An Ashez Review :Anyone But You by Brien Michaels

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Rating : 4.5 stars out of 5

Murder is one hell of a drag.
Jack Kieza has a problem. He’s deeply attracted to men, but his homophobic family has left him too afraid to act on it. With his thirtieth birthday around the corner, his curiosity gets the best of him, and he finds himself at a gay club. After spending a fiery night with drag queen Sheila Salute, everything changes. Especially when he discovers her alter ego: his boss, Ryan Swift.Ryan knew he should’ve said no the second Jack approached him. Now he can’t stop himself from texting Jack every chance he gets. But Jack won’t let him take the wig off during sex, and being Sheila off-stage is wearing thin.

The more time they spend together, the more intense their feelings get, but Jack isn’t ready to date a man yet. When drag queens start turning up murdered, it forces Jack to re-examine his feelings, because what if Ryan is next? While Jack wants their burgeoning relationship to work, it would mean having to admit who he is to the world. And that’s an idea as frightening as death.

Review – I love a good thriller, a mystery that you have to try to solve by the end of the book, and make guesses as to “who is it?!”.  It was a very good thriller for me, it was surprising and interesting, the character progression was great as well.
Jack – a little confused … which bothered me at certain points, I like a “coming of age” story but sometimes I thought this was a bit overdone – especially family wise.
Ryan – I adored Ryan and Sheila both, the way that the author makes you feel such compassion for a character, so very good!
The overall plot was great, there were certain moments in the book I thought wow, maybe this was overdone, but it didn’t take away from the story at all in the end it was just a personal issue.
I loved how the guys got together, I love how the  book ended, of course, a thrill to finally know who did it!  A great read.
Cover  by LC Chase: I understand it, the wig, the thriller vibe, I’m curious which of the men is on the cover though if it’s Ryan or Jack
Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 223 pages
Published December 9th 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleAnyone but You
ISBN139781626498907
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review: Just the Thought of You (Mann of My Dreams #3) by Tinnean

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Quinton Mann and Mark Vincent – still as dangerous, intelligent, and perceptive as they were when they started playing mind games with each other, and still in love. With Quinn having inherited the Mann family estate in a state of serious disrepair, he and Mark with the help of their family and friends decided to fix it up and then live there, together. But when a mystery from the Mann family past intersected with the death that led to Quinn inheriting the estate, Mark and Quinn were determined to solve it, and see Quinn’s cousin DB and his ladies safely married. But there are always eyes watching two such dangerous men. Would they be able to continue their relationship without nosy, judgmental people trying to put an end to it?

This new installment in the Mann of My Dreams series by Tinnean was another success to me, the author continued to show me how good she is with her writing about these two men I learned to love and respect.

Each new novel follows the precedent so well, the books need to be red in order otherwise they will make no sense, not just cause you won’t be able to know all the second characters, most of all cause you will surely find yourself lost in the plot.

In Just the Thought of You happened a lot, this is a long novel, full of mysteries, deaths, weddings, no once I was bored or overwhelmed, on the contrary I am always happy to spend a week of my reading time in Quinn and Mark company, it’s lovely to see them so in love, especially now when they are starting to really planning a life together, there’s a house to restore and a family to build. I can’t wait to see what will happen next in their world.

The cover art is not so eye catching in my opinion, I don’t like it.

SALE LINKS  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Published August 14, 2019 by JMS Books

Kindle Edition, 416 pages

ISBN 9781310124310

Edition Language English

Series Mann of My Dreams #3

New Release Blitz for The Hunt (Psychic Underground #2) by Sarah Elkins (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: The Hunt

Series: Psychic Underground, Book Two

Author: Sarah Elkins

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 30, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 82100

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, psychic ability, shifters, captivity, law enforcement/FBI, fantasy, medical personnel, shifters, paranormal

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

The Facility is undergoing repairs after a chaotic failed escape attempt by several psychic test subjects some months ago. Neila and Henry’s mission is to locate potential psychics for the scientists at the Facility to study, but they have other ideas.

Neila can’t shake the idea of Nikola Tesla from her mind, and it’s getting worse as bizarre things start happening to herself and Henry. As they hunt for more about Neila’s possible past life, they aren’t sure if they will find answers or if they will become the hunted.

Things are not peaceful back at the Facility as troubling secrets come to light, and the Psychic Underground may never be the same.

Excerpt

The Hunt
Sarah Elkins © 2019
All Rights Reserved

The repair work on the Facility was slow going, but the director refused to forego using her office. The ceiling was still missing. New modern cameras, a phone, and internet were being installed: the works.

Director Lianne McClaine sat behind her desk with her elbows on several paper files while she read the results from her last checkup with her oncologist on her tablet. The cancer had vanished. Out of nowhere. Gone. Her doctor was sure there had to be some sort of error with her previous tests. Cancer didn’t just go away.

Not the type she had.

The newly installed landline phone rang on her desk.

“Director McClaine,” she said, leaving her answer vague. A director could be in charge of all sorts of things. No need to out their secret operation because of a wrong number.

“Director, you wanted to see us?” Agent Henry Anderson replied. She remembered him saving her life. The painful feeling of them being temporarily linked; her bullet wounds healing at his beckoning. He had hijacked her body with his shapeshifting ability, but it had saved her life. She wasn’t sure how to feel about it. Despite being grateful to be alive, she also felt violated. The director tried to put the latter feeling out of her mind.

“Yes. You and Blackbird report to my office.”

“Yes, ma’am.” The call ended.

The director glanced over the two paper files once more before she put them back in the bottom drawer of her desk. Agent Henry Anderson’s blood work and DNA tests had the same error the other shapeshifters at the Facility had. The results read as if he had just had a minor blood transfusion from multiple donors. There were traces from more than one blood type. The sort of errors that are normally attributed to contaminated samples. She should have noticed the pattern, even if the doctors hadn’t made the connection. They still hadn’t, but no denying it, he was a shapeshifter.

Henry’s results weren’t the only ones with the error. Besides the known shapeshifters, there were two others with the same anomaly: the pyrokinetic, Wallace, who had been killed by Shorty four and a half months before and “Blackbird” Neila Roddenberry, who had killed Shorty after he had almost succeeded in killing everyone in the Facility.

The whole incident had been a complete clusterfuck. Shorty, a telekinetic ex-con who, sick of being a prisoner and test subject in the Facility, rallied the rest of his test group of four men, Blue Team, to lead an escape attempt. The only reason anyone survived was because Henry had joined forces with several other test subjects.

Three members of Green Team, the shapeshifters, used their powers to help the perpetually disoriented group of telepaths and several doctors escape, bypassing the Facility’s biometric scans by copying Lianne’s own DNA. Green Team’s efforts weren’t what put an end to the assault though. Shorty had his eyes on another test subject, the only other one down on paper as an agent, Neila Roddenberry. The woman had more than one ability and the skill to use them.

After a vicious fight between members of Shorty’s Blue Team and the Facility’s surviving pyrokinetic, a nonbinary person named Lor, that wrecked the hallway leading to the Facility’s solitary holding cell, Henry managed to free Neila from the holding cell. Lianne wasn’t entirely clear on what happened afterward, but the two men Shorty sent to reach the Hole were soon very dead.

Not long after, Shorty and his remaining team member found the director, killed her guards, and almost killed Lianne just before he brutally broke Neila’s leg and dragged the small woman away by her hair.

Director McClaine was surprised she hadn’t been handed her ass on a platter by her superiors. They wanted an excuse to privatize the work the Facility was doing. The vultures circling the Facility had only grown in number since the incident. Defense contractors were interested in taking over where the clandestine government agency had continually failed. Private companies like White Rook and HUGO Defense had personnel trained to use the abilities most people assumed were utter bullshit, such as psychic powers like telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis, shapeshifting, and God knew what else. The federal government was behind the private sector and had been for years. All Director McClaine had left was one more strike, just one more mistake, and she’d disappear into another dark hole somewhere. And even God wouldn’t have a clue what would happen to everyone else at the Facility.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Sarah Elkins is a comic artist and writer who nearly had to give up art entirely due to a form of ossifying tennis elbow that forced her to be unable to use her dominate hand for nearly a year. She spent much of that time writing novels with her left hand as a means to deal with the pain and stress of possibly never drawing again. Thanks to a treatment regimen she is able to draw again albeit not as easily or quickly as she once did.

Sarah enjoys reading science fiction, horror, fantasy, weird stories, comics of every sort, as well as any biographical material about Nikola Tesla she can get her hands on (that doesn’t suggest he was from Venus.) She has worked in the comics industry since 2008 as a flatter (colorist assistant,) penciler, inker, and colorist. She contributed a comic to the massive anthology project Womanthology. Currently she (slowly) produces a webcomic called Magic Remains while writing as much as her body will allow.

Facebook | Twitter | Deviant Art

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Join Us for the Release Blitz with Excerpt for The Road Between by Patrick Benjamin

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Road Between

Author: Patrick Benjamin

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Rebecca Covers

Release Date: December 31, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, Family Drama

Trope/s: Friends to lovers, Dysfunctional Families

Themes: Forgiveness, self-discovery, secrets & lies

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 93 000 words/ 281 pages 

It is a standalone story.

 

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK

|   Amazon CA 

 

 

Just because you can go home again, doesn’t mean you should.

Blurb

Television personality, Parker Houston has spent a lifetime following that motto: Running away at seventeen and vowing never to return to the small country town that made growing up gay, practically unbearable. But when the death of a loved one forces him home for the first time in twenty years, Parker has to reconcile the life and the people he left behind. Unearthing secrets and conflicts long buried.

While trying to mend the fractured relationships within his complicated family, Parker meets Bryce, a cocky rancher with a womanizing past. And although the friendship seems unlikely, neither man can deny the explosion they feel when their two worlds collide.

 

Excerpt

Prologue 

Twenty years since I’d left.

Camouflaged by a thick perimeter of poplar trees, you would miss it if you blinked. Even travelling ten clicks under the speed limit. Buried at the bottom of a steep valley, River Bluff was accessible only by a narrow gravel road. So unremarkable and insignificant, that if you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t have found it. At the base of the way was a single sign, “Welcome to River Bluff, Home of The Grouch”.

Every August, the town held a contest. Townsfolk nominated the rudest, most inconsiderate and overall “grouchy” members of the community. They declared the person with the most nominations “The Grouch”. For the next year, the winner attended every community event, with an excuse to be rude to everyone in their path. The Grouch participated in every social event — everything from the annual chili cook-off to high school graduation. The title was quite a big deal. As a child, the message was completely lost on me. Now, as an adult, I recognize how bizarre it was for a town to take pride in their unpleasantness. In many ways, River Bluff was a strange place. On the surface, it and its residents seemed utterly safe. Underneath, things were perilous.

Everyone knew each other and each other’s business. Everyone loved each other, yet no one could stand each other. If you were struggling, people would arrive at your door to offer you small scraps of their wealth. If you were successful, even more people would arrive at your door, demanding their cut. The entire community walked a thin line between socialist and militant. If an outsider had a conflict with a resident, the town would band together. They would pick-up their pitchforks to drive away the unwelcome beast. The same was true for any resident who challenged traditional thinking or practices. One could best compare the town mentality to a cult. Either you were one of the faithful, or you were an unwanted skeptic.

In River Bluff, belonging or not belonging was a concept as basic as age. There were only a few roles in which to fit. Boys were football players and girls were cheerleaders. Men worked on farms or in the oil field. Women stayed at home or worked in the town’s restaurants and bakeries. Of course, there were a few exceptions. Educators and physicians could be either male or female, but those positions came with their own sets of challenges. They required a degree. Once you left River Bluff to pursue one, you were seldom welcomed back without scrutiny. In fact, to my recollection, not a single teacher from my youth had been an original resident. They had been transplants from larger cities. Fresh out of university, with no choice but to take a position in a town no tenured educator would accept. For most of us, only a few specific roles were acceptable. That left little room for individuality.

I was aware of this truth whenever I would play dolls with Tanya Caldwell from across the street. Or whenever my mother would catch me reading “Nancy Drew” rather than “The Hardy Boys”. Or whenever I skipped football tryouts to audition for a school play. Or when I received the awkward looks of judgment from children and adults alike. That felt constant. They realized early, as did I, that I was not one of them. I did not belong. I did not behave, think, speak or even walk like them. I was different. Alien. It was that simple.

I was six years old when people first began to see me in this way. I was eight years old when I started to notice for myself. I was in the third grade, and our teacher had given us all an easy assignment. We were to present to the class a report about what we wanted to be when we grew up. Most of the kids spoke about their parents or other members of their family who inspired them. Brandon Jones wanted to be a mechanic like his father. Stacey Zimmerman wished to use her grandmother’s pie recipes to open a bakery. Jonathan Wilkins planned to take over his grandfather’s farm. Tamara Lane’s greatest ambition was to be a mother. I wish my aspiration had been so simple. It wasn’t. When the teacher called my name, I skipped to the front of the room and proclaimed that I wanted to be Oprah Winfrey.

I realize now how absurd a life goal that must have been to a group of children, especially a group of children with such rational and regular goals. I also realize now, how hilarious it was for a skinny white boy to declare that he wanted to be a strong woman of colour. At the time, it had been the truth. Well, almost the truth. I didn’t want to be Oprah. Instead, I wanted to be like Oprah – which was a notion I could have articulated better. I wanted a job in television. Doing what, I wasn’t sure, but I knew I wanted to be somebody special. I wanted success and fame. I wanted love and admiration. I wanted to be a household name, and in 1989, there was no more prominent household name than Oprah Winfrey. So, in my eight-year-old mind, I wanted to be Oprah. This proclamation acted as the catalyst for the decade of torment that followed.

I soon realized that “different” meant unwelcome. It started naturally enough, with innocent pointing, stares and laughter. Other small torments evolved from there. One boy learned how to make ‘spitballs’ from his older brother. Soon all the boys in the class had hollowed-out pens and shredded pieces of paper. Walking the halls became like storming the beaches of Normandy. I endured whatever shots they fired at me. Some days I would get home from school only to discover that the back of my shirt looked like a papier-mâché project.

By Junior High, things had escalated to acts of violence and vandalism. Another, far more offensive term also replaced my name — Faggot. It was the early nineties, so few teachers took issue with the slur. Few of my teachers took issue with anything other students did to me. One January day, someone broke into my gym locker during Phys-Ed and defecated on my jeans and sweater. Nobody batted an eye. I spent the rest of that frigid day in my sweaty gym clothes and walked home with bare legs. When I arrived home, my father had been so furious with me for “allowing” myself “to be a victim” that he blackened my eye. Then he forced me to launder my soiled clothes by hand, in the bathroom sink.

Robert Houston was a proud man, strong and quick to anger. He despised weakness and strived to purge it from me thoroughly. By force if necessary. One summer, I had woke to find the word ‘Fag’ spray-painted, in several places, on my brand-new mountain bike. I didn’t want my father to know that I was a victim, once again. So, I spent my allowance on a can of black house paint and used it to cover the graffiti. House paint is not intended for aluminum. He saw it and raged.

“How could you destroy a two-hundred-dollar bicycle?!” He demanded, furiously removing his belt. He proceeded to lash me all over my body; across my arms, my back, my legs, even my face. He was often unpredictable in his anger. I never really knew what would set him off or if the severity of punishment would suit the crime committed. It was during those long, summer months at home that I counted the days until the fall semester would begin. I preferred the Devil I knew and could predict.

By senior year, I realized that I was not alone in my exile. Of course, there were others like me, whose differences made them easy targets. I could see them getting shoved into their lockers. I could hear the profanities being slung at them. And they, in turn, bore witness to my struggle. Even though we rarely spoke to each other, we were a brotherhood. We were bound together by our shared experiences and common enemies.

Most outsiders strived for a life of anonymity and blending in. I did not. I grew independent and opinionated. I knew that nothing I could say or do could put me lower on the social hierarchy, and that gave me strength. I decided that if I had to be on the bottom, I would make sure they could hear me at the top. I spoke up, and I spoke out. I drew attention to the town’s lack of gender-neutral youth programs. I rallied for the creation of a peer support presence in our school and a plethora of other causes. The protest against pickled beets in the cafeteria had been a personal victory for me. I argued often and hard and realized I was good at it. I served as captain of the debate team, which was where I felt my most authentic and brave.

I had planted in myself, a seed of success. If it had any hope of blossoming, I knew I had to get out of River Bluff. I had to nurture my individuality and empower my spirit. I was raring to experience the world beyond. So, two days after graduation, I loaded a single suitcase onto a Greyhound bus, Toronto bound. I didn’t leave a note, and I never looked back.

Until now.

Twenty years later.

 

 

About the Author

Patrick Benjamin has always had a passion for books.  Growing up in rural Alberta, Canada, books were often the only escape he had from his simple small-town life.  Patrick loves the way books can transport readers into different worlds and times, and expose them to experiences and types of people they wouldn’t normally encounter.  His favourite stories, have always been those with strong, relatable characters. Stories that refrain from painting their characters with perfect brush strokes, and instead present their characters as fully rounded, real people — complete with their own imperfections, humours and motivations.  Those are the types of Characters he aims to create, and its their stories he wants to tell. This is his first novel.

 

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Lucy Review : Dances Long Forgotten by Ruby Moone

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

On Christmas Eve, Dylan, the man of James Pell-Charnley’s dreams, is on the point of walking out. Then they hear the faint strains of a waltz in the library of the empty abbey. The music is said to be heard only by those truly in love, and it gives James the courage to tell Dylan the story.
In December 1841, Lord Hugo Pell-Charnley is in a terrible mess. The youngest son of the late Marquis, youngest brother of the incumbent, never felt to fit. When his life comes crashing down, and his life and his family are threatened, he is forced to face his elder brother and confess his deepest secret. When he arrives at Winsford Abbey he finds he must also confront the shame from his past in the form of Lyndon Cross. The boy he’d loved but betrayed in school.
As they clear the ghosts from the past, they dance in each other’s arms in the library to the soft strains of the waltz, but long buried secrets threaten to destroy their happiness.
Two hundred years later, can those dances long forgotten give James and Dylan the courage to hold on to love? 

This is a story within a story.  James, the current Marquis, must tell the story of Hugo and Lyndon to his own love, Dylan, in order for Dylan to understand how James feels about him.  So we have the modern beginning and end sandwiching the historical story and that worked very well for me.

Hugo is the youngest of the Pell-Charnley family and he believes himself to be nothing spectacular.  He had a terrible time at school, can’t do the one thing he really wants to with his life (own a bookstore) because it is beneath people of his class, and now is being blackmailed.  Things just go from bad to worse when he shows up at his family estate for Christmas only to find three of the bullies from school present, as well as someone he used to like at school, someone who he didn’t treat well because of the bullies.  Lyndon Cross.

It’s funny how people assume things.  Winston, Hugo’s older brother, believes Hugo to have an unencumbered life in London.  “You seemed perfectly happy as you were…” while never realizing “I hated every moment of school.  I never fit in.  I was bullied, beaten, terrified…”  He was bullied to an extreme degree, as was Lyndon.  Now they may have a chance to be together, if only short term.  Of course nothing is that easy.

No secret that I am a huge fan of historical romance but I need it to be believable.  This one hit all my switches.  Sympathetic characters, plot that made sense and with twists that I completely didn’t see coming, and an ending I felt was plausible.

I was thinking four stars for this story until another plot twist showed up, one that I wasn’t expecting yet again, and I had to raise it up.  My heart was breaking for Hugo at that point. “…had talked about him, speculated about him, made him queasy inside.”  I so understood that feeling.  I was angry at people for him – more than he was even! Hugo is a good person and handles things so much better than he believes he does.

“Every Christmas we should definitely waltz in the library.”  “Until we are too old to move….I’ll hold your hand and we’ll sway in time.”  That made me happy, as did the sweetness of the epilogue.

This was so interesting, so sweet and so wonderful.  I especially appreciated a bisexual character in a historical, which may be the first time I’ve read of one in this genre.

The cover, showing Dylan and James dancing against the backdrop of Hugo, is perfect.

Sales Links:   Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 145 pages
Published December 19th 2019
ASINB082QQ7QGF
Edition LanguageEnglish
Other Editions
None found

Release Blitz with Excerpt for Served with a Twist by Jet Lupin

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Served with a Twist

Author: Jet Lupin

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: December 28, 2019

Genre/s: Sci-Fi D/s M/M Romance

Trope/s: Clash of Backgrounds, Opposites attract, Man in Peril, Meet My Dysfunctional Family, Size Difference

Themes: Kink, light BDSM, light D/s themes, collaring

Heat Rating: 4 flames 

Length:  74 000 words

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

 

 

Buy Links

Universal Amazon Link 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

The pretty ones were always trouble…

Blurb

Cut Jones knows Samson from his work, but not really. He knows he’s got money, that he likes his whiskey sours extra sweet, but that’s where his knowledge ends. Samson’s come into the bar every few days for a year but has hardly said more than five words at a time, but Cut didn’t mind. Samson was out of his league. So imagine his surprise when Samson asks for his help with a very personal issue.

The pressures of owning his own company and the expectations of his father had Samson Ba walking a razor’s edge. It was only a matter of time before he tried to find a release, but when he does it’s in the worst way. And he’s found by the last person he wanted to see him this way. But things aren’t all bad. Cut offers to help him relieve his stress, and Samson’s sure he’s just being nice, but some opportunities are too good to pass up. 

 

 

Excerpt 

Samson shifted his gaze to Cut, scanning him from boots to the dark blue locs on the crown of his head. Cut shifted, smoothing out invisible creases in his jeans before Samson said, “You look good to me.”  

He seemed so sure; Cut felt he had to trust him on this. At least, if he was wrong, they’d get thrown out together. Nothing took the sting out of embarrassment quite like sharing it.

Samson stood aside and Cut preceded him into the restaurant, but then he scampered on ahead to talk to the host, making the whole exercise useless. They whispered among themselves, giving Cut ample time to verify that his ass was just as amazing in jeans as dress pants, before the host escorted them to a secluded corner meant for a party of six or more. The other patrons had enough class to pretend that their meals and conversations were more engrossing than the out of place strangers getting a whole section to themselves.

His anxiety subsiding as they took their seats allowed Cut to take things in properly. He saw the wire brush marks on the metal of the sconces that illuminated the room. When he flicked his gaze up, he saw the hand turned wires on the ornaments hanging from the chandeliers. On the glasses, the stems were so delicate and thin, yet when he picked up his to test that theory, it didn’t feel fragile in the hand. Everything was so refined and well-made in a way that made him feel small and cheap. But he’d push through it for now. 

Cut claimed the bench against the wall, preferring to see anything coming his way, while Samson took the chair across from him, his back to the rest of the dining room. He shrugged out of his jacket and set it beside him. Cut took Samson’s when he divested himself of it and did the same. Samson picked up the thin tablet that served as the menu and swiped through it. Cut gave an appreciative glance to those wide shoulders and the bit of collarbone peeking out from the open neck of Samson’s shirt before turning his gaze down to his own menu.

“I recommend anything but the fish. Issues with the suppliers. The beef is very good, though.”

“You really know your stuff.” Of course someone like Samson came here regularly. A high class spot for a high class guy. Cut carefully sipped water from an elegant crystal glass.  

Samson put down the tablet, grinned. “I should. I own the place.” 

Water dribble down Cut’s chin when he nearly choked on it. He quickly mopped it up with his sleeve. It was better his stubble got a little wet than spraying Samson’s face. 

“You own this whole place? By yourself?”

“I hope you don’t mind me showing off a little. Everything you get will be gratis, of course. So go nuts. I needed you to know that I really can pay whatever you ask. I’m serious about this.” 

Cut moved to the edge of his seat. Just because no one was blatantly watching didn’t mean they weren’t listening. “Explain what you mean by this? I have an idea, but we’ve got to be on the same page.” 

“O-of course.” Samson wet his own lips with a little water. 

He seemed a little flustered. That was the last thing Cut wanted.

“Why don’t you start from the beginning?”

 “It’s a bit much to say over the table.” But it had to be said. If they didn’t have honest, open communication from the beginning, there was no point in starting at all. 

But if Samson had concerns about being overheard, Cut had a simple solution. He scooted over on the bench. “Join me. There’s plenty of room on this side.”

Samson froze and swallowed so hard Cut swore he heard it. He thought that might have been a step too far, but Samson came around to his side of the table, and they sat hip-to-hip. The cushion was wide enough to accommodate both of them with room to spare. A server rushed over and repositioned Samson’s place setting before disappearing as quickly as they came. 

There was that scent again, sweet and thickened by Samson’s natural aroma. Cut was suddenly aroused and uncomfortable. He shifted to adjust his cock into a more comfortable position, and his thigh brushed against Samson’s. The bigger man snapped his leg away for an instant before he relaxed again. Somehow, knowing he was nervous too helped Cut relax. Maybe too much. 

He rested a hand on Samson’s knee and squeezed. When he realized what he’d done, Cut pulled away and set both his hands on the table.

“So,” he coughed. “Let’s start with the alley and why you were there.”

 

About the Author 

Stories longing to have words put to them were in Jet’s heart from an early age. Jet enjoys exploring the connections and similarities between people whether they be shifters, vampires, or aliens, rendering the unknowable very knowable indeed.

Jet’s days are spent toiling away at a keyboard, slumped over a pen and paper hunting for those words, or playing around on twitter with a partner, and two rambunctious cats for company in the temperamental North Eastern US.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook Page  |  Facebook Reader Group  |  Twitter

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Check Out the New Release The Empress of Xytae by Effie Calvin *excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: The Empress of Xytae

Series: Tales of Inthya, Book Four

Author: Effie Calvin

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 30, 2019

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 83500

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, LGBT, royalty, new adult, magic, paladins, gods, goddesses

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Crown Princess Ioanna of Xytae has kept her truthsayer blessing a secret for twenty years. In any other nation, her powerful magic would be cause for celebration. But Xytae’s patron is the war goddess Reygmadra, and the future empress is expected to be a brutal warrior.

Reserved and peaceful by nature, Ioanna knows the court sees her as a disappointment. She does her best to assuage their worries every day, working quietly beside her mother to keep the empire running while her father is away at war. But when news of the emperor’s untimely death reaches the capital, Ioanna finds herself ousted by her younger sister Netheia, who has the war magic Ioanna lacks.

Princess Vitaliya of Vesolda has come to Xytae to avoid her father’s upcoming wedding, which she sees as an affront to her mother’s memory. Vitaliya has absolutely no interest in politics or power struggles and intends to spend her time attending parties and embarrassing her family. But when she saves Ioanna’s life during Netheia’s coup, the two are forced to flee the capital together.

Despite their circumstances, Vitaliya enjoys travelling with Ioanna and realizes that the future empress’s shy and secretive nature is the result of her unhappy childhood. Ioanna is equally unaccustomed to being in the company of one as earnest and straightforward as Vitaliya, for she has spent her life surrounded by ambitious and cutthroat nobles.

Ioanna cannot allow her sister to continue their father’s legacy, and plots to rally supporters to her side so she can interrupt Netheia’s coronation. Vitaliya knows she ought to leave Xytae before the nation is ripped apart by civil war but finds she is unwilling to abandon Ioanna. But Ioanna’s enemies are always watching…and they’ve realized that Vitaliya is a weakness to be exploited.

Excerpt

The Empress of Xytae
Effie Calvin © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Reygmadra

The Imperial Palace at Xyuluthe buzzed with anticipation. Empress Enessa had finally gone into labor, and the heir to the Xytan Empire would be born within a few hours. The archpriest of Adranus and the archpriestess of Pemele were both there to aid with the birth along with countless members of the imperial court who would bear witness to the historic event.

Reygmadra, Goddess of Warfare and Eighth of the Ten, waited just outside the empress’s chambers, unseen by all who passed. She would not deny she was beginning to grow impatient. She was only here to bless the child, the future empress. Then she would be on her way.

If the child ever arrived.

Reygmadra had no tolerance for children, nor for the tedious conversations that always surrounded a birth—discussions of size, weight, and bodily functions. She had left the empress’s room because she had grown tired of the pointless hysterical screaming, but this was undoubtably worse.

Unfortunately, she could not grant a blessing to a mortal until after it had taken its first breath. This was one of the rules she and her fellow gods had agreed upon when they’d first set out to create Inthya. Even Reygmadra could see the value in this one, for if babies could use magic in the womb, nobody would ever risk giving birth ever again.

Emperor Ionnes was occupied, as always, by his campaign in Masim. He would not return to meet his new daughter for several months. Some of the members of the court were muttering about this, but Reygmadra did not see the trouble. What help could Ionnes be right now? He would only be in the way if he tried to help. At least in Masim, he was serving his nation by leading the army.

She longed to be there, whispering ideas in his ear as he slept, soaking up the power she received when tens of thousands of warriors prayed to her in unison. Of course, the prayers would find her no matter where she was on the mortal realm of Inthya or in the celestial planes of Asterium. But there was nothing like experiencing it firsthand.

Babies seemed to bring out the stupidest, weakest aspects of mankind. One of the Xytans was now relaying a tale of someone else’s labor, and Reygmadra decided to take a walk before she lost her temper and stabbed someone.

She moved through the palace like a specter, her face unseen and heavy footsteps unheard. She was dressed as she usually did when she manifested on Inthya, as a common soldier with short sword and breastplate. If someone did somehow see her, they would think nothing of her.

One of the rooms led out into a garden, and Reygmadra decided she had been indoors for too long. She stepped out into the sunlight, into the fresh air.

Reygmadra didn’t think much of gardens—they were really just a waste of space—but this one was empty, so she would stay for a while. As she moved, she kept an ear to the palace, hoping she would soon hear distant cheers.

“Still waiting?”

A woman dressed as a Xytan noble stood there among the flowers. She had olive-toned skin and long, wavy ebony hair, and her face was impossibly, supernaturally beautiful. The dress she wore was simple but elegant, all wine-colored silk that perfectly emphasized wide hips and a narrow waist. Despite her disguise as a mortal woman, Reygmadra recognized Dayluue—Goddess of Love and Seventh of the Ten.

“It will be a while yet,” said Reygmadra. “Why are you here?”

“I’m feeling neglected,” Dayluue said. “You haven’t come to see me in ages.”

“I’m busy.”

“You’re always busy.” Crimson lips pressed together in a pout as Dayluue adjusted the neckline of her dress aggressively. “Maybe I should call on someone else. I wonder what Nara is doing.”

Possessive rage seized at Reygmadra, and Dayluue began to laugh. But the sound was cut short when Reygmadra grabbed her by the shoulders. A moment later, she had Dayluue pressed between the garden wall and her own body.

“I love it when you get jealous,” Dayluue said breathlessly. “Kiss me?”

Reygmadra brought her lips to Dayluue’s throat. Dayluue tilted her head back, hands clasping at Reygmadra’s hair, and laughed again. “I have missed you,” she said.

“I don’t believe you,” said Reygmadra because expecting strict monogamy from Dayluue was like expecting a bird to refrain from flight.

“I’ll prove it, then.” Dayluue’s eyes sparkled.

“No. I’m busy.”

“I never took you for the sort to get excited over a birth. Or are you finally realizing what I’ve been saying about the population—”

“No. I’m just giving her a blessing, and then I’m leaving.”

“It might be a while,” warned Dayluue. “Labor can last an entire day.”

Reygmadra shuddered. “Awful.”

“Well, they wouldn’t have to do it so often if you didn’t keep convincing them to kill one another.”

Reygmadra rolled her eyes. “Did you come here just to argue?”

Dayluue pressed her lips to Reygmadra’s. “Only if you really want to,” she murmured into her mouth. The scent of her mortal body, flowers and sweat and pheromones, was intoxicating.

They were antithesis to each other, and yet, there was an undeniable symmetry to their domains. They were two primal forces, mindless impulse given sentience. And sometimes the fiery lust Dayluue elicited from her felt identical to the thrill of battle.

Perhaps that was why Dayluue always returned to her. Perhaps that was why Reygmadra did not object to Dayluue’s wandering.

When they met like this in Asterium, it was a union of selves, of auras and magic, and two becoming one in the way none but their own kind could hope to understand. It was delightful to have Dayluue’s energy surging through her, to feel her own spirit within Dayluue. Reygmadra always came away from these unions feeling softer, lighter. But not weaker. Never weaker.

On Inthya, with warm bodies made of blood and flesh, things were different. On Inthya, Dayluue was in control, and Reygmadra was helpless under her expert fingers.

“Kiss me again,” said Dayluue. “But lower, this time.”

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Meet the Author

Effie is definitely a human being with all her own skin, and not a robot. She writes science fiction and fantasy novels and lives with her cat in the greater Philadelphia area.

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A Stella Review: Model Christmas by Jaime Samms

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RATING 3 out of 5 stars

Sebastian’s ideal Christmas looks nothing like his picture-perfect childhood experiences, but neither should it be spent wandering the cold streets alone and homeless.

Cody has no time for the holidays if he wants to eat. He needs a new model for his next commission–and he needs him now.

Seb can’t go home and Cody’s model took his pay and left. Both men are in dire straits, so when they meet over soup-kitchen chili they each see the answer to their problems in the other.

They never expected more than a means to an end, but now, that perfect Christmas might be as simple as seeing what’s right in front of them.

Although this is a second edition, it was clear to me Model Christmas was one of the first stories released by Jaime Samms, I say this as a compliment, I read some of her titles and they were all so much better. Still this holiday story was a pleasure to read, maybe just a little too short to be better delivered, I don’t know. What I do know there was a feeling of melancholy and defeat in some scenes I didn’t like, choices made by Terry (a second character we actually didn’t meet) and Cody that left a sour taste in my mouth.

I knew nothing about Cody and quite enough about Sebastian. I definitely preferred the ending part and would have so loved to have a little epilogue just to see what the two young men were able to become as individuals and as a couple.

Overall Model Christmas was an interesting reading, I love the author so much and I hope she will release new titles in the future.

The cover art is awesome, it’s eye catching and I love it a lot.

SALE LINKS  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 40 pages

Published December 6th 2019 by Jaime Samms (first published December 11th 2010)

ASIN B082FQ8JZL

Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: Earnest Ink by Alex Hall

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Rating:: 4.5 stars out of 5

While twenty-year-old FTM Hemingway is making an excellent living as a tattoo artist in a near-future version of Hell’s Kitchen, the rest of the country is splintered and struggling in the wake of a war gone on for too long. Technology has collapsed, borders rise and fall overnight, and magic has awakened without rhyme, reason, or rule, turning average unwitting citizens into wielders of strange and specific strands of magic.

Hemingway’s particular brand of magic has made him a household name. Not only is he a talented artist, but his work comes to life. Literally.

When NYC’s most infamous serial killer—the East River Ripper—abducts Hemingway’s best friend, Grace, he has only days to save her. Hemingway teams up with his stoic cop roommate to hunt for the killer and rescue Grace before she becomes the Ripper’s latest victim. But as the duo chase clues to the serial killer’s identity, Hemingway begins to fear the magic he and the Ripper share might eventually corrupt him too.

I am always enthusiastic about the stories that flow out of the mind of author Alex Hall because I know the tales will be imaginative, with twists and turns, marvelous characters with attention to details in personality and background, and as it demonstrated here, a fabulous ability to deliver a world of magic realism so very believable that i fell into it from the first page.

Earnest Ink by Alex Hall is a story that builds slowly as we get to know the characters and the world they now inhabit, one that changed drastically within their own lifetimes.  Changing their worlds and in some cases themselves fundamentally.  It’s a story revealed in pieces, pulled back in layers, as the current days events take place and our characters rush forward towards mysteries and crises that will have permanent impact on everyone.

The people encountered from the focal person of famous tattoo artist Hemingway are as incredibly complex as Hemingway is.. That extends to the roles they may play in Hemingway’s life, which may change direction or impact in a blink.  Who is trustworthy and who is not is always up for discussion.  Throw in the hunt for a gruesome killer, Jack the  Ripper, along with other mysteries, and you have a gripping thriller with tiny hints of a possible future  romance and an open ended future for all.

And that is the only thing that keeps this book from five stars.  The air of expectation for something more at the end.  A need for continuing on, that so much remains to be done or is left to be finished for everyone here.  I almost felt as though we were at 3/4 th of the story or perhaps that I should be able to sail quickly onto another book.  I was most not ready to leave this world and characters behind.

Love magic realism?  In need of a great new story to read?  I highly recommend Earnest Ink by Alex Hall.  I’m still thinking about the characters and their lives, and hoping that Hall will return to them once more for an update.

Cover art:  Natasha Snow.  A beautiful cover with a major element towards the ending.

Sales Links:    NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 14th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781951057121
Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Socks for an Otter by Posy Roberts

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RATING 3,5 out of 5 stars

He fell from his ivory tower and landed in the gutter… But Sebastian would rather be homeless and hungry than clueless.On his way to the food pantry, a guy on his cell phone runs into him and triggers his prickly side. As a sign of goodwill, Louis offers to cook for him. But all Sebastian sees is the privilege he used to have.
This isn’t a fairytale. Louis isn’t Prince Charming. And Sebastian can make it on his own.But it’s been days since he’s had a hot meal. And a blizzard is coming.Will Sebastian’s pride be his appetizer?

Socks for an Otter is a heartwarming riches-to-rags MM romance brewed with hurt/comfort, comedy, a second chance at love, age gap, millionaires, and men from different worlds who will give you all the feels.

I waited so long fo a new story by Posy Roberts I was so happy to see this new release, moreover a Christmas one, which I’m a sucker for. And then I read the blurb and thought she couldn’t have picked a better theme. I have read so many books, still I actually can’t remember one with an homeless character that was so well done, full of details and everyday little struggles we take for granted each minute of our lives. I so appreciated to be able to follow Sebastian, and Javon too, when they were looking for work and food,  I learned about what kind of food was more filling and right for fighting the cold. And then there were the socks, some of the scenes and talks about the socks truly got to my heart.

Socks for an Otter felt very real to me, the author did an awesome job at portraying the everyday life of homeless people, without turning the book into something too heavy. Seb and Louis pasts and presents caught my heart from the beginning, still the story is packed with a sense of hope that enlightened the reading.

That said I am not giving the novel an higher rating because I didn’t feel strongly the main characters. I loved them dearly, they were smart, strong, positives, even though they went through unthinkable events. I liked their souls and disposition to help the others. But from the first time they met it seemed to me something was missing, I didn’t feel a connection, a click between them. And till the ending I hoped for it but I couldn’t find it.

The cover art by Black Jazz Design is awesome, I love the colors, the font, the model, so perfect.

SALE LINKS  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 270 pages

Published December 17th 2019 by Boho Press

ASIN B082PTX7NP

Edition Language English