Book Blast – Unwrapping His Heart (Hearts on the Line #1) by Karrie George (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Unwrapping His Heart (Hearts on the Line, #1)

Author: Karrie George

Publisher: Little Storm Press

Cover Artist: Madelynne Ellis

Release Date: August 23, 2018

Genre/s: MM romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 76 000 words    

A standalone book, but the first in a series

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Blurb

Matt is sexy, single, and fabulous. His career at a fancy magazine is going from strength to strength. He has great friends, a nice flat, and a healthy bank account. Life is wonderful.

In truth, Matt is unhappy. Convinced he’s not worthy of love, he flits from club to bar, in search of temporary amnesia from the demon on his shoulder that tells him he’s never going to find “the one”. Which is ironic, because his heart already belongs to the one man he knows he can never have—his straight best friend, Zeke.

Zeke has always dated women. He can’t fathom why he’s so upset about Matt’s latest lover, the wildly successful and attractive Dieter, but refuses to accept that he’s jealous, because to do that, he might have to do some soul-searching of his own.

Meeting Dieter turns Matt’s ordered life on its head, and opens Matt’s mind to the possibility that he can make a meaningful connection. However, to take a gamble on love, Matt has to learn to trust people with his secrets. And, more importantly, to overcome his shame regarding the one part of him he refuses to change. If he can’t – or won’t – learn to love himself, it’s doubtful anyone else will see the real man behind the mask.

The only question is whether he’s brave enough.

Buy Links

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Excerpt

The hairs on the back of his neck lifted; he was coming closer. The thick carpet muffled his steps, but Matt’s internal compass had apparently shifted and now only had one direction.

Sørensen didn’t speak as he approached, and Matt didn’t move from his position, concentrating furiously on a Porsche as it made several attempts to parallel park. Then his breathing hitched as a hand landed on his shoulder.

“I think you should call me Dieter.”

“Okay.” It was an effort to force the two syllables out. Still neither of them moved. The air between them crackled and Matt swallowed. He wasn’t imagining it now; Sørensen – Dieter – was interested. He raised his eyes a fraction and risked checking the reflection in the glass. Before he could process anything, he was suddenly moving, then his back was pressed against the window as a mouth came down on his and his vision blurred.

Dieter kissed without mercy, his lips hot and hard and insistent. Matt barely had time to register that he tasted of mint before a tongue demanded entry, forcing rather than coaxing, and any resistance he might have summoned crumbled under the assault. He moaned and his head fell back, at the same time as his hands rose to grip the lapels of Dieter’s suit jacket to tug him closer.

A hand grasped the back of his head and strong fingers raked through his hair. Matt responded by sliding his arms under Dieter’s jacket and clawing at the fine material of his shirt, desperate to find skin. Pulling back suddenly, Dieter tore off the offending jacket, letting it drop to the floor, then did the same with Matt’s leather one, before mashing their mouths together once more. He ground into Matt, every roll of his hips sparking nerve endings that screamed for release as the pressure grew.

Matt didn’t usually kiss much. Frantic gropes in the dark corners of clubs didn’t lend themselves to more than getting off as quickly as possible, and he wasn’t yet sure he was in the market for romance, but something about the way Dieter tried to consume him was addictive. He couldn’t get enough. Air wasn’t necessary; getting more of everything, was. He realised he’d moaned again, and the noise evidently pleased Dieter. “Let me get you off,” he murmured, “are you close?”

Matt was close, too close. He turned his head suddenly, smacking it against the cool glass. Releasing his hold on Dieter, he pressed the heel of one hand against his groin, then used the other as a shield, palm up against Dieter’s chest. He could feel the galloping heartbeat under his fingers and the thought that Dieter was similarly affected pleased him.

“Gissa moment,” he choked out, willing his erection to subside enough to allow him to think.

To his credit Dieter didn’t crowd him, but his eyes were puzzled. “You don’t want to come?”

Matt laughed, a small, pained sound. “Yeah, but not in my clothes.”

Dieter smiled. “We can rectify that simply. But I think perhaps we are the same size. It would have been no trouble to lend you something. Come to bed with me, Matt.” He tipped forward and pressed their foreheads together gently, a direct contrast to his previous full-on attack. “You do want to?”

“Fuck, yeah. But not tonight.”

“Because?”

Because if we do that, you’ll think I’m a fucking weirdo and ditch me before we get as far as the bed. “You took me by surprise. Also, it’s not very professional if I’m going to be working for you.”

About the Author  

Karrie George considers caffeine the most important food group. She’d like to think of herself as delightfully eccentric, but has grudgingly accepted that “socially awkward weirdo” is nearer the mark. Books and music have been the backdrop to her life so far, and she sees no reason for this to ever change.

Karrie lives in the wilds of Scotland with a long-suffering spouse and several children. The voices in her head are great at encouraging her to leave the dust bunnies in favour of playing with plot bunnies. Possibly unrelated, she owns a number of pristine dusters.

Social Media Links

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An Alisa Review: The Long Way Around by Quinn Anderson

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

A wrong turn could lead to Mr. Right.

Sam Cooper is the definition of an introvert: shy, bookish, and the sort to think a wild Friday night involves ordering takeout. He enjoys his quiet life, but after a bad breakup, he’s been yearning for a change of scenery. Luckily, his best friend and former college roommate has the solution.

Wesley Reed—a jokester and expert Sam-handler—proposes an epic road trip to a wedding across the country. They’re both between jobs and boyfriends. Why not hit the open road and make some memories?

Stuck in close quarters for the first time since their dorm days, they’re both surprised at the heat that springs up between them. As best friends, they’ve shared so much over the years, so why does sharing a hotel room—and occasionally a bed—make them want more? Chemistry this smoldering is hard to ignore, but there are road blocks to their romance. Wesley’s keeping a secret, and Sam can’t rely on Wesley to drag him out of his comfort zone forever. If they’re not careful, their relationship may take the ultimate wrong turn.

This was a nice story; however, I liked the ending much more than the rest of the book.  Sam has been avoiding his family since he called off his wedding the year before and hasn’t really spent the time to try and move on from the fall out.  Wesley has stayed by Sam’s side but they aren’t always together and he doesn’t want to bring Sam down with him.

I loved the friendship between these two and how, even with their vast differences, they make it work.  Sometimes you need someone different from you to help pull you in the right direction, even if you don’t realize it.

I felt that I was able to get a pretty good read on these characters since the story is told from both of their viewpoints.  Sam is incredibly sweet and has no idea of his worth but gains some of that confidence throughout their journey.  Wesley has to figure himself out a bit but in the end realizes it’s okay to have the support of someone else to get through the hard times.  I liked seeing them in the future with the big anniversaries but just didn’t feel invested in their relationship throughout the story and felt they ignored their problems a little more than necessary.

Cover art by LC Chase is eye catching and gives a great visual of Wes.

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 300 pages

Published: August 6, 2018 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62649-836-5

Edition Language: English

John R. Petrie on Writing and his new release The Quarterback’s Crush (author interview)

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The Quarterback’s Crush by John R. Petrie

Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas

The Quarterback’s Crush is now available at

Amazon (Kindle/Paper format) |  Dreamspinner Press  |  Harmony Ink Press  |  Barnes & Noble: 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host John R. Petrie on tour for his new release The Quarterback’s Crush.  Welcome, John, into our author’s interview chair!

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with John R. Petrie ~

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I tend to write characters who aren’t like me, so much as who I’d like to be.

What I love about the character of Dylan in The Quarterback’s Crush out from Harmony Ink on September 4th, 2018, is that he’s sweet and kind, but he lets his mind and mouth run away with what he knows he shouldn’t really say. He seems like he’s got a lot of fears, but he’s actually kind of fearless in many ways and I admire that.

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

I think there’s a line between writing characters who are wish fulfillment and writing characters who are perfect and accomplished. The line to me is more about writing a character as opposed to writing a plot device.

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

I love doing research and thank goodness for Google and podcasts where I can learn about things, listen to interviews (especially important to hear how people talk, their syntax, and their vocabulary), and find out much more about smaller things that the characters are interested in that I know nothing about. I really needed to hear jocks talk so I can understand their cadence.

That being said, what I write about tends to be in the ‘real world’ so I haven’t had much of a chance to build my own world the way that science fiction and fantasy writers do. I admire them so much for creating an entire world or worlds to enjoy.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

For me personally? I’m single, so I’d love a HEA, but I’ll settle for a HFN. Call me. I like tall guys, but I’m not fussy.

  • Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Some of my favorite prose authors are Jane Austen, Michael Cunningham, Andre Aciman, and TJ Klune. They’re all so amazing.

I’m also really, really influenced by plays and screenwriters and how the dialogue on screen and stage is so pithy and effective. From that angle, I’m hugely influenced by Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls) and Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars).

From my geek side some of my favorite comic book writers are Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, Jen Van Meter, and Kurt Busiek.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I have to quantify this answer first. Almost every job I’ve ever had has been around books. Libraries, book stores, and a publisher. The last time I moved, I had two boxes of clothes and twenty-two boxes of books. I love books. Love them!

That being said, a well written sentence is a well written sentence, whether it’s something that’s read on a computer screen, tablet, e-reader, or page. E-readers are wonderful for people with bad eyesight, people who don’t want to, or can’t, carry around big hardcovers.

Books will never go away, and they shouldn’t. E-readers, however, do give a lot of eyes to first time and beginning writers, which is always a wonderful thing.

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

The wonderful people at Harmony Ink Press paired me with the wonderful Adrian Nicholas, who took my ramblings about cover design and turned it into the cover. We went back and forth on a few things and Adrian couldn’t have been kinder!

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I’m working on a series of LGBT YA mysteries taking place in the Southern U.S. as well as an adult Gay romance in the world of a professional sport. (I don’t want to spoil anything on that one yet.) Plus I have a couple of cork boards filled with other ideas and characters. Now if only I could take a few months off of work… 

  • What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I love characters who are unapologetically who they are. I love reading characters who aren’t passive in their journey. While there are characters who start their journeys because of external forces, I try really hard to write characters who are active in their own progression.

  •  What’s  the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

 Hmmm, I wrote a very adult story for an online website and it had some pretty wild sex scenes from my dirty imagination. For The Quarterback’s Crush, nothing too wild comes to mind. I really wanted the romance between Dylan and Timothy to lead up to the first kiss.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

 I think of it as the people in my head getting really tired of me being the only one who hears them. Seriously, though, I try to write so I can have a creative outlet that I don’t get in my every day life. For me, reading and writing are my attempts to find the universality of human experiences. If the book is horror or comedy or romance, the experiences we have about going through our lives will always ring through, no matter the genre.

THE QUARTERBACK’S CRUSH by John R. Petrie

Dylan Porter needs a Hail Mary….

Because it’ll take a miracle for him to pass English and trig so he can stay on the football team, get a scholarship, and go away to college—where the distance from his friends and family will give him the confidence to finally tell them he’s gay. But flunking his classes will put a stop to all of his dreams.

Luckily there’s Tommy Peterson to help him. In Dylan’s eyes, Tommy’s perfect. Short, smart, and sexy, he checks every one of Dylan’s boxes, so it’s no surprise when Dylan falls head over heels. Too bad Tommy doesn’t seem to feel the same, and a pining Dylan accidentally outs himself to the team. Now Dylan has to deal with the fallout of his coming out to the team, his dad, and his coach while trying to score the ultimate touchdown—the love of Tommy Peterson.

 

About the Author

John R. Petrie grew up in Boston and now lives in the Bronx, NY. Almost his entire working career has been spent around books, from his first job in the town library to more than twenty years bookselling in one of the biggest bookstores in the US. He’s also worked for the Housing Works thrift stores in NYC, which provides services for the homeless and HIV communities, as well as a comic book publisher.

He’s had stories published in True Romance magazine, had a play he wrote produced at his college, acted, danced, and was nominated for an acting award playing Belize in Angels in America.

He stays up too late, eats too much junk food, and has been reading Wonder Woman comics for over forty years.

He is very, very happy to have his debut novel published by Harmony Ink Press. He hopes to continue writing stories which make people smile.

 He can be reached at johnrpetriewrites@gmail.com and looks forward to hearing from readers and writers.

My email is johnrpetriewrites@gmail.com

My twitter handle is @johnpetriewrite

(I don’t do Facebook because I’m too afraid I’ll have to contact people from High School again.)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane

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Rating 5 stars out of 5

In my opinion, this is the best of the Mannies series and one of my favorite Amy Lane stories.  As the author states in her promo, her work is divided into three flavors: alt universe, angst, and sunshine-yellow happy.  Well, color this one bright sunshine because it was one of those stories that grabbed me from the first chapter and pulled me through to the end when the very clueless Quinlan Gregory realizes just how very loveable and needed he is.

Quinlan was kicked out by his wealthy parents when he announced he was gay.  He had a feeling it would happen, so he had all his worldly goods packed and all his finances in order. In fact, the moment he left the house he changed all his passwords so his family couldn’t access his accounts or his trust fund.  Good thing too, because years later he found out they’d tried to access them immediately.

Quinlan is Sammy’s college friend and fellow musician, so naturally, kind-hearted Sammy sees being a manny for his aunt’s brood is the perfect job for Quin, and the timing is perfect since Taylor is getting married and leaving the position. Though he knows nothing about being a manny, he really wants to be a part of the world of this close-knit family—a world so far from the cold, lonely life he left behind. When he spots Dusty, the oldest, and boldest, of the kids, acting out and assuming the role of family troublemaker—Quin realizes he can definitely make a positive contribution to the Robbins-Grayson’s lives.

Time passes, and as Quin and Dusty become friends, Dusty bides his time to reach his goal of making Quinlan see him as an adult, an equal, and a mature responsible lover. There aren’t more than six years between them, but Dusty knows he’ll need to be in his twenties before he can actively pursue the man of his dreams.  So by the time he’s twenty-one, he starts to make his move, and though it takes more than one attempt, he’s finally in a position to help the kind, caring man when Quin comes home from summer band tour with a bad virus and virtually falls into Dusty’s open arms.

What follows is a courtship that made my heart melt. Dusty is the perfect mate for Quin and he sets out to prove it as Quin receives news his father has died and his mother is again attempting to access Quin’s money.

The most outstanding feature of this story is the character development and family interactions. These are real people in a large, happy family composed of those both born into, and folded into, their collective arms. Dusty’s character was a surprise on the one hand, but knowing his parents, it shouldn’t have been. He’s very much like his father in temperament and he’s goal-driven like his mother with an attitude that proves good things come to those who wait.

I laughed and I cried with Quin and Dusty, and I wallowed in the pure enjoyment of seeing where Channing and Tino are in their relationship, as well as where Sammy and Cooper are in theirs. Quin’s reaction to Sammy’s good news was spot-on and showed just what a wonderful friend and caring character he is.  There’s so much to this story, it’s hard to pick a favorite segment, and conversely, it’s almost impossible to pick something I didn’t like—other than the evil, cold-hearted woman who birthed Quin, of course. And to be honest, to make the story work, she needed to be exactly the way she was.

I wouldn’t recommend this book as a standalone, purely because of the interactions with the other characters in the series, but I would highly recommend it to those who’ve read the others, especially books one and three.  And to those who haven’t read them—start from the beginning and enjoy this whole series. It’s so worth it.

The cover by Bree Archer, in typical Dreampun Desires style, features a handsome young man, likely Dusty, set against a dark purple background.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 230 pages
Expected publication: July 17th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleA Fool and His Manny
ISBN139781640805040
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Mannies #4

 

Audiobook Release Blitz for Leaning Into the Look (Leaning Into Stories #6) by Lane Hayes and Narrator: Nick J. Russo (excerpt ad giveaway)

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Title:  Leaning Into the Look

Series: Leaning Into Stories, #6

Author: Lane Hayes

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Original Release Date: March 23, 2018

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 8 hours and 20 minutes

Genre: Romance, friends to lovers, San Francisco, humor, businessmen

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Synopsis

Grant Kostas made a career based on his looks before joining his family’s real estate firm. He may not love his job but he’s better at sales than he thought. And when he’s poised to bring in the biggest account of the company’s history, even his father is impressed. Unfortunately, the extra attention highlights Grant’s personal life. His parents accept that he’s gay. They just wish he’d meet a nice Greek man.

Miles Harrison is a fabulous red head going through a rough patch. Between getting dumped by his long-term boyfriend and finding a new place to live in the city, he’s nearing his wits end. He’s not sure why he thought rooming with his boss’s friend was a good idea. Miles has had a crush on Grant for years. However, he knows attractive people aren’t always pretty on the inside. As the two men grapple with external problems, they form an unexpected bond of friendship and trust that feels like the real thing. The only way to know for certain is to let go of fear and lean into the look.

Listen to an audio excerpt & purchase at Audible

Excerpt

I stopped short when we reached the other side of the street and then backed him against the brick façade of a bank building and pressed my lips over his. It was a bold move and not one I’d ever tried on any man in public before. But I couldn’t help myself. It felt oddly freeing to share one of the bleaker parts of my past with him. I wanted to thank him somehow but that seemed awkward so I kissed him instead. I held his head and glided my tongue alongside his, loving the moment when he flung his arms over my shoulders and responded with fervor. When we broke for air, I rested my forehead on his and grinned.

“Your ass is pretty spectacular too, Mi.”

He chuckled good-naturedly. “Thanks.”

“No really. I think I’m love with it.” I lowered my hands down his back and squeezed his cheeks as I molded his pelvis to mine.

“That’s kind of romantic. But if you’re thinking about falling in love with me too…don’t.”

I backed up slightly to get a better look at him. “Okay. I won’t.”

“Pinky promise.” He held up his right hand and wiggled his fingers.

“What makes you think you’re so irresistible?” I asked, wrapping my pinky finger around his.

“I’m not and you’ll figure it out sooner or later. But I like you and I want you and…”

“And what you’re really saying is you don’t want to fall for me.” I kept my tone light, hoping a jocular vibe would steer us from turning this into an uncomfortable conversation.

“Maybe.”

“Look, Mi. I’m not—”

“No. Listen. Don’t make this into a big deal. It’s not. We’re going to have a grand adventure. Just me and you. We’ll do incredible things and have amazing conversations and lots of sex. And when it’s time to say good-bye, we won’t ruin it by pretending we were ever in love. What do you say?”

Nothing. I had nothing to say. All I could think was maybe he really was crazy because who said shit like that?

But when I looked past the lighthearted swagger I saw the cracks in his armor. He was scared and battered and raw on the inside. Kind of like me. And somehow I had a feeling it wasn’t an ex-lover that made him so cautious. I only knew he was right. We were a couple of oddballs who unexpectedly found ourselves inhabiting the same circle. Temporarily.

But love? I should have walked away. Or at the very least, laughed at his wild leap. Instead I cocked my head and squinted. “What kind of adventures?”

Miles grinned. A slow-moving, gorgeous upturn of the lips that morphed into something celestial. He literally took my breath away. I hoped the dizziness faded before I gave him a reason to think it was a good thing he’d issued a warning about getting too attached.

“All kinds! We’ll turn this town upside down being one hundred percent ridiculous.”

“Okay…” I gave a half laugh and pushed a stray lock of hair behind his ear. “What do you have in mind? Dancing, parties—”

“No. More like Trivial Pursuit marathons, Netflix binge-watching fests in our Pjs, the compare and contrast game and—”

“The what?”

“Don’t worry. We’ll have fun. You’ll see,” he assured me earnestly as he laced our fingers together and pulled me away from the wall.

I glanced down at our joined hands and briefly thought about joking that he should be careful about giving me mixed signals. But I knew my limits. My comedic timing was crappy and the last thing I wanted was to push him away. I might not love Miles but I liked him. A lot. And holding his hand while we wandered through town under a sea of rainbow flags on a random Sunday felt special. The way new beginnings sometimes did.

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won first prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

Meet the Narrator

Nick is an award winning narrator with a fan following for his work in fiction, specifically in the romance genre. His performances in two of Amy Lane’s books, Beneath the Stain and Christmas Kitsch, made him the recipient of Sinfully M/M Book Review’s Narrator of the Year – 2015. When he’s not in the booth, Nick enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessica, and kids, (aka their beagle Frank and cat Stella), drumming in his cover band, exploring rural back roads with his wife on his motorcycle, or being enthralled in a tabletop role playing game with his friends.

 

 

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A Lucy Audiobook Review: Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells and Narrator: Daniel Henning

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Nate and Dylan are the joined at the hip kind of friends.  They have been best friends, confidants and support for each other since they were young children. When they get together with their group of friends, they still mostly pay attention to each other, although they don’t realize it.  It is during a night out with what they though would be the group that they end up going further than even the closest friends would.  The blurb is a little misleading because it states “…until the night they share a drunken kiss…” when in actuality it is a drunken handjob that starts it all.  While that part goes just fine, the aftermath not so much.  Nate reacts badly, “Okay, Dylan got that Nate had to be embarrassed as he**, but still, to treat him like some cheap trick…”  I felt bad for Dylan and agreed, I wouldn’t have spent the night on Nate’s couch after that either but they were both just so confused.

I felt like they should have had a little inclination, since they did think of each other as cute, but it is so easy to be oblivious! Their friends, however, were not clueless. “You don’t think there’s something going on here?  Because we sure do. Think about it. When you get good news, who’s the first person you call?  When you’re feeling low, who do you call? Are you telling us that you’ve never noticed how your life revolves around him?”  That takes some thinking.

There really isn’t any problem or angst here.  There is a little tension with a conversation between Nate and his mom but that’s about it.  Otherwise it is a very sweet romance with both of them coming to the realization that they love a man pretty easily.  There is a little concern about losing their friendship but it’s minimal.  Their friends are completely accepting and supportive.

This is the sequel to K.C. Wells Out of the Shadows, which I did not read but didn’t feel as though I were missing any vital information.   One minor peeve was the use of “He did NOT just do that” or “He did NOT just say that.”  It was only five times but, and maybe it was because I was listening to the story, it caught my attention.

Something I definitely liked about this was that the first blow job wasn’t perfect. There was choking and learning about gag reflex.  There was Nate nearly getting kneed in the face and then being unable to work a sixty-nine because he was too distracted by what Dylan’s mouth was doing.  I loved that while both Nate and Dylan went to gay friends about sex, it was Nate the teacher who pulled out a notebook to take notes and who, at a sex shop, bought books.

The narrator, Daniel Henning, did a good job with inflection though could have used a bit more differentiating voices.  Sometimes when I am listening I would lose the thread of who was talking but it didn’t happen often. I liked the narration overall and would listen to this narrator again.

Cover art by Brook Albrecht is very cute and fit the feel of the book.  Two men looking playful with two hearts worked well to capture Nate and Dylan.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 3 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published February 14th 2018)
Original TitleBromantically Yours
ASINB07DGG8YG8
Edition LanguageEnglish

New Release Blitz for The Merchant’s Love (Chronicles of Tournai #6) by Antonia Acquilante (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  The Merchant’s Love

Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Six

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: June 18, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 106100

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, fantasy, paranormal, shifters, cats, magic users, demisexual, bisexual, family drama, royalty, friends to lovers, slow burn

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Synopsis

Faelen, cousin to the prince and son of a diplomat, has finally come home to Tournai after years away. The pull to return was almost tangible, and the sense of rightness at being back is absolute. He wants nothing more than to put down roots and build a life among family while pursuing his linguistic studies. Becoming involved in magic meant to protect Tournai isn’t part of his plans…but falling in love is even more unexpected and unfamiliar, but he finds himself doing just that as his friendship with Maxen deepens into something more.

Maxen, second son of a wealthy merchant family, longs to leave Tournai and see everywhere he can. All his life, he’s found places on maps and dreamed, planning out routes to get to them. For now, he’s tied to Tournai’s capital city by family obligations and his position in their shipping business. Someday, though, he’ll be able to travel. His sudden attraction to Faelen shocks him, but their friendship soon becomes a necessary part of his life. Love, however, has no place in his plans, especially not love for a royal cousin with secrets who wants nothing more than to stay in one place.

For Faelen and Maxen to build something real between them, they must resolve their differences, but when magic goes awry and all Faelen’s secrets are revealed, will Maxen remain at his side?

Excerpt

The Merchant’s Love
Antonia Aquilante © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
In the last decade since his father was appointed ambassador to the kingdom of Teilo, Faelen had been on the grounds of Tournai’s royal palace three times, if he included today. The relief, happiness, and utter sense of home flooding through him as soon as he stepped off the boat had been shocking in its intensity, but not surprising otherwise. Sometime in the middle of the journey, he’d been hit with the bone-deep certainty that he needed to be back in Tournai. He’d mentioned it to Alexander, who admitted feeling the same—which Faelen was happy to hear from his twin, even if it did make the whole thing stranger.

He tried not to dwell on it, which was made a bit easier because of his discomfort that they were arriving unannounced and uninvited.

Well, not entirely uninvited. Faelen’s cousin Etan was getting married in a couple of weeks, and the entire family had been invited to the wedding, but Faelen couldn’t imagine Philip, the crown prince, and Amory, his husband, expected them to descend on the palace for it. Faelen certainly hadn’t expected them to make the long trip to Tournai, but Mother had other reasons for bringing him, Alexander, and Thibault back home.

He and Alexander would be staying in Jumelle longer than that if they had their way.

They alighted from the hired carriage at the palace, a servant handing Mother down and the rest of them following. If the servant was surprised to see Princess Edine and her three sons (and quite a few trunks), he didn’t show it, even if their arrival would cause a scramble to ready rooms for their party.

Faelen stopped as soon as his feet touched the stones of the courtyard and looked up. The palace towers soared above him, white stone glowing in the afternoon sunlight. Like something out of a tale. He’d always thought so, and no amount of visits could end that fancy.

Alexander leaned into his shoulder, just enough to divert Faelen’s attention. He looked into his twin’s face, nearly identical to his own. Alexander’s eyes were without their usual gleam of mischief. “Come on. No time to daydream.”

“I’m just looking.” Still, he set off walking quickly at Alexander’s side, but not so quickly that they’d catch up to Mother and the others who’d gotten well ahead of them. “I always think I’m exaggerating how beautiful it is in my thoughts, but I’m not.”

“No.” Alexander smiled slightly as he trotted up the stairs to the open doors. “We’ll get to see more of it now. Unless we get shipped off to Grandfather with Thibault.”

Faelen went cold all over. No. He loved Grandfather, but he didn’t want to be stuck so far from Jumelle and the university. He and Alexander had been pursuing their studies at the university in Teilo before Mother insisted they return to Tournai. Thibault would be going to Grandfather to help him with running his modest estate, which would one day be his. Faelen and Alexander had no part in that, and Faelen refused to give up all he’d accomplished so far and all he hoped to because of the move.

Alexander clasped his hand. “Don’t worry. We’ll stay in the city.”

The “somehow” was unspoken. Their parents didn’t keep a house in the city. Before the marriage, Father’s family wouldn’t have been able to afford it. With what Mother brought to it, they could have, but it would’ve been pointless with Father’s diplomatic ambitions. Faelen and Alexander couldn’t afford a house on their own at this point, and Mother had made no mention of providing lodgings in her hasty, yet vehement, instructions that they pack everything. Faelen and Alexander had discussed it in whispers on the boat, wondering whether they could take rooms together in the university quarter. They’d talked before about returning to Tournai on their own, but Mother had surprised them before they’d made any plans.

“Of course, we will,” Faelen responded.

“Faelen, Alexander. Don’t dawdle.” Mother’s voice floated back to them, not loud but still echoing in the enormous entry hall.

Alexander rolled his eyes eloquently, and Faelen forced back a smile and nodded. Nevertheless, they obediently quickened their pace to catch up. Mother sailed through the palace corridors, her heels tapping on the marble floors with authority, as if she wasn’t following behind a servant leading them somewhere.

Which turned out to be a small parlor in the guest wing of the palace. Mother’s lips turned down in a slight frown, but Faelen wasn’t sure what she’d anticipated. No one expected them. It was unrealistic to think rooms would be waiting for them at all times.

“Have the princes been notified of our arrival?” Mother asked the servant.

“Their Highnesses are being notified now, Princess Edine. I’ll bring refreshments for you.” He bowed and left at her dismissal.

“I’ll suppose we’ll have to wait, then. I’d prefer to have been settled in our rooms first, but we’ll have to make do.” Mother seated herself in a velvet-cushioned chair near the fireplace where a small fire crackled. Thibault took a chair near her, but Alexander wandered to the windows. Faelen paused for a moment, indecisive, and then drifted over to where Alexander stood.

The windows looked out over the garden, their position one floor up giving them a decent vantage point. In the falling dusk, lanterns had been lit along the paths closer to the palace, and Faelen caught sight of a couple strolling along one of them, the men holding hands and seemingly in no hurry. He squinted, trying to see who they were in the shadows, but the door opened before he could.

He turned to find not a maid with the expected refreshments but Philip and Amory. Philip was Faelen’s cousin—his father had been Mother’s oldest brother—and he’d come to the throne only about five years ago after the sudden, untimely death of his parents. Faelen and his family had returned to Tournai for the funerals and the coronation, the first time he’d been back since they’d left for Teilo when he was all of ten years old. They returned again when Philip shocked everyone by marrying Amory, a man and a commoner. Faelen liked what little he’d found out of Amory then, and Amory had certainly won over Tournai in the meantime. Faelen was hoping to get to know him better—and Philip too, as the last he’d spent time with Philip he’d been a child and Philip just into his teenage years. He looked forward to meeting their son, Julien, as well.

Philip had the look of Tournai’s royal family—something Faelen and Alexander strayed from slightly—with his dark hair and classically handsome features. He carried himself as the ruler he was, and his hazel eyes were sharp as they took in the room. Amory was a match for him in looks with his dark eyes and shining auburn curls. He seemed to have grown into his role, carrying himself with more confidence than Faelen remembered at their wedding.

“Aunt Edine,” Philip said as he came into the room, and they all bowed or curtsied. “And Thibault, Alexander, and Faelen. What a surprise. We didn’t expect you.”

Mother didn’t move to embrace Philip. She wasn’t the type for demonstrations of affection, especially to the crown prince, even if he was her nephew. “We left Teilo quite suddenly. A boat was about to depart that would get us here in time for Etan’s wedding.”

“Etan will be happy you’re all able to attend.” Philip didn’t mention that no one had dreamed they would. “And, of course, Amory and I would be delighted if you would stay here at the palace while you remain in Jumelle.”

“Thank you, Philip. We’d be honored to accept your hospitality.” She left it unsaid that she’d certainly anticipated the invitation. Faelen doubted there had been a thought otherwise in her mind.

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Meet the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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Quinn Anderson on a future for Max and the new release Fourteen Summers (guest post and giveaway)

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Fourteen Summers by Quinn Anderson

Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Melissa Liban

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Quinn Anderson here today on tour with the new release, Fourteen Summers.  Welcome, Quinn.

I’m Quinn Anderson, author of New Heights and the Murmur Inc. series. Welcome to my blog tour for Fourteen Summers! Stay tuned to get fun facts about this release, inside information about my writing process, and to learn how I chose my penname. Leave comments for a chance to win a $10 Riptide gift card. I look forward to chatting with you all!

 

✒︎

Will Max Get His Happy Ever After?

I wouldn’t say I left a “loose end” in this novel, but there is something I left up to readers’ imaginations. For now, at least.

Max—the third POV character in this novel, and the one who’s not involved in the core romance—has a number of revelations during this story. He learns about boundaries, friendship, family, and respecting other people’s space. Most importantly, however, he begins to understand an aspect of his love life he’d previously ignored. I won’t say what (because spoilers), but by the end of the novel, it’s clear he has a path of self-discovery ahead of him.

Unfortunately, with only so many pages and a love story to tell, there wasn’t room to show where Max ends up when all is said and done. I’m not worried about readers finding this frustrating, because it’s set up in a way that makes it clear you can imagine for yourself what happens to Max.

However, if enough people demand it, I could be convinced to write Max’s story. We’ll see if people are curious, or if they’re happy deciding his fate for themselves!

 

 

About Fourteen Summers

 

Identical twins Aiden and Max Kingsman have been a matched set their whole lives. When they were children, Aiden was happy to follow his extroverted brother’s lead, but now that they’re in college, being “my brother, Aiden” is starting to get old. He’s itching to discover who he is outside of his “twin” identity.

 

Oliver’s goals for the summer are simple: survive his invasive family, keep his divorced parents from killing each other, and stay in shape for rowing season. He’s thrilled when he runs into his old friends, the Kingsman twins, especially Aiden, the object of a childhood crush. Aiden is all grown-up, but some things have stayed the same: his messy curls, his stability, and how breathless he makes Oliver. Oliver’s crush comes back full force, and the feeling is mutual. Summer just got a whole lot hotter.

 

Fun-loving Max takes one thing seriously: his role as “big brother.” When Aiden drifts away, Max can’t understand how his own twin could choose a boy over him. Summer won’t last forever, and with friendship, family, and happily ever after on the line, they’ll have to navigate their changing relationships before it’s too late.

 

About Quinn Anderson

 

Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.

 

A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. Her girlfriend swears her sense of humor is just one big Joss Whedon reference. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life, and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Yuri on Ice, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Buffy, and more. Growing up, while most of her friends were fighting evil by moonlight, Anderson was kamehameha-ing her way through all the shounen anime she could get her hands on. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and Tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere. If you’re at an event, and you see a 6’2” redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that’s probably her.

 

Her favorite authors include J.K. Rowling, Gail Carson Levine, Libba Bray, and Tamora Pierce. When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling, cooking, spending too much time on the internet, playing fetch with her cat, screwing the rules, watching Markiplier play games she’s too scared to play herself, and catching ’em all.

 

Connect with Quinn:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Fourteen Summers, Quinn is giving away a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 26, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Level Up by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Landon can’t believe he’s let himself get roped into participating in a charity calendar, let alone one that features tastefully photographed nudes. The genius physicist is hardly model material, and he’s dreading the nude part of the photoshoot. Amid his reluctance, the one bright spot is his emails back and forth with the photographer.

However, Bailey turns out to be not exactly what Landon expects, and their first meeting is decidedly awkward. Bailey’s persistent though, and gradually Landon warms to the burly photographer, and they discover they have a shared love of gamer culture.

A tentative friendship is born, but the road from friends to lovers isn’t easy. Landon’s battling past trauma and must decide how much of a risk he’s willing to take. A sexy connection may not be enough to keep them together unless both are willing to put their hearts on the line.

Through series after series, Out of Uniform, Portland Heart, Rainbow Cove, and of course #gaymers in which this story is situated, I have followed, read, and loved every story that  Annabeth  Albert has written.  Why?  Because she writes real people caught up in situations and relationships we can relate to and believe in.  Our involvement with their lives is usually immediate, our concerns for their happiness and future fraught with emotions, and, whether we are dealing with military issues (Out of Uniform series, the connectivity of a small group of shop owners (Portland Heat), the revival of a seaside town (Rainbow Cove), and the development of a highly popular videogame, Space Villager (#gaymers), the veracity and vividness of the characters and stories always makes you feel grounded in them and their lives.

Level Up by Annabeth Albert is exactly what I have come to expect from this author.  A wonderful story that explores the beginning of a relationship between two people who start out their connection based on a calendar shoot, exchanged emails, and of course, their shared love for that game that I really wish was real, Space Villager.

Bailey is the photographer for the naked charity calendar and Landon is the now regretful volunteer.  They have been exchanging increasingly flirtatious emails, based on their shared love of all things nerd and geek but Landon is surprised to find that Bailey is not a pink haired girl he pictured but a rather large man, a shock that telegraphs immediately to a hurt Bailey upon their meeting.  A shock that doesn’t diminish the attraction between them.

Here’s Albert delves into the background of  both characters using two povs to reveal the issues standing between both men, Landon’s history, to create a sweet, heartwarming friends to lovers romance.  I absolutely bought  into the chemistry between these men, the bond forming between them first of friendship and then love.

Even the secondary characters, although I certainly could have used a little more of them as well, are as strong as the main ones.  I wanted their relationship to work out too.

I just love the way in which Bailey and Landon went through all the stages of their relationship here, equal parts sexy, serious, handled with sensitivity and when needed, fun.  What a wonderful story and couple.  I certainly hope they pop up again in the #gaymers universe.  I’d love to check in and see how they are doing.

Yes, I recommend this story.  You don’t have to have read the #gaymers series to read this one, but it certainly enriches it.

Cover art accurately depicts in my mind the character of Landon.  I love this cover.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 132 pages
Published May 17th 2018 by Amazon Digital Services
Original Title Level Up
ASINB07CZP4BVT
Edition LanguageEnglish

Previously released as part of the EXPOSED anthology, and loosely linked to the #Gaymers universe, this friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story stands alone with a guaranteed happy ending. Contains a brief mention of a prior assault, but no on-screen violence or flashbacks.

New Release Blitz for Level Up by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  LEVEL UP
Series: loosely related to the #gaymers series, but stands alone
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Annabeth Albert
Release Date: May 17, 2018
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 40,000 words
Genre: Romance, contemporary m/m romance, gay romance, geeks, nerds, friends-to-lovers, gamers, gaymers

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

 

 

Landon can’t believe he’s let himself get roped into participating in a charity calendar, let alone one that features tastefully photographed nudes. The genius physicist is hardly model material and he’s dreading the nude part of the photoshoot. Amid his reluctance, the one bright spot is his emails back and forth with the photographer.

However, Bailey ends up being not quite what Landon expects, and their first meeting is decidedly awkward. Bailey’s persistent though, and gradually Landon warms to the burly photographer, and they discover they have a shared love of gamer culture.

A tentative friendship is born, but the road from friends to lovers isn’t easy. Landon’s battling past trauma and must decide how much of a risk he’s willing to take. A sexy connection may not be enough to keep them together unless both are willing to put their hearts on the line.

Approximately 40,000 words. Previously released as part of the EXPOSED anthology, and loosely linked to the #Gaymers universe, this friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story stands alone with a guaranteed happy ending. Contains a brief mention of a prior assault, but no on-screen violence or flashbacks.

Approximately 40,000 words. Previously
released as part of the EXPOSED anthology, and loosely linked to the #Gaymers
universe, this friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story stands alone with a
guaranteed happy ending. Contains a brief mention of a prior assault, but no
on-screen violence or flashbacks.

 

Excerpt

 

 

LEVEL UP EXCERPT—This is their first kiss, because I absolutely love writing first kiss scenes!

***

Bailey was the type who moved a lot as he gamed, biceps flexing, knees wiggling, shoulders jostling. Landon always liked people who got so into gaming, but it was more than a little distracting. His body was quickly coming to associate that orange scent of Bailey’s with good things, and other parts of him apparently liked Bailey’s nearness, which was a novelty because instead of intimidated, as he would have expected, he was more than a little turned on.

“Oh man, that was a rush.” Bailey laughed as both of their health meters dipped to zero. “I’m almost wishing I’d gone into game art, not photography. Amazing how these graphics have held up over the years.”

“Totally. And speaking of art, let me find the Space Villager stuff.” Landon reluctantly stepped away from the game. He headed to the nearby kitchen, where he was pretty the papers were buried with a stack of mail. Paper control was not his strong suit. “You’ll go nuts at the latest screen shots and promo teasers.”

“Cool.” Rather than follow Landon, Bailey went to sit on the couch.

“You want a drink while I’m in here?” Landon called to him after he found the papers under a pile of pizza ads. “I’ve got four flavors of Snapple, soda, and water.”

“Surprise me with a Snapple flavor.” Bailey looked right at home on Landon’s couch, lounging back.

He really did not look at all like any photographer Landon had ever met, and curiosity had him asking, “So why photography? You said you could have done game design?”

“Yeah, I had plenty of friends at the art institute go that direction. But I’ve been in love with photography ever since I worked on our middle school yearbook. I figured out quickly that taking pictures of events and sports was far more fun than trying to do the sports myself, so I did yearbook all through high school, got a photography scholarship to the art institute in Portland.”

“So you don’t play a sport?” Landon had a hard time believing that. With Bailey’s height and breadth, he totally looked like he lived for weekend games of some type.

“Nope. Hopelessly uncoordinated.” Bailey shot him an endearing smile when Landon handed him the bottle of tea.

“Me too.” Landon clinked bottles with him, then held up the papers. “Found the codes. But can I show you some stuff on the TV screen while you have your drink?”

“Absolutely.” Bailey took a long swig of tea, and Landon had to look away before he got mesmerized by Bailey’s full mouth, how it looked when his tongue chased a stray drop of moisture, how pink it was in contrast to his paler skin and brown beard.

Landon queued up the pre-release trailer Josiah had sent him a link to. Bombastic music filled his small living room as on the screen, and a spaceship pulled in for a landing on a planet filled with ruins of a once-powerful civilization. The narrator had an iconic voice and detailed all the special features of the expansion pack. Landon had already watched this a half-dozen times, and it still gave him happy chills.

“Wow. I can’t wait.” Bailey looked suitably awed. “This is even cooler than when War Elf added the mystic raids.”

“I know, right? Now look at the in-game screen shots.” He brought up another video, body relaxing more and more despite Bailey’s nearness. It was just so awesome to have someone new to share this with. He’d been hyped about this all week, but Pike was distracted by his boyfriend Zack’s deployment, Savannah didn’t game much, and the rest of his regular crew seemed to have other things occupying their attention.

Somehow, as he shared more video clips, he drifted closer to Bailey, so that their knees were almost rubbing. It wasn’t a giant couch, so there wasn’t a ton of room to move back, but even so, Landon wasn’t looking for an escape. He was aware of Bailey, very much so, but not nearly as freaked out as he’d been a few hours ago. Instead, his senses seemed to soak up Bailey’s scent and nearness, and it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth video that he realized that he was aroused.

Clink. Somehow Landon’s left hand, holding his drink, and Bailey’s right hand tangled.

“Oops.” He tried to extricate himself without spilling both beverages. Bending to put his on the floor, he hadn’t realized that Bailey had also leaned down until their heads collided.

“Ow,” they said simultaneously.

“Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry.” Bailey reached out, feeling around on Landon’s head. “Did you see stars? Break the skin?”

“I’m fine.” Landon didn’t pull away. Bailey’s hand felt damn nice. Gentle. Soothing more than just the bump on his head. Their eyes met, and he really needed to move back, break this spell, but he didn’t, instead leaning into to the touch. Bailey’s eyes darkened, and he stroked down Landon’s jaw. God, that felt so good, like an extra blanket on a chilly night, warmth he hadn’t realized he was missing. How long had it been since he’d been touched like this? Hugged, sure. He’d hugged Savannah goodnight, and hugged and wrestled around with his best friend Pike at the last LAN party, but neither of those things was touch like this. Caring. Sweet. Arousing.

Bailey leaned in again, way slower this time, all the time in the world for Landon to stop him. But he didn’t. Bailey’s beard tickled an instant before their lips met, a soft slide of mouths. Not aggressive at all, not the on-a-tight-schedule rush of a hookup, Bailey kissed like they had a sleepy Sunday afternoon to kill, like each reaction of Landon’s mattered, like he was trying to memorize something important and was going to take his time learning the lesson.

Landon was the first one to take things further, mouth opening on a sigh, welcoming Bailey’s agile tongue. He tasted sweet, like tea, and minty like the gum he’d popped after the pizza, familiar yet new at the same time. How had he managed to forget how awesome kissing could be? A laugh bubbled up in his chest, but quickly transformed to a groan of pleasure as Bailey nipped at his lower lip.

Not content to let Bailey be the one exploring, Landon sent his own tongue on a quest, tracing Bailey’s full lower lip, delving inside to rub tongues, retreating playfully to earn another nip. Fuck. This was nice. The video switched over to something random, and he barely registered it. He couldn’t say how long they kissed, just that he didn’t want it to ever end.

Meet the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: http://www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

 

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