COVER REVEAL: “Twin Images” by G.E. Mayberry

COVER REVEAL

Book Title: The Life Mage Trilogy, Book 1: Twin Mages

Author: G. E. Mayberry

Cover Artist: TrillPockets

Release Date: February 8, 2020

Genre/s: New Adult Fantasy Adventure

Trope/s: Action Girl, After-Action Healing Drama, Carnival of Killers, Mission Briefing,

Sole Survivor, Taking Over the Town, Everybody’s Dead Dave

Themes: Balance, Sword and Sorcery, War – Pain and Tragedy

Heat Rating: 1 flame

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Power destroys without regard

Blurb

When Hyam traveled to Lisedan he was lost and in search of a destiny. Alyson and Lettie thought their lives were over when Mana Hunters enslaved their village. Together, the three of them set forth on a path none of them had ever imagined. War, and a fight for the fate of magic, would lead them across a continent and reveal secrets long hidden.

Set forth on a fantasy adventure in the Noble Mages verse, where magic runs through everything. This exciting introduction to the Life Mage Trilogy will have you on the edge of your seat with each exciting twist. Get to know the diverse cast of characters that make the verse the extraordinary place that it is.

 

Excerpt

“On three, we begin the assault. One… two… three,” I said. The illusion on the alley dropped as I dived out into the street. I spotted two guards standing not twenty feet from where I exited the alley and began my assault by casting a confusion spell. “Spirit Mind Confuse,” I incanted, directing my mana at the two guards. The first fell into the confusion easily, but the second had protected his mind behind a layer of spells. Before I could break into his mind, he cast a counterspell and attempted to push back into my mind. I focused my attention on him.

“Attack the guard on the right,” I ordered my squad. “I’ve got the one on the left.”

With my orders issued, I left the other guard to my allies and focused on the mind mage. His attacks were weak but unpredictable, so I decided not to counter-attack. Instead, I layered protections on my mind and, hidden beneath the protections, a break spell that grows stronger the more it’s attack. “Spirit Mind Strengthen and Break, Spirit Mind Strengthen and close, Spirit Mind Strengthen and Grow, Spirit Mind Close and Renew,” I incanted. Several layers of protection went up around my mind.

I walked calmly towards him, letting him know I was not afraid. He broke through fire one layer of protection, then another, and another. I was less than five feet from him now. I could see the moment in his eyes when the final layer of protection broke, and his mind broke with it. the sheer terror as the world around him morphed into something from his worst nightmare. I did not let him suffer for long. I pulled a dagger from my belt and slit his throat in one quick slash.

I took a quick look around. The other guard was dispatched quite easily. A third guard had come up from behind us. He was quickly dispatched as well.

First guards eliminated, moving on* I said telepathically to Alyson and Anisha.

“Keep moving forward,” I ordered out loud, leading the charge past Alyson’s group, who had already eliminated three guards and only had two left standing. Anisha’s group was just engaging and were locking into a battle of five on five, though I could see three more down a side street.

Alyson, once you’ve dispatched your guards, back up Anisha’s squad, I ordered and lead my squad farther onward still.

Confirmed, came Alyson’s reply.

“We didn’t have far to go before we reached the barricade of soldiers, at least ten, with more on the way. Things were starting to get dangerous, and we were still six blocks away from the tower. a wall of flame burst up between us and the enemy soldiers as they began sending spears made of earth and ice raining down on us.

Earth Geo Control and Protect,” I incanted. I brought up small bits of earth all around us that redirected the spears enough that they hit the ground around us instead of hitting us. Even still, I saw one of my squad fall as an ice spear went through his ankle.

The hail of ice and earth kept coming, as more Enualians joined the barricade. This fight delayed us, and the other two squads caught up. they started throwing their own earth and fire spears back at the Enualians while the water mages attempted to douse the flame barrier. I watched as we gained the advantage. I continued deflecting the enemy’s projectiles and, just when it looked like we were going to win and push through, the unimaginable happened.

 

About the Author

Guinevere E. Mayberry is a fantasy novelist and the author of the new book, Twin Mages, the first book in the Life Mage Trilogy, and the exciting new storyverse, Noble Mages. The Noble Mages verse started with a simple question: What would the world be like if everybody could use magic? From there it took off, and Guinevere had no idea how tightly this idea would grip her imagination. From what was intended to be a single romance novel, her writing evolved into two fantasy adventure trilogies and 3 supplementary novels.

When growing up, books were a constant companion to Guinevere. From the romance stylings of Nicholas Sparks, to the fantasy that is the Harry Potter series, Guinevere would read anything she could get her hands on. Her classmates were known to comment on how she could always been seen, walking down the hallways with her nose in a book. And even back then, she knew what she wanted to do. She wanted to be the next author that a new generation would look back on and say “Her books helped me through a dark time.”

 

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RELEASE BLITZ: “Ted of the d’Urbervilles” by Rob Rosen”

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Ted of the d’Urbervilles

Author: Rob Rosen

Publisher: JMS Books

Release Date: January 18, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, Comedy/Humour, Erotic Romance, Dark Comedy, Gay/Straight romance

Themes: e.g. Personal growth, poor to rich

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 63 600 / 195 pages

It is a standalone story.

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Buy Links

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Love is Love—though who they will find it with remains a mystery until the very end!

Blurb

Ted is an orphan, a young gay man living on the streets following the death of both his parents. Hope seems futile, though hope is exactly what he finds when a surprising email informs him that an unknown wealthy relative has died, that a reading of a will is soon to occur clear across the country. Ted will inherit something, but what that something is remains to be seen.

Benny is a young, homeless drug addict, straight except for when cash is involved. Benny has never had a reason to be hopeful about anything until a chance encounter with Ted.

Both men are soon traveling together from state to state, making ends meet however they can, rushing to the reading of the will that may or may not change both their lives forever. An unexpected friendship quickly forms, and then just as unexpectedly blossoms into something more as their adventure ultimately leads them to their fates.

At turns darkly funny and tragic, deeply erotic and poignant, Ted of the d’Urbervilles uniquely shines a light on the phrase Love is Love—though who they will find it with remains a mystery until the very end.

Excerpt

I found myself in a tangle of trains. Not passenger trains, but the kind that carries stuff. Coal, lumber, crates. No train cars. Nothing I could hop into so much as on. I wasn’t counting on this. I thought I’d slide open a door and bum a ride. But a ride to where? Even if I could hop on, where would I wind up? I clearly hadn’t given it enough thought. To be fair, my head was full of Chuck at the time, a peg missing its hole. It was, as analogies went, a fine one.

I needed to travel east. East I could figure out. East was away from the Rockies. But all the trains were parked. Which way were they headed once they left? And what if I hopped on and the train never stopped until its destination? What if we started east and then headed south?

I sat on the track. My salvation was somewhere in front of me. Eeny, meeny, miny, which one would the mo choose?

“Where you headed?”

I jumped. I fell backward. I stared up, shielding my face with my hand. A guy stood there staring down at me. He was on the dirty side, young, like me, gaunt, shorter by a foot. I’d seen men like this around San Francisco. I avoided men like this. You wound up homeless for a lot of reasons. You also stayed homeless for a lot of reasons. This guy either started or wound up that way because of drugs. His hand twitched. His right eye did the same. Manic would’ve been a good word for it. Or a bad one.

“Just looking,” I said as I righted my butt back on the tracks. “I like trains.”

I turned away from him. I hoped he’d take the hint. Sadly, he sat down next to me instead.

“You can’t hop them,” he said. “They check. They’re watching you right now even.” He pointed up to a lamppost. I could see the camera. It didn’t matter; there was nothing to hop into. And even if I could make it on top of a car, it would be crazy dangerous. And windy. And cold. Not an adventure so much as an ordeal. “Benny,” he said, holding out a hand. He had long nails. Dirty nails. His current state had always been a possible future for me. I seemed to always be running from it. But in which direction, away or towards?

I didn’t shake his hand. I nodded his way instead. “Ted.”

He put his hand by his side. He frowned. I felt bad. I was homeless. He was homeless. It wasn’t a bond so much as a prison sentence we shared. “Where you headed?” he repeated.

“New York.”

“That’s where I started.”

My heart pulsed. If he started from there, he knew which way to head. I pointed in front of me. “Which one goes that way?”

His grin returned. His teeth were in need of a brushing. He looked like a scrawny, shorter, pimplier Justin Bieber—if Justin Bieber hadn’t showered in a week or had a haircut or shave in ten. I felt bad for Benny. I felt scared of Benny. Were people scared of me when they saw me? I was judging a book by its cover, but covers are a pretty good indication of what’s inside. I sensed Benny was rotting from the inside out, that all he had left was a tattered cover. I didn’t want to be a part of Benny’s story, but our plotlines had intersected just the same.

In any case, he shrugged. “Been in Denver a month. My train has long come and gone.” Again, he pointed. “That one goes east.”

“How do you know?”

The shrug hadn’t moved. “That terminal is a dead end. Trains enter that way and go back the way they came. That train came from the east. Do you have any drugs on you?”

It was an unsettling segue. Benny was unsettling. You could turn a bend and wind up like Benny. Benny had no hope. You could see it in his eyes. That is to say, you couldn’t see it. “I don’t do drugs.”

“Smart.”

“You shouldn’t do drugs.”

He rested his head on his knee. “Yep.”

“It’s not that easy though, right?”

He turned his face my way. He’d been cute once. You could see it if you tried. How many people still tried? “Nope. Any money for drugs? I could trade you.”

I knew what he had to trade. I had the same thing to trade. “I have less than six dollars on me.”

He sighed. He turned his face back to the starting position. “Figures.” We sat there in silence. The trains didn’t budge. Maybe this was a graveyard of sorts. Maybe trains came here to die. Maybe Benny came here to die. Me, I had other plans.

About the Author

Multi-award-winning and best-selling author/editor/anthologist Rob Rosen is the author of Sparkle: The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love, Divas Las Vegas, Hot Lava, Southern Fried, Queerwolf, Vamp, Queens of the Apocalypse, Creature Comfort, Fate, Midlife Crisis, Fierce, And God Belched, Mary, Queen of Scotch, and Ted of the d’Urbervilles. His short stories have appeared in more than 200 anthologies. You can find 20 of them in his erotic romance anthology Good & Hot. He is also the editor of Lust in Time: Erotic Romance Through the Ages, Men of the Manor, Best Gay Erotica 2015 and Best Gay Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4.

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BLOG TOUR: “Hathonatum” by Taylin Clavelli. Raffle poster Giveaway Included. See entry below:

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Hathonatum

Author: Taylin Clavelli

Publisher: MLR Press

Genre/s: Science Fiction, Contemporary M/M, Interracial (Alien/Human), Inter-dimensional, Reincarnation. Multi-Verse, Historical elements.

Heat Rating: 3 – 4 flames

Length: 89 000 words

The story can be read as a standalone. It is the first book in the Pelethus Series. The next book involves different main characters that are connected to those in Hathonatum.

Buy Links – Coming Soon

Publisher: MLR Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Hathonatum is a love story that spans time, dimension, universe and death.

Blurb

Have you ever wondered if that little voice inside you is actually your voice?

Egypt captivates Benjamin. As an adult, he immerses himself in his chosen profession, as an archaeologist in the ancient city of Abydos. For Ben, the hieroglyphs, and paintings unlock dreams of a time long lost.

The dig Ben works on is financed by Ashari Hathonatum. For many years, the man has been looking for the one who completes him. He initially saw his heart’s match from a distance. But that was a long time ago and from an alternate universe. When Ashari encounters Ben, he wonders if he is the reincarnation of the man he saw, through another’s eyes, all those years ago. Will the secrets Ashari hides about his heritage stop their love blooming, or will others from his dimension, determined to keep Ashari from his heart’s match, rule the day?

**The story is written with British spelling/grammar. **

Excerpt

Though Ben loved the thought of studying Seti, he was part of a small crew concentrating on Narmer (3180-3120 BC), whose tomb was located to the west of the dig, almost as far away from Seti as a tomb could get. Not much was known about the first pharaoh of the combined kingdoms, and Ben wanted to help discover something new. He wanted to shed light on a life that no one knew about—a new phenomenon to capture the imagination.

Ben had been on-site for a little over a week when he saw an intriguing man talking to Terry, his dig leader. Judging by his skin, Ben suspected the man to be local, but it was difficult to tell. Other than his face, the only other exposed part of him was his hands. The rest of him was covered with clothing designed to keep out the worst of the sand—layered, lightweight, loose, and black.

When the man locked gazes with him, Ben found himself staring into a vibrant blue sea of lapis lazuli, framed with black lashes and dark eyebrows. It wasn’t until a fellow worker walked between them that the connection was broken. When Ben sought to re-establish contact, the other had his back to him. Ben returned to his work, clearing out a trench of sand. The heat and excitement over what his group might find overshadowed any musings concerning the stranger.

At the end of the day, Ben was so tired he clambered onto the city-bound truck with as much grace as a stumbling mummy.

That night, while lounging on his bed, images of dark blue assaulted him. The event was rare for him, considering Egypt was his prime…prime everything.

Every day, the journey to the ruins was like being transported back in time. Ben could close his eyes and almost feel like he was there, in ancient Egypt. Often, he imagined he could see a partial image of the hustle and bustle of the ancient civilization continuing around him. At other times, he was in the quiet solitude of a temple. The images were odd, considering ancient Abydos was a graveyard.

From the drop-off point the next day, Ben made his way to tombs B17 and B18—the tombs attributed to Narmer. He worked there all morning with his small, square trowel and brush, slowly moving away the sands of eons.

As lunchtime approached, he relocated to the edge of the main dig and took his break. From there, he would imagine life in ancient Egypt.

Daydreaming, he chose to walk back to his station.

Suddenly, an alarm sounded. It was the warning for a sandstorm. It was similar to what his grandparents had described as the air raid warning from the war.

There was a flurry of activity while people efficiently covered artefacts and other areas of importance. Ben glanced around, noticing the storm was a lot closer than he’d originally thought. It had come out of nowhere. What crept toward the dig seemed like a moving wall of cloud, dense enough to shield the view and engulf anything below it. If it wasn’t for the cottonlike plumes of wheat colours, Ben could have believed a curtain of rain was heading his way. The screen of rapid shadow was making quick progress toward the dig, swallowing all in its path. Briefly, Ben went rigid, unable to move. When the sound of hissing reached his consciousness, and sand stung his feet and face, he dashed toward shelter. He was running a losing race.

Abruptly, he was grabbed and pulled to the floor behind a shallow wall. In a spell of activity as sleek as the sandstorm, a mask was put over his face, and his body along with that of his saviour rolled together. Over and over, they turned. Coming to a halt, and dizzy, Ben found himself cocooned, head to toe in a thick blanket. From the outside, the two of them probably resembled a fat, discarded mummy.

As Ben regained his senses, he could feel a wall to his back and secure arms around him. The only thing between them was his messenger bag containing the bottles of water he was required to keep on him to prevent dehydration in the desert sun.

Panting, he opened his eyes to a familiar sea of lazuli.

About the Author

I am proud to be British and proud to be an author of gay romance stories from varying genres. I write under the pseudonym Taylin Clavelli, not because I don’t want my real name out there, but because I think my real name is unmemorable for an author. The name came about from a night of Skype and a lot of wine.

My first published work – a comedy called Boys Toys and Carpet Fitters – came out in 2012. It was part of a Dreamspinners anthology called Don’t Do This At Home. Since then, I have produced a further two novels and five short stories, not including Hathonatum.

As well as being married for close to thirty years, and have a grown-up family, who I adore – I work part-time at a Manor Hotel, where I am also the resident historian. I am a book reviewer, too for a well-known site.

Not being a spring chicken anymore, I have a few hobbies that over the years have come, gone and resurfaced again. I am an experienced horse rider, and 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. I help my husband with DIY projects, upcycle as much as possible and love my garden. As for those simple things that make me stop in my tracks. The dawn chorus, baking bread, lasagne, and the scene where Shadowfax makes his screen entrance.

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Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win:

A choice of paperback + swag from Dakota Skies, Secret Of The Manor or 5 shorts from Taylin – 3 winners

A choice of 1 ecopy from Dakota Skies, Secret Of The Manor or 5 shorts from Taylin – 5 winners

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RELEASE BLITZ: “Dravyn’s Garden” by Jessamyn Kingley

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Dravyn’s Garden (D’Vaire, Book 15)

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson, Mayhem Cover Creations

Release Date: January 16, 2020

Genre/s: M/M Urban Fantasy

Trope/s: Fated Mates

Themes: Love, Facing Reality, Power

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

In one extraordinary garden, is it possible to grow love?

Blurb

Drindyr Duke Dravyn D’Vairedracon is is a quiet man who finds happiness amongst his plants. His affinity for living things astonishes those around him since he doesn’t have a drop of druidic blood in his veins. Awed by his talent, his family grows convinced that someday when Fate pairs him, it will be a druid that is at his side. Someone to care for and who shares his love of gardening would be a dream come true for Dravyn.

Killian the Dwyer is a man broken and his secrets are plenty. Once the leader of the Circle of Druids, he handed off his duties and escaped, his whereabouts unknown. Rumors abound that he makes his home high in a tree in a faraway land. He is missed, and many who care for him reach out to no avail. Full of pain and taking comfort in his solitude, Killian only leaves the sanctity of his leafy abode to answer an invitation he finds himself unable to ignore.

Killian makes his first public appearance in centuries, and when he locks eyes with Dravyn, they discover they are mates. Astonished, neither man says a word and Killian retreats. Two and a half years of silence on Killian’s part have passed, and Dravyn is tired of waiting. He wants the other half of his soul but is convinced Killian won’t do for the job. Fearful of what the future holds but afraid of defying Fate, Killian cannot help being intrigued by the talented dragon. As they settle in Dravyn’s expansive garden, if the pair can find common ground, they might just discover the seeds to grow a love without limits.

Excerpt

Yanking off his gloves, Dravyn crammed them into the back pocket of his cargo pants. Crossing his arms over his chest, he waited for the guy to cross the distance between them. He was the last person on this planet Dravyn wanted to see, but if he wanted his freedom, he was going to have to deal with Killian the Dwyer.

“This is an amazing garden for a dragon,” Killian said once he was a few feet from where Dravyn had his boots planted into the sandy dirt.

“For a dragon?”

“Shifters aren’t normally known for their cultivating skills.”

“What exactly do you think we are known for?” Dravyn asked, wondering why the hell they were having this weird-ass conversation. He didn’t think Killian could be any more condescending if he tried.

“The obvious answer is for going from man to beast.”

“And when we aren’t in beast form, what is it you think we do?”

“I don’t know. I’ll confess I don’t really know any shifters.”

“You live in a tree; do you know anybody?”

“What’s wrong with living in a tree?”

“Look, I don’t give a shit where you live. What are you doing here?”

“I thought that would be obvious. We’re mates. I’m here to see if we can make things work.”

“I wrote you letters for two and a half years. You ignored them,” Dravyn pointed out. “So, excuse me if I’m surprised you have any interest in Fate.”

“Druids believe in Fate.”

“Apparently on their own sweet-ass timetable, with no concern for anyone else’s feelings.”

“I know you’re angry, and you have every right to be but—”

“But nothing, Killian the Dwyer. Go back to your tree.”

“I have a lot of explaining to do and—”

“Excuses to make.”

Killian’s brownish-green eyes with their interesting glints of gold narrowed. His face was even more remarkably handsome than Dravyn recalled, which only pissed him off more. The glossy hair was shaggier, and he seemed to have forgotten to put on shoes, but Killian was a perfect male specimen of lanky proportions. “Are you going to let me finish a statement?”

“You can talk all you want,” Dravyn retorted. He pulled his gloves out of his pants and tugged them on. “I’ve got work to do. Take your damn plants back too, I don’t want them near my garden.”

“I wasn’t going to leave them behind, so I’m going to need space in your precious garden.”

“Nope, get lost. You’ve got experience in that. Like when you walked into a ballroom and refused to acknowledge your mate, then teleported home to your tree.”

“You seem very bitter about the tree thing.”

“Must be nice to ignore your responsibilities and hide in a tree.”

“Hiding?”

“You heard me. Now beat it so I can work,” Dravyn growled as he crouched to check on his hybrid. There was no way he was going to lose another one. This plant had taken over a year of work to create, and each time he took one out of his cramped greenhouse, it refused to bloom and died. He wanted to give a cutting to Ellery for his solarium, so he had to solve this puzzle.

“I don’t know where to go. Where’s our room?”

Dravyn rocketed back to his feet and whipped around. “Our room?”

“I’m guessing you don’t sleep in a tree, as you’re strongly opposed to anyone occupying one. I promise you it doesn’t hurt the tree in question.”

“I’m not opposed—shit, who cares. That’s your business, not mine. What you aren’t doing is sleeping in my room.”

Killian took off and marched toward the deck that accessed Dravyn’s section of the house.

“Hey, where the hell do you think you’re going?” Dravyn demanded as he stalked after the sexy druid.

“That deck.”

“Stay away from it,” Dravyn snarled, but Killian was already thundering up the wooden steps.

“Wow, you hypocrite. Look at this,” Killian crowed once Dravyn got up to the wide deck. “That’s a bed in a tree.”

“Get off my deck.”

Killian stuck his head into the open doors of Dravyn’s sitting room. “Indoor and outdoor living. Very nice. Oh, and there are two beds, so we don’t have to share right away.” Killian dropped his bag on the one nestled in the tree. “I’ll take this one until we get to know one another better.”

“You aren’t sleeping in my room.”

“It’s a beautiful space.”

“It was until you marched into it.”

“It’s okay, we have to try. We might not be able to make this work, but at least we’ll have given it our best shot.”

Dravyn shook his head and pulled his baseball cap lower, over his eyes. The druid was stubborn, and he wasn’t going to sacrifice his hybrid for this asshat. “You need to go. Take your plants, your bare-ass feet, and get lost.”

Killian’s gaze dropped to his toes as Dravyn stomped back down the stairs. “I hate shoes.”

“Well, I hate you.”

“Okay, I deserve that,” Killian called after him.

“You should also think about a haircut.”

“Look who’s talking.”

About the Author

Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.

Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.

Visit her website. Follow her on FacebookShe loves to engage with readers there.

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COVER REVEAL: “A Summer of Smoke and Sin”

COVER REVEAL

Book Title: A Summer of Smoke and Sin

Author: TJ Nichols

Cover Artist: Tiferet Designs

Release Date: February 28, 2020

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

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

Themes: Found family

Heat Rating: 3 flames Add on Goodreads

 

 

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

Blurb

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

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

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

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

 

 

Pre-Order Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Is this part of the interview?”

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

“It is a gentleman’s club.”

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

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

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

 

About the Author

Urban Fantasy where the hero always gets his man

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

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

 

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RELEASE BLITZ: "His Fake Prison Daddy" by Thursday Euclid & Clancy Nacht.

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: His Fake Prison Daddy

Author: Thursday Euclid and Clancy Nacht

Publisher: Eine Kleine Press

Cover Artist: Clancy Nacht

Release Date: January 15, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Forced Intimacy/prison

Themes: Opposites attract

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 62 000 words/ 249 pages

It is a standalone story.

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Beauty and the Beast, but with more daddy issues and violence.

Blurb

When eighteen-year-old hacker Elias Stuyvesant ends up in a maximum security state prison, he’s woefully unprepared despite his time in juvie. On day one, he’s thrown in with a man known as the Santa Fe Slayer, Ambrose Hughes.

Hughes is quiet, disfigured, and weirdly urbane. Elias was so young when Hughes committed his crimes that he has only the faintest idea what Hughes is in for. However, Hughes makes clear that Elias is his ideal victim type…and there’s no one to protect Elias from the much larger man with his prison-jacked body and that hard gleam in his dark eyes.

Whoever paired them has it in for Elias; that much is obvious.

Elias is terrified of Hughes, but he soon realizes the other prisoners are worse. If Elias is going to survive, he’ll have to choose the lesser of the evils: To preserve himself, he’ll need Hughes for his Daddy. And given Hughes’s skewed morality, they’ll have to fake it till they make it.

Excerpt

Then the guard exhaled and stopped outside a heavily reinforced door set in a wall of solid concrete. It looked nothing like the cell blocks they’d passed earlier, with their steel bars or Plexiglas, open to the guards’ gazes and Elias’s curiosity.

“This is…” Elias searched the guard’s face for clues, unable to finish articulating his question.

“Yeah, this is it. You’re in with—” The guard licked his lips with what looked like legit nervousness. “Ambrose Hughes.”

Elias blinked at him, not grasping the gravity invested in that name. Who the hell was that?

The guard looked at Elias with visible pity. “The Santa Fe Slayer.”

Shit.

No.

Shit shit shit.

The Santa Fe Slayer was fucking crazy. Not that Elias knew precisely what Hughes had done beyond killing people, but if he’d been active in most other states, he’d be on Death Row. But motherfucking New Mexico abolished the death penalty, so Hughes was just waiting to die in prison, no hope of parole.

Which meant, Elias quickly grasped, that he really had nothing motivating him to behave. What was one more murder to him?

He was already serving like twelve consecutive life sentences. Was he one of those who ate people?

Elias didn’t have time to collect his wits or steel his bladder before the guard knocked politely at the door and then unlocked it, pushing it open to reveal a windowless room thick with shadow. It was somehow even smaller than Elias had expected, with nothing to look at but a sink, a toilet, a little shelf built into the wall currently stocked with what looked like battered novels, and a bunk against the far wall, its bottom bed stripped bare, waiting for the bedding Elias carried. It took him a moment to realize the big shadow up by the ceiling was his cellmate.

Hughes stretched languidly and started to slide off the top bunk with the predatory air of a panther. “Garcia, sweet man, who have you brought to visit me?”

“New cellmate.” The guard—Garcia?—stepped back through the door and quickly removed Elias’s cuffs before shoving him forward toward the Santa Fe Slayer’s approach.

Elias looked desperately back at the guard as the thick steel door clicked shut. It beeped as it locked. A small, barred hole at eye level revealed that Garcia had already turned away.

“Hughes,” the man said, his voice pleasantly deep and drawling but edged with something unpredictable. Excitable. “Welcome to Hell.”

Elias clutched the bedding to his chest as if it might ward off attack, or maybe just because he needed to hold something.

This was why Edward Snowden ran. The government clearly sent Elias here to be murderated. Well, if he was lucky, he’d be murdered before this dude started to eat him.

Though he wasn’t even conscious of moving backwards, his heels hit the closed door behind him, leaving him nowhere to run.

In some ways, it reminded Elias of his first day in juvie, when he’d been so terrified, but at least then he was of comparable size and flexible enough sexuality to avoid becoming a target.

Taking a deep breath, Elias tried to collect himself, put on a brave face, and lifted his chin proudly. “Do you prefer being called Hughes? I mean, if it was me, I’d want to be called Slayer. Or Hannibal or something. Not that you probably need a badass nickname, I guess.”

Rambling. Fuck.

Awkward since the man just kept watching him, Elias gathered his bedding in his left arm and offered his hand to shake. “I’m Elias or Stuyvesant, or, you know… whatever.”

Hughes stared at him, dark eyes glinting dangerously in the low light. Something was wrong with his face, though it was hard to tell with how dim it was, but the texture was wrong, too reflective, scarred. He cocked his head to the side and said, “Maybe I’ll call you Bitch. Do you answer to that?”

He didn’t take Elias’s hand. He just stood there, looming, radiating amused malice.

“Um, well, I guess I could, but… um…” Great. So they were already going there. He was being fed to this Freddy Krueger motherfucker and there wasn’t a lot he could do about it. “I mean, this is prison. Won’t there already be a lot of people responding to that name? Wouldn’t want to step on any toes or cause confusion.”

What am I saying?

On the bright side, if he pissed this guy off, he might die quick.

In the silence, Elias was aware of Hughes’s shoulders shaking as his breathing turned choppy. Then, with mingled relief and horror, he realized Hughes was laughing at him.

With him?

At him.

“Stuyvesant then. No one else will carry that moniker surely.”

About the Authors

Thursday Euclid

Thursday Euclid (he/him) is the m/m romance pen name of Rainbow Award winning author Will Craig, a thirtysomething disabled, fat, white, queer trans man from Houston, TX. For those who care, he is an Aquarius, and if you’ve met him, you probably can’t imagine him being anything else.

Proud da to two incredible queer, nonbinary kids aged 16 and 18 and honorary da to a 17-year-old black trans girl, Thursday spends a lot of time cooking vegetarian food in his Instant Pot while listening to Radiohead and dishing out advice and hugs to the younglings. Many of those scorching sex scenes were written or edited while obnoxiously loud teenagers danced to BTS in the living room.

When he’s not playing World of Warcraft with his handsome trans boyfriend, he’s probably watching horror movies or talking to his best friend and frequent collaborator Clancy Nacht.

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Clancy Nacht

Clancy Nacht is a bisexual genderqueer person who lives in Austin. Clancy has published several bestselling romances. Many of her books have been honored with Rainbow Awards; Le Jazz Hot won for Best Bisexual/Transgender Romance & Erotic Romance. In 2013, Black Gold: Double Black was a runner-up for a Rainbow Award. In 2015, Gemini won an Honorable Mention for Gay Erotic Romance and in 2016, Strange Times won an Honorable Mention for Science Fiction. Wyatt’s Recipes for Wooing Rock Stars was a finalist in the highly competitive William Neale Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance. The Phisher King won second place in the Rainbow Award for Romantic Suspense, 16th for Gay Book of the Year.

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COVER REVEAL: “Hold Me Up” by Collette Davidson. $10.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Included! See entry below:

COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Hold Me Up (Chasing Gold Book 1)

Author: Colette Davison

Publisher: Independently Published

Cover Artist: Colette Davison

Release Date: January 29, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Second chance, sports, slow burn, hurt/comfort

Themes: Forgiveness, trusting others, dedication, self-care

Heat Rating: 2 – 3 flames

Length: 68 500 words

It is a standalone story.

Blurb

Can second chance love survive past trauma?

Reece has one goal: to compete in the Olympic Games. With the gymnastics World Championships looming, his dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.

When his childhood sweetheart, Alex, walks back into his life unexpectedly, Reece’s world is turned upside down. Alex was the boy who inexplicably pushed him away and broke his heart; the boy he still loves.

When the truth behind their break-up is revealed, Reece wants to hold Alex up and give him the strength to heal.

But can Reece be Alex’s rock, and remain focused on his training, or will his Olympic dreams suffer in the process?

Hold Me Up is a MM second chance romance, with a slow-burn relationship and lots of hurt/comfort. It’s the first in a series of books that follows male artistic gymnasts as they chase gold.

Trigger warnings: Hold Me Up features a character who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks due to a past event that is briefly described.

Excerpt

“What the fuck are you doing here, Alex?” Reece demanded, not even trying to hide the anger in his tone. He couldn’t miss the fact that Alex flinched, and he felt a pinch of guilt.

“Writing an article.” Alex’s eyes were wide and imploring, in a ‘can we just get this over with?’ kind of way.

Reece sat down at one of the tables. “Go on then, ask your questions.”

Alex grimaced as he sat down at the next table along. “How have you been?”

Reece rolled his eyes. “You’re not here to chit chat.” God he was being an arse and he knew it, but he wasn’t sure what else Alex expected from him.

“Sorry.” Alex stared down at the table for several seconds, his fierce stare reminding Reece of the night Alex had ended not only their relationship, but their friendship, too.

After a while, Alex opened the small rucksack he’d brought with him and pulled out an electronic recorder, a notepad and pen.

“Do you mind if I record our conversation?”

“Go for it.”

Alex touched his finger to the on button, but didn’t press it. His mouth quivered, as though he wanted to say something, but either couldn’t find the words or the courage. An urge to bundle him up into his arms struck Reece, and it was all he could do not to stand up and do exactly that. He had no right to embrace Alex, and doubted the guy would appreciate it if he did.

“Are you going to ask me questions, or what?” he asked instead, painfully aware of the gruffness in his voice.

“I’m sorry for surprising you,” Alex said at last.

Reece stiffened. What he’d really wanted to hear was an apology for the way Alex had treated him four years ago, but obviously that was far too much to ask. “Just get on with it,” he growled.

Alex glanced around the room. “This place hasn’t changed.”

“It’s had a lick of paint.”

Alex nodded. “There’s some new equipment in the gym.”

“It’s been four years, Alex, the equipment needed updating.”

Alex’s jaw flexed.

“I’m really not interested in small talk,” Reece said. “You made it quite clear four years ago that you wanted nothing more to do with me, so stop sitting there pretending to be nice.”

“I—” Alex clamped his mouth shut and looked at the floor. He grasped the pen and began to tap it against the closed notepad, the fast sound was incessant and loud in the empty room. With his other hand, he turned the recorder on and pushed it across the table, closer to Reece, before flipping the pad open. “How did it feel to be selected to compete in the World Championships?”

Reece narrowed his eyes. He’d heard that frosty, not-quite-neutral tone before and it made his skin crawl. “Like a dream come true,” he muttered. “But it’s just one step towards my real goal.”

For the first time, Alex lifted his gaze to meet Reece’s stare. “Your real goal?” he echoed.

Reece resisted the temptation to snap out a sarcastic comment about how Alex must have known what that was. “The Olympics.”

About the Author

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

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BOOK BLAST: "Damaged Hearts" by Jan St. Marcus.

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Damaged Hearts: The Boys of Venice Beach, Book 1

Author: Jan St. Marcus

Publisher: SBPRA (Paperback), Blue Ascot Media (eBook)

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, LGBTQ Romance, LGBTQ Fiction

Trope/s: Hurt/Comfort, First Time Gay

Themes: Rescue Me, Romantic Thriller

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 138 000 words/ 466 pages

It is Book 1 of a planned Series

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Tragic Pasts. Unexpected Love. Unseen Danger.

Blurb

When 19-year-old military veteran Brandon Hawkins is attacked on Venice Beach by a gang of frat boys, he is saved by Michael Angelo Curtis, a passer-by. Michel Angelo was roaming the boardwalk grieving the death of his twin brother six months earlier. The two men’s unexpected encounter forges a strong bond between the damaged and lonely men.

Inviting the homeless Bran to his place for some food and a shower, 25-year-old Michel Angelo finds himself drawn to the younger man. Neither of the men is gay. But before long, their friendship morphs into something like love and takes them both by surprise.

And they have something else in common: The frat boys are out for revenge.

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Excerpt

BRANDON

But a little ways down, the pizza joint is just closing down. They have those ridiculously big slices of pizza and most people who don’t weigh at least three hundred pounds can’t finish their slices. Fuck the hot dogs. Half of a giant slice of pizza will do me just fine. Besides, trying to remember to say “catsup” instead of “ketchup” would make my brain hurt. And if I’m being honest, I do see the frat boy douchebags laughing and being all loud and douchey, but I really want to see if they’ll leave some of their slices uneaten. So I hang back a little and pretend to be looking for something on the ground. After about a minute or so, they drop their slices on the counter and start walking away. Score! I walk towards where they left their pizzas with my head down, like I haven’t noticed what they left for me. They’re about twenty feet away when one of them turns back and clocks me checking out their pizza. The fat one grabs the other one’s arm and points to me. I look up and see them seeing me seeing their pizza. Did that make sense? Fuck it. So anyway, as soon as they notice me, I kind of figure that they are going to be douchebags about their pizza, but I hold out hope. The fat one doesn’t need any more pizza, that’s for sure, but my stomach is getting the better of me, so I speed up a little bit. They’re closer and they return to the counter, beating me there by three steps.

Then the fat one, who seems to be the leader of this fucked-up pack of douchebags, picks up what’s left of his slice and lifts it up in my direction, like he’s offering it to me. Really? Maybe they aren’t such douchebags after all. I lift my eyes and start to smile. I’m going to thank him. I’m actually going to say “Thank you.” I do manage to smile as I approach because I realize that I haven’t said two words to anyone all day. He looks me in the eye and when I start to reach out my hand, he hocks a big ol’ lugey and splats it right on the pizza. Then he holds it out like I still want it. Okay, I know it’s probably gross, but I do still want it. His aim was pretty good and the glob of spit and snot has landed pretty much in the middle of the slice. But I could tear the pizza around the gross part and still have a pretty good amount of food. So I reach for it and he must have seen my eyes studying the pizza because he hocks another one and it lands on one of the good sides. He starts laughing and then his friends start laughing and they’re staring at me and laughing like it’s the funniest thing in the world. Assholes.

I turn around, about to say, “Fuck my life” again when one of the other guys apologizes and offers me his piece. It’s not as big as the fat guy’s, but it still looks good to my hungry young ass. And I can’t believe I am so hungry that I start to walk back over and take it, but I do. You can probably guess that he does the same thing his leader does and hocks a lugey and spits on his piece, too. My stomach growls with as much anger as I am feeling and I turn around and start walking back towards the boardwalk. It’s going to be a long night.

Their laughing stops and I hear a deep voice talking to them. “Why would you do something like that? What kind of asshole do you have to be to fuck with someone who is obviously hungry?”

As I turn around, I see the fat guy step in front of the other guy, who is six inches taller, and the frat-boy leader guy speaks in this bullshit little sing-song voice: “What business is it of yours, asshole?”

The guy just stands there, hands by his sides, not seeming to be bothered by the fact that there are three of them. Then he laughs. He looks right at the fat-assed guy and laughs.

About the Author

Jan has been a professional writer since he 15 and got a job writing for a local paper in the Washington, D.C. area. Since that time, he has travelled the world and enjoyed a myriad of experiences, meeting interesting people and sharing epic experiences. He is currently a full-time professional photographer and completed his first novel, DAMAGED HEARTS, the first book in a series partially inspired by his experiences living and working in Venice Beach, California.

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RELEASE BLITZ: "Biker Daddy" by Gianni Holmes. Rafflecopter Giveaway Included! See entry below:

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Biker Daddy (The Grimm Tales of Smoky Vale Book 1)

Author: Gianni Holmes

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Black Jazz Designs

Release Date: January 3, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary MM romance

Trope/s: May-December/age gap, best friend’s father, motorcycle club, size difference

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 115 000 words/385 pages

It is a standalone story.

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A biker’s love is poison to the one who captures his heart

Blurb

Grimm

Thirteen years ago, he came into my life as my son’s best friend. Knobby knees and eyes wide with admiration. Six years ago, he exited my life, leaving Smoky Vale behind for good. Or at least so I thought. Now he’s back, and he’s made it clear what he’s after. Me. The President of the Grimm Reapers. His best friend’s father. Now his lover and his protector. But when my life is cloaked with uncertainty, death, and retaliation, how can I keep this beautiful brave boy knowing that my love is poison?

Jamie

My best friend doesn’t understand the way I feel about his dad. My father, the chief of police disapproves of the relationship. My supervisor cautions me against it—that it won’t be long before I end up in a body bag. But one day with Grimm is better than a lifetime without him. It’s a risk I am willing to take because the biker the world knows is not the Daddy Grimm who comes to my bed, ready to bare it all for his boy. Secrets must be confessed, lives must be taken, new paths must be forged. Can we survive the war that’s about to rage in Smoky Vale?

If you enjoy unconventional daddy/boy relationships, toppy twinks, and the high stakes of an outlaw MC romance, one-click today.

 

 

Excerpt

“Rise and shine, Jamie.” I gently patted the cheek of the sleeping beauty in my bed, nestled beneath the comforter, face pressed into the pillow. I was prepared for it to take some time to wake him up. Jamie wasn’t a morning person at all, and he would bitch and complain about getting up at the ass crack of dawn as he had for the past three days.

I was dead serious, though, about him learning to take care of himself if he planned to stick around, so there was no compromise.

He blinked sleepy eyes awake, took one look at my grin, and with a groan, ducked beneath the covers. He was so fucking cute, looking at him made my heart ache. I was tempted to let him get some more sleep. Just half an hour more.

I pushed away the thought before I could give in. Cuteness wouldn’t save his ass if he ever came face-to-face with someone who wanted to do him bodily harm.

“The alarm didn’t even go off,” he wailed under the sheet.

“You kidding me? You snoozed the alarm four times already. Now get up.”

“Just five more minutes,” he begged.

“We don’t have five more minutes. Zak’s waiting for us, and you still need to get to the bathroom.”

“But I’m so tired. You shouldn’t have kept me up last night.”

“You insisted on staying for the party at the clubhouse,” I reminded the lump in my bed. “I had to pry you away when you started dancing on the tabletop, remember?”

The sheet lowered a fraction, and he peered at me. “Zak challenged me.”

I grunted at him. “Jeez, to think a medical student can’t avoid dumb dares. What will the rest of us lesser educated men do?”

“But I’m no longer a medical student, so I can shake my ass from any tabletop.”

I quirked an eyebrow at him “No, you can’t. That’s the last party you’ll ever go to if you don’t get out of that bed.”

The sheet went back over his head. “I’ll sleep some more, thank you.”

When it became clear he wasn’t getting out of bed, I was left with no choice. I scooped him up in my arms, bedsheets and all. He squealed like a stuck pig and squirmed, but I didn’t let him loose. I marched him into the bathroom, then stripped away the covers, leaving him standing in the bathroom with a pillow in his arms, his face registering shock.

“Come on.” I pulled the pillow out of his arms and threw it back through the door into the bedroom. “You have to be disciplined about this. Your safety’s important to me.”

When his lips turned down in a pout, I gave him another inch. “You play nice, and I’ll suck your dick in the shower.”

His eyes widened, and he smiled. “Why didn’t you just say so in the first place?”

 

 

About the Author

Gianni Holmes is a high school Spanish teacher by day and a naughty but nice writer by night. She loves to watch romantic comedies, especially old sitcoms such as Everybody Loves Raymond and The Andy Griffith Show. She spends much of her time writing or impersonating her characters. Apart from her love of superheroes, she also enjoys cartoons and watches them regularly. She is a single mother who lives with her five-year-old daughter in the Caribbean. Her mission is to write heat with heart, spinning compelling stories that will leave readers wanting more.

 

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BLOG TOUR: "Inheritance" by Gail Z. Martin. Rafflecopter Giveaway Included!

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Inheritance

Author: Gail Z. Martin

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Release Date: October 22, 2019

Genre/s: Urban fantasy with romantic elements.

(Note—Characters from my Morgan Brice (MM paranormal romance) books make several key appearances in this book.

Also, a long-time committed MM couple figure prominently in the plot).

Themes: Friendship and established relationships

Heat Rating: 0 – 1 flame (No sex, kissing/hugging for MF and MM characters)

Length: 66 000 words/ 222 pages

It is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a standalone.

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Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?

Blurb

Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curio shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them, and she teams up with friends and allies who use magic and paranormal abilities to get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.

Caribbean ghosts terrorize Charleston and start racking up a body count. Then Beckford Pendlewood, the heir to a powerful family of dark warlocks, shows up raving about a bound demon locked in a lost box and begs sanctuary. Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?

Buy Links – ebook and paperback

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Excerpt

“I have a problem antique I’d like you to take a look at.” The man on the other end of the call sounded rattled. I recognized his name—Alfred Stone, from Stone Auctions—but I didn’t think we had ever spoken, let alone met.

“What kind of ‘problem’ does it present?” I asked. A number of possibilities came to mind. “Questionable provenance? Not sure how to authenticate?”

“I think it’s trying to kill me.”

Well, damn. That kind of problem. “All right, Mr. Stone. Try to stay calm.”

“I just told you, it’s trying to kill me. I heard you…know…about these things. Please, help me.”

Across the store, Teag Logan glanced up to make sure everything was all right. I nodded, and he went back to helping a customer.

“I can come now. Are you at the showroom?”

“Yes. Thank you. And…please…hurry.”

I ended the call and sighed. This might be the first time Alfred Stone had an antique try to kill him, but that made it just another day here at Trifles and Folly.

I’m Cassidy Kincaide, and I own Trifles and Folly, an antique and curio shop in historic, haunted Charleston, South Carolina. The shop has been in my family for more than three hundred years. While we’re known as a great place to buy high-quality antiques, the shop is also a cover for the Alliance, a coalition of mortals and immortals who save Charleston—and the world—from supernatural threats. I’m a psychometric, which means I can read the history and magic of objects by touching them. Teag is my assistant store manager, best friend, and sometimes bodyguard—and he’s also a talented Weaver witch. Sorren, my business partner, is a nearly six-hundred-year-old vampire. Together with some other friends with very specialized abilities, we do our best to keep the world safe from dark magic and things that go bump in the night.

“Problem?” Teag asked when the customer left.

“I’m not sure,” I replied. “Alfred Stone just called—from the auction house. He says he’s got an item that’s trying to kill him.”

“You want me to go with you?” Teag pushed a lock of dark hair out of his eyes. His skater-boy haircut and skinny jeans made him look younger than his late twenties. “Maggie can handle the store.”

On cue, Maggie—our lifesaver of a part-time associate—waved to agree from the other side of the store. She was sporting a new bright pink streak in her short gray hair, and it matched her sweater, a reminder—as if I needed one—that she believed in taking risks and living large.

I reached up to slick my humidity-frizzy strawberry blond hair back into a ponytail and shook my head. “Let me go see what the problem is, and I’ll figure out what to do from there. It’s not far away, in case I need to give a shout.”

About the Author

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, SOL Publishing, Darkwind Press, Worldbuilders Press and Falstaff Books. Recent books include Convicts and Exiles, Sellsword’s Oath, Inheritance, and Night Moves. With Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of the Spells Salt & Steel, Wasteland Marshals, Joe Mack and Jake Desmet series. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance including the Witchbane, Badlands and Treasure Trail series. Recent books include The Rising, Flame and Ash.

Get a free complete short story, Catspaw here

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