Love Fantasy and Mythology? Check out the Tour for Shinigami by Xia Xia Lake (excerpts)

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REVIEW TOUR

Book Title: Shinigami

Author: Xia Xia Lake

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date:  October 1, 2019  

Genre/s: LGBTQ fantasy, Gay fiction, Historical fiction (it’s NOT MM romance)

Trope/s:  Friends to Lovers

Themes: Mythology; gods; supernatural

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 71 440 words /220 pages 

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Nothing is what it seems.

Blurb

A coming of age love story between the heir of the richest family in the Land of Yamato and an orphan. The human world meets the yōkai world in a power struggle for the fate of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu. While he battles to find his own path in life, Hirotsugu finds solace in a boy who will first become his secret friend, then his salvation, then, as they become adults together, the love of his life. 

The story is set during the Nara period of ancient Japan and will expand over a period of 25 years (715-740).  

 

Buy Links

Book 1 – Kogitsune.

It’s a 40-page short story and is FREE on Smashwords.

 

Book 2 – Shinigami 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

Excerpt

Chapter 1: Kagerō
Kagerō: The quivering appearance of the mist rising from the hot surface of the ground”

On the day Fujiwara no Hirotsugu was born, Mount Kasuga was covered in golden shimmering kagerō rising from the ground to cloak the mountain in mist. The uguisu sang from dusk until dawn, and a crane appeared in the palace garden and didn’t leave for five days.

It was late May, close to the final days of planting the rice. These were the days when finishing the paddy field work was paramount, lest next year’s crops be affected. Yet in celebration of Hirotsugu’s birth, his father, Umakai, sent an order to his bailiff to decree half a day off for all workers. Servants from the palace went down the mountain to offer rice, fish, and sake to the poor in Heijo-kyo.

Gifts poured through the gates for weeks, coming not only from the greatest families living in the land of Yamato, but also from as far away as Silla and Tang. Even the old Empress Genmei, who had no love for the Fujiwara clan, sent Hirotsugu a gift fit for royalty: a sword replica modeled after Kusanagi the Grass Slasher, the sacred imperial heirloom of the Yamato Emperors. Since it was forbidden for anyone except the reigning monarch and the High Priest of the Ise Grand Shrine to lay eyes on the real Kusanagi, no one could actually tell how good the replica was. But neither could they deny that the sword Hirotsugu received was of exceptional workmanship and extraordinary value.

The greatest gift of all came from Hirotsugu’s grandfather, Fujiwara no Fuhito. The leader of the Fujiwara clan made a secret pact with Crown Prince Obito that on the day Hirotsugu turned twenty, he would marry Princess Abe, Prince Obito’s firstborn child.

Upon Hirotsugu’s birth, the Fujiwara clan made great plans for his future, and I watched from my throne of skulls behind the kagerō veil and laughed and laughed and laughed.

 

SPRING

Chapter 2: Uguisu
Uguisu: The Japanese nightingale

In spring, nature was at its most beautiful at dawn, when Amaterasu’s robe touched the hills and dyed them red, and the blooming cherry trees turned a vibrant pink. Hanging from the eaves of every Fujiwara castle were tendrils of purple wisteria, their blooms awakening to welcome the Sun Goddess. The white clouds above resembled boughs of cherry flowers.

When night approached, the birdsong gently shifted from cheerful to forlorn. The uguisu went to sleep in its pot-shaped nest, and the brown-feathered night thrush—recently returned from wintering in Tenjiku—took its place and claimed the night. Now and then, a deer would call and a fawn would answer back.

The day Hirotsugu was born, a young god wandered up and down the high-forested slopes of Mount Kasuga, tired from the day he’d spent blessing the fields and the future harvest. He would have gone home to Mount Kurama in Kibune, but something was amiss with the yōkai living on Kasuga and he’d come to investigate.

At twilight, he found a group of kodama and an old kappa gathered underneath the budding leaves of a giant plum tree, transfixed by its beautiful red blossoms. When he entered the clearing, they were trying to touch the blossoms, but as soon as a hand came close, the tree would raise its branches out of reach.

“Don’t touch it,” the god commanded. His voice was calm, but it came like the snap of a whip and took them out of their reverie. “It’s a ghost tree. It’s not really here.”

The kodama stumbled backward, frightened.

“When did it appear?” the young god asked.

“This morning, Inari-sama,” the kappa answered. “When the baby was born.”

“Baby?” Inari frowned. “Come closer, child, don’t be afraid. Which baby do you speak of?”

 

About the Author 

Xia Xia Lake is an Otaku & Slytherin that used to cosplay at every comic con she attended, until a kid asked if he could take a picture with the “old lady.”

She decided a couple of years ago that she wanted to spend her free time writing stories and partying with vampires.

She lives in Transylvania with her fiancé and is a big fan of Romanian cuisine.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

 Pinterest  |  Goodreads

 

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

Cover Reveal for Precariously Mated (D’Vaire Book 14) by Jessamyn Kingley

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Precariously Mated (D’Vaire, Book 14)

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson of Mayhem Cover Creations

Release Date: October 24, 2019

Genre/s: M/M Urban Fantasy Romance

Trope/s: Fated Mates, Friends to Lovers

Themes: Friendship, Love, Self-Awareness 

Heat Rating: 3 flames    

A precarious road is no match for an enduring friendship of two strong hearts.

Blurb 

At the tender age of eighteen, Prince Niko Kyrkosdraconis finds himself at a dragon fair, trying his best to maintain his strict schedule of rituals that have followed him since birth, when Fate steps in. The appearance of two strangers alters the course of his life, and Niko sets upon an unforeseen path. Centuries later, Niko is doing whatever he can to pick up the pieces of his shattered world. Unsteady and uncertain, he struggles to place faith in both himself and those around him. Much to his surprise, he finds himself with a new best friend who he grows to trust like no one else before.

Royal Duke Costas Draconis is happy to be back with the men he calls family after ten years of caring for his irascible parents. Having a knack for money, he is once again entrusted with making the dragons prosperous. Costas is surrounded by loved ones and thriving on the outside, but deep inside he yearns for his mate. Then Niko comes into his life. Costas loves the time they spend together, especially their nightly talks on the roof deck, but he must constantly remind himself that the man is not for him.

Niko and Costas go to great lengths to hide their feelings for one another and everyone else, fearful that the future holds nothing but heartache. But things are never what they seem, and Fate will always have the last word, even when you doubt her. As the obstacles before them are slowly peeled back, will Costas and Niko find a way to call each other mate? The road ahead is precarious, and in the end, Fate will have her say, and only then can Niko and Costas prove that the strongest hearts will prevail.

About the Author

Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.

Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.

Visit her website

Follow her on Facebook

She loves to engage with readers there.

Other Links

 Twitter  |  Pinterest  |  Tumblr

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Blog Tour for Love on the Hudson by KD Fisher (excerpt and giveaway)

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Love on the Hudson by KD Fisher

Release Date: September 30, 2019

Subgenre: Contemporary LGBTQ+ romance (m/m)

Order here:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Hudson-KD-Fisherebook/dp/B07Y8QKRF1/ref=sr_1_3keywords=kd+fisher&qid=1569490513&s=books&sr=1-3

Ninestar:

https://ninestarpress.com/product/love-on-the-hudson/

Goodreads:    

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47508320-love-on-the-hudson

Synopsis for Love on the Hudson:

At historian David Webster left his childhood home of Saugerties, New York ten years ago and hasn’t looked back. Intelligent, successful, and proud of his sexuality, David has built a comfortable, if lonely, life in Chicago. But when he learns his father has suffered a debilitating stroke, he decides to leave his prestigious museum job and move home to care for his dad. Until now David has never questioned his devotion to academic and professional success. Suddenly he’s forced to confront and reevaluate his desires, chief among them, his former best friend Nick.

Nick Patras has spent his entire life trying to be the perfect Greek son. From devoting himself to football, to forgoing an athletic scholarship to work at his family’s diner, to denying his sexuality and getting married to his high school sweetheart, Nick got used to putting his family’s dreams ahead of his own. The facade shattered, however, when Nick divorced his wife and left the family business to follow his dream of starting an organic farm. Finally content with the life he’s built for himself, Nick is still haunted by the mistake that ended his friendship with David a decade earlier.

When David and Nick reunite their old feelings are undeniable, but can David trust Nick with his heart a second time around? As David embarks on a new career as an artist, he must decide whether or not Nick fits into this composition.

Teasers:

“Can you give me another chance?” The naked hope in Nick’s face sends a jolt of warmth right through my heart. “I know I don’t deserve it but I want to at least be your friend again. And if you’d be willing, I want to be with you for real.”

Excerpt :

Five hours later I find myself behind the wheel of a white rental sedan barreling up I-87 in the direction of Saugerties, a perfectly nice town I’d hoped never to see again. The sky is the same mottled gray as it was back in Chicago, the snow along the highway the same dirt-tinged pewter. The passing cars are spattered with white salt stains. I drive in silence, every radio station bothering me with shrill commercials or horrendous blends of the 80s, 90s, and today.

My mind falls into a chaotic tailspin. I want to call Marc and see how the meeting went. I want to call Jimmy again and see if there is any update on my dad’s condition. The doctors are worried his vision was compromised but needed to run another test. I want to call Anna to hear her soothing voice and ask the one question that absolutely shouldn’t be on my mind right now. Has she seen Nick recently? Again, his gray eyes and those dark lashes flit across my mind and I grip the wheel harder. I need to focus. Plus I won’t even see him. He moved across town when he got married. He doesn’t live in the house across the street anymore.

Author Bio:

KD Fisher is a queer New England-based writer of authentic, heartfelt LGBTQ+ narratives. KD grew up all over the United States, bouncing from North Carolina to Hawaiʻi to Illinois, and finally settling in Maine where she spends far too much time at the beach.

When KD isn’t writing, she can usually be found hiking with her overly enthusiastic dog, obsessing over plants, or cooking elaborate meals. She loves classic country, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and falling asleep in the sun.

Author links:

Website: https://www.kdfisherromance.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kdfisherauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kdfisher_author

Newsletter: https://squarespace.us18.list-manage.com/subscribe/post?u=f5e2b33c3ff839fc7ef512330&id=e20f3c6133

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18177834.KD_Fisher

 

Giveaway:

Win one of 3 packages of a signed physical copy + postcard of LOVE ON THE HUDSON by KD Fisher!

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f03107/?

 

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Adore a Friends to Lover Romance? Check Out the Release Blitz for Amalgamated by Becca Seymour (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Amalgamated

Author: Becca Seymour

Publisher: Rainbow Tree Publishing

Cover Artist: Soxsational Cover Art

Release Date: September 28, 2019

Genre/s: Small-Town M/M Romance

Trope/s: Friends to lovers, May to December, 

Themes: Forgiveness

Heat Rating: 3 flames     

Length:  18 000 words/70 pages approx.

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

Realigned (Coming Home #1) – FREE READ

 

 

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon AU

  iTunes   |  Kobo  |  Nook 

 

Escape with Leo and Zak in outback Australia as they discover it sometimes takes time, distance, and interfering family to amalgamate.

 

Blurb

After five years of living in the UK, it’s time for Leo to return home to his dad’s stud farm in outback Australia. He has no idea what to expect when he arrives. He didn’t exactly leave with balloons and banners.

Nope. His farewell involved destruction and his own heart split in two.

He knows seeing the man who’s always held his heart, Zak, is going to be awkward. The older farm manager made his feelings pretty damn clear when Leo hightailed it out of there.

Leo quickly figures out life is going to get complicated and a whole heap more exciting as his trip home becomes so much more. 

Amalgamated is a fun and steamy M/M short story in Becca Seymour’s Coming Home series. Stand-alone romances complete with heat, wit, and happily ever afters.

 

 

Excerpt 

“Promise you won’t be mad.”

Groaning, I shook my head. Any request starting that way was going to result in me being pissed off. “What did you do?”

This time her glance my way had me tensing. Concern flickered in her eyes. When she focused on the road ahead, she blew out her cheeks, her lips pursed. “We’re heading to mine.”

“Okay?” I dragged out the word. I’d figured that out since we weren’t heading towards Dad and Michelle’s. 

“Dad kinda got excited about you coming home.”

My stomach dipped. I just knew where she was heading with this. Slamming my eyes shut, I waited for her next words.

They came out in a rush. “Sohekindainvitedaheapofpeopleover. But…” She gasped for breath. “…it’s not technically a party, as there aren’t banners or balloons.” 

My eyes sprang open, and I stared at her wide-eyed.

She glanced at me, a mix of horror and amusement on her face. “You owe me big for talking him out of that.”

“Yet you couldn’t have talked him into a small family meal?”

She shrugged. “I did try, but, Leo.” She paused, emotion swirling in her eyes, and I swallowed. This was just one of the reasons I’d stayed away. Guilt still clawed at me whenever I gave it life. “Dad was so excited you were coming home. You know he still doesn’t understand why you left. If it had just been heading to the city, that would have been a struggle, but you travelled to the other side of the world.”

My gut clenched. I still felt shit for leaving my dad, but I had my own life to live, and taking over my dad’s stud farm wasn’t what I wanted. Plus there was the major screw-up with how I destroyed any semblance of a friendship with Zak.

“There’s more.”

I flashed Jen a resigned look. 

“Dad obviously invited Zak.”

My heart seized, and my gut churned. This could not be happening. While I’d anticipated seeing him, I wasn’t prepared for it to be the first night I got home. In hindsight, this was ridiculously naïve of me, considering his place was only a hundred metres or so away from the main house on the property.

“I know, I know, but best to get the whole awkwardness out of the way, right?” She reached out and gave my hand a small squeeze. After I’d run out on Zak the night I’d left, it had taken just a handful of calls from Jen for her to recognize something was wrong and for me to spill my guts. We remained close, even with the distance of the past five years, and without her in my corner, life certainly would have been trickier. 

“Yeah, I suppose.” There was something to be said for ripping the Band-Aid off, but my gut clenched in anticipation. 

 

About the Author

Becca Seymour lives and breathes all things book related. Usually with at least three books being read and two WiPs being written at the same time, life is merrily hectic. She tends to do nothing by halves so happily seeks the craziness and busyness life offers.  

Living on her small property in Queensland with her human family as well as her animal family of cows, chooks, and dogs, Becca appreciates the beauty of the world around her and is a believer that love truly is love.   

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter: @beccaseymour_ 

Instagram

BookBub

QueeRomanceInk

Goodreads

Newsletter

Amazon

 

 

Giveaway

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Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

A MelanieM Review: Pure Dumb Luck by Dahlia Donovan

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

When two small-town country dudes win the lottery, they finally find the courage to speak their truth.

An unexpected adventure follows.

Linwood “Woody” Robinson has a routine. He works for his baby brother in construction, buys three lottery tickets every week, and lusts after his best friend from high school. He’s done the same thing for twenty years.

Eddison “Eddie” Howard owns the only gas station in their small South Carolina town, sells lottery tickets, and lusts after his best friend from afar. They joke around but never speak their truth. He knows they’re cowards but can’t seem to find the courage to bridge the gulf between them.

And then they win eighty million dollars.

Life changes.

They go from never talking about their feelings to facing the world together.

Can anything pull them apart?

Pure Dumb Luck by Dahlia Donovan is a sweet, contemporary romance from one of my favorite authors.  A story on the shorter side, it goes quickly, especially as the two men have been in love with each other since they were teenagers, although they never really acted on it.  So you have a, more or less, established relationship that moves into a next stage during a series of trips around the world.  It’s cute, full of romance, not much angst (a tiny bit) and a nice cast of secondary characters.

Things I especially enjoyed was the fact that this was an older couple, the men having known each other for years.  But that same element also made me wish for more of their past history, perhaps scenes or a more solid foundation for their relationship to spring into a full born deep love that’s seen here.  They apparently have loved each other for 20 years yet it takes a win and a kiss for all that to come pouring out?

I wanted to know more about them.  Instead I actually got too much of a travelogue.  Too much hiking or whatever they were doing when all I wanted was more of their dynamics or interaction. Dahlia Donovan is excellent at layered characters and interesting relationships and I was looking forward to a couple who had delayed theirs 20 years.  Instead I got a tour.

Yes, parts of this story was undoubtedly endearing and some scenes were sweet.  But I still wanted more depth.  Or perhaps a balance between travel and relationship that  felt was missing.

I did enjoy it and the reading went quickly as I said.  It was a nice, sweet story.  And I always love seeing a older couple get their HEA.

Cover art:  Well at least one half of the couple looks like they could be the right age.  Cute and eye catching.

Sales Links:Hot Tree Publishing | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads

Book Details:

ebook, 129 pages
Published September 28th 2019 by Hot Tree Publishing
ISBN139781925853841

New Release Blitz for Clueless Cabot by André D. Michaels (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Clueless Cabot
Author: André D. Michaels
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 16, 2019
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 25900
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, friends to lovers, first time, hurt-comfort, gay, bi, family drama

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Young gay professional Cabot MacCrae has been in love with his sexy best friend, Lloyd, since high school. They’re in perfect sync on almost everything. The only problem is that Lloyd is straight.

Cabot resigned himself long ago to pining hopelessly. Then Lloyd, a roofer, takes a bad fall and injures his collarbone. When he needs some TLC, there’s no question that Cabot will be the one to nurse his friend back to health. But Lloyd’s scantily clad presence in Cabot’s house brings out Cabot’s old longings.

But when Lloyd’s well-meaning mother and aunt fix Cabot up with a blind date, Lloyd reacts like a jealous boyfriend. Lloyd’s reaction makes Cabot wonder if those longings are as unrequited as he’s always assumed. What if Lloyd has been pining for him all these years? Has Cabot just been clueless all along?

Excerpt

Clueless Cabot
André D. Michaels © 2019
All Rights Reserved

DISH

Half an hour before Club Sandwich closed, Cabot McCrae knew he wasn’t going home with anybody. Once again, he’d sat in the corner, nursing his two drinks, eyeing the crowd for someone, anyone, who might be worth pursuing. And once again, as the ice cubes melted in the glass, he sat and did nothing while the few who drew his interest paired up with others and went off into the night. One or two drinks were sent his way, but the guys who sent them seemed creepy and stalkerish, and Cabot declined as politely as he could.

How the hell do guys find each other?

People talked about what a meat market this bar was, but if so, then Cabot was definitely not USDA Choice beef. Maybe not even leftover bologna.

“Thanks, Hank.” He dropped a five on the bar. Hank gave him a casual salute.

The cute Italian busboy didn’t even meet Cabot’s eye. The burly bouncer barely grunted as Cabot left the club. The darkness and cold, relative silence outside brought relief from the flashing lights, steamy heat, and pounding bass inside.

Cabot got in his car and checked his phone. Ring me, said the text from Lloyd.

At 1:45 in the morning, Cabot wasn’t about to call his best friend. He texted back: In the a.m. Beat, dude.

Immediately, Lloyd texted back. Understood. Hope you made out.

Cabot smiled grimly and started the car to head home. No, I didn’t make out. I never make out. Nobody wants to make out. But he wasn’t going to text that to Lloyd, either.

Lloyd always got lucky at the drop of a hat. He’d slept with more women than Cabot could count. He even juggled several girlfriends at a time, managing somehow to keep them all happy and coming back for more.

Not Cabot. He hadn’t gone on a date in—how many months? And he and good ol’ Rosie Palm were better acquainted than ever before.

The lights of the warehouse district behind him, he pulled into the garage below his apartment complex and parked the car. He sat there for several minutes, running his hands over his face. People tell me I’m cute, he kept repeating in his head. But he sure didn’t feel cute after one of these nights. No one talked to him. No one approached him.

No one wanted him.

His phone buzzed. Another text from Lloyd: Sweet dreams dude.

Back in his apartment, Cabot showered and padded naked into the kitchen. The blue calla lilies he’d bought himself were withered in the vase on the table.

He could have another drink. And unlike drinking at the bar, getting drunk at home wouldn’t make him go home with somebody he’d be embarrassed to wake up next to. Well, unless you counted waking up with yourself.

He virtually never wore clothes around the apartment. Nobody could see in. Nobody came to visit except Lloyd, and Cabot usually remembered to pull on some shorts or sweats when Lloyd visited. And when he didn’t remember, Lloyd didn’t care. Why would he? Lloyd was straight.

And besides, since he didn’t get much sex with anybody else, being a nudist at home gave him easy access to the one man who always enjoyed his lovemaking: himself.

His phone by the door buzzed again. Jesus, Lloyd, give it a rest already.

The text read: Yo dude, call me, man. Really.

Okay, that was scary. Cabot hit the call button.

“Hey,” said Lloyd’s sleepy voice.

“Hey. You okay, bro?”

“Sure. Kinda. No.”

“Okay, that’s three answers. What’s going on?”

“Just flirting with the nurse, man. He says I have to talk to you later.”

“Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. You’re flirting with a male nurse? What the hell is going on, Lloyd?”

“What? He’s cute.”

“Uh…you’re straight. What kind of drugs do they have you on?”

Lloyd sighed. “Just c’mon to the ER, man. Central MC. They’ll release me if I have a ride.”

“ER? What the fuck happened?”

“Tell you later. You gonna be my ride?”

“You got it, man. Be there in like five seconds. Four point nine.”

“Thanks, Cab.”

Cabot grabbed his keys and wallet and headed for the door, and then remembered he should probably put on pants. He pulled on a pair of basketball shorts and shoes and grabbed a clean shirt out of the drawer. No waiting for the elevator; he took the stairs.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Having held jobs as varied as wedding caterer, IT guru, nanny, construction worker, librarian, historical reenactor, screenplay consultant, and birthday party clown, André now writes poetry, plays, and romances and erotic fiction about men loving men. A lifelong bibliophile, André lives in a renovated 1800s parsonage in Ohio, with a variable number of cats and an invariable number of husband.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

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Need a New Story to Dive Into? Check Out the New Release Blitz for Beyond Identity by Karrie Roman (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Beyond Identity

Author: Karrie Roman

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 2, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 74200

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, New Adult, college, depression,hurt-comfort, friends to lovers

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Noah Lancaster’s life is a mess. He doesn’t know much about his past or who is parents really were. When he’s beaten on the streets one night while sleeping rough, the attack doesn’t feel like just another random assault on a vulnerable target. Somebody wanted Noah dead. But who’d want to hurt him? He’s a nobody who doesn’t know where he came from or who he truly is.

Harry Cooper wants to launch his career as an investigative journalist by telling the stories of the hardships faced by the homeless. His latest subject was lucky to survive a brutal attack—the mean streets almost swallowing him up like so many others. Noah is a mystery to Harry and it seems to the man himself.

When Noah’s attack brings these two men together, neither could imagine they’re about to be pulled into a mystery one hundred and thirty years old—and half a world away. They’re about to discover a secret someone has already killed once to protect and one that might get them both killed.

Sometimes who you are goes far beyond who you thought you were.

Excerpt

Beyond Identity
Karrie Roman © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Noah had been here before. People didn’t have sporadic stints of living on the streets and expect to escape the occasional bashing. An assault could come from anywhere—another rough sleeper, a junkie, pimp, or sometimes from some teenage twat who thought they were being hilarious beating the shit out of someone whose life had already kicked them in the teeth. When someone was homeless, they were either invisible or a goddamn target. The fucking irony.

This was different though. This wasn’t some son of a bitch grabbing the nearest body and laying his fists into them. Noah had been stalked. He’d watched this bastard skip first one and then the next rough sleeper he’d come across in the alley until he’d spotted Noah.

Noah recognised what the man wanted, could tell by the tense set of his shoulders, the white knuckles of his clenched fists. He wanted to make Noah hurt. Sensing danger became heightened when surrounded by it day and night with no locked door to offer even the illusion of safety. So, when he’d first spotted this man, Noah had wanted to run, he’d never wanted to run so desperately in his life. But he had nowhere to go. He’d chosen poorly the night before—a rookie mistake, though he was no rookie to sleeping on the streets.

He’d been so damn exhausted, when searching for a spot to lay his head, he hadn’t cared that there’d been no second exit, no escape route in this alleyway. He’d trapped himself, and a monster had walked right into his trap. But Noah was the one caught in the deadly snare.

Noah could fight. He was scrappy, no finesse, no training, but he could throw a half-decent punch. He was capable of delivering a hit to make his opponent think twice about going after him, and if that didn’t work, he knew how to bite, kick, scratch; hell, he’d go for the balls if he had to. Another thing learned on the street if someone wanted to survive was to use every weapon in their arsenal.

The monster coming for him was tall, not the biggest man Noah had ever seen, but definitely the biggest one he’d ever had to fight. The darkness shadowed his features, but he knew the eyes were bleak, cruel; he’d seen a flash of them in the streetlight near the top of the alleyway, or maybe his imagination was making the man’s physicality as sinister as his demeanour. Noah felt those eyes on him. Glaring. And he wondered what the hell he’d done to this guy to piss him off so badly.

Noah stood, legs wide, shoulders high, chest out, trying to make himself appear as big as possible. From the man’s bearing and manner, it was evident he had next to no chance of scaring this guy off, but he had to try. Any fight he didn’t end up actually fighting was a win.

Much of his time on the street Noah was alone, but never more so than when some fucker decided to take a potshot at him. He didn’t really blame anyone for their indifference. They lived in a don’t-get-involved kind of world and when no one had their back having someone else’s could be very hard.

The man kept coming. He was close now, close enough to allow Noah to see him more clearly. His eyes were as cruel as Noah had thought, but the rest of his face he’d describe as a baby face, soft, almost sweet-looking. His cheeks were puffed as though full of cotton wool, a perfectly shaped snub nose sat above rich red cupid’s bow lips pulled into a sneer. Without more light he was unable to pick accurate skin and hair colour, but he’d guess fair for both.

Noah raked his gaze quickly down the man’s body. He was muscular but not hulk-like. He had no obvious weapon, though from the size of his hands, Noah suspected he’d be able to do plenty of damage with those alone.

He wondered if the man would speak. Sometimes they did, especially the arsehole teens who, for whatever reason, felt the need to justify why they were beating the shit out of their victim, all while bragging amongst themselves about how tough they were.

Faster than he’d have thought possible, the man lashed out. Noah’s head snapped back, and a spray of blood bloomed from his nose, the sickening crack turning his stomach. He hadn’t had a chance to move. The stranger’s speed and accuracy confirming to Noah this man was no amateur—and Noah was in big trouble.

Before his head had even righted, he took a blow to his stomach, the force of it doubling him over. He gasped for air, trying to suck in big gulps through his mouth. The man’s knee connected with his already broken nose before he could catch his breath, and the follow-up blow to the back of his head sent him to his knees.

Noah didn’t stand a chance; he understood how dire his situation was now. This man was a professional—he knew what he was doing.

His vision was darkening, tiny purple-black spots making it difficult for him to see clearly. He lashed out with a fist, connecting with what he thought was the man’s thigh. He wondered if his attacker even felt the blow there was so little power behind it.

The man aimed for his head again, but somehow Noah managed to dodge backwards so the blow was only glancing. Unlike in the movies, Noah knew a normal person couldn’t take too many direct, powerful hits to their head without substantial damage or worse. His focus was scattered, not sharp enough for him to decide what to do about the punches raining down on him though. Did he duck and cover, hope to ride out the attack while protecting his head? Or did he try to get up and fight?

He kind of roll crawled to put some distance between them but the man charged relentlessly after him. Noah kicked out with his leg. He tried to aim for the man’s knee, but his head was spinning worse than the one time he’d had way too much whisky. He wasn’t sure where his foot ended up connecting, but his attacker only grunted and kept coming.

Noah curled into a ball, pulling his head down to his chest and wrapping his arms around the vulnerable area. He felt a sharp hard kick to his back and then another. He tried to roll to his knees, but the bastard wouldn’t relent even a little.

“Hey! You there!” A booming voice called.

Noah’s attacker stopped immediately. He heard running footsteps and glanced out from beneath his arms just in time to see the man sprint down the alley, barrel into a man and woman at the opening, and keep right on running. He didn’t have the energy to move, much less chase after him or even call out for help. He closed his eyes and groaned.

He wasn’t quite sure what happened to time then—it either slowed down or sped right up. He was too out of it to know which. He heard voices, vaguely registered they were occasionally talking to him, but he couldn’t be fucked answering. He wanted to sleep. His eyes were welded shut—they had to be—but lights flashed continually behind them. There were more voices and then some arsehole was poking and prodding at him. It was the strangest thing—as though he was there but wasn’t.

One minute he was curled up on the cold, filthy concrete and then suddenly, he was being jostled around in some kind of vehicle. Ambulance, probably—at least he hoped it wasn’t a cop car. He smelled pee and knew it was his, but he didn’t have the wherewithal to be ashamed. He was amazed he was capable of smelling at all, given he was sure his nose must be shattered in a million pieces. Mixed with the acidic pee was the coppery stench of blood.

Someone was asking him for his name. He thought his name was Noah, but everything was a bit hazy. He couldn’t for the life of him think of his last name.

“Can you tell me your name?” the voice asked again.

“Shh. I’m sore,” he replied, though the words were so slurred he didn’t know if he’d be understood.

He heard a soft chuckle and then that damn voice again. “I know you’re sore, but can you tell me your name.”

“Noah,” he groaned, so the voice would shut up.

“Noah, do you have any allergies?”

Jesus fucking Christ, didn’t this idiot know he just had the stuffing beaten out of him? He didn’t give a shit about allergies. He groaned again. The fucker could take his whimpered reply however he wanted.

“I’ll take that as a no. I’m going to give you a shot of morphine. Have you had anything to drink tonight?”

“Don’t drink.” Fuck, the slurring was getting worse. He shook his head no to make sure this guy would understand him. He felt like his goddamn brain was rattling around in his skull.

“Okay, good. Here we go then, just a small pinch.”

Noah felt a bite—a fucking painful one—in his arse cheek. “Fuck,” he spat. Small pinch my arse.

“I know, sorry. Morphine shots kinda hurt.”

“Arsehole,” he groaned. Every part of him hurt, but hopefully the morphine would kick in soon. He knew he was being taken to a hospital but wished he wasn’t. He wished he could talk them into letting him out now. With his veins full of morphine to dull the pain, he’d be okay. He’d find somewhere to curl up for a while and sleep it off. But they had their duty of care and blah, blah, blah. He’d sign something to say they did all they could, and he’d happily take the blame if he died from his injuries on the street.

He hated hospitals, loathed anywhere really that put him on the radar. He was no criminal, and he wasn’t on the run, but the idea of anyone knowing exactly where he was sent shivers up his spine for no particular reason except that’s just the way he was made.

Hands busied themselves all over his body. He had neither the energy nor the ability to open his eyes and watch what they were doing. From the noises being made and the sensations on his skin, they were putting in an IV and attending to his wounds. Noah floated happily on his morphine cloud, content to lie back and let those hands have their way with him. He still wished he wasn’t headed for a hospital, but he’d keep the worry for when the drugs wore off.

He felt the cold air rush in when the doors of the ambulance were yanked open. His body was jostled around when the stretcher was pulled from the back, though he knew they were trying to be careful—that pesky duty of care. He really tried to peel at least one eyelid open when he heard voices gathered over him, discussing him as if he wasn’t there. He heard them say assault and concussion and lucky. He didn’t care about any of it. He was in no pain now, and all his other worries seemed far off, silly, unimportant.

He heard them say something about topping the dose, and then even the haziness in his brain faded as he drifted away.

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Meet the Author

Karrie lives in Australia’s sunshine state with her husband and two sons, though she hates the sun with a passion. She dreams of one day living in the wettest and coldest habitable place she can find. She has been writing stories in her head for years but has finally managed to pull the words out of her head and share them with others. She spends her days trying to type her stories on the computer without disturbing her beloved cat Lu curled up on the keyboard. She probably reads far too much.

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A MelanieM Review: Just Like Heaven by T.L. Bradford

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Rating:   3.25 stars out of 5

Noah Sinclair
Noah Sinclair is best described as an egotistical, pompous, anal retentive, asshat. And those are his better qualities. Lately, Noah has lost touch with his playboy character “Jace” on the show Americana and can’t quite put his finger on why. The studio decides it is time to shake up his character by making him an offer he can’t refuse, literally. They will introduce a new love interest for his character “Jace.” Only this time, there’s a twist.

Josh Hill
Josh Hill is up a creek and sinking fast. He’s got no job, no money, no credit and is about to be kicked out of his apartment. Opportunity comes in the form of a job offer from the show Americana. Everything should be perfect; only there is one hitch. He will be the new love interest for Noah Sinclair’s character on the beloved show.

So, opposites are supposed to attract, right? Not so fast. No one said life was that easy. Both actors find themselves in untested waters. Will they be able to play a same-sex couple with no prior experience authentically? Well, they say practice makes perfect.

Carefree, fun-loving Josh and uptight, overbearing Noah, realize they need to make the best of their bad situation and are forced to find common ground. Over time, their roles in each other’s lives become blurred. Is their attraction fake, or is it real? To top it off, Noah has a dark skeleton in his closet that can prevent them from ever moving forward.

Can they get on the same page and save both of their careers and their relationship?

Or will they end up yesterday’s tabloid fodder?

Like Heaven by T.L. Bradford was an interesting read.  Just as there were elements to like and be entertained by there were also aspects of the story that were disjointed, character issues that took away from the plot, and continuity problems that you couldn’t overlook. Plus it just felt overly long.

The manner and plot is the initial element that drew me to read this story. Loved the idea of a Netflix type serial deciding to take a popular character down a new  “path” in the series storyline to gain new followers and higher ratings.  Sounds legit.  The story is almost narrated by both main characters, Josh and Noah.  Noah being the already popular actor on set, but in fact in danger of losing his job because his on series love interest was reassigned to another storyline.  The other actor?  A hardluck newbie, Josh, down to his last dime, almost ready to return home if something doesn’t happen soon. Both men say they are straight, and now become destined to play gay roles as lovers.

Great.  But this is not a comedy.

Bradford has created Noah with a dark, tormented past that will slowly reveals itself until it crashes out  with a horror towards the end. It’s with Noah’s character and history that I raise many issues.   We are told repeatedly that he was raised on an estate and his real father is rich.  The truth, which is not supposed to contradict that statement,  would actually have no bearing on reality. Fundamentalist whackjob preachers living on estates? Compounds perhaps.  Anyway, just didn’t connect.  As did so many other things about Noah’s upbring, the abuse, the lack of reporting, including his college incidents.  I don’t want to go into particulars because that runs into spoilers but lets just say the things that happended to Noah, the lack of reporting all throughout his life, how if affected him.  And his lack of therapy.  There are huge holes here that are never resolved.

That speaks to changes in the character’s personality.  He is not the most likeable fish in the sea tbh.  While he will be honest about  why is his hurting Josh, being emotionally unavailable etc, , and the author clearly wants you to believe that they have laid down the foundation here  for this couple, instead there was a part of me that thought there was something missing. Possibly because Noah himself seemed so unstable and fluid for someone who is supposed to be so rigid.

Josh on the other hand was adorable.  I enjoyed his character (except for the bit where he was worrying that he was the “woman” in the relationship because it made him less of a man. Really? I found that  demeaning to women, btw.  But the author breezed through that convo in a matter of minutes so all done.

The parents of both Josh and Noah (stepfather) were wonderfully drawn and spending time with them as well as the rest of the cast and families was a joy.  Made the book fly when other parts just dragged.

Continuity is a problem here.  As I talked about years ago in a blog post, readers care about the pets authors give their characters.  A author either needs to commit to  them or leave them out.  Here Bradford does the worst possible.  The author introduces Lola the cat as Noah’s sole companion as a way to show how restricted Noah’s life is  and how routine. And then dumps the animal all together, forgetting the cat until it makes a brief appearance at approximately 86% where Josh makes some comment about Noah returning home to “feed Lola”. Than the cat disappears for good. Smh.  The poor cat could have been a porcelain dolly for all the emotional weight that animal carried or effort the author put into it.  Why not just leave it  out?

There’s also the eye patch (won’t say how or on who that appears). But sometime you are looking at both eyes, sometime just one.  Ugh.  Continuity people.  Wounds also work that way as well here for secondary characters.  The end of the story just gets out of control and my disbelief ran deep.  In about everything.  Especially Noah’s actions.

Well, I just think the promise here was huge in the original storyline.  The two men meeting as actors, learning about their sexuality, coming out and finding a way to happiness.  For me at least, all that stuff with the father, well it almost belonged in another story.  it was like there were two books here and two Noah’s.  I bet you can tell which novel I preferred reading..

 

Cover Artist: Photo by Neospot, design by T.L. Bradford: It’s a half naked guy.  Doesn’t really have anything to do with the storyline.  Meh.

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 484 pages
Expected publication: September 4th 2019
ASINB07V9F9B4J
Edition Language English

Check Out the Release Blitz for Change of Plans by Riley Long (excerpt)

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NEW RELEASE

Book Title: Change of Plans

Author: Riley Long

Publisher: Riley Long

Cover Artist: Marie Cole

Release Date: August 19, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: friends to lovers

Themes: forgiveness

Heat Rating:  4 flames   

Length: 208 pages

It is a standalone story.

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Blurb

Even the best laid plans can go wrong…

Jared Costa is a touring backup dancer for one of pop music’s hottest up-and-comers. He’s also harboring a crush on his sexy-as-sin dance partner, Corey, who is tragically straight. Jared’s plan to make it through another month of the tour without acting on his desires should work, if he doesn’t let his hunger for Corey get the best of him. Once the tour is over, they will go their separate ways and Jared can put this foolish crush behind him for good.

Corey Miller put his same-sex attraction days behind him in college. Staying away from entanglements is the key to the big plans for his career and making a name for himself as a dancer. Or, that was the plan, until a game of beer pong ends in a kiss–with his luscious dance partner, Jared. Corey’s spun off center, unable to regain his balance. After their hot-as-hell kiss, he’s questioning if fame is all he wants, or if what he needs is something–or someone–else.

With both their plans crumbling, can they abandon those and devise a new plan? One that holds them together, instead of tearing them apart?

 

Excerpt 

Jared paced backstage, only half-listening to the house music blaring overhead and the screaming of the impatient fans in the stands. Behind him, Ben and Zach from Addicted Fling were shit-talking one another. The guys who made up Addicted Fling were fine when they were offstage, but their pre-show bravado grated on Jared’s nerves. So did the band’s name, for that matter. It all seemed to scream “trying too hard,” but that was none of Jared’s business. At least the music wasn’t terrible. Jared spun to continue his pacing. 

The stage manager was working his way towards Jared, Corey—the other backup dancer—close behind. Jared’s heart thudded. Corey was … well, he and Corey were friends—or at least, Corey would probably claim that—but if Jared had his way, they’d do so much more than dance. As a result of his unrequited crush on the straight guy, Jared tried to keep Corey at an arm’s length. It was hard—blond, muscular Corey was exactly Jared’s type, with deep-set green eyes and a face full of stubble. Jared wanted to be wrapped up in the man.

“Okay, Jay,” Neil began. “Tonight’s a big one.” 

Jared stopped his pacing and nodded. “I know.” 

Neil adjusted his headset and paused to listen carefully. “Three more songs and you’re up.” 

Jared huffed out a little laugh. “Yeah, Neil, I know. We’ve been doing this for a month.” 

“This one’s important, though,” Neil said, as if Jared needed a reminder. “There are a few recruiters watching tonight, so people are going to be paying attention. This could be the next step in your career.”

A lump formed in Jared’s throat. He didn’t know if dancing backup for various pop stars was what he wanted to do for the rest of his career. He really wanted to teach and choreograph. That didn’t mean he was going to screw up on purpose, but he certainly wasn’t trying to impress recruiters. He nodded. “Gotcha.” 

“I’m serious, Jared. Dance like Gaga is watching.” 

Corey barked a laugh and clapped a hand on Jared’s shoulder. “Or like her lead dancer is checking out your ass.” 

Jared’s face flooded with heat. He never knew how to respond when Corey made an offhanded remark about sexuality—either of theirs. Jared fidgeted, working his hands into fists at his sides, and looked at his shoes, forcing a laugh. 

A few minutes passed while Corey and Jared helped each other stretch before it was their turn to go on stage. When Neil gave the cue, they hurried to their mark on either side of the stage. Jared couldn’t tear his eyes away from Corey. He imagined Corey coming closer, pulling Jared into a kiss, and then he heard the music start up, forcing the stage back into focus.

Jared waited for his cue before rushing onstage, but he couldn’t stop watching Corey, and he stumbled a little, his heart pounding. He was acutely aware of the crowd. This was a sold-out show, one of the biggest he’d ever performed. Morgan, the pop singer he danced backup for, had gotten lucky with this tour, landing an opening gig for one of the biggest rock bands in the country, and—

“Cincy, how you doin’ tonight? My name is Morgan Palmer, and I am so excited to be here with you! Welcome to the Crushing Tour!” Morgan screamed into her mic as the song ended, cutting through Jared’s thoughts. The crowd went nuts, screaming back at her. She had won the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people on this tour, and every night her songs worked their magic on a fresh batch of new potential fans. “Give it up for these beautiful boys, my dancers, Jared and Corey.” Once again, the crowd cheered. Jared sneaked a glance at Corey, his light skin shining with sweat under the hot lights already.

 

About the Author

Riley Long is a wife and mother living a quiet life in Virginia, with her husband, son, and two energetic pit bulls. She passes her evenings writing, reading, and watching bad television (or not so bad television). For fun, Riley participates in NaNoWriMo, GISH, and reads with her book club, the BAMFs. She likes things with silly acronyms. The craziest thing Riley has ever done involves whipped cream and hugs.

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Doctor’s Orders (Copper Point Medical #3) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Nearly twenty-four hours after finishing this story, the last in the series, I feel bereft, as if I’ve lost good friends. Not only do I miss Jared and Nick, I miss Erin and Owen, and Jack and Simon. How will I go on without the cast from Copper Point in my life? That may sound a bit dramatic, but the truth is that I’ve stopped what I’m doing a number of times today to think fondly of Jared and Nick and wonder how everything is going at St. Ann’s. 

This book is not at all like the first two, but this couple has known each other a long time, were once high school lovers, and still love each other deeply though they take great pains to keep their feelings hidden. That’s especially true of Nick, the hospital CEO. A handsome black man in his late thirties, he lives with his mother, grandmother, and sister in his childhood home, supporting them financially and emotionally and trying his best to live up to the ideal man they and his late father planned for him to be. Those plans did not include being gay, falling in love with a doctor, or being open about it. In a word, Nick is torn. 

His matriarchal household provided his firm foundation in his religious and family beliefs and it’s not something he can shed easily, even when an accident literally throws him back into Jared’s arms, twenty years after the last time they were together, and the flames glow again from the embers they’ve kept banked. There’s no escaping their attraction now and Jared is willing to give Nick time this time, unlike the ultimatum he gave Nick in their teens. But giving him time takes its toll on Jared and the smiling doctor begins to crack on the inside. The key point, per Jared, is community. Nick belongs to his family and his church in a way Jared had never known and likely never would.

I love the way the author weaves in the characters from books one and two, including secondary characters—board members and friends. There’s a whole community here, not just the two principal stars in this drama, and in a way, the ending when the whole community is present for what happens at the Founders Day parade is fitting for this couple. I have a note to myself at the 25% mark that although I already knew the characters from the early books, the author sealed my reading enjoyment with the elevator accident. And another note: the author’s style is so polished that even when a character does something I don’t like, I’m still interested because the writing has pulled me in.

All in all, this is a book—and a series—that is so worth reading. There’s no cookie-cutter prose here. Each book has a different couple, a different style, a different feel—but all have a happy ending. I highly recommend this series to all who love MM romance.

The attractive cover by Kanaxa is similar to others in the series in that it features a single character against a white background. In this case, it’s the very handsome Nick Beckert, hospital CEO and Jared’s lifelong love. 

Sales Links:Goodreads • Publisher • Audible • Ripped Bodice • Barnes & Noble • Google Play Ebook • Google Play Audio • Apple Books • Kobo (US) • Kobo (Canada) • Amazon (US) • Amazon(Canada) • Amazon (UK) • Powells

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: August 20th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Orders
ASIN B07QVKSLPN
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #3

Copper Point: Medical Series

The Doctor’s Secret

The Doctor’s Date

The Doctor’s Orders