Alpha Sacrifice (Irresistible Omegas 01) by Nora Phoenix #LGBT #mpreg #Romance #Review #Menage

Moonbeams over Atlanta welcomes author Nora Phoenix! Published by Nora Roberts on March 13, 2018 and is 458 pages.

The Blurb:

an MMMM Mpreg Gay Romance

Four men, brought together by fate, connected in more powerful ways than they’d ever imagined.

Lidon, the powerful alpha-cop, determined to never trust another partner—until he helps a vulnerable omega through his heat and connects with him in a way that leaves him reeling.

Enar, the alpha-doctor who dedicates his life to serving omegas who need his help. He works himself to the bone, anything to drown out his inner voices that scream at him he’s not a real alpha.

Palani, the sassy beta reporter who will do anything to save his omega lover and childhood friend, even if it means watching another man claim him.

Vieno, the omega who suffers from a medical condition that requires an alpha’s help. It was supposed to be sex, but his attraction to the alpha goes much deeper. But how can he betray his soulmate and lover Palani like this?

When Vieno’s freedom is endangered, he needs Lidon to save him. The alpha steps up, but the consequences of his choice are more far-reaching than anyone of them had foreseen.

Four men try to figure out what they are to each other amidst political unrest, investigations into corruption and fraud, a medical issue that is far bigger and more sinister than it seemed at first, and old legends that are turning out to be real.

Alpha’s Sacrifice is an MMMM mpreg gay romance and the first book in the Irresistible Omegas series. It is not a stand-alone and ends on a cliffhanger. Please note the triggers warnings in the front of the book.

The Review:

Thank you Nora for your ARC Review group. 🙂

5 Stars

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I’m going to start off this review as saying that this is the best menage, mpreg, and MM romance I’ve read in a long time. That said, I can’t even begin to describe the subtle writing style that is Nora Phoenix. It’s a slow burn between Vieno, Palani, Enar, and Lidon as they dance around each other to symphony music that is best described as a waltz. You really have to read it to understand the nuances Nora describes. Yes, it ends in a cliffhanger as the author points out from the beginning. I’m not a fan of cliffhangers without having the next book ready (see my reviews for Rhys Ford) but like Rhys Ford’s various series that the individual books end on a cliffhanger, this is a blessing in disguise to see the overall story arc. Yes, she’s evil for ending in a cliffhanger, but you love the characters so much you don’t really care, and you have to find your inner patience.

Speaking of characters, I love all four of the main characters. Palani and Enar are almost tied for first in characters that I love from this book. Lidon and Vieno, as well as Palani and Enar, are all well rounded as we get to know their universe where certain omega’s gene, dubbed the Melloni gene, makes omega heats harder on their person. Behind the immediate issue with this gene, we see prevalent issues between Alphas, Betas, and Omegas in general that mirror and mimic current political, social, and legal issues in life today. Yes, this is a fantastical universe where men get pregnant as a backdrop to the love that develops between the four men. The love and commitment between them all is subtle enough that they all have a hard time coming to terms with it. Isn’t that was life is all about? I won’t say more since I try not to give too much away, but you need to read this story. You’ll laugh and cry throughout their trials to get to each other, but hope, and love, will win. That is all we can ask for in any life we lead.

Since this is self published, I did private message Nora when I was done reading and confirmed that she was working on the next one. Who knows, maybe it will come out really soon. *hint hint* *wink* Thank you for your patience as my review was delayed due to work and internet issues.

(FYI, I keep wanting to type “Nora Roberts” because Nora Phoenix’s style is on par with Nora Roberts a.k.a J.D. Robb, and I love both their writing styles. Hats off to you Nora!)

Overall, I give Alpha Sacrifice 5 out of 5 stars, and wish I could do 6 stars. 😉

Eloreen Moon

Book Links:

Amazon | Goodreads

About the Author:

Would you like the long or the short version of my bio?

The short? You got it.

I write steamy gay romance books and I love it. I also love reading books. Books are everything.

How was that?

A little more detail? Gotcha.

I started writing my first stories when I was a teen…on a freaking typewriter. I still have these, and they’re adorably romantic. And bad, haha. Fear of failing kept me from following my dream to become a romance author, so you can imagine how proud and ecstatic I am that I finally overcame my fears and self doubt and did it. I adore my genre because I love writing and reading about flawed, strong men who are just a tad broken..but find their happy ever after anyway.

My favorite books to read are pretty much all MM/gay romances as long as it has a happy end. Kink is a plus… Aside from that, I also read a lot of nonfiction and not just books on writing. Popular psychology is a favorite topic of mine and so are self help and sociology.

Hobbies? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Just kidding. I love traveling, spending time near the ocean, and hiking. But I love books more.

Wanna get first dibs on freebies, updates, sales, and more? Sign up for my newsletter (no spamming your inbox full…promise!):

Come hang out with me in my Facebook Group Nora’s Nook where I share previews, sneak peeks, freebies, and much more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norasnook/

Stalk me on Twitter or Goodreads where I share recommended books and reviews! You can also find me on Bookbub and Instagram.

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Midway #CampNaNoWriMo #amwriting #musings #LGBTQ #review

I’m still writing. Honest. I know I said I would do an update earlier in the month but the month got away from me.

Work has been interesting. I say that a lot. Then I lost internet yesterday. Grrr. Seems some animal wanted to chew through the phone wire and phone company had to come out and lay a temp wire to fix. Sigh. The line will get buried next week.

I’ve got almost 5k of words. w00t!!

Goal is 10k. Might be higher. Not sure as it will depend on the characters and what they want to say. Then editing, maybe a beta read or two, then to my new editor. 🙂 it will be published in an anthology this year. Not sure when yet. I’ll keep you posted on progress.

I have an ARC review I need to post. MMMM (yes, four guys) ménage and it’s mpreg. My favorites. Be on the look out for that this weekend now that I have internet back.

What else? I’m drawing a blank. There was something else… Oh well. I guess I’ll do an update post once I remember what it was.

Eloreen

An update in time… #amwriting #CampNaNoWriMo #flashfiction #LGBTQ #musings

So. I’ve done the things with writing.

A flash fiction submission for QSF Annual contest and it’s anthology will be released late summer/early fall.

I’m about to start Camp NaNoWriMo (tomorrow) for a Persons of Color anthology. Hint, mine is going to be MMM Ménage. *wink* I will be posting where to get it when it releases. It will be released later this year. Not sure when as the editor/publisher and other authors haven’t decided on that yet. As I have information that I can reveal, I’ll post here. Stay tuned for more on this.

I’m almost done with dental issues. Just a few more follow up appointments and I hope to be done with the major stuff this year.

Now I have to go get some stuff from Home Depot/Lowes. I will probably post updates on Camp as I got. I don’t know if I will be doing daily or weekly updates. It’s going to depend upon how much time I will find.

Eloreen

Leaning Into the Look (Leaning Into Stories 06) by Lane Hayes #LGBT #romance #Spotlight #Giveaway

Title:  Leaning Into the Look

Series: Leaning Into Stories, #6

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: March 23

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 82000

Genre: Romance, friends to lovers, san francisco, humor, businessmen

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Synopsis

Grant Kostas made a career based on his looks before joining his family’s real estate firm. He may not love his job but he’s better at sales than he thought. And when he’s poised to bring in the biggest account of the company’s history, even his father is impressed. Unfortunately, the extra attention highlights Grant’s personal life. His parents accept that he’s gay. They just wish he’d meet a nice Greek man.

Miles Harrison is a fabulous red head going through a rough patch. Between getting dumped by his long-term boyfriend and finding a new place to live in the city, he’s nearing his wits end. He’s not sure why he thought rooming with his boss’s friend was a good idea. Miles has had a crush on Grant for years. However, he knows attractive people aren’t always pretty on the inside. As the two men grapple with external problems, they form an unexpected bond of friendship and trust that feels like the real thing. The only way to know for certain is to let go of fear and lean into the look.

Purchase at Amazon

Excerpt

I stopped short when we reached the other side of the street and then backed him against the brick façade of a bank building and pressed my lips over his. It was a bold move and not one I’d ever tried on any man in public before. But I couldn’t help myself. It felt oddly freeing to share one of the bleaker parts of my past with him. I wanted to thank him somehow but that seemed awkward so I kissed him instead. I held his head and glided my tongue alongside his, loving the moment when he flung his arms over my shoulders and responded with fervor. When we broke for air, I rested my forehead on his and grinned.

“Your ass is pretty spectacular too, Mi.”

He chuckled good-naturedly. “Thanks.”

“No really. I think I’m love with it.” I lowered my hands down his back and squeezed his cheeks as I molded his pelvis to mine.

“That’s kind of romantic. But if you’re thinking about falling in love with me too…don’t.”

I backed up slightly to get a better look at him. “Okay. I won’t.”

“Pinky promise.” He held up his right hand and wiggled his fingers.

“What makes you think you’re so irresistible?” I asked, wrapping my pinky finger around his.

“I’m not and you’ll figure it out sooner or later. But I like you and I want you and…”

“And what you’re really saying is you don’t want to fall for me.” I kept my tone light, hoping a jocular vibe would steer us from turning this into an uncomfortable conversation.

“Maybe.”

“Look, Mi. I’m not—”

“No. Listen. Don’t make this into a big deal. It’s not. We’re going to have a grand adventure. Just me and you. We’ll do incredible things and have amazing conversations and lots of sex. And when it’s time to say good-bye, we won’t ruin it by pretending we were ever in love. What do you say?”

Nothing. I had nothing to say. All I could think was maybe he really was crazy because who said shit like that?

But when I looked past the lighthearted swagger I saw the cracks in his armor. He was scared and battered and raw on the inside. Kind of like me. And somehow I had a feeling it wasn’t an ex-lover that made him so cautious. I only knew he was right. We were a couple of oddballs who unexpectedly found ourselves inhabiting the same circle. Temporarily.

But love? I should have walked away. Or at the very least, laughed at his wild leap. Instead I cocked my head and squinted. “What kind of adventures?”

Miles grinned. A slow-moving, gorgeous upturn of the lips that morphed into something celestial. He literally took my breath away. I hoped the dizziness faded before I gave him a reason to think it was a good thing he’d issued a warning about getting too attached.

“All kinds! We’ll turn this town upside down being one hundred percent ridiculous.”

“Okay…” I gave a half laugh and pushed a stray lock of hair behind his ear. “What do you have in mind? Dancing, parties—”

“No. More like Trivial Pursuit marathons, Netflix binge-watching fests in our Pjs, the compare and contrast game and—”

“The what?”

“Don’t worry. We’ll have fun. You’ll see,” he assured me earnestly as he laced our fingers together and pulled me away from the wall.

I glanced down at our joined hands and briefly thought about joking that he should be careful about giving me mixed signals. But I knew my limits. My comedic timing was crappy and the last thing I wanted was to push him away. I might not love Miles but I liked him. A lot. And holding his hand while we wandered through town under a sea of rainbow flags on a random Sunday felt special. The way new beginnings sometimes did.

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won first prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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Astray (Wavesongs 01) by Elvira Bell #CoverReveal #LGBT #Historical #Romance #Pirates

 


Astray

Wavesongs #1
Elvira Bell
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Genre: Romance, Historical fiction, LGBT, M/M, Coming of age, Pirates, Age gap

Nick Andrews has grown up in poverty in a tiny village. All his life he’s been told that he’s useless. After getting one scolding too many he decides to go far away, off to sea. But his experience as a farmhand has done little to prepare him for the hardships of a sailor’s life.

When his ship is attacked by pirates, Nick’s life is miraculously spared by the notorious pirate captain, Christopher Hart—a man in charge of a crew feared for their brutality. Nick is forced to join the pirates, and he dreads finding out for what reason the captain has saved him.

But Hart is nothing like his reputation suggests, and Nick soon finds himself entangled in a relationship that could endanger both their lives. Unless Nick can help Hart on his quest to find a long lost treasure, their forbidden love may tear his new life apart.

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Meet the Author

Elvira Bell lives in Sweden and spends most of her time writing, reading or watching movies. Her weaknesses include, but are not limited to: vintage jazz, musicals, kittens, oversized tea cups, men in suits, the 18th century, and anything sparkly.

Elvira writes m/m fiction with a touch of romance and has a penchant for historical settings. She adores all things gothic and will put her characters through hell from time to time because she just loves watching them suffer. It makes the happy endings so much sweeter, after all.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

 

Pre-Order

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Leaning Into the Fall (Leaning Into Stories 02) by Lane Hayes and Nick J. Russo #audio #LGBT #romance #Spotlight #Giveaway

Title:  Leaning Into the Fall

Series: Leaning Into Stories, #2

Author: Lane Hayes

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher:  Self-Published

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins

Genre: Romance, Erotica, Bisexual, humor, San Francisco, May to December romance

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Synopsis

Nick Jorgensen is a quirky genius. He’s made a fortune in the competitive high tech field with his quick mind and attention to detail. He believes in hard work and trusting his gut. And he believes in karma. It’s the only thing that makes sense. People are difficult, but numbers never lie. In the disastrous wake of a broken engagement to an investor’s daughter, Nick is more certain than ever he isn’t relationship material.

Wes Conrad owns a thriving winery in Napa Valley. The relaxed atmosphere is a welcome departure from his former career as a high-rolling businessman. Wes’s laid-back nature is laced with a fierceness that appeals to Nick. In spite of his best intention to steer clear of complications, Nick can’t fight his growing attraction to the sexy older man who seems to understand him. Even the broken parts he doesn’t get himself. However, when Wes’s past collides with Nick’s present, both men will have to have to decide if they’re ready to lean into the ultimate fall.

Listen to an audio excerpt & purchase at Audible

 Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Meet the Narrator

Nick is an award winning narrator with a fan following for his work in fiction, specifically in the romance genre. His performances in two of Amy Lane’s books, Beneath the Stain and Christmas Kitsch, made him the recipient of Sinfully M/M Book Review’s Narrator of the Year – 2015. When he’s not in the booth, Nick enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessica, and kids, (aka their beagle Frank and cat Stella), drumming in his cover band, exploring rural back roads with his wife on his motorcycle, or being enthralled in a tabletop role playing game with his friends. 

Giveaway

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Ghost Wolf by Hurri Cosmo #LGBT #Contemporary #Romance #Review #Mystery

Moonbeams over Atlanta welcomes author Hurri Cosmo! Published by Painted Hearts Publishing LLC on January 18, 2018 and is 390 pages.

The Blurb:

Hi, my name is Trevor. I’m a wolf shifter. I say that like I know what I’m talking about. I don’t. I was simply running off a ton of steam one day when I was about eleven and bam! Okay, not quite that easy or fast but it happened when I was young and stupid. I’m also gay. I say that like I know what I’m talking about with that too. I simply don’t.

I’m grown up now and living in the big city which has me too busy to much care about either one of those things. I get out and run my wolf when I can, trying like hell to stay out of the local pack’s territories. Belonging to a “family” just sounds like too much work. I honestly don’t have time for such things. Besides, I was told when I was young the color of my wolf was all wrong. Too silver I guess. Metallic. I thought it looked cool in the full moon. “An Alpha would kill ya soon as look at ya.” My grandpa used to say. Course he wasn’t my real grandpa. Just an old man who lived down the street. But he was a shifter too and I thought he knew it all. He probably knew diddly shit either but a guy can’t be too careful.

So romance? Way off the radar.

But then someone started killing wolves. Started leaving lined up broken bodies all in a nice little row next to the high school in my home town and it got me to thinking. If a shifter is killed in his or her wolf state, does he/she stay that way? Were these dead wolves like me?

I had to see what I could do. Kind of like a super hero. Oh yeah. Probably forgot to tell you this. I can turn invisible.

Yep, Ghost Wolf to the rescue.

The Review:

Thank you IndiGo for the book in exchange for an honest review.

4 Stars

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It’s not often I find a first person paranormal story as interesting as this one. An invisible wolf? I had to know more. Then there was the mystery/suspense factor and I couldn’t waiting to read it. In fact, I read it in two sittings in about two days. There were a couple of places where I wasn’t sure who was talking since it was told in first person, but you really got into Trevor and his misconceptions about wolves and shifters based on one older wolf in his neighborhood. Secrets abound, and Trevor finds out more than he thought possible. It was a fascinating read and Hurri did a great job of detailing this world Trevor found himself in. I had read one other story in 2016 and enjoyed that one as well. I plan on find other books to read. There is a HEA and how Trevor and Ryan, the man he finds in a bar as his fated mate, find each other right when Ryan had given up finding his other half. While there is fate mates going on, it’s not the forefront and the mystery of Trevor’s history and his powers is foremost and makes it an easy way to get away for awhile. How Trevor thinks and talks is vastly amusing and I smiled through most of the story. There are some rough spots, especially past bullying, but for the most part is great read. I would recommend reading about Trevor and his antics with his mate. Trevor’s friends are fun secondary characters and I wouldn’t mind seeing some of those show up in a sequel.

Overall, I give Ghost Wolf 4 out of 5 stars.

Eloreen Moon

Title: Ghost Wolf
Author: Hurri Cosmo
Publisher: Pained Hearts
Release Date: 1/18/18
Heat Level: 5 – Erotica
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 390 pages, 122,000 words
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense

Book Links:

Amazon | Painted HeartsBookStrandGoodreads

About the Author:

Hi, my name is Hurri Cosmo and I am a happy ending junkie. I always have been. You can be pretty rest assured everything I write will have one. I am not big on angst. I believe we get enough of that in real life so when I go to read something, to make the real world go away for awhile, I will most likely not chose something that will make me cry. So I write for those people who, at least occasionally, feel the same way. I’m okay with the fact I will probably never write anything “important” but I guess I will have to see where my imagination takes me. I would love it if you would come along.

Website | Twitter | FacebookGoodreads Author Page | Blog | YouTube

Aerie by Jon Keys (The Chinjoka Saga 01) #Spotlight #LGBT #Romance #Fantasy #NewRelease #Giveaway #Rafflecopter

Title:  Aerie

Series: The Chinjoka Saga, Book One

Author: Jon Keys

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: February 19, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 77900

Genre: Fantasy, NineStar Press, LGBT, shifters, magic, gods, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, slow burn

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Synopsis

Askari, Dhala, and Gyam grew up as childhood friends during happier days for the Chinjoka, an Iron Age people with the ability to shapeshift, but now they must learn their place among the tribe while dealing with both a devastating plague and war with the Misiq.

Ena is a young warrior for the more savage Misiq, a tribe whose cruelty exemplifies their deity—the Angry God. The Misiq, also shifters, have declared a genocidal war against the Chinjoka, blaming them for the disease devastating both tribes. As a result, they are locked in a battle for survival. But when Ena is shown compassion by those he means to harm, he begins to question all he’s ever known.

A chance meeting changes their lives, and maybe their tribes, forever.

Excerpt

Aerie
Jon Keys © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Dhala’s world overflowed with desperation as he filled a bowl with crystalline water trickling along the edge of the sky portal for Gyam’s aerie. His attempt to spot Gyam in his flyer form was thwarted by the dense early spring fog that limited the visibility of the surroundings. Even the river running along the cliff was hidden from Dhala’s sharp eyes.

Assigned to be the Saat responsible for the last two Athru, Dhala took his worker caste’s responsibility of caring for Gyam and Choro with much weight, especially since Choro was in the final throes of the deadly plague that had devastated the Chinjoka over the last few cycles. As Choro’s health diminished ever more rapidly, Dhala and Gyam had become ever more desperate until, before first light, Gyam had left on the final attempt to gain their friend and mentor more time.

A gust sent a spray onto Dhala’s face and moistened the nest of short curls framing it. With the bowl having long ago been filled, he wiped the water from his skin and sighed.

“You can’t will him to travel faster, Dhala.”

Startled from his dower mood, he grabbed the bowl of fresh water from the trickle and moved to Choro’s side. “I’m so sorry. I was lost in thought.” He dropped a soft piece of trade cloth into the liquid, squeezed it almost dry, and ran it over the man’s face. Choro’s labored breathing echoed through the room, a symptom of how far the disease had progressed. Dhala found some solace knowing they’d had no new cases for a cycle. But sadness overwhelmed him each time he allowed himself to consider Choro losing his battle against the sickness.

With a hand withered to little more than talon and sinew, Choro caught his wrist. “Dhala, I’m neither fevered nor in need of cleaning. We both know my time is limited. Gyam set himself on this task hoping to change my fate, but this sun cycle is likely my last.”

Dhala scrubbed the tears from his face and scowled at the feeble figure lying before him. With a fierce determination, he grabbed the older man’s hand between his. “Choro, you will live. Gyam will find an osa herd, and the fresh meat will give you the strength to last until we discover a healing.” Dhala glanced out the cave opening to the fog-swathed valley that stretched to the forests surrounding Mother Falls high in the mountains to the north. Nothing of Gyam was visible, but he turned to Choro filled with a stubborn glint. “Soon. He must return soon.”

Choro lay back with a rattling breath. “Fledgling, we have not cured what is killing the Chinjoka in all the cycles since it began. Each caste suffered losses. Once I am gone, Gyam is the last Athru. None of the fledglings show signs of the Athru change, and the responsibilities weigh heavily on Gyam.”

Dhala dropped his gaze as Choro reminded him of his greatest shame. But there was a gentle touch on his chin, and he lifted his head. He took the elder’s hand in his, and Choro smiled sadly.

“It’s no fault of yours that you never left the Saat caste. The Father of the Twins decides who takes to the sky, who are the protectors, and who cares for others. We are all born with the abilities of the Saat, and many become able to shift to the protective plates of the Onija. But the few who are gifted with the faculty to shift into one of the Chinjoka flyers guard us from the sky. We all stop where the Father decrees.”

Dhala sighed again but released Choro and moved the bowl aside. The elder was right. Dhala needed to accept his place and the disappointment of never becoming one of the Athru caste as his father always believed he would. He would never develop the stone-hard plate of the Onija, much less the ability to become the taloned and winged protector of the Chinjoka.

Dhala’s father held several unique beliefs, including that the earthbound Saat were as important as the soaring Athru. When he was a child, Dhala spent many hours with his friends, climbing the precipice above the village as the Athru flyers glided across the azure sky. He’d loved the time among the heights, regardless of the season, but warm summer mornings were his favorite. By afternoon, the sun would heat the rocks, making them uncomfortable, but during the early mornings, the breeze coming from the warming grasslands northward to the cutleaf forest made it easy to imagine what flight over the last Chinjoka settlement would be like.

He glanced again to the outside, thrilled at the rays of sun cutting through the dawn haze and bringing the river far below them into sharper relief. The dry-fit stone wall that formed the flight path for this aerie glowed with the golden light of morning.

“He’s fine. Gyam is the strongest Athru I’ve met during my time in the aeries. When the Father takes me, he will need your help.”

Choro’s reference to the afterlife made Dhala cringe. He and Gyam had been determined to heal Choro of the plague since his first symptoms. Anyone who’d shown signs of the disease had left on the Long Flight with no exceptions. Dhala lost far too many of his friends, as had most of the Chinjoka. But when Choro showed the difficulty breathing that was the typical first symptom, Dhala fought with ferocious determination to save his friend and advisor. Choro’s downward spiral caused Dhala and Gyam to drift apart. They’d been among the best of friends since they were fledglings, but Choro’s terminal condition left Gyam bitter and unpredictable.

The result might be different if their only Athru healer hadn’t been one of the first to die. Others tried to find a cure, including his mother who was a well-versed Saat healer. The failure to determine a cure made people doubt their skills and, in some cases, blame the spread of the disease on the Saat healers. Regardless of the truth, no healer had been successful, and most had stopped their efforts, for fear they might be blamed.

“He comes.”

Dhala glanced at Choro, who nodded toward the aerie’s sky portal. An instant later, the slow beat of wings came closer. Dhala swept the room with his gaze and found everything to his satisfaction. He moved close as Gyam landed on the rock opening. Dhala couldn’t keep from gasping in awe any time he saw Gyam.

Each smooth wing was as long as Dhala’s height. The muscles across his shoulders and down his torso flexed with each swipe of his webbed appendages. Dhala stepped away when Gyam thrust his elongated muzzle toward him and screamed a high piercing call, demanding attention. Dhala wanted to clasp his hands over his ears but knew instead he would do as Gyam demanded. Gyam tensed and released another scream.

Dhala dashed forward and grabbed the blood-dripping osa heart from Gyam’s taloned hand. The fresh organ from the small grazer still quivered with the final throes of life. He rushed to Choro’s side, ignoring Gyam’s cry.

He knelt beside the older man and offered him the fist-sized heart. Choro preferred the meat of the smaller grazers, and a freshly harvested heart was a special treat. Both Dhala and Gyam hoped it would give him more strength, but Dhala feared it was Choro’s last meal. More of Choro’s presence in this world disappeared with each breath.

But he wouldn’t give up hope. Dhala arranged Choro’s bedding to make him as comfortable as possible while he enjoyed the treat. Choro sank his teeth into the morsel with clear relish as blood coated his fingers. Dhala couldn’t help but smile at the elder attacking the tidbit with the same enjoyment as a fledgling with a sweet treat. A short time later, Choro finished and glanced around him.

Dhala squeezed out the cloth he’d been using earlier and handed it to Choro, who took it with a grin and wiped himself clean. Once he’d finished, he lay back on the bed, closed his eyes, and sighed.

His voice rolled across the room. “Delicious, Gyam. That was the best osa I’ve eaten in many seasons.”

Dhala glanced over his shoulder to find Gyam in the midst of his change from his Athru form. The webbing was absorbing into wings, which were disappearing into Gyam’s muscular body, and interlocking scales were becoming supple skin as Gyam left the form marking him as Athru. Dhala relished the beautiful body being revealed to him. When front paws and talons became work-roughened hands, Gyam made his final shift to leave his Athru form and stood nude behind him. Dhala tried not to stare but lost his struggle. Usually, Gyam covered himself, but today, he held his loincloth in one hand while watching Choro. His stout, muscular body demanded Dhala’s attention until he realized how inappropriate he was being, especially given Gyam’s current state. Dhala was painfully aware of the attraction he’d had for Gyam since they’d both grown beyond fledglings, but he would keep his role as Saat for Gyam and Choro during his time of sorrow for them all.

He wrenched his gaze to the ailing man and got a smile and quick wink. Caught staring at Gyam, Dhala dropped his attention to the floor. A slight rustling served as warning when Gyam walked past him, making the last tie on his loincloth before kneeling at the side of Choro’s pallet.

“Elder, how are you feeling? Did the osa help?” Gyam asked.

Choro smiled and tapped Gyam’s cheek. Gyam grinned, and Dhala caught a glimpse of his friend from cycles past. He leaned in to give Choro a kiss on each cheek, but Choro’s gaze included both of them.

“It was warm and delicious, exactly what I needed. We must be honest. In spite of all your work, there is no cure. I am not long for this flight. My wings are tattered and bones are brittle. I will soon be with my mate. Both of you must accept this.”

Hot tears rolled down Dhala’s cheeks as he listened. He knew the truth of Choro’s assessment. His body was failing. Dhala’s gut twisted with grief, and a sob leaked from his lips.

Gyam turned on Dhala and snarled. His face elongated and his canine teeth grew as his emotions overtook his body. But before anything happened, Choro spoke.

“That’s enough, Gyam. You two stretched my life further than any of the others who have fallen victim to this illness. For that, I thank you. But the time is here.”

Gyam motioned at Dhala as he spoke. “He’s given up. He’s letting you die.”

Choro glared and sat up. Dhala scrambled to change his bedding to make it easier, but Choro waved him away. The movement threw Choro into a coughing spell that left him gasping for air.

“Please, Elder. Don’t strain yourself. I will do as you wish,” Gyam said.

Choro again motioned them off, but not before Dhala saw the flecks of blood on his lips. He lacked none of the weight of his role as elder Athru when he turned to Gyam.

“You will be the last Athru. You need your friends. You have been together with Dhala since you both ran free of clothing during the warm moons. You’ve protected and guarded each other through your time together. Now you have let this come between you, and it must stop. Dhala is your friend even though he is Saat. You have grown up together and must regain your ability to work together. Athru, Saat, or Onija, you are all Chinjoka. This disease has almost destroyed our people. So many have died, and only one village remains. You must rebuild the people. You cannot succeed without all three castes who make up the Chinjoka.”

Choro lapsed into another coughing fit. This one left him flat on his bed, sweating and gasping for air. He covered his eyes with an arm and tried to breathe. A morning breeze curled around them, bringing a mix of scents of the Chinjoka Basin, from the verdant growth of the shortgrass plains in the south to the crisp scent of the great cutleaf trees nourished by the Pilea River. The single wisp of air reminded Dhala of everything at stake for the Chinjoka nation. Dhala moved closer, pushing an immobile Gyam aside. He checked Choro’s pulse and found a weak thread. He ran his hands down the older man’s neck, but halfway along his path, Choro grabbed his wrists with the strength of a failing butterfly. The silent command left no doubt. He met Dhala’s gaze and nodded.

“Soon. But not now.” His gaze moved to encompass both of them. “You look like the gods are testing you. Both of you should rest, but I know neither of you will listen. I plan to sleep and won’t argue with either of you any further.”

With that, Choro sank into his bed and closed his eyes. Dhala waited but worried. He moved when Choro parted his lips.

“If you check my heartbeat, Dhala, I will hurt you in ways to prevent any enjoyment with a mate for the rest of your life.”

Dhala drew away and turned at a snort from Gyam. His dark eyes twinkled as he looked at both Choro and Dhala. “He’s not making idle threats. Even as he is now. Come. We can build up the fire and plan the evening meal. I asked a group of Onija caste hunters to bring the osa carcass. We must be ready for its arrival.”

They had created a bed of glowing coals when a voice came from the passageway carved into the interior of the cliff as a way to reach the upper caves.

“I could use a little help here! Gyam picked the biggest Twins-blessed osa in the entire basin.”

Dhala recognized the voice as another of their friends. Askari was of the Onija caste and one of the most successful hunters among the Chinjoka, but as a warrior, he was unequaled in the village. The plates he formed as Onija were as strong as iron but as mobile as Dhala’s soft skin. Dhala should have known it would be him who retrieved Gyam’s kill. That the three of them had been inseparable since they began to walk made it even more certain that Askari would be the one who would retrieve Gyam’s take. Even though the Father had spread his gifts through the castes as they went through puberty, bodies changing in line with their castes, their friendships had remained. They rushed to the path and found Askari balanced precariously while gripping the carcass he’d thrown across one shoulder. Dhala moved down the first few steps, grabbed the carcass by the stag’s straight-spiraling horns, heaved it upward, and settled it onto his shoulder. Once the body was securely in place, he carried it into the aerie.

Askari followed a few steps behind him, and as they reentered, he spared a glance toward Choro’s sleeping form before turning to the other men. Dhala stripped to his breechcloth and used his long knife to cut openings in the hind legs’ tendons so he could hang the osa from the tripod kept for that purpose. With practiced knife work, he peeled the hide from one side while Gyam worked on the other. With a soft crackle, he pulled the skin loose around the neck and glanced toward Askari. The plates from his Onija shift were still prominently displayed over his torso and brow. While scales proved invaluable in protecting one from the Onija caste during battle or hunting, they limited Askari’s finger mobility. The limitation made tasks requiring fine dexterity more difficult. Askari maintained his distance from the work being done, but Dhala knew his friend too well to allow him to avoid the dirty work of butchering the carcass.

“Askari, wake up and shift back from your Onija form. You can help.” He gestured his knife toward Gyam. “We want osa for dinner. The rest needs to be spread on a drying rack.”

Askari closed his eyes and skewed his face in an expression Dhala recognized as he shifted from his warrior form. Once Askari began, it took little time before his skin was as smooth, flexible—and vulnerable—as Dhala’s. He flexed his fingers a few times before pulling his side knife. Askari’s skill with a blade was evident by the speed the meat was prepared. With the three of them working together, butchering proceeded with well-practiced efficiency. As often as the three of them had hunted together, they should be skilled at sharing the work.

Dhala checked on Choro and saw his chest rising and falling. Signs of life, even if his breathing was shallow, gave Dhala hope. He had the urge to evaluate further but considered Choro’s earlier threat. He found the others cleaning the osa blood from their hands. Askari held out the bowl of water he’d filled earlier.

“Here, use what’s left, and I’ll get more.”

Dhala nodded and let Askari pour the cool liquid over his hands. He rubbed them together to loosen the drying bits from his skin. Once that was done, Askari splashed more water onto Dhala’s hands. After a few repetitions, Dhala was clean, and the pottery bowl was empty. He dried himself on his tunic and nodded to Askari.

“Thank you. We appreciate your help.”

Gyam glanced up and one brow lifted. But a moment later, he returned to the task he was trying to complete. His knife flashed in the light as he sliced the loin free from the backbone, cut the meat into thick slices, and threaded them onto fire-hardened skewers before hanging them over crimson coals. The meat was soon sizzling and filled the aerie with delicious aromas.

They tended the meat, constantly turning it to get a perfect sear on all sides. But while they did, Dhala kept a continual watch on Choro. All three friends worked to carve what remained into thin strips and hang them from the drying rack Dhala put in the small fire’s draft. The sun approached its peak when they finished. The skewered loin had cooked to perfection. Askari had always claimed a talent for cooking. He’d often said if Gyam had no choice but to eat his own cooking, he would learn how to do a decent job with its preparation. The smells of food had Dhala’s stomach growling, but he checked on Choro first to see if he might be interested in eating.

He walked over and squatted beside Choro’s bed. When he leaned forward to shake him awake, Choro’s eyes fluttered open.

“I’m still here, Dhala. The aroma of cooking osa was enough to keep me. It smells delicious. I haven’t eaten a meal from Askari in too many moons.”

“You will enjoy his cooking many more—” Dhala’s throat tightened, and he could not complete what he and Choro both knew was a lie. The older man patted his hand and smiled sadly.

“I relish sharing this meal with you. Bring me a piece of that delicious meat, fledgling. Invite the others to join us. I think we’ll have the best meal we’ve had in seasons.” He studied Dhala and continued. “Be certain to put out an offering of the osa to the gods, especially the Father. Their favor is needed by all of us.”

Dhala rushed away, glad to be focused on anything other than Choro’s rapid decline. The others turned to him as he approached. He glanced at them as he brought his emotions under control.

“Choro says the meat smells delicious and would like for us to share the meal with him,” Dhala said.

Askari leaned closer and whispered, “How is he?”

Dhala motioned toward the sleeping area. “He asked me to assure the offerings from the successful hunt. I will take care of their placement on the fire. Go. Sit with Choro and enjoy sharing our meal with him.”

Dhala drew his blade and carefully sliced thick pieces from the osa’s mineral-rich liver. After adding more wood to the fire, he dropped the raw meat into the searing hot coals. As the scent of the roasting delicacy filled the aerie, Dhala began a simple chant of thanks every Chinjoka was taught before their first blooding. As the last of the flesh turned dark, a breeze blew across the fire, hiding it in the smoke. Once Dhala’s sight returned, no trace of the meat remained. He hesitated but then joined the others with a shake of his head.

The three young men gathered the food they had prepared and sat on the floor surrounding their elder. Dhala brought small drinking bowls, one for each of them, filled with clear water Askari had brought from the river while they cooked. The mood was somber; everyone had seen the disease progress too many times. Choro only nibbled at his meat before setting it to one side. He lowered himself into the bedding and stared toward the open sky as they finished the rest of the meal.

“There are so few of us left. I don’t know how the Chinjoka can survive. Our gods have deserted us and the sickness destroyed the tribe until we are tempting targets to our enemies,” Choro whispered. The others fell silent as they explored their own dark memories. Blood-laced saliva and the gradual failure of the victims’ ability to breathe were the symptoms burned into the memory of any Chinjoka. The number of people Dhala had eased onto their Long Flight left him numb. Even at his young age, he remembered when the plague began. Hysteria made a bad situation worse. Early, when so many were dying, terror ruled people’s actions. Saat healers suggested any possible cure or at least a way to stop its spread. Its progression was slow but always fatal. It didn’t seem to spread through contact. In many cases, some members of a family would not develop symptoms, while their fathers, mothers, brothers, or sisters perished. The Athru healer who might have been able to develop a cure died in the first wave of fatalities. Saat healers could do nothing, but ignorance and malice caused them to be blamed for the disease. The first season was devastating for the Chinjoka, physically and emotionally.

One village had thrown a Saat healer from the burial heights in a confused effort to gain attention from the Father. Choro, and the other Athru caste who lived then, championed the Saat healers. But people still feared the illness that was wiping out entire villages, and the healers’ fear of retribution led them to stop aiding, not only those afflicted with the plague but other diseases normally not considered serious. This caused more deaths, this time from lack of rudimentary healing. The last of the plague victims received the best possible care. But even with the finest healing, like Choro was given, the ending was too predictable. And too tragic.

The small group finished their meal, and Dhala cleared the remains, dropping them into the cooking fire. The other two sat near Choro to fulfill any request. Dhala studied them, trying to think of anything to make Choro more comfortable. But he’d done all he could. To give Dhala something to occupy his thoughts, he began the work of tanning the osa hide. First, he brought a frame from the storage room. He cut a thin strip from the outer edge of the skin and made small slits along the edge. With care, he laced the pelt to the frame, stretching it into place.

“You have a skill to appreciate, Dhala. Don’t forget others take note of your labor,” Choro said.

Dhala faltered at his task. Tears flowed again as he met the gaze of the elder. He broke contact to refocus on his task even though emotions overwhelmed him. One thing he had learned early in life, emotional and fragile Chinjoka suffered short and miserable lives. He nurtured the strength to continue even when overwhelmed with impending loss. This was no different as he focused on scraping the hide clean, fingerwidth by fingerwidth.

But his walls broke and loneliness poured into Dhala. Too overwhelmed to continue, he let his hands drop to his side as he wept. No one chastised him for his lack of control, even though it was certain everyone heard. His strength waned as his sorrow leaked out as salty tears.

A light touch shocked Dhala, and he turned to find Gyam standing beside him. He stiffened, expecting a reprimand. But no rebuke came. Gyam instead knelt beside him and hugged him. Dhala returned his embrace. During that moment, his friend since birth returned, and the formal Athru of recent seasons vanished.

“He will be fine. I think the fresh meat brought him new energy. He will recover. Don’t grieve for him.”

Dhala schooled his expression before meeting Gyam’s gaze. Unable to lie, he spoke a different truth. “I believe Choro is one of the strongest Chinjoka I’ve ever met. If anyone can conquer the disease killing us, it will be him.”

Gyam patted his shoulder and flashed a smile at Dhala.

“Exactly. Now, one of us will sit with him so we are close if he needs anything. Otherwise, we will continue our day.”

“Of course, Gyam.”

Dhala tried to add more, but his knowledge of the Saat healing was too limited to enable him to sense the state of Choro’s rapidly deteriorating health. He nodded and turned to his work.

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Meet the Author

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in, he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

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September by Robert Winter #audio #LGBT #romance #Spotlight #Giveaway

Title:  September

Format: Audiobook

Series: Pride and Joy, book 1

Narrator: Kale Williams

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher:  Robert Winter Books

Release Date: February 7th,  2018

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 10 Hours 01 Minutes

Genre: Romance, May December, hurt comfort, second chance

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Synopsis

A May-December contemporary gay romance for lovers of second chances

David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.

But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover.

David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special…

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September Sample

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Meet the Author

Robert Winter lives and writes in Provincetown. He is a recovering lawyer who prefers writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants.

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Meet the Narrator

Kale Williams lends his voice to bring to life romance books of all stripes. Known for his distinct characterizations and natural intimate storytelling, he is as comfortable with the cowboys on the prairie as he is with the cops of the big city, from the slow burn to the hot steam to the HEA. Love is love is love.

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I’m on a roll and blog moving #musings #amwriting #brainstorming #bloggingworldproblems

 

Found this image on the internet. Not using a typewriter but a computer, but I thought it was cool. Yes, I’m writing now, as I and my co-author have time. We’re working on that story I posted about at the end of January. Not for the original submission but to submit to either a publisher or on our own when we’re done. We had a productive evening. Got some words written, a scene redone, and brainstormed a couple more chapters.

Unfortunately, I’ve been in pain for the better part of a couple of weeks, so a lot of things are going slowly. Thank goodness that work slowed a little last week so I could catch up on some of my non-billable stuff, and get looked at for all of the issues I have had. Got lots of dental issues that I’m working on this month with most of it dealt with by the beginning of March. Going to have to take some days off as they involve surgery. Not fun going under the knife twice. Last time I had roof-of-the-mouth surgery was when I was a teen revealing an impacted tooth for braces. The irony is not lost on me that one of the surgeries is to correct an abscess behind the same tooth… I’m getting old. Sigh. 🙂 But, I’m getting excited about writing more, so I’ll take it. Just have a few Real Life bumps along the way. Isn’t that how it always works out?

Looks like I’ll finish up some thoughts and a scene and then go take a pain pill and go to bed again. I took a nap earlier which is probably why I’m vertical now. Partners went to a friends party this evening so I expect they won’t be home until late. I will like be asleep, or wish I was, by then. Stupid pain.

I have some ideas bouncing around for another WIP my co-author and I were working on last year, or maybe the year before? Time has a tendency to slip by me when I work too much. Here’s hoping it don’t slam me again. I want to have time to finish a project. 😀 I plan to be more involved in writing. Next week will be signing up for GRL 2018, I hope. I plan on road-tripping to Virginia in October. If anyone in the area wants a ride we can work something out. Not sure what car I’m driving but likely a Prius. I do plan on bringing some books back…

Well, I’m going to sign off for the night. I’m going to try to update more often here. Note: I will be moving this blog from WordPress to my web hosted WordPress site eventually. For those that follow me, you will probably have to re-follow but I will keep everyone posted so you can jump on that when the time comes. This is so I can manage everything in one place and that http://blog.eloreenmoon.com/ actually stays and I don’t pay to redirect. 🙂 Anybody out there a WordPress guru and an help me move my blog? Cheaply? Struggling writer here. I’ve got most of it transferred with the free tools but having issues still, and haven’t had time to look into it again. Heck, I could use a webmaster as I need to do up my eloreenmoon.com website too. I figured I can deal with that after my blog moves. Anyway, contact me (social media, the blog contact form, or comment a contact here) if you can help or point me to tools that could work. WordPress and blog technology is driving me crazy. I’ve tried a couple but both sides (my domain host and WordPress) want money if they do it. Which, I’m leaning towards being fine with paying for it, but I don’t have it yet and I’d rather not pay WordPress. Maybe when some royalties come in. 😉 At least that is the plan this year.

OK, I’m really going to stop babbling. Here’s to a new writing year and getting things accomplished.

 

Eloreen