Promo: Songs of the Earth by Lexi Ander

PrintBook Title: Songs of the Earth

Series: Sumeria’s Son #2

Author : Lexi Ander

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Length: 49.000 words

Genre : Paranormal, Fantasy , Urban Fantasy

Release Date: January 7 , 2015

Cover artist: LeBurden Design

Thrust into the role of Prince of the Lycans, Tristan strives to find his footing in a life suddenly rife with secrets and lies—and danger. Betrayed by a Goddess meant to safeguard him, desperate to protect his consort and their growing tribe, he can only prepare for the worst and struggle to hope

And then the worst comes to kill them…


Excerpt

I sat on my horse, Dancing Socks, in the middle of the river that cut through my property, the chill of the water numbing my legs. We were stuck, trapped between two creatures of myth and a Goddess of the Lycan race. Behind me, six of my warriors in the fearsome Lupe battle form braced to protect me.

I was in deep, deep shit. For the life of me, I couldn’t see a way out. Two Shirdals―lion-eagles also known as gryphons―one in front of me and one behind, effectively cut off any escape. Socks and I couldn’t outrun these Sumerian creatures of myth. But they were the least of my problems. What held my full attention was the woman standing before me on the water’s edge.

The Goddess Ki, clothed in a long, flowing gauzy dress, wearing a crown of ram’s horns, with a bow and quiver of arrows over her left shoulder and a cudgel hanging from her waist. She held a lion cub’s leash while regarding me with a stern, assessing gaze.

“Tristan Javed Ksathra Janick, Prince of the Enkidu, do you know who I am?”

How could I, or any Lycan, not know her? Regardless of what had happened today, I’d believed there was a solution. There was always a way out as long as I continued to breathe—but this, her, I couldn’t fight and win.

“You are the Goddess Ki, consort of Enki, Lady Life, mother of all living things, Nourisher of Kings. I greet you, Goddess. Do with me as you will.”

From across the water, Ki smiled a very white smile. “Come to me, Tristan. We have much to discuss,” she commanded.

I nudged Socks with my knees and she reluctantly finished crossing the stream, nervously tossing her head and rolling her eyes at the Shirdal. Once out of the water, I guided her a safe distance to the side and dismounted, removing her wet saddle and blanket. Her muscles twitched as she held still for me.

For a moment, I leaned my forehead on Socks’s shoulder. She reached around and nibbled at my hair. Not a half hour ago, I had left the ranch to go for a ride. The morning had offered many revelations with an accumulation of events that changed the course of my life.

After breaking the bond with my Twin Flame, Theo Sullivan, I hadn’t expected to find happiness or to fall in love with my best friend, but I had. Last night we made love, and it had been the best night of my life. This morning I’d awakened to find out I was born of royal blood, and Ushna was my chosen consort. Before I could begin to grasp what that even meant, Caspian MacCuill—one of the Magi—and a group of Lycan warriors invaded my home and attempted to kidnap Ushna and blackmail our friend, Gregori Borchetta, which led to Ushna being shot while trying to protect me.

All I had wanted was an hour. One single, measly hour to gather my thoughts and figure out what the hell we needed to do next. Instead, I sat trapped with no way to escape. The only course of action left to me was to save as many lives as possible. No mortal defied a Goddess and lived. If only I knew what I’d done to draw her attention.

Reluctantly, I straightened, petting Socks’s velvety nose before I removed her bridle. Giving her a smack on the rump, I sent her away. With luck, she’d return home safely and not be eaten.

Ready for whatever fate awaited me at the hands of a Goddess who hadn’t walked the Earth in a very, very long time, I turned to Ki and waited. It couldn’t be taken as good fortune that she was here now.

“Why so gloomy, Tristan? Do you think so poorly of me that you expect to be struck down by my hand?” Ki asked, head tilted to the side as she stared with almond-shaped black eyes.

One Shirdal lay at her feet, allowing Ki to scratch the feathers between its ears. The picture presented seemed surreal, two things that shouldn’t exist in this modern world of skyscrapers, automobiles, space shuttles, and nuclear bombs. Yes, I kept an altar in my room where I left burnt offerings to the Warrior Goddess Anat and Shamash, God of Justice. Believing in the Gods and Goddesses didn’t mean one would manifest into my world and actually speak to me.

“I don’t wish to offend, Goddess. It’s… well… this has been a very unusual day. Right now, I’m assuming the worst because I cannot fathom why you are here—speaking to me.”

She gave me another toothy smile and glanced across the water to the Lupes harassing the other Shirdal. “Please call your warriors to you, Tristan. The Shirdals meant you no harm. They were only playing.”

I barely withheld an ugly snort. Playing with me? I could imagine them playing as they tossed me about with their sharp beaks. Without a word, I lifted a hand to the Lupes and they entered the water, intent upon me as they crossed in a straight line.


Buy Links

Less Than Three Press

Amazon:

Amazon.UK:

Barnes and Noble

AllRomance


Lexi Bio PicLexi Ander

Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

GoodReads

E-mail: lexi.ander.author@gmail.com


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Heidi Cullinan: Sleigh Ride ~ For the Love of Libraries

For the Love of Libraries: Librarian Heroes, Real and Fictional

sleigh-ride-quoteWhen I was little, I lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere. The closest town was five miles away, but there wasn’t much in it. My school, a few service stations, some places to eat, a bank, a post office. For a little while there was a grocery store, but that closed before I was seven. My church was there, along with two others.

No library.

My closest library was about twenty miles away, in our county’s seat. The Maquoketa Public Library looks the same today as it did then: squat, brick, monstrous. I remember the way it echoed when you walked under the dome. It seemed to urge you to hush. I remember the smell too. Musty, old—moldy paper. Leather spines. The books there were not new, especially in the upstairs. I remember searching the main floor stacks because they were so impressive and I felt very adult browsing there. Mostly, though, I lived in the basement with the kids’ books. I think I read half the downstairs library. We got to the library every time we stocked up on groceries, and sometimes I got to stay at the library while my mother shopped. I’d leave with a teetering stack of new things to read every time. Sometimes I’d revisit an old friend, but it was too easy to find something I hadn’t explored before. I couldn’t resist forging down new roads.

I wish I could tell you I remember a librarian as wonderful as Gabriel Higgins, but I don’t have anyone specific to name. I only remember that every librarian was like a magician, someone who could always find the book. I have no memories of a librarian laughing at me or scolding me or discouraging me. I lived in a great host of cities and towns in my life, and when I conjure librarian a jumble of smiling faces lean down, usually over spectacles, and tell me they’ll look that up and be right back, or they lead me to the stacks. Librarians in my life have always been lovers of learning, of finding, of sharing.

I always feel like I more unwrap than shape my characters, but I have to say, every wonderful librarian I’ve ever met got grafted onto Gabriel Higgins. Now that I’m an adult, I know librarians are liberal in the most wonderful sense of the word: they’re rarely political, but they are liberal in that they want to shower knowledge on their patrons. Or better yet, lead them to the well to drink themselves. Librarians are like party planners whose favors are always books and articles and secret veins of information. They don’t care where someone comes from, and they don’t judge—if someone wants to know, they’re the people you want on your side.

I’ve loved watching librarians defend their patron’s rights to keep their searches out of government security indexes—regardless of what party or President was at the apex of the order. Librarians are always the ones standing as a wall against parents and community members wanting to ban a book—most libraries I’ve ever been in proudly display banned books, making the controversy a selling point. See this book? Someone doesn’t want you to read it. Doesn’t that make you want to check it out?

I’ll admit, I love librarians to this day. If someone follows me on Twitter and I see they’re a librarian? Autofollow. If a librarian asks me for something? Automatic yes. When I was a child, they helped me see beyond my tiny town into the whole wide world. When I was lost and lonely in college, they gave me solace. When I need research help for writing, I turn to them. As an author, I’ve come full circle, and sometimes when I browse the stacks, I see my own work there, ready for checkout. My turn at the secret door, the window I made for someone else to peek into a world they might not know.

For free. All of this is for free. Librarians are paid, and God knows I’ve built several libraries with the fines I’ve accrued in my lifetime—but the books and movies and art and programs and classes…the knowledge is freely given. Paid for by governments and institutions and foundations, loved by children and adults. Curated with joy and passion by librarians.

Thank you, librarians I have known and those I have yet to know. I might build worlds and create characters, but you are the guardians of possibility. You’re the reason I’m an author.

May you always find us another secret door to open.


SleighRide300

Coming November 11 from Samhain Publishing

Book Two of the Minnesota Christmas Series

The way to a man’s heart is on a sleigh.

Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian.

It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends.

As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after.

Warning: Contains a feisty librarian, a boorish bear, small town politics, deer sausage, and a boy who wants a doll.

Buy links: Samhain, Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, iTunes, Goodreads, Excerpt, Book Page on Website, Book Page for Let It Snow (book one in the series)

 


Heidi Cullinan

Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.


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Charlie Cochet: Rack & Ruin ~ Cover Reveal

Hello all! Welcome to the Rack & Ruin (THIRDS, Book 3) cover reveal & giveaway! I’m super excited to share with you the cover to for the latest THIRDS book by the fabulous L.C. Chase! There’s also a giveaway, and Rack & Ruin is now available for preorder!

When the walls come tumblin’ down….

Rack&Ruin500

 

Blurb

New York City’s streets are more dangerous than ever with the leaderless Order of Adrasteia and the Ikelos Coalition, a newly immerged Therian group, at war. Innocent civilians are caught in the crossfire and although the THIRDS round up more and more members of the Order in the hopes of keeping the volatile group from reorganizing, the members of the Coalition continue to escape and wreak havoc in the name of vigilante justice.

Worse yet, someone inside the THIRDS has been feeding the Coalition information. It’s up to Destructive Delta to draw out the mole and put an end to the war before anyone else gets hurt. But to get the job done, the team will have to work through the aftereffects of the Therian Youth Center bombing. A skirmish with Coalition members leads Agent Dexter J. Daley to a shocking discovery and suddenly it becomes clear that the random violence isn’t so random. There’s more going on than Dex and Sloane originally believed, and their fiery partnership is put to the test. As the case takes an explosive turn, Dex and Sloane are in danger of losing more than their relationship.

Preorder links

Dreampisnner Press eBook | Dreamspinner Press Paperback

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Release Day
November 7th

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Excerpt

Dex had never been so eager to start his daily training session. Down in Sparta, he changed in the male locker room, swapping his uniform for his black Led Zeppelin T-shirt, loose jogging pants, and sneakers. He grabbed his boxing gloves from his locker and slammed it shut.

The bays were pretty busy at this time of day, but there was plenty of free boxing equipment in the boxing bays. He chose one of the emptier ones, and as he got ready, all he could think about was Sloane. The moment Dex had seen his face, he’d known. Sloane was going to run. I’m so stupid. He finished wrapping his hands and made straight for the punching bag.

After some quick stretches and warm ups, he started pummeling the red leather bag, hoping to release some of his frustration, but the more he punched the bag, the angrier he became. He’d told himself not to get so close. His head had known far longer than his heart what would happen, tried to warn him. But Dex hadn’t listened. He’d been a lovesick idiot, trailing after Sloane, getting on his knees, content to let Sloane bleed him. Maybe a part of Dex enjoyed it. Enjoyed being stripped, his vulnerability exposed. Why else would he continue to put himself through this? Why did he keep waiting? Because he’d promised Sloane he would. And what had Sloane promised in return? Dex remembered the words as if they’d been said yesterday. I can’t make any promises. Sloane had made it clear. Dex had no one to blame for his heartache but himself.

“Well isn’t that cute.”

Dex froze. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Someone up there was conspiring against him. Was this a test to see how much he could take before he lost his shit? Any other day, Dex would have walked away. But not today. He turned and faced Ash who was dressed similarly in a T-shirt and loose jogging pants. Letty was beside him looking worried.

“Come on. You and me,” Dex said through his teeth.

Ash let out a laugh. “Are you fucking kidding?”

“Does it look like I’m kidding?”

“Sloane wouldn’t be happy about that.”

“Well Sloane’s not fucking here, is he?” Dex snapped. He expected a smart-ass remark, but instead Ash seemed to be thinking it over so he pushed on. “You’ve wanted this since I joined. Now’s your chance. No one here’s going to stop you. You want to beat the shit out of me, now’s your fucking chance.”

“Okay.”

Dex nodded and swiped his boxing gloves off the side of the mat. He held them out to Letty. “Help me out here.”

Letty took one glove from him and helped secure the strap before taking the next one. “Dex, are you sure you want to do this? You know he won’t hold back.”

“I’m counting on it.”

Letty cursed under her breath, saying something in Spanish Dex didn’t understand. He tapped his hip where his pocket was, and Letty reached in. She pulled out the small box containing his mouth guard and opened it, looking as if she was going to try again to convince him not to do this, but instead, she held the mouth guard up to him. He leaned over and closed his mouth around the rubbery piece. He could tell she wasn’t happy, but he needed this.

He hopped on his toes, rolled his shoulders, and waited while Letty helped Ash with his gloves and mouth guard. As soon as Ash was ready, they both stepped onto one of the larger empty blue mats. Looking at Ash, all the anger came flooding back, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop thinking about Sloane.

You really thought he wouldn’t run? He’ll always run. From you.

“Come on,” Dex said around his mouthpiece.

Ash shook his head, but there was no way Dex was letting him back out now.

Come on!”

Ash gave him exactly what he asked for. The first punch landed across Dex’s jaw and sent him reeling. He fell hard against the mat, his face in a world of pain and stars in his eyes. How the hell Dex hadn’t been knocked out by that one hit was beyond him. Fuck. That hurt. Okay, maybe this wasn’t your brightest idea.

“That all you got, Daley? One hit? That’s pretty fucking pathetic.”

Bastard. Dex pushed himself to his feet and shook himself off. Would Sloane come back this time? He had to. They worked together. What if that’s all he came back for? You fucked up. The first guy you could see yourself spending your life with, and you fuck it up within months. A new record. Ash grinned at him, and Dex lost it.

He came at Ash with everything he had, mindful of Ash’s fierce hooks. He maneuvered around him, ducking under hooks and jumping out of the way when Ash swiped at him. Ash threw both arms out to grab him, and Dex dropped down to the mat and rolled. He popped back up and took a swing, catching Ash on his shoulder. Then Dex remembered what Ash’s proficiency was. Close Quarter Combat. The guy had been toying with him. Letting him land blows, waiting for Dex to realize the mistake he’d made.

About the Author

CCochet100Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | THIRDS HQ | Tumblr | Instagram | Pinterest
Email: charlie@charliecochet.com

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Heidi Cullinan: Fever Pitch ~ Interview & Giveaway

Fever Pitch Tour Banner
Welcome to my blog, Heidi! You have the honour of being the my very first interview, so I hope my questions will be up to par. Heidi is here today on her Fever Pitch blog tour!

Thanks for having me!

First, tell us a little about Fever Pitch and how it came to be?

Well, it pretty much morphed all around what I originally intended it to be, and a lot of that is Walter Lucas’s fault. I wanted to write another new adult college-set novel, though, that was for sure. I wanted to put in some music. Then everything pretty much snowballed.

Did you know when you wrote Love Lessons that it would be the start of a series?

I actually thought it would be a series until I got well into it, and then they left Hope University, so I figured we were done. At this point I’m just following along and writing stuff down when they tell me.

Do you have more books planned, or will it be a duology with Love Lessons and Fever Pitch? If there will be more books, what do you have in store?

There will actually be at least five books, possibly six. Book three is out next summer.

How long does it take you to write a novel? In particular, how long did it take you to write Fever Pitch?

How long varies. At least three months, but sometimes a year. Some have taken me three. I’ve gotten it down to no longer than six months now, though, for the most part. I think Fever Pitch was more like eight.

How is your general writing process? Do you have specific goals or rituals for every day?

It really depends. I’d love to write every day, but sometimes I have to stop everything to edit or work up promo or website maintenance. I tend to work in waves. For example, I’ve been doing Fever Pitch promo boyfriendall weekend. Then I have to finish a rewrite, do an edit on the novel out next April, and then, with my desk clear, I hope to do nothing but draft three novels until I have to start doing promo for the Christmas novel, which is out in November.

When I’m in a heavy drafting period, I try to get 3-5 thousand words done a day, though sometimes I struggle to get the minimum. Other days I can crank out ten to twelve. It really depends.

Right now I have three books on deck, which can be a good thing. If I get stuck on one, I switch to the other while the stuck one marinates. It’s taken me awhile to get good at managing that, and sometimes I do better than others.

How did you come into writing? Particularly writing m/m romance?

I know it’s cliché, but I really have been writing since I was twelve. I got serious about it during grad school, and I started trying to get published in 1999. So anybody frustrated their career isn’t taking off, if you admire mine, note I put in twelve years of solid practice, then banged my head on publishing’s wall for another decade. This game is for the patient and doggedly determined only.

Gay romance happened in a very roundabout way. Around 2001 gay secondary characters appeared in my stories, and they always stole the show. In 2005 I got serious about writing stories with gay characters as the protagonists, but it was 2008 before I had what I considered my training wheels submission or gay romance, Hero. I figured it would be rejected, and it was more of a trial balloon anyway, because what I really wanted to publish was Special Delivery. I had no idea there was a gay romance market, so I pretty much googled my way to publishers I could submit to.

This is a question I feel is obligatory in every author interview, as I always see it asked, but it’s also one of interest, so… What is your advice for those wanting to, or just starting out, as an author?

Have patience. Lots of it, and take your work seriously. Publishing is not a game, and it absolutely isn’t the place to seek validation. If at first you don’t succeed, you’re in very good company. Study, watch, learn, and be smart. Also, always read your contracts and make sure you understand them. Always.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, Heidi, it’s been an honour having you here and answering my questions. I really cannot wait for Fever Pitch!

Thanks for having me!


FeverPitchComing September 30 from Samhain Publishing

Book Two of the Love Lessons Series

Sometimes you have to play love by ear.

Aaron Seavers is a pathetic mess, and he knows it. He lives in terror of incurring his father’s wrath and disappointing his mother, and he can’t stop dithering about where to go to college—with fall term only weeks away. Ditched by a friend at a miserable summer farewell party, all he can do is get drunk in the laundry room and regret he was ever born. Until a geeky-cute classmate lifts his spirits, leaving him confident of two things: his sexual orientation, and where he’s headed to school.

Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota, and off to college, where he plans to play his violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. But when Aaron appears on campus, memories of hometown hazing threaten what he’d hoped would be his haven. As the semester wears on, their attraction crescendos from double-cautious to a rich, swelling chord. But if more than one set of controlling parents have their way, the music of their love could come to a shattering end.

Warning: Contains showmances, bad parenting, Walter Lucas, and a cappella.

Buy links: Samhain, Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, iTunes


Heidi Cullinan

Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.


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Lex Chase: Americana Fairytale

 

Americana Fairy Tale 
(Fairy Tales of the Open Road #1)
by 
Lex Chase
 
Blurb:
Modern fairy-tale princess Taylor Hatfield has problems. One: He’s a guy. Two: His perfect brother Atticus is the reincarnation of Snow White. Three: Taylor has no idea which princess he is supposed to be. Four: Taylor just left his prince (a girl) at the altar. Despite his enchanted lineage, Taylor is desperate to find his Happily Ever After away from magic, witches, and stuffy traditions. Regrettably, destiny has other plans for him. Dammit.
When word reaches Taylor that Idi the Witchking has captured Atticus, Taylor is determined to save his brother. He enlists the help of rakish and insufferable Corentin Devereaux, likewise of enchanted lineage. A malicious spell sends Taylor and Corentin on a road trip through the kitschy nostalgia of roadside Americana. To save Atticus, they must solve the puzzles put forth by Idi the Witchking. As they struggle, Taylor and Corentin’s volatile partnership sparks a flash of something more. But princesses have many enemies, and Taylor must keep his wits about him because there’s nothing worse than losing your heart… or your head.
Available to purchase

 

Excerpt

“I’m getting a shower,” Taylor said and quickly shuffled into the
bathroom. In the silence, Taylor pressed his back to the door and slid to the
floor. He clamped both hands around the crotch of his shorts and hissed through
clenched teeth, “Stop, stop, stop, please, stop.”
He had to stop thinking
about his dream. And thinking about Corentin in that way. Corentin wasn’t even
his type! And Corentin’s type was clearly
not a raging homo-sheckshual. By all of Taylor’s understanding, Corentin’s breed
of redneck was of the misogynistic racist variety. Taylor paused. Was he just
telling himself that? Taylor mentally felt around the edges of the dream. He
flinched with the dirty feeling.
Shower. He needed a shower. Now.
He picked himself up off the floor, then staggered to the tub. The
enamel had seen better days, with that lovely rusty ring around it. The shower
curtain seemed to be a repository for all assorted natures of DNA. Taylor
gingerly touched it in an effort to move it just out of the way enough to turn
the faucet. Scuffed up and mottled with rust, even the faucet made him wince.
He ripped off a sheaf of cheap toilet paper to use to turn the faucet on. First
the water belched into the tub, then after a few rude bubbling gurgles, ran in
a steady stream. It wasn’t particularly warm, however. Taylor surmised he
didn’t really need a hot shower anyway.
He disrobed, dropping his clothes in a heap on the floor. But on
second consideration, he didn’t have anything else to change into. What he had
on his back was it. Like his cum-stained cargo shorts. Yuck. He scooped his clothes off the floor and hung up his shirt on
the towel rack. He’d have to do something about his shorts, because they’d
smell and get uncomfortably crusty. He chuckled. He would never have predicted
how contentious he’d become about cleanliness until he only had one change of
clothes for the foreseeable future.
As the tub faucet ran to get some marginable level of lukewarm, he
cranked the faucet in the sink. He let the water run over the crotch of his new
shorts and scrubbed them as best he could with the questionable cracked soap
bar.
Corentin knocked once on the door. “Come on, man. Gotta pee.”
“Hold your horses,” Taylor huffed. “Let me get in the shower first.
Great Storyteller Almighty.”
Taylor hustled and wrung out his shorts. He hung them also on the
towel rack and finally hopped into the shower before poor pitiful Corentin
could have an accident on the floor. Some self-reliant huntsman he was.
Couldn’t he go out back and take a piss on a tree? Of course, there would
likely need to be some nature of tree on the premises.
Taylor jerked the curtain across the tub for privacy and instantly
regretted taking a fistful of it in such haste. “Okay! It’s safe.”
“I heard princesses were prissy, but I didn’t think it applied to
male princesses,” Corentin said as he walked in.
Taylor could see the outline of his body through the haze of the
shower curtain. He pushed himself back against the far wall to gain some
distance. A small gap remained between the curtain and the shower wall, and he
carefully peeked. With a familiar clanking of a belt buckle followed by a
zipper, Taylor instead sent his gaze upward to Corentin’s face and his bare
shoulders. Corentin had done away with his shirt, and Taylor’s face heated with
the view. Corentin was lean, like a panther, his tattooed skin pulled tight
over his biceps and hard abs. He finished, flushed, and turned away to zip his
pants. Taylor pressed his fingers to his lips at the sight of the rise of Corentin’s
tight rear as he shifted to the sink and washed his hands.
He studied himself in the mirror while Taylor stared through the
shower curtain.
Corentin swung open the door and called behind him, “Don’t use all
the hot water.”
“O-oh-okay,” Taylor croaked, his face hot from gawking.
The door shut with a click, and Taylor sighed with the relief. He looked down at himself in
disappointment. Taylor was filthy from dirt, sweat, and whatever else was
lurking in Corentin’s disgusting truck. He turned, reaching for the cracked
soap bar. The blacked grooves in the soap made him reconsider. He reached for
the mini Johnson & Johnson shampoo bottle and uncapped it. After a careful
sniff, he tried to make sure it wasn’t rancid and questioned if it was possible
for shampoo to go rancid. Figuring he would chance it, he scrubbed himself down
with the terrible No More Tears formula.
He breathed one more time, trying to cope with the lukewarm water,
and then decided it was time to face the reality of a nasty motel room with a
man he didn’t trust who made him blush. He shut off the water and carefully
maneuvered out of the shower without touching the petri dish that served as a
curtain.
Taylor considered his clothes. His shirt could use airing out, and
his shorts were a definite no. His only option was a towel around the waist. He
didn’t even like that option in high
school
, let alone in the middle of nowhere with the current company. Ringo
was there, though. That made it better. Ringo would save him.
Covering himself, Taylor took a breath. On a mental count of three,
he turned the doorknob.
And the chill of the overworked window unit hit him square in the
bare chest.
Fuck,” Taylor gasped and
scuttled to the bed. He immediately wrapped himself in the threadbare blanket,
which didn’t help at all. He had a string of curses on his tongue when he
finally glanced up and saw Corentin.
More specifically, saw Corentin’s tattooed torso.
Corentin, on the other hand, busied himself with making notes in
his monstrosity of a book. His brow would furrow every time he underlined
something with a determined gesture across the page. He seemed not to notice
Taylor’s open staring at the intricate black ink of an oak tree drawn in the
style of Gustave Doré. The trunk of the tree was a full sleeve with the roots
growing from Corentin’s left wrist, and at his shoulder, the branches twisted
in a windblown manner across his collarbone, shoulder blade, and a few branches
even curled at the base of his neck.
Taylor swallowed. At least it explained why Corentin was so covered
up for June weather. But something was strange about the tattoo. There were
seven boughs, but only one had leaves.
Corentin kept making notes and didn’t look up. His brow furrowed
into an even angrier contortion, and he wrote faster. When he apparently ran
out of space, he flipped his book to sit horizontally and wrote in tiny print
in the margins. He hesitated, tapping his pen on the paper.
Taylor pulled the blanket higher on his shoulders. The steam from
his body captured under the blanket helped in making the chill of the room
bearable.
Corentin scribbled again in his book. He frowned and scribbled in a
repeated gesture. He shook his pen with a flick of the wrist and tried again.
He grunted and threw the pen. “Fuck,” he said and went fishing in his messenger
bag. He feverishly reached around, looked in, and then reached around again. He
puffed a sigh and upturned the bag onto the carpet.
A palm sized bottle of liquid bounced across the floor and Corentin
scrambled to snatch it midtumble. He glanced at Taylor and offered a smile.
“Hand sanitizer. Can’t go anywhere without it.” He quickly shoved the bottle
into a side pocket of his bag.
Taylor said nothing, merely watching the bizarre display as
Corentin poked through the crumpled receipts, hair ties, old cracker wrappers,
and various unidentifiable crumbs and wadded-up trash. He also flipped through a
collection of condoms in shiny magenta wrappers and printed with hearts and
lips. Taylor tightened his grip on the comforter and his face heated. Well, at
least they were cherry flavored or something?
Corentin shook the bag again, and Taylor remained silent.
As a roll of duct tape tumbled out.
And then zip ties.
Taylor’s eyes snapped wide. Corentin had fucking huntsman death
tools on him at all times. He shivered and scooted back on the bed. He judged
the distance from the bed to the door in case he needed to run at a moment’s
notice. Obviously a naked guy running down the interstate would get some
attention. But he hadn’t seen any cars on the interstate since they ended up
here. He nibbled at his lip. Maybe if he stole Corentin’s truck? That seemed
like a good idea.
“Ah!” Corentin said, clearly relieved he apparently found a pen,
and ignored the zip ties and duct tape. He resumed his furious scribbling.


About the Author

Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting too. 

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love. 

Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending. 

Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle. 

She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.
You can find Lex at

               



Giveaway
 

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Amy Lain: Beneath the Stain ~ Promo

In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers– and their penchant for making good music when they weren’t getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends—especially Grant Adams–made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind.

Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he’s hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn’t flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that’s not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav’s help–but Trav’s not sure he’s going to survive falling in love with Mackey.

Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn’t do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey’s past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking.

Available to pre-order at
Release Date:
August 29, 2014
Five Ways to Buy
Option 1: Serial Package 
  • Automatically get each part with special content on your bookshelf as it is released and the digital novel upon release. Serial runs 8/29/14-10/10/14. Novel releases 10/17/14.
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  • Automatically get each part with special content on your bookshelf as it is released and the digital novel upon release. Serial runs 8/29/14-10/10/14. Novel releases 10/17/14.
  • Also received a signed paperback mailed to you upon novel release.
  • $24.99 +shipping. This option only available through dreamspinnerpress.com.
Options 3: Serial Only (7 parts) 
  • Buy individual parts with special content weekly for $1.99. Serial runs 8/29/14-10/10/14.
Options 4 & 5: Novel
  • Purchase the complete novel in eBook or paperback, no special content included. Pre-sales begin 9/17/14. Novel releases 10/17/14.
  • eBook $6.99, paperback $17.99
  • Upon complete novel release, the serial will no longer be available.

 

Excerpt
You Can’t Always Get What
You Want
… from the Mighty Hunter Gazette— April
20
And special news, our very own
homegrown band, Outbreak Monkey, will be performing a six- song set between D.J. Boomer’s dance
music at the Graham Winters High School prom. The band, headed by McKay
“Mackey” Sanders on lead vocals, Jeff Sanders on bass and their brother
Kell Sanders on lead guitar, also features Grant Adams on second lead and
Stevie Harris on drum set. All members are Graham Winters High School students
and we are proud to have them play!
THE FIRST time
McKay Sanders kissed his brother’s best friend, Grant, they were getting
high in a burned-out car in the field behind Mackey’s apartment
building. Kellogg, who looked old enough to buy even though he’d just
turned eighteen, had spent ten dollars the brothers didn’t have on cheap
Muscat. By the time Grant—whose father had money—brought out the pot, Kellogg,
Jefferson, and Stevie were passed out on the old camp blanket Stevie had
brought from his dad’s garage.
It was a celebration, of
sorts, for landing the prom gig.
The older kids had hogged
all the Muscat, though, and Mackey felt left out. Kellogg kept saying it wasn’t right to get his little brother drunk, and Mackey kept saying it wasn’t right to drink in front of him, but by the time Kellogg was too drunk to
argue, there wasn’t any wine left.
Jefferson and Stevie had
finished off the other bottle all by themselves—just sitting quietly, not
making any waves like they usually did, passing the bottle between them.
“Boy, you two argue a
lot,” Grant said after Kell let out a gut-buster of a yawn and fell asleep
quick as a baby.
Mackey grunted and
prodded at his older brother with his toe. The three brothers present looked
nothing alike. Kell was built like a tank, with rounded shoulders, a brown-eyed
glare, and plain brown hair that he buzz- cut short to his scalp. He was like
born practicality, which was why hoarding the wine rankled Mackey so badly. An
expenditure like that wasn’t going to happen again.
“He gets mad,” Mackey
said, letting out a sigh. He slouched back inside the shelter of the car,
peering through the doorframe at the iron gray sky. “He’s the one who
takes care of us, you know? But not in the band.”
It was true.
Kell could play guitar
ably enough, but Mackey….
“You can play
everything,” Grant said with admiration. “You’re the one who puts the
songs together, figures out who should be playing what. And the shit you
write on your own….”
Mackey smiled at him a
little shyly. Grant had the most interesting face, with a long, straight nose,
full pink lips, and almond-shaped hazel eyes. When Grant looked at him with
admiration, it stopped his breath and pulled rubber bands in his stomach.
“I just….” He stopped because Grant was reaching into his pocket, and he
pulled out a baggie full of weed and papers. “Ooh….”
Grant looked down at the
other three, who were sleeping soundly in the late afternoon chill. “I was
gonna share,” he said mischievously, “but Kell was a dick about the wine, so I
thought you and me?” Mackey nodded, captivated by the thrill of the
forbidden—and by the way that cherry-ripe mouth pulled up at the corners when
Grant smiled.
“I’ve never, uhm….”
Grant shrugged. “Me and
Kell do sometimes. But, you know, Kell’s usually a good guy.”
Mackey reflected on his
sleeping brother. Kell was a good guy. For example, Mackey had a confused memory of their
youngest brother Cheever’s dad, the one dad they thought would stick
around beyond giving the baby a first name. Cheever’s dad hadn’t been very
patient, and he’d hated Mackey. Well, Mackey was sort of a smartass. He’d probably had that fist coming. But that hadn’t stopped Kell from stepping up and hitting Enos Cheever right back.
Mackey and Kell had both needed stitches after that, but their mom had kicked
Enos Cheever out—child support or no child support. That was okay. Kell and
Jeff had been almost old enough to work by then. They’d only needed
assistance for a couple of months.
“He doesn’t like it that
I can boss him around,” Mackey said glumly. “He… he’s the leader, right?
But… but I hear the music, and it just makes sense, you know? And… and
you can’t do it wrong just ’cause it’ll hurt Kell’s feelings. It’s augh!” He was waving his hands
around, trying to find words, which was funny, because Mackey actually wrote songs. He
closed his eyes, ignoring Grant rolling a number, and tried to make a song out
of it.
“He wants to keep me
happy and he wants to keep me fed, he makes sure that I’ve got
blankets and a place to sleep in a bed, but the music in my heart is like a
freight train. It goes and it goes and when I stop it, it’s like pain, but my
brother doesn’t see it doesn’t hear it doesn’t feel it, and all there is to do is shove him out of the way. Don’t want to hit my brother with the
freight train.”
Mackey’s eyes smarted,
because the friction with Kell hurt. They were tight. They had to be tight, because
Tyson, California, had a population of ten thousand, and it was a small enough
town that the woman with the four sons and four fathers was sort of famous.
They had to have each other’s backs or Cheever wouldn’t have survived kindergarten.
Mackey blinked and took a
deep breath, then coughed.
Damn, pot was strong.
He gazed at Grant, who
was staring back in awe over the glowing ember of the joint. Grant held the
smoke for a minute and exhaled,shaking his head. “God, it’s gorgeous when you
do that,” he said, his voice choked.
“Do what?” Mackey asked,
not able to stop staring at him.
“Pull music out of the
air,” Grant said, the dreamy smile on his full lips maybe a side effect of
the pot, but maybe not. Grant was sitting in the back of the car, his feet
at the foot of the blanket the others were sleeping on. He passed Mackey the doobie
around the doorframe, and Mackey regarded the joint with a little bit of fear.
“Just inhale?” he asked
nervously, and Grant grinned.
“Never done this before?”
he confirmed, taking the doobie back.
Mackey shook his head,
knowing his face was flushing in spite of the iron mountain chill.
“Here,” Grant murmured,
taking another hit. He stood up, still holding the smoke in his lungs, and
knelt in front of Mackey, so close their lips almost brushed. Mackey’s
mouth fell open, because, holy God, Grant was right there, and
Mackey had been trying not to look at him like he had wanted him right there since
he was twelve years old.
Grant took his open mouth
for invitation and exhaled, right between Mackey’s parted lips.
Mackey’s inhale was so
gentle, the smoke hardly tickled. He didn’t choke or cough like he’d seen other
people do, just breathed in subtle-like, afraid to startle Grant or make
him move in any way. His exhale was even quieter, letting the smoke trickle out
through his lips and his nose, where it stung.
He swallowed, his mouth
dry from the smoke and from the way Grant was staring at him, seemingly as
mesmerized as he was by those golden eyes and moist red mouth. “How’s
Sam?” he asked, because Samantha Peters had been Grant’s shadow for the
past year.
“Not here,” Grant
whispered, and the movement made their lips touch.
Mackey closed his eyes,
because Grant started this, and Mackey was fourteen to his seventeen. Grant
would know what to do.
Grant’s lips on his were
whisper-soft, then angel-soft, then Grant’s tongue swept into
his mouth, acrid with the bitter taste of weed, but something in it was sweet.
Something in it made Mackey open his mouth to beg for more.
Grant took advantage,
pushing him back against the seat, taking his mouth more, and more and more,
until Mackey was pressed against the burned-out seat frame, his hands
buried in the thick top strip of Grant’s hair, his lips being bruised and his
mouth plundered by his brother’s best friend.
The smell of pot smoke
sharpened, turned plastic, and Grant jerked his head back.
“Shit,” he muttered. The
joint had fallen onto the blanket at their feet, and he spent a moment stomping
it out as it smoldered. When he’d killed the ember, he glanced at Mackey
sheepishly.
“Got lost in your eyes,”
he said, and Mackey watched curiously as two red crescents surfaced on his
sharp cheekbones, like disappearing ink coming to life.
“I could get lost in you
a lot,” Mackey confessed, feeling brave and bold, and Grant found
something to look at far away.
“Mackey, maybe don’t
count on me like that, okay?”
Mackey had to search far
away too. Well, of course, right? Two guys get high and they do something
crazy—didn’t mean shit, did it.
Didn’t mean a goddamned
thing. “Yeah, well. You know. Strong weed, right?”
“Yeah,” Grant murmured.
“Strong.” His hand was firm on Mackey’s shoulder then, and Mackey closed his
eyes as he felt the rasp of Grant’s chilled palm against his cheek. “Stronger’n
shame.”
Mackey had to. Had to see
his face.
Grant was blinking hard, and
they both knew he’d deny it, but one hit of pot didn’t give you eyeballs that
red.
At their feet, Kell gave
a moan and rolled over, and that was the cue for everyone to wake up. They were
headachy and sick, and it was lucky Grant had brought a six-pack of water, of
all things, so they could at least rinse out their mouths after they puked.
Grant had driven them out
to the vacant field in his mom’s minivan, and later that evening, he
stopped and let them run inside the grocery store to buy noodles and spaghetti
sauce for dinner. They’d promised their mom they’d take care of groceries if
she let them get away with not watching Cheever for the afternoon. When they
got to the Sanders boys’ apartment complex, Grant and Kell were giving
each other shit in the front seat. Mackey stared out the window and let their
banter wash over him, just like he ignored Jefferson and Stevie talking in
quiet undertones about comic books and naked girl pictures. Jeff and Kell had
best friends. Mackey had brothers—six of them, if he counted Cheever’s
little friend Kevin, which he did.
“So, is Sam excited you
get to play at the prom?” Kell asked, laughing.
“Yeah,” Grant said. For a
moment, he caught Mackey’s gaze in the rearview, and then he glanced back
toward the road. “She wants to dress pretty and dance with me in a suit.”
Mackey didn’t make a
noise or anything, but suddenly he knew, knew like it had been branded on his skin, that Grant didn’t want to dance with a girl in a dress. And that it
would hurt worse than orange juice on chapped lips, but Mackey was going to
have to watch him do it.

 

About The Author

Amy Lane has four children, two cats, a love starved Chi-who-what, a crumbling mortgage and an indulgent spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you give her enough diet coke and chocolate, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.
 


You can can find Amy at 

            

 

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First Installment of Beneath The Stain (2 winners will be selected)
All Seven Installments of Beneath The Stain (1 winner will be selected)
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A. Morell: Summer Wine & Reading

Summer Wine & Reading
Summer reading might bring up bad memories for some, but oftentimes we get over the trauma of cramming six weeks worth of reading into two days and rediscover the joys of whiling away the heat with a good book.

So, for your (age 21 and over) enjoyment, I offer up a full menu of ways to round out your summer and your palate, with a fine selection of books and the wines that complement them best.

1. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

A story of romance in Regency England should be paired with something as rich and complex as the tale itself. Warm, with a soft bite like the wit of Lizzie Bennet. Enjoy this classic with full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from a warm region, where its best characteristics can be extracted.

2. Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

For the modern word weaver of the supernatural, a crisp Pino Blanc layered with intense fruit and a cleansing acidity. Hold it in your mouth as you mull over this collection of short, unsettling stories, and let the shadows and flavors reveal themselves.

3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Mead. Yes, it exists. Anything so steeped in the fantastical can only be complemented with a drink that calls for some concocting. More important with this series, however, is the ready availability of good, hearty, simple food, because you’re going to be reading about it a lot. Feasts, picnics, treats, with ices and pies and roasted birds and fresh caught fish. It should be as easily devoured as the books.

4. Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi

The only way I can describe this thirty-year- and twenty-six-volume-spanning series is something like dystopian vampire noir. D, the beautiful and mysterious vampire hunter, is the best kind of over-the-top Mary Sue, the kind we want to see more of. Even better is that he is illustrated by none other than Yoshitaka Amano, one of Japan’s most renowned artists. So it’s only fitting that Apothic Red, an impeccably balanced and structured red wine blend, be bought by the case and downed with each installment.

5. Forbidden Colors by Yukio Mishima

This is that one heavy summer read that you need to fortify yourself against. The semi-autobiographical/wish fulfillment of an infamous, celebrated, tormented author, a man widely speculated to have lived in the closet and who died by his own hand. Wash down the sordid tale of self-hatred and sexuality with the bracing acid and clean finish of a minerally Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Gris.

6. Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

For a light, easy, enjoyable summer read, try the first book of the Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy with a drinkable, fizzy Moscato d’Asti. The delicate sweetness and ripe peachy notes are perfect for romance. If buying Italian (which you should; Castello del Poggio in one of my faves), look for the green DOCG label.

7. 50 Shames of Earl Gray by “Fanny Merkin”

Do not drink anything while reading this book, unless you want it coming out your nose. I do, however, recommend reading it when you need a good ab workout.

8. Puncture Wounds by yours truly

Okay, so it won’t be a summer read, but a fall one. But it’s set in summer, and at least you’ll have a chance to prepare your wine cellars for this October. With a thick layer of grit for a short read, you won’t need more than to savor a few mouthfuls of a heady late-harvest Zinfandel. Find one with dark notes of plum and chocolate, with the warmth of a sweltering summer night you aren’t meant to sleep through.

I hope that’s enough to keep your glasses half full, and may your wine outlast your literature.

For an exclusive sneak peek at Puncture Wounds and a chance to win your own copy, join the scavenger hunt at the Birthday Bash down below.

Twitter | Blog | Dreamspinner | Birthday Bash

Lex Chase: Americana Fairytale ~ Cover Reveal

AmericanaFairyTaleFS

Americana Fairy Tale
by Lex Chase

Genre: M/M Fairy Tale Urban Fantasy
Length: Novel, 340 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Blurb

Modern fairy-tale princess Taylor Hatfield has problems. One: He’s a guy. Two: His perfect brother Atticus is the reincarnation of Snow White. Three: Taylor has no idea which princess he is supposed to be. Four: Taylor just left his prince (a girl) at the altar. Despite his enchanted lineage, Taylor is desperate to find his Happily Ever After away from magic, witches, and stuffy traditions. Regrettably, destiny has other plans for him. Dammit.

When word reaches Taylor that Idi the Witchking has captured Atticus, Taylor is determined to save his brother. He enlists the help of rakish and insufferable Corentin Devereaux, likewise of enchanted lineage. A malicious spell sends Taylor and Corentin on a road trip through the kitschy nostalgia of roadside Americana. To save Atticus, they must solve the puzzles put forth by Idi the Witchking. As they struggle, Taylor and Corentin’s volatile partnership sparks a flash of something more. But princesses have many enemies, and Taylor must keep his wits about him because thereís nothing worse than losing your heart- or your head.

 

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Available September 12th, 2014

Paperbacks ordered through Dreamspinner Press qualifies for Free Shipping to GRL for pick-up!

Use code: GRL2014

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Excerpt

 

Still flustered and confused, with no time to contemplate what had just come over him, Corentin tossed out his hand and gestured to the open road. “Do you see signs for I-85 North anywhere, genius?”

“Man, you’re really bitchy,” Ringo said, crossing his arms. “Have enough water today? Hydration is important.”

“Why should I trust you anyway? You could be getting us lost on purpose,” Taylor said. There was a sneer in his tone, and he glared in the rearview. “I’m not counting out we nearly died three seconds ago.”

“I was avoiding a tire in the road,” Corentin lied. “And I am not getting us lost.” His irritation grew as he tried to puzzle through everything that had just transpired. “I’m keeping my promise. You’re useless to me, so we’re going to go save your brother and kill Idi instead.”

“Woooooah,” Ringo said, holding up his hands in surrender. “You didn’t tell me this was Idi we were up against.”

“Someone fill me in,” Taylor said in a demanding tone.

Corentin gritted his teeth. Just like all princesses, Taylor was a pretty spoiled brat. “Idi is the Witchking,” Corentin said simply. He braced himself for the oncoming flurry of questions. Which he wouldn’t know how to answer in the simplest of terms.

“Idi’s bad juju,” Ringo said. “The worst of all witches.”

“And we’re going to kill him?” Taylor asked.

Corentin caught him arching a brow and making a doubtful expression in the rearview. “That’s the plan.”

“And save Atticus,” Taylor said.

That’s the plan,” Corentin repeated tersely.

“What’s in it for you?” Taylor asked. Something in his tone suggested his mistrust had hit its limit.

Before Corentin could come up with an expert lie, he was unfortunately saved by the GPS popping with sizzles and showering sparks over the cabin of the truck. Ringo zipped behind the passenger seat, and Taylor yelped in a half squeal. The truck fishtailed over two lanes and came dangerously close to clipping a car. Corentin acted fast, ripping the melting device from its dash mount and chucking it out the window. Taylor turned to look out the back window, and Corentin caught the bright orange flame as the thing exploded like a grenade.

When the spots cleared from Corentin’s eyes, he muttered a curse under his breath as the truck passed from a clear division of daylight into the dead of night. He clicked the headlights on and waited for his eyes to adjust.

“What the hell is going on?” Taylor asked, leaning up to the back window.

“Idi’s fucking with us,” Corentin said. “It seems like he’s trying to delay us as much as possible.”

“He knows we’re onto him,” Taylor said. “Way to go for discussing the super-secret squirrel plan out loud.”

“You know…,” Corentin said, glaring in the rearview. “You are a lot more pleasant when you’re passed out, snoring.”

Taylor huffed. “I don’t snore.”

“You bleat like a dying hyena,” Ringo said, then spit a giggle.

Taylor’s attention snapped to the pixie. “What is this? Asshole day?”

Corentin caught his eerie pink glare in the rearview.

“Dude, just get off at the nearest exit. We should be near Birmingham by now.”

“All right, all right,” Corentin said, and it was a pleasant reprieve that Taylor kept his mouth shut for more than five minutes. It didn’t last.

“Hey, hey!” Taylor said and pointed at a green-and-white interstate exit sign in the distance. “Talladega! Turn here. I can get us to Atlanta from here. We’re not that far off.”

Corentin guided the truck up the exit ramp and frowned. Something was wrong—flat-topped mesas came into view.

“What the…?” Taylor whispered and watched the rolling dunes of the Painted Desert.

“Uuuh…,” Ringo added and pressed himself to the windshield. The occasional cactus whisked by. “Wow, Talladega’s having a hard time with the drought this season,” Ringo said through their awestruck silence.

“That’s not a drought,” Corentin said softly.

Taylor squinted into the distance. “Does ‘Welcome to Arizona, the Grand Canyon State’ answer your question?”

Ringo pasted his face to the windshield. “How do you even see—” Ringo squeaked when the state sign of Arizona blurred by. “Oh my Storyteller!”

Corentin remained tense, trying to get his thoughts together.

Taylor, however, seemed to not be able to resist blurting out his opinion. “It seems this Eddie guy is doing more than just fucking with us.”

Idi,” Corentin said and realized how terse he sounded. “I think he wants to do more than just delay us.”

Ringo peeled himself from the windshield. He slapped his hands to his cheeks in horror. “He wants us to die out here?” he croaked.

“Panicking is not going to help,” Corentin said firmly.

“Easy for you to say,” Taylor snapped. “We just need to stop somewhere and ask for directions. We’ll get back on the right road in no time.”

Corentin sighed. Taylor’s hope was admirable, but Ringo was only half right. They would die out here, but only one of them. This was Corentin’s first trial. Now he was here, in the middle of nowhere, with Taylor to do with what he will. As soon as that was over, Idi would release him and he’d be on his way, but only until the next time Idi summoned him to do his bidding.

They drove on, again in a long-hanging silence. The interstate lay barren, not a single car or scrap of civilization to be seen. The pavement bore veins of black tar from years of shoddy repair. Corentin caught Taylor’s pink gaze in the rearview, and his feral eyes seemed to gleam in the dark.

The princess shifted from one side of the backseat to the other. He seemed to look for anything that would help. He cupped his hands around the glass and peeked out into the night. “I can’t see anything out there. It’s just desert,” Taylor muttered.

Ringo turned to Corentin, “How are we on ga—”

Don’t say it!” Corentin and Taylor shouted in unison.

Ringo held up his hands and pursed his lips. “Got it…. Uh… why?”

“I assume Eddie is listening in to everything,” Taylor said.

Idi,” Corentin corrected Taylor again. “I think sir princess is right. It seems the second we’ve said anything, something’s gone wrong.”

Ringo fluttered over to the dash and rested his chin in his palm. “You know… it could be all a coincidence….”

Corentin and Taylor glared angrily at Ringo in silence while the hum of the pavement whooshed as Corentin drove.

Ringo waved his hands. “By Titania’s tatas, guys, I was just kidding!”

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About the author

 

LXC_FlamesLex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting too.

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and epic love-and depending on how she feels that day-Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if youíre going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.

Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle.

She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldnít be here if it wasnít for them and welcomes feedback.

You can find in the Intarwebz here:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LXChase
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lex_Chase
Tumblr: http://lexiconofkittens.tumblr.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/westbaylen

Cover reveal: Outing the Quarterback by Tara Lain


Outing The Quarterback
(Long Pass Chronicles Series, Bk #1)
By Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
Will Ashford lives in two closets. He meets his wealthy father’s goals as both the quarterback for the famous SCU football team and a business major, but secretly he attends art school and longs to live as a painter. And he’s gay. But if he can win the coveted Milton Scholarship for art, he’ll be able to break from his father at the end of his senior year.
In a painting master class, Will meets his divergent opposite, Noah Zajack. A scarred orphan who’s slept on park benches and eaten from trash cans, Noah carefully plans his life and multiple jobs so he has money and time to go to art school. Will’s problems seem like nothing compared to Noah’s. Noah wants the scholarship too and may have a way to get it since the teacher of his class has designs on him, a plan Will isn’t happy about.
When a gossipmonger with a popular YouTube channel finds evidence that Will is gay, the quarterback’s closet doors begin to crumble. Hounded by the press and harassed by other players, Will has to choose. Stay in the closet and keep his family’s wealth, or let the doors fall off and walk out with nothing. Nothing but Noah.
Release Date:
September 19, 2014
You can pre-order your copy at
Excerpt

 

Will’s eyes moved past the teacher. Lots of easels, students already working, supplies all over the place and—holy shit.
The artist’s model sat naked on a small platform in the middle of the room. But not just no-clothes-on naked. We were talking gleaming, pale beige skin, shining hair, and hard-as-stone butt-cheeks naked.
Will’s deprived cock did a happy dance.
The model’s back—read, bare ass—faced Will while his graceful spine curved away.
The beast in Will’s pants started to grow.
The guy’s long brown hair flowed over his shoulders and outlined his profile, perfectly presented to Will’s artist eye. High-bridged nose, prominent cheekbones, pointed chin.
The damned traitor prick pushed so hard against Will’s zipper he probably had teeth marks on his cockhead. Why was it every time he decided to go straight, some cosmic joker had to twiddle his fucking finger and prove beyond a shadow that William Elliott Ashford III was as gay as a circus tent? Shit!
“Are you in this class?”
Will focused his eyes back on Masterson and clasped his hands in front of his crotch, still holding his tackle box. “Yes, sir. Sorry I’m late. Traffic.”
Masterson glanced at Will’s folded hands and sucked on his cheek like he was trying not to laugh. “Name?”
Will shifted to get the animal to go back in its cave, but no matter how hard Masterson stared at Will, the model still sat there in all his fucking glory. “Will Smith, sir.”
Masterson glanced at a paper on his desk, made a check mark, and pointed toward an empty easel with a folding table beside it and a rickety chair. “There’s a place in the back, William.”
“Will.”
The man smiled and the lean, almost harsh face softened. “Will. Made any good movies lately?”
Oh my, so very original. Will smiled. “Yeah.”
Masterson waved his hand toward the easel and looked at the model. “You can move, Noah.”
Will walked back to the empty place. Do not stare at that guy. Don’t stare. His name is Noah. Noah.
Weird. Usually life models were “interesting” looking, for lack of a better word. Fat or craggy, old, and character-filled. Not perfect, smooth beauties like this guy.
Will set his tackle box on the floor, opened it, and pulled out brushes. Masterson walked up beside him with a canvas. “This is gessoed already so you won’t have to waste any time.”
Will set it on the easel. “Thanks.”
Masterson crossed his arms. “I’ve seen the work you submitted when you applied for the master class. Promising.”
Wow. Music to his ears. “Thank you, sir.”
Masterson grinned. Who knew dimples could live in cheeks that thin? “Try Dwight so I don’t feel so old.”
Will smiled. “Thanks, Dwight. I wouldn’t want to suggest something that’s not true.”
The instructor winked at him and walked back to the beat-up desk in the corner. Winked. Will had read that Masterson was gay. Had the teacher just been flirting with him? Or shit, maybe he’d been coming on to Masterson. When you spent your life in the closet, every interaction was a fucking minefield.
Will sat in the chair and looked up at the model. His breath caught. No way. The beautiful guy had repositioned himself and now sat facing Will, his legs crossed, leaning forward with his arm resting on his thigh. Everything shimmery and perfect—if you didn’t count the six-inch scar that ran from the right corner of his mouth up to the edge of his very blue eye. It skipped the eye miraculously and continued above it on his forehead, disappearing into his hair. The puckered skin pulled that eye closed a slight bit more than the other. Funny. Without it, the kid would have looked almost too angelic. As it was, the eye gave him a permanent touch of cynicism. Yeah, anybody who’d picked up that badge of courage in his life deserved to be a cynic.

 

 

About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

You can find Tara at

               

 

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Cover reveal: A Rose by Any Other Name by Charlie Cochet

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A Rose by Any Other Name
by Charlie Cochet

Genre: M/M historical romance, 1920s
Length: Novel, 270 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Blurb

Nights in the roaring city remind bright young things that life’s too short to take for granted. Tucked away in Times Square hides the Pantheon: a secret cabaret for wealthy gay men. Pretty young men in elaborate costumes and rouged lips are eager to please, and the champagne flows all night long. It’s a world of frivolity, fantasy, and debauchery. As Eros, the most sought after performer at the Pantheon, Julius uses his beauty and charm on enthusiastic patrons, but growing weary of superficial love, he longs to make a better life for himself.

Five years after being declared mentally unfit after surviving the trenches of No Man’s Land, Edward Joseph Clarence Junior pieced his shattered life back together. Now he’s ready to take on the family empire. To celebrate his thirtieth birthday, Edward’s cousin takes him to the most posh nightclub in town, the Pantheon. Falling under the sway of Eros, Edward and Julius find a love they’ve never imagined and the chance for a future they had only dared to dream about. But as Ares, a notorious gangster and Julius’s most important—and dangerous— client watches them, the threat to their love and their lives grows by the day.

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Available September 12th, 2014

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Excerpt

“There you are. I’ve been looking for you two for—” Eros stopped in his tracks and stared at Edward. “You’re here. Again.”

Edward stood and took Eros’s hand, giving it a kiss. “I thought maybe after the second or third night you would have believed me.” The young man looked absolutely stunning as always, the gold cloth wrapped low on his slim hips working a now familiar magic.

Eros wasted no time in removing his hand from Edward’s grasp. “What reason do I have to believe someone who broke into my dressing room and then lied to me about who he was?”

Well, this was certainly news to him. “I said I was an executive for Clarence and Company Department Stores, which I am.”

Eros leaned toward him, his voice lowered. “You seemed to have conveniently left out the tiny detail concerning you also being heir to the Clarence and Company multimillion dollar fortune.”

“Does it matter?” It wasn’t as though Edward wished to go about advertising his wealth, but he wouldn’t have thought Eros had any reason to be discreet about it.

“Does it—?” Eros shook his head and let out a humorless laugh. “I don’t have time for this.”

Perhaps it was time for Edward to get to the heart of the matter and the reason why Eros was doing his best to avoid Edward to the point of being brazen with him when every chorus boy, cupid, and Ancient Greek deity seemed to be in a constant state of frenzy each night in the hopes of roping themselves a wealthy patron.

“Have I done something to offend you?” Edward took hold of Eros’s hand again, refusing to let it go. After the second tug, Eros let out a sigh and left his hand in Edward’s grip. Eros was absolutely enchanting, even when he was irritated.

“No, nothing. I apologize.”

Then it struck him. How could he not have seen it? He’d been looking at this all wrong. The thought had Edward smiling from ear to ear. “It’s not me you’re upset with, is it? You’re upset with yourself.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Eros scoffed. “I happen to be quite fond of myself.”

“You were hoping I’d be here.”

Eros tugged at his hand again. “Well, aren’t we sure of ourselves. For Pete’s sake, would you let go of my hand?”

“You’ve been curious about me since we met. Only now you know the extent of my wealth, you feel threatened. You believe I’ll be no better than the others, wanting nothing more from you than what I pay for, and it’s disappointed you.”

Eros narrowed his eyes at him, at which point Edward promptly let go of his hand. For a love God, Eros certainly had one hell of a murderous glare. Edward was pushing his luck, but he went with his gut feeling.

“Edward, if I felt threatened by a man’s wealth, I would hardly be in this line of work. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. I feel empowered.”

Eros closed the distance between them and ran his hands slowly up Edward’s chest, over his shoulders, and down his back, smiling triumphantly when Edward gave a start at the feel of Eros’s fingers digging into his backside.

“You see, you may have wealth, but I have the power to take it away.”

Eros gave a low, sultry moan before running his tongue over his bottom lip. Pressing himself against Edward, one hand discreetly moved around the front to grip Edward through his trousers. Edward shut his eyes, willing himself to breathe.

“I can feel how hard you’re getting, Edward. Don’t play games with me, or I will make you wish you never set foot in here. Do you think I haven’t come across men like you before?”

His hand slowly started to stroke Edward through his trousers.

“Jesus,” Edward breathed, his hands going to Eros’s shoulders. He had to put a stop to this madness. It was clear Eros was willing to take this as far as he needed to in order to get his point across, and Edward was foolish enough to stand here and let him.

“Honey-sweet words mean little to me, Edward. Do you know how many men have offered to whisk me away from my filthy, devious life? Put me up in some Fifth Avenue penthouse, pay me an allowance, and give me anything I wish for? Do you want to make me your personal whore?”

Edward gently pushed Eros away, drawing a look of surprise from him. “Enough. I neither believe so little of you nor of myself. I won’t have my character insulted. If you have the power to take my wealth as you say you do, why didn’t you take it? You saw how eager I was, yet you continually push me away.”

“You turned him away?” Pothos asked, gaping at Eros.

“Of course not.” Eros lifted his chin defiantly and took a step back. “He stated he would make an arrangement with Aphrodite, and I didn’t object.”

“Only after I refused to leave,” Edward reminded him. “You had ample opportunity to take what you wanted from me, yet all you wanted was for me to leave. Why? What are you afraid of?”

Eros rolled his eyes. “Being bored to death. Honestly, why aren’t you doing Vaudeville with your act? I choose my clients, Edward, and I didn’t choose you. Your bruised ego will simply have to get over it. Now if you will excuse me.”

“Why haven’t you told anyone else who I am? Do you refuse to share me, or are you protecting me?” Edward held back a smile when Eros spun around and marched back to poke him in the chest.

“You seem to have developed this ridiculous notion I care about what you do, Edward. I haven’t spoken of it to anyone as it’s not my place to do so. I pride myself on my discretion and integrity. However, if you wish to announce your wealth to the whole damned club, be my guest! And you’re right; you aren’t like the others, because no one is as infuriating as you are!”

Eros threw his arms up in frustration and stormed off.

“Did I mention you look stunning when you’re angry?” Edward called after him.

Eros grabbed a champagne glass off a passing waiter’s tray and hurled it at Edward. “Go fly a kite!”

With a laugh, Edward managed to jump out of the way in the nick of time, the glass shattering on the floor where he’d been standing. By the time he looked up, Eros was nowhere in sight.

“I think he likes me.”

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About the author

CCochet100Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

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