Review Tour and Giveaway for We Met In Death by KA Merikan

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 90,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Blurb
 

“This is not the night you die.”

After years of working for a loan shark, Robert is done with blood and violence. All he has to show for it is a bag of money and a lifetime of regrets. There’s no other way out of his line of work than in a body bag.

So Robert decides to die.

But on the night he chooses to seal his own fate, destiny offers him a chance at redemption. When Robert saves a handsome young escort from a terrible death, he has no idea he is setting in motion much more than one last attempt at proving that inside the hardened shell, he is a decent human being.

Charming, quick-witted, and full of smiles, Nathan is all Robert could dream of. He’s also ready to fall into the arms of his gruff protector. Robert, on the other hand, has never been with a man and will first need to fight his own demons if he is to accept that his whole being wants to make Nathan his.

With his former boss hunting them both, time is ticking, and Robert might just not get the chance to decide before it’s too late. More importantly though, Robert will stop at nothing to protect the man who’s made him feel alive again, the man who is the only thing between him and the abyss.

“I never had to think much about death before, but I did yesterday. I thought I would die. In a hole. Covered with dirt. Suffocate underground. But then you saved me.”

WARNING: This story contains scenes of violence, torture, mentions of suicide, offensive language, morally ambiguous characters, homophobia and homophobic language

October 10 – BooksLaidBareBoys, Mikku-chan, Mirrigold: Mutterings and Musings
October 12 – Urban Smoothie Read
October 14 – My Fiction Nook, OptimuMM
October 16 – Bonkers About Books, MM Book Escape
October 18 – The Librarian’s Corner
October 20 – Jim’s Reading Room, Bayou Book Junkie, Cheekypee Reads & Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Sanaa’s Book Blog, Love Bites & Silk Ties

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.


They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

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Review Tour ~ A Cowboy for Caleb (Great Plains Shifters #1) by L.C. Davis (excerpt and giveaway)

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Book Title: A Cowboy for Caleb (Great Plains Shifters #1)

Author: L.C. Davis

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Wolf Conan

Release Date: October 11

Genre/s: M/M Romance, hurt/comfort MPREG with a HEA

Length: approx. 37k words

It is a standalone story, but is the first in the Great Plains Shifters series (the same universe as The Mountain Shifters).

Blurb

A COWBOY FOR CALEB BLURB

Falling for his deceased twin brother’s mate was never part of Dustin’s plan.

This midwestern Alpha might be a little rough around the edges, but he lives by a few simple principles and honor is chief among them.

Nonetheless, when tragedy strikes the Meadowlands Pack, Dustin feels he has no choice but to bring his twin’s mate home to take care of him. The only problem is, Caleb isn’t anything like Dustin expected of the city omega who stole his brother’s heart and divided their family.

What starts out as trying to do the right thing soon becomes a blurry series of complicated decisions that lead Dustin further away from the path he’s always followed—and further into the arms of the one omega he was never supposed to want.

Caleb has been through the worst a mated omega could fear. He’s lost his mate and their unborn child, and now he finds himself at the mercy of an Alpha who has every reason to hate him.

Despite being twins, Dustin and Caleb’s former mate, Alec, are nothing alike. Caleb wants nothing more than to please his new Alpha and secure his position in the pack, but Dustin seems to take everything he says the wrong way.

As forbidden tensions mount between Alpha and omega, Caleb begins to fear that Dustin will start taking his developing interest the right way.

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK Author Page

Goodreads Link

Excerpt

Dustin hadn’t been prepared for Caleb to take him up on his offer to stay and help him through his heat, even though he’d made it in all sincerity. He moved a bit closer, and the moment his hands made contact with Caleb’s skin, he knew he’d bitten off more than he could chew. He tried desperately to focus on the nonsensical plot of the movie, but the more he touched Caleb and the more he felt the omega’s tight muscles relax under his attention, the harder it was to think at all.

After all, some things didn’t require a whole lot of brain power. Instinct was more than enough. It was reining in those instincts that posed the real challenge.

The soft moan that passed Caleb’s lips was the thing that caved Dustin in all at once. The omega arched his back and leaned into Dustin’s touch, their pheromones mingling together in perfect harmony, as if their bodies had already decided how the night was going to go.

“That feels so good,” Caleb breathed.

“Good,” Dustin growled. He hoped Caleb would assume he was just hoarse and not angry, but knowing the Alpha’s voice was just rough with desire was probably even worse. “You’re tense.”

Caleb froze and looked over his shoulder. His eyes were dark and heavy with lust, and if there was any doubt in Dustin’s mind that the attraction he felt was a two-way street, it was gone now. Caleb turned slowly, and before Dustin could fully process what he was doing, the omega had slipped his arms around Dustin’s neck. His fingertips grazed Dustin’s skin, raising goosebumps all over his flesh.

“I know this is wrong,” Caleb said, his voice soft and husky but full of guilt. He wouldn’t meet Dustin’s eyes, which was just as well. The Alpha knew once he did, all bets were off. He wouldn’t be able to keep the truth inside any longer. “But I — I’m just so tired of feeling alone,” he whispered, tears slipping down his cheeks.

“You’re not alone,” Dustin assured him, stroking Caleb’s cheek. “I know I haven’t been there for you the way I should have. I’m just so afraid of making a mistake. Of giving in to the way I feel about you, and leading us into something we’ll both regret.”

“How do you feel?” Caleb asked, finally meeting his eyes. His gaze was searching, needful.

Dustin swallowed hard. “I think you know by this point. I’m pretty bad at hiding it, but God knows I’ve tried.”

Caleb gave him a small, rueful smile. “Maybe I’ve just been afraid to see it. Afraid that you’ll realize I feel the same way.”

“You don’t,” Dustin said, coming back to himself for a split second. He hoped it was enough. “You’re in heat.”

Caleb laughed. It was a soft, regretful sound. “I wish I could blame it on that. Maybe then I could sleep at night without feeling like such a horrible person.”

“You’re not a horrible person.” Dustin’s thumb swept across Caleb’s lips. They were so soft. How had he gone this long without kissing them? Without touching him…? “You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met.”

The omega’s lips found his. This was it. This was the point of no return. If he crossed that line, if he returned the kiss, it was all over. He could no longer lay even a technical claim to goodness if he tasted the forbidden fruit and took more off the vine, but he had never felt quite as weak—or as strong—as he did with the omega in his arms.

In the end, the satin sin of Caleb’s lips brushing against his own was just too much. Dustin took the omega into his arms and his tongue slipped in past Caleb’s parted lips, taking the reins of control the way he’d always wanted. In all his wildest dreams—and Caleb had been the subject of plenty—he had never imagined giving in to temptation could taste so sweet.

 About the Author

L.C. Davis is an M/M romance author with a passion for representation. Series include The Mountain Shifters, Great Plains Shifters, Kingdom of Night and Queer Magick.

Want updates when there’s a new book available or occasional deals and promotions?

Go to  https://www.instafreebie.com/free/LyGjh to sign up for the L.C. Davis MM Romance Newsletter (Adults Only)

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Release Blitz Tour and Giveaway for VL Locey’s Improper Fraction

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Cover Design: Reverie Design



Length: 68,690 words


Blurb

O’Malley Ramsey, math aficionado, grew up next door to Garrison Rook, All-American athlete. While O’Malley dreamed of numbers and kissing Garrison, Garrison’s tastes ran to home runs and hot chicks. During a family celebration the night before both young men were heading off for college, O’Malley joyously discovers that Garrison isn’t quite as straight as the star athlete had been pretending to be. Vows to return to each other quickly followed a few clumsy kisses in the old treehouse in the Rook’s backyard.

O’Malley came home to Garrison. Garrison never returned to O’Malley.

Four years later, the two ex-friends meet up at a summer camp where O’Malley is serving as a counselor. Garrison is desperate to make things right with his childhood friend, but can O’Malley, still nursing the pain and mistrust of Garrison’s betrayal, ever forgive or love Garrison again?

Author Bio


V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and two Jersey steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in


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Release Blitz and Giveaway Tour – Deacon’s Law (Heroes #3) by RJ Scott

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Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Length: 50,000 words approx.
 
Heroes Series
 
A Reason To Stay (Book #1) – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Last Marine Standing (Book #2) – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

How can you trust the man who tried to kill you?

Undercover cop Deacon Shepherd lost everything trying to maintain his cover – the man he loved and the future he craved. He walked away and never looked back because it was the only way to keep Rafael alive.

The last thing he needs is to be dragged back in that world, but an attempt on Rafael’s life is enough to make him risk his heart again.

Rafael ‘Rafe’ Ramirez wakes up in the hospital, the victim of a hit and run. He’s horrified when the first face he sees is that of the man who betrayed him and left him for dead three years before. Witness protection had stripped Rafe of his family and friends, and now it seems his sacrifice to bring his Uncle to justice was for nothing.

Someone wants Rafe dead, and the only way he can stay alive is to go with the murdering drug dealer who broke his heart. But how can he ever trust Deacon, and how can Deacon protect Rafe without falling in love all over again?

Excerpt
 

Rafe opened his eyes, attempting to focus on the ceiling above him. He tried to lift his hand, but it felt as if there was lead in his veins, everything heavy and he couldn’t move. They’d told him he was getting better, so what the hell had happened? Had he relapsed? Why was he convinced that they’d taken him somewhere in an ambulance? That he’d leaned against a leather jacket that smelled of sunshine and soap? He blinked until the ceiling finally coalesced into the tiles he was familiar with.

Only there were no tiles.

Instead, the ceiling was a smooth white, and there were no strip lights, just a lampshade in a curious shade of blue. He blinked again. This didn’t make sense. 

But when he opened his eyes, nothing had changed. The ceiling was still white, the lampshade blue, and the drapes at the window matched the shade. The drapes. There were drapes at the window. Confusion morphed into panic and he turned his head to the right to get a better feel for where he was and he saw…him.

Sprawled awkwardly in the chair, his head back, long limbs this way and that, clearly too big for the chair, was a specter from a past that wouldn’t leave him alone.

Deacon.

Intense fear sliced into Rafe.

They’d found him, had him strapped to a bed…was it Deacon who’d tracked him down and driven a car at him? He was paralyzed with a fear that made it hard to breathe, and he yanked at his hand, hoping to escape his restraints, only he wasn’t tied down, there was no rope. Instead his hand came up fast and he rolled sideways. Catching himself and coming off the bed, forgetting the fact that his leg was in a cast and toppling sideways, falling with a crash into a cabinet. He flailed but couldn’t stop himself falling, and he knew this was it – this time he was really going to die.

Deacon was up and at his side in an instant, and Rafe wanted to shut his eyes, wanted to block out seeing Deacon’s face again as he died, but he had to watch. He wanted Deacon to see his fear, and maybe that would stop him; maybe he could make Deacon stop and think.

“Shit, Rafe— Craig,” Deacon said, and reached for him, grasping his arms.

Terror became ice inside him, and Rafe stopped fighting; like a deer caught in headlights, he froze.

“What happened?” A second man stood in the doorway, someone Rafe didn’t know – tall, dark and dangerous-looking. Maybe this new arrival could stop Deacon?

“Help me,” Rafe forced out, looking past Deacon, scrambling to stand as the ice melted and he pushed himself to move.

“He woke up, saw me, and fell out of bed,” Deacon said, and the other man came right in. There were two of them, and there was little Rafe could do to get away. There and then, he screwed his eyes shut; nothing was going to save him now.

But there was no pain, no bullet. Instead, the two men helped him to stand, and then he felt the bed at the back of his thighs and they sat him down.

“Are you okay?” Deacon asked. Even with his eyes shut, Rafe recognized his voice. He would never forget the tone of it, or the coldness of the man who’d tried to kill him. He said nothing.

“Open your eyes,” the other man asked.

No.

“Craig? Rafe? My name is Mac. We’re here to help you.”

But fear was choking him and he couldn’t breathe. “No,” he managed between attempts to inhale enough oxygen not to pass out.

“He’s panicking. What the hell did you do, D?”

“Tried to fucking kill him three years ago, remember?”

Author Bio


RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.


The last time she had a weekís break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldnít defeat.


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Jeff Adams on the Role of Sexual Identity and his latest story ‘Tracker Hacker (Codename: Winger #1) (guest post, excerpt, and giveaway)

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Tracker Hacker (Codename: Winger #1) by Jeff Adams
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Art by Aaron Anderson

Release Date October 17th 2017

Buy Links: Harmony Ink |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble     | iBooks | Kobo  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Jeff Adams here today on his Tracker Hacker tour.  Welcome, Jeff.

✒︎

One of my goals with the Codename: Winger Young Adult series was to not write a coming out story. In fact, for Theo Reese, the character at the heart of the book, being gay is one of the least interesting things about him. There’s a passing reference in Tracker Hacker that he came out to his parents when he was thirteen and that he was a little worried about saying the words. But other than a little trepidation, his coming out went fine. In fact, if I were to write his coming out it would be a boring story because there was no drama.

Now that he’s sixteen, there are a lot more things for him to be concerned with and caring if anyone knows he’s gay isn’t one of them. Theo is a high school junior, hockey player, computer genius who also works for the same covert agency his parents do. Theo has a boyfriend, too. One who is super important to him even if he can’t spend as much time with Eddie as he’d like.

For this world, I created it as it should be–a place where sexuality and gender identity aren’t things people have to worry about revealing. All that matters is that you’re a good person, good friend, good family member, good employee, good whatever.

I long for the day society catches up to the idea that people can be whoever they want without worrying for their safety. In the Codename: Winger books the main characters inhabit their identities comfortably. There are day this seems like a lofty goal, but I hold out hope we can get there. I loved writing a world where it was already true. I hope you enjoy reading that world as well.

Below is an excerpt showing Eddie and Theo together in this world. After that you’ll find the blurb and buy links if you’d like to pick up a copy of the book. Plus, there’s a Rafflecopter where you can enter for a chance to win a copy. Make sure to stop by the other stops on the tour because the more you enter, the more chances you get to win.

Excerpt

In the following excerpt, we catch up with Theo and Eddie while they’re in Denver. Theo’s playing in a hockey tournament there and Eddie’s shown up unexpectedly. While it’s inconvenient since Theo’s on a mission, they are attending the tournament banquet together. As you’ll see, they behave as any couple might.

Eddie met me in the hallway that led to the ballroom. He was so handsome decked out in a dark purple shirt, black coat, and black jeans. He was almost monochromatic, but the shirt had just enough pop to make a nice contrast. Neither of us liked to dress up. In fact I absolutely shunned it as much as I could. He looked amazing.

“Oh my God, I forgot to check to see if you could be here.” I felt bad that he was all dressed up and might not be able to get in.

“Not to worry.” He pulled out a lanyard and badge from his pocket. He put it around his neck, so he matched me. “I took care of it. You can bring guests, just had to pay fifty bucks. Totally worth it to hang out with you looking all sharp.”

I gave him a quick kiss. Truth was, I needed this. An evening with my boyfriend was a great end to a less-than-stellar day. I’m glad he took the initiative to find out if he could come along.

“Next to you, I’m far from sharp. You look stunning.”

“Dad made me bring something dressy since he’s taking me to some speech tomorrow. I thought it’d be perfect for tonight too.”

“Go Mr. Cochrane.”

Instead of a tournament banquet, I felt like I was going to prom.

Prom? He’d already mentioned that once. Would he ask me? Or should I ask him since he’d asked me to the fall dance? How does that even work when you’re both guys?

“Where’d you go just now? I recognize the look of you solving a problem.”

My face heated. He’d caught me plotting the future.

“Oh man, it’s something good too,” he added. “I haven’t seen you blush in a long time.”

I looked away and willed the blush to fade as I checked out the crowd assembling in the ballroom. It looked like there was an array of guests, from parents to girlfriends.

“Come on.” He reached under my jacket so he could tickle me.

With only the dress shirt between my skin and his fingers, I giggled and squirmed. “Tell me.”

“All right.” I relented since I didn’t want him to go too far with the tickles. “My mind flashed forward to prom and thinking about how great we’ll look.”

A soft, wonderful smile replaced his mischievous look. “Is that your way of asking me to prom?”

“I guess it sorta is, yeah.”

“Cool.”

“Very cool.” And just like that, I had a prom date. “Let’s get some dinner, I’m starving.”

We walked into the ballroom and I looked around, trying to decide where we should sit.

“Theo! Over here.”

It was Jamie sitting a couple of tables away. He waved us over. Other teammates sat at the table, but there were three chairs still open. Most tables had some spaces left, but this was a good choice since Jamie was cool. The other two guys were both defensemen, one was Chuck, but I couldn’t remember the other’s name.

“Hey, Jamie. These free?”

“Yeah, man. Hoping to get a table full of teammates.” He looked at Eddie, and it was obvious he was trying to resolve if Eddie was on our team or not. Given that I didn’t know everyone on sight yet either, I understood his confusion.

“This is my boyfriend, Eddie. He came to town to catch some of the games. Eddie, this is our goalie, Jamie.”

“S’up?” Eddie said with a quick nod of the head. “You were great in that shootout.”

“Thanks, man.”

“And this is Chuck and….” I pushed my brain one more time to see if I could get the name of the other guy, but it wasn’t happening.

“Billy,” he said.

I nodded and we sat down. I attacked the salad in front of me. I’d had a couple of protein bars after the game, but they weren’t enough.

“That’s cool you could come see the games,” Jamie said to Eddie.

“The only person that came with me is my coach.”

Donny joined us. If Eddie was uncomfortable being at a table full of players who were strangers, he didn’t show it. It was different from any gathering we’d had with the team back home, which was usually a party at someone’s house where we could drift around. Here, we couldn’t leave the table.

Dinner was good, but it went on way too long. Eddie was a champ listening to all of the strategy we talked. Donny’s coach had looked at some of the other teams’ play, so we had some intel that we dissected to be ready for tomorrow.

Book Blurb

High school student. Hockey player. Computer whiz kid. Covert agent?

At sixteen Theo Reese is the youngest agent for Tactical Operational Support. His way with computers makes him invaluable. He designs new gadgets, helps agents (including his parents) in the field, and works to keep the TOS network safe. But when a hacker breaches the system TOS uses to track agents, Theo is put to the test like never before.

Thrust from behind the safety of his desk, Theo must go into the field to put a stop to the hack. He’s scared but resolved because one of the missing agents is his father. And just to make it more interesting, he has to keep everything a secret from his boyfriend and teammates.

Can Theo get the job done, save his dad, and make things good with his boyfriend?

 

Giveaway

Someone from each stop on the blog tour will win an ebook and one lucky person from across all the stops will get an autographed paperback (I’ll ship it anywhere in the world).

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About the Author

Jeff Adams has written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published. Since then he’s written several shorts and novels.

Jeff lives in rural California with his husband of twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show], the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance.

Jeff is the co-host of Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast, a weekly show devoted to gay romance fiction as well as pop culture. New episodes come out every Monday at biggayfictionpodcast.com.

Learn more about Jeff at http://jeffadamswrites.com/

 

Blitz Tour for ‘In Over Our Heads’ by CJane Elliott (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  In Over Our Heads

Series: Stories from the Shore

Author: CJane Elliott

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: October 16, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67,000

Genre: Romance, Second Chances, Vacation

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

Excerpt

The door burst open, and Sophia sailed in with my morning cappuccino. She was humming under her breath and had that telltale postsex glow about her. I tried not to hate her too much.

“What’re you doing in here with me, doll? Don’t you have a sexy dive instructor to entertain?”

“She had to leave early.” Sophia handed me the mug. “She’s taking her group out on the ocean dive too, and she had to go to Back Bay to get the boat ready.”

I took a restorative sip of cappuccino. “Ahh. Well, I hope you didn’t tire her out too much last night. Or vice versa.” I winked at her, even though I didn’t feel very winky.

“Guilty on both our parts, I’m afraid.” Sophia smirked, then perched on the side of my bed. “Can we talk more about what’s going on with you and Walter?”

“Going on?” I blinked and buried my nose in the cup. “I mean, I told you guys last night. What more do you need to know?”

“Whatever it’ll take to help you and him figure yourselves out, because second chances like this don’t come around often.”

“God, not you too. You and Jonny need to start a group for incurable romantics.”

She straightened, her dark eyes snapping with intensity. “Caro! You’re the one who talks about destiny. This is your destiny!”

I sighed. She was so over the top sometimes. Must be her Italian blood. “Maybe my destiny is to be reminded to never let a guy walk over me the way Walter did.”

“I…. Look, Marco has a good point, and I agree with him that Walter needs to apologize. It was awful of him to drop out of sight. You so don’t deserve to be treated that way.”

“Right.” I put down my cup, having lost my taste for the cappuccino.

“But you two were barely out of high school. So young! People change. It certainly doesn’t seem in character with how he is now.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“Well, I mean, Walter seems so conscientious and thoughtful. Yes, a little gruff, but not someone who would knowingly hurt you. But maybe… safety seems to be a huge concern to him. And maybe he couldn’t stand that you almost drowned, and he couldn’t face you after that? Did he ever explain it to you?”

“No. I begged him to tell me why, and all he would say is ‘I’m not good for you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.’ I guess the safety thing is the most plausible explanation. Because other than that, it’s bizarre that he would walk away and throw away a great thing. We were….” I paused, hit by an unexpected wave of grief. “Damn it, Soph, we were really good together. Yes, we were young, but we complemented each other so well. Like, I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.” My eyes betrayed me by welling up.

“Oh, Anthony. That’s lovely. I can tell he still does. Take you seriously, I mean. He hasn’t been able to stop staring at you the whole time we’ve been around him. It’s obvious he still cares.”

Sophia’s words threw little daggers at my silly heart. Jonathan had said essentially the same thing. If they both thought Walter still cared for me, maybe it was true. And God, if it was true, I was in deep waters. I knew I should stiffen my backbone and armor myself with outrage. But I couldn’t. Still hung up on Walter Elkins? Guilty as charged. Convicted. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I had no hope of rehabilitation. I put my face in my hands for a moment. What a hopeless sentimental fool!

Luckily for my humiliation factor, Marco came barging in with a brilliant grin. “All right, darlings! Today’s the day! Scuba diving or bust! Get ready for the adventure of your lives.” He stopped short and peered at me. “You okay?”

Pulling myself together, I returned his smile. “Fabulous, doll! Off to the reefs we go to swim with the fishies!”

 

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Celebrate the release of In Over Our Heads with a special sale: All the Way to Shore is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon through October 24 with that price matched at the Dreamspinner Press store October 16-24.

Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | eMail | Dreamspinner | Amazon

 

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K-lee Klein on Writing Songs, Poetry, and her latest release ‘Unbroken Hearts (Unbreak My Heart #2)’ (guest post and giveaway)

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Unbroken Hearts (Unbreak My Heart #2) by K-lee Klein
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Release date: October 11, 2017

Buy Links: Dreamspinner PressAmazonGoodReads

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host K-lee Klein on her Unbroken Hearts tour.  The author is here today sharing songs written for the character, Brett Blakk,  poetry, and a giveaway to enter as well.

✒︎

Thanks for dropping by my Unbroken Hearts blog tour. I’m thrilled for the release of the second edition and second book of the Unbreak My Heart series, Unbroken Hearts, on October 11th with Dreamspinner Press.

This edition includes the newly polished and edited novella, Unbroken Hearts, plus the short story, Unwrapped Hearts, and 25,000 words of new content to continue Brett and JT’s romance. I have some great giveaways so make sure you enter at the end of the post.

I adore writing this series and one of the reasons is because Brett is a musician and I let myself completely step out of my comfort box to write songs for Brett Blakk. Composing is like writing poetry to me, and I’m a very big closet-poet.

There are many forms of poetry both classic and modern, with free or formal verse, and I love them all. Formal poems or traditional, are also called metrical verse because they follow rules with regards to stanza length and rhyme patterns. Types of formal poems include haikus, sonnets, and sestinas.

Hiakus are kind of fun—5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.

A cowboy saddles up
for a sunset river ride.
Orange colored the sky.

Everywhere you look
inspiration can be found.
Just pay attention.

Strangers meet one day—
slow kisses and open hearts
Forever in love.

Sonnets are familiar to many people through Shakespeare’s work. They’re very challenging to write, but I’ve given it a shot now and again. I’m definitely more comfortable writing free form though. So is Brett Taylor and he prefers to add his own country twang.

There just might be a new song or two in Unbroken Hearts but I won’t ruin it for you. Instead, here are some of Brett’s lyrics from Unbreak My Heart. Don’t forget about the Rafflecopter draw!

***

Brett’s Lyrics from Unbreak My Heart

Old pickup truck

The bed’s too big
And my heart’s too small
My mind’s gone south
Someone just let me fall
Ain’t no sense in denying
How little I’ve become
No sweet guitar picking
Can bring back the sun

I had the world at my fingertips
The selfish wantings of all men
I thought myself immortal
Stupidly fearless and content
Unaware my body needed more
Than silly objects and praise
And I left my heart behind
Thanklessly wasted in a star-struck haze

Now I’m reaping the benefits
Of all that I gave up
An empty house and lonely mind
And your old pickup truck

This is the part where you scold me
Tell me to grow up and be a man
Take my face between your fingers
And show me who I really am

Maybe you were too good for me
Maybe you were just too kind
Maybe I loved you too hard
Maybe our love was blind

My body aches to touch you
My mind reels with pain
I can’t quite remember how you smell
Or how much you loved the rain

This is the part where you scold me
Tell me to grow up and be a man
Take my face between your fingers
And show me who I really am

This is the part…
The part where I bleed
The part where I miss you
The part where I need…
I need you to be here
So you can give me a new start
To show me just how
To unbreak my heart.

***

Picked you over me

This whiskey tastes sour
Like an old lover’s kiss
But it’s all that I have
To make you exist

Because when I’m high as a kite
My heart settles down
You’re back in my arms
And our circle goes round.

I’ve lived my life
Doing just as I pleased
I slept around before you
My want never eased

But then you took that part inside
That had turned stone cold
You stole away my heart
And to you I was sold.

But as the saying goes
You don’t miss what you’ve got
Until you lose everything
Because of the person you’re not

That’s not how love works
It’s not how it should be
I put something else first
Should have picked you over me

***

Broken fences and scattered stones

Crumbling barns and sawdust
Broken fences and scattered stones
Horses with sad faces
Reminders I’ve lost my home

Fancy jeans and expensive boots
Records of silver and gold
Shots of Jack in crystal glasses
But no one to join me in growing old

’Cause a house is just a house
A bed—a slab of stone
One more night is all I want
One more chance to bring you home

If I reach to the sky
Will you grab my hand
Pull me back to you
To your promised land
Just take my hand
And take me along
’Cause there’s no reasons here
For me to keep trying to go on

Hopes and dreams
All left too late to say
Stubborn feelings and selfish ways
Future moments just tossed away

And life just moves so slow
When your heart has turned to dust
Life just burns away
When you lose the only one you could ever trust
But the ache remains
The pain still cuts
There’s no escape
From these hopeless ruts

’Cause a house is just a house
A bed—a slab of stone
One more night is all I want
One more chance to bring you home

But if I wait here long enough
Won’t you please grab my hand
Pull me back to you
Take me to your promised land
Just take my hand
And take me along

’Cause there’s no reasons here
For me to keep trying to go on
Do you miss me where you are?
Do you see the horrible mess I am?
Do you regret the love we had?
Do you wonder why I turned out so….
Turned out so goddamn bad

How can I find the will to live?
When I have nothing left to give
When my heart is broken and my soul’s been sold
When all I have left is your picture to hold

’Cause a house is just a house
A bed—a slab of stone
One more night is all I want
One more chance to bring you home

And if I wait here long enough
Will you please grab my hand
Pull me back to you
Take me to your promised land
Just take my hand
And take me along
’Cause there’s no reasons here
For me to keep trying…
To keep trying to go on

***

A song for the kid….

One hundred miles from Dallas
On a ranch southwest of town
An old heart battered and broken
Was somehow saved and found

They had nothing much in common
A burnt-out musician and a college boy
One from California
And the other Southern as a belle is coy

But an interfering mama
And an old cowboy with a quiet way
Saw fit to toss them together
And the rest is history as they say

Well, the musician he was stubborn,
Determined his heart would never beat again
But the kid was kind and patient
Didn’t give up on what could have been

I was lucky to find true love once
When I was barely that California boy’s age
Self-condemned to toss my heart and soul
Beside my lover in his dark, lonely grave

But now I understand the meaning
Behind it’s better to have loved and lost
Because there’s room in my heart for my beloved departed
And for the new feelings that kid has caused

So it’s with a hopeful heart and willing spirit
I’m begging for a lot more time
Because there’s nothing as important in my life
Than needing that kid to be mine.

And though I don’t believe in marital bliss
Or in ceremonies trumped up for show
If you’ll take my hand I can promise you
I’ll never let you go

I don’t have a whole lot to offer
Someone with so much potential drive
Just a bared-open, battered heart
And an old guitar with a long-ago country vibe

But I can vow to love you
With every inch of my soul
With this bandaged heart
And just one important goal

Please be my partner in life
My friend at my side
The one I turn to during the day
The one I hold at night

I wanna make you feel as loved
As the warmth I have inside
I wanna hold you so close to me
Our hearts beating side by side

I promise to love and honor
And try to see things your way
I promise, Darlin’, to love you
Forever and a day

So please be my partner in life
My friend at my side
The one I turn to during the day
The one I hold at night
’Cause without you
I’m cold I’m shut down and alone
I can’t seem to function
And my heart turns to stone

So please be my partner in life
My friend at my side
The one I turn to during the day
The one I hold at night
I’ll hold back the sun
Or steal the moon from the sky
I’ll sail you round the world
And together we’ll fly

So will you be my partner?
Will you be the love at my side?
Will you be the one I turn to all day?
Will you be the one I hold at night?

I love you, kid, with all my heart
From morning to night, from dusk to dawn
All I need is a chance
For our hearts to become one
Let me show you how much love
You make me feel every day
I’m completely in love with you, Darlin’
So please—
what do ya say?

I hope you enjoy Unbroken Hearts. Now…leave me a comment about poetry and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaways!

* * * * *

About Unbroken Hearts

~~Country singer turned rancher Brett Taylor fought his way out of the bottle, so he could have JT Campbell in his life.  JT’s patience, intelligence, and humor broke through Brett’s walls of depression, and now the once-isolated rancher and his young California guy in search of himself are together on Brett’s Texas ranch.

While Brett and JT are more in love than ever, they’re still dealing with past baggage and learning how to move forward. Brett’s former lover casts a long shadow over their lives—one JT tries to pretend doesn’t bother him. Can Brett soothe his fears with the sort of sappy, sentimental Valentine’s Day JT was taught to shun growing up—but secretly always wanted?

When Halloween rolls around, a costumed night out at the local bar might lead to another romantic first. And on Christmas morning, JT awakes to some sweet loving and the most meaningful gift he could ever imagine. The New Year truly brings a new beginning—ushered in by some silly, sparkly, and sexy fun.

One year. Four important holidays. Two men who have worked hard for the love and trust they share and the bright future that’s finally within their grasp.~~

* * * * *

* * * * *

About the Author

K-lee Klein loves guys with long hair and tattoos, and you’ll often find her front and center at her favorite rock concerts. She has bounced around Western Canada all her life, but will always consider the solitude and beauty of the British Columbian mountains home. Her life is blessed as the proud mother of three now-grown but still spoiled kids, the servant of two bossy felines, and the wife of a truly patient husband.

Her writing muse is terribly temperamental, so to keep him close by and in check, she had him inked on her left calf. The gorgeous, long-haired, mostly naked, kneeling angel that resulted is truly a work of art, although he’s still a handful and hopelessly uncontrollable. She writes on his schedule and inspiration.

K-lee tends to fall easily into obsessions. When something grabs her attention, she jumps into it headfirst with complete abandon. Actors, musicians, superheroes, fictional characters, and brainwashed assassins all hold spots on her cannot-get-enough list. She once followed Thirty Seconds to Mars around the United States and Canada and saw them perform fourteen times that year. Obsession sometimes leads to ideas for her kneeling angel to turn into stories.

Although an introvert in person, she’s extroverted online and has met many wonderful friends there, sometimes with the added fun of meeting them in person at gay romance conferences. She’s grateful for all the people in her life who accept her as she is and support her through her ups and downs as mom, wife, and joyfully obsessed writer.

Places to find K-lee.

Website – kleeklein.com
Blog – http://chaosinthemoonlight.blogspot.ca
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Klee_Klein
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kleemoon
Facebook author/reader group https://www.facebook.com/groups/812548795471921/b

Giveaway

Enter the giveaway!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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Santino Hassell on Psychics, Tattoos and his latest release ‘Sightlines (The Community #3)’ (guest post and giveaway)

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Sightlines (The Community #3) by Santino Hassell
Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Kanaxa

Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here at Riptide Publishing

 

Psychics and Tattoos ~ Q & A with Santino Hassell

Two things that fascinate people are psychics and tattoos, so we asked Santino Hassell a few question around them on his Sightlines tour.

Why include them as part of your story?

To me, psychics are one of the most interesting of supernatural people. They’re of the human race, but different. In books, comics, and cartoons they’ve been described as everything from evolved humans to aliens to another race entirely. I left it ambiguous in The Community, because I like people having the ability to decide for themselves, but there is a psychic gene that is hereditary. What I find most interesting about psychic gifts is the way people use them. Do they use them to better their own lives, to help others, or to draw in more power? You meet people from each group in The Community.

As for tattoos, I just think they’re the ultimate form of self-expression.

Why make them a part of main characters?  Do you think that’s a part of how other people will perceive them?

Chase is covered in tattoos, and for him he almost uses them as armor. He’s an outcast in the Community, and at a young age he was painfully aware of that fact. Him covering himself in tattoos was partially his way of deliberately broadcasting and embracing his individualism. It’s his way of saying: “Screw you all. I don’t want to be like you.”

Have you had a reading from a psychic yourself?

I’ve had my palm read before, but it was mostly inaccurate. She hit some things on the nose, but a lot of it was way off. That doesn’t deter me from being utterly fascinated by the subject, though.

How much research did you do?

I read a few books on psychics and read several blogs that are run by self-proclaimed empaths. They were fascinating not only because they gave an in-depth explanation as to what these abilities are, but the blogs especially gave me insight as to the different types of empaths there could be and the different ways that ability is used. One blog went into detail about “empath vampires”, and I was so fascinated.

Is there such a thing as an “elusive tattoo”?

I recently read a book where the hero had an elaborate tattoo on his side, so people rarely got a chance to see it in detail. It was personal, and only for him, and had a pretty serious meaning about his life and past. Sometimes, I think people assume folks get tattoos as a way of standing out, but other times people get them for reasons so personal they’re not even meant to be seen by strangers.

About Sightlines

Chase Payne is a walking contradiction. He’s the most powerful psychic in the Community, but the least respected. He’s the son of the Community’s founder, but with his tattoo sleeves and abrasive attitude, he’s nothing like his charismatic family. No one knows what to make of him, which is how he wound up locked in a cell on the Farm yet again. But this time, the only man he’s ever loved is there too.

Elijah Estrella was used to being the sassy sidekick who fooled around with Chase for fun. But that was before he realized the Community wasn’t the haven he’d believed in and Chase was the only person who’d ever truly tried to protect him. Now they’re surrounded by people who want to turn them against their friends, and the only way out is to pretend the brainwashing works.

With Chase playing the role of a tyrant’s second-in-command, and Elijah acting like Chase’s mindless sex toy, they risk everything by plotting a daring escape. In the end, it’s only their psychic abilities, fueled by their growing love for each other, that will allow them to take the Community down once and for all.

Available now from Riptide Publishing. 

About The Community Series

What lies beneath the surface of the world you thought you knew?

Secrets and lies have twisted an underground community founded by psychics escaping persecution. Blackmail, sex, and social climbing in the name of power has created an irreparable rift.

In the eyes of the founders, there are two sides: loyalists and everyone else. Surely no one would emerge from their tightly woven webs. And they certainly wouldn’t sow the seeds of rebellion within the heart of the Community’s only queer night club.

Now an outcast, a scion, and a runaway are leading a revolution to save not only the men they love, but the entire Community.

Check out The Community series! https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/community

About Santino Hassell

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Connect with Santino:

Website: www.santinohassell.com

Blog: santinohassell.com/blog

Facebook: www.facebook.com/santinohassellbooks

Twitter: twitter.com/SantinoHassell

Tumblr: thatdudesantino.tumblr.com/

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/santinohassell/

Instagram: instagram.com/santinohassell

Google+: plus.google.com/u/0/+SantinoHassell/

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/santino_hassell

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Sightlines, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 14, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Release Blitz Tour for Bitten by Desire (Regent’s Park Pack #3) by Annabelle Jacobs (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 78,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Regent’s Park Pack Series
 
Bitten By Mistake (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Bitten By Design (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Two lovers from rival packs. Have they come together only to be forced apart?


Alec Knight, a beta in the Regent’s Park pack, guards his heart carefully. Ghosts from his past keep him alone and angry, any hope of a relationship impossible while guilt from the pack wars still haunts him. With the anniversary drawing near, Alec needs a distraction.


As a lowly member of the Primrose Hill pack, Mark Appleton isn’t used to having his alpha’s attention. Lately he’s had more than his fair share, and not for the right reasons. Despite growing suspicions that all is not well, Mark tries hard to do better, but constant criticism leaves him desperate for a stress outlet.


Sex is a good way for shifters to let off steam, and while their packs attack each other with accusations and lies, Alec and Mark work out their frustrations in bed. Pillow talk and shared secrets lead to a closeness neither was expecting, but when pack relations reach an all-time low, any future for them seems out of the question.


If they want to be together, they’ll have to go against their alphas’ wishes—except Alec won’t and Mark can’t.

 

 

 
Excerpt

Mark’s scent might have been lost to him before, but standing this close to him, Alec had no trouble picking it out—a light citrusy undertone to the spicy edge he’d detected earlier with just a hint of the tequila working its way out of his system. Even with the alcohol, he smelled good.

Alec took a deep breath in, not bothering to be subtle about it. Might as well put the offer out there. He wasn’t in the mood for games tonight. Maybe he hadn’t consciously gone in there with the intent of hooking up with Mark, but he liked what he saw. Dark hair and blue-green eyes had always done it for him.

It was a bad idea; the worst one Alec had had in a while probably. But like it had done on the street outside, Mark’s scent stirred Alec’s interest, making his wolf perk up and take notice. He didn’t always get that with people he fucked. When it happened, it boded well for the night ahead.

And it was just sex, right? After Cam’s accusations, Alec couldn’t make relations between their packs any worse. Cam might disagree, but Alec needed to get all this tension out of his system if he was to be any use to his alpha over the next few days. And both he and his wolf had decided on Mark.

Author Bio

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

Twitter ñ https://twitter.com/AJacobs_fiction
Website ñ www.annabellejacobs.com
Email ñ ajacobsfiction@gmail.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ajacobsfiction

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Release Day Blitz for Love By Number by DJ Jamison (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Love By Number

Author: DJ Jamison

Publisher: DJ Jamison

Release Date: October 12, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 31,000 words

Genre: Romance, LGBT, m/m contemporary romance

Amazon

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Aidan doesn’t have the best record with relationships, but he’s had a lifelong love affair with baseball. Player stats and computer simulations make sense. People don’t. But when he needs a ride to the World Series, he must rely on another person: a sexy artist who is as spontaneous as Aidan is predictable.

Jesse doesn’t care about baseball. As an artist, he’d rather paint a player than watch him at bat. But his grandpa loves the Kansas City Royals, so he takes him to every home game. He has no idea a fender bender in the parking lot is about to deliver new inspiration in the shape of a man with a whole bag of quirks.

Despite their differences, Jesse and Aidan hit it off, and their sexual chemistry is fantastic. But when Aidan’s numbers betray him, Jesse isn’t prepared for the fall-out. If Aidan continues to put his passion for baseball stats above everything else, he could miss out on the most important numbers in life: the number of smiles, kisses and laughs they could share in a lifelong journey together.

Excerpt

Aidan clutched at his hair, heart hammering in his chest. The front driver’s side of his black Saab was crumpled. The wheel well took a direct hit, the force of the collision pressing it into the tire. He could tell from just looking that the axle must be bent, if not broken, by the way the tire tilted at the wrong angle.

It’s not drivable, he thought, and his heart hammered harder. He felt his hands trembling, and not as an aftershock of the accident. Well, not from experiencing the accident, at least. He was shaking because his plans had just been thrown in the blender.

“Hey, you okay?”

He looked up, gazing blankly at the figure approaching him. A man, but his features were lost in the shadows. Not that Aidan could focus on something like facial features right now. That wasn’t easy on a good day, much less in a moment like this.

“It’s not that big a deal,” he muttered to himself, as he’d learned from his therapist years ago. “It’s not. It’s not. But …” He groaned and clutched at his hair some more. “How am I going to get to the World Series now? I have to get there!”

He’d wrapped up so many hopes in getting to that series, in watching the Royals perform in high-stakes games. It was the perfect time to prove out his math. It might not be rocket science, but Aidan still wanted to watch his math come to life on the baseball field, in the most important series of the season. In person.

A hand touched his shoulder, and he flinched away.

“I’m sorry. Are you hurt?” a voice asked. A nice, mellow voice. He liked the raspy quality of it and the cadence of the man’s words. His tone calmed Aidan.

He managed to drag his gaze from the damage to the man’s face. “I’m …”

Sexy Artist Guy.

He faltered when he recognized the dark hair tinted with maroon highlights, dark eyes and sculpted lips — all coming together in a perfect symmetry. A perfect representation of geometry in nature, really. And the freckles splashed over his nose, highlighted now by the security lights overhead? They somehow added to his sex appeal instead of detracting from it.

Aidan had seen an open sketchbook on this man’s lap more than once when passing by on a bathroom break. He mostly drew portraits, from the look of it, but Aidan had only caught a glimpse. It made sense he was an artist since his entire appearance was like a work of art to Aidan’s eyes. He couldn’t imagine being so creative with his hair or his wardrobe or his skin, where Sexy Artist Guy had embraced both tattooing (his right bicep) and piercing (both ears and right eyebrow).

“I’m so sorry,” Sexy Artist Guy said again. “I saw an opening and went for it. I didn’t see you coming, but my grandfather was distracting me—”

“Blame it on the old man, why don’t ya?” a hoarse voice boomed loudly enough to make Aidan jump.

“Gramps, not now, huh? The guy is freaking out.”

“I’m not freaking out,” Aidan said sharply. The fascination with the stranger’s face faded as he remembered why he was in this situation. He gestured to the damage. “There’s no way I can drive that.”

“We can give you a lift,” the old man said, at the same time the handsome stranger said, “We’ll call you a tow truck.”

“But look at my car!” he said, not sure they understood the direness of the situation.

Artist Guy frowned, then glanced behind Aidan. Following his look, he realized they were blocking traffic. A line of cars snaked through the parking lot, headlights shining on Aidan’s personal disaster.

“I should move my car.” He glanced back at the bent wheel well, frowning. He hoped he could move the car.

“Jesse,” the old man spoke, “you help him push. I’ll get in and put it in neutral.”

They all took their positions, and with some work managed to push the car into an empty space next to the Lincoln Towncar that had so cruelly crunched the Saab. Aidan cringed at the scraping metal sound as his car rolled out of the lane of traffic.

Once off to the side, Jesse pulled out his wallet. He handed his license to Aidan, who stared at it. He took in all the details: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes, born one year after Aidan, making him twenty-six.

Jesse cleared his throat, and Aidan glanced up.

“Aren’t you going to take a picture?”

Damn. He’d been staring. The old saying popped into his mind: Take a picture, it’ll last longer.

He flushed. “Sorry.”

He started to hand the license back, but Jesse looked at him as if he had a screw loose. Then it clicked. Take a picture. For insurance. Right.

He dug out his phone and clicked the pic of the license, and then of the insurance card that Jesse handed over. He was still rattled by the accident, thrumming with bottled-up anxiety.

“You okay? You’re pretty twitchy,” Jesse said. “I’m sure the insurance will cover the damage.”

“Yeah, but it’s my car.”

“Yeah?”

Aidan waved to his car, unsure how to make Jesse understand.

“It was reliable.”

“Um, won’t it still be reliable when it’s fixed?”

“The World Series is in two days.”

“So …”

“Jesse, stop being thick,” the old man interrupted. “Obviously, he was going to drive up to St. Louis, and a Saab is a foreign car. He won’t be able to get the parts locally. Maybe not even the mechanic. They don’t make those cars anymore. He can’t get it fixed in time.”

“Oh.”

“I have to go to that game. I go to all the away games within driving distance. I always do. And this is the World Series. I’m going to have to take a bus, and, oh God, I can’t stand to ride the bus—”

“Jesse will drive you.”

Aidan looked at the older man. He had a bushy head of white hair and enough wrinkles to give a Shar-Pei a run for its money, but his tone was confident, the kind of confident that brooked no nonsense. He’d heard that tone from his own mother too many times to count.

“He will?”

“I will?” Jesse echoed. “Gramps, I’m sure Aidan doesn’t want—”

“That would be great!”

Normally, Aidan wouldn’t want to ride long distance with a stranger, but when contrasted with a bus full of strangers, he jumped at the opportunity. Besides, Jesse and his grandfather had been at every home game. If Jesse were some kind of predator or bully, he’d have shown it by now. Right?

He’d only had one other interaction with Jesse. He’d walked up to Aidan once, when he was trying to quickly record the stats from the latest play and compare them against what he’d predicted for that player’s performance. Aidan had been too distracted to make conversation, especially small talk with a stranger. But he couldn’t help noticing his great smile. Jesse was one of those people who smiled with his whole being, not just his mouth. His eyes brightened, his cheeks dimpled and his body even seemed to vibrate with happy energy.

Aidan liked that because it was easy to see Jesse’s happiness. It wasn’t subtle, which would be lost on him, or confusing — like when people’s mouths smiled but their eyes stayed cold. He didn’t understand that. Was he supposed to respond to their mouth or their eyes? And then there were some people who just smiled all the time, even when they said mean things. What did that mean? Smiles could be confusing, but Jesse’s wasn’t.

“I have tickets to the games,” Gramps was saying now. “I was going to ask you to go, as a favor to me.”

“What? But you said in the car—”

“Hush,” Gramps said, a gleam in his eye. “I’m not up for that kind of travel. I want you to go in my place, so you can tell me all about it. You take this nice young man. It’s the least we can do. Watch the games for me, and tell me all about it when you come home.”

Aidan pulled out his phone to call the tow truck, watching the two men in a staring stand-off. He made arrangements for the tow and disconnected in time to see Jesse sigh and nod.

“Okay, Gramps. For you.”

“Good boy,” Gramps said, clapping him on the shoulder.

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Meet the Author

 

DJ Jamison grew up in the Midwest and worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years, which came in handy when she began writing stories centered on a series of love connections between small-town Kansas newspaper staffers, their sources and their readers. It was the perfect entrance into the world of fiction, and she has since branched out into ERs, health clinics and other settings to tell the stories of characters who are flawed but loveable. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ is married with two sons and two glow-in-the-dark fish that are miraculously still alive.

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