An Ali Review: On Andross Station by J.C. Long

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Hikaru Adachi has come to Andross Station to discover what happened to colleague and fellow Inquisitor Katya. Thane, a tracer, has arrived at the station seeking a bounty on Galen Horn, one of the Unity of Planets’ most wanted men. They will find their paths cross as their interests intersect, and soon they are on a hunt that is more dangerous than they know, for Horn has enlisted some dangerous allies, including one from Thane’s past. If Thane and Hikaru together can’t bring Horn down, he will set in motion a plot that will see the entire station destroyed in an attack of massive proportions.

I thought the premise of this book sounded really good. It turned out to not really be what I was hoping for. It started off strong with the two main characters arriving at the plant , each for their own reasons, and having an immediate connection.

They quickly learn their missions overlap and they join forces to catch the bad guy. I liked the world this was set in and I thought the world building was pretty good. I was interested in it and in all of the different characters, human and alien. I also like both of the MC’s.

As it unfolded though there wasn’t much to it. The mystery plays out easily and there was no real tension or excitement. There was also very little done in regards to the romance between the two MC’s. I thought everything had a bunch of potential but fell flat. I would have loved to see this be a full length novel but as it is the book was just ok for me.

The cover was done by Natasha Snow and I think it’s really well done.  It’s eye catching and fits the story very well.
Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook
Published August 27th 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949340334
Edition LanguageEnglish

New Release BLITZ A Matter of Justice (Hong Kong Nights #3) by J.C. Long (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  A Matter of Justice

Series: Hong Kong Nights, Book Three

Author: J.C. Long

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: February 26, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 80600

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, criminals, gangs, law enforcement, action, reunited, contemporary, enemies to lovers, kidnapping

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Synopsis

The battle between the Dragons of the Eastern District and their bitter rivals, the Twisted Vipers, is reaching a dangerous point. The Anti-Gang Task Force is hard at work trying to bring down the Vipers. Tensions ratchet when Johnny Hwang guns down a prominent inspector on the task force, and Conroy Wong, Wei Tseng’s second-in-command is a witness. Now, to keep him safe long enough to locate a second witness and put Hwang behind bars, Conroy is forced into close quarters with Allen Hong, a man who once fought side by side with the Dragons until he turned his back on them by joining the police, betraying them. As sparks fly between them once more, the two men must put aside their differences and work together, because the Twisted Vipers aren’t going to let Hwang go down without a fight.

Excerpt

A Matter of Justice
J.C. Long © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
Inspector Richard Yang was not at all surprised when he received word from Johnny Hwang’s people that Johnny wanted to see him. Actually, he wondered what had taken Hwang so long; he’d made the arrests three days ago, and they’d been all over the news and in newspaper headlines.

Hong Kong Police Department Anti-Gang Task Force makes headway with the arrests of three highly influential and well-placed members of the Twisted Viper triad. It was long and wordy, as far as headlines went, but it spared anyone the need to read the damn thing. No one read newspapers nowadays, especially with the Mainland trying to crack down on the press.

Yang debated whether or not he should take Hwang up on the offer, finally deciding that it would be amusing to hear, if nothing else. Just after six in the evening he left the apartment he shared with his wife of forty-one years and made his way to the meeting place Hwang had suggested, a ye shi not that far from Aberdeen.

The night market was just beginning to see a lot of visitors when Yang arrived, but there was still parking space available near the market’s entrance so he didn’t have to walk that far. It wasn’t that he couldn’t; he was a tough old bastard, even at sixty, and got more than his fair share of exercise as a member of HKPD. He wanted to have a quick getaway available for him in case Hwang decided to pull some shit.

He doubted he would, it being a public place and all, but he’d learned in his years on the force to be very careful with criminals, especially the crafty ones. And Johnny Hwang was about as crafty as they came, at least in Hong Kong. Still, the market was a very public place, and if Hwang were to do something, it would cause a lot of complications, so Yang didn’t expect trouble.

Hwang’s message said to meet him near a noodle stall called Mrs. Chu’s Noodles. Considering how many food stalls went up in the night markets, Yang thought it would be a problem, but almost as soon as he entered, he saw a sign over a large noodle stall that read “Mrs. Chu’s.”

Mrs. Chu’s stall was easily twice the size of the other stalls around hers and had about the same advantage in customers. Behind the stall an older woman with slate-gray hair in a hairnet bustled about, tending to her customers, who were seated along three sides of the square that was her stall.

“Mr. Yang.” A young man—thirty-three or -four at the oldest, young by Yang’s standards—in a well-tailored suit approached him, giving him a polite and respectful bow of his head. “If you would come with me, Mr. Hwang is waiting for you.”

“Well, at least one thing can be said for your boss,” Yang said as he followed the man to where Hwang sat in the farthest seat along the right side of the square, where he could be partially concealed by the stall itself. “He’s got you puk gai trained to at least pretend to be human beings.”

If his words irritated his escort, he didn’t show it.

Johnny Hwang was almost finished with a bowl of ramen when Yang joined him, a cloth napkin covering the front of his dress shirt. Slurping a long line into his mouth, Hwang gestured toward the chair next to him.

“You’ve got to try the noodles here.” Hwang motioned toward the woman—presumably Mrs. Chu—who immediately moved to dip out a bowl of noodles for him.

Yang shook his head to signal to her he didn’t need anything. “I’m not here to sample the fare with you, Hwang. So why don’t you tell me why I’m here—not that I don’t already know.”

A vein throbbed in Hwang’s temple at Yang’s words, but he otherwise showed no reaction. “Straight to business, then? Yes, of course—I imagine you’re quite eager to get back home to your lovely wife.”

The observation was not made with any particular tone, but Yang recognized it for what it was: Hwang making it clear he had done his homework on Yang. It also reeked of the potential for a threat. The implication that his wife might get brought into this did not have the effect Hwang most likely desired. It just pissed him off.

Yang could feel the heavy gaze of the Twisted Viper’s leader as he observed him, looking for some sort of reaction.

Making sure to keep his words and expression casual, Yang replied, “Something like that, yeah.”

“Well, I guess we’re both busy men, so I will cut right to it, since you insist. Your Anti-Gang Task Force recently arrested three men—”

“You’re referring to the three members of your triad that I brought in for possession of illegal weapons and drug trafficking, right? Just so we’re clear.”

Hwang’s lips drew back in the slightest sneer. “I do believe you’re purposefully irritating me, Mr. Yang.”

“Not at all, Hwang.” Yang left out the respectful prefix, ensuring that it was glaringly noticeable in its absence. “Perhaps you’re simply not used to people calling you on your bullshit. I’m not one of your underlings, so don’t expect me to act like it.”

Over his shoulder, Yang could hear the sharp, angry intake of breath from his escort. Hwang, though, just sighed melodramatically. “This would go so much faster if we could just be civil to one another.”

“This would go so much faster if you’d just say what you came here to say,” Yang replied. “But since you want to just beat around the bush, let me save you the trouble. If you’re going to ask me to release your men, the answer is hell no.”

Hwang finished the last of his noodles, pushing the bowl away from him and giving his stomach a satisfied pat. “Delicious. Mrs. Chu’s noodles are truly the best I’ve ever had in Hong Kong.” He made a motion with his right hand, smooth and simple. Yang’s earlier escort stepped over to Mrs. Chu and paid Hwang’s fee.

“And no,” Hwang went on, crossing his legs as he relaxed back, no doubt to ease the tension on his stomach post eating. “I don’t give a fuck about those three—they got caught; they deserve what happens. What I want from you is for you to turn your attention elsewhere. Leave the Twisted Vipers alone. There are plenty of other triads on the island you can take off the streets. It would certainly look better for you to get some victories, wouldn’t it?”

“What’s wrong, Hwang? Can’t handle the heat?”

“I’m not scared of you or your task force, Yang.” Hwang sneered, straightening. “However, it is becoming a slight inconvenience as far as my business interests are concerned. Naturally I don’t like it when anyone messes with my money. It’s a simple request: take the Twisted Vipers out of your sights for a while, clean up the riffraff wannabes on the edge of the island, or the Dragons. Just stop focusing on me and mine.”

Yang couldn’t help it; he laughed, a deep, rumbling belly laugh that moved through his whole body. “I’m curious, Hwang. Did you really think I was going to say yes to the offer?”

Hwang’s face had gone cold when Yang began to laugh. “You should think about this seriously, Mr. Yang. You’ll live longer.”

“My mother-in-law was Korean. My wife makes kimchi damn near every day. I read somewhere that kimchi is one of the healthiest foods in the world. I like my chances of living longer.”

Yang stood, and Hwang did the same. “You have a good night, Hwang. Try not to do anything illegal.”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

J.C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his life-long involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that. J. C. Long’s favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing and Korean food (not in that order…okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts and wishing he was writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

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Release Blitz for Tiki Torches and Treasure (Gabe Maxfield Mysteries #2) by J.C. Long (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Tiki Torches and Treasure

Series: Gabe Maxfield Mysteries, Book 2

Author: J.C Long

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: November 6, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 60000

Genre: Contemporary, contemporary gay, romance, private detective, cozy mystery, law enforcement, Hawaii, humor

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Synopsis

Gabe Maxfield has reached a comfortable point in his life. His past troubles in Seattle are all but forgotten, he co-owns his own business, Paradise Investigations, with his best friend Grace Park, and he’s happy in his relationship with sexy cop—his neighbor—Maka Kekoa. Maybe the best part is, no one’s pointed a gun at him in weeks.

Knowing his luck, that is bound to change. Lack of clients and money forces Paradise Investigations to take a job helping Edwin Biers search for a treasure he promises will be worth their while. Gabe has a knack for finding trouble, though, and find it, he does.

Excerpt

Tiki Torches and Treasure
J.C. Long © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

I was drowning.

Salt water burned my nose as I flailed my arms and legs in the ocean, trying desperately to reorient myself. Every time I started to surface, the ocean waves broke over me again and again. I was done for.

When I finally surfaced and the water drained from my ears, I could hear my companions laughing at my expense—my best friend, Grace Park, sounded like she was going to asphyxiate herself from laughing too hard. My boyfriend, Maka Kekoa, at least had the decency to attempt to hide his laughter from me.

“I’m glad my near-death causes you such amusement,” I growled, glaring at them as best I could with salt water from the Pacific Ocean stinging my eyes. “I knew surfing lessons from you two was a bad idea.”

The three of us were floating in the ocean a ways off from the shore of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, the city I now called home. Well, I was floating in the ocean, which was where I seemed to spend all my time in these lessons. Maka and Grace effortlessly straddled surfboards, Maka also keeping a tight grip on mine so it didn’t get swept away by the waves.

“Don’t get frustrated,” Maka told me supportively once he’d schooled his face to mask his laughter. “No one does it well on their first try. It’s kind of like sex.”

I didn’t take much comfort from his words.

“How about the four-hundredth time?” I grumbled, swimming to the surfboard. I managed to heave my body onto it, feeling the sun warm my skin. I’d gotten tan in my month of being out and about in the constant sunshine of Hawaii, and my hair had gotten longer, almost enough to give me the surfer image. Now if I could just stay on the damn board.

“Don’t be grouchy, Gabe,” Grace chided, splashing water my way. She looked beautiful in the morning sunlight, her dark skin glistening. She wore a teal bikini that showed off her trim, fit form, toned from a lifetime of exercise and the surfing she’d taken up in Hawaii. She was half Hawaiian and half Korean, which is what drew her to Hawaii after we both graduated college in Washington.

“We’ve been at this for two weeks, and I have improved exactly zero percent.” I probably sounded like a whiny kid complaining to them, but I couldn’t help it. I hated not being good at something. “I think I’m just not meant to be a surfer.”

“Everybody’s meant to be a surfer,” Maka said, as if I’d made the most ridiculous remark ever. Grace nodded her head in emphatic agreement.

“Easy for you to say,” I scoffed, flailing my arms wildly as a wave nearly displaced me from my board again. “You were a professional surfer, remember? And you,” I rounded on Grace, “were basically born incapable of being bad at something. Me… I’m just me.”

It felt strange having a pity party in the ocean on a beautiful mid-October morning. Hawaii was paradise in a lot of ways—the sunshine seemed constant, and at a time when Seattle would already be plunging into a chill that heralded winter, it was warm and pleasant in Hawaii. I wasn’t a morning person, though, and Maka and Grace insisted we have these lessons before work. That meant we were usually in the ocean by a quarter to seven.

“You’re more than ‘just you’ to me, babe,” Maka assured me with a wink, making me blush.

Maka was full-blooded native Hawaiian, and he had the complexion to prove it, bronzed by a life spent frolicking in the sun and waves. He had broad shoulders and narrow hips and was taller than my five foot eight, with perfect black hair and lush, full lips that were utterly kissable. His deep brown eyes always seemed to twinkle, as if a powerful light danced behind them.

“Ugh.” Grace rolled her eyes and pretended to gag.

“You’re jealous,” I teased, sticking my tongue out at her.

“Jealous of you having to eat the same meal every night, so to speak? I don’t think so.”

“Hey, if I could eat prime rib every night, I would,” I said.

“Did you really just compare me to ribs?” Maka asked flatly.

“Huh? What? No—I was referring to eating the same meal every night…” I trailed off, realizing how it must have sounded to Maka, even though I didn’t mean it that way.

“If I’m anything,” Maka went on firmly, “I’m loco moco.”

I gaped at him for a moment. He had a problem with being called prime rib, but wanted to be a rice bowl topped with a hamburger, a fried egg, and gravy.

“Actually,” I said after a moment, “I can see that.” And I could. Loco moco was something you wanted to splurge on, something that was decadent, almost sinful. That description fit Maka to the letter.

I tried to give him a smoldering look, but a rogue wave rocked under me, catching me off guard and dumping me once more into the sea.

“Can we please call it a day now?” I pleaded once I was back on my board.

Grace looked like she was in no hurry to bring my suffering to an end, but Maka took pity and checked his watch.

“Actually, we should call it a day. I still need to shower and get to work. It’s going on nine, now; I can only justify going in so late a few times a week, or the chief gets pissy.”

“We also have office hours,” I reminded Grace for what felt like the tenth time that week. She was really good at what she did—we were private investigators—but she didn’t have the mindset necessary to run a business. That had been handled by her partner before me, and Grace was still getting the hang of being in charge of both sides of the business. Well, partially, since we equally shared ownership and those responsibilities.

“This is what we have a secretary for,” Grace pointed out, though she reluctantly began paddling to shore, Maka and I following suit.

“Poor Hayley’s only been with us for a week,” I panted, tired from the lesson and making it back to shore. “Give her a break.”

“Best way for her to learn is to just throw her into the pool,” Grace said once we were back ashore.

I didn’t respond immediately; I was too busy sucking in sweet, sweet oxygen and hoping my wobbly legs didn’t give out as I trudged through the hot, sun-baked sand to the place we’d left our towels.

“I guess it doesn’t matter so much,” I said when I could. “Business has been pretty slow since we hired her. Not good, considering the office we’ve got now. Rent’s a bitch.”

When I’d agreed to be Grace’s partner at the private investigation firm she’d been co-partner in, Paradise Investigations, I helped finance a move to a new building, worlds nicer than the one she’d been in before.

We’d had a keen interest in us the first week or so after the move, considering how we were constantly in the news regarding the murder mystery I’d solved to get Grace off a murder charge. The interest had died down in the following weeks; as it stood now, we hadn’t taken on a new client in five days, and we’d finished the current projects three days before, which meant three days of no billable hours, and thus no money coming in.

“We could always fire her,” Grace suggested, tossing me my towel. “It’d be one less salary we needed to pay.”

“That doesn’t seem right,” I said, though I’d probably consider it after another week of no income being earned. “I’m sure we’ll get by.”

“We could always take an ad out on TV,” Grace suggested suddenly.

“Isn’t that tacky?” Maka wrinkled his nose a bit.

Grace shielded her eyes from the sun, squinting at Maka. “It’s not like we’re lawyers.”

“Even if it isn’t tacky, we can’t afford it,” I reminded her as I wrapped my towel around my waist and gathered my board under my arm for the trek back to our cars. “We’re going to have to pray someone comes in and offers us a job that isn’t finding a lost cat or staking out seedy motels—something we can get some money out of.”

Grace grunted, her spirits somewhat dampened by my pragmatism, but I knew she would get over it. This was our relationship, often consisting of her being flighty and dreamy and me being the cord that pulled her—sometimes forcefully—back down to earth.

“Okay, I’ve got to go,” Maka said when we reached his car. “Already running late.”

“See,” I said, pausing long enough to take a quick kiss on the lips—though I wanted much, much more than a quick kiss—before continuing. “This is yet another good reason we should just stop these morning surfing lessons.”

“Not gonna happen. Seeing you dripping wet is worth being late to work.”

And again, in the space of ten minutes, I blushed.

“You two are disgusting,” Grace muttered.

“Shut up, Grace.”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

J.C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his life-long involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that. J. C. Long’s favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing and Korean food (not in that order…okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts and wishing he was writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | eMail

 

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Hula Dancers and Hauntings (Gabe Maxfield Mysteries #2.5) by J.C. Long

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5:

It’s Halloween time in Hawai’i and of course Gabe Maxfield is in business. Gabe owes lu’au owner Hiapo a favor (read Tiki Torches and Treasure to find out why!) so when weird things start happening at his lu’au, strange enough to frighten off his hula dancers, he comes to Gabe for help. Skeptical as always, Gabe steps into a creepy mystery where things are going missing or getting moved around and people are disappearing left and right. Can he solve the mystery before everyone he knows falls prey to the woods?

Hula Dancers and Hauntings (Gabe Maxfield Mysteries #2.5) by J.C. Long is one of a series of short stories being released by NineStar Press for Halloween and they are all just terrific.  In Hula Dancers and Hauntings (Gabe Maxfield Mysteries #2.5), J.C. Long takes us to Hawaii and an established couple, one of which has never been scared.  Oh Gabe watches horror movies with his lover and things of that nature but he’s never been truly frightened until a friend of theirs comes to his P.I. business needing to trade in a favor.

I won’t go any further.  J.C. Long does a really nice job with bringing in the Hawaiian culture, establishing the location and his people with the colloquialisms and local terms as necessary.  I liked his characters and he totally had me hooked with his premise.  I’ll say no more.  Great job and great story.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is a branding cover for all stories being collected for  the holiday by NineStar Press.

Sales Links:

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

Book Details:

ebook, 30 pages
Expected publication: October 23rd 2017 by NineStar Press
Original Title Hula Dancers and Hauntings
ISBN13 9781370101016

An Ali Review: A Matter of Courage (Hong Kong Nights Book 2) by J.C. Long

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Winston Chang has spent much of his young life admiring the Dragons who have kept his area safe and fought off the gangs that would bring violence to their area. Now that he’s an adult, he wants nothing more than to join the Dragons and live up to those standards.

The opportunity presents itself when his passion and knowledge of cars is just what the Dragons need. One of their own has been killed and his death seems linked to his involvement with the illegal racing scene known as the Dark Streets. Winston is needed to infiltrate the scene and find out who is responsible and why.

Steel has always been Winston’s best friend, and Winston has always been there to get him out of trouble. Just as the stress in Winston’s life reaches its peak, the relationship between Winston and Steel begins to change in ways neither of them expected.

Will Winston and Steel be able to find the courage to face not only the unknown killer stalking the Dark Streets racers but also their growing feelings?
 
I always get excited when I find a new author and/or a new series and the first book in this series was both for me.  I really enjoyed book one, A Matter of Duty, and was eagerly awaiting this book.  I’m quite glad to say that this book was also really good.  The couple here was set up in book one and they were important side characters there.  
 
This book starts a few months down the road from the end of the first book.  As the blurb states, Winston ends up going undercover in an effort to gather information and to prove that he’s mature enough to finally become a member of the Dragons.  The stress of this situation also ups the tension between Winston and Steel.  Steel’s worried sick about Winston and has to finally start forcing himself to acknowledge that he’s in love with his best friend.  
 
I love a good friends to lovers story and this one was well done.  There’s just enough tension between the two guys to keep you interested but not so much that it seems over the top or unrealistic.  These two were sweet together and you could really feel the emotion between them.  I had been rooting for them since the last book so I was really happy to see them get their hea.  
 
There are a lot of scenes with the Dragons as a whole so we get to see a lot of Noah and Wei, as well as a bunch of side characters. These side characters are not only important to this plot but will be important to future books.  I had to do a bit of author stalking but I found out who the next couple will be and I’m over the top excited.  Nothing beats a good enemies to lovers story so I have high hopes for it.  
 
If you’re looking for a new series with good writing and a plot that is a bit outside the norm then I highly recommend this series.  This one could be read as a standalone but I think you would enjoy it a lot more if you read book one first.  
 
This cover was done by Natasha Snow and I like it a lot.  If you look closely at it you will see how well it highlights the plot.  It’s also attractive and eye catching and it ties in nicely to the cover of the first book.
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Published September 4th 2017 by NineStar Press
ASINB074TQXF71

Release Blitz for A Matter of Courage (Hong Kong Nights #2) by J.C. Long (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  A Matter of Courage

Series: Hong Kong Nights, Book Two

Author: J.C. Long

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: September 4, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 81400

Genre: Contemporary, mafia, criminals, friends to lovers, alcohol use, slow burn

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Winston Chang has spent much of his young life admiring the Dragons who have kept his area safe and fought off the gangs that would bring violence to their area. Now that he’s an adult, he wants nothing more than to join the Dragons and live up to those standards.

The opportunity presents itself when his passion and knowledge of cars is just what the Dragons need. One of their own has been killed and his death seems linked to his involvement with the illegal racing scene known as the Dark Streets. Winston is needed to infiltrate the scene and find out who is responsible and why.

Steel has always been Winston’s best friend, and Winston has always been there to get him out of trouble. Just as the stress in Winston’s life reaches its peak, the relationship between Winston and Steel begins to change in ways neither of them expected.

Will Winston and Steel be able to find the courage to face not only the unknown killer stalking the Dark Streets racers but also their growing feelings?

Excerpt

A Matter of Courage
J.C. Long © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

Winston Chang awoke with a splitting headache, a mouth that tasted like rubbing alcohol, and the feeling that he was on a boat out at sea during a storm. His stomach flip-flopped just from opening his eyes, and he let out a pitiful groan. He closed his eyes again and gritted his teeth to fight back the nausea that washed over him at the smell of his own breath.

What the fuck did I do last night?

He waited until the bout of nausea passed and slowly opened his eyes once more. He was happy to find he could open them without making himself puke; it was progress. He stared up at the ceiling, confused. It wasn’t the ceiling of his room. His ceiling didn’t have those weird little texture-bumps all over it.

The next thing Winston noticed was the sound of someone else snoring. He turned his head to the side, wincing at the stab of pain the movement caused. His best friend, who liked to be called Steel, was lying facedown on the bed next to him, head turned facing his direction. Steel was still lost in sleep, snoring every so often.

Winston couldn’t face him long; Steel’s breath also reeked of cheap booze and poor decisions.

Staring back up at the ceiling, he tried to remember something, anything, from the night before. He and Steel had gone to a bar, that much he remembered—like he remembered it being Steel’s idea, because it was always Steel’s idea. The place was a dive, dimly lit, stinking of smoke and booze and sweat. At some point in the night, they’d been approached by a group of people who asked them to join their group. Winston had been hesitant, wanting to get in early, though he couldn’t recall why he’d kept insisting they leave. Steel had convinced him to stay, as always. Winston never could tell Steel no.

He vaguely recalled stumbling back to Steel’s apartment, which was near the club, unable to drive home, barely able to walk up the single flight of stairs to Steel’s apartment. At one point, he had thrown up, though he couldn’t remember when, and everything after that was a complete blur.

Grunting, he sat up, and immediately buried his head in his hands to fight the swelling nausea that threatened to empty the contents of his stomach. Once he had it under control, he turned toward Steel. The way the sheet fell, Winston couldn’t tell if Steel was dressed.

He looked down quickly, lifting the sheet off his own form. He was naked and sporting quite the morning wood despite his hangover. It was funny the things the body did.

Why the fuck am I naked?

He glanced at the clock. It was nearly nine in the morning. He searched around him, finding no sign of his cell phone or clothes. He turned, shaking Steel’s shoulder roughly. “Dude, where’re my clothes? Dude!” He shook harder, and Steel finally stirred long enough to roll onto his back, muttering something unintelligible.

Seeing Steel lying like that made Winston’s pulse quicken. He raked his eyes over his friend’s sleeping body, admiring the musculature. Steel wasn’t a gym bunny, but his body was lean from a rougher-than-average childhood, whipcord muscles standing out with his arms stretched over his head. The room was chilly—Steel always slept with his air conditioner on—and his nipples were stiff buds. The sheet pulled down just enough for Winston to see that he was wearing his typical boxers.

Everything about Steel drew him in. He’d known Steel since he was ten years old—almost eleven years, now. For pretty much the entirety of that friendship, Winston had been in love with him. Something he’d been unable to shake. Most of the time, he didn’t think he wanted to—and then other times, Steel drove him crazy, and not just in a sexual way.

Winston couldn’t help his eyes traveling down to the dragon tattoo on Steel’s calf—his leg was sticking out of the sheet—and his admiration was interrupted by a jolt of envy. Winston longed to have one of those tattoos himself, the mark of the Dragons, the gang—for lack of a better word—that ran the Eastern District. The underworld of Hong Kong, both the island city itself and the New Territories on the Mainland, was run by gangs, competing against one another and struggling to gain power.

The Dragons, though, they were different. They didn’t rule through fear, drugs, or terror, but by protecting and serving the community. Wei, the leader of the Dragons, didn’t allow drugs to be sold in the Eastern District, and he didn’t demand protection money from the people; he protected them because it was a duty he’d taken upon himself.

It was a duty Winston wanted to take up, too.

He reached out to touch Steel’s chest and stopped himself, instead slapping Steel’s stomach—though it might not have been safer to go near his friend’s lower body.

Steel jerked awake, swatting at Winston, who knew his friend well enough to move quickly out of reach. “What the hell, man?”

“Where are my clothes?”

Steel flopped back on the bed, closing his eyes tightly. Winston sympathized with what he must have been feeling at that moment, and he was thankful his nausea was mostly gone, leaving him with just the headache.

“Dude, my clothes?”

Steel inhaled and exhaled slowly several times before answering. “You don’t remember? You puked all over them last night, so they’re in the wash.”

So that was when he threw up. That question was answered. “Okay, so how did I manage to get them off?”

Steel chuckled despite how much pain his head must be in. “You didn’t. You just tugged at the shirt like a baby, and I finally got you undressed. Dick stiffed right up when I took off those little boy briefs, too. How long has it been since you got some action, Winston?”

The sound of his phone ringing jarred Winston, and he peered around for it, finding it on the bedside table next to him. He grabbed it and saw that it was Conroy Wong, Wei’s right-hand man in the Dragons.

“Hey, Conroy.” He hoped he didn’t sound too hungover. Conroy didn’t disapprove of drinking—the opposite, actually; he drank like a tank and never in his life seemed to have a hangover—but if he knew Winston had one, he would take great pleasure in torturing him in as many ways as he possibly could. “What’s up?”

“Yo, where the fuck are you, man?”

Dread coiled in Winston’s stomach; he didn’t like it when Conroy sounded angry at him. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. Just wanted to make sure your punk ass was up. A few of my boys told me you and Steel were out drinking ’til dawn. How ya feelin’?”

“I’m fine,” Winston lied. “Absolutely no problem.”

“Good, then you won’t mind hoppin’ in your car and driving to the airport,” said Conroy cheerfully. Winston guessed if he could see him at that moment, he’d have that smug little smile on his face that drove Winston crazy. “The boss is busy right now, and Noah will be arriving this afternoon. Wei refuses to let him just ride public transportation like a normal person, especially since—”

“Since the subway will take him through Twisted Viper territory,” Winston finished. He understood Wei’s concern; their recent run-ins with the Twisted Vipers had been far less than friendly, and temperatures were getting even colder, fast. Considering Noah was at the heart of that unfriendly encounter, Wei’s concern was completely justified.

“What time is he getting in?”

“Just after noon.”

“Damn it. That means I need to get going now.”

“Get on it.” Conroy hung up with that.

“What did Conroy want?” Steel asked. He was now sitting up in bed, looking relatively healthier. Winston felt a bit of resentment at his quick recovery.

“Asked me to ride out to the airport to get Noah. Wei’s busy.”

“Oh, is Noah coming back from America today?”

“I guess so.” Winston started out of the bed but stopped. “What the fuck am I going to wear?”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

J.C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his life-long involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that. J. C. Long’s favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing and Korean food (not in that order…okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts and wishing he was writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

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J.C. LONG on Characters, Writing, and his new release ‘Hearts in Ireland’ (Guest Blog/Tour)

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Hearts in Ireland (World of Love) by J.C. Long
D
reamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs | Tibbs Design

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J.C. Long here today on his Hearts in Ireland blog tour. Welcome, J.C.!

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Welcome everybody to the next stop on my Hearts in Ireland blog tour! I’m J. C. Long, author  of Hearts in Ireland, coming May 10th, 2017! I’m so glad to be here on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. I love to talk about myself (just joking, haha. Okay, maybe not entirely a joke) so today I’m bringing you an interview! The people folks here at SW&RT asked some really good questions, and I’m really excited to answer them! Without further ado, on to the questions!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I try to make my characters far more well-rounded than I am. If a majority of my characters were like me, the stories would be pretty boring pretty quickly, I think. But, with that said, there are definitely elements of my personality or little quirks that do shine through into the characters, though I don’t often realize it until I’ve finished writing. Noah Potter in my novel A Matter of Duty shares my love of spicy food and aversion to certain textures of food, like tofu. The self confidence issues that the character Tate suffers in Broadway Babe are very much my own. But Ronan, from this upcoming story, is the closest to me. He has the most of me I think I’ve ever put into a character.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I think it’s important for an author to avoid the perfect, idealized characters as much as possible. Perfection is boring. No one wants to read a character that doesn’t make a mistake, because those are usually characters with absolutely zero agency.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Honesty time: I hate most research, which does influence what I write, I think. Let’s just say you will NOT be getting a Victorian era historical from me (I hate that era, anyway). When I select a project that requires research, I always want it to be something that I love and am interested in. My Hong Kong Nights series required quite a bit of research into the city, but I found it to be really interesting and fun. Science fiction and fantasy have a great appeal because of the ability to make up worlds and cultures as I go along.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Yes! I have a contemporary romance WIP that’s sitting about 75% finished. I can’t touch it yet. It involves a character who loses his grandmother, who raised him. This time last year my grandmother passed away, and that loss was devastating. Any time I approach that story I get overwhelmed and can’t think straight. I hope to finish it one day, when the time is right, but for now it’s on hold.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I didn’t read romance much as a teenager; I was far more into scifi and fantasy. I do read it now as an adult. I’ve developed an appreciation for just how wonderful the genre is (and how difficult to write, as a writer, when the world is a dark and scary place).

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

I like this question. Part of the cover process for me is trusting the artist and the publisher. They know what’s marketable and what will sell the best. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve loved all of the covers I’ve had for my books. With Hearts in Ireland I was given three choices, and I was stuck between the one you see and a second. My boyfriend actually was the tiebreaker for me.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

My favorite? That’s a bit difficult. Each story is meaningful to me in its own way. This one is the one that my heart is most invested in, I’ll say that. I can tell you my least favorite—it’s always the one I’m working on right now!

What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve got a busy year ahead of me! I’m currently working on the follow-up to Broadway Boys. When that’s finished I’m jumping into the third book in my Hong Kong Nights series and after that the third book in my Gabe Maxfield Mysteries series (the first and second will be out sometime this year).

Blurb:

When the future is shrouded and it’s hard to find direction, maybe it’s time to let the heart lead the way….

Ronan Walker stands at a crossroads, unsure how to pursue his education… unsure if he even wants to. Now that his mother is gone, all he has left are the wonderful stories of her youth in Ireland, and he’s drawn to the land of his ancestors. There, he seeks out his mother’s family and meets Fergal Walsh, who works at Ronan’s aunt’s bookstore. A love of literature facilitates a fast friendship between the two men, and even though Ronan cannot deny the potential—and his desire—for more, he cannot see a future for the two of them when he leaves Ireland. Fergal must persuade Ronan to give school in Dublin a chance—and convince Ronan that his heart has already found its home.

 

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

About the Author

J. C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an Army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his lifelong involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States, J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that.

His favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing, and Korean food (not in that order… okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts, and wishing he were writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

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A Melanie Release Day Review: Hearts in Ireland (World of Love) by J.C. Long

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

When the future is shrouded and it’s hard to find direction, maybe it’s time to let the heart lead the way….

Ronan Walker stands at a crossroads, unsure how to pursue his education… unsure if he even wants to. Now that his mother is gone, all he has left are the wonderful stories of her youth in Ireland, and he’s drawn to the land of his ancestors. There, he seeks out his mother’s family and meets Fergal Walsh, who works at Ronan’s aunt’s bookstore. A love of literature facilitates a fast friendship between the two men, and even though Ronan cannot deny the potential—and his desire—for more, he cannot see a future for the two of them when he leaves Ireland. Fergal must persuade Ronan to give school in Dublin a chance—and convince Ronan that his heart has already found its home.

Ronan Walker’s mother left her beloved Ireland to marry his father and move to America, leaving part of herself behind.  Ronan was raised on stories of her family, songs of Ireland and her mother’s love for the land she left for a greater love.  Now his mother is gone, and in his grief, Ronan is stuck. Mired in depression and his inability to move forward until a talk with his father and the sudden realization that he needs to go to Ireland…take the trip his mother waited too late to make.

The character of Ronan is easy to understand when you think about someone who has lost his mother, someone he was so close to, who almost grounded him his whole life.  He has lost his mooring and now needs to find himself and in a way, his mother leads the way home for Ronan once more.  She leads him to Ireland and family.

J.C. Long’s description of Abhainn Dún—River Fort, the village where Aunt Gwendolyn and cousin Hannah live is wonderful.  I could see so easily the houses with the ancient Agas and the stores with the lanes leading up to them.  I felt as though I’d been there and that includes the pub.  In fact every part of this element of the story was vivid and real.  It made Ronan’s journey to a new life and a new love grounded and believable.  I got it when Ronan felt that he was finally at home in Abhainn Dún, amid family he knew of but now were a part of his heart.  Even the character of Fergal Walsh, who’s less substantial in feel than the others, still has a ring of authenticity about him.  This is a HFN, a promise of a start for Ronan and Fergal, which is as it should be, nothing more.

I could definitely see a sequel for Hearts in Ireland, Ronan has just begun his new start here in Ireland.  But if that doesn’t happen, I’m happen to have read this story.  It’s a lovely read, heartwarming and sweet.  Definitely one I recommend.

Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs | Tibbs Design.  Lovely with Dublin on the  cover along with the River Liffey and a terrific representation of the character.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook, 119 pages
Expected publication: May 10th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title Hearts in Ireland
ISBN 1635334500 (ISBN13: 9781635334500)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series World of Love

An Ali Review: A Matter of Duty (Hong Kong Nights #1) by J.C. Long

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Noah Potter has come to Hong Kong to find his missing sister, Lianne, who disappeared after leaving him a voice mail pleading for his help. Unfortunately the Hong Kong police are unwilling to help him, so Noah has to find her himself.

Noah’s search for his sister brings him across Wei Tseng, leader of the Dragons, a group of dedicated men and women willing to do whatever it takes to keep their district safe from the violence and triads that plague the rest of the city’s underworld. Wei is a man of violence but also one of incredible compassion, and his history is one that resonates with Noah, igniting a passion neither man expects.

Together they search for Lianne, a search that will lead right into a conflict with the Dragons’ greatest rivals in the city.
I really enjoyed this fast paced and entertaining story.  I was hooked right from the prologue and the pace of the story didn’t slow down until the end.  I couldn’t read fast enough to see what was going to happen next.  I liked Noah right off the bat and I really felt for him as he struggles to find his sister in a country he’s never been too before.  And, Wei…..what a perfect anti-hero he was.
The mystery part of the story was really good but I especially loved the romance aspect of it.  The chemistry between the two men is immediate and it jumps off the pages at the reader.  I felt like the author did an excellent job of balancing the mystery and the action scenes with the romance and the relationship development. 
There are a host of side characters and they all added to the plot.  There is a subtle set up of the next book and the couple that will star in it.  The world building was also well done and it set the atmosphere of Hong Kong in a way that let me picture I was there.
This was a new author for me and I’m always really excited when I find a new author and/or a new series to read.  I’m going to have to go back and read his back catalogue.
I had no complaints about this book and really can’t fan girl it enough.  It was really well done and it is a definite recommend from me.
Cover:  I like the cover a lot.  It is eye catching and fits the plot perfectly.
Sales Links
 
Book Details:
ebook, 269 pages
Published March 6th 2017 by NineStar Press
Original Title A Matter of Duty
ISBN13 9781945952692
Edition Language English
URL Series Hong Kong Nights #1

In the Release Day Spotlight: Unzipping 7D (Unzipped Shorts #2) by J.C. Long (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Unzipping 7D

Series: Unzipped Shorts 2

Author: J.C. Long

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: February 20

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 10600

Genre: Erotica, Erotica, travel, exhibition, PWP, hook-up apps, sexting, businessmen

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Synopsis

Jordan Price is used to the boring wait in airports, given that he practically lives on business trips. He’s all set for this to be more of the same, until he meets a self-described power bottom on Unzipped—a guy who happens to be in the same airport. It seems like a perfectly good way to kill time until his flight, but soon Jordan realizes that Heath, his newfound friend on Unzipped, will be taking the same flight, and the wheels in his head get spinning. Jordan is determined to test Heath’s bottoming skills himself, and if he has his way, the flight will be anything but boring.

Excerpt

Unzipping 7D
J.C. Long © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Jordan didn’t bother formulating a reply; it would just be a waste of time. He sat around, catching up on his fantasy football team until they called for boarding. It was pure luck that Jordan spotted Heath going to join the boarding call, wearing a T-shirt and khaki shorts. Jordan had priority boarding—one of the few benefits his job actually provided on his work flights—but he decided to forgo the slightly quicker boarding in order to fall in line behind Heath.

“Hello, 7-D,” Jordan said softly, enjoying the way Heath jumped a little before glancing back at him. “You’re pretty handsome in person—though you look better without your clothes on, if you don’t mind me saying.”

The back of Heath’s neck turned pink, along with his ears, and Jordan felt a devilish grin coming on. It looked like his dirty app pen pal blushed easily. There were so many ways he could have fun with that, if only they were seated together.

That same regret ran through his mind on repeat as the line slowly progressed. When it was his turn to present his ticket and photo ID to the attendant, he did so without taking his eyes off Heath’s ass as he went before him. It was a damn fine ass.

Once Jordan entered the plane, he was greeted by the sole flight attendant, who, with a big fake smile plastered on her red-painted lips, said, “Thank you for flying Alliance Air.”

Jordan languidly made his way down the aisle, gaze raking over Heath as he loaded his luggage into the overhead compartment above row seven.

He didn’t know if it would work—didn’t even know if Heath would appreciate it or go along with it—but he decided to give it a try. The overweight businessman who had taken the bench next to him while waiting at the gate was currently seated in seat 7-E, the window seat.

“Excuse me, sir,” Jordan said, leaning around Heath and ignoring the What the hell are you doing? look Heath shot him. “Sorry to disturb you, but I was wondering if I could persuade you to switch seats with me?” Jordan put his hand companionably on Heath’s shoulder. “My friend here and I are flying back home for his brother’s wedding—he’s the best man—and we were supposed to work on bachelor party plans, but we’re sitting apart. I know it’s inconvenient, but could we trade? I have an aisle seat.” Jordan showed the man his ticket.

The man heaved a great sigh, like Jordan was asking him to do something truly inconvenient and not just move to a seat a few rows farther back in the plane. He was fully prepared for the guy to say no, but he didn’t. Instead he got up and shuffled past Jordan and Heath, reaching up and removing his carry-on from the overhead bin.

“Enjoy your wedding,” he said in a wheezy voice before he took Jordan’s ticket and waddled back along the aisle.

Excitement building, Jordan tossed his carry-on in the overhead compartment and took the window seat, grinning cheekily at Heath when he got situated. “You just going to stand there holding up traffic, buddy?”

Blushing once more, Heath finished putting away his bags and took his seat, shifting uncomfortably as he buckled his seat belt. Jordan spread his legs a little and let his knee touch Heath’s, almost laughing when the other man nervously moved it away.

“What are you doing?” Heath asked in a low voice.

“Nothing,” Jordan said, face innocent even as he lowered his hand to his crotch, giving it an obvious squeeze. As he expected, Heath’s gaze followed his hand right to where he wanted it. “I figured it’s going to be a boring three-hour flight, so might as well make it more interesting.”

Heath’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “How?”

“Oh, we’ll figure something out, I’m sure.”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

J.C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his life-long involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that. J. C. Long’s favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing and Korean food (not in that order…okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts and wishing he was writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

Website | Facebook | TwittereMail

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