SPOTLIGHT: Independence Fatigue by Emily Carrington #LGBTQ #contemporaryromance @CarringtonEmily

Being a Dom isn’t working for Peter Campbell. He really craves the release of being a submissive, but he’s confused about the sub’s role. He is also struggling with a much larger issue.

Dr. Abe knows there’s something bothering his lover, but he doesn’t know how to work through their difficulties when Peter won’t talk to him. Convinced it’s their bed play that has Peter out of sorts, Abe is determined to fix whatever’s wrong. What will happen when the doctor discovers there’s something bigger than their problems in the bedroom?

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Emily Carrington

They were looking at a safe, secure website for BDSM and Peter felt his stomach clench a little more as he read through the “For Beginners” menu. It covered things like “Doms VS subs,” “Safe words,” and “The sub is Actually in Charge.”

In his experience, that last wasn’t true. Abe gave over all control when Peter played dominant.

It was the idea of being submissive that turned Peter on. But they’d accepted their roles, right? And it said here while a dominant could and should train as a sub first, a true submissive couldn’t be a permanent dom.

For Peter, that was certainly the case. Every time he had to pretend to be dominant, his heart pounded in his chest, and he feared he would hurt Abe accidentally.

And besides all that, he loved the idea of being tied up and spanked. Not by just anyone, either, but by his beautiful, perfect lover.

He’d wanted that once before, to be submissive in the bedroom. Maybe that was one reason his marriage to Megan had gone so badly four years ago. He’d wanted to be dominated in bed and she’d said, “I’m no one’s mistress. A mistress is someone you pay to do things like that.” He hadn’t brought it up again.

But now, could he have a second chance?

Abe touched Peter’s knee and Peter jumped, startled. He loved being touched but he’d been so wrapped up… He shook his head to clear it and met his beloved’s dark, nearly black, eyes. And as often happened when he’d been living in the past too much, he was freshly amazed and aroused by Abe’s delicately precise Japanese features. Abe, pronounced Ah-bay after the Japanese poet and playwright, Kobo Abe, was Japanese American. He had extensive family out west, a sister down south, and a niece at the school for the deaf where Peter taught. Abe was a veterinarian. He kept his hair short because, he said, he didn’t want to mess with it on a day when he’d have to go into surgery. He loved healing animals and that took precedence over what he called “wavy locks” as he tugged playfully on Peter’s shoulder-length brownish-blond hair.

Abe took his hand off Peter’s knee so he could use American Sign Language to communicate. “What are you thinking?”

Lying didn’t jive with the honest relationship they’d always had, but Peter didn’t want to admit his sub tendencies. So, he confessed another truth. “I hate it when I start thinking about Megan, even if it’s only for a moment,” he signed back.

Abe frowned. It was adorable. “What brought that on?”

“Can we talk about it later?”

Abe reached out and shut off the computer. “Yes,” he signed. “Let’s go upstairs.”

Peter wasn’t entirely sure he hid his feelings of tension as he nodded and stood.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Carrington is a multipublished author of male/male and transgender erotica. Seeking a world made of equality, she created SearchLight to live out her dreams. But even SearchLight has its problems, and Emily is looking forward to working all of these out with a host of characters from dragons and genies to psychic vampires. Find her on Facebook at Shapeshifter Central or on her website.

Fantasy creatures not your thing? Emily has also created a contemporary romance world, called Sticks and Stones, where she explores being “different” in a small town. Visit her on Facebook at Emily Carrington’s Confessions!

SPOTLIGHT: Haints Alive by J. Hali Steele #Erotica #LGBTQ #DarkFantasy @JHaliSteele

An angry, dead spirit is useless – until it becomes the living Haint in your bed!

Warning: This is a Razor’s Edge Monster Erotica Story. Expect limited plot and character development, and lots of paranormal heat. If you’re looking for a lengthy plot driven erotic romance, this is not it!

JD Tolliver begins research for his thesis on paranormal phenomena as a nonbeliever. He believes now. A ghost or angry spirit, a true haint, follows JD from Appalachia. His finding a suitable body so he can leave poses a problem — $it has JD by the balls@!

Coll Collins spent over a hundred years locked in silence. Suddenly freed, he discovers that gay hate crimes are not a thing of the past. The stranger he attaches himself to is sassy and, to Coll, sexy as hell. Never had the pleasure of a soft young man, and Coll plans to take advantage every single night until he returns home.

Preorder at Amazon

Releases January 28, 2022

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

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

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

Title: Melting the Ice Witch

Series: Dragon’s Hoard, Book Four

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/18/2022

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 27400

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

Add to Goodreads

Description

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

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

Excerpt

Melting the Ice Witch
Mell Eight © 2022
All Rights Reserved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Tribe was dying.

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

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

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

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

«

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

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

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Button 2

PREORDER: Oblivion by Kira Stone #demons #erotica #shortstories

Warning: This is a Razor’s Edge Demon Erotica Story. Expect limited plot and character development, and lots of paranormal heat. If you’re looking for a lengthy plot driven erotic romance, this is not it!


Killed in a dirty back alley by a street whore. Such an ugly way to die. But my lessons in death have only just begun.

Hell is filthy. And cold. And as soon as I fell, I found a demon waiting for me. My new Master. From spanking to whipping to painful abuse, each new lesson gives me hope — the hope of oblivion. Surely I can’t survive this long.

But the longer I’m here, the more I learn about myself and the life I wasted. And the more I crave Master’s touch. Each lesson strips away another layer of my mortal flesh. I am everyman. I am no one. I am what my Master wishes me to be. A Demon’s whore for all eternity… Who said going to Hell didn’t have its rewards?

Extreme BDSM Warning: The actions portrayed in this story are well outside the accepted BDSM norm of “Safe, Sane, and Consensual” or even “Risk Aware Consensual Kink” and should not be reenacted by mere mortals. Unless you’re a demon, you will end up featured on “1000 Ways to Die.”

Available January 21, 2022 at Amazon

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright 2021 Kira Stone

No question about it. I was on my way to Hell.

I fell into a rocky hole, so small I couldn’t stand up. I couldn’t even crawl down the steep slope. Rolling from side to side got me inching down, but also got dirt up my ass. And whether exertion or something else caused the temperature to rise, I was getting much, much warmer.

Ingenuity kicked in, and I figured out by laying on my back, head first, I could use my feet on the craggy sides to push my way down the tunnel. The bottom had sides equally rough. No doubt I’d have bruises all over.

No biggie. Pain I could handle.

A deep voice rose up from the darkness. “You think so, eh? We’ll find out.”

Oh, goodie.

Without warning, I fell head first onto a dirt floor as lumpy as the tunnel. Even as I watched, rubbing my head, the hole closed. I tapped on the spot where the opening had been to see if it was solid. Yeah, they didn’t miss a trick, this bunch.

“Welcome to my home,” the deep voice said with obvious amusement.

I turned to find a well dressed man in a suit not unlike one I’d wear to the office, when I bothered to go in. His hair had been neatly styled, his shoes shined, and his body looked like he could give me a challenge on the handball court. In fact, as I gazed longer, he looked a lot like me.

“This is what you were. Now, I will show you the real me.”

First, his eyes turned red. That was enough to make me tremble. Something awful radiated from them, the promise of no sympathy, no compromise.

As covertly as I could, I looked for routes of escape. I should have kept my eyes on him, or better yet on the floor. Cages and torture devices and things I’d only seen on the Internet filled my vision. I wasn’t skilled at using them, as my extra marital lovers told me, and I doubted I’d be any better at having them used on me.

“See me, and know that I am your Lord and Master,” the deep voice ordered.

Despite emptying myself earlier, I again felt the need to pee when I looked upon the creature who spoke to me. With skin as red as his eyes, hair only a few shades darker that hung to his waist, and claws on both fingers and toes, just seeing him induced panic.

“You know, I’m not really into the D/s thing. Can we skip this part?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kira Stone lives in a warm cave tucked away in the remote Scottish Highlands, where a small band of ever-changing heroes serves as company. As they relax in front of a roaring fire, demons dance in leather pants and angels stroke tunes from the harp strings, while the Fae stop in to share tales from other worlds. Bound by pen and imagination, these are the folk who wait to greet you from the pages of Kira’s stories.

The who and what of Kira in this more mundane world is not what turns you on, but the words sure do – so go discover the passion that awaits you between the covers of every Kira Stone book…

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

Title: Someone to Watch Over Me

Author: Libby Simone

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/11/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 63900

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

Add to Goodreads

Description

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

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

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

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

Excerpt

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

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

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

“Get in here, Arthur.”

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

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

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

“This early?”

“It’s nearly ten.”

Arthur shrugs. “Philandering husband or wife?”

“Neither. Guard duty.”

“Guard duty? Why would I—”

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

“Maurice—”

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

“You know I don’t like—”

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

“No.” Arthur grinds his teeth.

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

“Anything I should know first?”

“I’d hate to spoil the surprise.”

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

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

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

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

“I see. Very militaristic.”

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

She looks him up and down. “I see.”

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

“We make films, Mister—”

“Adams. You make films? Here?”

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

“They’re pornographers, Art.”

“Huh. Okay.”

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

“Warehouse?”

“Am I done here?” she asks.

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

“I’ll see myself out.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Now you see why you’re on the job.”

“Tell me about the threats.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

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

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Button 2

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

Title: Returning Heroes

Series: The Galactic Captains, Book Six

Author: Harry F. Rey

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/11/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 83100

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

Add to Goodreads

Description

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt

Returning Heroes
Harry F. Rey © 2022
All Rights Reserved

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

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

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

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

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

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

“They left.”

Daeron spun on the chair to face Osvai.

“They…left?”

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

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

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

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

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

The megacollider is gone then?

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

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

Good point. Why was Osvai not back on Jiwani?

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

“Care about what, Daeron?”

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

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

“My mom said to take you home.”

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

Here we go. Another screaming match.

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

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry, more drunk.”

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

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

“Shut up, Osvai.”

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

“I said shut up!”

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

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

Website | Twitter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Button 2

Anima Instinct by AJ Graham #shifters #DarkFantasy #LGBTQ @changelingpress

Animal Instinct by AJ Graham
Published by Changeling Press
Cover Art by Bryan Keller
Genres/Themes: Shifters, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance,
Bisexual, Multisexual & Pansexual, Gay, Werewolves & Wolf Shifters

Sometimes the shape of desire isn’t human. While shifter desires are dark and intense, humans can be fragile, but adventurous.

Runaway: Werewolf lovers on the run, Keith and Taylor must fight for their lives and their freedom.

Eyes of the Wolf: Kaila would do anything to save her people, even give herself to the barbarian leader of the Wolf Clan…

Wolf’s Promise: Ashrin knows Shana is his mate, and he’ll do whatever it takes to be with the woman he loves.

Half-Blood: A half-human shifter can’t afford to trust anyone. Yet Haden must find a mate or die.

Dante Burning: Love between humans and shifters is complicated… and wild.

Publisher’s Note: Animal Instinct (Box Set) contains the previously published novellas Runaway, Eyes of the Wolf, Wolf’s Promise, Half-Blood, and Dante Burning.

Praise for Runaway

“This is a very good story to add to anyone’s werewolf collection.”–Lydia, Rainbow Reviews

Praise for Eyes of the Wolf

Eyes of The Wolf was an amazing read…. Well done!”— Noelle, Night Owl Reviews

Praise for Wolf’s Promise

“I enjoyed every page of Wolf’s Promise… an intense and enjoyable voyage into a fantasy world of virgins and demons.”— Stephanie E., Fallen Angel Reviews

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 AJ Graham
Excerpt from Dante Burning

I had to be dreaming. If I were awake, Devin’s head wouldn’t be between my legs, his full lips stretched around my aching cock, my fingers clenched in his shaggy wheat-brown hair. If this was real, he wouldn’t be looking at me like that, gazing up through a veil of soft, dusky lashes, eyes smoky with lust.

I watched his smooth, flushed cheeks draw inward, sucking me deeper.

God, he was beautiful.

I didn’t want to wake up, but I could feel the cold fingers of reality prying their way into my head in the form of a monstrous, throbbing hangover. I tried to hang onto the dream, but the dull red pulse behind my eyes wouldn’t be ignored. It dragged me, kicking and struggling, back to wakefulness. The blood banged in my head.

Oh man.

“Te? Te, are you all right?”

Devin’s voice. He was the only one who ever called me Te. To the rest of the world, even my mom, I was Dante.

I’ve always loved the way Devin said my name — the tap of tongue against teeth, the soft exhalation of air. Though at the moment, I wasn’t in any condition to appreciate it.

I opened my eyes a crack, then slammed them shut as sunlight blinded me. It looked like the sun had just gone supernova outside our apartment. “Ugh. Daylight.”

“Hang on…” I heard a rustle as he pulled the curtains shut, and the room got marginally less bright. “How’s that?”

“Better.” It still felt like white-hot needles were stabbing my eyes, but the needles were a bit less sharp now. There are certain things that go along with being a cat-shifter. One of those things is enhanced senses. A nice perk, most of the time. Not so nice when you’ve got a hangover.

A cool, damp cloth draped over my brow, and I sighed with relief. “Thanks.” I pried my sleep-crusty eyelids open and found myself looking into a pair of big gray eyes. Same ones from my dream. But instead of being glassy with passion, they just looked worried.

“What did you do last night?” he asked.

I gave him a strained smile. “Better not to ask.”

Most of the night was a blur, but I knew I’d done a lot of Mezcal shots. Mezcal is like tequila’s tougher, dirtier big brother. It’s smoky and earthy and burns a molten trail down your throat. It’s that stuff on liquor store shelves that usually has a worm or a scorpion floating in the bottle.

Had I actually eaten that scorpion on a dare? I hoped that was just a dream.

Devin bit his lower lip. “Te… are you okay?”

I looked away, knowing he was asking about more than the hangover. And I couldn’t blame him for worrying. This was — what, the third time this week I’d come home shit-faced? The worst thing was, he didn’t know the half of what I did or why I did it. I drank to numb myself, to forget. To blunt other urges.

I thought about the dream, and the guilt came rising up to choke me. My gaze flicked to his lips; then I quickly looked away. Thank God there’d been a blanket over me when I woke, or he might have seen the evidence.

I might be a cat, but just then, I felt more like a pig.

“I’m okay,” I muttered. “I’ve got it under control.”

He lowered his gaze. The guilt twisted in my chest like a knife.

Devin. My roommate, my best friend since third grade, the only person in the world I trusted enough to let near me while I was feeling this shitty… and the man whose body I secretly craved more than anything in the world.

No, not just his body. That might be easier. I wanted him. His mind, his soul. I wanted everything. But it wasn’t going to happen. So I did what I always did: I bundled up those feelings and tucked them away in the deepest, darkest drawer of my brain. Captain Denial, that’s me.

“You should eat something,” Devin said.

I made a face. He was probably right, but at the moment, food sounded like the most disgusting thing in the world. “Don’t think I could.”

“Have some toast, at least. Please?”

That tone melted me every time. He could wind me around his little finger like a piece of taffy, and he didn’t even know it. “I’ll try. Not promising it’ll stay down, though.”

I started to sit up, but he pushed me gently back to the bed. At the pressure of his hands on my shoulders, my heart jumped.

“Don’t move. I’ll take care of it.”

I sank back to the bed, closed my eyes, and nodded, wondering for the thousandth time what I’d done to deserve someone as good as him.

He brought me buttered cinnamon toast and a big glass of milk, and he sat and waited as I munched and sipped. I was hungrier than I’d realized, and once I’d had a few bites, my stomach settled.

“Don’t you have class?” I asked through a mouthful of toast.

“It’s Saturday.”

“Oh. Right.” I sank back to the bed and draped an arm over my face. I didn’t have work today either. Good thing too. If I stumbled into the pub in this condition, Rosaline would fire my fuzzy ass.

I moved my arm away from my face, enough to peer up at Devin through one bleary eye. I’d adjusted to the sunlight, and I could see the way it caught in his hair and highlighted the curve of his cheek, his neck. I knew from experience how soft that skin was. Over the years, we’d brushed against each other so many times — his hand grazing mine, our bare arms pressing lightly together as we sat side by side. I knew what he would feel like. And he was wearing a soft blue sweater, the sort of thing that would be easy to slide my hands beneath and —

I slammed the door shut on that thought, but it was too late. My hard-on was back, in spite of the raging inferno in my head.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AJ Graham has a passion for cold weather, unusual beers, and anything otherworldly.  Dragons, demons, shapeshifters and psychics have always populated their imagination, but sometimes the real world can be just as fascinating and mysterious.  And no matter the genre, AJ has always loved stories about soulmates connecting.  Whether it’s instant, explosive passion or a slow burn, the power of two (or more) minds and bodies coming together to form a greater whole is always a story worth telling.  AJ lives in the Chicago suburbs with their husband.

New at Changeling Press: Legally Claimed by Alexa Piper #LGBTQ #vampires #urbanfantasy @prowlingpiper @changelingpress

Legally Claimed (Elvenswood Tales)

By Alexa Piper

Published by Changeling Press

Peter is good at being a lawyer. He also happens to be a vampire, which — in his experience — is far less exciting than the books make it out to be. The most romance he gets these days is watching others fall in love. But this vicarious lifestyle isn’t something Peter minds or even wants to change.

Theo escaped an abusive relationship and is determined to get his college degree, even if prostitution is how he pays for it. No stranger to the supernatural, he has agreed to let vampires bite him for money, but his first client in the new city is nothing like Theo expected.

Peter has no good reason to tuck Theo into bed after that blood donation, but he does. Peter also has no reason to fantasize about Theo, and yet, Peter’s mind is soon drifting to the pretty, black-haired, jade-eyed boy he doesn’t even really know.

A chance encounter at New Elvenswood University brings Peter’s fantasies close to reality. Theo’s vampiric ex soon becomes a problem Peter will have solve. And he won’t use his skills as a lawyer to do it, either.

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Alexa Piper

Sitting behind his desk at his law firm, Peter Collins stared at the spreadsheet that was currently open on his work laptop. But the columns and all the numbers made no sense. Spreadsheets never did when Peter hadn’t had some nice fresh blood in a while, even if he normally loved himself some Excel magic. Sighing theatrically for the benefit of exactly no one because he was alone in his office, Peter leaned back in his ergonomically optimized chair and glared at the damned spreadsheet. It still made no sense, and obviously, his glaring was wasted on the damn screen. With a dismissive gesture, Peter closed his laptop and got to his feet.

He had the corner office, naturally, because he had founded the law firm Collins & Partners. Most days he liked the room that had been designed with an eye to justifying what his clients were billed for an hour of his lawyery time. But right this moment, Peter couldn’t spend another second in here because the cubist paintings just seemed gaudy.

Peter swung the glass door open with a touch and hurried down the hallway, the nice scowl on his face forcing everyone to move out of his way. Peter barged into Michael’s office, and the handsome siren looked up.

“Anything you need?” Michael asked.

Oh, Peter had a list of things he conceivably needed from Michael, and that list had grown ever since Michael had started working for him. At first, Peter had entertained thoughts of a nice, tempestuous affair with the delicious-looking siren. Peter had never had siren’s blood, and he’d wondered what Michael’s blood would taste like in the throes of passion.

However, Michael had not been interested, and Peter was not one to force his own desire on others because, the bother. Then, Michael had started dating a human, the cutest little librarian in all New Elvenswood, and that had been better, because Peter got to watch those two being adorable together. He’d also gotten to watch the cutie-pie librarian go up against a Yule cat to protect Michael, and then the three of them had enjoyed a vacation with a little zombie extravaganza on the entertainment front. It had been such fun.

Now, Peter’s siren and the cute librarian were planning their wedding, and Peter, to whom the sweet little librarian had given the epithet “the Terrible,” felt he was not involved enough. Yet, Peter could not outright state the injustice, because then he would have to explain his desire to be more involved, and the bother.

But still, in the face of a properly engaged Michael doing some paperwork or other, all Peter wanted to say was that he needed to be consulted on wedding decisions.

The goddamn bother. “Just checking in. I wanted to make sure you were dealing with your current caseload. I would understand if you needed more time with Corvin right now.”

Michael smiled up at Peter. “It’s fine, actually. Corvin’s excited and he’s still processing that his best friend is dating an Elf. And a vampire.”

Peter nodded. “Those are Lord Laurette’s lovers, yes?” That sweet, bookish Corvin was friends with one of the Elven lord’s lovers was, frankly, a wonderful happenstance. Peter had high hopes of meeting them and watching that story unfold. If an Elf such as Laurette of the Silver Moons had claimed two lovers, that romance truly had to be epic. Peter would like nothing better than to watch that love story from the sidelines, but still close enough to where the action was happening. Michael and Corvin would always be Peter’s favorites, but an Elf, a human, and a vampire? There was just no way that was not a romance built for swooning over in secret.

Michael nodded. “Yes. Corvin can’t believe he had to be engaged to a siren and survive a horde of zombies before getting told about all that.”

“Understandable. Perhaps we should go to the library? To surprise your Corvin, of course. I should like to make sure he is fine after that drama with the garden shears in Morrowvale.”

Really, Michael had to give Peter that. It wasn’t an unreasonable request, and Peter loved seeing Michael and Corvin kiss, touch — all that wonderful intimacy.

ABOUT 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 or TikTok, and subscribe to her newsletter!

Find Alexa Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok | BookBub

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

Title: All the Wrong Reasons

Author: Sebastian Hansen

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 12/28/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 111700

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

Add to Goodreads

Description

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

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

Excerpt

All the Wrong Reasons
Sebastian Hansen © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
STETSON

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

Not my finest hour.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I screamed. Well, wouldn’t you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eventually, I managed a strangled, “Hello.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“People like…me.”

“Dead people who aren’t dead anymore.”

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

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

“The alternative is getting our heads cut into.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He crossed his arms.

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

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

He winked.

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

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

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

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

“Not particularly.”

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

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

“Plausible deniability.”

I blinked.

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

“You’ve seen some—”

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

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

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

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

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

Website | Twitter

Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a $50.00 NineStar Press Gift Code!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Button 2

Release Blitz: Voice by Sean Ian O’Meidhir and Connal Braginsky #PNR #LGBTQ #dragqueens @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Voice

Series: Crossing Nuwa, Book Three

Author: Sean Ian O’Meidhir, Connal Braginsky

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 12/21/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 62500

Genre: Paranormal Romance, LGBTQIA+, pride, parade, bears, action/adventure, drag queens, vampires, shifters, magic, mind control, urban fiction, plus sized

Add to Goodreads

Description

After an unfortunate mishap, Robbie has to learn how to use his Command abilities. Just when he thinks that it’s safe to turn them off entirely, he is challenged in a way he never imagined and is faced with the decision to use his abilities or lose his beloved cousin for good. His growth puts a strain on his budding relationship with Theo who is already stretched thin with his own dilemmas. Will the couple grow from their individual struggles, or will this be a final dividing point?

This is the third book in the Crossing Nüwa series and a continuation of Robbie and Theo’s relationship growth and struggles.

Excerpt

Voice
Sean Ian O’Meidhir and Connal Braginsky © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Robbie

“Oh shit!” I cursed, spitting out the flavor of another man’s unwanted lips on mine and chafing my lips as I fervently wiped my mouth on my sleeve.

With small bony hands, he grabbed both of my arms. “Robbie,” Brent said. His high-pitched nasally voice, which had always annoyed me a little, now grated on every nerve. “You know you want me as much as I want you. Stop playing hard to get.”

I couldn’t believe this was happening. At school! I glanced around the empty college hallway for anyone to potentially save me, but classes were in session. I felt more than saw Brent lunge in for another kiss, and my lua training kicked in. Thrusting into his solar plexus with one palm, I snatched his wrist and wrenched. As he fell, I twisted him, catching his chin in my left hand, and by stretching him out I was able to face him away from me.

“Oooo,” Brent cooed, kneeling from the ground. “You like it rough. Robbie, I never knew.”

Disgusted, I dropped him and tripped back into the wall. “I thought we were friends,” I managed pathetically. Confusion swirled around me. We were supposed to be on the way to class. We were supposed to be working on a project for class. We were supposed to be studying for finals. We were supposed to be doing anything but what he had just done. Brent had been my closest friend since I started college. While he had asked me out that first week, he backed off when I told him I had a boyfriend.

Brent pulled his small frame up, standing and looking up at me with a twisted smile that made me cringe. “You know we’re more than that. I don’t know what you see in that fat dude you call a boyfriend. You’re so much hotter than that. Deserve someone like me. Come on; let’s cut biology and get out of here? They know we’re working on that project anyway.”

I caught him as he moved in again. The scent of his sauerkraut-covered hot dog lunch wafted from his breath, making me shudder in revulsion. “Just stop!” I shouted, not caring if someone overheard, and pushed him back with all my strength.

He hit the other wall looking stunned and then slumped to the ground.

“Oh,” I exhaled. Nüwa are stronger than humans. What if I…?

Bending down, I gingerly pushed him, almost expecting a horror film scene of him grappling me down. He just rolled over, looking peacefully asleep.

Scrambling, I stumbled away. And then ran.

Chapter Two
Compartmentalize, compartmentalize, compartmentalize, I chanted to myself. Brent was okay. I had just knocked him out. Someone would come along and find him passed out in the hall. Or he’d wake up and…and what? Call me? I glanced apprehensively at the phone mounted to the overly cheerful artichoke-shaped charging station in our kitchen.

I had thrown myself into cooking the moment I got home. Ms. Gomez, our live-in housekeeper and cook, kindly let me use the kitchen while she took off to the store. The new pasta maker I got online dominated my attention until it started slipping back to Brent. Maggie’s voice rung out in my mind, reminding me to compartmentalize—to put this experience in another box in my mind. And shut it. Lock it. Learning to tuck away the memories from childhood that left me feeling vulnerable had kept me sane this past year.

The memory of holding my mother’s lifeless body after she had sacrificed herself to save me came unbidden to my mind, and once again, I was awash with that guilt. The deep cleansing breath helped to center me, and I imagined settling the top on that box again.

As I thought more about it, it seemed like I was compartmentalizing other things too. The time we spent in San Diego lived in one box and my time spent in the oasis of my home with Theo in yet another. I found that I was a different person in each context. With Theo I was most at ease. He knew me better than anyone, even Maggie, though I had spared him the sordid details about my childhood. There was never any guesswork with Theo. He loved me unconditionally and was always there for me. I could be myself with Maggie and Abi, too, but felt a wall with them. I know it’s because they’re women and Nüwa, and Mother and my aunt instilled in me a fear of both and an internal need to be deferential. So, I knew what the wall was; I just didn’t see a way of getting past it. And part of me didn’t want to. They were both amazing, and loving, and kind. And nothing at all like Mother and my aunt. So, they deserved my respect and deference.

And college was another box. I groaned loudly, channeling my fury into my whisk, hitting the sides of the bowl in a frenzy. The cream sauce I was making from scratch for the Italian sausage lasagna spun around in a vortex inside the bowl. How could I go back if Brent was there? The idea of confronting him… But the idea of not going back to college left me with a sense of dread.

“Hey ya, sugar.”

I let out a yelp and spun around to see Theo casually leaning on the counter. How long had he been there?

“What’s up?” His question had a cautious tone.

“Cooking,” I muttered, turning my back to him and focusing on pouring the sauce into the pan that I had already layered with pasta, meat, and cheese. Heat stained my cheeks with just the thought of telling Theo about the kiss.

The weight of his stare on my back was a tangible thing, and I was relieved when his phone sounded. He let it ring longer than he normally would, but then answered and left. Relief slumped my shoulders. I would put this whole thing in a box. The Brent box. It belonged on a shelf with all the other bad memories and mistakes. Tonight, I was going to have dinner with my family: Kat and Theo. But first, I would need to meditate and get calm. All this rumination was getting me absolutely nowhere.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Connal Braginsky is a software engineer who lives in San Diego, California. Diagnosed with high functioning autism, Connal sometimes struggles in social situations, but has an inner world that is always incredibly rich. With an insatiable thirst for knowledge about many esoteric things, Connal brings a lot of personal philosophies and interests to writing.

Sean Ian O’Meidhir is a psychologist who lives in San Francisco, California. Sean is a hedonist who believes in living for today, living every day to the fullest, and enjoying as much as possible. They have been gaming since adolescence and have written about and played hundreds of lives, revelling in the chance to take on new personalities, dramas, even disorders.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Button 2