BLOG TOUR for Red Zone by TS McKinney & Shannon West (excerpt and giveaway)

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RED ZONE

T.S. McKinney & Shannon West

Gay Romance, Contemporary New Adult, Sports Romance, & BDSM

Release Date: 03/15/19

Red Zone 1

BLURB

From the outside, it looks as if college football quarterback Kingston Bentley has it all—good looks, outstanding athletic ability and a 4.0 average in his classes. But looks can be deceiving. Kingston is battling inner demons that are jeopardizing his safety and slowly driving him to more and more acts of desperation. Everywhere he looks, he’s got nothing but trouble, and when he loses his coveted first-string position on the football team, he goes back to the one thing he can count on—cutting to relieve the pressure and the emotional pain.

The gorgeous new quarterback on the team, Memphis Sabine, is the Coach’s son, and under enormous pressure of his own to lead his new team to the national championship. For that, he needs Kingston’s help, and they soon become an unbeatable force both on the field. But when Memphis discovers Kingston in the act of cutting, he uses his forceful nature and all he knows about being a Dom to take Kingston in hand and ensure his welfare. Kingston loves the pain, but he rebels against the idea of being Memphis’s sub. As Kingston begins his training, however, Memphis discovers just how fragile their relationship really is, and how desperately he needs to help Kingston deal with the secrets from his past.

AMAZON US: https://goo.gl/9uvUkd

AMAZON UK: https://goo.gl/bn4gtN

RED ZONE BANNER

EXCERPT

I took hold of his wrist and held on, squeezing a little. “Who’s in charge here, fireball?”

I could see it trembling on the tip of his tongue to cuss me out and tell me to go to hell. His eyes got stormy and his face sullen, but I waited him out, pressing his wrist harder. “I’m waiting for an answer. I thought we’d already decided this last night. Now who’s in charge here?”

Finally, after what seemed like hours, but was really only a few, long seconds, he dropped his gaze. “You are,”he said, grudgingly. I loved his little hesitations. They told me this was hard for him, but he was doing it anyway, because I’d told him to.

“That’s right,”I said, my voice soft and coaxing. Sometimes it felt like I was encouraging some wild animal to come out of its hiding place in the shadows. “And what is it you have to worry about today?”

He looked up at me, a little blank at first, and then he got a nervous look in his eyes, like he’d forgotten something. I sighed and said, “The answer is nothing. You don’t have to worry about a damn thing because I got this for both of us. I’m making the decisions now and all you have to do is go along for the ride.”

ABOUT T.S. MCKINNEY

I have spent my entire life reading, reading, and reading some more! I love to get lost in the land of fantasy where I can be as naughty as I like without facing too many penalties! Earlier this year, I decided that maybe I should try writing my own naughty stories. That way I can do wickedly delightful things to my imaginary boyfriends without serving any serious jail time! My publishing company, Dark Hollows Press, has been awesome and most patient when dealing with their newbie.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2T8BkEV

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006245056875

ABOUT SHANNON WEST

Shannon makes her home in Georgia and North Carolina with her husband and family. She believes that love is love, no matter the gender. Shannon mostly spends her days at the keyboard trying to elude housework, which stalks her relentlessly.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2TOsKzN

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shannon.west.399

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Retro Review Tour and Giveaway for On Hands and Knees (The Valentino Family) by Sai Fox

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RETRO REVIEW TOUR

Book Title: On Hands and Knees

Author: Sai Fox

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Samantha Garrett

Release Date: June 1, 2018

Genre/s: Mystery, Thriller, BDSM

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 40 000 words/ 226 pages

It is the first book of a series, with additional books due to be released in the summer.

Add on Goodreads

Tagline

Valentino blood runs black.

Blurb

Nicolai Valentino is the almost perfect heir to the Valentino Family—impeccably dressed, devilishly handsome, impossibly cold, and absolutely dedicated to a family that scorns his very existence. Born to the infamous Boss and a Japanese woman of no consequence, Nico must fight for respect in a blood-thirsty world that would be much happier to see him with a hole in his head.

Blood runs thick in the Valentino Family. To them, Nico’s little better than water.

Gabriel Delatto is Nico’s right-hand man, his childhood friend, and under the darkness of their ruby red sheets, his lover. But more than that, Gabriel holds the secret to unlocking who Nico really is—the true Nico, not the mask beginning to crack around the edges.

But there is a pleasure in that pain, he knows. There is only ever pleasure when it comes to Nico, even if it comes from the crack of a whip or on the edge of a blade.

But there’s someone lurking in the darkness, something that neither Nico nor Gabriel truly understand. But there is one thing they do know—

It isn’t afraid to bite.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US 

Amazon UK 

 

About the Author

Sai Fox was born and raised in New York City, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that there’s an ever present coffee cup on her desk as she writes well into the night. A chronic insomniac, some of her best ideas come to her right before heading off to bed.

Currently residing in Tokyo, Sai finds most of her time spent writing, reading, and wandering the strange and intoxicating streets that tell thousands of stories… with a cup of coffee. There is always a cup of coffee.

Sai has been writing fiction for well over a decade, enjoying the ability to push boundaries of society and sexuality through her work.

 

Author Links

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Facebook

Twitter

 

RETRO REVIEW TOUR SCHEDULE

 

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Need New Books to Read? Check Out the Series Review Tour for The Speakeasy Series (Books 1 and 2) by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn (excerpt and giveaway)

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THE SPEAKEASY SERIES REVIEW TOUR

Series Blurb

Media mogul Jesse Murtagh and bartender Kyle McKee decide to go into business together and open Under Lock & Key, a speakeasy on the upper West Side of Manhattan. The bar, with its secret passphrases and craft liquor cocktails, becomes a sanctuary for Jesse and Kyle’s circle of friends, who gather once a month to catch up with each other and share their experiences.

Under is both hang out and haven for the men who spend time within its walls and their friendships build family ties that are sometimes missing from their own lives.

The stories can be read in order or as standalones.

BOOK 1

Book Title: With A Twist (The Speakeasy Book 1)

Author: K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn

Publisher: Pride Publishing/Totally Entwined Group

Genre/s: Contemporary, Romance, Gay

Heat Level: 4 flames

Length:  95,295 words/ 263 pages

Release Date: September 25, 2018

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Tagline

Love, served with a twist.

Blurb

Nursing a broken heart when his ex-boyfriend, Riley, leaves him for the love of his life, Carter, Will Martin throws himself into teaching at NYU and writing. An invite from Riley to a speakeasy called Under helps Will begin to heal, and he finds himself enjoying both the drinks and the company.

Soon after, he’s shaken by news of his father’s cancer diagnosis and Will reluctantly returns to Long Island to see the man who disowned him after he was outed.

Sparks fly when Will meets his father’s mentee, Republican Senator David Mori, who is both mixed race and openly gay. Will is looking for a no-strings-attached fling and David is leery of getting involved with his mentor’s son, so they keep their affair a secret.

As his father’s health worsens, Will elects to remain in Garden City and his relationship with David grows beyond casual sex. Now, both men must decide how to bridge the divide between them.

Buy Links

Amazon US  | Amazon UK  |  iTunes  |  B&N  |  Kobo  |  Google Play  |

24 Symbols  |  Thalia  |  Bol.de  |  August Roberton  | Mondadoristore

Excerpt

June 2014

Will Martin set down his empty mug and flipped to the next page of the New York Times. A familiar profile caught his attention and, despite his better judgment, he read the caption below the photo of two smiling and laughing men in tuxedos.

The year’s hottest gay couple cut a fine figure at the Met premiere last night. Riley Porter-Wright and Carter Hamilton are still going strong. The couple appeared oblivious to those around them as they talked during intermission. They were joined by the former Mrs. Hamilton, who seems to have forgiven Mr. Porter-Wright for stepping into her place. Also there was her new paramour, Robert… The ex-Mrs. Porter-Wright was nowhere to be seen. The couple have been spotted at—

Annoyed, Will threw the newspaper on the coffee table. Everywhere he turned there were reminders of his ex-boyfriend Riley’s happiness with his new love. Well, long-time love, really. Will had competed with Riley’s best friend, Carter, the entire time they’d been together.

But how could Will have competed with a man Riley had loved since college? Riley had left his wife to explore his bisexuality and Carter had ultimately done the same. Will had been foolish for thinking he could offer Riley more than a man who had known him for a decade and a half could.

Will scrubbed a hand through his hair and stood. I need a change of scenery right now, he thought and glanced around the living room of his stylish Manhattan condo.

His laptop screen glowed at him from his desk by the windows. He’d planned to take the morning off and enjoy the gorgeous early June weather, but with edits looming over him and reminders of Riley lurking around the edges of his consciousness, relaxation seemed out of the question.

“Fine, fine,” Will muttered under his breath. “Work it is.”

He filled his cup with coffee, doctored it with cream and sugar and took a seat at his desk. He pulled up his manuscript and scrolled to the place he’d left off—Bernard Schwartz’s appointment as Chief Counsel of the House Legislative Oversight Subcommittee.

Half an hour later, Will’s phone trilled on the desk and he blinked to clear the haze from his brain. Riley flashed across the screen. Speak of the devil, he thought, then immediately chastised himself. Riley wasn’t the problem. Riley loving Carter instead of Will wasn’t even the major issue. Will’s habit of falling for emotionally unavailable men then struggling to get over them was something he desperately needed to change.

Not wanting his ex to sense the turmoil in his head, Will made sure to keep his tone pleasant. “Hey, Riley.”

“Hey, Will. How have you been?”

“Good. Making solid progress on my book.” Will sat back in his chair.

“Oh, that’s right, you’re not teaching during the summer semester, are you?”

“No, I decided to focus on my writing. I’m in the midst of edits, so I’ll be spending the summer cursing at a computer screen while I try not to tear my hair out.”

“What a rewarding career,” Riley said teasingly.

Will chuckled and relaxed a little. He’d always enjoyed Riley’s sense of humor. “I must be a masochist for voluntarily subjecting myself to college students and editors.” Will taught legal history at New York University and had published a handful of well-regarded books on the topic. He suspected Riley hadn’t called to ask about his writing, however. “How’s work? Is your father still pretending you don’t exist at the office?”

“I think he’s hoping I’ll leave Porter-Wright Publishing, to be honest. He and Geneva were polite when Carter and I took the kids to the company picnic but I’m sure it’s only because they were afraid of looking bad.”

“Appearances above all else,” Will muttered. He and Riley had always had that in common. Although at least Will spoke to his mother occasionally and kept in contact with his sister, Olivia. Riley’s relationship with his parents was far worse. “How are things with you and Carter? And the little Hamiltons?”

“Really good.” Will could hear the smile in Riley’s voice. “We all spent last weekend in Southampton at the beach house.”

Riley sounded so happy every time they talked about Carter and his kids. Will’s heart ached, knowing he could never have made Riley that happy, but on the whole he was glad Riley had found the contentment he’d searched for.

“Anyway,” Riley interrupted his thoughts, “I called for a reason. You know Jesse Murtagh and Kyle McKee, right?”

“Vaguely. I met them at Carter’s birthday and Jesse again at your holiday party last winter.”

“Right. Well, they’re opening a speakeasy in a week or so.”

Will laughed. “A speakeasy? That’s intriguing.”

“It’s basically ready to go, and they’ve been inviting friends in to see it and try the cocktails. I called to see if you would like to meet me there tonight. I thought we could grab some drinks and catch up.”

“Just you?”

Riley hesitated. “No. Carter will be there with Jesse and Kyle. Along with six or eight of our friends.”

Will stifled a sigh. “Riley…”

“Hey, I know it’s going to be awkward. But it’s been six months. You and I are doing pretty well with our friendship. So, stop being a fucker and come.”

Will couldn’t prevent the laugh that escaped him. “Well, when you word it that way, how can I possibly resist?”

“No, I don’t mean to be glib. I know this isn’t easy for you, but I don’t want to lose you as a friend.” Riley sounded earnest. “I’m asking a lot, but I’d like for you to be able to hang out with all of us. And hey, maybe you’ll meet the perfect guy there.”

Will snorted. “I’m definitely not looking for the last part, but sure, I’ll come. What time and where am I meeting you?”

 * * * *

Later that evening, Will glanced around Lock & Key, a pub on the edge of the upper West Side in Morningside Heights, where Riley had arranged for them to meet. The floors were scuffed and slightly gritty under his feet and the tables and chairs had seen better days. The pub was entirely ordinary and not at all what Will had expected.

“Have dive bars become your thing?” he asked, mystified.

Riley laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. “This is not our destination for the night. Someone Kyle used to work with owns Lock & Key. The speakeasy is underneath.”

Will raised an eyebrow. “Under Lock & Key? Clever.”

“What can I say, my friends are punny.” Riley grinned. “Come on, follow me.” He strode to the end of the bar and opened an unmarked door. Will followed more slowly. At the end of a hallway was an old-fashioned phone mounted on the wall.

Riley picked it up and spoke. “Let me in, you fucker.” He fell silent for a moment then tipped his head back and laughed. “That is the passphrase, you jackass!”

Riley hung up the handset and turned to Will, merriment clearly written across his face. “Jesse,” he said, as if that was explanation enough.

In truth, it probably was. Jesse Murtagh was one of a kind. Part of a powerful media family in Manhattan, he was also pansexual and the biggest flirt Will had ever encountered. Not to mention charming and incredibly handsome—no wonder Carter had been attracted to him. Like Will, Jesse had been left in Riley and Carter’s wake once they’d decided to get together, but Will suspected Jesse had been far less affected.

“Are you coming down or what?” A door opened at the end of the hall and Jesse appeared, a smile lighting his face and making his bright blue eyes twinkle. He glanced over at Will and gave him an appreciative grin.

“Glad you could join us tonight, Will. You’re looking good.”

Will chuckled and stepped forward to offer Jesse his hand. “It’s good to see you too.” Irrepressible flirt notwithstanding, Jesse had a compelling presence. Broad shoulders capped off a tall, lean body and the closely-cropped beard he sported framed full lips. Not Will’s type, but easy on the eyes.

“Think you can manage to not storm off this time?” Jesse asked, raking a hand through his dark-blond hair.

Riley groaned. “Jes…”

Will smiled, despite his stab of discomfort at the reminder of the dramatic ending to his and Riley’s relationship six months prior at a Christmas party. Will had finally realized the futility of his feelings for Riley that night and caused a scene in front of a small group of their combined friends, including Jesse and Carter. Ugh. It hadn’t been one of his finer moments.

“I think I can behave tonight,” he said aloud. “So, a speakeasy, huh? What made you decide to open that?”

Jesse held open the door and allowed Riley and Will to precede him down another long, narrow hallway. “Why not? Kyle wanted to open a bar. We looked at a ton of locations and were bored by all of them, but when our friend Matt mentioned the space under Lock & Key, it all fell into place. Who doesn’t want to own an underground, secret bar?”

“I can’t say it’s ever crossed my mind,” Will admitted. They reached the end of the hall and Riley pushed open another unmarked door to reveal a stairwell. Although well-lit, the walls were painted black and totally bare.

“This is the problem with you, Will,” Jesse said. “You’re so buttoned up. You need to live a little.”

“Well I’m spending the evening at a speakeasy with you,” Will said as he followed Riley down the stairs. “Will that do for now?”

Jesse laughed. “Touché.”

Riley pushed open a door at the bottom of the steps and the sight of the bar rendered Will mute.

In sharp contrast to the run-down bar above, the speakeasy was stylish and welcoming. Open shelves on the walls were filled with bottles of liquor. Inlaid floors were topped with sleek leather and metal furniture, and candles in votives glowed on the tables. The mellow music and subdued lighting lent the space an atmosphere of sophisticated relaxation.

Astonished, Will glanced over at Jesse. “This is incredible. I’m impressed.”

“You have good taste, I’ll give you that.” Jesse grasped his shoulder and squeezed. “C’mon, let me get you a drink.”

As Will crossed the room to the bar, Riley slipped into a spot beside Carter on the leather sofa. Will tried to hide a wince as Carter reached for Riley’s knee and squeezed it without pausing in conversation.

“Wistful or vaguely nauseated?” Jesse asked as he took a seat on one of the bar stools.

Will glanced at him. “Excuse me?”

“Was the look because you wish you had that with Riley or because you’re grossed out by two people being disgustingly in love?”

“A little of both, I suppose.” Will had nothing against relationships, but they were starting to seem like a pipe dream for him.

A man appeared behind the bar and Will easily recognized him as Carter’s friend, Kyle.

“Will, right?” he said, holding out a hand. “Kyle McKee.”

“Yeah, hi. We met at Carter’s birthday dinner.”

Kyle smiled. “It’s nice to see you again.”

They shook and Will gave Kyle a once-over. Kyle was easily six feet tall, with broad shoulders, thick dark hair trimmed short on the sides, and heavy but well-groomed brows over dark eyes. Unlike Jesse, Kyle was very much Will’s type. Except for the suspenders he wore over his crisp gray shirt and his rolled-up sleeves. Kyle pulled them off better than most, but the look screamed hipster too much for Will’s tastes.

“Great place you have here.” Will glanced around. “I like it.”

“Thanks.” Kyle’s eyes crinkled at the corners when he smiled. “I’m pleased to hear it. A speakeasy wasn’t quite what I had in mind when I told Jesse I wanted to open a bar, but I’m glad I decided to go for it.”

Jesse grinned. “When will all of you learn my ideas are always brilliant?”

“Probably never.” Kyle turned back to Will. “So, what can I get you? We have a wide selection of beer, wine and cocktails.” He slid a leather-bound book in Will’s direction.

Will perused it for a moment before he closed the cover. “You know what? Surprise me. Make me a cocktail.”

“Hmm. I can do that. Anything you particularly dislike?”

“Anything too sweet. And Amaretto.”

Kyle scrutinized Will for a moment before his eyes gleamed. “Got it.”

Will watched with interest as Kyle pulled a glass out of the freezer and mixed together cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. A few moments later, Kyle poured it into a glass, topped it with a twist of lemon and slid the drink across the bar to him. “Sidecar. Tell me what you think.”

Will raised the glass to his lips and took a sip. He found the drink refreshingly cold and a perfect blend of sour and sweet with a fresh citrusy taste balanced nicely by the cognac. “That’s delicious.”

Kyle grinned. “Excellent.”

“C’mon.” Jesse picked up a tumbler filled with amber-colored liquid and a large spherical ice cube. It clinked pleasantly as he moved. “Let’s go hang out with the guys.”

The majority of the patrons were part of Riley and Carter’s group, spread out across two leather sofas and a handful of chairs that made a square seating area around a finely crafted wood coffee table. Riley leaned forward and set his martini glass down. Will placed his own drink on a table and pulled up a chair.

“Everyone, this is Will Martin. Some of you met him at Carter’s birthday and a few of you met him over the holidays. I’ll introduce everyone, though.”

Will gave him a brief smile. “Thanks.”

“You know Carter, obviously.” Carter nodded in greeting and Will returned it. “Next to Carter is his sister, Audrey.” A tan blonde woman gave him a smile over a martini glass filled with something frothy and yellow. “And Audrey’s husband, Max.” An attractive, bearded man with brown hair and light brown eyes raised a pilsner glass in greeting.

Riley continued around the circle. “Gale, Jarrod, Henry and Miles are friends of Carter’s.” The men waved and murmured their hellos.

“You seem outnumbered here, Audrey,” Will said.

She grinned at him. “I’m not complaining. My brother has some very good-looking friends.”

Her husband elbowed her. “What am I? Chopped liver?”

“Never, darling. But I see you every day.”

Kyle seated himself at an empty chair across the group. “You’re a law professor, right, Will?”

Will nodded and took a sip of his drink. “Yes, at NYU. I’m spending the summer working on my latest book.”

“What do you write?” Max asked. “I’d love to hear about it.”

Will chuckled. “You may regret you asked, but I’m currently writing about the Chief Counsel of the House Legislative Oversight Subcommittee.”

“So, political law then?”

“I couldn’t totally avoid the family business,” Will said dryly.

Audrey frowned. “You have a family member who’s a politician?”

“My father.” Will made a face. “And a Republican at that.”

“How does that work at family dinners?” Audrey asked. “I thought my parents and Carter were bad, but at least they’re not pushing discriminatory legislation.”

“I haven’t spoken to him since college, to be honest.” Will took a fortifying sip of his sidecar. “I see my mother and sister on occasion, but never when he’s around.”

Riley shot him a sympathetic smile.

“Sorry to pry,” Audrey said with an apologetic glance. “I’ve been battling my parents about them shutting Carter out and that’s difficult enough.”

“Ancient history.” Will waved off her apology. “What do you do, Audrey?”

“I chair several philanthropic organizations. And I recently got involved with PFLAG.” She exchanged a look with her brother.

Jesse leaned forward. “Beautiful and socially aware? Be still, my beating heart. If Max hadn’t met you first…” Jesse took a sip of his drink. “That goes both ways, Max.”

Max chuckled and Carter rolled his eyes. “We’ve had this discussion before, Jesse. No hitting on my sister or my brother-in-law, please. And definitely not both at once.”

A chorus of laughter rose. Riley chimed in with a humorous comment as Will relaxed back in his chair and sipped his drink, enjoying the banter flying around the room. He’d been far too antisocial since the breakup and he was glad he’d taken Riley up on his invitation.

 * * * *

A few hours later, Will reluctantly excused himself. He’d had a wonderful time and had enjoyed the witty conversation. It had left him feeling lighter and more relaxed than he had in a while. “I’m going to head home. I have an early game of racquetball planned with Charles tomorrow. I had a great night,” Will said. “Thanks for inviting me, Riley. Carter.”

“I’m glad you came,” Carter said with a nod. He offered Will a sincere smile that crinkled the corners of his hazel eyes and Will grudgingly admitted he could see Carter’s appeal. His jealousy had blinded him too much to appreciate Carter’s broad-shouldered, long-legged build and handsome face before.

Will said goodnight to everyone and Jesse stood to shake his hand. “Please come back any time. I’ll add your name to the list, so even if Kyle and I aren’t here, you’ll be let in. We do have a seat limit of forty and try to keep private events on the smaller side, but feel free to bring a friend or two. Especially if they’re hot and single.” He winked. “And maybe save that for when I’m here.”

“Jesse!” Carter sounded exasperated and Will couldn’t hide his smile.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said.

“We’re trying to turn this into a regular thing,” Kyle said. “Riley and I had the idea of meeting here the third Thursday of every month. Nothing formal, and if you can’t make it, no problem, but it would be great if you could join us.”

“I’ll try to make it,” Will said. “And thanks for a great evening. You make a mean sidecar.”

“Any time,” Kyle responded.

Will turned to leave. “I’ll walk you up,” Riley said. He fell into step behind Will.

“Tell Charles I said hi,” Riley said as they walked up the stairs.

“I will.”

“How are he and Gabe doing?”

“Good. They’re both pretty busy right now. Charles is teaching classes this summer and Gabe is looking into opening another restaurant.” Charles was an ex of Will’s, and one of his closest friends and a colleague at NYU. Charles had married Gabe the summer before, and Gabe owned a high-end Vietnamese restaurant in Tribeca, not far from Will’s home.

“You’re welcome to bring them to Under anytime,” Riley said. “If you think they’d be okay with that.”

Will pushed open the door leading into Lock & Key. “I’m sure Gabe will be. Charles is still holding a bit of a grudge,” he said. Will and Riley’s breakup had rocked Riley’s friendship with Gabe and Charles.

Riley sighed. “I deserve it.”

“No, I should talk to him. You and I have mended some fences. There’s no reason he needs to continue to shut you out.” Will walked through the exit of the bar and turned to Riley when they stepped onto the sidewalk out front. “Thanks for inviting me tonight.”

“I’m glad you came. I know it was asking a lot but—”

Will cut off Riley’s statement. “I meant it when I said I wanted us to be friends. You’re happy with Carter and I’m happy for you. Honestly, it’s been great hanging out with you guys and your friends.”

“I’m relieved to hear it,” Riley said with a smile. He leaned in, then hesitated and Will closed the distance to hug him.

“Have a good night, Riley.”

“Night, Will.”

Riley disappeared back through the door of Lock & Key and Will sighed. Hugging Riley left him with a bittersweet feeling, but he was glad he’d come to check out the speakeasy. And he’d meant it when he said he’d try to come back on Thursday evenings in the future. He’d needed some time to lick his wounds and recover, but his self-imposed isolation only made his loneliness worse.

He glanced up and down the street. There wasn’t a cab in sight so he pulled out his phone and brought up the Lyft app. He leaned against the wall of the brick building while he waited and a few minutes later a car slid to a stop in front of him.

Will made small-talk with the driver as the car traveled from Morningside Heights back to Tribeca. When they got caught in a traffic snarl near Central Park West because of a protest, Will took out his phone to kill the time. He was scrolling through articles on a news app when his phone vibrated in his hand.

Mom flashed across the screen and he hesitated before he accepted the call.

“Hey, Mom,” he answered.

“Will.” Agnes Martin’s voice sounded strained, with none of the usual groomed sophistication it typically held.

He straightened. “Is something wrong?”

“Will, your father…” Her breath hitched. “I have some news. Your father has been ill lately.”

Serves the old bastard right, Will thought grimly. “Ill?” he said aloud.

“Tired, losing weight, stomach pain. At first, we blamed his stress. He’s been working so hard lately—”

Yeah, probably passing more anti-LGBT legislation, Will thought.

“But when we noticed some yellowing of his eyes, we got concerned. We were hopeful it was a gallbladder issue, but after some testing, we were referred to an oncologist.”

His breath caught. OncologistShit. “He has cancer?”

“Yes. He has something called a—a non-functioning neuroendocrine tumor. Pancreatic cancer. It’s quite large and the doctors are concerned it’s spread to some nearby lymph nodes. It’s stage III and the—the prognosis isn’t good.”

Will took a moment to let the words sink in, but didn’t feel much of anything about the news. A wave of guilt washed over him. “I’m sorry, Mom,” he said gently. She loved his father and while Will had many, many issues with William Martin Sr. as a father and an elected official, he had always treated Will’s mother well. There had never been a hint of infidelity and after Agnes had suffered a serious car accident years ago, Bill hadn’t left her side until she’d recovered. “I know how hard this must be for you.”

His mother sniffled. “I can’t lose him. I know you and your father have your…differences but—”

“We don’t have differences,” he retorted. Any goodwill he’d felt dissipated. “He detests me. He thinks I am less deserving of the same basic human rights he affords everyone else. That’s more than an ideological difference, Mom, that’s a complete lack of respect for me as a human being.”

“Come to Garden City,” she blurted out and the words rang in his ear for several seconds before he could process them.

“What? You must be kidding,” he said. “You can’t think I’d come to Long Island to sit by his deathbed and hold his hand.” He winced. His cruel words served only to remind Agnes her husband was probably dying. “I’m sorry, Mom, but I can’t do it. I can’t pretend like everything is fine between us. We haven’t spoken in over ten years and it’s not only because I’m pissed at him. He’s the one who cut me out of his life, remember?”

“He wants you here,” she said softly. Agnes had used the same tone during Will’s years growing when she tried to get him to do something he didn’t want to do.

Will sat back in his seat. “Really?”

“I asked him if you could come home and he said yes.”

Well, that was more plausible than Will’s father specifically asking for him to come home. He sighed. “I-I don’t know. I suppose I could come for a long weekend or something. School’s out and I could work on my edits while I’m there.”

Agnes went silent for a moment. “I hoped you’d stay longer. Your father is undergoing surgery next week, but it’ll be exhausting for all of us. If the surgery doesn’t work, we may only have a few months left with him.” Her voice broke.

“You want me to spend the entire summer in Long Island?” he asked, incredulous.

“Please, Will. If you won’t come for your father, come home for Olivia and me. Your sister and I need you. We can’t do this alone.”

Will glanced out of the window, surprised the bright lights of the city were blurred by tears. He wasn’t sure who they were for.

“I’ll think about it, Mom.”

BOOK 2

Book Title: Extra Dirty (The Speakeasy Book 2)

Author: K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn

Publisher: Pride Publishing/Totally Entwined Group

Genre/s: Contemporary, Romance, Gay, GLBTQI

Heat Level: 4 flames

Length: 88 944 words/ 345 pages

Release Date: March 26, 2019

Add on Goodreads

Tagline

Love, served extra dirty.

Blurb

Jesse Murtagh loves his life as a wealthy bisexual businessman dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure. With a circle of friends he trusts implicitly, he enjoys a successful career in his family’s business and as co-owner of Under, an uptown speakeasy, with his friend with benefits, Kyle McKee.

Music teacher and part-time DJ Cameron Lewis lives modestly in a DUMBO loft and isn’t interested in serious relationships. However, he’s always up for some casual fun.

Doing a favor for his friend Carter Hamilton, Jesse meets Cam and is immediately charmed. When Jesse discovers Cam’s other life as a DJ, he is further intrigued. Viewing Cam as a challenge, Jesse pulls out all the stops, but his usual methods to avoid serious relationships fail. Though Cam has no intention of becoming attached, he begins to fall for Jesse, unaware that Jesse’s feelings are changing.

Afraid of heartbreak, Cam pulls away, leaving Jesse bewildered and hurt. They remain friends until a series of misunderstandings widens the rift to breaking point. When Cam steps in to help Jesse through a family crisis, they realize they care for each other more than they’ve been willing to admit. Jesse and Cam don’t want a traditional relationship, but can they build a future that makes them both happy?

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Apple iStore  |  B&N  |  Kobo  |

Excerpt

April 2015

Jesse Murtagh set down the packet of financial statements he’d been reviewing and smiled. He was seated in the back office of Under, a speakeasy in Morningside Heights, and life was good.

With Under approaching its one-year anniversary, the bar’s earnings surpassed expectations each quarter. They boasted a full guest list every night, and Under appeared as a “must visit” on New York’s fashionable lifestyle blogs and guides. Business was booming. And its success meant everything to Jesse and his business partner, Kyle McKee.

In addition to being Under’s co-owner, Kyle also happened to be one of Jesse’s favorite people in the world and one of his favorite partners in bed. Jesse would bet he’d find Kyle out in the speakeasy right now, too, readying the place for opening.

Jesse got to his feet. He locked the papers in the desk, then exited the office and moved toward the long bar that ran the length of the room. Under had a masculine, sophisticated vibe. Sleek leather seating areas dotted the room and open shelves lined the walls, backlit with amber lamps that cast a warm glow over bottles of rare and high-end liquors. On a typical evening, house music throbbed through the air by now, but Jesse and Kyle were holding a private party tonight, and silence reigned, save the sounds of Kyle at work.

“Hey, gorgeous,” Jesse drawled. “When did you get here?”

Kyle glanced up at Jesse’s approach. He smiled and the quirk of his full lips sent a ripple of heat through Jesse’s body.

“About an hour ago.” He shrugged easily. Kyle had dressed in black, as he always did for work, and rolled his shirtsleeves up to the elbow. His muscled forearms flexed as he polished a rocks glass. “I saw Matt upstairs when I came in. He told me you were here, but I figured you’d be busy counting the money. Thought I’d leave you to it.”

Jesse rounded the bar with a laugh. “You know me too well.”

Opening the speakeasy had been a departure from his usual business of running a growing regional media conglomerate with his family. Jesse had never even worked in a bar or restaurant, let alone owned one. But Kyle had mentioned the idea of opening a bar one night over dinner and drinks, and the way his dark eyes had shone had captured Jesse’s fancy.

Jesse had mulled the idea over for several days, then brought it to his brother, Eric. He’d hoped Eric would talk him out of it and had thrown up his hands when Eric merely smiled.

’I’m not sure who you think you’re fooling, Jes,’ Eric had said. ‘I can already tell you’ve made up your mind to do it.’

And so, Jesse had found himself working with his accountants and his lawyer to create a business proposal. Within two weeks of that fateful dinner, he’d presented it to Kyle. They’d celebrated by screwing each other senseless, then started scouting for a location the very next day.

Jesse stepped up behind Kyle now and molded himself against his body. He wound his arms around Kyle’s waist, careful to avoid the glass in his hands.

In many ways, Kyle appeared to be Jesse’s opposite. His elegant, clean-shaven features and dark hair contrasted with Jesse’s short beard and dark-blond, blue-eyed coloring. Jesse broadcasted his emotions, whereas Kyle was more reserved. Both men stood at six feet and were built long and lean, like runners. But where Jesse could be coltish in his movements, Kyle’s were deliberate and graceful. Kyle, Jesse liked to say, had found his Zen.

Jesse nuzzled the side of Kyle’s neck. “I take it last month’s numbers are good?” Kyle’s voice went low and throaty.

“Indeed.” Jesse pulled him closer. He angled his hips and pressed his groin against Kyle’s muscular ass, and his body paid immediate attention to that firm heat. “The numbers are so good, in fact, I think we should celebrate.” He pressed a lingering kiss to Kyle’s throat.

Kyle leaned back into him with a rumbling noise. He set the glass he’d been polishing on the bar. “What did you have in mind?”

“Next weekend off—Masen can handle things in your absence.”

“Well, he’ll like that.”

Kyle sounded amused. They’d hired Masen Jones earlier in the year to help out, and he’d quickly become Kyle’s right-hand man.

“A whole weekend, though… I don’t know, Jes.”

Jesse dropped one hand and palmed Kyle through his trousers, and, oh, yes, he was hard. Kyle let out a soft gasp.

“Friday and Saturday, then,” Jesse bargained. He closed his eyes, heat flashing under his skin as Kyle pushed back and ground against him. “We’ll go to that club in Chelsea you told me about.”

“Oh, fine.” Kyle turned in the circle of his arms. “I’ll bring Jarrod and Gale as backup,” he added, then looped his arms around Jesse’s neck. “They can walk me home after you find someone to disappear with.”

Jesse grinned. “You really do know me too well,” he murmured and covered Kyle’s mouth with his own.

The kiss deepened and Kyle groaned. Jesse palmed him again, his touch rough, and pressed Kyle backward hard into the bar. Kyle’s cock twitched under Jesse’s hand, and he broke away with a sharp inhale.

“Jesus.”

“Jesse will do.”

Jesse let Kyle go and leaned back enough to get his hands on Kyle’s belt. Desire pulsed through him. Quickly, he opened Kyle’s trousers and pushed the dark fabric down his legs. Kyle’s eyes were wild when Jesse looked up again and a flush stained his cheeks and neck. He uttered a soft moan as Jesse sank to his knees.

Jesse kissed Kyle’s thighs. He kneaded the soft, fair skin with his hands and dragged Kyle’s boxer briefs down. Kyle sighed as his cock slipped free of the underwear and jutted up onto his abdomen.

Jesse pressed his face into the juncture between Kyle’s thigh and groin and inhaled the smell of almond-scented soap and sweat and man. “Damn,” he said, his voice low. “You always smell so good.”

Kyle ran his hands over Jesse’s head, then twined his fingers into his short hair. That possessive touch sent a jolt of lust zigzagging down Jesse’s spine. He loved it when Kyle got rough.

Shifting, he held tight to Kyle’s hips and opened his mouth at the base of his cock. He slowly dragged his tongue along its length.

“Oh, God.” Kyle’s low whisper set a fire in Jesse’s belly.

He licked and teased the shaft before he ducked down and caught Kyle’s balls with his tongue. He lavished them with attention until Kyle moaned steadily, then looked up and locked eyes with him. The dazed bliss on his face made Jesse’s dick throb.

“Suck me,” Kyle rasped out.

Jesse pulled back. He braced one arm across Kyle’s abdomen and wrapped his free hand around his base. Very, very slowly, he slid his lips over Kyle, reveling in the bittersweet taste and weight of the hard, velvety flesh on his tongue.

He took Kyle deep and waited until his nose brushed the curls of hair on his groin before he swallowed. Kyle’s eyes went wide. Jesse pinned him against the bar, and he bucked his hips forward, a strangled noise tearing out of him.

Kyle tipped his head back as Jesse sucked. He closed his eyes and swore, and his ragged tone went straight to Jesse’s groin. Jesse dropped his free hand and palmed himself, past caring if he shot in his pants.

He worked Kyle hard with his mouth until a shudder racked his frame. Jesse moved the arm pinning Kyle’s hips, which left him free to fuck Jesse’s mouth. Kyle opened his eyes again and stared at Jesse, his gaze filled with fire. He started to thrust and desire rattled down Jesse’s spine. He groaned with need and closed his eyes when Kyle gasped.

“Gonna come, Jes,” Kyle said, his voice rough and desperate. He tensed at Jesse’s moan. Then Jesse pressed the fingers of his free hand into the soft skin behind Kyle’s balls, and Kyle fell apart with a cry.

He tightened his grip on Jesse’s hair and his knees buckled. Jesse used his shoulder to hold Kyle up. His balls tightened as Kyle pulsed in his mouth, and he swallowed, tasting bitter and salt.

Kyle’s panting breaths echoed through the silent bar. Jesse pulled off, his head swimming, and Kyle freed his shaking hands from Jesse’s hair. He bent and hauled Jesse to his feet, and Jesse stumbled and clutched at Kyle.

“You okay?” Kyle asked with a smile.

“Dizzy. And I wanna fuck you right now,” Jesse muttered. Jesus, he needed to come. He pulled Kyle in for a messy kiss and ground his erection against Kyle’s thigh until Kyle broke away with a breathless laugh.

“I think we’ve violated enough health codes for now,” Kyle said. “Besides, we don’t have any lube or rubbers.”

“There’s some in the office.”

“We used them up last weekend.”

Jesse whined and rutted harder into Kyle. “Fuck.”

“I said no,” Kyle scolded, his tone playful and his brown eyes gleaming. He pulled his trousers up. No sooner were they buttoned than he sank to his knees and reached for Jesse’s belt. “Lucky for you, there’s time for me to suck you off and clean up.”

Kyle worked Jesse’s fly open and leaned in. He spread his palms over Jesse’s thighs and mouthed him through his boxer briefs. Goosebumps rose along Jesse’s arms at the press of damp heat and cotton against his erection. Leaning forward, he braced his hands against the gleaming bar, arrested by the sight of his friend. Kyle shut his eyes and nuzzled Jesse through his clothes. His long, dark lashes fanned over his fair skin, and his lips were parted and wet. He looked unbelievably erotic.

Jesse cupped his jaw. “Mmm, baby.”

Kyle opened his eyes. He hooked his fingertips under the waistband of Jesse’s boxer briefs, then pulled his trousers and briefs down. Jesse hissed. He bit his lip hard when his cock sprang free, and Kyle swallowed him down.

Jesse’s world exploded in a roar of pleasure that wiped his mind clean.

Life was very good indeed.

About the Authors

K. Evan Coles

K. Evan Coles is a mother and tech pirate by day and a writer by night. She is a dreamer who, with a little hard work and a lot of good coffee, coaxes words out of her head and onto paper.

K. lives in the northeast United States, where she complains bitterly about the winters, but truly loves the region and its diverse, tenacious and deceptively compassionate people. You’ll usually find K. nerding out over books, movies and television with friends and family. She’s especially proud to be raising her son as part of a new generation of unabashed geeks.

K.’s books explore LGBTQ+ romance in contemporary settings.

Author Links

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Brigham Vaughn

Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time writer. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga.  She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

Her books range from short stories to novellas. They explore gay, bisexual, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.

Want to stay up to date and be notified of Brigham Vaughn’s latest releases? Sign up for the Coles & Vaughn Newsletter here.

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Weather Themed Stories and Spring.This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Weather Themed Stories and Spring.

 

Stories written about wild weather and romance just seem to go together.  People stranded in cabins by storms, snowy or otherwise.  Men tested by nature at her most tumultous, high winds, floods…even wildfires.  I’ve read novels with those as themes.  Avalanches too. Several publishers, MLR Press and JMS Books LLC actually have series that are weather themed if you aren’t already aware of them.

For JMS Books, just search Snowed In and 17 books pop up, all by different authors, all with the same theme.  Why?  Because using one weather related topic works.  Authors can take one overall theme and run with it in their own way as these did.  As far as I know this is the first year they did this.

But MLR Press has been doing it for years with their Storming Love series with different topic series like Blizzards and Hurricanes.  Plus authors that run their own group of stories with seasonal topics like this one (they also have a winter, fall, and summer story as well) :

Spring Leaves by A.J. Llewellyn and D.J. Manly

I won’t go into winter stories.  Those blend into the holiday stories too easily.

But Summer and Spring?  Yes, maybe not because of the weather but definitely because of the season.

Can you name some weather or season named or themed stories?

Send them into us…..let’s see how many we can end up with.  There just might be a gift certificate for the person who sends in sthe most names.

Next week?  Back to our narrator questionnaire!

Happy Reading and Listening!

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 24:

  • 99c Book Blast – Distant Cousins by Eric Huffbind
  • Weather Themed Stories and Spring.This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, March 25:

  • Series Review Tour – The Speakeasy Series – Books 1 and 2 by K. Evan
  • Retro Review Tour – On Hands and Knees by Sai Fox
  • BLOG TOUR Red Zone by TS McKinney & Shannon West
  • A MelanieM Review: On Hands and Knees (The Valentino Family) by Sai Fox
  • A Lucy Review: Cameron & Rylan (A Chance Meeting #1) by Valerie Ullmer
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Horizon Points (The Galactic Captains #3) by Harry F. Rey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Heated Rivalry (Game Changers #2) by Rachel Reid

Tuesday, March 26:

  • Release Blitz (ANT)OFF THE ICE by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
  • Blog Tour ALL SOULS NEAR & NIGH (SOULBOUND #2) by Hailey Turner
  • Blog Tour – Black by Quin Perin
  • An Alisa Review Pros & Cons of Deception (Pros & Cons #2) by A.E. Wasp
  • A Stella Review: How Not to Break (Lovestrong #3) by Susan Hawke
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Better Be Sure (Harrison Campus #1) by Andy Gallo
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Extra Dirty (The Speakeasy #2) by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn

Wednesday, March 27:

  • Review Tour Request – Elin Gregory – Midnight Flit
  • Release Blitz Cameron & Rylan (A Chance Meeting Novel Book)
  • Release Blitz – Scott by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • BLOG TOUR Wicked Games by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • An Alisa Review Cameron & Rylan (A Chance Meeting #1) by Valerie Ullmer
  • An Ali Review: Loose Lips & Relationships (Flaming, MO #1) by A.J. Rose and Kate Aaron
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: Modern Gladiator (Modern Gladiator #1) by S.A. Stovall
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Party to Murder by John Inman

Thursday, March 28:

  • Uncomplicated by KM Neuhold Blog Tour
  • Blog Post Request – The Demon Lord of California – Jeanne Marcella
  • Release Blitz – Quinn Ward’s Kiss Me, Daddy
  • DSP PROMO Sean Michael
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Chip and a Chair by Cordelia Kingsbridge
  • A MelanieM Review: Uncomplicated (Inked #2) by K.M. Neuhold
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Time Taken (Out of Time #3) by C.B. Lewis
  • An Alisa Review An Extra Alpha (Pine Wood Falls #2) by Sarah Havan

Friday, March 29

  • Cover Reveal – Bryan T. Clark – Escaping Camp Roosevelt
  • BLITZ Fracture by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
  • PROMO S.A. Stovall
  • A VVivacious Review Red Zone by TS McKinney & Shannon West
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: His Kindred Spirit (States of Love) by Sloan Johnson
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Wanted – Bad Boyfriend (Island Classifieds #1) by T.A. Moore

Saturday, March 30:

  • Release Blitz Signal Tour – Garrett Leigh – Jude
  • Book Blast – The Handyman’s History by Nick Poff
  • A MelanieM Review: The Ghost Had An Early Checkout by Josh Lanyon

99 cents Book Blast – Distant Cousins by Eric Huffbind (excerpt and giveaway)

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99c BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Distant Cousins

Author: Eric Huffbind

Cover Artist: Eric Huffbind

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre/s: Contemporary Gay Male Romance

Release Date: September 28, 2018

Heat Rating: 4 flames

This book is intended for mature audiences

Length: 64,000 words/ 245 pages

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – 99c/99p limited offer

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

 

Blurb

Konner was looking forward to learning more about his family heritage. What he found was his entire life was a lie!

Konner O’Flattery, a passionate amateur genealogist, has finally gotten back the results of the DNA test he took. He’s been waiting months to uncover what mysteries his DNA has locked inside. But his results aren’t anything he expected, and he unearths a secret buried since birth. His heart becomes shattered leaving no room for forgiveness. Now, Konner feels compelled to go on a journey to find the truth of who and what he truly is.

Through the miracles of modern technology, Konner meets his distant cousin, Aaron Kirschenbaum. Turns out, he knows exactly who Aaron is, yet they’ve never met. Aaron makes the girls and boys alike swoon from his stunning good looks and velvety voice. Unfortunately, he’s picked up a bad habit of abusing his status for his own personal gain.

Konner’s story pulls on the strings of Aaron’s heart. So, he offers to help Konner, in any way he possibly can. Aaron finds Konner to be incredibly attractive, so the two men are swept up into an intense romance filled with sensuous heat and passion.

 

Excerpt

Konner heard a knock on the front door of his apartment, letting him know Aaron arrived. He opened the door to find Aaron dressed in a stunning men’s suit. “Come in. Goddamn! You’re so handsome! And I thought you were gorgeous in blue jeans. But shit! I’ve never seen any man look so beautiful. You’re breathtaking!” The color of his suit fell somewhere between a medium blue and dark gray. His blazer had pockets and lapels trimmed in what appeared to be black velvet piping. The dress shirt was a deep lilac with French cuffs, cufflinks in black onyx surrounded by gold and rhinestones, and a tie that could be best described as a black and white checked, herringbone pattern.

Coming through the door, Aaron leaned forward to give Konner a soft kiss. “Hello,” he greeted, wanting nothing more than the taste and feel of those supple lips. He was sporting a dark stubble beard, which prickled Konner’s lips. A sensation and look Konner never tired of.

Konner felt dizzy, from what most would consider being a gay man’s slice of paradise. “Fuck, between your black hair, blue eyes and the sexy face stubble, I’m ready to tear your clothes off and drag you straight to my bed!”

Aaron glowed. To him, Konner was the entire package. Good looks, great personality, amazing in bed, and a joy to be around. He said, using his most amorous voice, “Oh, really! So, does that mean I’m going to get lucky tonight?”

“I’d say the forecast looks promising.” Konner shook his head in amazement, “You’re gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous!” He grimaced, “Though, I’m afraid my one-bedroom apartment doesn’t compare to a home in Bel Air.”

“This apartment has you in it. So, for me, this address is more palatial than all of Bel Air.”

“What did I ever do to deserve you. David Kirkman in the flesh. Tell me I’m not dreaming.”

“No, no, no. Remember, I’m Aaron Kirschenbaum. Your long, lost cousin who couldn’t be happier to have been found.”

Konner’s heart was ready to burst. Not in a million years did he ever imagine a man of such status or wealth would ever want to go out with him. “Where are we going for dinner? Am I even dressed well enough?”

“The place is called 71Above. Have you heard of it?”

“Sure, I’ve heard of it. It’s so expensive! I appreciate being asked out and the way you’re treating me, but I don’t want to take advantage of your generosity. Then again, if you really want to go there, I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to afford it,” said Konner.

“First of all, it’s my treat, and you’re worth it. You asked for a perfect gentleman, and so that’s what I’m trying to be. Also, I wanted to use this opportunity to make up for being a complete ass toward you. I hope you’ll forgive me. Please, let me do this for you.” Aaron gushed a river of sincerity.

Konner melted under his unwavering charm. “Okay, let’s go then. Lead the way.”

***

Konner and Aaron arrived on the seventy-first floor of a tall high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles. The restaurant’s name, 71Above, was derived from the fact it was on the seventy-first floor. Views from the surrounding windows offered a three-hundred-sixty-degree, panoramic view of the city’s skyline. The restaurant’s manager and host greeted them. “Good evening, Mr. Kirkman. We’ve been expecting you. I noticed you had a 7:45 reservation. It’s always a pleasure to see you again. And who is this handsome gentleman you have accompanying you?”

“This is Konner O’Flattery, he’s my date.” He introduced Konner to their host. “Ralph is the manager of 71Above.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” Konner greeted. “This is my first time dining here and I have to tell you, the views from up here are unbelievable. Magnificent!”

“Thank you, I can’t argue with that, the views are something else. Especially when you come up here at night time, and all the city lights appear. Let me see you to your table, gentlemen.” He escorted the two men to a table right next to a window. Ralph placed menus in front of each of them. “Enjoy your dinner.”

“I guess everybody recognizes you wherever you go?” Konner asked.

Aaron rolled his eyes. “A great deal of the time, but not always. Remember I explained, it feels like I can’t get off the stage.”

“Are you okay with that? Obviously, being recognized on a constant basis is an issue you can’t get away from.”

Just then a young woman, who appeared to still be a teenager, came up to their table. Her eyes illuminated with a distinct sparkle and gleam. “Excuse me, Mr. Kirkman, could I get your autograph, please.”

Aaron smiled at her, “What’s your name, sweetheart?”

“My name is Michelle, but most people just call me Mish.”

Aaron took the pen and autograph book from her and signed his name. “Here you go, Mish.”

Tears of happiness spilled down her face showing off her dimpled cheeks from the wide grin she wore. She said, “Thank you, thank you, Mr. Kirkman!”

“You’re welcome, sweetheart,” Aaron said returning the smile. Then she sped away back to her table with a pronounced bounce in her step.

“Sorry about that,” Aaron said to Konner. “I’m afraid that’s part of the package with me. I don’t have the heart to say no to autograph requests. Like I always say, I’d be nowhere without my fans.”

“Oh, please,” said Konner. “Look how happy you made her. Why should you apologize for making that sweet, polite girl feel special?”

“I can’t lie to you, I had boyfriends in the past who couldn’t take the constant interruptions. It’s one thing I always worry about when I date someone new. Will they be able to handle the attention?”

Konner reached over to hold Aaron’s hand. “I’m not deluding myself. I know that’s all part of the package, and I accept those terms. It’s fine with me; I don’t mind sharing you. Just put those concerns out of your mind.” A lightbulb switched on in Konner’s head as he realized, “In the brief time I’ve known you,” he shrugged his shoulders. “You’ve made me feel so comfortable. I mean to me, you’re just Aaron. There’s a Yiddish word I learned a long time ago, for people like you.”

Aaron was puzzled. “A word for people like me? I’m not following. Because I’m a singer?”

“No, that’s not it. It’s a word that means you’re a good, decent, upstanding person. I think it began with an M.”

“Oh—you must be thinking of the word mensch. Is that it?” asked Aaron.

“That’s it! A mensch. You’re a mensch.”

Aaron leaned forward wanting to steal a kiss. Konner asked, “Out here in public? You’re okay with that?”

“Would I be asking for a kiss if it concerned me? If some bigoted asshole wants to have a cow over two men kissing in public, they can go fuck themselves!”

Konner’s eyes shone, and he leaned forward to accept his kiss. “Thank you for bringing me here. I can’t imagine anything more romantic than right now.”

Aaron responded, “You’re welcome.” Their waiter came to see if the two men wanted something to drink before ordering. “A glass of White Zinfandel.” Looking across the table, Konner gave a telling nod. “Make that two glasses.” The rest of the evening went off without a hitch. Their dinners were delicious, the service wonderful, and Konner couldn’t tear his eyes away from the spectacular views. Not only the views out the window, but also seated across from him.

While the two gentlemen split a piece of chocolate-chip cheesecake for dessert, Konner made a suggestion, “Why don’t we go back to your place.”

“My place?” Aaron questioned. “Why go back to my place?”

“For one thing, your house is a lot closer than my apartment. And I’d like to spend the night with you. As long as you’re okay with that? I don’t want this evening to end, and I can’t think of anything more special than spending the night with you.”

“Nothing would make me happier. So, ummm, I guess this means you’re okay if we have sex?”

“Yes, it’s fine with me. I was just giving you a hard time. Wait. Let me rephrase that. I do prefer holding sex off on the first date. There’s a difference between a date and a hookup. I’m sure you understand what I mean by that. Besides, who am I kidding. We’ve already blown my no-sex-on-the-first-date rule.”

Aaron, a bit bashful, said, “True, but I feel like I’m to blame.”

“You’re darn right! You are to blame. You’re not getting off the hook for what you did. But—you had the integrity to be honest about what you’d done. That takes a lot of guts! I guarantee you, most men wouldn’t own up to it. Isn’t that what being a mensch is all about?” Aaron answered yes with a positive nod of his head. “At least I won’t freak out by you shoving your dick in my face!”

“I am sorry,” Aaron offered. Konner grinned and leaned forward to ask for a kiss. Aaron complied with the request, and he took this gesture to mean Konner forgave him.

 

About the Author

Eric Huffbind is a man of many talents. In addition to writing fiction, he’s a Registered Nurse, been a Travel Agent, an Uber Driver, a Hopeless Romantic, and the Eternal Social Butterfly. Among his passionate interests are history, genealogy, romance, and travel. Like so many other individuals, he has a long bucket list. On the list, to no surprise, was writing a book.

Although, his stories focus on the romantic relationship of two gay men, regardless of your sexual orientation, his novels are meant to rekindle the true spirit of romance and love in your heart. If Mr. Huffbind’s stories move you through an array of emotions, and it touches your romantic spirit, please share his books with a friend.

Mr. Huffbind was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and has remained in southwest Ohio for his entire life. He shares his life with his husband, an autistic son, and their beautiful Pomeranian, who goes by the name, Linus. The author welcomes your feedback and encourages your book reviews on Amazon.com or wherever the book was purchased. Mr. Huffbind may be reached at: eric@erichuffbind.com.

 

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99c BOOK BLAST SCHEDULE

 

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Don’t Miss Out on the Release Blitz and Giveaway for Memory of Scorpions Series by Aleksandr Voinov

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The Memory of Scorpions series is a gritty military fantasy featuring a very diverse, very queer cast of characters. Political drama, court intrigue, love, loyalty, betrayal and a plot driven story line that will keep you guessing right up to the very end. The beautiful covers were created by Anna Sikorska.

Scorpion, Book 1

You learn your wisest lessons from your enemies. Assuming, of course, you survive the encounter.

Kendras is a casualty of war: injured, penniless, and quite possibly the last surviving member of the only family he’s ever known—the elite fighting force known as the Scorpions. When a steel-eyed stranger offers him medicine and shelter in exchange for submission and a secret task, Kendras has no choice but to accept. He is a Scorpion; he’ll do whatever it takes to survive.

But his true goal is to rebuild the Scorpions. Neither Steel’s possessive nature nor Kendras’s shattered foot can keep him from finding the last of his brothers… or the mysterious leader of the Scorpions, a man who held Kendras’s heart long before Steel tried to take it for himself. The goal is simple, the situation anything but. To rescue his leader and escape from Steel for good, Kendras must fight through a morass of politics and intrigue, where enemies are allies and even allies have hidden agendas.

Goodreads | Amazon | Books2Read

Lying with Scorpions, Book 2

If you lie with scorpions, you’d better have a taste for poison.

Now that Kendras’s lover Adrastes has claimed the throne of Dalman, Kendras is tangled deeper than ever in politics and intrigue. As the new leader of the Scorpions and Adrastes’s one true friend, he and his men stand between Adrastes and those who wish him dead.

And many do. Adrastes openly challenges the ocean priesthood for power while establishing himself at court and brokering with the realm’s various factions. He means for the Scorpions to become a fearsome legion again, but Kendras must first learn how to be a good officer and recruit to replace the fallen. His choices will determine the future of a group steeped in hundreds of years of history and tradition.

As both Kendras and Adrastes settle old scores, a new enemy arises in Commander Graukar, a war hero loyal to the old order. In his formidable mountain fortress, Graukar may hold the balance of power. But while Adrastes aims to either rule or destroy Graukar, Kendras finds himself doubting Adrastes for the first time, and sharing more with Graukar than he ever thought possible.

Goodreads | Amazon | Books2Read

A Taste for Poison, Book 3

Even the hand of a king is stung when it reaches for the scorpion.

After barely surviving an assassination attempt, King Adrastes is a changed man—one who mistrusts even his allies and friends. He readies his empire for war against an enigmatic enemy, the Elder of Vededrin, but not everyone approves. While courtiers dare only to whisper dissent, an outrider called Death foments rebellion in the mountains, aided by a prophecy that promises he’ll stop the Black King.

Kendras—former lover to Adrastes and leader of the Scorpions—is sent with his elite mercenary force to bring Death to justice. But when Kendras learns who’s hiding behind the mask, he must choose between his lover Graukar, newly appointed general to the king—and King Adrastes himself.

With no man to call master, the Scorpions could flee the danger and intrigue. But Kendras cannot abandon the man he once loved—or the man he’s growing to love—without first uncovering the real threat to the Empire.

Goodreads | Amazon | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Aleksandr Voinov is an emigrant German author living near London, where he works as an financial editor, writing coach, and complementary therapist. At 43 years of age, Voinov has written more than two dozen novels and published five novels with German publishers. After many years working in the horror, science fiction, cyberpunk and fantasy genres, Voinov is now primarily writing queer fiction.

Described as a “workaholic speed-writing freak” by fellow writers, a “creative writing class drill sergeant” by his writing ‘padawans’, Voinov is a self-confessed geek and has enlarged his days by 12 secret hours in return for the sacrifice of ten albino virgin pygmy hippos.

Voinov’s style has been called “dynamic to the point of breathlessness” and “disturbingly poetic” by publishers and literary agents. A recurring theme in his fiction is “the triumph of the human spirit” or an individual rising to challenge the status quo in a world gone bad.

Intellectually, he is drawn to the dark side of human nature and history. As a trained historian, he is fascinated by wars, religion and the conflict between the individual and society.

Interests at the moment include WWII, medieval siege warfare, William Marshall, the Golden Age of Piracy, and whale-hunting. These interests are subject to change from one day to the other, and Voinov single-handedly sustains two bookshops in London.

Public Contact Email: vashtan@gmail.com
Website: http://www.aleksandrvoinov.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aleksandr.voinov.12
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vashtan
Goodreads Author Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3074905.Aleksandr_Voinov
Tumblr: http://aleksandrvoinov.tumblr.com/
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/aleksandrvoinov
Newsletter: https://us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=0648aab5d3675b949f1329b38&id=eae6814f9c

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A Caryn Review: Best Behaviour by Matthew Metzger

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Matthew Metzger is always a bit of a hit or miss author for me, but when he’s good, he’s very, very good!  As I was reading this book, I was thinking of how affirming it would be for a questioning (especially in regards to gender identity) teen, because there were some amazing role models in here.  It’s not a YA book, but I am going to recommend it to the non-binary people I know, and see what they think of it.  I expect they’ll be impressed as well…

Jim was a guy who always had a bit of a chip on his shoulder.  From his childhood growing up poor with a sister and a single mother, through some stupid teenage pranks that landed him in jail, to the predicament he found himself in at the beginning of the book – out of a job, deep in debt, and evicted from his apartment.  At rock bottom, he called his sister, who reluctantly took him in to her house.  With her much older, reverend husband and 3 young children.  Sarah told him he had to be on his best behavior, and that meant NO MEN.

Jim hated it.  Hated his sanctimonious 62 year old brother-in-law, who he described as a “posh upper-class twassock…[whose] hobbies included fishing.  Not going fishing but watching it.  On the TV.  For hours on end.”  Heh, I don’t think I could stand him either.  Jim told himself he could do this, stay with Sarah and her family, only as long as it took to get a good job.  And then he was out of there.

But then he met the music teacher, and was instantly infatuated.  Fran might play the proper, straight-laced teacher, but “he was definitely the innocence-defiled sort”.  What started out as a hookup turned into something real for both of them, but in order to make it work, Jim needed to learn what being on his best behavior really meant.

The character development was excellent in this book.  Jim initially was petty, childish, and seemed to spend more time trying to annoy his sister than he did trying to get a job and grow up.  I almost wanted her to kick him out.  Getting into a relationship with Fran brought out a different side of him – and it became clear that his reaction to his situation was exactly what had gotten him into trouble when he was younger and immature, and he already had learned to do better.  Fran had been through his own struggles, especially in regards to his orientation and gender identity, and I had to admire the easy way the author introduced those and made them such natural and surprisingly low angst revelations.  There were so many examples of Jim understanding what respect and consent truly were, and that is when I started feeling differently about him.  When one of Sarah’s children came out as queer to Jim, he was the one to help her understand that what she felt was okay, normal, and not deserving of the shock and anger she saw from her parents.  All of that is what made me feel that this book would be so helpful and comforting for any person who is doing their own soul searching about their identity.

In addition to the wonderful message of the book, I also thoroughly enjoyed the writing.  Mr. Metzger was poetic without resorting to purple prose when describing how Jim felt about Fran, and there was a lot of humor in the book as well – both Jim and Fran are pretty snarky, and the dialogue was excellent.  The way Jim saw Sarah’s kids in particular had that dry British humor that really balanced out the intensity of the other more difficult parts of his life.

I found the cover art by Erin Dameron-Hill to be eye-catching, but by the time I finished the book I felt the text “He’s not known for obeying orders” to distract from what I thought were the best parts of the book

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 222 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Pride Publishing
ISBN 139781786517050
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Black (Kitty Play Romance) by Quin Perin

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Dima was finishing a modeling job when but his manager and lover left him high and dry in the Netherlands and never looked back. He was going through a personal hell at the time, but even though left to fend for himself, he makes the best of his situation and begins work as a baker for a small pastry shop not far from his apartment.  Lunchtime always finds him by the seaside enjoying the fresh air, even when the weather is brisk.  Fiercely independent, he wants no man in his life for more than one night. Never again will he allow himself to be vulnerable and dependent on one person.

Tony comes to town to visit his sister. She’s a single mom and has a great boyfriend—Jan, the man who owns the bakery where the handsome and elusive Dima works.  An American and a journalist and author, Tony has let his vagabond spirit take him all over the world, but once he meets Dima and talks him into intimacy the first time, he starts to rethink his need for travel. 

From the moment the two meet, their passion for each other explodes in sex and they quickly move from frottage to anal and add a little kink to their passion when Tony decides Dima’s love of scratching him in bed deserves a set of cat ears. They add more to their kink play as the story goes on so those who enjoy erotica with a twist should like this story.

My rating is low primarily because I didn’t like either character. No matter how involved they became with each other and no matter how much they changed and became romantically involved, neither man felt real and neither man held my interest. Most of the story took place in bed—or other locations around the apartment—where they had mad, passionate, and very descriptive (and lengthy) sex sessions. The sex scenes became boring. I enjoy kink, including puppy play, and the kitty kink was a nice twist on that, but the overall impression I was left with was that these men were lucky to be able to walk when they stood upright—which wasn’t often. Giving the benefit of the doubt, maybe love can grow after hot, hard, toss-him-around sex. Who knows?

Tony didn’t feel three-dimensional to me at all. All I recall is he’s blond, had tattoos, is American and has a big you know what—naturally!—and he used it constantly. Dima was independent and self-contained, until it came to Tony. He was small, slender, with long hair and was described as beautiful outside and in. He had the potential to be a loveable character, but I didn’t feel any warmth toward him and neither were characters who will remain memorable after I post the review.

I don’t doubt that others found this story and these men appealing. And I assume most readers will enjoy the dynamic and the sex and the sex and the sex. It just wasn’t the book for me.

Cover Artist: Quin Perin, cover art is simple and to the point.  Kitty play it is.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1, 350 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASINB07PBCV4CF
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A new Fantasy series by award-winning author Isobel Starling

A lost lordling, a farm boy, and a tale of mystery, magic, and murder!

After a traumatic event, Winter Aeling finds himself destitute and penniless in the backwater town of Mallowick. He needs to travel to the city of Serein and impart grave news that will bring war to the Empire, but without a horse, money, and with not a soul willing to help him, he has no choice but to line up with the common folk seeking paid work on the harvest. 

As wagons roll into the market square and farmers choose day laborers, Winter is singled out for abuse by a brute of a farmer. The only man who stands up for him is the farmer’s beguiling son, Adam, and on locking eyes with the swarthy young man Winter feels the immediate spark of attraction.

Winter soon realizes there is a reason he has been drawn to Blackdown Farm. The farmer possesses a precious item that was stolen long ago from Winter’s family, and he determines to retrieve it. He also cannot take his eyes off the farmer’s son, and as the young man opens up Winter can’t help wondering if Adam is just kind or his kind!

I was really looking forward to “Apple Boy”. Finally a M/M fantasy novel that actually has more than 300 pages! In the end, the book didn’t quite meet my expectations, however.

I quite liked the beginning. I enjoyed slowly finding out about what happened to Winter, and about the world in general. I was charmed by the unusual plot idea and the highly likable MCs. But the more I read, the less I enjoyed what I was reading. The MCs were still likable and the plot unusual, but somehow the initial spark just got lost.

One thing I noticed right away was the slightly sloppy editing. There were several recurring minor spelling mistakes, like Gods vs. God’s, that really have no place in a finished novel. I’ve definitely read worse, but there just is absolutely no excuse for bad spelling and grammar.

The world building was very thorough and yet somehow lacking at the same time. We learn a lot about the different provinces of the Empire and their past, as well as how the magic works. I mostly missed some details. I didn’t understand why homosexuality was completely normal and accepted by everybody in Winter’s home province, while it was an offense punishable by the death in the neighbouring province. Those are two opposite extremes I wouldn’t expect from neighbours under the same government. I also completely missed any kind of religion. I’m not even sure if there was one god or several, because of the constant switches between Gods/God’s.

I enjoyed the relationship dynamics between Winter and Adam. Winter is younger, yet more experienced and more powerful. Adam is older by five years and has absolutely no experience with relationships or sex. I really liked how their relationship developed with time.

While I didn’t mind the writing style initially and thought it fit the setting, it got on my nerves after some time. It started to feel very much like purple prose and the many exclamation marks made it all feel overly dramatic.

The story definitely captivated me. I was at work when I read the very first scene of Adam and Winter sharing forbidden kisses and when the door of the shop opened and a customer came in, I very nearly got a heart attack and felt super guilty.

I was quite surprised by how the plot turned out. There were some big surprises and a couple of twists I most definitely didn’t see coming and I liked how it all played out.

Overall, I did enjoy “Apple Boy”. The story itself was great, but the editing and writing style definitely had a negative impact on my reading experience. The next book in the series won’t be about Winter and I’m actually not sure if I want to read it or not.

The cover is very pretty. Adam looks gorgeous and just how I imagined him. I wouldn’t expect a Fantasy story behind such a cover, though. There’s nothing remotely magical about it.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book details: Kindle Edition, 556 pages

Published February 15th 2019 by Decent Fellows Press

An Alisa Review: Demon on the Down-Low by EJ Russell

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

After decades of unrequited love, this kangaroo will jump at the chance for a date. Any date.

 

Lovelorn kangaroo shifter Hamish Mulherne, drummer for the mega-hit rock band Hunter’s Moon, waited years for the band’s jaguar shifter bassist to notice him. Instead, she’s just gotten married and is in a thriving poly relationship. How is Hamish supposed to compete with that? But with everyone else in the band mated and revoltingly happy, he needs somebody. Since he can’t expect true love to strike twice, he signs up with Supernatural Selection. Because what the hell.

 

When Zeke Oz was placed at Supernatural Selection through the Sheol work-release program, he thought he was the luckiest demon alive. But when he seems responsible for several massive matchmaking errors, he’s put on notice: find the perfect match for Hamish, or get booted back to Sheol for good. The only catch? He has to do it without the agency’s matchmaking spells, and Hamish simply will not engage.

 

But Zeke starts to believe that the reason all of Hamish’s dates fizzle is because nobody in the database is good enough for him. And Hamish realizes that his perfect match might be the cute demon who’s trying so hard to make him happy.

 

This series has been so great and I love how it was tied up, I’m probably going to have to go back and read the Fae out of Water series because I liked these characters so much and if the author ever makes another series references these characters it will be on my tbr immediately.  Hamish has resigned himself to a life without love and just hopes to find some companionship with the help of Supernatural Selection and against all odds gets registered.  Poor Zeke, he’s just trying to escape Sheol and the hell he lives there but seems to have just traded it for another with the restrictions put on him.

 

I loved that we got to see the couples from the previous books in this one and how great everything was for them even though everyone thought they were mistakes.  The twist of how everything was getting mixed up was interesting but I was so glad to see the culprit get what he deserved along with Zeke being able to break free from the prison his life was.

 

I felt for Zeke from the beginning, all the way from the bullying from the AI and the bullying from his Sheol master, he is just trying to survive and be able to stay in the upper world.  Hamish took a little to connect with but that was mostly because he was lying to himself about being able to find love but he quickly grabs onto the idea when he realizes that Zeke would be the perfect one for him.  I was so happy for these two to find a happily ever after, especially Zeke as we have seem how much he was struggling in the first two books.

 

Cover art by LC Chase is great and I love the visual of Zeke with Hamish’s drums and how it is similar to the others in the series.

 

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 320 pages

Published: February 25, 2019 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62649-858-7

Edition Language: English

Series: Supernatural Selection #3

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