RELEASE BLITZ: One Soul’s Journey by Barbara Daniels Dean #shortstories #humor @RABTBookTours @barbdena5424

Second Collection of Short Stories Book 2 of The Soul Series

Fictional Humor Short Stories

Date Published: 01-25-2023

Publisher: Magic Zoe Publishing

One Soul’s Journey is an eclectic and extraordinary collection of short
stories.

The ingredients: imagination, a dash of real life, inspiration, and lots of
love. If you’ve read and loved her first collection, “For the
Soul,” this book will delight you.

Praise for The Soul Series

5.0 out of 5 stars

“Delightfully charming short stories”

“Excellent book. A must-read”

About the Author


Barbara Daniels Dena is an American best-selling author and influential
writer of her eclectic short stories in ‘The Soul Series.’

The author’s stories are almost a memoir and are a unique collection of
inspiring short stories of ‘good ole fashioned living,’ along with many past
and present memories and life experiences that tug on the heart, warming
stories, and fictional tall tales and doggie tails delighting readers
worldwide. The books are available on Amazon Books, Kindle, and many fine
online book sites.

Barbara began writing at an early age as a lover of
“Make-Believe.” Today, her writing has developed from memories of
family experiences, various compilations of events in her life, and her love
of animals. She is willing to admit that her vivid imagination plays a role
in her stories. The author is an Illinois native who has lived in many
places; as Barb says, like a free-spirited “Gypsy,” she has lived
and worked in Illinois, Washington, Idaho, and Georgia, but Ultimately,
comes home settling back in the Quad Cities area of Illinois.

She is a proud mother of two grown children. She was a business owner, ran
a Temp Agency, transitioned into her passion for floral design, and opened,
owned, and ran several floral shops. Her favorite flower is the
“Casablanca Lily.” Her favorite color is Red, and when she isn’t
writing, Barbara spends her free time oil painting and enjoys quilting,
knitting, and reading.

Her favorite book is “Death Be Not Proud” by John J. Gunther. Her
first love will always be playing with her fur baby; a little Yorkie named
Zoe. She continues to write from her cozy nook as she gazes over a pond full
of geese and ducks. On many days it is more gazing than writing.

 

Contact Links

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

Goodreads

All Author

 

Purchase Link

Amazon

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

COVER REVEAL: Jonah (Somnolence) by Ali Lucia Sky #PNR #coverreveal #NewAdult @XpressoTours @AliLuciaSky1

Jonah
Ali Lucia Sky
(Somnolence, #3)
Publication date: February 14th 2023
Genres: Adult, New Adult, Paranormal

The most heartbreaking truth is finding that you aren’t the master of your own destiny.

Lizzy Phillips is healing from an attack that she suffered at a Somnolence concert years ago, and struggling with facts that came to light during the last tour. Feeling like the odd girl out, she can’t find her footing in this world.

The only thing Jonah Creed has ever known is that Lizzy and he are Written in the Stars. They are destined to be, and knowing she’s his Tether only reaffirms that. Until she ran from his arms during the last tour.

Now he has her back, but she’s not what either of them expected and they both have hungers to feed.

Please be advised by the trigger warning inside the book.

It’s recommended that you read the series in order beginning with RAIDEN.

Add to Goodreads / Pre-order

Author Bio:

Ali Lucia Sky is the author of The Powers That Be and Somnolence series. She lives in Southern California with her husband and a house full of kitty cats, a yard full of crows, a backyard of ferals and a possum affectionately named Garcia.

She loves laughing, drinking good coffee, vegan food, and supporting animal rescues.

When she isn’t writing or dreaming of new stories, she can be found planning her next vacation because traveling is life.

If you encounter her in the wild, don’t be offended if she should run away. She’s timid with strangers, but can be plied with shiny things and pictures of your cat or dog.

She’s a weirdo like that.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook Group / Twitter / Instagram / TikTok / Pinterest


Aliens, Shifters, and More… Find your next book boyfriend! #SFR #PNR #Fantasy #Aliens #shifters

Two enemies unable to fight each other’s pull. Love will either bind them to Heaven or curse them to Hell…

After being marked by his father and thrown into the land of Nod, Cain’s wrath and vengeance know no bounds.

Finding a tentative place in Lucifer’s army, Cain longs to become a dark angel, crash through the gates of Heaven, and deliver retribution.

Lucifer assures Cain he’ll finally earn long-coveted wings once Cain captures Phoebe–the only human immune to his mark and stirs emotion in his dark heart–if Cain can deliver her to Hell.

Torn between the burning hatred for his father and a consuming obsession for Phoebe, Cain is faced with an irreversible, life-shattering choice.

READ IT WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED

This is not the alien I wanted…

My whole life, I’ve wanted to compete in the Alien Bride Games. So when my name is drawn in the Alien Bride Lottery, I’m ecstatic. With any luck, I’ll get one of the hot, giant aliens I’ve been admiring for ages.

And when I’m kidnapped from Station 21, I’m furious.

Even if my abductor is one of those sexy aliens.

Now I have to figure out why he’s stolen me from the Bride Lottery—and more importantly, how to get back!

Fans of Ruby Dixon, Grace Goodwin, and Laurann Dohner will love this steamy new series featuring gorgeous, bright alien heroes and the sassy human women they choose as mates!

Every book in the Khanavai Warrior Bride Games series is a standalone romance and part of an interconnected series. Join these brides as they find a whole new world of happily ever afters.

READ IT WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED

Invincible superpowers and nobody to stop him. Will he save the day, or trigger global annihilation?

England, 1989. Arthur Merlin is plagued by restlessness. Ever since he woke up from a head injury with extraordinary abilities, the Vietnam vet has turned the world into his unsuspecting playground as he masters his gifts. Showing off in front of scientists after teleporting to The Institute of Psychic Research in London, he’s intrigued by the red-haired woman who remained unimpressed.

Irresistibly drawn to the feisty doctor who seems to prefer the company of women, Arthur reluctantly plays a part in an MI6 mission to foil a plane hijacking. But determined not to be exploited by any government agency, he transports himself and the beautiful researcher away to an unassuming lake. Yet a mystery he finds lying beneath the still waters makes Arthur’s control over his powers slip… while a hidden threat lurks in the shadows.

Will his hunt for the truth lead to a legendary fate… or his ultimate destruction?

The Secret of Excalibur is the captivating first book in the inventive Excalibur Saga science fiction fantasy series. If you like quirky characters, erotic fun, and surprising twists and turns, then you’ll love Sahara Foley’s snarky paranormal adventure.

READ IT WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED

DO YOU LIKE REVIEWING BOOKS?

CHECK OUT THIS REVIEW COPY…

I’m Kyra Baxter. Once, I was human—now, I learn it’s all a lie. As the top student at my university and the best intern in Dallas, I thought my life was built in the clouds, and I was on top of the world. But then…it all crashed hard.

A murdered friend.

A secret world.

A mysterious warrior.

It’s safe to say that the life I thought was solid will never rise from the rubble. It’s time to move on, and live the life I was always meant for–what I was born for. Except there are those who want to make sure that never happens. In fact, if I don’t move quickly, the enemy who I’d been hidden from is coming for blood.

REQUEST A COPY

BOOK TOUR: Hell Holes Book IV – A Slave’s Revenge by Donald Firesmith #SciFi #Horror

A Slaves Revenge

Hell Holes Book 4

by Donald Firesmith

Genre: SciFi, Paranormal Horror

An epic story of love, loss, friendship, and survival under the most hellish of conditions, Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge is the award-winning prequel to the Hell Holes series of alien invasion novels.

After killing his father, alien demons teleport a fifteen-year-old boy, his mother, and his sister to Hell, a desert world in the Demonic Empire. With survival far from certain, they have just two choices: to live as useful slaves or die as demon food. As the boy becomes a man, he must decide just how much he must collaborate with his demon masters to survive. But can he live long enough to take his revenge and regain his freedom without losing his humanity and his very soul?

Winter 2022 Pinnacle Achievement Awards – Winner – Science Fiction Category
2021 Top Shelf Magazine Book Awards – Runner-up – Fiction/Fantasy Subcategory
July 2022 BooksShelf.com Book Awards – Finalist – Fiction Category
2021 The Wishing Shelf Book Awards – Finalist – Adult Category
ReadFree.ly – 50 Best Indie Books of 2021

**Only. .99 cents!!**

Amazon * Audiobook * Bookbub * Goodreads

EXCERPT

Prologue

My name is Paul Chapman. When I was just fifteen years old, a band of demonic aliens murdered my father and captured my mother, sister, and me. These vicious creatures — the source of humanity’s myths of devils, imps, and hellhounds — took us through a hidden portal to Hell, the nearest planet to Earth in their vast empire. I spent the next twenty-three years there as their slave.

I was rescued during the Armageddon War and became the only captive human to ever escape from Hell. Over the following months, members of the US military and various specialists spent countless hours interviewing and debriefing me to learn everything I knew about Hell and the demons. They provided a therapist to help me recover from my horrendous experiences and adjust to my new life back on Earth. She recommended I document my life as a slave. This book is my story: the autobiography of my life as a slave on Hell.

1 – The Hunt

My parents, Robert and Mary Chapman, met while first-year students at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He studied wildlife biology while she studied anthropology, concentrating her studies on the history and culture of the native Inuit. Although they had grown up in the Lower 48, they fell in love with Alaska and decided to remain after graduating.

Dad had hoped to obtain a job as a wildlife biologist, but such jobs were rare and paid little. Mom had an even harder time finding suitable work. So, when my maternal grandfather died two years later, my parents decided to use her modest inheritance to buy a dry cabin and live a subsistence lifestyle. They would hunt caribou and moose, trap small game for furs and food, and fish for salmon during spawning season.

Mom and Dad eventually bought a cabin on the north shore of the Kobuk River. Only seven miles upstream of the tiny town of Kobuk, the house was close enough to make buying provisions easy. The town’s simple landing strip also made visiting relatives practical and would enable evacuation in case of a medical emergency.

Miles from their nearest neighbors, the cabin was also isolated enough to offer all the seclusion a family could ever want. Nestled between the nearby river and the Brooks Range a few miles to the north, my parents had found the home of their dreams.

My twin sister, Sarah, and I were born a few years later, and we grew up in some of the most beautiful land imaginable. The chores were many, the work was hard, but the rewards of freedom and the wilder-ness’s majesty made the hardships well worthwhile. I loved the life and couldn’t imagine ever leaving it.

This story begins when Sarah and I were fifteen. It was early August, and the Chinook salmon were running up the river to spawn. After breakfast, Mom and Sarah were going fishing. Dad and I had built a fish wheel, an ingenious tool that automatically catches the salmon. An underwater fence forces some of the fish towards the wheel that the river’s current turns. Baskets attached to the wheel’s rim scoop up the fish and dump them into a box. Mom and Sarah were going to carry the salmon back to the cabin, clean them, and hang them up over a fire in our smokehouse. Their work would ensure we would have plenty of smoked salmon to eat during the long Alaskan winter.

While they were fishing, Dad and I would hunt moose and check our traps for small game. We took our rifles and headed upriver away from town. We left our dog, Sergeant, behind so her barking would warn Mom and Sarah of any bear that might be attracted by the smell of our fish.

We started by checking our traps, but they were empty. Not a single one had been tripped. And we didn’t spot any small game even though we didn’t talk, and we walked carefully to avoid making any unnecessary noise.

When it was nearing lunchtime, we turned around and headed back to our cabin. This time, instead of following the river trail, we hiked up towards the nearby mountains forming the southern edge of the Brooks Range. As before, the area seemed completely devoid of animal life, which was pretty unusual. We’d typically see something, even if it was too far away or on the far side of the river.

About halfway home, we spotted the remains of a bull moose that had been recently killed. Because the bears were busy with the salmon, we initially thought it had been brought down by wolves. But it wasn’t. Enormous chunks of flesh had been removed in single bites, and the bites’ edges were too clean to have been made by wolves or bears.

It was strange that we couldn’t identify the tracks in the soft ground around the carcass. There were many large and small hoof prints, but they were shorter and rounder than moose and elk tracks.

Stranger still were the giant paw prints from the carnivore that had brought down the moose. Easily twice the length of wolf prints, they had only three toes, and the separate claw marks were much longer than wolf or even bear claws. Dad, the biologist, was stumped. The prints didn’t seem to belong to any Alaskan wild animal or to any animal for that matter. The only tracks he could think of that were even somewhat similar were those of ostriches, emus, and cassowaries. But the claw marks were too short for ostrich and emu tracks, and the cassowary only has one claw that long, not three.

“Dad, how about a really big dog?” I asked. “Maybe a Newfoundland had lost a toe.”

Dad shook his head. “Can’t be. See how the toes are arranged symmetrically? And besides, why would a dog have the same toe removed on each paw?”

“What about a dinosaur?” I suggested jokingly.

Dad actually considered it for a second before answering, “You know, it does look a little like a theropod footprint. It might have been a reasonable hypothesis if it weren’t for the little fact they’re all extinct except for the birds. No, this has to be a hoax. Someone’s trying to start a rumor about a strange beast roaming the Alaskan wilderness. Probably wants to draw tourists hoping to catch sight of the mythological creature.”

“But Dad, what about the bite marks?”

“My guess is that they used a curved knife to make them. Still, whoever did it did a good job. They had me going for a bit. Come on, let’s head home and tell the girls about our mysterious find.”

So, we hiked back to the cabin and had lunch with Mom and Sarah. They told us about the baskets of fish they had caught and cleaned. We told them about the moose kill we’d stumbled on, the strange tracks, and the huge bite marks. Mom agreed with Dad that it would probably turn out to be a hoax, but Sarah wasn’t sure what to think.

After lunch, Dad and I headed out again to see if we’d have any better luck hunting. We didn’t. The animals, both big and small, were still missing, and we were once more forced to come back empty-handed. I did, however, carry my camera with me and took some pictures of our find. For a laugh, I figured I would upload them onto Facebook the next time I was back in town where I could get internet service.

2 – Demons in the Dark

Sergeant, our three-year-old German Shepherd, woke me from a pleasant dream by barking her head off and scratching at the cabin door. I glanced at my alarm clock. It was just after three in the morning, and much too early for her to need to be let out to do her business. She was also far too excited for that to be the problem.

“What is it, girl?” Dad called. “Are the raccoons back again?”

Sergeant ignored him and continued barking.

I thought I heard a deep growl coming from outside my window. “I think it’s a bear, Dad.” I groggily dragged myself out of bed, stepped into my slippers, and headed downstairs.

Dad was already there, taking his hunting rifle down from its home over the fireplace. He checked it to ensure it was loaded while I pulled Sergeant back from the door.

Grizzlies occasionally break into empty cabins looking for an easy meal. Still, I’d never known one to bust into one that was occupied, and a dog could usually be counted on to keep them at bay. Besides, it was late summer when their food was plentiful.

“What is it, Robert?” Mom asked. She was halfway down the stairs with Sarah just behind her.

“Probably just a bear,” Dad answered.

We had a thick solid door with a strong lock, so I wasn’t too concerned. I just hoped that it wouldn’t break a window because I’d be the one Dad would send into town to buy the glass to replace it.

Boom! The door rattled as something massive struck it. Sergeant growled, jerked her collar out of my hands, and bounded to the door. She pawed at it, barking like mad.

I was just about to run forward and grab her when there was a deafening bang. Ripped right off its heavy hinges, the door flew across the room, knocking Sergeant sideways and narrowly missing me before crashing into the dinner table.

Dad raised his rifle and fired just as a huge, wolf-like creature charged into the room. The bullet struck it squarely in the middle of the chest, dropping the monster to the floor.

We all gawked at the nightmarish beast lying at Dad’s feet. We’d never seen or even imagined such an animal. Easily four times the size of a timber wolf, the beast had neither fur nor anything you could call skin. Its massive brick-red muscles and yellowish bones and tendons were clearly visible as were the finger-long fangs and large, triangular teeth in its gaping mouth. Its yellow eyes with horizontal pupils stared blankly up at us while it bled blood the color of crude oil.

“What the hell is that?” Dad exclaimed as a second such beast burst into the house and bounded over the body of the one he had shot. Before he could react, it sank its teeth into Dad’s neck and shook him like an orca shaking a seal.

Several things happened almost simultaneously. Mom and Sarah screamed. The gun flew out of Dad’s hands and slid past me into the kitchen. Sergeant whined and bolted out the door as I sprinted to retrieve Dad’s rifle.

Grabbing his gun, I started to turn back to face the monsters when someone yanked the rifle right out of my hands. No, not someone. Some thing!

A grotesque, little, ape-like monster no more than three-feet-tall stood in front of me holding Dad’s rifle in one hand and a sword to my neck with the other. The imp had short little horns and stared at me with yellow, goat-like eyes. Like the hellhound, it was totally naked and seemed to have no skin covering his heavily muscled body.

Perhaps those huge muscles were what made me feel certain he was male despite his lack of any obvious indicator of his sex. The imp grinned, flashed an impossibly wide mouth full of shark-like teeth, and shook his head. His intent was unmistakable.

Wresting my gaze away from the imp’s hideous face, I looked up to see a second, sword-carrying imp motioning for Mom and Sarah to come down from the stairs. They, however, were transfixed by the sight of the hellhound feasting on Dad’s body. The one he’d shot had staggered to its feet, the wound in its chest miraculously healing before our eyes. The hellhounds snarled and growled at each other as they bit off softball-sized chunks of flesh and swallowed them whole.

I was having a nightmare! The worst nightmare of my life. I was asleep. I had to be.

The imp in front of me poked my stomach with the tip of his sword. It hurt! What? It shouldn’t hurt. You don’t feel pain in dreams. I glanced down and saw a little circle of blood staining my pajamas.

I wasn’t dreaming! Two wolf-like monsters were eating my dad, and two diminutive demons with swords had taken over the house. I couldn’t imagine how things could get any worse, but they did.

The devil, who was completely naked like the imps, walked in through the open doorway. There he stood with his long swept-back horns, his cloven hooves, and his red naked body. The only things missing were a pitchfork and tail. Tall and far more muscular than any Olympic athlete, he looked around the room with yellow, goat-like eyes, just like those of the imps and hellhounds.

The devil pointed at my mother and sister and barked out a series of incomprehensible sounds. They had to be words in the demonic language of Hell. Several of the syllables were so weird and spoken so rapidly that they were difficult to grasp and impossible for any human to repeat.

The imp standing at the base of the stairs motioned with his sword for Mom and Sarah to come down. Then the devil said something else, and the imp in front of me motioned for me to join them. Mom and Sarah were crying, their shoulders shaking uncontrollably as they watched the hellhounds feasting on Dad’s body. We hugged, and I did my best to make them turn their backs on the horrific scene. But there was no way we could ignore the horrible sounds the hellhounds made as we waited to learn our fate.

To Hell and Back

Hell Holes Book 3

The beautiful young photojournalist, Aileen O’Shannon, is not who she seems. For centuries, she has been a demon hunter, a sorceress who has tracked and killed small bands of demons that occasionally crossed into our world. But that changed when she joined Dr. Jack Oswald’s expedition to study one of hundreds of huge holes that mysteriously appeared overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle. Instead of small sporadic incursions, hordes of demons now pour from these hell holes like water from a sieve. With bombing little more than a losing game of whack-a-mole, Earth’s armies are unable to destroy the portals. When Jack suggests a desperate plan, he is drafted to join Aileen and a team of other sorcerers and Army Rangers to travel to the demon homeworld. Once there, they will unleash a plague virus and set off a nuclear bomb to destroy the portal complex. It’s a suicide mission. But Aileen has given Jack’s wife her word to bring him back safely, and the demons have already killed three men under her protection. Just how far will Aileen go to avoid losing another?

**Only. .99 cents!!**

Amazon * Audiobook * Bookbub * Goodreads

Demons on the Dalton

Hell Holes Book 2

When hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appeared overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, geologist Jack Oswald picked Angele Menendez, his climatologist wife, to determine if the record temperatures due to climate change was the cause. But the holes were not natural. They were unnatural portals for an invading army of demons. Together with Aileen O’Shannon, a 1,700-year-old sorceress demon-hunter, the three survivors of the research team sent to study the holes had only one chance: to flee down the dangerous Dalton Highway towards the relative safety of Fairbanks. However, the advancing horde of devils, imps, hellhounds, and gargoyles will stop at nothing to prevent their prey from escaping. It is a 350-mile race with simple rules. Win and live; lose and die…

**Only. .99 cents!!**

Amazon * Audiobook * Bookbub * Goodreads

What Lurks Below

Hell Holes Book 1

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two of their graduate students as his team. Uncharacteristically, Jack also lets Aileen O’Shannon, a bewitchingly beautiful young photojournalist, talk him into coming along as their photographer. When they arrive in the remote oil town of Deadhorse, the exec and a biologist to protect them from wild animals join the team. Their task: to assess the risk of more holes opening under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wells and pipelines that feed it. But they discover a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…

**Only. .99 cents!!**

Amazon * Audiobook * Bookbub * Goodreads

Donald Firesmith is a multi-award-winning author of speculative fiction including science fiction (alien invasion), fantasy (magical wands), horror, and modern urban paranormal novels and anthologies of short stories.

Prior to retiring to devote himself full-time to his novels, Donald Firesmith earned an international reputation as a distinguished engineer, authoring seven system/software engineering books based on his 40+ years spent developing large, complex software intensive systems.

He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, his daughter Sera, and varying numbers of dogs and cats.

Website* Facebook* Twitter* Bookbub* Amazon* Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$20 Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

NEW PAPERBACK: Wanted by Marteeka Karland #SciFiRomance @marteekakarland

Interplanetary agents and smugglers — when they collide, their chemistry will be explosive.

White Russian (Wanted 1): After weeks of lonely space and one breakdown after another, Tiressa just wants a drink to relax while the nebula storm passes. But when she orders a White Russian, he’s not quite what she expects. Undercover so deep only the Supreme Commander of the military knows his mission, Yuri Dubnikov’s situation is bad. Convincing Tiressa he isn’t the villain will definitely take work.

Vodka Shots (Wanted 2): Dmitry is pissed as hell. He was betrayed by a woman he trusted and now she must pay. When finally catches her, her reasons for her betrayal — and her abrupt departure — chill his blood. With secrets and conspiracies at every turn, Dmitry must decide who to trust. The lives of everyone he holds dear may depend on his decisions.

Molotov Cocktail (Wanted 3): Hawk has been baffled by Onyx since they first met. The woman defies all reason. A man can only take so much, and when Onyx defies his orders in the heat of battle, Hawk decides to show her what a fiery explosion a Molotov Cocktail can really ignite.

Get the paperback at Amazon

EXCERPT

Copyright ©2023 Marteeka Karland
Excerpt from White Russian


Tiressa stumbled into the dimly lit holo bar and collapsed into a booth. What a fucking day! Nothing had gone right. Absolutely nothing. Her ship had been grounded at Patmar Station because of a busted beacon lamp. When she finally did get clearance to leave, her power coil blew a ring. Now, the nebula storms had forced her to this back-space junk station with no end in sight. What the fuck else could go wrong? She just wanted to get back to Earth and civilization.

She flagged down the dark-haired waiter, who tried to ignore her. “Look, I’m tired, and all I want to do is get back to Earth. I’m seriously PMSing, and I’ve had absolutely no chocolate or caffeine for the last twenty solar days. Do not make me ask you twice to get your ass over here and get me a drink.”

That changed the little man’s mind. In a hurry.

Tiressa wasn’t a small woman by any means. She stood five-nine and, though lean, carried a fair amount of muscle. She looked like a space marine and had the temper to match, but in reality, she was a glorified delivery girl. Suited her fine. She was the only cargo tech in the whole damned company who hadn’t been jacked at least four or five times. Hell, she hadn’t been jacked even once. The only pirate who’d tried got to sample his own balls.

Literally.

After that, word got around, and everyone pretty much left her alone.

“What’ll it be?” The lanky waiter might have finally stopped at her table, but it was far from a willing gesture.

“White Russian. Straight up.”

The man stopped in mid-movement as he tapped her order into his tablet. “Did you say, ‘White Russian, straight up’?”

Tiressa had to clench her fists to keep from scratching the poor bastard’s eyes out. “Did I stutter or something, or are you hard of hearing?”

“No, ma’am.” His tone was suddenly respectful, and his body language screamed fear. Finally, something in her tone had made him take her seriously. Maybe this day was getting better. “I just didn’t expect a woman to… err… order… such a… err… drink.” He stammered all over himself, but Tiressa didn’t care. Something in the back of her mind prickled, but she ignored it. If he brought her alcohol, she didn’t really give a fuck.

Instead of replying, she just gave him her best icy stare, and he scurried off. Sitting back with a satisfied smirk, Tiressa crossed her legs and looked around her. The place was practically deserted save for a couple of human attendants and several bots to clean tables. The latest news feeds scrolled along the top of the bar, and holo images of fugitives and criminals danced across the banner. Including the announcement of the capture of Yuri Dubnikov.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erotic romance author by night, emergency room tech/clerk by day, Marteeka Karland works really hard to drive everyone in her life completely and totally nuts. She has been creating stories from her warped imagination since she was in the third grade. Her love of writing blossomed throughout her teenage years until it developed into the totally unorthodox and irreverent style her English teachers tried so hard to rid her of.

Snowbound (Box Set) – Multi-authorMulti-author #PNR #UrbanFantasy #LGBTQ

Winter storms and seduction go hand in hand…

Distraction by Elizabeth Jewell
Alaska seems like a winter haven for vampires Glynna and Brandt and their companion Erik — until the snow starts.

Bear Hug by Tuesday Morrigan
Snowstorm or not, Alyssa wants out of Devlin’s cabin — and his life. He’d rather give her reasons to stay.

Night Shift by Lacey Savage
Spending her Friday night running surveillance on a shadow stalker in the dead of winter isn’t Samantha’s idea of a good time. But doing it with a sexy partner… now that could be fun.

Lunar Seduction by Kira Stone
Gideon on a trip to a remote stellar observatory in Alaska. Winter storms make stargazing impossible, but Roth, the observatory’s resident vampire, is a master at seduction…

Melting Snowflake by Camille Anthony
Winter’s throne awaits her. Snowflake’s three consorts must burn hot enough to melt her haughtiness. Watch Fire and Ice steam!

Saved by a Vampire by Silvia Violet
A young woman becomes stranded in a blizzard, and her only hope is a stranger with fangs.

Publisher’s Note: Snowbound (Box Set) contains the previously published novellas Distraction, Night Shift, Lunar Seduction, Melting Snowflake, Snow Angel, and Saved by a Vampire.

Now Available at Changeling Press

EXCERPT

Copyright ©2021 Changeling Press LLC
Excerpt from Distraction by Elizabeth Jewell


“Who the hell’s lame-ass idea was this, anyway?”

Glynna eyed Brandt narrowly. “I believe it was yours, dear.”

Less diplomatic, Erik added, “Yep. Totally your lame-ass idea.” He flopped onto the couch, grinning at his companions.

It hadn’t been an entirely lame-assed idea to start with. Even in the midst of her complaining, Glynna could admit that much. A trip to Anchorage in the middle of winter should have been a stroke of genius. A fairly large population they could disappear into, an active nightlife where they could mingle, and nearly twenty plus hours of darkness — it should have been a vampire’s paradise.

And then the snow started. And didn’t stop. Three inches, then six, then twelve. And it was still snowing. “Somebody should have stopped me,” Brandt grumbled.

“I tried.” Glynna gave him a long-suffering sigh, then kissed him on the forehead. “How are you holding up, Erik?” She was more concerned about him than about herself or Brandt. They were vampires — they could get by if they had to. If getting food for Erik became problematic, he’d be in much more serious trouble than they would.

“So far, so good,” Erik said. “As long as this doesn’t go on for weeks, I should be okay.”

“It was so much cooler in the comic books,” Brandt moaned, peering out the window at the still-falling snow.

“You’re hopeless,” Glynna told him, though she found him endearing most of the time.

Erik stretched out on the couch, folding his hands behind his head. “Well, if I get too hungry, you’ll just have to distract me.” He added an eyebrow wiggle to punctuate his sentence, directed at Brandt, who caught the gesture and smirked, his mouth twitching in a way Glynna knew meant he wasn’t aware he was doing it.

“Are you hungry?” she asked Erik. Just watching the two of them look at each other like that made heat curl low in her belly. She wanted to touch herself.

Erik gave her a puzzled look. “Um. I don’t know. Maybe a little.”

“Distract him.” She leveled the order at Brandt, delivered it in the sharp, crisp tone she knew would make him obey. Brandt answered with an eyebrow tilt that made her want to drop her panties to the floor then and there.

Well, if she ever wore panties.

“And how do you propose I do that?” Brandt asked.

Box Set includes Authors: Camille Anthony, Elizabeth Jewell, Kira Stone, Lacey Savage, Silvia Violet, and Tuesday Morrigan

RELEASE BLITZ: Remaking a Man by Amy Craig #ContemporaryRomance #suspense #Billionaire @totally_bound @firstforromance

Remaking a Man by Amy Craig

Book 2 in the Sun Valley Mafia series

Word Count: 72,223
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 305

Genres:

BILLIONAIRE
CONTEMPORARY
CRIME
CRIME AND MYSTERY
EROTIC ROMANCE
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

A one-night stand turns serious…

Nina’s neighbor sets her up on a blind date with a handsome insurance salesman. After a candlelit dinner, Nina hooks up with him in a posh New York hotel room, but she writes off the date as a one-night stand. Returning home, she discovers her neighbor’s death, her dog’s abduction and the salesman’s possible involvement.

Traipsing across the city with her date in tow, she realizes he’s a quarrelsome billionaire and that her dog may never return. Grieving her losses, she accompanies her date to a ‘billionaire summer camp’ in Sun Valley, Idaho, but the idyllic setting revolves around his whims—and the person who took her dog follows them.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and murder.

Excerpt

Standing on the marble front step of her family’s Miami mansion, Gisella tapped her designer footwear, adjusted her sunglasses and blocked out the bright spring day. She breathed deeply and shuffled the bags hanging from her toned arms.

At the end of the driveway, her brother Antonio revved his red convertible’s souped-up engine and pounded the dashboard in time to blaring rock music. Miami traffic streamed past the estate. People stared.

Why can’t he just leave? She marveled at his arrogance, but she kept her expression neutral and her phone in her pocket. He was the youngest of her two siblings, and he had the stocky, tan physique her male family members prized. He also had a propensity to wear outlandish suits, a revolving door of girlfriends and a sophomoric sense of humor. If he caught her taking a selfie in front of the house, he would turn it into a meme, but her account depended on dance stills and teasing hints of glamour. The minute he left the estate, she would take the picture while her hair looked good.

Flexing her toes, she rifled through the bags on her arms. One duffle held her ballet kit, another tote functioned as a purse and the bags from her morning shopping spree hiked her credit card bill. Instead of feeling guilty for the extravagance, she admired her long, lean legs.

Her form allowed her to excel as a professional ballerina, but she worried she had the coltish naivety to match her legs. When would she work up the nerve to demand a driver’s license and stop relying on Antonio for transportation? Every time she talked about her license, her father pouted and asked what more he could do to ensure her comfort.

If her mother had lived, Gisella’s life might be so different.

A car horn honked. A woman blew kisses. “Antonio!!”

He ignored the entreaty, let the engine rumble and scanned the beachside traffic. His muscled forearm hung over the door, and he tapped his fingers against the expensive paint job. Milky fingerprints marred the convertible’s finish.

A second Miami driver slowed to gawk at the handsome, moneyed mobster. A trailing car smashed the vehicle’s lights. Horns blared and doors flew open.

Releasing the engine’s pent-up energy, Antonio took advantage of the distraction and roared across two lanes of traffic.

Gisella rolled her eyes and snapped the picture she needed, but she doubted her high-gloss smile was worth the price of the photograph.

Riding home with her brother from dance rehearsals and a shopping spree, she had stared out of the window and listened to him complain about women and their fickle ways. His problems never changed, but the consistency soothed her. If he spent more time listening to the women, he would have fewer problems with them.

For instance, she had wanted to close her eyes and rest, but Antonio couldn’t take a hint. As soon as she made Principal Dancer, she could move out of her father’s house and make rent, but she would have to stop shopping like a mafia princess.

Squaring her shoulders, she faced her father’s front door. Most Miami residents painted their doors to ward off humidity’s warping effects. Papà imported Cocobolo heartwood and exposed the precious wood to the elements. His house could grace the cover of Architectural Digest, but his acceptance in local society depended on discretion. Biscayne Bay would freeze over before he opened the mansion’s doors to gawking strangers.

Every piece of furniture came with a decorator’s commission, authenticity papers and a cataloged serial number. The insurance company knew the exact cost of her father’s investment, and if the house burned, they’d be wise to pay up.

She appreciated the wealth, but its origins bothered her. Her sweet Papà, Gregorio Vitella, ran drugs from South America up the Eastern shoreline. She feared that enjoying the proceeds made her complicit in his crimes.

Pressed by a tipsy ballet friend, she’d admitted the concession that let her sleep at night. Her father’s legitimate insurance company probably covered her bills, but how could a person separate good money from bad people—and where did that distinction place her?

Pushing open the door, she scanned the marble foyer and dropped her bags, but a green potted palm, a black concert piano and an excruciatingly expensive console table provided little company. The console table rested on acrobatic loops of brass. Beneath a glass top, python skin gleamed with a subtle sheen, and she wondered if the piece’s black crystal pulls would make an interesting jewelry set. Opening a drawer, she checked for mail and flipped through the family correspondence. “Come stai, Papà?”

Her question echoed.

Raising her head, she set down the mail and waited.

A hidden white paneled door opened. Martin, the butler, emerged, wearing the formal black suit and crisp white shirt required for his service. He’d perfected the practiced, subservient gaze on his own. She’d grown to like him, but she wondered how long he would last in the household.

Signorina Gisella, your father is in his study.”

Keeping a bright smile on her face, she handed Martin her shopping bags and kept her purse on her shoulder. “Thanks. I’ll freshen up and join him.”

“Yes, Signorina.”

The man couldn’t speak ten words of Italian. As soon as staff members picked up a basic understanding of the language, her father fired them. Smart members played dumb. Gisella found her allies among them, but she’d learned to mind her comments, too.

Ducking into the gilt-papered bathroom off the foyer, she pinched her cheeks, added lipstick and prepared to act like a dutiful daughter. Her life revolved around the Miami Ballet Company, beachside runs and formal dinners, but in her father’s house, she would forever be ‘Gigi’.

Bracing her hands on the sink, she tilted her head. Her loving father owned Florida’s biggest commercial real estate company, Cosmica Insurance Holdings, but he also ran the Florida branch of the Italian mob.

He wore a suit to school functions, but when business soured at home, he rolled up his shirtsleeves, and the gentlemanly look faded. When she had been ten, she’d witnessed the reality of his business dealings through a crack in the study door. She’d never seen his victim again, and she’d kept her observations to herself—but she listened.

When classmates at her parochial school asked what her father did for work, she parroted the company line. “CIH offers property insurance, casualty insurance and value-added insurance services across twenty southeastern states.”

They looked impressed.

Why shouldn’t they? Every new homeowner in Florida received a direct mailing touting CIH’s low rates and friendly staff. The mailings glossed over the company’s potential money laundering credentials, but who read the fine print?

Leaving the bathroom, she made her way to the back of the house and to her father’s study. The caviar-black masculine room had views of the pool and heavy leather furniture. Despite a sparking oasis waiting beyond the windows, the room looked like a cave.

Last fall, her father’s interior designer Lisette had joined the family before Sunday dinner. Wearing a pantsuit, she’d sipped a dirty martini and made vague references to former clients. “I prefer to create a visual impact by mixing wood species and texture. That movie star I mentioned”—she sipped her drink—“had a thing for ebony.”

Gisella had wanted to like the woman, but her influence on the house’s décor leaned toward gilt and Hollywood glamour. Having a thing for ebony shocked her as much as Lisette’s cosmetic surgery bill. Once a woman immersed herself in wealth, keeping life entertaining required novelty and a steady flow of cash. “How do you plan to tackle the study?”

Lisette had wrinkled her surgically enhanced nose. “The hospitality industry uses black to create glamour, drama and intimacy. Everyone’s doing it.”

Gisella had sipped her wine and assumed Lisette was doing her father.

Walking across the room, Gisella admitted the study’s black walls created drama, but if her father wanted to scare his minions into compliance, he could pull out the handgun he kept in the desk’s top drawer. To keep her in line, he deployed guilt. ‘What would your mother think?’

She wrinkled her nose.

Walking around the polished walnut desk, she leaned down and pressed a kiss to his cheek. He smelled of black tea, Damascus rose, tobacco and leather. At sixty-five years old, he looked ten years younger. Faint silver streaks threaded his black hair. He could wear chinos and he would still smell like old manners and aged wine caves. “Come è andato il lavoro, Papà?”

“It is what it is.” Continuing in Italian, he set aside his papers. “How was your shopping trip?”

She sat opposite him and crossed her legs. “Fruitful.”

He laughed.

Pulling a stack of receipts from her purse, she slid them across the desk. “The rest will come by email.”

Shrugging, he leaned back in his chair and left the crumpled slips on the table. “Gigi, you’re old enough to drink and old enough to marry.”

She picked at her nails. “Is that so?”

“More than old enough. In the home country…”

Looking up, she tilted her head. “We’re not in the home country.”

He held up a hand. “But if we were, you’d be a bride, and I’d be a grandpa.”

“Ursula is older.”

“Your sister wants to be a nun.”

“So she says.” Looking past his full head of hair, she regretted her outburst and second-guessed her decision to come home after rehearsal. If she’d stayed out and shared a drink with Antonio, she’d have to listen to his stories and give up her evening run. She couldn’t hide from her father. He financed her life and provided patronage for her art. Looking at him, she softened her expression and recalled the sunlit days he’d spent with her and Ursula. “You’re too young to be a grandpa.”

“Hear me out,” he said.

She exhaled. Drinks with Antonio sounded better. At least he planned to fuck up his own life instead of hers.

When her mother had drowned off the Amalfi Coast, Papà had whisked his three children to Miami and begun a new life on the Atlantic’s eastern coast. Given how he’d lost his wife, one would think he would have chosen Oklahoma, but he knew how to make money along a coastline. Aunts and nannies had sopped up spilled milk, but when he’d come home at night, he’d kissed her cheek and left his old-world scent against her shoulder.

Some nights, remembering the smell of roses and leather, she recalled how much consistency mattered to children and old men. “Yes, Papà.”

“I have a series of eligible young men lined up. You will give them each an evening and tell me which man suits you.”

“What if I prefer women?”

“Gisella Santa Maria Vitella!” He slammed his palm against the desk.

A vase rattled but resisted gravity’s lure.

She rolled her eyes and stood. The dates her father arranged would be insurance agents or mob hit men. She couldn’t decide which option she found more appalling. “I can find my own dates, Daddy.”

He gripped the leather armrests. “Sit down.”

Lowering her frame, she kept her back straight and maintained eye contact. The company’s Artistic Director scared her more than her father did, but his familiar expectations could surprise her. Cosseted and pampered, she enjoyed an easy life until she slammed into a glass wall keeping her from enjoying life’s stunning vistas. Eventually, she found an exit, and her father acquiesced to her wishes.

He cleared his throat. “You’re too old to prance around the stage in a tutu.”

She wet her lips. “Too old to dance, and too young to procreate. What’s a girl to do? Marriage is a contract, isn’t it? Do I get a lawyer?”

He raised an eyebrow.

Outside the mansion’s walls, ballet defined her life and gave her predictability. At fifteen, she’d enrolled in the company school and trained for three years. After graduation, she’d joined the ballet as a School Apprentice and spent two years in the trenches before joining the corps de ballet. Three years later, she’d made Soloist, then Principal Soloist. The lure of becoming Principal Dancer kept her focused.

The goal also kept her father off her back. It was like he’d made a deal with his six-year-old daughter, and he refused to back out of his agreement. For the last twenty years, he’d sponsored the company’s performances, but rarely attended them.

Last month, she’d celebrated her twenty-fifth birthday. Most dancers stopped dancing professionally between thirty-five and forty years of age. She’d known her father wouldn’t give her that much time and would propose an arranged marriage. She might have to accept it, but an IUD would buy her time to achieve her dreams. Crossing her arms, she settled back into the chair.

Sometimes, she lay awake at night and imagined defying her father, but he killed the men who disobeyed him, and she lacked a mother to intercede on her behalf. Caught between ideals and reality, she walked a narrow line and kept her gaze focused on the future. Sometimes, she dreamed of her mother, but she wondered how much time had reshaped the memories.

She remembered holding her breath under water to watch fish, but now she hated to swim. Her inability to trust her memories undermined her faith in herself, and her father’s coddling approach undermined her achievements. She could dance across the stage playing a role, but striking out on her own meant vulnerability. Until she knew she could succeed, she would humor his demands. “I hear you, Papà. Who’s the first victim?”

“You will love Marco.”

Tilting her head to the side, she rubbed her scalp. “Doubtful, but tell me where to report.”

“You’re a good girl, and you’ll make me proud. I’ve tried to raise you the old way, but your aunts can’t replace your mother. I’m getting old. You’ve had leeway to pursue your dancing, but tomorrow evening at eight, you and Marco will dine.”

She shook her head. “Not tomorrow, Papà. I organized a beach cleanup.”

“You hate the water. Find someone else to pick up trash…”

Holding up her hand, she interrupted his mandate. “CIH is sponsoring the event.”

His forehead wrinkled.

Maybe he was getting old. “Perhaps Tuesday?” she offered.

His nostrils flared. “Tuesday.”

Standing, she rounded the desk, pressed a kiss against his smooth cheek and let his scent calm her frustration. How many times had he threatened her dancing? How many times had he shipped her back to Italy to take in the old country? Here she remained. Marco and the remaining suitors would fizzle out, and she’d continue dancing. “Ti amo, Papino.”

He pulled back. “You will go on this date.”

“Sure.” Picking up the receipts, she dropped them in the trashcan. “I have plenty of new dresses to wear.”

“Gigi…”

She winked. Walking out of the office, she let her clicking heels say everything she held back. The marble-backed rhythm sounded so final, like the sound of a bullet fired at close range. Violence hung over her family like a constant threat. If her father understood anything, he understood endings. Keeping him focused on new beginnings remained her job.

Opening the door to her room, she shucked the heels for soft slippers, settled into a stretch and let the music guide her.

Ursula opened the door connecting their rooms and pushed a shoe out of the way. “I thought dancers didn’t wear high heels.”

“They do when they want salespeople to take them seriously.”

Dropping to the floor, Ursula lolled her head. “You’d think a black credit card and a bodyguard would be enough to get their attention.”

“You’d think.” Gisella deepened her stretch and puzzled through Ursula’s recent transformation. Her sister’s dark brown hair, olive skin and generous curves could rock a bikini, but lately she’d insisted on dressing like a martyr. If Ursula deviated from her prayers and walked into a boutique, the salespeople might press the panic button. Gisella suppressed a smile.

Her sister had always been serious, but her devotion had deepened in the last six months. After Sunday mass, Gisella had known why. No longer content to hide behind her hymnal, Ursula had stared at Father Pietro, the hot new priest. The man of the cloth must have given Ursula a bit of pious encouragement.

Gisella shrugged and laid her torso along her leg. If Ursula wanted to plan her life around vespers, God love her. “How was your day?”

“Good. Lots of praying, solemnity, hymns and stuff.”

Gisella raised her head. “And stuff?”

Ursula swallowed. “Church stuff.”

“Maybe you could put the stuff on hold and help me cleanup the beach tomorrow. Every set of hands helps.”

“Sure.” Ursula stood. “I have a few hours to spare.”

Watching her sister slip into the next room, Gisella judged her sister’s choices. Dancing made her feel alive. Why would any woman dedicate her life to an organization that spent so much time imagining what came after death?

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Amy Craig

Amy Craig lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA with her family and a small menagerie of pets. She writes women’s fiction and contemporary romances with intelligent and empathetic heroines. She can’t always vouch for the men. She has worked as an engineer, project manager, and incompetent waitress. In her spare time, she plays tennis and expands her husband’s honey-do list.

Find Amy at her website, on Amazon and follow her at BookBub.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ: Painted Bare by Hayden West #EroticRomance #Gay @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Painted Bare by Hayden West

Book 4 in the City of Fountains series

General Release Date: 17th February 2023

Word Count: 16,531
Book Length: NOVELLA
Pages: 78

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

The canvas never lies.

Anthony Henson doesn’t do people. He prefers to be left alone with his paint, brushes and canvas. A world that allows his mind to be at ease, without the struggle to do what is right by societal dictates. His quiet universe is sent spinning, however, when a string of recent thefts brings a tall Irish detective into his circle.

Detective Liam Rourke has a hard, firm policy on not intermingling work and pleasure. Until now, it’s not been an issue to uphold it. Enter one painter and all he wants to do is spend more time around him. The lines between professional and personal are blurred.

When everything settles, what will happen to the straight-laced detective and the man whose own messy life doesn’t matter to him?

Reader advisory: This book contains instances of bullying, as well as mention of homophobia, adultery, and family/domestic verbal/emotional abuse.

Excerpt

“There’s a Detective Rourke here to see you, Anthony.”

Anthony Henson sighed, instantly agitated, and spun on the stool, away from the current painting he worked on. With a flick of his wrist as he got to his feet, he covered it. No one would see it until the time was right.

“Thanks, Marshall.”

The words were the correct ones, even if the last thing he felt like he should be doing was entertaining another prick of a badge. Pressing the heel of his palm into his upper thigh, he sighed as he tried to work out the stiffness. When he finished on that side, he worked out the stiffness in his other leg. A sure sign he’d been immobile far too long without taking a break.

Supposedly this can be a good thing. I am getting up and moving around. This will serve as my break.

Truth was, he didn’t give a fuck if it was a good thing or not. He didn’t care. He had painting to do. The other things were naught but irritating intrusions of his time.

Marshall vanished without another word and in mere seconds, with his suit impeccable. While Anthony himself, on the other hand, looked like a day laborer. Paint staining his fingers, shirt, pants. Even his shoes.

Oops.

Damnit. I forgot my shoes. Where did I leave them? In the back room? Beneath my stool?

There were two options. Go back and get them, assuming he could remember where he’d discarded them, or continue on like he was to this meeting.

It’s not like I called the cops to come out here. He’s interrupting my day. Why do I care if I’m wearing shoes? Why should I care? He may not even be a he. I suppose women can be detectives.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew he should care. That would be the proper thing to do. Quite honestly, he didn’t give a fuck about social niceties. That’s what Marshall was for.

Pushing his hands into his pockets, he walked through the back of the studio to the front. Marshall pointed one finger off to his left and Anthony followed.

The man, and it was a man, stood before one of his favorite pieces. A scene in Italy, a seashore.

“Why are you here?”

Beside him, Marshall cleared his throat, softly. Anthony knew what it was, a reminder to be better behaved. Be polite. Sociable.

The man didn’t start, just slowly turned toward him, expression composed. Sharp green eyes lasered out from angular features. Deep red hair with a smattering of gray at the temples. The clothing was typical detective wear—a suit.

“Anthony Henson?”

His voice rolled from him like a slow-moving wave, not anything to knock you over but you sure as hell knew it had been there.

“That’s who you asked to see. Why else would I be standing here?”

Marshall stepped between them. “I’m sorry, Detective. Yes, this is Anthony Henson. Anthony, this is Detective Liam Rourke.”

There was a look in Marshall’s gaze. It took him a moment before it clicked. Marshall was reminding him not to be so short.

“How can I help you?”

It grated he had to ask that, but Marshall smiled at him and that made it worth it. Being able to make Marshall smile and relax was something Anthony enjoyed doing. He didn’t have a lot of friends. There were people, acquaintances who pretended to like him because of who he was and his wealth and of course his connections, or at least those they thought would help them. But he wasn’t stupid, no matter what those same people said behind his back. He knew they were trying to use him.

The bottom line was, he didn’t give a fuck about them. But Marshall…he was different. The man had been his friend since they’d first met. He’d taken beatings standing up for Anthony and never got offended when Andrew’s bluntness had things falling from his mouth that should have been withheld.

So, no matter how he didn’t want to do something, if Marshall asked him, he would do it. He hid a smirk and tried to give the visitor his attention. It wasn’t easy. This detective was handsome.

“I’m here with a couple of questions about burglaries that have been going on at some of the local galleries.”

Anthony watched and waited, bare toes curling on the cool floor. The eyes held him. That shade of green wasn’t something he’d seen before.

He wanted to paint it.

I want to paint him.

Detective Rourke gave a small nod and pulled out a flip steno pad. “Has there been any trouble here? Any people in here that may be casing the joint under the pretense of looking at the art?”

With any movement, Anthony waited. As did the detective. The man didn’t speak, just held his gaze.

He figured it was a tactic to get suspects to talk, but personally, he didn’t give a fuck. This man didn’t intimidate him.

Arouse him? Yes, for sure.

“Well?”

A hint of impatience laced the man’s tone, even though it was very faint.

“Are those your only questions?” Anthony blinked, once. “Or do you have others?”

The man flattened his lips and gave a slow nod.

“I couldn’t tell you. You would be better served speaking to Marshall.” He looked away from the detective with the intoxicating green eyes. “Marshall, come answer the detective’s questions. I have better things to do.”

Without another word, he turned and walked back toward his studio.

“Wait a minute.”

He paused outside the room and looked over his shoulder. The man strode toward him, brow furrowed.

“We’re not finished.”

Anthony narrowed his gaze. “You told me you had no more questions. I am not the best equipped to answer this, Marshall is.” He cocked his head to the side as a thought struck him. “Are you good at your job? Because you seem to be having a difficult time digesting what I told you.”

Marshall cleared his throat again.

Anthony shrugged. “What? It is a legitimate question.” He waved his hand in the direction of the sexy detective.

I do not need to think of him as sexy.

“He is having a difficult time grasping my statement.” He faced Liam. “Or did something change and you do have different questions for me?”

Liam Rourke wasn’t sure what to make of the man standing before him. He didn’t shy away from eye contact and seemed absolutely shocked Liam wanted to speak to him again. But the blue eyes holding his called to a deeper part of him. One he’d thought he’d closed down, after—

There was scruff on his face, making his jaw shadowed. Messy dark hair fell haphazardly around his features. He’d noticed a limp while Anthony had moved away from him.

Two blinks and the man he’d come to speak with walked away, leaving him there. Dumbfounded.

“I’m sorry, Detective Rourke. Anthony doesn’t mean to be rude. He just—”

“No need to explain.” He had a feeling he already knew. “Why did he tell me to speak to you?”

“Mr. Henson prefers to keep to the back, doing what he loves. Painting. He isn’t one who comes out to mingle with the patrons.” Marshall stepped back and smoothed a hand down his suit. “I handle all of that for him.”

“Okay, let me ask you.”

Liam talked to Marshall for another couple of minutes before closing up his notepad.

“I’ll be by if I have any more questions. If you do see anything, please let us know. We’re trying to stop this group before someone gets seriously hurt.”

“Will do, Detective.”

He gave him a nod and pivoted to the door. All he wanted to do was go in the back and engage with Anthony once more. He shook his head. It had been a while since he’d had a man affect him like Anthony had, despite the brief time they were together.

At the door to Arm’s Hall Gallery, he slowed, at war with himself about whether to go back and see Anthony once more. Exhaling sharply, he pushed through and stepped out into the hot summer afternoon.

Liam slid on his sunglasses and tipped his head up to the glaring sun. His mind drifted back to the paint-splattered man who hadn’t been the slightest bit impressed with having a detective there, trying to help.

He snorted. No, impressed was definitely not the word to use. Annoyed, irritated, bored. So many other ones he could choose.

There had been something sexy about seeing him there, barefoot and a bit messy, which had kicked his senses, reminding him how long it’d been since he’d had a lover. Eyes on his car, he walked toward it, mind focusing ahead to the next stop on his list for the day.

So far the four places that had been burglarized hadn’t had any injuries. In his gut, he figured it was only a matter of time before their luck ran out with regards to that. What he’d not been able to piece together yet was a connection in the art. Other than the obvious—it was art. Something told him it was deeper than how it appeared on the surface.

Not even old art, at least not all. It was like the thief or thieves weren’t after Rembrandts, probably because they were afraid they couldn’t unload them. And he didn’t get the allure of some of what he’d seen. Some of the pieces that had been stolen he personally wouldn’t wipe his ass with, but he’d never claimed to be an art critic.

Now this most recent studio, he didn’t mind what was up on those walls. Not images he would consider all abstract, for there was a definite eclectic taste to what adorned the walls.

Landscapes. People. Animals. Buildings. Flowers. You name it, Arm’s Hall probably had it, and most of what Liam had seen made sense to his mind.

“Rourke!”

Snapping his gaze up when his name was hollered, he lifted his chin in greeting to another detective, Larson, who had been at a different gallery.

Larson jogged across the street and put his hands on his hips. “Anything?”

He shook his head and pulled his notebook back out, flipping it open. “Nothing that was worth the time it took me to put it down.”

Arms crossed, Larson grunted. “Same. Although, if I wanted a painted picture of a bikini bottom, it could be mine for a measly ten grand.”

Liam choked. “I’m sorry?”

“Yeah, that’s what it was like at the last place I was at. I either make far too little or I went into the wrong business. I mean, I could paint some ladies’ drawers and would be happy to sell it for half their asking price. Christ, what the hell is the draw for something like that? I couldn’t ever put it up on my wall, not if I wanted my wife to refrain from slitting my throat at night.”

Liam laughed, knowing full well Regina, Larson’s wife, would do exactly that, and find a way to blame him for it. Woman was scary and a freaking amazing attorney. He held up his hands and shook his head.

“That’s all you, man. I’m not buying any portion of women’s clothing on a canvas. Much less for that kind of money. We have the same job. I know I don’t make that kind of money.”

“Let’s get back, see if we can’t find a lead somewhere.”

They fell into step and walked in companionable silence to the waiting sedan.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Hayden West

Hayden West lives in the Pacific Northwest, enjoys being outdoors, and hanging out with friends when not working on the next novella to be released.

Find Hayden at their website and blog.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

NEW RELEASE: Perishable (Sanguine Blood Seekers 4) by J. Hali Steele #erotica #BDSM #Gay @JHaliSteele

Snatched from his single mother by the wealthy family of the man he’s forced to call father, Rafe Gorman soon learns the greedy bastard has no desire to raise a child, which leaves Rafe bearing the brunt of his scorn. As soon as he comes of age to receive his trust, Rafe flaunts his disdain for his father’s regard by opening New Leaf, a gay club. It’s in New Leaf Rafe meets a being who haunts him day and night.

A vampire from the 17th century, Christopher Wren’s seen enough evil perpetrated by human men to last many lifetimes. Born a bastard below stairs, he’s witnessing nobility take what they fancied without a care — that made him a monster, not being turned. Now Wren makes sure those who flaunt such character pay for their misdeeds. Their day of reckoning is never without pain. Then he meets Rafe, and Wren swears no one will ever hurt his lover again.

Rafe vows to give Wren nothing of himself. Instead he finds he must give the vampire everything — including his life!

Get it Today at Changeling Press

Preorder from your favorite retailers…

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 J. Hali Steele

Nodding was the best way to handle this conversation. Christopher Wren had learned enough to know when Sten Majkovic, the vampire king, had a bug up his ass you waited until he quit speaking. Pretending composure he didn’t feel, he listened. When Sten finished, Christopher spoke. “Maybe he’s antsy being in one place too long.”

“Who knows what fantastical information he laps from the minds of those he invades. After killing a dealer he disliked for selling close to a school, the crazy ass sat in my office and lit a joint. Can you believe that?” Sitting at the counter in Christopher’s kitchen, Sten used his finger to draw circles in the condensation puddled beneath his beer bottle. “Liam needs to be more responsible, Wren.”

They’d all taken to calling him Wren. Christopher often thought of himself that way now. “Good luck. He’ll require a babysitter.”

“And I have the perfect person in mind.” Sten eyeballed him.

No. Fucking. Way.”

“Joshua is the only other vampire who can keep Liam from going off the deep end, but he and Mace are tied up on the west coast, and Kam’s away on some island with Matthias. There is no one else.”

“Come on, Sten. I’ve got enough on my plate. Let Drew do something aside from decorate.” He had done a nice job inside Christopher’s house. Looked like a showplace now, but still homey enough to enjoy and relax in. “Goddamn it, Drew’s always stuck up under your ass.”

Sten’s gaze narrowed. “Your barkeep has made you blasphemous.”

Time skidded to a halt and Christopher found himself propelled across the room along with the chair he occupied. “What the fuck was that for?” Picking himself up, Wren sent the broken chair up in flames and scattered the ashes, glaring at his king. “This isn’t about Rafe. It’s about…” Shit. He’d best not say the real issue was that Drew was becoming way too powerful. The king’s lover skirted being out of control.

“Because he’s befriended your mate?” Sten stood. “What is it with you guys not wanting your lovers to associate with each other? Afraid they’ll want to do more than watch you get it on or something?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J. Hali Steele wishes she could grow fur, wings, or fangs, so she can stay warm, fly, or just plain bite the crap out of… Well, she can’t do those things but she wishes she could!

J. Hali’s a multi-published Amazon bestselling author of Romance in Paranormal, Fantasy, and Contemporary worlds which include ReligErotica and LGBTQ stories where humans, vampyres, shapeshifters and angels collide — and they collide a lot! When J. Hali’s not writing or reading, she can be found snuggled in front of the TV with a cat in her lap, and a cup of coffee.

Websitet: www.jhalisteele.com

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

AllAuthor: https://allauthor.com/author/jhalisteele/

QueerRomance: https://queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-hali-steele

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/sovereignkind

Twitter: www.twitter.com/JHaliSteele

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/jhalisteele

A Sovereign Spot: https://sovereignspot.wordpress.com

RELEASE BLITZ: Gods of Inthya by Effie Calvin #Fantasy #romance #LGBTQ @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Gods of Inthya

Series: Tales of Inthya, Book 5.5

Author: Effie Calvin

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/17/2023

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 38600

Genre: Fantasy, anthology, Fantasy, gods, magic, romance, short stories

Add to Goodreads

Description

At the beginning of time, the gods came together to create Inthya, a world where magic is common and hatred never had the opportunity to take root.

But the Inthyan gods are young and imperfect. With countless failures behind them and unspeakable horrors lurking outside the borders of creation, they must not allow this world to meet the same fate as the last—without alerting their mortal worshippers that anything is wrong.

Nineteen short stories from the perspectives of the gods themselves, some humorous, some horrifying, and all united by a theme of protecting the mortals who love them unconditionally.

Excerpt

Gods of Inthya
Effie Calvin © 2023
All Rights Reserved

Inthi, God of Creation and First of the Ten, does not generally manifest in cities. This is somewhat paradoxical, considering most new ideas come from places where mortals gather in large numbers. But Inthi is a quiet, thoughtful sort of god and has trouble focusing when surrounded by too much noise and commotion. Even when they are called to a mortal’s private workshop, away from shouting vendors and screaming children, they cannot block out the soft but persistent hum of countless souls going about their daily business outside, each mind a bright beacon of wants and worries and dreams.

But today, unfortunately, they must make an exception.

Inthi is intimately familiar with their own Great Temple in Birsgen, and the enormous district surrounding it. Some call it the Flame District, but others simply call it Inthi’s District. Most large cities have one, a place where smiths and artisans and inventors come together to work and exchange ideas.

As Inthi approaches their temple, they hear mortal voices raised in argument. Standing on the steps are two people—a neutroi that Inthi recognizes as their own archpriest here in Ieflaria, and a priestess of Eran dressed in silver robes. The priestess is the source of most of the noise, waving her clenched fist in the archpriest’s face.

Inthi’s archpriest, however, is unimpressed. They wave a hand dismissively and say, “Your concerns are unwarranted.”

The priestess’s cheeks redden. From the rage that emanates from her mind, Inthi can tell reason has failed and now she is about to start cursing. Inthi walks up behind her and rests a reassuring hand on the prophet-priestess’s shoulder. “It’s all right,” they say. “I will handle it.”

Eran’s priestess looks at Inthi with wide, disbelieving eyes. She takes a step back, too dumbfounded to speak. Inthi’s own archpriest has not recognized them, but she has. With more effort, they can disguise themselves completely, but Inthi is not inclined to do so today.

“I appreciate your efforts,” they add. Only rarely do Eran’s priests take an active role in events. Most adhere to the philosophy that attempting to alter the future is pointless at best and disastrous at worst. This priestess must have decided that no outcome is worse than what she’s already seen in her dreams. “Excuse me.”

Inthi walks past the bemused archpriest and enters the temple. Inside is warm from the heat of dozens of forges, and every stone is steeped in magic. Countless prayers have been uttered within these walls. Generations of priests and artisans have labored here. Even if the temple was disassembled and all the stones cast into the sea, it would take centuries for the magic to dissipate from the air.

After taking a few moments to admire the new bronze statues decorating the temple’s anteroom, Inthi takes a side door into a hallway. All around them, mortal minds buzz with ideas; mortal hands wrest iron and copper into new shapes. It is still early, but most of them have been awake for hours. Some have not slept at all.

Inthi could have manifested directly at the source of the problem, but there is time enough to enjoy being in the temple. They pass a few priests in orange robes, but most of the mortals are dressed practically, with heavy leather gloves and large aprons. Some carry boxes, or tools, or push carts filled with scrap metal to be melted down and turned into something useful. Inthi brushes each mind as they pass, appreciating every mortal’s unique focus.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Effie is definitely a human being with all her own skin, and not a robot. She writes science fiction and fantasy novels and lives with her cat in the greater Philadelphia area.

Website | Twitter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway