Join Us for the Blog Tour for Loose Ends (Badlands #4) by Morgan Brice (excerpt and giveaway)

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BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Loose Ends (Badlands Book 4)

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Natania Barron

Release Date: December 30, 2019 

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance

Trope/s: Spooky supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, dark magic.

Themes: Trust, loyalty, commitment, partnership

Heat Rating: 4 flames

It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and

features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels.

Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

Length: 62 000 words/ 220 pages

Add on Goodreads 

 

 

As a deadly trap closes around them, can Simon and Vic tie up the loose ends to stop the threat, or will they become the newest ghosts of the Grand Strand? 

 

Blurb 

Cold cases, old enemies, ex-lovers, and vengeful spirits are making life dangerous for psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato. 

The ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless, trapped by love, secrets, scandals, and spells, keeping Simon busy protecting the living from the unhappy dead. Someone from Vic’s past is out to destroy him and everyone he holds dear, and the high-profile trial of the first case Simon and Vic worked together puts them in the spotlight—and put a target on their backs. As a deadly trap closes around them, can Simon and Vic tie up the loose ends to stop the threat, or will they become the newest ghosts of the Grand Strand? 

Loose Ends is an urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with spooky supernatural suspense, hot sex, hurt/comfort, feisty friends, found family, ghosts galore, and dark magic. It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels. Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

 

Buy Links

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK  |   Kobo  |   Nook

 

Excerpt

“I’ve been poking around on the Buccaneer story since the place shut down,” Josh said. “My team’s visited probably a dozen times. Plus, I knew people who worked on the construction and dismantling, and who ran the rides when it was open.” He leaned forward, dropping his voice. “They won’t talk on the record, or to the police, but I’ve heard all their stories. And the rumors that got out? They’re just a fraction of how fucked up that place was.”

Simon sat back in his chair, settling his lanky body and long legs as best he could. He warmed his hands on the hot paper cup and tucked a strand of long chestnut hair behind one ear. “Tell me.”

“One of my sources was a crane operator when they were installing the Riptide Roll steel coaster,” Josh confided. “He saw one of the workmen fall from the top of the first hill when they were assembling the ride. Says the guy died on impact. The company paid to hush it up. Same thing happened when another worker was crushed to death. A load of steel pipe shifted, and he ended up underneath it.”

“Jesus.”

“That’s not all of it. The place was only open for barely two seasons, but the ride operators had stories that would curl your hair. Riders got whiplash, one girl lost a couple of fingers, and a kid died from head injuries when his ride car came loose and crashed. Not to mention the operator who got electrocuted when he had to run his ride in the rain.”

“If the owners had to cover all that up, no wonder they went bankrupt,” Simon said, shaking his head. “I can’t believe they didn’t get shut down.”

“Their rides continued to pass inspections from the state office—or maybe someone got paid off. Still, they closed suddenly before the end of their last season,” Josh said. “Whistleblowers went to the media. The situation was going to be ugly. But then it turned out to be even worse.”

Simon remembered the end of the story. Investors clamored for their money back when the park abruptly shut down, only to find out that the accounts were empty, the books had been cooked, and the profits were never real. Before it could turn into a media circus and authorities asked for serious jail time, Ellington killed himself, and Stevens skipped town.

“Any clue about who’s haunting the place?”

Josh chewed on his lip and looked at Simon. “I was hoping you’d come over with us this afternoon and help me figure that out. I’m doing my best to learn, but my skills aren’t as powerful as yours, and I don’t know how to really use them. I can sense when spirits are nearby, and I see them better than the average person, but having a conversation is beyond what I can do.”

 

About the Author 

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, and Treasure Trail. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

Read a copy of my Badlands short story Restless Nights here for free

 

 

Social Media Links 

Facebook Group  |  Pinterest (for Morgan and Gail)  |  Twitter: @MorganBriceBook   

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a new release  

 Follow me on BookBub  |  Instagram

 

 

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of three ebook copies of any book in the Badlands series

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

 

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

Looking for Your Next Contemporary Romance? Check Out the Release Blitz with Excerpt Hold Me Up (Chasing Gold #1) by Colette Davison

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Hold Me Up (Chasing Gold Book 1)

Author: Colette Davison

Publisher:  Independently Published

Cover Artist: Colette Davison

Release Date: January 29, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Second chance, sports, slow burn, hurt/comfort

Themes:  Forgiveness, trusting others, dedication, self-care

Heat Rating:  2 – 3 flames

Length:  68 500 words

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

 

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link   |   Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

Blurb

Can second chance love survive past trauma?

 Reece has one goal: to compete in the Olympic Games. With the gymnastics World Championships looming, his dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.

When his childhood sweetheart, Alex, walks back into his life unexpectedly, Reece’s world is turned upside down. Alex was the boy who inexplicably pushed him away and broke his heart; the boy he still loves.

When the truth behind their break-up is revealed, Reece wants to hold Alex up and give him the strength to heal.

But can Reece be Alex’s rock, and remain focused on his training, or will his Olympic dreams suffer in the process?

Hold Me Up is a MM second chance romance, with a slow-burn relationship and lots of hurt/comfort. It’s the first in a series of books that follows male artistic gymnasts as they chase gold.

Trigger warnings: Hold Me Up features a character who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks due to a past event that is briefly described.

 

Excerpt 

“Pizza and beer, as requested.”

Alex’s smiled deepened as he stood back, allowing Reece to enter.

“Are we eating at the table, or are we going to be uncouth?” Reece made eyes at the sofa and then frowned playfully. “How can you be uncouth when you can’t be couth?”

Alex chuckled. “You’re an idiot.”

“It’s true, though,” Reece pointed out, kicking the door shut behind him. “Just like you can be over- or underwhelmed, but you can’t actually be whelmed. The English language is weird.” Raising the hand carrying the beer, he pointed to the table and then the sofa. “Table or sofa?”

Alex considered the question. The sofa would be far more relaxed, but he wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not. In just a few days, most of his barriers regarding Reece had crashed down. He was enjoying having Reece back in his life, but he felt like it was for all the wrong reasons.

Reece took the decision out of his hands. “The table is occupied by your laptop. Let’s take the sofa.” He put the pizzas and beer on the coffee table before flopping down on one end of the sofa. He looked up at Alex expectantly. “Are you joining me?”

Alex glanced at the table, wondering if he should offer to move the laptop. It would have taken him two seconds to close the lid and prop it against the wall and only slightly longer to take it back through to his bedroom, but he didn’t want to. Instead, he wandered to the kitchen units and grabbed the bottle opener from the drawer.

“Good call,” Reece said as he pulled two bottles out of the cardboard pack. He held them both while Alex flipped the lids off, and then gave one to Alex. “I got us garlic bread,” he declared. “And I seem to remember that you’re not much of a fan of topping on pizza, so I’ve got a margherita for you and pepperoni for me.” He took a swig of beer before opening up the pizza boxes and handing Alex his. Then he reclaimed the bottle. “We should have a toast.”

Alex raised his eyebrows as Reece lifted his bottle.

“To you. Reporter extraordinaire.”

Alex felt heat creep up into his face. “I don’t—”

“I do,” Reece cut him off. “Like I said earlier, your article was amazing.” He glanced around the room. “You should cut it out and frame it.”

The heat swept up to Alex’s hairline and into his ears. “My boss already did.”

“Where is it? I don’t see it up anywhere.”

“At work.”

“On the wall?”

Alex shook his head.

“You need to bring it home. I’ll help you put it up, if you want?”

Alex dipped his chin. “I—”

“It’s your first article. It’s a big deal, Alex and you should be bloody proud of yourself.”

 

 

About the Author 

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Facebook Group: Colette’s Cosy Corner

BookBub

Goodreads

Instagram

Mailing List

 

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

a $10 Amazon gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts here

Here It Is! The Release Blitz for Loose Ends (Badlands Book 4) by Morgan Brice (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Loose Ends (Badlands Book 4)

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Natania Barron

Release Date: December 30, 2019 

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance

Trope/s: Spooky supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, dark magic.

Themes: Trust, loyalty, commitment, partnership

Heat Rating: 4 flames

It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and

features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels.

Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

Length: 62 000 words/ 220 pages

Add on Goodreads 

As a deadly trap closes around them, can Simon and Vic tie up the loose ends to stop the threat, or will they become the newest ghosts of the Grand Strand? 

Blurb 

Cold cases, old enemies, ex-lovers, and vengeful spirits are making life dangerous for psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato. 

The ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless, trapped by love, secrets, scandals, and spells, keeping Simon busy protecting the living from the unhappy dead. Someone from Vic’s past is out to destroy him and everyone he holds dear, and the high-profile trial of the first case Simon and Vic worked together puts them in the spotlight—and put a target on their backs. As a deadly trap closes around them, can Simon and Vic tie up the loose ends to stop the threat, or will they become the newest ghosts of the Grand Strand? 

Loose Ends is an urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with spooky supernatural suspense, hot sex, hurt/comfort, feisty friends, found family, ghosts galore, and dark magic. It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels. Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

Buy Links

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK  |   Kobo  |   Nook

Excerpt

“The hauntings are worse than ever. Someone else is going to get killed.” Josh Ryan hunched over his steaming cup of coffee. Out front, Mizzenmast Coffee was packed with java addicts

waiting in line for the best, and only, pirate-themed specialty coffees on the Grand Strand.

That was why Simon Kincaide had ushered his guest to the less- used second seating area, which still had a full-sized pirate statue, a treasure chest, and a motley stuffed parrot from its days as a bucca‐ neer attraction. Tracey Cullen, Le Miz’s owner and Simon’s best friend, had turned a building she couldn’t afford to redecorate into Myrtle Beach gold with her hit café. Only the regulars ever both‐ ered to come into the second room, which meant Simon and Josh might have a chance to talk uninterrupted.

“You guys explore a lot of abandoned places. I’ve never seen you rattled by ghosts before,” Simon observed.

Simon owned Grand Strand Ghost Tours, a logical undertaking for someone with a strong gift as a psychic medium and a Ph.D. in folklore and mythology. His abilities were the real deal, and when he wasn’t leading ghost tours or helping deal with bothersome haunts, he was an official consultant with the Myrtle Beach Police Department on supernaturally-linked crimes, along with his boyfriend, Homicide Detective Vic D’Amato.

“Yeah, well. Usually we run into cold spots, see a few orbs, maybe hear something we can’t explain,” Josh replied. “We’ve never had a ghost push one of my team off a roller coaster platform. If Cam hadn’t been a gymnast, he’d never have been able to catch himself on that beam, and he’d be dead.”

“You’re sure he didn’t slip?”

Josh shook his head. “Not Cam. He’s like a cat. And he said afterward that he felt hands on his back before he was pushed.”

Simon sipped his latte as his mind raced. Josh headed a team of urban explorers and paranormal investigators who prowled around abandoned buildings, old ruins, and the sites people left behind. They documented the beauty of decay with their cameras and video and tried to verify reports of ghost sightings. Josh was also one of Simon’s “Skeleton Crew,” the joking name given to the young, untrained psychics who found their way to Myrtle Beach and strug‐ gled to control or understand their abilities. Simon knew that Josh’s ability to sense ghosts was real. So if he said he’d seen something…

“Cam’s all right?”

Josh nodded, ducking his head to take a gulp of coffee and hide the worry in his eyes. “He pulled some muscles. It was a hell of a dismount. But nothing broken. It could have been way worse.”

“Did you get any idea who the ghost was?”

“No. But we knew there were rumors that the park was haunted —even before it shut down for good.”

Buccaneer Thrill Park had a snakebitten history. A couple of rich out-of-state investors thought a pirate-themed major amuse‐ ment park was the kind of idea that couldn’t fail. Simon vaguely remembered reading about the park opening ten years ago before he’d moved to Myrtle Beach from the state capital in Columbia. The park had promised to offer the tallest and fastest coasters, trendy bars, a star-studded celebrity launch, and all the high-tech hoopla money could buy.

They built it, but no one came. By the end of the second season, Buccaneer closed for good, amid whispers of hushed-up visitor

deaths, paid-off injuries, and financial mismanagement. The front‐ man, Greg Ellington, was found shot to death in his office a day before the press broke the story of embezzled funds and colossal ineptitude. Thad Stevens, the other partner and principal investor, vanished without a trace.

“I’ve been poking around on the Buccaneer story since the place shut down,” Josh said. “My team’s visited probably a dozen times. Plus, I knew people who worked on the construction and disman‐ tling, and who ran the rides when it was open.” He leaned forward, dropping his voice. “They won’t talk on the record, or to the police, but I’ve heard all their stories. And the rumors that got out? They’re just a fraction of how fucked up that place was.”

Simon sat back in his chair, settling his lanky body and long legs as best he could. He warmed his hands on the hot paper cup and tucked a strand of long chestnut hair behind one ear. “Tell me.”

“One of my sources was a crane operator when they were installing the Riptide Roll steel coaster,” Josh confided. “He saw one of the workmen fall from the top of the first hill when they were assembling the ride. Says the guy died on impact. The company paid to hush it up. Same thing happened when another worker was crushed to death. A load of steel pipe shifted, and he ended up underneath it.”

“Jesus.”

“That’s not all of it. The place was only open for barely two seasons, but the ride operators had stories that would curl your hair. Riders got whiplash, one girl lost a couple of fingers, and a kid died from head injuries when his ride car came loose and crashed. Not to mention the operator who got electrocuted when he had to run his ride in the rain.”

“If the owners had to cover all that up, no wonder they went bankrupt,” Simon said, shaking his head. “I can’t believe they didn’t get shut down.”

“Their rides continued to pass inspections from the state office —or maybe someone got paid off. Still, they closed suddenly before the end of their last season,” Josh said. “Whistleblowers went to the media. The situation was going to be ugly. But then it turned out to be even worse.”

About the Author 

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, and Treasure Trail. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

Read a copy of my Badlands short story Restless Nights here for free

Social Media Links 

Facebook Group  |  Pinterest (for Morgan and Gail)  |  Twitter: @MorganBriceBook   

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a new release  

 Follow me on BookBub  |  Instagram

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of three ebook copies of any book in the Badlands series

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts here

A MelanieM Review The Edge of the World by Garrett Leigh

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Shay Maloney is living his dream—on tour with his pirate/folk-rock band. But you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’re from, and that’s where moody filmmaker and researcher Ollie Pietruska comes in.

The band’s management persuades Shay to let a television company film a documentary about his roots beyond his adoptive Irish family, and Ollie comes into his life knowing more about Shay than Shay’s ever known about himself.

But while Ollie holds the key to Shay’s past, he’s also hiding deep scars. Even as the hardships of the tour bring them closer, Ollie’s demons threaten the blossoming romance. They might both reach the breaking point before Ollie realises he’s been standing on the edge of the world for too long, and it’s Shay who holds the key to his future.

A friends-to-lovers, rock star, road-tripping romance, with a guaranteed happily-ever-after.

Shay Maloney and Ollie Pietruska just may be my favorite Garrett Leigh couple yet.  And that is saying a lot after all the wonderful stories I have read by this author.  But it didn’t take long for me to fall under the spell cast by these men, their incredible chemistry, and the intriguing format that Leigh created for their tale in The Edge of the World by Garrett Leigh.  

Add up two indelible characters, a memorable ragtag fusion folk band on tour, and a mystery of a lost ancestry, and Garrett Leigh had me hooked not only on a hurt/comfort romance but a mystery as well.  A narrative rich in intriguing characters, nationalities,  with a realness seated in one man’s coping with diabetes and another’s trauma, this story has it all.

And connecting it, an elusive music just out of reach, full of drums, flutes, pianos, and a pounding of feet the reader so dearly wants to be a part of .

This is a book of the  senses we ache to feel, beautifully written, gorgeously constructed.  With men so believable I hung on every part of their relationship. so fully invested I couldn’t bear to put down the Kindle until it was finished.  And then was sorry to leave them there, happy and in love.

Definitely a story for me to revisit, I love them that much.  I think you will too.   I guess you already you I am recommending it. Of course you do!

Cover Design: Black Jazz Designh:  How perfect is that cover!

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 223 pages
Published January 16th 2020 by Fox Love Press

Cover Reveal for Loose Ends (Badlands Book 4) by Morgan Brice (Giveaway)

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Loose Ends (Badlands Book 4)

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Natania Barron

Release Date: December 30, 2019 

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance

Trope/s: Spooky supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, dark magic.

Themes: Trust, loyalty, commitment, partnership

Heat Rating: 4 flames

It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and features an evolving,

established romantic relationship with all the feels.

Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

Length: 62 000 words/ 220 pages

Add on Goodreads 

 

 

As a deadly trap closes around them, can Simon and Vic tie up the loose ends to stop the threat,

or will they become the newest ghosts of the Grand Strand? 

 

Blurb 

Cold cases, old enemies, ex-lovers, and vengeful spirits are making life dangerous for psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato. 

The ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless, trapped by love, secrets, scandals, and spells, keeping Simon busy protecting the living from the unhappy dead. Someone from Vic’s past is out to destroy him and everyone he holds dear, and the high-profile trial of the first case Simon and Vic worked together puts them in the spotlight—and put a target on their backs. As a deadly trap closes around them, can Simon and Vic tie up the loose ends to stop the threat, or will they become the newest ghosts of the Grand Strand? 

Loose Ends is an urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with spooky supernatural suspense, hot sex, hurt/comfort, feisty friends, found family, ghosts galore, and dark magic. It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels. Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

 

Buy Links

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK  |   Kobo  |   Nook

 

 

About the Author 

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, and Treasure Trail. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

Read a copy of my Badlands short story Restless Nights here for free

 

 

Social Media Links 

Facebook Group  |  Pinterest (for Morgan and Gail)  |  Twitter: @MorganBriceBook   

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a new release  

 Follow me on BookBub  |  Instagram

 

 

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of three ebook copies of any book in the Badlands series

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

Love a Hurt/Comfort Story? Check Out the Book Blast with Excerpt for Damaged Hearts (The Boys of Venice Beach #1) by Jan St. Marcus

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Damaged Hearts: The Boys of Venice Beach, Book 1

Author: Jan St. Marcus

Publisher: SBPRA (Paperback), Blue Ascot Media (eBook)

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, LGBTQ Romance, LGBTQ Fiction

Trope/s: Hurt/Comfort, First Time Gay

Themes: Rescue Me, Romantic Thriller

Heat Rating: 4 flames      

Length: 138 000 words/ 466 pages

It is Book 1 of a planned Series

Add on Goodreads

 

Tragic Pasts. Unexpected Love. Unseen Danger.

Blurb

When 19-year-old military veteran Brandon Hawkins is attacked on Venice Beach by a gang of frat boys, he is saved by Michael Angelo Curtis, a passer-by. Michel Angelo was roaming the boardwalk grieving the death of his twin brother six months earlier. The two men’s unexpected encounter forges a strong bond between the damaged and lonely men.

Inviting the homeless Bran to his place for some food and a shower, 25-year-old Michel Angelo finds himself drawn to the younger man. Neither of the men is gay. But before long, their friendship morphs into something like love and takes them both by surprise.

And they have something else in common: The frat boys are out for revenge.

 

Trailer Video

 

Buy Links: 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  B&N 

 

Excerpt 

BRANDON

But a little ways down, the pizza joint is just closing down. They have those ridiculously big slices of pizza and most people who don’t weigh at least three hundred pounds can’t finish their slices. Fuck the hot dogs. Half of a giant slice of pizza will do me just fine. Besides, trying to remember to say “catsup” instead of “ketchup” would make my brain hurt. And if I’m being honest, I do see the frat boy douchebags laughing and being all loud and douchey, but I really want to see if they’ll leave some of their slices uneaten. So I hang back a little and pretend to be looking for something on the ground. After about a minute or so, they drop their slices on the counter and start walking away. Score! I walk towards where they left their pizzas with my head down, like I haven’t noticed what they left for me. They’re about twenty feet away when one of them turns back and clocks me checking out their pizza. The fat one grabs the other one’s arm and points to me. I look up and see them seeing me seeing their pizza. Did that make sense? Fuck it. So anyway, as soon as they notice me, I kind of figure that they are going to be douchebags about their pizza, but I hold out hope. The fat one doesn’t need any more pizza, that’s for sure, but my stomach is getting the better of me, so I speed up a little bit. They’re closer and they return to the counter, beating me there by three steps.

Then the fat one, who seems to be the leader of this fucked-up pack of douchebags, picks up what’s left of his slice and lifts it up in my direction, like he’s offering it to me. Really? Maybe they aren’t such douchebags after all. I lift my eyes and start to smile. I’m going to thank him. I’m actually going to say “Thank you.” I do manage to smile as I approach because I realize that I haven’t said two words to anyone all day. He looks me in the eye and when I start to reach out my hand, he hocks a big ol’ lugey and splats it right on the pizza. Then he holds it out like I still want it. Okay, I know it’s probably gross, but I do still want it. His aim was pretty good and the glob of spit and snot has landed pretty much in the middle of the slice. But I could tear the pizza around the gross part and still have a pretty good amount of food. So I reach for it and he must have seen my eyes studying the pizza because he hocks another one and it lands on one of the good sides. He starts laughing and then his friends start laughing and they’re staring at me and laughing like it’s the funniest thing in the world. Assholes.

I turn around, about to say, “Fuck my life” again when one of the other guys apologizes and offers me his piece. It’s not as big as the fat guy’s, but it still looks good to my hungry young ass. And I can’t believe I am so hungry that I start to walk back over and take it, but I do. You can probably guess that he does the same thing his leader does and hocks a lugey and spits on his piece, too. My stomach growls with as much anger as I am feeling and I turn around and start walking back towards the boardwalk. It’s going to be a long night.

Their laughing stops and I hear a deep voice talking to them. “Why would you do something like that? What kind of asshole do you have to be to fuck with someone who is obviously hungry?”

As I turn around, I see the fat guy step in front of the other guy, who is six inches taller, and the frat-boy leader guy speaks in this bullshit little sing-song voice: “What business is it of yours, asshole?”

The guy just stands there, hands by his sides, not seeming to be bothered by the fact that there are three of them. Then he laughs. He looks right at the fat-assed guy and laughs.

 

 

About the Author 

Jan has been a professional writer since he 15 and got a job writing for a local paper in the Washington, D.C. area. Since that time, he has travelled the world and enjoyed a myriad of experiences, meeting interesting people and sharing epic experiences. He is currently a full-time professional photographer and completed his first novel, DAMAGED HEARTS, the first book in a series partially inspired by his experiences living and working in Venice Beach, California.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

 

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

 

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

Don’t Miss Out on the New Release Tour for Love on the Spectrum by Alec Nortan (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Love on the Spectrum

Author: Alec Nortan

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 6, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 37900

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT Contemporary, romance, gay, Asperger syndrome, burns victim, France, Paris, friends to lovers, hurt/comfort, therapist

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Synopsis

Hervé has Asperger’s, a specific kind of autism that makes him unable to interact with other people.

Luc has been severely scarred by fire and flees human presence to avert the way people glare and frown when they see him.

It was impossible for them to meet, but life sometimes likes to cheat the odds. Is it just a trick or a way to bring together two men who could be each other’s lifeline?

Excerpt

Love on the Spectrum
Alec Nortan © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
During their life, everyone meets thousands of people. Some of these encounters are fleeting, like the person you ask for directions in the street, and others last a lifetime. Each of them, as short or as long as it is, can change your life for the better or for the worse.

I’ve encountered maybe two hundred people. And that’s with a generous margin for error. A very generous margin. And yet I’m thirty-four and should have met a lot more. If I haven’t, it isn’t because I don’t want to, on the contrary. If I only consider the meaningful encounters, well, I’m down to a figure I can easily display with my fingers. The last one took place two years ago. His name is Pascal, and he made my life better. A whole lot better. We met through the Internet, the way of getting in touch with people I’m most comfortable with. Taking our time, we got to know each other, and he became an important part of my life. It wasn’t always easy for him, but he managed to accept my difficulties, and for the first time in my life I discovered what being in a relationship was really like. We weren’t quite ready yet to live together, but we were getting close.

And then, six months later, he dumped me. There was no fight, no argument, but it devastated me all the same. My problems had eventually gotten too tiresome for him. He simply couldn’t cope anymore, and I don’t think any less of him for that. Living with someone like me isn’t always easy. Quite the opposite. He had done all he could, but it hadn’t been enough.

My relationship with Pascal helped me understand one thing: I will spend my life alone. I’m not being dramatic; it’s just a simple observation. Even I can’t bear myself at times. If I can’t, who could?

What is my problem? To make it easy to understand, let’s say I am unable to interact with people. It probably sounds stupid put like this, but when sarcasm, irony, implied speech, and body language—well, all those elements that allow a conversation to take place—are completely foreign to you, a simple discussion with another human being can be quite hazardous to negotiate. And if on top of that you really cannot stand physical contact and noise, like me, you’re on a slippery slope toward the deepest pit of hell. I begin to slide as soon as I have to say hello…

When I say I have autism, in a desperate attempt to evade embarrassing situations, here are some of the answers I usually get:

“But it doesn’t show.”

Or

“Can it be cured?”

Or the most common reaction:

“That’s great! Can you count playing cards?”

No, I am not Rain Man, and most of the people who suffer from the same problem—Asperger syndrome—don’t have any kind of superhuman capabilities. And you can’t cure it. It would be like asking a one-legged man if he can be cured. No, it’s just a part of me. That and the fact you can’t see it when you look at me only makes it more difficult for people to understand. A one-legged man doesn’t have to explain that he only has one leg. A white cane or a service dog is usually enough for a blind person to be recognized as such.

I always have to justify myself.

Luckily for me, I’ve been going to a psychologist once a month for years. His specialty is autism, including Asperger syndrome. He helps me learn all those social rules that completely elude my grasp, and cope with my difficulties.

But it’s also because of him I’m standing here.

It’s a fine day. The weather is nice, the street is mostly empty. Although it’s almost noon, a few people pass by, and they walk purposefully, taking no notice of me except to avoid me. I’m standing still, almost stuck to the wall behind me, a white-stone building blackened by years of pollution. The sidewalk is barely wide enough for two people and gives way to a long line of parked cars and then a two-way street. On the other side is the same chain of cars, the same sidewalk, and the same dirty façades.

Despite all this, this part of the city welcomes lots of tourists, but this particular street is a little too far from the main avenues and the famous monuments to get their attention. If it were to be described by a saying, it would be “a secret life is a happy life.” Maybe that’s the reason why I like it. Because it likes to stay hidden. Just like I do. And this is definitely one of the reasons why I’m standing here right now.

The other reason is the small restaurant facing me. I’ve been looking at it for a little while now. The frontage isn’t very long, but a wide French window occupies almost all of it. Painted on the glass, blue letters spell out the words “The Scullion Restaurant–Traditional Cooking”. The text isn’t perfectly centered. It is about three inches too high for that, and the “C” and the “U” of Scullion are slightly too close to each other. The first “T” of Restaurant is also slightly tilted.

I am pretty certain no one else notices these imperfections, but they kind of jump out at me. I wonder if I shouldn’t have chosen another place.

But I’ve thought about this choice for a very long while, and I’ve even had to negotiate bitterly with my psychologist. The objective of the test is simple enough: having lunch at a restaurant. But he knows me too well to stop at such a simple goal. Without any further rules, I would have chosen the worst restaurant in the city, in a deserted part of town, to make sure there would be as few other clients as possible. I would even have gone in the early afternoon, when all the NTs have long since finished their meal—NT is short for Neurotypical, “normal” people as opposed to Aspies, the nickname for people like me with Asperger Syndrome—to have the greatest chance of seeing no one else other than the waiter, which is quite enough for me.

Knowing if he let the reins go I would choose an empty restaurant, which I have to admit would have rendered the exercise moot, my psychologist fought hard until we reached a compromise (more acceptable for him than for me) and chose a popular but small venue and a “normal” lunchtime.

This negotiation took place two days ago, and I’ve been anxious ever since. This morning, I woke up with my insides twisted. I almost broke into tears thinking about having breakfast alone at my place because it reminded me that my next meal would be a trial. When I was about to leave home to come here, instead of opening the door, I was sorely tempted to make sure it was safely locked and go hide in my bedroom under my blankets.

But here I am, in front of the restaurant. Inside, I feel like a gelatinous blob mounted on a drill. I still evaluate the chance of my running away before the time comes to enter at one in two.

I take a look at my watch.

12:58

My psychologist made the reservation—one of his dirty tricks to prevent me from bailing out—for one o’clock. He knows perfectly well I can’t stand lateness (or earliness) or an appointment cancellation without calling beforehand, and, as a consequence, I would never do that to someone else.

12:59

It’s too late to call the restaurant and cancel now. I stifle an emerging sob and move to the pedestrian crossing on my right. There are no cars passing, but I never cross a street elsewhere.

Just like every time I’m nervous, I’m tempted to embrace my old habits again. Right now, this means not stepping on the white paint of the crossing. I don’t know where I got that from, but it took me several sessions and a lot of training to be able to ignore the color of the ground I walk on.

I bite my bottom lip and stare straight in front of me so I can’t see my feet. I reach the other side of the street without further ado and walk the short distance to the entrance of the restaurant.

12:59

13:00

I open the door with a racing heart and step into my worst nightmare: a crowded public place.

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Meet the Author

Alec Nortan is a French social services worker. Though he learned English at school, he chooses this language to write in. His works are gay-related fictions, varying from young adult, science fiction or fantasy adventure, to romance.

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Don’t Miss Out on the Blog Tour for Rise of Virginie by Katey Hawthorne (excerpt and giveaway)

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Rise of Virginie

Katey Hawthorne

Gay/Bi Romance, Contemporary, Rock Band, Small town, Hurt/Comfort

Release Date: 12.16.19

TheRiseofVirginie-f

Blurb

Stefan Holt left home at nineteen, guitar in hand, determined that couch-surfing would be better than staying with his mother. He finally lands with Megan, an old band-mate, and they decide to resurrect their rock n’ roll dreams to get them out of their opioid-riddled small town. Unfortunately, neither of them is much of a lyricist.

Han Westfall works at the local library, where he lives to rec poetry to the handsome, mysterious guy who brings in his guitar and stays all day. Han writes lines of his own, and when Stefan finally asks to see them, their musical chemistry clicks—and it brings them closer, faster than either of them imagined possible. They name their new band Virginie, ostensibly in honor of their Appalachian roots.

They’ll have to work through band in-fighting, revenge porn, homophobic taunts, family addictions, parental drama, and their own inner demons to make things work, both in love and in music. But if they can make it, maybe they won’t just get out of town. Maybe they’ll rise up and take everyone with them.

Buy Link: https://amzn.to/38wQexM

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Excerpt

“C’mere.” Han picked up a random guitar that was settled against the wall and handed it to me. It was a steel-string acoustic Alvarez like his, way more action than I was used to, but nice. “Use this. I’ve had a tune in my head all day.”

Then it hit me just how fucking brilliant he was. “A new song.”

“Why not?” Han shrugged like it was nothing.

I wanted to tell him I loved him, but it scared me, so I just sat down with the guitar. “Sing for me.”

“It’s just a little bit of a song right now. A first line.” And he sang, “We’ve got a little secret, baby… It’s just yours and mine…”

I found the chords he needed, picked out the melody, then wrapped a riff around the chords like we always did. It came in waves, kind of, the melody coming and going, washed-out and dreamy. I hummed the next line, even though I didn’t know what the words would be, running with it.

He nodded, eyes bright and serious, and added the words to bring it to life.

We’ve got a little secret, baby

It’s just yours and mine

It’s soft like skin and hard like you

Bathed in hot, sweet sighs

“Hot.” If I sounded enthusiastic, I was. As usual, the sound of his honey-warm voice diving through my music was doing all the good things to me. My blood always heated, my heart always pounded, and my dick… well, my dick was a fan, for sure. Hey, he was the poet.

It doesn’t matter if I win or lose

If there’s one death I could choose

I’d end it all for one more time

I’d end it all between your thighs

“Dude…” My voice cracked, and I stopped playing.

Han flushed, which was rare when he was in rock-star-songwriter mode anymore.

“How long have you had this one?” I asked.

“Since the other night. You were coming back from the bathroom, and I thought…” He gave a helpless little laugh that made me want to jump him even harder. He moved the stool he’d perched on closer to me, then reached out to settle a hand on my thigh. “You look good naked. And we’d just been doing that thing where you wrap your legs around me?”

“Oh yeah, frotting, like the almost-fuck.” I grinned. Loved rubbing my dick off on his—and his dick off on mine. Hell, I’d make him come any way he wanted, but there was something about getting my legs around him and then feeling his cum soak my cock and belly… Fuck, okay, now I was super hard. And we were supposed to be on a half-hour snack break.

Not enough time for everything I wanted to do to him right then. But enough for one or two, for sure.

“And I thought, I’d stay in bed all day if I could have those legs wrapped around me.” Han leaned in closer and kissed my ear.

I broke out in goosebumps and turned to catch his mouth. We kissed for a second, slow and hot, over that guitar that wasn’t mine.

Then Han pulled back, his voice lower and rougher than before. He squeezed my leg. “I thought of that old saying about Alexander the Great, you know? That the only battle he ever lost was to Hephaestion’s thighs.”

I snorted out a laugh. “I never heard that one, but it’s hilarious. That was his… boyfriend?”

“Lover, favored companion, general, boyfriend.” Han smiled softly, but his eyes still burned, dark and intense.

That look always meant I was gonna get laid. Hell, I’d do it right here, giant window to the empty booth or not, if he’d let me. How else could I show him… show him everything?

“You’re the only thing that could keep me away from everything else,” Han said. “And I thought, that’s worth writing a song about. At least that might get us out of bed.”

We laughed, then kissed again, this time a little longer. As we closed it off, I bit gently at his puffy bottom lip, and he gave a little moan that made my balls go tight.

“We have to finish the song,” he whispered.

“I know,” I admitted. “But I am gonna do some dirty, dirty shit to you tonight when we get home.”

“Please.” Another chuckle from Han. “Please, do.”

“What’s the song called?” I asked.

His smile almost went smirky when he said, “‘Hephaestion.’”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of superpowered and paranormal romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly, because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in Ohio with her family, two cats, and two huge puppies. In her spare time she enjoys travel, comic books, B-movies, loud music, video games, Epiphones, and Bushmills. Her favorite causes include animal rescue and bisexual representation in media. She is an unashamed fangirl and collects nerdy tattoos like she’s trying to prove it.

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99c Book Blast with Excerpt for Little Red (Big Bad Wolves Book One) by Queenie Wise

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99c BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Little Red (Big Bad Wolves Book One)

 Author: Queenie Wise

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Genre/s: Paranormal M/M Romance 

Trope/s: Enemies to lovers, Hurt/Comfort 

Themes: Werewolves, Coming Out

Heat Rating: 2.5 flames

Length: 117 500 words/351 pages

This is the first book in a series.

It is on sale for $0.99 for a limited time (Dec 27 – 31)

to celebrate the release of its sequel on December 27, 2019

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Big, sexy werewolves + sassy, gay protagonist + fun worldbuilding = Little Red!

Blurb

Peter “Penis” Caldwell (nickname bestowed courtesy of popular jock, Jackson Davis) didn’t necessarily have a lot of things going for him.

  1. See “Penis”.
  2. He attended high school in a small town that was as bigoted as it was boring. (Having the audacity to stand out was considered a major character flaw.)
  3. He was maybe, sort of, a little bit (a lot) gay. Not that anyone knew that last one.

None of that meant, however, that Peter was prepared for the consequences when he is bitten by a giant wolf during a reckless night of teenage adventure.

Consequences that smack him right in the face when he is simultaneously saved and snatched by a (hugely-muscled, obscenely handsome)… mentally-imbalanced man who’s convinced that he’s a long-distance relation of Jacob Black. That’s right: werewolf.

Mr. Big and Bad claims Peter is one, too, now that he’s bitten him.

The only thing worse than being kidnapped by a crazy person? A crazy person who’s right.

Forced to adjust to pack life in a hidden society, Peter’s not sure what he longs to do more: throttle the man who’s bitten him and ruined his life so conclusively, or throw himself on Mr. Big and Bad’s ridiculously firmlap.

Yeah, lap

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited 

99c for a limited time (Dec 27 – 31)

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Excerpt 

​For the first time in his life, Peter realized that people had ​scents​. He wasn’t referring to the funky smell that always followed around his history teacher, Mr. Herbert, or even the flowery perfumes that his mother often saturated herself in.

No, people had scents beneath all that.

Like his dad, who smelled a bit like worn leather, or his mom, whose natural fragrance more closely resembled lemons.

Not everyone had a pleasant aroma, however. Jackson’s smell, for example, was putrid – not unlike the stink of sour milk.

No one’s scent was overpowering, and Peter often only caught whiffs of people as they walked by – and that was only when he put his mind to doing so. It was when he spent a lot of time with people, like his parents, or even Scott, who smelled a little like freshly cut grass underneath his Axe body spray, that he really noticed it.

Peter sighed, forcefully pulling himself from his thoughts. He couldn’t be certain, of course, but none of the books his parents – mostly his mom – had bought for him and his older sister about puberty mentioned the strange ability to ​smell​ other people. (He knew because he’d wasted an entire half hour searching the section about body odor.)

Realizing that as he had daydreamed, the sun had risen (and the heat index along with it), Peter glanced down to discover he had sweat through his shirt. Yanking his ear buds out of his ears and stuffing them into his pocket along with his MP3 player, Peter began tugging his shirt off his head.

He probably should have stopped running to do it. But he didn’t.

Which was why, shirt blocking his vision, Peter completely missed the man who suddenly appeared in front of him. By the time he had yanked the shirt completely off, it was too late, and he collided full speed into him.

He didn’t even have time to brace himself. One second, he was running, and the next, he was practically ricocheting off the solid mass of the man’s chest, his body flying backwards. It was a battle to stay upright– a battle he was losing – until firm hands grasped his hips and righted him, allowing Peter’s equilibrium to return to him.

An embarrassed flush bursting across his cheeks, Peter quickly stepped out of the man’s grasp, finally getting a good look at him, and… ​oh.

Jesus.

He’d almost plowed down a god, or a half-god, or ​something,​ because there was no way it was possible to be that naturally good-looking without having a parent named Aphrodite.

The handsome stranger – the man was definitely a stranger, Peter would know if he had seen ​this particular face before – had perfectly symmetrical features. He had an attractive nose and strong jaw, and his face was framed by dark, disheveled hair, longer on the top than it was on the sides.

Not only was the man absurdly handsome, he was also tall (​well​ over six feet), and judging by the way his shirt-sleeves bulged, he was positively covered in lithe muscle.

Which you are very rudely staring at,​ a voice in the back of Peter’s head pointed out. Unfortunately, jerking his eyes away from the display of tanned muscle only served as a reminder that Peter’s less-muscled body was also on parade.

“I-I wasn’t,” Peter stuttered, clutching his shirt to his chest like an old lady holding a rosery in church, “I mean, I ​was​… and then you, and I… I’m really sorry!” he eventually managed to spit out.

Determined not to embarrass himself any further – because apparently people related to Greek gods made him a little tongue-tied – Peter directed his gaze to the ground.

“Are you alright?”

Half-expecting to have been ignored, or worse, laughed at, Peter was taken off-guard by the concern-laced question. (It didn’t help that it was asked in such a cultured timbre. Peter had no idea it was possible to be physically attracted to a voice until that very moment.)

Unable to resist, he allowed his gaze to flicker back up. And promptly froze.

Peter had been so preoccupied with the man’s handsome features earlier that he had somehow missed the most striking of them all: his eyes.

Framed by black lashes, they were an intense blue. Peter’s poetry-obsessed mother would have probably called them sapphire or cobalt or something equally fanciful. But their color wasn’t what had Peter’s entire body tensing.

No, that was due to the fact that the eyes were strangely familiar. Like Peter had seen them somewhere before.

Except Peter was completely certain he had never laid eyes on this man before.

For one hare-brained moment, he thought of the pair of eyes that had been haunting his dreams for over a week now. ​They’re the same​, his subconscious all but screamed at him, ​they’re the same!

But that was ridiculous.

The eyes in his dream were red. And they belonged to a wolf. They weren’t blue and set in the face of a Michelangelo statue come to life. A statue that was currently frowning at him, a troubled crease in his brow. “Well, are you?”

Peter blinked. “Am I…?” “Are you alright?”

Oh.

That’s right.

The man had asked Peter a question, and instead of answering it like a normal person, Peter had just stared rudely.

Face burning, he half-wished the ground would open up and swallow him whole. “Yeah! Fine. Great. Dandy, even.” ​Dandy? What. the. hell.​ “It’s not like I fell or anything.” Although Peter wasn’t so sure he hadn’t somehow concussed himself by running into the man’s chest of solid muscle, what with his mouth moving without consent from his brain and all. “I mean, you stopped me before I could. Fall, that is. Grabbed me by the waist, which would usually be sort of creepy, in a bad-touch way, but, I mean, you’re obviously not… you wouldn’t… you know what? I’m just going to shut up now.”

By the time Peter had finished inserting both his feet firmly in his mouth, the man’s frown had increased in severity. He seemed confused.

You and me both, buddy.

After a moment, he just shook his head. “You should really watch where you’re going,” he said somberly.

Yeah, can’t be smacking into god-like entities every time I take my shirt off,​ Peter thought sarcastically. What he actually said was: “I’ll do that.”

“See that you do. You never know when you might run into… someone dangerous.”

For some reason, a shiver tingled down Peter’s spine at the remark. It wasn’t a​ scared​ shiver. Sure, the statement could have been threatening – Peter had just run smack into ​this​ man, after all – but somehow, it was something… ​else.

Peter found himself staring again, almost involuntarily, into the man’s eyes. Dark blue drilled right back into muted green. It was a staring contest Peter was desperate not to lose for reasons beyond his grasp.

 

About the Author

 

Queenie Wise is a happily married mother of four. (Yes, that is four ​human ​children.)

When she is not busy wiping noses or magically kissing away “boo-boo”’s, she is obsessing over M/M romance. Original stories, fanfiction; she reads it all. She is especially fond of sassy protagonists and huge, burly love interests who have tough-as-nails exteriors, but are actually giant marshmallows on the inside. She loves all the tropes: hurt/comfort, enemies to lovers, and May/December being some of her favorites.

Although Queenie began her writing career as a M/F author (under a different pen name), she has recently returned to her true passion: M/M.

While she has a penchant for torturing her favorite characters, all of her stories feature HEA’s. Just because there are not enough of them in the real world doesn’t mean the fictional world should be denied.

(In other words, Queenie is as soft and gooey on the inside as her giant, marshmallow men.)

 

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Join Us for the New Release Blitz for Wounded Martyr by Courtney Maguire (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Wounded Martyr

Author: Courtney Maguire

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 16, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 54300

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT Contemporary, gay, rock star, musicians, tour, drug/alcohol use, addiction, friends to lovers, hurt/comfort

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Synopsis

Ice is an asshole, but he’s working on it. He’s two years sober, no small feat when you front a heavy metal band facing waning popularity and dismal ticket sales. But the pieces of a life torn apart by alcoholism are finally coming back together. His band, Wounded Martyr, has written a great album with the potential to launch them back into relevancy. And Ricky, probably the biggest, most important piece, has finally forgiven him for the wreck he made of their relationship. There’s only one problem.

Ashton.

It was to be expected. As his best friend and bandmate for almost twenty years, it’s only natural they should find each other in the loneliness of the road. Ricky knows about their one night together, but he doesn’t know that Ice can’t stop thinking about it, about his long body and whiskey-flavored lips, and the guilt of it has him on the brink of backslide. Now that Wounded Martyr is poised for a long tour, Ice must find a way to resist temptation or risk blowing their last chance and destroying his relationship with the two most important men in his life.

Excerpt

Wounded Martyr
Courtney Maguire © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Everything hurt.

Hiding in our dingy dressing room toilet, back pressed against the wall between the sink and the urinal, I read wall graffiti to take my mind off my sore joints. Black Sharpie marker slander tucked between worn band stickers. Jake is a pussy. For a good time, call. Someone had scrawled SUX over a Wounded Martyr sticker in the corner. An old one. Apparently, we’d played here before. I couldn’t remember.

House music vibrated through the wall, and I pressed my shoulder blades into it. I gave a no-smoking sign the finger and pulled a pack of cigarettes out of my pocket. This used to be my favorite part, the anticipation in the moments before we hit the stage. Now, I shook with a mix of adrenaline and dread that made me queasy.

“Ice!” A familiar voice cut through the din followed by a rapid knock on the door. “Dude, you in there?”

I popped a cigarette between my lips. “Fuck off, I’m taking a shit.”

The door opened anyway, and in slipped Ashton. Ash. Hair in his face and dark liner around his eyes. Deep lines framed his mouth, but his too-long limbs made him appear perpetually boyish. The way I would always see him. The sixteen-year-old kid playing bass in his garage.

“You can’t smoke in here.”

I scowled and shoved the cig back in the pack.

“Dante is going to lose his shit if you don’t get out there,” he said, closing the door behind him. Dante, our self-appointed fearless leader. If he wasn’t such a goddamned great guitarist, I’d kick him in the teeth.

“Dante can suck my cock.”

“Pretty sure he’s not into that.” We shared a laugh before his eyes pinched in concern. “How’s the voice?”

“Tired,” I answered on the tail end of an exhale.

“You can make it, man.” He stepped toward me. “Just three more shows, and we’re home.”

“Have you seen the house?”

“Yeah.”

“Is it full?”

He pressed his lips together, and those lines around his mouth deepened.

“Shit.”

“Don’t sweat it.” He squeezed my arm. “It’s a big house. It would be hard for anyone to fill. Besides, we’ve played smaller.”

I nodded, but my stomach dropped into my toes. Sure, we’d played smaller. I remembered playing crowds of twenty people, ten of whom hated us. But we were eighteen with nowhere to go but up, and nothing to lose. It felt different now.

Ash’s expression softened. “What do you need?”

A drink.

“A blow job from John Stamos.”

“You and me both.” He hooked his hand around the back of my neck and pressed our foreheads together. “You’ll be great,” he said. “You are great. Just another day at the office, man, you got this.”

I leaned into him and released a long breath. Just another day. Another day I got to play rock and roll. Living the dream, most would say. But even dreams didn’t last forever.

“What the fuck are you two doing in there? Put your dicks away, and let’s go,” Dante’s gruff voice shouted from the other side of the door. Ash shot me a mischievous grin and dropped to his knees just as the door swung open. “What the fu—”

“Be right out, Boss,” I said, but he’d already stomped off, spitting and cursing the whole way back to the dressing room, his bright copper skin dark with an angry flush. I gave Ash a kick with my heel, and he rolled over backward, tangled in his own legs and howling.

“Homophobes are fun,” he said between gasps.

“You’re a prick,” I said, but I was smiling, my earlier dread carried away in the stream of his laughter. Dante had left the door open, and the house music pounded through me, ringing the tuning fork inside. It was still there, thank God. I offered Ash a hand and hauled him up.

“Ready to go?” he asked, his hand still wrapped in mine.

“Let’s get to work.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Courtney Maguire is a University of Texas graduate from Corpus Christi, Texas. Drawn to Austin by a voracious appetite for music, she spent most of her young adult life in dark, divey venues nursing a love for the sublimely weird. A self-proclaimed fangirl with a press pass, she combined her love of music and writing as the primary contributor for Japanese music and culture blog, Project: Lixx, interviewing Japanese rock and roll icons and providing live event coverage for appearances across the country. Her first novel, Wounded Martyr, is a 2019 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in the Contemporary Romance: Short Category.

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