BOOK REVIEW: Seeing by Patrick Winters #horror #bookreview

A secret revealed. A legacy undone. A horror immortalised.

For generations, the Berdeaux family name had been synonymous with hospitality and distinction. But that all changed in the summer of 1979, when Dewey Berdeaux’s “hobby” came to light. It was a revelation that stunned the town of Barrville, and ever since then, the Berdeaux family mansion has stood as a grim reminder—with its fair share of ghosts, if rumour is to be believed.

Now, a brother and sister will bring their team of paranormal investigators to the ancestral home, seeking evidence of the supernatural. They aim to show the world there is something more beyond our passing.

But sometimes, some things are better left unseen…

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MY REVIEW – 3 1/2 stars

Seeing is the first story I’ve read by this author. I’ve always loved horror books and movies, especially ones about haunted houses. However, that also means my expectations are high.

The Berdeaux House is home of a famous murderer, who supposedly haunts the halls. Sounds like an amazing, spine tingling read, doesn’t it?

The beginning, for me, was a bit slow. When we get to the creepy, haunted house, the author set the stage with a short conversation and tour with the owner. To this point, the pacing is slow. Incredibly so for such a short novella.

Once left to their own devices, the ghost hunters set up their equipment and start their hunt. I was ready and waiting for some action! And then waited and waited…

This is the part that dragged for me. Instead of letting me experience the initial rounds of their investigation, the author “tells” us about it. The pages with little to no action drag the pace down further.

Then we finally meet the ghost!

Once the ghost enters the scene, things go from almost stagnant to warp speed. Action. Drama. Violence. I could feel the emotions at this point in the story and was eager for more. Sadly, over 70% is spent setting up the actual haunting so it was over far too quickly.

Those short action-packed pages were thrilling, and a perfect blend of horror and suspense.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Now in Paperback: Passionate Prisoners by NYT Bestseller Angela Knight #BDSM #SciFiRomance #Futuristic @AngelaKnight @changelingpress

Passionate Prisoners by Angela Knight
Published by Changeling Press
Cover Art by Angela Knight

Five interstellar warriors clash with heroines who don’t back down from anything — especially love.

Roarke’s Prisoner: Starship captain Elise Morrell remembers the eager animal submission she once knew at Captain Michael Roarke’s ruthless hands. She’s determined not to become his toy again…

Stranded: Hawke’s been alone in the alien “Goldfish Bowl” for far too long. When Alex lands in his arms, they both realize they can fulfill each other’s every need — if they survive…

Chain of Kisses: For years, Prince Admiral Arles of Tor has been obsessed with the woman who jilted him at the altar. Gisel is now a mercenary space captain, and he’s determined to get her out of his system. Too bad she’s also a political liability he can’t afford…

Armored Hearts: Interstellar mercenary Captain Nick Rand is a vampire on the verge of starvation. Lieutenant Zara Tahir is willing to exchange blood for blood — and maybe kinky games — but Rand’s still her enemy. Right?

Blood and Steel: Elyn Castel spent decades as the slave of a sociopathic vampire. Cyborg Jarl “Blade” Bladin has killed the vampire, and now he’s is after Elyn. She’s finished if he gets his hands on her. But escaping is easier said than done…

Author Warning: Capture fantasy scenarios involving dubious consent may be triggers for some readers.

Get it at Amazon

EXCERPT

**Trigger Warning!**

Copyright ©2022 Angela Knight
Excerpt from Armored Hearts

If she hadn’t been so sick, she could have made the G.A.E. bastards pay a higher price when they found her in the middle of the camp. Unfortunately, it had been more than a month since her vampire had died, and Lieutenant Zara Tahir was deep in blood sickness.

They surrounded her, a yelling, laughing mob of massive shapes in helmets and black armor emblazoned with Godsson’s halo and planet logo. Those suits gave them enough raw power to take on a blast tank and win.

Even so, Zara hadn’t made it easy for them. Even in her lighter V.S.S. armor, she had the advantage in speed and agility. She’d fought so ferociously she’d triggered a spontaneous nosebleed. Feeling the hot wetness rolling down her upper lip as she spun and kicked, Zara snarled. It had been far too long since she’d tasted vampire blood. Wouldn’t be long before her own immune system killed her.

Not that these fuckers would give it the chance. They were pissed, and they planned to kill her. And worse.

It took all ten of them to get her down, spread eagled, and stripped. Their strength enhanced by their mechsuits, they shredded her light V.S.S. armor like wrapping paper. Hands clamped down on her arms and legs, pinning her to the camp’s packed dirt so painfully, she knew she’d have bruises.

Assuming she lived that long.

“Hold her still!” A man in lieutenant’s armor straightened, reached down to his belt, and clicked something. The groin cup of his armor slid aside, revealing a jutting erection.

Zara bucked again with a desperate wrenching twist that caught her captors by surprise. Snatching a fist free, she plowed it at the officer’s balls. He jerked back and she missed, though so narrowly she felt the brush of his pubic hair against her knuckles. “Shit!” he swore, spinning away. “That’s it, bitch!” To the men around him, he snarled, “Don’t you fuckin’ let her move. I’m going to teach that cunt her place. You can have whatever’s left.”

When he returned a moment later, looming behind the men who held her down, the lieutenant held a pulse rifle in both hands. He aimed the rifle butt at her face.

Knowing the blow would quite likely kill her, Zara sneered. “Go ahead, you cowardly son of a whore.”

The butt flashed as it began its descent…

“What the fuck is going on here?”

At the furious male roar, her attacker stopped dead in mid-swing, his eyes widening behind his faceplate. The whole mob jerked to face the roar’s owner, their body language shouting guilty alarm.

Good, Zara thought. A senior officer. Maybe he’d save her.

Then again, maybe he wanted to be first in line.

She’d heard Godsson had recently decreed that raping enemy female combatants was not a sin. They were, after all, unnatural creatures in daring to resist Godsson’s “holy” plans for the colony. He said it was his warriors’ responsibility to teach them proper submission.

That kind of callous bullshit was exactly why Zara had joined the Falaran Coalition Army. She had no desire to live under any cult leader’s thumb — especially an asshole who called himself God’s Son.

“We, ah… found an enemy combatant,” the mob’s leader stammered.

“Yes, Lt. Godshammer, I know,” the officer said, his voice steely with sarcasm. “I heard her screaming from the other end of the camp. What, you boys thought you’d commit a war crime or two? Not on my watch. Get the hell away from her.”

“But His Most Holy said –”

“You are not raping that woman, Godshammer.” His tone dropped into a menacing hiss. “Get. Off.”

They let her go and scrambled away with a speed that was almost comical. Without even being told, all ten fell into formation, lining up at attention as if hoping it would save them from their commander’s rage. The lieutenant paused to close his groin cup, fumbling in his haste.

Zara lay in the dirt where she’d been left, too bloodsick to do anything else now that the immediate threat was over.

Boots padded toward her. “Are you all ri…” The officer broke off.

Oh, hell, what now? She looked wearily up at him as he stared down at her.

Zara froze.

He was the biggest damn vampire she’d ever seen in her life. It looked as if they’d turned somebody who’d been genetically engineered to begin with. She’d heard rumors that the G.A.E. had hired vampire mercenaries in response to the Falaran Coalition Army’s Vampire Defense Program. Godsson had ranted against vampires being perverts too many times for the G.A.E. to produce them outright, so hiring mercs was the best their army could do.

In any case, the G.A.E. had obviously gotten its money’s worth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times best-selling author Angela Knight has written and published more than sixty novels, novellas, and ebooks, including the Mageverse and Merlin’s Legacy series. With a career spanning more than two decades, Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine has awarded her their Career Achievement award in Paranormal Romance, as well as two Reviewers’ Choice awards for Best Erotic Romance and Best Werewolf Romance.

Angela is currently a writer, editor, and cover artist for Changeling Press LLC. She also teaches online writing courses. Besides her fiction work, Angela’s writing career includes a decade as an award-winning South Carolina newspaper reporter. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, Michael, a thirty-year police veteran and detective with a local police department.

SPOTLIGHT: Damned If You Do by Lisabet Sarai #BDSM #paranormalromance @LisabetSarai

Damned If You Do: A BDSM Dance with the Devil

By Lisabet Sarai

Paranormal BDSM erotic romance (Five flames)

Approximately 29,000 words

HEA ending

ISBN: 9781005020088

ASIN: B09PSN7XGX

ABOUT THE BOOK

Wendy Dennison is tired of being a starving author. The royalties from her critically acclaimed romance novels barely pay her bills. Her devoted agent Daniel Rochester may be smart and sexy, but he can’t get her the sales she needs. Then a charismatic stranger appears at her coffee shop table, promising her fame and commercial success, as well as the chance to live out her dreams of erotic submission. But at what cost?

Nothing you can’t afford to lose, my dear.

Seduced by the enigmatic Mister B, she signs his infernal contract. He becomes both her Master and her coach, managing her suddenly flourishing career as well as encouraging her lusts. Under her mentor’s nefarious influence, she surrenders to temptation and has sex with Daniel. The casual encounter turns serious when she discovers her mild mannered agent has a dominant side. As the clock ticks down to her blockbuster release and Mister B prepares to claim her soul, Wendy must choose either celebrity and wealth, or obscurity and true love. 

GET IT HERE:

Kinky Literature: https://www.kinkyliterature.com/book/713-damned-if-you-do/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09PSN7XGX

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09PSN7XGX

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/damned-if-you-do-lisabet-sarai/1126292735?ean=2940165738319

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1124531

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/damned-if-you-do-12

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35009284-damned-if-you-do

Buy Links (Audio)

Narrated by Audrey Lusk

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Damned-If-You-Do/dp/B078NC1MGN/

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Erotica-Sexuality/Damned-If-You-Do-Audiobook/B078NC27YX/

EXCERPT

The limo deposited her in front of her little house and floated away. A bit weary from the lengthy ordeal at the salon, Wendy almost tripped over the figure sitting on her front steps.

“Dan! What are you doing here?”

Her agent looked rumpled and haggard. He didn’t even bother to stand, though his eyes were hungry as he surveyed her.

“You don’t answer my calls. You ignore my emails. I figured the only way I could get through to you was to show up at your door.”

“Emails? I haven’t heard from you in months! I figured you were mad at me…”

 “Every day, Wendy. I’ve sent you a message every single day. I’ve called again and again. That damned personal assistant of yours answers every time.” He rose to his feet finally, looking around with a scowl. “Where is the bastard, anyway?”

“I—um—I’m not sure. I think he’s doing some errands.” She rummaged in her bag for her key. “Come inside. We’ll talk.”

“No. You come with me.” He grabbed her sleeve, pulling her down the walkway toward a gray Taurus with a Steelers Rent-a-Car decal parked across the street. “You’ve got to get away from that guy. He’s dangerous.”

“Dangerous? What are you talking about? He’s been great for my career.”

Dan grabbed her shoulders and shook her, hard. “Wake up, Wendy! He’s got you under some kind of spell. You’ve become a totally different person.”

She tore herself free. “Yeah, I have. Instead of being a loser, I’m finally a successful author.”

“You’ve cut yourself off from everyone. I got an email from Jenna the other day. You do remember Jenna, right?  Your old friend Jenna Martin? She was worried. Said she hadn’t been able to get in touch for weeks.”

Jenna. How odd. Wendy hadn’t even thought about her, not since that afternoon in the coffee shop when her crit partner sent the link about Sapphire Sands. The afternoon Mister B had come into her life. In the old days, they communicated nearly every day.

“I’ve been busy. Busy writing.”

“Is that all you’ve been doing? That slimy character Bent loves to suggest you two have been involved in other activities…” 

She tried to take his arm. He shook her off. “Please, Dan, calm down. I’m fine. I’ve finally found my writing groove. Everything is going great.” She flashed him what she hoped was a charming smile. “I’m going to be on the Breakfast in America show later this week.”

“I wondered why you were all gussied up.” His bitter tone made her wince.

 “You should be happy for me. After all, I’m making plenty of money for you, too!”

“Forget about money for once. What about feelings?” He grabbed her with both hands, pulled her close and held her tight against his body.

ABOUT LISABET SARAI

LISABET SARAI occasionally tackles other genres, but BDSM will always be her first love. Every one of her nine novels includes some element of power exchange, while her D/s short stories range from mildly kinky to intensely perverse.

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (https://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (https://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads, Bookbub and Twitter. Join her VIP email list and get a free ebook, plus exclusive contents and other benefits: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh

PREORDER: Oblivion by Kira Stone #demons #erotica #shortstories

Warning: This is a Razor’s Edge Demon Erotica Story. Expect limited plot and character development, and lots of paranormal heat. If you’re looking for a lengthy plot driven erotic romance, this is not it!


Killed in a dirty back alley by a street whore. Such an ugly way to die. But my lessons in death have only just begun.

Hell is filthy. And cold. And as soon as I fell, I found a demon waiting for me. My new Master. From spanking to whipping to painful abuse, each new lesson gives me hope — the hope of oblivion. Surely I can’t survive this long.

But the longer I’m here, the more I learn about myself and the life I wasted. And the more I crave Master’s touch. Each lesson strips away another layer of my mortal flesh. I am everyman. I am no one. I am what my Master wishes me to be. A Demon’s whore for all eternity… Who said going to Hell didn’t have its rewards?

Extreme BDSM Warning: The actions portrayed in this story are well outside the accepted BDSM norm of “Safe, Sane, and Consensual” or even “Risk Aware Consensual Kink” and should not be reenacted by mere mortals. Unless you’re a demon, you will end up featured on “1000 Ways to Die.”

Available January 21, 2022 at Amazon

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright 2021 Kira Stone

No question about it. I was on my way to Hell.

I fell into a rocky hole, so small I couldn’t stand up. I couldn’t even crawl down the steep slope. Rolling from side to side got me inching down, but also got dirt up my ass. And whether exertion or something else caused the temperature to rise, I was getting much, much warmer.

Ingenuity kicked in, and I figured out by laying on my back, head first, I could use my feet on the craggy sides to push my way down the tunnel. The bottom had sides equally rough. No doubt I’d have bruises all over.

No biggie. Pain I could handle.

A deep voice rose up from the darkness. “You think so, eh? We’ll find out.”

Oh, goodie.

Without warning, I fell head first onto a dirt floor as lumpy as the tunnel. Even as I watched, rubbing my head, the hole closed. I tapped on the spot where the opening had been to see if it was solid. Yeah, they didn’t miss a trick, this bunch.

“Welcome to my home,” the deep voice said with obvious amusement.

I turned to find a well dressed man in a suit not unlike one I’d wear to the office, when I bothered to go in. His hair had been neatly styled, his shoes shined, and his body looked like he could give me a challenge on the handball court. In fact, as I gazed longer, he looked a lot like me.

“This is what you were. Now, I will show you the real me.”

First, his eyes turned red. That was enough to make me tremble. Something awful radiated from them, the promise of no sympathy, no compromise.

As covertly as I could, I looked for routes of escape. I should have kept my eyes on him, or better yet on the floor. Cages and torture devices and things I’d only seen on the Internet filled my vision. I wasn’t skilled at using them, as my extra marital lovers told me, and I doubted I’d be any better at having them used on me.

“See me, and know that I am your Lord and Master,” the deep voice ordered.

Despite emptying myself earlier, I again felt the need to pee when I looked upon the creature who spoke to me. With skin as red as his eyes, hair only a few shades darker that hung to his waist, and claws on both fingers and toes, just seeing him induced panic.

“You know, I’m not really into the D/s thing. Can we skip this part?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kira Stone lives in a warm cave tucked away in the remote Scottish Highlands, where a small band of ever-changing heroes serves as company. As they relax in front of a roaring fire, demons dance in leather pants and angels stroke tunes from the harp strings, while the Fae stop in to share tales from other worlds. Bound by pen and imagination, these are the folk who wait to greet you from the pages of Kira’s stories.

The who and what of Kira in this more mundane world is not what turns you on, but the words sure do – so go discover the passion that awaits you between the covers of every Kira Stone book…

Release Blitz: Someone to Watch Over Me by Libby Simone #LGBTQ #contemporaryromance #BDSM @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing @libby_simone

Title: Someone to Watch Over Me

Author: Libby Simone

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/11/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 63900

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, crime, gay, pansexual, BDSM, porn star, private detective, film set, porn industry, voyeurism, blackmail

Add to Goodreads

Description

Arthur Adams takes his job seriously, keeping good guys safe and investigating bad guys. When his company is hired to secure the set for a film crew, the job seems straightforward, if not simple. Of course, the films are adult and graphic, so the situation can get hard fast. And it does.

Kit is an adult film star and an anomaly: he’s educated, experienced, and in the business for the fun of it. The seedy realities of his world reveal themselves, however, as his ex’s behavior grows more threatening. Unfortunately, the ex is wealthy and well connected in addition to being a stalker.

As Arthur watches Kit more closely, he finds it more difficult to look away.

The threats against the production become increasingly worrisome as Arthur’s team digs into the background of a rival studio, and they become personal as he unpeels Kit’s layers. As the case uncovers abusers, traffickers, and would-be murderers, all of Arthur’s skills and resources will be put to the test.

Excerpt

Someone to Watch Over Me
Libby Simone © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Arthur wraps a hand around his coffee mug and pulls apart the brittle beige window blinds to peer out at the street below. The morning is cool, even after the fog lifts. People pass quickly, hands in pockets. They do not look up. Steam radiates from the back of the newsstand across the street, and Arthur takes a sip, watching it curl and dissipate.

The building is mostly empty today. The pipes squeak upstairs, and something scurries in the walls. Business has been slow. Business is always slow.

“Get in here, Arthur.”

“Coming.” He leaves the window and sets the mug on his desk, which he sidesteps to make his way to the door. He turns the corner and steps over the uneven floor plank. He scratches his elbow and raises an eyebrow. “What do you need?”

Maurice leans forward in his desk chair and fixes Arthur with an impassive gaze. His office smells of Big Red and sulfur, and he scribbles onto a steno pad with a stubby yellow pencil. Arthur leans against the doorframe and watches. The desk is cluttered, as usual, with a gas station coffee cup, photographs, and the morning paper. Maurice gestures to a seat, and Arthur shakes his head. “I’ll stand,” he says, provoking an annoyed glare.

“Suit yourself.” Maurice runs his hand across the desktop. It’s easily the sturdiest piece of furniture in the place, bought secondhand from an auction at the old library. They had to haul it in through the window, and Arthur is convinced someday it will fall through the floor. It hasn’t yet. It probably won’t until Maurice retires and he’s sitting behind it instead. “Client coming by in a few minutes. I’m putting you on this one.”

“This early?”

“It’s nearly ten.”

Arthur shrugs. “Philandering husband or wife?”

“Neither. Guard duty.”

“Guard duty? Why would I—”

“Because I’m assigning this one to you.”

“Maurice—”

“It’s going to require coordination with an outside security team.”

“You know I don’t like—”

“I don’t give a damn what you like, son. You’re good at it, and I’m assigning you the case. That’s the end of the story. You got something to say?”

“No.” Arthur grinds his teeth.

Maurice nods and unwraps a fresh piece of chewing gum. “Let her in when she arrives. And clear your datebook.” He snorts at his joke.

“Anything I should know first?”

“I’d hate to spoil the surprise.”

The surprise arrives promptly at ten, as if she waited outside the frosted glass door until the turn of the hour. She is striking, with coal-black hair and piercing blue eyes, outlined dark despite it being a weekday. She wears a tidy knit suit with a well-tailored skirt and silk shirt buttoned high on her neck. “Therese Spielman,” she says, shaking his hand. Her skin is ice cold, and her grip is tight. “Pleasure.” She doesn’t smile, but most people don’t when they hire a private investigator. Arthur leads her to Maurice.

“Welcome. Please, have a seat.” The vinyl on the chairs splits and flakes, but they’re serviceable. If Therese notices, she’s too polite to complain.

“You’re the gentleman I spoke to on the phone.” She glances from him to Arthur and lifts a meticulous eyebrow.

“Yes,” Maurice says, “I’m the one you talked to. This is Arthur. He’s my number one.”

“I see. Very militaristic.”

Maurice tilts his head in a nod. It’s easy to spot, even if Arthur no longer calls him by rank. “You said you want someone who can coordinate your security team. Arthur’s the man for the job.”

She looks him up and down. “I see.”

Arthur clears his throat. “And what exactly is the job?”

“We make films, Mister—”

“Adams. You make films? Here?”

“We are a long way from Hollywood, it’s true. But, yes, I assure you, we make films too.”

“They’re pornographers, Art.”

“Huh. Okay.”

Therese watches him and purposefully nods. “You’ll do.” She looks him up and down again. “You’ll do nicely, and if that”—she pointedly looks down—“matches the rest of you, I may have even more work for you than securing our warehouse.”

“Warehouse?”

“Am I done here?” she asks.

“Yes.” Maurice smiles. “Thank you, Ms. Spielman.”

“I’ll see myself out.”

Arthur finally takes a seat. “What’s going on? Guarding a porn shoot at a warehouse? You’re serious?”

Maurice shrugs and unwraps another piece of gum. He takes out his chewed piece and sticks it to the lid of the coffee cup. “I tried to get details over the phone, but she’s prickly as fuck, and cagey. Said they’ve received some threats—notes and letters warning them to close up shop or else. Looks like the whole thing probably has something to do with a rival company. She’s worried about a stalker. They’re shooting for two weeks in the warehouse district, down by the docks. Basically, she doesn’t want questions asked; she said she just wants”—he reads from a note—“‘a smooth production schedule.’”

“Huh.” Arthur drums his fingers on his leg. “Two weeks for porn?”

“I’m not sure that’s the relevant question.”

“You’re right. Why do they need extra security? What rival company?”

“Now you see why you’re on the job.”

“Tell me about the threats.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Libby Simone lives in Kansas City, where she learns for a living and writes for fun. When she isn’t designing research or napping, she can be found taking long walks, people watching, and dreaming up different worlds.

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DOOLITTLE (Devil’s Fury MC) by Harley Wylde #mcromance #actionadventure #agegap @HarleyW_Writer @changelingpress

Doolittle (Devil’s Fury MC #11)
Written by Harley Wylde
Published by Changeling Press
Cover Art by Bryan Keller

Minnie — The Reckless Kings told me it was pointless to pine after Satyr. I kept offering myself to him, hoping he’d see me as something more. I was a fool. All that man will ever see when he looks at me is a club girl. I’ll always be trash in his eyes. So when the President offers me a chance at a new life, I grab on with both hands. It might mean living with yet another club — the Devil’s Fury — but once I meet Doolittle, my entire world turns upside down. I’d thought myself in love with Satyr, but I was so very wrong. Doesn’t matter. Same situation, different man. I might be starting my life over, but Doolittle knows what I am, what I’ve been… and he’ll never want someone like me as his old lady.

Doolittle — Beast asked a favor and I gladly agreed. I have no problem with a woman who wants a fresh start. Before I even met Minnie, I’d offered to let her work at my clinic. I don’t know what I expected. But the stunning woman who shows up leaves me tripping over myself. I’ve never met anyone like her before, and the instant connection between us is startling. Just one problem. Well, three. The first is Meredith. The girl won’t take no for an answer and is determined I’ll be hers. The second is that Minnie feels unworthy of being mine. I’ll just have to prove her wrong. The third I never saw coming, and it just might change everything.

WARNING: Doolittle is part of the Devil’s Fury MC romance series and contains bad language, violence, and adult situations. You’ll also find entirely too many adorable animals, no cheating, and a guaranteed happily-ever-after.

Or preorder at retailers for January 21, 2022

Amazon | Apple Books | B&N Nook | Kobo/Walmart

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/32fuWpY

Add to BookBub: https://bit.ly/3ecFGbp

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Harley Wylde

Minnie

I should have left the Reckless Kings long ago. If not back before Whisper came here and shook things up, then definitely after my talk with Copper a few months ago. Instead, I’d decided to stick it out. I’d been with Satyr a few times, but he mostly went to the new girls. I’d known Satyr would never see me as more than a convenience. The others had tried to tell me, and I’d seen their pitying looks on multiple occasions. I’d ignored all of them, holding out the hope that one day, Satyr would look at me and realize I was more than just a club whore.

The nights he hadn’t wanted me, I’d had no choice but to be with someone else. Brick wasn’t always around. Since his grandson came to live here, there were nights he didn’t come to the clubhouse. Most of the guys gave me a wide berth, but that wasn’t always the case. Aside from Satyr, only Copper wanted my attention. The others knew I didn’t really want them, and they left me alone. For whatever reason, Copper seemed to like me. Not enough to make me his, but it didn’t stop him from using me when he could. By being at the clubhouse, I’d given my consent to partying with the members.

The only reason I even came to the Reckless Kings was because of that infuriating man — Satyr. But tonight, I’d had enough. Satyr had walked past me, immediately started pawing one of the new girls, and after he’d fucked her in front of everyone, he’d moved on his new favorite — Kelly. She hadn’t seemed to mind sharing him and hadn’t batted an eye. The fact he’d ignored me all night had been more than I could handle.

In the last three months, I’d been with Satyr a handful of times. I’d been coming here less and less. If it weren’t for Brick requesting my presence tonight, I probably wouldn’t have come. When he’d asked me to join him for a drink, I hadn’t been able to say no.

Brick reached out and grabbed my hand. “I know this isn’t how you wanted things to end. We were all hoping Satyr would pull his head out of his ass.”

“You’ve all been warning me for a while now. Everyone knew he’d never want me as more than easy pussy. It was stupid for me to think he might change his mind.”

“Minnie, he’s my brother and I have to side with him, but… I think he’s missing out on something special with you. It’s been clear from the beginning you’re different from most of the women who come here.” Brick patted my hand. “Which is why Beast would like to run an idea by you. Head on back to his office. He’s expecting you.”

I stood and went down the back hall and knocked on the President’s door. I’d wondered why he was here on a party night. Ever since he’d claimed Lyssa, he’d started heading home when things heated up at the clubhouse. I couldn’t blame him. His wife was wonderful.

“Come in,” he barked.

I opened the door and stepped inside, leaving it open so no one would get the wrong idea. He sighed and rubbed at his eyes.

“Brick said you wanted to see me,” I said.

He nodded. “I know things haven’t worked out well for you here. You plan on staying in town?”

I shrugged a shoulder. “I have a job and an apartment, but… I really don’t want to see Satyr around town if I can avoid it. There’s nothing holding me here. My job isn’t exactly fabulous.”

“I heard you have some experience with animals,” he said.

“The human variety or the furred type?” I asked.

He smirked. “Probably both, but I meant the kind with feathers, fur, or scales.”

“I do. I worked in the kennels at a boarding place during high school. I mostly dealt with dogs and cats though.”

“There’s someone with the Devil’s Fury arriving here tonight. Goes by the name of Doolittle. He’s bringing a puppy for the kids. Someone tossed it into a sack and tried to drown it.” I wasn’t sure what that had to do with me. Was he asking me to pet sit whenever he went out of town? I must have looked as confused as I felt because he smiled and leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his desk. “The Devil’s Fury are down in Georgia. Doolittle isn’t just one of their patched members, but he’s also a veterinarian. Owns a local practice. I mentioned your situation to him, and he’d like to help.”

“Help how?” I asked.

“Meet with him and hear him out. He’d like to hire you to work in the kennels at his clinic, but also to help with the animals he takes home. He has an entire sunroom filled with all sorts of critters that need attention. Sound like something that might interest you?”

I nodded. “It does. Not sure trading one club for another is the smartest idea though.”

“You wouldn’t be a club whore there, Minnie. It’s a fresh start for you. No one in town will know your past, except the Devil’s Fury officers and Doolittle. None of them are going to say a damn word to anyone. Even though some of their other members have been here a time or two, I know you didn’t spend time with them. I doubt they’d remember seeing you here. Just think about it.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Harley Wylde is the International Bestselling Author of the Dixie Reapers MC, Devil’s Boneyard MC, and Hades Abyss MC series.

When Harley’s writing, her motto is the hotter the better — off the charts sex, commanding men, and the women who can’t deny them. If you want men who talk dirty, are sexy as hell, and take what they want, then you’ve come to the right place. She doesn’t shy away from the dangers and nastiness in the world, bringing those realities to the pages of her books, but always gives her characters a happily-ever-after and makes sure the bad guys get what they deserve. 

The times Harley isn’t writing, she’s thinking up naughty things to do to her husband, drinking copious amounts of Starbucks, and reading. She loves to read and devours a book a day, sometimes more. She’s also fond of TV shows and movies from the 1980’s, as well as paranormal shows from the 1990’s to today, even though she’d much rather be reading or writing.

You can find out more about Harley or enter her monthly giveaway on her website. Be sure to join her newsletter while you’re there to learn more about discounts, signing events, and other goodies!

Book Blitz: Fumbled by Lizzi Stone #SportsRomance #RomCom @XpressoTours

Fumbled
Lizzi Stone
(A Chesapeake Commanders Novel, #1)
Publication date: January 11th 2022
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance, Sports

Hawk Florence has always been the football star, the guy that can make any girl fall in love with him- and then break their heart. And that’s exactly what he did to me way back in high school. Now I’ve been assigned to do a puff piece on him for a national sports journal, and I’m more than ready to get my revenge.

The plan is simple. First, sit him down and flatter the shit out of him. Laugh at his crappy jokes. Touch his arm, let it linger. When he asks me out, I’ll flutter my eyelashes and shyly accept. Then, make him fall in love. And devour him. I’m ready. I won’t fail. But there’s one thing that I didn’t plan for: he doesn’t ask me out. Instead, he calls me out on my BS. He’s not wrong, but that’s just one of the ways that my plan has already gone terribly wrong before it even begins.

When he does finally ask me out, it isn’t much of a date. Instead, it’s a few agonizing hours of going back and forth about why we hate each other. But there is one interesting thing that came out of our brief time together: the bet that Hawk makes with me- that he will make me fall in love in 3 weeks, in love for real. If he fails, he’ll give me every exclusive for the season. Of course, I accept. Why wouldn’t I? This will help my career, and it’s not like he has a prayer anyway. This jerk broke my heart in high school, and there’s no way that I will fall for the same trick twice. Or will I?

All bets are off when it comes to the heart. Fumbled is a standalone sports romcom that will make you wonder what to do when love- and football- gives you a second chance….

Other books in the series (so far):

Sacked- Chase’s book

Tackled- Bam’s book

Huddled- Ollie’s book

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

“How do I look?” I smiled brilliantly, and batted my eyelashes.

“Like you’re ready to knock off his socks and shoes and leave him to walk home on his bare-ass feet,” Grace replied, as only a best friend can.

“I was going for ‘crawling home on hands and knees,’ but it will do,” I joked. Okay, half joked. I wanted him to look at me. Really look at me, like he hadn’t in high school. Maybe it was petty. I was doing well for myself. I worked at National Daily magazine’s headquarters here in Norfolk. I owned the part of my apartment the bank didn’t own, which was approximately a fingertip of space in the bathroom. Maybe the whole toilet. I didn’t need to impress any guy.

Any but this one.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you?” Grace picked up the lipstick tube and slipped it into my bag.

“In case I get tongue-tied?” I asked. “What’s the worst that could happen?” All right, I might march in and declare myself to be the proud owner of a toilet. I’m pretty sure even I wouldn’t be that awkward.

Author Bio:

Lizzi Stone is the pen name for two USA Today Bestselling authors who love sports, sexy men, strong women and coffee, lots and lots of coffee! For giveaways, new releases and deals follow Lizzi on Facebook @lizzistoneauthor.

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Release Blitz: No Easy Catch by Jaqueline Snowe #enemiestolovers #eroticromance #sports @firstforromance @totally_bound

No Easy Catch by Jaqueline Snowe

Book 4 in the Cleat Chasers series

Word Count: 81,189
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 308

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
ENEMIES TO LOVERS
EROTIC ROMANCE
SPORTS

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Book Description

A jock and a party girl teaming up—makes total sense, right? Actually, maybe…

Ambar Henderson is a senior communications major who has no idea what she wants to do in life. She spends most of her time working on her blog after gaining a lot of readers with a story she wrote junior year and…never followed up on. The last thing she expects is an angry jock accusing her of involvement in a scam that could shake the college to its foundations.

Jeff Maddow should be focused on his senior season of baseball and not the suspicious activity happening on the team. It’s his time to shine and get drafted, but after seeing incriminating evidence, he can’t not investigate. And his first lead is the campus blogger…who’s related to a name in the document he saw.

Ambar’s been coasting, writing about campus fashion and hook-ups rather than politics and economics, but when Jeff shows up at her place spouting wild accusations, she agrees to help him just to prove the stubborn athlete wrong.

Long nights, impassioned arguments, close quarters…both Jeff and Ambar find opposites more than attract when things heat up.

Publisher’s note: This book was previously released by Finch Books.

Excerpt

Convincing the hostess to let me into the second semester sports fundraiser was easier than it should’ve been. With one little promise of featuring her on my blog and bam, the young girl ushered me into the ballroom where the school’s biggest and best athletes mingled with coaches, alumni and the press.

Ah, the things people do for attention.

I tapped my pen against my lip while I took in the surroundings. It wasn’t black tie, but it was fancier than a casual get-together and I sent a prayer of thanks to my roommate who’d convinced me to wear a sleek black dress. It was a little tight and I kept running my hand down to the side to make sure my love-handles weren’t bulging out. My coordination was abysmal and I tripped over my own two feet sometimes, but at least I didn’t stand out—which was the goal.

I needed a new story to boost views on my blog or I would be shit outta luck. No views meant no affiliates, which equaled less money, and with my less-than-stellar first two years at school, I had no internships or job opportunities waiting for me at the end of the semester. The real world was knocking with graduation looming and I hadn’t a clue what I wanted to or could actually do.

But, I did have a clue about what the student body loved to gossip about more than any other topic—the latest on the hot jocks. Girls, guys, scholarships and walk-ons. Readers loved hearing about the latest flings or scandals and this fundraiser was hot-jock central.

“Ambar Henderson?” A familiar voice caught my attention and I glanced at my left to see Peyton Gentry smiling at me. “What are you here for? Sneak in for the free booze?”

“Ha ha.” I plastered on a fake smile despite the flash of hurt. Peyton and I had become friends freshman year—right in the smack of my party days—and he always brought it up no matter how much I had changed since then. “I’m here for a story, not the booze.”

“Right.” He smirked and lowered his voice. “Is it a juicy one?” He slung an arm over my shoulder in a quick hug and, while I didn’t dislike Peyton, I was glad when he removed his arm. “Heard there’s something weird going on with the volleyball team with one of their new freshmen.”

“Yeah?” I waited for him to respond, but his attention drifted elsewhere and he gave me a weak wave before heading off. “Great to see you too, Peyton,” I mumbled to myself. He was an average player on the soccer team but always managed to make himself seem bigger, better, more handsome. I snorted to myself at the headlines I would love to write someday.

Athletes and their egos—size does really matter

The bigger and not better—egos exposed

I took a deep breath, gathered as much courage as I could and walked about the event searching for anything that could be of interest. There were a couple of girls I recognized from the volleyball team, but they seemed normal, laid-back even. Each table had a large tented sign with the sport listed and it amazed me to see how much attention was given to athletes at our Division I school. Were there events like this for scholars? For those who made the Dean’s List year after year? Doubtful.

Schools spend money on sports, not smarts

Yeah, that headline wouldn’t sell shit. I derailed those thoughts and tried to ignore the tinge of jealousy weaving its way through my body. All these athletes had futures after college. They had tutors, scholarships, teams that supported them and, as someone who came from the opposite end of the spectrum, it was easy to envy them.

A loud cackle exploded near the front where the baseball players sat talking to what I assumed to be the coaches. They wore polos with the school logo, were significantly older than them and had the whole coaching vibe with the hard face and knowing eyes. Zade Willows, Tanner Johnson and Aaron Hill all wore suits and smiles and a part of my stomach fluttered. They were so handsome and such decent human beings I wished I could’ve written a million stories on them. Their faces alone would get readers. But I’d already done a story on Aaron and his girlfriend, so that well was dry. Plus, they were my friends and I refused to cross that boundary.

Moving on to another sport, I weaved through tables, trying to listen to conversations for something to spark motivation. Fifteen minutes passed without any luck and the familiar sensation of failure washed over me. How can I pass my senior classes when I can’t even write a stupid blog post without getting writer’s block?

God, I wish I could drink.

It wouldn’t hurt anyone if I snuck one bottled water and I blended in with the crowd as I approached the refreshment table. That was the good thing about being average-looking. No one really noticed me like they did my beautiful and tall roommates. I undid the cap and took a huge gulp when I felt someone staring at me.

Water spilled down my mouth and onto my dress when I found cold, unamused gray eyes narrowing at me. Jeff Maddow. He defined my perfect male specimen with his honey-brown hair styled just enough to be cool, his massive broad shoulders that went well with his defined pecs—perfectly showcased in the dark-gray dress shirt plastered across his chest. Good lord.

Shit, did he say something?

Did I?

His light gray eyes were framed by perfectly dark eyelashes and, God damn, those cheekbones were enough to make me forget my own name. He blinked and tilted his head to the side with impatience as he approached me. “Ambar Henderson, how the hell did you get into this event? You are neither an athlete nor a sponsor.”

“I have my ways.” I jutted out my chin and ignored the sweat pooling down my back.

“Did you sneak in? No, wait, let me guess. You bribed someone.” He smiled like it was a joke, but his tone made it clear he was not happy. “I should call security.”

“Really, Jeff? Come on.” I hated how my fingers shook when I ran them through my hair, trying to act nonchalant. “I didn’t bribe anyone.”

“I wouldn’t put it past you.” He brought up a glass of champagne to his mouth and held my gaze as he took a sip. It was annoying to be attracted to someone who thought so little of me, but, alas, that was life.

“What do you care if I’m here? I’m not bothering you or anyone for that matter.”

“False.” He finished the glass and took a step closer to me. For one stupid second, I wondered what it would be like to feel his full lips against mine, but the look on his face sobered that thought. “You are a known campus blogger who finds out information about people to get views. You’re no better than a tabloid magazine for a college. Athletes have enough to worry about with how hard we have to work. They should feel safe here, celebrating and networking, not worrying about being featured on a girl’s pathetic blog to get attention.”

“You know that’s not what I do, Jeff,” I defended myself but my voice lost its gusto. “I’m here for ideas…more like motivation. Nothing more.”

“Right.” He shook his head and tensed his jaw as he scanned the room. “Motivation to find out who’s sleeping with who? Who has a better batting average when they’re in a relationship versus being single?”

I gritted my teeth and willed my skin to not turn red. My cheeks burned when I attempted to defend my reasoning for writing those blogs. “It was for entertainment, Jeff. Plus, the stats didn’t lie.”

He gave me a look like many of my professors had. Disappointment. “Do you ever think about writing something credible or for a good cause?”

“The story about Hilly and Greta was—”

“Fine, sure.” He waved a hand in dismissal and gave me a look that made me feel even smaller than my just-over-five-feet frame. “But you could actually spend time writing stories that matter. Not dumbass pieces that exploit athletes and encourage cleat chasers to come after us.” He pressed his lips together and let out an aggravated sigh. “Stay away from my team, Ambar.”

Then he stalked away to the front of the room, his stiff shoulders telling me everything I needed to know. He wasn’t a fan of what I did or who I was. It wasn’t news, but his words hit one of my deepest insecurities. What am I even doing with my blog? My life?

God damn it. Find a story! I finished the water and tossed the bottle into a trash can when a familiar deep, masculine laugh caught my attention. That’s my Uncle Martin. My mood lifted instantly and I headed toward him. He was dressed in a three-piece suit and had his hand on a shoulder of a middle-aged man I didn’t recognize. He finished telling a joke—a specialty of my favorite family member—before he noticed me and ushered me over. “Ambar Henderson.”

“Martin Rhett,” I replied, mirroring his hugging stance and smiling into his chest when he wrapped me in a bear hug like he had since I was a child. “I don’t even know why you’re here, but I’m so glad.”

“Business partners in the community. We love supporting athletes!” He kept his arm around me and introduced me to the gentlemen around us. “This is my favorite niece, fellas. She’s a senior this year and is a hell of a writer.”

Various hellos and greetings echoed around me and I relished my uncle’s words. A hell of a writer. He never made me feel stupid or unremarkable. He’d encouraged me my entire life and seeing him at the event gave me the necessary boost of confidence.

“Nice to meet you all,” I said, looking all five of them in the eye and shaking their hands. There was a brief moment where I faced the direction of the baseball table and met Jeff’s gaze, but I forced myself to not stare or think about why he was watching me. “Anyone have a good story for me? I’m looking for a topic on my senior project and could use some ideas.”

“Ah, my girl is always working.” Uncle Martin laughed and led me away from the group with a smile that had taken years to practice. Once we were out of earshot, he changed his expression. “How did you get into the event, Ambar? I thought this was for athletes only.”

“See, the thing is… I was on my way out.” I gave him a cheesy smile. “Lunch next time you’re in town?”

“Of course.” He pulled me into another hug. “Stay out of trouble, okay? You have four more months of college and I don’t want anything more to happen. You know?”

Like my little drug and drinking binge freshman year?

Or my academic probation?

“I know, I know.” I frowned and felt every ounce of shame in my bones. “I’ll head out. I really did come for ideas. Nothing more.”

“I believe you. Now go through the side door. I’ll cover for you.” He indicated the large black double-doors and winked. “While I can’t condone you sneaking into an event, it does bring me joy to know you do have a little Rhett in your blood.”

“See you later, Uncle.” I smiled and snuck one more glance around the ballroom before leaving. It didn’t mean anything when Jeff continued to stare at me with an unreadable expression on his face. If anything, he should’ve been happy I was leaving his precious party. Ugh.

New headline.

Jeff Maddow should pull the stick out of his own ass to get a better batting average.

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About the Author

Jaqueline Snowe

Jaqueline Snowe lives in Arizona where the ‘dry heat’ really isn’t that bad. She enjoys making lists with colorful Post-it notes and sipping coffee all day. She has been a custodian, a waitress, a landscaper, a coach and a teacher. Her life revolves around binge-watching Netflix, her two dogs who don’t realize they aren’t humans and her wonderful baseball-loving husband.

You can take a look at Jaqueline’s Website and Blog and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Book Tour Sign-Up: Charming (Devil’s Boneyard MC) by Harley Wylde #mcromance #agegap #bookbloggers @HarleyW_Writer

Calling all fans of Motorcycle Club Romances!

Harley Wylde is looking for book bloggers, bookstagrammers, as well as bookish TikTok and Facebook pages or groups. Want to help spread the word about Charming, which releases in February 2022?

SIGN UP HERE

ABOUT THE BOOK

Series: Devil’s Boneyard MC
Published by Changeling Press
Release Date: February 18, 2022

Dakota — Having a half-brother who’s an infamous assassin isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. At twenty-five, he’s still micromanaging my life. The moment Specter tells me about an arranged marriage to one of his associates I do what any sane woman would… I run. Never counted on meeting a biker I can’t seem to forget, nor did I plan on our two days together to have lasting consequences. When bad men find me, there’s only one person I want. Charming. I’m just not certain I’ll get a warm reception.

Charming — Dakota is different from anyone I’ve ever known, and it’s not because of who her brother is. It’s simply her. Some sixth sense keeps telling me she’s in trouble. When she calls and asks for help, I know I’ll do anything for her. The men after her have no idea she’s mine, or that she’s carrying my kid, but they will soon enough. I won’t rest until they’re six feet under.

WARNING: Charming is part of the Devil’s Boneyard MC series and can be read as a stand-alone. There’s a guaranteed happily-ever-after, no cliffhanger, and no cheating. This is an age-gap romance of more than twenty years with bad language, adult situations, and violence.


Release Blitz: Returning Heroes by Harry F. Rey #LGBTQ #SciFiRomance #Aliens @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Returning Heroes

Series: The Galactic Captains, Book Six

Author: Harry F. Rey

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/11/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 83100

Genre: SciFi, LGBTQIA+, action,adventure, aliens, dark, MM romance, #ownvoices, royalty, sci-fi, futuristic, space, folklore, gods, intercultural, interspecies, war of worlds

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Description

Captain Ales has returned to the galaxy, forever changed as the powers have prepared for war. He’ll accept help from anyone if it leads to the mysterious Turo from whose cage Ales must free himself if he ever wants to return to the Red Moon.

Meanwhile Daeron has been offered the deal of a lifetime by the ruler of the Seven Suns. Marry Osvai, the Kyleri prince, and become heir to the richest star-state in the galaxy while raising an army to restore the prince to his rightful place as Emperor of the Million Suns.

But Viscamon’s grip on Jiwani has only tightened as the nobles imprisoned in the Royal Baths still refuse to bow to the immortal’s cataclysmic theology of destroying the Galactic Balance. It seems the only way for Imperial Guard Captain Antari to avoid a massacre is outright treachery.

While dynasties play galactic politics, the Outer Verge is being torn apart. From a prison cell, Mahnoor watches The Rip destroying Targuline, until the Kyleri rebels offer him the chance to save himself by flying into the heart of danger. He might even become Jansen’s most unlikely hero.

Heroes and villains run riot around the galaxy, unleashing destructive forces and sliding the great powers toward a war from which no one will be safe.

Excerpt

Returning Heroes
Harry F. Rey © 2022
All Rights Reserved

The sleek, spacious travel pod sliced through the swirling burnt-orange clouds of Bazman. Daeron edged forward on the puffed, pillowy chair that consistently failed to relax him. He tugged at the high collar of his pure-white Dalvian silk jacket—yet another gift from President Ezreal. He stared out the window at the spindly towers stretching in and out of the clouds above and below. The teeming city-world of Bazman, capital of the Confederation of the Seven Suns, supposedly the richest star-state in the Shakti Democria, was to Daeron no better than any of the thousands of worlds he’d been on. The rich lived above, flying around in these perfumed and carpeted pods, while the poor shuffled in and out of a noxious atmosphere far below.

Daeron could go anywhere he wanted on Bazman; no store, restaurant, menagerie, or cultural complex was too exclusive for President Ezreal’s new favorite son. Six weeks ago, they’d barely escaped the Kyleri fleet which had blown up Aldegar’s megacollider. Daeron and the remaining crew of the Daring Huntress chased Turo and the double-crossing Ezi into the Shakti Nebula, only to end up invited to land here by Ezreal’s security forces. On Bazman, where he could go anywhere at all, just not leave.

“What’s wrong now, Daeron?” Osvai said, relaxing in his similarly styled—but all black—Dalvian silk suit. The missing heir to the Kyleri Empire sipped on a Lactarian malt from a crystal glass while grinning at an entertainment package broadcast on the holoscreen in front of his seat. Lest His Imperial Majesty get bored in the half hour it takes to get from Bazman’s presidential palace to the restaurant opening. Daeron glanced over at the prince who was now biting his lip to keep from laughing at the holovid. Daeron watched for a moment. He’d never seen anything so stupid.

“What’s so funny about people walking into things? It’s cruel.”

Osvai wasn’t listening. He gasped in laughter as some poor unsuspecting holo-person had a pile of trash dumped on their head. Daeron flung himself against the seat, but it only absorbed the shock and began to massage his lower back. Daeron could huff all he wanted, but Osvai had stopped caring about what bothered Daeron. He stroked his thick black beard, forgetting it was still glistening in the fancy oils Osvai made him use. Daeron wiped his greasy hand on the plush arm of the chair and returned to staring out the window at the traffic lanes of pods gliding through the clouds and between the towers—with no end and no beginning.

“Are Xenia and the rest of the crew coming tonight?” Daeron asked, breathing slowly through his nose, trying to let the fury of being stuck in a gilded prison subside. It wasn’t going anywhere. Just like him.

“They left.”

Daeron spun on the chair to face Osvai.

“They…left?”

“Yeah. Didn’t I tell you?” Osvai said, not looking up from the holovid. Daeron yanked at the silk collar constricting his neck, and it let out a satisfying rip.

“No…you didn’t tell me. That was…my crew. My ship.” Daeron was doing everything in his power to stay calm, but he knew his string was about to snap. Maybe if Osvai understood that, they wouldn’t spend half their nights screaming at each other in their apartment in the presidential palace.

“I guess they went to meet your mom.” Osvai drained his glass, then stretched and placed it inside an alcove grooved into the wall where a nozzle filled it back up. “Isn’t it her crew again now she’s back?”

Daeron fell into a sulking silence at the mention of his mom. Maybe Osvai knew him better than he thought. Because the moment Captain Sanya was raised, Daeron shut down. It had been weeks since she and that Tevian girlfriend of hers, Sallah, had crossed back through the horizon point with her brat, Ales. Had they come to see him? No. Daeron had only learned their mission had been successful from the newscasts. The returning hero Captain Ales, who apparently had an Ingvarian fleet at his disposal now, as well as the entire Outer Verge, had been spotted at the Mayo resort in the Central Star States. After their collective trauma, Captain Sanya, Sallah, and Ales had decided to play happy families and treat themselves to a little vacation at one of the most expensive systems in the galaxy.

It hurt Daeron hard. He’d still not seen her. Not even a holovid call. He stretched out his hand and opened his palm-tech to flick through the only messages his mom had sent since she’d returned.

The megacollider is gone then?

Yeah, as if a rebel Kyleri fleet blowing up an ancient sphere surrounding an entire sun had been his fault. Then, loving, motherly message number two.

Why is Osvai not back on Jiwani? And you lost Turo? Can’t you do anything right?

Good point. Why was Osvai not back on Jiwani?

“Don’t you care at all?” Daeron snapped, spitting his frustrations at Osvai. The prince finally looked up from the holovid, staring back with those thin eyes and sunset skin that Daeron couldn’t deny filled him with lust. Even if he was perpetually pissed off at him.

“Care about what, Daeron?”

“Your fucking empire.” Daeron stood up, kicking the chair hard so it spun like a ship out of control. Osvai drained his glass again and, with an overly audible sigh, came over to Daeron and slid his small arms as far around Daeron as they could go. But Daeron wriggled out of his half hug and slunk to the back of the pod, watching the dusty clouds spinning like a vortex as they flew.

“What do you want me to do, Daeron? Fight Viscamon for my throne with what army, exactly?”

“My mom said to take you home.”

“Oh, your mom said. It’s always the same story with you, Daeron. Your mom says you have to stay on Jiwani with a father you never knew, and you stayed. Your mom says look after me until I’m back on Jiwani, and you blame me for staying in the one place in the galaxy no one’s trying to kill me!”

Here we go. Another screaming match.

“Can we not do this now?” Daeron said, arms folded and his back to Osvai. “The president invited us to this restaurant opening, and since he’s the one keeping you safe and letting us stay for free, we don’t need you getting drunk and making a scene.”

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry, more drunk.”

Osvai sucked in a short breath. If they’d learned one thing about each other since escaping Jiwani together on the night of Osvai’s father, Emperor Kantori’s, assassination, it was how to push each other’s buttons.

“When was the last time you saw Xenia?” Osvai asked, lathered in bitterness. “Or Tal, or Bindi? Or even Voros? When was it? Kaj’s memorial service?”

“Shut up, Osvai.”

“You haven’t asked about them in weeks. So don’t pretend you didn’t know they’d leave. You didn’t want to know.”

“I said shut up!”

“You can say I’m afraid all you want. And yes, I am afraid of going back to Jiwani when Viscamon is imprisoning nobles until he’s blackmailed enough to crown himself emperor. That’s a normal thing to be scared of. But you—”

“Osvai, I’m fucking warning you.” Daeron spun around to see him sauntering around the pod with a look of victory splashed across his face.

“You might look like a big scary man, Daeron, but you’re just a little boy. Afraid of what his mommy will say.”

Daeron had already exploded. Fury prickled his body; sweat soaked the suit. He’d throw Osvai out of this pod if he could. His fists clamped together, ready to test just how much of a punch this glass could take.

“You have arrived at your destination,” the pod’s soft female voice said with a ding. “Have a pleasant evening.”

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Harry F. Rey is an author and lover of gay themed stories with a powerful punch with influences ranging from Alan Hollinghurst to Isaac Asimov to George R.R. Martin. He loves all things sci-fi and supernatural, and always with a gay twist. Harry is originally from the UK but lives in Jerusalem, Israel with his husband.

Website | Twitter

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