Book Blitz: Murder at the Met by E.W. Cooper #mystery #historical @ewc_cooper

Murder at the Met
E.W. Cooper
(Penelope Harris Mysteries #2)
Publication date: April 8th 2021
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery

November 1928, New York City. No one can keep a secret like high society – especially when that secret is murder.

There are two things Penelope Harris would rather do than get involved with another murder—sing opera and flirt with Thom Lund. When two tickets ensure Penelope and Thom get some precious time together at the Metropolitan opera, neither believes another murder will interrupt their romantic evening.

Fate has a different plan. Before the night is over a failed manufacturing tycoon is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, his poisoned and dying daughter nearby. Is it an accident? Suicide? Or murder? When a fellow soprano pleads for help, Penelope just can’t help her inquisitive nature.

As Penelope pulls back the cover on a diabolical crime, Lund rushes to complete the investigation of a suicide on the Gold Coast of Long Island. What they find will uncover the sordid underbelly of high society and put Penelope on the wrong side of her own gun.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“There are three sisters?” Penelope prompted.

“Clover, Ivy, and Tulip Warwick. Sisters, all of them.” Mary replied, happy to be the source of all the best gossip. “Ivy is the worst kind of child. Ill-behaved. Well, you saw, didn’t you? Her mother knows it too—keeps sending her away to finishing school. She must have just gotten back. Tulip would be the best of the three if she could just buck herself up. At least Ivy got to go away. Tulip had to stay behind and look after her mother. I see her from time-to-time volunteering at the library. She’s nice.”

“Only nice? Not the best recommendation, Mary darling.”

“You’d know how high a recommendation if you met Clover.” Mary lowered her voice. “Clover Warwick positively has the very worst temper I’ve ever seen. Last year she attacked one of her housemaids with a shoe. The poor girl lost an eye to Clover’s dancing shoe. I was certain she was going to be arrested this time—”

“This time?”

“—but she wriggled out of it again. Everyone said her father bought the maid off. Roger Warwick must have done something, because the girl had an uncle in the police. I was so certain she would be charged!”

“Mary, that simply cannot be true! You can’t just assault a maid and get away with it!”

“Connie Whitman volunteers at the hospital and saw the maid after it happened. She said Clover could have killed her. Good lord!” Mary put a hand to her mouth. “I hope she didn’t die. I hadn’t thought of that. I hope the poor girl didn’t succumb. Absolutely horrible. But that’s who Clover is, isn’t it?”

“Are you telling me that Clover Warwick, who everyone knows almost beat her maid to death with a shoe, is singing at a society gala with a premier soprano from the Metropolitan Opera? How is that possible?”

“Violet Warwick has spent thousands on Patsy’s production to get Clover the best solo. Patsy says it’s a drawing, you know—so everyone gets a fair chance. But we all know it’s not. It always comes down to money, one way or another,” Mary nodded sagely. “I do wonder what happened to the maid.” A furrow appeared on her brow. “I see how unfair it all was now. No one would have hired her afterward, you see. It would have upset Clover. No one upsets Clover. She retaliates—I suppose it’s a good thing her father is only in manufacturing. If it had been lumber or coal . . .”

“What on earth do you mean by that?” Penelope’s head was spinning with all the social rules she didn’t know. Running a casino in Shanghai had been easier than learning the hierarchy of New York society. The rules guiding the criminal class had been as straightforward as they come. “Why would it make a difference where he makes his money? Isn’t it all the same money?”

Mary was aghast. “It’s well and good to have money when no one else does, but you can’t swan about without a care in the world when everyone knows you made your packet manufacturing cheap wire hangers. I’ll never use them, and I don’t know anyone who would. Charles says it’s just a piece of wire tied up in a knot. Can you imagine? I tell you this, Penelope: Clover can work as hard as she wants to get an invitation from an Astor, but she never will. High society won’t have anything to do with something as low as a wire hanger—even if it is clever. I bet you Clover would leave town and change her name if she could, just to get away from it.”

Author Bio:

Author of the Penelope Harris Mysteries, E.W. Cooper was ecstatic to learn her debut in the series, The Jade Tiger, was the 2020 Booklife Prize Finalist in Mystery/Thriller. A lifelong fan of classic mysteries and Grand Opera, Ms. Cooper is hard at work on the second book in the Penelope Harris Mystery series, Murder at the Met (April 2021). She lives quietly with her partner, children, three dogs, and one cat in a very noisy house in South Texas.

To learn more about Penelope Harris Mysteries (and the author) go to http://www.ewcooper.com and snoop around.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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Release Blitz: If a Butterfly Don’t Fly by Mell Eight #Fantasy #LGBTQ @MellEight @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: If A Butterfly Don’t Fly

Series: Out of Underhill, Book Two

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 04/05/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 41600

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Fae/faeries, mythical creatures, disabilities, magic, performance arts, security guard, musicians

Add to Goodreads

Description

Merridy has always loved music but can’t sing. The only job in the music business he can get is as a security guard for the Bard and Sons, a premier record label. He keeps their secrets and patrols their hallways, always wishing for a big break he knows will never come.

Changeling’s Court is a brand new band struggling to record their first single. Merridy chances upon a scrap of their lyrics without accompanying music notes and can’t help composing a simple melody for them. If he’s found out, he’ll probably get fired.

Instead, he finds himself in a strange new world of magic and faeries—and danger.

Excerpt

If A Butterfly Don’t Fly
Mell Eight © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Music was embedded in the very fibers of the building.

Merridy took a deep breath as he stepped out of the stairwell and onto the first floor of practice rooms and felt the remnants of the notes played on instruments and sung into microphones swirling around him. They chimed in his ears and seemed to fill the air with a shine he could almost reach out and touch. Merridy wanted to touch it so badly, but instead, he let out his breath and smoothed down the front of his security guard uniform before reaching for the door handle that led into the first private lounge, which belonged to a soloist named Amaryllis.

As he stepped inside, Merridy saw Amaryllis’s bra hanging from the back of a chair. It was lacy across the tops of the cups, the sort of bra that, if the front of her shirt slipped while she was sweaty from singing onstage under the hot lights, might look like a fancy camisole peeking through.

Normally, Merridy didn’t mind the overnight shift as a security guard at the headquarters of the Bard and Sons. There wasn’t anyone else around as he walked through the halls half lit by security lighting and the ambient light that filtered in through the windows from the parking lot outside. He enjoyed the quiet and the solitude—and the music. He couldn’t sing any of the notes aloud, of course, but he could hear each note in his head as if the musicians were still hard at work. Sometimes he took the notes he heard and wrote them down; he had notebooks full of songs he’d heard, of notes that had twined through his mind, all put down onto the bar lines preprinted on staff paper and filed on his bookshelves at home.

He wasn’t used to running into women’s underwear, though. Today, all he had expected coming in was the rather minor suspense of the new band taking over the lone empty practice room. Any sort of excitement to break up the monotony of walking in circles all night was a relief, and finding out what type of band—pop, rock, country—had moved in would be the highlight of his evening. He wanted to know what the remnants of their music would sound like when he stepped into their empty practice lounge, and if it was as good as he hoped, he was looking forward to buying their soundtrack to hear it firsthand.

Of course, what he really wanted was to be playing in his own band in the light of day, rather than sneaking hints of the sounds of other bands as he walked through each room at night, but he was taking what little he could get and trying to enjoy it as best he could.

He quickly checked the rest of the room to make sure it was completely empty, which included looking behind doors and inside the full wardrobe. Merridy closed the wardrobe doors, took one more look around the cluttered lounge, and hurried back into the hallway.

Merridy unhooked his keys from his belt and made sure the lounge door was firmly locked. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small pad of organizer tabs, the ones usually used to keep school notes organized. He chose a red tab and yanked it free of the roll before sticking it to the underside of Amaryllis’s nameplate. It would warn anyone arriving in the morning that this door should remain closed and locked until Amaryllis herself came to clean up her mess. Not even the morning custodian was allowed to go in to vacuum.

A bra was fairly innocuous, but given who it belonged to, it would probably sell for big bucks online. Merridy’s simple red tab would keep anyone stupid enough to try—like the sound mixer who had been selling used drumsticks on eBay a few months back—from having the opportunity.

With Amaryllis’s room done, Merridy continued down the hallway to the next door. It opened to reveal one of the two recording studios on the floor. He wasn’t allowed to touch any of the electrical parts, like the blinking lights or the slides on the sound mixer board. He didn’t know what any of the buttons did, and if he inadvertently ruined a project left unfinished overnight, he would be in major trouble.

He walked past the electronics and into the inner studio, where the instruments and the microphones for the singers were located. He could almost hear what the room sounded like when the instruments were playing—guitars riffing, drums pounding, and the simple note of a piano or bass holding it all together. The melodies would soar, reverberating through the room as a singer crooned into the mesh-fronted mic stand. Merridy knew what that sounded like from the dozens of auditions he had tried out for, and he’d reveled in each and every experience, but it didn’t matter how good he was on keys or strings. Once the band found out he couldn’t sing, somehow he was never actually chosen.

The imagined music faded from Merridy’s thoughts as that harsh dose of reality set in. He quickly checked that the inner studio was also empty of people and continued on. He left the studio door as he’d found it: unlocked and tab-free. There wasn’t anything sensitive to hide there.

Merridy checked behind every door—including the janitor’s closet—for trespassers. Very famous, platinum-selling artists used the studio space or kept practice lounges in the building. Rabid fans and competitors alike would kill and bribe for even the slightest glimpse of what Merridy saw every night. Some things Merridy wished he could unsee. Stars were very strange people, and he didn’t envy the custodians who had to clean up after them.

He finished his round of the floor where he had originally started, at the lone staircase in the corner. There was an elevator on the other side, but Merridy had to take the stairs up to the second floor first to ensure they were clear. He input his code into the keypad on the door to tell the other security guard manning the phones and desk in the lobby downstairs that he had finished the floor before heading farther upstairs.

The next two floors were comprised of more studio space. He had to flag one room on the third floor where someone had left a bong and some weed lying on a table next to a guitar.

He headed to the fourth floor, which was an exact replica of the prior two. Merridy walked to the first doorway and popped it open with a grimace. Soul Sound was a hard-rocking, hard-partying band, and their practice studio still sounded like it. The music floating through the air was a little shrieky, with high-pitched runs of the guitar accompanied by deep-throated screaming into the microphone. There were plenty of people who liked screamer rock, but Merridy just couldn’t find enough of the melody floating through his mind to enjoy it himself. He tried not to listen for as long as he could manage while he flipped open doors and checked behind furniture.

The job of a security guard was boring and monotonous, and often weird. This first walkthrough of all the rooms was the most interesting part of his night, because he never knew just what he would find behind each closed door. After the surprise was gone, the hours slowly trickled by until the sun rose. The daytime security guards, who only had to sit at the desk in the lobby unless an issue occurred upstairs, would arrive, and Merridy could go home to sleep.

He swept all the rooms on the floor like usual, luckily not seeing anything too startling, until he reached the final door. The nameplate he was used to was gone, and the blank rectangle of wall where it used to be was slightly darker than the paint around it. It had been carefully removed; the holes for the screws didn’t look torn or destroyed. Merridy turned and opened the studio door.

The furniture was different, too, as were the instruments scattered across the room. Antiquities and Wine—the country band that the space belonged to—had needed banjo stands, but those were now replaced by an upright piano. A leather jacket, another thing that didn’t fit with Antiquities and Wine’s chosen image, had been carelessly left across the back of the new couch.

Antiquities and Wine had moved to new studio space recently built farther south, Merridy remembered suddenly. That tidbit of information had gone out in the company’s weekly internal email bulletin. A new band had already taken the space. Merridy wondered who they were. The space felt quiet, almost anticipatory, as the old notes in the air faded without Antiquities and Wine there to renew them. The new band hadn’t yet begun to fill the space with their own sound.

He walked farther into the room, seeing four guitars—a bass, two electric, and one acoustic—on stands and a drum snare on top of the new piano. They were probably a pop-rock or rock band. In the back of the room, near the private bathroom, was a desk strewn with staff paper. Many of the sheets had been crumpled into balls and tossed aside. The ones still flat on the desk had dozens of cross-outs, some lines excessively crossed, the pen having cut deep.

Songwriting obviously wasn’t going too well for the new band.

Well. Either they’d figure it out, or they’d get out. That was the way the business worked. They had been given their chance with the nice studio. If the band blew it, too bad. It was more of a chance than Merridy had ever had. He sighed and resolutely pushed his jealousy away before heading into the bathroom to double-check it was empty. Merridy had a good job. Just because he wanted to switch places with someone in the new band wasn’t reason enough to let resentment simmer and ruin his night. The sink, toilet, and glassed-in shower stall hid no one, so he turned to head back out.

There was one piece of regular lined paper on the desk next to the bathroom door that wasn’t crumpled or covered in pencil scratches. Merridy couldn’t help stopping to read the four simple lines handwritten there.

In my dreams, I know you see me,

And in my hopes, you’ll hold my hand.

Reality hits, so does the truth:

You and me will never be we.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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New Release: Brightly Burning Bridges by Ivy Wild #BullyRomance #enemiestolovers @IvyWildAuthor @EJBookPromos

Title: Brightly Burning Bridges
Series: Kings of Capital Series (stand alone)
Author: Ivy Wild
Genre: Enemies to Lovers ~ Bully Romance ~ Second Chance
Release Date: April 2, 2021 
Cover Consultant: @ofsomanyfeels
Cover Model: Santiago Ferrari
Cover Photographer: Jarno Boom


⭐️5 burning brightly stars⭐️
An angst filled bully romance, a solid plot a well written story with wonderful perfectly imperfect characters.
~ vgreedythirstforforbidden
Gotta love a two for one in a romance book! This is a bully and a second chance romance all rolled into one!
~ Biggs_bookcase
Second chance bully love story with so much emotion and passion that will make you grab tissues while reading it ❤️❤️❤️ and I would highly recommend it with great ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
~ books_fiction_desire
Silas

He wasn’t my friend until he became my enemy.
His center is freezing cold,
and his edges burn me when I get too close.
He is everything I want and nothing I am.
They say not to burn bridges,
but he burned ours to the ground.
Skyler
She is the girl who wants to be seen,
but hates being noticed.
She was my friend, my tease, my confidant.
She is pure light against all my darkness.
The reason you burn down bridges,
is to build them up stronger.
Brightly Burning Bridges is a standalone romance and part of the Kings of Capital series.






Writer of all things untamed, romantic and free, Ivy Wild never planned on becoming a romance novelist. In fact, she hated romance as a kid and was quite proud of that fact. Basically, life is weird.

Married to her own alpha hero, she currently lives in various places of the world at various times thanks to his military career.

Her current side hustle is being a lawyer.





HOSTED BY:

Happy Birthday to Me by Stephanie Burke #GayRomance @flashycat @changelingpress

Mason Klien, larger-than-life alpha, is just what Maxie needs to make his birthday night special.

Clancy Maxwell is an omega who is unique even to his own sub species. He’s far shorter than most of the supposedly more delicate type, but the tiny redhead does not have a submissive bone in his body.

After ditching one a puffed-up alpha, the ex-stripper-turned-business-owner focuses his attention to Mason, an alpha with a small submissive streak.

But this is just a one-night stand… or is it?

Get it at Changeling Press

Preorder for April 9th at online booksellers

Praise for Happy Birthday to Me

“When ‘accepted wisdom’ for shifter stories is turned upside its head, and the story is told with a ton of humor and many laugh-out-loud moments — this hilarious short story was not only a lot of fun but also very hot.”— Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews


“The shifter side of things here has the coolest details. I thought this was a unique take on shifters, Omega in particular, and showcased that human or shifter, you need to communicate, guys! This is a fun and funny story that made me smile.”— 4 Hearts from Lucy, Hearts on Fire Reviews


“Strippers. Subby alphas. Toppy bottoms. Knotting. Red heads. Happy Birthday to ME, indeed. *smacks lips* What a sexy little gem HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME turned out to be — definitely recommended for a short, hot read.”— 4 Stars from Breann, The Romance Reviews

“Maxie is a little powder keg of attitude. Mason is a powerful but sensitive big boy. The two of them together burned up the pages. This book is a good read when looking for something short and steamy.”— Leigh, MM Good Books Reviews

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Stephanie Burke


“Excuse me?” Maxie narrowed his eyes as he glared at the alpha, who was slowly but surely digging himself a deeper grave.

“Come on, Clancy.” Marco grinned at him, his chocolate-brown eyes gleaming, his tan skin looking like golden sand in the candlelight. “You know I was kidding.” He tried to send out enough alpha scent to make Maxie agreeable. Maxie only arched an eyebrow and gave Marco the coldest stare he could muster.

“Look, we’re getting off track here, Clancy.” Marco leaned in close, pushing aside a six-hundred-dollar bottle of wine he’d insisted they share — and sent back five times because it wasn’t the right temperature. “How about you come back to my place and we, you know, get a little loose.” He pushed more scent that only served to make Maxie more irritated.

“Loose, huh?” Maxie asked, his voice all but devoid of emotion. What the hell was this idiot talking about?

“Back in Brazil…”

Marco was dropping places now? God, he had already dropped the names of several Vegas businessmen who really didn’t impress Maxie, so now he was moving on to countries? Hell, most of the names he’d dropped were men Maxie had personally set up for private lap dances with his omega dancers. No matter how powerful they were in the real world, once you’ve seen an alpha trying to keep it in his boxers and not develop an embarrassing uncontrolled knot, there was something a tad less powerful about his name.

“Yes?” Maxie leaned forward. “Brazil?” Maybe he could get a good laugh out of this poor excuse for a birthday pickup. For all the fun he was having, he could have stayed back at his strip club and washed dirty thongs.

“In Brazil, we alphas have a few secrets to help us relax.”

“Go on,” Maxie urged. Only his strong sense of proper omega etiquette was preventing him from rolling his eyes and walking away from the huge lout.

“I have a guy who brings me — some fun treats.” He grinned and plucked a red rose from the arrangement on the table, reaching out to stroke it over Maxie’s face. “That’s what you pretty boys like.”

Maxie stared at the red roses and wanted to strangle the grabby bastard with his own tie. This alpha was too much to be believed. “No, I don’t like to trip the light fantastic, pop a pill, do a line, or pop bottles like it’s going out of style.” Maxie’s left eye was twitching.

“Aw, babe –“

“Clancy,” he returned, his patience coming to an end. “My friends call me Maxie. You may call me Clancy.”

“Don’t cop an attitude with me, omega,” Marco growled, narrowing his eyes as he tried to stare Maxie down.

“Copping an attitude requires that I give enough of a shit about you to actually pay attention,” Maxie growled, his muscles tensing as he recognized the symptoms of an attack brewing.

Marco was glaring, his respiration increasing, one hand fisting around the wine glass as the other snapped the stem of the rose in half. “You’ll fucking care when I’m done with you –“

“You would do well to sit your ass down or get out of my way.” Maxie slowly rose to his feet, all systems ready to repel attack. Maxie was no fool. He had dealt with enough alpha assholes during his short-lived modeling career and as a beginning omega dancer to know when things were going to get physical.

Just as the asshole was rising to his feet, Maxie preparing to punch him in the fucking throat, a large, dark hand landed on Marco’s shoulder, shoving him back into his seat.

“What seems to be the problem, gentlemen?” a gravelly voice rumbled.

Maxie turned and his mouth dropped open. The sheer scope of the new alpha in front of him stole the words before they formed.

“My date and I –“

Marco’s words snapped Maxie out of his shock and right back into the fray. “Oh, I don’t think so, jackass. Either you or I are leaving this club, and we won’t be leaving together.”

Marco narrowed his eyes as Marco turned to face the huge man who was looming over them both. “You know how the little ones get — wanting attention and all,” he clarified to the stranger.

“Little –“

“Oh, I see.” The stranger snorted before turning to Maxie. Maxie expected a glib comment about controlling the pushy omega bottom, but the man surprised him. He looked over at Marco and the two exchanged some sort of big man secret eye fuck before he offered a polite smile. “I think you’ve had enough, and it’s time for you to go.”

Maxie blinked as he realized that those delicious-sounding words were not directed at him.

“What?” Marco stammered, and tried to rear up, uber-masculine style, but the man merely crossed his arms, his aura enough to knock the toughest of alphas on their ass. Marco stifled his own power play and shrank in on himself when the arms of the man’s expertly tailored suit jacket began to strain to confine his biceps. This new male was pushing out alpha pheromones that easily overcame the small scent of defiance Maxie’s stupid alpha date had managed to muster.

But Marco was a troll for a good reason. He visibly pushed down his fear and exchanged his blush of embarrassment for one of anger. “This is a private conversation.”

“Which is about to lose one of its parties.” This new alpha leaned forward and growled… and Maxie felt his spine tingle with a telltale burst of arousal.

MY REVIEW

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Do you want a fast-paced, super hot shifter romance? Then look no further… Happy Birthday to Me is full of heat, sexy dances, and a couple clearly meant for one another… even if they’re too stubborn to admit it.

Maxie isn’t your typical Omega. He’s too aggressive, and not the least bit submissive in the bedroom. Imagine his surprise when he meets an Alpha who likes to be dominated. A match made in heaven … 

Light on story, but perfect for a quick read with a happy ending. Be prepared to squirm (and need a cold shower) because Ms. Burke is bringing the heat with Happy Birthday to Me!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie is a USA Today Best Selling, multi published, multi award-winning author, Master Costumer, handicapped, wife and mother of two.

From sex-shifting, shape-shifting dragons to undersea worlds, sexually confused elemental Fey and homo-erotic mysteries, all the way to pastel-challenged urban sprites, Stephanie has done it all, and hopes to do more.

Stephanie is an orator on her favorite subjects of writing and world-building, a sometime teacher when you feed her enough tea and donuts, an anime nut, a costumer, and a frequent guest of various sci-fi and writing cons where she can be found leading panel discussions or researching varied legends and theories to improve her writing skills.

Stephanie is known for her love of the outrageous, strong female characters, believable worlds, male characters filled with depth, and multi-cultural stories that make the reader sit up and take notice.

Wrong by Shelby Morgen #agegap #firstresponders @shelbymorgen @changelingpress

Katie’s got her eye on tall, dark, and hunky, wrapped in black leather and jeans.

Problem. He’s so sinfully sexy, she can’t get a word out in his presence. Not to mention the fact that he looks like he’s barely legal, at best. She needs to get him out of her system.

Michael’s got other ideas. He’s set his sights on improving Katie’s theory of the Big Bang — in more ways than one.

Get it at Changeling Press

Preorder for April 9th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Shelby Morgen


Go for it.

No, no, no. Not going to happen.

Come on, Katie. You can do this.

Absolutely not.

Oh my God. He looks even better without the jacket. Look at that body. And why do you think he’s holding the jacket there?

Katie tore her gaze away from the cowboy holding the jacket, firmly deciding not to speculate on what all that black leather might or might not be hiding. “Thank you. I hope you enjoy the book.”

Katie picked at the book cover, trying to contain her agitation. This was her third book signing in as many months, and the third time this cowboy had lined up for her autograph. That couldn’t be a coincidence. Could it?

Stop staring at his crotch.

She averted her eyes, knowing she was blushing furiously. She looked down at the book in her hands — her latest release, Cosmic Theory and The Big Bang — and forced herself to quit thumbing the edge of the flyleaf.

I’d like to show him a big bang.

Oh, that was just wrong. She worked hard at not giggling. Physicists did not giggle. Not at book signings. And not because a handsome stranger stood in her line. Especially not when that sinfully sexy leather clad stranger’d shown up twice before — for the same book — and she’d still not been able to get a single word out of her stupid mouth.

You can do this! Come on, Katie. He’s next up. Say something. Anything! Speak!

She looked up into the most gorgeous set of blue-green eyes she’d ever seen — where were his sunglasses? — and, once again, froze.

“Michael,” he supplied.

What? Why was he telling her his name? Oh, so she could sign the book. Flustered, she reached for her pen — why had she set it down? — and knocked into her water glass. “Shit!” Katie clapped a hand over her mouth.

“Whoops!” Michael grabbed the glass — and the pitcher — just in time.

Michael — she’d already known his name — she never forgot names — had the grace to laugh, just loud enough to cover her indiscretion. Hastily flipping the book open to the title page, she wrote For Michael — you’re a lifesaver! Dr. Catherine Vargen. “Thank you,” she managed out loud.

There. She’d done it. She’d actually spoken to him. On some crazy inspiration, she pulled out one of her promo cards. “I’m giving a lecture at the planetarium tonight,” she offered.

“What are you doing afterward?”

She blinked, twice, looking, she knew, like an insane owl. “Excuse me?”

“Q & A? Group discussion?”

“Oh.” Yes, of course that’s what he’d meant. Idiot. “Yes, I’ll be fielding questions after the lecture.”

“Great. I’ll be there.”

“Thank you!” she repeated lamely as he headed for the register.

Giving her a great view of tight jeans over a really fine looking ass.

Idiot, idiot, idiot. Quit looking! Jail bait. You’ll get yourself arrested!

He couldn’t be that young, could he? No. College student. Had to be at least twenty-one or twenty-two, maybe. Still. Twenty years her junior. Wrong. Just plain wrong.

Yeah, well, all she’d done so far was look. Couldn’t arrest her for that. Not while he had his clothes on, anyway.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shelby Morgen loves writing offbeat tales that defy as many rules as possible.

She likes chocolate with her peanut butter, suspense with her romance, and kink with her sex, and she’s always had a hard time keeping science fiction, fantasy and paranormal from mixing with her kink.

Shelby shares her belief in electronic publishing with her longtime friend and partner, Bill, her husband of nearly four decades.

Release Blitz: The Detective’s Mate by Alexa Piper #paranormalromance #LGBTQ @prowlingpiper @changelingpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: The Detective’s Mate

Series: Dusk & Dawn #5

Author: Alexa Piper

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: April 2, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 143

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, murder mystery, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, shapeshifters, werewolves, vampires, dark fantasy

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Orrin and Gordon come from different worlds: Orrin is a werewolf with the New Amsterdam Police, and Gordon is a vampire who likes the quiet of his morgue. Yet, they decided to be with one another even though Orrin’s vampire was at first afraid to commit.

Now, new complications come barreling at the two when Orrin realizes he will have to step up to become a parent to an orphan shifter, while New Amsterdam has become the haunt of a serial killer who targets mixed supernatural and human couples.

Gordon was slow to realize he loves his werewolf mate, but it takes him even longer to figure out he still has his own demons to deal with. A past hurt has left a scar on his soul. Gordon’s werewolf detective might just be what Gordon needs to heal the scars from his past. The only question is whether geeky Gordon is enough for serious and seriously handsome Orrin.

Together with Maxim, New Amsterdam’s bardic vampire hunter, Orrin and Gordon are on the case to save the city from sinking into fear and panic as more murders challenge the peace. Through turmoil and death, Orrin and Gordon must find a way forward.

NOTE: This book contains scenes of assault and kidnapping that may be triggers for some readers.

Excerpt

Copyright ©2021 Alexa Piper

New Amsterdam Police Station was a nice neoclassical building, and all things considered, it wasn’t a bad place to work. Most of the time, the coffee was even decent.

Orrin had not usually been one to leave the station early, but Bachman, his protégée, was more than capable and didn’t need him holding her hand while she finished her paperwork. Also, Orrin had a hot date at the morgue. He checked the time on his computer, finished one more email, then logged out. Bachman briefly looked up from what she was doing.

“You always look cheery when you are going to see the boyfriend,” she commented, then did a double take and looked straight at him. “Or should I be saying mate?”

Orrin grabbed his bag and stuffed his work tablet into it. “Boyfriend is fine,” Orrin said, because it was, and it also was easier around the station, since most of Orrin’s colleagues weren’t werewolves but were human like Bachman herself. “Also, are you saying I’m usually grumpy-looking, Bachman?”

“Just very, very serious, sir.” She went back to typing. “I think cheery suits you. And I think the mate-slash-boyfriend does as well.”

Orrin couldn’t do anything about the wide grin that threatened to make his cheeks ache. “Well, thanks. I’ll tell Gordon you said hi.”

“Hmm-mmh.” Bachman winked at him as Orrin walked toward the elevators, and even he noticed the spring in his step.

* * *

The worst thing about any morgue was the smell of lingering death. Orrin sniffed the air when he got to the basement hallway in the Forum that housed the forensic labs, though he was hoping to pick up a whiff of Gordon’s dusty rose scent rather than eau de corpse. Yet all he got was vinegar and bleach cleaning solution. Gordon had probably received a fresh batch of New Amsterdam University interns and had set them to cleaning every nook and cranny so they could familiarize themselves with the place.

On the bland-looking wall on the left, a framed, vintage <em>Dracula</em> movie poster added a dose of vampiric cheer in bold print and even bolder colors to the basement labs, and opposite it, Gordon’s office door stood ajar. Orrin peeked around the doorframe to see if Gordon was in there.

<em>What a nice view,</em> Orrin though, watching Gordon hanging a framed piece of artwork, his nimble surgeon’s fingers adjusting the frame this way and that. The view was much helped by the skinny jeans Gordon was wearing. The jeans were a silvery gray, clashing with the raspberry surgical top, but nicely bringing out Gordon’s latest hair color, electric blue that shifted to icy white at the ends. <em>I am very fortunate to have found a mate who looks great in skinny jeans and likes wearing them</em>.

Orrin indulged in a quick fantasy centered on removing said pair of skinny jeans, and in the fantasy, that task was easy, and Orrin’s mate had decided to go commando. Orrin imagined Gordon hard and ready, imagined touching, tasting…

He smothered that fantasy quickly when he felt his own aching physical reaction. Instead, he refocused back on the present: Gordon, tinkering with the frame.

“Hey,” Orrin said.

Gordon jumped, dropped the frame, and cursed as he turned around. “Fucking hell,” he said, his stance relaxing as he saw Orrin. “Make some noise every now and then, will you?”

Orrin chuckled. “Thought I was a living corpse, Doctor?”

“Never,” Gordon said, picking up the frame once more and putting it on its hook with much less fumbling than before. “Those shamble, noisily.” He turned to Orrin again. “And you are sneaky, like a true predator, Detective.”

Orrin walked into Gordon’s office, which smelled of roses, Gordon’s scent. It still had an undertone of morgue, of course. The Lord Helmet cookie jar added the herby flavor of good weed cookies, and all the mint-in-box collectibles came with their own aroma of high-end plastic, but Orrin focused on Gordon. Two more steps, and he was pulling the vampire into his arms and pressing his lips to Gordon’s.

Gordon yielded to being held after a moment, turning fully to Orrin and allowing the werewolf to fuse their mouths and run hands over Gordon’s body, all the way down to his ass.

“Hi,” Orrin said when they broke their kiss.

“Hello, handsome,” Gordon said, and while the vampire wasn’t one to give pet names, Orrin still enjoyed being called handsome, not least because it came out of his mate’s mouth. “Are you here to cuff me and take me away?”

Purchase

Changeling Press LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Alexa Piper writes steamy romance that ranges from light to dark, from straight to queer. She’s also a coffee addict. Alexa loves writing stories that make her readers laugh and fall in love with the characters in them. Connect with Alexa on Facebook or Instagram, follow her on Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter!

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Book Blitz: Dare to be a Duchess by Sapna Bhog #regencyromance @sapnawrites @BookReviewTours

He’s a powerful duke. She’s his uncle’s ward. They have forever been at war, until one night, one masquerade, and one kiss…

Lara Ramsay is no stranger to scandal. As the orphaned daughter of a British colonel and his beloved Indian wife, whispers follow her everywhere. Not even the protection of the formidable Duke of Wolverton, a man she can’t stand, keeps the gossips at bay.
The audacious Lara has driven Tristan Wentworth, The Duke of Wolverton, to distraction since the day his uncle took her in—and he’s quite certain doing so is her favorite pastime. After catching her and his younger sister at a salacious masquerade, he’s had enough scandal and issues a marriage ultimatum: find a husband within six months or one will be chosen for her.
Unfortunately, no one in the ton appeals to her. Except, perhaps, the duke himself. The battle of wills has only just begun, and when Lara kisses him, their fate is sealed.
Sometimes even the most proper duke needs to break the rules to win the heart of the woman he loves…

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Dare to be a Duchess 2

Quotes from Dare to be a Duchess:

“Here, right at this moment, I’m giving you an ultimatum: Find someone from the ton to marry in the next six months or I will choose someone for you.” – Duke of Wolverton

“Well then the plan is simple, ‘Divide and Rule.’” – Lara Ramsay

“You’ll be surprised that a gentleman with the best intentions can behave like a rake when faced with temptation.” – Duke of Wolverton

“I think, Wolf, that you go on and on about my undesirability and my unattractiveness as a way to convince yourself more than me. The fact is that you kissed me because I am desirable and I am very attractive indeed.” – Lara Ramsay.

“You know very well that I’m accepted in the ton, albeit grudgingly, thanks only to you. No man wants to marry me, and I don’t want to marry any of those men.” – Lara Ramsay.

Dare to be a Duchess 3

Read an Excerpt from Dare to be a Duchess:

Wolf crossed his arms and glared at Lara. Despite being at fault, she was as unrepentant as ever. Her absolute nonchalance drove him mad, always.

“It is my concern. Getting into trouble is second nature to you, so I’d be lying if I said that it gave me any pleasure to be the one to help you out.” Wolf scowled at her. “Paxton is not a fool. He only has to think closely as to whose identity I would desperately want to protect and then remember your dark hair and he will come up with your name. You truly have no sense at all.”

“Well then you shouldn’t have bothered coming to my aid,” Lara retorted. “I could have handled the situation perfectly well by myself.”

Wolf put his hands on his hips. “And how may I ask would you have done that?”

“I’ve heard that a well planted knee on a delicate part of a man’s anatomy would normally do the trick.”

His eyebrows shot up. “You’re crazy to think that you could have deterred Paxton that easily.”

Lara merely stared at him, her head held high, further fueling his temper.

“What, nothing to say?” he snapped. “Which brings me back to my first question. What in the world are you doing here in this depraved place?”

Lara continued to watch him with those deep blue eyes, her lips set in a mutinous line. Her lack of response irked him even more.

“Answer me,” Wolf demanded, his tone sharp.

She met his gaze head on. “We had no inkling this place would be so bad. And nothing untoward has occurred, so stop shouting at me.”

“Unbelievable,” he growled. “Do you know how bad this place can be for two innocent girls like yourselves? Behind their masks and costumes, the men here have only one thing on their minds when they look at you, and you, as usual, don’t care that you could be completely ruined if discovered, let alone taken advantage of, in this den of vice. You are wild and irresponsible and you give no thought to your actions or the consequences thereof. And you

brought Anne here? Just because you don’t care about your reputation doesn’t mean you can play fast and loose with hers.”

Lara’s eyes blazed with fury. “Anne is not a child. She is a grown woman who has a mind of her own.”

“And that is justification for you to come here?” Wolf countered.

“I, too, have a mind of my own,” she shot back. “And I do not appreciate you telling me what I can and cannot do.”

His nostrils flared. He was the Duke of Wolverton, one of the most powerful men in England. No one defied him. And yet this one woman stood against him at every turn. Why couldn’t she understand the potential danger for her or Anne here?

About the Author:
Sapna Bhog is an author from India who writes contemporary and historical romance novels. As a self-proclaimed die-hard romantic, her books are filled with swoon-worthy heroes and feisty heroines who clash all the time, but do get their happy ever after. Sapna has always surrounded herself with books and when she is not writing she is reading. Originally from Dubai, she now lives in Western India with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky. Sapna gave up a successful IT career and took a foray into writing and has never looked back since. Her favourite pastimes are reading, writing, traveling and shopping—not necessarily in that order. She loves to hear from readers.

Sapna on the Web:
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The Black Sea by Dora Esquivel #GayRomance @15VirginiaLee

The Black Sea by Dora Esquivel  

#1ClickHere: ➜ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08ZL2ZPN2  

Series ➜ Grim and Sinister Delights  

Paranormal M/M Romance  

𝐀𝐁𝐎𝐔𝐓 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐁𝐎𝐎𝐊  

ASHAR ABDULLAH LONE  

Ashar is the heir of a wealthy ruthless Turkish mafia family. His uncle, Stelian runs the family business with unrelenting violence and brutality. Ashar is his uncle’s right-hand man and he punishes those who transgress against their empire.  

Fury has been around for over thirteen thousand years. His father, Triton, was the ruler of Atlantis and the Ancient Seas, making his world a cold and calculating place. He is the youngest son to a vast ocean empire, the last of his people, the Atlanteans.  

In Fury’s world, the biggest shark eats the smaller fish. There is no sympathy towards humankind, only disdain, and hostility. One night the prince watches as two humans are tossed overboard from a large freight. One has a scent he can’t understand that pulls him towards the stranger.  

He finds the dying man and must save him. He is amazed by all the scars and wounds the man has and he can’t stop himself from touching the handsome human. This is his mate.  

Fury breaks an ancient vow when mating with Ashar. He will not marry Nereus, known as the sea witch. It was a marriage made by his powerful grandfather, the one and only, Poseidon.  

Impossible for them to resist their attraction to one another. The two men set a series of catastrophic events in motion, that sets mortals and immortals fighting for survival.  

Two men from vastly different worlds collide in a mix of heat, passion, and desire. Throw in ancient curses, marriage vows, tridents, and family drama- will Fury and Ashar survive long enough to fulfill all their most passionate desires?  

Grim and Sinister Delights is a dark romance series based on classic fairy tales and stories. You will find standalone tales of gay romance that range in darkness and kinks. If you dare to take the challenge, read them all to find yourself lost in a classic that you think you know. These stories are for adult readers and may contain morally ambiguous themes.  

ABOUT DORA  

Been on my own since I was 16. I’m a born rebel! I grew up on the border of Texas and Mexico. Had many adventures in the AirForce and traveled the world, but I always kept writing. I have a bunch of journals with full stories that need to be written. I am at a point in my life where I can dedicate myself to my passion writing! The writing Gods won’t leave me alone! When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, listening to old 80’s music, exercising, taking care of my family, two sons, hubby, mother, and two dogs! Busy full life. My stories are dark, horror-filled, with a mix of tantalizing erotica and gritty sex. I have a wild imagination. I prefer my paranormal beings ruthless and cunning. As I start my writing adventure, I hope you will join me and enjoy reading my books! Any questions, please contact me I would love to hear from you!  

FOLLOW DORA  

Bookbub ➜ https://www.bookbub.com/profile/dora-esquivel  

WEB ➜ https://doraross1971.wixsite.com/mysite  

AMAZON ➜ https://www.amazon.com/Dora-Esquivel/e/B07DPSCWMC  

~~&&~~ HOSTED BY:~~&&~~ BRVL—Book Review Virginia Lee: http://ow.ly/UrNot  

Dawning by Mychael Black #GayRomance #shifters @changelingpress

What is it they say? No good deed goes unpunished?

Ren is on the run. His people have aligned themselves with every known mage cabal in the country to rise up and overrun the world above. As the head of House Daturi, he’d been expected to follow the other Houses and lead his own into war. Except he has no desire to fight — with anyone. Now he has two choices: fall in line or die as a traitor. Neither seems promising.

Arulas is a wolf shapeshifter who prefers to avoid contact with others, no matter the species. He has a cabin deep in the woods, nestled near the border of the Light Fae realm. He doesn’t bother them, and they don’t bother him. Until now, things were quite perfect. Then he finds a half-dead Dark Fae in the middle of nowhere. Not one to leave a man down, Arulas nurses the Dark Fae back to health, only to find himself square in the middle of a damn war.

Available at Changeling Press

Preorder for April 9th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

Rumors swirled among the peasantry that Zerin was under mage influence, but the pompous ass had been itching to get the Houses unified to take over the world above. Ren didn’t agree with such ambitions, and a part of him feared the consequences should Zerin’s war come to fruition.

“Lord Ren, what of House Daturi? Are you prepared?” one of the Council members asked.

Ren had been dreading the question. “I… yes. House Daturi is ready to march with the others,” he lied.

In truth, he didn’t care if House Daturi did or not. He had no intention of sticking around to watch. He’d packed his things a few days ago, what little he could carry, and only waited for the right time to leave. If he was careful, he could get above ground by morning. Of course, the second he was missed, there would be a price on his head the likes of which no Dark Fae had ever seen. They’d lost a few guards, but never anyone of Ren’s status. He had to do it quickly and quietly. He hated leaving his few lovers, but he couldn’t stay here any longer. Not with his sanity intact.

“Very good,” Zerin said from his dais at the front of the Council chamber. “This meeting is adjourned. We will reconvene in the morning to set our plans in motion.”

Dismissed, Ren and the other lords filed out of the chamber. Ren headed back toward the tunnel leading to his own keep, a good distance from House Vakeor. Each House’s territory branched off from House Vakeor’s, some several days’ journey away. Thankfully, House Daturi was only a few hours’ walk. He’d left his guards at his keep, more out of caution than anything else. He’d long since lost any trust in his own people, even those in his House. If Zerin wanted a war, so be it, but the man would have it without Ren’s aid. House Daturi’s followers could do as they pleased.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Myc has been writing professionally since 2005, solo and with Shayne Carmichael. Genres include pretty much anything (no steampunk yet), though Myc is well known for paranormal stories. When not writing, Myc is usually playing PC games, reading, watching Netflix, and spending way too much time on Facebook. Since the question has come up in the past, pronouns are not an issue. Myc is bio-female, mentally male, and 100% genderfluid, so any pronoun works!

Release Blitz: Junior Hero Blues by J.K. Pendragon #YoungAdult #LGBTQ @JKPendragon @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Junior Hero Blues

Author: J.K. Pendragon

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 03/29/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 58400

Genre: Contemporary YA, LGBTQIA+, Action/adventure, Coming-of-age, Criminals, Enemies/rivals to lovers, Geeks, Humorous, Interracial, Law enforcement, #ownvoices, Superhero, Young adult

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Description

Last year, Javier Medina was your average socially awkward gay high schooler with a chip on his shoulder. This year, he’s…well, pretty much the same, but with bonus superpowers, a costume with an ab window to show off his new goods, and a secret identity as the high-flying, wise-cracking superhero Blue Spark.

But being a Junior Hero means that Javier gets all the responsibility and none of the cool gadgets. It’s hard enough working for the Legion of Liberty and fighting against the evil Organization, all while trying to keep on top of school work and suspicious parents. Add in a hunky boyfriend who’s way out of Javier’s league, and an even hunkier villain who keeps appearing every time said boyfriend mysteriously disappears, and Blue Spark is in for one big dollop of teenage angst. All while engaging in some epic superhero action and, oh yeah, an all-out battle to protect Liberty City from the forces of evil.

Welcome to the 100% true and totally unbiased account of life as a teenage superhero.

Excerpt

Junior Hero Blues
J.K. Pendragon © 2021
All Rights Reserved

When I woke up, my mask was lying beside me on the ground, and I felt like my entire head had been squeezed like a pimple.

It took me a few minutes to get my bearings, and by the time I realized the Raven was there with me, she was putting my mask back over my eyes and checking my vitals. Masks have a way of obscuring expressions, but I could see her jaw was tight and her lips were even thinner than usual.

“What happened?” I groaned, my voice raspy. I was starting to get memories back, of the smoke and explosions of the battle, and of him. That bastard smashing my head into a mirror—I raised a hand to my forehead and felt crusted blood through my glove—and then of us fighting, and of a rather unheroic rage that had come over me as we did so. The last thing I remembered was my hands on either side of his head, shooting sonic waves into his ears so hard his eyes were rolling back, and his big meaty hands around my neck, squeezing me into darkness.

“Don’t know.” The Raven’s ambiguously Slavic accent was harsher than normal. “I found you here, with your mask off. Who did it, do you know?”

“Yeah.” I coughed. “Who do you think? Jimmy Black.”

*

I guess I should back up a bit. Jimmy Black was my sworn enemy, if you go for dramatics like that (I totally do), and I’d met him before all this crap with the Organization started. I’d been on a date with Rick Rykov. My first date. Ever, that is, and I was pretty convinced the whole thing was a setup to make fun of me, because that would be typical. But then Rick actually showed up at the café, and we sat there for twenty minutes drinking coffee and discussing our lives like regular people, and there was absolutely no sign of the whole thing being a prank or some plan concocted by him and his friends to humiliate me.

I mean, aside from being gay, Rick was, like, standard bully material. He was a football player, even—six feet of lean teenage muscle and popularity. And I have a theory that being gay in high school just pushes your social standing to an extreme either way. Like, if you’re already popular, and then you come out as gay, you become this amazing, brave individual who inspires change (exhibit A: Rick Rykov). But if you come out as gay, and you’re that weird little Spanish dude who came to America in first grade and couldn’t speak any English, who decided to compensate for that fact by eating a bug in front of his entire class, which was never forgotten, ever, by anyone…

Well, see exhibit B: Javier Medina (that’s me, by the way). Skinny, brown, nerdy. I’m sure you can picture it. That, combined with my family not exactly being wealthy, meant I got picked on a lot in school, even before the bug thing, so I’m a little skittish. Or possibly a lot skittish. You decide.

So anyway, naturally, considering my rather extensive history with bullies, when a superhot, superpopular football player came striding down the hall toward me after class one day, my first instinct was to run away. Unfortunately, Kendall (who apparently has superhearing that I don’t know about) had overheard that Rick was planning on asking me out and grabbed my arm to keep me from escaping. She’s pretty heavyset, and I guess she was using her weight to her advantage, because I was basically rooted to the spot despite having, you know, moderate superstrength.

So then Rick strolled up, cool as you please, and introduced himself. Like, he full-on shook my hand. As if it were a job interview. And then he asked me out, and I was thinking I might be stupid enough to eat a bug, but I sure as hell wasn’t stupid enough to think that Rick Rykov was actually asking me out on a date. So I told him to eff off.

Yeah right. I actually said something along the lines of, “Uhh…you want to go…on a date? With me? Wh… Why?”

And he said, “Because I like you. I think you’re cute, so I thought we could get to know each other a bit better over coffee.”

At this point, I was basically giving myself whiplash looking around trying to see if I was in the process of being ambushed with the eventual intent to stick my head in the toilet. And then I got kind of angry because, like, here I was, busting my butt every single day to save people’s lives and keep the public safe. Screw putting up with this high school bullying crap.

So I decided I would go out with Rick, and if he or any of his buff football friends decided to try to pull one over me, I was just going to spontaneously snap and beat the crap out of them (or at least use my powers to pull some fun tricks with them) and plead temporary insanity to Captain Liberty after the fact.

Rick seemed pleased, and a little surprised I’d agreed. We set a date, and I went fully expecting to be doused with whipped cream, or laughed and jeered at, or at the very least stood up.

But Rick was there, leaning back in one of the little spindly café chairs that looked like it might break under his weight and sipping some frothy drink. When I sat, he shook my hand again, and then we just sort of…started talking.

Which I know isn’t a big deal, because, like, people talk all the time. But not me. I mean, I talk to Kendall, because she’s my best friend and has been forever, and we tell each other everything. I talk to my parents, in Spanish mostly, which is still a bit easier for me, funnily enough (although I’m sure you can tell I have an absolutely superb grasp of the English language). But with everyone else? It’s kind of like the fewer syllables I can use, the better. I mumble my way through life. I just can’t make myself say what I’m thinking most of the time.

So yeah, it was pleasantly surprising to be able to talk to Rick. He asked me questions and waited patiently while I answered them, and then offered information about himself. He lived with his parents in a really nice part of town, although pretty close to me, and had a sister and a cat. And I told him, a bit defensively, that I lived with my parents in a crappy little apartment that didn’t allow pets, and that my dad worked on computers and my mom worked at a gas station so we could have a little extra income. I was all set for Rick to be all judgey or awkward (or worse, feel bad for me) about my poorness, but he didn’t seem to care about that at all. He actually seemed to genuinely want to get to know me.

And then, just when I was starting to relax and believe that this was actually a thing that was happening and I wasn’t going to, you know, die, Rick’s phone rang. He had a sort of awkward conversation and said, looking really let down, “I’m sorry, I’ve got to go to work. Last-minute thing.” Then his face brightened up a bit. “But we should do this again sometime.”

I agreed, and he went off, and I was left sitting there for about ten minutes finishing my coffee and thinking. And then my phone rang too.

I should have figured it out right then and there.

It was the Legion dispatch, about as polite as ever, which is to say one step up from a robot. Actually, scratch that, the Legion AI was way friendlier.

So she was all, “There’s an incident downtown, not far from your location. Can you respond?”

And I figured why not, since I was pretty pumped at that moment, and anyway, it was my job. Like, I got paid for it and everything. So I told her I’d be there in two minutes, and grabbed my bag and headed out.

Now, listen up, because I’m going to let you in on a little secret about switching from your civilian clothes into your superhero getup.

The telephone booth thing?

Utter bullcrap.

I mean, maybe except for old pros like Captain Liberty. I’ve seen him change into his costume so fast it was as if he must have been wearing a tear-away outfit, complete with, like, origami cape and boots in his back pocket. But for the rest of us, it’s three-plus minutes of awkwardly hunching on top of a building—try even finding a telephone booth these days—ripping off your clothes and pulling on the parts of your costume that don’t fit under them, and then you have to try to fit everything, including your shoes, into your backpack. And then you have to look for a place to stash your backpack where it won’t be stolen or crapped on by pigeons or something.

And the Legion really does expect you to respond to a call within only five minutes. I don’t know why they haven’t invented some sort of quick-change technology. Maybe they have, and they just don’t make it available to Junior Heroes.

It’s a complete rip-off being a Junior Hero, by the way. You’re supposed to be only assigned to low-risk stuff, but half the time it’s just as dangerous as anything else anyway, and the rest of the time it’s freaking boring.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

J.K. Pendragon is a Canadian author with a love of all things romantic and fantastical. They first came to the queer fiction community through m/m romance, but soon began to branch off into writing all kinds of queer fiction. As a bisexual and genderqueer person, J.K. is dedicated to producing diverse, entertaining fiction that showcases characters across the rainbow spectrum, and provides queer characters with the happy endings they are so often denied.

J.K. currently resides in British Columbia, Canada with a boyfriend, a cat, and a large collection of artisanal teas that they really need to get around to drinking. They are always happy to chat, and can be reached at jes.k.pendragon@gmail.com.

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