A Free Dreamer Review: Out of Time (Out of Time #5) by C.B. Lewis

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

For Ben Sanders—traitor, thief, and temporal orphan—time is running out.

After three years as a fugitive, with the police task force led by Lysander O’Donohue and Jacob Ofori hot on his heels, Ben has to resort to desperate measures to evade capture and find the key to locating his missing father, lost in time for over two decades. With secrets and conspiracies at every turn, the net grows ever tighter around him.

Haunted by the people he betrayed, the loved ones he left behind, and the lives he ruined, it’s too late to stop now. But no matter what Ben does, there’s no escaping his past.

With this exciting conclusion to the Out of Time series, it is recommended to read the first four books for full enjoyment.

After reading parts three and four, I was really excited about Out of Time. It wasn’t quite as awesome as the other two books, but still pretty good.

Like I said above, I didn’t read part one and two and I think you’re fine without them. But I really think you should at least read part four before you read this final installment, because a lot of what happened in the previous book is important for what’s going on now.

First of all, I want to say that I love how diverse Lewis’ cast of characters is. I mean, where do you find a Muslim woman wearing a hijab in a position of power? I’ve certainly never read about one ever. And it’s all so effortless. Some books have a lot of different sexual orientations in them and they make it obvious that the author tried really hard to make their cast diverse and it just doesn’t feel natural at all. But Lewis is the complete opposite. Of course you need a whole bunch of different people if you’re gonna do time travel, there’s a ton of interesting places to visit, all over the world.

There’s definitely more drama, angst and action than in book four, but somehow it still wasn’t quite as suspenseful. That doesn’t mean it was boring in any way, it was just a tiny bit easier to put the book down when I had to.

After the end of book four, I most definitely didn’t see this relationship coming. I totally bought into the act Ben and Enoch came up with. But it all makes sense now and they worked really well together. Their sex was really hot.

Enoch is so hilarious and such an awesome guy. And he has a great way of handling Ben when Ben needs him. I immediately took a liking to him.

Ben is very different. He’s not in a good place and my heart really went out to him. His life hasn’t been easy and being on the run constantly is certainly taking its toll on him.

There was some time travel, with a few unexpected results, but nothing lengthy. I almost missed it a little bit.

The ending was a bit too much for me. There was this extremely perfect HEA for everybody involved and after everything that happened, it just didn’t seem all that realistic. Well, as realistic as a story about time travel can ever be…

Overall, I’m sad this series is over and I’m glad I still have the first two books that I will need to read eventually. I think Lewis had a really unique approach to time travel and I really enjoyed what I’ve read so far.

The cover by Natasha Snow is essentially the same as the others in the series. The protagonists in front of a modern city background. Still not a huge fan of the concept, but not horrible either.

Sales Links:

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

Book details:

ebook, 350 pages

Published January 20th 2020 by NineStar Press

A Free Dreamer Review: Time Turns (Out of Time #4) by C.B. Lewis

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

As a consultant analyst for the most technologically advanced firms in the country, Danny Ferguson knows he’s seen a lot of crazy stuff, but nothing comes close to his newest position at the Temporal Research Institute, the world’s foremost time travel organisation.

The corrupted piece of code Ferguson found on the TRI’s closed network is a serious concern for Lysander O’Donohue, the director of the TRI. Unable to trust his own people—any one of whom might be the source—he’s forced to put all his trust in Danny to solve the mystery of the corrupt code and find the identity of the enemy within.

But when an unexpected temporal gate opens, a straightforward code analysis becomes something a lot more complicated.

I read and really enjoyed part three of the series, so I was eager to get my hands on the next book. And Time Turns certainly didn’t disappoint.

While this is part four of an ongoing series, I think it works perfectly fine as a stand-alone. The protagonists from part three get barely any on-page scenes and the important events are summed up early on. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t read part three, though, because it’s just as good as this one, albeit quite different.

Coding isn’t necessarily something I’m crazy about. The few times I’ve been exposed to it, I found rather boring. But this book actually made it seem really fascinating. The way Danny works with it is like a new form of art. You don’t need to understand it to appreciate its beauty. And the author didn’t delve too deeply into the theory, so it never got boring or confusing.

I was utterly captivated from the very beginning and I used every free second to continue reading. Neither of the protagonists actually did any time-traveling and there wasn’t actually all that much action. But somehow there was this suspense that just made it extremely hard to put down the book. This is the kind of book that should come with a special warning: “Do not read if you don’t want to be late.” Seriously, I was almost late for work more than once.

Lysander is a really interesting guy. He’s a very private person and has some unexpected secrets. And Danny is just plain adorable. Sure, he’s cocky and overconfident, but also extremely loyal and hard-working.

I absolutely loved the relationship dynamic. Danny was so mindful of Lysander. And Lysander never took advantage. The progress felt natural and the sex scenes, while few and far between, were really hot.

As for the mystery part, the revelation of the bad guy was completely unexpected to me. I don’t read a lot of mystery, though, so maybe an avid crime/mystery reader could have deduced who the culprit is sooner.

Overall, “Time Turns” was a brilliant book and my first 5-star-book of the year. And it’s made me even more eager to read the rest of the series.

The cover by Natasha Snow fits with the rest of the series and the story, but it’s a little nondescript. I’m not a fan of covers where the models make up the largest part of the design.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 400 pages

Published September 16th 2019 by NineStar Press

Out of Time Series

Time Waits

Time Lost

Time Taken

Time Turns

Out of Time

Love a Time Travel Story? Check Out the Blitz for Out of Time (Out of Time #5) by C.B. Lewis (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

Title: Out of Time

Series: Out of Time, Book Five

Author: C.B. Lewis

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 20, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 113100

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT science fiction, time travel, gay, bisexual, asexual, British, dirty talk, family drama, PTSD, panic attack, unending innuendo and teasing

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

For Ben Sanders—traitor, thief, and temporal orphan—time is running out.

After three years as a fugitive, with the police task force led by Lysander O’Donohue and Jacob Ofori hot on his heels, Ben has to resort to desperate measures to evade capture and find the key to locating his missing father, lost in time for over two decades. With secrets and conspiracies at every turn, the net grows ever tighter around him.

Haunted by the people he betrayed, the loved ones he left behind, and the lives he ruined, it’s too late to stop now. But no matter what Ben does, there’s no escaping his past.

With this exciting conclusion to the Out of Time series, it is recommended to read the first four books for full enjoyment.

Excerpt

Out of Time
C.B. Lewis © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
The house was unnaturally quiet.

It looked the same as usual: portraits of a family—mother and baby, father and toddler—on the walls, a scatter of Lego and jigsaw puzzles on the floor, a forgotten coat slung over the bannister at the top of the stairs.

The man walked onwards towards the staircase.

It was too quiet.

All he had to do was call out and break the silence, but he couldn’t.

Run and hide.

That was what his dad had told him. He had done what he was told.

The front door was cracked open, a thin slice of pale morning light cutting across the patterned tiles on the hall floor. It stretched on towards the lab, which was impossible. The sun was too high for it to stretch so far.

Something wasn’t right.

The stairs creaked underfoot as he crept down. The tiles in the hall were cold. His clothes were soaked. He didn’t remember why. They were wet, and he was cold, and it was all too quiet.

He saw—did he?—the body. A sheet. A shoe on a foot from under it. He saw it. A glimpse. He walked closer, and the sheet was still there. He reached out and grabbed the sheet to see the face of the one who did it.

There was nothing there. No one. The sheet fell from his numb fingers, vanishing before it hit the floor, and he walked onwards.

The door was open, no longer secret. They had cleaned the bloodstains, but he’d heard them talking quietly when they thought he couldn’t hear, and the handprints were back, smeared on the wall. Whose? He didn’t know.

Light shone up from the basement. The walls were white where they weren’t red. It wasn’t silent down there. The electric crackle of power hummed around him as he made his way down. It should all have been bigger. When he was there the first time, it all seemed so much bigger. He remembered the crackle, too, and knew what it meant.

Their secret, something no one had ever known.

He crossed the floor of the laboratory, ignoring the computers and the information all over them. The sound was coming from the next room, and he knew what he was going to see.

The temporal gate connected, blazing with light. The man standing before it, barely more than a silhouette.

“We’re running out of time.”

The voice was familiar, but it was wrong too, not the voice he remembered. Too many years without. Too many years of his memories being worn away. He couldn’t remember it now, not exactly, not the intonation, not the lilt or the accent.

He tried to speak, but his throat was closing up. He reached out towards his father, trying to catch him before he did what he always did. His fingers passed through his father’s shoulder as if it was nothing more than a shadow; then his father stepped through the gate. The world blazed white, dazzling him.

“No!” He ran towards the gate only to collide with a solid wall. Wall on all sides. Enclosed. Trapped. He was somewhere safe. Safe and closed and dark and alone until Dad came for him. The door was sealed and there was no way out, and in the dark he screamed—

Ben Sanders jolted, sitting bolt upright, panting. Iron bands squeezed his chest. He twisted frantically towards the glowing nightlight on the stool beside his bed. Staring at it, he counted down from thirty until his heartbeat evened out, and he could breathe again. He always kept the lighting low throughout the studio in case the nightlight failed. A shaft of white cracked through the ajar bathroom door. Not dark. Never dark.

His sheets clung to him, soaked with sweat. He pushed them aside and got out of the bed on unsteady legs. It took more effort than he liked to make it to the bathroom. He sank to the floor to sit by the toilet. The porcelain was cold as he propped his elbow on the seat, his fingers sinking into his sweat-matted hair.

Every night, it was getting worse. He knew why. How could he not? With every day that went by, he took another step closer to the day that would ruin his life. Time, time, time. That was what it came down to.

His stomach clenched, and he vomited, acid burning in his throat.

Any day now.

He got up and filled a glass of water at the sink. His reflection seemed more like someone half-dead, pale, with deep shadows beneath his eyes. He needed to rest, but not now. Not with his heart still pounding and the faint echo of his father’s voice lingering in his ears.

There was still so much to do.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

C.B. Lewis is small, Scottish and writes pretty much anywhere, any time. She loves to travel and tends to bring home at least four new plot bunnies from every trip she goes on. She’s very excited to continue the adventures of the Out of Time series.

Facebook | Tumblr

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Button 2

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

Standard

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

Add to Goodreads

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.

Purchase

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

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.

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Button 2

Love Historical Romance with a Twist? Check Out the Release Blitz Ride the Whirlwind by Jackie North (excerpt)

Standard

Ride the Whirlwind RDB Banner

Ride the Whirlwind

Jackie North

M/M Romance, Time travel, Historical

Release Date: 09.17.19

Ride the Whirlwind-ebook

Cover Designer – Jay Aheer

Blurb

Soulmates across time. Two hearts, stronger together.

In present day, Maxton is good at finding trouble and bad at everything else. Then he receives a letter from his friend Laurie, who went missing. The letter is dated over one hundred years in the past.

In 1892, Trent Harrington, sheriff of Trinidad, Colorado, cast off by his family, lives a respectable but lonely life, devoid of any closeness. He knows he will be alone forever.

Trying to escape a past that keeps chasing him, Maxton drives south to Mexico. When his car spins off the road, he is swept up in a desert whirlwind, which takes him back in time to the year 1892. There, unused to the laws of the wild west, Maxton gets arrested, and is subject to the terrifying whims of two deputies who can do whatever they want to him.

Sheriff Trent Harrington of Trinidad is tasked with escorting Maxton to Trinidad. The request isn’t unusual, but the young miscreant is. Maxton draws Trent’s heart out of its shell with his flashing green eyes and lush head of hair. It isn’t right. It isn’t natural. It’s illegal. Yet Trent cannot resist the impetuous young man.

As the two men travel through the dry, lonely desert to their destination, will they find in each other the love and companionship they never thought they’d have?

A male/male time travel romance, complete with the scent of desert roses, brilliantly colored sunsets, starlit nights, roast rabbit over an open fire, growing honesty and trust, and true love across time.

Buy Link: http://mybook.to/RideTheWhirlwind

Contains references to Honey From the Lion and Wild as the West Texas Wind but can be read on its own.

RideComingSeptember2019RideTheWhirlwindTeaserRideTheWhirlwindBasicAd

Excerpt

Though he very well knew that pride went before a fall, Trent felt quite pleased with himself. He’d managed to purchase two sturdy mounts: Old Sue, a calm-eyed mare who looked pleased to be saddled up and given something to do, and Lathalad, a pinto with remarkable blue eyes, an even more remarkable mostly white coat with a narrow black streak running down the center of his long tail.

He was a beauty for sure, but carried a scar across his breast, which might be the reason he was a tad skittish when he was brought out and trotted around. Trent worried until the man at the stables convinced him the horse could carry a man and supplies easily, that he was built for long rides. As well, Trent caught Maxton looking at the horses, and thought that the gelding was of the appropriate size.

They’d bought supplies of beans, packets of jerky, and, of course, ground coffee. He purchased a coffee pot, two tin cups and bowls, two tin spoons, and a used cutting knife, which he strapped to his right thigh below his gun belt. Whatever meat they needed Trent would shoot along the way.

Trent packed the saddlebags on each horse, showing Maxton how it was done, how to tighten the girth on a saddle, how to adjust the stirrups. How to fasten a pair of canteens across the cantle and tie them tight so they wouldn’t knock about and startle the horse. Then he tied his carpetbag behind the saddle on Old Sue, and the two bedrolls behind the saddle on Lathalad.

Maxton followed along with only half of his attention, as his other half seemed to be scanning the horizon on the edge of town where the stable was located. As well, he was making an expression that Trent couldn’t quite define, but he thought Maxton felt he was being treated like a fool who didn’t know any better. Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t, but it was better safe than sorry.

“It’s just past noon,” said Trent. He took his hat off, wiped his forehead with the back of his sleeve, then settled his hat on his head again. “But we can head out now and make our way out into the wild.”

Trent smiled, and wondered if he should actually share what he was thinking, but why not? He and Maxton would be together for several days, what harm would it to do admit this one little thing.

“I do love sleeping beneath the stars,” he said, now, looking at Maxton as he said it. Testing the waters. “Which is a little foolish, seeing as how if we waited a few days and taken the stage, we’d sleep in a hotel every night.”

“I don’t mind sleeping under the stars,” said Maxton. “Took a class on the constellations once, so I know a lot of them.”

Maxton stopped himself from saying more, and shrugged as if it was of no consequence to him. It was the same devil-may-care attitude that he’d carried with him from the moment Trent had laid eyes on him in the cell in Dilia.

Someone had taught Maxton not to care or, if he did, not to let on. Someone had taught him to hide every thought, whether foolish or wise. Someone had taught him to carry himself as though he might be under attack at any given moment.

Trent knew the feeling. Knew what it was like to hide what you were and what you thought. Knew what it was like to be wary and to dance beneath the surface of your own life until you forgot what it was like to breathe fresh air, to hold your head high and be exactly who you were.

Though, as to what Maxton was hiding, Trent didn’t know. He wanted to know, though, because there was a fire in that young man’s eyes. A soft shy tenderness, which Trent saw as Maxton looked out at the horizon and chewed his lower lip, like he was expecting something to come blasting at him from out of the desert.

Jackie-logo1

Jackie North has been writing stories since grade school and spent years absorbing the mainstream romances that she found at her local grocery store. Her dream was to someday leave her corporate day job behind and travel the world. She also wanted to put her English degree to good use and write romance novels, because for years she’s had a never-ending movie of made-up love stories in her head that simply wouldn’t leave her alone.

As fate would have it, she discovered m/m romance and decided that men falling in love with other men was exactly what she wanted to write books about. In this dazzling new world, she turned her grocery-store romance ideas around and is now putting them to paper as fast as her fingers can type. She creates characters who are a bit flawed and broken, who find themselves on the edge of society, and maybe a few who are a little bit lost, but who all deserve a happily ever after. (And she makes sure they get it!)

She likes long walks on the beach, the smell of lavender and rainstorms, and enjoys sleeping in on snowy mornings. She is especially fond of pizza and beer and, when time allows, long road trips with soda fountain drinks and rock and roll music. In her heart, there is peace to be found everywhere, but since in the real world this isn’t always true, Jackie writes for love.

Website – http://www.jackienorth.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jackienorthMM

Pintrest – https://www.pinterest.com/jackienorthauthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JackieNorthMM

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18128460.Jackie_North

Queeromance Ink Author Page –

https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jackie-north/

Sign Up For My Newsletter – http://eepurl.com/drakS1

MichelleSlagan---VibrantPromotionsLogo---FiveStarDesigns---150ppi

A Free Dreamer Review:Time Taken (Out of Time #3) by C.B. Lewis

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Time travel is a precarious business at the best of times, but when Qasim El-Fahkri’s mission to the past ends in violence, it has a ripple effect through every level of the Temporal Research Institute.

Rhys Griffiths finds himself caught in the wake of the disastrous jump, his own career uncertain. With the Supervisory Board breathing down his neck, operatives demanding answers to baffling questions, and life outside of work bearing down on him, his only respite comes from Qasim’s company. As the professional slowly becomes the personal, they must confront the echoes of their own pasts to try and move forward in the future.

But another past is waiting for Qasim, and there may be no coming back from this one…

For full enjoyment, it is recommended to first read books 1, Time Waits, and 2, Time Lost.

If I only had one word to describe “Time Taken”, it would have to be “surprising”. I really didn’t expect the story to go the way it did.

First of all, the blurb implies this doesn’t work as a stand-alone. I have to disagree. I didn’t read the previous two books and didn’t really feel like I missed something. Other than some background of the MCs and a bit of world-building.

While I read a lot of SciFi and Fantasy, time-travel isn’t normally one of my go-to sub-genres. It’s more something I only read every now and again, so I can’t really judge how unique this book actually was. However, it certainly felt unusual. Historical Istanbul and Uzbekistan aren’t exactly the first places I’d expect people to travel to. I really enjoyed finding out a little more about those places. It feels like Europe is the go-to setting for any historical fiction, so this was a nice change.

Qasim is a practicing Muslim and yet the book isn’t about Islam or any other religion. It’s not about a young Muslim struggling with his faith and his sexuality. It’s not about a homophobic family. In fact, Rhys, the Christian MC, is the one with a difficult family background. Qasim’s family is extremely supportive, loving and tolerant. They don’t care that Rhys is a man and a Christian. Qasim is a very religious man, he prays five times a day, fasts during Ramadan and doesn’t eat pork or drink alcohol, but he never tries to shove his believes in anybody’s face. I really liked him and I think this is the first ever practicing Muslim MC I’ve come across in M/M fiction.

Rhys is an interesting character as well. I think he might just be the first-ever Welsh I’ve read about. Plenty of English, Scottish and Irish, but nobody from Wales. And I actually learned a few words of Welsh thanks to him! I think a lot of his background story was talked about in the previous two books, so I felt like I kind of missed some info to really understand him, especially in the beginning.

The romance is quite slow. It takes Rhys and Qasim quite a while to admit their attraction to each other and act on it. I think it worked perfectly for the story and they were really sweet together. So very different, but neither tried to change the other one. They were so accepting and loving, it was really wonderful.

The whole first half of the story is rather slow. The book starts off with a bang in historical Istanbul and then I was kind of lulled into a quiet sense of peace. It was a nice story, nothing mind-blowing, but definitely enjoyable.

And then the second half started and suddenly there was so much drama it gave me whiplash. Suddenly I couldn’t put the book down and was biting my nails in anticipation and dread of what was going to happen to next. At times, I was actually a little bit teary-eyed and struggled not to start crying on the subway. I’m not going to give away too much, but let’s just say I really didn’t expect this kind of drama in a book about time-travel.

I felt like the whole story was very realistic. Qasim got injured right at the beginning of the book and came close to getting killed. And he’s actually traumatized by that and struggles to find his way back into his normal life. Often, characters in similar situation just shrug it off and bounce back to normal with no trouble whatsoever.

The ending was a little much for me, though it does make sense for Rhys and Qasim. Still, it was a little too cute for me.

Overall, I really, really liked “Time Taken” and I definitely want to read the previous and the following books of the series. My rating for the first half would have been 4 stars, the second half would have been 5, so I went with the average of 4.5 stars.

The cover by Natasha Snow is alright, if a bit generic. Nothing about it really says “time-travel” or hints at the places in the past that Qasim visits.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details: ebook, 450 pages

Published March 18th 2019 by NineStar Press

Cover Reveal and Giveaway for Shadows on The Border (Lost in Time #2) by A.L. Lester

Standard

 

 
Release Date: March 9 2019
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Lost In Time Series
 

The Gate (a FREE short story introducing the characters from Lost In Time)
Amazon US | Amazon US | JMS Books


Book #1 – Lost In Time – Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

Newspaper reporter Lew Tyler and his lover, Detective Alec Carter, are working out the parameters of their new relationship. Meanwhile, time traveler Lew is trying to decide whether he wants to stay in the 1920s or find a way to get back to 2016, and Alec doesn’t know if he can bear the vulnerability of being in love with someone who uses such dangerous magic.


Fenn is a Hunter from the Outlands, come through the Border to search for the murderous Creature and its offspring at the behest of the Ternants, who maintain the balance between Fenn’s world and ours. Fenn strikes a bond with Sergeant Will Grant, Alec’s second in command, who is keen to learn more about his own magical abilities. As time goes on, Will grows keen to learn more about Fenn, as well.


Fenn has their own painful secret, and when they appear to have betrayed the team and goes missing in London, Will is devastated. He has to choose between following his heart or following his duty.


Moving through the contrasting rich and poor areas of post-First World War London from West End hotels to the London docklands, the men need to work together to capture the Creature … and choose who – and what — is important enough to hold on to and what they may need to give up to make that happen.


Author Bio


A. L. Lester likes to read. Her favorite books are post-apocalyptic dystopian romances full of suspense, but a cornflake packet will do there’s nothing else available. The gender of the characters she likes to read (and write) is pretty irrelevant so long as they are strong, interesting people on a journey of some kind.


She has a chaotic family life and small children, and she has become the person in the village who looks after the random animals people find in the road. She is interested in permaculture gardening and anything to do with books, reading, technology and history. She lives in a small village in rural Somerset and is seriously allergic to both rabbits and Minecraft


Website: http://www.allester.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CogentHippo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALLesterAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cogenthippo/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/A.-L.-Lester/e/B01MZ6R1QR/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/allester

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

New Release Blitz for 2230: The Perfect Year by CM Corett (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

Title: 2230: The Perfect Year

Author: CM Corett

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 6, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30600

Genre: Science Fiction, time travel, research lab, scientist, aliens, fated mates

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Alex Coulson spends his days as a lowly laboratory assistant. At night, he watches movies in his lonely apartment and dreams of exciting adventures and handsome leading men.

When an electrical fire breaks out in the lab, an experimental machine malfunctions and Alex is caught in the explosion. He awakens, injured and confused, to learn he has traveled two hundred years into the future—to the year 2230. Under the care of the gorgeous Doctor Baylin Davies (a definite contender for a leading man) Alex recovers quickly, and his feelings for Baylin deepen each day. Baylin is handsome, sexy, caring, and a verified genius—everything Alex could ever dream of. Add in the whole concept of living in the future, and Alex soon decides the year 2230 is the perfect year to begin his new life.

But then there’s the major…

Whenever the intimidating military man, Major Marcais, is near, a strange power overcomes Alex’s senses, clouding his mind and weakening his desire to be with Baylin.

When the major reveals he is an alien and declares Alex to be his life mate, Alex must find the strength to resist him. And while fighting for the man he truly desires, Alex just might discover he’s the leading man in his own adventure.

Excerpt

2230: The Perfect Year
CM Corett © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Alex Coulson’s sports shoes made a loud squawk on the polished floor. His step faltered. Had anyone heard? He scanned the cavernous office foyer. With gray marble floors and clusters of expensive couches, it looked nothing like a scientific research center and more like an exclusive hotel. An empty hotel. Of course it was empty; only the truly dedicated work on Sunday. Actually, the dedicated and people like him—sad, pathetic losers without a life. He shook his head.

Okay, Alex, quit the self-pity party. No one likes a whiner.

After another quick glance around the foyer, he strode forward and headed down the long corridor lined with identical doors. The small panes of glass in each one allowed him a glimpse inside the research labs—all empty. He appeared to be the sole, sad, pathetic person here today. At the end of the corridor, he stopped in front of the door labeled “Authorized Personnel Only.”

One wave of his security pass over the sensor and the lab door slid open. The sharp smell of smoke and plastic invaded his senses. His nose twitched. Crap! Electrical fire! No doubt about it. As the wire’s plastic coating melted, it gave off a distinct smell. He scanned the room, searching for the source, but everything appeared normal. He dashed through the main room and into the smaller lab.

Like an early morning fog, a veil of smoke hovered near the far wall, centered over the control panel. In seconds, his heart rate hit full throttle. “Crap! Crap! Crap!” The Accelerator control panel! His focus flicked to the partition wall protecting the experimental machine from prying eyes. Good. No sign of smoke there. That would be bad. Very bad. He dashed into the thickening cloud of smoke and headed toward its source.

With short, gasping breaths, he swallowed and choked on the thick acrid air. What about the fire alarm? Why hadn’t it triggered yet? He slammed his hand onto the control-panel power button and then stepped back. No shutdown. Nothing. Like ocean buoy lights viewed through the fog, the faint glow of backlit buttons and switches remained. He blinked rapidly as his tear ducts reacted to the invasive smoke, creating a torrent of tears. From beneath the watery veil, he focused on the computer screen embedded in the wall. What the hell? Why was the program running? Had he forgotten to close it the previous night? His boss would have his—

A flame erupted behind the control panel.

“Oh, God!” Coughing, he stumbled backward. What should he do? Brave the flames and try to turn off the program? Call the fire department? Fire extinguisher?

Yes! Fire extinguisher.

He spun around and grabbed the red cylinder hanging on the wall. Maybe he could put the fire out before it caused too much damage. Maybe it wouldn’t even come to the attention of management. He ripped off the safety guard thingy, pointed, and pulled the trigger. The white substance spewed out toward the flames, dousing them in a cozy blanket of white powder. “Ahhh, yes. Against all expectations, Alex Coulson saves the day!”

His boss would be pleased with him. Okay, not pleased exactly because he had most likely left the Accelerator program running, but pleased because a major fire would have brought their unauthorized work to the attention of management. “And that would be bad.”

With a few short blasts of the fire extinguisher, he completed the blanket of white over the control board. He frowned and contemplated the scene. A little more wouldn’t hurt. Better to be safe than sorry. Crouching down, he directed the nozzle under the desk and pulled the trigger. Just in case.

He stood up and surveyed the room. Okay, it could have been worse. The whole lab could have gone up in flames, destroying countless hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment. Not to mention the oh-so-secret data his boss guarded as if it held the answers to the universe. Yes, it could have been much worse.

He drew in a deep breath…and doubled over with the force of a violent coughing fit.

Crap. Smoke. Not a good idea to take deep breaths.

Fire extinguisher still in hand, he stumbled back to the main lab. His breath rasped in his throat, forcing its way past raw, inflamed flesh. At least the air in the main lab remained relatively smoke-free. In a few minutes, he would re-enter the inner lab and clean up the mess. With a bit of luck, the damage would be minimal. Maybe he could fix it himself. Clean up the fire retardant, replace a few wires, and—hey presto! Good as new with no evidence of the program he left running—no cause to fire him.

The shrieking of an alarm pierced the air, assaulting his eardrums with shrill vibrations. He closed his eyes and mouth, scrunching and squeezing his face as if trying to block the sound from entering any other orifice. A millisecond later, a deluge of water erupted from the ceiling sprinklers like an unexpected shower of summer rain. The muscles in his jaw slackened, and his mouth fell open.

Oh, crap!

Water drummed on his head and shoulders, seeping under the collar of his jacket. Mini rivers flowed across computers and desks before cascading to the shallow lake forming on the floor. The fire extinguisher hit the ground beside his foot with a waterlogged clunk.

I’m a dead man. Not to mention fired!

His shoulders slumped. Could his life get any worse?

The floor shook, sending vibrations up his legs and into his queasy stomach. Oh shit. Rule number one: never ask if it could get any worse. What the hell? An earthquake? Light exploded from the inner lab, propelling bright sparks through the doorway like tiny shooting stars. Water sloshed around his feet as he stumbled backward. The Accelerator! “Oh, shit, shit, shit!”

So. Not. Good.

A loud humming joined the vibrations. It pulsed through his body, loud enough to be heard over the sprinklers and fire alarm, shaking him to the core. Paralyzed, he stood transfixed. The inner lab glowed with a pulsating green light, matching its beat in harmony with the tremors running through the building and his body.

The vibrations were so intense he couldn’t move his legs. His head hurt and numbness crept over his face. He clutched his head and squeezed his eyes shut. Vibrating, pulsating, and humming. Could his brain explode? Would they find his gray matter splattered all over the lab and floating in the newly formed lake?

As he opened his eyes, a fresh shower of sparks shot toward him. Burning! His arm burned, stinging like the devil at a precise spot on his forearm. He slapped the sleeve of his jacket like a maniac until the pain receded to a dull ache.

Okay, time to run.

In his mind, he stumbled toward the door, but his body refused to cooperate. He looked down. His legs were—

What the hell? His body appeared pixelated and a few sections were…missing? Whoa! There was some weird, scary shit happening.

The humming intensified, sending a wave of nausea through his stomach. He couldn’t feel his legs. Were they still attached to his body? The world tipped and then faded around the edges. No, no, no! He’d seen the experiments, and he had no way to stop the Accelerator from frying him—like those rats.

So. Not. Pretty.

At least no one would miss him.

Oh, God, that’s a sad and pathetic fact.

Searing hot pain exploded in his head like a—

“Ahhhhh!”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

CM Corett is an Australian author of M/M romance who has given up on trying to limit herself to one sub-genre. She writes contemporary, historical, sci-fi, and time travel… and she may have a few paranormal drafts hidden under the bed! An avid writer and reader of love between men, she has lived in the USA and traveled the world gathering inspiration for her stories. She loves movies, superheroes, and video games with awesome graphics. She hates housework and anyone who expects her to notice (or care about) the dust on top of the fridge.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Button 2

A VVivacious Release Day Review: The Eye of Ra (Repeating History #1) by Dakota Chase

Standard
Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5
 
Aston and Grant are at odds with each other almost from the moment they first see each other. Besides the fact that they are both delinquents serving out their sentence in the Stanton School for Boys they have nothing in common. But they have no idea what the future has in store for them.
 
Aston thinks he is in enough trouble as it is but when a fight with Grant accidentally leads to a fire in their history teacher’s office, effectively destroying all his possessions, is when he will truly learn what trouble looks like. Because when your history teacher is Merlin and his possessions are some of them most valuable relics of all time, nothing is out of bonds and everything’s possible, even a visit to ancient Egypt to steal the Eye of Ra from King Tut himself.
 
This book was a very boring read especially for much of the first half of the book. Things happen pretty slowly and I also couldn’t identify with Aston’s character much in the beginning. Things do get interesting in the latter half but overall this book is a dull read with a few good moments.
 
The fact that this book has time travel, Ancient Egyptian History, Merlin and is a YA LGBT romance and still failed to make an impression on me is very telling. This book has so many good things going on that nothing gets the right amount of attention. The entire part of the back prior to the office’s destruction feels like a drag because you already know what is going to happen from the blurb and the fact that I couldn’t sympathize with Aston’s character made it worse. But when the moment finally comes everything happens too fast. I think there should have been a moment here just for the reader to digest the fact that Merlin is their history teacher and to start wondering what the hell he is doing in Stanton.
 
The part of the book taking place in Egypt is an improvement over the parts of the book preceding it. But there is a little too much historical detail, at times this book starts reading like a history textbook especially when Aston starts describing people and things and the decor in great detail. This often had me wondering how a teenager would know so much about Ancient Egypt and the fact that he watched one documentary, god knows when, isn’t enough justification.
 
Things get better to again become a drag which is only salvaged by the budding romance between Aston and Grant which is what made me like the book because prior to that reading this book was a chore, but the whole retrieving the amulet thing is too dragged out. I found myself constantly wishing that they would just get it and get back because it seemed like there was no good reason to keep putting it off.
 
Personally, I think this book would have been much better had it been a short story instead of a novel because everything that is interesting in this book could be better concentrated had this book been shorter. I really can’t say if I would like to continue this series because for me the only good thing in this story was the romance between Grant and Aston, the rest is pretty much a drag.
 
Cover Art by Anna Sikorska. I really liked the cover.

Sales Links: Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 180 pages
Expected publication: May 16th 2017 by Harmony Ink Press (first published May 15th 2010)
ISBN 1635333709 (ISBN13: 9781635333701)
Edition Language English
Series Repeating History #1

Aidee Ladnier on Writing, Life and her release ‘The Applicant (Busted Labs #1)’ (excerpt, interview and giveaway)

Standard

the-applicant-by-aidee-ladnier

The Applicant (Busted Labs #1) by Aidee Ladnier
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Buy Your Copy Today at 

140b7-dreamspinner2blogo

amazon square borderB&N borderApple borderKobo border

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to be interviewing  Aidee Ladnier today.  Welcome, Aidee!

~

Our Interview with Aidee Ladnier!

Thank you so much for inviting me on your blog today! I’m excited to be posting about my new book, THE APPLICANT. I love my characters Forbes and Oliver, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with your readers.

  • Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?I was definitely an early reader and read my first book (Dr. Seuss’s One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish) before I started kindergarten. But the stories I remember loving the most were the fairy tales. I had several books by the Grimm Brothers, Charles Perrault and Hans Christian Anderson. I remember loving the scary situations and the happy endings. I’d read them over and over again until I knew them by heart.
  • How early in your life did you begin writing?I began writing around twelve years old. My first stories were inspired by dreams and books I was reading. I wrote one early story about an intergalactic romance, another about a girl pirate, and another about a girl with a ghost best friend. I wrote short stories in high school and even published a little, but gave up fiction in college for academic writing. It’s only been in the last few years I’ve taken up fiction again.
  • If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?This is a difficult question. I have so many good books on my phone. I guess if I had to choose, I’d definitely take a full set of Shakespeare’s works. He had such an amazing insight into human beings. All his best characters are flawed and know their flaws, either working to change or worse, unable to escape them. For mysteries, I’d take the complete Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan Doyle. I’ve been reading Sherlockiana since my pre-teens. Anytime I want to break down a simple mystery, I study those. If I get to take fantasies, it will always be the Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien. Science fiction is a little harder. I have a lot of favorites there—Isaac Asimov, Ursula LeGuin, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Lois McMaster Bujold. I’m afraid I couldn’t choose between those. And romance…don’t tell anyone, but I’m a total Jennifer Blake fanatic. Her heroes are to die for.
  • Can a author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?Personally, I think all of an author’s characters are their favorites. Otherwise why would they write them? But I have to say, Forbes and Oliver hold a special place in my heart. Their love story never runs smooth no matter what timeline they inhabit. It’s as if they’re pulled to each other. Despite their troubles, they keep coming back to each other again and again.
  • Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else?  Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?I adore science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and mysteries the most. I love a good romance, but I want a little something extra to add a zing. Science fiction is the fiction of possibilities, to paraphrase Ray Bradbury. It’s such a hopeful genre. The paranormal and mysteries have always drawn me because I like questions. A mystery with a satisfying conclusion scratches that curious itch.
  • Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And why?I’m a little of both. I love to plot. Ruminating about a story is one of my favorite pastimes. I often outline a story down to the nth detail only to sit down to write and the story run off in the opposite direction! But I must admit, it’s tons of fun to see a story develop on its own.
  • Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?That’s an interesting question. A story can arise from anywhere. It might be a phrase someone says, or a news item I read, sometimes a place I visit. THE APPLICANT includes on two of my favorite things, robots and time travel. I loooove robots. I wanted to write a “not very mad scientist” story and including a robot was a must. Then I realized he’d have to have a reason to build the robot and the cuddly juggernaut that became Forbes’s teddy bear robot was born. I thought Forbes would want to create a friend for children who felt small like he had as a smart little boy attending college alongside older teenagers and adults.
  • If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?Right Beside You. I’m married to a great guy. I met him in college and we became fast friends but ONLY friends. We stayed friends even though I married Mr. Wrong and he married Miss Even More Wrong. So when he was divorced and then I divorced, we both commiserated on being single and started hanging out together again. But all our friends kept telling us we should quit with the friends stuff and date instead. Just to shut them up, we finally went out on a date. And we both really liked it. We liked it enough that we married 20 years after the first time we met. So the perfect guy I was searching for was right beside me.

So now that you know a little more about me, what would your romance novel be titled? Tell me down in the comments!

✯✯Giveaway✯✯

Don’t forget to sign up for my Rafflecopter Giveaway. There are prizes and gift cards! Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

applicantthe_fbbanner_dsp

Blurb

How can something so cuddly and adorable be so destructive? The teddy bear robot decimating his lab is only the first disaster of the day for roboticist Forbes Pohle. If he can figure out how to end its rampage, he still has to interview applicants for the position of research assistant and convince the time-traveler on his doorstop that they should be making their future right now. Oliver Lennox didn’t travel back in time to have a quickie in the blast chamber—but it certainly is fun. This younger Forbes is a sweeter, more innocent version of his lover. And it will be hard to leave him behind in the past.

If you like sexy nerds, humor, plenty of action, and a love story not even time can disrupt, this romantic adventure has the perfect credentials for the job. 

Available from Dreamspinner Press

Excerpt from THE APPLICANT by Aidee Ladnier

Forbes Pohle worked the needle-nose pliers carefully behind the eye sensors of his teddy bear. He needed to make one little adjustment—

The buzzer on the door sounded, nerve-jangling and insistent, from the speaker overhead.

Startled, Forbes jerked the wire he was fiddling with free from its connection, rendering the small robot blind. The head-plate spring snapped, and the access panel clipped his hand as it closed. Forbes swore and shook his stinging fingers as the front door buzzer blared again.

Frustrated, he threw down the pliers and ran both hands through his mop of brown hair. Reacting to the clatter, the tiny robot turned its head left and then right before running off the table.

Luckily the teddy bear caught itself with its face when it hit the floor.

Undaunted, the bear scrambled to its furry feet and darted toward the other side of the lab. Forbes sighed at the sound of another imperative buzz.

“You won’t get the job if you don’t stop with the doorbell.” He stood and shoved the ends of his wrinkled white dress shirt back into his khaki pants. He typed in the power-down sequence for the bear before shutting the lab door and walking toward the front of the house. His visitor had graduated to using the door buzzer as percussion, the drone now going off and on in a jaunty rhythm.

Forbes still wasn’t sold on hiring a research assistant, but he wanted a lab assistant and he needed an administrative assistant.

Most of all, he longed for a friend.

Hiring someone wasn’t the best way to go about finding one, but working with somebody was a good start, right?

Forbes checked his reflection in the foyer mirror. The dark brown of his eyes was almost invisible against the bloodshot whites. His stomach rumbled, and he promised himself he’d take a break and eat as soon as the interview concluded.

At the next buzz, he spun and yanked open the large front door. Holy crap.

He wished he’d gotten a little sleep last night instead of staying up to tinker with the bear.

A wiry man stood on Forbes’s doorstep. He was dressed in a T-shirt, tight black jeans, black nail polish, and red Chuck Taylors. His strawberry blond hair was spiked up in front. The corners of his eyes and his freckled nose wrinkled.

Forbes blinked back his surprise and opened his mouth, expecting words to come out. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Come in.” Forbes waved him inside the house. “I’m Forbes Pohle. I’m the one who posted the job listing.”

The man grinned and held out a hand. “Very pleased to meet you, Dr. Pohle. I’m Oliver Lennox. Please call me Oliver.”

Forbes blushed at the title as he clasped Oliver’s warm hand. Forbes was a PhD three times over, but he hadn’t put that in the advertisement.

“If you’ll come this way, we can talk in the lab.” He turned and walked back down the hallway to the adjacent laboratory, assuming the applicant would follow.

“Oh, I didn’t come about…,” Forbes heard him say before he ran into Forbes’s back. To be fair it wasn’t his fault. Forbes had stopped short in the lab doorway.

During the few minutes he’d stepped out to answer the door, the laboratory had been destroyed.

aidee-ladner-2

About the Author

Aidee Ladnier, an award-winning author of speculative fiction, began writing at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, fold origami, send ping pong balls into space, and amass a secret file with the CIA. A lover of genre fiction, it has been a lifelong dream of Aidee’s to write both romance and erotica with a little science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.

You can find her on her blog at http://www.aideeladnier.com or on her favorite social media sites: