Cover Reveal: The Wolf and the Sparrow by Isabelle Adler #LGBT #suspense #coverreveal @Isabelle_Adler

The Wolf and the Sparrow by Isabelle Adler

Cover created by Natasha Snow

RELEASE DATE: November 25, 2019

Available to Pre-Order at NineStar Press on November 22nd

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Derek never wished to inherit his title as a result of a bloody battle. With the old count dead and the truce dependent on his marriage to the rival duke’s son, Derek has no choice but to agree to the victor’s terms in order to bring peace to his homeland. When he learns of the sinister rumors surrounding his intended groom, Derek begins to have doubts—but there can be no turning back from saying I do.

After the death of his wife, Callan of Mulberny never expected to be forced into another political marriage—especially not to someone like the new Count of Camria. Seemingly soft and meek, it’s only fitting that Derek’s family crest is a flighty sparrow, worthy of nothing but contempt.

Another war with the seafaring people of the Outer Isles looms on the horizon, and the reluctant newlyweds must team together to protect those caught in the circle of violence. Derek and Callan slowly learn to let go of their prejudices, but as they find themselves enmeshed in intrigue fueled by dark secrets and revenge, their tentative bond is all that keeps their world—and their lives—from plunging into chaos.

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Book Blitz: Irises in the Snow by Isabelle Adler #LGBT #Contemporary #holidayromance #books @Isabelle_Adler

Title: Irises in the Snow

Author: Isabelle Adler

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 4, 2019

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 25300

Genre: Contemporary, Anxiety, artist, childhood friends, Christmas, contemporary, family drama, holiday, second chances, small town

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Synopsis

It’s Christmas, and Justin’s life is fraying at the edges. The family business he took over instead of going to art school is bleeding money, and his boyfriend of seven months cheated on him. Under these circumstances, family gatherings can be rough, but Justin believes he has everything under control. That is, until Elliot, his former best friend (and the first guy to ever break his heart) unexpectedly shows up at the holiday dinner party.

With both of them still nursing the wounds of the past, it might take a real Christmas miracle for Justin and Elliot to learn to appreciate the art of second chances.

Excerpt

Irises in the Snow
Isabelle Adler © 2019
All Rights Reserved

The Rowel family home greeted Justin with familiar smells of cinnamon cake and fresh pine. In his mind, these scents had always been associated with the holiday season and long evenings spent around the dinner table or playing Scrabble in front of the fire. They were enough to ease some of the ache in Justin’s chest, softening his mood a tiny fraction.

“Justin!” His father clapped him on the shoulder and pulled him into a hug, which Justin carefully returned. “I’m glad you could finally make it.”

Despite the long remission, his father still appeared frail—or so it seemed to Justin, who, like most children, had grown up with the illusion his father was invincible until the universe proved him wrong.

“Of course,” Justin said. “You know me; I can’t say no to mom’s cooking.”

His father raised his eyebrow skeptically, undoubtedly recalling the string of last-minute cancellations and half-hearted excuses for not coming over in the last few weeks.

A familiar wave of guilt washed over Justin. With everything that had been going on, he knew he’d be hard-pressed to withstand his parents’ well-meaning inquiries into his personal life and into the state of the family business, which had become Justin’s sole responsibility. He couldn’t bring himself to tell them just how badly both those things were going.

He cranked up his smile to a new level of dissimulation, but thankfully, his mother emerged from the kitchen before his dad could challenge his statement.

His mother wiped her hands on her apron and reached up to plant kisses on Justin’s cheeks.

“Everybody is already here,” she told Justin as she led him by the arm into the living room as if he’d forgotten the way. “I love it when the house is full.” Her tone was a touch wistful as she gave his arm a gentle squeeze before returning to the kitchen.

Justin supposed having them all together was a rare occurrence these days. He lived in a one-room apartment above their hardware store, and his sister Trish had recently moved in with her fiancé. Nowadays, only the holidays presented an opportunity for Kelly Rowel to gather all of her loved ones, and, despite having to close the shop early on Monday to attend the day-before-Christmas-Eve family gathering, Justin was glad he could do something to make his mom happy. But as soon as he entered the brightly lit living room, he came to a screeching halt.

A fire already crackled merrily behind the grate. Huge red and white socks adorned with hand-embroidered names hung off the mantelpiece, decorated with a fake holly arrangement making its yearly appearance in the Rowel household. The TV showed a romantic comedy set in the Swiss Alps, as far as Justin could tell at a cursory glance. His sister Trish, her fiancé Dave, and Aunt Marnie sat glued to the movie while Uncle Tony fiddled with his iPhone.

None of them, however, had the dubious honor of grabbing Justin’s attention. That belonged to the young man wearing trendy gold-rimmed glasses and the blandest Christmas sweater in existence, sitting ramrod-straight in Dad’s old armchair and seemingly engrossed in Anne Hathaway’s foreign love affair.

No way. What was he doing here?

Justin didn’t know how long he stood in the doorway, transfixed, until his father, coming up behind him, gave him a slight nudge.

“Look who I have here!” he announced, and everybody, including the young man and Uncle Tony, raised their heads and turned his way.

“Hey, Justin!” Trish got up to meet him and give him a vigorous hug.

They sure were an affectionate lot, he thought absently as he hugged her back. Once, all that warmth was what kept him going. Now, it seemed almost…superfluous.

“Hi, Trish,” Justin said when she let up, and nodded to the rest. “Aunt Marnie, Uncle Tony, Dave. Elliot.”

“Oh, right.” Trish finally seemed to recall there was someone else present. “Mom invited Elliot to spend the holiday with us. You remember Elliot?”

Justin nodded curtly, unable to tear his eyes away from their guest. He definitely remembered Elliot Turner.

The man in question stood up, vacating his seat for Justin’s dad, and extended his hand in greeting.

“It’s nice to see you again,” he said.

Elliot’s voice was deeper, more mature than the last time Justin had spoken to him. Somehow, he seemed taller too. His gray eyes behind the shiny glasses regarded him seriously.

“Sure,” Justin said politely, shaking his hand. “It’s been a while.”

“Five years,” Elliot said.

“I was sorry to hear about your parents,” Justin said.

An awkward silence, accentuated by the chatter from the TV, settled around the living room at the mention of the tragedy. Trish and Aunt Marnie exchanged a nervous look. Really, did they expect Justin to just ignore what had happened?

When he’d heard of the terrible car accident last year, he tried calling Elliot in Los Angeles, but Elliot never picked up the phone or responded to Justin’s email in which he offered his condolences. That, above anything else, made it perfectly clear Justin was no longer welcome in his life.

So what was he doing back, standing in Justin’s parents’ living room?

“Thank you,” Elliot said gravely.

Suddenly, Justin was aware he was still holding Elliot’s hand and let it go, taking an involuntary step back. He wasn’t prepared for all the half-repressed memories dragged to the surface by Elliot’s touch—and he certainly wasn’t prepared to deal with them in front of his notoriously meddlesome, if well-meaning, extended family.

Elliot stepped away as well, dropping his eyes. The sudden loss of contact felt like…well, a loss.

“Is Mark coming?” Trish asked, peering behind Justin’s shoulder as if expecting to find his boyfriend loitering in the corridor.

“No,” he said curtly.

“Oh, that’s too bad. Maybe he’ll join us tomorrow, then?”

“I don’t think so. How are your studies going?” he asked Trish, desperately trying to divert her focus elsewhere.

“I’m doing great. Passed all my midterms.”

“With flying colors,” Dave said.

He rose from his seat to shake Justin’s hand as Elliot stepped aside to make room for him and plopped back down, taking over half the couch in a casual sprawl. Dave was a big guy, tall and built like a quarterback. Trish was taller than Justin by an inch, and nearly as broad in the shoulders, but Dave made her seem petite in comparison.

“That’s terrific,” Justin said, his voice warming.

His plan of going to art school had gone up in flames and then slowly fizzled over the years as other considerations took precedence over the illusions of youth, but at least it hadn’t all been for nothing. With her athletics scholarship, Trish had been accepted to UIndy, and as long as she got to achieve that dream, he was happy to do anything he could to support her.

“I can’t believe you got even paler, though,” Trish said, casting a critical eye over him. “And thinner. Are you auditioning for the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past?”

“You’re the one to talk, Trish,” Aunt Marnie observed primly. “That’s the trouble with young people today. You can’t be bothered to take care of yourselves. Eating sandwiches in front of the TV instead of sitting down for a proper meal, chugging all those soft drinks, always on your phones instead of having a nice long conversation over the dinner table.”

She glanced disapprovingly at Uncle Tony as she said it. Justin couldn’t tell whether her dissatisfaction stemmed from his being effectively absent from the proceedings, or that his preoccupation with his own mobile device undermined her point of it being the affliction of solely the younger generation.

Justin rolled his eyes and caught a glimpse of Elliot doing the same. He pretended not to notice.

“Oh, shush, Marnie.” Justin’s dad, John, tsked in annoyance at his sister-in-law as he settled comfortably in his shabby armchair. “Leave the girl alone. The last thing she needs is your dieting advice.”

“Just so you know, I eat healthier than all of you,” Trish said, sitting back down on the sofa beside her fiancé. Thankfully, she wasn’t ruffled by her aunt’s comment. Unlike Justin, she had always boasted a sunny disposition and staunchly refused to let bullies of any variety upset her. “And I drink nothing but fresh juice and water. Carbonated for special occasions.”

Dave snickered and petted her arm lovingly.

“Yes. Well. You must be tired, dear,” Aunt Marnie said, changing the subject and addressing Justin. “Why don’t you sit, put your feet up for a bit? Now, are you sure your young man isn’t coming? I had such a nice chat with him when you brought him over for Thanksgiving. Did you know—”

“I’m sure,” Justin interrupted her. Elliot’s gaze was like a laser beam trained on him, but he refused to meet it head on. “Actually, I think I’ll go see if Mom needs any help in the kitchen.”

Justin beat a hasty retreat before they could all start bickering again—and before he had to explain his current heartache in front of the man who was the first to ever break it.

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Meet the Author

A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.

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Book Blitz: He Dreams Magic by Emme C. Taylor #Fantasy #LGBT #ActionAdventure #NewRelease

Title: He Dreams Magic

Author: Emme C. Taylor

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: October 28, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 88100

Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, fantasy, alternate universe, literature, horror, captivity, magic, magic users, action/adventure, monsters, slow burn

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Synopsis

Ren has always wanted to leave, to escape his quiet village life. He wakes up from gold-tinged dreams with his heart pounding and a yearning for something he can’t name, can’t hold. He longs to experience something magical just once in his life.

Nico’s monsters don’t lurk under the bed. They walk in daylight. They haunt him every day of his life. He’s possibly the strongest magician of his time, yet he’s trapped. All he wants is an out.

At a magical carnival in the middle of a forest, Ren and Nico collide. They’ve been on this collision course their entire lives, always hurtling toward each other. For both men, escape is now. They have no choice but to flee together. Monsters and betrayal hunt them across strange lands. They find themselves on a journey to save each other—and possibly the world. All they have is one another, Nico’s magic, and a lifetime of half-remembered dreams. But finding each other, finally having someone to rely on, might be the strongest magic of all.

Excerpt

He Dreams Magic
Emme C. Taylor © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Ren

The lake was on fire. Ren dipped his oars into the water and swept himself closer to the blaze, each stroke an exultation. He’d been waiting months for this, counting down the hot summer weeks to autumn and rain and flames.

He was ready to throw himself into the burn.

The fire came on time, as it did every year. The first rainstorm of autumn brought them down from the sky. Or so the story was told. Ren couldn’t quite bring himself to believe they rode through the skies on storm clouds and dropped to the ground between thunderclaps, stealing their impossible power from the lightning.

Then again, they were magicians. Anything was possible.

Ren’s village, Klein, lay huddled in the dark at his back. On the opposite shore, half the forest flickered red. The low clouds caught and held the glowing light from below. The spectacle could be seen from every village in the surrounding valley, a beacon: come, step into the heat, play with us, burn with us.

For the first time in his life, he was going to see it up close. From the quiet safety of Klein, the spectacle always gave the impression of a town set aflame. So near to it, it wasn’t like that at all. More like the whole world had ignited. His fingers around the wood paddles twitched with anticipation. This was it. Finally. Finally.

By the time Ren reached the middle of the lake, half of it alight, a bright crimson flared across the surface and leaped like waves in wind. Reflections set the rest of the lake ablaze so that it seemed to Ren he was sitting in the very middle of the conflagration. So far, he had avoided the areas of the lake that had caught flame.

Magic. God, yes. He could practically taste it in the air, and he wanted more of it. He’d dreamed of magic for years, a gold thread of it always in his mind’s eye. Since childhood, magic remained a ball of yearning lodged in his chest. Ren had to see it for himself. Touch it. Experience it. He wanted to drink it, have it sear his throat.

For years, he’d heard whispers of this from people in nearby villages, those who had gotten close to it over the years.

Those who’d walked through it—and come out on the other side.

Ren paused in the middle of the lake to take it all in. He would be seeing fire in his dreams that night.

His turn had come to walk into this wild world.

He dug his oars into the lake, his reflection rippling away from the boat with each stroke. Ren pushed himself closer to the ruby burn, a moth drawn to the dangerous lure of light.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Emme C. Taylor can be found wandering stormy beaches with a pen and notebook in hand, waiting for inspiration or lightning to strike. She believes the atmospheric environment helps her to write the grittiest parts of her stories. Crochet and dark chocolate ease her mind when her characters aren’t cooperating. Emme will happily talk about almost anything to avoid having to talk about herself. How about this weather, huh?

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Make Me a Match by Willa Okati #RomCom #boxset #LGBT #NewAdult @willaokati

Make Me a Match (Duet)

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

 

Rivals to friends to lovers and more — there’s much ado about you, you, you.

Open Cover Before Striking: Davis Carmichael doesn’t do love. He’d rather strip naked and crawl through a field of broken glass than give anyone that much control over him. The only thing he cares about is his journalism career. That is, until he meets Cristian Baranov, a die-hard Romeo with an uncanny knack for making connections and taming cranky wordsmiths. A man who breaks down Davis’s resistance with a sweep of his hand for just one night. Neither expected they’d ever meet again, but fate has other plans…

Best Laid Plans: Jefferson’s a serious-natured soccer star, and Teddy was born to party till the wheels come off. But they have more fun fighting with each other than they would kissing anyone else. Maybe — maybe — they’re falling in love. But when everything turns topsy-turvy, is their new alliance strong enough to save the day?

 

Get it TODAY at Changeling Press

or pre-order for October 25th at retailers

   

Also Available in Paperback

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Willa Okati
Excerpt from Best Laid Plans

Oh yes.

Teddy retraced his path backward, down the three shallow porch steps and onto the sidewalk in front of 1514 Saltman Street. Dandelions and crabgrass grew through cracks in the pavement, and someone named BIG JOE had signed the concrete before it dried back in — Teddy squinted — 1983.

Teddy pressed the fingertips of both hands to his mouth as he craned his neck for a good look up at 1514. Two blocks away from the University of West Ioannes campus. Near enough to walk; far enough for independence. Red brick — the kind of red that made him think of sunsets and abattoirs — battered and chipped at the corners. Faded black shutters at every window. The wooden porch boards had been painted a dull slate gray and had gaps between them big enough to lose a quarter down. Straight-up house on the bottom floor, divided into two doll-sized apartments on the second floor. Climbing vines draped lushly over the walls. And it had balconies.

Yes and yes again. Teddy’s grin grew behind the lattice of his fingertips. He jigged in place, three steps of a Cossack kick that made his mop of coppery hair bounce over his forehead. It’s perfect.

He shaded his eyes to squint up at the balconies. Those were what had really sold him on the deal — well, he would have signed up no matter what to get out of the dorms, but anyway. When he’d been offered a chance at a different arrangement, he’d jumped at it. He’d imagined it would be nice, but this was the cherry on top. His own private balcony, where he could cozy up in a blanket in winter and leave his flip-flops wherever he pleased during the summer months. He’d bet it got great natural light. He’d been born to bask, and his full-body dusting of freckles proved it.

Did the balcony already have a chair, or would he need to scout one out at the Army Surplus? Teddy stood on his tiptoes, but he couldn’t be sure. The sturdy vines growing up the sides of the house made it difficult to see past them in places, so thick and verdant green that they had their own personality.

Hmm. I wonder…

Teddy kicked off his shoes and wiggled his bare toes on the pavement, right over BIG JOE’s signature. The vines looked strong enough to climb, and he was a small guy. They ought to hold five-four and a buck-twenty-five. He tugged at a trailing green tendril to check and made a pleased noise in the back of his throat when they didn’t give way. They barely budged except to rustle at him in annoyance.

“Let’s see what we can see,” he said, reaching for a double grip on the vines over his head. “Up, up, and away!”

He almost made it halfway to the second story — not bad, personal record — before his left foot skidded off. Oops. He’d forgotten to account for natural skin oils on his soles and slipperiness from the warmth of sneakers in summertime. If it hadn’t been for that, he thought, he would have made it all the way.

“Yipe!”

“Whoa!”

The body-to-body collision jarred the fillings in Teddy’s molars, and the pair of sinewy arms that wrapped around his chest made his ribs squeak in protest. He flailed and kicked his legs backward and got his ass dropped on the sidewalk for his pains. Right on JOE. Oh, the humanity. “What the hell?” he yelped, looking up again at six feet of indignation framed in chestnut hair and bright-blue eyes.

“Jefferson?” Hastily, Teddy flipped his leather kilt down to hide the goods. “What are you doing here?”

“Saving your ass. Don’t bother to thank me.”

“I wasn’t going to,” Teddy said. He rolled to his knees and got up, dusting himself off. Jefferson! Of all the people. To say they didn’t get along — and never had — was like daring to suggest water might be slightly wet or that fire had the potential to burn. And they couldn’t ever seem to avoid each other. He was besties with the boyfriend of Teddy’s bestie, Noelani, which was just all kinds of swell. Everywhere he went, Jefferson poked his giant soccer head up, with his jock buddies in tow and his utter, absolute lack of a sense of humor and his stupid cologne-ad face.

Jerk. Teddy picked a stubborn dandelion fluff off his elbow. “What are you doing here? It’s summer session. You’re at soccer camp.”

Jefferson arched an eyebrow. He leaned his hip against the porch, his Ioannes tank clinging tightly to his pecs. Unlike Teddy, he tanned instead of burned. Freckles had never dared show their faces on his skin, no matter how much time he spent kicking little white balls around, broiling on a practice field. “Am I really? Look again. Unless you think I’m a figment of your imagination.”

“My imagination can do better than that,” Teddy said. Okay, maybe not much better. He could admit to an aesthetic appreciation for the benefits of good nutrition and plentiful exercise, and maybe some good genetics, but that was it. There, he drew the line. He lifted his chin. “Are you playing hooky or what?”

Jefferson ignored the question. He reached out to take one of Teddy’s hands, the move so surprising that Teddy actually let him do it — until Jefferson flipped it from back to front and wrinkled his nose. “Nice manicure. You and Noelani go to the same place to get your nails done?”

Teddy bristled up. He might be small, but he was a redhead, by God, and he had the temper to match. And it was a nice manicure. He jerked his hand back and flashed the nails, neatly shaped and trimmed and painted a sparkly blue, at the… the… oaf, finishing with the middle ones up. “I can get you a discount if you want. Nail Me Spa on Maple. I don’t know if they can do much for athlete’s foot.”

Jefferson chuffed a short breath through his nose and glowered at Teddy. “I was just saying. Jeez. Why do you always have to get all fired up?”

Teddy ignored his question with what he hoped was grand aplomb. Ooh, Jefferson always got him wound so tight. “What are you doing here?” he asked again, planting his feet on the sidewalk.

“What do you think?” Jefferson turned to pick up a duffel that’d been hidden in his shadow and hitched the strap over one shoulder. “I’m moving in.”

“You’re what?”

 

More from Willa at Changeling Press …

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

You can reach Willa at willaokati@gmail.com.

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

 

 

Book Blitz: Starting from Scratch by Lane Hayes #LGBT #bisexual #RomanceBooks @LaneHayes3

Title: Starting From Scratch

Series: Starting From, #2

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: October 17, 2019

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 80k

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Enemies to lovers, Rock and roll, Hurt-comfort, Opposites attract

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Synopsis

Charlie Rourke is an ultra fabulous human whirlwind on a mission to launch the next biggest band in the world. However, he might have taken on more than he could handle when he signed on to manage Zero. Promoting a rock band and finding gigs shouldn’t be hard. They’re a talented group with a ton of star power. If Charlie can find the right record label, he’s sure he can help them get to the next level. The only problem is the skater boy slash bassist with a quirky sense of humor. He’s annoying and silly, and he’s exactly Charlie’s type. Except he’s straight.

Ky Baldwin isn’t afraid to switch things up. He loves a challenge as much as anyone, but Charlie doesn’t make things easy. Zero’s manager is a force of nature with a razor sharp tongue, a quick wit, and a no-nonsense attitude. Ky can’t stop thinking about him. Winning over Charlie becomes Ky’s pet project. But when the ice between them thaws, neither is prepared for the intensity of going from enemies to lovers. They’ll have to decide if they’re willing to start from scratch and take a chance on the unexpected.

Excerpt

“I know that was random, but it’s not a bad idea if you think about it. Want something to drink?” Charlie asked as he moved toward the kitchen.

I grabbed his wrist before he got anywhere. “Hang on. What are you doing?”

He cocked his head curiously but didn’t pull away. “I’m being practical. If you read any further about Virgos you probably found out we’re known for being sensible. And polite. So, I’m politely asking if you’d like a beverage while sensibly suggesting that I help out with your skating lessons.”

“Okay. First up…I don’t want a fuckin’ snack and second, it’s not a skating lesson. We’re skateboarding,” I said, glowering at him.

“I’ve heard it said both ways. Skating, skateboarding. I looked it up in Urban Dictionary too, so I’m pretty sure I’m right.”

“No. There’s something in your tone that makes it all wrong. Like you’re purposely trying to sabotage this.”

Charlie opened his mouth in a perfect O. “Gasp! I wouldn’t do that!”

“Cut the crap. You’re doing it now. You don’t want to learn, and you don’t want Oliver to either. It’s a control thing. But you can’t control what you don’t fuckin’ get. So take a seat and let me teach him without you freaking out or—why are you looking at me like that?”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know. You’re doing something weird with your eyes, though. You look spaced out.”

“Mmm. I’m trying not to swoon. You look so fierce and you’re holding my hand, Ky. You should feel my heart. It’s beating out of my chest. Seriously.” He fluttered his lashes a few times and bit his bottom lip.

I chuckled softly and stepped closer. “Are you flirting with me, Char?”

“No, it’s the other way around. You’re flirting with me. Big macho displays really get my motor running. Medium-sized ones do too. I love it when…”

Okay, so I lost myself. I tuned out the sound of his voice and concentrated on him. The mischievous glint in his eyes, the proud set of his shoulders, and the way his mouth curled at the corner. He was doing it again. Owning the moment. Taking it over. Charlie looked for weakness in any form, then slyly made adjustments before moving in for the kill. No doubt he thought I’d back down fast and run away. I wasn’t going anywhere.

I fixated on his bottom lip and inched closer. He kept talking…something about dick size or muscles…I wasn’t sure, but I liked the cadence of his voice. The teasing lilt and easy humor. I let go of his wrist, brushing his fingers before setting my hand on his hip. He went perfectly still.

Before he could ask me what the fuck I was doing, I kissed him.

It was more of a press of lips than a grand gesture. And though it might not rank as the kind of kiss that would change the world, I immediately knew it would change mine.

Everything in me went on high alert. I’d never been so in tune with a moment. The flutter of his eyelashes, the brush of his nose, and the soft sweetness of his lips against mine. Fuck, it was amazing. Like mind-blowing amazing. He tasted like cherries and smelled like sunshine mixed with something exotic.

I couldn’t be sure over the roar of my heart attempting to beat its way out of my chest, but I thought he hummed in approval, so I angled my head slightly to deepen the connection and pulled him closer. If he was anyone else, I probably would have stuck my tongue between his lips and let my hands roam all over his body. I wanted to, but I didn’t want to scare either of us. So I stayed where I was until the need for oxygen became an issue.

Then I jumped back two feet and stared at him with my eyes bugged out. “Holy fuck.”

Charlie set his fingers on his bottom lip and blinked like he was coming out of a daze. “You kissed me,” he said softly.

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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Book Blitz: The Spymaster’s Secret by Antonia Aquilante #Fantasy #LGBT #bisexual #NewRelease @antoniaquilante

Title: The Spymaster’s Secret

Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Seven

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: October 14, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 107100

Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, Fantasy, paranormal, family-drama, political intrigue, magic, gay, bisexual, royalty, men with children, architect, college, magic users, cat shifter

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Synopsis

Alexander is doing his best to settle into life in Tournai’s royal palace after years living outside the country due to his father’s diplomatic work. The sense of belonging and home he feels is overwhelming, but none of his plans are going as he imagined. Many see him as only a lovely, charming adornment of the royal court and underestimate both his intelligence and abilities. His attraction to Marcus, a mysterious older man who does work for the prince, Alexander’s cousin, is unexpected but not unwelcome…if Marcus could possibly see who Alexander really is.

Lord Marcus is the second son of a minor noble family, a widower raising two children…and the prince’s spymaster. He knows his work is necessary for the security of the kingdom and its royal family, but he also knows it can be distasteful and dangerous to him and those around him. Marcus has vowed never to fall in love again, never to put anyone else at risk—a promise threatened for the first time by the vibrant, flirtatious Alexander. The attraction is unwelcome and entirely undeniable. He can’t believe someone like Alexander would want someone like him, but he also can’t stay away.

As they become ever more entangled, Marcus is investigating rumors of spies at work in Tournai’s university. As he gets closer to uncovering their plot, Alexander is drawn deeper into danger. Can their love survive when Alexander is put in peril by the very spies Marcus is hunting for?

Excerpt

The Spymaster’s Secret
Antonia Aquilante © 2019
All Rights Reserved

“What do you have to tell us, Lord Marcus?”

Marcus sat in one of the chairs across from the pair of desks in the princes’ private office and contemplated Prince Philip. The crown prince had the look of his father and something of his manner, a commanding presence he had probably cultivated since birth. He had the dark hair and classically handsome features of the men in the royal family and the bred-in-the-bone care for this country. Which Marcus had a feeling he might have thrown over in a heartbeat for the man beside him. Prince Consort Amory was shorter and fair with large dark eyes and curling auburn hair. He hadn’t been born into royalty or even nobility, but he’d adapted to his role far better than most of Tournai’s nobility had anticipated. Marcus knew quite well what each noble family thought of the marriage, just past its third anniversary, although the princes had never asked him for the information.

“First, Your Highnesses, the prisoner taken into custody at the border hasn’t answered any questions posed to him. I was asked to try.”

The army had brought the man in from the border several days ago. Tournai was protected from magical attack by a barrier created by a web of spells. Almost no one knew of the spells in Tournai, but someone outside had apparently discovered their protection and was determined to find its weaknesses. The man had been testing the barrier, and somehow the spells had caught and held him until the army could get there. Marcus had to speak with Savarin about how he’d been caught and what weaknesses they should guard against.

Philip frowned. “We need answers from him. I can’t believe the threat has disappeared because we’ve apprehended one man at the border.”

“With all respect, Your Highness, we don’t know what the threat is yet.” Marcus glanced between the princes but returned his attention to Philip. “I’ll do everything I can to find out and quickly, but there is more than one possibility.”

“I think the possibility at the top of our minds is this man was sent by Ardunn,” Amory said in his quiet tone. “I doubt anyone will rest easy until we can rule that out. If we can.”

“It is a possibility, Your Highness, and a strong one.” The Ardunn empire was located far to their east, separated from Tournai by an impassable mountain range and the kingdom of Elleri, but Ardunn’s emperor was obsessed with conquest and seemingly interested in using Tournai as a foothold for gaining control of this half of the continent. The geographical barriers were too great to march an army in, and Ardunn had no naval power to speak of. But they routinely sent their agents into Tournai searching for weaknesses. “However, with the bandit attacks along the border over the last several months, it isn’t the only one. He might have been with the bandits. Or he could’ve been sent from Ardunn or hired by them to test the barriers. The attacks could’ve been orchestrated by Ardunn as well. Or they might be completely unrelated. For all we know, the prisoner was working on his own, unrelated to either the bandits or Ardunn.”

Marcus didn’t much care for that option, as it meant they probably had another enemy lurking, but he also didn’t think it was the most likely either.

Philip’s frown deepened, not even lightening when Amory laid a hand on his arm. “You’re not giving me much helpful information, Lord Marcus.”

“I apologize, Your Highness. All I can do at this point is present you with theories.” He spread his hands in a helpless gesture. He wished he had more for the princes—he took the lack as a personal failure despite the short time he’d had this problem on his desk. “I will do everything I can to get information from our prisoner, and I have people searching for the bandits he was likely traveling with as well.”

“The army has been chasing them for months.” Amory’s remark was said without judgment for either Marcus’s people or the army.

“I’m aware, Your Highness, but my people can go unnoticed in a way the army can’t.”

Amory nodded, thoughtful, but Philip spoke. “Coordinate with Captain Loriot if you need further information, though I can’t imagine you ever lacking information.”

Marcus smiled slightly at Philip’s dry statement. “Far be it from me to ever claim I know everything, Your Highness. That would be the heights of arrogance.”

“If you say so.”

Philip didn’t explain why Marcus should see Loriot if he needed information about a situation the army was overseeing. Loriot’s power ended at the city gates when he wasn’t traveling with the princes. But Marcus could surmise.

“Is there anything else we need to know? Not only about our prisoner, of course.” Philip always phrased the question that way when he asked. Marcus didn’t blame him—there were certain things the princes didn’t need to know, which was why they had Marcus.

“Not at this time, Your Highness.” There were a dozen things Marcus could have told them, but none needed their immediate attention. If any of the rumors his people were chasing down at the university became more substantial, then he’d bring them to the princes.

Philip sat back. “All right, Lord Marcus. Keep us informed about the questioning.”

“Of course, Your Highness.”

Dismissed from the royal presence, Marcus let himself into the corridor and turned his steps to the right, following the most direct route out of the wing holding the royal apartments. The princes had formal offices in the palace proper, but Marcus was more often summoned to their private study, the place they did their work, so by now, he knew the way back to the more public areas. He needed to return to the city and his work for the day, of which their prisoner was only one part. There was a meeting later with two of his agents about the whispers they’d picked up at the university, and it might be time for Marcus to find a few moments to return to work on a new truth potion.

If he could get the potion right, it might be useful with their prisoner.

In the middle of the day, these corridors were empty but for the royal guards stationed periodically along them. Marcus doubted they were ever crowded. This part of the palace saw no one except the resident members of the royal family, their guests, and those who served them. Marcus had only ever been allowed in to meet with the princes at their request. His family was lower-ranked nobility, but neither they nor he was in the princes’ inner circle.

He let part of his mind go over the changes he wanted to make to the potion, running through ingredients and proportions while the rest of his focus noted what there was to see in the hallway. The guards were alert and also unobtrusive, which was to be expected. Palace security was Loriot’s purview, and he took his job seriously. His guards were well trained, highly efficient, and well vetted before they even got that far, their trustworthiness in keeping royal matters private ensured further by magic.

Despite the palace being Loriot’s domain, Marcus had a couple of his people placed there to keep an eye on the royal family as well. Those family members who lived in the palace were closest to the princes. While Marcus didn’t expect them to pose a threat, there had been treachery of various kinds over the past few years, and he was wary of anyone trying to get too close. He’d had his people keeping their eyes on the twins—Philip’s cousins through the youngest of his father’s sisters—since they’d arrived unexpectedly back in the autumn with the intention of staying. Marcus had seen no indication they meant any harm, but knowledge was useful, and caution never misplaced.

A laugh shattered the quiet and brought Marcus’s attention fully back to his surroundings. As he approached an intersecting corridor, the two young men he’d been thinking of came around the corner. They were nearly identical in appearance with the same shade of dark hair that glowed red in the light, the same ivory skin and peridot eyes, the same delicate features, an intriguing mix of pretty and sensual. Their differences were slight, but perfectly apparent with a moment’s study. Alexander was slightly taller, and Faelen’s hair fell in loose curls while Alexander’s was a tumble of waves.

He’d made a point of finding out which of them was which. And not because of the way Alexander had looked at him the one previous time he’d been in their presence.

The way Alexander looked at him now. Curious with a spark of something more.

Alexander had been the one laughing, a joyful, delighted sound that made Marcus want to smile. He forced himself not to, forced his face to remain bland and pleasant and unremarkable. Forced himself to ignore the little lurch, the punch of attraction when he looked into Alexander’s eyes.

He had to.

Those eyes sparkled. “Good morning, Lord Marcus.”

Faelen noticed him then. A smile still flirted with his finely wrought lips, but his eyes held none of the same interest as his twin’s. Which Marcus wouldn’t have expected for many reasons—he couldn’t understand why Alexander regarded him the way he did—but mostly because Faelen had apparently taken a serious lover, which he’d subtly announced at court through his presence at Faelen’s side at the princes’ anniversary ball not long ago.

“Good morning, Lord Marcus,” Faelen echoed. “I hope you’re well today.”

Marcus bowed. “Good morning, my lords. I am, thank you, and you?”

“Very well. Thank you,” Faelen replied.

“What brings you to the palace today, Lord Marcus?” Alexander’s tone and words were as smooth as Faelen’s. The two might not have spent most of their lives at Tournai’s court, but perhaps they’d had to become even more skilled because of their years away. A foreign court wasn’t an easy place to live, even a nominally friendly one.

“A meeting with Their Highnesses.” He wouldn’t discuss the subject with anyone without the princes’ permission, and certainly not in a hallway where anyone might hear. He knew better than most the walls often had ears.

Alexander and Faelen didn’t ask, possibly because they knew the necessity of discretion too, as they should as members of Tournai’s ruling family however far removed from the throne. They did exchange a glance, so quick anyone not watching closely would’ve missed it. Some sort of information passed between them in the fleeting look, but what they shared was a mystery to Marcus.

“I’m sure you’re busy, Lord Marcus,” Faelen said. “We won’t impose upon any more of your time.”

“It’s hardly an imposition, but I’m sure you have engagements to attend.” Marcus bowed slightly again. “I’ll bid you good day.”

They returned his farewell as Faelen looped his arm through Alexander’s. Marcus refused to allow himself to turn and watch them walk away. To do so would reveal too much, to all of them. He did, however, catch a glimpse of their slender forms in a large, silver-framed mirror hanging on the wall. He didn’t allow himself more than the glimpse before continuing on his way at a brisk pace, not stopping again as he wound through the corridors and finally out into the winter chill. He had far too much to do to let himself be distracted, especially by a young royal cousin he had no business observing outside a professional capacity. And no reason to study him so closely in even that way any longer. It shouldn’t have disappointed him.

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Meet the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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SPOTLIGHT: Trash & Treasure by Mikala Ash #futuristic #scifi #LGBTQ #multiplepartners #RomanceBooks @changelingpress

Spotlight: Trash & Treasure (Spaceport Multi-Author 3)

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

 

Award-winning reporter for the Adana Observer Holly Barberossa finds herself once again in her natural environment: hot water.

Antagonizing the Dollavera “brothers,” a family of clones who run the Amalgamated Spaceport Guild of Scavengers, with a series of damaging exposés was bound to drop her into a cauldron of trouble but when a dismembered body, an abused robot and a scared alien entity are thrown into the mix then Holly is really in the soup.

Then there’s Maxim Dollavera who, she hopes, is not like his “brothers.” A man with his smoldering good looks just can’t be a bad guy, can he? Trying for a surprise interview Holly walks in on him and his male lover, Felis Panthera, a randy Leonine with equally attractive attributes. Forget the story, she hopes there’s room for one more in Maxim’s erotic world.

But she can’t forget a story, that’s her problem, and her greatest strength. Will Maxim’s brothers allow Holly to walk all over them in the media without retribution? Will Maxim welcome her into his world when she is trying to destroy his brothers? And just who are the bad guys, really?

These and other questions boil over in Spaceport: Trash & Treasure, a Holly Barberossa erotic adventure.

 

99 cents TODAY at Changeling Press

 

Praise for Trash & Treasure

“I loved the futuristic and paranormal backdrop to this tale, which added to the fascination of the plot. I look forward to reading the other stories from a variety of different authors of the Spaceport series.”

4 Stars! — Tallyn Porter, JERR

“The addition of a good mystery and intrigue to the plot make Spaceport: Trash & Treasure a fine addition to the Spaceport series.”

4 Angels! — Hayley, Fallen Angels Reviews

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2008, 2019 Mikala Ash

I need a beer.

With an emphatic click, Holly Barberossa snapped off her smartcam while K. Dollavera was still flapping his jaws, the bombastic Guild executive ever eager to have the last word. Asshole!

It had been a helluva day. She’d lost her cool and she knew it. Vinnie would gripe about it in the morning, give her the old lecture about getting more with sugar than… hell, she couldn’t remember how that homily ended even though she’d heard it a thousand times.

I need a beer.

The Haze was only ten minutes away. She could almost taste the amber fluid, not to mention the plate of ribs she’d have to go along with it. The image of her favorite meal, dripping with that mouth watering Altaran sauce the cook at the Haze used, filled her mind and worked its magic on her salivary glands. Her empty stomach gave a sustained and hopeful cheer.

She hadn’t stopped for lunch, running from one end of Adana to the other; interviewing idiots and assholes, fending off the groping hands of hopeful pedestrians trying to cop a feel, being kidnapped and fucking led around blindfolded by amateurs on the run (as if they really thought I couldn’t figure out where they took me, geeze! ), gassed by a flatulent Fedoran, given the cold shoulder by the fucking head of ‘Port Security (I’ll put her on a fucking spit and roast her slow), and to top it off that fucking asshole Dollavera trying to wheedle out of not spilling the beans about the gang war brewing right under his and his goddamn brothers’ fucking noses (brothers, there’s a misnomer for you, fucking brothers my ass, fucking clones).

Clones. She took a deep and sustained breath. Good looking clones, sexy clones who boiled her juices every time she was within ten meters of their athletic bulk. Bastards.

She ordered her thoughts and skipped through the interview with Riz Gitto, the retired head of ‘Port Security and CEO of Adana’s newest private security firm. She could tell he wanted her badly, his pale gray eyes undressing her six times during the five minutes she talked to him. He wasn’t bad looking for an old guy and would be a useful contact, so she’d fluttered her dark lashes back at him and deflected his request for a date with the usual stop kidding around, I’m working line and jumped into the interview with that asshole K. Dollavera. At least Riz hadn’t made a grab for her tits.

Exactly why she let Dollavera get under her skin she couldn’t fathom. It wasn’t just that he was a slimy asshole. No doubt it had something to do with the fact that she’d dated (a couple of times) his “brother” Zweep, the Sentient Resources Controller of the family monopoly, the Amalgamated Spaceport Guild of Scavengers. She’d dumped Zweep at the first inkling of his suspicious business dealings. No way could she compromise her journalistic standards by seeing the man at the center of what could be the biggest scandal in Adana history. The fact that she let him go not ten minutes after she met their “brother” Maxim might, she conceded, have had something more to do with it other than being a breathtaking coincidence.

Maxim, the New Year’s Eve hero who had risked his life to save others from a terrible disaster, was something special. There was a guy who knew how to boil the juices, and what made him yummier was that he didn’t even know he did it.

The thought of Maxim being caught up in a shady family business was giving her sleepless nights. He’d been away, supposedly scavenging, for the last month, more likely avoiding the hundreds of fans attracted to his celebrity, so she hadn’t been able to talk to him about it. Not that they were on speaking terms yet; he probably didn’t know she even existed.

I’ll have to change that little detail.

If nothing else, her publicly nailing his two brothers would bring her into his orbit soon enough. What worried her was that Maxim seemed smarter than his “brothers,” and even in the brief moments she saw them interact, they seemed to defer to him. Her worst fear was that he was actually in charge of the operation while posing as a loner, supposedly scavenging the asteroid belt for junk. It would be the perfect cover, playing the dirt smeared grunt collecting trash while secretly pulling the strings behind the ‘Port Authority.

There was a tug at her trouser leg. A grubby face with enormous eyes and a mess of yellow hair looked up and gave her a gap toothed smile.

“Hello, sweetie,” Holly said. “Got something for me?”

The little angel, one of Adana’s many corridor kids, nodded and cupped a tiny hand near her mouth. Holly knelt down beside her and turned her head, brushing aside her raven hair so the little girl could whisper in her ear.

Holly’s heart jumped at the message. “Thank you, sweetie,” she said. “How much?”

The girl put up three fingers, indicating there were two others involved in the chain of observers that had brought her this longed-for news. Holly dropped four credits into her small palm and was rewarded with openmouthed astonishment. She always paid more than the going rate. It guaranteed preferment in the Adana rumor mill.

So, Maxim Dollavera had returned. He was in customs at this very moment and if she hurried she’d catch him.

And then what? She bit her bottom lip and snapped shut her oversized equipment bag. I have no idea, but I’ll think of something. I always do.

 

More from Mikala at Changeling Press …

Aussie Mikala Ash lives a hectic double life, mild-mannered training & development consultant by day… wild sci-fi and paranormal adventure writer by night. “For me, burning the candle at both ends is not such a terrible problem; I’m having too much fun!”

Catch up with Mikala on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mikala.ash#!/mikala.ash.9.