Blog Tour for “Darkness Dawns” by Zakarrie Clarke. Rafflecopter Contest Giveaway included.

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Darkness Dawns

Author: Zakarrie Clarke

Publisher: MLR Press

Genre/s: Contemporary/Humour/MM/Disability (Blindness)

Length: 65 000 words/150 PDF pages

Release Date: February 1, 2019

It’s a novel with a sequel. The first 43 chapters form Darkness Dawns; it concludes on a HFN and the sequel completes the novel.

I’ve written both, but thought it best to split it, or it would be over 140 000 words long.

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Blurb

Darkness Dawns is a love story. It also tells the tale of one man’s war with himself, brought onto the battlefield of his blindness. Leo Ferrar suffers from diabetic retinopathy and lost his sight two years ago. Unable to bear the scrutiny of strangers or the impact of his blindness on those he loves, Leo has determined on shutting the world out ever since. This is the man Ben meets on his first day at work as Mr Ferrar’s care assistant.

A former heroin addict, Ben was sentenced to six months community service as punishment for his crimes by a judge entitled to condemn him to a seven-year stretch. Far too charming for his own welfare, Ben proves unaccountably brilliant at ‘bulldozing the blind’.

When fate sees fit to dispatch Ben to the home of the man he has dubbed Mr Ferrarcious; it is with the words of the last five unfortunates who’d dared darken Leo’s doorway ringing in his ears. A door that is opened by a man who might be Lord Byron himself. Drop dead gorgeous and as hot as hell, Leo Ferrar has the most beautiful eyes Ben has ever seen.

Never has an irony seemed so cruel. Nor fate so fortuitous.

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Excerpt

Leo knew he should have opted to use the cane, instead of the arm Ben offered him for their unexpected walk. Should. Every time that word left someone’s lips, Leo wanted to scream; fists clenched in a screech of hopeless, helpless rage. The fact that everything he should do was For-His-Own-Benefit, made it so much worse, which was as ludicrous as it was true. Independence was the only thing he had left to aspire to. So, why the fuck did should rub Leo so raw it obliterated any inclination he may have had to do whatever it prefaced? He ought to want to do the things he should. But what if he tried…and failed? What if Leo couldn’t master any of them? Then he would lose even the hope that he might, one day, be able to. Even more galling, that loss would be down to him, because he was so bloody useless. He did want to show Ben that he was quite capable of managing…didn’t he? Very much, although why that mattered, Leo had no idea.

Why care what this latest in a long line of functioning eyeballs thought of him? It was probably more politic to say, ‘visually unimpaired’. Visually Impaired. Leo had to stifle the urge to punch people who described him thus. Impaired? Adj: weakened or damaged. Weak. Weakened. F’fucksakes. He was still chewing that particular wasp when Ben asked for his wrist.

Does he intend to lead me by it, as if I’m a toddler?

Leo found himself holding it out anyway. Christ knows why he was going along with all this. It was just that…being in Ben’s company was rather like sitting in the passenger seat of a snow plough driven by a drunk. Far preferable to standing in its path…and yet, somehow more appealing than staying behind, wherever the hell it was off to.

Nevertheless, he was still relieved when Ben clasped the proffered wrist—not to cart Leo off as he’d feared—but to plant his hand on top of Ben’s head. The fact that Leo could have changed the lightbulb without stretching a whole lot further, did seem to suggest he’d been addressing Ben’s nipples for the last half hour.

Quite how Ben then contrived to claim fault for something that was Leo’s mistake was less clear, but this was pulled off with such disarming charm, it would’ve been churlish to argue otherwise. Why the hell did the notion of calling Ben’s bluff feel as brutal a prospect as drowning his cat? If he had one, of course. Cat? More to the point…nipples?

“Thank you,” Leo managed to mumble, which was something of a result itself. Half an hour with Ben and he’d started to feel several sandwiches short of the proverbial picnic. He’d also begun to suspect that Violet had been a sweet little old lady—and quite sane—when she’d met Ben.

So off they went. The blindingly daft leading the blind off on a stroll around Camden.

In a bid to distract himself from well, pretty much everything he’d thought for the last five minutes, Leo decided to ask Ben to describe himself. For some reason he was intrigued, not only to know what Ben looked like, but to hear the picture he drew. Leo had an inkling this would prove more unmissable than an aural tour around the National Portrait Gallery. Unmissable? It was a bloody masterpiece. There most definitely were not any renderings of Steptoe’s six-four daughter there. The last two years might have felt a damn sight less soul-destroying if Ben had voiced Leo’s DVD visual descriptions.

Walking outside had lost all its appeal when the world became a giant landmine lying in wait to blow up in Leo’s face; every step into the unknown, a potential public humiliation. Despite this, and Ben’s partiality to lamp posts, they somehow arrived in Gloucester Crescent, alive and well. Even more shocking, was that Leo hadn’t fretted about…anything really, along the way. He’d just drifted along, listening to Ben weave words too beguiling to question where embellishment waved farewell to the truth. But who the fuck would want to, when that would feel as blasphemous as punching a fist through a Picasso?

About the Author

When Zakarrie was little and dreamed big, she wanted to be a writer. Just like Enid Blyton. Or p’raps not…having been most remiss on the lashings of ginger beer front. After moving to London at eighteen and flitting about for far too long, she finally settled, as blissy as can be, by the sea. When her castaway dreams resurfaced, they were believed into being by the warm words of friends who breathed life into her own. Her one wish now is that someone, somewhere, might enjoy the misadventures of her miscreants as much as she adores writing them.

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Series Review Tour: Blood Sealed, Books 1 & 2, “Nasu & Enrai” by Jet Lupin

SERIES REVIEW TOUR

BOOK 1

Book Title: Nasu (Blood Sealed Book 1)

Author: Jet Lupin

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre/s: M/M Paranormal Romance

Length: 83 000 words/ 156 pages

Release Date: November 25, 2017

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This story can technically be read alone, though there are unsolved things that are further explored in the next book

Blurb

Go to work. Come home. Repeat. Phil’s life is boring and he loves every second of it. No excitement, no boyfriends breaking up with him over cereal in his underwear. When everything’s predictable, nothing bad happens. But nothing good does, either.

One night, when his best friend forces him to step outside of his comfort zone, he meets Shige who’s too enigmatic to really be interested in him. He’s trouble, but Phil can’t help ignoring his own advice.

Decades have gone by while Shige’s kept himself locked away. He’s tired of the world, of humans and vampires. He was happy collecting dust until one day he wasn’t. On a whim, he ventures out and meets Phil, setting them on a path that’ll change them both.

Whatever this is between them, it won’t come easy. Plagued by distrust and danger from within and without, but if they survive, it just might be worth it

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Excerpt

From Chapter 1

Phil Torres sat in Mercer General’s basement level breakroom for the first time that shift. With a sports drink in one hand and a protein bar in the other, he worked to cram both things into his mouth. He couldn’t remember what he’d eaten last or when. Even so, he had no appetite. Other nurses came and went through the breakroom offering looks of sympathy and pity. He was on the ass end of a 16-hour shift no sane person would envy.

It had been a trial of will. He’d seen some terrible things in the three years he’d been a fully licensed nurse but during this one shift, he’d beheld some of the worst things he’d ever seen, things that would haunt his dreams and hang on during his waking hours. A savage gunshot wound, a leg so badly broken the bone slashed through the skin, a pair of asthma attacks that left the patients blue in the face, gasping, and a stomach bug so virulent, puke covered the floors of two of their closet sized exam rooms. The cleaning staff was going to love this evening’s cleaning detail, but it was just another night at Mercer General.

“What’re you still doing here?” Yolanda came into the breakroom, looking every bit as tired as Phil felt. Her sneakers, damp from the storm she’d weathered out on the floor squelched with every step as she made her way to the lockers. “Didn’t your vacation start an hour ago?”

Phil took a swallow of sports drink to help keep his meager meal down. “Jackie was running late, so I filled in for her, then Shelly needed help tapping a vein… I got trapped.”

Yolanda rolled her eyes as she shut the door to her locker. “More like you let yourself get­ trapped.”

She was right, of course.

During his time here, the older nurse had taken him under her wing, brought him into the fold. They’d become as close as cousins. It helped Phil feel at home out here on the West Coast where he had no family and few friends, but as a side effect, lying to her was now next to impossible.

Yolanda perched on the plastic chair next him. She bumped him with her shoulder. “I’ll never understand why you always drag your feet when it comes time to get out of here. You’ve got an OK place—by yourself—in a decent neighborhood. You know how many people would kill for that set up­? What’s the issue?”

Yolanda couldn’t understand it. She had a home waiting for her. A husband and kids who kept her busy. She might not admit it but they filled her life with joy. All Phil had waiting in at home was a dog bent on systematically destroying anything he could get his mouth on.

“I like keeping busy,” he said. “It’s not a crime.”

“Neither is taking time off once in a while.” Yolanda quickly wiped her sneakers down with a paper towel and threw it into the trash. “Since you got here, you’ve never taken more than three days off at a time. You need this break. You’re gonna burn out if you don’t take it easy.”

There was truth to Yolanda’s words, but to hear her tell it, Phil was a workaholic, little more than a care dispensing robot. He knew how to relax. He just didn’t enjoy it.

Work kept him too busy to worry about the lacking areas of his life. He liked helping people and Mercer’s shortage of staff guaranteed any offers to come in on his days off were never turned down. Without work, as rough as it could be on a good day, he’d be left alone. He didn’t know what to do with alone.

“Why can’t it be a week? Or two! I’d gladly do that much!”

Yolanda clucked her tongue in disgust. “I wish they’d let your ungrateful ass give me the two months since you so obviously don’t want it. I don’t see how you let it rack up.”

“Same,” Phil said. “Same.”

Yolanda stood, ready to go back out onto the floor, but she stopped in the doorway. She rested a small hand on Phil’s shoulder. “Your body remembers how to relax, even if you don’t. But you’ve got to get out of here first.”

Read more here: https://jetlupin.me/nasu-excerpt/

BOOK 2

Book Title: Enrai (Blood Sealed Book 2)

Author: Jet Lupin

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre/s: M/M Paranormal Romance

Length: 54 000 words/ 111 pages

Release Date: February 8, 2019

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Is it a standalone story? No

Blurb

Phil has a problem.

It’s not his job or the fact that his maybe boyfriend, Shige, is a vampire. He’s a sensitive– an ability he’s had since he was small that lets him peek into people’s minds— and it’s gotten out of control. He can’t turn it on and off like he used to. He needs help, and he has to fly to the other side of the world to get it. The catch? Shige’s the only one who can take him there, but things with him haven’t been great. Their relationship is in tatters, and he doesn’t know how to fix it or if it’s even up to him. This is so not what he needs right now.

But Phil’s not the only one with issues. Shige’s got a territory to maintain and a mystery to solve all while worrying about Phil. He takes all this in stride, but when things take a turn for the worst, can he get them both home in one piece?

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Excerpt

From Chapter 1

PHIL

“Earth to Phil!”

Phil blinked at the sudden snap inches from his nose. He shook himself as the world rushed up to meet him. He’d been adrift in a sea of consciousness surrounding them. There were 30 other people in this restaurant, and at any given time, Phil heard the thoughts of the closest 15 or so, everything from the mundane to the raunchy. None of it was his business, but his instinct was to latch onto every granule of information as he noticed it. Giving in was very easy and very satisfying.

Sorry. I’m here.” But he hadn’t been. Thoughts continued to float in and out of his mind, not all of them his own. Today was particularly bad. It kept getting harder to focus on the things he needed to live his life.

Before, he needed to concentrate to hear other people’s minds, like eavesdropping. Now it was like everyone spontaneously broke into fits of reciting their inner monologues. There was no way to tell when it would start, but nine times out of ten, it was when he needed all his mental faculties.

He’d taken more breaks at work than what his job owed him, just to get away from the noise. People had started to notice. He’d been lucky enough not to hurt anyone yet, but it was only a matter of time.

“You sure?” Jerome said with no small amount of skepticism threading through his words. “You’re a little spacey.”

“I got distracted by a work thing, but I heard every word.”

Jerome cut his eyes at him. “What’s the last thing I said?” He smirked.

“You asked how things are with Shige.”

Jerome sucked his teeth. “Lucky guess.”

The question from his brain reached Phil before Jerome put it into words. It got mixed in the deluge of their fellow diners’ minds, but he remembered because it concerned him directly and hadn’t been about the food. He focused on Jerome, and the feedback lowered to a dull hum, blending with the audible background noise of the restaurant.

“So you got an answer for me? Hurry up, while it’s just us.”

“We’re good. Why would I go on this trip with him if we weren’t getting along?”

The short answer was what Phil told him; things between him and Shige were fine. The truth, as always, was more complex. He didn’t know what they were or where they stood.

Read more here https://jetlupin.me/enrai-excerpt/

About the Author

Stories longing to have words put to them were in Jet’s heart from an early age. Jet enjoys exploring the connections and similarities between people whether they be shifters, vampires, or aliens, rendering the unknowable very knowable indeed.

Jet’s days are spent toiling away at a keyboard, slumped over a pen and paper hunting for those words, or playing around on twitter with a partner, and two rambunctious cats for company in the temperamental North Eastern US.

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Book Blast: “The Selkie Prince’s Forbidden Mate” by J.J. Masters

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: The Selkie Prince’s Forbidden Mate

Series: The Royal Alphas, Book 4

Author: J.J. Masters

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Megan Parker of EmCat Designs

Genre/s: Contemporary Romance (PNR/Gay/mpreg)

Length: 60,400 words / 236 pages

A standalone book within a series

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Blurb

Secrets, lies and a forbidden bond that could change the fate of a kingdom.

Marlin, Selkie prince and fourth alpha-born son of the King of the North, desires someone he shouldn’t. While taking a human lover is not quite forbidden, the one who caught his eye happens to be his brother’s scorned former lover. Nevertheless, every time Marlin’s around the man, he finds Nic hard to resist, even though his attitude can be frustrating. However, Marlin likes a challenge, and Nic’s a challenge he’s willing to tackle.

Nic has been bitter ever since the firstborn prince, Kai, broke off their affair abruptly years ago. To become involved with Kai’s younger brother could be just as heartbreaking because Marlin, like Kai, is obligated to find his fated mate and produce heirs. Something Nic can’t do. However, neither can fight their mutual attraction.

When a traitor escapes, Marlin’s skin is stolen, and danger ensues, it’s Nic who becomes the prince’s hero. And it’s at that very moment that Marlin can’t deny their fate, whether it’s forbidden or not.

Note: A 60k-plus word m/m shifter mpreg story, this is the fourth book in the Royal Alpha series. Due to the “knotty” times in this book, it is recommended for mature readers only. While it can be read as a standalone, it’s recommended to read the series in order. And, like all of my books, it has an HEA.

Excerpt

Marlin, Selkie prince and fourth alpha-born son of King Solomon, and, not to mention, complete utter fool, stood staring up at the little cabin in the woods.

He closed his eyes for a moment and inhaled the aroma of the forest surrounding him. That didn’t slow the runaway train that was his heartbeat.

Nor did it help his cock that flexed in his pants at the anticipation of doing something so wrong, but also so… desired.

It wasn’t necessarily wrong for a Selkie to find pleasure with a human… as long as that human was willing. But what made this feel iniquitous was that the man who lived in that little cabin in the woods was the former lover of his oldest brother, Kai.

His heartbeat went from racing to thumping loudly in his ears as the front screen door opened and the subject of his recent inappropriate dreams stood staring back at him while leaning against the door frame.

Dominic. Nic for short.

He was long and lean, his body built like a normal human. His shoulders were broad, his hips narrow. Even from where Marlin stood, he could see Nic’s dark hair appeared to be a ruffled mess, which made him even more attractive.

Maybe Marlin had disturbed the man’s afternoon nap.

“You just going to stand there? Like a stalker?”

His voice was deep, smooth, and all that delicious goodness swirled around Marlin, pulling him forward like he was a marlin being reeled in on a fisherman’s line. He wanted to fight it, but he couldn’t.

He couldn’t because he was exhausted from doing just that… resisting his desires. There was something about Nic…

Maybe it was his expressive brown eyes, and his attitude. Strong-willed, sometimes crass, but definitely sensual at other times.

Like that little bit of time Marlin spent with him the last time he was here. When his brother Zale was searching for his omega, when Nic had hid Finn in his home. While Zale was sneaking around inside the cabin searching for his mate, Marlin had kept the human occupied.

And it was then that he knew he was doomed. Knew he’d eventually show back up on the man’s doorstep no matter how many times he told himself it was wrong.

Plenty of other humans or betas were willing to take care of Marlin’s needs. But he didn’t want any of them.

He wanted Nic.

Even if it was just once. Just a simple taste. Maybe them spending a night together would exorcise the man from his system.

For the last few weeks, he couldn’t sleep through the night. No, he’d wake up in a sweat after dreaming about taking Nic, pleasuring him, making him come, then giving the human his knot.

Which never should happen.

Human males weren’t physically built to take Selkie knots. Not like an omega.

So, giving Nic his knot would only ever remain a fantasy. One that—when Marlin would wake up with a raging erection—would fuel his own release so he could go back to sleep.

But now it was happening every night. And, even worse, during the daylight hours thoughts of Nic would drift through his mind.

These thoughts of the male, the one standing on his porch and watching him intently, were interrupting his life and Marlin needed to get them to stop. Out of his brothers, he was the next prince in line to find his omega. His fated mate. Though he was in no rush, he knew the Presentation Ceremonies might begin at any time. Or at least as soon as the Selkie Seekers could find six appropriate omegas to present to him. So, he needed to concentrate on doing his duty and finding the right mate to produce pups, he should not give in to his base desires.

While Nic could never be Marlin’s mate, nor become pregnant with his heirs, he could be simply a temporary detour.

And the man did seem to show some interest the last time they were face to face.

“Marlin,” Nic called from the porch. “Why are you here? Is something wrong? Did you royals lose another omega?”

About the Author

J.J. Masters is the alter-ego of a USA Today bestselling author who writes hot, gay romance filled with heart, humor and heat. J.J. became fascinated with mpreg romance as soon as she figured out what mpreg stood for. She loves to write about “knotty” men!

You can join JJ’s FB Group here: https://www.facebook.com/JJMastersAuthor/ or her newsletter here: https://bit.ly/2E2zcaB to keep up with exclusive content and news.

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Book Blast: “Bad Deal” by Faith Ryan & Ember-Raine Winters

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Bad Deal (Belikov Crime Family 1)

Author: Ember-Raine Winters & Faith Ryan

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Always Inked

Genre/s: Dark Erotic Romance, Mafia/MC

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 40 000 words

It’s the first in a series but stands alone

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Blurb He’s a Russian devil and he owns me. JR Richards What’s worse than wanting the one person you can never have? How about finally getting them. Don’t get me wrong the sex was great, but everything that came after? Yeah, it’s like they say, be careful what you wish for. Ruslan Belikov My brother made a deal that didn’t go as planned. Now I have to get back what’s ours and pretty boy Jacoby is the tool to make that happen. I’ll torture and use him until I get what I want, then I’ll toss him aside like the rest. A motorcycle club and a Mafia family shouldn’t make deals. Someone’s bound to lose. Family, friends and hearts, nothing’s safe in a world fueled by drugs, money and sex. WARNING: Ruslan Belikov and Jacoby Richards may not be for everyone. They are two dominant men thrown into an impossible situation. Some readers may find their story makes them uncomfortable. If you don’t like dark and dirty mafia bosses who use torture and sex to get their way turn back now. You have been warned.

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Excerpt I follow behind them quietly as Demitri shoves him toward the bathroom. I notice Jacoby wince as Demitri squeezes his shoulder. I file that information away for later when the fun really begins. As I enter the bathroom, I remove my suit jacket folding it over the counter and rolling my sleeves up to my elbows. I see Jacoby shiver as Demitri blasts the cold water on him not bothering to let him remove his underwear. “Leave us.” I bark. Demitri jumps as if I’ve startled him, but does as told and scurries from the bathroom shutting the door firmly behind him. Jacoby’s eyes watch me as I move closer. I’m not sure if it’s fear or something else in his eyes as he glares at me. There was no heat behind it. “You like this, don’t you?” I wave a hand over my body. Jacoby nods. Good, no point in lying to me when I could see it written all over his face. My cock is painfully hard and I decide it’s time for some relief. “On your knees.” My thick accent becomes even thicker the more aroused I become. When he does nothing but drop to his knees and await my instructions, my hands go to my belt unbuckling it and pulling the leather slowly from my slacks. His breath catches in his throat when I pull myself out stroking once, twice before stepping forward and grabbing a fistful of his hair. “Open,” I growl shoving myself down his throat. He gags and his eyes water as I start my punishing pace. Both my hands are in his hair pulling it roughly as I piston my hips. It only takes him a second to acclimate and stop gagging. I push harder and move faster. The feel of absolute control feels like heaven and has me coming like a river down his throat. This kid is the perfect submissive. Too bad I can’t keep him. As soon as I find my drugs, I’ll have to get rid of him. The thought has me pausing momentarily. No matter, I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. Once my cock is sated, I close up my pants and walk out of the bathroom without a word. Demitri gives me an odd look as I exit the room and make my way down the hall. “Hang him up by the hook for the night, Demitri.” I never turn as I give the order. I hear Demitri’s grunt of understanding and continue to my apartment above the club.

About the Authors

Ember-Raine Winters

Ember-Raine Winters lives in sunny California with her two beautiful kids and a wolf. Also known as Apache her pure white Siberian Husky. She loves writing romance and reading just about anything she can get her hands on. And, football! She loves watching football and going to games. It’s one of her favorite ways to unwind. She dislikes the super-hot temperatures in her city and exercise. She hates to exercise but somehow her sister still gets her to do it every day. She also thinks it’s completely awkward talking about herself in third person. Ember loves connecting with readers so don’t be afraid to stalk her and drop her a line on social media.

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Faith Ryan

Faith Ryan is wife to a handsome bearded man and mother to three, yes three, teenage girls. She lives in a small town in Ohio and is an avid reader of romance and frequently finishes several books in one day. A coworker once told her that people who read romance are considered smarter than others, Faith totally agrees and thinks this doubly applies to romance authors. Everyone needs a little bit (or a lot) of romance in their life!

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Blog Tour: “Loving Again Series” by Mel Gough

LOVING AGAIN SERIES BLOG TOUR

January 25, 2019 – A World Apart

February 22, 2019 – A New Life

March 22, 2019 – A Broken Promise

NEW RELEASE

Book Title: A World Apart (Loving Again Series, Book 1)

Author: Mel Gough

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Black Jazz Design

Genre/s: Contemporary romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 51 000 words/197 pages

Release Date: January 25, 2019

The first book in a series of three, but can be read as standalone.

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BlurbBen’s life appears perfect. He has a career to shine in and a beautiful family. But his marriage has broken down, and being a small-town cop is turning into a dead-end job.Hot-headed troublemaker Donnie is used to being side-eyed by the fuzz. Getting dragged into the station for a crime he didn’t commit is no big surprise – but a cop who gives a damn sure is.Ben has no clue how much a second encounter with the secretive redneck will shake up his life. Donnie’s sullen vulnerability arouses a passion Ben hasn’t felt for a long time. Soon, nothing matters but helping Donnie fight his demons. Can they carve a new life together out of the ashes Buy LinksUniversal Amazon LinkAmazon US Amazon UK

Excerpt From Chapter One“WHAT HAVE WE got, Lou?” Ben asked the gray-haired desk clerk at Corinth Police Department. He glanced at a handcuffed man who sat on a nearby bench, staring down at the scuffed linoleum floor. The man’s dark hair was disheveled, falling low over his forehead and brushing his long eyelashes as his eyes flicked up at Ben. He looked to be in his mid-twenties. One knee jiggled with nerves, and his jaw worked as if he was biting the inside of his mouth over and over. His dark blue eyes were mistrustful, almost pained.“That guy was driving the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run yesterday,” Lou said. “Browne and O’Donnell brought him in. They’re with the captain.” Just that moment, the door to the inner sanctum of the station opened, and Jason Browne strode out of Captain Buckley’s office. The sleeves of his uniform were rolled up as usual, to show off his muscular, tanned arms. “How was court, brother?” Jason sounded cheerful, but his gray eyes were cold. In Ben’s partner and best friend since high school, that was never a good combination. Ben gave Jason a long look, then shrugged. “As expected.” He didn’t want to think about the peculiar effect Mr. Abbott’s words had had on him, and he sure as hell wasn’t going to discuss it in front of a suspect, or Lou. “You missed all the excitement.” Jason gestured toward the handcuffed man, who had his gazed directed at the floor again. “Saunders here knows some pretty colorful language, and he was none too happy to accompany us, neither.” “Hence the handcuffs?” Ben asked, his tone dry.Jason nodded, smirking.“Wasn’t me that hit that kid,” Saunders muttered, his dark voice shaking with suppressed anger. “Told y’all I wasn’t in town.”Jason sighed, folding his arms across his chest with exaggerated impatience. “And I told you this: We got witnesses placing you at the scene, smart-ass. It’s your word against theirs. Who’re we gonna believe, some deadbeat, or the boy’s mother?” Ben frowned at his partner. They had been in the radio car on their usual route the day before when the call about a hit-and-run near Corinth High had come over dispatch. O’Donnell and Myers, the department’s other two sergeants, had been closest and responded to the call. Last night, back at the station, O’Donnell had told them that the boy had a broken leg from being flung off his bike, but that he would undoubtedly survive. There really was no need for Jason to be so aggressive about the issue. Saunders sat up straight on the bench, glaring at Jason. “It wasn’t me! Why’re you not listening?” His eyes were wide with fury. Ben, knowing Jason’s thought processes and impulses almost as well as his own, stepped in his partner’s way. Gaze fixed on his friend, he said loud enough for Lou and any bystanders to hear, “Why don’t you and I take Mr. Saunders through to the interrogation room for a statement?” He put special emphasis on the last words, hoping Jason would get his meaning: Anything other than a polite request for an official statement from the suspect would be out of order at this point. Taking Jason’s reluctant jerk of the head as assent, Ben turned around, intending to escort Saunders to the interrogation room. But as soon as his back was turned, Jason stepped nimbly around him and grabbed the man hard by the upper arm. Saunders flinched, but Jason’s grip on him was like a vise. Saunders’s eyes met Ben’s, and there was pure animal fear in them, as well as something Ben couldn’t quite place. Anguish, perhaps? He stepped up close behind Jason. “If you dislocate his shoulder there’ll be an awful lot of paperwork to fill in for both of us, brother.” Ben kept his voice quiet and even, but Jason knew him well enough to detect the steely undertone. After a moment, Jason huffed, then let go of Saunders and took a step back. There were finger-shaped marks on Saunders’s bicep, just below the rolled-up sleeve. Now Ben stepped forward, and Saunders looked at him. His breath still came fast, but the fear began to fade from the indigo blue eyes. Ben motioned at Saunders to stand, then pointed down the corridor. “Would you come this way, please?” Good cop, bad cop. Ben hated playing this game, but Jason had left him no choice. Saunders got up. He was no taller than Ben, who just about scraped five foot nine. Jason towered over them both, still glowering. Saunders gave him a quick, disgusted look, then preceded Ben down the dreary-gray hallway, handcuffed arms held stiffly behind him. His narrow back was tense, the shoulders hunched. At the door to the interrogation room, Ben let Jason draw ahead. He followed the two men inside and closed the door. Jason approached Saunders, who had backed up against the one-way mirror. “Turn around,” Jason growled. Saunders ignored him and stared straight at the bottle-green linoleum floor. Ben spoke before Jason could get angry again. “Sir, the sergeant will move the handcuffs to the front so you can sit down more comfortably.” The eyes that met Ben’s were still full of mistrust, but after a moment, they softened and Saunders turned around. “Sit,” Jason said when he had shackled Saunders’s arms again in the front. Saunders flopped into the single chair on one side of the square floor-bolted table. Ben and Jason took the two chairs opposite. Leaning forward, Ben waited until he had the suspect’s attention. “Do you mind if we record this conversation?” “You’re arresting me?” The narrow blue eyes were suspicious again, but Saunders sounded more wary than belligerent. And he ignored Jason, his gaze never wavering from Ben. “No, we’re not,” Ben said in an even tone. “But having a record of what we talk about will aid your cause.” Saunders chewed this over, trying to decide whether Ben told the truth. Eventually he gave a small shrug. “Sir,” Ben said. “Please state for the protocol: Do you mind if we record this conversation?” Forcing the police procedural on this man was distressing. The tension vibrating off him made Ben wince. Saunders gave him a pained look. “Go ahead.” Jason pressed the digital recorder button on the small panel in the tabletop to his right. But it was Ben who spoke again. When they interrogated a suspect together, Ben usually started off the interview. His milder, calmer demeanor tended to relax the atmosphere better than Jason’s hot temper. For now, Jason seemed to have gotten all his anger out by playing scary cop in front of Lou and sat back in his chair without interrupting. “Statement protocol, September twenty-second, eleven forty-five a.m. Officers present: Sergeant Ben Griers and Sergeant Jason Browne.” Ben nodded at the suspect. “Please state your full name for the record, sir.” “Donnie Saunders.” The man’s voice was quiet, and he sounded tired. Ben waited for Saunders to look at him again, and nodded his thanks. Then he glanced at Jason, eyebrows raised, reminding his partner with his most level stare to act appropriately. “Officer Browne will now ask you a few questions.” “All right,” Jason said. Ben took this as the opening of the interview and an affirmation that he would stay calm. “Mr. Saunders, your pickup truck was seen driving away after hitting Dennis Mallory on his bike while he was riding home after school yesterday afternoon at about three thirty p.m.” “I told y’all three times now, it wasn’t me. Why is it that you can’t hear me?” Saunders’s voice had risen again in volume, but there was a strange quiver in it, too. He leaned back in his chair as far as he could, regarding Jason from eyes narrowed in anger. Before Jason, who looked ready to explode again, could respond, Ben said, “Let’s rephrase the question: Sir, where were you yesterday at three thirty p.m.?” Saunders didn’t immediately reply. His eyes darted around the room, never meeting Ben’s, and still ignoring Jason. Then they settled on the shackled, tightly folded hands in his lap. Is he trying to come up with a lie?At last, Saunders said, “Was in Atlanta. Had an appointment at the DFCS.” His voice was very quiet, and he didn’t look up. It didn’t sound like a lie, but a truth the man was reluctant to share. Ben decided not to press for details. It was none of his business why the guy had been summoned to the Division of Family and Children Services. As long as he could determine that Saunders had been forty miles away from the scene of the hit-and-run, he had done his job. “I need to know who you were there to see,” Ben said just as quietly, and wasn’t surprised when his gaze was met with one of suspicion again. He added in explanation, “A phone call to the person you had the appointment with will clear you.”Saunders gave a small jerk of the head in understanding. “Stacy Miller.”“Thank you.” Ben looked at Jason, considering his options. Could he leave these two alone for a few minutes? His partner’s steel gaze never wavered from Saunders, and Ben could feel Jason’s tension. But if he told Jason to make the phone call, would he try very hard to get at the truth? No, Ben would have to call the DFCS himself. He’d just had to be quick. “Jason, stay with Mr. Saunders. I’m going to call Ms. Miller.” Not waiting for Jason’s acknowledgment, or asking permission from Saunders to make the call on his behalf, Ben got up and left the room. He went back to the front desk. “Lou, find me the number for Atlanta DFCS.” The desk clerk looked grumpy for a moment but then started hacking away at his keyboard without a word. Finally he picked up the phone, dialed a number, and held the receiver out to Ben. “DFCS switchboard,” a tinny voice announced in Ben’s ear. ���How can I help?” “Stacy Miller, please,” Ben said, ignoring Lou, who tried hard to look like he wasn’t listening in. “Hold the line.” Ben half turned away while he listened to the annoying phone queue music. After a few moments, there was a click and a crisp voice said, “Medicaid assessment team. How can I help you?” About the Author

Mel was born in Germany, where she spent the first twenty-six years of her life (with a one-year stint in Los Angeles). She has always been fascinated by cultures and human interaction, and got a Masters in Social Anthropology. After finishing university she moved to London, where she has now lived for ten years.If you were to ask her parents what Mel enjoyed the most since the age of six, they would undoubtedly say “Reading!” She would take fifteen books on a three-week beach holiday, and then read all her mom’s books once she’d devoured her own midway through week two.Back home in her mom’s attic there’s a box full of journals with stories Mel wrote when she was in her early teens. None of the stories are finished, or any good. She has told herself bedtime stories as far back as she can remember.In her day job, Mel works as PA and office manager. No other city is quite like London, and Mel loves her city. The hustle and bustle still amaze and thrill her even after all these years. When not reading, writing or going to the theater, Mel spends her time with her long-time boyfriend, discussing science or poking fun at each other.

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Release Blitz: “I Wished For You” by Collette Davidson

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Book Title: I Wished For You

Author: Colette Davison

Cover Artist: Designs by Dana

Genre/s: mmm contemporary romance

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

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Blurb

Three wishes.

Seb wants to be happy.

Matt wants to find ‘the one.’

Connor wants them.

 

Two drunken kisses.

Seb didn’t plan to kiss Matt and Connor, but he doesn’t regret it, even if it has changed their friendship forever.

Matt has never considered dating a man before, let alone two. Despite his confusion, being with Seb and Connor feels right.

 

One uncertain future.

Connor’s potential fate has stopped him living and loving. Can he face his fears to be with the men he loves?

 

 

Excerpt

Matt adjusted his jogging bottoms and leaned back against the sofa. The next words popped out of his mouth unfiltered. “I could do with a blow job.”

Seb snorted out a loud laugh. “Too much information.” He patted Matt’s shoulder. “But hey, if you’re desperate, I don’t mind obliging.” Seb’s laughter trailed off into a nervous chuckle. “Umm… that was a joke.”

“Yeah, yeah, of course.” Matt couldn’t look at Seb. A week ago, he’d have taken a comment like that and ribbed his friend with it mercilessly. Now, he wasn’t sure at all that it had been meant in jest. He wasn’t even sure that he wanted it to be a joke. He rubbed his jaw, clearing his throat again. “What would you do if I said yes?”

Seb twisted on the sofa so he was facing Matt. “You’re not going to say yes.”

“What if I did?” Matt kept his stare on the ceiling, but he was still able to see Seb shrug out of the corner of his eye.

“I’d give you one.”

Seb’s reply was so matter-of-fact that it sent a chill running up Matt’s spine. It did nothing to ease the pressure in his cock. If anything, blood pumped to it faster.

“Really?” Matt asked. Why the hell was he still talking? It was like he was engaged in a game of chicken with Seb, trying to see which one of them would back down first. He had no idea how far his head, or his cock, was willing to take it.

“Sure, why not? It’s just a blow job, right? It wouldn’t mean anything.”

“But we’re friends,” Matt stuttered.

“Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve sucked off a friend.”

 

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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Cover Reveal: “In Case You Missed It” by S. M. James

COVER REVEAL

Book Title: In Case You Missed It

Author: S. M. James

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Genre/s: YA LGBTQ romance

Heat Rating: 1-2 flames

Release Date: February 12, 2019

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Tagline

Brooks measured his life in breaths, until Darien took his breath away.

Blurb

Brooks is convinced his life is totally, one hundred percent happy.

Until Darien tracks him down.

Darien was supposed to be the guy he kissed once and remembered forever, but now he’s back in Brooks’s life, with easy smiles and big ideas.

The first of which … show the homeschooled Brooks everything he’s missed out on. But as the pair work through a spring of playing catch up on life, it becomes obvious to Darien that Brooks has a secret.

And as things heat up between them, Brooks’s secret might just be Darien’s worst fear.

Because Darien has always lived in the moment.

But Brooks has always lived for the future he knows is inevitable.

When life is set to tear them apart, will love be enough to keep them together?

Excerpt

“Yo, Dare!” Cameron shouts.

Darien turns toward us in the bleachers and throws up a little wave. From the corner of my eye, I notice Chelsea pointing at me, and Darien double takes. His expression is almost comical.

Darien tosses his lacrosse stick to the side and jogs over to where we’re sitting. His eyes and smile are so wide he looks deranged, but the happiness radiating from him bathes me in warmth.

When he doesn’t say anything, I step in to fill the awkwardness. “Careful. People might think you’re happy to see me.”

He huffs a laugh, slightly out of breath. “Damn, Brooks. You could have given me some warning.”

I stand up and make my way down the few rows until I’m on the one right above him. The others are watching us creepily and it’s weird to have an audience when he’s looking at me like that. I should keep my distance. I can’t. “Are you surprised?”

“Very. You realize this is something you’ve been missing right? Checking out hot guys at practice. We can theoretically check that off your list.”

I pretend to scan the rest of the team. “Mmm … jocks in their natural habitat. My favorite.”

He whacks me in the stomach. “Mean.”

“You said it.”

“Yeah but you were supposed to say, ‘there’s just one guy I’m here for’.”

“I didn’t realize this thing was scripted,” I say, gripping the metal barrier and leaning down a little.

“Don’t be embarrassed. You’re clearly not as well versed in flirting as I am.”

Finallyyour ego makes sense. Too much flirting, not enough criticism.”

He holds his arms out. “What’s there to critique?”

And with that view of his body—his lean legs and loose shorts and tight t-shirt—I have to agree. Damn … the list of reasons why I should give him up melts away. There’s no walking away from this pull between us.

“Mitreski!” his coach calls, snapping me from my thoughts.

Darien ignores him as he drops his arms and steps closer to me. He reaches up to wrap one of his hands over mine. “Wait for me after practice?”

My mind gets loud with warning. What if he’s sick?

What if I catch it again?

What if I end up in hospital this time?

What if.

What if.

What if … he’s perfect for me? Hope surges in my chest.

What if I tell him everything and he doesn’t walk away? What if I get better? It’s an impossible thought, but when I’m with Darien, he makes me want to entertain infinite impossibilities.

“Mitreski, now!”

“Yes,” I whisper. “I’ll be here.”

Darien’s hand tightens around mine. “I don’t want to let go,” he admits.

“There are some thoughts you’re meant to keep to yourself.” But as he goes to pull away, I catch his fingers between my own. Just for a second. Just long enough to show that while I’ll keep the thought to myself, I don’t want to let go either.

As soon as I release him, he jogs back to his team, and I walk back up the three rows to where the others are sitting.

Heat has surged to my face, my ears, my neck. I’m sure I must be embarrassingly red but no one says a thing about it.

Cameron smiles at me, blue eyes twinkling, and it hits me just how much I love my cousin. He’s always been there for me, looking out for me. He knew I needed this.

I nudge him as Darien and the team set up a practice game. “Thank you.”

Cameron shrugs. “I overhead you two today. It was sickening. Really sappy. I had to get you together again, because no one needs to hear that.”

If Cameron told me why he wanted me to pick him up, I probably wouldn’t have come. I would have used the excuse of Darien being sick, and stayed away, intimidated by the thought of showing up—especially with Chelsea here too.

But as I watch Darien run back and forth, with no clue what the rules are, I feel like I’m lit up from the inside. He scores at one point and I’m practically bursting with pride as we cheer and stomp our feet, making as much noise as possible.

Instead of getting embarrassed, he mock bows, loving the attention.

I lean over to Cameron. “I’m going to tell him.”

He jerks around to look at me, all humor gone. “For real? Brooks, are you sure?”

“You’re the one who said I have to.”

He shrugs. “It’s really not up to me.”

“I know.” I hesitate before letting out a sigh. “But it’s not up to me either. I really like him, but he has the right to know what he’s getting into, before anything happens.”

“I hate to agree with you … but it’s true.”

“I’m a lot to take on.”

No, you’re not. You need to stop seeing yourself as a burden. Fuck, Brooks. You’re always going on about wanting to be treated the same as anyone else, but you need to start treating yourself that way too.”

Cameron’s right. It pisses me off that he’s right so I’m definitely not going to agree, but I note his words. Let them sit, percolate. Soak them into my subconscious. “I have to tell him.” I push as much emphasis as I can into the words, trying to convince myself as much as him. “But I have no clue how.”

“Hey, don’t overthink it. The right moment will come up, and whatever happens from there, happens.”

I watch Darien, wishing the world could just slow and give me endless days of school, and watching practice, and making friends, as I plunge into a world of incomprehensible feelings.

“It’s the ‘whatever’ part I’m afraid of.”

But facing it is inevitable.

About the Author

S. M. James writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters.

While not writing, S. M. is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.

Member of SCBWI.

Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBTQ characters.

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Release Blitz: “The Summoner’s Path” by Jessamyn Kingley. Rafflecopter Giveaway Included!

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Book Title: The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire, Book 10)

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson, Mayhem Cover Creations

Genre/s: M/M Urban Fantasy Romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Release Date: January 17, 2019

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Some paths we choose. Others are chosen for us.

Blurb Grand Summoner Dre’Kariston D’Vaire understands firsthand the brutal reality of war. Barely surviving a gruesome battle, he is one of the few remaining warlocks. After recovering from his wounds, he returns to the castle of his birth only to find his entire race annihilated. For centuries he disguises his power and appearance, refusing to be another victim. When he reunites with his twin, his life changes from barren to beautiful. For years he follows his brother’s example of scrying for his mate, but it is not until they join their power that Fate answers, leading him to Court Ethelin. Prince Somerly Ethelindraconis is stunned as he races to an appointment and runs into a crowned sorcerer standing on his father’s land. His only parent hates magickind and keeps them far from home, but Somerly cannot deny the attractive man his name and number. King Ethelin has his son’s life planned out for him, and Somerly is willing to sacrifice his freedom to help his court—until he falls for Dre’Kariston. He is soon caught between the promises he’s made and what his heart desires. There’s no way to please everyone, and Somerly finds himself teetering on a precipice that forces him to decide where his future lies. With infinite paths twisting ahead, Dre’Kariston and Somerly must follow the truth in their hearts to make the right choices if they wish to forge an enduring love. Fate brought them together, but will they run out of chances before it’s too late to save their matebond?

Excerpt “I’m going to guess you haven’t teleported before?” Dre’Kariston asked. “No, the Consilium outlawed it,” Somerly said. Dre’Kariston lifted a dark brow but made no comment about his statement. “Just close your eyes so you don’t get dizzy, and you should be fine. Ready?” Somerly did as he was told and squeezed them as tight as he could. Dre’Kariston chuckled. “They aren’t going to roll out of your head or anything.” “I know, I just don’t want to throw up or shit my pants.” “Let’s go.” Magic danced over Somerly’s skin and a weightlessness registered; then the ground was firmly under his feet again. “You can open your eyes now,” Dre’Kariston invited softly. Lifting his lashes, Somerly found himself in a giant living room with ceilings a full two stories high. There was furniture everywhere, and all of it looked comfortable and welcoming. It was a far cry from the staid decor of his own house. “This is nice.” Before Dre’Kariston could respond, two blond men ran into the room. The slightly taller one thrust out his hand. “I’m Dra’Kaedan.” Somerly shook it dutifully. “Nice to meet you.” “I’m his familiar, Renny,” the smaller one said in greeting. “I don’t really understand what a familiar is, but it’s nice to meet you too.” “Easiest way to explain it is that I’m just like a warlock, but I was born of Dra’Kaedan’s magic and I rely on him to supply mine.” “So, you’re like his kid?” Renny laughed. “He and Brogan certainly act like it sometimes but technically, no. I’m his familiar.” That cleared it up not at all Somerly decided. He turned to Dre’Kariston. “Do you have a familiar?” “Yes.” “And here he comes now,” Dra’Kaedan said. A man who resembled Dre’Kariston walked into the living area. He was wearing a frown and didn’t offer his hand to shake when he got close to their group. “This is the mate?” “Grand Summoner Familiar Derwin D’Vaire, this is Somerly,” Dre’Kariston replied. “And yes, he’s my mate.” “It’s nice to meet you,” Somerly repeated for the third time. He suspected he was going to be saying it a lot as he was introduced to all the warlocks and familiars. “Are you prepared to move into D’Vaire?” Derwin asked. “Derwin, I just met Somerly today. It’s rather early to begin discussing living arrangements.” “I’m sure he already knows if he wants to join the Council,” Derwin retorted. Deciding he didn’t care for Derwin’s hostile attitude, Somerly spoke. “It’s as Dre’Kariston said. It’s too early to discuss any of that. We’ll have to see how things work out, but I appreciate your concern regarding our matebond.” “You should know Dre’Kariston has zero interest in being flexible about the subject. His intention is to stay here in this big mausoleum until the end of time,” Derwin stated. His eyes had none of the warmth of Dre’Kariston’s and appeared empty to Somerly. Before anyone could offer any further insight on a conversation Somerly was barely able to understand, two tall dragons walked into the room. One was undeniably the ruler of Court D’Vaire, and next to him was a mated navy dragon Somerly assumed was Dra’Kaedan’s other half. His hunch was proved correct when the man in question ran a hand over Dra’Kaedan’s plethora of golden curls and leaned down to kiss the warlock. “King Aleksander and Duke Brogan, allow me to introduce Somerly,” Dre’Kariston said. “Thanks for allowing me to travel to your home, Your Highness.” The D’Vaire king smiled. “We don’t use titles around here—call me Aleksander. And we’re happy to have you here. As Dre’Kariston’s mate, you’re always welcome.” Dra’Kaedan rolled his eyes. “Council rules, Aleksander. As long as your mate lives somewhere, you can’t be denied entry. Everyone knows that, skyscraper.” “Squirt, you’re forgetting he lives in the Consilium. They may not have the same law.” “We don’t have that rule. Not everyone meets their mate, so there’s no need to protect something Fate only doles out to certain individuals,” Somerly offered. The room went quiet, and Somerly didn’t fully comprehend the tension. “I guess you’re lucky to be one of the chosen few,” Brogan finally said. “I’m feeling pretty lucky.”

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 and follow her on Facebook. She loves to engage with readers there.

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Cover Reveal: “I Wished For You” by Colette Davison

COVER REVEAL

Book Title: I Wished For You

Author: Colette Davison

Cover Artist: Designs by Dana

Genre/s: mmm contemporary romance

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Tagline Since childhood, their friendship has been steadfast; falling in love will test that bond. Blurb Three wishes. Seb wants to be happy. Matt wants to find ‘the one.’ Connor wants them. Two drunken kisses. Seb didn’t plan to kiss Matt and Connor, but he doesn’t regret it, even if it has changed their friendship forever. Matt has never considered dating a man before, let alone two. Despite his confusion, being with Seb and Connor feels right. One uncertain future. Connor’s potential fate has stopped him living and loving. Can he face his fears to be with the men he loves?

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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Release Blitz: “The Choice” by Addison Albright.

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Book Title: The Choice (The Faction, book 2)

Author: Addison Albright

Publisher: JMS Books, LLC

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Genre/s: M/M, Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 28 692 words

Release Date: January 5, 2019

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Tagline Will Albert’s indecision put the entire vampire establishment in danger? Or is redemption only a flamethrower away? Blurb As a freshly turned vampire, Neil had frozen in panic when he’d found himself face-to-face with his ex-boyfriend, Cameron. Neil thought that misstep and its associated danger was all in the past, but Cameron’s current boyfriend, Dennis, is like a dog with a bone, and a keen imagination. When the two men’s curiosity progresses to the point the vampires consider their secrecy to be endangered, choices must be made. Now that faction leader Albert has a blood-mate, he finds himself second-guessing his decisions. Neil would be crushed knowing his mistake led to human deaths, but Albert shouldn’t factor that into the difficult choices he must make. Will Albert’s indecision put the entire vampire establishment in danger? Or is redemption only a flamethrower away? Excerpt Neil closed his eyes and bit back a whimper. He’d been so happy these past months loving Albert, a man—vampire—that in many ways he barely knew, yet somehow he could see and truly understand the man’s fundamental essence. Albert’s core…what made him tick. Although Neil wasn’t party to many of the details of faction business, he had made friends among the vampires, and he and Albert frequently socialized with other vamps of all “ages” and levels within the faction. Among their fellow moviegoers tonight had been one of the faction’s team leaders on one end of the scale, and a delivery driver on the other. Albert treated them all with the same respect and caring as he would likely give to fellow faction leaders or council members. If there was something within Albert’s power that would make life more enjoyable for his people without risking their safety, he did it. Albert might have black blood flowing through his veins, but he didn’t have a black heart…he had a heart of gold. Neil knew that with every fiber of his being. But he also knew that Albert had to untangle ethical dilemmas that would make most people quake in dismay. At least, the good ones would flinch away from those concerns. Those with hearts steeped in foul malevolence would relish the decisions Albert faced. Two men’s lives hung in the balance on one side of the scale versus a calculated risk to the lives of all vampires worldwide. Albert’s hand at Neil’s back steadied him as he wobbled. Neil reopened his eyes and stared into Albert’s. It was as if Albert could read his mind. The look in the man’s eyes screamed that he understood Neil’s pain and would shoulder it if only he could. Neil’s sorrow centered on knowing that two human lives were on the line because of his own screw-up. The downside to perfect recall was that he would never be able to forget his failure that day when he’d first been trusted out on his own as a fairly new vampire, delivering packages for the faction’s delivery service. He still had the occasional nightmare, reliving it… The click of a door opening, and a light bark accompanied by the sound of footsteps, alerted Neil to a dog on the landing above him, heading down to be walked. This would be a little trickier than the incident this morning, since they’d be crossing paths in a narrow passageway, but he had his head in the right space now. He could deal with this. He straightened confidently and slapped on a friendly smile. The dog came into view first, and Neil stutter-stepped, then froze when the man walking the Boston terrier—Hobbs was the dog’s name—came into view. Hobbs whimpered but at least he didn’t try to dash in the opposite direction. Not that trying to bury himself in Cameron Ferguson’s shoes was much better. What the hell was his ex doing in this building? Cam ground to a halt and stared with his mouth hanging open. Which was Neil’s own damned fault for freezing and looking guilty, because the changes to his appearance had surprised even himself for the first few days, any time he’d caught sight of his reflection in a mirror. It would not have jumped out at Cam if Neil had managed to keep his cool. “Oh, my God. Phillip? I heard you died.” Cam moved as if to embrace him, and Neil finally—fucking finally—broke out of his trance for damage control. So yeah, it had been Neil’s mistake. If he’d kept his cool, given a disinterested nod or “how’s it goin’?” then Cam wouldn’t have taken a second look in his direction. “Okay,” Neil whispered, since Albert seemed to be waiting for some sign that he had his emotions under control. Albert tipped up Neil’s chin for a brief, gentle kiss that spoke more of his love for Neil than words could have done. Albert’s finger traced Neil’s jawline, while his eyes begged for understanding. Then he opened the door, and they stepped into the apartment. The room, like the hall and stairs leading to it, was unlike most of the vampire-owned apartment buildings. At least, it was unlike the ones Neil had visited. This building was a loft conversion that had once been something else—a small warehouse or office building perhaps. The point that stood out to Neil was the highly polished concrete floor. The better to easily clean up DNA should the need arise? Cameron and Dennis sat peacefully on steel stools in the otherwise-unfurnished vestibule. Doorways to the living areas were closed. If Neil were to guess, he’d say those doors contained heavy-duty soundproofing—a buffer between the apartment’s entryway and the outside walls and windows. Cameron looked much the same as Neil remembered him. His dirty blond hair was subtly highlighted and cut short. Dennis had thick, straight, light brown hair, longer than Cameron’s, especially on top. Both pairs of brown eyes stared obliviously. Four others stood waiting. Two men and two women. Vampires, obviously, although Neil wouldn’t have guessed that by their appearances, only by the fact they were there. Albert quickly made the introductions. April and Lester had been on the street following them and communicating with Albert. Vinny and Bridget lived here. “They’re prepped?” Albert asked. Vinny nodded. Albert glanced at Neil. “We have a tendency to inadvertently, and quite literally, scare the piss out of people, so it makes sense to have them ‘go’ while still under the influence.” Neil winced. That did seem like a wise move, though, whether it was so the two could walk away inconspicuously or to minimize potential DNA on the scene.

Read THE RECRUIT #1 first to fully understand and appreciate #2.

Blurb Albert Manlii has walked this earth for more than two thousand years, but survival on his own was never easy. Now he leads a faction of highly organized vampires who carefully guard the secret of their existence. Unlike the old days, potential recruits are carefully selected and presented with an offer. Phillip Brewer has weeks to live—if he lets his disease run its course. He doesn’t want to die, but given a choice, will his desire to live outweigh his concerns about the vampires’ ethics? When the new recruit’s missteps are cause for concern, can Albert control the fallout, or will Phillip’s life once again be torn apart?

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About the Author

Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a smidgen of drama/angst, and a healthy dose of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

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