Prince of Flowers by Nazri Noor

A big welcome to Nazri Noor as part of his tour with Gay Book Promotions for Prince of Flowers.


Book Title: Prince of Flowers (Wild Hearts Book 1)

Author and Publisher: Nazri Noor

Cover Artist: Christian Bentulan

Release Date: September 30, 2022

Genres: Contemporary MM, Fantasy M/M Romance

Tropes: Enemies to lovers, forced proximity, shared bed, found family

Themes: Trust, truth (Both MCs spend a good amount of the book deceiving each other, and have to learn that maybe they shouldn’t!)

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: approx 62 000 words

This is book 1 in a series and does not end on a cliffhanger. HFN.



Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Also available on audio – narrated by Greg Boudreaux

Audible US | Audible UK


He captured a fae prince, but can he capture his heart?


Lochlann Wilde walks in the shadow of his father, a legendary summoner who commanded mythical beasts in battle. But Locke isn’t legendary. He’s barely a summoner, never passing his academy’s trial of the elements.

And then he accidentally summons a fae prince with a beautiful body and a bad attitude.

Sylvain is fiery and ferocious, stronger than anything Locke has ever encountered. And hotter, too. But time is running out. Locke must tame the prince’s wild heart. If he fails his trial, he’ll lose his inheritance and ruin his family’s name.

Without Sylvain, Locke could lose his chance to become a true summoner… along with his shot at true love.



The invisible entity’s breath rushed on the breeze, seductive and strong. The faint beat of its heart sounded like the playing of a distant drum. Above all things else I could taste the overwhelming power on the tip of my tongue, a palpable flavor of strange, alien magic.

I had to have it. I needed to earn my Summoner’s Crest. It was finally my time. I had to make my father proud, wherever he could be. I thrust my hand out, the grimoire levitating at eye level, pages fluttering in an eldritch wind as it turned to the correct section. The binding, the forging of a powerful contract.

“With iron will and stalwart heart I beseech you, great force of the ether. Make yourself known. Manifest. In the name of the summoners that have come before me, hear my words. Heed my call.”

A new wind swirled at my feet, sending leaves tumbling upward, whipping at the branches. Gooseflesh rose all over my skin, my body’s response to the tingle and thrum of gathering power. Something was here. Something was responding.

Time to finish the incantation, the barest minimum for me to qualify for the Summoner’s Crest. Time to complete the Pact of the Unknown.

“I invoke you, thing of the ether, unseen and unnamed. Grant me time and space enough to bargain and barter, to forge a bond that may yet be fruitful for us both.”

The wind howled, ripping at my cloak, shearing through my hair, screaming into my ears. It was coming.

It was here.

Time to bring it all home.

“Nameless of the ether, dweller in the unknown, I call you. I summon you. Come forth. Reveal yourself!”

Grass, leaves, and petals exploded in a burst from the center of the clearing, filling the air with a swirl of green and gold. I shielded my eyes, watching through the gaps in my fingers. Had it worked? It must have. I said all the words correctly, channeled the torrent of great magic through my soul, my flesh. Nothing short of a god could have resisted my summons.

And there he knelt in the center of the glade, his head low, his neck loose, a powerfully built man wearing leather trousers and little else. He propped himself up by one hand, groaning, rubbing at his forehead with the other, like someone recovering from a hangover. A side effect of the invocation, possibly.

Black hair fell in soft wisps over his brow, across his pale gold eyes. They took their time to focus, then filled with defiance, with wild devilry. He glanced up at me, eyes widening, mouth turning up in anger. But even in fury the man was devastating. That face, those lips, that — oh, gods, that body. He was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen.

And then he opened his mouth.


About the Author

Nazri Noor is a California-based author of Filipino and Malaysian descent. While capable of fluently cursing in three languages, he only writes in English, and has been doing so in a professional capacity for over 20 years. His urban fantasy novels feature wise-cracking heroes who save the world with wits, style, and magic: think sass and class, while kicking ass.

Author Links

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Release Blitz – Bone to be Wilde by Dani Lakely

A big welcome to Dani Lakely as part of her release blitz with Gay Book Promotions for Bone to be Wilde.


Book Title: Bone to be Wilde (Holiday in Sunset Surf Book 2)

Author and Publisher: Dani Lakely

Cover Artist: J Witter

Release Date: September 27, 2022

Genre: M/M Halloween Rom-Com

Tropes: Opposites attract, amnesia spell, small town romance

Themes: Forgiveness

Heat Rating: 3 flames

It is the second book in the series, but may be read as a standalone. It does not end on a cliffhanger.



Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK


Drop in for a spell…



It’s trick or treat for two smitten lovers in this seasonal holiday romance as Halloween approaches and a little unleashed magic lets the ghoul times roll.

Forrest’s to-do list:
1. Convince Jonathan to move in with him.
2. No, seriously. That’s it.

It’s been nine months of playful bickering and bliss for Forrest Wilde and his boyfriend, Jonathan. But in order to move their relationship forward, Jonathan needs Forrest to find closure from his past.

Alexander Adler is back in town and dragging all of Forrest’s ghosts screaming into the light. Is there still a spark waiting to ignite between Forrest and his ex, or are they nothing more than toasted history? Forrest isn’t exactly eager to find out, given that sometimes the monsters under the bed are people who haunt us from days gone by.

Every autumn, the town of Sunset Surf comes alive in celebration of the season. But this year, when Forrest falls under a mysterious spell that forces him to forget the person he loves most, there will be plenty of spooks in store for the fun-loving and eccentric residents of this seaside village. Torn between flight and fright, Forrest must face his fears in order to make his way back to true love—or risk losing it forever.

Bone to be Wilde is a contemporary gay rom-com set in a small beach town on the Southern California coast. The story features an amnesia plot, hijinks and banter, corn maze capers, ghost stories, and a little black cat. Stop in for a spell if you’d like a Halloween treat!

* This story follows the events of the first book in the series, Merry & Sprite, but may be read as a standalone.



The ghost story is read word for word until the bewitched dildo appears.

“That’s not … you’re messing up the entire book, Forrest!”

Jonathan is sending him a withering glare from the worn and well-loved armchair he’s occupying. Forrest blinks lazily back at him, letting his mouth curve into a slow smile until Jonathan can’t resist and his frown breaks, the corners of his mouth lifting up too.

“That’s not how we learned it in school,” Jonathan says primly, but he’s biting at his cheek, trying not to laugh. That right there is one of Forrest’s favorite things about his boyfriend. Ruffling his feathers and then watching him completely eat it up.

Which is preciously the reason he’s turning The Legend of Sleepy Hollow into gothic erotica as he reads aloud to Jonathan, tucked away in the reading nook at the local book shop. The try-before-you-buy section of the store is brimming with used paperbacks, each one more dog-eared and dusty than the last, scattered in senseless piles on shelves and spilling onto the floor.

It’s one of their usual haunts for a late afternoon date, and on this particular Saturday in mid-October, Forrest is trying to draw out their time together as much as he can.

“And then,” he continues in a sinister tone, “the women of Sleepy Hollow tied Ichabod up in the horse stables and gave the naughty schoolmaster his own education … on strap-ons.”

“You’re insufferable.”

“Ichabod-od-od,” Forrest calls out, in a tone meant to annoy. “A curious and kinky spell had been cast upon him to bend over for anyone, at any time. Ichabod became the town—”

“Hush! Don’t talk about spells in front of…” Jonathan’s eyes go wide as he nods towards a little black cat, curled up soundly in a reading chair nearby. Lilith, he mouths silently.

There’s this kooky idea Jonathan’s latched onto about Lilith possessing magical powers. This came after he was struck on the head by a Christmas ornament and the fairy godfather capers that followed brought the two of them together. Forrest doesn’t like to think he got a boyfriend due to a braining, but here he is.

He’s not going to deny the possibility that Jonathan may have been under somebody’s spell when he mysteriously started getting psychic visions that led him into granting the wishes of local townsfolk. But Forrest is resistant to boarding the Lilith train without any proof other than Jonathan thinking she winked at him. And sparkled, like some sort of glitter fairy of cats, which definitely isn’t a thing that exists.

But the matter of wish-granting was not the first peculiar situation to occur around here, and many of these unexplained events happened long before Lilith trotted into town and charmed the entire village into taking her in. Though lately, she’s chosen Forrest’s bed to call her own. To be fair, he can’t blame her. His eight-hundred-count sheet set is amazing.

The truth is, there’s always been something in the water at Sunset Surf, and he’s not just talking about the radical waves.

About the Author

DANI LAKELY is a recovering people-pleaser who loves a proper cup of tea, days spent at the ocean, and helicopter parenting the birds who frequent her yard in a small seaside town on the West Coast of the United States. Pretty much, if your granny’s into it, so is Dani!

Often to be found with a book in hand, she reads across many genres, but her favorite is queer romance. Dani’s fondness for love stories carried over from reading to writing, and she is genuinely happy to share her kissing books with you.


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Release Blitz – Making Waves by Christina Lee

A big welcome to Christina Lee as part of her release blitz with Gay Romance Reviews Tours for Making Waves.

RB MW Banner

Release Blitz & Excerpt:
Making Waves
By Christina Lee

Making Waves Cover

Franklin University Series, Book 7

Alex Larsen

Remy Duval was my high school crush and secret first kiss, but he’s also so much more. A painter, a tattoo artist, my best friend Bailey’s older brother…and Bailey’s sworn enemy. It was easier to keep my distance the past two years, but now that Bailey and I are attending Franklin University with him, I’m only drawn to Remy more. I should be loyal to my best friend, focus on classes and swim team, but the more I see Remy around campus, the harder it becomes to stay away.

Remy Duval

My brother hates me, but that’s no surprise. I’ll take the fall for ruining our family if it means doing the right thing. But as soon as my brother and his best friend show up on campus, I know I’m in trouble. Alex is all grown up, and I can’t help wanting him, especially when he’s in those tiny swim briefs that emphasize everything.

One kiss leads to more, and before we know it, we’re tumbling into secret, no-strings-attached hookups. But who knew Alex would understand me in ways few others have? And I think, just maybe, I understand him too.

I keep telling myself it’s temporary. Alex doesn’t want to disappoint his best friend, and after what my parents went through, I’m not looking to settle down. Making waves is nothing new, but the further I fall, the more I drag Alex in the deep end with me.

Universal Link

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MW Teaser 1


“Wanna dance?” Alex asked with a hopeful glint in his eye.

“Nah, I’ll just observe from a safe distance.” I leaned forward. “I like watching you.”

He made a frustrated sound. “Okay, you don’t play fair.”

“And you do?” I chuckled, eyeing him.

“Ready?” Jordan nudged him, and Alex nodded.

Just as they were about to head out, Alex swung around. “Will you hold my jacket so I don’t lose it?”

“Of course.” Once I took it from him, I slipped my arms through it so it wasn’t dragged or stepped on or anything. The material was warm and soft, obviously broken in from use. But when I angled my head and sniffed the lapel, it smelled like him too. Perfect.

“What?” I asked, realizing that Alex was staring at me with a wistfulness in his eyes.

“It looks good on you,” he said, adjusting the hem against my waist.

I grimaced. “Don’t get any ideas.”

“Well, you did go to a football game, which I still can’t believe.”

“You and me both.”

As soon as I shifted, I realized that his jacket was a bit of a tight fit in the shoulders. I’d need to be careful so I didn’t tear it.

“By the way, I wouldn’t be caught dead in this thing if it wasn’t yours.”

He cracked a smile. “Thank you for your sacrifice.”

I leaned forward. “You’re welcome, Chlorine Boy.”

MW Teaser 2

MW Teaser 3

Christina Lee Logo

About the Author:

Once upon a time, Christina Lee was a wardrobe stylist in New York City. She spent her days schlepping clothes, hailing cabs, and on the hunt for the perfect lip gloss, which became a bit of an addiction—along with books and coffee. You could always find her perched in a corner booth of a favorite diner sipping a dark roast and reading.

She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband and son—her two favorite guys. She’s been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher and while very rewarding, they still didn’t feel like an exact fit. It wasn’t until she began writing a weekly column for the local newspaper that the bells went off in her head. She could finally draw from her real-life experiences and vivid imagination to write fiction—and she’s never looked back.

Christina writes romance in different sub-genres, but mostly with LGBTQ characters because representation matters and everyone deserves a happily-ever-after.

Connect with Christina:


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Book Review – Bad Bishop by Layla Reyne

Perfect Play #2
Publisher: Layla Reyne
Pages: 229
Characters: Levi/Marsh
POV: 3rd
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Series

When a marriage of convenience becomes more than either husband bargained for…

Special Agent Levi Bishop needs to:
Keep his son and family safe.
Prove his boss was framed for a crime she didn’t commit.
Convince his selfless cowboy husband that his needs matter too.
Make a bold play before love slips through his fingers.

Special Agent Emmitt Marshall needs to:
Protect his husband and stepson.
End the nightmare that’s haunted him since his mentor’s murder.
Hack through layers of deception to identify the real threat.
Stop hoping someone will choose him.

Marsh is determined to go it alone, to guard his family and his heart.
But Levi’s life and heart are on the line too.
Cornered, Levi will chance any play to save the marriage and man he needs.
Rings were exchanged and promises made.
Marsh kept up his end of the bargain.
Now it’s Levi’s turn.

Bad Bishop is the second book of the Perfect Play trilogy, a swoony, edge-of-your-seat M/M romantic suspense series featuring a marriage of convenience between two FBI agents determined to stop a common enemy—and to do right by each other.

Buy Link


I love this series with its mix of wonderful characters, suspense, and a marriage of convenience that quickly turns into so much more. The supporting cast from other series are great. I need to read their books now too.

I like how both Marsh and Levi have lost someone they care about and how that influences their insecurities that this relationship will end with the assignment. They’re both very capable at their jobs, but aren’t as confident in their private lives, although it’s obvious to everyone they’ve fallen for each other. I love the flirting and and how their relationship grows.

I like how Levi still has good memories of his wife, and how those play a part in the book. I like his relationship with his son, David, and how David is growing closer to Marsh too. They’re all becoming a family. I love Marsh’s mothers. They’re a force to be reckoned with and still very much in love. I like the way they take one look at Marsh and Levi and know how they truly feel about each other. I like Sean’s friendship with Marsh, and how he uses his money for good.

I like the dynamics of the team in Hague and how all that plays out, with not everything always being as it seems. I love how the tension rises as Levi and Marsh play an increasingly dangerous game.

The chess analogies are very clever and fit the plot perfectly with their games being played on different levels. Catherine is a nasty piece of work. And that ending! I need book 3 now to make sure these guys get their HEA, and bring the bad guys to justice.

5 out of 5 stars.

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Release Blitz – Destined Prize by Bailey Bradford

A big welcome to Bailey Bradford as part of her release blitz with IndiGo Marketing and Design for Destined Prize from Pride Publishing.

Destined Prize by Bailey Bradford

Book 3 in the Wild Ones series

Word Count: 45,576
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 183



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Book Description


Sam’s imagination was never this wild.

Coywolf shifter Emil Akers is still trying to find his own place in their world, with his dominant tendencies making him butt heads with his big brother and alpha, Casey. After trying to strike out on his own, Emil’s back, farming his own ranch, the Lone Pine, and taking care of his sexual needs with one-nighters, usually far from the small town his pack lives in.

Sensing a story in the accounts of unearthly wild creatures in a small Wyoming town, aspiring reporter Sam Brannigan comes to Britton to research, not have a one-night stand. But after a few drinks and a dark promise from tall, dark and buff in cowboy boots, he happily submits. Submits totally, in fact.

The problem is that the one-nighter proves the two of them are destined mates. Another snag is that both Emil and Sam, two men from two very different backgrounds, are keeping secrets—and Emil’s could shatter Sam’s world.

And when someone seems determined to make the existence of shifters known, Emil and Sam are caught in the crossfire. All hell’s breaking loose, and what they both have to do to ensure the other survives could make their relationship one of the casualties.

All his life, people told Sam he was too imaginative. But he could never have imagined anything this wild…

General Release Date: 4th October 2022


“What do I think? I think all this X-Files crap’s nothing more than jerk-off fodder for teenage weirdos who never step foot out of their mommas’ basements into the light of day. That’s what I think. Oh, and I also think that you’ve gone from having a hard-on over it to getting your balls in a twist about it.” Frank Bueller poked Sam Brannigan in the chest to punctuate his words.

Frank wasn’t from much farther south than Casper, Wyoming, where he lived and worked, but he threw colorful ‘southern’ expressions around the Herald’s newsroom like X-rated confetti. Sam’s theory was that Frank felt it was something a newsman had to do, and with the man dating from pre-internet days, no one had been able to check up on his background and call him out on it originally. Having gotten away with it, once he’d made editor, he’d run with it more.

Capisce, Brannigan?” Frank, also not of Italian background, added.

Versteht.” Having a German grandfather meant Sam could cobble bits of other languages together too. “Well, thanks for that.”

Still staring hard at Sam, Frank blew air down his nostrils in true Frank ‘The Bull’ Bueller style. He turned to rap on the glass of his office window, signaling something to someone out into the bullpen, finishing his message by tapping on his wristwatch and holding up four fingers. “Look, Brannigan,” he said.

“Don’t tell me. Walk with you to the break room,” Sam muttered and stood aside for Frank to lead the way.

He’d been prepared for this tactic even before he took up the job here almost two years ago. If Frank was pitched an idea that didn’t grab him right away, he’d get the writer to go through it again while walking to the staff break room with him. A Casper Herald journalist had to be really fired up about his idea to sell it bigger and louder in public like that, which would convince Frank. If the journalist didn’t want to make a public pitch, he’d drop it, which would save Frank the work of rejecting it.

And if it’s a yelling-down, explain and apologize for your screw-up and take your lumps right then and there in his office. Not the bullpen,” Sam’s father had also told him, having known Frank from their cub reporter days. Sam agreed with that. A public sales pitch was one thing, a public crucifixion another. Frank’s approach to staff development and mentoring was old-school.

Which was why him not shoving open his office door and barreling through into the public arena surprised Sam. Instead, Frank took a quick solo walk around his office, coming to a stop before the Herald’s wall of fame and its photo of award-winning journalist A.L. Brannigan, in all his late-eighties high hair and oversized-eyeglasses glory.

At least Frank didn’t cast a glance back at Sam, comparing and contrasting father and son. Sam’s strawberry-blond hair, while longer on top than at the sides, was more messy from running his fingers through it than piled high with product, and his glasses more nerd-hipster—the jury was still out—than the red statement frames his father wore in the photo.

“You ain’t totally happy here.” Frank spun around to accuse Sam. “Is it business news in particular or the Oil City in general?”

Hell. Sam glanced down at the carpet, half expecting to see he was standing in a black circle—he’d been put on the spot. “I’m grateful you gave me a chance after I graduated,” he started, wishing they had gone to the break room. He could use a glass of water right about now.

He knew he was lucky—not many grads went from college to a state’s largest print newspaper, whose daily and Sunday circulation was over twenty thousand and to which the Wyoming Press Association annually awarded the cup for best large newspaper in the state.

“And true, settling in Wyoming was never on my wish-list growing up, but I’m fine here in Casper.” It was a big enough city for him. “But while Casper’s a regional center of banking and commerce, I don’t intend to report business news forever, no.”

“Hey, I already started you working on energy-related stories,” Frank reminded him. He took another look at Alexander Brannigan. His photo didn’t show the Pulitzer Prize for Excellence in Public Service Journalism he’d won for his investigation into a Wyoming utility company whose shady cartel practice had allowed them to overcharge their natural gas customers for years, but Frank’s smile smacked of reminiscence for his former co-worker.

“We couldn’t keep him here after that,” he commented.

“So you got me. Hoping I’m a chip off the old block.” Sam regretted the words as soon as they came out of his mouth.

“Yeah.” Frank had probably never sugar-coated anything in his life. “Took you on as a favor. A legacy.” He gave a bull-like snort at the idea. “And you’re proving yourself. Your work ain’t all bad. It needs less ripping to shreds every story.”

“I— Thanks.” Sam meant it. That was praise indeed. And true. He was learning a lot here. More than he’d learned at Syracuse, in many ways. Frank’s dark-brown stare pinned him, demanding a fuller answer, so Sam tried to provide one. “Journalism…it’s more than a family thing, a legacy, to me. I wouldn’t have studied it if not.” Well, he’d double majored in Creative Writing too, but there was no point bringing that up. He’d only get accused of having an ‘itchy pen’.

Frank studied him for a few more seconds, then grunted. “So this is all about this cyber chatroom stuff you’re nuts-deep in?”

“ShareAlike? It’s a social news aggregation and discussion website network—” Sam started. Again. Only for Frank’s upraised hand to cut him off. Again.

“You don’t get enough of that virtual stuff with the computer edition?” Frank’s scowl lowered his brows right down to his flared nostrils.

Sam did work a lot on the Herald’s online paper, pushing for more frequent updates and integrated video and other multimedia content. Someone had to. Maybe that could be his legacy to the Herald. Well, it wasn’t as though he had a lot else to do. He was hardly out on a date every night. That scene had lacked any interest for him for a while now.

“These weirdo forums, with rednecks sighting Bigfoot and the wolfman, or whatever the latest craze is, after they get slung out of the bar…” Frank looked like he did when he ate spicy food. Sam expected him to rub his stomach to go along with the wince.

“So are the users heavy drinkers in rural communities who think they’ve seen something when they stagger out of the bar drunk, or teenage shut-ins who live in their mothers’ basements?” Sam looped back to Frank’s earlier pronouncement.

“Who the hell cares!” Frank sucked in a breath. “Nah, kid. You’re doing okay work in this uranium mine story. I think it’s gonna go big. Keep on that and keep pumping that environmentalist contact. Not these nutballs in chatrooms. You—”


Both Sam and Frank whirled around at Tony LeDoux’s urgent call from outside…at the same time as a tall, heavy-set guy shouldered Frank’s door open and barged in, more furious than even Frank on a Monday morning. He stopped on seeing Sam.

“Just the lying piece of crap I’m here to complain to your boss about!” he barked, squaring up to Sam.

“Frank Bueller, John Keef from Cheyenne, CEO of Logistics Transportation Inc.,” Sam said over his shoulder to Frank. Stubborn, he didn’t step aside for Keef, and so staggered a little when the guy shoved him aside to round on Frank.

“And he’s hella mad and hella strong,” Sam’s partner, Tony, added from the doorway.

“What’s this about, Keef?” Frank didn’t back down either. He also didn’t look in the least bit fazed.

“This piece of shit here wrote that bunch of lies about my drivers taking goddamn pills to stay awake and that I knew about it!” Keef yelled, gesticulating at Sam. “That I was okay with it—that I fucking encouraged it!”

“Mr. Keef’s logistics firm transports overweight and outsized components used in the wind power industry, you remember,” Sam filled Frank in. Not that there was any need, with the boss’ memory for details of stories, current and past. Frank regularly forgot his wife’s and kids’ birthdays and his own wedding anniversary, but never any specifics of stories.

“Oh yeah. They take the windmill blades to the landfill.” Frank nodded.

“Bueller, I’m here to tell you that if one of my employees—”

“Several,” Sam interrupted the CEO, using a fake cough to do so.

“—pops pills, I don’t know anything about it. That’s what I’m here about—I don’t give a crap about the blades,” Keef snarled.

“You don’t? Then why are you cutting corners to meet the disposal targets?” Frank snapped back. “Like making your drivers work double shifts because you’re not hiring enough men or got enough trucks?”

What?” gasped Keef.

“What we ain’t figured out yet is if it’s because your business is in trouble or because you got greedy,” Frank continued, the verbal equivalent of a one-two punch. “But we’ll find out.”

He raised his voice over Keef’s strangled-sounding protests, his insistence that the lying bag of shit who wrote this garbage be fired before Logistics Transportation sued him, the editor and the paper if it dared print the story.

“Shout the odds all you like, big guy. I stand by my men. Which, heh, is more than you do. We gave you a chance by sending you the copy and requesting an interview—the story runs tomorrow,” Frank announced.

Shouting “The hell it does!” Keef charged at Frank, who absorbed the impact and grabbed Keef in turn.

“See this? This is more like it!” Frank, mid-grapple, called over to Sam and Tony who were backing out of the door. “More like the old days! Proves this is the sort of stuff you should cover!” He paused to block a punch from his enraged opponent and land one in Keef’s stomach. Both Sam and Tony winced. “This is the kind of story to get your nuts in a knot about!”

The two men’s struggle had Keef knocking into the door, hard enough to slam it shut.

“Should we…?” Sam started to ask but subsided. No one else looked concerned, and Frank certainly hadn’t.

“Guess we got Keef where it hurts.” Tony cocked his head at the office. He raised his hand for a high-five, but when Sam didn’t raise his, folded his arms instead. “You okay? Oh, The Bull shoot you down in flames?”

Sam didn’t bother replying.

“Funny. You’d think he’d be more into it when all that UFO and crop circles shit is so retro.” Tony cast a final look at Frank’s office and made for his desk. “Guess you should move on, then. You know what it means when a guy gets obsessed with something that crazy to this degree?” He waited until a couple of their co-workers looked up. “Means he needs to get laid!”

“Like I told you, you’re not really my type.” Sam spoke even louder than Tony had. “But keep trying, and I might get desperate enough to take you up on it one day.” He blew his partner a kiss.

“In your dreams.” Tony blew him a raspberry in reply.

“Oh, you are. Wanna hear what I did to you?” Sam would never back down and usually wanted the last word. “It involved scented body oil, furry pink handcuffs and a rolled-up copy of the Casper Herald…”

“Oh, Jesus,” Tony whimpered as Sam sat.

There was no malice in the exchanges he had with Tony, or any of the other writers, just a sense of familiarity, of having slipped into a role and playing it out, as if Sam had been there longer than two years. Most of the others had. Was he bored? He tried to follow the thought through. He liked the job, yeah. He enjoyed investigative journalism…but he liked features, and long pieces too.

A tiny beep sounded—the new message alert Sam had set up for the ShareAlike forum he visited. Okay, haunted. Maybe he was in a rut, and this was escapism—it had his heart beating quicker than the stories he chased for the Herald. He took discreet glances around and clicked onto the forum. Inaspectus had posted again! Sam scanned it. The guy, or woman, not only believed all the stories about the sightings in that one area but reiterated his own, the details the same.

Sam took off his glasses to rub his eyes. Did he really believe there was a wolfman—a beast on two legs, bipedal, as Inaspectus swore he’d seen it—loose in a small Wyoming town? Inaspectus claimed he’d been clawed by the mutant, and another user had a similar tale of a lucky escape from a ‘were’. Sam didn’t know why he was so into this crazy story…any more than he knew why he opened a map of the state to see where this place was. All he knew was that he was drawn there.

He looked up at two of the building’s security guards hurrying onto the floor, just as Frank kicked his door open and elbowed his visitor out.

“Thanks, guys. Take out the trash,” Frank instructed them. He handed the spluttering Keef over and pointed at Tony then Sam. “Write up the heated denial from the subject of the story, could ya? The piece is taking shape!”

“Sure, boss.” Tony grinned.

Sam spoke before he knew he was going to. “Oh, hey, could I have a couple of days off?”

“Sure!” Spreading his hands, Frank went to set his office to rights. Tony followed, glaring at Sam for having gotten in first.

Sam looked down at his mouse mat. A gag gift from a friend when he’d been packing to head to Wyoming, it said SAVE A HORSE, RIDE A COWBOY. Well, the big cities didn’t have many of the latter, but he knew where there’d be some.

Out in ranching country, where all these weird sightings had been…and where he was planning to go for the long weekend he was taking.

To the small town of Britton, Fallon County.

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About the Author

Bailey Bradford

A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn’t happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey’s brain demanding to be let out.

Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey’s office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey’s presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.


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Volaria by M.D. Neu

A big welcome to M.D. Neu as part of his tour with Other Worlds Ink for Volaria.

Volaria - MD. Neu

M.D. Neu has a new gay paranormal book out: Volaria. And there’s a giveaway.

Humans are no longer alone; they have been joined by Arcanes, Lycans, and Vampires. It’s been over a hundred years since the Earth went through The Shift. Where once almost eight billion humans lived, the population now holds at four billion. But that wasn’t the only change.

No one anticipated the branching of human DNA to produce new species of humans. Arcanes, Lycans, and Vampires are hidden throughout the genome, awaiting puberty before they manifest distinctly unhuman abilities. Finally, the new species of man were welcomed. No longer studied or treated as outcasts by most. People accepted these new humans and they integrated into society, albeit not easily. This allowed the UN Government to focus on colonizing space, in order to secure a future for all.

Risks remain however, permitting a vampire to feed from you can cause shared memories. Tobin Corsian took such a risk. He resides in a newly reopened district of San Jose, California, where his family’s old home stood. He lives there with his friend Mikel, a Lycan, and his dog Begger. Instead of making his mandatory monthly blood donation at the government blood bank for the vampire community, Tobin decides, with the help of his therapist, to visit Biter, a vampire spa.

The spa allows vampires to feed from humans directly while providing spa and sexual services, granting the donor a three-month reprieve from their required donations. Tobin’s encounter at Biter opens a window to his past and an experience he had as a child on the moon. Questions abound as he tries to unravel his past and make sense of his life.

Warnings: This is a dark tale and does not have a Happy Ending, It’s not a bad ending, just not a happy ending.

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M.D. is giving away a couple free eBooks. Two winners – 1 free eBook copy of “The Calling” and 1 free eBook copy of “Contact” via Amazon.

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Volaria meme

Chapter Six

“Empty. Dark.” Malifo exhaled. His eyes narrowed as he continued to glance out at what space offered. Of course, space had a beauty too, and on the rare occasions when he would go off to see the Earth rise, the views were always lovely. Unmatched by anything else he had seen in his long life. But no matter what, the moon wasn’t home. Home, his proper home, was out there on a world filled with corruption, bigotry, hatred, and pain, a world in all his years, despite all their advances, had never changed.

A world, part of him, still longed for.

Images of the days of the pandemic, what they called The Shift now, his parents, their home. Everything he knew. Played out like a movie. Being taken away from his family, studied, tested, everything the scientists and doctors threw at him to try to explain what happened to him and the others. Try to heal him… fix him.

But, nothing.

They came up with medical terms and scientific names once they learned they couldn’t stop the changes, or cure The Shift, but for the others of the first generation, this acceptance came too late. All their faces flashed through his memories. Images he would never forget, each of his friends, those changing, there one day and gone the next, never to be heard from, or seen, again until he was all by himself.

The glass he held in his hand shattered.

“Fuck.” Malifo barked.

He bent down and picked up the broken pieces before the auto floor cleaner rushed over to tidy up his mess. He remembered loving all this new technology back when he was young… He stood, making his way to the bathroom and dropping the pieces of his glass into the recycler. Exhaling, he dusted off his hands and made his way into his office.

He glanced out at the gardens, the lawn, the trees, and the rose bushes, all transplanted here from Earth when he and the others founded Volaria. They had such high hopes, but the one import from Earth coming with them was their own corruption. He caught sight of his guards patrolling the outside area. A frown pulled at his lips.

Just like Earth.

The doors to his chamber opened.

He dusted off his shirtsleeves and watched as Qunitx and Daxtim entered, dragging a body.

Malifo sniffed the air, human… no arcane… female. Was this the one they were looking for?

Soja Nguyen, Marval’s former lackey.

“What do you have for me?” Malifo glided across the room, meeting his people.

“This little one has been snooping around where they don’t belong.” Quintx released the arm of the woman they held. “Their chip says they are working for the arcane guild here on the moon, but we know their cover is bullshit.” Quintx spat the words out. Their harsh tone assaulted the quiet of Malifo’s office. “She’s been making inquiries into all of us and Volaria.”

“Hmm.” Malifo rubbed his clean-shaven chin.

“We couldn’t move until she was stupid enough to come here where the constable doesn’t have eyes, then we nabbed her.” Daxtim, their voice was softer, more welcoming, making them more deadly in Malifo’s opinion.

“So, what you’re telling me is we captured this little magic user legally, so there won’t be any trouble with the UN and their tools in the guild?” Malifo’s eyes narrowed on both Quintx and Daxtim, waiting for an answer. They were two of his most trusted. But still they were Gen Threes and Gen Fours, so young and eager; useful, but occasionally sloppy. Still, he valued them both and would be lost without them.

“The guild won’t be an issue, but the Constable… the laws around trespassing are getting tricky.” Daxtim’s lips pursed.

“We transferred everything we have on her to your private net.” Quintx’s words blustered.

“I still can’t believe you use that antique.” Daxtim quipped, glancing at Malifo’s desk.

The desk may be an antique as well, according to Daxtim. Late twentieth century, the desk belonged to his grandfather. His father took the piece of furniture after his papa died. He remembered sitting off to the side sometimes when his dad was on a video conference for his work.

Malifo walked to his desk and picked up his tablet. “Old? Yes.” He scanned through the files once they were uploaded, “But this antique isn’t monitored and there are few people outside of museum technicians who can access the data when properly secured.” He ran his fingers over the PDFs and Word Documents. This kind of file storage was long since dead, but he insisted on using the device. Why change? Because the technology had been outdated? Malifo didn’t see anything wrong with the technology, only the age and speed. And maybe being out of place here on the moon. Kind of like him, in a way. After reviewing the information, he placed the tablet down on his desk next to his laptop circa the 2020s.

“Sometimes the old ways are the best ways.” Malifo sailed back to his colleagues. “Take the silencers and restraints off her.” He instructed and pulled over a chair to have a seat in front of his prey.

He waited for Quintx and Daxtim to remove all but a few of the restraints and he was pleased to see they left the magic neutralization threads on. There would be no spell casting from this one.

Daxtim shook the woman, not enough to harm her, but enough to help her come to. The woman in front of him stirred. Her eyes fluttered as her head moved side-to-side.

“Ah, there you are.” He reached out and lifted her chin as she came around.

“What is this?” Her voice was groggy and cracked. “Where am I?”

“This is my home. You came here unwelcomed. Trespassing.” Malifo spoke as if he read these words from a script, but put no life into them.

The woman blinked several times. She glanced to either side of her. She tried to move.

Malifo waited.

The woman struggled for a few more minutes, maybe longer. Malifo found time was something not fully relative to him, but still to others younger than him. The older he got, the fewer matters like time seemed to bother him. So he waited.

Finally, she spoke. “What have you done to me?”

He nodded. She now understood. “Well, for starters, we blocked your access to magic. We also have your restrained so you can’t move, and if my companions did their job.” He spared a glance at Quintx and Daxtim. “They removed and destroyed your ear link to the data center.”

They nodded. She struggled, but Quintx and Daxtim held her firm.

“Also, we’ve deleted your accounts.” He sat back, letting go of her chin. “Unfortunately, you will have an accident on your way to Mars.”

She thrashed about at this news.

As expected.

“My dear, there is no reason to struggle. You did this to yourself.” He crossed his left foot over his right. “Well, you and your people. You are nosing around in affairs not concerning you.”

“I don’t know what–”

“Don’t you ever lie to me!” Malifo shouted. “I know lies.” He raised a hand. “I’ve been lied to longer than you, your parents, and your grandparents have been alive.” He stopped, took several breaths, forcing himself to calm.


“What are you going to do?” The woman asked.

“You’ve given me and my friends no choice.” He pointed towards his people.

Quintx and Daxtim both laughed. He noted Quintx licking their lips, ready for a fresh meal.


“You can’t. I can help you.” The young woman pleaded as they tugged their arms, trying to break from the grip. “You’re being lied to. The truth is being hidden from you.”

This peaked Malifo’s interest. He wondered what a PhD in arcane magic might do for him, assuming he can trust her. Granted, he already had several arcanes working for him, not really trusting them, but still they served an important purpose. Along with humans and lycans. So she had nothing to offer him.

But… maybe… no.

People were always desperate when they were pleading for their lives. The begging was almost sad. A memory of his younger self, strapped down to a bed, the cries of those like him long since silenced. He blubbered, he pleaded for his parents; he pleaded for someone to help him. Malifo promised all manner of things only a child promises. He shook the image from his mind. Was he any better than those people from his past? He supposed not.

Still, he wouldn’t torture her. He had the ability to make her passing pleasant and pain free and despite what happened to him, he would never put another through any kind of pain, if pain can be avoided and not warranted.

“Is this what Zeberly would have wanted?” She shouted.

The chair Malifo sat in all but flew to the wall. An enormous crash behind him. The sound pushed instant feelings of regret to the pit of his stomach. “Never mention that name.” Malifo yelped. “You don’t know what he would have wanted. None of us do, because he was taken from us by people like you! You know nothing of him.”

“What about the other one?” She begged.

This made Malifo laugh. He shook his head. “Your information, my dear, is outdated. There is no one else, there were only two and with Zeberly’s death, the link ended.”

“You’re wrong.” The woman pleaded. “I received word–”

“Enough of this.” Malifo commanded and turned his back on the woman. “What else do you have to say? Or are you ready to face the inevitable?”

“I have your name.”

Malifo laughed. “Everyone has my name.”

“Your actual name.” Soja countered. She licked her lips. “Martin Li—”

“Enough!” Malifo bellowed, walking over and stuffing the silencer back over her mouth. “Take Soja to be prepared for her draining.”

Quintx and Daxtim shared a look, but said nothing to Malifo.

If they want to live, they will say nothing about the truths Soja spoke.

Author Bio

M.D. Neu

M.D. Neu is an international award-winning inclusive queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.

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Teaser Tuesday – 4/10/22 – Winter Duet

My #teasertuesday this week is from Winter Duet, book 2 of my WWII Echoes Rising series.

“Verdammt!” Kristopher exclaimed before he could stop himself. He lowered his head, but it was already too late. He’d seen the recognition in the man’s eyes.

“Lehrer!” Reiniger shouted. “Stay where you are! You’re under arrest.”

He had to get out of there. Kristopher glanced around wildly, looking for an escape route. Müller drew his weapon. So did the Feldgendarme next to him.

Kristopher backed up instinctively, Müller closing the distance between them and blocking the way forward. He and the men with him were between Kristopher and the door they’d come through, preventing him from using it as an escape route.
The door at the other end of the ward was his only chance. He heard Dr Osterhagen say something but didn’t register the words.

He turned tail and ran for the remaining exit, hoping, praying, he’d reach it in time. He heard footsteps behind him, the sound of boots getting louder as they began to catch up.

He had to reach Michel or at least find some way to warn him.

You can read more of this story here.

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Release Blitz – A Little More Trust by Pauley J Ray

A big welcome to Pauley J Ray as part of his release blitz with Gay Book Promotions for A Little More Trust.


Book Title: A Little More Trust

Author: Pauley J Ray

Publisher: NineStar Press

Cover Artist: Jaycee DeLorenzo

Release Date: September 6, 2022

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Opposites attract, businessman and blue-collar worker, richer vs poorer

Themes: Dealing with cheating and betrayal. Trust is a fragile thing

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 84 600 words /311 pages

This is the first book in the Hot Property Series. Each of the four books will concentrate on a different main character from a successful construction company. Each successive book will include spoilers from the previous one if the books are not read in order.

This book does not end on a cliffhanger.



Buy Links

NineStar Press | Barnes & Noble

Amazon US | Amazon UK


Sometimes it’s harder to trust than to love



Ethan Scott has everything he could possibly want: an amazing career, great friends, and more money than he’s ever dreamed of. Oh, and men. So many men. Yep, life is perfect, and he doesn’t ever see it changing.

Nate Sullivan has sworn off men. They can’t be trusted. Simple as that. After years of being lied to by the man he thought he loved, the very married man with a wife and kids, he’s promised to never give his heart away or get emotionally attached to anyone again.

Ethan thinks it’ll be a sure thing to get Nate into his bed, but when the sexy and frustrating decorator rebuffs him at every turn, he comes up with a new plan to tempt the man he can’t stop thinking about. A sex agreement. For the duration of Nate’s work contract, with no strings attached and definitely no hearts and roses or emotional fallout.

It sounds like the perfect deal. Nate gets to have the man he’s been craving since they first met before walking away, his heart intact. Ethan gets to have Nate in his bed, finally satisfying the itch he’s constantly trying to scratch. Problem is, Ethan’s still trying to extricate himself from his disastrous marriage and if there’s one thing Nate won’t touch, it’s a married man. When Nate finds out what Ethan’s been hiding, the betrayal of trust leaves him devastated.

Nate leaves, but Ethan’s determined not to let him go. Will Nate give him the chance to explain, or will he risk losing the only man he’s ever truly loved?




Pouring the steaming coffee into my usual mug, I let the rich aroma fill my senses. God, I needed this. Taking a large gulp, I savored the strong taste as it hit my tongue, the heat burning my mouth and throat as I swallowed, I hoped like hell the caffeine would kick start my body after the late night I’d had.

I plopped myself down at the kitchen table to take the weight off my aching thigh muscles from last night’s activities when the front doorbell rang loudly in the quiet space. Who the hell was that—I glanced at the clock on the wall—at a quarter to nine on a Saturday morning?

The bell rang again so I pushed my seat back and dragged my ass up the stairs and down the first-floor hallway. Yanking the front door open to get rid of whoever had ruined my peaceful morning, I was about to give them an earful, but then I looked into his face and the words died on my lips.

The man standing on my doorstep must have been mid-twenties at the most. A few inches shorter than my own six two, he wore a blue baggy t-shirt a good couple of sizes too big, almost drowning his slim frame, and a pair of loose-fitting gray jeans and black sneakers. His angular face gave him a Scandinavian look, with a strong jaw and high cheekbones. Sandy blond hair shone golden in the morning sun, short on the sides and long on top, swept away from his forehead and held in place with some product. My fingers itched to slide through the strands to see if they were as soft as they looked and a sudden image of my hand gripping tightly in his hair as I tilted his head to lick up his neck flashed through my mind.

Despite the tempting package he presented, I couldn’t seem to tear my eyes away from his lips. Pink and full, they were begging to be kissed, and I had to bite down hard on my tongue to refrain from licking my own in readiness.

Well, hello, Blondie.

“Mister Scott?” his smooth, quiet voice asked, giving me goosebumps and pulling me from the trance I’d fallen into. Lifting my gaze to the palest green eyes I’d ever seen, I nodded at his question, my mouth suddenly unable to voice a coherent response. He shifted on his feet, “I’m, err, here about the painting quote.”

Damn, was that today?

He extended his hand out in front of him, and, giving myself a mental shake to wake the hell up, I reached for his and clasped his palm, my own larger hand encasing his. A shock of electricity shot up my arm catching me by surprise. The guy obviously felt the effect too as his eyes widened and he took in a short, sharp breath.


“Please, call me Ethan.” I held onto his warm hand a little longer than necessary before reluctantly releasing it and giving him a friendly smile.

The guy stiffened slightly and inclined his head. “I’m Nate.”

“Nate.” I savored his name on my tongue, rolling it around. “Please, come on inside.”

I stepped aside to let him enter, unable to resist the urge to lean in slightly and inhale his scent as he passed by me. Light and citrusy with a hint of soap. As he moved into the hallway, I gave him the once over and was disappointed to see his t-shirt covered his ass, obscuring my view.

Jesus. I had to stop perving on the guy. I deliberately pushed my hands into my sweatpants pockets to try to hide my growing erection and to subtly press my fingers against the head of my cock to give me some degree of control and hopefully, relief.

It didn’t.

Nate had stopped a few feet into the hallway, glancing around, assessing his surroundings, but he didn’t say anything and waited silently for me to take the lead.

“Come on,” I offered. “I’ll give you the tour, and we can talk about what I want.”



About the Author

Pauley J Ray has been making up stories in his head for as long as he can remember, and now gets to write those stories down in his own gay romantic fiction, involving sexy, complicated, and flawed characters searching for their happily ever after.

When not writing, he loves meeting up with friends and can’t wait to get outdoors with his husband, hiking, camping and traveling to new and exciting places as often as they can.

He feels extremely lucky to be able to sit at his laptop, all day, every day, creating the heartfelt, angsty and passionate romance books he himself loves to read.



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October Sale Book – Family and Reflection

My October sale ebook is Family and Reflection, book 3 of The Sleepless City series.

Ebook sale!

When a rebel werewolf and a vampire thief fall in love, only one thing is certain—trouble.

For as long as Lucas Coate can remember, werewolves have been taught to mistrust vampires. Lucas is an exception—he has close friends who are vampires. The werewolf pack in Boggslake—and their leader, Jacob Coate—have made it clear that Lucas’s association with vampires is barely tolerated, and another transgression will be his last. When Lucas finds out about the plague of werewolf deaths in the area, he wants to help even though his own life may already be in danger.

Declan has been away from Boggslake for ten years, but he isn’t surprised to learn that the internal politics of the Supernatural Council haven’t changed for the better. When a series of burglaries hit close to home soon after he arrives, Declan—a vampire and professional thief—is their prime suspect, although for once, he isn’t responsible. With the council keeping secrets, no one is safe. Time is running out, and for Lucas and Declan, everything is about to change.

Authors Note: This story was originally released by another publisher. This edition has been re-edited.

Amazon US | Universal Link | Paperback | The Sleepless City

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In Light’s Shadow by Warren Rochelle

A big welcome to Warren Rochelle as part of his tour with Other Worlds Ink for In Light’s Shadow.

In Light's Shadow - Warren Rochelle

Warren Rochelle has a new MM alternate history fantasy out: In Light’s Shadow.

Gavin Booker, a school librarian, leads an orderly, normal life. Work, jogging, friends from work, his son every other weekend. Gavin is also a secret. He is a hybrid, or part-fairy, and in the Columbian Empire, hybrids are under an automatic death sentence. Magic is illegal. So is loving another man, another capital crime. Fairies are locked away in ghettoes, magical beasts, such as gryphons, unicorns, and pegasi are kept in zoos.

Also in zoos: werewolves and other wers, centaurs, and Cheshire cats. The others, the tree and water spirits, the talking beasts, fauns, and the rest, are in hiding. This is the world in which Gavin grew up. He survived, thanks to his mother. He can never forget he is different: ministers preach against people like him constantly; hating the other is a part of every school’s curriculum.

But now, things are changing fast, and apparently, for the worst. Earthquakes, volcanoes, killer storms. The medicine Gavin takes to suppress his body’s glowing, isn’t working. The spells cast by his doctor, a witch, are losing their power. If anyone finds out what Gavin is, he is dead. Under threat, the Empire always goes after its marginalized people. Can Gavin survive the common catastrophe? Will he ever recover from losing the boys he loved? Can he find the fairy man who has haunted his dreams all is life before it is too late? Can his scarred heart ever heal?

Warnings: Suicide (off-stage), suicidal thoughts and suicide attempt, and self-harm

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In Light's Shadow meme - Warren Rochelle

The name on the sign by the empty cage read Equus caballus malum. No government-authorized sign would ever have any reference to human for a centaur. His mother had taught him the other name that morning beneath the Big Trees.

A pair of golden gryphons, also with clipped wings, and as unhappy looking as the pegasi, were in the next cage.

“There are supposed to be two silver gryphons, too,” Gavin said, after he read the sign. “I guess they are hiding in that cave in the back. Maybe the female is sitting on her eggs, or nursing her cubs.”

Latisha just nodded and tightened her grip on his hand. God only knows what her parents told her before this field trip.

The werewolf was next, sitting hunched over a rock in its forest habitat. It was an eastern red werewolf, with intensely blue human-like eyes. Listed on the sign in front of the cage were instructions for identifying werewolves in human form, and ways to protect oneself from such monsters. Canis lupus malum, evil wolf.

The werewolf seemed even sadder than the rest of the Bestiary’s denizens. It hadn’t looked up, no matter how loud the kids ahead of Gavin and Latisha had been, or how many faces they had made. But it did look up just as Gavin got to the cage and stared at him with those very bright blue eyes. Human eyes. Homo sapiens lupus. Gavin froze.

“Mr. Booker?”

He didn’t answer Latisha at first. Instead, Gavin watched as the werewolf, shaking its big shaggy head, came slowly over to the corner of the cage where they stood. Its eyes were focused intently on Gavin. It jumped on its hind legs, its big paws only separated from Gavin’s face by the glass.

“Help me, please, fairy, help me. They won’t me let change. They make me take drugs,” it said in a rough voice. “I need to change. Get me out of here.”

“I’m not a fairy. Shut up,” Gavin snapped back.

“Mr. Booker? Look, the silver ones came out,” Latisha said. She was staring at the gryphon cage. She turned when the werewolf asked again for the fairy to get him out. “Mr. Booker? What’s it talking about? What fairy?” Latisha asked, looking back and forth between the silver gryphons and the werewolf. The silver gryphons ran back in their cave.

“Not a fairy? Look at your hands, fairy,” the werewolf hissed.

Gavin dropped Latisha’s hand and looked at his own. The tips of all his fingers glowed, a faint, faint yellow glow, as if he had dipped them in fluorescent paint. He quickly slid them into his pockets.

I took the pills this morning. This shouldn’t be happening. Suppress, suppress, suppress.

“I’m not a fucking fairy,” he yelled at the werewolf who only growled and snarled in return. He looked quickly around the Bestiary. Was there anybody who’d hear him yelling? What was he thinking? Thank God nobody but Latisha was anywhere near Gavin and the werewolf.

Latisha stared at Gavin and the werewolf. “You aren’t supposed to say that word; it’s not nice. Mama told me so. What fairy is it talking about?”

Gavin took a deep breath. Seeing the fear in the little girl’s face, he spoke slowly, in as even and as calm a tone as he could muster. “I don’t know what fairy it’s talking about. There’s just you and me and we’re certainly not fairies.” The glowing had stopped, he felt it. He took a deep breath. “I’m sorry I got upset—that thing upset me. Your mother is absolutely right; you shouldn’t say that.”

“Fairies are bad, too,” Latisha said. He could guess what she was thinking. Latisha was remembering what she had been taught in school, the same things he had been taught in kindergarten and first grade, in Sunday school, and all the way through high school and college. Never mind the ads on TV and that radio that played over and over. The government made sure the lesson got through, that it was repeated over and over so no one could ever miss it. Even the youngest knew what the warning signs were, what to look out for. And what to do if they saw glowing people.

For your country and your Emperor, for God, for your family and friends, and because Jesus loves you: call the police. Just hit the big blue star on the nearest Automatic Reporting Machine and start talking. If you don’t know how to use the phone or the ARM, or neither is nearby, find the nearest normal adult and tell them. Normal people, good people, do not glow.

“Fairy, please. Help me.”

Gavin ignored the werewolf. “It’s not supposed to talk to us. Let’s go find Mr. Phillips and the rest of the class.”

Latisha nodded and reached for his hand. They walked away quickly, not looking back.

The werewolf yelled. “Fairy, help me, please!” Then it howled. They walked faster, Latisha looking over her shoulder.

Author Bio

In Light's Shadow - Warren Rochelle

Warren Rochelle lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his husband and their little dog, Gypsy, after retiring teaching English and Creative Writing at the University of Mary Washington in 2020. His short fiction and poetry have been published in such journals and anthologies as Icarus, North Carolina Literary Review, Forbidden Lines, Aboriginal Science Fiction, Collective Fallout, Queer Fish 2, Empty Oaks, Quantum Fairy Tales, Migration, The Silver Gryphon, Jaelle Her Book, Colonnades, and Graffiti, as well as the Asheville Poetry Review, GW Magazine, Crucible, The Charlotte Poetry Review, and Romance and Beyond. His short story, “The Golden Boy,” was a finalist for the 2004 Spectrum Award for Short Fiction.

Rochelle is the author of a book of academic criticism, Communities of the Heart: the Rhetoric of Myth in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin, published by Liverpool University Press in 2001. Other articles and book reviews on science fiction and fantasy have appeared in various journals, including Extrapolation, Foundation, North Carolina Literary Review, and the SFRA Review.

Rochelle is also the author of four novels: The Wild Boy (2001), Harvest of Changelings (2007), and The Called (2010), all published by Golden Gryphon Press, and The Werewolf and His Boy, published by Samhain Publishing in September 2016. The Werewolf and His Boy was re-released by JMS Books in August 2020. His first story collection, The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories, was published by JMS Books in September 2020. His second collection, To Bring Him Home and Other Tales, was published in September 2021, by JMS Books. A stand-alone story, “Seagulls,” was released by JMS Books in September 2021.

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