#Blitz Yield by Mickie B. Ashling #LGBTQ #BDSM #Erotica #Rafflecopter

Title: Yield

Series: Bay Area Professionals #5

Author: Mickie B. Ashling

Publisher: Mickie B. Ashling

Release Date: 11/13/2018

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 275 words

Genre: Erotica, BDSM

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Synopsis

Yield
A Sequel to Forged in Trust
Bay Area Professionals #5

A promising encounter takes a dark turn.

Captain Sami Soros and Father Jay Blackstone cross paths at a major European hub. When systems shut down due to a cyber-attack, flights are delayed and the resulting chaos is unprecedented.

After having served three tours in Afghanistan, recently discharged Sami struggles with his new civilian status. Emotionally depleted, and dangerously edgy, he views most of his fellowmen with utter contempt.

Jay is returning to his parish in San Francisco after a month-long retreat meant to shore up a crumbling vocation. All vestiges of spirituality melt away when he sets eyes on Sami.

They begin a clandestine affair fueled by a shared addiction to extreme forms of BDSM. Their relationship goes off the rails, and Jay reaches out to Rino Duran, a former seminarian. With the help of Dr. Ethan Marshall, Rino’s full-time Dom, the established couple attempt to separate truth from lies to give Jay and Sami a shot at happiness.

This novel can be read as a standalone.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

February 2018

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is crowded on any given day, but the scene unfolding when I walked off the Jetway into the arrival area was absolute pandemonium. Twelve hours ago, the computer running the intricate network of arrivals and departures at this gigantic European hub—ranked third busiest in number of total passengers per year—had been hacked. The domino effect of delayed or canceled flights resulted in a maelstrom of missed connections, lost baggage, and queue upon queue of clueless passengers looking for solutions. Weddings, honeymoons, funerals, river cruises, bus tours, reunions, and once-in-a-lifetime business opportunities were too important to be derailed by a bunch of dark-web bandits. Normally efficient and accommodating personnel were inundated with impossible requests, and tempers were pushed to the limit.

I’d expected a two-hour layover before catching my flight back to San Francisco via Chicago, but my trip from northern Spain had been delayed by an unexpected snowstorm. The result was catastrophic in terms of connections, and I was one among thousands trying to find my way home. There was no point in browbeating anyone for better results as my angry voice would fall on deaf ears.

According to the giant monitors advising weary travelers of time and gate changes, my flight was supposed to board at Gate F6. The seats were all taken when I arrived at my destination, and a quick scan of the adjoining gates revealed more of the same. I’d end up on the floor for an undetermined amount of time unless the airline brought in more chairs.

As I considered my next move, my attention was drawn to a guy dressed from head to toe in unadulterated black. His face and hands were deeply bronzed, incongruous amidst the throng of pasty winter complexions. Squint lines radiated from wide-set eyes, and a thin scar sliced through one dark winged eyebrow. The resulting asymmetry changed the stranger from model perfect to dangerously attractive.

The month I’d recently spent at the Sanctuary of Loyola in Azpeitia, Spain, the ancestral home of St. Ignatius, had been an inspirational setting meant to reaffirm my faith and strengthen my resolve to stay the course. A great waste of time, I thought bitterly, all the while checking out the stranger’s physical attributes. When he met my gaze, my stomach clenched, and I quickly looked away, hyperaware of my thundering heartbeat.

Most sensible men would have turned their backs when confronted with temptation, but I was at my most vulnerable. Daring another look, I found him digging through his pea-green duffel. Along with his puffy jacket, the bag was taking up the adjoining seat, which could be mine for the taking. Resolved to correct the immediate problem, I stomped his way with determination. Some sixth sense must have alerted him because he lifted his head and tracked my progress with hawklike intensity.

I pointed at the spot occupied by his possessions, expecting an immediate response. Instead, his grayish-green eyes narrowed with suspicion. When I didn’t move, he clenched his jaw, gathered up his things, and dropped them on the floor by his feet.

“Thank you,” I murmured, settling on the molded plastic chair.

He ignored me.

The buzz cut, laced boots, duffel, and edgy demeanor screamed military, but the turtleneck and cargo pants gave nothing away. He wore no distinguishing pins to indicate if he was one of ours or a member of some foreign entity. Trying to ascertain more was impossible while he continued to treat me like I was an interloper. While other passengers twitched in discomfort and fiddled with electronic devices, my stranger sat with his arms and legs crossed and scanned the crowd with a predatory stare. I wasn’t qualified to judge, but I got a strong feeling he’d be a formidable fighter if pushed.

His silence was oppressive, and under normal circumstances, I would have attempted a conversation. People usually responded favorably to a cleric, but my dark shirt and white collar were packed away, replaced by more practical winter wear. A thermal undershirt, flannel top, fleece-lined jeans, and sturdy hiking boots had served me well while I tramped the snow-covered pathways in the Basque country. It also worked as a disguise, allowing me to forget I was a priest in crisis with unfinished business back home in San Francisco.

An announcement came through the loudspeaker in Dutch, followed by the same in English, French, and Spanish. There would be another two-hour delay, and free vouchers were offered to anyone interested in a light snack until we were allowed to board.

“Someone will snatch my seat if I leave,” the stranger commented irritably.

“I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen if you’ll get me something to eat.”

He glared at me. “How can I be sure you won’t run off with my things?”

Incredulous, I asked, “Do I look like a hardened criminal?”

“You look like you lost your herd somewhere in the Alps.”

“I’ve been called a shepherd on occasion.”

“Can I trust you?” he asked skeptically.

“I’m more interested in black coffee and a sandwich than whatever treasures you might have in your duffel.”

“I’ll hunt you down if you’re lying,” he warned menacingly. “Is there anything you dislike by way of food?”

I shook my head.

“Allergies?”

“No.”

“I’ll be back shortly.”

I admired his retreating figure as he walked away. Easily over six feet, he was prepossessing, drawing the eyes of men and women alike as he picked his way through the crowd.

Questioning my ethics was understandable, considering our circumstances, but it set me to thinking about my past. All my life, I’d been judged by my DNA, which, by all accounts, left much to be desired. The man who’d given me life was a masterful liar, and my mother wasn’t equipped to deal with his manipulative personality. She was seduced, impregnated, and subsequently rushed to the altar by her indignant parents. Predictably, Jack Underwood took off when I was three, packing enough clothes for a short business trip. He never returned, and from then on, it was only a question of time before my grandparents convinced my mother to get rid of me.

I was dispatched to an orphanage in another state where I cried myself to sleep each night. The people in charge offered no explanation, but assured me I wouldn’t be there long. Blond and blue-eyed children were always scooped up first. Within months, I was adopted by the Blackstone family, who changed my name from Jack Jr. to Justin. And thus began my second incarnation.

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Meet the Author

Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.

By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing—and the inevitable emptying nest—dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.

Mickie currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.

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#Blitz Leaning into a Wish by Lane Hayes and Nick J. Russo (Leaning Into 05) #Audio #LGBTQ #Romance #Rafflecopter

Title: Leaning Into a Wish

Series: Leaning Into #5

Author: Lane Hayes

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Original Release Date: November 22, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 3 Hours, 29 Minutes

Genre: Romance, Holiday, Bisexual, Humor, Winery, Working Relationship

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Synopsis

Ryan Haskell loves everything about the wine business. He’s fortunate to work at one of the most prestigious wineries in Napa Valley doing something he enjoys with the people who are like family to him. But he could do without the good-natured intern slash former jock with the wicked grin who always seems to be in the way. Ryan isn’t sure why the new guy is under his skin when everyone else loves him. Thankfully he’ll be gone after the holidays.

Danny Meyers can’t believe his luck when he lands an internship at Conrad Winery. It’s the perfect temporary gig to wrap up his graduate studies. He’s left his dreams of tennis stardom on the court to focus on a new career and a new life. However, he didn’t count on the spark of attraction he feels for his prickly co-worker. When their tentative friendship blossoms into something more than either man counted on, they may have to change direction and lean into a holiday wish.

Excerpt

A vacuum-like static rang in my ears. It wasn’t until Danny nudged my arm that the typical raucous bar noises filtered through again. And when he scooted his barstool back a foot or two and raised his hand to flag down a server, everything seemed to return to normal. Sort of.

“Gin and tonic for my friend and I’ll have another martini, please. Thanks.” Danny tipped back the last of his drink then handed it over before twisting to face me. “So other than being out twenty-five bucks and possibly having an awkward conversation at work on Monday, that didn’t go so bad.”

“I—I don’t get it. What just happened?”

“We agreed to let Geordie win the bet, remember?”

“Sure, but how did I get stuck here with you?”

Danny snorted. “We’ve already established that you like me. Stop being an uptight fuddy-duddy.”

“A fuddy—? You’re…” I gritted my teeth and tried to think of a stinging insult to fit the situation. “Annoying.”

Lame. And the “That’s the best you’ve got?” twinkle in Danny’s eye told me he agreed with me. I was about to let him have it when the waiter stopped to deliver our drinks. When we were alone again, I leaned into him and kicked his shin for good measure.

“Ow. Relax, Ry. I still want to kiss you, you know.” He popped the speared olive from his martini into his mouth. “With tongue.”

“You’re reading way too much into a stick of spearmint gum, honey. Don’t flatter yourself. It was a joke,” I huffed derisively.

“It doesn’t have to be.”

“Are you fucking nuts? I’m not kissing you,” I announced primly.

“You want to though. Admit it,” he teased.

I blew out an exaggerated breath, sucked down half my cocktail, and slid off my barstool. “I’m outta here. See you Monday.”

Danny grabbed my belt loop and yanked me to his side. “You didn’t let me finish. I was about to say…”

“Yes?” I prompted with a rolling hand gesture.

“I want it too.”

We stared at each other for a heated moment. I had no clue what he was thinking, but it seemed weird to ask for clarification. When the growing tension went on a beat too long, I wanted out. “See ya, Danny boy.”

I pushed my way through the crowd and gulped for air when I finally reached the sidewalk. I didn’t dare stop to enjoy the refreshing autumn breeze. If I wanted to avoid any further confrontation, I had to boogie. Danny was the type of guy who liked having the last word, and that wasn’t happening on my watch. I fished my keys from my pocket and power-walked toward the parking lot behind the bar.

“Ryan!”

I ignored him and picked up my pace. I spotted my car and clicked my fob to unlock the door. Danny called my name again. I could tell from the sound of his footsteps behind me that he was closing in quickly. I had to hurry or—

Too late. A hand on my elbow yanked me sideways.

“What the fuck is your problem?” I fumed, pushing his chest to no avail.

He moved into my space until his nose was less than an inch from mine. He was too big and imposing, and the look in his eyes was straight-up dangerous.

My dick twitched in my jeans. Of course it did. I had a bad habit of coveting what I couldn’t have and getting turned on by the chase. My past was littered with embarrassing short-term affairs or crushes on guys like Wes and Finn. Men I admired but never had a real shot with. I didn’t want to add Danny to that list because against my better judgment…I liked him. Really liked him.

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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 a newly 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.

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#Blitz The Kinsey Scale by CJane Elliott (Campus Connections 01) #LGBT #NewAdult #Contemporary #NewRelease #Rafflecopter

Title: The Kinsey Scale

Series: Campus Connections Book 1

Author: CJane Elliott

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: 11/9/18

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 89 pages

Genre: Romance, New Adult, contemporary, friends to lovers, college

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Synopsis

Life is good for Eric Brown. He’s a senior theater major, an RA for a freshman dorm, and has a great circle of friends. Single since sophomore year, Eric isn’t looking for love. But then Will Butler—fellow senior, co-RA, and the cutest guy Eric’s ever seen—walks into his dorm. Will has a girlfriend he sees off campus—a minor disappointment that becomes a major problem when a housing shortage causes Will and Eric to become roommates, and Eric is forced to witness Will’s hotness day in and day out. For protection, Eric asks Jerry, his ex-boyfriend, to pretend they’re still together. Jerry warns him it’s a stupid idea, but he reluctantly agrees.

Too bad it won’t save Eric from losing his heart.

Will Butler has never believed in himself. His dysfunctional family saw to that. Although Will has loved music since childhood, he’s never seriously considered pursuing it, and the person he’s dating doesn’t encourage him. Then he and Eric Brown become roommates, and everything changes. Eric believes in Will and his talent. He’s also gorgeous and playful and fast becoming Will’s best friend. And that’s not good, because Will is hiding some big things, not only from Eric, but from himself.

Excerpt

“So how’s it going with Hottie the Roommate?” Jerry asked. He lounged in the armchair at the coffee shop and took a languid sip of his latte.

“Fine.” Eric made a face. “We stay out of each other’s way. It sucks, but nothing we can do about it now.”

“I’m surprised you haven’t taken advantage of the situation.” Jerry arched his eyebrow.

“He’s straight. He has a girlfriend who doesn’t go here. I guess he sees her on the weekends. I don’t know. We don’t talk about that.”

“Don’t talk? Oh honey, that doesn’t sound like you at all. What’s up with that?”

“I don’t know. Shut up.”

“Touchy, touchy. God. You’re not usually this grumpy. Maybe you should look at changing this RA thing, because it sounds like it’s causing you stress.”

Eric shifted in his chair and sipped his latte. Jerry knew him too well. He was grumpy lately, but it wasn’t the RA thing. He enjoyed being an RA and counseling the kids. He and Will functioned well as an RA team, seeming to know instinctively when one of them would do better than the other in handling a situation, and then debriefing about it later. They talked about stuff really easily, and laughed a lot, having discovered they shared the same kind of crazy humor. And Will composed his own songs, which Eric thought was totally cool. He loved lying on his bed listening to Will play his guitar and sing.

“Yeah, it’s not that bad. We get along great, actually.”

And it wasn’t true that they never talked about Will’s girlfriend. Her name was Jessie, and Will sometimes mentioned her in passing, but Eric never pressed for details. In fact he had a strange reluctance to regale Will with his own sexual escapades, the way he always had in the past with friends or roommates. It was a weird thing, almost like a force field or something. They both shut up whenever the conversation veered too close to sex or relationships.

And then having to look at Will every day, with his bedhead when he woke up and his naked chest when he came out of the bathroom in his sleep pants, or when his face was animated and he threw back his head and laughed at something Eric said and…. God. No wonder he was grumpy.

“Let’s go out tonight. You need to dance and get laid.” Jerry’s voice brought him back.

“Okay.” It was Friday, so Will would be out of the room, thank God. Maybe Eric would even get lucky and bring someone back with him tonight… or go to their place, given the shitty dorm beds. He yawned, all of a sudden weary.

“Oh yes.” Jerry peered at him critically. “We’ve got to get you back to your perky self, my dear. I’m getting you another latte, for starters.”

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Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming-out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her family supports her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.

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#Blitz #TrexOrTreat by @taralain #ReleaseDay #Halloween #ContemporaryRomance #LGBT

A special treat just for you on this Halloween!! 

The Shy Professor’s Sexy Halloween Surprise!

Trex or Treat
by Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
Josh Harris is all dad all the time. A busy college professor and devoted single father, Josh tries to be happy with only his son for company. But then Bradley “Trex” Trexler moves in across the street with his stepbrother, Bogo, and takes advantage of their empty home, making it into a haunted house for Halloween.
Josh’s son, Ernie, can’t wait to go, so Josh dresses up like a movie cowboy and saunters over. It’ll be the best Halloween of Ernie’s life, but there’s another sharpshooter roaming the dark corridors, and this one might have a special treat for Josh….
Second Edition
First Edition published by Etopia Press in Halloween Heat (IV anthology), October 2012.
Available for purchase at
Excerpt

 

A voice drawled, “I’m not sure there’s room for two gunslingers in this town.”
Josh slowly raised his head. Doc Holliday, aka Trex, stood at the other end of the
hall. Black hat, dark three-piece suit, a gun at his side, and a delicate
handkerchief tinged with blood that was the clue to the character—Holliday had
died of TB. The western garb fit perfectly on that tall, athletic body. The
real Holliday never looked so good. Josh wanted to drool.
Josh smiled, but Trex didn’t break character, his gaze resting steady and dangerous
on Josh’s face. Okay, two could play. Josh scowled like a man who gazed into
the sun all day and chewed the stump of cigar in his mouth. He rested a hand on
his toy six-shooter. “You want to try me?” The words were out. What did I just
say?
Trex/Holliday sauntered toward him, spurs jingling. He came face-to-face with Josh and
cracked a hint of a smile. “Show me what you got.”
He’d called his bluff. “Uh, oh, I….”
Trex reached up and slowly took the unlit stogy from Josh’s teeth. He slipped a hand
around Josh’s neck and—holy crap!—he pressed a hot mouth over Josh’s lips with
a hint of warm tongue. Their hats bumped and Josh’s fell backward. He grabbed
for it, their teeth knocked together, their noses squashed, and Trex pulled
back, laughing. “I guess we know that cowboys didn’t spontaneously seduce each
other. Too much shit to get in the way.”
Josh knew his eyes were wide, and he was having trouble keeping his breath even. “Doing a
little cowboy experimentation, are we?” He reached down, grabbed his hat from
the floor, and put it back on.
Trex waved a hand down Josh’s body. “Hey, you come in oozing cowboy charisma, you gotta
expect some admiration.”

About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Erotic Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance,  Best Gay Characters, and more. Readers often call her books “sweet,” even with all that hawt sex, because Tara believes in love and her books deliver on happily-ever-after. In addition to writing dozens and dozens of romance novels,  Tara also owns an advertising and public relations firm. Her love of creating book titles comes from years of manifesting ad headlines for everything from analytical instruments to semiconductors. She does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. Together with her soulmate husband and her soulmate Dog, she recently realized a vision to live where there were a lot more trees and a lot fewer cars by moving to Ashland, Oregon. She hasn’t stopped smiling since.

You can find Tara at Lain

 

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#Blitz The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick #NewRelease #LGBTQ #Contemporary #Romance #NewAdult #Violence

Title: The Art of Hero Worship

Author: Mia Kerick

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: October 29, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 51500

Genre: contemporary, bisexual, new adult, college, self-discovery, crime/school shooting, PTSD/disability, grieving/depression, family drama, violence, stalking

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Synopsis

College junior Liam Norcross is a hero. He willingly, even eagerly, risks his life to save a stranger as a murderous, deranged shooter moves methodically through the darkened theater on the Batcheldor College campus, randomly killing innocent men, women, and children.

The stranger he saves is college freshman Jason Tripp. Jase loses everything in the shooting: his girlfriend, who dies on the floor beside him, and his grip on emotional security. He struggles to regain a sense of safety in the world, finally leaving college to seek refuge in his hometown.

An inexplicable bond forms between the two men in the chaos and horror of the theater, and Liam fights to bring Jase back to the world he ran away from. When Jase returns to school, they’re drawn together as soulmates, and soon Liam and Jase fall into a turbulent romantic relationship. However, the rocky path to love cannot be smoothed until Jase rescues his hero in return by delving into his shady past and solving the mystery of Liam’s compulsion to be everybody’s savior.

Excerpt

The Art of Hero Worship
Mia Kerick © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Pop-pop-pop…

At this point, he’s in the back of the theater, and the shooting hasn’t slowed down at all. Gunshots ring out steadily in the shadowy darkness…always in sets of three, letting me know where he is. I’m scared…so fucking scared…but not too scared to wonder what I did to deserve this special little slice of hell.

And I’m frozen…I can’t even move enough to swallow my spit. I know what I have to do—I have to search for Ginny, but I can’t since I’m frozen solid, like a leg of lamb in a walk-in freezer.

Pop-pop-pop…pop-pop-pop…

“I’ve been shot! Oh, sweet Jesus, I’ve been shot!”

Earsplitting blasts of sound—one, two, three. The gunshots have a life and a plan—no, a mission—all their own, to maim and kill by ripping through the flesh of everyone in this theater. I’m panting and sweating and wishing to God I knew how to pray because I’d so pray right now.

And as suddenly as it started, the shooting stops. Is it over? With the utmost caution, I exhale the breath I’ve been hanging on to so jealously…as if part of me fears I’ll never get the chance to take another. But one more wary breath moves in and out, and I know I have to get hold of myself so I can find her. Because it’s over now… yes, I think maybe it’s ov—

Pop-pop-pop…

Life-sucking and blood-spattering and gurgle-inducing, evenly spaced sets of three that are becoming so horribly predictable. I brace myself for the impact because I just know the next pop is going to come with excruciating pain that explodes in my head or my back or, if I’m lucky, my ass. Or, if I’m not so lucky, in all three places, one right after another.

This isn’t happening. It can’t be happening.

Is nineteen too old to want my mommy?

“Get down! Get on the floor!” Somebody yells. Too late for that warning. I’m already flat on the floor in the narrow space between the rows of seats; my head is bleeding all over the arm it’s resting on… My left arm? My right arm? Somebody else’s arm? Not so sure. Not so sure it matters.

“Don’t shoot me—please don’t—”

Pop-pop-pop…

“Put the gun down! Put it do-o-own!”

Pop-pop-pop…

I belly crawl forward a few inches and reach around in search of Ginny’s hand, but when I pat the floor all I can feel is a pool of blood that wasn’t there the last time I checked, and then there’s this cooling mound of flesh in its center.

“I don’t know what to do…” These words escape on a single breath followed by a few sharp coughs from an elderly man.

Pop-pop-pop…pop-pop-pop…

Annoying cough…forever suppressed.

Right after the second round of shots, when everybody had started rushing around, all frenzied and scrambling, I’d lost track of Ginny… In fact, I’d lost track of everything. Maybe because it had suddenly sunk into my stunned brain that this place was now a death chamber. My death chamber.

It seems as if so much time has passed since the first bullet whizzed past my right ear…that for a month or a year—or for my entire lifetime—I’ve been waiting for the gunshots to stop. But a tiny voice inside my head suggests that I’ve been in this living hell for less than five minutes, at most.

Pop-pop-pop…

Right after the shooting started, but before I lost Ginny, I caught a glimpse of the gunman’s silhouette against the bright stage. He’d seemed huge in his dark baggy clothing. He towered over the audience, or maybe it just seemed that way because he was pointing a long gun at us. I recognized the shooter from seeing him around campus. And when I saw his face profiled in the light—the bulging forehead, prominent nose, and receding chin—a name had sped through my brain, but soon the name was as lost to me as my girlfriend’s lax hand.

Pop-pop-pop…

The gunman doesn’t say a word; his weapon does the talking. And the deafening popping sounds are closer again, like the gun has something it wants to say to me personally…something like, “You’re gonna die today, Jason.”

“I’m gonna push on your back really hard, and I want you to squeeze as much of your body underneath the chairs as you can, got it?” The voice seems to come from a million miles away, but it’s coming from right behind me. On top of me, really. I feel his breath on the back of my neck.

Pop-pop-pop…pop-pop-pop…

“Are we going to die?” I’m not sure if I ask this or if it comes from the lips of the little old lady who’d been sitting on the other side of Ginny at the start of the play. The old lady who told us she’d come to the Harrison Theater to see her granddaughter play Ophelia in the Shakespeare in the Spring Performance Series, not to die in a hail of bullets. I know that Ginny didn’t ask the question, though. She’s been silent since the second volley of gunshots when her head slumped over unnaturally onto my shoulder, and by instinct, I’d pulled her to the floor.

Batcheldor College’s small theater has been called “an acoustic gem,” and right now, it’s ringing with the erratic sounds of screaming and moaning and crying and shouting and shooting. But most impressive is the resounding silence of the gunman, which speaks louder than words, or gunshots, ever could.

All in all, it’s noisy and confusing and crazy…the Beatles’ tune “Helter Skelter” comes to mind. This is not how I want to die. Mostly because I don’t want to die!

The guy on my back is poking a single finger into the blood on my head, then twisting in such a way that I think he’s reaching to his back…like maybe he’s smearing my blood there. I’m distracted from his action by the squealing of the fire alarm, and I find my blurry mind wondering if, in addition to the problem of a crazed gunman, we also have a fire to put out.

Would I prefer my death be a result of hungry flames or a hail of bullets?

“We’re gonna survive; just stay still. Completely still. ’Kay?” I feel the pressure on my back that he promised me, and even though it hurts to have my belly pushed into the metal rungs at the base of the seats in front of us, I feel strangely safe. He speaks into my ear. “Play dead, dude.”

Pop-pop-pop…

No, I’m not even remotely safe. But thankfully, I play dead far better than my dog Goliath did when I tried to teach him that trick at the age of seven.

The shots are already earsplitting, and growing louder, as the shooter’s heading our way. I’m so fucking scared I tremble as if I’m having a seizure, and I promised the guy lying on top of me that I’d stay still. I concentrate on taking short shallow breaths, one after another, in my effort to stop shaking. To stay frozen—the way my heart has been since I pulled Ginny to the floor and promptly let go of her hand so I could curl up into a tight fetal ball.

Somebody near me sits up, scrambles to his knees, and impulsively crawls toward the far aisle.

Pop-pop-pop…

“Bang, bang…you’re dead.” The voice comes from directly above me; it’s blank and monotone and controlled. The snicker that follows is chilling. I want nothing more than to throw the big guy off my back and run like hell toward the double doors, but I just keep on going with the short, shallow breaths and stay as still as I’ve ever been in my life. The guy on top of me is totally exposed; I can’t move because if I do, I’ll cheat him out of his life, for sure. Which is so not cool when he’s trying to save mine.

I smell blood. Never noticed the smell of blood before. It reminds me of Grandma’s penny collection…if it got spilled onto the sticky floor of the theater. The scent of old copper is everywhere like wet pennies strewn all around me on the floor.

Pop-pop-pop…

Shooter’s practically on top of us now. Don’t move…don’t move…don’t move…

“Dear God, help me!” This request seems to catch the shooter’s attention, and he turns around and steps away from us. I curse myself for feeling as relieved as I do.

Pop-pop-pop…

We wait and it seems like forever. We wait as voices beg and plead and pray and he shuts them up with bullets. We wait as the sound of shots moves to the front left near the exit, where I figure he’s shooting at anyone who tries to get out through the double doors.

And then, for a second, it’s quiet.

“Now…” The big guy whispers, but the sound seems to blast into my left ear. “We have to make our move now.” Before I agree, the heaviness of his body lifts and I feel cold and exposed. “This is our chance to get outta here…”

His hand is attached to the back of my wrist, clutching me so hard I’ll have fingerprint bruises for a week…if I live so long.

“Come on! Get up!”

“Ginny…” I whisper back. “I can’t leave Ginny.”

He reaches out to touch the flesh mound in the center of the pool of blood and whispers firmly, “Ginny’s already gone.” He releases my wrist just long enough to adjust his grip. “I worked here last year. I know how to get away. Come on…”

He pulls me to my knees and drags me. Ginny. I only think her name this time because I’m literally too petrified to speak. We crawl like two sneaky toddlers through the narrow alley between the rows of seats and then down the outside aisle, over a couple of bodies—small ones, kids’ bodies that are way too still and cool—and to a trapdoor at the base of the stage. It’s a small gray square in the wall. I never noticed it before, and I’ve been to the Harrison Theater at least five times this year to see Ginny’s roommate perform. The guy beside me pulls out a pocketknife and fiddles silently with the screws holding the little door in place.

Pop-pop-pop…

The thin slab of metal covering the small door drops to the floor and contributes a new sound to the quieting chaos. It clangs in such a way that nobody left alive in the theater could miss it.

“Where do you think you’re going?” The gunman has stopped shooting, and I hear the heavy stomping of combat boots coming toward us, down the aisle. Not running…just walking in swift, determined steps. My guardian angel grabs me and stuffs me through the opening in the base of the stage. I land on my chin in a pile of music stands. My helper isn’t far behind in squeezing his bulky frame through the small square in the wall. We’ve landed in some type of a cluttered crawl space, maybe the orchestra pit, and I struggle to make my way through the music stands in the pitch-blackness. When we’re halfway through the mess of metal, crawling through unruly stacks of folding chairs, the overhead light in the pit flicks on.

“What’s going on in the theater, you guys? It’s mega-loud in there.” A clueless college girl’s voice. I can’t see her clearly because the sudden bright light stings my eyes, making me squint.

“Get out of here, lady—just run for it!” shouts my guardian angel. We can’t run yet because we’re still trapped in a dense forest of metal.

“I see you two… I see you.” The shooter’s voice is deadly calm. “And I think I know you.”

Pop-pop-pop…

For some reason, he doesn’t climb into the orchestra pit to come after us but pushes the gun through the opening and pulls the trigger three times. Bullets ricochet off the metal chairs and stands. Again I freeze, not sure which way to go. I’m grabbed fiercely by my right forearm and dragged over the remainder of the chairs to the door.

I expect more shooting, but there’s none. Instead, that cold, creepy voice increases in volume, to assure us, “Don’t worry, I’ll find you.”

We take to our feet and start to run. Soon we’re holding hands in a narrow hallway…running for the back of the building…and then we’re outside in the breezy darkness, still clinging to each other. We sprint through the muddy grass in the direction of the parking lot.

And we stop at an old model, cherry-red muscle car—a Dodge Charger.

“Get in!” His voice is husky as he opens the passenger door, pushes me inside, and quickly shuts it. Then he scrambles over the hood to get to the driver’s side. He flings the door wide open and jumps into the seat, not gracefully, but with more speed than I could ever have imagined was possible for a guy his size. Adrenaline counts for a lot… And soon we’re driving off the college grounds, out of the supposed safety of the “Batcheldor College Bubble,” and into the real world.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another at a dance conservatory, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to NineStar Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology. Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com or visit at http://www.miakerickya.com to see what is going on in Mia’s world.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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I’m Published! Thrice! Three Anthologies by Multiple Authors #PreOrder #PersonsOfColor #Romance #LGBT #NewRelease #GAEmergingWriters #SciFi #Fantasy

*•.¸(`*•.¸(`*•.¸★¸.•*´)¸.•*´)¸.•*´
*****Beautiful Skin: A People of Color Anthology*****
¸.•*´(¸.•*´(¸.•*´★`*•.¸)`*•.¸)`*•.¸

 

So, Amazon came through and provided a preorder link. Really fast. See link below the Preorder image. In addition, I got notified that Z Publishing House released the Georgia Emerging Writers Anthology I mentioned earlier this year. That link is below the cover for it. 😀 It’s a paperback so it’s a bit more expensive but you get to see all kinds of other stories. They are all short, less than 1250 words each. While building this post (over the course of several hours because of other things), I found out that a third anthology recently released that has my 300 word flash fiction in it. Impact: Queer Sci Fi’s Fifth Annual Flash Fiction Contest. Whoa. Things just real, really fast. 🙂

So, readers. I’m an officially published author with multiple publications under my belt. How did that happen? A lot of work. Thank you Emmy, the POC FB Group, J. Scott Coatsworth

Release date: 8/23/18

Buy Links: Books2Read: Amazon | Smile Amazon

There will be a Paperback version for those that want a physical copy. I’ll update when that is live.

Add this wonderfully diverse anthology to your Goodreads TBR list today, because you won’t want to miss it when it releases!!

Link to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41067383-beautiful-skin

If you are a blogger or supporter (you don’t have to have a blog to join), please sign up at our Release Blitz form below:

https://goo.gl/forms/cLFVvbqchEPmJ28B2

A few days before the release date, you will get an email with a kit for the Blitz

And thank you! Continue on to see the second anthology. 😉

 

*•.¸(`*•.¸(`*•.¸★¸.•*´)¸.•*´)¸.•*´
*****Georgia Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction*****
¸.•*´(¸.•*´(¸.•*´★`*•.¸)`*•.¸)`*•.¸

 

So, I was invited to join this anthology by the publisher, Z Publishing House, way back in May. I was able to pick and submit 5 options, on my birthday no less. A month later, they’d picked one! The Lotto Ticket was a submission I did to a Fantasy and Science Fiction Flash Fiction contest that would turn your 500 word submission into a podcast. Well, I didn’t make it past the first round, and it had been languishing since. I did a few edits but basically left it the way it was written and near the 500 words. I liked the story a lot for being so short. This is a paperback but you do get to see other emerging writers from the lovely state of Georgia that I call home. They run the gamut of stories, and not just LGBTQ or even romance. I think you will like it.

 

Buy Links: Amazon | Smile Amazon | Z Publishing House

About Z Publishing House: 

Having begun as a blog in the fall of 2015, Z Publishing, LLC, soon transitioned into book publishing. This transition came in response to the major problem currently plaguing the publishing world: For writers, finding new readers can be tremendously difficult, and for readers, finding new talented authors with whom they identify is like searching for a needle in a haystack. With Z Publishing, no longer will anyone have to go about this process alone. By producing anthologies of multiple authors rather than single-author volumes, Z Publishing hopes to foster a community of readers and writers, bringing all sides of the industry closer together.

You can follow the growth of Z Publishing on Facebook here!

Website: https://www.zpublishinghouse.com/

 

*•.¸(`*•.¸(`*•.¸★¸.•*´)¸.•*´)¸.•*´
*****Impact: Queer Sci Fi’s Fifth Annual Flash Fiction Contest*****
¸.•*´(¸.•*´(¸.•*´★`*•.¸)`*•.¸)`*•.¸

 

And now for the third anthology that I just found out released July 26, 2018. It’s the Queer Sci Fi’s 5th annual Flash Fiction contest that I a contribution for the 4th year in a row. 🙂 I’m very proud of that. Without further adieu, here is Impact!

 

Buy Links: Amazon KindleBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboAngus & RobertsonGoodreads

Series Title: Queer Sci Fi’s Annual Flash Fiction Contest

Position (Number) in Series: 4

Necessary to Read Previous Books: No

Other Books in Series Available for Review?: Yes

 

Warnings: This book contains 110 stories of 300 words or less each.

 

Book Blurb:

IM * PACT

(noun)

 

1) One object colliding with another

2) An impinging of something upon something else

3) An influence or effect on something or someone

4) The force of a new idea, concept, technology or ideology

Four definitions to inspire writers around the world, and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell, but only 110 made the final cut.

A difficult choice to be made. An object hurtling recklessly through space. A new invention that will change the world. So many things can impact a life, a society, or a planet.

Impact features 300 word speculative fiction ficlets from across the queer spectrum from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

Welcome to Impact.

 

Series Blurb:

It’s hard to tell a story in just 300 words. Each year we ask writers to take the challenge, turning in stories across the queer spectrum. The rules are simple. Write a complete sci fi, fantasy, paranormal or horror story, include LGBTIQA characters, and do it all with just 300 carefully chosen words.

 

Excerpt (Non-Exclusive):

 Since this book is composed of stories of no more than 300 words, we can’t really do a standard excerpt, so we’re offering you the teaser first lines from a number of stories.

“She’d needed new oil. She felt her joints grow stiff, her muscles grow tight, her follicles thickening. If she didn’t get fresh quarts soon, people she passed would start calling her sir, asking, Where’s your gun?” —Crossville Station, by Nathan Alling Long

“The mallet’s impact on the hard, bright disk shattered the silence in the talking chamber. The resulting deep tone reverberated through the vault, through Saskia, as she fidgeted beside her lover.” —Settled, by Aidee Ladnier

“This is how the world ends, or so they say. From where I’m standing, it simply looks like a rolling darkness as distant lights flicker and die.” —Visitors, by LJ Phillips

“’What have you done?’ The mechanical eyes came to rest on his face, the droning beep sounding loud in the small room.” —Identity and Change, by Jo Tannah

“’Once upon a world, we were the same,’ he said, lifting my hand to his lips; the ground shaking beneath us.” —Impact, by Jack Ladd

“I been a tinker and soothsayer long enough to know this country’s at the cusp of war. They stir up hate easy as breath. And, oh, it pains my soul to see it. “ —Impact of Intervention, by Patricia Scott

“All lives begin with a messy impact of some kind. The crash of zygotes and gametes. Splats of silica gel between cybernetic synapses. Two women slam into each other carrying full cups of coffee.” —Quintessence, by E.M. Hammill

“If I venture far enough into the house, I’ll find my closet.” —The Closet, by K.S. Trenten

“It touched Ligaya when she was a child. Or she touched it. A half-glimpsed shape under her bed.” Mas Mabuti An Answang, by Foster Bridget Cassidy

“Jam zipped down the neon track, feather-light in low gravity. She rocketed forward, a glowing haze in her starred helmet, and shot past the pack. “Space Jammer!” echoed as she neared the line. Time to rack up the points.” —First Bout: Andromedolls Vs. Crotch Rockets, by Ginger Streusel

About Queer Sci Fi:

At Queer Sci Fi, we’re building a community of sci fi, fantasy, paranormal and horror writers and readers who want a little rainbow in their speculative fiction. We run a great discussion group on Facebook, a twitter feed, and have a website full of useful materials, news, and announcements for readers and writers of queer speculative fiction.

WebsiteFacebook Discussion Group | Facebook PageTwitter

Nectar and Ambrosia (Amaranthine Inheritance 1) by E. M. Hamill #Giveaway #MF #MM #UrbanFantasy #Mythical #NewRelease #LGBT

Title:  Nectar and Ambrosia
Series: Amaranthine Inheritance #1
Author: E.M. Hamill
Publisher:  Star Bard Books
Release Date: June 30, 2018
Heat Level: 1 – No Sex
Pairing: Male/Female, Male/Male
Length: 81576
Genre: Fantasy, urban/mythical

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Synopsis

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Callie, a Classics major, flees home to
protect her family from a monster straight out of mythology.  Visions lead her to Nectar and Ambrosia: the
weirdest pub on Earth, where inter-dimensional travelers with attention seeking
issues get drunk in between the A-list celebrity lives they create. They can’t
pretend to be gods anymore—not since a treaty with the current Supreme Deity promising
they won’t intervene in human affairs.
The Doorkeeper of this threshold,
Florian, rides herd on the rowdy Amaranthine and offers her shelter and a job.
Callie likes the lonely, mysterious bartender more than she should. For
Florian, her presence is a ray of light in the gray monotony of his sentence
behind the bar, but he keeps a cautious distance—the truth of how he became
Doorkeeper could change Callie’s perception of him forever.
When angels show up for a war council
over Zeus’s irrational mutters about a comeback, Callie has uncontrolled
visions of an apocalypse.  Ex-gods
realize she’s the first Oracle Priestess in generations. All Callie wanted was
keep her parents safe, and now it seems she must sacrifice her future to keep
the rest of humanity safe, too. Ambrosia could be the key to harnessing her
visions— or it could cost her life.
War is coming. The threshold between
worlds has never been more fragile. Callie must discover who is pulling Zeus’s
strings and avert the final battle—before the immortal vying to become the next
Supreme Deity kills her first.

 

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Callie turned away, trying to decide if
Florian and all his clientele were delusional or if it was some kind of big
role-playing game for rich people. Folks could have a thing about dressing up
in furry animal costumes. She supposed they could pretend to be gods and
goddesses too. If it was a mythology RPG, they weren’t concerned with the
classical part, except for the guy she saw yesterday afternoon. She was
relieved to have a rational explanation for the horns.
Something moved outside the glass front
door. Her heart seized in momentary panic. What if the monster still lurked out
there?
Strange, visible turbulence seemed to
ripple the panes. Callie squeezed her eyes shut to clear her sight and prayed
it wasn’t the aura of an oncoming seizure. Cool relief extinguished the rising
sparks of panic as the effect dissipated.
The door opened and revealed a
spiky-haired, punk rock kid years too young to be in any bar. Callie was forced
to squint in order see him clearly as he strode in, his outlines strangely
blurred and soft. Sullen teenaged fluidity rolled in every line of his body. He
surveyed the bar, narrow kohl-ringed eyes settling on the heavily intoxicated
Zeus. A sneer comprised of equal parts contempt and satisfaction flickered over
his mouth.
“There he is, the great king of the
gods,” he muttered. He moved toward the bar, a glare of disdain sweeping
over the other patrons. His eyes widened in appreciation as they passed over
Callie, a little smirk growing as his gaze lingered too long on the front of
her college t-shirt.
Despite her confusion on how he’d
arrived, she gave him a thin smile and a cool nod, crossing her arms over her
chest. He stopped short, an expression of shock on his face. Then a quick,
sunny grin took over. His blurry outlines sharpened as he drew closer and she
relaxed her squinted eyes, no longer struggling to focus on him. She decided it
was a trick of the neon-tinted lights hanging in garish advertisement on the
walls of the bar.
“My, my, my. Who have we
here?” His voice, thick with Cockney vowels, dipped to an intimate tone as
he approached. His body language changed to something more unsettlingly mature.
He was older than he appeared. “Who do you belong to?”
“I’m Callie. I don’t belong to
anybody, but I work for Florian,” she corrected him politely. “Can I
get you something?”
“Well, for starters, tequila.”
He smirked suggestively. “And your undivided attention.”
Callie resisted the urge to roll her
eyes. No matter where she worked, the pickup lines were the same.
“I’m sorry, I’m busy working. I’ll
ask Florian for your tequila. On the rocks, or a shot?”
“On the rocks, love.”
“I’ll need to see some ID
first.”
“You are new
here, aren’t you?” He flipped two fingers out, a driver’s license between
them.  She took it. No stranger to fake
ID’s, this one appeared to be real, and passed him as twenty-one. Still…
“John Smith, huh?”
He captured Callie’s fingers as she
returned the license and kissed the back of her hand in old-fashioned
courtliness, sea-colored eyes glinting in mischief. An odd, visceral twinge
from her early warning system made her startle as his lips touched her skin.
Goose bumps flecked her arms. A totally alien sensation overwhelmed her senses:
it was as if something crawled off her skin toward his mouth. She shivered in
response and tried to pull her hand away. His grin widened as he tightened his
grip, apparently delighted by her discomfiture.
“Oh, ho. That’s a lovely surprise.
Don’t mind me. I’m incorrigible. Call me Puck.” He scribed an expansive
circular gesture with his free hand. “Welcome to the watering hole of the
damned bored.”
Callie forced a smile. “Thank you.
Now, if you’ll let go of my hand, I’ll get your drink.”
Puck made a mocking bow over her hand
and released it, smirking again as he backed away, still admiring her in
undisguised interest. Between them, a well-dressed man stepped directly into Callie’s
path. He swerved with a graceful spin and apologized as Callie’s sneakers
squeaked to an abrupt halt on the concrete floor.
“Sorry, hon. Good evening, gods and
goddesses!”
“Herm!” came a shouted group
greeting from the room at large.
“And fairies,” the man
belatedly added, nodding at the punk rocker.
Puck offered him an extended middle
finger and a dangerous smile. Callie’s mouth fell open, recognizing the
Armani-suited guy from the previous afternoon.
“Jeeze, homophobic much?” she
muttered.
“Trust me love, I am all fairy and
he is far from homophobic. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with him being
a prick.” Puck glared at the man’s back with undisguised hatred before
another lightning-quick mood change and a devilish grin took over. “Make that
tequila a double.” He winked at her, eyes making another head to toe rake
of her body before he disappeared into the clump of huge Scandinavian-looking,
Corona-swilling dart players.
Callie’s hair still prickled on the back
of her neck even after Puck left, and she rubbed it, troubled. She turned back
to the room, stopped short, and stared. More customers sat at tables and in the
shadows of the booths, each group just a little stranger than the last. None of
them used the door.
And the Armani guy—he’d stepped into her
path. Right out of the air.
Something intensely freaky was happening
that she couldn’t rationalize away, no matter how hard she tried.
Was Florian telling the truth?
Instead of fear, a deep, visceral
excitement flip-flopped in her abdomen, butterflies on steroids.
She never pinpointed exactly when wonder
began to crowd out her reservations. Rushing between the cooler and the tables,
she caught snatches of conversation and shouted greetings when others appeared.
Having to bite back questions when she delivered their beverages replaced the
urge to roll her eyes. She fought to keep a professional demeanor rather than
fangirl all over herself when Florian introduced the Armani guy to her as
Hermes. Hermes! One of her favorite characters in Greek mythology.
Three hours into the shift, she took a
quick bathroom break. Her back against the door, Callie put her hands over her
mouth and muffled something that sounded suspiciously like a shriek. Whether it
was fear or excitement, she couldn’t quite say. Her breath came fast and short
until she got dizzy. She spun the tap on the sink and the shock of cold water
on her face helped bring her back down.
“What the hell, Callie? Are you
really going to believe this?” she muttered to herself in the mirror. She
grabbed a paper towel to blot the moisture away and waded back out into the
crowded bar.

 

Purchase

Star Bard Books | Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback |Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Elisabeth “E.M.” Hamill is a nurse by day, unabashed geek, chocoholic, sci fi and fantasy novelist by nights, weekends, and wherever she can steal quality time with her laptop. She lives with her family, a dog, and a cat in the wilds of eastern suburban Kansas, where they fend off flying monkey attacks and prep for the zombie apocalypse.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

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Leaning Into the Look (Leaning Into Stories 06) by Lane Hayes and Nick J. Russo #audio #LGBT #romance #Spotlight #Giveaway

 

Title:  Leaning Into the Look

Series: Leaning Into Stories, #6

Author: Lane Hayes

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Original Release Date: March 23, 2018

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 8 hours and 20 minutes

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.

Listen to an audio excerpt & purchase at Audible

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

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.

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Leaning Into Forever (Leaning Into Stories 07) by Lane Hayes #LGBT #romance #Spotlight #Giveaway #Contemporary

Title:  Leaning Into Forever
Series: Leaning Into Stories, #7
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Release Date: June 29
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 75K
Genre: Romance, Comfort, Healing , Heartbreak, New Beginnings, Contemporary Romance

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Synopsis

Geordie de la Rosa is a legend among wine lovers in Napa Valley. His ultra-fabulous style paired with a penchant for leading impromptu sing-a-longs has made him a star attraction at Conrad Winery. Co-owning a well-respected winery was never Geordie’s aspiration but he likes the niche he’s made for himself. He won’t deny that his job and his friends have helped ease his heartache and grief after the death of his longtime partner.

Levi Yeager excels at the art of reinventing himself. He’s been a minor league baseball player, a college coach and now a restaurant owner. The problem is he doesn’t know a thing about the food business. And when his chef quits unexpectedly, he’s afraid his new venture is doomed. But Levi isn’t a quitter. It may be the only thing he has in common with the beautiful, sassy man from the neighboring winery who agrees to help get his new business up and running. Neither man counts on their fast friendship or the wild attraction they feel for each other. However, they know they won’t stand a chance until they let go of the past and lean into forever.

Excerpt

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“My game is coming back. If I keep
talking and you keep listening, you’ll eventually warm up to me. Where was I?”
“The psychology of alliterations,” I
deadpanned.
“Right. Your tone is imperial, you use
alliterations like a poet and you dress like a diva. You’re pleasant to
strangers but you hold them at bay. You’re kind but controlled. Most likely you
were an elite member of a royal family in a former life.”
“You’re probably right,” I said, amused
in spite of myself. “Since you have me figured me, let me see if I can do the
same.”
“Be my guest.” Levi made a sweeping
motion with his left arm before resting it on his steering wheel. The casual
gesture was ripe with potent masculinity. And I hated that I noticed.
I tore my gaze from his stubble jaw and
cleared my throat. “You’re a newly out sports enthusiast at a crossroad.”
“Sports enthusiast at a crossroads,” he
repeated with a laugh. “I guess that’s better than has-been athlete looking for
a new gig.”
“As you said, I do have a way with words
and I’m a firm believer it’s crucial to accentuate the positives.” I set my
hand over his without thinking then pulled back when a familiar spark of
awareness skittered along my spine.
Levi smirked. “You’re weird. I like
you.”
“Thanks. I like you too. Platonically of
course,” I added.
“Of course. What exactly is my
crossroad?”
“I’m not sure. Perhaps you quit your job
to try a new venture with this lover who dumped you and now you’re heading to
LA to woo him back—”
“Not a chance,” he snapped.
I raised a brow at his vehemence.
“Or…you’re going on a fact-finding mission to salvage what you can of your
original idea and determine what comes next.”
Levi nodded. “Closer.”
“Have you thought about selling the
diner?”
“Yes. But I’m not going to.”
“Why not?”
“I have nothing to lose. And you know
what? It’s kinda liberating. No net required ’cause I’m already free falling.
Have you ever felt that way before, Geord?”
Every fucking day.
Silence fell like a blanket between us.
Soft and warm and safe.  I didn’t want to
break the quiet but I couldn’t allow myself to be pulled under either.
I licked my lips and whispered, “Yes.”
Suddenly, I couldn’t move and I couldn’t
look away. Maybe I was a sucker for ruggedly handsome men who weren’t ashamed
to reveal their vulnerable sides. I admired that he made free-falling sound
like an adventure. I’d been doing it for nearly four years and my outlook was
nothing like Levi’s. I worked my ass off to make sure no one knew how tired and
raw and afraid I felt every damn day. I clung to the best parts of my past like
a lifeline, hoping my ghosts would ease the inevitable ‘splat on the concrete’
nosedive I had coming my way.
Levi’s story was certainly different,
but I recognized something in him I knew too well. A desperate spirit that
wasn’t quite ready to give up. I’d like to think that sense of acknowledgment
was why I leaned across the console, closed my eyes and pressed my lips against
his.

 

Purchase at Amazon

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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Level Up by Annabeth Albert #Romance #LGBT #Contemporay #Gamers #Review

Moonbeams over Atlanta welcomes Annabeth Albert!

Title:  LEVEL UP
Series: loosely related to the #gaymers series, but stands alone
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Annabeth Albert
Release Date: May 17, 2018
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 40,000 words
Genre: Romance, contemporary m/m romance, gay romance, geeks, nerds, friends-to-lovers, gamers, gaymers

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The Review

4.5 Stars

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This book was provided by IndiGo Marketing & Design for an honest review.

The blurb got me when a physicist is doing a nude calendar photo shoot. I had to see how this would go. Annabeth provided a painted a wonderful picture of how Landon and Bailey meet and the initial miscommunications that happen. Landon has been hurt with a past history of rape (nothing on page), and Bailey comes to provide the support Landon needs to be himself after a traumatic experience.

Bailey has his own hangups that show, and Landon helps him as well. It’s cute, fun, and neat to see these two lovebirds circle each other until their love shines through. In some ways, it’s shorter that I would want but still very good. I’ve read most of the #gaymers series but now have to go back and refresh my memory of a few of the characters that appear here. It is stand alone and didn’t detract from the enjoyment, but now I want to remember the others. I would highly recommend reading it, especially if you’ve read the #gaymers series.

Overall, I give Level Up 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Eloreen Moon

 

Synopsis

Landon can’t believe he’s let himself
get roped into participating in a charity calendar, let alone one that features
tastefully photographed nudes. The genius physicist is hardly model material
and he’s dreading the nude part of the photoshoot. Amid his reluctance, the one
bright spot is his emails back and forth with the photographer.

 

However, Bailey ends up being not quite
what Landon expects, and their first meeting is decidedly awkward. Bailey’s
persistent though, and gradually Landon warms to the burly photographer, and
they discover they have a shared love of gamer culture.

 

A tentative friendship is born, but the
road from friends to lovers isn’t easy. Landon’s battling past trauma and must
decide how much of a risk he’s willing to take. A sexy connection may not be
enough to keep them together unless both are willing to put their hearts on the
line.

 

Approximately 40,000 words. Previously
released as part of the EXPOSED anthology, and loosely linked to the #Gaymers
universe, this friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story stands alone with a
guaranteed happy ending. Contains a brief mention of a prior assault, but no
on-screen violence or flashbacks.

 

Excerpt

LEVEL UP EXCERPT—This is their first
kiss, because I absolutely love writing first kiss scenes!

 

***

 

Bailey was the type who moved a lot as
he gamed, biceps flexing, knees wiggling, shoulders jostling. Landon always
liked people who got so into gaming, but it was more than a little distracting.
His body was quickly coming to associate that orange scent of Bailey’s with
good things, and other parts of him apparently liked Bailey’s nearness, which
was a novelty because instead of intimidated, as he would have expected, he was
more than a little turned on.

 

“Oh man, that was a rush.” Bailey
laughed as both of their health meters dipped to zero. “I’m almost wishing I’d
gone into game art, not photography. Amazing how these graphics have held up
over the years.”

 

“Totally. And speaking of art, let me
find the Space Villager stuff.” Landon reluctantly stepped away from the game.
He headed to the nearby kitchen, where he was pretty the papers were buried
with a stack of mail. Paper control was not his strong suit. “You’ll go nuts at
the latest screen shots and promo teasers.”

 

“Cool.” Rather than follow Landon,
Bailey went to sit on the couch.

 

“You want a drink while I’m in here?”
Landon called to him after he found the papers under a pile of pizza ads. “I’ve
got four flavors of Snapple, soda, and water.”

 

“Surprise me with a Snapple flavor.”
Bailey looked right at home on Landon’s couch, lounging back.

 

He really did not look at all like any
photographer Landon had ever met, and curiosity had him asking, “So why
photography? You said you could have done game design?”

 

“Yeah, I had plenty of friends at the
art institute go that direction. But I’ve been in love with photography ever
since I worked on our middle school yearbook. I figured out quickly that taking
pictures of events and sports was far more fun than trying to do the sports
myself, so I did yearbook all through high school, got a photography scholarship
to the art institute in Portland.”

 

“So you don’t play a sport?” Landon had
a hard time believing that. With Bailey’s height and breadth, he totally looked
like he lived for weekend games of some type.

 

“Nope. Hopelessly uncoordinated.” Bailey
shot him an endearing smile when Landon handed him the bottle of tea.

 

“Me too.” Landon clinked bottles with
him, then held up the papers. “Found the codes. But can I show you some stuff
on the TV screen while you have your drink?”

 

“Absolutely.” Bailey took a long swig of
tea, and Landon had to look away before he got mesmerized by Bailey’s full
mouth, how it looked when his tongue chased a stray drop of moisture, how pink
it was in contrast to his paler skin and brown beard.

 

Landon queued up the pre-release trailer
Josiah had sent him a link to. Bombastic music filled his small living room as
on the screen, and a spaceship pulled in for a landing on a planet filled with
ruins of a once-powerful civilization. The narrator had an iconic voice and
detailed all the special features of the expansion pack. Landon had already
watched this a half-dozen times, and it still gave him happy chills.

 

“Wow. I can’t wait.” Bailey looked
suitably awed. “This is even cooler than when War Elf added the mystic raids.”

 

“I know, right? Now look at the in-game
screen shots.” He brought up another video, body relaxing more and more despite
Bailey’s nearness. It was just so awesome to have someone new to share this
with. He’d been hyped about this all week, but Pike was distracted by his
boyfriend Zack’s deployment, Savannah didn’t game much, and the rest of his
regular crew seemed to have other things occupying their attention.

 

Somehow, as he shared more video clips,
he drifted closer to Bailey, so that their knees were almost rubbing. It wasn’t
a giant couch, so there wasn’t a ton of room to move back, but even so, Landon
wasn’t looking for an escape. He was aware of Bailey, very much so, but not
nearly as freaked out as he’d been a few hours ago. Instead, his senses seemed
to soak up Bailey’s scent and nearness, and it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth
video that he realized that he was aroused.

 

Clink. Somehow Landon’s left hand,
holding his drink, and Bailey’s right hand tangled.

 

“Oops.” He tried to extricate himself
without spilling both beverages. Bending to put his on the floor, he hadn’t
realized that Bailey had also leaned down until their heads collided.

 

“Ow,” they said simultaneously.

 

“Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry.” Bailey
reached out, feeling around on Landon’s head. “Did you see stars? Break the
skin?”

 

“I’m fine.” Landon didn’t pull away.
Bailey’s hand felt damn nice. Gentle. Soothing more than just the bump on his
head. Their eyes met, and he really needed to move back, break this spell, but
he didn’t, instead leaning into to the touch. Bailey’s eyes darkened, and he
stroked down Landon’s jaw. God, that felt so good, like an extra blanket on a
chilly night, warmth he hadn’t realized he was missing. How long had it been
since he’d been touched like this? Hugged, sure. He’d hugged Savannah
goodnight, and hugged and wrestled around with his best friend Pike at the last
LAN party, but neither of those things was touch like this. Caring. Sweet.
Arousing.

 

Bailey leaned in again, way slower this
time, all the time in the world for Landon to stop him. But he didn’t. Bailey’s
beard tickled an instant before their lips met, a soft slide of mouths. Not
aggressive at all, not the on-a-tight-schedule rush of a hookup, Bailey kissed
like they had a sleepy Sunday afternoon to kill, like each reaction of Landon’s
mattered, like he was trying to memorize something important and was going to
take his time learning the lesson.

 

Landon was the first one to take things
further, mouth opening on a sigh, welcoming Bailey’s agile tongue. He tasted
sweet, like tea, and minty like the gum he’d popped after the pizza, familiar
yet new at the same time. How had he managed to forget how awesome kissing
could be? A laugh bubbled up in his chest, but quickly transformed to a groan
of pleasure as Bailey nipped at his lower lip.

 

Not content to let Bailey be the one
exploring, Landon sent his own tongue on a quest, tracing Bailey’s full lower
lip, delving inside to rub tongues, retreating playfully to earn another nip.
Fuck. This was nice. The video switched over to something random, and he barely
registered it. He couldn’t say how long they kissed, just that he didn’t want
it to ever end.

 

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Meet the Author

 

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance
novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in
the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf,
she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. The #OutOfUniform series
joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers,
#PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out what she’s working on
next and other fun extras, check out her website: http://www.annabethalbert.com or
connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be
sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests.
The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus
content and exclusive contests.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny
stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding
happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights
supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a
rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

 

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Goodreads
| Instagram | Annabeth’s Newsletter | Annabeth’s Angels

 

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