A Free Dreamer Review: Strain (Strain #1) by Amelia C. Gormley

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

In a world with little hope and no rules, the only thing they have to lose is themselves.

Rhys Cooper is a dead man. He’s spent years hiding from the virus that wiped out most of the human race, but an act of futile heroism has him counting down his remaining days. The timely arrival of superhuman soldiers offers some feeble hope–but only if Rhys can reconcile himself to doing what is necessary to take advantage of it.

Sergeant Darius Murrell has seen too much death and too little tenderness. His job is seeking out the infected to put them out of their misery, or sending the uninfected survivors to a safe haven where he and his fellow Juggernaut troops will never be welcomed. Rhys’s situation is different, though. Not only is there an improbable chance that Darius won’t have to put a bullet in Rhys’s head, but he has somehow managed to get under Darius’s skin.

The virus Rhys must infect himself with in order to survive is sexually transmitted, and optimizing his chance of exposure requires him to submit as often as possible to Darius–and the other soldiers. Though the boundaries of morality have shifted in this harsh new world, Darius and Rhys question whether their humanity is too high a price to pay for Rhys’s survival.

A warning before we begin: “Strain” is definitely not for the faint of heart. Aside from lots of explicit BDSM sex with dubious consent and big age gaps, you also find lots of explicit violence and gore and some scenes that would be considered rape under different circumstances.

At first I wasn’t sure if I would like this book. A disease that can only be cured by lots and lots of sex – that sounds a bit like an awfully cheap excuse for heaps and heaps of mindless sex, doesn’t it? Well, “Strain” was a big surprise in that regard. Sure, there’s heaps and heaps of sex. But the author did a great job at explaining everything and once you start, it all makes perfect sense. The whole thing is a clever part of world building that seemed very logical to me – not that I know all that much about medicine.

The world building was excellent and full of interesting details. It’s easy to get caught in this dark, dark future. Since the events of “Strain” aren’t too far into the future, you get a really good explanation for how we went from the world we know now to the world Amelia Gormley created. I’m a sucker for good world building and the author easily satisfied my curiosity.

Rhys’ reactions seemed very genuine to me. While he’s always been attracted to men, he’s never had the chance to explore his sexuality. He spent most of his life isolated from the rest of the world and years of homophobia from the extremely religious preacher and his power hungry son don’t exactly help him feel confident in his sexuality. So when he is forced to lose his virginity to a much older man that only has sex with him out of a sense of duty, he’s less than thrilled. But it’s his only chance at survival, so he doesn’t exactly have a choice. Rhys always remained true to himself; he didn’t just suddenly turn into a mindless sex maniac. The author painted a very convincing picture of his inner struggle and I found myself liking the boy from the start.

Darius was just as interesting. The whole thing isn’t exactly easy on him either. He tends to enjoy very kinky sex, but how could he do that to such a clueless boy? Not to mention he could easily hurt Rhys with his superior strength. He ends up feeling guilty because he just can’t keep his dominant side in check around the boy. And actually forming a real emotional connection terrifies him – if their wild plan doesn’t work out, he’ll be the one that will have to end his misery with a bullet.

The side characters were very well developed as well, with unique backstories and interesting behaviour.

Once Rhys actually started to accept his kinky side, the sex scenes got really hot. The author was very creative in that regard, coming up with lots of interesting little games.

The ending was a little predictable. My suspicions started around the middle of the book, but that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy every single page till the end. There was plenty of other plot to keep you occupied.

“Strain” is different. It’s dark, it’s kinky, there are some real concerns about consent and it is utterly brilliant and extremely addicting. If you’re in the mood for something dark and kinky with a brilliant plot, then go for it. Just beware of potential triggers.

The cover fits the story perfectly. It’s kind of creepy and makes you curious about the world.

Book details: Kindle Edition, 2. edition, 322 pages

Published April 20th 2018 first published February 15th 2014)

Marguerite Labbe on Convention Life and her new novel, A Little Side of Geek (Geek Life #1) by Marguerite Labbe (author guest blog)

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A Little Side of Geek (Geek Life #1) by Marguerite Labbe
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Marguerite Labbe here today talking about her new release, A Little Side Of Geek, one of our highly recommended stories. Welcome, Margie!

Convention Life

Hello everyone. It’s so good to be back at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. The books in my Geek Life series follow the people who make up the comic book convention scene. I could probably write a dozen more book in this setting. Years ago, when our son was still little, my husband Keir decided that he was going to stop dreaming of making comics and commit to actually doing so. We started small, getting a table here and there as he continued his job as a social worker.

My sweet man has a degenerative heart condition and after several years we talked it over and had him quit doing the social work. The stress was too much for him and he became a full-time comic book artist and awesome stay-at-home Dad. We had been doing conventions several times a year, suddenly that became at least one a month, sometimes more. He got involved with a group called Artway Alliance run by the amazingly dedicated Eric Suggs. That allowed him to teach comic book art in various schools in the DMV area.

The two of us always said that by the time our son became an adult he’d either hate this life or be as big of a geek as us. Many weekends he was hauled out of town, stuck at a table for hours on end, hanging out with more adults than kids. One year we lost him at Awesome Con. If you’ve ever been to one of the mega cons you have an idea of how huge they are. As I was frantically going up one end of the con to the other looking for him with security I kept reminding myself that he personally knew a number of the vendors. He’d be able to find someone within a hundred yards. When we did finally find him, he looked at us like what’s the big deal.

In my books, Morris has a friend with a son like that. When he has to take a break from the table for whatever reason Jaydon will come by and guard it for him. My son got into cosplaying at the cons and now he’s old enough to be a volunteer and help out behind the scenes. He’s even a member of our podcast Role with Us so I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be a mega-geek.

It’s a fun life. You meet so many really creative, fun people. It’s also so much work and being naturally introverted it is exhausting. You have to get there early, set up your space, be on all day long, and then break it down again. If it’s a multiple day show you usually go out to dinner with your crew. There’s traveling. And all kinds of things involved. It’s funny because at work everyone seems to think I’m spending the weekend partying and wonder why I’m tired on Monday. It’s super fun, but it is work.

I haven’t done an excerpt in a bit, so how about one with Morris as he’s preparing to head out to a convention and contemplating his relationship with Theo. I hope you enjoy.

Excerpt

Morris rose and flipped on the TV, scrolling through his movie options. He put on Big Trouble in Little China. That was entertaining background noise and a movie he’d seen so often it wouldn’t pull away his attention from his work, but it would keep him from feeling lonely. When it was over, he’d text Theo.

When Morris finally finished the last of what he wanted to get done, his hand trembled and throbbed, his eyes stung with strain, and his back ached with the knots Theo had promised would end up in his muscles, but all of his projects were done. He carefully tucked away the images of Chessie, then found sleeves for the dozen new trading cards he’d sketched, inked, and colored. It was always good to have new material on the table, the quick trading cards as well as the books.

He shook his hand as he rose and stretched up on his toes, and for a moment the room spun. Morris leaned against the wall as his stomach growled and he realized how thirsty he was too. How long had it been since he’d eaten or had anything to drink? In the background, the TV droned on with the next late-night movie option.

He made his way into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of water, downing the entire thing in one go. Then he pulled out a box of crackers and a can of spray cheese and munched as he considered his mostly empty fridge. He really needed to hit the grocery store on Sunday. This was pathetic.

Morris opened his freezer, looking for something to pop in his microwave, and frowned. He hadn’t realized how much food Theo had given him over the months. Instead of processed potpies, there were homemade empanadas. No more crappy but fast burritos, instead there were neatly labeled single-portion casseroles and soups. It was amoral.

Somehow, despite the plan that this was just a fling, they were beginning to blend their lives together. Morris even had his second-favorite sketch pad upstairs tucked against Theo’s couch. Scowling, he dug through the freezer until he found a frozen pizza. Maybe it wouldn’t taste as good as one of Theo’s creations, but it was the principle of the matter.

Morris ate a few more crackers and cheese while the pizza baked, pondering the problem of Theo. Cassie came into the kitchen, pausing to stretch each hind leg before coming over to Morris. He scooped her up. “Why’d you let Daddy sit all day and not eat?”

She gave him her special patented look that said quite plainly he was an idiot. “Yeah, I know. I must’ve remembered to feed you, though, or you never would’ve let me alone.” He glanced at her food and water dishes and noted they were half-full. As long as no part of the bottom of the bowl was visible beneath the kibble, Cassie was happy. But let one glint of silver show, and she was convinced Morris was starving her.

She accepted his nuzzling attention for a whole three minutes before wiggling to be let down. Morris crouched down with a sigh. “Fine, walk out on me. That’s been happening a lot today.”

He glanced at the ceiling. He couldn’t remember hearing anyone move around up there, but then again, he’d been in the zone. Lincoln could’ve broken out his sax and Morris never would’ve known.

Restless, he looked in the freezer again. The cheese and crackers weren’t cutting it. He could heat up some of Theo’s tomato basil soup; that would be done before the pizza. He hesitated and then grabbed the carton. He was too hungry to be picky over principles. It was soup, not a life decision.

By the time he finished eating the soup, his stomach was happier and the pizza was steaming on the stovetop. Gooey cheese, pepperoni, sausage, and extra-thick crust. Maybe not as good as a fresh one from Ledo’s, but it would do. As Morris cut it, he couldn’t help but wonder what kind of a homemade pizza Theo would make. He bet it would be awesome, whatever it was, probably have eggplant on it and it would still be good.

Morris leaned against the counter and bit into his first slice. The roof of his mouth was instantly scalded and Morris dropped the slice, swearing as he reached for a paper towel to spit into.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Somehow, the pizza on the floor seemed like a perfect metaphor for the day.

His hand ached, his brain was short-circuiting, and he was not in a good place. Grumbling, Morris picked up the slice and tossed it into the trash, then wiped up the mess he’d made. He glared at the rest of the pizza, his appetite for junk food gone. He wanted something home-cooked and comforting. Despite getting his work done, his day had sucked. He’d been stressed and upset, replaying his argument with Theo every time he paused to think.

He missed Theo. Maybe it wasn’t too late to go upstairs and say hi. And maybe apologize. He wasn’t entirely sure why he was apologizing, because there was no way he could’ve gone off with Theo for the afternoon, but maybe he could’ve handled it better.

Morris glanced at his watch. 4:00 a.m. Yeah, definitely too late. Fuck.

He eyeballed the rest of the pizza and sighed, going back into his freezer. He was being an idiot for no reason. His stomach knew what it really wanted. Not long after, he was sitting down to hot spanakopita manicotti, yeast rolls, and a tall glass of sweet tea.

He was willingly eating spinach in the wee hours of the morning. If that didn’t say something for Theo’s influence over him, Morris didn’t know what did. But damn, it tasted good. Maybe a little change in his life wasn’t such a bad thing.

Blurb

When opposite worlds collide, it’s anyone’s game.

Proud geek and comic book artist Morris Proctor wants nothing more than to live in semiseclusion with his devil cat and gamer friends. Despite what his well-meaning family thinks, he’s perfectly content with his status quo. The last thing he needs is to date another nongeek hell-bent on changing him.

Then he meets his adorkable new neighbor, Theo Boarman, who doesn’t know Star Trek from Star Wars, but who tempts him like no other.

Theo has spent the last year recovering from the loss of his parents and trying to play both roles for his teenage brother, while working to keep the family restaurant afloat. Dating is the last thing on the menu, especially with a man who thinks the height of dining is shoving a packaged meal into the microwave.

But if Morris gives him one more shy smile or flaunts that kilt he wears so well, Theo will be forced to convince him that a hot summer fling is just the recipe to let off a little steam.

When that fling gets serious fast, Morris has to decide if he’s willing to give his heart to Theo on the chance that they’re a perfect mix.

About the Author

Marguerite Labbe has often been called both Trouble and Sunshine by those who know her. She’s not sure how she manages to make both those nicknames work together, but apparently she does. She’s a New Hampshire woman who married an Alabama man, an Air Force brat who has somehow managed to settle herself firmly in Southern Maryland, with one overgrown son and two crazy cats.

Marguerite loves to spin tales that cross genre lines, where stubborn men build lifelong ties of loyalty, friendship, and family no matter the odds thrown against them, and where love is found in unexpected places. She has won the Rainbow Award for Historical Romance with Fae Sutherland, as well as the Rainbow Award for Paranormal and the Rainbow Romance Award for Excellence, also in Paranormal.When she’s not working hard on writing new stories, she spends her time reading novels of all genres, enjoying role-playing and tabletop games with her friends, and helping out her husband with Apocrypha Comics Studio.

Review Tour and Giveaway for Alpha Heat by Leta Blake

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 130,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Strange Designs
 
Heat of Love Series
 
Book #1 – Slow Heat – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

A desperate young alpha. An older alpha with a hero complex. A forbidden love that can’t be denied.


Young Xan Heelies knows he can never have what he truly wants: a passionate romance and happy-ever-after with another alpha. It’s not only forbidden by the prevailing faith of the land, but such acts are illegal.


Urho Chase is a middle-aged alpha with a heartbreaking past. Careful, controlled, and steadfast, his friends dub him old-fashioned and staid. When Urho discovers a dangerous side to Xan’s life that he never imagined, his world is rocked and he’s consumed by desire. The carefully sewn seams that held him together after the loss of his omega and son come apart—and so does he.


But to love each other and make a life together, Xan and Urho risk utter ruin. With the acceptance and support of Caleb, Xan’s asexual and aromantic omega and dear friend, they must find the strength to embrace danger and build the family they deserve.


This gay romance novel by Leta Blake is the second in the Slow Heat universe. It’s 130,000 words, with a strong happy ending and a well-crafted, non-shifter Omegaverse. It features alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. No cheating. Content warning for brief sexual violence.



May 15 – The Novel Approach, OMG Reads
May 19 – Love Bytes, My Fiction Nook, Cupcakes & Bookshelves, Mainely Stories
May 20 – MM Good Book Reviews
May 21 – Making It Happen, Dog-Eared Daydreams
May 22 – Bayou Book Junkie
May 23 – Mirrigold, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Diverse Reader, Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews, V’s Reads, Oh My Shelves, Lillian Francis, Sexy Erotic Xciting, Kimmer’s Erotic Book Banter, Gay Media Reviews
May 24 – Joyfully Jay

Check out Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ 5 star review here.
Author Bio



Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.


Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/letablake
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LetaBlake
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/letablake
Website: https://letablake.wordpress.com

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Release Blitz – No Luck by Kayleigh Sky (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: No Luck

Author: Kayleigh Sky

Publisher: Kiss Drunk Books

Cover Artist: Kayleigh Sky

Genre/s: Contemporary / Suspense

Length: 109,200 words/508 pages

Goodreads

It is a standalone story.

Blurb

Careful what you wish for…

Close to landing a role in a sitcom he hopes will show his father he isn’t a failure, Vane Riley loses everything when his boyfriend dumps him and his father dies. With nowhere to turn, he heads home to regroup and help his sister, Rose, keep the family diner afloat. Trying to ease his grief with a guy in a bar seems like a good idea until the guy can’t get rid of him fast enough. The last thing Vane expects is for his one-night stand to appear at his dad’s funeral with a quirky tarot reader on his arm and a romantic history with Rose.

Doug Moore is a widower who isn’t ready to move on, but he can’t seem to get the clumsy guy he met the night before out of his thoughts. After helping Vane get back into the car he somehow locked himself out of, Doug figured he’d never see him again and can’t believe his lousy luck when Rose’s loser brother turns out to be the hookup he can’t stop thinking about. Doug is determined to keep his distance, but when Rose hires him to renovate the family home Vane is now living in, there’s not much chance of that happening.

Though Doug wants nothing more than to resist him, Vane ticks all his boxes. Clumsy, needy, sexy and… Oh yeah. Paranoid. Not for a minute does Doug believe somebody is out to hurt Vane despite the strange accidents that have befallen him since returning home, but Vane is sure somebody wants him dead.

Doug is solid and steady. Vane is emotional and imaginative. Nobody’s trying to kill him. Doug is sure of it…

At first.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

http://smarturl.it/NoLuck2018

Excerpt

The interior was dark, lit mostly by the glow of the TV.

Doug was pretty sure the guy at the table beside him was sound asleep. The dreariness of the place hit him out of the blue, and he had a feeling he was just punishing himself by staying. There were other places he could be, even sitting in a movie theater with Dorcas if he’d thought about it. But that ball of energy in his chest had brought him here.

He let his chair tip down just as the entrance door swung open and somebody in jeans and a jacket with a hoodie underneath stepped inand promptly tripped. After he righted himself, the guy fixed what had to be a glare at the raised section of weather stripping across the threshold.

Doug lifted his mug, laughing into it before he took a drink.

The newcomer headed to the bar and stood at the corner until the owner finished with another customer and turned to him. Doug couldn’t see the guy’s face in the shadows, but he heard the owner say, “Yeah?” in a surprised tone and a few words in return. “Real quick… couple miles.”

Doug doubted the owner responded to whatever the guy was talking about. A useful reply would need more than the “You gonna buy somethin’?” he came up with.

Doug finished his beer and kept his eye on them. Maybe the owner made the guy nervous because the money he dug out of his pocket flew everywhere but on the counter.

“Shoot.”

The almost curse rang loud and clear. Doug grinned as the guy chased the rolling coins, picked up a couple, turned around, and bent over again.

Nice. Cute little bottom in those worn-out jeans.

Doug watched him step back to the corner of the bar and count his coins. The owner shook his head. Doug sighed, guessing the guy didn’t have enough money and the owner wouldn’t cut him any slack. What an asshole. Doug wasn’t coming to this place anymore. It had always been sketchy, but now it was a dreary, low-class dump.

He stood and strode to the bar. “Another one. For him too.”

The guy raised his head from his pile of money, and Doug got his first good look at his face. He startled. “Jesus, are you okay?”

The guy frowned, looking cute as hell as he tried to figure out Doug’s question.

Doug pointed at his own cheek. The poor light hid a lot, but he thought the guy blushed. And then he… giggled. A real-live giggle. Doug couldn’t help but laugh. Of all the weird things. Though from the twitches running through the guy, his giggle was clearly a result of his nerves. Doug liked that. Meg had been shy too.

“Kick-boxing.”

The words took a moment to register. Doug lifted the beer the bartender set down and motioned with his chin at the other one. The guy picked it up, nodded, and took a swallow. His sigh sounded happy.

“I didn’t think kicking people in the face was allowed,” Doug said. He didn’t for a minute believe the guy had gotten his bruises in a kickboxing match.

“Well, it was an accident. I’m kind of clumsy.”

No kidding. “Glad I have no interest in contact sports.” No, Doug was a baseball kind of guy and lazy about working out. His job was physical, and he put muscle on without even trying.

“I quit,” the guy said.

“Better part of valor,” Doug murmured.

A slow smile lit the guy’s face. “Caution is preferable to rash bravery,” he added to the quote. “You’re a Shakespeare fan.”

Doug hid his surprise with a nod. The guy was beautiful and charming and familiar, but Doug drew a blank trying to figure out where he’d seen him before. “Are you from around here?”

That changed things. The smile flattened, and the guy pulled back.

“Just visiting. My car broke down. Well, not actually broke down. I got out and dropped my keys.” He gave a blustery-sounding laugh. “Now I’m locked out.”

“I can jimmy it.”

The guy stared at him with his mouth half open. The pink of his tongue showed. Damn. Heat built between Doug’s legs. He shifted on his stool as his lust bloomed, a sensation he’d almost forgotten about. He hooked up with willing partners to expend some energy, but to be honest, attraction wasn’t usually a big part of it.

“Are you a car thief?” the guy asked, shrugging his jacket off.

“Right.”

The smile came back. “Just checking.”

The guy shifted to the stool between them and his hair swung, the dark ends brushing the tops of his shoulders. He tucked it behind his ears, then pushed up the sleeves of his hoodie. He had holes in his lobes but no earrings, and a tattoo of a sun done in black ink decorated the inside of a wrist.

Doug rocked forward, feeling the pressure on his balls, and set his elbow on the counter. “Drink up. I’ll take you to your car.”

The guy nodded. “That’d be great. I was going to call someone, but my phone’s broken.”

Of course it was. This guy screamed total disaster. “What’s your name?”

A whisper of a hesitation preceded his smile. “Ethan.”

Ethan. A nice name, but it wasn’t his. Or maybe it was his middle name. Interesting. Doug wasn’t afraid of him and didn’t think he was a psycho serial killer or anything. When it came down to it though, he probably couldn’t pick a serial killer out of a crowd to save his life. But this guy looked friendly, a little nervous, and a lot needy.

The perfect storm for Doug. He stuck out his hand. “I’m Doug.”

Warm fingers gripped his, and a jolt like a zap from a live wire shot up his arm and down his spine. Ethan’s mouth opened again, a slight part, the pink of his tongue a glimmer inside. “Nice to meet you, Doug.”

“You too.”

He wanted to do more than meet him though. He wanted to plant himself inside him. Ethan’s eyes widened as Doug stared at him, his pupils stretching to the edges of his irises. He flicked his lip with his tongue, picked up his beer, and chugged it.

“Want another?” Doug asked.

Ethan set his mug down. “Sure.”

Doug raised two fingers. “So whadda you do?”

“Write. I’m a writer.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Well, wannabe. I don’t have anything out, yet.”

“You will if you keep at it. That’s impressive. I have a tough time writing a two-page proposal.”

“What kind of proposal?”

“Job proposals. I own a construction company. We do mostly renos and additions.”

“Oh, that’s cool. Like the Property Brothers.”

Without the brother. Or the money. Or the fame. Doug nodded and pressed his lips into a smile. “Exactly.”

Ethan grinned. “I love those shows. I can barely use a hammer.”

“Somehow I think your thumbs thank you for not trying.”

Ethan gaped. Then he inhaled as though to speak but laughed first instead. “Okay. Okay. That’s probably true.”

His hand rested on the counter, and Doug wanted to touch it. The fingers lay flat, long, and slender. The thumb twitched, and Ethan curled it under his palm.

He was elegant and clumsy. And interested in Doug. Heat glowed in his eyes.

Doug pointed a finger at the beer. “Finish up. Let’s get out of here.”

Ethan swallowed. “Yeah. Okay.”

After he drank the rest of his beer and tugged his coat on, Doug gestured to the back door. “This way.”

They went down a short hall to a door painted the same black as the walls. Doug opened it and looked back. A hesitant smile greeted him and a flutter of panic stirred in Doug’s belly. Too sweet.

He knew with perfect certainty he should bail and also that he wasn’t going to.

About the Author

Kayleigh Sky is an m/m romance writer of complex stories of love and redemption that always end in happily ever after. Love matters, and everyone counts.

Peace.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook Author Page

Facebook Profile

Twitter

Pinterest

 Instagram

Giveaway 

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A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Angels Rising (Heaven Corp #3) by CC Bridges

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Better to reign in hell….

Uriel 3019 has been a cybernetically altered angel since he volunteered for the program fifteen years ago. His devotion to the floating city of Heaven is fierce, and he’ll follow any command he’s given. But Uriel’s orderly world is crumbling. Angels are going mad, even hurting people. Some are rebelling, and the noble families are vying for control—by any means necessary.

Uriel’s latest assignment brings him into a secret society, where his partner, Raphael, is working for freedom and equality for all angels. Could their group be responsible for the angels’ recent erratic behavior? Uriel is determined to find out—and report on his findings. But he doesn’t count on Raphael’s confession—that he has feelings for Uriel—or the memories slowly starting to return from the time before he became an angel.

Is he on the right side? Does he dare to stand against Heaven, even if doing so will save his fellow angels from becoming soulless automatons? Uriel has to decide if his loyalty belongs to his superiors… or to the angel who’s stolen his heart.Angels Rising is the third (and final?) installment of the Heaven Corp series. As such, it doesn’t work as a stand-alone. A lot has happened and you really do need the previous books to understand this one.

In this book, we learn even more about Heaven and how the people live up there. This time, the focus is on the angels and their day to day lives. How their halos influence their personality and what happens if they malfunction. It was fascinating to explore just what happens when you turn a perfectly normal human into a cybernetically engineered being with no real emotions other than unquestioning obedience.

The romance is rather slow and our two protagonists have a lot of obstacles to overcome. Especially Raphael is very new to the whole relationship business. But when they finally do get around to do more than just lust after each other, it’s damn hot. Unlike in book two, there are no BDSM elements between these two. But the author definitely knows how to write great sex scenes.

While the sex was scenes were great, I did struggle a bit to actually feel the love between them. Maybe it was because there was so much else going on and all the secrets they kept from each other and everybody around them, there simply wasn’t all that much space left for the romance.

This book is packed full with action. We have spying and double agents and betrayal and lots and lots of secrets and ominous things going on. And then of course there are Uriel’s returning memories and the guilt he now has to face because of what he did as an angel. It’s addicting, really.

The ending was very unexpected with quite a twist. I really didn’t expect that.

If you liked the previous two books, I’m sure you’ll like this one too. I really enjoyed the whole series and “Angels Rising” is a great final installment. Read it!

I’m not a huge fan of the cover by L.C. Chase, tbh. The wing is gorgeous but otherwise it’s a bit generic. The colours are gorgeous, though.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book details: ebook, 200 pages

Published May 22nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

A Barb Release Day Review: A Little Side of Geek (Geek Life) by Marguerite Labbe

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

It amazes me how some authors can take a handful of words, craft them in a certain way, and produce a novel that can bring characters to life, evoke emotions, and leave a reader thinking about them for days afterward.

In this tale, geeky comic book artist Morris Proctor is perfectly happy living with his cat and his art. Give him some easily heated convenience food or pizza delivery and he’ll rarely need to leave his house. Except, of course, for the cons he attends—not as a gamer or cosplayer—but as an exhibitor where he sells his artwork and comic books, and commissions art and logo designs.

He’s surprised to realize one day that he’s never met his upstairs neighbor who is apparently never home. Either that or the guy is home for only the few hours Morris sleeps or spends at cons. But his cat ends that one day when she escapes and runs right into the handsome neighbor. As Morris later describes him, Theo Boarman is adorkable and he’s also a chef who runs his family’s restaurant, trying to keep to the spirit and ambience in which his parents founded it. He’s also got custody of his teenage brother—a situation that sadly came about when they lost both their parents a year ago.

Totally opposite in appearance as well as temperament, it’s hard to believe that the young, tall, black geek who wears kilts and lives in the world of comics, games, and cosplay could possibly ever get together with the young, short, white chef who doesn’t even know the difference between Marvel and DC Comics. Add to that their crazy schedules and the fact that neither wants to make any kind of commitment, and it seems impossible that these two could ultimately get together.

Marguerite Labbe takes the time to build the character of both men, using opportunities to fill in back stories cleverly, while giving us a view of current relationship-building. The men do not jump into bed together quickly, nor do they take their relationship lightly, and yet at the beginning, neither thinks of it as any more than friendship with sexual benefits.

That changes over time, however, as their lives become entwined and the ripples of their partnership extend out to include their friends and family members. Without even realizing it was happening, Morris and Theo have become a team and provide the unconditional love and support each need for completion.

An outstanding story with an outstanding cast of characters, I can’t wait to read the next in the series. Why not a full five stars? Well, there’s a quirky, seemingly out of place chapter from a secondary character’s POV that doesn’t go anywhere. It felt odd reading it and even odder afterward when it didn’t connect to any other chapters, though now that I’m at the end of the book I suspect it was intended to plant a seed for book two. There are better ways. This one pulled me from the story and left me with a big question mark hanging over my head so I just have to take off at least a quarter point.

All in all, however, and despite that, I absolutely very highly recommend this story. Gamers? Don’t miss it? Lovers of a slow burn romance? This is the one. Plus, tag it interracial, men with children, and hurt-comfort. This book has it all. It’s definitely also going on my Best of 2018 list. 

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The cover by Kanaxa is symbolic of a comic book in the background and features a photo of a young black man, with dreadlocks and eyeglasses, dressed sharply in a lightweight jacket and black pants. It’s possible the black pants are the black kilt the MC wears in the story and if so, the cover would serve as a spot-on description of Morris, the comic book artist.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 306 pages
Expected publication: May 22nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640804746
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesGeek Life #1

A Alisa Release Day Review: Rogue in the Making (Studies in Demonology #2) by T.J. Nichols

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

The blood sacrifices have brought rain to Demonside, but across the void, the Warlock College of Vinland is still storing and gathering magic, heedless of the warnings of the international magical community. The underground is full of warlocks who disagree with the college, but do they care about wizards and demons or only about snatching power?

With a foot in each world, Angus is no longer sure whom he can trust. The demons don’t trust humans, and even though he is learning more magic, he will never be one of them. He is human and only tolerated. Some demons would be happy to slit his throat. It’s only because his demon is powerful in his own right that Angus is alive.

Saka only has a year to prove that Angus’s people can change and that the magic taken will be rebalanced, but the demons want action. His affection for Angus is clouding his judgment and weakening his position in the tribe. Time is running out, and he must make a choice.

I was so excited to see Angus and Saka again and I was disappointed.  This story was just as in depth and thought out as the last one.  This story seems to pick up just after the last book when Angus and the trainees are in demonside following Angus’ injury.  This book was even more trying for these characters as they continue to try and help both worlds.

The story’s focus was still primarily on solving the problem of rebalancing the magic in Demonside and fixing the problems in Vineland but we continue to see Angus and Saka’s relationship blossom and Angus continue to grow his relationship with Terrance in the human world.  Angus is torn between them both but also trying to decide how to deal with the growing doubt he has in the underground.

We got to see both Angus and Saka’s points of view throughout the story.  Both were torn between the one they loved and doing what is “right” for their people.  Saka continues to have push back from others in his tribe while he is trying to keep the peace and mend the rift between the two worlds.  I felt the most for Angus because he seemed to be having to have so many different faces depending on who he was talking to he always seemed to have to stay on guard for one reason or another.  As I see this story continue it makes me even more anxious for the next book to come out for a conclusion.

Cover art by Catt Ford is wonderful and connects well with the setting of the story.

Sales Links: DSP Publications | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 284 pages

Published: May 22, 2018 by DSP Publications

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-452-4

Edition Language: English

Series: Studies in Demonology #2

​Hans M Hirschi on his new release Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm by ​Hans M Hirschi (author guest post)

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Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm by ​Hans M Hirschi
Releasing date: May 21, 2018
Pages: Approx. 200, 67K words
More info: http://www.hirschi.se/the-books/morning-calm/ (buy-links, trailer)

Hans M Hirschi writes a new novel and bridges cultural divides between East and West.

Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm is the eleventh novel by author Hans M Hirschi. In it, he explores the life of an 84-year-old African-American Korean War veteran who is reminded by new friends of a man he once loved back in Seoul. As he thinks more and more about that first love, he begins to contemplate his life and suddenly wonders if he’s still alive. From there, the thought of actually traveling to Seoul to find out isn’t far… We asked the author a few questions:

Hans, you live in Sweden yet write in English, about an African-American war veteran in upstate New York…

HMH: Is there a question? LOL Guilty as charged. I can’t really say why Martin is a black man, I can only hope to have done him justice. As for the Korean connection, I think the increasing tensions along the Korean border last year somehow pushed a button in my subconscious. I have been to Korea in the past, on business and on vacation, and developed a special connection. It’s a beautiful country, an impressive culture, and the people are very kind and welcoming. It was interesting and helpful to go back to Korea just before the Olympics and follow recent geopolitical developments on the peninsula firsthand.

Martin is an old man, an octogenarian. Not something you read about very often in books. Yet this is the fourth time you’ve written about mature men. Are you obsessed with age?

HMH: Touché!?! I might just be interested in ageing, yes. I’m one of those
“mature” (odd word, but oh well) men myself. I’ll be fifty-one this summer, and all around me, the generation above me is thinning out. My grandparents are long gone, my husband and I have lost half of our parents, and the ones left are ageing rapidly and are affected by various ailments. So yes, ageing is on my mind a lot. Obsessed? I hope not.

On the other hand, as you say, there aren’t that many great characters who are older out there, and I think Martin’s story is both beautiful and inspiring. I think stories like his deserve to be told.

Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm tackles many different life aspects: culture clashes, racism, coming out, religious intolerance etc. Are you afraid you may have taken on too much?

HMH: I don’t think so. First of all, none of the topics you mention permeate the entire novel, but given that the story covers several decades, it’s inevitable for some topics to come up. Quite the contrary, I’d say it would be unrealistic to write about the gay world of the 1980s without mentioning the impact of HIV or to write about a black man in the U.S. without addressing racism and how it impacts the lives of the African-American communities. I think that the story simply reflects life, in all its glory as well as its darkness.

As for Korea, I think that most of us who do not live there or haven’t visited Korea know very little about it. I try to infuse a bit of knowledge about this beautiful country and show the reader a bit of its intricate culture. Once a teacher, always a teacher.

How did you do research for this book?

HMH: Most of my research, if not all, begins online, using the great resources available to us, from Wikipedia to niched blogs about trams in Seoul or sites dedicated to the Korean War. I use a lot of maps, images online, and I’ve been known to head to a library for books. Unfortunately, when it comes to non-fiction, libraries often carry old and sometimes obsolete books on certain topics. Ultimately, just as I had to last year for Last Winter’s Snow, I felt obliged to travel, and do research on-site. I visited many museums, looking for photographs of the war era, what the city looked like, but also how people lived back then, trying to get a sense of daily life in Seoul. I spent many hours poring over documents, talking to Koreans about life back then and now. I also had people read through the manuscript at various stages to make sure the story is a fair and realistic representation of the Korean people and their culture. While fiction, I find it important to reflect things accurately. I also spent a lot of time just walking through Seoul, taking in this metropolis, one of the biggest cities in the world, walking two marathons in four days. Interestingly, my days in Korea deeply impacted the story, not just the descriptions, but the plot and characters. For the better, I hope.

You call yourself a “feel-good writer.” Care to elaborate?

HMH: I have been looking for a genre to call mine ever since I began writing. My first published novel about a coming-out relationship was quickly adopted by romance readers. I never liked that label, simply because I never intended to nor actually did write romance. But in gay fiction, it’s impossible to avoid the romance genre, since it’s the dominant genre with over 90% of all published books belonging to that category. Most male writers of gay fiction who do not write romance struggle to be seen or to be

recognized for what they’re trying to achieve. Either because their stories are misunderstood, with readers only focusing on the romance aspect of the story, or dismissed because they don’t meet the expectations of what a real romance novel should be like.

That is true for my writing as well. I’m no romance writer. I explore relationships, not romances. I like to write stories that end well. Enough misery in the news. I like uplifting stories, but on the other hand, I try not to shy away from the darker aspects of contemporary (gay) life. Just because we can get married and start families legally (in some societies) doesn’t mean the struggle for true equality is over. It doesn’t mean that even those few of us fortunate enough to live openly and freely don’t have challenges to face. And for the vast majority of us, and the Korean example is indicative of that, marriage and openly lived relationships are still far from being a reality for most gay men.

To write feel-good, which is a widely used genre term in Sweden, despite the English term, simply means that you explore life but keep an optimistic outlook. You believe in the good of humanity and that things will get better. No light without darkness, and to see the light, you need to show people the shadows it casts. I may go darker than some, but my books always end on a positive, hopeful note. It’s why they call me the Queen of Unconventional Happy Endings. This is how I interpret feel-good, and I think it suits me well.

You mention Korea and the situation for the LGBT community in that country. Your book ends in a very particular way. Let’s not spoil it for your readers, but is there a reason why it ends the way it does?

HMH: Yes, and I don’t think I could’ve ended it differently and still remain true to Korea, which was important to me. I rewrote it at least three times and – unusual for being me – I wrote the ending early. It takes the current sociopolitical climate in South Korea into account, the developments in recent years, which are positive baby steps for the LGBT community, which include Pride parades etc. On the other hand, I also try to be mindful of the generational aspects, the fact that it is still a very conservative society, with a strong aspect of honor, particularly with regards to family. That’s about as much as I can say without spoiling anything…

One final question: your covers. They’re always so artful, so beautiful. Is there a message to them?

HMH: Thank you. I’ll make sure to pass your compliment on to my cover designer, Natasha Snow. I certainly like to think that we put a lot of thought into my covers, Natasha, my publisher and meI. Cover design is tricky. You want a cover that stands out among dozens of other thumbnails on Amazon, you want to make sure it’s not too

cluttered for the same reason, as most people first see a thumbnail, not the full-sized cover.

On top of that, I would like my covers to carry or convey at least aspects of the story. When I look at the final cover of pretty much all of my books, there are always details that will remind me of a particular scene. And that is my wish for my readers, to go back to the cover once they are finished with the book, and look at it again. This time, they’ll see that both the sunlight and, the scene in the foreground as well as the mountain in the background are significant with regards to some key scenes. I very much like this cover myself.

Synopsis:
“Martin is eighty-four years old, a Korean War veteran, living quietly in a retirement home in upstate New York. His days are ruled by the routine of the staff. In his thoughts and dreams, Martin often returns to the Seoul of his youth, and the lost true love of his life.
Two close friends urge him to travel back to search for that love. What awaits Martin in Korea, more than six decades after he left the country on a troop transport back to the U.S.?
Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm is a story of friendship, love, and family, in all its many shapes, across time, generations and cultures.”
Series: N/A, stand-alone
Genre(s): Contemporary fiction, LGBT, Feel-good
About the Author

I’m an author. I write books. I write about things that are important to me: family, parenting, children, our environment, our world. Contemporary, fresh fiction with unconventional, hopeful or happy endings. It’s what I like to read myself. I write because I don’t have a choice. There are so many stories in my head, constantly forming, constantly trying to get out. Feel free to have a look on the other pages to learn more, listen to me narrate from those stories, and – if you like what you see or hear – you can follow the links to buy them on e.g. Amazon.

I’m an author. But I’m also a fifty-year-old father who clings to the illusion of still being twenty-seven (my pen age!), despite my body’s daily wake-up reminders to the contrary. I’m married to the most amazing man, Alex, and together we have a beautiful four-year-old son, Sascha. I consider myself a citizen of the world, having lived on two continents and traveled extensively (a hobby) through another three. I have friends all over the world. When I’m not writing, I like to do public speaking or training (where I have my professional background). Oh, right, I do have a Facebook profile, too. Say hi. If it is of interest to you, have a look at my LinkedIn profile or our company’s website.

Thanks for dropping in, enjoy your stay and welcome back!

Hans M Hirschi

PS: You’re more than welcome to contact me. I don’t bite and I try to be nice to people.

DSP Dreamspun Promo E.J. Russell on Nudging Fate (Enchanted Occasions #1) by E.J. Russell

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Nudging Fate (Enchanted Occasions #1) by E.J. Russell
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art:  Aaron Anderson

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have E.J. Russell here today on her blog tour for Nudging Fate. Welcome, E.J.!

♦︎

 

Thanks so much to the lovely folks at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for inviting me over as part of the Nudging Fate blog tour, and giving me a few interview questions! Nudging Fate is my first full-length novel with Dreamspinner, and it’s another of my “paranormal romantic comedies.” To celebrate the release, at the end of the tour I’ll be giving away a $20 Amazon gift card and an ebook copy of Cutie and the Beast (another paranormal romantic comedy) to one lucky commenter.

Let’s get started!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

There’s always going to be something of myself in all of my main characters, even if it’s just a tiny reaction to some object or event—primarily because my own feelings and experiences are most familiar to me and therefore available to draw on.

For instance, Andy in Nudging Fate is a wizard when it comes to organization and logistics. I don’t claim to be quite as good at it as he is, but I’ve had my moments. My twin sons are professional dancers now, but when they were still in school, they studied at a local dance studio. When I say “local,” I’m speaking relatively: we live in the middle of nowhere and it takes us an hour to get anywhere.

At one point, before the boys could drive, they had class seven days a week. I had a full-time day job (although I was lucky enough to work remotely), so I’d work at home until it was almost time to pick them up from school. Then I’d throw as much snack food as I could find into a bag, pack up my computer, and go collect them. They’d consume all the food during our commute to the studio. After I dropped them off, I’d take my computer and hang out at the library or (after a Starbucks opened next to the studio) at the coffee shop and work until their classes ended and we could drag ourselves home again.

And it wasn’t only time I had to manage. My sons (especially DS B) were impossible when it came to keeping track of their possessions. I don’t think DS B ever kept a new jacket past the first month of the new school year. I can’t count the number of times we got back from a dance competition or convention missing at least one dance shoe (although that was better than showing up at the competition without the shoe—which also happened.) I recall one competition where each of them was performing in seven different routines—that meant seven costumes. Each. By the magic of addition, we know that makes fourteen costumes I had to inventory. Plus props. And hats. In hat boxes.

But on the plus side, unlike Andy, I never had to manage a goblin berserker (although if the food supplies weren’t up to the boys’ standards or requirements, it could be difficult to tell the difference!).

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

Absolutely! When I was about eight or nine, while staying with my paternal grandparents in a small town in rural Illinois, I read a book called Horace by Elizabeth Urquhart. It was the first British children’s book I’d read, and the first urban fantasy. Yes, it really was an urban fantasy! On the way to the greengrocer to buy mushrooms, a girl meets a baby dragon standing on the side of a bridge. She helps him get home and he invites her to tea. Adventures ensue.

I was enchanted.

I’ve written about that experience before (check it out here, if you’re interested: http://ejrussell.com/the-life-changing-book/), because reading it really did change my life. Can I admit that I’ve lived in breathless anticipation of being invited to tea by a dragon ever since?

And you want to know the coolest thing? Several years after I wrote that post, Elizabeth Urquhart herself (although her name is now a lot easier to spell) actually commented on it!

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I can deal with either one, but any book I read must have one or the other! I won’t read or watch anything these days that I can tell won’t end well. I need that guarantee. For instance, my Curmudgeonly Husband tried to get me to watch Breaking Bad, but I steadfastly said, “Nope. No way will that ever end well.”

That being said, I can only be completely satisfied with HFN (particularly if it’s a series with the same main characters over multiple books) if I know that HEA will show up eventually.

One of my favorite examples of total HEA crack is in Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me. She includes an epilogue that basically tells the future of all the main characters! It’s an HEA dream come true!

What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve got a contemporary novella called Mystic Man, part of the Dreamspinner States of Love collection, releasing next month. The state in question is Connecticut, where my Curmudgeonly Husband was born and raised and where I went to graduate school. I had a great time writing it, because it let me revisit so many of my memories of discovering Connecticut back in the day.

I’ve contracted the second book in the Enchanted Occasions series with Dreamspinner. It’s called Devouring Flame, and features Smith, the EO tech demon, and maybe someone else you’ll meet in Nudging Fate! It’s scheduled for release in December or January.

I’m working on another trilogy in the same universe as my Fae Out of Water series. It’s centered around a supe matchmaking agency called Supernatural Selection, and the first book (Single White Incubus) is currently in line edits and scheduled for October release.

I’ll also be self-publishing the novella, featuring an asexual magician and a genderqueer cyborg, that was part of the now out-of-print Magic and Mayhem anthology benefiting Gay Romance Northwest/Read with Pride Northwest. It was originally titled simply Sun, Moon, and Stars, but I’m planning another three novellas in the same universe, so this one is now called Partnership. Look for it in September—once I figure out how this self-publishing thing works!

 

 

 

Nudging Fate

An Enchanted Occasions Story

Not exactly a match made in Valhalla.

Half-norn event planner Anders Skuldsson is under strict orders from Asgard not to meddle with Fate. But with Enchanted Occasions’ latest booking—a competition for the hand of Faerie’s one true prince—crashing around his ears, it’s really difficult to toe that particular line. But if Andy pretends to be a contender for the prince…. It’s only temporary, so Odin can’t blame him. Right?

Conall of Odstone’s half-brother, Prince Reyner, was supposed to choose a mate before being crowned and wed. But the idiot left Con to impersonate him. Again.

When Con meets Andy, his anger turns to desire… and despair. Even if Andy forgives him for his imposture, how could someone eligible for a prince’s hand settle for the court outcast? And the double-deception isn’t their only obstacle. Unless Andy makes the right choice, their fates could be sealed by…well… Fate.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://mybook.to/nudging-fate

Universal: http://books2read.com/nudging-fate

Dreamspinner: http://bit.ly/ds-nudging-fate

About the Author

E.J. Russell–grace, mother of three, recovering actor–writes romance in a rainbow of flavors. Count on high snark, low angst and happy endings. 

Reality? Eh, not so much.

She’s married to Curmudgeonly Husband, a man who cares even less about sports than she does. Luckily, C.H. also loves to cook, or all three of their children (Lovely Daughter and Darling Sons A and B) would have survived on nothing but Cheerios, beef jerky, and Satsuma mandarins (the extent of E.J.’s culinary skill set).

E.J. lives in rural Oregon, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Website: http://ejrussell.com

Newsletter: http://ejrussell.com/newsletter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ej_russell

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

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/ej_russell

Bookbub author page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/e-j-russell

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ej_russell

RELEASE BLITZ: Face The Music by K.M. Neuhold (excerpt and giveaway)

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 FtM coming live banner

FACE THE MUSIC

K.M. NEUHOLD

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 05.20.18

FTM cover 

 

COVER DESIGN: K.M. NEUHOLD

 

Blurb:

Lincoln

I thought there was only one thing I needed to make me happy. I was so sure becoming a rock star would heal the dark corners inside me. But every time I walk onto the stage, with a roaring crowd screaming my name, all I can think about is the boy I left behind. All I want to do is rewind and make a different choice.

Jace

I thought I hated Lincoln when he ghosted me ten years ago and destroyed my heart. I thought I hated him when he wrote a chart-topping hit about our idyllic young love. But I’ve never hated him as much as I do right now, standing in front of me like he has every right to be in my world again. He’s not the rock god I thought he was…he’s still that same lost boy I used to love. Can I ever trust him with my heart again?

***Face the Music is the first book in the Replay series. Each book in the series will focus on a different band member getting a second chance at love. Each book can be read as a stand-alone. This book contains descriptions of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and sexy times.

 

FtM teaser 4

FtM teaser 7 

 

 

 

Excerpt:

The icy wind bites at my skin, but another swig of whiskey helps to chase the chill away. The air smells like snow. I do a mental calculation and realize it’s only two weeks until Christmas.

When I was a kid, I loved Christmas. This time of year felt so magical and joyful. The smell of cookies baking in the oven, the twinkling lights of the tree, making a wish list of presents you hope Santa will bring.

Another gulp from the bottle clenched in my numb fist. It stopped burning on the way down about a half hour ago, right around the time the far-off city lights started to blur.

There’s no magic now. My kitchen is empty of anyone baking any sort of treats. I can’t remember the last time I bothered to get a tree. They’re not much fun to decorate all on your own. Plus, what’s the point if no one else will be there to enjoy it with you? As for a wish list…there’s only one thing I’d put on that list and it’s something—someone—I had and tossed away too many years ago.

My legs are unsteady under me as I walk to the edge of my balcony to look down at the street below.

Certainly the fall would kill me. But who would care?

I can see the headline now…Rock star Jumps to Death from New York City Apartment.

But would they really care?

My bandmates might’ve cared a few years ago, before everything started falling apart, before we were at each other’s throats constantly.

If only I’d known the name of our band—Downward Spiral— would be so apt when we chose it. Maybe it was a bad omen, or a jinx. Maybe we were just cocky little pricks who were on top of the world and didn’t think anything could ever knock us off.

I wobble as I lean farther over the railing, testing the sturdiness.

I won’t really jump. That’s what I tell myself. That’s what I always tell myself when I get into these dark moods.

I try to lift the bottle to my lips again, but it slips through my fingers. I watch as it plummets downward and then shatters on the sidewalk below.

I teeter again against the railing before taking a step back and reaching into my pocket for a cigarette. I don’t even normally smoke, just when I’m drunk and sad.

I can only imagine what Jace would say if he could see me now.

KM Neuhold Logo

I’m an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.

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