Release Blitz: Summer Storms by Thomas Grant Bruso #LGBTQ #contemporaryromance @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Summer Storms

Author: Thomas Grant Bruso

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/20/2021

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 39900

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, high school, grief, coming of age, hurt/comfort, harassment

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Description

Sixteen-year-old Earl Layman is going stir-crazy. Secluded with the flu inside the four walls of his home and only the escape of his video games to help him through, Earl is struggling to keep his sanity.

That is until he notices the boy next door, seventeen-year-old Rex Chambers, raking leaves in the adjacent yard.

Earl’s summer is about to change. Before another torrential rainstorm hits the small upstate New York town of Betham County, they meet during an awkward cell phone exchange. As they start to connect through occasional texts, Earl and Rex enter the throes of adolescent lust.

In the early stages of forging a lasting connection, their family situations threaten to destroy all they are working for.

Excerpt

Summer Storms
Thomas Grant Bruso © 2021
All Rights Reserved

EARL

Earl was a funny name for a sixteen-year-old boy. It reminded Earl of an older man, like his late uncle Fred who died when Earl was two years old.

As he stared down at a photo album spread open across his lap, the pictures of his uncle Fred and family reminded him of a conversation he’d had with his mother years before about death and dying.

Earl ran a finger over a photo of his uncle smiling back at him from beneath the glossy sheet of paper: white buck teeth, dark-brown eyes, thinning blond widow’s peak, and a handlebar moustache. Earl had pulled the album out of storage when memories of his life in Jessup, New York, resurfaced while he was sick from school this week. He flipped through scads of photos, faces from yesteryear, as he wiped his moist eyes with the back of his hand, reminiscing.

The idea to trek down memory lane came clear to Earl when he’d had a silent, reflective moment about his own life—his purpose, and who he was.

Six years ago when his family was living in a tiny, two-bedroom duplex in the small town of Jessup, before they moved to Betham County, Earl and his mother had a long conversation about life and death. Earl asked the most obvious question: “Why does everybody have to die?”

“Even the good guys like Uncle Fred die,” she’d said.

The conversation with his mother had been triggered by his finding their cat, Shells, unresponsive, just after he’d stumbled out of bed early one morning to use the bathroom. Shells was lying on the floor, curled up in a corner. Earl crouched next to her and ran his hand through her soft black-and-white fur. She did not move, so Earl yelled for his parents. He recalled the sad expressions on their faces when they came running to him.

Earl cried when he and his father had to bury Shells in the backyard, a fragment of memories now many miles behind them. Earl had sat with his mother that morning as she answered his questions, the importance of death, and the grief that comes with losing life’s precious things.

“Like Uncle Fred and Shells,” she’d said, “everything and everybody has a purpose. That’s why it’s important to love and care for everyone and everything, people and animals, every day. It’s sad to lose a pet or a family member, but it’s also natural and part of life.”

“Are you and Dad going to die like Uncle Fred and Shells?”

“One day. But not for a long time.”

His mother’s hug, the safety of her warm embrace, made Earl happy. After saying goodbye to Uncle Fred and Shells, Earl never wanted to let go of his parents. They were all he had.

Now, on this morning in early May, Earl’s thoughts returned to his past. He stared at the photos wedged beneath the glossy plastic sheets of film in the photo album.

He took a breath as he turned through pages of smiling faces—his family members in various pictures. He smiled back, deep in thought, tears falling and blotting the top of the album.

A rattling of glass bottles jarred his concentration, pulling him out of his momentary trance. He set the photo album on his bed and went to the window, gazing out into another sweltering day. Though gray clouds buckled beneath a darkening May sky that promised another rainstorm, the air was thick like clam chowder.

He was at home, sick from school for the third day this week, if his fever didn’t break. Earl had been bedridden with nowhere to go. He checked his cell phone for messages—from anybody. He missed human contact from his class friends, especially his best friend, Andy Gelman.

Traffic hummed along on the main artery of Betham County, a street over, and Earl caught a glimpse of a woman walking her dog. A young bicyclist pedaled to class. And the boy next door, Rex Chambers, on whom Earl had a small crush, bagged recycling for weekly pickup. Rex looked up at him, waved, and smiled. “Mornin’.” He placed the recycling bin by the side of the street and ambled to the fence separating the yards.

Earl’s face flushed; his skin tingled. Maybe it was the flu, or he was just feeling embarrassed. Shy. Staring at the cute guy who rode his mother’s motorcycle to school every morning this year made Earl light-headed.

“Cat got your tongue?” Rex yelled up from the neighboring yard, pulling the motorcycle away from where it was leaning against the fence and reaching for the helmet hanging on the handlebars. “You need a ride to school?”

“I…um…”

Rex tossed the black Darth Vader–like helmet back and forth in his hands like a basketball. His dark hair was slicked with a generous amount of gel, and his angelic eyes and chiseled face set the cogwheels in Earl’s rusty thoughts in motion. “I haven’t seen you around this week. Where’ve you been?” Rex asked.

Earl grinned back at the tall, handsome boy. Was Rex keeping track of how many days I’ve been out of school? “I’m sick.”

“Another day, then?”

Earl nodded, lifted a hand to wave. “See you around.”

“If you need anything, let me know.”

Earl bit down on his bottom lip. He couldn’t believe the boy next door had talked to him; he did not know Rex well. They didn’t talk every day, and when they passed each other in the hallway at Betham County High, Earl was too nervous to speak to him or engage him in conversation. He’d smile at the gorgeous guy, but it was a brief moment in his long day. A fleeting exchange of waves or grins, and both young men went their separate ways. The only class Earl and Rex shared was study hall. But by ninth period, Rex usually ditched the boring forty-five-minute class to take off on his motorcycle and ride around town.

“Feel better!” Rex yelled up to him. He put the helmet on, swung his leg over the cycle and started the engine. “I’m off! Another boring day at Betham County High.”

Earl looked away and smirked.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Thomas Grant Bruso knew at an early age he wanted to be a writer. He has been a voracious reader of genre fiction since he was a kid.

His literary inspirations are Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Ellen Hart, Jim Grimsley, Karin Fossum, Sam J. Miller, Joyce Carol Oates, and John Connolly.

Bruso loves animals, book-reading, writing fiction, prefers Sudoku to crossword puzzles.

In another life, he was a freelance writer and wrote for magazines and newspapers. In college, he was a winner for the Hermon H. Doh Sonnet Competition. Now, he writes book reviews for his hometown newspaper, The Press Republican.

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Release Blitz: Breaking the Shackles by Mell Eight #LGBTQ #paranormalromance @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Breaking the Shackles

Series: Dragon’s Hoard, Book Two

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/06/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 23600

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, bonded mates, royalty, interspecies, mythical creatures, shifters

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Description

Separated and abused by the magi, twins Laine and Baine each swore to do whatever it took to break free and save the other. But when Baine arrives at the werewolf village prepared to rescue Laine and return home triumphant, he soon learns that any plan involving a dragon and a werewolf is bound to go awry.

Excerpt

Breaking the Shackles
Mell Eight © 2021
All Rights Reserved

The haze covering Laine’s mind faded. Slowly he became aware of his surroundings and flinched at that realization. Awareness equaled pain: pain from the knowledge of those who had been so violently lost and pain as his own flesh writhed from the cruel ministrations of the creatures that had taken control of him.

The magi, his mind hissed. The magi had taken him captive with five others of his clan. Only he remained alive. The return of memories that came with his first moments free of the haze was one of the reasons Laine so hated each return to consciousness.

As the haze further retreated, Laine expected to feel a whip on his back or an excruciating pull as his magic was forcibly drained from his body. His magic gave him life eternal, brought breath to his body, and made his heart pump. Without it, the other five of his clan had perished, gasping for air they could no longer breathe for hearts that could no longer beat. The magi stole the magic that gave them life, and they died.

Shackles surrounded Laine’s upper arms, but pain did not wrack his body. His magic felt strong and hale, as if the magi had not drawn from him in hours. Strange, and worrying. What twisted plan did the magi have in store for him now?

Laine’s surroundings came further into focus. He felt like he was riding on something. His body was lifting and lowering in the air as whatever he was tied to bounded forward. His fingers were clenched in what felt like fur.

Laine did not open his eyes. That would alert the magi that he was awake and aware, which would lead to more pain. Instead, Laine enjoyed the soothing feeling of the fur below him. His mind drifted away into a dream—one in which he watched the magi die.

Wolves howled in the woods. One of the magi tugging Laine along the tangled forest path swore. The wolves were truly wondrous creatures. They broke cover and appeared in the clearing. One wolf with a white muzzle, as if he had dipped his nose in a bottle of milk and hadn’t yet licked himself clean, stood out. That wolf killed the magi who liked to giggle when he drew power from Laine.

Two more wolves appeared, the first a female of russet color and the second a light-brown male with large black splotches on his back. Together they ripped apart the magi’s second-in-command, a man with long brown hair and light-blond stripes growing from his temples. Laine found it strange that the magi bled the same color as Laine’s back did whenever the man gleefully used his whip.

And then a beautiful dark-brown wolf with the deepest, most wonderful brown eyes appeared in front of Laine and dove directly at the magi holding him captive. The connection between them snapped as the magi used both hands to defend himself against the wolf. Laine fell to the ground, released from the magi’s clutches. Claws slashed wickedly as the wolf backed the magi into a tree. Every time the magi opened his mouth to lay a coercion spell, the wolf increased the fervor of his attacks until all the magi could do was gasp and bleed. The wolf ripped the leader of the magi’s throat out soon after. Laine glimpsed the long black hair with two white stripes growing from the temples before a spray of blood disfigured the leader’s face forever.

The dream ended with Laine sitting on the forest floor while blood and wolves surrounded him. Even in the dream he returned to the haze. Laine wished it were possible for such things to come true. For the magi to be dead and Laine to be free. Well, it was a nice dream, but reality abhorred dreams.

Laine drifted. Hours, days…he couldn’t keep track of time. He didn’t want to keep track of time.

When he came to again, the situation had grown stranger. His side was warm and he heard crackling. Was he lying in front of a fire? He lay on a real bed with feathers and a pillow. A blanket was even tucked around his body. How many years had it been since Laine had felt the comfort of a simple blanket? He didn’t keep track of time for a reason.

He knew it would alert the enemy if he moved, but Laine couldn’t help it. He curled deeper into the warmth of the mattress and pulled the blanket over his shoulders. Laine ignored the shocked whispers behind him. Surrounded by unfamiliar comfort, his body fell into a real sleep—the first in a very, very long time.

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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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Release Blitz: The Acquisition by Rachel Ford #contemporarythriller #LGBTQ #suspense @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: The Acquisition

Author: Rachel Ford

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/06/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 94600

Genre: Contemporary Thriller, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, lesbian, action/adventure, reverse hero’s journey, suspense, humorous, revenge, workplace drama/office workers, tech secret espionage, pets, cruise ship, violence with guns, family drama

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Description

When Sutherland Bio buys up the little bio research firm Human Resources specialist Angela McCormack works for, she tries to adapt. Even though her shady new boss’s smarminess and sexism makes her stomach turn. She sticks it out through the verbal abuse, and through the benefit cuts and layoffs.

But when her boss, George Sutherland Jr., tasks her to recruit replacements for the people he laid off—and lets it slip that the layoffs were just part of a regime change strategy—she’s ready to throw in the towel. As much as she hates the idea of shoveling manure again, she’d rather return to her family’s farm and petting zoo than stay with Sutherland Bio.

Then George Jr. takes a particularly bad day out on her. And Angela decides she’s tired of the humiliation. She’s going to fight fire with fire. She makes it her mission to fill George Jr.’s team with the worst possible candidates she can find.

But she didn’t take into account falling for one of the new hires. All of a sudden, she’s not sure she wants to leave. Not yet.

And that’s just the first chicken to come home to roost. Little does she know, George has plenty of secrets of his own. And when one of them turns deadly, Angela will have to rely on her handpicked sabotage crew for survival. She might just wish she was back home shoveling manure after all.

Excerpt

The Acquisition
Rachel Ford © 2021
All Rights Reserved

You don’t piss off the person making your food. You don’t piss off the woman who gave birth to you. And you don’t piss off the HR lady. Everyone knows that.

Everyone, it seemed, except George Maxwell Sutherland, Jr. As with most memos, George Maxwell Sutherland, Jr. had missed that one. Along with the one about manners. And treating employees with respect. And showering every day instead of wearing a bucket of cologne to work.

Angela McCormack wrinkled her nose and stared at her boss’s feet. They were at eye level since he had them propped up on his desk. The sight made her stomach turn a little. It wasn’t so much the untrimmed talons on the ends of his toes, or the hobbit-like growth of untamed hair. It was the fact that she could see them at all. And the no-feet-on-the-furniture and don’t wear flipflops into work when you’re the CEO memos.

Yes, there were quite a few memos George Maxwell Sutherland, Jr. had missed. But at the moment, it was the one about not downsizing people out of their jobs just to recreate the same position two months later that weighed the heaviest on her mind. Because, unless she’d misunderstood everything he had just said, that’s what he was doing here. And despite George’s propensity to torture a simple sentence into a longwinded monologue for the sole pleasure of hearing himself talk, she was pretty sure she hadn’t got it wrong.

“Excuse me, Mr. Sutherland,” she said, “just to clarify, we’re refilling the positions we just downsized?”

He cocked an eyebrow up at her. “No, not at all. These are different positions, Angie.”

God, she hated when he called her Angie. “Yes sir, I heard you say that. But if I’m understanding you, the titles will be different, but the positions will fill the same basic function as before. We’re looking for an IT team lead to replace Dawn. You need a Director of Business Services to pick up where Mark left off, and so on?”

He flashed her a toothy grin that, she supposed, he assumed was charming. It wasn’t. It was the kind of smile she’d expect from someone selling a car that probably wouldn’t make it out of the lot. “Now you’re getting it. You know how it goes. New era, new regime. If I’m going to do this right, well, I need people I can trust.”

He studied her for a long moment with keen blue eyes. “That’s why I kept you on. I had a good feeling about you. And you know what I say—I’m a man who goes with his gut.”

Angela McCormack forced a smile and lied through her teeth. “Of course, sir. You can always trust me.”

“Don’t call me sir. Call me George.” He smiled again. He smiled too much for her liking. Grinning CEO’s, smiling politicians, and gas station sushi: she reserved the same measure of trust for each of them. “Now, I’d like these listings up by Friday. Is that something we can do?”

We. As if he’d lift a finger to help.

“I’ll get the drafts to you by the end of the day tomorrow. If the revision process goes smoothly, I don’t see why not.”

He nodded. “Excellent. Excellent. Well, that was all I had, then. Oh, my dry cleaning’s not back yet, is it?”

“No sir. I mean, no, George.”

He winked and clicked his tongue as a kind of sound effect to match the finger guns he aimed her way. “That’s better. I don’t like a formal workplace. I’m all about casual. I think it builds better morale. Don’t you?”

Angela smiled and lied again. “Oh, absolutely.”

She had nothing against casual, as long as it wasn’t the kind of casual that involved dirty hobbit feet on the desk. But George had come into Fenwood Bio like a whirlwind, laying off staff, axing benefits, and implementing draconian cost reduction programs within his first two weeks. The turnover rate was already higher than the layoffs. Which was one of several reasons why she was currently filling the role of the entire HR department, as well as admin, IT department, and supply requisitions. All for the same salary as before, of course, but with a much slimmer retirement package, and no life insurance benefits.

No, Angela McCormack didn’t want to hear the word “morale” pass his lips. He’d personally shredded every last bit of it and flushed it down the toilet.

“Me too. You might say, it’s one of my core philosophies.” He nodded, to himself it seemed, then added, “Well, I’ll let you get to work, then.”

She didn’t mind the dismissal. Hell, it couldn’t come soon enough as far as she was concerned. “Right.”

Retreating to her office and closing the door after her, Angela breathed out a long sigh of relief. She hadn’t been afraid he’d called her in to lay her off. He’d gotten that out of his system within the first few weeks. Still, she’d seen so many come and go, she would have been lying if she said the thought hadn’t occurred to her.

Mostly, she detested him. And she had the kind of face that didn’t know how to use its inside voice. When someone tripped her BS trigger, well, her face broadcast it loud and clear before she even realized it.

George Maxwell Sutherland, Jr. lived in the BS zone. And Angela McCormack needed her job. She had a mortgage and a house she loved. Sure, she could have found a job elsewhere that would have paid as well, or maybe a little better. But she didn’t want to give up her house. Not after all the years she’d spent restoring it, a room at a time.

Nor did she want to leave Fenwood. She’d grown up here, and she planned to grow old here. Older, she thought with a sour glance at the calendar. She’d be thirty-five in two days. She didn’t want to have to start over at thirty-five.

And that’s exactly what finding a new job in human resources would be. Fenwood Bio—now Sutherland Bio Research—was the biggest employer in the area, and those companies that did have HR departments weren’t hiring.

She knew because she’d checked. So, if she was going to find another job, it would mean leaving the area. It would mean moving a hundred miles south, or seventy-five miles north, or even farther east and west.

Fenwood was one of those smack-in-the-middle-of-nowhere towns, with more cows and horses than people. You either loved it or hated it.

Angela loved it, and she didn’t want to leave.

So, she pulled open her archaic software suite and started filling in the job listings they’d talked about. Did it make her a modern-day Judas Iscariot, helping this son of a bitch after he’d fired so many of her friends on the pretense that their jobs were redundant, now that Sutherland Bio Research had acquired them?

Maybe. Then again, Judas didn’t have a mortgage. Angela stared at the screen, trying to focus on the work. But the work didn’t—couldn’t—make up for the feeling in the pit of her stomach. The feeling of betrayal that left her a little sick. God, I hate this job.

She started as her messenger application dinged. Glancing at the clock on her desktop, she frowned. Somehow, half an hour had already passed.

Angela brought up the messenger window and groaned. It was George, and he’d flagged the chat as a high priority.

Can you come to my office?

Grimacing, she typed, On my way.

Angela practiced her fake smile on the way. It probably wouldn’t have convinced anyone who wasn’t as obtuse as George, but at least it wouldn’t be scary. Or, so she hoped anyway.

She knocked on his closed door and immediately heard, “Come in.” She did, and Sutherland smiled at her. “Ah, Angie. Thank goodness. We’ve got a situation.”

Oh no. “Oh?”

“I forgot I had an appointment this morning.”

“Really? I didn’t see anything in your schedule.”

“Oh, I forgot to tell you about it. I would have had you add it to the calendar. But that’s not the issue. Point is, we don’t have anything for them to eat.”

Now, she did grimace. So far this month, he’d sent her on eighty-some dollars’ worth of coffee runs, lunch pickups, and pastry runs. For a millionaire, Mr. Sutherland was chronically short of cash. It had all gone on “the tab.”

The tab didn’t exist, except as a figment of his imagination. Angela had her doubts that it would ever be settled. He’d pay off ten or twenty bucks here and there. But it always seemed larger than whatever cash he happened to have on hand.

“What did you have in mind?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Whatever you can find.”

“When are they going to be here?”

“Nine-thirtyish. Maybe ten. I’m not really sure. They were going to be here when they could. They’re flying in from Philly. Shit.” He shook his head. “I need to have something here for them. They probably haven’t eaten yet.”

Despite herself, Angela felt his tension get to work on her mind. “Well, I can put a call into Tealeaves & Coffeecake. I’m sure we can get a breakfast tray.”

He nodded. “Good. Good, their stuff is good. For Fenwood food anyway. See if you can get one of those breakfast quiches, and pastries.”

“Will do.”

“Nothing with mushrooms though. I can’t stand them.”

“Got it.”

“Oh, and what are we going to do about coffee?”

“I’ll make sure we have a pot freshly brewed by nine-thirty.” It wasn’t her job, but if it quelled a panic? Well, Angela would do it.

But George wrinkled his nose. “I’m not going to force them to drink that crap.”

She blinked. “You mean, the office coffee?”

He nodded as if she was agreeing with him somehow. “You’ll have to get one of those jugs of coffee. French roast. You know how I like it.”

“All right,” she said, then added, “I’ll let you know how much it costs.”

He nodded absently. “Sounds good. Thanks, Angie, you’re a lifesaver.”

“Anytime,” she said, leaving his office before the scowl set in.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Award-winning author Rachel Ford is a software engineer by day, and a writer most of the rest of the time. She is a Trekkie, a video gamer, and a dog parent, owned by a Great Pyrenees named Elim Garak and a mutt of many kinds named Fox (for the inspired reason that he looks like a fox).

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Release Blitz: Far Away Eyes by Megan Slayer #LGBTQ #paranormalromance @MeganSlayer

Title: Far Away Eyes

Series: Set in Stone

Author: Megan Slayer

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: September 3, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 52

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, Second Chances, Magic, Paranormal

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Synopsis

Gage knows Rascal is dying. The gay cancer has taken over his life and is killing him more each day. Gage knows his love can’t save Rascal, but what if there is a chance to change the future?

Rascal isn’t done loving Gage. He’s not ready to die. If he’s willing to accept the magic from Darryl at Start Me Up, he can come back.

He’s going to return to his love and life, no matter the cost. Now if only Gage will accept him…

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Megan Slayer

Steve opened the door and slid behind the wheel. “Hold up. Okay?”

Gage settled against Chris. God, he was numb. He’d known the end was coming for Rascal, but that hadn’t prepared him for the actual event. It was too soon. Too final.

“Lew will want to talk to you,” Chris said. “He handled Rascal’s will.”

“He did?” Why didn’t he know that? He was Rascal’s partner and they’d told each other everything — at least he’d thought they had. “Since when?”

“The last time you were at the hospital — two weeks ago? He set it up when you were sleeping.” Chris shifted in his seat. “Steve and I know this sucks. We’ve been through it.”

“And we survived.” Steve smiled. “Lew will tell you something that seems impossible, but it’s not.”

He doubted he’d question Lew, the lawyer. But the whole situation seemed strange. “Okay.”

“You’ll think it’s far out, but I guarantee it’s real,” Chris said. “Trust us.”

Gage shrugged. “Sure.” He’d believe almost anything right now if it meant getting Rascal back. Since that wasn’t going to happen, tough shit.

Steve turned back around and started the car.

Maybe he was just too dazed, but Gage doubted Chris and Steve knew what they were talking about. They’d never really understand because they hadn’t actually lost each other. Hadn’t been ripped from the scene because family didn’t believe he was gay or seen their partner waste away.

He paid little attention as Steve drove to the apartment. Right now, he wanted to go back to the hospital and be with Rascal. His lover wasn’t in that shell any longer, but that didn’t quell the ache in Gage’s being.

Steve parked on the street. Chris left the vehicle first and Gage followed. Gage wandered up to the apartment. How could he ever go back to his own apartment? Everything there reminded him of Rascal. Once Rascal had been diagnosed with the cancer, he’d moved in with Gage to consolidate homes and save some money.

He stood in the living room of Chris and Steve’s place but wished he could go. King and Randall were there along with Eric and Danny. On one hand, it felt like too many people around, but on the other, this was his adopted family. The chosen ones he called his nearest and dearest. His own parents hadn’t wanted him around because he was gay, and Rascal suffered the same problems. All he and Rascal had were each other and their adopted family.

Lew stepped into the apartment. “Hi.”

God. If one more person showed up, Gage would leave.

Chris and Steve stood behind the sofa, King and Randall waited by the bar and Eric and Danny reclined on the window seat. Gage wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn’t come. “Yeah?” Gage asked. “Well?”

He shouldn’t be upset with them, but the despair bled into the rest of his life.
“You should know some things before we go over Randall’s will,” Lew said. “Do you know how Randall, Eric and Steve are here?”

Gage shrugged. “They survived?” Why in the hell was anyone asking him this right now?

“Not exactly,” Chris said and rounded the sofa. “Steve had the gay cancer, remember? Maybe you don’t, but he did. He died and I spent a long time mourning him. It hurt so much.”

He didn’t remember that, but honestly, he hadn’t paid much attention.

“And Eric was killed by a gunshot wound,” Danny said. “I lost him and never thought I’d ever be whole.”

“Obviously he pulled through,” Gage said. If he hadn’t, Eric wouldn’t be sitting there.

“He didn’t,” Danny said. “He died.”

“I see him right there with you.” Gage shook his head. This was ridiculous.

“Randall was attacked at the shelter back at Christmas. He bled out,” King said. “I saw his parents take custody of his body.”

“I don’t believe this. You’re all standing here, so someone lied or you never died.” Gage held up both hands. “Just… stop. Enough. You’re all bullshitting me. What is this?”

“This is where I come in,” Lew said. “I, along with Bob and Darryl at Start Me Up, helped the others, and we helped Rascal.”

“You did?” Gage snorted. “Did you bring them back from the dead? Huh? Did you become a doctor and learn how to reverse the damage from a gunshot wound? Did you figure out how to keep someone from bleeding out? Did you come up with a cure for the gay cancer? Is that how you saved the other guys? Come on.” His voice cracked. “Rascal is gone. There’s nothing you can do to change that. No one can. I lost him — end of story.”

“It’s not the end of the story,” Lew said. “Trust me.”

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Meet the Author

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on various e-tailer sites.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.

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Release Blitz: Siren’s Love Song by Alexa Piper #LGBTQ #urbanfantasy @prowlingpiper

Title: Siren’s Love Song

Series: Elvenswood Tales 4

Author: Alexa Piper

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: September 3, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 124

Genre: Romance, Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures, Gay, Magic, Vampires, Zombies, Action Adventure, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

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Synopsis

As a siren, Mike has a voice to sway a human heart. But he is a lawyer first, and when he meets a cute librarian, it’s Mike who is being swayed. Before the siren knows it, a chance meeting is turning into passionate love.

Corvin loves books and is passionate about being a librarian. When a tall, dark, and extremely handsome lawyer walks into his life, he is over the moon and in love. Yes, Mike likes humming and singing, and Mike’s boss is a little odd, but Corvin knows Mike loves him, and that is all that counts.

Mike has been keeping his siren nature a secret from Corvin, and with each passing day, with each step they take toward each other, telling the human he loves what Mike truly is becomes more difficult for Mike. Yet, when they are about to leave the city and take a beach vacation so Mike can work up the nerve to tell Corvin, a jealous necromancer ex shows up and tells Mike he wants him back. Now, Corvin needs to know what Mike really is. All Mike can do is hope that their love will be enough to make Corvin accept him as worlds and desires clash.

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Alexa Piper

Mike had always thought that the background music the supermarket near New Elvenswood’s university campus spouted from the hidden speakers was about as cultured as a day-old piece of gum stuck to the sole of a smelly running shoe, yet here he was. Granted, he hadn’t come for the music, but for the almost ridiculously wide selection of spices on offer. Specifically the cayenne pepper was the best and Mike’s reason for enduring the music. Two baggies of the stuff were already in Mike’s shopping basket.

Mike let his eyes wander over the various salts the market had in stock. They had anything from pink to black, from coarse to fine, and a part of Mike was wondering why he was even bothering with the fancy ones when he really just needed salt for cooking, for pasta water essentially. He sighed, scratched the back of his head, and picked out a pink variety, which went into his shopping basket to keep the cayenne pepper company.

I think pink salt from some mine somewhere on another continent just became the highlight of today. Mike thought back to the rest of the day, which he’d spent reviewing contracts for a selkie client.

Mike left the spice aisle behind and headed to the produce section. He enjoyed cooking, even after a long day, because something about preparing the food without hurry just made him relax. He liked cooking for friends as well but had never minded just doing it for himself. As he picked out bell peppers, Mike began to hum a low melody, which barely drowned out the ugly background music the store used to torture all shoppers.

Turning to the ginger root, Mike caught sight of another shopper, though he actually looked at the shopper only after he saw the man’s T-shirt. I am a DRAGON, look how I boar, it read, displaying a grumpy cartoon boar, half hidden by a pink dragon costume. That T-shirt was wonderfully ridiculous, and Mike found himself smiling.

The man who wore it under a neat black denim jacket didn’t notice. He was too engrossed with the pineapples, picking one up and giving it a critical look, then putting it down again and subjecting its neighbor to the same scrutiny. The whole thing looked, for lack of a better word, cute.

Mike cleared his throat, and the man looked from his pineapple to Mike. Dragon T-shirt had brilliant green eyes. “You want them just slightly soft when you squeeze the shell. Definitely not hard,” Mike told the other man.

“My mother told me not to trust men who have such strong opinions about pineapples,” Dragon T-shirt said. His blond hair fell over his eyebrows and almost tangled in his dark lashes, and Mike felt the sudden urge to brush those soft curls out of the way. Dragon T-shirt had a bubbly voice, a bit higher than Mike’s own, and with an excitable, bright echo to it.

Mike nodded thoughtfully. “I assure you, that was no opinion, just an observation.” He leaned over the pile of ginger root in front of him. “But if you care for my opinion, it’s the dragon fruit lovers who are all kinds of trouble.” He tilted his head. “Nice T-shirt, by the way.”

To Dragon T-shirt’s credit, he never looked down to his own T-shirt. “Thank you. I like a man who knows soaring fashion when he sees it.” He blinked, then held out the pineapple to Mike. “Check this for me.”

Mike took the offered fruit. It felt fine to him, but he still walked around the aisle until he stood next to Dragon T-shirt. Mike put the pineapple he’d been handed back down and picked out another, made a small show of examining it, and then handed that to Dragon T-shirt. “Here. This’ll be sweet.”

And Dragon T-shirt actually licked his bottom lip before he took the fruit from Mike. Their fingers brushed against each other’s, and Mike wanted to launch into a low hum at the contact, but he didn’t. Few supernaturals would willingly stick out like Dragon T-shirt, and so Mike had to assume this cute man with a hankering for pineapple was all human.

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Meet the Author

Alexa Piper writes steamy romance that ranges from light to dark, from straight to queer. She’s also a coffee addict. Alexa loves writing stories that make her readers laugh and fall in love with the characters in them. Connect with Alexa on Facebook or Instagram, follow her on Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter!

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Release Blitz: The Midnight Man by Kevin Klehr #LGBTQ #contemporaryromance @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: The Midnight Man

Author: Kevin Klehr

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/30/2021

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 52200

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, fantasy, family-drama, romance, gay, established couple, dreams, cheating, mother/son relationship

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Description

Stanley is almost fifty. He hates his job, has an overbearing mother, and is in a failed relationship. Then he meets Asher, the man of his dreams, literally in his dreams.

Asher is young, captivating, and confident about his future—everything Stanley is not. So, Asher gives Stan a gift. The chance to be an extra five years younger each time they meet.

Some of their adventures are whimsical. A few are challenging. Others are totally surreal. All are designed to bring Stan closer to the moment his joyful childhood turned to tears.

But when they fall in love, Stan knows he can’t live in Asher’s dreamworld. Yet he is haunted by Asher’s invitation to “slip into eternal sleep.”

Excerpt

The Midnight Man
Kevin Klehr © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Stanley gazed into the fridge as he waited for his partner, Francesco, and their conquest for the night to stop smooching at the front door and come inside.

He checked for eggs and milk. He was thankful there were chives in a container so breakfast for their guest could be a tad more exotic. But he’d have to go easy on the toast as there were only three slices of sourdough left, and he didn’t want to open the boring old multigrain.

He closed his eyes to recall the night. Their plaything was licking his lips with just the right amount of tongue when he propositioned Francesco at the nightclub. He hadn’t even noticed Stanley.

But if the couple didn’t respond to the young man’s request, he’d move on to the next potentials and Stanley and Francesco would have to choose between those altered by alcohol or happy pills. And Stanley knew those sins outstayed their welcome like bad wallpaper. Fortunately, tonight’s pickup was only slightly wired.

Francesco stumbled in the living room, trying to make martinis. Their boy was giggling like a pre-schooler who’d heard a limerick. But the disco laden images of earlier that night were still haunting Stanley.

Francesco’s workmate, Graham, had joined them with his partner, Tony. Stanley recalled the look Tony gave them when they said goodnight. As if their hookup, who wrapped his arms around Stanley and Francesco, was the victim in some lost midlife scenario reminiscent of anxious porn. Yet Graham and Tony were only ten years older than Stanley and Francesco’s toy for the night. Surely Tony would be more open-minded.

“Dinky, the martinis are ready.”

Stanley frowned at hearing his nickname. It was his curtain call to re-enter this flawed three-character play.

“Elijah can’t believe you’re fifty soon,” Francesco said, handing Stan his cocktail.

“You look so good.” The lad gazed wide-eyed for more time than naturally required. “Your hair’s thinning a little, but I know guys half your age who are seriously bald.”

“See, Dinky. Even Elijah thinks you’re handsome for your age.”

“Thank you,” Stanley mumbled. He sat on the edge of the armrest of the large sofa.

Elijah sat with his legs stretched out, enjoying the comfort of their recliner as if it was his own. He grinned at Francesco like a patient kid waiting too long for dessert.

“I hope you like scrambled eggs,” Stanley said.

“Say what?” Elijah snickered.

“You said you were staying for breakfast,” Stan replied. “You said so on the ride home.”

“Oh no.” Elijah looked horrified, as if dessert were cancelled. “You’re taking me out for breakfast.”

“He wants to be paraded,” said Francesco.

“Like a gold medal.” Stanley tried his best not to roll his eyes.

“So, what made you choose us tonight?” Francesco asked.

“You’re an established couple,” Elijah replied. “You know your shit. And you’ve dealt with your shit. Older men are so much more fun.” He turned to Stanley. “Most times I go out, I pick up an older couple.”

Stanley couldn’t help thinking how rehearsed Elijah sounded. “Has that strategy always worked?”

“Of course.”

“Really?”

Elijah stared blankly at Stanley. “Yeah, except when one guy is more uptight than the other.”

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Meet the Author

Kevin lives with his husband, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

His tall tales explore unrequited love in the theatre district of the Afterlife, romance between a dreamer and a realist, and a dystopian city addicted to social media.

His first novel, Drama Queens with Love Scenes, spawned a secondary character named Guy. Many readers argue that Guy, the insecure gay angel, is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. His popularity surprised the author. The third in this series, Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes, scored a Rainbow Award (judged by fans of queer fiction) for Best Gay Alternative Universe/Reality novel.

So, with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.

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Release Blitz: The Warrior’s Assassin by Nikki McCoy #LGBTQ #Fantasy @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: The Warrior’s Assassin

Series: Born in Sin, Book One

Author: Nikki McCoy

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/30/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 61300

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, mythical creatures (fae, jinn), incarceration, soulmates/bonding, revenge, prison escape, cliffhanger

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Description

For over a century, Kita has paid for his sins in innocence and blood. The sin of being born, for daring to exist, and for polluting the fae race with his tainted, mixed heritage. Half fae and half human, he is an abomination belonging to neither race, yet caught in the midst of their feuding.

After winning his freedom from a lifetime of slavery to the fae, a ghost from his past has come to pull him back into the depths of hell. And this time, there will be no escape.

To the world, Jacen McKenna is a gang leader, arms and drug trafficker, slaver. Labels he wears proudly to cover his true intentions. He is a warrior among his kind, dealing justice to his enemies and mercy to those without hope. He’d thought getting thrown into Babylon, a prison notorious for its inescapability, was the ultimate low point in his life. He was wrong.

From the second he laid eyes on Kita, he knew fate wasn’t done screwing him over. Beautiful, wild, and defiant, Kita brought out every protective instinct he possessed; ravaged him with emotions he never thought himself capable of. He tried to keep his distance, but fate, yet again, had other plans.

Caught in an impossible situation, they both have to learn to trust each other. But trust was a precious commodity in a world that had turned its back on them. Together, they must fight if they want to survive the war brewing in their midst.

Excerpt

The Warrior’s Assassin
Nikki McCoy © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Kita shook himself to clear his head, wondering what had made him think of that night so many years ago. Normally, his repressed memories came to him in dreams. Or, rather, nightmares.

At thirteen, he’d been foolish enough to desperately believe in Bergiese’s vision despite his cynicism. Later, he had learned to see the truth behind the pretty lie. There was no savior or salvation waiting for him somewhere down the path of his life. There was only misery and pain, and he was so incredibly sick of it all that his mind had begun to slip back into the state of bleak abjection he’d carried in his youth.

The future was a yawning maw empty of anything that made life worth living. What few reasons for happiness he’d found had faded quickly, leaving him raw and desolate. He knew it was time to end everything, yet he couldn’t bring himself to put a gun to his head and pull the trigger.

Funny how a person with no pride could consider suicide to be cowardly.

He drew back into the shadows of the alleyway when the door to the abandoned hotel opened. Nicolas Gordon, Nicki as he was known on the streets, walked out followed by a shorter man wearing a trench coat. The hood of Nicki’s sweatshirt was pulled down low to hide most of his face. Not that his poor attempts at anonymity over the past week had worked in his favor. He’d been found, and he would die tonight.

The two men spoke quietly, the steam of their breath curling in the frigid night air. They began to walk rapidly in the other direction. Kita slipped from his cover and entered the building, the squealing of rusted hinges on the door the only sound.

The area was mostly deserted, although not as run down as some of the neighborhoods he had seen. This small town, like so many scattered across the country, had had the misfortune of being located near a Crown Federation military base.

During the Islandar Civil War, more than a century ago, all of the bases had been targeted and summarily disabled. Some still lay in ruins from domestic terrorist attacks while others had been taken apart from the inside and left to rot in the wake of espionage and independent financial ruin.

Overall, Okasis fared decently in comparison. Its Federation base still functioned, which was a boon to the town’s economy, such as it was—struggling and on the constant verge of collapse.

He reached within himself for his power of pyrokinesis and sparked a small flame at his fingertip. With it, he searched the rooms on the first floor for Nicki’s belongings. If the reports were true, Nicki carried on him a laptop with information potentially disastrous to the Federation. Kita had been charged with confiscating the laptop and killing him.

Pinard, his keeper in the ISBF, Internal Security Branch of the Federation, had told him in no uncertain terms not to go through the laptop himself. However, the unusually avid interest in this mission had drawn his curiosity. The order had come from General Laurs, head of security, and was highly classified.

That in itself threw up a red flag.

Why would an insignificant peon on the low rung of society’s ladder be such a high‒profile target? The Federation didn’t send its dog on assassinations anyone could pull off. It just didn’t add up, even if the man was a renegade jinn.

He found the meager belongings in the last room amid layers of decay and rat droppings. In the duffel bag was a battered laptop one would hardly expect to find classified intel on. With the decryption device he’d liberated from Pinard’s desk, he easily hacked through its security. Two documents in particular stood out to him.

What he read in them made his blood run cold. It had to be some kind of mistake or propaganda to use against the Federation.

Yet, the more he read, the faster it became obvious this wasn’t a hoax. Most of the information contained in the documents correlated with events only the ISBF knew about. Critical threats against the Federation made over the past several decades that had been swept under the rug.

Briefly, he scrunched his eyes shut. He had hoped for something to hold against Pinard, but this… This was well beyond the limits of anything he could handle on his own.

Of all the endless ways this information could be used, only one outcome was certain. Their country would be plunged into another civil war. Serving these documents up to the general would only exacerbate the situation and quicken the inevitable outcome.

“Shit,” he hissed.

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Meet the Author

Nikki McCoy lives in the vast, open spaces of Wyoming where the wind is a beast and the snow dominates for 10 months out of the year. But the night are filled with magic and mystery.

It’s during these nights that her world becomes a collage of cunning intrigue, edgy mysteries and sexy, sometimes brutal men. She loves to let her imagination run away with her. The darker the fantasy, the greater the spoils.

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Release Blitz: Yes, You Are by Willa Okati #mpreg #paranormalromance @willa_okati @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Yes, You Are

Series: Second Chance Omegas #2

Author: Willa Okati

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: August 27, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 109

Genre: Romance, New Adult, Action Adventure, Sex/Gender Shifters & MPreg, Single Parent/Pregnancy Romance, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Second Chances

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Synopsis

Darian’s as unique an Alpha as Coby is an Omega, but opposites attract twice in Second Chance.

Everyone always assumed small, pretty Darian would be an Omega. He ticked all the boxes — except for the temper and the tendency to cuss a blue streak. But whatever, right? And everyone always assumed big, athletic Coby would be an Alpha. Just stood to reason — as long as you paid no mind to his tender heart. When they met in passing as teenagers, both boys had no reason to doubt that was who they’d be. Everyone said it, after all. But everyone was wrong.

When Darian and Coby meet again in grad school, Darian’s still small and pretty but he’s one hell of a ferocious Alpha — and tall, muscular Coby still struggles with having turned out to be an Omega. The college is short on space due to storm damage, and they’ve got no choice but to share living quarters and come to terms with themselves and their past — and when Coby gets pregnant, their soon-to-be future.

Opposites attract like lightning and steel rods when they meet again in Second Chance, but do they have what it takes to overcome the unexpected for the long haul?

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Willa Okati

Keys in hand, Darian was five steps ahead before he realized Coby hadn’t budged. He looked over his shoulder. “Well? Are you coming?”

Reluctantly, taking one more glance at the admins probably to make sure this was really happening, Coby unfolded himself. He was still half a foot taller than Darian, maybe more, and he’d filled out those lanky bones into wide shoulders and legs long enough to make a man want to try and climb him like a tree. <em>I mean — damn.</em>

But Coby didn’t walk like he used to, full of confidence. He sloped along with a slouching kind of gait that suggested bashful uncertainty, and the way he kept his head down indicated shyness, but the look on his face was nothing but pure, frustrated rage.

Darian couldn’t blame him. Hell, this was fucking with his head. He could only imagine how tangled up Coby had to feel about it. Coby, an Omega? Seriously? He made an even weirder specimen that way than Darian did in his, so what the fuck even.

Behind them, Oscar gave them a wry salute before turning to head for his single digs.

“Bastard,” Darian muttered before turning to give Coby a dose of straight eye contact. “This isn’t how I planned for things to turn out either, but since they did, we can either bitch about it or make the best of it,” he said bluntly. “So come on. Or don’t, but if that’s your call then I’m going to leave you behind. It’s not even noon and I am fucking tired. So?”

Coby looked like he was going to argue, then shook his head and fell into step. He tried to stay behind, act like they weren’t together, but his legs were too long not to catch up. When he did, Darian had the weirdest urge to take his arm. Just an urge, of course. An Alpha thing, a real throwback to the days when a gentleman would take a submissive’s arm to guide him. If he tried that now, fuck knew if this new angry Coby would try and break his elbow.

Darian didn’t do playing it safe, but unusual times called for unusual circumstances. He kept his hands in his pocket and his walk to an amble, and — again, not his usual thing — took a stab at small talk. Anything to calm Coby down before his head imploded. “You’re a teacher too, huh? No kidding. Makes sense, now I think of it. I don’t make sense, but I’d started the pre-classes before things turned out like they did, and I’d put in too much work to go back.”

No answer.

Annoyed, Darian tried again. He hooked a thumb backward. “That was Oscar, a friend from back home. He can be a real douche sometimes, but deep down he’s pretty decent. A good guy to count on, in case you were wondering.”

Which Darian could tell Coby wasn’t. Too lost in his own head and his flinching awareness of every single person who paused to give them either odd or shocked looks when they put two and two together. Darian would have ignored those — he’d gotten used to them years ago — but being with Coby made him glower at everyone, daring them to make a deal out of it, and he could only do that so much before he gave himself a fucking migraine.

One more shot. “What are you teaching?” Darian asked. “I’m math. Calculus, trig, and basic algebra as I need to.”

Coby shook his head and kept his trap firmly shut, his head so far down that his chin almost touched his chest and yep, there went the temper Darian really did try to keep locked down. Didn’t help that looking at Coby made his mouth water and that pissed him right off because for fucks’ sake, his libido needed to mind its own business right now. The rest of him didn’t like the way the Coby he remembered had changed, and his being Omega wasn’t part of that.

He stopped in front of the big man, blocking his path, and lifted his chin. “Would you mind looking at me? And while we’re at it, what the fuck besides the obvious is your problem? It’s not like this is easy for me either.”

Coby glowered at Darian and shouldered past him, strong enough to jostle him aside.

Okay. That was really it.

Darian put on a burst of speed and shouldered past Coby in turn, minus the passive-aggressive shove, and walked in front of him all the way to the housing they’d been assigned. Not much to look at, just your basic small dorm. Still, his key worked on the front door and, down the hall, the quarters he and Coby would be sharing. God help them.

Which were not bad, actually. Darian’s eyebrows went up as he took it in. Roomy enough for two grown men to move around in without knocking elbows, decent closets, a closed door that was likely a private toilet. Even a mini-kitchenette with a sink, a cabinet, and space above a micro-fridge for a coffee pot and an illegal hot plate.

And of course, twin beds shoved in opposite corners.

Darian wrinkled his nose at them. “You’re not going to be able to fit in one of those. You’ll dangle off from the shins down.”

Coby shut the door behind them, and holy shit, Darian had not expected what happened then, nor had he noticed the near-total lack of airflow in there with the windows closed. His own Alpha scent wafted out in waves that completely failed to mask Coby’s Omega scent. Gunpowder and pennyroyal. They shouldn’t have gone together at all, but somehow they did and they gave Darian an immediate half hard-on that he was glad as all hell his loose shirt covered.

The Omega — no, don’t call him that, he’s more than just a gender — Coby — was looking at him now, boy howdy, his hawk eyes gone so wide that the whites showed around his irises. “You really are an Alpha. How?”

“You really want me to explain biology to you?”

Coby ignored that. “You don’t look like an Alpha.” He started to reach for Coby with one hand, then pulled back at the last second. Even so, Darian had the strangest sensation that he’d followed through. He could feel the warmth on his cheek. “You’re still little, and still pretty, and — look at me.”

Darian resisted the urge to rub his cheek. “I don’t look like an Alpha, and you don’t look like an Omega, so aren’t we an equal pair?”

“Equal,” Coby scoffed. He wrapped his arms around himself again squeezing tight. “Do you know the kind of shit I went through when I didn’t present, and when I did –”

“About the same kind of shit I did, I’d guess,” Darian retorted. “And if you’re going to have an attitude about it all summer –”

“Like you’re one to talk!”

Darian sailed past that. Mostly because he was right. “If that’s how you want to be, then I’m setting some ground rules.” He ticked them off on his fingers. “If we can’t get along, we keep our mouths shut when we’re in the same room. No bringing anyone back here to fuck, and that includes me with Oscar — yes, we do fuck sometimes, because neither of us is all that sold on the standard rules. Find somewhere else or it’ll confuse everyone’s nose.”

Coby looked at him, shaking his head. “I didn’t ask for this. Any of it. I didn’t ask to be an Omega.”

“Who the fuck does? I didn’t.”

“You didn’t get it, either,” Coby fired back. “And you know what? I don’t need your help. I can take care of myself. I didn’t ask to share with you.”

“No, the resident director or whoever-the-fuck he is did, so if you have a problem you can take it up with him, mkay?” It wasn’t that Darian didn’t feel any sympathy or empathy for the guy. Turning out not to be what you’d always thought was hard, right? Which meant something else needed saying. He held up a finger. “One last rule. No bullshit embarrassment. We are what we are, and we can’t change that. In here, neither of us has room to hide.”

“And you’d be damned if you even wanted to try,” Coby scoffed. He dropped his bags in a messy heap, a deliberate insult from an Omega. “So it’s really easy for you to say, isn’t it? I’m out of here. There’s got to be somewhere else.”

He stormed out, slamming the door with a bang behind him.

“Shit,” Darian said aloud. He rubbed at his forehead. Well, this was going to be a fun summer, wasn’t it?

Purchase

Changeling Press LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Willa Okati (AKA Will) is made of many things: imagination, coffee, stray cat hairs, daydreams, more coffee, kitchen experimentation, a passion for winter weather, a little more coffee, a whole lot of flowering plants and a lifelong love of storytelling. Will’s definitely one of the quiet ones you have to watch out for, though he — not she anymore — is a lot less quiet these days.

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Release Blitz: To Summon Nightmares by J.K. Pendragon #bookreview #LGBTQ #paranormalromance @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: To Summon Nightmares

Author: J.K. Pendragon

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/23/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 53200

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, romance, demons, witches, horror, suspense, magic, mythology, psychic ability, PTSD, author, celebrity, Europe, small town, Ireland, new adult, transgender

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Description

Three years ago, Cohen Brandwein was a teenage media-darling, a popular author and internet celebrity. But ever since he came out as trans, public opinion has been less than golden, and these days he wants nothing more than to escape the big city and find somewhere quiet to work on his next book.

When he inherits an old house in the Irish countryside, Cohen sees it as a perfect opportunity to get away from it all. What he doesn’t count on is becoming embroiled in a paranormal murder mystery, and falling for the primary suspect, a handsome but mysterious self-proclaimed witch, whose reality makes Cohen’s fantasy books seem like child’s play…

Excerpt

To Summon Nightmares
J.K. Pendragon © 2021
All Rights Reserved

November, 2007

Jacky had crawled into Niall’s bed in the night. Niall thought about waking him and telling him to go back to the thin foam mattress on the floor, in case one of his parents walked by and saw them together through the crack of the door. But the floor was wood, and the house was old, and winter was setting in. Sleeping on the floor was cold, but Niall knew that wasn’t why Jacky had crawled into the bed next to him.

He stirred, and Jacky’s thin fingers grasped at his nightshirt, his legs wrapping tightly around Niall, and he muttered something in a soft and frightened voice. His hair, black and shiny with grease, fell limp in front of his sunken eyes. He was so beautiful, Niall thought, knowing he was the only one who saw it. He wrapped his arms tightly around Jacky, wishing he could protect him and keep him safe always. But Jacky couldn’t spend every night at Niall’s. He would have to go home tonight. Home to him.

“Niall!” His mother’s voice from down the hall spooked them both awake; Jacky’s eyes flew open in a panic. He jumped away from Niall and hurriedly scuttled under the blankets on the floor as the sound of footsteps grew closer and Niall’s mother pushed the door open.

“Morning, boys!” she announced, and Niall and Jacky pretended to wake up, rubbing their eyes and gazing blearily at her. “Oh heavens, it’s freezing in here; you’ve left the window open all night!”

Well, that explained the chill. She stepped over Jacky, who shrank away from her, to shut the sticky window tight. “Time to get up or you’ll be late for school. No more sleepovers if you’re going to be exhausted the next morning. What time did you boys go to bed last night?” She cocked her head, hands planted on her hips.

Niall and Jacky looked at each other guiltily. “Not that late, Ma,” said Niall. “I dunno. We didn’t look at the clock.”

“Well, get dressed.” She tutted. “Honestly, you boys don’t appreciate me. You think all mothers allow sleepovers on school nights?”

“No, Mam.” Niall managed a smile through bleary squinted eyes. “You’re the best, Mam.”

“Well, you’ve got that right. All right, up, breakfast’s almost ready.”

She left, closing the door behind her.

Jacky sighed and lay back on the pillow. “Why can’t I just live here with you, Niall?”

Niall bit his lip. “Well, y’know maybe if you told her, like, what’s going on with your dad—”

“She won’t listen,” said Jacky crossly. “They never listen. I told you. And me dad told me if I made a fuss again he’d hit me harder.” He flinched, his eyes going dark. “He said he’d kill me last time. I told you, Niall.”

“I know, but I bet Mam would let you stay here.”

“She wouldn’t, Niall. Anyway, I don’t wanna talk about it. We’re doing it tonight, aren’t we?”

“Yeah, I said tonight, didn’t I?”

“You sound like you don’t want to.”

“Of course I want to!” Niall jumped down onto the floor and grabbed Jacky, pulling him into a tight hug. “Hey, we’ve been planning it for weeks. I’m not gonna back out now.”

“Bet y’are though,” said Jacky, sniffling.

“I’m not.” Niall took Jacky by the arms and looked him firmly in the eyes. “I’m not just gonna abandon you, Jacky. Whatever it takes, I’m gonna take care of you. I love you.”

“I know.” Jacky sniffled again, rubbing his eyes. “I just can’t go back there again. I can’t keep lettin’ him—”

“You won’t.” It hurt deep in Niall’s heart to see Jacky cry. He couldn’t stand it. He pulled Jacky to him and kissed him hard, hoping it would stop the tears and take away some of the fear. “Listen, I got it all planned out. Everything’s ready. I’m gonna be there tonight at midnight sharp, okay? We’re gonna do it.”

“You promise it’ll make him stop? You promise it’ll work?”

“I promise, Jacky. I know what I’m doing. I’ve been studying this stuff for years; you know that. Magic works. I’ve tried it. You saw the stuff I can do.”

“It’s just little stuff.” Jacky crossed his arms.

“Yeah,” said Niall, feeling slightly offended. “That’s just ’cause I haven’t tried anything big yet. Look, if you don’t believe me, I’ll prove you wrong tonight. Right?”

“Yeah.” Jacky sighed and turned away to look for his clothes. “I hope it works, Niall. I dunno what I’ll do if it doesn’t.”

“It’ll work,” said Niall. “Don’t worry.”

It was impossible to concentrate at school. Niall’s mind was running through the ritual, remembering all the incantations. He’d be reading them out loud from a book tonight, but he had memorised them all anyway. He doodled the summoning circle in the margins of his notebooks, over and over again, so he’d have it perfect. It had to be perfect.

Jacky wasn’t in any of his classes this year. He had been in years past, but last year Jacky’s grades had slipped, and he’d been placed in learning support. Niall had tried to help him. Tried to make him learn. But his attempts had only been met with acidic responses and eventual tantrums from Jacky. He was smart, but no one could make him learn. So Niall had decided to leave it alone. He would learn when he was ready. And this might just change everything.

Jacky met him at lunch, in their usual spot outside the gymnasium. It was a corner that no one ever came near, so they were in relative privacy. He leaned his head on Niall’s shoulder and sighed. Niall drew him close, savouring the moment of aloneness. “How’s class?”

“Just stupid,” sniffed Jacky. “I can’t really think. I’m so excited.”

“Me too. I’ve been practising.”

“I got on the computer a little.” Jacky stiffened a little and leaned away from Niall to grab his bag. “I printed out some stuff.”

“What?” Niall leaned forward.

“Well, I thought—” Jacky pulled some papers out of the bag, printed articles. “I thought we might make a last-minute change.”

Niall bit his lip. “I don’t know, Jacky. It’s kind of a delicate thing.”

“Who’s the one you want to summon? Densel?”

“Denusel,” corrected Niall. “Well, he seems best; I mean, I looked him up in a bunch of different demonology books, right? He’s supposed to be really good at persuasion and mind control, so I figured he’d be a good fit. Plus, it said he had an even temperament.”

“It’s just…” Jacky frowned, chewing on his nails. “He’s not supposed to be very powerful, is he?”

“He’ll be enough, Jacky; it’s all relative. This is a really simple request, like a small transaction. The more powerful demons are much more dangerous, and they do much bigger stuff.”

“Yeah, but if you do it all right, it’ll be fine. It won’t be able to hurt us.”

“It’s— Sure, but we don’t need to—”

“Because I looked it up, and I found this.” Jacky shoved the article at Niall. It looked old like it had been photocopied from a book, but not one that Niall had ever seen before.

“Khireneth,” he read aloud. “Notably powerful demon, recordings include— No, this is no good. It doesn’t say anything about his power level or what he does.”

“It does down here, see?” Jacky pointed. “Look, it says he calls himself ‘Champion of the Oppressed.’”

“Sure, but that doesn’t mean anything; demons are all liars. They’re bad and dangerous unless you know how to contain them.”

“I know. You told me, but you do, right?” Jacky swallowed. “I want to make sure it works. I want to be sure.”

“I am sure.”

“Niall, I want to do this one.”

“No.”

“Please. Please, Niall.” Jacky blinked and a tear rolled down his face. “It has to work. There’s no other way. My dad—”

Niall clenched his jaw. He hated that man. And he hated even more that there was nothing he could do. Jacky wouldn’t let him tell the teachers, or the police or anything. Not since he’d come to school with a black eye once in fourth grade, and the teachers had sent a social worker to their house. Niall didn’t know what Jacky’s father had done to him as punishment, but he never talked about it. And when Niall even suggested telling someone about it, Jacky went white as a sheet.

Niall hated feeling helpless. That was probably why he had taken up magic. It gave him a feeling like he had some control over his life; that he could help. And he could help. If this summoning went well, why couldn’t they summon a more powerful demon? The transaction would be the same. And it would be a for-sure thing.

“Okay,” he said. “Okay, Jacky, we’ll do it.”

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My Review – 4 stars!

A tale of magic, tragedy, and love… and did I mention magic?

The first bit of the book felt a little disjointed and confusing but once Cohen and Niall meet it starts to make more sense. I loved how protective Niall was from the beginning. What he saw as weakness was actually his strength. He had a huge heart, but it allowed people like Jacky to take advantage.

Cohen was brave, a bit quirky, and completely endearing. I was rooting for him and Niall to find happiness together. They’d both suffered and deserved a fairytale ending… but with the last scene in the book, I’m not so sure that’s in the cards for them. I really hope there will be a sequel.

Overall an action packed read that left me wanting more.

Meet the Author

J.K. Pendragon is a Canadian author with a love of all things romantic and fantastical. They first came to the queer fiction community through m/m romance, but soon began to branch off into writing all kinds of queer fiction. As a bisexual and genderqueer person, J.K. is dedicated to producing diverse, entertaining fiction that showcases characters across the rainbow spectrum, and provides queer characters with the happy endings they are so often denied.

J.K. currently resides in British Columbia, Canada with a boyfriend, a cat, and a large collection of artisanal teas that they really need to get around to drinking. They are always happy to chat, and can be reached at jes.k.pendragon@gmail.com.

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Book Tour: No Flag by Liz Borino #LGBTQ #BDSM @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: No Flag

Series: After Everything, Book One

Author: Liz Borino

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/07/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67100

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, family-drama, military, war, violence, terrorists, disabilities, amputee, bartender, Dom/sub relationship, domestic discipline, OCD

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Description

Captain Mike Kelley does not ignore his intuition, so when sexy bartender Will Hayes captures his heart, Mike embarks on a mission to win him over to a Domestic Discipline relationship. Will accepts with one caveat: Mike must promise not to renew his army contract.

Mike agrees, until the army invokes the stop-loss military policy to involuntarily extend his commission and send him back overseas, rendering him powerless and threatening everything he and Will have built. Will, left alone to cope with a new café, must rely on the support of old friends who may no longer be trustworthy.

A horrific terrorist attack on Mike’s outpost changes everything, leaving them both at a loss.

Mike awakens in a hospital with a devastating injury and no recollection of the attack. As the only survivor, his memory may be the key to national security. Mike struggles to cope with his injury and Will struggles with his new role in Mike’s life.

For Mike and Will, “No Flag” meant “come home alive.” Will has Mike back rather than a folded flag, but in the aftermath of war, can they rebuild the life they had before?

What Love Means to Me – Mike

If you asked me a few years ago, I would have said love was about protecting and guiding my partner. I had to steadfast, tough. Then I met Will, and for the first time in my life, I had the desire to compromise, to somewhat soften my need for control. Now, Will would tell you that ‘somewhat’ is doing a lot of work. But he’s not writing this. I am.

My definition changed again when I was deployed overseas despite my military contract ending. Love became the ability to stick with and remain devoted to someone, regardless of circumstances. I had promised him I wouldn’t have to leave, but Stop-Loss had other ideas. So, for five months, we lived in that love. It was the only time I had someone waiting for me at home, which made being there harder and easier. I had more of a drive to get home safely, but I also had to do my job well, to protect him and everyone. Or that’s what I told myself to keep sane.

Five months after I left, I came home without my left arm. Profoundly broken. I had to relearn how to take care of myself—eating, dressing, bathing, writing, opening a soda—things I never imagined would require two hands. How could I be the man Will fell in love with—the one he trusted to lead him—when I couldn’t so much as button a shirt? I didn’t know if I ever would be the same again.

The truth is I’m not. The trauma changed me. There are things I will never be able to do again, like fold laundry. And, yes, that’s on the list of things that bother me. It takes Will several tries to get it right sometimes, even when he’s trying… Anyway, love is knowing your partner will be there through everything. Love is trusting when you can’t see the other side. Love is vulnerability to each other and life.

After everything, Will trusts me to lead. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

Excerpt

No Flag
Liz Borino © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
The News

July 7, 2012

Bombs exploded on the evening news, one after the other. Body parts flew past the camera. The headline across the bottom of the screen read: “20 Army Intelligence Officers Dead.”

“Early this morning, a bomb exploded in the Army Intelligence building, killing twenty American soldiers from Platoon 518,” the blonde newswoman reported.

Will Kelley squinted as the fuzzy security images played behind the woman’s head, searching through the chaos for reassurance. Nothing. His heart pounded and he tried to swallow but found only dry air in his mouth and throat. The female reporter described the weapons used and structural damage done in vivid detail, which made for sensational television, but failed to answer any questions for the people at home. Victims’ families had to be notified before the media could release their names. So, Blondie would lose her job if she read the list in front of her.

“What the hell are you doing, man? We open in thirty minutes and you’re watching television?” Seth, his roommate, demanded from the doorway of the living room.

“Answered your own question, didn’t you?” Will responded.

“Are you ready?”

“No.” Will did not take his eyes off the screen. “I’ll drive myself.”

“When?”

The report flashed to an increase in allergies in children, so Will switched to another station while typing “Attack on American S2 Building in Afghanistan” into Google. It wouldn’t be that easy though. So, Will tried several more combinations of search terms before finding a video shot by an insurgent involved in the attack. The camera shuddered. Focused on different areas of the chaos. Men ripping clothes off soldiers. Looting. Bodies blown to bits. A man removing computer hard drives. And only one face. On the severed head of Major Evans.

“Will!” Seth jabbed him in the shoulder with a pen. Will forced his eyes away from the computer. “What happened?”

“Mike’s platoon was attacked. Twelve survivors.”

“Shit,” Seth said. “Can you call…?”

Will took a slug from the nearby water bottle. “Who? No one will talk to me. I’m not my husband’s family.”

Seth stared at him for a long moment and said, “I’ll have Casey cover for you.”

Will stood and shook his head. “Why? I can’t do anything here except watch the same videos over and over. May as well see if I can make some money.” He shut his computer and set it on the side table. “Meet you there. I won’t be too late. Promise.” He had to stop himself from scoffing as the meaningless word left his lips.

“Will…” Seth began.

“You wanted me to move, I’m moving! Go. I’ll be there.” He walked toward his bedroom, Seth’s gaze burning into his back. Stopping to throw a glance over his shoulder, he added, “Don’t tell Casey. I can do without her mother-henning me.”

“Will…”

“Please, Seth.”

“Sure.”

“Thanks.” Will climbed the steps and closed his bedroom door. He leaned against the wood cutting him off from the rest of the world. His gaze roamed the four walls decorated with art prints, a whiteboard, and his wedding picture. Will strode over and fingered the golden frame. Behind the glass lay a photograph of Will and Mike in tuxes in the middle of their first dance. Their smiles easily outshone the gold on the frame. Mike had always been handsome with broad, built shoulders and muscular pecs, leading to abs you could grate cheese on.

But none of that stood out to Will, not on their wedding day of the year before. Mike’s blue eyes radiated a strength and hope. Will removed his wedding band to read the promise inscribed: No Flag.

Please keep your promise, Mike, Will thought as he took a deep breath and tore himself away from the picture and the crushing memories it brought. He had a job to do tonight.

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Meet the Author

Liz Borino has been telling stories of varying truthfulness since she was a child. As an adult, she keeps the fiction on the page. She writes stories of human connection and intimacy, in all their forms. Her books feature flawed men who often risk everything for their love.

When Liz isn’t writing, she’s waking up early to edit, travel, and explore historic prisons and insane asylums—not (usually) all in one day. Liz lives in Philadelphia with her two cats.

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