Coffee Sip and Book Break with DC Juris’s short story, Star’s Embrace (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Star’s Embrace

Series: Alpha/Omega Verse #4

Author: DC Juris

Publisher: Torquere Press

Release Date: August 17, 2016

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 7,200 Words

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Aliens, Alien/Human

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Synopsis

Maltinian Ambassador Jedryn Parvone is forbidden fruit to a simple Human ship Captain like Jacob Meryl. But when a mission puts them in close quarters once again, will Jacob continue to bury his feelings? Not if Jedryn has anything to say about it.

Excerpt

Jacob answered the door buzzer a little under three hours later—he’d had just enough time to shower and look presentable. Clad in a floor-length, shimmering red robe that clung to his hips unmercifully, his long, thick hair done up into a bun with a colorful feather sticking out, Jedryn walked toward him with the graceful ease only a Maltinian possessed. Jedryn’s face lit up in a wide, sweet smile, and Jacob felt his guts tremble in response.

Jedryn brushed his lips gently across his cheek. “I have missed you,” he whispered.

Jacobs’s stomach did flip-flops. Jedryn was forbidden fruit of the highest order. The man’s father had never warmed to Jacob; probably never would. For Jedryn to mate without his father’s consent would mark Jedryn as a c’entrath.  A nasty slur among Maltinians, the closest Human equivalent was something slightly worse than whore.

He brushed his sweaty palms on his pants for the hundredth time, and took a deep breath. He had never been anxious around anyone, but something about Jedryn rattled his nerves. Aside from being the most physically beautiful man he had ever encountered, Jedryn was also the kindest, the purest of heart. He doubted the alien carried a mean bone in his body. Far too good for the likes of him.

“Is there anything to eat?” Jedryn asked, stepping back. “I am famished.”

Jacob nodded, at last taking in the pallor of his skin and the dark almost purple, circles under his bright blue, almond-shaped eyes. He took Jedryn’s hand and led him to the small kitchen area, gestured for him to sit at the table. They would have to discuss the mission, but for a while maybe he could keep the topics to more mundane things. “How’s your sire?”

“You do not need to avoid the subject of the slaves.”

“I’m not avoiding anything. I’m being polite.” Jacob shrugged. “I hear he’s making progress with the Disputed Space talks.”

Jedryn groaned. “If there exists a more stubborn race than the Bortors, I have never heard of them. Do you know their delegate fought my sire at every turn?”

“Perhaps she doesn’t want peace.” Jacob poured a glass of amara juice and slid it across the table. He turned and fished out a bowl from the cupboard. “Salad or stew?”

Jedryn downed several sips of juice. “Salad, please. I think she does want peace,” he said, getting back to the conversation. “She is just…stubborn.” Jedryn folded his arms on top of the table and rested his chin on them. “How have you been?”

“I’ve kept busy.” He tossed a few leafy greens into the bowl—Jedryn didn’t like anything else in his salad—dribbled some flavored oil over them, and handed off the bowl. He joined Jedryn at the table with a sigh.

Jedryn sat up and picked at the food, frowning, his forehead knit together. “This is lovely, Jacob. Thank you.”

Jacob blinked several times, taken aback, as always, by the sincerity and warmth in Jedryn’s expression and tone. Two things the universe no longer had enough of. He recovered quickly, somehow remembering to breathe. “Anyone can make a salad.”

“Still, it is nice. I so rarely get to eat Human food, and I do prefer it so much to the bland cuisine of my home world.”

“Perhaps when I retire I should start a cooking school on your planet, eh?”

Jedryn laughed, a musical sound that sent shivers up and down Jacob’s spine. “You would either do extremely well or extremely poorly.”

And for a moment, just a tiny, shivering moment, Jacob let himself imagine it. Perhaps he would share a cozy little home with Jedryn on Maltinia. He pictured it, standing at the door of their house, gazing out at the fields and mountains beyond, at the stationary clouds—big and fluffy in that picturesque way that defied reality, as if he had stepped into a painting. Shadows of those same clouds would cover half the mountains, the trees below them cast in a hue of deep green.

They’d have the sort of life poets wrote about, minstrels sang of, and artists loved to capture on canvas. The sort of life that could make a man believe in the perfection of his world—a world with only beauty and peace. The sort of life that could make a man feel as though he truly belonged—not just to any one thing—but to everything: the trees, the water, the air, the soil. The sort of life that could make a man feel complete and want for nothing.

Any man except him, that was.

He slid his gaze to the window, to the stars beyond, longing to be out among them. He missed the familiar quirks of his ship, the camaraderie of his crew, and the adrenaline-pumping excitement of their escapades. The domesticity of vacation didn’t sit well with him, but after their last mission—after he’d narrowly escaped capture by the Koralens and managed barely to save his ship and crew— he’d felt they’d all been owed a little time off.

Jedryn finished the last few bites of his salad, then gave a shy smile and lowered his gaze to the table. “When I was here last, they had made great advancements with the hydroponics. Do you think there is anything new to show me this time?”

He could show Jedryn something, all right. “As a matter of fact, I know there is. Come.” He stood and offered his hand.

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Torquere Press

Star's Embrace SquareMeet the Author

Romance author, sci-fi fan club Captain, cosplayer, reigning Queen of Monkeyland, and random menace. Yep, we’re talking about DC Juris. She’s a cupcake-making, football-watching, rubber-duck-collecting, drag-show loving, full-of-fabulous-with-a-capital-F kinda gal. She’s also an ordained minister and an amateur photographer. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband, three dogs, and three cats. When she’s not writing, you can find her in her favorite chair watching Star Trek and Supernatural repeats on Netflix, or surfing the web for porn. Er…research. Surfing the web for research. She may speak softly but she lives and loves loudly. Just ask the neighbors. ::wink::

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Sean McKissack’s ‘To Be a Different Someone’ Book Blitz and Giveaway

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Title:  To Be A Different Someone

Author: Sean McKissack

Publisher: Torquere Press

Release Date: August 17, 2016

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Female

Length: 53,000 Words

Genre: Romance, Young Adult,

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Synopsis

James Kane could be summed up in one word: loser. He silently lived as a ghost amongst his parents and he had zero friends at school…unless you count his cousin who had to defend him against the abusive Matt Tracker.

When his parents divorce, James moves to Montana and stays with his grandmother, where he makes an extreme adjustment to his life-becoming a different someone named Jennifer. The transition comes with frightening issues Jennifer never thought of. After two years of recovery, she returns to her old high school to start over but she meets up with her past tormenter and gets caught in a web of secrets as she finds herself falling in love.

Her conscious gets the best of her as she tries to be truthful to Matt about who she once was, but will he accept her as his girlfriend, Jennifer, when she was once his punching bag, James?

Excerpt

“Do I need to blame this on your father?”
“If I had a penny for every time I heard that…”
“James.”
“I’m not James, I’m Jennifer. I have it on m’license, birth certificate and my school enrollment. Do I have to show you the rest of me to prove it?”
“No, that’s not necessary.”
“It’s not new. I am who I’ve always been”
“No, you used to be named James.”
“I also used to be ‘this close’ to slitting my wrists.”
“I think you need to leave.”

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Torquere Press

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Meet the Author

Sean McKissack’s ability to view the world around him and find a story and truth enables him to prepare the stage in a reader’s mind for a heart-felt life cinema. His writings epitomize the good and the bad in life, the joys and the pain, culminating in the coming of age and wisdom.

Sean hails from Southaven, Mississippi and he’s always thinking of new stories to write while looking for that perfect cup of coffee.

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Love Finds Perfect Harmony with ‘All Note Long’ by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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All Note Long Blitz BannerTitle: ALL NOTE LONG

Author: Annabeth Albert

Series Title and Number: Perfect Harmony, Book 3, but stands alone well too

Publisher: Kensington

Cover Artist: Cora Graphics/Kensington

Release Date: August 2, 2016

Heat Level: 4 (explicit m/m sex, but lots and lots of plot too!)

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: aprox. 80,000 words/ 232 pages

Genre/Tags: Romance, M/M Romance, contemporary romance, multi-cultural

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Synopsis

Giving true love a spin . . .

Michelin Moses is a country music star on the rise. With a hit single under his Texas-sized belt buckle and a sold-out concert tour underway, his childhood dreams of making it big are finally coming true. But there’s one thing missing—a promise to his dying mother that he’d find it—him—when the time was right. With a little luck, he won’t have to wait too long . . .

Lucky Ramirez is a hunky boy toy who dances at The Broom Closet, one of West Hollywood’s hottest gay bars. He loves what he does, and he’s good at it—almost as good as he is at playing dumb when he spots Michelin Moses at the bar. What happens next is off the charts—and keeps Michelin coming back for more. He’s just not sure it’s the right move for his career. But if Lucky gets his way, Michelin will get Lucky—and no matter how the media spins it, neither of them will be faking it . . .

Excerpt

Michelin Moses had no business at a gay bar, especially not one as notorious as West Hollywood’s The Broom Closet. And the line to get in totally underscored that—the vestibule was a long, narrow tunnel filled with kids out to enjoy their Friday night. Babies, really. Fresh-faced young things who probably didn’t even need to shave jostled one another in the tight space, laughing and joking as they admired one another’s club wear and gossiped about who was fucking who.

Not that Michelin was listening in, but the space was so tiny it was hard not to. He didn’t have club wear to ogle. He had “please for the love of God don’t notice me” clothes. And the idea of openly pointing to another dude in line and announcing to one’s friends, “Oh yeah, I hit that last weekend” was so totally foreign that he couldn’t help but gape a bit. The plexiglass walls of the tunnel gave off weird shadows—neither the lights outside the club nor the dim track lighting along the bottom edge of the tunnel were enough illumination.

He tugged at the collar of his Henley shirt. Damn, it was hot in here. Too small. Too tight. Not enough air. Shut up. He was not claustrophobic. If this line ever moved, he’d feel better once he was inside the Closet.

If that’s not a metaphor for your whole damn life…

“ID please.” Finally, the line reached the bouncers who were taking ID. Michelin couldn’t even remember the last time he’d had to stand around like this, show ID. At least unlike these nineteen-year-olds with their fake identification, Michelin’s Oregon driver’s license was likely to hold up. The bouncer was a huge guy—so tall and jacked that Michelin felt for the tiny stool that held him up—with surprisingly small, delicate hands.

He held the card aloft before finally handing it back and nodding. “Okay, cowboy. Enjoy your night.”

At least he hadn’t laughed outright at the name. That was something. Shoving his license back in his wallet, he stumbled a bit coming out of the tunnel.

“Watch it,” someone barked behind him.

“Sorry,” Michelin mumbled. Hell, he couldn’t even successfully enter the Closet. A nervous laugh bubbled up in his throat, something he stamped right back down. Forget the stupid bar, coming out of his personal closet was out of the question, and he didn’t need the crowd jostling behind him to remind him of that.

“This your first time here?” a kid to the left of him asked—short little guy with far more bravado than brains. Michelin made a noncommittal response but the kid grabbed his sleeve, his eyes going soft and hooded. “How about you be my daddy for the night? We can make sure it’s your lucky night.” The kid winked.

Ugh. Getting lucky wasn’t even remotely in the cards for his night.

“No thanks.” He pulled away from the kid, scanning the cavernous space for signs of the private party room his friends had promised. And oh holy hell, knowing in the abstract that this place had go-go dancers was a far cry from actually seeing said dancers dispersed through the place on platforms and in cages and even on something resembling a trapeze. Gleaming bronze skin and tiny shorts everywhere he looked.

Fuck the private room. I need a soda. Something to relieve his suddenly parched throat. He turned toward the main bar area and ran smack into one of the elevated dancers’ platforms. Two platforms flanked the opening of the club, directing the stream of traffic toward the bar, sort of like how a different sort of place might have large statues. Only instead of works of stone or ice, this…piece of art in front of Michelin was all man.

And what a specimen he was. The dancer probably wasn’t much older than the kids waiting to get into the club, but there was nothing juvenile about his tall, ripped body or that juicy bubble butt that he worked to perfection the way Michelin’s guitar player did a solo—each muscle working in concert with the others, each wiggle carefully choreographed for maximum appeal. Said butt was encased in a pair of shorts. Or at least Michelin guessed that one would call them shorts—they were longer than underwear, but not by much, and made of a clingy, silky red material. The stitching did things to the guy’s package that shouldn’t be legal.

Those muscular legs and that smooth, oiled chest also needed outlawing. The dancer had completed his look with thick, chunky combat boots, sunglasses, and a necklace with a medal on it. The boots and glasses upped the hotness factor to supernova, giving him an untouchable appeal that made it no surprise that he had a fair-sized crowd around his platform. Right as Michelin completed his muscle-by-muscle catalog of the guy, the dancer’s glasses slipped, revealing chocolaty eyes. His eyebrows went up, and the message he sent Michelin was unmistakable: You gonna stay there all night?

Oh fuck. Michelin was blocking the line of traffic, and more important, blocking access to the platform for the patrons who wanted to slip tips in the guy’s waistband.

Should he? He shoved a hand in his pocket, considering. Did he dare risk touching a piece of that gleaming skin? The lights reflecting off the dancer’s body totally made Michelin think of caramel dripping off flan—rich golden tones only enhanced by the contrast of the shiny black combat boots and his closely cropped black hair.

What the fuck was the protocol in a situation like this? Hi, I’m sorry I’ve been eye-fucking you for the last ten minutes, here’s a five? He’d never been to a straight strip club either. Hell, he avoided most bars like the plague. And eye-fucking? He never ogled—and not just because it could be disastrous to his career. Most of the time he simply felt oblivious, but something about the dancer perked up parts of Michelin that usually stayed dormant. Two people shoved around him to stuff money in the dancer’s shorts, their arms trapping Michelin briefly in place. Coming here had been a giant mistake, just as Gloria had warned him.

“You can’t go to that party! Gossip is already high about you mentoring two gay groups—”

“They’re not gay groups. They just happen to have gay members,” Michelin said wearily, already tired of this latest publicist the label had shoved at him.

“Whatever.” Gloria flipped her bony wrist. “They’re a risk you can’t take right now.”

“It’s no big deal. There will be straight people at the party.” Michelin didn’t bother with the “other straight people” pretext. Gloria knew the drill. “There’s no risk in celebrating a friend’s birthday.”

Except now, looking at the dancer, Michelin knew how wrong he’d been. This place was risk personified, and that dancer was the embodiment of everything Michelin denied himself. The dancer was a triple pour of top-shelf whiskey and Michelin couldn’t stop thinking about the heady rush touching him would bring. He should turn around now. Get back to his car now before he really embarrassed himself—

“Mi—boss! There you are!”

Oh thank you, small mercies, that Lucas stopped himself before he said Michelin’s name. Still, Michelin turned toward him warily. Play it cool, he tried to tell Lucas with his eyes.

Lucas nodded, just slightly. Message received. Like everyone else in the club, Lucas was in his early twenties and about a decade younger than Michelin, but at least he was one of Michelin’s favorite kids, especially because he was here to lead Michelin away from the temptation that was the dancer with the sculpture-worthy ass.

“The party room is back this way.” Lucas motioned with his hand. “Follow me.”

“Babe!” A familiar rangy figure with a punk haircut draped himself over Lucas. “You found him.” Cody had a smile for Michelin, but his affection was all for his boyfriend.

Ordinarily, Michelin loved being around the two of them and the other guys he mentored. Their energy was infectious, and their passion for music renewed his own. But tonight, Michelin’s stomach cramped as he followed the two of them to the rear of the club. Happiness practically rolled off them and their movements were totally in sync with each other. Once Michelin had thought he might get to know what that was like, but those days were long past.

“Don’t even think about doing anything now. You’ve got too much riding on this year. Don’t be foolish. You’ve got the number one country song in America right now. Don’t mess with your momentum.” Gloria’s voice rang in his ears. Nope. No way was Michelin ever getting what his friends shared. No sense in pining for it either. He had a career he loved, friends who made him laugh, and family at his back. He’d known what the trade-offs were when he decided to trade his rock stardom for country crossover success.

Tonight’s strange melancholy mood had him aching to get back home, push all these feelings into working on a new song. With any luck, Michelin could say happy birthday to Jalen, make a round of greetings to the other musicians he was mentoring, and get the hell out of Dodge. Preferably without running into the dancer again. He didn’t need another reminder of how little he fit into this world—or how much he wished life were a bit different.

Purchase

Kensington Publishing | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Itunes | Kobo Books

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Meet the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

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

Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Tumbler | Fan Group | Newsletter

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Enjoy Science Fiction? Check out Save Jake Venice by Asher Oswald (Excerpt and Giveaway)

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Title: Save Jake Venice

Author: Asher Oswald

Publisher: Torquere Press

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Release Date: 7/27/16

Heat Level : 2

Pairing: male/male

Length: 10,000 words

Genre:Gay Romance, Science Fiction, Time Travel

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Synopsis

When I heard Jake Venice had taken his life, I felt like I died with him. Suffocated by the fluff and fakeness of the plastic faces at his funeral, all I wanted to do was join him…wherever he was now.

I woke up the next morning with one last chance. Somehow, I was put ten days back, and I had one shot to try and save Jake. I drove across the country to find him, but when I did…How do you convince someone to hold on who’s already let go? How do you bring light to someone committed to the darkness? I have ten days to try.

Excerpt

No call from Jake. No call from the mechanics. As I take out my wallet to check on what cash I have left, the piece of paper falls out. It’s crinkled now. I unfold it.

One shot.

I look up and close my eyes, then stare at the words again. The future I remember seems like the dream now.

Did Jake really kill himself? Did I just dream it, and drove all the way out here only to be reminded of his rejection? But it was so real. I can’t abandon him in his darkness.

I fold the piece of paper back up and put it in my wallet.

 

Early evening and I’m back at the coffee shop, ordering my mocha and a ham sandwich. The barista grins, “The usual, huh?”

I already have a usual.

He’s mixing my drink as I catch his attention, “Do you know a Jake Venice?”

He looks at me sideways, “Is that, like, some kind of drink?”

“No, it’s a guy. He comes in here sometimes, I think. Glasses, goatee.”

The barista laughs, “That’s 90% of the dudes that come in here, man. Sorry.”

“He said he plays piano at some club around here on weeknights…any idea of where that might be?”

The barista swirls whipped cream onto my mocha and hands it to me, “That could be a lot of places. Check out the board by the door—customers put up posters and stuff there.” He hands me my sandwich, “Have a nice day.”

I devour my usual and then take a look at the large corkboard by the door. Posters and advertisements, one on top of the other, desperately vie for attention.

Despite all the screaming ads, an image catches my eye: Jake in a tux by a piano. He’s trying to look relaxed as a lounge singer, but his natural stiffness shines through even here.

Danny McGee’s Piano Bar in downtown…” I mumble to myself, fingers quivering as I punch the address into my phone. Perfect. It’s only a few minutes from the motel, just over the Potomac.

A cold wind picks up outside the bar, blowing my black jacket about and herding people inside for refuge. The fevered weather of the last few days is leaving.

Across the front, in bright cartoon letters, glows Danny McGee’s. Amplified piano reverberates from the walls, and my heart begins to pound. Another gale blows down the street, and the sky vomits rain. I flee for the doorway.

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Torquere Press

Save Jake Venice SquareMeet the Author

Asher Oswald hails from the cool, coniferous shores of Lake Superior. Raised on the boreal beauty of the North and long winter nights, Asher writes to penetrate the heart of the human experience, to lay bare its beauty as well as its anguish. To escape his own thoughts and inspire them, he enjoys hiking the North Woods, playing piano, and traveling the world to add to his growing collection of experiences.

 

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Asher-Oswald-1520340201628654/
Twitter: twitter.com/asheroswald
Blog: asheroswald.wordpress.com
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Rafflecopter Prize: One winner will be selected to win an eBook copy of Save Jake Venice.

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The River Wolf Pack is Back with Third Mate by Rebecca James (Excerpt and Giveaway)

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Title: Third Mate

Author: Rebecca James

Series Title and Number: River Wolf Pack Series, 3

Publisher: JMS_Books

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Release Date: July 16th

Heat Level: 5

Pairing: Male/Male and Male/Male/Male

Length: 176 pages

Genre/Tags: poly, contemporary, paranormal (wolf-shifters), M/M and M/M/M romance, paranormal romance

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Synopsis

After the birth of River and Josiah’s twin girls, pack tensions increase. The presence of rogue wolves, females, and humans have many pack members uncomfortable. In exchange for Leo’s help, Stone offers Leo the position of second alpha should Stone succeed in usurping River. Leo’s conflicted between his desire to rise in the pack, his dislike for Stone, and his increasing feelings for both Sam and Foster. Sam and Foster are best friends, but as a coyote shifter, Foster yearns for his true mate and doesn’t believe he will find him if he stays with the werewolves. Jax knows he must make a difficult decision before he’s turned out of the compound. When David finds out Brooks is considering mating Stone, he determines to stop it. The Angel Hills pack offer a deal in exchange for omegas for their pack.

Excerpt

Stone’s sharp, deep voice cut into Leo’s thoughts, and he turned his attention to the front where the contentious alpha had already begun arguing his points.

“…no place for females. Do they even have any werewolf in them?”

“Of course they do; they’re mine. They are developing as quickly as any werewolf child.” River said more calmly than Leo would have under the scrutiny of so many condemning eyes.

“But have they shifted?” someone asked.

“Not yet. You know as well as I do that they could be a year old before they shift.”

If they shift,” Stone muttered. “And most do by seven months.”

“If they don’t shift,” someone else said, “they aren’t werewolves. They’ll have to leave.”

“They don’t belong here.” Stone stood, feet apart and hands on hips. Justin, Stone’s pregnant omega, cowered in submission at the sound of Stone’s displeased voice. His three beta mates sat with eyes downcast, although Leo saw Canaan glance up more than once. There was something shrewd and calculating about Canaan, and although Leo felt sorry for him after his son was killed, it didn’t make it any easier to like him.

“As my children, they certainly do belong here, as yours do, and the progeny of everyone else present,” River said, tone brooking no argument.

Stone made a frustrated sound and looked around, eyes landing on Griffin, an alpha of Stone’s age.

Griffin stood. “Your own father drove your mate’s father from the pack for having relations with a human female.”

“My father did not drive him out. Derrick was punished—told he couldn’t leave the compound. But he ran away.”

“This is true,” Old Ben called out.

“The fact remains that Thorn did not approve of the boy’s actions,” Griffin argued. “He didn’t invite Derrick to bring his female lover into the pack because females don’t belong with werewolves.”

“I don’t know what you’re getting at,” River said with a sigh. “I am not attempting to bring a female among us. My daughters were born to me, and are therefore a part of this pack.”

Before Griffin could speak again, Stone interrupted. “Which wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t mated with the half-human, which you did without consulting the pack.”

“Josiah is a werewolf,” River said. “And I do not need to consult my pack before mating.”

Half-werewolf,” Stone corrected. “Unlike someone who willingly takes the bite and transforms, your mate will always be part human. Which is why he spawned twin abominations—”

In two steps, River crossed the room and had Stone’s neck between his hands, thumbs cutting off the alpha’s air flow. Leo glanced at the humans. Several flinched, and others looked horrified.

“Don’t you ever,” River breathed heavily into Stone’s purpling face, “ever speak of my mate or children in that manner again. Am I clear?”

Stone’s eyes bulged and his mouth gaped as he tried to dislodge River’s grip. Leo stood, along with the other alphas in the room. As pack alpha, River had the right to kill Stone for such an insult, and Leo found himself almost hoping River would. He got the feeling Stone’s mates felt similarly.

Purchase

JMS Books | ARe | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

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Meet the Author

logoRebecca James has written all her life, mostly to entertain herself and friends. An English major, she currently writes as a second job but would love to do it full-time. Her first book came out in October of 2015. Since then, she’s written both contemporary and paranormal and hopes to put out a sci-fi book soon.

She’s fortunate to have a husband who supports her in her writing career, three wonderful children, and a rat-terrier.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

 

Tour Schedule

7/16 Alpha Book Club

7/16 Molly Lolly

7/17 Bayou Book Junkie

7/18 MM Good Book Reviews

7/18 Purple Rose Teahouse

7/19 Inked Rainbow Reads

7/19 Divine Magazine

7/20 The Novel Approach

7/21 Prism Book Alliance

7/22 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

7/23 3 Chicks After Dark

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Rafflecopter Prize: FIVE winners will be selected to win an eBook copy of their choice of any book in the River Wolf Pack series and ONE lucky person will win all three!

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In The Spotlight – The Olive Conspiracy by Shira Glassman (Book Excerpt and Giveaway)

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Title: The Olive Conspiracy

Author: Shira Glassman

Series Title and Number: Mangoverse 4

Publisher:  Prizm Books

Cover Artist: BS Clay

Release Date: 7/20/16

Heat Level: 2

Pairing : Female/Female, with significant Female/Male supporting characters

Length: 61K

Genre: Fantasy, Lesbian Romance, Multi-Cultural, Espionage, Political, Chick Lit

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Synopsis

When Ezra tries to blackmail Chef Yael about being trans, she throws him out of her restaurant and immediately reports him to the queen. But when police find Ezra stabbed to death, Queen Shulamit realizes he may have also tried to extort someone more dangerous than a feisty old lady.

Shulamit’s royal investigation leads her to an international terrorist plot to destroy her country’s economy—and worse, her first love, Crown Princess Carolina of Imbrio, may be involved. This is a love story between wives, between queen and country, and between farmers and the crops they grow.

Excerpt

“What’s that one? It looks like a map.”

Shulamit shifted papers around. “Mmm,” she agreed, turning the paper slightly and studying it more closely. “It’s a map of Perach. But I don’t know what all this mess is.” She squinted and shook her head. “I don’t know; it looks familiar, somehow.”

“Well, you do run the country.”

“This line… these patterns…”

With one arm folded across her midsection and the other arm upright so that her fist rested against her nose, Shulamit raked her memories. Those swirly bits. That pair of streaks. Why did they look so familiar? Why did she feel like she’d seen it before, what seemed like ages ago before the emotional upheaval of visiting Imbrio again and seeing Carolina?

“Oh, my God!” Heat flared in Shulamit’s cheeks. “Rivka, this makes no sense, but—Guard! Who’s out there?”

One of the guards appeared at the doorway. “Majesty?”

Shulamit held out one pointing finger. “Can you please bring me my latest notes on our agricultural pests?”

“Absolutely, Majesty.” He disappeared into the sunlight.

Rivka squinted at her. “I don’t get it.”

“You think I do?” Shulamit skin tingled as she waited for the papers to show up and either prove her wrong or show that she was absolutely right, thus opening up nothing but a cartload of further questions. Both hands fidgeted with the ends of her filmy yellow scarf.

Shulamit felt like every second was bloated and lazy until the guard reappeared. Where was he? Finally, the requested papers arrived, and she tore into them with such ferocity that several fell onto the floor and had to be retrieved.

“There!” she finally exclaimed triumphantly.

“What?” Rivka leaned over her shoulder eagerly, and Shulamit heard a soft thud as Isaac leapt off Riv’s shoulder onto the back of her throne to get a better view.

“The olive blight,” said Shulamit, her lips barely moving as she tried to make sense of the completely unexpected connection. “Ezra drew a map of the olive blight, and put it in the middle of his blackmail notes.”

“Is there anything else on the paper?” said Isaac in his normal voice.

Shulamit turned it over. “Oh, I’m so nervous, I’m not thinking straight. This is the map I already had.”

She flipped over the correct parchment. In Ezra’s lazy scrawl, it said,

Imbrian man (Name: Rui?) *possibly leader

Imbrian man with missing tooth. Drinks like a fish.

Perachi woman (from Lovely Valley?) Money-minded.

Unknown man (Light skinned. Imbrian?)

Unknown woman (Perachi?)

Who is “André?”

“There is no way this means anything good.” Thoughts whirled through Shulamit’s mind, thoughts that she was afraid to put to words. What did Imbrio have to do with agricultural pests? What about—what about Carolina?

Malkeleh,” said Isaac, interrupting her mental maelstrom. “Let me see Ezra’s map again.”

Shulamit flipped the paper back over.

“Look,” said Isaac. “His map—the infestation goes down the river straight into the Lovely Valley.”

Shulamit shook her head slowly and groped around for Rivka’s hand. She clung to her friend’s arm with both hands like it was a bellpull, then hugged it tightly to her chest. “Whatever this is, we have to stop it. We have to stop them.

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Olive Conspiracy SquareMeet the Author

Shira Glassman is a bisexual Jewish violinist living in North Central Florida. She is best known for her Mangoverse books, four fluffy queer fantasy novels (and accompanying short stories) set in a tropical Jewish fairytale kingdom ruled over by a young lesbian and her “family of choice”, including a dragon. These books have reached the finals list of multiple years of the Bi Book Awards and Golden Crown Literary Society Awards. She writes other short contemporary and fantasy fiction as well, including two contemporary romance novelettes about professional musicians. Shira’s greatest inspirations are French and German opera and Agatha Christie novels, as well as her own family life and closest friends.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7234426.Shira_Glassman
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShiraGlassman
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/shiraglassman
Blog: http://shiraglassman.wordpress.com

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Book Blitz for The Runaway Millions by Parker Avrile (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: The Runaway Millions

Author: Parker Avrile

Series Title and Number: The Runaway Model Book 2

Publisher: Paris April Press

Cover Artist: Paris April Press Designs

Release Date: April 12, 2016

Heat Level: 3

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 261 pages (78,000 words)

Genre/Tags: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance

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Synopsis

They’re the perfect couple until the money runs out…

Kyle, a rising model, is the toast of Manhattan. Bryce, a wildcatter who got rich in the Bakken gas fields, is an inch away from becoming America’s newest billionaire.

But their world is turned upside-down when a competing oil company wrests away Bryce’s business, his personal jet, and even his condo. Bryce has no choice but to scramble to save his career– even though a famous rock star is sniffing around in hopes of claiming Kyle for his own.

When Kyle steps forward to defend another model accused of a terrible crime, he’s deported. The tabloids follow him, happy to spread rumors about his alleged affairs with the beautiful and the famous of Europe.

Can love survive when one man is on his way up while the other is on his way down? When an ocean divides the lovers? When the gossip columns can’t help stirring the pot? The Runaway Millions is Book 2 in The Runaway Model trilogy. This 78,000 word full-length novel complete with a HEA can be read as a stand-alone but if you prefer to read the series in order, please start with The Runaway Model.

Excerpt

Kyle cleared customs in minutes. Checked into the lounge. Ordered not champagne but a tall glass of cranberry juice over ice.

He was early. Sinking into a deep brown leather seat acres away from any other visible human, he plugged in his phone to make sure the battery was topped off.

In an hour the lounge would be packed arse-to-elbow with screaming, giggling, new-to-business-class tourists. But it was empty and silent now.

A voice call then.

While he still had the chance.

“Bryce,” he said. “Pick up. Please pick up, love. I’m about to board a flight to London. I’ve been deported.”

“Kyle.” The line was clear. Crisp. It was like Bryce had suddenly appeared out of nowhere to speak into his ear.

“I’ve been kicked out of America, love.”

“I’m sorry,” Bryce said. “But I have to admit I’m not entirely surprised. You were taking some crazy chances.” He sounded tired.

Kyle could imagine Bryce pushing his sandy hair out of his blue-gray eyes. A pang of loneliness shot through his heart. Why did fate always find a way to keep them apart?

“My agent lined up some jobs for me in London. If you’re not too busy–”

“You know that I’m very busy.” The words were hard, but the tone was soft. Weariness could do that. Bryce needed a break. He really did.

“Then next week it’s on to Paris,” Kyle said. “Ever been to Paris?”

There was a pause. “I have to save what’s left of my business, Kyle. I can’t drop everything to take a romantic jaunt to Paris.”

“Please, baby. Just two nights.”

A longer silence.

“Please. I’ve missed you. It’s a bad time for us to be apart, Bryce. It’s too new, love. You know that.”

“I know. I do know that. I’ll come. Paris. Next week.”

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Meet the Author

ParkerI ran away to Vegas. Now I’m running from it.

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Love Zombies? How About Cats and Romance? Combine all 3 with My Zombie Cat by T. Strange (Excerpt and Giveaway)

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Title:  My Zombie Cat

Author: T. Strange

Series Title and Number : The Undead Canadian Series, Book 2.5

Publisher:  Torquere Press

Cover Artist: Kristian Norris

Release Date:  July 13, 2016

Heat Level: 1

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 7000 words

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Horror, Gay Romance

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Synopsis

Edward Grey has hardly spent a night away from his cat, Boo, since before he was in preschool. Not even death could separate them, as Edward resurrected Boo as a zombie when he was five. Now, Boo has gone missing, and the cat isn’t in any of his usual haunts.

Excerpt

Kit was at work, and I was —miraculously—caught up on my coursework. I was full of restless energy after spending the previous day sitting on the couch watching TV with Kit, so I decided to give Boo a bath. He doesn’t groom himself very often, and when he does, he usually just makes his fur worse. He was definitely getting a little…ripe.

Unfortunately, Kit came home from work partway through the bath, and I don’t even want to imagine what he thought was happening when he walked in and heard Boo’s unearthly howls and me pleading with him—loudly, to be heard over him—to hold still so I could rinse him off and it would all be over.

I heard Kit shout for Winston, so he could be heard over Boo’s yowling, and then he burst into the master bathroom, holding a purring, contented bundle of blue-grey fur.

Boo and I were frozen in an epic tableau of wet, reeking cat and equally wet—and, probably, reeking—medical student.

Kit paused in the doorway, then started laughing. “Oh. God, I thought something was really wrong. You shouldn’t scare me like that.”

“You could help,” I grumbled, as Boo got his head free of my hand, which he proceeded to bite. Hard. And not let go of.

Kit looked at the…less than clear, decidedly murky…water and shook his head. “Ew. I don’t think so. Doesn’t that hurt?”

“Yes, of course it hurts! Being undead doesn’t turn his teeth into…candy corn!” With a sadly practiced motion, as Boo bites me on a regular basis, I wedged my free thumb into the corner of the cat’s mouth and pried his jaws apart. My hand was white where he’d bitten me, and then each depression slowly filled with blood.

“You’re not going to turn into a zombie, are you?” He’d gotten a little more relaxed about the ‘Z’ word, though last week he left his browser open to a site called the Zombie Rights Campaign. I wasn’t sure if it was a joke, or something he’d made himself. I try not to snoop on his computer.

I also hadn’t asked him about it. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.

“Kit, if I turned into a zombie every time Boo bit me, I’d be…”

“It only takes one time, Edward.”

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Torquere Press

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Meet the Author

Strange didn’t want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn’t stopped reading—or writing—since. She’s been published with Torquere Press since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM. T.’s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue. Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She’s very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tq.strange

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTStrange

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TqStrange

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/tqstrange/

Blog: http://tqstrange.blogspot.ca/

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T. Strange is Back with More Zombies with My Zombie Fiance’ (excerpt and giveaway)

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Author: T. Strange

Title:  My Zombie Fiancé

Series Title and Number: The Undead Canadian Series #2

Publisher:  Torquere Press

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Release Date:  July 13th, 2016

Heat Level: 2

Pairing: Male/Male

Length:  63,000 words

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Horror, Gay Romance, Bisexual, Humor

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Synopsis

Edward Grey is no stranger to the undead; since raising his cat as a zombie when he was a child, he and his mentor Mariel have explored and developed his power as a necromancer. Despite everything he’s learned, as a necromancer and a medical student, he’s never encountered a ghost.

While Mariel is unreachable in Haiti on mysterious business, a ghost wakes Edward in the middle of the night, claiming to be his grandfather. When the ghost offers to teach him about this different form of undeath, Edward has little choice but to trust the spirit.

After receiving a phone call from a young girl claiming her father is possessed, Edward and his Undead Canadian fiancé, Kit, must travel to an acreage in Kingston…Ontario.

The haunting proves far more complicated than Edward could ever have guessed, and he finds himself pitted against an ancient evil determined to engulf everyone on the farm.

Edward’s love and connection to Kit will be tested, and his necromancy stretched to his limits as he has to find—and destroy—a twisted spirit more powerful than anything he’s ever encountered.

Excerpt

Edward, answer the phone.” In our hurry to undress so we could ‘get Kit to sleep’, my phone had ended up on Kit’s side of the bed. He passed it to me, narrowly avoiding smacking me in the face with it. Miraculously, it was still ringing.

 

“’lo?” I managed.

“Is this Edward?”

It was a little girl’s voice, I thought. I didn’t know many little girls, so I made my best guess.

“Tia? It’s the middle of the night; I can’t come over to play right now. Isn’t it way past your bedtime? Go to bed. Bed is nice.” I closed my eyes, almost dropping the phone when my hand relaxed.

My neighbor two houses down has a very precocious four-year-old niece. She likes to play actual doctor with me—nothing creepy! I’ve taught her a few basic stitches for fixing her toys and dolls, though I suspect she may damage them on purpose so she can practice with me. Whoops. I also let her use my stethoscope and a few other safe, child-friendly pieces of medical equipment. I’ve heard her tell her aunt she wants to go to uncle Edward’s house, so I also suspect at least part of the reason she visits her aunt is to see me.

“Who’s Tia? This is Sarah. Mariel said that I should call you if it happened again. It happened again.” There was an expectant pause.

I don’t know anyone named Sarah, never mind a young girl. “Mariel told you to…? In case what happened again?”

“My daddy’s possessed,” she said, very calmly and matter-of-factly.

I felt goosebumps prickle along my arms at the word. I knew precisely as much about demonic possession as anyone who’d watched The Exorcist, and I had no idea what had, well…possessed…Mariel to refer this girl to me for help. “What exactly did Mariel say?”

The girl, Sarah, sighed deeply. She probably thought I was pretty slow, and at the moment I couldn’t blame her. “She said, call Edward, he’ll know what to do.” She sounded impatient, but not frightened. Maybe her father was possessed by something more benign than a demon.

Mariel had told her I could help, so I would do my best. Even though it was 3 AM and I knew nothing about possession. “What’s your daddy possessed by?” Not words I ever thought would come out of my mouth.

“Mister Jenkins.”

Mister Jenkins. That didn’t sound very frightening. “And what does Mister Jenkins do while he’s possessing your father?” Had she named the…spirit? It sounded like something a child might come up with.

“Not very much. He makes breakfast.” She lowered her voice. “Mister Jenkins is a better cook than daddy.”

Not much of a haunting, if movies were anything to go by. I envisioned a comedy, sort of like Three Men and a Baby, but with a ghost. Besides the one apparently caught on tape when they’d filmed that movie, come to think of it. “Does he…scare you?”

She laughed, high-pitched and genuine. “No, silly! I like Mister Jenkins, but Mariel says it’s bad for daddy if he stays too long.”

This was one of the strangest conversations I’d ever had, and I’ve lived with Kit for more than a year. And I’d dated Bone. It was even stranger than my recent conversation with my grandfather. “Where do you live, Sarah?” If there was a way to do an exorcism-by-telephone, I didn’t know it. Not that I knew any kind of exorcism, but hopefully I had enough time to find a solution before Mister Jenkins…burned toast or something. Maybe I could come up with something if I was physically present.

“Kingston.”

I had to go to Jamaica? If Mariel was in Haiti, she was much closer. I didn’t know why she didn’t just pop over and take care of Mister Jenkins.

Kit would love a tropical vacation—I wondered if his fair skin would tan or burn, or if his undeath made him immune? I wondered if he would be upset about it, one way or the other.

I was less than thrilled by the thought of the tropics. I don’t like heat, or the diseases that tend to accompany it.

“It’s in Ontario,” Sarah said, sounding very pleased with herself.

Oh. Kingston, Ontario. That was a relief, even if it was black fly season.

Great, now I’d have that song stuck in my head for days.

“Okay, I’ll be there as soon as I can. Can you tell me your address?” I would have to fly—driving would take several days, even if Kit and I switched and we drove continuously.

“No, but Mister Jenkins can.”

Her voice was replaced by a man’s, gentle and with a hint of a British accent. Part of his directions were, “Past Kingston Family Funworld”, which definitely sounded like a place to avoid. He apologized that he couldn’t meet me at the airport because he was bound to the house.

That was a good excuse. I wished I could use it.

My grandfather hadn’t been bound to a particular place, but he had reminded me over and over that he wasn’t a typical ghost. I wondered if most ghosts had a limited range, or if Mister Jenkins was unusual in that regard.

I told him I’d call when we landed, and he hung up.

I turned on my bedside lamp. “Kit, sweetie?” I poked him, gently.

“Mmm…”

“I have to go to Kingston.” It was a good thing I had a few weeks off from school. Hopefully I would get time to study during this trip. Study medicine, that is, not necromancy.

That got Kit’s attention. He gave a happy shriek and grabbed my hand. “Oh my God, no way! I’d love to go to Jamaica!”

“Kingston, Ontario.”

“Oh. Ew.”

“Why ew? Have you ever been there?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Then why—never mind. Do you still want to come with me?”

“Who calls you at three in the morning and tells you to go to Kingston, Ontario?”

“Sarah.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“I’m sorry! I’m still half asleep. This little girl, Sarah…Mariel told her to call me if her father got possessed again.”

“Mariel’s father? Is that why she left?”

“Sarah’s father.”

“Possessed again? Like, this is a regular occurrence?”

“Apparently. I have to book a flight.” I hunted beneath the bed for my laptop.

Kit had found his phone and was furiously typing on it. “Oooooh, Florence and the Machine is playing there! We can totally go!”

“Sure. Of course.” I found a flight that left early the next morning—in a few hours, really—and bought our tickets. “I don’t know if it’s worth going back to sleep; I’ll make us some coffee.” Not that coffee did much for Kit, except make him ill if he drank too much. Or, for some reason, if he used non-dairy creamer. It seemed to be some sort of…zombie kryptonite. I’d like to tell you I didn’t give some to Boo to see how he’d react, but I would be lying. The results: not pretty.

“What about the cats?”

Of course, the cats couldn’t come with us. While Winston could happily stay at the pet spa while we were gone, Boo could…not, and if we had someone taking care of one cat, it made sense for Winston to just stay at home. I felt a pang at the thought of being away from Boo for any length of time. “My parents can take care of them.” They wouldn’t be pleased—they’d actually thrown a “Boo is out of the house” party when I’d moved out, but they’d also get to spend time with Winston, and that was always a treat.

“I guess I’ll start packing. For both of us.”

He was welcome to do so.

In the meantime, it was definitely time to call Mariel. I wasn’t sure what time it was in Haiti, but I could definitely use her advice. For several panicked minutes I was worried that I’d lost the piece of paper she’d written the number on, when I remembered that she’d put it directly into my phone. I let it ring, over and over, but no one answered so I eventually gave up. Well, if Sarah had been able to get ahold of Mariel, she wouldn’t have needed to call me. Though she probably didn’t have Mariel’s number in Haiti…I’d just have to deal with the situation on my own for now, and call Mariel again when I had the chance.

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Meet the Author

Strange didn’t want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn’t stopped reading—or writing—since. She’s been published with Torquere Press since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM. T.’s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue. Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She’s very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tq.strange

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTStrange

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TqStrange

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/tqstrange/

Blog: http://tqstrange.blogspot.ca/

Tumblr: http://tqstrange.tumblr.com/

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Love Some Hurt/Comfort with Your Romance? Check out Valor (Vigilance #1) by K. Laché (excerpt and giveaway)

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Author: K. Laché

Title:  Valor

Series Title and Number: Vigilance 1

Publisher:  Torquere Press

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Release Date:  7/6/16

Heat Level: 3

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 90K

Genre:Erotic Romance, Gay Romance, Hurt/Comfort, Drama

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Synopsis

It takes valor to support and love those who need it the most and never expected to receive it.

For Rivet Scalzo, returning to his childhood home after a decade was not on his list of places to go while recuperating. After nearly being blown up on a mission, Rivet is forced to deal with his PTSD and sudden deafness without help from Vigilance, the secret governmental agency he works for. He resigned himself to a lonely recovery, but, perhaps by chance, he met Blare Chaplynn, a model whose caring nature helps ease the horror of Rivet’s home life. As they grow closer, Rivet is burdened by the secrets he can’t share with the one man he grows to love.

If Blare knew a mild concussion was all he needed to meet the man of his dreams, he would have gladly accepted it long ago. He knew there was something special about Rivet when he first saw him at the park, but never guessed this man of mystery would be hiding so many secrets. Blare is forced to confront the fact that Rivet may never tell him everything, but is trust the reason Rivet is so close-lipped or is it something more?

Excerpt

“I told him it was a bad idea to start you so young.” She turned away from him and muttered under breath, “It’ll only cause more problems for us when he gets older, I said.”

Rivet slammed his hand down on the counter and snarled, “What problems, June, huh? What problems have I caused?” He pointed his finger at her and said through his teeth, “I have done nothing save for following the orders I’ve been given. I was told to come to this shit town and stay with my shit family until they deem me fit enough to return.” He opened his arms wide. “And here I am. So I want you to tell me what problems I’ve been causing, June.”

Her eyes narrowed to slits, and her lips pressed into a thin line. “Remember just who you’re talking to, Rookie. A buster like you needs to have respect for his superiors.”

“You were making rookie mistakes, June. They forced you to retire.”

Lightning fast, she swung her hand out to smack him across the face. He was faster. His hand tightened around her slim wrist, stopping it inches from his face. He roughly shoved her hand away and tsked. “You were always slower than me.” He turned his back on her and walked through the door to the back room marked Employees Only.

The back room was full of buckets of flowers, scraps of ribbon, and other odds and ends left over from arrangements. He paused in the room, looking for the door he knew led to the basement. He saw the door to the industrial-sized refrigerator and continued roaming the room. He skillfully weaved around vases of carnations, roses, and other flowers he didn’t know the names of. A soft smile sprung to his lips when he spotted a pot of daisies sitting happily on the counter. Gentle fingers caressed the stark-white petals before dropping away. Rivet eyed the bright yellow disk florets nestled in pure white petals. The glossy green leaves completed the innocent picture. He shook his head, battling against the memories pushing from the back of his mind.

Continuing to the door, he pushed it open and gently shut it behind him. He flicked on the light switch and descended the stairs. The basement was bare save for miscellaneous ladders and stepping stools. He walked to the nearest wall and placed a hand on it at chest height. He closed his eyes and slowly walked the perimeter of the basement, fingers trailing along the cool bricks. A few paces later, he paused and opened his eyes. He ran a finger down the left side of the brick. There was a faint click and he placed his fingers on the faux concrete face and slid them toward the right, revealing a keypad in the hollow. He reached his hand in and pressed a nine-digit code into the keypad before turning his hand palm-up and pressing his hand flat against the top of the hollowed brick. A soft blue glow pulsated before something clicked open behind him. He glanced back to see a trapdoor had opened under the stairs, a sliver of light appeared through the crack between the door and the floor. Rivet grabbed a nearby rag and wiped the fingerprint scanner and the keypad before sliding the panel shut and running his finger up the left side, locking the faux brick.

He stepped over to the trapdoor, feet making no noise as they gracefully moved around furniture. Rivet reached down and lifted the door. The hinges squeaked in protest, and he let it rest open so he could climb into the opening, dropping his bag to the tile first. He secured the door and jumped the rest of the way to the floor. The room was brightly lit by the fluorescent lights in the flooring shining off the dark walls. The subbasement was split into two sections. To one side was a dark armoire built into the wall. The doors were shut and locked; a fingerprint scanner and keypad were just to the side of it. The other section was an enclosed area that took up most of the floor, also secured by a scanner and keypad.

Rivet walked over to the armoire and typed his nine-digit code into the keypad with the knuckle of his finger. The light to the scanner flickered on. He placed his hand flat and watched the beam of light move up and down his hand. The doors of the armoire clicked and opened. There was a small flat-screen monitor on each door and one monitor settled in the middle. A small metal stool raised from the floor. Rivet sat, dropping his bag by his feet, and pulled the keyboard from under the monitor. He held down the Escape key while typing a four-character password. All three monitors flickered to life showing a plain command box with Passcode at the top and the cursor blinking below it. His fingers easily typed in a twelve-digit code.

When the computer loaded, a new message window popped up. He clicked the mouse to view it and quickly read the message:

Contact me when you get this.
—Commander D.

Rivet sighed and clicked on the contact’s name. It brought up a live video feed of a man sitting in a nondescript office, bookshelf behind him.

“Agent Scalzo,” the man’s voice was commanding and firm.

Rivet was used to the no-nonsense voice and gave him a nod. “Commander.”

“Have you settled?”

He paused a moment before answering. “Sir, civilian life and I do not agree.”

“You need to make it work.”

Rivet shook his head. “All due respect, sir, couldn’t I have been stationed elsewhere? I have told you about my family. I could have been anybody, anywhere else.”

“You are on leave and need to be who you really are, not another persona. The Council and I believed this was the best option.”

Rivet snorted bitterly and fought not to glare at his superior.

Commander Donovan narrowed his eyes. “What was that, Agent?”

He clenched his teeth. “Nothing, sir.”

He watched the commander pause a moment. “You are to pick up a package at the post office. The clerk will ask you how you are doing and tell whomever it is that you’re glad to be away from the rain in London. The package contains a secure laptop and cell phone, understood?”

“Affirmative, sir.”

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Meet the Author

A third grade writing project started it. It was the key that unleashed a passion to create and tell fantastical stories. K. Laché felt as if she were made to tread the path of authorial conquest and never once looked back. She entered a world where anything could be created. She was hooked.

She has fan fiction to blame (or thank, depending on how you look at it) for introducing her into the world of slash fiction. What’s better than one hot guy in a book? Two hot guys in a book! After an epiphany in college, K. Laché decided to try her hand at getting published. For years she struggled but never gave up. Now she debuts with her first published work, Valor—the first, but sure to be not her last

K. Laché can be found here:

https://www.klachewrites.com

https://www.facebook.com/K.LacheWrites

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