Release Blitz: Boi Bride by Samantha Cayto #EroticRomance #Gay #EnemiestoLovers @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Boi Bride by Samantha Cayto

Book 1 in the Treaty Brides series

Word Count: 59,605
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 213

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
ENEMIES TO LOVERS
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
ROYALS

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Book Description


Being a bride is a state of mind, not of body.

The Kingdom of Moorcondia and the Marshlands have been warring for years. Now a treaty has been negotiated, but it needs to be sealed by a marriage between the ruling families. But the bride has bolted, leaving her brother, Taryn, to fill the role. There is nothing in the law of either country that says a bride has to be female.

Forced to dress in his sister’s gown and marry Soren, Taryn faces his fate with anger, resolve and frightening anticipation. While the Moorcondians are flexible in their sexuality, the Marshers are more prudish, plus Taryn has learned the hard lesson that an attraction to men is unnatural and wrong. His desire for Soren frightens him.

As a prince, Soren knows his duty and executes it without hesitation. As a widower, he looks forward to a new marriage, and his unexpected bride is very fetching. If only he can convince Taryn to put aside his fears and accept the pleasures of the marriage bed.

Taryn struggles to fill the role of a wife in the royal family, even as everyone else tries to adjust to the notion of a male bride. As the days pass, Soren comes to appreciate his bride more, and Taryn tries embrace his new role with enthusiasm instead of resignation. But politics is a treacherous place to navigate, putting their blossoming love in jeopardy.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of dubious consent, homophobia and attempted suicide.

Excerpt

“I won’t do it!”

The slap was delivered with less force than typical. Taryn didn’t even try to avoid it. He’d learned long ago that any show of fear only fed his brother’s cruel streak. Nor did he back away as Hobart leaned into his face.

“You will do as you are told.” Flecks of spit flew from Hobart’s mouth, the smell of beer wafting on his breath. Fury showed in his expression, testament to how desperate he must be.

Taryn tried to maintain his resolve over this order being suddenly thrust upon him, even as he knew he had no control over his own fate. “I can’t marry that man.” It was hard to believe he had to even say those words.

“You can and you will. It’s the only way the treaty can go forward. If our sister hadn’t run away to the nunnery, we wouldn’t be in this predicament.” Hobart’s gaze shifted to a spot somewhere in the distance, and his lip curled in a sneer. “She’d already taken her vows by the time I’d caught up to her.” He refocused his attention on Taryn. “A child of the chieftain has been promised to the Moorcondian prince. With Alissa gone, it’s down to you, as you are well past being a child.”

Taryn balled his hands in frustration. “My age is not the issue. He was promised a bride, not another man.”

Hobart huffed. “You do yourself too much credit. Truth be told, you’re more of a girl than Alissa ever was. Prettier, too.” His brother didn’t mean those words to be a compliment, and after years of such taunting, Taryn let them roll off his back.

“Tell that to the prince. You can’t hide my sex from him. He’ll see me for what I am even before he takes that frock off me.” He flung his arm in the direction of the maid who stood awkwardly with what should have been his sister’s wedding gown.

“Those fucking Moorcondians are a decadent lot. Men lie with each other all the time, I hear. The fuckers probably bed their horses, for all I know. And the wiseman has looked at their laws and ours. There is nothing that says a bride has to be female. I imagine the stupid princeling will find plowing your ass just as sweet as Alissa’s dried-up cunt—more so, likely. And I’m sure it’s a dream come true for you,” he added with a look of disgust.

Taryn again ignored the baiting and struggled to contain the tears that threatened to leak out. He was angry and scared in equal measure. The whole idea of his marrying the age-old enemy of his people was intolerable. He couldn’t blame his sister for seeking sanctuary from her fate. He was merely the unlucky victim of her self-preservation. She couldn’t have known what it would mean for him and probably wouldn’t have cared if she had. Their father hadn’t raised them to be generous with each other.

Taryn also had to admit that his brother was probably right about the Moorcondian prince. It was a very different society than his own—decadent, as Hobart had aptly put it. Their prince had ridden in with a colorful retinue and much fanfare. They were nothing like the earthier and frankly poor people of the Marshlands. Taryn couldn’t imagine how he was supposed to fit into such a world. Being the child of a Marsher chieftain mostly meant he had cleaner clothes and more to eat. His presence among the Moorcondians would be like a reed finch flitting around peacocks. If he’d been reviled by his own people, the Moorcondians would undoubtedly treat him with even more contempt.

This is so unfair! Railing against his fate out loud was worse than useless. If he put up any more of a fight, he’d be going to his own wedding with a black eye and split lip. Hobart was being restrained at the moment, likely so that Taryn would be as appealing to his groom as possible. Testing his brother’s patience would only end one way, however. He knew he was powerless in this, as with all other things. He’d learned to survive his family’s brutality, and he could cope with anything these foreigners threw at him. Besides, he’d heard that the opulent Moorcondian palace contained a vast library. If he were lucky, his new husband would give him the freedom to explore it.

That’s more like it. Finding some silver lining in any situation was what kept him sane. He would survive this misery as he had so many others. There was also some deep part of him that dared to be intrigued by the idea of being bedded by the prince, lending credence to Hobart’s taunt, though Taryn had snuffed that spark as soon as he’d become aware of it. Those kinds of thoughts weren’t to be tolerated. He didn’t want sex of any kind. Before Alissa had beat him to it, he’d been considering taking his own vows and living his life at the monastery. Anything would have been more appealing than living under the harsh judgment of his father and brother, plus he would have had time for scholarly pursuits. Now his future would be held by another powerful man—and one he knew nothing about.

There was no hope for it. Squaring his shoulders, he stared his brother down. “Very well. I will don that gown and greet my groom to be. If he rejects me, it won’t be my fault.”

Hobart’s expression turned as nasty as it got. “You’d better hope he doesn’t. The ceremony has already been delayed because you were off wasting the day away. If this treaty fails, I’ll stake you to the execution hill myself and revel in your slow death.”

His brother strode out of the tiny room Taryn had managed to call his own. Then he turned to the poor maid, who obviously wished she were anywhere else. He recognized the woman as the one who had served his sister. No doubt she was already frightened that she would be punished for her mistress’ escape. Certainly the guard who’d let her flee must have known tremendous regret the moment before Hobart had severed the man’s head from his neck. Taryn wouldn’t be the cause of trouble for her.

“Will that even fit me?” The pale green dress was trimmed with lace, luxurious for his people. But Anissa was a voluptuous woman. He lacked the essential shape to wear such a thing.

The maid gave him a shy smile. “I took it in this afternoon.”

So, others in our tribe knew my fate before I did. No surprise there. His father and brother treated him like a piece of furniture—and a useless one at that. It must have enraged them to realize that they needed him to seal the treaty, and bringing him into the discussion would never have occurred to them. He pushed back the hurt and took what little control he could. “I’ll need a quick bath.” He’d spent the day riding, mostly to stay clear of the Moorcondians, but he couldn’t go to his groom smelling like horse.

“Of course, sir. Leave it all to me.”

With his heart still lodged in his throat, and his stomach churning, he was happy for someone else to take command of the situation. The story of my life. I should never have been born to a powerful family.

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About the Author

Samantha Cayto

Samantha Cayto is a Boston-area native who practices as a business lawyer by day while writing erotic romance at night—the steamier the better. She likes to push the envelope when it comes to writing about passion and is delighted other women agree that guy-on-guy sex is the hottest ever.

She lives a typical suburban life with her husband, three kids and four dogs. Her children don’t understand why they can’t read what she writes, but her husband is always willing to lend her a hand—and anything else—when she needs to choreograph a scene.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Cold Blood by T. Strange #eroticromance #gay #BDSM @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Cold Blood by T. Strange

Book 2 in the Bound to the Spirits series

Word Count: 86,043
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 350

GENRES:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
CRIME
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
PARANORMAL
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description


Ghost wards are failing. Mediums are vanishing. Someone—or something—is stirringup the ghosts of Toronto. It’s up to psychic medium Harlan Brand to find out why.

After defeating a serial killer who could control ghosts, psychic medium Harlan Brand is feeling much more confident in his abilities working for the Toronto Police Service with his partner, Hamilton, as they protect the city from dangerous spirits.

He is expanding his social circle, however reluctantly, to include the other police mediums and Morgan Vermeer, another graduate from the Centre—a school for training psychic children.

Harlan and his boyfriend, Charles Moore, are continuing to explore BDSM, their relationship and Charles’ strange ability to shield people from ghosts.

Hoping to find answers about Charles’ power and the serial killer, Harlan returns to the Centre only to find that one of its ghost wards—magical symbols that spirits can’t cross—is broken, and it’s a mystery as to how and why.

The calm and order that Harlan has been building up in his life are shattered when wards start failing across the city and mediums begin to disappear, including one of his new friends and a student from the Centre.

Someone—or something—is stirring up the ghosts of Toronto.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and murder. It is best read as part of a series.

Excerpt

Hamilton sighed as he lowered himself into the driver’s seat of their police cruiser, settling in much more heavily than usual. “Matthew wants to meet you.”

Harlan was relieved that he was already struggling with his seatbelt. It gave him a moment to think about what Hamilton had just said.

Matthew? Do I know a Matthew? Hamilton’s—and, by extension, Harlan’s—sergeant was named Matthews, but Harlan had already met her.

The seatbelt clicked into place. He was out of time.

Hamilton sighed again, this time with an edge of laughter. “Matthew is my…” He mumbled something Harlan couldn’t make out. “You haven’t met him,” he added in his regular speaking voice.

Harlan waited, hoping Hamilton would elaborate, repeat himself or that the words would finally click into place as he ran them over and over in his mind.

Silence. Silence that he had to break if he was going to get anything else.

“Sorry… I didn’t quite—”

“Boyfriend!” Too loud this time, loud and sudden enough that it startled Harlan. “Matthew is my boyfriend. He wants to meet you.” Hamilton slid his gaze over to Harlan, a sly smile on his thin lips. “You can say no,” he added, making it clear he would prefer that.

Harlan would prefer that as well, so it worked out nicely.

Before Harlan could assure him that he was, of course, in complete agreement, Hamilton shook his head and sighed for a third time that morning. “Nah, I think we’re past that. At this point, it would just be a delaying tactic. He’s made up his mind.”

Harlan glanced sideways at Hamilton. Is Hamilton actually blushing? He hadn’t thought Hamilton was physically capable of doing that, never mind imagined that it might actually happen.

“And I’ve met your boyfriend,” Hamilton shot back, even though Harlan hadn’t spoken.

Technically true, but they hadn’t exactly met over dinner or another social event. Did life-and-death situations count more or less than sitting down for a meal together?

“And, by the way”—the blush Harlan had probably imagined was gone, and Hamilton was definitely smirking now—”I knew I recognized him from somewhere.”

Shit. Harlan had been dreading this conversation, hoping it wouldn’t happen. He’d hoped that Hamilton wouldn’t connect Charles, Harlan’s ghost-repelling boyfriend, to Mr. Moore, owner of Rattling Chains, a formerly haunted BDSM club. Apparently, that had been too much to ask for.

Hamilton opened his mouth, started to say something then seemed to reconsider when he saw Harlan’s pained expression. “I’m glad you’ve got someone,” he said, just as gruffly as usual, but with a hint of genuine fondness and even warmth. “You don’t have a lot of people.” He looked away while he took a left-hand turn, then laughed. “Of course you’d meet someone on the job.”

Harlan looked down at his lap. Yeah. It was pretty pathetic. Sure, he’d started going to the occasional police-medium group—basically a coffee klatch, not everyone sitting in a circle sharing their feelings the way he’d been dreading—but that was still connected to the police. He hadn’t even realized that Charles had the same connection. Fuck. Somehow, without realizing it, he’d become one of those adults who only lived for his job.

He blinked. Maybe it isn’t just me.

“What does Matthew do?” he asked, fully expecting he already knew the answer.

He was wrong.

“He’s an advertising consultant.” Hamilton shrugged. “I don’t know what that means, either.” He paused, then added, as though he’d read Harlan’s mind—more likely his expression—“I did meet him through a case, though.”

Harlan wasn’t sure if that made him feel better or worse. He didn’t know exactly how old Hamilton was, but he guessed his police partner was at least a few years older than he was. Was that what he had to look forward to—all his personal connections coming from his work for the rest of his life? He wasn’t sure why it bothered him, but it did. Maybe it was like that for everyone, and he just didn’t know—not that there was anyone he could ask.

Maybe Charles… He’d met a few of Charles’ friends, more or less in passing. He certainly hadn’t sat down and had dinner with any of them, the way Hamilton seemed to be proposing that he do with Matthew. He’d always assumed it was because he and Charles were still fairly new as a couple and—knowing Harlan—Charles hadn’t wanted to overwhelm him with a bunch of people all at once—but maybe he’d been wrong. Maybe he just didn’t want to introduce Harlan to anyone else in his life.

Knowing he was starting to spiral, he was relieved when Hamilton continued.

“I told him you don’t do phone calls and you wouldn’t want to text someone you don’t know”—Wow, Hamilton really will make a great detective one day—“so you can just let me know when you decide. Here.” He fished a piece of paper out of his breast pocket and handed it to Harlan. “This is Matthew’s number so you can give it to Charles. He’s invited too, if he’d like.” His smirk was back. “I think he still has a choice, unlike you.”

“Where are we going today?” Normally Hamilton didn’t tell him, and he didn’t ask, but it was the only change of topic Harlan could think of. “Is it another one of Samuel’s ghosts?” Killing the warped medium and serial killer Samuel Harkness had released most of the spirits under his control, but even eight months later they were still finding stragglers, like the ones that had led Harlan to their killer in the first place.

Interestingly, Harlan and Hamilton had found—and freed—almost three times as many wanderers as the other three medium pairs put together. It was as if even though he’d never met them, these spirits felt a connection to him for killing the man who had been controlling them.

This part of the job was a lot less glamorous when the ghosts they worked with weren’t leading him to a serial killer.

Kid,” Hamilton had laughed after a sweaty, dusty and frustrated Harlan had snapped something along those lines after a very long, hot day crammed in the crawlspace of an old house, trying to coax an especially nervous ghost close enough for him to either grab or calm it down enough for it to cross over on its own, “that’s the job. It’s not bringing down bad guys and epic showdowns. It’s…this. Hey, you’ve got a cobweb on your face.”

Harlan couldn’t help feeling that he’d peaked too soon, experienced more police-medium excitement than most of his colleagues got in a lifetime.

Crucially, he’d survived. Most police mediums didn’t live long enough to retire.

He still liked his job and found it fulfilling, rewarding and blah blah, but he couldn’t help feeling a little…let down. Restless, maybe. Not that he wanted to face anything like Samuel ever again! But…something. Something more than finding ghost, freeing ghost, next. Day in, day out, week after week. Just a little.

“Nah. Well—not as far as I know,” Hamilton amended. “Though apparently this is kinda a weird one.”

Harlan couldn’t help brightening, sitting forward in his seat a little. In light of what he’d been thinking, ‘weird’ was good. “Really?”

“Yeah, yeah, keep it in your pants.” Hamilton laughed.

“You gonna tell me or is it gonna be a surprise?” Even a few months ago Harlan wouldn’t have dared ask for information about the scene they were going to, and he certainly wouldn’t have expected an answer.

Now, it was almost like a game between the two of them—if Harlan really wanted to know, Hamilton would tell him, and if Hamilton really wanted to keep him in the dark until they got there—and Harlan was beginning to think that, sometimes at least, walking in without any preconceptions was helpful—he wouldn’t. And, occasionally, Hamilton himself knew very little or nothing about the haunting situation. Harlan was starting to suspect that was one of the reasons Hamilton hadn’t filled Harlan in ahead of time in the past. Hamilton didn’t like admitting when he didn’t know something.

“Mmm, this time I think I’ll let you see for yourself. Besides, we’re almost there.” Hamilton pulled up beside a record store, one of those hipster places that had been popping up in the most gentrified parts of the city. He got out, coming around the other side of the car and opening Harlan’s door when he didn’t get out immediately.

Harlan stepped onto the sidewalk to take a better look around. Hauntings—the ones not related to violent crime, which he doubted was the case here—tended to be in residential buildings. People died where they lived, not where they bought vinyl.

He glanced across the street—more shops, and they didn’t look like they had apartments over them. Neither did the record store or the others around it.

“There’s a haunting here?”

“I can double-check the address if you’d like,” Hamilton offered, smirking a little.

“No. That’s fine.” As far as Harlan knew, Hamilton had never got an address wrong.

Maybe the dispatcher had been wrong?

A young white man stepped out of the shop, waving at them. “Are you with the Graveyard Crew?”

It was a nickname for Toronto police mediums that Harlan didn’t really like—and, by the look on Hamilton’s face, he didn’t care for it either.

Hamilton pointedly glanced down at his uniform and badge. “We’re with the police.”

“Oh, good! C’mon in. We’ve been expecting you.” He turned and disappeared into the shop.

Harlan shot Hamilton a questioning glance.

Hamilton shrugged one shoulder, extending a hand to say after you.

He was suddenly hit by a barrage of noise—apparently the door was surprisingly soundproof. Harlan always thought the music in these types of places sounded bad, but this was bad.

Hamilton, never one to fuck around, headed straight to the man who’d welcomed them. “Can you turn the music down? Or off, maybe?” He had to raise his voice to be heard over the din.

The man shook his head. “No! That’s the problem.” He didn’t have Hamilton’s loud ‘cop voice’ and he was practically screaming.

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About the Author

T. Strange

T. Strange didn’t want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn’t stopped reading—or writing—since. She’s been published since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM. T.’s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue. Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She’s very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine.

Find T. Strange on Instagram.

 

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Release Blitz: Call It Love by Kristian Parker #Gay #eroticromance #historicalromance @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Call It Love by Kristian Parker

Word Count: 22,375
Book Length: NOVELLA
Pages: 98

Genres:

EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
HISTORICAL

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Book Description

 

Charlie didn’t believe in love…until he set himself free.

It’s 1922 and after his house guest Frank Harris ran away with the under-butler, Charlie Fitzwilliam has been summoned to face the music. With the vindictive butler Bennett now watching his every move and his father planning out his life for him, Charlie finally faces up to who he is and makes a bid for freedom.

Alone for the first time in his life, he meets Michael Leonard, a kind, caring bookseller. Convinced that sex with men is only for fun, Charlie experiences a summer of self-discovery that takes him to the English seaside, the doorstep of old friends and the arms of a lover who shakes his whole belief system.

But disowned by his parents and cut off from the life he knew, can Charlie make a future for himself…and will Michael be a part of it? Is this affair something that can be called love?

Reader advisory: This book contains instances of period-typical homophobia.

Excerpt

I threw the ball with the top spin that had sent our team to the top of the league last term. It flew past Mateus’ head and smashed into the wickets.

“Oh, well done, Charlie,” shouted my mother from the sidelines. Nothing would have persuaded her to roll up her sleeves and join in. I smiled across and waved.

“Time for a break,” said a breathless Tilly, my baby sister. She couldn’t have been any different from my mother if she’d tried and had instantly plumped for the back stop, tucking her skirts between her legs.

We wandered across to the table where mother held court to our host, Domingos Graça. He lapped up her brand of flirtation and would laugh uproariously every time she gave him a little bit of gossip from London.

I picked up a glass of whatever they had served and took in the view. Vineyards stretched as far as the eye could see, rolling down the hill to the river. We were in the Douro Province in the north-east of Portugal—Port was big business in these parts, and the Graça family were the kings of their castle.

Their villa loomed behind us, proclaiming to all the rewards of their labour.

“She put you to work immediately? Hard luck, old chap.” Agnes had sidled up next to me without any noise. She had always been able to do that, even when we were small.

“It’s good to see you, sis.”

“You too.” She planted a firm kiss on my cheek. “At least I’ll have some fun now. Mummy and Daddy’s crusade for cash is getting embarrassing.”

I turned to see my mother and Tilly regaling the Graças with yet another story.

“Tilly is doing the work for all of us.”

“She thinks she’s getting the youngest boy, the one you nearly decapitated with your demon bowl just now. She isn’t. He hasn’t given her a second glance. Poor soul.”

Tilly had always been the odd one out. Two years separated me and Agnes, but Tilly was a surprise after my parents had taken a boat to India. We’d been sent away to school by the time she came along.

“Where’s Father?” Agnes asked.

I couldn’t even bear to think about it. “He’s locked away in his room with Bennett. They’ve been in there ever since Bennett and I arrived this morning.”

It had been two weeks since I had thrown my schoolfriend Frank Harris out of our house in England after one of our maids had caught him in a compromising position with an under-butler. I’d spent that time skulking around the house, ignoring the whispers from most of the staff.

“And how did you find travelling with Bennett? Naughty Charlie can’t be trusted on his own,” Agnes said, a twinkle in her eye.

Bennett hated anyone in this world who wasn’t my father, and my uneasiness at him being a part of this trip had built as each day passed. He had been smugness personified, attending to my every need but always with an undertone of insolence.

“A bloody bore.”

We strolled along the edge of the lawn. Agnes took my arm, and I realised I’d missed my sister.

“Come on, then. What the hell were you doing?”

I absentmindedly kicked the head off a wildflower that had dared to invade this garden of order.

“I didn’t do anything. I stupidly invited Frank Harris to stay, and he ends up buggering the help.”

Agnes laughed. “And I suppose you were in bed reading your Bible.”

“If you must know, I was entertaining Elsie.”

Agnes stopped and scowled. “That common little tart from the shop? Oh, Charlie, you can do better than that, can’t you?”

“Of course I can, but you know, any port in a storm.”

We carried on walking. The breeze was a blessed relief as the sun grew high in the sky. I hoped there were more sedate activities planned for the afternoon.

“Port.” Agnes growled. “I’m sick to death of hearing about it, drinking it, examining it. You’d think it was sent by God himself.”

It wasn’t like Agnes to be so cranky. Mother and Father had impressed upon us the importance of this trip. If we didn’t get our hands on a sizeable share of the Graças’ business, we would struggle to keep our house in the Oxfordshire countryside. Since the war had decimated the workforce, farms were struggling to pay rents, meaning big country houses were closing at a rate of knots.

“Has it been so bad?”

She scowled. “Worse. Three weeks of rattling around here. Tilly sucking up like her life depends on it, Daddy laughing at jokes that simply aren’t funny and Mummy attempting to flirt is hideous.”

I glanced at mother and Domingos. He was telling her some tale, and she was all a-quiver.

“She’s doing fine.”

Agnes’ gaze darted to the terrace in front of the house. Mine followed and there stood my father. All six foot four inches of him with a face like thunder.

“Charles,” he boomed. Every eye turned to me.

“Uh-oh. You’re for it now,” Agnes said through gritted teeth.

“Here. Now,” Father commanded.

It felt like the longest walk of my life. I trudged across the cricket pitch and up the ridiculously long flight of steps to the terrace. Bennett stood at the top with that look he’d worn for the entire journey here. I wanted to wipe it from his face.

“He’s waiting for you in the drawing room.”

“He’s waiting for you in the drawing room…sir.”

I had no idea what rubbish he had fed to my father, but I would not be disrespected by him. I stood waiting for a response.

“Of course, sir.” The smugness never left him.

I found my father pacing in the lounge. In his early fifties, he had an imposing presence. Hardly any grey ran through his dark hair and moustache. I will admit that my stomach churned when I walked in.

“Father?”

He stopped pacing and glowered at me. “Homosexuality in my house? What are you trying to do, boy?”

“I had no idea what Harris was up to, and I threw him out when I discovered, along with that good-for-nothing Tanner.”

Frank would never understand the position he had put me in. I could have spit in his eye.

“Of course I don’t expect you to know what your friends are getting up to when your back is turned.”

My body relaxed a little.

“But as for you creeping up to the woods with Albert Brown…”

The room had started to spin. How did he know about Albert? “I don’t know what you’ve heard, but that’s a lie.”

Someone cleared their throat behind me, and I whirled around to see Bennett.

“I brought your post, sir,” he said walking past me and placing a bunch of envelopes on the desk.

“How dare you come in here when I’m having a private conversation with my father?” I cried.

“I asked him to come in. Now, Bennett, tell my son what you’ve just told me.”

With an audacity I would pay him back for one day, Bennett put on his best pitying expression for me. “My apologies, young sir, but I had to bring it to the master’s attention. I happened to overhear Mr Harris and his terrible accusations.”

Always sneaking around, listening at doorways. I was shaking with fear and rage.

“Naturally I had to investigate this for myself. Poor Albert had no choice but to indulge you in your…unusual requests. He said you threatened to have his livelihood taken from him if he didn’t.”

“That is a lie. I would never do that. Albert and I—” I stopped.

“Albert and you what?” asked my father “That will be all, Bennett.”

“Yes, sir.” He left the room.

“I asked you a question. Albert and you what?”

I took a deep breath. “Albert and I enjoyed some mutual time together.”

Out of nowhere, my father slapped my face, so hard it threw my head to the side.

“How could you do this to us? Get up to your room. I don’t want to see your disgusting little face until dinner time.”

I started to walk away, my face still smarting.

“By then I will have decided what to do with you. You will not bring shame on this family.”

I pulled open the door and walked straight into Bennett. I grabbed hold of his shirt and pushed him against the wall. He let out a little yelp.

“You may think you’ve won some game, but you will regret this one day. You will never be anything other than a pathetic little man who listens to other people’s lives.”

I let go of him and started to walk away.

“I am taking care of the family. I do care.”

I spun on my heel. “I do care…sir. Know your place.”

I didn’t wait for the reply.

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About the Author

Kristian Parker

I have written for as long as I could write. In fact, before, when I would dictate to my auntie. I love to read, and I love to create worlds and characters.

I live in the English countryside. When I’m not writing, I like to get out there and think through the next scenario I’m going to throw my characters into.

Inspiration can be found anywhere, on a train, in a restaurant or in an office. I am always in search of the next character to find love in one of my stories. In a world of apps and online dating, it is important to remember love can be found when you least expect it.

Follow Kristian on Facebook.

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Release Blitz: Til Death Do Us Wed by Jason Wrench #contemporary #eroticromance #gay @firstforromance @pridepublishing

Till Death Do Us Wed By Jason Wrench

Word Count: 81,783
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 347

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
CONTEMPORARY
CRIME
CRIME AND MYSTERY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
MEN IN UNIFORM
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description

 

Planning a wedding is hard enough without international politics, an assassin, your fiancé’s ex-boyfriend and your mother to deal with.

NYPD Detective Frank Schultt and his fiancé, FBI Agent Aaron Massey, have bought a new condo, adopted a dog and are planning their wedding. But when an international assassin starts killing people on the streets of New York City, Aaron and Frank must work together to find the killer before she strikes again.

Combine the assassin with the pressure of Frank’s jealousy when Aaron’s ex-boyfriend comes back to town, and can their relationship withstand the pressure? Will Aaron and Frank make it to the altar on time, or will the assassin and Frank’s destructive behavior stop their wedding before it ever heads down the aisle?

Publisher’s Note: This book is best read as the sequel to Twelve Days of Murder.

Excerpt

Frank stared around the pink office, wondering if a bottle of Pepto Bismol had accidentally spilled. He watched the perky blonde woman sitting in front of him, doing his best to pay attention. It wasn’t exactly how Frank liked to spend his Saturday mornings. But it was Aaron’s big day, so he’d promised to grin and bear it.

“With Central Park wedding locations, we are definitely somewhat limited. For example, the Bow Bridge only allows for ten guests and the Belvedere Castle Terrace only allows thirty. The North Garden, Southern Garden, Wisteria Pergola and Cherry Hill each allow for up to one hundred. What size are you two thinking?”

“Eloping,” Frank muttered.

“Twenty-five to fifty,” Aaron said, shooting Frank a sideways glance.

“I’m joking,” Frank reassured, patting Aaron’s leg and giving it a squeeze before turning to the woman. “Whatever Aaron wants, I want him to have.”

NYPD Detective Frank Schultt and FBI Special Agent Aaron Massey had met the previous year during a serial murder spree. The Twelve-Day Killer, as dubbed by the media, had terrorized NYC over the holidays. Aaron and Frank had put their lives and careers on the line hunting the bastard down. In the process, they had found each other.

Frank glanced over at the man he loved. God, where would I be without him? He reached up and rubbed the back of Aaron’s neck gently. From the top of Aaron’s head with his dark brown quaff haircut and his Caribbean ocean-blue eyes, to his lithe but fit body, Frank took in this man sitting beside him who was going to be his husband. Frank was still stunned at his good fortune in landing the affection of such an amazingly intelligent and gorgeous man.

Realizing his thoughts had drifted, Frank brought his attention back to the woman sitting in front of him, who was rattling on about Central Park weddings. He glanced down at her nameplate, ‘Amber Wethersfield’. The woman was in her late twenties. And judging by the giant diamond on her wedding ring, her husband was definitely wealthy. Frank glanced across the pink office looking for personal items and was surprised by the lack of photos. For a woman who sells marriage, where are the pictures of her happy day?

“So, do you have an officiant for your wedding lined up? If not, I have a list of great people who work with LGBTQIA+ people.”

“Huh?” Frank blurted before he could catch himself.

“Officiant…the person who will oversee the ceremony and the exchange of your vows,” Amber offered.

“No, you listed off a bunch of letters,” Frank said.

“Oh.” Amber perked up. “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer-questioning, intersexed, asexual and others.”

Dear God, that sounds like a gay BLT. Frank was about to make the snide comment, but a quick glance from Aaron told him that he’d better hold his tongue. Instead, Frank just nodded his head and gave a thin-lipped smile.

“Actually, we have a few people in mind,” Aaron noted. “Frank knows a judge who volunteered her services, and we have a couple of other names in the hopper as well.”

“Oh, good,” Amber said. “You’d be amazed at how many people totally forget the officiant until the last minute. I even have a license I got from an online church because I’ve had to step in at the eleventh hour when something went horribly wrong. I just don’t enjoy being in the wedding party, because it makes it harder for me to run things behind the scenes.”

Frank leaned back in the chair and watched as Aaron and Amber discussed the wedding. This wasn’t Frank’s first. He’d been married, but his husband had been murdered in a liquor store robbery on Christmas Eve over six years ago. As much as Frank loved Aaron, there was still a vast hole in his heart that had been left by Adam’s death. But Frank loved Aaron and was going to make sure their wedding day was every bit of glitz and glamour that Aaron desired.

“Well, if you have questions,” Amber said, bringing Frank’s attention back once again, “just let me know. You have my email, cell phone, home phone and office phone numbers, so never hesitate to reach out. I look forward to working with both of you on your big day.”

Amber stood up from her desk to usher the couple out of her office. She pushed herself up, exposing her pregnant belly.

“When’s the due date?” Aaron asked.

“Mid-March. But I swear she’s ready to come out any day.”

Frank stared at her belly and just thought, Are you sure there’s only one in there? But once again, he held his tongue.

“Don’t worry. I won’t miss your big day. When I’m out on maternity leave, my assistant will take over the day-to-day preparations, and he’ll be in constant contact with me. When I had my first baby, we were texting right up until they told me to push.”

“Well, it was really was nice meeting you,” Frank said.

“Likewise. And I just have to say, you two make such a cute couple.”

“Thank you,” Aaron said. “I think he’s a keeper.” Aaron gave Amber a little wink before turning to leave.

As Frank followed suit, Aaron’s hand rested in the small of Frank’s back. Frank leaned into Aaron in response.

“Earth to Frank!” Aaron said as they exited onto the sidewalk. The February chill immediately caught Aaron off guard, and he lifted the collar on the trench coat to protect his neck.

“Huh, what?”

“I said, “Earth to Frank.” What’s going on inside that head of yours?”

“Overwhelmed, I guess.”

“How so?”

“The whole wedding planning is just bringing up some memories.”

Aaron squeezed Frank. “I hadn’t thought about that. I forget that you’ve done this before.”

“Yeah,” Frank said, scrunching his forehead. “It’s surreal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to be marrying you. I hope you know that. It’s just that it brings up memories of Adam.”

“I get it,” Aaron said. “I would be surprised if it didn’t, to be honest.” Aaron hesitated for a second before adding, “Just know…I will never try to replace Adam. I know what you two had was special—”

“What we have is special too.”

“I know,” Aaron acknowledged. “I just want you to know that I love you and would never try to change you…warts and all.”

“God, I hope I don’t have any warts.”

“We all have warts. Some have them physically and others have them metaphorically.”

“Sure thing, professor,” Frank teased.

After dealing with the Twelve-Day Killer, Aaron had taken a teaching position part-time with the John Jay School of Criminal Justice. He was technically still on the FBI’s payroll, but his utility as an undercover agent had taken a hit after the amount of press the Twelve-Day Killer had received. And with the forthcoming publication of his new book about the case, Aaron and Frank both knew a fresh round of press attention was right around the corner.

“So, we didn’t have breakfast after the gym this morning,” Aaron said. “Shall we have a quick brunch before heading back to the apartment to get ready?”

“Do we have time?” Frank asked, glancing down at his watch. “It’s already ten a.m. What time is the car picking us up for the reading?”

“The reading’s at two o’clock, so the car is scheduled to pick us up about one-fifteen.”

“I guess we have plenty of time. Any suggestions on where we should eat?”

“How about 9Ten?” Aaron asked, referring to one of their favorite diners.

“Lead the way.”

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About the Author

Jason Wrench

Jason Wrench is a professor in the Department of Communication at SUNY New Paltz and has authored/edited 15+ books and over 35 academic research articles. He is also an avid reader and regularly reviews books for publishers in a wide number of genres. This book marks his first full-length work of fiction.

Find out more about Jason at his website.

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Release Blitz: His True Heart by Samantha Cayto #eroticromance #gay @pridepublishing @firstforromance

His True Heart by Samantha Cayto

Word Count: 33,436
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 125

Genres:

EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
MEN IN UNIFORM
VALENTINES

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Book Description

The heart always knows the way.

Chris Novak is adjusting to his lieutenant being the first openly gay SEAL. Seeing the man’s obvious love for his husband gives Chris ideas—ones he has ruthlessly suppressed his whole life. Becoming a SEAL was his dream. Having the love and approval of his father remains critical to him. Acknowledging his sexual orientation would have jeopardized both. While the military has evolved, Chris fears that his father’s views have not.

Tanner Pac has been openly out and proud since high school, with his family embracing him as he is. He knows being gay is not a problem, but his dream of becoming a software engineer is. His parents expect him to carry on the family business of running a pizza parlor. He dares not disappoint them, fearing a loss that would crush him.

While visiting his father on leave, Chris goes out for pizza, not expecting to run into his old girlfriend’s annoying little brother. They could never ditch Tanner and now that he is all grown up, Chris finds he no longer wants to. Facing the strong temptation that Tanner presents is causing Chris to also face the truth about himself.

As Chris and Tanner struggle to meet their parents’ expectations, their attraction for each other cannot be denied. Their strength and courage grow in each other’s arms, but it may not be enough to break free of the weight of family expectations.

Excerpt

“Man, the way the lieutenant’s reunion is going, I’m not sure they’ll make it home. Know what I mean?”

Petty Officer First Class Christopher Novak did indeed know what his teammate meant. Scott Carpenter’s husband had jumped into his arms the second he’d seen Scott coming through the gates. At the moment, the guy’s legs were wrapped around Scott’s waist, and the two of them were going to pass out from lack of oxygen if that kiss didn’t end soon.

“Yeah, but we shouldn’t be staring. It’s not like they’re animals in a zoo.”

His teammate, Diego, had no filter. “I hear you, only it’s like…when have you ever seen a SEAL kiss another man? It’s a first for me.”

Chris slung his duffel bag over his shoulder. “It’s a first for everyone, and Scott’s already on the receiving end of some nasty reactions. We don’t need to add to them.” He walked away, breaking his gaze from the sight. He hadn’t been able to make the wedding the previous summer, so this was the first time he’d seen Scott in such an obviously sexual way with his husband. He couldn’t bear to watch, not because it disgusted him but because it was compelling in a way that disturbed him.

Diego stepped up to his side. “Wanna grab a drink? I’d like to find some female company myself, and I hear The Anchor has added a new heat level to their wings.”

Chris shook his head. “Sorry… I’ve got laundry to do, then hitting the rack. I have an early flight to Detroit in the morning.”

Diego groaned. “Seriously? Why are you so keen on freezing your balls off after what we just went through? I need a few days in the sun to thaw out.”

“I’m overdue visiting my father. If you think you can convince him to move away from his hometown, his extended family and the proximity of my mother’s grave and come to San Diego, have at it.” There was more bite to his words than he’d intended. Visiting his father always triggered conflicting feelings in him. Obviously, he loved the man, but the strain of meeting his expectations was beginning to wear on him.

“Dude, I’m sorry. I was only joking.”

Chris flashed him a smile. “It’s fine. I know you were. I’m tired, that’s all. Have fun tonight, and I expect a full report on how it goes with both the wings and the women.”

He peeled off when they reached his truck. As he tossed in his duffel and slid behind the wheel, he reminded himself that spending his leave with his father was a good thing. They would talk shop, as much as legally permitted, watch sports and pretend that everything was great—because it was, damn it all. There was no reason to believe otherwise. And yet, the vision of Scott devouring his husband’s mouth in front of God and everyone stuck in his mind, no matter how hard he tried to shake it away.

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About the Author

Samantha Cayto

Samantha Cayto is a Boston-area native who practices as a business lawyer by day while writing erotic romance at night—the steamier the better. She likes to push the envelope when it comes to writing about passion and is delighted other women agree that guy-on-guy sex is the hottest ever.

She lives a typical suburban life with her husband, three kids and four dogs. Her children don’t understand why they can’t read what she writes, but her husband is always willing to lend her a hand—and anything else—when she needs to choreograph a scene.

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Release Blitz: Various Distractions by AE Lister #gay #eroticromance #BDSM @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Various Distractions by AE Lister

Book 2 in the Persuasions series

Word Count: 69,144
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 286

Genres:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS
TRANSGENDER

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Book Description

 

When life is perfect, you know it’s gonna throw you a curveball…or four.

Nic and Vincent have been riding the high of a new romantic relationship that works so well they are on the verge of officially moving in together—but then the distractions begin. Their friend Daphne needs a temporary dungeon space, and Nic’s basement seems the perfect solution. Vincent’s gay seventeen-year-old cousin, Taylor, needs a safe refuge from his uber-religious parents. When Vincent suffers an unexpected injury, Nic asks Daphne to suggest someone to help with domestic duties around the house.

These combined circumstances lead to a less-than-ideal home life for Vincent and Nic, who struggle to find alone time. But life has a way of giving people what they need, and the arrival of Matteo to help with chores around the house sets into motion an opportunity the three must decide to follow to its logical conclusion or abandon in order to maintain the emotional safety of all the participants.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of food play, minor incidents involving a Domme and public sex There is reference to the abandonment of an older teen by religious zealot parents, puppy and kitty play, and a suggestion of suicidal ideation. This book is best read as book two in the Persuasions series.

Excerpt

Taking afternoon tea at Daphne’s on Sundays had become a regular event.

Vincent wore a pretty pair of panties beneath his clothes, either at my direction or of his own choosing, and Daphne had him strip when we arrived. We had agreed Daphne could take charge of Vincent while we were in her home. I didn’t mind. I enjoyed watching him respond to her. He’d told me it was much more exciting for him, now that I was involved.

The first few weeks, she’d made Vincent perform some relevant service in his lacy underthings, like setting up the finger sandwiches and cakes on her tiered stand or making the tea or coffee.

Now that this visit had become a weekly ritual, his duties had expanded into other, more delectable, areas.

We took turns feeding Vincent small bites of cake or bread, giving him sips of tea from our cups and otherwise treating him as our amusing and beloved pet. He grew more and more aroused, and I caught him eyeing Daphne’s magnificent tits more than once. He said he didn’t like the clichés of femininity but, honestly, who didn’t appreciate a great pair of boobs?

As if on cue, a piece of the cake Daphne was eating fell into her cleavage, and she giggled. “Oh dear!”

I raised my eyebrows. “Vincent, did you see that?”

Daphne refrained from digging the morsel out of her blouse as her cheeks heated. The woman could set off a fake blush on cue. She winked at me with a grin.

“Yes, Sir,” Vincent said, gazing at me with wide eyes.

“Would you like a taste of that delicious cake?” I asked devilishly.

Vincent made a small sound and nodded, licking his lips.

“I thought so. Why don’t you snuffle that crumb out from between Daphne’s tits? If you can find it, you can have it.”

Daphne giggled, pulling her blouse down and leaning toward Vincent. Vincent blushed and looked at me to make sure I knew what I was asking.

I nodded. “Go ahead. It’s all right.” I gestured at Daphne’s generous offering. “I’ve been there too, y’know,” I whispered, as if it were a secret between me and him.

Something flashed in his eyes, and he smiled, then turned to Daphne.

“Mistress?” he asked.

His utter politeness sent a jolt of desire through me. He was so well-behaved, as if I had trained him to this, when, really, it came so very naturally.

“Go ahead, Vincent. Hands behind your back, please. You’ll probably need to use your tongue.”

My eyes widened as I watched my sexy twenty-four-year-old boyfriend lean forward slowly, hands behind him as requested, and gently push his face into the tantalizing crease between Daphne’s breasts.

She made a small noise and looked at me over Vincent’s head as his velvet tongue darted and licked to find the morsel of cake.

“Oh, goodness.” She stroked Vincent’s cropped ash-brown hair while he cleaned her up. “What a soft tongue you have, Vincent.” She gasped. “I’d forgotten, my dear, how adorable you are.”

Vincent made whimpering noises as he chased the crumbs and no doubt inhaled Daphne’s particular scent of jasmine and roses.

I glanced at the black lace boy-shorts he was wearing today and noticed he was hard, which was par for the course with Vincent. The boy was a priapic miracle. A savant perhaps? He got hard at the drop of a hat and came on command. What more could a Dom ask for?

Lots more, it turns out.

When Vincent finally located the piece of cake and swallowed it, pulling reluctantly away from Daphne’s warmth, I smiled at him, pleased.

“Good boy. I’m sure Daphne is very relieved that her little accident has been rectified.”

Daphne looked anything but relieved. She looked like she’d like to tie Vincent to a chair and ride him for a couple of hours. But she’d had her chance with Vincent, and now the boy was mine.

I watched him stand and start to tidy the dishes, while flashes of memory came through of using the single-tail the previous evening. I’d strapped Vincent to the spanking bench and lashed his buttocks and thighs lightly, just enough to push his arousal to the brink of tipping over. Then I’d released him and sucked his cock until he’d come, howling, down my throat. He’d wanted to touch me, but I’d forbidden it, and I wouldn’t forget the sight of his fingers clenching and unclenching while I worked him furiously to orgasm.

“Are you finished, Sir?” he asked, and it took me a moment to realize he was speaking about the cake and not asking if I was done reliving our encounter.

I cleared my throat. “Yes, thank you, Vincent.”

He took my plate and I leaned back in my chair, checking the time on my phone. It was only four-thirty, but we needed to get home and have a light supper. We had a gallery show to attend this evening. My friend Juno was exhibiting their artwork for the first time, and I’d promised them Vincent and I would drop by.

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About the Author

AE Lister

AE Lister/Elizabeth Lister is a Canadian non-binary author with a vivid imagination and a head full of unique and interesting characters. They have published 10 books, one of which received an Honorable Mention from the National Leather Association – International for excellence in SM/Leather/Fetish writing.

“Sensual and visceral BDSM.” – Amazon.ca

Find out more about AE Lister at their website, and follow them on Instagram and Patreon.

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Release Blitz: Howling for More by Bailey Bradford #eroticromance #gay #wereshifters @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Howling for More by Bailey Bradford

Book 1 in the Triple Threat series

Word Count: 37,200
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 168

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS
PARANORMAL
WERESHIFTERS

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Book Description

 

What happens when the wolf is unleashed?

Bowen’s used to life as a lone wolf. He has the occasional hook-up, but rarely with the same man twice. Chiz is an exception to his rule, and one night’s adventure that neither of them expected forces Bowen to see Chiz as more than just a pretty sub he can scratch his itch for rough sex with.

Chiz has his own rules for getting off with guys. His secret crush on Bowen was supposed to remain just that—a secret—until the one night that changes everything, and hiding things is impossible.

Then there’s Dare, the big tough bar owner who has questions for Bowen and Chiz and whose attraction to them is too strong to resist…and is just as powerful as the feelings Bowen and Chiz have for him.

But giving in to the overpowering sexual pull makes Bowen lose control of his wolf—an act that changes not only his fate but Chiz’s and Dare’s too.

Can their relationship survive what they unleash?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and death, references to non-nurturing parenting and a scene of turning into a shifter without prior discussion.

Publisher’s note: This book was originally published as Bowen’s Battle. It has been revised to become the first in a new shifter series for Pride Publishing.

Excerpt

Sex. The scent of it hung heavy in the air of the club’s restroom—which was probably a good thing. Bowen sighed as he leaned against one wall, nearly bumping elbows with the guy on the left of him.

Kneeling at Bowen’s feet was Chiz, one of his occasional hook-ups when neither man had someone else to fuck around with.

Bowen had been in a dry spell for a few months. Work on the ranch had taken up all his time, the birthing of the foals and caring for the horses more important than his own libido.

But tonight, he needed to get off with someone else rather than all alone, and Chiz obviously felt the same way.

Chiz opened his mouth and sucked the tip of Bowen’s cockhead in while looking up at Bowen through thick blond-tipped lashes. Chiz flicked his tongue, and Bowen bit back a moan. He wasn’t going to last long tonight, not after how long it had been for him, and now with Chiz’s very talented mouth working his dick.

Bowen braced one hand on Chiz’s shoulder, the other on the wall and began to thrust, knowing it was okay to do so. Chiz’s lashes fluttered, then he closed his eyes and sucked Bowen off with an enthusiasm that likely made every other man getting sucked off in the bathroom jealous.

Bowen clenched both hands, wishing he could just grab Chiz’s blond hair and use it to hold his head still. Bowen liked wielding control while having sex, but it wasn’t something he did often. Certainly not with one-night stands.

Though, he had messed around with Chiz a handful of times, at least.

Still, they weren’t friends, just two guys getting off together.

But would it hurt to—

Bowen shut off that stream of thought. Now was neither the time nor place for him to decide to get all…whatever. He hissed as pleasure raced throughout his body. His balls drew tight, and his groin burned with the beginnings of his climax.

Chiz deep-throated him again, and that was it. Bowen let go, let his orgasm burst free and shoot in hot jets down Chiz’s throat.

“I think we’re gonna have us a turn at that mouth and ass.”

Bowen’s eyes had almost closed when he heard that comment. He slipped his hand from Chiz’s shoulder to his nape, the automatic need to protect rising quickly and stomping out any lingering sexual bliss.

The bathroom had grown less crowded—except for the three men standing in a half-circle, blocking off the exit.

Bowen growled and didn’t give two shits about his own cock flopping free as he tightened his clasp on Chiz. “Whatever you dumb fucks are thinking, unthink it. You ain’t touching him.”

The biggest man, a grizzled, ugly guy who looked like he needed a shower or three, smirked at Bowen. “And who says we was talking about him?”

Well, Bowen would rather avoid a fight altogether, but if those three shitheels were going to be coming after either him or Chiz, Bowen would rather be the target.

“Aw, Earl! That guy can suck dick!”

“Shut up, Killer.” Earl didn’t look away from Bowen.

“Killer?” Chiz muttered against Bowen’s shaft. “Seriously?” He tried to turn his head.

Bowen’s fight instincts were engaging. He had a feeling there’d be no easy-outs tonight.

And his daddy had always told him to get in the first punch.

The scent of danger was in the air, and Bowen couldn’t ignore it, not that he would have tried. Instincts existed for a reason, or at least his did.

In a second, he had Chiz behind him and was lunging at Earl, the leader of the pack of idiots. Bowen managed to get his dick tucked into his underwear while swinging hard with his left hand.

He was fast, too fast for a burly, out-of-shape man like Earl to escape. His fist connecting with Earl’s jaw felt pretty damned good.

Sex and violence…the two were linked sometimes. Bowen wouldn’t examine that very closely, not if he could help it.

Earl’s head jerked to the side. Blood and spit flew from his mouth as all hell broke loose in the restroom.

And maybe Bowen should have thought out his attack a little better, because Earl didn’t go down, and his two buddies shot past Bowen.

He had to protect Chiz—Chiz was small-boned, almost delicately built, and all three men were…none of those things.

Bowen kicked Earl in the balls, and the big fool went down with a high-pitched screech. Bowen spun around and grabbed both men by the backs of their shirts. He pulled and ripped the material, then had to grab at them again.

One of them—Killer, he thought—went flying backward. The other, Bowen clutched at, spun around then punched in the gut.

Bowen caught a flash of Chiz shooting up and lunging away. At first, Bowen thought Chiz was running for the door.

But no. Killer was flung against the wall beside the man Bowen was trying to take down.

Chiz was there, moving so fast with punches and martial arts moves that Bowen couldn’t keep up with what he was doing.

Especially not when Bowen nearly got kneed in the balls.

He focused on the fight he was in, avoiding damage to his family jewels, taking a hard slug to the ribs, then elbowing his opponent in the gut before using an uppercut to finally take the fucker out.

By then, Chiz was standing, hands on his slender hips, tapping one foot.

Bowen looked at him head-on.

Chiz nodded. “Wasn’t sure if you’d need help.”

Bowen almost laughed at that. He’d held back a lot of his strength since he didn’t want to end up in prison for murder.

Chiz scowled at him. “I can take care of myself. I’m not some delicate flower, here.”

“Yeah, I get that, but maybe we should leave before these fuckwits regain consciousness?” Bowen suggested. His knuckles burned, the skin raw and abraded, but it’d be healed up in no time at all.

“Probably.” Chiz wrinkled his nose as he glanced at the men. “Ugh. I hope they aren’t thinking they’ll be regulars here.” Then he canted his head and grinned at Bowen. “And I didn’t get to come. I’m pretty sure you’re not a psycho-serial killer, so, um, if you want to go back to my place, we could do that.”

Bowen’s first impulse was to say no, but he checked it. First things first—he and Chiz needed to get out of there.

“Come on.” Bowen took Chiz by the elbow.

“Not a delicate flower,” Chiz muttered, but he didn’t pull away.

“Nah, you kicked ass. What were you doing?” Bowen asked as he led Chiz out of the restroom.

“Fighting,” Chiz replied. “Duh.”

Bowen cut him a narrow look. “Anyone ever spanked you?”

“I refuse to answer that,” Chiz drawled, “on account of I’d have to explain where the bodies were. Hypothetically, of course.”

That startled a laugh out of Bowen. “Is that so? ’Cause I think you’d like it.”

“Right. The younger, delicate little twink—”

“You got a hang-up over that delicate part,” Bowen observed, interrupting Chiz while opening the restroom door. “Don’t ya?”

Chiz sniffed and pulled his arm free. “Do not.”

Bowen laughed again. How was it he hadn’t known Chiz was so feisty?

’Cause all I’ve ever seen him as is a way to get off. Wow. I’m an asshole. Though, to be fair, I don’t think Chiz’s seen me any differently.

The club was still packed, but several people looked their way when Bowen and Chiz left the restroom. Bowen’s anger sparked. “Those fuckin’ assholes watching us knew we were gonna be jumped.”

“Probably,” Chiz agreed. “A pox on all of them. May their urethras be inflamed and burn with the stings of a thousand wasps.”

“Fuck.” That made Bowen’s dick ache.

Chiz grinned. “I could flip them off, if you want to fight some more?”

“Rather not.” Bowen’s pulse escalated, not at the idea of fighting, but at the mischievous way Chiz was acting. He was interesting, not just attractive.

Chiz shrugged. “Okay, your call. You wanna come back to mine? I’d like to get off a few times tonight.”

Oh damn! A few times? How stupid had Bowen been, not chatting with Chiz more until now?

“Yeah, let’s do that.” Bowen licked his suddenly dry lips. He’d just come not five minutes ago, and he was already close to getting hard again.

Chiz winked at him. “Cool. Maybe I’ll let you slap my ass a time or two.”

That was a gauntlet thrown down. Bowen ghosted a hand over Chiz’s ass. “Maybe I’ll let you beg me to.”

Chiz narrowed his eyes at Bowen. “Beg you to?”

But Chiz’s pulse sped up. Bowen could see it fluttering at the base of his neck and he noted the flare of Chiz’s nostrils and the beginning of an erection pressing against the fly of his pants.

“What the hell’s going on?” roared someone from the back of the club. Literally, Bowen thought, from the back, where there might be offices or something. He didn’t know. He just came there to get laid and wasn’t buddies with anyone.

“Seems like a good time to split,” Chiz said. He grasped Bowen’s hand. “Because that sounds like one pissed-off man, and I’ve heard stories about the guy who owns this place.”

“Oh?” Bowen was curious, but Chiz tugged, and Bowen followed.

“Yup, and you don’t want to fight any more tonight, right?”

“Right.” Bowen would much rather fuck, and Chiz was…interesting.

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About the Author

Bailey Bradford

A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn’t happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey’s brain demanding to be let out.

Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey’s office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey’s presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.

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A Spoonful of Sugar by AE Lister & Mistletoe Menage by Lily Harlem #eroticromance #Christmas #LGBTQ #multiplepartners @pridepublishing @firstforromance

A Spoonful of Sugar by AE Lister
Mistletoe Menage by Lily Harlem

Genres:

BONDAGE AND BDSM (A Spoonful of Sugar)
CHRISTMAS
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS

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A Spoonful of Sugar
Mistletoe Menage

Book Description

A Spoonful of Sugar


A kinky interlude over the holidays brings three men closer as their unconventional relationship evolves from casual to serious.

Scott Vernier met Jericho Griffin and Pascal Olejatz at a Halloween party in October and soon became casually involved with the kinky, committed pair.

Over the course of the holidays, the men struggle to find time together outside their busy schedules and finally make space for each other over Christmas week. Scott finds himself craving more of a committed relationship with these wonderful men and tiptoes around the issue to find out if Jericho and Pascal feel the same.

Scott’s dreams of expertly delivered medical play already a vivid reality, the men introduce him to more deliciously subversive scenes including teacher-student role play and invite him to dabble with imaginary non-consent.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of enema play and imaginary non-consent.

Mistletoe Menage

The winter days might be frosty, but a new guy in town is sure to heat up Father Nicholas and Dr. Zach!

Reverend Nicholas Simmons has traveled a bumpy road before landing in the small town of Mindle with his doctor husband. So, when a new, very sexy, very enticing young man shows interest in them both, he’s reluctant to rock the boat.

Zach, however, can’t keep the flashes of desire from his eyes. He’d never cheat, of course not, but visions of hot threesomes dance in his mind. Will Nicholas ever agree? If so, what would it be like? How hard would they all come?

Brandon isn’t looking forward to his first Christmas in Mindle. He’s alone. Exhausted. Friendless. That is, until he meets the Reverend and Zach. From that first moment he’s equal parts fascinated and turned on by them. Sure, they’re older than he is, but that just heightens his lust and increases his need to get hot, sweaty and naked with them.

Will their romance have a backdrop of tinsel and holly? Can three strong, passionate men truly connect with absolute honesty? And on Christmas night, will they each get the ultimate present—one another—under the tree?

Purchase one or both at First For Romance

About the Authors

AE Lister

AE Lister/Elizabeth Lister is a Canadian non-binary author with a vivid imagination and a head full of unique and interesting characters. They have published 10 books, one of which received an Honorable Mention from the National Leather Association – International for excellence in SM/Leather/Fetish writing.

“Sensual and visceral BDSM.” – Amazon.ca

Find out more about AE Lister at their website, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook. You can join their Facebook group and find out more at their BDSM blog.

Lily Harlem

Award-winning, bestselling author Lily Harlem lives in the UK and is a complete floozy when it comes to genres and pairings, writing from male/female contemporary to gay paranormal and everything in between.

One thing you can be sure of when you pick up a Lily book is heat will rise from the pages and you’ll be reading late into the night! Enjoy!

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Release Blitz: Safe Harbour by Thom Collins #romanticsuspense #gay #contemporaryromance @firstforromance @pridepublishing

Safe Harbour by Thom Collins

Word Count: 58,382
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 229

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description

 

Two lovers seek shelter in a storm of jealousy and passion.

Matt arrives in the seaside town of Nyemouth for a much-needed vacation. As a successful lawyer, Matt has a hectic career, and with an ex-husband still pestering him for money, he is long overdue a break. A holiday home perched above the town and its breath-taking harbour seems like the perfect place to unwind. Matt can’t wait to explore the beautiful, jagged shorelines and lose himself for a couple of weeks.

Jake has made a home in Nyemouth. After growing up in the city, living on the coast is everything to him. Running a business with his sister and volunteering on the crew of the local lifeboat, he is exactly where he wants to be. But Jake’s life is far from peaceful. Though he left his domineering husband Vince a year ago, Vince refuses to consent to a divorce or loosen his controlling hold on Jake.

On Matt’s first night in town, he encounters the couple having a blazing row. When Vince turns violent, Matt intervenes and takes Jake inside to escape his angry ex. Despite what happened, Matt feels a powerful attraction to the younger man. Jake is bright, endearing and unbelievably attractive, but the young man’s life is complicated. Matt already has enough problems of his own. He came away looking for an escape, not a starry-eyed distraction. As Matt and Jake get to know each other better, the gamble on a holiday romance becomes hard for either of them to resist. They have both been unlucky in love before. Maybe this time will be different.

Vince will not be shaken off so easily. He has no intention of letting Jake go…ever. As Matt’s and Jake’s emotions deepen, they do not understand how far Vince will take things to keep his husband. As far as Vince is concerned, they made a vow to each other… “till death do us part.”

Reader advisory: This story contains stalking and assault, physical and emotional spousal abuse, attempted murder with a firearm and references to abusive parenting and substance additions.

Excerpt

“Will you be staying long in town?” the shop assistant asked as he ran items through the till.

“Two weeks,” Matt Ramsey replied.

“Really?” The assistant, a pleasant-looking man in his fifties, didn’t look up from what he was doing. “It’s a small place to spend such a long amount of time. Won’t you get bored?”

“I doubt it. I want to use Nyemouth as a base to explore the local area—country walks, coastal trails, that kind of thing.”

“Oh, then you’ll find plenty to keep you busy. There are some stunning locations nearby, both up and down the coast.”

Matt smiled. He’d already done extensive research into this area of Northumberland. He’d visited here a couple of times before, just for the day, and it was a place he’d always wanted to discover further. With two weeks ahead of him and no other commitments, there would never be a better time.

He had finished work at five p.m. promptly and got straight into his car. Despite the Friday evening traffic, he’d made good time on the journey from York to Nyemouth, arriving at the holiday home just before seven-thirty. The old man who lived next door, a friendly guy called Jacob, had greeted him at the door with the keys and given him a quick rundown on the property and what he could find in town. Matt had left home without picking up supplies, and Jacob directed him to the small shop near the marina, less than ten minutes from the house, where he could get all he would need to see him through the next few days. Matt had thanked him and hurried down to the store.

He intended to get a takeaway for dinner tonight, but picked up bread, eggs, bacon, milk and tea bags for breakfast. He also bought three bottles of red wine, a bottle of dark rum and two litres of Diet Coke. It was his intention to eat out as much as possible while he was there, but he wanted to have some alcohol in for the times he came home late, so he could unwind in the comfort of the beautiful house that looked down on the marina and the mouth of the river.

“Have you lived here long?” he asked the cashier as he paid for his shopping.

“All my life,” the man said, sounding proud. “I know I knock the place for being small and there’s not a lot to do here out of season, but I do love it. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Matt nodded. “Even in the winter, I imagine it’s still a lovely place to be.”

The man gave a good-natured laugh. “Come back in February when there’s a seventy-mile-per-hour gale coming in from the North Sea and see if you feel the same.”

“If the next fortnight goes well, I might just do that.”

“Well, if you do, I’ll be here.” He handed over the two bags of groceries. “Enjoy your stay. Hopefully I’ll see you around.”

Matt thanked him and left the shop.

That evening, it was difficult to imagine the brutal winter conditions the shopkeeper had spoken of. It was coming up to nine o’clock and the clear sky was deepening into shades of lapis and blueberry, marred by just a few wisps of cloud, high in the atmosphere. The perfect sky was mirrored on the still water of the harbour. The fishing fleet was home for the night, the boats lying motionless in their moorings.

There were a lot of people milling around the marina, couples and families enjoying the mild July weather. The bars and restaurants along the waterfront had set tables outside and looked to be doing a good trade. Matt had heard great things about The Lobster Pot, a bar-come-restaurant in the heart of the bay, and intended to treat himself to at least one good meal there during his stay—maybe one night next week when it wasn’t so busy.

He walked across the harbour, passing by the lifeboat station, towards the footpath back up to the house on South Bank Terrace.

Nyemouth’s lifeboat had made worldwide news the past summer when it was involved in the frantic rescue of the actor Arnie Walker and his young son. The publicity afterwards had brought hordes of tourists to the small seaside town. When Matt had been searching for a place in Northumberland to stay for his summer holiday, he’d almost discounted Nyemouth, remembering the scenes of chaos he’d seen on the news less than a year before. He wanted somewhere peaceful as a base for his hiking trips, and the interest Arnie’s rescue had created for the town made it far from ideal.

Matt had done some extra research and, while it was true that Nyemouth was now on the map as a major tourist attraction, the initial ghoulish interest people had taken in it had settled down, although he’d read that Arnie Walker was now a permanent resident here with a home on the north bank of the river. When Matt had discovered a house on the south side was available for the dates he required, those niggling concerns had disappeared.

Now he was here, breathing in the fresh sea air, and he knew he’d made the right choice.

At thirty-nine, Matt had no qualms about going on holiday by himself. He was a free man, able to do what he wanted and pursue his own interests without having to compromise for someone else. Some of his friends and colleagues had tried to talk him out of it and persuade him to join them for his summer break. Matt had no interest in their Spanish villas or their all-inclusive trips to the Caribbean. He’d always wanted to explore Northumberland, and now, divorced and one year short of his fortieth birthday, he intended to do exactly what he pleased.

Those same colleagues were always trying to fix him up with their gay friends. It was four years since he’d split with Clinton, and people seemed determined to pair him off with someone else.

It was all well-meant, but Matt didn’t need it. This was his time to do his own thing, and he intended to enjoy it.

He followed the path upwards, through the cobbled backstreets of the old town. Living in a city, albeit a modest one like York, gave him a greater appreciation of small towns and villages, especially those on the coast. The pace was much calmer here, more peaceful. He knew he was looking through the rose-tinted eyes of a tourist, but tonight he was happy in the belief that life was simpler in a place like this.

A middle-aged couple walking a small terrier smiled at him and nodded as they passed.

“Hey,” he said in return.

After a busy day at court, he looked forward to a quiet night in the holiday home. He would pour a glass of wine, order some food and unpack his stuff while waiting for it to arrive. He was too tired to explore the town this evening. There would be plenty of time for that tomorrow. He intended to get acquainted with Nyemouth this weekend, checking out the shops, pubs and cafés, before exploring the wider area next week.

Matt was a keen walker and hiker. Though the path from the marina to the house was steep, he managed it with the two bags of shopping without getting even mildly out of breath. The path levelled out as he reached South Bank Terrace and the last stretch was straight. The views from up here were second-to-none, taking in the entire valley and the river mouth. Maybe he’d be able to enjoy it with a glass of wine in the front garden before darkness cut in.

There were two men on the path that ran in front of the garden wall. He heard their raised voices as he approached.

“I’ve told you a million times before that the answer is no,” one of the men said. He was dressed in running shorts and a T-shirt—younger and slimmer than the other man. Pretty hot, Matt noticed the guy with long, muscular legs and dark brown hair that swept back from his face in luxurious waves.

“You’re being unreasonable,” the second man said. His voice sounded tight, like he was speaking through gritted teeth. He was stocky and thickset, with closely cropped grey hair and a narrow face. He wore grey suit trousers and a white shirt, the sleeves rolled up and the neck open.

“You’re the one who followed me up here,” the younger man said, sounding like he was close to losing it.

“What was I supposed to do? You won’t answer your damned phone. You don’t respond to my voicemails.”

“Don’t you get it, Vince? I blocked your number. I’ve told you before—I don’t know how many times—but I’ve had enough.”

A lover’s tiff, Matt guessed, though they seemed an unlikely couple. The young guy could do so much better for himself. Not that looks were everything, but he was way out of the older man’s league. Matt gave them a wide berth as he passed, but came close enough to see just how attractive the young man was. He had large, expressive eyes, a long, straight nose and a wide mouth. He looked wholesomely handsome in his running gear, giving off cute Clark Kent vibes.

The other man, he realised, was not as old as he’d first seemed, maybe early-to-mid-thirties. His prematurely grey hair and sharp features created a false impression. Even still, the two men did not look well matched.

“Just come with me,” the older man, Vince, snarled. “Listen to what I have to say.”

“Vince, I’ve heard everything before. There’s nothing you can say now that will make any difference.”

“How do you know if you won’t give me a fucking chance?”

Matt opened the gate and carried his shopping to the front door. He would not get involved. As a lawyer, he spent his entire working life dealing with the relationship problems of other people. These were two grown men. They could sort out their own issues. He put the key in the door.

“Get off me,” the young man snapped.

Matt glanced back to see him pull his arm out of Vince’s grip, and the man immediately lunged for him again. The young man dodged the grip.

“Stop being such a prick,” Vince said, his voice much louder now.

Matt groaned. This had the potential to get out of hand. He’d witnessed this kind of behaviour so many times—not just through work and handling messy divorce proceedings, but at home. Throughout his childhood, his father had been a pig, quick to anger and keen to use his fists. Matt didn’t want to get involved, but he couldn’t ignore this either.

“Is everything okay, fellas?” he asked, turning to face them.

Vince snapped his head around in his direction. “Piss off and mind your own fucking business. Prick.”

Matt ignored him and directed his gaze at the younger guy.

The man forced a smile. “It’s fine. Really.”

Matt nodded, unconvinced, but reluctant to involve himself any further in what was clearly a domestic argument. He carried his bags inside and through to the kitchen. As he put his supplies into the cupboard and the fridge, he could still hear their raised voices.

Vince sounded like the worst type of man—the kind of inadequate dickhead who tried to compensate for his own shortcomings with bullying and aggression. Matt knew the type well, having grown up with one until the age of twelve, when his mother had finally thrown his father’s sorry arse out. And he’d represented so many women and children during divorce and child protection cases who’d been caught up in relationships with controlling men.

Although he wanted to leave them to it, Matt’s conscience wouldn’t allow him to. He went into the living room and watched them through the window, hoping their argument would die down before it got any worse.

The young man had his hands up, warding Vince off to no effect as the little man puffed himself up and tried to get in his face.

“You stupid little prick,” he heard Vince say. “You’re worthless, you know that. Nothing. You were no one when I met you and you’re no one again.”

The skin of the young man’s face and neck was flushed. “If that’s how you feel, why don’t you go? Go on, and leave me alone.”

“I can’t leave you alone,” Vince said, changing tack. “You need me, Jake. You can’t get along without me. You’re useless on your own. You can’t cope.”

The young man, Jake, turned his back and tried to walk away. Vince grabbed his arm again and hauled him around, pulling him close, then wrapped his arms around him, taking him in a bear hug.

“Let go of me,” Jake protested.

“Enough of this shit. We’re going home.” Vince tried to lift him up and carry him.

Jake struggled, twisting out of his grip. Vince raised his hand to strike him.

Matt had seen enough. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and turned on the video camera as he headed for the door. He was filming when he stepped outside, training it on the two men. They might not like it, but he was determined to have a clear record of what happened next in case he had to call the police to deal with them.

As Matt walked down the path, Vince hauled back and struck Jake, his fist connecting with the side of his face, sending the young man sprawling to the ground.

“What the hell?” Jake complained, scrabbling backwards in the dirt, shuffling on his butt to escape his attacker.

“Stop pissing about and get the fuck home,” Vince jeered. “I’ve had enough of this fucking around. Do what I tell you to for once.”

Matt’s own anger mounted. Now that things had turned violent, he couldn’t let it continue. “Pack it in,” he shouted, coming to the end of the garden path.

Vince twisted in his direction. Matt saw the uncontrolled emotions flicker across his face—surprise, confusion, anger, then the aggression was back. He bared his teeth like a feral dog. “I’ve told you once already. Piss off and mind your own business.”

“I was prepared to do just that,” Matt said, keeping his voice calm and even, like a headmaster addressing a petulant teenager. “But when you throw your fists about, I can’t let that go. And, yes, I got that punch you just threw on camera, in case you’re wondering. It’s something I’m sure the police will be interested to see.”

Vince’s focus flickered between Matt and Jake. The bastard was no longer so sure of himself.

“This is a private matter. Nothing to do with you or the cops.” He puffed out his chest as he spoke, trying to assert his manhood.

“Again,” Matt said, amazed by his own composure, “that was the case until you started punching in the street. Now, it’s very much a matter for the police. Why don’t I call them and see what they think about it?”

“You fucking busybody… You should stop twitching your curtains and getting involved in things that have nothing to do with you.”

Matt kept the camera trained on him. “You’re not very bright, are you, Vince? For the third time, you made it my business. Now, are you going to take yourself off down that hill, or do I have to call the police to do it?”

Vince strutted towards the garden gate. “Why don’t you try to make me? Show me if you’re man enough to take me on.” He clenched his fists.

Matt wouldn’t fight him, but there was a good chance Vince would take a swing at him, regardless. “We have different ideas of what makes a man,” he said. “Violence won’t get you anything other than jail time, Vince. Even if Jake there doesn’t want to press charges against you, my testimony and video evidence will be enough to charge you and get you in front of the local magistrates on Monday. Is that the way you want this to go? To spend the weekend in a police cell? Or would you rather leave before you make it any worse?”

Stalemate. They glowered at each other across the fence. Bigger and more menacing men than Vince had tried to intimidate Matt, and he had not backed down. He wasn’t about to cave under the glare of this prize arsehole.

Vince’s face twisted in an ugly expression before he spat at the ground. He stepped away, turning his back on Matt. “Are you coming?” he demanded of Jake, who had risen to his feet and stood brushing the dust off his shorts. Matt noticed a smear of blood on the younger man’s face.

Jake shook his head. “Just go—and leave me alone. I don’t want to see you again.”

Vince loitered, his fists still clenched, his arms trembling.

There’s so much anger simmering under his lid that he looks like he’s about to explode.

“I think the message is clear,” Matt said. “Why don’t you do everyone a favour and leave?”

“Fuck you,” he said at last, his voice low and contemptuous. And as a parting shot to Matt, “Cunt.”

He strutted down the road, his shoulders back, knees wide, trying to look like a big man.

Matt, realising he’d been holding his breath, exhaled.

This was not the quiet evening he’d intended for the first night of his holiday.

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About the Author

Thom Collins

Thom Collins is the author of Closer by Morning, with Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.

Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonkbusters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age, but since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.

You can take a look at Thom’s Blog and follow him on Twitter.

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Release Blitz: Rogue Royal by Megan Slayer #eroticromance #gay @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Rogue Royal by Megan Slayer

Word Count: 52,160
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 209

GENRES:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
ROYALS

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Book Description


You are formally invited to the royal ball…to become the husband to the king!

King Charles of Lysianna needs a husband and fast. He’s up against the biggest time crunch of all—a royal decree stating he must marry or lose the crown. It’s already December and he’s running out of time. Throwing a royal ball to find a suitable man for the role of husband seems like the king’s only option…until he meets Nathan. This royal has always done things his own way—and maybe now it’s time to go rogue.

Nathan Pratt doesn’t want much from life except to raise his son and be happy. Dating isn’t on this single father’s radar until he sees Charles in the castle solarium and his heart goes out to the sad-looking man. Once he meets Charles, he starts to think love might be possible. There’s just the small issue of Charles being the king…

Will Nathan be able to handle the glare of the spotlight with Charles beside him, or will the notoriety that comes with dating a royal be too much?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of gunshots as well as the threat of kidnapping. This book is linked to Runaway Royal.

Excerpt

“I’m in charge.” Charlie stared out at the kingdom, admiring the park leading to the hall of government. Snow lay soft on the ground and the land looked crisp but clean. The trees were dusted in bright white and kids played on the grounds of the park, tossing snowballs at one another.

He’d used to toss snowballs—before his father had handed him the keys to the monarchy. He’d become the king. The entirety of Lysianna was now under his protection. He should feel invincible, but he didn’t. To be honest, he didn’t feel like a king.

He was just a man with a fancy crown…and an entire country expecting him to keep order.

“Sire? You have a problem?” Newt, one of the pages, held a document out. “Lord Spencer gave this to me. He’s just finishing up in the other room. According to this, you must be married by end of this year. It’s already December fifth.”

“You’re kidding me.” He wanted to see Spencer right away. Why would his right-hand man send the page in to alert him to this notice? “I thought I had a while.” He’d known about the time limit, but could’ve sworn the deadline was more than thirty days away.

Spencer swept into the room and flicked his fingers to dismiss Newt. “Go.” He waited until Newt left the room, then continued. “You have to be married by the new year. That’s how that rotten woman had the decree worded. You’ve had all year to pick, and now if you don’t choose, the kingdom goes to the next in line.”

“That’s Zara’s little boy, Alistair.” He’d never know why she’d named her child that, but whatever. “Well, shit.”

“What’s worse? You’re supposed to marry a girl. According to this, you need to procreate.” Spencer shook his head. “You’d really think your former stepmother hated your guts.”

“She did.” He leaned back in his office chair. “She wanted nothing more than to ruin my life.” His former stepmother had sworn that he and his sister Zara weren’t right for the crown. She’d wanted to be queen, and when the king had stepped down, she’d lost her connection to the line. She hated her stepchildren and even more that Charlie was gay. Unfortunately, she’d managed to get a decree into the records which stated that Charlie, the current king, needed to not only be married, but to have children.

“What are you going to do?” Spencer asked.

“Nothing yet.” He had no prospects or ideas—just a kingdom to himself. He wasn’t good at being alone. Ever since he’d come out, he’d had a boyfriend. Being with someone made him feel more secure. Except now… He didn’t know what to do.

“We should throw a ball.” Spencer clasped his hands behind his back. “That’s it. A ball to find you a…husband. Would he be the prince? We don’t have co-kings. Duke? That doesn’t feel right.”

“It doesn’t matter, since I don’t have anyone in mind,” Charlie said. “Plan out the ball. I don’t care. I’ve got roughly thirty days to find a husband. It’s only almost impossible.”

“I’m on it.” Spencer picked up his tablet. “We’ll have to fast-track the details, but it’s been done before.”

“A king should be self-assured, not wallowing in self-pity. So I’m alone and being forced to wed?” He stared at Spencer. “I’m the king, right? So I can add an addendum to the decree, correct? Saying that I’m entitled to marry the man I choose, not a woman, since I’m gay?”

“You can. I’ll get the decree written up.” Spencer took his place at his desk. “Won’t be more than a minute to get the words on the parchment.”

Charlie paced the length of the office. He had no business being king. Sure, he could handle passing judgments and thought himself fair, but he wanted to be happy—not just there to mete out justice.

He wanted to be loved in the way Zara had found love with Luke. They were meant for each other and the stuff of fairy tales.

What about him? It’d taken most of the year for the people of the empire to warm up to him being gay and the king. Would they accept him being married to another man? For all he knew, they’d revolt.

Spencer finished writing up the document. “Here. Look this over and sign it if the wording is correct. This addendum should at least give you the right to marry a man. But I should mention, you’ve always been roguish in the way you handle things. This isn’t that far out of normalcy for you. Don’t sweat it.”

“Thanks.” He settled behind his desk and read through the document. If he needed something done fast and correctly, then Spencer was his man.

“So, we’ll have the ball on the twenty-fourth.” Spencer held his tablet again. “You’ll find someone among the attendees, but this gives us a small pad in case you can’t.”

“I suppose.” He signed the document. He should take the reins on the ball and his search for a husband. “For the ball, I want the colors blue and silver. Not Christmas colors. Everyone should attend wearing blue or silver. Advertise it as a Christmas event, not my misadventures in finding a possible husband.”

Spencer nodded. “Understood, but I would brace yourself. Once the pages find out there will be a ball, the speculation will run rampant. Everyone knows you need to find a husband and they’ll try to figure out who it will be.”

“Of course.” He knew the staff liked to gossip. “I don’t like the idea of this forced marriage. It’s unfair.”

“Not if you find a good husband—and you could.” Spencer continued, tapping on his tablet. “It’s a long shot, but it’s possible.”

“How? I don’t have time to meet anyone. I’m busy with affairs of state.” Charlie stared out the window. “How will I know that the man I’ve met at the ball will be the right one? After one night? It’s ludicrous. For all I know, the guy is just trying to get money from the family.”

“I know,” Spencer said. “I’m glad your father divorced your former stepmother, because all she wanted was to see you fail. She was determined to have the Earl of Lender take over as king. Now, because of her, he believes he’s owed the position.”

“I know.” He wasn’t a fan of Lender. People who wanted something for nothing drove him berserk. Lender had married to get his title, bought his position in government, paid off individuals to keep from getting sued after he left office disgraced and had still managed to con the former queen into helping him attempt to gain a position in the line of succession. Lender didn’t belong there. Charlie sighed again. “Here’s to hoping that I find someone before we get to the point where Lender thinks he’s got a chance.”

“Agreed.” Spencer stopped tapping. “You need to go to the solarium now. It’s almost time for the interview with Media Magazine. They want to take your photo first, but they wanted something informal.”

“They don’t want me walking around in the snow? I assumed they’d want me to be strolling through the park or something.” The magazine had a certain look for their photos and most included formality.

“No, they want you to look relaxed.” Spencer tucked the tablet to his chest. “They want to discuss you being on the throne.”

“It’s boring.” He snorted. “What else do I say? It’s thrilling?” He left his seat and gestured to the door. “Let’s go.” He made his way through the castle to the solarium at the west end of the building. The camera crew had already set up the shot and the brunette interviewer stood next to the oversized carved chair. Her pantsuit swathing her body in crimson, she drummed her fingers on the back of the chair.

Charlie sighed. He didn’t mind the publicity aspect of his role, but he hated answering the same questions over and over. Besides that, everyone wanted to know about his sister. So why not ask her to sit for the interview? She was quite approachable and happy now that she’d married Luke, had Alistair and settled into life as a mother.

Spencer directed Charlie to the main chair. “They insisted you sit here. Not the throne.”

“Why?”

“It looks royal,” Spencer replied.

He rolled his eyes, then pasted a smile on his lips. “Very well.”

“King Charles.” The interviewer gasped, then bowed. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Lady Teresa Bushe and I’m humbled to be in your presence.”

“I’m honored you’ve chosen me for the interview. You didn’t need to set up such a posh space. I’m a simple man.” He nodded to her. “Shall we?”

“Yes.” She gestured to the fancy chair. “First, let’s get the photos, then we can chat.”

“Of course.” He’d done a dozen of these interviews. Every magazine and paper wanted a report on his ‘hot bachelor king status’. He didn’t see the big deal. He didn’t have a significant other because the right one hadn’t come along. That didn’t mean he couldn’t rule. It just meant he wasn’t getting any.

He suffered through the interview and expected the woman to bring up his string of ex-boyfriends. Until his father had stepped down as king, Charlie hadn’t expected to become the leader so soon. He’d thought he had time to play the field and find a husband properly.

He listened to the woman chatter, but the view out of the windows caught his attention. A man and a little boy were walking along the brick path leading past the solarium. Charlie wondered who the man was and why they hadn’t met before. He knew the little boy—Heather Dawn’s son, Emmett. The child wasn’t the best at reading and Charlie recalled being told the boy needed tutoring to get up to his grade level. Was this man the tutor? Or Heather Dawn’s new boyfriend? She had two young boys and Charlie couldn’t imagine being a parent.

The man, though, caught Charlie’s attention. The coat covered his frame, but he appeared trim and Charlie liked the way the slight winter breeze caught in his dark hair. He had a thing for dark, brooding and handsome men. Was this one brooding?

“Do you believe you’ll find a husband before the deadline?” Lady Teresa asked. “Are you aware Lender believes he’s next in line to the throne?”

Shit. He needed to pay attention and not watch the guy outside. “I’m confident I’ll find someone, although I believe this decree to be out of date. A ruler should be permitted to choose a worthy partner on his or her own timeframe.”

“And Lender?” she asked.

“Has no connections to the crown. He’s not in line.” Not if he had anything to say about it.

Spencer nodded behind her. “Is that your last question? The king is very busy and needs to attend to the planning of the Christmas Ball.”

“One more,” she said. “What would you like to tell our readers and your loyal subjects? Any words of wisdom?”

“Yes, I appreciate every one of my subjects and I’m endeavoring to do what’s best for all of them. We are a proud nation and should be proud to be of the kingdom of Lysianna. I am both humble and proud to be your leader and hope to be for many years to come.” God, he needed to work on his speaking skills.

“Thank you.” She stood and shook hands with him. “It’s a pleasure to have interviewed you. So easy.”

“You’re welcome here any time. Thank you for interviewing me.” He stood and watched the team pick up the gear. At least she hadn’t begged him to pose in his crown.

He waited until the crew and interviewer had left, then settled on the chair again. “Spence? Anything else? I need a break.”

Spencer checked the tablet. “You have a meeting with the planning commission for the Christmas festivities. They wish to show you the itinerary for the royal celebrations and will want to incorporate the ball into their plans. They’ve got in mind a rather large bash for the New Year portion of the celebrations.”

“Of course.” He folded his arms and looked out of the window again. “Who is the guy with Emmett? Is he new?”

“Him?” Spencer rubbed his chin. “That’s Nathan Pratt. He works as a tutor and with archives. Seems bright and fair. I’m not sure if he’s gay, but I was told he’d used a surrogate to have his son. The surrogate is one of your subjects, so since the child is half-Lysiannan, Nathan was permitted to live here as he raised the boy.” He eyed Charlie. “Do you wish to meet him?”

“Maybe.” He wasn’t sure if he wanted to make a move. Still, Nathan was handsome in a faraway manner. He must be decent enough with kids if he had one. But would he be dazzled by Charlie’s role as the king and not genuine?

One of the stewards brought in coffee and snacks.

“Thank you,” Charlie said and smiled. “How are you, Cort?”

The steward blushed before he blushed. “I’m well, your highness.”

Charlie clasped his hands together. Cort couldn’t be more than eighteen and looked every bit the young man he had to be. “I have a question. Are you happy here?” He knew Cort’s name, but not much else about him. “To be working for the crown?”

“Will I get sent to the gallows if I answer wrong?” The color drained from Cort’s face. “I’m not supposed to talk to you, am I? And this is a test?”

“You may speak to me,” Charlie said. “I enjoy your company. Feel free to talk to me whenever you like.”

“Wow.” Cort stood tall and clasped his hands together. “You’re nicer than I was told.”

“Who told you I’m mean? No one will die if you’re honest.” Charlie picked up the cup of coffee. “Tell me.”

“Cook. She said you’re grumpy.”

“Only at five in the morning.” He laughed. “Thank you for your honesty and the coffee. I’ll return the cups later. You’re dismissed.”

“Yes, my king.” Cort tripped over his feet as he left the room.

“Nice kid.” Charlie leaned on the chair. “So young and impressionable.”

“They get younger every day,” Spencer said. “He’s a bit young for you.”

“Spence? Seriously?” He crinkled his nose. “I’d like someone closer to my age. Are there any men, late-twenties or early thirties, single and looking to be with a man who wants love, tenderness and a partner? Find that for me and we’ll talk.”

“It gives me a better idea as to what to look for.” Spencer abandoned the tablet on the tray. “Do you want to meet Nathan?”

“He’s got a kid?” Charlie asked. “I wouldn’t turn down someone who happened to be a father.”

“You’re kidding.” Spencer snorted. “What about who will inherit the throne?”

“It’ll be Alistair. That’s already been arranged.” He didn’t see the big deal. “Look, I haven’t found anyone yet and we still have to plan the gala or ball—that the interviewer already knew about. I thought we’d just decided on it.”

“I let her know while you were getting your picture taken.” Spencer shrugged. “It’s going to come out sooner than later.”

“True,” Charlie said. “Focus on the ball.”

“Very good,” Spencer replied. “I’ll be right back.”

Charlie sank onto the carved chair and sighed. What Spencer didn’t understand was that he wanted to find someone. He didn’t want to be lonely, but he needed to find the right person.

He gazed out of the window at Nathan. He had no idea if they’d be compatible or if Nathan would even want to date a king. He might not even be gay. The unknowns didn’t mean Charlie couldn’t gawk at him and consider what could be.

He was a king and deserved a fairy-tale ending, right?

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About the Author

Megan Slayer

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice.

Find out more about Megan on her website, and sign up for the newsletter here. You can also check out her Blog, Amazon Author Page, Bookbub and Instagram.

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