About annabutlerfiction

I'm a writer, making that big and scary jump from writing for fun, to writing for publication. I write m/m erotic romances, mostly science fiction.

Rob Rosen’s Fierce – and a giveaway

Oh lor, a superhero raised by wolves!  Who could resist?

 

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Lucas has a typical life — apart from being abandoned as a baby, raised by wolves, and having super powers. Still, inside, he feels like two people, both vying for control of himself. He’s a superhero and a nerdy college freshman. He’s both feral and tame. He wants to do good in the world and, at the same time, he wants to do nothing. And most of all, he wants to find his birth parents.

In this comedic tale of romance, mystery, and adventure, our hero is joined by his hunky boyfriend, his acerbic boss, an uptight college science professor, and his ex-boyfriend/once crime-fighting partner—not to mention a whole pack of wolves—to help foil his nemesis and uncover the secrets of his past to save his future.

Fierce at Goodreads

 

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Also available at
JMS Books  |  iBooks

 

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As a baby, I was raised by wolves in the mountainous wilds of Montana.

I have super powers. Like, seriously super.

I catch bad guys for a living. For free! Minus, of course, the well-merited and desperately sought-after publicity.

But, you ask, raised by wolves? Come on now, Fierce, really? Does that actually happen? Wolves eat babies, don’t they? I mean dingoes do— or so I’ve heard, a la one Miss Meryl Streep— so it stands to reason that wolves do, too. Though not these wolves. These were tame wolves. Well, tameish. They were zoo wolves, hand-raised by humans. Except, they escaped during a freak storm, back to the wilds from whence their ancestors came, never to be seen again.

I saw them right off the bat, though. Well, sawish. I mean, I was a baby at the time, my eyesight not what it is today— which is freakishly strong, by the way. And yes, toot, toot, my horn doth bloweth, yet again. Gabriel in the heavens up above turns green with envy at my tooting abilities. Oh, and in case you hadn’t already surmised it, superhero, at least in my case, equates to super ego. Freud missed out big time on the likes of yours truly.

But I digress. Back to the wolves.

Best I could figure it—seeing as, again, I was just a baby at the time—the initial wolf pack consisted of ten wolves that once inhabited a small zoo on the outskirts of Billings, Montana. One fateful day, a tornado hit. A big one. Huge even! Dorothy would’ve shit her panties it was so friggin’ massive. Anyway, from what I’ve read, the storm struck quite suddenly, too suddenly for the folks at the zoo to be able to corral all the animals beforehand, so, when the fencing to the wolves’ enclosure twisted and uprooted, out they sped. The zoo figured they died in the storm, except, well, duh, they didn’t. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be hearing this account right now, right? Then help! would’ve been lost to the cosmos. A truly sad thought, I know.

 

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WIN 1 of 3 ebook copies of “Fierce”

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Rob Rosen is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, Sparkle: The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love, the Lambda Literary Award Nominated Divas Las Vegas, which was the winner of the 2010 TLA Gaybies for Best Gay Fiction, Hot Lava, Southern Fried, the Lambda Literary Award Nominated Queerwolf, Vamp, Queens of the Apocalypse, Creature Comfort, Fate, which was the winner of the 2016 TRR Readers’ Choice Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy as well as a 2016 Rainbow Awards Finalist for Best Gay Romantic Comedy, Midlife Crisis, and Fierce. His short stories have appeared in more than 200 anthologies. You can find 20 of them in his erotic romance anthology, Good & Hot. He is also the editor of Lust in Time: Erotic Romance Through the Ages, Men of the Manor, Best Gay Erotica 2015 and Best Gay Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1 and 2 and 3.

Find Rob:

http://www.therobrosen.com/

https://www.facebook.com/therobrosen

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1396636.Rob_Rosen

https://www.amazon.com/Rob-Rosen/e/B002BRF0XM/

 

Special Offer! Download a free ‘Gyrfalcon’ – and 160 other Sci Fi books!

 

THIS WEEK ONLY, I’m taking part in a MEGA SciFi and Fantasy book giveaway. If you don’t already own a copy of Gyrfalcon, you can download a free copy here:

SFF Mega Promo

Science Fiction and Fantasy

10 – 16 April

A selection of the finest speculative fiction, free for a limited time.

Not sure how to add a book to your E-reader? See guide.

Go to Space Opera | Go to Military SF | Go to Dystopian & Post-Apocalyptic
Go to Cyberpunk & Steampunk | Go to SF Romance

Go to Epic Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery | Go to Urban Fantasy | Go to Horror
Go to Fables & Mythology | Go to Fantasy & Paranormal Romance

Go to Science Fiction Fantasy | Go to Young Adult | Go to Kids


 

 

 

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Joe Cosentino’s back in Cozzi Cove with “New Beginnings”

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I’m delighted to hand over the blog to Joe today to talk about his Cozzi Cove series, his new book in particular, and to share some memories of his childhood summers spent along the New Jersey Shore.

Over to Joe!

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Cozzi Cove: a place where nothing is what it seems, and anything is possible.
Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, the fourth novel in the Cozzi Cove series by Joe Cosentino, published by NineStar Press

Every culture and religion respects the cycle of life as old things end and new ones begin. That’s the message in the Cozzi Cove series. We watch characters we’ve grown to love as much as members of our own families deal with that reality in the magical, romantic place called Cozzi Cove.

Cozzi Cove is a special place to me. Though a product of my overactive imagination, Cozzi Cove is based on a spot at the New Jersey Shore that I visited every summer as a kid. My aunt and uncle had a bungalow near the beach, bay, and a private cove that formed when soft rocks were worn away by the sun and salty water faster than the harder rocks surrounding them. This created a gorgeous bay of turquoise water shielded by large rocks in the distance and smaller rocks near the water’s edge.

Every summer my sister and I as kids swam and made sandcastles at the beach, waded in the bay, played miniature golf, ate salt water taffy, and jumped up and down on trampolines until we (literally) saw green. All those places and experiences are in the novels set in a fictitious place I call Cozzi Cove, a gay resort of eight bungalows in a private cove on the Jersey Shore. The main beach and boardwalk are only a mile away. It’s a place I love to visit, and I know you will too.

After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out released, readers and reviewers praised their romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories. Many readers begged for a return trip to Cozzi Cove, so I wrote Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings. As with the first three books, romance is everywhere on Cozzi Cove, and nothing is what it seems. It was like visiting good old friends to further develop the characters in book four.

Handsome and sexy ex-football player Cal Cozzi is now thirty-three years old, and still enjoying his role as owner and manager of his family’s guest bungalows. In book four, Cal finds his great-grandfather’s diary, exposing a shocking surprise. Cal and his husband, Michael Rodgers, a recent college graduate in photojournalism, are expecting a baby.

Cal has a new houseboy, blond and muscular Billy Dean, a red letter Christian college student who signed a chastity pledge in his hometown Alabama. Obviously, that doesn’t last very long at Cozzi Cove.

Cal’s sister, Taylor, drops in from Europe as usual. As a type A personality and top one-percenter, the world revolves around her, which makes her hysterically funny. She is also incredibly devoted to her brother. Taylor’s wife, Carla, plays a pivotal role in book four as she is the surrogate for Cal and Michael’s baby. Michael and Taylor weigh new job opportunities that could take them away from Cozzi Cove.

A guest, Nijad, who is bisexual, can’t decide which sibling guest he prefers: Annabel or Andrew. And an occult enthusiast guest, Jonathan, encounters a sexy vampire, Vlad, at the cove. As usual, nothing is what it seems as secrets are revealed and romances blossom in the magical place called Cozzi Cove.

So grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head back to Cozzi Cove. Or if it’s your visit, welcome. Cal Cozzi has a bungalow waiting just for you. I hope to see you there!

And I love hearing from readers! Please contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

 

About The Book

COZZI COVE: NEW BEGINNINGS
The fourth novel in the Cozzi Cove series
by JOE COSENTINO, published by NineStar Press

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Publisher: Nine Star Press
Language: English
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
Length: 55,600 words, 174 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-945952-77-7
Release date: March 27, 2017

Welcome back to the romantic and magical place called Cozzi Cove, seven guest bungalows on the New Jersey Shore. This summer, Cal and his new husband Michael, along with sister, Taylor and her wife, Carla, prepare for the first in the next generation of Cozzis. To add to the action: Cal finds his great-grandfather’s diary, exposing a shocking surprise; Michael and Taylor weigh new job opportunities that could take them far away from Cozzi Cove; red-letter Christian and new houseboy, Billy Dean, gets his wish when meeting Jesus and John at the cove; summer guest, Nijad, can’t decide which sibling he prefers—Annabel or Andrew; and Jonathan, an occult enthusiast, encounters a sexy vampire. As usual, nothing is as it seems when romance blossoms once again at Cozzi Cove. What secrets, mysteries, and passions lie waiting to unfold? Find out in Book Four of the Cozzi Cove series.

 

BUY LINKS

Amazon.com  |  Amazon.co.uk  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Smashwords

 

Excerpt from Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings

The sun rose like an erupting volcano filling the sky with shafts of violet, magenta, and gold, which ultimately turned to clear blue. Cal Cozzi stood on the white sand and gazed at the old lighthouse in the distance. At thirty-three, he was in the prime of his life, with thick auburn hair, clear green eyes, and a trim athletic build. Life was good, and as he smiled at the foamy waves teasing the craggy shore, Cal basked in the morning sun and in the beauty of his home.

Cal’s great-grandfather, Calvin Cozzi I, had built the resort at Cozzi Cove and had had a big hand in the development of the town of Cozzi. It had always been home for Cal, and proved to be a solid oasis when as a young man his football and later restaurant careers failed, and nine years ago when his parents died in a car accident. He’d especially felt its comfort when he later lost his husband of five years to cancer. Like the bay water rejuvenated by the golden rays of each sunrise, Cal had put his life back together by managing Cozzi Cove and marrying Michael Rodgers.

Michael, clad in a T-shirt and shorts like Cal, appeared at the front doorway of the main bungalow. His stocky build, caramel-colored skin, exotic eyes, and warm smile still caused Cal’s heart to beat faster.

“I’m hungry.”

“Then you’d better make breakfast.” Cal enjoyed playing with Michael.

Michael liked it too. “If you make blueberry buckwheat pancakes, I’ll give you a massage.”

“You massaged something pretty well last night.”

They shared a knowing smile.

Michael said, “I know how to get you inside.”

“How?”

“The guests will be arriving soon.”

At these words, Cal hurried inside the glass-enclosed porch, scooped the twenty-two-year-old into his arms, squeezed Michael’s bubble butt, and gave him a good morning kiss. Then Cal went through the living room, passing the doorway to their front bedroom, and into the kitchen, glancing through the entrances to the rear bedroom and bathroom on the way. Cal was glad his brother’s renovations of the bungalows had kept his great-grandfather’s layout while expanding the rooms, including cathedral ceilings lined with white pine beams. As he gazed at the white wicker and oak furniture laden with flower-print cushions, Cal was thankful his great-grandfather’s heavy nautical-themed furniture had found a home in a local museum. He smiled proudly at his own additions: the prints on the walls depicting lighthouses, seashells, and rocky beaches.

As usual, Michael leaned on the granite-topped island while Cal made breakfast. “Aren’t you going to put more blueberries in the batter?”

Cal raised the mixing spoon. “Do you want to make these yourself?”

“I prefer to critique.”

Cal mixed the buckwheat flour, buttermilk, egg, honey, coconut oil, and blueberries in a large bowl. “Your college degree is in photojournalism, not the culinary arts.”

“A lot of good it did me.”

“Your degree?”

Michael nodded and his soft chestnut bedhead fell into place. “Four years of college to be a bartender.”

“You’re only a bartender while Tommy is in New York City.”

“Yeah, and when Tommy comes back from visiting Blue, it’s bartender’s assistant time again for me.”

Cal poured the batter in circular mounds on the warm oiled skillet. “What about that gay magazine?”

“It was one freelance job!”

“Something else will turn up.”

“Tell that to my resume on the web. It’s beginning to feel like a wallflower at a party.”

“It takes time. Photojournalism is a specialty field.”

Michael pouted. That turned Cal on every time. He wrapped his arms around Michael and squeezed him into his chest. After a few wet kisses, Cal said, “You can always help me around Cozzi Cove.”

“I thought you hired a new houseboy when Connor and his husband opened their bed and breakfast in town.”

“I’m interviewing him this morning.” Cal smelled the pancakes starting to burn. He grabbed the spatula and quickly flipped them.

Michael licked his lips. “You flipped me over like that last night.”

“And you loved it.”

They kissed again.

Cal felt Michael’s erection pressing against his own. “I’d better concentrate on these pancakes.” He slapped Michael’s backside. “Instead of these cakes.”

“That’s not what you said last night.”

Cal giggled and served the pancakes. They sat at the white oak kitchen table, feeding each other and intermittently licking maple syrup off each other’s chins.

Just as they were finishing breakfast, Carla Mangione lumbered through the back kitchen door and announced, “If this watermelon doesn’t come out of the patch soon, I’m going to kill someone.”

“Hey, you’re talking about our watermelon!” Cal replied as he got up to help her to the table. He put pancakes on a plate as Michael went to pour juice and milk for her.

“It won’t be soon enough for me.” Carla rubbed her enormous stomach; she was only thirty-five, but these days looked more like fifty-five. “I never knew you could get varicose veins on your stomach.”

“And I’m sure yours are beautiful.” Cal served Carla breakfast, kissed the top of her dark hair, and took a seat across from her at the table.

Carla leaned forward to massage her lower back. “I must be the biggest pregnant woman ever.”

“That’s because you’re carrying our big, beautiful baby,” Michael said, joining them.

After taking a sip of juice, Carla gagged. “Why does everything taste like fish or liverwurst?”

“Maybe our baby is the antichrist,” Cal offered.

Carla took a bite of the pancakes. “What kind of huge genes do you two guys have?”

“Don’t blame us.” Cal put his arm around Michael. “It must have been the egg-donor.”

“She must have donated ostrich eggs.” Carla pushed her plate away.

Michael pushed it back in front of her. “Eat up, honey. You’re having breakfast for two.”

She looked down at her enormous stomach. “Really? Do you think?”

Cal finished his juice. “Whatever happened to, ‘As your dear old friend and sister-in-law, it would be my honor to help you and Michael bring a child into this world. I can’t think of anyone who’d make better parents’?”

“That was before I gained forty pounds and my back started aching constantly—before my breasts swelled up like helium balloons and my ankles expanded faster than a conservative politician’s pocket after meeting with a Super PAC.”

Cal fed her another piece of pancake. “But isn’t it all worth it to bring a new life into the world?”

Carla groaned. “I used to get offended when people said God was a man. Now I’m sure of it. No woman would put another woman through this.”

“Did you do your exercises this morning?” Michael asked.

Carla laughed. “I stopped being able to see my toes weeks ago.”

“Have you been meditating with your crystals?” Michael sounded like a teacher with a lazy student.

“I think I threw them at your pictures when the baby kicked me like a Radio City Rockette. Meanwhile, you two were no doubt going at it last night like a running back and a wide receiver.”

“A tight end, please,” Michael said as he handed Carla her glass of milk.

“If I get any more milk in me, my breasts will explode.” She took a sip and swallowed as if drinking fish oil laced with liquid soap.

Cal asked, “Have you been taking your prenatal vitamins?”

Carla nodded. “Maybe that’s why this kid has been jumping around inside me like a Mexican hat dancer. Do either of you have any Mexican blood?”

“African and Scandinavian,” Michael replied.

“Scottish and Italian,” Cal said.

“Well, maybe he was doing a tribal dance and the tarantella.” Carla flicked back her long dark hair. “While I was lying awake in bed, I did the baby’s astrology and numerology charts.”

Michael asked, “How can you do that without knowing his birthdate?”

Carla glared at him. “I decided if he doesn’t come out of me by the end of the week, I’m pulling my nephew out with tongs.”

“What did the charts show?” Cal didn’t believe in the occult, but he was thankful to get Carla’s mind off her discomfort.

Carla smiled. “He’s going to be kind, strong, fair, honest, and quite successful.”

“Of course he is. He’s our son.” Cal kissed Michael’s cheek.

“Let’s hope he’s kind enough to make an appearance soon.” Carla ate more of her breakfast.

Michael asked, “How is Dotty doing running the restaurant during your maternity leave?”

“Fine.” Carla sat back. “I should never go back.”

Cal grinned. “You wouldn’t leave Carla’s.”

“You’re right.” She winked at Cal. “That restaurant is as much a part of me as Cozzi Cove is a part of you.”

Michael seemed miles away.

“What’s wrong?” Cal asked.

Michael shrugged, his head hanging down.

Carla said, “Don’t be shy, Michael. You know I’m family now. I married Cal’s sister. Remember? You were there, marrying this guy.”

Since Michael wasn’t talking, Cal asked Carla, “When is my dear sister coming for a visit?”

Carla sighed. “Taylor said she’d be here after her business meetings in Paris and Rome, but before her meetings in Washington, DC and New York.”

“What does that mean?” Cal asked.

“It means Taylor and the conservative big-money boys are making sure the top one percent stay that way.” She turned to Michael. “You’re not off the hook so easily about your pouting. What’s up?”

“A lot, last night.” Michael patted Cal’s crotch.

Cal put his arm around his husband. “We know something’s wrong, Michael. Spill it.”

“And feel free to spill my milk while you’re at it,” Carla said, pushing away her glass.

Michael pushed it back in front of her. “I wasn’t going to say anything.”

“But?” Cal asked.

Michael rested his chin on his hand. “Cozzi Cove has been in your family for generations, like Carla’s Seafood Restaurant has been in Carla’s.”

“So?” Cal asked again.

“So you both belong here. I’m just a guy who fell in love with the man I tried to gay bash.”

Cal took his hand. “Michael, you’re my husband. Cozzi Cove is as much your home as it is mine.”

“It doesn’t feel that way.”

Carla groaned. “Did my wife say something obnoxious to you the last time she visited?”

“Taylor said lots of obnoxious things to me the last time she visited, but that’s not it.”

“Then what is it, Michael?” Cal asked.

Michael bit his lower lip. “I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone. And I can’t think of a place I’d like living more than Cozzi Cove. But this is your land, your inheritance, and your soul. Sometimes I feel like an outsider.”

At that moment, there was a knock at the front door. “That must be my new houseboy,” Cal said, getting to his feet.

Carla leaned on the table and pushed herself off the chair. “I don’t want anyone seeing me like this. I’m going back to my bungalow.”

“Take this for the road,” Michael said, handing her the glass of milk.

She downed the milk in one gulp and cringed. “If I don’t come out of my bungalow in a week’s time, send in the bulldozer.” Carla left out the back kitchen door.

Cal paused at the kitchen entry, looking on as Michael cleared the table and started stacking the dishwasher. “We’ll talk about this later,” he said.

“It’s fine, really.”

Unconvinced, Cal left for the living room.

 

 

Praise for the Cozzie Cove series

COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT

ccsocover“But it’s not just about the Cozzi’s and the webs they weave, it’s also about the Guests that check-in and check-out. But they never check out of our hearts.  We as readers, remember every one of them – they are the real beauty of Cozzi Cove together with this author’s amazing talent – he makes these OTT characters stay with us, his characterization is just phenomenal and therefore great fun to read, I never chuckle as much as I do as when I’m reading a Cosentino.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“With love, romance and the big reveal of so many secrets, COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT is perhaps the most important novel in the series so far. With so many of the recurring characters getting a huge chunk of the storytelling time, I couldn’t have asked for a better exploration of the Cozzi family and their chaotic summers at Cozzi Cove. Thanks to the perfect ending, I really hadn’t expected there to be more…but, YES! There is an excerpt at the end for the next book. And I couldn’t be more thrilled!”

“Spending a week in the sun with the permanent and transitory residents of Cozzi Cove makes for a superb, unputdownable, read. There are laugh out loud moments, lots of chuckles, some very heartwarming as well as heart wrenching moments, lots of gorgeous men and women, love, lust and even some tears. Joe Cosentino has a brilliantly unique sense of humour, and a masterful way of writing stories containing farce, larger than life men and women, and often over the top characters you’ll fall in love with. For all that his characters come across as completely relatable and realistic. His books are one of a kind and utterly addictive. I have yet to read a Joe Cosentino book that was less than 5 stars, and this book is no exception. Do yourself a favour and grab this book with both hands. I guarantee you’ll be very glad you did.” Divine Magazine

“The surprise of the whole book though is Tommy finally finding who he has been looking for and the story behind the love found and lost and then found again definitely blew me away….a great read” Gay Book Reviews

“Tons of action, drama, love, and secrets to keep readers hooked….beautifully written and highly engaging….Humor, mystery, and romance…Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out is indeed a must read for all. I highly recommend it.” Urban Book Reviews

“I love this series and hope it continues, after all, every year comes with a summer and Cozzi Cove will always be open for business.” Books Laid Bare Boys

“Loved, loved, loved it! The Cozzi Cove stories have a great mix of drama, angst, romance, and sex. There is something for everyone.” TTC Books and More

“The stories of Cal and Michael, George and Aaron, and Taylor and Carla are brilliant and are cleverly described alongside those of the guests. I loved this book, and the wonderful feel good factor it evoked. For me, it’s the best of the series so far. The characters are, again, perfect for the stories that unwind slowly and are then wound up again into ideal conclusions. The ending ties up all the residents and guests’ stories but leaves enough open for more. Cozzi Cove, where dreams really do come true.” OptimuMM Book Reviews

COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD:
“Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward delivers a strong cast of characters and a few surprising cozzicovemovingforwardcoverdenouements to individual story lines that will bring a smile to your face and perhaps even a heartfelt sigh.” GGR Reviews

“Who knew that 7 bungalows set surrounding a beautiful cove, could hold so many secrets, love and intrigue?” “The humour, whether subtle or not-so-subtle was superb, the timing delivered with perfection, Joe Cosentino is a natural comedian and another reason why I love reading his books. He is also very clever, he weaved moral messages throughout the entire storyline,” “Great fun entwined with the Cosentino romantic magic that brings his books alive, I loved it.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“visiting Cozzi Cove is like coming home or revisiting a beloved holiday destination. I know everyone, by now, who is a permanent fixture and I sincerely hope that Cosentino continues this series forever. As before, the characters are a hoot. They’re a mixture of funny, quirky, sad, lonely individuals who come together to make a riotously brilliant cast.” Divine Magazine

“Oh, Cozzi Cove, you are fast becoming a favorite vacation destination with your action and excitement! Joe Cosentino once again wins his way into your heart and soul with this fun, flirtatious romance. Love, laughter and smoldering intimacy await all who dare to venture to the clear blue waters of the Cove.” 3 Chicks After Dark

“I absolutely love this series and loved all of the romance that happens at Cozzi Cove. You don’t just have one romance you have seven (really eight when you count Cal & Michael).”  “I love an author that can inject humor in just the right places. Joe Cosentino is fast becoming a must read author for me.” “I can’t wait to read more from Cozzi Cove.” Inked Rainbow Reads

“Imagine a beautiful getaway where the hot, sexy, and wealthy gay men go…it’s a place where there’s never a dull moment. Every page of this new title brings readers nothing but excitement, intrigue, and an intensity that will burn away the night’s quiet. Most novels offer readers one journey in which readers travel upon, however, readers are brought not one but several journeys that will leave them breathless and hooked. As with all of Joe Cosentino’s novels, humor comes in abundance and fits in perfectly with all of this stunning characters.” “Joe sweeps his readers into his characters’ lives by creating realistic characters with real issues. It’s easy to get lost in it all. The book automatically captures your heart from page one and forever holds it. After reading the story, readers will be begging for the next grand adventure. Funny, heart melting, and swoon worthy, readers will finish reading this in one sitting. I loved reading this riveting tale, and I highly recommend it to readers everywhere.” Urban Book Reviews

“The beautiful scenery and all around magical quality of Cozzi Cove is hard to resist….This is a fun, often lighthearted story, whose sweet sexy vibe makes for a great escape.” Coffeetime Romance

Yet again the author entices you in with a fantastic storyline and well-rounded characters.

You could almost feel the sea breeze and smell the salt in the air. This is definitely where you need to be if you want to find love…..” Books Laid Bare Boys

“As with book one, book two contains an interwoven set of awesome, emotional and often funny tales about the guests and residents of Cozzi Cove. All the characters need the magic that Cozzi Cove weaves around people’s lives and its healing touch, but will they all get what they need? By the time the guests are ready to check out at the end of the week, everything will have changed for them and for some of the residents too. As with book one, I became deeply immersed in these stories and didn’t want the book to end so thank goodness there’s a book three” OptimuMM Book Reviews

COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK
Book of the Month at The TBR Pile, Rainbow Award Honorable Mention, 3rd Place Best Fiction Book of 2016 on Urban Book Reviews

cozzicovebouncingbackcover“I loved this story. It carries you through the full range of emotions, from joy to sadness, from happiness to anger.  The characters are beautifully written.” “I look forward to a return visit to the Cove.” TBR Pile

 

“Heartbreaking and heartwarming, sweet beginnings for some, sour endings for others, emotions jumping off the page as you turn eagerly to read more, welcome to Cozzi Cove. The author measured his scales to perfection in delivering the perfect balance of love, laughter and tears in this sexy, fun filled holiday romance entwined with some sadness. Summer magic waved it’s wand at all who visited and stayed at Cozzi Cove and I was one of those who wanted to stay.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“In true Joe Cosentino style, this book is packed full of drama! This cast of characters will have you laughing out loud one minute before ripping your heart out the next.” Joyfully Jay

“If you like a lot of angst, some humor, love, sadness (be sure to have a couple of boxes of tissue handy), and some hot sensual man-sex, I highly, highly recommend this book. I loved all of the Joe Cosentino’s books, but I think this is my favorite to date! I am ready for book 2!” Cathy Brockman Romance & MM Good Book Reviews

“Joe Cosentino has the amazing ability to combine heartwarming, feel good moments with droll, sometimes biting humor, along with insights into the frailties and peccadillos of being human.” “Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back is the very finest in literary fiction with a romance theme, yet it’s more than just that—it’s about human connections and empathy and finding a way out of the fear and inertia faced by so many. It’s also about courage and strength, about respect and coming to terms with all that life has to offer, and it’s about letting go. I loved this book and look forward to the next in the series. This is a highly recommended read, well-deserving of Five Stars.” GGR Reviews

“readers will meet a variety of characters that creates a soap opera intrigue, unlike any other novel read. This story will definitely keep readers guessing with every page. Only when readers reach the last page does everything become known. It’s addictive. Cozzi Cove is a brand new series that will keep Joe Cosentino’s readers on their toes and begging for more. I laughed, cried, and fell in love with this latest novel.” Urban Book Reviews

“This book is extremely well written and all the stories are equally compelling and cleverly crafted. There are moments when, just as you think you know what’s going on, the truth emerges and turns out to be something quite different….Cal’s guests are an amusing and heart wrenching mixed bag of people, all of whom I found irresistible in their own way….So many wonderful, poignant and often funny stories are told here….It’s a real roller coaster of a ride that’s finished off perfectly as the guests spend their last day at Cozzi Cove then check out to move on with their lives.” OptimuMM Book Reviews

“Another brilliantly written book by this author. He makes you want to take your own vacation in Cozzi Cove. You could feel all the emotion and love flowing from the pages.” Books Laid Bare Boys

 

 

About Joe

bn3Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s Readers Poll of 2015 for Best LGBT Mystery Novel, Best LGBT Humorous Novel, and Best LGBT Contemporary Novel of the Year. He wrote the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Favorite), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland; and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards!

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Links to Blog Posts on Writing – February and March 2017

Links

 

I’ve been so focused on other things recently – one of them writing a bit! – I’ve decided to take this down to a bimonthly post. Today’s post summaries February’s and March’s posts that, for one reason or another, caught my eye. Enjoy!

 

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Is It Time, Dear Writer, To Ditch Your Literary Agent?  Chuck Wendig with advice on the author-agent relationship.

Red Flag Alert: Loiacono Literary Agency, Swetky Literary Agency, Warner Literary Group – Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware. While she’s pointing at specific agencies, some of her points are universal.

When your agent wants to charge you a fee – Interesting article at the Query Tracker blog. I can’t imagine anyone being daft enough to fall for this, but if there’s a blog post about it, then…

 

How To Keep Writing Through Times Of Great Political Upheaval – Kameron Hurley guesting with Chuck Wendig.

Behind the Scam: What Does It Take to Be a ‘Best-Selling Author’? $3 and 5 Minutes – Brent Underwood at The Mission with a picture of his foot.

Bestseller Lists and Other Dreams – Kristine Kathryn Rusch with another look at how bestseller lists mean nowt.

Save Money on Professional Edits—6 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Own Manuscript – Kristen Lamb with some good advice, although I’m not sure how it will save money. Professional editors charge on the basis of wordcount. I suppose giving them a clean copy will allow them to focus on a development edit rather than correcting your grammar, but I can’t see that being cheaper. Just more productive.

Real Writers Get Bad Book Reviews. Here’s Why That’s OK. – Michael Alvear at The Write Life

Publishers are hiring ‘sensitivity readers’ to flag potentially offensive content – article at the Chicago Times

 

Fonda Lee: Five Things I Learned Writing Exo

Lara Elena Donnelly: Five Things I Learned Writing Amberlough

 

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Why You Should Consider Writing With an Omniscient Narrator – Martin Cavenagh at The Write Practice

A Simple Trick To A Stronger First Person Narrative – Janice Hardy at The Fiction University

Three Ways to HOOK a Reader & Never Let GO and The Seven Deadly Sins of Prologues—What Doesn’t Work and What Does – Kristen Lamb with some sound advice.

How to Fill Plot Holes In Your Novel – Janice Hardy at The Fiction University. That’s always assuming you realise that they’re there. So many books I’ve read where the author hasn’t seen a plot hole you could drive a farm tractor through or covered it so clumsily that it leaves you breathless.

Tips on Writing a Non-linear Narrative – Darlene Reilly at the Fiction University

How J.K. Rowling Plotted Harry Potter with a Hand-Drawn Spreadsheet

Fiction University’s Revision Workshop – a collection of articles to help you revise that first draft.

Descriptions – the Angels are in the Details! – Laura Drake at Writers In the Storm

“Write Better Character Description,” Said The 6’3”-Tall, 349-Pound, Bald Writer With Brown Eyes And Glasses, Who Was A Male Human – Philip Athans at Fantasy Authors Handbook

 

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Write Unafraid, Without Fear Of Failure –“Tempt failure. March right up to it. Always write as if you’re about to fall on your face. Add fire.”

A Very Good List Of Vital Writing Advice — Do Not Ignore!  “25. Never Take Advice From Writers. We don’t know what the hell we’re doing, either, and if we did, we wouldn’t spend time telling you how to do it, we’d just be doing it.”

Is It Time, Dear Writer, To Ditch Your Literary Agent?

A Reminder Of What Makes A Real Writer – Also, kill a goat. TRUE writers kill goats.

So, You Wanna Be A Professional Writer? Some Considerations!  – So, what do you love about it? And how will you translate that love to a career?

 

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Marketing

Marketing for Authors Who Hate Marketing  – a new book from James Scott Bell.

7 Essentials for Your Book Launch – advice from K M Weiland

Make the Most of Your Book Back Cover With These Tips – Amy Collins at BookWorks

Using Back Matter to Sell More Books [Infographic] – Bookbub

Helpful Hacks to Build a Strong Online Brand – Jenny Hanson at Writers In The Storm

Review opportunities with BookLife – Ray Rhamey at Writer Unboxed. Worth a look!

Why Discounting Box Sets Can Dramatically Increase Sales – Carlyn Robertson at BookBub

How to Use BookBub to Get on The Amazon Bestsellers List – Alicia Rades at the Write Life

20 Ways Authors Use Videos to Engage with Readers – Diana Urban at BookBub

How Traditionally Published Authors Market Their Books (Free Flipbook!) – another good resource from BookBub

 

Blogging

Author Blogs: 5 Bad Reasons for Authors to Blog and 5 Good Ones – Anne R Allen… at her blog. 😊

 

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10 Questions to Ask Before You Accept a Traditional Publishing Deal – Susan Spann at Writers in the Storm. READ THIS is you’re looking at publishing through a publishing house.

Indie Publishing Paths – a series of articles at The Fiction University. A must read if you’re self-publishing.

How to Start Your Own Publishing Company – Erica Liodice at Writer Unboxed. “‘Sun City Press’ is a lot more impressive-sounding and easy to market as an imprint than ‘Joe Schmoe Books.” (Cough) Ever bought anything from Glass Hat Press? (cough).

Vendor Spotlight: Pronoun. Distribution Beyond Amazon – a new distributing house gives you another route to getting your books up on platforms such as B$N and iBooks. Details at Fiction University.

Creating Multi-Author Box Sets – Marcy Kennedy at The Fiction University. This is something I’m seriously thinking about doing, but the admin side of it is a bit scary.

Book Cover Design: How self-publishing authors can do it best – article and infographics at Reedsy. Hell, did I choke over their suggested price tags, but work through some of the principles and then go and look for a cover designer who doesn’t want you to sell them your kidneys. Six months ago I published a list of cover designers. Try one of these (scroll down to the bottom of the page)

 

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The Author’s Biggest Mistake – contracting advice from KJ Charles, who is not only an author but has worked at several UK publishers and done a lot of contract negotiation. READ IT!

Pirates Beware: How to Prepare and Use a DMCA Takedown Notice – Susan Spann at Writers In The Storm

 

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Open Access at The Met – The Metropolitan Museum has made more than 375,000 images of public domain artworks from its collection available to use, share, and remix—without restriction. Terrific resource for covers, illustrations, blog posts, etc

Writing the Crime Scene: Poison  –  very useful post for crime writers! Repo Kent at LitReactor, which is itself a good site to explore and keep bookmarked if you plan to murder a character or two.

The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017 – Marisol Dahl at The Write Life

 

 

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Audio Release of S J Himes’ The Necromancer’s Dance

 

Love the cover, love the title! I’m delighted to be part of the release blitz for the audiobook!

 

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Title: The Necromancer’s Dance
Series: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #1
Narrated by: Joel Leslie
Length: 8 Hours 8 minutes
Release Date: 21st March 2017
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, MM Romance

In a world where magic is real and evil walks amongst humanity, a young sorcerer is beset upon by enemies, both old and new. Angelus Salvatore is the only necromancer in all of Boston, and his name is whispered warily by the undead and fellow sorcerers alike. He and his brother Isaac are the lone survivors of an attack by an army of the undead, in which Angel used a spell so powerful it forever marked his place in history. Now, years later, Angel struggles to balance his career as a teacher of the higher magical arts, his role as big brother, and a tenuous relationship with an Elder vampire from the local clan. When his brother’s boyfriend is used as a pawn in a mysterious plot to draw Angel out, Angel is once again pulled back into the old hostilities that fueled the Blood Wars and led to his family’s death.

Leaning on others for help is something Angel cannot do, and while he searches for clues into who may be targeting him and his brother, Angel finds his heart steadily growing occupied with Simeon, Elder and vampire. Dealing with death magic and vampires on a daily basis may leave Angel jaded when it comes to life and staying that way, but the more time he spends fending off the ancient vampire’s attention and affections, the more he realizes he wants to give in.

Can Angel find out who wants him dead, and keep his heart safe in the process? How can he fall for a vampire, when his whole family was torn apart by an army of the undead?

Death stalks the streets of Boston’s historic Beacon Hill….and there is no one more suited to battle against death than a necromancer.

MATURE CONTENT Contains graphic violence, male/male sexual contact, a cranky necromancer, a sexy Irish vampire, and a pesky demon.

 

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Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon USAmazon UK

 

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Pale skin was normal for a vamp, and Angel could see small flashes of tattoos that peeked above his jacket collar. His hair was long, but not too long, swept back in thick waves that made Angel’s fingers itch to touch. A chuckle, rich and smooth, brought him out of his musings. Angel flushed, realizing he had been staring, and for a while now. He looked back into Simeon’s eyes, the green so vibrant and true that the shade colored his whole horizon.

Angel dropped his eyes and took a small half-step back. Staring into a master vamp’s eyes was an invitation to lose your life. He knew better, but the old vamp’s appeal was strong. There was not much a vampire could do to him that he couldn’t get free of eventually, but he didn’t want to take his chances. Not even the promise of no violence would keep him safe from seduction.

“I need to go,” Angel said, looking back up but not making eye contact for longer than a second.

 

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I’m a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I’m at the best part in a book. I write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with ocasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that’s perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), and The Wolfkin Saga. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on…. I’m a nomad, and I’ve yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.

Links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Facebook Fan Group | Twitter | Amazon
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Cut Scenes from ‘The Chains of Their Sins’

Not everything written in the first draft of a books makes it through subsequent edits. There are a host of reasons for cutting something: it doesn’t add anything to the plot or characterisation, it’s from a self-indulgent author having fun, it slows the pace, or it’s made redundant by plotting changes later. Here are three small scenes that didn’t make it through the editing of The Chains Of Their Sins. Note: the link allows you to download a pdf file.

Finding The Navigation Chamber

A much-curtailed version of this scene was left in the published version after editing. A vignette of life aboard the Gyrfalcon, starring Shield Captain Bennet (currently enduring his final year of rotation out of the Shield Regiment), and Fleet First Lieutenants Flynn and Cruz.

Finding the Navigation Chamber

Playing Tierce

This little scene didn’t make the final cut. It follows Bennet’s return to the Gyrfalcon after he and Felix give evidence to the Intelligence Committee (IntCom) on their findings so far regarding the prisoners Bennet had rescued from the Maess in Makepeace. This slots between that meeting and Bennet and Flynn’s encounter on Yule Day.

Playing Tierce

Writing To Cruz

The first draft of Chains of Their Sins had things in a slightly different order, and Cruz was injured much earlier in the story. A section where Flynn wrote to her while she was back on Albion, recovering, was a flimsy excuse for Flynn to write oodles of stuff all about Bennet in a light-hearted scene intended to ease the tension a bit. But the exigencies of plotting meant I moved Cruz’s injury to a later battle, and the opportunity to meet LiteraryGenius!Flynn was lost. This, by the way, is an example of that self-indulgence I mentioned earlier!

Writing To Cruz

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RJ Scott’s Ghost – and an entire chapter to read!

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Ebook cover by BitterGrace Art

Ebook cover by BitterGrace Art

Can you ever hold on to a ghost?

Elliot is tracking an elusive killer, codenamed Ghost, with ties to organized crime. Every time the Sanctuary team gets close, Ghost slips their grasp.

Cole has nowhere left to turn. With his father dying and his sister in danger, he turns for help to the very people trying to track him down. Sanctuary’s assistance is what he needs to punch another hole in Varga’s organization.

When Elliot and Cole meet, it isn’t just passion that consumes them. When lust becomes something more, Elliot realizes that sometimes you can’t hold on to a ghost, and that sacrifice is often the only way to make things right.

Cover: BitterGrace Art
Length: 45,000 words

 

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Buy links for Ghost (Sanctuary #9) by RJ Scott

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

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Ghost is the ninth book of the Sanctuary Series:

Guarding Morgan (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Only Easy Day (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Face Value (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Still Waters (Book #4) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Full Circle (Book #5) Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Journal of Sanctuary One (Book #6) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Worlds Collide (Book #7) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Accidental Hero (Book #8) Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

 

Rocket1-8Win a $15 Amazon Gift Card via this Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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ghostfbcover

Chapter One 

“This is not going to end well,” his sister warned him, an edge to her voice.

“I just need five minutes.” Cole was aiming for composed and in control, despite the fact his adrenaline was spiking dangerously high. Where was his center? Where was his ability to see events unfold before him with calm consideration?

Gone as soon as your two worlds began to collide with the horrible realization that today would finally be the day you might not make it out alive.

“Cole—”

“Do your job, sis.”

“Fuck you, big brother.”

Cole didn’t answer that one. As the controller of the op, she wouldn’t take her eyes off the meeting she was tasked with watching—six of Varga’s key men in a restaurant on Halsted, giving him the heads-up when they disbanded and headed toward the run-down warehouse district for the meeting. He was there to deal with a man who didn’t deserve to live on this earth, and he was already fighting the sickness roiling in his stomach.

Unfortunately, things had taken a turn for the worse, and Cole wished he could say he’d expected the shit to hit the fan, but he hadn’t. He’d honestly thought tonight would go smoothly given he’d evaded Sanctuary again.

He’d been the mouse avoiding the trap for so long that he’d not seen the pattern emerging. Slowly but surely, Sanctuary was getting closer, the proverbial thorn in his side. It was as though they were second-guessing him, tracking him enough to see patterns.

Patterns killed people in his line of work.

He checked his gun, considered holstering it. No one was supposed to die tonight; it was just a deal—money for human lives—something he’d been working on for months. His job was to fix this, but Sanctuary kept getting in his way.

And if they caught up with him again, with their do-good meddling and their freaking unanswered questions, he was way too smart to get caught.

Normally.

“Bad guys are only five minutes out,” his sister warned again. He didn’t answer, and she wouldn’t expect him to. “And you’ve got company with Sanctuary tracking your way.”

“Fuck.”

“You need me there?”

Cole weighed his options. She needed to be with their father, who couldn’t be left, so it was just Cole and his gun and his sorely tested wits.

He’d need his gun if he needed to get away from that Sanctuary fucker Elliot. The man was like a dog with a bone, and Cole couldn’t afford to be compromised tonight. Every meeting, every mission, Elliot got closer, yet Cole couldn’t move from his spot or everything would go to shit and he’d lose his chance of getting the best human return for his cash.

Sanctuary was the elite, but he knew he was better, or he’d have died a long time ago. Bravado and confidence had gotten him this far in life, mostly unharmed and thankfully alive. But if Elliot arrived when the shit was hitting the fan, he’d be collateral damage, and Cole wasn’t ready to work on those terms.

He moved even deeper into the shadows, his back against the brick wall, an exit to the street on his right, the parking lot on his left. Above his head was the fire escape pull-down ladder for that apartment block; at his feet, the ground was damp with the rain that had only eased up a few minutes ago, and distant streetlights sparkled in puddle remnants just outside the cloak of darkness. Everything was quiet; but moments away, following fuck-knows-what lead to get there, was Sanctuary.

Or, more correctly, Elliot, with his dogged determination and his uncanny ability to see beyond a scene and know exactly where Cole had gone.

Last time, Elliot had only missed him by a single minute, and Cole wasn’t ashamed to admit that the near misses sent a frisson of excitement up his spine. Too often he’d been the steady one, staring down a scope, a surgical removal to keep others safe, distanced from the kill and the action. The cat and mouse with Elliot was a game that he was enjoying far too much.

Add to which, Elliot was gorgeous and sexy, and all kinds of a hard-ass, and Cole was happy to surveil the guy every moment he could. Elliot was a good guy who didn’t smile much, but he’d broken up with his boyfriend two months before; he shopped organically and lived close to the place Sanctuary called Head Office in Chicago. All things being even, Elliot would score high on Cole’s list of ideal attributes in a lover. There was nothing better than roughing up an organic-loving tight-ass and reducing him to a puddle of goo in the middle of snow-white sheets.

Not that he’d spent a long time fantasizing about Elliot naked and in his bed.

He listened for the tiny noises that would give Elliot’s arrival away, not as close as breathing, but his movement could block sounds from the street beyond, if only infinitesimally.

The cold air promised more snow; Cole knew the only thing that could give him away would be the puff of his breath, so he burrowed down into the scarf twisted around his neck.

A soft scuff of leather on the sidewalk had Cole stiffening, and he briefly tightened his grip on the lethal SIG in his hand. He relaxed only a millisecond later when a woman’s laughter and a man’s voice had him focusing past the light and to the street beyond. He was right on Englewood’s district line, and the whole meeting was playing out in a place where he felt way too exposed. He knew his mark had set this meet here for a reason. Mario was a shifty fucker who played the game of criminal very well. Little did the man know that nothing was going to keep him safe if he fucked Cole over. Not tonight. Not ever.

The woman laughed again, but this time the sound seemed a little off, as if she hadn’t really meant to laugh. There was no real joy in the noise.

Too late he realized what that meant.

Too late when the whisper of a movement to his left turned into the barrel of a weapon smacking his temple.

The wall kept him standing, but the sweep of a foot behind his knee had him landing heavily on one side, in stagnant water. Cole didn’t lay there waiting for the next part of this dance; he was rolling even as he fell, one leg darting out as he rose, catching his assailant in the thigh and causing him to stumble back. Coming to a crouch, Cole admired the way the other man’s stumble turned into nothing more than a sidestep and a twisting motion that missed Cole by inches.

Cole took the initiative, stepping right into the man’s space, up close to Elliot’s face, and in seconds he’d pushed him hard against the wall.

“Leave it,” Cole growled, when what he wanted to do was sit Elliot down and explain exactly why he needed Elliot to leave right the fuck now.

“Fuck you,” Elliot snapped, even as he fell limp in Cole’s hold, then yanked free to shove a knee right into Cole’s groin.

He missed by inches; the force of the shove went to Cole’s inner thigh, hard enough to give him a dead leg long enough to give Elliot the upper hand.

But Cole wasn’t done. He countered with a punch to Elliot’s face, feeling the wetness of fist on skin at the point where Elliot’s head snapped back with a spray of blood. A normal man would be on the ground after that—hell, a normal man wouldn’t have gotten out of Cole’s press against the wall.

Elliot wasn’t a normal man. He was trained, focused, and fucking vicious at it.

“They’re really close now; you need to end this with Sanctuary.”

His sister’s voice in his ear was enough to make Cole follow through with another punch that caught cheekbone and hair and then slid past to slam the wall. He cursed the contact and his stupidity at giving Elliot the upper hand. This time it was Cole himself up against the wall, and he could see dark eyes, focused and hard, and feel the fingers tightening on his throat. He attempted to go limp, but all Elliot did was push harder, which left only one thing. Elliot was close, and with a concerted effort, Cole snapped his head forward, the top smacking Elliot between the eyes.

Elliot crumpled at first, momentarily stunned, and then he stumbled to stand.

But Cole was prepared, retrieving his weapon and pointing it directly at Elliot. “Run,” he snapped.

Elliot said nothing, stepping toward him. Fuck, did the man not care that Cole had a gun on him?

“You have company one minute out.” The voice in his ear sounded a little frantic.

Fuck, this whole thing was going wrong. Cole had his mark and various cronies bearing down on him, and Sanctuary in the shape of Elliot right in the freaking middle.

But if Cole left, then what about the kids? Teenagers the same age as his brother, straight from the boat, working in slavery for the Varga organization. They had a deal, and tonight Cole had the money and the upper hand.

Or at least he had until Elliot tracked him down.

“You have to leave,” he snapped and gestured with the gun.

Surprise made Elliot frown, and only when he saw that did Cole realize he’d fucked up—they were standing under the street light. They needed to get back into the shadows. Cole shoved him back against the wall, wincing at the sound of Elliot’s skull making contact with the bricks before he wordlessly slid to the ground in the darkness.

And then it was too late to think of anything.

At the same time his sister’s frantic voice warned him that a car was turning onto the street, Cole heard a voice from the darkness.

So, his mark had sent an advance guard, and all Cole could think was that if it was his time to die, he didn’t want to take anyone with him.

“Drop the gun, asshole,” a voice said from somewhere beyond the light. He caught sight of the semi-automatic weapon as the person stepped forward; he didn’t stand a chance against that kind of firepower. The barrel of another gun poked at the base of his skull.

Cole dropped his pistol to the ground, feeling abruptly bereft. “It’s done,” he said to whoever the hell was behind him.

Cole lifted his hands and laced them behind his head, looking right into the darkness, not able to see Elliot’s form but hoping to hell he stayed the fuck down. Very deliberately he turned to face the man with the gun at his head.

“Talk to me,” his sister snapped at him, her voice dead and cold, gone past emotional and well into focused.

“You realize I have a meeting with Mario, right? That this was organized? He won’t take it well when he finds out you’re here with a gun on me.”

A nasal voice joined in. “I’m quite happy with the situation,” Mario said.

And right there and then, Cole knew time was up. He needed to confront this; he had a legitimate cover there, and he needed to maintain it. Slowly he unclasped his hands and let them hang loosely at his sides. “What the fuck, man?” he asked.

“Do you have access to the money?”

Cole wasn’t letting the evil fucker get control of the conversation. “How many?” he asked firmly.

Mario looked at him; a group of others, all armed, were crowding around him. Mario was nothing if not the nervous type, twitchy like a ferret, all sharp angles, and meth-head eyes. He’d made it so far in the Varga organization only due to the fact he was Varga’s nephew or cousin, or some such shit.

He was also suspicious as hell of anything and everything, which was why it had taken this long for Cole to get anywhere near him. Tonight wasn’t the night that Cole got to deal with erasing Mario from existence; he had kids to get out alive. That was his priority.

“You can have seven of them,” Mario said, his lips stretching in an obscene grin.

“The deal was for all ten.”

Mario shrugged as if he wasn’t playing with people’s lives. “I have a market for the other three,” he said nonchalantly.

Cole knew exactly what that meant: the younger girls parceled up and sold on. “All ten, or no deal,” he stated, keeping emotion out of his voice.

“Then the price goes up. No skin off my nose who gets them.”

“How much?”

“Well now… just how badly do you want them all?”

One of Mario’s men snickered, and the sound echoed in the otherwise quiet alley.

Cole could play it two ways: show his hand and admit he was desperate to get all ten of the illegals Mario had, or try to call his bluff.

“Fuck you,” Cole said, and drew himself tall. He wished he had his weapon, but he’d just have to hope to hell that confronting was the answer. “The deal’s off.”

He bent to pick up his weapon, slowly placing it back into the holster and straightening his jacket. Varga senior would be pissed with his lieutenant blowing a deal like that. Getting illegals to the city was one thing, offloading them with profit above and beyond what the illegals had probably paid to get there was an entirely different ball game. He could visualize the thought processes going on…Mario was the youngest of three lieutenants that reported to Varga, the one still out to prove himself, and he wouldn’t want to lose the deal.

“An extra ten,” Mario said, throwing it out as if it meant nothing to him.

“Five.” Cole couldn’t give in too easily.

“Hell, I can get double that on the ’net for the seven-year-old,” Mario said.

Cole had to stop the panic pushing at his chest and nausea that threatened to have him vomiting on the sidewalk. The idea of a child as young as seven being under this bastard’s control made him sick to his stomach. He pretended to consider the deal, knowing full well he’d pay every fucking cent. “Seven-five and we’re done, cash in the bank.” He even injected a small note of respect into his voice, which had Mario preening in front of his posse. He’d save face, and Cole would keep his persona of didn’t-give-a-shit human trafficker intact.

“I’ll take that,” Mario said.

One of the posse stepped forward, and intel was buzzing in his ear about twelve souls being inside the warehouse. Not ten, twelve. Two of them were moving around, the other ten not moving much. Twelve heat signatures, so all ten kids were alive—but the extra two? Mario was fucking with him, had likely placed two men inside. Cole would take a step inside the warehouse, and be a dead man.

How had he blown his cover? This wasn’t the first deal he’d brokered with Mario, setting up his cover as a trader in human flesh, looking for ways to save lives and get deep into Varga’s organization at the same time. But something wasn’t right…

Very carefully and deliberately he pulled out his cell, and with a few button presses, transferred the fifty, plus the extra seven-five, into the account he’d been given details of. Next to Mario one of the guys checked his own cell and nodded.

“It’s cleared.”

Mario tossed the key card for the warehouse to Cole, who caught it deftly. “All yours,” Mario said, and then he turned and left, taking everyone with him.

“Heads-up,” his sister said. “The extra two have left the building at the rear. Hovering outside the closed door.”

What the fuck?

Cole crossed to the steel door and waved the card at the lock, half surprised when the door actually clicked and swung open. He pushed his way in to be faced with piles of packing cases and pallets. Pulling the door shut behind him, he cautiously made his way around the piles and checked out the corners of the warehouse. He’d lost contact with outside assistance since he’d walked in there, just one hell of a lot of static and not much in the way of a voice.

He rounded what he imagined was the last corner to find ten—he counted—kids and teenagers, none older than fourteen: six girls and four boys huddled together, bound with chains to a metal framework. Most of them stared at him with dead eyes; only the youngest was whimpering and crying. What had they been through to get here? Torn from their families, placed into shipping containers, and then passed around to their new owners on payment of money?

Immediately he went to a crouch and held out a hand in a gesture of innocence. “It’s okay,” he said in English. “I’m here to help.”

He repeated it in as many languages as he’d learned those words in, hoping to hell he’d hit the jackpot somewhere along the way. He approached the closest child, a boy of thirteen or so who stared at him blankly. Apologizing in soft tones, Cole reached over and checked the chain. He found a simple lock that he could have them out of quickly. He pulled out his kit, dealt first with one lock, then another, his hands shaky at first, waiting to die in a hail of bullets. At least he could get the kids away.

The radio crackled and hissed in his ear; he could only make out a few words. Fire! Get out.

Resolutely he continued with the chains until all ten were free; he realized they’d all gathered close to him, some holding hands, but all looking to him as smoke edged under the boxes and into their corner. Cole was considerably taller than the children, and he could see past the nearest blockage to a hint of fire beyond, cutting them off from the exit.

So, that was how he was being taken out of the equation; that was how Mario deleted him from the Chicago sex trade. Mario was removing a rival, along with ten innocent kids.

Think.

“Sis? Can you hear me?” He spoke loudly above the sound of the littlest girl crying. In a smooth move, he scooped her up, holding her tight. If there was no way out of here and they were all going to die, what would he do? He had bullets; he could shoot some of the kids? Fuck, the horror was sick inside him. Think. Think. He wasn’t going to let anyone burn to death.

Stop, he told himself. There’s nothing to be won by planning for the worst.

He looked up at the vents and tiny windows about twenty feet from the floor. He could pile boxes, pass the kids up, smash the window.

The heat was getting noticeable; the huddle of kids pressed tighter. They didn’t have much time. An explosion of glass had them all ducking as panes shattered around them. Had the fire reached the windows?

Then he heard shouting.

“Up here!” a voice demanded, and peering up, Cole could see Elliot scrambling through the space and lowering himself in, dropping and rolling awkwardly. “Get the boxes.”

For a second, Cole was immobile, and then adrenaline flooded into him. Between him and Elliot, they made a pile of boxes and crates. A step up, lifting and dragging, and one by one the kids were out of the window, wriggling through the space. Elliot went next, going out, then reaching back in as fire began to lick at the boxes.

Cole’s breathing became labored. And then he spotted the smallest kid, curled into a ball, her face hidden by her hands and her long dark hair. She was so tiny and scared, way down on the ground, not climbing up as the others had done. Cole thought she’d been first out, but in the chaos, he’d missed her.

“Kid!” Elliot shouted from the window.

But if anything, she curled tighter, her hands over her ears, rocking slowly. “I’m going back down,” Cole said.

“You have thirty seconds before this whole place lights up.”

Cole didn’t hesitate—he wasn’t about to leave a child behind. He jumped lithely to the floor and into a crouch, cursing at the pain shooting up from his knee, as he crawled low under the choking smoke to where the girl huddled.

He grabbed her, but she wailed and fought against his hold. Cole ignored the scratching of fingers and the sheer panic, and climbed the crates up to the window, his chest tight; breathing hard. There he unfurled her fingers, shoving the girl through the space to Elliot, who yanked her through.

“Is that ten?” Cole gasped as the box he stood on wavered; he gripped hard at the windowsill.

“Get out.”

“Is that all ten kids?”

“Yes, grab hold!” Elliot held out a hand.

Cole tried to grip as the pile toppled, their fingers touched, and then the world fell away, stopped in a millisecond by Elliot leaning in and grabbing at Cole. Elliot pulled, and Cole scrambled, and the hungry fire bit at him, burned him even as he fell out of the building and the force of hitting the trash cans below was enough to steal his breath.

“Jesus,” Elliot snapped, smacking at Cole’s jacket to extinguish the flames as Cole shrugged it off in a panic.

As he rolled, he pulled his weapon from its holster and pointed it right between Elliot’s eyes, waiting for him to make a move. All Elliot did was raise his hands and stare at Cole with an expression that Cole couldn’t read.

Cole asked, “Where are Mario’s two goons?”

“Out cold. You’re not the man we profiled. Who the fuck are you really?”

Cole didn’t answer.

“You should know I called 911,” Elliot said, his expression unreadable.

Was Elliot giving him a chance to leave? A warning? He seemed more interested in hugging the kids to him protectively than in taking Cole down.

Cole looked away from the kids to Elliot and holstered his gun. “Do this for them,” he said. To get involved with the cops at that moment would destroy everything. “The Andreas Home on Windsor Street. It’s a special place for kids taken from their parents like this. Will you take them?”

Elliot nodded. “Yes,” he said, all seriousness. Then he inclined his head toward the sound of sirens.

Cole grabbed what was left of his jacket, and with one last look at Elliot and the kids, he was gone.

 

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copy-of-rj-scottRJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

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The Dog Who Swallows Millions

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I’ve just pressed ‘send’ and the second Rafe and Ned steampunk/adventure/m-m romance should have landed in Dreamspinner Press’s inbox by now. Let’s pray they like it!

I can promise you adventure and romance, spooky Aegyptian temples in the moonlight haunted by the towering figure of Anubis, House machinations and House assassins. Most of all, I can promise you that Rafe and Ned are together and happy, despite the Hard Stare of Disapproval from Ned’s son Harry. And I can promise you a cute dog to balance the scary Dog, and one day soon, she’ll get a post of her own.

Here’s the blurb: “Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with the Gallowglass First Heir, archaeologist Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and deepens yet further when Rafe goes with Ned to Aegypt for the winter digging season.

In the world of the Britannic Imperium’s Houses, self-seeking ambition is the norm and assassination is the tool of choice when it comes to advancing House interests. Consequently, it concerns Rafe that his House, Stravaigor, is keen for him to go to Aegypt with Ned: Stravaigor does nothing without an eye to the main chance. But when Ned’s team of archaeologists reaches Abydos to begin the dig, what follows suggests the Houses are the least of their worries. Tricks and pranks escalate to outright attacks, and throughout these incidents, the figure of the Dog stalks across the Aegyptian desert bringing destruction in its wake. He who is upon his mountain, the Lord of Westerners, the Dog Who Swallows Millions… Anubis has many titles and appears to be returning to Abydos to reclaim his own. When Ned’s young son is kidnapped and Ned himself left injured, Rafe has to solve the riddle of the Dog and face up to devastating personal impact of House Stravaigor’s plots before he can save the day.”

Watch this space for more news!

Skythane – J. Scott Coatsworth

I’m chuffed as heck today to welcome an old friend to the blog who’s willing to be interrogated gently interviewed about his new release, Skythane, and also willing to allow me to swoon over the gorgeous cover art while doing no more than roll his eyes and offer me a handkerchief to deal with the drool.cover

See? (points upward). Very droolworthy, no? So, with my artistic appreciation skills acknowledged by all and sundry, let’s start out with a bit of information on the book before I pin the author into the interrogation chair.

 

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Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Caine
Length: 85K, # pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 2/17/17
Genres: sci fi, mm romance, gay sci fi

Goodreads

Rocket1-5Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.

Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.

His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.

The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….

He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.

Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.

The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.

For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.

When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.

“You’re still here.”

“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.

Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.

The man frowned. “I thought—”

“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”

The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.

I really have become a bastard
, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.

He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”

Rocket1-6Dreamspinner – eBook  |   Dreamspinner – paperback   |  Amazon  |

Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords  |  iBooks

 

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And now that’s all done, here’s a reminder of that lovely, lovely cover and here’s J. Scott Coatsworth, willing and able to answer any question hurled at him.

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Hi, Scott, and welcome!  Let’s start with the easy one. What inspired you to write this particular story?
I actually started writing this one back in the nineties. But it didn’t take flight (pun intended) until 2014. I had just come out a couple years before I began it, and it was my first attempt to write a story with gay protagonists, so you could say it was inspired by the newfound freedom I felt as an out gay man.

Writing is never angst free -what were the challenges in bringing it to life?
Totally the sci fi part. A dear friend beta read it for me after I did the NaNoWriMo thing, and ha a lot of problems with the world backdrop and the science. So I had to put out some feelers and find folk who knew about gravity and weather, and put together a workable theory about how half a world could and would function in the real universe. It was difficult, but it made the novel stronger.

What is the most heartfelt thing a reader has said to you?
I had my first real fanboy moment at last year’s GRL, when a reader came up to me and told me how much he had loved my novella “The Autumn Lands”, and the twist in the story. It was the first time this happened to me, and it wall always stick with me.

So, what kind of character or topic have you been dying to try to write, but you’ve never worked up the courage?
Not so much a character, but a pairing? I’ve written a couple lesbian characters, but never a lesbian couple. It’s a bit daunting for me as we don’t share any of the parts in common (well, except for the normal “human parts LOL). But I would love to give it a try sometime.

And a last rather cheeky little inquiry – what meds are you supposed to be taking? 😉
That’s between me, my doctor, my psychiatrist, my homeopath, my rehab clinic, my dentist, my street connection, and my medicine cabinet. But thanks for asking! 😉

 

Snort! Thank you!

Scott’s new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines his love of sci fi, secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Rocket1-10Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

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Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

 

PUBLICATION DAY Taking Shield 04: The Chains Of Their Sins

PUBLISHED TODAY!

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The Chains of Their Sins, the fourth Shield book, is published today by Glass Hat Press (aka: me!)

JUMP TO:

Buy Links

Launch Blog Tour and Chance to Enter Giveaways

Goodreads Giveaways

About the Taking Shield Series

About The Chains Of Their Sins and an excerpt

Payhip – pays me the most in royalties! Available in epub and mobi (Kindle) formats

Amazon.com  |  Amazon.co.uk  |  Kobo  |  Barnes and Noble (live today)

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Launch Tour and Giveaways

I’ll be visiting various blogs next week to promote the book and a $25 Amazon gift voucher giveaway. Visit one of more of these blogs to enter the giveaway – there’s lots of choice!

FEB 13 AbibliophobiaAnonymous
Books Laid Bare Boys
Charli Coty
Gay Book Reviews
Jana Denardo
Marie Brown
MM Good Book Reviews
Nerd Girl Official
Novel Approach
Prism Book Alliance
Stories That Make You Smile
Wicked Faeries Tales and Reviews
Yah Gotta Read This
FEB 14 My Fiction Nook
Nicole’s Book Musings
FEB 15 Bella’s Blog
Fangirl Moment & My 2 Cents
Louise Lyons
MJ’s Book Blog
FEB 16 Antonia Aquilante
Nicki Markus/Asta Idonea
Queer Sci Fi
FEB 20 Molly Lolly
FEB 22 Thorns and Ink

Giveaway at Goodreads

Over at Goodreads, I’m giving away 5 copies of Gyrfalcon and 5 of Heart Scarab to mark the publication of The Chains of Their Sins. All copies are signed first editions – maybe not yet worth quite as much as a signed first edition Harry Potter, but just you wait!

Nip over to  GOODREADS GIVEAWAYS, use the filter to look for science fiction and you’ll find Gyrfalcon and Heart Scarab listed there.

About the Taking Shield series

Earth’s a dead planet, dark for thousands of years; lost for so long no one even knows where the solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But its drive to expand and found colonies of its own has threatened an alien race, the Maess, against whom Albion is now fighting a last-ditch battle for survival in a war that’s dragged on for generations.

Taking Shield charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Against the demands of his family’s ‘triple goddess’ of Duty, Honour and Service, is set Bennet’s relationships with lovers and family. When the series opens, Bennet is at odds with his long term partner, Joss, who wants him out of the military and back in an academic, archaeological career. He’s estranged from his father, Caeden, who is the commander of Fleet’s First Flotilla. Events of the first book, in which he is sent to his father’s ship to carry out an infiltration mission behind Maess lines, improve his relationship with Caeden, but bring with them the catalyst that will destroy the one with Joss: one Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, who, over the course of the series, develops into Bennet’s main love interest.

Over the Taking Shield story arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanity’s enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isn’t able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albion’s victory. And some days he isn’t sure, any longer, what victory looks like.

Taking Shield 01: Gyrfalcon

Taking Shield 02: Heart Scarab

Taking Shield 03: Makepeace

About The Chains of Their Sins

Shield Captain Bennet arrives on the Gyrfalcon to take up his final year’s posting before returning to the Shield Regiment after his rotation out.

On the Gyrfalcon he faces up to the fallout from Makepeace—ethical, political and above all, personal. Will he be able to accept necessity: that knowing what the Maess are up to outweighs the humanitarian issues surrounding the prisoners he rescued from Makepeace? Can he ride out the political furore that follows the loss of the dreadnought Caliban? How will he cope with an entire year of serving under his father, Caeden? And worst of all, how in the name of every god in the Pantheon can he stand to see Flynn every single day, with the Fraternisation Regs standing between them and keeping them apart?

It will be an interesting year. Bennet can hardly wait for it to be over. Of course, things never really do go to plan…

Book Title: The Chains Of Their Sins
Series: Taking Shield 04
Publisher:  Glass Hat Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas
Wordcount: c 97,600
Category: Sci Fi, Gay mainstream

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Thinking back to the first day was not calculated to keep a man’s sleep sweet and carefree. And dammit, Cruz was not helping. Why in hell had he given her access to his quarters? The woman was relentless.

She sat on the side of his bunk and prodded his ribs with a sharp forefinger. “Are you getting up?”

“Cruz, it’s the middle of the fucking night!”

“It’s after five and you’re on duty in a couple of hours anyway.”

“That’s a couple of hours of sleep.”

“Or a couple hours mooning over our pretty captain?” She delivered a second sharp jab to his ribs.

It bloody hurt. “Cruz!”

“I’m sure he was looking for you yesterday morning when I met him in the gym before breakfast.”

“Cruz!”

“Have it your own way. From what he said, he’s there every morning when he wakes up. I’d have thought you’d know that.”

“How would I know that? The time I was on Albion, the man had his right knee in a healing capsule. He could barely walk. He was hardly up to gymnastics.”

“Really?” Cruz said, with a wealth of meaning. “Lowering your standards?”

“Sod off and leave me alone.”

“You go most mornings anyway. He won’t cotton on to it being lovelornness if you make it every morning.”

“I go most mornings, later most mornings. I do not go in the middle of the night. I do not go to meet dawn’s clarion call. I turn up for ten minutes so that Pershing clocks that I’m there and then I bugger off again, job done. I don’t take it seriously, for the gods’ sakes.”

After a pause, Cruz nodded and said, thoughtfully, “Of course, Pershing might notice and have something to say about your sudden dedication to health and fitness, and knowing Pershing, he’d say it in a voice loud enough to cut through steel bulkheads. Bennet might doubt your motivation then. You’re probably right to be subtle about it at first.”

“It’s not about being subtle. It’s about being dignified and not running… well, not being pathet… just not going to the bloody gym in the middle of my sleep period. All right?”

“All right. Sleep tight, charmer.” Cruz got up to go. “Any messages you’d like me to pass on?”

Flynn spat out some very rude words, turned over and pulled the covers over his head. Cruz left Flynn’s quarters, whistling.

Flynn waited until the door had closed before turning over onto his back. He stared up at the ceiling and slid a hand into his sleep-pants. If he concentrated, he could remember the feel of another hand. He reckoned it was the closest he was going to get.

He made the most of it. After all, he was not going to change his habits now and go to the gym at the same time as Bennet did, just to get an extra half hour of Bennet’s company. That was just too pathetic.

PUBLISHED TODAY!

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