Release Blitz: Captivated by A.C. Thomas #LGBTQ #SciFi @acthomas_books @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Captivated

Series: The Verge, Book Two

Author: A.C. Thomas

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 04/26/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73400

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, sci-fi, gay, nerd/linguist, space pirate, space travel/road trip, abduction/captive, twins, interracial, class difference, tattoos, body mods, humorous, opposites attract, outrageous flirting, sexual banter, undergarments, ribbon play

Add to Goodreads

Description

Dr. Theophrastus Campbell leads a comfortable life, along with his twin brother, buried in academia. His unique gift for obscure languages goes unnoticed as he teaches University students to conjugate Latin. Everything in his world is just as it should be; restrained, understated, boring. He would give anything to break away. In all his daydreams of adventure, Theo never expected it to arrive in the form of an outrageously attractive Outlier covered in intriguing tattoos. And Theo never thought the price he might pay for adventure would be his own freedom.

Captain Park Jun-Seo leads a dangerous life, running a Crew of misfits through Restricted space as he desperately searches for the key to completing his parents’ work. Work that could mean the difference between life and death for countless others. In all of his frantic searching, Jun never expected to find the key in the form of a beautiful professor with more brilliance than good sense. And he never thought the price he might pay for knowledge would be his own heart.

Stoic Jun and irrepressible Theo must work together to break the code before their time is up. Falling into bed together is effortless, but their growing connection wasn’t in the plan. Theo charms his way beneath Jun’s skin with every nonsensical move he makes. Jun must decide if he can make room in his harsh, goal-driven life for the unpredictable force of love. Theo begins their journey as a lighthearted adventure—until he cracks Jun’s tough facade to reveal the hero within. Theo must decide if he can risk his battered heart when Jun is risking everything.

In the lawless depths of space, can two captive hearts set each other free?

Excerpt

Captivated
A.C. Thomas © 2021
All Rights Reserved
Chapter One

Ding. Ding. Donk.

Theo held his index finger up at the uneven chime of the ancient bell over the door—yet another harried university student bustling into his office after hours. It was practically midnight, hardly the time to ask for an extension.

Honestly, students were the worst part of teaching. Theo didn’t know why he had taken the TA position in the first place.

Okay, yes, he did. But, to be fair, Professor Gladwell looked amazing in his spectacles and fitted waistcoats, and who could blame Theo for going a little glassy-eyed whenever they had private meetings?

Well, Professor Gladwell’s wife, for one, probably.

Theo finished his note and dropped his pen into the onyx holder on his desk, preparing to give the student his full attention.

Some of his attention.

Whatever was left over while Theo drifted off on thoughts of the strain Professor Gladwell’s buttons were under on a daily basis as they tried to contain all that athleticism. Those poor, poor buttons.

He lifted his head with the bored expectation of finding another skinny, pasty academic struggling to hold armfuls of paper with desperation written all over their ink-smudged face.

In other words, someone like Theo.

This person was holding a sheaf of papers, and there the resemblance ended to every expectation Theo had.

Perhaps it was time to expand his expectations.

“I’m looking for Dr. Campbell.” The stranger’s voice curled around Theo’s ears like smoke.

Theo smiled up at him, admiring the way the lamplight glinted off of his black hair and deep bronze skin. Stars, but he was a handsome specimen.

With a flip of his hair back over his shoulder, Theo marked his place in his notebook by closing a finger in the pages. “Well, you’re certainly in the right place for it! Though I suppose that depends on which Dr. Campbell you are looking for. There are three of us in my immediate family alone. Although, Campbell isn’t a terribly uncommon name, so there could easily be many more Dr. Campbells than I’m entirely unaware of.”

The stranger looked like he very much regretted initiating this conversation. Theo was, unfortunately, familiar with the expression being directed his way.

The stranger shook his head slightly, as though Theo’s chatter were water in his ears. Something else Theo was extremely familiar with.

He leaned in slightly, casting a wide shadow across Theo’s cluttered desk when his bulk blocked out the light beside the door. “Dr. Campbell. Where is he?”

Theo traced the impressive line of the stranger’s shoulders underneath his unusual many-layered black leather coat before offering his free hand to shake. “I am Dr. Campbell. Pleased to meet you! My brother is also Dr. Campbell, and my father is Dr. Campbell as well, though they would be less pleased to meet you. Nothing against you, personally, they just aren’t terribly fond of interacting with strangers. Or people in general, to be honest. Sometimes I think they can barely tolerate me!”

The stranger winced as if he could relate to the sentiment and quietly responded, “Dr. Campbell has been described as a thin male with green eyes, red hair, and pale skin.”

His deep voice sank into Theo’s bones like the pleasant rumble of a hovercoach over cobblestones.

Dark, hooded eyes skipped over Theo as his visitor described each feature, as though checking off a list in his head, ignoring Theo’s offered hand.

Theo dropped it to the desk with a shrug; the slight couldn’t hamper his enjoyment of this diversion from his research. “I’m afraid that doesn’t narrow it down even the slightest bit. My brother and I are identical twins, and we definitely favor our father, to the eternal dismay of our poor mother. My dismay as well, to be honest. It would have been ever so nice to have her chestnut hair rather than this glaring beacon I’ve got atop my head. I tend to stick out like a redheaded thumb.”

The stranger sucked in a breath through clenched teeth, square jaw held tight as his broad shoulders rose and fell in a long, measured sigh.

Theo felt like sighing himself at the sight. The man really was uncommonly beautiful.

He could happily watch those shoulders move for hours. He even had some suggestions regarding the nature of the movement.

His attention was brought to the desk when the stranger slapped a battered manuscript on top of his notebook—an older heatbound copy, of all things. The stranger’s fingers were marked with ink, tattooed on the metacarpals between each knuckle with Hangul letters in beautiful calligraphy. Theo had never seen the like.

The stranger put pressure on the hand he held splayed across the document, pinching the finger Theo had left inside his notebook. He yanked it out hastily as the stranger growled at him. “This Dr. Campbell.”

Absently shaking his pinched finger, Theo scanned the manuscript. The simulated parchment was stained and rumpled. It appeared to have been dog-eared at the corners over and over again, and the pages bristled with assorted tabs. All signs of a book well loved.

He tried to read the cover page, lifting the stranger’s long fingers distractedly with his thumb and forefinger until he was hit by a jolt of recognition, filled to the brim with unexpected delight. “Wherever did you get this? I wrote this years ago during my graduate studies! I’m honestly surprised that anyone outside my thesis committee has even read it. It’s such an obscure topic, after all. I had the most terrible time just—”

The stranger’s palm slammed back down on top of the document, missing Theo’s hand by a hair. “You are this Dr. Campbell?”

It appeared as though he already knew the answer and was dreading it as he squinted dubiously in Theo’s direction. There was a slight tremble in the man’s fingers as they pressed hard against the sheaf of papers.

The stranger’s eyes remained shadowed by his strong brow, but his gaze washed over Theo—a wave of heat, laser-focused and far more intense than the conversation warranted.

A frisson of caution tried to nip at Theo’s mind, sounding an awful lot like his brother hissing in his ear about good sense. He shook it off the way he usually did and leaned his chin on his hand to peer up at the stranger through his lashes. “Why, yes, I am. To whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?”

The stranger lifted the manuscript, his fingers unmistakably trembling as he flipped through pages with a dry rustle of sim-parchment. He held the document open to a passage of translation Theo had featured in his study of long-dead languages and shook it rather rudely in his face. “This. You can read this?”

Theo launched into a recitation of the passage, finishing with a flourishing roll of the tongue. It was rare to find a fellow enthusiast on the topic, particularly one so pleasing to the eye. The stranger seemed unusually passionate about the subject, his breath quickening audibly as Theo rattled off the words of a people long gone.

Theo cocked his head to the side and reached for his pen as he opened his notebook. “If you have an interest in the topic, I keep one of my sources here in my office. Just there, on that shelf.” He gestured off to the side where his cluttered bookcase leaned heavily against the wall for much-needed support. “It’s titled An Annotated Glossary of Dead Languages by Dr. Fernsby.”

The stranger folded his sheaf of papers into his coat and walked to the bookcase in two decisive strides. Theo took the opportunity to study him further, pen hovering above his open notebook.

Quickly skipping past a few dozen sketches of Professor Gladwell standing at his lectern, he found an empty page.

As the stranger turned to face the bookcase, Theo caught a glimpse of black ink trailing up his neck to frame his sharp jawline in an odd geometric pattern of thin parallel lines intersected with tiny circles. He attempted to sketch the tattoos onto his paper.

Even more ink snaked out of the cuffs of his coat, wrapping around his wrists and stamping all the way down to his fingers with that lovely calligraphy scribed across his knuckles. Theo wrote down the characters and translated them to Core Standard in the margins.

Honor on one hand and Valor on the other. Fascinating.

Closer examination revealed a design of clustered hexagonal shapes running up the wrist of his left hand. Theo had just begun to sketch them when the stranger turned back toward him, book clutched in his fist.

Theo had never seen anyone remotely resembling the man; nothing about him said “Core,” from his sprawling ink to the look in his eye. He gave the impression of someone midway over a rickety rope bridge, unsure of every step but determined to get across.

Theo couldn’t help but find his appearance a little bit dangerous as he took in his severely handsome face framed by unevenly shaved black hair, all of it underscored by the dramatic sweep of his coat.

The impression was cemented when the man tucked the book away inside his coat and pulled his hand back out with a ray gun pointed in Theo’s direction.

Theo’s pen dropped a blot of ink onto his notebook as the man stepped closer.

The stranger’s eyes were so dark his pupils disappeared into the black of his iris. His unrelenting stare sent shivers down Theo’s spine that could not be attributed entirely to fear. “Come with me. Now.”

Theo chewed on his lip for a moment, considering, and then he turned the page of his notebook to jot down a short list of words.

When Theo’s attention fell to his notebook, the man repeated himself at an increased volume. His vowels were clipped, initial consonants rounded, almost like a citizen of the Core world Goryeo but significantly sharper. His words had a cutting edge to them Theo had never heard before.

A heavy boot kicked Theo’s desk, and the man’s handsome face twisted in anger. Theo glanced down at the chunks of mud littering his carpet.

“Your accent is absolutely fascinating. I need you to repeat these words back to me, if you please.”

Pen poised to take down the man’s answers, Theo rattled off his list of words expectantly.

The stranger’s scowl slid from his face, his eyes widening in Theo’s direction in the manner people often did when he caught them off guard.

It seemed to happen fairly frequently.

“I have a gun,” the man said, returning to his original volume if not his original vehemence.

Theo sighed, scribbling on his pad with a shake of his head that had his hair falling in his face. “No, no, that doesn’t help at all; that would take me ages to decipher. Repeat the list, if you please.”

The stranger gestured with his ray gun, raising it level with Theo’s head. His fingers had finally stopped trembling.

“I have. A gun.”

Theo used his pen to shove the tapered barrel of it away from his face in irritation. “No, you mustn’t obscure your lips that way. I need to see the movements. Now, the list, if you please.”

The stranger’s face did something decidedly odd and incredibly diverting where his features couldn’t seem to decide what direction they wanted to go, so they never went anywhere at all.

To Theo’s absolute delight, he actually repeated the first three words on the list before giving his head an emphatic shake, gesturing with the gun once more. “I don’t think you understand. This is an abduction, Dr. Campbell. You’re coming with me.”

Theo didn’t turn away from his notebook, busily adding to his notes. He sketched out the pattern the man had shaved into his close-cropped hair on the right side: three intersecting triangles. Theo directed his answer to his notebook, pen flying across the page. “Or else you intend to shoot me, I suppose, is meant to be the implication with the gun?”

A large muscle began ticking in the stranger’s clenched jaw.

“Yes,” he gritted out between even, white teeth.

Theo beamed at him, tucking his hair behind his ear with an excited wriggle. “How thrilling! Just give me a moment to jot off a quick letter for my brother, and we can be off. I must say, this coincides nicely with the due date for that stack of term papers I’ve been putting off marking. Well done, you.”

The stranger gave the aforementioned stack of papers a baffled glance as Theo turned to another page to leave a short note for his twin brother, Ari.

He was bound to be perturbed if Theo did not make it home in time for tea tomorrow after all.

Ari didn’t like it when Theo diverged from their schedule, which was a constant source of conflict as Theo was appallingly bad at keeping to a schedule. The dear thing spent most of their lives nudging Theo back on track—

“Enough.”

The dark snarl of the stranger’s voice, crackling in the space between them like a bolt of lightning, startled Theo into dropping his pen.

The stranger tugged up a hood of soft gray material attached to his black leather coat, casting his face in shadow. He reached across Theo’s desk, plucked him from his seat one-handed, and lifted him effortlessly across his desk, scattering clutter all over the floor.

One muscular arm curled around Theo’s midsection, holding his back tightly against the man’s firm chest.

Theo ran his hands over the corded muscle of the man’s tense forearm with an appreciative hum as they started to move across the floor.

He was quite tall indeed for Theo’s coltish legs to dangle midair. It made Theo want to turn and wrap those legs around his waist. It was evident he’d have no trouble supporting Theo’s weight.

Altogether, an absolutely delicious thought. And here Theo had thought he was in for yet another lonely, boring Thursday night.

The stranger considered the door for a moment, then reached out with his gun hand to yank at the figured brass handle, prompting Theo into action.

“Oh, I almost forgot!”

He stomped down on his captor’s boot, showering the carpet with another layer of caked-on mud and debris. The arm across his stomach tightened uncomfortably as the man hissed through his teeth.

The ray gun prodded Theo’s side menacingly, but he just turned his head with an apologetic smile. “So sorry about that; I assure you it was quite necessary!”

With a noise reminiscent of a lion with a thorn in its paw, the stranger carried Theo out the door and into the cold night air.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

A.C. Thomas left the glamorous world of teaching preschool for the even more glamorous world of staying home with her toddler. Between the diaper changes and tea parties, she escapes into fantastical worlds, reading every romance available and even writing a few herself.

She devours books of every flavor—science fiction, historical, fantasy—but always with a touch of romance because she believes there is nothing more fantastical than the transformative power of love.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

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

Blog Button 2

Release Blitz: The Vampire’s Witch by Damian Serbu #paranormalromance #LGBTQ @DamianSerbu @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: The Vampire’s Witch

Series: The Realm of the Vampire Council

Author: Damian Serbu

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 04/19/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: M/NB

Length: 98500

Genre: Pararnormal, LGBTQIA+, Established couples, vampires, witches, college, reunited, grief, men with pets, dark, ghost, immortal, magic

Add to Goodreads

Description

The Vampire’s Witch welcomes readers back to the world of vampires, witches, and magic.

Jaret Bachmann’s life spins out of control after a handsome stranger saves him from an attack along the bike path on Lakeshore Drive. His estranged high school sweetheart stalks him, the enraged ghost of his ancestor destroys his family, and his bike path savior-cum-lover abandons him after learning Jaret is a powerful witch.

A horrific family tragedy sends Jaret into deep depression. Struggling to find his way afterward, Jaret searches for comfort in the unlikely friendship of a secret vampire community.

Over time, Jaret’s friendship with the vampires strengthens and he forges a new family connection with Xavier, Thomas, and Catherine. But he and Anthony are estranged, and though their souls are entwined, their hearts are another matter.

Xavier, Thomas, Anthony, and Catherine return in this, the third book in The Realm of the Vampire Council series and a sequel to The Bachmann Family Secret.

Excerpt

The Vampire’s Witch
Damian Serbu © 2021
All Rights Reserved

19 April 2010

Chicago, Illinois

Even after three years, living in a big city still creeped Jaret Bachmann out. He hated his fear of dark corners and alleys, not to mention his concern about getting beat up as a gay guy. Straight guys, no matter how peaceful they looked, worried him. In broad daylight, he felt more secure as long as he watched where he went, kept his head up, and stayed in populated areas. And he loved living in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Being in a metropolitan area was so much better for him than small town Colorado. Still, he only had a little light available before the sun went down tonight.

He giggled at himself to release some tension. His mind went to some weird place about the sun setting, like a vampire might jump out and attack him. As if.

Heading out to meet his best friend, Brady, Jaret relaxed once he got to the path along Lake Michigan. He passed several joggers, almost got hit by a bike, and meandered his way south. He contemplated taking the “L” but had plenty of time to walk. The spring weather warmed up Chicago, still a comfortable seventy degrees, even as the sun slowly descended in the west. The weather was perfect. Besides, he could always use the exercise.

Jaret felt safer and got his iPod out to search for music. He loved Lady Gaga; why not a little monster love? Or Train’s latest CD rocked. Still, he paused at “Relax” and grinned. That song totally kicked ass. Totally. And, he hadn’t listened to much of his favorite singer’s first album in a long time. If he loved Lady Gaga, then words couldn’t describe his adoration for Mika.

He popped in his earbuds and picked up his pace. He even danced a little, despite being in public and seeing the few passersby glancing his way as if he’d gone insane.

The path grew darker with the setting sun and the trees lining both sides of the trail. This dance mix steeled Jaret’s nerves. He wiggled his butt, jumped to the side, and smiled at a little old lady and her dog as they walked by.

A few yards later, he was alone. He fretted a little but cranked the music to ignore the world around him. To comfort himself, he reached into his pocket and rubbed the ruby necklace he always brought along for protection. All the Bachmann heirloom jewels empowered his witchcraft and kept him safe, and he loved the beautiful rubies most of all. In a pinch, he could always use his magic to ward anyone off. He’d never had to use his ability to defend himself, except from ghosts, but knew he could if needed. Being a witch had its advantages.

Jaret almost missed the group of four guys sitting off to the side, watching the lake or something. He slowed when he glimpsed a bright-red shirt and thought of his boyfriend, Steve. He’d seen Steve earlier in the day, wearing this totally hot red T-shirt that clung to his chest and showed off his gorgeous biceps. He couldn’t remember the shirt exactly, though he thought it had a University of Nebraska logo on the front.

Jaret lurched to a stop when he bumped into someone. “Uh, oh. Sorry. I didn’t see you.” He glanced up to see another guy with a pretty big belly, yet tons of muscle, not to mention a wicked scowl.

The guy yanked out Jaret’s earbuds and glared down at him. “Fuckin’ fairy. Watch where you’re walkin’.”

“Sorry,” Jaret barely whispered and started shaking. He’d heard about gay bashings but had never experienced one. In fact, he had never been in a fight. He could see this dude meant him harm by the way he loomed over him.

Jaret reached into his pocket for the necklace. His shaking hands got the better of him, and his finger got stuck in the little coin pocket instead.

Growing more afraid, Jaret stepped to the side to continue until the guy moved with him and blocked his way. Jaret stared at the familiar logo of Northwestern football on the purple T-shirt. He often saw the very shirt on Steve. This guy was enormous. Not good.

His heart racing, Jaret scanned for anyone nearby watching. He spotted the group of four guys out of the corner of his eye. Any chance for help evaporated when two of them moved closer, and he saw they, too, wore Northwestern football gear.

One of them grinned and clapped. “Caught yourself a little fag, Mikey? What you gonna do with him?”

Mikey laughed and crossed his bazooka-sized forearms over his chest. Then he reached down and petted Jaret on the head like a dog. Jaret had little time to act to protect himself. There was no time to get the necklace out. He shot to the side to move around the asshole, but the guy put out his leg and tripped Jaret. He sprawled onto the path, skinning his elbow.

Jaret’s heart pounded as fear almost overwhelmed him.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Damian Serbu lives in the Chicago area with his husband and two dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys. He has published The Vampire’s Angel, The Vampire’s Quest, and The Vampire’s Protégé, as well as Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon and Santa Is a Vampire with NineStar Press. The Bachmann Family Secret is scheduled for release July 2020. Keep up to date with him on Facebook, Twitter, or at http://www.DamianSerbu.com.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

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

Blog Button 2

Release Blitz: Buried by Lizzie Strong #LGBTQ #paranormal @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Buried

Series: The Secrets Witches Keep, Book One

Author: Lizzie Strong

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 04/19/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 88400

Genre: Pararnormal, LGBTQIA+, Witches, Swamps, Frankenstein monster, Necromancy, Sisterhood, Deep friendship, asexual

Add to Goodreads

Description

Quinn’s mistake wasn’t killing Leo Ashwood; it was bringing him back. Now in a cat and mouse game with a monster she created, Quinn learns what her powers are truly capable of.

Brought together by a vision, Cecelia and Quinn are entangled in the chase for Leo Ashwood. Cecelia, a seer who is known for sticking her nose into other’s business for their better good, is now sent into a world unknown to her with no defense against the monster, her own powers, and the budding feelings for Quinn. Maggie, however, was merely at the wrong place at the wrong time and left with no other choice but to join forces. An up and coming YouTube superstar struck down by sickness, her voice is both her magical survival and death wrapped in one.

These three young, untrained witches will have to lean on each other if they want to survive. Navigating the world of humans, the new reality of witches, and the horror of magic, they might just make it… if they can keep their secrets to themselves.

Excerpt

Buried
Lizzie Strong © 2021
All Rights Reserved

10-39 at 37 E street, suite 1802, back-up required.

“Quinn Gwenevieve Foster, age 16, born Idabel, Oklahoma… you sure are a long way from home.” Pressure built up at the back of my head as the voice of the detective clawed at the insides of my ears. The pressure dulled but never released as I opened my eyes, which was an effort in itself. My eyelids were the weight of cement bricks.

The windows fogged in the frosty interrogation room. The only light came from the sharp halogen bulbs and the long, thin window along the top of the wall. A female officer had chained my hands to the table, which forced contact with the harsh steel, stinging my skin.

“I want a lawyer,” I answered, my head hung to the right.

“Of course, and you can have one. While we wait for them, why don’t we talk?”

Tears spilled down my cheeks. Exhaustion bit into my muscles, turning my bones to putty. If I did not rest soon, I would pass out. I wasted too much magic in Leo Ashwood’s apartment. My aunt would not be pleased to hear how recklessly they caught me. The last time I was caught by human police, she yelled my ears raw. Out of love, out of concern and fear, it didn’t matter why she was furious with me. History showed time and time again that humans were not capable of mercy to witches. Granted, the detective had not accused me of being a witch…yet.

“I want a lawyer, sir.”

“It’s Detective Henry Smith, Miss Foster.” His face softened around the cheeks but not near his lips. The way one’s face softens when they are trying to convince someone smaller and more naïve of untrue things. His lips pursed tighter. He reminded me of Officer Blevens, the officer who dragged me out of the graveyard years ago. A man who tried to lie to my face about how much trouble I was in. I was found hip-deep in what looked like an empty grave… Well, it was an empty grave by the time they got to it. The true corpse fell apart piece by piece about thirty yards north of my arrest. Darlin foamed at the mouth when Winestra called her at about two a.m. to come to the police station. Officer Blevens looked me dead in the eye that night and gave me the same face Detective Smith gave me now. ‘It was just a slap on the wrist.’ Liar.

“I want a lawyer.” I learned my lesson from last time.

They didn’t even let me shower. I stank enough to make my eyes water and gag every time I moved. They washed my hands but crusty blood lurked under my nails. My hair was a ball of grease superglued to the top of my skull and left to drape around me. I’d never felt that gross in all of my life, and I once spent six hours drenched in rainwater and coated in graveyard soil. Her gravestone illuminated behind my lids: Melissa Keen, beloved mother and daughter, born in 1981, taken too soon. She had still been fresh; it was the whole reason I dug her up. The fresher the better. If I could bring her back, then I could bring back others…

It didn’t work out.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Born a Marine Brat I moved from state to state for much of my youth. Books were the one consistent thing in my life. Split between the high fantasy and war novels from my father and my mother’s deep love for horror novels, it was only a matter of time. From a young age I would fill up notebooks and word documents. Adaptability came in handy as I’ve worked in many different fields: food service, retail, education, special education, management. I kept coming back to books. In college I fully came out to my friends and family about my Pansexuality. Many were supportive but confused on what being Pansexual even was. I learned representation is key, but I also want to write books about fantasy, adventure, and monsters. My work is best described as a little bit spooky, a little bit magic, and a whole lot of fun.

Facebook | Instagram | Tiktok

Giveaway

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

Blog Button 2

Release Blitz: We Cry the Sea by Glenn Quigley #LGBTQ #historicalfantasy @Glennquigley @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: We Cry the Sea

Series: The Moth and Moon, Book Three

Author: Glenn Quigley

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 03/15/2021

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female

Length: 102500

Genre: Historical Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Action/adventure, Age-gap, Bears, Bartenders, Established couple, Illness/disease, Over 40, #ownvoices, Pirates, Sailors, Tattoos, Fishermen, Criminals, clockpunk

Add to Goodreads

 Description

After the explosive events of The Lion Lies Waiting, life has returned to normal for burly fisherman Robin Shipp. That is until the innkeeper of the ancient Moth & Moon approaches him with a surprising proposal, and an unexpected arrival brings some shocking news that sends Robin on a perilous journey alone.

While he’s away, his lover, Edwin, anxiously prepares for the birth of his first child with his friend, Iris. Her wife, Lady Eva, must travel to Blackrabbit Island for a showdown over the future of the family business. Meanwhile, Duncan nurses an injured man back to health but as the two grow close, the island’s new schoolmaster makes his amorous intentions clear.

Robin’s search for answers to the questions that have haunted his entire life will take him away from everyone he knows, across a dangerous ocean, and into the very heart of a floating pirate stronghold. Pushed to his limits, Robin’s one last chance at finding the truth will cost him more than he ever imagined.

Excerpt

We Cry the Sea
Glenn Quigley © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Finding a gull in one’s bathroom has a way of bringing into sharp focus just what massive beasts they truly are. They certainly appear large when harassing people at the seafront, or circling overhead, but coming face to face with one in a domestic setting really shows them in a whole new light. It wasn’t actually using the privy, of course, though its demeanour suggested it could have if it wanted to. Rather, it seemed content to simply sit there and wait out the bad weather.

It wasn’t until Robin Shipp approached that it began to caw and squawk furiously, flapping its wings with an air of indignity, as if protesting at him having the temerity to walk in without first knocking. Which, in all fairness to the gull, he had done, but then it was his lavatory and up till that point he’d never known it to be frequented by any type of wildlife whatsoever.

Despite his name, Robin had little affinity for, or interest in, birds. Especially gulls. He found them pests, for the most part. He was a fisherman and spent more time than he’d like trying to shoo them away from his catch. This one in particular was known to him as the Admiral, one of a pair of seagulls who fought a never-ending battle for supremacy of the harbour. Robin stood there, in the whitewashed room, shouting at the bird to leave for a good five minutes before accepting it wasn’t going to be quite so easy.

He slowly slipped off his woollen overcoat and held it open, advancing as cautiously as his enormous frame would allow, then flung it quickly over the toilet. The gull was not amused, nor was it shy in expressing as much. After some kerfuffle, Robin managed to bundle it up in his coat, fearful the whole time of injuring its wings. He didn’t like gulls, but he’d never be needlessly cruel or violent towards them either.

He wrestled the creature out of the room, across the narrow hall, and into his bedroom. The doors to his balcony were open. The method of admission, he suspected. He shook his coat open and the gull tumbled out, mewing loudly, before plodding to the balcony and flying away into the rain. It looked back to squawk at him one last time. An insult, Robin was certain. He shut the doors and sighed. He was late.

He pulled closed the front door of his tall, thin house and trudged down towards the harbour. He tugged his flat cap low over his eyes though the weather was already beginning to ease. With his meaty thumb, he rubbed the palm of his left hand. Injured the previous year, on the night of the winter solstice, it had never properly healed. His hand was always stiff now, with a deep ache and a white, weblike scar. Rubbing helped as he found it seized up if he neglected it too long, especially in cold weather. He’d been advised by the local doctor to keep rubbing it as often as possible as it kept the blood flowing, or some such.

Robin didn’t really understand the mechanics of it. He’d been eager to resume fishing after the worst of the winter season had passed but quickly discovered his efforts hampered by his injury. He tried to pass it off as a minor inconvenience, but deep down he knew it was serious. He’d been a fisherman all his adult life, and before. He’d started when he was a young boy after his father had died and he couldn’t imagine any other way of living, didn’t want to imagine it, even. The hurricane of the previous summer, just over a year ago, had turned his whole world upside down and while he couldn’t have been happier about it, the upheaval had been daunting. What he craved now more than anything was some peace and quiet.

With his bull neck, jug ears, and hooded eyes, Robin had never considered himself an especially attractive man, so quite what the undeniably handsome Edwin Farriner saw in him, he couldn’t rightly say. Yet there Edwin was, sheltering from the rain against a market hall pillar, waiting for him. He was tall, though not as tall as Robin, in his early forties, so ten years Robin’s junior, with receding and close-shaved ginger hair. His smile never failed to light up Robin’s heart.

“You’re late,” Edwin said. “He won’t be happy.”

“Ho ho! When is ’e ever ’appy?”

The rain stopped and the clouds broke. They stood gazing at the roof of the Moth & Moon, shielding their eyes from the midday sun. Atop the enormous inn, workers hammered nails and sawed wood. A framework was coming together—six sided and spacious enough to comfortably fit ten men. Robin pulled his cap lower and cupped a hand around his mouth.

“Oi! Duncan!” His deep voice carried clear across the little harbour. “Time to eat! Come on!”

From the rooftop, Duncan Hunger waved and began to climb down the many ladders strapped to the rain-slick tiles. The Moth & Moon was expansive and ever-changing. A hunk of wood, glass, and lime wash, which seemed to regularly sprout fresh bay windows, bud whole new rooms, and blossom balconies. Its roof, or rather roofs, rose and fell like the sea—a tiled wave here, a slate swell there—and took some skill to navigate. Duncan grasped one of the numerous chimney stacks and used it to swing himself around to firmer footing. When his boots finally touched the ground, he shook raindrops from his coat.

“You’re late,” he said.

“Only a little!” Robin said. “I ’ad a visit from the Admiral.”

“It’s all well and good for you two to swan up whenever the mood strikes you,” Duncan said, “but some of us have work to be getting on with.”

Robin chuckled again. Duncan’s natural state was irked, and he never needed a particular reason to complain. He cleaned all the lenses in his unique spectacles with a handkerchief. Small, round, and fixed with multiple thin armatures, they were of Duncan’s own design. He was forever fiddling with them, setting first one lens in place and then another. Robin wondered if Duncan would be forced to add even more arms with even more lenses as he grew older. Duncan was Edwin’s age but a couple of heads shorter. He was squat, burly, with wavy black hair, long sideburns, and an expression that indicated he had somewhere more important to be, so if you wanted him to stay, you’d better make it worth his while.

“’Ow’s it goin’?” Robin asked, pointing upwards.

“Slowly,” Duncan said, fixing the spectacles back into place on his button nose. “We should have been finished with the basic frame by now. The others are dragging their heels.”

“Nothing to do with you resetting the wood every ten minutes and telling everyone they’re doing it all wrong?” Edwin asked.

“Whoever could have told you such a thing?” Duncan asked. “It’s a gross exaggeration and a terrible slight on my good name. Can I help it if I’m a perfectionist? I want this new bell tower to stand the test of time, to be…”

Duncan trailed off and pointed out to sea. “That boat’s coming in a bit fast, isn’t it?”

Robin turned and squinted before reaching into the pocket of his long, navy-coloured overcoat from which he produced a battered copper spyglass. He extended it to its full length. The glass was a touch foggy, but it was enough to determine a single occupant at the helm of the lugger.

“Can you see who it is?” Edwin asked.

“No,” Robin said. “I can’t see ’is face. But whoever ’e is, ’e needs to slow down or ’e’ll run aground.”

Robin ambled down to the pier, quickly overtaken by the much sprightlier Edwin and Duncan. All three men frantically waved their arms and shouted, trying to alert the sailor to the danger. The sailboat began to turn, taking it away from the harbour and straight towards the headland. Straight towards the rocks.

With a terrifying crack that landed like a lightning strike, the boat splintered against rocky outcrops, and its occupant was flung into the water. Without a moment’s thought, Robin ditched his cap, overcoat, and jumper. He hopped around, pulling off his boots, before diving into the sea. Edwin followed suit. They splashed about in the choppy waters, unable to find the man.

“Robin!” Duncan said. “Over there! To your right! No, the other way… Starboard, man! Starboard!”

Robin kicked his massive legs furiously to avoid being dashed against the rocks himself. With one deep breath, he dived beneath the surface to search where Duncan had indicated, but there was no sign. Underwater, Edwin was pointing furiously. Robin turned to find the figure of a man floating limply. Together, he and Edwin grabbed the victim and brought him to the surface. Robin’s lungs were burning, and he gasped for air.

Once ashore, they lay the drowning man on his back. He was breathing and coughed up some seawater. Blood poured from his left eye, dying part of his white beard crimson. He was huge, as big as Robin himself. A crowd gathered around them. Robin brushed the man’s lank hair away from the wound.

“Easy, easy,” Robin said. “You’re safe now. What… Wait. Vince?”

“Hello, brother,” Vince said. His usually growling voice was weak and cracked.

“Let’s get him to the inn,” Edwin said.

“No,” Vince said, grabbing firmly onto Robin’s arm. “Too many people.”

“We’ll take you to my ’ouse, then,” Robin said. “It’s not far.”

They loaded Vince onto a borrowed cart and took him up the steep slope of Anchor Rise. He placed one huge arm across Edwin’s shoulders, the other across Robin’s, and together they all sidled through the blue front door of Robin’s home. Scarlet dots gathered on the black and white tiles of the hallway floor as blood dripped from Vince’s eye, yet still he stared at the oil painting on the upstairs landing. Once inside Robin’s front room, they put him by the fireplace and wrapped bandages around his head and leg. They would have to do until Doctor Greenaway could be summoned.

“I didn’t recognise you under all the hair,” Duncan said.

“Haven’t had much chance to get it cut,” Vince said. “Been busy.”

“Too busy to visit us, like you said you would.”

“Here now, aren’t I?”

Edwin handed him a mug of water and Vince sipped it, then pawed at his throat, obviously in some discomfort.

“How did you end up running aground?” Duncan asked.

Vince sipped his drink again but said nothing.

Robin frowned. “Vince? Did you ’ear ’im? What—”

Edwin coughed and placed his hand on Robin’s arm. “Let’s just give him time to get his head clear. He’s obviously had a terrible shock.”

Robin had only met Vince once before, around the same time he’d injured his hand. Before then, he didn’t even know he had a brother. They’d promised to stay in touch, and they did, after a fashion. A couple of short letters had been exchanged but nothing more.

“Well, you can stay ’ere as long as you like, of course,” he said. “My ’ome is your ’ome.”

“How’s he going to manage all those stairs with his leg the way it is?” Duncan asked. “You’d be better off staying with me, I suppose.”

Vince growled something approaching gratitude. “Help me up,” he said.

“You don’t ’ave to go right now,” Robin said, as he once more he let Vince lean on him.

“Hallway,” Vince said.

Robin guided him back out onto the black and white tiles. Vince pointed at the painting upstairs.

“Who’s he?”

“Oh, right, you never met ’im. It’s our dad, Captain Erasmus Shipp,” Robin said. “It were painted a few years before ’e died.”

Vince shook his head. “Can’t be Dad.”

“Why not?”

“Because just this morning, I saw that man in Wolfe-Chase Asylum.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Glenn Quigley is a graphic designer originally from Dublin and now living in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. He creates bear designs for http://www.themoodybear.com. He has been interested in writing since he was a child, as essay writing was the one and only thing he was ever any good at in school. When not writing or designing, he enjoys photography and has recently taken up watercolour painting.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Button 2

Release Blitz: Starting from the Top by Lane Hayes #rockstar #AgeGap @LaneHayes3 @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Starting From The Top

Series: Starting From, #5

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: March 8, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 83k

Genre: Romance, Age Gap, Rock and Roll, Hurt and Comfort, Bisexual, Contemporary Romance

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

The guitarist, the dad, and a band on the rise…

Johnny

A quiet place to live and some time to recharge before my band heads out on the road again sounds amazing. I wouldn’t mind a distraction too, but my new neighbor is off-limits. There are rules about not getting involved with your bandmate’s ex, right? And Sean isn’t my type anyway. He’s too bossy, too commanding, and he has way too much baggage. I’ve learned that it’s best to let go of the heavy stuff. So why am I so drawn to him?

Sean

Coming out later in life has taught me to protect my privacy at all costs. And while juggling a handful of businesses and two kids isn’t easy, I excel at the art of multitasking and keeping everything separate. But Johnny blurs those lines. He’s easy-going, sweet-natured, and cool. In short, he’s everything I’m not. I want to know all about him…starting from the top.

Excerpt

The cheery sound of family fun drifted through the house…the dog barking, cupboards closing, and a girlish squeal of delight. And more dog barking.

I chuckled at the chaotic homey cacophony. I would never have envisioned this was Sean’s life. He’d always seemed like a badass boss to me—not a man who’d wear an apron to bake cupcakes with his daughter while his son had a guitar lesson. His chocolate mussed hair and concerned parental frown made him look goofy and yet very…endearing. In a hot dad way.

Okay. Definitely time to go. I reached for the knob just as Sean did.

“I’ll walk you out,” he insisted, holding the door open.

I stepped onto the porch and blinked against the bright afternoon sun at the hilltop view of the city. “Wow. This is nice.”

“Yeah,” he agreed absently. “How was he?”

“Amazing. The next Chuck Berry.”

Sean sighed grumpily. “Less sarcasm, please.”

“Sorry, Dad.” I snickered. “He was great. I mean, he sucked, but I think he had fun. I told him to keep the guitar and practice on his own. If you want me to come back, I will.”

“Really? That’s good.” He stared at the horizon for a moment before glancing my way. “I wanted to—why are you smiling at me?”

“You’re fuckin’ covered in chocolate. It’s in your ear.” I made a face and tugged at my own ear.

He gestured at the apron. “Baking isn’t my thing.”

I flashed a megawatt grin at him. “Sure, it is. Are you decorating those cupcakes with anything besides frosting?”

“Sprinkles. You’re welcome to join us.”

“Thanks, but I don’t want to crash your family time.”

Sean inclined his head. “So…did he talk to you?”

“It took a little coaxing. Full disclosure…we played video games before we picked up the guitars. You’re not paying me, so I don’t really feel guilty. I just don’t want you to think it was a jam session from the start.”

“I know.”

“You know?” I repeated.

“I snuck in to see how you were doing. Hulk let you down. You might want to go with Iron Man or Captain America next time.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I snort-laughed, then sobered. “As for Parker…he’s a good kid. He’s shy, reserved, and likes organization. He seems like the kind of person who excels at things he can control. I bet he builds killer Lego sets. He might learn a few songs, but I doubt he’s a savant. You never know, though. Kids are sponges. They pick up stuff you and I would never catch.”

“That’s true. I’m impressed. And you’re right…about everything. He keeps a lot inside. He’s always been that way. Very thoughtful and methodical. He sets a high bar for himself. He likes to get things right the first time. He does well in school, but he’s struggling with the transition to junior high. His old friends tried out for sports and he opted not to. It’s left him feeling ostracized and alone. Hormones don’t help. I thought it might be good for him to spend time with someone cool who—”

“Cooler than you?”

“Well, let’s not get crazy.” Sean flipped the corner of his apron and let out a self-deprecating laugh. “I just…thanks for doing this. I appreciate it.”

“No problem. Hey, if he really is interested, we can do this regularly. My schedule is light for the next couple of months, but it’ll get crazy again in late spring.”

“I’ll call you.”

“Text me. I hate phone calls.” I held out my right hand and snatched it away a second later, narrowing my gaze. “You have frosting on your nose.”

“My nose?” He wiped his hand over the apron, then across the tip of his nose. “Did I get it?”

“No. Come here. Let me help you.” I stepped into his space and brushed the sugary goodness away.

“Did you get it?” he asked in a huskier than normal tone.

“Yeah, but it’s on your ear and your chin and…”

“Where else?”

“Here.”

I ran the pad of my thumb under this bottom lip. “Got it.”

I didn’t move. I should have, but something held me in place. I studied his features, noting the flecks in his eyes. I wondered what color they were…gold, green, brown? I traced a line at the corner of his mouth, rubbing the scruff of his neatly-trimmed beard. I stared at his full lips for a long moment before meeting his gaze. Then I inched closer and…kissed him.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards.

She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Bookbub

Get the Entire Series Here!

Giveaway

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

Blog Button 2

Release Blitz: Business and the Beat by Kellum Jeffries #LGBTQ #ContemporaryRomance @kellumjeffries @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Business and the Beat

Author: Kellum Jeffries

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 02/08/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 33800

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, gay, pan, rock star/musician, family issues, band shenanigans, slime attacks

Add to Goodreads

Description

Rutherford Fitzhugh, shy, repressed financial advisor, is happy to stay in his professional and personal rut. But his world gets shaken up when his new boss insists the firm take on more exciting clients and assigns Rutherford to Mak, the brilliant bassist and chief songwriter for the mega-popular rock band, Memo to Myself.

Mak Makana, extroverted prankster goofball, hasn’t had a serious or lengthy relationship in years. He learned early on in his band’s meteoric rise to fame that a lover he’d fallen hard for was more interested in his fame than him.

The sparks between the two men are immediate and intense, despite their disastrous first meeting when Rutherford walks into a gooey prank Mak meant for a bandmate. Rutherford discovers that Mak isn’t the spoiled, shallow rock star he expected, and Mak finds that Rutherford has a hidden artistic and quirky side. They can’t keep their hands off each other—even as they work to convince themselves it’s just a fling.

Rutherford’s never been able to please his conservative, traditional Virginian parents—or get them to accept his sexuality—and the sudden paparazzi attention brings their disapproval on full force. Mak’s got a supportive family back home in Hawaii and another one in his bandmates, neither batting an eye at his pansexuality. But that early experience with a fame-collector makes him wary of opening up to anyone who’s not birth family or band family.

Mak and Rutherford’s very different lives threaten to pull them apart, but could it be they’re different enough to be perfect together?

Excerpt

Business and the Beat
Kellum Jeffries © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Rutherford’s morning started off with a reassuring sameness—same boiled eggs for breakfast, same dogwalk around his neighborhood, same quick skim of the Financial Times during his morning Lyft ride—and there was absolutely no warning that by noon he’d be flustered, turned on, and temporarily dyed blue.

He arrived at work his usual half hour early. It was calm and quiet then, and he had a few peaceful moments to sit with his first cup of tea of the day and start looking through his portfolio of clients, making sure he’d checked in with each of them recently enough to keep them well informed and happy. (This was a tricky balance; some clients were annoyed by frequent contact, some enraged by any lengthy absence of contact, and, of course, there were a few who would find something to be peeved about regardless.)

Rutherford wrote up a schedule of check-in calls to make and started looking through the first client’s current investments, checking on the returns and pondering the fact that said client had a child reaching college age soon. Would tweaking her portfolio in light of that be advantageous? And just when he was settling into deep thought, doodling flowers on his legal pad as his brain ticked over possibilities, Hurricane Jen blew into the office.

He winced—he liked Jen, somewhat reluctantly, but she was loud.

“Heeeeeeeeeey you!” she bellowed, and he sighed as his mental train of morning productivity not only derailed but fell spectacularly off a cliff, hit bottom, and caught fire.

“Hello, Jen.”

He’d wondered, the first few times she greeted him with a “Hey you,” if she was being intentionally rude to him since she seemed to remember everyone else’s name. But when he’d reintroduced himself after several weeks of this, she’d wrinkled her nose and said, “I swear I know your name, I’m sorry, I just— It just doesn’t seem like you! It’s so stuffy! Sorry, I don’t mean to insult your name, you probably love your name, and it’s certainly elegant and everything, and argh, I’m a dick.”

He’d blinked at her, astonished she thought his name too stuffy for him—he was well aware most people thought of him as, well, stuffy. (He was also astonished she felt comfortable blurting “I’m a dick” by way of apology, but the boss’s daughter had certain prerogatives.)

“I, uh, I don’t love my name,” he’d said. “‘Hey you’ is…rather nice.” And since then, he’d been oddly fond of her.

Today, though, in addition to completely ruining his concentration, she was making him nervous. She didn’t come into the office all that often; she was in charge of schmoozing prospective clients, which kept her on the road a good deal. When she did come in, it tended to be for all-hands-on-deck things: staff trainings and the like. Rutherford snuck a look at his online calendar, but he knew before he checked there was nothing like that today. So why was she here?

“What brings you here today?” he asked, but she added to his worry by grinning and making a lock-turning gesture in front of her lips, then striding off to her dad’s office.

“Oh god,” Rutherford murmured to his computer screen. There’d been rumors flying around lately about the old man’s retirement. Rutherford had tried to discount them, but…he wasn’t so sure now.

MacKenzie from the next office stuck her head in his doorway, pointed the way Jen had gone, and did some frantic gestures he assumed were mime for “what is happening?” He shrugged, and she frowned and popped back out again.

He slid down in his chair, put his hands over his face, and whispered, “I hate change” into the dark of his palms.

And sure enough, a few seconds later, an “Everyone to the meeting room” alert popped up on the office IM.

Rutherford grabbed a pad and pen and headed for the hallway; bad news was always a bit more palatable when he had some paper to cling to. He met MacKenzie on the way, leaned down, and murmured, “Two pencils,” in her ear.

“Crap, thanks,” she said and grabbed the pencils out of her short Afro. Sometimes by the end of the day, she had five or six.

They reached the meeting room and grabbed seats. And once everyone had filed in, Jen patted her dad’s shoulder and said, “Don’t leave ’em hanging,” and Rutherford barely managed not to groan aloud.

Mr. Wozniak stood up, said, “Yep, I’m retiring. Nope, we’re not letting anybody go. Yep, I am going to do a shitload of fly-fishing,” and sat down.

As bosses went, he’d always been admirably succinct.

The room was silent for a moment, awkwardly so—what did one say in response to that? And then Jen stood up and talked about how her father had founded the firm on the principles of emphasizing ethics, hiring the best people, and treating them very well. How their employee retention rate (“and our long tradition of not getting caught up in hideous scandals!”) proved these principles worked, and how she planned to continue on the same path.

Oh, good, it was going to be Jen. Rutherford had worried the firm would be sold. Jen, while noisy, was at least familiar and liked.

He’d begun to relax a little when Jen’s speech took a turn.

“While most of you will keep your same client load, I do plan to shake things up a bit. I’m planning to start pitching clients in the entertainment industry—we’ve got a longstanding industry halo for ethical business, let’s add a little buzz as well.”

That certainly got a buzz going in the room at least, but she held up a hand. “I’ll share details with those of y’all who are gonna be involved. Meanwhile, let’s start planning a massive retirement party.”

Rutherford tuned out for the rest of the talk, sketching tiny birds in the margins of his legal pad while he mulled over what this might mean for him. He had every intention of staying. Surely, his job wouldn’t change significantly since there was zero reason for Jen to drag him, of all people, into the new “entertainment industry” focus. However, someone his own age taking over the company would certainly send his parents into another “We can’t believe you’re happy with this career…plateau” rant.

He sighed and then startled, realizing only when Jen’s hand landed lightly on his shoulder that people were starting to clear out of the room.

“Hey, you,” she said, grinned, and patted his shoulder. “Let’s talk.”

Oh no.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Kellum Jeffries is a bisexual Southern librarian, lucky enough to have a supportive fellow-writer partner and a fabulous dog. She knits socks, gives excellent shoulder rubs, and can touch her nose with her tongue. She loves to write about all kinds of people finding themselves, finding love, and finding the nearest Waffle House.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | eMail

Giveaway

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

Release Blitz: Sticks and Stones by Steve Burford #thriller #LGBTQ @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Sticks and Stones

Series: Summerskill and Lyon, Book Three

Author: Steve Burford

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 02/08/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 69600

Genre: Contemporary Police Procedural, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, crime/thriller, family-drama, murder, drug dealer, school, politician

Add to Goodreads

Description

“He’s a thug… a really nasty piece of work.”

When young Clayton Kerry, member of a notorious Worcester family, is found dead on an abandoned factory site, it looks like an accident. Some even say it was what he deserved. But headteacher Alun Blake’s refusal to sugarcoat the truth about the pupil he excluded causes outrage in the local community and sparks a vendetta against him that rapidly spirals out of control threatening both his life and that of his daughter.

When Detective Inspector Summerskill and Detective Sergeant Lyon investigate, they find Clayton’s death was by no means as clear cut as it had seemed and that they are at the start of a trail that will take them into the heart of a school and far beyond the boundaries of their city, to crime on a national scale.

As they uncover what really happened, Summerskill and Lyon are brought face-to-face with uncomfortable truths about their own lives and relationships. Personal loyalties are tested, and before the case is through, at least one more person will die.

Sticks and Stones is the third in the Summerskill and Lyon series of police procedural novels.

Excerpt

Sticks and Stones
Steve Burford © 2021
All Rights Reserved

“And some sad news just in. A tragic accident today on the site of one of the county’s oldest landmarks has resulted in the death of a Worcestershire schoolboy. Fifteen-year-old Clayton Kerry was killed when one of the walls of a building on the site of the old William Fitzmaurice brewery collapsed.

“The Fitzmaurice brewery, once the producer of some of the county’s most prestigious beers and ciders, has been a familiar site on the banks of the River Severn for as long as anyone in the county can remember. For decades, however, it has been closed and deserted, its buildings neglected and crumbling. All attempts over the years to procure the site for redevelopment have been blocked by legal wranglings within the Fitzmaurice family.

“James Fitzmaurice, oldest surviving member of the brewing family, today said that he and his family were deeply saddened by the death but that they could take no responsibility.

“We’ll have more on that story in our local news bulletin later this evening. And now, over to Duncan Lewis with today’s weather…”

The picture on the screen changed to an earnest young weather forecaster in glasses, smiling in front of a map of the country even as a mass of CGI storm clouds crept in from the west.

“Tragic accident.” The man in the bed yawned, muted the television, and carelessly tossed the remote control to one side. “It was hardly going to be an amusing accident or a laughable misadventure, was it?”

Sitting on the other side of the bed, Dave Lyon paused in the act of pulling on his trousers. “And is that all you’ve got to say about it?”

The man he’d addressed gave one of his typical crooked smiles, laced his hands behind his head, and lay back against the large pillows. The sheets were pulled down low over his stomach, and Dave didn’t doubt that their position and the pose had both been deliberately chosen to afford him a good view of the body he was getting ready to leave. It was a great body. “What do you want me to say?” Sean Cullen asked. “That I’m heartbroken over the death of some kid I’ve never even met? Touch hypocritical don’t you think?”

“You’re an MP. I thought that was part of the job description.”

Cullen smiled again. Dave’s barb hadn’t pierced his thick politician’s skin at all. But then Dave hadn’t thought for a second it would. “And you’re a detective sergeant. Didn’t you detect anything about that report?”

“What do you mean? It was an accident. The report didn’t say anything about suspicious circumstances.”

Cullen tutted slowly, clearly enjoying himself. “You heard them say the old Fitzmaurice brewery has been closed for years, and I mean years. Even I used to slip through its fences and hide in the buildings when I was a kid.”

“Bunking off from your posh public school for a crafty fag with the lads?”

“I was never one of the lads, David, and even if I had been, I wouldn’t have wanted them with me while I was enjoying my cigarette and a copy of Zipper or Vulcan or whatever I’d managed to get my hands on. Anyway, these days the old Fitzmaurice brewery has got more barbed wire around it than the nearest HMP but it’s still notorious as a hangout for kids drinking and taking God knows what. Which means, the victim of our tragic accident would have had to walk through several very obstructive fences and have failed to notice several very prominent warning signs before he made it to the buildings where he was no doubt in the act of doing something very naughty before a ton of bricks fell on his trespassing little head.” Cullen assumed an expression of mock surprise. “I know my constituency, sergeant. Don’t you know your beat?”

Annoyed with himself and with Cullen, Dave was damned if he’d show it. Now he thought about it, he did remember some talk back at the Foregate Street station about the brewery, but he was still comparatively new to the area, and neither the name nor the reputation of the place had struck a chord when he’d heard that television report.

Cullen, of course, made no allowances. The product of an Oxford education, where he had been on a winning Boat Race team, and of an adversarial parliamentary system where he had been, when elected to the House of Commons over a decade previously, one of the youngest MPs in the house, Sean Cullen was an extremely competitive man. And that competitiveness, Dave was discovering, extended all the way into his personal life.

Dave took some comfort from the image of the young public school boy Cullen had been, sneaking off to abandoned warehouses to smoke and enjoy gay wank mags. It was good to remember he hadn’t always been the high-profile, smug arse he was now. “Well, whatever he was doing, I doubt it was going through his collection of gay porn.”

“You think kids have changed so much?”

“No. But they do have the internet. Any young lad these days can pleasure himself blind in the comfort of his own home. Straight or gay.”

Cullen reluctantly conceded the point. “Mind you, it wasn’t all just about the fags and mags.” He yawned lazily, like a self-satisfied cat recalling an empty carton of cream.

Dave buttoned up his shirt, began the search for his shoes, and refused to give Cullen the satisfaction of asking what he meant by that. How was it you could only ever find one shoe when you were trying to leave a guy’s bedroom? “Why’d you even want the television on anyway?” he asked as he searched. “You trying to impress me with the size of your screen?”

“I thought I already had impressed you. And I was hoping,” Cullen went on, before Dave could reply, “to catch something about my Fitness First initiative. I did an interview about it yesterday for the local news. They said it might be on today. We’ve probably missed it. Or it’s been dropped in favour of the tragic accident. I’ll check again later.”

“Want to see how good your profile looks on the television?”

Cullen smiled, the sheet over his body slipping down another inch, almost accidentally. “I know how good it looks on television.”

Yeah, I’ll bet you do. Like the body, Sean’s was a great profile. With those cheekbones, there had to be aristocracy somewhere in his family bloodline. “I’m only surprised you haven’t got a mirror over the bed.”

Cullen yawned. “Too seventies. And it would get in the way of the cameras.”

Missing shoe found, Dave stood, reached for his jacket, and forced himself not to look up at the ceiling over the bed. A joke. Just a joke. Don’t give him the reaction he wants. “I’ll see myself out, shall I?”

“I think you know the way by now.”

At the bedroom door Dave stopped, hand on the handle, and looked back. Cullen’s eyes were closed as if he was already drifting into sleep. “You never ask me to stay.” It was a simple fact, calmly stated.

Cullen didn’t open his eyes. “Would you?”

Dave considered. “No. See you later.”

“I look forward to it.”

Neither man suggested when or where that might be.

This had been their third hookup at Cullen’s house since that night they had walked out of Gallery 48 together, and this was pretty much the way it had ended the previous two times. Dave couldn’t see that changing any time soon.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Steve Burford lives close to Worcester but rarely risks walking its streets. He has loaded conveyor belts in a factory, disassembled aeroplane seats, picked fruit on farms, and taught drama to teenagers but now spends his time writing in a variety of genres under a variety of names. He finds poverty an effective muse, and since his last book has once again been in trouble with the police. (He would like to thank the inventor of the speed camera.)

Giveaway

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

Blog Button 2

Release Blitz: A Little Fairy Dust Anthology by Mell Eight @MellEight @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: A Little Fairy Dust

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/04/2021

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 141700

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, betrothed, Brownies, disabilities, fairy godmother, fairy tales, folklore, genderfluid, knights, magic/magic users, men with children, military/soldiers, psychic, psychic ability, royal ball, royalty, shifters, soulmates, sweet, teacher, war, wedding, wizards

Add to Goodreads

Description

Nine tales of magic, love, and a little fairy dust: A military posting at the Rapunzel Tower to avoid war in The Tower; a Brownie that just wants to do something right in Cleanly Wrong; a dream of love unfulfilled in A Heart’s Dream; saving the victims of an evil witch in The Red Apple Witch; a boy who just wants to go to the ball in Cinder-Elle; a cursed kingdom and search for lost love in The Curse; a thief and his fairy godparent with different ideas about love in Happily Ever After; a lightning strike, a lost egg, an ancient battle, and love at first spark in Thunderbird; and a prince trapped, knowing his true love will never save him in The Beast.

Excerpt

A Little Fairy Dust
Mell Eight © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Excerpt from the first story, The Tower
“And now, Prince Haines will pick the person who will be honored with the Rapunzel Posting!” General Darien called out loudly, his parade voice easily carrying over the noise of a few hundred men and women enjoying the annual feast. The room immediately quieted. Every year the officers and select few enlisted who were receiving an honor came together for a thank-you and award ceremony, but only every seven years was the Rapunzel Posting awarded.

Ishiah watched as Prince Haines stood from his place on the dais, where all the highest officers had been seated for the ceremony, and walked around the table until he was standing in front of the plinth holding a golden bowl. The bowl was easily deep enough for a baby to bathe, solid gold, and encrusted on the outside with gemstones, and it matched Prince Haines’s outer appearance perfectly. Haines had golden-colored hair he kept pulled back from his face with a ruby-colored ribbon. His hand, as he lifted it above the bowl and hesitated there as if to drum up more drama, had a gemstone ring on every finger.

Those in the room held their collective breath as Haines dipped his fingers into the golden bowl. For the last seven days, the plinth and bowl had been standing in the entrance to the officers’ mess hall where any officer interested in the Rapunzel Posting could drop a slip of paper into it with their name on it. Ishiah had walked around that bowl before and after every meal for seven days straight. He hadn’t put his name in, but he hadn’t needed to. He was just as capable of reading the winds of his political fate as anyone else in the kingdom.

It was with no surprise to Ishiah that Haines pulled out a piece of paper and read out: “First Lieutenant Ishiah Fitzsimons!”

The room didn’t erupt into cheers as it would have for someone who actually wanted the post. Even the lowest enlisted man or woman in the room knew who Ishiah was. Fitz, meaning bastard child of royalty, and Simons, meaning the child of King Simon. Born to a mistress not even two months after Haines’s own birth, Ishiah was a constant reminder of the king’s infidelity to the political animals in the kingdom. He was also a second potential heir to the throne. With Prince Haines trying to solidify his status now that his wife was pregnant, Ishiah knew it was inevitable that he would be shuffled off somewhere. It was only a coincidence that the Rapunzel Posting had come due this year, and the convenience of it must have made changing all the slips of paper in the bowl to carry his name instead of the rightful candidates a worthy endeavor.

Ishiah stood from his seat at the back of the room and walked through the whispers and the tables toward the stairs that led up to the dais. He looked almost nothing like Prince Haines. Where Haines was golden, Ishiah was dark. His hair was black and was shaved tightly to his head on the sides according to military regulations, but he had allowed the wide strip on the top of his head to grow extremely long in the style of the eastern barbarians. The military allowed the enlisted barbarians to keep their ceremonial hairstyles or risk a potential uprising of the eastern territories, and many non-barbarian soldiers had chosen to copy them. Ishiah had originally done it to prove to the court that he was no prince—a prince wouldn’t dare emulate the barbarians—and had ended up liking the hairstyle enough to keep it. Tonight, his long hair was thickly plaited and the tail of the braid rested between his shoulder blades. His skin was tanned like his mother’s had been, the color of wet sand along the southern coast where his mother had been from before meeting King Simon. Only his eyes, gray shot through with blue streaks and wide in his face, proved his heritage. He shared his eyes with King Simon and Prince Haines.

Gray met gray as Ishiah climbed the stairs onto the dais and bowed to Prince Haines.

“Rise, soldier, and be honored,” Haines said loudly enough to be heard over the soft whispers of the gossipers that had begun to fill the room. “First Lieutenant Ishiah Fitzsimons, you have been honored with the posting in Rap Tower in the Zel Mountains. You hold this prestigious duty to guard our lands from the western invaders. For seven years, seven months, and seven days, you will be watching for any sign of the returning hoard, and you will be studying. The tower has been provisioned with every textbook needed so when your posting ends you will be prepared to take on the mantle of colonel and lead this army to victory!”

He paused and it took Ishiah a moment to realize Haines was waiting for a response.

“I am honored to be chosen,” Ishiah replied because that was the only thing he could say. “I will execute my duty faithfully and with diligence.” He bowed again.

“Then come, join me for a toast and some dessert.” Prince Haines gestured to the seat at the table that had remained ceremonially empty throughout the banquet. Ishiah walked over to it and stood behind the chair until Haines had retaken his seat. Ishiah sat and servants immediately entered the room bearing dessert trays.

“Congratulations, Lieutenant,” General Darien said from Prince Haines’s other side once the chatter around the room had risen enough that it would be difficult to hear what was being said on the dais. General Dairen was smiling at Ishiah, but there was a hard glint in his eye indicating he was aware of the political maneuvering that had gotten Ishiah the posting.

“Thank you, General,” Ishiah replied.

They fell silent as plates of cake and glasses of champagne were placed in front of them. Prince Haines lifted his glass first.

“To Lieutenant Ishiah, who I know will be the most successful officer to come out of the Rapunzel Posting.”

Those who could hear Haines also lifted their glasses in a toast. Ishiah took a long sip of the champagne, hoping to let the resentment he could feel bubbling up in his chest pop along with the bubbles in his drink. The dais was silent after that as they all applied themselves to their cake. Only once everyone else was distracted by other conversations did Haines fully turn toward Ishiah.

“I am sorry, Ish. I know this isn’t what you would have chosen,” Haines began, his voice soft so they wouldn’t be overheard.

“Of course it’s not, Hay,” Ishiah replied, his voice tight with the anger he was trying to keep suppressed.

Haines shook his head firmly as if he needed to brush away Ishiah’s feelings in order to finish what he had to say. “There were whispers at court. The malcontents unhappy with some of the policies Father and I have been implementing were talking about replacing us with you.”

“Hay, those whispers started the day father announced to the court that I was his child,” Ishiah replied, his anger making his words more of a growl than actual syllables. “Just admit that you’re scared and instead of coming to talk to me about a solution you hatched this scheme instead.”

“Fine!” Haines snapped, although his voice still managed to remain quiet. “Of course I’m scared. Victoria is three months pregnant and extremely vulnerable. I want my child to have a chance to be born, not murdered in the womb by some idiot who wants to put you on the throne instead of me. I only had a few options, Ish, to remove you as a threat. I could have killed you, of course, but that wasn’t an option I was willing to consider. Father suggested making you an ambassador to one of our trading partners across the ocean, but I know you would have hated that. Think about it, Ish. Seven years and you’ll come out of it a full colonel with a big enough salary and enough prestige you can settle down comfortably anywhere in the country. When General Darien suggested you as a good candidate for the posting, Father and I agreed.”

After seven years of being out of the spotlight of the court, Ishiah would be all but forgotten by the malcontents. Haines would have cemented himself as the heir and his child as next in line. And, if Ishiah chose to live somewhere far away from the capital after the posting was over, his status as bastard son of the king would be all but forgotten.

And all of it had been neatly thrust on him in a way that left zero room for his refusal.

It took a moment for Ishiah to bury his anger again. Raising a fist toward Prince Haines would get him put in jail, which would be even worse than being put in the tower for seven years.

“You still should have talked to me about it first,” Ishiah said once he was certain his voice could remain soft enough to keep their conversation private. “Instead of springing it on me like this. Treat me like a brother, Haines, instead of like the enemy you fear I’ll be turned into.”

“You’re right.” Haines let out a heavy sigh. “You are right,” he repeated. “Forgive me?”

Ishiah frowned at Haines for a long moment before sighing himself. “Eventually, Hay. Let me be angry for a little bit longer. I expect you’ll write me weekly and that my niece or nephew will start writing me as soon as they’re able.”

“I’ll write you, Father will write you, and I’ll make certain my child will write you. Ish, this posting is an honor, you know. We make sure not just anyone is picked for this. They have to be highly recommended by their peers and their superiors. If you hadn’t been, you’d be on a ship heading for an ambassador posting instead. Please, I know you didn’t want this, but be honored you are thought of so highly.”

“I will be, Hay. As soon as the anger and betrayal fade, I will be.” Ishiah cracked a tentative smile for Haines to show he meant it. “Besides, now you’re going to have to figure out someone else for the court gossips to focus their ire on. Who will be the next family scapegoat now that they don’t have my hair or the fact that I keep showing up to court events in my leather armor to harangue you over?”

“I’ll be certain to let you know who they pick and why,” Haines replied with his own hesitant smile.

Ishiah might be angry with him, but they were still brothers. They would get through this, and in seven years who knew what the political climate and their relationship would be like.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

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

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

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

Blog Button 2