“Brush with Catastrophe” By Tara Lain Cover Reveal Blitz (excerpt)

Standard

At night, he paints. In a world where the supernaturals can bring down lightning and manifest wealth, Sammy can paint. What happens when a witch’s “prophetic” paintings always come true and his latest painting is of the human he has a crush on? The answer? Magic!Check out the brand new cover for the 2nd Edition of BRUSH WITH CATASTROPHE!!

Brush With Catastrophe 
(The Aloysius Tales Series, #2) 
By Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
Sammy Raphael is a crappy witch, and on top of that, he can’t seem to get a boyfriend. Where other supernaturals can bring down lightning and manifest wealth, Sammy can paint. Granted, the “prophetic” paintings he creates at night always come true, but they never predict anything important. Sammy feels like a total loser with a worthless ability.
One night he paints a gorgeous guy who turns out to be his secret crush, the human Ryder, but Ryder’s changed so much he’s almost unrecognizably beautiful. Then Sammy paints an angel who turns out to be a witch. But is that witch also a devil—a devil who can bring down Sammy’s whole community and everyone he loves? And why the hell does Ryder keep changing? Aloysius, the black cat familiar, always backs a winner. So why is he backing Sammy?
Available for pre-order at

 

Also available in paperback
 
Release Date: 
April 14th 2017
Excerpt

 

Ryder cocked his head. “You’re so talented.”

Gods, Sammy’s heart had to slow down, or he’d pass out. “Thanks. That means a lot.”

Ryder looked up with a soft expression. “You mean coming from a dumb historian who doesn’t know a palette knife from a fork?”

“No, I mean coming from you. My friend.”

“Don’t go out with Lucien, Sammy.”

What the fuck? “Why? Come on, Ryder. Sure, I don’t have a background check on him, but I probably know as much about him as I do you.”

Ryder looked at his feet. “Point taken.” The green eyes flashed up. “But I think he’s cheating on you.”

“What?”

Ryder walked over to the kitchen counter, picked up a glass, filled it from the faucet, and drank.

Sammy wanted to beat him over the head. “Come on. Tell me what you mean. Stop stalling.”

“I can’t prove it, but I’ve talked to a couple of people who seem to have a relationship with him and seem to think they are somehow special to him.”

Sammy couldn’t catch his breath. “Well, we’re not exclusive or anything. I don’t have any claims on him.”

Ryder scratched Al, who was purring so loudly that Sammy could hear it clearly. “Is that true? Or has he implied that you’re his boyfriend?”

“Not exactly.”

“I think you deserve better, Sams. I think you can do better.”

Well, shit! Sammy threw up his hands. “That’s real easy to say when you have an unlimited supply of tits to drool over.” Sammy crossed his arms. Maybe they’d protect his heart. “I haven’t had a real boyfriend in over a year, and even that one wasn’t serious. I’m lonely, damn it. I want to be with someone, and Lucien is smart and funny and charming, and he seems to like me a lot.” He spread his arms wide. “Is that so unbelievable? That a gorgeous guy like that could actually go for a skinny scarecrow like me?” He could feel his ears getting hot, and hurt stored over years poured out of him. “Maybe that’s why you think he’s cheating. You can’t believe he could want me!”

Ryder stared at him, his eyes shiny. “That’s not true. I’d never feel that way. I think anyone with a brain would want you.”

“Then there must be a lot of dumb people!” Sammy’s breath came hard. Shit, he was attacking his best friend. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I know you don’t think that.” He ran a hand through his hair. He probably really looked like that scarecrow now. “Look, he’s going to be here soon. I promise I’ll ask him. I will. Okay?”

Ryder frowned. “I’m worried about you.”

“I know. I don’t understand why, but I know you are. I’ll talk to him.”

“Okay.”

“You better go unless you want to ask him yourself.”

“No, I’ll go.” Ryder walked to the door and turned. He extricated Al from his neck and handed him to Sammy. “I care what happens to you. I care…. I wish…. Hell, be careful.” He opened the door and walked out, then closed the door behind him.

Sammy collapsed onto the couch, still holding Al against his chest, and threw his head back. “Why the fuck does this have to be so hard? Why can’t I just have a boyfriend?”

The Aloysius Tales Series

 

 
Book #1
Spell Cat
Available for purchase at
            

 

Also available in paperback
About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

 

You can find Tara at Lain

               

Presented By

In the Spotlight: A Second Harvest by Eli Easton (Character Bio, Excerpt and Giveaway)

Standard

Eli Easton has  provided Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words with a special Character Bio:

BIO – CHRISTIE LANDON

Christie Landon, 30, is the epitome of the Manhattan party boy and pretty blonde twink. But when his best friend OD’s, Christie decides he needs to get sober and get away from the temping gay club scene. He inherited a small house in Lancaster County from his aunt, and he goes there to get the place ready for sale. He works from home as a graphic designer and he soon picks up his aunt’s love of cooking as well, thanks to her many cookbooks. Christie has a tender heart but he’s bold and likes to speak his mind.

 

 

 

A Second Harvest 
(Men of Lancaster County #1)
by Eli Easton



Blurb:
David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with both his kids in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.

Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.

But life in the country is boring despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple finds they really enjoy spending time together.

Christie challenges the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness.

 

         

 

 

Available in Paperback
Excerpt

Chapter 1

David sat against the rough wooden boards of the cow stall and watched Gertrude die. She opened her big brown eyes once toward the end and gazed at him for a long moment. In the glow of the lantern light, her lashes cast deep shadows so David couldn’t see what emotion might be in those eyes. Was she grateful he was sitting up with her? Did she know it was time to go? Was she relieved to finally be leaving this farm where she’d spent her entire long life?

But she was just a cow. Probably she thought none of those things. When she closed her eyes again, it was for the last time. An hour later she stopped breathing, and she was gone.

It felt like an era passed with her, silently and stealthily. David was there when Gertrude was born. She was the first cow that was his, designated as such while still in the womb, a birthday present from his parents. He raised her and showed her at the Harrisburg farm fair when he was in eleventh grade. She was a beautiful brown jersey with classic lines, and she won a third-place ribbon that day. David was proud enough to burst. For years afterward Gertrude was a reliable, strong milking cow.

A farmer didn’t get sentimental about animals. That was plain stupid. But David was not able to kill Gertrude when her milk production fell off. She’d half performed for another decade until he eventually retired her to pasture. If anyone asked, he told them it was good to have a mature cow around to show the rebellious younger ones what was what, teach them the routine. And Gertrude was a leader by personality. She knew how to put other cows and heifers in their places. But the truth was, David just couldn’t bear to load her in the truck and take her to the slaughterhouse.

She was a part of his boyhood, and it was right she was dead now. God knew the boy in him was a far distant memory.

He turned off the lights in the barn and walked back to the house. It was foolishness to have stayed up with her. The day’s work had to be done whether or not he had a good night’s rest. He was too old for this.

The light in the kitchen was on as he approached the house. He checked his watch. It was just past 5:00 a.m. Amy must be up.

For the past two years, Amy had come home from college for the summer to work as a nursing intern at the Lancaster hospital and to help him run a CSA program on the farm. It was Amy who did all the customer work. She made up the flyers, packed the boxes of produce, and met with the customers every week when they came to pick up their shares. She was good at that sort of thing. He wished he could pay her more, but like every other operation on the farm, the profit from the CSA was a very faint line of green. David honestly didn’t know how most farmers made it. His grandfather had paid off the farm, but still, between property taxes, upkeep and maintenance, animal feed, and everything else, he made just enough to get by. As his dad used to say, the gravy was thin.

He opened the sliding glass door and saw Amy in her bathrobe pulling some fresh eggs from the fridge.

“Hey, Dad.” She yawned. “What are you doing out at the barn so early?”

“Gertrude passed.”

“Aw! That’s a shame.” Amy didn’t sound too broken up about it. Then again Amy learned young not to get attached to the animals.

He grabbed a glass from the cupboard, went to the fridge, and poured himself some orange juice. But when he went to lift it to his mouth, he was surprised to discover a hard, thick lump in his throat. He put the glass back on the counter and breathed. Ridiculous. He hadn’t gotten particularly choked up, even when Susan died. But then she was sick for a few years. Her death was a blessing in the end.

“Things live. Things die. That’s the way of it.” His voice was gruff, but the lump eased. He drank his juice.

When he put the glass down, Amy was watching him with a frown. “You sound so cynical. I worry about you, Dad. You should take Mrs. Robeson up on her offer for dinner. I think she really likes you.”

“I’m not interested in Mrs. Robeson.”

Amy rolled her eyes. “You should give her a chance. Mom’s been gone two years now. She wouldn’t want you to be alone forever. And Mrs. Robeson taught both Joe and me in Sunday school. She’s a very nice lady.”

David gave Amy a warning look. “I don’t care to discuss my love life, thank you. Are you gonna cook those eggs, or are you waiting for them to hatch?”

Amy snorted a laugh, but she opened a cupboard and brought out a skillet. “Slave driver! I just worry about you. I hate that you’re all alone here when I go back to school. Joe hardly ever comes home.”

“I don’t mind.”

“I know! That’s the problem. You’re turning into a crusty old hermit. Next time I see you, you’ll have a beard down to your belly button. I know you live on TV dinners, hotdogs, and chips. It’s not healthy. You should get remarried. I know Pastor Mitchell thinks so.”

“Pastor Mitchell wants to get some of his old maids and widows married off so he doesn’t have to handhold them so much. I’m not interested.”

David was half teasing, but Amy still gasped. “Dad! That’s a terrible thing so say!”

David waggled his eyebrows, unrepentant, and exited the kitchen.

He went upstairs and took a shower. The sleepless night hit him along with the hot water, and he knew it would be a long day. Why had he felt compelled to sit up with Gertrude? She probably hadn’t even known he was there. But at the thought of her, another wave of sadness hit him. An image ran through his mind—one of falling leaves and the boy he’d been playing in them, laughing. He had no idea where that came from or why.

Out of the shower, he used a hand to wipe off the fogged mirror. He looked at himself critically to see if he could get away with not shaving this morning. His reflection surprised him briefly, as it always did. He felt so old. He always expected to see white hair and a sagging face when he looked in the mirror. But there were only a few strands of gray at the temples of his dark-brown hair and in his close-cropped beard. His face was not young, but it wasn’t sagging yet either. He’d lost a good thirty pounds since Susan died, so he actually looked younger.

Fine. He might not look old, but he sure felt it. And he suddenly understood why he sat up with Gertrude. He wanted to watch her as she escaped the farm at last, as she simply left her body and went away, gone where no one could prevent her going and no one could follow.

One day David would leave too, maybe just that way. He’d shut his eyes and vanish, leaving a shell behind. But dear Lord, he was only forty-one this past May. Even if he died when his dad did, at age fifty-eight, he had years to wait yet.

Just to… wait.

 

 

About The Author

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story.  She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time.  She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens.  All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

You can find Eli at
         

 

 

Giveaway
Presented By

 

In the Spotlight: Love Can’t Conquer by Kim Fielding (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

 

Love Can’t Conquer 

(Love Can’t series, Bk #1)

by Kim Fielding

Hi! This is Kim Fielding.

Inspiration is a lot like lightning—you never know when it might strike.

While some of my stories are inspired by more predictable things, such as travel, some come from unexpected quarters. For example, the idea for my novella Grown-Up came while I was shopping at Home Depot, and Rattlesnake was born when I saw a hitchhiker at a gas station in the Mojave Desert.

My newest novel is Love Can’t Conquer, and it came to me courtesy of my Noisy Neighbor.

I live in a neighborhood with big houses on small lots with backyard fences. We’re all scrunched up against each other, and although the wooden fences provide some visual privacy, they’re not soundproof. This wasn’t so bad when an older couple lived behind us, but they sold the house and moved away. The new owners have three little boys (one of whom, based on parental shouts, apparently has a penchant for peeing al fresco), a barky dog, and a really loud father. There’s a mother there too, but she’s blessedly quiet. The father makes up for it, though. When he’s outdoors, he doesn’t talk, he bellows. He has friends with kids over on Saturdays, then gets up at 6 a.m. on Sunday to (loudly) collect bottles and other debris from his backyard. And he blasts his music every weekend, all day long.

His musical tastes could be worse. Mostly 70s and 80s light rock. I occasionally listen to that myself. I’d just rather not listen to it all the damned time. I’ve considered counteracting it by blasting some of my own playlist back. Maybe he’d like to be treated to some Bosnian punk.

But I suppose I should be grateful, because one day last year he played Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe,” and that song plopped a plot bunny right into my lap. You can hear the song here, in case your neighbors are less obliging.

And then you can go read Love Can’t Conquer and see what the Noisy Neighbor did for me.

Has a song ever inspired you? Share in the comments!

 

Blurb: 

Bullied as a child in small-town Kansas, Jeremy Cox ultimately escaped to Portland, Oregon. Now in his forties, he’s an urban park ranger who does his best to rescue runaways and other street people. His ex-boyfriend, Donny—lost to drinking and drugs six years earlier—

appears on his doorstep and inadvertently drags Jeremy into danger. As if dealing with Donny’s issues doesn’t cause enough turmoil, Jeremy meets a fascinating but enigmatic man who carries more than his fair share of problems.

Qayin Hill has almost nothing but skeletons in his closet and demons in his head. A former addict who struggles with anxiety and depression, Qay doesn’t know which of his secrets to reveal to Jeremy—or how to react when Jeremy wants to save him from himself.

Despite the pasts that continue to haunt them, Jeremy and Qay find passion, friendship, and a tentative hope for the future. Now they need to decide whether love is truly a powerful thing or if, despite the old adage, love can’t conquer all.

Available for purchase at

             

 

Excerpt

JEREMY COX first heard the news about Keith Moore at the Sav-Rite.

Mama had sent Jeremy to fetch some milk and cigarettes, and he took his time along the way, scuffing his tennis shoes over the dusty asphalt and listening to the cicadas shrill. He had his T-shirt balled in his hand, the heat baked him like a biscuit, and the sun turned his hair a shade paler as it birthed another freckle or two on his bare shoulders.

When he was halfway to the store, a car inched up behind him. He stepped onto the dry grass of the shoulder, but the car kept pace until he looked up.

“Hey, Germy!” called a familiar voice from the driver’s seat of the beat-up Buick. It was Troy Baker with his usual crew, and Jeremy anticipated the taunts that followed: “Germy Cox, ugly as rocks. Cox-sucker. Pansyass. Faggot!” The last one was accompanied by a tossed can that bounced off Jeremy’s shoulder and dribbled its final drops of warm beer onto his arm. Finally Troy sped away, trailing mocking shouts and leaving Jeremy with lungs full of exhaust.

Jeremy had hoped the torture would end when Troy and his friends graduated in May. But they’d all stuck around Bailey Springs, Kansas—Troy working at the gas station and the rest staying on their family farms—and they hadn’t yet lost interest in tormenting Jeremy. He realized that the only way out would be graduation and escaping town. Three more years. Just three more years. It sounded like forever.

Inside the Sav-Rite, he didn’t pay much attention to the little cluster of adults at the checkout. He walked back to the coolers, where he snagged a carton of milk and a glass bottle of Coke, which he’d drink on the way home. But when he went to ask for Mama’s Virginia Slims, he overheard the store manager.

“…as if the Moores need any more heartache in their life,” Mr. Stoltz was saying.

Mrs. Peasley nodded. “The Lord knows those poor folks have been through so much already.” Her purchases lay on the counter in front of her, not yet rung up. Looked as if she was getting ready to make coffee cake for the Wednesday card game at her house. Jeremy’s grandmother went every week and always came home complaining that Mildred Peasley couldn’t bake worth a darn.

“Are you sure he meant to kill himself?” asked Betty Ostermeyer, reaching for the bag of flour. She’d graduated from Bailey Springs High just a couple of years before. Her husband had run off and left her while she was still pregnant with their little girl, so now Betty kept the toddler home with her mother during the day while she rang up groceries at the Sav-Rite. “Maybe he just wanted to go for a swim. It’s been hot.”

Mrs. Peasley clucked her tongue. “Not even the Moore boy would be foolish enough to jump from the Memorial Bridge just for a swim. It’s too high, too dangerous.”

 

About The Author

Kim Fielding is the bestselling, award-winning author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

You can follow Kim at

         

Giveaway

Presented by

Tara Lain on ‘Writing an Ugly Beautiful Boy of Romance’ – Beauty, Inc Tour (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard
Beauty, Inc.
(The Pennymaker Tales #3) 
by Tara Lain

Writing an Ugly Beautiful Boy of Romance

Hi. I’m Tara Lain and I’m delighted to be here today to help launch my new fairy tale romance, BEAUTY, INC. I often say i write the Beautiful Boys of Romance. My readers feed that back to me by talking about my beautiful boys. So who are these guys? Tara Lain’s Beautiful Boys are a little hard to describe, but people say they know them when they see them. Are they really “boys”? Not truly. Yes, my heroes are generally young, most under 30, max 35, but they’re still men, even the college students. They’re boys in the sense that we think of them affectionately, want to give them hugs — or more than that if they weren’t all gay!  LOL. Are they beautiful? YES! On the inside, at the very least. Even my quirky, funny heroes have beautiful qualities that make them memorable and lovable. Frequently, they’re also physically beautiful, sometimes almost supernaturally so.

So boys in the sense of huggable, beautiful on many levels — what else? Charismatic. Even in my ménage series in which heroines play key roles, my heroes stand out for their uniqueness and memorability. Readers say there are no other guys quite like them. They almost always have faults and quirks that make them human and relatable. They also have great strengths that they sometimes only come to realize in the course of the stories.

Famously, many of my beautiful boys are flamboyant. When i started writing at the beginning of 2011, it was rare to see gay male characters that acted –well, gay. Gay heroes at the time tended to be “straight guys who happened to have sex with men”. Not that all gay men are flamboyant or over the top, but some are. It’s a quality I happen to value and love to write, so I’d say close to a third of my heroes have a queenly edge.

Quite important, almost all my heroes are driven to live an authentic life — sometimes from the beginning of the book, or at least before the end.  Authenticity appears to be my underlying theme that drives most of my stories.

In my new book, BEAUTY, INC., which is a contemporary romance based on a Beauty and the Beast theme, I introduce my first ugly Beautiful Boy. Magnus Strong is seriously scarred and, for reasons no one knows at the beginning of the book, he’s never attempted to get his scars fixed. Just as in the original story, it was my challenge to make this ugly, scarred man worthy of the love of my beautiful Belle Belleterre – and the beta readers of my books say it’s a success. They love Magnus and consider him one of the most beautiful of my Beautiful Boys of Romance. I hope you’ll love him too.

Do you have any thoughts on the Beautiful Boys of Romance? Who do you think they are?

 
Blurb:
Is beauty only skin deep?
Chemist Dr. Robert “Belle” Belleterre loves flowers, green trees, his best friend Judy, and “his baby”: the new face cream he developed to help put his father’s small cosmetics company on the map. Sadly he gets no help from his alcoholic, gambling-addicted father who loses Belle in a poker game to Magnus Strong, the CEO of Beauty, Inc. the largest American cosmetics company—a man infamous for his scarred ugliness.
Belle finds himself uprooted from his home, living in a wildly crazy apartment in New York owned by Mr. Pennymaker, and completely unprepared for his mad attraction to the charismatic Strong. Feeling like a traitor, Belle fights his passion only to see more and more of the goodness and humility hidden by Strong’s ugly face. But when Belle’s family starts manipulating his life again, the odds turn against happiness for beautiful Belle and his beloved beast.
Available for purchase at
            
Excerpt 

Chapter One

 

BELLE HELD his breath and released a small amount of cream from the new container into his gloved hand. It just looked like a pretty bottle, but its airtight cap and unique double-walled design reduced oxygen impact on the contents—he hoped! His family’s future depended on a hunk of plastic.

Two weeks his cream formulation had been stored in this new packaging—enough time for it to degrade and discolor like so many high-end cosmetics did, the kiss of death with discriminating buyers. He stared at the cream under the brilliant light on the laboratory table. No change of tint. No yellowing. His heart pounded. He sniffed. Fresh as the day it was packaged. Finally he dabbed a finger into the cream and slicked it between thumb and middle finger. No alteration of texture. Silky, smooth, and rich. The smile spread across his face like the cream itself. Rich. Just like this new product would make his father.

“Tell me it works!”

Dr. Robert Belleterre—Belle—stared up at Colin, the head of the chemistry lab at Bella Terra Cosmetics, and suppressed the urge to jump up and down. “All the tests indicate it works perfectly. You’ll have samples of the formulation in the new containers by the end of the week. I want to put this under the microscope to be sure there’s been no change of chemical structure, but it sure as shit looks good!” He laughed.

Colin smiled. “In time for Cosmetique?”

Belle nodded. “They can take a few samples to Las Vegas to show to select customers.”

“Jesus, man, you did it!” He grabbed Belle in a tight, one-armed guy hug and held up his fingers as he ticked off the benefits. “Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, no parabens or artificial preservatives, and the cream holds up in the packaging. This is going to set a new standard, and no other company will be able to meet it. Not even Beauty, Inc.”

Belle extricated himself gently. “I wish we could afford to do the testing to prove the product claims. It would go to market faster.”

Colin shrugged. “Your dad swears we can’t afford it. But seriously, when women try it, they’ll love it and we’ll have the best evidence in the world. Right on their faces. I can’t believe what you’ve done in less than a year.”

“Thanks, Colin.” He’d quit sleeping and meals had become optional, but he’d given everything to keep Bella Terra, his father’s company, viable—tough duty for a small manufacturer in a field of giants. But now he had a cream so beyond just a mere cosmetic that it could change the face of the industry—literally.

“Belle.”

Belle glanced over his shoulder toward the door to the lab, where his father peeked in. That was usually the only body part of his father’s that ever made it into the laboratories these days. Since Belle had finished his PhD the previous summer, Ron Belleterre hadn’t looked at a color or emollient. Just a lot of poker chips and booze. “Yes, Father?”

“Can I speak to you, please?”

Belle turned to Colin. “Take a look under the microscope. I’ll do the same when I get back.” He pulled off his lab coat, hung it on the hook by the door, and followed his father into the hall.

Tall, fair, and handsome, Rondell Belleterre radiated energy, most of it nervous. His moments of rest and peace seemed to get fewer and fewer. Hard not to worry about him. “Yes, sir?”

“Come to the office.” His father took off at a good clip, and Belle fell in beside him. Ron glanced at him. “How’s the new packaging?”

“It’s testing well. I think we’ve got it this time.”

“I’ll be frank, Belle. You have to have it this time, because this whole project is costing me a fucking fortune. Expensive ingredients, bank-busting antioxidants, and now these damned containers that make Fort Knox look like easy access. Shit, I’m not made of money.”

Belle controlled his sigh. “It will open a whole new market to us. There are a lot of women who simply won’t use a cream on their face that contains parabens. With the new product, they’ll flock to Bella Terra.”

His father scowled. “They’d better. I’d like to see some red on the competitor’s sales radar for a change.” He sighed. “I doubt Beauty, Inc. is worried about us.” He powered through his office door and stopped in front of Hester, the secretary he still insisted he needed. “Would you have Rusty and Rick come in, please?”

“I think they went to lunch, sir.”

Ron frowned. “It’s ten forty-five.”

She gazed at him, but deep down her eyes said, “Duh.”

“Forget it.” Inside his inner office, Ron sat in his giant desk chair and pointed at one of the leather guest chairs. “Sit.”

A drawing of the Bella Terra booth at the upcoming Cosmetique Conference in Las Vegas lay on his father’s desk. Belle nodded toward the graphic. “Are you ready for the conference?”

“That’s what I want to talk to you about.”

“We can have a limited amount of demonstration units for your private showings.” He had to gulp a breath to contain his excitement. “This is it, Father. We’ll outstrip any single product Magnus Strong at Beauty, Inc. has got.”

“If the ugly bastard even notices.”

“I’m sure Strong didn’t get to the top of the beauty industry by ignoring highly successful competitors. We’re not going to top Beauty, Inc. They’re huge. But we can replace them as the number one wrinkle cream.”

His father’s eyes lit up. Belle softly sighed. Ron hadn’t always been so greedy. The addictions took their toll. Poor Father.

“I want you to come to Cosmetique.”

“What?” Belle shook his head. “No, sir. You know I hate those big events. I’m needed here in the lab.”

“We’re unveiling your new product to our best customers. No one knows it like you do.”

Belle frowned. “Rusty’s in charge of marketing. It’s his job to understand our products.”

“He’s not you. Plus you have the passion. We need you. Colin can handle the lab. It’s settled.” His father shoved a copy of Forbes across his desk, featuring a close-up photo of Magnus Strong—the face the cosmetics magnate wore like a badge of honor. A deep scar ran across his eyebrow, missed his eye, but still distorted the lid so it drooped slightly. Another dissecting slash had marred his cheek, deformed his top lip into a permanent sneer, and left a stripe across the bottom lip, while his scarred, broken nose gave him the look of a has-been prizefighter. Ugliness that created beauty. His father laughed. “If anybody can tame the beast, it’s you.”

Belle frowned.

 

 

The Pennymaker Tales Series
Sinders and Ash
(The Pennymaker Tales Series, #1)
by Tara Lain
Available for order at
           

 

Driven Snow

 

(The Pennymaker Tales, #2)
by Tara Lain


Available for purchase at
            

 

About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
You can find Tara at
               
Giveaway
Presented By