Cover Reveal

Everything Changes

Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen

Cover Created by : Natasha Snow

Release Date: September 14, 2020

Available to Pre-Order at Amazon

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A childhood in foster care taught Carey Everett to hold tight to what he has. Enlisting in the Marines gave him purpose, but a life-threatening injury ended his career—and took his leg. Now fully recovered, Carey’s happier than he’s ever been. He has a fulfilling job, a chosen family and, best of all, a cherished friendship with Jase DeSantis, the platoon medic who saved his life. Jase knows how to take care of the people he loves. As the oldest of seven, and then a Navy corpsman, it’s what he was born to do. Still, he’s haunted by his actions overseas. Playing music with his band keeps the demons at bay, but it’s a battle he’s starting to lose. After a week of sun and fun in San Diego, Jase and Carey’s connection takes an unexpected turn. With change comes a new set of challenges. For Jase, it means letting someone else into his deepest pain. For Carey, it’s realizing love doesn’t always equal loss. In order to make their relationship work, they’ll each have to come to terms with their pasts… …or risk walking away from each other for good.

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Audio Tour

Out on the Serve

Title: Out on the Serve

Series: Out in College, Book 7

Author: Lane Hayes

Narrator: Michael Dean

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: July 10

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 55K

Genre: Romance, New Adult, Bisexual, Friends to Lovers, College romance, Athletes, Volleyball, Humor

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Synopsis

Roommates to friends to lovers… Elliot- I need a roommate fast. Even a temporary one. Beggars can’t be choosers. Going pro after graduation has been intense, and time is precious. Thankfully, Braden seems cool. He’s a little quirky…and very sexy. Of course, I would never get involved with a roommate. That’s a bad idea. Isn’t it? Braden- Moving to Long Beach seems like a no brainer. It’ll be a perfect chance to wind down before grad school and a nice respite from my folks. Plus, my new roommate is a great guy. A little messy, but sweet. Gotta admit, I like him more than I should. And we’re off to a strange start when a mutual friend hooks me up with his ex. Elliot’s the one I want, but going from friends to lovers is a risk. We could end up out on the serve…or we could win it all.

Excerpt

Ten minutes later, I tied a towel around my waist and opened the bathroom door to release some steam just as Braden opened his bedroom door. It might have been my imagination or wishful thinking, but I could have sworn he eye-fucked me before he met my gaze. “Mornin’,” I said in a raspy voice. “Good morning.” “How’d you sleep?” “Pretty good. Are you going to the beach today?” he asked awkwardly. “Yeah. I’m leaving soon.” “Hmm. I heard the swell is huge,” he said in a fast, clipped tone. I crossed my arms and leaned against the doorjamb. “Yeah, I heard that too. There’s some big storm off the coast of Mexico.” “Right.” “Want to come with me?” “To Mexico?” I barked a laugh. “No, dork. To the beach.” Braden chuckled. “Believe it or not, I’m going to the theater. Sophie talked me into trying out the assistant gig. Hopefully, it’ll keep me out of trouble.” And there was the opening I needed. I wasn’t sure how to word it, though. The hint of unease between us told me that I should proceed with caution. We had to be on the same page and willing to try something new and—fuck. My window of opportunity was closing. Braden’s cheeks reddened as he mumbled a good-bye. I grabbed his wrist before he closed his door, ignoring the spark and sizzle that zipped along my spine. “Hang on…thank you.” “For what?” “The cereal.” “Oh.” He let out a half laugh and yes…his face went a shade pinker. Fuck, that was both cute and hot at the same time. “It was silly.” “I love silly. I’m a huge fan of all things ridiculous. Ask anyone.” “I believe you.” “Good. So…let’s agree that this doesn’t have to be weird. We’re grown adults. Well, you are anyway. We can call it a celebratory kiss if you want and move on. What d’ya say?” “Yes, okay. I’m—I’m sorry about”—he circled his wrist meaningfully—“everything. I overreacted.” “You mean the part when you yelled at me for getting sand on the floor? I forgive you.” “No, I was serious about that part.” “I know. But don’t worry about the other thing. Boners happen.” Braden sputtered. “I did not have a boner.” “Liar. We both did. Might have been your mom’s fudge,” I teased. “You think my mother’s homemade fudge gave you a hard-on,” he repeated incredulously. “Dude, chocolate totally gives me wood. Or maybe she added a chemical substance that made us too relaxed.” “Like what?” “I don’t know…weed?” Braden snickered. “Unlikely. My mom is very proper. I don’t think she even knows what weed looks like.” “Hmm. You seem kind of proper too. Do you take after her?” “Maybe, but I know what weed looks like,” he assured me. “My roommate in the dorms my freshman year was very fond of the stuff. We didn’t get along at all. He was a total—” “Slob?” I supplied, quirking my brows. “Yeah.” He shrugged carelessly. “I was probably overbearing, but in my defense, I come from a super rigid household. I’m an only child, and I was sick a lot when I was little. I had colic and sensitivity issues. I’d break out in rashes if I was in the sun for five minutes or if I ate citrus. My asthma was off the charts. I had a nebulizer at home, and I carried inhalers everywhere I went.” “That’s a lot of information,” I said with a laugh. He winced, then sucked in a deep breath. “Sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. My geek is showing.” “Ha. Nothing wrong with that. You like me, eh?” Braden chuckled. Like I’d hoped he would. “What makes you think that?” “You kissed me. Twice. We might as well get married and pick out His and His towels. Thoughts?” “Great idea. Just don’t tell my mom. She’d have a heart attack. She was already worried I’d moved in with you because you were my…” “Boyfriend,” I supplied. “Yeah, except she has a hard time saying that word, so it comes out in a strained whisper like…boyfriend.” Braden modulated his voice to sound like a scared woman. He grinned when I busted up laughing, and I could have sworn a ray of sunshine burst through the wall of our apartment.

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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Meet the Narrator

Originally from Chicago and currently based in New York City, I have performed around the country and the world on stage, television, and film. I studied acting at the University of Arizona and the University of Kansas City Missouri.

As a narrator, I have voiced over 450 titles for authors including Lucy Lennox, Sloane Kennedy, Lane Hayes, Devon McCormack, Riley Hart, Felice Stevens, Pandora Pine, Christina Lee, Susan Hawke, and many more. Learn more about Michael here.

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Blog Tour

Damaged Elite by Waverly Alexander

Title: Damaged Elite
Series: The Darlington Elite
Author: Waverly Alexander
Genre: College/New Adult Romance
Release Date: August 12, 2020
Amazon Review: “Welcome back to Darlington Elite my darlings , were the boys are hot and the girls are badasses.”
Amazon Review: “This was perfect! Flawless!”
E&A Book Blog: “I absolutely loved this book.🖤”
Zachary Masters
For almost two years, Kennedy has been my best friend—she’s laughter and comfort, everything I need but don’t deserve. I’m not boyfriend material—not with a past like mine, I’m too much like my father. So I’ve kept those lines firmly drawn in our relationship. But when the Elite became the target of some shady happenings on campus, I had no choice but to move Kennedy in with me. Now, the closer we get, the more protective I feel, and it scares me. I’ll keep her safe though, even if it means agony for me. Even if it means keeping her safe from me. 
I’ll make her hate me before I hurt her.
Kennedy Prescott I heard about Zach and his penchant for parties and wild nights long before he stumbled past my dorm room looking for a quick escape from a puck bunny. He’s one of the Darlington Elite—the kings of the campus, and I’m the sarcastic, vegan girl who thought the Elite boys were nothing but arrogant, entitled jerks. And they are, to outsiders. But I’m one of them now, and we look out for each other like a family. Zach and I shouldn’t be best friends, but some forces of nature are unavoidable. He pulled me into his world only to push me away.
If he thinks I’m playing this game, he’s in for a rude awakening.
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Cover Reveal

Heavy Souls

𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐯𝐲 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐬 𝐂𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐚𝐥!

 

𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘷𝘺 𝘚𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘭 𝘳𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘺 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘣𝘺 𝘈𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘦 𝘔 𝘓𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘣𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴. 

 

𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐯𝐲 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐀𝐮𝐠𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝟑𝟏𝐬𝐭!

𝗣𝗿𝗲-𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲:

https://geni.us/HeavySouls

𝐀𝐝𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐓𝐁𝐑:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54364374-heavy-souls

 

 

𝐋𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐈𝐧𝐜𝐮𝐛𝐮𝐬 𝐙𝐚𝐤 𝐢𝐬 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐬…

The Paranormals are riding high and Zak should be ecstatic. Instead, he’s exhausted. Having to supply the demon Abaddon with a quota of souls, as well as rehearse, record, and tour means his workload is just too heavy.

 

Shop Assistant Erica is feeling down. Running The Paranormals Fan Club in her spare time, their fans believe she’s in constant touch with her idols, while the truth is she’s not seen them since the final of Britain’s Best New Band and she weirdly can’t remember much of that.

 

When Erica demands a face-to-face interview with Zak, he surprisingly invites her to spend a week accompanying the band as they play London. The band are annoyed at not being consulted, apart from guitarist Noah, who knows that Zak’s deal with the demon can be undone if Zak finds his true love, and what if Erica just happens to be the one?

 

All hell (well, the seventh dimension), is about to break loose.



𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐇𝐞𝐱 𝐅𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐫 𝐎𝐔𝐓 𝐍𝐎𝐖!

𝐀𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐨𝐧: https://geni.us/HexFactor

𝒂𝒍𝒔𝒐 𝒂𝒗𝒂𝒊𝒍𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒅𝒍𝒆 𝒖𝒏𝒍𝒊𝒎𝒊𝒕𝒆𝒅


 

About Andie M Long:

Andie M. Long is author of the popular Supernatural Dating Agency series amongst many others.

She lives in Sheffield with her son and long-suffering partner.

When not being partner, mother, writer, or book editor, she can usually be found on Facebook or walking her whippet, Bella.


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Andie-M-Long/e/B00HP5D2NK

Website: https://www.andiemlongwriter.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/andiemlongwriter

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/andiemichelle

Newsletter: http://www.subscribepage.com/f8v2u5

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/andie-m-long


Cover Reveal

IMPOSSIBLE ODDS by Author Jill Ramsower

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Title: Impossible Odds

Series: Book #4, The Five Families

Author: Jill Ramsower

Genre: Mafia Romance

Release Day: October 21, 2020

Photographer: Byron L. Keulemans

Model: Craig Le Roux

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#IOCR-2 IO ebook cover static He was a vision of power and privilege. Ruthless arrogance personified. A total stranger and an irresistible challenge. I approached him in a busy casino and felt the sting of his brutal rejection. Then I did something incredibly brazen. Impulsive. Reckless. I stole from him. The object was inconsequential, only worth a handful of dollars. I didn’t do it for the money; it was about making a statement. I went back home thousands of miles away without giving him a second thought until I spotted those quicksilver eyes glaring at me across a busy nightclub. It was too impossible to be a coincidence. Yet, there he was, seething with a violent promise of retribution. He thought he’d intimidate me. Hunt me down and make me pay. What he didn’t realize was I don’t scare easily. My name is Giada Genovese, and I’m a goddamn mafia princess. #IOCR-6 add-to-goodreads-button

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#IOCR-3 46960627_267233973988960_1230914889476734976_n Within a year of self-publishing her first book, Jill Ramsower quit her job as an attorney and dedicated her days to churning out romantic adventures. She likes to think of her books as contemporary romance with a touch of fantasy—at its core, her writing is about the connection between two people. Sometimes that connection involves a little magic… With Jill’s books, you can count on confident heroines, plenty of steamy tension, and deliciously assertive leading men. There are no guarantees in life, but with her books, you know everything will work out in the end. However, a perfect ending would not be nearly as satisfying without a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Jill loves to add plenty of adversity in her stories, creating unforgettably dynamic characters and sneaky plot twists you will never see coming. Jill is a Texan, born and raised. She manages the hectic social calendars for her three active children and occasionally spends an evening with her dashing husband. Aside from being an author and a mom, she’s a travel junkie and loves to read when she is not lost in her own stories. #IOCR-4

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Release Blitz

On the Square

Title: On the Square

Series: University Square, Book One

Author: Brenda Murphy

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 17, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 64400

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, romance, family-drama, interracial, blue-collar, restaurant, chef, reality TV star, builder, single mother, in the closet

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Synopsis

Dropped from her television show after a very public split with her cheating ex, celebrity chef Mai Li wants nothing more than to reopen her parents’ shuttered restaurant and make a fresh start in her former hometown. So what if twenty years of neglect has left the building in need of a major renovation? Seduced by Mai’s charm and determination, hard-edged contractor Dale Miller agrees to take on her renovation project. After a spring storm causes significant damage to the building and renovation costs exceed Mai’s budget, Dale offers her a deal, but is it a price Mai is willing to pay?

Excerpt

On the Square Brenda Murphy © 2020 All Rights Reserved Dale filled her coffee thermos. The scent of the dark brew had her wanting to linger over another cup. She tightened the lid. “You riding the bus today?” “Nah, Chip’s coming to pick me up. We have a cross-country team meeting.” Noah slid the omelet he was cooking onto the plate. “You sure you don’t have time? You can have this one, Mom. I’ll cook another for me.” His round face and solemn dark-brown eyes were fixed on her face. He lifted the plate and waved it in her direction. Delicately browned, perfectly cooked. The aroma of melted cheddar cheese and butter filled the small kitchen. The omelet tempted Dale even more than the coffee had. She sighed and cursed herself for agreeing to an early morning appointment for an estimate. Dale grimaced. Cowed by the insistence of the woman who called for the estimate, her oldest, Seth, had made the appointment outside of business hours. Afraid to turn down work. Knows we need the money. If it works out. Dale tucked two peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwiches into her cooler, wrapped an apple in a napkin, and placed three battered and scruffy water bottles around the sides, spacing them evenly. She shut the lid and bungeed the ancient metal relic of a cooler shut. Please let it work out. “What, Mom?” The concern in Noah’s voice drew Dale from her thoughts. “Nothing. I wish your brother would’ve talked to me before he scheduled this. I hate to talk to people before I’ve had my coffee. And who the hell needs to meet at six in the morning for an estimate?” She peered out of the window at the sky, barely pink. “Someone in a hurry? Like maybe you should be. Or you’re gonna be late.” Noah smirked as he shoved aside stacks of paper and clutter before he placed his plate on the table. He pulled a chair out, sat down, and flipped his napkin out with a flourish. “Damn.” Dale took two steps over to Noah and mashed a quick kiss to his forehead. “Don’t forget to tell Thomas to pick up Grandad’s prescription and have a good day at school.” Noah scrubbed his hand over his mouth. “I will.” Dale snatched her thermos and her lunch cooler off the counter as she bolted for the door. * The large black pickup truck roared into the parking lot, kicking up a fine spray of dust and small gravel. Mai ended the call she had been ready to make to cancel the estimate appointment and shoved her phone back into her pocket. She frowned as a layer of gray dust settled over her polished black wingtips. Tinted windows prevented her from seeing inside the truck. With a snap of her wrist she straightened her collar, leaned back against her car, and crossed her arms over her chest. She tapped her foot and pursed her lips as she contemplated how much she was going to enjoy telling the yahoo in the truck what she thought of their driving skills. A warm-up for what she was preparing to tell the contractor who didn’t think her time was valuable. She didn’t do business with people who were not punctual. This town has not changed a bit. Still on country time. She snorted thinking about the ridiculous lengths she had to go to get the idiot on the phone to agree to a timely appointment. The scuff of boots on gravel on the opposite side of the truck made her look up. “Sorry I’m late.” A tall woman in faded jeans and work boots rounded the front of the truck. A thick tan work belt with a multitool pouch clipped to it held her jeans up over her curvy hips. She tucked a metal clipboard under her arm and stuck her hand out to shake. “Who are you?” Mai didn’t take the woman’s hand. “I had an appointment with a general contractor for an estimate. Dale Miller?” “That’s me.” A flash of irritation flew across Dale’s face as she withdrew her hand and stuck it into her rear pocket. “You’re late.” Mai studied the unapologetic woman in front of her. Thick honey-blonde hair streaked with gray brushed her shoulders. A head taller than Mai, she had broad shoulders and a trim waist. Her pale-blue undershirt set off her golden-brown eyes. The sleeves of her flannel overshirt were rolled back and displayed well-muscled forearms. Dale rocked back on her heels and glanced skyward before bringing her gaze back to Mai’s face. “I am. And I apologized. This is outside of our normal hours for estimates.” “And I wasn’t…” Dale cut her off. “And you weren’t expecting a woman.” She swept her hand through her hair. “You know what. I’m not certain I’m the best person for this job.” She turned on her heel and walked away from Mai, head high and shoulders rigid. “Wait.” Dale turned and rested her hand on the hood of the truck. “Why? You’ve made your mind up. I’m not going to waste my time. Or yours. Good luck with your project.” Mai looked down at her shoes before returning her gaze to Dale’s face. “That’s not what I was going to say.” “Right.” Dale arched an eyebrow. “I’ve been in this business too long to be scolded for being late. I don’t schedule appointments this early because I don’t like talking to anyone at this unholy hour.” Mai laughed. “How have you stayed in business?” Dale walked back over and stepped close to Mai, invading her space. “Because most people in this town recognize business hours are business hours and don’t expect special favors.” Mai held her ground. “Special favors? I asked for an early appointment. It’s not my fault whoever answered the phone doesn’t know your hours.” Dale clenched her fists. “My son knows the hours perfectly well. He was trying to be nice. He said yes to accommodate your schedule. Which, apparently, is way more important than mine. Good day.” She spun on her heel and stomped back to the truck. Mai chewed her lip as she desperately tried to ignore how much she liked the way Dale’s ass looked in her jeans and failed. “Hey, wait.” Dale yanked the truck door open and tossed her clipboard inside. Mai sprinted around the truck and her shoes skidded on the gravel lot. She caught herself on the truck hood and narrowly avoided bumping into Dale. “Hey, please stay. I’m sorry we got off on the wrong foot. I’ve had too many folks be rude to me because I wasn’t what they expected. Please. I’d like you to at least look at the project.” Dale turned to her and the delicate scent of lemon verbena wafted from her, undermining Mai’s determination to keep to the business at hand. A rueful grin crossed Dale’s face. “No. I’m sorry. You’d think I didn’t want the work. I’d like to see what you want done.” She tilted her head and met Mai’s gaze. “Do you mind if we have coffee first?” Mai held out her hand and Dale shook it. “Bring your thermos.” She tilted her head toward the silver flask. “Come on. We don’t have to talk until you’ve had another cup.”

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NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Brenda Murphy (she/her) writes erotic romance. Her most recent novel, Double Six, is the 2020 Golden Crown Literary Society winner for Erotic Novels, and Knotted Legacy, the third book in the Rowan House series, made the 2018 The Lesbian Review’s Top 100 Vacation Reads list. You can catch her musings on writing, books, and living with wicked ADHD on her blog Writing While Distracted. She loves sideshows and tattoos and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering at her local library, she wrangles twins, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. For a free short story, information on book signings, appearances, work in progress snippets, previews and sneak-peeks, sign up for my email list.

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Release Blitz

Gay All Year

Title: Gay All Year

Author: Richard May

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 17, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 78700

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, romance, short stories, gay, bisexual, interracial, age-gap, slow burn, friends to lovers, BDSM, Dom/sub, humorous, multiple partners, priest, military, Native American, law enforcement, bereavement, daddy issues, men in uniform, Hanukkah

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Synopsis

Twelve optimistic MM stories, one for every month of the year. How do men meet? Each story is connected to a holiday or event—Epiphany, Valentine’s Day, Pi Day, Arbor Day, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, summer vacation, a rodeo, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and Hanukkah—but may not be quite the celebration you’re expecting. Neither may the men, and when these men meet, attraction does not always equal love—at least immediately—but chemistry finds a way.

Excerpt

Gay All Year Richard May © 2020 All Rights Reserved I never meant to live in San Francisco again, but here I was. At first, it was just a visit but when I saw how advanced the effects of my mother’s lung cancer were, I decided I couldn’t leave her to institutional caregivers and fly back to Boston, so I took a leave of absence, and then I telecommuted, and finally, my company offered me a transfer to the office in Menlo Park. I also never expected to be inside a Catholic church again, but here I was. I had successfully avoided them in Boston, which is no easy trick when you’re Irish and raised Catholic. But now, I was back inside Saint Paul’s, fulfilling a deathbed promise to my mother. “Don’t blame God,” she had advised between wheezes and made me agree to go to mass. I wanted to scream. Of course, I blamed God and every fucking priest and every fucking Catholic in the world, but I bit my tongue and said I’d go, thinking her funeral mass would fulfill the promise. “And my funeral mass doesn’t count,” she’d said with the remainder of a twinkle in her eye. Trapped—and I didn’t even get to scream. I had put it off for six months until I’d run into Mrs. Andreozzi on Tuesday past, and she’d mentioned Saint Paul’s had a new priest. “Very handsome,” she informed me as if that were enough of an inducement for a gay twentysomething male. And perhaps it was because the very next Sunday I entered the building, genuflected toward the altar, crossed myself, and took a seat in a pew. There was an excellent turnout of ladies and gay men. And Mrs. Andreozzi was right: the new priest was very handsome. He was a tall man, with dark wavy hair combed straight back from his forehead, regular features, and noticeably wide shoulders. Nothing at all like Father Michael, with his thinning red hair, sallow complexion, and sagging jowls. I hoped he was different from Father Michael in other ways as well, for the altar boys’ sakes. After mass, I tried to slip past the line of parishioners telling the new priest how much they liked this or that, but he stepped away from an older woman in midsentence to intercept me. “Thank you for coming,” he said, barring my way with his conspicuous body and extended right hand. “Father Adrian Doyle.” I shook the hand hesitantly. Touching a priest was, and probably always would be, disgusting to me. Father Adrian’s hand was warm, but then so had been Father Michael’s. “Stephen Kinney,” I said. The priest’s bright-blue eyes momentarily ceased sparkling. Apparently, he’d heard the name before. I’m sure he has, I thought with satisfaction. “Good to see you, Stephen. See you next Sunday,” he said, his eyes recovering. He gave my hand a final shake and went back to his line of well-wishers. I walked outside without a commitment, continued down the steps to Church Street and around the second corner to my parents’ house. The park across the street was full of dogs, kids, and adult supervision. I had been one of those kids once upon a time. I had mostly happy childhood memories and was on quite a nostalgia trip, integrating my things with those of my parents and grandparents. The park was certainly convenient for walking Boris, my mother’s old and needy dog. Why she wanted a Russian wolfhound neither my sister nor I quite understood. It had always been Irish setters while our father was alive. Still, after Mom passed, Anne Marie and I fought over who’d get custody of Boris. Nothing else in the estate mattered as much. I won because I was already walking the dog on a twice-daily basis, feeding him, and acting in loco parentis. My sister lived outside Chicago. If the trip east didn’t kill Boris, the Midwestern winter would. Monday’s alarm woke me from disturbing dreams vaguely remembered. Men in black, oppressive shadows, Father Adrian naked. The latter image disturbed me most of all. I rushed to be vertical and tried to ignore my erection. After struggling into jogging clothes, I opened the door for Boris’s stroll to the dog run. Immediately, an unfamiliar tenor yelled “Stephen!” at me. One of a crowd of runners passing by was waving. “Father Adrian!” he shouted in explanation, pointing at his chest, which was already eye-catching enough, even in a baggy sweatshirt. I waved back in a jerky side to side motion and watched the healthy bodies disappear. The priest’s butt was obvious in his skimpy running shorts, shifting left and right, left and right. Lustful thoughts came to mind. “Good God,” I said out loud. Boris whined. “Yes,” I agreed. “Let’s have none of that. Come on, boy.” The old dog broke into an eager amble across the street. After a few minutes sniffing this fascinating scent, inhaling that arousing aroma, and doing his business, we recrossed the road. I let Boris in the front door and took off at a trot toward Sanchez. Of course, I ran into the Saint Paul’s joggers on their return trip. “Join us!” the priest yelled, his tousled hair and happy face strong inducements. I heard several other runners second his call, which surprised me, given what I’d cost them. Misery loves company, I suppose, or maybe just following the lead of their priest. Still. I was about to ignore all of them when someone dropped out of the line and yanked me into it. “Tony!” I yelped. Tony Rodriguez, the boy I’d had a crush on in sixth grade. The man who’d stood by me during the lawsuit. I assumed he’d left town. He hadn’t been at my mother’s funeral, and I hadn’t run into him at Safeway or Royal Cleaners. “I’ve been in Iraq, and Marylee was at her mother’s,” he exclaimed as if he read minds. Oh, right. He was in the National Guard. I took up the rhythm of the run, Tony’s admirable thighs racing alongside mine. “Aren’t you almost done?” I asked, looking for an escape route. “I wish,” he said, flashing the ten-thousand-dollar smile Dr. Davis of Twenty-fourth Street had given to both of us. I looked ahead at the priest. “What do you think of the new guy?” “He’s good,” Tony said, between inhales and exhales. “Up on technology.” “I thought his Epiphany homily was good,” I said. “Especially the part about everyday epiphanies.” Tony nearly stopped running. “You went to mass?” he said, looking at me as if I were lying. “I promised my mother.” “Uh huh,” Tony grunted. Then he gave me a grin. “And Father Adrian is a good-looking dude,” he said. Just as quickly, his face collapsed in dismay. “I’m sorry, Steve.” I kept looking ahead, which is what I’d told myself to do after I stopped going to church. The priest’s butt was obscured by those of less worthy men. “No worries,” I told him, but it might not have been loud enough for Tony to hear. In any case, we talked of other things before he peeled off for home a few blocks later. “Be sure to call me about that beer!” he yelled. I gave him a thumbs-up. If only he were gay, I thought for the thousandth time. The rest of us finally reached the steps of Saint Paul’s. No one else had spoken to me since Tony had left for home and a shower. At the church, I meant to follow his example, but Father Adrian held me back. “If you ever want to talk,” he said. His fingers gripped my arm with familiar strength and uncomfortable insistence. “I did my talking to the attorneys,” I replied and pulled out of his grasp. His face was even more handsome when less under control. “My offer stands,” he said, his lovely mouth now grim. “Don’t let the crimes of a few evil men get in the way of your relationship with God.” I laughed in his face. “A few? See you later, Father.” I trotted south without looking back. I had been a cute, blond-haired boy of nine when I came under Father Michael’s auspices. I was twenty-four when I organized other boys who’d become his prey to sue the diocese. There had been a settlement; the church knew it couldn’t win. I bought the condo in Boston with my portion of the proceeds. However, later that day, Father Adrian’s offer was codified in a text. Good to see you at church, Stephen. Hope you’ll be with us again next Sunday. And, if you want to talk, my door is always open. He gave me a phone number. The question was, how did he get mine? I should have deleted the text but didn’t. I was impressed he spelled my name correctly and by his follow-up. In fact, I kept rereading it until I finally called the number. Mary Flannery answered. She had been the parish secretary for decades. After I said my name, there was a pause before Mary responded. “Is Father expecting your call?” she asked with an icy edge. “Yes,” I said. “Is this still about—” she began but hushed herself. “Just a moment, Stephen.” She put me on hold. I wondered how much it cost her to say my name. “Stephen!” Father Adrian’s happy voice shouted into the phone. Credit him for enthusiasm. “I’d like to have that talk,” I said. “Good,” he answered after taking a quick breath. “Good,” he repeated more optimistically. “After mass? Which one do you—” “I’ll see you Sunday at noon,” I told him. “On the steps.” “Better make it twelve thirty in my office.” “No!” I said, much too loudly. Mary Flannery might have heard me, if she were listening. I had no intention of being alone with a priest ever again. “Where then?” he asked, sounding irritated. “In the park. Twelve thirty is fine.”

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Meet the Author

Richard May’s short fiction has been published in his collections Inhuman Beings: Monsters, Myths, and Science Fiction and Ginger Snaps: Photos & Stories (with photographer David Sweet) and numerous anthologies and literary periodicals. Rick also organizes two book readings at San Francisco bookstores, the Word Week annual literary festival, and the online book club Reading Queer Authors Lost to AIDS. He lives in San Francisco.

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Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians

Title: Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians

Author: Laurel Beckley

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 17, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 24100

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, libraries, fantasy, lesbian, romance, shifters, magical abilities, paranormal

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Synopsis

As an assistant editor at the prestigious Hanhat Publishers, Evie Southiel is entrusted with fine-tuning the manuscripts of the company’s most important authors. Her skills as a book witch allow her to manipulate the stories she reviews and bring them to life. When her girlfriend steals the secret manuscript of Hanhat’s best-selling author and leaks it to the press, Evie is exiled to become a journey carrier with the Pack-Horse Librarians in the eastern mountains. Timid city mouse Evie doesn’t know the first thing about surviving in the wilderness, riding a horse, or dealing with the rugged mountain folk and coal miners surrounding the town of Hevis. She does know books, though, and she’s determined to do the best job she can. But that goal is jeopardized when her horse gets spooked on her first solo run, sending her tumbling out of the saddle and into a mysterious woman’s life.

Excerpt

Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians Laurel Beckley © 2020 All Rights Reserved A hard knot had formed in Evie’s throat since she was summoned into Mr. Lodge’s corner office, and now the butterflies in her stomach transformed into a hive of angry bees threatening to upset her meager breakfast. Mr. Lodge gave another long humph, the fifth in as many minutes. Evie shuffled in her seat, trying to keep her fingers knotted together in her lap, struggling to prevent her feet from tapping with anxiety. After an eternity, Mr. Lodge looked up from the newspaper, placing it carefully onto his desk. He closed his eyes. When he opened them, his usually cheerful expression was gone, replaced with a stern man Evie didn’t recognize. “Miss Southeil,” he began, then stopped. Another sigh. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his long nose. Evie unconsciously mimicked the gesture, pushing her own wire-rimmed glasses further onto her face. She caught a glimpse of her ink-stained fingers from the corner of her eye and hastily dropped her hands into her lap, letting her dull-gray skirt envelop them. Mr. Lodge opened his eyes. “Miss Southeil,” he repeated. “Of all the journeys present, I might have expected this egregious misstep from anyone else. But not from you.” Evie bit her lip, trying to prevent the knot in her stomach from bringing up actual food onto Mr. Lodge’s manuscript-filled desk—manuscripts she had nurtured into books to be published and read and devoured by the hungry readers of historical fiction. Even among the handful of journey-rank editors at Hanhat Publishing, Evie was special. She knew she had the gift of turning rough sentences into delightful bouquets for the eyes, and yet here she was. Quivering in her boss’s office. Oh, how she had messed up. Mr. Lodge removed one manuscript from the pile and placed it directly underneath the damning newspaper. Evie stared at it, trying to will away the blasted thing’s existence. He tapped the stack of papers with an inky finger. “How did you let this come to pass? Our competitors are breathing down our backs, eager for any hint of weakness, and you give them the scoop of the year!” “I-I’m sorry, Mr. Lodge,” Evie whispered, ducking her chin to prevent tears from escaping. It wasn’t her fault. Well, it was, but it wasn’t. “I won’t—” “You’re damn right you won’t!” Mr. Lodge slammed his hand onto the table. Evie squeaked, jumping in her seat. He reeled in his anger, grimacing at the appendage as though alarmed that such an outburst had come from his body. He heaved another sigh. “Forgive me, but you know as well as I that Mr. Cabot’s novel was to be the highlight of our publishing year. Having the plot…splattered across the gossip rags is an embarrassment to the company and the Guild.” Evie wanted to curl up inside herself until she became nothing more than a ball of gray cloth, hidden from the world. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, blinking furiously. Mr. Lodge’s face softened as did his voice. “Evie, I’m not going to fire you.” She lifted her head, hopeful. “You’re the best assistant editor I’ve had in years, but I think this promotion came too fast, too soon.” He shook his head sadly. “But it’s no use having you here waiting for this whole scandal to blow over. It’ll harm the company’s reputation, and to have your face associated with this whole thing…” He paused, staring at her until she lifted her head. She tried to meet his gaze and failed. Eye contact had always been a struggle for her. “I’m sending you away,” he declared. With her head bowed, Evie nodded. “I’ll clear my desk and head to the printers’ office.” The printers’ office was located five blocks away in the factory district. Dark, dingy, labor-intensive, and where Hanhat Publishing usually sent their screw-ups for menial labor. “No, Evie.” She looked up, startled. “It’s going to be farther than that. I’ve reassigned you to the Librarian’s Guild.” Evie’s heart lifted. At least she’d be near books. Near words and stories and life. Not confined to operating the massive printing machines, spending every minute in danger of getting an industrial injury. She blinked, realizing that she was still being sent away. Being transferred from one guild to another was hardly unique, but certainly not a common practice. He went on. “Think of this as an opportunity, a chance to use your journey time to, well, journey.” Journey? Evie wondered. Members of the Librarian’s Guild were stationed in every city, town, university, and village in Isten with a large enough population to support them, but they certainly did not travel. “You’ll be part of the pack-horse librarians stationed in District Forty-five,” Mr. Lodge said. Obviously interpreting Evie’s miscomprehension as shock, he added, “This will be a two-year assignment. After that, you may return to Hanhat Publishing. I’ll always need copyeditors.” “Th-thank you, Mr. Lodge,” Evie stuttered, lips moving automatically, mind still trying to figure out what had happened. Pack-horse librarians? Two years? And a copyeditor? She pressed her fingers to her lips, struggling to choke down bile and disappointment. Her supervisor slid a folder across the table. It was depressingly thin. Mr. Lodge smiled, a mixture of kind and condescending that hurt worse than any of his words. “Someone will come by your flat to collect any remaining manuscripts. You’re dismissed.” Evie rose from her chair to stand on legs she wasn’t certain would work and took the folder with shaking hands. She pressed the packet of papers to her stomach and bolted, bumping into her fellow journey, Anda, on her sprint to the bathroom. Once inside, she emptied the contents of her breakfast, along with the entirety of her previous life, into the toilet. Someone knocked softly on the bathroom door, interrupting Evie’s hundredth heave. “Evie?” The voice was hesitant. “One minute.” Evie wiped her mouth and ran cold water over her wrists and face, trying to fight the nausea. She avoided the mirror above the sink. Her eyes were surely red and puffy, her dark skin sallow and splotchy. She didn’t need a mirror for that information. She opened the door, nearly jumping as her girlfriend Anda burst inside and locked the door behind her. “Evie, I just heard, and I’m so sorry!” She tried to wrap her arms around Evie in a hug. Evie pushed her away, staring into the face of the girl she had loved so fiercely until that moment in Mr. Lodge’s office. “How could you?” she demanded. Anda’s eyes widened innocently. “Whatever do you mean?” she asked, placing a hand on her chest. Rage bubbled in Evie’s chest, replacing the nausea and sickness. “I let you review that manuscript in confidence, Anda,” she hissed, “to help you polish your editing skills.” If possible, Anda’s eyes opened wider. “Evie,” she cooed, “I gave that manuscript back to you a week ago. You must have misplaced it. You know how forgetful you are.” Evie shook her head. Tears continued streaking down her cheeks, and she wiped them off vigorously with her sleeve, her fist clenched tightly. The story had broken the night before, and since Evie had first found out about it as she entered the building for work that morning, she’d had the sinking suspicion that Anda was behind her situation. Evie was allowed to take manuscripts home and help smooth them over, but only with the explicit understanding that no one else could review an author’s latest creation. “I returned that manuscript to Mr. Lodge a week ago. Besides me, no one but you had hands on it.” Anda lips twisted in a facsimile of a smile. There was something predatory in her gaze, which Evie had seen her deliver to their fellow apprentices and journeys but never to her. “Evie, dear, you know it wasn’t me. Just accept responsibility and take your punishment at the pressman’s office.” She bit her lip and looked down, fluttering her eyelashes. The predatory gleam disappeared, replaced by the image of a remorseful girl. “I think that, with all this in mind, we shouldn’t be together anymore.” Her eyelashes fluttered again. “I mean, an assistant editor with a disgraced pressman? That would taint my career.” Evie gasped, tears beginning to spill out again. Anda’s betrayal was worse than anything she had ever anticipated, but to end their four-year relationship so… callously… was something else. “I can’t believe you,” she whispered. “I knew you were ambitious, but—” The remorse vanished, and Anda was replaced by a hardened creature Evie had never seen before. “But what? I’ve been here eight years, Evie. Do you know how hard I’ve worked only to be passed up by a girl who just got promoted to journey? This position is my due. Not yours.” She sniffed. “And clearly you don’t have the maturity to handle such a job.” Evie placed a hand over her mouth, trying to stuff her sobs back down her throat as Anda threw open the door and stormed out. Tears overwhelmed Evie’s senses as she slid down the wall and hit the tiled floor. This was so, so much worse than she had ever imagined. She’d lost her job, been betrayed by her girlfriend, and was being sent away in disgrace. How would she tell her parents?

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Meet the Author

Laurel Beckley has been writing ever since she started her first novel the summer before eighth grade—a hand-written epic fantasy catastrophe that has lurked in her mind and an increasingly ratty college-ruled notebook ever since. She is a writer, Marine Corps veteran, and librarian.

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Don’t Like You by Juliet Arya

Title: Don’t Like You
Series: Say Something Book One
Author: Juliet Arya
Genre: Contemporary/NA Romance
Release Date: August 14, 2020
“This was such a beautiful book. This is a slow burn, full of angst sister’s best friend romance … This couple is just perfection. I love Zoe and Aariv so much. This is an emotional read that I can’t recommend enough.” ~ 5 Star Goodreads Review
I push. She pulls.
I run. She chases.
I leap. She follows.
I fight. She always wins.
Even when we didn’t know the meaning of love, we’ve always belonged together.
The first time we met, she saw me naked. Then, she grabbed my balls while I howled in pain.
That should have been my clue—this girl has owned my balls since day one. But, nah, I am not that bright with matters of the heart. 
I had to go and make things complicated.
She is my little sister’s best friend. Growing up, she hung around my house and turned into the bane of my existence. Infiltrating my privacy, claiming me as hers.
To get rid of her, I came up with a combat strategy. Every time she tried to talk to me, I would say, “I don’t like you.” And that would shut her up.
Now, after years of her persistence and teasing, I want to make her mine.
But this time, she is the one playing hard to get.
Two sexually frustrated adults with one finish line. What can go wrong? Apparently, a lot.
Don’t Like You is a coming-of-age story that follows a childhood crush into adulthood, filled with sexual banter and hot moments in between.
The door bangs open. She charges into the room with purpose, her eyes locked on me. 
“Who the hell gave you the right to say no to me? You are a pathetic jerk. I. Reject. You.” Her index finger points into my chest. “A chauvinist, egotistical pig.” She jabs again at my chest. 
When I don’t reply, she turns, walking away, leaving me frustrated. Yes, I said frustrated. She is golden red and simmering. She is beautiful, angry, and screaming at me. My heart dives and swims in a puddle of satisfaction at the sight of her. A sigh leaves my lips. A few muffled laughs around me break me out of my reverie. 
I run after her. I need to check something. Right when she is crossing my office, I grab her arm and pull her inside to lock the door behind us. 
“Fucking hell,” she yells, trying to free her hand. 
After days and months of nothing, her eyes are alive again. She is heaving, her breasts rising and falling. What we once had is back with a vengeance. She is turned on. She hates that she is feeling things for me again. I can tell by the way she looks at me, the way she fights to not look at my lips, the way her body reacts. I have an office with a street-view window and a large desk. The large mahogany desk has found a new purpose in life.  
“Let go, asshole.” She pushes on my arm, and I realize I am holding her waist too close.  
“Watch your mouth,” I say. I am sure there are people outside my door, trying to eavesdrop. 
She glares back at me. “Who do you think you are to reject me? I don’t want to marry you either. At least I dare to say it to your face. Coward.” 
“You really want to be a housewife? Is that your only life goal?” I ask softly.  
“Both our mothers were housewives, and raising us was their only goal. They did a proud job, you sexist jackass.” 
“You want to make babies and change diapers?” I ask. 
“I am all for making babies. I am not changing diapers though,” she sasses me back.  
She wants to make babies. The best news I have heard in a very long time. My cock was dying a slow, painful death this morning from a curious case of blue balls. Now, the raging fucker is hopeful for a miraculous cure.  
Dream on, buddy. No harm in wishful thinking. 
My cock is already in a standing ovation, the images of Zoe naked imprinted in my memory. My gaze drops to her chest. She has perfect tits. This older Zoe standing in front of me is not shy; she knows how to handle a perv.  
“Hello? Eyes up here.” She snaps her fingers in front of my face. 
I laugh at her tone. I am instigating her anger so that she confesses she wants me. Angry sex? I can ace that.  
I will change our baby’s diapers any day. I will run home and back every time my daughter or son poops or pisses. I am going to move my work to where my baby is and work from home. I want babies, cute girls with long dark-chestnut hair and rosy cheeks like Zoe and boys with big dicks like mine; it’s called handing down the good genes.  
But first, let me argue and frustrate her to a point where she decides to rip off my clothes and demands I fuck her brains out.  
So, I say, “So, I have to change diapers? I have to work all day in the office and then come home and change diapers while you sit at home and look pretty.” 
“No, silly. Why would you change my baby’s diapers? The child’s father will. I could let you be the nanny, but you don’t like me, remember? Isn’t that what you said this morning to your entire family?”  
“Who the fuck is the child’s father?” I charge in an agitated voice. 
What does she mean by the child’s father? Does that mean I am not the father? If I am not the father, is she cheating on me? Anxiety fills my body. She is having a secret affair with some bastard while I’ve been waiting on the sidelines. I am going to kill this guy. 
Zoe looks at my confused face and lets out a barely audible giggle.  
A giggle.  
But she quickly steadies herself. “I haven’t decided who the father will be yet.” She flicks her hair off her shoulder with a shrug. 
So coldhearted. That was not funny.  
She smiles, smugly satisfied when I let out a breath of relief. Her eyes burn with need as they fall on my lips, trail down my neck, she watches as my Adam’s apple bobs. Her eyes travel down to the skin peeking from the collar of my shirt. Zoe’s heated eyes drop to my cock for a quick glance, just once. She leaves, watching me lick my lips as she sashays her ass out of my office. 
That ass is going to be the death of me.  
Orgasms. I need to find a way to give her some orgasms and get her to forgive me. Then, we can make babies and get married.  
No, wait. First, marriage and then babies. I am orthodox and traditional that way.
Juliet lives in a house of chaos surrounded by the humans she loves. Her skill set includes drinking but never getting drunk, cooking hearty dinners and day dreaming while lusting after hot book boyfriends. She loves romantic rainy day picnics and good innuendoes with equal measure. ‘Don’t Like You’ is her first book.
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