BOOK BLAST: “Confessions of a Gay Curmudgeon” by Andy V. Ambrose

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Confessions of a Gay Curmudgeon

Author: Andy V. Ambrose

Publisher: Nine Star Press

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: September 2, 2019

Genres: Contemporary, Literary/Genre Fiction

Theme: Older gay man searching for love

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 62 100 words/292 pages

It is a standalone story.

Warning: references to non-consensual situations, no HEA or HFN

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Buy Links

Nine Star Press

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Confessions of a Gay Curmudgeon recounts the adventures of Viktor, a fifty-year-old gay man in New York City trying to get back into the land of the living after the breakup of a twelve-year relationship. The novel examines the lives of a group of middle-aged gay men, exploring new facets of their sexuality while dealing with all the changes middle age brings.

Excerpt

SATURDAY AFTERNOON—FLOUNDERING

My erections aren’t what they used to be.

Well, Dr. S told me to write about the first thing that comes into my mind, so it’s what I’m doing. “Don’t think. Just write,” he said. “Stop censoring yourself, Viktor. This will help you in your therapy too, Viktor.”

Okay, okay. If that’s what the shrink ordered, let’s see if this works. We’re supposed to listen to our shrinks, right? That’s their job, right? They know how to get us out of whatever fucking funk we’re in, right?

So here we go. I’m writing about the first thing that comes to my mind and it’s my erections. Here it is, a lovely Saturday afternoon, sun shining, snow melting, spring a’coming, a perfect time to enjoy life. And what am I doing? Sulking in my apartment obsessing about my cock.

Hell of a problem to have on a day like today, isn’t it? Shit, be honest, Viktor. You’re supposed to be honest with this writing thing, aren’t you? That was Dr. S’s other directive, wasn’t it? Honesty. He was full of directives last session, wasn’t he? Oh well, maybe I need some directives.

So where was I? Oh yes. Gorgeous day, shitty mood, focusing on my cock when I should be enjoying life.

Oh, come on. It’s not just about my cock. I know that. After all, I did my share of screwing around when I was younger. Not that I was the biggest stud around in my heyday, but during those few glorious weeks my sex life got going, I learned how to have a good time. Yes, I did! But then I met Gio and fell in love. And he fell in love with me. And we had twelve years of bliss—more or less—until he left me last year.

“And I’ve been floundering ever since. Floundering? Ha! Flopping around is more like it. So I’ve been seeing Dr. S—ahem, Dr. Singsirinavin—I’ve been seeing him to help me out of this predicament. Seems like a nice enough guy, serious, quiet, with a scrawny body and a bit of an accent, though I’ll be damned if I know from where exactly. These shrinks never tell you anything about themselves, do they? I’ve been seeing Dr. S for a year already, and you would think by now I’d have an idea, but I don’t. To tell the truth, I don’t have much of an idea about anything, including whether he’s helping me.
But I’m trying. Goddamn it, I’m trying, you’ve got to give me that. Didn’t put all my eggs in one basket, either. Went to my primary-care guy too, to complain about my cock. Dr. Agnostulopolini. Different accent, different mystery country. Had to change doctors when my cheapo company switched insurances and I had to find someone new.

“And I’ve been floundering ever since. Floundering? Ha! Flopping around is more like it. So I’ve been seeing Dr. S—ahem, Dr. Singsirinavin—I’ve been seeing him to help me out of this predicament. Seems like a nice enough guy, serious, quiet, with a scrawny body and a bit of an accent, though I’ll be damned if I know from where exactly. These shrinks never tell you anything about themselves, do they? I’ve been seeing Dr. S for a year already, and you would think by now I’d have an idea, but I don’t. To tell the truth, I don’t have much of an idea about anything, including whether he’s helping me.

“And I’ve been floundering ever since. Floundering? Ha! Flopping around is more like it. So I’ve been seeing Dr. S—ahem, Dr. Singsirinavin—I’ve been seeing him to help me out of this predicament. Seems like a nice enough guy, serious, quiet, with a scrawny body and a bit of an accent, though I’ll be damned if I know from where exactly. These shrinks never tell you anything about themselves, do they? I’ve been seeing Dr. S for a year already, and you would think by now I’d have an idea, but I don’t. To tell the truth, I don’t have much of an idea about anything, including whether he’s helping me.
“But I’m trying. Goddamn it, I’m trying, you’ve got to give me that. Didn’t put all my eggs in one basket, either. Went to my primary-care guy too, to complain about my cock. Dr. Agnostulopolini. Different accent, different mystery country. Had to change doctors when my cheapo company switched insurances and I had to find someone new. He doesn’t know anything about me and doesn’t seem to care, either. Every time I ask a question, the side of his face twitches like he’s having a stroke. “Doctor,” I said last time, “my libido seems to have disappeared.”
“You know, it does fall off with age,” he says. Translation: you’re getting old.
“But not this suddenly, Doctor. Could it be the new blood pressure medicine you prescribed?” Translation: Fuck you. Don’t give me that you’re-getting-old shit. I’m fifty. That’s not old.”

About the Author

Andy V Ambrose grew up in the Boston area and moved to New York City after college. He worked in book publishing for many years, wearing many hats: Editorial, Copyediting, Proofreading, and Production. This is his first novel featuring Viktor, a fifty-year-old gay man trying to get back into the world of the living after the end of a twelve-year relationship. To relax, Andy loves to ride his bike, read, watch foreign and independent movies, and travel. He’s only made it to three continents so far but hopes to visit the rest soon. He lives in New York City.

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BOOK BLAST: “Sicarii Parts 1-3” by Adrienne Wilder. $10.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Included! See link below for entry:

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Sicarii (3 book series)

Author: Adrienne Wilder

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Adrienne Wilder

Release Date: April 28, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romantic suspense

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length three books total: 160 454 words/627 pages

Is it a standalone story across three parts.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Marcel isn’t going to save them.

He’s going to change them.

Because life is a gift.

Sicarii Part 1

BLURB

Ben Corbin lost his parents then his uncle and clues to the man responsible take him to the small town of Spencer. While Ben is determined to get justice for the murder of his family, he finds himself drawn to Jacob Moser, an ex-prostitute with ties to the killer.

Jacob Moser owes his life to Marcel Serghi. A man forged into a killer under the most brutal conditions. A man who saved him when no one else would.

Ben and Jacob, two men from completely different worlds, who have no idea how much they need each other until a killer brings them together.

Sicarii Part 2

BLURB

Ben Corbin has been swept up in a vicious game of revenge. A pawn to be sacrificed in a life or death game of chess.

In order to survive, Ben must make a deal with the devil, Marcel Serghi.

A mistake from Jacob’s past is brought into the game. And it could cost Jacob more than his pride.

It could cost him Ben.

Ben and Jacob, two men from completely different worlds, who have no idea how much they need each other until a killer brings them together.

Sicarii Part 3

BLURB

Marcel Serghi lives by the rules of his House Sicarii where he was honed into the perfect killer; merciless, emotionless, incapable of remorse.

Jacob Moser has always had undying loyalty to Marcel for saving his life.

Until Ben.

Now Jacob must make a choice, to love or live. Because breaking a vow with Marcel means returning what he gifted Jacob.

A chance to live.

Ben and Jacob, two men from completely different worlds, who have no idea how much they need each other until a killer brings them together.

Excerpt

Chapter I

The killer watched.

Light bled from Sam Water’s window, backlighting his silhouette. The pencil danced in his hand. Whatever drove him from his bed must have been important. He was up early, even for a school day.

Marcel leaned against the porch railing and coaxed a cigarette from the package in his hand. The momentary flame from the lighter outlined the web of scar tissue across his palm and three and a half fingers. The car bomb had also spared his thumb. A good thing. Learning how to write with his left hand would have been a bitch.

Not that an old dog couldn’t be taught a new trick. He was no old dog, but the teachings ingrained in him had been done so under conditions leaving no room for change.

The cherry of his cigarette flared in the darkness.

Night in this suburban neighborhood was nothing like where he’d grown up. Tucked in the mountains, there were only the stars, the moon, and the occasional candle. There the darkness wasn’t just a state of being. It was a living thing. All-consuming and unforgiving, conspiring with the wilderness to kill those too weak to survive.

Here the darkness was just a veil; once lifted, life returned, shattering any chance of reaching such perfection.

The storm door to the house opened, and the wooden slats on the porch creaked.

Mild green tea and aloe mixed with the honeysuckle blooming along the split rail fence nestled between the houses. The heat left over from the shower clung to Jacob’s skin.

“I wish you wouldn’t smoke.” In the darkness, there was only the sound of his breathing, the rustle of his clothes, the weight of his body pressing against the space around Marcel. A space that shrank to nothing with another small step.

Jacob’s caress traced the line of Marcel’s jaw. Layers of scars disrupted the gentle movement.

“Did you find your money?” Marcel exhaled a stream of bitter smoke.

“You gave me too much again.”

“It is a tip. For…you know. Good service.”

Jacob teased his fingers down the back of Marcel’s neck. There was more in his touch than physical contact. There was longing, yearning, endless want. But Marcel would never be able to give the man what he yearned for.

“You don’t need to tip me. You already give me so much.”

“I make you live in a motel.”

“Only because it’s close.”

“I could buy you a house.” The tip of the cigarette flared. Jacob was right, he shouldn’t smoke. Damn things never tasted like anything but shit.

“I don’t want a house.”

“You should. You are young. Young people should want a house. A family. A car. You have nothing.”

Jacob rested his cheek on Marcel’s shoulder. “I have you.”

“Nothing.” Marcel snuffed out the cigarette between his finger and thumb, then slid the butt into his shirt pocket. “You should go. Get some sleep.”

“I napped.”

Marcel cupped Jacob’s chin. He didn’t need the light to know how Jacob pleaded with his eyes.

Marcel saw it every time they were together. “No. I have told you many times.”

“Maybe I keep hoping.”

“It is a waste.”

“I don’t see it like that.”

“I could let you go. I could give you enough to go wherever you wanted. Back to school, maybe. What was it you wanted to do again?”

“I don’t want to go to school.”

“You should.”

“I’m happy.”

“You need more than an old man’s cock in your ass. You could go back and get your degree.”

“It takes years to be a doctor, and that dream sailed a long time ago.”

He was young enough to catch up to it. Or simply change direction altogether. All Jacob needed was motivation. A reason to want more. Someway for him to see there was more.

Marcel leaned down, and Jacob tipped his face up, leaving his mouth an inch, maybe less, but definitely not more, away from Marcel’s.

“You need to save those for someone you love.” Marcel traced the bow of Jacob’s lips with his thumb.

“Maybe I have.”

“No, Jacob. I fuck you. That is all.”

“And I’m okay with that. I—”

Marcel stopped him with a press of his finger. The tremor running down Jacob’s body was nothing more than a flutter of his pulse.

Jacob swallowed. “Please don’t send me away.”

One day Marcel would. But not today. Or tomorrow. Jacob wasn’t ready. “Friday. Ten o’clock.”

Marcel went back to tracing Jacob’s lips. He deserved to be kissed, to be loved. But that part of Marcel had been stripped away those nights on a mountain ledge when he was a boy.

“Go home.” He patted Jacob’s cheek. “Rest. You will need it.”

The whisper of tennis shoes against wooden slats faded into steps of rubber soles on concrete. Then those too were gone, leaving Marcel to the darkness.

In the window of the house next door, the boy finished writing whatever had pulled him out of bed. He folded the piece of paper in careful movements. Then he disappeared from view, and the patch of light coming from his lamp winked out.

And the killer watched.

About the Author

I am a writer of contemporary and speculative fiction and artist of all things monster. I live to create new worlds and the people in them. Several of my books have been best sellers both nationally and internationally.

I do my best to write original stories with powerful characters and emotion as well as a fast-paced plot. My goal isn’t just to deliver a good story but to take the reader into the story and let them experience the characters as if they are right there with them.

While almost all my books have a romantic element, I will be the first to admit, they are not traditional romance. In fact, I’d like to think there is nothing traditional about them. And the stories I paint are done so way outside the lines of traditional genres.

One of my favorite things to do as a writer is push the boundaries of what makes a story and to deliver the unexpected and maybe even change the perspective of the reader.

My characters are more often than not, beautifully flawed, not always the good guy, and make mistakes. Their stories will take dark turns which, in the end, make the light at the end of the tunnel all the brighter.

If you’re looking for something different, exciting, and unique, my books are for you.

Check out my website for updates and how to contact me. I love hearing from fans.

Author Links

Blog/Website | Facebook group | Twitter

| Instagram | Newsletter Sign-up | Patreon | Deviant Art

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BOOK BLAST: “Why Can’t Life be Like Pizza” by Andy V. Roamer.

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Why Can’t Life Be Like Pizza? (The Pizza Chronicles, Book 1)

Author: Andy V. Roamer

Publisher: Nine Star Press

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: Book 1: March 30, 2020

Book 2: Why Can’t Summer Be Like Pizza? : releases end May, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary MM Romance, Young Adult, Gay/Bisexual

Trope: Son of Immigrants

Themes: In the Closet/Coming Out

Heat Rating: YA novel. Some mild sexual talk, scenes of kissing and making out. No sexual scenes.

Length: 55 100 words/ 208 pages

It is a standalone story. Book 1 of a series

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Fourteen-year-old RV does his best negotiating freshman year in a demanding high school, obeying the rules of his immigrant parents, and exploring his budding sexuality

Blurb

RV is a good kid. So he’ll do his best to keep up in high school despite all the additional pressures he’s facing: His immigrant parents, who don’t want him to forget his roots. Some tough kids at school who bully teachers as well as students. His mean gym teacher. The Guy Upstairs who doesn’t answer his prayers. And the most confusing fact of all — that he might be gay. Luckily, RV develops a friendship with Mr. Aniso, his Latin teacher who is gay and is always there to talk to. RV thinks his problems are solved when he starts going out with Carole. But things only get more complicated when RV develops a crush on Bobby, the football player in his class. And to RV’s surprise, Bobby admits he may have gay feelings, too.

Excerpt

Why can’t life be like pizza?

I’ve been asking myself the question a lot lately. I love pizza. Pizza makes me feel good. Especially since I discovered Joe’s. Joe’s Pizza is quiet and out of the way and allows me to think. And Joe’s combinations are the best. Pepperoni and onions. Garlic and mushroom. Cheese and chicken. And if you really want that little kick in the old butt: the super jalapeno. Mmmm, good. Gets you going again. And lets you forget all your troubles.

What troubles can a fourteen-year-old guy have? Ha! First of all, I’m not a regular guy, as anyone can guess from my taste in pizza. My parents are immigrants who are trying to make a better life for themselves here in the United States. Besides the usual things American parents worry about, like making money and having their kids do well in school, my parents spend more time worrying about the big things: politics, communism, fascism, global warming, and the fact they and their parents survived violence and jail so I-better-be-grateful-I’m-not-miserable-like-kids-in-other-parts-of-the-world.

Grateful? Ha! As far as I’m concerned, life is pretty miserable already. Instead of thinking about the World Series or Disneyland, I worry about terrorists down the street or the dirty bombs the strange family around the corner might be building.

I don’t know why I worry about everything, but I do. It’s probably in my genes. Other guys have genes that gave them big muscles or hairy chests. I got nerves.

And then there’s my name. RV. Yeah, RV. No, I’m not a camper or anything. RV is short for Arvydas. That’s right. “Are-vee-duh-s.” Mom and Dad say it’s a common name in Lithuania, which is the country in Eastern Europe where my parents were born. A name like that might be fine for Lithuania, but what about the United States? Couldn’t Mom and Dad have named me Joe, or Mike, or even Darryl? My brother, Ray, has a normal name. Why couldn’t they have given me one?

I even look a little weird, I think. Tall and skinny with an uncoordinated walk because of my big feet that get in the way and make me feel like a clod. Oh, yeah. I’ve been getting some zits lately, and I wear glasses since I’m pretty nearsighted. Not a pretty sight, is it? At least the glasses are not too thick. Mom and Dad don’t have a lot of money to spend, but they did fork up the money to get me thin lenses, so I don’t look like a complete zomboid.

What can I do? I try my best, despite it all. I’m lucky because I’ve done well in school, so at least my genes gave me a half-decent brain. Hey, I’m not bragging. It’s just nice to feel good about something when most days I feel pretty much a loser at so many things. When I was in grammar school, there were enough days when I came home from school and cried because some big oaf threatened me, or I got hit in the stomach during my pathetic attempts to play ball during recess….

Okay, okay, I’m getting off track. I want to write about my first day of school. Mom and Dad gave me this new—well, refurbished, but new to me anyway—computer for getting into Latin school, and they keep after me to make good use of it. So, I’ve decided I’m going to write about my new life. My life away from cretins—Lith, American, or any other kind….

About the Author

Andy V. Roamer grew up in the Boston area and moved to New York City after college. He worked in book publishing for many years, starting out in the children’s and YA books division and then wearing many other hats. This is his first novel about RV, the teenage son of immigrants from Lithuania in Eastern Europe, as RV tries to negotiate his demanding high school, his budding sexuality, and new relationships. He has written an adult novel, Confessions of a Gay Curmudgeon, under the pen name Andy V. Ambrose. To relax, Andy loves to ride his bike, read, watch foreign and independent movies, and travel.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website | Facebook | Instagram: andy_v_roamer

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BOOK BLAST: “Thicker Than Water” by Becca Seymour. On Sale for $0.99 Sale! $10.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Included.

99c BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Thicker Than Water

Author: Becca Seymour

Publisher: Rainbow Tree Publishing

Cover Artist: BookSmith Design

Genre/s: M/M Urban Fantasy Romance

Trope/s: workplace romance, in uniform, interracial relationship

Themes: good vs. evil, family, justice

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 62 000 words/ 316 pages

It is a standalone story.

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99c sale. RRP: $4.99

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When two crime investigation operatives join forces to take down the growing criminal activity involving vampires, blood threatens to spill and tear their lives and hearts apart.

Blurb

Outcast operative in the Supernatural Investigation & Crime Bureau (SICB) Callen Blackheath finds himself doing what he does best: defying orders and giving his boss a headache in the thick of an operation he shouldn’t be in. And there’s no way he’s walking away, not when the investigation has become deadly personal.

Needing to protect the only family member he has left, this wolf shifter will do whatever it takes to stop the blood farms and destroy the dangerous drugs the vampires will kill for. But he doesn’t expect Liam “Thatch” Thatcher, the head of a special task force team, to receive a bite that pulls him into the centre of Callen’s world.

Bonded by memories and blood, together they navigate the operation that has wider reaches than they could ever imagine. And when it comes to matters of the heart, Callen knows in order to win, he needs to risk it all.

Excerpt

No one was supposed to be here. Ignoring the fact that Cartwright had blown my half-arsed recon out of the window and taken me by surprise, there seriously shouldn’t have been anyone else on site. An unfamiliar edge of panic flared to life in my chest. This was not good.

I charged towards the glass, stopping short of barrelling into it to try the handle. It wouldn’t have been the first time I’d broken down a door unnecessarily. I didn’t want to crash through a glass door unless I had to. While I healed quickly, shards of glass cutting through my skin still hurt something fierce.

Testing the handle with one hand, I hit the glass lower down, trying to get the attention of the person attempting to get out. Their bloody hand peeking out a white lab coat twitched at the loud thud. “Shit,” I grumbled. The door was locked. “Hey.” I beat against the glass panel harder. It was partially misted for privacy, and visibility was unclear. Unable to tell who was on the other side or whether the smoke had breached the room from another direction, for once, I considered my options.

“Hey.” I tried again, my hand smacking the glass harder, not yet intending to break through. “Can you hear me?” Steadying my breath took concentration, but I needed to listen carefully.

“Code.” The voice was gravelly. “P-Panel.”

I searched quickly and found a panel off to my right. “I need the code.” Each word came out calm and clear. Panicking now could possibly get us both killed.

“Five.” A cough wracked through him, loud and sounding painful. I squinted, wondering what the hell this guy had been through. “Two. Seven. Seven. Four. Nine.”

I hit the numbers as he said them.

“Hash,” he finished, and the door clicked, swinging open when the guy fell against it. He landed on the floor.

Unconscious at my feet, the man was sprawled on his front. I tugged him to the side. With no idea where we were, I couldn’t simply throw the guy over my shoulder and start charging around, hitting dead ends and burning doors wherever we went. Decision made, I cast a quick glance at the man. Wet blood covered his rich black skin, but his moving chest indicated he was breathing. Barely. Christ, I hoped he didn’t die on me. After a final glance, I rushed into the unlocked room. Just because it had been sealed from the inside didn’t mean I wouldn’t be able to get through another exit.

A door on the opposite side of the room was my target. I headed straight there, spotting vials and another room off to my right. Before I reached the exit, the scent hit me. Blood, and it wasn’t from the unconscious lab tech in the hallway. I took a tentative step in the direction the scent came from, bile already churning in my gut.

No. It couldn’t be.

Another step forward, and I held my breath, not wanting to believe it could be true.

Wide-eyed, I gasped for breath, then regretted the action immediately. Metallic, familiar, and dead. The combination of the three threatened to buckle my knees. Unable to look away, I stared hard, hating every second. But I had to do this. Flesh, torn muscle, mutilated claws; the image seared itself into my mind. Once there, a shockwave of pain ripped through me.

No.

This time I let my knees go and landed on the floor, my knee finding the blood the same shade of my own. It was her. Hazel. My baby sister.

About the Author

Becca Seymour lives and breathes all things book related. Usually with at least three books being read and two WiPs being written at the same time, life is merrily hectic. She tends to do nothing by halves so happily seeks the craziness and busyness life offers.

Living on her small property in Queensland with her human family as well as her animal family of cows, chooks, and dogs, Becca appreciates the beauty of the world around her and is a believer that love truly is love.

Author Links

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Twitter: @beccaseymour_

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$0.99 BOOK BLAST and REVIEW TOUR: “You’re my Everything” by Lily Blunt

99c BOOK BLAST and REVIEW TOUR

Title: You’re My Everything

Author: Lily G. Blunt

Cover Design: Jay Aheer at Simply Defined Art

Genres: contemporary, gay romance, short story anthology

Length: 52 000 words/172 pages

Release Date: March 29, 2018

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YOU’RE MY EVERYTHING

A Collection of Contemporary Gay Romance Stories from Lily G Blunt.

Six love stories.

Some sweet, some steamy, and one or two will bring a tear to the eye.

Happy Anniversary, Jasper

As Nathan waits for Jasper in a restaurant to celebrate their tenth anniversary, he recollects their past and some of the passionate moments he has experienced with the love of his life.

A heart-breaking yet erotic tale of love, romance and destiny.

Over the Rainbow

Dorian has been cast as Dorothy in his school’s production of The Wizard of Oz.

Like his character, Dorian is about to discover whether dreams really do come true.

Opposites Attract

Chris and Andreas are opposites in character. Both fear the other wants to move on.

Can being stranded on a mountainside resolve the doubt that is threatening to tear them apart?

You Can’t Stop Loving Someone Just Like That

Despite being besotted for years with Jack, Corey finds himself falling in love with Pierre, a foreign exchange student, who is staying at his home over the summer vacation. Up to this point, Jack has shown no sign that he was gay or that he wanted Corey as anything other than a friend. It is only when he sees Corey and Pierre together that Jack wishes he had acted sooner.

Service with a Smile

Terry visits a men’s designer boutique, and Ash gives him service with a smile…

Without You

Jasper is struggling to move on with his life without Nathan by his side. If only he could touch his lover one more time…

Excerpt from

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, JASPER

JASPER AND I first became friends at school. He moved into the area when he was thirteen and, as he was shy, I took him under my wing to protect him from the school bullies. No one dared mess with Nathan Collins and his gang. We hit it off straight away and became best buddies within a matter of weeks. The other lads, especially Kieran and Jack, were pissed off at first, but what could they say? Jasper became part of our clique, and there was nothing they could do about it. Well, they could take a hike, but I knew they wouldn’t do that.

Sometimes, it would be a group of us hanging out, but more often, it became just the two of us. We completed our homework together in our bedrooms, spent weekends in the woods hiking, or camping out in the summer months. We did everything together. Hell, we even volunteered to sweep up the autumn leaves for our parents so we could spend an afternoon with each other. Nothing could separate us. We remained friends at school for the next five years. We didn’t want or need girlfriends. We never argued. We never fell out. We just wanted to spend time together.

There were whispers, of course, but I ignored them. I knew there was nothing funny going on between us—we were best buddies. Jasper surprised me when he punched Kieran on the nose because of some snide comment he’d made. Luckily, Kieran didn’t snitch on Jasper to the headmaster. He claimed he’d bumped his nose during basketball training. However, there were no more mutterings about us from that day onwards.

We were seventeen before we had our first major disagreement. Jasper wanted to go out with a crowd of students to celebrate the end of the school year. I wanted the two of us to go to the cinema. Sulkily, I said I’d give the evening a miss. I could see he was cross with me, but he let it go without saying another word.

In the end, nearly everyone backed out for one reason or another, so it was just Jasper and Sean who planned to go alone to a pizza restaurant. I don’t know why I did it, but I decided to call another friend, Carlton, at the last minute to see if he wanted to go to the cinema with me. As luck would have it, Jasper and Sean decided to go to the cinema after their meal as well. I didn’t realise until much later that they were sitting about ten rows behind us all night.

After dropping Carlton off, I pulled into my driveway and saw Jasper waiting for me in his car. I could tell by his face he was seething but didn’t understand why. He got out and slammed the door shut before marching over to me.

“Did you have a good night?” He stared intently at me.

Puzzled, I said, “Yes, did you?”

He didn’t answer me as we made our way into my house. My parents were out, so we took some cans of soda from the fridge and headed to my room.

“So, Carlton’s your best buddy now, then?” His face settled into a nasty sneer. This was totally unlike Jasper.

“Err… no, I just went to see a movie with him. Anyway, you went out with Sean,” I hurled back at him. We were jealous, but at the time, we didn’t know what we were feeling.

I slammed the door. Jasper let out a sob, which startled me. Until that point, I thought he was angry with me. I’d never seen him cry before.

“Jasper, what’s the matter?” I moved nearer to him. He turned from me, shaking his head, and I assumed he was going to leave.

“Don’t go.” I reached out to him.

“Why? What do you care?”

Putting my hand on his shoulder, I eased him around and managed to pull him close. His head rested on my shoulder, and he held me against his body. We stayed like that for some time, neither of us saying anything or moving. It felt so good; I didn’t want him to pull away.

I felt a slight tickle on my neck at first, moving up towards my jaw before I realised what was happening. Jasper tilted his face towards mine. His lips brushed over my skin, leaving a seemingly scorching trail towards my mouth. He pulled back. His stormy blue eyes locked with mine, asking, pleading, questioning. I wasn’t sure exactly what he was asking, but I nodded, and his lips met mine hesitantly for a second or two. Pulling away slightly, he smiled before our lips connected again. This time it was for longer. It felt so right.

Jasper groaned. Our kiss deepened. The tip of his tongue sought entrance to my mouth, and I parted my lips to welcome him. My first kiss and one I will never forget. As our kissing became less awkward, our hands and hips moved, pulling each other closer. Soon we were panting. Our excitement rose as we crushed our bodies together.

About the Author

Lily G. Blunt enjoys writing contemporary gay romance and paranormal stories. She loves to explore the relationship between two or more men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of feeling for each other. Lily is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head, but only a few ever make it to the page.

Lily launched Gay Book Promotions, an online book promotion service for authors of LGBT+ romance and fiction, in 2017.

Lily loves to hear from readers and other authors.

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BOOK BLAST: “Trust” by Aprille Canniff

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Trust

Author: Aprille Canniff

Publisher: Page Publishing Inc.

Genre/s: Crime, Lesbian Romance

Trope/s: Forbidden love

Themes: Crime, trust, betrayal

Length: 119 679 words/ 328 pages

Heat Rating: 3 flames

It is a standalone book.

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When everyone has something to hide, who do you trust?

Blurb

In the military and law enforcement, the line between right and wrong is clear. Who you trust absolutely has never been questioned…until now.

Air Force Security Forces Master Sergeant Alex Thomas just got back from a rough deployment and already has a new assignment-to train a new team in everything she knows. Much to her dismay, her new team is not military but members of the Boston Police Department. When she finally meets them, she realizes why the military and local law enforcement don’t team up. Officer Jen Miceli doesn’t play by the rules and is all too willing to take risks. The two women are locked in a battle of the wills, but when the team comes across a large stash of weapons and drugs, their world is turned upside down by who it implicates. As members of the Boston PD are ambushed and friends are fighting for their lives, Alex must find a way to complete the mission and keep her team alive.

What do you do when the lines that you have always counted on become blurred? When you don’t know who to trust?

Excerpt
Her kidnappers grabbed her hair, pulled her head back, and lifted the bag off her face just far enough to take the tape off her mouth. “Yell and you will get hurt, cooperate and you will be let go.” The same voice that held the gun to her head earlier spoke into her ear. She couldn’t pick up an accent indicating where her attackers might be from, and all that she knew at this point was that they were silent, specific, and cold. Every move they made so far was deliberate, and she had no doubt that these people would follow through on any threat they made. She was getting scared. She mentally evaluated her situation—she could not feel her hands, her legs were tied together, she didn’t know where she was, and she was outnumbered at least three to one. If they would just take this damn hood off, I might be able to figure a way out of this.

“What is your name?”

“Jennifer O’Malley.”

“So you like to tell lies, do you?” the unknown voice asked with a hint of anticipation. “Do it.”

The chair was pulled out from under her, and the moment she hit the floor, she felt three punches, all landing in the gut. She was coughing and still trying to suck in air when she was lifted back up and on to the chair.

“What is your name?” Her captor’s voice was like the calm before a storm.

She took a minute to catch her breath and then sat straight up. “You already know, so why don’t you cut the crap and tell me what you want.” She spat out her words with as much venom and calm restraint as she could find.

“It looks like we have a lively one here.” He laughed a controlled laugh before continuing. “Okay then, what is your new sergeant up to these days?”

They are after the sarge? Not a chance in hell am I saying anything. “Who?”

“Sergeant Thomas, the woman who has been training you. What is she teaching you and why?”

She smiled. “I don’t know who or what you are talking about, asshole.”

“You will, little girl, you will. That you can trust me on.” The tape was put back over her mouth, and she was thrown back onto the floor before he even stopped speaking.

What felt like hours later, the only things that had changed were the number of times she was prodded in the ribs by someone’s boot and her temper. Fury replaced fear, and determination replaced doubt. They are not getting anything on the sarge no matter what. The “or what” was the part that she was trying to prepare herself for when she was grabbed again.

Tossed on the chair and tape ripped off again, she was asked, “What is your teacher teaching you?”

This time, she laughed. “Don’t know, I’m not a good student.”

After a short moment’s pause, her captor said, “Drink,” just before what tasted like water was forced into her mouth. “I am not going to poison you. I just want information, and how can I get that if you die of dehydration?” her captor said with a hint of humor in his voice. “Drink.”

She did her best to try and spit it out, but a hand pressed against her mouth, preventing her from being able to. For the next hour, she was made to drink water and asked the same

question. “What is she teaching you?” Jen changed her answers from simple laughter to blatant insults. “Well, I think I will just have to come back to her. Are her friends still upstairs?”

About the Author

Aprille Canniff is a deputy sheriff and member of the Air National Guard. Trust is her first published novel, which she wrote while deployed to Afghanistan. She currently lives in Virginia with her wife and “ninja” cat. When she isn’t writing or working, her passion is fishing and bragging about how big the one that got away was.

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BOOK BLAST: “2037: The End of Tolerance” by Luke Mauerman

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: 2037: The End of Tolerance

Author: Luke Mauerman

Publisher: Beekman Place Editions

Cover Artist: Mark Anderson

Release Date: May 21, 2019

Genre/s: Gay, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Trope/s: When Gay Becomes Illegal

Themes: Culture War, Future Dystopia, Gay Love, Technology

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 235 pages

It is a standalone book.

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When Gay Becomes Illegal

Blurb

A novel about life in a United States gone mad, where the government falls apart, California secedes from the union, and Liberals and Conservatives finally battle each other in the streets. It’s the Culture War, and it’s coming. Find out what to do when men and women start to get caged up just for being gay; when climate disasters unfold and wreck the economy; when the world falls apart once and for all. It’s ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ but in reverse.

Stephe Stafford, embroiled in this conflict, hopes to preserve his sanity—and even finds love along the way. In 2037 we watch Stephe, orphaned in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 2022, grow up and even blossom into his own.

New technologies and old politics weave together to form amazing possibilities and hopes—and certain dangers, too. Read about the fate of America as we move into a chilling new future. Find out what can we do when the world goes awry.

Excerpt

Republican President Mitch Kellum, elected in 2028, urged calm, but the damage was done. Calls for the election to be overturned sprang from all parts of the country. Kellum denied any wrongdoing. It was the Russians and the Chinese, he claimed, determined to destabilize the U.S.

Democrats had lost all remaining political power and the conservative U.S. Supreme Court upheld the election in predictable fashion, six to three.

It was like a bomb had gone off. Protests turned to riots. Far-right fundamentalists took to the streets in support of the election, and faced off with teeming hordes of furious liberals. A nation that had been savagely divided, blue against red, liberal against conservative for the past thirteen years, would eventually fall into violence. It finally happened in Philadelphia on November 9, 2030. Rioting liberals clashed with Freedom Fighters, neo-Nazis, and Proud Boys on Market Street at the beautiful Philadelphia City Hall building. Fisticuffs, brawls, burning cars. Shots rang out. The police, caught in the middle, fell apart; each officer defected to his or her side of the political divide and joined the fight.

The Culture War had begun.

Battlements were hastily built in the streets of Washington, DC, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. It was bedlam. The streets became littered with bodies as street fights broke out: Red versus Blue, Conservative versus Liberal.

People fled the cities only to find skirmishes in the suburbs. Ikea parking lots were battle zones. A Home Depot in Enid, Oklahoma, was burnt to the ground. Fires started everywhere.

The country spasmed in violence, hand to hand, block by block. After thirteen years of political loggerheads, the center could no longer hold. Any attempt at civil discourse fell on deaf ears. It was us against them, everywhere.

A typical confrontation would be as follows: Unarmed Liberals vastly outnumbered armed Freedom Fighters. They’d go toe-to-toe in the streets, yelling and waving signs in confrontation. Fist fights would break out. But then someone would get mad, grab their gun, and start shooting. Others would join in and the unarmed protesters would flee back behind barricades of cars, buses, dumpsters and buildings, leaving the dead and wounded in the street. It was like a form of trench warfare—and this was played out in cities and towns across the country. Attack and retreat. Attack and retreat. And anger—people were incredibly angry. They fought tooth and nail, neighbor against neighbor, family member against family member.

In San Francisco the tens of thousands of liberals lining Market Street day after day eventually found themselves being bludgeoned by Freedom Fighters. Skirmish lines fell into place along the main street and shots were fired. Freedom Fighters were hopelessly outnumbered though and, despite having guns, were quickly overpowered by the throngs of San Franciscans. They fled.

Stephe was there with Nicole. They’d come up from Harrison Street to take part in the demonstration that day. Nicole wound up hitting a neo-Nazi with her shoe, bloodying his face while Stephe—feeling nothing but cold rage—just took his rifle and hit him with it.

The National Guard had to be mobilized to quell the riots, and still it wasn’t enough. The U.S. Army and the Marines were added and took to the streets with water cannons and tear gas.

Finally the main fights in the bigger cities were quelled by force. After six bloody days the spasm ended. Thousands were dead. Many more thousands were arrested by the military and taken to separate camps, red and blue, for disturbing the peace and inciting violence.

Thus began a new Cold War as Americans could no longer speak to one another.

About the Author

Luke Mauerman is a former columnist for Bear and 100% Beef Magazines, and is well into his trilogy of books on time travel. He majored in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and currently resides in Palm Springs.

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BOOK BLAST: “Earnest Ink” by Alex Hall

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Earnest Ink

Author: Alex Hall

Publisher: Nine Star Press

Published: October 14, 2019

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Genre/s: Queer Spec Fic, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense

Trope/s: Found family

Themes: Mystery/adventure

Heat Rating: 1 flame

Orientation: Asexual, Pansexual

Identity: Cisgender, Trans

Warning: Depictions of Trauma, Blood, Violence, Murder,

Eating disorders, Body hatred, Transphobia, PTSD, War

Length: 72 100 words/244 pages

It is a standalone book.

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Blurb

While twenty-year-old FTM Hemingway is making an excellent living as a tattoo artist in a near-future version of Hell’s Kitchen, the rest of the country is splintered and struggling in the wake of a war gone on for too long. Technology has collapsed, borders rise and fall overnight, and magic has awakened without rhyme, reason, or rule, turning average unwitting citizens into wielders of strange and specific strands of magic.

Hemingway’s particular brand of magic has made him a household name. Not only is he a talented artist, but his work comes to life. Literally.

When NYC’s most infamous serial killer—the East River Ripper—abducts Hemingway’s best friend, Grace, he has only days to save her. Hemingway teams up with his stoic cop roommate to hunt for the killer and rescue Grace before she becomes the Ripper’s latest victim. But as the duo chase clues to the serial killer’s identity, Hemingway begins to fear the magic he and the Ripper share might eventually corrupt him too.

Buy Links

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Smashwords | B&N | Kobo

Excerpt

Earnest Ink

Alex Hall © 2019

All Rights Reserved

I work without speaking because that’s the way I prefer it. The vibration of my machine, the softer buzz of the fluorescent lights overhead, the tap of my foot on the pedal—it’s the best music in the world.

When I hit a ticklish spot, the girl I’m working on gasps, jolting in my chair.

“Don’t move,” I say. And then, with a salesman’s false cheer: “Almost done!”

The girl is sweating down the crook of her neck. She’s got silver glitter paint on her eyelids and cheeks, a new fashion trend I just can’t quite get behind. Under my lights the mix of perspiration and makeup looks like a blurry constellation.

She wanted a bee inked onto her collarbone, one of those tiny honeybees you find on good tequila bottles. Easily done, and she met the cash requirement. She’s eager, nervous, and breathing in and out in little puffs.

I can’t remember her name, but that’s fine. Customer relations is Eric’s job.

There’s another kid leaning over my glass counter, watching eagerly as I work. “Does it hurt?” he asks. “When the magic happens?”

The bee’s fat yellow thorax wriggles from side to side as it begins to wake, fighting the pressure of my needle, hungry for life.

“It looks like it hurts,” the kid says. I ignore him.

One minute more and—thanks to my peculiar magic—this bee will fly free.

I’m perched on a swivel stool, a wet paper towel in my hand to wipe away ink. It’s too hot in my studio, even with the industrial fans whirling overhead and the door propped wide open. Evening light slants in through the door and the north-facing, floor-to-ceiling window panes that look out onto West Forty-Sixth. It’s muggy, too warm for New York in October, and all of Hell’s Kitchen is wilting, including my client.

“What does it feel like?” the kid demands. He’s leaving greasy fingerprints on the surface of the glass as he strains to get a better look at what I’m doing. I study him out the corner of my eye, wiping sweat off my nose with the back of my wrist before it drips on my customer. He looks like one of the street punks who have taken to running in packs near the cruise terminals, sleeping in old, abandoned cargo containers and panhandling up and down the marina.

He’s skinny and tall, hair dyed an unsettling violet and styled into spikes all over his head. He’s got a silver ring in his septum and more hoops in his ears; his eyelashes are coated with purple mascara to match his hair. Green glitter paint sparkles on his lids. His T-shirt and jeans are torn and dirty, and he’s got a pack of black-market cigarettes rolled into one sleeve against his upper arm.

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.

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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.

Trailer Video

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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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BOOK BLAST: “Little Red” by Queenie Wise. On Sale for $0.99!

99c BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Little Red (Big Bad Wolves Book One)

Author: Queenie Wise

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Genre/s: Paranormal M/M Romance

Trope/s: Enemies to lovers, Hurt/Comfort

Themes: Werewolves, Coming Out

Heat Rating: 2.5 flames

Length: 117 500 words/351 pages

This is the first book in a series.

It is on sale for $0.99 for a limited time (Dec 27 – 31)

to celebrate the release of its sequel on December 27, 2019

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Big, sexy werewolves + sassy, gay protagonist + fun worldbuilding = Little Red!

Blurb

Peter “Penis” Caldwell (nickname bestowed courtesy of popular jock, Jackson Davis) didn’t necessarily have a lot of things going for him.

  1. See “Penis”.
  2. He attended high school in a small town that was as bigoted as it was boring. (Having the audacity to stand out was considered a major character flaw.)
  3. He was maybe, sort of, a little bit (a lot) gay. Not that anyone knew that last one.

None of that meant, however, that Peter was prepared for the consequences when he is bitten by a giant wolf during a reckless night of teenage adventure.

Consequences that smack him right in the face when he is simultaneously saved and snatched by a (hugely-muscled, obscenely handsome)… mentally-imbalanced man who’s convinced that he’s a long-distance relation of Jacob Black. That’s right: werewolf.

Mr. Big and Bad claims Peter is one, too, now that he’s bitten him.

The only thing worse than being kidnapped by a crazy person? A crazy person who’s right.

Forced to adjust to pack life in a hidden society, Peter’s not sure what he longs to do more: throttle the man who’s bitten him and ruined his life so conclusively, or throw himself on Mr. Big and Bad’s ridiculously firmlap.

Yeah, lap.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

99c for a limited time (Dec 27 – 31)

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Excerpt

For the first time in his life, Peter realized that people had scents. He wasn’t referring to the funky smell that always followed around his history teacher, Mr. Herbert, or even the flowery perfumes that his mother often saturated herself in.

No, people had scents beneath all that.

Like his dad, who smelled a bit like worn leather, or his mom, whose natural fragrance more closely resembled lemons.

Not everyone had a pleasant aroma, however. Jackson’s smell, for example, was putrid – not unlike the stink of sour milk.

No one’s scent was overpowering, and Peter often only caught whiffs of people as they walked by – and that was only when he put his mind to doing so. It was when he spent a lot of time with people, like his parents, or even Scott, who smelled a little like freshly cut grass underneath his Axe body spray, that he really noticed it.

Peter sighed, forcefully pulling himself from his thoughts. He couldn’t be certain, of course, but none of the books his parents – mostly his mom – had bought for him and his older sister about puberty mentioned the strange ability to smell other people. (He knew because he’d wasted an entire half hour searching the section about body odor.)

Realizing that as he had daydreamed, the sun had risen (and the heat index along with it), Peter glanced down to discover he had sweat through his shirt. Yanking his ear buds out of his ears and stuffing them into his pocket along with his MP3 player, Peter began tugging his shirt off his head.

He probably should have stopped running to do it. But he didn’t.

Which was why, shirt blocking his vision, Peter completely missed the man who suddenly appeared in front of him. By the time he had yanked the shirt completely off, it was too late, and he collided full speed into him.

He didn’t even have time to brace himself. One second, he was running, and the next, he was practically ricocheting off the solid mass of the man’s chest, his body flying backwards. It was a battle to stay upright– a battle he was losing – until firm hands grasped his hips and righted him, allowing Peter’s equilibrium to return to him.

An embarrassed flush bursting across his cheeks, Peter quickly stepped out of the man’s grasp, finally getting a good look at him, and… oh.

Jesus.

He’d almost plowed down a god, or a half-god, or something, because there was no way it was possible to be that naturally good-looking without having a parent named Aphrodite.

The handsome stranger – the man was definitely a stranger, Peter would know if he had seen this particular face before – had perfectly symmetrical features. He had an attractive nose and strong jaw, and his face was framed by dark, disheveled hair, longer on the top than it was on the sides.

Not only was the man absurdly handsome, he was also tall (well over six feet), and judging by the way his shirt-sleeves bulged, he was positively covered in lithe muscle.

Which you are very rudely staring at, a voice in the back of Peter’s head pointed out. Unfortunately, jerking his eyes away from the display of tanned muscle only served as a reminder that Peter’s less-muscled body was also on parade.

“I-I wasn’t,” Peter stuttered, clutching his shirt to his chest like an old lady holding a rosery in church, “I mean, I was… and then you, and I… I’m really sorry!” he eventually managed to spit out.

Determined not to embarrass himself any further – because apparently people related to Greek gods made him a little tongue-tied – Peter directed his gaze to the ground.

“Are you alright?”

Half-expecting to have been ignored, or worse, laughed at, Peter was taken off-guard by the concern-laced question. (It didn’t help that it was asked in such a cultured timbre. Peter had no idea it was possible to be physically attracted to a voice until that very moment.)

Unable to resist, he allowed his gaze to flicker back up. And promptly froze.

Peter had been so preoccupied with the man’s handsome features earlier that he had somehow missed the most striking of them all: his eyes.

Framed by black lashes, they were an intense blue. Peter’s poetry-obsessed mother would have probably called them sapphire or cobalt or something equally fanciful. But their color wasn’t what had Peter’s entire body tensing.

No, that was due to the fact that the eyes were strangely familiar. Like Peter had seen them somewhere before.

Except Peter was completely certain he had never laid eyes on this man before.

For one hare-brained moment, he thought of the pair of eyes that had been haunting his dreams for over a week now. They’re the same, his subconscious all but screamed at him, they’re the same!

But that was ridiculous.

The eyes in his dream were red. And they belonged to a wolf. They weren’t blue and set in the face of a Michelangelo statue come to life. A statue that was currently frowning at him, a troubled crease in his brow. “Well, are you?”

Peter blinked. “Am I…?” “Are you alright?”

Oh.

That’s right.

The man had asked Peter a question, and instead of answering it like a normal person, Peter had just stared rudely.

Face burning, he half-wished the ground would open up and swallow him whole. “Yeah! Fine. Great. Dandy, even.” Dandy? What. the. hell. “It’s not like I fell or anything.” Although Peter wasn’t so sure he hadn’t somehow concussed himself by running into the man’s chest of solid muscle, what with his mouth moving without consent from his brain and all. “I mean, you stopped me before I could. Fall, that is. Grabbed me by the waist, which would usually be sort of creepy, in a bad-touch way, but, I mean, you’re obviously not… you wouldn’t… you know what? I’m just going to shut up now.”

By the time Peter had finished inserting both his feet firmly in his mouth, the man’s frown had increased in severity. He seemed confused.

You and me both, buddy.

After a moment, he just shook his head. “You should really watch where you’re going,” he said somberly.

Yeah, can’t be smacking into god-like entities every time I take my shirt off, Peter thought sarcastically. What he actually said was: “I’ll do that.”

“See that you do. You never know when you might run into… someone dangerous.”

For some reason, a shiver tingled down Peter’s spine at the remark. It wasn’t a scared shiver. Sure, the statement could have been threatening – Peter had just run smack into this man, after all – but somehow, it was something… else.

Peter found himself staring again, almost involuntarily, into the man’s eyes. Dark blue drilled right back into muted green. It was a staring contest Peter was desperate not to lose for reasons beyond his grasp.

About the Author

Queenie Wise is a happily married mother of four. (Yes, that is four human children.)

When she is not busy wiping noses or magically kissing away “boo-boo”’s, she is obsessing over M/M romance. Original stories, fanfiction; she reads it all. She is especially fond of sassy protagonists and huge, burly love interests who have tough-as-nails exteriors, but are actually giant marshmallows on the inside. She loves all the tropes: hurt/comfort, enemies to lovers, and May/December being some of her favorites.

Although Queenie began her writing career as a M/F author (under a different pen name), she has recently returned to her true passion: M/M.

While she has a penchant for torturing her favorite characters, all of her stories feature HEA’s. Just because there are not enough of them in the real world doesn’t mean the fictional world should be denied.

(In other words, Queenie is as soft and gooey on the inside as her giant, marshmallow men.)

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