Release Blitz: Melting the Ice Witch by Mell Eight #paranormal #LGBTQ @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Melting the Ice Witch

Series: Dragon’s Hoard, Book Four

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/18/2022

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 27400

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, mythical creatures, dragon shifters, witches, tundra

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Description

The Tribe of the White Dragon has lived in the frozen wastes of the north for thousands of years, but they are slowly dying without their dragon to protect them from the inhospitable cold.

In desperation, they kidnap Kam, hoping to use him to breed witch power back into the Tribe. But Kam is not a witch, and there is nothing he can do to save them—until he sees the white dragon encased in ice and all alone and a chain reaction is set off that may save them after all.

Excerpt

Melting the Ice Witch
Mell Eight © 2022
All Rights Reserved

“In the before times, when the cold ice and biting wind were welcoming to our kind, dragons flew,” the old storyteller warbled. The man was bent and gray, and his crabbed hands shook on his gnarled staff, but his voice still held the power that had made him the storyteller of the Tribe in his youth.

“The golden dragon rained fire and melted the ice, and the white dragon taught the Tribe the spells to survive the difficult, yet beautiful, climate. Together, the gold and white kept these plains of ice tamed, and the Tribe survived in plenty.”

The old man’s voice reached Kam even from the other side of the fire. Warmth in the ice wastes was hard to come by, especially for one not of the Tribe, so Kam appreciated his place near the flickering flames. His brown hair was city short, which meant his ears and neck were exposed to the cold wind. The barbarians all had hair that reached well down their backs, tied in intricate braids with feathers and stones woven throughout. None had hair more elaborate than Lor, the man with the snow-white hair and ice blue eyes who had the seat of honor next to the storyteller.

“But—” The storyteller’s voice darkened, and Kam felt his chest clench at the ominous tone. “—such times were not meant to last. The golden one gathered his followers around him and declared that for the happiness of dragon-kind they must separate themselves from the wars of humans. No more deaths of dragons, was the golden one’s goal, but the white dragon disagreed with his methods.

“They fought with their words, their arguments echoing through the icy canyons, but neither would back down. The white dragon knew that to abandon the humans was to allow the Tribe, his hoard, to die in the ice wastes. But the golden one wished to keep his kin alive and to do so he needed to rule the humans, not be ruled by human whim.

“The best of friends, and possibly lovers, the golden dragon and the white dragon never spoke again. All but the white dragon flew south, where the plains are formed of grass rather than ice. There they settled in the mountains. They built a city for the humans in the foothills. And the white dragon withdrew to the ice caves, alone.”

The storyteller bowed his head in sadness, but Lor’s piercing eyes scanned the assembled members of the Tribe.

“So we survive.” Lor continued the story. His voice was strong, but as the leader of the Tribe, he had to be. Lor was the tallest and most muscular of all the barbarians, and he was the only witch the clan still had. “Bereft of the dragons who allowed us life in the barren waste of ice and snow, the Tribe learned new ways to survive. We adapted, so after tens of thousands of years, we still live.” Kam looked around at the assembled Tribe and frowned. There were barely sixty people of all ages and genders still remaining in the circle around the fire. He had learned that there was another clan to the northwest with equal numbers. But most alarmingly, there were only two witches left: Lor and the man named Bay who led the other clan. There were no female witches to pass the traits on, nor had any of Lor’s children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren shown any aptitude during Lor’s hundreds of years of life.

The Tribe was dying.

That was why Kam had been brought north. The only way to invigorate the clans was to breed more witch blood into the lines. The hope was if Kam were to have a child with one of the descendants of Lor, maybe a child with powers could be born. But Kam wasn’t a witch, and he hadn’t exactly been asked before he was kidnapped and taken to the ice wastes.

“We live and we are strong,” Lor continued. “The Tribe of the White Dragon does not fade away!”

The barbarians cheered loudly around Kam, but Kam didn’t join them. As the assemblage broke up, Kam returned to his small tent. Once the barbarians had been sure he wouldn’t run away—as if there were some way to survive in the endless ice wastes for a city-bred boy—they had given Kam his own space. The tent was small, with barely enough room for bedding and a small wooden chest filled with the meager belongings he had accumulated in the last few weeks, but it was heavy with furs and thick woolen blankets that kept the cold and the wind out. Kam curled up in his bed, glad when his blankets began to warm with his body heat, and closed his eyes.

The barbarians were nice enough despite the fact that he couldn’t give them what they wanted. And it was better than being back in the city. Kam went to sleep with that thought firmly in mind. As much as he had disliked being kidnapped and taken to the barren north, it was still better than what he endured in the city. His thoughts focused on those times as he drifted to sleep.

«

“Kam, Kam, the witchery man,” the kids sang as Kam walked past them. He ducked his head, but otherwise kept himself from acknowledging their taunts. His mother hadn’t exactly been discreet with her passions, and lying with the resident witch had supposedly produced Kam. Since the man in question was a charlatan and his mother had never actually said he was Kam’s father before they both died…well, all that didn’t matter to everyone else. To them, Kam had witch blood, and in his part of the city, he was someone to be ridiculed.

Kam pushed his way into the small shop where he worked. The bell jingled overhead.

“Kameron, you’re late!” the harpy who was his boss screeched from behind the front counter. As usual, the place was dirty and the goods covered the shelves with haphazard organization. The sour smell that had appeared early last week had only grown worse overnight.

“Sorry, ma’am,” Kam murmured, ducking his head further as he wended his way through the mishmash stacks of random goods and into the back room. The pawnshop bought and sold everything. Sailors on leave after making the journey down the Great River came to the shop to sell what they could so they would have the funds to drink and carouse in the bars and whorehouses that also populated that part of the docks.

It was Kam’s job to clean and fix those often grimy and broken items so the owner could in turn sell them for profit to a higher quality pawnshop in the northern part of the city. It paid well for the woman, but Kam only saw a few coins a week for his work. As the witchery man he was lucky to have a job, so as much as Kam wished, there was no way he could find better prospects.

Kam worked hard for his pay, and at the end of the day his hands ached, but his quota was met. He left the shop at dusk and hurried home. He couldn’t tarry, because the docks became very dangerous after dark, and since his rent was due, he couldn’t afford to stop for dinner anyway.

He walked up the three flights of rickety stairs to his tiny apartment. It was one room, barely large enough to hold his threadbare bedding and one change of clothes, but it was a place to sleep. He had left one window cracked while he was away so the three cats that had crept in during the previous night could leave if they wished. The family of mice that lived under his floorboards were running about, so Kam was careful where he placed his feet as he walked over to collapse on his blanket.

One of the mice climbed up onto his pillow and gently nuzzled him on the nose. The mouse was hungry, too, and was probably looking for crumbs, but Kam appreciated the meager comfort his small friend could provide. Kam smiled, despite his rumbling stomach, as he slowly fell asleep.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

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

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Release Blitz: Storm Warrior by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott #FantasyRomance #Gay @GoIndiMarketing @DrakeandElliott

Title: Storm Warrior

Series: Weavers Circle#5

Author: Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Publisher: Drake & Elliott Publishing LLC

Release Date: January 14, 2022

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 80k

Genre: Romance, Fantasy

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Synopsis

Hale Anderson

The Air Weaver.

He was the freaking Air Weaver. Not exactly what he expected when he got kidnapped by the pestilents, but Hale’s good rolling with the punches.

He can take a little time away from his pursuit of a doctorate in astrophysics to save the world.

Except that the final spell is poised to kill all the Weavers and their last hope lies with him finding his soul mate.

Hale doesn’t want a soul mate. He just wants Harrison.

Harrison William Davenport III

As the Keeper of the Heart of the Earth, Harrison must bring the final key to the Weavers if they’re to stop the pestilents.

He’s trained for this task his entire life. And he’s prepared to die just like his father did with the last generation of the Weavers.

But what if saving the world isn’t enough anymore?

What if the only thing that matters is saving Hale?

Storm Warrior is the final book in The Weavers Circle series. It includes fast-paced action, a dangerous cross-country roadtrip, dirty fun in tents, flying, bi-awakening sexy times, animal shenanigans, nerdy talk about the stars, jealousy, three crazy old ladies, magic, and a fight to save the world!

Excerpt

Bullets whizzed through the air closer to him with two shots digging into a column not far from his head. He whipped the gun around to spot where two pestilents were running toward him with guns drawn. Hale gasped and backpedaled. He squeezed the trigger, but nothing happened. Shit. The safety.

He fumbled with the little switch, but it was the pounding of feet racing his way from the other end of the porch that caught his attention. A tall man in a suit with raven-black hair and a stern expression was racing to him. Wow. Gorgeous. He was simply gorgeous.

So gorgeous in fact, that it took Hale an extra second to realize the man had a gun in each hand.

Fuck! He was only starting to swing the gun toward the man when he fired off several shots right past Hale. The Air Weaver spun to see the bullets hit their marks in three pestilents, killing them instantly.

The stranger saved him. What the—

“What are you doing out here if you don’t know how to protect yourself?” the gorgeous man shouted.

Hale took a breath to say something, but he wasn’t quite sure what. His brain wasn’t working, and his tongue was all tied up. He was overwhelmed. He generally wasn’t the type of person who got overwhelmed, but that described him in the middle of the bloody chaos.

Which was probably why it was so easy for the man to holster one of the guns, grab his wrist, and pull him back into the house.

Hale stumbled after him, trying to get his brain to process the events happening. The man turned toward the left but only glanced in the dining room before sneering at something and moving to the right. He made the same face when he peered into the library.

“Too many damn windows.” Twisting to face Hale, he jerked his arm as if trying to get his attention, but the stranger had all of Hale’s available brain capacity at this point. “What room doesn’t have a lot of doors or windows?”

Well, there was the downstairs half bath that had no windows, but there was no way he was getting shoved into that room, with or without the sexy man.

“The-the armory has no windows and only two doors,” he stammered at first, but finished, proud that he’d clearly remembered the room.

The stranger blinked, seeming surprised to hear the house had an honest-to-goddess armory, but he recovered fast enough. “Good. Take me there.”

Hale hesitated and sniffed the air. “You’re not a pestilent.”

The man gasped, looking appropriately horrified. “Of course not!” Well, that was a plus for him. Not only was he human, but he also knew what a pestilent was.

“Then who the hell are you?” Hale had already met all the Weavers, mates, and goddesses. He couldn’t even begin to guess who this handsome yet scary person was.

“A friend of the Weavers. The goddesses sent for me. Now, the armory? Where is it?”

Oh! That was much better. The guys had never mentioned the goddesses sending in more help, but they certainly needed it.

Hale took the lead, hurrying down the hall toward the armory. There was one main entrance to the room and a set of narrow French doors that connected to the front porch. That made the space much easier to protect.

The man’s quick dark eyes darted across the long table filled with weapons. He released Hale only when he had his back shoved against a bookcase in the far corner that gave him a good view of both doors. The man then moved to the French doors and peered out between the thin white curtains.

“Which of them are you?” the man inquired.

“Hale. Hale Anderson. I just arrived. I’m the Air Weaver.”

The stranger’s head slowly turned toward Hale. His eyes were wide, and his face had become incredibly pale. The bloodbath outside had not disturbed him, but something about what Hale had said had clearly shaken him.

“It’s true,” he whispered. “The Weavers Circle is finally complete.”

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Meet the Author

Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments. Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.

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Release Blitz: Someone to Watch Over Me by Libby Simone #LGBTQ #contemporaryromance #BDSM @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing @libby_simone

Title: Someone to Watch Over Me

Author: Libby Simone

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/11/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 63900

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, crime, gay, pansexual, BDSM, porn star, private detective, film set, porn industry, voyeurism, blackmail

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Description

Arthur Adams takes his job seriously, keeping good guys safe and investigating bad guys. When his company is hired to secure the set for a film crew, the job seems straightforward, if not simple. Of course, the films are adult and graphic, so the situation can get hard fast. And it does.

Kit is an adult film star and an anomaly: he’s educated, experienced, and in the business for the fun of it. The seedy realities of his world reveal themselves, however, as his ex’s behavior grows more threatening. Unfortunately, the ex is wealthy and well connected in addition to being a stalker.

As Arthur watches Kit more closely, he finds it more difficult to look away.

The threats against the production become increasingly worrisome as Arthur’s team digs into the background of a rival studio, and they become personal as he unpeels Kit’s layers. As the case uncovers abusers, traffickers, and would-be murderers, all of Arthur’s skills and resources will be put to the test.

Excerpt

Someone to Watch Over Me
Libby Simone © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Arthur wraps a hand around his coffee mug and pulls apart the brittle beige window blinds to peer out at the street below. The morning is cool, even after the fog lifts. People pass quickly, hands in pockets. They do not look up. Steam radiates from the back of the newsstand across the street, and Arthur takes a sip, watching it curl and dissipate.

The building is mostly empty today. The pipes squeak upstairs, and something scurries in the walls. Business has been slow. Business is always slow.

“Get in here, Arthur.”

“Coming.” He leaves the window and sets the mug on his desk, which he sidesteps to make his way to the door. He turns the corner and steps over the uneven floor plank. He scratches his elbow and raises an eyebrow. “What do you need?”

Maurice leans forward in his desk chair and fixes Arthur with an impassive gaze. His office smells of Big Red and sulfur, and he scribbles onto a steno pad with a stubby yellow pencil. Arthur leans against the doorframe and watches. The desk is cluttered, as usual, with a gas station coffee cup, photographs, and the morning paper. Maurice gestures to a seat, and Arthur shakes his head. “I’ll stand,” he says, provoking an annoyed glare.

“Suit yourself.” Maurice runs his hand across the desktop. It’s easily the sturdiest piece of furniture in the place, bought secondhand from an auction at the old library. They had to haul it in through the window, and Arthur is convinced someday it will fall through the floor. It hasn’t yet. It probably won’t until Maurice retires and he’s sitting behind it instead. “Client coming by in a few minutes. I’m putting you on this one.”

“This early?”

“It’s nearly ten.”

Arthur shrugs. “Philandering husband or wife?”

“Neither. Guard duty.”

“Guard duty? Why would I—”

“Because I’m assigning this one to you.”

“Maurice—”

“It’s going to require coordination with an outside security team.”

“You know I don’t like—”

“I don’t give a damn what you like, son. You’re good at it, and I’m assigning you the case. That’s the end of the story. You got something to say?”

“No.” Arthur grinds his teeth.

Maurice nods and unwraps a fresh piece of chewing gum. “Let her in when she arrives. And clear your datebook.” He snorts at his joke.

“Anything I should know first?”

“I’d hate to spoil the surprise.”

The surprise arrives promptly at ten, as if she waited outside the frosted glass door until the turn of the hour. She is striking, with coal-black hair and piercing blue eyes, outlined dark despite it being a weekday. She wears a tidy knit suit with a well-tailored skirt and silk shirt buttoned high on her neck. “Therese Spielman,” she says, shaking his hand. Her skin is ice cold, and her grip is tight. “Pleasure.” She doesn’t smile, but most people don’t when they hire a private investigator. Arthur leads her to Maurice.

“Welcome. Please, have a seat.” The vinyl on the chairs splits and flakes, but they’re serviceable. If Therese notices, she’s too polite to complain.

“You’re the gentleman I spoke to on the phone.” She glances from him to Arthur and lifts a meticulous eyebrow.

“Yes,” Maurice says, “I’m the one you talked to. This is Arthur. He’s my number one.”

“I see. Very militaristic.”

Maurice tilts his head in a nod. It’s easy to spot, even if Arthur no longer calls him by rank. “You said you want someone who can coordinate your security team. Arthur’s the man for the job.”

She looks him up and down. “I see.”

Arthur clears his throat. “And what exactly is the job?”

“We make films, Mister—”

“Adams. You make films? Here?”

“We are a long way from Hollywood, it’s true. But, yes, I assure you, we make films too.”

“They’re pornographers, Art.”

“Huh. Okay.”

Therese watches him and purposefully nods. “You’ll do.” She looks him up and down again. “You’ll do nicely, and if that”—she pointedly looks down—“matches the rest of you, I may have even more work for you than securing our warehouse.”

“Warehouse?”

“Am I done here?” she asks.

“Yes.” Maurice smiles. “Thank you, Ms. Spielman.”

“I’ll see myself out.”

Arthur finally takes a seat. “What’s going on? Guarding a porn shoot at a warehouse? You’re serious?”

Maurice shrugs and unwraps another piece of gum. He takes out his chewed piece and sticks it to the lid of the coffee cup. “I tried to get details over the phone, but she’s prickly as fuck, and cagey. Said they’ve received some threats—notes and letters warning them to close up shop or else. Looks like the whole thing probably has something to do with a rival company. She’s worried about a stalker. They’re shooting for two weeks in the warehouse district, down by the docks. Basically, she doesn’t want questions asked; she said she just wants”—he reads from a note—“‘a smooth production schedule.’”

“Huh.” Arthur drums his fingers on his leg. “Two weeks for porn?”

“I’m not sure that’s the relevant question.”

“You’re right. Why do they need extra security? What rival company?”

“Now you see why you’re on the job.”

“Tell me about the threats.”

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Libby Simone lives in Kansas City, where she learns for a living and writes for fun. When she isn’t designing research or napping, she can be found taking long walks, people watching, and dreaming up different worlds.

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Release Blitz: Returning Heroes by Harry F. Rey #LGBTQ #SciFiRomance #Aliens @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Returning Heroes

Series: The Galactic Captains, Book Six

Author: Harry F. Rey

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/11/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 83100

Genre: SciFi, LGBTQIA+, action,adventure, aliens, dark, MM romance, #ownvoices, royalty, sci-fi, futuristic, space, folklore, gods, intercultural, interspecies, war of worlds

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Description

Captain Ales has returned to the galaxy, forever changed as the powers have prepared for war. He’ll accept help from anyone if it leads to the mysterious Turo from whose cage Ales must free himself if he ever wants to return to the Red Moon.

Meanwhile Daeron has been offered the deal of a lifetime by the ruler of the Seven Suns. Marry Osvai, the Kyleri prince, and become heir to the richest star-state in the galaxy while raising an army to restore the prince to his rightful place as Emperor of the Million Suns.

But Viscamon’s grip on Jiwani has only tightened as the nobles imprisoned in the Royal Baths still refuse to bow to the immortal’s cataclysmic theology of destroying the Galactic Balance. It seems the only way for Imperial Guard Captain Antari to avoid a massacre is outright treachery.

While dynasties play galactic politics, the Outer Verge is being torn apart. From a prison cell, Mahnoor watches The Rip destroying Targuline, until the Kyleri rebels offer him the chance to save himself by flying into the heart of danger. He might even become Jansen’s most unlikely hero.

Heroes and villains run riot around the galaxy, unleashing destructive forces and sliding the great powers toward a war from which no one will be safe.

Excerpt

Returning Heroes
Harry F. Rey © 2022
All Rights Reserved

The sleek, spacious travel pod sliced through the swirling burnt-orange clouds of Bazman. Daeron edged forward on the puffed, pillowy chair that consistently failed to relax him. He tugged at the high collar of his pure-white Dalvian silk jacket—yet another gift from President Ezreal. He stared out the window at the spindly towers stretching in and out of the clouds above and below. The teeming city-world of Bazman, capital of the Confederation of the Seven Suns, supposedly the richest star-state in the Shakti Democria, was to Daeron no better than any of the thousands of worlds he’d been on. The rich lived above, flying around in these perfumed and carpeted pods, while the poor shuffled in and out of a noxious atmosphere far below.

Daeron could go anywhere he wanted on Bazman; no store, restaurant, menagerie, or cultural complex was too exclusive for President Ezreal’s new favorite son. Six weeks ago, they’d barely escaped the Kyleri fleet which had blown up Aldegar’s megacollider. Daeron and the remaining crew of the Daring Huntress chased Turo and the double-crossing Ezi into the Shakti Nebula, only to end up invited to land here by Ezreal’s security forces. On Bazman, where he could go anywhere at all, just not leave.

“What’s wrong now, Daeron?” Osvai said, relaxing in his similarly styled—but all black—Dalvian silk suit. The missing heir to the Kyleri Empire sipped on a Lactarian malt from a crystal glass while grinning at an entertainment package broadcast on the holoscreen in front of his seat. Lest His Imperial Majesty get bored in the half hour it takes to get from Bazman’s presidential palace to the restaurant opening. Daeron glanced over at the prince who was now biting his lip to keep from laughing at the holovid. Daeron watched for a moment. He’d never seen anything so stupid.

“What’s so funny about people walking into things? It’s cruel.”

Osvai wasn’t listening. He gasped in laughter as some poor unsuspecting holo-person had a pile of trash dumped on their head. Daeron flung himself against the seat, but it only absorbed the shock and began to massage his lower back. Daeron could huff all he wanted, but Osvai had stopped caring about what bothered Daeron. He stroked his thick black beard, forgetting it was still glistening in the fancy oils Osvai made him use. Daeron wiped his greasy hand on the plush arm of the chair and returned to staring out the window at the traffic lanes of pods gliding through the clouds and between the towers—with no end and no beginning.

“Are Xenia and the rest of the crew coming tonight?” Daeron asked, breathing slowly through his nose, trying to let the fury of being stuck in a gilded prison subside. It wasn’t going anywhere. Just like him.

“They left.”

Daeron spun on the chair to face Osvai.

“They…left?”

“Yeah. Didn’t I tell you?” Osvai said, not looking up from the holovid. Daeron yanked at the silk collar constricting his neck, and it let out a satisfying rip.

“No…you didn’t tell me. That was…my crew. My ship.” Daeron was doing everything in his power to stay calm, but he knew his string was about to snap. Maybe if Osvai understood that, they wouldn’t spend half their nights screaming at each other in their apartment in the presidential palace.

“I guess they went to meet your mom.” Osvai drained his glass, then stretched and placed it inside an alcove grooved into the wall where a nozzle filled it back up. “Isn’t it her crew again now she’s back?”

Daeron fell into a sulking silence at the mention of his mom. Maybe Osvai knew him better than he thought. Because the moment Captain Sanya was raised, Daeron shut down. It had been weeks since she and that Tevian girlfriend of hers, Sallah, had crossed back through the horizon point with her brat, Ales. Had they come to see him? No. Daeron had only learned their mission had been successful from the newscasts. The returning hero Captain Ales, who apparently had an Ingvarian fleet at his disposal now, as well as the entire Outer Verge, had been spotted at the Mayo resort in the Central Star States. After their collective trauma, Captain Sanya, Sallah, and Ales had decided to play happy families and treat themselves to a little vacation at one of the most expensive systems in the galaxy.

It hurt Daeron hard. He’d still not seen her. Not even a holovid call. He stretched out his hand and opened his palm-tech to flick through the only messages his mom had sent since she’d returned.

The megacollider is gone then?

Yeah, as if a rebel Kyleri fleet blowing up an ancient sphere surrounding an entire sun had been his fault. Then, loving, motherly message number two.

Why is Osvai not back on Jiwani? And you lost Turo? Can’t you do anything right?

Good point. Why was Osvai not back on Jiwani?

“Don’t you care at all?” Daeron snapped, spitting his frustrations at Osvai. The prince finally looked up from the holovid, staring back with those thin eyes and sunset skin that Daeron couldn’t deny filled him with lust. Even if he was perpetually pissed off at him.

“Care about what, Daeron?”

“Your fucking empire.” Daeron stood up, kicking the chair hard so it spun like a ship out of control. Osvai drained his glass again and, with an overly audible sigh, came over to Daeron and slid his small arms as far around Daeron as they could go. But Daeron wriggled out of his half hug and slunk to the back of the pod, watching the dusty clouds spinning like a vortex as they flew.

“What do you want me to do, Daeron? Fight Viscamon for my throne with what army, exactly?”

“My mom said to take you home.”

“Oh, your mom said. It’s always the same story with you, Daeron. Your mom says you have to stay on Jiwani with a father you never knew, and you stayed. Your mom says look after me until I’m back on Jiwani, and you blame me for staying in the one place in the galaxy no one’s trying to kill me!”

Here we go. Another screaming match.

“Can we not do this now?” Daeron said, arms folded and his back to Osvai. “The president invited us to this restaurant opening, and since he’s the one keeping you safe and letting us stay for free, we don’t need you getting drunk and making a scene.”

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry, more drunk.”

Osvai sucked in a short breath. If they’d learned one thing about each other since escaping Jiwani together on the night of Osvai’s father, Emperor Kantori’s, assassination, it was how to push each other’s buttons.

“When was the last time you saw Xenia?” Osvai asked, lathered in bitterness. “Or Tal, or Bindi? Or even Voros? When was it? Kaj’s memorial service?”

“Shut up, Osvai.”

“You haven’t asked about them in weeks. So don’t pretend you didn’t know they’d leave. You didn’t want to know.”

“I said shut up!”

“You can say I’m afraid all you want. And yes, I am afraid of going back to Jiwani when Viscamon is imprisoning nobles until he’s blackmailed enough to crown himself emperor. That’s a normal thing to be scared of. But you—”

“Osvai, I’m fucking warning you.” Daeron spun around to see him sauntering around the pod with a look of victory splashed across his face.

“You might look like a big scary man, Daeron, but you’re just a little boy. Afraid of what his mommy will say.”

Daeron had already exploded. Fury prickled his body; sweat soaked the suit. He’d throw Osvai out of this pod if he could. His fists clamped together, ready to test just how much of a punch this glass could take.

“You have arrived at your destination,” the pod’s soft female voice said with a ding. “Have a pleasant evening.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Harry F. Rey is an author and lover of gay themed stories with a powerful punch with influences ranging from Alan Hollinghurst to Isaac Asimov to George R.R. Martin. He loves all things sci-fi and supernatural, and always with a gay twist. Harry is originally from the UK but lives in Jerusalem, Israel with his husband.

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Release Blitz: The Gemini Strand by L. J. Hasbrouck #sciencefiction #gay #dystopia @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: The Gemini Strand

Author: L.J. Hasbrouck

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 12/28/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 91600

Genre: Science Fiction, sci fi, family-drama, futuristic, dystopia, gay, ace, professional assassin, cloning, Mars

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Description

Life on Mars is no fairy tale for Morgan, a scrappy adventurer who plunders Earth’s carcass in search of loot—and evidence of an elusive scientist. She hopes he can cure her father’s dementia, but instead he kidnaps her father and flees into the deceptive dreamlands of Mars. During her frantic search to locate them, Morgan begins experiencing strange hallucinations that make her think she’s losing her mind.

Meanwhile, Nil, a tormented killer struggling to repress his humanity, thinks his hallucinations are a flaw in his system. Soon his pesky emotions roar back to life, throwing a dagger into the whole “cold-blooded assassin” thing. While he pursues his next mark, a witty hacker trying to save Nil’s other victims, he battles with his disorienting visions and burgeoning emotions.

What he doesn’t realize is that he’s falling in love for the first time—and the hacker he’s falling for is also the scientist who kidnapped Morgan’s father.

Drawn together by their common target, Morgan and Nil harness their mysterious visions to find each other amidst holographic recreations of Oz, Wonderland, Neverland, Atlantis, and Camelot. Before she loses her father forever, Morgan must work with a killer and kidnapper to discover the sinister truth behind her father’s illness and her bond with Nil. And Nil is forced to decide between protecting the man he loves and helping the girl he’s inexplicably linked to.

Because they share more than disorienting hallucinations—and what they share will change everything they thought they knew about themselves.

Excerpt

The Gemini Strand
L.J. Hasbrouck © 2021
All Rights Reserved

NIL

I don’t know why I kill. I’m ordered to, true, and it’s all I’ve been trained to do. I’m good at it.

But that doesn’t mean I like it.

Lately, I’ve been losing my touch. Each time I suffer an emotional episode, my handler remedies it by sending me in for reconditioning. The guilt goes away, my efficiency improves, and the nightmares stop.

But the guilt always returns. And so do the nightmares.

Up to the point I awoke at the Guild’s headquarters, all I remembered was a dim, murky muddle of nonexistence. My eyes opened to a roomful of shadows. Vague shapes hovered over me, surrounding me in a nebulous circle. My vision remained hazy, my awareness cloudy—I mistook what would be my first memory for a chilling dream.

“Good morning, my son,” a cold but cajoling voice said. Lilith. My handler. “Your slate has been wiped clean. Let’s see if you do better this time.”

I was floating. But when I moved my arms, I displaced something thicker than air: water. My bare, pale limbs drifted in the translucent pool. Reflecting on it now, it was my birth. And the darkness delivered me.

Which makes Lilith the closest thing I have to a mother.

Tonight, she’s ordered me to slip into the Emerald City, Oz’s entertainment subdistrict. The buildings are green and glittery, disorienting like the rest of Mars’s vast and vacuous districts. Citizens stumble along a yellow brick road nestled between fields of red and pink poppies. A tiny dog frolics through the field alongside his mistress, an adolescent girl in a gingham dress and silver slippers. She darts in front of me, but I walk right through her. The image shimmers, light particles interrupted by my mass, until she reassembles and skips off without a sound.

None of it is real. It’s a projection, both literally and metaphorically, an idealized vision of our world according to the minds who invented it. A fantasy brought to life. All I’d have to do to destroy it is smash the lenses installed on the construction’s framework, strip the taciturn gray structures of all their glimmering emerald, and reveal the ordinary bricks beneath the yellow. Dorothy and Toto would disappear. The poppy fields would vanish, expose barren cayenne clay and ashen rock.

At least shadows are real. Honest. I slink into them, darting between hologram-cloaked buildings and grappling to the rooftops. Ads promising the improbable—the cure for any ailment, all at the low cost of submitting yourself to the Pantheon’s experiments—glint and glitch at the skyline’s zenith. I set up a zipline to the adjacent roof and grapple from rooftop to rooftop, leaving as many lines as I can in my wake. Haste isn’t necessary when entering the target zone, but a speedy exit is crucial.

As I traverse the rooftops, I scan for thermal signatures beneath and behind me. No one’s noticed me. Good. Though I pass several Bouncers patrolling below me on the street, they’re all underneath the Guild’s thumb and therefore instructed to ignore us. Even if a civilian sees me, they’d never see my face again—or see it at all. I use a different shroud on every job, but I sometimes leave them turned off in lieu of the full black bodysuit, which means I resemble some subverted superhero creeping and swinging through the night, mask and all. Not the most outlandish sight on Mars, believe it or not.

I send Isabeau off to survey the area around the soaring spires of the Emerald Castle, my target’s last known location. The synthetic falcon launches from my shoulder, wings shimmering as she slices through light beams shining in the air. I close an eye and perceive what she sees, one camera transmitting an image to another. This eye isn’t mine; it’s a replacement implanted with a chip. I don’t recall how I lost mine, but Lilith says it had something to do with the traumatic incident that sabotaged my memories.

I’m not sure I believe her, but I can’t question the woman who controls my life—unless I want to risk losing it.

Isabeau perches on a ledge outside the building. She monitors the area through a faux stained-glass window, her viewpoint displaying in my cybernetically enhanced eye. Inside the Emerald Castle, writhing clubgoers surround my mark.

I activate my shroud and shimmy down the side of the building with my grappling hook. The regulator installed in my chest controls the speed my heart beats at, keeping my pulse and temperature low at all times. Makes it tougher for thermal imaging and pulse readers to pick up on my signal. There shouldn’t be many people around with tech that can outdo mine, but a few paranoid denizens carry them as a precaution.

Not everyone trusts the Pantheon. With good reason.

I glance into a compact mirror to ensure my shroud works, then stow my gear and waltz into the street, blending with the crowd. The music inside the club vibrates beneath my feet as I approach the front doors, so I prepare my ears for the decibel assault. I nod at the Bouncer, make eye contact, press my palm into the scanner. It approves my print and accepts my false identity with a beep.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Knowledge-seeking animal-lover, supporter of diversity, and OG Floridian. Lifelong gamer who grew up drawing Disney characters, whales, and dinosaurs. Proud INTJ (which I share with the likes of Hannibal Lecter, Batman, and Ellen Ripley).

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Release Blitz: All the Wrong Reasons by Sebastian Hansen #LGBTQ #fantasy #BDSM @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: All the Wrong Reasons

Author: Sebastian Hansen

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 12/28/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 111700

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Romance, urban fantasy, action, family-drama, superheroes, gay, nonbinary, trans, BDSM, secret identity, billionaire, Dom/sub relationship

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Description

The day after telekinetic supervillain (and billionaire philanthropist), Stetson Nadenheimer dies, he wakes up on the autopsy table and falls in lust with the man hired to cut his cold, dead corpse open. The problem is that the forensic pathologist is Doctor Julian Dandridge, the part-time superhero, Scatter. It’s probably a bad idea for a supervillain to get into bed with a superhero. Probably.

Not that it stops him, but trying to start a relationship with a reluctant hero without getting caught turns out to be easier said than done. Between midnight meetings over games of checkers and kinky secrets, Stetson and Julian begin a tremulous romance. Unfortunately for them, there’s an actual villain watching from the shadows, waiting for Stetson to stumble.

Excerpt

All the Wrong Reasons
Sebastian Hansen © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
STETSON

The last thing I remember seeing before I died was the garish gold and orange spandex-clad fist of Major Bigstuff flying at my face at something like a million miles an hour. I lost my telekinetic grip on the wall I was holding. The debris came down on my head, which the masonry squished like a rotten melon. Brains all over the place. Bones shattered. Totally dead.

Not my finest hour.

A day later, I woke up on the medical examiner’s slab. Nobody knows why this happens. It’s a super-thing. Superheroes come back from the dead all the time. It’s practically a requirement for the job. Like when you go to get your physical at the Hall of Good Guys Forever and they stab you in the heart to make sure you’ve got what it takes to come back. I’m not entirely sure this is true, but you hear rumors.

What’s odd about me waking up is that I wasn’t a superhero. I was kind of the opposite. The anti-superhero.

My name is Stetson Nadenheimer (it’s not my fault), and before my timely death, I was a supervillain. They call me Jester. Nice to meet you.

It’s not that supervillains don’t come back from the dead. We do, but it’s usually the big-time ones. The “build a death ray and hold the world to ransom for all the money” ones. I’m not even Major Bigstuff’s main rival. He just happened to be flying past the bank I was robbing on his way home from Denny’s.

That’s what I did, by the way—rob banks. No building death rays, no kidnapping or killing people. I’d never even held anyone hostage. My Fortress of Evil is more like a Penthouse Belonging to That Mildly Irritating Villain.

But I liked robbing banks. Since most super-people are what you’d call physical (strength, size, agility, speed—you know, that kind), they don’t know what to do when someone’s power is mental. Mental powers aren’t common—and they’re not popular. Telepathy isn’t as flashy as super strength and doesn’t play well on camera. Hence, nobody’s figured out anti-telekinetic security.

Besides, I liked to flirt with the tellers. They had no idea how to handle a tall, handsome man in a sleek (cheap) black tux and white masquerade mask. I’ve got some killer green eyes too. Alas, while my black hair is long enough for a ponytail (tellers love ponytails), I kept it bound up and hidden in a hat. I’ve never wanted to take over the world, but I’m damned charming. It drives superheroes up the wall.

Anyway, back to the ME’s slab. Right. So. After knowing for a fact that my brains are all over the floor of the First United Citizens Bank on Twenty-second Street, I open my eyes. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever woken up to? In my case, it was a whirring bone saw in the general vicinity of my head.

I screamed. Well, wouldn’t you?

The bone saw immediately stopped, and I quickly became aware of someone laughing. A glance to my left confirmed that I wasn’t alone. A young man in green scrubs with tousled blond hair was turned away, covering his mouth to hide his grin.

“Works every time,” he said and set the saw down on a table just out of my reach. Then he turned to look at me, and I stopped breathing again.

In addition to the adorable hair, the man was indeed young with deep-blue eyes, dimples, and the prettiest smile I’d ever seen.

The smile faded quickly. “Welcome back.” He narrowed his eyes and watched me carefully.

My mouth opened to say something, but my brain hadn’t caught up. It was still trying to imagine what the man would look like in my bed. I’m an uncomplicated person like that. It might not have been love at first sight, but lust? Certainly. The problem currently facing me was this: I was obviously in a morgue of some kind, half-naked, drenched in my own blood, and sitting on a frigidly cold metal table. The place smelled of chemicals—formalin (I found out later) and bleach.

Forget flirting. This man had seen me dead, which is so much worse than naked.

Eventually, I managed a strangled, “Hello.”

The corner of his mouth quirked, and the smile came back slightly. He nodded and walked away from me toward the far wall, where he dug a clear bottle of water out of a cooler. He held it up for my inspection. “Thirsty?”

I nodded. My voice was still on the fritz, and he thought it was because my throat was dry instead of…oh…any other reason. I was thankful for it. Anyway, my mouth was parched. I took the bottle gratefully and drank half in one go before finding my voice again.

“Do you often wake people up in the morgue with a bone saw?”

He smiled. I wanted to melt. God. I can’t describe that smile and do it justice. Accept for a moment that it was stunning, will you? If it helps, compare it to rainbows on sunny spring mornings. Like the sun rising at dawn. The light of his smile forgave all sins, watered all crops, and brokered world peace.

The hyperbole is necessary. Everything that happened after that night started with his smile wrapping me up and turning my world on its head.

“Only people like you.” The smile didn’t budge.

“People like…me.”

“Dead people who aren’t dead anymore.”

“Oh.” I blinked. “So, you do it to heroes, too, then?”

He pursed his lips and rolled his eyes thoughtfully. “Mm-hm. They don’t like it either—Mistress Tidal broke one on me, but there’s something about the sound. It tends to bring people around quickly.”

“The alternative is getting our heads cut into.”

He laughed. Please insert a description of silvery bells and songbirds here. He had a pleasant voice. “I wasn’t going to cut you open. You were already breathing.”

“I…was?” I glanced around, certain I knew where I was now. I looked down at my blood-stained hand. “Tell me, were you able to get fingerprints off my corpse? I’ve never been arrested before, so I doubt they’d do you any good.”

“No.” He shook his head. “And no DNA either.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Ah. And now we’re just waiting for reinforcements to arrive, aren’t we?”

“Are we?” He smiled again, and my reply stuck in my throat. “It’s nearly ten o’clock on a Thursday night. Nobody’s around.”

“Ah…and you’re alone here with a formerly dead supervillain because you’re, what? Confident in your medical plan?” I asked with a snort.

He laughed again. “I don’t think you’re going to hurt me. I’m pretty durable. My name is Dr. Julian Dandridge. I’m a part-time superhero. They call me Scatter.”

Ah, Scatter. I’d heard of him, but never run up against him. He belonged to the Guild, which was Kinsley City’s very own organization of superheroes. A sort of Hall of Self-Righteousness. Major Bigstuff ran the show over there.

Well, that put a wrench in my dream of having him tie me to my bed.

I frowned. The revelation that Dr. Julian was a lost cause stung more than it should have, considering we’d just met. Still, he was in the Guild, and that wasn’t good for me by any means.

The Guild didn’t typically bother about me. I was small-time and didn’t offer much in the way of a challenge. When I did run into one of their members, I tended to extract myself from the situation as quickly as possible. I can fly—and over my months-long bank robbing spree, I’d gotten good at evading the Guild’s fliers.

I glanced around, getting my bearings. A few pencils on the desk behind Julian rolled on my command, and I breathed a little easier. My telekinesis was up and ready to go.

I smiled. “You know what they call me, I’m assuming.”

“Jester.” He shrugged. “So, here’s what’s going to happen—”

I held up a hand to forestall him and started talking. It was important to prattle on so his attention focused on me and my mouth. That way, he wouldn’t notice me telekinetically prying the window out of its frame until it was too late.

“There’re a couple ways this could go. The first is dull and causes more of a mess than its worth. You call your Guild. They show up, we have a spirited scrap, and maybe I end up dead again. If not, and you manage to throw me in SuperMax, I call my astronomically overpriced lawyer and make bail in under an hour. Then we spend weeks wading through red tape, and in the end, I get a slap on the wrist, some community service, and maybe a fine. I’m not the kind of supervillain who makes headlines, Scatter, and you lot have bigger things to worry about than someone like me. Death rays and such.”

He crossed his arms.

“Of course, there’s option number two.” Grinning, I simultaneously lifted myself off the table and out of Julian’s reach and crooked my finger at the window, popping it out of its frame and setting it gently aside. “Which involves me escaping. You can’t fly, can you?”

“If I could, I’d have you down already.” He shrugged. Then he did something I did not expect.

He winked.

I paused near the ceiling. “You’re letting me go?” I asked, incredulously.

“Letting you go? Oh no. No. What kind of superhero would I be if I let a villain escape?”

“A very bad one.” I pressed my hands against the ceiling and stared down at him in disbelief.

He frowned. “Do you want me to stop you?” The tone of his voice implied that he could. I believed him.

“Not particularly.”

He looked away, thinking, arms crossed, then glanced back at me. “Then do me a favor and knock over some tables on your way out.”

“So it looks like we got into the aforementioned tussle?” I asked.

“Plausible deniability.”

I blinked.

“Look, either go or don’t. Let’s just say I’ve seen some things, Jester. Supervillain?” He smirked. “Sure.”

“You’ve seen some—”

He waved me away. “Get out of here. If I see you near a bank in the future, you can be sure I won’t be so nice next time.”

I stared at him for a few more seconds, but his expression suggested that his patience was wearing thin and the invitation to escape wouldn’t last indefinitely.

So, stunned and unsure if what had happened was real, I flew out of the window. But I made sure to knock over two sets of shelves and a table on my way out.

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Meet the Author

Sebastian Hansen (she/her) is a non-binary mess of a person. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and herd of opinionated cats, where she spends most of her time playing video games, reading comic books, and writing about superheroes. She likes strawberries and is easily frightened by the Internet.

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Release Blitz: A Highland Hogmanay by Meg Mardell #LGBTQ #historicalromance #holidayromance @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: A Highland Hogmanay

Series: Christmas Masquerade, Book Two

Author: Meg Mardell

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 11/23/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 37700

Genre: Historical holiday, LGBTQIA+, historical, Victorian England, holiday, Christmas, Scottish Highlands, lesbian, wlw, mistaken identity, humorous, family drama, interracial, intercultural, road trip, age gap

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Description

The daughter of an Indian raja and renegade Englishwoman, Sharda Holkar, was gifted with a magnificent dowry but little say in her future. Until now. She must endure one more depressing holiday season with her controlling cousins, then she will be free to begin her emancipated life. But her discovery of a plot to marry her off to the preening son of the house has Sharda wondering if her new start should begin at once. When Sharda meets the intriguing owner of a Highland castle at a Christmas Eve masquerade, she wastes no time in forming a plan—she will escape across the Scottish border!

Finella Forbes cannot imagine why a sophisticated heiress like Sharda would even associate with someone who manages a castle for a living, let alone accompany her all the way back to the Highlands in time for the raucous celebration of Hogmanay. But a wealthy buyer is just what Balintore Castle needs. Fin is determined to prove she is just as good an estate manager as her father, but with the negligent lordly owner refusing to do his duty, she needs help fast. When mistaken assumptions jeopardise their initial attraction, Sharda and Fin will need all the mischief and magic of a Highland holiday to discover the true nature of their feelings.

Excerpt

A Highland Hogmanay
Meg Mardell © 2021
All Rights Reserved

“It’s getting quite sticky in here, isn’t it? Don’t these people perspire a lot in their ridiculous costumes? But the fools will insist upon picking characters that require false beards and headwraps and the lot. What do they expect?”

Mr Edward Pilkington watched the white-masked Pierrots and Pierrettes rotating around the Mayfair ballroom the same way he looked at everything else—right down his upturned nose. Of course, on this occasion, he might just be stopping his own mask from slipping.

“I must say, I consider it in poor taste of Lady Belleville to host such a gaudy entertainment on Christmas Eve. There’s enough blinding décor in every home and shop window without humans dressing like a bunch of tinsel ornaments.”

Sharda thought the display of Venetian masks in gold, silver, and red rather complemented the miles of glittering white ribbon their hostess had threaded around her every enormous window and door. But five days of Edward’s persistent company had taught her to neither agree nor disagree with his frequent judgements as both fanned the flames of his perpetual dissatisfaction.

“Perhaps you now see, Miss Holkar, the wisdom of my selection of attire. A simple mask and fancywork vest, and perhaps a sash, is really all that is required on these occasions.”

“For women as well as men?”

Sharda’s costume took its inspiration from the opulent carnival style of Venetian women from the height of that city’s pomp and power two centuries back. Her square-necked black silk gown cut away to a blaze of scarlet underskirt. Tiny stitched-in crystals covered the tight scarlet front bodice as well as her matching silk hat. Jutting out over one eye, the bold topper terminated in a cascade of black feathers that brushed her black half mask. Edward’s mother, one of Sharda’s inexhaustible supply of second and third cousins, had tried to convince her to wear what that lady was pleased to call her “native finery.” But when Sharda had insisted on purchasing a new costume for the ball, Lavinia Pilkington had graciously conceded that the Venetian style looked well on Sharda, for “many ladies of the Italian peninsula are quite of your complexion, my dear.”

The lady’s son was equally talented at giving compliments.

“A bit of exotic finery is not amiss on a woman. Provided she’s young, of course. There’s nothing more displeasing than an old woman got up like the Queen of Sheba. Now, perhaps I can see if these insolent Turks of footmen have some iced sherbet. You must be awfully hot in all your…” The gentleman gestured to Sharda’s hat. “Er, not that you look to any disadvantage or are…” The gentleman sought in vain for an acceptable substitute for sweating.

Sharda suddenly wished she had selected a full mask to hide her private mirth. She should not find it so amusing when Edward remembered, too late, that he was trying to woo her. Though maybe if she did not find the clumsy courtship so funny, she might cry.

“Or perhaps you would like to take the air in the garden, Miss Holkar? And escape this dreadful crush.”

“They seem to have brought much of the garden in here, Mr Pilkington.”

She gratefully caught the crisp scent of the evergreen branches that wrapped every available railing in Lady Belleville’s house. A delicious freshness that made one forget one was in London.

“Hmm, yes, quite. But then you don’t have the same animal noises outside, of course. It’s much easier to talk.”

She had not noticed the noise of the ballroom impairing his ability to talk in the slightest. But she knew what type of conversation he had in mind. He wasn’t the first young man to try to negotiate her out onto a cool veranda.

“Perhaps I would like an ice, Mr Pilkington. If you would be so kind.”

“Yes, of course… Though it will be a dreadful ordeal making my way over to the refreshment area now… No matter. I will see that you get your ice…my lady.”

Sharda took a few calming inhales of the pine-and-wood-polish scent of the Belleville townhouse. Now she could face Lavinia Pilkington, a spare lady fluffed up with a great deal of feathers, descending upon her beside a very grand person in purple.

“Here she is, Lady Belleville. I thought we should have to send some of your splendid footmen in search.”

“That might have proved difficult. I have my own runaway to locate, Mrs Pilkington. My wretched nephew.”

Lavinia trilled a nervous laugh, unable to tell if this was a joke.

“This is my young friend, Miss Sharda Holkar, who is staying the holidays with us. Sharda, meet Lady Belleville.”

“I do like your hat, Miss Holkar. You need a bit of height for such a topper. I, alas, have always extended out rather than up. I do envy women who can carry off such plumage. You are enjoying the ball?”

“Yes, indeed, ma’am.”

“And you’ve been dancing?”

“Not yet.”

“Oh dear, I do like young people to dance.”

“Do not worry, your ladyship. I am sure my son Edward will do the honours soon.”

“Excellent. Now, you must excuse me, for I hear my dear husband’s growl even now. I should make at least a half-hearted attempt to save my guests from his best Scrooge impersonation, should I not?”

Sharda and her cousin each dipped a curtsy—Lavinia’s embarrassingly low—to their hostess as she moved back into the crowd like the prow of a ship easily carving a path through lesser crafts. Sharda was left stranded on an island of two.

“I do hope you truly intend to dance as you promised Lady Belleville. And what did you think of her ladyship? Quite a superior person, I think, but Edward says she wears too many jewels for true breeding. I only wish I had such a problem! Whatever is taking Edward so long, do you think?”

Lavinia had a fidgety manner that made it impossible to relax in her company. After nearly a week as her guest, Sharda was almost as high-strung as her hostess. The prospect of enduring even another five minutes with this wearisome woman was unbearable. Especially as her only reward would be to eat a melted ice and then dance in Edward Pilkington’s sticky grip.

“He promised me he would return very soon. Perhaps I might wait for him in the garden, Mrs Pilkington?”

Lavinia’s eyes glittered behind her feathered mask.

“Ah, yes, that would be an excellent idea. It is far too noisy and hot in here.”

“Should you like to come with me, cousin?”

“Oh, no. No, no. I declare I see my dear friend Mrs, er…Bamtree just over there. But you go right ahead, my dear.”

Sharda needed no further encouragement.

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Meet the Author

Meg moved from the US to England because she fell in love with the Victorians’ peculiar blend of glamour and grime. After a decade of exploring historical excesses in a prim scholarly fashion, she realized that fiction is the best way to delve into that period’s great female-focused and LGBT+ stories. Weaned on the high-seas romances of the 1990s, Meg’s lost none of her love for cross-dressing cabin boys but any tolerance for boorish heroes. She’s delighted to now have a whole raft of quirky and queer characters to cheer for on their quest for Happily Ever After. She frequently breaks off writing for an Earl Grey tea (milk not lemon). She’s trying to learn Polish and Portuguese at the same time. She plans to escape Brexit Britain.

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Release Blitz: Road to home by Mell Eight #LGBTQ #contemporaryromance @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Road to Home

Series: Road to…, Book Two

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 11/09/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 40600

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, action/adventure, established couple, law enforcement, Middle East politics, secret agents, religious extremism, terrorism

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Description

When he gets a phone call late one night, Interpol Agent Mihi Stross expects it to be his husband, Rafi, calling to say he is finally on the way home. What he gets instead is a nightmare: Rafi’s mission has failed. Despite orders that he is not to attempt a rescue, Mihi heads to Europe to find and bring home his missing husband. But rescuing Rafi, and getting them both home safely may be the one assignment he can’t complete…

Excerpt

Road to Home
Mell Eight © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Home: Washington DC, USA

“Mihi?” Rafi’s voice echoed softly on the other end of the phone. His tone had an edge to it that was too cautious—soft, as if he were afraid of being overheard, yet intent as if he were anxious that I would miss something important. My heart beat faster in worry. Rafi never sounded like that. He was always so happy to hear my voice, to know I was all right, and to ask how my day went.

“Rafi,” I replied, keeping my voice light and easy, as if that could somehow halt the darkness I felt creeping into our conversation. If I maintained my good mood and stayed happy, this would be just another normal phone call instead of the painful one I knew it was about to become.

“I love you, Mihi,” Rafi continued. “When I get home, let’s make grilled peanut butter sandwiches and eat them on the back deck.”

My heart stopped. I never should have picked up the phone so late at night, but I had been hoping it was Rafi calling to tell me he was on his way home from his most recent mission. It would have made my night to plan to cut out of work early tomorrow to go pick him up at the airport. Rafi needed to take back everything he was saying.

“Do you want bananas in your sandwich?” I forced the words through my tight throat as I fought tears and panic.

“No!” Rafi yelped. I wished he sounded hopeful instead of panicked. “No bananas. Keep the bananas at the store!”

“Olives?” I asked, hurt. I understood why no bananas, but the admission still twisted something in my gut.

“The olives are already in the pantry,” Rafi replied, much to my relief. “I have to go; I love you, Mihi.”

The phone clicked off before I could reply.

My first inclination was to break down and cry, and I was fighting tears even as I grabbed my wallet and keys and headed for the garage. Bananas or no bananas, Rafi wasn’t going down without me!

I grew up eating Nutella in Israel, which was similar to peanut butter, but about a million times better. Rafi knew I wouldn’t eat something so inferior as peanut butter, which was why eagerly asking for peanut butter sandwiches was the panic code. I did love bananas on my Nutella sandwich, though, and Martin was an olive fiend. Robert was a jelly guy, but since he was still in DC, there was no reason for Rafi to have mentioned him.

I barely remembered the drive to headquarters. I was probably lucky not to have passed a speed trap on my way, because if I wasn’t focused solely on the road, I tended to drive like an Israeli—too much speed, too much swerving around other drivers, and a tendency to obnoxiously overuse my car horn.

Rafi’s job was a mysterious one. We couldn’t explain it to our parents or friends; instead, we simply told them he worked for the government. In fact, the majority of the intelligence and Homeland Security community didn’t know Rafi’s job existed. His job was so high up the need-to-know scale that if I hadn’t occasionally worked with his office, he might not have been allowed to tell me about it even with spousal privilege.

What that all meant, of course, was that the nose of my car was pointed toward Maryland, instead of DC. The outside of Rafi’s office building looked unassuming as I finally pulled up, just steel and brick without any overt security features to give away its actual purpose. The official sign on the street read US Department of Forestry.

I slid into the first parking spot I saw. Since the lot was mostly empty, it wasn’t hard, but my head was buzzing strangely, and my lungs were aching as I fought against hyperventilating. Anything that helped to make this easier was a welcome boon.

The main doors were a short walk away, along a sidewalk with carefully manicured shrubs that attempted to give the building a little class, but it still managed to look industrial despite that. The doors didn’t slam against any walls, which would have been satisfying to me as I shoved inside, but I stomped right through the metal detector, past the cop manning the security station, and up the stairs. I could hear at least three alarms going off as I bypassed the first floor and headed into the lobby on the second. Those weren’t important, though. Figuring out what was wrong with Rafi was.

As I crossed the lobby, running footsteps and the metallic sounds of guns being cocked and slides drawn back sounded. At least a dozen security guards and armed agents, mostly cubicle workers, judging by their ties and crisply cut hair, poured out of the side hallways and through an impressive set of glass doors just ahead. I stopped stomping and held up my hands. Guns pointed at me and people shouted. I couldn’t think of what else to do. Rafi needed my help, and the means to figure out how would most likely be found here. There were procedures to follow in these sorts of situations, procedures that in my panic I had forgotten, I realized, as I stared down a dozen gun barrels.

“Mihi, you could at least flash your badge.” Robert’s voice penetrated the fog in my head. I realized belatedly that I could have called to tell him something was wrong, and I was coming to the office. Robert sighed as he waved one large hand to tell the other agents to stand down.

“Rafi called,” I replied slowly, careful of the potentially jumpy guards.

Many of his coworkers were staring at me with their hands on their barely holstered guns. I don’t think I looked too crazy, even though I was only wearing pajama bottoms and a sparkly, sleeveless top. My shoes were untied, and I wasn’t wearing socks, and it was quite possible I had bed hair. Okay, so maybe there was some reason for everyone to look so alarmed about me. I was actually a bit surprised they hadn’t Tased me the second I rushed through the metal detectors, but I wasn’t normally this crazy. Rafi’s message had sent me over the edge and I was only slowly climbing back.

“Let’s go to the office,” Robert said about five minutes later, once he had calmed his coworkers and apologized to the security guards. There would probably be an investigation into their security and why I had been able to breach it so easily.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

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

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Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a $50.00 NineStar Press Gift Code!

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This competition ends on November 30th 2021 at 12am EST. Competition hosted by NineStar Press.

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Release Blitz & Review: Sea of Love by Nic Starr #LGBTQ #contemporaryromance @nicstarr_author @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Sea of Love

Author: Nic Starr

Publisher: Independently Published

Cover Artist: Covers by Jo

Release Date: 10/20/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 45,000 words

Genre: Romance

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Description

The cruise of a lifetime. A reality TV show about romance. Falling in love is inevitable.

Evan Williams is the type of guy to stick by his friends, especially when they’ve been hurt and need a favour. And if that favour involves the cruise of a lifetime, then how can he say no? Even when it means pretending to be a devoted boyfriend to Amber and having their fake relationship play out on a reality TV show for all the world to see.

Realising his boyfriend is a conceited jerk and dumping him doesn’t stop Harry Bishop from winding up as one half of a supposedly loved-up couple on the Sea of Love TV show. And if that’s not bad enough, he’s faced with temptation in the form of Evan, the perfect blend of boy-next-door-meets-sexy-stud he once crushed on. It’s going to be a long two weeks.

Two weeks of competitions, challenges, and confrontations. They’re here to take out the Sea of Love title—just not with each other—and there can only be one winner. But it turns out that true love isn’t about winning a contest; the real prize comes when you follow your heart.

Sea of Love is a feel-good romance featuring hidden attraction, fake relationships, and friends-to-lovers.

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MY REVIEW – 5 stars!

Looking for a light read? An LGBT romance that could easily fall under Women’s Fiction? This is it! You’ll get humor, romance, friendship, and so much more.

Evan only wanted to help his friend Amber by joining her on the Sea of Love TV show. He didn’t realize he’d fall in love in the process… and not with the woman everyone thinks he’s dating.

Harry has had a crush on Evan for a while, but after agreeing to attend the Sea of Love show as his ex-boyfriends date, he tries to behave himself. John, his ex, doesn’t make it easy, as the man is completely self-absorbed.

The interaction between Evan, Amber, John, and Harry is what makes the book. Yes it’s a romance, but I enjoyed getting to know the characters. It’s a slow build and Harry and Evan only end up together closer to the end of the story, but it didn’t detract from the entertainment at all. In fact, I think it’s what I liked most. There’s no insta-love where they immediately hop into bed with one another. Not that there’s anything wrong with those books. I enjoy those too, but this one had a lighter feel that I loved.

All the stars for Sea of Love! I definitely need to go look up the author’s other books!

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion. 

Meet the Author

Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!

When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family–an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters–and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.

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Cover Reveal: Ice Angels by Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood #LGBTQ #sportsromance @RyanTaylorandJ1

Ice Angels

By Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood

Cover Created by : Cate Ashwood

Release Date: Oct 29th 2021

Available to Preorder at Amazon

Drew and Cleevs love hockey, but they love each other more. How can the men find a way to save what matters most?

Todd Cleever and Drew Simon are crazy about each other. They started dating three years ago when “Cleevs” was a rookie defenseman for the Chicago Ice. Drew, the team’s captain, was a few years older than Cleevs. Both men were deep in the closet, but it didn’t take long for them to fall in love.

Cleevs was traded to the Bethesda Barracudas a year later, causing a heartbreaking separation. Ever since, they’ve skated around the problem with occasional stolen nights together and brief vacations under the guise of “friends,” but two years of living apart have taken their toll.

As the holiday approaches, Drew and Cleevs decide things have to change. Still, with their careers and two professional hockey teams in the way, how can they score the game-winning goal and save everything they cherish most?

If you like fierce love, a smallish age gap, exciting hockey, and a steely determination to make things work—not to mention enough steam to fog up all your windows and a fantastic HEA—this is the book for you. The novella contains about 43,000 words of sparkling holiday romance.

About the Authors

Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood met in law school and were married in 2017. They live in a suburb of Washington, DC and share their home with a big, cuddly German shepherd. Ryan and Josh enjoy travel, friends, and advocating for causes dear to their hearts. Ryan also loves to swim, and Josh likes to putter in the garden whenever he can. The romance they were so lucky to find with each other inspires their stories about love between out and proud men.

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