Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens

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Cowboy hats! Wyoming! Wild Horses! And yes, I am flailing like an idiot here because I love all three of those and they’re all wrapped up in one book. And isn’t that cover glorious?

By which you can tell I’m delighted to welcome Renee Stevens here today to be interrogated answer some gentle questions about herself and her new book, which is part of Dreamspinner’s States of Love collection. Welcome, Renee!

 

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What inspires you to write?
It’s just something I enjoy. I get all these ideas in my head and I love to get them out and share them. I’m hoping I’ll be inspired for a long time to come!

Why do you write M/M stories?
I have heard this question so many times, and the simple answer is, why not? I enjoy it. I started out writing M/F stories, and then I read a book online by Sara Bell called The Magic In Your Touch. I was hooked, and I’ve reread that story countless times. I met so many great people and then I thought, there’s so much mainstream romance out there and there really wasn’t much I could do that hadn’t already been done. M/M was new and exciting, and at the time it was less accepted than it is now. I made some great friends and when I told them I was considering trying to write a M/M romance, they were full of encouragement. So I wrote my first M/M story, Eternity, and I never looked back. (Though I’ve learned A LOT since writing Eternity and may go back eventually and revise it).

What’s your favorite part of the writing process? What did you hate?
My favorite part would probably be learning who my characters are and why they do what they do. They all have their own idiosyncrasies (did I spell that right? LOL) and I love figuring out what makes them tick. I absolutely HATE coming up with names. Whether it’s character names, place names, or titles. It’s a necessary evil that I struggle through every time, since I don’t like reusing names and it’s hard to find a name that’s unique.

What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
Staying motivated. It’s so easy to let my mind wander and/or get distracted. I’m trying to work on that, but there’s just so many things to explore!

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
I love the way it turned out, but I do wish that I could have included more of the things to see in Wyoming. It was so hard to pick and choose, and if I had to do it all over again, I’d include things such as Cheyenne Frontier Days since that is such a big thing in Wyoming.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in writing your books?
The most surprising thing was in this most recent story, Wide Open Spaces. In doing research on the industry here, I learned that Wyoming has 90% of the worlds trona beds! If you don’t know what trona is, it’s all explained in Wide Open Spaces  If we’re talking about as far as writing, I was amazed when my editors pointed out how often I use modifiers (ly words).

Since there is always another story to tell, what are you working on now?
Right now, I’m working on revising a story that I originally wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2010. It’s about the foremen of neighboring ranches and they definitely have their share of ups and downs. A single misunderstanding/overreaction sets the stage for their future encounters and they went from friends to enemies. Their bosses are determined that whatever happened, they need to learn to work together again, otherwise they could end up jobless.

Out of all these lovely characters, who would you most prefer to snog, marry or avoid?
I absolutely love both Devon and Levi. However, I think I’d have to say Levi, and part of that is because he stayed and he followed his dreams, but even more than that is his attitude. He is who he is and he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about it, but at the same time, he worries about those around him.

Which is your favourite character? Who was a joy to write (and why?) and who were you glad to see the back of (and why!)?
It’s hard to choose between Devon and Levi, but I think I enjoyed writing Devon the most. It was interesting to explore his reasoning behind the things he did and I enjoyed seeing how his mind worked. As far as who I was glad to see the back of, that is a definite tie between Blake, Travis, and Seth. Reason being, they’re jerks!

How difficult was it to get into the main character’s head?
It really wasn’t that hard actually, with either of them. When I started writing Wide Open Spaces, it practically wrote itself. I was so focused that I just couldn’t stop writing it, and I really never got to a point where I was blocked. These guys just wanted me to tell their story, so I did.

Tell me something about yourself that will surprise me.
I absolutely love Mythology. I took a class on it in High School and I was instantly hooked. I even became the teacher’s assistant my senior year for my mythology teacher.

Tell me about one place you’d love to visit and what you’d do there.
I’d love to visit Alaska. There is some beautiful country up there and I’d love to explore it. On top of that, I think one of the main things I’d want to do is go fishing. The fishing in Alaska is supposed to be extraordinary and I’d love to experience it first-hand.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you have liked to be or do instead?
You like to ask the tough questions, don’t you? LOL! I’m not sure I can give a definite answer on this, because there are so many things I enjoy. But whatever I ended up doing, I think it would involve animals. I don’t think I could be a vet, because I can’t stand to see animals hurt, but definitely something with animals.

What’s your favourite literary quote – and why?
I’ve never given a lot of thought to quotes, so I decided to go take a look at some. I found a lot of lists, but so many of them I’d never even read the book. I did find one that really hit home and it’s from The Princess Bride. “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” I like this one because it is so true. Life is so full of ups and downs, and you can’t always avoid the pain, but it’s those experiences that make us the person we become, and without them, we wouldn’t be the same.

What’s your biggest vice – shopping, coffee, shoes?
My biggest vice would probably be fishing. I can spend hours just sitting on the shoreline, waiting for a bite. I might not catch anything, but it’s so relaxing and then there’s the rush when the tip of the pole dips, and then doubles over.

 

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Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.

No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 35,659 Words
Rating: Adult/Mature

Pre-Order NOW
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon: USCAAUUKDE
All Romance

RELEASE DAY :  31 AUGUST

Rocket1-5Devon sank down on his couch as exhaustion swamped him. Most of it was from moving in, but the change in elevation didn’t help. He’d gotten used to being closer to sea level, so going back to the dry air at over six thousand feet was going to take some getting used to.

Bloody noses had become the norm while he stayed with Blake. Devon didn’t want to deal with them repeatedly and considered getting a humidifier until he managed to acclimate.

He looked around his living room. Boxes were scattered everywhere, and he should be unpacking, but he was too tired. At least he hadn’t had to carry everything in himself. Blake, Travis, and Seth were waiting for him when he pulled into the apartment complex. They shrugged off his objections and insisted they had nothing better to do. Devon appreciated it, but he wasn’t comfortable around them anymore. He managed to be a proper host, but damn, he was glad they left after a couple beers each. They made noise about getting together again soon, but Devon had used getting settled in as an excuse to keep from committing to anything.

He stood and wandered into his small kitchen. He didn’t bother opening the fridge or any of the cupboards. He knew they were empty. His stomach growled, reminding him he hadn’t eaten for a while. Devon dug his keys out of his pocket and headed for the door. He’d get something to eat and then maybe stop at the store to pick up a few staples. Paper plates, sandwich fixings, some chips, and he’d be good for a couple of days. At least it would give him time to get a few things—like pots and pans—unpacked. Then he could do a full grocery shop.

An hour later he was comfortably full from a greasy burger, fries, and a shake. He’d never eaten a lot of fast food, but he had few other options. He headed to Walmart, determined to stick to his list of sandwich stuff and maybe some eggs. Surely he could dig out some pans before the food expired. He headed to the chips first and scanned for the familiar bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. They were his all-time favorite, though he also knew he’d want something else after a day or two. So he grabbed a couple of other bags and headed for the eggs and then the freezer aisle.

Sandwiches and chips would get old fast. He found some frozen breakfast sandwiches he could microwave, tossed them in the cart, and moved on. Frozen lasagna quickly joined the few other items in his cart, followed by some potpies, a few TV dinners, and a bag of chimichangas. So what if he wasn’t sticking to his mental list?

He was more focused on getting groceries for the next few days than on the people around him.

“Devon.”

He froze when a familiar voice spoke his name. He closed his eyes briefly, ducked his head, and steeled himself. He knew it would happen eventually, when he found out Levi still lived there. He thought he’d have more time to prepare. He swallowed—hard—and turned to face the man who had at one time meant everything to him. The man he’d risked being found out for. He lifted his head and gazed into the moss-colored eyes.

“Levi.”

 

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A chance to win great prizes : No More Hiding (ebook), Challenging Fate (ebook), 10$ giftcard (Amazon or All Romance or Dreamspinner). Follow the link to the Rafflecoptor.

RAFFLECOPTER

 

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Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of Admin, Blog Coordinator, and Anthology Coordinator.

Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works.

When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts. When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

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More chances to win that Rafflecoptor!

August 24th: M.A. ChurchNic starr

August 25th: Grace Duncan

August 26th: Anna Butler

August 27th: David Dawson

August 28th: Alicia Nordwell

August 29th: Anne Barwell

August 30th: Antonia Aquilante

August 31st *RELEASE DAY*: Mann RamblingsMichael Mandrake

September 1st: Julie HayesElyzabeth M. VaLey

September 2nd: Caraway Carter

September 3rd: JC Wallace

September 4th: Caz Pedroso

September 5th: Brynn Stein

September 6th: Lila Leigh Hunter

September 7th: Morticia Knight

September 8th: Charley Descoteaux

September 9th: Cheryl Headford

September 10th: Heloise West

September 12th: Foster Bridget Cassidy

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Fool’s Gold by Sarah Madison – review

I am delighted to say that Sarah Madison’s new book is now available. Sarah and I are members of the same critique group, so I had the jump on you all here – I’ve read and loved this book ever since she sent us the first few chapters. It’s a great, great book.

Cover1Fab cover, isn’t it? Sarah and I agree that one of the best artists around is Reese Dante, who produced a cracker of a cover here. And the design quality extends to the inside where each chapter is headed by a charming little leaping horse. An image that I had no qualms about (cough) stealing (cough) to decorate this post. So, on to the book:

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Eight years ago, Jake Stanford had it all: a spot on the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team and the love of his life, Rich Evans. A tragic accident wipes out everything in the blink of an eye. Hard work and sacrifice get him another shot at Olympic Gold, but only if he puts his past behind him and agrees to work with Rich again.

Bound by secrets he cannot share, Rich was forced to give up Jake eight years ago. Now he has a second chance to help Jake realize his dreams. But the secrets that drove them apart haven’t changed, and Rich must face them or risk losing Jake forever.

 

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My review on Amazon and Goodreads:

I hold my hand up to an interest here – I’m a member of Sarah Madison’s crit group, so I’ve had the very great pleasure of reading this book as it was written and developed, and let me tell you, you have a treat in store.

Sarah Madison knows horses. She knows competitive horse riding, and all the knowledge and expertise, not to mention her love for horses, deepens and colours one of the most engaging stories of love lost and regained that I’ve read in a long time. I won’t repeat the plot here, but will say that this novel has everything you could look for: two rather damaged main characters (one physically, one emotionally) who were parted by the fall out from a terrible accident – and the machinations of the father of one of them – and who only reunite out of dire necessity; and by doing so find an unexpected peace and happiness.

Sarah, I’ve found, doesn’t write ‘easy’ characters. They often have some real, hard issues to deal with en route to an understanding with each other. Jake and Rich are no exception. Both feel used, betrayed, belittled. They have some quite serious baggage to clear, not least a distrust of each other, before they can reconnect to find that what they’d had eight years earlier, is even stronger now. And it all ends on a very topical note, with the Rio Olympics. Perfect timing for this book.

Thoroughly recommended. If you like books where the worldbuilding and scene-setting have the unmistakable ring of authenticity, if you like complex characters who are imperfect and have their scars to deal with, if you like a love story with a satisfying end – well, then. You’ll like this.

 

buy
Buy as an e-book or read through Kindle Unlimited at  Amazon. com or
Amazon.co.uk

Buy as a paperback at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

 

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.SM logo 1-resizedSarah Madison is a writer with a little dog, a large dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she’s not out hiking with the dogs or down at the stables, she’s at the laptop working on her next story. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.
Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013 and 2015 Rainbow Awards. The Boys of Summer won Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. The Sixth Sense series was voted 2nd place in the 2014 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Mystery series, and 3rd place in the 2105 PGR Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series.
If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.
Website: http://www.sarahmadisonfiction.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahMadisonFic
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Sarah-Madison-Author/106445646104338
E-mail: akasarahmadison@gmail.com

Wide Open Spaces Cover Reveal – Renee Stevens

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Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.

No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning

Genre: Contemporary
Series: States of Love
Length: 35,659 Words
Rating: Adult/Mature

Pre-order Release Date: 7/28/2016
Official Release Date: 8/31/2016 

 

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BUY NOW AT DREAMSPINNER ON PRE_ORDER 

 

 

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Devon sank down on his couch as exhaustion swamped him. Most of it was from moving in, but the change in elevation didn’t help. He’d gotten used to being closer to sea level, so going back to the dry air at over six thousand feet was going to take some getting used to.

Bloody noses had become the norm while he stayed with Blake. Devon didn’t want to deal with them repeatedly and considered getting a humidifier until he managed to acclimate.

He looked around his living room. Boxes were scattered everywhere, and he should be unpacking, but he was too tired. At least he hadn’t had to carry everything in himself. Blake, Travis, and Seth were waiting for him when he pulled into the apartment complex. They shrugged off his objections and insisted they had nothing better to do. Devon appreciated it, but he wasn’t comfortable around them anymore. He managed to be a proper host, but damn, he was glad they left after a couple beers each. They made noise about getting together again soon, but Devon had used getting settled in as an excuse to keep from committing to anything.

He stood and wandered into his small kitchen. He didn’t bother opening the fridge or any of the cupboards. He knew they were empty. His stomach growled, reminding him he hadn’t eaten for a while. Devon dug his keys out of his pocket and headed for the door. He’d get something to eat and then maybe stop at the store to pick up a few staples. Paper plates, sandwich fixings, some chips, and he’d be good for a couple of days. At least it would give him time to get a few things—like pots and pans—unpacked. Then he could do a full grocery shop.

An hour later he was comfortably full from a greasy burger, fries, and a shake. He’d never eaten a lot of fast food, but he had few other options. He headed to Walmart, determined to stick to his list of sandwich stuff and maybe some eggs. Surely he could dig out some pans before the food expired. He headed to the chips first and scanned for the familiar bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. They were his all-time favorite, though he also knew he’d want something else after a day or two. So he grabbed a couple of other bags and headed for the eggs and then the freezer aisle.

Sandwiches and chips would get old fast. He found some frozen breakfast sandwiches he could microwave, tossed them in the cart, and moved on. Frozen lasagna quickly joined the few other items in his cart, followed by some potpies, a few TV dinners, and a bag of chimichangas. So what if he wasn’t sticking to his mental list?

He was more focused on getting groceries for the next few days than on the people around him.

“Devon.”

He froze when a familiar voice spoke his name. He closed his eyes briefly, ducked his head, and steeled himself. He knew it would happen eventually, when he found out Levi still lived there. He thought he’d have more time to prepare. He swallowed—hard—and turned to face the man who had at one time meant everything to him. The man he’d risked being found out for. He lifted his head and gazed into the moss-colored eyes.

“Levi.”

 

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Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of Admin, Blog Coordinator, and Anthology Coordinator.

Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works.

When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts. When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

FacebookTwitterGoodreadsWebsite

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Set Me Free – a heartfelt plea from Kitty Stephens

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Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Kitty Stephens, author of Set Me Free.

Hi Kitty, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

My name Kitty Stephens. I currently reside in Ohio, with my husband, my son, and our three guinea pigs. I’ve been an avid reader since I was very young and started writing when I was around nine or ten. Once I had internet access, I became active in fan communities and started posting my work on various fan sites. Set Me Free is my first book.

  • Do you have pictures that you use for your characters? Can you share them with us?
    I actually don’t! I have an idea of what each character looks like, but I ended up not searching for any likenesses. What I saw in my head was so clear that I felt like I didn’t need them.
  • What kind of book would you like to write that people would see as a huge departure for you?
    Probably a thriller of some kind or something with a lot of character death.
  • Have you ever killed a character? Was it traumatic for you? If you haven’t killed one, would you ever consider it?
    I haven’t killed a character yet! I probably would, if it was dictated by the story. It would be difficult, I love all my characters.
  • Favorite location you’ve ever written about?
    Tybee Island, Georgia. It’s the main setting of Set Me Free, and I feel in love with it as I was doing my research for the book. I want to go there one day.
  • What’s your favorite season and favorite activity for that season?
    I think my favorite season is summer. While I can’t take the heat as much as I used to, I still love to sit outside in the sunshine and read a book. It’s very relaxing.

 

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Set Me Free 1600px FRONT (Smashwords, Amazon)

When an affluent college-bound boy falls for a young artist, he must choose between the life that’s been mapped out for him and the chance at true love.

Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Messer
Goodreads

 

 

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Interlude Press: http://store.interludepress.com/collections/set-me-free-by-kitty-stephens

 
 
 
 
 
Book Depository: (will update if it lists prior to release)
 

 

 

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They found a secluded spot to sit off the main drag and scarfed down pieces of pizza and people-watched. Aaron had been full of nerves earlier, but Lucky put him at ease. He had that way about him.

“I’ve got a few minutes left,” Lucky said when they finished their food.

They got up, sipping at their drinks as they made their way through the crowd back toward Lucky’s booth. It was now or never. He had to ask, had to get the words out, or miss his shot.

Badge“Can I ask you something?” Lucky spoke up before Aaron could. Maybe Lucky would… Aaron held his breath, nodding. “It might sound weird.”

“Sure,” Aaron replied, his heart beating a little faster. He had no idea what was coming now; what could Lucky possibly want from him? A kiss?

“Can you take your picture for me?”

Aaron blinked at him. Lucky tilted his head off to one side and Aaron turned his head the same direction. His gaze landed on a photo booth, realization sinking in. His mouth fell open, unsure what to say. It was a little weird because they barely knew each other, but also flattering.

“I’d really like to draw you again.” Lucky seemed slightly embarrassed. “I mean, I could take pictures on my phone if that’s better for you, but that seemed creepier somehow.”

Aaron couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped at Lucky’s words, even as the idea of Lucky drawing him again and again left him breathless. “Um,” he managed to get out, glancing around at the crowd. A familiar blonde head caught his eye and he nearly choked.

Was Lyn at the carnival? Wasn’t she supposed to be with their mothers?

Aaron pulled Lucky by the hand into the photo booth and slid the curtain shut.

Lucky slid money into the slot as they sat down. His breath caught as Lucky’s hands touched his face gently. “Like this,” Lucky whispered, turning his head to the side. The camera flashed. Lucky’s fingers turned his head to the front, pulling away just in time for the camera to go off again. Once again, Lucky’s fingers turned his head to the side, only now he was facing Lucky, staring deeply into his eyes.

Aaron tried not to hyperventilate as he held Lucky’s gaze. The camera flashed for the last time but neither of them moved.

“Go out with me?” Aaron suddenly blurted out. He had to do something or he might do something even more insane, like kiss Lucky. Aaron so wasn’t ready for that yet. Lucky’s eyes widened and he smiled.

“Sure,” Lucky drawled after a moment. “When?”

 

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Final


RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY 

 

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Kitty Stephens’ writing aspirations date back to her childhood, when she and her brother would make up stories about characters in their favorite books. She eventually started writing stories in online fan communities, and majored in English at Ohio State University. She lives in Ohio with her husband and son. Set Me Free is her first novel.

tumblr at @kittystephenswrites
Twitter at @KittyStephensWr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KittyStephensWrites

 

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9-Jun
Happily Ever Chapter, Boys on the Brink Reviews, Book Lovers 4Ever, Havan Fellows

10-Jun
Oh My Shelves, Bonkers About Books, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

13-Jun
Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Unquietly Me, A.M. Leibowitz

14-Jun
BFD Book Blog, Velvet Panic, My Fiction Nook

15-Jun
Anna Butler Fiction, Three Books Over The Rainbow, MM Good Book Reviews

16-Jun
Making It Happen, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Open Skye Book Reviews

17-Jun
The Novel Approach, V’s Reads, Prism Book Alliance

20-Jun
Up All Night, Read All Day, Bayou Book Junkie

21-Jun
Nephy Hart, Love Bytes

22-Jun
Alpha Book Club, Molly Lolly, Divine Magazine

 

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Antonia Aquilante’s ‘The Scholar’s Heart’

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I’m delighted to welcome Antonia back to the blog today, to tell us about her latest release, The Scholar’s Heart.

 

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Youngest son of a royal duke, Etan is a scholar at heart who juggles his work for the prince with his studies of the history and legends of Tournai, something of particular interest to him because he shares the magical Talent that runs in the royal bloodline. Etan’s peaceful world turns upside down when his best friend—the man he secretly loves—unexpectedly marries a woman. Though Tristan values his friendship with Etan and has always been attracted to him, he is a dutiful son, raised to shoulder responsibility for the family business one day. That day comes far sooner than anticipated, and he makes a deathbed promise to his father to marry the woman his father chose and become head of the company and family.

A year later, Tristan is a widower with an infant daughter and a mother who demands he marry again quickly—something Tristan resists. Circumstances throw Etan and Tristan together, and even as they succumb to the desires they’ve always harbored, Etan battles his feelings, wary of being cast aside again. When Tristan’s daughter is kidnapped, Etan and Tristan must come together to find her, find the person responsible, and support each other through the ordeal… and maybe beyond.

Series: Chronicles of Tournai
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Release Date: May 30, 2016
Length: Novel (294 pages)
Goodreads

 

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Dreamspinner Press ebook
Dreamspinner Press paperback
Amazon
AllRomance
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Apple

 

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His wife was dead.

Tristan kept hearing the words echoing in his head in his mother’s emotionless voice. She’d only said it a few moments ago, but it was the last thing he’d heard clearly. Everything else his mother was saying— something about arrangements to be made—had to filter through that statement, that dawning knowledge, that Dariela was dead.

“What happened?” he asked, cutting her off midsentence.

She drew herself up and back. “It’s not appropriate to tell you the details of—”

“My wife is dead,” he said, biting out each word. “I will know how it happened.”

Mother stared at him mulishly for a moment, then nodded. “She bled too much during the birth. The midwife couldn’t stop it.”

“And the healer?” Amory had sent the head of the palace healers to attend Dariela at the birth. Surely Jadis could have done something.

Mother sniffed. “We sent him away when he arrived.”

For a moment, he couldn’t find his voice. “You sent away the most powerful healer in Tournai? Who was graciously sent to us by the prince’s consort?”

“A man had no place in that room. Only women should be present. Family and midwives. That’s how it’s done—how it has always been done.”

“And Dariela might still be alive if you’d consented to doing it differently.”

Mother looked away, as well she should. “We don’t know that,” she said after a pause, her voice stiff.ScholarsHeartFS

He dismissed that with nothing more than a glare. He wanted to be compassionate, wanted to believe his mother might feel guilty for her choice—certainly Dariela’s mother, presumably still upstairs with her daughter’s body, had to be devastated—but Dariela didn’t have to die. A healer could have saved her.

He might not have loved his wife, but he’d liked her, and she had deserved a better chance. A chance to know her child at least.

Mother had started speaking again, explaining their choice, it seemed, but he didn’t need to hear her justifications. “What about the baby?”

He’d heard a baby’s cry not long ago. He’d expected someone to rush down to tell him the happy news but there had only been silence until his mother appeared.

She stopped speaking, her brow furrowing.

“Mother, the baby?” he prompted.

“The baby survived. A girl.”

A girl. He had a daughter. “Where is she?”

“With her nursemaid, but I’ll have her packed up quickly.”

“Packed up. Why?” His confusion seemed to surprise Mother for some reason.

“So I can take her home with me.” Mother said it as if it were utterly obvious, but Tristan was still confused.

“Why would you do that?”

Now Mother looked confused. “Because you can’t take care of her yourself, not with Dariela gone.”

“I don’t see why not. We’ve hired a nursemaid and a wet nurse.”

The wet nurse had been at both his mother and Dariela’s mother’s insistence. Dariela had wanted to nurse the baby herself but had been overruled. “They’ll be doing far more than I will for her, but she will stay in her own home.”

“But, Tristan, really.”

“You should get home, Mother, before it gets too late. Dariela’s mother can stay as long as she likes with Dariela, of course.”

She protested that she should stay or take the baby with her, but Tristan managed to bundle her off home in the carriage. He scribbled a quick message to Amory about what had happened and apologizing for his mother’s disrespect in rejecting the healer, and sent it to the palace.

Only then did he climb the stairs to the nursery with slow, heavy steps. The distance to the room they’d set aside as a nursery seemed far greater than it was, and yet even dragging himself down the corridor, he arrived at the closed door all too soon. He took a deep breath and forced himself to open the door and walk inside.

The nursemaid, whom his wife had liked immediately, was a slightly plump woman with a kind smile. As he stood in the doorway, she turned and bobbed a quick curtsy. She gave him her condolences, but he had eyes only for the small, white-wrapped bundle in her arms. Trepidation and curiosity warred within him, churning and twisting in his guts. Finally, he stepped forward, raising his arms awkwardly as he said, “May I….”

“Of course, sir.” She came to him and transferred the baby into his arms smoothly. If she noticed his lack of confidence, she said nothing. “I’ll be just in the other room if you need me.”

Before Tristan could protest, she had left the nursery, going into her own small bedroom and shutting the door. A cold shock of panic froze him to the spot. He hadn’t meant for her to leave. He had no idea what to do with a baby. She was so light in his arms. So fragile. What if he hurt her?

She made a little snuffling sound, and he reflexively looked down. His first look at his daughter’s face… and he tumbled headlong into love.

 

 

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Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

antShe has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

Interrogating Joe Cosentino about Cozzi Cove

I’ve got Joe Cosentino in the hot seat today, waiting for the thumbscrews while I interrogate him to find out more about him, his new release, and his writing generally.

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Hi Joe, Delighted to have you here today and I promise the interrogation won’t hurt. We’ll start out with the horrid question first, though, just to get it over with. What inspires you to write?
My mother says I’ve always told tall tales, so it’s no wonder I’m writing novels. The Cozzi Cove beach series came about as I recalled my family’s annual summer trip to my aunt and uncle’s bungalow on the New Jersey shore. We 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, and dined at our favorite seafood restaurant with a colorful player piano. One day I discovered a cove. A cove forms when softer rocks are worn away by the sun and salty water faster than the harder rocks surrounding them. This creates a gorgeous bay of turquoise water shielded by large rocks in the distance and smaller rocks near the water’s edge.

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. Each bungalow is based on my aunt and uncle’s, and is furnished with hand-carved nautical furnishings, and has a stunning view of the bay and lighthouse in the distance. The main beach and boardwalk are only a mile away. It’s a place I love to visit, and I know you will too. As Cal Cozzi opens his seven guest bungalows in a gay resort on a cove at the New Jersey Shore for the summer, we are treated to four interwoven stories per book about Cal and his guests. The stories are full of romance, humor, drama, and in some cases surprise endings. Nothing is what it seems at Cozzi Cove. After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back released, many readers and reviewers praised its romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories. Their kind and wonderful praises inspired me to write Cozzi Cove: Moving Froward. As with the first book, romance is everywhere on Cozzi Cove in book two, and nothing is what it seems. So grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head to Cozzi Cove. Cal’s welcome mat is out. I hope to see you there!

Why do you write M/M stories?
Go to the mall and look at poster after poster of movies with no gay or lesbian characters in them. I worry about the self-esteem of the young gay teens spending time in those malls with their friends. There are so many untold M/M stories. I’m telling at least some of them in my books.

Great answer, and I couldn’t agree more about how invisible LGBT people are in society. Since there is always another story to tell, what are you working on now?
A third novel in the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out.

Out of all these lovely characters, who would you most prefer to snog, marry or avoid?
If I weren’t already married to the perfect partner, I’d want to marry my leading character Cal Cozzi. He’s on both book covers. Cal dabbled as a professional football player then restaurant owner, but neither was a good fit. After Cal’s parents died in an automobile accident, he found his calling: managing Cozzi Cove in the New Jersey shore town named after his great-grandfather. Sensing Cal’s sexual orientation as a boy, Cal’s father had turned Cozzi Cove into a gay resort. Cal is honored to follow in his father’s footsteps. Cal is honest, kind, hardworking, and a no nonsense kind of guy. You know where you stand with him. And Cal is a one-man man.

I had written a novella loosely based on my life in high school and my ten-year high school reunion, An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press). It won Second Place in Divine Magazine’s readers’ poll for favorite LGBT romance of 2015. So many readers told me they loved that story, and they wanted more of a minor character in it. So that character, Mario, is the first guest in book one of Cozzi Cove. Mario is tall, muscular, with olive skin, a Roman nose, and dark, dreamy eyes. He’s a college student who is smart, loyal, and caring. If I were younger and single, Mario is someone who would interest me. Chuck Caliber, the porn star in book 1, is captivating for the obvious and some not so obvious reasons. Michael’s study buddy, Carlo, in book 2 is incredibly sexy. The two bodybuilders in book 2, Zeus and Jarek, would also be on my radar. Mysterious Bruce in book 2 is also quite enticing. I could go on and on.

Mario’s brother shares a bungalow with him in book 1. Harold is equally good looking and well built, but he’s the exact opposite of his brother Mario. Harold is conniving, insecure, and quite the player. He’s someone I’d avoid.

Which is your favourite character? Who was a joy to write (and why?) and who were you glad to see the back of (and why!)?
Cal’s sister, Taylor, drops in from Rome, Paris, Wall Street, or Palm Springs in both books. As a tough as nails top one-percenter, the world revolves around her, which makes her hysterically funny. I also admire her devotion to her brother. Taylor gets a huge surprise in the second book. I still laugh out loud when reading Taylor’s scenes, so she’s a favorite character for me who was a joy to write.

Also after my novella A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press) was released, many readers wanted more time with two of the leading characters, college theatre majors Jonathan and Barry. So two of the guests at Cozzi Cove in book 2 are loosely based on how Jonathan and Barry might be as middle-aged men. I call them Rodney Maxwell and Dennis O’Halloran. They are a quite funny older theatre couple. Writing their dialogue was tricky since they have a love/hate relationship. I was quite pleased with the result, but happy when they left.

If I were a Hollywood producer about to put your book on the big screen, who would you want me to cast as the leads?
Since I’m also an actor (and a college theatre professor/department head), I’d like to play Sean Guile (a virgin romance author captivated by a porn star) in book 1, and Gil (who sees a vision of his first love at the beach) in book 2. The Rock could play the local bartender, Tommy Malone. Julia Roberts would be a good Taylor. Corbin Bleu could play Michael, Cal’s young boyfriend. I’d want Matt Bomer as Cal. I know he looks nothing like Cal, but who cares? It’s Matt Bomer!

No, seriously. I’m calling dibs on Matt Bomer to play my Shield Captain Bennet.  I suppose it would be bad form to fight over him–we’ll just have to bicker over the shooting schedule!–so instead tell me something about yourself that will surprise me.
After college I was an actor in film, television, and theatre, working opposite stars like Bruce Willis, Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. My 1982 ABC-TV movie, My Mother Never a Kid, and NBC’s Another World are still internet favorites.

Wow! Impressive! That’s an amazing life to look back on, and it must have given you some rich experiences to underpin your writing. It seems almost anticlimactic to ask, but tell me about one place you’d love to visit and what you’d do there.
I visited the gorgeous and romantic island of Capri in Italy to write my holiday novella, A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press) about an American law student who visits and falls in love with his Italian third cousin. I’d love to go back there. It was magical. I would go up on the lift at sunset and look out at the gorgeous views of the water, mountains, rocks, villas, and Italians.

My Nicky and Noah comedy mystery series (Lethe Press) is about a couple of college theatre professors who solve whodunits. The first novel, Drama Queen, won Best LGBT Mystery Novel and Best LGBT Humorous Novel of 2015 in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll. Drama Muscle followed. For the third novel, Drama Cruse (not yet released), Nicky and Noah solve a mystery while doing a murder mystery dinner theatre show on a cruise to Alaska. So I did one as research, which was lots of fun. I’d like to go on a riverboat cruise next, perhaps up the Rhine, and wile away the hours reading and looking at the gorgeous scenery.

So, finally, after that rich and varied life is over, what do you want them to write on your tombstone?
http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com. Check it out!

 

Thank you, Joe! You withstood the thumbscrews very well (but you still can’t have Matt Bomer). Now let’s hear more about your new release!

 

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cozzicovebouncingbackcover

On Cozzi Cove at the New Jersey shore, handsome Cal Cozzi’s seven bungalows are open for summer and love. Mario and Harold are brothers and college students who happen to look alike, but couldn’t be more different: Mario is searching for love, and Harold is searching for lust. Josh and Greg, a wealthy older couple, are matchmakers for their son, Christopher. When it comes to Connor, the maid, packed with muscles and a roving sponge, anything can happen. Opposites attract as wild Tim with the secret past meets shy Mark, and porn star Chuck Caliber connects with Sean, a virgin romance novelist. And what will happen when computer-game designer Arthur has a midnight sea rendezvous with a merman? Even married Cal faces an emotional upheaval when a gay bashing turns into something quite unexpected. What secrets and passions lie in magical Cozzi Cove?

Publisher: Nine Star Press
Release Date: March 21, 2016
Language: English
Cover Design: Arai TanISBN-13: 978-1-911153-35-1
Wordcount: 60,000 words


Praise for COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK:

“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

 

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Alone together in the parking lot, the two young men smiled at one another.

Suddenly Chris’s throat tightened. “I’m Julie. I mean, I’m Chris Tyler-Hampton.” He extended a clammy hand.

“Nice to meet you, Chris. I’m Mario Ginnetti.”

“I’m gay.” Chris replayed in his head what he’d just said. “I mean, I’m on college break.” Chris noticed Mario’s bulging pectoral muscles in his polo shirt. Mario returned the favor by openly checking Chris out. Looking into Mario’s dreamy dark eyes, Chris asked, “Are you on college break too?”

Mario nodded. “I go to Princeton. I’m a psych major, and I play football.”

Chris admired Mario’s strapping body. “I’m in engineering at Yale. I know, the whole Asian stereotype thing.” He tried to focus on not sounding like a lunatic as his heart raced like a Saturday-night driver. “Are you staying here with your parents too?”

“I’m parentless in Bungalow One.” Mario unleashed luscious dimples and a row of straight white teeth. In an obvious attempt at seduction, he posed on his car, but slipped on its smooth finish and fell to the ground.

Chris helped him to his feet.

With his face as red as a ripe strawberry, Mario said, “My father’s dead and my mom ran off with a mobster.”

Chris gasped. “I’m sorry.”

“You asked if my parents were here. They’re gone. My mother paid my college tuition first. It happened a while ago.”

Chris understood. “I’m sorry about your folks. I complain about mine, but they’ve always been there for me. We generally spend the summers in Europe, but Dad read about this place. Since I have one week off before my summer internship, they booked us in here for a week before they leave for Switzerland.” Chris hoped he didn’t sound snobby. “Well, I better get back inside and make sure Julie is using her best manners.”

Clutching his grocery bag to his chest, Mario said, “And I should refrigerate this stuff.”

Chris took a step away and then stopped and turned back to face Mario. With a throat drier than the Sahara Desert, he said, “Would you like to visit the main bitch with me tomorrow?”

Mario did a double take.

“I mean, would you like to go to the ocean beach … with me … tomorrow?”

Mario ran a shaky hand through his jet-black hair. “Is tomorrow supposed to be a good beach day?”

Chris replied, “I’m not sure. If there’s a hurricane or something, we can go inside.” Chris wiped the sweat off his neck with his handkerchief. “And if a shark comes along, we can always swim to shore.” Chris made a desperate attempt at swallowing and said, “I’ll knock on your bungalow door at ten a.m. If that’s indeed okay.” He had never said the word indeed before.

Mario nodded. “Ten a.m. is good.”

“I look forward to seeing you then.” Chris couldn’t stop himself from looking back at Mario and smiling as he walked toward his fathers’ bungalow. When he banged into the trash can, he barely felt the pain in his knee or the gash in his calf.

 

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Nine Star Press: 

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

All Romance eBooks

 

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Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (NineStar Press), Drama Queen and Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll and Porcelain Doll (Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries, and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals).

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. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers).

Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press), Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and Satin Doll and China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press). Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015!

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

 

Book Blast: L M Somerton’s Elemental Love

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An untrained warlock is a dangerous man to love.

On his twenty-first birthday, Evrain Brookes discovers he is an elemental warlock. The spell suppressing his talent lifts and he has to get used to a whole new existence. The protection that kept him safe during his childhood is gone, his skills are wild and uncontrolled and there are those that seek to use him for their own gain.

Evrain’s grandmother is a witch, his godfather another warlock. Between them they do their best to keep Evrain on the right path. He learns that in order to gain control of his formidable powers, he will need to ‘channel’ through a life partner, a process that happens only with consent and through love. But how will he ever find a man prepared to put up with a Dominant warlock for a boyfriend?

Dominic Castine has no idea that Evrain’s grandmother sees him as a prospective partner for Evrain. He tends her garden and she teaches him about herbs—a trade-off they both enjoy. He is drawn to Evrain’s charismatic presence but doesn’t understand why he wants to drop to his knees and submit to him.

When Agatha is murdered, Evrain and Dominic are thrown together as she manipulates them from beyond the grave. Dominic becomes the pawn in a terrifying game between warlocks whose powers he barely comprehends.

In the end, lives will depend on his courage, his willingness to grant Evrain control and the power of love.

 

Book Name: Elemental Love
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artist: Emmy Ellis
Goodreads Link
Wordcount: 59,472 words
Categories: BDSM, Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of kidnap and a reference to attempted sexual assault.

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Twenty-one years ago…

“Closed doors, I hate closed doors. Why don’t I have the power to see through them? That, at least, would be a useful ability.” Three-hundred-year-old floorboards creaked as Gregory Thanet paced the galleried landing of Wenlock House. He walked up and down past three doors, each fashioned from heavy oak and furnished with black iron hinges and handles. Two stood ajar, revealing hints of unoccupied bedrooms, but the third was firmly closed, a solid barrier to unwanted intrusion and the cause of Gregory’s current frustration.

“For goodness’ sake, Gregory, you’re wearing out the carpet. Be still.” Gregory’s companion leaned against the gallery rail and gave him an exasperated look.

Gregory paused his march briefly, shot a glare at the woman but then resumed his pacing with a grunt. “Leave me be, woman, I’ll be still when we know that everything is as it should be.”

“Nature moves at her own pace, you know that. There’s no changing it—nor should we. What will be will be.”

“Stop trying to sound like some wise and ancient soothsayer, Agatha. You’re not helping and it doesn’t suit you. The kid is a week late already—you’d think he would be keen to greet the world by now. When he’s grown I’ll remember that he kept me up half the night. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of opportunities for revenge when he’s older.” Gregory stopped and folded his arms across his chest.

“I might not be able to see the future, Gregory Thanet, but even a complete idiot could have predicted that my grandson would arrive today.”

Gregory examined his companion. Agatha looked tired. Her skin was quite smooth, marred only by a few laughter lines around her hazel eyes, eyes that still sparkled with warmth and intelligence. Her silver hair was swept smoothly back and fastened with a comb, intricately fashioned from beaten copper. She remained an attractive woman, who must have possessed great beauty in her youth, but she looked paler than usual and she rested her weight against the banister rather than standing in her usual ramrod-straight stance.

Gregory experienced a rare pang of guilt that he might be adding to his friend’s worries. “All Hallows’ Eve. There’s a lot of power in the air right now.”

Agatha cocked her head to one side and closed her eyes as if listening to sounds that only she could hear. “My grandson will be with us soon and there is little that you or I can do to change the course of his destiny.” For a moment, a worried frown creased her forehead. “It is not certain that he will inherit the gift.”

Gregory sighed. “In this, you deceive yourself, Agatha. The calling has skipped a generation. History dictates that the next born will be unusually powerful and that power will be magnified even further in a male child.”

“There has been no warlock in my family line for over five hundred years, only witches. Why are you so convinced that it will change now? We know of only three others living, Gregory. You, Symeon Malus and Constantine De Vries. It would be a chance in a billion.”

Gregory scratched the tip of his long nose. “I should have bought a lottery ticket then. All the portents point to it, the date alone… It is time. Time the triangle became a square.”

“I’m not sure Symeon Malus will ever be part of that square,” Agatha said. “I don’t see him as the cornerstone of anything with value or integrity.”

“True, and if the child is born with the power, you and I will need to ensure that Symeon’s gaze remains elsewhere.” Gregory shivered. “I swear to the goddess, this country is the dampest place on earth. It’s all right for you, Agatha, you live in the second dampest place on the planet. You’re used to groping through fog. I want to get back to Florida. I need to—before I develop trench foot.”

“Pah. What you really want is to get back to Coryn. You’re a ship without an anchor when the two of you are apart. He could have come to see the child too, you know.” Agatha grabbed a stray hair and pushed it back into a restraining grip.

“Coryn hates airplanes, you know that. I would never ask him to fly across the pond unless it was a life or death situation.”

“If it were, you wouldn’t have to ask him.”

“He reckons that if men were designed to fly through the air, then human cannonball would be a much more popular career choice.”

Agatha snorted. “I think his phobia is a myth. He just uses it as an excuse to get a few days’ break from your—” She whistled and twiddled her fingers in the air.

Gregory rolled his eyes. “Twiddling your fingers that way will get you turned into an aardvark. It takes practice to bend your digits into shapes imbued with power. After thirty-two years together, Coryn is more than capable of dealing with my—” He whistled. “As you so delicately put it.”

Agatha snorted. “Men with magic! Whoever the hell thought that would be a good idea was seriously damaged.” She shook her head slowly.

Gregory grinned and waggled a silver eyebrow.

The mewling cry of a newborn sounded from behind the closed bedroom door, and Agatha allowed her lips to curve into a smile.

“Well, it seems the waiting is over. I have a grandchild—and, from the sound of that bellowing, he’s a fine, healthy boy.”

“About damned time.” Gregory grouched. He still smiled right along with Agatha.

Agatha crossed the landing and knocked softly on the door, which soon swung open to admit her. Gregory followed her inside, pushing down his excitement.

The bedroom was bathed in the cool light of a new dawn. The soft green of the walls seemed to shimmer and the wooden floor was burnished with gold. Gregory looked around in wonder, then dragged his gaze back to the bed.

“Lyssa, James—congratulations, my dears!” Agatha clapped her hands together in delight as she walked over to the bed.

Gregory hung back a little, giving her the privilege of first viewing.

Agatha’s daughter, Lyssa, sat up in bed propped against a mound of pillows. She was pale, her eyes shadowed in the purple of exhaustion, but still she glowed with radiant happiness. A small bundle wrapped in a pale blue blanket rested in her arms. Her husband, James, sat nervously on the edge of the mattress, looking utterly shell-shocked but delighted as the midwife fussed around them.

Lyssa held the baby out to her mother with a smile. “His name is Evrain. Evrain James Brookes. Hold him, Mum, isn’t he beautiful?”

Gregory held his breath as Agatha reached for the small bundle and cradled the child in her arms. She pushed the blanket back from the baby’s head, and a mop of thick black hair was revealed, sticking out in all directions.

“He is absolutely gorgeous, darling. Didn’t you both do well!” Agatha stroked the child’s hair.

Gregory moved in closer. Tiny fists punched at the air, so Gregory offered the boy his own hand. Immediately, the baby grabbed hold, wrapping his fingers around Gregory’s offering with surprising strength. Gregory grinned at Agatha in delight, then looked back to the baby. His eyes were the dark blue of every newborn but, as Gregory focused his senses on the child, he could see that they would become dark green. Just a shade deeper than his own.

Cooing softly, Agatha muttered a lilting incantation and rocked the baby gently. To Lyssa and James, the song probably sounded like a lullaby, but Gregory knew a spell when he heard one. Tiny eyelids closed and the baby slept. Gregory’s finger was released. After a few more minutes of cuddling, Agatha reluctantly returned the baby to his parents.

 

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Pride Publishing

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

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Final (4)

Rafflecopter giveaway – click HERE 

 

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L M lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.

She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.

Where to find the author:

Pride Publishing page: https://www.pride-publishing.com/author/lm-somerton

Website: www.lmsomerton.com

Blog: http://www.lmsomerton.com/#!blog/c112v

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lmsomerton

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lmsomerton

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/lmsomerton/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/L.M.-Somerton/e/B00AV9XRW8

 

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Parker Williams, Divine Magazine, Outrageous Heroes, Alpha Book Club, Boys on the Brink ReviewsAnna Butler Fiction, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, A.M. Leibowitz, Making It Happen, Bayou Book JunkieFangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Full Moon Dreaming, Gay Media Reviews, 3 Chicks After Dark MM Good Book Reviews, Molly Lolly, BFD Book Blog, Man2ManTastic, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue WordsThe Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Carly’s Book Reviews, Up All Night, Read All Day, Decadent DelightsBook Lovers 4Ever, The Hat Party, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Velvet Panic, Foxylutely Book ReviewsInked Rainbow Reads

 

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An Aussie on the US – Kevin Klehr guest blogs here today

I’m beginning to see how clever it is to turn your blog over to friends every now and again, and invite them along to do a post for you. All the enchantment and enjoyment of reading a good blog post done for you, in this case by Kevin Klehr, a fellow writer at Wilde City. I’m delighted that Kevin agreed to come along to talk about his first trip to the US, the cultural disconnect that hits all travellers (and yes, I sympathise there!) and how that’s shaped his latest release, Nate And The New Yorker. Over to Kevin…

 

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AN AUSTRALIAN IN THE US
Kevin Klehr

I’ve been blessed by the god of travel, and during those journeys I have stepped on American soil three times.

My first visit was at the tail end of last century, where entering LA airport was like walking onto the Holodeck from Star Trek. You see, a yellow cab or a black and white police car, or even the design of a US security uniform, are only ever seen as elements of Hollywood art design. Your mind associates them with works of fiction.

So it was hard to take this airport as real. I expected the guards to have fake guns and for the windows to suddenly smash as a stuntman dived through. It was one big movie set on display for visitors to America.

During that trip I decided to cook for friends we were staying with in Olympia. Going to the supermarket was a case of ‘you say tomay-to, I say toma-toe’. Fortunately, I had a very helpful staff member translate my shopping list.

Slowly we worked out that my chilli con carne recipe was simply called a bowl of chilli by the locals. A capsicum was a bell pepper. But then that chilli word became a problem again. Explaining minced chilli became fruitless to my confused shop assistant. Finally I found what I was after. A tube of minced peppers. Ironically that tube came from down-under and was labelled minced chilli.

It’s small stuff like this that made me want to write a tale of a relationship between an American and an Australian. To explore those odd mismatches you stumble on when you bring characters from those two cultures together.

Like me, my Australian character, Nathan, believes an entrée is an appetizer. Like me, Nate can’t think in Fahrenheit. He’s also someone who jumps into the passenger seat in a taxi, so he can enjoy conversation with the driver face to face. And he’s someone who has to remember that the price of an item in a shop is not the final price of that item at the cash register.

We learn to change into ‘America mode’ when visiting the land where zed is pronounced zee and chips are French fries. Where when you shop for fabric to bring back home, you recall that a yard is the same length as a long playing record.

During one of our travels we took the plunge and hired a car, getting used to sitting in the wrong seat to drive on the opposite side of the road. All was okay when we were following traffic. It was when we were at the front of the pack about to turn into a street, that we had to fight our natural inclination to move to the left. Often it was a case of checking which way the parked cars were facing to guide us to the correct side of the road. Our fear of a head-on collision was averted many times. And, naturally, we chose the kilometre option on the GPS.

On my first visit I needed to use directory assistance from a payphone, and the operator asked me to place a dime in the slot. When I asked which currency was a dime, he told me which president was on the coin instead of simply telling me it was ten cents, making me none-the-wiser.

It’s these weird twists that you remember about travelling. About your first impression of New York where you feel you’ve entered a large scale version of Sesame Street. About tasting biscuits and gravy and knowing you never want to eat them again. About remembering not to visit the Empire State Building on a foggy day. About the weather turning cold at Christmas.

Of course there are some major differences when taking in the American way of life, but these don’t touch a reader when throwing an Australian into the New York landscape. My character Nate is negotiating all these minor changes to his life on top of a relationship. And fortunately I have those experiences to help guide him.

 

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Cameron has it all. He’s rich, lives in Manhattan, and even has a cross-dressing butler. But then he meets Nate, an Australian who’s bitter about love. Cameron is determined to turn this realist into a dreamer by sharing his world of classy restaurants, Broadway shows and fabulous parties. And while Nate’s friends see the makings of a fantasy romance, it’s Nate who has to learn that in order to open his heart, he has to face a painful secret.

Category: Gay Romance
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Wordcount: 22,156
Formats available: ebook only
Heat Level: 2

 

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Available from Wilde City Press

Coming to an Amazon near you shortly!

 

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Kevin lives with his long-term partner in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

From an early age Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties.

His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his social circumstances changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, snuck the notebook out to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his novel. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.

Find Kevin at his website or on Twitter @kevinkleh

Interview and Giveaway: F. T. Lukens — The Star Host

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I’n delighted to be hosting – aka interrogating –  F.T. Lukens today. F.T is the author of The Star Host, published earlier this month.

As ever, we start these things off easy, to lull victims into a false sense of security. Hi F.T., thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hi, everyone. This is F.T. and I’m excited to share with you my debut young adult novel, The Star Host. It is a science fiction adventure which features a bisexual main character and a diverse cast of characters. The story follows Ren as he is taken from his home, discovers he may be a being out of myth, and attempts to save his family and friends.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said about your writing?
The nicest thing anyone has ever said came from my husband. When he was reading the final version of The Star Host, he came out of our bedroom and said, “While I was reading this, I forgot you wrote it.” I know this doesn’t seem like glowing praise but it is. The way he explained it was that when he began reading, the fact that his wife wrote it was always present in the back of his mind. However, a few pages in, he got wrapped up in the story, and that thought dropped away. About halfway through, he stopped and thought “Oh wow, my wife wrote this.” It really made my day.

There has to be a good reason we keep them around. Good for him! So, are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that impact your writing?
I am a part-time writer. I have a full-time day job and I have three kids. I would love to write full-time but it’s not possible for me right now. It does impact my writing. Instead of having an eight hour day to do a writer’s job, I only have about two hours a day and the time is either very early in the morning or very late at night. So I’m not as prolific as I’d like to be. And don’t forget that a writer’s job isn’t just writing. It’s managing social media, making blog posts, scheduling appearances, etc etc.

On to The Star Host. What interested you about the theme of this book?
I wanted to give an LGBTQ teen an adventure. I wanted to show that LGBTQ kids can be heroes. Their stories don’t always have to be centered on their sexuality. And while those stories are important and necessary, I wanted to give a bisexual teen an adventure.

What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
The most difficult part of writing for me, as mentioned above, is finding time to do it. It’s difficult to try and write a story when I’m not fully caffeinated, or when I’ve been at work all day and I’m tired. I do have to mention though that when I’m invested in what I’m working on, the words usually pour out very quickly. I wrote The Star Host in only four months.

And just for a bit of fun, what are your four most important food groups?
Caffeine (coffee and soda), pizza, sweets (cookies!), steak

Funny, but whenever I have to answer that last question, it always features four types of chocolate!

Thank you, F.T. Good luck with the book! And for the rest of us, here’s more about it:

 

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Ren grew up listening to his mother tell stories about the Star Hosts – a mythical group of people possessed by the power of the stars. The stories were the most exciting part of Ren’s life, and he often dreamed about leaving his backwater planet and finding his place among the neighboring drifts. When Ren is captured by soldiers and taken from his home, he must remain inconspicuous while plotting his escape. It’s a challenge since the general of the Baron’s army is convinced Ren is something out of one of his mother’s stories.

He finds companionship in the occupant of the cell next to his, a drifter named Asher. A member of the Phoenix Corps, Asher is mysterious, charming, and exactly the person Ren needs to anchor him as his sudden technopathic ability threatens to consume him. Ren doesn’t mean to become attached, but after a daring escape, a trek across the planet, and an eventful ride on a merchant ship, Asher is the only thing that reminds Ren of home. Together, they must warn the drifts of the Baron’s plans, master Ren’s growing power, and try to save their friends while navigating the growing attraction between them.

Book Name: The Star Host
Series: Broken Moon, Book 1
Publisher: Duet Books, the Young Adult imprint of Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Messer
Release Date: March 3, 2016

 

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coverOnce at the hangar, Ren broke away from the two guards and entered the lancer, walking up the stairs, irritation a heavy feeling in his chest.

“Reporting for work,” Ren said, his tone heavily laced with annoyance.

Janus popped up from a console she had been working under, goggles on her face, gray hair sticking up everywhere. “You!” she snapped. “I told you not to come back.”

Ren rolled his eyes. “It’s not my choice. I don’t want to be here anymore than you want me here.”

“Where are your guards? I told the dumb one not to bring you back, Abiathar’s orders be damned. I don’t want your kind working on these ships.”

She poked a finger hard into Ren’s chest and he staggered back, and rubbed his hand over the spot.

“What the stars do you mean by my kind?”

Her eyes grew comically large behind the goggles. “You don’t know?” She laughed, bordering on hysterical. “You’re more dangerous than I thought. You can’t try to control it if you don’t even know what you are.”

Ren frowned. His tolerance for the cryptic nonsense everyone had spouted since he arrived was gone. He took a step toward the hull and Janus stiffened.

“Don’t,” she barked.

“Don’t what? Touch it? What will happen, huh?”

Her face paled and her chest heaved with panicked breaths. “You don’t know what you’re capable of.”

Ren laughed. “I’m capable of nothing. I’m a duster, planet-born with very limited experience with tech. You have no reason to be frightened of me.”

He moved closer to the hull, hand outstretched, fingers splayed.

She whimpered. “Please, don’t.”

Ren slammed his hand against the hull, his fingertips leaving greasy marks on the shiny surface. As he predicted, nothing happened.

He turned back to Janus. “See? Nothing–”

His word tangled in his throat, cut off, because suddenly, Ren was consumed with power, rushing from his toes to his fingertips. A blue tint clouded his vision, and his body suffused with golden warmth. And then he was floating amongst the wires, connected to the ship, to the energy source, to everything. The lancer pulsed under his skin, tangling in his veins, its systems integrated with his senses.

It was freeing and frightening.

His consciousness raced along the circuits and he could fix it. He could fix everything. He found the tangle of wires in the artificial gravity system and bypassed it. He found the broken circuits in the air recyclers and with a pulse of power, refurbished them. He saw the static in the com system, a physical entity, and he cleared it away with a brush of his metaphysical hand.

The longer Ren floated through the ship, the less connected he was to his physical body. And if he thought about it, he didn’t need his body. Why would he need his body? He was free here. He moved around with ease, the wires and the systems his route, and the more he pushed, the more he felt the other ships too. They were nearby, on the edge of his perception, and he could go to those, he could jump to the other ones and repair them too.

He could.

He could.

 

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Final (2)

 Rafflecopter Giveaway – Click HERE

 

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F.T. wrote her first short story when she was in third grade and her love of writing continued from there. After placing in the top five out of ten thousand entries in a writing contest, she knew it was time to dive in and try her hand at writing a novel.

A wife and mother of three, F.T. holds degrees in psychology and English literature, and is a long-time member of her college’s science-fiction club. F.T. has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and science-fiction novels—especially anything by Douglas Adams.

Connect with F.T. at authorftlukens.wordpress.com on Twitter @ftlukens, on Tumblr at ftlukens.tumblr.com and on Goodreads at goodreads.com/ftlukens.

 

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3-Mar: Hearts on Fire, Happily Ever Chapter, Kirsty Loves Books, Velvet Panic

4-Mar: Full Moon Dreaming, Havan Fellows, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

7-Mar: Jessie G. Books, Divine Magazine, Boys on the Brink Reviews

8-Mar: V’s Reads, Butterfly-O-Meter, Love Bytes

9-Mar: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Nephy Hart, KathyMac Reviews

10-Mar: Bonkers About Books, Inked Rainbow Reads, Prism Book Alliance, Attention is Arbitrary

11-Mar: A.M. Leibowitz, The Novel Approach

14-Mar: Man2ManTastic, Anna Butler Fiction

15-Mar: Molly Lolly, Bayou Book Junkie

16-Mar: BFD Book Blog, My Fiction Nook

 

WillPride

Asta Idonea has Souls For Sale

She looks so darn innocent too. I mean, look at the author pic down there. Does that look like the face of a woman who writes  – hushed tones – gay demonic sex? But she is. And I for one am delighted about that fall from grace, and even more delighted to host Asta here today and tell you more about her latest releases, a short story 21st Century Demon and the accompanying novella, Hell to Pay, both wrapped into a single book called Souls for Sale.

And what’s more, a book with possibly the most gorgeous cover I’ve ever seen. So many m/m romance covers are much of a muchness, so alike that I can barely tell one from another. But this cover? Stunning. Beautiful. Evocative.

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21st Century Demon
It should have been an easy job: a contract signed and a new soul earmarked for Hell. But when suave demon deal-maker Saul chooses nerdy Thomas Ives as his next target, events take an unexpected turn. The lines between business transaction and pleasure blur, and Saul must decide whether he cares more for his professional reputation or the soul he just condemned to eternal damnation.
 

Hell To Pay
The contract was destroyed and Tom’s soul saved from Hell. Or so they thought.

Demon deal-maker, Saul, and his mortal lover, Thomas Ives, find themselves on the run when the other demons take none too kindly to Saul’s bending of the rules. With the denizens of Hell on their heels, Saul and Tom must fight to stay one step ahead, knowing that if they’re caught there’s only one direction they’re headed: down.

When Heaven decides to get involved, Saul’s actions are no longer a mere bureaucratic misdemeanour but the basis of a factional confrontation. And now only one question remains: to whom does Tom’s soul truly belong?

 

Souls For Sale
Asta Idonea
Wayward Ink Publishing
Published: 5 February 2016
MM PNR Short Story & Novella
139 pages (PDF)

 

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21st Century Demon

It’s a bold move so early in the conversation. I couldn’t have made it more obvious if I’d had a flashing neon sign above my head. But I find I’m starting to enjoy myself. He’s a bit of a nerd, but the guy has looks, and I’m as partial to a pretty face as any man. Given my nature, I’m pretty gender fluid. Girls or guys, I’ll swing either way.

My plan had been to seduce him as myself—get his juices flowing and all that jazz—and then I’d offer him the waiter to sweeten (and hopefully seal) the deal on the contract. Now I’m beginning to change my mind. Why not set myself a little challenge and make myself the main reward?

Yep, if he signs on the dotted line, he gets one night of unbridled passion with yours truly. Not to blow my own trumpet or anything, but it’d be a much better deal for the guy. I’m fairly certain the waiter’s straight, for one thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s feeling up that waitress out back even as we speak. For another… well, let’s just say no one, male or female, has every finished a night with me feeling in any way… unsatisfied, if you get my meaning. I’ve got the moves, baby. Austin Powers, Don Juan, Casanova. They have nothing on me.

The waiter returns and sets two plates in front of us. The opulent dessert is simply oozing chocolate. Like most demons, I have a terrible sweet tooth and so I dig right in. I’m probably shovelling the cake down faster than would be deemed suitable for polite society. But to hell with that! Within seconds I’m scraping the last vestiges onto my cake fork and licking hard to clean off every last morsel.

I can feel Tom’s gaze on me so I make the most of it and elaborate the movement. I work that fork in and out of my mouth like I can’t get enough, sucking hard. I conclude the display with a satisfied sigh; then I set the much-abused item of cutlery back on the plate.

When I glance up, Tom is stock still. He was obviously about to take a bite when I began my show because his fork has come to a halt about an inch away from his mouth. His elbow is locked in place, and his (frankly quite perfect) lips are parted, jaw frozen open.

Audio Excerpt

 

 

Hell To Pay
I glance over at the bed where Tom lies in peaceful slumber. His face, framed by a halo of blond curls, is angled towards me. The gentle exhale makes several of those golden strands flutter. His full, oh-so-tempting lips are slightly parted, and for a brief moment I do want to wake him, so I can claim them in a kiss. He’s only wearing boxers. We don’t have an extensive wardrobe with us, and sleepwear was the last thing on our minds when we made our initial getaway, I can tell you! Actually, it’s the last thing on our minds even now. Anyhow, where was I? Oh, yes. I permit myself a moment to appreciate the hypnotic rise and fall of that smooth, pale chest before allowing my gaze to wander lower, over the ever-enticing bulge at his groin and down his long, lithe legs. Mmm. I remember how it felt to have those luscious legs wrapped around me a few hours ago, his heels pressing glorious bruises into my buttocks as I thrust up into that perfect, tight….
My cock twitches and I fight to regain my focus. Do you see now why waking Tom is such a problem? For one, he looks so angelic when he sleeps, it always seems a pity to disturb him. But at the same time, I only have to look at him to want him, and we really don’t have time for that sort of thing when we’re meant to be making a swift and silent exit from the scene.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re rolling your eyes at that corny old Star Wars line. Well, roll away. I may be a twenty-first-century demon, in touch with my yin and yang and all that jazz, but I’m still a bloke, and that “l” word comes kinda hard. Sweet Tom has no problem with it, sure, but he’s a sensitive, artistic type—it’s easier for them. As for us demons…. Look, can you keep a secret? Don’t tell this to the boy; don’t hurt him. Do you promise? Thing is, I’d always been told we couldn’t love— demons, I mean—that it was impossible, we weren’t built that way. All these years I believed it… and maybe I still do.

I mean, this thing I’m feeling, what if it’s not love? I don’t know what else you’d call it, but it’s gotta be a mistake, right? A demon falling in love at all, let alone with a mortal—how could that happen? Whether you believe in fate or free will, someone somewhere has made a huge cock-up. That’s what I can’t help but think when I look into those breathtaking blue eyes of his. Every time I kiss him, every time I lie with him—I mean that in the Biblical sense; I don’t always feel the need to be crude—I wonder, “Is this the last time? When the moment ends, will I blink and wake up to find this unnameable feeling gone?”

Audio Excerpt

 

 

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Wayward Ink Publishing

Amazon US  / Amazon UK / Amazon AU 

 ARe

 

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Author Pic 2015

Asta Idonea is the MM pen name of Nicki J. Markus. She was born in England in 1982, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011, publishing works through Wicked Nights Publishing and Silver Publishing before both companies closed their doors. She is now self-publishing some of her mainstream works, including the novellas Time Keepers and Day-Walker and the fantasy novel The Ragnarök Chronicles.
In the world of MM fiction she has had several short stories and novellas published by Wayward Ink Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, and Torquere Press. Her MM works span a wide range of genres from contemporary to fantasy to historical.
Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys: music, theatre, cinema, photography, sketching, and cross stitch. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel.