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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Notice: This competition ends on 4th January 2021 at 12am EST. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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.

Giveaway

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Release Blitz: Dream Demon by Samantha Cayto #BDSM #LGBTQ #eroticromance @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Dream Demon By Samantha Cayto

General Release Date: 26th October 2021

Word Count: 33,173
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 123

Genres:

ANGELS AND DEMONS
BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
HALLOWEEN

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Book Description

Sometimes nightmares turn into dreams come true.

Colby is new to the BDSM scene and longs for a Master to take control and show him the pleasure that can be found in pain. When he receives a Halloween invitation to play from a mysterious man, he takes the risk of delving into an unknown world.

Sebastian is a blood demon masquerading as a human Dom. Unlike others of his kind, he strives to fill his need ethically instead of preying on humans. He seeks consent to satisfy his urges and knows how to woo Colby with patience. The only thing he fears is whether or not his new sub will be able to accept him as he truly is.

Trusting Sebastian is easy, even as Colby’s dreams are plagued by an unknown shadow that attracts him as much as it scares him. Sebastian needs to build trust before revealing his true nature. He thinks he has all the time he wants, but he’s about to learn that even demons cannot control their fate.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of blood, pain and wax play.

Excerpt

The creature gained on him. As Colby dashed through the winding, narrow alleys, the sound of the steady, measured steps behind him grew louder. No matter how fast he ran, his heart thumping, his breath labored, his pursuer grew closer, not farther away. He bit back a whimper, determined not to show the terror that wanted to scream out. There was nowhere to escape to, no end to the twisting path he traveled. He would not make it. He would be caught. Then what? A shiver racked his body. Pain with a hit of pleasure weaved within. That reaction scared him more than anything else. He strained to run faster. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as hot breath wafted over him. The scent of it should have been repulsive, fetid and evil, yet it wasn’t. It smelled exotic, like toasted spices for mulled wine. Instead of shivering with fear, he felt almost cocooned in some safe, warm place—with a spike of arousal. It made no sense.

What is wrong with me?

Colby bolted up into a sitting position, his breath caught and pain lanced through his chest. His heart pounded in a skipping tattoo that scared him into thinking he might be having a heart attack. He rubbed his palm over his sweat-coated pec and tried to rein in his breathing. Just a dream. Just a dream. That reassurance wasn’t enough to calm his body. Logic and truth be damned. The dream had felt so real and vivid, both the fright and the excitement. The evidence of the conflicting effects was on display. Below his ribcage against which his heart knocked, the twisted bedsheet was tented by his cock. That was nothing new. It was how he woke every morning—hard. But he wasn’t usually so achingly so, his balls cramping with the need for release.

Instead of waiting to deal with his dick in the shower, Colby wriggled his hand under the covers and clasped the shaft with clammy fingers. A few quick tugs had him coming with such force that he doubled over. Fragments from his dream danced inside his head as he worked his cock, goosing the pleasure and forcing him to stifle a moan. He didn’t want his roommate to hear—not that Marquis would care. Colby had never met anyone less inhibited than him. He could hear Marquis puttering in the kitchen, the apartment being small. If it were summer, the guy would be buck-naked, wearing only an apron to protect his precious assets. Colby was different, though. He couldn’t quite shake all the primness of his Midwestern upbringing.

Besides, it was almost shameful how aroused he’d been. Although he’d worked hard to accept his submissive and masochistic needs as nothing to feel guilty about, something about how he’d almost welcomed the nameless, faceless thing that had chased him in his dreams brought back those early feelings of remorse. BDSM was a consensual and often loving form of play. There wasn’t supposed to be real fear. Doms weren’t truly predatory, and yet…whoever had chased him in his dreams was different from any man he’d ever seen playing with ecstatic subs. There had been a menace that he’d instinctively felt and fled from. He should have only wanted to escape, but part of him had wanted to be caught.

“It’s just Halloween,” Colby muttered.

The pseudo-holiday had been a verboten day in his childhood, an alarming celebration of the devil and all that was evil. His family had prayed for those foolish people who thought it was a silly night for dress-up and getting free candy. For him, however, it was liberation day. Six months ago, he’d finally come out of the one remaining closet in his life and had declared that he was a masochistic sub yearning for a Master to take firm control of him. He’d spent an amazing night in the one local dungeon in the Boston area, watching others play and longing to join them—not that he’d had the courage to approach any of the enticing men dressed in black leather… They’d all been occupied with boys of their own. It had still been thrilling. Too bad they weren’t holding another open house this night. Things might have been different. As it was, he hoped to find some similar fun being held somewhere—or perhaps if he dressed in the clothing he’d purchased a few days ago at a sex shop, he might attract the right kind of man.

“Yeah, right. As if you’ve gotten any braver over the summer.”

The self-admonishment chased away the last remnants of his dream. Colby untangled himself from the sheet and stripped it off the bed before heading to the bathroom. He stuffed the soiled bedding in the hamper and hopped into the shower. That hot spray beating down perked him up and he would have loved to have lingered there. But water cost money and he and Marquis had precious little, so, he washed quickly and got out.

Wiping away the condensation on the mirror, he stared at his own reflection. Even wet, his nearly white-blond hair color was visible, and there was still a smattering of freckles on his pale cheekbones. Marquis had said when they’d first met that Colby was the whitest white boy he’d ever seen. There was no denying that, but Colby also knew that he was prettier than perhaps a boy should be. Certainly the bullies back home had thought so, jeering at him while they’d tried to push his face into their laps. It’ll be just like having a girl blow me, the instigator had said to be clear that, unlike Coby, he wasn’t gay. The taunting echoed in Colby’s head as it did from time-to-time, even though he was miles away from that life and comfortable in his own skin now. And he’d escaped—that assault and others, the endless praying of the congregation trying to make him ‘right’ with the Lord, as well as his family’s condemnation. He was an adult, living on his own and making the rules by which he lived. Looking back accomplished nothing.

He returned to his literal closet of a room and threw on jeans and an old sweater. The apartment was chilly. Heat was another expense they had to manage and growing up on a Nebraska farm meant that he could handle the cold. Marquis, poor guy, would be miserable for the next six months. Following delicious smells, Colby found his roommate plating up breakfast.

“Is that French toast?” Perhaps the smell of cinnamon had influenced his dream. Yeah, that’s it. Appreciation for his friend’s cooking had infiltrated the more menacing aspects of his visions.

Marquis put the plates on the counter that separated the galley kitchen from the rest of the room that served as their communal living space. “What can I say? I woke up with a fierce taste for it.”

Colby poured a mug of coffee, laced it with a cheap cream substitute and sat in his usual spot. He downed half of his coffee before forking a piece of his meal. “Hmm, thanks. This will fortify me for work and keep away the temptation to get something there.” He had a late afternoon shift at the coffee house he worked in, and even with his employee discount, the pastries cost more than he could budget for.

Marquis joined him. “Yeah well, I’m due at the gym in an hour. I’m going to have to get in some extra workout time of my own if I want to keep this off my hips. No one likes seeing a chunky guy mixing their healthy smoothies.”

Colby snorted. As thin as he was, Marquis was even more so without even trying that hard. A few pieces of French toast weren’t going to change that. “And I should go for a run before starting my shift.” He wouldn’t be done until closing at ten at night, and there was no way he wanted to run by himself so late. The South End of Boston was a pretty safe neighborhood, but still…

“Mm-m.” Marquis gestured toward the front door with his mouth full. After swallowing, he said, “I got the mail earlier and there’s something interesting for you.”

“Me?” Colby frowned. The only mail he got was junk. His bills were paperless, and no one wrote to him…ever.

“Yup, I was tempted to open it myself. If it’s junk, someone spent a lot on it.”

Curiosity had him leaving his delicious breakfast and going to the small table where they put the mail. He spotted the envelope immediately. It was black and thick, with gold lettering in a fancy script with his name and address clearly written. It was obviously for him unless some other Colby Taylor had lived in this very apartment at some point. He reached for it, then paused. A strange feeling stole over him, as if he were about to take some monumental step—that once he opened this letter, his life would never be the same.

Ridiculous.

He snatched up the envelope before he could think any more of it and flipped it over. The back flap was sealed in an old-fashioned way with black wax and short red ribbons dangling below. A stylized S and R were embossed within the wax. Colby held it close to his face to study the unusual markings. As he stared at them, he felt as if he were falling into some dark tunnel, being pulled into the seal, into the envelope itself. His world tilted for just a second before he blinked the feeling away and took a deep breath to ground himself.

Too much caffeine, too quickly, that’s all.

“What’s it say?” Marquis’ impatient voice called from the counter.

Colby broke the seal quickly before he could think better of it and pulled out a stiff invitation written in blood-red ink on cream paper bordered in black.

Mister Colby William Taylor,

You are hereby invited to play at a party, to be held at the Mayflower Dungeon this All Hallows’ Eve at 9 p.m. Dress optional

Come if you dare

Sebastian Reeves

There was no address given. Then again, there didn’t need to be. He knew where to find the place. His heart pounded, much as it had in the aftermath of his dream. The French toast sat heavy on his now slightly queasy stomach. But that wasn’t the only reaction to seeing the invitation. His dick had hardened instantly, pressing painfully against his fly with aching balls, as if he hadn’t come a mere fifteen minutes before. His hands shook slightly as he grasped the card and the envelope fluttered to the floor.

“Come on. What’s it say?” Marquis snatched the invitation from Colby and whistled. “Holy shit! Isn’t this the place you went last April?” When Colby could only nod, his roommate gave him a sly smile. “You didn’t tell me you made a friend there.”

Colby blinked slowly. “I didn’t. I-I just watched. I don’t know who this guy is or why he’d send me an invitation to play.” He remembered something. “Oh, I did give my contact information, because you can’t get in without filling out a waiver. I never heard from them, and I didn’t expect to.” The prices for joining the club were too steep for him, so it had been a relief not to get solicitations in the months since. There was no sense in torturing himself—ha ha—with something he couldn’t have.

“You must have met this Reeves guy. Why else would he invite you?” Marquis pressed.

Colby shook his head. “No, I didn’t. Other than the man at the entrance, I didn’t speak to anyone. I have no idea who he is.”

Marquis handed him back the invitation. “Huh. Well, you obviously made an impression on this dude. I can’t imagine why it would take months to contact you, though. Maybe he just got out of a relationship or he’s a Halloween freak.”

“Is there such a thing? I mean, is it a fetish or something?” There was a lot about the world of BDSM that Colby still didn’t know about.

His roommate shrugged. “How would I know? But isn’t there a fetish for everything? What are you going to wear?”

Colby frowned. “I’m not sure I’m going.” As tempting as it was to check out the party, there was a distant alarm bell ringing inside his head.

“Seriously? I thought this was your jam. Why wouldn’t you?” Marquis stooped to sweep the envelope off the floor and waved it in front of Colby’s face. “And this takes bank. I bet the dude’s from Beacon Hill or one of the flush suburbs. It couldn’t hurt to have a rich boyfriend.”

“Oh, please. You know I’m not looking for a sugar-daddy.” But he was looking for a play partner, if only for one night. His cock pulsed at the idea of finally being under a man’s control and feeling the exquisite pleasure of pain inflicted by someone who knew what they were doing.

‘Oh please’, yourself,” Marquis scoffed. “Aren’t you the one longing for a husband and a dog in some nice condo around here?”

Colby smacked the guy in the arm without any heat. “That’s not the same thing.”

“Isn’t it? In those dreams of yours, do you still sling lattes for minimum wage and measly tips? Just because he’s put a ring on it, doesn’t mean he isn’t a sugar-daddy.”

“You’re such a cynic.” Even as he laid the charge against his friend, Colby had to admit there was truth in it. When he thought about his future, the idea of kneeling and taking punishment in a home that Colby kept for his Master made his heart stutter with joy.

“I’m not sure I’m going,” he reiterated, even though, before the last word was out of his mouth, he knew that was a lie.

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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: Skeletal Equation by A.E. Lister #eroticromance #gay #bondage @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Skeletal Equation by AE Lister

Word Count: 30,378
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 135

Genres:

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

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Book Description

 

What do medical kink, pup play and Halloween have in common? Scott Vernier. A visit to the local leather bar offers an unexpected treat!

Scott Vernier is lonely and bored, but he’d rather sit at home and mope than go out. A promise to a friend forces him to attend the annual Halloween party at Sonny’s, his local leather bar. Amid the tacky costumes and seasonal desperation, Scott meets two people he never expected to encounter.

Can a man well-versed in medical kink and his leather-pup boyfriend introduce Scott to a whole new world of illicit pleasure?

When Dr. Jericho Griffin gets down to business, Scott finds himself responding in explosive ways.

Reader advisory: This book features discussion only of scat, enemas and needle play. There are scenes of pup play and a scene involving voyeurism.

Excerpt

The scariest thing about Halloween currently was how little I cared for it. As a younger gay man, I’d have planned my costume for months, figuring out the sexiest way to be a zombie, a vampire or any of the other popular standards, and I’d have attended at least three parties to try to get laid. Now I was too old and jaded to care about any of that.

But it was a week until Halloween, and I had no excuses. I’d told Duke I’d be at the local gay leather bar for the annual party. He was scheduled to bartend that night and I’d foolishly committed to being there, at least for part of the evening.

I hated Halloween.

I’d loved it as a child, and as a teen and young adult, it had been an excuse to get smashed and flirt with people I’d be too intimidated by otherwise. But now, as an adult? Halloween seemed like a waste of time. I definitely had better things to do.

Or did I?

It was true that I hadn’t socialized a lot recently, because my job was exhausting, even though it fulfilled me. As an anthropology professor at the local college, I had classes to teach most days and students to support during office hours. Then there was the prep time and marking… I’d managed to fit my life into an organized and workable routine, but I was a busy man.

I had promised Duke I’d try to have some fun, simply to get him off my back and stop him from calling me ‘old before my time’—although the annual Halloween Ball at Sonny’s wasn’t exactly my idea of a great time.

For one thing, I didn’t have a costume. For another thing, I didn’t want to wear one.

But costumes were compulsory for this event, so I had to make at least a minimal effort. I had a T-shirt, somewhere, with glow-in-the-dark bones on it. If I could find it, I’d wear that and say I was a skeleton. Yeah, that was pretty dumb, but the guys who worked the door knew me, and I was pretty sure they’d let me in. It paid to be friends with the bartender, even though he pressured me to be more social.

I liked Duke a lot. He was a bear of a man but the sweetest guy anyone would ever meet. I’d gotten to know him when he’d taken one of my anthropology courses. He’d invited me for dinner once the semester had ended, and he and his cute-as-hell boyfriend Julius had cooked me the most amazing spaghetti Bolognese I’d ever eaten. It was a fast friendship with them both after that. Julius worked in IT and made good money, so Duke could bartend a few nights a week and spend the rest of his time making small sculptures out of reclaimed ‘junk’ and taking occasional classes of interest to him.

I didn’t have many close friends, and I considered Duke and Julius to be an important part of my life, especially as I hadn’t been able to find a partner to join me on this questionable journey. I’d had the occasional boyfriend, but the long-term bond had never become anything significant before either I or the other guy decided things weren’t working. I wondered if I had the temperament for a permanent relationship.

Some people were meant to be single and maybe I was one of them.

I dug through three drawers before I found my skeleton shirt scrunched in the corner. Great, it will be wrinkled as well as dumb. Ah well, there was nothing to do about it. I wasn’t gonna fucking iron it. I didn’t even think I owned an iron. Ironing seemed like the most useless and annoying chore on this planet, and I wasn’t going to be a part of it.

I slid the shirt over my head and stepped in front of the mirror. It fit a little tight, but that was okay. That just showed off my slim build to my advantage and made some of the wrinkles disappear. The sleeves were plenty long and the fabric gathered slightly at my wrists. I pulled down on the bottom edge of the shirt. It wasn’t too bad but would probably show skin if I had to reach my arms up. I wasn’t planning to do that, so it should be fine.

The bones glowed in the dimness of the room, even though the shirt had been in my drawer. I’d wear it around the house so it could absorb more light. I’d have to be careful not to spill anything on it while doing the dishes, but the more I wore it, the quicker the rest of the wrinkles would come out.

Luckily, I was able to load the dishes and wipe the counter without incident, and when I checked myself again, I was pleased with my half-assed attempt at participation. It would have to do, and at least I looked sexy. I’d put on my brown faux-leather pants that hugged my hips and showed off my long, slim legs. I was of average height and my black hair had begun to streak with gray, but I was fit and strong and didn’t look half bad tonight, if I was honest. Maybe the visit to the popular club would be worth it and I’d be able to bring someone home for the evening. It had been a while since I’d seen any action. I didn’t want to contemplate how long.

I went to the bathroom and used some gel to muss my hair into an artfully untidy style. At the last minute, I applied some black eyeliner that I saved for special occasions when I was feeling it. Even though my enthusiasm for the Halloween party was negligible, my interest in seducing a warm body for a few hours began to rise.

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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: La Petite Mort by Pelaam #LGBTQ #eroticromance @pridepublishing @firstforromance

La Petite Mort by Pelaam

Book 4 in the The Devil’s in the Details series

General Release Date: 19th October 2021

Word Count: 45,548
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 195

Genres:

ANGELS AND DEMONS
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
HORROR
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS
PARANORMAL

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Book Description

The little death… Sometimes you never wake up.

When Samael, an incubus-possessed witch, escapes Garen and Luke, leaving not just another victim but also one of their own injured in the process, Garen is determined to track down the demon.

Its trail vanishes when it leaves New Zealand, only to be eventually picked up again by a team working in the UK.

Invited to assist them, Garen and Luke travel to England to meet the other team of investigators—Emery, his husband Alex and their friend Kadin. They also meet an unusual and unofficial team member, Grim.

The incubus has gone to ground in the country home of Steven Huntleigh, rich playboy and president of the Hellfire Club.

Emery, Luke and Kadin infiltrate the club and Kadin risks flirting with the incubus.

When the time comes to battle the demon, will the team be able to resist its lure—or will they become additional victims of its insatiable appetite?

Excerpt

From his vantage point at the back of the room, Luke watched Garen as his husband paced back and forth, gesticulating sharply and trying to get the woman across the table to engage with him.

But, far from cooperating, she looked increasingly more irritated. Luke stifled his sigh, knowing that the sound would only annoy her further. It’s not like I’m surprised. Melani-Leigh Waru-Richards was a socialite—rich, attractive, at least superficially, and used to others doing what she wanted, not vice versa. Her reputation had preceded her—arrogant, spoiled, demanding and downright rude.

But she’s also one of our three prime candidates for dying at the hands of a demon or demonic entity on the night of the upcoming full moon.

With Thomas’ approval, Garen had brought her to their headquarters where he and Luke were hoping to persuade her of the danger and have her agree to protective care until the moon waned. The full moon is just two nights away. As much as she’s proving to be a stupid, stubborn fool, I still don’t want her to be another victim.

“We wouldn’t be wasting your time, our time or anyone else’s if we didn’t believe the threat was very real, Ms. Waru-Richards.” Garen stopped pacing, slammed his hands down on the table and leaned toward the woman. It was a tactic that had worked many times in the past, but not with Melani-Leigh, who pursed her lips tightly and glowered at him before rising slowly from her seat.

“Inspector Morloc—”

“The name is Warnock.” Garen growled the words and Luke quickly went to his husband’s side, laying a hand at the small of his back, wanting to defuse the situation. Now that he was closer to the woman, he could see why she’d been described as a ‘plastic princess’.

Although her face appeared wrinkle-free, her hands told another story. Luke already knew her hair owed more to extensions than natural tresses. False eyelashes, fake tan, synthetic nails, artificial hair and silicone breasts. But for someone who’s in her late forties, from a distance she could pass as still in her twenties.

“All we’re asking you to do is to allow us to put you somewhere safe for the duration of the full moon. It’s just for a couple of nights.” Luke turned on all his persuasive powers, but Melani-Leigh simply folded her arms, her posture ramrod straight.

“You don’t even know for sure that I’m even in any danger, do you? Well, do you?” She looked from Luke to Garen then back at Luke. “Exactly as I thought. No, you don’t. You don’t know anything.”

“We know two people have already died, and we’d like to prevent a third.” Garen drew himself to his full height and glared down at Melani-Leigh.

“If we could be more specific, we would be,” Luke added as he rubbed soothing circles on Garen’s back.

“I have two very important functions to attend.” Melani-Leigh flicked at imaginary dust on her designer jacket sleeve. “Both involve charities that I personally sponsor—and not only am I expected to be there, I shall be. There will be top celebrities in attendance. Look… I’m no fool. I have a hand-selected team of expert security personnel who will be with me at all times. I can assure you that I won’t dismiss your concerns, but they won’t stop my life, either. No one but those closest to me, or most trusted, are permitted anywhere near me. I take it that this…creature doesn’t attack in full view of hundreds of witnesses.”

“No, but—” Garen started, and Luke winced as Melani-Leigh held up a perfectly manicured hand.

“No. You said it yourself. I will invite no strangers into my home. I’ll even salt the doors and windows and burn sage.” She cocked an eyebrow at Luke. “See? I’m aware of protections.”

“There’s nothing we can say to persuade you otherwise?” Luke asked. We can hardly threaten to lock her up if she won’t accept our help, and it is possible that she isn’t the intended victim.

“No. And if I thought I was in danger I’d have already done something about it. In my position, I have to be mindful of stalkers, overzealous fans, potential thieves and would-be kidnappers. Tell you what…” Melani-Leigh reached into the Gucci purse that she’d set on the table and drew out two gold-embossed invitations. “I’ll have you added to the guest list, Inspector.” She scribbled quickly on each card. “There we are, Inspector Warnock and guest. You can keep an eye on things right through the evening.”

“Thank you.” Garen accepted the invitations, passing them straight to Luke without as much as a glance. “We won’t keep you. There’s nothing more to be said.”

“Look… I appreciate you have a job to do, but believe me, my security is second to none. I pay for them to be the best.” Melani-Leigh hooked the purse over her wrist and sauntered to the door. “See you on Friday night.” Without a backward glance, she left the room, the door closing softly behind her.

For a moment there was silence in the room and Luke finally allowed himself the heavy sigh he’d previously banked.

“Fucking arrogant idiot.” Garen snapped out the words, his expression a mix of irritation and concern. “‘I pay for them to be the best’.”

“I suppose we could have shown her the desiccated corpses we have.” Luke sat on the edge of the table. “But she’d have probably put in a complaint against us. At least we can be on hand.” Luke fanned the invites and Garen snorted.

“But we can’t have a protective circle or a backup team ready to support us.”

“No.” Luke ran his hand through his hair. “Or can we?”

“What?” Garen turned to face Luke. “How?”

“If Thomas will throw his weight behind us, I’m sure that we can arrange with the hotel manager to allow us to have a room where we can set up a protective circle…just as a precaution. She was right in one respect. Neither of the victims were attacked in the open. One was in bed, and the other was sprawled across a kitchen table.”

“And both were naked.” Garen cocked his head. “Which suggests to me that sex may be involved. We couldn’t tell anything useful from the bodies. They were far too desiccated.

“Which could point toward a succubus or an incubus.” Luke sighed. “One that doesn’t care whether its victims are male or female. So many ifs, buts and maybes. We need to narrow down the search for ‘what’. Then we may find the ‘who’.”

“No signs of forced entry. Nothing out of place or missing. In both instances the victim’s friends even described them as very happy.” Garen rubbed his chin. “No. There was another phrase.”

“A new lease on life.” Luke snapped his fingers.

“Yes.” Garen nodded slowly. “That’s it. Over the past few weeks, they’d had a new lease on life—almost identical in both cases.”

“Then I suggest we find a few close friends of Melani-Leigh’s and see if she’s having a new lease on life. If so, then she’s the one we’ll target, and I’ll organize teams for the others.”

“Perfect.” Luke pecked a kiss to Garen’s cheek. “And I’ll make sure we have protections and spells for dealing with an incubus or a succubus.”

“Take care out there. Keep in touch. I’ll see you later. Come back here when you’ve got what you need.” Garen pulled Luke into a tight hug, and Luke wrapped his arms around his husband’s waist.

“I will.” Luke tilted his head and Garen gave him the kiss he craved. For a moment Luke lost himself in the feel, taste and scent of his husband. Reluctantly he slowly eased back. “I won’t be too long.”

“Good. By the time you return, I’ll have the teams organized and get Thomas to deal with the hotel hosting our potential victim.”

“Get schematics. We can map the place out and ensure we have everything covered.” Luke grinned up at Garen. “If the demonic force strikes there, we’ll have enough protections in place to deal with it.”

“Will do.” Garen gave a curt nod, then spun Luke around, swatting his ass to make him move forward. “Let’s get this started. I’ll feel happier when you’re back here.’

“I won’t be long.” Luke set off at a trot. The sooner I get going, the sooner I’ll be back.

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About the Author

Pelaam

Living in clean, green New Zealand, Pelaam is a multi-published author of gay romance and erotica.

When not working at writing, Pelaam likes to indulge in her other passions of cookery and wine appreciation.

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Release Blitz: A Song for His Heart by M.C. Roth #eroticromance #gay #multiplepartners @firstforromance @pridepublishing

A Song for His Heart by M.C. Roth

General Release Date: 28th September 2021

Word Count: 78,359
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 264

Genres:

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

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Book Description

It only takes one rock star to crash the perfect honeymoon, but it might take two to save it.

Ian and Trent’s honeymoon is supposed to be perfect, but before they even make it to Miami, Mac—Ian’s manager and best friend—is already interfering. As soon as the plane lands, Ian starts to drift away from Trent, falling back into his closeted habits and disappearing for days to record a new album, leaving Trent alone in an unfamiliar country.

Trent is at his breaking point when Ian tries to disappear again after three days away. He can’t be the househusband Ian obviously needs. Trent is ready to collect his bags and head back to the airport when he overhears Mac’s secret, which threatens to turn his life upside down.

Reader advisory: This book contains a fistfight precipitated by sexual assault/forced kiss, MMM relationships, alcohol consumption/intoxication and mentions of past alcohol abuse. It is best read as the sequel to The Drumbeat of His Heart.

Excerpt

The roar of the twin turbofan engines burst against Trent’s ears like a koala calling for a mate. The sound was unexpected, coming from such a beautiful thing that seemed so innocent and sluggish. And while the plane was a lethargic beast on the ground, one that could hardly make a turn on its own without falling off the thick tarmac, it transformed into a serpent the moment the engines came to life.

Trent rocked back into the padded seat and clutched the armrest in a tight grip as his stomach dropped to the vicinity of his ankles. It was like the worst kind of roller coaster—one that he would ride fearlessly as a kid, only realizing later that its rusted parts were held together by bits of chewing gum.

He could hardly breathe as his ears pressurized, then popped, only to pressurize again. His mouth was dry, and his tongue was stiff with the need to hurl his light dinner all over the back of the seat that was tight against his knees. But the food couldn’t make it past his throat with his stomach so low to the floor.

He glanced at the view through the tiny oval window that looked much too flimsy to handle the same forces that were battering his ears. There were two panes, and one had an actual hole in the bottom as if it were already prepared for the doom that awaited the passengers, himself included.

It was beautiful, though. The blinking lights of the city looked so similar to the stars, and they had started to meld together into one sphere of never-ending sky. The buildings that had looked so tall while standing on the ground now looked no higher than a sheet of Bristol board. The lake was lost, as were the stream of cars along blurred highways.

The moon was barely a sliver of light, but it was so bright that he had to blink to clear the spots from his vision. The silver beams illuminated a white fluff of clouds as they fluttered over the gleaming wing.

“See? It’s not so bad,” said Ian from the seat next to him. He moved his hand, so warm and comforting, to soothe Trent’s. “That was a good take-off too. Nice and smooth.” His smile was completely at ease and his grip soft as the plane trembled around them.

“I think I’m gonna puke.” Trent gripped his stomach as the wing dipped again and they loomed sideways over the city of lights. How are we even in the air at this angle? He waited for gravity to grip them in a lasso and tear them back down to the earth.

“Smile,” said Ian urgently as he leaned forward to rifle through the seat pouch. There were a few magazines that had probably been touched by hundreds of hands, as well as the day’s newspaper, in the small elastic compartment. Ian found a slim white bag between the pages of one of the magazines.

“What?” Trent breathed deeply through his nose and forced his mouth shut as he slid his eyes closed. His mind whirled at the same speed as the plane as it continued to climb. Were they still sideways right now and slipping down to their doom? Maybe if they climbed high enough, he wouldn’t feel it when they hit the inevitable bottom.

“T, baby, take a deep breath for me and smile,” said Ian as he pressed his hand gently to Trent’s chest at the level of his heart. It was enough to ground Trent into taking another breath, even as he quivered beneath the touch.

“If you smile, you can’t gag, so you won’t puke. Here.” There was a shiver of sound as something slid beside him.

When he opened his eyes again with a forced grin on his face, the window shutter was thankfully closed. Without the dark blankness looking back at him, he could almost imagine being on a bus and not a massive plane that was soaring precariously in the sky. He could imagine that the tiny bumps were little potholes along the road, and the roar was a never-ending layer of slow strips carved into the asphalt.

Ian was right there, smiling and rubbing his chest until his warm palm rested over Trent’s stomach. Ian’s blue eyes were bright in the low light and his full lips were pulled back into a smile as he held the sick bag out to Trent. The ink carved into Ian’s skull was blocked by the black baseball cap that he had insisted on wearing to the airport. The sight of Ian, so beautiful and familiar, settled something deep within Trent.

Trent grabbed the sick bag and slipped it back into the pouch between the layers of magazines, leaving a corner out so it would still be in reach if his stomach started to turn. When he leaned back, it lined his lips up perfectly with his new husband’s, and he felt the steady tug that drew him in. Ian pulled back in surprise before their lips could meet, his gaze darting around the large compartment of passengers.

There was a child in the next row who was repeatedly kicking the seat ahead of him while playing with the touch screen that was built into the back of the headrest. It was a great idea to pass the time, but the way the child was hacking away at it was obviously driving the person in front insane. They looked back a few times, glancing at the father, who had his phone in his hand as he played what appeared to be a repetitive assassin game, while managing to stay completely oblivious to his son. There were others looking out of their windows or resting with their heads back with their eyes closed.

“Sorry.” Trent smiled, not sorry at all. “I know you don’t like PDA, but it’s our honeymoon.” Saying Ian didn’t like it was an understatement. The man was simultaneously terrified and repulsed with the idea of PDA. It blew Trent’s mind that this was the same man who had an exhibitionist streak that was larger than the aeroplane they were on.

“I love you. You know that,” said Ian as he stumbled over his quiet words. “But when I kiss you, I want to do it right. I can’t do it right with a kid staring at me.” Ian cut his focus over to the little boy, who had given up smacking the touch screen and had started pushing the armrest up and down, his feet never stopping once.

“It didn’t stop you in a public pool,” said Trent with a smirk. “Or in the back seat of your rental when we parked at the baseball diamond.” After renting a Hyundai on his first visit, Ian had learned his lesson and had stuck to large vehicles after that. It had taken a lot of convincing before Trent had found himself on his hands and knees in the back seat of a jeep.

“That was different.” Ian crossed his arms before he leaned back in his chair. His long legs bumped the seat, so he splayed them wide, with one knee spilling out into the aisle and the other taking up a third of Trent’s minimal space. “Why didn’t you let me treat you to first class again? The leg room back here is atrocious.”

Trent shifted in his seat and let Ian change the subject. His own knees were very firmly pressed into a cushioned backrest, while still being off to the side. It was a tight fit for him, and even worse for Ian, but there was no way that he could have allowed them to spend an extra two thousand dollars to get first-class tickets.

“If I really had my way, we would have driven. I may not own a car, but I can drive,” said Trent as he tried again to get comfortable.

“And if I had my way, we would’ve done this months ago…before we got married,” said Ian as he fiddled with the gold band on his finger. The metal was smooth and sleek, and it fit him perfectly. Trent had overestimated the size when he had bought it, and it had barely stayed on Ian’s thumb without falling off. When Trent had found out that Ian had resized it, he had pretended to be furious, telling Ian that it was supposed to be a cock ring, not one for his finger.

“Are you excited?” asked Ian, turning in his seat as much as he could. He bounced one leg in the aisle and had started a steady beat against his thigh. His ring flashed in the artificial light with every movement.

“Yes, of course,” said Trent as he swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. “I’m super excited.” Luckily, he managed to keep most of the terror out of his voice. Miami was huge, hot, hip and expensive. It was also everything that Trent wasn’t.

He fiddled with his ring that matched Ian’s. The skin under the band was faded and pale from months of being shaded from the sun. It had stayed on his finger from the day before Christmas, when Ian had proposed, until the morning of their wedding on August eighteenth. By then, he’d had to soap up his finger to even get the band to budge.

The wedding had been a small affair, with only Trent’s closest family and his best friend, Candace. Ian had refused to invite anyone from his family, and Trent had wholeheartedly agreed to keep that rock buried as long as possible. It would have been next to impossible to get in touch with Ian’s mother anyway, as she lived entirely off the grid. He had been a little bit surprised when Ian had refused to invite his fellow band members, but he’d explained that he didn’t want them all to feel obligated to fly in for it. Trent’s tiny town probably wouldn’t have been able to handle them anyway.

The ceremony had been short and sweet, which had made it absolutely perfect in Trent’s eyes. There was nothing worse than sitting through a two-hour wedding service that included an actual communion. There had been no speeches, no fancy photographer and no dancing afterwards, just a simple dinner at home. Ian had still insisted on carrying Trent over the threshold like some kind of creamy-thighed bridezilla, though.

“What is your house like?” Trent asked as he trailed his fingers along the arm rest. He’d seen pictures on Ian’s phone of some of the different rooms, but it had compounded into a disarticulated checkerboard in his imagination.

Ian had talked about the house a lot, but his stories usually revolved around the infinity pool in the back yard, leading Trent to believe that the man spent most of his time in Miami swimming. Now that they were married, Ian was spending most of his time off work at Trent’s, but the moment Trent had secured some vacation time for his honeymoon, they’d booked the flight.

“You are going to love it,” said Ian, taking a deep breath before he dove in. “It’s about four thousand square feet, I think, with three bedrooms and five bathrooms. There is a drum room in the basement that’s pretty epic, and a theatre room for rainy days. I think you’ll like the pool the best, though, and maybe the hot tub.” A nostalgic look crossed Ian’s face as he spoke about the house.

“Three bedrooms sounds like two bedrooms too many—or do you pick a different one to sleep in every other night?” Trent asked. The seatbelt sign clicked off above their heads, but the no smoking sign stayed glowing red and orange. He kept his belt pulled tight, even as Ian undid his and adjusted his seat back a few scant centimetres.

“Nah,” said Ian as he looked up and down the aisle. “I hope they bring out drinks soon.” He looked back to Trent and settled his hand over Trent’s clenched one. “I’ve only slept in the one bedroom, actually, but I converted another into an office and the third into a library.”

“But you don’t read. I could hardly get you to sit still long enough to get through that magazine, and it was about cars.” Trent crossed his arms and played with his wedding ring, spinning it endlessly.

“Not books, T…records. I told you about my record collection.” Ian looked away as the hostess interrupted them, handing them two drinks after Ian’s quick request. Trent took the cold plastic cup gratefully and sipped at the ginger ale. The bubbles flowed over his tongue and down his throat, making his mouth momentarily numb. He glanced at Ian’s cup, hoping the same liquid was inside.

“Just cola, plain cola,” said Ian as he caught the look. He tilted the cup back and gulped it down in three swallows. “I’m so thirsty, though. I should’ve finished that water before customs, but I got distracted pointing everything out to you.” He placed the empty cup on the small plastic tray that folded down from the seat in front.

“I just couldn’t figure it out.” Trent shook his head. “Why would someone buy that many cigarettes and that much overpriced booze, just to take on a plane? Head to the closest box store and you’ll pay half the price, and you still won’t pay duty if you limit yourself.” Although, strangely enough, after looking at the same neatly organized cigarette cartons for three hours, they had started to look downright delicious.

“A lot can happen if you get stuck in the airport for eighteen hours,” said Ian as he waved down the stewardess for another drink, finishing that one too. “The first time I got stuck, there was a ten-hour layover. It was with the band, and I still drank back then. We just drank the entire time, and I got so wasted that I don’t even remember the flight at all. I just fell asleep in Arizona and woke up in Buffalo.” He slipped the newly emptied cup into the first one so that they were stacked neatly in the small circle on the tray.

“Then there was the England flight,” Ian continued. “We spent a whole day in the airport because the plane had to be repaired. Twenty-four hours of sitting in a plastic chair and getting hit on by this random chick was enough to make me want to turn straight, just so I could fuck her and get her to shut up.” He shuddered. “Man, I’m still thirsty. Maybe they can just give me a two-litre?”

Trent laughed, shaking his head as Ian caught the attention of the hostess for the third time. Her bright smile hadn’t dimmed and a shimmer of recognition had floated over her face. Trent had seen the look before when someone realized who Ian was. Their eyes would widen just a fraction, and he would see the gears turning in their heads before they decided that yep, that was somebody famous.

Ian slipped her an American twenty, and she passed him a few cans without a second thought. She was about to step away when she paused and leaned back in.

“There are a few spots in first class that are open if you are interested in moving up. I’ll see if there are two seats together.” Her smile widened as Ian nodded more times than was strictly necessary.

“Yes, please get me out of these tiny seats,” said Ian. “It’s his fault anyway. He insisted on economy to get the full experience.” He pointed an accusing thumb at Trent. Trent wilted in his chair as the stewardess chuckled.

“And how are you enjoying the experience?” Her smile lifted at one side, revealing her perfect white teeth. Trent took a second look at her, from her broad form to her strawberry hair that was pulled back into a perfect bun.

“It’s, um…cosy.” Trent tried to shrug, but his shoulders were pressed so close to Ian’s that the movement hardly registered. He shifted in the seat, but his knee came up and struck the small plastic tray, sending the cups to the floor.

She laughed, a high tittering sound that sent a shiver down Trent’s spine with how familiar it was. “I’ll be right back.” She disappeared up the aisle and ducked behind the grey curtain near the front of the plane.

A rumble of turbulence shook the plane with a burst of vibration and sound. Trent peered over Ian’s shoulder to the window at the other side of the plane as he tried to see what could cause such a terrible noise on such a large bird. Through the thin pane of glass, he watched the wing bow and flex in a way that couldn’t be natural for metal.

“Oh God,” said Trent as he gripped the armrest hard. Ian held Trent’s hand and pulled it to his chest. It was hard and hot and Trent could feel the slow and steady beat of Ian’s heart under his palm. Trent’s gaze snapped back to the magazines, where the corner of the bag was still visible. The bubbles from the ginger ale didn’t feel so great in the pit of his stomach anymore.

“You’re fine.” Ian’s low rumble was calm and soothing, but it did little to quench Trent’s terror. “Clouds aren’t as fluffy as they look, and the plane just has to work a little harder to get above them. Once we stop going up, it will be a lot smoother.”

“We’re still going up?” Trent looked around the cabin, but the rows looked totally flat to him. His stomach wasn’t dropping anymore, and his ears had stopped popping, leaving his head filled with a steady pressure like he had a mild cold.

“Not for much longer. It will smooth out in a bit, I promise. I’ve taken this flight loads of times, and I’m always fine. You will be too.” He brought Trent’s hand to his lips in an uncharacteristic display of public affection.

The stewardess reappeared at the curtain and bustled over to them with a smile before she leaned close again. “Here… Just follow me. I’ll grab your bags after we get you moved so no one will get jealous.” Her voice was quiet enough that only they could hear.

Ian slipped out of his seat with a slight stagger as he tried to release his pinned left leg that had probably gone numb sometime during the ascent. Trent tried to follow, his arms flailing, only to realize that he still had his seatbelt strapped around his waist. He flushed as Ian smirked and the hostess let out a small laugh hidden behind her palm.

He grabbed Ian’s soda cans that were between his legs, then pulled the buckle open and shimmied to his feet. His knees were completely numb and felt similar to the consistency of thick rice pudding that didn’t have the bonus cinnamon. He took a step and nearly tumbled into Ian, who caught him with a hand on his elbow.

“It’s like walking on a boat,” said Ian as he let his hand fall so he could follow the stewardess, who was waiting at the curtain.

The floor was moving under Trent’s feet in an alarming way. It wasn’t anything like the gentle rock of his uncle’s boat as the four-stroke engine cut through the waves of the Great Lakes on a calm day. This was more like walking in the back of a hay wagon as it tumbled along a weaving country road.

He braced his hand on the nearest seat and took a tentative step, pleasantly surprised when he didn’t fall flat on his face. He made it down the aisle and through the curtain, barely, to where the other two were waiting behind the grandest set of plane seats that Trent could have imagined. They must’ve landed and gotten on another plane, because as the curtain slid shut behind him, he seemingly entered a whole new world.

This area was so much better, with enough leg room for two people, and seats that had extra padding and slid completely flat for anyone who wanted a nap. The built-in screens were bigger, and there was a bottle of champagne waiting for them in a bucket of ice. There were pillows, actual pillows, and not the ones that went flat the moment his head hit them.

“Here.” Ian grabbed the bottle as he slid into his seat. He pulled a bill out of his pocket and presented it with the champagne to the stewardess. She took both with a slight nod of thanks.

“Just let me know if you need anything,” she said as Trent slid the soda cans into the now-empty bucket of ice. She smoothed a hair back that had managed to slip away from her bun and turned away.

“Wait!” Trent called out, probably louder than he should’ve by the glance that was directed his way from across the expansive aisle.

“Yes?” The hostess looked back at him with a shy smile and a slight blush on her cheeks.

“Um, can I have your number?” Trent asked in a low voice. Ian spluttered beside him, choking on another cup of pop, and Trent flushed even hotter than the stewardess.

“It’s not for me. It’s for my friend. I just thought, if you were available, you two would get along.” He sat back in his chair, suddenly wanting nothing more than to be right beside the flexing wing that might break off at any moment. Ian was still gasping and choking beside him, drawing every eye in first class.

The stewardess took a step back, and a bright flush passed over her cheeks as she chewed on her lower lip. She looked from Trent to Ian, then back to Trent.

“Oh, it’s not for him. He’s mine,” said Trent, shaking his head as he pointed to Ian. Ian spluttered again, losing a second mouthful of pop as he tried to clear his throat. “It’s for my friend Candace. Or I could give you her number and let her know that you might text her.”

“I could take her number,” said the stewardess as she nodded shyly and looked up and down the aisle, “if you show me a picture first.”

Trent whipped out his phone and brought up the first picture of Candace that he had saved. It was a selfie of the two of them at Trent’s wedding. She had been dressed beautifully, as always, in a strappy purple dress that left very little to the imagination, and her hair had been done up in a swirling up-do. She had smiled at the camera as if there had been no place in the world that she would’ve rather been.

At the stewardess’s nod, Trent ripped off a corner of the newspaper in the seat pouch and used the pen she passed him to write down his friend’s name and number. She slipped the paper into the pocket on her blouse before she nodded one last time and disappeared on the other side of the curtain.

“What the hell was that?” Ian hissed quietly. “I thought you were setting up a threesome—and don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered, but we’re gonna be tired after this flight.” Ian let out a little laugh. “I definitely wouldn’t mind. Not that I wouldn’t prefer your ass, but I haven’t been with a woman in so long—and it would be interesting to try with you.”

“Not happening. I just have to keep up my reputation.” Trent shook his head. He was still fascinatingly disgusted by breasts. “I have always been, and will always be, the best wingman ever.”

A ding broke Ian’s laughter, and the man fumbled with his pant pockets with a move that would not have been possible in the economy seats.

“Shit. I thought I’d turned this thing off. You can get in a lot of trouble for having your phone turned on in a plane.” Ian flicked the screen open with a quick press of his fingertip to the back. His smile died and his brows drew together as he read whatever was on the glowing screen.

“Who is it?” asked Trent as he fluffed the pillow behind his head and reclined the chair a few degrees farther. It wasn’t as good as his couch at home, but it was a definite improvement over the economy chairs.

“Mac wants to record the new tracks this week,” said Ian as he clicked his phone off and shoved it back into his pocket. The seams strained as he nearly pushed the phone straight through the fabric.

“But it’s our honeymoon,” said Trent, unable to keep the whine of disbelief from his voice. He would support Ian’s career in any way he could, but this crossed a few lines. He was so ready to get fucked through at least nine lives, and nothing was going to get in the way of that, not even Ian’s best friend and manager.

“I’ll take care of it, T,” said Ian with a forced smile on his face as he reached for Trent’s hand that had settled between them. “So, tell me again why we can’t have a threesome?”

Trent snorted and turned away, squeezing Ian’s hand once. This was going to be the best vacation of his life.

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About the Author

M.C. Roth

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

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

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

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

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Release Blitz & Review: In Deep by Bailey Bradford #LGBTQ #eroticromance #paranormal @firstforromance @pridepublishing

In Deep by Bailey Bradford

Book 1 in the Hooked on You series

Word Count: 57,279
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 257

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
PARANORMAL

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Book Description

Titus wanted a summer fling—then he wanted more…

Titus Eisenhower loves his job as an elementary school teacher in a small Texas town. Sure, he has to be careful, but not being out is fine with him since he’s not interested in dating another man after his last relationship went so badly. But now he’s got the career he’s always wanted, a safe place to be and friends. Isn’t that everything he’s dreamed of?

But when he meets a man he can’t resist, Titus realizes he’s stifled a part of himself…and a part of his dream. He can’t trust another man ever again, but he can manage a little summer fling, right? Wrong—everything about the mysterious Draven calls to him, and the two share a connection Titus has never dreamed of.

That’s already mind-blowing, but learning the truth about Draven is world-shattering. With evil threatening, and old enemies closing in, Titus will have to believe in things he didn’t know were possible if he and Draven are to stand a chance…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of fighting, reference to murder and abusive relationships and arson.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published as Across the Tides. It has been revised and reedited for publication with Pride Publishing.

Excerpt

“Come on, kids, let’s see if we can find any shells!” Titus Eisenhower nodded to the parent volunteers forming a human wall between the Pre-K children and the ocean, keeping the kids from getting in past their ankles. The annual field trip to the beach was one of the highlights of the school year for the kids and teachers alike.

Seeing the children’s faces lit up with joy, hearing their shrieks of—mostly—laughter, watching them run and splash in the bit of water they could reach…it made his heart swell every single time he got to take part in this trip, and this was his fifth with one of his classes.

The other teachers were at his sides, vigilant, but when it came to children and water, all parents, all adults, needed to be watching the whole group.

This year’s parents were great. He’d only had one pissed-off dad who had refused to let his child go since he couldn’t just hang out with his kid. Other than that, there’d been plenty of parent volunteers, and, wonder of wonders, they got on well, too. Last year, two of the dads had gotten into a fist fight over some perceived insult. That had been a disaster.

“God, I bet we don’t ever get such a great group of parents again,” said Stacy Evans, his best friend and colleague. She’d been hired the same year he had, and they’d become fast friends. Stacy’s bright-orange hair was all over the place as the beach breeze whipped it about. She shoved uselessly at several flapping strands. “Why, oh why don’t hair ties work for me?”

“Honey, that hair can’t be tamed any more than you can,” quipped Michelle Ochoa. She was older than Titus and Stacy, but not by too many years. “You’re as wild and powerful as the wind.”

Michelle was also Stacy’s girlfriend, though no one but Titus knew that.

Stacy laughed. “Whatever. When I’m blinded by my own hair, then what’ll I do?”

“Mr. Eisenhowew, I finded a shell!” Little Bobby Garza hopped in place as he waved a sandy glob in the air. “Wook!”

Titus grinned and jogged over to Bobby before squatting so he could be eye to eye with the boy. “Hey, you did! That’s awesome! Want to dip it in the next wave and see if we can get the sand off?”

“Yes!” Bobby’s delighted shriek made Titus’ ears ache, but the rest of him filled with sheer wonder and delight. He loved his job, and he loved the kids, loved seeing them grow and learn. It made him less cynical every time he saw the world shine in a child’s eyes.

“Then let’s do it.”

Titus got the other kids to show their treasures. A couple were upset that they didn’t find good shells, but, overall, everything was going surprisingly well.

After they’d got the kids lined up—and allowed the parent volunteers to take their kids home in their own vehicles, rather than making them ride the buses—Titus took a moment to look back at the ocean. The waves were slight, which was normal for this area of the coast. It was only one-thirty in the afternoon, so the sun was high and bright, the reflection on the water exquisite in its beauty.

“Just think…next weekend, we’re going to be here in our own beachfront condo, partying—or relaxing, more likely—for a whole seven days,” Stacy said, her soft voice breaking into Titus’ quiet appreciation of the view.

Not that he minded. He grinned at Stacy. “You and me and some margaritas,” he promised.

Stacy nodded. “Darn right. I’m so looking forward to it.”

“Me, too.” Titus and Stacy had started their beach tradition their first year at the school. Michelle and Stacy hadn’t been dating then. They’d fallen for each other a little over two years ago, but Michelle didn’t come to the beach vacations. She had prior commitments with her family in Michigan that took her away.

Titus privately thought Michelle didn’t want to intrude, and he had mixed feelings about that. He didn’t want to be a third wheel, but he hated to think Stacy might regret Michelle not being there.

“Stop brooding,” Stacy said, poking his arm. “You’re going to get wrinkles all over your forehead and around your eyes before you hit thirty if you keep doing that.”

“I wasn’t brooding,” Titus protested, immediately trying to smooth out his features.

“Yeah? Then what were you frowning at?” Stacy asked.

“Y’all need to hurry up—we have to get on the road,” Michelle called out to them.

“Oops, we’re holding everyone up.” Titus grinned, relieved at being saved from having to answer Stacy’s question.

“I’ll keep bugging you until you answer me,” Stacy promised as they rushed to the buses.

Titus could have protested, but he knew better. Besides, all he had to do was tell Stacy the truth—he didn’t want her to feel like Michelle wasn’t welcome.

But he’d keep the other truth to himself—that he was lonely, and when he’d looked out over the water, that sense of loneliness had permeated his happiness, and now, melancholy lingered in the place where joy had been. Yes, I’ll definitely keep that secret.

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MY REVIEW – 5 stars!

Shifters, Demi-gods, an abusive ex, and a human… this book has a bit of everything, and it’s perfectly blended.

Titus isn’t out of the closet, for fear of losing his job, but when a summer fling turns into something more he has to decide which is more important… his job or the shifter he’s fallen for.

The book has tons of hot, sexy scenes, a bit of drama, some action, and an unexpected twist! I thoroughly enjoyed In Deep and hope we get to read more about Draven’s family in upcoming books. Both Titus and Draven were a mix of soft hearted and ready to kill to protect those they love. I thought the characters were well balanced and their instant attraction worked well for a fantasy romance.

Can’t wait to see what happens in book two!

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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