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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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 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.

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#Blitz The Recruit by Addison Albright #NewRelease #LGBTQ #Paranormal #Romance #MM

Title:  The Recruit

Author: Addison Albright

Publisher: JMS Books, LLC

Release Date: June 16, 2018

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: Novella / 69 pages in PDF / 22,181 words

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Vampires, HEA, Gay, Bisexual, Contemporary, Bargain, Hope, Blood Mates

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Synopsis

Albert Manlii has walked this earth for more than two thousand years, but survival on his own was never easy. Now he leads a faction of highly organized vampires who carefully guard the secret of their existence. Unlike the old days, potential recruits are carefully selected and presented with an offer.

Phillip Brewer has weeks to live—if he lets his disease run its course. He doesn’t want to die, but given a choice, will his desire to live outweigh his concerns about the vampires’ ethics?

When the new recruit’s missteps are cause for concern, can Albert control the fallout, or will Phillip’s life once again be torn apart?

Excerpt

The man moved to the bench and raised a brow in a welcoming fashion, silently inviting Phillip to join him. Phillip shrugged. He’d planned to sit here anyway, so why not have a conversation with a pleasant man while he did it?

“My name’s Albert.” He held out a hand, and Phillip shook it. The hand felt cooler than Phillip expected for someone walking on a warm day, but not exceptionally so. Perhaps he had a fever himself, and that made the man’s hand seem cooler than normal.

“Phillip.” He didn’t elaborate. There wasn’t anything he could think of to add. Small talk eluded him.

“I’m pleased to meet you, Phillip.” Albert paused, as if gathering his thoughts.

“Likewise.” Phillip kept his reply simple. Oddly enough, something about the gravity of Albert’s demeanor gave him the impression the man had directed him to the bench with a purpose in mind that had nothing to do with idle chit-chat, so he might as well let the man control the conversation. Albert didn’t give off a crazed serial-killer vibe, not that it would matter at this point as long as whatever he chose to do didn’t add pain to Phillip’s death. Not likely he’d try anything like that in broad daylight with people around, anyway.

Albert looked directly into his eyes with a steady gaze. “Phillip, I want to show you something, and I ask that you keep an open mind and hear me out before reacting.”

Phillip sat back. He hadn’t developed any expectations for this conversation, but if he had, this direction wasn’t anything he would have considered.

“I think we can help each other,” Albert continued.

“I’m dying,” Phillip said. He would have thought his appearance made that apparent, but perhaps not. “Whatever you have in mind, I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to make a deal with you.”

“Please, hear me out.” Albert held out an arm. “This seems like an unusual request, I know, but I’d like you to examine my arm. Go ahead and touch it. I want you to assure yourself that it is, indeed, my real arm and not any kind of advanced prosthetic or makeup designed to create a special effect.”

Phillips eyes widened. “Unusual request” was putting it lightly. But what the hell, he might as well add an interesting interlude to his final hours—or minutes, if this man turned out to be a homicidal maniac.

He put both hands on the well-shaped forearm. He felt for a pulse at the wrist and found one. The hairs appeared natural and moved appropriately as Phillip ran his hand across them. Veins were visible where expected. Phillip manipulated the man’s fingers and wrist. The bones on the back of Albert’s hand, and tendons at the inside of his wrist, moved correctly, becoming more or less prominent when the hand flexed. Then he lightly pinched Albert’s skin in various places. It felt perfectly normal, although still slightly cooler than usual.

When Phillip withdrew his hands, Albert lowered his arm. “Are you satisfied that this is indeed my natural arm?”

“Yes.” Phillip eyed him warily.

“Remember, keep an open mind and maintain your composure. Give me the opportunity to explain what you’re about to see.”

Weirder and weirder. Phillip narrowed his eyes but remained curiously drawn to hearing this man out. “All right.”

Albert took a quick glance around, and Phillip followed his gaze. The people he’d noticed earlier were still in sight, but nobody new had appeared.

Phillip held his breath when a small razor blade appeared in Albert’s other hand. Albert slowly drew the blade across the arm Phillip had just examined, cutting deeply enough for the tissue to separate. There was no way it was a fake blade merely drawing atop his skin. He was cutting deeply, but the blood that appeared was black, not red, and the gash closed up within seconds as the razor dragged up the length of that forearm.

“What the hell.” Phillip gasped and fought to keep his respiration steady as he turned to stare at Albert’s face. He’d been so riveted by what was happening to the man’s arm, he’d neglected to check his expression. Had that hurt? Albert’s face was tight, so maybe, although his mask of calm quickly returned.

“Do you trust your own eyes?” Albert asked. The razor disappeared into a pocket, replaced by a cloth handkerchief, which he used to wipe the remaining dark fluid—blood?—from his arm.

“I’ll admit I’m drugged up, but nothing that would explain that.” He’d pointedly requested medication that would not cause him to hallucinate or overly diminish his ability to reason. There was no point dragging out his life if he couldn’t consciously enjoy it.

He’d seen plenty of street magic in his day. Sleight of hand, etcetera, but this transcended all of that. There was simply no logical explanation for what he’d just seen.

“You accept what you just witnessed at face value?”

Phillip pursed his lips a moment before replying. “Okay. Yes. Obviously, there’s something superhuman about you.” Or he wasn’t human at all. An alien maybe?

“That’s one way to put it,” Albert said. “I was once fully human, but now…no, not quite human anymore.”

Phillip sat still as he digested that comment. Albert had “once” been human. He’d also approached Phillip—seemingly sought him out—and he’d said, “I think we can help each other.” Was there more than one logical deduction to make here?

“Please.” Phillip swallowed as a shiver of hope drifted over his skin. “I need you to spell out what you meant—earlier. Before your demonstration.”

Albert smiled. It was the smile of a man who sensed he had his fish on the hook. “About helping each other?”

Phillip nodded.

“You don’t need to die yet. I’ve been walking this earth for more than two thousand years.” Albert spoke calmly as Phillip froze in place, clenching his hands at his belly.

Two thousand years? And he wanted to make a deal with Phillip?

Did Phillip want to? What was in it for him? Everlasting life, apparently. But would it be an existence he wanted? “Who are you? You’re immortal. But how?”

“Immortal in the sense that I, and others like me, won’t appear to become older beyond our age at the time of transition. Nor will we die of natural causes. We can be killed, though. You’ve witnessed my self-healing abilities, but anything that would instantly kill a human will kill me…us, too.”

“So, if I agreed, this cancer would disappear just like that?” Phillip snapped his fingers.

“Like all of our ‘supernatural’ capabilities, self-healing improves over time. As a new convert, you won’t immediately feel better. It’ll take about a day for you to feel one hundred percent.”

That was hardly a deterrent, but Albert was obviously holding back. What facilitated this “transition”? “You still haven’t answered the question. Who are your people?”

Albert hesitated for a moment before replying. “The word you’re searching for is ‘vampire.’”

Phillip burst out laughing. He didn’t know what the hell he’d been thinking Albert’s answer would be, but the existence of some kind of magical immortality potion was difficult enough to believe without throwing in something that absurd.

Albert’s revelation probably should have made Phillip run in the opposite direction—if he’d believed it, or made him angry—because really, what kind of person fucked with a dying man like that? But at least his final hours were diverting. “You had me going there for a while.”

Tilting his head to the side, Albert raised a single eyebrow as he continued to gaze at Phillip. “Not the usual reaction. Intriguing, though. You don’t believe me, do you?”

“Please,” Phillip scoffed and gestured toward the bright sun overhead.

Purchase

JMS Books, LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a smidgen of drama/angst, and a healthy dose of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

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| Google+ | eMail | Instagram | Facebook | Bookbub

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#BlogTour Covet the Curves by Multiple Authors #BBW #Romance #Contemporary #99cents

 

 

 
Covet the Curves
A Collection of voluptuous,
big and beautiful women and the men who love them.
Women are incredibly
magnificent creatures. They come in many shapes, sizes and all types of
personalities. They can be called curvaceous, voluptuous, buxom and even
pleasingly plump. But, however they’re described, one thing is for certain,
this collection of sexy and sassy women will leave their men breathless.
Forget about the
status quo and join in on the romance. The time has come to covet the curves.

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Amazon    Nook    Kobo

 

 

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Nicole Morgan   Emmy Gatrell   Carma Haley Shoemaker   Belle Maurice   Aidy Award
Ann Anders   Laurie Treacy   Stephanie Morris   Marie Mason
Deelylah Mullin   Krista Ames

 

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Alpha Submission (Irresistible Omegas 02) by Nora Phoenix #LGBT #mpreg #Romance #Review #Menage

Moonbeams over Atlanta welcomes author Nora Phoenix! Published by Nora Phoenix on May 26, 2018 and is approximately 462 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, Vieno, Palani, and Enar are finding their way in their complicated relationship. For Vieno, it’s easy. He thrives in the care of his men, taking his place as their omega and focusing on rebuilding the ranch.

For Enar, it’s a lot harder to find his role…and himself. His struggles to accept himself and his place in the relationship create tension between him and his mates.

Palani keeps digging into the Melloni gene and the fraud case Lidon alerted him to. His investigation reveals a conspiracy that is bigger than any of them expected, and it endangers them all.

Lidon discovers powers he never knew he possessed. When his mates and his home are threatened, he steps into a legendary identity. With the help of new friends that become family, Lidon vows to protect what’s his.

Alpha’s Submission is an MMMM mpreg romance and the second book in the Irresistible Omegas series. It is not a stand-alone but continues the story from the first book. It ends with a HEA for our four men, but the suspense storyline will continue in the next books.

The Review:

Thank you Nora for your ARC Review group. 🙂

5 Stars

bluestarclipartbluestarclipartbluestarclipartbluestarclipartbluestarclipart

 

So, the next book is releasing on May 26th, and I devoured it from Nora’s ARC group the same day as I got the notification of the release of the ARC a week prior.  We continue the hot burn between Vieno, Palani, Enar, and Lidon as they waltz into their ménage of four. They come together in a weave of adjustment between the all the mates, as well as the individual pairings. Resolution about the mating between them is tied up in a nice little bow, and that is all I’m going to say on that. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger but much better than the first one, so I’m not even going to call it a cliffhanger because it’s has a satisfying HEA ending.

I continue to love all four of the main characters. especially Palani and Enar. I have high hopes that a certain event will allow Palani to father children with Vieno. We’ll see. We find out more about the Melloni gene, additional behind-the-scenes government issues, and continue to learn about the social interactions for Alphas, Betas, and Omegas. It was wonderful to see their love evolve as the adjust to their new circumstances. You will just have to read the story–there is so much to learn. You will not be disappointed at all. Be prepared to laugh and cry as they continue additional trials to keep each other and their developing pack.

My very first comment after finishing this story to Nora’s ARC group was that I want the next one because I’m invested in this series. There will be more books in the series and new main characters will come to light. I have my hopes on the next triad. 🙂

Overall, I give Alpha Submission 5 out of 5 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.

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

Add to Goodreads

 

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.

 

Purchase at Amazon

 

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.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter |
Goodreads
| Instagram | Annabeth’s Newsletter | Annabeth’s Angels

 

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Review of Sin and Tonic (Sinners 06) by Rhys Ford #LGBT #Mystery #Suspense #Romance #NewRelease

Moonbeams over Atlanta welcomes Rhys Ford and the last Sinners series book: Sin and Tonic. It released on May 15, 2018 and is approximately 610 pages including an appendix of all the songs and lyrics in the series.

 

The Review:

Rhys provided the story to me for an honest review.

5 Stars

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It’s with a bittersweet sob that I review the final Sinners book: Sin and Tonic Book 6. As always, I loved it like everything else Rhys has done in this series. Like the Cole McGinnis series before, this too tied up the loose ends, and we finally see what makes Miki tick as he deals with new information that comes to light. It’s a slightly lower-key ending then that of Cole McGinnis but just as powerful for all the trials Kade and Miki go through to get to the end of the murders that trigger Miki finding out about his biological mother and father. I cried at the end of this series because of the trials to love the main characters endure to get where they are now.

The Morgan clan circle-up around Miki as he is in danger yet again, and Miki finds the true meaning of family. Kade and Miki have a few rough spots but nothing that their love, and a little help from friends and family, can’t provide. The author says in the forward that there might be short stories in the universe but this story arc between Miki and Kade is done. Good luck to them, and the Sinners universe. We eagerly await what Rhys will come up with next.

Overall, I give Sin and Tonic 5 out of 5 stars.

Eloreen Moon

Book Links:

DreamspinnerAmazon | B&N | Google PlayKoboGoodreads

About the Author:

Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series, including Murder and Mayhem, a 2016 LAMBDA finalist. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.

She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Tam, a diabetic black pygmy panther, as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people.

Rhys’ Blog: www.rhysford.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rhys.ford.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rhys_Ford

Rhys Ford’s books can found at Dreamspinner Press (http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com), DSP Publications (https://www.dsppublications.com/) and all major online book stores.

New Release Blitz: Level Up by Annabeth Albert #Romance #LGBT #Contemporay #Gamers

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

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

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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

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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

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

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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.

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

Add to Goodreads

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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