RELEASE BLITZ: Hot Blood by A.E. Lister #BDSM #kink #LGBTQ @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Hot Blood

Series: The Braided Crop Ranch, Book Four

Author: AE Lister

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 02/07/2023

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50300

Genre: Contemporary, BDSM, pony play, kink, photographer, hurt/comfort, grief, public sex, voyeurism

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Description

Oliver Lambert has taken his photography skills and run with them. By the time he’s thirty, he’s made a name for himself and now has jobs whenever he needs them. He likes to be behind the camera, watching the world through a safe lens, protected from actually engaging with it.

An unexpected referral takes him somewhere he never expected—a kinky fetish ranch in the Muskokas, where men pay to play pony and trainers teach them how to behave.

Adam Marsland needs a visual record of the Braided Crop Ranch and it’s been a while since the website photographs were updated. When he’s given Oliver’s name, he immediately hires the man to come for the summer session to immerse himself in the ranch and its activities.

Oliver is out of his depth, but the challenge of photographing the beautiful men at the BCR is something he can focus on. Safe behind the lens of his camera, Oliver finds the ranch to be seductive and shocking. He can’t help admitting a fascination for the people who make the Braided Crop Ranch what it is.

But just because he knows how to take a great photo doesn’t mean he’s prepared for everything he encounters, especially when it comes to a recalcitrant ponyboy named Puck.

Contains: voyeurism, second-hand embarrassment, awkward conversations, a very introverted photographer, and several surprising developments, along with all the regular kink and pony play elements.

*Note: The timeline of Hotblood is prior to the events in Stable Hand but should be read either as the fourth book in the series or as a standalone.

Excerpt

Hot Blood
AE Lister © 2023
All Rights Reserved

Editing digital photos to make fruits and vegetables appear perfectly ripe, juicy, and seductive was not where I thought my life would end up.

When I’d chosen photography as the focus of my fine arts degree at the University of Waterloo in Southern Ontario, I had imagined somewhat more exciting subject matter. But most of my assignments these days involved long hours spent hunched on my elbows in the dirt, taking alluring shots of farm produce.

On my very fancy and expensive computer monitor, a ray of morning sunlight bounced off the red skin of a plump tomato. I’d tried several filters and a range of exposures to get it just right, but something wasn’t working.

I clicked on another set of tools and looked for a different approach. While I perused the list, my phone pinged from where it lay on the desk.

I glanced at the screen to see a text from an unknown number:

Mr. Lambert, is it OK if I give you a call in a few moments? My name is Adam Marsland. I was given your name and contact info by Jaden Stevenson. I’m looking for a photographer.

Since referrals had gotten me to where I was in my life at the moment—a recognized purveyor of outstanding photographic interpretations of reality—I texted Mr. Marsland back immediately.

Of course. Give me five minutes.

I input Adam Marsland as a contact and stood from my chair. My neck cracked when I stretched it to the side, and again when I repeated the motion in the other direction. I was only thirty years old, but sitting in one position for too long was bad for anyone. I reached my arms up and over my head, feeling the pull in my muscles.

Moving into the kitchen of my small condo on Toronto’s East Side, I grabbed a tumbler, pressed the button on my fridge for cold water, and watched the stream of liquid splash into the glass. It would be fortuitous if Mr. Marsland could offer me a contract for some images. I was booked up until mid-June but, after that, things looked a bit sparse.

I carried my drink to the living room window and gazed out on the city. Living on the fifteenth floor afforded me the luxury of a stunning view, even if the square footage was small. At least the finishes and upgrades in this unit were of the highest quality and done according to the latest trends. I’d been able to furnish the tiny apartment with quality pieces, like the Eames chair and a tan leather love seat from West Elm, since I didn’t need many.

When my ringtone sounded, I walked back to my desk, put the glass down, and pressed the answer button, remaining on my feet since I’d been sitting for the past hour and a half.

“Mr. Marsland,” I said.

“Mr. Lambert. Good afternoon. How are you today?”

“Fine, thanks. What can I do for you?” I asked, taking a sip from my glass.

Mr. Marsland cleared his throat, and I heard the click of a pen. “I’m hoping you can come to my ranch and take some photos for me. You come highly recommended.”

I smiled, because it was always nice to hear that. “Thanks. Jaden mentioned me?”

“Yes. He thinks you’d be perfect for what we need.”

“I’m pretty booked up at the moment. What time frame are we looking at?”

“I’d need you to spend part of the summer here, if you’re available, and interested. You’ll be compensated well and we can put you in a room at the main house during your stay.”

Perfect.

“I do have most of the summer free at the moment. Are you talking three weeks? Six?”

Papers rustled on Mr. Marsland’s end. “Six weeks. From mid-July to the end of August.”

I walked back to my computer and put the glass down beside it. “And I’d be photographing horses? Riders? The landscape, too, I suppose?”

There was a pause, and he laughed. “We’re not that kind of ranch, Mr. Lambert.”

I narrowed my eyes at the red tomato that had tortured me with its saucy round form all morning. Mr. Marsland’s comment intrigued me.

“Call me Oliver. And what exactly do you mean?”

“The name of my…business…is the Braided Crop Ranch. We’re really a club, of sorts, with a resort hotel on the premises.”

Hmm. “Oh. And you offer riding as part of the resort experience?”

Mr. Marsland laughed. “No. No riding. Only ponies.”

“I’m sorry. I’m a bit confused about—”

“We’re a fetish ranch, Oliver. Pony play. Human ponies. In leather harnesses and other…accoutrements.”

I blinked quickly, my eyes flitting from the tomato to the glass of water on my desk as my mouth went dry.

“Oh. I see.”

Holy… That was not where I thought this conversation was going. A fetish ranch? My mind conjured up bizarre images of people in horse costumes. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.

Adam laughed again. “Look, why don’t I text you the link to our website, where we have some older images, and you can call me back if you’re interested. And just text me a ‘No, thanks’ if you’re not.”

That…made sense. My mind reeled from the information but also honed in razor-sharp on the fact that this would be a very different assignment from anything I’d done in the past.

“All right. That sounds fine.”

“I hope to hear from you within the next hour. But if I don’t, no harm, no foul. What we’d be looking for are updated, artistic images for the website and our brochures—maybe a selection of shots to sell in our gift shop. Have a look, and if you think you can work with us, call me back. At any rate, it was great to speak with you, Oliver.”

“Same, Mr. Marsland.”

“Adam. Please.”

“Okay. Thanks, Adam. I’ve got your text, so I’ll have a look.”

“Excellent. Hope to speak to you soon.”

I closed the call and clicked the link in the text from Adam. My browser opened, and a “Welcome” page loaded.

The Braided Crop Ranch scrolled in elegant but readable script overtop an idyllic scene of what looked like a regular farmhouse and barns in a woodland setting. Then a warning window popped up, informing me I had to be eighteen or older to enter the site.

Hmm. Well, I was thirty, so I clicked it.

Welcome to the Braided Crop Ranch.

A fetish farm for pony play enthusiasts…

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Meet the Author

AE Lister/Elizabeth Lister is a Canadian non-binary author with a vivid imagination and a head full of unique and interesting characters. They have published many other books, one of which (Beyond the Edge) received an Honorable Mention from the National Leather Association–International for excellence in SM/Leather/Fetish writing.

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SPOTLIGHT: Illuminated (Vampire Tales 1) by Alexa Piper #vampires #LGBTQ @prowlingpiper @changelingpress

Ethan is a photographer who loves the interplay of light and shadow in his work and what it reveals. While working on his latest project, he finds himself at an abandoned church after nightfall. Lured by the prospect of capturing something unique with his camera, he ventures inside.

What Ethan discovers in that forgotten place is not what he expected. Instead of sights unseen for decades, Ethan finds a man — bleeding, hurt, and in need of help.

What Ethan doesn’t know is that he isn’t freeing an ordinary man, but an ancient vampire.

Through a haze of blood and violence, Ethan will have to come to terms with a situation nothing could have ever prepared him for. Auris drinks blood and deals death with ease, but Ethan soon discovers that the vampire is not just a monster. Auris is more, so much more. As if it were illuminated with a camera flash, Ethan can almost see himself and Auris have a shared future. Yet, those who tried destroying Auris once will stop at nothing to do so again.

Content Warnings: Illuminated (Vampire Tales 1) contains scenes of violence, murder, kidnapping, and torture that may be triggers for some readers.

Now Available at Changeling Press

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Alexa Piper

I felt the cold fingers of the changing season reach across the café’s outdoor terrace and right up my spine. The warm fall day drew to a close with the trees all along the coast colored in vermilion and gold, and darkness rolled in with the tide, the sky above pretty as pulped roses.

“Need another?” said the very attentive server. Her eyes were ocean blue, and her golden earrings caught the fading light slanting in from across the water. She wore a surgical mask like most of the staff in the region I’d come across, even though they were no longer mandatory. “You seem to inhale them. You know that might cost you sleep, right?”

I smiled back at her and finished the last of my latte. “I always inhale great coffee, but this will have to be my last. I like to work at night.”

True enough, even if I had captured mostly sunlight and shadows, leaves and people today, not my normal fare. The touristy charm of the place had simply lured me in. That all the cafés I found here had great service, view, and coffee didn’t help me regain my work attitude.

She looked me up and down, no doubt taking in my slightly over shoulder-length caramel brown hair, the piercing blue eyes most people liked to comment on, and — last but not least — my pseudo-geeky Schrödinger’s Cat tee.

“My mother would tell you that a good boy like yourself should be in bed at night. What do you do?”

I laughed and tugged a strand of my hair back behind my ear. “I’m a photographer, and I like editing when it’s dark out. Just a night owl thing. Could I get the check, please?” This was beginning to feel more and more like a vacation, even though I was working. I wanted abandoned places for my next exhibition, and if you didn’t mind a bit of driving, this area had plenty.

“Wow, an artist. You’re the first in Brightam this season, or at least my first. Be right back.” She winked at me.

I nodded, and she took my empty glass and walked away.

My bag sat on the chair to my right. I dug for my notebook and phone. My slightly battered but trusty notebook contained my longhand list of places I wanted to go see. I unwound the elastic that held the notebook closed and checked the list I’d bookmarked with an old receipt for a bagel and coffee against a map on my phone to see if I could still get something done today. If I didn’t, this really would be a vacation day, and I was firmly not on vacation. Besides, I was sure some lowlight photos might add a creepy aspect to my work people often told me was there to begin with, even if I never saw it.

The seventh item on my list was a church that had been abandoned for decades, complete with a garden of headstones surrounding it, and it was only a thirty-minute detour from my way back to Cromere where I had booked my hotel for the month. I had my external flash in the car. Going to the church and getting photos of headstones and a dilapidated building in the background in the almost dark would be perfect.

“Here you go,” the server said and dropped the check on the table. “I put my number on there in case you’re staying in town and want to do something later. Together.”

I had seen that coming about two lattes ago, and I did consider it. Yet, the church actually sounded interesting, more interesting than vacation sex when I wasn’t even on vacation.

“I’m afraid I have to get some work done, actually.” I indicated my notebook before putting the receipt back to mark my spot and packing everything back into my bag. “But thanks for the offer. Maybe another time,” I said and tipped her generously.

She shrugged. “Keep the number. In case you change your mind.”

I did and smiled at her over my shoulder when I left the café.

Over the ocean, the pinks were surrendering to indigo and teal. Night’s breath was icy on the breeze.

* * *

I pulled on my jacket and left the car back at the mouth of the path that led to the church. It was a short walk of not even ten minutes, and I was glad that I also kept a flashlight in the trunk, because even with an almost full moon above, it was dark out here.

The trees grew tall on all sides, branches eating at the dusky sky. Insect noises and the sound of me walking were the only things I could hear, and there was something wonderfully peaceful about that.

I hadn’t lied to the server, I was a night owl and always had been, but I lived in the city, and night in the city was never really dark nor silent. Being out here was a different experience and refreshing in its way.

The church came up ahead of me like a looming scarecrow, raggedy and weather-beaten, but its former function clear even in its current condition. It was slightly uphill, which helped with that perception, but there was something… I had the overwhelming sense that the church had been waiting for me. That was nonsense. Buildings didn’t wait or want. They just were and aged and crumbled, but the fact this place did make me feel like the church was a living being boded well for the photos. I snapped a couple, looking up toward the church.

The church itself was really just a small building that might have held a congregation of maybe two hundred. From what I had read, there had been an abandoned mining town nearby, and the church had been left behind when the ore ran out. The bodies already in the earth had been left as well, a strange sort of exchange for the ore, iron paid for with bone.

When I reached the cemetery grounds, my flashlight licked against dark headstones that were leaning this way and that in time’s pull. With the dark church behind them, all this needed to be a perfect set for a horror movie was some fog and maybe a wolf howling. I chuckled. This was wonderful.

I decided that I would just walk around a bit so I could get a feel for the place, take some shots as I did so to begin with. I turned the flashlight off, put it in my camera bag, and started. The strobing light of my camera flash threw odd shadows that lingered on my retinas. I made my way toward the church doors in a slow half circle, not really planning anything, just going by instinct. Then, with a shot of a cracked church window, I saw that the door to the building was open, just enough to draw a hard shadow in the light of my camera flash.

I stopped and turned my flashlight back on, aiming it at the door. I took another picture even if the flashlight would mess up the lighting. I wasn’t sure why, because I was pretty good about not wasting shots. Some instinct maybe, or a random muscle jerk.

“Oh, opportunity, you call me,” I whispered, running the flashlight up the door, which was indeed open.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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RELEASE BLITZ: Prisoner by GiGi DeGraham #ParanormalRomance #Gay #GenderQueer #Suspense @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Prisoner

Series: Steele Pack, Book One

Author: GiGi DeGraham

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/31/2023

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 88800

Genre: Paranormal, contemporary, romance, gay/questioning, genderqueer/genderfluid, asexual, interracial, action/adventure, suspense, prisoners, prison/prison escape, grieving, graphic violence, rape attempt, PTSD, off-grid living/isolation, subsistence/hunting, winter, one-bed, soulmates, friends to lovers, second chance, mysterious wolves

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Description

Most prisoners believe their punishment is unfair, but for Ryan Tarkett, it’s true. While serving his sentence, an attack sets off a chain of events and forces Ryan to speed up the timeline on an insane escape plan. Spurring him on are memories of his past, his one love, who he met in juvie, and the driving desire for freedom. When Ryan believes he has nothing left to lose, escape from prison becomes the only option.

Ryan’s desperate journey isn’t easy as he tries to evade capture. Past regrets and confusion about his sexual orientation dog him as he deals with the loss of Thomas. When a stranger gives Ryan the chance at a new life, somewhere he might begin to feel safe, he may learn to trust again.

But in his mountain hideaway, Ryan feels as if he is being watched. Something lurks in the surrounding woods. Flashes of a figure give the impression he is being followed or, worse, hunted. Alone and lonely, Ryan fears he is losing his mind. When his new shadow seems intent on sticking around, Ryan starts to suspect this is no ordinary Wolf.

Prisoner is a different kind of love story, where a mystery waits to unfold.

Excerpt

Prisoner
GiGi DeGraham © 2023
All Rights Reserved

Prisoner 793 lay on his cot in his cell, staring up at the rough joint that drew a harsh line across the concrete ceiling. His eyes traced the stone seam, and by now, he knew every bump and divot of the rugged line. Immeasurable minutes of his life had been spent with his eyes affixed on the thing while contemplating his time. Because of all he did not possess, other than a bundle of letters, this was something he had plenty of. Time there was measured in years still left to serve. Twelve down, and thirty-eight to go. Thirty-eight years to look forward to staring at that same ragged seam across the ceiling they hadn’t even taken the time to trowel smooth when they built this godforsaken prison.

His bed, this meager cot, with its navy-blue ticking, was a place he both hated and would defend to the death because it was his. Prisoner 793 had spent the better part of the last two years on this cot, and he would not let some new chester come in and try to take it. Hell, he wouldn’t let anyone take anything from him, and neither would his cellmate, who he internally called Big Bastard.

It was a place that 793 had earned, this thin bed on the top of the double bunk. Big Bastard had kept his bottom bunk with just a look, and he might have grunted once the first day a new, unwelcome prisoner was added to their cell. The new guy didn’t even consider it, tangling with the bigger man, so he’d looked above, to 793’s cot, to him, the lesser of the two evils in the room. Now, the new guy slept on the floor temporarily on a flat mat that kept him from freezing solid in the night. The surface was always cold, even cool-to-the-touch on nights in mid-August. They kept it cold in prison to keep men tamed.

During summer days, the floor just sweat, making everything smell worse than it already did. But this new man was there for something the warden liked to call “overcrowding,” and for the last three months, 793 had fought the same man. Clearly, the problem wasn’t going away. Not until the warden got the additional funding he’d been lobbying for to add yet another wing in this constant effort to house more men.

These floor mats had a crinkling, silver film that rustled every time one of the transfers shifted in their sleep or even took a breath. It had put Big Bastard in a foul mood for three straight months, and more than once, he’d huffed, gotten up, and kicked the shit out of the new prisoner who couldn’t be still or breathed in or out too loud. Big Bastard hated the guy. He either liked or simply tolerated 793, who hadn’t slept on a mat, not once. From the first day 793 had arrived at this medium-security prison, he’d handled business and secured his cot with his fists.

It was like anywhere. When you transferred into a new place, you started over. But before, at his first prison—a maximum-security federal penitentiary called Supermax, deep in the south of Louisiana—793 had fought and lost many times. With every loss, he’d slept on something less than desirable. It was there at Supermax that 793 began working out in his cell. When he’d earned privileges, he started lifting weights in the yard until he could fight with a properly placed fist, a fast elbow, and a debilitating knee. These were the skills required to win and keep the cot for himself. It had taken a few pretty good ass-whippings for him to figure out just how to fight—because fighting in prison was its own kind of animal.

This new inmate, Dean Harrold, had narrower eyes than most, hardened thin slits that seemed to always tell on him. Harrold had serious issues with authority and had killed his father during a domestic dispute. His father, who had worked high up in the government, had friends who hadn’t taken any mercy on his murderous son. Dean Harrold was a lifer with nothing left to lose. Harrold was a muscular guy, on the tall side, but he fought with his anger rather than any real skill. He was bigger than 793 but less than Big Bastard. Harrold was never satisfied with anything and constantly complained. He was entitled and mouthy, irritating, even to the guards. Dean Harrold was just a prick.

Big Bastard had already beat him with a shoe until Harrold understood he had to keep his trap shut. The beating had been insulting and demeaning, and Harrold simmered over it like a scorned woman as the shoe-shaped bruise darkened down his cheekbone. Big Bastard was currently in the hole for it, as Harrold had snitched, and the cell was quieter afterwards. Harrold continuously gave 793 the stink eye and made crude comments. This happened so often 793 would just get his eyes closed, and pop them back open as Harrold spouted off more of his hate. Harrold was pissed that 793 hadn’t tried to stop the beating.

“Useless mute,” Harrold had barked up at him.

Harrold was going to die in here; he was only a year older than 793, just twenty-eight, and would never be a free man again. He wasn’t lucky, but he hadn’t gotten the death penalty—the big bitch—so that was something. Still, 793 didn’t care for him.

But Harrold was here now, this last stop in life. He worked in janitorial services, and word was he might be moved out of their cell by the end of the week. Friday couldn’t come soon enough. Funny that he never attempted to sleep on Big Bastard’s cot while he was gone. He begrudgingly slept on the mat, most likely thinking 793 would rat. He wouldn’t have had to. Big Bastard would have known; he’d been there far too long for anyone to pull one over on him. Number 793 hoped Harrold would be gone by the time Big Bastard got back from the hole, and they could both get back to their somewhat normal peace and quiet.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

GiGi DeGraham lives, plays, and learns in New Orleans. She is a proud southerner and enjoys fixing up old houses and writing. Most of her story and character ideas develop while sanding and painting. She loves to roller skate and has a favorite author-named cat called Irving, after Washington Irving. You’ll always find her with an audiobook in her ear and listening to everything narrated by Kirt Graves.

GiGi prefers the outdoors when the weather permits, going on rock and fossil hunts or visiting local rock shops. Otherwise, she’s clacking away at her keyboard until the wee hours. GiGi firmly believes downtime should be spent on a porch swing. GiGi is a life-long supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.

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Snowbound (Box Set) – Multi-authorMulti-author #PNR #UrbanFantasy #LGBTQ

Winter storms and seduction go hand in hand…

Distraction by Elizabeth Jewell
Alaska seems like a winter haven for vampires Glynna and Brandt and their companion Erik — until the snow starts.

Bear Hug by Tuesday Morrigan
Snowstorm or not, Alyssa wants out of Devlin’s cabin — and his life. He’d rather give her reasons to stay.

Night Shift by Lacey Savage
Spending her Friday night running surveillance on a shadow stalker in the dead of winter isn’t Samantha’s idea of a good time. But doing it with a sexy partner… now that could be fun.

Lunar Seduction by Kira Stone
Gideon on a trip to a remote stellar observatory in Alaska. Winter storms make stargazing impossible, but Roth, the observatory’s resident vampire, is a master at seduction…

Melting Snowflake by Camille Anthony
Winter’s throne awaits her. Snowflake’s three consorts must burn hot enough to melt her haughtiness. Watch Fire and Ice steam!

Saved by a Vampire by Silvia Violet
A young woman becomes stranded in a blizzard, and her only hope is a stranger with fangs.

Publisher’s Note: Snowbound (Box Set) contains the previously published novellas Distraction, Night Shift, Lunar Seduction, Melting Snowflake, Snow Angel, and Saved by a Vampire.

Now Available at Changeling Press

EXCERPT

Copyright ©2021 Changeling Press LLC
Excerpt from Distraction by Elizabeth Jewell


“Who the hell’s lame-ass idea was this, anyway?”

Glynna eyed Brandt narrowly. “I believe it was yours, dear.”

Less diplomatic, Erik added, “Yep. Totally your lame-ass idea.” He flopped onto the couch, grinning at his companions.

It hadn’t been an entirely lame-assed idea to start with. Even in the midst of her complaining, Glynna could admit that much. A trip to Anchorage in the middle of winter should have been a stroke of genius. A fairly large population they could disappear into, an active nightlife where they could mingle, and nearly twenty plus hours of darkness — it should have been a vampire’s paradise.

And then the snow started. And didn’t stop. Three inches, then six, then twelve. And it was still snowing. “Somebody should have stopped me,” Brandt grumbled.

“I tried.” Glynna gave him a long-suffering sigh, then kissed him on the forehead. “How are you holding up, Erik?” She was more concerned about him than about herself or Brandt. They were vampires — they could get by if they had to. If getting food for Erik became problematic, he’d be in much more serious trouble than they would.

“So far, so good,” Erik said. “As long as this doesn’t go on for weeks, I should be okay.”

“It was so much cooler in the comic books,” Brandt moaned, peering out the window at the still-falling snow.

“You’re hopeless,” Glynna told him, though she found him endearing most of the time.

Erik stretched out on the couch, folding his hands behind his head. “Well, if I get too hungry, you’ll just have to distract me.” He added an eyebrow wiggle to punctuate his sentence, directed at Brandt, who caught the gesture and smirked, his mouth twitching in a way Glynna knew meant he wasn’t aware he was doing it.

“Are you hungry?” she asked Erik. Just watching the two of them look at each other like that made heat curl low in her belly. She wanted to touch herself.

Erik gave her a puzzled look. “Um. I don’t know. Maybe a little.”

“Distract him.” She leveled the order at Brandt, delivered it in the sharp, crisp tone she knew would make him obey. Brandt answered with an eyebrow tilt that made her want to drop her panties to the floor then and there.

Well, if she ever wore panties.

“And how do you propose I do that?” Brandt asked.

Box Set includes Authors: Camille Anthony, Elizabeth Jewell, Kira Stone, Lacey Savage, Silvia Violet, and Tuesday Morrigan

RELEASE BLITZ: Gods of Inthya by Effie Calvin #Fantasy #romance #LGBTQ @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Gods of Inthya

Series: Tales of Inthya, Book 5.5

Author: Effie Calvin

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/17/2023

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 38600

Genre: Fantasy, anthology, Fantasy, gods, magic, romance, short stories

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Description

At the beginning of time, the gods came together to create Inthya, a world where magic is common and hatred never had the opportunity to take root.

But the Inthyan gods are young and imperfect. With countless failures behind them and unspeakable horrors lurking outside the borders of creation, they must not allow this world to meet the same fate as the last—without alerting their mortal worshippers that anything is wrong.

Nineteen short stories from the perspectives of the gods themselves, some humorous, some horrifying, and all united by a theme of protecting the mortals who love them unconditionally.

Excerpt

Gods of Inthya
Effie Calvin © 2023
All Rights Reserved

Inthi, God of Creation and First of the Ten, does not generally manifest in cities. This is somewhat paradoxical, considering most new ideas come from places where mortals gather in large numbers. But Inthi is a quiet, thoughtful sort of god and has trouble focusing when surrounded by too much noise and commotion. Even when they are called to a mortal’s private workshop, away from shouting vendors and screaming children, they cannot block out the soft but persistent hum of countless souls going about their daily business outside, each mind a bright beacon of wants and worries and dreams.

But today, unfortunately, they must make an exception.

Inthi is intimately familiar with their own Great Temple in Birsgen, and the enormous district surrounding it. Some call it the Flame District, but others simply call it Inthi’s District. Most large cities have one, a place where smiths and artisans and inventors come together to work and exchange ideas.

As Inthi approaches their temple, they hear mortal voices raised in argument. Standing on the steps are two people—a neutroi that Inthi recognizes as their own archpriest here in Ieflaria, and a priestess of Eran dressed in silver robes. The priestess is the source of most of the noise, waving her clenched fist in the archpriest’s face.

Inthi’s archpriest, however, is unimpressed. They wave a hand dismissively and say, “Your concerns are unwarranted.”

The priestess’s cheeks redden. From the rage that emanates from her mind, Inthi can tell reason has failed and now she is about to start cursing. Inthi walks up behind her and rests a reassuring hand on the prophet-priestess’s shoulder. “It’s all right,” they say. “I will handle it.”

Eran’s priestess looks at Inthi with wide, disbelieving eyes. She takes a step back, too dumbfounded to speak. Inthi’s own archpriest has not recognized them, but she has. With more effort, they can disguise themselves completely, but Inthi is not inclined to do so today.

“I appreciate your efforts,” they add. Only rarely do Eran’s priests take an active role in events. Most adhere to the philosophy that attempting to alter the future is pointless at best and disastrous at worst. This priestess must have decided that no outcome is worse than what she’s already seen in her dreams. “Excuse me.”

Inthi walks past the bemused archpriest and enters the temple. Inside is warm from the heat of dozens of forges, and every stone is steeped in magic. Countless prayers have been uttered within these walls. Generations of priests and artisans have labored here. Even if the temple was disassembled and all the stones cast into the sea, it would take centuries for the magic to dissipate from the air.

After taking a few moments to admire the new bronze statues decorating the temple’s anteroom, Inthi takes a side door into a hallway. All around them, mortal minds buzz with ideas; mortal hands wrest iron and copper into new shapes. It is still early, but most of them have been awake for hours. Some have not slept at all.

Inthi could have manifested directly at the source of the problem, but there is time enough to enjoy being in the temple. They pass a few priests in orange robes, but most of the mortals are dressed practically, with heavy leather gloves and large aprons. Some carry boxes, or tools, or push carts filled with scrap metal to be melted down and turned into something useful. Inthi brushes each mind as they pass, appreciating every mortal’s unique focus.

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Meet the Author

Effie is definitely a human being with all her own skin, and not a robot. She writes science fiction and fantasy novels and lives with her cat in the greater Philadelphia area.

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NEW RELEASE: Wild Ones by Kira Stone #DarkFantasy #LGBTQ #PNR

Billy has always been a loner, but after being bitten by a ferocious wolf, his need for solitude becomes even greater. He can’t get a handle on the wild forces now running through him. He makes the best of it by carving out a territory in the Canadian wilderness, but he’s far from happy with his lot in this strange, new life.

Luc knows Billy is just the guy he’s looking for. His small pack is made up of men who are special even among weres. Their ability to control the elements — air, earth, fire and water — makes them uniquely qualified to act as spirit guardians. But presently there are only three, and they need Billy to complete them or Luc will lose much more than his position as alpha.

It’ll take a lot of fast talking to convince Billy to join their pack, but first the Wild Ones will have to catch him…

Now available from Changeling Press

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Kira Stone
An Authorized Excerpt

The moon’s pregnant, white belly hung high over the Canadian evergreens. Billy gave it the finger, even as his body began to shift. He didn’t understand the biochemistry that transformed him from man to beast. All he knew was a full moon meant he was in for three days of sheer hell.

It had been that way for a couple months now. Each full moon he prayed he wouldn’t feel the tell-tale tingle rippling along his spine. Each month since that unlucky July evening when he’d been bitten by a rabid wolf he’d been doomed to disappointment. The change always came, no matter what he tried to prevent it.

It was more than just the transformation though. With the change came hunger. His appetite for food was only eclipsed by his craving for sex, and sating either hunger wasn’t exactly easy. He always went after big game so at least he could comfort himself with the knowledge that his victims stood a fighting chance. His human skin was scarred with reminders of each struggle, but he hadn’t lost yet.

Perhaps tonight he would.

His limbs contorted as they pursued a new shape. Hands became paws. Mouth became muzzle. Screams became howls. As the last vestiges of his humanity buried itself under a thick pelt of tawny hair, Billy pushed himself to his feet — all four of them — and sniffed the night air, searching for traces of hidden foes.

The Watcher was nearby.

The creature smelled different from other wolves… smelled almost like Billy himself, except that was impossible. There was no one like him.

Rage nipped at his hindquarters that another wolf would dare to enter his marked territory. It was an animal instinct his human side didn’t understand, to mark and defend. His wolf side demanded that the intruder be challenged. Tonight, Billy decided, he would do just that.

He loped down to the fast flowing river and then drank until he thought his stomach would burst. The change always left him dehydrated. And though he knew it would do little to assuage his hunger for meat, he munched down a rabbit that wasn’t quite fast enough to evade his powerful jaws. He needed more, much more. After he confronted The Watcher, he’d have it.

Or he’d be dead.

Either way, his problem would be solved.

Billy returned to the copse of trees where he’d gone through the change. The Watcher’s scent was still there. He’d tried on other occasions to track down the beast who’d been keeping an eye on him lately. The trail always ended in a tail-chasing circle. It had befuddled his animal mind, but the passage of time had brought about a blending between his human side and this creature he’d become. He could now think logically as a wolf, and use his animal instincts when he wore his human skin.

When it came to tracking down the interloper, logic prevailed where animal instinct had failed. He thought he knew how The Watcher could be found. Tonight, he’d test his theory.

Letting his wolf senses take the lead, Billy followed the scent trail through the woods. The invisible lines drawn by man to partition the land were beneath his notice in this form. He crossed into the territory belonging to the Iroquois Indians, a place where he’d be arrested for trespassing if he entered on two feet instead of four.

Some night bird gave a warning cry. Little furry critters scattered out of his path. The other animals sensed the tension in the air. Something dangerous was about to happen, and they didn’t want to be caught in the middle when it did.

The wind blew new information to his ultra-sensitive nose. The Watcher was close, and he wasn’t alone. Two more wolves had joined him. It was difficult to be sure where one stood in relation to the others, so close was their scent. Certainly, they were pack mates, living in the same den. And if they lived together, they’d fight together.

Three against one. The odds gave Billy pause.

This territory was his. He’d fought like the devil against other predators in the area and carved out a niche for himself. A lone wolf. A rogue. An outsider. He wanted to keep it that way. It would be far safer for their pack in the long run. Billy’d sacrifice one to save the whole from whatever evil, unholy thing he might become next.

But three against one? Surely they’d kill him. Part of him longed for that release from this nightmarish torment, but that part wasn’t currently in control. The animal in him said flight now would ensure he’d live to fight another day. Perhaps pick them off, one by one.

His decision made — at least for tonight — Billy started to turn tail and run. But then the scent of The Watcher came to him again, much stronger than before. Billy froze, his keen eyes searching the darkness around him. The surrounding forest was deathly silent, except for the sound of his own breathing.

A predator was near.

Slowly, Billy cocked his head to look over his shoulder. A pair of golden eyes gazed back at him. The beast was sitting there, waiting patiently. A skilled hunter watching his prey.

The circumstances had changed, and so had Billy’s options. To flee now would signal defeat. He’d lose face among the forest dwellers and once again be vulnerable to those he’d already bested. He had to fight now and hope the vestiges of his human logic that traveled with him in this form could out-think The Watcher and his pack mates.

Billy faced the threat, again sniffing the air to see if The Watcher’s companions had moved at all. They remained some distance behind him. Perhaps if he struck hard and fast…

Thought became action before it was fully complete. He bounded forward, prepared to knock his opponent down with sheer brute force. But when he landed, The Watcher wasn’t beneath him.

Billy looked around and spotted his quarry sitting several yards away, his tongue lolling out in a wolfish smile. Damn that creature to hell!

Leave or die, Billy yipped in warning. The temperature had dropped enough for his breath to curl up from his wet nose in spirals of white steam.

You’ll not find me so easy to kill, young one, The Watcher barked in return. Try me, if you dare.

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.

RELEASE BLITZ: Feral Woods by M.C. Roth #LGBTQ #EroticRomance #Paranormal @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Feral Woods by M.C. Roth

General Release Date: 10th January 2023

Word Count: 65,243
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 245

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS
PARANORMAL
SHAPECHANGERS AND MORPHERS
WERESHIFTERS

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Book Description


Clothes off and claws out. We’ve got work to do.

Cambry is everything an omega shouldn’t be. He’s tall, muscular and attacks every alpha who approaches him, shifting into his wolf form before making sure they know their place—away from him.

Cambry’s father sends him to Feral Woods in the hopes that Cambry will return home too shattered to put up a fight against his next potential mate. If one alpha can’t tame him, then why not try two?

With two hundred supervised acres, Feral Woods is a couple’s therapy center run by Bryce and Jake—two massive alphas who could tear Cambry apart. It’s not long before Cambry finds himself drawn to them, his inner beast submissive for the first time in his life. But he is met with dismissive refusal instead of interest.

With his heart on the line and time running out, there is a chance he could remain broken forever.

Reader advisory: This book contains a scene of a shifter orgy.

Excerpt

Cambry grasped the curtain, pulling it away from the polished glass of his bedroom window. The fabric was soft and heavy in his hand—something from the latest designer his mother had fallen in love with. Instead of the previous indigo, it was now a deep blue that blended in with the softer tones of his room.

A fountain spurted beyond the window, its waters guarded by a black gate that matched the fence that surrounded the property. There were grass and trees, too, beyond those gates, not that he ever got the chance to enjoy them.

An alpha retreated along the concrete walkway, his back rippling under his thin T-shirt. Each movement was like a feral dance of instinct and desire. There was a streak of red across his shirt that hadn’t been there when he’d arrived. The alpha had been big, strong, attractive and sweet—everything a proper mate should be.

But Cambry’s plan had been disastrous, like a spectacular firework that had failed to launch and exploded in his face instead. The second the alpha had shown any intent that wasn’t exactly platonic, Cambry’s instinctive side had reared up and taken him out.

Sighing, Cambry let the curtain fall shut, the filtered light dimming to a sparse glow. Luckily, the alpha was only leaving with a scratch and a black eye instead of a broken arm like the last one—or the broken collar bone from the one before him. Maybe it was because Cambry had warned him?

Most alphas sneered at the warning—hence the broken arm and collar bone—but this one had seemed different.

“When you try to touch me, I’m going to react…badly.” Cambry couldn’t remember how many times he had said those same words. He guessed that the first few alphas had assumed that Cambry would react like any other omega was supposed to—with slick and a burst of pheromones.

They hadn’t been expecting violence.

Walking to his dresser, Cambry pulled the top drawer wide, fumbling with a pair of boxers and tugging them up his thick legs. The fabric was smooth and silken and clutched his soft package like a fitted glove. They were worth spending his tiny allowance on, that was for sure. Thank goodness for the little things in life.

The little things being both his package and the expensive underwear.

His old friend Aubrie had asked him why he always splurged on the things if he had no one to show them off to. He had his own mirror, thank you very much, which added ten pounds, even on the best of days. But it was always honest about the boxers, which looked a hell of a lot better than they did on most omegas.

“Why don’t you give up, Cambry? It kills me to see you like this. If an alpha hasn’t induced a heat in you by now, it’s not going to happen.”

Aubrie had probably had the best intentions when she’d said that, but it had pierced Cambry’s soul like a dull pencil crayon. Or maybe that was why Cambry’s father had chosen her as his friend…to wear him down a bit more.

There was only so much loneliness he could take before he tried to be with someone again, hoping that everything would finally work the way it was supposed to. It wasn’t the sex as much as it was everything else. He couldn’t hug someone or even hold their hand without his feral side acting out.

His skin prickled as his door slid back, light footsteps moving across the floor behind him. And there was that.

“Your father is upset,” said his mother, her meek voice slapping him harder than any blow. He couldn’t look at her and see the same disappointment that was in his soul.

He could hear her shaking, her teeth chattering softly as she stayed as far away from him as she could. He was surprised that she had even managed to step into the same room as he was in.

“I tried, Mom,” he said, pulling a second drawer wide and tugging a shirt over his frame. He had to get alpha sizes, seeing as nothing for omegas fit his frame. His father was upset about that, too.

The alpha sizes were shaped differently than he was, though—the shoulders a touch too wide and the waist not quite narrow enough. Nothing had fit him well since he’d hit puberty.

The steady thumps of his father’s steps approached, and he hurriedly pulled a pair of jeans over his legs. They at least fit a bit better, his thighs stretching the fabric to its brink as it cupped his ass. The only place with too much room was the crotch, but he was almost glad that nothing ever touched him there.

He looked at the mirror above his dresser, scowling at his reflection. Fellow omegas were terrified of him, and alphas treated him like he was a strange cousin to the human race who needed to be broken or beaten until he fit into a different shape than what he had been born into.

He sniffed, slamming the drawer shut before his father could step into his room. There was no use crying, no matter how frustrated he was.

“We’ve tried it your way, Cambry. These alphas can’t stand to get close to you, let alone allow you to bond with them,” said his father as he hovered at the edge of the door frame. He was a few inches shy of Cambry’s height and had lost his alpha muscling to his age long before Cambry had been born. Like most alphas, he never got too close to Cambry—just close enough to hurt with words.

Cambry wondered if he would ever forget his father’s way. The restraints had dug into his wrists as a strange alpha had approached him from behind. Guided by an overdressed and undereducated doctor, Cambry’s father had hoped to kick-start Cambry’s omega nature with some good ole fashioned alpha cock. They hadn’t counted on Cambry breaking his own arm as he shifted, turning on the alpha and ripping a chunk of flesh from his throat.

The alpha hadn’t died—thank goodness—but they had never tried to restrain Cambry after that. And they had finally listened to him and had let him try on his own terms by picking up an alpha from a bar. It was about as romantic as a one-night stand could have been.

But it had resulted the same way—minus the shifting and massive blood loss, at least.

“It almost happened, Dad. I was so close,” said Cambry, touching his belly. He’d been naked, which had been a first. And the alpha had managed to touch him once before Cambry’s beast had risen to the surface and socked him in the face. Biting the alpha’s gland to bond with them had been the last thing on his mind.

“Close isn’t enough,” said his father, the snarl in his voice enough to prickle the hair on the back of Cambry’s neck. He’d never attacked a family member, but he had come close enough times that his father rarely approached him without backup. It was probably why his mother was strategically between them, shivering with her eyes downcast.

“Your heat could kill you. You’re already so much older than you should be for your first one, and there’s no way you can manage it alone,” said his mother, the edge of a sob in her voice. Cambry turned, his heart falling as he watched the tears stream down his mother’s face. She, at least, cared for him. His father was more interested in seeing him out of the door in a different alpha’s house—with some financial benefits for himself, of course.

“I’d have to have a heat first.” Cambry turned away as his father’s dark eyes glared into him. Most omegas had their first heat when they were still in high school, the late bloomers sprouting by eighteen at the latest. Cambry had turned twenty-two three weeks before, and he still hadn’t experienced a heat. He was hardly an omega at all by some standards.

But his mom was right. Those that had monthly heats had the mildest cycle, still able to continue their day-to-day lives with only a mild fever and a bit of slickness. Some of Cambry’s classmates had been that way, and he’d scarcely been able to tell.

Those who had heats once a year had to isolate themselves for nearly a week, their scent and instincts so uncontrollable that they could kill any stranger who attempted to approach. They needed a mate to ease them through it, more with their presence than their knot, from what his mother had explained.

For Cambry not to have had a heat at his age meant that his first would reduce him to nothing more than a feral beast that would kill and fuck without conscious thought. The idea was terrifying, especially since he was already so close to feral that an alpha couldn’t touch him.

“I’ve tolerated this abnormality of yours for long enough,” said his father, his mother’s spine stiffening.

“Dear, you promised,” she said, her voice pleading.

“No, he’ll be going to them, and that’s final. That doctor wasn’t worth his degree, but a colleague of mine gave me the name of a facility that he swears by. If one alpha can’t handle him, then maybe two can snap him out of this phase.” He tossed a business card into the room and it fluttered end over end before settling upside down on the floor. Turning, he stormed from the entry.

Cambry finally took a breath as his father disappeared, skirting by his mother to grab the business card. It was deep forest green with the name Feral Woods inscribed along the middle with deep gold lettering.

He flipped it over, his eyes going wide as he read the services listed on the card. “Instinctive therapy? What is that?” It sounded terrifying and alluring at the same time.

His instincts were everything that was wrong with him, though. As much as he wanted to listen to the little whispers in the back of his mind, he knew if he did, he would be alone for the rest of his life. Therapy brought to mind cages and bindings, the hair on his arms and chest thickening at the thought.

If it had been his father’s idea, the latter was probably exactly what was involved. His colleagues weren’t much better in Cambry’s experience, either.

“I hear they are very good,” she said softly, her voice trembling as she took a step back. His heart broke under the weight of her fear.

His parents were terrified of him. Maybe he should be locked in a cage for the rest of his days until they found someone who could make him submit. Or two someones. He quivered.

“When do I leave?” He took a shuddering breath as he looked around his room. What would he be allowed to bring? His collection of rocks from his younger years? Probably not. His romance novels? He should probably give them a proper burial before he left, because his father would burn them and disown him if he found them hidden under the floorboard.

Just another layer of his abnormalities. His father would have a heart attack if he ever read one of them or even caught sight of the cover. They were the only things that Cambry had ever intentionally rebelled with, and they could cost him everything.

“Your father pulled some strings.” Because of course he did. She cleared her throat. “You’re leaving in an hour.”

So his father had expected his plan to fail.

“There are single omegas, Mom. Why can’t he just let me be?” Cambry sighed, drawing a hand down his arm as his fur retreated, prickling as it pulled back under his skin. Others described shifting as painful, and even his mother could hardly bear to do it. But to him, it was a release he only ever found when he was in that form—wild and without the presumptions of a society that hated him.

“You know why,” she said, not even looking at him. He hadn’t noticed the exact moment that she had given up on him, but it had been a long time ago—perhaps when he had matured into an omega, only he hadn’t stopped growing like he was supposed to or maybe when the first alpha had offered him a mating contract and Cambry had bitten clear through his hand.

“I’m sorry,” he said. The reasons were too long for her to list, and he knew them almost by heart. “Your father has so much pressure at work. People are wondering why you haven’t mated yet. People will talk, son, and your reputation will be ruined. We can’t let them know that you’re…unnatural. Your heat will kill you, and if it doesn’t, your father…”

They did have a slight point. He had no desire to die, especially since he hadn’t seen the world except for his tiny slice of neighborhood and the bit of lawn within the black gates. The unmated omegas he’d seen were considered strange anomalies in the circles his father traveled in and were best to be left alone and shunned.

As if they couldn’t function without a knot to drool over.

Cambry rolled his eyes. The idea of a knot made him a bit nauseous. He had no desire to bend over and take it like he was supposed to. His feral side agreed with toothy gusto.

“You should pack. I’ll give you space.” She set a duffel bag on the floor before she swept from the room, the loss of her presence barely palpable in the quiet house.

She was his polar opposite. His beast refused to be compliant and meek, even when he tried so hard to overcome that part of himself. He didn’t want to be his mother, who was a shadow of a human being ruled by society more than her education and emotions.

Sighing, he looked around the room before grabbing the bag. If he were lucky, he would have just enough room to pack his books under a thin layer of clothing. Then, at least, he could take everything that meant something to him.

He looked at the business card one last time. Alpha and omega instinctive therapy sessions. Two hundred acres of supervised development.

Well, on the bright side, he would probably get to see some hot alpha ass. A smile tugged at his lips. He could have a positive attitude. At least he was getting out of the house. And two hundred acres would give his beast a lot more places to run, even if he was supervised.

Checking to make sure the coast was clear, he lifted the floorboards just inside his closet. His collection of books that he’d spent years gathering barely fit in the space anymore. The pages were worn from being read so many times, the front covers smudged from his fingers. The covers gave away everything that his father didn’t need to know. Two men, bigger than even himself and twined in a primal embrace, painted a steamy picture that made his mouth water. Forbidden Alphas.

Heat flushed his cheeks as he packed them out of sight, zipping the bag shut with a hard pull. He balled up a pair of socks and underwear, jamming them into the side pouch to disguise the corners the books had created.

There. All packed. I hope I never come back.

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About the Author

M.C. Roth

M.C. Roth lives in Canada and loves every season, even the dreaded Canadian winter. She graduated with honours from the Associate Diploma Program in Veterinary Technology at the University of Guelph before choosing a different career path.

Between caring for her young son, spending time with her husband, and feeding treats to her menagerie of animals, she still spends every spare second devoted to her passion for writing.

She loves growing peppers that are hot enough to make grown men cry, but she doesn’t like spicy food herself. Her favourite thing, other than writing of course, is to find a quiet place in the wilderness and listen to the birds while dreaming about the gorgeous men in her head.

Find out more about M.C. Roth at her website.

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RELEASE BLITZ: These Young Wolves by Glenn Quigley #LGBTQ #EnemiestoLovers @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: These Young Wolves

Series: Knights of Blackrabbit, Book One

Author: Glenn Quigley

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 12/20/2022

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 84900

Genre: Historical, LGBTQIA+, Cornish coast, clockpunk, spec fiction, bears, sailors, law enforcement, historical, non-explicit, enemies-to-lovers, crime, redemption, revenge, tattoos

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Description

One year ago, Vince Knight walked away from his role as crime lord of Port Knot. In his absence, the gangs he founded went to war, and frightening new factions have risen from the ashes to tear at the town’s throat like hungry wolves.

Now Vince is back and has taken command of the Watch—working side-by-side with the very people who spent years trying to put him behind bars. Unbeknownst to him, Captain James Godgrave has been given his own team to deal with crime in the town, but while he and Vince share a common goal, they are not allies.

The murder of one of James’s crew puts Vince in a delicate position. Facing pressure from the council, the townsfolk, and the Watch itself, Vince must find the killer because if he doesn’t, James will, and Vince’s tenure as Watch Commander will be the shortest in history.

As Vince and James clash in their public and private lives, Vince starts to understand the damage caused by his abdication as crime lord, James sets about putting down the gangs once and for all, and the mysterious power behind the new factions exacts a terrifying plan that will change Port Knot forever.

Excerpt

These Young Wolves
Glenn Quigley © 2022
All Rights Reserved

He clicked his pale, meaty fingers twice, sending Crabmeat running along the narrow Entry while he hurried up the dry, cobbled road. He readied himself at a corner and stuck out the tip of his octopus-handled cane. A young man with a thatch of blond hair slammed into the cane at full speed, turning head-over-tit onto the cobbled road. A necklace and a handful of coins spilled out of his pockets, splashing into a horse-made puddle. Crabmeat—a tubby, short-nosed little bulldog—darted after him, barking furiously.

The young thief rolled onto his back, holding his shin and crying out, before being lifted wholly off the ground and slammed against the nearest wall. Vince Knight spoke with a voice like rolling thunder, “Assume you know the way to the Watch House?”

No one in the town of Port Knot could remember a warmer October than that of 1781. As the hazy sun rose in a saffron sky, the harbour stretched its cranes like waking arms and prepared for another day. Already several tall ships had docked and become targets for hungry gulls searching for scraps.

The briny air, awash with the stench of yesterday’s catch, stung Vince’s nose in a familiar and welcoming way. With his bag over his shoulder, he took the thief by the scruff of his neck, and marched deeper into town.

The crowds of traders, dockworkers, and sailors sundered themselves before him and fell quiet when he drew near. He kept his head down and carried on walking. He no longer needed the aid of his cane but thought it added some sophistication to his appearance, especially given his newest acquisition of a patch over his left eye.

Had he not already towered over the townsfolk, his clothing would still have set him apart. Sartorially speaking, he never truly overcame his brawler beginnings. His cream-coloured top shirt had seen better days and his black trousers had long ago begun to fray their edges. Yesterday, he’d attended his brother’s handfasting on the nearby island of Merryapple, and he’d accidentally left his favourite claret overcoat behind. Not that he needed it that morning. His tricorne cap, cracked and scaly in places, covered his snowy white hair and kept the morning sun from his lone icy blue eye.

Port Knot’s sole Watch House sat at a crossroads on the west side of town. Three storeys tall, it had a low front door painted in cornflower blue and a single window set with rusted iron bars. Above these, the sand-coloured bricks rose to an arch and then to a gable, in a wholly unnecessary architectural flourish. Like most buildings in town, thin copper pipes ran across the surface like veins under sallow skin.

The bridges of Port Knot infested the town like rats. Long, short, arched, flat, and each one different from the last. Lickbeer Bridge connected the road above Vince’s head to the first floor of the Watch House and protruded from the side of it like a hernia. The arch had been carved to resemble the open mouth of a bearded man, swallowing all who travelled through.

As with the rest of the town, the Watch House had been built too close to the surrounding premises, and indeed the entire street had the appearance of an overstuffed bookshelf. Within, Vince found a grimy pit of browns and mustards. The Watch House saw hardly any sun, so a plethora of lanterns fought bravely against the gloom.

Vince all but threw the thief onto a chair. “Stay,” he said, pointing. “Or else.”

Crabmeat sat in front of the thief and growled.

Vince let his bag of clothes slump to the dusty floor. He tapped his octopus-handled cane on the knotted wooden floorboards. “Anybody in?”

A voice from a backroom called out to him and presently a slim, dark-haired woman in her early twenties greeted him. She wore oversized tan trousers held up by braces, a striped shirt splattered with oil, and a pair of goggles perched on top of her head. She gripped a hammer in one hand and scowled.

“Got you a present,” Vince said, nodding to the thief.

“Ah, sure that’s very kind of you, altogether.” She raised the hammer a little and steadied herself. “And who might you be, now?”

“Vince Knight. Watch Commander.”

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Meet the Author

Glenn Quigley is an author and artist originally from Tallaght in Dublin, Ireland, and now living in Lisburn, Northern Ireland with his partner of many years. His first novel, The Moth and Moon, was published in 2018. When not writing, he paints portraits in watercolours and tweets too many photos of lighthouses. He maintains a website of his latest work at http://www.glennquigley.com.

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Giveaway

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

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Marisburg Connections by Emily Carrington #CharacterInterview #GuestPost #LGBTQ #RomanceReaders

Marisburg Connections is a collection of stories centered around four couples and their deepening relationships.

In “Sunlight,” Jack and Tyler struggle with family complications and Jake’s loss of eyesight. Will their love survive six months apart?

“Out For You” is the story of Eric’s fears of being out of the closet and the extraordinary lengths to which he’ll go to keep his lover, Trent, in a state where being gay is considered amoral.

With Mike’s help, Aidan wrestles with his past. Can Mike’s love help him lose the shadow of “Guilt”?

“Dachshund Blocked” is the tale of three rambunctious little dogs and how they help sabotage Peter’s and Abe’s wedding plans.

A Quick Interview with Trent, the second hero of “Out for You.”

EC: So…what attracted you to a man who was in the closet?

Trent: Besides his stunning good looks, his humor, and his passion on the dance floor?

EC: Actually, yeah. What else?

Trent: His honesty.

EC: But, didn’t he refuse for almost a year to be out?

Trent: He’s honest about his feelings. He made his fear clear to me and his love. That’s why I waited so long for him.

EC: Tell us what he looks like.

Trent: He’s ripped. He exercises three days a week and runs almost every day with a running guide.

EC: What’s a running guide?

Trent: When you’re visually impaired, like Eric, you can run with a guide dog or a human guide. Eric has…interesting view…about guide dogs, so he uses a white cane.

EC: What interesting views?

Trent: He vacillates between thinking he should get one and worrying that our little apartment isn’t big enough for a Labrador or other large dog to get the exercise he needs.

EC: What do you think of his old boyfriend’s behavior, breaking Eric’s arm when they were both in high school?

Trent: I’ve never met Aidan Delaney, and I honestly don’t want to, but I tend to think people are the choices they make, and he chose to apologize to Eric. That counts for something in my book.

EC: Thank you for your time.

Trent: No trouble. Just, please, don’t judge Eric too harshly. He is living in one of the reddest states in the US. Being afraid of being jumped is a legitimate fear.

Copyright ©2022 Emily Carrington
Excerpt from Sunlight

It was early June when Jake emerged from the three-story building that housed the ADA Coordinator’s office. He’d been moving quickly but the moment he opened the door, the world went white. He stumbled to a halt and covered his eyes partially with his left hand. His right tightened on the handle of the white cane he’d only been half paying attention to. It wasn’t that he didn’t need the cane to get around. He’d learned rather quickly that the white cane could save him from many embarrassing or painful situations. But, inside, he barely noticed its whispering across the floor in constant contact with the rugs or tiles. Now, he wished he could just duck back into the safety of the building’s dimmer interior.

But Tyler, his lover, was waiting for him out in the parking lot and Jake really needed Tyler’s comfort. He hadn’t struggled through a bad day, hadn’t done that in a while, but the glare from the sun that turned everything white made him both sad and timid.

He allowed the door to close behind him, listening to its click of finality. Oh, stop thinking like that, he remonstrated himself.

He needed to get to Tyler. So, closing his eyes, he put the cane out in front of him and swept it right to left, checking for obstacles. And, taking his first tentative step forward, he thought, I guess the ophthalmologist was right. Glare was bound to affect me sooner or later.

He wanted so badly to be able to peek and make sure that he was headed in the right direction that he covered his eyes all the way to not allow himself that opportunity. Even assuming he could see something other than white light, he’d give himself a blinder of a headache by trying to use his vision when his eyes were already streaming with tears of strain and overexposure to light.

He heard a door ahead of him somewhere open and close. Then, Tyler said, “Are you okay?” He was still a good distance away but surely he could see Jake’s hand over his eyes. Jake cursed softly, squeezed his eyes even more tightly shut, and dropped his hand. Even through his eyelids, the world was terribly bright but at least he could walk without opening his eyes.

He started to move faster, needing to get to Tyler and the shelter of the truck. He swept his cane from right to left and left to right, trying to feel everything. But he missed something, maybe a crack in the sidewalk, maybe nothing more than an imagined crack, and tripped. He kept hold of his white cane and managed to right himself before Tyler reached him, but both were near things.

“Are you all right?” Tyler asked, touching his arm and then making a sound Jake thought was frustration. “Obviously you’re not. What happened?”

Jake wondered if that frustration was with him. He doubted it. Tyler was the world’s most patient person. He took a breath, needing to confess because he’d end up blurting it out sooner or later. “The glare is killing me. Dr. Metz was right. It finally showed up. The sun…” He shook his head and turned away slightly. “When I’m not looking directly at it, it hurts less.”

Tyler ran his hand up Jake’s arm to his shoulder. Then he leaned close and kissed Jake’s temple, which was thoroughly distracting in a way that made Jake aware of his cock as he hadn’t been all day.

“Maybe it’s time to meet with the white cane instructor again,” Tyler suggested.

Jake’s orientation and mobility teacher was a busy man. He had most of their part of Pennsylvania to look after. “If he’s ever free.”

“I’ll take you to Philly once a week if that’s what it takes.”

“I love you,” Jake blurted. It wasn’t a new concept, but he felt completely overwhelmed with gratitude and desire.

When Tyler kissed him full on the mouth, making him weak at the knees, he knew Tyler’s answer, in his own way, was, “I love you too.”

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.

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.

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

Title: Three Kings

Author: Freydis Moon

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 11/22/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 38300

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

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Description

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

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

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

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

Excerpt

Three Kings
Freydís Moon © 2022
All Rights Reserved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You brought it home, not me.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter winced. “You’re impossible.”

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

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

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

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