A MelanieM Review: Pine Tree Mary by Ofelia Gränd

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Detective Quinn Manning wants nothing more than to see Diamond Dace, one of Fagerdal’s most notorious drug lords, behind bars. After years of the man eluding the authorities, when Manning accidentally stumbles onto an opportunity to catch the powerful dealer red-handed, he doesn’t hesitate. But what should be a simple tail instead drops Manning into a real-life world of myth and legend.

Hush is a hulder, a forest spirit also known as a pine tree Mary. Since the beginning of time, his people have lived in the forest, feeding off the energy they derive from the lust and desires of passing hunters. But Hush is an abomination, the only male of his kind.

After a lifetime of starvation, Hush has struck a deal with a human. A simple trade that will give the human what he desires and keep Hush from wasting away completely.

When Manning saves a young man from Diamond and one of his men, his view of reality is altered forever. And Hush, who has never met anyone like Manning, finds the man’s attraction to him enough to finally stave off his constant hunger.

Together they set out to rescue Manning’s partner, and their connection to one another grows. But can a human detective have a future with a creature of the forest, a creature who isn’t supposed to exist?

It’s no secret that I am a fan of stories that contain mythological references and historical elements.  If both those items happen to be a tad obscure, even better. For it sends me running to gather more information about subjects I’m less familiar with and I love it when that happens.  And so it is with the quite marvelous story of Pine Tree Mary by Ofelia Gränd.  In all of the probably thousands of stories I’ve read by now, this is only the second story (that I can remember, tbh) that has a hulder in it. Not just as a main character, but in it at all.

And just like in that story, Pine Tree Mary sent me running to the reference books,  primarily because of the name.  Turns out yes, among the many names for this ancient forest being, the warden  or protector of a certain forest, is really Pine Tree Mary.

“Names include: huldra, huldrå, hylda, skogsrå or skogsfru/skogfru (meaning ‘lady (ruler) of the forest’ or ‘forest wife/woman/spirit’) and tallemaja (‘Pine Tree Mary’). They are often referred to as Ulda by the Sámi. The males are called Huldrekall (hulder man), huldu, or huldrekarl are often said to be hideous in appearance and have grotesquely long noses.

Both the male huldrekarl and female huldra are forest and mountain dwelling creatures that take the form of tall and very beautiful humans with long flowing hair.”*

Both can be kind or evil, depending on their own action and, of course, how you treat them.

Which lead me back to Pine Tree Mary.

The author folds a police crime story into a mythical romance and does so with to a heartfelt gritty effect. Grand gives a ruthless drug crime boss, a desperate police detective, and an abused male hulder in need and takes those elements and creates a tale you can’t put down.  The innocence of Hush translates so beautifully on the page,  from scene to scene, from the dialog to the descriptions, that you care for Hush and connect to him immediately.  It’s so easy to envision the life of pain and abuse he’s lived under his sisters, and yet, he’s still so pure in spite of that.

And the character of Detective Quinn Manning, aware of police procedures, trying to bring down one of the worst criminals he will ever face, comes across a being he has no explanations for.  The growth in feelings, acceptance of Hush and the preceding investigation all works.

Of course, there is never enough of the mythology for me.  I loved the communication with the animals, the birds and the moose.  The descriptions of Hush’s physical structure is so intriguing.

Basically, I just want a sequel!  I am really invested now in these characters and I want to know what happens next.  This is a HFN and I want nest.  You will too.  This is a fascinating story with characters that make you ask more questions and reach for the next story in their relationship.  Hopefully the author is listening.

Cover Art: Written Ink Designs is haunting and quite beautiful.  Perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 5th 2019
ISBN139781646560967
Edition Language English

*Huldra, Folklore’s Lady in the Forest – Spangenhelm Publishing

 

 

An Alisa Review: For a Unicorn’s Happiness (Legendary Shifters #2) by Catherine Lievens

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Toby has known little more than loneliness since he was taken from his home and his family was killed. He’s a prisoner, forced to heal the members of the gang that bought him from the men who kidnapped him.

Until he’s not.

Camden didn’t expect to find out that Sam’s brother, the brother who was sold to a gang, is his mate. He’s not sure where to go from here. Toby is understandably wary and cautious, and most of the time, he won’t let Camden close enough to talk to him. Camden doesn’t have a problem giving him the time and space he needs, but they might not have much of it.

When the envoy from another pack arrives and demands Camden give up one of the unicorn shifters, Camden refuses, even though he knows the Rosewood pack doesn’t stand a chance. The pack is small, and its members aren’t warriors. He’s not about to give Toby or Sam up, but he has no idea how his people are going to deal with this—or if they’ll make it out alive.

Another enjoyable story.  Toby and Camden slowly start to navigate a friendship and then a relationship.  I don’t know something about this story just seemed to drag and I had a hard time keeping with it.

I felt that the drama with the Springfield pack was drawn out and the in between was Camden trying to figure out how to keep Toby and Sam safe and Toby worrying about trusting people.  I really liked the two brothers that came to help and like that they will continue to be around since one of them found his mate.  I’ll continue to read this series and I like this author though at times the writing can be very predictable.

I like the cover art by Angela Waters and the visuals for the characters.

Sales Links: eXtasy Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 161 pages

Published: September 20, 2019 by eXtasy Books

ISBN: 9781487426255

Edition Language: English

Series: Legendary Shifters #2

Heading Towards All Hallows Eve and Our Spooky Recommendations. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Heading Towards All Hallows Eve and Our Spooky Recommendations

As we head toward Hallows Eve and the pumpkins and decorations are out in full display of one of my favorite holidays, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ stories are trending towards the paranormal, the supernatural, and yes, the downright spooky!

From vampires to werewolves to other things that go bump in the night and are still seeking their own versions of HEA or HFN, I thought I would start sorting through some of our more chilling recommendations!  More to come next week and chime in if we have missed some of the new stories!

Story Recommendations for All Hallows Eve!

  • A Light Amongst Shadows by Kelly York
  • Spirits series by Jordan L. Hawk
  • Tyack & Frayne series by Harper Fox
  • P.S. I Spook You by SE Harmon
  • A Frost of Cares by Amy Rae Durreson
  • Whyborne & Griffin series by Jordan L. Hawk
  • Motel Pool by Kim Fielding
  • “Winter” by Josh Lanyon
  • The Tourist by Clare London
  • Lesser-Bred series by Adrienne Wilder
  • THE GERMAN by Lee Thomas
  • COWBOYS & VAMPIRES by Hank Edwards
  • MONSTER (Vertex #1) by Soren Summers
  • MAN & MONSTER (The Savage Land #2) by Michael Jensen
  • In a Dark Wood by Josh Lanyon
  • Mummy Dearest by Josh Lanyon
  • All In Fear: A Collection of Six Horror Tales by Steve Berman, et al
  • Unhinged by Rick R. Reed
  • A CHARM OF MAGPIES series by K.J. Charles
  • FALLOCAUST series by Quil Carter
  • COLD FINGERS by Amy Spector
  • THE BOOKS OF BLOOD Vols. 1-6 by Clive Barker
  • INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE by Anne Rice
  • A DENSITY OF SOULS by Christopher Rice
  • DUST OF WONDERLAND by Lee Thomas
  • THE WOLF AT THE DOOR by Jameson Currier 
  • LOST SOULS, & DRAWING BLOOD, by Poppy Z. Brite
  • Ally Blue Down
  • Sarah Waters Affinity (f/f)
  • Bump In the Night series from Riptide
  • Jacqueline Rohrbach Speak With the Dead
  • The Werewolf on Lowre Few Lane by Bryce Bentley-Tales
  • Green Death by Madeleine Ribbon!
  • Ground of Insurrection (Wizard Wars, #1) by Mell Eight

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Word

Sunday, October 20:

  • Heading Towards All Hallows Eve and Our Spooky Recommendations.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, October 21:

  • Spotlight Tour and Giveaway for Dancing with the Lion: Rise by Jeanne Reames
  • Release Blitz – LEGENDARY LOVES Volume 2
  • Blog Tour Minuet” by A.M. Leibowitz
  • A Stella Review All at Sea by JL Merrow
  • An Alisa Review: For a Unicorn’s Happiness (Legendary Shifters #2) by Catherine Lievens
  • A Caryn Review: Rise (Dancing with the Lion #2) by Jeanne Reames
  • A Lucy Review LEGENDARY LOVES Volume 2 (In My Arms Again by Nell Iris The Murky Depths by Kassandra Lea Weekend at Bigfoot’s by Addison Albright)

Tuesday, October 22:

  • Convicted” by Kim Fielding Cover Reveal
  • Blog Tour Rules to Break by Susan Hawke
  • Release Blitz for Anna Martin – Something Wild
  • A MelanieM Review Pine Tree Mary by Ofelia Gränd
  • A Lucy Review : Wrangling a Groom (Marital Bliss #2) by D.J. Jamison
  • A Lila Audio Review: Their Bounty (Four Mercenaries #1) by K.A. Merikan and Wyatt Baker (Narrator)

Wednesday, October 23:

  • Release Blitz – Nightside: An Erie Vampire Tale – V.L. Locey
  • Blog Tour Rules to Break by Susan Hawke
  • Book Blitz – Adira August – Psychic Men
  • First Priority by Este Holland Blog Tour
  • An Alisa Review :All or Nothing by Riina Y.T
  • A Lila Review: Bishop  by A.E. Via
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review Best Man (Close Proximity #1) by Lily Morton

Thursday, October 24:

  • Release Blitz – Their Special Agent (Thistle Hearts #1) by Mel Gough
  • POST The Captain’s Flighty Fireworks by Eleanor Harkstead and Catherine Curzon
  • Blog Tour Second Song by Edie Danford
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Shot in the Dark (New Amsterdam #3) by Kelly Wyre
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Deal Maker (Mixed Messages #2) by Lily Morton and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Friday, October 25:

  • Release Blitz – Precariously Mated (D’Vaire, Book 14) by Jessamyn
  • BLOG TOUR Wrestling With Hope by DH Starr
  • An Alisa Review Wolf, en Garde by A.F. Henley
  • A Stella Review What We May Be by Vivien Dean

Saturday, October 26:

  • A MelanieM Audio Review:  Spencer Cohen 2 by NR Walker and Narrated by Joel Leslie

 

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ghost House by Jacqueline Grey

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The main characters are a college student named Andrew, who is trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life, and a mysterious man named Caius, whom he keeps dreaming about after spending the night in a haunted house. I think the blurb tells you everything you need to know about this book, so if it sounds intriguing, go ahead and jump right in. I really hesitate to give any spoilers. Part of the fun of the book is it walks a fine line of many genres: horror, ghost story, historical romance, fairy tale, contemporary romance, paranormal, and urban fantasy. Is Caius the charming man of Andrew’s dreams, or an entirely different kind of nightmare?
Is he hallucinating? Is he going mad? I was often unsure where this was going to go; the fun is in trying to find out. At turns this is creepy, but never too much or for very long. It’s also fun with cute banter and some fantastical moments. Of more interest to me are the times when Caius is confronted about the fairness or morality of some of his past actions. This is actually a slow burn romance where the author successfully provides sexual tension at various points. While most of the book is chaste, when they finally do come together, it is really about them.

The book is divided in half with the first half told from Andrew’s point of view. His friends Charlie, Amanda, and Marie help round out the cast a bit, but don’t seem as real as Jason, Andrew’s best friend since childhood and college roommate. The reader also gets to meet Andrew’s parents, his father being a major source of anxiety for him. Yet, most of the first half I wasn’t sure if parts of what were happening were real or not. Once the second half starts, the reader gets to see some things from Caius’s point of view. I was still left waiting for the shoe to drop–waiting to see the real Caius as his thoughts were slowly revealed. Strangely, I was waiting to see the real Andrew as well since he wasn’t being honest with anyone, while letting his father plan a life for him that he didn’t want. So wrapped up in this bizarre tale, is still a new adult coming out story that has to be resolved. I think some people will really like this, and other people will not agree with all the choices the author made to go in different directions. For myself, I like quirky and different, so I enjoyed it.

The cover is by Kanaxa. I found it compelling and apropos for the way the book unfolds.
https://www.kanaxa.com/

Sales Links:  Amazon | Smashwords

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 244 pages
Published September 24th 2019
ASIN B07W7DFVXZ
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Deosil (Whyborne & Griffin #11) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating: 5+ stars out of 5

I’m so sad today. Last night I finished one of my all-time favorite series. Whyborne and Griffin have become important to me. They are not only sweet and strong and fearless, they are my ideal couple—two halves of a whole—and that can readily be seen in this final story. I read this sooo slowly because I didn’t want the story (or the series) to end. I’m not ready to say goodbye to Griffin Flaherty and Percival Whyborne. Hmm…perhaps I’d better start reading it all over again from book one, Widdershins.

In this last installment, all the pieces of the puzzle come together as the maelstrom faces the masters with Whyborne and Persephone who are the only ones who can stop the other-worldly beings. But it’s never an easy task, as we readers all know, and the author takes us through a clever labyrinth of emotional highs and lows with tragedy and trauma, heartache, and fear, before, finally, success.

The entire cast of characters plays a role in this one—everyone from Heliabel, Persephone, and the other ketoi, to the dweller of the deep, the umbrae, and the Queen of Shadows. Then there’s the librarians, the sheriff’s deputies, the Endicotts, Griff’s brother Jack, Niles Whyborne, and the founding families. All are ready to defend Widdershins. Widdershins knows its own, and those of Widdershins are willing to die to defend what they have. Topping the list is a very pregnant Christine and her husband Iskander, and of course, Griffin Flaherty and Percival Whyborne—all united as family of the heart.

I can’t begin to say how very complex and clever each and every book in this series is. Over the years, the author’s storytelling skills have amazed me, charmed me, and engaged me in the adventures of a young man who started as a mousy virgin librarian, unsure of himself, unwilling to go along with what his family expected, and with little self-esteem—a young man who became a force to be reckoned with as he defends Widdershins—the town, the people, and the maelstrom from other-worldly creatures. He stands tall and confident with the respect of those around him and the rock-solid love of his husband, the man who stands beside him always, his darling Griffin.

Don’t miss a chance to read this book if you’ve started the series.  And if you haven’t started, why not? This is simply exceptional.

A word about the cover by Lou Harper—it’s bright and attractive and features our two heroes in motion, ready for the masters. Perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Kobo

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 244 pages
Published October 11th 2019
ASINB07XYBC854
Edition Language English
Series Whyborne & Griffin #11

Whyborne & Griffin series (Goodreads)

A Free Dreamer Review: Master of Restless Shadows (Master of Restless Shadows #1) by Ginn Hale

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Freshly graduated Master Physician Narsi Lif-Tahm has left his home in Anacleto and journeyed to the imposing royal capital of Cieloalta intent upon keeping the youthful oath he made to a troubled writer. But in the decade since Narsi gave his pledge, Atreau Vediya has grown from an anonymous delinquent to a man renowned for penning bawdy operas and engaging in scandalous affairs.

What Narsi―and most of the larger world―cannot know is the secret role Atreau plays as spymaster for the Duke of Rauma.

After the Cadeleonian royal bishop launches an unprovoked attack against the witches in neighboring Labara, Atreau will require every resource he can lay his hands upon to avert a war. A physician is exactly what he needs. But with a relentless assassin hunting the city and ancient magic waking, Atreau fears that his actions could cost more than his own honor. The price of peace could be his friends’ lives.

“Master of Restless Shadows” is the kind of book that should come with the warning “This book will make you late. Do not read if punctuality matters to you.” There aren’t many books that have made me lose track of time so completely.

I read somewhere that this was a spin-off of the author’s well known “Lord of the White Hell” series and that you should read that series before starting with this one. Well, this is the first book I’ve ever read by Ginn Hale and I had no trouble understanding what was going on. I guess it might be set in the same universe.

I will admit it took a little bit to get into the book, mostly because the religion reminded me a lot of Christianity, especially of the Roman Catholic variety. I don’t like it when fantasy religions are so clearly inspired by real ones. But once I got over that, I started to really enjoy the story and when my tardiness started to become an issue. I still think “Sorry, can’t work today, I can’t stop reading” should be an official reason to stay home or at least be late.

The world-building is stellar. It’s very complex and, other than the main religion, utterly fascinating.  It’s never confusing, though, and it’s perfectly interwoven with the plot itself. There’s no boring info-dump and yet you learn everything you need to know.

This is mostly brilliant Fantasy with a very slow-burn romance. The first kiss happens somewhere around the 70% mark, if I remember correctly. But that allowed for a natural development of the relationships and when that kiss finally happened, I was inwardly cheering them on.

The magic system was really interesting. It was a good mix of people who can do magic and those who can’t.

To sum it up, “Master of Restless Shadows” is a brilliant book. I do have on tiny criticism, but since I enjoyed the rest of it so much, I rounded it up to a generous 5 stars.

If you like well-written Fantasy with a bit of romance that happens to be of the m/m variety, then this I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book. Just don’t expect a super romantic love story with a Fantasy backdrop.

I’m a bit on the fence about the cover by Zaya Feli. I wouldn’t expect a Fantasy novel hiding behind it, it looks more historical. It still looks nice, though.

Order it now:  Blind Eye Books  | Amazon | Smashwords

 

 

Book details: Kindle Edition, 671 pages

Published October 8th 2019 by Blind Eye Books (first published October 6th 2019)

A Lila Review: The Spymaster’s Secret By Antonia Aquilante

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

Alexander is doing his best to settle into life in Tournai’s royal palace after years living outside the country due to his father’s diplomatic work. The sense of belonging and home he feels is overwhelming, but none of his plans are going as he imagined. Many see him as only a lovely, charming adornment of the royal court and underestimate both his intelligence and abilities. His attraction to Marcus, a mysterious older man who does work for the prince, Alexander’s cousin, is unexpected but not unwelcome…if Marcus could possibly see who Alexander really is.Lord Marcus is the second son of a minor noble family, a widower raising two children…and the prince’s spymaster. He knows his work is necessary for the security of the kingdom and its royal family, but he also knows it can be distasteful and dangerous to him and those around him. Marcus has vowed never to fall in love again, never to put anyone else at risk—a promise threatened for the first time by the vibrant, flirtatious Alexander. The attraction is unwelcome and entirely undeniable. He can’t believe someone like Alexander would want someone like him, but he also can’t stay away.

As they become ever more entangled, Marcus is investigating rumors of spies at work in Tournai’s university. As he gets closer to uncovering their plot, Alexander is drawn deeper into danger. Can their love survive when Alexander is put in peril by the very spies Marcus is hunting for?

The Spymaster’s Secret is a lovely story about two different men brought together by an unexpected attraction. I enjoyed the time they spent courting each other and the slow friendship they developed. They were comfortable with each other and worked well as one.

The secrets between them didn’t take away from their blossoming relationship. They seem to mesh into the action, giving them the opportunity to learn more about each other.

Even so, their love story was slow but significant.  There were enough clues hinting about what could have kept them apart, but not enough to bored the reader.

We continued to learn about Tournai, its inhabitants, and culture. We spent time with the royal family and the previous couples. Once again, we get the chance to read the Princes’ point of view and enjoy their connection.

The high point and resolution came a bit quick but were surprisingly satisfying. New characters were introduced and the potential for more is constant.

The cover by Natasha Snow matches the previous books in the series but it seems too modern for the story.

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | Nook

Book Details:

ebook, 389 pages
Published: October 14, 2019, by NineStar Press
ISBN: 978-1-951057-63-3
Edition Language: English

Series: Chronicles of Tournai
Book #1: The Prince’s Consort
Book #2: The Artist’s Masquerade
Book #3: The Scholar’s Heart
Book #4: The Sorcerer’s Guardian
Book #5: The Dragon’s Devotion
Book #6: The Merchant’s Love
Book #7: The Spymaster’s Secret

Love Epic Fantasy? Check Out the Blog Post for The Twelfth Knight (Guardians of Camelot #1) by Victoria Sue (excerpt and giveaway)

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The Twelfth Knight (Guardians of Camelot #1) by Victoria Sue

Published October 1st 2019

Buy Links:

Amazon US |  Amazon UK

Bitly: bit.ly/TwelfthKnight

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Ginn Hale here today on tour for her latest novel The Twelfth Knight.  Ginn has brought along an excerpt as well as a great giveaway.  Check out both below!

✒︎

 

Blurb

To battle an ancient evil, the greatest weapon each hero will have is each other.

Hundreds of years ago, facing defeat, the witch Morgana sent monsters into the future to vanquish a humanity King Arthur wouldn’t be able to save. The King might have won the battle, but now, centuries later, a few chosen men will have to fight the war.

Merlin always hated being named after some mythological wizard. His dad had been obsessed with the magic man of King Arthur’s Court before his untimely death – a loss that had sent Mel reeling in a downward spiral. He is ill-prepared, to say the least, for the outrageous claims of a proper English knight bent on overcoming evil.

Born a commoner, Lancelot was never supposed to be a knight in his own time, never mind now in a modern world he is so woefully untrained to protect. Thrown into a battle centuries in the making, this flawed hero, and a young man too-used to battling monsters of the present day, will have to come together in a last desperate fight to save humanity.

Can Mel and Lance defeat the greatest enemy the world has ever known? Or in the midst of fighting evil, will they discover the real threat has always been a shattered heart?

And what if the one fight they cannot ever hope to win is with themselves?

Excerpt

We know there is something different about you because you can see them. That is an absolute fact,” Gawain said at last.

“You think?”

Mel looked up at the mildly sarcastic tone Ali used, wondering why she sounded irritated.

“Merlin told Lance that he would know when the final battle was nearing. That something would happen to him. A sign.” Gawain stretched out his hands, almost in supplication.

“But I’m not yours, you said so.” Mel stared at Lance, unsure why he still felt the need to point it out. Turn the knife as his gran would say.

Lance bent his head, looking at the floor and frowning in concentration, and Mel felt almost bereft if that was the right word. Like he’d lost something he didn’t know he had in the first place. Am I mad? He barely existed in a crappy apartment and sold his body every night. He’d been originally going to save for something else, to be something else. It had been temporary, he had promised himself. And somehow nearly five years had gone. Would he still be selling sex in another five years, or would some psycho have slit his throat by then? Mel stared at the computer screen. He was protesting the loss of something he didn’t have in the first place.

A change is as good as a rest. His gran said that all the time as well. His earliest memories of his dad were being pulled onto his knee and told stories of knights and dragons and all the heroes his little heart could ever wish for.

And one day it had just stopped. It had seemed like his whole world had been on fire when his dad had woken him frantically and told him to run, as fast and as far as he could, and wait until he came for him.

But he never had. He’d hidden behind some old car and cried until a cop had found him. He’d been reunited with his mom a few hours later, and they’d had to go live in some awful motel. Then the other nightmare started—not worse than losing his dad, but like he’d lost him all over again. He used to lie in that room and have nightmares, some while he was asleep and some while he was awake. His mom was drinking, and it wasn’t long until she had gotten a boyfriend. And more importantly, no one had ever tried to explain what had happened. The sickening realization that his father might have died trying to protect him was a horrible one.

His life became a downward spiral, and his dad had never found them no matter which city Mom dragged him to. As a child he used to sit out at the end of the road and just wait for his dad to show up because he never believed he was dead. And somehow in the years that followed, he had forgotten that.

“What about my dad? I don’t believe with what you have told me his death was accidental, but I would have been easily found if they had looked. And I definitely didn’t meet any mysterious strangers that wanted to look after me.”

He wasn’t that lucky.

“I don’t know,” Lance admitted again. “The only clues we were given were fifteen hundred years ago from a dying man. You may be different because of the name.”

“No,” Mel challenged. “You are clutching at excuses because you refuse to believe Guinevere isn’t coming for you. You have this idea you are going to get her as a reward, but I have news for you, oh mighty knight of the realm or whatever you are. Life isn’t like that. Shit happens. Good guys die and bad guys win.”

His ears screamed with how loud the silence was.

Then Lance jumped up so quickly his chair toppled back, but he was out of the room before it hit the floor.

And Mel deflated. That wasn’t fair. He was sick of never being good enough, but that wasn’t Lance’s fault. “Should I go after him?”

“It depends if you are staying, I guess,” Ali said bluntly and righted the chair.

Mel stared at all of them, their expressions equal with hope and worry. He chewed at his bottom lip. He didn’t feel special, and he wasn’t sure even if Thor decided Mel was his he wanted to belong to him anyway.

Liar. He glanced around the room and weighed up the possibilities before him. Gawain? He wasn’t into the tortured-genius vibe really and had a feeling—even unintentionally—being around Gawain might make him feel a little inadequate.

Kay? On the surface Kay seemed to be as capable as Lance. He was certainly as hot—maybe even better-looking—but there was something about Kay that hinted at a great hurt and hidden vulnerability. He had a feeling it was going to take a strong man or woman to unravel him, and Mel wasn’t sure he was in the right headspace at the moment to be fair to either of them.

Ali? She was a badass, and he had a feeling they could become great friends, but the other half of her soul? Maybe not.

Lucan? Appearance-wise, Lucan was exactly what Mel would go for. Large, brooding, probably dominating in the bedroom, and muscles in exactly the right places…but.

But? Mel nearly screamed the frustrated thought. What was it about Mel that always made him want the very thing he could never have? Stability, honesty. Love?

He pushed the little voice away. “Is it safe here?”

Kay nodded to the computer screen. “More of Gawain’s genius.”

But Thor was still in his head no matter how much he wanted to push him away. How his gray eyes lit with determination. The strong lines of his face that screamed dependability. Mel could imagine him on a horse—would have to be a stallion. Full armor, arm brandishing the huge sword as he yelled his battle cry.

“Show me what to do.”

It was a decision. He lowered his eyes, not wanting to see either triumph or gratitude in theirs. Their enemy might be something unspeakably evil, but becoming dependent on Lance especially was just as dangerous. Someone who—despite his less than definite denials—was in love with someone else, a dead woman. It would be too easy to get carried away and imagine this knight belonged to him.

Giveaway

Victoria Sue is generously offering a $5 Amazon US gift card and an eBook of choice from her backlist to one lucky reader.  Please leave a comment and your email address where you can be reached if picked.  Must be  18 years or older to enter.

About the Author

Victoria Sue

Victoria Sue fell in love with love stories as a child when she would hide away with her mom’s library books and dream of the dashing hero coming to rescue her from math homework. She never mastered math but never stopped loving her heroes and decided to give them the happy ever afters they fight so hard for. 
She loves reading and writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best—and creating a family for them to adore. Thrilled to hear from her readers, she can be found most days lurking on Facebook where she doesn’t need factor 1000 sun-cream to hide her freckles.

www.victoriasue.com

@vickysuewrites

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Check Out the Blog Tour for Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale (excerpt and giveaway)

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Master of Restless Shadows, Book One by Ginn Hale

Series: The Cadeleonian Series, Volume 5

Publisher: Blind Eye Books

Release Date (Print & Ebook): October 8, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook): 401 pp

ISBN Print: 9781935560630

ISBN digital: 9781935560647

Cover artist: Zaya Feli

Subgenre: epic fantasy, romantic fantasy, LGBTQ fantasy, queer fantasy, high fantasy

Order it now:

https://www.blindeyebooks.com/publications-1/pre-order-today-master-of-restless-shadows-book-one-by-ginn-hale

https://www.amazon.com/Master-Restless-Shadows-Book-Cadeleonian/dp/1935560638/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ginn+hale&qid=1561242936&s=gateway&sr=8-1

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/939510

Book synopsis:

Freshly graduated Master Physician Narsi Lif-Tahm has left his home in Anacleto and journeyed to the imposing royal capitol of Cieloalta intent upon keeping the youthful oath he made to a troubled writer. But in the decade since Narsi gave his pledge, Atreau Vediya, has grown from an anonymous delinquent to a man renowned for penning bawdy operas and engaging in scandalous affairs.

What Narsi―and most of the larger world―cannot know is the secret role Atreau plays as spymaster for the Duke of Rauma.

After the Cadeleonian royal bishop launches an unprovoked attack against the witches in neighboring Labara, Atreau will require every resource he can lay his hands upon to avert a war. A physician is exactly what he needs. But with a relentless assassin hunting the city and ancient magic waking, Atreau fears that his actions could cost more than his own honor. The price of peace could be his friends’ lives.

About Ginn Hale:

Ginn Hale lives with her lovely wife in the Pacific Northwest. She spends the many cloudy days observing plants and fungi. She whiles away the rainy evenings writing fantasy and science-fiction featuring LGBTQ protagonists. Her first novel, Wicked Gentlemen, won the Spectrum Award for best novel. She is also a Lambda Literary Award finalist and Rainbow Award winner.

Her most recent publications include the Lord of the White Hell, Champion of the Scarlet Wolf and The Rifter Trilogy: The Shattered Gates, The Holy Road, His Sacred Bones.

She can be reached through her website: www.ginnhale.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Her Instagram account, however, is largely a collection of botanical photos…so, be warned.

Excerpt:

Inside the smoky confines of the Fat Goose, surrounded by boisterous drunks, gamblers and cold-eyed cardsharps, Atreau’s attention strayed from his cards to the wonderful book on the table before him. The leather cover looked supple and already well-worn as a favorite glove. He could see where fingers had cradled the spine and bent the cover, leafing through the pages again and again.

Placed in my callous hands, a testament of devotion, unspoken, and yet laid bare as a naked breast.

Atreau snorted at his own conceited turn of thought.

Still, the simple fact of the book’s existence pleased him.

He’d not seen the Haldiim translation and had half suspected that the publisher had forgone printing after the Cadeleonian volumes had been transformed into so much ash and smoke.

For a moment he pictured the dark young man who’d handed him the tome. How striking he’d appeared amidst so many Cadeleonians, and yet something about him—his angular jaw? Perhaps his long, lean build? Or it might have been his sharp brows and dark lashes?—Atreau didn’t know but something about the Haldiim physician had filled Atreau with a sense of familiarity. Absently, Atreau wondered if the young man had known that marigold petals clung to his dark curls like drops of gold.

“Stare at the cards all you want. The winning hand is still mine.”

Across the table from him Sabella Calies tapped the four cards she’d laid down and then took up her beer mug. Tall and weathered as a warhorse, Sabella was as much a fixture of the capital’s unseemly side as was her uncle’s Red Stallion sword house, where people gambled fortunes and lives on the speed of their blades. Over the course of her forty-odd years Sabella had taken both from a good number of men. But here at the Fat Goose the stakes were very different, as was the game. Here the kingdom stood to be lost to the church. Or won for Prince Sevanyo.

Atreau’s cards came very near winning but missed by only a point. He had indulged himself in the drama of making it appear a close match. Sabella played along, since the money would be hers no matter what cards he dealt. This game, like almost every other hand of cards he played, served as a pretext for Atreau to dole out Fedeles Quemanor’s payments to his informants and agents across the city.

Atreau pushed a plain coin purse to Sabella. She opened it and then pulled the drawstring closed again and dropped it into an inner pocket of her leather coat.

Between her lanky build, plain face and close-shorn brown hair Sabella nearly passed for a man. Certainly the heavy doublet and thick riding trousers she sported added to the impression, though they did not create a perfect illusion. Nor did she need them to. She’d patronized the Fat Goose for more than twenty years and all but the most callow of youths knew better than to cause her trouble.

She drew a sheaf of papers from her doublet and pushed them to Atreau. He skimmed the content quickly. It seemed that the royal bishop was collecting ancient scriptures, most having something to do with the Holy Savior’s final battle and the Shard of Heaven. Likely the bishop believed the holy blessings that had destroyed the demon hordes so long ago were desperately needed again now to combat a new threat to Cadeleon.

Five years ago Atreau would have found the entire matter amusing or perhaps thought the royal bishop deluded. But since then he’d seen both the wonders and horrors that ancient spells unleashed. He understood why previous generations of wiser men and women had attempted to hide them away.

“We need to know when and exactly what he intends to do with this,” Atreau said. “Actual places and dates would be good.”

“You don’t ask much, do you?”

“I don’t pay so little that I should,” Atreau replied.

Giveaway: Readers, enter to win 1 of 3 complete e-book sets of The Cadeleonian Series, Volumes 1 – 4 (Lord of the White Hell 1 & 2, Champion of the Scarlet Wolf 1 & 2)

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Giveaway: Readers, enter to win 1 of 3 complete e-book sets of The Cadeleonian Series, Volumes 1 – 4 (Lord of the White Hell 1 & 2, Champion of the Scarlet Wolf 1 & 2)

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National Coming Out Day..a bit late. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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National Coming Out Day….a bit late.

 

National Coming Out Day was Friday, October 11, the 31st such coming out celebration and I didn’t want such a wonderful event to pass by without Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words making note of just how special and wondrous this occasion is. Our Twitter feed is full of stories, poignant, funny, accepting, sad, hilarious, and heartbreaking.  They have been running the full gamut of emotions, and histories, up to and including the advice that not everyone is ready to come out.  That they will know when, and if, that time comes that they feel safe and ready to make that step, a step only they should make for themselves.

As I said Friday, October 11, marked the 31st Anniversary of National Coming Out Day, a landmark in and of itself. Here are some special links, courtesy of HRC:

A Resource Guide to Coming Out

Transgender Visibility: A Guide to Being You

History of National Coming Out Day : started in October 11, 1987

 

For many more links (coming out at school, at work, inspiring stories, and helpful links, please check out HRC’s full link

National Coming Out Day | Human Rights Campaign |   https://www.hrc.org 

 

No matter the age when someone realized “who” they were and stated it out loud, from the earliest of ages to later in life, the ability to be i your truest self , whatever that may be, is a right everyone should have.  Here are some stories. Happy National Coming Out Day….a bit late.

National Coming Out Day: 2019’s top LGBTQ coming out stories

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, October 13:

  • National Coming Out Day..a bit late.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, October 14:

  • Review Tour – Ruby Moone – Loving Daniel (MC Securities #3)
  • Review Tour – Beth Laycock – Guarding His Heart
  • AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR – DARK RIVERS by Morgan Brice
  • A Stella Review: Things Happen That Way (Mann of My Dreams #2) by Tinnean
  • An Alisa Review : Loving Daniel (MC Securities #3) by  Ruby Moone
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Dark Rivers (Witchbane #2) by Morgan Brice and Kale Williams (Narrator)

Tuesday, October 15:

  • Cover Reveal, – Sally Malcom – Twice Shy (A New Milton Novel)
  • BLOG TOUR Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale
  • Blog Post The Twelfth Knight (Guardians of Camelot #1) by Victoria Sue
  • BLITZ for Natural Disaster by Erin McLellan
  • A MelanieM Review: Wrecked by Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga
  • A Lila Review The Spymaster’s Secret By Antonia Aquilante
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Master of Restless Shadows (Master of Restless Shadows #1) by Ginn Hale

Wednesday, October 16:

  • Review Tour Bishop: A True Lover’s Story by A.E. Via
  • Blog Post – DJ Jamison”
  • The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth Tour
  • An Alisa Review: Bishop: A True Lover’s Story by A.E. Via
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Deosil (Whyborne & Griffin #11) by Jordan L. Hawk
  • A MelanieM Review:The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth

Thursday, October 17:

  • Post CONFESSIONS OF A GAY CURMUDGEON by Andy V. Ambrose
  • Release Blitz – Slow Birth (Heat of Love 2.5) – Leta Blake
  • BLITZ Starting from Scratch by Lane Hayes
  • An Alisa Review: Blood Wine (The Blood Bond Series Book 2) by Aimer Boyz
  • A Stella Review: Love on the Hudson by KD Fisher
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ghost House by Jacqueline Grey

Friday, October 18:

  • Release Blitz  – Doctor’s Orders by Emma Jay
  • Release Blitz – Felice Stevens – Running From My Heart
  • Review Tour – Con Riley – After Ben (Seattle Stories #1)
  • A Stella Review : The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Rule Breaker (Mixed Messages #1) by Lily Morton and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
  • A Stella Review: After Ben (Seattle Stories #1) by Con Riley

Saturday, October 19:

  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Lucky Break (Clean Slate Ranch #4) by A.M. Arthur
  • A MelanieM Review: The Necromancer’s Reckoning (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #3) by S.J. Himes