Cover Reveal for A Summer of Smoke and Sin by TJ Nichols

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: A Summer of Smoke and Sin

Author: TJ Nichols

Cover Artist: Tiferet Designs

Release Date: February 28, 2020

Genre/s: M/M historical urban fantasy/paranormal romance

Trope/s: British detective, serial killer, Victorian London

Themes: Found family

Heat Rating: 3 flames    

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To stop a serial killer a detective will need to explore his own vices…

Blurb 

Nathanial Bayard wants nothing more than to find the nobleman creating snuff pornography. If he fails, his career in the recently formed nobility task force will be over and as the youngest son he’ll be forced to obey his father and join the church. But a life of celibacy doesn’t appeal. Nathanial has never even kissed another man, fearing for his soul and his reputation.

Jericho Fulbright has never lived a wholesome life. After behavior unbecoming he was discharged from the army and sent home in disgrace. His inventor and nouveau riche father refused to have anything to do with him, so Jericho turned to what he knew best: opium, gambling and sex.

As the owner of the Jericho Rose, a club for gentlemen who like men, he enjoys a certain notoriety. Some would say he has a golden tongue, but the truth is a succubus lives within him feeding on souls. Once he needed her help, now she is a burden that keeps him from getting close to anyone.

After the unfortunate death of a young nobleman in Jericho’s bed, Nathanial is sent to investigate. He is scandalized and intrigued by Jericho, but soon realizes that Jericho could be exactly who he needs to help break the snuff case. Together they are drawn into a web of lies that will result in Jericho facing prison unless Nathanial can unmask the real creator of the snuff, a man with rank and privileges that reaches almost to the King.

 

 

Pre-Order Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Excerpt 

Nathanial scanned the room. Everywhere he looked there was artwork or statues of naked men. On the small tables were smoking implements, and opium residue stained the glass. He’d never been in such a place before, but it was obvious what happened here. 

The owner, Jericho Fulbright, stood in the middle of the room in his garish blue floral robe. The robe didn’t hide his yellow pajamas. He was as extravagant and lacking in morals as the scandal sheets declared. Who wore yellow pajamas? Sensible men wore night robes. “Would you like to dress appropriately before I interview you?”

Jericho smiled. “Would you prefer me to dress?”

Nathanial glanced at his notebook. Yes, he would. Because all he could think about was the two thin layers of fabric that covered Jericho’s body. He’d heard of Jericho Fulbright—who hadn’t?—but the sketches had done him no justice and the cartoon of his flamboyant dress had made him appear to be quite devilish in appearance. He was no devil, though. Just a man. 

“I do not care either way.” He was sure he could see the word liar on Jericho’s lips, as though he knew exactly what Nathanial kept hidden. 

“Very well then, let’s sit. I’ll call for tea.” Before Nathanial could agree or disagree Jericho rang a small bell, then sat on one of the chaises. 

Nathanial perched on the edge of an armchair. “What exactly is this place?”

“Is this part of the interview?”

Nathanial considered Jericho for a moment. His dark hair hadn’t been combed and he hadn’t been shaved. His moustache was unkempt, and he had the general appearance of someone who’d just gotten out of bed. What kind of gentleman went wandering through the house in such a state? “Yes.”

“It is a gentleman’s club.”

Nathanial pointed to a painting of two naked men wrestling, and then a statue of a naked man on his own in what seemed to be either the final throws of death or pleasure; his back was arched, and his mouth was open. “With very specific art.”

Most clubs were much more subdued with art depicting scenes of hunting.

“For gentlemen who appreciate the male form.” Jericho’s voice was as smooth as silk and in that moment, he seemed impossibly pretty and extraordinarily predatory. “Are you suggesting something illegal happens here?”

 

About the Author

Urban Fantasy where the hero always gets his man

TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as a child. Many years later while working as a civil designer, TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels, it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily. Writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the everyday. TJ is the author of the Studies in Demonology series and the Mytho urban fantasy series.

With one cat acting as a supervisor, TJ has gone from designing roads to building worlds and wouldn’t have it any other way. After traveling all over the world TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter: @TobyJNichols

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Review: Knights Out (City Knight #4) by T.A. Webb

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Knights Out coverMarcus Prater and Benjamin Danvers are having a wonderful morning when they are interrupted by a phone call.  It’s Zachary and he needs their help.  An old friend of Jeremiah’s, NIck, has gone missing and Jeremiah wants to know what has happened to him.  Since Ben also knows Nick from his time as a rent boy, Marcus and Ben are quick to agree to join a growing search for a young man known for his kindness and help to those on the streets.

Their investigation takes a darker turn when more boys turn up missing. This investigation reminds Marcus that he also has someone he wants to find, his younger brother who Marcus hasn’t seen in years.  Their current search renews Marcus’ resolve to find his brother and make amends for all the lost time between them.  The shocking resolution of both investigations will change everyones lives forever.

Knights Out, the fourth story in the City Knight series, is a wonderful installment in this Pulp Friction group offering.  Here Webb continues to weave the clues to the mystery that runs through all four series, that of the increasing number of missing young men and the culprit behind their torture and subsequent deaths.  In Knights Out two more young rent boys disappear, both of which the readers became familiar with in other stories.  Now we are faced with uncertainty about their fate and the indication that a serial murderer is at work.  Webb builds our tension and anxiety in small but increasingly fearful steps.  Soon we are afraid not only for the missing men but for all the main characters that we have come to love, especially those like Ben and Jeremiah who fit the profile of the men the killer is targeting.  The fact that Ben and Jeremiah have just found happiness just increases our alarm.

But T.A. Webb balances that worry and concern with moments of laughter and love, especially when it comes to Marcus and his brother.  That is such a lovely element in this story.  It made me laugh as well as cry.  As much as I wanted to include that excerpt with Wick here, I just can’t bring myself to spoil the enjoyment of reading it as part of the whole chapter.  Trust me, you will love this moment for so many reasons, one of which is the rare scene of seeing the unshakable Wick throughly discomforted (in a funny way of course).

By balancing a man’s love for his brother and Ben against the horror that is coming., Webb shows just how fragile a state happiness can be.  Nothing is ever certain, nothing is ever guaranteed except death, so grab your love and happiness while you can.   It’s a message that some of the characters are just beginning to accept, however much they may fight it.  The author spreads tension throughout the series, like butter on bread.  Whether it is Marcus’ health, Wick’s relationships, the mens past histories emerging into the present day events, all bring a certain amount of tension and uncertainty to all the investigations and relationships.

All the other characters from the  other series are starting to appear with regularity.  Here Wick and Chance are an integral part of the search for the missing rent boys with implications for both men and their past histories.  And while there is not a cliffhanger to be found in this story, the path is laid for more investigations and more revelations to come.

Tom Webb is certainly bring his love of Pulp Fiction alive with this story and his City Knight series.  None of these books and related series are to be missed.  But you must start at the beginning with City Knight in order to understand the main characters backgrounds and relationships and the events to come.

Here they are in the order they were written and should be read:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5)
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Book Details:

ebook, 50 pages
Published August 15th 2013 by A Bear on Books
ISBN13 9781301563555
series City Knight
buy link All Romance, Amazon Kindle Books

Review of An Honorable Man by Edward Kendricks

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A Happy Fourth of July to everyone from the United States, no matter where you might be right now.  And to all of those people still without power here in MD, VA and DC, my thoughts are with you, I know exactly how hot, how frustrated and how desperate you are feeling.  I was there.  I hope with all my heart this day finds you with your power back on, your bodies cooling off, and your minds and hearts feeling replenished.

 

Rating: 3.75 stars

Paxton Boyle and his twin boys are out rock hunting when they run across a human bone, a find that causes Pax to switch from father mode to forensic scientist and call in the police.  One bone leads to another and before long an entire skeleton has been unearthed and sent to Paxton’s lab.  As Paxton works to establish identity, one thing is immediately clear, the person was murdered.  Then the cadaver dog and its handler turns up more bones, and then another.  And the race is on to find a serial killer before they strike again.

And as Pax’s work hours lengthen, he must find someone to watch his boys after school and on the weekends he is working. Pax’s wife walked out of them 2 years ago and with his housekeeper’s daughter expecting her first child, he turns to Jordan Leonard, the boys schoolteacher and friend. Pax and Jordan have established an uneasy friendship since the Boyle family returned to town.  Years ago, Pax and Jordy were lovers in college, happy until Pax’s father broke them up by forcing Pax to marry a business partner’s daughter in a merger of families and businesses.  A heartbroken Jordy left college immediately and Pax had not seen him since their bitter parting until Pax, Jenny and the kids returned to their home town.

Pax and Jordan still have feelings for each other but Pax is an honorable man and still considers himself married, despite Jenny’s absence. And for Jordan, Pax’s betrayal of their love still hurts after all this time.  As more and more bodies are found, Pax’s longer hours bring Jordan closer into their family circle and their attraction to each others gets stronger.  How much longer will Pax  be able to keep to his promises to stay an honorable man?

Edward Kendricks did a wonderful job of weaving the story of a past love rekindled with a forensic tale of murder.   He skillfully builds the anticipation and interest as first Pax and his boys (what charmers) find the first bone on a rock hunt. Then as more skeletons are unearthed, it becomes clear that the police and Pax’s forensic unit have a serial killer on their hands. Theories are bandied about and clues discovered as the story continues, spending as much time in Pax’s lab or with the police officers hunting the killer as it does with the romance of Pax and Jordan. I liked this technique but for others it might take too much time away from the love story of the two main characters.  Kendricks does tie the two together in a neat twist that I loved, plus I enjoyed the murder mystery aspect of the book.

The love story, I think I had more problems with that section of the plot.  I did get the part where Pax was not brave enough and perhaps old enough to stand up to his father when the and Jordy first got together.  But Kendricks didn’t give me enough of the mature Pax’s feelings about Jordy to make their sudden romance entirely believable.  Same for Jordan, a character I really enjoyed.  Jordan left that college he attended with Pax for another, completed his degrees and came home to teach, his bitterness over Pax’s cowardliness still very much alive years later.  But the author tells us they have become friends since being reunited at a parent/teacher conference but gives us little evidence except for the fact that Pax leaves the boys in Jordy’s care when necessary.  Neither man has ever talked about their previous affair nor is neither man out to the community. This is not a “gay for you” story as both men are definitely gay from the start. But both Pax and Jordy seemed lacking a few layers to make both men totally believable in the context of the story.  Who did I believe in?  The boys.  I loved Denny and Danny.  With spot on dialog and wonderful characteristics, Kendricks needs to make those boys the main characters of a series of YA novels.  They would be a hit! With their passion for rocks and bones, especially fossils, those 12 year olds were easily the most authentic personas here and maybe this generation’s Hardy Boys.

And that leaves me with the ending that had far too many loose ends.  I hesitate to tell you what exactly remained unfinished as that enters spoiler territory and perhaps Edward Kendricks plans a sequel to finish the mystery he started here.  All good mysteries have the same basic elements: who, what, when,  where and why.  Not all those questions are answered leaving this reader a tad frustrated.  AT 143 pages (story alone), the ending came with a rush, which was surprising considering the time the author took getting us to that point.  I think you will feel a little shortchanged by this story, I know I did. But the parts that irked me are balanced by the portions that kept me enthralled and totally entertained. And that’s enough for me to give this a recommendation.

Cover:  Reese Dante was the cover artist.  The cover is great, it contains all the elements of the story in an appealing design.