A Lucy Review: Happy for You (Love and Family #3) by Anyta Sunday

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Mort wants his de facto family back. . . .
He knows he doesn’t deserve them. Not yet, anyway. Not without making up for leaving them in their time of need.
But it’s not easy to make amends. Mort must show how much he wants the Rochester family back in his life. When his best friend’s younger brother, Felix, has his license suspended, Mort jumps at the chance to play chauffeur and to win back the family he desperately wants to call his own.
Repairing his broken relationships—with all five Rochester siblings—becomes Mort’s personal mission. Especially with Felix. Felix, who used to follow him everywhere. Felix, who idolized him. Felix, whom Mort has not stopped thinking about . . .

Felix is just trying to keep it together. . . .
With a perma-smile as his armor, he’s determined to make his family happy. Determined to be a positive role model to his three younger sisters, while their mum struggles with depression after her kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, no amount of smiling can save his license when he gets pulled over for the umpteenth time, and he still needs to get his sisters to school, soccer, and dance classes.
The solution to his problem emerges in the return of their prodigal neighbor, Mort. Mort, who left their lives without a word. Mort, who was in love with Felix’s older brother.
Mort, who is the last guy Felix wants charging back into their lives. . . .

Mort and Felix. Two guys bound by a rocky past—
—a past they must come to terms with to find true happiness in the here and now.

It is no secret that I am a huge Anyta Sunday fan, so I greatly anticipate any new book coming out.  This one, part of the Made for You series, had me dithering because I have a low tolerance for people who walk away, especially at a much needed time, for less than stellar reasons.  I wasn’t sure how Mort was going to redeem himself.  And then I read it and he did.  The writing and the dialogue – fresh, witty and never patronizing – worked so well. 

Except there were other things that bugged me here.   I have to say straight away that the person responsible for Mort’s disappearance not only didn’t say anything in his defense when he returned but also didn’t grovel at all or apologize nearly enough for me.  Mort and the Rochester family deserved that.  I am definitely not a fan of Dolores, the Rochester’s mother.  She is selfish, homophobic and truly not grateful appearing for everything that is done for her, particularly by Felix  I can add in that Roch, also, is oblivious to how much Felix pours into the family to keep it going.

The fact that Mort left the family without a word right when they needed him the most – Mom’s kidney transplant – puts him in bad graces with not only Roch and Felix but young sisters, Tiffany, April and May. A year later he’s back, trying to get back the family he has so desperately missed but it’s not as easy as he hoped it might be.  I was very glad to see that because those siblings were Hurt, with a capital H, when Mort disappeared.

“I sent you emails.”

“Christmas and birthday. Each one felt like a slap.”

He knows he messed up.  “I’d given up my best friend and his family over a few painful words.”  Yes, Mort, you did.

The Rochesters have been Mort’s family for years.  He has no blood family left,  “Just an achingly empty house that continues to smell like a dad who never cared.”  He’s back now and trying to earn back both their trust and his place in their family. It’s difficult because he hurt them so badly.

Mort has been in love with his best friend, Roch, for years while at the same time younger brother, Felix, has been in love with Mort.  He can’t do anything about it because he always  would wonder – was he second place, the consolation prize when Mort couldn’t have Roch?  Even as Mort says he is over Roch, it doesn’t always seem that way. 

“Roch loves hot sauce.  Habit, sorry.” 

Roch.  Habit.”

“He’s not over him.  He’ll never be over him…”

Poor Felix.  He is so open about his feelings for Mort and it is so painful for him.  “Impossible feelings that have no place to grow amidst Mort and Roch’s epic friendship.  Feelings their shared smiles and secrets have trampled.” The vulnerability is there all the time.   And the worst insecurity is hard to get over because the one Mort has been in unrequited love with is Felix’s own brother.  Who questions motive as well.  “Roch slinks up, frowning at me.  “Do you really?  Genuine concern shades his voice.  “Or is this the next best thing if you couldn’t have me?”

Felix himself is a gem. He is open, caring, kind and generous to a fault.  And he’s funny. “You’re like, experienced.  And I’m, all like, Elmo Goes to a Gay Bar.” His penchant for bowties, copied by his young twin sisters, is awesome and unique.  I love how much they adore him and they even act like children, not mini-adults!  I hated that so often he took blame for things. “Specifically, neither of us mentions my failures at putting myself out there.”  He actually did and Mort spoiled it for him.  Get a clue, Mort!

There is a conversation between Roch and Mort that made me wonder, WTF? Why is this happening?  Mort does, however, really try to make things right with his chosen family and you can see how much effort he is putting into getting all of them to forgive him.  This would have been much easier had the person actually at fault let any of them know what happened.

This is a pretty angst-free story with characters I truly enjoyed, save one. While not my favorite of the series, it is a great addition to it.  We also get to see Pax Paolo, from Shrewd Angel, who is lovely.  We also get a little bit of Ben and Jack from Made For You, a favorite of mine. It has witty dialogue and while the unrequited bit stings, nothing is dragged out forever.  Just baggage and issues that need to be addressed. 

Cover Art: works for the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 282 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Anyta Sunday
ASIN B07WZ83416
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Audio Review: Family Camp (Daddy Dearest #1) by Eli Easton and Matthew Shaw (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When Geo signs up for Family Camp, he envisions nature hikes, s’mores, and a chance to win over his recalcitrant new foster kids, Jayden and Lucy. He’s tried to become a dad for so long, and he hopes the three of them can be the family he’s always wanted. What he doesn’t anticipate is the prickly and gorgeous camp counselor who constantly comes to his rescue.

Travis spends a week every year at Camp Evermore, the camp his adoptive parents own. As a pro baseball player, his presence guarantees a full campground and excited campers. He has one rule: never, ever mess around with anyone at camp. His profession demands he stay in the closet. But one sweet and funny new dad is about to test all his resolve.

Sparks fly for Geo and Travis, and not because of the nightly campfire. Having been a foster kid himself, Travis is drawn to Geo’s sincerity and big heart and to his kids. The four of them just fit. But will this be a summer romance? Or can they find a way to be a family long after Family Camp is over?

You know how there are books that as soon as you’ve finished them, you want to start them  all over again?  Well, it turns out there are audio books you feel about that way too. Family Camp (Daddy Dearest #1) by Eli Easton and Matthew Shaw (Narrator) is most definitely one of them.  It imparts  those warm, fuzzy, wrapped up in your favorite blankie sort of feelings, boosted in part by the fabulous narration by Matthew Shaw.

It all starts when new foster dad (who wants to be their forever dad) Geo signs his small new family up for some bonding time at Family Camp in hopes he and they can start to start to move through erected barriers and begin the process of learning about each other and becoming a family.

The journey is not going well.  The car is barely holding together as is Geo’s nerves, the kids well, are being who they are, removed and or brash/outspoken, depending upon the kid. And everything about it speaks of an authenticity of desperation, the reality of a new dad trying to make things work and oh yeah, the heat of a summer’s day.  Great writing, great characters, and a great scene that also came alive with the right narration. Yep, totally hooked.

When Travis enters the picture along with his dog Max, if my heart wasn’t totally engaged before, it was now.  Because the sparks flew and I just knew this was going to be a great couple and yes family affair.  And I couldn’t wait to see how Easton would bring them all together at Camp.

Turns out it’s quite the journey as Travis isn’t out to his team or family.  Geo has foster children in need of himself and the idea they have found their forever home.  And more, so much more as Travis is the product of the foster system and the Family Camp is run by his parents who raised him and a huge number of children, much of whom came out of the system.  Trust is a big element here and not just for Jayden and Lucy but also for Travis and  Geo.

Easton carefully weaves the bonds of family and love between the men and the children, making them feel real and heartbound.  That it takes only two weeks doesn’t feel unlikely because of the established backgrounds.

The pace of the story and the resolution to the angst filled moments all felt right.  As I said I would  be listening to this story again soon, when I need a hug and a story to warm me.

The narration by Matthew Shaw is everything.  His tones have a wide range, equal to a father like Travis’ and then down to Lucy beginning to come out of her shell.  I believed them all.

Cover art just made me grin.  That’s perfect for the story and character.  Doesn’t it make you want to come to Family Camp too?

Audio Buy Links: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Audio Book Details:

Audible Audio, 7 pages
Published August 14th 2019 by Pinkerton Road LLC (first published March 28th 2019)
ASINB07W62RBR6
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDaddy Dearest #1

An Alisa Review: Love Potion #9 by Tinnean

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

All quiet and friendless high school student Drey White wants is to create a formula that will give him the confidence to talk to a guy. With the encouragement of Artemas Beaumont, his favorite teacher, Drey thinks he’s succeeded.

The opportunity to test it arrives when he’s invited by the cool kids to their party. After mixing the powder with his beer, he barely has time for a sip before another teen grabs the bottle and drinks. Drey is unsure if the potion will work, but then he’s kissed by the guy. Pleased, Drey retrieves the bottle and drinks the remainder himself, only to find it gives him a case of the giggles.

Now an adult, the effects of Love Potion #9 still reverberate through Drey’s life. Will things ever return to normal? And what will Artemas, now his friend — and hopefully more — think when he discovers what Drey has created?

This was an alright story, though even giving myself a few days I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it.  I can’t say I would agree that Drey’s potion was the cause of his problems, it was stupid teenage drama.  I mean it was cute but something felt off.

I felt a little weird about how Drey went to Artemis when he had to leave college and from then on it seemed to be status quo with Drey going back to work at the pizza place but gaining friendship with Artemis.  I thought it was strange that they didn’t change anything for years and only after Drey kind of throws a hissy fit.  I felt very disconnected from the characters though Drey would be the only one for the reader to get to know.

I think the cover art by Written Ink Designs is a nice and good for the story.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 56 pages

Published: July 27, 2019 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634869829

Edition Language: English

Parker Williams on Writing and his new release ‘Stained Hearts (Links In the Chain #3)’

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Stained Hearts (Links In the Chain #3) by Parker Williams

Dreamspinner Press
Published September 10th 2019
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Parker Williams today on tour for his new story Stained Hearts.  Welcome, Parker.

 

 

 

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?

I wrote several stories when I was younger, including one called ‘Free at Last’. It was the story of Grant Danek and Russell Studler, two teens who were embroiled in coming out and falling in love. Oh, and murder. When I was a teen, I loved the story, because of a character named ‘Aunt Helen’, who was Grant’s mother’s sister. When Grant’s parents died, she stepped in and became his guardian, and one of his best friends. She knew he was falling for Rusty, and she was totally cool with it. What she wasn’t cool with was someone killing a man on their doorstep.

I found it again not too long ago, and thought ‘oh, hell no’. I’ve learned a lot from many different people, and the story would need a complete rewrite if I ever wanted to do anything with it.

Though I do still love Grant and Rusty.

 

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?

Yes! Several years ago, I was in a wicked car accident (cherry picker through my windshield). A year after that, Paul and I were rear-ended at a stoplight. Because of that, I wasn’t able to continue doing my job as a waiter (couldn’t carry heavy trays because of the strain on my back). Due to that, the hotel I worked at gave me a job as a cashier. I hated hated hated it. And what made it worse was Valerie Ricks, one of the servers. She was awful. Hateful, mean, spiteful. She made every day at work a chore, and I grew angrier with everyone because they wouldn’t do anything about her.

So I did.

I started thinking of ways she could ‘accidentally’ meet her end, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought of someone who could do those kinds of things. From my dislike of Valerie came Haven’s Creed and Haven’s War.

So, even though I still can’t stand her, I guess I kind of owe her a debt of thanks.

  

Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

 

Drunk? No. I don’t drink. On the other hand, the doctor had me on some pills that made me a drooling mess (think Homer Simpson). I did some writing, and in the morning when I woke up, I had absolutely no clue what the hell I had written. They weren’t even words, just strings of gibberish.

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

Last year KC Wells was in Milwaukee and she stayed at an Air B & B. The place was gorgeous, and I loved sitting at the dining table with her and working on one of the Secrets books. To me, that place would have been perfect as a writer’s getaway.

 

With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away? To move past? To widen our knowledge? Why do you write?

 

I write as an escape from the world around me. There is so much awful news that I like to sink into a story and let it take me away.

What’s next for you as a writer?

Oh, so much!

So Stained Hearts is this month, Secrets #4 (On the Same Page) with K.C. Wells is in December, and then next year I have a contemporary called ‘Family Matters’ in early 2020, and then a paranormal MPREG called ‘The Night Wolf’ later.

After that, KC and I are going to be working on Secrets #5 with a character we introduce in book four and a brand new one that is first seen in book 5.

I’m also working on book two of the Night Wolf saga. Funny thing about it. The series was supposed to be lighthearted fun, where a runaway wolf found refuge in a pack and fell for the Alpha. But… Yeah, always a but.

During a scene, the one guy said, ‘You know, it would be awesome if I ended up pregnant.’ And I said, ‘Seriously?”

Apparently he was very serious, because the next thing I knew, he was with child. Oh, and that lighthearted romp? Yeah, no. All of a sudden there’s a crazy Alpha who wants Sean (he’s the one who ran from the Alpha) back, and he’s willing to kill to get his way.

So, yeah. There’s that.

 

Blurb:

Can two hearts stained by past pain find healing together?

Tom Kotke held his husband of twenty-five years on the day he died and spent nearly a year adrift. Determined to force Tom back into the world, his family takes him to the Park View Diner, where he meets young stained-glass artist Aiden Dawson. For a brief moment, Tom doesn’t think about his deceased husband—a terrifying prospect.

Slowly, Aiden draws Tom out of his shell and helps him feel alive once more. But Tom isn’t the only one who’s suffered. Aiden fears no one sees beyond his wheelchair. Even if Tom can convince him he’s different, they’ll still have to overcome their age difference and a secret that could destroy their future together.

Word Count: 67,000

Book Categories: Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance, Hurt and Comfort, Loss and Redemption


Excerpt:

There is a moment, just as twilight gives way to total darkness, when everything over the lake is still. It’s like the world is holding its breath, waiting to see what’s going to happen. It’s during this one, singular moment when I feel… free from the memories. Of course, like they always do, they surge back when I realize I can’t cling to that magical second any longer.
In October, Brian and I bought a cabin near Crivitz, Wisconsin. A quiet, peaceful tract of land where we could lie together and love each other as much as we could. I had a company come in to fix it up, so after we shared Thanksgiving dinner with our family, we could pack up our things from our home in Milwaukee and move into the cabin. The place was beautiful, but I don’t know how much of it Brian really saw. Each passing day he got weaker and weaker, and each day I wished I could freeze time.
When January came around, we went home to Milwaukee for a little while. Brian told me he wanted to go back and say goodbye to our friends and family. The trip was awful, what with my mother and father spending hours locked away with Brian, and him wanting some alone time with my brother, Robert, and his lover, Galen. After finally meeting with Lincoln and Noel, Brian also asked to go to Lincoln’s diner alone so he could sit and talk with Noel. It hurt me to have him away from me, but I understood his need to be by himself for a time. It still sucked.
I remember the night clearly. There was a haze over the lake, and the clouds obscured the moon. Around us, the night air filled with sounds, like the animals were doing whatever it took to make Brian happy. We sat there, holding hands in our little bit of paradise, where nothing bad could happen. Only… it could. Brian wanted to stay here because he didn’t intend his last days to be spent being fussed over by our friends and the family we’d created. The thought that they pitied him made his heart hurt, because Brian was the healer. He needed to make everyone else feel good. And now it was he who needed the healing, but we both knew it wasn’t going to come. The doctors had given him less than a year. He swore to me that he would prove them wrong, and he did. Being the fighter he was, Brian stretched it out to five. But every hourglass runs out eventually.
One night, just as twilight was giving way to total darkness, he reached for my hand.
“I love you.”
My throat seized. I knew what he was doing, but I wasn’t ready. Not yet. “I know.”
“You have to let me go.”
I jumped out of the chair and spun to face him. “How the hell do you expect me to do that? Since that first day in college, I have been in love with you.”
It was true. When this young Asian man knocked on the door to the dorm room, my tongue stopped working. He was so goddamn beautiful, it hurt to see him and not be able to touch his flawless skin. But that was 1993, and things were still kind of closeted. Hitting on your roommate was probably the stupidest thing you could do, despite what the porn videos said.
“I’m Brian Chen.”
His voice sent ripples of pleasure through me. I was hit hard by lust and longing, and the only thing I could think of was that it would be a very long four years.
“Hi. I’m Tom Kotke.”
He held out his hand, and after I took it, I was reluctant to let go. He smiled at me, showing off pearly-white teeth, with one just a little crooked. I wanted to kiss that mouth and let my tongue explore that tooth. I’d never had sex before, but right then I wanted to drop to my knees and show this man the pleasure one guy could give another. Or, at least what I’d seen in porn.
He chuckled. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Tom Kotke. Might I have my hand back?”
It was then I realized I still held his hand in mine. I let go of it, instantly regretting having done so. “I’m sorry.” I worried that now he’d think I was some kind of freak. “I’m not a weirdo.”
And saying that out loud seemed to prove the opposite.
He gave the barest of smiles. “No, I never thought that.”
And that was our first meeting. Over the next two months of livingtogether, Brian spent every night at home, in front of his laptop. Secretly I was grateful for that fact, because seeing him with another person would have hurt. It wasn’t too much longer before I had to admit to him that I was gay, because having him be uncomfortable around me was definitely not what I wanted.
“I figured that out when you held my hand that first day. If I’m honest, I wish I hadn’t said anything and you had continued.”
My heart beat a little faster. “You mean…?”
His grin slid into place, and my heart went pitter-pat. “Yes, Tom, I’m gay as well.”
And that sealed the deal for me. I was in love with him.
Before those memories could swamp me, a wheezed breath dragged me back to the here and now.
“I watched you every night, pen in your mouth, as you worked on one paper or another. I dragged you up to bed on nights when you told me you needed five more minutes. I sat in the audience as you stood up there, diploma in hand, and told our class that they were responsible for the world they were entering. That they had to choose kindness over money. And the day I asked you to marry me….”
“And I said no.”
I couldn’t swallow past the lump in my throat. “You said no.”
He quirked his artfully plucked eyebrow. “And why did I say no?” “Because you didn’t want me to have to choose between you and a career. You thought you were doing good by me.”
“And I was wrong. The day you slid that ring on my finger, I finally understood what it meant to be whole.”
“Right, and now you think I’m supposed to just let you go and move on? I won’t be whole anymore, so how the hell do you think I can pick up and forget you existed?”
“Sit down.”
“No.”
He gave me a weak smile. “Tommy, sit down.”
When he called me Tommy, my knees wobbled. It was a nickname
that only he could use. I wouldn’t accept it from anyone else, not even my family. From him? My heart always thumped a little harder at hearing it in his soft voice, as his light brown eyes held me captive. I sat on the bench beside him, and he put a hand on my arm.
“I’m not saying you have to do it now, but you can’t keep living for me. I won’t be here in anything more than a memory. If you really want to honor that, then you need to live. You’ll have to do it for both of us. Take that trip and go parasailing like we always said we’d do. Trek across the desert on the back of those humped nightmares. Ride the scariest roller coaster in the world. Do that, and your heart will race harder than it’s ever done before.”
“No, it won’t.” I turned my hand over and wrapped our fingers together. “The day you said ‘I do’? Nothing will ever be more thrilling or terrifying than that.”
He coughed, his body shuddering. He reached up to cover his mouth. When he pulled his hand away, dots of blood coated his palm. The inevitable had finally happened, and I was about to lose my heart.
“It’s been twenty-five years, baby. The best anyone has ever had, but—”
“Shut up.” I leaned over and put my head on his shoulder. “Please. Just stop talking. Let’s sit here and enjoy the quiet.”
He laid his head against mine. “Okay.”
The moment was perfect. A reminder of why I loved him so very much. We sat there for an hour, and when the coughing started again, worse this time, I reached for my phone. He shook his head.
“Don’t. You’ve got to let me go. It’s time. I don’t have it in me to fight anymore.”
My heart broke, knowing what was coming. “But I can’t…. I don’t want to.”
“I know, but no one can stop time, and mine has come. You need to accept that.”
My eyes filled with tears, and I scrubbed a hand over them. “Do me a favor?”
“Anything, you know that.”
“Hold me, so I won’t be so afraid.”
God, my heart tore in two. “Okay.” I wrapped my arms around him, the body that had always been delicate but was now thin and fragile. He put his head on my chest, and his wheezing grew harsher.
“I’m always going to love you, Tommy. And if there’s an afterlife, I’ll be waiting for you in the park under the big oak tree. Will you look for me?” That was where we had our first date. Him sitting there, his face tilted up at the sun, looking so fucking gorgeous. “I swear, I won’t look for anything else.”
“Okay.” He coughed, harder than before. “I’m going to miss waking up and seeing your smile every morning.”
I squeezed him tighter. I no longer had words. In my mind, I was wishing I could die along with him, because being alone? I couldn’t see how that was possible. The man I clutched to me was my life.
“You’re going to be okay. You know that.”
I started to disagree but stopped myself. He needed it to be true. He didn’t want to die with the regret of leaving me alone. “I’ll be okay.” “Stop lying to me. You’ll cry, grieve, and try to hide away from people. When we went home, I told our family not to let you do it. They’re going to hound you. They’ll force you to go out and meet new people.” He reached up and put his hand on my chest. “And one day, I hope you’ll find love again, because there’s too much in your heart not to share it with—”
Harsh coughs wracked his slight frame, and I knew the time had come. “Rest. I’m going to be right here for you.”
“You always were. And when the time comes that you need comfort, you know where to look, right?”
“Sure.” I really had no idea, but I just needed him to be at peace. I’m not sure when Brian passed away, but the night had gone dark.
As if sensing my mourning, everything around us was still. Taking out my phone, I called the hospital and told them that he had died. They sent an ambulance, and the EMTs found me still cradling the body of my husband. A numbness sapped any strength I had, and I was grateful to the men who took me to the hospital, because I wouldn’t have been able to get there on my own.
The next few weeks were a whirlwind of calls and letters, the funeral— Brian had asked to be cremated and wanted his ashes laid to rest in his favorite place in the whole world, Yellowstone National Park. He loved the beauty and tranquility of the place. Of course, I would follow his instructions to the letter, but I wasn’t prepared for what I found when I opened his urn. Brian was always so full of life. He personified grace and beauty in all things. And now? My husband was nothing but a white powder, like something I cleaned out of our fireplace. Upon seeing what was left of my Brian, I broke down in tears. Still, I sucked it up and did what he asked, burying his ashes beneath a tree that he’d carved our initials on decades ago.
Going home—to the house we had bought together a lifetime ago—was bittersweet. I could sense his presence everywhere, and more than once the memories of the life we shared overwhelmed me. Stupid things, like sitting down to watch a favorite TV show, became hollow and empty without him next to me. Going to bed, knowing his side would stay forever cool, had me moving out onto the couch. Not comfortable by any means, but still a damn sight better than rolling over to wrap my arm around him and finding him gone. Again.
One night, a few months in, a storm blew through Milwaukee. The power flickered several times, until it went out completely. I lit a candle in the living room and sat there, watching the lightning flash outside. A sense of melancholy washed over me, and I found myself on the verge of tears once more. I got up and went to the bookcase, where Brian and I had spent a lifetime gathering books from favored authors. I reached up and pulled out my personal favorite, Charlotte’s Web. Taking a seat on the couch once more, I opened the cover, and a piece of paper fluttered out and landed on my lap. I put the book aside, reached down, grabbed the paper, and unfolded it.
Tommy….
So since you’re reading this, I’ve got to assume that the cancer has finally won. We both knew it would, but I’m not ready to leave you to your own devices just yet.
Hot tears streaked my cheeks. It was as if a scab had been torn from a raw, painful wound that had never really healed. I needed his words more than I ever thought I could need something.
I’ve got so many things I’m sorry for. That we didn’t get to celebrate our silver anniversary comes to mind. I’d fully intended on surprising you with a trip to Mexico so we could go parasailing, but I’m guessing that never happened. Too bad. I was looking forward to soaring over the ocean with you.
I choked back a laugh. “Liar.”
Well, I hope that got a laugh out of you, because we both know I would have happily stood on the ground and waved at you, but no way in hell would you have gotten me up there. If God had meant for man to fly, he would have given us wings. 
I was never a believer in religion. Having seen too many times the way it was used to put pressure on people, I could never get behind the idea. Oh, I was spiritual, but that was only to the extent of empowering people. Still, if heaven did exist, Brian was up there, looking down on me, cursing the wings that he’d been given.
I don’t know how much time has passed, but knowing you as well as I do, I’m going to guess maybe a few months at best. I figured you’d go for Charlotte at some point, so that’s why I left this letter here for you to find. I just want you to know, no matter what happened or what will happen from this moment forward, my heart always belonged to you.
Maybe by now you’ve met someone—though I doubt it—and you’re happy. If that’s the case, then know you’ve done what I wanted. Don’t mourn me forever, Tommy. It’s not in your nature to be alone. I want—no, I need—you to go out and find someone special. If you won’t do it for you, do it for me.
He was crazy. He had to be. No one could replace him in my life. The thought of it was beyond insane. I glanced up at the picture on the wall of the two of us holding out a slice of wedding cake for the other to take a bite from. I frowned, trying to understand what in his mind made him think I could move on. A deep, shuddering sigh rolled out of me as I went back to his letter.
I can hear you arguing, you know. I’ve already said you’re not meant to be alone. You need someone to hold you at night so you can sleep. To wake up with you in the morning so the day is heralded with love. Please, Tommy, you need this. Maybe not now, but one day. Don’t shut yourself off, because it hurts me to think that so much love would be lost to the world.
Now, get back to reading. I’m sure Charlotte is waiting to whisk you away to a new world.
And remember, you’ve always been the only one to have my love. Brian.
I set the book on the table beside the couch and put my head in my hands. My heart ached, a battle of both sadness and joy warring for dominance. He was right—no one in the world knew me like he did. Almost a quarter of a century together had that effect on people. He could tell with nothing more than a glance when I needed him to hug me or when he needed to back off. He could make me laugh with a quirk of his brow or bring me to tears when he sang my favorite song, softly crooning in my ear, reminding me of our wedding, when he got up, grabbed the microphone, and belted out Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” in a rich, sonorous tenor.
When he finished, no one in the hall had a dry eye. He handed the mic over to someone and strode to me, our gazes locked. “How did I get so lucky?” His voice was thick with emotion. “If you were smart, you’d run off and have the life you’ve always dreamed of.”
I grabbed him by the back of his head, gripping his hair. “Funny thing about dreams is that as we grow up, we’re given new ones that let us know the others were just musings of a child’s mind. When I met you, everything I thought I needed went out the window, and you were the only thing left.”
He opened his mouth to say something, but I kissed him hard. I could feel the warmth of his tears as they mingled with mine. I knew that I would spend the rest of my life reminding him he was loved, and the thought had filled me with hope for my—our—future.
I stretched out on the couch and closed my eyes. I knew I’d dream of Brian, just like I had every night since he died. They always ended the same way, though: me curled up on the couch, clutching the small, sunflower-patterned pillow that Brian had made, with a hole in my heart that I knew would never heal.
All this talk about moving on? How in the hell was I supposed to do that without him? Hell, I hadn’t even realized what life could be like until I saw him, held him in my arms, had him under me. We were each other’s first and last, and that was perfectly fine with me.

 

Website: Parker Williams
Facebook: Parker Williams
Twitter: @ParkerWAuthor

Cover Reveal for Flame and Ash (Witchbane #3) by Morgan Brice (excerpt)

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Flame and Ash (Witchbane #4)

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Release Date: September 5, 2019

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal, MM romance

Trope/s: Second chance, established couple, hurt/comfort, monster hunting, supernatural creatures, magic, ghosts

Themes: Learning to trust, navigating a new relationship, sticking together when the going gets rough

Heat Rating:  4 flames

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Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

This time, the hunters become the hunted when the witch knows they’re coming to get him, and has deadly plans of his own. When their lives are on the line, will love be enough?

Blurb 

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

Seth rescued Evan Malone from one of the witches, and they’ve fallen in love despite the danger and chaos, going on the road to complete the quest and bring an end to the ritual murders. Their relationship is new, their emotions are raw, and the danger is real. It’s a challenge to find their way as a couple while they’re on the road together in the close quarters of Seth’s RV,  training in magic and combat skills to fight off a supernatural killer.

In pursuit of the next witch-disciple, Seth and Evan team up with older hunters Milo and Toby as their quest to stop a century-long killing spree takes them to a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They’re ahead of the sacrifice cycle, with plans to stop the murders and kill the dark witch. Only this time, the hunters become the hunted when the witch knows they’re coming to get him, and has deadly plans of his own. When their lives are on the line, will love be enough?

Flame and Ash is the third novel in the Witchbane series. It is a MM romance intended for readers 18 years of age and older. 

 

Excerpt 

“I’m going to miss Pittsburgh,” Seth Tanner said as he and Evan Malone readied the RV to move out of the campground where they had been since November.
“We’ve stayed in one place longer than I expected,” Evan replied, lending a hand with getting the fifth-wheeler fastened onto the back of Seth’s black Silverado.
“Figured it made the best use of the winter if the next target is in the mountains of North Carolina.” Seth pulled the blocks from beneath the wheels. The truck and RV had belonged to his parents and were going to be their ticket to a retirement full of exploration and adventure. Instead, they’d died in a car accident while Seth was in the hospital recovering from the trauma of his brother Jesse’s gruesome murder.
The murder Seth and Evan were committed to avenge.
“It was nice having friends who know what we really do.” Evan double-checked the fasteners securing the black Hayabusa motorcycle onto the back of the trailer. “I didn’t have to worry about saying something I shouldn’t.”“Those guys really know their stuff,” Seth agreed. Travis Dominick and Brent Lawson were experienced demon hunters who had helped Seth and Evan take out their quarry not long before Christmas. Travis and Brent had welcomed Seth and Evan into their circle of found family, which made the holidays and the worst of the winter weather more comfortable and less lonely. Getting to train with the other hunters in combat skills and lore was a bonus.
“I’d like to come back when we’re done.” Evan sounded wistful. “It was nice having a group, you know? I haven’t really had that since…” His voice trailed off, but Seth knew what his boyfriend meant. Not since Evan’s family and his church kicked him out for being gay.
Seth slung an arm around Evan’s shoulders and pulled him in for a quick kiss. “I do know. And I’m fine with visiting. They’re good people.”

 

About the Author 

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

Other books include Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers, and Badlands, Lucky Town, and The Rising, plus Treasure Trail. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

I’ll be a Featured Author at GRL in October and also at Coastal Magic in February!

Join my Worlds of Morgan Brice Facebook Group! Get the early scoop on upcoming books and new series, see new covers first, enjoy insider news and special contests and giveaways! Plus it’s where I get my beta readers and launch team!

 

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