Release Day Blitz: Learning to Want by Tami Veldura (excerpt)

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Title:  Learning To Want

Author: Tami Veldura

Publisher: Nine Star Press

Release Date: November 21 2016

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30k words

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, BDSM (spanking, dominance, denial)

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Synopsis

Khoram is an enforcer, a bodyguard, but his boss has just betrayed him. Now he’s stranded on a desert planet he’s never heard of, chained to the only other human around.

Atash grew up in the cracks of Dulia’s complex social structure, where dominance and submission are a man’s worth. He’s struggled for years on a lower caste but Khoram could be his ticket to a better life if they can find common ground.

Atash wants to teach Khoram the art of submitting by choice and maybe make a name for himself along the way. Khoram, however, isn’t here to play Atash’s political games. He’s going to escape, if his former employer doesn’t see him killed first.

Excerpt

Learning to Want
Tami Veldura © 2016
All Rights Reserved

Khoram couldn’t help testing his bonds. The metal chain between his hands and feet rattled, laughing at his attempts. The line of slaves shuffled forward one space, and Khoram was dragged along whether he wanted it or not. A lot of things were happening whether he wanted them to or not. The food he ate, the beer he drank, the clothes they took, the hands that verified he was in working condition. He flinched at the memory.

To distract himself he looked up and tried to count the days. Four behind bars on Elliot’s ship thanks to good-for-nothing Nik, six on the small space hopper, three in the holding cells while he and the Ohiri waited for another connection, two in the transport that left them here on Dulia, five—no, six now—at the auction house. Twenty-one days for Nik to cover his tracks. Almost a full cycle for the trail to go cold. Khoram grit his teeth. At the very least something different was happening.

The slave line shuffled forward.

Here, off stage, they kept the rooms mostly dim. It didn’t diminish Dulia’s oppressive heat in the slightest, but the closer Khoram was guided to the glowing roll-up door of the slave block, the more he longed for home. His fitful dreams tortured him with visions of Avois’s wet jungles and waterfalls. He hadn’t actually been home in over a decade, too busy making his fortune as an enforcer and bodyguard, but he was starting to see the error of his ways. Or at least the error of Nik’s.

Khoram licked his lips. He pressed them together, already regretting it. They’d been chapped dry for days. His wrists and ankles chafed under the iron. These were better discomforts than the lingering slick between his legs and exactly what lay on the other side of that bright doorway.

A Dulia lizardman flared the red frill around his neck as he walked the slave line, clicking orders in his native tongue and emphasizing them with a small electric prod. Khoram had tested the prod’s worth enough times to know it could knock him on his ass without much effort. He looked away from the mercenary and shuffled forward with the line.

He wasn’t exactly inconspicuous. The group he was chained to consisted largely of Ohiri natives: light-skinned, five-foot average, and generally docile. They were just as likely to stay in line without the chains and prod. Khoram stood out among them: a tall, dark, massive human furious in his captivity. Khoram was highly trained and just waiting for a chance to show it. In a fair fight, the lizardmen would fold like paper and they knew it. He’d never been unchained, left alone, or handled by fewer than four, and they were always armed with their electric prods. Always on alert.

Khoram grit his teeth. From capture to sale, he hadn’t managed a single successful bid for freedom, and he’d tried more than a few times. Now he took a breath and let his patience steady his hands, let the line of slaves tug him along. If the lizardmen couldn’t be overcome, whoever purchased him could be. Khoram wasn’t entirely familiar with Dulia’s customs, but if the easily dominated Ohiri were slaves of choice, Khoram wasn’t going to fetch much interest or profit.

The slave in front of him was unleashed from the line and yanked out the bright door. A lizardman pointed at the vacated spot, and Khoram shuffled forward to occupy it. The heat pulsed through the door in bright waves, bringing scents of sand, sweat, and a light spice that was unfamiliar. He could hear voices, now: the auctioneer yelling in rapid Duliana, the crowd barking their bids in turn, the sound of rhythmic smacking, a chorus of cheers. Another winning bid.

Then Khoram’s chains were unleashed and, flanked by two lizardmen with prods, he was led through the door. Hot metal rattled under his feet, and the blinding sun limited his view of more than the circular platform onto which he was pulled. A lizardman unhooked his wrists from his ankles, instead latching the chain to something that hoisted his arms suddenly overhead. His breath whooshed out. They tightened his ankle chains to the platform, and with a metal screech, it slowly began to rotate. They were showing him off. A tingle of awareness tripped over his skin and exposed groin—the attention of a hundred eyes.

Khoram squinted. The auctioneer espoused in Duliana for several minutes, likely explaining why the hell this bear of a human was on the block instead of a lithe Ohiri, spinning his assets to garner the crowd’s favor. Khoram knew a snake-oil salesman when he saw one, even if he didn’t share their language.

The platform turned him, and he faced the crowd. More of a species mix than he expected. Lizardmen were not the primary slave-owners if this was a decent selection. Mostly tall Frea, in fact, their black scales draped in white gossamer. They were members of Dulia’s refined upper caste, and other than video, this was the first he’d seen them. They weren’t known to ever leave Dulia, though they profited from the wider galaxy’s trade gladly. Pockets of Slone-dogs made the most noise in the crowd. They barked in their hybrid dialect, likely obscene things Khoram didn’t want translated. He curled his lip at the closest pack, and they yipped at each other.

Purchase

Nine Star Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Queer romance, sci­ence fic­tion, fan­tasy, steam­punk, and YA fiction author. I’m only here until I reach escape velocity. Artist. Gardener. Gamer. Raynauds. Asexual.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | Instagram | Patreon

 

 

 

 

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An Ali Review:They Walk Among Us by T.A. Chase

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

they-walk-among-us-by-ta-chaseZach agrees to help Raven and finds himself drawn into a world he never knew existed.

 

Zach Harleigh was a baby when the aliens arrived. He doesn’t remember much about those months, except his parents fighting and his dad leaving. His father died, destroying the aliens, and his mother died when Zach graduated from medical school. He’s alone in the world and working hard to get his career going leaves no time for any kind of relationship.

 

One night, a beautiful man is brought into the ER. Raven Sanderson has been severely beaten and seems unsocialized. Raven and Zach hit it off when Zach takes over his care. Raven can’t speak but writes notes to Zach, letting him know the man is in the city to find his sister.

 

Zach agrees to help Raven and discovers a world he never knew existed. A world full of alien creatures that read minds and heal with a simple touch. He realizes there is more to the world around him, and the aliens he thought were destroyed weren’t. Their offspring walk among us.

 

Zach has always been interested in the aliens that were around when he was a baby, but never thought he would actually see one as they were said to have all been killed.  He doesn’t hate them, far from it, he has spent a lot of time researching and trying to find the truth.  When he meets Raven he is fascinated with him and wants to do anything he can to help him.

 

Raven is intrigued by the intriguing doctor, but doesn’t want to get anyone involved in his mission, let alone he isn’t sure about trusting a human.  He quickly learns there are a lot of layers underneath the surface and nothing about the doctor is quite what it seems at the beginning.  Both of these characters have been longing for someone to love and someone they can let into their lives without reservation.

 

We see how open Zach is to Raven, even showing him things that he has never shown anyone else.  Raven is so reserved at the beginning, but eventually opens up and really begins to hope for a future with Zach and his people.  I loved seeing them fight together to overcome the things standing in their way to get Raven’s sister and then for their future.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is wonderful and perfect for this story.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 168 pages

Publication: February 7, 2017 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 9781786515346

Edition Language: English

A Free Dreamer Review: A Bond of Three (Sensual Bonds #1) by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 2.5 out of 5

a-bond-of-threeIn the kingdom of Teruna, the red-cloaked Seruani teach the Terunans the art of love. Taken from their homes at seventeen to be trained, they are shunned as outcasts by society and considered the lowest of the low. So when Prince Tanish falls in love with the Seruan Feyar, the man who took his virginity and the only one to share his bed, he is not about to declare that love. No one can ever know, because the consequences would be too painful to consider for both of them.

When the king of Vancor visits Teruna, he promises that his son, Prince Sorran, will marry Prince Tanish to solidify the alliance between the two kingdoms, with the proviso that the virginal Sorran is instructed in the art of pleasing his husband-to-be. When Tanish’s father chooses Feyar to be this instructor, the lovers decide Prince Sorran must be taught that this is to be a marriage in name only….

A resentful prince, unwilling to share his lover.

A resentful Seruan, unwilling to share his prince.

And the shy prince whose very nature sparks changes in the lives of all those around them.

Teruna is about to change forever.

The blurb tells you all you need to know about the plot. Still, I had expected a different kind of story. There was far more fluff and a lot less angst than I expected.

Sorran is the shy, virgin prince. He cried way too much for my liking and seemed extremely immature. It’s love at first sight for him with both Tanish and Feyar. Just like it was between Tanish and Feyar, and the two of them instantly fell for Sorran as well.

There was a bit of drama about Tanish and Feyar accepting their feelings for Sorran, but not all that much. They are destined for each other, after all. The whole issue was solved a little too easily. A lot of potential suspense and tension was lost here.

The rest of the plot is, in varying degrees, cheesy declarations of love and quite a bit of porn. Two minor bursts of conflict come up, but the solutions are once again very simple.

Sorran is an only child, as is Tanish. They’re the sole heirs to their kingdom. I never understood why they should marry. It just doesn’t make sense. Why would Sorran’s parents give away their only heir? And while it’s nice that homosexuality is perfectly acceptable in this universe, the natural lack of an heir from such a relationship should at least have been discussed.

It seemed very odd to me that Tanish, being the crown prince, wouldn’t know how the Seruani are chosen. Surely the future king has to know about such an integral part of his people’s society? Again, this would have needed more discussion.

The relationship ultimately revolved around Sorran. It was always Tanish and Feyar focusing on Sorran. That really bothered me. It just didn’t seem fair.

All in all, this was just too fluffy for me. Problems weren’t discussed properly and solutions were too easy. Just not my kind of book.

Cover: Just like the book, the cover isn’t really for me. Feyar looks more like an assassin or evil wizard than like a prostitute in that cloak.

Sales Links

Book details:

ebook, 264 pages
Published January 19th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1632166836 (ISBN13: 9781632166838)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSensual Bonds #1

Victoria Sue on Writing Paranormal and ‘Five Minutes Longer’ (Dreamspinner Press Author Guest Blog, excerpt and giveaway)

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Five Minutes Longer by Victoria Sue
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Victoria Sue (Sirius Wolves series, Pure series) here today to talk about writing and her latest release, Five Minutes Longer.  Welcome, Victoria!

~

“I tried to write a contemporary but it grew four legs and a tail.”

Victoria Sue.

I didn’t get the idea for Five Minutes Longer and then write the characters. I started out with Finlay Mayer and wrote him a story.

All about Finn and making him a hero or why a B-average student gets a job with the FBI.

Finlay “Finn” Mayer is 24 years old. He comes from a small town and at fourteen his dyslexia is quickly turning him off school. He’d already started missing days. Homework deadlines fell by the wayside and his excuses were a bigger work of fiction than the stories he’d been asked to write in the first place.

The senior college uptake rate at his high school is abysmal and the graduation levels weren’t all that impressive so the new principal arranges for people with “cool” jobs to come in and talk to the Freshman year. A bored – well on his way to a life of crime –14-year-old Finn walks into the school hall to listen to two FBI agents come to talk about their careers. He walks out a different person. His dream of joining the FBI starts at that moment and he starts his ten-year-long battle to make it happen.

His dad had come home from the Vietnam war in a wheelchair and battled depression every single day.

His mom was only ever concerned with appearances. Her hair. Her nails. Her committees.

His brother Deke – 37 years – lazy. Homophobic and convinced that Finn needs to forget his insane idea of going to college and come and work for him in his insurance business.

For personal reasons Dyslexia and its challenges are important to me so it was something Finn was going to have. It’s quite common for bright kids to only start struggling in middle school or above, and Finn has two huge obstacles to his dreams by this time. He knows that less than 7% of applicants actually get chosen for the FBI and a lot of forums say that number is actually much lower. He is convinced a diagnosis of dyslexia would make his tiny chance completely disappear so he keeps under the teacher’s radar. Assignments are always diligently carried out. Never a missed deadline. Never a missed class.

It’s just his test scores that are crap, and nothing he ever does will bring his averaged out grades any higher.

By fifteen he knows he is gay. He has also read that while the FBI don’t actually discriminate against it, apparently it’s something people might get blackmailed over, so Finn buries that as well. He even takes a girl to prom.

Then we have the FBI interview and selection process.

After the four-year college degree and a minimum age of twenty-three for applicants there are only five areas of experience/expertise that the FBI take from.

Language, Law, Accounting, Computer Science, or a mix of them.

Back to the undiagnosed dyslexia – computer science, Law and languages were huge obstacles. I originally had Finn’s brother a deputy sheriff and him joining him, but then I decided that was too convenient and the Finn that I now knew wouldn’t do that.

Dyslexia and being clever with numbers aren’t mutually exclusive, and are often quite common. Different sides of the brain tackle these two areas, so I make Finn clever because Dyslexia isn’t a synonym for stupid – often the reverse, and Finn becomes good at Math. His four-year degree and experience qualify him for the FBI.

So, my shy lovable geek gets his dream job in a very roundabout way – and why not?

The excerpt below is on Finn’s first day:

Gregory nodded and turned off the screen. “To summarize, you’ve all met Finn. We have four weeks to prove this can work. I expect your cooperation and your assistance, but that starts tomorrow. Finn has some short profile tests to sit this morning, and later you will all be in the gym.” Gregory smiled and walked out as a few of the others got up. One or two murmured something pleasant to Finn, but he didn’t hear a word of anything after the word “test.”

His heart pounded, and his earlier breakfast suddenly threatened to make an appearance. Fuck. What if he messed up? How important was this test? Was it written, or maybe physical? He swallowed.

“S’up, kid?” Talon stood, frowning at him.

Finn licked his lips. “What, umm, sort of test is it?”

Talon shrugged. “Basic behavioral insight, so they can see what you might spot automatically. Or more importantly what assumptions you have that you have to unlearn fast.” He looked assessingly at Finn. “It’s no big deal. I think you just read the questions and pick an answer. It’s timed, but it’s not like you get graded or anything.”

Finn felt sick. It was timed. He’d expected there to be tests at Quantico, but not on his first day, and not when every single person on his team wanted him to fail.

“You okay, kid?”

Finn looked up at Talon, who was looking puzzled, and gulped. He needed to calm down. “Yeah.”

“Good. Come on. Let’s get this over with, then.” Talon led him into yet another room and gestured to a chair next to a desk.

Finn could already feel his palms sweating and his heart pounding, and he tried to breathe slowly. He’d done all sorts of breathing exercises to prepare for his SATs and at one of his interviews. He knew to start with the questions that had the most marks attached. When he was younger, he made the mistake of always starting at the beginning, and because it took him longer to read the questions, he always ran out of time. It just seemed harder now that he knew the stakes and knew everyone wanted him to fail.

Talon didn’t seem to notice his anxiety, however, and picked up a folder from the table and dropped it on the desk. “There’s actually no right or wrong answers. We just need to get a feel for your thought process. So we know your starting point. Don’t forget we’re condensing eight hundred hours of training into four weeks.” Talon shrugged. “Some of the things I may ask you to do will seem difficult to understand.”

Finn looked blankly at the folder. Of course there were right and wrong answers. Even he wasn’t stupid enough to believe this wasn’t something else he could fail at.

Talon sat back down and rubbed his face, trying not to hiss when he caught his lip. He didn’t know how he felt, and it was confusing the hell out of him. He was always convinced having enhanced and regular humans working together wasn’t a good idea. The basic tenet of his team was trust. Knowing each of his guys had his back and wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger to save his life. His first trainee didn’t even make it through the test Finn was currently looking at. Fifteen questions, all designed to see if the trainee would fail to respond as quickly if the victim was regular or enhanced, and not just that straightforward. Sometimes candidates would try to go the other way, be too preferential for enhanced to try to win favors.

That scenario didn’t cut it with any of his team either. None of the questions used the words “regular” or “enhanced.” The clues were more subtle, and someone a lot cleverer than Talon had put the questions together. He glanced at the clock. Twenty minutes for the first round of ten questions. Five pretty simple ones, and five that required a little more thought. Then there were some basic math problems as well.

He stood and wandered over to where Finn was sitting, then stopped in surprise. Finn was looking at the last page. Had he finished it already? Talon narrowed his eyes as he looked at Finn. His hand shook as he turned a page, and Finn hadn’t so much as picked up his pen. What was it? Nerves? Was that the reason Finn hadn’t done so well on his exams in college?

Talon absently filed the thought away. It wasn’t his business, and he wasn’t here to babysit someone he wanted out anyway. Served him right if he did fail the test. Talon leaned back against the wall and stared at the ceiling. He smiled a little as he remembered the vid with Finn’s voice declaring he was a federal agent. Even if he wanted him gone, he was happy to grudgingly admit the kid had balls.

Talon glanced over at Finn again and was suddenly struck by the mask of desperation on his face. What the fuck was wrong with him? He knew he could read. There was no way he would have gotten through high school without that, and Finn had a fucking degree. Talon blinked. He’d read the glowing reports from his tutors. Finn’s dedication. His single-mindedness, almost. What he told him in the café. Why would someone put himself through all that and not study his ass off 24-7 to make sure his grades were good?

Unless there was another reason.

Talon stood. “How are you getting on? Halfway through,” he added in case Finn just needed a kick up the ass to get started. He’d also seen some trainees overthink things to the point that it nearly paralyzed them. No decision because they were frightened of not making the right one. That was sometimes even worse. Being an agent meant split-second choices. Talon looked at the clock. Eight minutes left. Eight minutes and Finn would be gone, and they wouldn’t even need all the scenarios the team would put on for him this afternoon. Eight minutes and the brass might concede to what he’d been telling them for months—that the unit should be enhanced only.

He glanced over to see what Finn was writing and frowned. Absolutely nothing. Talon took a step and fisted his hands. Don’t fucking ask, Talon, he told himself sternly. Then the defiant voice of Finn challenging the bastards who attacked him yesterday came into his head, and he sighed. What the hell? He could ask, right?

Talon sat on the desk and picked up the paper. “Your pen not working, kid?”

Finn pushed himself upright. “I’ll go.” He lowered his eyes, but not before Talon saw the frustration and disgust darkening them. He looked at the question that had gotten Finn so worked up. It was a scenario that subtly lead the trainee to favor the enhanced over the human. Not because it was the right thing to do for the situation, but to weed out reverse favoritism.

Talon read the question out loud and lowered the paper. “Why are you having problems with that?”

Finn jutted his chin out. “I’m not,” he said, and he reeled off the best answer.

Talon narrowed his eyes. “Then why didn’t you put that down?”

Finn shrugged.

Talon took a breath as a thought filtered into his mind. “What about this one?” He read off the next question, and Finn answered it promptly and correctly. Talon nodded to the typed instruction fixed to the bottom of the portable scanner cart. “What does that say?”

Finn looked over, and a dull flush crept over his cheeks. “I can read,” he ground out.

“What does it say?” Talon repeated. “Count to ten in your head and then tell me.”

Finn blinked at him, puzzled.

“Take three deep breaths first,” Talon instructed.

Finn did as he was asked and then calmly read, “Please put the power cable away after use.”

Talon scowled. “Why the fuck did you not tell any of us you are dyslexic?”

Finn scowled. “I’m not.” He turned to the door.

Talon nodded. “Let me guess. You anticipate. You find some fonts much easier to read. That’s why your course work was so much better than your written tests.”

Finn stood still, feet planted, hands shoved in his pants pockets. He didn’t turn around.

“Text to speech? It’s an allowed resource,” Talon continued.

Finn turned slowly. “How—how do you know all that?”

Talon debated for about ten seconds. He didn’t share, ever. “Because my little brother’s dyslexic. And when I say little, I mean by one year. He’s currently a prosecutor in the Washington DA’s office. A successful prosecutor,” he added.

Talon picked up the test and started reading the questions. Finn rattled off most of the answers, and by the time they were halfway through the last section, he was writing his own.

“You’re actually better than Sam,” Talon said. “He wouldn’t be able to work out the last question even with his breathing techniques.”

Finn looked up, and Talon’s belly squeezed a little at his eagerness. “It only bothers me when I’m timed or under pressure most of the time now. Even then I can anticipate the simple stuff. We had an old computer in the library at college that had a darker screen than the rest. Everyone hated it, but it was the easiest one for me.”

Talon nodded. “It helped Sam if we overlaid the screen with a blue tint.” He sighed. “I don’t get how I missed your diagnosis, though. I read your file and….” Understanding slammed into Talon. “You’ve never been diagnosed, have you?” He shook his head. Of all the stupid, irresponsible….

Finn’s smile faded.

“You could easily have put your teammates’ lives at risk by not declaring this,” Talon ground out. It was incredibly selfish, and as far as Talon was concerned, the last nail in the coffin.

“I thought once I got into Quantico, I could find someone to talk to about it,” Finn mumbled, and Talon opened his mouth to rain down a world of hurt on Finn.

Then he stopped. Because the fact that Finn wasn’t at Quantico wasn’t his fault. He would have had twenty weeks to sort it out. It wasn’t Finn’s fault they only had four.

Fuck.

This was his excuse. This was exactly what he had wanted. The perfect reason to get rid of the regular human and push for a solo team of enhanced. Finn was handing him the reason on a plate.

Sam’s face swam into his head. How Talon found him in their tree house, crying his eyes out because some dick of a kid called him a retard because he couldn’t read when it was his turn at school. But Sam had their family behind him. He had a huge support network, and what did Finn have? His brother sounded like a complete lazy asshole. His mom, on the surface, not too bad, but at the same time, if she’d let Finn go through school without getting any help….

And his dad. His dad who came home from Vietnam in a wheelchair and finally blew his brains out. And Finn found him.

Talon grimaced. He’d give him a week.

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Blurb – Five Minutes Longer

Talon Valdez knew that when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced are viewed as monsters, despised by the public, and never trusted to serve in the military or any law enforcement agency.

Years later he gets a chance to set up a task force of enhanced to serve in the FBI, but with one proviso: each enhanced must partner with a regular human.

Finn Mayer dreamed of joining the FBI since he was fourteen and made every possible sacrifice to make it happen, including living with his selfish mother and bullying homophobic brother and never having a boyfriend. But his undiagnosed dyslexia stopped his aspirations dead in their tracks. His last chance is to partner with Talon, an enhanced with fatal abilities who doesn’t trust regular humans with their secrets and wants Finn to fail.

Four weeks to prove himself to the team. Four weeks for the team to prove itself to the public. And when another group threatens their success—and their lives are at stake—four weeks for them to survive.

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About the Author

Victoria Sue

Wrote her first book on a dare from her hubby two years ago and he says he has regretted it every day since. Loves writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best, and especially with either a paranormal or a historical twist. Had a try at writing contemporary but failed spectacularly when it grew four legs and a tail. Loves her wolves!

Is an English northern lass but is currently serving twenty to life in Florida – unfortunately, she spends more time chained at her computer than on a beach.

Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on facebook.

www.victoriasue.com

@vickysuewrites

https://www.facebook.com/victoriasueauthor/– sign up for my newsletter and download a free story The Wrong Alpha

Giveaway

Victoria Sue is giving away one ebook from her backlist to one lucky reader.  Please leave a comment below along with your email address where you can be contacted if you are chosen by Victoria.  Giveaway ends at midnight, November 30th.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

An Alisa Release Day Review: Five Minutes Longer by Victoria Sue

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

fiveminuteslonger_v2Talon Valdez knew when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced were viewed as monsters, despised by the public, and never trusted to serve in the military or any law enforcement agency.

 

Years later he gets a chance to set up a task force of enhanced to serve in the FBI, but with one proviso: each enhanced must partner with a regular human.

 

Finn Mayer dreamed of joining the FBI from the time he was fourteen and made every possible sacrifice to make it happen, including living with his selfish mother and bullying, homophobic brother and never having a boyfriend. But his undiagnosed dyslexia stopped his aspirations dead in their tracks. His last chance is to partner with Talon, an enhanced with deadly abilities who doesn’t trust regular humans with their secrets and wants Finn to fail.

 

Four weeks to prove himself to the team. Four weeks for the team to prove itself to the public. And when another group threatens their success—and their lives—four weeks for them to survive.

 

This was a wonderful story.  The world that includes the enhanced humans was well thought out and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything when it came to the background of the story.  Talon and his team have continued to stand by the fact that they don’t want regular humans on their team.  And in walks Finn, he breaks down all the walls that Talon has put up without really pushing to which is the most scary thing for Talon.

 

Finn isn’t quite what Talon expects from reading his file and can’t help but be intrigued by the different depths he has.  Finn knows that being on this task force is his last chance to make his dreams come true, but his family, past and Talon’s issues may make it impossible for it to happen.  Both have made some mistakes and make new assumptions that may tear them apart.

 

In this story I can feel how desperate Finn is to make this opportunity work and then his defeat when he knows that it’s never going to happen.  Every time they get close Talon feels he has to push Finn away and keeps playing push and pull with his feelings.  Once Talon gets some sense knocked into him he fully realizes the mistakes he has made and will do anything to get Finn back on the team and in his life.  This is a wonderful beginning to what I hope is a new series and I hope to read more about these two and the other members of the team.

 

Cover art by AngstyG is great and sets the tone for the story well.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages

Published: December 1, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781634779166

Edition Language: English

A Paul B Review: Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1) by Anna Butler

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

gyrfalcon-by-anna-butlerMany centuries have passed since a part of Earth’s population has settled on the planet Albion.  It has only been just over a century since the war with the Maess started.  While the population of Albion deals with fighting the war, the Maess use drones to do their fighting.  In fact, no one has ever seen someone from Maess.  The creepiest thing about the drones is that as the war continues, the drones begin to look more and more humanoid. 

Against this background, Shield Captain Bennett tries to negotiate his life.  As part of the reconnaissance unit of the war effort, his mission is to get in behind enemy lines, find information about the enemy and if possible, destroy outposts to cripple the enemy’s operation.  Not bad for an academic whose family has had a long line of military service.  But the fact he is not in active duty in the military and the fact that Bennett is gay and in a relationship with a man almost twice his age has caused a rift with his father.   Add in that his partner for the last seven years is tired of Bennett going off on dangerous missions and not satisfied with his academic position makes life tense for Bennett.

Called in from his break after his last assignment, Bennett must once again go behind enemy lines.  When his own starship gets called to replace a damaged vessel, Bennett is transferred to the dreadnaught Gyrfalcon.  Not only is the dreadnaught probably the wrong type of ship for his mission, its commanding officer is none other than his father.  His hope is to keep things civil until the end of the mission.  Then there is flight Lieutenant Flynn who captures Bennett’s attention.  Flynn is not only cocky, but has the flight skills to back it up.  A love them and leave them type guy, Flynn sets out to make the Shield captain his next conquest.  That is if this mission doesn’t get them both killed first. 

The world Anna Butler has created is both simple and complex at the same time.  Set several centuries into the future, Albion is made of Earth refugees.  The governmental order has ten national governments and one planetary government.  There is a pantheon of gods that are worshipped but they are not discussed in detail.  What was meant as a simple expression of friendship was taken as an act of war by the drones of the Maess.  Then there is the life of Bennett.  His home life is screwed up in all different ways.  He would like nothing more than do research but knows he needs to contribute to the war effort, even though it’s not the type of help his father expects of him.  He has been with his partner Joss for seven years but he begins to have feelings for Flynn that he hasn’t had for Joss in a long time.  This is a great start to this series.

Cover art by Wilde City Press is outstanding, brands the series and is a eye-catching cover.

Sales Links

Wilde City Press

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Book Details

EBook, 317 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  February 18, 2015 by Wilde City Press

ISBN:  978-1-925180-84-8

Series:  Taking Shield

A MelanieM Review: Too Many Cases by Julia Rancourt

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

too-many-casesJo is a man of multiple worlds. He was born in the mundane world, but while working as a private detective, he inadvertently chased his quarry into Otheropolis, a parallel world filled with magic. Deciding to stay, Jo is joined by Simone Of Hecate, his partner in more ways than one, and resumes his private detective work in his strange new home.

But when his private life in the mundane world comes under assault, on top of three new cases, and multiple attempts on his life, Jo starts to wonder if maybe mundane was better than magical after all.

Too Many Cases was a neat little story by Julia Rancourt.  Full of a delicious setting called Otheropolis that joined  with our mundane  parellel world, its main character is a detective called Jo trying to fit in in a world where he feels more at home than he ever did in the world where he was born.  And there the clues start falling immediately for your first twist in the story.  That of gender.  Its wonderful and I loved Jo even more  for it being unexpected.  Jo has some of his  own obstacles to overcome in this story as well as mysteries to solve.  Jo is joined by his partner Simone of Hecate, a witch.

I was expecting this to be a M/M story, its not.  I mistook Simone for Simon (face palm).  I’m going to leave the pairing off.  It’s a LGBTQIA story, there’s no sex, well little sex with heat to it. and it revolves around the mysteries which I really enjoyed. But yes gender does come into it and I like the way the author handled it for our main character and for the story.

What I did want was more of Otheropolis.  The concepts that Rancourt lays down for  her world  are intrequeing. I  want to know how the families  rule, more on the weather and how its all laid out.  It sounds  fascinating and all this story did was wet my taste for more.

Looking for something a little different?  With mysteries and main characters to grab at your interest and perhaps your heart too?  Give Too Many Cases by Julia Rancourt a try.

Cover art was interesting and I liked it, just like the book.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published October 10th 2016 by Less Than Three Press, LLC
ASINB01MCS3F95
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Changing Worlds (Worlds #1-2) by Cari Z

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

changing-worlds-by-cari-zTheir love will either inspire change in the world or tear it apart.

Former starship captain Jason Kim and his lover, Ferran, are starting a life together on Ferran’s native planet. The Perel matriarchs reluctantly allowed their marriage in the hopes of securing better diplomatic relations with humanity, even though the decision ignites anger from traditionalists. Ferran’s family accepts Jason and the love the two men have found, but other influential families are less accommodating and much less willing to welcome an outsider to their isolated, subterranean world. Some of their enemies are willing to go as far as eliminating Jason permanently. Tensions are quickly building toward a breaking point that might push Perelan into a bloody civil war.

If Jason and Ferran have any hope of surviving the coming conflict, they’ll have to rely on their devotion to each other more than ever before. But that won’t be easy when a figure from Jason’s past reappears to make them question everything.

First Edition of Opening Worlds published by Storm Moon Press, 2011.

First Edition of Changing Worlds published by Storm Moon Press, 2012.

First of all, the blurb is a bit misleading. The things mentioned in the blurb do happen, but it takes a while to get there. The book starts with Ferran and Jason meeting and falling in love, so they don’t start out as an established couple and Jason is still an active starship captain.

I’m always a bit wary of real aliens in my romance, because I’m so not into tentacles. But while Ferran is definitely an alien and definitely looks different than a human, there are no tentacles. So, yay for me!

Cari Z. got really creative with the Perelans and their world. A matriarchy is rare enough that I always find it interesting. “Changing Worlds” is a perfect example that world building and romance can and do work perfectly well together, without either part of the plot having to suffer. That’s something not a lot of romance authors seem to get and which always bothers me as a fantasy/sci-fi fan who also enjoys romance.

Ferran and Jason are both very likeable. They come from completely different backgrounds and yet compliment each other perfectly. Their romance felt pretty realistic. We got to see the bumps after the very fast falling in love. Although the two of them don’t spend a whole lot of time together before they decide to commit to each other, it never really felt like insta-love.

Reading about Jason’s very real struggles with finding his place in a world that’s so completely different from everything he’s used to was very interesting. We get to learn all sorts of things about Perel together with Jason.

There are lots of hints about Jason’s past in the military and yet we never get a full story of what actually happened. That’s a real shame because it sounds as if he led a very interesting life before meeting Ferran. Since there doesn’t seem to be a sequel (or prequel) planned, there’s no hope for a more thorough explanation. It’s the only reason why I ended up giving this book 4.5 instead of 5 stars.

Long story short: “Changing Worlds” has every chance of appealing to both science fiction fans AND romance fans. Neither part takes away from the other.

I’ll definitely go looking for more science fiction books by this author!

Cover art by Anne Cain: I quite like the cover by Anne Cain. It shows Jason and Ferran, who really fits the descriptions in the book.

Sales Links

        

Book details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 236 pages
Expected publication: October 24th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634779081
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Opposites (Opposites #1) by T. M. Smith and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

opposites-audioIn the year 2081 our planet survived global warming of an apocalyptic scale. When the dust settled and the water receded Dr. Anthony Smith, one of only a few hundred survivors of GWI, started society anew. Having come to the conclusion that injudicious breeding played a huge role in the destruction of Earth as we knew it in the twenty first century, he worked closely with other survivors to isolate the Dionysus gene. This gene has the ability to manipulate human DNA to ensure that all male children be born gay, and all female children be born lesbians. A new society is born.

 

In the year 2300 Dr. Smith’s descendants are ushering in the twenty fourth century having maintained control of the government that still rules society. Twins Aiya and Aiyan are preparing to meet their matches and take control of House Gaeland, the current ruling House. But not everything is as it seems.

 

Love is Love, it knows no gender and doesn’t conform to restrictions and boundaries. Aiyan has found his soul mate in Kaden, the prince of House Devi that he is matched with and eventually marries. But when the person Aiya falls in love with tests the boundaries put in place after GWI, all hell breaks loose. And in the midst of one secret unraveling, another will emerge. There is a growing anomaly that threatens to destroy over two hundred years of progression. This anomaly is known as Opposites.

 

This was an interesting book and a bit different from what I usually read.  There is a lot going on with along with a large number of characters to keep track of.  Each person has a set of both mothers and fathers since they are primarily homosexual in this world.  Most of the focus is on Aiya and Aiyan’s relationships and those directly connected to them, soon to be spouses and their families.

 

This story is told from all points of view at some point which can make it hard to keep track of what’s going on or who we are listening to at the moment, it probably took me until about a third of the way in the story to be able to keep better track of everything once I learned the characters.  The author did a great job of building the story and the world around these characters, there was never something missing in the world, sometimes there was a bit more explaining than I thought was necessary.  I was left wanting to know what will happen in the next story due to the ending, but am not going to spoil it for anyone.

 

Greg Boudreaux did a nice job narrating this story.  The different voices for the characters made it a bit easier to keep track of what was going on.  He did a good job of separating the numerous characters that we see which helped.  While he separated the voices I got most of the characters emotions from the writing than from his speaking.

 

Cover art is nice and catches your eye.

 

Sales Links: Audible | Amazon

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 6 hrs 16 min
Published: September 22, 2016 (ebook first published June 1, 2013)
Edition Language: English

Series: Opposites #1

Audiobook HIghlight with ‘Writing the Dystopian edge’ by T.M. Smith and his Opposites audiobook release! (guest post and giveaway)

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Opposites is now available on Audiobook 
Written by T.M. Smith
Narrated by Greg Boudreaux

Writing the Dystopian edge by T.M. Smith

Hello everyone, and thanks for stopping by Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for their stop on the Opposites Audiobook tour. I thought I’d talk about the Dystopian edge to the world that I created for Opposites. I’m a huge fan of books like Dune, The Lord of the Rings and the Matched series by Allie Condie. I pulled elements from these three series when I started writing Opposites.

In Dune, people don’t have last names, they have Houses. Since Opposites took on this elemental saga with a huge cast of characters, I decided not to give the characters last names, but to give them Houses that they’d be tied to. So you have Aiyan of House Gaeland, Kaden of House Devi and so on. There’s also the intricate storyline in Dune with the worms and the drought, there are similar elements in Opposites with ‘Global Warming Ignition’ or GWI as I refer to it within the story. Opposites is set some 200 plus years in the future after Global Warming basically ignited and annihilated our planet. Society was reborn from the ashes and the Houses were created and the smartest people still alive are put in charge of these Houses.

Tolkien’s epic saga is one of my favorite books, series and movies. While this is an older series, it’s still wildly popular and, dare I say, almost a cult classic in its own right. I love the costumes, the era, the weapons and sword play. I included this ancient but recent style of clothing and weapons in the Opposites series. I also tried to keep the clothing and weapons somewhat liken to the area or region that the specific characters were from. I think I had the most fun with House Devi when describing culture and clothing, especially the Mehndi.

The Matched trilogy is exactly what the title says. It’s a future society where everyone is matched, sometimes without having even met each other. It’s what can happen when you’re incompatible that really plays into the story. Taking it one step further, what if in this society I have created where as being Gay/Lesbian is the norm, one of the royal houses children is very much straight? She’s matched to a young woman that she very much admires and loves, though not the way it was intended. How will the relationship shape these two women?

I promote the Opposites series as Dystopian SciFi because there are elements of both in the world I’ve created. If you’re a fan of either sub-genre, I’m confident you’ll enjoy this series. But at its heart, Opposites is about romance, passion, figuring out who you are and deciding that the person you want to be is up to you… not some preconceived notion of what a relationship should be. I hope you’ll grab a copy, Greg Boudreaux really outdid himself with all the various accents and characters. Each dialect is accurately portrayed and brought to life with rich accents and nuances.

In the year 2081, our planet survived global
warming on an apocalyptic scale. When the dust settled and the water receded,
Dr. Anthony Smith, one of only a few hundred survivors of GWI, started society
anew. Having come to the conclusion that injudicious breeding played a huge
role in the destruction of Earth as we knew it in the twenty first century, he
worked closely with other survivors to isolate the Dionysus gene: the gene has
the ability to manipulate human DNA to ensure that all male children be born
gay, and all female children be born lesbians. 


A new society was born

In the year 2300 Dr. Smith’s descendants are
ushering in the twenty fourth century having maintained control of the
government that still rules society. Twins, Aiya and Aiyan, are preparing to
meet their matches and take control of House Gaeland, the current ruling House.
But not everything is as it seems. 



Nature vs Nurture 

Love is Love… it knows no gender and doesn’t
conform to restrictions or boundaries. Aiyan has found his soul mate in Kaden,
the prince of House Devi, that he is matched with and eventually marries. But
when the person Aiya falls in love with tests the boundaries put in place after
GWI, all hell breaks loose. And in the midst of one secret unraveling, another
will emerge. There is a growing anomaly that threatens to destroy over two
hundred years of progression. This anomaly is known as Opposites. 

*WARNING* Opposites is an Adult Dystopian
majorly M/M novel that contains explicit sexual content and relationships
between gay, lesbian and straight couples. There are brief scenes of violence. 



Opposites: Audible | Amazon Audio | iTunes

Meet the Narrator of the Opposites series; Greg Boudreaux
The spicier side of the oh so amazing narrator, Greg Tremblay, Boudreaux brings the more erotic LGBT titles to life like the Opposites series by TM Smith – the Fitting In series by Silvia Violet and the Assassin/Shifter series by Sandrine Gasq Dion, just to name a few! 

You can find Boudreaux on Facebook, Twitter or Audible.

 
   The Opposites series Audiobooks and links   

Opposites: Audible | Amazon Audio | iTunes
The Library, an Opposites novella: Audible | Amazon Audio | iTunes
The Cellar, an Opposites novella: Audible | Amazon Audio | iTunes


 

Opposites
The Opposites series, book 1 
The Library 
An Opposites novella {book 1.5} 

 

Appearances
The Opposites series, book 2 

 

The Cellar 
An Opposites novella {book 2.5} 
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | iTunes

Coming Soon: Snapped, Opposites series book 3

 

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A military brat born and raised at Ft. Benning Georgia; TM Smith is an avid reader, reviewer and writer. A Texas transplant, she now calls DFW her home. Most days she can be found curled up with a good book, or ticking away on her next novel.
 
Smith is a single mom of three disturbingly outspoken and decidedly different kids, one of which is Autistic. Besides her writing, she is passionate about Autism advocacy and LGBT rights. Because, seriously people, Love is Love!
 
Author links: Amazon || ARe || Smashwords || Website || Facebook || Twitter 

 

 

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