Looking for that Heartwarmer that Spans the Globe? Check out the Release Blitz for 717 miles by Sophia Soames (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: 717 miles

Author: Sophia Soames

Publisher: Self published

Cover Artist: Miriam Latu

Release Date:  April 30, 2019

Length: 104 969 words/ 371 pages

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames  

Trope/s: New adult

Themes:  Coming of age, Au pair (Manny), Travel, Family, Airline Industry,

London, UK, Oslo, Norway, School. Enemies to lovers. Bisexuality. Gay. Out and Proud.

TRIGGER WARNINGS:

 Deals with serious bullying.

For US readers, this story is set in the UK where the age of consent is 16.

The MC’s are 17 and 19. Mature content.

It is a standalone story.

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Blurb

The calculated flying distance from Oslo to London is equal to 717 miles which is equal to 1153 km. If you want to go by car, the driving distance between Oslo and London is 1732.79 km. If you ride your car with an average speed of 112 kilometres/hour (70 miles/h), travel time will be 15 hours 28 minutes.

Adam Vik Solheim should not be in London. He’s not supposed to be anywhere near the British capital, because Adam Vik Solheim, age 19, is supposed to be on a beach in Bali. He is supposed to be on the first stop on an Asian backpacking trip of a lifetime. That was the plan. That is where he is supposed to be. Not here. Alone in a weird house in a strange city, being paid to look after some troubled 17-year-old.

Felix Haugland has to survive the final 3 weeks of school. Make it through 21 more days of hell. Then he is going to hide out in his room for the rest of the summer until he can figure out how to get his life back on track. Find a school far far away, where he can start over and not make mistakes.

He doesn’t need a flipping babysitter. He just doesn’t. His life is messed up enough as it is.

Excerpt

I don’t notice him at first, wrapped up in a blanket sitting on the sofa. The house is dark and quiet and if it wasn’t for the light from his phone, I wouldn’t have noticed him at all. He just looks up and meets my eye for a second. Looking a little bit sad.

“Where is your mum? I thought you were going to hang out today?”

“Gone to her boyfriend’s. Not sure when she will be back. Didn’t check. She left you money on the side there.”

“Oh.”

I don’t know what to say. Apart from that I’m sorry she is a bit of a shit mum. I mean she left him here alone, whilst she’s gone off to see her bloke. Then, I kind of think that we are all adults. Well, Felix might be. I am not. I still don’t know what to say.

“Philip went on the group chat. I got bored.” Felix gets up from the sofa. Walking over to the kettle and flicking the switch. At least it fills the silence, the kettle humming quietly as the water heats up.

“I saw that, it was funny. Really good.” I pretend to check my phone.

Felix gets a cup down. Pulls out a teabag. Tilts his head towards the coffeemaker.

I get a coffee pod out and load it whilst Felix gets another cup. Nudging my hand as he places it in the brewer, which makes me jolt back. I don’t know why. I just don’t know how to act around him when we are alone. Like this.

He is leaning back against the counter. Chewing on his bottom lip with his arms crossed over his chest. Wearing joggers that are slung low over his hips, and a hoodie that just doesn’t quite cover the blond fuzz on his stomach.

I am standing there biting my nails and fiddling with the envelope on the counter. I try to catch his eye. Staring at his lips and thinking dirty thoughts. Then, looking away the minute he looks up.

It’s different flirting with girls. If Felix was a girl, I would be all charming and touchy-feely and wink and compliment her and we would both know where things would end up in the end.

With Felix, I haven’t got a clue. I don’t know where he falls, whether he is straight or gay or whatever he defines as. He might just think of me as some big brother figure. Someone who makes him feel safe. Someone who he kisses and clings to and cuddles. He seems as confused as me. His hand shaking a little as he pours the boiling water in the cup. Stirs with a teaspoon. Spills a little on the side.

I try to be helpful. I mean, I try to wipe it up with a tea towel, only to nudge his arm with my elbow which makes us both jump. I spill half of his tea. The cup spinning on the worktop. Felix’s hand touching mine, as we both try to catch the cup before it falls. Me catching it and Felix jolting back like he has been burnt. He is sucking his finger into his mouth. Catching my eye and not looking away. He just looks at me, all eyes and hurt and feelings and… I don’t know. I suppose it’s heat. Desire.

It makes me a bit crazy. I mean, I am already crazy, but I think I must be crazier than should be allowed, because I grab his face with both hands and launch at those lips. Just smashing my mouth on his. Walking him backwards until he is being squashed against the kitchen table that is creaking and scratching along the floor under the weight of us.

I am panting. Hard. Being the worst kisser in the world. There is nothing sensual or soft about me and my kissing. Not like I would kiss a girl. I am kissing Felix because I need to. Because I am desperate and because his hands are fisting the hair on my head, pulling and scratching my scalp whilst he catches his breath. Letting his forehead rest against mine, breathing hard and fast against my lips.

Then, he starts to kiss me. Properly kiss me. The way I should have been kissing him. Lips and tongues and more than a little bit of teeth, hard and hot and making me feel lightheaded. I am not breathing properly. Not getting enough oxygen to my brain. Grinding against him. Rutting and jerking whilst he is whimpering and panting and making all these little sounds that just egg me on.

I don’t know what I am doing. I don’t know what got into me. I let go. I let him go. Pull my hands back and step away from him. Wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. Stumbling backwards and blinking into the light like I have just woken up.

“I shouldn’t have done that.” I mumble. Well I shouldn’t. I wasn’t supposed to do that.

 

About the Author

Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over tv-shows, has fallen in and out of love with more pop stars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un)glamourous real-life job.

Her long suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The Au Pair just sighs.

She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia.

Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever and she hopes it may long continue.

Miriam Latu is a Norway based artist, specializing in hand drawn pencil portraits. She works with old-school pen and paper, and more of her work can be found on Instagram

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Giveaway

Little Harbour, my first novel, will be FREE on all Amazon platforms from April 30 until  May 4.

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Love Suspense and Historical Romance? Check Out the Tour and Giveaway for Under The Radar by Lillian Francis

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Cover Design: Tiferet Design
 
Length: 138,000 words approx.
 
Blurb
 

It’s 1942 and after a sexual indiscretion, US Navy pilot Zachary MacKenzie is sent to serve in the Royal Navy’s submarine service—a shockingly harsh punishment for a man who loves to fly. The submarine is oppressive and frustrating for him, and he’s marked out from his peers, publicly by being American, and privately by his attraction to men.


The only bright spot is the company of his steward, sonar operator Gethin Llewelyn. Despite the differences of rank and background, they’re drawn to each other. Gethin’s integrity complements Zach’s casual joie de vivre, and soon the friendship develops into something much more.


As the threats of war increase, the submarine is plagued by potentially hostile vessels, and circumstances lead them to suspect there’s a spy amongst their own crew. Being forced even closer together as they work for the greater good reveals a new awareness, and Zach doesn’t know what is in more danger, the vessel under his charge or his heart.


“From Polari to Polaris, it’s never been just the nice girls who love a sailor. Lillian Francis effortlessly evokes the claustrophobia and camaraderie of life—and forbidden love—aboard a WW2 submarine.” – JL Merrow

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review here.  We highly recommend it!

 

Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.


http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter @LillianFrancis_
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Email: lillianfrancis@rocketmail.com

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Release Blitz for Finding Finlay (MC Securities #2) by Ruby Moone (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Availalbe to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 72,800 words approx.

Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
MC Securities Series 
 
Book #1 – Trusting Jack – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Blurb
 

Aaron Baker has a problem. His online clothing company is under attack. Whilst MC Securities tackle the breaches in security, he asks for an agent to pose as his fake boyfriend. He doesn’t bargain for getting a snarky, ex-marine with sad, blue eyes and submissive tendencies.



Dumped by his boyfriend, Finlay Masters concludes that the best, and safest, place for him is to return to the closet. Kicked out by his parents as a kid for being gay, closeted in the army for fifteen years, body wrecked by an explosion that cost him his job, he isn’t the best bet for any kind of relationship. Even a fake one.


As the investigation mounts, Aaron wants more, but Finn has no faith in love, never dared need anyone. Aaron talks of how lucky he is to find him, but Finn knows if he is to have a chance at a relationship at all, he needs to find himself.
Each book in the MC Securities Series can be read as standalone. 
 
Excerpt
 

Finn cleared his throat. “Just thinking that if you fancy me, and I fancy you, we could take advantage of the situation we find ourselves in. So to speak.”


Aaron couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Finn was suggesting they had sex? “You put forward a strong argument.”


Finn stared straight forward. “You just need to know that my body is a mess. My left leg, left shoulder, chest…” he waved a hand over the area and pulled a face. “Not pretty. I can leave a T-shirt on and sweats if it’s too much for you.”


The matter of fact way Finn said it robbed Aaron of speech. The car pulled up at the venue, and the moment was lost, but Aaron knew he needed to address it, he just didn’t know how.


He walked into the hotel with Finn by his side. He looked absolutely magnificent. His military bearing was clearly apparent in the way he held himself, he looked every inch the protective boyfriend as he stood aside to let Aaron pass. They walked, shoulder to shoulder in the direction of the event. Aaron glanced sideways at him.


“Hey.” His voice was low.


Finn looked at him. His dark rimmed blue eyes unreadable.


“No T-shirts, no sweats.”


Something shone in those dark eyes. The side of his mouth twitched in the tiniest of smiles as he looked away.

 

My name is Ruby Moone and I love books. All kinds of books. My weakness is for romance, and that can be any kind, but I am particularly fond of historical and paranormal. I decided to write gay romance after reading some fantastic books and falling in love with the genre, so am really thrilled to have my work published here. The day job takes up a lot of my time, but every other spare moment finds me writing or reading. I live in the north west of England with my husband who thinks that I live in two worlds. The real world and in the world in my head…he probably has a point!


Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/RubyMoone/?ref=bookmarks
Twitter – @RubyMooneWriter
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rubymoone/

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Don’t Miss Out on the Book Blast for Always Ours: An MMM Menage Romance (The Always Series #5) by J.P. James (excerpt and giveaway)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title:  Always Ours: An MMM Menage Romance (The Always Series, book 5)

Author:  J.P. James

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Kimberly Soto

Genre/s: Contemporary MMM Romance

Trope/s: Ménage

Themes: Battling hate crime in the LGBTQ community

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length:  55 000 words/ 198 pages

It is a standalone story.

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I was the victim of an LGBTQ hate crime but two handsome cops saved me.  Will our love prevail?

Blurb

Chance:

I didn’t know what danger was until I was assaulted one night. It was a hate crime against the LGBTQ+ community, but fortunately, two cops stepped out from the shadows and wrestled my attacker to the ground. My breath caught upon seeing them because Mason and Logan are everything I’ve ever wanted: brawny, handsome, and heroic. But something tells me there’s more to these men than meets the eye.

Logan:

We shouldn’t have taken what the young man offered. But when he knocked on our door, my twin and I gave into our deepest desires. We’re twins who share, and Chance said he wanted to feel alive again after his close brush with death. As a result, we stepped up and made it a skin-to-skin game. 

But now, the relationship has gone off the rails. Chance wants more – not just our bodies, but also our hearts, minds, and souls. The problem? We’re not ready for this. We’re cops, and while the force has an unofficial “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy, it’s difficult to keep our innermost desires secret. But Chance wants more. He’s not satisfied with being kept in the closet. He wants to be part of our lives, out in the open and proud. Can we do this for him? Will we, when our lives and careers are at stake? 

**Always Ours is a full-length MMM novel with a HFN/HEA and no cliffhangers.**

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Excerpt

“Walk me home?” I ask the twins shyly.

I have to fight past my nerves if I want them to take me seriously.  Hell, I need to do this if I’m going to take myself seriously.

Logan and Mason share glances and then nod.  I know these guys are big and strong, but I can’t help going mushy whenever they look at each other.  I might not ever be able to understand their twin language, but it’s a privilege to witness.

I don’t want to be alone, so I’m grateful when they agree to take me home.  I live in a tiny apartment on the top floor of a five-story building.  Of course, there are plenty of stairs and the three of us smile as we ascend.

“Police Academy training has nothing on this walk-up,” Logan chuckles as we hit the fourth floor.

“I’m used to it,” I explain with a spring in my step.

“I can tell,” Mason husks.

I feel the firm, sure touch of his hand at my ass as we ascend the stairs.  I laugh but don’t bother batting his hand away.  I love that he appreciates my body.  I don’t exercise much, but I have to scale one hundred and thirty-two steps at least once a day.  My lower body is made of steel, and if these guys want to admire it, I’m not going to stop them.  If anything, it gives me a confidence boost.

Without thinking, I let out a low purr.  It’s quiet in the staircase, and I know I can’t it play off like an actual cat escaped a neighbor’s apartment.

I turn around to face them, and find their hungry eyes feasting on my body.  I watch the rise and fall of their chests as they try to calm their breathing, but my little outburst unleashed more of their animalistic grit.  I consider it a privilege that I can do this to them.

Everything about these guys feels like a privilege, if I’m being honest, and I don’t want to deny myself the pleasure either.  My body screams for Logan and Mason, as if I belong to them already.  Doctor Marty says I should focus on the things I have control over, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot.  I’m tired of feeling overwhelmed and helpless.  I want to chase the things that inspire and empower me, and never look back.

Right now, what empowers me is having my buff saviors by my side.  Logan and Mason treat me right.  When I feel anxious, I remember their sure, comforting touches and their gentle, kind words.  It warms me, and calms the ache in my heart.

It’s what I need to feel and hear tonight. 

I think this does more healing for me than any therapy.  I know Doctor Marty is a professional, but these guys mend my body and soul more than they know.

“My apartment is at the end of the hall,” I explain as I push the door open to the fifth floor.  “Would you like to come in for a bit?”

They nod and pick up the pace behind me.  I notice their eyes shift around as we cross towards my front door.  In fact, I think they’ve been watching for lurkers and creeps the entire walk home.  Maybe it’s their training that makes them act this way, but I like to think there’s something special about this level of security.  Something reserved only for me.  Dare to dream, I guess.

“This is nice,” Mason says, stepping into my apartment with Logan on his heels.  I shut the door behind them, feeling my heart start to quicken.

“It’s tiny,” I tell them, but Logan shakes off my remark.

“It might be tiny but it’s clean.  If you weren’t pursuing interior design, now would be the time we tried to convince you to,” he says with an affirming smile.  “Your décor is amazing.”

Yum.  Every word out of their mouths gives me strength.

I gesture for them to sit at the leather couch in the living room.

“My Aunt Darcy bought this sofa and also my bed.  They’re the only nice things I own because everything else is Ikea, until I get a real job at least,” I joke.

“It’s beautiful,” says Mason as he grips the leather cushion beneath him.

“And there’s nothing wrong with Ikea,” Logan adds.  “It has its uses.”

I pull a cushion from the closet and set it on the ground in front of them.

“Hey, don’t sit there,” Mason starts, but my hand flies up to stop him.

“Believe me, I like sitting on the ground.  Plus, this way I can admire both of you at the same time,” I tell them.  I can feel the blush on my cheeks but I fight through it.

“Thank you,” Logan chuckles.  “You’re really sweet.”  Mason smiles too.

“I wanted to tell you something,” I say as I look between their beautiful blue eyes.  I take my seat on the cushion, and push my knees up to my chest as I cradle myself for comfort.

“Yes?” the twins ask.  I take a deep breath.

“Well, I started going to therapy because you know the city pays for it after an attack like the one I had.  I had my first session the other day, and I have another appointment next week.  Until I can get my anxiety under control.”

Their eyes are a complex mix of affection and sadness, the blue going from light to dark, and then back again.  They’re happy that I’m seeking treatment, but it’s another reminder of how we know one another, and how we got to this place.  The good with the bad, I suppose.

“We’re proud of you,” Mason promises, looking directly into my eyes.  “It’s important to take your mental health seriously.”

Logan nods all the same.  “Exactly.  You’re brave, but we already knew that.  This is to help you recover even more.”

The blush hasn’t left my face.  If anything, I feel warmer and definitely want to take my shirt off, anything to get some cold air on my skin.

“There’s something we want to ask you too,” Logan says in the next moment.

I look between them, but their expressions are unreadable.  “Sure, ask away.”

“The trial for your attacker is in a few days.  I was thinking about testifying, if that’s alright with you,” Logan confesses.

My chest tightens, but the twins have their hands on me before I freak out.

“We don’t want to stress you out,” Mason adds.  “But the DA has asked us to get up on the stand.”

I steady my breathing, trying to focus on their touch.

“That’s alright.  It’s fine.  I’m going to be fine,” I say.

Mason nods, and I can feel my face burning up.  It’s not like they have any choice when it comes to testifying.  But still, their concern shakes me to my core.  It’s all so much, how these guys take care of me and ask about getting up on the stand, as if my opinion makes a difference.  In such a short time, they’ve become important people in my life.  I can feel it everywhere, in my heart, in my head, and in my groin right now.

“You seem flushed,” Logan notes as his eyes rake over my face.  They dip lower, taking in the rest of me as I unfurl my knees from my chest.

“Yeah,” I breathe.  “I can’t help it.”

I let my gaze wander over their bodies.  They must like it too, both of them spreading their arms and legs wider on the couch, giving my eyes as much of them as possible.

“What do you want, sweetheart?” Mason asks.  He tries to sound innocent but my ears find nothing of the sort behind his hoarse voice.

I focus again on them, succumbing to the fire building in my chest.  “I want you.  Both of you.  Is that okay?”

About the Author

J.P. James is an MM author who’s secretly been writing LGBTQ romance novels for a decade.  She looks forward to bringing you more steam, heat, and passion between handsome billionaires, beautiful boys, and the men who rock her world.

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Need a New Contemporary Romance? Check out the Book Blast for The Handyman’s History (The Handyman #4) by Nick Poff (excerpt and giveaway)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: The Handyman’s History (The Handyman series, book 4)

Author: Nick Poff

Publisher: Old Spruce Productions/Self-Published 

Genre/s:  Contemporary gay fiction/romance

Trope/s: Gay couple building a relationship in a small town

Themes: Facing the past to create a better future

Heat Rating:  2 flames  

Length:  336 pages

Release Date, February 6, 2019

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Tagline

Handyman Ed Stephens is back, exploring the past to build a future with his partner Rick in THE HANDYMAN’S HISTORY.

Blurb

“Sometimes I feel like it’s their world, and we’re allowed to live in it.”

–Gordy Smith in The Handyman’s History

The year since the death of their beloved benefactress Hilda Penfield has been a busy and sometimes stressful one for Handyman Ed Stephens and his partner, Rick Benton. They hope some peace and quiet will return to Penfield Manor after they host the wedding of Rick’s sister Claire to Matt Croasdale. Instead, Ed and Rick both find themselves involved in new activities.

As Rick’s boss, Realtor Vince Cummings, becomes aware of the opportunities available in the sudden expansion of Porterfield, he and Rick become the guiding forces for a major redevelopment project. Meanwhile, Ed’s innocent suggestions regarding the revival of a local festival leads to him becoming a member of the Porterfield Days Association, and the acceptance of additional responsibilities.

It’s Rick’s discovery of a tombstone in a disused town cemetery that sparks Ed’s curiosity about the background of his father’s family. Ed begins to question the relationship he had with his deceased father, and hopes learning some of the Stephens family secrets will enable him to make peace with his unresolved feelings.

The usual cast of suspects is back to both enrich and complicate Ed’s life: His sharp-tongued but supportive mother Norma, his sister Laurie, and housekeeper Effie Maude, who maintains her position at Penfield Manor, and provides amusement for Ed and Rick with her observations and pronouncements. Their best bud Gordy is on the scene as well, struggling to build a relationship in the early years of AIDS. Even Ed gets a taste of the hostility becoming more common as fear of the disease spreads. As Ed deals with the realities of being a gay man in a small town in 1985, he unexpectedly finds support from two unlikely sources, a visually impaired client, and a clergyman new to the town.

The Handyman’s History, with its soundtrack of classic oldies, will take its readers both forward and backward in the continuing saga of Ed and Rick, as their relationship strengthens, matures, and endures.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Excerpt

Ed looked at him, not really seeing him, thinking back to those Saturday nights spent in the bleachers of the Porterfield gym, hooting and hollering for those perennial losers, the Bobcats. There he was – shy, skinny Ed Stephens, along with Fat Ted, Science Nerd Greg, and Four Eyes Steve, all pretending to be part of the crowd, but knowing the minute they left the Bobcat cheer block they’d be ignored by the cool kids, as usual.

Ed remembered what Gordy had said last weekend: Sometimes I feel as though it’s their world and we’re allowed to live in it.

He had certainly felt that way in high school. He wondered if his friends back then felt the same way. Perhaps they did, but Ed was sure it was harder on him because he was toting a secret burden that the others didn’t have. He was trying his best to pretend he wasn’t a homosexual.

“I lied,” he said abruptly. “About those nights at Chef’s Inn; they weren’t a blast. They sucked.”

Rick looked at him seriously. “Oh?”

“Yeah. I never felt comfortable. Not really. I guess I just want to remember them as being a blast, you know?”

“High school,” Rick sighed. “Baby, you’re preaching to the choir, remember? I was so alone back then, so miserable. I don’t even want to think how many times I contemplated suicide. I’m just grateful it’s over with.”

“But don’t you sometimes wish,” Ed persisted, “that it was a blast? We had the best music ever, the cars were cool, and so were the movies and TV shows. It seems like it should have been fun.”

“The music was great,” Rick admitted. “The people at Broad Ripple High, however, were not. I hated it, and I don’t think that makes you or me any different from all those other guys like us. In fact, if there is a homosexual out there who was really happy in high school I hope I never met him, ‘cause I’d probably have to kill him.”

Ed chuckled.

“And about the music, well, we’ve got it. I mean, you’ve still got all your records, and we listen to them all the time because we still love those songs so much. It belongs to us. It’s one thing we were able to salvage from those years. And I think music kind of helps to wash away some of the sadness, you know; kind of like putting rose colored glass on the memories to make them prettier.”

Ed thought about Rick’s words. “That’s pretty good,” he said in admiration.

Rick grinned. “Yeah, it is, isn’t it? Anyway,” he said dropping the newspaper and picking up the book he was currently reading, “I guess that’s how I can compromise the whole thing in my head and not go crazy.”

Ed stood up and stretched, feeling restless. Arnie came into the room, looking for him. Ed picked up the cat and headed for the stairs.

“I thought you’d be going to the den to drool over the guy Solid Gold dancers,” Rick said.

“Eeh. I’m not in the mood for drooling. I think I’ll go upstairs and find something to read.

“Besides,” he said with a leer at Rick. “If I’m patient I still get to have you all to myself tomorrow night.”

Rick’s smile for him was as warm and tender as it ever had been. “It’s a date, baby. Count on it.”

Ed slowly walked upstairs, cradling the cat more for his own comfort than Arnie’s. He was suddenly very tired, but also incredibly grateful that Rick was in his life.

About the Author

Nick Poff lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Handyman’s History is his fourth novel. Learn more about his work at www.nickpoffauthor.com , on Facebook at “Nick Poff Author,” and on Amazon’s Author Central. You can also find him at www.patreon.com/nickpoff.  His short story, Lucky, is available on Amazon Kindle.

 

 

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Don’t Miss Out on the Release Blitz and Giveaway for Memory of Scorpions Series by Aleksandr Voinov

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The Memory of Scorpions series is a gritty military fantasy featuring a very diverse, very queer cast of characters. Political drama, court intrigue, love, loyalty, betrayal and a plot driven story line that will keep you guessing right up to the very end. The beautiful covers were created by Anna Sikorska.

Scorpion, Book 1

You learn your wisest lessons from your enemies. Assuming, of course, you survive the encounter.

Kendras is a casualty of war: injured, penniless, and quite possibly the last surviving member of the only family he’s ever known—the elite fighting force known as the Scorpions. When a steel-eyed stranger offers him medicine and shelter in exchange for submission and a secret task, Kendras has no choice but to accept. He is a Scorpion; he’ll do whatever it takes to survive.

But his true goal is to rebuild the Scorpions. Neither Steel’s possessive nature nor Kendras’s shattered foot can keep him from finding the last of his brothers… or the mysterious leader of the Scorpions, a man who held Kendras’s heart long before Steel tried to take it for himself. The goal is simple, the situation anything but. To rescue his leader and escape from Steel for good, Kendras must fight through a morass of politics and intrigue, where enemies are allies and even allies have hidden agendas.

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Lying with Scorpions, Book 2

If you lie with scorpions, you’d better have a taste for poison.

Now that Kendras’s lover Adrastes has claimed the throne of Dalman, Kendras is tangled deeper than ever in politics and intrigue. As the new leader of the Scorpions and Adrastes’s one true friend, he and his men stand between Adrastes and those who wish him dead.

And many do. Adrastes openly challenges the ocean priesthood for power while establishing himself at court and brokering with the realm’s various factions. He means for the Scorpions to become a fearsome legion again, but Kendras must first learn how to be a good officer and recruit to replace the fallen. His choices will determine the future of a group steeped in hundreds of years of history and tradition.

As both Kendras and Adrastes settle old scores, a new enemy arises in Commander Graukar, a war hero loyal to the old order. In his formidable mountain fortress, Graukar may hold the balance of power. But while Adrastes aims to either rule or destroy Graukar, Kendras finds himself doubting Adrastes for the first time, and sharing more with Graukar than he ever thought possible.

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A Taste for Poison, Book 3

Even the hand of a king is stung when it reaches for the scorpion.

After barely surviving an assassination attempt, King Adrastes is a changed man—one who mistrusts even his allies and friends. He readies his empire for war against an enigmatic enemy, the Elder of Vededrin, but not everyone approves. While courtiers dare only to whisper dissent, an outrider called Death foments rebellion in the mountains, aided by a prophecy that promises he’ll stop the Black King.

Kendras—former lover to Adrastes and leader of the Scorpions—is sent with his elite mercenary force to bring Death to justice. But when Kendras learns who’s hiding behind the mask, he must choose between his lover Graukar, newly appointed general to the king—and King Adrastes himself.

With no man to call master, the Scorpions could flee the danger and intrigue. But Kendras cannot abandon the man he once loved—or the man he’s growing to love—without first uncovering the real threat to the Empire.

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Meet the Author

Aleksandr Voinov is an emigrant German author living near London, where he works as an financial editor, writing coach, and complementary therapist. At 43 years of age, Voinov has written more than two dozen novels and published five novels with German publishers. After many years working in the horror, science fiction, cyberpunk and fantasy genres, Voinov is now primarily writing queer fiction.

Described as a “workaholic speed-writing freak” by fellow writers, a “creative writing class drill sergeant” by his writing ‘padawans’, Voinov is a self-confessed geek and has enlarged his days by 12 secret hours in return for the sacrifice of ten albino virgin pygmy hippos.

Voinov’s style has been called “dynamic to the point of breathlessness” and “disturbingly poetic” by publishers and literary agents. A recurring theme in his fiction is “the triumph of the human spirit” or an individual rising to challenge the status quo in a world gone bad.

Intellectually, he is drawn to the dark side of human nature and history. As a trained historian, he is fascinated by wars, religion and the conflict between the individual and society.

Interests at the moment include WWII, medieval siege warfare, William Marshall, the Golden Age of Piracy, and whale-hunting. These interests are subject to change from one day to the other, and Voinov single-handedly sustains two bookshops in London.

Public Contact Email: vashtan@gmail.com
Website: http://www.aleksandrvoinov.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aleksandr.voinov.12
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vashtan
Goodreads Author Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3074905.Aleksandr_Voinov
Tumblr: http://aleksandrvoinov.tumblr.com/
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/aleksandrvoinov
Newsletter: https://us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=0648aab5d3675b949f1329b38&id=eae6814f9c

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Cover Reveal for Murder At Oakschott Hall by Jim Austen (giveaway)

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Pre-Order Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Cover Design: Reese Dante
 
Length: 50,000 words approx.
 
Blurb


They have eyes for each other. But someone is eyeing them for murder. An erotic gay romance mystery.

In the Junior students’ dormitory at Oakschott Hall, a heavy gaslight falls from the ceiling, crushing the head of a student sleeping beneath it. Was it simply a tragic accident? To avoid publicity, the Headmaster asks Colin Revell, a young Oxford University graduate and former Oakschott student, to quietly investigate.


While interviewing the faculty and staff, Colin meets Max Lambourne, a handsome don who was wounded and gassed in WWI. When Colin tries to help Max overcome his trauma and depression, the two men fall in love and begin an erotic affair.

But when another student dies—diving at night into an empty swimming pool—murder is suspected. Students and faculty all come under suspicion, and rumors proliferate when Scotland Yard intervenes. Meanwhile, during all this confusion and wild theories, the murderer sees Colin and Max as threats. Unbeknownst to the two lovers, their lives are now in danger.



Author Bio


Born in 1984, Jim Austen grew up in Murphy, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas-Austin with a degree in communications and journalism. He works as a news producer for a station in Rhode Island.

Jim lives south of Boston with his wife and two children. A bisexual husband, he ‘came out’ to his wife 10 years ago after the birth of their second child. “My marriage and my gay life,” he says, “have each given me moments of great joy. However, it is a myth to believe a bisexual husband has the best of both worlds.”

Murder at Oakschott Hall is his first M/M romance novel. Jim is currently working on a novel about a bisexual married man called The Unfinished Husband.
 

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Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell

If you’ve read a book by RJ Scott or V.L. Locey to name two authors quickly off the top of my head, well, then you’ve seen the covers of Meredith Russell.  If you read some or all of the stories  in The Christmas Angel series by various authors, then you’ve seen the covers of Meredith Russell.  And of course, if you’ve read Forever In The Sun (co authored with RJ Scott) or Fallout,  you’ve seen a cover created by the artist for a book she’s written.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus if you are a follower of either RJ Scott or VL Locey or the MM Hockey Romance Group, then you are familiar with the adorable chibis that Meredith Russell draws of the characters of the Harrisburg Railers hockey players and their mates and families.  I’m hoping she will extend it to the Rush soon.  Here is the first chibi she drew.  It’s Tennant Rowe! The others can be found here at

Railers Chibi-style promo pieces

Adorable, right?  If you are a fan of the Harrisburg Railers series by RJ Scott and VL Locey, then you know Ten is featured in a very special story that’s to be released this summer, June 30th 2019.  Here’s a look at the cover by Meredith Russell, of course|
Now onto our interview….

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Meredith Russell on Art, Book Covers and Much More

  • How long it takes to put together a cover draft and whether or not they make multiple drafts to show authors/publishers?

Making a draft varies author to author for me. Some come with ideas, or a set style they’ve adopted, or images they’ve found themselves and so we go down one route and a single draft, and it’s a rather painless process. Then others need to see something to help decide what they actually are after from a cover. I’ve never really paid a lot of attention to exactly how long I spend on a draft. There are various stages I go through – getting any info or ideas from the author, looking at what images are available and which might work together, some back and forth with the author as to whether images fit with what they’re after, and finally the cutting/pasting/making etc of the draft. The time adds up but usually after a few days I have something to show them and a starting point to tweak into something final.

  • How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere (like Shutterstock

I work pretty much exclusively with images from stock sites so I am limited in some ways to what I can find on them and how I can maybe manipulate them into what we need. However, I would love to venture into digital art but I haven’t found the time to devote myself to figuring it out or getting the resources I’d need. I’ve had fun creating some simple drawings for RJ Scott, and a couple of others, who have had me turn their characters into little cartoon people though.

  • How much input comes from the author and/or storyline?

Again it varies. Some authors have a set idea of what they want. Some (naming no names lol) come to me requesting a man with brown hair and give me a couple of details about the story’s setting. I do like to know about the storyline or at least key moments or places that can be incorporated into the cover.

  • How did you get to become a cover artist?

What feels like a long time ago now, I used to do bits of fan art, mostly fanfiction banners for myself and some other writers. When RJ Scott went on to self-publishing she asked me to create her a cover and it went from there.

What mediums do you use? 

I work on a pc. I do have a pen and tablet that I use for drawing the cartoon characters (see above), but also a lot of those do actually start out as pencil and paper sketches that I then digitize and use as a guide.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done? 

Oh that’s a tough one. I recently did a set of seven covers for a series called The Christmas Angel. I liked how they turned out along with the challenge some of them offered considering they were all set in different time periods. A few others I really like include Liam Livings’ And Then That Happened, RJ Scott’s Boy Banned, KC Wells’ A Christmas Promise, and an as yet untitled merman cover I created as a premade that Amber Kell bought off me. Somebody should poke her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

I do. I really love Jay Aheer’s work. She does some beautiful pieces.

Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?

I don’t think so much as a child. I was more about the title and blurb, particularly considering what was popular in way of covers back then, or at least for the kinds of books I was reading. It wasn’t until maybe early twenties where I started being tempted by pretty covers, quite a few being the YA type books, or having a striking female model on them.

What do you find most rewarding as a Book Cover Artist?

I just really enjoy getting to work with the authors. I enjoy the sharing of emails, building a working relationship and even friendships.

If you could ask yourself a question, what would it be?

It would be, ‘Have you remembered about that request you got over on Facebook?’ Seriously, I have a terrible memory and am constantly emailing myself or telling people to send details in emails as my inbox is something I have open all day whilst on my computer and can easily check on my phone when I’m not at my desk.

From the Christmas Angel series…

For both the Author and Cover Artist:

  • What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?

Firstly, as an attention grabber. If you’re looking for something beyond the regular authors you read, the title and cover are the first things you’re exposed to so it helps if they make an impression. And secondly, covers can be a way of making a brand for authors. It might be they all have a set look – so maybe a single model on the cover, or simply keeping the font for their name consistent for all their books.

  • How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

I don’t think it’s changed it too greatly, in that whether you’re walking a row of books in a store or scrolling through online pages of somewhere like Amazon, covers are there to grab your attention.

  • What trends do you see in Book Covers in the industry? Past, present, and future?  {for example the rise of the naked half male torso, model overuse, generic covers ,etc.)

I think like with everything styles come in and out of fashion. There was the time of the headless models, shirtless torsos, two models, touched up single image covers,  Recently, for me at least, it’s been focusing on a single model on covers, for example The Christmas Angel series and having just one of the characters on there. And unfortunately, because cost is a factor for many authors when paying for cover art, repeated use of models from stock sites is difficult to avoid, but it offers artists the challenge to try and use them differently.

  • How do you feel about them?

Personally, I think the only trend I didn’t like was the headless men one. I know it was a way to make use of limited models in the earlier days, plus allows readers to form their own image of the character simply from whatever descriptions the authors wrote about them, but for me, I just wasn’t a fan. Otherwise, each trend has its place and does its job. There’s a risk of all books looking the same, but that’s then up to the artists, and also the authors and their input, to put their own twist on what’s popular.

  • Anything you would like to share with our readers?

If you’re interested in my work both as an author and cover artist you can view details at my website meredithrussell.co.uk, or find me over at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/meredithrussellauthor. Thank you.

 

About Meredith

Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing. Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.

Meredith Russell’s Media links
I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s spotlight with Meredith Russell.  It has been a joy getting to know her further.  Please check out more of her artwork and stories at her website listed above.
We have more Artist Spotlights Scheduled. The schedule to date (with links in case you missed one):
February 09:  Aisha Akeju
February 10:   Garrett Leigh
February 17:   Meredith Russell
February 24:  Reese Dante
March  3           Paul Richmond

Cover Artist Giveaway:

Please don’t forget to leave comments or questions for our artists to be entered into our Book Cover Artist Giveaway, a Gift Certificate for $10 the person chosen.  Please leave a email address where you can be reached.  Open until St. Patrick’s Day.
Now for this week’s reviews and tours.  Happy Reading and Listening!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 17:

  • Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A MelanieM Review: Hat Trick (Harrisburg Railers #8) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Monday, February 18:

  • Release Blitz Milo by Lily Morton
  • Amy Lane Author Guest Post
  • Harmony Ink YA John Goode
  • An Alisa Review: Port in a Storm (Kitten and Witch #1) by K.L. Noone
  • A MelanieM Review: Wolff (Redemption #1) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lucy Review: Shine (Uncorked #4) by Shea Balik
  • A Free Dreamer Review: For the Clan by Archer Kay Leah

Tuesday, February 19:

  • Book Blitz for Blood Lust by L.E. Royal
  • Cover Reveal – Broken by Colette Davison
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ithani (The Oberon Cycle #3) by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: My Fair Brady by K.C. Wells
  • A Lucy Audio Review: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Catesj and  Colin Darcy (Narrator)

Wednesday, February 20:

  • Ostakis by Angelica Primm
  • Review Tour – Sam Burns – Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan
  • Cover Reveal,- The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley
  • A Lucy Review: Sweet (Uncorked #5) by Shea Balik
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan Harbor Cycle #8) by Sam Burns
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez

Thursday, February 21:

  • BLOG TOUR Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock
  • An ALisa Review: The Romantic by Elodie Parkes
  • A MelanieM Review: Gage (Redemption #2) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lila Review The Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon by Megan Derr
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin

Friday, February 22:

  • OLD SINS by Charlie Cochrane Tour by Charlie Cochrane
  • Release Blitz – Jay Northcote – Better Place (Rainbow Place #3)
  • DSP PROMO Andrew Grey on Reunited
  • Book Blast – Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • An Alisa Review: Ace of Hearts by Caitlin Ricci
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Broken Alpha (The Alpha/Omega Verse #1) by D.C. Juris
  • A Caryn Review: Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock

Saturday, February 23:

  • Release Blitz Signal – Kris Jacen – Step Up With Me
  • “Ithani” by J. Scott Coatsworth Mark (OWL) Tour
  • A MelanieM Review:  Step Up With Me by Kris Jacen
  • A MelanieM Review Waiting on the Rain by Freddy MacKay

New Release Blitz for Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Foreign to You

Author: Jeremy Martin

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: February 11, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 83900

Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, Young adult, fantasy, shifters, hunter, stag, forest, reincarnation

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Synopsis

The harmony between humans and fianna, a species of shapeshifting deer, begins to wither as racial tensions and deeply rooted resentment turns violent.

Ruthless hunter Finn Hail and prophesied liberator Adelaide may be heroes to their own species, but they are enemies to each other. With war on the horizon, the reluctant pair must team up to find the most elusive of prey: the god of the Forest.

As enemies press in from all sides, true intentions begin to show. For Finn to save the boy he cares for most, he might need to aim his gun at the very god he seeks. And Adelaide, with her festering hatred for mankind, will have to determine if peace holds true salvation for her people.

Excerpt

Foreign to You
Jeremy Martin © 2019
All Rights Reserved

It is strange to sit in the Forest with a rifle, bullets, and the intention to kill. The Forest is meant to be a place of harmony, where the order of things is meticulous, spontaneous, and beautiful.

I am a blemish in an otherwise blissful system.

My only justification for upsetting said balance is that I am here, with a gun, to silence another disturbance.

“To the right,” Jay whispers, his words turning into clouds similar to a furnace expelling smoke. His voice is so soft the branches seem to lean downward greedily, as if the leaves could catch each of his words like raindrops. With the meek backdrop of the Forest, Jay’s features are highlighted and prominent. His sturdy jaw, light stubble, and bright eyes were all a combination of classic handsome.

I, on the other hand, am classically average. Brown hair, dull eyes, and a nose that’s a little too big.

After waiting in the same spot an unholy amount of time, my body had sunk deeper in Pa’s musky leather jacket while my muscles and thoughts had stiffened from neglect. The slightest stirring from Jay startles me out of my daydreaming and from my cocoon of warmth. Unlike me in the present moment, Jay’s attention and energy are crisp and alert while his entire body leans forward in anticipation.

“Do you see him?” Jay murmurs with thinly veiled anxiety. He scrambles for his rifle with shaky fingers, brings the scope up to gaze through. I blame the cold, or my own fleeting concentration, but I cannot see what he does. The only abnormalities I see in the surrounding Forest are the slabs of meat Jay strung up on the branches like decorations to attract the ferals.

With a huff of frustration, he angles my line of sight with his rough fingers, squishing my cheeks, and gripping my head. Within an instant of the contact of his skin on mine, my mind sharpens.

Allowing my gaze to soften so I can absorb more of my surroundings, I finally see the tiniest of movements. A flash of white that doesn’t belong to the never-ending bark. A drifting smudge in the sea of stillness. Yet, the Forest is so dense the leaves tend to bunch together like armor, protecting its inhabitants from invaders. Between one blink and the next, the Forest returns to its previous state. Not a twig out of place. Nothing exposed.

“Found ya,” Jay says, his voice trembling. I study his nervous movements. Gloved fingers twitching individually. Teeth tugging at his bottom lip. Chest barely rising and falling as he forgets to breathe. For he has the skills of a great hunter, but not the heart for it. Jay was the boy who once found a rabbit with a broken leg and attempted to nurse it back to health. He was the same boy that cried for four days after his father snapped the creature’s neck to put it out of its misery.

I’m not good at vocalizing emotions, making them into pretty little words, which is a genetic trait from Pa. All I can tell Jay is, “Stay calm,” and that doesn’t sound like near enough. I wish I could tell him that we should head back to town, that he deserved much more than loud rifles and dirt.

But I don’t say those things.

I move past him, my boots squishing in the mixture of mud and snow. Each step is heavier than it needs to be, and my impatience starts to hum within my ears with each squish, squish. As I stalk, I strain to find the distortion of the brown that slipped away.

“It was probably a raccoon,” I tell Jay, despite knowing we are meant to be silent. Loud hunters gain no prizes. “I bet you got caught—”

A snort comes from my right, and as I turn, I find a beast stationed between two oak trees.

Its massive frame looms before me with red-rimmed eyes, thick and building black veins, patchy fur, and teeth bared. My eyes soak up every inch of the deer, my heart hammering in time with his exhales. From this distance, the beast is nearly magnificent, practically the size of a horse. His nostrils flare as he paws at the ground, catching all wayward smells while each muscle twitches and throbs. Unlike his cousins, this stag does not flee at the sight of a human. Instead, he lowers his brow defiantly, his antlers posed daggers.

It is an unholy combination of god and devil.

A loud crack fires off behind me, and before I can even blink, the bark of the nearest oak shatters into a thousand shards.

With fear leading it, the stag rears back onto his hind legs and lashes out with hooves strong enough to break bones. I attempt to leap backward, but my boots do not leave the mud willingly. As I fall onto the ground, my rifle skids across the Forest floor. I scramble for the dagger stored at my hip, but my gloves make the hilt as slick as a trout. As the stag brings down the weight of its body with an aggravated snort, I roll to my side so that the hooves bury themselves into muck, not flesh. I manage to free my knife and drag it across the beast’s torso before I make a dash for safety.

The buck, alarmed by the sudden pain, moves his eyes frantically, rolling them around his skull and exposing the whites. Its scream, a noise rivaling that of a horn being blown, attacks me even from a distance.

Another gunshot fires off too close, missing once more. As mud rains down from the misfire, the stag flees, taking blood and the stench of rot with it deep into the lush green.

Crawling out from the bush I dove into, I can hear Jay abandoning his usual stealth to reach me. His right boot slips in the slush as he nears me, causing him to crash down beside me. “Shit, Finn. Are you okay?” His hand creeps near my knee before stopping inches from it. “I thought—”

“What even was that?” I snap, pointing at the crude hole in the ground. Instantly, Jay’s cheeks flare red, his face hardening defensively. “You were aiming for it, right?” Jay is deadly silent. I work my jaw, hoping to alleviate the ringing still echoing in my eardrums.

Jay curls his fingers into fists. “Next time would you rather I let you go? You seemed to be handling it well,” he bites back with sarcasm.

At the lodge, Jay will find any reason not to pick up a gun. Instead, he studies the plants, tinkers with complex traps, and vanishes like a frightened barn cat at the sound of a rifle exploding. I shouldn’t be surprised he’s an awful shot, considering his lack of practice.

“Well, I’m alive,” I tell him, wanting more than anything to be on the move again, and to distance myself from the anger that quickly rose to the top. “But maybe leave the guns to me?”

After a quick smile, Jay squares his shoulders and flexes his hands as the facade of a hunter starts to settle back over him. As the best parts of him get stuffed away. “I’ll find him again,” he promises, and I have no doubt that he will. It’s often teased that Jay has a nose more acute than a hound. He carries a rifle for formalities, but his talents lie within his knowledge of the land. Animal droppings, tracks, and broken twigs are all parts of Jay’s trade. It’s what makes him valuable to a band of killers. “We are losing daylight,” he points out. “And we’re approaching Falling Rock.”

Are we that far out? I think, dazed. With Jay, time isn’t something I usually keep up on. When we were young, I would battle fatigue for one more hour with him.

I scratch at my neckline where sweat starts to bead. “Well, I left you a blood trail, so my portion of help is exhausted.” I let the edges of my lips rise, and Jay accepts it with a nod. This is how comrades treat one another.

Right?

Jay rises, body hunched close to the ground as he follows the red through the bushes.

Once upon a time, back when it became evident a gun only felt natural in one of our grips, Jay tried teaching me the art of tracking, taking great pride in his skill. But at that age, when I was young and full of pride, I pretended it didn’t interest me. Eventually, after I’d declined his guiding hand enough many times, Jay stopped trying to explain his methods to me.

Today, Jay is further removed, his words shorter than usual. The same tension sparking between us with the simplest of blunders, or the slightest of nods, because this is the first time Jay is tracking a feral.

The first time I have been tasked with killing a feral.

This feral is a rarity. The majority of the ferals stay in the Forest, killing what crosses their paths. Yet, this particular beast had entered human territory, killing a farmer and his wife before peeling back into the trees. It makes our mission important. It is more than just killing.

It is justice.

After a rough mile of trekking over minor cliffs and rocky outposts, Jay brings me to a halt with a snap of his wrist. As he shrinks down, I mimic him. Pointing at the snow, he shows me a large divot in the otherwise perfect layer of white. I don’t need to be a tracker to know the buck must have slipped on ice, crashing into the remaining snow and splashing against the fluff like a sponge full of red paint.

I pop two bullets into my rifle, check the safety, and snap the chambers shut. Slinging the gun onto my back, I notice that Jay’s eyes barely leave the blood, lost in the color. Doubt is starting to build upon his shoulders, gnawing at his edges.

“Are you ready?” I ask. He doesn’t know it, but the same uneasiness lines my stomach.

“We’ve come this far,” he tells me. He takes a bold step forward, and I can do nothing but follow. Despite the ground dropping away into a steep slope, it is clear the feral struggled up the side of the mountain.

Jay begins climbing first, taking fistfuls of roots and rocks, to propel himself along. As we move, the blood remains consistent on our right. Before long, Jay crawls over the top of the outpost, disappearing for a moment before reappearing to hoist me up. Once we are on even ground, I want to thank him, crack a joke, or anything, but my words are swallowed up as I look over Jay’s shoulder and across the plateau.

I follow red snow until I find the once four-legged stag wobbling on two legs, erect for a breath before plummeting onto his knees. There is blood all over his body, tainting his skin like a rampant infection. Even from here, I can see his muscles quivering and shaking, his body burning off the gentle flakes that land on his shoulders.

His frail human shoulders.

Every part of him seems at war as he spasms and writhes. Despite the fur drifting off his body in decaying clumps, his antlers still hang from his brow, holding steady in the air with crimson stains along the tines.

I snap my rifle in front of me.

When the stag turns to me, he tries to raise his hands. Hands that should be human but are jagged and blackened. A droplet of blood creeps from his eye and down his cheek and drips onto his bare leg.

It is clear he is suffering, caught between two bodies.

I hear him mumbling, but I can’t make out the individual words. Despite my head screaming, don’t get any closer, you idiot, I find my boots propelling me forward. As I near the fiend, his voice breaks like a young boy in puberty. “Begin again,” he raves. “Begin again, begin again—” he lets out a tangle of screams, his claws tearing into his cheeks. “Pain, pain, rebirth.”

“Finn,” Jay says, grabbing my shoulder with his giant hands, startling me from my daze. “It might not be too late. We might be able to help him.”

“He is sick,” I say. I stare at a point behind the beast, letting my words flood me with false confidence. “He is just an animal.” It is Pa logic. Town logic.

“Wait, Finn,” Jay pleads. None of the other hunters would hesitate to kill the feral, I want to tell him. Not after the feral’s hands were stained with blood. Blood from Norsewood.

“He’s changing—”

“It’s too late for that,” I tell him sternly. “He has already done enough damage.”

Jay looks away, squinting into the distance. “Something doesn’t feel right.”

Killing never feels right, I want to tell him. But in the seconds I take my eyes off him, the feral lunges at me, fangs angled at my throat.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Jeremy Martin, born and raised in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, considers himself to be a part-time writer and a full-time mess. If he isn’t nose-deep in a book, he’s obsessively playing video games, re-watching The Office for the umpteenth time, or lost in nature. Foreign to You is his debut novel.

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Release Blitz for The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire #10) by Jessamyn Kingley (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire, Book 10)

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson, Mayhem Cover Creations

Genre/s: M/M Urban Fantasy Romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Release Date: January 17, 2019

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Some paths we choose. Others are chosen for us.

Blurb

Grand Summoner Dre’Kariston D’Vaire understands firsthand the brutal reality of war. Barely surviving a gruesome battle, he is one of the few remaining warlocks. After recovering from his wounds, he returns to the castle of his birth only to find his entire race annihilated. For centuries he disguises his power and appearance, refusing to be another victim. When he reunites with his twin, his life changes from barren to beautiful. For years he follows his brother’s example of scrying for his mate, but it is not until they join their power that Fate answers, leading him to Court Ethelin.

Prince Somerly Ethelindraconis is stunned as he races to an appointment and runs into a crowned sorcerer standing on his father’s land. His only parent hates magickind and keeps them far from home, but Somerly cannot deny the attractive man his name and number. King Ethelin has his son’s life planned out for him, and Somerly is willing to sacrifice his freedom to help his court—until he falls for Dre’Kariston. He is soon caught between the promises he’s made and what his heart desires. There’s no way to please everyone, and Somerly finds himself teetering on a precipice that forces him to decide where his future lies.

With infinite paths twisting ahead, Dre’Kariston and Somerly must follow the truth in their hearts to make the right choices if they wish to forge an enduring love. Fate brought them together, but will they run out of chances before it’s too late to save their matebond?

Excerpt

“I’m going to guess you haven’t teleported before?” Dre’Kariston asked.

“No, the Consilium outlawed it,” Somerly said.

Dre’Kariston lifted a dark brow but made no comment about his statement. “Just close your eyes so you don’t get dizzy, and you should be fine. Ready?”

Somerly did as he was told and squeezed them as tight as he could.

Dre’Kariston chuckled. “They aren’t going to roll out of your head or anything.”

“I know, I just don’t want to throw up or shit my pants.”

“Let’s go.”

Magic danced over Somerly’s skin and a weightlessness registered; then the ground was firmly under his feet again.

“You can open your eyes now,” Dre’Kariston invited softly.

Lifting his lashes, Somerly found himself in a giant living room with ceilings a full two stories high. There was furniture everywhere, and all of it looked comfortable and welcoming. It was a far cry from the staid decor of his own house. “This is nice.”

Before Dre’Kariston could respond, two blond men ran into the room. The slightly taller one thrust out his hand. “I’m Dra’Kaedan.”

Somerly shook it dutifully. “Nice to meet you.”

“I’m his familiar, Renny,” the smaller one said in greeting.

“I don’t really understand what a familiar is, but it’s nice to meet you too.”

“Easiest way to explain it is that I’m just like a warlock, but I was born of Dra’Kaedan’s magic and I rely on him to supply mine.”

“So, you’re like his kid?”

Renny laughed. “He and Brogan certainly act like it sometimes but technically, no. I’m his familiar.”

That cleared it up not at all Somerly decided. He turned to Dre’Kariston. “Do you have a familiar?”

“Yes.”

“And here he comes now,” Dra’Kaedan said.

A man who resembled Dre’Kariston walked into the living area. He was wearing a frown and didn’t offer his hand to shake when he got close to their group.

“This is the mate?”

“Grand Summoner Familiar Derwin D’Vaire, this is Somerly,” Dre’Kariston replied. “And yes, he’s my mate.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” Somerly repeated for the third time. He suspected he was going to be saying it a lot as he was introduced to all the warlocks and familiars.

“Are you prepared to move into D’Vaire?” Derwin asked.

“Derwin, I just met Somerly today. It’s rather early to begin discussing living arrangements.”

“I’m sure he already knows if he wants to join the Council,” Derwin retorted.

Deciding he didn’t care for Derwin’s hostile attitude, Somerly spoke. “It’s as Dre’Kariston said. It’s too early to discuss any of that. We’ll have to see how things work out, but I appreciate your concern regarding our matebond.”

“You should know Dre’Kariston has zero interest in being flexible about the subject. His intention is to stay here in this big mausoleum until the end of time,” Derwin stated. His eyes had none of the warmth of Dre’Kariston’s and appeared empty to Somerly.

Before anyone could offer any further insight on a conversation Somerly was barely able to understand, two tall dragons walked into the room. One was undeniably the ruler of Court D’Vaire, and next to him was a mated navy dragon Somerly assumed was Dra’Kaedan’s other half. His hunch was proved correct when the man in question ran a hand over Dra’Kaedan’s plethora of golden curls and leaned down to kiss the warlock.

“King Aleksander and Duke Brogan, allow me to introduce Somerly,” Dre’Kariston said.

“Thanks for allowing me to travel to your home, Your Highness.”

The D’Vaire king smiled. “We don’t use titles around here—call me Aleksander. And we’re happy to have you here. As Dre’Kariston’s mate, you’re always welcome.”

Dra’Kaedan rolled his eyes. “Council rules, Aleksander. As long as your mate lives somewhere, you can’t be denied entry. Everyone knows that, skyscraper.”

“Squirt, you’re forgetting he lives in the Consilium. They may not have the same law.”

“We don’t have that rule. Not everyone meets their mate, so there’s no need to protect something Fate only doles out to certain individuals,” Somerly offered. The room went quiet, and Somerly didn’t fully comprehend the tension.

“I guess you’re lucky to be one of the chosen few,” Brogan finally said.

“I’m feeling pretty lucky.”

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 and follow her on Facebook. She loves to engage with readers there.

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