Dont MIss Out on the Release Blitz for Slashed and Mashed: Seven Gayly Subverted Stories by Andrew J. Peters (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Slashed and Mashed: Seven Gayly Subverted Stories

Author: Andrew J. Peters

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 11, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 96700

Genre: Fantasy Folklore, LGBT, retold lore/folklore, fantasy, mythical creatures, magic, magic beings, magical reality, trickster, action/adventure, established couple, over 40, Greek mythology, Hungarian folklore, Grimm’s fairytales, Momotarō, historical fiction, jaguar folklore, the Arabian Nights, African folklore, Uncle Remus.

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Synopsis

What really happened when Theseus met the Minotaur? How did demon-slaying Momotarō come to be raised by two daddies? Will Scheherazade’s hapless Ma’aruf ever find love and prosperity after his freeloading boyfriend kicks him out on the street? Classic lore gets a bold remodeling with stories from light-hearted and absurd, earnestly romantic, daring and adventurous, to darkly surreal.

The collection includes: Theseus and the Minotaur, Károly, Who Kept a Secret, The Peach Boy, The Vain Prince, The Jaguar of the Backward Glance, Ma’aruf the Street Vendor, and A Rabbit Grows in Brooklyn.

Award-winning fantasy author Andrew J. Peters (The City of Seven Gods) takes on classical mythology, Hungarian folklore, Japanese legend, The Arabian Nights, and more, in a collection of gayly subverted stories from around the world.

Excerpt

Slashed and Mashed
Andrew J. Peters © 2019
All Rights Reserved

THE GREAT HALL of the king’s palace was vast enough to house a fleet of double-sailed galleys, and its gray, fluted columns, as thick as ancient oaks, seemed to tower impossibly beyond a man’s ken. Prince Theseus had been told, he had been warned of the grandeur of the Cretans, how it was said they were so vain they forged houses to rival the palace of Mount Olympus. Yet to see was to believe. For a spell, the sight of the great hall stole the breath from his lungs and slowed his feet to a stagger. Should not he, a mere mortal, prostrate himself on his knees in a place of such divine might, such miraculous invention? It felt as though he had entered the mouth of a giant who could swallow the world.

No, he reminded himself: this was all pretend, a trick to frighten him and his countrymen, though he only half believed that. Silenos, an aged tutor who Theseus’s father had hired to teach him all things befitting a young man of the learned class, had cautioned him not to trust his eyes, that these pirates of Crete used their riches to build a city of illusions so any navy that endeavored to alight at its shores would be hopelessly confounded and turn back to sea in terror.

Theseus forced a swallow down his bone-dry throat and retook his steps to keep pace with the soldiers who escorted his party into the hall. He had brought his father’s highest-ranking admirals to accompany him, Padmos and Oxartes, and the king had sent three men for each one of them to meet them at the beach where they had rowed ashore. From there, they had been conveyed up a steep, zigzagging roadway to the palace. The armored team looked like an executioner’s brigade rather than a diplomatic corps. They were hard-faced warriors clad in bronze-plated aprons and fringed, blood-red kilts, and they carried spears that could harpoon a monster of the ocean.

He tried to look beyond the many wonders and train his gaze on the distant dais where the king and his court awaited him. Yet curiosity bit at Theseus. Oil-burning chandeliers seemed to hover in the air, hung from chains girded to a sightless ceiling. No terraces had been built to bring in daylight, nor doorways to other precincts of the statehouse, unless they were hidden. Theseus would say it smelled of nothing but damp stone and clay, the cool, cloistered air too sacred to be disturbed by perfumes. The walls shimmered with a metallic reflection of the room’s massive columns, affecting the appearance that the hall went on to infinity. The diamond-patterned carpet on which he trod was one continuous design stretching from the vaulted doorway where he had entered all the way to the other end. Such a carpet was surely large enough to cover the floors of every house in Athens!

As he neared the stately dais, he beheld the king’s high-backed throne of ebony and glimpsed the man himself along with the shadowy members of his court. Theseus lowered his gaze to disguise his impressions. He supposed it also counted as a gesture of respect. He followed the soldiers into a lake of light that glowed from thick-trunked braziers on either side of the hall’s carpeted, shallow stage.

Their steps ended some ten paces in front of the room’s dignitaries, including, of course, the king himself. The armored men knelt on one knee, drummed down the handles of their spears on the floor, and bowed their helmet-capped heads as one company.

That left Theseus and his consorts standing and wondering what to do with themselves for a worrisome moment. To kneel to the king was to surrender Athens’ sovereignty, and that had not been his father’s bargain. Though his princely leather cuirass and his laurel crown felt peasant-like, almost absurd while he stood before the king, Theseus did not break. He glanced to Padmos and Oxartes so they would know they should neither kneel nor bow.

Righteousness grew inside Theseus, arisen from the unsurpassed conviction of a youth of eighteen years who felt well-acquainted with the indignities of the world, though in truth had rarely been cut down to size. As an infant, he had been sent to live in his mother’s village, which was countries apart from the hubbub and political fray of Athens. This, no excess of fatherly protection, but a testament to his father’s severity. People later spoke of his banishment in the ennobling light of superstition, an augury of the night sky or some such according to his father. In any case, Aegeus had decreed: if his son was worthy to succeed him, he must earn the right on his own terms.

For most of his life, Theseus had not known his father. He had not even known of his paternity, though he had lived quite well as a handsome, rugged lad among countryfolk who required no more than that to smile upon him, fetch him apples, give him a rustle on the head when he passed by, a proud acknowledgment he was one of their own. Then came his mother’s confession, and his storied trek to present himself at his father’s court, which he had made on foot across Arcadia, an ungoverned, forested land that had been said to be rampant with all manner of bandits, ogres, and mythical beasts.

In Athens, he was a newcomer, an adventurer, and a fawn-haired swain, all of which earned him magnanimous gossip. Men made way for him, and women smiled and idled when he passed by.

Naturally, young Theseus was aware of none of this, as a favored flower does not question why it thrives in sunlight and has a gardener always at the ready for its succor, while others of its kind turn spiny and dull from negligence. Or, it should be said, a glimpse of his place in the world, past and present, was only just then taking form while he stood in King Minos’s great hall. He did not like how it made him feel.

He shook off the sinking sensation. He would be bold, for he alone stood for Athens in this house of tyranny. As he had heard, these foreigners had butchered his countrymen, raped their women, taken their daughters and sons as slaves, and burned their fields. He would end the war, and it did not matter if he returned to Athens on a white-sailed galley to herald a hero’s return or if a black-sailed ship should come back to his father, signaling that Crete had been his final resting place. So had he decided. He looked to King Minos to begin.

The Cretan king returned his gaze, appraising, taunting, and then he perched in his seat and craned his neck to see beyond the prince, to turn a querulous eye at the headmen of his squadron.

“Where is Athens’ tribute?” he spoke.

He appeared to be no more advanced in years than the prince’s father, a sturdy, dispassionate age. The similarity wore through at that. The king’s chestnut-brown beards were plaited and shone with oil, and he wore a miter banded with red-gold. He was clad in deep cerulean raiment of the finest dye and a draped, red stole, all adorned with fine embroidery and fringe. Theseus had never seen a man so richly clothed and groomed. His father, the wealthiest man in all of Attica, had only a sheep’s fleece and a laurel crown to say he was king.

“King Aegeus has sent me, his son, Theseus of Attica, to answer your request,” Theseus spoke.

Minos pursed his lips, sucked his teeth. “I asked for children.”

That was the compact signed by Theseus’s father to end the war—seven boys and seven girls surrendered to Minos in return for nine years of peace, during which the Cretan king had pledged he would call back his warships.

It was a war begun while Theseus still lived with his mother in the countryside, years before she had taken him to an unfarmed field outside the village and shown him his father’s buried sword, from which he came to know his origins. Theseus had only arrived in Athens one season past and been apprised of the history. This heartless war borne from a tragic misunderstanding.

Two years ago, Minos sent his son Androgeus to Athens on a friendly embassy, and when Theseus’s father took the youth on a hunt to see something of his country’s pastimes, Androgeus was thrown from his horse and landed headfirst on a rock. No physician nor priest could restore him. His spark of life had been extinguished all at once.

Aegeus returned the prince’s body to Crete with all due sacraments and respects. He had been washed to prepare him for his passage to the afterworld, and the king sent him across the sea on a bier of sacred cypress, ferried on his finest ship, oared by his best sailors, and with a bounty of funereal offerings, gold and silver, many times more than his kingdom could afford. Yet Minos declared treachery and turned fire and fury against Athens.

Three seasons the war had raged, and after a decisive battle on the Saronic Gulf, Minos claimed the vital sea passage and installed a naval blockade, robbing Athens of her trade routes and slowly starving her. Aegeus appealed to the Cretan king for an armistice. An emissary from Crete returned with the tyrant’s reply: fourteen innocent lives for the price of his son. This, after Crete had already extracted the lives of thousands of fighting men in payment for Androgeus, whose death could only be blamed on the mysterious Fates.

Aegeus decided he had no choice but to agree to the king’s terms, and his council supported him. The Athenian navy was no match for the foreigners neither by the numbers nor by the craftsmanship of their vessels. The Cretans flung barrels of fire from catapults. Their triremes were faster and their battering rams were more potent, carving apart a galley on a single run. The Athenian fleet had dwindled to a dozen vessels. Their forests were stripped of lumber, and even if they had the resources, their shipbuilders could not assemble new warships fast enough. Food shortages had depleted their force of able-bodied men to defend the city. Without a reprieve from war, the next attack on Athens would be the last. Who could stop an army empowered by the God of the Sea?

But after the lottery had been held, and weeping fathers from all parts of the country brought their sons and daughters to the naval pier where they would be ferried to Crete, Theseus could not bear it. He looked upon the children, stunned as lambs without their mothers, and wept for them, and wept for his country, and wept for the shame of being part of this abomination.

Then, in a rush of rage, Theseus attacked the sailors who would lead the children to the ship. He had come to know them as friends, yet all he saw were blank-faced monsters. By grace, he had only had his fists, and no man raised a blade to stop him. Theseus shoved, struck, and menaced perhaps a dozen before they overtook him and held him fast by his neck and arms. A terrible blackness ate up his vision, and, inspirited with a daemon’s strength, Theseus threw off his captors. He turned his fury at his father who stood at the landside end of the quay with his councilors.

Theseus shouted at them vicious oaths he had not known were in his vocabulary, and he spat at them. Did they not know what they were doing was an offense to the goddess? It was a betrayal of every free man of Attica. His throat was scorched from shouting, his voice hoarse, and he fell to his knees, dropping his bonnet, weeping and pulling at his thick, curled hair.

He looked up at his father. “Please, send me.”

Now Theseus faced King Minos intrepidly. “I have been chosen to stand for the children. I have only eighteen years, turned just this past season, and I am my father’s only son. I will face your contest.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Andrew J. Peters has been writing fiction since his elementary school principal let him read excerpts from his mystery novel over the PA system during lunch period, an early brush with notoriety, which quite possibly may have been the height of his literary celebrity. Since then, he has studied to be a veterinarian, worked as a social worker for LGBTQ youth, and settled into university administration, while keeping late hours at his home computer writing stories. He is the author of eight books, including the award-winning The City of Seven Gods (2017 Best Horror/Fantasy Novel at the Silver Falchion awards) and the popular Werecat series (2016 Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice awards finalist). Andrew lives in New York City with his husband Genaro and their cat Chloë. When he’s not writing, he enjoys travelling, Broadway shows, movies, and thinking up ways to subvert heteronormative narratives.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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Release Blitz for Adore (On My Knees Duet #2) by Ella James (with excerpt)

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Adore

On My Knees Duet, Book 2

Ella James

M/M Romance

Release Date: 11.11.19

ADORE-NEW

Blurb

The heartrending conclusion to the On My Knees Duet, a forbidden MM love story by USA Today Bestseller Ella James

1-11-2

Excerpt

“Mr. Rayne. How was your night?”

I swallow, propping the phone against my shoulder. “Fine.”

“I can hear the rumble in your voice. You’re hard now, aren’t you?”

I grit my teeth and suck a breath in through my nose. “I can’t go in a church like this.”

“You can—and you will if you want to keep your job. It’s not any church, it’s my church. I’d like to bring you to your knees while you’re there.”

My hand cups my thick tip. I rub my thumb over the little slit there, sending sparks of light dancing behind my closed eyes. “I can hardly walk.”

“Toss back a few shots before you get into your car. Your place is well-stocked.”

“When I drink, I want to fuck.”

“I want you to want to fuck, so that sounds perfect.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ella James is the USA Today and Amazon Top 10 bestselling author of more than twenty novels. She writes emotional, hard-won love stories with steam, suspense, and Kindle-throwing twists. She lives in Colorado with her husband, three young children, and hyperactive dog.

www.facebook.com/groups/ellaseliteteam

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ella-james

https://www.amazon.com/Ella-James/e/B005OED2DE

www.facebook.com/ellajamesbooks

www.facebook.com/ellajamesauthorpage

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Master Of Obsidian (Master Chronicles #1) by Jamie Craig

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

This is a dark erotic romance, with urban fantasy elements, set in Chicago. Jesse is a human who works for a vampire named Gideon doing private investigations. They’ve been hired to solve a murder that may tie to a dangerous new demon drug. This shows alternating points of view, but I still feel like I got to know Jesse better than Gideon, which may be a good thing.

One issue is the plot is obviously just to move them from one sex scene to another, which is a shame because there could have been something more interesting done with what is here. For instance, seeing more of their actual relationship before being thrown into their sexual relationship would have given this a more solid basis. More UST before they got together as well as any indication at all that Jesse was into pain before they have sex, would have made it less jarring. Seeing Jesse’s fantasies and revelling in Gideon’s angst to control himself would have added more depth. For me, the distressing part was no aftercare, even when Jesse had open wounds. Gideon doesn’t really treat Jesse with the care, the respect, the reader is told he has for him; not just in their personal interactions, but with the case they are working, where he doesn’t give Jesse vital information. At least that is acknowledged after the fact, it’s just that so much of this really should have been talked about before all the events that happen.

Between sex scenes, most of the information is told to the reader as a statement right before they need it, rather than being seen in flashbacks. I’m going to mention something that is not related to the plot, so it’s not a spoiler, but would turn many people off: I want readers to be aware there is a scene where Jesse gets off to Gideon’s snuff porn. This caused an issue for me: why is Jesse expecting better behavior from John, the blackest of mages, but then turns around and has no issue with Gideon’s past? I guess for those raised on a TV show with Angel and Spike, maybe this isn’t a big deal? But the reader doesn’t get to know enough of this supposedly good Gideon that is trying to save humans before being introduced to who he used to be. Then, there is the torture scene which really points out the problems with the world-building. One assumes, if the suspect were human, they would have involved the police, but since the suspect is a vampire (demon), they can do whatever they want to her? Obviously humans, mages, and vampires know about each other and coexist, but that is all the reader really knows about this world. In the end, I was left with a few steamy sex scenes and characters that are a bit twisted and not necessarily likeable. Even Jesse seemed more dangerously obsessed with Gideon rather than in love with him, enough to blur ethical lines and basically do whatever he wants as long as Jesse gets what he wants from Gideon.

I think for maximum enjoyment, this should be read as a series of sexual fantasies without a lot of expectations. Since it’s about vampires, expect a lot a blood. Also be aware this has a m/m/f scene, violence, torture, and Gideon sharing Jesse, so they are not monogamous in the traditional sense.

The cover art for my version was done by Cover Design: Written Ink Designs (written-ink.com) with image(s) used under a Standard Royalty-Free License. It does communicate the BDSM elements, but not really the paranormal or investigative elements.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon |

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published September 25th 2019 by JMS Books LLC
ASINB07XWNT85S

An Alisa Review Wishing and Hoping by Tinnean

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Ioan Mic, the half-blood grandson of the vampyree king, is eagerly awaiting his eighteenth birthday, when he’ll finally be able to be with Daniel Small, the American vampyree he’s loved for the past four years. Although vampyrees are notoriously promiscuous, Ioan’s refused sex with all who offered — he’s willing to wait. But when Daniel arrives at the party, he’s accompanied by a wife, leaving Ioan devastated.

Shandor, a wolf shifter — he refuses to call himself a werewolf — loves the young duke, but years before, he was given the task of keeping Ioan safe, so he tucks his feelings away.

Ioan’s twin decides the two need a push and encourages them to enroll in an online dating service. Unbeknownst to either man, he sees to it their responses make them perfect for each other. Because anyone can see they are.

The problem is will Ioan and Shandor ever see that?

Alright, this was a nice story and I was glad that Ioan and Shandr were able to figure out who and what they needed.  There was A LOT of back stabbing and underhanded stuff going on and it just took away from the story for me, I can’t stand when things like that happen in books.  What I wish was that the story would have had some more to it and see Ioan and Shandor actually building a life together, not them mating and then it being over.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is nice but I didn’t feel the visuals of the characters connect with what I saw in my head.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 17,229 words

Published: September 25, 2019 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781646560813

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: The Shifter’s Shotgun Mating (Lone Wolves Ranch #2) by Ardy Kelly

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

A bad bargain.

A botched bounty

A binding bite.

Adam knew bounty hunting in another pack’s territory had risks, but being at the end of a shotgun for a forced mating was not one he expected. At least it wasn’t permanent. Once he paid the promised cut of the bounty the leader of Pine Hollow would dissolve the mating. Adam just needed to keep his hands (and his teeth) away from the enticing omega.

Ricky knew nothing about the outside world, but he knew his days at Pine Hollow were numbered. The barren, widowed omega’s best chance for survival was to find a mate at Lone Wolves Ranch. Anyone would do. Anyone but the ornery wolf who bit him. Adam said he didn’t want a mate, so why was he acting like a knot-blocker?

The Alpha’s Shotgun Mating is the second book in the Lone Wolves Ranch series. It can be read as a stand-alone though secondary character’s lives continue from The Cub Club.

This is the second book in this series and while I read the previous in the series before I don’t think it was necessary to understand this book.  Man, Adam sure made it hard to like him throughout this book until he finally got himself together.  Ricky has so much to look forward to away from Pine Hollow but he doesn’t know if he will continue to have this freedom and happiness.

I loved Ricky’s excitement and joy at the new things he discovers when he leaves with Adam and his team.  And no matter the new things he finds and learns about he doesn’t embrace everything fully.  I love that he continues to use a treadle sewing machine because he feels like the electric one is too harsh or that he doesn’t prefer the overhead lights since he never had electricity before.

I loved how he flourished when Adam really accepted their connection and became successful with his sewing.  I like how open those at Lone Wolf Ranch are and look forward to seeing more of this pack in the future.

The cover art is nice, though that baby sure has a mean look on his face.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 251 pages

Published: June 30, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Lone Wolves Ranch #2

Join Us With a Great Author Interview and Blog Tour for The Shifter’s Shotgun Mating (Lone Wolves Ranch #2) by Ardy Kelly (giveaway and excerpt)

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The Shifter's Shotgun Mating

The Shifter’s Shotgun Mating by Ardy Kelly – Interview with Author – 

Q: Where do you like to write?

I like to write at home … but home doesn’t like to leave me alone long enough to write. There is a community college library in walking distance I escape to occasionally, especially when a deadline is approaching.

The San Francisco RWA chapter sponsors two writing retreats every year, and I love doing that. Being a bit competitive, hearing my fellow members brag about their word-count inspires me to get more words on the page.

Q: What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

I hate to give the impression you need to acquire something before you can write. I learned over the course of writing five books that when I’m stuck not everything that worked last time may work this time, and everything that didn’t work last time isn’t worth trying again.

Here are tools I use:

  1. A computer, a comfortable chair, a sturdy keyboard (that can take a pounding when writing gets frustrating), and a bright screen at a comfortable angle.  This is my go-to work station. The beauty of having the internet available is that I can pull up a thesaurus or research the mating habits of wolves while I’m in writing.
  2. I use Scrivener software for making the first draft because I can write individual scenes and move them easily around in my book. It’s $45, but they usually offer a discount during NaNoWriMo. It also has a “cork board” where you can outline individual scenes. I haven’t drilled down into all the bells and whistles since I only use it for the first draft before exporting it to Microsoft Word for rewrites.
  3. I have an old Alphasmart. It’s a basic keyboard from about twenty years ago schools used to teach typing. I love it because it has no internet, no games, no distractions. Nothing but simple word processing with a good sized keyboard. It runs on batteries and you can take it anywhere. A simple USB printer cable can upload what you’ve typed into any software you use for writing. They are usually $30 on eBay.
  4. Pads of paper and comfortable pens or pencils. I never wrote anything longhand until The Shifter’s Shotgun Mating.  When the words are coming quickly, I use the computer since I can type faster than I can scribble. When the words are coming, but I’m getting distracted, I use the Alphasmart. When the words are coming out at an agonizingly slow pace, I prefer to stare at a blank piece of paper than a blank computer screen (at least I can doodle). I also love the new Flexion pens that have erasable ink.  It feels more committed than pencils, without being locked into anything. Just don’t get the pages wet or leave them in a hot car or you’ll lose everything.

Q: Who has been your favorite character to write and why?’

Troy is a recurring secondary character in the Lone Wolves Ranch series. He is a paranormal romance writer who pens thinly veiled romans à clef about couples at Lone Wolves Ranch. I use his character for comic relief, playfully poking fun at my own book.

“Oh, I so want to tell your story,” is a reoccurring line for him. Then he will spend a paragraph embellishing the character’s experience with motorcycle gangs or omega auctions because “That’s what my readers want!”

Q: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?

Currently I’m writing the third book in the Lone Wolves Ranch series. I’ve decided that it is time Sheriff Chet finds love. Since Chet isn’t a shifter (but he does have powers) it’s a bit of a departure from the first two books. The sheriff falls in love with a pregnant single man from a famous shifter family, and if everything goes as planned they’ll settle down at the ranch. I’m hoping to have it out in March, 2020 – but don’t quote me on that!

——————–

 

Ardy Kelly has a new MM mpreg romance out: “The Shotgun’s Shifter Mating.”

A bad bargain.

A botched bounty.

A binding bite.

Adam knew bounty hunting in another pack’s territory had risks, but being at the end of a shotgun for a forced mating was not one he expected. At least it wasn’t permanent. Once he paid the promised cut of the bounty the leader of Pine Hollow would dissolve the mating. Adam just needed to keep his hands (and his teeth) away from the enticing omega.

Ricky knew nothing about the outside world, but he knew his days at Pine Hollow were numbered. The barren, widowed omega’s best chance for survival was to find a mate at Lone Wolves Ranch. Anyone would do. Anyone but the ornery wolf who bit him. Adam said he didn’t want a mate, so why was he acting like a knot-blocker?

The Shifter’s Shotgun Mating is the second book in the Lone Wolves Ranch series. It can be read as a stand-alone though secondary character’s lives continue from The Cub Club.

Series Blurb:

Lone Wolves Ranch, in the California Sierras, is a gated community like no other. Home to shifters of every type, it’s the ideal place to raise a family of four-legs. And with an abundance of single, smoking-hot alphas it’s also the perfect place for male omegas to find love.

Low angst, slow burn, and with a collection of characters you won’t forget, Lone Wolves Ranch is the perfect M/M Mpreg hideaway to burrow into.

We’ll leave the gate open for you.

Publisher | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Goodreads


Giveaway

Ardy is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

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Excerpt

Shifter's Shotgun Mating

It was too quiet. And too dark.

Adam tried to open his eyes against the pressure of something cool and damp laid across his face. He reached up to brush it away.

A gentle hand wrapped around his wrist. “Please, let me do it.”

Not one to trust a strange voice, Adam yanked his hand free. Pulling the cloth from his head, he blinked at the candle-lit faces staring down at him before a wave of nausea struck.

Eight arms replaced the damp rag over his eyes, while a single hand pressed him back against the cushions. “You need to rest and let your body heal if you want to recover quickly.”

Rest seemed like the sensible thing to do until the queasiness passed. “Where am I?”

“You’re back at Pine Hollow. Do you remember how you got here?”

Adam tried to shake his head, but his equilibrium protested the motion. He felt hands on his forehead. Warm, soothing hands. Omega hands.

“Relax,” the voice suggested, and tension drained from Adam’s body.

Don’t let your guard down, his inner voice warned. Omegas were overly protective, especially to pups and alphas, and would insist he rest. There must be a beta in the room who would see reason. “I just need to shift and I’ll be fine.”

“You were hit with silver buckshot. You’re going to have to heal the human way. Patiently. Please, give your body time to recover.”

Gus had silver bullets? That thought alone would have propelled him out of bed, but for the hands gently preventing him from rising.

Adam took a deep breath through his nose. Yes, definitely omega. Or he was pumped up with tranquilizers and parked downwind from a bakery. When the hands pressed lightly on his shoulder, Adam relaxed back on the bed. He no longer felt the need to get up, but he hadn’t lost concern for his men. “What about my team?”

“I’ve only seen you and the obnox—the chatty one.”

That would be Tom. “Is he okay?”

“I took some silver out of his calf. Had to give him white sage for the pain. He’s sleeping now.”

White sage was catnip for shifters. That’s why I feel this way. It’s a contact high. It would explain his desire to get a good look at the sweet-smelling omega hovering around him. “I’m Adam.”

“I’m Ricky.”

Adam waited but no one else spoke. “What about the rest of you?”

“What?”

“I saw a whole medical team hovering over me.”

“Keep your eyes closed,” the voice instructed as the cloth was lifted off one eye. “Tell me how many fingers you see.”

Adam slowly lifted his eyelid. “Are you an octopus shifter? Nobody has that many fingers on one hand.”

Ricky covered Adam’s eye. “You’ve got double vision. It’s probably from the buckshot that grazed your head. I pulled all the silver out of your skin and cleansed the wounds, but we should flush out your system to speed the recovery. I want you to drink plenty of water.”

“How’s that going to work if I can’t walk to the bathroom?”

Ricky paused. “I’ll get you a jar.”

“Make it a wide-mouth one,” Adam replied.

If eye rolls made a sound, Adam was pretty sure he heard one from the omega. While Ricky fetched the water, Adam let his hands move over his body, taking an inventory. He felt gauze bandages across the left side of his scalp, and more on his left shoulder and bicep. His chest was uninjured, no doubt due to the protective vest, but his thigh had taken a few hits, dangerously close to the family jewels. If he had stood a few inches in either direction, he’d either be dead or have missed the ammo entirely.

His hands moved outward, exploring where he laid. He was on a bed big enough for two. The sheets were freshly washed, so he couldn’t scent them to be sure he was in the home of the omega tending him.

The strong odor of antiseptic on his skin made it difficult to sniff out Ricky. He needed the omega to be closer. Preferably, very close.

Ricky returned and sat on the edge of the bed. The mattress dipped slightly, pulling the blanket tighter against his body. When their hips pressed against each other, Adam felt the warmth of his nurse through the covers.

A childhood memory came back to him. He remembered his mother sitting on his bed when he was ill. Her hands on his forehead, and the warmth of her body as she hovered over him. Focus, he told himself. You can relax when you get back to Lone Wolves Ranch.

“I put some water in an empty beer bottle. It should make it easier to drink while you’re lying down.” Ricky pressed the cool glass into Adam’s hand, and set another against his hip. “And here’s a jar if you need it. Wide mouth.”

Omegas weren’t known for sarcasm, so Adam couldn’t be sure whether Ricky was teasing him. “Thanks. Are you the pack doctor?”

“No. I told Tom I’m a healer, but the truth is I’m a nobody.”

“Are you mated?” Adam cringed at his question. Wolves weren’t known for being subtle, but that was rude even for a lupine. “Sorry, that was the head injury talking. What I meant to say was do I need to worry about being naked and alone with an unmated omega?”

Ricky stood up and the worn mattress slowly recovered its shape. “No. I was mated.”

Was mated? Is he mated now?

Before he could ask, Ricky crossed the room. “I need to leave you for a bit, to tend to Rock.”

Adam had completely forgotten about the idiot who caused this mess. “Is he okay?” It would serve him right.

There was a pause. “Rock’s dead,” was the monotone reply.

Oh, dear wolf gods. Everything has gone to hell. “I need to talk to my team. Now


Author Bio

Ardy Kelly

Ardy Kelly is the paranormal pen name for author Robyn Kelly.

I began writing in 2015 as a lark, creating the Best Laid series. That led to my discovery of the Omegaverse. A new universe requires a new name, and Ardy Kelly was born!

Author Website: https://www.robynkellyauthor.com/ardykellyauthor

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ardy.kelly.35

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/ArdyKelly

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18510291.Ardy_Kelly

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/ardy-kelly/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ardy-Kelly/e/B07J6N1HPL

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Release Blitz for A New Empire (Fog City #3) by Layla Reyne (excerpt and giveaway)

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A New Empire by Layla Reyne

Series: Fog City #3

Publisher: Layla Reyne (Self-published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook/Audio): November 11 (Ebook & Print); Audio TBD

Length (Print & Ebook/Audio): Approx. 52,000 words

Subgenre: M/M Romantic Suspense

Warnings: Explicit sex; explicit language; violence.

All buy links or pre-order links:

http://getbook.at/ANewEmpire

https://www.amazon.com/New-Empire-Fog-City-Novel-ebook/dp/B07Z6P2944/

Book blurb:

Legacies were made to be rewritten.

Assassin Hawes Madigan wants to do right–by his family, his organization, his city, and the man he’s falling for, ATF agent Christopher Perri. But Hawes’s rules are being challenged by someone willing to kill for the old ways. To save his soul and his empire, Hawes must make an impossible decision: fight from the outside or bend the knee to win back his throne from within.

Chris is used to being the inside man, the one undercover. Now, he’s on the outside marshaling forces in support of the man and the ring of assassins he was supposed to take down. His mission shifted when he found something that’s been missing for ten long years–a home, with Hawes.

As Hawes and Chris make a dangerous play for control, the lines between allies and traitors blur. Trusting the wrong person could destroy the legacy Hawes envisions for the Madigans. But not trusting anyone, or each other, could mean lights out on their love and lives forever.

The King and King Slayer fight together in this thrilling conclusion to the Fog City Trilogy!

Release Blitz Teaser #1:

“Is that enough for you?” His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed hard.

Chris soothed it with his thumb. “You’re enough for me.”

“Even after the hell my family has put you through, is still putting—”

Chris silenced the rest of his words and the self-recriminations bubbling up from the floor of Hawes’s emotions. Showing him instead what this had become about for him. The lips under his, the tongue sliding against his own, the sharp, stubbled jaw beneath his palms, and the tight, hard body between his and the window.

The heart beating in time with his.

Breaking the kiss, Chris rested his forehead against Hawes’s, the other man’s face in his hands. “You made me feel at home for the first time since Ro died.”

“Dante.”

Chris smiled so wide, it hurt his face. “And then there’s that.”

“I don’t understand how, after what I did.”

“You say it like you’re lucky, like you think you still don’t deserve it.” Chris traced his thumbs through the wetness under Hawes’s eyes. Through the evidence of the assassin’s soul. “You do, baby. You make your family better, this city better, me better. And I want to make a home here, with you.”

“You hardly know me. I’ve lied—”

“So have I.” He hadn’t denied it to Hawes’s operatives, and he wouldn’t deny it to the man himself. But it wasn’t the entire story. “We’ve both lied, but the things that mattered were true.”

Release Blitz Teaser #2:

“Listen to me, Madigan.” He gritted through the pain of pulling his arm out of the towel sling, because dammit, he needed two hands for this. He framed Hawes’s face, holding his gaze, his attention, their world, steady. “The organization needs you. Your family needs you. I fucking need you.”

“Why?” Hawes choked out.

“Because I don’t just think I’m falling for you. I fell, baby, the minute I walked into Danko and saw you across the room. Your head held high, like you fucking owned the place. The second you called me Mr. Perry.” He gave him a little shake for emphasis. “I know.

Hawes closed his eyes, and Chris’s heart skipped a beat, until they opened again, full of resolve. Of that same confidence he’d fallen for. “I fell for you that night I walked into my condo and saw the box of mooncakes. You got it; you got me. I know too.

“Then we’ll get her,” Chris said, heart racing now. With love, and hope for the future. “And we’ll get justice for Isabella, for our families, and for us.”

“And then?”

“And then we’ll rebuild the empire, by your rules, better and stronger than ever before. Together.”

The king smiled, wicked, deadly, and fucking glorious.

Release Blitz Teaser #3:

“Where’s Rembra—” Chris didn’t finish his question. Didn’t need to. He’d swung his gaze forward and found the man he’d been searching for. Finally. Only he suspected everyone else had found him too. Dressed in combat boots, dark jeans, and a black tailored suit jacket, no shirt on underneath, Hawes slowly descended the stairs from the mezzanine. Like he wanted every set of eyes on him, like he owned the fucking place. The king in all his glory, no matter what anyone said. Top strands moussed for maximum volume, the sharp lines of his face were accentuated, as was the blue of his eyes, practically glowing in the club lights. Beautiful and dangerous, the picture of control, in his movements, his appearance, and his sway over the room.

Chris nearly choked on the need to shove his way through the crowd and meet Hawes at the bottom of the stairs, to claim the man as his, to give him the release from the control that Chris knew was costing Hawes so much when he had so little left to give. It ached—in his gut, in his chest, in his dick—to be even this far away from him.

“Stay at the bar,” Holt said, as if reading his thoughts. The surprising snap of command in his tone shocked Chris back the step he’d taken toward Hawes. “Get it together.”

Cursing, Chris drowned his instincts with the rest of his beer. “That’s not exactly discreet.”

“He’s not meant to be. He’s the distraction.”

Release Blitz Teaser #4:

“How’s that going to work?” Helena said.

“By taking a page from your favorite movie.” He retrieved two tote bags from under the table and dumped their contents onto the table—brown hair dye and matching wigs. As serious as the matter was, he couldn’t hold back a smile. This had been something he and Helena had talked about as kids. A heist they’d dreamed about pulling one day. He’d never thought it’d be his sister-in-law they were stealing, but Hawes couldn’t deny the rush that came with knowing they were actually going to do this.

Seemed Helena was feeling the same way, one side of her mouth quirking up. “We’re going to Thomas Crown this shit?”

Hawes nodded. “She’s being brought to the courthouse tomorrow morning to be arraigned on additional charges connected to the incident at MCS. We’ll make the switch while she’s in the Federal Building.”

“We have soldiers who look close enough to make the disguises work,” Rose added.

“A couple captains too,” Helena said.

Hawes’s stomach sank, the momentary rush skidding to a halt. If Helena was willing to bring the captains in on this, had Chris failed to get the message to her?

Motion at Helena’s side, the one away from Rose, caught his attention. Five fingers spread, once, twice. Five by five, a saying from Helena’s favorite Buffy character, Faith. A secret code he and Helena had picked up, and which their parents and grandparents had never caught onto. She got the message, loud and clear.

Hawes’s smile returned. “You going to play along?”

And Helena’s grin grew wider. “We’ve waited our whole lives for this. Fuck yeah, I’m in.”

The only one not smiling was Holt. Two steps closer and Hawes knelt beside his brother, hand on his knee. “She’s the mother of your child. We don’t do this without your okay.” Fuck Rose. On this, Hawes would not compromise.

“You promise to protect her?” he asked Hawes. Not Rose or Helena. That trust his twin still had in him was more of a rush than any heist they were planning to pull.

“I promise, Little H. This is all about protecting your family.”

Holt’s big mitt came down on top of his. “Our family.”

Release Blitz Q&A with Layla Reyne:

Q: Secondary Characters: Why they are important to the story?

LR: For Hawes in Fog City, his siblings, Holt and Helena, are the bricks of his foundation, along with love interest, Chris, and friend and ally, Braxton Kane. Hawes, Holt, and Helena run both family businesses with him, he trusts them implicitly, he looks to them for input, and they each contribute differently to the family unit. He wouldn’t want to do this without them.

Q: If you listen to music while writing, share your playlist.

LR: Here’s my Fog City playlist, which alternated frequently with The Revivalists albums. I swear, every one of their songs seems to fit this series!

Q: What would a love letter between the characters look like?

LR: From Hawes to Chris:

Dante, I know. –H

From Chris to Hawes.

Madigan, I know. –Mr. Perry

RITA Finalist Layla Reyne is the author of Dine With Me and the Fog City, Whiskey Verse, and Changing Lanes series. A Carolina Tar Heel who now calls the San Francisco Bay Area home, Layla enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. She is a RWA® RITA® Finalist in Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length) and Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.

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Join us for a giveaway: Layla Reyne is giving away one Grand Prize of a Set of signed Fog City paperbacks (within the contiguous USA) or a set of Bookplates (international). Enter now!

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