Book Review: Captive of Wolves by Eva Chase #FantasyRomance #NetGalley @AuthorEvaChase

My blood is their salvation… and my ruin.

For years, the monsters who killed my family have held me in a cage. Brutalized and half-starved. Only kept alive so they can steal my blood.

Until one evening when four eerily gorgeous men break me out of my prison.

They give me a soft bed and delicious food. They say they’ll protect me—but their generosity may come at a price.

My rescuers are monsters like my captors: fae who shift into wolves. A curse gripping the faerie realm turns them wild under the full moon. Only my blood can cure their rage.

These fearsome men need me, and not just to lift the curse. A tragedy left them outcasts, and offering me to their rulers could win them back the home and the power they lost.

No matter how kindly they treat me, no matter how their smoldering eyes and strong hands stir unfamiliar desires in both my body and my heart, their castle is just another prison. As long as I’m a prize more than a person, my life will never be my own.

I’ve survived this long without giving up. I won’t roll over now. But how can one damaged human girl hold her own against the savage fae?

*Captive of Wolves is the first in a new paranormal romance saga featuring possessive wolf shifters, fraught fae politics, and a wounded heroine coming into her own. Grab it now and get swept away in the fantasy!*

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MY REVIEW:

5 stars!

Cliffhanger ahead!

I generally dislike cliffhangers. I’ve always needed my happily-ever-after by the last page of a book, but the way Captive of Wolves ends only left me eager for the next book.

I loved the determination and spirit of Talia. No matter the odds, she refused to give up. Even frail and injured, she held on to a spark of hope. When she’s freed and taken in by another cadre of wolves, she’s scared to trust them, no matter how nice most of them seem to be.

Watching August and Sylas fight their attraction to Talia, had me eagerly waiting on them to completely fall for her. And while Whitt comes off as a drunkard who dislikes Talia, we soon learn there’s much more to him.

Wolf fights. A curse. Meddling fae. And a human who is more than ordinary. Captive of Wolves is a page-turning fantasy that will leave you wanting more.

**Disclaimer: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

Dealing with David by Katriena Knights #contemporaryromance @crazywritinfool

After a painful marriage and an even more difficult breakup, Antonytte Mullin has sworn off men. Even her best friend’s “re-wedding” isn’t enough to spark romantic urges in Tony’s broken heart. Until she sees…him.

David Peterson mooned over Tony all through high school, but she never gave him the time of day. Now he’s back, at their mutual friend’s renewal of wedding vows, and with a successful career under his belt, he’s ready for revenge. But when he sees Tony, revenge is the last thing on his mind.

When they’re snowed in together, they get the chance to discover if bruised and broken hearts really can mend.

Previously published by Samhain Publishing

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EXCERPT

Not for the first time, Tony Mullin wondered why in the world she had agreed to stand up in Jim and Julia Richie’s second wedding. Looking at herself in the mirror in the dark blue velvet medieval monstrosity of a dress, she couldn’t really come up with an answer.

Except that Julia was her best friend, had been since forever, and renewing her vows on her tenth anniversary meant the world to her. Plus—and Tony was hesitant to admit the additional motivation even to herself—a good portion of her high school graduating class was going to be there, as well as Julia’s other friends and family. None of Tony’s fellow classmates had seen her since not long after graduation. Truth to tell, Tony had something to prove.

With a sigh, Tony adjusted the tall, pointy hat over her sleekly upswept hair and pinned it in place, adjusting the gauzy blue veils around her face. A collection of dark blonde strands refused to stay in place, falling in less than artful disarray around her face. She looked ridiculous.

The fabric was wonderful, though. Tony slid her hand down the sensuous softness of the velvet and imagined once again the suit it would become once the ceremony was over—Tony’s own version of a designer suit she’d seen in a fashion magazine. It was one of the reasons she’d finally agreed to participate, especially when Julia had offered to foot the bill.

The dippy hat seemed to sit a bit too low on her forehead. Tony loosened a few pins and readjusted it. It hadn’t seemed right, letting Julia buy the dress. But Julia had insisted.

“It’s not a wedding wedding, after all,” she’d argued. “We’re just renewing our vows.”

Tony had just shaken her head, knowing she was about to agree to whatever Julia asked, as much to get her hands on that rich, blue velvet as anything else. “I still can’t believe you convinced Jim to wear tights.”

Julia and Jim’s first wedding had been a simple affair, with a Justice of the Peace presiding and Tony and her then-husband Rudy James serving as witnesses. But Julia had always wanted a big to-do with the wedding party in medieval garb, and that was what she was about to get. The participants were the same—Julia as bride, Jim as groom and Tony as the lone bridesmaid—but the setting looked like something out of a bad Robin Hood movie.

“More like Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” Tony muttered. She stepped out to meet the crowd.

Not for the first time, David Peterson wondered why he’d been invited to Julia and Jim Richie’s second wedding.

Apparently, he wasn’t the only guest with the same question. Except the curious gazes that followed him as he walked up the aisle asked not, “What is he doing here?” but “Who is he?”

David muffled a smile as he sat down. He had most of a pew to himself. The guest list appeared to consist of his and Julia’s entire graduating class, but that had only been about fifty people. Maybe thirty-five of them were here now, sprinkled among faces he didn’t recognize who were probably Julia’s family. Many of their classmates had moved out of state after graduation. David had planned never to see them again. He wanted to see them now, though. Wanted them to see his success. Petty, he knew, but somewhere inside, he was still the nerdy teenager who’d taken the brunt of far too much harassment. He wasn’t proud of it, but there it was.

He smoothed his Star Wars tie, straightened his Armani suit jacket and picked up his program. As he glanced over the order of the ceremony, his heart did a strange little flip, and suddenly, he understood why the universe had conspired to put him in the same room with the people who’d ruined his teenage years.

Julia’s single bridesmaid was Antonytte Mullin.

Mullin. Not James. Mullin.

And David knew he had fallen into the hands of Fate. The question was, what would he do now he was there?

ABOUT KATRIENA KNIGHTS

Katriena Knights wrote her first poem when she was three years old and had to dictate it to her mother under the bathroom door (her timing has never been very good). Now she’s the author of several paranormal and contemporary romances. She recently moved from the mountains of Colorado to Urbana, Illinois, where she lives in a house that’s almost a hundred years old with her daughter and a variety of animals. So far, the house appears not to be haunted.

Author’s Website | Twitter

New Release: Waiting on a Friend by Megan Slayer #holidayromance #GayRomance @meganslayer

Waiting On A Friend (A Start Me Up Christmas Story) (Set In Stone Multi-Author 12)

King Mason doesn’t want to spend another year alone. He loves his job at the men’s shelter, but there has to be more from life than work. He’s seen the pretty blond man around the community and can’t wait to make a move at the Christmas street party.

Randall Stevens has big plans for Christmas 1980, and all of them involve meeting King Mason. He’s fallen hard for the man, and his wish is to take things to the next level. Christmas Eve just might be the night — except some wishes are meant to go sideways. Can Start Me Up help provide the solution he and King need?

Get it Today at Changeling Press

or Preorder for December 4th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Megan Slayer

King Mason tipped his face to the sky and breathed in the night air. For a December evening, the weather in Ohio was unseasonably warm. Probably good since the Christmas street party was scheduled for tonight. He wasn’t in the mood for dancing or drinking, but he wanted to be around people. For the last year, he’d drowned his sorrows in his work at the men’s shelter. He needed to forget his boyfriend, Chuck. Now ex-boyfriend. Chuck wanted to move on. He didn’t want a daddy. He wanted a pretty boy.

King gritted his teeth. Even thinking about Chuck’s term for him annoyed him. A daddy. So he was hairy. So he liked to take care of his partner. Was that bad? At least he could’ve been called a bear or something. He wasn’t super hairy, but more than a lot of guys. He’d never be pretty. It just wasn’t in his genetic makeup. He had scars from his antics as a child and would never not have five o’clock shadow. He looked rough.

He sighed and headed out to the street party. Guys he’d seen from the community, plus a whole lot more, had poured out to the streets. Guys of every shape, size, and so much red and green. Some guys had arrived in drag, sporting sumptuous glittery ball gowns and others with hair a good foot tall. He admired the drag queens. They had so much charisma and ferocity.

Christmas music played and lights glittered from every post. Whoever had done the decorating really liked the twinkle lights. Strands of tinsel blew in the slight breeze. The only way there could be more glitter would be to have someone tossing it from up above.

A guy sashayed passed King and flapped a length of garland at him. He’d decorated his blond wig with rhinestones and wore thick makeup, giving him the look of a tall version of the blond bombshell, Mae West — except with a moustache. “Come up and see me sometime,” the guy said and grinned. “When I’m bad, I’m better.”

King nodded. “Next time.” Everyone loved those old Mae West lines. He wandered through the men to the knot of his friends. Seeing the guys he knew and the ones who respected him helped. They wouldn’t ask about Chuck, and they wouldn’t bother him to hook up with someone else.

That didn’t mean he didn’t have a wish for Christmas. He tipped his face to the stars and murmured his desire. “Santa, I want a man for Christmas. A sweet one, who understands I want love and is willing to be a partner. Someone who will accept my idiosyncrasies and won’t run because I’m getting older.” He doubted there was enough magic in the cosmos to grant that wish, but it didn’t hurt to try. He wished the handsome man he’d seen wandering the community would be there. Every time he looked at the pretty blond man, sparks shot through his system. He’d like to hang some tinsel on him and kiss him under the mistletoe.

King snorted. He never considered himself a romantic, but he’d like to try a little romance with the blond — if he showed up.

“Gonna wrap someone in tinsel and kiss them under the mistletoe?” Todd asked. He’d made overtures toward King lots of times, but wasn’t quite what King wanted. “You keep telling me I’ll get a turn, but you’re always off with someone. You want to tease me, don’t you?”

“I wouldn’t say that.” King shrugged. “I’ve been single for almost a year.”

“Then take me home. We can play a game and hide presents from each other.” Todd trailed his fingers down King’s chest. “Or fuck. Who needs presents when you can fuck?”

“I’ll take it under consideration.” King smiled to hide his true feelings. He hated having to be on, but he wanted men to feel comfortable coming to the shelter, and Todd frequented the shelter — usually trolling for dates.

King prided himself in perpetuating a pleasant atmosphere at the shelter. The guys who showed up tended to be scared and at their wits’ end. Many had been disowned by family and were living on the fringes. They needed somewhere safe to exist and sort themselves out. Some needed to dry out, others needed to clean up… King wanted to be sure the guys were safe and had a friendly face at the desk.

Being a friendly face didn’t soothe his loneliness, especially at Christmas.

Kaz, a man King knew from the baths, crooked his brow. “Want to hook up in the changing rooms? Share a little Christmas cheer? I’ve got poppers.”

“Not tonight.” King wasn’t one for drinking, and he’d taken drugs exactly once — not his thing. The headache from the hangover was a drag, and the lone time he’d gotten high freaked him out too much. He hated losing control, and Kaz tended to fly a little too close to the edge for King. “Have a merry Christmas,” King said. “Happy New Year if I don’t see you before then.”

“You know I will — on both accounts.” Kaz shrugged. “If you’re interested, I’ll be at the baths until two.”

He didn’t doubt it. Kaz spent all his time looking for someone to fuck. King wasn’t one for casual. He wanted a steady guy. Someone to come home to, fuck, and love. Someone to hold when they slept. That’s what he wanted. Was that guy out there?

He hadn’t found the opportunity to talk to him. What if he could be King’s forever?

Darryl, the new owner of Start Me Up, strode up to King. “I hear you could use this.” He handed King a card. “I don’t know what for, and I don’t want to know. Take it.” He mashed the card into King’s hand. “Trust me.”

ABOUT MEGAN SLAYER

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on various e-tailer sites.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.

Find her online: Author Website | Facebook

Release Blitz: Catch a Falling Snowflake by Ava Kelly #LGBTQ #holidayromance @ThunderEternal

Title: Catch a Falling Snowflake

Series: Snow Globes, Book Four

Author: Ava Kelly

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 23, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female

Length: 18700

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, gay, pansexual, transgender, lesbian, intercultural, holiday/Christmas, established couples, children, grieving, family, holiday traditions, foster care

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Synopsis

The previous winter, Leon followed his twin sister Sara to a new town where she could be with her partner, Amber. There, Leon’s boyfriend Nick, friends Jeff and Daniel, and their nine-year-old daughter Abby, swiftly swept him up into their lives, a newfound family.

After a year of growing their relationship, Leon is ready to take it to the next level. Nick, however, has been stalling. When Ben, Abby’s best friend, is suddenly abandoned, Leon is excited to finally care for the children he’s always wanted. Haunted by the mistakes of his past, Nick attempts to reconcile his feelings of inadequacy as a parent with Leon’s wishes.

Against the backdrop of winter holidays filled with traditions from around the world, it is up to Leon to decide if he’s willing to stand by Nick, or if he should find his happiness elsewhere.

Catch a Falling Snowflake, the fourth story in the Snow Globes holiday series, can be read as a stand-alone, but greater enjoyment will come with reading about these characters in the order written.

Excerpt

Catch a Falling Snowflake
Ava Kelly © 2020
All Rights Reserved

The community center was quiet for a Thursday. With vacation and beckoning winter celebrations a day away, Nick expected the ebb of youthful visitors to slow down. Besides, early afternoon was always the calmest, no matter the day. Perhaps that was why he’d chosen this particular time for the support group. Sure, it served those who worked nights, unlike most of the other meetings usually held in the evenings, but Dr. Mahler had had a few requests to organize one during the day, and that was where Nick came in.

He’d been back in his hometown for two years, and soon after settling in, he’d started attending one of the grief support groups. Not that his loss was still fresh, not after years, but as a check-in with himself. As an example for others that, yes, survival was possible. He’d made friends with the local therapist; she was supportive, and he’d booked a session or two when he needed an objective ear. He was doing well.

With a smile to himself, Nick checked on the coffee thermos on the side table, then made sure the heaters underneath the windows of the meeting room were turned on. Outside, snow fell in sparse flakes. Not enough to settle and disrupt activity, but enough to give the air that chilling bite of winter.

Beyond the hills on which the town stretched, the mountains rose toward the gray sky, covered in thick pine forests. He’d missed the view. Missed the people, the smells, the buildings.

He was back to stay. No matter what happened, he wouldn’t leave again. He’d made sure to have some safety nets this time around, just in case. Volunteering for the center, for one, running this group for another, and Dr. Mahler, whom Nick had grown to trust after two years.

Nothing, however, was more important than the people in his life.

Footsteps and voices from the corridor pulled Nick from his musings. He turned to greet the two people walking in, and then another, and another, until six strangers sat in the circle of folding chairs, staring at him. Nick cleared his throat.

“I guess we should start,” he said. “Hello, everyone. My name is Nick, and I’ll be your group leader here. I’d like to remind you that this is not a therapy session, but only a space to talk. If you feel like you need more, Dr. Mahler is here.”

He gestured then, to the side, where a small office was nestled behind glass windows, door closed. The doc waved at them from her desk, legs kicked up casually onto it, crossed at the ankles, an open book in her hand. She grinned and gave them all a thumbs-up.

Around Nick, a couple of people nodded, someone waved back, and the youth with their nose in the collar of their hoodie snorted. Nick made a mental note to check later on their age.

“Doc will be here until tonight, so if you wanna sneak back after we’re finished…”

That, at least, earned him some chuckles. Nick tried not to read too much into it. He’d been to meetings full of strangers before. This would be no different. Determination reinforced, he took a deep breath.

“We’re here to talk, but don’t feel like you have to. You can just listen, if that works. But I’d like to remind everyone to be mindful and respect the privacy of these meetings.”

All nodded, and Nick copied the gesture with a thank-you.

“Has anyone been to one of these meetings before?”

Headshakes and muttered noes.

“Well.” Nick shifted. “We talk about those we’ve lost. We talk about us. The weather. Sports. Music. That movie last week with all the sword fighting.”

“And blatant disregard for proper archery,” a woman said.

“That too.”

“Does it help?”

Heads swiveled to the person in the hoodie.

“It can,” Nick said. “Sometimes it helps to just be around people who’ve been through similar things. Not everyone processes in the same way, though, so it might not be as useful.”

“Have you— Did—” Hoodie shook themself into silence, and Nick nodded anyway.

“I’ve been there. Actually, this week marks a sort of anniversary for me, so I wanted to start by telling you my story if you’d like to hear it.”

That got him their attention. Curiosity and wariness, too, but it was to be expected. First time could be scary, especially under the strain of mourning. Nick remembered with clarity his first visit to an informal support group. His first group session, though, was hazy around the edges. He leaned forward, elbows on knees, and clasped his hands together.

“I was born here. With the exception of college, I’ve lived here for twenty-six years. I had a wife and a best friend and a baby on the way.”

He’d had Lauren and Jeff, twins he’d known since childhood. Through shenanigans and quiet moments and major decisions, they’d always been there. Nick and Lauren had gotten married right after college, and four years later—

“My wife died during childbirth. I watched it happen, and it’s not an image I can ever unsee. It broke me enough that my immediate thoughts were harmful toward myself and the baby. A girl. Innocent and frail, and not at fault at all. I left before I even held her once, and then spent the next seven years healing. Wasn’t pretty. Hurt a lot.”

Nick swallowed and shifted, pausing to collect his thoughts.

“What happened to her?” Hoodie asked.

“My wife’s twin brother adopted her. He was also my best friend.”

Not anymore. Jeff had a new bestie. When Nick first met Amber, he hadn’t paid much attention. It had been a brief interaction as it was, two years back, when she’d provided a ride to Jeff’s place. Amber was tall and sometimes moved like she wanted to make herself smaller. Less visible. Quiet too. Later, Nick learned she kept most people at a distance. Not in any way that might’ve been rude or hostile, but more along the lines of hiding behind a hard, thick shell. Kinda like Nick used to be, way back.

A deep breath.

“I hurt both him and the kid,” Nick continued, “because I stayed away for a long time. No contact whatsoever.”

“You suck,” Hoodie commented, but Nick fully agreed.

“Yes. Grief can make us hurt others, even when we don’t want to. It’s not excusable, though it can be explainable. Still, being mindful of those I loved was a hard-learned lesson for me.”

“But now you’re back.”

Nick nodded. “We’re working on me making up for it.”

“How?” The question came from the side, a woman with a drawn face, hugging her middle with both arms. Nick recognized that look. Guilt.

“I returned two years ago,” Nick said. “Found my friend and the kid happy. There was even a second parent involved—my friend’s life partner. Instead of being reasonable, I blew it by being an ass to them. Said mean things, made threats. Friend’s partner made me see logic. I’m grateful for him being there. They got married this summer.”

He offered a quick grin, blinking back the sting behind his eyes. Daniel was someone Nick respected through and through. He was good for Jeff and Abby.

“I don’t understand why they forgave me for being such an ass, but they did. As for my long absence… That’s the part with more serious repercussions and has been a lot harder to work through. Friend is letting me though. He’s willing, but I had to take the first step. Say that first apology—” He looked at the woman who’d asked directly. “—and not expect it to be accepted.”

“Harsh.”

“Yes, but we make mistakes, and we must bear the consequences. The best we can do after hurting others is to allow them the space they need, and understand if they can’t forgive.” With a long exhale, Nick straightened. “It’s not that grim. Sure, in the wake of what you—we’ve all been through, it might seem that what comes ahead is insurmountable. Sometimes it is, in which case you either dig through or go around, or choose a whole different path. It might also be a long, drawn-out, tiresome battle. Grief is not easy. But it’s survivable.”

And that was the whole point. That was why Nick was there, opening himself up over and over again.

“My journey is in a good place right now. I’m an uncle for the kid, her parents are my friends, and hey, I even have a boyfriend. Accidental acquisition, it was very rom-com.”

Faces perked up with undisguised interest, and Nick offered them a small smile. He got it. After Lauren, when the pain had still been so fresh he could taste it, he’d latched on to happy tales as distractions on the good days. On the bad ones, not so much. Looking around the room, it seemed his current audience wanted to hear this part of his story.

The previous year, they’d spent part of the holidays on a training retreat with Abby’s elementary school chess club, along with other third graders from all around. Daniel and Amber had chaperoned, with Nick and Jeff trailing along.

“Last winter vacation we went to this resort in the Alps. It involved a lot of children, chess, and snow—more like yelling on the slopes, actually—but it was fun. First time I met him, he threw line after line of quips while I stood there, all coherence gone. In retrospect, I should’ve realized it, but you know”—he gestured—“I was unaccustomed to someone catching my interest so suddenly.”

Nick had replayed that particular moment in his head over and over again. Leon smirking, stupid green hat over curls poking out in tiny swirls at his temples.

“And then we found out we had to share a room. You’ll never guess—”

“There was only one bed,” said Hoodie with a groan.

“Yep! We had a connection during that short vacation, but we parted ways, and I thought that would be that. Only, after I’d gotten home, I figured I didn’t want it to end. I had no idea he was coming here for New Year’s, so on December 31st, he found me in the park, brooding over lost chances.”

A few half smiles twitched around the room. Hoodie gave a thumbs-up.

“So your anniversary is coming up,” an old man to the left commented.

“Indeed. Speaking of, friend and partner’s anniversary is on the thirtieth. Seems to be a trend with us.”

Not to mention Sara and Amber had gotten together around Christmas, too, as far as Nick could tell, but those two had several anniversaries they celebrated during the year, and Nick was unclear on which was what.

The old man nodded pensively. “Martha and I, we had it on Halloween. We celebrated the day before and the day after. She said we couldn’t let candy steal all our fun, though she loved giving it out.”

With that, the others started pitching in, and Nick gave himself an inner pat on the back.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read Universal Link

Meet the Author

Ava Kelly is an engineer with a deep passion for stories. Whether reading, watching, or writing them, Ava has always been surrounded by tales of all genres. Their goal is to bring more stories to life, especially those of friendship and compassion, those dedicated to trope subversion, those that give the void a voice, and those that spawn worlds of their own.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Book Blitz: The Flame Game #UrbanFantasy @RJ_Blain

The Flame Game
R.J. Blain
(Magical Romantic Comedies, #12)
Publication date: November 24th 2020
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Bailey and Quinn are back for one last action-filled adventure!

A corrupt police chief is on the loose, and it falls to Bailey and Quinn to put an end to him before he finds some way to weaponize the spreading rabies virus, create yet another batch of potent gorgon dust, and otherwise wreck Bailey’s happily ever after.

With a pair of orphaned gorgon whelps to care for, more animals she can shake a stick at, and her husband’s determination to make the world a perfect place for her, Bailey has her hands full. To protect everyone she loves, she must embrace her dubious role as the Calamity Queen and rain hell down on those who stand in her way.

The Flame Game is on.

Warning: this novel contains two fire-breathing unicorns on a napalm bender, action, adventure, chaos, mayhem, humor, and bodies. Proceed with caution.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

The father I hadn’t met until this morning walked me down the aisle, but Quinn’s hands holding mine kept me from running in terror at so many people witnessing me marrying someone like him. I questioned everything about my odd life. Me, the Calamity Queen, marry him? It took a few moments to remember I’d already married him once. I’d asked that same question then, too. He’d laughed, and then he’d goaded me until I’d done what he wanted, which involved me marrying him.

Crazy man.

There’d been a bunch of witnesses to that courthouse madness, too, and I’d survived through it mostly unscathed. Most of the witnesses to our first wedding had been too busy brawling with each other to pay any attention to me signing the papers that gave Samuel Leviticus Quinn certain rights to me, but that didn’t matter.

Reminding myself his signature on the same papers meant I got rights to him did a good job of steadying my rattled nerves.

No matter how many times I failed to tell him properly, I loved him.

To endure so many people staring at me, all I needed to do was remember a few key things. After the vows came the food, after the food came a show of gorgons petrifying each other during a brawl, and after the brawling came the pampering in our suite, which would be devoid of children for at least twenty-four hours, courtesy of an assortment of parents and grandparents.

I needed a lot longer than twenty-four hours to come to terms with having two pairs of parents.

One set hated me.

The other, who I’d learned about just yesterday, loved me.

I needed a lot longer than twenty-four hours to adjust to my life’s new circumstances.

First, I needed to survive through my second wedding. Tomorrow, I would resume my quest to be the best mother possible for our pair of orphaned gorgon children, who would spend the rest of the day and most of tomorrow socializing with the other gorgons in attendance, most of whom were related to my husband in one way or another.

Staring at Quinn and refusing to acknowledge anyone else in the Venetian’s canals would help with that, at least until we made it to the food portion of our wedding day. Once the food came around, I didn’t care who watched me devour steak, steak, and even more steak.

The fire-breathing, meat-eating unicorn in me loved steak almost as much as I loved the man who’d turned my life upside down on me.

My husband made no effort to hide his amusement, and he squeezed my hands while we both ignored the minister, who did a pretty damned good job of impersonating Elvis while reading the scripted sermon. He went on and on about the responsibilities of married couples, husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers, along with the death-do-we-part stuff I doubted applied to us at all thanks to our mishmash of crazy relatives, most of whom were in attendance.

A few too many gods and goddesses for my comfort joined almost every damned cop in our precinct to witness us confess our love to each other. Or, at a minimum, blurt ‘I do’ in some horrifically embarrassing fashion.

I had trouble with the basics, and nothing had changed since I’d married my gorgon-incubus doohickey the first time.

“You can look somewhere other than me if you want,” Quinn whispered, leaning closer to me.

I debated stealing a kiss before the official kissing portion of the ceremony, although the dumb veil kept getting in my way. Quinn had already shunted the damned thing back, but it kept falling wherever it wanted, to the point I wanted to light it on fire.

Nobody had warned me how much of a pain in the ass wedding dresses could be. And the heels? The heels might do me in. What had I done to deserve the damned heels, especially with the asshole pair of parents uninvited from the ceremony? While inserting my heels into their asses would have made my day, having a pair of parents who actually wanted me trumped my petty desire for revenge.

Huh. Somehow, I’d grown up since meeting Quinn, although only a little.

I forced my attention back on my husband. “If I look anywhere other than at you, I will see them staring at me. You’re prettier than they are, and I absolutely refuse to be ashamed of this.”

A few months ago, I would have gone and cried in the bathroom had I said that where anyone might hear me.

The Elvis impersonator grinned. “He really is prettier than everyone else here. You’re a very lucky woman.”

Oops. I shrugged, but I also smiled. “It’s true. I can’t help it. He’s in a suit. He can’t wear dress uniforms at home. I get ideas. I am enjoying this while it lasts. Someone is going to take a picture of him in his suit, and I will end up being bribed for copies of the pictures. I’ll have to ration the pictures out. I make him late for work if he wears anything other than his normal uniform. He has to change at work.”

Well, maybe I couldn’t keep my blabbering mouth under control, but I could make people laugh. The entire audience had a field day with my runaway commentary, but beyond blushing over my nervous tendencies, I resisted the urge to dash for the door. If I bolted, Quinn would catch me, drag me back, and laugh about it for the rest of eternity.

It amazed me how much could change in such a short period of time. Six months ago, I’d been bitter, alone, tired, and hungry more often than not. I no longer worried about what I’d eat; if I skipped a meal, Quinn chased me down and hovered until I did what he wanted, which involved eating whatever offering he had brought for me.

Greasy fries and burgers showed up almost as often as healthier fare. He even tolerated me trying to shove fries down his throat, as he deserved to enjoy greasy goodness, too.

I had issues.

I had a lot fewer issues than six months ago.

I deserved a gold star and an entire bucket of napalm for how much progress I’d made.

Quinn chuckled, which captured my attention, and he stole a gentle kiss. “Don’t worry. I’m going to have as much trouble as you when I get you into a dress uniform.”

I loved my gorgon-incubus doohickey. “Serves you right, you freak.” Aw, damn it. There I went, calling my husband a freak on our second wedding day. “I’m blaming the absurd number of cops in this building for my inability to behave like a normal adult.”

The cops snickered, which helped mitigate most of my urge to run away and hide from my ability to thoroughly embarrass myself. Then again, if I did run away and hide, Quinn would cheat and use his body to lure me to our room. Running so he’d chase me tempted me, but I stood my ground for a rare change.

Sometime within a few hours, he would lure me to our room, and I would be rewarded for handling our second wedding with a little more grace than our first. Mostly. Maybe with less grace but properly dressed. I could work with properly dressed for our second wedding.

Author Bio:

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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Release Blitz: Liquid Courage by Stephanie Shea #LGBTQ #ContemporaryRomance @Stephan98794910 @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Liquid Courage

Author: Stephanie Shea

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 23, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 85800

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, new-adult, coming out, college, dark, friends to lovers, soulmates, slow burn/UST

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Synopsis

Alexandria Van Kirk has always been a slave to her romantic nature. When a night of liquid courage lands her in bed with one of her best friends, Alex is confronted by a host of feelings that terrify her. Feelings about her friend and, unexpectedly, a barista from her favorite café.

It’s a tug of war between heart and body. Desire against all her daydreams of someone to share silence, sunsets, and coffee with.

But Alex’s past is also about to catch up with her. Tortured memories and the girl they’re all about. It’s like fighting the pull of a whirlwind. A surefire losing battle. But embracing a newfound romance amid the return of an old flame is a precarious balance, one not even Alex herself is sure she can manage.

How the hell does she choose between the girl she loves and the one she could never confess loving to begin with?

Excerpt

Liquid Courage
Stephanie Shea © 2020
All Rights Reserved

It had been brewing for weeks.

No.

Months.

Alex supposed it didn’t matter how long. Tensions between her and Ryan had reached a boiling point. Her body thrummed with quiet unease as vodka scorched down her throat and seeped through her veins. She shouldn’t have been drinking this much. What had she eaten? A few chips and maybe half a dozen gummy bears? No wonder the liquor had gone to her head so fast. It was sort of a nice buzz though—enough for her to feel a little less inhibited but still be aware the creepy guy she’d met earlier had been trying to talk her into a dark corner for the last ten minutes.

She leaned against the doorframe, gaze weaving through the mass of sweaty bodies dancing in the living room to land on Ryan.

Ryan tossed her head back in a laugh, grinding on some random guy who was more than happy to have his hands all over her. Her red, ruched dress rode up her thighs with every move. She flipped her jet-black hair and swept it all to one shoulder as her eyes landed on Alex, a smirk lingering on her lips.

Alex’s skin prickled with sweat.

Maybe it wasn’t the vodka.

Maybe it was the fact that Dom had crammed more than fifty people into a house meant to accommodate three for the riot he called a birthday party. God knows Alex didn’t go to these things for fun, but Dom was her oldest friend. She loved him way too much to not show up for his birthday, even if she was as close as any technology-obsessed millennial to becoming a hermit.

The guy—what did say his name was?—leaned closer, pulling her attention to his gangly, unattractive form. “So, do you want to maybe take a walk down to the park?” He stared at her expectantly, sweaty red strands of hair clinging to his forehead. As if she was going to be lured into the park at midnight to be groped by some guy who resembled a ’90s crackhead.

“Do you know what Einstein’s definition of insanity is?” she asked.

“No. But being this close to you definitely drives me crazy.”

Alex rolled her eyes, pushing him out of her personal space. A spot to herself to wait out the night. That’s all she needed. The one she’d been standing in had been perfect. Until now. Her gaze flittered across the room where Ryan had been dancing only to land on strange faces. “Damn it.” She started forward and bumped her way through the teeming living room toward the kitchen.

Nothing.

Doubling back, she tried scanning every five-feet-something girl who had dark hair. It hadn’t occurred to her before how many girls fit the criteria. Still, it would only take seconds to process that this girl’s hair was a few shades too light; that one’s skin wasn’t pale enough. Another was wearing a nearly identical dress, but the arch of her back didn’t seem quite right. Ry had a bigger ass.

Alex halted at the sight of Ryan sitting hunched over in a loveseat across the living room. She pushed her way through the dancefloor. “Ry?” Alex tilted her head slightly. “What’s wrong?”

Ryan peered up, eyes glossy and gleaming as she grinned at Alex. “Nothing.” Her head fell to her lap again.

Alex drew her brows together. Nothing really appeared to be wrong with Ry besides her being a little tipsy and possibly playing an adult version of peek-a-boo. She slid into the free space on the couch and shifted at the press of Ryan’s thighs against hers. Proximity wouldn’t do much to resolve her internal conflict. It sure didn’t soothe the thought that even sitting there with this thing between them still simmering was a terrible idea. She forced it down. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

“I told you. It’s nothing.”

“Ry…come on.” Alex nudged her, pressing her forehead to the side of Ryan’s face to provoke her into lifting her head again.

“I got a little light-headed. I’m better now.”

“Promise?”

Ryan turned her head, her lips brushing against Alex’s. “Promise.”

Alex’s breath caught, her pulse climbing. The heat… It wasn’t the vodka or the party being too crowded. It was them. A million red lights went off in her head. Ryan was one of her best friends. Risking that would be stupid and impulsive, and they’d both had too much to drink.

Ry dragged in a deep breath, and their lips brushed again, and Alex’s hesitance burst into spectrums of green. She leaned forward, taking Ryan’s lips in a gentle kiss. Slow, timid almost, as if they were both afraid to react too much. To react more than the other.

Was it good or bad that Ryan had kissed her back? Even with all the weird tension between them, she’d never imagined how acting on it would feel. Some lines weren’t meant to be crossed. Now that she had, she craved more of Ryan’s lips on hers—soft and yielding.

They jerked apart as a girl bumped into them, spilling the last few drops of her drink onto Ryan’s lap. The girl giggled and offered a barely coherent “Sorry” as she stumbled away.

Ryan stood, Alex following as Ryan weaved her way through the crowd almost aggressively, forcing people out of the way with her hands to clear a path.

“Ry!” The music smothered Alex’s attempt.

Ryan rounded the corner at the end of the hallway leading out of the living room.

Alex quickened her steps. As she rounded the bend too, she noticed Dom’s bedroom door had been opened. She took a tentative step inside. “Ry? Are you in her—”

The door slammed, and Alex turned. Ryan backed into it with a thud, pulling Alex against her, their lips pressed against each others. Alex’s hands found Ryan’s hips, and she squeezed. Everything from her grip to the way her teeth latched onto Ryan’s bottom lip was a confession. There’d be no stopping now. Not unless Ryan came to her senses and pulled away. Deep down, Alex was pleading for that to happen before things went too far, before their bodies admitted every word their lips refused to speak.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read Universal Link

Meet the Author

Stephanie Shea is a self-proclaimed introvert, who spends her days as a banker daydreaming of becoming a full-time novelist. Her mind’s fixation on characters and plotlines date back to high school when she’d find herself scribbling notes on her first novel instead of paying attention in calculus. These days, she reaches for a Post-It in her desk when inspiration strikes.

Her favorite things include binging tv shows, creating worlds where no character is too queer, broken or sensitive, and snacks. Lots of snacks.

Someday, she hopes to curb her road rage, and get past her anxiety over social media and author bios. Find her on Instagram.

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Book Blitz: Night Watch by Anne Anderson #ParanormalRomance @annieande

Night Watch
Annie Anderson
(Soul Reader, #1)
Publication date: November 17th 2020
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Waking up at the foot of your own grave is no picnic… especially when you can’t remember how you got there.

Cursed with powers she can’t name, Sloane Cabot has vowed to catch the Rogue who turned her into a monster and killed her family. Too bad a broodingly hot mage is bound to keep her on the straight and narrow.

Whether she likes it or not…

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“Thomas warned me about this, you know,” Bastian began, his voice pitched low, his booted feet striding close but not piercing my bubble.

I kept my gaze latched onto his feet and refused to look up. If I caught sight of his neck, of his blood pulsing in that lovely vein, I’d lose it. I wasn’t hungry yet and I wanted to keep it that way.

I cleared my throat, an action that took far too much effort and hurt for some reason. My throat was dry. Why was it so dry? “Warned you about what?”

“He said that, in time, I would want to be bitten. That the thought of you hungry or in pain would make me want to serve myself up so you didn’t suffer. That it was dangerous and blissful and would likely cause you to leave us.”

His feet moved closer, piercing my bubble. The heat of him washed over me, even though he was a few feet away.

I shook my head, which I instantly regretted because blood loss was a thing and I was losing a lot of it, the healing process taking far too long. Booth must have hit an artery.

“I don’t want to be tied to anyone. I don’t want a home. I don’t want friends.” It was a lie—a whole mountain of lies—but it was the truth, too. I didn’t want a tie to someone who was going to leave me. I didn’t want a home if I was going to lose it. I didn’t want friends that would die on me.

“Too bad.”

Author Bio:

Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she’ll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life… interesting.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest


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All Wrapped Up by Willa Okati, Lacey Savage, and Emma Ray Garrett #BDSM #romancebooks @willaokati @laceysavage @Emma_Ray_G

Alien Space Marines, a celebrity photographer, and a pair of vampires find their perfect mates on the dark side of the night.

Chain of Three by Willa Okati: Mix two alien Marines, a human BDSM Master, and a shapeshifting Empress with a mind of her own, and what do you get? A whole lot of trouble. It’s a three-way battle for dominance, and the Empress knows something she’s not telling…

Naked Exposure by Lacey Savage: When savvy celebrity photographer Deidre Laxon trespasses on private property in pursuit of hot Hollywood bachelor Greg Radigan, she has no idea she’s about to capture him in all his naked glory participating in some very explicit BDSM play. When Greg and Deidre finally come face-to-face, he’s ready to exact revenge. And nothing short of Deidre’s complete submission will satisfy him…

Torqued by Emma Ray Garrett: Being a dominatrix gives Reliant Agent Pru Gordon perfect access to the Nightside she polices. And it lets her fulfill her fantasies at the same time. It’s the perfect life. Until the night she meets Gage Mills and Ro Thomas. When two of the darkest predators around meet up with the best Controller alive, things are bound to get messy… Just what the Domme ordered.

Publisher’s Note: Please note that not all genres and themes apply to the entire collection.

Get it today at Changeling Press

or Preorder for November 27th at online booksellers

Praise for All Wrapped Up Vol. 2

“This is the perfect book to have on hand when there’s only a short period of time to fill. Each story is a very satisfyingly quick read. I highly recommend this entertaining trio of tales.”— Susan P., The Romance Studio

EXCERPT

Excerpt from Chain of Three Willa Okati
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Willa Okati

“So, you’re pretending to be a human again today, are you?”

Dane grunted in response. In his opinion, a stupid question didn’t deserve any kind of answer. Anyone with two, three, four or more eyes in their head or what they called a head ought to know better. Of course he’d shifted into human shape. He wasn’t stupid.

The Empress hadn’t exactly ordered Her subjects to assume the images of the humans She adored and fell passionately in love with. However, anyone who wasn’t too dumb to come in out of the rain knew they’d better wear the right “uniform” unless they had an itch to annoy Her.

You really, really didn’t want to annoy the Supreme Commander of a thousand-plus starships and a million trained warriors.

Besides, he’d decided to lounge by the pond in the garden of his new quarters that morning and tentacles had a nasty tendency to develop vicious sunburn. “Getting a tan” the earthfolk they’d rescued from their doomed planet called this practice. They’d said it was relaxing and made them look more attractive to those they wanted to mate with.

No, those they wanted to fuck.

If Dane was going to play human, then he’d damn well get the details right. Mating and fucking were completely different concepts. One of the new traditions most of his countrymen and women liked best when it came to playing human was the idea of fucking without having to tangle themselves up in mating.

“Fuck.” An interesting word you could use in almost any sentence.

Dane paused for a second to appreciate the amazing range of human obscenities, otherwise called “swearing,” “cursing,” or “cussin’.” They worked great when a guy didn’t really know what else to say.

Speaking of which, Dane decided getting a suntan was probably a piss-poor waste of time. He couldn’t figure out why anyone would enjoy damaging the pigmentation of their skin by sitting in the sun all day, but as the earthfolk also said, what the hell? He didn’t have anything better to do. Not since he’d been “honorably” discharged from the military, sent back to their home planet for recuperation, and then…

Dane shuddered.

“Aww. He shivered. Izza baby boy cold?” Julian taunted in American English.

Raising the middle finger of his human-shaped hand, Dane pointed it where he figured Julian would be standing. Another handy earthfolk trick, cussing with hand signals.

Julian hooted. “Up yours too!” He made the suggestion in cheerful good humor. Probably purely for the sake of annoying Dane. He never took offense at anything Dane did. He treated every barb and sting like some big game. Prick. “You’re cranky today, old man. What flew up your ass?”

Dane grunted again as his only answer, deciding if that wasn’t good enough for Julian he could go screw himself.

Mmm. He really, really loved human profanity. So rich, depending on culture, and so satisfying. He and Julian both studied the underground lists of new phrases together to figure out what they meant, bitching at each other over who got to read first if they didn’t both have a copy. The time when Julian insisted “son of a bitch” meant the same thing as “son of a motherless goat” had resulted in a fight of amazing violence and duration.

In the end, the Empress Herself gave them a tongue-lashing of Her own and sent them to their rooms to stand with their noses in the corner until they learned to behave like men, not children.

Julian’s fault, in Dane’s opinion. Dumbass.

ABOUT WILLA OKATI

Willa Okati is made of many things: imagination, coffee, stray cat hairs, daydreams, more coffee, kitchen experimentation, a passion for winter weather, a little more coffee, a whole lot of flowering plants, genderfluidity, and a lifelong love of storytelling. She is definitely one of the quiet ones you have to watch out for. Favorite story types include: friends to lovers, reunited lovers, enemies to lovers, mpreg, polyamory, medical romances, Regency/Edwardian/WWII historical romances, and romantic comedies.

ABOUT LACEY SAVAGE

Award-winning author Lacey Savage loves to write about her dreams — or more specifically, she loves to breathe life into her steamy fantasies (and she’s got plenty!). She pens erotic tales of true love and mythical destiny, peopled with strong alpha heroes and feisty heroines. A hopeless romantic, Lacey loves writing about the intimate, sensual side of relationships. She currently resides in Ottawa, Canada, with her mischievous husband and their loving cat.

ABOUT EMMA RAY GARRETT

“…and I — I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

-The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

The last line from award-winning author Emma Ray’s favorite poem pretty much sums up her life. Her tendency to do her own thing is what her friends and family love best, and least, about her. Chaos is a constant in the Garrett home, which currently houses her intelligent, energetic children, a devoted husband, a very large, very lazy, white tom-cat, a very crazy, very small black cat, and a very happy, very healthy rescue pooch — who’s black and white.

New Release: Serenaded by the Alien Vampire Rock Star by Crymsyn Hart #AlienEncounters #SciFiRomance @crymsynhart

After Irene Beckham accidentally discovers rock star Ace Hendrix’s big secret, she wakes up in his bedroom without any memory of how she got there. As flashes of her memory of the night before return, Ace makes her an offer. Let him suck her blood, and he’ll make her a wealthy woman if she can stay quiet about it. Ace even proves to her he didn’t take advantage of her the night before.

When the press gets wind of Ace’s new fling, Irene decides she’s not the right woman for him, but Ace knows they’re meant to be together. He doesn’t care what the paparazzi says, he has to have her in his life no matter the cost.

Get it today at Changeling Press

Or Preoder for November 27th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Crymsyn Hart

Irene opened her eyes and rolled her neck. A stab of pain struck her throat. She sat up and pushed her hair back. Her fingers hit her glasses. She pulled them off and found they had been fixed. “What the hell?”

Glancing around, she discovered she’d woken up in a room not her own. Dark blue walls were hung with pictures of the ocean and cliffside vistas. One was so huge it made it seem like she looked out a window. And yet she couldn’t find any windows. A bed large enough to sleep four people took up most of the room. What the fuck happened? She took off her glasses and inspected them to make sure they were hers. She ran her hands over the wall, looking for any crack that could be a door. After going over the whole room, she knocked on the walls to hear if any were hollow. With nothing but hurting knuckles, she slammed her fist on a bare spot on the wall.

“Let me out of here,” she screamed.

“Enough with the yelling. I have a headache as it is,” a male voice came over a speaker.

“Who are you and what are you going to do with me?” Irene scanned the room looking for a speaker.

Something clicked and a portion of the wall popped out. Someone hovered in the hallway. “Come on. We have a few things to discuss before you can go.” She recognized Ace’s voice.

Irene followed the rocker. Posters of old concerts from Buddy Holly, Jimmy Hendrix, The Doors, Madonna, all from different eras of music and mixed with framed golden records lined the hallway. As she ran after him, all she could stare at was his ass in those leather pants. “Mr. Hendrix, how did I end up here?”

He turned down the hall and Irene rushed to catch up with him. He turned another corner. She found him as he grabbed a bottle of water from a fridge that blended in with the cabinets around it. He flung himself down onto a sofa and gestured for her to take a seat across from him.

Irene sank down into the couch. Records, CDs, cassette tapes, anything music-related lined the bookshelves around the room. “You have quite a music collection.”

His gaze roamed around the room and a slight smile came on his face. “Thanks. I’ve been collecting for a long time. Music’s always been my escape. Would you like some water?”

“Sure. Thanks.”

He tossed the bottle of water at her. It hit the back of the couch next to her and bounced onto the seat. “Sorry. Like I said I’m getting over the hangover from last night.”

“About last night. How did I get here? Back at your house? Where’s my friend?”

“What’s the last thing you remember?”

She squeezed the bridge of her nose, trying to recall what happened. Her head pounded as she tried to draw forth the memories after she waited in line with Bev for Ace. “My glasses got knocked off and trampled. You picked them up and your assistant gave me and Bev backstage passes.” A spear of pain sliced her temple. She tried to pull up more. It remained out of her reach. “I don’t know.” She ran her fingers over her jeans as a thought passed through her head. “We didn’t… ahh…”

“Fuck?” he asked.

Her cheeks burned at his language. “Yeah.”

“No, we didn’t. After you wandered into my dressing room, you fainted. Nicole, my assistant, brought in my doctor. He said you’d passed out from having too much to drink. I thought it best to have you brought back here to sleep it off where no one’d bother you. We put you in the guestroom to sleep it off. I can have my car take you wherever you need to go.”

Irene sipped the water and thought back to being with Bev before the show. “I didn’t have anything to drink.”

“You sure? Maybe your friend slipped you something. It’d account for you thinking your glasses were broken.”

“They were. You picked them up for me.”

“You stumbled and dropped them right in front of me, but they weren’t broken.”

Nothing of what he said made any sense to her. Irene tried to rack her mind at what happened the night before. The ache hit her temple again. She winced. “No… I…”

“Look, you’re awake. You seem fine to me. Now, I have a life to get back to. It was very nice to meet you. I’ll have my driver take you home. Come on.”

Ace got up and walked out of the room. Irene sat trying to make sense of what he’d said. This doesn’t sound right. If I passed out, then Bev would’ve wormed her way into coming with me, playing at being nursemaid. She squeezed her eyes shut and recalled clearly her glasses had been broken. They went backstage with Nicole, and then she had tried to find the restroom. And then… she walked into Ace’s dressing room, but he was…

“What the hell was he doing?” Irene whispered.

ABOUT CRYMSYN HART

Crymsyn Hart is a National Bestselling author of over eighty paranormal romance and horror novels. Her experiences as a psychic and ghostly encounters have given her a lot of material to use in her books. Vampires, grim reapers, shifters, and other paranormal creatures tend to end up in her books no matter how hard she tries to keep them away.

She currently resides in Charlotte, NC with her hubby and her three dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s curled up with the dogs watching a good horror movie or off with friends.

To find out more about Crymsyn, check out her website on: www.crymsynhart.com

Kilted Wolves by Jessica Coulter Smith & Kenna McKay #shifters #paranormalromance

Kilted Wolves
Jessica Coulter Smith & Kenna McKay

Published by Changeling Press

A werewolf can only deny his destined mate for so long before the beast takes over.

Ranald’s Mate: Ranald has resigned himself to an arranged mating with a lass he can barely tolerate. He never counted on her turning into a feisty beauty! But if there’s one thing Ranald knows how to do, it’s woo a lass. His mate doesn’t stand a chance.

Highland Shifter’s Baby: One sniff and Camdan knows Lily’s his destined mate. Too bad she’s off-limits — or is she? When the temptation becomes too great, Cam knows that he’ll do whatever it takes to claim Lily and make her his.

Get it November 20th at Changeling Press

https://bit.ly/38JUg8I

Or preorder at online booksellers for November 27th

https://books2read.com/KiltedWolves

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Jessica Coulter Smith & Kenna McKay
Excerpt from Ranald’s Mate

Blair tapped her fingers on her leg, trying not to think about what awaited her. She remembered the boy she’d met all those years ago. He hadn’t been thrilled at the idea of mating with her, and she couldn’t blame him. She hadn’t been anyone’s ideal. Blair liked to think she’d improved over time, but men still gave her a wide berth. Her father had wanted her to go to her mating a virgin, but she’d taken care of that little pesky problem when she’d turned nineteen and realized she didn’t want her mate thinking she was unprepared for him.

Oh, she’d heard the talk over the years. Her mate had been kicking up his heels and having a grand time, diving under one skirt after another. Good thing shifters couldn’t carry diseases or she’d worry she might catch something from him. She supposed she couldn’t hold it against him. He’d been so young when they were contracted, older than her, but still young. It must have chafed to have his life mapped out for him. As for her, it wasn’t uncommon for a father to arrange a marriage for a daughter, but not in the pack. A bit outdated, perhaps, but she understood he meant well.

What kind of wolf had Ranald turned into? Despite his obvious distaste over mating with her, he’d seemed kind when she’d met him. Her father had encouraged her to seek him out over the years, but she’d always held back. Truthfully, she’d been enamored of him at that first meeting. He’d been so tall, his shoulders already broad. The way his hair had fallen over his forehead had made her fingers itch to push it back to see if it felt silky. She’d had a crush, instant lust, and it hadn’t dissipated over the years.

She’d had lovers, but only a few. Blair considered it research, not wanting to go to her mate’s bed a complete innocent. Unbeknownst to her father, she’d downloaded videos to learn how to please a man, and she couldn’t wait to put the knowledge to good use. Whatever her mate wanted in the bedroom, he would get. She’d learned long ago, a satisfied mate was a mate who didn’t stray. If they were true mates, she’d never have to worry about it. Destined mates would rather cut off their paw than cheat on their mate. But with an arranged mating? Anything was possible.

“You’re quiet,” her father said.

“Just thinking. Do you think Ranald has changed much over the years?”

“I have no’ seen him, but I’ve heard the whispers. He’s something of a ladies man, but I wouldnae fret. I’m sure he’ll be faithful to you.” Her father muttered something under his breath and she smiled when she made out the words or I’ll neuter him. He may be old and dying, but her father was still every inch the alpha male. He took his duties seriously, which was why he would be stepping down after she was mated today. He hadn’t trusted anyone to honor the contract between Ranald and her, but once the deed was done, he would be free.

It was sad that she wouldn’t be part of her pack any longer. She was not just gaining a mate, but a father-in-law and new pack mates. Would they accept her? She didn’t doubt that there would be challenges. With a male of Ranald’s standing, she would be highly surprised if the females in the pack just sat back and let him mate someone without a challenge. But what no one knew was that Blair had been training for this day. It’s why she’d taken so long to mate with Ranald. Every morning she’d risen and gone into the woods where she met up with Fyor, an ancient elf. He’d sworn her to secrecy, as elves and wolves didn’t get along. She’d kept his presence a secret in exchange for battle training. If she could take down a two-centuries-old elf, then she had faith she could take down a bitchy she-wolf.

They pulled to a stop in front of the alpha’s house. Butterflies erupted in her stomach and she wondered if Ranald was inside. She hadn’t seen him in ten long years. Had those years been kind to him? He’d been handsome as a teen, had that carried over into adulthood? Blair had to admit she was both excited and nervous to see her mate again. She was a far cry from the mousy girl he’d once seen. Would he like the woman she’d become? Or would she still fall short in the eyes of the mighty Ranald Douglas?

Her hair wasn’t quite as frizzy as it once was, now hanging in sleek curls to her waist, thanks to a hair mask she used religiously. Her freckles had faded over the years and could be hidden entirely with a light layer of make-up, when she deigned to wear any. She was still tiny, not quite five feet tall, and her figure was… well, her hourglass had a little extra, but she hadn’t had complaints from the few boys she’d dated, behind her father’s back of course. She supposed she was pleased with her appearance.

Today being a special day, she’d chosen to wear a pretty sundress with low-heeled sandals. She’d even gotten a manicure and pedicure for her big day. She’d wanted everything to be perfect, but what happened next would rely solely on Ranald. He must have agreed to mating, or she wouldn’t be here, right? Surely, he wouldn’t wait until she showed up on his doorstep to deny her? She’d had all week to pack and think about her future, a future with Ranald. But she had to admit, that several times she’d pictured this day and what would happen if he denied her. It wasn’t a pleasant thought.

“Ready?” her father asked.

“As I’ll ever be.”

Her father patted her leg before opening his door and climbing out of the car. With a deep sigh, Blair got out and followed him up to the front door of the large house. She’d thought the alpha lived in a castle, like her father did, but this home was much smaller than the one she’d grown up in. It was nice and she could easily see herself living here. Was this Ranald’s home too? Or did he have his own place?

Alpha Douglas opened the door and ushered them inside with a warm smile. The sound of the door shutting seemed so final to Blair. She followed her father and the alpha into the living room. There was a bar along one wall and a massive figure stood in front of it, his back to the room. His kilt was of the Douglas clan, and his hair was a touch darker than Ranald’s. His shoulders were so broad she wondered how they fit inside his shirt. Beneath his kilt, his calves were thick and muscular with silky looking hair sprinkled across them.

Heat spread from her middle out through her limbs; a blush rose to her cheeks. She hadn’t even seen his face yet and already her body responded to him. Blair inhaled deeply and the scent that surrounded her was a deep, forest musk that soothed her inner beast and made her want to move closer for more. The hand braced on the bar was large, with long, thick fingers. Capable looking hands. The kind of hands a woman would beg to have on her body, stroking her to ecstasy. Good lord! She was practically mated and here she was lusting after this hunk of a stranger.

Blair licked her lips and tried to get her body back under control. She’d never felt such an intense stirring before and her wolf was more than intrigued. Then the guilt hit her. She was betraying her mate by lusting after this man, a man who she didn’t even know. Knowing he was kin to her mate just made it even worse. This was a man she’d probably have to sit across from at the dinner table. How she would manage it she didn’t know.

“Blair,” Alpha Douglas said. “You remember my son, do you no’?”

Son? Holy mother of… That was Ranald?

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About Jessica Coulter Smith

Award-winning author Jessica Coulter Smith has been in love with the written word since she was a child writing her first stories in crayon. Today she’s a multi-published author of over seventy-five novellas and novels. Romance is an integral part of her world and she firmly believes that love will find you at the right time, even if Mr. Right is literally out of this world.

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About Kenna McKay

Kenna McKay is a lover of all things Scottish—especially men in kilts! There’s just something sexy about Scotsmen. The Scottish burr, perhaps? Their rugged good looks? Maybe it’s not just one thing, but everything combined into one mouthwatering package.

Kenna didn’t start out wanting to be a writer, but she’s loved the written word for as long as she can remember. She devoured books from a young age, and even worked in a library for a while. Now she enjoys making up her own worlds and hopes you enjoy them as much as she does.

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