Release Blitz: Perfect Wreckage by Catherine Cowles #RomanceBooks #FamilySaga @catherinecowles

“Catherine Cowles creates a world you’ll want to stay in forever.”
– Grahame Claire, USA Today bestselling author

Perfect Wreckage, an all-new, emotional and unforgettable small-town romance from Catherine Cowles is available now!

My past taught me to play it safe.
To stay far away from handsome men who promised it all.
My life was good without them. Stable, secure, predictable.

But one kiss showed me that I’d been playing it safe for far too long.
One night, and all I wanted was more of his wildfire.
One challenge and my carefully constructed walls tumbled down.

Amidst the rubble, I realized there was more to this man than I ever dreamed.
When everything fell apart, he showed me what it meant to stay.
How to truly live.

But some demons don’t stay buried.
The past can come knocking when you least expect.
And the life he’s showing me might be shorter than either of us expected…

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About Catherine


Writer of words. Drinker of Diet Cokes. Lover of all things cute and furry, especially her dog. Catherine has had her nose in a book since the time she could read and finally decided to write down some of her own stories. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring her home state of Oregon, listening to true crime podcasts, or searching for her next book boyfriend.


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Release Blitz: Becoming Human by Holly Gray #LGBTQ #UrbanFantasy @HollyGrayAuthor

Title:  Becoming Human

Author: Holly Gray

Publisher:NineStar Press

Release Date: September 21, 2020

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 73800

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA, romance, paranormal, action, urban fantasy, lesbian, animals, bodyguard, interracial, magic, mythical creatures, pets, road trip, slow burn, shifter/animals

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Summary

Jack Whitaker lives a grayscale life. But a violent, yellow-eyed woman; a tea-drinking animal in human form; and a woman in brown with devastating powers of healing have Jack rethinking the boundaries of reality.

Marin, the woman in brown, is supposed to be the most important leader Jack will ever meet. She’s certainly the kindest, so Jack accepts the task of protecting her for a month from a violent duo with a supernatural ability to track their prey.

Jack and Marin travel the country, healing humans and animals, meeting everyday heroes and villains and everyone in-between. Jack isn’t sure if the world is ready for a woman like Marin, let alone whether she is.

Excerpt

Becoming Human

Holly Gray © 2020

All Rights Reserved

“Do you believe in magic?”

Jack didn’t believe in a lot of things: politics, soul mates, religion. Stage magic, all of it. She sure as hell didn’t believe in anything supernatural.

Work, traffic, humidity—those she believed in. Not that she didn’t employ a little whimsy in her life. She liked reading novels, especially a rousing space opera or an angsty, dystopian handwringer. Any piece of fiction penned by Noelle Stevenson, illustrated or digital, enjoyed a prominent place in her leisure time. She loved science fiction movies as social and creative commentary. And the wicked special effects.

Fellow Floridian Carl Hiaasen she found funny and topical. Had she any close friends, she could have discussed some of his biting social commentary.

But believe in any of these fictions, magical or not? Of course not. Jack Whitaker was a rational person. The walls in her tiny apartment, bare of anything but two Firefly posters and a magazine clipping of a black-and-white picture of blues singer and lesbian icon, Gladys Bentley, echoed only her voice, both literally and symbolically. Work as a security guard satisfied without stimulating. On the occasions she felt a tingle for socializing or, heaven forbid, physical touch, she booted up her laptop and binge-watched the latest postapocalyptic series.

Once, she had believed in big ideas like spirituality and a wife and kids. She’d since grown up.

Most of this changed in mid-July on her way home from work at the aquarium in Timuca, a small city in Northern Florida. The day started off as tidily as usual, although traffic seemed a bit less hectic and the day much sultrier than usual.

“Do you believe in magic?”

By the end of the day, when someone with feral memories posed the question to her, she answered differently than she would have just twelve hours prior.

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Meet the Author

Holly began writing novel-length romances in junior high. She continued scribbling wild tales on her college-ruled notepads till those pesky college and career things got in the way. Finally, after earning her PhD in sociology, Holly gave herself permission to get a life. She has since published four novels, one short story, and several poems. Now a boring academic and a not-entirely-boring political activist, she spends just about all her waking hours doing one or more of the following: teaching, writing, volunteering, protesting, and tending to the whims of her fur masters.

Holly lives in South Dakota with her wife and numerous fur kids.

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Book Blitz: Dance with Death by Brynn Ford #RomanticSuspense #DarkRomance @XpressoTours

Dance with Death
Brynn Ford
(The Four Families, #2)
Publication date: September 15th 2020
Genres: Adult, Dark Romance, Suspense

Holding onto hope was dangerous, but letting go of it would be fatal.

We’d made the worst mistake of all—we had fallen in love. But all the love in the world couldn’t save us from our captivity. Just when we thought we would be okay, a future we never should have hoped to have was taken from us.

Our master was preparing to hurt us in his rage against our love. The only thing worse than the physical pain of the injuries he gave me was the ache of knowing what was to come.

He was going to tear our love apart.

I thought my life was hell before, but my master was prepared to teach me that I was wrong. Dead wrong.

I was about to learn the true definition of torture, of torment, of despair. I could only dream about the man I loved, hope that he might someday fulfill his promise to find a way to save us both. But I had already learned the hard lesson that hoping only made reality harsher.

The harsh reality was that my love was lost, my hope was gone, my life was over.

And I was forced to learn the steps for this slow dance with death.

CONTENT WARNING: This book contains explicit sexual content, violence, and mature themes including scenes where consent is not sought or given. The author in no way condones such heinous acts, but rather seeks to immerse the reader in the true horror of the characters’ experience. This book also contains suicidal themes. This is your trigger warning – reader discretion is advised.

SERIES NOTE: “Dance with Death” is book two of three in the Four Families trilogy. It is not a standalone and the books must be read in order. Book one—“Counts of Eight”—is available now. The author plans to release book three by early 2021. The cliffhanger ending may leave you gasping and desperate for the finale in book three. Best of luck to you, daring readers.

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EXCERPT:

I’m happy to let her think that I am the only place she will ever be able to turn for comfort.

She should turn to her master to fulfill that need.

I have every intent to take advantage of her fragile state.

Boldly, she lifts her head and slowly meets my eyes. There’s fear there behind the sapphire blue—fear and desperation and longing.

“I want you, moy khozyain.

I grip her waist with both hands and turn her, backing her up to the marble countertop. She swallows, her eyes locked on mine as I stare and press myself against her. I loom above her, my breath steady but heavy, exhaling my internal flames over her, reminding her that I was born from hellfire.

A reminder that she’s come to the devil asking to be burned.

Her features have softened from her normal cold as ice stare. Her eyelids seem heavier as they droop to hang a sultry frame over her blue irises. Her eyebrows are relaxed from the way they usually slant toward her nose, wrinkling her forehead sternly. Her lips are parted and rosy in color, and I feel her shallow breaths puffing against my throat.

“You want me…to do what?”

This question is her test.

Will she back down, afraid to speak her truth?

Will she prove herself to be a rebellious slave and demand rather than ask?

Or will she tell me what she thinks she needs and sweetly ask her master to oblige her?

Author Bio:

Brynn Ford is an independent author of romance in all of its beautiful and sensually taboo forms. She is a lover of the dark, twisted, and playful and strives to bring the unmentionable aspects of passionate romance into her stories.

Brynn resides in the Midwest with her husband and sons, whom she expects will someday be embarrassed by their mom’s books. When she isn’t obsessively writing, you may find her binge watching favorite shows while eating far too much junk food or fanatically reading, always seeking to lose herself in the emotional roller coaster of a damn good story.

She is quite the idealist, despite her fascination with the wicked and warped aspects of humanity. Some of her stories may run out of words before a happily ever after, but she’s a firm believer that her characters continue to live on outside the pages in the minds of her readers. Stories don’t end just because there aren’t anymore pages to turn.

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Release Blitz: The Sorcerer’s Guardian by Antonia Aquilante #LGBTQ #FantasyRomance @antoniaquilante

Title: The Sorcerer’s Guardian

Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Four

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 14, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 111400

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Fantasy, romance, family-drama, gay, cisgender, magic, cat shifters, magician, captain of the guards, storm, antagonists to lovers, court intrigue

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Synopsis

Savarin honed his Talent through years of study, and to achieve his goal of becoming the most powerful and accomplished sorcerer in Tournai, he made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings—which is how Savarin prefers it. He wants to be seen only as the man he’s made himself. When Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack, he is more than happy to do so. The spells are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. But to his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompany him on his journey.

Second son of a minor noble family, Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain with single-minded determination and takes pride in his service to the crown. He must obey the prince’s orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere and his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, Loriot has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. He still believes it’s best to avoid most magic entirely, which is difficult when he’s tasked with playing guard to a powerful sorcerer.

Loriot and Savarin clash repeatedly during their journey, but the simmering tension between them doesn’t only stem from their work, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still secure Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution will endanger both him and the royal family.

Excerpt

The Sorcerer’s Guardian

Antonia Aquilante © 2020

All Rights Reserved

As afternoon waned into evening, Loriot approached his house on Dove Lane. Weariness dragged at him with each step. He hadn’t slept more than a few minutes in the last few days, and now that the crisis had passed, he felt the fatigue down to his bones. But the lack of sleep was worth it for the good outcome of the situation.

He trudged up the few steps to his front door, its rich blue color recently freshened, and let himself in. The key turned smoothly in the lock, and the magical protections on the house recognized him as belonging, allowing him inside. He shivered, even though he didn’t feel anything as he crossed the threshold; perhaps someone with a Talent would, but he had neither Talent nor any sensitivity to magic.

Inside, the house was quiet. The formal parlor was empty, which was unsurprising as they rarely used it—only when Joceline and Oriana chose to entertain. He wanted more than anything to go up to his bedchamber and collapse into his bed for the next few days, but he couldn’t. Couldn’t even collapse for a few hours without checking on his family. But he knew where at least one of them was likely to be at this time of day.

The sitting room at the back of the house was quiet, too, so quiet he could hear the scratch of his sister’s pen on paper as he stepped into the doorway. Joceline sat at her writing desk, papers spread around her, pen flying across the page. Despite the silence, she didn’t notice him. A good writing day, then. He hated to disturb her, but she’d want to know he was home.

“Story going well?” he asked, keeping his voice quiet so he wouldn’t startle her. He’d learned it was better to have to repeat himself than to scare her when she was absorbed in a world of her own creation.

But he didn’t have to repeat himself today. She glanced up immediately, her gaze hazy and then sharpening. “There you are! I was wondering if you were ever coming home.”

He hadn’t been gone so long—only a couple of days—but he did try not to let a day go by without returning for at least a little while. He stepped farther into the room and sank down into a comfortable chair. “It was unavoidable. You got my notes?”

“Of course. You know I was just teasing.” Joceline narrowed her eyes and studied him with an intensity he could almost feel. “Is everything all right? You look exhausted, and I heard yesterday the guard was searching everyone leaving the city.”

He scrubbed a hand over his face. Sitting had been a mistake. His eyelids wanted to droop; his body wanted to melt into the cushions. “There was a kidnapping.”

“Not Prince Julien?”

“No, no. And it’s fine now,” he reassured her, trying to keep her from coming out of her chair in her alarm at a threat to the heir to Tournai’s throne. “It wasn’t a member of the royal family at all.”

“But you were involved?”

As captain of the royal guard, Loriot normally wouldn’t be directly involved in such a situation. “The baby taken was the daughter of Prince Amory’s friend, Master Tristan. The merchant. Though if what I saw means anything, he’ll likely be a member of the royal family soon.”

“Really?” Joceline leaned forward, her interest of a different kind now. “There’s going to be a marriage? To whom? The princess?”

He shook his head. He didn’t need to tell her what he said should go no further. He didn’t ever tell her anything truly secret, but Loriot didn’t see the harm in a little meaningless court gossip now and then, especially since she wouldn’t spread it. “No. Lord Etan.”

She sat back with a huff. “Well, they really are bucking tradition, aren’t they?”

He let out a short laugh. But what she said wasn’t untrue. Both Tournai’s prince and his cousin, a royal duke, had married men in the last couple of years, and now it seemed Lord Etan, another cousin of Prince Philip’s, would do the same. Loriot couldn’t think of a time when such a thing had happened, as the royal family and nobility tended to marry those who could provide bloodline heirs for their titles—and some families were even more conservative, only marrying women.

“Good for them,” Joceline said. “I hope they’re happy.”

“Now that Tristan’s daughter is back with them, I believe they are.”

Concern flooded back into her pretty face. “You found her? And the person who took her?”

“Yes, with Master Savarin’s help.” He’d gotten over any resentment he might have had that he needed the help of magic long before today and was happy to use any tool he had access to. Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, was not someone whose help should be turned away, and Savarin never withheld it, serving Tournai whenever he was called upon.

“The sorcerer? How did he help?” Joceline sat forward, a gleam in her eyes he recognized well. She wasn’t simply curious; she wanted to know because she might use the information in a story.

“Joceline.”

“What?”

He sighed and shook his head. “He used his magic to try to track the kidnappers and then to try to find the baby directly. He pointed us in the right direction, let us know where to search for them.” Loriot didn’t bother mentioning the help they’d received from someone else, a scholar at the university. If he read Savarin right, Savarin would be finding Master Corentin at the university soon and asking him about the magic he used, because it also sounded as if Savarin hadn’t heard of anything like it.

“Interesting.”

“Let me guess, your new story has a sorcerer character.” He arched an eyebrow at her, his mildly disapproving tone mostly put on. Which she would know, as she was aware how proud he was of her accomplishments.

“I have an idea that would call for one. What’s Master Savarin like?”

“I don’t know him very well.” He tried to think of anything he knew about Savarin beyond the surface. “He’s powerful and arrogant with it.”

She shrugged. “I’d be surprised if he wasn’t. Aren’t all powerful sorcerers arrogant about their power?”

“I wouldn’t know. I don’t know any others.” He resolutely pushed his newly acquired knowledge of the royal family’s secret Talent from his mind. He didn’t need Joceline seeing a hint in his expression and trying to badger the information out of him. He would never tell, but life would be easier if he didn’t have to fight Joceline about it.

“All the ones I’ve read about in stories are. Especially the evil ones.”

“Tell me you’re not going to base a character on Master Savarin and make him evil.” Making the most powerful sorcerer in the country an evil character in a book sounded like a horrible idea.

Another shrug. “Powerful sorcerers always seem to be evil characters. Or self-sacrificing ones who save the day.”

Loriot shook his head and heaved himself to his feet. If he didn’t move, he’d end up sleeping right there. “Alain is upstairs?”

“Yes. But wait,” she called after him as he walked toward the door. “You must know something else about Master Savarin.”

“I really don’t.” He didn’t turn.

“Is he handsome?”

Savarin’s image filled his mind—his height and broad shoulders, perfectly carved features, blond hair he thought would be soft under his hands. His stride hitched, but he shook the image away and ignored Joceline calling after him. Perhaps she would forget the idea entirely if he didn’t encourage her.

He doubted it, but he could hope. The idea of Savarin as a character in a book on the shelf of a bookshop made him cringe.

Trudging up the stairs took the last of his energy, but he forced himself to bypass his own bedchamber. He couldn’t go to bed without seeing Alain. Not after so long away, not even if it hadn’t been very long. The door to the room at the back of the house was partially open. He peeked in as he pushed it open the rest of the way. The room was tidy, except for a veritable city built of blocks in the middle of the rug. The nursemaid noticed him first, but Alain wasn’t far behind. He looked up, his bright-green eyes—twins of Loriot’s own—lighting up, and something inside Loriot melted, just as it always did under those eyes.

“Papa!”

With ease of long practice, he caught the five-year-old bundle of energy that came flying at him and swung his son up into his arms. He cuddled him close for as long as Alain would allow. As tired as he was, he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. “There’s my boy. I missed you. Show me what you’ve been doing.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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Release Blitz: Forbidden Need by Lee Colgin #paranormalromance #LGBTQ @leecolgin

Title: Forbidden Need

Series: They Bite, Book Three

Author: Lee Colgin

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 7, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 53900

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, vampires, shifters, were-coyotes, romance, paranormal, fantasy, mates, HEA, slow burn

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Synopsis

As Rudy adapts to life in a new town, he lays eyes on a man whose very presence steals his heart. The man is bewitching. Bewitching…and grumpy. Samuel has no interest in the coyote shifter who’s been following him around like a lovesick pup, even if he is adorable. Adorable…and persistent. Born a vampire before the Great Wars, Samuel’s had plenty of time to make enemies. If he can’t discover and kill the one who’s been stalking him, it could be Rudy who pays the price. Samuel doesn’t do relationships, and he won’t bend the rules for Rudy, but that doesn’t mean he wants the coyote hurt. Stuck together as Samuel plots revenge, Rudy finally has his chance to win over his mate. Can they harness the power of their fated bond, or will Samuel’s dark past overcome the future they’ve yet to claim?

Excerpt

Forbidden Need Lee Colgin © 2020 All Rights Reserved Rudy Admiring the quaint architecture along each side of the narrow street, Rudy strolled through the small town he would call home. He’d chosen Stonesburg to be near his friends from university, but he couldn’t fathom why they’d picked it. The old mill town rose and fell with the textile industry. When the mills closed, humans abandoned the place and supernaturals moved in. The rolling hills of a nearby mountain range held some appeal, but Rudy found the nightlife lacking. He wandered downtown in search of the Eternal Knight Club, where he’d meet the other coyote shifters for drinks. Crisp night air chilled his nose and flushed his cheeks. Spying two ornately carved doors that stood out from the other entryways with their whimsy, Rudy found the place. He pulled open the massive mahogany door and stepped into a spacious, dimly lit interior hazy with cigar smoke. Spotting his rowdy group holding down a corner booth, he headed their way until a fleeting glance toward the bar revealed a sight that stopped Rudy in his tracks. Who is that? An exquisite being perched elegantly on a stool, smoking a pipe, his attention on the bartender. Rudy couldn’t help but gawk. Black shining hair, dark as charcoal, fell in waves past his shoulders. He leaned toward his companion with his spine straight, shoulders squared, and one leg crossed neatly over the other. As if he knew someone stared at him, his brown eyes flashed upward and homed in on Rudy. The stranger’s face went from neutral to annoyed in a flash. Rudy knew he should look away, but he couldn’t tear his eyes from the vision before him. And the vision before him was clearly irritated. Unable to resist, Rudy drew close. The man’s glare darkened. Rudy turned his hands out, palms up in an “I mean no harm” gesture. He glanced at the fellow in the next seat and to the bartender, who both watched his approach, then focused his gaze back to the pretty… Hmm, what was he? Vampire? He had that otherworldly stillness older vampires possessed. Desperate to make a good impression, Rudy meant to say something clever, but words tumbled out before his brain caught up. “Who are you?” The man glanced over his shoulder to the bartender. “Mabel, is he talking to me?” “I’m afraid so,” she replied. “Can’t you make him leave?” Her eyes narrowed. “Be nice.” With an exasperated sigh, the man turned back to Rudy, lips pressed in a hard line, one ebony eyebrow raised. “Well? Let’s have it. What do you want?” Rudy found him more striking up close, his dark features a beautiful contrast against skin so pale he nearly glowed. “You’re the most handsome person I’ve ever seen.” That was true enough, but it wasn’t only his looks drawing Rudy in. There was something else tugging on his insides, fueling his need to be close to this stranger. The man rolled his eyes. “You must get out more. Or on second thought, don’t.” “Can I buy you a drink?” Rudy asked, hopeful. The gorgeous creature opened his mouth and drew back his upper lip, revealing fangs. He all but hissed, threatening. The sight only enthralled Rudy further. Definitely a vampire. “No drink, then. How about a smoke?” Rudy offered instead. The man narrowed his gaze and lifted the cigar he already had. If you could say “duh” with a facial expression, he’d done it. “Right. Dance with me?” Rudy extended a hand in one last bid to keep his attention. “I think not.” The vampire turned back to the man sitting next to him, who radiated amusement with the whole situation. Realization dawned, and an unwelcome tension invaded Rudy’s chest. Perhaps this vampire was here with the other man. “Oh, I’m sorry! You’re here together?” His hands fluttered between them. “I didn’t mean to… Well, I’m sorry.” The other man grinned. “No, no, he’s all yours.” Laughter filled his voice. “Single and ready to mingle. Isn’t that how the saying goes?” The raven-haired vampire stared daggers at his friend. “Benjamin, really?” he chided before shifting his attention back to Rudy. “Listen, pup, since you don’t seem to pick up on much, I’ll speak plainly. I’m not interested. Fuck off.” Rudy’s face fell. “You don’t have to be mean.” He couldn’t hide his disappointment. The desire to be near this vampire didn’t diminish even after the rejection. “If you change your mind, I’ll be over there.” Rudy motioned to the table of coyote shifters in the corner. “I’d love to dance with you.” The vampire’s exasperated expression burned into Rudy’s memory with an unpleasant flush of heat. Discouraged, he slunk to his friends, all of whom had watched the exchange and were in various states of laughter and confusion. “Did you seriously hit on that vampire, Rudy?” asked Emerson. “What were you thinking? You’re lucky he didn’t squash you like a bug, because it looked like he wanted to.” “Slide over, Em.” Rudy nudged his way into the booth. “He’s cute is all.” He shrugged, downplaying the inexplicable attraction, meanwhile glancing over his shoulder to make sure the vampire hadn’t left. “You’re crazy,” said Morris from across the table. “That’s a good way to get yourself killed. You go pissing off vampires for fun nowadays?” Carlotta elbowed her boyfriend and gave Rudy a sympathetic smile. “He seemed kind of rude.” “Rude?” Morris scoffed. “Murderous would be more accurate.” “Can we drop it?” Rudy squirmed in his seat. “It didn’t work anyway.” “What didn’t work? What were you hoping to achieve?” Emerson asked. Rudy’s shoulders lifted. “Wanted to dance is all. He said no. End of story.” Mabel came to collect drink orders with humor twinkling in her eyes. “Sorry, champ. You picked an impossible target. What can I get for you folks?” His friends requested refills, and Rudy asked for a beer and hoped the conversation would veer to something less embarrassing. It did, thanks to Carlotta, who mercifully changed the subject. “How do you like Stonesburg?” “It’s great!” he lied with enthusiasm. The town wasn’t all that impressive, but he’d needed a change, and Stonesburg was as good a place as any. “I mean, there’s you guys and the mountains, so I’m sure I’ll love it soon enough.” “Wait until you get settled,” Morris encouraged. “We’ll shift and take you for a run in the forest.” “Sounds great.” Rudy grinned. “It’s past time I stretch my legs.” Mabel set an ice-cold beer in front of him and placed the other drinks around the table. They thanked her, and Rudy took a big gulp. Delicious. His eyes drifted back to the grumpy vampire at the bar. Mabel noticed and laughed under her breath. “Wasting your time on that one, babyface. He doesn’t date, not in the time I’ve known him,” she said, not unkindly, but Rudy didn’t care for her message nonetheless. “Why not?” She shrugged. “Don’t know. And I wouldn’t ask if I were you. You don’t want to get on his bad side. He’s dangerous.” Rudy tucked into his beer as she left, letting the conversation happen around him. It was nice being with friends again. He’d been sad and lonely at home with his family. Risking another glance to the bar, he caught the vampire staring back at him.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Lee Colgin has loved vampires since she read Dracula on a hot sunny beach at 13 years old. She lives in North Carolina with lots of dogs and her husband. No, he’s not a vampire, but she loves him anyway. Lee likes to workout so she can eat the maximum amount of cookies with her pizza. Ask her how much she can bench press. If you enjoyed this book, pick up Lee’s debut novel Slay My Love to find out what happens when you’re attracted to the very person who want to kill you an enemies to lovers 56,000k novel available now.

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Book Blitz: Stay by Jessica Frances #LGBTQ #ContemporaryRomance @XpressoTours

Stay
Jessica Frances
(In Midsummer #3)
Publication date: September 4th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

One screaming baby. One too many diaper disasters. One surprise shooter. One victim. One perpetrator. One blast from the past.

Having a surprise baby dropped at your doorstep has to be the worst kind of relationship buzzkill in history. Instead of dating, now Rocky and I have shifted into becoming exhausted parents with zero time for any kind of fun. Everything is moving so fast that something has to give. I just hope that something won’t be us.

Then, when a shooter comes after Rocky and their aim is a little too close for comfort, important questions need to be answered. Who wants Rocky dead? How far are they willing to go to make it happen? How much luck can one person have before it runs out? And where on earth did Rocky put those spare baby diapers?

With someone gunning for not only Rocky but also our relationship, one has to wonder just how many hits we can take before it all falls apart.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“Is he still peeing over your face?” He says this so casually, as though this is a completely normal question to be asking your partner. Although, I suppose it probably is completely normal for many parents.

“Unfortunately, I’m fun to aim at.”

I stand up and watch Rocky point his finger at Ryder. “Please stop peeing over Conner’s face. I’d rather like my boyfriend pee-free if possible.”

Ryder grabs ahold of Rocky’s finger and wipes his slobber over it.

“Thanks for standing up for me. You really told him,” I drawl, rolling my eyes. It seems everyone listens to Rocky except for his kids, who seem immune to his commanding tone. Ryder isn’t even biologically his, and he still isn’t affected.

“Fine, how about this?” He turns to face Ryder again. “You give us one night completely uninterrupted, and I’ll give you one night free pass when you’re older to skip vegetables.”

I shake my head again. “Think you gotta know your audience.”

“Fine, how would you do it?”

I lift Ryder up and turn him to face me. “Ryder, I promise you this will be much funnier if you pee on him instead. So, try that from now on, got it?”

“Hey!” Rocky gives me a gentle shove while I laugh.

Ryder seems to sense the mood and grins.

Author Bio:

Jessica lives in Adelaide, South Australia. When she is not writing, you can find her reading, napping or watching excessive amounts of TV. Connect with her on Facebook and Goodreads.

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Book Blitz: Revved to the Maxx by Melanie Moreland #ContemporaryRomance @MorelandMelanie

Revved To The Maxx
Melanie Moreland
Publication date: September 3rd 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Maxx Reynolds needs help.

His shop, house, and life are all in a state of disarray.

In desperation, he turns to the internet to hire a new employee,
thinking it will make his life easier

What he expects is a fellow named Charly.

What he gets is a quirky, sassy, red-head named
Charlynn who runs circles around him.

And she’s all woman.

He can’t stand her.

He can’t keep his hands off her either.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

On Monday, I carried a sandwich into the garage, setting it on the workbench. It had been a hectic morning, and I’d barely had time to talk to Maxx at all. At one point he’d received a call that he’d walked outside to take, and when he came back, his glower was deeper than usual. I knew better than to ask him about it, though. Instead, I stayed busy.

Maxx was talking to a customer as I went by. He was busy with his hands as he worked on a nice-looking Yamaha. But he glanced up, and I offered him a smile. “Your lunch, boss man, whenever you’re hungry.”

He nodded, his attention on the man he was talking to. The man chuckled. “Wow—she’s good. You get lunch?”

Maxx made a low noise, and the customer stepped forward, his hand outstretched. “Cam.”

I shook his hand. “Charly.”

“Pleasure.” He indicated Maxx. “You’re far cuter than this lug. You smile too.”

I had to laugh. “It’s part of the service now.”

“What else is included?” Cam teased.

“I want those numbers this afternoon, Charly,” Maxx snapped. “Stop flirting and get to work.”

Cam threw back his head in amusement. “I hope you get paid well for putting up with the attitude.”

“I think Maxx considers that one of the perks.”

Cam chuckled and looked at Maxx. “I like this one.”

Maxx snorted. Like a real blow the air through your nose and huff at the same time sort of snort. He glared at Cam. “Hands off my staff. I have a firm no mixing business with pleasure policy. Charly can’t date my customers.”

I managed to hide my surprise at his words. He had never mentioned anything of the sort. And I highly doubted Cam was looking for a date. His tone was teasing and friendly but not personal. He didn’t look remotely interested in me. His next words confirmed that.

Cam frowned. “My wife will be happy to hear that, Maxx. Relax. I was just being nice.” He eyed him. “You might want to try it.”

“I’m plenty nice.”

I had to turn and walk away to stop my laughter. Cam spoke again. “Back to the event. You have to go, Maxx.”

“I can’t. I’m booked solid.”

“Can’t you put it off?”

“No. I can’t just close the garage, Cam.”

“It’s an amazing opportunity.”

My steps faltered. What opportunity?

“I guess it’s one I will simply have to say no to.”

Cam huffed and called my name. “Charly!”

“Um, yes?”

“Can you reschedule your boss here so he can be gone for a while?”

I met Maxx’s expression. It was filled with warning, intense and dark. Telling me not to speak.

I decided to push back a little. I was tired of being quiet. “I can check.”

Cam smirked and crossed his arms. “Great.”

Author Bio:

NYT/WSJ/USAT international bestselling author Melanie Moreland, lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of thirty-plus years and their rescue cat, Amber. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.

While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys traveling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.

Melanie loves stories, especially paired with a good wine, and enjoys skydiving (free falling over a fleck of dust) extreme snowboarding (falling down stairs) and piloting her own helicopter (tripping over her own feet.) She’s learned happily ever afters, even bumpy ones, are all in how you tell the story.

Melanie is represented by Flavia Viotti at Bookcase Literary Agency. For any questions regarding subsidiary or translation rights please contact her at  flavia@bookcaseagency.com

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Release Blitz: M4M by Rick R. Reed #LGBTQ #ContemporaryRomance @rickrreed

Title: M4M

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 31, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 63500

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, MM romance, online dating apps, deception, HIV, men over 40, grief

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Synopsis

Three great stories. One great love. VGL Male Seeks Same Poor Ethan Schwartz. It seems like he will never find that special someone. At age forty-two, he’s still alone, his bed still empty, and his 42-inch HDTV overworked. He’s tried the bars and other places where gay men are supposed to find one another, but for Ethan, it never works out. He wonders if it ever will. Should he get a cat? But all of that is about to change… NEG UB2 Poor Ethan Schwartz. He’s just had the most shocking news a gay man can get—he’s been diagnosed HIV positive. Up until today, he thought his life was on a perfect course. He had a job he loved and something else he thought he’d never have: Brian, a new man, one whom Ethan thought of as “the one.” The one who would complete him, who would take his life from a lonely existence to a place filled with laughter, hot sex, and romance. But along with the fateful diagnosis comes another shock—is Brian who he thinks he is? Status Updates Ethan finds himself alone once more and wonders if life is worth living, even one with a cat. Via a Facebook friend request, an old nemesis appears, wanting to be friends. Ethan is suspicious but intrigued because it seems this old acquaintance has turned his life around…and the changes just might hold the key to Ethan getting a new lease on life…and love.

Excerpt

M4M Rick R. Reed © 2020 All Rights Reserved Ethan Schwartz was alone. At forty-two, the state of being alone was almost like having another person by his side, a person he was growing to know more and more intimately with each passing night in his too-big-for-one bed. In fact, Ethan sometimes wondered if being alone was his natural state of being. Perhaps it was simply his fate to spend his evenings in front of his brand-new forty-two-inch Toshiba HDTV, watching classic 1940s movies from an endless queue at Netflix. He wondered if his life would ever change. Maybe he would continue to go to work at his job as a publicist for several Chicago theater companies, come home about seven o’clock, nuke a Lean Cuisine, fall asleep in front of the TV, and repeat the routine until he expired. He had thought, as he tossed in bed at night, in those endlessly stretching hours slogging their way toward dawn, of getting a dog or even a cat. He envisioned himself walking into his apartment door at night, greeted by a French bulldog’s grin or the slightly harlotish leg rub of a Maine coon. But an animal just didn’t seem like—well, it just didn’t seem like enough. In the above scenario, he also imagined a man coming in the same door minutes later and Ethan getting the four-legged companion riled up by saying “Daddy’s home!” No, Ethan knew—in his heart of hearts—he wanted an animal of the two-legged variety, one who would talk back to him, one he could spend long autumn weekends in Door County with, one he could take out to dinner parties and bring home to his family at Christmas. He wanted an animal that wouldn’t shed and would need little housebreaking. Well, at least not much. At forty-two, Ethan had lowered expectations. He also dreaded the thought of subjecting some poor tabby or Boston terrier to a solitary existence much like his own. After all, the stand-in-for-a-boyfriend pet would spend most of its time roaming the apartment by his or her lonesome and staring mournfully out the window because of Ethan’s long hours at work. He knew from experience that subjecting an unsuspecting animal to an existence akin to his own would be cause for calling out the SPCA. So Ethan would have to go on dreaming of meeting Mr. Right in human form and continue to watch as those dreams faded into wispy gossamer as the years relentlessly marched toward old age. Already Ethan found it necessary to use a moisturizer on his face and a depilatory on his back. His dark brown hair he kept buzzed close to his skull in an effort to minimize its traitorous thinning. Starting at around age thirty-two, every year he’d added a pound or two to his five-foot-ten-inch frame, and every year that pound or two became harder and harder to lose, in spite of long, sweaty hours on the treadmill or a diet consisting chiefly of the frozen culinary delights of the people at Smart Choice, Lean Cuisine, or South Beach Diet. Heading toward middle age sucked…especially when you were doing it alone. Tonight Ethan dug in the Doritos bag for one remaining chip of decent size while glued to the adventures of Ugly Betty. Why couldn’t he at least find a nice nerd, as Betty once had? Why couldn’t he at least have a little drama at work, like the Mexican magazine assistant faced every single day of her charmed life? Ethan’s days were spent trying to chat up theater critics in hopes of persuading them to write a review or feature on whatever play he was pushing that week. Or he holed up in his cube and wrote the same press release over and over, with only the titles, venues, and dates changed. When he had taken the job ten years ago, he’d thought the free nights out at the theater would be a great way to get dates. He’d assumed he would meet lots of handsome actors, and they would all want to cozy up to the publicist who could get them so much press. He’d thought wrong. Ethan got up and shut off the TV and threw his Doritos bag in the trash. He stretched and looked out the window. His move to this North Side Chicago neighborhood had been another misguided romantic maneuver, one that started full of hope and confidence and had been dashed by cold reality. He felt even more isolated and alone as he looked down from his studio apartment on Halsted Street, the blocks between Belmont and Addison that Chicagoans referred to as Boystown. When he had rented the little studio above a gay bookstore a decade ago, he had reasoned that wrangling a date would be no more difficult than hanging out his third story window with a smoldering gaze and a come-hither pout. He had reasoned wrong. Shortly after Ethan had moved in and hung his first Herb Ritts poster, Boystown had begun quickly gentrifying itself. Most of the gays moved farther north to Andersonville or even Rogers Park. Sure, gay bars still lined the street, and the teeming throngs continued to taunt him with luscious examples of masculinity on the prowl, but it had been a long time since one of the minions had made his way up the creaking stairs to Ethan’s studio. Oh, he supposed he could throw on some jeans, T-shirt, and his Asics and run across the street to Roscoe’s or any of the other watering holes lining the rainbow-pyloned avenue, but he had been to that dry well too many times to even consider it. Every year, it seemed, there was a new crop of gorgeous twentysomethings laughing and drinking…and practiced in the art of ignoring nice but nondescript men like Ethan. One could only endure so long the hours of standing against a wall, Stella Artois in hand, trying to look approachable and then never being approached. It didn’t do much for the ego. And it didn’t do much for the wallet. Or the self-esteem. Or certainly the romantic, or even sex, life. No, the bars had long ago lost their allure, becoming more and more an exclusive club for younger gays looking to hook up, or dance, or text message each other…or whatever other ways they found these days to make Ethan feel old. Besides, Ethan hoped for a more meaningful connection. And with each gray hair, each crow’s-foot and laugh line stamped upon his features, he despaired of ever finding it. He padded into the little bathroom and gasped as a cockroach beat a hasty retreat into a crack between the baseboard and linoleum-tiled floor. He shook his head and thought that even the bugs wanted nothing to do with him. He looked at his tired face in the mirror and laughed. “Jesus,” he said to his reflection, “you’re pathetic.” He held his aging mug up to the light cast by the overhead fixture and said, “What’s wrong with everybody? You’re not so old. You’re not so bad.” And indeed, Ethan spoke the truth. He looked every bit of his forty-two years, but that was still pretty young, wasn’t it? Didn’t somebody at the office just yesterday say something about forty being the new thirty? And his face, while certainly not Brad Pitt sexy, was pleasing, with a nice cleft in his chin, a strong nose, and deep blue eyes framed by long black lashes. His lips were a bit thin—a gift from his German father—and he could probably use some sun to give his pasty complexion a little pizzazz, but all in all, it wasn’t a face one would run from, screaming into the night. It was every bit as cute as a Tom Hanks or Will Ferrell. Ethan pulled his toothbrush from the medicine cabinet and decorated its bristles with orange gel—when had toothpaste gone orange?—and gave his teeth a savage brushing, even though his dentist always admonished him about that, telling him a slow, gentle course was the way, lest he wanted to erode his gums entirely away. But Ethan had never been able to dissuade himself from the idea that the harder the brush, the whiter the teeth. He spit and wiped his mouth on the hand towel and headed back into the common area to pull out his queen-size—hush!—futon for another night of lonely slumber. Tomorrow, he thought, he had to do something about his depressing state. And he did not mean moving out of Illinois. Somewhere there had to be a companion for him, just waiting. His dream man wasn’t in all the places he had fruitlessly checked, like the bars, backstage, and in his office. But he was out there, and like Ethan, he too was pulling the covers up by himself and thinking the answer to the riddle of how to escape a solitary existence was just within reach. Just before he fell asleep, he wondered if his mystery man also cynically told himself the same thing every night. “Shut up!” Ethan cried into the darkness. And then whispered, muffled into his pillow, “Tomorrow will be different. I just know it.”

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NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Real Men. True Love. Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at http://www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

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Book Blitz: Escape by Deana Birch #RomanticSuspense @DeanaBirch

Escape
Deana Birch
(The Covington Heights Crew #1)
Publication date: September 1st 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

FROM POPULAR ROMANCE AUTHOR DEANA BIRCH

Book one in The Covington Heights Crew series

The only thing she has to give is exactly what they want.

The Covington Heights Crew has a funny way of protecting their own. With rapes from rival gangs and human trafficking riddling their poverty-stricken streets, they’ll keep the girls from their neighborhood safe—for a price. No money? No worries. They have quite creative payment plans.

Messed up? Yeah, they know. They’re criminals.

Twenty-one-year-old Fiona Thompson was happy to stay off the radar of the twisted drug dealers who encourage her mother’s habit. She’s sure that she can work her way out of Covington and find a better life for herself and her baby sister. But then she beeped. Loud.

Second-in-command Leo Ricci is a poser. The web of lies he’s spun for a life unravels every time he’s around Fiona—every day he’s trying to keep her safe and every second he’s avoiding his destiny.

When his missteps challenge the authority to which he’s pledged his allegiance and Fiona’s life is at stake, there’s only one solution—become the man he never wanted to be and leave the place that was saving him from a worse, but unavoidable fate.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Fiona

The dark gray grime around the rim of the tub would not go away, no matter how hard I scrubbed. I flipped my long ponytail over my shoulder and sprayed the foaming cleaner into the corner where tile met porcelain. While my efforts would bear no fruit, I couldn’t stop. If I could just make our dirty apartment shine, there had to be hope for our lives.

The baby whimpered then wailed from her crib in the back bedroom, and I stored the worn-down green sponge and the bottle that promised gleaming effects on top of the medicine cabinet, rinsed my hands in the sink and went to tend to Violet.

Her sobs quickly morphed into coos once she was in my arms and I’d shushed her with an easy bounce and kiss on her sweaty head. Even though she could walk, I carried her to the kitchen, and I wasn’t surprised to see that my mother had not left any milk. After a diaper change—at least we had those—I packed Violet into her wobbly stroller and rode the slow, rickety elevator down to the ground floor of our apartment building. The florescent light flickered over the beat-up metal mailboxes as we crossed the depressing lobby.

The sun shone bright and blinded me for a quick second. The weather had two gears, hot or storms. And while the storms were a relief from the heat, the wind and rain that came with them didn’t make running errands easy. I navigated the stroller through the cracking cement of the courtyard, careful not to step on anything sharp or deadly with my flimsy sandals.

Predictably, the Covington Heights crew were huddled around their bench across from the run-down park—all in their signature black jeans, which must have been torture in the heat. In three months, their numbers had doubled and I was sure it could officially be considered a gang. I recognized a couple of them from their lives before they’d decided to become delinquents. I was even sure the tallest one had been a star basketball player in his day. And, while their matching pants unified them, the physical similarities stopped there. Blonds, shaven heads, dark hair in a man bun… They were all different in race and creed.

Internal groan. I was brewing a perfect stew of resentment, hate and disgust for those fuckers—and maybe just a pinch of lust. Ripped asshats. They were like a calendar spread for hot bad boys.

Their business was an endless supply of drugs that fed my mother’s meth habit, and groupies drooled around them like they were rock stars. Gross.

But they were also an anomaly. As long as you called Covington Heights home, they kept you safe, client or not. And for that, I gave them my respect.

Maybe it had been my odd hours that had kept me off their radar—the sole benefit of working the night shift. Not to mention, the maid’s smock and comfortable shoes I had to wear to work hadn’t done much to make me stand out. Or perhaps I was just too old for their tastes. Their female hangers-on didn’t exactly look over eighteen—not that it was any of my business. And not that I had been paying attention.

But the whispers I had heard about them weren’t all horrible. Girls had sworn they were harmless, a notion I couldn’t quite swallow with their primary source of income.

Violet sucked her thumb in the stroller below me. I lowered my head and picked up my pace to pass by the group of drug-dealing male models.

“Hey, little mama,” a dark-haired guy with a black tank top over his muscled chest called. “Where you been hiding?”

Great. I’d officially bleeped on their screen. Fuck.

I let out a slow breath before turning with a wry smile. “Been here all my life, big boy.” And a big boy he was. He had almost a head on me. It was best to ignore his olive skin and dark inviting eyes below thick brows. I kept walking.

“Hey!” Black Tank Muscle Man stepped in front of the stroller and my breath hitched.

I met his gaze, and even though my spine was like an iron rod, I softened. “I’m just trying to get some milk. I don’t want any trouble.” And I certainly wasn’t interested in being their customer. With my thumbs hooked on the handle and a hopeful smile, I opened the rest of my fingers in a small surrender then clasped the stroller again.

Black Tank’s eyes traveled the length of my body and he licked his plump lips that looked like the softest thing on him. Jesus, he dripped danger and sex at the same time. Those two ingredients should not be allowed to mix.

He jutted his clean-shaven chin toward the stroller. “This your baby?”

I should have lied. Single moms were probably less appealing to someone like him, but for whatever reason—maybe fear of being caught by one of the crew that did know me—I told him the truth. “It’s my sister. Please let us pass. She needs her milk.”

He stood his ground, staring at me for a long beat. I couldn’t tell if he was mind- or eye-fucking me. But there was nothing pure about the vibes he was sending, of that I was sure. A lump grew in my throat and I wouldn’t allow myself to try to swallow past it. I was a girl who’d grown up in the projects. I knew damn well that if you gave an inch to a bully, they would take a whole damn mile.

After one more glance at my chest, which made me hate the boob fairy who’d given me D cups, he stepped to the side. The tension from my back released and I pushed Violet to the deli. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that those foreboding, dark eyes followed me the whole way.

On the return trip, his electric, wicked energy stalked me, haunted my every step. Yeah, I was officially on the radar and had no idea why or how to disappear from it. It was only once I’d closed the door to our apartment on the seventh floor, gotten Violet her milk and turned on her favorite program that I allowed myself to shudder in the corner of our tattered brown couch.

What was worse was that I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. The hard truth was that I’d liked his attention, even though I was sure I hated him and all he stood for. At least I wasn’t stupid enough to trust him. But, to be fair, I didn’t trust anyone—an addict for a parent could do that to a girl—and, yeah, Black Tank certainly did not have take-you-out-to-dinner-and-buy-you-flowers ideas forming in his beautifully dark eyes.

I made Violet a peanut butter sandwich with our last two pieces of bread and cut an apple that we shared as I ate instant oatmeal. While the clock ticked closer and closer to when I needed to leave for work, it came—the instinctual awareness that my mom would be late coming home, again. And therefore I would be late for work, again.

I cleaned the small mess we’d made from eating—I didn’t think what I’d done could qualify as cooking—and I sat with my uniform on, ready to bolt out of the door, as I assumed the too-familiar position of waiting for my mother to get home.

Over the years it had been a sad and constant element of my life. When she was late, I usually knew why, and I was sure that this time would be no different. The door finally opened thirty minutes after I’d needed to leave and her skinny, fidgeting frame walked through. Every ounce of my being hated leaving Violet with my mom while she was high, but if I didn’t work, we would be worse off than we already were, and I didn’t want to imagine what that might look like.

My mom ignored me and went straight to the kitchen, where she took out a glass and filled it from the tap.

Fighting with her, high or sober, was a battle I’d surrendered to in high school, so I hid my sigh and stood.

In the calmest voice I could muster, I asked, “Can I have the phone, please? I need to let work know I’m running late.”

She darted her bloodshot eyes around the room, looking anywhere but at me. As she twisted her lips, I understood that the phone was gone—either lost, stolen or sold. Great.

“Right,” I said with a knowing nod. “I’ll be back for breakfast.”

Her guilty conscience must have been keeping her from both eye contact and speaking, because she turned her back to me and drank the rest of her water. I hurried out of the door and flew down the seven flights of stairs instead of waiting for the elevator. It was all I could do not to run through the courtyard and down the three streets to the subway station, where I was lucky enough to catch a train, my heart still thumping in my chest.

At the stop in Midtown that led to the hotel where I worked, I bolted up the stairs, retying my long hair into a tighter ponytail as I went. I entered the side door in the alley for employees and hauled ass down the stairs to the locker room where we kept our personal belongings.

The cold LED lighting was a bright contrast to the dark basement, and I had to blink several times to adjust my eyes. But once I’d focused, I saw my supervisor sitting on the bench in front of the row of mint green metal lockers.

Fuck.

“Fiona.” He crossed his arms and frowned. Sweat puddled around his thinning blond hair. Carrying around his massive stomach must have been a lot of work.

“I know.” I brought my hands together in a plea and slumped. “I’m so sorry. I’d love to say it won’t happen again, but my mom—”

He held up his chubby hand that looked more like a ball of dough with five short, fat sausages sticking out of it. “You’re fired.”

My chest contracted at the loss of oxygen.

“No, no, no, no, no. Please.” I needed to make him understand. Me losing that job wasn’t just a paycheck. It was our livelihood. The government didn’t hand out checks to addicts anymore. The only thing we had for security was the shitty apartment, because no one in their right mind would want to live in our neighborhood.

A neighborhood where the police rarely made an appearance… A neighborhood where criminals ruled with wicked eyes, iron fists and where they openly exploited the addictions of their own… Where girls gave up hope of leaving and settled into worshiping drug dealers because instant gratification was more attainable than a long-term plan…

No. I needed this job. I had a fucking dream. Get the fuck out of Covington Heights. Roly Poly on the bench in front of me did not understand what he was doing to me and my sister.

“Mr. Hansen…please.” There was no need to fake the tears streaming down my face and I hoped my trembling bottom lip would show him how desperate I was. I tapped my fingers on my cheeks as I searched his mole-like eyes for any hint of sympathy. There was none.

“I’m sorry, Fiona. If I can’t keep my cleaners in line then it’s me without a job. I’ve been warned about being too lenient. I can’t stick my neck out on the line for you or anybody else. It’s nothing personal.”

For him, maybe. For me, it was everything.

Author Bio:

Contemporary romance and erotica writer Deana Birch was named after her father’s first love, who just so happened not to be her mother. Born and raised in the Midwest, she made stops in Los Angeles and New York before settling in Europe where she lives with her own blue-eyed Happily Ever After. Her days are spent teaching yoga, playing tennis, ruining her children’s French homework, cleaning up dog vomit, writing her next book, or reading someone else’s.

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Book Blitz: Scandal’s Promise by Pamela Gibson #historicalromance @pamgibsonwrites

Scandal’s Promise
Pamela Gibson
Publication date: August 19th 2020
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance

Haunted by questions and her own insecurities, Lady Emily Sinclair longs to discover why her betrothed abandoned her and married another. Seven years have passed, but the pain of his betrayal still lingers, buried beneath layers of humiliation and mistrust. When he returns after the Napoleonic Wars, she vows to avoid him. If only her foolish heart felt the same.

Broken and addicted to his medication, widower Andrew Quimby, Lord Cardmore, rattles around his ancient manor, oblivious to his deteriorating health and state of mind. When he learns the woman he was forced to abandon remains unmarried, he vows to try to win her back, even if it means returning to a society he despises.

But Andrew soon discovers he has a secret enemy. Threatening notes appear and sinister accidents put those in his inner circle in danger. Can he overcome his demons in time to keep them safe or will everyone and everything he loves disappear forever.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

A tiny birdlike woman with sharp features stared at him from across the room. Her bonnet and outwear lay neatly on a chair. Next to it was the heavy woolen coat and hat of the young boy with frightened eyes who clutched her hand.

Andrew’s breath hitched as he looked at the child. Blue eyes, glistening with unshed tears, peeked up at him from a narrow face with a defiant chin. His guinea-gold tousled hair was cut short and his clothes were fashionable, albeit wrinkled.

The woman raised her head and glared at him. “I beg your pardon, my lord. I realize the hour is late. My name is Bricker. I was told to deliver Master George to you and then be on my way. I’ve taken a room in the village coaching house for the night, and I will return to London in the morning.”

Andrew forced himself to meet her gaze and speak in a calm voice while turmoil swirled in his gut.

“You can’t leave him here.”

“I can and I will.”

“Why now?”

“My employer’s wife has passed on, and he has no interest in the child. Madame was the one who insisted on providing the boy with a home. Master George was the only link she had with her daughter.”

“And you?”

“I’ve been his nurse since his birth at his grandparents’ London home.”

“If you are leaving, who will care for him?”

“With all due respect, that’s your problem, my lord.”

She turned to the child who began to sob. He buried his face in her skirts and fisted his small hands in the folds, his back shaking.

Her body vibrated with hatred. “See what you’ve done. You’ve upset him. He’s only six years old and not accustomed to cold toffs like you.”

Andrew stiffened, repressing the urge to curse. Instead he modulated his tone. “He cannot stay. I have no staff, no nursery. There’s nothing here for him to wear or play with. You must leave and take him back to where you came from.”

“His valise is outside in the hall. It has his belongings. He hasn’t much. As you would know if you’d deigned to take an interest in him.”

He supposed the verbal blow was deserved, despite the circumstances now confronting him, but his patience was at an end.

What the bloody hell am I to do with a child?

“You’re right. I know nothing about children. You can see he’s distressed. Can you not stay? I can pay you.” Panic gripped his throat, threatening to strangle him.

“I have another post. And now I must take my leave. ’Tis cold and wet, and I long for my bed.”

“Don’t go,” implored Andrew. “He’s crying. What does he need?”

“Give him a bit of soup and a bed. He’ll be right as rain in the morning.”

She disengaged the boy’s hands and bent down to face him. “You mustn’t cry, Master George. This is your home now. I’m sure his lordship must have a horse or two in his stables. You’ll see what a fine house this is when morning comes.”

The woman led the boy to a spindly chair and seated him. The child hid his face in his hands and wailed like his heart was broken. With a final pat, she put on her coat and hat and strode toward the door. “My hired conveyance is waiting. I’ll see myself out.” Footsteps echoed in the hall, fading as the woman reached the outer door.

Ralston stood with his hands behind his back, his eyes wide. The child’s wailing increased, and Andrew cringed. How was he to stop the noise? His valet hovered near the doorway. “Lester. Bring the new housemaid. I believe her name is Matilda. She should be in Mrs. Evans’s quarters or nearby.”

“Very good, milord.”

Ralston, who’d been silent during the drama seemed to recover from his stupor and frowned. “Do you even know who this is?”

“Sadly, I do.”

“Do you mind enlightening me? I admit, this is more entertainment than I’ve had in a decade.”

“His name is George.”

“I believe I got that.”

“He is—he is my son.”

Ralston fell into a nearby chair. “I’m astonished. I’d heard Caroline died in childbirth, but I thought the child was stillborn.”

“He’s very much alive, as you can see. And hear.”


Author Bio:

Author of eight books on California history and fifteen romance novels, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who lives in the Nevada desert. Having spent the last three years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of Ralph, the Rescue Cat. If you want to learn more about her activities go to https://www.pamelagibsonwrites.com and sign up for her quarterly newsletter and occasional blog. Or follow her in these places:

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