I feel I might be if I was a man, which might not always be positive traits. Part of what appeals to me as a writer is becoming someone who I could never be in real life – not because I don’t like who I am as a person, but because I like to explore different perspectives and possibilities.

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

It all depends on the story. For The Leprechaun Next Door, I was bringing a fantastical element into the everyday world, but both parts of that equation required more research than you might think. Everyone knows the basic traits of a leprechaun, such as their green suit and their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I needed to know if they had any other quirks I could work into the story, and that’s how I hit on every one of the wishes Johnny the leprechaun grants having a sting in its tail (but then there’d be no story if everything came easily to the hero, would there?) As for the real-world element, Devon is looking for work lands a job in a coffee shop, so I did a little bit of research into how to use an espresso machine, because that’s something he needs to be taught.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

Ebooks revolutionized book publishing. They opened up publishing to any number of people who would never have got a book in print due to the limited number of slots available via traditional publishers, but they’ve also allowed an awful lot of poor-quality writing to see the light of day. For a while now, there have been suggestions that the ebook market is saturated, particularly when it comes to romance, but I think good books and good publishers will always thrive.

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

I don’t self-publish, so I’ve never had to create a cover of my own or commission one (which is probably a good thing, as my talent is writing, not art of creative use of PhotoShop). All my covers are put together by talented artists who work from the ideas I send them. For The Leprechaun Next Door, Dreamspinner cover artist Adrian Nicholas came up with a variety of images and I chose my favorite. I love it because it’s very colorful and light-hearted and it suits the mood of the book.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why?

This will sound like a cop-out, but it’s almost impossible to pick one out of everything I’ve ever written. I’m very fond of the Lionhearts series I wrote for Totally Bound. They’re MM shifter stories about various lion shifters around the world and the humans who are destined to be their mates, and the series as a whole takes in centuries-old conspiracies, human sacrifice, ghost hunters, murder, arson, obsessed stalkers – all the good stuff!

  • Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it? Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

That happened with a novel I wrote for Xcite Books, Someone Else’s Skin. It all sprang from an incident many years ago when I was hypnotized by someone who’s a well-known hypnotist in the UK at the launch of his self-help videos (yes, that’s how long ago it was – no such thing as DVDs in those days!). He claimed he could hypnotize you to show you who you were going to be in a future life, rather than who you’d been in a past one, and I thought that was such a great idea for a story, but I couldn’t make it work and I shelved the book. It was never meant to be an erotic romance, but when I changed the heroine’s self-absorbed, cheating boyfriend into a sympathetic character who enjoyed threesomes, suddenly everything fell into place and I had great fun writing it. But I’ve never been hypnotized since…

  • If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

It’s somewhere I’ve written in the past. A few years ago, my partner and I were on holiday in Amsterdam, staying on a houseboat that had once been a working barge. One day it rained, so I sat writing and watching the rain fall. Just the perfect creative atmosphere.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I have an idea for a novel involving a vampire character who gets a tiny mention in The Leprechaun Next Door. Once I have the time to get into the meat of the story, I think I’m going to have a good time with it.

 

The Leprechaun Next Door by Elizabeth Coldwell

Blurb:

Happiness might be waiting at the end of the rainbow, but will it come with a price?

Devon’s down on his luck—he’s lost his job and discovered his boyfriend is cheating on him. His neighbor, Johnny, is not only cute, he also has a big secret: he’s a leprechaun with a pot of gold… and the ability to grant wishes.

Can Devon wish his way out of the hole he’s found himself in? He’d like a new job, some revenge on his lying ex, and maybe even love. Johnny can give him what he wants, but it won’t come for free… or in the ways Devon expects. Can he trust a sexy leprechaun to help him make a new start and wish himself into the arms of the man of his dreams?

Author Bio:

I am Rotherham’s foremost (okay, only) writer of quality erotica and erotic romance. Though I’m now based in London, family and football take me back North on a regular basis. Indeed, if you’re ever at a Rotherham United match (I know, what are the chances?) and you spot a small blonde with a large ‘London Millers’ flag, that’ll be me. Originally from South Yorkshire, Elizabeth Coldwell has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, only now she gets to people them with hot men. When she’s not got her nose in a book, she’s reviewing or trying to stop one or both of her cats from walking over her keyboard. She spends her time following her home town football team and baking the best brownies in East London.

 

Connect with Elizabeth Coldwell

Blog

Goodreads

Love CyberPunk? Check out the Blog Tour “The Hands We’re Given” by O.E. Tearmann (excerpt and giveaway)

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The Hands We're Given - O.E. Tearmann

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host O.E. Tearmann here today on tour with their latest story,  The Hands We’re Given.  Welcome, O.E.

 

I’ve been asked a few times why I write in the genre I do…usually with raised eyebrows and a slightly anxious expression. If you know me, this makes sense. I’m a naturally cheerful person who loves research. I love meeting people (though they unnerve me.) I’ve been described as chipper.

And I write cyberpunk. Queer cyberpunk.

Yeah. I get about the reaction you’d expect.

The thing is, in my head I’m not writing ‘cyberpunk’. I’m writing a possible, pretty dark future America, sure. But I’m writing about two guys falling in love. I’m writing about a rag-tag family that hangs together in the worst circumstances, and how they do it. I’m writing about what I fear in the present, what it might become, and why we can stay hopeful in spite of it. I’m telling the story of a weird family of foundlings, dreamers and fighters who just happens to live in a possible future. I’m writing about a trans guy who finds out how strong he really is when he’s given the chance to rise. I’m writing about pranks pulled and battles won, and the power of lighting a candle in the deepest dark.

My buddy and I once fully described this book, and came up with ‘queer romantic cli-fi hope-punk’.

Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t offer that as a genre category.

So what’s the point of genres? Some days the whole concept irks me. My writing’s all about getting out of constraining boxes. And then I have to find one to fit in.

They tell me genres sell books, and they have a point. Debbie Young of the Alliance for Independent Writers gives us four reasons that genre can be valuable in her wonderful article on the topic:

* A genre such as cozy mystery or police procedural provides a useful shorthand to readers and to stockists of what to expect from your book, making it more likely that they’ll choose your book if that’s the kind of book they’re after.

* Standard genres make it easier to your categorize your book on self-publishing platforms – although each might each use slightly different terminology, their categories at least it helps you reach readers who are looking specifically for books in your genre.

* It positions your book alongside others that are like yours, so you’re more likely to share a shelf in a bookstore or on an “also bought” or “if you liked that, you might like this” listing online.

* Genre expectations provide some basic rules to guide you as you write your book.

But maybe I’ll take a leaf out of William Allan’s work. He writes: ‘The first thing to observe is that a genre is not a rigid mould which works must fit into, but a group of texts that share certain similarities – whether of form, performance context, or subject matter. For example, all the texts that make up the ancient genre of tragedy share certain ‘family resemblances’ (they are theatrical texts written in a particular poetic language, they reflect on human suffering, they show gods interacting with humans, and so on) that allow us to perceive

them as a recognizable group. But although certain ‘core’ features characterize any given genre, the boundaries of each genre are fluid and are often breached for literary effect.’

So romance readers tell me what I write isn’t in their genre. Cyberpunk readers leave comments that read ‘not cyberpunk.’ And solarpunk fans say the world’s too dark to be Solarpunk.

Genres can help sell books. But they’re a tool. Not a trap.

And me? I just keep writing. I’ve got a story to tell.

——

 

O.E. Tearmann has a new MM (trans) hard sci fi/cyberpunk tale out, book one in their “Aces High, Jokers Wild” series: “The Hands We’re Given.”

Aidan Headly never wanted to be the man giving orders. That’s fine with the Democratic State Force base he’s been assigned to command: they don’t like to take orders. Nicknamed the Wildcards, they used to be the most effective base against the seven Corporations owning the former United States in a war that has lasted over half a century. Now the Wildcards are known for creative insubordination, chaos, and commanders begging to be reassigned.

Aidan is their last chance. If he can pull off his assignment as Commander and yank his ragtag crew of dreamers and fighters together, maybe they can get back to doing what they came to do: fighting for a country worth living in.

Life’s a bitch. She deals off the bottom of the deck. But you play the hands you’re given.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

O.E. is giving away an eBook copy of “After Hours Game: A Wildcards Christmas: with this tour – for a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4754/?


Excerpt

The Hands We're Given meme - O.E. Tearmann

The dark shapes of three drones flitted over the junkyard, blotting out the stars. Aidan desperately turned the keys, slamming his foot on the accelerator. The truck’s engine finally revved. Kevin flung open the passenger side door and leapt inside. “Go, go, go!”

Aidan slammed it into reverse and hit the gas. They jumped backward. Once the truck was far enough away from the fence, he changed gears and wrenched the wheel around. They bumped and rattled into the night as fast as Aidan dared without the headlights on. The heat of the engine would make them easy to follow for the drones’ thermal cameras, but the short-range guard drones couldn’t go too far from their base of operation before their programming called them back. Aidan just hoped they could outrun them.

He gripped the steering wheel so hard it hurt. He could feel the suit tightening down against his skin. His heart pounded in his chest. Kevin’s breathing was ragged beside him. Another burst of bullets sprayed the ground right in front of them. Aidan yelped and yanked the wheel to avoid getting hit. The truck jittered to the side. Aidan slammed on the gas. The desert night sped past in a blur of blue and red under the starlight. Slowly, the whir of rotors faded into the distance. Aidan’s grip on the steering wheel began to relax. Kevin pulled his tab out of the bag and set it on the dashboard, watching as the screen flipped through the security channels they’d hacked into, keeping track of the location of dozens of drones.

Finally, Aidan pulled up under an overhang of red rock and cut the engine. The wide-range security drones were due to make their fly-over soon. Better to stop for a while and recover, get back on the road when it was safer.

They sat in silence for a long time, listening for rotors over the quiet buzz of the night insects. Aidan rested his arms on the steering wheel and propped his chin on his wrist, watching the star-studded sky.

“You all right?” Kevin breathed. At some point during the drive, he had deactivated his slick suit.

Aidan sighed and leaned back so he could manually flip his face screen up.”Yeah. Think so. Banged my knee pretty bad. Your shoulder?”

“Bruised. Doesn’t feel severe.” Kevin shrugged.

“Um, good,” Aidan whispered eventually.

So. They were alive. They’d gotten out with most of what they’d gone in for.

At the expense of a bad bruise across Kevin’s cheek, that or worse to his shoulder, and an action that could have caused so much more.

Slowly, some of his anger seeped back. He took a breath. “You scared the hell out of me back there and acted like a complete gamma, Kev. Don’t do that again.”

Kevin ducked his head in a slow nod. “I’m sorry, Aidan. I—When I saw you like that, I guess I panicked.”

Aidan sighed. Kevin was normally so level-headed. He’d been utterly cool on-Grid, when Aidan had been scared shitless.

So why had he acted like this out here?

On the tab screen, the red dot of a drone approached their location. They waited in breathless silence as the long-range drone passed, not even the sound of whirring to announce its presence. The red dot moved out of range.

Aidan breathed out. Kevin looked up with a smile. So close. They were so close.

“That’s the last of them. A very fine night’s work if I do say so.”

Aidan tried to smile, but it faltered. “I didn’t get the holo board. That was the part we needed most.”

Kevin smirked as he pulled the bag up from the floorboard and into his lap. He rifled quickly through the materials they had managed to grab, yanked, and pulled out the board with a wink.

“Oh, I don’t know about that.”

“What? How…?” Aidan breathed, feeling the wave of defeat that had been threatening lift.

“Fell down the pile when you did,” Kevin whispered, grinning. “I simply grabbed it up. After all, I am the requisitions officer. Snatching things is my forte.”

A rush of joy shot through Aidan. They’d done it. They’d gotten everything. Nose to nose with Kevin, he grinned.

“Holy shit, we- Holy shit! You… wow. Kevin, holy shit! This is like one of your vids!”

Kevin’s eyes glittered like silver in the low light. “You know, if this is a vid, I know how the scene ends.”

“Yeah?” Aidan asked, still giddy with relief.

Kevin was still smiling, his teeth white outlines in his grin. And he was leaning closer. Aidan could feel the heat of his skin, his breath.

“Heroes always get a kiss at the end of the adventure. That’s the convention.” Kevin tipped his head, eyes holding Aidan’s. “Would the hero like a kiss?”

Aidan froze. Was Kevin actually… Was he…?

He wet his lips. His voice escaped as a whisper. “Am I supposed to be a hero?”

Kevin’s smile was soft now, and he was so very close. “I don’t see anyone else in the driver’s seat. So you must be.” Then he pressed his lips against Aidan’s.

Kevin’s lips were hot. Aidan’s brain turned inside out. Kevin was kissing him.

Kevin had started kissing him.

This was real.

He leaned into the warmth with a pleasure that was almost pain. This was only going to be a second, but if only this second would last.

Softly, Kevin drew back. “Was that okay?”

Kevin’s whisper barely made it through the buzzing in Aidan’s brain. He gasped in a breath. “Um, okay. Yeah.” He swallowed hard and forced himself to sit up. “We-we should get going home…”

Kevin nodded, eyes still holding his as he drew away. “I suppose we should.”


Author Bio

AUTHORBIO

O.E. Tearmann lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, in what may become the Co-Wy Grid. They share the house with a brat in fur, a husband and a great many books. Their search engine history may garner them a call from the FBI one day. When they’re not living on base 1407 they advocate for a more equitable society and more sustainable agricultural practices, participate in sundry geekdom and do their best to walk their characters’ talk.

Author Website: http://aceshighjokerswild.com/

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/wildcards1407/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18359444.O_E_Tearmann

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/O.E.-Tearmann/e/B07J62VX9W

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

New Release Blitz for A Body In A Bathhouse (A Mitch O’Reilly Mystery) by Brad Shreve (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 65,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: UmeWorks
 
Blurb
 

On the verge of bankruptcy, private investigator, Mitch O’Reilly takes any gig that comes his way, while running his Eye Spy Supply shop in a forgotten Los Angeles strip mall. After two tours in Afghanistan, Mitch’s life amounts to operating his store, coping with his fun-loving sister, Josie, and scoring with anonymous men he meets online. That changes when he gets a break. A beloved comedy scriptwriter is murdered at a bathhouse, and Mitch is hired to prove the innocence of the club custodian. Adapting from a two-bit gumshoe to a high-profile sleuth proves more challenging than he expected.

As if Mitch didn’t have enough to deal with, charismatic bathhouse operator, Trent Nakos, enters his life. After a heartbreaking past, the manager is the definition of a man the brooding P.I. actively avoids.

Following leads from sprawling mansions to sketchy hoods is demanding but becomes more troublesome when deadly threats jeopardize the biggest opportunity of his career.

 
Excerpt

Trance music, which I hate, blared into the streets from the club. Since I hadn’t been dancing in West Hollywood since college, walking into Euphoria was surreal. The faces were different, but nothing had changed.

The bartender yelled over the music, “What can I get for you?”

“A Rolling Rock,” I yelled back. I gave him my credit card and told him I’d run a tab.

Near the bar was a platform where a go-go boy was dancing. He was young, scrawny, pasty white, and had a red mohawk. The crowd paid no attention, and he frowned. I made a mental note to tip him on my way out.

Further back in the bar, another dancer dominated the crowd’s attention. I recognized his rich, dark, perfectly defined body from Club Silver Lake’s security videos. What got him the most attention was what he was packing below. His thong had to have been custom made. It wasn’t possible for him to fit into something off the shelf.

“Is that Christian?” I yelled to the bartender.

“If you’re asking, you must be from out of town, or you don’t get out much,” he hollered back.

“Touché,” I replied. “What’s his usual?”

“A tequila shot with a Corona chaser.”

“Set them up for me for his next break,” I said, thinking it might be necessary to loosen him up before questioning.

I grabbed the three drinks—his tequila and chaser, and my beer—and moved to a table near Christian. He rolled his magnificent stomach, then turned and shook his bubble butt at the crowd. Cheers drowned the music as he played with his honey-colored thong—pulling it down just enough to throw them into a frenzy, then raising it again to groans of disappointment. His face was rugged yet boyish with his wide smile and deep dimples. The bucks were flying.

Christian stepped off the platform as I downed the last of my beer. I grabbed his drinks and rushed behind him, through the rows of sweaty men, to the back of the bar. I was too slow. He entered his dressing room before I could catch him.

I knocked.

The door opened. “What?”

“I ordered these for you.”

He took the tequila shot from my hand and downed it, then grabbed the beer. “Thanks,” he snapped and closed the door.

I knocked again.

The door flew open. “Thanks for the drinks,” he shouted, “but I’m on break and need my space.”

I held out my hand to shake. “Hi, Christian. I’m Mitch O’Reilly. I–—”

I narrowly escaped him cutting off my hand as he slammed the door shut.

I was shocked that he actually opened the door when I knocked again, and I stuck out my foot so he couldn’t slam it again. “Not to disappoint you, but I’m not here as a fan. I’m the private investigator hired to look into Victor Verboom’s murder.”

He took the business card I held out and tossed to the floor. The room was nothing more than a closet with a single wooden chair, and a bookcase stacked with clothing.

“What do you want?”

“You were at Club Silver Lake the night he was murdered.”

“Yeah. What of it?” His voice was smoky.

“I’m meeting with all the suspects.”

He turned his head quickly. “I’m a suspect?”

“You were there, weren’t you?”

“Uh, yes.” He looked back and forth through the club and took a step back. “I’ll put some clothes on, and we’ll go to my car. Meet me out front.”

I wasn’t on the sidewalk long before he trotted out wearing jeans and a white tank top. He motioned me to follow him to a light blue Mustang. It looked new. “When I can’t get any peace in there, I come out here on my breaks.”

“Nice car. Not a bad ride for a nightclub dancer. You must do pretty well on that platform.”

“Screw the car. What do you want?”

About The Author
 

After growing up in Michigan and North Carolina, Brad Shreve criss-crossed the country while working in the hotel industry. In addition to working in hotels as a bellman, front desk clerk, and reservation call center director, he’s managed coffee houses, waited tables, sold potato chips off a truck and even hocked pre-burial funeral plans.


He credits Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak for developing his interest in art and storytelling. He’d spend hours on the floor sketching and painting and writing stories. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George gave him his first inklings that he’d like to be a novelist someday.


In addition to perpetually thinking of how to kill people, he’s a proud dad, a beach bum, and coffee house squatter.


He currently lives in the Los Angeles South Bay with his husband, Maurice.


Website/Newsletter Sign Up: www.bradshreve.com
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