RELEASE BLITZ: Three Kings by Freydis Moon #Fantasy #LGBTQ #polyamorous @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Three Kings

Author: Freydis Moon

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 11/22/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 38300

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, fantasy/PNR, trans, gay, polyamorous, cozy romance, witches/modern witchcraft, cottagecore, shifter, interracial, magic, magical flora and produce, Icelandic folklore, lighthouse/small coastal town, stormy beaches, sexual tension, selkie

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Description

A polyamorous modern-day fairytale filled with magical flora, cozy romance, and Icelandic folklore…

Ethan Shaw—lighthouse keeper and local witch—lives a charmed life in his chilly, coastal hometown. Blessed with a flourishing garden and a stable livelihood, Ethan can’t complain. But when his husband, Captain Peter Vásquez, brings home a wounded seal after an impromptu storm, Ethan is faced with a curious situation: caring for a lost selkie named Nico Locke.

As Ethan struggles with the possibility of being infertile, insecurities surrounding his marriage, and a newly formed magical bond with a hostile, handsome selkie, his comfortable life begins to fracture. But could breakage lead to something better?

With autumn at their heels and winter on the horizon, Ethan, Peter, and Nico test the boundaries of a new relationship, shared intimacy, and the chance at a future together.

Excerpt

Three Kings
Freydís Moon © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Ethan Shaw carried two knives, one for lilies, the other for veins. The blade in his left hand curved like a smile, clipping stems at a sweet, diagonal angle. The second weapon was concealed in a petite leather sheath, tucked neatly in his right palm.

The ritual called for innocence, and he had none to spare, so he searched the shoreline for white-petaled flowers—speckled with saltwater, yawning toward the sky—and remembered the folktale that wormed through Casper, spoken quietly at the pub, hollered by sailors on the docks, cooed in the apothecary, and sung by children on the playground.

Those Casper lilies, the story went, are filled to the brim with what we’ve lost.

Like snakes, the townsfolk shed their innocence, leaving it to stew in the bay, sink into the soil, and beat against the lighthouse. And like snakes, the lilies drew their outgrown magic into tangled roots and narrow stems and gilded pollen: an ouroboros consuming itself.

Most people refused to use the term—magic—but Ethan found it appropriate. Harvesting long-gone energy from a living thing felt like its very definition. Using said magic to reanimate a corpse felt less like magic, though, and more like recklessness.

He yelped and flailed before he hit the water, bracing for the icy shock. Panic shot through him. Salt water rushed into his nostrils, and seaweed snagged his ankle. Swim, idiot. November wind nipped his face when he breached, sucking at the air, clutching drenched flowers to his chest. Casper lilies never promised to be easy, of course. But Ethan Shaw still cursed as he slushed through tidepools and mud. He sighed, relieved, when his soggy shoes hit the gravel path outside the tower.

“We need a lightkeeper, Ethan,” he mocked, shouldering through the wooden door. He left his boots in a puddle on the cheeky welcome mat: You Better Be Beer! “It’s a solid wage, Ethan. Not like it’s a—” The first knife clattered on the rectangular table, then the second. Sopping flowers landed with a splat next to an unopened power bill. “—hard gig, Ethan. Just take it.” He whined through the last three words, mimicking his mother, and trudged into the washroom.

He hadn’t the time for a bath, so he peeled the wet shirt from his back, unzipped his jeans, and wrestled out of his drenched binder. The chilly water had reddened his beige skin and left his boyish face chapped and raw. Droplets clung to his chestnut hair, shorn behind his ears and around the back of his skull, and worn long at his crown, hanging in messy strings over his brow. He slicked his hair back with an annoyed swipe and scrubbed lingering sea grime away with a warm cloth. He dried with a towel that smelled like gardenia and tobacco, like Peter, and set his palms on the vanity, studying his reflection. Rabbit-framed, small-chested, wide-hipped, and delicately masculine, Ethan Shaw wasn’t the optimal lightkeeper type, per se. He hadn’t a beard, only annoying stubble, and carried himself on dainty, soft-pawed feet. Much as the townsfolk whispered about lilies, they whispered about him too.

Witch—hissed like a match strike in the nave and murmured by joggers at the park—wasn’t entirely untrue, but Ethan still preferred friendlier terminology. Alchemist, maybe. Magician, even.

“Take the job, Ethan,” he mumbled and huffed at the mirror. “Surely the lifestyle suits you.”

A job doing, literally, anything else would’ve suited him better.

The front door heaved open, and the clip-clopping of heavy boots filled the living quarters. “Why is the floor wet?” Peter repeated the question, hollering through the lighthouse, “Darling, why is the floor wet?”

Ethan rolled his eyes. “I slipped,” he called, toeing the washroom door ajar.

Peter rounded the doorframe, square glasses crooked on his nose. Surprise shot to his face, but the expression faded, chased away by a frown. “You didn’t,” he warned, snaring Ethan’s reflection in a hard glare. “Ethan, we talked about this—”

“I don’t need your permission,” he snapped and slipped past Peter, striding confidently into the adjacent bedroom. He opened a drawer and fingered through his clothes, settling on a red sweater and corduroy trousers. “I’ve got the flowers; I know the ritual. Either have faith in me, or say I told you so if it doesn’t work, but hovering like a—” He batted at Peter’s broad chest. “—damn moth won’t change my mind. How was work?”

“Long,” Peter bit out. “Choppy water makes for terrible fishing, as you know. Even the local wildlife can’t handle the riptide—as you know—and consistently get thrown ashore, as you know, and—”

“You brought it home, not me.”

“I brought it home while it was still breathing,” Peter said, exasperated. He trailed Ethan into the closet, craning over him while he searched for wool socks—matching, preferably—and then into the kitchen, sighing dramatically at the waterlogged lilies. “Where’d you put the poor thing, anyway? Is it still in the garden shed?”

“No, I tossed it in the bathtub.” Ethan shot him an impatient glare. “Yes, of course, it’s in the garden shed, Peter. You think I’d let a selkie loose in our home? Give me some credit.”

“Okay, wait, hold on—wait.” Peter feebly attempted to catch him while he bounced around the kitchen.

Ethan yanked a bowl out of the cabinet, slid both knives behind his leather belt, unfastened the lavender from a rope above the sink, and stuffed his mortar and pestle underneath his arm. Before he could make for the door, two palms clasped his waist, turning him, and his beautiful, ridiculous husband wrinkled his nose. His copper cheeks were sea-bitten, angular bones pressing hard against his skin. As always, Peter Vásquez looked dashing, exhausted, and worried.

“Ay Dios mío, just wait, okay?” Peter asked.

Ethan arched an eyebrow. After a strangled pause, he lifted onto his tiptoes. “You brought it home,” he whispered and pecked Peter on the lips.

“It’s a leopard seal, Ethan. Not a selkie,” he said patiently, as he would to a toddler. “And it’s dead because animals that get caught in bad weather sometimes die.”

Ethan patted his cheek. “Sure, yeah. So, the next time you’re caught in bad weather and someone plops you on my doorstep, I’ll cash in your life insurance and call it a day. How’s that sound?”

Peter winced. “You’re impossible.”

“And you’re in my way.” Perhaps that was a little too far, considering. But impossible? Ethan scoffed. He wasn’t the one who’d mistaken a fae-beast—an extraordinarily obvious fae-beast, by the way—for a run-of-the-mill seal, and he wasn’t the one who’d whimpered when said not-seal had stopped breathing, and he certainly wasn’t the one who’d dragged a goddamn selkie home from work.

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Meet the Author

Freydís Moon (they/them) is a biracial nonbinary writer and diviner. When they aren’t writing or divining, Freydís is usually trying their hand at a recommended recipe, practicing a new language, or browsing their local bookstore.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Blood & Fate by Alexa Piper #LGBTQ #ParanormalRomance @changleingpress @GoIndiMarketing @prowlingpiper

Title: Blood & Fate

Series: Monster Apocalypse 3

Author: Alexa Piper

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: Nov 11

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 138 pages

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Science Fiction, Action Adventure, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Alien Encounters, Alternative Universe, Elves Dragons & Magical Creatures, Gay, Magic

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Synopsis

Rory has accepted love. So what if his lover is blue, horned, and very protective? Actually, a bagu mate suits Rory just fine, especially since Inkiri loves doting on Rory. But after the attack on Esaka, Rory once more finds himself frustrated with the magic he has access to, and he’d prefer to get rid of it. If that’s not an option, he’d prefer never to be in a situation where he has to use it.

Inkiri, ever the supportive mate, does his best to encourage Rory to learn about his magic, and new friends are more than happy to help Rory with that. Actually, Rory discovers that learning about magic isn’t all that bad, especially if no one wants to murder you or your friends. However, Rory’s power attracts those who would use him to their own ends, and escaping those forces forever is not possible. Which leaves Rory with a choice: hide and run, or fight.

Warning: Blood & Fate (Monster Apocalypse 3) ends on a cliffhanger which will be resolved in Monster Apocalypse 4. (As of this writing, the characters are still arguing with the author over the title… And Because I said so is a perfectly valid response).

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Alexa Piper

The rain that had welcomed me back to Earth, back to Ireland, and back from being unconscious for days hadn’t let up. It beat down in sheets and slicked against the kitchen window to our left, but Inkiri’s body radiated warmth. There was a chicken on the kitchen table in Donna’s farmhouse, and it was looking at my bagu mate, the chicken’s beady eyes bright, her mottled gray feathers freckled with white.

Inkiri clicked — possibly at both me and the chicken — and ran his hand over me, double-checking that the blanket was drawn tight around me. Donna was at the counter between the large fridge and induction hub, filling an espresso maker with ground coffee, her head half-turned, her long brown hair braided over one shoulder.

“I’ll be honest with you, Rory. You looked like a corpse who’d foregone the beautifying appointment with the mortuary technician,” Donna said and glanced at me. The chicken clucked at Inkiri and lifted a clawed foot as if she were about to jump into Inkiri’s lap except, of course, I was in that lap.

“Yes, you were very pale, sadir,” my mate said and used the opportunity to lick over my neck.

My throat constricted. I remembered the streets of Esaka, the chaos, the Koa Esher… or maybe I could call them cola asshats now that Vergis’s dad had approved of my abuse of the Lugarran language. At any rate, I remembered the magic and how that voice in my head had said something about how that same magic that had saved Nokim and Vergis might hurt me so badly that some rest — well, a three days’ time-out in this case — wouldn’t make me better. I shuddered to think what the magic could have done to me. Could it have made me sleep forever?

I didn’t want to share that with Inkiri, so I swallowed the lump in my throat and wiggled around under my blankets.

“Yeah, but look.” I pointed at myself when I’d successfully extracted my hand from under the folds. The chicken followed my fingers with her black eyes. “I’m all better now. Uhm. Donna, do you think I could take a quick shower here?” The thing was, even if Inkiri had cleaned me up with a cloth back in the tent, he still produced a lot… just a lot. Of stuff. Well, cum was the stuff he produced a lot of, and it was still trickling out of me.

She looked back over her shoulder. “Sure, honey. There’s a bathroom upstairs with fresh towels in the cabinet.”

Inkiri huffed and clicked. “I will take care of you,” he said and stood. Still with me in his arms, which was excessive. I also maybe kind of liked it, because my mate’s nearness was such a huge comfort, but I was pretty sure I could stand and do stuff, never mind that I knew I needed more rest after the drain of the magic.

“I’m fine,” I said. “Put me down. I can shower by myself, Ink. I told you, that’s a human thing.”

“But, sadir –”

Donna turned to face the bagu, who was some two heads taller than her. “What have we been talking about when it comes to touching others and randomly carrying people?” she said to Inkiri and crossed her arms.

Inkiri made a purring noise with only a hint of a growl in there, but he ended in a soft click. “But Donna, this is my mate. He’s so frail. He –”

“Oh, put him on his feet, you overgrown blue goat,” she said.

Inkiri huffed, but slowly and with exceeding care, put me down. His touches lingered, indigo cat eyes searching my face for any hint that I’d forgotten how legs worked all of a sudden.

“I’m fine,” I told him. And me. The verbal confirmation was good.

“I brought fresh clothes for you,” Inkiri said and took a step toward a honey-brown kitchen cabinet and pulled open the bagu-made backpack that sat next to it on the floor. It was a pretty big backpack, the kind of size hikers would like, and it looked heavy. “It’s shibiya. You liked those before.”

“I did. I do. Thanks for packing for me.”

Inkiri frowned as he rifled through the backpack. “It’s a small thing, sadir.”

I curled my toes in my cat socks as I stood there and looked around the kitchen. The farm was an old building like so many in Ireland. Wooden beams in the ceiling showed their exposed ebony, and copper pots looked like they’d been here for no less than a century. There were four chairs around the generous kitchen table and a bench running underneath the window, which was framed by blue-and-white checkered curtains. Also, there was that chicken. She behaved like she belonged in this kitchen, eyeing all of us as if we were intruding on her day.

“Hey, where are the rest of the guys?” I asked.

“Good point,” Donna said. “And why did you only bring the acquired taste and his daddy?”

I smirked a little at Donna calling Vergis that. I was suspecting he wasn’t as bad as he pretended to be, maybe, even if he was still plenty murderous. After all, he’d used a bear as a weapon, so at the very least, he was happy to facilitate carnage. Also, he’d killed that bear.

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Meet the Author

Alexa (she/her) has a lot of characters living in her head and wanting their stories told. Many of these people get snarky and won’t stop complaining if Alexa is too slow writing them, which means that for this author, sleep is a luxury. Consequently, Alexa is a coffee addict, but she is sure she has it under control (six cups of coffee are normal in a morning, right? Right!?)

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RELEASE BLITZ: Haint Nothin Like Me by J. Hali Steele #LGBTQ #erotica @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Haint Nothin Like Me

Series: Haints Misbehaving #3

Author: J Hali Steele

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: Nov 11

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 36 pages

Genre: Erotica – Male/Male

Synopsis

Warning: This is a Razor’s Edge Paranormal Erotica Story. Expect limited plot and character development, and lots of paranormal heat. If you’re looking for a lengthy plot driven erotic romance, this is not it!
Shane Taylor stares at the tiny, odd smelling box on his table — the same one he pocketed and sold a week earlier. Curious this time, he breaks it open. Smoke smelling of cedar circulates his room and when a shape steps through fog, Shane stares into eyes overflowing with…lust!

Bad Badgett craves the thief who stole the tiny wooden container housing his haint. When the scoundrel offers shelter, he has no qualms about climbing in the man’s bed and giving the bastard everything he could imagine. Promiscuous as hell, Bad can’t wait to satisfy other men before trying on their bodies and maybe, just maybe sharing them with his new lover.

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Meet the Author

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

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

Growl and roar — it’s okay to let the beast out. — J. Hali Steele

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RELEASE BLITZ: Bete Noire by Mickie B. Ashling #NewAdult #LGBTQ #ContemporaryRomance @MickieAshling @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Bête Noir

Series: En Pointe, Book Two

Author: Mickie B. Ashling

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: November 10, 2022

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 263

Genre: Romance, New Adult, LGBT+ fiction, bisexual fiction, contemporary, family drama, ongoing series, sequel

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Synopsis

Misha Vergara had it all—a promising career as a principal dancer, a thriving stage partnership with Talia Baranova, and the unconditional support of his mentor—until he revealed his true feelings for Henri.

Crushed, and worried about her own reputation, Talia publicly denounced Misha and severed their intricate relationship. Now, thirsting for revenge, she vows to destroy the people he loves. Dating his alleged half brother is only the beginning.

Kazimir Lebedev has done everything he can for his illegitimate son, except acknowledge paternity. When Misha announces he’s bisexual, Kaz struggles to understand. With Talia behaving recklessly and making vicious threats, he can no longer guarantee a good outcome, for any of them.

Finally reunited after a six month separation, Misha and Henri enjoy every sublime moment of their New York vacation. Henri has secretly loved Misha since he was thirteen years old, so being out with him is a dream come true. Until news of an abduction propels them back to St. Petersburg, Russia. Will they weather this latest crisis and grow even closer or will Talia wreak havoc on their newfound bliss?

Bête Noir is a direct sequel to Torn, the first book in the En Pointe Series. The novels should be read in order to fully appreciate the dynamic of these complex characters.

Excerpt

Misha’s POV

As I stood at the back of the theater, enjoying what might be Henri’s last performance at the Mariinsky, I soaked in his arresting presence. Even in the White Rabbit costume, with heavy stage makeup masking his attractive features, he shined like the brightest star in the sky. When we were on stage together, I couldn’t take in the full measure of his talent, but from a distance, I was enchanted by his playful interpretation of the role. It was no surprise the audience was riveted whenever he appeared. His legs were encased in red tights, leaving nothing to the imagination, and I zeroed in on his scrumptious package. My body’s spontaneous reaction to Henri was predictable, and I reached down to adjust myself, looking forward to the lovemaking we would enjoy later in the evening.

After the performance, I waved my ID at the security guards, in lockstep with everyone else. Although they recognized me, I couldn’t deviate from the rules. I took the stairs down to the basement where Henri shared a dressing room with a bunch of other guys.

I received the usual perfunctory greetings, and waited for Henri to shed his rabbit persona. He creamed off the heavy makeup, while fixing his moss-green gaze on my image standing behind him. When his cinnamon complexion peeked through the guck, he smiled in response to my reaction.

I bent forward and whispered in his ear. “You are so hot.”

“Like what you see?”

“Very much.”

“I can’t wait to find out,” he breathed.

“Whenever you’re ready, my love.”

My endearment generated another dazzling smile and he pushed away from the changing table. I tracked his progress like a hawk eying his next meal. Standing in front of his open locker, Henri rolled off the sinful tights, removed his top, and reached for his street clothes. The elastic bands of the jockstrap encircled his waist and disappeared down his ass crack while the front pouch cradled his genitals. I might have drooled at this point, and if we didn’t get away soon I couldn’t be held responsible for my actions. He cackled when he recognized the blatant desire on my face and hurried to cover up.

Grabbing his bag, he reached for my hand. “Ready?”

“Hell, yeah.”

We headed to his apartment to get a change of clothes for tomorrow. When the elevator door opened, there were three men in dark suits waiting outside his door. I pressed the down button before they could react, and we took off running when it dinged open.

“What’s going on?” Henri demanded when we slowed down several blocks later.

I gave him a quick synopsis of my earlier conversation with the minister and the French expletives pouring out of his mouth were jarring. His agitation was contagious, and my own fear rose significantly.

“Why are we going to the hotel?”

“To get my stuff.”

“I’m sure those bastards already know I’m registered.”

“How?” My naiveté was still in place and Henri scowled at me.

“The all-seeing FSB has a list of every foreigner who’s flown into this country or rented a car, or checked into a hotel. I will stake my life on it.”

“I believe you,” I said. “Shall we try to catch the train home?”

“What about your things?”

“There’s nothing irreplaceable in my carryall. My wallet and ID are in my pocket. What about you?”

“Same. Let’s go,” he said with some urgency.

“Hold on a second.”

“Why?”

“There’s no turning back if you walk away. They’ll blackball you for sure.”

He gave me one of his typical Gallic shrugs. “And if I stick around, I might lose my actual balls.”

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Meet the Author

MICKIE B. ASHLING is the pseudonym of a multi-published author who resides in a suburb outside Chicago. She is a product of her upbringing in various cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West.

Since 2009, Mickie has written several dozen novels in the LGBTQ+ genre—which have been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Some of her backlist is still “Under Construction” as she slowly transitions from traditional publishing to representing herself. Her goal is to have most of her novels back in the universe by the end of 2023. Audiobooks and foreign translations are still available at Amazon and Audible.

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RELEASE BLITZ Blood Harvest by Meghan Schubert #LGBTQ #urbanfantasy @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Blood Harvest

Series: The Harvest

Author: Meghan Schubert

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/27/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 79200

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, paranormal, urban fantasy, lesbian, vampire, shifter, angel, succubus, roommates, blood, death, conspiracy

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Description

If you were losing your humanity, how hard would you fight to hold on to it? What would you be willing to do, to give up, to make sure you remained the human you were, rather than the demon you seemed to be turning into? Hope McKinley, former advertising student turned newly undead, finds herself wrestling with these questions and so much more.

Blood Harvest delves into the depths of the human psyche and grapples with the struggle between light and dark in all of us as seen through the eyes of one forced out of the human race and fighting to return.

Excerpt

Blood Harvest
Meghan M. Schubert © 2022
All Rights Reserved

“Shh.” He trailed the finger down my chin and rested it in the crook of my neck. I suppressed a shudder. He leaned in, too close for comfort, hands gripping my hips tighter and guiding my pelvis toward his while his lips grazed my neck. My stomach flipped. My insides felt like they were on fire.

Did he just sniff me?

“Ian, what’re you—”

“Quiet.” He kissed me once, twice, his lips caressing, teasing, the heat in me rising, then turning into a sharp, stabbing pain. A pain that shot through my shoulder, up my neck, and exploded into the back of my head. My eyes widened and then closed tight, mouth open in a silent scream as I tried to breathe. I forced myself forward, trying to push against him, but he was heavier than me, and all it seemed to do was aggravate him. Ian slammed his weight against me, and I yelped as the bricks dug into my back. The way he had me pinned, I couldn’t even shift enough to get a knee in his groin.

Shit, now what?

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had people bite me in a kinky sort of way, but this was so much more. He was drawing blood, my blood, his mouth hot and wet on my neck. The gentle motion of his lips sent waves of electric heat through me, cascading down, the pain giving way to a pleasurable numbness, and I thrust my hips against him hungrily as his teeth sank deeper. I groaned, my body slumping against his as my legs started to give out. It hurt like hell, but it felt so good. I just didn’t want to fight anymore.

Everything began to blur and melt away as I succumbed to the bliss. It felt like falling; you know the end is coming but you just don’t know when. Is this what it’s like to die? What a way to go.

Before I was able to let myself completely go, something hot and sticky pressed against my lips. It smelled of old pennies and leather and cologne. Smelled like Ian. Without warning, a hand fisted into my hair, forcing my mouth on the warm liquid. I had no desire to taste it, but something inside compelled me, drew me to it. It smelled so good.

The liquid burned the whole way down, igniting my throat and stomach. I was torn between wanting to throw up and wanting to drink more. This was insane. What was I doing?

The mingling of pleasure and pain was almost too much, and soon I was seeing white. Still, I refused to let go.

Wait. Let go? What am I holding?

I finally blinked bleary eyes open to find myself sucking on Ian’s bleeding arm, my fingers clutching him like a vise. I still refused to let go. In fact, I started sucking harder, drawing more of his blood into my mouth, throat convulsing, burning, as I gulped it down.

After what seemed like several excruciating hours, he pulled away, and I whimpered like a kicked puppy. He knelt and kissed me gently, licking the excess blood from my mouth.

“I’ll be back, Hope. Until then, take care of yourself.”

I felt him run his hand through my hair and then the cold cement as I hit it hard.

I know what you’re thinking, but this isn’t your typical vampire love story. In fact, love is a laughable concept for me, especially after the shit I’m about to get dragged through.

But you can see for yourself. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Meghan Schubert, born in 1985 in the greater city of Philadelphia, has always been a nerd at heart. Dubbing herself an “elder millennial,” Meghan grew up with a love of video games, horror, and Goosebumps books. In high school, she wrote short stories for the school newspaper before working her way up to editor. That love turned into a passion when she took up Video Game Design in college, where the premise of her first novel came to light. Her pursuit of game design was short-lived, however, when Meghan realized that programming was not her forte; the stories behind the games were. Thus, a writer was born.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Listen – The Sound of Fear #anthology #horror #LGBTQ @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Listen: The Sound of Fear

Author: R.B. Thorne, Lauren Jane Barnett, E.E.W. Christman, Eule Grey, Ridley Harker, Jon James, T.S. Mitchell, Alex Silver, A.R. Vale, Edited by Elizabetta McKay

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/20/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female, M/NB

Length: 75300

Genre: Horror Anthology, LGBTQIA+, historical, US circa 1800s, romance, gay, horror/thriller, in the closet, shop workers, old curiosity shop, knives, haunted object/ poltergeist, contemporary, lit/genre fiction, London art gallery, confinement, disorientation, fear, mental anxiety, mystery, suspense, British, mystery, cold case, lesbian, blogger, small town, over 40, pregnancy, gothic/horror elements, YA, paranormal, nonbinary, trans, queer, hearing impaired, students, haunted school, all-girls boarding school, mean girls, religious references, Deaf, ghost story, pets, historical, gothic romance, lesbian, European expats, OCD, longtime couple

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Description

A knocking. A ringing. A steady drip-drip-drip. These are the sounds that haunt us. Drive us mad. Draw us in like the songs of sirens, hypnotic and deadly. And we must either give in, or resist with everything we have…and hope it’s enough.

Listen: The Sound of Fear offers ten stories written exclusively by trans and nonbinary authors that explore the chilling, perplexing, terrifying nature of sound.

Excerpt

Kill Your Darlings. When two shop workers in 1894 New York discover a haunted phonograph, they must race to solve the mystery of its tragic past before it’s too late to save their budding romance—and their lives.

Exhibition. A performance artist inspired by the inhumane treatment of refugees finds her gallery transformed into an equally inhospitable environment. Trapped inside the confines of her Plexiglas box, she struggles to piece together what is happening—and how to keep herself alive.

On the Other Side of Sound. A ringing in the ears; a coded message from beyond explanation. It will only ruin your life if you let it.

Her Little Joke. When Mave Kitten is asked to investigate a creepy phenomenon, little does she know to what depths the trail will lead: Ghosts, a haunted well, ignorance, a flapping bird. What of the woman in green?

M/other. I am alone. I do not know exactly how long I have been alone. My husband and child are…gone. Aren’t they? As a storm rages outside my decaying house, I begin to hear and see things that cannot possibly be there. Or can they?

Holy Water. Adolescence can be hell. Adolescence in an all-girl’s Catholic school as a trans teen surrounded by mean girls is a special kind of hell—especially when your school is haunted.

Snipper-Snapper. Cats make the best pets—loving, thoughtful, and loyal. Amour even brings home his own takeaway meals. Except for the stains, and damage to the shag pile, Mummy couldn’t be happier. Everyone needs a playmate.

The Knocking Bird. Knock three times to keep yourself safe. Follow your love across the sea. Obsession threads through nearly every aspect of Steffi’s life. But what happens when it drives her to do the unthinkable?

Bride of Brine. Sylvie hasn’t heard the song of the siren in years. But when she’s called home to help her estranged father find her brother, she’s faced with an impossible choice: save him, or save herself.

Haunt. When Kevin inherits his family home and decides to fix it up with his partner, he quickly discovers that the past can haunt you in more than one way—and he must choose, once and for all, exactly who he is.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Space Stars by Mell Eight #SciFi #LGBTQ #pornstar @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Space Stars

Author: Mell eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 07/05/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 37800

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, space travel, robotics, musicians, celebrities, established couple, spies, secret agents, nerds, scientists, porn star/sex industry

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Description

This book is two short stories with one thing in common—the stars in space shine brightly, whether you’re on planet or soaring on a ship.

Cole’s star is rising like a rocket as his band tours the galaxies to sing to their adoring fans. Except, Cole’s real job isn’t lead vocals—it’s espionage.

Tarle’s star fell long ago after a horrific accident during a mecha showcase event for his new robot. Then he meets Aster, a porn star on the run. Hiding away together is far more appealing than being alone, but no one can hide forever.

Excerpt

Space Stars
Mell Eight © 2022
All Rights Reserved

“They’re definitely building something dangerous,” J said to begin the meeting as he walked into the spacious, albeit bland, room. There weren’t any windows, and the only ornamentation on the white walls was from the holoprojector across the room. He faced a long table with six chairs around it. All six were filled with stone-faced men and women who turned toward J when he stopped walking at the head of the table.

J touched the control panel for the holoscreen to turn the machine on and pointed out the building construction clearly visible from the spy satellite holograph that appeared seconds later.

“Planets have new construction all the time,” P cut in as she pushed her glasses higher up her nose. “With growing populations it’s inevitable, and planet 501b is certainly growing.”

“Look here,” J said as he pointed to the upper right-hand corner of the three-dimensional picture. The projector obligingly zoomed in to the location.

“Ah,” P murmured as she sank back into her seat. “Building a crono-generator is another thing entirely. But what could it be for? They’ve never been a particularly peaceful people,” she said, referencing 501b’s penchant for starting wars over the merest of slights, “but they’ve never been crazy enough to build a crono-bomb before. That could create a black hole large enough to engulf an entire galaxy!”

“How long have you had this picture?” Y asked slowly while he carefully studied the crono-generator.

J sighed. “Long enough that officials on 501b have already captured and executed six of our spies during their investigations of this issue. That’s why this task force was called to meet today. We need to find a way to infiltrate 501b to figure out if they have any plans to attack.”

“They did threaten the galaxy president two months ago in response to the president’s comments against their most recent war,” P mused.

“It’s more dire than just that,” Y said in his slow and contemplative voice. “As you all know, 501b is not actually a planet. Planet 501 was uninhabitable; only its second moon, known by the locals as Kamura, could sustain human life.”

“Moon settlements are always in desperate need of water resources.” P gasped as the full picture finally came clear for her.

“Exactly,” J cut in. “Our planet, 214, also known as Lacustrine, is almost entirely comprised of freshwater lakes, which 501b dearly needs, and our intelligence says they’re interested in acquiring. I’m afraid they don’t have any qualms about what methods they use either. So, the question remains: How do we infiltrate Kamura in order to find more information and, if necessary, destroy their crono-generator before they’re capable of building the bomb?”

P’s phone went off, a pop song currently topping the charts sounding into the worried and contemplative silence left after that final statement. One frequency was all that could reach through the protections built into the meeting room, and P’s phone only went off in an emergency anyway, so no one begrudged her the time she took to walk into the corner and answer her phone.

She didn’t turn on the holograph card to speak face-to-face, which was no surprise considering the nature of her clients, and everyone in the room tried not to listen in when she murmured into the phone. They all had something much more important to think about anyway: the answer to J’s question.

After a few seconds, P returned to her seat. J looked around at the assemblage, waiting for someone to finally say something.

L slowly tapped her finger on the table, and everyone’s attention turned to the elderly woman. L didn’t speak often, but when she did, they listened. This time was no different.

“We must use an unconventional means to sneak our spy in, and I do believe P’s impromptu phone call has given me an interesting idea. Popular music stars are welcomed across all galaxies. Often, they are begged to hold a performance on various worlds. We should put together a band, make them famous, and arrange for them to travel to 501b.”

J joined the others in giving L perplexed looks, but a smile slowly began to grow across his face. The idea was extremely farfetched, yet the very thought of how crazy a plan L had come up with decided him. If he didn’t think the idea viable, then how could anyone on 501b have plans to prevent it?

“That…” He paused to savor the idea a little further. “That is the most perfect plan I have ever heard.” He turned to the other members of the council. “What do we need to do to accomplish this?”

“A band, first of all,” P murmured. “That means at the very least a singer, a guitar player, a bass player, and a drummer if we want something conventional.”

“They’ll need a hit song,” Y added. “And a full album.”

“And good publicity,” P agreed. “I can get them a spot on the Morning Mumble, which will put them into the limelight, but the band has to be capable of proving their abilities, or they’ll go nowhere afterward.”

“So first we need a band,” J stated. “Any suggestions on who we could hire? We need people with musical talent, so we may have to go outside our regular recruits for this one.”

P nodded immediately. “The Star Slashers recently broke up and their drummer is pretty good. He also played for the Black-Hole Surfers,” she added when she received only blank looks. The Star Slashers had never been destined for greatness, but the Black-Hole Surfers had been legendary up until their singer and lead guitarist had overdosed on poorly cut and excessively laced Star Shine and the band dissolved. “His name is Kingsley,” she finished with a smile, “and he’s from this galaxy, so he’d probably be willing to work with us.”

J hummed thoughtfully. “We’ll start background checks on this Kingsley. Any other suggestions?”

L leaned forward with a groan. “I have a grandchild who promised me he would become a rock god by the time he turns thirty,” she said with quite a bit of exasperation in her voice. Her son worked for the agency, and she evidently expected her grandchild to do so as well. That didn’t seem to be in her grandson’s plans. “Solomon plays guitar and his mother tells me he’s quite good. I suppose if the ambition is present, we could give him this opportunity.”

“We have guitar and drums,” J said. “Any suggestions for the other roles? Can you think of any trained recruits we could call in to take the major roles in this operation?”

“It’s not a suggestion,” P cut in, “but we have to find a singer who is pitch-perfect without modifications or he won’t make it. We can’t just pull anyone from our basic training program and implant electronic vocal cords.”

“This is going to be an interesting search, then,” J said with a sigh. Not only did they need a band, but they also needed to find someone who could infiltrate the secret facilities on 501b without getting caught. It wasn’t going to be easy.

The meeting broke up soon afterward. P was the first person to rush out, her phone in hand. Whatever emergency she’d been called about must have been important. Considering P’s clients…well, J hoped there wasn’t a galaxy about to implode somewhere.

Z was J’s colleague from the same agency. He hadn’t spoken during the meeting, but Z was notorious for pulling J aside later to voice his thoughts. J wasn’t surprised when Z joined him in his walk down the empty hallways of the building.

“I might have an idea for a bass player,” Z murmured in his usual half-audible tone. “She’s a spitfire though. Barely passed her basic training before she quit, so I’ve no idea if the girl would like the idea, or if she’s what we want for this mission.”

“Submit her name and have a background check run,” J replied. “We’ll find some way to convince her and…” He paused, his head cocked to the side. One hand flashed upward to grip Z’s arm. “Do you hear that?” he asked excitedly.

Z tilted his head to listen and slowly nodded. “It’s probably a radio someone left on.” He sighed. “But it won’t hurt to go see.”

They both turned the corner, following the sound of someone singing. The door to the men’s locker room was left partially ajar, and J pushed it open the rest of the way so he and Z could walk into the space. J expected to see a holodisk left on inside one of the recruits’ lockers, so he was surprised when a young man, fresh from the showers with his back to J and Z, had his head tilted back and his mouth wide open as he sang.

His tone was pure and clean—perfect.

He was drying his brown hair with a towel, his eyelids closed. His naked back was thin but well sculpted, although the loose pants he wore hid his lower body from J’s perusal. A pair of old-fashioned Coke-bottle glasses sat on the bench next to him.

There were two gyms attached to the locker room, one for the regular staff and one for the special recruits. This far into after-hours, only the special recruits had access. Whoever the man was, he piqued J’s interest.

J glanced over at Z and saw that Z was just as mesmerized by the beautiful singing. Z finally glanced back over and nodded. Whoever the recruit was, he was about to be given a new mission.

The singing stopped as the young man finally finished drying his hair. He put his towel down and patted his hand across the bench until he found his glasses. Then he turned around to find his shirt and jumped when he caught sight of J and Z.

“Sorry,” the young man said, his face rapidly going red as he ducked his head. He got to his feet in a hurry, finding parade rest with his feet even though he was staring at the ground instead of facing straight forward.

“Not at all,” J replied. He stepped closer to the recruit, studying him closely for a long moment, which only made his face grow even redder. “What are your vitals, recruit?” J finally asked.

“Name: Cole! Just finished basic training two days ago, sir!” Cole said sharply, even though he still wouldn’t look J directly in the face. He had been trained well, if not perfectly. “I haven’t been assigned to a vector yet, sir.”

J glanced over at Z after that admission. Normally recruits knew their vector location a good few months before the end of their training. He was also still using his full name rather than a code name, which he would have been given as part of his first vector assignment. Z nodded discreetly. He would start a background check on Cole to figure out what had prevented normal procedure in his case.

“Thank you, Cole,” J said with a dismissive nod. “We’ll be in touch.”

J and Z walked off, leaving behind the man who was to become their lead singer.

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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: Music From Stone by Brenda Murphy #LGBTQ #ContemporaryRomance #BDSM @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Music from Stone

Series: University Square, Book Four

Author: Brenda Murphy

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 07/05/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 67900

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Romance, contemporary, family-drama, BDSM, interracial, lesbian, stone mason, concert pianist, stalker, PTSD, over 40, performance arts, visual arts

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Description

Celebrated concert pianist Nüwa Zhou had it all. Until she didn’t. Forced out of the closet while testifying at the kidnapping and murder trial of her obsessive former assistant turned stalker, she retires from the high-pressure world of performing to recover at her parents’ estate.

Stone mason, and frustrated sculptor Julia Johnson, spends her days stone building walls and patios while dreaming of quitting her day job.

After a chance encounter with Julia leads to more, Nüwa imagines a life with Julia. When her stalker returns, determined to kidnap Nüwa and end anyone who stands in his way, Nüwa will do whatever it takes to keep Julia safe, but will it be enough?

Excerpt

Music from Stone
Brenda Murphy © 2022
All Rights Reserved

“Who is Father talking to?” Nüwa Zhou stared out of the sliding door at the woman standing on the terrace, her short auburn hair a mass of curls that brushed the tops of her broad shoulders. Her stance was confident. Dressed in jeans and a T-shirt tight enough it drew Nüwa’s attention, she rested her hands on her hips across from Gerald Zhou. Her wide shoulders and sculpted arms tested the limits of the fabric of her shirt. Afforded the opportunity to stare openly, Nüwa savored the view, admiring the curves the woman’s loose jeans failed to conceal. Slightly taller than Nüwa’s father in her thick-soled work boots, the woman glanced back at the house. Nüwa held steady, confident the reflective window coating would hide her gawking.

“Former student. Inquiring about the cottage,” her mother called from the kitchen bar.

Nüwa tugged the belt of her robe tighter. “Early for a meeting.”

The not-so-subtle sound of her mother’s scoff drifted across the kitchen. Nüwa rested her chin on her chest. The unspoken scolding for sleeping late pricked Nüwa’s heart. A night owl born to a family of larks. Her sleep patterns had been her curse since childhood.

She lifted her gaze back to the scene outside.

Gerald Zhou stood close to the woman, occasionally gesturing to the yard and the firethorn maze covering the lower half of their estate. Wind pushed dark heavy clouds across the sky and a gust rattled the sliding door in its dull aluminum frame. He turned and pointed to the house. Nüwa stepped back and away from the glass into the shadows of the living room. She walked to the counter dividing the kitchen from the rest of the house.

“Have you eaten?” Her mother glanced up from her laptop screen.

Nüwa took a breath and blew it out. “Not hungry.”

A frown creased her mother’s sculpted eyebrows. “Don’t forget to eat.” Her gaze shifted to the window. “Your father needs to wrap it up. I don’t like the color of the sky.”

Nüwa perched on one of the stools at the counter and glanced at the sky. A green hue tinged the dark clouds. “It’s ugly.”

Fat drops of rain hit the glass as the peal of a weather warning spit out of her mother’s ever-present phone. Nüwa’s stomach twisted as adrenaline surged in her body. Storms were the worst. Lightning flashed. Nüwa placed her hands flat on the counter and started counting silently.

“Four. Not far away.”

The click of the computer keys increased. “I need to get these figures to Rowan.” Her mother continued to pound the keyboard as another flash of lightning lit up the kitchen with a sick yellow glare.

The skin on Nüwa’s arms prickled. The grate of the sliding door in its tracks sounded in the room a second before a crash of thunder rattled the house.

“Three.” Nüwa turned to the sliding door. “It’s moving toward us.”

“It’s crazy out there. Wait it out with us.” Gerald touched the arm of the woman from the terrace. “You remember my wife, Lian Tan? I don’t think you’ve met my daughter. Nüwa, this is Julia.”

“Hi Ms. Tan, nice to see you again. Nice to meet you, Nüwa.” Julia inclined her head to greet Nüwa’s mother before she turned and met Nüwa’s gaze.

Nüwa stared at Julia, the thin wet fabric of the T-shirt even more distracting now Julia was standing in front of her. “You’re wet.” Her face burned as soon as the words were out of her mouth. “I mean—” She scrambled around the end of the counter, snatched a clean dish towel from the basket next to the sink. “Here.” Nüwa held the towel out with both hands.

The tips of Julia’s fingers brushed the back of Nüwa’s hand as she took the towel from her. “Thank you.” She held Nüwa’s gaze for a moment, the hint of a smile twisting her lips before she dried her face.

Nüwa studied the tops of her house shoes and knotted her hands together as an awkward silence sucked the ease out of the moment. She crossed her arms over her chest, hugging herself, knowing she was acting weird, helpless to stop it.

The faint sound of a tornado siren spared Nüwa further torment.

“Basement.” Lian stood, tucked her laptop and a thick folder under her arm, before she walked to the end of the counter. She pressed the series of buttons under the countertop. The end of the cabinet slid aside revealing a stairwell. Gerald followed Lian.

Nüwa slid off the stool and followed her parents down the stairs leading to the storm cellar. She ducked her head as she entered the stairway. “Watch your head,” Nüwa called over her shoulder.

Heavy tread on the stairs behind her and the faint scent of lavender and sunscreen tickled Nüwa’s nose as Julia followed her to the safe room. Halfway down the steps, the lights flickered out, plunging the stairwell and room below into blackness.

“Damn it. Gerald, where did you put the lantern?”

“Use your phone.”

“Left it on the counter, and didn’t we talk about this? Use your phone.”

Her parents shifted their bickering to Mandarin. Nüwa prayed Julia didn’t understand as they devolved into one of their ongoing arguments.

Nüwa extended her hand behind her, and her fingers bushed the soft denim of Julia’s jean. “Take my hand. Stay close. The stairs turn here.”

Julia clasped her hand. Her broad callused palm rested against Nüwa’s hand. Nüwa led Julia down the stairs and toward the sound of her parents arguing. As they reached the bottom of the stairs the harsh light of an electric lantern flared to life, throwing twisted shadows over the walls.

Gerald closed off the door leading to the rest of the basement, sealing them in the long narrow windowless room. “There. Nüwa, lock the door behind you.”

Nüwa threw the deadbolt and sealed the door leading up to the kitchen.

Lian stood at the far end of the room, the glower on her face matching the ferocity of the storm. Arms crossed, she lifted her chin as she observed Nüwa and Julia. Her gaze landed squarely on their clasped hands.

Julia squeezed Nüwa’s hand once, then released it. “Thank you.”

Lian turned away from Nüwa, picked up a yellow wireless radio, and shoved it into Gerald’s hands. “Get the weather radio working.”

The echo of hail pelting the house increased in volume and drowned out Gerald’s reply. A roaring sound filled Nüwa’s ears, a steady hum. The hairs on her arm stood on end. Pressure in her ears increased to the point of pain and she swallowed, trying to clear them.

The ceiling over their head creaked and groaned as the vibration intensified. The house shook, rattling the shelves holding the food and water they kept stored in the small room. Nüwa wrapped her arms around herself to stop her trembling. Cans of food vibrated off the shelves and crashed to the floor, wrenching a cry from her, and she covered her eyes.

A warm hand settled on the middle of her back. Nüwa jerked away from the touch and bit down on her lip to stifle her yelp. The roaring increased, as if a train was bearing down on them. Nüwa dropped to her knees, covered her head with her arms, and folded herself into the smallest ball possible. The thin carpet over the concrete did nothing to ease her knees and sharp pain lanced through her. Her breathing was rough in her ears as her fear turned in on itself and drove every other thought from her mind. In the space of seconds, the patter of the hail softened, and the roaring stopped, leaving a heavy silence behind.

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Meet the Author

Brenda Murphy (she/her) writes erotic romance. Her most recent novel, Double Six, is the 2020 Golden Crown Literary Society winner for Erotic Novels, and Knotted Legacy, the third book in the Rowan House series, made the 2018 The Lesbian Review’s Top 100 Vacation Reads list. You can catch her musings on writing, books, and living with wicked ADHD on her blog Writing While Distracted. She loves sideshows and tattoos and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering at her local library, she wrangles twins, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot

I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Queen by J.S. Fields #sciencefiction #LGBTQ @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Queen

Series: Hidden Earth, Book One

Author: J.S. Fields

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/14/2022

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 95200

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, sci-fi, action/adventure, lesfic, scientists, kidnapping/abduction, sand pirates, beetle riders, crazed bunnies, spaceships, AI shenanigans, grief/grieving, HFN, intersex

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Description

Nobody leaves Queen. On the tidally locked planet, a vulva and an authority problem are the only immigration requirements. Emigration is banned.

Ember spends her days cruising Queen’s endless sand dunes, hunting sand pirates and wallowing in memories of her dead wife. After an ambush, Ember is dragged to the pirate camp and learns her wife’s biggest secret—before her death, she’d joined the pirates, built an illegal spaceship, and plotted to leave the planet.

Ember, Nadia, and the sand pirates must take back the planet and expose the corrupt New Earth mining. Taming giant beetles, wrestling stinkhorn fungi, and enlisting Queen’s rabbit population in a high-stakes aerial battle are just part of the hijinks that will determine Queen’s fate as a galactic player, as well as the futures of all its conscripted inhabitants.

The newly minted outlaws must also grapple with Queen’s narrow concept of “womanhood” and where trans and intersex people belong in its future.

Excerpt

Queen
J.S. Fields © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Mornings on Queen always looked like blood. Ember stood at the edge of the habitable zone of the tidally locked planetoid. She scanned the crimson and rust horizon all the way to the perpetual sunrise. Her wife’s body was out here somewhere, buried in the coarse red sand. Desiccated, mummified, likely stripped naked by the roaming packs of sand pirates Ember was out here to track.

Well… Track. Kill. The line was blurry when it involved a spouse, and it wasn’t like the presidium—the administrative body of Queen—really cared one way or the other. Ember had cared, once, but she was on day seventeen of perimeter duty, and her whole plan of dealing with Taraniel’s death by shooting grave robbers was starting to look a little thin.

A rabbit shot across her field of vision, registering in a halo of blue inside the face shield of her envirosuit. TOPA—the suit’s AI—scrolled data across the screen, but Ember ignored it. Without thinking, she yanked one of the wide, flat stones from her exterior right thigh pocket (they were supposed to keep her calm, according to Nadia) and threw it at the flash of white, fluffy tail with precision honed from years of dealing with Queen’s nuisance rabbit population.

The rabbit’s hind legs skittered out from beneath it as it slipped on the sand. Ember wrapped her fingers around another stone, preparing to hit the head this time, when the damn thing started digging with its front feet, sand funneling around it, so that Ember lost her clean shot.

She stepped forward, grinding her teeth with an adrenaline surge that would again see no release if the little shit got away. She wiped sand from her face shield with a gloved hand, smearing red across her vision.

The area where the rabbit had dug settled flat with a slight pock. Tiny fans on the outside of Ember’s face shield blew the particulate from her vision.

The rabbit was gone and her stone along with it.

Ember cursed, the words bouncing around the inside of her rabbit-hide envirosuit, wasted on recycled air and a generic TOPA. Queen didn’t have stones like that—perfect for skipping over lakes that didn’t exist on the barren planetoid. Those she carried in her pocket were some of her last reminders of Earth. And the rabbit… Ember knelt at the soft indent in the sand. It’d descended into one of Queen’s giant beetle galleries. Of course, it had.

TOPA pinged as she reached a gloved hand into the depression. Ember debated the possibility of Queen’s native beetles—approximately the height of a small school bus and twice the length—grabbing her wrist and pulling her down in pulp-era sci-fi fashion. She dismissed the idea. If beetles hadn’t accosted her yet at this site, it meant the gallery was abandoned and being used by the feral European domestic rabbit population. They’d been brought over as food stock on the colony ships. Some had escaped. Big surprise.

Please read your notes, scrolled across the interior of Ember’s face shield, in lettering so large it blocked most of the landscape from view.

“The rabbit got away. I was stupid for throwing a rock that can’t be replaced. I wasted oxygen on the exertion. That about cover it?”

TOPA didn’t respond directly, but it did fire up a series of reports.

Landmass stability: within ten meters radius: moderate.

Sand for at least three meters below the surface with scattered hollow tunnels reinforced with clay from the temperate zone. Sand transitioning to silt loam noted in geographic surveys, with increasing occurrence toward the colony dome.

Silica content of the air: unbreathable.

UV index: ten point five.

Ember snorted. That did explain the suit smell.

She balled her hands as tightly as she could in the double-layered leather of her gloves wishing, not for the first time that day, that Gore-Tex was still a thing. Leather didn’t breathe, though both the buffer and the electrical linings of the suit were supposed to. Nothing from Earth breathed outside the habitable zone, and as much as the filters of her suit tried, they couldn’t filter out the smell of human, slowly marinating in her own sweat.

Awaiting input. Continue scan?

“Yeah. Sure. Why not?”

Ember stood, swallowing the dry air the suit pushed at her. The AI had a newly installed personality patch, but Ember would need to get a lot more bored before she turned it on. Instead, she pivoted on her right foot, keeping level with as much of the horizon as she could see, and let the suit feed data into the AI. Dunes and small valleys surrounded her, and TOPA disassembled each for content.

Silica: 100%

Silica: 97%, Chitin: 3%

Silica: 78%, Cellulose: 10%, Lignin: 10%, Chitin: 2%

Suggest moving 1.7 chains northeast for better visibility.

“Picturesque view?” Ember asked TOPA. Maybe a body?

“Hey, Ember!”

The red dunes faded into a semitransparent image of her sister, Nadia, displayed on the interior of the face shield. Ember clicked her right canines together to increase volume. The winds were too fierce outside the colony dome to hear much of anything without enhancement, even when the sound came from inside the suit. That wind was the same reason the damn rabbits tended to stay in the beetle galleries. Wind screwed with everything out here.

Nadia’s transmission showed her just outside the dome, her image picked up by one of her suit’s sleeve cameras. Sand licked her calves. Her goggles were up but her face shield down, and red soil caked her envirosuit. The only parts of her skin visible were her lips, chapped but grinning as she tapped the front of her shield and instructions scrolled across the inside of Ember’s own face shield. At the bottom of the message was a clear add-on from Nadia.

Your sentry duties now extend to Outpost Eight. Leave immediately.

–Dr. Narkhirunkanok

Hope you enjoy the sand. I’ll make you dune-nuts when you get home. Extra sprinkles. Served on a tablecloth of rabbit hide since you love the little shits so much.

Ember read the short message and scowled—a facial contortion Nadia would see in detail from the camera inside Ember’s suit. Puns and throwaway comments about the excess rabbit population had no place on an official director request. If Nadia was willing to deface government messages, it meant she was worried. But she wouldn’t say she was worried because, historically, the sisters’ ability to communicate was right around “bug and speeding windshield.”

“Leave for Outpost Eight? I’m supposed to be here for another three days.” Ember cinched her mouth into a caricature of a frown. “TOPA will be heartbroken. It hasn’t cataloged every dune within a one hundred-chain radius.”

“There’s been a change. Director Narkhirunkanok thinks the mella pirates are going to hit one of our storage units, the one where we keep sticking all the glassware we probably don’t need but can’t get rid of. We need a sentry. You’re the closest.” The wind whipped her words away, but the auditory sensors on Nadia’s suit caught them anyway.

This time, Ember did frown. It was one thing to watch for the mella and daydream about shooting one so you could avenge your wife, who didn’t actually need avenging because she’d been about to die from cancer and had chosen to walk into a sand dune. Chasing the mella to one of their targets, even if only to spy on them, so they could shoot you, was something entirely different. She didn’t have a death wish, just a need to see her wife’s body and maybe punch someone.

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Meet the Author

J.S. Fields is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. They enjoy roller derby, woodturning, making chain mail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans. Nonbinary, and always up for a Twitter chat.

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Release Blitz: Ice Devils by Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood #sportsromance #newadult #LGBTQ @RyanTaylorandJ1

Title: Ice Devils

Author: Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood

Publisher: Wainscott Press

Release Date: 03-25-2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 220 pages

Genre: Romance, mm hockey romance, sports romance, new adult romance

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Synopsis

How can Blake and Sako get past mutual contempt and old wounds to find their perfect happy ending?

When winger Blake Conti signs with the national champion Bethesda Barracudas, he isn’t looking to get involved with anyone. Still bruised from an old relationship, his focus is on playing hockey. But when one of his new teammates turns out to be the hottest man he’s ever met, Blake wonders if he should reconsider his aversion to romance.

Mark Sakamoto—Sako—one of the Barracudas’ rising young stars, is immediately smitten with Blake. Deeply closeted because he fears revealing his sexuality to his family, Sako resists his attraction by using scorn and insults to push Blake away. Hurt by Sako’s behavior, Blake reacts in kind, and the two men are soon at war.

Just as their fighting threatens to disrupt the team, the unexpected happens, and Sako and Blake bond over a silly prank. Their newfound camaraderie soon develops into a relationship, and the men become inseparable. With “ice in public, heat in private” as their motto, they keep things secret, but as they fall for each other, Sako knows he has to tell his family the truth. He dreads their reaction, but it’s the only way he and Blake can live happily ever after.

Ice Devils is an enemies-to-lovers romance featuring scorching athletes, light-hearted comedy, riveting hockey, sweet-steamy romance, and a beautiful HEA.

Excerpt

Excerpt from Ice Devils

By Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood

Blake

The locker room was empty when I got back there, and I dressed quickly. I was standing in front of my stall, buttoning my shirt, when someone called my name. Looking around, I was surprised to see Sako standing in the doorway. His hair was a mess, his face was sweaty, and his eyes were wide. The tank top he had on was soaked, and the way it stuck to his torso emphasized the hard muscle underneath.

I looked away, determined not to stare. “I didn’t know you were still here. Been in the gym?” I slipped on my loafers.

“Yeah.” His voice was low and husky. “I needed to ride the bike and clear my head.”

“Did it work?” Unable to resist, I turned my gaze back on him.

“No.” His hands were at his sides, and he opened and closed them repeatedly while his eyes darted around the room. “Anybody else still here?”

“No. You all right, Mark?”

Instead of answering, he rushed toward me and grabbed my hand. “Come here.”

He tugged, but I stayed put. “What?”

“Come with me.” He tugged harder, almost pulling me off my feet. I was too shocked to say anything as he dragged me into a small room used to store spare equipment and closed the door. Meager light filtered in through ventilation panels, and after he turned to face me, I looked into dangerous dark eyes while his thick musk filled the air.

He licked his lips and smiled. “I’m glad you’re still here.”

“You are?”

“Yes.” He leaned forward and brushed his lips against mine before backing his head away to look at me again.

I was too shocked to move. “Mark?”

“I’m really glad you’re still here.” He caressed my cheek and smiled again.

“What’s going on?” I whispered.

He wrapped his arms around me, and my legs turned to jelly. “What the hell are you doing? This isn’t—”

He shut me up by pressing his mouth against mine. I wanted to tear away, to yell at him to go to hell, but I wrapped my arms around him and kissed him back instead. I didn’t understand what the fuck I was doing. Sako and I weren’t even friends. In fact, we were probably enemies. We certainly weren’t the kind of people who kissed each other.

Pulling away from my lips, he licked the corners of my mouth. Even as my brain cried foul, I hugged him tighter, not wanting the moment to end. He kissed me again, but when his tongue probed against my lips, I pressed them together. I didn’t want Sako’s tongue in my mouth. But if that was true, why did I relax enough for him to sneak inside? I may have hated the bastard, but the thrill of him possessing me that way shook my world.

I deepened the kiss, and my tongue dueled his until I found my way inside. His smell, sweaty and sharp with need, ignited an explosion of desire, and I shoved him into a wall of boxes stacked against the storage lockers. Trapping his hands, I probed every corner of his mouth while he moaned. Time stood still until he grunted and jerked his hands free. He swiveled me around like a rag doll until I was the one pinned against the boxes with my hands clamped under his. Fire shot through me when he moved his hips against mine and our cocks ground together.

“Stop!” I yelled. “I hate you!” Just as quickly, I called out again, “Don’t stop! Please!” He didn’t react at all, and I realized the voice had been in my head. We were locked in a kiss that had my mind doing somersaults, and I wondered if we’d keep playing bump-and-grind until we both came in our pants.

ICE DEVILS: Copyright © 2022 Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood. All rights reserved.

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Meet the Author

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 love to travel, and hockey is practically a religion in their house. Ryan also enjoys swimming, and Josh likes to putter in the garden whenever he can. They began writing to celebrate the romance they were so lucky to find with each other, and the sharing soon developed into a passion for telling stories about love between out and proud men. Ryan and Josh love to hear from readers anytime.

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