An Alisa Review: Laurent and the Beast (Kings of Hell MC #1) by K.A. Merikan

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
— Nothing can stop true love. Not time. Not even the devil himself. —

1805. Laurent. Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart. 
2017. Beast. Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.

Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.

Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse. Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.

In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living. 

What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.
I generally don’t read biker books.  It’s a genre I’m not fond of at all but I like these authors and the time travel aspect sounded so unique I had to give it a try.   I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed this.  
The story is told is alternating points of view.  I liked this because we got to see what both Laurent and Beast were thinking.  They were very different men and their perceptions of each situation was totally different.  They start off not trusting each other but as the story goes on they start to slowly open up to each other.  
I thought both MC’s were really well done and I liked them both but for different reasons.  Beast was the tortured hero that you really want to see get a happy ending.  He struggled with his own self-esteem and it was wonderful to watch him as he starts to trust Laurent and open up to him.  Laurent was a little immature (as expected since he was very young) but overall he took the whole situation like a trooper.  He didn’t whine or complain and he made the best of a bad situation.  It was also a bit funny to watch him explore the present time and learn all about the things around him.  Their scenes together were both sweet and sexy.  The two men had great chemistry and I was really rooting for them the entire time.
The overall plot was a mystery of sorts and I loved the paranormal aspect.  There was a devil and a serial killer and a present day bad guy.  I liked the ending and was excited to see that there are more books planned in the series.  We meet all of the guys in this book and my interest was peaked for all of them.  
I thought this was unique and well done.  It had a bit of everything.  There was some action and adventure, some sexy times and a beautiful love story.  This is a definite recommend from me.
The cover was done by Natasha Snow and I loved it.  It’s got a great vibe to it and it really catches the eye.  It’s also a great representation of Beast.
Sales Links:  Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 360 pages
Published April 29th 2017 by Acerbi & Villani ltd (first published April 2017)
ASINB071NCQZPZ
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesKings of Hell MC #1
CharactersLaurent Mercier, Kai

A VVivacious Review: The Art of Mutual Pleasure by K.A. Merikan

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Rating: 3.75 Stars out of 5
 
Benjamin Snowley is very ill. He suffers from the sinful affliction of self-pollution or masturbation. His moral descent began the day he caught Frederick Cory kissing, among other things, another boy. Since then he has been unable to stop.
 
Just as his health is taking a turn for the worse he comes across Dr. Tissot, an expert in treating this particular illness. But the unorthodox treatment he suggests might be a tad too overwhelming to follow through until a proposition to a stablehand sets Benjamin on the path of debauchery.
 
Will this unorthodox treatment cure Benjamin of what ails him or will it bring with it a whole new set of ailments to deal with?
 
This book is a fascinating read. It is intriguing how well the authors have managed to spin out the story for this book. I loved the premise of this book; it was bizarre enough to be completely believable. This book’s very well written and makes for a compelling read. This story is undoubtedly hot, but the added intrigue of their actions being forbidden makes it even hotter and somehow Benjamin’s misguided beliefs just give him permission to enjoy even the unlawful whole heartedly even if he might be unaware of it.
 
I really liked the characters of this book because even the most trivial characters in this book left an impression. I especially came to really like Benjamin in all his innocence and wantonness. I felt like the character is very central to making this story work because there has to be this perfect mixture of character traits for the story to not feel or read like it’s completely ridiculous.
 
While the sex in this book is beyond hot, I felt like it was heading into the border of too much of even a good thing can be bad. Because at one point I was like enough with this no-strings attached sex, I want feelings with my sex because at that point in this book I was really missing the kisses and the caresses. Thankfully it lasted for only a little while and the story headed into new terrain soon after.
 
Another point of contention I have with this story is Tom. Tom is an amazing character and I felt like there was a lot of potential between him and Benjamin and the fact that Tom just up and left didn’t feel like a good enough explanation for why he wasn’t the significant other in Benjamin’s life because the scenes between Benjamin and Tom have way more chemistry between the characters than those featuring Frederick and Benjamin.
 
Having said all that, I truly enjoyed the story as it is written. It is a hot, fascinating story that makes for a very enjoyable read.
 
Cover Art by Natasha Snow. I loved the cover for this book.
Sales Link: Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 153 pages
Published March 29th 2017 by Acerbi & Villani ltd
ASINB06XVXF5JM
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: The Art of Mutual Pleasure by K.A. Merikan

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

— The path to debauchery is strewn with good intentions. —

Benjamin Snowley is trapped in a most distressing predicament. He’s been feeling poorly and after having recently recovered from influenza, he knows that the fault for his declining health lies in a vice he wouldn’t dare mention in polite conversation.

Onanism, self-pollution, masturbation. All names for the same sinful affliction.

For Benjamin, it all started back at school, where he first encountered the immoral Frederick Cory. Ever since then, the man has been plaguing Benjamin’s dreams and causing most unnatural urges.

Now is the time for all the infatuation nonsense to stop. With the help of an unorthodox doctor and an indecent proposition to a young stablehand, Benjamin will rid himself of the vile addiction.

But can the experimental treatment be enough to make him forget his feelings for Frederick?

Warning: Contains a clueless young man on a futile quest for chastity and a libertine artist eager to rid him of that goal.

This was an interesting story.  While regency style stories can be hit or miss with me I was happy with the ending to this story, I will admit that it took a bit of endurance for me to get through the first part of the book but the last third makes up for all the things that made it hard for the story to keep my attention.  Benjamin is quite disturbed by his self-pollution and seeks out even the most radical of help as he sees so other way to cure himself.  To make it worse he finds that the doctor is a fraud and even worse that he enjoys the “treatments”.  Frederick has always been intrigued by Benjamin but took his icy and prudish exterior as a sign to back off, which he does until he sees Benjamin at a brothel in all his glory and can’t stop thinking of him as his.

The beginning of this story is a bit heart breaking with Benjamin pretty much torturing himself in fear that what he is doing is bad and will end up hurting him.  We could just see how much this hurt Benjamin’s confidence and self worth as he fully thought it was slowly killing him and that he would only get worse.  When we first see Frederick I wasn’t impressed, but he really redeems himself when he finally gets thru to Benjamin and shows him what love and pleasure can feel like.

Throughout most of the story we see it through Benjamin’s eyes, so we know how he is feeling even when he tries to deny it to himself as much as all those around him.  He continues to worry even while getting his “treatments” even if he begins to feel better.  There is hope for Benjamin when we see how much Frederick wants him to feel and experience on the positive spectrum together.  While they are open in their relationship they are fully committed to each other and they both have to be comfortable with what is going on.  The abundance of self doubt made it hard to get into the story, but the end with Benjamin and Frederick’s relationship and life made up for all that in the end.

 

The cover art by Natasha Snow is a wonderful sensual view of Benjamin.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 153 pages

Published: March 29, 2017 by K.A. Merikan

Edition Language: English

 

Release Day Blitz for ‘Guns n’ Boys: Bloodbath (Guns n’ Boys 6)’ by K.A. Merikan (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Guns n’ Boys: Bloodbath

Series: Guns n’ Boys 6

Author: K.A. Merikan

Publisher: Acerbi & Villani ltd.

Release Date: 4th March 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 115 000 words

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, mafia, organized crime, cartel, adopted, undercover, homophobia, assassin

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Synopsis

“I don’t even know who I am anymore.”
“All you need to know is that you’re mine.”

Seth would follow Domenico to the depths of hell. He promised to always be at Domenico’s side. But hell becomes all too real when they infiltrate the world of Toro – a notoriously security-obsessed arms dealer, who has eyes and ears everywhere.

Seth becomes unable to steal even a moment of intimacy with Domenico, and the tension grinds them down each day. Beyond the deceptive paradise of Toro’s villa, violence is an everyday occurrence, and the swimming pool could just as well be filled with blood. To survive, Seth has to become the man Domenico needs him to be, but in the process, he might lose who he truly is.

With Seth trained up, and Mark as backup, victory is so close Domenico can taste it. They just need to prove themselves to Toro as valuable assets. With each day though, Seth seems to be drifting away from Domenico, hidden behind a mask of cruelty and indifference. It is exactly what Domenico asked of him, so why is it so difficult to see Seth become his mirror image?

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: mafia, cartel, assassin, organized crime, homophobia, human trafficking, undercover, family ties

Genre: Dark, twisted romance / crime thriller

Erotic content: Explicit scenes

Length: ~115,000 words

WARNING: Adult content. If you are easily offended, this book is not for you.
‘Guns n’ Boys’ is a gritty story of extreme violence, offensive language, abuse, and morally ambiguous protagonists. Behind the morbid facade, there is a splash of inappropriate dark humor, and a love story that will crawl under your skin.

Excerpt

“He doesn’t know us yet, but he will once I’m done with him,” Domenico said in a voice so chilling Seth felt odd about having wanted his hands all over in the morning, just hours before. Then again, even now, Domenico’s cool demeanor wasn’t a deterrent. If this side of Dom were something Seth truly despised, he’d have taken any opportunity to leave Dom many times over. Which of course he didn’t because he was a dumb, fat moth to Domenico’s flame, and he’d stick around no matter how many times he got burned.

The prisoner spat out some bloodied saliva and grinned, shaking his head. “Who are you even working for?”

Domenico let out a cloud of smoke, which swirled in the dim space. “We’re working for ourselves, and we’ve had an excellent track record so far.”

The man laughed, shaking his head wildly. “You’re in way above your head! What do you think is in that box, huh? A golden machine gun? Diamonds? You will regret ever stepping foot on our boat.”

Anger boiled over in Seth, and he planted his foot in the man’s stomach. Bile rose in his throat when he thought that the bloodshed and the risk they’d taken to hijack the vessel could have been for nothing.

Dom shifted on top of the trunk. “What is in the trunk?” he asked, almost softly, and nodded at Seth. A signal to keep going. To torture. First beat up, and then what? Cut off the guy’s fingers?

The man curled up as much as he could with his hands tied to the chair, and Seth hesitated, only to get a nasty surprise kick to the shin when their prisoner decided attack was the best way of protecting himself.

“You motherfucker!” This time, Seth had no mercy. He kicked the bastard’s stomach so hard the chair twisted, and he fell over, trapping one of his wrists between the chair and the floor. The choked scream did not soften Seth’s resolve that he was doing the right thing now. This was a man working for a cartel, caught on his way to deliver some goods to Raul Moreno. Why would he be worthy of Seth’s pity anyway?

Domenico leaned forward, watching the man’s face twist in discomfort. “What’s in the trunk?”

The mercenary gave a breathless laugh. “Something as common as mosquitoes,” he uttered, and it must have piqued Dom’s interest, because he stood up and approached.

“What then? Cocaine?”

The man grinned at them with his reddish teeth. “More than that.”

Seth stood back at the other side of the tiny cabin and crossed his arms on his chest. This was one guessing game he wasn’t about to play with the bastard.

Domenico sighed and slowly lowered himself. The burning end of the cigarette in his hand was bright red when it pressed against the mercenary’s cheek. The fucker gave a choked noise, clenching his teeth so hard Seth could practically hear them crack.

“You sure you don’t want to tell me? You’re dead anyway, so what is it to you?” asked Domenico.

“Well, it’s not explosives, so why don’t you just check yourself?” the man hissed after taking a few raspy breaths. Watching it made Seth so tense his muscles felt like made out of concrete.

Domenico sighed and looked back at the trunk.

“It’s sealed,” Miguel said from his spot at the door.

“I know,” Dom muttered, still gazing at the piece of luggage that might as well hold a medium-sized fridge.

The prisoner laughed. “Go on. Or are you scared of Raul Moreno?”

Seth rolled his eyes. “Pathetic attempt at reverse psychology there.”

The guy looked back at him with a frown, and Seth could bet he had no idea what that meant.

Domenico stayed silent, then pulled out a knife and presented it to Seth, handle first. “Open the trunk.”

Seth took the knife and approached the leather-bound box, but he licked his lips and watched the seal, giving himself a few more seconds. He wasn’t exactly afraid of it being explosives, since he doubted their prisoner would encourage them this way, but on the other hand, maybe that was exactly what it was, since the man had to understand by now that he would die soon anyway.

But Domenico knew his job like no other man, and he must have thought of that possibility. If he insisted Seth open the trunk, it had to be fine, even if the contents turned out to be disappointing, like a batch of Raul Moreno’s favorite popcorn.

Seth still decided to ask. “Are you sure? What if it’s a caiman?

“Just be careful. Nice and slow,” said Dom, moving his hand to their prisoner’s neck when Seth kneeled in front of the trunk.

The paper seal marked by some symbols and letters beckoned Seth’s attention, and it almost felt like he was about to slice into flesh. How would they explain the open seal upon arrival? Would they even need to? Maybe it was just a formality no one paid attention to anymore? His stomach clenched as he cut through the paper. The cracked and dusty leather suggested it wasn’t the first time the trunk had been used, and its size held no answers as to what secret it could hold.

Slowly, he opened several metal latches, and then three leather straps that further secured the lid in place. The silence inside the cabin was absolute, and he even heard the rubbing of leather against leather. His last thought before he raised the top of the trunk, which felt oddly heavy and sturdy, as if there was metal under the thick layer of leather, was that it had to be a very specialized container if it had been so clearly used for a long time.

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Acerbi & Villani ltd.

Meet the Author

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

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In the Historical Spotlight: The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apple by K.A. Merikan (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apple:

Author: K.A. Merikan

Publisher:  Acerbi&Villani ltd.

Release Date: 7th of February 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 140,000 words

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Historical – 18th Century Cornwall, Highwayman, Kidnapping, Forbidden love, Violence

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Writing historical books requires a lot of research, otherwise they might will feel washed out. Because of the theme of this particular novel, we needed to look into the legislation of the period and find out how laws were applied.

Executions used to be major attractions at that time, with spectators filling up Bodmin every time a hanging was taking place. People’s morals must have been very different from ours, because convicts weren’t only killed for murder or highway robberies with violence. No, people had been hanged for stealing someone’s spoon, or a sheep. This shows how ferociously the wealthy protected their possessions, and how little human life meant in comparison. On the other hand, in case of livestock, one could argue life was at stake. Sometimes, a cow or a goat was vital to the survival of a poor family, so losing it meant malnourishment, and possibly even death. Either way, reading through a list of public executions from the eighteenth century is a bizarre experience.

Around the period the book is set (1785), the executions were moved closer to the new gaol in Bodmin. The previous location, known as the Five Lanes for its convenient location where roads from several towns converged, had been utilized since the mid-sixteenth century at least. I went through the list of 1785 executions to make the descriptions as true to reality as possible, and I discovered something shocking.

Talk about coincidence! A man named William Hill had been executed at the Five Lanes in Bodmin on July 23rd 1785–a date corresponding to the timeline of The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple–for the murder of none other than John Pascoe. There wouldn’t have been anything unusual about it if it weren’t for the fact that this is the name of our book’s villain. I swear we picked his name at random. We looked through lists of people who lived in eighteenth century Cornwall to pick up a surname that was local to the region.

I’m not even gonna check who that particular John Pascoe was, because that is just too freaky for my taste 😉

Have you ever had this kind of bizarre experience when reading something related to history? A known name, or a vaguely familiar face in an old photo?

The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple is the kind of book that just needed to be written, despite our already tight schedule. The idea first came to us when we watched a documentary about highwaymen, but we promised ourselves to wait. And then we went to Cornwall for a month, and initial plans collapsed. As we walked through the woods, watching the lush nature and the old stone cottages peppered on both sides of a valley where we were staying, the characters and story steadily came to us. Our aim was to write a historical book that provides as much excitement as readers learned to expect from our contemporary romance.

RELEASE DATE: 7th February 2017

If you want to see our inspiration photos for this book, check out the ‘Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple’ Pinterest board:

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The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple is our baby. It’s been a year since we started working on this book, and to celebrate its release, we’re organizing a quiz for readers who follow The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple blog tour. Answers to all questions will be provided in the blog posts, and we will then randomly pick the lucky winners. You can win:

  • a signed paperback of The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple + a selection of Cornish treats (main prize – for one person)
  • 3 ebooks of choice from our backlist + a surprise treat from Cornwall (will go to 3 more people)

For a chance to win, follow the instructions in blog posts and solve the quiz, which will be published on our website on 1st February 2017. Please, send answers to kamerikan@gmail.com with ‘Black Sheep Quiz’ in the subject line of the email.

 

Winners will be randomly chosen from readers who sent us correct answers by 17th February 2017.

LINKS TO ALL POSTS:

02/01 THE QUIZ

02/03 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

02/06 We Three Queens

02/07 Boy Meets Boy Reviews

02/08 Prism Book Alliance

02/09 The Novel Approach

02/09 Joyfully Jay

02/10 The Zipper Rippers

02/10 The Book Bella

02/11 Divine Magazine

02/12 Bayou Book Junkie

Synopsis

“How does one start a relationship with another man when it is forbidden?”
“One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for.”

Cornwall, 1785

Sir Evan Penhart. Baronet. Highwayman. Scoundrel.

Julian Reece. Writer. Wastrel. Penniless.

No one forces Julian Reece to marry. Not his father, not his brother. No one.

When he is thrust into a carriage heading for London to meet his future bride, his way out comes in the form of an imposing highwayman, riding a horse as black as night. Julian makes a deal with the criminal, but what he doesn’t expect is that despite the title of baronet, the robber turns out to be no gentleman.

Sir Evan Penhart is pushed into crime out of desperation, but the pact with a pretty, young merchant’s son turns out to have disastrous consequences. Not only is Evan left broke, but worse yet, Julian opens up a Pandora’s box of passions that are dark, needy, and too wild to tame. With no way to lock them back in, rash decisions and greedy desire lead to a tide that wrecks everything in its way.

But Julian might actually like all the sinful, carnal passion unleashed on him. How can he admit this though, even to himself, when a taste of the forbidden fruit could have him end up with a noose around his neck? And with highway robbery being a hanging offense and the local constable on their back, Julian could lose Evan before he can decide anything about the nature of his desires.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: highwayman, abduction, ransom, forbidden love, self-discovery, danger, crime,
Genre: Dark romance, historical
Erotic content: Explicit scenes

Length: ~140,000 words (standalone novel)

WARNING: Adult content. Contains violence, distressing scenes, abuse, offensive language, and morally ambiguous protagonists.

Excerpt

The sun was high up in the sky by the time the desynchronized orchestra left Julian’s skull. There wasn’t enough space to properly lie down anywhere in the carriage, but he managed to obtain a comfortable position by resting his legs up the wooden wall while his upper body occupied one of the benches. He still felt like the filling of an enormous rattle as the carriage bent in all possible directions on the uneven road leading away from the coast.

Horace didn’t even make an attempt to hold back his disapproval, but after delivering several biting comments and a lengthy speech about duty, he at last leaned against the side of the carriage in the seat across from Julian and closed his eyes. It was difficult to say whether he was truly in need of a nap or if it was Julian’s face that he didn’t wish to look at.

With his headache out of the way yet not quite well enough to read, Julian opened the curtains in hope of amusing himself with the views, but so far, he merely got to see the side of a narrow gully—all dirt and grass.

He couldn’t understand why Father was being so implacable about having his youngest son marry a title. Couldn’t it wait a fortnight so that Julian could finish that new novel he came up with last night? This one could truly be the breakthrough Julian had been waiting for, the one that would make the Reece family known for more than fabric trade.

Inspiration was a moment in time when Julian’s friend Martin emerged from the darkness of an alley behind the tavern. In that very second he had not resembled himself but a man made of bronze, dreamlike and yet of substance, with strong hands that could crush Julian if they wanted. The novel would start with a similar encounter somewhere in the narrow back alleys, just off the Colosseum. Haunted by the ghost of an ancient gladiator, the protagonist would be believed to be slowly descending into madness, when in reality his awareness of the supernatural would become a vehicle for truth.

Julian was not yet certain of the exact message he wished to convey, but the events would be presented from several points of view, through letters written by the protagonist, his friends, and an official of some sort who’d represent the stale world order.

He’d already had several beautifully evocative ideas for metaphors describing the gladiator himself, but they became somewhat blurry after a night of cards and drink.

Oh, if only he could travel to Rome to let the atmosphere of the city soak him all the way to the bone—without a wife fighting for his attention and pulling him away from work because of feminine fancies.

He looked out of the window with growing disdain. Who in their right mind traveled on Sunday, and so early at that? Julian would have much preferred listening to a sermon at church to spending the day in what was effectively a hearse carrying one of the brightest literary talents just waiting to be discovered.

Now that Julian was feeling better, he was upset with himself about not asking for a day’s delay on religious grounds. He’d never been as devout about prayer as he was about his art, but if the Christian faith could postpone his commitment to a woman he never met, he would gladly kneel and pray. And Miss White wasn’t even a woman but a girl of fifteen, quite pretty in the portrait Julian had been shown, and a viscount’s only daughter at that, but surely as hungry for her intended’s attention as the bawdy house wench who’d become sweet on Julian some years ago.

Back then, he still visited Madame Canard’s establishment to do what everyone else did when they visited a school of Venus. These days, Julian had neither the overwhelming desire nor patience to handle a cunt, no matter how lovely the lady it was attached to. He still enjoyed having a drink with the harlots, and no card table within twenty miles was as lively as the one at Madame Canard’s, but at twenty-five he’d much rather handle needs of the flesh in solitude.

Sweet perfume made his nose itch, the act itself made him unpleasantly sticky—with his sweat and hers—and while he would not dare to ask, it was his suspicion that the friends who usually accompanied him to the brothel were only whoring so much because of pride and bravado. It was a sign of status to be able to afford women and decent wine daily, and so fucking and gambling was the thing you did as a social activity.

Julian’s eyes darted to Horace, who slept with his head thrown back and leaning against the side of the carriage. His wide-open mouth was asking for a distasteful prank, but Julian was far too upset to think of amusing himself at Horace’s expense. So far, the day’s joke was on him.

In the years past, he’d been mocked by his father and siblings over not taking on a profession that they deemed worthy of a gentleman, but with the family being very prosperous, Julian saw no reason to divert his focus from his one true calling.

Despite frequent threats, he’d hoped that Father—having four willing sons and three daughters—wouldn’t push Julian into marriage, but it seemed a lost cause. Soon it would be a wife nagging Julian to stop wasting his time following intellectual pursuits and instead turn his attention to practical matters. As the head of his own family, maybe he’d even be pushed to join the family trade, one step farther from traveling abroad to meet the great artists of the continent.

The carriage started a steep climb up a hill, and Julian cursed, pushing the soles of his boots against the wall to keep his body from rolling off the narrow bench. How long would it take for them to reach London at this pace? It was over two hundred miles away, so a week perhaps? The last time Julian had made the journey, he was so intoxicated most days that he couldn’t properly count them.

But out of nowhere, as the slope of the hill became gentler, the ugly dirt and grass that had been Julian’s only source of entertainment for the last half an hour were replaced by lush greenery of tree tops. He grinned and glanced at Horace, but the fat sod was too busy snoring to notice the change in scenery.

A wicked plan was starting to take shape in Julian’s head, and he quietly removed his feet from the side of the carriage and lowered them to the floor. Pulling himself upright was easy enough after that, and he stalled, eyes transfixed on the permanently flushed face of his brother that was an unappetizing contrast with the white wig he wore, and made him look like a man many years his senior. Julian might be less inclined to business, less sedate than his siblings, but at the very least he had good taste and flair most of Julian’s family lacked, buried deep in the stern world of pretense and money.

Horace didn’t even stir. The old pig was fast asleep, and if that wasn’t Julian’s chance to save his life, he didn’t know what was. Careful not to make any sound, Julian gathered his valise and the coat he’d earlier taken off because of the heat, stilling when the carriage came to a halt. His eyes immediately darted to Horace, but his brother only smacked his lips in his sleep. Hunt could have stopped to relieve himself. What an opportunity this was!

Julian could feel his heartbeat in his throat when he softly pressed on the door handle. Still distinctly aware of his brother being close enough for their knees to touch, were Julian not careful enough. He opened the carriage and left it in a soft stride before closing the door with care.

A warm breeze combed through his hair, wiping away the unpleasant wetness of sweat, and his lungs filled with fresh air, but he didn’t get to enjoy it.

The shining muzzle of a pistol was grinning at him from inches away.

Despite the warm weather, Julian’s whole body was shaken by a chill when his gaze met a pair of eyes so dark they might as well have been lacquered coals. The man had a tricorn hat pulled low over his forehead, and a black scarf obscuring the lower half of his face.

This can’t be happening.

“Don’t try to scream, or I will blow your brains out.” The man squinted and lowered his gun to Julian’s pupil. “Through the eye.”

Julian opened his mouth as his throat closed, robbing him of breath. He wanted to look back, suddenly wishing Horace weren’t such an easy sleeper, but Hunt was nowhere to be seen either. Heat washed over Julian’s body, making him stiffen as if he were made of clay. Had this man hurt their coachman? If so, where was the body?

“What do you want?” Julian whispered, resting his hand on the door handle when his knees softened.

“These.” A hand in a leather glove gripped Julian’s sweaty fingers and slipped off his rings. “And all your other valuables.” The man didn’t even blink, his voice dark as if dragged through tar.

Julian stared, and his mind finally came up with the answer for what this was. “You’re a highwayman…”

“And you’re cork-brained to travel on a Sunday when the roads are empty.” The man’s gaze drifted away to Horace for a split second, but he must have judged him as no threat, and when Horace snored from inside the carriage, the highwayman chuckled quietly.

Julian’s lungs emptied, and a silly grin emerged on his face, encouraged by the highwayman’s amusement. “Ah, I should have gone to church after all.”

The smile died on his lips when the robber poked Julian’s temple with his gun.

“Your valuables,” he urged.

Julian clenched his teeth when they threatened to clatter. He needed to keep calm. His father believed his friends to be villains, so he could handle one. “I’ve been taken out of the tavern this morning with nothing but the clothes on my back. I lost everything at the tables. You should try my older brother. He’s Father’s heir. He should have a healthy sum on him.”

The highwayman gripped the front of Julian’s waistcoat and pulled him forward so hard Julian stumbled straight into the man’s arms. He was much taller than Julian, with wide shoulders that were so strong their size couldn’t be just padding. His clothes smelled of leather and horse sweat, and Julian found himself staring into the eyes above the black scarf.

Before he could say a word, the man turned him around, and pressed the gun to the side of his head.

“Go on, wake up your brother.”

Julian breathed in and out, stiff with discomfort at the warm body pressed against his back as if the highwayman was seeking warmth. The gun provided some relief against heated skin. Its presence made Julian’s blood speed through his veins. It wouldn’t go off. Murder wasn’t in the robber’s interest, but if that was the case, then where the hell was Hunt?

Then an idea illuminated Julian’s mind. “I have a proposition, Mister—”

The highwayman stilled. He’d be lying. Of course. “Noir,” he said in the end. “What kind of proposition can you have, pretty boy? With no money in your pockets.”

Something about Noir’s tone sent a hot shiver through Julian’s ribcage, but he ignored the condescending words and slowly looked back into the blackest eyes he’d ever seen. “I don’t have much on me, but you must know my father. He’s William Reece, the cloth merchant. You could take me and ask for ransom. We could split it between us like two gentlemen,” he whispered and gave Noir a polite nod. Appealing to the highwayman’s self-importance should do the trick. His kind were known for a love of opulence and status they didn’t deserve.

He must have managed to surprise the thief, because Noir’s grip on him faltered. “How much could I ask for a son who hates his father?”

Julian exhaled in relief when he felt Noir’s aggression turn away from him. “A lot. He needs me. I’m worth more than you can imagine,” he said with a small smile.

Noir stole another glance at Horace sleeping in the back of the carriage, and his gloved hand slid to Julian’s neck, squeezing around his nape in a way that had Julian rising to his toes. “You better be. You scream, or try to run, and I will kill you.”

Julian swallowed against the warm, soft leather. It felt surprisingly expensive. Might have been snatched from a gentleman. “I don’t doubt that,” he lied. “However, we share a common goal, friend.”

“Call me ‘friend’ once this is all over.” Noir shook his head and pushed Julian behind the carriage, where a gloriously jet-black stallion awaited its rider, and watched Julian with eyes as dark as Noir’s.

“I hope you haven’t hurt our driver. He’s a good fellow,” said Julian, smiling at the huge beast in front of him.

“He’ll live. Your brother will find him once he wakes up.”

Julian was sure there had to be a hint of a smile under that black scarf. When Noir put the gun inside his coat, Julian tried to assess the man more thoroughly.

The black leather riding coat was worn but of good quality. Could have been stolen too, but the clothes underneath, as black as everything the man wore, were clean, suggesting the highwayman wasn’t sleeping rough somewhere. Unless he dressed up for robbery.

Julian opened his mouth to comment on the beauty of the horse, but Noir spun Julian around and pulled back his hands.

“Good heavens. We’re partners,” Julian whispered with distaste. Hot and cold sweats were hitting him in rapid waves, and he couldn’t tell whether he was scared or excited about this new development. Once he got out of this, he could write a novel about the peril of travellers attacked by rogues while driving through a dark, rainy forest, and with a bit of poetic license, call it a true story.

“I haven’t decided on that yet,” said Noir, and a cold shiver went down Julian’s back at the proficiency with which the man tied his hands. A former sailor perhaps? That wouldn’t bode well, as those types rarely possessed the intellectual capability for complicated schemes. His speech was also far too refined to have been only recently acquired. Damnation!

“Mr. Noir. I’d much rather ride with my hands free. You see, I’ve been incapacitated by gin just this morning, and I don’t feel secure enough without my hands to assist me yet. I assure you, I am harmless.”

Once Noir had tied Julian’s hands, he turned him around. “Now you are. Up.” And just as Julian was wondering how exactly he was supposed to climb atop the tall beast, the scoundrel grabbed his legs and picked him up. Julian barely refrained from screaming. It was no way to handle a gentleman, and yet he couldn’t help but be amazed by Noir’s physical prowess.

Definitely a sailor. A naval officer, perhaps.

Julian’s face flushed with heat when he imagined his bottom sticking out like a whore’s ass at a party. Good grief, what had he gotten himself into? What was next? Being kidnapped by pirates?

His foot found the stirrup, and he exhaled with relief, pushing his other leg over the horse’s hindquarters until he straddled its back. “I see no reason for this kind of treatment, considering it was I who came up with a most lucrative opportunity for you.”

“Keep that up, and I will gag you.” Noir was quick to get on the horse himself as soon as he’d attached Julian’s coat and valise to the saddle. Julian felt completely overwhelmed when the man reached for the reins, all but embracing him.

Julian shuddered and curled his shoulders to not be in the way, though no matter what he did, the shape of the saddle brought them close together. “You’re a scoundrel. Another man in your profession would have treated me right.”

Noir laughed darkly. “You are correct, sir. How could I have forgotten.” Even though the mockery had him exaggerate the polite accent, Julian was becoming certain that Noir’s natural speech was not that of someone uneducated.

Before Julian understood what was happening, Noir pulled a burlap sack over his head.

“I will scream,” whispered Julian, staring through the dots of light in the smelly thing. He squeezed his hands into fists and pushed them hard against Noir’s stomach. His mind was rattling again, as if the drunkenness returned with full force.

“No one will hear you where we’re going.”

“Julian?” came a sleepy voice from the carriage.

Noir’s thighs tensed, and he must have urged his mount to rush, as it went almost straight into gallop.

Julian screamed at the top of his lungs. “Horace!”

The stallion flew forward, and without the aid of his hands, Julian was forced to hang on to it with his legs alone, shaken like a rattle. The rapid gait moved him back and forth over the front of the saddle, making Julian stiffen and push back against the firm chest behind him. Without seeing where they were going, Julian tried to hold on to anything he had on hand, and as it happened, it was probably Noir’s waistcoat. If the horse tripped, at least they would stumble and break their bones together. Or maybe the villain would cushion Julian’s fall in a well-meaning act of God.

It was Sunday.

 

Meet the Author

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite being over thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

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A Caryn Pre Release Review: The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apple by K.A. Merikan

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

the-black-sheep-and-the-rotten-apple-by-k-a-merikanFirst, the official blurb:

“How does one start a relationship with another man when it is forbidden?”

“One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for.”

Cornwall, 1785

Sir Evan Penhart. Baronet. Highwayman. Scoundrel.

Julian Reece. Writer. Wastrel. Penniless.

No one forces Julian Reece to marry. Not his father, not his brother. No one.

When he is thrust into a carriage heading for London to meet his future bride, his way out comes in the form of an imposing highwayman, riding a horse as black as night. Julian makes a deal with the criminal, but what he doesn’t expect is that despite the title of baronet, the robber turns out to be no gentleman.

Sir Evan Penhart is pushed into crime out of desperation, but the pact with a pretty, young merchant’s son turns out to have disastrous consequences. Not only is Evan left broke, but worse yet, Julian opens up a Pandora’s box of passions that are dark, needy, and too wild to tame. With no way to lock them back in, rash decisions and greedy desire lead to a tide that wrecks everything in its way.

But Julian might actually like all the sinful, carnal passion unleashed on him. How can he admit this though, even to himself, when a taste of the forbidden fruit could have him end up with a noose around his neck? And with highway robbery being a hanging offense and the local constable on their back, Julian could lose Evan before he can decide anything about the nature of his desires.

I had to include the blurb, because it was really well written and catches your attention, and it truly does describe the plot, and the nature of the book.  There are layers and layers to the two main characters, and I actually read the book through twice before writing this review, because, well, it deserved it.

The first read through, I felt this was a tale of two men who descended into an amoral quagmire, as each crime committed led to another, until they truly were deserving of punishment.  The second read through was a little different and I could appreciate more of how Evan and Julian interacted with each other, as well as the way they rationalized their actions, even as their crimes escalated.  The blurb mentions “morally ambiguous protagonists” and that was the god’s honest truth – and got to me a little more than I thought it would.  I guess I’ve gotten way too used to my romances involving characters who are always, at the deepest level, good men, or at least men who have repented and changed by the time the book ends.  Not so here.

Julian is a narcissistic, entitled, shallow, immature, spoiled brat, who thinks nothing of using other people – family, friends, and strangers alike.  And though he is forced to recognize all of those traits in himself, and how despicable they make him, he didn’t care who he hurt to save Evan.  Was he a better man at the end of the book than at the beginning?  Jury is out on that one.  Evan probably started out as a good man, but abuse and neglect from his family, self-loathing for his homosexuality and punishment kink, a misplaced sense of responsibility, and a tragic end to his first love affair have left him with his priorities really screwed up.  Which not only led to his first theft, but kept him going on that path until the denouement that was shockingly violent.

Whew.  Not for the faint of heart, but definitely a book that will leave its mark on you.  If you truly believe “all’s fair in love and war” – and I mean, you really think it is OK to hurt anyone who stands in the way of true love – you will like the ending, and you will like the book.  I have qualms about that attitude, even when it’s absolutely appropriate for the setting of the book, so the whole thing left me a little disturbed.  Did I like the book?  I’m not quite sure because I’m so conflicted – I truly got invested in the characters, the romance was emotionally very passionate, and I wanted them to overcome obstacles, but the way they did that, well….. 

The kink level was not nearly as high as I expected from the blurb.  The historical perspective of homosexuality, class privilege, and gender roles was very well done, really reinforcing the fact that 1785 was a more violent time with very different social mores than 2017.

Cover art by Tiferet Design is nice in a very Fabio/regency romance way.

Sales Link coming soon

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Book Details:

ebook, 471 pages
Expected publication: February 7th 2017 by Acerbi & Villani ltd
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Caryn Review: Hipster Brothel by K.A. Merikan

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

hipster-brothel-by-k-a-merikanFrom the very first sentence, I was laughing at the way the authors poked fun at pretty much every stereotype that exists about hipsters.  And there were probably an awful lot I missed too, because in my neck of the woods – Southwest Florida – we aren’t exactly on the cutting edge of anything, so I’m not exactly current with hipster culture. 

Jo is a Chinese-American who wears a man bun, is an edgy dresser who spends a lot on shoes, rides a bicycle, lives in his parent’s basement, and works part time writing (I forget what, but I’m sure it was ironic).  He is bisexual, but has only dated and had sex with girls in the past, having never found a man that he thought was worth the extra effort.  His best friend, Mr. B, really is Jo’s ideal man, but Mr. B has a serious long term boyfriend and Jo doesn’t poach, though he’s not above a little fantasizing…

Until Mr. A breaks up with Mr. B.

B is the original lumbersexual.  He’s a big, blond, bear of a man.  He makes furniture – upcycled, of course – has a full beard, lives in a converted train car in the woods.  But he’s also sweet, cheery, an absolute teddy bear, and he’s been crushing on Jo for a long time but had no idea that Jo is not entirely straight.  When Mr. A breaks up with him after a 5 years relationship, he is not quite devastated – after all, he saw this coming months before it happened – but his self esteem definitely took a hit.  He also quit his job making furniture for the shop Mr. A owned, knowing it would be too awkward to remain there.  Jo is the perfect friend to invite over for some drunken commiserating – over home brewed peach brandy naturally – and while Mr. B rants about everything that was wrong with his relationship with Mr. A, and with him, he and Jo come up with a new life plan. 

They are going to be partners in a business making home made jam, with booze, and sell it at farmer’s markets.

But they need to get some seed money to get the venture going.  And that is where all the drunken rambling and joking come together in Mr. B deciding to market himself as the “Lumbersexual Experience”, complete with pipe smoking lessons and wood chopping exercises in his rustic refurbished train car, AKA hipster brothel.  As he says, “I’m single, I’m open-minded…Sharing economy, right?  Someone lacks sex and I have a nice body.”

I love it when an author can make something so ridiculous work!

Unfortunately, those were the best parts of the book.  Although the comedy didn’t disappear, once they started to have sex – and that’s a really big part of the book – it was as if the book was trying to be a typical contemporary romance instead.  So we have two men who don’t speak their minds, make assumptions which lead to misunderstandings, which delays the inevitable moment when they finally get together.  I wish there had been fewer sex scenes, and more mockery of the hipster culture that made the opening chapters so good.

Despite that, it was a fun, quick, read, Mr. B was adorable, and Jo was a great foil to him.

Cover art by Natasha Snow was a great lumbersexual, although I pictured Mr. B with a cute, open grin instead of the self satisfied smirk seen on this model.

Sales Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2jHLexz | Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2iTzSt7

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 162 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by Acerbi & Villani ltd (first published January 22nd 2017)
Original TitleHipster Brothel
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blitz – K.A. Merikan’s Hipster Brothel (giveaway)

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Buy Links:Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2jHLexz

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2iTzSt7

 
Length: 50,000 words
 
 

Blurb


The lumberjack of his dreams is now available for rent.

Mr. B has always been a safe guy for Jo to crush on. He’s the cutest bearded lumber-god to salivate over. Add to that his friendly, outgoing personality, and Mr. B might just be the first guy Jo would be willing to kiss. Fortunately, Mr. B has been in a relationship for years, and Jo is no home-wrecker.

But when Mr. B breaks up with his partner and all of a sudden is single, available, and talks about his plans to be sexually adventurous, Jo isn’t so sure anymore if he has the guts to come out as bisexual.

After a sour breakup, Mr. B wants to show his ex that he’s independent, exciting, and can do very well without him. His best friend Jo is there to the rescue, and they come up with a great new business venture. One thing they lack to start their own line of artisanal boozy jams – money for the investment.

After a drunken brainstorming session, Mr. B finds a way to both gather the cash and show the middle finger to his ex. He will create a one of a kind Hipster Brothel – The Lumbersexual Experience – offering wood chopping lessons, pipe smoking, and a reclaimed wood bed where the magic happens. It’s bound to be a success… if only Mr. B can go through with it, because the mixed signals from Jo are making him wonder if his best friend is as straight as he always seemed.

Author Bio

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

 

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In Our New Release Spotlight: I Love You More Than Pierogi (World of Love) by K.A. Merikan (author guest blog and excerpt)

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I Love You More Than Pierogi (World of Love) by K.A. Merikan
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska

BUY LINKS

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host K. A. Merikan, the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan.  Welcome to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  Tell our readers about I Love You More Than Pierogi?

~

We’ve been thinking about setting a book in our native Poland for quite some time now, and the submission call for “World of Love” helped us come up with an angle 🙂 The two main characters are former high school sweethearts who meet after several years, and after the bitterness that resulted of their breakup, the reconnection is everything but smooth. Through those characters we explored two conflicting feelings many immigrants face – the longing for home and everything it stands for, and the unstoppable curiosity that pushes them to explore. Who knows, maybe one doesn’t have to choose 😉

Blurb

Marek and Adrian dated in high school, but a bitter breakup led them to choose different paths. Adrian is out and proud while Marek is in the closet. Adrian embraces his eccentricity while Marek clings to a conservative image. And while Marek worked hard to build a successful life and financial stability by climbing the corporate ladder, Adrian threw caution to the wind and has spent the last five years backpacking across the world.

Now Adrian is back in Warsaw, Poland, but while Marek thinks they will have a hookup and have a blast from the past, Adrian is just looking for a place to crash. Worse still, Adrian turns up at Marek’s advertising agency for help with his outrageous new business venture, and if Marek wants to get promoted, he might have to work with the guy who broke his heart.

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

***

Excerpt

Adrian stirred the pierogi, and already his mouth watered at their scent. This was exactly why he learned to cook in the first place. “I worked in many kitchens for the charities I had connections to. At some point I got an understanding of the most basic processes, and the cooks gave me tips. Obviously, foreign cuisines do stuff differently, so in the end I started asking my mom and gran for recipes. It happened organically.”

“Don’t you think that people in Poland might not have the same appreciation for our food as they do for foreign stuff?” Marek asked but sat up straighter on the barstool to have a look at the pierogi sizzling in the fat.

Adrian frowned. “Don’t you? What do you eat on a daily basis? Burgers, kebab, and sushi?”

Marek nodded. “Yeah, the usual kind of takeout. I like pizza but can’t really have too much of it.” He patted his flat stomach.

Adrian smirked. “Oh, I’ll fatten you up if you let me stay here a bit longer.”

“That’s what I’m worried about.” Marek laughed and ran his fingers through his hair. He looked much younger and more relaxed without the suit on. “Though I do miss the traditional home-cooked food,” he admitted. “Frozen pierogi are not the same, and I feel weird going to restaurants on my own.”

Adrian watched him, stirring the food in the pan. He could relate to Marek’s words all too well. “You know, when you immerse yourself in a different culture, everything seems great. It’s all fresh new things, and it’s all delicious. I love spiciness, the sweetness of coconut milk, and I think frying spices before adding anything else frees the flavors, but that kind of food also gets old after a while.”

Marek raised his eyebrows. “I thought you were all about visiting new places and trying new things.”

Adrian shrugged. “Yes and no. It’s all exciting, but at the end of the day you want a steaming bowl of bigos stew with juniper sausage. The comfort food your gran served you after a bad day.” He licked his lips. “Slavic cooking uses a lot of pickles and sour flavors. I really missed that. And when I learned to cook, it was a cure for feeling homesick.”

Marek cocked his head and had more borscht. “Weren’t you too busy to feel homesick?”

Adrian finished frying and put all the pierogi on one plate, generously topping them with lardons. He added a side of rhubarb and carrot salad and sprinkled the remaining chives over the plate. “I don’t think one could ever be too busy to be homesick.” He stopped, looking at the pretty picture that was the plate, and reminisced about the past. “At some point your emotions become a bit stifled, so you don’t think about it too much.”

Marek smiled at Adrian… shyly? “These do look great.”

He reached out for the plate, but Adrian pulled it away and grabbed a fork, then divided one of the pierogi in two.

He picked up one half and blew air over the hot food, watching Marek with amusement. “You will be all over my project after you try these. It’s a secret recipe.”

“Oh? What’s it with?”

Marek’s smile widened, and Adrian was once again reminded of how nice it was to be alone with him, without the roommates or Marek answering e-mails late at night. It made him think[KM1] of Marek’s failed attempt to kiss him and made Adrian wonder if he would ever try again.

He stepped closer, still blowing on the morsel, and put the food against Marek’s mouth. The filling was slow-cooked goose meat with root vegetables, but Marek would have to taste it to find that out. “It’s a secret.”

Marek looked up as he took a big bite, and Adrian couldn’t help but remember how Marek had looked at him while he sucked his cock all those years back. As if Adrian was the center of his universe.

Adrian pulled the fork away and put the remaining food into his mouth, sensing the sweetness of the caramelized onion, which was a perfect addition to the herby meat and vegetables. He stepped closer until his knee brushed Marek’s. “Good?”

Marek nodded with a smile and his mouth full. “Oh, it’s delicious. The real thing. My mom tried to teach me over Skype how to make pierogi with mushrooms one Christmas Eve, and it was such a failure. The dough turned out useless.”

Adrian grinned, looking at Marek while moving even closer between his spread knees. He picked up another piece and fed it to Marek. “It does require the right consistency. You can’t get that just by following a recipe.”

Marek ate more voraciously by the second. “Needs skilled hands. I’m afraid I don’t have the touch for it.” He stared into Adrian’s eyes. “So damn good.”

Adrian chewed on his lip, sensing that familiar tingle in the tips of his fingers as he fed Marek the crunchy salad. So many memories were flooding his brain now, like latent electricity that was finally tangible. “I’ve been told mine are very skilled.”

Marek took a deep breath through his nose. “I might have even been the one to tell you that….”

Adrian’s mouth twitched, and he slowly turned around before casually sitting on one of Marek’s thighs. Anticipation was far more than a tingle now, and he looked Marek in the eyes as he ate a piece of pierogi. “I think you did.”

Marek put his fingertips against Adrian’s back. “Maybe the business idea isn’t that stupid after all.”

iloveyoumorethanpierogi_fbbanner_dsp

About the author

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

e-mail: kamerikan@gmail.com

More information about ongoing projects, works in progress and publishing at:

K.A. Merikan’s author page: http://kamerikan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KAMerikan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KA_Merikan

Agnes Merikan’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/AgnesMerikan

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6150530.K_A_Merikan

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KAMerikan/

Follow the blog tour:

December 29 – MM Good Book Reviews

January 4 – Boy Meets Boy

January 5 – Open Skye Book Reviews

January 5 – The Novel Approach

January 6 – Love Bytes

January 9 – Alpha Book Reviews

January 10 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words  

A Lila Release Day Review: I Love You More Than Pierogi (World of Love) by K.A. Merikan

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

i-love-you-more-than-pierogi-by-k-a-merikanMarek and Adrian dated in high school, but a bitter breakup led them to choose different paths. Adrian is out and proud while Marek is in the closet. Adrian embraces his eccentricity while Marek clings to a conservative image. And while Marek worked hard to build a successful life and financial stability by climbing the corporate ladder, Adrian threw caution to the wind and has spent the last five years backpacking across the world.

Now Adrian is back in Warsaw, Poland, but while Marek thinks they will have a hookup and have a blast from the past, Adrian is just looking for a place to crash. Worse still, Adrian turns up at Marek’s advertising agency for help with his outrageous new business venture, and if Marek wants to get promoted, he might have to work with the guy who broke his heart.

I Love You More Than Pierogi is all about Poland; especially their food. This is my first World of Love story and I like the idea of reading about countries I haven’t visited. It’s easy to see the authors’ affinity for the country and how they’re transmitting some of their own experiences throughout the story. It feels personal and realistic.

I love second chance stories and the relationship between Marek and Adrian is no exception. You can see the sparks between them from the moment they get back in contact. The paths theirs lives took after their original relationship ended transformed them into the man they are and somehow changed the expectations between the two.

The first part of the story is a bit slow and filled with information that helps the reader get into the smells, sites, and tastes of Poland. I had to google most of the food terms, including pierogi, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. I like learning new things as I read new stories.

The descriptions of the streets, architecture, etc. and the way of living (apartments, cars, and so) go hand in hand with what I knew about the country and its post-war reality. Some of the ways Marek’s office operates and the people they met were a bit over the top for me, but it added to the foreign feel.

The characters are beautifully written and their friendship is lovely later in the story. I just had trouble with Marek’s and Adrian’s mood swings, and some of the side stories. But overall, this is a great introductory romance with Poland at its heart.

The cover by Anna Sikorska is beautiful. One of the best I have seen in a while. The colors, the images, and the model work perfectly together to entice the reader to look further into the story.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | Nook

Book Details:

ebook, 101 pages
Published: January 4, 2017, Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781635332100
Edition Language: English