Release Blitz: Home Run Cowboy by Gemma Snow #multiplepartners #bdsm @Totally_Bound

Home Run Cowboy by Gemma Snow

Book 1 in the The Sinclair Seven series

Word Count: 80,535
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 203

Genres:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
COWBOYS AND WESTERN
EROTIC ROMANCE
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS

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Book Description

The only thing better than riding a cowboy is submitting to one.

On her own for the first time, Skylar Wedgeworth has no idea what to do about it. She’s torn between behaving like the hard-working mom she’s dedicated her life to being…and embracing her fascination with the erotic world of lust and submission she has long put second.

That’s where The Ranch comes in. And with it, Caleb Cash.

The injury that cut short Caleb’s pitching career just before he joined the majors, then his wife walking out on him have made Caleb question everything about himself, and he hasn’t had a partner since.

Until Skylar.

There’s no denying the heat between them when Skylar checks into the erotic lifestyle club Caleb and his six best friends opened in the Montana mountains, but for things to go further than their physical connection, Skylar has to learn how to put herself first and Caleb must be willing to trust a new partner with his heart…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of anal sex, outdoor sex, the use of sex toys. There is reference to body modification, sports injury and implied abortion.

Excerpt

Oh, they were high up now.

Ev had brought Skylar to Open Air Skydiving to get her mind off things, just as she had taken her white-water rafting, dancing and drinking, hiking, and movie binging, but it turned out that things had taken Skylar’s mind off skydiving and she was very suddenly hit with the realization that she was about to jump out of a plane.

Sweat ran down the cotton shirt pressed to Skylar’s back by the bulk of her diving gear and the attached diving instructor. She leaned over to hear what her best friend was saying.

“Of course you miss her.” Ev had to shout to be heard over the roar of the small plane’s engine and the whirling wind that beat against metal. This wasn’t a good idea. Why had she thought it was a good idea? “You know that’s okay, right? You’re allowed to miss her.”

It was just the rush of air coming from the open door that had Skylar’s eyes watering behind the plastic goggles they’d been given when they checked into Open Air Skydiving Center just outside of DC earlier that afternoon. Just the air pressure and not the pressure behind her eyes, or anything ridiculous like that.

“I know,” Skylar shouted with more conviction than she felt. How was it she could be more than ten thousand feet above the ground and still feel this sense of malaise? “I was just hoping that sunshine and hot men would make me forget about it for a while.”

That had been the plan. A jaunt around Greece—exploring the coasts and the beaches, visiting some of the world’s most beautiful historic sites, getting tan and drinking local wine until the day she returned to the city—all with the hope that their home wouldn’t feel quite so quiet when she got back.

“You know that Callie is totally going to take on the world, right? Don’t think of it as your little girl going off to college. Think of it as…as the next step toward her Nobel Peace Prize.” Ev raised her voice even more to be heard. She leaned close and put her hand on Skylar’s, and goodness if Skylar didn’t need the kind of comforting touch Ev brought, even if it was slightly inhibited by the two diving instructors strapped to their backs, diving instructors who were now communicating that their jump point was coming up.

Oh…boy.

“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea…” The words were swallowed by the sound of the instructors moving about the cabin of the plane. Then Skylar was right there, standing over the world, her stomach somewhere at her feet, and the sweat she had been feeling a moment ago cooling into a panic that made her shiver.

“Are you ready?” her instructor asked, but the words were swallowed up on the wind and he didn’t give her a chance to respond before her feet were no longer anchored to the floor of the plane, before none of her body was anchored to the plane, but out in the open air, nearly three miles above the ground, a dizzying display of city and farmland and highway spreading out around them like the rug Callie had had in her room when she’d been a child.

Wait until she told Callie…

Callie would think this was the coolest thing Skylar had ever done.

With that thought in mind, Skylar spread her arms and relaxed her body enough to let the wind buoy her. Her heart pounded faster than the whirling plane propeller above them and her mouth was open in an eternal scream. This was terrifying, this was stupid, this was….

Amazing.

Her instructor pulled the cord and the parachute yanked them back, pressing hard against Skylar’s body and knocking the air from her chest for a moment. In a moment they were floating above the Virginia farmlands, a million tiny barns and homes and buildings coming into focus as they followed the natural course of the air. This was peace, somehow, in a tumult of chaos. In a whirlwind of everything that had happened these past weeks, she somehow felt at peace miles above the solid ground and wished, fleetingly, stupidly, that she never had to touch down again.

When her feet hit the ground, she stumbled but didn’t lose her balance and a rush of adrenaline coursed through her body. She wanted to dance, to swim across a river, to go back to Greece and figure out exactly what she had run away from by coming back from her Mediterranean adventures nearly a week earlier than she had planned and allowing Ev and her partners to toss her into every available adventure within three hours of the city.

As if she could hear her thoughts, Ev touched down a few hundred yards from Skylar, whooping and hollering with the same delight that raced through Skylar’s body right now. Soon they were disentangled from their chutes and Skylar was running over to Ev, wrapping her in a hug and swinging her around. Adrenaline made picking up her friend easier than expected and she could almost see how mothers could lift cars off their children in emergencies.

“That was wild!” She was definitely shouting but Ev didn’t seem to realize. “Let’s go again!” Ev laughed, wrapped her arm around Skylar’s waist and half-pulled her to the facility to drop their diving suits off and grab their bags. When they returned to the parking lot, it was to find Ev’s partners, Lucas and Quinn, waiting for them against a large black SUV.

Quinn Langston and Lucas Vallejo were Ev’s husbands and friends from back when they had trained at Quantico together. It had been nothing more than a momentary blip for Skylar to accustom herself to their relationship. Not only had the three been thick as thieves for a decade and the transition an easy and natural one, but Skylar’s own love for Ev went back even further, and she was never going to begrudge her happiness, no matter what form it took.

Ev had been there since the beginning, since Skylar had been pregnant and alone and desperate for a job, any job. Ev had just moved to DC the summer after graduating from Columbia University, before her training at Quantico, and they’d shared night shifts, and morning shifts and lazy afternoon shifts all summer long, sweating their asses off and working their calves to hell in the City Street Diner, across the street from George Washington University Hospital.

It had formed an impenetrable bond between the two of them, two young women trying to make it in a world not designed for them, and though Ev had gone on to save the world from evil at the FBI and Skylar had created her own successful business from the ground up, they had never lost touch.

Ev had been there the day Callie was born, been the one Skylar had put on her emergency forms, the one Skylar had called when the going had gotten really rough. It shouldn’t have come as a shock that Ev the grown-up, now in her late thirties and balancing two relationships and an incredibly successful career, would be able to see exactly what was bothering Skylar without skipping a beat. Well, almost everything that was bothering her.

“I’ve never seen you look more gorgeous in my life,” Lucas teased as the two neared the SUV. He was pretty gorgeous himself, all honey words and thick dark hair that Ev had disclosed one drunken night he very much liked pulled. Beside him, Quinn’s stoic expression cracked slightly, and he leaned down to kiss Ev before wrapping Skylar in a hug. It felt like having a brother back and some of the adrenaline of their trip through time and space faded slightly.

“Did you enjoy yourself?” he asked. Quinn was the most reserved of the three, and while they’d been waging a war against Skylar’s demons since she had returned from Greece early without an explanation, he’d given her the most space to process things, to be herself. She knew he had secrets of his own and appreciated his methods and gentleness as much as she did Lucas’ flirtatious humor and Ev’s open warmth.

“It was amazing,” she said honestly. For five minutes, she’d been able to stop thinking about Callie, about her empty apartment, about the what if of what she had run away from in Greece.

“Night’s just getting started!” Lucas chimed in, wrapping his arm around Ev’s waist and leaning in very, very close. “We have reservations at Little Cuba in”—he made a show of checking his watch—“ten minutes.” Little Cuba had the kind of festive atmosphere that was just perfect for a night out after jumping from a plane and Skylar had to appreciate the extent to which her friends were going to help her feel good.

It might help if I explained what the problem is.

Because she hadn’t exactly told Ev that it wasn’t so much the sense of being lost at sea with Callie in her first year of school on the other coast that had her in a funk. That had been why she’d left for Greece in the first place. But what she had found there…

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About the Author

Gemma Snow

Gemma Snow loves high heat, high adventures and high expectations for her heroes! Her stories are set in the past and present, from the glittering streets of Paris to cowboy-rich Triple Diamond Ranch in Wolf Creek, Montana.

In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent several months living in a fourteenth-century castle in the Netherlands. When not exploring the world, she likes dreaming up stories, eating spicy food, driving fast cars and talking to strangers. She recently moved to Nashville with a cute redheaded cat and a cute redheaded boy.

You can take a look at Gemma’s website and blog and also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Enter for your chance to win a fabulous gift package and get a FREE romance book from the author!

Gemma Snow Home Run Cowboy Giveaway

GEMMA SNOW IS GIVING AWAY FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 18TH May 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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Release Blitz: Following the Rules by Lane Hayes #GayRomance #sportsromance @LaneHayes3 @GoIndiMarketing

Following The Rules Banner

Title: Following The Rules

Series: The Script Club #1

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: May 7, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50k

Genre: Romance, Nerd/Jock, MM Romance, Bisexual Awakening, Best Friend’s Brother,

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Synopsis

The geek, the jock, and a new set of rules…

Topher-

My friend’s brother needs an academic assistant and I need a job. Problem…jocks are my weakness. Seriously. I lose my ability to speak coherently around muscle-bound hotties. Oh yeah, I lose my inhibitions too—not a good look for a guy with a genius IQ. So what am I going to do about Simon?

Simon-

Finishing college isn’t high on my list of priorities, but my future in professional football is looking bleak. I need a plan B or C, and I could use some help navigating life as an undergrad. Topher is perfect. He’s also a little strange…but in a good way. And I like the way I feel when I’m around him—as though anything is possible. Maybe if we follow our hearts, we’ll find what we’re looking for. But that means changing the rules…

Following the Rules is a MM, bisexual awakening romance starring a lovable nerd, a cool jock, and some extracurricular fun.

Excerpt

I served us both a slice of each kind of pizza and slid a plate his way, gesturing for him to help himself to the cheese or whatever else he might want.

“I don’t care about money,” I said around a mouthful of food. “Eat up. This is tasty, but it won’t be as good when it’s cold.”

Topher flashed an anxious sideways smile and took a mouse-sized nibble. “Mmm, that’s delicious.”

I washed down my pizza with a healthy swig of wine, nudging his knee as I swiveled to face him. “Are you okay?”

He wiped his hands on a napkin and drained half his water, setting it on the island with a decisive thud. “Yes, I’m just a little nervous.”

“Nervous? Oh. I’m sorry.” I frowned and before I could rein my tongue, blurted, “You seemed fine when we were joking about tiny gorilla penises, and hell…you saw my dick and—”

“I wasn’t joking. I was reciting a fact and as far as your penis is concerned…”

I twisted to face him, unable to contain a mischievous grin.

“Yes? I’m waiting,” I singsonged, biting into the ham and pineapple pizza.

“I told you, Simon…I was simply doing the math,” he replied matter-of-factly. “Six and a half inches.”

“Nine.”

Topher narrowed his eyes, his features softening in amusement. “Six and three-quarters, max.”

I scoffed and hooked my thumb under the elastic waistband of my sweats. “Wanna see?”

“No! Geez. You know, it’s very difficult to stay on topic with you. And staying on topic is the only way this will work.”

“Okay, fine. Back to dick size. What animal has the biggest schlong on the planet?”

He gaped at me for a hot second. “The blue whale. It’s estimated to be seven to ten feet long.”

“Whoa!”

“Although I don’t know that it’s ever been measured during intercourse. Or if that’s even possible.” He reached for his pizza with his brow knit in concentration as though pondering whale dick…as one does.

“Whales are huge. It makes sense. What about land animals?”

“Elephants. They’ve legitimately measured specimens in excess of thirty-nine inches.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.” I snort-laughed. “Christ, I’m feeling very inadequate with my mere twelve inches.”

“Six,” Topher scoffed. “Look, before we get sidetracked again, I just want to—”

“I’ll pay you double.”

“What? Why?”

I sighed as I picked up my wineglass. “I don’t want to fail. No…it’s more than that. I need to look smart. I can’t come across as the fuckup wide receiver who got dumped from the NFL and blew the cushy back-door admittance to a prestigious university by failing his first semester. I thought I might be able to muddle through with a few pointers from George, but it’s going to take more than that. I need a real assistant.”

Topher widened his eyes, then blinked in disbelief when I named an exorbitant salary. I had a hard time keeping my own expression. What the hell was I thinking? Did I really need an assistant?

I didn’t know, but I needed…something.

“Oh, that’s a lot of money,” he whispered breathlessly.

“It’s the going rate for a personal assistant. Ironically, I never had one while I played ball, but I need the help now. I want the best, and George says that’s you.”

Topher smiled. “George didn’t say he was the best?”

“Actually, he did. But we can’t be in the same room for an hour without wanting to take a swing at each other.”

“You and George fight?”

“Not as much now that we’re older, but…yeah, I guess we still fight. We don’t have much in common.”

“You and I have even less in common,” he replied.

“That’s a good thing. Trust me, it’s better for me that you don’t know that I slept with a teddy bear until I was thirteen…or that I still have that damn bear for reasons unknown.” I gave a self-deprecating chuckle, then sipped my wine and set it on the island. “So…are you in? Make me smarter, Toph. I need your brain!”

He stared at me for a long moment, inclining his head. “Okay.”

“Yes!” I fist-pumped the air as if I’d just scored a touchdown and held out my hand for a high five.

Topher left me hanging for a few long seconds before gently tapping his palm to mine. I grabbed his wrist to hold him steady for a redo. The contact was light and breezy…and spontaneous. But that was how I rolled. For a guy who played professional football, it was nothing.

However, this didn’t feel like nothing.

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

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Release Blitz: Moonshine, Magic, and Murder by January Bain #paranormalromance #mystery @JanuaryBain @Totally_Bound

Moonshine, Magic & Murder by January Bain

Book 3 in the Manitoba Tea & Tarot Mysteries series

Word Count: 63,850
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 245

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
MYSTERY
PARANORMAL
ROMANCE

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Book Description

Charm McCall has a gift for solving small-town murders, but can she stop something threatening the entire McCall clan?

Charm McCall is on the hunt once more—this time to figure out who the ghost is that her cat has been seeing, why she’s being shown an ancient treasure map by, gulp, a dead guy and why her Auntie T.J. has suddenly disappeared, bagpipes and all.

That would be more than enough, but with the upcoming Sadie Hawkins dance and its accompanying Promise Bags to create and spell, she’s about run off her feet. Not to mention that now it’s legal to sell marijuana in Canada, orders for pot brownies are rolling in and threatening to crash her online store.

Charm needs all the help she can get to deal with the arrival of her mother and the beyond painful host of problems that creates for her family, save Auntie T.J.’s hiney and discover who the real murderer is…that is, if she wants her romance with Snowy Lake’s sexy Mountie, Ace Collins, to have any hope at all.

Reader advisory: This book contains references to drug use and parental abandonment. There are scenes involving discovery of corpses, with some description of said corpses, a scene of mild violence and some poisoning.

Excerpt

“Careful! That box is already spelled! Anything could happen if you mix them up,” I shouted at my triplet Star, who was paying me no mind, just moving things haphazardly around as she ‘dusted’ the shelves of the Tea & Tarot café.

Star twitched her whole body into a pretend robot, her blonde curls bouncing when she dime-stopped her limbs in an abrupt series of motions. It was a lightning change of mood that had become far too common of late. I gave a deep sigh of frustration I didn’t bother to hide. She’d been getting worse by the day, antsy no doubt for The Call. Darn movie people. Telling her she had a role, then delaying production.

“Oh, really.” Okay, she was good at the robot dance, I’d give her that, if a job ever asked for such a dubious ability. But that didn’t stop me from rushing forward to rescue the Promise Bags. They held the precious trinkets of all the females around town who were participating in the upcoming Sadie Hawkins dance. Each midnight blue velvet bag had been magically infused with a specific wish, ranging from a marriage proposal to a spa vacation. Mix up those babies and all Hades will break loose, because this year the items had been blessed under the decade’s most awesome supermoon.

Maybe that’s a bad idea? I chewed on a fingernail while I worried about going too far in my overwhelming urge to have my fellow goddesses receive their fair due from men who did not always appreciate them. Men could be so lame sometimes, not reading the signals right under their very noses, though that did not appear to be the case with our local Mountie, Ace Collins. He could be a little too astute at times. Goddess, give me the strength…

The emotive notes of a musical instrument native to Scotland, one that defied the noise ordinance of Snowy Lake, broke through my worry fog.

Auntie T.J.

I set the rescued box safely aside on a shelf and scurried toward the huge picture window of the Tea & Tarot café to where Tulip sat perched on a stool. The third triplet of our McCall clan, she was a matching bookend to Star, which made them both polar opposites to me with my Elizabeth Taylor-esque violet-colored eyes and dark hair. Or at least according to Granny Toogood, who loved her old movies.

Tulip was keyboarding as per usual on her computer, working either on her blog posts or selling our newly rolled out ‘potcakes’ to the Canadian masses. I sent a silent prayer to the goddess that the extra revenue the items were supposed to bring in happened. We’d invested in producing cannabutter to add to our spectacular line-up of bakery goods, and to think it might go to waste if the idea didn’t catch on induced serious heart palpitations. And that just isn’t right when a gal’s only twenty-one years old.

“Shoot! What’s Auntie T.J. up to now?”

“She only brings out the big guns when she feels threatened,” Tulip said. “See, Sergei McCausland.” She pointed at the business owner our auntie was serenading with her warmongering.

The town hound dog owned the Bowl-a-ram-a, the five-pin bowling alley tucked away at the outskirts of town, which was located a hop, skip and a jump from our café, Snowy Lake being so small with only twelve hundred and fifty-nine residents, that I could run across it quicker than I could be bothered to start up my Jeep, Thor.

Though that had been changing somewhat of late with the arrival of Constable Collins and his annoying active pursuit of law and order. Sheriff Winn Duffy was more beloved of course, having turned a blind eye for decades, but the new Mountie was gaining ground. Did I share that he’s a handsome devil?

“What’s Hound Dog up to now?” Star asked, joining us behind the counter.

“Star, don’t be saying that out loud. Granny Toogood might overhear,” I chastised my sister automatically. The woman who had taken us in at eight years old had a thing about swearing and speaking ill of others, among a host of other things that she expected everyone to have learned in kindergarten. I gave a quick glance around the café, taking a second to admire the décor of midnight blue walls with enough glitter to choke a horse, thanks to Star, our resident glitter mistress. No Granny and no customers at the moment. Of course, it was an off-time, Sunday morning before church let out.

“Why is she upset with him?” Tulip asked, computer forgotten as she got to her feet to join us. The three of us stood shoulder-to-shoulder and stared at Auntie T.J. in her full Highland dress that was a touch too plaid-mad for my tastes. Her newly tinted burgundy hair with a wide pink streak down one side shone sparkly in the sun and drew attention to the bright slash of siren-red adorning her lips. She stood on the solid-yellow divided line of Main Street and blasted away in the face of the far larger Sergei, who appeared, from his wide-legged stance and wild hand gestures, to be pretty darn angry.

“I heard that he’s been manufacturing Auntie’s special elixir out at Skull Cave. Pretty much stole her recipe,” Star said, punctuating her remarks with a significant raising of her perfectly groomed eyebrows.

“No! Not Auntie T.J.’s Magic Elixir, her special apple pie moonshine?” Tulip asked, her mouth pursing into a rosebud, her eyes as wide as a snowy owl’s.

“The cure for whatever ails you.” I repeated the oft-heard company slogan. My auntie had a lot of entrepreneurial spirit, I’d give her that, though that might explain our own venture into marijuana edibles, since the Canadian laws had changed a few days ago. Can’t escape DNA. I pushed past Star to storm out through the front door into the unseasonably warm mid-October morning. The angel chimes overhead went wild with a chorus of Halleluiah as I let the door slam shut behind me.

Auntie T.J.!” I screamed at the top of my lungs, wind-milling my arms to get her attention over the caterwauling of the pipes. She either didn’t see me or was studiously ignoring me. The sound was even louder this close, and I cringed from the instant eardrum pain, clasping both hands over the sides of my head.

Sergei came right up to me, catching me before I could confront my auntie, grab hold of the ‘musical’ instrument and tear her fingers from the chanter. Actually, I loved the sound of the bagpipes…when they were located over the hill and moaning into the distance, as they were meant to be enjoyed.

“Would you talk some darn sense into that woman? She’s going to drive away all my business. I have half a mind to sue her. Did you know she was at my place this morning before following me here? Nearly drove a van-load of senior citizens away. I had to offer the first game half-price. I can’t have that.” He shook his head with vigor. “You need to talk to her, make her see sense. Daft old bird.”

“What’s got her riled? You know she only does this when she’s driving away bears or someone’s done her wrong,” I shouted back.

His expression shifted and his eyes narrowed. “I have no idea. The woman is certifiable. I’m calling the cops if she persists. We’ll see what Sheriff Winn Duffy thinks about all this. He’ll toss her in jail for disturbing the peace. Mark my words.”

I placed my hands on my hips and cocked my head at him. “That’s not what I heard. I think you know very well what’s going on here.”

He flushed darker and didn’t look me in the eyes.

“That’s what I thought. You stole her Apple Pie Moonshine recipe!” I pointed my forefinger at his broad chest. Sergei stood a full head taller than I am, with me being by far the shortest of the McCall triplets. But nature made up for that by having me born a whole day earlier than my sisters, or one minute to midnight, if I was being specific.

“I didn’t steal her darn recipe. I just worked it out for myself. It’s not rocket science, you know. I just came downtown to buy some edibles from the Tea & Tarot and this is the thanks I get.” He began to pout like a five-year-old. Of course, Auntie T.J. was no better. Granny Toogood’s only sister was not only ten years younger than her, but also six decades behind her in the smarts and maturity departments.

“Let me deal with my aunt. You can leave now. I’ll have a talk with her.”

“You’d better. Just sayin’. Because I’m not putting up with this much longer, missy!”

The blast of the police sirens firing off must have been droned out by the moaning of the pipes, because suddenly there was Constable Ace Collins standing at my side. We’d even missed the flashing lights atop the Royal Canadian Mounted Police SUV.

But my oh my, he was looking handsome this morning, all six-foot-plus, broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped, Stetson-wearing Mountie that he was. He touched his large fingers to his fine hat and nodded at me before turning a steely-eyed glance on Sergei McCausland. Even the bagpipes had silenced with his arrival. Auntie T.J. stood quiet with her fingers poised over the chanter holes in case she needed to punctuate her point yet again. I shook my head at her in an exaggerated motion, a finger to my lips.

“Are you threatening Miss McCall?” he asked. He must have picked up on the recipe-stealing man’s last comment. The Bowl-a-ram-a wasn’t the sure-fire business plan that Sergei had dreamed of, I suspected, which was probably why he’d gone into manufacturing moonshine. That tempered my thoughts. Business was hard won in a small town, and it was good that he offered people entertainment during the endless months of a typical long and freezing Canadian winter. But still, using my auntie’s recipe sucked. She’d spent years fine-tuning it to what she thought her hero from the TV show Justified’s Mags Bennett’s moonshine tasted like, and she was rightly proud of it. I’d enjoyed it on a few occasions myself…when I didn’t have to work the following morning.

“No, of course not. I was just wanting a bit of peace, for heaven’s sake. That woman’s been doing this for three days running. She’s trying to ruin my business. You have to do something, Constable, or so help me I will go over your head and speak to Winn Duffy. I know you’re too fond of the McCall family by half.”

Oooh. That last comment was uncalled for. Ace Collins was a man of complete integrity. A straight shooter. A man of conviction. I backed up a couple of steps in the dead silence while the two men glared at each other, then I backed up a bit farther.

A surge of anger forced its way through me. Who did this guy think he was? Casting aspersions on Ace and my family like that? A streetlamp popped nearby, blowing up and showering sparks in the nearby vicinity, which included the three of us. We all ran for cover, well, except for the Mountie, who gave me a look, shaking his head with a steely look on his handsome mug. He flicked a smoldering spark from his sleeve and strolled over to join me standing on the sidewalk in front of the café. Auntie T.J. and Sergei had vanished like vampires at sunrise.

Behind me, I experienced the emotions of my sisters burning into my back. The town was suddenly silent, like the whole universe was holding its collective breath. Goddess, do not fail me now. I ask for your protection and understanding. I sent the prayer into the crisp morning air before turning a benevolent smile toward my favorite Mountie.

“Morning, darlin’. I trust you will be talking to your aunt for me? Sharing my concerns over her breaking the town’s sound ordinance, jaywalking and obstructing traffic on Main Street laws?”

I glanced around pointedly, about to say that no one was waiting to drive down the street that I could see, when he reached out to take my hand with his far larger and far warmer one, throwing me off-kilter in a heartbeat. I nodded mutely as a momentous electrical charge coursed through me, making me feel I could provide lighting for the entire town. I groaned, only imaging what Tulip was observing with her new-found gift of reading auras. Now she had ammunition up the yin-yang for blackmail or teasing. Had I just lost the oldest sister advantage?

Trying to tug my hand away from his without appearing too obvious about it didn’t work. He held on, then did the unexpected—leaned his head down toward me and captured my lips for a kiss. A modest one for certain, quite quick, but oh so memorable. My insides trembled at the pleasurable sensations that rippled through me.

When he pulled his head away, he gave me a certain look from under the brim of his Stetson, then let go of my hand. “Be sure to talk to your aunt or I will.”

“Are you threatening me?” Hands back on hips, I glared at him with all the emotions our impossible-to-consummate relationship produced. Until we knew for absolute, unequivocally dead certain that he was my one true love, we couldn’t do much at all as it might jeopardize my goddess-given gifts.

My searcher gift—finding lost items—wouldn’t be missed near as much as my healing gift, because the whole town counted on that. And as Granny Toogood had shared a few weeks back, if I gave myself to someone who wasn’t The One, I’d lose it all. And the town wasn’t helping us a bit on this one. Instead, it was always interrupting us. If we didn’t steal kisses on the run, there’d be none at all.

“No, Miss McCall. But consider yourself fully warned of the consequences for your aunt if you don’t fix this thing. I don’t want to hear it happens for a fourth day.” A twitch that I had observed on the odd occasion began in his cheek. He was feeling the effects of our needing to restraint ourselves to only kisses as much as me. Good. Fair play. Though, in truth, it was more a hesitation on Ace’s part than mine. I was about ninety-nine-point-nine percent certain he was my one. I just had to persuade everyone else that it was the case. That my healing gift would stay intact.

“I’ll handle it,” I said, tucking my hands behind my back while rolling on the balls of my feet. Nice to see a man sweat. Not that I didn’t want more than a few chaste kisses from Ace, but in the meantime, it was a fun if somewhat frustrating time. And I was pretty sure I knew how it would all end. Or at least I had my hopes.

Another light standard winked as if it too were going to blow. “Oh, relax already. I got this.” I turned and headed back into the café, bracing myself for my sister’s comments.

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About the Author

January Bain

January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full-blown thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create a series that features strong women who don’t take life too seriously, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope the stories of her beloved Brass Ringers will capture your imagination as much as they did hers when she wrote them.

If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with two furry babies trying to prove who does a better job of guarding the doorway. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously replied to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.

If you wish to connect in the virtual world, she is easily found on Facebook, Twitter and writes a weekly blog about her journey on Blogger. Oh, and she loves to talk books…

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January Bain Moonshine, Magic & Murder Giveaway

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Release Blitz: Finding Home by Megan Linden #paranormalromance #LGBTQ @megan_linden @pridepublshing

Finding Home by Megan Linden

Book 6 in the Harrington Hills series

Word Count: 33,036
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 142

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
PARANORMAL
WERESHIFTERS

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Book Description

With a beginning as rocky as their pasts, it’d be easier if they stayed away from each other. They didn’t.

Leo Tomilson has come back to Harrington Hills after a fire that changed his life forever, and all he wants is to be left alone. No longer being a firefighter is something he might learn to live with, but there are days when he doesn’t even feel like a proper werewolf anymore. That cuts deeper than anything else.

Charlie Dewitt is as reliable as they come in Harrington Hills. Ever since he put down roots in this town, he’s never wanted to leave. His brother is here, his pack is here and so is his life. He has everything he needs. Not everything he wants, perhaps, but that’s fine.

Their first meeting is a mess because they clash over a series of misunderstandings. But Charlie is a patient man, Leo sees in him what most people miss and neither of them are good at taking the easy way out, so maybe there’s a chance for…something, after all.

Reader advisory: This book is best read as part of a series but can be read as a standalone. The book contains a scene of public sex.

Excerpt

Leo woke up to the sound of knocking, but he refused to acknowledge whoever it was. They would leave eventually.

He rolled over and put his face into his pillow, but the knocking turned into pounding.

“Open the door, LJ!” Sylvia. Of course. He should’ve known.

“Go away,” he said, loud enough so she could hear him. “I’m sleeping.”

“I don’t care.” She pounded on the door again. “Let me in before somebody calls the cops on me.”

“Ha-ha,” he grumbled but sat up. Given their foster father was the sheriff, the joke had been funny once, but that time had long passed. “Maybe they should.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Sylvia said through the door, but at least she wasn’t attacking it anymore. She’d probably heard him getting up.

It wasn’t until he was halfway down the hallway that he realized Sylvia wasn’t alone. Damn it. Damn his fucked-up senses and damn his siblings for ambushing him like this first thing in the morning.

Or afternoon, he figured, glancing at the clock near the door.

A big part of him wanted to turn around and go back to sleep, but since he was already out of bed, he might as well get on with it. Sylvia wasn’t going to let up now, anyway.

He opened his door with a “What?” in a matter of greeting and almost closed it a moment later when he saw the small crowd on his porch. Along with his annoying sister were Damien, Luka and Beatrice.

“Hello to you, too, brother,” Sylvia told him and moved forward. When Leo stepped back on instinct, she nodded at him and entered the house. She went to pat his chest, but he sidestepped that in the guise of capitulating and making room for the rest of their little group to come in.

Out of everyone, only Beatrice had the good graces to look vaguely apologetic for the invasion.

“I love what you haven’t done with the place,” Sylvia said as she looked around, but Leo just rolled his eyes. The house was furnished enough to be lived in, and that was what he was doing—living in it. Sure, it had been furnished by a company he’d hired and further accessorized by his mother—their mother—who wanted to make it more ‘homey’, but it was a perfectly fine living space.

Sylvia made it sound like he was living in a shack in the woods.

Which he wouldn’t mind, actually, as long as it had a comfortable bed, but he’d known better than to freak out his family like that. So he’d purchased a house remotely before he’d even moved back to Harrington Hills—and here he was.

Yet his family still found a reason to freak out anyway.

“Give me a minute,” he muttered and went back to the bedroom. He put on a pair of jeans and the first T-shirt he pulled out of his drawer, barely avoiding the temptation to just lie down again. He made a stop in the bathroom without so much as a glance at the mirror then forced himself to return to the living room.

The four of his siblings had sat down on the couch and one of the armchairs, leaving the other empty for him. How nice of them, he thought dryly, and for a second considered ignoring the seat altogether, but finally he sat, putting his hands on the armchair’s sides and resisting the urge to pull his legs up.

“Did you need something?” he asked.

“We needed to talk to you.” Sylvia looked at him then, pointedly, at the rest of their siblings, who nodded.

“We’re worried about you,” Beatrice said, and Leo opened his mouth to tell her there was no need, but Sylvia didn’t let him.

“You haven’t been out on a Full Moon Run since you got here. You’ve skipped all but one of the pack gatherings—”

“Two,” he corrected her. He’d been roped into that second one because he’d bumped into his mother at the store and she’d insisted he help her out, but it still counted, nevertheless.

“Fine, two.” Sylvia seemed to struggle not to roll her eyes—or maybe get up and smack him over the head. Either one or both, really. “In the almost three months since you’ve been back.”

“So what?” He raised his eyebrows. There was no law that said he needed to attend the gatherings. He’d done what was required. He’d gone to see the Alpha once he’d been back and he’d attended one get-together soon after. Then he’d decided to do what he preferred, which was to stay home and not bother with people.

His mood was definitely not suited for interactions with others, which this conversation perfectly conveyed.

“What do you mean, ‘so what’?” Luka frowned. “You’re a part of the pack. We gather as a pack.”

“It’s not mandatory,” he pointed out the obvious, but it looked like it was only obvious to him alone.

“It’s not mandatory to attend every gathering,” Sylvia told him. “It’s unheard of to attend none. And,” she added quickly when he opened his mouth, “yes, I know you attended two, but that’s beside the point.”

“What is your point, then?” Leo dug his hands into the armrests. “I did attend two gatherings, so it’s not like I’ve attended none. I’m not going more because I don’t want to. What’s so bad about that?”

“What’s so bad is our mom, who makes your favorite pie every time the pack gathers at the house because she thinks you’re going to be there,” Damien spoke up and, damn it, he’d always been the best at guilt-tripping.

None of them had ever wanted to disappoint their mom, the woman who had opened her heart and arms for them even before she’d opened her home.

Leo might feel like a monster some days, but he’d never purposefully hurt the most important woman in his life.

“I never promised her I’d come,” he said, but even to his own ears the excuse was a weak one.

“Yeah, because that makes it all better,” Damien muttered.

“You don’t have to promise anything. She’s always going to be waiting, and you know it.” Sylvia sagged in her seat as if she were a balloon that had lost all its air. “Seriously, what did you expect, moving back to Hills?”

He’d been looking for a place to survive. Somewhere to hide in, to forget his old life, forget—

Forget everything.

So he’d returned to the last place he’d felt safe, the place he’d called home long before Chicago. But even here, nothing felt like it once had, because the memories had come back home with him.

He’d been trying to bury them all, but they refused to let go. They kept him up at night, trapped him in his nightmares and suffocated him until he ran, and ran, and ran for miles through the forest surrounding the town—and farther, too. He’d caught himself more than once outside the Harrington Pack grounds.

He’d never run far enough to outrun his head, but sometimes his thoughts had quieted for a while, at least.

He couldn’t do it on the pack runs, not really. Someone would notice he wasn’t shifting or running for pleasure, and he never wanted to have to admit to anyone—his parents, his Alpha, his siblings—that he was running for his life these days.

“LJ?” Sylvia’s voice penetrated his thoughts. It sounded softer than anything she’d said so far today, and when he looked up, he met her worried gaze.

He forced himself to let up his grip on the armrests. At least he hadn’t extended his claws.

“I expected some peace and quiet,” he said after he remembered the last thing she’d said before he’d gotten lost in his head. “I get that you like to gather until there’s a crowd, but crowds are the opposite of what I want.”

“How about we organize a family dinner, then?” Beatrice spoke up and he turned to her. She seemed…sad, and Leo didn’t have to guess why. That had been a part of why he’d stayed away—not wanting his family to worry. “Not the whole pack, just the Tomilsons? We hadn’t had one of those in a while.”

Leo wanted to protest—‘just the Tomilsons’ still meant close to thirty people, including all the significant others and the kids—but he figured it was actually a compromise he could live with. He would sit through the family dinner, make his parents happy and hopefully get his siblings off his back.

“Fine,” he said with a sigh when he saw Sylvia opening her mouth. “Let’s do that.”

Sylvia narrowed her eyes. “Really?”

“Yes, really.” He shot her a glare that hopefully conveyed ‘don’t push your luck’. He got up. “Now, is the intervention over?”

She shook her head but got up as well.

“This wasn’t an intervention,” she said, and the trio on the couch looked from one of them to the other and back, staying silent. “It was a warning. We’ll settle for a family dinner now, but you skip the next after-the-run barbecue and we’ll be back. And that’s going to be an intervention.”

He wondered briefly what she considered the difference between the two but dismissed the thought quickly. He’d worry about it later. Now, he just wanted them out of his house, so he could go back to bed.

Or maybe eat something.

He should probably eat. It had been a while.

“Is that all?” he finally asked, since everyone’s gaze was now stuck on him.

It was the politest ‘get out of my house’ he could come up with, and he hoped it would work, because he truly didn’t want to fight with them. He just wanted to be left alone.

Sylvia looked from him to their siblings on the couch before nodding slowly. “Yes,” she finally said with a nod. “I’ll text you about the family dinner, so don’t pretend you’ve lost your phone or I’ll come here and drag you out myself.”

Leo pushed his suddenly sweaty hands into the pockets of his jeans and forced himself to swallow through his tight throat.

There was no smoke, no fire, no pain.

Sylvia was just being Sylvia.

“Fine,” he said slowly, carefully, making sure his voice would hold. He walked to the door and opened it. “Bye now.”

Beatrice and Luka sighed, Damien rolled his eyes and Sylvia looked like she wanted to say something but closed her mouth and walked out without another word.

Soon, Leo was alone again, with only the fading scent of the pack and his family members lingering in his house.

Maybe he should actually invite his family over one day to make the whole place smell like them?

He snorted to himself. Yeah, right.

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About the Author

Megan Linden

Megan is one of those people who dreamed of being a writer since they were a little kid and then didn’t do anything about it for years. Then as a teenager she was introduced to fandom and… well. She fell head first into it and never looked back. At some point she decided to try writing her own characters in her own stories. And that’s where she is today.

When she’s not writing, Megan works as a psychologist and continues to learn the hard way that she can’t give all her clients their happy ending (she truly believes everyone can save themselves, though). That’s why she makes sure to give it to her characters, always.

She loves TV shows, books, fanworks and pizza (not necessarily in that order). But there’s nothing like getting messages from readers who enjoy her stories, so if you’re not sure it’s okay to contact her—yes, it is.

You can take a look at Megan’s website here. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Megan Linden Finding Home Giveaway

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New Release Blitz: Unlikely Harmony by Lily Michaels #LGBTQ #ContemporaryRomance @PridePublishing

Unlikely Harmony by Lily Michaels

Book 3 in the Improbable Bonds series

Word Count: 32,368
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 140

Genres:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
CELEBRITIES
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI

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Book Description

In the middle of his darkest moment, Sebastian finds an unexpected light.

Since his immense gift was first discovered, Sebastian Chevalier has led a life of blissful indulgence—crisscrossing the globe to perform to thousands of adoring fans and garnering international attention for putting a modern face on opera—that is until a vocal cord injury steals Sebastian’s most prized possession.

While he rehabilitates, he turns his focus to composing an opera and hires Jasper Lorde to join as his accompanist to help turn his written music into a living creation. Although Jasper is the polar opposite of everything he is normally attracted to, Sebastian finds himself with an overwhelming desire for the man and as he slowly regains his ability to speak, the two men explore the passion building between them.

Once the opera is complete and Sebastian has been cleared to sing, he books a debut at the prestigious LA Opera House. But this decision releases a Pandora’s box of demons for Jasper that threatens their tentative connection.

Reader advisory: This book includes the impact of PTSD and anxiety and reference to a car crash with multiple fatalities.

Excerpt

Just standing in front of the imposing oak door soothed the part of my soul that had been scattered, erratic and unsettled. A two-hundred-city tour could easily do that to a person. I missed home. I missed my bed. And damned if I didn’t miss this.

Instead of falling into the comfort my two-thousand-thread-count sheets afforded, I was waiting in the cool, late summer night air for the host to swing open the door and welcome me in…because I needed this.

At any point during the tour, I could have—and probably should have—made a few phone calls and found a similar club in Luxemburg, Paris or New York, but none possessed the familiarity and anonymity Sergio insisted upon for Devour.

In the way that only Sergio could, he—not a designated attendant—opened the door with a flourish and a wicked grin. “Did you miss me, darling?”

I leaned forward and kissed each of his cheeks, as had become our custom over the years. “Terribly, but not quite as much as your dark room.”

His slate-colored eyes glimmered with mischief and knowing all melded into one. “It is your favorite place in Devour.” He stood to the side and held out one arm. “We’ve had a new visitor over the past couple of months while you were gone. He memorized the vocabulary of the dark room with freakish speed. He’s here tonight and I think he may be right up your alley.”

Never in the three years I’d known Sergio and frequented his club had he drawn my attention to anyone in particular, even though he knew I had a very specific type. “What makes you say that?”

He tipped his head to the side, his devious grin melting into a much more serene smile. “You’ll see, cupcake. He’s the only one in the dark room not currently paired up.”

In a familiar routine that soothed some of the aching remnants of my tattered nerves, I handed my leather coat to the clerk, slid the ticket into the pocket of my tight black denim pants and made my way to the room I’d spent the entire flight home from London thinking about.

I’ve lived my life on overload and typically loved every minute of it. Crisscrossing the globe, performing, recording, giving interviews and personal appearances… Every second of it fed my already admittedly healthy ego. It was impossible to not be rather enamored with yourself when men and women from twenty to sixty-five threw themselves at you. About half only salivated over me because of my singing abilities, the others because of my appearance. Either reason was okay with me.

But in the dark room everything stilled, quieted and was at peace. I was wanted for who I was at my core, the most authentic part of me. Hell, no one I’d ever encountered within those four walls had known my name, much less my public identity, and I adored that fact.

Just outside the door I slid on the required half-mask and closed my eyes, giving them a moment to transition from the low lights in the hall to the black lights minimally filling the room. I stepped inside and didn’t open them again until the click of the mechanism closing sounded behind me.

As Sergio had indicated, there were several couples paired up in various positions and stages of play throughout the dimly lit space. A solitary figure stood swirling a drink no more than a dozen paces from me. The black light, which tended to toy with and distort a person’s vision, flashed off the silver mask covering half his face. His body was a little on the lanky side, but the fitted tank top he wore showed off lean muscles on his upper arms and a modest bulge to his chest. He had a thick mop of curly hair that appeared dark in the room, although I was well acquainted with not only the tricks the lights played with appearances but also the lengths to which some people went to keep themselves from being recognized when they came to Devour.

I closed the space between us and reached for his hand. The dark room was about feeling and immersing oneself in the moment, all while keeping the interactions anonymous. Everyone was required to conceal their face, and the ultraviolet bulbs assisted in making the players unrecognizable.

Most important to me, however, was the ‘no talking’ rule. Sergio had set up a system of tracing letters and a few basic symbols on the hand of whomever one wished to partner with for the night as the way to communicate and confirm consent, but no words were ever spoken. And based on his little disclosure, the newbie had caught on quickly and would be able to follow along.

Sub? I moved my index finger just below his knuckles and my heart rate kicked up a notch at his responding nod.

From what I could tell, he was certainly my type physically, but the confirmation that he was submissive was truly what ticked my box. Play? I drew each letter painstakingly slow to be certain he understood what I was asking. I loved embracing my Dominant side and certainly was a fan of a little rough play, but only with both partners fully on board.

He nodded again and I led him to the wall where Sergio had created a handful of signs that would help us outline what we wanted for the night without the long process of spelling it out and possibly creating a misunderstanding. I held out my hand to the papers on the wall, indicating he could choose. I had been too-long deprived and was ready for nearly anything, as long as I could flex the muscles of authority that had lain dormant.

And as much of an arrogant asshole as I was in my daily life, nothing meant more to me than meeting the needs of the submissive under my control, even if only for a night. I needed to know what he wanted from me, what he needed.

The other man pointed at the ‘sadist’ sign and himself simultaneously, then tapped his finger on the points below that said, ‘nipple clamps’, ‘paddle’, ‘flogger’. He then slid over to the list of sexual acts identifying ‘blow job’, ‘bottom’, ‘rimming’.

Once more, for my own peace of mind, I grabbed his hand and traced Play? Sure?

Instead of a response, he grabbed the back of my neck and pulled me in for a kiss. Sparks ricocheted through my entire being from the point where we were connected. I reached beneath his top, which was damn near a second skin on him, and pinched each of his nipples simultaneously as I plundered his mouth with my tongue. He whimpered and the sound shot confidence directly into my spine.

The moans and gasps from the three other couples in the room faded into the background. An unusual charge of energy I couldn’t define passed between us, and within seconds, I was desperate to get the man naked and discover if the fine muscles hinted at beneath his clothes were as enticing when exposed to the minimal light the room offered. It took longer than I wanted to free him from the form-hugging material. Once he had been, I drew in a very necessary lungful of air. The man was gorgeous.

I leaned down and sucked on one nipple for the briefest moment before sinking my teeth into the tender flesh. He swayed a little and I quickly held his back to keep him upright as I moved to repeat my ministrations on the other side.

My aching cock was pressing painfully against the fly of my jeans and desperate for freedom. I disentangled his fingers from where they’d knotted in my hair and wrapped them around his own hard dick before turning him around and pushing him against the wall.

Once I’d shed my own clothes, I rummaged through the tall wardrobe a few feet away and came back with a bottle of lube, a condom, nipple clamps and a flogger. I moved to the man’s side, hooked a finger around his chin and turned him so he faced me. I held up the items and nearly exploded with gratitude at his affirmative nod to accept the various forms of play.

First I affixed the clamps and I traced, OK? on his hand again. My breath was trapped in my lungs for the half a second before he answered. At his affirmative response, I turned him to face the wall again then trailed the tips of the flogger over his shoulder and down his spine. I rotated my wrist a few times before delivering the first strike, followed quickly by two more. Even in the low light, he visibly stiffened beneath the three blows.

OK? I drew once more. This time he shook his head, grabbed my still-extended finger, and wrote More on my palm. The plea sent a jolt of unnecessary extra desire straight to my dick, and I happily obliged, landing another four hits to his backside, which was now brightly reddened, visible even under the ultraviolet rays.

Normally my willpower was damn near infinite, but everything about the brief interaction with the man was unusual. Sooner than I’d have preferred, I was sheathing my cock with the latex barrier and lathering it, as well as his ass, with an excessive amount of slippery lubricant.

Once more I broke many of my own rules when I spun the man around and pressed his back and hands to the wall, lifting him against the wooden surface, hiking his thighs over my hips and sliding inside him easily. Perfectly. Our dual moans mixed and mingled to create a beautiful harmony.

I was never so thankful for the dogged insistence of my personal trainer to make me lift and work-out hardcore, even while on tour, as I was when I was easily holding him with one arm and removing one clamp with my free hand, quickly replacing the metal with my lips. I repeated the action on the other side, licking and sucking the tiny pebble until he gave me the whimpering response I wanted…needed.

I pulled back and crashed my mouth into his, gripping each of his ass cheeks firmly, the knowledge that I’d leave him with reminders of me much more thrilling than it should be.

Two more strokes inside and a shudder ran through his entire body as liquid lava erupted between us. The proof he’d met his release gave me permission to launch myself from the precipice I’d been dangling from into the warm, welcome abyss of ecstasy that beckoned me.

He leaned forward and planted soft kisses on my shoulder. New threads of pleasure wove around every cell in my body because of him, every part of him—his hands, his lips, his hot breath on my skin.

Damn, what I wouldn’t give to know his name.

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About the Author

Lily Michaels

Coffee, chocolate, and books make up Lily’s world, often all three at the same time. Whether reading or writing she is a sucker for an over-the-top happily ever after… only following an appropriate amount of pain, of course.

When she is not writing or reading (which is not very often) she enjoys exercising her right brain in non authorly ways such as creating mosaics, crocheting, knitting, scrapbooking, and taking one man’s trash to create something new. But never, ever ask her to draw something. That is a beast best left alone.

You can find Lily on her website here and follow her on Pinterest.

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Lily Michaels Unlikely Harmony Giveaway

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Release Blitz: Captivated by A.C. Thomas #LGBTQ #SciFi @acthomas_books @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Captivated

Series: The Verge, Book Two

Author: A.C. Thomas

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 04/26/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73400

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, sci-fi, gay, nerd/linguist, space pirate, space travel/road trip, abduction/captive, twins, interracial, class difference, tattoos, body mods, humorous, opposites attract, outrageous flirting, sexual banter, undergarments, ribbon play

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Description

Dr. Theophrastus Campbell leads a comfortable life, along with his twin brother, buried in academia. His unique gift for obscure languages goes unnoticed as he teaches University students to conjugate Latin. Everything in his world is just as it should be; restrained, understated, boring. He would give anything to break away. In all his daydreams of adventure, Theo never expected it to arrive in the form of an outrageously attractive Outlier covered in intriguing tattoos. And Theo never thought the price he might pay for adventure would be his own freedom.

Captain Park Jun-Seo leads a dangerous life, running a Crew of misfits through Restricted space as he desperately searches for the key to completing his parents’ work. Work that could mean the difference between life and death for countless others. In all of his frantic searching, Jun never expected to find the key in the form of a beautiful professor with more brilliance than good sense. And he never thought the price he might pay for knowledge would be his own heart.

Stoic Jun and irrepressible Theo must work together to break the code before their time is up. Falling into bed together is effortless, but their growing connection wasn’t in the plan. Theo charms his way beneath Jun’s skin with every nonsensical move he makes. Jun must decide if he can make room in his harsh, goal-driven life for the unpredictable force of love. Theo begins their journey as a lighthearted adventure—until he cracks Jun’s tough facade to reveal the hero within. Theo must decide if he can risk his battered heart when Jun is risking everything.

In the lawless depths of space, can two captive hearts set each other free?

Excerpt

Captivated
A.C. Thomas © 2021
All Rights Reserved
Chapter One

Ding. Ding. Donk.

Theo held his index finger up at the uneven chime of the ancient bell over the door—yet another harried university student bustling into his office after hours. It was practically midnight, hardly the time to ask for an extension.

Honestly, students were the worst part of teaching. Theo didn’t know why he had taken the TA position in the first place.

Okay, yes, he did. But, to be fair, Professor Gladwell looked amazing in his spectacles and fitted waistcoats, and who could blame Theo for going a little glassy-eyed whenever they had private meetings?

Well, Professor Gladwell’s wife, for one, probably.

Theo finished his note and dropped his pen into the onyx holder on his desk, preparing to give the student his full attention.

Some of his attention.

Whatever was left over while Theo drifted off on thoughts of the strain Professor Gladwell’s buttons were under on a daily basis as they tried to contain all that athleticism. Those poor, poor buttons.

He lifted his head with the bored expectation of finding another skinny, pasty academic struggling to hold armfuls of paper with desperation written all over their ink-smudged face.

In other words, someone like Theo.

This person was holding a sheaf of papers, and there the resemblance ended to every expectation Theo had.

Perhaps it was time to expand his expectations.

“I’m looking for Dr. Campbell.” The stranger’s voice curled around Theo’s ears like smoke.

Theo smiled up at him, admiring the way the lamplight glinted off of his black hair and deep bronze skin. Stars, but he was a handsome specimen.

With a flip of his hair back over his shoulder, Theo marked his place in his notebook by closing a finger in the pages. “Well, you’re certainly in the right place for it! Though I suppose that depends on which Dr. Campbell you are looking for. There are three of us in my immediate family alone. Although, Campbell isn’t a terribly uncommon name, so there could easily be many more Dr. Campbells than I’m entirely unaware of.”

The stranger looked like he very much regretted initiating this conversation. Theo was, unfortunately, familiar with the expression being directed his way.

The stranger shook his head slightly, as though Theo’s chatter were water in his ears. Something else Theo was extremely familiar with.

He leaned in slightly, casting a wide shadow across Theo’s cluttered desk when his bulk blocked out the light beside the door. “Dr. Campbell. Where is he?”

Theo traced the impressive line of the stranger’s shoulders underneath his unusual many-layered black leather coat before offering his free hand to shake. “I am Dr. Campbell. Pleased to meet you! My brother is also Dr. Campbell, and my father is Dr. Campbell as well, though they would be less pleased to meet you. Nothing against you, personally, they just aren’t terribly fond of interacting with strangers. Or people in general, to be honest. Sometimes I think they can barely tolerate me!”

The stranger winced as if he could relate to the sentiment and quietly responded, “Dr. Campbell has been described as a thin male with green eyes, red hair, and pale skin.”

His deep voice sank into Theo’s bones like the pleasant rumble of a hovercoach over cobblestones.

Dark, hooded eyes skipped over Theo as his visitor described each feature, as though checking off a list in his head, ignoring Theo’s offered hand.

Theo dropped it to the desk with a shrug; the slight couldn’t hamper his enjoyment of this diversion from his research. “I’m afraid that doesn’t narrow it down even the slightest bit. My brother and I are identical twins, and we definitely favor our father, to the eternal dismay of our poor mother. My dismay as well, to be honest. It would have been ever so nice to have her chestnut hair rather than this glaring beacon I’ve got atop my head. I tend to stick out like a redheaded thumb.”

The stranger sucked in a breath through clenched teeth, square jaw held tight as his broad shoulders rose and fell in a long, measured sigh.

Theo felt like sighing himself at the sight. The man really was uncommonly beautiful.

He could happily watch those shoulders move for hours. He even had some suggestions regarding the nature of the movement.

His attention was brought to the desk when the stranger slapped a battered manuscript on top of his notebook—an older heatbound copy, of all things. The stranger’s fingers were marked with ink, tattooed on the metacarpals between each knuckle with Hangul letters in beautiful calligraphy. Theo had never seen the like.

The stranger put pressure on the hand he held splayed across the document, pinching the finger Theo had left inside his notebook. He yanked it out hastily as the stranger growled at him. “This Dr. Campbell.”

Absently shaking his pinched finger, Theo scanned the manuscript. The simulated parchment was stained and rumpled. It appeared to have been dog-eared at the corners over and over again, and the pages bristled with assorted tabs. All signs of a book well loved.

He tried to read the cover page, lifting the stranger’s long fingers distractedly with his thumb and forefinger until he was hit by a jolt of recognition, filled to the brim with unexpected delight. “Wherever did you get this? I wrote this years ago during my graduate studies! I’m honestly surprised that anyone outside my thesis committee has even read it. It’s such an obscure topic, after all. I had the most terrible time just—”

The stranger’s palm slammed back down on top of the document, missing Theo’s hand by a hair. “You are this Dr. Campbell?”

It appeared as though he already knew the answer and was dreading it as he squinted dubiously in Theo’s direction. There was a slight tremble in the man’s fingers as they pressed hard against the sheaf of papers.

The stranger’s eyes remained shadowed by his strong brow, but his gaze washed over Theo—a wave of heat, laser-focused and far more intense than the conversation warranted.

A frisson of caution tried to nip at Theo’s mind, sounding an awful lot like his brother hissing in his ear about good sense. He shook it off the way he usually did and leaned his chin on his hand to peer up at the stranger through his lashes. “Why, yes, I am. To whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?”

The stranger lifted the manuscript, his fingers unmistakably trembling as he flipped through pages with a dry rustle of sim-parchment. He held the document open to a passage of translation Theo had featured in his study of long-dead languages and shook it rather rudely in his face. “This. You can read this?”

Theo launched into a recitation of the passage, finishing with a flourishing roll of the tongue. It was rare to find a fellow enthusiast on the topic, particularly one so pleasing to the eye. The stranger seemed unusually passionate about the subject, his breath quickening audibly as Theo rattled off the words of a people long gone.

Theo cocked his head to the side and reached for his pen as he opened his notebook. “If you have an interest in the topic, I keep one of my sources here in my office. Just there, on that shelf.” He gestured off to the side where his cluttered bookcase leaned heavily against the wall for much-needed support. “It’s titled An Annotated Glossary of Dead Languages by Dr. Fernsby.”

The stranger folded his sheaf of papers into his coat and walked to the bookcase in two decisive strides. Theo took the opportunity to study him further, pen hovering above his open notebook.

Quickly skipping past a few dozen sketches of Professor Gladwell standing at his lectern, he found an empty page.

As the stranger turned to face the bookcase, Theo caught a glimpse of black ink trailing up his neck to frame his sharp jawline in an odd geometric pattern of thin parallel lines intersected with tiny circles. He attempted to sketch the tattoos onto his paper.

Even more ink snaked out of the cuffs of his coat, wrapping around his wrists and stamping all the way down to his fingers with that lovely calligraphy scribed across his knuckles. Theo wrote down the characters and translated them to Core Standard in the margins.

Honor on one hand and Valor on the other. Fascinating.

Closer examination revealed a design of clustered hexagonal shapes running up the wrist of his left hand. Theo had just begun to sketch them when the stranger turned back toward him, book clutched in his fist.

Theo had never seen anyone remotely resembling the man; nothing about him said “Core,” from his sprawling ink to the look in his eye. He gave the impression of someone midway over a rickety rope bridge, unsure of every step but determined to get across.

Theo couldn’t help but find his appearance a little bit dangerous as he took in his severely handsome face framed by unevenly shaved black hair, all of it underscored by the dramatic sweep of his coat.

The impression was cemented when the man tucked the book away inside his coat and pulled his hand back out with a ray gun pointed in Theo’s direction.

Theo’s pen dropped a blot of ink onto his notebook as the man stepped closer.

The stranger’s eyes were so dark his pupils disappeared into the black of his iris. His unrelenting stare sent shivers down Theo’s spine that could not be attributed entirely to fear. “Come with me. Now.”

Theo chewed on his lip for a moment, considering, and then he turned the page of his notebook to jot down a short list of words.

When Theo’s attention fell to his notebook, the man repeated himself at an increased volume. His vowels were clipped, initial consonants rounded, almost like a citizen of the Core world Goryeo but significantly sharper. His words had a cutting edge to them Theo had never heard before.

A heavy boot kicked Theo’s desk, and the man’s handsome face twisted in anger. Theo glanced down at the chunks of mud littering his carpet.

“Your accent is absolutely fascinating. I need you to repeat these words back to me, if you please.”

Pen poised to take down the man’s answers, Theo rattled off his list of words expectantly.

The stranger’s scowl slid from his face, his eyes widening in Theo’s direction in the manner people often did when he caught them off guard.

It seemed to happen fairly frequently.

“I have a gun,” the man said, returning to his original volume if not his original vehemence.

Theo sighed, scribbling on his pad with a shake of his head that had his hair falling in his face. “No, no, that doesn’t help at all; that would take me ages to decipher. Repeat the list, if you please.”

The stranger gestured with his ray gun, raising it level with Theo’s head. His fingers had finally stopped trembling.

“I have. A gun.”

Theo used his pen to shove the tapered barrel of it away from his face in irritation. “No, you mustn’t obscure your lips that way. I need to see the movements. Now, the list, if you please.”

The stranger’s face did something decidedly odd and incredibly diverting where his features couldn’t seem to decide what direction they wanted to go, so they never went anywhere at all.

To Theo’s absolute delight, he actually repeated the first three words on the list before giving his head an emphatic shake, gesturing with the gun once more. “I don’t think you understand. This is an abduction, Dr. Campbell. You’re coming with me.”

Theo didn’t turn away from his notebook, busily adding to his notes. He sketched out the pattern the man had shaved into his close-cropped hair on the right side: three intersecting triangles. Theo directed his answer to his notebook, pen flying across the page. “Or else you intend to shoot me, I suppose, is meant to be the implication with the gun?”

A large muscle began ticking in the stranger’s clenched jaw.

“Yes,” he gritted out between even, white teeth.

Theo beamed at him, tucking his hair behind his ear with an excited wriggle. “How thrilling! Just give me a moment to jot off a quick letter for my brother, and we can be off. I must say, this coincides nicely with the due date for that stack of term papers I’ve been putting off marking. Well done, you.”

The stranger gave the aforementioned stack of papers a baffled glance as Theo turned to another page to leave a short note for his twin brother, Ari.

He was bound to be perturbed if Theo did not make it home in time for tea tomorrow after all.

Ari didn’t like it when Theo diverged from their schedule, which was a constant source of conflict as Theo was appallingly bad at keeping to a schedule. The dear thing spent most of their lives nudging Theo back on track—

“Enough.”

The dark snarl of the stranger’s voice, crackling in the space between them like a bolt of lightning, startled Theo into dropping his pen.

The stranger tugged up a hood of soft gray material attached to his black leather coat, casting his face in shadow. He reached across Theo’s desk, plucked him from his seat one-handed, and lifted him effortlessly across his desk, scattering clutter all over the floor.

One muscular arm curled around Theo’s midsection, holding his back tightly against the man’s firm chest.

Theo ran his hands over the corded muscle of the man’s tense forearm with an appreciative hum as they started to move across the floor.

He was quite tall indeed for Theo’s coltish legs to dangle midair. It made Theo want to turn and wrap those legs around his waist. It was evident he’d have no trouble supporting Theo’s weight.

Altogether, an absolutely delicious thought. And here Theo had thought he was in for yet another lonely, boring Thursday night.

The stranger considered the door for a moment, then reached out with his gun hand to yank at the figured brass handle, prompting Theo into action.

“Oh, I almost forgot!”

He stomped down on his captor’s boot, showering the carpet with another layer of caked-on mud and debris. The arm across his stomach tightened uncomfortably as the man hissed through his teeth.

The ray gun prodded Theo’s side menacingly, but he just turned his head with an apologetic smile. “So sorry about that; I assure you it was quite necessary!”

With a noise reminiscent of a lion with a thorn in its paw, the stranger carried Theo out the door and into the cold night air.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

A.C. Thomas left the glamorous world of teaching preschool for the even more glamorous world of staying home with her toddler. Between the diaper changes and tea parties, she escapes into fantastical worlds, reading every romance available and even writing a few herself.

She devours books of every flavor—science fiction, historical, fantasy—but always with a touch of romance because she believes there is nothing more fantastical than the transformative power of love.

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Release Blitz: Grace Robbing and Other Hobbies by Jayce Carter #reverseharem #paranormalromance @Totally_Bound

Grave Robbing and Other Hobbies by Jayce Carter

Book 1 Grave Concerns Series

Word Count: 72,680
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 277

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
PARANORMAL
REVERSE HAREM
VAMPIRES
WERESHIFTERS

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Book Description

Ghosts, corpses and four hot men—what’s a girl to do?

Abandoned at three—whose parents want a kid who sees ghosts?—I learned the world is quick to punish misfits. I try my best to be a normal, boring human, but the call of the supernatural just won’t be ignored.

When a stranger shows up on my doorstep in the middle of the night, it’s no sexy tryst. Instead, I’m off to the graveyard, digging up the corpse of a murder victim at the demand of the local vampire coven—and that small felony is just the start.

The spirit of the woman has gone missing—something that shouldn’t be possible—and everyone is looking to me for answers. There’s Kase, a vampire who’s both terrifying and secretive. Grant, a mage with a bad attitude and a lot of power. Troy, the possessive werewolf-detective next door and Hunter, a mysterious bad boy who isn’t even close to human.

It’s a race not just against time but against everything to figure out where the spirits are going, who’s behind it and if I can trust the men who now share my bed.

And all because of a little grave robbing…

Reader advisory: This book contains violence, bloodshed, and death. There are references to parental abandonment and tattooing a child, as well as vague references to pedophilia and the threat of child sexual abuse by a foster parent.

Excerpt

I wished a floating, nearly headless body at three in the morning were an unusual thing for me, but this was the fourth time this one had visited me in as many weeks.

A squinty gaze at my watch made me groan. At least she’s punctual.

“Avenge me!” the apparition demanded in an over-the-top ghostly voice.

I pushed myself upright to offer an annoyed look. “Don’t pull that scary crap with me, Melinda. I’m not some kid trying to contact spirits at a sleepover.”

The spirit shimmered then crossed her arms and gave me the same dirty look back. Ghosts have the worst attitude. “Well, if you did what I wanted the first time I asked, I wouldn’t have to keep bothering you.”

“You want me to kill a teenager.”

“He killed me. How is that not a fair reaction?”

“You ran a red light because you were trying to get your caramel macchiato to mix while complaining the barista didn’t make it right. Can’t really blame him for that.”

She pursed her lips as though she’d blown out a huge sigh, but with her being incorporeal, no actual air escaped. “If he hadn’t been driving, it would have been fine. Isn’t this your job? To make things right? You were given this gift for a reason.”

“I don’t know why I was given this gift, but I know I won’t be using it to murder innocent teenagers.”

“Can I talk to someone above you? Like your boss?”

I groaned and rubbed my eyes as it became clear I wasn’t going to be getting back to sleep any time soon. “Did you really just ask to speak to my manager? Look, if you can find whoever is responsible for me, please, be my guest and speak to them. While you’re at it, tell them I’d like to quit.”

Melinda jammed a bony finger at me. “Do you know who I am?”

“Someone who has ruined my sleep for four weeks.”

“And I’ll keep doing it until you agree to help.”

The threat was good, as far as threats went. Most ghosts tried to scare me into doing what they wanted, but after a person had seen as much as I had, those tactics fell flat. The worst an apparition could do was annoy me until they lost their hold on this world and went to the afterlife. A poltergeist could do some damage, but they were few and far between, luckily.

Melinda’s outline had already lost its sharpness. She’d dimmed until she was more of a shimmer than a clear picture. Another week—maybe two—and she’d drift to a whisper, then to nothing.

“And I’ll keep ignoring you until you’re no longer in this realm.”

An entitled huff came from her. “Look at me! I can’t believe I’m sitting here being ignored by some short, frumpy girl with bad hair.”

I considered pointing out that my hair didn’t normally look quite so wild, but she had woken me up in the middle of the night.

“Make peace with what happened,” I told her as I rolled over, my back to her. “Because I’m not going to help you.”

The bed didn’t sink, but an electric feeling that said she’d neared ran along my back. “It wasn’t supposed to happen like this,” she whispered, some of that sureness missing. “I wasn’t supposed to die like this.”

“Well, that’s how it always goes. Everyone thinks their death will be some great sacrifice, some noble leap, but that isn’t what it is.”

“Harrison already moved his mistress into our home.”

Okay, so I wasn’t entirely jaded, because an ache ran through my chest at that. Being dead sucked, I was sure, but being forgotten so quickly? Replaced? Far worse.

“The world keeps moving. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that no matter what, no matter who dies or how, the world doesn’t stop for any of us.”

“Then what’s the point? Why does any of it matter if as soon as we’re gone, it all goes away?”

I cuddled into the warmth of my bed, unsure what to tell her. She wanted to be reassured. She wanted me to tell her there was some great plan, that at the end of the day everything, made sense. I would have loved to tell her that because I’d love to hear it—to believe it.

The reality was that despite having spent my life surrounded by death, I had no stunning pieces of wisdom about it. I didn’t know why we were all here, or what the great purpose was, or why any of it meant a damn thing.

Instead, I told her the only thing I could. “Make your peace, Melinda, because you don’t want to end up where you’ll go if you don’t.”

She wailed, the screeching of a soul that few could hear and even fewer could survive. It made my ears want to bleed, so I grabbed my headphones and cranked up the music to cover it.

She’d be gone soon, since she only ever stayed for twenty minutes or so. I’d done this long enough to know which ones would cross over and which ones who would get stuck. Melinda?

She’d get stuck. She’d cling and try to bargain until the last moment, when she faded to nothing and ended up in purgatory. Even I didn’t like to think about that, about the place I’d glimpsed a handful of times that sent a creeping, gnawing terror through me.

The deep bass and rhythmic drumming drowned out her wailing, and I fell back to sleep. Eventually.

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About the Author

Jayce Carter

Jayce Carter lives in Southern California with her husband and two spawns. She originally wanted to take over the world but realized that would require wearing pants. This led her to choosing writing, a completely pants-free occupation. She has a fear of heights yet rock climbs for fun and enjoys making up excuses for not going out and socializing. You can learn more about her at her website.

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Jayce Carter Grave Robbing and Other Hobbies

JAYCE CARTER IS GIVING AWAY THIS FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A LOVELY GIFT PACKAGE AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 4TH May 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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Release Blitz: A Reluctant Attraction by Rosanna Leo #ContemporaryRomance @Totally_Bound

A Reluctant Attraction by Rosanna Leo

Book 3 in the Handymen series

Word Count: 81,531
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 326

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE

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Book Description

He was looking for an escape. In her, he found his home.

Contractor and Handymen host Nick Zorn needs a change. He’s been feeling listless, and when his ex-girlfriend embarrasses him in a viral post by sharing private details of their sex life, he’s downright ready to escape. When an opportunity to reinvent his career arises, Nick takes it, even though it might mean the end of Handymen. However, the team has one more project to tackle together first—a struggling cat sanctuary in dire need of renovation.

When Nick arrives at the shelter and meets its owner, a lovely widow named Claire, his life is once more thrown into disarray. Neither of them is looking for a relationship, but the attraction is fierce. As he helps Claire fix her workplace, he realizes he wants to help her in other ways too. Their flirtation sizzles, flaring into a friends-with-benefits arrangement.

But the more time they spend together, the more reluctant these ‘friends’ become to fight their deepening connection, even though they know their inevitable break will devastate them…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of cyberbullying and harrassment, mentions of animal hoarding, bereavement and mourning. There are also references to male impotence and erectile dysfunction.

Excerpt

Nick Zorn opened the coffee shop door and paused at the entrance, waiting for the now-familiar giggles of ridicule. Releasing his death grip on the door handle, he took a hesitant step.

Luckily, no one noticed him.

This time.

Letting out a quiet sigh, he hurried toward the back of the café, and sat at a table in one of the darker corners.

Maybe it was time to start holding his head high again. He was Nick fricking Zorn, beloved TV star, businessman and friend to all.

A young woman at one of the other tables glanced in his direction. Her eyebrows shot up and she stifled a grin.

Beloved TV star. Yeah, right. And maybe it was time to start wearing dark sunglasses everywhere he went.

Seeing as his brothers hadn’t yet arrived, he pulled out his cell phone but didn’t turn to any social media apps. He just bowed his head and stared at his home screen, trying to appear busy.

Within minutes, Michael and Eli arrived.

“What took you so long?” asked Nick.

“Uh,” said Michael. “We’re right on time.”

Only when they sat, providing a buffer between him and the rest of the café customers, did Nick relax a little.

“You good?” asked Eli.

“Yeah. Just dandy.” Change the subject. Pronto. “Hey, did Lacey tell you what this meeting was about? She was vague with me.”

“Me too,” said Eli.

Lacey was typically the first to arrive for meetings. Of course, they usually held their meetings at the Inspiration Network offices.

For the last few years, Nick and his brothers had been hosting the Toronto-based TV show Handymen, as well as operating their own contracting business. On their show, they helped families realize their home renovation dreams, suiting them up with new appliances and teaching them how to tackle difficult renovation projects.

It wasn’t unheard of for Lacey to pull the brothers in for a meeting, rather than involving the whole crew, but there was an unusual air of secrecy about this tête-à-tête.

“What about you?” Nick asked Michael. “She must have told you something.”

Michael grunted. “Why would she tell me anything that she didn’t tell you?”

Nick and Eli just stared at him.

“For God’s sake. I don’t have any more of a direct line to Lacey than you fools do.” Michael frowned. “Although she was acting cagey the last time I saw her.”

Michael liked to pretend he and Lacey Styles didn’t have a special bond, but they did. Or at least, it was a different sort of bond from the one Nick or Eli had with her. Not only was Lacey their director on Handymen, she and Michael had had a relationship. It had been some time ago, and Michael was now very happy with his wife, Emily. His only present connection to Lacey was a solid working relationship, one based on trust and mutual respect.

That didn’t mean Nick and Eli hadn’t teased him about his ill-fated tryst for a good long time.

Not anymore. Nick had recently made a vow not to tease anyone about their relationship status, especially since his last one had ended up being such a clusterfuck.

Besides, they all cared about Lacey. She’d been good to them. She’d singlehandedly guided their TV careers, coached them on navigating the press and even taught three Neanderthal builders how to develop their presence on social media.

In Nick’s case, she’d also recently taught him the merits of keeping a low profile when needed.

Of course, most importantly of all, she had turned Handymen into a popular home renovation show. Their success was mostly in the Canadian market, but they had big plans. From day one, Lacey had made it clear she aimed to get the team a coveted timeslot on the Create Network, the biggest home improvement network around. It hadn’t happened yet, but Nick was hopeful. He knew they had the chops to break into the American market.

The shop door opened. Lacey spotted them and walked over. Dressed in her customary heels, a slim skirt and a frilly blouse, the brunette turned a few heads as she made her way to the table. “Gentlemen.” She sat down next to Nick and smiled. “I appreciate you meeting me outside of our regular venue and time.”

“No sweat,” said Michael. “What’s up?”

That was Michael. He never wasted a word, if he could help it. Nick stifled a chuckle.

“Anyone want coffee?” asked Eli. “I could use one.”

They all gave Eli their orders and held off on the official part of the meeting until he returned with four steaming cups.

Lacey grabbed her usual soy latte, took a sip and put it down. “I have great news. Life-changing news, actually.” She paused, looking at each of them in turn, creating suspense.

It only took a few seconds before Michael began to tap his finger on the table. “Put us out of our misery. Please.”

“All right, all right. So, guys, what has been my number one objective with Handymen?”

“Has Create picked us up?” asked Nick.

“Not quite,” said Lacey. “But it’s almost as good. As you know, I’ve always been focused on getting new viewers. A plan is in place to help us find a wider audience than ever before. A couple of days ago, I got called into a meeting at Inspiration. The executive producers were all there. They want to take Handymen in an exciting new direction.”

Nick bit his tongue. The last exciting direction the producers had suggested involved the Zorn brothers wearing tank tops during their tapings, ones that would show off their muscles. Luckily, they had all ixnayed that idea into oblivion.

“Basically,” continued Lacey, “they want us to take the show on the road.”

“Okay.” Eli had a note of caution in his voice. “Define on the road.”

Lacey’s smile grew tight. “I mean, on the road. Traveling. Visiting new cities. Tackling renovation projects in places like Vancouver, Montreal, New York, Boston. All over North America, frankly. The idea is that we would concentrate on a new city each episode. It would give us a chance to work with different styles of architecture, different gardening zones, even some historic properties. It’s a huge opportunity for some great exposure. Isn’t this wonderful?”

Nick kept a careful eye on his brothers. He didn’t need to hear them speak to know what they thought.

They hated the idea.

And he couldn’t say he blamed them.

Michael, for one, would never do it. He was married. Not only did Emily have a thriving business in downtown Toronto, he would never walk away from Zorn Contracting. It had been his idea to start the business, and he still saw it as his baby. They all did, of course, but Michael had always made it clear it was just as much of a priority to him as his work on Handymen.

Then there was Eli, who had just gotten married. His wife, Bernadette, known as Bernie, worked for a local not-for-profit agency. Her big project was to help administer a camp for children in cottage country, a couple of hours outside Toronto. It had become a passion project for both her and Eli, and because the camp only had one summer under its belt, Eli wasn’t about to ditch it.

Nick already knew neither of his brothers would take significant time away from their wives or their businesses. The first couple of years in a new business were crucial.

“Well?” prompted Lacey. “This is the part where you say, ‘This is amazing. Thank you for sharing this incredible news.’”

“But we’ve already filmed next season’s episodes,” said Nick.

“This would be for the following season, which we have to start working on soon,” explained Lacey. “As you know, our contracts only take us through the coming season. We haven’t been renewed yet beyond that, and it was a chance for the executive producers to make some changes. Change is good, guys. Tell me what you think.”

Eli began, his face pinched. “Lacey, I can’t. There’s no way I’d leave Bernie for that length of time.”

“It’s not like we’ll be gone for years. Just, you know, a few weeks here, a few weeks there. In total, maybe a few months out of the year. And you can travel back and forth as much as you’d like.”

“I’m sorry,” said Eli. “That’s not something I want.”

She looked to Michael. “And you?”

He shrugged. “No can do.”

“But, Michael…”

“It’s out of the question. Lacey, you know Em and I are settled here.”

“Look, I understand that the logistics will take getting used to, but it can be done,” she replied. “You could talk to Emily every day, thanks to that handy smartphone I taught you how to use. It’s not like you’ll be communicating via carrier pigeon. And, guys, if we want to hit the big leagues of TV, we need to break out of Toronto. You know this. I hear what you’re saying. It would be hard at first, but it would be so worth it.”

“Worth it for the network,” asked Michael, “or worth it for us?”

“Worth it for all of us.” She turned to Nick. “I guess you feel the same way?”

Nick’s face heated as the others scrutinized him. Of course, she’d assume he’d toe the Zorn party line. Sometimes, people didn’t credit him for having thoughts independent of his brothers, but he did.

Did he want this?

What did he want? Truth be told, he’d been considering it a lot lately, agonizing over it.

Frankly, the only thing he’d wanted for the last couple of months was a chance to escape.

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About the Author

Rosanna Leo

Rosanna Leo writes contemporary and paranormal romance. She is the First Place Winner of the 2018 Northern Hearts Contest (Contemporary Romance) for A Good Man.

From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her husband and their two sons, and spends most of her time being tolerated by their cat Sweetie. When not writing, Rosanna works for her local library, where she is busy laying the groundwork to become a library ghost one day.

Find Rosanna at her website, follow her on Instagram, Pinterest and Bookbub, and join her Facebook group.

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Rosanna Leo A Reluctant Attraction

ROSANNA LEO IS GIVING AWAY THIS FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN THESE FABULOUS SEMI-PRECIOUS EARRINGS AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 4TH May 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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Release Blitz: The Vampire’s Witch by Damian Serbu #paranormalromance #LGBTQ @DamianSerbu @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: The Vampire’s Witch

Series: The Realm of the Vampire Council

Author: Damian Serbu

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 04/19/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: M/NB

Length: 98500

Genre: Pararnormal, LGBTQIA+, Established couples, vampires, witches, college, reunited, grief, men with pets, dark, ghost, immortal, magic

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Description

The Vampire’s Witch welcomes readers back to the world of vampires, witches, and magic.

Jaret Bachmann’s life spins out of control after a handsome stranger saves him from an attack along the bike path on Lakeshore Drive. His estranged high school sweetheart stalks him, the enraged ghost of his ancestor destroys his family, and his bike path savior-cum-lover abandons him after learning Jaret is a powerful witch.

A horrific family tragedy sends Jaret into deep depression. Struggling to find his way afterward, Jaret searches for comfort in the unlikely friendship of a secret vampire community.

Over time, Jaret’s friendship with the vampires strengthens and he forges a new family connection with Xavier, Thomas, and Catherine. But he and Anthony are estranged, and though their souls are entwined, their hearts are another matter.

Xavier, Thomas, Anthony, and Catherine return in this, the third book in The Realm of the Vampire Council series and a sequel to The Bachmann Family Secret.

Excerpt

The Vampire’s Witch
Damian Serbu © 2021
All Rights Reserved

19 April 2010

Chicago, Illinois

Even after three years, living in a big city still creeped Jaret Bachmann out. He hated his fear of dark corners and alleys, not to mention his concern about getting beat up as a gay guy. Straight guys, no matter how peaceful they looked, worried him. In broad daylight, he felt more secure as long as he watched where he went, kept his head up, and stayed in populated areas. And he loved living in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Being in a metropolitan area was so much better for him than small town Colorado. Still, he only had a little light available before the sun went down tonight.

He giggled at himself to release some tension. His mind went to some weird place about the sun setting, like a vampire might jump out and attack him. As if.

Heading out to meet his best friend, Brady, Jaret relaxed once he got to the path along Lake Michigan. He passed several joggers, almost got hit by a bike, and meandered his way south. He contemplated taking the “L” but had plenty of time to walk. The spring weather warmed up Chicago, still a comfortable seventy degrees, even as the sun slowly descended in the west. The weather was perfect. Besides, he could always use the exercise.

Jaret felt safer and got his iPod out to search for music. He loved Lady Gaga; why not a little monster love? Or Train’s latest CD rocked. Still, he paused at “Relax” and grinned. That song totally kicked ass. Totally. And, he hadn’t listened to much of his favorite singer’s first album in a long time. If he loved Lady Gaga, then words couldn’t describe his adoration for Mika.

He popped in his earbuds and picked up his pace. He even danced a little, despite being in public and seeing the few passersby glancing his way as if he’d gone insane.

The path grew darker with the setting sun and the trees lining both sides of the trail. This dance mix steeled Jaret’s nerves. He wiggled his butt, jumped to the side, and smiled at a little old lady and her dog as they walked by.

A few yards later, he was alone. He fretted a little but cranked the music to ignore the world around him. To comfort himself, he reached into his pocket and rubbed the ruby necklace he always brought along for protection. All the Bachmann heirloom jewels empowered his witchcraft and kept him safe, and he loved the beautiful rubies most of all. In a pinch, he could always use his magic to ward anyone off. He’d never had to use his ability to defend himself, except from ghosts, but knew he could if needed. Being a witch had its advantages.

Jaret almost missed the group of four guys sitting off to the side, watching the lake or something. He slowed when he glimpsed a bright-red shirt and thought of his boyfriend, Steve. He’d seen Steve earlier in the day, wearing this totally hot red T-shirt that clung to his chest and showed off his gorgeous biceps. He couldn’t remember the shirt exactly, though he thought it had a University of Nebraska logo on the front.

Jaret lurched to a stop when he bumped into someone. “Uh, oh. Sorry. I didn’t see you.” He glanced up to see another guy with a pretty big belly, yet tons of muscle, not to mention a wicked scowl.

The guy yanked out Jaret’s earbuds and glared down at him. “Fuckin’ fairy. Watch where you’re walkin’.”

“Sorry,” Jaret barely whispered and started shaking. He’d heard about gay bashings but had never experienced one. In fact, he had never been in a fight. He could see this dude meant him harm by the way he loomed over him.

Jaret reached into his pocket for the necklace. His shaking hands got the better of him, and his finger got stuck in the little coin pocket instead.

Growing more afraid, Jaret stepped to the side to continue until the guy moved with him and blocked his way. Jaret stared at the familiar logo of Northwestern football on the purple T-shirt. He often saw the very shirt on Steve. This guy was enormous. Not good.

His heart racing, Jaret scanned for anyone nearby watching. He spotted the group of four guys out of the corner of his eye. Any chance for help evaporated when two of them moved closer, and he saw they, too, wore Northwestern football gear.

One of them grinned and clapped. “Caught yourself a little fag, Mikey? What you gonna do with him?”

Mikey laughed and crossed his bazooka-sized forearms over his chest. Then he reached down and petted Jaret on the head like a dog. Jaret had little time to act to protect himself. There was no time to get the necklace out. He shot to the side to move around the asshole, but the guy put out his leg and tripped Jaret. He sprawled onto the path, skinning his elbow.

Jaret’s heart pounded as fear almost overwhelmed him.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Damian Serbu lives in the Chicago area with his husband and two dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys. He has published The Vampire’s Angel, The Vampire’s Quest, and The Vampire’s Protégé, as well as Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon and Santa Is a Vampire with NineStar Press. The Bachmann Family Secret is scheduled for release July 2020. Keep up to date with him on Facebook, Twitter, or at http://www.DamianSerbu.com.

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Release Blitz: Buried by Lizzie Strong #LGBTQ #paranormal @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Buried

Series: The Secrets Witches Keep, Book One

Author: Lizzie Strong

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 04/19/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 88400

Genre: Pararnormal, LGBTQIA+, Witches, Swamps, Frankenstein monster, Necromancy, Sisterhood, Deep friendship, asexual

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Description

Quinn’s mistake wasn’t killing Leo Ashwood; it was bringing him back. Now in a cat and mouse game with a monster she created, Quinn learns what her powers are truly capable of.

Brought together by a vision, Cecelia and Quinn are entangled in the chase for Leo Ashwood. Cecelia, a seer who is known for sticking her nose into other’s business for their better good, is now sent into a world unknown to her with no defense against the monster, her own powers, and the budding feelings for Quinn. Maggie, however, was merely at the wrong place at the wrong time and left with no other choice but to join forces. An up and coming YouTube superstar struck down by sickness, her voice is both her magical survival and death wrapped in one.

These three young, untrained witches will have to lean on each other if they want to survive. Navigating the world of humans, the new reality of witches, and the horror of magic, they might just make it… if they can keep their secrets to themselves.

Excerpt

Buried
Lizzie Strong © 2021
All Rights Reserved

10-39 at 37 E street, suite 1802, back-up required.

“Quinn Gwenevieve Foster, age 16, born Idabel, Oklahoma… you sure are a long way from home.” Pressure built up at the back of my head as the voice of the detective clawed at the insides of my ears. The pressure dulled but never released as I opened my eyes, which was an effort in itself. My eyelids were the weight of cement bricks.

The windows fogged in the frosty interrogation room. The only light came from the sharp halogen bulbs and the long, thin window along the top of the wall. A female officer had chained my hands to the table, which forced contact with the harsh steel, stinging my skin.

“I want a lawyer,” I answered, my head hung to the right.

“Of course, and you can have one. While we wait for them, why don’t we talk?”

Tears spilled down my cheeks. Exhaustion bit into my muscles, turning my bones to putty. If I did not rest soon, I would pass out. I wasted too much magic in Leo Ashwood’s apartment. My aunt would not be pleased to hear how recklessly they caught me. The last time I was caught by human police, she yelled my ears raw. Out of love, out of concern and fear, it didn’t matter why she was furious with me. History showed time and time again that humans were not capable of mercy to witches. Granted, the detective had not accused me of being a witch…yet.

“I want a lawyer, sir.”

“It’s Detective Henry Smith, Miss Foster.” His face softened around the cheeks but not near his lips. The way one’s face softens when they are trying to convince someone smaller and more naïve of untrue things. His lips pursed tighter. He reminded me of Officer Blevens, the officer who dragged me out of the graveyard years ago. A man who tried to lie to my face about how much trouble I was in. I was found hip-deep in what looked like an empty grave… Well, it was an empty grave by the time they got to it. The true corpse fell apart piece by piece about thirty yards north of my arrest. Darlin foamed at the mouth when Winestra called her at about two a.m. to come to the police station. Officer Blevens looked me dead in the eye that night and gave me the same face Detective Smith gave me now. ‘It was just a slap on the wrist.’ Liar.

“I want a lawyer.” I learned my lesson from last time.

They didn’t even let me shower. I stank enough to make my eyes water and gag every time I moved. They washed my hands but crusty blood lurked under my nails. My hair was a ball of grease superglued to the top of my skull and left to drape around me. I’d never felt that gross in all of my life, and I once spent six hours drenched in rainwater and coated in graveyard soil. Her gravestone illuminated behind my lids: Melissa Keen, beloved mother and daughter, born in 1981, taken too soon. She had still been fresh; it was the whole reason I dug her up. The fresher the better. If I could bring her back, then I could bring back others…

It didn’t work out.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Born a Marine Brat I moved from state to state for much of my youth. Books were the one consistent thing in my life. Split between the high fantasy and war novels from my father and my mother’s deep love for horror novels, it was only a matter of time. From a young age I would fill up notebooks and word documents. Adaptability came in handy as I’ve worked in many different fields: food service, retail, education, special education, management. I kept coming back to books. In college I fully came out to my friends and family about my Pansexuality. Many were supportive but confused on what being Pansexual even was. I learned representation is key, but I also want to write books about fantasy, adventure, and monsters. My work is best described as a little bit spooky, a little bit magic, and a whole lot of fun.

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