An Ali Review: An Arresting Ride (Survivors Find Love #2) by Lissa Kasey

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Graham Church began career as a police officer with a case so gruesome it sent many officers into early retirement. That day he helped save the lives of children and began a long crusade of protecting the residents of Friday Harbor from the worst of humanity. But brutal car accidents and the discovery of a dog fighting ring have taken their toll on Graham. Returning to an over-crowded apartment where his room is a closet, and working sixteen-hour shifts, have left him emotionally exhausted and in need of a quiet place to call home.

Jason Wullcot is a horse breeder and a mystery to the island he lives on, but is in need of a roommate for human contact. His therapist recommends Graham Church, who also happens to have a “white knight” syndrome. When Graham discovers his new roommate was one of the children he helped save twelve-years prior, Graham’s need to protect and save kicks into high gear. Only Jason has no interest in being saved. In fact, Graham realizes that Jason may not be the one in need of saving at all, but maybe, just maybe they can fill the broken pieces of each other.
I went into this book with a bit of trepidation.  I’m getting tired of the “damaged” MC who gets “fixed” by the love of a good man/woman.  I liked the first book in the series though and the blurb sounded good so I gave it a try.  I’m so glad I did.  It didn’t at all head down the road I thought it was going to.  In fact, in made me stop and think about my preconceived ideas about people.  I think I opened my mind some just as Graham’s character did.
The writing was really good and the story engaged me right from the beginning.  I liked both of the MC’s (although it took me a bit longer to warm up to Jason) and I thought the side characters really added to the plot.  If you’ve read book one you will see that Charlie and Bastian play an important role in this story.  That being said, this book works fine as a stand alone.  The romance was a lovely slow burn and I felt like it was really realistic.  The heat factor is there but not until later in the book.
I’ve read a few books by this author and have enjoyed them all but this has jumped to the top of my list.  It is definitely my favorite work by her.  This is a book I would certainly recommend.
Cover:  I like this cover a lot.  Artistically I think it is lovely and catches your eye.  It also reflects the plot and characters really well.
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Book Details:
ebook, 234 pages
Published March 1st 2017 by Self-Published
ASINB01NBY8PNW
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSurvivors Find Love #2

An Ali Review: Painting with Fire (Survivors Find Love #1) by Lissa Kasey

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
painting-with-fire-by-lissa-kaseyCharlie “Wood Chuck” Fox knows his best friend and fellow wildfire firefighter Jessie Row had a major family break up in her past. Charlie has adopted her into his heart and into his huge family and when Jessie gets word her mother has passed away, Charlie fears returning home is going to tear her up.
Bastian Hart’s choice of career as a doll painter has put him at odds with his family. He’s made a sanctuary for himself on the San Juan Island of Friday Harbor, an hour away from his family. He welcomes his aunt Jessie and her friend Charlie into his house as they all prepare for the upcoming funeral. Charlie and Bastian discover a spark of smoldering fire igniting between them, but Charlie is unwilling to push and Bastian hesitant to trust. 

 They will have to wade through pain, hate, and fear to find their future together.
This was a lovely story about two unlikely men falling in love.  When Charlie and Jessie go back to her home town they end up stating with Bastian.  Bastian is younger and is a doll maker for a living.  He has had an abusive past with his family and he’s very lonely and fragile.  The two men are immediately attracted to each other and their relationship is a slow bloom kind of thing.  Bastian has some emotional issues he needs to work through and Charlie has the patience to take the time to work through them with him.  I enjoyed watching these two fall in love and I liked them as a couple.
I found Bastian’s job really interesting and something I’ve never read in a romance story before.  I felt the author did a good job showing us what this profession entails and also uses it to show us facets of Bastien’s personality.  I also felt the atmosphere was set well.  It was easy to image the town and Bastian’s home.  
Overall I really enjoyed this.  The main plot was a classic hurt/comfort trope but the author added in enough different things (such as Bastian’s job) to make it feel like a unique story.  This is a story I would recommend and I will be looking forward to more books in this series.
 The cover art is nice enough but does not really stand out to me.  
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Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 173 pages
Published December 2nd 2016
ASIN B01MDPH0X0
Edition Language
English Series Survivors Find Love #1

Lissa Kasey’s Special Guest Blog: The World’s An Island and her release ‘Painting with Fire (Survivors Find Love #1)

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Painting with Fire (Survivors Find Love #1) by Lissa Kasey

Purchase It Here

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The World’s an Island by Lissa Kasey

In August my family erupted. I was working on Model Investigator, and fighting to finish it through depression and outrage. When it was done I decided I needed something a little cathartic. I wanted to write a story that laid out some of my family history but had a positive ending. It would be my first ever contemporary romance. However, like a lot of my stories, I wanted to create a separate space just for these characters. Instead of putting them on another planet or an alternate world, I decided to put them on a reclusive island I hadn’t known existed until I inquired of a friend for ideas—the San Juan islands in Washington.

Maybe it’s just because I’m a Midwesterner that I didn’t know these islands existed. I’ve never been to that corner of the country, so I was a little surprised by the happy little secret of these islands filled with lavender, alpacas, and state parks. Of course they are islands for the rich now as home prices are in the millions. But I thought, why not? Why not create a little community in the real world for my survivors to live, heal, and find love?

After some research, I decided on Friday Harbor as my location. This appears to be one of the largest and easiest to access islands of the bunch. There’s a town with a hospital, an airport, and a huge state park overlooking the Olympic Mountains. There’s also an alpaca farm and fields of lavender.

There is a state ferry that travels back and forth all day long from the mainland to the islands. Research included looking at traffic cams, searching real estate sites, reviewing maps, and checking out the websites for the island, the fire fighters and police departments of the island, and the farms. Here’s the main website for Friday Harbor: http://www.fridayharbor.com/.

It’s a popular place to get married, spend the day exploring the island, or even summer months hiking in the state park. Sadly, I have not yet been to the island. Though I do plan a trip in the near future.

What I found most appealing about these islands other than being mostly unknown, is that instead of being a tropical getaway for people who want to lay on beaches and drink alcohol, it seems to be a place of quiet exploration, and a slow down of the fast pace we often find ourselves in when on vacation or even just living life. This, to me, felt like the perfect place for my characters to heal.

What would be your ideal place to travel? Do you like to rush around on vacation or just relax? Have you ever been to a secret hideaway like this? Some place unknown to the average individual, maybe even underrated, but beautiful?

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About Painting with Fire

Charlie “Wood Chuck” Fox knows his best friend and fellow wildfire firefighter Jessie Row had a major family break up in her past. Charlie has adopted her into his heart and into his huge family and when Jessie gets word her mother has passed away, Charlie fears returning home is going to tear her up.

Bastian Hart’s choice of career as a doll painter has put him at odds with his family. He’s made a sanctuary for himself on the San Juan Island of Friday Harbor, an hour away from his family. He welcomes his aunt Jessie and her friend Charlie into his house as they all prepare for the upcoming funeral. Charlie and Bastian discover a spark of smoldering fire igniting between them, but Charlie is unwilling to push and Bastian hesitant to trust.

They will have to wade through pain, hate, and fear to find their future together.

Excerpt

Bastian was waiting for him. He was dressed in fitted blue jeans and a thick zip up sweater. His shoes were heavy black leather. Charlie nodded. “Ready?”

“Yes,” Bastian said. “And no. I’m terrified. I’ve never been on a motorcycle before.”

Charlie led him out to the bike, retrieved the helmets from the lockbox in the back of the truck and helped Bastian put on his. He left the visor up and put on his own. “Once I’m on, I want you to swing your legs around it up behind me. Close. Especially since this is your first ride. Your feet go here.” He motioned to the foot rest. “The shield keeps most of the bugs from splattering on us, but if we go really fast you’ll need to wash your clothes when we’re done.”

Bastian’s eyes widened. Charlie grinned since he was teasing, flicked his visor down and swung onto the bike. Bastian hesitated for a moment, like he wasn’t sure he could do it. Then he carefully climbed on behind Charlie. Charlie steadied the bike and turned it on, giving it a minute for the blue tooth to link up. Then he glanced back to see Bastian nervously watching his feet.

“Slide forward,” Charlie told him. “Put your arms around my waist. I won’t let you fall. We’ll start slow, I promise.”

Bastian slid forward. He carefully wrapped his arms around Charlie’s waist, but his grip was loose. Charlie kicked the bike up, it rolled a few feet, and suddenly Bastian was holding on for dear life. Charlie grinned as he eased them down Bastian’s drive, out the gate, and to the main road, keeping their speed just under thirty miles an hour.

Once they hit the long stretch of lavender fields, Charlie pushed the speed up to fifty. Still below the limit, but enough to have Bastian clinging to him and laughing with excitement and joy. Charlie loved the sound. He had to admit he was attracted to Bastian. Not so much how he looked, though he was adorable, but his amazing heart and endurance. Charlie hoped they could at least become friends. As a man who spent most of his life in the field, he didn’t have enough of those outside the job.

Charlie eased the bike down so they could turn around. The sky was darkening.

“There’s a side road not far up that takes us along the coast,” Bastian said.

“Yeah? Let me know where it is and we’ll take a ride that way.”

“Okay.” Bastian rested his head against Charlie’s shoulder. Once they reached the turn off, Charlie turned on the side road, happy it was paved and in good condition. It wasn’t a long road, but the view was spectacular. Charlie pulled over into a small dirt overlook and took off his helmet. The sun was setting and it was spectacular.

“Wow,” Charlie breathed.

Bastian took off his helmet too. “Nothing else matches the colors. Some say it’s the pollen from the lavender that makes sunsets and rises here so colorful. Others say it’s the mix of cold air from the mountains and the warmth of the water.” He didn’t let go of Charlie; his body heat warmed Charlie. They watched in silence as the sun set. Final traces of the sun’s glow vanishing into a dark blue night. Stars appeared in the thousands.

“No wonder you create such beautiful things with this inspiring view to fuel your muse,” Charlie remarked.

Author Bio:

Lissa Kasey is more than just romance. She specializes in depth characters, detailed world building, and twisting plots to keep you clinging to your book reader. All stories have a side of romance, emotionally messed up protagonists and feature LGBTGA spectrum characters facing real world problems no matter how fictional the story.

A Lila Release Day Review: Model Bodyguard (Haven Investigations #2) by Lissa Kasey

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
model-bodyguard-by-lissa-kaseyThings are going well for androgynous model Ollie Petroskovic, ex-Marine Kade Alme, and their business, Haven Investigations, until rock star Jacob Elias shows up in need of their services… and trouble follows.

Jacob is a playboy with a serious penchant for kink, slaves, and sex toys. He’s also Ollie’s ex—and all that implies. With the media exploiting his personal life, a stalker sending blood-soaked “gifts,” a bumbling security team, and a family he can’t trust as far as he could throw them, Jacob is in desperate need of a bodyguard for his latest tour, and Kade can’t refuse.

While Kade deals with new doubts about his partnership with Ollie and struggles with reminders of his war injuries, Jacob’s stalker escalates from blackmail and threats to murder. As Kade and Ollie work to keep Jacob safe and find the culprit behind the attack, a web of family secrets, lies, and abuse slowly emerges, leading up to a final confrontation that they might not walk away from—and that will have lasting repercussions for Kade and his relationship with Ollie.
This is the second book in this series and I happened to like this one better than the first.  The author changed it up a bit by having this book be from Kade’s point of view rather than Ollie’s and I think that worked out really well.  I liked Kade as the narrator a great deal.  He is a good guy and it was good to see his perception of things.  I actually felt there was more depth to Ollie’s character in seeing him through Kade’s eyes.  
As the blurb states the guys get involved in a case surrounding Ollie’s ex.  A lot of things happen in this story and it is very fast paced and entertaining.  I actually found myself kind of liking Jacob too by the end of the book.  The guy’s relationship is solid and they are doing really well together.  Most of the issues revolve around Ollie trying to get himself back to a good place physically and mentally after all he’s been through since Nathan’s death.  There are times when Kade’s behavior towards Ollie is almost like parenting and that’s something I’m not a big fan of but it wasn’t a big enough issue to cause me to dislike the plot.
This book ends in a huge cliffhanger.  Way bigger than the cliffhanger in book one.  If there was any complaint I had about the book it would be that the cliffhanger from book one is not touched on at all in this book.  In fact it’s barely mentioned.  That seemed odd to me.  It seemed like they should at least be discussing it from time to time.
Overall I really enjoyed this book.  These two are an interesting couple and I enjoy the cases they end up working.  This could be read as a standalone but I would recommend reading these books in order to get the most enjoyment out of the relationship dynamics.
Cover artist Garrett Leigh:  I like this cover a lot.  I think it looks great and really conveys the feeling of the story.
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Book Details:
ebook, 270 pages
Expected publication: October 7th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634777840 (ISBN13: 9781634777841)
Edition LanguageEnglishSeriesHaven Investigations #2

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Model Citizen (Haven Investigations #1) by Lissa Kasey and Mike Pohlable (Narrator)

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

model-citizen-audiobookOliver “Ollie” Petroskovic’s life as an international supermodel was heading in the right direction. He worked part-time for his brother at his detective agency—Petroskovic Haven Investigations—and had just bought his dream house. But all that changed when he found his brother dead, a victim of PTSD-induced suicide.

 

Almost a year later, Ollie is trying to keep his brother’s business afloat, but can’t get his PI license. Then his brother’s best friend, Kade Alme, shows up, fresh from the battlefield after a close brush with death. Kade is looking for a new life, in more ways than one, and with PI license in hand, he’s exactly what Ollie needs to keep PHI running.

 

When one of Ollie’s childhood friends gets in trouble, Ollie feels he has to help. Kade insists on investigating if only to keep Ollie safe. Neither realizes the danger they’re in as someone tries to tear them apart before they can find solid ground together.

 

This was an interesting story.  Ollie is determined to keep going after his brother’s death no matter what it takes, but he won’t let anyone think less of him for how he dresses and acts.  When Kade shows up Ollie expects to put him in the same box as everyone else, but Kade’s actions and word surprise him.

 

This story is told from Ollie’s point of view.  You can see how broken he feels no matter the face he shows the world.  You can also see Kade’s frustration and caring through Ollie’s eyes.  The thing in the story I had the hardest time with is how confident Ollie is in himself and appearance he has a low self esteem, but Kade is determined for Ollie to see he is worth anything.  I hope to read the next book in the series when it comes out.

 

Mike Pohlable did a nice job narrating this story.  The use of different voices for the characters helped me keep track of the story.  However, his voice has a very whiny quality to it and I found myself wincing and it was hard to get through.

 

Cover art by Garrett Leigh is nice and catches your eye.

 

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Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 7hrs 53min
Published July 26, 2016 (ebook first published June 22, 2015)
Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Review: Candy Land (Hidden Gem #3) by Lissa Kasey

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5       ★★★★★

candyland_final02Cameron “Candy” Michelson Jr. doesn’t have time for distractions. He’s too busy restructuring the red-light district into an adult playland for City M and running the Hidden Gem. But when his companion, Avery “Ivy” Laurent, grows closer to Jack, an investigator for the Institute of Scientific Study, Candy can’t hide his jealousy. Nor his own interest in Jack.

Ivy is crazy about Jack, but he’s also in love with Candy. Ideally, Ivy longs for all three of them to be together, but between Jack’s nonexistent libido and Candy’s supercharged needs, Ivy isn’t sure how to make it work.

When Jack gets called in to help the City M police department investigate a series of violently murdered companions, both Candy and Ivy brace for trouble. But nothing prepares them for Candy becoming the prime suspect.

In a future landscape of corrupt government officials, brutal BDSM crimes, and a host of dark creatures, Candy, Ivy, and Jack must work together to find the killer, save themselves—and learn how to trust each other.

The Hidden Gem stories by Lissa Kasey captivated me from the very beginning with her horrifying vision of a world in chemical ruin, its environs toxic and governments reduced down to geographical areas, even cities where populations clustered, clinging to life such as it was.  Throughout the populations were AMs, mutants both forced by experimentation and born into their genetic forms naturally by evolution…but all hidden from the citizens due to fear.

In each story, the title refers to a pleasure place.  The Hidden Gem, is the top “house” in City M, and Misaki “Aki” Itou is its highest paid  and most sought after “companion”. He will find love with detective Shane McNaughton, and their story sets in motion all the action and relationship dynamics to follow.  Its a 5 star magnificent ride and I couldn’t figure out how Kasey would top it. But of course, she did with Cardinal Sins (Hidden Gem, #2). Again its the name of a house of pleasure and gambling that the owner of the Hidden Gem finds, renovates and reopens for an unimaginable reason…its amazing tunnels of fish tanks that thread through its halls.  Here its the enigmatic Paris Hansworth, former “companion” turned senator and all powerful man who ends up finding the love of his life, Rain,  in the most unexpected place.  Each story gives a clue through the beautiful covers of Shobana Appavu. Yes, its in the blurb but its doesn’t prepare you for the power of the finding and the story itself.

Again, each book is building towards something more but I had no idea how strongly the author was preparing us for the final story in the trilogy until I came to Candy Land.  If I could give a book more than 5 stars I certainly would do so here.

Candy Land picks up the story almost immediately from Cardinal Sins and the three characters, one recently introduced and two we’ve come to know and love in all the other stories.  They all seem to be headed for something interesting as far as a matchup together, a triad, if they can communicate and overcome the enormous physical demons they have and plot hurdles ahead of them.  Cameron “Candy” Michelson Jr we met in the first book as the best friend of Aki and as high a paid companion as Aki was.  Now Candy is running Hidden Gem, has matured and is having trouble finding his way in staying Candy and the boss.   Avery “Ivy” Laurent,a psi paid companion at the Hidden Gem, Candy’s love interest is also interested in Frank, a AM who was partnered with Shane back when they were both cops.  Yes, circles upon circles of relationship dynamics and it all works.  Its important because these Venn diagram relationships are needed when the AM murders and explosive government politics start to intrude upon City M and their lives to the point of horrifying consequences to all.

One of the things I most admired about this story was Kasey’s ability to balance the need to bring the characters maturity along together and apart (especially Candy and Frank) while keep the suspense and deep intrigue mounting on the larger plot level.  Candy had to come to understand and accept Frank’s asexuality if their triad was to work, Frank also had to understand Candy’s need for dominance and Ivy’s need for them both.  It was a delicate give and take between all three and it works so beautifully here.  We get their vulnerability, their strengths, their humor and their pain…in short, we get them as whole viable people. I loved them all and together even better.  That’s saying a lot as threesomes usually aren’t my thing.  And this one is outstanding.

Even better?  The plot!   That nail biting, hold on to your seats because you won’t believe what’s coming next plot.  I ended up reading whole pages twice because they were so damn good.  Had the popcorn going, just hunched over the action, the drama, and the sequences that unfolded on the Kindle before me.  It had it all, angst, parts that had me weeping in anger, sadness and then unbelievable joy.  Yep, this book is over the moon.

When I got to  the end, I was so thrilled, I was stunned with joy.  It was everything I had wanted for each and every character.  How many times do you say that in a story?  Or a trilogy?  That you were completely satisfied with how everything worked out?  Now would I be happy if Lissa Kasey goes back and give Ono his own HEA?  You bet.  I think he deserves it after all this.  And then there’s that little matter of the boat people.  But the main characters?  Happy, happy, happy.

So do I recommend this book?  Silly question.  Of course I do.  All of them to be precise.  And Lissa Kasey too.  I will be picking them all back up and reading them in a row now that I have the trilogy complete to see what I may have missed.  Do yourself a favor, grab them all up, do it too.  Make yourself some popcorn while you’re at it.  You will be there for a wonderful fantasy ride!

Cover art by  Shobana Appavu is as outstanding as the book.  Each cover a clue as to the major element inside.

Sales Links:  Amazon |Dreamspinner PressAReBarnes & Noble

Book Details:

ebook, 274 pages
Published April 25th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634771672 (ISBN13: 9781634771672)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Trilogy: Hidden Gem

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Love A Hidden Gem? Candy Land (Hidden Gem#3) by Lissa Kasey is the Amazing Trilogy Finale (excerpt and giveaway)

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Candy Land

Candy Land (Hidden Gem#3) by Lissa Kasey
Release Date: April 25, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Shobana Appavu

Blurb

Cameron “Candy” Michelson Jr. doesn’t have time for distractions. He’s too busy restructuring the red-light district into an adult playland for City M and running the Hidden Gem. But when his companion, Avery “Ivy” Laurent, grows closer to Jack, an investigator for the Institute of Scientific Study, Candy can’t hide his jealousy. Nor his own interest in Jack.

Ivy is crazy about Jack, but he’s also in love with Candy. Ideally, Ivy longs for all three of them to be together, but between Jack’s nonexistent libido and Candy’s supercharged needs, Ivy isn’t sure how to make it work.

When Jack gets called in to help the City M police department investigate a series of violently murdered companions, both Candy and Ivy brace for trouble. But nothing prepares them for Candy becoming the prime suspect.

In a future landscape of corrupt government officials, brutal BDSM crimes, and a host of dark creatures, Candy, Ivy, and Jack must work together to find the killer, save themselves—and learn how to trust each other.

Pages or Words: 100,000 words
Should be read as a series
Categories: BDSM, Fantasy, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Ménage, Paranormal, Romance, Shifters, Urban Fantasy

 

Excerpt

Candy groaned when he realized he was the most innocent in the dark side of the world of the three of them.

Him innocent. Unbelievable.

Dom, whore, and pimp, he shouldn’t inch at the idea of death and blood, but he did. Fuck. Had Paris known how worthless he was going to be when it came to monsters, gore, and the supernatural shit of the world?

He glanced at Jack, sighing over his natural boy-next-door beauty. His dark blond hair was long, curling around his ears, and somewhat unruly. It looked soft, and Candy longed to run his fingers through it. He’d met more handsome men than Jack, Paris and Shane being prime specimens of men, but something about him drew Candy in deep. His eyes were a soft shade of honey brown, with specks of dark chocolate that glistened if the light hit them just right. He always held himself apart, shoulders squared, head high. Con dent, Candy thought. But every once in a while he’d get a glimpse of something lurking beneath all that bravado—a childlike innocence and fear. It was the little boy hiding his heart behind the badge that made Candy want Jack so bad. He wanted to take that fear away, show him that while the world might not be safe, he wasn’t alone anymore.

Had Ivy even gotten to taste those thick lips? Or experience Jack’s strong arms wrapped around him? Had he chased away the overconfident man and fearful child long enough to see the real Jack? Did Candy have a chance? Should he even care if his death was just around the corner? Fuck. If there was anything he hated it was uncertainty. Whatever Aki saw would happen. Candy had no doubt about that. If he was going to die today or even a year from now, shouldn’t he just live every moment like it was his last? What would Jack do if Candy threw himself at him? Kissed the breath out of him? Asked to be held? Candy growled to himself and shook his head. He didn’t know where to start, but somehow he was sure aggression wouldn’t be welcome.

Jack stayed on his heel while Candy wandered, but seemed to be inspecting the property himself, maybe looking for clues that had been missed by the police. He had this nervous habit of biting his lip when he was deep in thought. Candy had noticed it ages ago, and it drove him nuts. It was an almost boyish cuteness that made Candy want to kiss Jack just to stop him from worrying at his lip, but now he knew it wouldn’t be welcomed and it irritated him. His tight pants bit into his lling cock. It wasn’t fair to be attracted to someone so badly.

He’d looked up the term Ivy had left for him after his last client: asexuality. A lack of emotional interest in sex. There were a dozen divisions within the term, some even sex- or relationship-averse, meaning they were repulsed by sex. Did sex disgust Jack? Was that why he hugged himself whenever he entered the Gem and refused to meet anyone’s eyes? Candy had thought it was just shyness, and maybe it partially was. He just didn’t quite understand. How could someone be physically able to have sex, but not want to? If he asked Jack, would he answer?

Candy sighed to himself and headed up the stairs. Even the stairs were caked in grease and grime. Ivy had lived here for several years, walking those steps in bare feet. Candy didn’t want to see, but he had to get his mind off Jack. The nastiness of the Red Delight client rooms would hopefully wilt his erection. If he’d been home he would have found a spare moment with Ivy to alleviate some tension. Here there was nothing but sticky floors, stained walls, and the stench of years of cigarette smoke.

Jack followed him up the stairs. Neither of them spoke or touched anything. A door at the far end was still marked with the yellow paint used by the police to indicate the crime area. Jack rubbed his nose and grabbed Candy’s arm before either of them could make a step toward that door. “It still smells of death up here. We should go back down. There’s nothing to see, right? You don’t want the actual building, just the land.”

“Ivy is too free with information,” Candy said, somewhat annoyed. How was it fair for Jack to know so much about him when Candy knew almost nothing about Jack?

“He worries about you. Wants to take care of you.” “Funny. I’d say he does the same for you.”

Jack shrugged. “He’s a friend. I thought he was your friend too.”

Candy stepped into Jack’s personal bubble. “I fuck him regularly. We’re more than just friends.”

Jack didn’t step back, nor did he appear to be shocked by Candy’s words, which stole some of Candy’s anger. Ivy had obviously not been dishonest with either of them. Though Candy had never expected him to fully disclose his sex life to Jack. “Why does that matter?” Jack asked finally. “I’m friends with Shane and Aki doesn’t mind. I know they have sex often.”

Did Jack really not know? Maybe he didn’t get that Ivy wanted more than friendship. Hell, Candy would have liked to get to know Jack on a more personal level too, only his hackles were always raised by the man. He had this feeling that Jack would have to be the man of the relationship. The guy in charge, the Dominant, and Goddess knew Candy hated to give up control. Not that he didn’t like occasionally having someone hold him down and pound into him. Fuck, his head was messed up. And why did Jack smell so damn good?

Candy stood close enough that if he leaned forward just a bit he could finally capture Jack’s abused lip. When had he grown tall enough to nearly meet Jack eye to eye? And the strength of Jack’s hand on his arm… Candy knew it could hold him, maybe even be enough to restrain him. He sucked in a deep breath; his cock ached to be touched and leaked in his pants. It made him angry. He was never rational when angry. Paris had been trying for years to teach him to bury that wild emotion and had failed. Candy opened his mouth to say something scathing, only Jack spoke first.

“I never got to thank you for the book,” Jack said. “At least not in person. I’m sure Ivy told you I was grateful. But I really do like it. It’s like owning a piece of history. I’m in awe that you even found it.”

An odd mash of glee filled Candy’s gut. Jack liked the book. He knew that, of course, Ivy had told him so, but it was different hearing it from the man himself. The anger fell away. Did Jack really see him?

“The cake too. That was pretty amazing. I have the rest of it in my freezer. Been eating it a little at a time. Ivy helped me cut it into slices so I could freeze it and unthaw it as I want. I’ve never been a huge fan of sweets, but the lemon and strawberry mix is good. I’ve never had anyone give me anything. Thank you.”

Candy gave in to his need to touch and be touched. Even if it meant Jack shoved him away, he had to step forward, close that space and try. He leaned forward, not daring to kiss Jack, but enough to rest his forehead on Jack’s shoulder, arm loose around his waist. He kept their hips apart so as not to startle Jack with his erection. He almost expected Jack to step back. But he didn’t. His arms circled around Candy’s back, patting his shoulder lightly.

“The new hair color is good,” Jack told him. “Makes me think of flowers. Not that you’re flowery, but I’m sort of hoping spring comes soon. I don’t like the cold very much.” He seemed to be rambling now. Breathing a little hitched. Candy couldn’t recall Jack ever speaking to him so much. “More you than that brown I saw you with at Solstice. And I’m glad the jacket ts. When I saw it last week I told Ivy it would be perfect for you. I don’t know when your birthday is, but if it makes you feel better you can pretend it’s a present for your birthday, or maybe a late Solstice present.”

The clothes, or at least the jacket, had been from Jack? Candy wished they were in a better place. He would have shoved Jack against the wall and proved to him how great sex could be. Only he couldn’t imagine touching anything in here and not coming away with some nasty disease. “Thank you. The coat is nice. Warm.”

Jack rubbed Candy’s arms. “That’s what I thought when I saw it. That it would keep you warm, and the color is nice. Bright, like your hair always was.” He hesitated in his touch, but Candy moved closer to him, assuring him that it was okay. “It’s been a while since I saw you last. I hope you’re doing okay. I mean, I’m sure Ivy would have told me if you weren’t, but it’s good to see for myself that you’re looking good….”

Jack thought he looked good? Manny appeared on the stairs a moment later, saving Candy from doing something stupid, like stealing a kiss from Jack.

“Oscar’s finished,” Manny told him. He said nothing about the embrace that would have embarrassed Candy had anyone else seen.

Candy pulled away reluctantly. He couldn’t meet Jack’s eyes as he made his way downstairs. If he had, he’d have said something stupid, like ask if they could go back to his place afterward. Jack probably would have taken the proposal badly anyway.

Yohan didn’t look any happier. And the offer was even lower. Candy took the screen and added a small sum of money to it. This was their final offer. “Take it or leave it,” Candy told him.

“You’re ripping me off,” Yohan protested. “Just because you can.”

Candy shrugged. Jack took the screen and glanced over it. “Looks fair to me. The condition of the building is questionable. I noticed more cracks in the walls and ceiling than the building code would allow, even for an older structure. There’s substantial water damage upstairs, so the roof is bad. Probably should have been replaced years ago. And then there are the health code violations….”

“I’ll take your offer,” Yohan said, most likely to shut Jack up before he could air the long list of problems with the property. Oscar stepped in to get his signature and thumb print on several e-documents.

Candy couldn’t help but grin at Jack, who gave him a nonchalant shrug. “Everyone out to the bus,” Candy instructed the companions. “You’ll be heading to Cardinal Sins.”

“What will we be doing there?” one of them asked.

“Paris will interview each of you and find a suitable job. Most likely serving drinks, food, maybe cleaning or cooking. He’s pretty well stocked in companions right now.” And all of these whores were well past their prime. Candy would have to find out where Yohan had sold the others to. There weren’t many brothels left in City M, and he hated the idea of any whore being left to be abused by some asshole pimp.

“No more whoring?” another clarified.
“Not likely.” He ushered them toward the door.
Jack still stood between him and Yohan. Yohan had several bags

packed and there was a car that wasn’t part of Candy’s entourage parked near the curb. “Will you be leaving town, then?” Jack asked Yohan. “I’d like to know where to nd you in case more questions come up about this case.”

Yohan shook his head. “Not my problem anymore. That belongs to him now too.” He waved his hand at Candy and made his way out the door and down to the car.

There was another unmarked car parked across the street that Jack saluted lightly. The passenger window rolled up, and as soon as Yohan’s car eased away from the curb, the black sedan followed.

“Ino,” Jack informed Candy. “He’ll let me know if Yohan leaves town or hides out somewhere. I really do want to know where he goes, just in case.”

Candy nodded, a little shocked by Jack’s foresight. If Candy had been thinking ahead, he’d have put one of the guards on the task. It was just more proof that he hadn’t gotten enough sleep. He watched the former companions all board the bus and sent a text off to Paris that they would be in need of immediate healthcare as well as clothing and jobs. Oscar held out the last of the documents for him to review and sign. Moments later, with money transferred, it was time to return to the Gem and to Ivy. If only he could bring Jack with him. He knew for certain Ivy wouldn’t mind at all.

Jack stood less than two feet away. He was looking around, a confused expression on his face. “Everything okay?” Candy asked him. He reached out to touch Jack’s arm. Oscar was already headed back to the car when Jack’s eyes widened in alarm and the same instant something sliced into Candy. For a moment he stood there, startled, confused at the odd, growing, wet heat suddenly pouring down his back, and then the fiery pain that erupted from his back and through his stomach. Hot pokers seemed to melt through his body, driving mind-numbing pain to every nerve.

His breath faltered as blood filled a lung. He choked on the rising fluid and spit out a gush of red and froth. The world turned into a wild swirl of fading colors, all centering on Jack’s face. His expression was horrified, and then a moment later, Jack was no longer there and a black tiger leapt at Candy.

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Meet the author:

Lissa Kasey is more than just romance. She specializes in depth characters, detailed world building, and twisting plots to keep you clinging to your book reader. All stories have a side of romance, emotionally messed up protagonists and feature LGBTGA spectrum characters facing real world problems no matter how fictional the story.

Where to find the author:

 


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Molly Lolly, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Book Blog, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews,

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Cover reveal for ‘Cardinal Sins’ by Lissa Kasey (excerpt and giveaway)

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Cardinal Sins (Hidden Gem #2) by Lissa Kasey
Release Date: November 13, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Shobana Appavu

Buy the book: Dreamspinner eBook & Paperback

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Blurb

Paris Hansworth, star whore turned senator and the most powerful man in City M, has been hiding his terminal illness for years. Searching for a way to reverse the toxic environment that’s killing him, Paris stumbles upon a lost research facility, and a merman named Rain.

Years alone has made Rain long for companionship, and the beautiful man on the other side of the glass intrigues him. But Rain speaks the wrong language, and is decades out of touch. He isn’t quite sure what to think of the new environment he’s been thrust into.

As a virus spreads through the city targeting City M’s most private residents—A-Ms—Paris realizes he’s out of time. He’s willing to sacrifice everything, even his own life, to stop it. But Rain might just be the missing DNA link to explain the mutations created in the last plague, maybe even the cure.

Watching Paris race to save his friends, Rain knows he’s found someone special and will do anything to stay by his side. But the past Paris thought he’d escaped is seeking revenge, and he’s forced to adapt yet again, possibly even becoming a monster. He only hopes Rain will still want him.

 

Pages or Words: 105,000 words
Categories: M/M Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy

 

Excerpt

When the light aura faded from his sight he began to move the mobile unit again trying to find the small blip he’d seen before. Again just on the edges of the screen, so Paris turned the unit, following the movement. The snow was heavier this way, but when he looked back he could still see the copter in the distance and the people spread across the ice with different equipment.

The tires on the mobile unit spun as it hit something and was apparently stuck. Paris frowned and went to dig it from a fairly deep snow bank. It was wedged far enough that he had to chisel a bit of ice away to unhook the front from an unusual ice shelf. It probably wasn’t more than a few inches higher than the rest of the ice, but it had a lip. Paris hoped the mobile unit wasn’t damaged. He set it down and brushed the snow away from part of the shelf. The edges were shaped like water had spilled over the top and frozen—a sort of tiny waterfall. The snow was loose and light, so Paris shoved it aside, glad Candy had made him take two pairs of mittens instead of his normal driving gloves. The cold froze him to the core regardless. At least his hands weren’t numb yet.

The shelf was probably four feet long by six feet wide. Paris leaned over the cleared edge and brushed away the last bit of the snow. Maybe the facility was here and that’s why the water seemed to come up. Oddly the ice over the shelf was dark instead of white. Did that mean it wasn’t solid? He wasn’t dumb enough to try to step on it.

Paris picked up the mobile unit and set it on the shelf, moving it around for a scan. The ice was very thin. Less than a foot deep. How odd. Still there was nothing moving. Paris had hoped to find some sort of exotic fish or something so he could tease Aki relentlessly about his mermaid dream.

Something appeared on the screen just as Paris was reaching to put the mobile unit away. What was that? He stared at the screen as the blip came closer and got larger. He peered over the edge into the dark murky depth, not expecting to see anything at all. Most people would have been blind out here anyway. Paris’ night sight was better than most. He could almost make out a shape in the darkness. Was there something down there? The scanner was thermal so did that mean whatever was down there was cold blooded—perhaps had even adapted to the cold of long brutal winters and icy water?

He set the scanner aside and crouched low beside the shelf, then brushed away a bit more snow. There it was again. Something was moving down there. Something large. It could have been a fish, maybe, but a very big fish. There was definitely a fin. Whatever the movement was it was further to the side than Paris was. He got up and brushed the snow away, walking carefully around the edge just in case the ice wasn’t as solid.

The scanner began beeping—a signal that something large was close. Paris stared through the thin sheet of ice watching for movement. Was that something right there? He leaned forward, hand on the ice to steady himself.

Suddenly a face appeared on the other side of the glass. Not that of a fish, and not quite a person. A hand reached for him. Paris stumbled backward breath caught in his throat. What the hell was that? The ice thumped like whatever was on the other side was trying to get through. Paris took another step back. There was only a half a second warning of crackling before he was suddenly falling through the ice, though thankfully not into water. He rolled a few times, hit a few things on his way down but landed in a pile of fluffy snow surrounded by what seemed to be a frozen water fall.

“Holy fucking hell.” Paris sucked in a few heavy gasps before floundering his way out of the snow pile. Even with his good night vision everything was pitch black. The moonlight trickling through the break in the ice above gave him the impression of ice over rock, but he couldn’t be sure. He flicked on the light attached to his suit, happy it hadn’t been broken in the fall.

The ground was solid concrete here—not ice—or at least as far as he could tell it wasn’t ice. Very faintly over the far opening enclave that led off to darkness there was a number. Five. Apparently he’d landed in the middle of the missing facility. Part of it. The Great Lakes facility had twelve aqua ducts and tanks, all containing different species of fish. There had never been an official area for APs since APs were not known by the general public. Paris wondered if any of the records were intact. Everything seemed to be under heavy sheets of ice and water.

“Senator?” Paris’ radio crackled in his ear. “Location?”

He pushed the button hoping it would work and turned on his tracker. “Aqua duct five, I believe. Down a very deep hole. Watch out that first step is a killer.” He stared up at the broken layer of ice that had formed over what appeared to be an old stairway that was now covered in several haphazard layers of ice. Had there been a building on top of all this at one time? That made sense didn’t it? It would have been washed away in the flood.

A moment later several lights peered down the hole. “Do you need a medic?” One of them asked. The others were talking about rope and equipment, not sure if they had anything long enough to get them in and out or even pull him up. If Paris hadn’t slid his way down and landed in a pile of snow he’d likely be dead. The drop was over fifty feet.

“Nothing broken,” Paris shouted back. Bruised, sore, but mobile. The giant wall of ice in front of him was actually glass with a layer of ice over the top making it somewhat murky. “Did you really see a face, Hansworth?” He asked himself. “Soon you’ll be babbling about mermaids like Aki. It was probably just your reflection. Couldn’t have seen much through ice that thick anyway.” He adjusted the cuffs of his jacket and glared at the dark space beyond. The light reflected back his own weary face. His mask had fallen off in the fall, but toxic air couldn’t do much damage to him anyway. He was already dying. No need to dwell he reminded himself. He wasn’t one to focus on the misfortune of the past. He was wealthy and powerful. No one should pity him. Not even himself.

Something was glowing on the other side of the glass. Paris clicked off his light. The men above called to him that they were coming down. He ignored them. The brightness intensified. First in green, then blue, and finally purple. Not one or two things but hundreds lighting up to illuminate the darkness beyond the glass. Fish. Nothing Paris recognized from any file or book, but hundreds of glowing fish swirled and moved beyond the glass. A few even came close enough to brush by his outstretched hand like they knew what he was.

“Fish don’t look like people,” he told himself. These fish were beautiful. Something that might be found in the deepest ocean. Some looked deadly with large teeth and long antennae. Most were longer than Paris’ arm, a few as small as his hand. They moved in schools circling close before moving away.

Paris found an almost boy-like joy in watching them. He’d never experienced an aquarium before. There were two left in all the united cities, one on the west coast and one on the east coast. He’d never had time to go to either. Of course he grew up with videos that showed him of such things. Virtual environments could almost simulate going to one of these places. Or at least that’s what he’d thought until now.

The fish moved aside, seeming startled but unafraid by something else moving close. Paris watched with fascination as something swam toward him he was sure wasn’t possible. Hot damn, he owed Aki an apology. It stopped before the glass, reaching out to lay webbed fingers over where Paris rested his mitten-covered hand. A mermaid? Merman? Paris couldn’t tell as it was a swirl of fins and hair, but it did look sort of human on the top and all fish on the bottom. Multicolored scales decorated its torso in batches and even covered a good deal of its face. How odd.

 

 

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Meet the Author:

 

Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about boy romance.

 

Where to find the author:

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Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, BFD Book Blog, The Hat Party, Happily Ever Chapter, Carly’s Book Reviews, Jessie G. Books, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Bayou Book Junkie, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Inked Rainbow Reads, Molly Lolly, Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Charley Descoteaux, Cheekypee Reads and Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Elin Gregory, Mikky’s World of Books, Velvet Panic, Multitasking Mommas, Michael Mandrake, It’s Raining Men

 

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: One winner of a print copy, and one winner with the name of their choice in the next Haven Investigations (model) book.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review : Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey

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Rating 4 stars out of 5

Model Citizen coverOliver Petroskovic is an international supermodel who works part time for his brother at his detective agency. A former Marine, Nathan left the corps when their parents died and has raised Ollie since he was twelve years old. Ollie is beautiful, feminine, and highly sought after as a model. He’s selective in the modeling jobs he takes, and turns down anything sexually degrading. He prefers wearing feminine clothing, much of which he’s created himself, and designing for others who are “gender fluid” would fulfill his career goals. Though gay, he’s not had a partner or lover since he caught his boyfriend cheating. As the story opens, he’s just closed on a home for him and Nathan financed by his modeling jobs. He’s excited to get back to the office to share the good news about the closing with his brother.

Accompanied by Nathan’s best friend Will, when he gets there he finds Nathan has committed suicide by shooting his brains out. Months later, still traumatized, but feeling responsible for keeping the business open, Ollie carries on as best as he can while trying to put in enough hours to get his PI license. But he’s constantly caught on the wrong side of the law on his PI jobs, and Will, a police officer, is getting pretty fed up with bailing him out of jail.

Will is married to Ollie’s best friend Britney, so even if Ollie tried to dodge Will, he couldn’t get far because B is always onto what he’s doing. Just when Ollie is ready to admit he needs help, Will shows up with former Marine Kade Alme, another friend of Nathan’s, who’s recently left the service after recovering from injuries from a roadside bomb. Kade has a PI license so he may be able to help Ollie, even if Ollie doesn’t want the help. There’s one more thing that Kade has that Ollie’s not sure he wants and that is the hots for Ollie. According to Kade, he’s wanted Ollie for years, but Nathan kept him away from his younger brother. Kade aims to change all that as he declares that he has no intention of being one of the many people in Ollie’s life who have abandoned him. He’s there for the duration.

When one of Ollie’s friends is injured during filming of a reality TV show, and Ollie goes to check on him, he uncovers a possible disastrous situation on the set of the show, and the danger in his life is suddenly more than anything he’s ever faced before. Kade goes along to help him as they investigate the frequent and “coincidental” accidents occurring on the set. But when Ollie becomes a victim, it’s time to get the case resolved and to find out whether Kade really is in there for the long haul as he claimed or is he going to bolt when things get tough?

I really enjoyed this story. The action and drama were suspenseful and the mystery not easily solved. The MCs were amazing together, and I totally love a story where there is MANTIES! There’s also a hot, alpha man who loves his feminine partner in all his crossdressing glory. And just when I thought we were easing into a peaceful happy ending, the author threw out a curve ball, a cliffhanger ending which, of course, will lead most of us to keep reading this series. Don’t get me wrong, there is indeed a HEA/HFN for the MCs but there’s also a darn good reason for them to keep their PI agency open.

I recommend this to a) those who love manties (!) and b) those who love an M/M romance with characters who need to heal, both physically and emotionally from past trauma, and c) those who just plain love a good mystery with plenty of drama mixed in with the romance.

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Cover Art by Garrett Leigh depicts a black-and-white photo cover with a camera in the lower section below the title and a set of dog tags with the chain in a heart-shaped pattern in the upper section of the page. The camera and dog tags are symbolic of the MCs.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages, also in paperback
Published June 22nd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN1634761316 (ISBN13: 9781634761314)

An Aurora YA Review: Evolution by Lissa Kasey

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 Rating: 5 out of 5  ★★★★★

Evolution coverGene Sage has only ever wanted to sing, but his band, Evolution, is pushing him toward the big time. He finds it hard to focus on making musical history when he’s dreaming of graveyards and seeing ghosts. And while all he can think of is hiding who he is from a world unforgiving of anyone different, he discovers he’s also the ultimate snack for vampires and demons. When Gene literally runs into—over—his idol, Kerstrande Petterson, rock god, vampire in hiding, and music cynic, his life falls over the edge into chaos.Jaded by the world and nearly a decade in the music business, Kerstrande thinks Gene wants to use him to make Evolution immortal in more than one way, but he can’t seem to brush aside the young singer’s enthusiasm.Getting involved with Kerstrande drags Gene into otherworldly power struggles. Between the ghosts stalking them, the media painting supernaturals as villains, and a vampire out of control in the city, the only way for Gene and Kerstrande to survive is for Gene to embrace his powers—and his destiny.I really, really enjoyed this book. One of my favorite things about the book was the descriptions. Straight away I had a very clear picture in my head of everything that was going on and that’s one of my favorite things about reading. It can, however, be hard to toe the line between using enough description that a reader can clearly picture the scene and using too much and having your story get bogged down in it which I don’t believe happened in this book at all.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the book was the two point of views for the two different main characters every chapter. It really made them both, especially Kerstrande, more likable and relatable to be able to see what was going on in both of their heads in their own unique voices rather than seeing the entire book through one’s eyes over the other’s.
If I had to nitpick, there was some exposition toward the beginning that slowed the first one or two chapters down, but it wasn’t something I really had a problem with since as soon as the plot got under way the book got right back to a good pace and I was certainly never bored by it, even in the first chapter or two when there was a lot of information.
Overall, it was a fun read, and one that I think was very well written. I would recommend it to people who like supernatural themes and modern fantasies.
The cover art was done by Paul Richmond and I really like it. It’s a pretty simplistic cover, but it has a lot of color and personality. It’s very eye-catching which is something that can always be helpful to a book. All in all, very well done.
Sales Links:  DSP Publications |  Amazon | Buy It Here
Book Details:
DSP Publications (a non romance imprint of Dreamspinner)
2nd Edition, first edition Harmony Ink Press
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Words: 71336
Pages: 250
ISBN-13: 978-1-63476-061-4
File Formats: epub, mobi, pdf
Coming Soon: “Evolution: Genesis”