Check Out the New Release Blitz for Better Than Beginnings (Better Than Stories #5) by Lane Hayes (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Better Than Beginnings, A Better Than Good Short Story Collection

Series: Better Than Stories, 5

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: January 30, 2020

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 105000

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Established Couple, MM Romance, White Collar, Gay romance

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Synopsis

Matt Sullivan knows he met someone special the night he spots the sexy man on the dance floor. However, he doesn’t know his life is about to change forever. First of all, Matt is straight. Okay, maybe not, but he doesn’t think falling in love and spending the rest of his life with a hotheaded, unapologetically fabulous diva is an option.

Aaron Mendez is confident, smart, and very comfortable in his skin. He knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. And though he might have reservations about falling for someone newly out of the closet, no one has ever looked at Aaron the way Matt does.

Navigating a relationship has its challenges, but both Matt and Aaron are willing to deal with difficult parents, holiday blues, and learning curves. They know their happy ever after is worth fighting for and that true love is better than good.

*This collection of short stories follows the lives of Matt and Aaron from my first novel, Better Than Good. The end of one chapter is the beginning of a whole new story from ordinary everyday life to an engagement, a wedding, and more. This collection is dedicated to Matt and Aaron fans and those who believe that the real love story happens after the first “I love you”.

Excerpt

Better Than Candy from Better Than Beginnings, A Better Than Good Short Story Collection

Aaron gave me the silent treatment for a while, and I have to admit I didn’t mind the quiet. For an hour anyway. Then I did mind.

“Come on. You can’t not talk to me all day.”

“Oh, so now you want to talk?” he huffed.

“Yeah. Let’s talk. Come closer so I can touch you too. I’ll be good.” I perched on one of the stools at the island in our kitchen and swiveled to face the hockey game on the flat-screen across the room.

“I don’t trust you,” he grumbled, crossing his arms and glaring at me.

“Come on. I’ll behave. Give me a kiss. Please?” I gave him my best “You can trust me” look.

Aaron sighed dramatically before shuffling over to stand between my thighs. Directly in the way of the hockey game.

“Are you going to make it up to me? Or are you going to watch the Steelers?”

“Okay, funny guy, let’s start with a little re-education. The Steelers are a football team.” I pulled him into my arms and squeezed him tightly, burrowing my chin into his shoulder and blowing raspberries on his neck. “Sadly, their season is over, but thankfully it’s basketball and hockey season now. You’re currently blocking a hockey game, but not my Penguins, so I’ll let you off the hook.”

“Excuse me?” he huffed irritably.

“You heard me. If you’d like to take some time to make up for my hour in hell, I will more than gladly join you…on the sofa, in the bedroom, or even in that green guest bathroom with the cool new towels we just bought. What’s it gonna be?” I held him even tighter and tickled his sides.

He laughed, his eyes twinkling with restored humor as he stepped out of my reach and peeled off his T-shirt.

“First of all, the color is eucalyptus, not green. Hockey and basketball are only marginally better than football and…” He furrowed his brow when I smacked his ass for sheer blasphemy. “And, you are making up with me. Not the other way around. You behaved like a five-year-old. I had no idea you were such a brat.”

“You promised not to torture me, but you did anyway. Even that lady at the store agreed you should have gone alone,” I singsonged.

He stepped between my thighs and rested his arms over my shoulders.

“She called you my husband. That was kind of funny.”

“Yeah.” I kissed his nose and pulled him closer to squeeze his ass.

“It didn’t freak you out?”

“Nope. And you wanna know why?”

“Hmm?”

“ ’Cause I’m gonna marry you someday.”

“How do you know that?”

“I just do. You’re my person. And even though I can think of about ten other things I’d rather do with you, going shopping wasn’t the worst ’cause I still got to be with you.”

Aaron bit his bottom lip and nodded. “Oh, that was good, Matty. I almost can’t remember why I’m mad at you.”

“You’re not mad. You love me. You just don’t know it yet.” I scooped him over my shoulder in a fireman’s hold before he could protest. “No more talking. You have some making up to do.”

I carried him into our bedroom and tossed him onto the bed before kicking off my shoes and pulling my sweater over my head. Aaron undressed quickly, then folded the duvet back and got on all fours in the middle of the bed. I gulped when he shook his ass in invitation. Fuck, he was sexy. I stepped out of my jeans and boxer briefs in a hurry and immediately reached for my cock. I was so hard it hurt. I approached the bed and kneeled behind him, running my fingers along his spine and over the curve of his hips.

Aaron turned to give me a seductive look. “What are you waiting for?”

“Sometimes I can’t believe I’m here with you.”

He frowned before straightening and scooting toward me, wrapping his arms around my neck. “But here we are. And I think this is the way it’s supposed to be,” he whispered.

I brushed my lips over his and closed my eyes for a moment. “Mine.”

Purchase at Amazon

BETTER THAN GOOD is on sale for just 99 cents. Available HERE.

Other books in the Better Than series. Get them all HERE!

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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Don’t Miss Out on the New Release Tour for Love on the Spectrum by Alec Nortan (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Love on the Spectrum

Author: Alec Nortan

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 6, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 37900

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT Contemporary, romance, gay, Asperger syndrome, burns victim, France, Paris, friends to lovers, hurt/comfort, therapist

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Synopsis

Hervé has Asperger’s, a specific kind of autism that makes him unable to interact with other people.

Luc has been severely scarred by fire and flees human presence to avert the way people glare and frown when they see him.

It was impossible for them to meet, but life sometimes likes to cheat the odds. Is it just a trick or a way to bring together two men who could be each other’s lifeline?

Excerpt

Love on the Spectrum
Alec Nortan © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
During their life, everyone meets thousands of people. Some of these encounters are fleeting, like the person you ask for directions in the street, and others last a lifetime. Each of them, as short or as long as it is, can change your life for the better or for the worse.

I’ve encountered maybe two hundred people. And that’s with a generous margin for error. A very generous margin. And yet I’m thirty-four and should have met a lot more. If I haven’t, it isn’t because I don’t want to, on the contrary. If I only consider the meaningful encounters, well, I’m down to a figure I can easily display with my fingers. The last one took place two years ago. His name is Pascal, and he made my life better. A whole lot better. We met through the Internet, the way of getting in touch with people I’m most comfortable with. Taking our time, we got to know each other, and he became an important part of my life. It wasn’t always easy for him, but he managed to accept my difficulties, and for the first time in my life I discovered what being in a relationship was really like. We weren’t quite ready yet to live together, but we were getting close.

And then, six months later, he dumped me. There was no fight, no argument, but it devastated me all the same. My problems had eventually gotten too tiresome for him. He simply couldn’t cope anymore, and I don’t think any less of him for that. Living with someone like me isn’t always easy. Quite the opposite. He had done all he could, but it hadn’t been enough.

My relationship with Pascal helped me understand one thing: I will spend my life alone. I’m not being dramatic; it’s just a simple observation. Even I can’t bear myself at times. If I can’t, who could?

What is my problem? To make it easy to understand, let’s say I am unable to interact with people. It probably sounds stupid put like this, but when sarcasm, irony, implied speech, and body language—well, all those elements that allow a conversation to take place—are completely foreign to you, a simple discussion with another human being can be quite hazardous to negotiate. And if on top of that you really cannot stand physical contact and noise, like me, you’re on a slippery slope toward the deepest pit of hell. I begin to slide as soon as I have to say hello…

When I say I have autism, in a desperate attempt to evade embarrassing situations, here are some of the answers I usually get:

“But it doesn’t show.”

Or

“Can it be cured?”

Or the most common reaction:

“That’s great! Can you count playing cards?”

No, I am not Rain Man, and most of the people who suffer from the same problem—Asperger syndrome—don’t have any kind of superhuman capabilities. And you can’t cure it. It would be like asking a one-legged man if he can be cured. No, it’s just a part of me. That and the fact you can’t see it when you look at me only makes it more difficult for people to understand. A one-legged man doesn’t have to explain that he only has one leg. A white cane or a service dog is usually enough for a blind person to be recognized as such.

I always have to justify myself.

Luckily for me, I’ve been going to a psychologist once a month for years. His specialty is autism, including Asperger syndrome. He helps me learn all those social rules that completely elude my grasp, and cope with my difficulties.

But it’s also because of him I’m standing here.

It’s a fine day. The weather is nice, the street is mostly empty. Although it’s almost noon, a few people pass by, and they walk purposefully, taking no notice of me except to avoid me. I’m standing still, almost stuck to the wall behind me, a white-stone building blackened by years of pollution. The sidewalk is barely wide enough for two people and gives way to a long line of parked cars and then a two-way street. On the other side is the same chain of cars, the same sidewalk, and the same dirty façades.

Despite all this, this part of the city welcomes lots of tourists, but this particular street is a little too far from the main avenues and the famous monuments to get their attention. If it were to be described by a saying, it would be “a secret life is a happy life.” Maybe that’s the reason why I like it. Because it likes to stay hidden. Just like I do. And this is definitely one of the reasons why I’m standing here right now.

The other reason is the small restaurant facing me. I’ve been looking at it for a little while now. The frontage isn’t very long, but a wide French window occupies almost all of it. Painted on the glass, blue letters spell out the words “The Scullion Restaurant–Traditional Cooking”. The text isn’t perfectly centered. It is about three inches too high for that, and the “C” and the “U” of Scullion are slightly too close to each other. The first “T” of Restaurant is also slightly tilted.

I am pretty certain no one else notices these imperfections, but they kind of jump out at me. I wonder if I shouldn’t have chosen another place.

But I’ve thought about this choice for a very long while, and I’ve even had to negotiate bitterly with my psychologist. The objective of the test is simple enough: having lunch at a restaurant. But he knows me too well to stop at such a simple goal. Without any further rules, I would have chosen the worst restaurant in the city, in a deserted part of town, to make sure there would be as few other clients as possible. I would even have gone in the early afternoon, when all the NTs have long since finished their meal—NT is short for Neurotypical, “normal” people as opposed to Aspies, the nickname for people like me with Asperger Syndrome—to have the greatest chance of seeing no one else other than the waiter, which is quite enough for me.

Knowing if he let the reins go I would choose an empty restaurant, which I have to admit would have rendered the exercise moot, my psychologist fought hard until we reached a compromise (more acceptable for him than for me) and chose a popular but small venue and a “normal” lunchtime.

This negotiation took place two days ago, and I’ve been anxious ever since. This morning, I woke up with my insides twisted. I almost broke into tears thinking about having breakfast alone at my place because it reminded me that my next meal would be a trial. When I was about to leave home to come here, instead of opening the door, I was sorely tempted to make sure it was safely locked and go hide in my bedroom under my blankets.

But here I am, in front of the restaurant. Inside, I feel like a gelatinous blob mounted on a drill. I still evaluate the chance of my running away before the time comes to enter at one in two.

I take a look at my watch.

12:58

My psychologist made the reservation—one of his dirty tricks to prevent me from bailing out—for one o’clock. He knows perfectly well I can’t stand lateness (or earliness) or an appointment cancellation without calling beforehand, and, as a consequence, I would never do that to someone else.

12:59

It’s too late to call the restaurant and cancel now. I stifle an emerging sob and move to the pedestrian crossing on my right. There are no cars passing, but I never cross a street elsewhere.

Just like every time I’m nervous, I’m tempted to embrace my old habits again. Right now, this means not stepping on the white paint of the crossing. I don’t know where I got that from, but it took me several sessions and a lot of training to be able to ignore the color of the ground I walk on.

I bite my bottom lip and stare straight in front of me so I can’t see my feet. I reach the other side of the street without further ado and walk the short distance to the entrance of the restaurant.

12:59

13:00

I open the door with a racing heart and step into my worst nightmare: a crowded public place.

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Meet the Author

Alec Nortan is a French social services worker. Though he learned English at school, he chooses this language to write in. His works are gay-related fictions, varying from young adult, science fiction or fantasy adventure, to romance.

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Check Out the New Release Blitz for Wild Bells (Tinsel and Spruce Needles #3) by Elna Holst (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Wild Bells

Series: Tinsel and Spruce Needles, Book Three

Author: Elna Holst

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 16, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 14800

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, holiday, romance, lesbian, disabilities, college student, silversmith

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Synopsis

Lund, Sweden, 1998

Mia Andersson is not a nice person. She is a sharp, sensational-looking, aloof lawyer-to-be, and the busiest sapphic player in town. Mia Andersson takes no prisoners, tells no tales, and if you gave her your number, chances are she won’t call. But this holiday season, at age twenty-seven, wheels that are out of her control have been set in motion, and it looks like she might just get caught in the spin.

Excerpt

Wild Bells
Elna Holst © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Lund, Sweden, 1998

Linda Ling was all that. From the moment Mia had first set eyes on her, at the band’s premiere gig at Blekingska back in October, she hadn’t been able to not see her: Linda Ling turned up in her dreams at night, in her thoughts by day, in casual conversation between classes, in the distance along the streets of late-autumn, early-winter Lund. She was on posters, in clubs, in the air, and—God help her—in Mia Andersson’s masturbatory fantasies. The spiky, jet-black hair, the punk-goth pallor, her slight, androgynous build, the calculated raggedness of her clothing: black netting, torn edges, charcoal and purple stripes. The ankh tattoo at the nape of her neck, which Mia had glimpsed, teasingly, only once at the university library, where she had happened to spot Linda embroiled with a gaggle of friends-cum-admirers, her hair gathered in a messy I’ve-got-brains-too bun to mark the occasion. She had a piercing, as well: a stud below her full, pouty bottom lip, and each and every finger of her hands was adorned with at least two fancy, industrial-sized silver rings. Her eyes were an intense shade of violet, which Mia suspected must be the product of tinted contacts, but it didn’t matter, or rather, it merely added to her attractions—because Linda Ling was so attractive it was unreal.

And Mia Andersson was not in the habit of not having got her leg over that already.

True, Linda was four years her junior, but Mia wasn’t usually squeamish about that sort of thing: she was twenty-seven, not eighty-three. And she’d bet her favourite, well-worn Ramones tee Linda Ling wouldn’t mind a slightly older, a lot more experienced lover.

This wasn’t so much bragging as a statement of facts; Mia Andersson had been a player of, more or less, the exclusive sapphic variety since she had turned fifteen. She had been sexually active for well over a decade, and she had turned her fair share of blushing bi-curious virgins into raging rug munchers. Her gaydar was impeccable. If there was even the slightest possibility, the most infinitesimal potential of queer in a girl, Mia brought it out and honed it to glimmering perfection, before releasing her back out into the wild. Mia Andersson was a dykemaker. It was just her thing.

There was only one problem—one which, despite her being closer to her cool thirties than her red-hot twenties, Mia couldn’t recall ever having run up against before. She was miffed. She was stunted. She was flabbergasted.

Linda Ling was, to all appearances and in spite of her heavy, enticing, smouldering andro vibe, completely, irredeemably, one hundred per cent and counting, straight.

The mere thought caused Mia’s upper lip to curl in distaste, her hand gripping the neck of her beer bottle spasmodically. She just couldn’t accept it, and the non-acceptance had turned into a minor obsession—to the point where Mia Andersson, the Malmö-Lund region’s busiest lesbian lay, had gone a full thirty days (an entire month!) without getting any action. Her frustration was verging on palpable. She needed another drink.

Turning abruptly away from the low stage where Linda and her band members droned out their latest dour-faced dirge—the Raven Choir they called themselves, or something along those lines; to be honest, Mia wouldn’t have given them a second glance, much less paid the price of a ticket, if it hadn’t been for the fact that their lead singer was, well, all that—Mia made for the bar. Or, that was the plan; in reality, she ran crotch first into a froth-tipped pint of lager.

“Oh, for fuck’s—”

Eyes of an indeterminate colour regarded her, from out of a tan face shaded by the stiff peak of a light-blue football cap.

“Unexpected move.” The person to whom these iconoclastic features belonged cocked her head, and a devilish glint came into those previously oh-so-innocent eyes right before she added: “Bet I got your knickers wet in record time, though.”

Mia ‘the Dykemaker’ Andersson was at a loss for words. Slack-jawed with disbelief, she simply stared down at the woman seated—of course, it had to be, this close to the stage—in a sleek purple wheelchair, a now half-empty glass of beer in hand. Or half full, depending on your outlook on life, etc. There was something oddly, disturbingly familiar about her.

The woman switched her glass over to her left and held out her right hand.

“Sandra Ling,” she drawled, and everything came together, all at once, as Mia darted a look back up at Linda, who was, mercifully, not turned in their direction.

“That’s right,” Sandra nodded as she shook Mia’s limp hand vigorously. She had some grip on her; that was for sure. “Twins. I know. I know. It’s not fair; how come I got all the looks and talent?”

Mia snorted, half in shock, half in amusement.

“How is that—” She stopped, not really certain where she was going, what she was saying. Besides, her jeans and—yes, her underwear, too—really were soaking. In a non-sexual, not comfortable at all way. “Fuck, I’m wet!”

Sandra sucked her lips in over her teeth, giving her a frog-like appearance. Kind of—no, not kind of, just cute, actually.

“Yeah, jokes aside, I’m sorry about that. I was just about to—well, never mind.”

Mia shuffled her feet. There was a puddle on the floor, starting to give off that classic old-drunk reek, and she felt about as fresh and alluring as if she had pissed herself. And here she was, chatting to a stranger. A girl in a wheelchair. Linda’s sister. Her twin.

“I should go wash off.”

Sandra sat back in her seat, lifting herself up a little on her forearms. Her torso was—square, almost a perfect square, there was no other way of putting it.

“I’ll keep a look out for you. When you get back, I mean. I think I owe you a drink or something. What did you say your name was?”

“Mia. Mia Andersson. I’m—I’m really wet.”

Sandra’s lips twisted into the subtlest smirk Mia could recollect ever having seen, except—well, except when she happened to catch sight of her own reflection.

She actually, honest-to-God blushed.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Often quirky, always queer, Elna Holst is an unapologetic genre-bender who writes anything from stories of sapphic lust and love to the odd existentialist horror piece, reads Tolstoy, and plays contract bridge. Find her on Instagram or Goodreads.

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Love a Bit of Suspense with Your Romance Story? Check Out the New Release Blitz for Rialto (Unbreakable Bonds #8) by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda (excerpt and giveaway)Elliott

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Title: Rialto

Series: Unbreakable Bonds Series #8

Author: Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Publisher: Drake & Elliott LLC

Release Date: December 16, 2019

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 74,000

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense,

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Synopsis

Someone has it out for Rialto.

Ian Banner is loving his hectic life. He’s newly married, ready to start a family, and opening a new restaurant. All his dreams are coming true.

The last thing he needs is a problem with his restaurant.

But when one attack after another comes, he grows convinced he has another enemy.

Ian tries to handle things by himself, but his friends are soon drawn in when the attacks become violent. That’s when Ian realizes the target isn’t Rialto. It’s him.

Rialto is the final installment in the Unbreakable Bonds series and features sexy times, Daciana snuggles, overprotective family, fire, and of course, code names.

Excerpt

Ian sighed and stretched his legs out, putting his sock-covered feet onto the coffee table. He’d kicked off his shoes when they’d come in. “I’m still reeling over that damn raid. Someone had to have called it in, and I can’t figure out who would do such a thing. It’s driving me crazy worrying about it.”

“Everything’s fine. Even Sarah told you there’s nothing to worry about now.”

“Still, it shouldn’t have happened, and having those dogs in the kitchen?” He growled softly. “I just hope we don’t get any disgruntled reviews from the people we had to reschedule.”

“Bad reviews happen, you know that.”

“But over something like this? Something completely out of my control?” He sat up and faced Hollis. “I can’t get it out of my head that someone actually turned us in. And all that stuff about drugs? Drugs, Hollis! The last thing Rialto needs is a rumor like that. We had people in that restaurant who heard all that when they first came in.”

He stood and started pacing the room. Hollis watched his slim, agitated form as he moved, noting that his hands were clenched into fists at his sides.

“Rumors of drugs could hurt our chances of becoming foster parents, too!” he nearly yelled. He reached up and ran both hands through his hair, leaving the brown strands sticking up all over the place.

He’d worked himself into a frenzy again. Hollis stood and walked to him. He placed his hands on Ian’s shoulders, feeling the fine bones beneath his palms before sliding his hands down Ian’s back to pull the man into his body.

Ian slumped against him, wrapping his arms tight around him. “Thanks.”

“For what?” Hollis asked.

“For the hug. For knowing I needed one.” He tilted his head and stared into Hollis’s face. “You always know how to calm me down.”

“I don’t want you worrying about drug rumors. The fact that your restaurant only lost one night to the raid before opening up again will squelch any of those. Rialto will be fine. And this isn’t going to hurt our chances at being foster parents. We’ve already gone through the background checks and everything else. It’s all good.”

Ian had worried incessantly about the background inspection, but his past with Jagger had never been public knowledge. It also didn’t hurt that Ian had Rowe’s tech specialist, Gidget, run a check, making sure that there was nothing from Ian’s past that might throw up red flags. Gidget had confirmed that other than Jagger’s attack on Ian at Union Terminal three years ago, there was nothing linking Ian to Jagger.

“I just want it so much,” Ian mumbled against his chest as he leaned close again.

“I know, baby. I do, too.”

Ian lifted his head. “Yeah?”

“You know I do,” Hollis said as he bent down to kiss Ian. Ian’s arms slid up around his neck and he stood on his toes to press harder into Hollis’s mouth. That warm body felt too good against Hollis. He pulled away from Ian and stared at him, taking in the already blown pupils with a smile. “Enough of this worrying. I have a better idea. Stay right here.”

He walked to the front door to set the security alarm, then flipped off the lights. The automatic night-light on the stairs came on, but he knew where Ian was. He walked to his husband and lifted him. Ian’s legs automatically wrapped around his waist as Ian chuckled. Hollis knew he was laughing at being carried, but Hollis fucking loved carting Ian around.

“I bet I know what your idea is,” Ian murmured, kissing Hollis’s jaw.

“If it’s stripping you naked and having my way with you, you get a cookie.” He carried him up the stairs and into their bedroom, not setting him down until they were beside their bed.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments. Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.

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Don’t Miss Out on the New Release Blitz for Ablaze (Wavesongs #3) by Elvira Bell (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Ablaze

Series: Wavesongs #3

Author: Elvira Bell

Publisher: Elvira Bell

Release Date: December 8, 2019

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: approx. 94K words

Genre: Romance, Historical, Pirates

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Synopsis

The final book in the Wavesongs series!

Nick Andrews has returned to the Caribbean—but the world he remembers has changed for the worse. Despite the dangers, he needs to find a way to get to Corona. All he can think of is to reunite there with the love of his life.

Meanwhile, Tom is watching his every move. Tom, who has turned cold and demanding, and is desperate for Nick to love him.

One night things get out of hand, and something happens between them. Something unforgivable.

Content note: This book contains non-gratuitous depictions of torture, slavery, and sexual abuse.

Please note that the books in the Wavesongs series should be read in chronological order!

Excerpt

Tom is sullen and quiet as he gets ready for bed. His chamber is at the corner of the house, three times as spacious as Nick’s room next door, and far away from O’Connell, whose quarters are next to the kitchen and dining hall. There’s fresh water by the washstand, clean bed linens, and a mirror on the wall—but Tom complains about the mosquitoes, the humidity, and the house’s size.

“Just one floor, like a house for poor people… and nothing is beautiful here, nothing! How am I supposed to live like this?” He lies down in bed, curling up before giving Nick a hard look. “But you think it’s all fine, don’t you?”

“No.” From what he’s seen so far, Harrow Hall is not a good place. That whip in Buckley’s hand… “Why would I think that?”

Tom turns over. “Oh, I don’t know. I’m tired. Please, leave me alone now.”

Nick goes into his own chamber. His body is sore, exhausted, but once he’s in bed he finds it hard to sleep. From the other part of the house comes the sound of voices, laughter. O’Connell and his men sampling their own rum, probably.

There is nothing to like about this place, but Nick won’t stay long. He’ll take the first opportunity to leave.

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Meet the Author

Elvira Bell lives in Sweden and spends most of her time writing, reading or watching movies. Her weaknesses include, but are not limited to: vintage jazz, musicals, kittens, oversized tea cups, men in suits, the 18th century, and anything sparkly.

Elvira writes m/m fiction with a touch of romance and has a penchant for historical settings. She adores all things gothic and will put her characters through hell from time to time because she just loves watching them suffer. It makes the happy endings so much sweeter, after all.

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Check Out the New Release Blitz for Grimmer Intentions (Tales from the Grim #2) by Jodi Hutchins (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Grimmer Intentions

Series: Tales from the Grim, Book Two

Author: Jodi Hutchins

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 9, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 91100

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, romance, paranormal, demons, ghosts, spirits

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Synopsis

She screwed up. She broke protocol. She saved a life. Grim Reaper Margo Petrov may have resurrected a drowned surfer on the brink of death, but she isn’t earning any awards or receiving employee of the month from Corporate; she’s under more scrutiny from the Grim governing body than ever before. Since she has a massive secret that could spell disaster if revealed, she sure as hell doesn’t want to be in the spotlight, in any form.

Margo vows to keep her head down and stay out of trouble, reaping her quota of spirits lest she cause more problems for herself and the woman she saved with an illegal blood bond. She certainly shouldn’t be opening doors to the Fae lands or offering her neck to an Empusa woman suffering from bloodlust, but Margo’s laundry list of bad decisions keeps growing. With the threat of becoming decommissioned by Corporate looming in her periphery, Margo stumbles deeper into the politics of her people and soon realizes their intentions are far worse than she initially thought.

Excerpt

“Margo, calm down. You can’t go killing someone just because they pissed you off.”

Margo Petrov pumped her arms, increasing her speed as she cut across the dead grass of the front lawn, though her initial fury had settled to a low broil. The cold metal of the baseball bat against her palm was soothing but not calming enough to ease the rage completely.

The sound of Luis’s sneakers pounding the asphalt behind her indicated he’d finally caught up. “I’m not going to kill them,” she grumbled.

Luis snorted. “Okay, well, when you storm out of your apartment, yelling, ‘I’m going to fucking kill ’em, Luis,’ I think I can safely assume you’re going to kill someone.”

She stopped abruptly, causing Luis to run into her chest as she turned to face him. “Fine,” she said, tossing the bat into the bushes lining the sidewalk. She grabbed his shoulders, lowering her gaze to his. “Nobody fucks with my brother without consequence. Nobody,” she said, shaking him slightly to emphasize her seriousness.

Headlights from a passing car gleamed in his wide brown-eyed gaze as he nodded.

“Besides”—she started, as she dropped her hands from him, quirking an eyebrow—“I just want to know if they’re afraid of the dark.” She’d been livid when Luis told her the resident group of asshats from their high school decided to give Luis hell on his way back from the library.

Without further discussion, Margo continued down the cracked sidewalks of downtown Philadelphia.

“They still hang out at the bowling alley on Daly Ave?”

Luis huffed a discontented sigh, eliciting a grin from Margo. “Dude come on. Think about this for a second; do you really want to risk another arrest? You’re almost eighteen, and you could be charged as an adult.”

He had a point, and she admitted that to herself, but she continued down the sidewalk anyway, cutting across the street, her feet displacing loose black asphalt pebbles on the worn roadway. “Yeah, but they need to leave you the hell alone. This is getting ridiculous.” For years, she and her brother experienced taunting for their otherness, Luis taking the brunt end most times. The basketball team tormented Luis for merely existing; however, Margo guessed they blamed their mocking on his differences. They needed a good scare, using a bit of magic, the otherness his tormentors weren’t aware of. She wanted to scare them so bad they’d piss themselves. If all else failed, she’d just beat the shit out of them.

Luis gave a shrug of nonchalance, something she instantly recognized as her brother’s passive language, which furthered the desire to teach the perpetrators a lesson. Instead of digging into his dismissal, she turned and continued her way toward downtown.

Luis followed.

The streets were busy even though rush hour had ended a few hours prior. Cars zipped past, a stray honk resounding a few blocks away, voices rising in a cacophonous argument. The late-night city sounds were laden with a warning, hinting at the kind of night bad things happened, stirring a deep foreboding in the air around them.

Luis jabbed her in the ribs, ripping Margo from her eerie thoughts. “Hey, do you see that?” He pointed to LOVE Park on the opposite side of the crosswalk. Standing beside the water fountain was a child, their head turning from side to side in rapid succession. Luis was clearly pointing to the small person; however, the iridescent shift of air around the child indicated to Margo they weren’t alive.

Before meeting Luis, she agreed with the titles given to her—weirdo, crazy, psychic—the names condensing her down to a freak who could see ghosts with the only person to possibly believe her long dead. Of course, she’d been ecstatic to find kinship in another, to prove at least to herself she wasn’t crazy. That is until Luis stopped for every spirit in sight with their Sally-sob story. “Yeah, I see them, and no, we don’t have time.”

Luis scoffed just as the light turned, and he hurried across the street without waiting for Margo.

She rushed after him, forgoing her planned scare tactics on the basketball team in hopes she’d convince him to leave well enough alone.

They approached the park’s edge, Luis carefully watching the child. Luckily, the park held no other visitors, alive or dead. “We have to help her,” he whispered before he stuck his lower lip out.

She rolled her eyes. “They aren’t stray puppies, Luis. We can’t help every single one of them.”

Brows cinching, he met her gaze with an icy stare. “Maybe this is why we can see them, to help them move on.”

Though reluctant to admit it, she’d come to the very same conclusion herself a long time ago. With no way of knowing why they could guide ghostly apparitions to the other side, she couldn’t come up with a better reason herself. She glanced over at the redheaded girl and sighed. “Fine, but we need to be quick, and I still want to find those idiots so I can mess up their night.”

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Meet the Author

Jodi Hutchins is a healthcare professional by day and fanatical writer by night. They are also an avid reader, coffee connoisseur, helpless romantic, amateur artist, enthusiastic maker-upper of things, spouse, and parent. The frequent rain of western Washington doesn’t stop Jodi and their wife from gallivanting through the next trail head with their two children.

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Love Christmas Romances? Check Out the New Release Blitz for Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol

Author: Drew Marvin Frayne

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 18, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 36100

Genre: Historical Holiday, LGBT, Christmas, romance, fairy tale, businessmen, ghost, prostitution, poverty, 19th century England, pirates, tear-jerker, time travel

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Synopsis

Peter Cratchit, a young lad preparing to make his way in the world, is the eldest son of Scrooge’s lowly clerk Bob Cratchit. Peter flourishes under the tutelage of his “Uncle” Scrooge and seeks to make his mark as a man of business, like his uncle before him.

One Christmas Eve, as Scrooge lays dying, Peter embarks on a risky ocean voyage that he believes will secure the future for his family. Onboard, Peter finds love, happiness, and success, only to lose it all by the voyage’s end.

Returning to London, Peter shuns his family and instead finds himself living on the streets, haunted by his failures and his dead lover, selling his body just to survive while he waits for the winter cold to claim him once and for all. But winter snows also mean Christmas is coming, and for the Cratchit family, Christmas is a time of miracles. Can a visit from three familiar spirits change Peter’s life again? Is there one more miracle in store for the lost son of one of Dickens’ most enduring families?

Excerpt

Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol
Drew Marvin Frayne © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Scrooge was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. He died some two years past on this very day, Christmas Eve. I would it were not so; yet I suspect the old man would not agree. He became rather infirm at the end, frail and forgetful, and though he did his best to remain cheerful, I know he hated to show weakness of any kind. It wasn’t a matter of pride, nor vanity; no, it wasn’t for his sake that he cared so. It was that, as he himself often said, he had become a sort of safeguard, a protector, to his family and to his community, and he hated the thought of us carrying on without him there, watching over us all. And we, of course, would clasp his hand and tell him that he would be looking over us in the next life, and that such thoughts brought us great comfort, and they should bring him great comfort too. And he would sigh, and agree with us, and settle in, at least for a while, until another great spasm wracked his breast, and his chest would heave with immense, raggedy gasps for air, and his worries arose all over again.

He died a good death, if it could be said that any death should be regarded as good. Though I have not spent nearly as many years as Scrooge did on this planet, I have knocked about a bit, and circumstance has shown me both great fortune and great tragedy. And as such, I have come to believe there is no good death to be had in this world. I have seen many poor wretches, past all hope of recovery from whatever it was that ailed them—whether it be an infliction of the body or the soul—beg for death, pray for it, and have watched it come in many guises, be it the cold, or the cough, or the cutthroat. I have seen their prayers answered, even if those answers came in some form of pain they had never envisioned. And yet I say, when the end did finally come, each and every one begged to stay, begged for their final breath to be forestalled, begged to live for even one moment more. Yea, though I have been on this world for less than a quarter of a century, I have come to know its horrors and have learned the greatest horror of all is that there is no world, no life, beyond this one.

Scrooge would not have agreed with this; oft he told us the tale of his visitation by his old friend, Jacob Marley, dead seven years in the grave before his return, and the further visitations by the three spirits who haunted him, also on a Christmas Eve. To Scrooge, there was no greater evidence of providence than this, and he lived such feelings in his heart for the rest of his life. I was glad of it; we all were, all of London town, though those of us who were closest to him felt his change of heart and his largesse most keenly. And many was the time, as a young man, on a Christmas Eve like this one, I sat cross-legged on the floor at Scrooge’s feet and listened to his tales of Christmas ghosts and astonishing spirits, of visitations to the past, and of the wondrous things that are yet to come.

Yet even then, I was a skeptic. After his tale was complete, Old Scrooge, as wise at reading faces as he was at managing his business, would frequently tousle my hair and tell me, “Young Master Peter, you must have the conviction of your faith. It is not enough to simply believe; you must know Christmas, and keep it in your heart all the year long.” Such words were enough for Tim and for the others; but I, I would only smile, and say, “Yes, Uncle Scrooge,” in a manner and tone that were always respectful, but that the cunning old man also knew to be mollifying. And Scrooge would then bend quite low—for he was a tall, wizened old fellow, and I have always been inclined to be undersized—and he would say to me, “You must not fear the world so much, Peter Cratchit.” And I would nod, and he would pat my cheek, or sometimes playfully pinch my nose. But what he meant by those words, I cannot say. In my experience, there is much to fear in this world, and much calamity the world will set upon the unwary soul who is not ever vigilant.

A growl in my stomach disturbed my thoughts. Time to dispense with these ruminations on the past; I was hungry. I willed my body out of its bed, a small recess in the side of a crumbling brick building used for the storage of livestock, a cramped pen to house the beasts before they were led to slaughter. The recess provided some shelter from the elements; there had been rain last night, so it was useful to keep dry, though the rain had been only a drizzle, and the weather was unseasonably temperate for so late in December. That was no small mercy.

The recess had once been a side door, now sealed up, when the building had been used for some other purpose, long forgotten to time. The smell of animal excrement that clung to the building—and to those who worked or, like me, dwelt within her—was formidable, but it also meant the alley I called my home remained deserted during the nightly hours. Safety in this life often comes at great cost. Those who have suffered at the world’s hands know this lesson all too well. The men who tended the animals had assembled a small cleaning station, clean water and a strong lye soap, behind the building, and they charitably did not begrudge my use of it from time to time, provided I did not tarry, and they did not see me. I hastened in my morning ablutions and made my way out to the street.

There was a bakery on Saint Martin’s Close; it was there I would seek to break my fast. Every morning, my repast was the same: two hot buttered rolls and a small tankard of ale. The only difference was whether the baker would tally the cost of his labors on my tongue or on my tail.

I made my way down Carol Street to the main Camden Road. I used to live on this very road, as a youth, but far down the other end from those places where I now worked and resided. Camden Town was named for Camden Road; the road was the heart of the ward, bisecting it in the north and making up the entirety of its western edge. It was impossible to be in Camden Town and avoid the Camden Road. And yet, in all of my wanderings through this neighborhood, I always avoided the familiar façade of my former house, with its chipped paint and ill-fitted front door. I was more interested in the thick, oaken door that led to the alley behind the bakery, where the business received deliveries of flour and other such supplies. I knocked. Some days, the baker answered promptly, as if expecting me; other days, like today, I had to wait. He was a busy man, having woke well before the dawn to assemble his breads and rolls and pastries and cakes. His bakery was a small one, but he did a good measure of custom, enough to keep him in flour and dough and sugar and coal for the ovens. Still, he had only one boy to help him prepare the daily wares—in this neighborhood, even relative prosperity resulted in genuine poverty.

Whether the boy was his son, or some urchin off the street, I do not know. The baker and I did not converse on such matters. It was, in part, because the man’s well of English was so deficient that any conversation would prove inconsequential at best. I could not identify his native tongue, and he spoke only the English of a tradesman and knew the terms for barter and exchange, and little more. My own English improved greatly under the tutelage of Ebenezer Scrooge, who gave me books to read and provided college-trained tutors to sharpen my intellect. I was beyond basic schooling by the time our families came together; but my mind was quick and hungered for knowledge, and Uncle Scrooge filled it with book after book on all manner of subjects—history, literature, economics, philosophy, mythology, the principles of business. I eagerly took it all in, save perhaps the poets, who I found too disordered, too insubstantial, to truly relish. Still, for an occasion such as this, the silver portion of my tongue was not really necessary. It was my tongue’s other talents that the baker was interested in. I suppose, in the end, this, like so much in life, was simply a matter of business. I needed what the baker had to offer; he felt the same. Talk would only prolong the necessities of exchange.

The man finally answered and hurried me inside. In nicer weather, he sometimes took his payment in the alley, but he did not like the cold and the damp, so he ushered me into a cramped cookery room stuffed with coal- and wood-burning ovens. I had no objection to being enveloped in warmth; it made for a pleasant change of atmosphere from my usual status at this time of year.

I could see by the sights and sounds of his distresses that my morning patron was more harried than usual. His eyes were darting around the room. His gestures were quick, and rough, and impatient. He was a large, hirsute man, with a rotund belly and a gray, prickly beard, which, at the moment, was dusted in a rather generous supply of flour.

I was no longer fond of beards; I generally preferred smooth-faced youths, like myself, and not the wooly chins of older men, though, in my line of work, older men were my main custom. And this was business, not pleasure, and the baker felt the same as I, especially today. Even as he penned me into his back kitchen, he continued to bellow orders to the boy out front. I often wondered what the boy thought of our exchanges. Perhaps it was of no consequence to him. Perhaps he was grateful he did not have to provide a similar service. Or perhaps he did. Who can say.

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Meet the Author

Drew Marvin Frayne is the pen name of a long-time author (Lambda Literary Award finalist) who is finally taking the opportunity to indulge his more sentimental and romantic side. When not writing the author lives with his husband of 20+ years and their dog of 10+ years in a brick home in the Northeast. Find out more on Drew’s Website.

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BLITZ for Double Six (Rowan House #5) by Brenda Murphy (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Double Six

Series: Rowan House, Book Five

Author: Brenda Murphy

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 18, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female, Female/Female Menage

Length: 63500

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, Contemporary, romance, BDSM, interracial, ménage, switch, edge play, knife play, pain play, extortion, kidnapping, Oslo, Norway, Isle of Skye

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Synopsis

Elaine MacLeod, the most feared and revered Mistress of Rowan House, is frustrated. Overworked, still hurt and angry over the departure of her long-term lover, she refuses to admit Rowan House needs another Mistress to accommodate their guests. Unconvinced anyone will be able to meet her high standards, Elaine grudgingly agrees to audition the sole applicant, Petra Grendhal.

Robin Broadacre would do anything for the woman who rescued her from certain death at the hands of her previous employers. When she volunteers to assist Petra with her audition, Elaine is forced to reckon with her desire for Robin. Drawn to Petra’s fiery strength and icy demeanor as well Robin’s devotion, Elaine finds herself torn between her passion for both women. When Petra disappears on a trip to Oslo, Elaine and Robin’s search leads them to menaces from Robin’s past and a fight for their lives.

Excerpt

Double Six
Brenda Murphy © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
“Are you sure this is what we need?” Elaine lowered the hairbrush and shifted her gaze to Martha’s face, reflected in the dressing table mirror.

Martha quirked her mouth. “We’ve been over this. Just give her a chance. You can’t keep up with our client requests.”

Elaine tossed the brush on the top of the dressing table. “Because you and Lucia don’t help.” She swept her titian hair back and up into a high ponytail.

Martha handed her an elastic. “We’re not having this argument again. Lucia and I are finished with that side of the business. We can’t keep putting people off or they’ll find other houses to visit.

Elaine knotted a hunter-green ribbon in her hair. “Oh please. Like they could find anyone like me. Or what we offer here.” She shoved away from the vanity and turned to face her sister. “Fine. We’ll see how she handles herself. But the timing sucks.”

Martha placed her hands on her sister’s shoulders. “We had to work with the dates she gave us. Lucia thinks she’d be a good fit. We’ve had our trip planned for a long time. We trust you to make a good decision.

Alone. Again. “I’m not worried about making a wrong decision. Who’ll sub for her? Benita and Fallon are on holiday. No one else likes heavy pain play.”

Martha grinned wickedly at Elaine. “Maybe you could give it a go?”

Elaine rolled her eyes at her sister. “The switch gene is not in me. Go on, go on your holiday. I’ll figure it out.” Somehow. Damn, I miss Roxy.

Lucia and Myfanwy stood next to the car, their breath visible as they chatted in the frosty gray morning. Millie loaded the last of their luggage into the trunk and closed the lid gently. Martha placed her hand on Elaine’s forearm. “You have our itinerary. We can return if it’s an emergency”—she straightened to her full height and squared her shoulders—“but we are not to be disturbed unless it is.”

Elaine rolled her eyes at her sister. “Yes, sister dear, goddess forbid I interrupt your honeymoon. Like you haven’t already had one. I won’t bother you.” She let the devil show in her eyes. “I expect you’ll be tied up.”

Martha settled her fedora on her head. “I’m not going to waste my time replying to that, and please for the love of all that’s good, try to get along with Petra. We don’t have any other candidates.”

“So we should settle?” Elaine placed her hand on her hip.

“No one is saying settle. What I am saying is do not make a snap judgment. Or piss her off so much she leaves.”

Elaine shrugged. “If she can’t stand the heat…”

“Martha, we need to leave now.” Lucia spoke over Elaine, her voice a soft command. “I’m sure Elaine and Petra will sort things.”

“See, even your Miss agrees.” Elaine smirked at Martha.

Martha smiled at Elaine, not giving her the argument she craved. “Try it some time. You might find you like it.”

“Ha. A cold day in hell. Go now or you’ll miss the ferry.”

Martha gave Elaine a quick hard hug before she hurried down the steps to the car.

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Meet the Author

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows, and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not swilling gallons of hot tea and writing, she wrangles two kids, two dogs, and one unrepentant parrot. She writes about life, books, and writing on her blog Writing While Distracted.

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Love Listening to Your Love Stories? Check Out the Audio Tour for Out in the Field (Out in College #4) by Lane Hayes (audio sample and giveaway)

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Title: Out in the Field

Series: Out in College #4

Author: Lane Hayes

Narrator: Michael Pauley

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: July 11

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins

Genre: Romance, New Adult, College, Coming Out, Baseball, New Adult, Humor, Opposites

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Synopsis

Max Maldonado loves baseball. He knows playing first base at a private college probably won’t get him to the big leagues, but he doesn’t mind. He loves the game and his teammates. If he has to stay in the closet until he graduates, that’s okay. Baseball comes first. Relationships are complicated anyway. And after his recent messy breakup, Max prefers to keep things simple.

Phoenix Bell is a fabulous theater geek. He’s excited about his recent transfer to a new school with an elite liberal arts program. Life has been on hold for a while, but this opportunity feels like the fresh start he was hoping for when he moved to California. And the chance reunion with the hot closeted jock is an unexpected surprise. The two men have nothing in common and their timing couldn’t be worse. However, when their unconventional alliance blossoms into friendship and perhaps something more, it may be time to make some hard decisions. And perhaps risk it all…out in the field.

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were First Place winners in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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Meet the Narrator

Michael has well over 50 audio book titles currently available for purchase on Audible.com. He is versed in multiple styles and genres including fiction (novels and short stories) ranging from romance to science fiction to crime dramas to thrillers; business strategy books; health and wellness books; and even an occasional children’s book.

Fans of Michael’s narration are welcome to follow him on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

If you are interested in working with Michael to produce your next audio book, you can contact him directly at voice@michaelpauley.info

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New Release Blitz for Ignite (Unbreakable Bonds #7) by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Ignite

Series: Unbreakable Bonds #7

Author: Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Publisher: Drake & Elliott Publishing LLC

Release Date: July 26, 2019

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

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Synopsis

Two of Noah’s Army buddies are dead.

Someone has taken shots at Noah.

And now Noah’s former lover, JB, is a target.

Noah, Rowe, and JB team up to track down a killer trying to take out all of Noah’s old Army team in hopes of covering up a dark secret.

But this trip to Washington, D.C. threatens to unravel the perfect life that Rowe and Noah have built over the past three years. JB’s arrival in their lives have Rowe and Noah wondering if they want the same thing for their happily ever after.

Rowe is sure of one thing—nobody threatens his man. And he sets out to show anyone with a hidden agenda what a bad decision that was.

Excerpt

Noah smiled to himself as he watched Rowe drive them home. His hands slid easily along the leather wheel. Soon those strong hands would be stroking down his body. The way the man kept looking at him during the wedding had him half-hard all evening. He knew it was the wedding—all the romance in the air.

A lingering worry had nipped at him earlier in the day that Ian’s wedding would bring back painful memories of Rowe’s own wedding, but he seemed fine and Noah couldn’t be more thankful.

So, he watched those hands. Being touched by Rowe was like nothing else in this world. The man worshiped his body with an all-in intensity that frankly awed Noah. And he knew that wouldn’t change, no matter how long they were together. He took in his dark-red hair, lit by moonlight, disheveled as usual, and his ripped shoulders and arms. The man filled out a suit well, but he couldn’t wait to peel him out of it.

“Keep staring at me like that, and I’ll be finding a secluded spot to pull over,” Rowe murmured, giving him a steamy look.

“That’d be fine with me. Did I tell you how hot you are today? You should wear suits more often.”

“Soon as we get home, I’ll show you my birthday suit.”

“That’s my favorite suit of all.” Noah grinned.

Rowe pulled to a stop at a red light and turned toward him, his green-eyed gaze hotter than the sun. “You clean up nice yourself. Come here.”

Noah leaned over to kiss him. Brakes squealed sharply. Noah jerked his lips away from Rowe’s before they could touch. A car had pulled up, perpendicular to theirs, in the middle of the intersection. A loud bang quickly followed and the ping of glass breaking. Startled, he looked at the windshield to find a small hole in it.

“Shit, get down!” Rowe grabbed him and shoved him into the seat, covering him with his body just as another shot broke through the windshield.

“Someone is fucking shooting at us!” Rowe stretched over him to reach the glove box where he kept his gun. He yanked it out but stayed down. “Are you hurt?”

Noah couldn’t believe the man covered him, but that was Rowe. “No, I’m fine. You?”

“I’m good.”

Tires squealed again and the roar of the car engine grew softer. A knock on the driver’s window had them both jerking upright. Rowe aimed the gun in that direction, ready to put two in whoever was stupid enough to be standing there. Noah rose, ready to jump out of their truck and attack.

The woman outside screamed and ducked away from the window. “I was just making sure you were all right!” she yelled, and Rowe immediately lowered his gun. “The person shooting drove off, but I got a good look at the car. I’m beside you at the stoplight. The driver just pulled right into the intersection and someone shot out of the front passenger window. Is everyone okay? I called 9-1-1.”

Noah looked out the windshield to find the first hole directly in front of him. He turned and found a matching bullet hole in the seat. It would have pierced his heart. Whoever shot at them had one hell of an aim. Or at least, they would have if Noah hadn’t leaned over to kiss Rowe at that moment. <em>Holy fuck</em>, <em>that was close!</em>

His stomach was in knots as he met his boyfriend’s gaze. “What the hell?”

Rowe rolled down his window, apologizing to the woman for scaring her. “What kind of car was it?”

“A black Volkswagen hatchback.”

“Did you see anyone in the car? Could you tell if either person was a man or woman?”

“The passenger looked like a man. I’m sorry, I didn’t get a good look at the person’s face.”

Sirens sounded in the distance, getting steadily closer. Rowe put his gun back into the glovebox and they both got out of the truck to look at the damage. Two police cars arrived with a roar of engines. The first cop opened his door and stood with his gun at the ready.

“The shooter drove away,” the woman yelled. She was certainly helpful and brave to have gotten out of her car at all. Her red Honda was still parked at the light beside them with several more cars stalled there as well. None of those people had gotten out of their vehicles, but now they did as the police gathered.

Rowe and Noah answered questions but because they’d ducked, they had less to offer by way of explanation than the woman who’d witnessed the whole thing.

“Was more than likely a drive-by,” one of the cops said as he made a few notes in his little notepad. “We’ve had a few of them recently. I’m glad nobody was hurt this time. The others weren’t so lucky.”

But Noah had a feeling it wasn’t some random drive-by.

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Meet the Author

Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments. Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.

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