Interviewed by Kayleigh Sky


Check out my interview with Kayleigh Sky!

Thanks for hosting me.

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Release Blitz – In Wild Lemon Groves by Selina Kray

A big welcome to Selina Kray and part of her release blitz with Signal Boost Promotions for In Wild Lemon Groves.

Universal Buy Link: books2read.com/WildLemonGroves

Length: 55,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Tiferet Design

Blurb

A telltale knock on a quiet winter night is a sound no husband wants to hear.


Sébastien Osaki has spent the past three years surviving the loss of his beloved Henry. When Seb lands in Amalfi, Italy, for their would-have-been tenth-anniversary trip, he’s haunted by the memory of the man he loved. Following Henry’s notebook leads him to some breathtaking coastal views but also right back to his despair. Seb’s there to get his groove back, not let the past wrong-foot him at every turn.


Enter Andrea Sorrentino, chauffeur, part-time pet whisperer, a Bernini statue in a soccer tee and tight shorts. From the moment Andrea picks Seb up from the airport, he knows just how to soothe Seb’s case of the sulks. But Seb isn’t sure he’s ready for Mr. Right Now, let alone a potential Mr. Right, in a part of the world where all roads lead back to Henry.


Can sun, sea, and eating your weight in pasta mend a tragedy-stricken heart? Will wine-soaked Amalfi nights and long walks through lemon groves work their magic on Seb’s wounded soul? Or will he slink back into the shell of his grief once his grand Italian adventure is over?

Excerpt

Scent of sea and palm,
Craggy and ancient, a world
Bathed in saffron
#17, In Blue Solitudes, S. Wilson-Osaki


“A. S’okay.” Bleary eyed and bone weary, Sébastien stared at the sign for two minutes before it registered. He kept his distance, glanced around the bushel of sun-ripened cab drivers and chauffeurs waiting to squeeze every last euro out of their charges, but no.


This was him. Smile so bright it blinded, like glare off a windshield. Footballer’s frame decked in team colors and too-tight shorts. Face Bernini could have sculpted. Hair black as an oil slick, greased into a neat, perfect slope. His tortoiseshell eyes twinkled in Seb’s direction when he took a cautious step forward.


Signor S’okay?”


“Osaki. Yes.”


“Ah, Osokay.”


“Osaki. O-sak-i. Japanese.”


“You fly from Japan?”


“No. Canada. Montreal.”


Si, si, Signor Osaki. Sebastiano.”


Seb opened his mouth to correct him but nodded instead. “That’s me.”


“Andrea Sorrentino.” He thumped a hand on his chest. “You want I take your bag?”


“Uh…”


Before he could decide, the driver clacked down the handle on his extra-fee-heavy suitcase and hefted it under his arm like an unruly toddler. “Vieni, vieni.” He dove into the crowd before Seb could get his bearings.


Spotting the clean line to the exit, Seb set his own pace, his tipsy head still mired in a post-flight fugue. Thirty-two sleepless hours, plus a morning spent tracing and retracing his path through the labyrinthine halls of the Rome airport to make his connection, left him listless. With exhaustion but also nerves. What had he been thinking, shipping off to a country he’d never been to and where he didn’t speak the language?


The answer, of course, was Henry. Who should have been there, propping him up with his rock climber’s arms, but also with his wonderment, the kid-in-a-candy store way he’d seen the world. Henry had puffed all his energy and excitement and fire into Seb’s lead balloon and—in his latest impossible feat—made him fly.


Clutching his backpack like a life preserver, Seb practiced his deep breathing as he waded through the stream of travellers. More of a trickle, really, now that he was in the flow. One foot in front of the other, he reminded himself, looking for a focal point. A taut jean-clad ass, with a carefree swagger all its own, lured him the rest of the way. Seb staggered out of the airport terminal…


… into a whole new world. The hazy afternoon sun swaddled him like a warm blanket. Ripe with the scent of palm trees and petrol, the parking lot was more social gathering than frantic hub, with drivers chatting, smoking, and laughing as they waited for clueless travellers to wander by. Stoic mountains—silent sentries at the gate to paradise—shadowed the horizon, rings of mist crowning their crater heads.


Woozy with relief, Seb lowered his lids to half-mast and basked in the moment. This was Henry’s world. He was safe.


A hulking black SUV screeched to a halt in front of him, blocking the view. Before Seb could decide whether to be terrified or outraged, his driver slid open the side door, beckoning him into his luxury air-conditioned chariot. Too polite to give in to the urge to collapse across the seats and zonk out, Seb stumbled into the nearest chair. His hands shook as he fought with the seat belt. Something about that fateful click brought the reality back home—he was trapped in a jet-fuelled coffin with a man who could barely pronounce his name, soon to be zipping down a highway where speed limits weren’t even guidelines, thousands of miles from home, by a world-famous volcano that once scorched everything for miles—


Hand on his knee. There was a hand on his knee.


Signor Osakay? You want I get you espresso? Water? Food? Is no trouble.”


“No.” Seb shut his eyes, sucked in all the air he could. “I… I’m just tired. Didn’t sleep on the plane.” When he opened them again, he met soft eyes shimmering with kindness. His exhalation came easy. So did his smile. What was his name again? Andrea Sorrentino. A gentle name, full of music.


Granita al limone. Un momento.” A squeeze to Seb’s knee, and he hopped out the door.


Author Bio


Selina Kray is the nom de plume of an author and English editor. Professionally she has covered all the artsy-fartsy bases, having worked in a bookstore, at a cinema, in children’s television, and in television distribution, up to her latest incarnation as a subtitle editor and grammar nerd (though she may have always been a grammar nerd). A self-proclaimed geek and pop culture junkie who sometimes manages to pry herself away from the review sites and gossip blogs to write fiction of her own, she is a voracious consumer of art with both a capital and lowercase A.


Selina’s aim is to write genre-spanning romances with intricate plots, complex characters, and lots of heart. Whether she has achieved this goal is for you, gentle readers, to decide. At present she is hard at work on future novels at home in Montreal, Quebec, with her wee corgi serving as both foot warmer and in-house critic.


If you’re interested in receiving Selina’s newsletter and being the first to know when new books are released, plus getting sneak peeks at upcoming novels, please sign up at her website: www.selinakray.net


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La Famiglia by Deanna Wadsworth

A big welcome to Deanna Wadsworth as part of her blog tour with Enticing Journey Book Promotions for La Famiglia from Dreamspinner Press.


Title: La Famiglia
Series: A Men of Gilead Novel
Author: Deanna Wadsworth
Genre: M/M Romance Novel (standalone)
Release Date: January 23, 2018

Forrester Giordano comes from a huge, nosy Italian family, and with their homophobic jokes and slurs, he’s decided to stay in the closet. He finds respite in his bookstore in the quaint village of Gilead—where he has a huge crush on one of his customers, Kyle Benson.

Kyle is determined to live his dreams, and though life isn’t easy being deaf, one by one he’s making them come true. He’s scored a great job practicing law, bought a cute bungalow where he can finally have a big flower garden, and he has a dog he loves, Jasper. Now he just needs one thing to complete his happiness: a family of his own to make up for the one he never had.

Forrester and Kyle’s relationship starts off hot and heavy, and neither man can deny the depth of their connection. When Forrester’s little brother gets mixed up with their heroin-dealing cousin and his mother falls ill, Forrester has a decision to make—maybe the hardest of his life. For the first time, he’s found a man worth coming out for.

Unfortunately nothing ever goes according to plan with la famiglia.



“This is an amazing story in a series that just shines” – A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

“Relatable and Real” – Amazon Review

“The best in the series….so far!” – Amazon Review


Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and a couple adorable cocker spaniels. She has been spinning tales and penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010. She has served multiple board positions at her local RWA chapter and is the current President 2017 for Rainbow Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. She loves music and dancing, and can often be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the interworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.

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Passion Punched King by Lisa Oliver

A big welcome to Lisa Oliver as part of her blog tour with Other Worlds Ink for Passion Punched King.

Passion Punched King cover

Lisa Oliver has a new MM fantasy book out:

King Zagan, Commander of the legions of the damned and one of the higher echelon in the Underworld, never fancied a mate. Demons weren’t that way inclined. But when Botis met the Archangel Raziel and their relationship actually worked, Zagan was intrigued. Of course, it wasn’t as though he planned on claiming anyone, but tangling in the sheets with a forbidden angel was a vice he could and would enjoy. Or so he thought.

Anael has always considered himself the annoying younger brother of angels like Raziel. As the angel of love, passion and sexuality, he could see love connections that others couldn’t. When he saw his connection with Zagan he was so excited. Not only was he part of the big “Mating Scheme” devised by Head Office, but he snagged King Zagan, the secret crush he’s had for centuries. Now if only things could go right for them both.

A marriage proposal from Lady Zoltus is just the first sign of trouble for the new couple. When Lucifer sticks his nose in and detains Zagan in the Underworld, leaving Anael to roam earth alone, more secrets are uncovered. After a confrontation Anael starts to question if anything he does is right. Will these two ever find their HEA?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Goodreads

Book Two of the Balance Series: This book is a continuation of the Balance series although it focuses on a new couple. It advisable to have read book one, The Viper’s Heart (Raziel’s and Botis’s story) to gain a sense of context for this one. MM intimate experiences divulged in the pages. Suitable for adult readers only.


Giveaway

Lisa is giving away a $20 Amazon gift certificate via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

“I thought you told me that sweet little angel was totally gaga over me and couldn’t wait to jump on my cock.” Zagan twirled Botis around and slammed him up against the bathroom wall.

“There is no way I used the word gaga.” Botis shook his head and pushed Zagan away although in the small bathroom, that wasn’t very far. “That word has never passed my lips before and I’m not sure I’m pleased it has now. I never said he wanted to ride your cock either. He’s an angel for fart’s sake.”

“You know what I mean.” Zagan was furious. “You said he was begging to meet me.”

“Yeah, so, and he was.” Botis shrugged, smoothing his hands down his Hugo Boss jacket. “Clearly, he was infatuated with the stories about you. When he met you in real life….” He waved a hand at Zagan’s more casual attire, “Maybe you didn’t live up to the hype.”

A burst of flame escaped Zagan’s nostrils as he snorted. “I earned every bit of my reputation,” he snarled.

“And how is any part of that reputation going to put you in the good books with an angel?” Botis smirked at Zagan’s glare. Poxy demon was so smug; firmly wrapped around the Archangel Raziel’s little finger.

“It might suit you to be an angel’s pet snake,” Zagan replied, referring to Botis’s shifted form. “I just wanted to sample the goods. It’s not as though demons get the go ahead to so much as look at angels on the street. I was curious, wondering what all the fuss was about. And then the one angel I get a chance to meet can’t be bothered to give me the time of day.”

Botis laughed, something else that was new. Zagan realized there were a lot of changes in his normally surly friend. Happiness sat across Botis’s broad shoulders like a mantle, and Botis wore it well. Yet, Zagan would be a fool if he thought happiness weakened his friend in any way. Botis ruled his sixty legions with a rod of iron; he just didn’t fuck his minions anymore because Raziel didn’t like the idea.

“How can you stand it,” Zagan twitched as he thought about the sexy cute little angel sitting at the dinner table waiting for them. The man spent all evening bestowing sunshine smiles at the waiters, who were captivated with the little minx. “How can you stand fucking the same person night after night? Don’t you get bored?”

“You should try it sometime,” Botis patted his shoulder as he opened the bathroom door. “You might be surprised at how enjoyable it can be, especially when it comes to an angel.” His laughter was thankfully cut off as the door swung closed behind him.


Author Bio

Lisa Oliver had been writing non-fiction books for years when visions of half dressed, buff men started invading her dreams. Unable to resist the lure of her stories, Lisa decided to switch to fiction books, and now stories about her men clamor to get out from under her fingertips.

When Lisa is not writing, she is usually reading with a cup of tea always at hand. Her grown children and grandchildren sometimes try and pry her away from the computer and have found that the best way to do it, is to promise her chocolate. Lisa will do anything for chocolate.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers and other writers. You can friend her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/lisaoliverauthor), catch up on what’s happening at her blog (http://www.supernaturalsmut.com) or email her directly at yoursintuitively@gmail.com.

Author Website: http://www.supernaturalsmut.com

Author Facebook (Personal): http://www.facebook.com/lisaoliverauthor

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/LisaOliverManloveAuthor/

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/wisecrone333

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4839871.Lisa_Oliver

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Oliver/e/B004WH4ZEE/

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Book Blast – My Horrible Gay Dating Life by Dimitrius Jones

A big welcome to Dimitrius Jones as part of his book blast with Gay Book Promotions for My Horrible Gay Dating Life.

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: My Horrible Gay Dating Life

Author: Dimitrius Jones

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre/s: LGBT romance, non-fiction

Length: 35,677 words/99 pages

Is it a standalone book? Yes

 

Blurb

Based directly on the author’s dating journey, Dimitrius Jones shares tales of his romantic misadventures. Ready to feel better about your love life? Of course, you are.

Navigating the world of dating is hard. Having a gay dating life is even harder. While waiting for his new romantic interest to arrive at a coffee house, Dimitrius decides to dig deep into his past to see where it all went wrong. What follows is a trip down memory lane full of outrageous encounters with cheating boyfriends, family drama, and a grown man who likes to wear diapers.

Realizing nearly every relationship he’s been in has ended in catastrophe, Dimitrius devises a plan to properly manage his latest romantic-fling-turned-tragedy. He wants to become a better person and meet better people. The problem is he’s only got until the end of his next date to figure out what to do next.

Still think your dating life is bad? Think again.

 

Add on Goodreads

“The stories in the short book are presented in a humorous and thought-provoking way.” Amazon Reviewer.

Excerpt

Chapter 1: “Mr. Danvers”

I entered a crowded Starbucks doing my best to maintain my now-infamously cool demeanor as the two baristas attempted to greet me from behind the counter. After quickly realizing they were in the presence of an ice queen, they resigned back into their routines of mixing up the shop’s signature, hilariously-overpriced drinks. The smell of freshly ground coffee glided into my nostrils, filling my lungs as I searched the interior of the shop for an abandoned corner. Luckily, I had arrived just after the morning rush and was able to find a spot just out of the baristas’ field of vision. An introvert’s paradise, it was completely devoid of human life and incapable of sustaining social interaction. I quickly crossed the room before taking my seat in an oddly uncomfortable black chair. Placing my brown duffle bag in front of my legs, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. Instinct pulled my hand towards the buzzing device before I stopped myself. Now wasn’t the time for me to be gazing at a screen. I had managed to royally screw up today in more ways than one, and I needed to gather my thoughts.

My reflection in the window to the right caught my attention. I was slouched over with my head resting on the back of my palms with my elbows planted firmly into the ceramic tabletop. Anyone could see I radiated defeat. It didn’t help that my ensemble for the day was black from head to toe. You see, it was a day of reflection. If all went according to plan, I would spend the next thirty to forty-five minutes mourning my dating life. I would look back on the good times, the bad times, and I would fumble it all into a sick reversal of the “well it could be worse” variety. Naturally, the best-laid plans seldom came to fruition. At any moment, my date would arrive, and the dance would begin. Sean seemed nice enough. He returned my texts in a timely manner, gave me my space, was fantastic in bed, and wasn’t clingy. Anyone would be happy to scoop him up, leaving the remaining single guys to poke each other with tree branches.

Of course, I’m sure his wife, two kids, and their three dogs loved him more than I ever could. Perhaps today was the day I’d hear him mention that he was even married. After all, it wasn’t until my interview with his wife just thirty minutes ago that everything came to light in the first place. The meeting was going spectacularly until I happened to glance at the family photo sitting at her desk. Normally, I would use a family photo as an opportunity for small talk until I saw who was in the picture with her. With that realization, let’s just say keeping my composure was the least of my concerns. I should have known there would be some sort of catch. He was simply too perfect, but don’t we all deserve a little perfection every now and then? So maybe mourning my dating life wasn’t the original plan. Maybe I tend to be dramatic. It’s not like I needed to make my dating adventures any more exciting than they already were by pretending I was in some sappy romantic comedy flick. Or maybe that was how I managed to get through these kinds of situations.

I finally succumbed to temptation and checked my phone. I had received an email from the office where his wife worked as the recruiting manager.

“Thank you for taking the time to interview with us. While we were impressed with your credentials, we have decided to move forward with other candidates at this time.”

Now completely crestfallen, I decided maybe it was a good idea to switch gears on the mourning bit. As I squirmed to get comfortable in my chair, small bits and pieces of my time with Sean began to make more sense. We saw each other often enough, but it was always on odd occasions. We hardly ever went out at night because he “wasn’t a night person.” He was also very fond of meeting me on my side of town despite me living in the most boring part of the city. At first, it confused me; now, I knew better.

There was something I needed to understand about myself today, and I had the rest of the morning to figure it out. Sean would be the latest entry in a line of disastrous dating scenarios I often found myself in.

I glanced at the counter just as one of the baristas averted his eyes to continue pretending to busy himself with a jar full of straws. I could learn a thing or two from him, I suppose. Was it possible to fake it till you made it in a normal, stable relationship? I received a text from Sean; he was running late and was about ten minutes away. Realizing my haze of disappointing news was reaching its end, I decided to send the one text capable of turning the purest of hearts catatonic.

“We need to talk when you get here.”

“Okay sure. Everything okay?”

“No.”

Annoyingly cheery bell noises erupted from the tiny speakers as the first call reached my phone. I glanced down at his name for a split second before moving from my seat to stand in line. I decided I was up for trying one of the shop’s many overpriced iced teas as I watched the beginning of Sean’s breakdown. As a rather cold-hearted, calculating Virgo, I could already pinpoint every stage of his eventual demise. By the time I had finally stopped stamping my foot long enough to decide on my order, he had already called three times; each call had been ignored. The next step was to receive another text. Before I could reach the counter, my phone vibrated again.

“Why aren’t you answering your phone? What’s going on?”

“I’m in line ordering. I’ll see you when you get here.”

“Just tell me what’s going on with you. You’re acting really weird right now.”

The cute barista complimented me on my outfit. Like the asocial ice demon I had slowly become over time, I nodded curtly before snatching up my drink order and gliding away freezing everything in my immediate vicinity. Sean called again just as I took my seat to finish brooding; he was clearly in full-on panic mode. What would I even say to him? Would cursing him out in the middle of this coffee shop really prove anything? Would he suddenly realize the error of his ways and vow to never cheat on his wife again?

I decided it was the perfect opportunity to do some soul searching. Before His Unfaithfulness walked through the door, I was going to figure out exactly where my dating life went wrong. As with any caffeine-induced daydream, things could spiral out of control rather quickly. Luckily, my brunch date had a bad habit of being late to nearly everything. Even a little passive-aggressive text warning wouldn’t get him to speed down the highway.

With that knowledge in mind, I realized it wouldn’t hurt to start from the beginning.

 

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

About the Author

“No matter if it’s destroyed, a heart grows back, and we can only attribute it to being a miracle. Yes, it’s an awesome, unfortunate miracle.”

Dimitrius Jones is a freelance writer who has personally interviewed celebrities such as Rasheeda from Love & Hip Hop Atlanta and Claudette Ortiz from R&B Divas. He also enjoys working with children and currently works to help foster children prepare to adjust to the pressures of navigating the foster system.

Of course, his free time isn’t nearly as exciting as most people think. Truthfully, he spends most of his time watching anime, daydreaming, and hoping that some rugged gentleman will sweep him off his feet while he’s standing in the grocery store checkout line.

 

Social Media Links

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Blog/Website

 

 

BOOK BLAST SCHEDULE

 

February 5

Tangents and Tissues

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

Blazing Zane Book Blog REVIEW

MJ’s Book Blog and Reviews

Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings

Bayou Book Junkie

Nerdy Dirty and Flirty

The Way She Reads

MM Good Book Reviews

Lily G Blunt

February 6

Love Unchained Book Reviews REVIEW

Sur l’étagère, derrière la sirène en plastique REVIEW

RAM PA Group

Stories That Make You Smile

My Fiction Nook

Gay Book Reviews

February 7

Drops of Ink

Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read REVIEW

Louise Lyons

We Three Queens

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

~

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Release Blitz – Seth and Casey by RJ Scott

A big welcome to RJ Scott today as part of her release blitz with Signal Boost Promotions for Seth and Casey.


Length: 26,000 words

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Blurb



Seth Wild is a firefighter who has lost everything. Nearly dying in a fire, he is scared and angry and chases away the only good thing in his life—school teacher Casey McGuire.


When a sudden and violent snow storm hits their town he receives a message Casey and ten kids are trapped in an education centre center with no way out. There is no one else who can help, he’s the last fire fighter in town with his bum leg and his icy heart.


He doesn’t hesitate. He always promised he would be Casey’s hero, but will he ever again be Casey’s love?

Excerpt

“…New York’s LaGuardia and JFK International airports officially closed on Thursday afternoon due to the storm, according to the FAA. Both airports had been open earlier despite significant flight cancellations. LaGuardia resumed operations around 7 p.m. ET, while JFK said it planned to reopen sometime during the course of the night.”

Casey McGuire rinsed the last of the mugs and placed it on the drainer with the rest. For some reason, it was always mugs they ran out of in this house. Seth had this idea that the dishwasher ate them but Casey was convinced that they just needed a system to make sure they brought all the mugs back to the kitchen when they were done. Last week he’d found a mug in the bathroom, inside the cabinet, full of cold coffee.

Seth had sworn it wasn’t him, but Casey knew it had been.

He didn’t make a fuss. After all, what was one full coffee mug teetering on the edge of a glass shelf? In the grand scheme of things, it meant nothing.

The TV droned on behind him as he took a dishcloth and wiped the first of the mugs.

“…states from South Carolina to Maine are under a winter storm warning and the governors of Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and New York have declared states of emergency. Forecasters say the northeast states can expect hurricane-force wind gusts and blinding snow…”

The news channels had been warning about this storm for a week, a huge dump of snow that would cripple the eastern seaboard, but that as yet hadn’t caused much concern here in Vermont. Casey glanced out of the window at the yard and wished for more snow. That way maybe Seth wouldn’t be able to leave the house, and possibly the two of them could have a rational conversation that didn’t end with Seth leaving and Casey wondering where the hell he was going wrong.

“…the situation is “ugly” and “dangerous,” and people should stay indoors…”

Last night, all Casey had said was that Seth shouldn’t forget about his appointment next morning. Seth left the house, clambering back into bed at some ungodly hour, reeking of beer or worse. In his sleep, Seth tried to pull Casey close, but Casey had deliberately scooted up and away, and left his husband in the bed.

Today, at ten, Seth had exploded, accusing Casey of meddling in things he didn’t understand, telling Casey he was fine and didn’t need a shrink.

Yet another night when one of them ended up on the couch.

“Hey.”

Casey stiffened at Seth’s soft, gravelly voice. His chest was tight, he didn’t want to argue. He wanted Seth to admit there was a problem, because he couldn’t handle it anymore. Six months of this had taken its toll. Maybe if Seth had seen the specialists when he should’ve, maybe if he’d seen a counselor, then Casey would see he was trying.

Seth was in denial, and it was destroying their marriage.

He didn’t turn to face Seth; he’d made a decision in the early morning, packed a bag with what he could get without waking Seth, and decided they needed space. If Seth had space he might face up to himself instead of taking it out on Casey.

Seth slid his hands around Casey’s waist, resting his chin on Casey’s shoulder and sighed. He’d brushed his teeth so the only scent was peppermint, which at least was a step up from yesterday when he’d attempted a clumsy kiss with beer still on his breath.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured near Casey’s ear.

Casey could turn now, accept the apology, even offer one of his own for pushing Seth, and everything would be normal for a while. Seth could go back to pretending he was okay, and Casey could go back to walking on eggshells and avoiding conflict.

But what kind of a marriage was that?

What kind of a man did that make Casey?

“I know you are,” he said. Then he tensed because that wasn’t the answer Seth wanted, and Casey knew what would happen next. Seth would go straight onto defensive mode, give some bullshit about how he was a firefighter and didn’t need a counselor.

Meanwhile, Seth not accepting any of what he needed was tearing their marriage apart. Casey had been careful with him for a long time, after all, Seth had nearly died. But when months had passed and he was still refusing to listen to reason, that was when Casey realized he’d been wrong in accepting Seth’s view on what kind of healing he needed.

“I think we need some time apart,” Casey said, and placed the dried mug onto the counter. He eased away from Seth’s hold and moved to the other side of the kitchen table. Somehow, having it between them gave Casey the strength to do what he’d decided was the right thing. Seth had this way of holding him, with a near desperation that never failed to have Casey crumbling.

Seth didn’t answer at first. Casey stopped himself from repeating the words and hoped that Seth was just thinking. The only noise in the kitchen was the news, focusing on Greyhound buses and the routes being cancelled.

“Why?”
RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.


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


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

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First Impressions by Jay Hogan

A big welcome today to fellow Kiwi author Jay Hogan as she celebrates the release of First Impressions.

Why M/M?
I have always written and loved words but the format of that has changed over the years. At school, I wrote long overly descriptive stories and poetry. (I still have problems murdering my darlings). In my twenties, I was a nurse in critical care, and then I taught nurses I was heavily involved with writing protocols, manuals and developing an educational degree program for the region I lived in. Then in my thirties I returned to more creative writing again but this time in poetry and I had some individual poems published in magazines and anthologies. I still love poetry.

When we had our daughter, I began playing around with fiction and wrote a couple of (not very good) books more as a learning experience, kind of like going to university. I wanted to learn about it, see what it was like, how I could work it into my life, what and how I liked to write and so on and to see if I could actually finish one. I did, then bottom drawered both of them. They were pretty irredeemable. But I did discover I loved it. Writing, like cooking is my ‘happy place’ but my husband worked offshore, on a month on/ month off basis and so as the primary parent on the ground, I needed to focus on that until our daughter was older when I finally had more time.

More time led to the completion of a fantasy book which is in fact due to be dusted off and rewritten this year with a M/M romance focus. Not being a traditional romance buff, I didn’t really discover the M/M genre until a couple of years ago and it was that which focused my writing. Until then I felt a bit adrift. I knew I wanted to write but was never truly happy with the outcome. Once I found a genre ‘home’, I had this first book written within six months and was lucky enough to have a publisher pick it up.

I have worked as an Intensive Care Nurse in NZ, Australia and in Texas. I have also worked as a self-employed counsellor and supervisor. Born in New Zealand, I have lived in Australia, Texas, Canada, Paris and South Korea and have travelled extensively elsewhere. I write in the LGBTQ genre because I love the added complexity of the relationships and the societal implications but also because I am part of that community.

But why choose M/M Romance in particular? Because I am interested in society’s concept of masculinity and how threatened it is by anything which challenges that. But also, because the M/M relationship involves interesting power plays and dynamics and judgements that all stem from the questions society puts around what it means to be male. For me this adds another dimension to romance that intrigues me, not to mention these men who keep popping up in my head with stories to tell.

It is also important for me to bring a New Zealand setting to my writing if I can. Not everything I write has this but we are a great little country and I want to showcase some of what we are about when I can. I know I enjoy stories set in other countries, not just the US, and it adds a new dimension to the tale including context, quirks and slang.

Panster or plotter?
Definitely a bit of both. I do like to have a rough outline beginning to end but I’m only talking about a few pages of notes. Occasionally I will outline some individual chapters but that is really to keep me on track so I don’t forget anything when things get complicated. But the story grows organically as I write. So, my end point might be in my head or even on paper, but the details may change and the path to getting there has to be flexible.

Sometimes what you think is going to happen, doesn’t. A character grows and changes and that changes my ideas about them as well and this might mean that they need to do or say or avoid something because it makes more sense that way based on who they have become, rather than what I actually wanted them to do. I think it reads more realistically that way rather than making a character do something just because it suits my story line but isn’t really natural to them. In that case I have to find another path to the conclusion I intended or find a different conclusion.

With First Impressions, I would say the story line played out about 50% in line with what I had planned.

Do you write often? Schedule or not?
I write most days taking at least one day off a week but then I will also take a week or two off at a time. I am a firm believer in life balance and there are other parts of my life, like family, animals, friends and traveling that also make up my joy and I need to pay attention to those as well. I like to have a clear head when I write and so I usually write in the afternoons in my office, having finished any shopping, meetings, cleaning, dog walking or appointments in the morning. I love it and time flies when I am writing but I can procrastinate to infinitum actually getting in that chair and starting. For that reason, I need to discipline myself and be strong about saying no to any invitations in time I have set aside for writing.

Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
First Impressions is my first book to be released and it is really an ‘enemies to lovers’ tale. I wanted to focus on the idea that we can become so rigid in a check list we develop about what type of partner we are looking for, especially in our thirties, that we can blind ourselves to the possibilities of people who don’t quite match those standards or criteria. I see this as endemic in this generation of people in their thirties.

In First Impressions, Josh has been burned by the infidelity of an ex, a man he’d believed was his life-partner, and that pain blinds him to Michael’s potential. All Josh sees is another ‘player’, someone he can’t trust and even though he is incredibly attracted to Michael he is running scared and doesn’t give the man behind that arrogant front a chance to shine through until it is too late. Josh is looking for stability, a sure thing, an illusion.

Michael also sees in Josh an example of what he is running from. Commitment and responsibility. Love to him means having to share feelings and be accountable to someone else but he is still unable to forgive himself enough to share in that way. Then he meets Josh and those walls start to crumble.

Both men have the potential to be what the other needs if they can only see through their fear and give themselves a chance.

What are your writing and personal goals for 2018 and beyond?
This year I have a second M/M Romance book close to completion that I hope to have published. It is also set in NZ and involves the sport of rugby.

In addition to that I aim to rework a fantasy book that I completed a few years ago and take it in a different direction more in line with LGBTQ fiction, possibly M/M Romance I haven’t fully decided yet. I always liked the fictional world I created but I was never happy with the storyline itself.

Personal goals are to get through this puppy stage with a new dog intact and finish house renovations. That is enough for one year!

What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
Here is a snippet from a nearly completed M/M Romance yet to be titled. It is about a closeted rugby player and a very out and proud fabulous guy who fall for each other.

Wearing soft dark jeans that hugged every curve of his long legs, a tight black T shirt with ‘The Clash’ emblazoned in neon green across the chest, a cropped black leather jacket, metal studded biker boots with two inch heels, and thick strokes of emerald green guy liner highlighting those gorgeous tawny eyes, he looked good enough to lay out and eat and then some. That I didn’t simply keep walking and press myself hard up against him demanding to be fucked senseless right there over the bonnet of his BMW deserved a fucking gold medal.

He caught sight of my shoes first before his gaze flicked up to my face, and the undisguised irritation when he saw who it was made me wince. Okay, so maybe there’d been a flicker of interest as well, but nah, mostly irritation.

“Hi.” Yep, I was a charmer.

His face gave nothing away. “Hi.”

As in, ‘hi, what the hell are you doing here’ kind of, hi. Okay then. The ball was clearly in my court. I swallowed hard.

“I ah… just wanted to say thanks, again… for saving Cory the other day.”

His gaze remained steady. “You’ve said that. Several times already.”

He wasn’t giving me much to work with. Not that I should even be fucking talking to the guy. But when had common sense ever stood in the way of stupidity and raging attraction. “So, um… I’d like the chance to explain… if you’ll let me.”

He glanced over my shoulder and I couldn’t help but follow his gaze. A few more of my team mates including Mathew had left the building and were now shooting the shit by the entrance. None close enough to overhear our conversation, thank goodness.

“No need,” he said flatly, his gaze fixed on the group of players. “Nothing to do with me.”

“Maybe not but I’d like to. Don’t want you thinking I wasn’t watching him. Just a coffee, yeah? Won’t kill you.”

“What do you want Reuben?” His exasperation was obvious.

My mouth opened but nothing came out. What did I want?

He sighed. “You realise this isn’t happening.” His finger flicked back and forth between us. “Anything… between us…. is not happening… not a chance, so what in the hell are you doing? If you want to keep your gay undercover its maybe not the best idea to be seen talking to the guy wearing eyeliner, and who may as well have ‘I love dick’ tattooed on his forehead. I’m hardly a shrinking violet, yeah?”

Fuck. It was a valid point and I couldn’t help another cagey glance around the car park. He noted it with obvious disappointment, confirming everything he already thought about me. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to walk away, couldn’t do anything more than just stare at him.

His gaze softened. “I don’t… think badly of you. I’m sure there’s a story there but it’s just not one you need to tell me, got it? You better leave.”

I sighed. “Got it.” And yet I didn’t move. Shuffled my feet sure, but no actual walking involved.

He stared at me as if I was just shy of a fucking lunatic. Then he rolled his eyes and sighed. “Fuck. Alright, one coffee.” He held up a finger. “One.” He cocked his head and narrowed his gaze to drive the point home.

My heart skittered in my chest and I nodded vigorously. “Absolutely. One coffee.”

He dropped his head back and groaned. “I cannot believe I’m doing this.” He pushed off the car. “‘Grind It Out’, you know it?”

I nodded. It was a hip little cafe in St Helier’s that I’d been to a couple of times with Georgie. Not a place the team frequented thank fuck.

“Be there in an hour.” He pushed off the car and strode around to the driver’s door. “Christ, I need my head read,” he said, not quite under his breath. “Now get lost before my brother reams my arse for chatting up the talent again.”

Do characters and stories just pop into your head. Or do you take your time thinking about them?
Both.

The idea of a story often does just pop into my head. Something I have read or witnessed, sparks off an idea, or a ‘what if’? Then from there I briefly plan out the concept over a couple of pages. After that stage I will wake at night or day dream about additional ideas, characters or conflicts that I note down as well until the story is fleshed out a little more. Then I start writing and see what happens.

I plan out the main characters in quite a bit of detail so that I get a real feel for them before I start. I want to know what they look like, where they’ve lived and gone to school etc. and what has happened in their lives to bring them to this point where the story starts. I need to do that so I can best judge how they might react to events and other characters. But even with the best planning they still surprise me and so they should. They are not static and one dimensional. They change and grow with the story.

Are you a cat person or a dog person?
I’m an animal person full stop. Cats, dogs, horses, you name it. At present, we have a glorious black and white Maine Coon cat called Bentley. He believes he’s a dog and on most days, he acts more like one than our actual dog who is a blue merle English Cocker Spaniel puppy called Cooper. We love them to bits and they are spoiled but well behaved. Bentley sits on my desk most days as I write and Cooper sleeps at my feet. I run my hands over one or the other when I am stuck for words. It honestly helps.


Michael:
Two years ago I made a mistake, a big one and then I threw in a couple more just for good measure. I screwed up my life big time but I made it through. I was lucky.
Then I was given the opportunity for a fresh start. Two years in Auckland, NZ, ‘The City of Sails’. Away from the LA gossip, a chance to breathe, to get my life back together.
I grabbed it and packed my new set of golden rules with me.
I don’t do relationships.
I don’t do commitment.
I don’t do white picket fences.
And I especially don’t do arrogant, holier-than-thou, smoking hot K9 officers who walk into my ER and rock my world.

Josh:
The only thing I know for certain about Dr. Michael Oliver is the guy is an arrogant, untrustworthy player, and I’d barely survived the last one of those in my life. Once was more than enough.
The man might be gorgeous but my eleven-year-old daughter takes number one priority and I won’t risk her being hurt, again. I’m a solo dad, a K9 cop and a son to pain in the ass, bigoted parents.
I don’t have time for games.
I don’t have time for taking chances.
I don’t have time for more complications in my life.
And I sure as hell don’t have time for the infuriating Dr. Michael Oliver, however damn sexy he is.

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Jay is a New Zealand author writing in the LGBTQIA genre in MM Romance and Fantasy.
She has travelled extensively and lived in many places including the US, Canada, France, Australia and South Korea, and loves to add experiences from these adventures into her writing.

She is a cat aficionado especially of Maine Coons, and an avid dog lover (but don’t tell the cat). She loves to cook- pretty damn good, loves to sing – pretty damn average, and as for parenting a gorgeous daughter-well that depends on the day.

She has lovely complex boys telling sweet sexy stories in her head that demand attention and a considerable number of words to go with them. Their journeys are never straightforward and can even surprise Jay, but the end is always satisfying.

You can find her at:
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Hidden Treasures by Marshall Thornton

A big welcome to Marshall Thornton as part of his tour with Signal Boost Promotions for Hidden Treasures.


Length: 59,000 words approx.

Blurb

It’s about a dress. A valuable blue sequined dress worn by a famed actress in a film from the 1940s. For some reason everyone thinks video store owner Noah Valentine has it. Which might not be a big deal except that it’s connected to the murder of a prominent Hollywood costumer.


In the second of the Pinx Video Mysteries, Noah attempts to solve the mystery of the dress. To do so, he must confront a legendary film icon Wilma Wanderly, hunky police Detective Javier O’Shea, the dowager Queen of Watts and a couple of bitter ex-friends.

January 31 – MM Good Book Reviews
February 2 – BookLove
February 5 – Valerie Ullmer
February 7 – Dog-Eared Daydreams

Author Bio



Marshall Thornton is known for the Lambda Award-winning Boystown Mysteries. His comedic novels include The Ghost Slept Over, My Favorite Uncle and the Lambda Finalist for Gay Romance, Femme. Marshall holds an MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA and has had plays produced in both Chicago and Los Angeles and stories published in The James White Reviewand Frontier Magazine.


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Release Blitz – Once Upon a Rainbow Vol 2

A big welcome to the authors of Once Upon a Rainbow Vol 2 from NineStar Press as part of their release blitz with IndiGo Marketing and Design

Title:  Once Upon a Rainbow, Volume Two

Author: Jennifer Cosgrove, Sara Codair, Emmalynn Spark, K.S. Trenten, Lina Langley, Rebecca Langham, Sita Bethel, Tray Ellis

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: February 5, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female

Length: 125366

Genre: historical, paranormal, contemporary, LGBT, fantasy, magic, royalty, lesbian, lawyers, family, contemporary, captivity, immortality, historical, friends to lovers, criminals, trans, dark, dystopian, political

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Synopsis

Your favorite stories from childhood have a new twist. Eight fairy tales of old with characters across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.

Coming Home by Jennifer Cosgrove – No one ever expects to be Prince Charming.

Snow Fox by Sara Codair – Jealous Queen E’s attempts on Snow Fox’s life are trending.

Deathless by Emmalynn Spark – Love means finding new ways.

At Her Service by K.S. Trenten – Dancing to her true desire.

Shattered Glass by Lina Langley – The resistance was never ready for this.

Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham – Setting out to save the sleeping princess does not go as planned.

Master Thief by Sita Bethel – He became the greatest thief in the world so he could steal his squire’s heart.

The True Love Curse by Tray Ellis – True Love would be wonderful, but the curse keeps getting in the way.

Excerpt

Coming Home by Jennifer Cosgrove
Scott Prince has everything, but it doesn’t mean that he enjoys all the responsibilities that come with it. It is, at times, a lonely life. But things start looking up one evening when, at an obligatory social event, he meets a handsome man while stepping out for some air.

But then the man disappears. Scott and Molly, his best friend, find him again in a very unexpected place, and the mystery deepens. A tale of an evil stepmother and horrid stepsisters versus a man who is fiercely independent, and a Prince that will do whatever he can to help him escape his situation and come home.

Snow Fox by Sara Codair
Working at a fast food chain and photo blogging about her transition, Rosa Nieves, known to the internet as “Snow Fox,” is just trying to pay for nursing school. But when her photos go viral, Queen E can’t tolerate the idea that there is a badder bitch than herself, and sets out to murder Snow Fox. Can Rosa survive the wrath of a jealous, rich bitch with an enchanted smartphone? Or will one woman’s vanity be her doom?

Deathless by Emmalynn Spark
Prince Ivan has never been particularly good at being a Prince, so when he comes to rescue his wife from the evil wizard, he ends up offering himself in her place. Vanya soon learns that, while Alex may be an evil wizard, he’s a hell of a whole lot more. But the Prince kills the evil wizard, right? There’s no way the Prince and the Evil Wizard could love each other instead? Sometimes, love means writing your own happy ending.

At Her Service by K.S. Trenten
Cinders would much rather fondle her mistress’s bony feet than go to a ball. Magic whisks her away, in spite of herself to a night of lights, dancing, and mystery where she discovers her true heart’s desire. For nothing is what it seems where enchantment, fairy godmothers, and princes are concerned.

Shattered Glass by Lina Langley
Kai Axelsson is on the most dangerous mission of his life.

A timely twist of fate. A clever deception. And suddenly he’s found himself a place among the staff at Sandheim Palace, entrenched among the people bound to serve a despotic queen. Kai’s only job is to feed the propaganda machine while staying out of sight–yet when he catches the attention of the queen’s brother, what began as an information gathering mission becomes a battle for Kai’s very soul.

Powerful. Magnetic. Immortal. With a breath of frost and a sliver of glass, the crown prince Alexander weaves his spell around Kai, intent to claim him forever and draw him into the darkness of their world. Yet where Alexander’s heart is made of ice…it’s the fire in Johann’s that could be the key to bringing Kai home.

Johann never wanted to let Kai go on this mission. And now a fatal misstep could mean losing the only man he’s ever loved. Only Johann can break the spell entangling Kai’s heart in thorns of darkest glass.

Before the dark prince’s corruption claims him completely, and Kai is lost forever.

Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham
Aurora Rose slumbers in the city of Oldpass, a cursed kingdom once allied with Grimvein. She is powerless to control her own fate. At least, that’s how the story goes.

Now, as Grimvein faces attack, Prince Amir has been tasked with the life-threatening rescue of Aurora, his parents hopeful that he will marry the princess and secure safety for their kingdom. Talia, the strongest spellcaster in the known lands, protects and guides the prince in his quest to save a woman that threatens to change their lives forever. In finding Aurora, the pair will realise the truth about themselves and each other, coming to understand just what – and who – they really want in life.

Master Thief by Sita Bethel
Tyv grew up hungry and cold in a shack boarding the property of a noble family. His father could never provide enough food, clothing, or warm shelter, but there was one important thing he gave to his sons- the choice to go find their own destinies.

The True Love Curse by Tray Ellis
Widow Clara Hammond doesn’t have time to worry about misfortune befalling the royal family when she has a house to repair and stepsons to feed, but on her way through the forest she encounters Queen Almarine. The queen is searching for a cure for her ill son, Prince Roald, and Clara can’t refuse helping her. The more time they spend together, the more Clara likes Almarine, and the more it seems that Almarine likes her back.

Henryk Hammond is struggling to finish his law degree when the whole university is shut down in a city-wide search for a solution to Prince Roald’s illness. While waiting in the long line to offer his own meager knowledge an old woman gives him a magical cloak and gains him audience with the Prince. Henryk’s watchful night takes him on a wild ride of dancing and feasting as he follows the Prince out of the palace. As morning arrives, Henryk realizes that to save the Prince they’ll have to confront the enchantress together. There’s only one way up the tower to the witch’s lair, but Henryk is determined to end the curse.

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Release Blitz – Speedbump by Charli Coty

A big welcome to Charli Coty as part of her release blitz with IndiGo Marketing and Design for Speedbump from NineStar Press.

Title:  Speedbump

Author: Charli Coty

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: February 5, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 68200

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, contemporary, bisexual, trans, genderqueer, non-binary, #ownvoices, musician, disability, drinking/some drug use, multicultural, small town, Oregon, some violence, illness/disease, Alzheimer’s

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Synopsis

Ezra Cook is sole caregiver to older brother Tray, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in his forties. They live outside the small town of Drop, Oregon, on property Tray bought with his Microsoft settlement money. For years, Ezra has been going on and off low doses of testosterone to maintain a comfortable level of androgyny. Ezra spends most days juggling Tray’s needs and the work required to survive in rural Oregon on a small income, ignoring their own needs, especially companionship and sleep.

Ellred “Red” Long escaped Drop at seventeen but returns to his hometown in disgrace after his band dumped him on the streets of LA. Coming back doesn’t seem like such a dead end, though, after he sees a guy walking along the side of the road in the rain and gives him a lift.

Ezra and Red’s chance meeting begins an uncomfortable friendship neither had expected, and both allow fear to keep it from escalating into a hookup, or worse, a romance. Red never meant to return to Drop and doesn’t want to get stuck there again, while Ezra’s protective walls may be too strong to breach, from either side.

Excerpt

Speedbump
Charli Coty © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

It had been a while since the last time a moving vehicle hit me, but I wasn’t in the mood to take chances. The night was dark—no moon and only a smattering of stars peeking between the clouds. At least the rain had finally stopped. The county road I was walking along was flat, but I’d just passed a turn when headlights flashed behind me, coming up fast. A blind turn the locals had been known to straighten now and then, especially when the weekend and low visibility coincided.

I ran toward the neighbor’s patched fence, toward safety in the form of a boulder guarding the apex of the turn, hoping whoever sat behind the wheel didn’t mean to run me down. The way my luck was going that night, with the unexpected rain and Granddad’s truck quitting, it surprised me when the car stopped and I was still standing upright.

The GTO—the 1964 stock GTO that I knew to be deep purple but looked black right then—rocked gently and then settled. It rocked again when he leaned across the seat to roll the window down. Even if he’d seen my truck, he wouldn’t know who I was. He’d left town before we moved here, and only one thing about me is at all noteworthy anyway. Everyone knew the day he’d come back to town. Red Richardson—also known as Ellred Long, the name he got the day he was born. Back from Los Angeles where he’d never really made it, but he’d come close enough to be a Big Man in this little backwash town of five hundred (give or take). What he was doing so far off the highway or any of the main roads, I had no clue.

“Hey,” he shouted. Even only hearing him shout, you couldn’t help but know the man could sing. “Let me give you a lift. It’s starting to rain again.”

Slowly, to give myself time to figure out what was going on, I approached the passenger side of the car. I didn’t want to get in—that was trouble waiting to happen if I’d ever seen it—but I wasn’t looking forward to walking for another two hours either. I bent and looked in the window, a safe four feet between me and the car. A blast of warm air hit my face, and I tried not to look too hard at him. He always wore nice button-down shirts, in videos or going to the Mini Mart in Drop—jewel-tone red, purple, black—that looked like silk.

“Where are you headed?”

“Nowhere. Just out driving.”

Even in the dark, I could see his brilliant smile. He probably paid good money for that whiteness. I couldn’t see his long black hair or whether he was clean-shaven or had that short patch of beard he sometimes wore on his chin, but the smile did me in on its own.

“Where are you headed out here on foot in the middle of the night?” Red asked.

“Home.” A few steps closer won’t hurt. Maybe. “My truck quit a mile back.”

“The white International? That’s a shame. Cool old truck.”

We stared at each other another minute, sizing up the situation, and then he reached across and opened the door. He saw a dirty guy, obviously the one who’d filled the bed of said truck with firewood. A filthy, wet, and tired guy who only wanted to get home.

He has no idea.

I brushed off my pants as best I could and slid onto the seat. “Thanks. I’m up the road a couple of miles.”

Red Richardson extended a hand and introduced himself. As though he needed to tell anyone who lived within a fifty-mile radius who he was. I gripped his hand for as short a time as I could get away with and nodded.

“Ezra. Ezra Cook.”

“Good to meet you, Ezra Cook.” Red looked me over, and I could’ve sworn he was wondering how much trouble he could whip up for the both of us. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought he wanted me to pay for the ride with a blow job. Or maybe he was only trying to figure out who I was related to.

That would take a very long time and end the same way as his music career: in disappointment.

I adjusted myself on the seat, pulling my filthy jeans lower across my hips and turning said hips away from him. He shouldn’t be flirting with men, and if he kept it up, I wasn’t above pointing that out. He could get himself killed doing that out here.

Red cleared his throat and gunned the engine. It sounded amazing. His father and brothers had kept the car on the road, probably figured he’d never be back to claim it. Probably prayed he’d never come back to claim it. That GTO was the nicest ride in three towns. Or maybe I liked the whole package—the sexy washed-up musician driving a fifty-year-old muscle car.

He pulled back onto the road, his headlights illuminating a whole lot of nothing in front and to both sides. The silence stretched out too long, something that wouldn’t have bothered me any other time or place.

“You’ll see a big red mailbox on the right.”

Red chuckled. A quiet rumbling, tuned to perfection like the car. “Your folks live out here long?”

That got my hackles up, but no sense in going down that road. “No. We moved to Drop in the early aughts.”

He darted a look in my direction—at least that’s what it probably started out as. Red couldn’t tear his eyes off me, which should’ve felt more like trouble than it did. Denial. It’ll get you every time.

“Aughts? What’s that?”

“You know. The first decade of the twenty-first century. Aught one, aught two…” When I realized I’d actually been speaking to him like he was anyone else—like we were two regular guys in a car, nothing unusual, nothing out of the ordinary to see here—I caught my tongue between my teeth and bit down. Not hard, I’m no masochist, just hard enough to remember why I should shut the hell up.

“How old are you?” He chuckled again. Damn him. “My father says that, but I didn’t think anyone under sixty used that term.”

“We’re all old out here.”

“Interesting. Because I’ve always heard the opposite. About me, anyway.”

“Opposite?”

“That I’m immature. A hopeless man-child.” He laughed and took one hand off the wheel. My attention fixed on that hand as he rubbed his thigh and then gripped it. His laugh sounded embarrassed and like he was bragging at the same time. I needed to get out of that car before I got myself in trouble.

“You can drop me anywhere. I don’t want to put you out.”

“I’ll take you home. It’s no trouble.”

Red rubbed the thigh of his jeans again, maybe to dry a sweaty palm, and then returned his hand to the wheel. His concentration seemed to focus on driving and the road outside the windshield instead of on me. Disappointing, but for the best. Even if he did keep flirting—if that was really what he’d been doing—it wasn’t like it would have gone anywhere. Rock stars didn’t get involved with…people like me.

I’d just raised my hand to point out the mailbox when he slowed to take the turn. His cocky grin made me want to adjust my pants again, but I was afraid we’d end up in the ditch if I did. Red roared down the half-mile stretch of dirt and gravel that passed for our road but stopped the car without making any ruts. He might be cocky, but he was no asshole.

Great. I’d sort of hoped he was.

He stopped in the turnaround near the front porch, and before I could even say thanks, the front door burst open. My brother stormed out and didn’t stop, yelling at the top of his lungs about something. All he wore were battered and ripped jeans—the hair on his head and chest looked white in Red’s headlights and wild like he’d been asleep on the couch. His enormous feet were bare. I jumped out before the car had stopped rocking.

“It’s me—Ezra,” I shouted over him. “Tray, the truck broke down, and Red here gave me a lift home.”

Tracy stopped and glared at the car, both hands locked in fists. He didn’t move or say another word, which was probably for the best considering he’d been woken up by headlights to find out I hadn’t made it home.

I closed the car door and looked at Red through the open window. “Thanks for the ride.”

“You going to be okay?” He looked between Tracy and me a couple of times. Clearly, he thought the answer was no.

“Yeah. It’s my brother. The car must’ve woke him up. We don’t get a lot of traffic back here, that’s all. Thanks again.” I stepped back and gave him a little wave. When he didn’t head out right away, I took Tray’s arm and started up the porch steps. Tracy didn’t make it any easier—he twisted at the waist to look back, no doubt trying to figure out who was crazy enough to drive down his road. Even FedEx and UPS had Tracy Cook’s place listed as a no-fly zone, so we had to drive over an hour into Portland to pick up any packages. When we got any packages, which didn’t happen much.

Nobody would’ve sent any presents to the Cooks’ two black sheep, even if they had found us again.

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Meet the Author

Charli Coty misspent a large chunk of her youth on the back of a Harley, meeting people and having adventures that sometimes pop up in their fiction. Mx Coty writes everything from contemporary to paranormal, always with a happy ending. Charli has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

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