A Free Dreamer Review: Treasure (The Lost Gods #1) by Megan Derr

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Nine gods ruled the world, until the ultimate betrayal resulted in their destruction. Now, the world is dying and only by restoring the Lost Gods can it be saved.

Nine hundred years ago, the Dragons of the Three Storms, gods of chaos, tried to destroy their land of Kundou. Only by rising up and slaying the Dragons and stealing their power was Kundou saved. Now, that power resides in the royal family and grants them the right to rule.

But that power comes at a terrible price, and Prince Nankyokukai is determined that he will be the last to pay it—even if it means surrendering his chance with the man he has waited for his entire life.

I can’t believe it took me seven entire years till I finally got around to reading “Treasure”. I don’t know why I didn’t read it sooner, but it was worth the wait.

Okay, I have a thing for dragons and mermaids and gods and pretty much everything this book had on offer. But it’s so rare to find all these things combined in one single book. Needless to say, I was utterly thrilled to find all of it rolled into one, with an interesting love story on top.

The world building was well done and not something I’ve come across before. There are several names that are actually Japanese or Russian words. But since I don’t speak either of those languages, the meaning escaped me. I’m honestly not entirely sure what to think of real languages in a completely made up world, that has absolutely nothing to do with our own. Even though I’m an atheist in RL, I’m absolutely fascinated by Fantasy religions. And “Treasure” certainly didn’t disappoint in that regard. Religion is actually pretty important part of this universe and I quite enjoyed the concept.

The romance is also vital to the story. We actually have two couples in this book. I think that was a bit ambitious and the second kind of fell by the wayside. I rooted for Kin and Kyo and thought they were absolutely lovely together. But I felt like they were the main couple of the book and kind of expected a second book about the other couple. Their romance just didn’t feel as fully realized.

The plot was full of action and I really didn’t expect the way it ended. That was one hell of a plot twist, that I definitely didn’t see coming!

As much as I enjoyed the book as a whole, it really could have used a slightly more thorough spellcheck. Several times, Kin and Kyo got mixed up and it really pissed me off. If you can’t keep your MCs apart, then maybe you shouldn’t give them such similar names! Mixing them up is a major no-go and I was actually tempted to rage quit just because of that.

The cover by Leburdendesigns is very pretty. The map is quite fitting, the MCs spend most of the book travelling.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published January 25th 2012 by Less Than Three Press (first published 2012)
ISBN 139781936202997
Edition Language English
SeriesThe Lost Gods #1

Blog Tour for Ties of Destiny (Curse of the Crown #1) by Caitlin Taylor (excerpt and giveaway)

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Ties of Destiny Tour BannerTIES OF DESTINY

CURSE OF THE CROWN, BOOK 1

CAITLIN TAYLOR

GAY FANTASY/ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 10.26.18

Ties of destiny (1)


Cover designer: Dee Aditya/https://decorousanarchystudios.wordpress.com/

BLURB

When forces both inside and outside the palace walls threaten the life of Crown Prince Akoni, he finds himself in need of a guard. Someone who will protect not only him, but also his secrets – and he may have found the perfect man for the task.

Being a soldier is Jeffery’s life. He won’t be defined by his past, but fights for the present, not some future he will never see. Yet, his mandatory reassignment to the palace as Prince Akoni’s personal guard forces him to set aside his plans. His role places Jeffery in the presence of nobles whom he despises, and Prince Akoni is worse than most.

Can two men learn to trust each other, or will the secrets they carry bring about their own demise? Will having Jeffery close to him help Prince Akoni to become King – or cause more deaths? They need to depend on each other, for the sake of the future, because if they cannot, the past will only repeat itself and neither of them will survive.

If you like fantastical adventures, a blending of magic, sword fighting and technology then you will love this intriguing first installment by Caitlin Taylor.

UBL: https://www.books2read.com/u/bWz2Jz

Amazon US: https://tinyurl.com/y75vputs

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EXCERPT

Jeffrey clenched his fists, digging his nails into his palms so hard he would not be surprised to draw blood. He tried to take a deep breath, to calm himself, but his heart beat so fast, and his mind was a hazy mass of memories. A flash of a boy being hit and falling backwards, a soldier dragging him away to await his flogging. The panther tore his leash and pounced. “You’re cruel and vicious, taking your anger out on others who cannot defend themselves against you. You’re mendacious and pernicious, careless who in your path may suffer from your actions. You were born a prince, given privileges beyond reason, and all you do is squander and abuse it.”

“That’s quite enough.” The prince sat back in his chair, his gaze leaving Jeffrey to stare at his palm. He flexed his hand as if testing its movement for the first time.

Jeffrey wheezed hard, his outburst not easing his tension in the least, instead fanning it, like wind did a flame. How could the prince remain so calm? “Do you not even care a small bit about the people around you? About the pain you inflict?”

The prince rose, closing the distance between them. Jeffrey stood unflinching. He could smell the prince now, a dark and musky scent. An unwelcome spark shuddered down Jeffrey’s back. There were only inches between their faces when the prince spoke.

“Pernicious and mendacious. Those are some big words for a solider. Do you even know what they mean?”

Jeffrey’s gaze was momentarily drawn to a pair of pink lips, full and curved. He glowered but remained quiet. They were so close, he could see the prince’s eyelashes, long and curved, framing deep-blue eyes, as closed off as the rest of the prince. Yet, Jeffrey could see depth in them, a depth he knew from another. The desire sparking inside him was utterly unwelcome, and his anger flared all the more.

“You’ve been wanting to say all that to me since you first met me. Haven’t you?” The prince’s gaze bore into Jeffrey’s, almost as if searching for something. It dropped lower. A pink tongue came out to wet dry lips. His gaze lifted when he continued, “Is there more? I bet there is.”

“You callous—”

The prince cut Jeffrey off by wrapping his hand around Jeffrey’s throat. He did not press hard—yet. Jeffrey’s skin prickled where the prince’s hand lay.

“Enough.” The prince spoke quietly, his gaze drawn to his hand where it touched Jeffrey. He cocked his head to the side and frowned. Their eyes locked again. “What are you?” he asked, gentle, curious.

Jeffrey scoffed. “To you? Another toy to play with it seems.”

“Another toy? I never had one…”

The prince worried his lip, and Jeffrey found his gaze drawn to the sight.

“Play with you? I would enjoy that, but not the way you think.”

“Do you take anything seriously?” Jeffrey kept himself still. It would be easy to shake the prince’s hold, but to do so would constitute an attack on royalty. Even in his current state, he knew better; he could not cross that line. He must not.

The prince smiled wryly. “I take a great deal of things seriously. You think I don’t care, that I sit around in my castle playing games. You’re a soldier, you couldn’t possibly understand the battles I fight every day. They may not be with swords, but they are no less lethal.”

“Battles.” Jeffrey laughed. “You’ve no idea what a battle even is. You’re not even able to fight with a real sword.”

The prince’s frown deepened. “What makes you think that?”

“You practise with the marshal, and every time you leave him you’re in pain. You can hardly walk. I bet you’re covered in bruises.”

“You’re observant. This week was the first in many years that I’ve not been able to defend against him. Thanks to you.”

“Me? I wasn’t even there!” Jeffrey sneered.

“But you are. I feel you all the time…” The prince trailed off, his gaze once more returning to his hand wrapped around Jeffrey’s throat. He let his thumb move over Jeffrey’s skin.
Caitlin Taylor Logo

Caitlin Taylor is the author of the Curse of the Crown series.

She lives in the west of Ireland – that is, until the rain stops being a good enough excuse to stay indoors with a good book and mug of hot cocoa! She has lived in Germany as well as Canada, loves travelling and exploring foreign places and meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Reading has always been a beautiful escape for her and she has been creating fantastical worlds in her head for as long as she can remember. Ties of Destiny is her debut novel.

With a focus on LGBT and specifically m/m romances, expect fantastical worlds to get lost in with a side of sexy men, (probably kinky) sex, sword fighting, magic and more…



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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCJTaylor

Website: https://caitlintaylorbooks.com/

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New Release Blitz for Snowed In: Nen and Anani by Nell Iris (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS 
 
Length: 22,312 words
 
Publisher: JMS Books 
 
Blurb
 

It is time to go to my son.


Nen waited to hear those words from the Vasilissa for fifteen rotations, since that time the snow wouldn’t stop falling. But now that he’s about to meet Anani, the love of his life, again, he’s afraid. What if Anani doesn’t feel the same anymore?


Anani, the guardian of the water element, was only seventeen when he was banished from his mother’s court. Heartbroken he couldn’t be with the one he loved, he lost control over his emotions and his power. No matter what he tried, the snow wouldn’t stop, and as a last resort, he was sent away.


When they finally meet again, Anani is hopeful but disillusioned. The law that kept them apart hasn’t changed. How will they be able to find their happily ever after?


And what happens when the snow starts falling again?

 
Excerpt
 

A third knock hushes the forest even more. Not a single insect can be heard. Is the wildlife waiting for me to leave? Is he? Would he answer if I call out to him? Or will the sound of my voice make him even more resolved to stay behind the closed door?


Before I have time to come to a decision, the door is yanked open and he appears in the opening.


The Vasilieu.


Oh, great Spirit, still my heart!


He is magnificent!


He is willowy tall and has grown so much these last fifteen rotations, reaching me to my nose, standing over a head taller than any other member of his family. He’s dressed like a commoner in a tunic and pants even plainer than my own — where’s his kaftan? The clothes hug his body and reveal every long sinewy muscle in his legs and arms.


Hair as white as newly fallen snow is parted in the middle and hangs straight to his waist. His nose, slightly upturned, gives him a mischievous look. His pale lips, imperceptibly darker than his skin color, are pillowy but set in a severe line.


But it’s his eyes that draw my attention. Pale blue eyes staring at me as if he can’t believe what he’s seeing. After a few heartbeats, they widen, and he lets out a gasp.


A wave of emotions hit me square in the chest. What was muted just moments before grows into an avalanche as though he let them loose, or lost control of them. They overwhelm me; I physically feel them, poking and prodding my breast, invading my heart. I stagger a few steps backward and sink to my knees without hesitation. I don’t avert my gaze. “Vasilieu.”


He narrows his eyes. “Do not call me that. You know my name. Use it.”


The barrage of his emotions intensifies, making it hard to breathe but easy for me to identify them. Disbelief. Uncertainty. Hope.


… Happiness?


Yes, definitely happiness.


“Anani,” I whisper. Never before have I uttered his name, not even alone in the night. Saying it now is terrifying and freeing all at once. And it feels right, as though my lips are meant to say it. Whisper it in his ear as our limbs are entwined and sweaty.


He surges forward and throws himself on his knees before me. Cups my cheeks and lets his thumbs caress my beard. His gaze flits over my face as if though he’s trying to take in all the changes that have happened since we saw each other last. The crow’s feet by my eyes. The corners of my mouth that are downturned from the lack of smiling. The first gray at my temples in a sea of black, bristly hair.


I’m an older, more tired-looking version of the man who watched him walk away all those rotations ago, while he’s more breathtaking than ever.


“Vasilieu. Don’t kneel before me. It’s not proper.”


“Nen. Oh Nen. Is it really you?” he asks as if he didn’t hear my plea. His hands explore my face; the fingertips linger in my wrinkles and lines, sending sparkles through my body. He tugs lightly on my beard and gazes into my eyes. I wonder what he sees.


“Vasilieu. Anani.” The second time I use his name is even more momentous. “Stand, I beg you.”


He sits back on his heels. “What are you doing here?” His disbelief melts away. Clearly, he trusts his own eyes and what he can see before him. Confusion takes its place. With grace, he rises to his feet, bends down to grab my hands, and pulls me to standing with little help from me. Spirit, he is strong!


He doesn’t let go.

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies’ room), loves music (and singing along but, let’s face it, she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (“Make it so”). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!


Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.


Nell is a forty-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, and now spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her lifelong dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.


Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angst, and wants to write diverse and different characters.


Email contact@nelliris.com
Web www.nelliris.com
Twitter @nellirisauthor
Facebook page www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor
Facebook profile www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/nelliris
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nell_iris/
QueeRomance Ink https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/nell-iris/

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A Lila Review: The Faeted: Box Set By Caitlin Ricci

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Rating: 3.3 stars out of 5

The Faeted Series

Joshua

There’s only one place to go for a guaranteed happily ever after…

Joshua, a dragon shifter, hates having to go to the Faeted Matchmaking Agency, but he’s running out of time to find a mate, and he’s failed everywhere else. He only has a few more months before he enters the next stage of his life, and he’s getting desperate. Dragon tradition states that he must have a partner to help him transition into independence from his clan. A long-time friend would be sufficient, but Joshua doesn’t have any of those, either. Faeted is his last hope.

Rex expected Faeted to set him up with someone fun and sexy, but he was never expecting a dragon. As Rex is an eagle shifter, a dragon would be a good match for him, since they’re both born to fly. Joshua is far more cautious than Rex expects a dragon to be, but Rex knows he can get Joshua to loosen up with a bit of a push.

Adrian

There’s only one place to go for a guaranteed happily ever after.

Finding a Faeted match is always supposed to lead to true love, but Adrian doesn’t believe that anymore. After six months of perfect bliss with his fire mage Corrin, Adrian caught him kissing someone else at a party. Now he wants a new match, and he never wants to see Corrin again. A matchmaker at Faeted gives Adrian another mate and tells him to go to a hotel to find him.

But when Adrian gets to the hotel room, he finds Corrin there, waiting for him. Naked and bound, Corrin has served himself up as a perfect peace offering, if only Adrian is willing to take a second chance at love with him.

Caldren

There’s only one place to go for a guaranteed happily ever after.

Caldren has been looking forward to having his own Faeted match for a long time. It’s what all the brownies do, and Faeted has always taken good care of them. As a brownie, he’s a gentle person who just wants to help his mate out and keep things clean. He likes honey, books and a tidy house.

He’s surprised when his mate turns out to be a dragon, at least, according to Faeted. They’re aggressive and powerful, so Caldren doesn’t think he would be a good match for someone like that, but his kind have always trusted Faeted to do what is best for them.

Bannock is a scary dragon, just as Caldren expected him to be. But he’s also fair and firm. He appreciates what Caldren is and what he needs. It isn’t long before Caldren realizes that sometimes a little brownie needs a dragon to be whole.

Faeted includes three very short erotic stories:

Joshua: 4 stars

This story has the most plot of all three in the series. Perhaps since it’s the first one and it’s the readers introduction to the Faeted Matchmaking Agency.

It has a nice premise but Joshua changes drastically as soon as he meets his mate. Gone is the shy dragon trying to find a companion. Lust takes over him and everything he mentioned wanting at the beginning of the story.

Definitely an erotic short for those with an exhibitionism fetish.

Adrian: 3 stars

I’m guessing Adrian is the least favorite story for many people. If you don’t tolerate cheating, this story is not for you. Even when it’s an intoxicated misunderstanding in the end.

The sex scene is a bit tedious with many stops and goes. It was nice, just not great.

Caldren: 3 stars

This was an insta-lust submissive story. The characters were interesting and the sex scenes well thought. Unfortunately, not enough to make it memorable.

The cover by Posh Gosh is for Joshua, and it matches the main concept of the story. The Sepia color gives it an old feel.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | Pride

Book Details:
ebook, 106 pages
ISBN: 978-1-78651-714-2
Published: November 20, 2018, by Pride Publishing
Edition Language: English

Love Fantasy Fiction? Check out the Release Blitz for Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title:  Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1)

Author: Isobel Starling

Publisher: Decent Fellows Press

Cover Artist: Valentine Pascadian (Lennel)

Genre/s:  Fantasy, M/M Romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length:103 600 words/ 556 pages

Release Date:  February 15, 2019

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

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Blurb

After a traumatic event, Winter Aeling finds himself destitute and penniless in the backwater town of Mallowick.  He needs to travel to the city of Serein and impart grave news that will bring war to the Empire, but without a horse, money, and with not a soul willing to help him, he has no choice but to line up with the common folk seeking paid work on the harvest.  

As wagons roll into the market square and farmers choose day laborers, Winter is singled out for abuse by a brute of a farmer.  The only man who stands up for him is the farmer’s beguiling son, Adam, and on locking eyes with the swarthy young man Winter feels the immediate spark of attraction.

Winter soon realizes there is a reason he has been drawn to Blackdown Farm.  The farmer possesses a precious item that was stolen long ago from Winter’s family, and he determines to retrieve it.  He also cannot take his eyes off the farmer’s son, and as the young man opens up Winter can’t help wondering if Adam is just kind or his kind!

Excerpt

“Apple Boy” by Isobel Starling

CHAPTER 1

MARKET SQUARE

“You boy, aye, YOU.  Ain’t never seen ye round ‘ere before,” The farmer directed his bellow at me.  

It was sunrise, and at last, I’d found the courage to step out of my hiding place and join the common laborers who gathered in Mallowick market square.  We were waiting for the farmers’ carts to come by and choose their day workers.  I’d watched this ritual each morning for the past three days, peeking out from shadowed doorways, or while crouching behind barrels.  

It was harvest time, and it appeared to be routine for peasants to walk from the surrounding hamlets before dawn and assemble in the square to seek work on the farms.  There was wheat, barley, root vegetables, and tree fruits to be gathered before the weather turned. I was informed by a ruddy looking fellow in the tavern that anyone could get work on the harvest, and so, with my pride cut to ribbons and my pockets empty, I’d stepped out of the safety of my hiding place and joined the commoners.

“Does ye wants work or no’?  Look at me when I’m talkin’ to ye.  What’s yer name?” The burley farmer roared.  I looked up, stunned to be singled out from among all of these strapping men and hardy looking women, for I felt invisible.  Four carts had already passed and taken their pick of the young, strong peasants, but none of those farmers gave me a second glance.  I should have known something was afoot, for when this particular wagon turned up the women in the square shrank back into doorways, and men sidled away to lean against buildings.  On the side of the wagon, writ-large in bold off-white letters were the words BLACKDOWN FARM. There were around thirty of us left on view, like cattle.

I had never partaken in manual labor or any kind of work before.  I was a gentleman and far more familiar with spending my days relaxing, reading, attending social events in the city, or taking a horse for a gallop in the country.  But my life had changed since I’d become stranded here in the Pasturelands provincial town of Mallowick two weeks earlier.  Now I was living on my wits.  Each day was a fight for my life, and I’d sold all of my fine belongings, intending to pay for passage on the stagecoach from Mallowick to the city of Serein.  But I had not thought things through, and it did not happen that way.  My body’s needs took precedent. I’d become so ravenous, and therefore the meager coin I’d gathered from selling my finery was spent on what I could afford—basic rough barley bread and ale, just enough to stave off the gnawing pangs of hunger in my belly each day.  Now, I had no belongings, and the money was all but gone. I was no thief, and the only thing I had left to sell was my body. Looking like a wretch, I did not believe I could earn even a copper that way! Before I left on my travels, I was warned that the province of Erias had strict rules about men bedding other men and I did not want to tempt fate.  I was at a loss—hard labor or starvation were the only choices available to me. Gods, if my father could see how far I’d fallen in such a short time, he would be thoroughly ashamed.  I was living hand-to-mouth, and if I dared to seek out my reflection and observe my disreputable state of dress, I was sure I would see I was no longer a gentleman at all.

I assured myself that all would be well as soon as I could get to the city of Serein.  There I would attend my father’s depository and obtain funds from his account—as had been arranged, and then, I could find my way to my uncle’s residence and attend to a much grimmer business.  

So, with no other choice, I was here, standing in Mallowick market square with a bunch of rough-looking fellows and ruddy-faced women with just the ragged clothes I stood in to my name.  I wondered if my visage had taken on the same gaunt, starved, haunted look some of them wore.

“WELL?”  The farmer roared.

“Leave him be Pa; I think he’s a mute.  P… p… please don’t—” A swarthy young man urged, stepping to the farmers’ side.  The man appeared to be in his early twenties, with broad angular shoulders, slim hips, and wavy jaw-length hair that longingly reminded me of Montestein tea.  When the morning sunlight broke through the clouds and caressed him, the strands of his hair revealed all the shades of autumn.  It was beautiful.  His eyes were bright emerald green, and his skin bore the wind-burned tan of a man who spent his days working the land.  I met his gaze for a second that seemed to stop time, and I felt a flutter of longing erupt in my gut. I found myself mesmerized by him.  He appeared a little embarrassed, for himself or for me, I wasn’t quite sure. The farmer turned to his son.

“Shut that filthy mouth o’ yours, apple boy!” he spat.  His large meaty hands twitched.  He sneered and glared at his son in such a wicked way I knew it should have been followed up by a sharp slap.  I worried that the young man would endure further public humiliation at the hands of his father, but the farmer moved his disdainful glare back to me.  I shuddered with fear. I had a feeling that he was saving his son’s punishment for later—away from the prying eyes of the townsfolk. I did not like that thought, not one bit.  I did not know why the farmer was drawn to me, but he sized me up with a sweeping glance of consideration, then wrinkled his nose as if he’d sniffed a revolting stench—I hadn’t bathed in two weeks, so maybe I did smell a tad ripe!

“Is ye a mute?”

I shook my head.  I would say, if anything, I was deeply traumatized by the unfortunate circumstance I’d found myself in, but no, I was certainly not a mute.  I just wasn’t used to a lowly man speaking to me so roughly. Generally, men who dared to address me knew their betters and behaved appropriately.  But here in Mallowick, in the province of Erias, I was no better than a beggar on the street.  There was no one I could call on for favors, no one who, on hearing my family name, would loan me coin for the stagecoach or a horse to ride to the city and send word to my father.  

When I’d first arrived in Mallowick, telling the truth of my station had gotten me dragged down an alley where my finger and earrings were stolen, and I’d received a beating.  This farmer from Blackdown Farm had no idea who I was, and I would not make the same mistake again.

I took a breath and stepped out of line.  “Master Irwin Harding, sir. You may call me Win.”  I winced at hearing my own soft, well-spoken voice, with my accent, the clipped tongue of Thorn.  I had not used my real name and wished I had not used my true voice either.  The fact that I was the son of the Duke of Thorn meant nothing here.  Thorn was west of Erias, on the other side of the Silua Montis Mountain range, and I doubted any of these illiterate souls in Mallowick knew anything other than that folklore passed around by storytellers.

The farmer stepped to stand in front of me.  He was a big, bulky bastard of a man and stank of stale sweat and baccy.  He had a grizzled podgy face and thick dark hair shot with strands of silver pulled into an untidy tail.  The tension grew between us, and I worried I’d spoken out of turn. I looked down and watched my bare, filthy feet as if they held endless fascination.  I’d seen men like him before. He had hands like shovels, and I’m sure they’d done damage in their time. My father would have used a man like him well, probably as muscle to intimidate the city folk while the Royal Chancellor did the rounds collecting taxes.  

Afraid and sweating with anxiety, I glanced up and away, unable to look at the farmer directly and meet his fierce piggy eyes.  Instead, I looked left and caught the eye of his son. I felt another flutter of attraction. I was grateful for it because it dampened my fear a little.  The glance the farmers’ son sent me back was sheepish, apologetic. He shrugged and put a finger to his lips, signaling for me to hush. I’m sure now he knew what was coming.

Master, is it?”  The farmer gave a raspy malevolent chuckle.  “Well, well, well aren’t ye an uppity little scrote.  Such a pretty voice an’ all. Have your balls dropped yet, lad?”  

The townsmen men standing around me shuffled on their feet and snickered uncomfortably.  I could tell from the tentative laughter they were afraid of this man too. My chest tightened with fury, and I felt the flare of heat rush to color my cheeks.  If in Thorn I would have put this fellow in his place, but as directed by the farmers’ handsome son, I held my tongue.  

I dared to look up as the farmer scratched his grizzled chin and consider me.  It was then I saw it. A chill iced my bones. On his chubby right index finger, he wore a gold ring set with a large red gemstone that I was aghast to see held the intaglio engraving of a rose thorn—my family’s seal.  How had this disgusting Pasturelands farmer come upon my family’s ring?  Anger curdled my gut, but I forced myself to focus and fixed my features so as not to alert the man to what I was looking at.  That ring was more precious than I could say. It was not set with any common gemstone, oh no, the setting was Star-fall.  The legend was that mortal tools could not cut the rich-red Star-fall stone.  The gemstone was shaped by sorcery, and the power that carved into the gem was stored inside it as if the Star-fall was a reservoir for the magic.  It was illegal for any other than the Twin Kings of Osia to own Star-fall.  The king’s men had scoured the Empire to remove all traces of the priceless gem from common and aristocratic hands and possessing it was a death sentence.  Did this ruffian have any idea what he wore?

Not getting a rise from me, the farmer stepped yet closer and found out for himself if my balls had dropped.  He reached for my privates and squeezed.

Ahh, ye got some big stones de’re al’right, boy,” he said with a filthy sneer.

“Done any labourin’ before, lad?”  My eyes watered.  I shook my head and winced as the pressure on my most sensitive parts rose.  I wanted to shout and push him away, punch him in that bristly pug face. I’d trained in hand-to-hand combat and swordplay, but that was of little use to me now that I had no sword and was cast as naught but a commoner myself.  I stood frozen to the spot with fear, my cock, and balls in the hand of this brutish man. I was sure that clutching my nethers was not the best way to test if I would be a good apple picker.  

The farmer let go, stepped back, and looked me over again like he was sizing up a prize pig.  I wanted to keel over, hold my sensitive parts and howl, but, with my eyes watering, I kept my back ramrod straight and looked past the farmer, using his son’s regretful, pretty green eyes as my focus.  

I appeared to be a boy, but I am nineteen and about to make my majority.  I have a tall, willowy frame, and little muscle to show for my near twenty summers.  Weeks before, I was clothed in the silken garb of a lordling, but all I wore now were my stinky silk britches and a once-white linen shirt.  I’d even had to sell my fine leather boots. My flaxen hair hung loosely to my shoulders and was bedraggled. My mother had always told me my hair shone like a golden halo.  I guessed that was no longer the case. I had not seen my reflection in two weeks so I could only imagine how frightful I appeared to onlookers. My circumstance was terrible, but I refused to let it defeat me.  I was a son of Thorn, I was a gentleman, damn it, and I was prepared to do whatever it took to do to find my way to my destination and seek justice for all the ill-luck that had befallen me.  

“Right, scrote, up on the wagon,” the farmer declared.  “We can always do wit a few extra scurrier’s fer the windfalls.”

I had no idea what that actually meant, but strangely relieved to be selected, I nodded subserviently and then, ducking my head to avoid the farmers’ glare, I scurried to the wagon where I surreptitiously gave my aching intimate parts a gentle rub.  

I’d heard from a fellow in the tavern that harvesting wheat at Robinswood Farm was backbreaking, as was digging root vegetables at Windy Oakes Farm.  He advised that apple picking was easy work and if I could get employment at Weatherby’s or Blackdown Farm, they paid good coin.  He said the mistress at Blackdown was particularly well-liked and always gave laborers a bread and cheese luncheon with last season’s cider.  I was so hungry that bread and cheese sounded like a banquet. The fellow had neglected to tell me that the farmer was a brute!

The farmers’ son met me by the wagon and offered to help me aboard.  For a moment, from the look of consideration in his eyes, I thought he could see past the disheveled state of me to the gentleman I’d once been.  But that was ridiculous. The farmers’ son hopped up onto the back of the wagon with dexterous athleticism, and then offered me his hands. I took them without a thought.  His warm touch and the strength in those work-roughened fingers twisted my gut into uncomfortable knots. He fixed my gaze as he gripped both of my hands and tugged me up as easily as if he were lifting feather down.  He pulled me closed and pressed me to his hard chest.

“Don’t back chat him or it’ll be the worst fer you,” he whispered the warning to my ear.  Alarmed, I eased back from him and cautiously met his eye for a split second. In the look he gave me I saw that the warning was well-meant.  Bewildered, I nodded in thanks and understanding. I had no idea why this stranger was looking out for me, but the fact he was warmed my heart.  I choked back a tear. No one had looked out for me over these past weeks, and I had been so terribly lonely. I’d learned some hard life lessons on this leg of my journey, and I’d come to understand that here my title was irrelevant, and without money I was suddenly invisible; therefore small kindnesses meant more than I could say.

My adventure into the provinces had been made to appease my father for my supposed ‘lack of direction.’  I’d become bored with my easy life in Thorn, and not intending to marry; I’d told my father that in-light of my upcoming twentieth Bloomsday I wanted to tour the Empire.  If I were to one-day become Duke of Thorn, I needed to know a little of the politics of each province and so, pleased with my initiative and happy to be rid of me for a while, he’d set me on my way.  I’d toured the provinces of Terria, Corvay, and Reuss and then continued to the province of Osia, spending time in the capital city Altea, at the court of the Twin Kings, Kristoff, and Fabian Von Harte.  With this journey to Erias, I was to have the full set of provinces under my belt.  But fate was not on my side.

On benches affixed to either side of the farmers’ wagon sat fourteen men morosely staring at their bare, filthy feet, not a word of chatter between them.  They each owned a small pack of belongings and a wrapped blanket that each had stowed beneath the bench. At this moment they were better-off than me, for I did not even have a blanket to my name.  There was space for me and five more, totaling twenty men. The farmer chose from the remaining laborers with less consideration than I had been afforded.

“Right…  I’ll take Allin, Jed, Arthur, Bartram, and Matty, that’ll do me fer the week,” he hollered decisively.

The week?  I thought I’d promised myself for a hard day’s labor?  But then again, I considered the harvesters who were sitting in the wagon, and yes, they appeared to have prepared for an overnight stay.  Confused, I sat down as the other laborers were pulled up onto the wagon by their comrades, and then we shuffled along the benches until we were all seated.  I noticed the shoulders of the remaining men in the market square sag a little in apparent relief as if some mighty weight had lifted from them. I didn’t understand it.  I thought they’d wanted to work?

The farmers’ son clambered over into the front of the wagon.  His father climbed on, the man’s bulk shaking the timbers of the rickety wagon as he settled on the bench beside him.  The son handed his father the ribbons, which the farmer greedily snatched up, and then with a fearsome bellow of “Geddup” and a thunderous whip crack, the large mottled grey workhorse began its cumbersome trot down the main street and onto the dusty road to Blackdown Farm.

About the Author

Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland.  She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art.

Isobel is currently working on her nineteenth book.  

“As You Wish” (Shatterproof Bond#1) narrated by Gary Furlong won the Audiobook Reviewer Award for Romance 2018.  It is the first M/M Romance audiobook to win a mainstream audiobook award.

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Cover Reveal for The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire #10) by Jessamyn Kingley

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COVER REVEAL

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

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson, Mayhem Cover Creations

Genre/s: M/M Urban Fantasy Romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Release Date: January 17, 2019

Tagline

Some paths we choose. Others are chosen for us.

Blurb

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

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

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

About the Author 

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

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

Visit her website at: www.jessamynkingley.com

Follow her on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/jessamynkingley. She loves to engage with readers there.

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Sweet Clematis (Being(s) in Love #9) by R. Cooper

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Can a curse be a blessing?

Clematis works hard to embody every fairy stereotype. He can be a sulky prince or a submissive flirt, slutty and arrogant or silly and soft. He makes himself into whatever causes someone to want him. Combine that with beauty that’s incredible even for a fairy, and everyone wants him sooner or later… just not for long.

Well, everyone except the fairy Clematis secretly adores. But then, he’s never expected happily ever after, not when he’s spent years burying his emotions and making himself unlovable to push people away and protect his heart.

But his curse changes all that, and Clematis can no longer prevent his feelings from rising to the surface. He’s terrified that when his few friends see him for who he really is, they’ll abandon him, just like his parents did.

It’s hard to imagine friends who see past his act to the sweet person within, but maybe happiness has been in front of him the entire time, waiting for the real Clematis to break free and blossom.

So it’s not often a story has me sobbing by the first 18 pages, well, ok, not a story by R Cooper.  I adore R Cooper.  This author has a definite style and approach to  writing and their stories, especially this series.  It flows very naturally, with ebbs and eddies, long lovely narrative winding strolls through storied forests and a town occupied by humans and magical beings alike.  From the first novel, Some Kind of Magic, the author has been building an amazing universe and ever increasing,  always interlocked ,cast of characters.  And they flit, sometimes on gossamer wings or growl or stomp or what have you through each other’s stories, making appearances both large and small.

The romances take  time to come to fruition, slow like the seasons, but eventually, love and the couples find a way.  And it’s amazing.

But I don’t find myself sobbing in the first couple of chapter.  Nope, nuh uh.  But then again there’s no one quite like Clematis.

You see, Clematis has impacted just about every character, often badly, within this series. And we’ve always seen the ramifications of Clematis’ actions from the perspective of the other person/being’s life.

Until now.

Now we see the tragedy, the pain, the victim that is Clematis.  And I’m here to tell you that it’s shattering in R. Cooper’s totally quiet, disquieting way.

I spent most of this book reaching for tissues because just when I thought his gentle acceptance of  victimization,  of his state of awful existence for such a long period of time  had gotten to a point where I could see him working through issues and trying to see what those around him did, R Cooper delivers a blow, not with a strike of a hand, but with the cut of a narrative feather. One that goes so much more quickly straight to the heart.  To the reader and to the other characters finally getting a true picture of the fairy in their midst all this time.

What an incredible talent that exists in this writer!  In this one story, Cooper takes one character that has existed throughout all the series and now reveals Clematis to have been not the being represented at all, but a new truth uncovered.  And some of the beings from the other stories?  Well their actions don’t seem quite so shiny in retrospect given the new revelations here.

These aren’t novels where you can relay details because the plots are too complicated and linked with other beings and their stories.  Suffice it to say, the characters/beings are created so realistically that they come alive from the moment you meet them.  They shower glitter, shed fur, and weep tears that leave tracks that shine into your heart.

This is the ninth book.  I don’t know if there will be a tenth.  So many characters from all the stories appeared here that it almost felt as though the author was wrapping things up. Excerpt that, R Cooper style, they also stirred up things as well.  So your guess is as good as mine.

I love this series. Sweet Clematis (Being(s) in Love #9) by R. Cooper certainly shook things up in many ways.  I’m going to have to restock my  tissues, that’s for certain.

I will say it has a wonderfully happy ending for all the tears that was shed.  Just as I hoped for.

For those new to the Being(s) in Love series, I have no idea what to tell you.  Without the foundation of the other stories, you might be somewhat lost here, but it takes time to read all eight stories (which I adore) before getting here.  I do recommend you do that,  Just pick a lovely  spot, take you time, get comfy, and be prepared to go on a wonderful journey.  You’ll end up here.  For now.

Cover art: Paul Richmond.  Love this  cover but…somehow something is missing. Read the story and you will know what I’m talking about.  Because that’s not Clematis. Read and find out who it is.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 306 pages
Expected publication: November 27th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781640808188
Edition Language English
Series Being(s) in Love #9

A Boy and His Dragon

A Beginner’s Guide to Wooing Your Mate

Little Wolf

The Firebird and Other Stories

Frangipani and the Very Shiny Boy

A Dandelion for Tulip

All the Futures That Could Be

Treasure for Treasure

His Mossy Boy

Sweet Clematis

 

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Finn (Endangered Fae #1) by Angel Martinez

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 Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Finn is awake after centuries of Dreaming with no way to get back to the Otherworld now that the Veil is closed. Diego rescued him as it appears he’s preparing to jump off a bridge. Finn is a fae and the city, with all its iron and steel, is killing him. Diego is a kind soul, one who helps people and animals. He also doesn’t believe in the supernatural, even though he writes about it. After a breakup with his jerk of a boyfriend Mitch, Diego tries to be just friends with Finn whilst helping him adapt to the modern world. When his agent lets him stay at her cabin to get away from the city and write, it’s a great way to help Finn get back to nature. This is a fish out of water story that made me laugh out loud several times. Diego is as out of his element in the woods as Finn is in the city. Neither of them seem to take very good care of themselves, so they both need a keeper. As Finn sparks Diego’s creativity, helping him with his book, he heals now that he is free to roam in nature. But not all magical creatures are pleasant and evil awaits in the woods. Diego battles to accept his new reality and Finn’s love.

So many things fall into place when they need to, I think it would be best if I chalk this up to the “luck of the Irish.” This was an easy read and not too scary even though there is violence. If you like when the couple are overly sweet with pet names, you might like this. There are some sex scenes but they are not very long, actually there are so many, they are also skipped over by the author near the end. I think the issue is that it is actually too long. The conflict is resolved, but the story still goes on. (Apparently this was a Christmas story that had originally been separate, but was edited into the end of this edition of the book.) While Diego’s agent and landlord helped move the story along, they are not full fleshed out. I enjoyed the story, but I wasn’t super attracted to it.

The cover art is by Emmy @ studioenp. It is very striking and shows Finn as imagined on the bridge where he meets Diego. I also like the symbolism of the bridge: as him bridging the world between fae and human, also the bridging between corporeal and incorporeal. The crow flying gives a hint at where the story will go. Finn likes bright colors, as they speak to him.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published July 2nd 2009)
Original TitleFinn
ASINB07C3MH4X8
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesEndangered Fae #1
CharactersFinn Shannon, Diego Sandoval setting New Brunswick (Canada)

An Alisa Review: A Year And A Day (Fae Haven #1) by Elizabeth Silver & Jenny Urban

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

He wasn’t looking for love, but he’ll break all the laws of this realm and the next to keep it.

Reserved, bookish Ben isn’t looking for a relationship. Then he meets Niall, a gorgeous stranger with a knack for avoiding direct questions, and tumbles headfirst into love. Niall is perfect in just about every way, right up until he leaves town for a short trip…and vanishes off the face of the earth.

A magical being trapped in his own realm, Niall fights to return to this world to be with Ben. But by the time he gets back, more than a year has passed, and Ben refuses to believe Niall’s story of fae and magic.

With only a month to woo Ben back and earn a chance at staying permanently, Niall is willing to try anything to be with the man he loves. Then Niall’s world spills over into ours and puts Ben’s life in danger, and it becomes a race to save Ben before their stolen time comes to an end.

This was a nice story.  Niall meets Ben not long before his time on earth is up and when he goes home to tell his family he is staying he gets stuck there longer than planned.  Ben can’t believe the man he loved would just leave and not come back when he said he would only be gone a few days, not over a year and a half.

Niall and Ben have an instant connection that is easy to see as is how willing they are to really work for a relationship.  However, Niall gets caught up in the fae’s sense of fun and since time is different is gone from Ben much longer than he should have been.  Ben tries to be a hardass when Niall shows up again but it’s hard to deny your feelings.  The only thing that was hard for me was the whole situation with the Hunt, I would think all fae (especially the leader of the Hunt) would know that when you are handfasted to someone they are safe.  I look forward to the other stories in the series being re-published also.

The cover art by Melody Pond is nice and I like the visual of Niall.

Sales Links: MLR Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 100 pages

Published: 2nd edition, September 14, 2018 by MLR Press

ISBN: 978-1-641-22-1863

Edition Language: English

Series: Fae Haven #1

Fantasy Spotlight Special for Soulbound (The Republic #4) by Archer Kay Leah (Playlist, Excerpt and Giveaway!)

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Soulbound

Soulbound (The Republic #4)

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Archer Kay Leah here today on tour for their latest story in The Republic series, Soulbound. Archer has brought along a Soulbound Playlist for all our readers to enjoy. Check it out below.

 

Soulbound Playlist – The Loving, the Hopeful, and the Sensual

Welcome, everyone! I’m Archer Kay Leah, author of LGTBQA+ romances with a fantastical kick (and sometimes even sci fi). Thanks for dropping by, and many thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me today! ❤

One of the things I adore most is music, from way back in the times of Gregorian chant and before that all the way up to what’s new right now. Seriously, it’s my addiction, and it blends with my writing in a big way. Some authors prefer silence or shows/movies while they write, but I’m one who needs the right tunes on hand to ground me in the right moods and feelings while the creative process happens.

In a previous stop on the tour, I shared the major themes from the playlist for Soulbound, but today I’m sharing other sounds of the book, including love songs, the more hope-inspired tracks, and a few sensual tracks that hogged the limelight for a bit… or for at least a quarter of the book, actually.

Darren Hayes — Insatiable

First up is this sensual, seductive track from the lead singer of Savage Garden. The mood, tempo, and (most of) the lyrics are so perfect for Mayr and Tash. They’re a couple that doesn’t want to keep their hands off each other, or lips, or any part of the body, to be honest. They’re happiest when they’re left alone in the same room and just being them, no expectations, no judgment, no nothing to get in the way. This is a song for those who can’t get enough of intimate moments.

Ed Sheeran — Give Me Love

One of my favourite Ed Sheeran songs! I love how it’s put together, with a beautiful blend of music, vocal, and lyric. I can’t help but sing along, with a bit of my heart just sort of being tossed out with it. If Mayr and Tash ever decided to dance together, this would be a song they’d choose. The overall sound is definitely them, even though the lyrics don’t completely match up, but it works well with the constant yearning they have for each other. There’s the soft and tender part of the song, but then towards the end, it goes a bit harder, more… insistent, and plays out into a gentle, pleading end. Then the track switches over into “The Parting Glass,” an old, traditional piece that I also enjoy.

In some ways, this song would’ve been more suited for the second book in the series, Four, where Mayr and Tash first met. Though I think there’s a place for it here, because sometimes — at least in the beginning — even when they have each other, they pine for more because they haven’t quite reached the full force of their relationship. That comes with time, effort, and the willingness to finally surrender completely to what they have.

Enigma — Age of Loneliness & Enigma — Carly’s Song (Remix)

Two versions of the same song that I’ve loved since I was a teenager. Then again, it’s Enigma, which I adore. (It was because of an Enigma album that I fell in love with Gregorian chant!)

This song is a sensual, sexy piece in terms of sound and vibe. It’s always in my repertoire while writing romances or anything with intimate elements, particularly for sex scenes and even sparring scenes. With the original version of the song, “Age of Loneliness,” the rhythm and key kills me, the drums and beats are perfect, the vocals are entrancing and diverse like the music itself, and the way the different tracks are blended together is brilliant, with awesome timing of particular sounds that make the song special. It’s a feast for the ears and brain, one I feed off while writing and really sink into. “Carly’s Song (Remix)” is no less captivating, with its own sound, but never losing that sensual flavour. There were a few scenes in Soulbound that called for both versions, which I tended to alternate. Fun. Times.

Enigma — Return to Innocence

More Enigma, but this one was for the hope it speaks to. The encouragement. Courage. Self-acceptance and being true to oneself, no matter what others think. This song is uplifting, beautiful. It not only brings me to tears, it gives me goosebumps. There have been times when my confidence and self-esteem have hit terrible lows or grief and loss have hit so hard, I’ve cried-sung my way through this a few times to feel better. The music video is also a piece of art, with stunning images that tell a touching story.

This was great for Soulbound when Tash needed a boost of hope. Being in his head… sometimes it’s rough, and his soul just hurts. There are days where he hates himself, hates what he’s done, and fears the future. But there are bright moments, too, where he’s swept away into happy thoughts and devotion and things smooth out for a while, because he’s finding his redemption and peace in those around him. There were other scenes, too, where this song worked perfectly, though I can’t really talk about them without spoilers!

Joseph Trapanese (Insurgent Soundtrack) — Amity

Here’s one of my favourite pieces from the Insurgent soundtrack (second movie of the Divergent franchise), though I love the whole soundtrack, to be honest. Joseph Trapanese is a composer I’ve quickly come to treasure because he’s amazing. “Amity” is only one of his beautiful pieces, where everything is finely placed, the music is wonderfully played, there’s movement, there’s emotion, and it gives me wicked chills, right down through my legs. It makes my heart ache, my eyes tear up, and there’s a powerful force that comes through via the string ensemble, brief instances of percussion, the purr of the bass line, and other sounds mixed in.

With all of that, this song was great for scenes when characters were dealing with heavy emotions and tough choices. When their emotions were being pushed too far, but they kept holding onto hope and the will the fight. It’s a piece that conveys (to me, at least) strength, vulnerability, and determination.

Loreena McKennitt — Samain Night

One of my favourite Loreena McKennitt songs (though, okay, I have many). It kept coming up while I wrote, attaching itself to Mayr and Tash whenever they went into sweet and squishy mode. The song really stuck with them, enough that whenever I listen to it now, I associate it with them.

Maybe it’s the harp that did it, with the violin and the guitar and Loreena’s lovely voice. Maybe it was the lyrics and the title which connects to the Celtic Pagan holiday of Samhain (especially since the religion in The Republic series is inspired by Pagan beliefs and practices). Or maybe it’s just because the song is just so pretty and touching and these characters really couldn’t get enough. Either way, this song leaves me gutted with imagery and romantic notions.

Placebo — Running Up That Hill

Yes. Yes, yes, and yes! Sensual. Darkly sexy. Perfect for scenes where things get steamy.

This is only one of the many covers of Kate Bush’s song in my music library (plus Kate’s original and her remake of it, because I LOVE Kate Bush, always have — she’s brilliant), but this version is the only one with this particular feeling to it. It worked with Mayr and Tash so well, I kept playing it over and over and over… It just didn’t want to stop.

The Weeknd — As You Are

Here’s the first of a few songs by The Weeknd that made it to Soulbound‘s playlist because of their sensual groove. More and more, I’m turning to The Weeknd when I need tunes for intimate, romantic, and downright sexy scenes.

For this book, I tended to associate this song with what was going on between Mayr, Tash, and Arieve — all three of them, together, since they all suffer from a similar worry that they aren’t good enough for their lovers. Mayr and Tash have figured themselves out, for the most part, but Arieve hasn’t been as lucky. She’s struggling with her own relationship issues and some of the lyrics remind me of everything they’ve all gone through. This tune had all the right feels in terms of tone, rhythm, mood, and meaning of the song. They really do take each other as they are, challenges and flaws included.

The Weeknd — Love in the Sky

Easily one of my top favourites of The Weeknd’s, which will end up on several of my playlists because the sound of it is just Mmmm, yes, please. It hits all the right notes. The mood is very Mayr and Tash when they’re in hot-and-heavy mode. The lyrics don’t really apply to them, but I don’t care: the groove is where it’s at. Slow, sensual, delicious… It’s kind of (but so completely not) terrible how much a single track can still inspire me even after I’ve listened to it a few hundred times. Though my characters really don’t care, because they’ll make me listen to it a few more hundred times… and I’ll happily sing along.

The Weeknd — Where You Belong

After I heard this song once, I was hooked — still am, won’t lie. It’s got that lovely dark, delicious feel I adore from The Weeknd and I just can’t… stop… listening. Again, this one’s for when Mayr and Tash are alone and best left that way because they’ve gone X-rated. Though I think I may have had this going during that one time, at the tavern…

And with that little nugget, thank you so much for reading! I love hearing from readers, so feel free to share your thoughts, questions, and comments. And if there are any songs that you particularly love, I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

Archer Kay Leah has a new MM/MMF fantasy romance book out:

In a relationship that violates rules and expectations, Mayr and Tash have found their perfect match in each other. Despite their fears and difficult pasts, they hope for a shared future with security and a family. When Mayr’s secret first love, Arieve, proposes they create that family with her, it seems dreams could become reality.

But life is complicated, and so is the delicate balance between duty and love. While Mayr protects the Dahe family at all costs, Tash is determined to succeed as a priest. Both positions require sacrifice, forcing their relationship into painful choices. To make matters worse, criminals lurk in the shadows, seeking revenge on them and those they guard.

The life they want risks losing everything—including Arieve and each other. Even if they can have it all, keeping it may take more than they can give.

Warnings: “Soulbound” contains some explicit content, references to self-harm, suicide, and mentions of suicide-related behavior and intent. This story also contains instances of graphic violence, references to rape and domestic abuse, and depictions and mentions of depression.

About the Series:

With the right people and the right price, the Republic of Kattal can be brought to its knees. But for every line crossed, someone waits on the other side, ready to push back.

Armed and ready to defend their lives, these heroes are not afraid of the fight. They stare adversity in the eye and dance with the darkness within. But in their justice, there is wisdom. In wisdom, there is protection. In it all, there is love. Sometimes it’s a matter of saving a village; sometimes it’s a matter of saving the one they can’t live without. Sometimes it’s just about doing the right thing and learning to love oneself.

Magic may lurk in the shadows. Crime may never sleep. But love doesn’t back down.

Less Than Three Press | Amazon | Amazon CAN | Amazon UK | Amazon International | Bookstrand | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Goodreads


Giveaway

Archer is giving away three $10 Amazon gift cards with this tour – enter to win via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

Soulbound Meme 2 - Archer Kay Leah

Silence fell, deep with meaning conveyed by long gazes and soft smiles. Why had he expected Aeley to say anything different?

Three loud knocks rapped the door, scaring them both. Cursing under his breath, Mayr opened the door.

Arieve.

Every foul word tumbled back down Mayr’s throat. “Hey.” He leaned against the door, one arm sliding up the side.

In an instant, he tripped on his own feet and stumbled into the door, swinging it open further.

“You can’t possibly be drunk already.” The corners of Arieve’s eyes crinkled with her smile, her glossed lips painted pink like her cheeks. Dark curls and plaits cascaded over her shoulders, the firelight lending a golden hue to the white-blonde streaks in the fringe of hair across her forehead. She held a silver tray, presenting two glass goblets filled with a bluish-purple drink and fragments of gold leaf sprinkled on top. “Otherwise, this might be a bad idea.”

“What’s a bad idea?” Mayr grimaced, his mouth suddenly dry as if filled with pillow stuffing. Quick to recover, he smoothed his shirt, resettled his belts, and slicked back his hair, pretending he meant to be clumsy.

“Your after-dinner drinks. Lira was going to bring them, but I thought I’d save her the trip. She’s having fun trading stories with your mother.” Arieve cleared her throat. “I didn’t want to interrupt your conversation.”

The tray rattled in her hand. The drinks threatened to slosh over the rims.

Mayr steadied the tray. “Thanks for that. This. These.” He offered her an awkward smile and took the goblets. “I’ll let you get back.” So you won’t see me kick my own ass for being completely inappropriate.

“Thanks, Arieve,” Aeley called from her desk.

“You’re welcome.” Arieve hesitated as she lowered the tray. She swayed gently, the rich green layers of her tiered, ruffled skirts moving with her. “I’ll let you finish.”

Before Mayr could say anything else, Arieve hurried down the hall and around the corner.

“I wonder what the mix is this time.” Aeley snatched one goblet to sniff it. “Hint of gaffa nectar, soured pamolea extract, and a bite of fulore. Plus maybe, probably—” another sniff “—syrup from the Sailor’s Sweetheart bush.” She took a sip and nodded. Flakes of gold leaf clung to her top lip. “Not as fun as last night’s concoction, but I could get used to it.”

“That’s what you always say.” Mayr brushed the flakes from Aeley’s lips with his thumb.

Aeley wiped her mouth on her sleeve. “Not always, just a lot. Cook knows her stuff. To be fair, she’s known me since I was three, getting into her puddings and tarts anytime she turned around. I trust that when she serves up a hodgeypodgey drink, it’s got personality.” She tapped her goblet against his. “I’m heading back to our guests. You should, too, considering it’s yourparty. We can resume this conversation later.”

After a kiss to his cheek, Aeley flounced out the door and through the corridor, humming to herself.

Mayr stared into his goblet, watching the gold swirl in an abstract pattern. My stomach. My head. I can’t even…

He set the goblet on Aeley’s desk. He needed Tash’s forgiveness more than he deserved a fancy drink.

As he exited the room, questions assaulted him hard enough to drown the sound of the door latch as it caught. One question practically shouted above all the others: how much had Arieve heard of his conversation with Aeley?

His heartbeat faltered. He was mortified. The door was not impervious to sound. What would Arieve think of him had she heard…

Hey, stupid! It doesn’t matter.Mayr grumbled and hooked his thumbs around the back of his belts. It still comes out to you’re taken and happy, so shut up.Dragging his heels, he wandered through the corridor and turned into the next, towards the ballroom.

Around the corner, Arieve leaned against the wall, head bowed, with her face hidden by her hair. She twined the trailing black laces of her bright green tunic around her fingers and pulled taut, then released them only to repeat the process. The empty tray rested beside her, abandoned against the wall.

“Hey.” Mayr stopped, careful to leave two foot lengths between them. “I thought you went back?” He toyed with his marriage ring, twisting the band nervously. Memories of Tash surged forward, the airy weight of his kisses almost real enough to feel.

“I wanted to wait for you.” Arieve raised her head and offered a tender smile. “I probably won’t get a word in the rest of the night given the company, so I thought…”

She was in his arms before he could reply. Her hug stole his surprise, shredding it until all that remained was stunned.

“Congratulations,” she murmured, her forehead tucked beneath his chin. “He’s got a good heart, solid. You’ve found your match. If the Four could grant me one wish tonight, it’d be for you two to have everything you desire.”

Mayr hesitated, his hands hovering over Arieve’s back. Touching was a bad idea, especially while he kept Tash from the truth. “Thank you.” Quick as he could, he embraced Arieve and pushed her away, feeling worse than the coward he was. “Let’s go back. I need to stop my mother from revealing every baby story she has or everyone’s going to hear about my naked backside and trailing diaper crowns.”

Arieve picked up the tray and started up the hall. “I’m sure Tash is soaking them up as we speak.” She laughed, the joyous sound digging up a dozen memories.

Memories he needed to lock up and burn down.

He followed Arieve and cast his gaze to the ceiling. Please, Reverent Goddesses, get me through tonight. Then let’s talk about strength of will, because one of these days I’m going to have to confess everything and it’ll hurt more than scorching my pride.


Author Bio

Archer Kay Leah was raised in Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, this diversity inspired a love for toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and difficult situations.

Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged. When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek with too many hobbies and keeps busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a bigender partner and rather chatty cat.

Author Website: http://archerkayleah.wordpress.com/

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