Release Blitz: Lighting the Lamp by K.R. Collins#LGBTQ #ContemporaryRomance

Title: Lighting the Lamp

Series: Sophie Fournier, Book Three

Author: K.R. Collins

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 25, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 100100

Genre: Contemporary Sports, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, sports, romance, lesbian, bisexual, demisexual, ice hockey, coach, teammates, slow burn

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Synopsis

Entering her third season, Sophie Fournier has almost everything she wants. She’s the captain of the Concord Condors, she’s roommates and linemates with Elsa Nyberg, the elite Swedish winger she’s wanted to play alongside since the Zurich U-Tourney.

There are two major things she’s missing, though. She doesn’t have her next contract lined up, and she still hasn’t won the Maple Cup, hockey’s most coveted prize. If she wins the Cup, she’ll have leverage going into her contract negotiations. And, in case she needed more motivation, this is Benoit Delacroix’s final season as a Concord Condor, and she’s determined he won’t retire without lifting the Cup.

Excerpt

Lighting the Lamp
K.R. Collins © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
The 2013 draft in Orlando, Florida marks the third one Sophie’s attended. She made history in 2011 when she was the first woman drafted into the North American Hockey League. Last year, she was given the honor of selecting Elsa Nyberg for her team, the Concord Condors.

This year, Sophie’s responsibilities are fewer, but she’s still here representing the League. Unlike other players, who watch the draft from their couches or receive alerts while on the beach or touring wine country, Sophie is here in a crisp black pantsuit, a red pocket square her only flash of color.

She’s here so the Commissioner can lay a heavy hand on her shoulder and lean in for pictures to prove how progressive his league is, as if one woman among hundreds of men is progress. Well, it is progress, but it isn’t nearly enough.

There will be more women drafted today and tomorrow, and Sophie’s confident at least one of them will play against her this season. She refuses to hope Elsa will keep her promise and make the jump from the Swedish Hockey League to the NAHL this year, but she has high expectations for Alexis Engelking.

The American is slated to be drafted high. Lenny Dernier, infamous for his rants on The National Sports Network, is already wringing his hands over her upcoming inclusion among hockey’s best. Once, forgetting she was mic’d up, Engelking dropped an f-bomb on live television. Dernier accused her of being “a terrible role model for our Canadian children” as if every Canadian who has played the game is an angel.

Indianapolis files on stage to make the first selection of the draft, a long procession of middle to upper-aged white men in suits. The TVs behind the stage show Engelking sit up straighter in her seat as if she’s anticipating her name being called. Her hair is chopped short, jagged angles as sharp as her cheekbones.

A different camera shows Chad Kensington, another American, slumped in his seat. His blond hair is parted to the side and slicked to stay there. His mother elbows him, and he makes a half-hearted attempt to sit up straight.

“Thank you, Orlando, for hosting us today,” Indy’s owner says. The crowd, predictably, cheers. When he thanks the Commissioner, the crowd boos, also predictable. Sophie doesn’t remember the Commissioner facing constant heckling when she was younger, but he’d made himself no friends when the League ground to halt during the 2010-2011 season.

Indy’s owner steps aside so his grandson, a cute kid with chubby cheeks and a Renegades ball cap on his head, can step up to the mic. They have to lower it for him, and the boy checks the cards in his hands before he looks over his shoulder. His grandfather smiles encouragingly. “Um, first overall, the Indianapolis Renegades select Chad Kensington.”

Kensington stands up and shoots the nearest camera a pair of finger guns. His smile is as greasy as his hair. Sophie’s seen enough tape to know he’s talented, but he struts up to the stage as if he thinks the League should be grateful to have him. His suit is too big in the shoulders and too long in the leg as if he expects to grow into it. He’s dwarfed by the men on stage; the only ones he’s taller than are the owner’s two grandkids. He taps the brim of the grandson’s hat. The owner’s granddaughter hides behind the man who Sophie assumes is her father.

Sophie discreetly checks her phone as she waits for all the hoopla to finish. Being at the draft always brings back memories of her own. She wasn’t sure she’d be invited until a few months before and, even once she was there, it wasn’t a guarantee a team would select her. In case being the first woman to try to play in the NAHL wasn’t enough of a barrier, the Commissioner required teams to apply to be co-ed.

The Concord Condors were the only team able to draft her, and she sat in the stands as they made selection after selection, never calling her name. It took two hundred and twenty-four names until hers was called. Instead of being drafted first, or even first round, she was dead last.

She shakes the memory aside as Seattle comes on stage. Sophie quits feeling sorry for herself. Barrett Corderman is the one who deserves her pity as Seattle drafts him. She’s making a name for herself in Concord, pulling her franchise from the depths of the League and turning them into a real contender. Seattle, on the other hand, is where players have their love of hockey sucked out of them.

Indianapolis makes another appearance for the fourth pick, gained in a trade last season. This time, the owner ushers his granddaughter on stage, and Sophie has a good idea of where this is headed. When the girl calls out Alexis Engelking’s name, Sophie allows herself a smile. Engelking marks the fourth woman drafted into the League, and the highest selected of them all. There’s a tightness around Engelking’s eyes as she accepts her jersey as if she felt she deserved to go higher.

Welcome to the club.

*

Concord drafts a defenseman with the first of their first-round picks. With their second, they select Tanner Bechtol. He’s small like Kensington, and his hair falls into his eyes, only for him to shake it back out of his face. He looks overwhelmed by everyone on the stage, and it takes two tries for him to pull his jersey over his head.

It isn’t exactly a promising start, and she expects a lot out of him. This is one of the picks which came from trading their captain, Matty, at the deadline last year. Bechtol stumbles off the stage. He would’ve tripped and face-planted in front of the cameras if Mr. Wilcox didn’t steady him. Sophie keeps her expression tranquil in case anyone is watching her, but inside, she scowls. This is who they gave Matty up for?

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Meet the Author

K.R. Collins went to college in Pennsylvania where she learned to write and fell in love with hockey. When she isn’t working or writing, she watches hockey games and claims it’s for research. You can find K.R. on Twitter.

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New Today at Changeling Press! #RomanceBooks #NewRelease

Snake Charmer (Confessions 1)

Skye: I’m a lone wolf, but I’ve left the forest to fight against demons who’ve taken over the world. Right now I’m with a pack in Baltimore, but their alpha respects my ways. I take assignments from him, but I live alone and fight alone — until the night I’m attacked by a swarm of bat demons and a hot little snake dancer jumps in to back me up. For me, it’s lust at first sight, but it’s more than that. I think this adorable little tough guy is my mate, even though he’s not a wolf.

Erik: I’m called Snake Charmer. Dancer. Contortionist. Spirit twin to an alien serpent who has always been my protector. My life has been a series of horrors with some beautiful experiences tossed in. I’ve learned to be independent, especially after my best friend and I were brutalized in an attack that left her dead. Now I’m out for revenge, and it’s brought me to Maryland, directly into the path of a gorgeous werewolf who makes me feel things I never dreamed of. It can’t last, though, and nothing, not even desire this deep, will come between me and my vendetta.

Warning: While set in a futuristic paranormal reality, Snake Charmer includes references to previous child abuse, rape, and murder that may be triggers to some readers.

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

#ParanormalRomance #Gay #Vampires #Werewolves #AlienEncounters

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Combustible (Roanoke River Omegas 3)Long, lean, wild and unconventional for an Omega, Zane rocks and rolls Alpha Grant’s world. Zane can’t be predicted. He can’t be contained. And Grant freaking loves it.

But it’s not all beer and BJs, even for these two. Grant’s never wanted to have kids of his own. His family is Legacy Tattoo, the business he finally reclaimed after his grandfather’s death. He’s dedicating his life to making it not just flourish but thrive. And he doesn’t know — yet — about Zane’s status as a single father to a rambunctious pre-K rebel.

Their love affair is gonna be complicated. And — downright combustible.

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

#LGBTQ+ #Mpreg #ParanormalRomance

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Feral Heat (Feral 6)

Think werewolves aren’t real?

Tell that to the four women and one man who find themselves captive to the whims of the Zante pack’s males. Fierce, mythical, and sexy-as-sin, these delightfully debauched wolves guide their lovers through a journey of seductive exploration. Whether newly discovered or rekindled, their relationships are as passionate as they are.

And the women can give as good as they take. From a fairy bent on revenge to a vixen determined to destroy the pack, they’ll all discover that getting caught is its own reward.

Wild and dangerous, menacing and exciting, otherworldly and naughty to the last…

The men of the Zante pack will make a believer out of you.

Publisher’s Note: This box set contains the previously released novellas Firecrackers: Chemistry to BurnFeral MagnetismFeral BachelorismFeral Hedonism, and Feral Voyeurism. 

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

#LGBTQ+ #werewolves #multiplepartners

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Release Blitz: Forbidden Love by Lee Golgin #LGBTQ #urbanfantasy

Title: Forbidden Love

Series: They Bite, Book Two

Author: Lee Colgin

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 18, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 52800

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, paranormal, urban fantasy, friends to lovers, werewolves, vampires, slow burn, college, supernatural

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Synopsis

When an esteemed vampire doctor treats an injured young werewolf, desire sparks between them.

Dr. Benjamin Arleth has devoted his life to finding a medical cure for his species’ most devastating weakness—sunlight. Finally, one of his pharmaceuticals shows promise, but sabotage looms large in the lab.

Wolf shifter Nathan Cramer is ready to finish grad school and begin his career when a trip to Center City’s Peace Conference goes awry. Weak and bleeding, Nathan knows his wounds could prove fatal. Dr. Arleth is his only hope.

Can love flourish between enemy species despite a society in turmoil? Could vampires walk in the daylight or will darkness reign? It’s a race to find answers, and Ben will have to put his trust in Nathan if they’re going to make it out alive.

Forbidden Love is a MM urban fantasy/paranormal romance and the second book in the series They Bite but can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Excerpt

Forbidden Love
Lee Colgin © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Benjamin

Elbow deep in test tubes and chemicals at his state-of-the-art laboratory, Doctor Benjamin Arleth startled when his alarm went off. Time for patient rounds. He hated to abandon his work when he was making so much progress, but duty called. The long sought-after drug to render a vampire resistant to sunlight would have to wait another night.

The supernatural realm’s most accomplished vampire doctor had no surgeries on his docket this evening. What he did have were several recovering patients to check on: a grouchy were-leopard who’d been impaled by a hunter’s arrow, and a friendly young Living vampire who’d undergone corrective surgery for metatarsus varus, or in layman’s terms…pigeon toes.

Benjamin went to check on the young vampire first. Knocking on the open door, Ben stepped inside the generic white hospital room. “Hello, Olivia, how are you feeling tonight?”

She grinned at him from under her nest of blankets. Olivia was small for her seventeen years, partially due to rotated tibias, but she had a big personality. Blonde curls spilled over her shoulders, and an incorrigible sense of humor sparkled behind pale golden eyes. She was fully grown, a condition that had to be met before her legs could be fixed and, more importantly, before she could be Turned. The poor girl was bored, stuck in the hospital recovering, and eager to get back to her life.

“I’m good, Doctor Arleth. I’ve been walking without any help. Can I go home today?” She looked hopeful.

The doctor tutted and shook his head, approaching her bed. “It’s too early for you to be walking unassisted.” She started to protest, but Ben continued, “You could do damage and set back your healing if you aren’t careful. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.”

Olivia groaned. “But it’s so dull here.”

“Tell me about it. I’ve been stuck here a lot longer than you.” He made a face at her, and she laughed.

“This sucks,” Olivia said with typical teenage angst. “You’re cute though, in that tall, dark, and handsome sort of way. You could get a life outside this place if you wanted.”

“How do you know I don’t have one already?”

“Call it a lucky guess.”

“Moving on.” Ben reached for her blankets. “Let me examine your legs. Then you can walk with me and show me how you’re healing.”

“Deal. Anything to get out of this room.”

Ben picked up her left leg gingerly. The flexible cast allowed him to take her knee through its full range of motion. He flexed and pointed her foot.

“How does it feel? Any sensitive spots?”

She shook her head. “Nope, I’m telling you it feels great. You must have done a really great job.”

“Good.” He put the other leg through the same exercises, watching her face for a reaction. If there was one, he didn’t catch it. Either she healed quickly or she’d mastered hiding discomfort. You’d expect the former of a Turned vampire, but a Living vampire like Olivia would take longer to heal. The girl was either lucky or deceptive; he’d find out as he watched her walk.

“All right.” Ben set her leg carefully back onto the bed. “Time to boogie. Show me what you’ve got.” He reached for her hand and helped her to her feet.

She took a step forward. So far, so good. After walking several laps of the medical center’s recovery floor, Ben believed her progress genuine. He’d miss her. Olivia was pleasant when she wasn’t busy teasing him.

The were-leopard, however, he’d love to get rid of.

The cat had been on a drunken joy run when he’d crossed into unprotected forest, human game lands. Shot through with an arrow, not only did he almost die, but the human who’d shot him had to have his memory wiped after seeing a leopard turn into an angry, naked man. He was lucky the hunter kept his shit together to call for help; otherwise he’d have died from internal bleeding. He’d been a terrible patient, complaining about everything from inadequate pain medication to the lack of decent food. What did he expect? A steakhouse?

Ben walked into the leopard’s room, eager to be done with him. “Jason, how are you tonight?”

The cat scowled as he scooted upright in the bed. “How do you think? I’m in pain. This place is stingy with the meds.”

“Pain medication is often ineffective on were-creatures. We simply have nothing else to give you.”

“A drink wouldn’t hurt.”

Ben clenched his jaw. “Still against hospital policy, I’m afraid. Let me check your wound, and I’ll see about releasing you.”

Jason pushed the covers down, and Ben got to work. The wound, though still inflamed around the edges, had closed nicely. Ben palpated the were-leopard’s abdomen, checking for signs of swelling or bleeding. Jason complained but didn’t seem overly sensitive. It should be safe to release him. Thank god.

“Good news, you’re healing well. We can send you home tonight. How about that?”

“About damn time, I’m ready to get out of here,” Jason said. “I need some real food and a good screw.” He added an obscene gesture Ben found distasteful.

“Hold off for now. I’ll send a nurse to fill you in on the physical restrictions until you’re completely cleared. Come back in a week for a final check to make sure there’s no lasting damage. Until then, be careful not to aggravate the wound.”

“Right, I get it. Careful when I’m screwing. Noted.”

Ben schooled his features to neutrality. It would be unprofessional to lecture manners to a patient, even if they deserved it.

When Jason didn’t get whatever response he’d been hoping for, he changed the subject. “Are you going to the Peace Conference this weekend? The nurse said they were bringing in extra doctors. Could get rowdy!”

“I am. I’d have gone, even if I wasn’t on call.”

“Shitty thing they’re considering. Breaking the Edict of Secrecy. Stupid idea,” the leopard huffed.

Ben did not point out that the very reason the were-leopard landed in the hospital to begin with was because he’d broken the Edict of Secrecy. Allowing a human to see him shift was against the law.

Supernaturals kept themselves hidden from humanity, but was that wise in light of the technological revolution? It was a matter of time before a human filmed something on a cell phone, and they’d be exposed. If they chose to reveal themselves, the narrative could be controlled. If humanity found out by accident, it could all go terribly wrong. Many in the community had strong feelings on the subject, including this exasperating were-leopard.

“Perhaps you should come and listen to the presentations. I’m sure there’s more to it than we know.” The Edict of Secrecy had served its purpose. They must let it go. Knowledge was power and all that.

“I’d rather stab my eye out than listen to that horseshit,” Jason said.

“To each their own, but continued peace is in everyone’s best interest. We don’t want another Great War.” He glared at the cat, daring him to disagree. Vampires and were-creatures were historical enemies, but a Peace Accord maintained armistice between the species. Battle surgeons told nightmarish tales of the Great Wars.

Ben jotted down his final notes in Jason’s file and left the clipboard for his assistant, Amelia. “Take care Jason and heal well. I don’t want to see you here again.” Usually that statement was more a joke, but this time, he meant it.

“The feeling is mutual, Doctor.”

Ben hadn’t been expecting thanks, but the were-leopard’s complete lack of self-awareness annoyed him. Glad to be done, Ben made a quick trip to the nurse’s station to leave his patient updates so he could return to his research, his life’s work; a drug to allow Turned vampires to walk in the sunlight again…his holy grail.

Ben lost himself in the research.

He had dozens of theories to deliberate and countless components to try before he’d risk another test of the drug’s efficacy. Sunlight could reduce a young vampire to ash within moments, and an ancient would be dust in less than an hour, so each failed test proved lethal to some criminal soul.

The Vampire Council provided test subjects from their prisons, but Ben wouldn’t take a life lightly, no matter their crimes. As the death toll added up, guilt sat heavier in his chest. The formula had to be right before he’d ask for another trial.

Another alarm rang, jarring him from work. Only a few hours remained before dawn, and he had to leave now if he was going to meet Samuel for smokes. He’d told Samuel he’d be there. Benjamin hated to leave his research—had to tear himself away from it—but Samuel wasn’t the kind of vampire you wanted angry with you, so Ben wouldn’t stand him up. He cleaned and stored his equipment, turned off the lights, locked up the lab, and headed for their favorite haunt, the Eternal Knight Club.

See Olivia, I do have a life.

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Meet the Author

Lee Colgin has loved vampires since she read Dracula on a hot sunny beach at 13 years old. She lives in North Carolina with lots of dogs and her husband. No, he’s not a vampire, but she loves him anyway. Lee likes to workout so she can eat the maximum amount of cookies with her pizza. Ask her how much she can bench press.

If you enjoyed this book, pick up Lee’s debut novel Slay My Love to find out what happens when you’re attracted to the very person who want to kill you an enemies to lovers 56,000k novel available now.

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Release Blitz: The Cupid Crawl by Hank Edwards #LGBTQ #RomCom @hanksbooks

Title: The Cupid Crawl

Series: A Williamsville Inn Story (can be read as a stand alone)

Author: Hank Edwards

Publisher: Startled Monkeys Media

Release Date: 4/20/2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 189 pages

Genre: Romance, romantic comedy

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Synopsis

What happens when a confirmed hook up app user falls for a man who is his polar opposite?

Carter Walsh will be alone on Valentine’s Day, and his plans include a candy sampler of hook ups.
But after learning about the Cupid Crawl—a bar crawl covering a half dozen bars, gay and straight—he changes his plans.

During the crawl, he runs into:

An ex-co-worker nemesis who resurrects—loudly—an unfortunate nickname she bestowed upon him years before.

Several hot men eager for a quick hook up.

And one man absolutely not Carter’s type, but who manages to pique his interest and, possibly, steal his heart.

The Cupid Crawl is a funny, sweet, and steamy opposites attract, slight age gap story that takes place in the Williamsville Inn series world, and features characters from the Christmas stories “Snowflakes and Song Lyrics” by Hank Edwards and “Snowstorms and Second Chances” by Brigham Vaughn.

Excerpt

The organizer, Vic, led the way, squeezing past the men and women standing in the doorway and forging a path for Carter to follow. At first, Carter thought he was way overdressed. The men he slid past were shirtless, some wearing just white loin cloths or even cloth diapers along with feathered wings strapped around their broad chests. These men gave him a brief glance, maybe a quick smile, but were busy talking to each other or women who were also baring a lot of skin. Didn’t these people realize it was February in Boston?

When he reached the bar, Carter was relieved to see people wearing shirts and pants instead of just diapers and short shorts. Vic leaned in over the bar and said to the bartender, “Don, this is my good friend, Carter. Put his first two drinks on my tab.”

“Oh, you don’t have to do that,” Carter insisted. “I have money.”

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Carter,” Vic said. “The first two drinks are on me to help you relax. I’m going to make a round of the bar, but when I return, I hope to find you talking with someone, and not just leaning on the bar all alone.”

“I know how to socialize,” Carter said.

“Oh, I’m sure you do.”

Vic winked again before threading his way through the crowd, greeting people as he slid past them. Carter ordered a beer from Don, and then fished a couple of singles out of his wallet for a tip. He lifted his bottle to salute Don and had just taken a swig when a piercingly high voice shrieked from just behind him. The sound startled him so much he choked on his beer and started to cough. He turned, coughing and sputtering, and squinted through his tears at the woman standing behind him.

Auburn hair done up tall, bright green eyes that could be nothing other than colored contact lenses, a pert, upturned nose, and a broad mouth filled with teeth laser-whitened to solar flare level.

Carter’s heart stuttered with surprise and dread as he struggled to clear his airway.

“I saw you walk in and had to come over and see if it was really you!” she exclaimed.

With a final clearing of his throat, Carter managed a smile and said, “Lizzie. Hello! What a treat to see you.”

Lizzie’s smile widened even further and she crossed her arms. It was then Carter noticed she wore what looked like a sports bra with a pair of white wings strapped to her shoulders, and a sheer white shift around her waist that showed off a pair of black panties trimmed with lace.

“As I live and breathe,” Lizzie said with a shake of her head. “Carter the Farter.”

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Meet the Author

Hank Edwards (he/him) has been writing gay fiction for more than twenty years. He has published over thirty novels and dozens of short stories. His books fall into many sub-genres, including romance, rom-com, contemporary, paranormal, suspense, mystery, and wacky comedy. He has written a number of series such as the suspenseful Up to Trouble, funny and spooky paranormal out for you gay romance Critter Catchers, Old West historical horror of Venom Valley, the erotic and funny Fluffers, Inc. series, and the funny and thrilling Lacetown Murder Mysteries series co-written with Deanna Wadsworth. No matter what genre he writes, Hank likes to keep things sweet, steamy, and fun. He was born and still lives in a northwest suburb of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan, where he shares a home with his partner of over 20 years and their two cats.

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Release Blitz: The Island by M. Rose Flores #LGBTQIA+ #zombies

Title: The Island

Series: Abnormal/Variant, Book Two

Author: M. Rose Flores

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 4, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 86300

Genre: Horror/Thriller, LGBTQIA+, YA, PNR, bisexual, dark, horror, zombies/undead, postapocalyptic, family drama, found family, San Francisco, Alcatraz

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Synopsis

Two years after the end of the world, Cate and Marco have finally found a place for their people to start over. Sustainable and safe from zombies, the island is everything they hoped it would be. It seems the worst may finally be over; they can stop surviving and begin to live again. But the arrival of two new people sets in motion a chain of events that throw the island into unrest, and Cate must fight for her love, her people, and her sense of self. Can the inhabitants of Alcatraz Island find a way to come together when everything around them is falling apart?

Almost two years before their arrival on the island, just after the event that ripped their family apart, Marco began an aimless journey. With his foster family gone—some dead, some vanished—once again, Marco was on his own and sure it was for the best; other people only slowed you down, ended up as liabilities, or worse. Alone was good. It was what he was used to. But on his journey south, he collected other wanderers and began to consider the idea of a cooperative group or, maybe, a found family. There was, after all, safety in numbers.

Finally, together on the island, everyone assumes they are safe. But assumptions in a world run by zombies can be dangerous. Deadly. There is something going on in the city, terrifying and unnatural. Something that will change everything they think they know about zombies. And it’s coming to the island.

The Island is not a stand-alone. It’s advised that book one, The End, be read first.

Excerpt

The Island
M. Rose Flores © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Cate

Those are not people. The way they move, the fact that when we wave, they don’t wave back, and the way they are all shambling toward us down the paths to either side. It all collectively spells zombie.

“Hello,” calls Calvin.

No answer. Damn it.

None of us has the energy to fight any more. We spent the whole night fighting to get to the island. We watched our people get maimed and die; Calvin’s Nana Mae sacrificed herself to save him, my sister Mel, and their new babies. Five other people died too, though I didn’t know any of them well. They were all Marco’s people. Now we’re all one another’s people. What a way to make a family.

Toby is looking pale. His younger brother Jax, though much smaller than Toby, is doing his best to keep him upright. The place where Toby’s hand used to be, before it was clawed by an Abnormal zombie and then cut off by me to prevent infection, is wrapped in a bandage from what I’m guessing is a very limited supply. I think everything is probably limited. There wasn’t much time to pack or prepare after Mel’s labor screams drew in the horde last night. It’s not her fault. Birthing twins with nothing stronger than ibuprofen must be agony. But we had to leave in a hurry. We made it all the way to Alcatraz, barely. And now, apparently, we have to fight again.

I’m too exhausted to cry. We are broken, for the second time since this all started. It’s cold and drizzling. There’s a thick fog rolling in. At least it isn’t dark anymore.

“What do we do?” asks Sylvia, holding her kids close to her body.

“Same thing we’ve been doing,” answers Marco.

When he doesn’t offer anything else, Calvin steps in. “We should get the injured and the kids somewhere safe, right?”

Marco nods.

“They’re still far enough we can probably slip by them on that road—” Calvin points to the right. “—and come back out once you’re all safe inside. Shouldn’t take long to clear the island; there don’t seem to be many here.”

“It’s a big island,” says Marco. “There will be a lot more up there than you think.”

“Can’t say I’ll be much use,” says Captain Jacob, stepping forward through the group. He’s cradling his arm. I can guess what comes next: He edges his sleeve up, wincing, to reveal a definite bite near his elbow. The veins around it are black, all the way up and down his arm, peeking over the collar of his shirt.

“Captain,” breathes Amy, our doctor, “why didn’t you say something?”

“Call me Jacob; I told you. I knew it wouldn’t do any good. Happened so fast. Had to get us here either way.”

Amy examines the wound, touches his arm where the veins disappear under his sleeve. “There’s no way this hasn’t reached a main vessel by now,” she says, feeling his face for fever and shaking her head. “I’m so sorry, Jacob.”

“I appreciate it, Amy. But there’s no need. I’ll have to show someone how to drive the ferry. Murray?”

“Of course, Jacob.”

“It has been an honor to know all of you,” Jacob says. “Marco, you take care of these people. You got us this far. Soon you’ll all be safe.”

“I’m sorry, Jacob,” says Marco, who looks on the verge of tears.

“Don’t be. I did my part. I can live with the result. Or, I guess I can’t.” He chuckles at his own dark joke, but it turns into a coughing fit that makes his whole body tremble. “Come on, now, Murray. We haven’t got all day.”

Murray follows Jacob, catching him as he stumbles getting back on the boat. Jacob looks back and lifts a hand in goodbye to all of us. He doesn’t have long. Another family member lost, claimed by the infection.

“We should go,” says Ana, ever the stoic. “They’re getting closer.”

We move up the wider path as quickly as we can, although every one of us is exhausted and several of us are in some way incapacitated, so we’re not as fast as we need to be. The path switches back and forth as it ascends.

“Stay together,” Calvin whispers as the first few zombies notice us.

We do as we did last night, shuffling the less capable into the middle of our huddle as we move. However, now, so many more of us can’t fight than can. When the zombies get to us, we are less efficient than we have ever been. It takes me two hits to take down one zombie, even though I sharpened my axe the other day, and I have to put my boot on its head to get the axe back. I haven’t had to do that in ages. Calvin gets one on the first try, but it takes him a second to pull his knife free. Somehow, we escape. But just up the path, more swarm toward us. Not many, but there are always more.

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Meet the Author

M. Rose Flores has enjoyed writing since she learned how to string letters together. She grew up in the vast green Pacific Northwest of the United States, which with its dense forests, four seasons, and proximity to the ocean made a perfect setting for The End. When she isn’t writing on her computer or in a notebook (though scraps of paper and the palm of her hand will do in a pinch), she works as a professional dog trainer and loves every part of it, even the copious amounts of drool. She believes everyone should be represented in literature and all other media. The End is her first novel.

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Chain of Three by Willa Okati #scifi #gayromance @willaokati

Chain of Three (All Wrapped Up Multi-Author 4)

Cover Art by Angela Knight

 

Mix two alien Marines, a human BDSM Master, and a shapeshifting Empress with a mind of her own, and what do you get? A whole lot of trouble.

Dane and Julian, ex-war heroes now in the Empress’ service, hate each other. Hate, hate, hate. Problem? Julian wants Dane almost as much as he hates him.

The Empress needs her ex-Marines, but they’re no good to her if they’re at each other’s throats. She thinks she has a way to tame the two by putting them together with Master Anubis, a refugee from Earth.

It’s a three-way battle for dominance, and the Empress knows something she’s not telling…

Note: Chain of Three follows the standalone title Chain of Thorns, but can be read by itself. This title contains elements that may be disturbing to some readers.

 

Get it Today at Changeling Press

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Willa Okati
An Authorized Excerpt

“So, you’re pretending to be a human again today, are you?”

Dane grunted in response. In his opinion, a stupid question didn’t deserve any kind of answer. Anyone with two, three, four or more eyes in their head or what they called a head ought to know better. Of course he’d shifted into human shape. He wasn’t stupid.

The Empress hadn’t exactly ordered Her subjects to assume the images of the humans She adored and fell passionately in love with. However, anyone who wasn’t too dumb to come in out of the rain knew they’d better wear the right “uniform” unless they had an itch to annoy Her.

You really, really didn’t want to annoy the Supreme Commander of a thousand-plus starships and a million trained warriors.

Besides, he’d decided to lounge by the pond in the garden of his new quarters that morning and tentacles had a nasty tendency to develop vicious sunburn. “Getting a tan” the earthfolk they’d rescued from their doomed planet called this practice. They’d said it was relaxing and made them look more attractive to those they wanted to mate with.

No, those they wanted to fuck.

If Dane was going to play human, then he’d damn well get the details right. Mating and fucking were completely different concepts. One of the new traditions most of his countrymen and women liked best when it came to playing human was the idea of fucking without having to tangle themselves up in mating.

“Fuck.” An interesting word you could use in almost any sentence.

Dane paused for a second to appreciate the amazing range of human obscenities, otherwise called “swearing,” “cursing,” or “cussin’.” They worked great when a guy didn’t really know what else to say.

Speaking of which, Dane decided getting a suntan was probably a piss-poor waste of time. He couldn’t figure out why anyone would enjoy damaging the pigmentation of their skin by sitting in the sun all day, but as the earthfolk also said, what the hell? He didn’t have anything better to do. Not since he’d been “honorably” discharged from the military, sent back to their home planet for recuperation, and then…

Dane shuddered.

“Aww. He shivered. Izza baby boy cold?” Julian taunted in American English.

Raising the middle finger of his human-shaped hand, Dane pointed it where he figured Julian would be standing. Another handy earthfolk trick, cussing with hand signals.

Julian hooted. “Up yours too!” He made the suggestion in cheerful good humor. Probably purely for the sake of annoying Dane. He never took offense at anything Dane did. He treated every barb and sting like some big game. Prick. “You’re cranky today, old man. What flew up your ass?”

Dane grunted again as his only answer, deciding if that wasn’t good enough for Julian he could go screw himself.

Mmm. He really, really loved human profanity. So rich, depending on culture, and so satisfying. He and Julian both studied the underground lists of new phrases together to figure out what they meant, bitching at each other over who got to read first if they didn’t both have a copy. The time when Julian insisted “son of a bitch” meant the same thing as “son of a motherless goat” had resulted in a fight of amazing violence and duration.

In the end, the Empress Herself gave them a tongue-lashing of Her own and sent them to their rooms to stand with their noses in the corner until they learned to behave like men, not children.

Julian’s fault, in Dane’s opinion. Dumbass.

 

About Willa Okati

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.

Willa at Changeling Press | Willa’s Facebook Group | Twitter

 

 

Yew by Emily Carrington #LGBTQ #contemporaryromance @CarringtonEmily

Yew (Heartwood 2)

Cover Art by Angela Knight

 

Mike and Aidan have raised a daughter together and are looking to foster a second child. But fear and prejudice are even more dangerous enemies than the memory of Rick Hanlon, who molested Mike when he was a teenager.

When Hanlon is paroled, Mike and Aidan must rely on their allies, or their love will not survive.

Publisher’s Note: Mike and Aidan’s story begins in the White Oak/Black Mahogany Duet (Heartwood 1) and continues in Thorn (Heartwood 3)

 

Get it Today at Changeling Press

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Emily Carrington

Mike closed the door to their bedroom and locked it. Candice was out with her friends on their graduation afternoon, but it was habit. And when Aidan turned on some music, a relatively chill heavy metal band, Mike knew his husband was doing the same. He crossed to Aidan and hugged him from behind, laying his cheek against the softness of the suit jacket that covered his muscular shoulders. “You knew she was valedictorian.”

Aidan was reading his phone, or rather, it was reading to him at a speed so quick most people couldn’t understand it. But then he set his cell on the night table and turned to Mike. “Guilty as charged. Are you mad at me?” He sounded amused rather than worried.

Mike loved him for that confidence. They’d been married over eight years. Having that kind of trust was the bedrock of their relationship. “Nope. How long did you keep it a secret?”

“Since the end of April, when the final tallies were counted.” Aidan turned and pulled Mike even tighter against him. “I’m so proud of you.”

“Me? Why?”

“You taught her everything she knows about schoolwork coming first.”

“And you taught her everything about being committed to her work.”

Aidan laughed, his white teeth flashing in the light from the window. “You’ll never take a compliment without spreading it around, will you?”

“Probably not,” Mike admitted.

“Well, that’s okay. It would be boring being married to a perfect man.” Aidan kissed him.

Mike stood on his tiptoes so it was easier to plunder Aidan’s mouth and have his claimed in return. He ran his fingers through Aidan’s shoulder length auburn hair and smiled when Aidan took off his sunglasses. His husband’s eyes didn’t see but they were a beautiful cornflower blue, just like all the other Kellys that made up Aidan’s Irish family.

Not that Aidan was a Kelly anymore. He’d taken Mike’s last name, claiming that one, there were plenty of male Kellys to keep the family name going, and two, that it only seemed fair since Mike took him in bed. Mike had never quite gotten to the bottom of the truth about why Aidan was so insistent about taking his last name, but every time he thought about it, about Aidan being called “Mr. Delaney” at his job or as a member of the Town Council, he glowed. “You’re the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen,” he told his husband as Aidan drew back.

Something, a flickering shadow maybe, crossed Aidan’s face. For a moment, he looked thoroughly distracted. Then he said, “Ditto.”

Mike laughed, stepped back, and punched Aidan’s arm lightly.

“Hey, I’m allowed to say that.”

“Considering you can’t see anyone…”

“Okay, fine, Mr. Technicality. Would it make you feel better if I said ‘I have no idea what you look like, you could be one ugly motherfu-’”

Mike laughed. “Okay, so maybe I was being Mr. Technicality.”

 

About Emily Carrington

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.

Emily at Changeling Press | Facebook