RELEASE BLITZ: “IRA (Vendetta 4)” by Leigh Kenzie. $10.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Included!

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Ira (Vendetta 4)

Author: Leigh Kenzie

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Temptation Creations

Release Date: December 3, 2020

Genre/s: Dark M/M

Trope/s: Dark M/M Mafia

Themes: Captive/Captor, Forced Submission, Kink, Non-con, Obsession

Warnings: Please be advised this book contains graphic violence, torture, and murder. It also includes non-con, psychological torture, and various kinks. The book also includes significant homophobic scenes. Some readers may find this material triggering. It is intended for a mature audience 18 years of age and up.

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 50 700 words

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Out of Nightmares can come Dreams

Blurb

Allesandro
My fury consumes me. Nobody is safe from it. I will bring my Emilio home. I will rebuild my empire. I’ll demolish anyone standing in my way.

Emilio
He thinks he has me beat. He thinks he’s in control. If there’s one thing Master taught me, I make my own destiny. I’ll claw my own way out and when I do they’d better prepare. Nobody has ever seen the likes of me.

What happens when vengeance and fury twist together?

Trigger warnings: Contains graphic violence, extreme sexual situations, and homophobic scenes. Please see inside for more warnings.


This is a continuous series. The first three books must be read prior to this one. Book 5 releasing early 2021.

Excerpt

Peter POV

I wake up from my nap gasping. The memory of Daniel dying is rushing through me as I push through the last remnants of sleep. I lie there for a moment, trying to reconcile everything. I’m not sure who to be the most pissed at. I knew he wasn’t happy, he said I shouldn’t have taken him out of the hospital. His urges were too much for him to handle, but damn, he could have talked to me. I bite my tongue hard enough to draw blood when I think of Eamon. Fucker put Daniel in that situation to take that bullet, hiding the knowledge that they were real, because if I’d known then, fuck no, I wouldn’t have allowed it. He never understood brotherly love, though. I shouldn’t have waited. I should have taken Eamon out first. But it’s too late for that.

Lio. Lio pulled the fucking trigger. A deep growl builds in my chest. I loved him. I gave him everything, and he repaid me by killing my brother. Daniel’s voice echoes in my brain about needing to keep calm, not to punish Lio for not being perfect, but damn it, Lio has always been perfect. It’s why he’s mine. It’s why I found him, took him, and did everything I could for him. I take deep breaths, trying to rein in the anger and the poisonous hate that wants to spread. Maybe I just need to push him more, make him earn his forgiveness. I’m not fucking sure at this point if that’s possible, but maybe it’ll work. Maybe I can recapture our love. Maybe…

I startle when I notice he’s not in bed with me. I’ve been so lost in my head. Memories of what I did earlier float in my mind, and I quickly move to look at the floor. I exhale forcefully when I see him. I feared for a split-second that he’d escaped, but he didn’t. It means he knows he needs to be punished, he needs it the same way I do.

He doesn’t raise his head even as I move. I know kneeling for so long must be hurting his knees, but I don’t give a shit. I reach out and grab his hair, forcefully bringing him up and onto the bed. The way he scrambles slowly to move tells me how stiff he is from holding the same position for so long. I violently push him on his back and straddle him, grabbing his throat with my hand and squeezing. He doesn’t fight back, although I wish he would. His face steadily changes color, and tears roll down his face, making a pathway through the dried cum, but still, he doesn’t fight. The most he does is tilt his head back to give me better access. I wrench my hand off his neck, letting him draw in huge gasps of air. I punch the pillow by his head, barely missing his face. That, at least, draws a reaction from him. The flinch and fear. I want his fear. I need it.

About the Author

Leigh is a dark M/M romance author from Texas with two needy terrors of terriers and a chaotic family. She considers coffee a major food group and her family fears broken coffeemakers. She writes in her spare time, forced to the keyboard by characters entirely too vocal in her opinion and often falls victim to plot monkeys. In between creating mayhem with her characters and friends, her hope is to transport readers to fictional places and provide darkness with a twist.

Author Links

Amazon page | Facebook Group | Facebook Page

Newsletter Sign-Up | BookBub | Goodreads

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RELEASE BLITZ: “Ship of Fools” by Sophia Soames.

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Ship of Fools

Author: Sophia Soames

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Aurelia Morris

Release Date: November 30, 2020

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Finding love, Family Christmas, instalove, Set in the UK

Themes: This story contains descriptions of sexual roleplay and consensual violence, and elements of mild BDSM.

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 50 000 words

It is a standalone story.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Andreas Mitchell is single, stupid and bored, and should have a good long think about the amount of bad life choices he has made lately. Instead he heads straight for the one guy he knows will become his worst mistake yet.

Luca Germano makes no choices at all, instead he lives quietly in the background, and prefers the safety of his own hand to risking his heart. And someone as pretty and fearless as Andreas Mitchell, is the last person on earth he should let into his life.

Especially at Christmas.

This is a work of fantasy and fiction. This story contains descriptions of sexual roleplay and consensual violence, and elements of mild BDSM, which are not intended to be taken seriously, or imitate real life. Please read with caution if these
themes might trigger or upset you.

Find more stories from the fictional British town of Chistleworth, in Custard and Kisses (free to download from Prolific Works) and This thing with Charlie (part of the Winter Wonderland giveaway starting on Jan 1, 2021)

Excerpt

I barely finish that thought, before my office door opens. He doesn’t even knock, Luca Germano, before entering and walking up to me with determination in his steps.

“We are ready to deliver. I was just wondering if you would like to come down and look her over before I go home.” He grunts.

He’s wearing skinny jeans today, and a torn knitted hoodie. A speck of oil still lingering on his hand, and a polishing rag stuck in his back pocket.

“I trust you.” I say, taking the glasses off my nose, and placing them on the table in front of me. “The crew downstairs speak very highly of you. Thank you for helping us deliver on this one. I’m sure the car will be much appreciated by its new owner.”

I’m talking a load of shite, in a voice that belongs to someone like Mr Lambert. I do that, sometimes, when I speak with older clients. Try to make myself more mature, more sophisticated, and less of the twinkly brat I really am.

“Ahm…” He grunts, again. He’s a man of few words, Luca Germano. He still scares me, because he’s unpredictable. I can’t read him, not really. Sometimes he comes across as happy and carefree, at other times he seems almost terrified of me.

“Let me guess…” I tease. “Tonight you are working out, then you are going to go and have a nice glass of water at Club Eden. Am I right?”

“What?” he huffs.

“Yeah? That’s what you do, most weekends.” I giggle. I’ve immediately lost the stupid fake maturity. It doesn’t take much. Told you, I’m an idiot, and clearly a fool, because now Luca Germano is blushing and squirming, and looking at me like I’ve lost my mind.

“Why would you say that?” He huffs out, suddenly back to being annoyed with me. Then he looks scared, breathing too heavily, running his greased hand through his cropped hair. He’s had it cut again. I bet it’s soft against his fingers.

I’m clearly losing my touch here, and I need a break. Luca Germano turned me down for a simple reason. He’s probably gay, because most people frequenting Club Eden, are… gay. Since it’s a gay club. Yet, I’m feeling less confident by the second here, sat behind my desk being… frankly, both rude and stupid with one of our freelance tech crew. Because I know what I am doing, I’m flirting, and why the hell I am flirting with him, of all people? I don’t understand myself anymore. Well, I do. He’s handsome, in a rugged way. A little bit scary, because the man clearly works out and is both tall, fit and muscular. The kind of man with big hands that would toss me around a bed with ease and completely dominate in the bedroom. He’s also staring at me like I have two heads.

Note to self, also the kind of man I should avoid, because I usually end up in a state like last weekend. Do I take any notice? No. Here I go again.

“You usually spend the evening stalking me around the club, and staring at me.” It’s a little bit of a lie, but I’m smiling and batting my eyelashes. I’m giving the guy a chance here. I wouldn’t mind a hookup with him. I would even let him do me, like a little good pick-me-up.

“Look, mate.” He says again, with surprising strength, as he walks up to my desk and leans his knuckles on the top. Leaning over me and staring at me with an intensity that scares me. I actually shuffle my chair an inch backwards, because… Yeah. Intense.

“Don’t mess around with me, I’m not into all that.” He’s serious too, enough for me to feel intimidated.

“Mate, it’s an invitation to fuck, not a bloody job interview.” I nip back, trying to blow my chest up like a bloody baboon. I’m not impressive, I realise that, as he smirks at me.

“Just leave it. Not interested.” He huffs. I just laugh, because as he stands back, he turns around far too quickly for a man not interested. He’s also sporting a semi in his jeans, unless he’s hung like a horse. He’s probably hung, but that bulge…?

“Look, Luke.” I try, but he cuts me off.

“Luca. Not Luke.”

“Luca, my bad.” I try a smile, but he doesn’t take the bait. Just stares, like he does. Maybe it’s just his thing, and perhaps I have read all this wrong from the start.

“I go to Eden for a drink at the weekend, because my best mate from school mans the bar. That’s why I go there. I hang out and shoot the shit with a guy who I have known since I was three. Is that clear?” He’s pissed off, and now he’s frightening me. Just a little. In a good way.

“Crystal.” I nip back.

“I’m not interested in being one of your fuckbuddies, okay? So leave it. I’m very happy to work for you, and you have a great team downstairs, so if you have a project you need me for? Ring me. If not? Then I hope you have a great Christmas… and all that.”

He’s lost his steam at the end, clearly not holding a planned-out speech. He would never make a salesman, because now he is twirling around in a circle again, almost tripping over his own feet as he walks out of my office, leaving the door wide open behind him.

I don’t go down and check out the car. I probably should, before the handover to the new owner this afternoon. I should probably be there to sign it off. Instead I lean back in my chair and let my eyes close. Just for a second to calm myself down.

What on earth am I doing? That? That display of complete and sheer unprofessionalism was … staggeringly stupid. I could lose my job. It could be seen as harassment, on a grand scale. I need to stop, whatever it is I think I am doing.

In any case, I need to go home, grow up and grow a bloody brain, because the one I have at the moment? It’s fried.

About the Author

Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over tv-shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-) glamorous real-life job.

Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The Au Pair just sighs.

She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia.

Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever and she hopes it may long continue.

Find me on social media @sophiasoames on all platforms.

Aurelia Morris is a cover artist, photographer, photoshop wiz and eternal fangirl.

She works in many mediums under more aliases that she can keep track of.

Social Media Links

Facebook Group: Sophia Soames’ Little Harbour | Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway

Free short story: Custard and Kisses on Prolific Works

Find Charlie’s story in This Thing with Charlie, set in the same universe

as part of the Winter Wonderland Giveaway on Prolific Works, coming Jan. 1, 2021

Join Sophia Soames’ Little Harbour Facebook group

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BLOG TOUR: “The Offering” by Rosary Deville. $10.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Included! See entry link below:

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: The Offering

Author: Rosary Deville

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Zoe Perdita

Release Date: November 13, 2020

Genre/s: M/M dark erotica, taboo, mpreg, paranormal/urban romance,

shifter fantasy, werewolves

Trope/s: alphas and betas, strong/unruly protagonist

Themes: dubious/non consent. forced marriage, societal inequality,

abuse, violence, dom/sub, BDSM

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: approx. 65 000 words/ 250 pages

It is Book 1 out of 2. Book 2 will be released later in 2021.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

A beta in an oppressive werewolf society must participate in a mating ceremony where alphas hunt their future mates.

 

Blurb

As a beta in Wereduin society, Fern has no choice but to be mated when he comes of age. The ideal beta wereduin was subservient to their alpha, bears young, and knows their place in society.

Fern isn’t like that.

Rather than become an extension of his alpha, Fern wants to play in his band, hang out with his friends, and stay himself.

Now of age, Fern is to be placed in the Offering—an annual ceremony where alphas hunt and claim their beta mates. And whose attention does Fern attract? None other than Donovan Blackfang, a Highborne alpha who will stop at nothing but to claim Fern’s heart, body, and soul.

 

Excerpt

Someone grabbed the nape of my neck. Shit, no! Why hadn’t I paid more attention to my surroundings?

This alpha male was stout and gray. His jagged claws dug into my shoulder, and it ripped a cry from my throat. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw another beta. This alpha must have been cornering her before I showed up. She didn’t look back at me as she made her escape. The alpha who had me could have come from my worst nightmares. He had a large scar across his eye. His thick, weather-worn hide told me he’d been at this game for a while. He could be my papa’s age, not that age mattered for werewolves, but his face was truly menacing. The glee I found in his glowing red eyes terrified me. Veins riddled his muscular physique. One of his ears had been chewed off. He gripped my shoulder, tearing my skin. I clawed at his hands, face, biting wherever I could as he forced me onto the ground.

I felt sure I was a goner when he was knocked off of me. Growling surrounded us. It was the large, black alpha that had taken on the slaver. He snarled at the alpha who had been about to rape me. Slowly, I crawled away on my hands and knees. That was when he turned his fangs on me, growling. He didn’t want me to leave, as if he already felt some ownership of me. Something in his eyes halted me and trapped my breath in my throat. I shook my head rapidly.

No!

There was no way I would be claimed tonight. And certainly not by a male. I took off running, leaving them to their fight.

It was over shockingly quick. The dark alpha won. My alpha. It confused me when I momentarily thought of him as mine. My body wanted to submit. Arousal grew heavy in my groin, heating up my body.

Hell, no!

Instincts be damned, I was not born so I could have some male alpha’s pups.

The black alpha picked up speed.

Just then, two alpha males sprang from either side of the woods. I ducked low, and they collided into each other. I dodged around them. The left one snatched me back before the alpha on the right knocked him to the ground.

Both alphas were beautiful—if I allowed myself to think something like that about the same sex. One was a scarlet red, while the other a golden bronze. Hopefully, the two would also stop the black alpha who still followed me, and I could make a getaway.

Both tried, not wanting to let a challenger slip by.

I dragged out a relieved sigh. Part of me was disappointed, and that part scared me. The rest of me was thankful. I didn’t want any of them to win—especially the strong dark alpha.

It was apparent by their beauty that all three alphas fighting over me were from the upper-class. But my eye was drawn to the dark one—jet black with those piercing neon-blue eyes and riddled, muscular physique. Of the three, he was the most handsome. Shaking my head and trying to remove those unwanted thoughts about the beautiful alphas fighting for me, I left them to battle.

When I heard them following me, I stole a glance over my shoulder. My heart stopped. Both the scarlet and golden-bronze alphas chased behind me. The dark werewolf must have been beaten. My heart sank. I wanted to slap myself. Why did I feel so let down?

I ran blindly through the forest and over the rocks until I backed myself against a cliff. Both werewolves approached me, snarling. I retreated as far as I could go before I drew my fangs. There was no way I was going down without a fight.

Perhaps they formed an alliance because they no longer fought each other. Instead, they homed in on me. Was I about to be claimed by two males?

How would they take me? I only had one opening. Would they both try to fit? My body trembled, but my beta brain started to submit. It craved having the alphas’ cocks inside me.

Backing away, I shook my head and crouched low. They sprang at me, but before they could touch me, a black shadow leaped from the cliff over my head. He landed in front of me.

There he is again!

The black alpha.

Gratitude overwhelmed me, and I could do nothing but stare at him. I wanted this alpha. I ached inside. Precum dripped from my hard cock. I wanted him inside of me.

Violently, I shook my head. No. I did not want to be claimed by anyone tonight. I found a small opening created by their fighting and snuck out. The black alpha growled at me, and I couldn’t stop my shiver. He wanted me to wait for him. He wanted me to let him claim me. Already, it felt like he had his claws around my heart.

 

 

About the Author

Rosary is an author of erotica ranging from sweet and fluffy, to dark and taboo. She aims to foster a sex-positive experience for readers to indulge their fantasies in a fun and safe space. Sometimes she uses her writing to journey into the often hidden and taboo depths of human sexuality, and hopes readers will take away from her stories, not an acceptance of violence and sexual abuse, but rather a way to embrace their inner desires often shamed by society.

 

 

Author Links

Blog/Website | Facebook | Twitter

Instagram | Newsletter Sign-up | Link Tree

 

 

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BOOK BLAST: “Midas Touch” by Alex Hall. $25.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Included!

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Midas Touch: A Christmas Romance

Author: Alex Hall

Publisher: Madison Place Press

Cover Artist: Rebecca Slather

Release Date: November 9, 2020

Genre: F/F Romance

Themes/Tropes: Christmas, childhood friends to lovers

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 75 000 words/ 208 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Gwen Cook has returned to Williamsburg, Virginia, after more than a decade away from her family estate. Frankie Porter has spent the last year renovating that same estate, turning the dilapidated Cook mansion into a showpiece. Gwen and Frankie shared a childhood full of hard secrets and ripe with first love. Now adults, their paths cross again and sparks fly.

A HEA with content warnings for PTSD and implied child abuse.

Excerpt

The boathouse had barely changed in twelve years. The creek ran quite a bit deeper and wider. Brown water had swallowed up much of the far bank and licked in pools about the base of the boathouse itself. Frankie had to shove back kudzu and sumac as she walked. The soles of her boots sank inches into mud. Tiny pink-and-white wildflowers grew up between the trees, and here and there she spotted a drooping hedge bright with red berries.

She made her way cautiously through the undergrowth until she could touch the old building. Standing against the foundation, she cocked her head and squinted up along brick walls. The boathouse seemed as sturdy as she remembered. Two stories high and crumbling on the outside, it was ruler straight and strong except for the roof, which still sagged but hadn’t given in to the elements and fallen.

“Used to be, they knew how to build to last.” Frankie patted the warm brick.

The structure didn’t tower the way it had in her childhood, but she supposed it wouldn’t. She had grown—her bones had lengthened into adulthood. She’d managed to top five feet, barely. At sixteen, she’d feared she would be stuck forever just above four.

Frankie hesitated, glancing up into the sky. The trees had grown tall, and she could see less of the sun than she remembered. The place was definitely cooler, definitely shadier; but on a warm summer afternoon, shade wasn’t such a bad thing.

She leaned against the boathouse and untied her boots. Stripping off her shoes and socks, she stood barefoot in the mud, regarding the brick walls. Twelve years gone and she was no longer a child. Could she do it?

Of course she could. Was it wise?

Probably not.

But her fingers and toes found the old cracks easily, and before she knew it, she was halfway up the wall. The brick brushed her khaki shorts, leaving brown stains. A branch streaked her white shirt with sap. Frankie didn’t notice. At the top she hoisted herself over the edge of the roof and onto the shingles. She sat very still, holding her breath, waiting to see if the roof would protest. The shingles held, even when she rose to her feet and tiptoed across the top of the boathouse to her old perch.

She looked up and around first, admiring the oak and the dogwood and the ash with their green-as-grass leaves. She sucked in the fragrance of the creek as she brushed her bangs from her eyes. Then she took a deeper breath and looked down.

James Creek glittered below, cut into geometric shapes by dim sunlight. Shadows gathered at the edges of the water and then spread away along the bank. From where she stood, the water looked deep and inviting.

About the Author

Sarah Remy/Alex Hall is a nonbinary, animal-loving, proud gamer Geek. Their work can be found in a variety of cool places, including HarperVoyager, EDGE and NineStar Press.

Author Links

Blog/Website | Twitter: @sarahremywrites

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RELEASE BLITZ: “Hunger Strike” by T.J. Pike

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Hunger Strike: The Road of Bones

Author: T.J. Pike

Publisher: Gnaw Publishing

Release Date: November 20, 2020

Genre/s: Dystopian, YA, sci-fi/fantasy

Trope/s: Reluctant Hero

Themes: Friendship, family, freedom versus oppression

Heat Rating: 1 flame

Length: 95 391 words

It is book 1 in a series of 4

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

The road must have its blood

Blurb

Hunger Strike, The Road of Bones drops you two centuries into the future. The moon has been sheared in two, much of the Earth is a wasteland, and the world is ruled over by witches and sorcerers with cruelty and indifference. When the town of Endly is threatened by the tinkerer and his army of animorphs, sixteen-year-old Hunger Strike, alongside his best friend, Winda, and his adopted brother, Denver, devises a plan to move thousands of its residents across the treacherous wilds, in the hopes of finding a new home within the borders of a strange land far to the west, known only as The Weird Wood.

Excerpt

Winda is the adult in the room. Always. She approaches challenges logically. Where I’m a bumbling mess of emotions, Winda has a way of removing emotion from any given situation, and then, with a clear head, she begins to formulate a plan of action.

So, I relate every detail of the past couple of hours to her, ending on a sour note with the impending invasion, and then I sit back, fold my arms across my chest, and I watch the gears spinning behind Winda’s eyes, a flickering candle between us.

A minute passes. Two. Three.

“The beasts!” she shouts suddenly, jumping to her feet and kicking the leg of the table. Next, to my horror, she pulls her machete from its sheath and, in one lightning fast motion, she stabs its tip into the table, plants her hands, locks eyes with me, grits her teeth and she spits; “Well, I’m not going down without a fight, you hear?? We’ll certainly die, but we’re damned well going to take a few of them bastards down with us, and we’ll bathe in their blood together before our glorious deaths!”

I knit my eyebrows together. Clearly, someone has taken my Winda and they’ve replaced her with a person who delights in taking baths in other folks blood. I, however, do not. Where’s the adult in the room? The lack of emotion? The clear-headed plan? We really are screwed if even Winda can’t wrap her head around this thing and spit out a strategy other than bathing in blood and glorious deaths – a duo of rather unappealing options in my less-than-knowledgeable opinion on the subject.

“Um – I don’t like that plan, Winda,” I whisper, painfully aware that Denver is in my bedroom and probably listening to every word we say.

“What else is there??” she spits back at me, once again taking her seat.

I furrow my brow. “Running?”

“Leave – all these people to be slaughtered?” Winda hisses across the table at me. “Is that what you’re suggesting, Hunger?”

“No, Winda, that’s not what I’m suggesting,” I say.

“Then what?”

“We take them with us,” I say.

There’s a pause while Winda looks across the table at me like I’ve just grown a hideous extra head or two. “There are – thousands of people living in Endly, Hunger.”

“Two thousand, three hundred and thirty-seven,” a raspy little voice says.

I glance over my shoulder. Denver is peeking into the kitchen from the hall.

Winda sneers at him.

He gulps.

Denver has always been quite anxious around Winda. It might be her machete, or the pistol, or the fact that he overheard us discussing how she had accidentally murdered her pet cat, Mr. Wiggles. Or all three.

About the Author

T.J. Pike has been writing since splashing down on this tiny blue marble in late 1986, when a native of the planet observed what a brilliant liar he was. “You should either write a book or go into politics,” the woman was heard to say. Having been a VIP guest at the White House several thousand times over the past hundred years, he chose the former. Hand cramps, cold feet and early mornings soon inspired him to invent the computer, wool socks and coffee, though not in that order. Pike is currently number one on the Epsilon Delta Bestsellers list, and if you visit the Planet Arkon, you can find a bronze statue of him in the alleyway behind Smirk’s Liquor Mart, just to the left of the dumpster. Dubbed the most prolific story-teller of his time by Deckon-the-deceiver, Pike currently resides in New England, where he spends his days in the clouds, atop his dragon, Dinky, only stopping to allow her to feed on the occasional villager or two.

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BLOG TOUR: “Handled” by Romilly King”

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Handled: A dark gay romance

Author: Romilly King

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: October 29, 2020

Genre: Dark M/M Romance

Themes: justice, retribution, and unsuitable love

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 175 pages

Trigger warning: violence, mentions of suicide, and torture.

It’s also a happy for now not a happy ever after

as there are two further books in the series.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Serial killers think if it all goes south and they finally get caught that their swan song is a day in court, making the families relive the agony while they get off on that delicious pain, all over again.

Not happening. Not anymore. We’re not making celebrities out of monsters. We’re not giving them a stage to strut on.

Now they get an audience of two.

One to Handle the problem, one to Witness it.

I’m a Witness. I trained for six years to do my duty, to manage my contracted killer, and to watch justice be done.

I knew it would be hard, the first time, to watch the eye for an eye moment.

I expected to feel a lot of things – fear, disgust, guilt.

I didn’t expect to feel turned on.

And I didn’t expect my contracted killer to look quite so pretty with blood on his hands.

HANDLED is a dark gay romance with themes of justice, retribution, and unsuitable love. It is not for the faint of heart and contains graphic scenes intended for an adult audience.

Excerpt

Chapter One

Gray

I wake no less irritated than when I went to sleep. Frustration and arousal are rolling at a low level simmer in my brain and my body. I should have sought a release but I couldn’t make my mind up if I needed to hurt, or be hurt.

Normally I know exactly what I want.

Watching the kill turned me on, it always does, there was pain involved, and although I was fifteen feet away I could feel it, smell it, almost taste it as the wire of the garotte carved through the dirty skin of the neck.

It was the laziness of the killer that confused my arousal though. He was sloppy, his victim was random, there was no finesse anywhere, no evolution in technique, no learning or adapting.

The pain on the victims face had caused a jerk in my limbic system, my cock going half hard, my blood sluggishly stirring, but the lacklustre carry through from the killer snuffed my rising hormones.

I know I will be a lot harder when I kill him.

The pleasure will last a lot longer.

The best I can say about last night’s kill was that it was quick. Which was a blessing for the victim.

It was the second time I had seen this killer perform, and the previous operation had been no more inspiring than this one.

I roll out of bed, I have time for a shower before watching the congressional committee do their annual rehashing of old issues before failing to find a way out of their ethical conundrum.

It is essential viewing, it gives me insight into which way the wind is blowing on Capitol Hill with regard to my employment and more than that, my existence.

Chances are the wind will still be gusting in my direction. The public remains fascinated and frequently aroused by people like me, but reluctant to face the unpalatable truth that the human genome throws us up for a reason, and that reason is survival.

Apart from that it’s always amusing to watch the Director deliver this year’s version of his you can’t handle the truth monologue.

Under the warm water of the shower I feel again the urge to give into the sexual side of my issues but it’s not worth it. It won’t assuage the itch, and I still can’t decide, hurt me or hurt someone else.

Sometimes, when the disconnect is bad, I look down at my body and I am surprised, because it isn’t what I expect to see. I see smooth lean muscle and length when what I expect to see is skinny and short and dirty, with old blood on the backs of my legs, grime ground into too pale skin, and my ribs like a toast rack.

The curling arousal makes it worse. I need to kill or this vision of me becomes the more prevalent one, and that isn’t helpful, it takes the confidence away.

I don’t have bad memories per se, I just had my evolution forced, and so the real me, the me now, it sometimes regresses, and if I look in the mirror I see both of us, one standing inside the other. The grown Handler and the tortured child.

Once I get my new Witness and handle this killer it will be so much clearer, and then I can take my release with clarity and passion.

Rubbing my hair dry I walk naked into the bedroom and flick on the tv. The committee is coming to order, the Director adjusting his microphone smoothly on the desk in front of him – I honestly don’t know how he has the patience for this, but then we have different mentalities. His various assistants

are congregated behind him looking like a row of funeral directors, which is essentially what they are – all dark shiny graduates of the Witness program.

It would be nice if one of them was assigned to me, preferably one that I won’t want to kill within the first half hour, and then we can get the show back on the road and I can finally let the curling, aching need in me find its path to completion.

About the Author

Romilly is queer. Romilly wakes up every morning and decides which (witch) to be. Some days Romilly is an Imp, some days a Fairy, some days a Stoic, and some days a Gladiator. Romilly has a classical education, a filthy mouth and loves OTK spankings and strong Sirs who give love and punishment in equal measure.

Romilly is also very shy but makes every effort to engage with people from all walks of life and likes making friends and meeting fans on social media.

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RELEASE BLITZ: “My Ticket Out” by J.N. Marton

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: My Ticket Out

Author: J.N. Marton

Cover Artist: 100Covers

Release Date: November 17, 2020

Genres: Contemporary F/F Romance, Coming-of-age

Tropes: Forbidden love(ish) and friends to lovers

Themes: Coming out, Embracing who you are

Heat Rating: 2-3 flames

Length: 260 pages

It is a standalone story.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

A senior basketball player. A mysterious new girl. A secret romance…

Blurb

Charlie Baker wants out. She wants out of her small, southern hometown of BluHaven and she has her sights set on a basketball scholarship to a college as far away as her dreams can take her. Everything is going according to plan until she moves to town.

Aspen Sullivan is breathtaking. She is beautiful, smart, talented…. She evokes feelings in Charlie that she hadn’t thought possible. When their friendship blossoms into something more, Charlie discovers a new truth about herself. But with Aspen’s mysterious past, they must keep their relationship a secret.

Will their love be strong enough to endure the trials of deceiving those closest to them? Do they have what it takes to escape the constraints of the south and the closet together?

My Ticket Out is a Young Adult, LGBT story about love, and self-discovery. If you enjoy stories that include romance, heartbreak, and embracing who you are, then you will definitely love this book by author J.N. Miller.

Pick this book up today to see if Charlie will find her ticket out.

 

Excerpt

Chapter 1

“We did not come this far to roll over like a bunch of pigs! Take the ball and put it in the damn basket!”

Falcons on three… one… two… three… FALCONS.”

Twelve seconds left on the clock.

One more shot.

One more play.

One last chance.

Twelve seconds is all the time we need.

Defense pounces the second the ball is inbounded like a leach latching itself to the only available life source.

The fast break is swift–over before it even started. One hard dribble towards the middle and the ball is launched to the center of the court.

Seven seconds left.

What comes next is second nature. A hard cut to the basket and back out to the wing, my hands raised in the air as I catch the ball before defense has time to adjust.

Four seconds left… Three seconds… the ball rolls off my fingertips.

Two seconds… it swirls around the rim.

One second… and falls to the ground.

The sound of the buzzer erupts through the gymnasium, solidifying our defeat. Final score thirty-six to thirty-seven.

I inhale the musty stench of sweat, perfume, and hairspray as we sulk into the locker room and take a seat while we wait for the aftermath that is Coach Stewart. I lean forward, resting my elbows on my knees and focus on the sweat dripping from my forehead, plummeting to the ground, leaving a minuscule puddle between my shoes.

One shot.

That’s all we needed. And I blew it.

My main priority from the second this year started was getting a basketball scholarship out of this small town. From our very first game, it’s felt like my life has been dependent on one specific goal. A single accomplishment–like making the game winning shot–is going to make or break my future.

Coach Stewart charges through the door, letting it slam against the concrete wall as he steps in front of us. His gaze is intentional and cold, his demeanor full of discontent and indignation. His eyes trace over us, one by one, pausing just long enough for us to feel the misery set in.

He dips his head, slowly shaking it back and forth, before he holds up his index finger. “One shot. One damn shot. That’s all we needed to be undefeated this season.” He lifts his head, settling his hands on his hips. “We made mistakes tonight. And sometimes one mistake is the difference between winning and losing. The season’s not over yet. We’ll just have to practice a little harder to end it on a high. We’ve got a few games left, don’t give up now. Practice tomorrow after school. Bring it in.

Falcons on three… one… two… three… FALCONS.”

I shuffle to my locker, ignoring the hushed conversations happening around me, and begin gathering my stuff.

“That was a nice shot, Charlie,” Riley says as she pulls off her jersey, tossing it to the growing pile on the floor and retrieves her tshirt from the locker next to mine.

“Thanks,” I mutter, “I’ll see you tomorrow,” and sling my bag across my shoulders, heading for the door.

I get about three steps away from the locker room when I’m cut off by Ben. He’s wearing faded jeans, a red and black flannel over a plain white shirt, and boots with dried mud on the sides. The typical wardrobe of the boys that live around here. He’s taller than me by about three inches, with chocolate brown hair falling in his face, and forest green eyes that can’t seem to focus on what’s in front of him. “Hey, Charlie. Nice game.”

“Thanks,” I say, trying to brush past him.

He takes one long stride to the right, blocking my path. “I was thinking about checking out that new movie this weekend. Thought you might like to join me?”

“No thanks, I’m busy.”

He leans in closer, the smell of popcorn lingering on his breath, “C’mon, Charlie,” He whispers, “It’ll be fun. It wasn’t too long ago you jumped at the chance to go out with me.”

That’s not actually true. I only went out with him because Riley insisted and I finally agreed in order to get her off my back, not because I found him even remotely attractive. Of course, he doesn’t realize that, which isn’t all that surprising when I really think about it. We did the typical dinner and movie date but he couldn’t hold a conversation that didn’t revolve around him. Within the first twenty minutes of the movie, he’s shoving his tongue down my throat. I managed to wrangle him off before awkwardly sitting there trying to pretend I was somewhat interested in the film playing on screen. I haven’t gone out with him since.

“Ben, I need to get home. Can we talk about this some other time?”

“So,” he says, straightening up, his tone chipper as a smile plays around his mouth, “You’ll think about it?”

I stagger past him, picking up my pace as the EXIT sign beacons above the door, hoping my silence will answer his question.

I step outside, breathing in the bitter, frigid air of late February and make my way to my old grey Sedan. I pull out of the parking lot and head towards downtown. BluHaven is a small, southern town where the same families, shops, restaurants, and business have been here for generations. There’s a church on nearly every street corner, everything shuts down on Sundays, high school sports are the main source of entertainment, and everybody knows everything about everyone.

They say you have the freedom to be whoever you want to be, to express yourself in your own way. But if that goes against the belief system that’s been set in stone since before I was born, then don’t even bother. It’s not that I hate living here. It’s just that I never felt like I truly fit in, like my place has always been somewhere else in this world.

 

About the Author

J.N. Marton graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor’s degree in education. Along with educating the future of our nation, she enjoys taking her daily morning run, reading any book she can get her hands on, and binge watching the latest shows on Netflix. Marton happily lives with her wife, Hollis, and their Lab/Basset Hound mix, Sam.

Email her at jnmartonauthor@gmail.com and follow her on her favorite social media platform, Twitter @jn_marton.

 

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RELEASE BLITZ: “Naughty and Nice” by D.J. Jamison. $10.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Included!

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Naughty & Nice

Author: DJ Jamison

Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood

Release Date: November 19, 2020

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Ex-stepbrothers, snowed in, holidays

Themes: Christmas, family, making up for past mistakes

Length: approx. 60 000 words

Heat Rating: 4 flames

It is a standalone story.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

Why can’t I forget your kiss…

 

Blurb

Why can’t I forget your kiss…

Dear Quinn,

Why must I have these feelings for you? You’re my ex-stepbrother, and nothing will change that truth, no matter how many letters I write.

I never expected to see you again–or to rescue you from the side of the road in a blizzard. I didn’t think you would ever like me, much less kiss me in a steaming hot tub on a snowy night. It seems we make better lovers than brothers, which is all kinds of naughty and nice while we’re snowed in together.

But can this new intimacy last when the skies clear and my family finally arrives for the holidays, or are we just two guys in a mountain cabin with a great view of everything we want but can’t have?

Hopelessly yours,

Jonas

 

Naughty & Nice is set in the same universe as Secret Admirer but stands alone.

 

Excerpt

“So, this is the hot tub,” I said, apropos of nothing.

“Yep,” he said, grinning. “Nothing gets by you.”

“I’m very observant that way,” I said, nodding seriously. I looked around as if taking in my surroundings, and when I got back to Jonas, I looked at him boldly, straight-on, my gaze skimming from his lips to his shoulders to his nipples, visible just above the water line.

He cleared his throat. “I’m starting to notice that.”

I wasn’t being subtle.

I’d angled for this to happen. To be in this hot tub with Jonas. I’d told him I wanted to soak away the cold in my bones, and that wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t entirely true either. I’d wanted to get closer to him. Wanted to feel another flash of the heat I was sure I’d seen in his eyes at dinner. Maybe it was an anomaly, and we’d have a soak and move on with our lives. Or maybe…

Maybe it’d combust, given the right circumstances.

To my frustration, Jonas’s phone chimed with a message. He looked away to pick it up. I watched as his lips quirked into a smile while he tapped out a response. He’d gotten a couple of these texts in the car too, tonight. It wasn’t like before, when he was avoiding messages. This was someone else.

“Who’s texting you?”

He glanced up, then irritatingly right back down to the phone. “No one important.”

I huffed. “They have a lot of your attention.” My stomach tightened. “Is it a hookup?”

Jonas didn’t answer immediately, and every second wound my insides a little bit tighter. If Jonas had someone in his life—or more than one, as his busy phone led me to believe—I wouldn’t be surprised. Why wouldn’t someone want him? He was effortlessly gorgeous; I’d seen him roll out of bed and ruffle his hair with his hand and look fabulous. That was it; his whole morning routine. And there I was in front of the mirror, trying to tame flyaway hairs and choosing my clothing with care. He was smart and self-reliant too. He didn’t bail on school or his future just because he was in a messy relationship. He dealt with life. Guys like him were never alone.

I edged closer, our legs brushing underwater. “Is it someone you’re serious about?”

“Nah, I don’t do serious.”

“Why not?”

His eyes met mine and held. “Tried it once. It didn’t suit me.”

I suspected he meant me, even though that didn’t make any sense. We’d never had a relationship. We’d had one brief kiss, and that was it. Surely he hadn’t been serious about his stepbrother with a bad attitude? I must be reading too much into that look…

“So, you’re texting with a non-serious hookup?”

He set the phone aside, lips quirking. “A potential hookup. Guy lives near here—”

I slapped my hand onto the surface of the water. “Oh, hell no!”

He laughed a little in disbelief. “What?”

Something came over me. All the tension that had stretched between us, all my restraint, snapped.

“No,” I repeated. “No hookups with other guys while you’re here.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Other guys?”

I was busted. He saw right through me, to the jealousy I had no right to have. I sucked in my bottom lip, tasting the faint tang of chlorine from the water droplets that had misted my face.

“Go on, Quinn. If you’ve got something to say about my sex life, I’m all ears.”

My face flushed hot. Words of apology were on the tip of my tongue. It wasn’t my place; it was none of my business.

Unless I made it my business.

Pulse speeding up, I turned toward him. “I’ve got nothing to say.”

“No? Because it seemed—”

I pushed forward in a rush, letting my mouth do the talking. Our lips pressed, clung. Jonas’s breath caught as I licked his bottom lip. Then, as if I’d hit fast-forward on a video, he was all in. His hand clamped around the back of my neck, pulling me hard against him as he deepened the kiss. My blood leapt with the thrill of lust and adrenaline as his tongue slid along mine, tasting and teasing. Jonas was a skilled kisser, advancing and retreating, giving me just enough to want more, then changing tactics to wind me up all over again.

The kiss went on forever. One kiss blended into the next. We sipped air as we repositioned our mouths, kissing one direction, then the other.

I was burning up in the steamy water, and yet I was shivering as cold winter air brushed over my neck and shoulders.

Jonas grabbed my hips, dragging me into his lap. I felt how hard he was, and ground down against him until he groaned satisfyingly against my mouth.

“Fuck, baby.”

“No.” I finally pulled back to look into his eyes. “I’m not baby, or honey, or any other thing you call your hookups. I’m Quinn.”

His voice was husky but soft as he responded. “Quinn.”

I shivered to hear my name in that sexy, velvet tone.

“You sure you want to do this with me?” he asked. “I know we’re not related by blood, but…”

Was I sure it was a good idea? No. But did I want it? Desperately.

“We’re not brothers.”

 

 

About the Author

DJ Jamison writes romances about everyday life and extraordinary love featuring a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, one snake, and a sadistic cat named Birdie.

 

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website | Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter: @dj_jamison_

Instagram | Newsletter Sign-up | KoFi for bonus content | BookBub

 

 

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BLOG TOUR: “Foreign Affairs” by Daniel M. Jaffe.

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Foreign Affairs: Male Tales of Lust & Love

Author: Daniel M. Jaffe

Publisher: Rattling Good Yarns Press

Cover Artist: Ian Henzel

Genre/s: Short stories, literary fiction, LGBT romance

Trope/s: Travel romance, flirtation, sexual encounters, history in contemporary life

Themes: Travel, sexual/gender identity, love, desire, loss,

friendship, historical memory, spirituality

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 60 000 words/168 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Publisher: Rattling Good Yarns Press

Paperback – US addresses only (includes FREE shipping)

Blurb

In this newest story collection from award-winning writer, Daniel M. Jaffe, red-blooded American men make mischief while vacationing abroad. They encounter a serial killer in a Munich bathhouse, a gay Holocaust ghost in Prague, a shape-shifting seductress in Mexico City, a desperate prostitute in Seville, a closeted Catholic school administrator in Dublin, and many others. These stories will transport, titillate, intrigue, and tug at your heartstrings.

Excerpt

Bill understood Quinn to be whispering “dirty,” but in the raspy, heavy brogue, the word came out as “dehrty”: “Yer a dehrr-ty, dehrr-ty man.” Quinn flicked out his tongue and sucked it in, frog-like. With a thurping sound: “You’re a dehrr-ty, dehrr-ty man,” thurp thurp thurp.

A journalist for the Chicago Tribune, Bill had arrived in Dublin this morning to write a human interest story on the upcoming gay marriage referendum. Polls anticipated Ireland becoming the first country to authorize gay marriage by public vote. Traditional, Catholic Ireland.

Not having slept on the plane—and his body reminding that he was older than he used to be—he spent the day napping in his Jury’s Inn Christchurch hotel room, studying local newspapers and webzines, making notes and listing questions for his article. He supped in his room on take-away from the “great wee chipshop” around the corner, Leo Burdock Fish & Chips—greasy, salty, thick-crusted smoked cod accompanied by more fries than he could possibly consume. Later on, he trimmed his gray beard, donned jeans and a button-down blue shirt that showed off his squarish pecs without appearing too obvious—his decades-old uniform whenever scoping out a new city’s gay life. Bill always enjoyed these forays most of all, surveying the terrain before his newspaper’s photographer arrived and hovered, thereby preventing Bill from conducting his most enjoyable background research.

Passionate encounters with locals were the secret to Bill’s success as human interest story writer—even in his late 50’s, he could still get laid with fair enough regularity, especially as exotic foreigner. Few journalists’ articles contained the under-the-skin insights Bill’s did, revelations feeling like disclosure to a trusted confidant. Bill’s interviews read like intimate pillow talk because that’s precisely what they were.

Bill put little stock in ethical baloney about maintaining journalistic distance: if you want to get an inside story, you need to get inside. Repressed countries were Bill’s specialty because they burst with scared horny locals who had few other bed partner options. Want a journalist to cover police harassment of Russian gay activists? brutality against gays in Iraq? death-threats against gays in Uganda? Send Bill with a pack of condoms to ferret out the under-cover(s) scoop. Only a matter of time before he’d win a Pulitzer. He sure was having fun trying.

Bill headed out in the cool evening for George, the nightclub touted on all Irish gay websites as Dublin’s primary gay hangout. He’d undoubtedly find some trick to “interview.”

Strolling down Dame Street—odd, he thought, how historically grand the word “Dame” sounded in Ireland, whereas in American ears it came across as outdated Al Capone cheap. He walked the narrow sidewalk past restaurants, pubs, cafés, repeatedly bumping shoulders with those walking toward him until he realized that the Irish walked the way they drove—on the left, unlike on-the-right Americans: head-on collisions were inevitable.

A scan around the cobblestone courtyard of Dublin Castle, a mix of red brick Georgian palace, gray medieval fortress, and white-gray Gothic revival chapel. A quick look-see at City Hall with its white-gray granite columns and triangular pediment. On the corner of South Great George’s Street, a main shopping avenue, he faced an enormous mural covering the entire side of a gray building: two young men, one in white sweater, the other in black, snuggling in romantic embrace. Larger-than-life gay love, four stories high. And tacked to a lamppost on the corner beneath it—a bold, green-lettered “Yes For Marriage Equality” poster sporting a rainbow flag. All this smack in the center of Catholic Dublin. A more in-your-face public display than he could recall having seen in Chicago’s Boystown.

That must be the place, with the rainbow flag over the entrance and a thick bouncer staring into Bill’s eye. He nodded at the guy and stepped inside. A low-lit cavernous space with stairs to the right—the upper level looked closed…well, it was a Sunday. The music was fast-paced and louder than he liked. Bill walked to the far end of the long bar with men and women in their 20’s chatting, noted the stage behind the bar, empty now of the drag acts he’d read about. He grabbed a black leather barstool, asked the muscular barman for a pint of Guinness, one of those touristy must-do’s. He savored the thick molasses foam, the mix of bitter and heavy sweet, then turned to the lean young man beside him, a handsome fellow with close-cropped blond hair, and introduced himself, knowing that his accent would lead at least to a where-are-you-from conversation. Bill slapped on his personae of naïve visitor: “All I basically know about Ireland is leprechauns and four-leaf clovers.”

“And all I know about America is that you all carry guns and shoot black teenagers when you’re strung out on crack.”

About the Author

Daniel M. Jaffe is an award-winning writer whose short stories and personal essays have appeared in over half a dozen countries and several languages. He has been profiled in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature, and his work has been taught in college and university courses. Daniel is author of the novels Yeled Tov, The Genealogy of Understanding, The Limits of Pleasure, and the short story collection, Jewish Gentle and Other Stories of Gay-Jewish Living. He lives in California with his husband, the writer and professor, Leo Cabranes-Grant.

Read more at www.DanielJaffe.com.

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RELEASE BLITZ: “Love in Slow Motion” by E.M. Lindsey

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Love In Slow Motion

Author: E.M. Lindsey

Publisher: E.M. Lindsey

Cover Artist: Amai Designs

Release Date: November 16, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Age gap, dad’s best friend

Themes: Bisexual awakening

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 95 000 words

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Maybe it didn’t end there. Maybe it started with a kiss…

Blurb

The only thing Ilan Nadav knows about relationships and marriage is that they ruin people. He’s committed himself to the bachelor life, and he’s never been happier—until his best friend had to go and fall in the sort of toe-curling, sonnet-writing kind of love. Witnessing that created a hunger in Ilan, and now all he can see is the people standing near him who deserved better than they got. And one of those people makes his heart beat a little bit harder and a little bit faster—but he’s the last man in the world Ilan is allowed to want.

After all, Fredric Pedalino is his best friend’s dad.

When Fredric comes to him for advice about dating men, Ilan is forced to re-write his own reality—and maybe his stance on love, because Fredric is the sort of man with the ability to sweep him off his feet. Even when he isn’t trying.

Ilan wants Fredric more than he’s ever wanted anyone before, but he’s not sure he’s willing to take the risk. After all, loving that man might cost him everything.

Excerpt

“I was on a date when you called me. My first real date maybe ever. You know, the kind that didn’t mean a quick hook-up on my couch before I sent him packing.” Ilan let out a huffing breath, and his fingers stroked absently over Fredric’s knuckles, sending sparks shooting up his arm. “I saw your name and I knew if I answered that call, that would be it. It would be over.”

“And you did answer,” Fredric said softly.

“Yes,” Ilan breathed out, “I did. I did, knowing what I was getting into—but I also did it thinking it was safe because there was no way you wanted… me.”

Fredric’s stomach twisted and his heart thrashed. He hated how hard this was, how complicated, how much fear ruled the moments between them. But like Teddy said to him, it would be worth the effort. “Except I do.”

“And I don’t know how to tell you no,” but before Fredric could lean in and close the distance between them, Ilan went on. “And I don’t know how to say yes.”

Fredric nodded, deflating a little, but not pulling away. “Then have dinner with me. And a little more wine. And that cake you brought.”

Ilan was silent a long while. “And then?”

“And then we take Bas for a walk. You can tell me what the winter sky looks like here at night. I’ve never asked before.”

Ilan’s fingers twitched, and his voice was thick. “I can do that.” He paused again. “And then?”

“And then, we do it again—something else,” Fredric said. He shifted closer, until their knees touched, and Ilan pressed back against him. They started to tangle in places, more than their hands, and it felt right. And as much as he was still nervous, he felt safe. “We see movies, and we eat dinner. We take a tango lesson at the community center. We find a wine and paint night and you can help me paint a cactus.”

Ilan laughed. “Yeah?”

“Yes,” Fredric said. “I just need to know that it starts here.”

“Just a chance,” Ilan breathed out, like he was making the promise to himself, not Fredric. “And if…if I can’t,” he said, then stopped. “If whatever inside me has been so wrong for all these years stays wrong, and you need something more…”

He couldn’t imagine a world in which that would be possible, but he owed Ilan at least one promise tonight, and he could make it that one. Tugging their joined hands toward him, he pressed the warm knuckles to his lips and let them linger for a long, long moment. “We will never be broken.”

Ilan’s breath was softer this time, but still trembling—just like his hands. But instead of pulling away, instead of letting whatever he was feeling get the best of him, he didn’t let go.

About the Author

E.M. Lindsey is currently living in the United States. They spend their time writing, reading, hiking, and binging Netflix – in that order. Find their work exclusively on Amazon.

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