The Romantic by Elodie Parkes #LGBT #GayRomance #ContemporaryRomance @ElodieParkes @eXtasyBooks

The Romantic

MM romance from eXtasy Books

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Handsome Luke Kirby loves books, so when he finds boxes of old and beautiful tomes in a dusty shop, he can’t resist buying them. To his delight one of them contains what he hopes will bring an end to his loneliness and heartache. As he prepares to cast an ancient prayer spell to the god of love, across town Ethan Goss decides that moving to a new apartment will ease his broken heart.

With the help of an eccentric real estate agent, gorgeous Ethan goes to a viewing in the block where Luke lives.

When Luke meets Ethan in the lobby, it’s the start of a passionate love affair.

Fate hasn’t finished with the two handsome men—will true happiness evade them both?

Warning this story contains MM sex in the love scenes. HEA

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In the lobby, Victor stopped walking. “I should show you the garden, but I need the key for the gate. It’s in my car. Wait here a moment.” He strode rapidly out of the front doors.

Ethan checked out the table in the foyer where mail sat in three neat stacks. One stack had a lot, the others not much at all. Ethan couldn’t help reading the names on the envelopes. As his gaze traveled over the addresses, someone clattered down the polished hardwood stairs.

Ethan turned to the footsteps.

A young man glanced up from watching where his feet fell. His blue eyes locked with Ethan’s stare.

Ethan gazed at him, and his stomach lurched. His heart pounded. Not one word would form in his mind other than, Wow.

The young man smiled, approaching the table. “Hi. I’m collecting my snail mail—yeah, not much as usual.”

Through a daze of attraction, Ethan watched the man pick up the two envelopes in his stack. He looked the young man up and down, taking in his hard body and fashionably cut dark hair. He held back a sigh of appreciation as the man turned to him.

“Are you the new tenant?” He waved a hand at the apartment door.

His low voice traveled over Ethan like a glaze of melting honey. Ethan stared at the man’s handsome face. He is gorgeous. About my age, too. “I haven’t taken the place yet, just…just viewed it.”

The young man moved closer. “You should take it. There aren’t many places as good, big, and with a garden this close to the city.” He held out his hand. “Luke Kirby. I live on the third floor, but that’s my patch of garden next to yours, if you take the place. It might seem odd to have to trundle down the stairs to sit in the sun with my coffee, but I’ve grown used to it.” His eyes sparkled at Ethan. He held Ethan’s gaze as he talked.

Butterflies filled Ethan’s stomach. He couldn’t stop his heart hammering and wondered if he could actually speak, meeting Luke had such an effect on him. “Ethan Goss.” He shook Luke’s hand. What he felt like doing was pulling the guy close and kissing those perfect lips that moved again.

“Pleased to meet you.” Luke held on to Ethan’s hand. His eyes held something unspoken.

A wave of longing rose through Ethan. His loneliness and need for sex put an ache in his stomach, replacing the butterflies. He glanced down at the

strong hand gripping his, wondering if he could hold on a little longer, despite how weird that might be. Better not, that’s kinda creepy. All the same, it wasn’t Ethan who abandoned the handshake.

Luke let go but trailed his fingertips along Ethan’s palm as he withdrew his hand.

With his skin tingling from the touch, Ethan gazed into Luke’s blue eyes and knew. He’s gay. He somehow knows I am, too—probably the way I’m ogling him. He’s interested in me. Thank you, god. Ethan flashed his eyes at Luke with a flirtatious expression he usually reserved for cute guys he met in the gay bar.

Copyright Elodie Parkes 2019 eXtasy Books

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Between You and Me by Willa Okati #ContemporaryRomance #GayRomance #SecondChances @changelingpress @willaokati

 

Theirs is a love story that was only waiting
to happen – and a future worth fighting for.

Between You and Me (Between You and Me 1)

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres/Themes: Contemporary, 2nd Chance Romance, Gay, Silver Fox

Theirs is a love story that was only waiting to happen – and a future worth fighting for.

By Your Side: Seven years ago Matthieu fell in love with a man fifteen years his junior. Roman swore he wanted nothing more than to settle down with Matthieu. Matthieu tried to do the right thing, hoping Roman would forgive and forget him. But Roman’s never been good at taking “no” for an answer — especially when he knows his partner really wants say yes, yes, yes.

Between You and Me: Quiet, reserved Daniel admits to being a “serial monogamist.” He’s holding out for forever. Ian, Daniel’s closest friend, falls in love at least once a week. Somehow, when neither of them were looking, Daniel stole Ian’s heart, and Ian stole Daniel’s. And they’re both smart enough to know that’s something worth fighting for.

In the Key Of: Teague seems set spending the rest of his life alone — until he meets Julian online. Julian’s everything Teague is not: creative, impulsive, enthusiastic — and commitment shy. When a voice on the phone and a face on the screen are no longer enough, can Teague convince Julian to take a chance on him in the real world?

Get it Today at Changeling Press

also available in paperback

 

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All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Willa Okati
Excerpt from Between You and Me

Ian never had trouble picking Daniel out of a crowd. He could have done it with his eyes closed and his ears plugged with thick puffs of cotton, and even if someone had taken him and spun him around in circles to make sure he’d lost his bearings. He’d still find Daniel, orienting himself toward the man.

Every time.

He figured later he should have seen there was more to his focus on Daniel than just friendship, but no one ever saw anything clearly in the moment. At least Ian didn’t. He took long walks off short piers and jumped, knowing when he surfaced he could swim to Daniel standing on the shore. He couldn’t do anything else and still be himself.

That was okay. Daniel might keep himself anchored on solid ground, but he’d be there waiting for Ian. Always.

Ian figured he should have paid more attention to what that meant too.

He never thought too hard about it, though. Overthinking wasn’t his forte.

If anyone asked Ian why he did — well, most of the things he did — he never quite knew how to answer the question. How did a guy explain why he was who he was if the person asking couldn’t tell just by looking?

Ian didn’t think of himself as complicated. C’mon. He saw opportunities and went after them. He leaped before he looked, and by the grace of whatever gods looked after fools and man-children, usually came in for a smooth landing. When he didn’t, he picked up the pieces, stuck them back together, and got a move on before the glue had a chance to dry. He didn’t have a home, living in a series of hotels, and ate a home-cooked meal once, maybe twice a year, and his longest-lasting relationships extended through breakfast the next morning.

And yet — he loved his life. Mostly. Ninety-nine percent of the time. Maybe 95 percent.

Every now and then, though, Ian found himself in a place where he needed to be somewhere that was… else. Not the ends of the earth, the Alaskan Pipeline or the Foreign Legion, nor a bar where everyone knew his name. The place he needed to be: a tiny town with a crumb of California coastline, close enough to shouting distance of San Francisco but far enough away to see the stars at night.

So when he’d known this morning, after waking up alone one time too many, he’d had one cup more than “enough” for now, he’d tossed together a duffel’s worth of odds and ends, including an old Turkish coffee set he’d bought on a whim because Daniel would love it, paid up on his Portland suite through the weekend, and sweet-talked his way into a last-minute ticket on a plane down the coast, and —

And here he was, standing outside a library no bigger than a postage stamp, breathing deep of an intoxicating mix of roasting coffee, clean sea air, and the last sweet kisses of one of the final summer-warm twilights of the year. Content to be, there and then, putting off clattering up the stairs to the library’s second-story main entrance for the sake of saving up anticipation until he couldn’t take it anymore.

Good thing Daniel wouldn’t know he was watching, not with the doors of the café separating them. Ian didn’t often get a chance to stand still and look as much as he wanted, and he was a man who appreciated beauty even when planted in a half-parcel of parking lot, on the outside looking in.

Daniel had no idea he’d come tonight. Ian bet he’d be in for getting his ear chewed off; he laughed at the thought, not minding a bit. Besides, he’d tried to call. More than once. Let the surprise be on his own head; at least — Ian thought — it’d be a pleasant surprise. Meantime, he could take his time to relax, far and away from the race for gold and goal, and enjoy the view.
A good friend? Worth his weight in gold. Daniel? Worth his weight in espresso beans. Ian knew his friend well enough to be positive Daniel would prefer being described as such.

Ian hummed under his breath, content for the moment to stand still and watch his friend work.

Some kind of gorgeous man, that one, his Daniel. Silken-soft hair richer and deeper a hue than dark chocolate, long enough to curl around his neck and over his ears and tumble across his forehead in the humidity of the salt-rich wind off the sea. Startling blue-gray eyes, an inheritance from his father, were the first things that’d caught Ian’s interest way back when. Like the skies before a storm, with a thick fringe of sooty lashes. He wore a simple white shirt and dark gray slacks tonight, sleeves rolled up and two buttons undone, and when he reached over his head to wedge a fat blue book back into place on a shelf, he moved with the sort of grace, wholly unconscious, dancers only wished they could learn.

With all credit to the guy who wrote Fight Club, describing Daniel as beautiful wasn’t the right word, but it was the first word that came to mind. Funny how so few others saw it. Ian never had understood why they didn’t, and he’d given up trying.

Sometimes, when Ian stopped to think, he wondered if it was selfishness that he didn’t mind being one of the lucky few. Daniel deserved someone who’d love him tender and love him true, and at thirty-five, Ian could tell he’d started losing the thin edge of optimism he’d hung on to since his twenties.

He shook the mood, as insubstantial as cobwebs — usually — off, or tried to. Thirty-five wasn’t old. Far from it, and Daniel was the kind of man who’d age well. Ian looked forward to seeing it.

Odd, though… seeing Daniel from this angle struck Ian differently tonight. Almost always muted, the spark that set Daniel apart, something like a flicker of lightning in a cool dusky sky, came through crystal clear.

Some kind of gorgeous man, all right — and such a dork. Ian laughed quietly, fondly, absolutely sure Daniel had no clue he moved ever so slightly to the beat of his different drummer, or electric violinist, as the case might be, and the music fed through the trail of white headphones from pocket to ears.

No one could learn to be the kind of friend Daniel was to Ian. You were born to be that close to one another or not, and how Ian had been lucky enough to stumble across a guy who took him for who he was, charms and flaws and risks and rewards and everything else… eh.

Why tempt fate trying to figure out the whys and hows? He’d just be glad as hell and leave it there. Like always.

Ian tapped the toe of his shoe on the pavement, considering Daniel’s movements through the window.

Y’know what? Ian questioned himself. Anticipation is one thing. Delayed gratification is another. Neither stands much of a chance when I weigh them against a chance in a million to take Daniel off guard.

Decision: made. Ian hit speed-dial one more time for the fun of it, and then he hit the stairs, taking them two at a time, excited by the electric sparks that flickered to life in his veins.

Yes. This was what he’d come for.

 

Turquoise Trail by Julia Talbot #PNR #UrbanFantasy #GayRomance #interracial @changelingpress @juliatalbot

 

Soldier Chino thinks he has to be alone, but Oliver
and his dragons know life is hotter together.

 

Turquoise Trail (Desert Dragons 1)

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Karen Fox
Genres/Themes: Action Adventure, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy,
Elves Dragons & Magical Creatures, Gay, Interracial

Elemental soldier Chino heads off into the Mexican desert looking for his promised bonded. He’s a loner, but he’s not used to being this alone. The only member of his team not to bond with a dragon, he’s feeling pretty hopeless.

That’s when he finds dragon guardian Oliver, who’s injured and needs Chino’s help. Oliver knows things, deep in his soul, and he knows Chino’s real name. Can he convince Chino to stay with him and help him raise his passel of dragons?

 

Get it Today at Changeling Press

 

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All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Julia Talbot

Chino hadn’t felt this lonely in well over five years.

He sat at a small campfire somewhere deep in the Chihuahua desert. He had a feeling these days he was on the Mexico side, even if he’d started out in Arizona. This was the place the news stories bitched about, the barren wasteland where so-called “coyotes” plied their trade.

Christ, people sent their babies out here to survive through this nightmare wasteland? Insane. Fucking insane. Insane and empty.

Which was exactly how Chino felt. No team. No backup. Just his lonely ass and a directive from the big dragon he’d grown to admire, Damien. Go to the desert below Ice. Find your bonded.

That directive should have been way more mystical, but Ice, the leader of the black ops team Chino had been a part of, was from Phoenix originally. Not tough to figure out. He felt a little like he was running around going, “Here dragon, dragon, dragon.”

Why he was the only member of the Elemental Ops team who didn’t bond with a dragon on Dragon Mountain, he didn’t know. All he knew was he was tired of freezing his nuts off at night and broiling during the day while he searched for his so-called bonded.

Maybe this was just a wild goose chase.

Send the guy off to look for imaginary dragons.

He shivered, but Chino didn’t dare build up the fire. Those news story coyotes wouldn’t hesitate to attack one man, alone in the desert. Not like the animal they were named after.

Help? The single word was soft, scared.

Chino bolted up off the camp stool he’d set up, drawing his weapon. “What?”

Help? Help us? Hear us? They’re dying. Oliver. Azul. Turquesa.

His head echoed with the noise, and Chino clapped his hands to his ears.

Ow. Okay, no one was there, and no one was speaking out loud but him. “Where are you?”

Here. This time it was odd, an echo, but just the tiniest bit off. Here-here-here-ere-ere-ere.

He tilted his head. “Do you see me?”

You’re pretty. A warrior. We see.

Pretty? Right. Chino just needed a hairnet and a gold tooth to go full-on cholo. Well, maybe he dressed up better than that, but no one had accused Chino of being pretty.

“Where are you? I can help.”

Here. There was a twitch, a slither, and then two pairs of bright green eyes blinked at him from over the top of his pack.

Two. Whoa. If he hadn’t just come from Keon’s dragon’s den, he would have thought they were lizards. They weren’t. They were poquito dragons. Like his teammate Gig’s girl, like a feathered serpent, but these were teeny. Teeny and the color of sapphires.

Wow. He blinked. “Who’s dying, chicas?”

Oliver. Our Oliver and Azul and Turquesa.

Oliver. That was a nice, normal name, huh? Kinda old-fashioned. “Take me.”

They nodded together and began to move low over the desert, and he had to call to them. “Guys? Guys, hold up. Let me grab my stuff.”

They pulled up, hovering together and, Christ, their tails were twined around each other’s. Lord have mercy. They might melt a heart as frosty as his if he wasn’t careful.

Come? Please. They bobbed together, sharp little faces so eager.

“I said I would.” Reluctantly, he put out his fire by the simple means of dumping earth over it. No sense setting the damned desert on fire.

Fire fire fire. At our house there’s a fire. It was like singing, somehow.

They were like the Siamese cats in that Disney movie. The one about the dogs.

Hopefully less destructive than those cats. Somehow he doubted it, though. They emanated pure mischief. Worried mischief right now, so Chino shouldered his pack and waved. “You lead, I’ll follow.”

Follow!

They took off like fuck-starved jackrabbits, leading him deep into the desert. A man could die out here. Lots of men had. Hell, just knowing where to put his booted feet when it was night like this made him crazed. Arroyos loomed on both sides of him, cutting off his sight line.

A soft moan seemed to float up, the sound made of pure pain.

Oliver! The baby dragons screamed, sliding down into the arroyo to the left.

Chino changed direction abruptly, and went ass over teakettle down the side of the canyon wall. Ass over teakettle was one of Ice’s expressions, and now Chino knew what it meant. He came up hard against something that wasn’t a rock, but he didn’t get a chance to see what it was because two more feathered beasts — these guys aqua blue and glowing — were bashing at him with their little wings.

“Hey! Hey, come on. I’m trying to help. Ayudarte.” He tried Spanish, hoping they’d understand.

The wee sapphire dragons — who were glowing now too — got in between him and the pale ones.

We found him! We did! He’s ours to help! Oliver needs help!

“I can help.” Chino hoped. “Take me to Oliver so I can see what’s wrong.”

To his surprise the little ones began to giggle, the sound a touch insane. Beside you!

“Beside?” He turned, looking about, trying to understand what they meant.

Sure as hell, he was leaning against a body. A body. Shit.

Chino rolled up to his knees. “What the fuck?”

It was a shirtless redhead, pale as milk where the sun didn’t normally shine. What was this guy doing out here, in the night, with no gear? “You said there was a fire.”

At the house. Fiiiiiiiiiire. Warm.

The aqua dragons were fading, the light barely there. His sapphires ones were bright enough to see the way the guy’s foot was trapped under a fucking boulder.

“Shit.” Chino grabbed his emergency flashlight from his pack. It would give a little circle of light bright as daylight so he could see what he was doing. Then he grabbed his survival blanket and shook it out, covering the man. “We need to get you inside, buddy.”

A rock. A rock. A rock.

He was going to lose his mind with the random singing. He swallowed back nausea from the sudden headache and got to work clearing the smaller rocks surrounding the big one. Oh, man, he needed a lever.

“Big strong stick, guys. Need one.”

Stick. Azul. Turquesa. For Oliver.

The aqua dragons — who were about twice the size of the others — followed, tails brushing the ground. Poor babies looked exhausted.

Stick. Here. Together the four dragons brought him a piece of twisted cedar that could work for sure.

“Good job!” The praise made his dragons glow, but the aqua ones settled on the redheaded guy’s chest.

Oliver. His name was Oliver.

Dragon Alliance by Stephanie Burke #PNR #UrbanFantasy #GayRomance #NewRelease @changelingpress @Flashycat

Can Iffear and Vulwin survive the results of their mating?

 

Dragon Alliance (Dragon 2)

Publisher: Changeling Press
Genres/Themes: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Gay,
Elves Dragons & Magical Creatures, Magic, Shapeshifters

Iffear comes to Vulwin at his most vulnerable, but as their magical enemies and a plot to destroy the Dhrovish throne make themselves known, the newly mated couple find themselves drawing closer together in order to survive.

Get it Today at Changeling Press

 

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All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Stephanie Burke

“So, this is nice.” In his human skin, Vulwin, aka Win Arcarius, was an unmistakable albino black man with long, pale blond hair and bi-colored eyes that were to die for — or at least that was what his agent believed. He looked around his new quarters and gave them an approving smile.

He was tall, sleekly muscled with large eyes, one green eye and one silver, that peered out at audiences from a set of lashes so long they looked like they had to be fake. His cheekbones were high, his lips were full, his skin was an extremely pale tan, and his attitude, like his clothing, was fierce.

Beside him walked his proud mate, his dragon, who was wearing a tight, white tank top, a pair of tight denim jeans, and the most kick-ass pair of black riding boots that the world had ever seen. Probably because they were Dhrow-made and designed with his protection in mind.

In comparison, Win looked ready for the runway in his long, flowing red tunic and loose black pants. He was wearing black leather sandals on his feet and was resplendent in his gold jewelry… huge bangles on his wrists, several delicate chains in his ears, and rings on every finger and toe. He was a model in every sense of the word, and walking into this upscale tattoo shop and piercing parlor was guaranteed to bring traffic to a halt.

Strutting before them was a tiny black cat, Chinsie, who looked more of the human kind of pet than anything she looked like Under the Hill. Around her neck was a spiked collar of gold, and she moved with the same protective attitude she had presented before. She was a bad-ass and she knew it.

Once inside the small brownstone mansion, Chinsie took off like a shot to a bay window covered in plush silence pillows, obviously her spot in the shop front room, and perched herself like royalty.

“I thought you said you’d be gone for a month, bossman,” the short woman behind a tall glass counter said as she put down a sketch pad, looked up, and –”Well I’ll be damned.” Her mouth dropped open when Iffear reached out and grabbed Win’s hand.

“Plans change,” he offered, his voice deep and gravelly and still enough to put a shiver in Win’s loins. Was there ever a case of a creature passing on being in heat to another creature of a different species? He still didn’t know, but damn, he was feeling like he was in rut around his mate. “This is –”

“Win Arcarius,” the woman managed, eyes growing wide in shock. “Supermodel and spokesman for about a bazillion products. I’m sure you know you’re beautiful, but do you know how beautiful you are?” While she spoke, she not so secretly pulled her phone off the counter and began taking shots of them.

The smile that spread across Win’s lips was genuine as he pulled Iffear in closer. “Thank you.” His voice was accented in a way that most humans could not place, though the companies he represented loved it. “It’s nice of you to say so.”

At their close contact, the woman’s smile became a smirk. “Vacation, boss? Going to Europe for a month or so? So is that what the kids are calling it these days?”

“Mai,” Iffear groaned and Win smirked back at her. “What happened is none of your business.”

“Mai.” Win grinned. “I think I like your style.”

“Mai Wind,” she introduced herself, her purple-tipped afro adding height to her short stature. “Resident piercer and apprentice tattooist. And you better like my style. I’m wearing your name on my ass.” She hopped off her high stool and walked around to meet them, spinning around at the last minute to show the stylized WA on the back pocket of her pants. She turned to face them, holding out her hand as she drew closer. “And dare I pray you want to get your tongue pierced today? A nipple?” She pointed to his crotch. “Something in the lower region, perhaps?”

“I can’t take the time off from using my tongue to let it heal.” Win almost sounded disappointed as he shook her hand. “And if I can’t take the time to let my tongue heal, then anything lower is out of the question.”

“Ohh, kinky.” Mai chuckled before looking up at Iffear. “I hope he’s pulled you from your life of celibacy and popped your second virginity so you can stop being such a raging bitch.”

Win’s laughter was loud and obnoxious and he didn’t care. Talk about getting your roles reversed.

“Why do I like you?” Iffear snarked down at her, tapping her on the nose with his free hand. “And why haven’t I fired you yet?”

“Because I am the one who keeps your sorry ass organized. What would you do without me, boss?” She laughed, punching him lightly on the arm. “Like the time those drunk twin sorority girls –”

“So,” he spoke loudly over her, “This is my shop manager and main piercer, Mai Wind. She’s snarky.”

“I like snark.” Win chuckled.

“And Mai, this is Win Arcarius, my husband.”

 

A Year and a Day by Willa Okati #GayRomance #NewRelease #PNR @changelingpress @willaokati

 

Three stories of heartbreak, passion, and magic in the mountains of Appalachia.

 

A Year and A Day (A Year and A Day 1)

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres/Themes: Paranormal, Gay, Second Chance

 

A Year and a Day: Nothing is going to stand in Slate’s way when it comes to getting his lover Ash back. He plans on using unfamiliar magics to call Ash back to his side — but magic always comes at a cost.

Unspoken: Once a famous vocalist, Ian has become mute for reasons no doctor can explain. At a low point, Ian encounters a strange man in his garden — a wandering musician, like the bards of old times. Andy teaches Ian love itself is one of the greatest forms of expression.

The Letter: It’s been hard, but Luke and Brandon have decided to part so Luke can follow his New York dreams. The lovers question that decision when they discover a chest of letters in their attic containing details of their relationship down to the last moment — except these letters were written in 1948. Should they reconsider their choices? The answer is in the final letter…

 

Get it at Changeling Press

also available in paperback

 

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All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2018 Willa Okati
Excerpt from A Year and a Day

Six o’clock in the morning, and the sun was just beginning to glow over the horizon. Faint whispers of red and pink light crept through Slate’s bedroom window, painting stained-glass pictures on his ceiling. He lay awake on top of the covers, staring at them. “You know, there’s folk who say they see the face of the Virgin Mary in a squash,” he said out loud, to himself. “Wonder if I look hard enough, I’ll see my lover’s face in the sunlight?”

He snorted. Fool’s dreams. A year since Ash had died, and he still woke up every morning expecting to see that tousled dark head lying on the pillow next to his. Every night, he dreamed of the two of them in that same bed, arms and legs tangled around each other, limbs straining as they made love. Slate let his eyes flutter half-shut, imagining he could feel Ash’s strong young hands skating over his skin, laughing about measuring him by spans. He licked his lips, fancying he might be able to taste the salt.

No. Nothing. Just his own flavor, that of a man who’d brushed and swished before falling on top of his bed sometime around three a.m. Sterile, minty, lonely as hell. He’d trade any number of fresh morning breaths for one kiss from Ash, breaking apart to laugh about who ate what the night before.

No more kisses from Ash, anymore. No more anything.

The sunlight grew stronger, stretching across Slate’s ceiling. In times past, he’d have had a rooster out back, lord of the coops, standing on top of the henhouse and letting out a mighty crow. There were those who said that was an old wives’ tale, but they hadn’t met the ugly old beast he and Ash owned.

He’d sold that critter not long after… after… Well, mornings were hard enough to face. Almost as bad as the nights. Daylight meant another night without sleep, meant another day to get through without his lover.

Turning on his side, he stretched one arm across the smooth expanse of made-up covers beside him, not mussed in the least. Blankets tucked in smoothly, pillow plump and fat. Ash’s side of the bed. A year to the day, and he wasn’t able to bear sleeping in the middle, or even crossing sides of the bed. He had tried, once. Lain in Ash’s place, hoping he’d have a good dream.

Hadn’t worked. He’d seen that day in the barn over and over inside his mind, so crystal clear in his thoughts as if it were happening all over again. Ash, gasping for air. Ash, falling. Himself, down on the hard-packed dirt, Brown Sugar getting all agitated and kicking her stall. Finally remembering to call 911.

Firemen. Paramedics. His friend Marianne and her lover Zillah trying to draw him aside, and when he wouldn’t go, being muscled back by two big, strong men in yellow suits. Sinking down on a bale of feed and feeling their soft, womanly hands on his back, his shoulders, trying their damnedest to soothe. He hadn’t paid them a bit of mind. Everything in him had been focused on Ash, lying so still… so still…

Someone in a uniform had come to talk to him after a spell. He could still remember the man’s words, letter-perfect. “I’m sorry, Mr. Kincaid. Slate. He’s young, but best as we can tell he had a heart attack before he fell. It does happen to some men this young. Do you know if he had any congenital heart defects?”

Slate had shaken his head, baffled. “No… not Ash… he was fine. Never said a word about anything wrong with him.”

“He might not have,” the uniform allowed. “The fall did break his neck, though. There’ll have to be an autopsy –”

There Slate had lunged up from where he sat, raging at the man telling him this news in a voice schooled to be soft and sympathetic. Liar. He hadn’t felt a damn thing. “You’re not cuttin’ him up.”

Marianne and Zillah had managed to drag Slate back into a sitting position, and they’d held him there. Strong for women, they were. “I’m sorry for your loss,” was all the uniform had said, before he went back to the scene of the… where Ash lay, cooling off in the dirt.

Slate hadn’t cried then. He still hadn’t, one year later. His eyes burned with the need to, but no matter how many times his lady friends offered their shoulder, he hadn’t been able to coax out a single drop.

Grieve, they’d told him. You have to mourn him, Slate. Otherwise you’ll never be able to let go.

Damn them. He didn’t want to let go. And as long as he had reminders, he wouldn’t have to.

Rolling over again, he reached out to touch the leaves of a pretty plant on his bedside table. Glossy green leaves shaped like hearts, bell-like flowers. Foxglove. Digitalis. “You did have a heart problem,” he whispered. “And you didn’t tell me. I think I might just hate you a bit for that, Ash. Always had to be messin’ around with your herbal medicaments. So sure you had it under control.” His hand tightened into a fist. “Didn’t you know you can’t fix something like this without goin’ under the knife? Did you really think your herbs and your potions would fix it all? Damn you, lover. Why didn’t you tell me?”

But as when he’d asked those questions, every single morning as he rose out of his bed, there were no answers. There wouldn’t be, either. Dead men didn’t talk.
No matter how much one might want them to.

Ash’s radio kicked on as the time ticked over to six-fifteen. Dimly, Slate knew he should have been getting up, too, but damned if he could find the energy to rise. Still fondling a leaf of the foxglove between his fingers, he listened to good old Patsy Cline singing about how she was crazy, crazy for feeling so blue. He thought — not crazy at all. It’s hell to be by yourself when you were promised forever.

He closed his eyes and remembered a certain morning when Ash had been the first to wake. Slate had still been asleep, drowsing past the sunlight’s first peek into the sky. Normally he was the one to rise earliest, but not this time. He remembered Ash’s warm arms sliding across him, the man molding himself to Slate’s side. They’d been playing Elvis that morning. “Love me tender,” Ash had sung into Slate’s ear, following it up with a nip to the lobe, then soothing the sting with the tip of his tongue. “Love me true…”

“And I do,” Slate had said. “Come here and give me a kiss.”

Ash had folded gladly into his arms. They were young and horny; it hadn’t been long before they’d been writhing against one another, hard cocks bumping together. He’d come just from the feeling of his lover on top of him, so desperate for him that neither of them had been able to wait.

Now, he woke in the same clothes he’d laid down in, on top of the covers instead of beneath them. Woke, if he’d slept at all, which to be frank, he hadn’t. Is this grief? he wondered. Is this mourning? The women push, push, pushed at him. But he had to deal with things in his own time, at his own pace.

Besides, he had some secret, certain plans they didn’t know about…

 

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Willa Okati is made of many things: imagination, coffee, stray cat hairs, daydreams, more coffee, kitchen experimentation, a passion for winter weather, a little more coffee, and a lifelong love of storytelling. She is definitely one of the quiet ones you have to watch out for.

You can reach Willa at willaokati@gmail.com.

Join Willa on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/willa.okati.

 

 

Wanderer’s Rest by Emily Carrington #shifters #GayRomance #PNR #NewRelease @CarringtonEmily @changelingpress

 

When Michael mates with a lusty hawk shifter he knows it’s for life.
But Garrett has other plans……

 

Wanderer's Rest (A Pack of His Own 3)

 

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres/Themes: Dark Fantasy, Paranormal, Gay, Shapeshifters, Werewolves

 

When Michael has sex with a lusty hawk shifter, he thinks they’re mated for life. However Garrett isn’t one of Michael’s people, and he doesn’t understand the traditions — and very real consequences — that go with having a good time in bed.

Will their forced mating ruin their lustful desires, or feed the flames instead?

Publisher’s Note: This book is part of a series, and is best read in order.

 

Get it at Changeling Press

 

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All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2018 Emily Carrington

Michael stood in the doorway to the bedroom where the unmated wolves of the eros pack to which he belonged slept. An eros pack was different from a straight one. The latter was, traditionally, composed of straight wolves who were full citizens, and LGBTQ, psychic wolves who were not. Eros packs had originally been invented to establish a place where psychic werewolves could be equals.

Michael scowled down at the body. His mind was taken up with werewolf history — namely description of packs — because he didn’t want to think about the task ahead: finding the assassin. Outside, the second or third snow of January was falling, but in here it was hot and the heat boosted the stench of blood, shit, and urine.

The wolf lying on the floor hadn’t been killed here. The drag marks left in the carpet were all too evident. So, the question was: where had he been killed? And who had murdered him?

Michael found himself praying that the murderer was from outside the Rowan pack even though the placement of the body made that unlikely. If the culprit was from within the Rowan pack —

But Michael cut off the thought cleanly there. This wasn’t the Rowan eros pack any longer. Rowan Alec was just over six months dead. This pack had no leader besides Michael, Rowan Alec’s beta, and no name except “formerly known as the Rowan pack.”
The artist formerly known as Prince. In spite of the situation, Michael smiled. It wasn’t as if he’d liked the wolf who had died. A troublemaker and an upstart, Joseph had been a thorn in Michael’s side even when Rowan Alec still lived. Too submissive to be a serious threat to most of the dominant wolves, Joseph had always been starting fights with the wolves ahead of him and the ones just beneath him in the pecking order.

Well, now someone had ended his troublesome existence and Michael wasn’t sorry to see him gone. But death in the pack meant danger, and he would not see this pack — Alec’s pack — fall apart. And besides, he thought as he began to follow the drag trail toward the back of the Rowan pack’s large, single story house, someone deserved to pay for Joseph’s death.

The trail of blood and other bodily fluids led outside. Michael trudged, barefoot and uncaring, into the snow. About three dozen steps from the house, close to the fence at the back of the property, he found the killing ground. It was mashed snow and mud, blood and gore. Michael couldn’t fathom why those who had killed Joseph had bothered to move his body into the house. After all, this was just as good a place for a corpse as any.

Unless, he thought, they wanted me to find it when I came in to do my daily check on Henry. The most submissive of Michael’s wolves, Henry had been slipping away little by little over the past half a year. Spending as much time on four paws as on two feet, Henry had been fired from his job for missing too much work. He’d stopped bathing on a regular basis and there was an unhealthy dullness to his fur. Michael had taken it upon himself to check on Henry every day when getting home shortly after five, and he usually found the submissive in the bedroom shared by the five — well, now four — unmated wolves.

Actually, there were still five, Michael being the fifth. But he’d reluctantly taken over Rowan Alec’s bedroom. Not because he thought he deserved it but because it was the expected thing. Rowan Alec had been unmated, but as alpha it was his prerogative to have his own room. And since Michael had stepped into Rowan Alec’s place, it had made sense to take over his space as well.

Maybe —

“I love you.”

— unmated by choice. Michael was disturbed by the thought that his alpha had loved him. Maybe it shouldn’t bother him now that Rowan Alec was gone but it did. Not because Michael wasn’t attracted to male wolves; he was aroused by both genders. But because, frankly, Rowan Alec had been too dominant to be Michael’s type.

Forcing himself back to the present, Michael scented around the killing ground until he discovered the identities of the two wolves who had teamed up to kill Joseph. They were wolves in the Rowan — in Michael’s pack, and he sighed. He would have to deal with them. He needed to find out why they’d killed Joseph. They were just above him in the hierarchy. Surely no matter how offensive Joseph hadn’t deserved the ignoble fate of being set upon by two wolves more powerful than he. Any fight that had reached killing level should have been brought to Michael to settle.

I hope none of our neighbors saw the murder. Especially since Joseph was in human form when he was killed. Michael would have to call in professionals, SearchLight operatives, to clean up any loose ends, meaning humans who had seen too much. At least I know the right SearchLight agent to call.

Michael trudged back toward the house after considering the killing ground for another moment and deciding he’d have to ask the cleanup crew to take care of that as well. The only good thing was that the wolves who had killed Joseph weren’t in the house. Michael wouldn’t have to deal with them until they got home.

Assuming they come home. He sighed. That was a bit of food he wouldn’t chew until he had to.

He found himself wishing those specific wolves would do something stupid and force either SearchLight or Firos William, leader of all North American werewolves, to end their miserable existences. Just so I don’t have to kill two friends.

 

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Emily Carrington has been writing m/m erotic romance (specializing in urban fantasy) since 2010. She is currently branching out into the other letters of the LGBTQ rainbow. She lives in Maryland with her guide dog. For short stories about the main and side characters in her books, please visit her website.

Website: emilycarrington.com/

Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/4619715.Emily_Carrington

Facebook: facebook.com/emily.carrington.370

Twitter twitter.com/CarringtonEmily

The Recruit by Julia Talbot #GayRomance #NewRelease #PNR #shifters @changelingpress @juliatalbot

 

One wolf who’s lost everything. One kitty who doesn’t play well with others.
One hell of a team.

 

The Recruit (Alpha Squad 1)

 

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres/Themes: Paranormal, Gay, Men in Uniform, Shapeshifters, Werewolves

 

When Alpha Ops team leader Tuck’s last mission goes terribly wrong, he and his team are put on hiatus until they can get their proverbial stuff together. His guys are starting to get restless, and a bear shifter, a couple of predatory birds, and a fox can be pretty impatient when they’re bored. When their benefactor decides a new team member will be their salvation, Tuck has no choice but to accept.

Jayden isn’t interested in working with a team who really wants nothing more than to kick his butt. As a cougar shifter, he’s perfectly happy to work alone. So why does Tuck make him want to stay? The two of them have to find a way to work out their issues, or the team may never get another job. Good thing they have enough attraction to keep them going, even when everything else is going off the tracks.

 

Get it at Changeling Press

 

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All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2018 Julia Talbot

Jayden Fell bounced as he waited for his contact. He was so fucking bored. So bored. He needed to do something, anything that was fun and exciting and… Look at that. That was a pretty man. Lupine, he’d bet, bitchy, but pretty. Fuckable.

The guy was moving slow, looking around. Cautious.

Whoa. Looking for him, he’d bet.

Jayden wondered how long it would take. He could tell the moment the man scented him. That big body vibrated with awareness. “Come out, come out, wherever you are.” He chuckled softly, his ears twitching. Not yet. This was too much fun.

The guy turned in a circle, frowning. “Look, I’m supposed to meet a contact here, but a member of my team died last time out, so I’m a little twitchy. Show yourself before I start shooting shadows.”

“That sucks. I mean, you can shoot at me, but that wouldn’t be very friendly.”

“I’m not feeling friendly.” Listen to that growl.

“Goodie.” Jayden didn’t need this shit. He wasn’t a fucking applicant. He was supposed to have this contract already.

“Where the hell are you?” The man turned and looked right at his hiding spot.

“Are you blind or am I that good?” He slid out of the shadows, letting himself be seen.
That got him an even deeper scowl. “Just give me whatever information I’m supposed to get from you.”

He let one eyebrow lift. “Obviously we’re waiting for the same thing, then. Information.”

“What?” Dark eyebrows rose high. “You’re the courier.”

“The courier? Me? Hardly.”

“Then who are you?”

“I was told you were my pick up. Tucker, yes?”

“That’s me.” Tucker drew up, still frowning. “Who the fuck are you?”

“Obviously in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Time to hasta. Jayden wasn’t sure what had gone wrong, but it sure had.

Tuck grabbed his arm. “No. Tell me.”

“Hands off, pup.” He growled softly, giving a clear warning. “I don’t need to be fucked with.”

“Then tell me what the hell you were told. I can’t leave without whatever you were supposed to give me.” The voice was more wolf than man now.

“I was told my team leader was picking me up for training with a new team. Nothing more.”

“Team leader…” Tuck went ice cold. He pulled out a phone, punching numbers furiously. Yeah. Time to get the hell out of Dodge. Whatever this was, he didn’t need some FUBAR shit.

“Yeah. No. Get me Daniel, you fucking lying cat.” Tuck was snarling, but watching him hard.

“I’m out of here. Obviously, someone’s wires are crossed.”

“No.” The word shot out like a bullet. “You wait. If you’re on a team it’s mine, so you follow my orders anyway.”

“If your boss doesn’t trust you enough to tell you he hired a new guy, I’m out.” A team was only as strong as the lead.

“Did you not hear me?” The wolf was in his path in a heartbeat, still holding the phone to his ear. “You’re not going anywhere until I get to the bottom of this.”

“I heard you.” He just didn’t care. Two totally different things.

One hand landed on his chest when he made to pass by. The touch was like grabbing an electric fence. He blinked up, stunned into stillness. What the actual fuck?

Those golden-brown eyes flashed at him, surprise plain, but then someone came on the line of the phone Tuck held. “What the fuck? Sending me a new team member and having Lucien lie?”

The heavy brow lowered, and then his teeth bared. “I won’t do this bullshit. This isn’t how this works. If I can’t trust you… if Lucien’s being fed shit intel…”

Someone talked for a good long while on the other end, making the Tuck guy look like he was going to explode. “Then just send the right information from now on. Jesus. I take it this means we’re back in the field?”

Oh no. Nope. No way. He wasn’t going to be whatever this was. No way. He felt like he was a pawn, somehow. Jayden didn’t like that feeling. Too often it made for bullet holes in flesh.

Which burned. Like whoa. He was the anti-fan.

“Fill Lucien in on the real sit-rep, please? Assholes.” Tuck hung up, then stared at him. “New team member. Christ.”

“Apparently not. No harm no foul, man. I got no intel on you, and you got none on me. We’re solid.” Why would someone put him where he wasn’t wanted?

“No.” Tuck blocked his escape again. “My team doesn’t run in the field without you, and I’m not letting them down. Get your ass moving.”

Jayden let one eyebrow lift, let himself sink into pure D insubordination. “No.”

 

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Julia Talbot lives in the great Southwest, where she’s embraced hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Torquere Press, Ellora’s Cave, and Changeling Press. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved.

Find Julia at @juliatalbot on Twitter, her website at www.juliatalbot.com, at Cafe Risque http://caferisque.blogspot.com andhttp://changelingpress.com/author.php?uid=66 at Changeling Press.