New Release Blitz for Half Life by Gregory L. Norris (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Half-Life

Author: Gregory L. Norris

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 21, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 14300

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, witches, zombies, gay, magic

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Synopsis

Whitney Abbott travels to the seaside Maine town of Window to begin a new life in his uncle’s home. Robert Abbott is well-to-do and owns several high-end restaurants. Whitney will start at the bottom and work his way up at the flagship. But from the moment Whitney exits his car in the drive of the big, brooding house, he senses the sinister atmosphere surrounding his relations.

His cousin November, princess of the estate, feigns joy at having Whitney in town. And November’s handsome athlete boyfriend, Griffin, is an enigma. Soon after his arrival, Griffin warns Whitney to leave. With nowhere to go—and certain that his attraction to Griffin goes both ways—Whitney is drawn into November’s malevolent plans. Plans that will pit Whitney against dark supernatural forces in order to save both his and Griffin’s lives.

Excerpt

Half-Life
Gregory L. Norris © 2019
All Rights Reserved

I hit the switch. The familiar cold, white glare from the overhead lights rained across the kitchen, prep station, and the industrial dishwasher, scenes of so many long shifts and leg cramps. The light did little to remove the greater darkness that hung over the back of my uncle’s restaurant. The gloom swirling outside had followed me into Abbott’s Table, one of your finer dining establishments along this part of Maine’s Rocky Headlands. Rain pelted the oblong window above the prep-station sink, where I’d cleaned and breaded untold thousands of shrimp. The ghostly aroma of garlic, lobster, and grilled meat hung over the place. Cloying, with an edge of lemon cleaner.

“Hello?” I called.

My heart hammered against my ribcage. I imagined my balls shriveling up against the root of my dick. An icy finger stroked my spine.

“Anyone here? It’s me, Whitney.”

Identifying myself made the creeping sensation even worse. The darkness had pursued me, constantly there at the periphery hiding in shadowy corners. Here in my uncle’s flagship restaurant after hours, the unwanted attention from sinister powers was more tangible, more intimate. I choked down a heavy swallow to find my mouth had gone completely dry.

“Griffin, it’s me. I saw your truck in the lot,” I said, aware of how my lips risked a smile at the mention of his name. Griffin. My heart raced for different reasons after that. “Griff?”

I checked the kitchen—empty. Willing my legs forward, I pushed past the rightward pair of swivel doors, hearing the awful voice of the restaurant’s manager, Marc with a c—Always keep to the right, that’s how it’s done at Abbott’s Table. The dining room sat dark and empty, chairs stacked upside down over tabletops, the floors swept, mopped, and shiny under the green glow of the exit lights.

I checked the bar and both of the public heads, finding the same result: no Griffin. My pulse continued its mad speed. Danger juice soured in my bloodstream. His truck in the far corner of the Abbott’s Table parking lot could have meant a hundred different things on any other night—Griffin out having fun with some of his hockey league buddies, late fun, guy stuff. I knew he wasn’t with the Ice Queen. No, after what had happened and the kiss that followed, Griffin wouldn’t have gone back to confront my cousin, November Abbott.

That kiss…

For a wonderful instant, the storm cloud dissolved, and I was in my car again, his big hand cupping my cheek, his mouth crushed over mine, claiming me as his and offering me all he had to give in return. I remembered the warm scent of pinesap, of Griffin’s magnificent body, the swell of his erection pressing against me as we kissed, and the certainty that what we both felt, while undeniably physical, went past simple attraction. Dare I again think it? Love.

I loved Griffin, and he loved me.

The rain pounding the world outside the restaurant’s windows unleashed eerie silver dapples across the dining room. I stood pondering, waiting for a sound, a sign. When none came, I turned and hastened back in the direction of the kitchen exit.

“Whitney…”

I dug in my sneaker treads on the rubber mat set between the kitchen and rear door, at first thinking I’d hallucinated Griffin’s voice. But then I faced the direction of the sound and found myself staring at the one corner of the restaurant I hadn’t thought to search: the walk-in refrigerator and freezer.

Reaching the big stainless-steel door seemed to take longer than the actual few seconds. I tugged on the latch. The door resisted, as though someone was pulling at the same time from the other side. The inner voice that had told me a week earlier to turn around, to not travel north to the town of Window, Maine, was back, urging me to get out. Just leave. Run!

I drew in a breath, smelling the rain, the kitchen’s funk, and the trace of clean, athletic sweat from the T-shirt I wore—Griffin’s sweat, and Griffin’s shirt, borrowed on an afternoon that now felt part of another decade. I pulled harder. The door released. A gust of cold, foggy air billowed out.

The front part of the walk-in was already lit up from inside, even though the light switch was off. I pushed through the long plastic strips of the freezer curtain and into the wide space that housed expensive cuts of tomahawk steaks, bins of heirloom tomatoes and other fresh produce from the local farmer’s market, and, I discovered, one sacrificial altar.

I froze, my eyes recording details—the waxy candles, three, burning around the body on the folding table, the sprigs of Datura stramonium Devil’s Snare flowers draped around the nude man’s corpse laid out in a funeral pose. I recognized the patch of hairy, athletic lower leg, upon which a winged lion had been inked.

“Griffin,” I gasped.

A breeze that hadn’t been there the previous second whispered through the walk-in, stirring the leaves of bunches of basil, parsley, and other fresh herbs. My paralysis broke. I moved beside the table, my eyes wide, not blinking. Griffin, naked, his hands folded over his midriff. Even as I reached my trembling fingers toward his and the voice in my head screamed for me to run—run from the restaurant, from Window, Maine, and, above all else, from Griffin—my eyes recorded the pallor of his skin. Griffin’s flesh was gray in the flickering candlelight.

My hand covered his. A chill raced up my fingertips. He was icy to the touch. No, impossible—hours before, in that other era, he’d held me, kissed me. And I had seen proof of our tomorrow together even as the storm clouds raced over our heads. Griffin had pledged his love and promised to return.

I glanced at Griffin’s big jock feet—still sexy despite their grayness, up his legs, past his junk, and all the way to his eyes, clamped shut. I gripped his hands, the fingers interlaced in prayer, and squeezed.

“Griffin!”

The dead man’s eyes shot open. Gone was their beyond-blue color—what I’d come to think of as twin sapphire gemstones. What focused upon me now was a pair of predator’s eyes with a wolf’s silver sharpness. The hands beneath my fingers abandoned their illusion of prayer and seized hold of my arm. I shrieked, attempting to pull away. Right before the corpse’s legs swung out and the altar collapsed, toppling candles, I saw Griffin’s mouth open. He licked his lips. His teeth chattered. The dead man salivated hungrily.

And then his weight spilled on top of me, and he was snapping at my throat.

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Meet the Author

Raised on a healthy diet of creature double features and classic SF television, Gregory L. Norris is a full-time professional writer, with work appearing in numerous short story anthologies, national magazines, novels, the occasional TV episode, and, so far, one produced feature film (Brutal Colors, which debuted on Amazon Prime January 2016). A former feature writer and columnist at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), he once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager. Two of his paranormal novels (written under my rom-de-plume, Jo Atkinson) were published by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape With Romance” line — the first time HSN has offered novels to their global customer base. He judged the 2012 Lambda Awards in the SF/F/H category. Three times now, his stories have notched Honorable Mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Best-of books. In May 2016, he traveled to Hollywood to accept HM in the Roswell Awards in Short SF Writing.His story “Drowning” appears in the Italian anthology THE BEAUTY OF DEATH 2, alongside tales by none other than Peter Straub and Clive Barker. Follow his literary adventures at http://www.gregorylnorris.blogspot.com.

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Love Shifters and Romance? Check out Ta Weezo’s Blues by Layla Dorine (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Ta Weezo’s Blues

Author: Layla Dorine

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 24, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 24800

Genre: Paranormal, college, professor, student, shapeshifter, teacher’s pet, poet, author, ferret shifter

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Synopsis

Sabre never had any intentions of becoming the teacher’s pet. In fact, most of his school years have been spent trying to avoid attention. The scar that mars his cheek has made him wary of strangers, their questions and prying eyes leave him feeling exposed in ways he’s uncomfortable with. Accustomed to blending in, he lurks around the shadows in the back of classrooms, turning in exemplary work but rarely taking part in discussions.

Professor Locklear’s Native lit class is different though. Sabre’s interest in the subject matter, coupled with a dedicated scholar’s need to turn in the best work possible, leads him to seek out a more advanced reading list, much to the delight of Professor Locklear. When he comes across Sabre reading material beyond even the advanced list, Professor Locklear invites on a fieldtrip to a nearby village. Along the way he learns more than just the knowledge contained in the books. He learns about trust and discovers that there are others out there just like him— shapeshifters.

What he believed was an individual anomaly turns out to be something beyond legend and lore, a whole different culture he’d never known existed. The only way he can move forward is to let his shields down long enough to trust the man whose conversations he’s come to enjoy, but to do that, he’ll have to stop distancing himself from everyone.

Excerpt

Ta Weezo’s Blues
Layla Dorine © 2018
All Rights Reserved

The hallway smelled of old dust and coconut curry, setting Sabre’s stomach growling as he trudged the last few feet to Professor Locklear’s door. Instinctively, he pulled his hood low, casting a shadow over his eyes, and with practiced ease, he swept his hair forward. It would have to do. Sucking in a deep breath, he counted to five before letting it out slowly, then licked his lips, and knocked on the door.

“Come in!”

The voice was slightly muffled by the wood that Sabre partially shoved open, only enough to poke his head in about halfway.

“Excuse me, professor, do you have a minute?”

Sabre kept his head angled, watching Professor Locklear out of the corner of his eye. Several moments passed before his professor stopped writing and placed the pen beside his notebook, raised his head, adjusted his glasses, checked the clock, and then brushed a stray strand of hair back from where it had fallen over one eye.

“I have a few, so you might as well come in. No sense hovering half in and half out of the doorway.”

Sabre shuffled forward, carefully keeping his eyes lowered as much as possible.

“So, what can I help you with? Are you in one of my classes?”

“Yes sir, I’m in your ten o’clock Introduction to Native Literature class.”

“Ahh, you must be the one who sits in the corner by the emergency exit, where it’s nice and dark. I have to admit, when you first chose that spot, I assumed you were looking for a place to nap, but you’ve since proved me wrong. Whenever I look your way, you’re focused intently on me or the power point.”

“Yes, sir. I enjoy the material and some of the discussions are pretty fascinating.”

“Really? In that case, why is it that you’ve never taken part in any of them?”

Shuffling from one foot to the other, Sabre carefully contemplated the question before responding. “I try to let my papers speak for me. I’m bad at public discourse. I get tongue-tied and trip over words or end up being so hesitant that people talk over me. When I’m writing, I can organize my thoughts and present a more complete analysis of what I’ve read.”

“Sounds as if you are extremely self-aware. Not a common trait these days, I’m afraid. Still, if you feel you have something to add to a conversation, then I hope you won’t refrain from doing so, er… I’m sorry. You’ll have to help me out with your name.”

“It’s Sabre.”

“Ahh, yes, one of the more unique ones this year. You’re right; your papers are remarkably organized, well thought out and quite complex in their reasoning. I must admit, you’ve had me rereading a few things I haven’t gone through in years just to understand why you’ve presented some of your comparisons in the manner in which you’ve organized them.”

Sabre grinned, a surge of pride rushing through him. “Thank you. That’s actually why I stopped by. I was wondering if you had any books you could recommend, similar to the required material for the course. I’ve finished reading everything on the syllabus, plus the referred texts I came across when I was researching; killed a couple piles of sticky notes and pens in the process, too, so now I’m hoping for more.”

The professor’s eyes went wide and he steepled his hands on the desktop calendar, tapping his fingertips together as he slowly scrutinized Sabre, making him shuffle more and tug at his hoodie to ensure it shadowed his face.

“Try as you might, I don’t think you’re going to change colors and blend into the woodwork. If you do, I think I’d have to take a half day off and schedule an immediate exam with my optometrist,” Professor Locklear remarked with a chuckle. “You can grab a seat, you know. I’m not a fire-breathing dragon about to roast you for stepping into my lair, though I wish I could singe a student or two when I catch them snoring.”

Sabre chuckled softly but didn’t come any closer.

“I guess not. Well, I must say your question caught me a bit off guard. It’s not one I’m used to, at least not from someone who wasn’t required to take my class. Are you considering adding Native Studies as a minor? You are a junior, correct?”

“No, sir. I’m a senior.”

“Ahh, okay. So are you looking for something specific?”

“Well, I, umm, really enjoyed Reservation Blues, so I found the other Sherman Alexie books and read them too. I loved the myths and legends book you assigned, and Fools Crow and Love Medicine were extremely fascinating. I read House Made of Dawn twice, not because I didn’t understand it the first time, but because it resonated with me, and I was compelled to reread it. I didn’t dislike any of the assigned reading if that helps at all?”

A long, low whistle emanated from the professor, who cocked an eyebrow at him, clearly impressed at all the reading Sabre had already done in just the first five weeks of the semester.

“It does, though there was no reason to finish the course load in a few weeks’ time; wouldn’t want you to burn yourself out.”

“It was easy, though. I always work ahead. My work-study job is in the library, shelving books and working at the research center desk, answering phone calls and emails. I usually have a ton of downtime and write most of my papers there. Plus, I’m carrying a light course load, four classes, since that’s all I need for graduation.”

“Well then, let me see what I can do to find you something.”

Rummaging around on his desk, Professor Locklear began moving neat stacks of paper until he finally found something of interest. Sabre watched as he perused the list before finally holding it out for him to take.

“Try these; it’s the reading list for my Native Literature 103 class, since I’m pretty sure between your papers and what you just told me, you’ve read most of the books for the 102. See if any of these interest you, and if you have any questions or would care to discuss them, please feel free to come back, or you can stop in my Native Lit discussion group. We meet in the atrium every Wednesday night at eight. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll be inspired to participate.”

“Thanks, I’ll umm… I’ll think about it,” Sabre said, still staring at the proffered paper. Reaching it meant he’d have to move closer, into the brighter lights above Professor Locklear’s desk. Biting his lip, Sabre took the three steps to the desk hesitantly, keeping his eyes on the paper and not the man.

“Are you okay? Is something wrong?”

The concern in his voice was what made Sabre raise his head, and the moment he realized what he’d done, he ducked it again, took the paper, and backed away until he felt the door at his back. Twisting around, he fumbled for the doorknob.

“Wait.”

Pausing, Sabre gripped the knob, never turning back.

“If you’re hiding in the shadows because of that scar, please know it isn’t necessary.”

Sabre touched his cheek, stroking his fingertips along the rough edges of the raised, puckered skin as the memory of moonlight striking glass from a busted bottle flashed through his mind. Almost instantly, his breathing picked up, and his chest felt tight as the first stirrings of panic surged through him.

“I’ve got to go,” Sabre muttered, nearly smacking himself in the face with the door as he wrenched it open. “Thanks, professor.”

“You’re welcome, but…”

Sabre took off before he heard the rest, sprinting up the curry-scented hall, the stench making him gag. Bursting through the outer door, the fall air hit him like a gut punch, carrying with it the scent of dying leaves. He gagged, bile rising in his throat. Skidding to a halt beside a bush, he vomited, grateful nothing but acid remained in his stomach. By the time he finished, he’d broken out in a cold sweat and felt gross and tired, wanting nothing more than to get back to his dorm room and take a long, hot, shower and climb into bed with a movie.

Glancing at the slightly crumpled list he gripped in his fist, Sabre sighed before smoothing it against his thigh, folding it carefully, and tucking it into the pocket of his hoodie. Shoulders slumped, he turned and trudged back toward his dorm, grateful the day was at an end. All in all, it had been both a success and a disaster. Next time, he’d just email his request, he decided, as a cold wind made him shiver and debate what the hell he’d been thinking, going to see his professor in person.

“Stupid,” he muttered as his short walk came to an end at his dorm.

For a so-called genius, he sure could be an idiot sometimes.

Purchase

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Meet the Author

Layla Dorine lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

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New Release Blitz Tour for Santa is a Vampire by Damian Serbu (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Santa is a Vampire

Author: Damian Serbu

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 26, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance, Male/Male

Length: 76800

Genre: Paranormal, vampire, elf, humor, satire, reindeer

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Synopsis

Simon the Elf wants to tell you the true story behind Jolly Ole St. Nick. Yeah, he’s a vampire. But that alleged gift giver and lover of children hides more than that fact from you. And what about Mrs. Claus and Rudolph? Venture into a world of enslaved elves, enchanted animals, and death wrought by Santa himself. With his sharp wit, Simon will lead you into the darkest realms of Christmas. Warning: Simon cusses a lot. But you would, too, if Santa held you captive.

Excerpt

Santa is a Vampire
Damian Serbu © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Jolly old St. Nicholas. What a laugh.

If you only knew the real story behind Santa Claus. He keeps it buried for a reason, after all. Because you’d hunt him down up there in his North Pole ice castle if you even had a remote idea regarding his real identity.

Mrs. Claus and Rudolph too. Well, maybe not the missus. It’s complicated. But more on them later. Back to Santa.

Let’s peek in on this esteemed man who brings gifts to children and represents the blessed holiday of Christmas, shall we? He would kill me if he found out I leaked this information. Well, I intend to leak it, no matter the consequences, because I’m keeping this in a journal. If you’re reading it, I probably succeeded. Which means dead Simon the Elf, for sure, if he discovers me telling people any of this information. But death might improve my situation since this enslavement sucks big ones. I started this secret blog and will release it without concern for my well-being.

So, if you’re reading it, I’m probably dead.

This first little story will tantalize you, get your feet wet with everything I want you to learn.

It’s late November, so Santa moves around a lot more freely because everyone expects to see him out there, greeting the children and gathering their Christmas orders. A lot of fools dress up like him to please the little kiddies or earn a buck. Everyone sees these fake Santas everywhere they go. Good enough for the real Santa Claus, because it hides him. He appears as another of the fool Santas walking about during the holidays.

That and his silly outfit disguise him—What a costume he picked!—but again it serves his purpose well. The ridiculous beard and red outfit mean Christmas cheer, presents, and a happy fat man coming to spread joy. Of course, he manages a real beard and authentic outfit to intensify the experience when people meet him.

Do you know why he wears red? I do. It hides the blood stains better. Okay, confession time. I’m throwing out my theory, but don’t ask for proof. He never said that or explained the red. It just makes sense to me. Even though he usually cleans the blood up. Oops. Getting ahead of the story again. Let’s take a deep breath and refocus.

By the way, in case you require my credentials, I’m an elf. Trapped against my will to do Santa’s bidding. More later.

Okay, focus. Late November. Turkey Day’s come and gone and Santa enters prime time. He creeps out of the ice palace, chains the poor reindeer to the sleigh, and speeds away, with a couple of elves, including me, enchanted in the sled against our will. We never know, until he issues a command, what he intends for us. Sometimes we ride along to keep him company; sometimes we get clean-up duty; sometimes we have to help.

We fly over various parts of the world, almost land in Germany until Santa spies one of those Secret Hunters. “Dangerous. Let’s go someplace else.”

“Scared, are ya?” I glance over at him. “Ouch!” Santa backhands me. It’s another curse of mine, but one I came to elfdom with. See, I’m a bit of a smart-ass and can’t hold my tongue. Gets me in trouble a lot.

“Let’s find someplace more hospitable.” Santa instructs the reindeer to change course and never answers my question. But I suppose the slap upside the head could be considered an answer, of sorts.

To America, the land of advancement and scientific reasoning. I recognize the coastline right away. Why, even the hardcore Christians dismiss Santa as a legend based on an alleged saint from the past. Saint, indeed. But such thinking helps hide his true identity.

We swoop over New York, but Santa seldom likes to hunt there because it doesn’t really present a risk. Masses of people living on top of each other, often killing and dying without his assistance. Where’s the challenge in hiding a body in that mess?

Moving right along, the reindeer glide over the little town of Wilmington, Ohio. It offers Santa everything he desires. I know from experience. Remote. Tranquil. Peaceful for the most part. Until a dead body materializes right in the midst of the holiday cheer. Santa’s way of taking a dump on Season’s Greetings in a happy little community.

So Santa guides the sleigh over Wilmington College and sets it down in the town cemetery. We can’t land on roofs yet, without people wondering if Santa’s calendar got all out of whack. Few people enter a cemetery in the midst of a cold November so we can hide out here.

He orders the reindeer to shut up, except Rudolph, who gets to run and do his own thing. He trots off with his bright-red nose high in the air. The other reindeer stay here. I often wonder if anyone questions the sudden appearance of reindeer manure where no reindeer exist. Of course, even if they thought about it, no one would come to the conclusion that Santa hid his sleigh and reindeer in the cemetery for a spell. Because most over the age of seven don’t think he exists.

Once he gets the reindeer squared away, Santa tells a couple of my fellow elves—two I think are big assholes, so you know—to watch the sleigh and get the hell out of Dodge if anyone shows up. Santa can summon us from afar, so no worries there.

Me? I get the distinction of tagging along with him. He makes me his personal assistant on these sublime missions because he knows how much I despise it. The killing. The secrecy. And his perfect disguise of being Santa. Well, this pains me to admit, but I think he also enjoys my company for some twisted reason, especially my mocking of him and constant chatter. We have a complicated relationship, to put it mildly, compelling him to keep me close, no matter how much I detest it.

My compadres snicker as I run along to keep up with Santa. I take a second to stop, turn around, and give them the bird.

We saunter right down Main Street and wave at the passing cars when they honk. I almost puke every time he lets out a jovial, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Little kids run up to him and say hello, followed by asking for presents. He feigns delight and interest while holding back an inclination lurking beneath the surface. Sweet little kid blood.

We get far enough away from prying eyes to meander down a residential street. Then we wander around while Santa scouts the houses and makes an assessment of our target. This goes on for a couple hours, until most children lie sleeping in bed. Even most adults are passed out by now.

One car zooms past. I wonder what they think, seeing Santa amble down the road amidst these houses, lit up for the holidays. Do they think it’s someone’s dad, surprising the kids in disguise? A hired dude going to a party? Maybe it’s a stripper, dressed for the occasion until the ladies (or men) demand the pants and coat come off?

Nope. It’s the Real McCoy. And the lady behind curtain number one, alone in her house as she waits for her husband to get home from the night shift, just became dinner. Okay, I have no idea if a husband on a night shift exists. I lied to make the story better. But the woman sits alone in this normal-sized house. Looks like she’s dusting or cleaning something.

Sometimes Santa walks right up to the front door. Knocks or rings the bell, and the fools open it for him. Listen, even without Santa’s hidden reality, who opens their door for a dude in a Santa outfit unless you’re expecting the stripper I referenced?

Anyway, no front door this time. Or back door. Instead, he touches the side of his big-ass nose, grabs me by my neck, and yanks me along as we fly through the air, land on the roof, and plunge into the chimney. He could get in the fucking house any way he wants, by the way. He does the blackened chimney thing for two reasons. One, for effect. You know, back to living up to the legend and playing by the rules. Despite the fact the sleigh and reindeer remain hidden among the dead in the cemetery and not up here on the roof with us. No one will question a big guy in a Santa costume plopping into their fireplace and shouting out a “Yo!” It may startle them, but since it conforms to the legend, people tend to go with it. Idiots. Two, he does it tonight because I hate it. I hate heights. I hate flying. And I hate when he touches me.

We hit the fireplace grate and roll out onto the carpet in the living room, where we stand in triumph before the poor woman, who gives a yelp. Actually, she screams bloody murder.

“Shh, my dear one. Shh!” Santa puts his finger up to his lips and winks at her. “Nothing to fear. I imagine you didn’t believe in good ole Santa anymore? Adults so seldom do these days. But as you saw from my arrival through your chimney, I do, indeed, exist!” Santa sweeps his arms out with a flourish, to indicate his body and presence in the flesh.

The woman stops screaming, thank God, before my eardrums rupture.

“And this here is my worthy assistant, Simon.”

“I’m not here because I want to be—” Santa clamps his hand over my mouth and glares a warning. Right. I’ll stop, because getting locked in the ice dungeon when we get back to the North Pole totally sucks.

“Is he all right?” she asks him and points to me.

This is what gets me so pissed off. Stupid fucking people. I want to shout back at her. Hey! Lady! Wake up! A big fat ass plunged down your chimney with a little elf under his control. You scream, but because he wears a red suit and laughs and has a crazy beard, you relax and engage him? Trust me. You do not want to engage him!

Purchase

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Meet the Author

Damian Serbu lives in the Chicago area with his husband and two dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys. He has published The Vampire’s Angel and The Vampire’s Protégé with NineStar Press. Coming later this year from NineStar: The Vampire’s Quest and Santa Is a Vampire.

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99c Book Blast – Love Times Five by Lily G Blunt (excerpt and trailer)

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99c BOOK BLAST

Title: Love Times Five

Author: Lily G. Blunt

Cover Art: Jay Aheer at Simply Defined Art

Release Date: January 19, 2018

Genre/s:  paranormal, gay romance, contemporary, polyamory

Length: 77, 000 words

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Blurb

There’s safety in numbers and plenty of love to go around.

When Colin searches for his missing colleague and buddy in the hills of northern England, his life is changed forever. Not only does he find Shaun living in a cabin with the mysterious and undeniably gorgeous Zach, but he also discovers the reason Shaun went AWOL in the first place. Colin wants to draw his friend away to safety, but Zach soon mesmerises him, and he’s happy to stay in his company, for now.

Passing hikers, Wes and Dane, need some assistance, and the three men are willing to oblige. Thus begins a friendship that develops into much more.

The five men each have their own secrets. Some are shared, others are kept hidden. It’s only a matter of time before they are exposed and the consequences could change everything for them all.

 

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

99c for a limited time – Oct. 26 – Nov. 2

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Read Excerpt #1 HERE

 

Excerpt #2 

Colin yelped and stumbled back. The penknife fell from his grip as he connected with the solid ground and landed on his arse.

“What the fuck?” Colin gaped at the wild beast in front of him, not five feet away, and apparently protecting Zach, who stroked the wolf’s back as if he were petting a huge dog.

Colin blinked, hoping to clear his vision. Had he knocked his head? Was he dreaming? Had he been drugged too?

The wolf sniffed the air and pawed the grass, its tongue now lolling to the side of its mouth. Teeth, sharp and white and scary, distracted Colin from the animal’s other features. The scent of damp fur and woodland soil filled his nostrils, and warm panting breath ghosted over his face.

The wolf was real enough. No vision. No dream.

“What the fuck?” Colin said, keeping his eyes fixed on the animal as it slunk away to the trees. His heart pounded and his mind was a whirl of confused thoughts. He tried to swallow around a thick lump in his parched throat. “What the fuck just happened?”

Zach said nothing but offered a hand to Colin, which after a few seconds pause, Colin grasped. Between the two of them, they easily hauled his bulky frame to standing. He scanned the grass for his knife, relief racing in his veins when he spotted it nestled among two nearby clumps of greenery.

Colin glanced away from the knife in the direction the wolf had headed. Could it really be Shaun? “I don’t understand.”

“Of course, you don’t.” Zach’s mouth curved into a warm, genuine smile. His eyes glimmered, and some of the tension lifted from Colin’s shoulders. “You must be Colin. Shaun’s sexy boss. He’s told me all about you.”

“What?” Colin’s pulse still pounded, and confusion turned his thoughts to sludge, but his heart fluttered at the hope those words kindled. What the hell was happening? What was this arsehole saying? Shaun had never tried anything on with Colin, not even when they’d been drunk. And had Shaun really… turned into a… what the actual fuck?

“You didn’t think he was interested in you?” Zach arched an eyebrow, and his eyes sparkled. Again.

Before Colin could commit himself to an answer or ask any questions about the precarious state of his sanity, there was movement to his side.

Shaun stood naked, his hands cupped over his groin, a little unsteady on his feet. “Chuck us your T-shirt, Zach,” he rasped, not making eye contact with Colin, his cheeks scarlet.

Without hesitation, Zach shed his top and threw it at Shaun, leaving his own fine torso on display. Smooth, defined, firm—perfect. No wonder Shaun had hooked up with him. Colin wouldn’t stand a chance with this guy in the picture, even if Shaun had liked him once upon a time.

Why was he even thinking about such things right now? He’d just seen Shaun turn into a wolf, and now he was back again as himself. And shortly before that, this ridiculously handsome man had been sucking on his neck and was now acting as if he knew things about Shaun that Colin didn’t even know. Was he losing his mind?

Colin dragged his gaze back to Shaun, his chest and nakedness now hidden from view by the oversized T-shirt. He staggered closer to Colin, his legs unsteady as if he were drunk. Shaun collapsed into Colin’s arms, maybe a deliberate move rather than an uncontrolled stumble. As much as Colin wanted to hug him to his chest, he needed answers. Anger bubbled to the surface and exploded. Colin gripped Shaun by his biceps and held him back at arm’s-length.

“What the fuck is going on? What did I just see?” It took all of Colin’s willpower not to shake the answer out of Shaun. “And what’s this fucking guy been doing to you?”

Shaun trembled beneath his touch, and his voice was hoarse and uneven, not its usual sweet timbre. “It’s okay, Col. I promise you, I’m okay now.” He placed his palm on Colin’s shoulder. “I know it’s a lot for you to take in all at once. I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to explain before.”

His words didn’t tell Colin anything. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me you were leaving and where you were going? I’d have listened… and helped you.” What the fuck could Colin have done to help if Shaun was a—?

Zach cleared his throat, distracting them both. He moved closer, running his long fingers down those taut abs of his until they came to rest on the waistband of his perfectly clinging jeans.

Shaun gazed at Zach, over his body, the renewed flush of arousal evident in his eyes. Colin’s heart sank but gave a hopeful flip when Shaun looked back at him with that same darkened expression. “Hey, how about we go inside? I can get dressed, and then explain what’s been going on with me.”

For a moment, Colin feared he might be overpowered or drugged or something like that once they got him inside the cabin, perhaps in the same way Shaun might have been. He eyed his knife lying on the ground, tempted to bend down and scoop it up for some protection.

Zach chuckled, and in a smooth yet swift motion slid past Colin. “I think you dropped this.” His mouth nestled close to Colin’s ear, his voice deep, his breath cool. A curl of interest coiled its way around Colin’s groin at the closeness of the man. Zach gripped Colin’s hand, turning his palm face-up, and placed the missing knife softly against his skin.

Colin couldn’t help but let out a gasp. He hadn’t witnessed the knife being retrieved from the ground. Whoever this man was, he was fast. He would probably dodge any knife or fist that Colin hurled his way. No way was Colin walking from this meadow without finding out who this man was. He pocketed the knife, despite his doubts about its usefulness now.

Zach glided away, entwined his fingers around Shaun’s hand, and pulled him towards the cabin. With an encouraging look over his shoulder, Shaun waved his free hand behind him. “Come on. We need to talk.”

Colin really had no choice, so he followed them. He needed to find out what had happened to Shaun and what the hell was going on between him and Zach.

 

 

About the Author

Lily G. Blunt enjoys writing contemporary gay romance and paranormal stories. She loves to explore the relationship between two or more men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of feelings between them. Lily is often inspired by the lyrics to songs and is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head. Only a few of these ever make their way to the page.

Lily reviews for several blogs and has recently launched Gay Book Promotions, an online book promotion service for authors of LGBT+ romance and fiction. She loves to hear from readers and other authors.

 

Author Links

Amazon | Amazon UK Blog | Facebook

Goodreads | Twitter | Gay Book Promotions

 

 

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Release Blitz – Hidden Depths (Mermen & Magic # 5) by L.M. Brown (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Hidden Depths (Mermen & Magic Book 5)

Author: L.M. Brown

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Cover Artist: Erin Dameron-Hill

Genre/s: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, MMM Menage

Length: 79 500 words/237 pages

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Release Date: October 30, 2018

Add on Goodreads 

 

Buy Links

Pride Publishing  

Amazon UNIVERSAL LINK 

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

 

Blurb

Lost beneath the ocean, Atlantis has become a myth. When it rises from the deep everything will change for Kyle, Finn and the merpeople.

Jake Seabrook, a human descendant of Medina, the Atlantean Goddess of Love, never asked for magical powers. Unfortunately, not only does he have them, but they are also growing stronger as more of the Atlantean gods wake from their long slumber.

When Jake develops the power to hear the thoughts of anyone thinking about love, lust or sex, it is strange and embarrassing, but also reveals cracks in his relationship with his mermen lovers, Kyle and Finn. If they are going to continue to live as a ménage, they will have to learn to be honest with each other.

With Jake’s powers out of control and their relationship on shaky ground, the last thing any of them need is a crisis in the sunken city.

The Atlantean gods want to regain the powers they lost when the Atlantean people were banished from the city, but the solution will leave the mer who live in the city no choice but to evacuate and search for a new home or risk exposing the existence of the mer to the whole world.

Kyle and Finn return to Atlantis to help with the evacuation and insure the safety of their families, but time is not on their side. When Atlantis rises, the consequences could tear apart their ménage forever.

 

 

Excerpt

Kyle’s hand on his thigh took him by surprise. His mermen lovers were very sexual beings, but they tended to avoid public displays of affection, particularly in front of Finn’s parents. Jake stilled as Kyle moved his hand higher on his leg, dangerously close to Jake’s groin.

At his other side, Finn moved his chair closer and leaned on Jake’s shoulder. To the others at the table, it might appear as though Finn were reading the menu. Jake could tell he was doing nothing of the sort. A few more inches and Finn would be crawling onto his lap.

Then, even more disturbing than having his two lovers getting very up close and personal in public, Jake felt a foot rubbing his ankle.

The angle was wrong for it to be either of his lovers, which meant it must be someone else at the table. Directly opposite Jake, Alex smiled at him and winked.

Jake jerked his foot, delivering a sharp kick to Alex’s leg.

“Fuck!” Alex swore and reached under the table to rub his ankle.

“Alex!” Malcolm snapped.

“Jake kicked me,” Alex muttered.

“It was an accident,” Jake replied easily.

Alex glared at him for a moment before his face transformed and he offered the table a bright smile. “I’m sure it must have been. Jake would never want to hurt me, would you, babe?”

Babe? What the hell had gotten into Alex tonight?

Finn growled beside him and shot his brother a venomous look. “Did you call my boyfriend babe?”

“A slip of the tongue,” Alex said.

“Alex, are you drunk?” Summer asked.

“I’ve not touched a drop.” Alex smiled at his new wife.

“Then stop winding up Jake and your brother.”

“What about me?” Kyle asked. “You think it isn’t annoying me when your husband calls my boyfriend babe?”

“Sorry, Kyle,” Summer offered. “You didn’t seem as angry about it as Finn.”

“Well, I am,” Kyle snapped. “Jake’s my boyfriend, too, even if you all seem to forget it half the fucking time.”

No one bothered to scold Kyle about his language.

“Okay, let’s calm down everyone,” Malcolm said. “We’re disturbing the other patrons, so let’s order our food and try to enjoy the evening.”

Jake nodded and searched for the waiter. Tim hovered right behind him, pad and pen in hand.

“What would you like to eat?”

Since Tim seemed to expect it, Jake chose what he wanted first. Finally, everyone had placed their orders and Tim, somewhat reluctantly, went to put them in.

“Would you like anything else, darling?” Finn mumbled under his breath.

Jake wrapped his arm around Finn’s shoulder and gave him a quick hug. “There’s no need for jealousy, so stop worrying.”

Finn kissed him in response and Jake had to restrain himself from deepening the connection. He reminded himself they were in public and not everyone was comfortable with seeing two men kissing each other.

“I guess I’m not going to be getting a kiss while we’re here.”

Jake knew, without looking, that Kyle had not spoken the words he had heard.

“Finn’s the public boyfriend and I’m…the other one, I guess.”

Jake frowned as Kyle’s words sank in. Was that how Kyle saw himself? He thought back on the times he had been out in public with Kyle and Finn and he accepted that Kyle might have a point.

He wasn’t sure how or when it had happened, but somewhere along the way, Finn had become the more traditional boyfriend. When the three of them were out together, Finn’s hand was the one he held as they walked down the street. When he introduced his lovers to someone, he referred to Finn as his boyfriend but occasionally had stumbled a little with what to call Kyle. People simply didn’t expect there to be more than two people in a relationship.

Jake realized he had been so busy trying to reassure Finn that he wanted him and that he wasn’t simply a substitute for Alex, he had been neglecting Kyle.

 

About the Author 

 L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances. She believes that there is nothing hotter or sweeter than two men in love with each other… unless it is three.

When L.M. Brown isn’t bribing her fur babies for control of the laptop, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Google+

 

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Book Blast – Omega Challenge (Pine Creek Lake Den #4) by Quinn Michaels (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Omega Challenge

Series: Pine Creek Lake Den,  Book 4

Author: Quinn Michaels

Publisher: Global Grafx Press

Cover Artist: Pebbles Davis

Genre/s: Genre/s: gay romance, MMM, menage, omegaverse, mpreg, paranormal, wereshifters

 Length: 35,920 words

Release Date: September 26, 2018          

Add on Goodreads 

Buy Links

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

Link to chapters and all platforms

Blurb

One is forsworn. One is forsaken. One will pay.

Noah and Luther are in love. The problem, Luther is a beta, Noah is an omega, and their mating is forbidden. Worse, if Noah can’t find an acceptable alpha in the next three days, he will have no choice but to mate with Raymond, an alpha he despises.

Then Arthur arrives, and everything falls apart.

Arthur is an alpha with a secret. He and his mother were betrayed, and both wear the mark of it. Now, Arthur will stop at nothing to make the alpha who cursed them pay. Now, with revenge in his teeth, Arthur’s own body betrays him. Twice. Will Arthur sacrifice love and happiness for vengeance? Or will he choose another path?

Find out in Omega Challenge an action-packed Omegaverse romance. This is a short book set prior to the events of the other three books of the Pine Creek Lake series.

If you love shifters, mmm menage, alpha, omega, and beta dynamics, adventure, magic, and a touch of mpreg, grab Omega Challenge now!

Excerpt

The rock was red and rust-brown with fallen blood when the stranger approached.

He was large, blonde with a scruffy beard and a patch over his left eye. His right eye was gray. He wore a wide-brimmed cowboy hat, riding shirt and dungarees. Even from a distance, even through the smell of blood, this alpha’s scent was powerful. Noah felt something inside of him stir, like a vibrating banjo string only he could hear. To his embarrassment, his cock thickened.

Noah quickly averted his gaze. He took a gulp from a glass of lemonade he had been holding, and then, still feeling thirsty, he drank the last of it down.

Luther grazed his fingers over Noah’s neck, a seemingly absent touch, but one that grounded Noah. He didn’t dare look at the beta. His face was hot. He loved Luther, and this sudden attraction was a betrayal of the promises he’d made himself.

If only the alpha would leave. But no, he took his place in line behind another pair of alphas preparing to shed their blood and enter the Cluiche.

The stranger had a scar running from his hairline down his temple and beneath the eyepatch to the center of his cheek. Noah’s sight flashed. He saw a young, female omega wolf snapping her teeth. The edges of her muzzle were splattered with blood.

Noah blinked. In his moon vision, the alpha’s scar was a shimmering silver line.

Noah swallowed, wishing he had more lemonade.

The alpha approached the rock. “This is where I bleed for the challenge?”

Horace was quiet, and Noah scented fear on him.

Fear?

“Yes,” Noah said. The vision was beginning to fade, thankfully, but he couldn’t push away his attraction.

In one fluid motion, the stranger swiped a silver dagger over his palm. Squeezing his hand tight, he let three drops fall on to the stone. “I am Arthur, son of Marion,” he said, giving his family line and no pack affiliation.

A mutt.

Odd considering his youth and obvious physical strength. A small pack would have wanted an alpha and accepted him unless he had some deeper problem of disposition or character. Or maybe he was entering the Cluiche with the intention of proving himself so that he might join one of the packs here?  

The stranger, Arthur turned to leave.

Horace said, “Wait.”

The stranger turned back around. He cocked his head. “Yes?”

“Show us your eye. Under the patch.”

Horace didn’t have the sight. He hadn’t seen the scar shimmer, had he?

“The Cluiche is open to all,” Arthur said. “Pack or no.”

Noah leaned towards Horace and whispered, “He’s right. There’s no reason to embarrass him this way.”

Horace said, “Show us your eye, mutt.”

Arthur reached up and, taking the patch in a tight, almost white-knuckled grip, yanked it down. Where Noah had expected to see a hollow space, scarred and sewn over, the eye was amber. A wolf’s eye with the pupil rimmed in red and a line of white through the center, following the path of his scar.

Noah’s breath caught. Around him, the others went silent.

About the Author

Pennsylvania native, Quinn Michaels loves fantasy, werewolves and M/M mpreg romance! Her goal is to write action-packed adventures of romance, self-discovery, and second chances, all served up with a hefty helping of sweet, sexy Omegas and hot, determined Alphas who will do anything to cherish, love, and protect them. She is ecstatic to share her characters and worlds, and she hopes you enjoy them (and the sexy times!)

Her books are available on Kindle, via Gumroad directly, and also on Nook, iBooks, Kobo & Google Play.

Author Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Blog

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Release Blitz for Claw Marks & Card Games (Stallion Ridge #2) by Maz Maddox (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Claw Marks & Card Games (Stallion Ridge #2)

Author: Maz Maddox

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Shaleah Poster

Genre/s: m/m romance, paranormal, western, action/adventure

Length: 74 000 words

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Release Date: October 1, 2018

Can be read as stand-alone story.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Blurb

Cooper Woodlock is a man who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Between his gambling debt and being a widowed father, he can never seem to get Lady Luck back on his side.

Desperate for a winning hand, Cooper starts hitting saloons and tempting fate in order to keep the blood thirsty Spades at bay.

When a black clad gunslinger enters the game promising a slice of freedom, Cooper realizes all too late what he is actually playing for.

Excerpt

His cards were a sure thing. He was winning. He was about to double his winnings, and it was making his stomach dance, even as he kept his face schooled. This would ease the tension in his shoulders for a good month after tonight. The Spades would be off his back, and he could figure out his job situation. Hell, he’d even get Marybell some sweets to celebrate. His daughter deserved something nice. 

This beautiful stranger not only saved his life, but was also about to make some of his troubles ease for a little while. As their cards were tossed onto the table and Cooper drank in the sight of each hand, a cold pit formed in his gut. 

He had lost.

Everything.

All the winnings of the night were swallowed up by one goddamn game. Cold sank into his bones as the blood drained from his face, his eyes locked on Gunner’s winning spread. The man didn’t make a move to collect everything. Instead he sat back and pulled a rolled cigarette from his vest and put it between his teeth.

“Guess you were right about your luck,” he said casually, striking a match and lighting his cigarette. The flare of the fire close to his face made his green eyes seem to glow as he focused them on Cooper’s devastated face.

“Fuck,” Cooper whispered, putting his head in his hands, fisting some of his hair in heartbreak. He had been so damn close to getting some peace in his life, and he blew it all in one stupid game of chance. Hell, he had almost died for that pot, and now it was all gone.

Smoke curled around Gunner’s face as he exhaled some smoke from his lips. “Win it back.”

Cooper shook his head, pulling his glasses off to rub at his tired eyes. “I ain’t got it in me. Not after all this.” Cooper huffed. “My head’s turned inside out, and my stomach’s in knots.”

“You have a chance to not leave empty-handed.” 

Cooper glanced up as Gunner reached into his pocket, taking out a stack of rolled bills and tossing it onto the table. If Cooper’s jaw was able to reach the floor, it would have bounced off his boots. That stack was probably hundreds of dollars. Hundreds. Something that would actually put a real dent in what he owed the Spades and give him and Marybell a slice of life back.

Working some saliva back into his cottonmouth, Cooper finally croaked, “I ain’t got that much to wager.”

“What else do you have to wager?” Gunner asked, pulling from his cigarette, his tone deceptively calm. Cooper narrowed his eyes and pulled his glasses back on, sitting up taller to not look so defeated. 

“What are you asking me, exactly?”

About the Author

Maz is an m/m romance fanatic, dabbles in yaoi, adores dinosaurs and writes romance stories with a healthy heaping of adventure mixed in.

When she’s not pairing up Centaurs with bank robbers, she’s plotting new stories and sending inappropriate texts to her friends.

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter: @mazmaddox  

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New Book Release Blitz for Death Days by Lia Cooper (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Death Days

Author: Lia Cooper

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 6, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 70000

Genre: Paranormal, college, teaching, magic, dark, slow burn, age gap, vampires, shifters

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Synopsis

By day, Professor Nicholas Littman works as an itinerant professor at a small college in the Pacific Northwest. He teaches seminars on mythology and the intersections of folklore and magic in the ancient world. By night, he’s the local necromancer, a rare magical talent that has left him alienated from other practitioners.

All Nick wants from life is to be left alone to run his magical experiments and teach kids the historical context of magic without anyone being the wiser. Unfortunately, his family is sworn to sit on the council of the Order of the Green Book—a group of magicians dating back to the Crusades—and they aren’t willing to take Nick’s no for an answer.

As though that wasn’t bad enough, a coven of Night Women has arrived in town, warning Nick that there are wolves at his door he had better take care of. But what can one necromancer do when every natural and supernatural card seems stacked against him?

Excerpt

Death Days
Lia Cooper © 2018
All Rights Reserved

One: The Professor
“Today we’re talking about the elision that occurs between Thoth worship in pre-Ptolemaic Egypt and early Greece. Let’s break into four groups for seminar,” Professor Nicolas Littman said, eyeing the half-empty teaching theater. He divided the room with a sweep of his arm and glanced at the clock on the back wall.

“We’ll meet back here in thirty minutes to discuss your thoughts as a group. And I want every small group to come up with a question to pose to the rest of us.”

He felt gratified at the way they began shuffling together into little clusters without further prompting.

“One of you should go use the lounge outside,” he said, waving absently at the small group at the very back of the room.

He didn’t care if they took the direction or not. He trusted in every student’s desire to escape the four walls of the classroom given a millimeter of freedom. All that mattered was that he now had thirty minutes of his own time in which to play hooky.

Nick grabbed a book and the vape out of his bag, and slipped out of the left-hand exit.

Why someone in the administration had decided to give him a corner theater for this class was beyond him. Four credits on Hermetic Mythologies and Cosmologies was hardly in demand. Especially when it was offered as a four-and-a-half-hour option on Saturdays. But if it meant they got a spacious room and the otherwise empty SEM II C building to themselves, he shouldn’t complain. His students could spread out to their hearts’ content, leaving him to steal outside to smoke without anyone around to gripe at him.

“Not even a proper smoke,” he muttered, flicking the round silver device on, warming the metal under his hand.

Nick sat on the concrete with his back to the building’s cement exterior and his knees bent, pressed the tip of the vape between his lips, and held down the button for a long, comforting drag. He closed his eyes to the bright sun and tipped his head back against the wall. Vapor streamed out of his pursed lips in a thick, fragrant cloud and pooled in the air above his head.

“Hiding from the students again?” an amused voice asked from above.

“I’m not hiding,” Nick grumbled.

A thin body lowered itself down onto the ground next to him, all long spidery limbs that folded with the kind of soft careless agility Nick hadn’t felt in a decade or two.

He looked over at his—teaching assistant wasn’t the word. Technically, Josiah didn’t work for him at all. He was just an independent contract student working on an eight-credit history project, but he let Nick use him like a TA so that’s how he always thought of him.

“What do you call this?” Josiah asked, knocking their shoulders together.

“Seminaring.”

Josiah’s face crumpled up with amusement. His flexible mouth stretched into a laugh while his shoulders shook. Nick held out the vape on offer and waited for Josiah to notice.

“Is it peppermint?” he asked.

Nick nodded.

“No thanks.”

“I’m not buying cake or whatever it is you like.”

“Are you trying to say there’s something wrong with cake?” Josiah returned Nick’s stony look with a nonplussed expression.

“It’s unna—”

“First of all: I don’t remember tobacco ever coming in ‘peppermint flavor’ before, and second: everything you do is unnatural, so that’s not a valid argument coming from you, Professor Littman.”

Nick grimaced. “Don’t call me that.”

“Nick.”

He sighed and took another long drag off his vape, waiting for the nicotine to soothe the flutter in his heart that Josiah’s words had kicked up. Nothing he did was natural. The kid had no idea just how right he was. Nick glanced down at his empty hand, automatically checking his nails for pesky traces of dirt, but there was nothing unusual to see. He’d scrubbed up hard the night before. Done a thorough job not to leave any of those unnatural traces that might have given Josiah a better-formed picture of what his professor and academic adviser got up to in his free time.

Shit, even in his head, he sounded like a pervert.

“You’re wrong. Some things I do are perfectly natural.”

“Like what?”

Nick gave the young man a slow look. “You have a very active imagination, Mr. Wexler.”

“The imagination is a hungry organ, seeking perpetual nourishment. I like to think that it’s not so much I’ve got an active imagination, but rather a well-fed one.”

“That you feed on thoughts of me?” Nick smiled, playing the comment off as a joke even though it left something low and hot in his body to sit up with interest. A curl of amused interest that quivered at the thought of a bright young man captivated by thoughts of him, even if they were merely frustrated or prurient or the passing whim of childish fancy, as he suspected was the case.

“Sometimes,” Josiah admitted, looking away.

The two of them sat in companionable silence until the phone in Nick’s pocket hiccupped its alarm to let him know that the requisite thirty-minute small group had passed, and he had to return again to face the lethargy of his classroom.

“Did you need something?” he asked, using the wall to push himself to his feet, and slipped the vape back into his pocket.

Josiah pulled out a sheaf of printouts from his backpack and held them up for Nick to take. “Two new chapters. I wanted to get your thoughts on them before I continue. It took a—the narrative took a direction we haven’t discussed before.”

“All right. I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thanks.”

“Do you want to come in?”

“Nah, I’ve got to meet Jen. Talk to you next week?”

Nick nodded.

Above them, the sky had dimmed as sure as if someone had taken a dimmer switch to the sun. Dark clouds cast a clear, watery gray light over campus, the edges of the quad hemmed in on all sides by towering dark trees that only helped to feed into the illusion of night creeping over them. The air smelled as though it were about to rain, bitterly cold and damp.

“Do you think it’s going to snow?” Josiah asked, climbing to his feet.

Nick shook his head. “Not a chance.”

He filed back into the teaching theater behind the stragglers. Sixty minutes for discussion and in-class readings, and then he’d be free for the rest of the weekend. Nick perched his feet on the edge of his desk, saw the streaks of mud clinging to his shoes, and dropped them again. He cleared his throat and looked out at the crowd for the first person to meet his eyes.

“Ah, Amelia, why don’t you start us off with a brief summary of what your group discussed.”

He folded his arms over his chest and listened with half an ear while his focus strayed repeatedly to the darkening sky and the promise of rain.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Lia Cooper is a twenty-something native of the Pacific Northwest, voracious reader, pop-culture addict, and writer. She cultivated an early interest in writing through fandom and completed writing her first full length novel with the help of NaNoWriMo.

In the years since, she’s dabbled in catering, barista-ing, and working as a pastry chef before finally returning full time to the thing she loves most: storytelling.

When she’s not glued to Scrivener, Lia enjoys playing video games with friends and reviewing books for her booktube channel.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

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Release Blitz – The Selkie Prince’s Fated Mate ( The Royal Alphas #1) by J.J. Masters (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Selkie Prince’s Fated Mate: An MM Mpreg Shifter Romance

Series: The Royal Alphas, Book 1

Author: J.J. Masters

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Megan Parker of EmCat Designs

Genre/s: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Gay, mpreg

Length: 56 427 words/236 pages

It’s a standalone story. The first in a series.

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

A Selkie prince forced to produce an heir. An omega destined to become a royal’s fated mate…

Prince Kai’s life as he knows it is now over. As the firstborn alpha to the Selkie King of the North, he’s required to produce an heir. Whether he wants to or not. When the Selkie Seekers finally present his fated mate, he dreads being tied to this stranger for the rest of his life. He can only hope his omega will be easy on the eyes and somewhat intelligent.

Raised in a family of good breeding, Luca always knew it was possible he’d end up the mate for an alpha of nobility. Only to whom, he never knew. Every time the Seekers summoned him for the humiliating presentation ceremony to royalty of all levels, he feared being stuck with some unbearable, abusive or very unattractive alpha. As an omega he doesn’t have the choice to say no. Not only is it his obligation, it’s the law. If he refuses, he and his family would become outcasts and banished from the Selkie community.

However, as soon as Kai enters the Great Hall of the North, it’s clear that the handsome prince is his alpha. Luca’s pleased with the choice the fates made until the king demands that not only he become pregnant within six months but produce an alpha pup with his son, otherwise he’ll be cast aside. And getting pregnant might be a problem…

Note: A 56k word m/m shifter mpreg story, this is the first book in the Royal Alpha series. Due to the “knotty” times in this book, it is recommended for mature readers only. It can be read as a standalone and, of course, has an HEA.

Excerpt

Luca wandered around the large suite feeling a little overwhelmed. He had been brought here by a beta servant right after finishing dinner. Not that he had eaten much since his stomach had been tied in knots.

How could it not be? He had sat for two long hours next to his new alpha. Imagine that! His fated mate turned out to be an actual prince and next in line for the throne as the King of the North.

That meant whatever heirs he produced with this prince could eventually succeed the throne. Whatever pups he bore would be princes in their own right.

But that wasn’t what made him slick with excitement. No, that wasn’t it at all. It was the alpha himself.

Being raised in a family of good breeding, Luca always knew that it could be possible he’d end up being the fated mate for an alpha of nobility. Who and where he never knew. As soon as he had become “of age,” the Selkie Seekers had summoned him time and time again to present him to royalty of all levels. From a king all the way to the lowest level of Selkie nobility, a baronet.

He couldn’t say he enjoyed any of the presentations. They were somewhat humiliating. However, over the last ten years, he’d gotten used to them. Well, as much as he could get used to being nude in a head down, ass up position in front of a crowd. Sometimes for up to an hour at a time.

Each time he was summoned he had hoped he wouldn’t get stuck with some unbearable, abusive or very unattractive alpha. Because if he did, he knew he had to do his duty no matter what and rut with whomever it was. As an omega, he didn’t have a choice to turn away the mate fates handed him.

It was his obligation and, more importantly, it was the law. If he refused, he and his family would be banished from any and all Selkie communities. They would become outcasts.

However, as soon as Prince Kai had entered the Great Hall of the North, he knew that the male was his alpha. Luca’s slick glands had started to leak just slightly, and his hole had loosened in preparation for mating. At that point, it took all that Luca had to remain in place, to stay in his submissive position as the alpha strode around them, inspecting the offering of omegas.

Of course, Luca had snuck in some peeks here and there and was pleased to find that his alpha was in his prime. Tall, broad-chested, dark-haired, and… simply handsome. When the regal prince had brought Luca to his feet, he’d lost his breath as he stared into those Caribbean blue eyes. The ones that bore straight into his soul.

Luca had been overcome with relief that his alpha was not only easy on the eyes but not much older than him. And from what he could tell over dinner, even though conversation was a bit difficult with the table being so long and the royal family being so spread out, his alpha seemed to be intelligent.

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About the Author  

J.J. Masters is the alter-ego of a USA Today bestselling author who writes hot, gay romance filled with heart, humor and heat. J.J. became fascinated with mpreg romance as soon as she figured out what mpreg stood for. She loves to write about “knotty” men!

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RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

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Release Blitz for Cold Like Snow by Sita Bethel (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Cold Like Snow

Author: Sita Bethel

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: July 23, 2018

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 65400

Genre: Paranormal, paranormal, ghosts, established couple, musicians, mild BDSM, ménage

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Synopsis

When René moves into his new home, he didn’t expect it to come with roommates. Two handsome roommates, to be precise. Too bad they’re ghosts.

The fact that they’re dead doesn’t stop them from running their fingers through René’s hair or tackling him onto the bed. It’s not long before things escalate and René finds himself with two ghost lovers that treat him better than any living partner ever has.

However, they can’t eat, can’t go far from the house where they died, and their fingers feel like icicles against René’s skin. The longer René is with them, the more he can sense them, but nothing can reduce the chill of their bodies against his. Still, it might be worth the hypothermia.

Excerpt

Cold Like Snow
Sita Bethel © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
René stood in front of the doorway and ran his finger over the outline of the key’s metallic surface before wedging it into the lock and stepping inside his new house. The cold air puckered the skin of his arms and neck. He rubbed his shoulders to keep them warm as he looked around. The flooring throughout the house was black-and-white linoleum. A wide living area faced him—to his left was a fireplace, straight ahead stood double glass doors leading to a small garden, and to his right a half bathroom, dining area, and kitchen. Between the dining room and the glass door, a staircase with a thick cherrywood banister curved up to the three bedrooms and a full bathroom.

René walked to the staircase and stopped short of the first step. He examined the black-and-white squares. They looked clean at first glance, but since he was searching, René noticed the thin rust-colored lines between the tiles. It was why he had bought the house. He’d heard the two previous owners had died after falling down the stairs. Afterward, the old building fell victim to exaggerated ghost stories. True, it did make the building more affordable, but the real reason it appealed to René was because he loved ghost stories and all things macabre. Ever since he was a child, tales that made others grimace had made René smile. He squatted to the floor and reached out to graze his fingertips against the tiles.

A long sigh escaped from between René’s lips. He stood and headed to his moving truck. After several hours of carrying boxes in, he decided to save the larger furniture for the next day. René lit a fire; orange light crawled across the floor and walls. He unrolled his sleeping bag near the hearth and slipped inside. The old house creaked. The silence in the house amplified every other noise, which echoed like a lullaby and soothed René into a hard sleep.

At dawn, before René was fully awake, he dreamed someone dragged their fingers through his hair. He rolled on his side, muttering, “It’s too cold to get up.” The next time he opened his eyes, sunlight brightened the room through the garden doors. He sat up, rubbed his face, and remembered the odd dream of being petted. He smiled at the dream as he stretched and moaned. René slipped out of the sleeping bag and shuffled toward the kitchen to make coffee.

The day labored on as René set upon the tedious mission of dragging his furniture inside his house by himself. Most items—the bed, the office desk, his baker’s rack—he had dissembled before loading into the rental truck, but a few pieces—the washer, dryer, and sofa—he had to strap to a dolly with bungee cords, making it slow to get them inside the house. There was nothing better to do during the constant back and forth than think. He’d spent most of his thirty-four years of existence rushing past his own life. He’d sped through junior high and high school as fast as he could, desperate to get away from the small-minded town where his aunt and uncle had raised him after his parents died of heat exhaustion during a camping trip. After he graduated, René fled to the nearest city, waiting tables to scrape up enough cash for a small apartment while he earned his associate degree. He jumped into a relationship with the first guy who openly pursued him, infatuated by the bold, flirtatious attitude that René never experienced from any of the guys back home. Even after his heart broke, René hurried straight to the next boyfriend, who ended up being much worse than the first.

He learned his lesson after that one, sticking to casual hookups as he focused on work and his studies. Once he finished school, René was desperate to find a job where he could afford more than ramen noodles and dollar-store socks. Now he was at a point in his life where he wanted nothing more than to appreciate everything he obtained and accomplished over the years. He escaped the small town. He made enough money to pay his bills. He finally bought a house. René wanted a chance to breathe and enjoy it. Perhaps find a decent partner who wanted to settle down, or at least get a dog.

He went through an entire box of granola bars and a pot of coffee before he decided to go to the store for groceries.

When he returned, René made a sandwich for lunch and then continued to set everything in order. By the end of the day, each stack of boxes sat in the correct room and the furniture was more or less placed where he intended to keep it. Too exhausted to assemble the bed, René spent another night in his sleeping bag near the fireplace, feeling like a strange post-modern male Cinderella.

In the early gray dawn, he had the same dream. Fingers, barely felt, ran through his hair and gingerly touched his cheeks and collarbone. René exhaled with content at the soft, misty caresses, and he wished ghosts were real before sinking into a deeper sleep.

In the morning, he started unpacking in the kitchen until he found the toaster and a skillet. After eating breakfast and unpacking the kitchen, he assembled the bed. Two nights on the floor had his shoulders stiff. René cursed as he balanced the sideboard of his bed frame in his lap and worked the first screw in one turn at a time. For the cost of a six-pack of beer and some pizza, May would have been more than happy to help René both move his furniture and set up the bed, but René relied on his best friend too much already. The next time May visited, René wanted to go out and have fun, not unpack a mountain of boxes, so he finished tightening the first screw and wondered where his bag of extras had disappeared. René groaned when he saw them on the other side of the room. He would have sworn he’d set them beside his lap when he started, but apparently he hadn’t. By the time he pushed the box spring and mattress onto the completed frame, René was worn out. He dropped onto the bed and made snow angel motions with his arms and legs before resting.

“Forget unpacking. I should just go to sleep,” René spoke to the bed, having no one else to talk to.

His muscles ached from carrying boxes and furniture, and the bed was firm but soft enough for him to sink a little. René shut his eyes and pulled a deep, intentional breath into his lungs. Daydreams played out behind his closed eyelids. It’d been awhile since anyone else had been in his bed with him, and he imagined a mystery lover sneaking to his bedside, sitting beside him, and kissing his stomach as he unzipped René’s pants. His fantasy spun out of control. The mattress felt like it really did shift with the weight of another person sitting close. René sat up and shook his head to rid himself of the ridiculous daydream. He made the bed before going downstairs to finish unpacking the living room.

By the third night, the house resembled a home. René examined his progress in the living room and nodded his head in satisfaction. As he stood in place, René’s hair slid against his shoulders, as if someone had brushed the long strands away from his face. He froze a moment, wondering if his imagination played tricks with his mind again, but the distinct pressure of a hand lighted on his shoulder and fingers ran down his cheek. He blinked, trying to process the strange sensation of being touched by invisible hands.

“Hello.” René’s voice sounded loud in the visibly empty living room.

The touching stopped after he spoke.

“Wait, don’t leave,” René said, afraid he’d somehow startled whatever had interacted with him. René’s gaze darted across the living room, searching for any indication that he wasn’t alone. Nothing was out of place. René sighed, his shoulders slumping forward. “I didn’t imagine that,” he whispered, to convince himself he hadn’t daydreamed the experience.

An idea drifted into René’s head. He spoke to the air in a bashful tone. “If you can hear me, would you follow me. Please?”

He walked up the stairs and opened the door to his office. Stacks of boxes lined the walls and surrounded the desk like strange cardboard obelisks. René pilfered through the boxes until he found one labeled office odds and ends.

He pulled the tape from the top of the box and set aside small statues of gargoyles, skeletons, and imps. With both hands, René removed the old Ouija board from the cardboard box. He’d never used it before and only owned it for the aesthetic, but now he sat on the tiled floor with the board in his lap and the heart-shaped planchette under his fingertips.

“I know this is dumb,” he said. “I know this is a stupid toy, but why not use it? Crap, I hope I’m not talking to myself. I just want to—” A breath hitched in René’s throat as the planchette scrawled across the wooden surface of the board.

“Oh good! I was hoping you’d want to talk. Hold on. Let me get a pen.” René rummaged through another box until he found a pack of pens and a notebook. He held the paper in his lap so he could write down the letters. “What’s your name?” René asked, but to his disappointment, the planchette only swerved in between the yes and no options at the top of the board. He frowned, thinking of what he might be doing wrong. Another question came to mind. “How many of you are here?”

The pointer swerved to the number two on the board.

“What are your names?” The planchette moved without him touching it, freeing up his hands to write each letter.

Marcus.

Bastion.

“Really?” René raised an eyebrow. It was a rhetorical question, but the heart planchette spelled another sentence.

“You have a problem with our names?”

“No.” René smiled. “My name’s Rembrandt. Our mothers should be slapped. Call me René, though.” A nervous chuckle slipped past René’s lips. “Not that I can hear you say my name.”

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Meet the Author

Sita Bethel obtained a B.A. in Creative Writing at Arkansas Tech University; however, she learned how to write fiction on sites such as Archive Of Our Own and fanfiction.net. She keeps coloring books near her computer for when she’s “writing,” and owns an awful lot of dice for someone who’s never played a tabletop RPG. Sita Bethel currently lives in Arkansas, teaches Zumba Fitness and Salsaton classes at a local gym, and hopes to someday own a fortress of solitude staffed with incompetent henchmen.

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