Christi Snow on Romancing St. Louis and her latest release “Believe in the Wish’ (guest blog and giveaway)

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Title:  Believe in the Wish

Author: Christi Snow

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date: May 11, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: ~55,000 words

Genre: New Adult, enemies to lovers, forbidden love, twins, contemporary romance, mourning death

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Christi Snow here today talking about her latest novel, Believe in the Wish. Welcome, Christi.

✒︎

Romancing St. Louis by Christi Snow

I try to write most of my books in places that I’m familiar with, even though I may use made up town names…i.e. Snowcroft is based on a real New Mexico mountain tourist town where we lived when we were first married (many, many moons ago), but that wasn’t the name of it.

For Believe in the Wish, I chose to put the characters in St. Louis, specifically a cross between two of my favorite towns that are suburbs of St. Louis… Kirkwood and St. Charles. I love Kirkwood because it’s filled with the old, big houses like you see in Meet Me In St. Louis. It’s not hard to imagine the carriages driving down some of the roads in that modern-day quaint little town.

Although none of these huge mansions make an appearance in Believe in the Wish, the entire picturesque quality and cozy ambiance of the town does.

Before we moved to Texas when my husband retired from the military, we lived in another suburb of St. Louis…Belleville, Illinois. Our entire family fell in love with St. Louis. 

St. Louis is one of those perfect cities. It has tons of history…the Lewis and Clark expedition came through there, but the Mississippi has been a major waterway for this country the entire time people have lived here. 

When we lived there, they had pro football (Rams, who have since moved), pro hockey (St. Louis Blues), AND pro baseball teams (St. Louis Cardinals). It’s also the home of Budweiser, which means when friends and family come to town, you can go tour the plant and drink free beer. Double win. The same goes for kids theme parks like Grant’s Farm…seriously all kids parks like this should offer free ice-cold beer to parents.

St. Louis is a major city with all the amenities that go with it, but it never felt overwhelming or huge when we visited it. We regularly went into the city…for shopping, entertainment, festivals, and activities. We truly loved it there.

So when it came time for this book, St. Louis was an easy fit for location. Plus it offered lots of options for the tasks that Emma left Ethan and Hawk to do. 

My favorite scene is the two of them going up the Arch. Not only is that scene pivotal to the story…hello, first kiss…but it’s simply fun, because the Arch and the ability to travel up it is something unique to St. Louis. And I promise you, once you’ve gone on that little, weird roller coaster ride up the inside, you will never forget it. There are videos on YouTube about riding the tiny cars up to the top. It’s wild…and yes, sometimes a bit eerie and scary, but it’s an experience everyone should have.

I hope that you see a bit of the city I loved through this book, Believe in the Wish. While the romance is most definitely the focus, I thought the romance of St. Louis provided the perfect backdrop for two of my favorite men and their guardian angel.

Synopsis

I buried my twin sister six months after she found out she had cancer. Her funeral was three months ago. Today is our birthday and it started with delivery of letters from her.

It seems she didn’t trust me to move on after her death. She knows me too well. But how can I go on when my other half is just…gone? That’s not something I can recover from with a snap of my fingers. But I also can’t ignore her instructions even though I’d be perfectly content to cuddle up with my buddy, Johnnie Walker, and call it a year.

She has a list of things for me to do and there are rules attached.

There’s one major problem besides the fact it’s been three months since I left the house. I have to do all these things with her jerk of an ex, Hawk Simmons. He abandoned her shortly after she found out she was sick. If that wasn’t enough to make this a really bad idea, the fact that he makes an appearance in all my nighttime fantasies probably does.

I don’t think I can do this, but I owe it to my sister’s memory to try.

This is a stand-alone male/male contemporary romance novel.

Excerpt

Katya ended her call and promptly pushed the ‘away’ button for receiving phone calls. “I’m sorry. No more calls. They may not think so, but they can survive without me for an hour or so while we have our chat.”

Ethan’s stomach rolled over. That brought them to the question of the hour…chat about what? But he was almost afraid to ask at this point. Instead, he redirected. “Do you have your own firm, or do you work for someone else?”

She raised an eyebrow at him, but with a slight tilt of her head she must have seen something in his expression because she answered, “I own my own firm. When I graduated from law school, I went into a partnership that was later dissolved when I bought my partner out. It’s all mine now, which keeps me very busy.”

He grimaced. “And that’s further complicated by hermits like me who refuse to answer phone calls or mail deliveries. Sorry about that.”

“No.” She shook her head. “It’s time for you to stop apologizing. This is a hard time for you and that’s okay. To a certain extent, that’s the way it should be…”

She hesitated for a moment. “At least for a little while. You’re allowed to grieve. But Emma knew this would be an issue for you, so she made plans.”

“What kind of plans?”

Katya reached into her briefcase and pulled out a file. She reached inside and pulled out an envelope that she handed to him. On the front was his name, written in Emma’s handwriting. Suddenly it was hard to breathe.

“What is this?” he whispered.

“The first of your instructions. You need to open and read it.”

He didn’t want to. He didn’t know why, but he really didn’t want to. “I’d rather wait until I’m at home.” At his house, if he fell apart, he could do it without witnesses.

She shook her head kindly. “No, that won’t work. She was very specific in how she wanted this all to go. I need you to open it now.”

Ethan swallowed against the huge lump in his throat as he tried to find air to breathe. His heart pounded in his chest. Surely, everyone around them could hear that.

“It’s okay,” she said softly. “I promise.”

“That’s where you’re wrong.” He glanced up at her. “It’s never going to be okay again.” His voice cracked.

She lowered her lids, and her lips compressed into a tight line as if his grief was too much for her.

His hands shook as he turned the envelope over, lifting the sealed flap. It had to be his imagination, but he could have sworn that he smelled a faint whiff of the strawberry lotion Emma always liked to wear.

For just a moment, he shut his eyes and tried to calm down his emotions going haywire. He didn’t know whether to be angry that she’d done this to him, sad that she wasn’t here to tell him whatever information this letter held, or scared at whatever Emma had cooked up for him.

Throughout her life, she’d kept him hopping. As the exuberant, outgoing twin, she’d always dragged him into trouble when all he’d wanted to do was stay home. In that regard, this whole scheme of hers was very apropos.

He took a deep breath and pulled out the single sheet of paper and unfolded it. At the very first words on the paper, his eyes filled with tears.

Happy Birthday, baby brother.

He glanced up in disbelief at Katya. “It’s May fifteenth?”

At her silent nod, he gazed down at the paper in his hands, his eyes filling with tears. It was their twenty-fifth birthday. The first birthday he’d ever celebrated without her. She’d only been twenty-four when she’d died. How unfair was that? To her. To him. To the world that missed out on everything she had to offer it.
Emma’s handwriting wavered in front of his eyes, but he continued to read, not knowing what else to do. His other option—sobbing in the middle of the restaurant—would be mortifying.

I’m sorry I’m not there to go out partying with you. Remember when we were little and you didn’t want to share your birthday with me? Now you get your wish.

He’d been a horrible person. The tears overflowed his eyes. He’d made that wish more years than he even wanted to remember. How selfish was that? How could he have wished for a life without her in any way? She’d been his light.

Katya shoved a tissue into his hand.

Right. He was in public. Time to get it together.

My bad. It was probably too soon for a joke like that.

I love you, Ethan.

I know I didn’t say that enough—you know emotional displays and I didn’t mix—but beyond anything else that happens over the next few weeks, KNOW THAT. I love you, and if I could have figured out a way to stay, I would have…for you.

But God obviously had different plans for me, so now I’ll just have to content myself with being your guardian angel for the next seventy-five years. I’ll have your back, bro. I promise.

And in the interest of having your back, that’s why Katya is here.

I know you. You’re stubborn, and right now, I imagine that you’re more than a little sad. I get that, but that doesn’t mean you stop living. My death means you have to live twice as much because you have to do it enough for both of us. I’m counting on you.

But, again, I know you, so I’ve enlisted some help from my friends just to get you going.

Make a Wish, Ethan. Believe in it. It’s time to live.

~Emma

When Ethan finished reading, he took several deep breaths. The sobs had welled in his throat, and it was all he could just to hold them inside.

“You okay?” Katya asked.

“Yeah.” His voice sounded husky, but he’d managed to say the word, so he figured that for a win.

“Then it’s time for step two.”

He looked up just as she held a flaming lighter to the candle on top of a cupcake. She pushed it in front of him. “Make a wish and blow. All you have to do is believe.”

As he sat there, looking at the flickering candle, it occurred to him at just how sad this was. His twin was dead, and he was at some bizarre birthday celebration with someone he’d never even met before. Even from the grave, Emma was working to pull him out of his shell.

So he closed his eyes and blew as he made his wish.

I wish I wasn’t so alone.

But when he opened them, nothing had changed. He was still sitting in a restaurant with a woman he didn’t know, mourning the twin sister who’d died. Not that he expected a miracle, but Emma wanted him to believe.

Believe.

How was that even possible? She’d been the one who believed in the magic of things like wishes and fairy tales. What had that gotten her? She’d died before she’d even had the chance to live. What kind of magic could he possibly believe in with that kind of reality?

Purchase

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

As an avid reader her entire life, Christi Snow always dreamed of writing books that brought to others the kind of joy she felt when she read. But…she never did anything about it besides jot down a few ideas and sparse scenes.

When she turned 41, she decided it was time to go after her dream and started writing. Within four months, she’d written over 150,000 words and hasn’t stopped since.

She’s found her calling by writing about sexy, alpha heroes and smart, tough heroines falling in love and finding their passion. She’s truly living the dream and loving every minute of it.

Her tagline is… Passion and adventure on the road to Happily Ever After. She’s loving this adventure!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Instagram

Tour Schedule

5/11 ~ Hearts on Fire Reviews

5/11 ~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

5/12 ~ MM Good Book Reviews

5/13 ~ Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

5/14 ~ Dog-Eared Daydreams

5/15 ~ Happily Ever Chapter

5/16 ~ Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy

5/16 ~ MM Book Escape

5/17 ~ Book Reviews Janisf & Leisha

5/17 ~ BFD Book Blog

5/18 ~ Dirty Books Obsession

5/19 ~ Reviews for Book Lovers

5/19 ~ Love Bytes Reviews

5/20 ~ Bayou Book Junkie

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Blog Tour Drama Queens With Love Scenes by Kevin Klehr

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Title:  Drama Queens with Love Scenes

Series: Actors and Angels, book 1

Author: Kevin Klehr

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: April 17

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 72200

Genre: Romance, Literary Fiction, Angels, cisgender, Fantasy, friends to lovers, gay, humorous, Life after death, romance

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kevin Klehr here today.  He’s brought Pedro, a character from his latest release, Drama Queens with Love Scenes.

✒︎

Meet Pedro, a character from Drama Queens with Love Scenes by Kevin Klehr

While Allan pines for his friend, Warwick, it’s Pedro the playwright who initially steals Warwick’s heart. In Allan’s eyes, Pedro is the villain in this novel.

Pedro arrived in the Afterlife after living in 1920’s New York. He was a struggling artist determined to become a successful stage writer, but his ego was larger than his talent.

He hung out with the wannabes of the theatre, and once sold his soul to write a Christmas pantomime for a kids party held by a rich socialite. Sadly that pantomime was not suitable for children and Pedro’s chance at becoming known in the right circles fell flat.

In the novel he’s finally respected for his craft in the Limelight Quarter, the theatre district of the Afterlife, but whether he deserves to is a matter of opinion.

Synopsis

Close friends Allan and Warwick are dead. They’re not crazy about the idea, so to help them deal with this dilemma are Samantha, a blond bombshell from the 1950s, and Guy, an insecure angel.

Allan also has a secret. He has a romantic crush on his friend, Warwick, but shortly after confiding in his new angel pal, his love interest falls for the cock-sure playwright, Pedro.

Not only does Allan have to win the heart of his companion, he also has to grapple with the faded memory of how he actually died.

Excerpt

Drama Queens with Love Scenes
Kevin Klehr © 2017
All Rights Reserved

She looked like Jayne Mansfield without the attributes. Her cherry-colored wide-brimmed hat complemented her black unbuttoned jacket. A low-cut white dress completed the look. She seemed overdressed and would have looked better wearing a casual pink T-shirt and torn jeans, like a pinup girl sparking the imagination of a lusty army boy. Her pleasing smile said she had been waiting to greet us.

An angel stood next to her, barefoot in old blue jeans and a ripped-sleeved khaki shirt. While he didn’t have the glam factor of the female, his striking dove-gray wings drew focus. They spanned his height and then some, towering above his head by at least an arm’s length. He rarely made eye contact with us and stood hunched with his hands lightly clenched below his navel. His demeanor implied a vanilla hint of gayness.

Just what did we actually get up to last night?

My friend, Warwick, and I safely considered this scene from the doorway of our tiny room.

A moment ago, we had said goodbye to my uncle and his girlfriend, and now we were facing two strangers on what looked like the set of a Greek epic.

Our confused oohs and ahs echoed off the marble black and white tiles, which stretched so far into the horizon they became gray as they met a set of stairs. Each step alternated in color, again black and white. Someone had overdosed on 1980s pop videos when they conceived this design.

“What do you make of the red velvet curtains, classic or uninspired?” I asked my friend.

“Allan, they’re lush. Just lush.”

“Don’t be alarmed, gentlemen,” the Jayne Mansfield look-alike said with an air of whimsy.

As we nodded awkwardly, she shot a concerned glance at the angel and whispered, “Don’t smile like that. It doesn’t match the décor.”

Discouraged, he rolled his eyes and mislaid his smile.

I began biting my thumbnail as my eyes darted between our hosts and the opulent aspects of this room.

“A sex kitten and an angel,” I timidly said to Warwick. “Does this mean…?”

Warwick stepped through the doorway and addressed the angel. “Those wings? Please tell me they aren’t real.”

The angel gracefully flapped them three times before shrugging. I switched my denial into overdrive.

In the past week, Warwick and I had left our chaotic beach-town lives for a little break. My dead-end job was getting me down, and my partner in crime suggested a holiday would be the best remedy. Until this point, he was right. All had been going as planned. We’d visited my uncle Bryant and his new love interest in Melbourne before considering a driving trip around Tasmania. Who could have imagined this strange twist in our plotline?

Our hosts seemed to study us like a diplomat about to shake hands with a head of state. The angel endeavored to smile again, while the blonde bombshell gave us a moment to gauge our bearings. Then her arms extended in greeting like Jesus in a biblical painting.

“My name is Samantha, and this is Guy. We’re here to welcome you.”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

 

Kevin lives with his long-term partner, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

From an early age, Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his work commitments changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, secretly passed the notebook to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his story. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.

His first novel spawned a secondary character named Guy, an insecure gay angel, but many readers argue that he is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. Guy’s popularity surprised the author.

So with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | YouTube | Vimeo

Tour Schedule

4/17    Hoards Jumble

4/17    Zipper Rippers

4/17    My Fiction Nook 

4/18    Stories That Make You Smile

4/18    Happily Ever Chapter

4/19    The Novel Approach 

4/19    Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

4/20    MM Good Book Reviews 

4/21    Love Bytes

4/21    Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: September by Robert Winter

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Title:  September

Series: Pride and Joy #1

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: Dec 9, 2016

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 100000 words

Genre: Romance, May-December, Contemporary, Provincetown, Washington DC

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Synopsis

David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.

But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover. David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special.

Excerpt

Brandon made it to the clinic that morning with about fifteen minutes to spare, dropped his backpack in the break room, and grabbed his water bottle. “Chilly day, huh?” he asked Josh, another therapist, as he filled the bottle. “Did ya catch the Nats lineup? It sounds like it’s gonna be a good season.” They shot the shit for a few minutes as Josh fixed his coffee.

Shari, one of the assistants to the four physical therapists in the clinic, dropped Brandon’s patient files at his work area, along with a short summary on top. He skimmed the list as he drank water to get hydrated for what promised to be a grueling day. Mia Johnson had bad arthritis; she was responding well with heat and stretching. Miz Williams—nice woman, but ugh, never did her home exercises. Maggie Cook had been injured in a bike accident two weeks back, and it was time to adjust her brace. A new patient, David James, had a torn rotator cuff.

Hmm. Fresh injury, I’ll wanna start simply. He read through his patient notes and flexed his hands as he thought about various massage strokes or exercises that should help. He was engrossed, and he vaguely heard the door to the reception area open and a baritone rumble. A few seconds later, a shadow fell over his desk and a deep voice spoke.

“Excuse me. Are you Brandon Smith? The receptionist sent me back.” Brandon looked up at a man who was holding a medical file out to him, and he almost let his jaw drop.

The guy was tall, a little over six feet, and wearing a suit. His hair was chestnut brown with some gray, parted on the left and smoothly combed up and to the back. He had cheekbones like a model and such brilliant green eyes that Brandon wondered for a second if he were wearing tinted contact lenses. His eyebrows were thick but sharply defined, like upside-down checkmarks. And his full lips would definitely be soft to kiss. Seriously good-looking.

When the silence stretched, the hottie prompted, “Umm…,” and Brandon shook his head.

“Sorry. I was just caught up in somethin’.” He gave a big smile as he stood and held out his hand. “I’m Brandon. Are you David?”

David shook the offered hand with a strong, warm grip. His big mitt engulfed Brandon’s hand and drew from him a slight involuntary moan. David met his eye, and Brandon imagined he saw a little speculative spark there. Yes, I’m available. Though it was wishful thinking that the man would care.

“Good to meet you, Brandon. I’m supposed to give you this file.” David offered the manila folder again, which Brandon took as he gestured for David to take a seat. He opened the file as he sat down, and studied a screen print of David’s MRI on top.

“Rotator cuff. Yeah. Tell me how you tore it.”

“I guess it was doing pull-ups. I felt a twinge when I was working out the other morning, and within a day, the pain was pretty intense.”

“I’ll bet. Rotator cuff tears suck donkey balls.” Brandon glanced up from the file and then looked sheepish. “Sorry. That was unprofessional. Have you ever had physical therapy before?” he asked.

“Donkey balls is about the size of it, so no worries.” David grinned at Brandon. “And no. I’ve been lucky. This is the first time I’ve had anything worse than sore muscles.”

Brandon glanced over David’s suit jacket, which was tailored to show his broad shoulders and narrow waist. “Well, obviously you work out a lot. So if this is your first injury, you must have great form.”

David chuckled. “I doubt that. I’ve just had good coaches that make me careful.”

“Let’s start with your routine, so I can get an idea of what might have led to the tear and what kinda treatment and rehab will work best here. You mentioned coaches?”

“I’ve been doing CrossFit for about a year now. Before that I always ran and lifted weights on my own.”

“CrossFit is keepin’ therapists like me gainfully employed,” Brandon said as he focused again on the medical evaluation in front of him. He sensed, however, that he had annoyed David, and he looked up quickly. Sure enough David had a slightly pissed expression on his face.

“I’ve never found anything as good as CrossFit,” David said, irritation clear in his tone. “It challenges me at a level of intensity that I didn’t manage to achieve on my own.”

Brandon held up a hand in a placating gesture. “Hey, I’m glad it works for you. I know some people are crazy about it. But understand, I only see the fall-out when somethin’ goes wrong.”

David relaxed a bit. “That makes sense. I suppose it’s all in the quality of the coaching.”

“Sure. But even the best coach can’t prevent all injuries. It’s inevitable when you train that hard.”

“What’s the program here? How soon will I be able to get back to it?”

Brandon tilted his head and studied the image of David’s shoulder. “That’s hard to predict. I’d say we’re talkin’ weeks, not months.” David groaned, and Brandon couldn’t help smiling a bit. “Look, you’re not gonna lose all that muscle if you rest a few weeks. Let’s get started, and I’ll have a better sense of what we’re gonna try. Okay?”

Brandon rose, gestured for David to follow, and led him to a cubicle containing a padded table and curtains that could be drawn for privacy. “I’ll need to get at that shoulder to see what’s what. Take off your jacket and shirt and your T-shirt, if you’re wearin’ one. Just call out when you’re ready.” Brandon left David and pulled the curtains around.

A few minutes later, David called out, “Ready.” Brandon slipped through the closed curtains, and he caught his breath. David had a beautiful body, which was bared to the waist. His shoulders were broad, with perfect traps connecting his long neck to cannonball-like deltoids. His pecs were almost perfectly smooth. Wonder if he shaves that chest? His biceps and triceps were cut, and his forearms were thick and lightly dusted in silky-looking hair. A nice V-shape ran from his belly down to where his belt and suit pants covered the rest. Brandon flicked a glance over the bulge at David’s crotch. He guessed what was hidden was equally spectacular, and he tried to think of a reason to make David drop trou for a shoulder injury.

“Wow. Forget what I said and stick with CrossFit.”

David laughed and asked, “Are you just trying to keep a steady line of business going?” Brandon flashed him a grin, and David clearly began relaxing into the therapy despite his flirting. Or maybe because of?

Brandon stepped closer and peered up. He was about five inches shorter than David. “Well, I could climb you like a tree, but I think it’ll be easier on both of us if you sit down while I check out your shoulder.” Brandon hooked over a stool with his foot, and when David sat, Brandon grasped his right wrist in his left hand. “Let me do the movin’.” He gently placed the arm in various positions, studying David’s reaction and stopping each movement when he saw the slightest grimace or wince. After a few minutes of that, he—reluctantly—released the arm and leaned back against a counter.

“It seems pretty straightforward, David. This is a common injury, and nothin’ indicates permanent damage. Also, there’s nothin’ troublesome on the X-ray. I’m sure it feels like shit, and you’re probably gonna get mad at me from the exercises I put you through, but I can help. Don’t do anythin’ to the point of pain, but if you want results, you’re gonna need to do a lot of work, here and on your own. The weights will be light, but you’ll do so many reps it’ll be a ball buster. Feel free to curse at me when I push you, but be honest about your pain level. How does that sound?”

“Fair enough. Do we start today?” David asked.

“Absolutely. So, scale of one to ten, what’s your pain like right now?”

“I’d say… five?”

“Well, don’t ask me, cowboy. This is your rodeo.”

David laughed at that. “Then five.”

Brandon leaned against the counter, arms crossed as he looked David in the eye. “Dr. McCracken has you on an anti-inflammatory, right? Good. Okay. I’m gonna get some heat on that shoulder first, and then we’ll go through some light mobilization work.”

Something in David’s gaze—a smolder—made him pause. Although he’d been flirting a bit, it wasn’t with any real expectation that David would respond. Is it possible he’s gay…? He stamped on the thought and continued. “I’ll give you a series of stretches and exercises that I want you to work through at least twice a day until I see you again on Monday. Then I’m gonna put some kinesio tape on the shoulder to help ease the stress. You’ll sleep better, I promise.”

“Let’s do it,” David said.

Brandon flushed a bit at what David had unintentionally signaled and the image it sparked. Don’t flirt any more. You’re probably wrong, and it’s unprofessional anyway. Brandon retrieved a heated towel and laid it over David’s injured shoulder. “Too hot?”

“No, not at all. That feels good.”

“You should do this at home, or at the office if you can manage it. You can just warm a damp hand towel in a microwave. Heat first, then the rehab exercises I’m gonna give you. Finish up with ice. Now you sit quietly for another five minutes while I get some materials together.”

Purchase

Dreamspinner | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Robert Winter is a recovering lawyer who likes writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants.

Robert divides his time between Washington, DC, and Provincetown, MA. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

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Giveaway

The author is offering up FIVE signed paperbacks of the novel, September, to lucky winners! Enter below for your chance to win.

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BLOG TOUR: An Officer’s Submission by Christa Tomlinson

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Title:  An Officer’s Submission

Series: Cuffs, Collars, and Love #4

Author: Christa Tomlinson

Publisher:  Self- Torlina Publishing

Release Date: March 15

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67,000

Genre: Romance, erotic romance, contemporary, D/S, established couples

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 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Author Christa Tomlinson 

 

Hello, I’m Christa! I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri and I currently live in Houston, Texas. I have two dogs, I’m a former teacher and I’m a retired roller derby player. I’ve been reading romance novels since I was eleven! My big sister let me read hers as long as I promised to skip the “grown up” parts. I always said I would skip them but read them anyway. I was a rebel. My current book is An Officer’s Submission. It’s an erotic BDSM romance, featuring men from my fictional version of the Houston Police Department SWAT team. This story is about Officer Clay Foster, who loves being a submissive, but still struggles with that part of himself. And his Dom, Sergeant Logan Pierce, who will do anything for his submissive.

1. What inspired you to start writing?

I started reading early, so I progressed to higher level books pretty quickly. I loved the stories I was reading so much, that I knew I wanted to create my own by the time I was eleven.

2. How long have you been writing?

I started trying to write in middle school. But it wasn’t until about 2008 that I really sat down and began completing stories.

3. What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

Get the words down! Don’t worry about editing, agents or whether or not it’s any good. Just write so it so you can have that goal reached. Then you can worry about the other stuff. You can’t sell what isn’t written.

4. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Yes. But for me, I think it only happens when I’m not prepared enough. So when it does, I stop and do more planning and outlining. Once I have a better road map, the block usually disappears.

5. Who is your favorite author and why?

Johanna Lindsey. I don’t read m/f historicals anymore, but she’s the romance author I read the most growing up. Her books are great, but what I love most about them is how detailed the characters were. Especially her Mallory clan. I strive to create characters with that much depth and personality.

6. What are you working on now and what are your plans for the future?

I’m currently writing the next and probably last book in the Cuffs, Collars, and Love series. Officer Hector Castillo, the sniper from the team, is getting his own story next! I’ve already finished the rough draft and I’m planning for a June or July release. After that, I’ll be making a sub-genre shift. I’ve wanted to write historical fantasy for a long time now, and I’m in the planning stages for my first project. I’m very excited about it!

Thank you for having me on your blog today! I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my work and look forward to chatting with your readers. Readers, feel free to drop any questions you have for me in the comments. Have a wonderful week!

Love,

Christa

Synopsis

“You don’t ever have to keep anything you feel locked up, Clay. I’m your Dom, and whatever you need from me, I’ll gladly give to you.”
– Sergeant Logan Pierce

Police Officer Clay Foster is finally at peace and happy with his life. He enjoys his career as a member of Houston’s SWAT team, and he loves submitting to his Dom in the bedroom. His life is perfect, until one cruel act destroys Clay’s bubble of happiness. Shattered trust forces Clay to reevaluate his career, his relationship, and himself.

Sergeant Logan Pierce is the leader of Houston’s elite SWAT team. On the force, he’s the best at what he does. In private, the most important thing in his life is taking care of his submissive, Clay. Clay is his whole world, and Logan will do whatever is necessary to keep him safe. Even if that means going up against Clay’s stubbornness in order to help him heal.

Can Logan and Clay work together to rebuild their happiness? Can they find their way back to the shared passion of Dominance and submission? Or will their love and relationship end before it’s truly begun?

An Officer’s Submission is Book Four in the Cuffs, Collars, and Love series. If you love romance that is epic, emotional and erotic, you’ll want to give this series a read!

 

Excerpt

“It’s good to be back home.”

Logan looked down at him with an eyebrow raised. “Home?”

Clay snorted a laugh. As usual, they were at Logan’s house. When he thought about it, he realized he hadn’t been back to his apartment in weeks. In fact, his bags from their recent trip to Colorado were here at Logan’s. He hadn’t bothered to take them back to his place after their return.

“If I’m in your space too much, I can throw all my stuff in the car and head back to my apartment,” he said as he pretended to pull away.

Logan tightened his grip on his foot. “You’re not going anywhere.”

Clay bit his lip to hold back a grin. “I didn’t think you wanted me to. But what I meant is, I feel good about life. That trip was awesome. I got to play in the snow, just like I wanted.”

“And I got to warm you up when you were done.”

“You did a very good job. You might have gotten me a little overheated a few times,” he teased. He wiggled his toes as Logan squeezed his foot again. “You and I are in a great place. And I think things are going to be better at work now too. We redid Hayden’s ridiculous course and passed with flying colors this time. I’m hoping the fact that we passed the redo means Hayden will get off our backs and quit fucking with our schedule.”

“The team is gelling again. And we’re hoping Hayden will finally move on and give up on his pet project of tormenting our team. Anything else?”

Clay shifted, looking at the TV instead of Logan. “What else is there?”

“Are you still blaming yourself for that idiot making those fake calls to our team?”

Clay pulled his feet off Logan’s lap for real this time and got up from the couch. “Why wouldn’t I blame myself? It was my fault.”

“It wasn’t your fault. And I don’t like hearing you say that it was.”

“C’mon, Sarge. You know that was on me.” Clay roughly ran a hand through his hair, turning his back on his lover. “If I hadn’t gone to that convention and went on camera bragging about how badass our team was, that whacko would have never taken it as a challenge to try and prove he was better than us.” He turned back around as Logan grabbed his hand and pulled him to stand in between his legs.

“Maybe not. But maybe he would have taken his anger out in another way.”

“What do you mean?”

“You read the report Roberts put together on the guy. He was looking for revenge because he felt he’d been slighted too many times. What if he’d physically attacked the people he wanted revenge against? Someone or several someones could have been hurt. At least with the revenge tactics he chose, no one was. We managed to catch the idiot, and hopefully he’ll be granted some time to think about what he did.”

“Are you forgetting he tried to kill me?” Clay saw a muscle tic in Logan’s jaw at the question, his hazel eyes going hard before he answered.

“No, I’m not forgetting.”

Clay tilted his head to the side as he studied his lover. “You know, I noticed that the perp seemed a little worse for wear before you got him loaded in the patrol car. Did you do anything to cause that?”

“I’ll never let anyone hurt you.”

Logan’s response was a non-answer, but it confirmed Clay’s suspicions. “I’m a cop. On occasion, I might get hurt. And you can’t go after people because of that.”

“And you’re mine. Did you forget that?”

Clay shook his head. “No, Sir.”

“Come here.” Clay followed the gentle pull Logan gave his hand to drop down to the couch and straddle his lap.

“You’re my lover. My submissive. It’s my right and my pleasure to protect you, always.” He brought a hand up, his thumb sliding across the metal collar that circled Clay’s neck. “I won’t let anything or anyone hurt you or take you away from me.”

A thrill shot through Clay at that declaration. Logan’s unapologetic possessiveness had caused problems early on in their relationship, but they’d worked on it and come to an understanding on boundaries. Now, he was able to revel in Logan’s possessiveness and caring, because he knew it wouldn’t get out of hand. Clay pressed his forehead to Logan’s and closed his eyes. “I love when you talk to me like that.”

Logan’s hand moved to grip the back of his neck. “Do you?”

His eyes still closed, Clay nodded.

“Tell me why.”

“Because it makes me feel like the most important thing in your world. I’ve never felt like that with anyone.”

“It’s true. You are the most important thing to me. Having you in my life, wearing my collar, means everything to me.”

Clay opened his eyes and looked into his lover’s gaze, seeing the sincerity there. Not that he doubted him. Logan had proven time and time again how much he loved him. “I don’t deserve you, Sir. And I don’t do enough to show you how much I love you in return.”

“You don’t have to do anything to deserve me. I’m with you because I don’t ever want to be with anyone else.”

“Well, maybe I can show you what I feel tonight. Physically.”

Purchase

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks | Kobo

Meet the Author

Christa Tomlinson is an exciting up and coming author in erotic romance. Her first self-published novel, The Sergeant, was an Amazon Best Seller for Gay and Lesbian Erotica for seven weeks straight.

Christa graduated from The University of Missouri-St. Louis with a degree in History. She loves to create stories that are emotional and lovely with sex that is integral to the characters’ romantic arc. Her books include straight couples, curvy couples, gay, and multicultural couples. Love is love and everyone should have their story told.

Christa lives in Houston, Texas with her two dogs, and is a retired roller derby player.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | Amazon

Sign up for Christa’s Newsletter!

Tour Schedule

April 13thTwo Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy

April 14th –  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

April 15th MM Good Book Reviews

April 16thBoy Meets Boy Reviews

April 17thMy Fiction Nook

April 18th Love Bytes Reviews

April 19thErotica For All

April 20th Nerdy Dirty & Flirty

April 21st – Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

April 22nd – Booklover Sue

 

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Release Blitz for Who I am When I’m with You by Tamryn Eradani (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Who I Am When I’m With You

Series: Daniel & Ryan, Book 3

Author: Tamryn Eradani

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 3

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 13300

Genre: Erotica, BDSM, Businessmen, Friends to Lovers, gay, LGBT

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Synopsis

Daniel and Ryan have fallen into a routine, carefully keeping work and play separate. In the office, they’re co-workers, people who sometimes meet in the break room, but in the bedroom they’re different. Daniel likes being someone different. He likes being Ryan’s Daniel for a little bit every night.

Excerpt

Who I Am When I’m With You
Tamryn Eradani © 2017
All Rights Reserved

“Hey,” Ryan says, easily sidestepping Daniel. He doesn’t even spill his coffee. The full mug must be why he’s out of his office, and Daniel gets caught staring at it. He wishes a desire for caffeine was the only thing that could pull him from his office.

He adjusts his tie, loosening it just so he can tighten it again, and it’s when he looks back up that he sees Ryan’s lips moving. “Sorry,” Daniel says. “Can you say that again?”

Ryan puts a hand to the small of Daniel’s back and ushers him toward the break room. “I said you looked like you needed a cup of coffee.”

“I need a lot more than that,” Daniel says but he lets himself be led into the break room anyway.

He doesn’t, however, let Ryan pour him a cup of coffee. He settles for a mug of extra-hot water. He’s got a personal stash of tea in his office—non-caffeinated and much better quality than any of the beverages in this room.

Ryan eyes the mug of hot water with a critical eye. “That’s less than coffee.”

“I’ve got tea in my office.”

“Of course,” Ryan says. He leans against the counter, like he’s planning on staying here a while. “You want to talk about what’s going on?”

“Nothing major,” Daniel says. “Just got called down to HR to frighten some of the juniors.”

“Margot wasn’t up to doing it herself?” Ryan asks. “She was pretty terrifying the one time I met her, and I was just doing entry paperwork.”

Daniel shrugs. His watch tells him he now has twelve minutes before his next call. It should be enough time to make some tea and even get to drink some of it. “I’ve got to go. We still on for tonight?”

He fights the urge to look around, to make sure they’re alone in the break room even as he chastises himself for bringing up their…arrangement at work. He’s the one that wanted to keep their work selves and kink selves separate. Even though they’ve started to blur those lines—talking about their days, texting each other outside of a scene—he’s not sure he’s ready for a complete melding.

Of course, he might be overthinking again. He has a tendency to do that.

“I am,” Ryan says. “Want me to swing by at the end of the day? See where you’re at?”

Daniel’s watch tells him he has under ten minutes now. “Okay,” he says, because he can’t stay and talk about this. He shouldn’t have even brought it up. He needs to be focused. He needs—

“Go,” Ryan says. “Whatever you keep checking your watch for, you’re going to be great. I’ll see you in a few hours.”

“Thank you,” Daniel says. “Got a client call.” He picks up his cup of hot water. “If my door is closed—”

“Don’t come in,” Ryan says with a smile. “I know.”

“Actually, I was going to say you can,” Daniel says, and it’s his turn to smile, because Ryan looks shocked. “If I’m on the phone, obviously don’t start making a lot of noise, but you can come in.”

“Alright,” Ryan says. “And if Tracy comes after me?”

Daniel grins. “I’m sure you can hold your own. She’s not so tough. Unless she’s just got her nails done. Then watch out. She basically gets herself claws.”

He walks out, treasuring the frozen expression on Ryan’s face.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Tamryn studied English and Creative Writing in school but has been writing since she could first hold a pencil. Recently, she’s turned her focus towards writing erotica. She enjoys writing stories where sex comes first, then feelings, because doing things out of order can be fun.

Tamryn has spent the past few months writing the Daniel and Ryan series with a lovely view of mountains out her window, and she’s now searching for a new mountain range to serve as her backdrop as she begins her next project.

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Release Blitz and Giveaway: An Unexpected Shot by Caitlin Ricci and A.J. Marcus

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Title:  An Unexpected Shot

Author: Caitlin Ricci, A.J. Marcus

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 3

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 14700

Genre: Romance, LGBT, gay, bisexual, law enforcement

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Synopsis

Darius has just retired as a police officer and opened his PI business. He expects to help people and continue the exciting life he had while on the force, but most of his cases center around cheating spouses. That is until a young boy comes into his office one afternoon.

Parker insists that his parents are missing, and not believing him, Darius calls the people on the boy’s phone to find one who is willing to pick him up. Rick, a family friend, comes to get him. As a thank you for watching over Parker, Rick invites Darius to his house for dinner. Their connection is instant, but their romantic night together becomes complicated when men break into Rick’s house and start shooting.

Excerpt

An Unexpected Shot
Caitlin Ricci and A.J. Marcus © 2017
All Rights Reserved

I adjusted the sign on my glass office door one more time before stepping through and into the small space. Darius Ware, Private Investigator. That was me. At fifty-two, and a recently retired cop, I had been too bored sitting at home watching the Food Network not to go back to work. Don’t get me wrong, I loved to cook,  when I had the time, but I also loved to work. And retirement had hurt in a way I hadn’t expected.

I’d never been good with downtime. Even the thought of it made my skin crawl with the need to do something. On the force, I’d been the one taking point and tackling suspects. I’d probably drawn more fire than anyone else in the department. I’d also taken down more people than anyone else. A desk job wasn’t for me, and so sitting at home on my couch had been akin to torture. I wanted to be busy and active. There was no one that I was close  to, no one that I could pass the days away with. I had thought about traveling some after I’d retired, but with no one willing to go with me, I hadn’t wanted to travel alone. I wanted to see places and experience things, but not by myself.

In an effort to save my sanity, I’d gone out and found a small office space in an upscale complex off the financial district. A lawyer occupied the office to one side of me and an accountant to the other. They were quiet men about my age. I’d thought maybe drinks with the guys would be in order at some point, but they’d both snubbed me. I was pretty sure it had to do with the fact I was a PI, and therefore in their eyes, likely below them. It didn’t bother me too much; neither one of them was really the sort of guy I was into, and I had better things  to do than just hang out with them.

The thing I loved was being back on the job…in a fashion. It may have been a far cry from my old life as a cop but it was enjoyable. I made my own hours. My desk wasn’t covered in manila envelopes from cases I was looking into, and my coffee machine actually worked. I’d even splurged on one of those ones that made single cups of coffee in a ton of different flavors with the little packs. Until I had clients, I figured I’d enjoy the bit of indulgence. I was ready for anything and looking forward to it, too.

*****

Two months into being a PI, my view of the job had changed dramatically. I’d anticipated looking for missing children. Instead I was investigating cheating spouses, and the news was never good. The money was decent, but I hated charging those crying, raging people money after they’d just found out the person they loved was screwing their neighbor, best friend, or ex. Most often, it was the best friend. I’d grown really distrustful of people after seeing what they were willing to do to the people they were supposed to care about. I’d seen some of that as a cop, but now that I was dealing with it up close and personal, it was harder to ignore.

So when a  boy, who couldn’t have been older than twelve, came right into my office and sat himself down in the chair across from my desk, I was intrigued.

“You lost?” I asked. That was the only explanation of why a kid would be in my office.

He shook his head, and his bright-red hair went flying. “Parker Emmanuel Williamson.” He held out his hand for me to shake it, which I did. “I need you to find my parents for me.”

He had my interest, but I also didn’t work for kids. I wanted that one glamorous case where I found a missing kid and got back into the hero spotlight I missed so much since I retired, but actually getting hired by someone Parker’s age wasn’t something I was interested in.

“Y our family know you’re out of school?” It was noon on a Thursday the week before Halloween. This kid should have been in school.

He shrugged. “I left. Can you find my parents or not? You’re a private investigator, aren’t you?”

I probably could find them, or at least try to, if I was willing to work for this kid. Which I wasn’t. All kids being a no-go aside, this one seemed worse than most. He had a cocky attitude that turned me off. “How old are you anyway?” I asked. He didn’t look much over eight.

“Twelve.”

That surprised me. “You’re small for your age.”

He rolled his eyes. Maybe he was used to hearing that.

“Take out your phone,” I told him. “And unlock it too.”

The kid actually did as he was told and placed it into my outstretched hand. “Are you going to look for clues on it?”

“No. I’m going to call someone to come pick you up.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboSmashwords

Meet the Authors

Caitlin Ricci

Caitlin was fortunate growing up to be surrounded by family and teachers that encouraged her love of reading. She has always been a voracious reader, and that love of the written word easily morphed into a passion for writing. She comes from a military family, and the men and women of the armed forces are close to her heart. She also enjoys gardening and horseback riding in the Colorado Rockies where she calls home with her wonderful husband and their two dogs. Her belief that there is no one true path to happily ever after runs deeply through all of her stories.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

A.J. Marcus

A.J. has been writing to pass the time since high school. The stories he wrote helped him deal with life. A few years ago, he started sharing those stories with friends who enjoyed them and he has started sending his works out into the world to share with other people. He lives in the mountains with his extremely supportive husband. They have a lot of critters, including dogs, cats, birds, horses, and rabbits. When not writing, A.J. spends a lot of time hiking, trail riding, or just driving in the mountains. Nature provides a lot of inspiration for his work and keeps him writing. He is also an avid photographer and falconer. Don’t get him started talking about his birds, because he won’t stop for a while.

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A Book Release Highlight! Spritzer – A Sparkling Gay Romance by Jon McDonald (guest blog with a short story, excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance

Author: Jon McDonald

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: March 27

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 75300

Genre: Romance, LGBT, gay, bisexual, contemporary, enemies to lovers, humorous, romance

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✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Jon McDonald here today to celebrate the release of his new book, Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance.  He’s brought a remarkable short story along with him for our readers, in addition to an excerpt and giveaway.  Welcome, Jon!

✒︎

Jon McDonald: Here’s a short story from another of my NineStar books, Gotta Dance with the One Who Brung Ya.

Midnight Clear

   There was a seam on the roadway crossing the bridge, such that when a car passed over, it sent a thump thump echoing underneath. When it was busy during the day, the thump thumps came frequently, overlapping and creating a thunder that echoed along the riverbank. During the night, the sound came infrequently and accented the stillness.

   It was going to be a very cold Christmas Eve—with the scent of snow already in the air—and there had been a few flurries as the afternoon gathered into dusk before the clutch of night took its frigid hold.

   Rainbow and Gal were huddled around their meager fire, kept alive by scavenging the riverbank for anything that would burn—hopefully through the entire night. Their few belongings were stacked up like sandbags around a foxhole to help keep out the needles of icy wind. The tips of their fingers poked out through worn gloves as they fumbled with a dented pot to heat water so they could use the damaged Ramen Noodle Soup packet scrounged from a dumpster behind the 7–Eleven . Maybe Gal would wait till midnight to give Rainbow his gift—a short flask of brandy that Gal had saved for from a week of panhandling when Rainbow wasn’t around.

   In country, the coppers flew overhead like crazy-wheeling drunks—thump thump, thump thump. Rainbow was Corporal Edward Declan Connelly—Boston Irish. So raw he still thought they were fighting the enemy for the good of the country. He was called Rainbow because he was that way. His best and only buddy was Gal—short for Gallagher but also because he was perceived to be Rainbow’s gal. They had soon found each other despite the monsoons, the mud, the lousy food, the blood, the moans, the endless boredom, and the constant rain of shells—thump thump, thump thump. They managed, however, to get away together now and then for half an hour, hidden amongst the sacks of flour in the storeroom behind the mess. Time so precious and ever so brief, their hearts—thump thump, thump thump.

   After the slaughter was over, and they were shipped home and dumped on the streets of LA, they stayed together. Somewhat broken, keenly cunning, resourceful as two feral cats, together they opened a shop repairing typewriters and small business machines. Then came the computer. They struggled, tried to adapt, created more debt to stay afloat, and finally had to flee in the dead of night in their broken-down Pontiac to the Rocky Mountain west. Their car barely made it across the Continental Divide—thump thump.

   They never completely recovered. Too many demons. Too much alcohol. Inner wounds too tender. But they stayed together through it all. There was never one without the other through many decades, many journeys, many disappointments.

  * * * * *

   “Deck, oh Deck. I can’t believe you’re still abed. And this being Christmas morning and all.” His mother called him Deck, not Eddie. But he didn’t want to stir. The room was cold—the covers warm, scooched up tight around his head, cradling his ear. Only his susceptible eyes and nose were exposed to the bite from the window slightly ajar. He promised he’d get up at the count of ten.

   “Eight, nine, nine and a half, nine and three quarters…”

  * * * * *

    “Soup’s ready.” Gal offered Rainbow the watery, soft noodles.

    “Thanks.”

    It was dark now. The fire glowed and sputtered. Gal put on a few more pieces of wood from a broken table someone had tossed onto the riverbank rather than take to the dump. They ate in silence.

   Thump thump. Rainbow’s mind wandered to the sleeper car his family was taking to Chicago to visit his grandmother; snuggled in his berth, eyes almost closed. Thump thump. The sound of the train lulled him toward sleep. Thump thump. He always watched for that moment when waking turns into sleep like a snake gliding silently into water. But he could never quite grasp it—it always just slipped away. Thump thump, thump thump.

   Gal always cooked. Rainbow always cleaned—tonight taking their few bowls and cooking pot down to the stream to wash up. With tonight’s cold, it was hard to find any running water, and Rainbow had to hack at some ice to find the little trickle to serve his need. Though poor and without much provision, they were both meticulous about keeping clean—their persons and their possessions. Rainbow carefully rinsed the pot and bowls and climbed back up the bank to their shelter under the bridge. He stored the utensils and scooted up close to Gal, sitting by the fire.

   “Here, let me warm you,” Gal whispered as he straddled Rainbow from behind, wrapping his blanket around the both of them. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his gift. “I know it’s not quite Christmas yet but thought you could use this now.” He opened the brandy and handed it to Rainbow. Rainbow bowed his head in gratitude and offered the first sip to Gal.

   They sat like that for some time, drinking quietly, the cars overhead passing less often now. Thump…thump.

   Rainbow was the first to notice the child—six, maybe seven. The way the boy stood at the edge of the bridge it looked as though he was lit from within, but of course, Rainbow thought, it had to be the play of the streetlight against the ice reflecting up from the river below.

   “Gal…” Rainbow breathed so softly it could hardly be heard. Gal looked up and saw the child now holding out both his hands filled with Christmas cookies.

   “For you,” the child said softly.

  * * * * *

   Eddie continued his countdown, “Nine, nine and a half, nine and three quarters. Nine and seven-eighths…”

   “Edward Declan Connelly, I am not going to call you again,” his mother boomed from the kitchen.

   “Oh boy, she means business now.” Eddie knew that for sure. And for just a minute longer he savored the warmth of the covers trying to drag him back into sleep. But then he could smell the wafting scents of Christmas—oatmeal, apples, cinnamon, brown sugar. And there were tangerines, coffee, and bacon sizzling on the stove. He bounded up and out of bed, shut tight the window, and still in his pajamas with the fuzzy feet, faced the light pouring through the door and quietly walked toward his mother.

  * * * * *

   The police cruiser was parked on the bridge, the lights blinking and swirling. Thump thump. Two officers were responding to a call from a pedestrian who believed he had spotted something suspicious under the bridge. The officers scrambled down the riverbank and peered. It was dim and hard to see. There were the remains of a fire still smoldering, sending up curls of smoke like lazy spirits going home. And there, huddled together and covered with a thin blanket, were the bodies of two men locked in a tight embrace, drifted snow cradling their faces.

   “Oh jeeze,” one of the officers commented. “Looks like we got ourselves a couple of stiffs. Better call it in.”

   The second officer stared uncomfortably at the bodies. “Will you look at that,” he said. “Two guys in each other’s arms. So desperate to keep warm they had to resort to that.” Thump thump.

Synopsis

Spritzer Vallier is the manager of a large commercial jug winery in Northern California. The new owner, Spritzer’s great-aunt Del, wants to make a quality champagne as well as the cheap wine that is the bedrock of their business. Being a down-to-earth, no-nonsense guy, Spritzer resists Del’s fantastic idea. However, she insists and hires Michel, a French champagne master, to direct the setup of the new venture for four years until Spritzer can take over the running of the winery by himself.

Spritzer and Michel must work closely together and right from the beginning it is clear there will be fireworks. Michel tends towards arrogance and control. Spritzer resents Michel’s authority and demands, and is a bit of a stubborn hot-head.

Keeping the two in check is Del—steady, caring, and wise, she directs the two toward the accomplishment of her dream.

Storms, accidents, and money problems plague the progress of the new winery, but eventually Michel and Spritzer work their way towards a successful conclusion to their efforts. But fate seems to have another destination for them as well, as they begin to fall in love with each other.

Excerpt

Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance
Jon McDonald © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Spritzer Vallier stood in contemplation, gazing at the strange sight before him—a couple of dozen or more folks, dressed mostly in black, standing at the crest of a hill overlooking a Sonoma vineyard. It stretched out below them as far as one could see in every direction; rows and rows of cultivated grape vines, marching neatly in their straight lines. The early morning mists slowly evaporated in the warmth of the climbing morning sun.

Spritzer ran a hand through his dark, curly, unkempt hair, distracted from the immediacy of the memorial service for his recently departed great-uncle Tom, as his mind wandered to the urgent need to be harvesting the glowing, ripe grapes spread out before him. There is a moment when the grapes’ sugars are at their peak, and any delay might harm a season’s harvest. Spritzer had checked the sugar levels in the grapes just yesterday afternoon and decided that they should start the harvest today. But Aunt Del, Tom’s sister, had already arranged for the memorial service to be held this very morning.

He shook himself free from those thoughts, and turned his attention back to the droning priest. Spritzer was standing between his great-aunt Del—short for Deloris—and his childhood buddy, and occasional girlfriend, Kan. He turned to his aunt and squeezed her arm, as the priest extolled her brother’s many virtues.

“Are you holding up all right?” Spritzer asked gently.

Del looked over and smiled. “It’s still hard to believe he’s gone.”

“I know.”

Kan—blonde, lean, and tomboyish—leaned into Spritzer and whispered, “Nice service, don’t you think?”

Spritzer turned to her and said, “Yeah, yeah. But look at all those fuckin’ grapes. The old man would kick off just when I need to start the harvest, right?”

Just then, a biplane approached from behind the gathering, flew low over the heads of the crowd, and began to spray the vineyard.

Kan looked puzzled. “Isn’t this an odd time to be spraying insecticide, for Christ’s sake?”

“That’s not insecticide, that’s Uncle Tom,” Spritzer answered, with a flash of his quirky grin. Kan looked at him questioningly. “Some people want their ashes at sea. Uncle Tom…” He gestured toward the vineyard.

“Yuck. It’s going all over the grapes. What’s that going to do to the wine?”

Spritzer thought about that for a moment, then answered. “Probably make the horrid supermarket plonk we produce a hell of a lot better than it was when he was alive.”

Kan laughed and turned back to the service.

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

Meet the Author

Jon McDonald lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has seven published novels, a memoir, and three children’s books. His short stories have appeared in a number of prestigious publications. He considers himself a genre-bending author—he loves to take an established literary genre, play with it, and turn it on its head. He has lived abroad and traveled extensively.

Website | Facebook | eMail

Tour Schedule

3/27    Hoards Jumble

3/27    Molly Lolly; Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

3/28    The Novel Approach

3/28    Zipper Rippers

3/28    Happily Ever Chapter

3/29    Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

3/29    Stories That Make You Smile 

3/30    Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

3/30    Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

3/31    Bayou Book Junkie

3/31    MM Good Book Reviews

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Release Day Blitz: Enemy Within by Tal Bauer (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Enemy Within

Series: The Executive Office, Book 3

Author: Tal Bauer

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date: 3/28/2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 176K

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

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Synopsis

The White House, infiltrated.
The president, running for his life.
A traitorous general, intent on burning the world to the ground.

When everything falls apart, who do you trust?

President Jack Spiers fled Washington DC on the heels of a devastating attack on CIA headquarters, masterminded by one of America’s own, former General Porter Madigan. While the world believes Jack was killed in the bombing, he embarks on a wild infiltration mission, smuggling himself into occupied Russia to rescue the love of his life: former Secret Service Agent and First Gentleman Ethan Reichenbach.

Reunited, Jack, Ethan, and deposed Russian president Sergey Puchkov, along with President Elizabeth Wall—the only person left in Washington DC who Jack trusts—must work together. They piece together a desperate plan, hunting Madigan to the ends of the earth and the bitter frigidity of the Arctic, where Madigan’s world-shattering doomsday plan comes together.

Outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and outgunned, Jack, Ethan, Sergey, and the rest of the team struggle to put a stop to Madigan and his army. In the desolate extremes of the Arctic, their resolve, their strength, and even their love is tested, pushed to the absolute limits as choices must be made: choices that pit the fate of the world against the love in their hearts, and the loves of their life.

As the world crumbles around them, Jack and Ethan find themselves waging a war on two fronts—against an enemy they can see, and another, hiding within their ranks.

Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?

Excerpt

The sounds of the convoy coming alive in the frosty morning started clattering through their patch of snowy forest. Grumbled Russian, slamming doors and squeaky metal hinges, the crackle of logs in a fire, and the clang of pots and pans that Vasily insisted on bringing from Volga.

Jack nuzzled at Ethan’s neck, and the roughness of his beard, grown thick in the five days they’d been on the road, scratched over Ethan’s skin just before Jack dropped a kiss beneath his jaw. “Morning, love.”

Ethan smiled down at him, de-cocked his pistol, and slid it into his hip holster beneath their blankets. He wrapped both arms around Jack as Jack turned and faced him. “How are you? Are you warm enough?” As Ethan spoke, his breath clouded the air between them.

“I’m good.” Jack peeled off his gloves beneath the blankets and snaked his warm hands up under Ethan’s jacket and sweater. His gentle, searching fingers found the long line of ragged stitches in Ethan’s side.

Ethan flinched.

“Sorry. You know we need to check them.” Carefully, Jack felt around the stitches, testing the skin, and then rested his palm over the top of the mostly-healed wound. “No heat. No swelling. No pus. No infection.” He smiled. “You had me worried after yesterday.”

Ethan ducked his head, his cheeks warming. While rummaging through an abandoned barn, he’d walked right through a rotted-out baseboard and fallen into a cellar, into the rough, loose earth. Not his finest moment. They’d wrangled some supplies, but he’d come away filthy and bruised, his ego smarting. Jack’s worried eyes and his gentle ministrations after they’d stopped for the night had helped sooth the ache.

Jack’s gaze darted over Ethan’s face, searching. He frowned. “Did you get any sleep?”

“Some.”

“Liar.” Arching an eyebrow, Jack sat back but kept his hands under Ethan’s clothes and on his skin. “You should let me watch over you at night, too.”

“I’d rather do it. I have you close to me.” He patted his hip and his holstered weapon. “I have constant protection on you all night long. There’s no way anyone can get to you. Not without going through me.”

“Literally.” Jack smiled, but it faded fast. “I’ll drive during the day again. Rest, and let me watch over you.” He squeezed Ethan’s hip as if to emphasize his point.

Ethan nodded, and the corners of his lips quirked up. This was new, this give and take of caretaking and watching out for each other. In DC, at the White House, there had been their jobs and their duties and the world to react to. They took care of slights and wounds inflicted by the press, their suits and ties a kind of armor against the world. Out in the wilderness, in the forest, they’d fallen into a different kind of caretaking. A sharing of two lives, each supporting the other’s existence. It was primal, in a way, how they had fused together. Half of his life was in Jack’s hands, and instead of feeling vulnerable, it was the most natural feeling in the world. “Deal.” Leaning forward, he pressed a kiss to Jack’s lips.

A question hovered in the forefront of Ethan’s mind, weighing on his thoughts. Every morning, he felt the weight of his secret resting over his heart: two rings, made before the world fell apart around them. Some moments, asking Jack was on the tip of his tongue, ready to tumble from his lips with his next breath. He forced himself to swallow the words. Not yet. It wasn’t the right time. Not yet.

Jack leaned into Ethan, and his hands wound around Ethan’s back beneath his sweater. “At some point, we won’t be sleeping in this jeep anymore,” he whispered into their kiss. “We’ll have room to stretch out… share a sleeping bag…”

Smiling, Ethan pulled off his gloves and brought his hands up to Jack’s face, his thumbs caressing Jack’s cheeks. “We don’t need a sleeping bag…” One hand snaked around Jack’s neck, and the other dropped to his hip.

In a flash, he flipped Jack, laying him on his back across the bench seat. Jack wrapped his legs around Ethan’s waist as Ethan slid his hands through Jack’s blond strands.

Jack grabbed his shoulders and pulled Ethan closer, his legs tightening and holding Ethan in place. He captured Ethan’s lips, kissing greedily as his hips rocked upward. Even through the layers they wore, Ethan felt Jack’s hard cock, pressing against his own.

“I want you,” Jack breathed.  “I want you to make love to me.”

Ethan’s blood burned, searing through his body from his head to his toes, and part of him wanted to tilt Jack’s head back and ravage his throat, work his way down, unwrap him like a present until he found his cock. Suck him deep. Work him open with his tongue until Jack begged for more, and then sink his cock into Jack’s warm, tight body. Jesus, he wanted Jack. So much.

The springs on the jeep’s suspension squeaked with their rocking, and the tires groaned and crunched against the snow on the ground. In the distance, low chuckles sounded, and one catcall.

Deflating, Ethan dropped his forehead to Jack’s chest. He rode Jack’s deep, heaving breaths and listened to his racing heartbeat. “I don’t want an audience when I make love to you again.”

Jack’s legs dropped, one falling over the back of the front seat, and the other squishing against the window. His hands stroked over Ethan’s back and tangled in his hair. “I don’t want to have to be quiet.”

“Jesus.” Ethan gripped Jack and surged against him, thrusting against his hard cock once more. “That’s not helping.”

Smiling, Jack rocked his hips up once and then scooted backward, propping himself up on his elbows as Ethan sat back and tried to straighten out his clothes. A prominent bulge strained the front of his cargo pants. He ached, nearly painfully hard for Jack.

From the center of the camp, Scott called, “Coffee’s ready if you are!”

Rumbling laughter, deep and throaty, from nearly all the men.

Shaking his head, Jack started to pull himself together next to Ethan and fished out his balaclava from the pocket of his cargo pants. Outside of the jeep, he wore a full-face balaclava and, on their drive, he kept everything but his eyes covered. Ethan insisted, and Scott and Sergey both backed him up. The members of their convoy, of course, knew who Jack was, and just after Jack had shown up, Sergey had delivered a scathing speech in Russian to his people that had had even Ethan flinching, though he didn’t understand a word that had been said. But, they were traveling through a war zone, parts of Russia that were contested in the coup, under attack from Moroshkin’s forces, and that had been bombed by the United States and other nations, all trying to stop Moroshkin.

Who knew what was out there, or who was out there. Jack was, to the world, brain dead in Bethesda Naval Hospital. A front-page picture of him alive and well in Russia would go over as well as a nuclear bomb.

“Scott came by?” Jack tucked his undershirt into his pants, taking a moment to readjust. His cheeks were dusted crimson, a faint flush that Ethan wanted to nibble.

“Yeah.” He tore his eyes away from Jack and fanned the bottom of his sweater, trying to cool his body.

“How’d the scouting go?”

“The route is clear for the morning. More abandoned villages. They found fuel and some supplies. Vasily is cooking eggs.” Ethan reached out, and his fingers traced Jack’s spine through his sweater and jacket. “And you should talk to Sergey.”

Turning, Jack stared at Ethan.

“I think Scott’s worried about him.” A tight, strained smile, curved his lips. “And that’s saying something.” Scott’s trust in Sergey, and in their Russian allies, extended from meal to meal. Day to day, hour by hour. If everything came apart, Scott would be the first to say “I knew it”.

“He hasn’t wanted to talk to me.” Swallowing, Jack leaned back with a sigh. His hands dropped to his lap, and he picked at the wool fibers of the balaclava. “He’s kept his distance since Volga. I’m not sure I’m the person he wants to see right now.”

Nodding slowly, Ethan frowned. Sergey’s harsh accusations, thrown at Jack at Volga air base, had been the last direct contact the two had. “After all this time, you think he’s pulling away because of…”

Because of their love? Because he and Jack were together? Because Sergey had been loved by a gay man? Was this some kind of reaction, a fear that falling in love with another man “was contagious”, as he’d hurled at Jack?

“He’s pulled back before.” Jack sat forward, slipped the balaclava over his head. He tugged it down around his neck. “I want to do the right thing by him. I don’t want to piss him off.” He frowned, deep lines furrowing his brow. “But, no matter what else is going on, he’s devastated about losing Sasha. I remember what it felt like when I thought you were dead. I can at least try to talk to him about that.”

Ethan’s chest constricted, and his heart almost seized. Was it only a week ago that he’d thought Jack was dead and gone as well? Never, ever, again. He’d do everything in his power to keep Jack safe, keep him from ever coming to harm. And, he’d never lose faith like that again, either. The darkness that had swallowed him on his race from Saudi Arabia to Russia. The emptiness, the silent scream within his soul. The way he had wanted to die, had begged the world to kill him.

Together. They’d face everything together from now on. No matter what.

Adjusting the balaclava, Jack leaned over and pressed a chaste kiss to Ethan’s lips. “Time to face the music, love.”

Ethan pulled out his own balaclava, tugged it down around his neck, and gripped the door handle. They piled out of the back of the jeep, and Ethan caught the smothered grins and barks of laughter sent their way. Scott raised a dented metal mug toward them both. Jack headed for him, and for the small fire on which Vasily was cooking.

One of the Russians who went out with Scott every morning, Aleksey, slid up to Ethan. Middle-aged, Aleksey had been a federal police officer in Sochi and had fought back with Sergey against Moroshkin and Madigan’s forces the night of the coup. Now, he was one of Sergey’s officers in the insurgency. He had a small beer gut and a thick salt and pepper mustache beneath ruddy, pockmarked cheeks, a quick, sharp smile, and perpetually messy hair.

His eyes glittered as he clapped Ethan on the back. “You are good Russian lover!” he crowed. “Quick!”

Others laughed, and Ethan spied Jack smothering his grin and rolling his eyes as he took the coffee Scott offered. Scott shrugged and hid his smile in his next sip.

Ethan clapped Aleksey on the upper arm, smiling along with the others. When he and Jack had first met the men in Sergey’s insurgency, they’d worried about how they would be received. Two men in love in a country where only months before, Sasha had almost been killed for being gay. Another man, Evgeni Konnikov, had been murdered.

Sergey’s men, however, had been nothing but accepting. They were believers in Sergey’s government, after all, and Sergey had made equality a foundational platform of his politics and administration.

They just showed that acceptance through good Russian ribbing and teasing. The more ribald the better.

“If we had actually got going,” Ethan began, winking first at Jack and then sending Aleksey a grin, “we’d be here for days.”

More laughter. Aleksey wagged his finger in Ethan’s face and squeezed his elbow before handing him a cup of bitter, sludgy coffee. Vasily waved him and Jack over, and he scooped the last of the eggs into a scavenged plastic bowl they shared. “I save for you,” Vasily said, pointing to them both.

Jack thanked him. As they ate, Ethan spotted Sergey standing in front of his jeep, his hands resting flat on a spread-out map of Russia draped over the hood with his head bowed low. He looked up, and his piercing gaze fell on Jack. There was a moment where his face flickered, something dark passing through his eyes, but it was gone before Ethan could catch it.

And then, Sergey folded up his map and climbed into the driver’s side of his jeep. He kept his eyes downcast, not once looking at Jack again.

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Meet the Author

Tal Bauer is an award-winning and best-selling author of LGBT romantic thrillers, bringing together a career in law enforcement and international humanitarian aid to create dynamic characters, intriguing plots, and exotic locations. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

Pronouns: They/them & he/him

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Release Day Blitz: From Top to Bottom by Kevin Klehr (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  From Top to Bottom

Author: Kevin Klehr

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: March 20

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male Menage

Length: 15100

Genre: Erotica, NineStar Press, LGBT, gay, erotica, cisgender, contemporary, explicit, bears, menage, open relationship, orgy

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Synopsis

Can a dedicated top really learn to bottom? Tony wants to find out but he’s scared another die-hard top will just plow through him, instead of taking it nice and slow on a newbie.

Enter Butch, a bear who’ll try anything, and Ford, a guy whose curiosity is tempting him to cheat on his boyfriend. Like Tony, both are dedicated tops wanting to try something new, and on this journey of physical self discovery, all will find that being open means more than taking it doggie-style.

Excerpt

From Top to Bottom
Author © 2017
All Rights Reserved

On my various profiles, I wrote:

Top curious about being a bottom, wants to meet likeminded tops.

I thought I was straightforward enough, yet so many timewasters were happy to give but not receive. One loser argued that I ought to get my head examined. He said that it didn’t matter if the other top wanted to bottom, just as long as I got what I wanted.

I stressed that this would be a shared experience. Two or more tops learning from each other, discussing the intricate pleasures we would discover as a group.

Then he said we’d end up writing folk songs about exploring our inner regions and singing around a campfire. I thought to myself, yeah, maybe that’s exactly the direction I wanted to take. Was I getting soft, or was I just growing up? Perhaps there already was a group for closet-bottoms I could join.

But the truth was I wanted like-minded tops simply because we’d go easier on each other. We wouldn’t just ram it up there like a vandal bashing down the door. We wouldn’t be power-bottoms. We would ease in gradually; the runway lit for a relaxed landing before the passengers would embark.

Only two other tops sounded like they were on my wavelength. A bear called Butch and a secretive guy named Ford. So I set the date. The second Tuesday in June was the only night Ford could make it, and I knew better than to ask why.

I dusted and vacuumed frantically, as if I was expecting Prince Charming to knock on my door, take me in his arms, and deflower me. I lit candles to set the mood, and rolled out an old sheet on the lounge room floor. I didn’t want to bonk in the bedroom. I wanted space for us to explore, like they did in three-way porn flicks.

My front door buzzer sounded. I let in my first visitor.

“You brought cake,” I said. I tried not to let the look of horror show on my face.

“For afterward,” Butch replied. “I baked it myself. Is there room in the fridge?”

Hadn’t this guy heard of the definition of “eternity”? The time between when you cum and they leave. Who ever heard of cake after sex?

“It’s red velvet,” he said. He crouched in front of my fridge, rearranging its contents. “Do you know the weird shit that goes in this cake? Vinegar. And cocoa and vanilla.”

“Do you always bake before sex?”

“For special occasions, yes.”

“I hardly know you.”

“But you’re about to know me a hell of a lot better.”

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

Meet the Author

Kevin lives with his long-term partner, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

From an early age, Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his work commitments changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, secretly passed the notebook to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his story. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.

His first novel spawned a secondary character named Guy, an insecure gay angel, but many readers argue that he is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. Guy’s popularity surprised the author.

So with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.

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In the YA Spotlight: A Boy Worth Knowing by Jennifer Cosgrove (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  A Boy Worth Knowing

Author: Jennifer Cosgrove

Publisher:  NineStar Press – SunFire Imprint

Release Date: March 20

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 62200

Genre: Romance, Young Adult, NineStar Press, LGBT, gay, bisexual, romance, young adult, contemporary, paranormal, coming of age, ghosts, family drama, high school, bullying

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Synopsis

Ghosts can’t seem to keep their opinions to themselves.

Seventeen-year-old Nate Shaw should know; he’s been talking to them since he was twelve. But they aren’t the only ones making his high school years a living hell. All Nate wants is to keep his secret and keep his head down until he can graduate. That is, until the new boy, James Powell, takes a seat next to him in homeroom. James not only notices him, he manages to work his way into Nate’s life. But James has issues of his own.

Between dead grandmothers and living aunts, Nate has to navigate the fact that he’s falling in love with his only friend, all while getting advice from the most unusual places.

Ghosts, bullies, first love: it’s a lot to deal with when you’re just trying to survive senior year.

Excerpt

A Boy Worth Knowing
Jennifer Cosgrove © 2017
All Rights Reserved

I loved autumn mornings.

The October air was just cold enough to set my lungs on fire, my breath visible in clouds of condensation, forcing all of the crap clogging up my head into the recycle bin. Bonus, I could pretend I was a dragon. Nothing could touch me; my morning run made everything go away, lost in miles at a time. Down an isolated country road.

Everything changed when I was twelve, and not for the better. That was when I started running. Five years of road I’d put behind me. My mom worried about me the first time I took off alone. Well, when she used to worry about me. I wished she was more worried about the reason I was running instead of the fact I was doing it down an empty road.

I turned the corner about a mile after leaving home, and that was when I saw him. Samuel was always lurking among the sunken headstones. Most people had no clue there used to be a cemetery out there. Looking closely, some of the stones that made up the foundation of the chapel could still be seen. No one else ever paid that much attention to it. Samuel glared at me as I got closer. He was a surly one.

My life was like the horror movies I loved. I talked to the dead. Well, technically dead. They were really spirits, or whatever. Whatever was left behind when people died. And they talked to me, for some reason. There was nothing like sitting in math class and having a ghost whisper in my ear while trying to take notes.

It happened all the damn time. I didn’t know how to handle it at first. And no one wanted to hang out with the crazy kid in the back of the room, muttering away to himself. I got used to it. Really. And the lack of a social life helped me get all of my homework done on time; all of the teachers loved me. That was good. Talking to ghosts wasn’t all bad.

I waved at Samuel as I ran by the cemetery. He shook a fist at me in return. Samuel wasn’t evil or anything, just grumpy. Couldn’t blame him, though. I looked him up one time and found out he’d died in the late eighteen hundreds. The cause of death on record was a heart attack. But Samuel told me his brother-in-law had poisoned him because he wouldn’t sell him his prize mule. I had no clue what was so special about that mule, but his brother-in-law evidently thought it was worth killing him over. I’d have been pretty surly myself.

Past the forgotten cemetery, a few miles to the McGregor farm, and then I’d swing around for home. Yes, I said McGregor farm. Small-town life— I couldn’t have made this stuff up if I’d tried.

There was another house just past the farm where I had to watch out for their beast of a dog. Dogs weren’t huge fans of mine. My Nana had a theory they could sense a bit of whatever it was that let us chat with those who’d “passed on.” I had no idea how that was even possible, but cats loved me, so yay.

Speaking of which, Aunt Susan’s overly fluffy cat waited by our mailbox. Arthur did that every time I went out for a run. He would sit there and then fall in behind to follow up the driveway until we got to the house. Then, it was a shady spot on the porch in the summer or, if it was cold like that day, into the house in front of the fireplace. I loved predictability.

The house used to be my grandmother’s. It was a standard farmhouse, old and creaky just like dozens more all around us, and it could have stood a little paint. But we called it home, and we liked it. It became Aunt Susan’s home. It had been left to her after Nana died, since my mom already owned one. It was a little out of the way and a long drive to the hospital where my aunt worked. But it was paid for, and that meant a lot.

I had to be quiet going in because Aunt Susan was not a morning person, and the floor squeaked just inside the back door. I was very much a morning person, and I followed the same routine each school or work day. Flipping on the coffee maker, I headed to my room to get ready for school. I got the shower running, since it took a while to heat up in an old farmhouse, and took a sniff to make sure a shower was actually necessary. Oh, yeah. I was gross.

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Meet the Author

Jennifer has always been a voracious reader and a well-established geek from an early age. She loves comics, movies, and anything that tells a compelling story.

When not writing, she likes knitting, dissecting/arguing about movies with her husband, and enjoying the general chaos that comes with having kids.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

Tour Schedule

3/20 – My Fiction Nook

3/20 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

3/20 – Just Love

3/21 – Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

3/21 – Diverse Reader

3/21 – Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

3/22 – V’s Reads

3/22 – Molly Lolly

3/22 – MM Good Book Reviews

3/23 – Liz’s Reading Life

3/23 – Stories That Make You Smile

3/23 – Dog-Eared Daydreams

3/24 – Bayou Book Junkie

3/24 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews

3/24 – Love Bytes Reviews

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