Release Blitz – Curl Around My Heart by Londra Laine (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Title: Curl Around My Heart

Author: Londra Laine

Editor: Jae Ashley

Cover Art: Aria Tan

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: July 24, 2018

Rating: 18+

Page Count: 168

Word Count: 61,923

Themes: California, single dad, beauty shop, contemporary, neighbor romance, African-American, drug addiction

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Blurb

At Pearl’s Hair and Nails, no one questions Tate Robinson about his high heels, crop tops, and lipstick, because he’s the boss and he can wear what he damn well pleases. The shop is his life, and he doesn’t need anything more. Until a man walks in with his adorable daughter, and Tate has to untangle her helmet-hair…and his growing feelings for the single dad.

Reece Evans has been on his job for years, has his own place, and now has custody of his eight-year-old daughter. But he doesn’t trust himself to avoid screwing up. Adulting is not his strong suit—or so he’s been told.And now a sexy beautician, who also happens to be his new downstairs neighbor, has Reece wanting and reaching for more than he thinks he’s capable of.

As Tate and Reece move past their own fears about relationships, Reece’s ex issues a threat that could destroy everything. Will Reece’s worries about other people judging him undermine his budding romance? And will Tate’s fear of rejection make him push Reece away? Or have the sweet single dad and his precocious daughter curled too tightly around his heart to give them up?

***Please be aware that this book contains references to drug addiction.***

Excerpt 

Eventually they eased away from each other, their lips pressing briefly against a cheek, an eyelid, the corner of a mouth, until their foreheads were touching as they shared slightly labored breaths.

“I like you, Tate.” The words spilled from Reece as though Tate had wrung them from him. Tate pulled back, forcing Reece to disentangle their legs. Tate was in profile to Reece now, his head dropped against the back of the couch. His stomach seized and his confidence drained, waiting to hear Tate’s response.

“I like you too, Reece,” the other man mumbled.

Oh, thank fuck.

Reece sighed in relief as Tate shifted to meet his gaze.

“I’m crazy attracted to you. Obviously. But, I’m just nervous because guys like you⎯”

Reece’s hackles rose. “Guys like me?”

Tate closed his eyes briefly then opened them. “Yeah. Guys like you. Stereotypically male. Not so obviously queer. Well, they’ve been attracted to me, dated me. But inevitably break things off, because they think I’m too femme. Too flamboyant.” Tate’s shine flickered, and a well of heat raced up Reece’s chest.

“Well, fuck those dudes,” Reece said, throwing himself back on the couch. “And don’t ever compare me to them. I see you, Tate.” He turned his head and waited until Tate met his gaze. “I like what I see. All of it. All of you. You look good to me in heels,kicks, tight-ass ladies’ jeans, and sweats too. I just like you, man.” He ended his little tirade on a shaky breath and then leaned over to brush his lips against Tate’s.

As he went to pull back, Tate trapped Reece against him, gliding his tongue across the seam of Reece’s lips, coaxing Reece to open then luring him into an urgent kiss. Their lips and noses smashed, teeth bit and clacked as they clutched at each other before Tate pulled back abruptly.

“What am I doing?” Tate whispered, resting his head against Reece’s. “You have a kid. You’re my client. My neighbor.” He pulled back, his face serious, eyes searching Reece’s. “And I like to top. Mostly. Like seventy-thirty.” Tate lifted his chin as though waiting for Reece to object.

Reece just smiled, his dick twitching at the thought of Tate topping him, bending him over the couch and making him wail. He brushed his lips against Tate’s. “Well, lucky for both of us then that I like to bottom, mostly. I’d say about sixty-forty. I figure we can meet somewhere in the middle. As far as the other stuff goes… What? You discriminating against me?”

Tate shook his head. “No, it’s just that I’ve been here before, okay. With the straight guys, the bi guys, even the gay ones, and most of them just wanted to fuck and didn’t even want to take me out on a date because I was too effeminate for them.” Tate waved his hand. “Too whatever, too…me, and I just…” He trailed off.

“You expect me to be like them,” Reece finished.

Tate groaned then covered his face briefly. “No, okay? Maybe. Ugh. It’s hard not to expect this to be the same, you know?” Tate grimaced.

Disappointment surged through Reece but then quickly dissipated. Tate didn’tthink Reece would personally fuckup whatever this was that was starting between them. No, this had nothing to do with Reece. Tate had been burned, and Reece could relate.He couldn’t make any promises about the outcome of their budding whatever it was, but he damn sure wanted to try. He didn’t want to be to Tate what all the other men who’d come before had been.

Reece grabbed Tate’s hand, turning to face the man. “Well, how about we do the unexpected? Can I take you out next Friday after work?” Reece held his breath.

About the Author 

Londra Laine

A forever-man for every man

Londra has loved to read since she discovered The Baby-Sitters Club. As a child, her parents would ground her by taking all the books out of her room for several days. Londra began reading romance in 2008 and fell in love with the M/M romance genre after purchasing a book by accident several years later.

After decades of daydreaming, and jotting down story ideas, Londra decided to give life to the characters in her head. She writes to give her guys the happy ending she wishes everyone––no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation––could experience in real life.

During the day, Londra is a communications manager for a consulting firm. She is a recovering journalist. Londra loves the New York Yankees, Seinfeld reruns, tacos, and Friday nights on the couch with wine and a new book.

In 2010, she moved from her native California to New York City where she lived in Harlem for nearly eight years. In early 2018 she relocated to Seattle with her husband

Social Media Links

Londra on Twitter

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Londra on QueeRomance Ink

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Londra on Facebook

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New Release Blitz for Love it Like You Stole It by Ki Brightly (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Love It Like You Stole It

Author: Ki Brightly

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: July 9, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 99400

Genre: Contemporary, contemporary, blue-collar, mechanic, classic car love, age-gap, mobsters, crime, family drama

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Synopsis

Michael Levine is backed into a corner. He started tearing apart cars for the local mob with the best of intentions—to save up money to pay for his mechanic certifications and impress his crush and mentor, Ben. But Michael soon finds himself in way over his head. He knows stealing is wrong, but it’s only cars, and the insurance will pay to replace them, right? What started out as a small job to make some extra bucks soon turns into a nightmare he’s not sure he’ll ever be able to find his way out of.

Ben Jelen isn’t sure where his life is going. On the surface everything looks fine. He has a successful business, he’s raising his niece into a strong person, and he has a boyfriend most guys only dream of—sexy and rich. But nothing feels right. The only things that really keep Ben’s attention anymore are his classic Road Runner, his niece, and Michael—his Meeko. Ben took him under his wing forever ago, and their love of old cars and fast driving has forged a strong bond. Ben’s days don’t feel right if he doesn’t get to see Meeko at least once. But something seems drastically wrong in Meeko’s life, and Ben hopes he can put the pieces together to help him before it’s too late.

Excerpt

Love It Like You Stole It
Ki Brightly © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
BEN JELEN

“It’ll be a month, Bennet.”

I clutched the small silver bolt so hard it cut into my palm. The pain wasn’t enough to distract me. Rick’s bottom lip jutted out. It always did when he was on a roll. He crossed his heavy arms, eyes shadowed by his ball cap. With a sigh, I ignored my big brother, cutting my attention to the object of our current bitchfest. Vandi, his daughter, lounged nearby with tiny pots of fingernail polish out on the dusty, paperwork-covered desk.

“I’ll be good, Uncle Ben,” she chirped, her bow mouth turned up into a wide smile. She almost wasn’t a little girl anymore. It wasn’t long ago that I’d sit with her and do the painting. The sun cutting into the garage through the open bay door lit up her gold curls making them shine brightly. Her eyebrows furrowed in concentration as she dabbed a little brush covered in pink paint at her thumb. In her white summer dress, she couldn’t have looked more out of place.

I bent back over the motor of the beat-up, blue Ford Taurus and stared at it without seeing much of anything.

“It’s damned good money. They need mechanics for when the machinery goes down. If her mother hadn’t—”

“Rick,” I warned. Vandi’s head snapped up at the mention of her mom. I had no intention of mopping up tears today. He leaned a hip against the front quarter panel of the car and rested an elbow there, sending me a winning grin. It was the same bullshit one I used when trying to get my own way. “I’ve known you your whole life. That shit don’t fly.”

He chuckled, but his smile didn’t waver as he leaned in close, pushing his cap back with a thumb. I caught a whiff of the cologne I used and sighed. He’d raided my dresser again. Looking at him was like looking in a mirror—his brown eyes and long face with its blunted nose were just like mine, except mine was cocked a little to the left. He wiggled his eyebrows, and I blew out a hard breath.

“Those oil rigs are dangerous, and ask next time you steal my stuff.” I poked him on the shoulder with my ratchet as he shrugged, not at all bashful about his thievery.

“It’s a month on, three weeks off. And with the bonuses, I could be pulling in over a hundred grand next year. We can get the garage set up right, get more clients in…I won’t do it forever.”

I frowned and rubbed at my chest. He winced and scowled right back, like maybe he understood why I was upset. The idea of Rick being away for more than a few days made me nauseous. We’d always been a little too close, and it only got worse after Mom died. I sneaked a look at Vandi to see what she was thinking about all this, but she didn’t seem to be listening.

“I’m not sure it’s worth it,” I muttered. Shit. Money. We sure could use more of it.

A low humming started up from Vandi—a familiar song from the radio. “Check it out!” She flashed her pink fingernails at us. Rick turned and nodded at her.

“Real pretty, baby doll,” he said fast, not quite covering up the irritation in his tone. Her smile vanished.

I smacked his arm, but he was back to cajoling me with his half grin. I smacked him upside the head, sending his ball cap flying, but he ignored it and patted my cheek.

“I want this garage to get off the ground,” he said, “and so far, we’ve only been getting in about five or six people a week because we don’t have a lift. I had to send Mrs. Hopper to fucking Firestone because we didn’t have the right size tires.” He waved his hand toward the empty space stretching out behind us that practically begged to be filled with equipment. “We don’t have half the shit we need…”

“What if you’re out there in the middle of the ocean and there’s a hurricane or a blowout or—”

“Get back here you four-eyed fuck!” someone shrieked from outside. The low voice cracked on the swear word.

“What the hell…” I turned to look over my shoulder, and the bolt from the oil filter slipped from my fingers. With a ting, it disappeared into the abyss of hoses in the engine. “Shit.”

I slammed my ratchet down on the motor casing, and the air compressor at the rear of the work area chose that moment to kick on, filling the old cement-block garage with its chugging clatter. I strained my ears, but the voices outside were drowned out. “Turn that off, Rick.”

Nodding, he headed back to flip the switch. Vandi craned her neck forward to look out the wide door.

“He thinks he’s too good to talk to us. Mickey Mouse won’t open his mouth.” The bully’s voice dipped deeper on that last word, and an instinct for trouble sent me striding out the door into the gravel parking lot, past the few sad vehicles waiting for their turn in the repair shop.

Across the small side street, three teen boys surrounded another one on the sidewalk. He was hunched in on himself with his arms crossed protectively over his gut, his stance practically screaming, “Hammer me.” One of the boys—short, with a mean twist to his lips and a cheap buzz cut on his carrottop—smacked the glasses off his prey. Sparkling in the late afternoon sun, the lenses sailed in an arc and landed in the street.

“Should we do something?” Rick’s long shadow loomed near mine, arms crossed.

“Come on, hit ’em back,” I muttered, clenching my fists. “Protect yourself.”

Instead, the kid just rubbed at the bridge of his nose with one hand. He was coltish and stretched thin, like he’d grown too fast. But he was tall, and if he would throw a punch, he’d have reach. He didn’t move to defend himself or say a word, though, simply stared at his feet. I glanced at Rick, but when I looked back, the tall boy was shaking his head. Sunlight caught and glimmered on blue highlights in his black hair. The short asshole shoved him hard while the other guys circled, grunting out guttural encouragement that puffed up Mr. Attitude.

Outrage propelled me toward them at a fast clip.

“Ooooh, fuck,” Rick said on a chuckle.

I hadn’t planned on anything more than bitching out the bullies—until the short kid threw a hard jab. The tall one gasped and staggered back a step at the blow, but one of the kids in the circle shoved him upright so he could take more abuse. Wincing, the tall kid shook his head so hard he seemed to make himself dizzy. He staggered to the side but righted himself at the last second.

“You’re no better’n me—us.” The short kid hopped up and down imitating a wet chicken, darting his gaze around the circle. “You’re no better than us!” He screamed out a war whoop as he lunged forward to land the next punch. The tall kid took it on his left cheek and—pow!—crumpled to his knees.

“You little shits! Knock it off!” I ran toward them, hands pinwheeling, but had to slow down as a car shot by, going way too fast on the narrow street, separating me from the teenagers. Crunch. I winced and sighed as I jogged past the flattened glasses. No coming back from that.

The kids stilled as I approached—became panicked, malicious little statues. But when I stepped onto the sidewalk, fists balled up at my sides, my shadow fell across them, and the obnoxious brats scattered, helter-skelter—like I might actually chase them down and dish out a taste of their own medicine.

“You better run, you little pricks. Stay off my block!” I yelled after them. “I’m badder than you’ll ever be!”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Ki grew up in small-town nowhere pretending meteor showers were invading aliens, wild flowers were magic potions, and secret agents hid around every corner. (Ki probably read more than was healthy.) They had one amazing best friend, one endlessly-out-of-grasp “true love,” and a personal vendetta against normalcy.

College was a catapult out of that sleepy little hamlet into a slightly larger, more entertaining city—Erie, Pennsylvania.

In their adopted hometown they enjoy the sandy beaches, frigid winters, and a wonderful fancy water addiction. Ki shares life with two sweet Muses, their Sugar Plum, and two children. Every day with these wonderful people is full of adventure.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Cover Reveal for Curl Around My Heart by Londra Laine (excerpt)

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COVER REVEAL

 

 

Title: Curl Around My Heart
Author: Londra Laine
Editor: Jae Ashley
Cover Art: Aria Tan
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Rating: 18+
Page Count: 168
Word Count: 61,923
Themes: California, single dad, beauty shop, contemporary, neighbor romance, African-American, drug addiction
 
 

Blurb

At Pearl’s Hair and Nails, no one questions Tate Robinson about his high heels, crop tops, and lipstick,because he’s the boss and he can wear what he damn well pleases. The shop is his life, and he doesn’t need anything more. Until a man walks in with his adorable daughter, and Tate has to untangle her helmet-hair…and his growing feelings for the single dad.

Reece Evans has been on his job for years, has his own place, and now has custody of his eight-year-old daughter. But he doesn’t trust himself to avoid screwing up. Adulting is not his strong suit—or so he’s been told.And now a sexy beautician, who also happens to be his new downstairs neighbor, has Reece wanting and reaching for more than he thinks he’s capable of.

As Tate and Reece move past their own fears about relationships, Reece’s ex issues a threat that could destroy everything. Will Reece’s worries about other people judging him undermine his budding romance? And will Tate’s fear of rejection make him push Reece away? Or have the sweet single dad and his precocious daughter curled too tightly around his heart to give them up?

***Please be aware that this book contains references to drug addiction.***

ExcerptThe little knucklehead gave him a sly grin. “Maybe if you ask Mr. Tate on a date, he won’t be so cranky and he’ll do my hair?”

Reece snapped, “And what makes you think he’d even want a date with me anyway?”

“’Cause he looked at you the same way you looked at him,” LJ said matter-of- factly.

“And how is that exactly?”

LJ did what he assumed was an impression of the way he and Tate had allegedly checked each other out. She pursed her lips, looked at Reece, then turned her head away quickly, then snapped her head back toward Reece again from head to toe.

“That’s how you both looked at each other,” she said, shrugging, stuffing her mouth with the last of her roast.

Well. Damn.

He pushed away from the table, rising to his feet. “Well, I’m not doing this alone. Put your shoes on. We’re going downstairs.”

About the Author 
Londra Laine
A forever-man for every man

Londra has loved to read since she discovered The Baby-Sitters Club. As a child, her parents would ground her by taking all the books out of her room for several days. Londra began reading romance in 2008 and fell in love with the M/M romance genre after purchasing a book by accident several years later.

After decades of daydreaming, and jotting down story ideas, Londra decided to give life to the characters in her head. She writes to give her guys the happy ending she wishes everyone––no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation––could experience in real life.

During the day, Londra is a communications manager for a consulting firm. She is a recovering journalist. Londra loves the New York Yankees, Seinfeld reruns, tacos, and Friday nights on the couch with wine and a new book.

In 2010, she moved from her native California to New York City where she lived in Harlem for nearly eight years. In early 2018 she relocated to Seattle with her husband

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BLOG TOUR – Under Five by Michael War (excerpt and giveaway)

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BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Under Five

Author: Michael War

Cover Artist: Aisha Akeju

Genre/s: Gay, Contemporary, Urban Fantasy

Length: 40 000 words/172 pages

Release Date: May 30, 2018

Goodreads 

Blurb

Mike is good looking, charming, and has no trouble attracting men—as long as his clothes stay on. But the moment they come off, something always seems to go terribly wrong. When his sister takes him to a faith healer to fix the problem, he is provided with a spell—and left with a lot of doubts.

But after meeting Kevin, Mike decides to give the spell a try…

Excerpt

This was the first time anyone asked for the lights to be completely out. I mean, there are some guys who like the dark, but they always want some sort of light coming in. It could be a candle, night light, or just a crack from the closet, just something to keep things from being completely black. But not this time. Carlo wanted the lights completely off. I wasn’t sure whether to be offended, or to simply just go with the flow.  

But it did kind of bother me, even while we were kissing and rubbing each other all over the place. I tried to forget about the fact that we messed around the last time with all the lights on, but it was still nagging me a bit.  

“Everything okay, Mike?” Carlo asked. While I couldn’t see them, I knew his emerald green eyes were pointed directly at me. They were fake, but man, did they compliment him so much.

“Nah, I’m good, just come over here,” I cooed, pulling him up closer to me. We still had our clothes on, so it was easy to grab his shirt and bring him in closer. I wanted to feel his hot breath against my neck, followed by his gentle kisses. The two times we hooked up before, we only kissed, and both times we only had our shirts off. But this time around, I wanted more. I wanted him to take me, to ravage me. To fill me up and not stop until we were both on the verge of exploding.

I could tell that Carlo was a bit surprised, even though I still hadn’t completely adjusted to the dark, but he seemed into it and let me drag his mouth closer to mine. He took his hands and gently placed them on the back of my head, pulling a little on my hair but not enough to cause me pain.  “Don’t stop, keep going,” I moaned. Carlo intensified his kisses and started moving down towards my neck, then pulled back and little and began to pull my shirt off. I started on his before my shirt even hit the floor, and now for the first time tonight, we were both finally showing some skin towards each other.  After a bit of kissing and exploring, I forgot about the light situation. Thanks to the moon beaming through my curtains and right toward my bed I was able to make out where I wanted my hands to go. Carlo had the body type I loved; bearish, with broad shoulders and big, strong arms. But what got me was his chest. In the moonlight and without a shirt, Carlo was simply beautiful. Even though I wasn’t a bear myself, I could appreciate the slight hairy trail he had going from his chest down to his stomach. I could see that the trail went even further, and I wanted him to reveal more.  

Carlo continued to kiss me down my body, but I stopped him right before he got to my stomach.  “Let me take off your pants,” I ordered. I was hoping he would be turned on by the dominance in voice and simply obey. “No, you first. I want to show you everything I have to offer you,” Carlo responded, his hands rubbing the top of my shorts, fingers slightly pushing under the elastic. He let it snap a few times before slightly licking his lips.  I arched up a bit to help him out, and he obliged by grabbing my shorts at both ends and pulled them off along with my underwear. He placed his hand on my now erect cock, then stopped for an awkward minute.

“Something wrong?” I asked.  “No, um, just thought of something,” he replied, giggling a bit before continuing. “Now get ready to have the best sex that you….”  He didn’t finish. How could he now that he was giggling like crazy? I wanted to jump out of the bed right then and there, but he still had my dick in his hand, and even though it was getting flaccid, I didn’t want to make any sudden moves and damage myself.  “Would you mind letting go? I would like to get dressed.” He did, even though he was still laughing like a lunatic. I picked up my clothes and put my underwear on, then went for the lamp by my bed. Carlo was sprawled out across my bed. While his laughing had stifled a bit, his red face showed that something had amused him to no end.  

I slipped my shorts back on and began to gather up his things.  “Oh come on, don’t be that way. I’m sorry. We can still mess around. I just need a minute.” The moment he finished his sentence, Carlo began laughing again. He put his hand over his mouth so it wouldn’t be so loud, but it was no use.  

“What the hell is so funny? I was good enough for you before. What changed now?” I stared him down hard; so hard that I was able to break his laughing fit up once and for all.  

“I don’t want to offend you. You’re a nice guy. I was just taken by surprise. You know how it is with these things,” Carlo stated as he got up from the bed and walked over towards me.  “No, I don’t know. I don’t have a clue about what is going on.”

Carlo took my hand and looked me straight in the eyes with his emerald greens. For a second, I almost melted. But then the laughing started going on in my head again, and my fury came back full force.  Looking at Carlo’s face, I could tell he had something he wanted to say, but just couldn’t. He kept biting his lip, and you could tell he was thinking very carefully before he spoke again. The anticipation wasn’t helping my tolerance, so I knew that I had to speed things up a bit.

“Just spit it out.” Carlo looked at the floor one more time, then right back at me.  “It’s just….well….I…..I didn’t expect it to be so small.” I really don’t remember what happened after that, but I do recall that I was rushing him out in just his underwear, not giving him anytime to put his other clothes back on. He pleaded with me a bit, asking to stay and make it up to me. And I almost did — until he mentioned that his was just used to bigger.

Buy Links

Less Than Three Press

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Michael War is a writer whose real life tends to be on the boring side, which is why his imagination seems to float towards gay romance. Aside from writing about beautiful gay men of all types (bears, jocks, twinks) getting it on, he also enjoys writing poetry and screenplays. War holds an MFA in Creative Writing and plans to write more romance themed books in the near future. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook  for updates on upcoming stories or with any questions or comments. Or, you can read his blog for some mindless ramblings.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

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a $10 Amazon Gift Card or an ebook copy of Roommate Adventure by Michael War.

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RELEASE BLITZ for Waiting in the Wings (Upstaged #2) by S. L. Danielson (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Waiting in the Wings (Upstaged #2)

Author: S. L. Danielson & Cheryl Headford

Publisher: Extasy Books

Cover Artist: Extasy

Genre/s: new adult, mmfiction, gay, contemporary

Length: 62,790 words/188 pages

Goodreads

Blurb

The Von are on their way.  With a recording contract under their belt and a tour opening for a popular band, the world is at their feet.  For those left behind prospects are not so bright, especially with someone trying so hard to break them apart.

With the spotlight on The Von, no one sees the evil waiting in the wings until it’s too late.

Buy Links – Coming Soon

Excerpt

After a long moment of waiting for Asher to return, Vince heard the door open, albeit slowly. He put down his glass of orange juice and peered suspiciously at his friend. “Hey, what is it? Bad news in the mail, also known as bills?” he joked. Asher didn’t say anything, which worried him. He stood and walked over to him to look at what he had in his hands.

“I… It… I don’t know what to do.” Asher turned to Vince and grabbed his arms with bruising intensity. “Vince, I don’t know what to do.” He pleaded, begged, but there wasn’t anything Vince could say as his gaze flicked between the two photographs and Asher’s stricken eyes.

“Let me see them, please?” He wrested the slips of paper free from Asher’s grip long enough to see the photos and got the shock of his life. Glossy, set in some cool, trendy club surrounded by gorgeous people, Erik kissed a total stranger like he might inhale the guy and Billy was kissing a redheaded guy who looked very familiar.

What the… No. Not again. Wait. I know that guy… Holy shit, I know him!

Vince’s stomach twisted, and he covered his mouth, completely understanding why Asher looked ready to vomit. “We’ve been fucked over again? What the hell? There has to be an explanation. Drunk again…something… We have to… Shit. When they come online, I’m not gonna roll over for him again. What the fuck?” He tore from Asher’s grasp and tugged his hair, letting the angry tears come.

Vince grabbed the edge of the sofa and forced himself to sit down, his face buried in his hands. “What the fuck is going on over there? You know, I wish they’d never gone. I don’t care what it means to the band anymore; I want him home with me!” He kicked a textbook off the table, his anger evident. “Fuckers! I’m so sick of being lied to and being left behind. No one wants big, nice, sweet Vince! No one!” He leapt off the sofa, went to the kitchen, and hung his head over the sink. The tears wouldn’t stop.

He jumped when Asher’s hands slid around his waist and his head rested on the back of his neck. From the way his body shook, Vince was pretty certain he was crying, too.

“I wanted to believe him, Vince. I really wanted to believe him this time. I knew… I knew this was going to happen, it always does, but I-I worked so hard to convince myself it was different this time. That he was different.” Asher sniffed, rubbing his cheek against Vince’s back. “But he’s not different, Vince. None of them are.”

“I’d have sworn my Billy was different. I knew him before we even dated. Gawd, we couldn’t get enough of just hanging out together.” Vince turned and leaned his head against Asher’s. “I guess it didn’t mean very much to him, did it? If being away from us this short a time makes them do this…” He paused. His head and heart were in torment. He felt awful for Asher, too. He and Erik had a tumultuous relationship from the very beginning and although he’d thought it was fine, it sure wasn’t now. The computer beeped, and he glanced over. “Fuck. They’re gonna come online now. I don’t even know what to say.” He looked at Billy’s ring and wanted to toss it across the room.

“Well.” Asher drew his spine up straight. “I, for one, am going to get some answers. I don’t care what you do with Billy, but as far as me and Erik go, unless he has some pretty good reasons for what happened, this is it. We’re over.” The computer beeped again, and the call was live.

About the Authors 

S. L. Danielson

S. L. (Stephanie) Danielson began writing at the tender age of five. She knew it was her calling from the moment she put pen to paper. In her teens she began writing alternative works and the genre stuck. She created ever more elaborate tales and finally in her early 20’s years began to create works with her new love; male/male romance. She has since written more than 30 works (both solo and collaborations).

Stephanie is classically trained in business, accounting, and HR/training, possessing both an undergrad and graduate degree. She also owned and operated Romance First Publishing where the ultimate goal was to help other unknown, as well as known authors get their start in the publishing world.

Beyond writing, her other hobbies include: painting, gaming, and spending time with her husband and two cherished cats.

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Cheryl Headford

Born into a poor but loving mining family in the United Kingdom, Cheryl grew up in the beautiful and history rich South Wales Valleys, becoming the first in her family to attend university. Practicing law, as a family lawyer for over twenty years allowed Cheryl to learn more about human nature at its worst and best moments, and develop empathy and a view of life not limited by social standing or background.

Tapping into the heritage of her people that throughout Earth’s ages welcomed the wandering bard into the hearts of their villages as keepers of lore, Cheryl trained as a Druid and brings the richness of her Celtic past and spiritual training to elevate her writing. Since a child, Cheryl has been fascinated with other worlds, which exist within and alongside her own and has reveled in creating worlds and characters for others to enjoy.

Despite lack of family support, Cheryl continued writing privately and eventually found the Gay Authors website. With the positive response and a warm welcome received, she found the confidence to pursue her passion to a greater degree. Feeling gay fiction was a woefully neglected corner of the market where readers were all too often presented as limited to erotica, Cheryl strives to write quality gay fiction where sex and sexuality is not the central premise. Instead, concentration is given to character and narrative development through storytelling that goes beyond the physical.

Cheryl still resides in Wales, UK, and enjoys writing, reading, art, and taking part in medieval reenactments.

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RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

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New Release Blitz for Big Man by Matthew J. Metzger (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Big Man

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: April 9, 2018

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 58100

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, contemporary, YA, coming-of-age, bisexual, trans, high school, sports/martial arts, depression/grieving, #ownvoices

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Synopsis

Max Farrier wanted to follow in the family footsteps and join the Navy once, but he’s better off focusing on just surviving his last year of school and going to work in Aunt Donna’s shop once it’s over.

After an incident at school puts Max in the hospital, Aunt Donna’s had enough. She signs him up for private lessons at a Muay Thai gym. Boxing—she says—will change everything.

But it’s not boxing that starts to poke holes in Max’s stupor—it’s his sparring partner. Cian is fifty percent mouth, fifty percent attitude, and isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with a bully in the street. Cian takes what he wants, and doesn’t let anyone stand in his way—not even himself.

Excerpt

Big Man
Matthew J. Metzger © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
This was how everything started—on a Friday afternoon, at the very end of school, three days into the summer term and in the middle of an unreasonable, unseasonable heatwave. It had been a Friday like any other until Tom Fallowfield stuck his boot in.

Literally.

It went a bit like this, to Max’s admittedly patchy memory of the entire incident.

At three thirty-one, the bell rang, and he was dismissed out of his maths class. Friday was a notorious day for people being bored and at a loose end, so Max had (as was his habit) hurried off to his locker to try to get out of school before anyone caught up to him.

At three thirty-six, Max reached his locker. His fingers fumbled with the lock in a hurry, the metal loose in his grip because it was so ridiculously hot. Sweat was dampening the hair at his temples.

At three thirty-eight, his fingers slipped on the waxy cover of his geography textbook and sent the whole pile tumbling to the floor.

And at three thirty-eight and a half, a dirty Adidas trainer pressed down on said textbook just as Max reached for it.

That was kind of when Max knew he was a bit fucked.

“All right, Fatso?”

He didn’t have to look up. The trainer narrowed it down to one of two people who would stomp on the textbook he was trying to pick up, and the deep, drawling voice—like some villain out of a film—narrowed it down to one. Jazz Coles. And Jazz Coles was bad news.

Max swallowed convulsively and gathered the rest of his things to his chest protectively. He staggered back to his feet and turned to shove them all back in his locker. His hands were shaking. There was sweat breaking out on the backs of his thighs and under his arms, pooling in the joints and fleshy bits.

“Oi. You gone deaf, Fatso? All that grease clogged your ears?”

“M’just in a hurry, Jazz,” he mumbled.

“You what?”

“I said I’m just in a hurry,” he said a bit louder and squashed his other books into the locker haphazardly. The corridor was slowly emptying, and the emptier it got, the faster his heart was beating.

“You’re fucking rude, you are. You ought to look at someone when he’s talking to you. You want Tom to teach you some manners? Tom’s good with manners.”

“Sorry,” Max mumbled, turning hastily before the threat could be carried out. The metal of his locker bit uncomfortably into his back, pressing grooves into his skin, and he could feel his shirt beginning to stick to him. “I’m in a rush, that’s all.”

All three of them were there. Jazz Coles, Aidan Hooper, and Tom Fallowfield. Fallowfield was in Max’s year, the other two the year above. They went to some football club or something together—Max wasn’t sure. All he knew was that Jazz was the clever one, with the orders and the insults, while Aidan was the sidekick who screeched like a hyena and kept them supplied in fags and weed on a regular basis from his older brother’s grow. And Tom…

Tom was the dangerous one. When the insults stopped, Tom started. And nobody wanted Tom to start anything.

“Not got time to talk to us, then?” Jazz drawled. “Why’s that? You busy?”

“I—yes. Yes, just busy, that’s all, busy weekend…”

“Busy doing what? Got a new girlfriend?”

Tom snorted. Aidan cackled and said, “Eurgh, Jazz, man, I’ll bring up my lunch.”

“Imagine that sweaty sack of lard slithering and grunting on some poor girl. You’d crush her, wouldn’t you, Farrier?”

Max’s face heated up, and his hair stuck to his scalp. He could faintly smell his own underarms, and the metal gluing shirt to back was beginning to heat up too, at Jazz’s cool, slow delivery.

“Fatso Farrier, the flat-fucker. ’Cause that’s what she’d be once you were done. Best stick to boys, yeah? Let your boyfriend fuck you, then nobody’ll suffocate.”

“I don’t have a girlfriend. Or a boyfriend.”

“Would you like one?”

“I—no, I, uh—”

“Just as well,” Jazz continued blithely. “Nobody has a drowning-in-folds fetish. So if it’s not a girlfriend or a boyfriend with some sick kinks, why’re you too busy to talk to us?”

The corridor was empty. Max started to panic.

“Answer me, Farrier!”

“I—just—plans, you know, plans…”

“What plans? Sale on at Greggs?” Jazz asked. “New bakery opened up? Or is Mummy taking pity on her lonely little wobblebottom, and baked you a chocolate cake?”

Aidan gave a whooping cackle, and Jazz kicked the forgotten geography book towards Max. It skittered across the dusty floor, hitting Max’s shoe with a dull thump.

“Best not leave that here,” Jazz said. Hands in his pockets, pale face regarding him through narrowed blue eyes, he looked calculating—and Max couldn’t figure out what he was calculating. “Oi! Fatso! Pick it up, then.”

“Thank you,” Max mumbled, hoping it would buy him a bit of a reprieve from…whatever Jazz was planning, and stooped to pick it up. His fingers scrabbled uselessly on the plastic cover, wet with anxiety.

“Thank you?” Jazz echoed. “Very polite, Fatso. Might want to make it sound fucking sincere next time.”

“Here, Jazz, fancy a game?”

That deep rumble was the only warning Max got before Tom’s boot—because of course Tom, totally mad, sadistic Tom Fallowfield, wore boots to school on a regular basis—connected with the side of his head.

Hard.

Max would have liked to say that pain exploded in his head, that he saw visions of God or heard the heavenly choir, that it was like dropping into a Tim Burton movie.

Actually, he just heard a massive bang.

And then he woke up in the back of an ambulance and knew he was in deep shit.

That was how it started.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Matthew J. Metzger is an ace, trans author posing as a functional human being in the wilds of Yorkshire, England. Although mainly a writer of contemporary, working-class romance, he also strays into fantasy when the mood strikes. Whatever the genre, the focus is inevitably on queer characters and their relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual, or romantic.

When not crunching numbers at his day job, or writing books by night, Matthew can be found tweeting from the gym, being used as a pillow by his cat, or trying to keep his website in some semblance of order.

Website | Twitter

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BLITZ for Teacher’s Pet Anthology by Multiple Authors (giveaway)

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Title:  Teacher’s Pet

Author: Kashmira Majumdar, S.A. James, Asta Idonea, Hudson Lin, Aila Alvina Boyd, Valentine Wheeler, Damian Serbu, Jack Harbon, Arden Powell

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: March 12

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female

Length: 88500

Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal. Sci-Fi/Fantasy, age gap, contemporary, Fantasy, paranormal, romance, teacher/student

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Synopsis

Nine Stories of Lessons Outside the Classroom

By Virtue Fall by Kashmira Majumdar – The rules have changed…and so have the consequences for breaking them.

Striking Gold by S.A. James – Sometimes when we think we have no choice, life brings something brighter.

Full Marks by Asta Idonea – When Jacob seeks out his favourite lecturer at a university reunion, will he get full marks?

Lessons for a Lifetime by Hudson Lin – A second language, a first chance at love.

Welcome to Ms Skinner’s Freshman Composition by Aila Alvina Boyd – After auditioning for a play, professor and student find themselves cast opposite each other as romantic leads.

Piece of Cake by Valentine Wheeler – All Richard wanted was a nice, quiet retirement. His kids aren’t going to let that happen.

Professor Ghost by Damian Serbu – An otherworldly mentor might be his way out.

Bare by Jack Harbon – When a passion for art turns into something more.

The Botanist’s Apprentice by Arden Powell – Don’t get too close to the flowers.

Excerpt

By Virtue Fall by Kashmira Majumdar
Jonah Shapiro is no model student, even by the lax standards of his preppy New England boarding school. His penchant for rule-breaking and leather makes him the bête noire of his teachers—except the earnest, tea-drinking, cardigan-wearing Mr. Donovan, who’s determined to not give up on Jonah. Life used to be simpler five years ago when Mr. Donovan was just Head Boy Nick and Jonah’s best friend. Easier, too, for Jonah to kiss him when it was dark and no one was watching. Now the rules of the game have changed, and so have the consequences for flouting them…

Striking Gold by S.A. James
The day Daniel met Silver shone brightly for a number of reasons. It was the last day of high school, but it was also the day he realized he could never leave home. Being the son of an alcoholic mom didn’t leave many choices for Daniel. He could only hope that life and love would treat him kindly.

Full Marks by Asta Idonea
Jacob Corby decides to attend his university reunion for one reason only: Professor Hobbs. Arthur Hobbs is surprised to see loner Jacob’s name on the attendance list, but it is enough to make him change his mind about going to the event. After all, he’s always harboured forbidden feelings for his favourite student.

Lessons for a Lifetime by Hudson Lin
When high school English teacher Patrick signs on to teach an adult ESL course on the weekends, he doesn’t know his life is about to change. Into the makeshift community center classroom walks Salim—tall, soulful, a refugee from Ethiopia with a heart for storytelling and a talent for music.

A midwinter offer to drive Salim home after class one week leads to the breakdown of the student-teacher boundary. As their relationship grows, the prospect of moving in together brings out both their insecurities about commitment and money. But working through differences makes them stronger and Patrick soon realizes that perhaps he had been the student all along.

Welcome to Ms Skinner’s Freshman Composition by Aila Alvina Boyd
After auditioning for a college production, a first year professor finds herself being cast as the romantic lead opposite her least favorite student. Just as it appears as though the production is going to be an utter failure, something clicks. From there on out, chemistry between the two of them no longer needs to be faked.

Piece of Cake by Valentine Wheeler
Richard’s daughters are worried about him, alone in his house after retirement, so they sign him up for a cooking class at the local community center. But what he ends up finding is more than just baked goods.

Professor Ghost by Damian Serbu
Antonio arrives on campus for his first day of college a little overwhelmed from the experience of moving from a rural area to the big city, not to mention that he firmly planted himself in the closet and intends to stay there. When a ghost appears before him on the first night, his terror gradually gives way to curiosity, as this hot specter promises to mentor him toward a better, and out, life at college.

Bare by Jack Harbon
Before his best friend went away for vacation, Levi Singh promised her that he would take life by the balls and live on the edge. So, when the nude model for his art class doesn’t show, Levi takes it upon himself to volunteer. To his surprise, no one seems to be staring too long at him. No one, that is, except for his professor.

When Noah Rose suggests working with him on an assignment after class, Levi suspects he might be looking for something else. Something Levi will happily give him.

The Botanist’s Apprentice by Arden Powell
Graduate student Eli Katz approaches the accomplished botanist, Robert Lord-Harding, to request access to his greenhouse of magical flora. Though Lord-Harding is reluctant to take on a new apprentice after the scandal of his last one, he is intrigued by Eli’s academic work, and agrees.

Eli is primarily interested in the violet man-eater, a carnivorous plant that preys on men by emitting a certain pheromone, luring them in close and then devouring them. Eli wants to return the man-eater to its classic status as a sexual performance enhancer, and spends his days studying the plant. But is it as safely secured in Lord-Harding’s greenhouse as they both believe, or will its pheromones wreak havoc with their new apprenticeship?

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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Tour: Curved Horizon by Taylor Brooke (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Curved Horizon

Series: The Camellia Clock Cycle, Book Two

Publisher: Interlude Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): March 8, 2018

Subgenre:

Romance: LGBT, Contemporary, Science Fiction

Content Warnings: Interlude Press posts content warnings for new books on its web site at interludepress.com/content-warnings

Order now:

Interlude Press: https://store.interludepress.com/collections/curved-horizon-by-taylor-brooke

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2EoGBWw

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/curved-horizon/id1324716366?mt=11

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/curved-horizon-taylor-brooke/1127627874?ean=2940154649688

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/767407

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/at/en/ebook/curved-horizon

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Curved-Horizon-Taylor-Brooke/9781945053542/?a_aid=InterludePress

Book blurb:

Curved Horizon picks up a few weeks after the conclusion of Fortitude Smashed with Daisy Yuen and Chelsea Cavanaugh, whose Camellia Clocks are drawing close to timing out. Navigating the ins-and-outs of love is hard enough as strangers destined to be soul mates and proves even more complicated when Daisy shares dark, ugly secrets that linger in her and Aiden’s pasts.

Meanwhile, Shannon and Aiden continue to explore their own, new relationship. Fall brings them an unforgettable one-year anniversary, but when Shannon suffers a life-threatening accident on the job, Chelsea, Daisy, and Aiden must find a way to let go of the past to make room for their future.

Dive deeper into the world of the Camellia Clock—a world of soulmates, secrets, and the healing power of love.

Exclusive Excerpt :

Three hundred sixty-five days.

It’d been one year: one autumn, one winter, one spring, and one summer. It’d crept in on him in his sleep, stirring Shannon into bolting from his dreams. He sprang up, gripped his knees, and inhaled a shaky breath. It’d been one entire year.

How they both allowed it to slip by without paying any attention was marginally embarrassing, but Shannon wasn’t thinking about that. He dismissed the thoughts spinning in the back of his mind and focused on everything that was right in front of him.

“What’s wrong?” Aiden said, suddenly alert. He reached for Shannon’s wrist and curled his fingers around it. “Bad dream?”

Shannon coughed over a laugh and pawed at his eyes, shaking his head leisurely from side to side. “What’s the date?”

“What?” Aiden spat. He groaned and curled into Shannon’s side, nudging his forehead against the edge of Shannon’s shoulder. “It’s two in the morning; go to sleep.”

“It’s October second. We missed our own anniversary.”Shannon looked at Aiden and found Aiden looking back. “Put your eyebrows down, I’m serious,” Shannon added.
Aiden’s brows dropped, and he lifted onto his elbows, measuring

Shannon with calculating, sharp eyes. On most occasions his inability to sleep made Aiden into one of two things. One, he was a corpse. There was no waking him when he had finally fallen asleep, and if he was awakened, he was only half-alive. Two, he was this, awake as if he’d never been asleep, awake as a shark or a hungry nightmare, awake as an addict. Shannon saw his cheek cave in, sucked between Aiden’s back teeth.

“Yeah,” Shannon said. His accent made everything sound sweeter. “What’re you thinking about?”

“I never considered tonight our anniversary,” Aiden said. Shannon tilted his head and waited. Aiden obviously wasn’t finished talking, but he paused, giving

Shannon a moment to absorb his statement. It wasn’t until it’d been said twice that Shannon realized how odd it was. Anniversary. It had always been a stupid, juvenile thing to him. Anniversaries were for movies and flowers and dinner at a restaurant with candles on the tables. The only anniversaries he’d ever celebrated were with Chelsea. They went to the fanciest Italian place in Milford, which wasn’t very fancy at all, and after dessert pretended they knew what they were doing in the bed of Shannon’s truck for a whole twenty minutes.

This, he realized, was a first of firsts. “Get your keys,” Aiden said. Shannon wasn’t sure what the silence between I never considered tonight our anniversary and get your keys meant, but he imagined it meant something. He didn’t bother trying to figure out what Aiden was getting at or arguing with him, so he asked, “Where are we going?”

“Wherever you want,” Aiden said.

They dressed quickly and clumsily, bouncing off each other as they tugged on their shoes. Aiden pulled on a black beanie and Shannon ran his hands through his hair, attempting to tame it. Shannon was awake, but the world turned slowly enough to be dreamlike. He handed Aiden the keys, slumped into the passenger seat, and ignored his seatbelt. The twilight sensation of being awake and asleep at the same time was something Shannon rarely experienced, but as he watched Aiden from his side of the Jeep Cherokee, he found himself wondering if this was the kind of universe Aiden wandered in: being awake but not fully and asleep but not fully, stepping halfway out of a dream.

Aiden glanced over. “Where to?”

“You choose.”

“Turn on music,” Aiden said, and Shannon did.

Laguna Beach passed by in intervals of palm trees, dark buildings, darker streets, and the darkest ocean. Shannon noticed how alive everything was at night with the wind snapping at the windshield and fog clinging to the shoreline. He’d almost forgot what the dark was like when he was a part of it rather than an outsider trying to look in.

About the author:

After fleshing out a multitude of fantastical creatures as a special effects makeup artist, Taylor Brooke turned her imagination back to her true love—books. When she’s not nestled in a blanket typing away on her laptop, she’s traveling, hiking or reading. She writes Queer books for teens and adults. She is the author of Fortitude Smashed (Interlude Press ’17) and is represented by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services. 

Connect with Taylor Brooke: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Author Website

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Release Blitz: Three’s the Charm (Maths #3) by P.A. Friday (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Three’s the Charm

Series: Maths, Book Three

Author: P.A. Friday

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: February 12, 2018

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 57800

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, menage, college professor, musican, film-maker, promiscuity

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Synopsis

James, Laurie, and Al are settling into a surprisingly easy life as a triad. Finally, things seem to be going well for them. But when an unscrupulous journalist takes advantage of Al’s blossoming film career and the men’s unusual relationship to write an exposé article, cracks begin to show. Can the three survive with their love, their careers, and even their sanity intact?

Excerpt

Three’s the Charm
P.A. Friday © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Al

The text was brief and to the point.

I hope you’re behaving yourself. L.

Al glared at his phone, as if it were his boyfriend Laurie himself. Up until that point, he’d been fairly successful at forgetting that he’d been driven to the point of madness the night before by his lovers, who had made him beg and then refused to allow him the satisfaction he was craving. Okay, that ‘forgetting’ bit wasn’t entirely true. He’d managed to deal with the fact that he was absolutely fucking desperate for a wank, or to get off in some form or other. And then bloody Laurie sent that, just reminding him. Rubbing it in.

Al wanted to rub one off, not have things rubbed in. But Laurie, who was not ‘just’ a boyfriend but—when they both chose—his Dominant, had ordered him not to. To wait for this evening. Scowling so hard at his phone that his boss, Fenella, asked him what the matter was (“Nothing”), he sent a one-word reply.

Yes.

There was silence for an hour. Laurie was probably giving a lecture at the university about filmography or something. Probably doing it well, too—Al had been to a couple of Laurie’s lectures in the past, and he was a good speaker, and knowledgeable. Al should know, as well: he was a prominent short film-maker on a minor level, though it was not a career which allowed him to devote himself to it full-time. Hence the job in the wine shop. During the text silence from his boyfriend, therefore, Al talked to various people about wine, advising them on which bottle might suit them best, and managed to ignore the worst of his frustration. Then the phone buzzed again.

Are you hard? L.

Al seethed. Well, if he hadn’t been before, he was now. He was bloody hard and fucking desperate. Laurie knew it—he knew precisely what he was doing, damn him. Al was tempted not to answer, to just leave Laurie hanging. But on the other hand, Laurie would be in charge once he got home. Provoking him to further teasing was a seriously bad plan. Hating his boyfriend, he sent the same one-word answer.

Yes.

The ‘fuck you’ wasn’t explicitly written afterwards, but Al was pretty sure Laurie would get that too. Ruffled, he texted James. James, his other boyfriend. Laurie’s boyfriend, too.

Your boyfriend is a fucking sadist.

Al smiled apologetically at Fen, who was looking unimpressed by the amount of texting going on in work time.

“There’s no one needing serving at the moment,” he offered.

She snorted and shook her head. “I suppose you’re texting your many partners,” she said, trying to sound grumpy but not quite managing it.

As far as Fen was concerned—and it was fairly close to the truth—Al slept with pretty much anyone who offered. He certainly had sex with a lot of people, but not only did he live with James and Laurie, he was also in love with them, which made rather a lot of difference. And, he admitted grumpily, the sex was best with them. Partly because Laurie was the best Dom Al had ever come across, and the only one he’d thoroughly trust with the submissive part of himself; and partly because…well, (a) they were both bloody marvellous in bed, and (b) all right, yes, because he was in love with them and it turned out that that did make a difference, just as everyone claimed. Damn them all.

His phone buzzed again.

Needing a wank? J.

Al had the distinct temptation to smash his phone hard against the counter. James was supposed to be showing a bit of sympathy. Which that was not.

Fuck off.

He got another hour, that time. An hour in which to calm down and to think about wine, and talk sensibly to a customer about which white wine might be the optimal choice to go with a nice fish dinner (“What sort of fish?” “Dead,” said the customer, helpfully.)

It was Laurie, again, when the text came.

You’re going to have to beg. L.

Al hated how much that turned him on. How much he wanted to be on his knees to Laurie, pleading to be allowed to come. Hated the visions which were flooding his brain after reading it. Fen was giving him a peculiar look, and he excused himself to the toilet. Not to touch—he knew better than that—but to try to compose himself a bit. He could hardly serve customers with a raging hard-on, and at the moment all he could think about was sex. Fuck. Bloody, fucking Laurie. Fuck. Al pushed a hand firmly (painfully firmly) between his black jeans-clad legs, squeezed his eyes shut, and tried to think about other things. Awful things. Running out of money at the end of the month. Stepping in a deep puddle and getting a trainerful of water. Anything. Anything but the thought of Laurie making him beg. Jesus. Eventually, he knew he’d have to come out or face Fen’s wrath.

“Sorry,” he said apologetically. “Not feeling my best.”

“Hmm.” Fen’s lack of belief would have been mortifying at any other time, but at the moment, Al was too busy trying to deal with his rebellious cock.

You’re hot on your knees. J.

Al hadn’t even heard that text come in. He’d picked up the phone to check the time—to see how long it was before he could go home and persuade his boyfriends (his absolute bastard boyfriends) to allow him to get off. He’d not replied to Laurie’s last text—potentially dangerous in itself, but he was damned if he was going to plead over his phone. Bad enough that he knew bloody well he’d break down and do it in person the first second he saw Laurie; he was not going to humiliate himself in writing as well. And now James, too. James, who knew him too damn well, and knew what a text like that would do.

Thought I told you to fuck off, he wrote.

The response was quick; presumably James was home from work.

Sorry. Thought you asked me to fuck you. Or was that last night? J.

It wasn’t murder if your boyfriends had asked for it, was it? Al had a sudden memory of the previous evening, where he had indeed done as James had suggested. And James had acted like he was going to give in, and then not done so. Fucking tease.

Al gave an involuntary moan, and Fen looked at him, eyebrows raised. “Anything wrong?”

“Told you,” Al said, hoping he wasn’t blushing. “Not feeling great.”

Unexpectedly, she looked sympathetic. “You can head home early if you like?”

Oh, bloody hell, that was worst of all. Laurie and James would rip the piss out of him something chronic if they knew about this. Fen offering to send him home early because he was so ‘unwell’. He’d never live down the fact that he’d been so desperate for them that he hadn’t been able to finish a day’s work.

“No,” he said, knowing his face was definitely red, and quite probably radish-coloured. “I’m fine. Honestly.”

“Okay. Let me know if you need to leave, though, Al. Honestly, you don’t have to suffer.”

Tell that to my boyfriends, Al thought bitterly. Apparently they delighted in making him suffer.

“Thanks,” he said curtly.

Thankfully, they left him alone for his last hour at work. Al was beyond relieved: today had been more of an ordeal than he’d ever had at the wine shop. It wasn’t taxing work, and usually he enjoyed the banter with customers; but today, with the constant erection pushing at his trousers, distracting his attention, making him need things he couldn’t have…it had been horrendous. He was halfway out of the door before the final text came.

Come in, take off your clothes, and kneel by the sofa. L.

Laurie had timed it deliberately for the moment he left work. It left a strangely warm feeling in Al’s chest that Laurie knew to the minute when he would be leaving the shop; he was angry with himself for getting so much pleasure from that thought, but at the same time it was very hot. The texts, he realised, showed that he’d been on Laurie and James’s minds as much as they’d been on his. They wanted him. His cock throbbed hard at the thought.

When he got to the flat, there was no one in the sitting room. Obeying his instructions, he folded his clothes up and knelt naked by the empty sofa. Where were they? What were they doing? As Al got used to the sounds of the house, he realised that Laurie and James were in the kitchen. He could hear voices, and then the sloppy sounds of kisses. The noises got closer, and he glanced up to see that they were in the doorway between the sitting room and the kitchen, arms around each other, frotting up against one another as they kissed passionately. God, they were hot like that. And, Al realised, with frustrated fury, they knew he thought so. This was a show put on entirely for him…well, maybe not ‘entirely’—James and Laurie were shamelessly obsessed with each other at any time—but the fact that they were simulating sex somewhere he could see them and not be part of it… They were deliberately teasing him, even more than they’d been doing all day. A frustrated growl burst from his lips.

James looked over, the faintest smile tracing his lips.

“Al’s home,” he told Laurie, as if it were a surprise.

“Mm-hm?” Laurie sounded supremely uninterested, going back to touching and snogging James as if there was nothing more he wanted from life.

And Al was going to bloody die if he didn’t get any attention soon. His lovers were stripping each other’s clothes off, kissing any part of each other which they could reach as they did so. James’s mouth on Laurie’s nipple, Laurie’s head thrown back in pleasure, a hand behind James’s head, encouraging him. James’s hands busy on Laurie’s trousers as he sucked, pushing them down, exposing Laurie’s hard, heavy, large cock. They were distracted enough that they wouldn’t notice if Al just had a quick touch. He couldn’t bear it any longer. His left arm slid round from its required position behind him to take himself in hand, and he gave the tiniest hiss of relief at the sensation of fingers against his erection. Too quiet for anyone else to hear, you would have thought. Except that Laurie, with some psychic instinct, was suddenly gazing down at Al, a feral expression on his face.

“Oh, no, Al,” he said, his voice dark and measured, his hand slipping from James’s head. “That won’t do at all. Did yesterday teach you nothing about obedience?”

James turned to look at him too, and Al swore under his breath. He was so, so fucked now.

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Meet the Author

P.A. Friday fails dismally to write one sort of thing and, when not writing erotica and erotic romance of all sexualities, may be found writing articles on the Regency period, pagan poetry, or science fiction. She loves wine and red peppers, and loathes coffee and mushrooms.

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New Release Blitz for Sweethearts by Gemma Gilmore (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Sweethearts

Author: Gemma Gilmore

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: January 29, 2018

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 62600

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, YA, high school, friends to lovers, alcohol use, visual arts, coming out, teen pregnancy, coming of age, slow burn

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Synopsis

When seventeen-year-old Ingrid Harper realizes she may not have the talent to pursue a scholarship for the most prestigious art school in Australia, she turns to pink hair dye as a distraction.

Her new hair captures the attention of a fellow art student, Kat, who introduces Ingrid to the LGBT clubbing scene, and although Ingrid enjoys partying with her new friend, she becomes caught up in confusion about her sexuality. Her fear is overwhelming—she can’t think about anything else.

Until her best friend, Summer, reveals that she is pregnant.

As her best friend faces the realities of being pregnant at seventeen, Ingrid is shown the true definition of courage. It motivates her to come out about her sexuality—she likes girls. Only girls. Now she just has to work out what that means for the other areas of her life.

Excerpt

Sweethearts
Gemma Gilmore © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
I am desperately trying not to attract attention.

My arms are folded across my chest. My chin is tucked into my neck. I am leaning against the brick wall as I watch her sing. It takes every ounce of strength I have to keep my face still, hiding any expression that bubbles to the surface. Any reaction I have to her lilting voice is shoved down, adding to the pit in my stomach.

The younger students are sitting respectfully in their seats. They are still too naive to question the teachers when they are told they must be present. I know better than to think that this school performance is anything special to Amber Freeman. She’s been singing since before she could walk, and although I am always the first viewer, her YouTube videos are gaining more and more popularity with every upload. This is just practice to her. A warm-up.

The spotlights are trained on her, and she throws her hands up whilst the climax of the song cascades from her talented lips. I let my eyes flicker shut and Amber’s voice surrounds me, caressing my ears as she sings deeply. Her voice is crashing through me, tingling across the skin on my arms and seeping through my body, calming me.

My head has fallen back against the wall, and I remain frozen there as I listen to her sing. In this moment, nothing else matters. With my eyes closed, she’s right next to me. Singing softly, untying the knot that’s sunken deep into that pit in the bottom of my stomach.

“Ingrid? What the hell are you doing?” The voice that hisses right next to my ear jerks me out of my daydream.

I jump with shock and wrench my eyes open, tearing myself away from the peaceful moment. In front of me, my best friend Summer stands, her arms folded across her chest and her eyes wide in that you are busted expression.

“Jesus,” I mutter. “I thought you had better things to do than sneak up on people. Way to give me a heart attack.”

“I thought you had better things to do than stand here creepily at the back of the gym listening to Amber sing,” Summer challenges me, an amused smile dancing across her full lips.

“You snuck up on me and you’re calling me the creep?” I snort. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”

The quicker I can get Summer outside of this gym, the quicker I can shove away the fact that she caught me watching Amber’s performance. We duck behind the last row of seating and out of the door in the corner of the room, swiftly ignoring the Emergency Exit Only sign. We’ve done this so many times now that it’s like second nature.

Outside, the rain lashes against the building. The wind howls so loudly that I’m surprised no one noticed our little escape from the gymnasium—then again, they never do. For Summer, there’s more to life than just sitting in a desk at school. Any chance my best friend has to escape the mundane restrictions of life is an opportunity she must take. She’s never been the kind of girl to follow the traditional paths.

Then again, neither have I.

My thoughts still spin as we duck through the car park and head out to the tin shed at the back of the school. Summer knew exactly where to find me during Amber’s performance. She knows that I watch Amber. While everyone else in our grade snuck off to make out in abandoned classrooms or smoke cigarettes behind the main building, I followed the crowd into the gymnasium with one intention.

Why did I need to watch her?

“I had a headache and the gym was dark.” I shrug off Summer’s curious stare as we take shelter under the tin roof. The rain really lashes down now, bouncing off the pavement and whipping through the trees. “It was better than watching you make out with Jackson for an hour straight.”

My snide comment is low but, right now, I’ll do anything to take the attention away from me.

“You had a headache, so you decided to listen to Amber sing?” Summer rolls her eyes at me. “Makes sense.”

She fidgets with her oversized tartan scarf, staring out into the rain. Maybe I’m not the only one who is trying to avoid things today.

“You were in there too,” I argue half-heartedly. “What’s your obsession with her?”

This time, Summer does turn to me. “I’m obsessed?” She snorts. “Ingrid, honey, if I’m obsessed, then you’re deranged.”

“Then I’m deranged.”

Summer rolls her eyes, signalling the end of that particular conversation. “Whatever. Your deeply disturbing issues are the least of my problems right now. Look, Ingrid, I think I’m going to have to take a test.”

Red splotches gleam against Summer’s pale cheeks, and I watch her carefully. She tugs on that scarf like it’s strangling her.

“Like an STD test?”

“Are you stupid?” I know her voice is harsher than intended, and I brush it off with a blunt laugh. “A pregnancy test.”

“Oh, for god’s sake, here we go again. You and Jackson really need to invest in some efficient birth control because this I’m pregnant freak-out that you have every month is getting boring.”

“Trust me, I know.” Her tone is suddenly tense, and she blinks back emotion. “But right now, I’m pretty sure I have the devil’s spawn growing inside of me, so I’m allowed to freak out. I’m two weeks late.”

I raise my eyebrows. She’s never been this late before. “Jackson is not the devil’s spawn. You know he loves you. But I highly doubt you’re pregnant. It’s all the stress from thinking you’re pregnant every month starting to get to you.”

“Yeah, okay, whatever.” She says, throwing her hands up in defeat. “I knew I shouldn’t have said anything. I don’t know what you’re moping about—we got a free class and you got to watch Amber singing. It’s a damn good day for Ingrid Harper right now.”

“Listen, I really did just have a headache. I don’t care about Amber’s singing. And you and Jackson were quite obviously distracted. You didn’t seem to have pregnancy on your mind during that public make-out session. Or maybe you did. Either way, I think it’s a damn good day for both of us, don’t you think?”

I know what Summer is doing. She is the ultimate denier of reality. More than that, she is aware that I will follow along with every topic change she throws at me. I get distracted easily, apparently.

Summer laughs, but the smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes. Distraction is inevitable right now, for both of us. These are not issues we should be faced with at seventeen years old. Summer’s mother is getting married soon, so that’s just one more thing to top off what I’m coining Summer’s Distressing Summer.

We stand silently as the rain pours over the sides of the flimsy tin roof. Muddy water pools right to the edges of the door. It’s mid-December. While politicians are throwing around the term climate change like it’s currency, I stare at the pools of water near this emergency exit, wondering if our town has sufficient flood safety plans.

“Come over tonight,” she murmurs. “Please, Ingrid.”

“You’re buying me McDonald’s.” I sigh in return. The truth is, I have my own things to worry about, whether Summer is pregnant or not. She’s been with Jackson for three years—that’s three years they have successfully been together and prevented pregnancy. It’s not a possibility. It just isn’t.

Summer is wild, just like her name. Her light-brown hair is constantly tangled, but her dominating blue eyes seem to distract everyone.

But today, she stares out at the grey sky and nervously chews at her lip, clutching that damn scarf so tightly that I know she’s already certain about this pregnancy. More so than I’ve ever seen before. Her blue eyes don’t seem so bright today.

“I heard Jackson was thinking about transferring to the art school. I didn’t think that boy had an artistic bone in his body.” I smirk, desperately trying to relax Summer. I don’t know what to say when she’s so shut off like this. My lie is smooth, slipping off my lips easily.

“Yeah, he does comics. I don’t know, I guess they’re funny.”

“It’s our last year of high school. Surely he’s left it a bit late?” I frown in earnest now.

What Summer doesn’t know is that I’ve known Jackson a lot longer than she has. I know that he’s been wanting to do art since he started high school, but his military-driven father would never allow it—he’s all about physical education, mathematics, and science. He used to drill that into Jackson every time I was around; none of this fairy fluff nonsense, he would say pointedly.

“Look, Ingrid, I don’t really want to talk about Jackson right now,” Summer snaps, finally releasing the titan grip on her checked scarf and running a frustrated hand through her frizzy hair.

“Do you even want me to stay tonight then?” I throw back. “I can’t deal with you when you’re being like this. Either let me in or let me go. I’ve got shit to do.”

To my complete surprise, Summer snorts as she turns to face me. “Just shut up and come and sleep over at my house. I need your brutal honesty, but I also need you to do literally everything I say right now. You know I’d do the same for you.”

I don’t bother telling her that to be in her position, I’d actually have to get closer than two feet to a guy, but I think she already knows that.

“Look, I don’t like that you called Jackson the devil before. I don’t care if he’s annoying sometimes, if you are…pregnant…it’s definitely not the devil’s spawn that could be growing inside of you. And that’s all I’m going to say about that,” I huff.

“Okay, I didn’t know you were Jackson’s number-one cheerleader, but whatever.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

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Meet the Author

Gemma Gilmore is graduated from university with a degree in Journalism and a passion for writing and travelling. In 2016 she was awarded a highly competitive residency with the Tasmanian Writers Centre. When she’s not writing YA fiction, she’s spontaneously booking trips across the world so she can draw inspiration from new cultures and places.

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