NEW RELEASE: “Always Three” by J. P. James.


Blurb

I was left at the altar by my fiancée, but my two groomsmen are only too happy to comfort me.

Ricky:

I thought I was in love with Janine. She’s beautiful, sweet, and we’ve been dating since freshman year of college. It was the best day of my life when I asked her to marry me, and she said yes. But then Janine jilts me at the altar and leaves me like a fool before three hundred guests. I want to cry. I want to break down, and sob like a baby while sitting on the church steps. Good thing my groomsmen Hudson and Hayden are on hand to comfort me. But when their comfort goes beyond mere friendship, suddenly I’m forced to come face to face with the real Ricky who’s been hiding in the closet his whole life.

Hayden:

My twin Hudson and I have been friends with Ricky since we were tots. We defended him against kindergarten bullies and did our best to shield him from the ups and downs of life. But now, Ricky’s been left at the altar by his long-time sweetheart. We never thought it was going to work with a woman, but it wasn’t our place to question his sexuality.

Now Ricky tells us he has feelings. For us. Real feelings that run deep and strong, not to mention a magnetic physical attraction that pulses in the air. However, he’s conflicted because after a lifetime of living as a hetero man, the adjustment is difficult. He questions himself, thinking that his attraction to men might just be a reflexive reaction to his recent trauma of being jilted at the altar. How can we help him find himself and see the light? Living as a gay man is never easy, but Ricky’s emotional conflict is taking a toll and breaking our hearts. How do we help Ricky accept himself, when he’s afraid to batter down the closet doors for good?

***Always Three is a full-length MMM novel with a HFN/HEA and no cliffhangers.***



Excerpt

What the fuck, Ricky?”  Hudson says, taking a step away from me.

Okay, not how I thought this conversation would go.  Then again, I didn’t think I’d be having this conversation at all.

Hayden rests his hand on Hudson’s shoulder, probably sending a burst of calming twin energy into his brother.  “Easy there.”

Hudson does as Hayden commands.  His shoulders relax, only a bit, but enough that his mind seems to calm down.  He looks at me, his eyes apologetic.

“Sorry, this isn’t about us.  I know that.”

My chest rises and another laugh leaves me before I know what’s happening.  Everything feels absurd, but maybe that’s exactly why I’m laughing.

“Trust me, I wish this weren’t about me,” I tell them.  “I hate that all eyes are on me.  Half of those guests pity me, and half wonder what I did to make Janine run away.”

“Ricky,” Hayden says.

I had let my eyes drift to the floor, but his voice brings my head back up to meet them.

“Which are you guys?  Do you pity me, or blame me?”

Hayden leaves Hudson to walk towards me.  His hand comes up to my neck, his fingers digging into the nape of my neck, grounding me.

“Neither,” he says confidently.

Hudson clears his throat, and my eyes shift to him.

“Neither, but we’re your best friends.  You didn’t think you could talk to us?  You could have called off the wedding,” Hudson says, wounded.

Guilt rise in my stomach like bile, and stays in the back of my throat.

“How do you tell someone you’re having doubts about your fiancé?”  I ask them, genuinely curious.

I’ve been having doubts about Janine, about this marriage, for a while, but it’s not like there’s a good time to bring it up.  Jack Sparrow talked about the opportune moment…screw that!  There’s no such thing.

“I didn’t want to bother you guys,” I say lamely.

Hudson turns to punch the bed, and then bury his face in his hands.  Meanwhile, Hayden stays close by, but I can see the sadness in his eyes.  I can’t stand to see them like this.

I feel tears, hot like boiling water, push against my eyes.  My legs are wobbly, but I don’t want to fight gravity anymore.  I drop to my knees, but Hayden moves too.  His hands are on my shoulders, holding my chest up since my legs refuse to work.  I really messed up this time.

“Who am I kidding?  I never had the guts to do something like call off a wedding,” I tell them.

Hayden’s fingers grip my skin.  It’s nice, but it also brings back an old memory.  Sometimes the other meathead jocks would push me into the lockers, grabbing my hair and shouting slurs to me.  They never did it in front of the twins.  They knew better.  I tried my best to hide it, but I never did anything about it.  I’m spineless.  I always have been and always will be.

 “I’m just glad Janine has the balls I don’t,” I reiterate.  “She’s a stronger person than I am.”

“You don’t know that for sure,” Hayden says.

Hudson grumbles.  “He’s right.”

Hayden and I both look at Hudson.  Hayden leaves me, and I swear he may just punch his brother.

 “Take it back,” Hayden warns.

“No,” Hudson says confidently.  “At least when it comes to this wedding, he’s right.  Janine was the bigger person.”

“What do you mean?”  Hayden asks.

Hudson looks at me, without an ounce of pity.  All I see is anger.  He looks back at his brother, but his finger points directly at me.

“He was going to commit his life to someone he didn’t want to be with, someone he doubted.  Think about it.  What if Danny had stuck by us another ten years,” he says hotly.

Hayden falters, and his eyes drop to the floor.  He’s speechless.

I look between them.  Even though Hayden can’t find a retort, I feel like the one out of the loop.

“What exactly happened with Danny?  Did you guys have a fight?”  I question them.

Of course, I remember Danny.  I didn’t see him much, but whenever I came around their apartment, he’d be home.  He usually stuck to his phone.  He preferred to scroll through social media instead of talk, but he seemed nice enough.  I certainly didn’t think he was the piece of garbage that he is now, but I guess we don’t always know the people we love.

I saw how the twins looked after him.  They treated Danny like royalty.  Once when they were both sick with the cold, they told me Danny refused to see them for two weeks until they got better.  I’m no relationship expert, clearly, but what kind of douchebag leaves their partners in the dust like that?  Still, they cared about him, so they ignored all the small issues out of love.  Sometimes love seems so stupid I don’t know why we bother with it.

I focus on the guys once more, and realize that they are staring past me.  Realization flashes through their minds, before their eyes refocus.

“We weren’t good enough for him,” Hudson says lamely.

What?  My throat goes dry and it takes a moment to force my voice to work.

“He couldn’t be free with us, so he cut himself out,” Hayden adds.

The guys break their eye contact, licking their lips like the memories have a bitter taste.  For them, I know it does.  They always fall hard and fast for their guys.

“You guys have to know that that isn’t true,” I tell them between sniffles.  “You are two of the best people I’ve ever met.  Screw Danny.  Don’t worry about me.  I’ll be okay.  I’ll figure things out.  I want you to focus on yourselves, okay?”

I step closer to them.  They let me, but approaching them feels like walking up to an animal in the wild.  Hayden shakes his head.  It’s a small gesture, but I can tell he’s trying to shake the weight of the world off his shoulders.

We should be the ones that should be telling you you’re okay,” he tells me.

His posture tells me he wants to run a thousand miles away from this conversation, but I know he won’t move.  Not while I’m here.

“I’m fine.  I mean–,” I pause, trying to gather more of my thoughts.  “I mean, this is traumatic, of course it is, but life goes on.  Janine leaving isn’t the end of the world.  I’m such a coward that she’s doing me a favor.”

“You don’t love her,” Hudson says.  There’s an accusation in his tone, but mixed with pain and sadness.

“I told you to lay off him, Hudson,” Hayden grumbles.

Hayden watches as Hudson and I stare each other down.  He’s waiting for me to give in and admit he’s right.  Fine.

“I love Janine, but I’m not in love with her,” I tell them.  “She’s been my support but I don’t think I feel about her the way a husband should feel about his wife.”

I chuckle then, remembering the wedding presents stacked in the corner of the ballroom.

“We’ll have to forfeit the registry, and return all the gifts,” I tell them.  “It’s a shame.  I was looking forward to a nice set of knives.”

Hudson and Hayden consider me for a second, assessing my attempt at a joke during a time like this.

Hudson chuckles first, shaking his head the entire time.  Hayden smiles, and it’s simple and wonderful.  With that, it feels like a layer of tension lifts out of the room.  Even when they’re mad at me, no one is as good at comforting me as these two are.  With one laugh, my fears melt away.  Their words are armor for when I go back out into the real world.

“Ricky, we’re always looking out for you.  You know that,” Hudson tells me.

I nod.  I can feel my guilt rise back up in my throat.

“I only want what’s best for you guys too.  You mean the world to me,” I admit.

Hayden crosses the room first.  When he reaches me, his hands go to my shoulders.  He doesn’t hold me, isn’t trying to ground me, but his touch is reassuring nonetheless.

“Be honest.  What can we do to help?”  He asks.

I study his face, especially the laugh lines around his eyes.  Looking back at Hudson, he has matching ones as well.  They’ve always been big belly laughers, so full of fun and adventure that they can’t contain their excitement with the world.  I want that.  I want to feel carefree.

  “Can you unwind the last five years?”  I say ruefully.

He laughs as I bump my head to the side, feeling the top of his hand against my ear.

“Don’t you think that’s a little dramatic?”  Hudson wonders.

Why can’t Hudson stop being right today?  It’d be infuriating, if I didn’t have such tremendous respect for my friends.   

Hayden’s hands clasp my shoulders then, and it pulls me out of my head.  He lifts one hand, and wipes away a tear falling down my cheek.  I pull back, scared that I didn’t notice I was crying.

“Shit, I’m sorry,” I say quickly.

Hayden shakes his head.  “You said you’ll be alright.  It’s also okay if you aren’t,” he assures.

The tears stop, but I lose my breath and gasp loudly into the room.  Hudson closes in then, watching my trembling hands.

“You said it yourself.  Today has been traumatic.  You might feel a little manic for a while, but it’s normal.  Don’t worry on anything except feeling better,” he explains.

Here they are again, calming me down when I can’t deal with life.  It’s been so long since we’ve spent this much time together, been alone just us three.  I think I’ve craving it without realizing as much.  I’ve been starved of my best friends for too long, and I don’t want let go now.

“I have a favor to ask,” I say under my breath.

Their eyes tell me everything, but Hudson goes ahead and says it out loud.

“Anything.  You know that,” he confirms.

My eyes drop, first to Hudson’s lips and then Hayden’s.  They’re nearly identical, both full and pink.  They’re a little chapped, but that doesn’t surprise me.  In their line of work, I’m surprised they aren’t in worse shape.

My throat tries to close, but I fight it.  I gulp on nothing, wishing I had water, booze, or something cool to extinguish the fire in my lungs.  My face feels hot.  I might just burst into tears again, but I won’t let my nerves get in the way.  Not now.

“I want a kiss.”

They lick their lips at the same time, my eyes searching their faces for a sign.  Yes?  No?  Their eyes dart to each other quickly, not long enough that I can read what it means, but Hayden cuts the silence first.

“A kiss?”  His voice is breathy and unsure.

His hands come up off my shoulders.  Suddenly, the heat subsides, and I realize that isn’t a good thing.  He should have left them where they were.  I want his hands on me.

If I can’t have that though, then I need to put distance between us all.  I step back.  I force us to stand in a triangle, eyeing each other equally.

“You heard me.  A kiss.  From both of you,” I state, rather confidently if I say so myself.  Where this newfound gusto is coming from, I have no idea. 

Continue Reading

NEW RELEASE: “Alexis vs. the Afterlife” by Marcus Alexander Hart

I discovered a new author, Marcus Alexander Hart, and this is his first book in the world of LGBT Fiction. This man is kind, charming, and above all, funny!

“Alexis vs. the Afterlife” is an urban fantasy comedy, which features a lesbian protagonist. 

AUTHOR BIO

Marcus Alexander Hart is a novelist, karaoke star, and default awesome dude. His credits include Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place and Disney XD’s Lab Rats. Marcus has been a roller-derby skater, a real-life quidditch player, and an undercover water-gun assassin. He once won a long-distance road rally driving a fake ice cream truck.

Follow his adventures at OldPalMarcus.com.

BLURB

Alexis McRiott is a foul-mouthed guitar goddess with a passion for hair-metal and groupies of the fairer sex. You’d never recognize this strung-out Hollywood dirtbag as the squeaky-clean kid wizard she used to play on TV.

And that suits her just fine.

But when Alexis is killed in a freak accident, her sitcom past comes back to haunt her. On her first day as a ghost she destroys a rampaging poltergeist using a hex from her old show that, for some reason, actually works.

Impressed by her powers, a deceased medieval prince tries to recruit Alexis in his crusade against otherworldly evil, but she refuses to be his clichéd “chosen one” magical heroine. That is, until she meets his sister-in-arms—a smokin’ hot Chinese railroad worker duty-bound to protect the living from supernatural threats.

Pursued by soul-collecting reapers, this motley crew must stop a paranormal apocalypse that Alexis might have been kinda, sorta, completely responsible for unleashing. But can two dead lesbians and a seven-hundred-year-old tween save the world with sitcom magic?

They don’t stand a ghost of a chance.

 

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

I slouch on a stool at the end of a dive bar, feeding a sticky tumbler of peach schnapps to tomorrow’s hangover. Lucky for me, nobody ever cards in this part of Hollywood. Or maybe I just look more burned out than any nineteen-year-old girl has a right to be.

A twee pop duo are ukulele-and-tambourining their way through their set on a stage behind me. The assembled drunks try their best to tune them out, but the singer’s piercing warble refuses to be ignored. Six acts are performing here tonight, each of us getting twenty-five bucks to show off our talents. Most are being grossly overpaid.

I shoot the rest of my drink and signal the bartender—a rough-edged minx with a shirt cut so low it could double as a tip jar. She shakes her head as she refills my glass. “You might wanna cut back a little, chica. Your bar tab is about to eclipse your gig payment.”

I shrug. “Eh. No money, no problems.”

She raises a pierced eyebrow. “Tell you what, how ’bout I hold onto a few bucks and grab a little something special for you?”

My heart races at her wry smile. Is she . . . flirting? Holy shit, she’s flirting! I sit up straighter and smile back. “A gift, eh? What do you have in mind?”

“Some deodorant. Girl, you smell rough.”

Not flirting. Definitely not flirting. But she’s actually talking to me, so I go for broke. “Well, you know what they say: Girls who smell rough feel the best on your muff.”

The bartender shakes her head. “Hard pass. I’m not into the whole ‘vagrant chic’ thing. Or vaginas. Or, you know, you.” Wow, straight and vicious. I can really pick a winner. “Besides, you already have a girlfriend.”

She nods at the empty stool beside me.

“Um, what?”

“Your date. Alexis.”

“I, uh . . . what?”

She leans over and points at my guitar propped against the next barstool. It’s an abused old Strat-type thing I stole from a yard sale when I was a kid. A previous owner slathered it in crappy yellow house paint which I’ve spent the past decade covering with stickers—bands I like, banana labels, poison warnings I picked off bathroom cleansers. One night, after a deep and introspective heart-to-heart with a bottle of Baileys, I thought it would be a good idea to scratch my name into it with a screwdriver. You know, so nobody would steal it. Deep black gouges in the wood now scream “ALEXIS.”

“Oh! No. I’m Alexis,” I say. “Alexis McRiott.”

“Why does that name sound familiar?” She sucks a breath and snaps her fingers. “Wait! You’re Sierra Specter!”

Just hearing the name tenses my shoulders and tightens my jaw.

“Uh, no. I’m Alexis McRiott.” I slide my finger along the scrapes in my guitar. “Say it with me now. A-lex-is.”

The bartender hoots and gives her hands a sharp clap. “Oh man! I can’t believe it. Come on, you gotta say it for me. Give me a ‘sheerio bluzdink!’

Heat bristles through my scabby cheeks as I look away and pick at my guitar’s strings. Apparently it isn’t enough for her to just shoot me down and step on my heart. She has to take a big steamy dump on me too.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I mutter.

“Yeah you do. Don’t lie. It was your catchphrase. You were that wizard kid on That’s My Boo.

I shrug. “Is that like, a TV show or something?”

“Ugh. Really? You gonna make me bring YouTube into this?”

She taps at her phone then holds the screen in front of my eyes, showing a video bootlegged off an old Whimsy Channel broadcast. Some kind of giant octopus-werewolf thing attacking a thirteen-year-old girl in a purple leather jacket. The kid throws out her hands and screams sheerio bluzdink, and the monster vanishes in a lavender flash.

The bartender holds the phone up next to my face. “The eyes are a dead giveaway. Purple? Come on. That’s you.”

I sigh. There’s no denying it. The kid on the screen and I have the same purple eyes. But besides that, I look nothing like her anymore. Her hair is in perfect blonde ringlets. Mine looks like it’s been used to mop up a gas station bathroom and then stuck out a car window to dry. Her round face is flawlessly camera-ready. My gaunt features are pitted with zits and acne scars. And I’ve long since traded that purple leather jacket for a few regrettable tattoos.

I shove her phone out of my face. “Fine. You got me. In a past life, one million years ago, I used to play a sorceress on a dumb kiddie sitcom. Does that earn me a free drink?”

“Uh, no. I think a big TV star can afford her own drinks. I bet those big Whimsy paychecks got you set up for life down in Malibu. Am I right? Or are you a Beverly Hills gutter punk?”

“Surfridge, actually.”

“Never heard of it. Westside?”

I sip my drink and nod. “It’s a very exclusive community.”

On stage, the twee boy solos on a vintage kazoo while the girl yodels like she doesn’t care if anyone’s listening. The bartender winces and scratches a note on a clipboard.

“Ugh. Jimmy & Sprinkles are officially on my blacklist.” She reaches for the TV hanging over the bar and mashes her thumb on the volume-up button in an attempt to drown them out.

“—unveiling of a new treasure at the Hayes Tower Casino.”

I squint up at the screen. The eleven o’clock news is on, showing some gala event at a Las Vegas casino full of priceless art treasures. So much bling. I feel it calling out to me. Begging me to steal it. My old court-appointed psychologist used to call this the impulse. He said it just like that. In italics. Like my kleptomania is an unspeakable parasite in my brain, forcing me to do evil things.

On the TV, camera flashes flicker against an old guy in a tuxedo. He whips a cover off a podium, revealing a ring with a gemstone the size of a golf ball. The light glints and dazzles off its surface like something Ryan Seacrest should be dropping over Times Square on New Year’s Eve. My guts simultaneously tighten and twist, wringing cold sweat from my pores.

The ring.

I shake my head. Don’t be an idiot. It isn’t the ring. It’s a ring. The ring is locked up somewhere in Nebraska. And so is the guy who gave it to you. It’s all ancient history, but my hand still trembles as I take a steadying swig of my drink.

“This dazzling gemstone has not made a public appearance since it was entered into evidence during the Simon Fax murder trial three years ago.”

I cough peach schnapps through my nose. It is the ring. The fuse on the bomb that blew That’s My Boo to smithereens. And I had been the one who lit it.

The TV drones on. “With the appeals process closed, the ring went up for public auction, where it was purchased by billionaire casino magnate Cooper Jackson Hayes for one-point-seven million dollars.”

I just stare, frozen. My drink dribbles down my chin and onto my tattered T-shirt.

One. Point. Seven. Million.

A thousand what-if scenarios explode through my mind. What if I hadn’t turned in the ring? What if I’d sold it? That thing would have bought enough studio time to record an album. To record ten albums! I could have bought back everything they took from me. And more. If I hadn’t run to the cops like a little bitch.

I clench my eyes and remind myself I did the right thing. There had been a very good reason to turn over that ring.

And there are one-point-seven million good reasons to have kept it.

The unfairness of it all pulls the pin on a rage grenade deep inside me, and I know there’s only one way to diffuse it. I shoot the rest of my drink, grab my guitar, and jump on stage with the manic pixie dream band. The girl stops mewling and gapes at me.

“Hey! We’re not done yet!”

“Yeah, you are.” I snatch her tambourine and fling it into the crowd like a Frisbee. She squeaks and runs after it, followed by her dainty boyfriend. I plug my busted-up guitar into the bar’s busted-up amp, releasing a piercing squeal of feedback.

“Hey, I’m Alexis. Doing the right thing sucks. Here’s a song.”

Fury surges from my fingers, through the guitar, and out into the world as I grind out the chords of my newest jam, “Champagne (Make it Rain).” My eyes close and the vocals rip through me.

 

You think you’ve got a good deal, then they tear off the seal.

You’re gonna reach the top, but then the cork goes pop.

You fall down, the bottle breaks. The party turns into heartache.

But I’m not gonna kill myself. Gonna climb right up to that top shelf.

Then I’m gonna make it rain.

Gonna turn my pain to champagne, champagne, champagne!

 

My set takes on a life of its own, a frenzied blur of noise and sweat and catharsis. I don’t think about what happened before or what happens next. I am here. I am now. My guitar is a shield against all the bullshit of the world, and as long as I keep playing I am safe.

No, I am invincible.

I become aware of barflies whistling and clapping and generally rocking out around me. No big shock. The manic screech of my guitar is a grease fire of ecstasy that scalds everyone in earshot. In this moment I’m not a has-been child star. I’m a goddamn metal goddess, living loud and kicking ass. High on music. High on life.

This high never lasts.

 

Continue Reading

NEW RELEASE: “Always Theirs” by J. P. James

Blurb:

My new bodyguards will protect me from my stalker, but who will save me from a broken heart?

Fyre:

I’ve been a teen pop idol since I was fifteen, and being famous has pros and cons. A pro? The adulation from my fans. A con? The adulation from my fans. I’m being stalked, and my manager insists that I hire protection: Jameson and Jordan Jones, two brawny FDNY firefighters who moonlight as bodyguards. 

The problem is that Jamie and Jordy are so magnetic that I can’t focus on my songwriting. I thought all I wanted to do was to live free and make music, but suddenly I’m not so sure when love is on the line. Throw in the fact that my stalker turns out to be a queer teen, and I don’t know what to do anymore. Jamie, Jordy and I support LGBTQ+ rights, but what do we do when our stalker is actually one of us? How do we fight back without undermining the cause?

Jordan:

My brother and I took a security gig to make a little cash on the side. We thought Fyre Connell would be an entitled brat, but the man is vulnerable, sensitive, and longing for something more. He’s been famous for so long, and living his life on social media is wearing him thin. But when we catch a queer teen making trouble, it throws our relationship into a spiral. Will Fyre punish the boy for jeopardizing his career? Or is there another solution that satisfies our need for justice, without undermining our commitment to the cause? Even more, how do we move forward as three men who are passionate for one another without setting off alarms the world over, while also respecting our true selves?

**Always Theirs is a full-length MMM novel with a HFN/HEA and no cliffhangers.** 

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

“There are two people I want you to meet first, though,” my agent says.

My ears tick up.  “Who?” I ask, but Damon doesn’t say
anything.  Instead, he leads me behind the curtains.

I can tell there are two huge guys standing near the curtains.  I can barely
make them out, but they’re tall and strong.  I can feel their power. 
They’re dressed in dark clothes, covered from wrist to ankle in black.  It
helps them blend even more into the curtains around us.  The only thing
that sets them apart is the heat from their bodies.  I didn’t know I could
feel strength, but it radiates from them like rays of sunlight.  It’s
stunning.

“Follow us,” Damon instructs them.

He pulls me by the small of my back.  Together we all descend the stairs,
Damon leading us, and the other two following in tow.  I don’t know these
guys, but I feel warm and  … safe.

Damon stops a few feet past the bottom of the stairs, and gently, he encourages me to turn around.  I don’t know why, but for a split second, I hesitate. 
I threw myself into this performance to distract myself from last night, and
now my lungs feel heavy.  I desperately catch my breath, but I realize the
second I turn around that the show isn’t the only thing that’s stolen my
breath.

Coming face to face with these guys is like attempting to stare into the sun. 
It’s beautiful and impressive, and I’m not sure I can look much longer.

I’m thankful that I’m sweating and red from the night.  I’m the only one who
feels my cheeks flush. 

“Fyre, I’d like you to meet Jordan and Jameson Jones,” says Damon.

“Jordan,” I repeat in my mind … until my ears register the names out loud.  I gulp, feeling my cheeks flush harder.

“Yes,” Jordan says.  He gazes back at me.  His chest heaves up and down, and
I let my eyes drop to his impressive torso.

“And Jameson,” I say, as my eyes move to the other brother.

Jameson’s expression is softer, but no less inspired.  He looks back at me tenderly, like I’m something special.

It’s one thing for Damon to say I’m special.  I’m used to it, maybe too used to
it.  It’s quite another thing, to see it confirmed in a beautiful
stranger’s eyes.

“It’s, uh, nice to meet you,” I stammer, “Both of you. Jordan and Jameson.”

I stand there, speechless after my blubbering, but my eyes rake over both
men.  They may be dressed in suits, but my mind runs wild as I imagine the
rippling muscles and hard abs underneath.  My eyes struggle to take in as
many details as possible.  They have sharp jawlines, minimal stubble,
piercing blue eyes, raven hair, and lightly tanned skin.  They’re tall,
and athletic.  They look tough, but it doesn’t push me away.  No way
in hell could I stay away now.  I feel like an astronaut pulled into their
gravity.  Who are these guys, and why do I feel the urgent need to know
everything about them?

“Jordan and Jameson will be your bodyguards for the rest of the tour.”  Damon’s words penetrate the cloud I’m floating on and bring me back to reality. 
The venue.  The show.  Baltimore.  Still, did Damon just say what I think he said?

“Bodyguards?” I wonder out loud.

Damon clears his throat. “They know about what happened last night.  They were working at the Kimpton at a different event.”

“They know about Percy?” I whisper, but not nearly as quiet as I thought.

“Damon briefed us on Percy Ellis, correct,” comes Jordan’s voice, calm and
authoritative. 
“They’ll be following me?” I ask Damon again, only this time I hold my gaze on the brothers.

Their gazes shift, looking at each other, then Damon, and back to me.  Their
shoulders tense.  It looks like they aren’t breathing as easily.  Did
I say something wrong?  They’re watching me just as intently, sending
shivers up and down my back, but now I see worry behind their eyes.

“We won’t make you uncomfortable, Fyre,” Jordan vows.  “This is for your
protection.”

“We’ll stay out of your way as much as possible,” Jameson adds.

I gulp.  The problem is that I don’t want the handsome bodyguards to stay
out of my way.  I want them in my room, in my body, and in my life in
every way possible.

 

Continue Reading

New Release: “Chasing Fate” by J. P. James

Blurb:

Chasing Fate by J.P. James

Chris:

I’ve always wanted to be a writer covering LGBTQ+ affairs. As a member of the queer community, our issues don’t get enough press and I see it as my job to shine a light on the many amazing things we’ve achieved. To help me out, my dad sets me up with an internship at his best friend’s company, which is a place that puts out a weekly newsmagazine. It’s perfect because I can use this opportunity to write about gay-centric issues to my heart’s content. But the problem is that the boss doesn’t necessarily see it that way. Dane, my dad’s friend, is handsome, forbidding, and dare I say it? A little scary. He’s used to giving orders, taking risks, and making money hand over fist. Despite being gay himself, he doesn’t want me to use his paper as a platform for our community because he says quote-unquote: “It won’t sell.” Since when has everything become about money? Have we, as a society, lost our moral compass? Even more important, how can I change his mind? On the one hand, sparks fly whenever Dane and I clash. But on the other, can I really be with a man who won’t stand up for the cause closest to my heart?

Dane:

I took on Chris as an intern as a favor to my oldest friend. After Nick begged, cajoled, and pleaded, I agreed on a three-month summer internship for his son. With an emphasis on temporary. Chris and I weren’t even supposed to cross paths because as the boss, I don’t really interact with newbie reporters. Yet the moment he walked into my office, I knew that Chris was going to be trouble. The young man is lively, forceful, and hell-bent on writing stories that highlight the achievements of the gay community. Of course I support him, at least on some level. After all, I’m a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, and proud of the discrimination we’ve overcome, not to mention the acceptance we’ve achieved. As a result, I have nothing against his ideas per se, except that they won’t sell very many papers. Does that make sense? As a player in capitalist society, we have to market our wares in order to survive. But why can’t Chris understand my point of view? Sure, everyone knows that the publishing industry is in jeopardy and facing a sea change in terms of how we do business. But how can I make the young man see this? How can I help him understand that the world is more complicated than it appears, and that sometimes, we work for many masters and wear many hats simultaneously? Most importantly, how can I convince Chris that I’m worthy of his love when his commitment to LGBTQ causes may outweigh his affection for me?


***This is a full-length MM novel with no cliffhangers and a happily ever after.***
  

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

 

After we check into our hotel and drop our bags off, Dane and I stroll hand-in-hand down the main streets.  We take in the sights, window shop, people watch, and soak in the perfect summer weather.  It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon but not too humid today.  Everything looks straight out of a postcard.  We see kids in khaki shorts and Sperry deck shoes riding beach cruisers, eating ice cream, and laughing so loud they leave our ears ringing.  We pass a coffee shop and I practically drag Dane inside, even though I had two espressos before we left this morning.

As we’re sipping our drinks, I take the opportunity to mention some LGBTQ issues that could potentially be included in Globix publications.  There’s one about how fundraising for LGBTQ issues is particularly challenging given the current political climate, and another one pertaining to an upcoming Supreme Court case.

“What do you think?” I ask casually, my heart beating with anticipation.  Hopefully Dane likes the ideas and assigns me to report these stories.

He’s noncommittal, merely squeezing my hand and looking off into the distance.

“It’s a beautiful view,” he says in a low voice.  “I love this part of the Northeast.”

I shoot him an even look.

“No seriously, Dane.  You know these issues are important to our community.  What do you think of the fundraising article?  Or the Supreme Court case?  Front page stuff, right?”

This time, he turns to look at me and sighs deeply.

“Chris, what did I tell you about the Supreme Court?”

“Nothing,” I answer stoutly.  “Why?”

Dane muses a bit for a moment.

“You’re right.  I never did mention how I feel about those stories, and how they play out for our business.  Well, I’m not going to hold back because I think you need to hear it, sweetheart:  stories like that, as compelling as they are, don’t speak to our readers.  Our readership likes mainstream stuff, even if it pains me to say it.”

I wrinkle my nose.

“What are you talking about?  This is mainstream.  We are mainstream.  That’s what we’re trying to do!”

Dane sighs again.

“No, Chris, we’re not mainstream yet.  A small, yet significant proportion of the population identifies as queer in some way, but we’re not there quite yet.  And because we’re not there, it means that most of the people buying our papers are straight.  They want to hear about issues that pertain to them, or they want to hear about fun human interest tidbits.  They don’t want to hear about cut and dried Supreme Court decisions, and they definitely don’t want to hear about fundraising.  It’s not going to sell papers.”

I stop and stare at him.

“But we have to feature these articles because we want to become mainstream.  Only by including these stories will we make a dent in the overall American consciousness.  Don’t you want to do that?  Isn’t that a worthy goal?”

Dane sighs again and his shoulders slump a bit.

“Of course I do, but there’s this thing called revenue, and also Globix’s board.  I answer to them, and if we don’t deliver good figures, you know what happens?  I’m out of there, and so are you, frankly.”

I’m stunned.  How can this be?  I can’t believe that Dane would nix an idea because LGBTQ issues aren’t what our readers want to read about.  Sadly, it makes a sick sort of sense and I turn to him with a horrified expression.

“When’s the last time we featured an LGBTQ-centric article?” I ask in a quavery voice.

The publisher merely looks down.

“It’s probably been two months,” he says in a low voice.  “And that’s if you don’t count how Charlize Theron is raising her oldest child as a transgender girl.”

My heart pounds painfully in my chest.  Oh my god, I had no idea.  Or I did, but I had no idea it was this bad.  I seize his hand.

“Well, we can feature more,” I say in a rush.  “There’s plenty of space in a couple of the newsmagazines, and I’m sure I can get two or three articles ready in no time –”

Dane cuts me off.

“No Chris,” he says in a low voice.  “That’s not going to help.  The long and the short of it is that sometimes, we have to wait for the world to be ready for us, and right now?  It’s ready, but not that ready.  We can’t force a slew of LGBTQ pieces down readers’ throats because they’ll never buy our stuff then.  A small trickle of gay-friendly stories is okay, but we can’t make them drink from a fire hose.”

I stand frozen in place.  This is so difficult to swallow, but I make myself nod.

“Yes of course you’re right,” I say, still trying to catch my breath.  “Revenue matters.  Keeping readers engaged matters.”

And the thing is, I actually believe these things, but the revelation is still devastating.  What’s more important?  Money or the cause close to my heart?  I swallow and take Dane’s hand again, and we begin to walk once more.

It’s moments like these when I feel like I’m in over my head.  Dane knows so much about the practical realities of business, whereas I know so little.  But am I willing to let go of what I love in order to succumb to the gods of money?  Or will the realities of capitalism pull me apart from this man whom I adore?

 

Continue Reading

New Release: “A Body in the Bath House” by Brad Shreve

 

Author

I’d like to introduce a new author, Brad Shreve, an LGBT Fiction Author. Although, I typically feature Gay Romance novels, his book, “A Body in the Bathhouse” is of crime and mystery, which I am a huge fan of, featuring gay characters and theming. Mystery and Gay combined! I’m onboard and I had to feature his book.

Blurb:

This is a private investigator whodunnit mystery novel.

On the verge of bankruptcy private investigator Mitch O’Reilly takes any gig that comes his way while running his Eye Spy Supply shop in a forgotten Los Angeles strip mall. After two tours in Afghanistan, Mitch’s life amounts to running his store, coping with his fun-loving sister, Josie, and scoring with anonymous men he meets online. That changes when he gets a break. A beloved comedy scriptwriter is murdered at a bathhouse, and Mitch is hired to prove the innocence of the club custodian. Adapting from a two-bit gumshoe to a high-profile sleuth proves more challenging than he expected.

As if Mitch didn’t have enough to deal with, playful bathhouse operator Trent Nakos enters his life. After a heartbreaking past, the manager is the definition of a man the brooding P.I. actively avoids.

Following leads from sprawling mansions to sketchy hoods is demanding but becomes more troublesome when deadly threats jeopardize the biggest opportunity of his career.

This is a mystery novel.
While there is an element of romance it is definitely of the slow burn variety.

Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N7MFV8V

Website: https://bradshreve.com

Facebook Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/bradshreve/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bradshreveauthor/

Excerpt:

Chapter One

“This case will be good for both of us,” Eve said. “If we get my client off, we look
like heroes. If we don’t, he’s just another Mexican in prison who’ll be
forgotten.”

“You’re one cold-hearted bitch.”

“Just honest, Mitch.”

Attorney Eve Aiken and I had worked together twice before. Once, I took pictures of a drug-abusing father in a custody battle. The second case involved a Pomeranian and suspicious bite marks.

“He’s probably an illegal. That’ll make it harder for us.” She pulled her gray suit jacket off, revealing a low-cut, black shell top. The skin above her breasts and down her arms was rough, wrinkled, and splotchy, making her look far beyond her fifty years. “I’ll give you the quick and dirty.”

I cocked my head and smirked. “Quick and dirty is the way I like it.”

She glared. “You probably know about the murder at that gay bathhouse yesterday.”

“It may surprise you to know there is no gay underground to disseminate information.”

“Don’t you watch the news?”

Before I could answer, a bell on the main door handle jingled. I rolled my desk chair to see the front of my store, Eye Spy Supplies. My twin sister, Josie, was showing up for work an hour late.

My desk, tucked in the corner of the cramped storeroom, is one of those heavy-as-hell, gray metal types the government used for decades after World War II. I placed my arm back on it, bumping a pile of paperwork to the floor where it mingled with more papers sorted in no particular order.

Eve scowled as she combed my shabby storeroom office with its dimmed fluorescent lighting and dark wood paneling. Stacked boxes slanted, ready to fall at any moment. A stool next to the desk barely balanced a mountain of bills on top, all stamped “past due.” I casually took a book off my desk and placed it on the pile. I had opened the store to be my own boss and get out of detective work. My plan was failing miserably. I still didn’t make enough from the store to stop being a private investigator, and I didn’t make enough as an investigator to close the store.

“You were saying?” I urged Eve on.

“A man was killed yesterday morning at the Club Silver Lake bathhouse,” she said. “Familiar with it?”

Familiar? It had been almost five years since I’d been inside, but I would never shake the lure of sheer self-indulgence that consumed my life after I left the army.

“I’ve heard of it. What happened?”

“A man by the name of Victor Verboom had his throat slashed while in a steam room. They have a suspect in custody—Ernesto Torres, a jilted lover who swears he didn’t do it. I’m defending him. That’s why I need your help.”

“Given your feelings towards ‘the gays,’ it’s surprising you took the case.”

“I work with you, don’t I? Anyway, it doesn’t matter which way the wind blows, as long as the cash is green.” She slid forward on my turquoise thrift-store couch and leaned toward me.

“They found Verboom’s body at 3:00 a.m. Apparently, he has a huge house in the hills, but he was known to sleep at the bathhouse several nights a week. Can you imagine

I could but didn’t say so. “What’s his story?”

“He was a staff writer for some TV comedy I don’t watch. It’s in the file.” She opened a manila folder that was in her lap. “Let’s see, it’s a show called Don’t
do That!
You ever see it?”

“I don’t watch much TV, but I can’t imagine you watching sitcoms. Is it even possible for you to crack a smile?”

Eve’s lips turned down, and she furrowed her brow. In an attempt to lean back, she forgot she was seated too far forward, which caused her to slump on the couch flailing her raised hands. Grunting and clearly embarrassed, she scooched up in her seat and straightened her gray, stained skirt. I was forced to grit my teeth and look away to maintain self-control.

She brushed aside a strand of her thin, black hair and crossed her arms. “Do you want this job, O’Reilly?”

“I’ll quit with the witty banter.”

“Witty? Don’t flatter yourself.”

Continue Reading

New Release: “Always Ours” by J.P. James (The Always Series Book 5). NOW ON SALE: Just $0.99

When two men just aren't enough. . .

Blurb:

Chance:

I didn’t know what danger was until I was assaulted one night. It was a hate crime against the LGBTQ+ community, but fortunately, two cops stepped out from the shadows and wrestled my attacker to the ground. My breath caught upon seeing them because Mason and Logan are everything I’ve ever wanted: brawny, handsome, and heroic. But something tells me there’s more to these men than meets the eye.

Logan:

We shouldn’t have taken what the young man offered. But when he knocked on our door, my twin and I gave into our deepest desires. We’re twins who share, and Chance said he wanted to feel alive again after his close brush with death. As a result, we stepped up and made it a skin-to-skin game. 

But now, the relationship has gone off the rails. Chance wants more – not just our bodies, but also our hearts, minds, and souls. The problem? We’re not ready for this. We’re cops, and while the force has an unofficial “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy, it’s difficult to keep our innermost desires secret. But Chance wants more. He’s not satisfied with being kept in the closet. He wants to be part of our lives, out in the open and proud. Can we do this for him? Will we, when our lives and careers are at stake? 

**Always Ours is a full-length MMM novel with a HFN/HEA and no cliffhangers.** 

Exclusive Excerpt:

“Walk me home?” I ask the twins shyly.

I have to fight past my nerves if I want them to take me seriously.  Hell, I need to do this if I’m going to take myself seriously.

Logan and Mason share glances and then nod.  I know these guys are big and strong, but I can’t help going mushy whenever they look at each other.  I might not ever be able to understand their twin language, but it’s a privilege to witness.

I don’t want to be alone, so I’m grateful when they agree to take me home.  I live in a tiny apartment on the top floor of a five-story building.  Of course, there are plenty of stairs and the three of us smile as we ascend.

“Police Academy training has nothing on this walk-up,” Logan chuckles as we hit the fourth floor.

“I’m used to it,” I explain with a spring in my step.

“I can tell,” Mason husks.

I feel the firm, sure touch of his hand at my ass as we ascend the stairs.  I laugh but don’t bother batting his hand away.  I love that he appreciates my body.  I don’t exercise much, but I have to scale one hundred and thirty-two steps at least once a day.  My lower body is made of steel, and if these guys want to admire it, I’m not going to stop them.  If anything, it gives me a confidence boost.

Without thinking, I let out a low purr.  It’s quiet in the staircase, and I know I can’t it play off like an actual cat escaped a neighbor’s apartment.

I turn around to face them, and find their hungry eyes feasting on my body.  I watch the rise and fall of their chests as they try to calm their breathing, but my little outburst unleashed more of their animalistic grit.  I consider it a privilege that I can do this to them.

Everything about these guys feels like a privilege, if I’m being honest, and I don’t want to deny myself the pleasure either.  My body screams for Logan and Mason, as if I belong to them already.  Doctor Marty says I should focus on the things I have control over, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot.  I’m tired of feeling overwhelmed and helpless.  I want to chase the things that inspire and empower me, and never look back.

Right now, what empowers me is having my buff saviors by my side.  Logan and Mason treat me right.  When I feel anxious, I remember their sure, comforting touches and their gentle, kind words.  It warms me, and calms the ache in my heart.

It’s what I need to feel and hear tonight. 

I think this does more healing for me than any therapy.  I know Doctor Marty is a professional, but these guys mend my body and soul more than they know.

“My apartment is at the end of the hall,” I explain as I push the door open to the fifth floor.  “Would you like to come in for a bit?”

They nod and pick up the pace behind me.  I notice their eyes shift around as we cross towards my front door.  In fact, I think they’ve been watching for lurkers and creeps the entire walk home.  Maybe it’s their training that makes them act this way, but I like to think there’s something special about this level of security.  Something reserved only for me.  Dare to dream, I guess.

“This is nice,” Mason says, stepping into my apartment with Logan on his heels.  I shut the door behind them, feeling my heart start to quicken.

“It’s tiny,” I tell them, but Logan shakes off my remark.

“It might be tiny but it’s clean.  If you weren’t pursuing interior design, now would be the time we tried to convince you to,” he says with an affirming smile.  “Your décor is amazing.”

Yum.  Every word out of their mouths gives me strength.

I gesture for them to sit at the leather couch in the living room.

“My Aunt Darcy bought this sofa and also my bed.  They’re the only nice things I own because everything else is Ikea, until I get a real job at least,” I joke.

“It’s beautiful,” says Mason as he grips the leather cushion beneath him.

“And there’s nothing wrong with Ikea,” Logan adds.  “It has its uses.”

I pull a cushion from the closet and set it on the ground in front of them.

“Hey, don’t sit there,” Mason starts, but my hand flies up to stop him.

“Believe me, I like sitting on the ground.  Plus, this way I can admire both of you at the same time,” I tell them.  I can feel the blush on my cheeks but I fight through it.

“Thank you,” Logan chuckles.  “You’re really sweet.”  Mason smiles too.

“I wanted to tell you something,” I say as I look between their beautiful blue eyes.  I take my seat on the cushion, and push my knees up to my chest as I cradle myself for comfort.

“Yes?” the twins ask.  I take a deep breath.

“Well, I started going to therapy because you know the city pays for it after an attack like the one I had.  I had my first session the other day, and I have another appointment next week.  Until I can get my anxiety under control.”

Their eyes are a complex mix of affection and sadness, the blue going from light to dark, and then back again.  They’re happy that I’m seeking treatment, but it’s another reminder of how we know one another, and how we got to this place.  The good with the bad, I suppose.

“We’re proud of you,” Mason promises, looking directly into my eyes.  “It’s important to take your mental health seriously.”

Logan nods all the same.  “Exactly.  You’re brave, but we already knew that.  This is to help you recover even more.”

The blush hasn’t left my face.  If anything, I feel warmer and definitely want to take my shirt off, anything to get some cold air on my skin.

“There’s something we want to ask you too,” Logan says in the next moment.

I look between them, but their expressions are unreadable.  “Sure, ask away.”

“The trial for your attacker is in a few days.  I was thinking about testifying, if that’s alright with you,” Logan confesses.

My chest tightens, but the twins have their hands on me before I freak out.

“We don’t want to stress you out,” Mason adds.  “But the DA has asked us to get up on the stand.”

I steady my breathing, trying to focus on their touch.

“That’s alright.  It’s fine.  I’m going to be fine,” I say.

Mason nods, and I can feel my face burning up.  It’s not like they have any choice when it comes to testifying.  But still, their concern shakes me to my core.  It’s all so much, how these guys take care of me and ask about getting up on the stand, as if my opinion makes a difference.  In such a short time, they’ve become important people in my life.  I can feel it everywhere, in my heart, in my head, and in my groin right now.

“You seem flushed,” Logan notes as his eyes rake over my face.  They dip lower, taking in the rest of me as I unfurl my knees from my chest.

“Yeah,” I breathe.  “I can’t help it.”

I let my gaze wander over their bodies.  They must like it too, both of them spreading their arms and legs wider on the couch, giving my eyes as much of them as possible.

“What do you want, sweetheart?” Mason asks.  He tries to sound innocent but my ears find nothing of the sort behind his hoarse voice.

I focus again on them, succumbing to the fire building in my chest.  “I want you.  Both of you.  Is that okay?”

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Continue Reading
Close Menu
Close Panel
%d bloggers like this: