Guest Post: Ariadne Unraveled by Zenobia Neil #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalFantasy #AncientGreece @ZenobiaNeil @maryanneyarde

Ariadne Unraveled by Zenobia Neil

Publication Date: July 7, 2021

Publisher: Hypatia Books

Page Length: 345 pages

Genre: Mythic retelling/Historical Romance

Ariadne, high priestess of Crete, grew up duty-bound to the goddess Artemis. If she takes a husband, she must sacrifice him to her goddess after no more than three years of marriage. For this reason, she refuses to love any man, until a mysterious stranger arrives on her island.

The stranger is Dionysus, the new god of wine who empowers women and breaks the rules of the old gods. He came to Crete seeking vengeance against Artemis. He never expected to fall in love.

Furious that Dionysus would dare meddle with her high priestess, Artemis threatens to kill Ariadne if Dionysus doesn’t abandon her. Heartbroken, the new god leaves Crete, vowing to become better than the Olympians.

From the bloody labyrinth and the shadows of Hades to the halls of Olympus, Dionysus must find a way to defy Artemis and unite with his true love. Forced to betray her people, Ariadne discovers her own power to choose between the goddess she pledged herself to and the god she loves.

Buy Links:

Universal Amazon Link: https://books2read.com/u/bwolxG

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09647R6CF

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09647R6CF

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09647R6CF

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09647R6CF

From the Author…

We’ve all heard that history is told by the victors, but it took me a while to realize that this applies to the ancient world and Greek mythology as well.

I’ve long been fascinated by the Minoans, Crete and the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, though I always had questions about it. The myth goes that Minos, a son of Zeus, was given a beautiful white bull as acknowledgement that he was king. Minos was so in awe of this beautiful bull that instead of sacrificing it, he put it among his own bulls and sacrificed another in its place. In anger, Poseidon made Minos’s wife Pasiphae lust after the bull. She got the famous engineer Daedalus to make a wooden cow that she could hide inside… and nine months later the Minotaur was born.

This story has always been strange and disturbing. Years ago I joined an amazing Facebook group that focuses on Modern Minoan Paganism—a testament to how powerful Minoan culture is. At some point, a member mentioned how this story of Pasiphae, queen of Crete, lusting after a bull was a great story to tell about one’s enemy. What a way for a patriarchal culture like Athens to insult a powerful witch-queen than to say she lusted after the bull and bore a monster. What a fantastic story to tell that the monster demanded the sacrifice of Athenian youths, and that the cultural hero Theseus was the one to kill the monster and free Athens from this horrible blood sacrifice.

What better way to slander one’s enemy than to tell this story and to have it be believed and recorded thousands of years later? I was inspired by this idea because I’ve always been interested at looking at history from different perspectives. We currently think of Crete as part of Greece, but Minoan civilization was its own culture for a very long time.

I’ve always been interested in Dionysus and the conflicting myths about his origins. About five years ago, I read Bacchus: A Biography by Andrew Dalby. In my other novels about the ancient world, I’ve made a few jokes about how all children with unknown fathers are said to be the children of gods. Andrew Dalby recounts how Dionysus’s mother Semele was impregnated by Zeus. The story I had always heard is that Semele was tricked by Hera in disguise to ask Zeus to give her a promise. Once he promised, Semele asked him to show himself in his true form. Zeus begged her not to, knowing seeing his essence would kill her. But Semele insisted and even though Zeus tried to show only the slightest bit of himself, she was incinerated. Zeus scooped the essence of Dionysus up, tore open his thigh and carried the baby to term.

What I didn’t know until I read Dalby’s book is that there was another story that Semele, pregnant by a palace slave, claimed Zeus was the father. When lightning struck her bedroom, everyone thought it was divine retribution for her lies. I began to imagine a young Dionysus, unsure of his godhood. Unsure of what kind of god he wanted to be.

My latest novel Ariadne Unraveled: A Mythic Retelling is a look at the conflicting myths of Ariadne and Dionysus, but it’s also a kind of coming-of-age story for Dionysus. Dionysus is the last god to become an Olympian and the only Olympian who is a demi-god. This gives him a rare opportunity to be different from the other Olympians.

Another huge inspiration for me to write Ariadne Unraveled was to reimagine Ariadne herself. She is often mentioned as a sidenote in Theseus’s story. She is portrayed as a pawn—a princess who falls in love with a stranger who is her father’s enemy. She helps Theseus kill her half-brother the Minotaur.

In most versions of the myth, Daedalus, is the one who gives Ariadne the thread to help Theseus escape the labyrinth. Ariadne has no agency and no motivations for the things she does. Then, after sacrificing everything for the Athenian hero, he abandons her on Naxos.

Some myths say that Athena told Theseus to abandon her or that Dionysus came to him in a dream and claimed Ariadne for himself. In all the myths Ariadne is nothing more than a girl, a daughter of the king, the lover of the hero, the wife of the god. I wanted to give her back the power a Minoan priestess would have possessed. I wanted to tell a Greek myth from a Minoan perspective. And I wanted to re-empower women in the ancient world and depict Minoan culture not as a patriarchy as we often see in the Hellenistic world, but as a culture where women have freedom and Ariadne had her own motivation and strength. I was inspired to write Ariadne Unraveled to tell a story that was written by the victors from the other side and give a mythical woman back her power.

About the Author

Zenobia Neil was named after an ancient warrior queen who fought against the Romans. She writes historical romance about the mythic past and Greek and Roman gods having too much fun. Visit her at ZenobiaNeil.com

Social Media Links:

Website: www.zenobianeil.com

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Under Strain And Emerging From Isolation by Cynthia Sax #GuestPost #SciFiRomance #cyborgs @CynthiaSax

My corner of the universe is slowly emerging from pandemic-induced isolation and…well…I’m not at all fit for public interactions. (laughs) I am a mess socially.

A friend wanted to give me a hug a few days ago and I, an avid hugger in the Before Times, backed away, held up my hands to block the hug and gave her what she said was a comically horrified look.

I saw a neighbor without her mask and told her “Nice face.” She laughed but I was mortified. Who says that to someone?

It turns out I do.

And small talk? I’ve forgotten how to do that. Completely.

With challenges of masks and the need for reduced social contact, I would hurl short, blunt requests at grocery store clerks, thank them and run away.

Now, I have to think of things to say. I had a discussion about bananas with a grocery store clerk yesterday. I responded to “How are you?” with “Yes” this morning. Regular interactions confuse me and I’m now the champion of inappropriate topics.

Kamyelle, the heroine of Under Strain, struggles with the same issues. She has been the only human on her home planet for what seems like forever. She has forgotten how to interact with other beings.

When the cyborgs arrive on her planet, she forgets to introduce herself. Multiple times. She blurts out what she wants them to do.

While she was in isolation, she also gained the often humiliating habit of speaking out loud every thought flowing through her very active brain. And I mean EVERY thought – the good, the bad, the embarrassing.

That habit was gained as a means of coping with the solitude. The lack of chatter was too heavy emotionally for her. It was too eerie and depressing and strange. Kamyelle would talk to herself simply to hear someone, anyone speak.

But then other beings land on the planets—cyborgs with enhanced hearing. She tries to cope with her thinking out loud habit by whispering. The warriors can hear her and not everything they hear is complimentary or appropriate.

It IS honest, however. And cyborgs value honesty. They trust it. That bodes well for Kamyelle.

Did you have any challenges returning to ‘civilization’? (grins) Were you as socially awkward as I was and still am?

***

Under Strain

A damaged cyborg warrior is hunted by a peace-loving human female.

***

Strain is severely malfunctioning. The D Model cyborg was the sole survivor after a horrific decision was made by his cruel manufacturers. He hates all humans, and when he attacks one who is under his cyborg leader’s protection, he is reprimanded, stripped of his weapons, and told to watch and not actively participate in the next mission.

That mission takes place on a small remote planet. Its lush terrain should only be inhabited by the cyborgs they were sent to rescue, but Strain senses another presence on the surface. She is watching him, tracking him, hunting him.

A fully operational cyborg would end her lifespan.

Strain wants to claim her. Forever.

Kamyelle is the only one left of her kind. Warriors have killed the other nonviolent human inhabitants of her planet. She survived…barely…by hiding in the trees, observing her enemies, and covering herself with lifeform scan-concealing mud.

When a handsome, gray-skinned, brilliant-blue-eyed male arrives, surrounded by weapon-carrying warriors, she has to save him. Warriors harm and they kill. That is what they do.

She won’t allow them to hurt Strain.

***

Under Strain is a STANDALONE Cyborg SciFi Romance set in a dark, gritty, sometimes-violent universe.

It features a broken warrior, a human female who thinks he’s perfect, and velociraptor-like dinosaurs who view them both as light, tasty snacks.

Buy Now:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS | Apple Books | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords

***

About Cynthia Sax

USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes steamy Cyborg, Alien and Contemporary Romances. Her stories have been featured on TV, in Star Magazine, and numerous top ten lists.

Sign up for her dirty-joke-filled monthly newsletter and visit her on the web at www.CynthiaSax.com

Website:  http://cynthiasax.com/

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Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3292466.Cynthia_Sax

ArrowStruck by Alexa Piper #RomCom #ParanormalRomance @prowlingpiper

Laurette is the luckiest Elf in all of New Elvenswood. His longtime friend the vampire Hugo and the human non-witch Charlie are both in love with Laurette, and he’s in love with them. Everything would be perfect if only those two would finally decide to move in with Laurette, quit their jobs, and spend all their time with him. And Laurette has plans to sway his lovers’ minds on Valentine’s Day.

Charlie finds herself tightly suspended between the attentions of one hot Elf and one hot vampire, and there is no place she would rather be. And then, a colleague decides he wants to claim Charlie, whether she’s in a relationship or not.

Enter Cupid, mistress of arrows and bringer of love, because loving the right person is especially important with spring warming hungry hearts… except not everyone agrees with the accuracy of Cupid’s aim.

Buy the Book:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XOODzk

Apple: https://apple.co/3bPRlg5

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Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3qyfSuo

Changeling Press: https://bit.ly/3bS6Bt8

Excerpt:

Arrow Struck (Elvenswood Tales 2)

Chapter One

The kitchen smelled wonderful, a cacophony of vanilla and cinnamon and chocolate. Yet Laurette had to admit that it looked more like an entrenched warzone with the large, centermost kitchen island being occupied by the freshly iced cakes on one side and by neat lines of cookies cooling on their racks on the other. What Laurette didn’t have to admit was that he was stress baking.

He turned his back on the kitchen island and faced the bain-marie in front of him where luscious chunks of chocolate were melting to velvety softness.

“Gertrude!” Laurette barked. “Bring some of the cakes into one of the sitting rooms. I need the space. And send Heinrich to go out and get more candy hearts.” Wait. I can make heart-shaped pralines. With a touch of insta-lust magic in the filling. “And marzipan! I am making pralines.”

“Milord, there are cakes in the sitting rooms already.” Gertrude had marched up to his elbow, her pointy hat just reaching up to the middle of Laurette’s upper arm. She was finally wearing the Valentine’s Day outfit Laurette had chosen for his pixie servants this year, a warm, raspberry pink with a tasteful line of darker hearts along the neck- and hemlines. They all looked wonderful in it.

“Well, I am not done baking yet, Gertrude. Find someplace to put the cakes.” And I need more berries. Well. I cannot head to Faerie to pick berries before I do a test batch of the pralines. Why do the high holidays have to be so stressful if all you want to do is charm your lovers? And why do my lovers have to be so difficult! “And send Kris out for more gold leaf. Tell them to get double what they did last time, and cane sugar as well.”

While having two lovers and caring for them certainly turned Laurette’s days — and his nights — less leisurely, he wouldn’t want to change any of that. Hugo was a prize he had sought for so long, but while it was just the two of them, the stubborn vampire humanist with the time consuming hobby of tending to people’s medical needs, had never crossed that borderline of friendship.

It had taken for Hugo to find Charlie and properly fall for the human non-witch born to a witch family to finally burn that border to ashes and make Laurette — Hugo’s closest Elven friend — into more than just a friend. And Charlie herself was dazzling in her own ways, her tastes contrasting Laurette’s, sometimes to his frustration when she wouldn’t let him tame her messy bun into something a little more sculpted, sometimes to his delight when she kissed Laurette as if she needed him like air or water.

Yet, she too was following her own hobbyist pursuits, heaping her attention on old manuscripts in the University Library’s archives. Laurette had never grown to like the building, and imagining Charlie there did strike an odd chord with his sensibilities. He would have much rather built her a nicer library to consume her days. Ideally, however, Laurette’s human lover would see the benefit in focusing on creating words and books to hold them rather than tending to the writings of others. I hope I can convince her of that, he thought.

Gertrude took three slow breaths, which pulled Laurette from his thoughts. “Would it be possible to send one or two of the cakes to the library? Perhaps milady would enjoy sharing them with her colleagues.”

Laurette stirred the chocolate. Ah, ready to pour over the pomegranate cookies like hot wax over a bare thigh. “That is actually not a bad idea. I need to write a card to go with the cake if we are sending it to Charlie at work.” If I get her to finally move in here, I need to make sure she gets regular flower deliveries to the office too so she doesn’t think me complacent. In fact, I should just switch to regular flower deliveries for her, period. “I should try making blood pralines to send Hugo, lest my silly vampire feels I single Charlie out with my doting.” I would send him flowers as well, but he’ll complain his delicate patients cannot tolerate the pollen or some silliness.

“You do dote on her a lot,” Gertrude pointed out.

Laurette turned to face the cookies with the melted chocolate, ready to do some drizzling. “Of course I do. The darling is human still, because Dr. Hugo has morals or some such thing. Get Dinner in here for some bloodletting and see if we have a suitable card while you prepare the cake for the library. The champagne and peach, I think.” The cookies looked appealing with the chocolate still warm and dripping off the edges. I’d like to have Charlie here to taste them so that I can taste the chocolate off her lips after. But this loneliness is what I get for picking lovers with hobbies. They called it work, of course, but that did little to change the facts. “We are packing some of these cookies as well, Gertrude.”

“Of course we are,” the pixie said. Then she finally went to find a suitable card and pass along his orders to the others. Dinner, the Fae who served as Hugo’s blood source while the vampire was spending more time at Laurette’s house, could be heard groaning when Gertrude informed him his blood was wanted in the kitchen. Dinner was not the most voluntary of blood sources.

It was a little over a week till Valentine’s Day, and Laurette was uncertain it was enough time to finish his preparations. After all, his ultimate goal was to sway at least one of his lovers to end their silly living arrangements and move into his house, and everything just had to be perfect for that.

* * *

~

Arrow Struck (Elvenswood Tales 2)
Alexa Piper
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Alexa Piper

About Alexa Piper:

Alexa Piper writes steamy romance that ranges from light to dark, from straight to queer. She’s also a coffee addict. She loves writing series, and her Fairview Chronicles follow a ragtag gang of supernaturals who try to make their city safer. Mostly. Her second series, Dusk & Dawn, explores banter and the trappings of a world in which Vampires, Werewolves, and the Fae live alongside humans. Elvenswood Tales is a new series that expands the Fairview universe.

Website: www.alexapiper.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gRJq3T
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AlexaPiperWrites/
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Twitter: @ProwlingPiper
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New Release: Love in Danger by E.D. Parr #LGBTQ #SciFi @parr_books

Writing Love in Danger from E. D. Parr,

When I wrote Love in Danger, I wanted the story to have a completely different feel to my other stories.

Usually, my stories have the two main characters that are going to fall in love meeting in the first few chapters. Their meeting and falling in love is the story. There is always a happy ending, so often I will give readers a look at their future in a decision to stay together, marry, or a view of how happy they are after being committed partners for some time. I’m a big fan of love at first sight. Readers can blame it on Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and even Dickens to a certain extent.

So what’s different in Love in Danger? The two main romantic heroes are already together as Love in Danger starts. They’re warrior partners and lovers. They’ve been together for some time.

Writing this story with the heroes already in love gave me such pleasure, I might have to write another story where this is the case. (Smiles) The love between Corin and Marcus is obvious, but Corin can’t admit that he loves Marcus by saying the actual words, and that forms the romance ‘conflict’ within the story. This Sci-Fi story has horror themes, and adventure, including events that focus Corin on the need to tell Marcus besides showing him just how much he loves Marcus.

Marcus adores Corin and isn’t afraid to say so. He’s a sweetheart and it shows in how we see him assisting Corin.

Both heroes are special to me. Their origins and courage are epic. Their love is red hot and tender. I don’t know any authors who don’t fall in love with their characters. I always do, so I hope that readers love Corin and Marcus. I hope too, that readers enjoy the inclusion of another warrior in the story, Zeb, who used to be Corin’s lover. He’s a big part of the story without being part of the romance.

I hope readers enjoy Love in Danger, as much I loved writing it.

Love in Danger

Centuries ago, the planet they cherished was conquered, but now three warriors from an ancient race of gifted beings intend to remedy that.

Lovers, handsome Corin JaKobi and gorgeous Marcus D’Ath are members of an elite planetary squad that rid the city sectors of the mysterious and dangerous Fallen.

When an old friend uncovers the true horrific nature of the elders in the organization they work for, anger at their duplicity drives Corin, Marcus, and rogue squadron hunter, Zeb to plan for the ruling group’s demise.

It won’t be easy, and when Marcus is captured and detained at the elders’ pleasure, Corin’s white-hot fury at the thought of losing the man he loves knows no bounds.

Will Corin get to his beloved, Marcus, in time to stop the horror that awaits him?

Can the warriors free the planet and return it to the lovely place it was before the aggressors arrived?

BUY the BOOK

On new release discount of 25% off RRP on Evernight only

https://www.evernightpublishing.com/love-in-danger-by-e-d-parr/

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https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1065214

Download files for your kindle or other e-reader from the sites above

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All Amazon sites http://mybook.to/LoveinDanger

EXCERPT

Marcus soared above Sector Six with Corin seated beside him perusing the magnified images of the streets below from the cloaked skycar. They were on a reconnaissance flight ordered abruptly just before nightfall. The tech needed for this sort of mission necessitated the craft.

“What are we looking for?” He glanced across at Corin as he brought the skycar down to skim the three story buildings, knowing the Zangnuit’s supertech-infrared onboard cameras would show up in detail anything giving off a heat signature within.

“Not a clue, Marcus. I guess they’ll know it in operations when they see it. We just have to transmit the scanned data to them. So far, all appears peaceful. Holy fucking twin-moons, that’s Zeb.”

Marcus gazed down in the direction Corin waved. Sure enough, Zeb Farrell exited a skycar. They were low enough to see him with the naked eye, but Corin stared at the image on the computer screen. Marcus watched Zeb enter a building, then he took the craft a little higher and hovered. “Maybe that’s where he lives now. That street has the only dwelling blocks on it in the whole sector. The rest of the buildings are commercial.”

Corin leaned back in his seat. He slid his hand across and held Marcus’s free hand. “Maybe.”

Marcus put the craft on autopilot and leaned to Corin. He kissed Corin gently on the mouth. “You’re worried. Don’t be. We’ll figure this out, my love.”

Corin loosed his hand and Marcus drew away. He took back control of the craft and they completed the mission in silence, crisscrossing Sector Six until they’d scanned the whole area and the data sent to operations.

Copyright E. D. Parr, Evernight Publishing 2021

A Stroke at Midnight by Lyndell Wiliams #BDSM #kindleunlimited @laylawriteslove

He will have her before the year is out!

Mateo spent too many years craving the taste and touch of Deja’s body. He restrained from taking his brother’s widow to bed. Now the sinner in him is winning the battle. He is through imagining all the naughty things he can do with her. Time to put all his kinky plans into action.

He assembles his toys, determined to stroke Deja by the time the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve.

Deja knew it was wrong to lust after her dead husband’s brother. She tells herself that Mateo only wants to help raise her son, but she can’t keep ignoring the way he looks at her and how it makes her tingle with desire. She can’t resist the call of his hot body, and she does not want to.

Tied down by guilt and separated by quarantine, Mateo and Deja decide to free themselves with a New Year’s Eve night of passion. But will it destroy their family and friendship?

A Stroke at Midnight is a BDSM holiday short with an alpha male into kink. **NO abuse, NO cliffhanger, guaranteed HEA!**

BUY LINKS:

https://amazon.com/dp/B08QJQ817M

EXCERPT

“Can I help you?” asked a soft voice behind him.

Mateo turned to the petite, blond salesperson.  “Yes, I want to assemble a fetish box, mainly BDSM.” He had thrown out his old toys as soon as he got home. Everything had to be brand spanking new for when he first spanked Deja. He pointed to the wall. “Let’s start with a flogger.”

“Okay.”

“I’m interested in genuine leather.”

The clerk nodded and stood on her tiptoes. She pulled down a satin bag. “This is made of genuine leather with a bamboo handle.”

He opened it and glided the strands over his hand, letting them slide through his fingers. Yes, this was the one. Not for their first time, though. Deja had revealed a lot during their conversations. Her sex life, when she had one, was mostly puritanical. He didn’t want to scare her but ease her into his play.

“I’ll take it. Do you have any ticklers with a leather crop?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lyndell Williams is an award-winning writer and bestselling author. She is a cultural critic with a background in literary criticism specializing in romance. She is an editor, writing coach and mentor. She has been published in peer-reviewed journals and writes for multiple online publications.

Author Links

Blog – https://laylawriteslove.com/ 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laylawriteslove/ 

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Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj #RomCom #ContemporaryRomance @shilpaauthor

She believes in love, family and…squiggles!

Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30.  For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!

Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”

Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin’s prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He’s never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.

And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He’s Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.

What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the ‘right’ man or a chance at happiness with the ‘wrong’ one?

Book Links:

Goodreads – https://rb.gy/xtnqhw

Amazon India – https://amzn.to/3phxIRR

Amazon USA – https://amzn.to/3nxqsRe

Read an Excerpt from Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

She closed her eyes and let the nippy breeze cool her flushed cheeks. This moment of solitude in the middle of all the chaos felt like heaven.

“Private moment? Or can I interrupt?” 

Resigned to her fate, Alisha looked up. “Are you stalking me?”

“No.” Sitting down next to her and stretching his long legs out, Vivaan laced his hands on his stomach. “It was getting a little stifling in there, so I thought I’d come out for fresh air. I saw you sitting here alone and figured I’d see if you wanted some company.”

“Terrible,” she said, narrowing her eyes at him.

“What?”

“Your excuse for being out here is terrible. If I wanted company, I would have stayed in there. And the only thing stifling you in there were the women throwing themselves at you.”

Grinning, he pointed out, “You weren’t.”

Tossing her hair, she said, “I have taste.”

“Ouch.” Wincing, he straightened from his slouch. “That hurt. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from that.”

“Oh please. Go in there and let one of those girls slobber all over you. You’ll be fine in minutes.”

“All those tasteless girls in there? No thanks. I think I prefer the discerning one out here.” Reaching out to touch a lock of her hair he twined it around his fingers and watched her reaction.

“Cut it out.” Slapping at his hand, Alisha stood up. “You shouldn’t be flirting with me.”

Rising with her, he faced her. “Why?”

“Because I don’t cradle snatch and I certainly don’t intend to start with my younger cousin’s brother-in-law.” She tried for both their family’s sakes to take the sting out of her words but knew she’d failed when she saw the expression on his face.

“How old do you think I am?”

Alisha sighed. “Do we have to do this?”

“I’m trying to understand,” Vivaan said. “The age thing matters so much?”

 Alisha stared past him to the crowd now leaving the bar and yelling out goodbyes to each other. Drunk, happy and carefree. She felt every inch of her exhausting thirty-three years at that moment.

“For the record, I’m twenty-nine years old.” His low murmur had her closing her eyes. Twenty-nine. Shit. 

“I don’t think we should be having this conversation,” she said, starting to walk past him to the foyer.

Vivaan caught her hand as she crossed him and yanked her back, his grip firm and compelling. “Answer me. My age matters so much?”

“Yes,” she said, finally.

“Why? Does it make that much of a difference to who I am?”

“Why? What do you mean why? I’m older than you and divorced to add to that. You need any more reasons?” Giving her hand a slight tug, she groaned when his grasp only tightened. “Let go of my hand.”

“Does being older and divorced mean you can’t be friends with me?” 

“It means I can’t stand around holding hands with you.” Staring pointedly at their hands until he released hers, she stepped back and started to move away.

“What makes you think any of it matters to me?” His question had her stopping in her tracks and turning to look at him. “I don’t care, Alisha. I like you.”

“It doesn’t make a difference if none of it matters to you. All of it matters to me.” This time when she made her way into the crowd, she didn’t look back.

About Shilpa Suraj:


Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present-day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:

Website – http://shilpasuraj.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/shilpasuraj/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/shilpaauthor

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/shilpa.suraj/

A Naughty Creation (Fairview Chronicles 6) by Alexa Piper #paranormalromance @ProwlingPiper

A Naughty Creation (Fairview Chronicles 6)

Aife has been pulled out of her own time into the present day, and is struggling with a strange new world she can hardly comprehend. The only constant that she knows, the only person that can even being to understand her, is Myrtis. Yet Myrtis is a vampire who hides his true feelings all too easily.

Myrtis knows loneliness and has sought it out. He knows the pain of love and loss even better. He swore to Aife that he would help her fit into this time. Loving her wasn’t what he anticipated when he met the druid, but it isn’t a feeling he will deny.

Elsewhere in the city, a creature brought back from the dead is longing for his freedom from the necromacress who reanimated him. Draining a druid’s power might just be the way to accomplish that, and so the creature sets out to become free, because alive simply isn’t enough.

Changeling: https://bit.ly/2WQ7wkY

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3oS0ZlN

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3gQr41A

Apple: https://apple.co/385dLqh

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3oQlOhe

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Alexa Piper

Aife paced through the midnight dark house, her bare feet hardly making a sound on the clean, smooth floor. There were a few lamps on, which was one of the new words she had learned since she had been dragged forward in time not two months ago. She now lived with a vampire in a townhouse and still had to get used to wearing jeans and drinking coffee. Focusing on the words helped, because more often than not, the things themselves were just too strange to comprehend, and Aife had thought more than once that her ignorance and stoic acceptance of them was easier than asking about the strangeness, never mind that Myrtis was always willing to explain whatever Aife did choose to ask with that unnatural patience he had.

Aife walked into the kitchen, her eyes drifting over to the refrigerator and the coffee machine on the counter. If she just focused on the words for these things rather than the things themselves, her head was often busy enough to not remember the life she had been dragged away from when a powerful spell had pulled her to the here and now. Focused on the words, she almost didn’t remember that her sister was long dead, and she almost forgot to imagine how hard it would have been for her sister, taking over the role of druid after Aife had just vanished, and her knowledge with her.

Tears were rolling down Aife’s cheek, and she quickly brushed them away.

“You are a night owl,” Myrtis said from the entrance to the kitchen. His blue eyes caught some of the faint light, which also shimmered down the length of his straight, black hair. His dark face, unusually matched with the brightness of his eyes, was void of expression. Myrtis had approached silently, because there were very few things Myrtis didn’t do in complete silence. Aife had thought she’d gotten used to it several times, but then Myrtis had made her jump, and she’d realized that the vampire still had the better of her.

Aife wiped her face with her hand before she turned fully toward him. “What is night owl?” she said, carefully following the sounds she’d heard.

“A person who likes being up at night. The word has two parts, night and owl.” He added the word for owl in her native tongue, a tongue that had died as Myrtis had explained, just like everything else Aife had known. It lived only between her and the ancient vampire now, and Aife was learning to think in English.

Night owl,” she said, tracing the feeling the word left in her mouth once more.

“Correct. Would you like some company, little night owl?” He stepped into the kitchen, though not in a way that felt oppressive. He also was no longer standing in the door, so if Aife wanted, she could just leave.

“I was crying, and you interrupted me,” Aife said, in her own language once more. With time, she had dropped some of the formality and was now addressing him as she might a friend.

The tall vampire’s bright eyes in his dark face shone as he took a step closer to Aife, though the fringe of his hair partially muted the intensity of his gaze tonight. Even without the silence and the vampiric strength, Myrtis was striking.

“I interrupted your crying in loneliness, Aife,” he said in that same, long-dead language, using a familiar address as well. “And I offer you my shoulder for all further tears you wish to shed.”

He got like that sometimes, and Aife wasn’t yet sure if she should send him off and tell him to keep his own company for presuming she desired his, or if she should just soak his beautiful clothing through with all her tears. She had never yet dared the latter, because the clothes of this age were all finespun stuff, finer than even the best weavers Aife knew could ever have hoped to produce. They were too fine for a simple druid like her, who had failed her people by leaving them, to suddenly own so many of them. Or that was what she told herself.

“Perhaps we can read a little,” Aife said, switching back to English. The way people lived now, the way they dressed… Yes, that was strange. It was downright foreign even, but reading fascinated Aife. The way a thought could jump from one head to the other through time and space by just those few lines on paper or even a screen — that was magic, just like the kennings Aife had learned ever since she’d been big enough for her mother to teach her the magic. Reading brought a rush like divining from the bronze rods did, the ones Aife used to use for her scrying and fortune-telling. Except the words caught like ghost thoughts on the paper held a different fascination for her. She had loved and was loving every minute of learning the skill of reading and writing.

“Certainly,” Myrtis said. He stepped aside and held an arm out for her to walk ahead of him. He had explained to her this was respectful and a show of good manners, and Aife had wrestled down the unease. Myrtis was a vampire still, and she had grown up with warnings to be mindful of turning her back to someone like him.

They read in a small room with glass walls on three sides. Myrtis had told her that it was one of the many charming oddities of the house. It wasn’t a proper winter garden, because it was too small, he had explained. Myrtis had called it a slice of a winter garden. It was just big enough for the couch and plants in pots sitting on the tiled floor or hanging suspended from the ceiling.

Aife sat and pulled her legs up on the couch while Myrtis reached for a book from the pile on the floor at his side. He turned on the reading lamp behind them, and Aife blinked at the sudden brightness. When the bright spots cleared out of her vision, she found that Myrtis had stilled completely, his gaze focused on her.

“What?” she said.

“You remind me of someone sometimes.”

“Is that… good?” She had to ask, because Myrtis hardly bothered to let emotions show on his face.

“Yes,” he said after a pause, but didn’t elaborate. “Here. Somewhere Beneath the Stars. Not easy, but worth the effort.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexa Piper writes steamy romance that ranges from light to dark, from straight to queer. She’s also a coffee addict. She loves writing series, and her Fairview Chronicles follow a ragtag gang of supernaturals who try to make their city safer. Mostly. Her second series, Dusk & Dawn, explores banter and the trappings of a world in which Vampires, Werewolves, and the Fae live alongside humans.

Website: www.alexapiper.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gRJq3T
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AlexaPiperWrites/
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Twitter: @ProwlingPiper
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/piperthewriter/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alexa-piper

New Release: Night Song by E.D. Parr #GayRomance #HolidayRomance @parr_books

Night Song

Words 26,415

E. D. Parr

MM romance, gay seasonal romance

Released from Evernight Publishing December 8, 2020

Twenty-five year old Oliver Honeycutt has no idea how handsome he is. He’s creative, brilliant at his job, and underused in the designer fashion store where he works. Behind the scenes, Oliver takes special care with orders for customer, rock star, Zane Highwood. When Zane is to be the main attraction in the store’s Christmas party, fashion show, Oliver hopes Zane will notice him.

Multi-millionaire, twenty-five year old, Noah Somersby, made his first million before he was twenty-one and now owns a number of casual-chic menswear stores. He’s a designer, gorgeous, and desperate to find a man who will love him for himself and not see dollar signs as they kiss.

Noah doesn’t often take the train into the city, but one rainy day he does, as he settles into a seat opposite Oliver, the two men exchange interested glances.

In fact, Noah is super attracted to Oliver and Oliver thinks Noah is gorgeous.

As the store holiday season party approaches, can serendipity bring them together?

Read a sweet, sexy teaser

Noah felt Oliver shift in his arms as if to pull away, but then he winced, bent his head, and leaned on Noah.

Concerned, Noah tightened his hold on Oliver. “I’m worried about you.” A tingle of surprise raced along Noah’s body as Oliver raised his face to gaze at him with open desire in his eyes.

“I think I need another kiss … to make it all better.”

Noah smiled before he kissed Oliver, not even feeling a sliver of guilt at kissing a possibly dazed man.

This time Oliver returned the kisses.

Noah drifted in sensation. He lingered on Oliver’s lips, kissing him, then breathing, then kissing him again. His eyes closed and his mouth only a sigh away from Oliver’s, he rested his forehead on Oliver’s and murmured, “I wanted to kiss you the other morning on the train. I’m sorry I hurt you, but not sorry I jumped on you, because I want you … want to know you … get to know you.”

Oliver stirred in his arms again and Noah opened his eyes.

Oliver placed a soft kiss on Noah’s mouth. “I … feel the same about you. I wanted the kiss—craved it, in fact. Noah, I should probably go home and check my bruises, get cleaned up—if the ride is still on offer.”

Noah forced himself from the languor of Oliver’s kiss. “What if you stay here and I’ll race off and bring my car back? I’ll only be a few minutes.”

“I’m really okay, just sort of achy.”

Noah shook his head. “I’d feel better if you rested here.” He left Oliver leaning against the wall and dashed along the street to his store’s delivery space. Happiness shielded him from the cold, foggy night. Lingering delight from Oliver’s kisses protected him from the fine rain that drenched everything. Elated, Noah sped back for Oliver. He turned up the heat in his car, parked in the no-parking zone, and helped Oliver into the passenger seat.

Oliver smiled at him in the dim glow of the streetlights. “Thank you.”

The seasonal fairy lights in the adjacent store window penetrated the fog with hazy dots of color. The drizzle put a ring of sparkles around Christmas lanterns hanging from the decorative rope lights strung across the streets. Noah leaned to Oliver and kissed him gently.

“Where do you live?”

Copyright E. D. Parr 2020, Evernight Publishing

BUY the BOOK

On launch discount at Evernight only https://www.evernightpublishing.com/night-song-by-e-d-parr/

Or find this gay romance on All Amazon sites http://mybook.to/NightSong

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1057936

Siren Bookstrand, https://www.bookstrand.com/book/night-song-mm

KOBO https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/night-song-12

NOOK https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/night-song-e-d-parr/1138445708

Find E. D. Parr

Evernight Publishing http://www.evernightpublishing.com/e-d-parr/

Twitter https://twitter.com/parr_books

Amazon page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MUNJ3I8\

Blog https://parrx.blogspot.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/parrbooks/

New Release: The Pronographer’s Apprentice by Lisabet Sarai #Steampunk #LGBTQ

New Release!

The Pornographer’s Apprentice

The Toymakers Guild, Book 1

By Lisabet Sarai

Steampunk Erotica, MF, MM, MFM, FF, etcetera…

70,000 words, 256 pages

Smashwords and Amazon KDP

ISBN (Smashwords): 9780463069967

ASIN: B08MWMZZGP

In prudish, patriarchal Victorian England, nineteen year old prodigy Gillian Smith finds a secret society dedicated to the erotic arts. She’ll need both her intellect and her physical charms to earn the permanent position she craves.

Inspired by a salacious catalogue found in her deceased uncle’s library, she applies for an apprenticeship with the Toymakers Guild. The Guild fabricates bespoke sexual artifacts for the private pleasure of select clients – an occupation for which Gillian, with her technical abilities and her lascivious temperament, is eminently suited.

The other apprentices, initially skeptical about a female engineer, become enthusiastic supporters once they’ve tested her erotic aptitude. The voluptuous Governing Director, and the dashing French journeyman likewise help expand her carnal repertoire. The final decision, however, rests with the reclusive Master Toymaker, who has been missing for nearly two years.

When an unscrupulous nobleman sets up a competing enterprise, he threatens not only the livelihood of the Guild’s members but their lives as well. Gillian hatches an audacious plan to entrap the villain, save the Guild, and leave the absent Master no choice but to grant her heart’s desire.

If you like steam punk erotica with a kinky feminist bent, you’ll love The Pornographer’s Apprentice.

Purchase Links

Kinky Literature – https://www.kinkyliterature.com/book/8424-the-pornographers-apprentice-the-toymakers-guild-book-1/

Amazon  US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MWMZZGP

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08MWMZZGP

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1053072

Barnes and Noble – Coming Soon

Kobo –  Coming Soon

Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55857159-the-pornographer-s-apprentice

A Life Long Love Affair

I’ve always felt an affinity for the Victorian period. I was wearing high-necked blouses with cameos, long flowing skirts, and lace-up boots in my teens, long before they were fashionable. (The corsets came later…!) With my long hair parted in the middle and pulled back into a bun, I could well have been one of the heroines in the books I loved so much.

I was also a science geek from my earliest days. I received my first microscope when I was five, and my first chemistry set at seven. I entered every science fair. In seventh grade, I won grand prize on a televised science quiz show.

So it’s hardly surprising I’ve become a devotee of steam punk. I’ve been in love with this strange meld of science fiction and Victoriana for as long as I can remember – long before steam punk even had a name.  When I was in high school, I devoured H.G. Wells and H. Rider Haggard, and shared a Sherlock Holmes obsession with my dad. Later, I marveled at Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age and more recently, I discovered Gordon Dahlquist’s incredible The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters

I’ve written a number of steam punk short stories for anthologies, as well as a full length novel, Rajasthani Moon. All these tales, though, were set in Asia rather than in the British Isles. I think I was afraid I’d make errors my UK readers would notice if I tried setting a story in Queen Victoria’s home country. In my latest steam punk release, The Pornographer’s Apprentice, I finally bit the bullet and wrote an English steam punk novel. I had a lot of help with details from my critique group at the Erotica Readers & Writers Association, but of course I take responsibility for any residual mistakes.

I just hope you’ll find the story so exciting, you won’t notice them!

EXCERPT

Gillian stepped into a vast space, two storeys high, luxuriously panelled in dark wood. Excitement made her heart race. The place was like something from a dream.

Overhead, a dome of leaded glass bathed the room in daylight. At the second storey level, a semi-circular gallery followed the curving walls, reachable from a stair to her left. Arrayed on the wall to her right was a dazzling collection of pliers, metal snips, tweezers, wrenches, hammers, drills, clamps, vices, springs, glass tubes, rubber piping, brass flanges, hydraulic cylinders, coils of wire, switches and dials, gauges and meters—every sort of tool and part she’d ever encountered as well as many that were unfamiliar.

On the far wall hung parts of another sort: hands, fingers, feet, splayed thighs, open mouths, as well as phalluses of varied proportions. She could not determine the materials from across the room, though some of the models looked startlingly life-like. Her diligent studies of the catalogue suggested some might be fashioned of leather, others from India rubber.

Several large workbenches filled the centre of the room, each cabled with its own electric lighting fixture dangling from a rack above. Ian and Archie huddled together at the closest table, peering through a magnifier at a mess of wiring.

“Mr. Burns! Mr. Fawcett! Let me officially introduce our new apprentice. This is Gillian Smith.”

Archie looked up, startled. “What? You accepted a girl?”

“Provisionally.” Amelia frowned at the florid young man. “Subject to the Master’s final approval. Meanwhile, I expect you to welcome her, introduce her to our procedures and processes, and put her to work.”

“I’ll put her to work, for sure,” Ian muttered.

“What did you say, Mr. Burns?”

“Um, nothing, ma’am.”

The director stepped closer to the contraption on the bench. “Is this the circuitry for the Marlborough device?”

Ian swallowed. “Yes, ma’am.”

“And do you have it functioning yet?”

“Almost,” Archie volunteered. “Just one more small problem to fix, and we’ll be ready to test.”

“Indeed.” She scrutinised the web of copper strands for several minutes, then turned to Gillian. “Perhaps you can assist them, Miss Smith. They appear to be somewhat out of their depth.”

Apparently feeling that this was sufficient instruction, Mrs. Featherstone headed for the door, but she paused exiting. “I shall see you all at dinner. And I shall expect a full report on your progress. Do you understand?”

“Of course, Mrs. Featherstone,” the young men chimed in unison.

Gillian just grinned.

Ian and Archie wore glum expressions in the wake of Amelia’s departure.

“So what’s the problem?” Gillian asked.

“You know about electrical stuff?” Archie asked.

“To some extent. My father taught me the basics.”

“Main motor’s not getting power,” said Ian.

“Or else the motor itself is defective,” countered Archie.

“Impossible. I’ve built a dozen motors with this design.”

“Well, I’ve successfully wired at least two dozen dildos.” Archie grimaced in Gillian’s direction. “He does mechanical, mostly. I do electrical. How about you?”

“I have some experience with both types of work, though my speciality is mathematics and logic.” She stepped closer to the circular magnifier.  “Might I take a look?”

“Be our guest,” said Ian. “We are well and truly stuck.”

Under the lens, every detail of the circuitry became clear. In fact, the design was quite elegant, the layout logical and precise. She scanned the interwoven wires, focusing on their connections. In thirty seconds, she had located the fault.

“There,” she said. “Between pins fourteen and fifteen. The solder is not adhering.” Backing away, she let Archie look.

“By Jove, you’re right.” A smile lit his boyish face. “Thank you!”

“May I try fixing it? Just for practice?”  She added a bit of softness to her voice, a tentative quality that did not reflect her true nature. The last thing she wanted was to intimidate the other apprentices.

“Why not?” said Archie gallantly. “If you have trouble, I can take over.”

About Lisabet

Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – over one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

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

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

Get at Amazon

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