Release Blitz: Border CTRL + ESC by Iva L. James #LGBTQ #contemporaryromance @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Border CTRL + ESC

Series: Virginia is for All Lovers, Book One

Author: Ivy L. James

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/09/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Female

Length: 68600

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, friends to lovers, multicultural, geeks, nerds, marriage of convenience, green card marriage, demisexual, bisexual, family drama, inheritance, work drama, money problems, adulting, one-bed dilemma

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Description

In the United States…

Mariana Mitogo is struggling to make ends meet. Then, out of the blue, she learns she’s to receive a huge inheritance that would erase all her debt. The problem: she has to be married for six months to receive it, and her dating life is nonexistent.

In Spain…

Santiago de los Reyes, Mariana’s Internet friend, has drained his bank account to support his family. Desperate to get his mom the heart surgery she needs, he interviews for a better-paying job that would take him from Madrid to Virginia. When he’s offered the position but can’t get a work visa, Mariana offers a solution that benefits both of them—a fiancé visa and a quick wedding.

If anyone finds out it’s a green-card marriage, Santiago will be deported. Mariana would face a colossal fine and jail time. Good thing they’re committed actors.

But as Santiago and Mariana pretend to build a life together, the lines blur between charade and reality. Will they dare to choose the love that feels more honest every day?

Border Ctrl+Esc is a lighthearted friends-to-lovers marriage of convenience between LGBTQ+ Internet friends (a demisexual woman and a bisexual man).

Excerpt

Border CTRL + ESC
Ivy L. James © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Mariana Mitogo scanned the faces filtering through both the escalator and the stairs into the Arrivals area of the airport, hoping Santiago de los Reyes Martínez hadn’t changed his appearance since his last selfie. She had assumed he wore his glasses all the time like she did, but did he? Maybe they were only for the aesthetic. What if he didn’t have them on, or he cut his hair, and she didn’t recognize him? What if his plane had come in somewhere else and this wasn’t even the right flight?

Announcements squawked over the speakers; conversations murmured around her as a fresh wave of people came from the gates. The crowds swirled, heading to the luggage conveyors and the restaurants and the exit. She sidestepped travelers on their phones. She almost passed over the man who stepped off the escalator next—and then she couldn’t look away.

Thick, mussed black hair curled over the edges of his ears and down the nape of his neck, too long to look professional. His naturally tawny complexion had darkened with exposure to the sun, and she could see those big, dark eyes from here, even with his oversized hipster glasses. The edges of him were soft, not harsh with muscle, but something about the angle of his shoulders and the way he filled out his simple T-shirt and jeans scrambled her insides.

Please don’t be him, she prayed, ready to barter her health and wealth against her need to not have to deal with a cute guy friend. She hadn’t been interested in anyone since she was sixteen—she didn’t want to start now. Life was simpler that way.

As she stood there, appalled at her potential bad luck, he turned to meet her gaze, and he pulled back. No wave, not even a smile. He just pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, shoulders tense, lips pressed together.

Her throat prickled. Of course I look different. Cheeks hot, she smoothed her palms over the front of her yellow dress. I guess I didn’t expect to…to disappoint him.

He hadn’t even waved yet. She swallowed her embarrassment and, with a smile, did jazz hands.

A grin split his face, and it clicked.

She’d seen that grin in enough goofy selfies.

Damn it.

Santiago raced to her, dropped his suitcase, and swept her into a bear hug. For a split second she froze, not having expected outright affection—but then she relaxed and hugged him back, and her concern about attraction faded.

This is him, her heart and mind seemed to sigh, this time in relief. This is Santi. They already knew each other inside and out. Having him here in person, at long last, fit a piece into place she hadn’t realized was missing.

When he finally let go, she tapped him on the chest. “I’m not sure I know how to talk to you face-to-face. Let’s go sit somewhere so we can text.”

He snorted with laughter, as she’d hoped. “Maybe we can turn around and pretend to talk to our phones.” The lilt of his native language softened his English, prettier than her own slight Virginian drawl. Poor guy, having to practice his second language with a Southerner. He was going to end up with two different accents blended into one. Not to mention a propensity for the word y’all.

“How was your flight?” It seemed like the appropriate first question to ask.

He shrugged and rubbed his butt. “It was fine. Long.”

She grinned.

This response, though, made his forehead crinkle. “I said that right, didn’t I? Sorry about my accent.”

“Yeah, you said it fine.” She bounced on the balls of her feet. “Do you want any coffee or anything before we start the drive home? It’s gonna be another two hours until we get there.”

Santi glanced around the waiting area, probably looking for a coffee shop.

“Not here. There’s a Starbucks a couple miles down the highway.”

He half grimaced at the word miles. “And that’s…?”

“Oh.” She struggled to remember the correct ratio of miles to kilometers. Two to one? One to two? Ugh, math. She gave up. “About five minutes.”

They both stared at each other, looking a little blank, until they shared a self-deprecating laugh, and he picked up his suitcase. “Yes, let’s get some coffee. I’ll still be able to sleep when we get home.”

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Ivy L. James wrote her first story on Post-it notes as a child. Since then, she has graduated to regular paper and enjoys writing inclusive, heartwarming romance as a way to counterbalance the negativity in the world. She lives in Maryland with her partner and their corgi, cat, and two snakes.

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Intergalactic Brides Vol. 2 by Jessica Coulter Smith #scifi #aliens #RomanceBooks #ebook #paperback @changelingpress

Intergalactic Brides Vol. 2 (Intergalactic Brides 20)

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Karen Fox
Genres/Themes: Box Set, Futuristics, Sci-Fi, Alien Encounters, Alternate Universe,
Silver Fox, Single Parent/Pregnancy Romance

 

Three aliens intent on finding their mates. Three human women willing to risk everything for a chance at happiness…

Charlotte and the Alien Ambassador: When her father demands she take her sister’s place in a bride exchange on another world, Charlotte decides to embrace her future. She knows it’s her last chance to find happiness, and she’ll do anything to grab it with both hands. The ethereal woman who steps off the shuttle holds Borgoz spellbound. She’s everything he’s ever wanted, and the one thing he can never have.

Hazel and the Alien Biker: Kicked off his home world after losing his mate, Reyvor has made a place for himself on Earth, spending his nights cruising the streets on his Harley. But a commotion outside his motel room just may turn out to be his saving grace. Hazel is hesitant to trust anyone again, but Reyvor is determined to make her his. What’s an alien to do when all he wants is a loving family to call his own? He’ll break down her defenses one by one, until she melts against him and begs for his kiss. Can he claim the feisty Hazel and her three little girls without completely losing his heart?

Jacie and the Alien Bodyguard: Stupid. Careless. Jacie has called herself ten times a fool. Now she’s pregnant and alone. When a tall, sexy hunk of alien male meets her at the shuttle station on his world, Jacie feels the stirrings of desire — even though that’s what got her into this mess in the first place. But there’s something about Barimere that’s different, and she doesn’t mean the scars on his face.

An alien warrior intent on fighting his attraction. A human female determined to bring him to his knees. What could possibly go wrong?

 

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All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Jessica Coulter Smith
Excerpt from Charlotte and the Alien Ambassador

“Are you Charlotte Mayweather?” the male asked.

She nodded. “Why can I understand you and not anyone else?”

“I, along with quite a few other males on this planet, have learned your Earth English. However, to make sure you can understand everyone around you, I’m going to implant you with a translator. I’ll also implant you with a sensor that will allow you to make purchases on our world. When you select a mate, he will pay for whatever you buy between now and then. Once your mating is approved, you’ll be added to his accounts everywhere in Terran Prime.”

“Thank you for explaining how everything works. I’ve been a little lost.”

He frowned. “May I ask a personal question?”

She nodded.

“Your voice is different from anyone else I’ve encountered from Earth. Are you from a special region?”

“I’m deaf.” She pointed to her hearing aids. “These allow me to hear a little, but it’s like listening to someone talk under water. I don’t always catch everything. And, while it allows me to hear a little, I can’t always tell how loud I’m speaking.”

“Understood. Perhaps, after you’ve found a mate, they will permit me to run some tests and see if we can restore your hearing.”

“I was born deaf. My mother had preeclampsia when she was pregnant with me, and I was born early. Some of the bones inside my ear didn’t form correctly. A doctor tried to explain it to me once, but I didn’t understand the terms he used.”

The doctor nodded. “Well, we’ll take care of those implants today and if you decide you wish me to run tests later, then that’s what we’ll do.”

She meekly followed the doctor into a back room and stretched out on the table at his direction. He explained the procedure to her before giving her some gas to put her to sleep. When next she woke, her wrist and the back of her ear hurt a little, but otherwise she couldn’t tell she’d had anything done.

Charlotte found the other male pacing in the lobby.

“Can you understand me now?” he asked.

She nodded.

“I have a translator, so I understood everything you told the doctor. You’re not Charity Mayweather, are you?”

“Charity is my younger sister.”

The Terran’s face flushed with anger. “Your father lied to me. He said he was sending Charity here to find a husband, not her deaf older sister.”

She felt shame burn through her as she realized she was about to be cast aside again. Charlotte knew she should be accustomed to it by now but it still hurt, knowing she wasn’t good enough for yet one more man.

“If you send me back to Earth, I’ll be homeless,” she said. “My father said if I didn’t come here and find a husband, I would be thrown out of the house and all my accounts would be closed.”

The Terran muttered something, raked a hand through his waist-length hair, and then faced her with his hands on his hips. “I’m Chief Councilor Borgoz and you’ll be staying in my home. You may not be the sister I was expecting, but I’m not about to leave you stranded here. Especially with your condition.”

“I’m deaf, not stupid.”

The harshness of his face relaxed into an apologetic look. “I didn’t mean to imply that you were stupid, but there are many dangers on a new world for anyone, much less someone who can’t hear. I didn’t mean to make you feel unwanted or as if you were a burden.”

“It wouldn’t be the first time in my life I’ve felt that way.”

His gaze narrowed. “Your father made you feel unwanted?”

“And my sister. Be thankful she didn’t come in my place. She’s a spoiled, selfish brat who always has to get her way or she screams and throws things.” It felt good to be honest about her sister without fear of being punished. Everyone always treated Charity as if she was a princess, and Charlotte was tired of it.

“Right. Well, let’s get you settled. I’m sure you’ll want more things than what you brought with you. Once you’ve had a chance to put your belongings away, I’ll take you shopping for anything you had to leave behind.”

“I don’t need much. As long as you have something to wash with, I’ll be fine. I have enough clothes to last a week before I’ll have to do laundry.”

“An Earth week is seven days, correct?”

She nodded.

“A Terran week is eleven days. You’ll need more clothes. Things are different here on Terran. We don’t have machines in our homes to launder our clothes, and the shop in town that handles it is usually busy. You’ll want as many outfits as possible.”

He crooked his elbow and she curled her hand around it, watching as he hefted her bag as easily if it contained no more than feathers.

Charlotte tried to take in the scenery as they walked through Terran Prime. Borgoz explained that, while he had a vehicle to maneuver through the city, he thought she might like the walk to stretch her legs after such a long shuttle ride.

When they reached his home, her jaw dropped as she stared at the massive structure. She’d lived in a mansion all her life, but Borgoz’s home surpassed that of her father’s by a fourth floor and probably another twenty feet in width. She tried not to stumble over her feet as he led her up the stairs and into his home. Charlotte looked everywhere, not wanting to miss a thing.

Borgoz handed her bag to another male, and they followed him up the stairs to her room. It was twice the size of her bedroom at home with doors that opened onto a balcony overlooking a garden. It was gorgeous, and for the first time in her life she felt lucky. She was glad her father had sent her here, and had hope that her future would be bright and wonderful.

She turned from the fantastic view to find Borgoz studying her. Charlotte couldn’t guess his age. There were no wrinkles on his face, but the silver in his hair told her he was probably forty at the least. But then, she didn’t know how Terrans aged. For all she knew, he was pushing seventy like the vile old man her father had tried to force her to marry.

Borgoz was a handsome man. His purple eyes were dark like a pansy and quite beautiful. Those eyes were taking her in, and she wondered if he found her lacking like everyone else in her life. If she’d known she was coming to a palace, she may have dressed a little nicer for her trip. She tugged on the hem of her tank and wondered if she should change clothes before going shopping with him. He was being kind enough to give her a place to stay, the least she could do was not embarrass him in front of his people.

“I’ll come back in thirty of your Earth minutes to see if you’ve finished unpacking. If you’re hungry, we can stop for a bite to eat while we’re out and then go shopping. Don’t hesitate to ask for anything you need. If you can’t find me, Helio will help you,” he said, indicating the other male.

“Thank you.”

Borgoz gave her a regal nod and then he exited with his servant.

Left alone, she quickly unpacked and changed into a pretty sundress so she would be appropriately attired for an outing with someone so important, then she spent the rest of her time admiring the view. Charlotte hoped she’d get a chance to walk through that garden and admire the petals of the vibrant flowers close up. This world was amazing and full of new and wonderful things. She couldn’t wait to explore as much of it as she was allowed.

 

More from Jessica Coulter Smith…