A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Heart Strain (Interlocking Fragments #1) by Michele Notaro & Sammi Cee

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Holden moved away from Baltimore nine years ago; his life is now in Ithaca where he’s a veterinarian. He has his best friend Gavin and his pit bull Peanut. But when he gets a call his twin brother Hendrix has been shot in the line of duty, he rushes back to be by his side. While Drix is in a coma, Holden gets close to Jameson, his brother’s work partner and his own high school crush. There was a reason Holden left this place and Jameson has family problems of his own. As their lives start to slot together into a routine, they need to decide if this is something they want to keep.

The authors switches POV between Holden and James every other chapter, so the reader gets immersed in both men’s feelings. I got attached to both characters quite quickly. Although this is a hurt/comfort trope, it never gets too angsty. Since the authors dwells on the positive rather than negative aspects of the story, the shooting and the past traumas for both men, are easy to navigate. This is a slow burn that is unexpectedly sweet with sexy love scenes. The characters are spending so much time together, they get to know each other well. This all feels natural. They are in their own little bubble–with Jameson on leave after the shooting, they spend every day at the hospital. I felt that time go by, but I wasn’t bored. I felt a real sense of intimacy was achieved. It’s impossible not to like Drix and Gavin, but I really connected with Luwanna, a volunteer at the hospital. I think most people who have spent time in a hospital have known a Luwanna.

This is a complete story. Yet, there are many threads that could get pulled for a sequel. Holden’s aforementioned past trauma is something he needs to talk about with his brother one day. Jamison’s family issues may never get fixed, but it’s his professional problems at work that are the real issue, considering his uncle is his boss. His brother and cousin are all also cops. Throw in Jamison’s father situation, and the reader knows exactly where this will all logically come to a head moving forward. Just because I think I know the plays, doesn’t make this less enjoyable to read. I prefer foreshadowing to things coming out of left field. Still, life comes at you hard, so I’ll wait to see Gavin get his own story which way the authors go to wrap those things up.

The cover was done by Michele Notaro and Sammi Cee. I would say this is Holden. He has a lot of past hurts he keeps hidden so I get using the hair as a veil, but I feel like the book deserves a more wow cover.

Sales Links:  AmazonUniversal Buy Link: mybook.to/HeartStrain

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 262 pages
Published July 22nd 2019
ASINB07VC8P6QC
Edition Language English
Series Interlocking Fragments #1

A Lila Review: I Dare You to Break Curfew (Inshari Chronicles #1) by Eva Munoz

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

To save humankind, Camron may have to fall in love.

Vampires are real, and they are called the Inshari. After Camron Masters breaks curfew the first time, he discovers them living beneath Braylin Academy. The second time he breaks curfew, he meets a mad scientist who convinces him to take part in an experiment in exchange for more information about the Inshari. A small pinprick later, Camron wakes up as one of them and finds himself bonded to the prince of his dreams—vampire or not, Troyan is dark, brooding, and oh so delicious. But there’s the enigmatic Zaire vying for his attention too. Or is Camron just a pawn in a centuries-old feud?

All Camron’s ever wanted was to live his own fairy tale. But there’s always a catch after meeting Prince Charming.

I Dare you to Break Curfew lives to its name. It’s the starting point to the story even when Camron was daring himself. It starts into the action and gives the reader a good understanding of the MC’s personality.

This  story has an interesting premise and a new world hidden in plain sight. The characters were well thought as well as the world, culture, and the differences with the real world. It also makes a clear distinction to what the reader believes to be vampires characteristics.

I like the dynamic between Troyan and Zaire. How they reacted to Camron and how he changed them. The Inshari’s world meshed with the action and its occupants. The secondary characters were an interesting bunch too.

My main issue with the story may be a good point in favor of the author. During parts of the story I was as confused as Camron. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel a connection to his internal turmoil. I was an spectator not a participant, which took me out of the story. I read two other books in between to take time away.

I do want to read the next books in the series to learn more about this interesting world.

The cover by Kanaxa is a bit generic but it shows the main characters in the story. It has the feel for the setting and style of the Inshari’s.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | Harmony

Book Details:
ebook, 238 pages
ISBN: 978-1-64405-002-6
Published: August 20, 2019, by Harmony Ink Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Inshari Chronicles
Book #1: I Dare You to Break Curfew

An Alisa Review: Appeal to You (Beyond the Cove #3) by Jaclyn Quinn

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Will the demons of the past ruin any hope for the future?

If there’s anyone who knows how to have a good time—be it with a man or a woman—it’s Ryder Pearce. Master of the nail-it-and-bail-it theory, he lives his life for one person and one person only: himself. When a man enters Ryder’s life who challenges him on every flirtation, every sexual innuendo he can come up with, Ryder’s thrown off his game in a big way. Because there’s one thing the man has made perfectly clear—they’ve played this game before, and Ryder doesn’t remember the outcome.

Avery Hamilton has seen all of Ryder’s moves and has witnessed his sex appeal. He knows all too well about his cocky sense of humor and his penchant for one-night stands. There was a time in his life when he’d taken the bait, but this time around, he wants more. He’s seen Ryder’s act; what he hasn’t seen is Ryder—the real Ryder he hides from the world.

When both men come together to help a young boy, Ryder’s forced to face things from his past he’s blocked out. Things he never wanted anyone to know. Now, Ryder has one fear… Will revealing that side of himself be real enough for Avery? Or will it be the reason Avery walks away?

***Warning: This book contains off-page references to sexual/physical abuse of a minor.

I thought this was a wonderful story.  Ryder and Avery have been trading barbs for the last year but only Avery remembers when they met before that.  Ryder puts a good face on but never lets anyone see the hurt and pain that is underneath the surface.  Avery has been struggling to be without his best friend and his barbs with Ryder help distract him from that but when Chris goes missing he sees a much different side of Ryder.

Ryder is so sure that he isn’t worth anything even though he has worked himself far from how he grew up and now has a wonderful group of friends he is sure that doesn’t make up for his past.  Avery doesn’t feel like a disappointment until he visits his family, he has come to learn that his found family is so much better for him.

I loved watching Ryder and Avery navigate their attraction to each other and then their subsequent relationship.  Ryder’s determination to help Chris brings out his past and we can see him struggle to deal with those memories.  Thankfully Avery is willing to be patient and loving which is just what he needs.  I loved how Avery just wanted to show him that he was worthy and then them becoming fathers was so wonderful.

The cover art by Cate Ashwood is great, I love the visual of the characters and it showcases their differences.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 274 pages

Published: July 31, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Beyond the Cove #3

Evie Drae on Writing, Characters and her new release ‘Beauregard and the Beast (Once Upon a Vegas Night #1)’ ~ author guest blog, excerpt and giveaway

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Beauregard and the Beast by Evie Drae

Dreamspinner Press
Publication: August 20th 2019

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2IGmc0N

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2UCn8oo

Google Play: https://bit.ly/2Vv1Q0Q

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2DxeW3s

Dreamspinner Press: https://bit.ly/2VnRb7L

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2Ro3VH6

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Evie Drae here today on tour with her new release Beauregard and the Beast.  She’s answering our author questions, has brought a wonderful excerpt and giveaway for all our readers.  Welcome, Evie!

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Evie Drae

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I tend to be one of those writers who projects a great deal of myself into the characters I write. In an effort to maintain distinct voice, I only allow certain aspects of who I am to bleed into each personality, but there is definitely a part of me in every character I’ve ever written.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

When I was a tween, I used to sneak-read my mom’s romance novels. I didn’t understand the complexity of the emotions the same way I do today, but I devoured those books. Which, of course, set me up for disappointment in my own first experiences with love and lust as I grew older. It’s hard to find a man who stands up against a well-written romance hero, especially when the pool you have to choose from is filled with adolescent boys who haven’t “come into their own” just yet. However, those early reading experiences have affected my own choices for writing, as I only write romance. Granted, that romance does fall in a variety of sub-genres, but there is always a love story with an HEA at the heart of my work.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m a reader who absolutely must have an HFN or HEA. Stories that end on a negative note leave me traumatized for ages—and I’m not being dramatic. There’s enough heartache in the real world, I don’t want my escape into fiction to bring even more to the plate.

Now, that doesn’t mean I’m against dark or intense subject matter within the plot of the story, but at the end, those issues have to either be resolved entirely or at least be on the way there. I like to lose myself in stories and my favorite part is seeing the characters overcome hardship and find happiness. It gives me hope and keeps me going through the reality of life.

I definitely prefer HEA over HFN, but if it’s a series and an HEA is on the horizon, I can dig a solid HFN. Just don’t leave me sobbing into my pillow—in a bad, non-happy tears kinda way—and I’m a happy camper.

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

This is a very interesting question to me, especially after my recent experience with editing Beauregard and the Beast. I’ll admit, my first round of edits from my senior editor had me focusing on cutting back on a few of Bo’s flaws, as he came across a bit unlikeable. Once I saw him from her POV, I realized she was absolutely right—I’d created a bit of a selfish pain in the butt. When I made the adjustments, even I fell more in love with my own character. I had been trying so hard to draw conflict into the story to keep things interesting that I went a bit overboard. Yes, to err is human, but to be a butthead isn’t necessary. I have my goddess of a senior editor at Dreamspinner Press—Desi Chapman—to thank for her brilliant insight that saved Bo from being a rather disagreeable knucklehead.

 Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

This is actually something I do quite frequently. Writing is a form of therapy for me and often a way that I work through issues and events in my life, both the positive and negative. Many of the primary plotlines I’ve written about are based on true life events, one way or another. Perhaps not exactly as they play out in my manuscripts, but often that’s because I make adjustments based on the ways I wished I would’ve responded and the outcomes I imagine might have happened had I reacted in a different way. For me, fiction is used as a way to reimagine events or to work through more positive outcomes that allow me to process and reshape how I view my own experiences.

 What’s next for you as a writer?

As we speak, I have a proposal on submission with Dreamspinner Press to do the next book in my Once Upon a Vegas Night series. It’s a Little Mermaid re-imagining with an Olympic swimmer and the man who rescued him from a near-drowning incident eight years prior that I’m hoping to release during the Summer Olympics in 2020 if it gets picked up!

I also have the first book I ever hit “The End” on out on submission with an exciting group of publishers. This particular book—entitled All Your Broken Pieces—is a true passion project of mine. I wrote it for my best friend who experienced a traumatic period in his life and wanted to see his story told, both to raise awareness and to imagine the HEA of his dreams come true. Due to the subject matter, it’s a significantly darker read than Beauregard and the Beast, but it holds a very special place in my heart and I’m hoping to find it a home in the near future.

Blurb

A Once Upon a Vegas Night Tale

His greatest prize can’t be won in the octagon.

Champion MMA fighter Adam Littrell needs no distractions as he prepares for the fight that will determine whether he retires. But when he opens the door of his swanky Las Vegas home to his new personal assistant, Bo Wilkins, staying focused becomes a struggle.

Aware of Adam’s surly reputation, Bo doesn’t expect to like his new employer, let alone fall for him. But Bo is pleasantly surprised when a shared love of books leads them to study for their GEDs together and plan for a life after their current careers. Adam won’t be able to fight forever, and Bo wants a relationship on equal footing.

But just as their relationship is getting off the ground, the sister Bo raised needs his help, and he drops everything. With Adam’s final match looming and Bo in a different city, reuniting will be the real challenge.

TEASER SCENE EXCEPT:

The smell of fresh laundry mixed with strong cleaning chemicals assaulted Adam’s senses the moment he walked through the garage door after his morning training. He scrunched his nose in protest. The clean linen smell was pleasant, but what the hell kind of biochemical warfare was Bo waging on his home? The pungent scent of corrosive bleach and all manner of other caustic solutions burned his nostrils and left his head spinning.

He headed for the laundry room to drop off his gym bag and found Bo on his hands and knees in the hallway, scrubbing at the stone tile flooring.

“Fuckin’ hell, Bo, you’re gonna asphyxiate from all these fumes.” Adam tossed his bag down the hall in the general direction of the laundry room. “Why don’t you take a break? We can grab lunch somewhere and hit the grocery while we’re out.”

Bo sat back on his haunches and swiped a wrist over his brow. “I’m almost done here any—” His eyes bugged, and he scurried to his feet, the sponge dropping from his hand. “Holy crap on a cracker, what the heck happened to you?”

Adam froze when Bo’s soapy fingertips grazed his jaw. A jolt of electricity fired under his skin at the connection. He followed the tingling path of Bo’s touch with his own fingers, marveling at the intensity of the impression that brief contact left behind.

“Did you get jumped?” Bo’s brows pinched, his lips turning down at the corners. “Did you call the police? Are you hurt anywhere else?”

A laugh bubbled up Adam’s throat at the unexpected barrage of questions and the look of genuine concern twisting Bo’s face. When was the last time anyone cared he’d been hurt? Hell, unless they bordered on life-threatening, even he failed to notice his injuries more often than not. So was the life of a mixed martial arts fighter. Sparring was the best way to train, and sparring equaled wounds. Rarely as intense as those suffered at an official fight, but colorful and bloody nonetheless.

“I’m fine. Just a few scratches.” Adam tried to grin, but the act tugged at his already split lip and fresh blood trickled down his chin.

Bo gasped and clamped a hand over Adam’s wrist. “That’s more than a scratch. Where’s your first aid kit?”

“First aid kit?” Adam cocked a brow. He didn’t keep anything like that at home. If his injuries required mending, Eddie, his coach, would tend to him after he hit the showers. Today, the damage was minimal, so he’d left without patching up.

Gaping, Bo shook his head. “Don’t tell me you get beat up for a living and don’t keep basic first aid supplies around the house.”

Adam knuckled the blood off his chin and shrugged. “It’s a split lip. I’ll be fine.”

“A split lip, a black eye, and a gashed eyebrow. That is not fine.” Bo scowled and dropped Adam’s wrist with an adorable little huff. “I’m adding medical supplies to the grocery list. If you’re going to come home looking like roadkill on a regular basis, I’m going to need some necessities. In the meantime, will you at least let me put some ice on that eye?”

 

About the Author

Evie Drae is a registered nurse by day and an award-winning male/male romance writer by night. She has won first place in seven Romance Writers of America® (RWA®) competitions, including the prestigious title “Best of the Best” in the 2018 Golden Opportunity Contest. She is a double finalist in the 2019 Golden Heart®, in both the Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense categories, and finished as a second-place runner-up in four additional RWA contests. As an added perk, she landed the fabulous literary agent Eva Scalzo from Speilburg Literary following a dual win in two separate categories of the 2018 Heart to Heart contest.

One of Evie’s favorite things to do is encourage her fellow writers. To that end, she started the #writeLGBTQ and #promoLGBTQ hashtags on Twitter to support and promote LGBTQ+ authors and allies while providing a safe space to connect and grow as a community. She is married to the love of her life, is the mother of three wonderful fur babies, and runs almost entirely on coffee and good vibes.

Evie loves to link up with fellow writers and readers. You can reach her directly at EvieDrae@gmail.com or find her on her social media accounts listed below. Twitter is where she’s most active but be sure to check out her blog too. She focuses on reviews for LGBTQ+ authors and allies with the occasional quirky advice/recommendation post just to toss things up.

WHERE TO FIND EVIE:

Website/Blog: https://www.eviedrae.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EvieDrae

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eviedraeauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Evie_Drae

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eviedrae/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/eviedrae/

 

RELEASE WEEK GIVE AWAY (ENTER BY AUGUST 26th, WINNERS ANNOUNCED AUGUST 27th, 2019):

The GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive a personalized signed copy of Beauregard and the Beast, a $100 Amazon Gift Card, and an assortment of author swag! The RUNNER-UP will receive a personalized signed copy of Beauregard and the Beast and an assortment of author swag! Your followers can enter by clicking the following link: https://promosimple.com/ps/e886/b

 

Our Spotlight on A Moving NonFiction Story ~ Check Out the Book Blast for Eighteen Moons by Andi Webb (excerpt and giveaway)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Eighteen Moons

Author: Andi Webb

Publisher: Self-Published

This is a Non-Fiction book.

Theme: Relationships, Family through International Surrogacy

Length: 63 844  words/185 pages

It is a standalone book.

Add on Goodreads

Blurb 

Eighteen Moons is the extraordinary and moving story of Andi and John and how they set out to have the family they longed for. Not many people noticed the end of a multi-billion-pound industry that touched many, many thousands of lives… but this devoted couple lived through the final wave of International Surrogacy in both India and Thailand, then finally (before it had barely begun) in Nepal on the roof of the world. 

In their quest to become fathers, they come up against seemingly impossible challenges. From the very start they are overwhelmed with both bureaucracy and prejudice. The story of how this very special family comes together is filled with heartache and frustration, determination and courage. It’s a story full of humour, human frailty and, above all their determination to become the loving family they are today. 

‘Touching, insightful, funny and shocking. You won’t be able to put it down.’  Zap Magazine

Andi Webb is the author of the unmissable blog ‘Diary of a Gay Dad’

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US   |  Amazon UK

Excerpt 

Eighteen Moons is the extraordinary and moving story of Andi and John and how they brought together, against huge odds, the family they had longed for. Today they are loving fathers to five beautiful children including two sets of twins, all of them under the age of six. But the story of how this very special family came together is a tale filled with heartache and frustration, determination and courage. It’s also a story full of humour, human frailty and, above all, love. Their quest for children took them across the world and brought them up against seemingly impossible challenges. But as the whims of officials and government directives thwarted their every move and sent them on a wild adventure which took them from India to Thailand and on to Nepal, Andi and John refused to give up. Extraordinarily, Andi and John’s first twins were the last British surrogate babies to leave India (post new rules), their son was the last to leave Thailand and their second twins were the first British children to be born through surrogacy in Nepal. Happily together for twenty years and the besotted owners of two daft but loveable Dalmatians, Andi and John longed for children to complete their family. Two, they thought, would be perfect, ideally one fathered by each of them. After looking at surrogacy options worldwide, India seemed to offer everything they hoped for and in 2012 they went to India to begin the surrogacy process. A few months later, they heard that their surrogate was expecting twins. Andi went to India for the birth; the plan was that John would join them and together they would bring the babies home. When two gorgeous daughters were born they couldn’t have been happier. But what followed was a nightmare of bureaucracy and obfuscation, as John, the twins’ natural father, was refused a visa and the Indian Government refused to let Andi leave with the babies. For month after month Andi lived in India, caring for the girls, while he and John struggled to find a way to bring them home. At every turn they were thwarted until they became so desperate they considered smuggling the girls out of the country by boat. Their daughters were eight months old when, finally, John was able to go and bring them home. Same-sex surrogacy had been banned in India, so Andi, still longing to father a child, turned next to Thailand. With the news of a successful pregnancy everything looked rosy – until the Thai government also clamped down on surrogacy, the clinic was closed. For several heart-stopping days they didn’t know what had happened to their surrogate, or their baby. Finally they heard that all was well and Andi said goodbye to John and the girls and went to Thailand to be with his child. A son was born and a delighted Andi hoped to take him home within weeks. But what followed was an extraordinary saga of delays, denials and, eventually, Andi’s arrest on trumped up drug charges. Given the option by the arresting officers of waiting three months for a court date and a guaranteed three, month sentence, a second option was put on the table. No criminal record and the chance to be the first westerner to serve in the Royal Thai Army. This would take him to an army barrack’s deep in the Thai jungle, he had just one phone call, to tell John what had happened. On the day he was freed Andi found John, and their son, waiting for him. Days later, after five long months of waiting, they flew home, to introduce the girls to their new baby brother.When the surrogacy clinic in Thailand had closed Andi and John’s remaining embryos had been transferred, with the help of an Israeli agency, to Nepal, where surrogacy was still possible. At that stage, unsure of the outcome in Thailand, they had given the go-ahead for a surrogacy attempt. Now they heard that once again twins were expected, this time on the roof of the world. Andi arrived just after the massive 2015 earthquake in Nepal. The final five full moons of this story would be set in Kathmandu.

About the Author

Andi Webb is the writer of diaryofagaydad.net and author of the book Eighteen Moons (available through Amazon.com). Andi is a gay, stay at home dad to five young children under the age of six, living in ‘The Shires’ of England. The daily blog of family life both illuminates and amuses. Eighteen Moons is the memoir of how two men set out on the journey to becoming fathers to five young children, not an easy feat.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook

Twitter: @andiwebb5  |  Instagram –  Diary of a Gay Dad

Giveaway 

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one of three ebook copies of Eighteen Moons.

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Looking for that Next Romance Story? Check out the New Release Blitz for Coffee (A Cup of John #2) by Matthew J. Metzger (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Coffee

Series: A Cup of John, Book Two

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 19. 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 69100

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, contemporary, British, trans, gay, queer, age gap, established couple, size difference, blue collar, disability, ableism, death and grieving, family issues, dirty talk, wedding, ownvoices

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

When Chris’s stepfather passes away and leaves Chris a house and a wedding ring, it seems like the perfect opportunity to take the next step in his relationship with John.

So, they’re both in for a nasty shock when Chris’s mother is vehemently opposed to the idea. Despite three years of history to prove otherwise, she insists that John is only a temporary feature in Chris’s life, and a man like him can’t be expected to stay with someone like Chris in the long run.

Can Chris persuade her that she’s wrong in time for the wedding—or will there be an empty space in the photographs?

Excerpt

Coffee
Matthew J. Metzger © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Rather appropriately for the occasion, it had been raining all day.

Chris took in a deep lungful of smoke and exhaled it smoothly into the chilly afternoon. The memorial garden was blissful after the hustle and bustle of the funeral. The air was open and soothingly cool, not like the stuffy heat of the chapel. He could breathe again. He could gather the shards of grief around himself and try to put them back together, without having to think about his mother’s sobbing at his side, or the favourite song that had been played for Jack’s last journey, a song now stained with sadness.

The gentle patter of raindrops on the umbrella calmed him, and the far-off chirping of some irate bird provided a gentle counterpoint. Life slowed. From farther off, the chattering of friends and relations had finally died away, and Chris stubbed out the remains of the cigarette as he heard the crunch of gravel.

He’d never been here before, but the footsteps coming down the path were as familiar as his own. Thunderously heavy, an immense weight crushing each step into the ground even as the pace was slow and steady. That slight stress on one step, followed by lightness on the other. That dodgy knee from the rugby accident last year had left its mark in the form of a subtle limp and a tiny scar like a fish hook that made its owner go all shivery when Chris kissed it. Even the speed with which each step followed the other was familiar, like the tower of a body might collapse if the feet were spread too far apart. The hands that clasped Chris’s shoulders were as big as spades, and only one person in his life was tall enough to kiss the crown of his head without the use of a box to stand on.

Chris leaned back into the wall of a man who had arrived and lifted the umbrella to let him into the shelter.

“Your mum’s gone home with Lauren.”

The relief was bittersweet. Mum and Lauren had always gotten along, despite one being Dad’s ex-wife and one being Dad’s girlfriend. Lauren would look after her—even if it was Chris’s job. Even if he was supposed to.

“You did great.”

Chris swallowed thickly. “I think it’s just sunk in.”

It hadn’t been real. It had taken so long that it had never quite felt real until this moment.

Jack had died a long, slow, terrible death. Weeks in the hospice. Chris would never forget the gargling way his stepfather had breathed near the end, or the clammy coolness of his skin. The way Mum had cried, soft little sniffles at the corner of the bed on that final day. The gaps between the gurgles, until finally there had been nothing but the eeriest silence. The shaking in his fingertips was over.

Everything was over. The smell of cigar smoke on the tenth of March, the one day of the year Jack lit up. The shuffle of his slippers. The whirr of that deathtrap of a stairlift. The croaking way he’d chuckled, a noise that in a bigger man would have been a belly laugh. The little huff he let out when Mum was in one of her moods, followed up hastily with “Yes, dear, of course…” And Chris had never seen it, but he’d known Jack had flashed him little smirks across the table at such moments, conspiratorial understandings between the two men who were most subject to her fussing and flapping, the two men who loved her most. Gone.

“Jack’s gone.”

“I know.” The words were soft but firm. The hands on his shoulders rubbed down to his elbows and then back up in a long, smooth stroke. “But so is the pain and the suffering. He’s not hurting anymore. And if he was right, then he gets to see his daughter again now.”

Chris coughed a shaky laugh. It bubbled out of his ribs like water overflowing. “No such thing as heaven.”

“You never know.”

Chris sighed and leaned his head back. He closed his eyes and hummed as a kiss was pressed into his temple.

“I should go and see Mum,” he said.

But his chest ached. His ribs felt like they were going to cave in, and a red-hot pain followed the scar, as if he’d been wrapped in metal wire, melting against his skin. He hurt.

“I want to go home.”

The hands pulled. He was turned by the shoulders and drawn into a rain-damp embrace. The arms around his back made the pain worse, but Chris clung and burrowed into the embrace anyway. The kiss on the top of his head slotted two of the jagged edges together and sealed them shut again. The grief ebbed a fraction.

“Come on, then. Let’s go home.”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Matthew J. Metzger is an ace, trans author posing as a functional human being in the wilds of Yorkshire, England. Although mainly a writer of contemporary, working-class romance, he also strays into fantasy when the mood strikes. Whatever the genre, the focus is inevitably on queer characters and their relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual, or romantic.

When not crunching numbers at his day job, or writing books by night, Matthew can be found tweeting from the gym, being used as a pillow by his cat, or trying to keep his website in some semblance of order.

Website | Twitter

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Don’t Miss Out on the Blog Tour Appeal to You (Beyond the Cove #3) by Jaclyn Quinn (excerpt)

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Appeal To You Tour Banner

Appeal To You

Beyond the Cove Series, Book 3

Jaclyn Quinn

M/M Romance

Release Date: 07.31.19

Appeal To You Cover

Cover design by Cate Ashwood

Blurb

Will the demons of the past ruin any hope for the future?

If there’s anyone who knows how to have a good time—be it with a man or a woman—it’s Ryder Pearce. Master of the nail-it-and-bail-it theory, he lives his life for one person and one person only: himself. When a man enters Ryder’s life who challenges him on every flirtation, every sexual innuendo he can come up with, Ryder’s thrown off his game in a big way. Because there’s one thing the man has made perfectly clear—they’ve played this game before, and Ryder doesn’t remember the outcome.

Avery Hamilton has seen all of Ryder’s moves and has witnessed his sex appeal. He knows all too well about his cocky sense of humor and his penchant for one-night stands. There was a time in his life when he’d taken the bait, but this time around, he wants more. He’s seen Ryder’s act; what he hasn’t seen is Ryder—the real Ryder he hides from the world.

When both men come together to help a young boy, Ryder’s forced to face things from his past he’s blocked out. Things he never wanted anyone to know. Now, Ryder has one fear… Will revealing that side of himself be real enough for Avery? Or will it be the reason Avery walks away?

*Warning: This book contains off-page references to sexual/physical abuse of a minor. This book is the third book in a series. Reading the books out of order may result in spoilers.

Universal Buy Link: mybook.to/AppealtoYou

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“Listen, about earlier…” Avery began, hoping to get some kind of conversation going. “I really am sorry. I have this knee-jerk reaction to jump to conclusions with you.” Avery nudged Ryder playfully with his arm until he looked over at him. “You’re too damn quiet, and it’s making me nervous.”

Ryder laughed. “Never thought you’d say that, huh?” He shrugged his shoulders, looking forward again. “Forget about it, man. Trust me”—he glanced back over at Avery—“I’m nowhere near perfect. I fuck up every damn day.” His gaze shifted forward again as they separated, letting an older couple walk between them. When they met up again, Ryder added, “Most of the time, though, even if it doesn’t seem like it, it’s with good intentions.” His eyes flicked again to Avery’s, but it was as if he didn’t want to hold eye contact and nervously looked ahead once more.

“It hasn’t gone unnoticed. Not by me.” Avery owed him at least that much. Ryder’s surprised smile from Avery’s admission made him laugh. “Don’t look so shocked. I’m a very perceptive man. Not much gets past me.”

All at once, the smile faded, and Ryder looked straight ahead again. “Is that so?”

Avery stopped short in the middle of the boardwalk, crossing his arms over his chest. Ryder looked back at him as he also came to a stop and turned around. “Yeah, it is. Like the fact that you’re acting weird. What the hell is up with you today?”

“Why does something have to be up?”

“Are you only going to answer me with questions?”

“Do you want me to only answer you with questions?”

Avery hung his head back and groaned. “Jesus Christ, sometimes I just want to strangle you.”

Ryder closed the distance between them with two slow steps. “I’ll try anything once. Didn’t take you for a breath play kind of guy, though. Do you make that groaning sound you just made while you do it? Because yes, please.”

Avery straightened his back then leaned his face only a few inches away from Ryder. “You really don’t take anything seriously, do you?” His tone came out huskier than he’d meant it to, but this man kept him in a perpetual state of frustration—including sexual.

“Sex. I take sex very seriously,” Ryder retorted, but his face didn’t show the conviction of his words. Damn, Avery was so tired of staring at the same fucking wall Ryder had built around himself. Ryder was, surprisingly, the first to break eye contact, moving his gaze to the ocean.

This wasn’t accomplishing anything, and they sure as hell weren’t going to find Chris by standing here.

Yet, Avery refused to let the man get the last word. He lifted a finger to Ryder’s cheek, turning his head so he was looking at him again. “You’re acting weird, and it has nothing to do with sex.” Avery stepped around Ryder to continue walking, pissed that Ryder always had a way of pushing his buttons. So, push back. He turned abruptly, making Ryder bump into him. He stared down into gray eyes and couldn’t help himself when he said, “Although, if we were talking sex… Breath play? No. But I can make you come so hard, you’ll be gasping for air when I’m done with you.”

“Hot damn,” Ryder whispered right before Avery forced himself to turn around again, holding back a smug smile as he began to walk and scan the area.
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Jaclyn Quinn Logo

I have been an artist from a very young age. From drawing cartoon characters and evolving into portraits, making jewelry, photography, and now writing. I have an amazing support system in my family and friends and couldn’t be more grateful.

I live in central New Jersey, love summers at the Jersey Shore, rock music, wine, sexy men, and laughing a lot with my amazing friends and family. Sunday dinners at my parents’ house are crazy, hysterical and you can count on a movie quote…or ten…being thrown out. Insults between siblings is how we show our love for each other!

When I’m not creating, you can find me reading books from my favorite authors. I’m a hopeless romantic, starving for passionate characters and always craving that happy ending, whether in reading or in writing my own books.

https://linktr.ee/JQbooks