BOOK REVIEW: Stunner (Bones MC) by Marteeka Karland #ContemporaryRomance #bookreview @marteekakarland

Suzie — I’m the youngest grad student at MIT, and to say other students resent me for it is an understatement. To top it all off, I miss my Stunner. He’s been with me through the darkest moments of my life, helping me pull myself back together. He’s seen me at my worst — I want him to see me at my best. If he’d just return my calls, I might be able to get myself around the mean girls (and boys) at school.

Stunner — To say I’ve got skeletons in my closet is the understatement of the century. Suzie deserves a man more suited to her station than me, and she definitely deserves a man who’s not a stone-cold killer. I have my uses. Protecting her body, heart, and soul is one of those. I just never expected to fall for the woman after the girl grew up.

Now not only has she run into a foul and vindictive bastard, my past has caught up to me, and there may be no way to keep from being swept back up into the madness. All I truly know is I won’t let any of it touch Suzie — even if it means giving her up. Forever.

WARNING: Explicit violence which could be triggers for some readers. Explicit sex that might offend some readers. As always, you can expect a HEA with no cheating.

Available Now at Changeling Press

Preorder at Retailers for September 25th

MY REVIEW

5 – stars!

This isn’t the first book I’ve read in this series, but I think if you’re new to Bones (or Ms. Karland), you can easily read this story without having picked up all the others first. She did a great job of introducing characters in a way that makes it easy for someone to jump in mid-series without feeling lost.

If you enjoy an age-gap romance, this one is a must! Stunner is both gruff and sweet. The story isn’t lacking in heat, nor suspense. While it isn’t as gritty and raw as a lot of MC romances, it still landed firmly on my “want to read again” list. The violence “on screen” is extremely light, although there is talk of what happens to some of the characteres, as well as hinting at what Suzie has suffered in the past.

I loved the relationship between Suzie and Stunner. Seeing his softer side when it came to her, and how hard he tried to be what she needed, made my heart melt. It’s an emotional, page-turning ride that you shouldn’t pass up!

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The review above is merely my opinion.

Cover Reveal: Bully King by Andi Jaxon #coverreveal #bullyromance @andijaxon @candikanepr

BULLY KING by Andi Jaxon

Release Date: October 15th

Photographer: Michelle Lancaster

Models: Tommy Pearce and Lochie Carey

Cover Designer: PopKitty Designs

Add to Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53467444-bully-king

Preorder:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2F9aZ8z
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3bzWCGl
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2GC3kQY
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3jV1rxg

I’m the pastor’s son.

He’s the star quarterback for a small Kentucky high school.While the town worships him, I pray for God to take my life.He makes my life a living hell by making me his victim.This perverse game we play could end us both.

How can something that feels so right be so wrong?The price if the truth is discovered is death, but I can’t stop.

Neither can he.

No one can know.

Can I risk it?

Is Roman King worth dying for?

**This story is a m/m bully romance including dubious consent, assault, talk of suicide, and is intended for readers 18+. Please proceed with caution.**

About the Author:

Sarcastic and snarky, I love to laugh and read dark fucked up shit. I write about tortured pasts and hot sex, a happily ever after that has to be worked for. My stories tend to be a little dark but with some comic relief, typically in the form of sarcasm.

I like to dabble in a little of everything when it comes to stories. Romantic suspense, MM, a bit of erotica, with plans for Greek retellings, maybe some fairytale retellings, and some shifters. I write broken people who fight for their happily ever after, in all the many forms it takes.

I married a sexy man in uniform who let me spawn and am now raising a mutinous army of hell raisers that I created myself, all while he defends our country. I drink too much coffee and am sexually frustrated for your freedom. If you see me online, I’m probably sitting in a closet, hiding from my kids.

I have a ridiculous addiction to Archer, Sherlock, Supernatural, and The Big Bang Theory. I live my life spewing TV quotes and sarcasm. I’m a self confessed ass, not easily offended, and I love to laugh, almost as much as I love sleep. My laundry is rarely folded or put away and I have probably only showered once this week.

I hate schedules and planning, I have calendars, planners, and my phone yet can’t remember anything. Somehow, I’ve managed to keep 3 kids alive but I really need to become an adultier adult.

Connect w/Andi:

Website: https://www.andijaxon.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andijaxonauthor
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/andiandajsjunkies
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andijaxon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorandijaxon
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17435346.Andi_Jaxon
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/andi-jaxon
Amazon: https://amzn.to/35bPejB
NL Signup: http://bit.ly/AndiJNewsletter

BOOK REVIEW: Say It Ain’t So by Lani Lynn Vale #ContemporaryRomance #bookreview @LaniLynnVale

Say It Ain’t So

Lani Lynn Vale

Release Date: September 8, 2020

About the Book

He should’ve never left his house. He should’ve stayed at home. He has a legitimate excuse—he’s running a fever and he’s fairly sure he’s developing pneumonia. He should have called in sick…but he doesn’t.

He goes to work, because his team is relying on him.

First, he has to sign about eight thousand calendars—all from women who purchased said calendars to benefit the Fallen Officer fundraiser. And when he’s done with that, he has to endure a television interview along with the rest of the SWAT team seeing as they made national news with their ‘Hot SWAT’ calendar that’s sold a million copies to women all over the world.

Needless to say, when Samuel Adams walks into the pharmacy hours later, he only has one thing on his mind. Ibuprofen.

Sadly, he never gets to the Ibuprofen. Mostly because before he gets there, he finds a junkie waving a gun around threatening to kill anybody that moves.

He’s running a fever. That has to be the reason that the girl in the corner begins cursing up a storm and drawing the junkie’s attention. Has to be.

***

Stop it, stop it, stop it!

She tells herself to take a deep breath. Tells herself that she needs to calm down. Tells herself that if she doesn’t get her act under control, things are going to get ugly.

And, of course, that’s when the curse words start flying.

The more nervous she gets, the worse her Tourette’s becomes. Which is, of course, why she stands up and gives the man a perfect target.

Thank God that the coughing giant in the corner makes the same move and saves her life.

And how does she repay him? By calling him every awful word in the dictionary.

Thank you, Tourette’s.

Purchase Links

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Ei2esx
Amazon Intl.: https://geni.us/kFLr

Apple: https://apple.co/2EflA1h
Nook: https://bit.ly/2E6xdYK
Kobo: https://bit.ly/324SEl0

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2Ei2JCV

About Lani Lynn Vale

Lani Lynn Vale is a Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling Author of over thirty titles. She is married with three children, two dogs, two cats, a donkey, and a couple (a couple also meaning over twenty) chickens.

When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up in her favorite chair reading.

Lani is married with three children and lives in the Great State of Texas.

Website: http://www.lanilynnvale.com/

Facebook: https://bit.ly/LLV-fb

Instagram: https://bit.ly/LLV-IG

Twitter: https://bit.ly/LLV-twitter

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/LLVgoodreads

BookBub: http://bit.ly/LLVbb

My Review…

5 stars!

Ms. Vale has done it again! I keep saying there’s no way she can top the last book, and yet with every new release she proves me wrong. Now, I never like to give things away in my reviews, so there won’t be spoilers… if you want all the gritty details, go read the book!

I love that our heroine, Hastings, has a noticeable difference to others around her. She’s struggled and at times feels awkward or embarassed even though it’s out of her control. Even better? Our hero accepts her as she is, and takes her Tourette’s in stride. Could their possibly be a sweeter man? Sammy is perfect for her in every way. He’s the alpha male she’s always dreamed of, and while they do have a few hiccups along the way because of miscommunication, it’s clear he adores her.

Add in some suspense, a few heartbreaking moments, and a romance that makes your toes curl and you have one hell of a book you won’t be able to put down — I know I couldn’t!

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this title for an honest reivew. The review above is strictly my opinion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

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

“Unfortunately, I’m fun to aim at.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Fine, how would you do it?”

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

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

Ryder seems to sense the mood and grins.

Author Bio:

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

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram


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Daring Domanicos by Saloni Quinby #GayRomance #ActionAdventure @katehillromance

Daring Domanicos (Daring Domanicos 4)

The gorgeous Domanico triplets — or the Daring Doms — have a taste for danger. Tucker, Mitch and Quint — a lifeguard, a firefighter and a bounty hunter — are single, but that’s about to change…

In Too Deep: Keith dreams of being Tucker’s guy. The lifeguard is hotter than the California sun and Keith knows he has fallen in love, but he fears confessing his feelings will scare Tucker off.

Bull by the Horns: Hurled off a mechanical bull directly into the arms of firefighter Mitch Domanico, Blake insists on hooking up with the hunk. Unfortunately he passes out before the best part. Mitch has lusted after manicurist Blake from the moment they met. Still, he wants to be sure that Blake’s desire for him isn’t just a drunken whim.

A Wanted Man: While chasing a fugitive, Quint Domanico risks his life to save a man caught in the line of fire. Dalton has had no luck in money or love. He’s used to being on his own and isn’t sure if he’s meant for commitment. If his relationship with Quint moves from great sex to something more permanent, will he be ready?

Publisher’s Note: Daring Domanicos contains the previously published novellas In Too Deep, Bull by the Horns, and A Wanted Man.

Get it at Changeling Press

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Saloni Quinby
Excerpt from In Too Deep

Seated at his desk, Keith gazed out his office window at the gorgeous beach scene. Kids and adults played in the water. In the distance several surfers rode the rolling waves. It was a perfect sunny day. Two kids tried to build a sand castle a bit too close to the water. A young couple sat on a blanket, the guy rubbing lotion onto the girl’s bikini-clad body.

Keith truly wished he was out there too, instead of cooped in his office. Up until recently, he’d liked his job but lately the best thing about it was his office view. He felt like such a fraud, doling out advice about love when his personal life was sorely lacking.

His gaze fell on the hunk walking toward the lifeguard tower and he forgot about everything else. Just a glimpse of Tucker made his pulse race and his cock ache. A light sweat broke out on his forehead and back despite the AC being turned on high.

Tall and athletic with long legs, broad shoulders and abs that Keith wanted to lick all over, Tucker was the kind of man he dreamed about. He had thick black hair and eyes as blue as the ocean he watched over.

Tucker had started working as a lifeguard here last month. Keith had been an advice columnist for a local GLBT newspaper for about a year. Most of the letters he received were from people looking to start or end a relationship. He’d always provided bold advice, most of which seemed perfectly reasonable when he was giving it to someone else.

Then he’d met Tucker through a mutual acquaintance at a beachside restaurant nearby. Thomas, the burly middle-aged owner and chef, had introduced Keith to Tucker. With his gorgeous eyes, killer bod and brilliant smile, Tucker had charmed the hell out of Keith, but Keith was too smart to show it. He’d remained cool — friendly but in control. He’d met Tucker’s kind before — drop dead gorgeous and he knew it.

After Tucker had taken his lunch to one of the outside tables, Thomas had leaned closer to Keith and whispered, “He makes you want to fake drowning just so you can get mouth-to-mouth, doesn’t he?”

“Hardly,” Keith said with a nonchalant shrug. “You’ve seen one gorgeous hunk and you’ve seen them all.”

Thomas laughed, his gray eyes sparkling.

Since that first meeting, Keith hadn’t been able to stop thinking about Tucker. The sexy lifeguard had starred in several of his most erotic dreams, but Keith wasn’t foolish enough to think those dreams would ever come true.

Tucker was one of those perfect, athletic types and Keith was a pale, skinny pencil-pusher, even if he did work out several times a week in an attempt to keep at least some muscle on his five-foot-nine-inch frame. People who said they’d kill for his fast metabolism didn’t fully comprehend its drawbacks.

Speaking of metabolism and Thomas’s restaurant, it was time for lunch. He shut down his computer, left his office and headed out for a bite.

At the restaurant, the host showed him to his usual table. While he was looking over the menu — not that he needed to, since he ate there enough to have it memorized — Thomas approached.

“Hey, Keith. I just wanted to invite you to the Halloween party I’m having here after hours on Wednesday October thirtieth. It’s a masquerade. Hope you can come.”

“That sounds great. I’ll be here,” Keith said. He loved dressing up. He wore at least some makeup and eyeliner daily, but on Halloween he enjoyed going all out.

“Fantastic. What are you having? I’ll get it for you.”

“My usual.”

Thomas nodded. “Turkey club and a lemonade. Be right up.”

Thomas walked back to the kitchen and Keith placed the menu aside. He’d just started to relax when the heavenly body himself walked in.

Tucker stood at the front of the restaurant, talking and laughing with the host. A moment later, they turned and walked in Keith’s direction. His stomach clenched when he realized they were headed for the empty table near his. Once Tucker was seated, the host handed him a menu, winked and left.

Tucker studied the menu with jewel-like blue eyes. Although Keith had seen him on the beach just a short time ago wearing a swimsuit, he now wore jeans and a black short-sleeved shirt so thin it was almost see-through. The outline of his nipples was visible through the sheer fabric draping his superb body. His thick black hair was spiked up. Black pearl earrings gleamed in his earlobes and a braided rope bracelet adorned his strong wrist.

Keith hoped his study of the sexy lifeguard was discreet.

“Hey,” Tucker said, turning to him with a smile. “You’re Keith, right?”

“”Yeah,” Keith replied coolly.

“I don’t know if you remember me. Tom introduced us about a month ago.”

“I remember.” How could I forget?

“I’ve seen you around a lot. Do you live nearby?”

Was he actually trying to make conversation? Of course he was. After all, Keith wasn’t the one who’d started talking to him.

“Yeah. Not far.”

They fell silent for a moment and Keith’s stomach clenched. What kind of advice would he give a moron who had the object of his desire seated right next to him and didn’t know what to do about it?

“You write an advice column, don’t you?” Tucker ventured.

“That’s right. How do you like working at the beach?”

“Oh, I love it. I’ve been a lifeguard since I was sixteen. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

“That’s pretty cool, having your dream job.”

Tucker chuckled. “And you don’t? Not too many people get to be a successful advice columnist and have a book published and everything.”

Keith couldn’t help feeling flattered. “You know about my book?”

“I read it. Interesting.”

That was surprising. He didn’t expect a guy like Tucker to need a book about improving his gay relationship, unless it covered how to keep a horde of horny guys from breaking his door down.

“Thank you,” Keith said.

The waiter arrived and took their orders. Once he’d gone, Tucker asked, “Are you eating alone?”

“Yeah. I’m just on a lunch break. Are you alone too?”

“Yeah. Unless you want to join me?”

Keith could hardly believe his good luck. He stared at Tucker.

“Sorry. Was that uncomfortable?” Tucker asked. “If this is your quiet time, I get it. Just pretend I’m not here.”

Like that’s possible.

“No. Don’t mind me. It was just a delayed reaction. My mind is always in overdrive.” As Keith spoke, he moved his drink, jacket and leather bag over to the seat across from Tucker. Now he could look at the hunk straight on. The only problem was, how could he possibly eat while looking at a man this gorgeous?

About Saloni Quinby

Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, I started writing over twenty years ago. My first story was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then I’ve written over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels. I love to blend genres. I also love horror and a happily ever after, so if you’re looking for romance with witches, aliens, vampires, angels, demons, shapeshifters and more, there’s a good chance you’ll find something to your taste here.

When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, watching horror and action movies, working out and spending time with my family and pets.  I love hearing from readers, so feel free to leave a comment at my blog or connect with me on Twitter.

Find her online: Blog | Website | Twitter

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

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

Maxx Reynolds needs help.

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

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

What he expects is a fellow named Charly.

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

And she’s all woman.

He can’t stand her.

He can’t keep his hands off her either.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

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

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

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

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

I shook his hand. “Charly.”

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

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

“What else is included?” Cam teased.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m plenty nice.”

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

“I can’t. I’m booked solid.”

“Can’t you put it off?”

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

“It’s an amazing opportunity.”

My steps faltered. What opportunity?

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

Cam huffed and called my name. “Charly!”

“Um, yes?”

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

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

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

Cam smirked and crossed his arms. “Great.”

Author Bio:

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

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

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

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

Website / Goodreads / Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter / Bookbub


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

Title: M4M

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 31, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 63500

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

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

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

Excerpt

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

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

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

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Spotlight: Demon (Devil’s Fury MC) by Harley Wylde #MCromance #AgeGap @HarleyW_Writer

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

Farrah — I’ve spent my entire life at the Dixie Reapers MC compound — one of the perks of being the VP’s daughter. Except it’s suffocating. Leaving to start a life of my own was the only solution. I knew what it would mean if I went to the Devil’s Fury MC compound, even more so to flirt with their Sergeant-at-Arms. Getting involved would ruin the little bit of freedom I’ve found. Then I ended up in the man’s bed. Leave it to me to find trouble around every corner. My daddy is going to be so pissed, especially when I run from Demon, get snatched off the streets, and shoved into a trunk. I’m not winning at the adulting thing.

Demon — She was a one-night stand. Until the condom broke. Then I found out she’d lied to me. The hot little number in my bed wasn’t just any woman, she was the daughter of a Dixie Reaper. Maybe I shouldn’t have barked orders at her, or spanked her. Feisty little Farrah ran, pissing me off even more. When she disappeared and I realized trouble had found her, I knew I’d do whatever it took to make sure she was safe. Only after I had her back did I realize she was f**king perfect for me. Watching her handle the club wh*res was hot as hell, and she didn’t take sh*t off anyone.

I’ll make her mine — permanently.

WARNING: Demon’s book contains graphic violence and sex, bondage, spanking, bad language, and scenes that may be difficult for some readers. But it also has a heroic dog and a man who will move heaven and earth to protect the feisty, smart-mouthed woman he loves. There’s no cliffhanger and a guaranteed happily-ever-after.

Preorder for September 11th at…

Amazon | Apple Books | Kobo | Barnes & Noble 

 available September 4th at Changeling Press

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.Copyright ©2020 Harley Wylde

The music blasting from the speakers in the ceiling pounded against my skull like a sledgehammer. Maybe I was getting too old for this shit. Forty-three didn’t sound ancient until I got around the younger generation at the clubhouse. Partying had lost its appeal over the last few years. Watching my brothers settle down had caused a strange twinge in my chest, an ache I absently rubbed. I hadn’t been serious about a woman in a while. I’d thought one of the little señoritas staying at the compound could be something special, but it hadn’t worked out. She’d since moved on, along with the others. Except the younger ones.

Glancing around the room, it seemed far emptier than before. Even the Pres wasn’t here tonight. Now he had three little chicks under his roof and had turned into a ferocious papa bear. I hadn’t seen him walk off with any of the club whores, ever, but at least he’d come to drink and hang with the brothers. Since those girls came to stay here, we’d seen less and less of him on nights like this. Couldn’t blame him.

Starla, one of the newer club whores, sashayed over. Her red lips were slicked to a high shine and her eyes had been rimmed in black. There’d been a time I might have been tempted by the sway of her hips, the come-hither look on her face. Now she just came across as desperate. She moved closer, her perfume nearly suffocating me, as she trailed her nails up my arm and across my shoulder.

“Looks like you could use some company,” she said, settling on my lap.

Part of me wanted to shove her off, but all she’d done was make my headache worse. No harm in letting her sit for a minute. Her hand grazed my chest and headed for my zipper. I closed my fingers around her wrist, halting her progress.

“Not tonight,” I said. Or any night.

Her lip stuck out in what she probably thought was a sexy pout. It didn’t do a damn thing for me. When I released her, I gave her a nudge off my lap until she stood next to me. As the Sergeant-at-Arms, and single, the club whores tended to flock my way, in hopes I’d claim them as my old lady. Never would happen, but it didn’t stop them from trying.

The doors to the clubhouse swung open and a curvy blonde stepped through. No, not stepped. She sauntered into the room, head high, shoulders back, and gazed at her surroundings as if she owned the place. Her tongue flicked out to wet her lower lip and my cock hardened behind my zipper. A quick sweep of the room told me I wasn’t the only one checking her out, but I’d damn sure be the one balls-deep in her later.

I stood and made my way across the room, my prey in my sights. Stopping close enough I could feel the heat of her body, I waited for her to acknowledge me. When she ignored me, it only made me want her more. Reaching out, I tipped her chin up, forcing her to meet my gaze.

“You lost, little girl?” I asked, realizing she was far younger than I’d thought. No way she’d gotten past the Prospect at the gate if she wasn’t at least eighteen, but she was still young enough to be my daughter. No fucking way she was a day over twenty-five, if that.

“No, I’m not lost. You’re in my way.”

Oh, I liked the sass on this one. I smiled and placed my hand at her waist, tugging her closer. “Your way? Did you get a good look when you came in? Pretty little things like you only have one place in this clubhouse. On your knees or bent over a table.”

A flush worked its way up her neck and settled in her cheeks. Her eyes darkened and her pulse fluttered. Seemed she liked the idea. The way her dress hugged her body, it left little to the imagination, but I still would prefer to have her naked and spread out so I could feast on her. Only one problem. I didn’t have a room at the clubhouse anymore and I didn’t take random women back to my house.

“Maybe this isn’t my first time seeing this sort of thing,” she said. “You may not have seen me here before, but it doesn’t mean I’m stupid when it comes to bikers. I know more than you think.”

I stepped back and scanned her. “No property cut. No ink claiming you as an old lady. You making the rounds? Whatever club you came from, I promise to treat you better.”

“Full of yourself, aren’t you?” she asked, but I noticed she leaned a little closer.

“Oh, sweetheart. You’re the one who’s gonna be full of me.”

About Harley Wylde

Harley Wylde is the International Bestselling Author of the Dixie Reapers MC, Devil’s Boneyard MC, and Hades Abyss MC series.

When Harley’s writing, her motto is the hotter the better — off the charts sex, commanding men, and the women who can’t deny them. If you want men who talk dirty, are sexy as hell, and take what they want, then you’ve come to the right place. She doesn’t shy away from the dangers and nastiness in the world, bringing those realities to the pages of her books, but always gives her characters a happily-ever-after and makes sure the bad guys get what they deserve. 

The times Harley isn’t writing, she’s thinking up naughty things to do to her husband, drinking copious amounts of Starbucks, and reading. She loves to read and devours a book a day, sometimes more. She’s also fond of TV shows and movies from the 1980’s, as well as paranormal shows from the 1990’s to today, even though she’d much rather be reading or writing. 

Find her online: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Renegade/Wire (Dixie Reapers MC) by Harley Wylde #ContemporaryRomance #AgeGap @HarleyW_Writer

Renegade (Devil’s Boneyard MC 6)

Darby: At fifteen, I thought I knew everything. But life hadn’t prepared me for a biker who would kidnap me and abuse me for five years. Being tossed in a dumpster and left to die wasn’t at the top of my list for ways out of that life, but then Renegade found me. I want to trust him, but to give him my heart only to have him turn out like every other man I’ve ever known would break me.

Renegade: I lost my family a long time ago, and I vowed I’d never have another. Then I found Fawn and her mother, Darby, thrown away like so much trash. Hearing their story is enough to make my blood boil. But once I exact revenge for all they’ve suffered, I might not want to let them go.

Wire (Dixie Reapers MC 13)

Lavender: My parents weren’t the type to win any awards, but I did learn a few things — like how to read code and get through the backdoor of pretty much any program. When my parents end up dead, I can’t think of anyone else who might be able to help me. I know too much, and now I’ve been targeted. If the infamous Voodoo Tracer can’t help me, then I’m screwed.

Wire: I never really expected my past to come knocking at the front gates, nor did I expect it to be in such a sexy package. Lavender is exactly what I want and don’t need — a nerdy, geeky, superintelligent woman who craves me as much as I crave her. Now she’s mine, and if an enemy from my past thinks he can hurt her, I’d like to see him try. I will destroy anyone who tries to take her from me.

WARNING: Lavender and Darby’s stories contain abusive pasts that may be triggers for some readers.

 

Get the paperback at Amazon

 

 

Praise for Renegade (Devil’s Boneyard MC 6)

“This book hooked me from the get go — I just couldn’t put it down. I fell in love with these characters and OMG what a story, just a perfect read.”

— 5 Stars from Jeanne, Amazon Review

“I adored Renegade. If there were more like him this world would be a better place. Darby being who she is turned out to not be anything but a strong amazing woman and mother. It answers every question that is presented throughout the story that you have and it doesn’t leave you hanging. Harley wrote these characters with love and made you want to root for them. This series is worth the read!”

— 5 Stars from Elsie, Amazon Review

Praise for Wire (Dixie Reapers MC 13)

“I really enjoyed Wire. I love how revved he gets Lavender and he isn’t even trying.  I love that Lavender revs him up just as much… I thoroughly enjoyed this quick read from Ms. Wylde.  It is full of unexpected twists and turns.  I enjoyed seeing how Ms. Wylde worked her relationship magic.”

— 5 Shooting Stars from Luna, Redz World Reviews

“I loved this pair. There couldn’t have been a better partner for Wire. This is a fun, fiery, sexy… story that will give you a whole range of emotions.”

— 4 Stars from Sorrel, Long and Short Reviews

 

SNEAK PEEK

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Harley Wylde
Excerpt from Renegade

I fucking hated this time of year. The pumpkins and shit didn’t bother me, it was more the memories attached to the month of October that got to me. Today especially. My parents and brother had been gone for fourteen years but time didn’t make the pain lessen any, which was why I was at the liquor store restocking my beer, rum, and picking up a bottle of vodka. Time didn’t heal all wounds, but at least alcohol would numb me enough to make it through to tomorrow. I knew my sister, Nikki, still had trouble with this day as well, but she’d suffer on her own or with friends. I didn’t see her as often as I’d like, but I tried to keep her away from the club. She garnered too much interest when she came around, and I didn’t want to beat on my brothers.

I set the items on the counter and the woman popped her gum and held out her hand. I took out my wallet and pulled out a few twenties, but she shook her head.

“ID.”

“Are you fucking kidding me right now?” I demanded. “I’m forty-four years old and I don’t look old enough to buy this shit?”

“Sorry. I don’t make the rules.” She pointed to the sign behind her. We have the right to refuse service for any reason. ID will be required for all purchases.

I growled as I jerked my license from my wallet and threw it on the counter. The last thing I needed right now was someone hassling me over my purchase. It wasn’t the first time I’d been carded and wouldn’t be the last, I just wasn’t in the mood to deal with it right now. While it was the law to card everyone, I’d noticed none of my brothers who actually looked their age ever dealt with this shit.

The woman looked at the ID, scratched at the surface, and gave me one of those disbelieving looks.

“It’s not a fake,” I said. “Who the fuck fakes the age of forty-four?”

My mother had once said that there would come a time I would like looking younger than my actual years. So far, that hadn’t proven true. It was fucking annoying.

She handed the license back and took my money, then rang up the alcohol. By the time I was walking out of the store, I was livid, but I knew it wasn’t really the woman’s fault. She’d been doing her job and not intentionally hassling me. It was just this shitty day. I’d brought my truck, knowing what I wanted to buy wouldn’t fit in the saddlebags on my bike, and stashed the rum, vodka and two cases of beer in the back seat, then pulled a can from one of the boxes. Before I could pop the top, a sound drew my attention. A scuff or scratching noise. I set the beer down and slowly crept toward the side of the building, pausing at the corner. Might just be a stray scrounging for food, or it could be trouble. A liquor store at night had a tendency to draw in the bad elements. Wouldn’t be the first time the place had been robbed, or someone had been held up in the parking lot.

There was a shuffle and something kicked a can. Dog? I listened harder and heard what sounded like a human’s footsteps. I reached for the gun at the small of my back, pulling it before I edged around the building, my finger on the trigger guard of my Sig. Very little light pierced the darkness, but I saw a small shadow moving. It wasn’t very big. I didn’t know if I was about to be ambushed by someone trying to hide themselves, or if there was actually someone in need of help. Moving in closer, my heart nearly stopped when I saw the dirty face of a little girl. Long, red hair hung in a tangle down her back, and I noticed her feet were bare. A quick glance didn’t show anyone else in the area, but I was hesitant to put away my weapon. Wouldn’t be the first time some asshole used a kid to lure in a victim.

“Is your mom or dad here?” I asked, trying to keep my tone as non-threatening as possible.

The little girl pointed to the dumpster and began walking that way. She stopped in front of it and lifted a hand to the opening on top. I braced myself in case someone leapt from inside to attack, but as I neared the metal container and peered inside, my breath stalled in my lungs. Holy shit!

“That your sister?” I asked the girl.

She shook her head.

“Your momma?” I asked again, barely believing the woman who was likely dead was old enough to be a mother. Then again, maybe she just aged really well. At first glance, I’d thought she was maybe sixteen or seventeen. Wouldn’t be the first time a kid had given birth, if she really was as young as she appeared, but I hoped that wasn’t the case. Kids should have a chance to be exactly that — kids.

The little girl nodded.

“All right. I’m going to put my gun away and I’m going to get your mom out of there. Can you step back so you don’t get hurt?”

She stared at me a moment before shuffling back a step, then another. It was eerie that she hadn’t said a word, but at least she’d obeyed. I climbed the side of the container and reached inside, pressing my fingers against the pulse point in the woman’s throat. I exhaled sharply when I realized she was still alive, and carefully extracted her. She shivered in my arms, her body barely covered except for the dried blood and bruises coating her skin. Her clothes were cut or ripped, exposing enough of her that I worried what might have happened to her. I hoped whatever asshole had done this to her would suffer.

“I’m going to get your mom some help. Can you follow me to my truck?” I asked the little girl.

She slowly approached and reached out to grip my jeans. She held on as I carried her mother to the front parking lot. The door to my truck was still ajar. If it weren’t for the club’s colors I’d added to my tailgate, someone likely would have boosted it. Most people around here didn’t want to fuck with the club and gave us a wide berth.

I balanced the woman as I shoved the alcohol to the floor, not even caring at this point if the damn vodka and rum busted other than the fumes it would create. Whatever these two had been through was far worse than the demons I fought on this day every year.

“Get in. I’m going to buckle your mom up front,” I told the little girl.

She had trouble getting into the truck, so I opened the front door and made sure her mom was secure before lifting the tiny girl into the vehicle. I didn’t know a lot about kids, but she felt a little too light and fragile. I made sure she was buckled, then hurried to the driver’s side. As the dome light came on, I glanced at my front seat passenger and nearly froze. There was something familiar about her. Too fucking familiar, even though I couldn’t remember where I’d seen her. It would come to me, but right now I needed to get her somewhere safe.

I pulled my phone from my pocket and dialed Scratch as I started the engine.

“Need your help, Pres,” I said as I pulled out onto the street, not giving a shit that I was driving while I was on the phone.

“The kind that requires bail money?” he asked, knowing the significance of today.

“No. The kind that requires your wife and a doctor. Found a woman beat to hell and left for dead in a dumpster, and her kid, though the kid seems to be in better shape. I’m on my way to the compound now.” I paused a moment. “I think I know the mom, but I can’t remember how.”

Scratch cursed. “Take her to your place. The clubhouse is too rowdy for a kid right now. I’ll have Chansy head that way.”

 

About the Author

Harley Wylde is the International Bestselling Author of the Dixie Reapers MC, Devil’s Boneyard MC, and Hades Abyss MC series.
When Harleys writing, her motto is the hotter the better — off the charts sex, commanding men, and the women who can’t deny them. If you want men who talk dirty, are sexy as hell, and take what they want, then you’ve come to the right place. She doesn’t shy away from the dangers and nastiness in the world, bringing those realities to the pages of her books, but always gives her characters a happily-ever-after and makes sure the bad guys get what they deserve.
The times Harley isn’t writing, she’s thinking up naughty things to do to her husband, drinking copious amounts of Starbucks, and reading. She loves to read and devours a book a day, sometimes more. She’s also fond of TV shows and movies from the 1980’s, as well as paranormal shows from the 1990’s to today, even though she’d much rather be reading or writing.
You can find out more about Harley or enter her monthly giveaway on her website. Be sure to join her newsletter while you’re there to learn more about discounts, signing events, and other goodies!
Stalk the author online at…

Price of Fame by Treva Harte #GayRomance @HarteTreva

Gene Price, former teenage star, has been living the simple life, cut off from anyone who knows about him and his former bad reputation. When Gene gets death threats he turns to Leo, the bodyguard and lover he fired years ago. He doesn’t want any part of his past, but Leo is the only one he trusts to protect him.

Leo is sure Gene will stay in California — with Leo — once he gets Gene back home. But it looks like Gene’s only here to make sure his only friend in the state isn’t the one making threats.

It probably doesn’t matter that Leo cares a hell of a lot for Gene. Enough to protect him, find out the truth, and let Gene decide whether to stay or go.

Publisher’s Note: The Price of Fame Duet includes the previously published novellas Going Back and Guarded Heart.

Get it Today at Changeling Press

 

SNEAK PEEK

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Treva Harte
Excerpt from Going Back

“Been a long time, Leo.” The extra decade looked good on him. He had more muscle — more presence. He wore his suit easily, not like the nervous minder Lane had hired back in the day. There was just enough gray at the temples to make him look distinguished. He’d grown up looking fine.

I found myself rubbing the surgery scar underneath my hair. I thought I’d broken myself of that nervous habit. But I didn’t like the way he was assessing me. Yeah, we both knew the extra decade hadn’t done as much for me. I sure as hell wasn’t the pretty boy people had gone insane for when I was in my teens and early twenties. I could see in his eyes that he wasn’t impressed. It was no more than I expected, and better than the outright disappointment I sometimes got. But it stung a little.

“A long time? Yes.” His voice was deeper now, but he’d talked a little more back then. Smiled a little more.

He wanted to be here even less than I’d wanted to ask for him. My stomach clenched again. What else could I expect? I couldn’t think of anything I’d done then to make him want to see me now. It was too bad that I’d liked him back when I didn’t like anyone much. Since I remembered the way I worked during my glory days, it meant I’d been more of a dick to him than I normally was. And I was a pretty big dick to people.

“I probably should apologize for that long ago time.” My memory was a little spotty, but I remembered a few incidents with him hustling me out of trouble while I did my best to stay back in it. And of course the reason he’d quit.

He looked at me steadily and didn’t say anything.

So I kept talking. “I’m still kind of an asshole, but I like to think my time away from all the glitter has improved my behavior some. People don’t get nearly as pissed off at me now.”

“Death threats usually mean someone is pissed off,” he pointed out.

I took a deep breath. “Well. I suppose there’s that. I was hoping you would tell me not to worry so much about it.”

“Afraid that’s not in my best interest. You hired me and hauled me out here on the tail end of a blizzard because you’ve been worried, and now I’m being paid to worry about it. But whatever. I don’t care about how you feel about these notes as long as you realize I’m in charge of keeping you safe. I’ll do whatever seems necessary.”

“You aren’t much in favor of the customer is always right, are you?” I tried to smile. It wasn’t his words so much as his attitude that stung. I probably had picked the wrong guy for this job.

Strange how disappointing that thought was.

“May I see the originals?” He held out his hand as if I carried the notes next to my heart or something.

I stood up and fumbled in my desk drawer. I didn’t usually use my desk drawers for anything but dumping unwanted mail. I suppose these qualified.

Leo put on reading glasses and set his mouth in an even straighter, grimmer line if that was possible. He read the two of them three times before he looked up.

“They don’t mention why you deserve to die,” he said. “As you say, you’ve been out of the public eye for a decade at least. What have you stirred up recently?”

I shrugged. “Nothing. Seriously. I keep pretty much to routine here. Pay my bills, say hello as needed to the neighbors, feed the dog.”

Leo glanced over at Ozzy, who half-opened his eyes and thumped his tail agreeably. Everyone was Ozzy’s friend. It could be annoying.

“Anything at all?”

I frowned. “I have something in mind, but I haven’t done it yet.”

Leo didn’t say anything. He was good at that.

“Really, the only thing I’ve done recently is start to think about investing in some property near here. There’s talk about rebuilding the only hotel and restaurant within thirty miles. It went out of business a few years ago when the owners retired and sold to some New Yorker who promptly went bankrupt in the middle of trying to make the place look like New York. It could bring in some jobs and money, but I wouldn’t want it done stupidly with some new development company that goes bust. I only got as far as asking Lane to look into pulling out some principal from my savings if I thought it might pan out. But people around here want the hotel back. No one local would be threatening me. Actually, if they did, they’d probably just come after me with a shotgun. There’s plenty of those around here.”

“Nothing else?”

“Jesus. I live by myself and I keep things quiet. Haven’t done television or a movie in years, and paparazzi aren’t likely to track me out here to watch me buy my groceries or split firewood.” My head was starting to hurt. I took a deep breath. “I’m pretty inoffensive nowadays.”

The old landline phone with the loud ring made me jump. I didn’t get a lot of calls.

“Hello?” I relaxed. My most constant caller was Lane and even she kept it to once or twice a month usually. This must be one of those calls.

Yeah, it was her.

“You’re about to have a visitor.” She sounded a little tense.

“Leo is already here. No problem.” Or not much of one. I was already a little twitchy from his presence, but I’d get over it once I got used to someone around.

“I’m glad, but I don’t mean a bodyguard. I suppose I don’t mean a visitor, either.” Lane stopped.

“That clears that up.”

“Don’t take up being a smart-ass again. You don’t have time for it.”

“All right, all right. What the hell is going on?”

“You’re about to have family call on you.”

“What the hell?” I hadn’t spoken to my parents since I turned eighteen and took control of my own money — and sued the hell out of them for taking mine before that. “Head them off!”

“Can’t. Social workers are on your trail.” That’s when I heard the note of real concern. I was in trouble?

“What? I’m way too old for a child care agency and not old enough for senior services.” A little too late, I realized I should have asked Leo to step out of the room.

“Congrats, Gene. It’s a boy.”

 

About the Author

Treva Harte has always been an overachiever. She also collects things. First it was degrees. First a B.A. in English, then she decided to go back for a Master’s degree. Not content with that, she added a J.D. Since then she’s added a husband, also an attorney, and two children to her collection. She’s continuing her ways as an overachiever, writing her wonderfully offbeat tales of passion and possibilities — in her spare time.

Visit her website at www.trevaharte.com.