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Lie by Deana Birch

Book 3 in the Covington Heights Crew series

Word Count: 74,248 Book Length: SUPER NOVEL Pages: 275 Genres:


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Book Description

Piercing lies lead to brutal betrayals. One bullet has taken everything from Anton Myers. Everything… His crew, his livelihood and any ounce of loyalty from his friends are all gone thanks to a tiny piece of lead. With no purpose and his mother pushing him into a lifestyle he never wanted, he’s the perfect storm of defiance and deceit. Samantha Powers is a damn good liar. She can bend facts, sell half-truths, omit details and sugarcoat answers better than anyone in the city. She’s also the kind of woman who can motivate warriors to transcend into kings—and that’s exactly what she wants to do. Their fast-paced relationship—fueled by raw lust and questionable motives—threatens Samantha’s credibility while Anton’s world crumbles around him. As an undeniable fact surfaces that could ruin them both, the only way out of their web of lies is a devastating truth. Reader advisory: This book deals with drug use, cancer and the death of a parent. It may be best read as part of a series.


The ventilator rose like a stretched-out accordion then folded back down, forcing air into Anton Myers’ injured lungs. The beep, beep, beep of his heart rate was probably the only thing comforting his mother, who sat next to his hospital bed stroking her thumb over his battered knuckles. In the few months that I’d gotten to know Sophia Myers, I’d learned that her strength and will far exceeded her tiny frame. Even in the face of tragedy, she was immaculately groomed and flawlessly presentable. She was cold, hard and serious. I admired her. I stepped closer to the bed. With his eerie eyes closed, Anton’s power or anger or whatever it was that motivated him was less evident. He was just a shell of a man with a tube down his throat and an IV in his hand. It was as if his dangerous draw had floated away. The sterile odor of alcohol lingered in the air from the hand sanitizer that the nurse had used when she’d checked his vitals minutes prior, and it only added to the cold room. Somehow, the orderly environment suited Sophia. Baking cookies and an apron sure didn’t. My phone vibrated and I flipped my wrist to check the text message. Shit. Someone had leaked the shooting to the press. It had already been hard enough to smooth over Sophia’s questionable past when my boss—the mayor of the city—had decided to marry her. But this? His new stepson involved in a gang-related shooting? It was a public relations nightmare. My phone vibrated again, this time with Mayor Demsey’s name. Sophia glanced at me as if she understood, and before I turned to walk out of the door, I offered her a tight, sympathetic smile. No matter what her past, I wouldn’t want her present. I swiped the screen to answer, but instead of saying hello, I said, “I just saw. I’m leaving the hospital now.” “Who the fuck would have leaked this?” Demsey yelled through the small speaker. His scratchy voice revealed his Long Island accent. The crass demeanor that came out when he was pissed was one of the few things he managed to keep hidden from the public. His question was logical, but the answer was irrelevant. Lucky for my boss, I’d already played the game of ‘worst-case scenario’ over and over in my head for the previous twenty-four hours. “I’ll call a presser and get in front of this. We can spin it. I’ll say he was robbed. In the meantime, avoid reporters. And don’t you dare ass-dial Mitch from The Times like you did last week. In fact, put your phone in your drawer once you hang up with me.” My heels clicked down the hall of the private hospital at a rhythmic pace. At the nurse’s station, an older, handsome man smiled at me and I rolled my eyes once I’d passed him. Unwanted flirty smiles from men always jabbed at a button in me that said because I was pretty, my intelligence was underestimated. That particular gentleman had ‘man-splainer’ written in bold above his raised eyebrows. “Sam?” Demsey asked in a softer tone. “Don’t forget to call the chief and tell him what you’re going to say so we have a consistent message. Jack likes you way more than he does me, so it will be better… Actually, swing by to see him on your way back to the office. He’ll appreciate the personal touch.” “On it.” The elevator doors rattled open. “Make this easy for me and keep your mouth shut, boss.” I swiped my phone off. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Demsey or his new family, because I did. He’d taken a chance on me as his spokesperson when I hadn’t exactly had a long list of celebrity clients banging down the door of my small public relations firm. Before agreeing to the job, I’d heard about Demsey and his taste for the corrupt, but it didn’t bother me. I’d learned over the years that the line between flat-out lying to the public or dressing up facts to make whatever bad thing seem good was pretty damn blurry. My job depended on how I massaged the truth. Being one hundred percent honest was the only thing I was sure I’d never do. It didn’t matter if I lied. It was how much. Outside, I hailed a cab, and we battled the downtown traffic until I was at police headquarters. I flashed my identification badge at security and stepped through the metal detector. On the third floor, I smiled to the uniformed officers as I made my way through their cubicles to the corner office of Police Chief Jack Galaway. Jack’s eyes were closed and he pinched the bridge of his nose with the phone against his ear. I wrapped my knuckles lightly on his door, causing him to look up. His frown switched to an easy grin and he waved me in. I took the empty chair to the right and sat patiently as he ‘mmhmm-ed’ his way through the rest of the call. He spun his finger around in the universal sign that indicated he wanted the other person to wrap it up already, and I crossed my hands in my lap. The walls of his office were lined with plaques and certificates with gold seals. Jack was a family man but specifically kept any sign of his personal life to himself. We’d never really believed in small talk. We were both direct in the interest of time, but I did know that he’d married his high-school sweetheart and he had two sons, both of whom were on the force. He was a good man, as good as he could be while he navigated a system and city that favored the depraved. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” he said when he’d hung up. “Why can’t my guys keep their dicks in their pants?” Jack frowned and the wrinkles in his clean-shaven face deepened. “You don’t look like you have good news either. Spit it out.” “Anton Myers was shot two nights ago.” I re-crossed my ankles, and the movement caught his eyes. He liked to tease me about my shoe addiction. I was wearing a new pair of black heels and their red souls matched my red dress. Much like Sophia Myers, I, too, took a lot of care in how I presented myself. I never showed cleavage, my skirts always hit just above my knees and my nails were perfectly groomed and color-free. I wore makeup but it was subtle. My lips only saw red on Christmas or for parties. Jack leaned back into his massive leather chair and swiveled. “First I’ve heard of it.” “It was”—I shrugged and scrunched my nose—“cleaned up. But it’s about to break in the news. I’m going to do a presser this afternoon and claim he was robbed at gunpoint.” He shook his head. “That’s bad for me.” I knew Jack wouldn’t like my plan. It would be another unsolved crime and feed fear to the public, but that wouldn’t stop me. Plus, I knew the chief of police was a tit-for-tat kind of man. “It will be good for your budget.” I stood and flattened out my dress. “You can refer all press to the mayor’s office.” “Gee, thanks.” Jack’s desk phone rang, and I headed for the door. “Hey, Sammie?” I turned around. He had the receiver pressed into his chest under his badge. “You may want to consider someone like Anton Myers would prefer the truth to your spin. You’re about to make one of the most dangerous gang members in our city a victim. He’s not going to like that—and neither will his crew.” I gave exactly zero fucks about what Anton Myers would or wouldn’t like. I worked for the mayor, not him. Sophia had warned him to lie low. Getting shot by a rival gang? Not exactly my idea of exceeding his mother’s expectations. And his crew? There was nothing left of it. Any loyalty they’d had for their leader had been wiped away the second he’d fallen. Sophia had spoken to one of them and forbidden them from returning to their neighborhood, effectively disbanding the entire gang. “Well, fortunately for me he’s mute and in a hospital bed. He doesn’t have a choice.” But the confidence in my voice wavered just a little. “I’ll email Debbie my statement before I go out.” He nodded then barked, “What now?” into the phone. On the way down to the lobby, I mulled over his advice. So what if Anton woke up and was pissed about how I’d handled things? His life as he knew it was over. His mother had assured it. But the chief had a point. I could cut out the ‘robbed’ part. Once out of police headquarters, I dialed my assistant. “Hey, Fanny, can you let the press know that I’ll be making a statement with limited questions at three o’clock?” I crossed the street with the crowd, the blue-and-white police cars all around us. As I approached city hall, Mitch from The Times came into view. His signature checked shirt stood out like a flashing sign that read ‘pain in my ass’. “I’ve already gotten calls from six reporters.” Fanny’s tone held a little bit of a question. “I’m coming up now but stay on the line. Fucking Mitch is downstairs.” I held the phone tight to my ear. “Tell me anything. Read me a menu or recite a damn poem if you have to. He won’t let me walk by without pestering me.” Fanny let out a small laugh. “So I met this girl at a bar last night…” Mitch’s eyes lit up like the Fourth of July when he spotted me. I quickened my pace and shook my head as I pointed to the phone and said, “Super important call.” Fanny continued, “We totally hit it off. I was laughing and having the time of my life. Then it hit me like a bulldozer. She had long blonde hair, sun-kissed skin and a banging body.” I climbed the stairs of City Hall with Mitch at my heel. “I’m so sorry to hear that.” Mitch spouted questions but I ignored them. At the top of the stairs, I opened the massive door. I just had to get through security then I would be home free. Fanny continued in my ear. It wasn’t the first time we’d faked a phone call. “She looked exactly like you. It freaked me out so hard that I literally stood straight up and walked out.” “I’m at security. I’ll call you back.” I ended the call and placed my phone in a black plastic basket on the conveyor belt. “Nice try,” Mitch said as he rolled his green eyes. “But my source tells me that Anton Myers was shot in the chest. Can you confirm?” My job was to talk to the press. The cat was already out of the bag, and there was no putting its fuzzy ass back in. Information was fluid and it had to run both ways. Mitch was only doing his job, as annoying as it was. There were so many other things that he could have been reporting on. But sensationalizing the shooting of the mayor’s stepson was click bate and would get him seven more followers on social media. It would make his superiors happy, and if I just threw him a tiny crumb, he would stop. I stepped toward the metal detector and set my shoulders. “I confirm.” The crooked grin on Mitch’s face soured my stomach. “Thank you!” He spun around and left the building with a bit of pep in his step. Being the first one to get confirmation meant everyone else would use his story and say his name all day long. I grabbed my phone, which was lighting up with notices of the confirmation I’d just given, and went upstairs to my office. Fanny sat behind her immaculate desk and typed into her laptop. Her dark hair was down and her long bangs kissed the top of her eyebrows. “Was that true? Did you fall for my doppelganger?” I walked over to our community fridge and grabbed a bottle of water. “Sam…” She stopped typing and spun around on her chair to face me. “It was literally you. She even had great shoes. I may not recover from this.” I grinned. The lighthearted banter was a refreshing break from my otherwise-stressful day. I stepped into my office and just before shutting the door deadpanned, “I think you have a crush on me.” “Me and Mitch.” “Eww.” I shivered, and when she faked offense, I said, “Not you…Mitch. Also, now that I think of it, maybe a little you too. You’re like my kid sister. Shame on you and your twisted mind, Fanny.” I tapped the door and forced an exhale out of my mouth. “Hold my calls. I have a statement to write.” Three hours later, I stood at the mayor’s briefing podium with the statement that Demsey had approved and that I’d emailed to Debbie, the police chief’s assistant. I rubbed my lips together, spreading the freshly applied nude gloss even more, and waited for the room to fall silent. Three rows of reporters sat eagerly facing me as the local and national news cameras flanked the back and walls. Showtime. I adjusted the microphone and scanned the crowd of familiar faces. “Good afternoon. As I confirmed earlier, the mayor’s stepson, Anton Myers, was the victim of a shooting two nights ago. I’m happy to report that after a long touch-and-go surgery, he is resting and in stable condition. The mayor and his wife ask for your understanding for their need for privacy in this difficult time.” The hands flew up for questions and I repeated my motto—reassure and deflect. There were a few reporters I loathed less than others because I could always count on them to throw me a softball. I found one and called on her. “Stacey.” “Thanks, Samantha. Do the police have any suspects? Do we know what happened?” “As you know, I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation, but I have nothing but respect and confidence for our men and women in uniform.” Mitch waggled his fingers and his eyes bulged. I skipped over him. Where was the guy from the local station who had winked at me the week before? Ah, yes. Middle center. “Steven.” “Anton Myers is a convicted criminal. Was this gang-related?” My throat tightened and I willed the heat in my chest to cool. “Ongoing investigation, but there’s no reason to start rumors about a man who was inches from losing his life.” I glared at Steven. He wouldn’t be getting called on again anytime soon. Mitch was practically halfway out of his seat. Experience and poise kept my eyes from rolling. “Mitch.” “Thanks, Sam.” Sam? Uh, no. It’s Samantha in this room, dipshit. We aren’t buddies. He cleared his throat. “A source tells me that Anton was taken to the hospital by two men in suits and a gang member. Can you confirm?” So his source was someone at the hospital. The director would be getting a massive earful from me…or Fanny. Fanny would actually be fantastic at bitching someone out. Then I could stay nice-ish. “I don’t have those details, but I’ll try to find out and get back to you.” I closed my binder and addressed the room. “Listen, guys… I know it’s been a boring news week and we’re all a little hungry right now, but let’s not turn a victim of a violent crime into a criminal because he has some misdemeanors on his record from when he was barely eighteen.” Someone scoffed but I wasn’t quick enough to catch who. I narrowed my eyes, scolding them for their lack of empathy. “I’ll update you as soon as I can.” What I really meant was that I was going to brush this under the rug and try to get them to forget about it as soon as I could. That little nugget from Mitch about the men who’d brought him to the hospital was a nightmare for me and the police. As I stepped away from the podium and exited the room, they all hollered questions at me—questions that weren’t that different from the ones ping-ponging in my own head. And with Anton still unconscious, I was walking the tightrope between what I could spin and what other information was out there. Sophia had said she trusted the men who’d brought him in and that the rival gang had been “taken care of”. But it wasn’t the first-hand witnesses of the shooting who bothered me. It was the aftermath that had to be pieced together perfectly to sell a believable lie. Fanny followed me down the corridor and it wasn’t until we were in our office that she said, “What the fuck is with the hospital?” I paced in front of her desk. “Call them and take out all your sexual frustration on them. Fucking leaks.” “On it.” She slid into her seat and wedged her phone between her ear and shoulder as she typed on her computer. As much as listening to her would have been fun and I was sure I’d miss some fantastically creative insults, I needed silence to think. I closed the door to my office, only to have Sophia’s number pop up onto the screen of my phone. “Hey, how is he?” I asked. “He’s awake and…” Her calm tone was ominous. “Cranky. You’ve officially been summoned. He’s waiting—and not patiently either.” Crap.

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About the Author

Deana Birch

Deana Birch was named after her father’s first love, who just so happened not to be her mother. Born and raised in the Midwest, she made stops in Los Angeles and New York before settling in Europe, where she lives with her own blue-eyed Happily Ever After. Her days are spent teaching yoga, playing tennis, ruining her children’s French homework, cleaning up dog vomit, writing her next book or reading someone else’s. You can sign up for Deana’s newsletter here and visit her website here. You can also find Deana at Books + Main here


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Hate Notes by Gracie Graham

Hate Notes
Gracie Graham
Publication date: June 30th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Topher Elliot is high school royalty.

The king of Lakeview prep.

You know the type. Disgustingly rich. Blond-haired. Eyes the color of a clear, blue sky. And muscles for days.

He also happens to be enemy #1, the bane of my existence.

Only, now my scholarship is in jeopardy and, like the peasant I am, I must tutor the king himself if I want to graduate.

Still, if I have to be around him, I might as well make it worth my while. So I send him a scathing text, telling him exactly what I think about him. But he mistakes me for someone else. That’s when I hatch a plan: get dirt on the king, and watch his reign crumble.

It’s about time someone made the king come tumbling down.

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Now that we were alone, I couldn’t help but wonder if he got my text and what he thought about it.

Did it bother him? Did it affect him at all? Or did it bounce right off his bulletproof ego? Because he sure seemed unaffected.

I glanced up at him, confirming his gaze, and I almost opened my mouth and confessed with an apology when he said, “Hey, I uh, wanted to say sorry for this morning. Mikey and the guys can be jerks sometimes.”

I raised a brow, surprised at the admission. I hadn’t expected that.

“Sometimes?” I asked, and when he laughed, I flinched at the sound.

“Good point.” Topher grinned.

“What about you?” I asked.

“What about me?”

“You’re not a jerk sometimes?”

He winced like the words hurt. “Hey, you have to admit, you were staring pretty hard.”

“I was not. I was—”

“You were,” he crowed.

“I didn’t realize it was you.”

“What’s that mean?” he asked, leaning back in his chair, clearly enjoying our exchange.

What did that mean?

He crossed one leg over the other, propping his ankle on top of his knee. One arm draped casually over the back of the chair as he waited for my answer. And all I could think was, It must be nice to be so comfortable in your own skin.

I shifted my gaze to my nails, where I studied the glossy black polish. “It means,” I growled, “that if I had known it was you, I would’ve gouged my eyes out before taking a second look.”

“Could’ve fooled me,” Topher mumbled under his breath.

My eyes shot to him and narrowed. “Excuse me?”

He lifted a shoulder, then dropped it. “Just that it didn’t look like you were disgusted. It looked like you wanted to jump me.”

My jaw dropped, mouth gaping like a fish. I closed it, then repeated the process.

Great, he’s turned me into a guppy.

Annoyed with myself for letting him get to me, I snapped my mouth closed and spoke between clenched teeth. “Oh, and I suppose you’re an expert on what that looks like?”

“You said it, not me, but if it makes you feel any better,” he whispered, leaning close, “I kinda liked it.”

A choking sound gurgled from the back of my throat before I straightened, composing myself.

He wanted to get under my skin, and I was letting him.

“Whatever,” I muttered, then flipped open my textbook. “I suppose you’re sorry for being a jerk yesterday, too.”


I huffed out a breath. Of course he’d so quickly forget.

My fingers curled around my book until my knuckles turned white. “Yeah, in first period?”

A crease formed between his brow. “You mean the name thing?”

The name thing. Like it was no big deal even though they’d been torturing me with it since the sixth grade. Oh, how fun it was to be known as Skunk Girl.

“Yeah, that and your friends stomping all over my stuff in the hall.”

He opened his mouth to speak, but I held out a hand and stopped him. “You know what? We make choices every day that make us who we are. No point in apologizing if you’re going to continue being a prick. ”


I bowed my head, feeling like a jerk. It was almost as bad as the text I sent him.

What had gotten into me? I never spoke my mind or stood my ground.

I pulled out a blank sheet of paper so we could do some problems when I felt the vibration from his silent laughter.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing.” He smirked.

I gnashed my teeth together, shooting him an unamused look.

“It’s just, I’m not used to you being so opinionated. You hardly ever speak in class. I think I’ve barely heard you say two words. Who knew you were so feisty?”

I frowned. That sounded almost like a compliment, but why did it feel backhanded?

“Yeah, well, you don’t really know me.”

“True. I guess I don’t. You sure seem to think you have me pegged though.”

It was a statement, not a question. And he was right. “I know exactly who you are.”

“And who is that?” he asked, his tone hard as steel.

“You’re Topher Elliot, King Royal. You walk on water, and everyone bows at your feet.”

“King Royal?”

I rolled my eyes. “Oh, don’t act like you don’t know what everyone calls you guys.”

He exhaled and stared down at his textbook with a frown. For a moment, he looked almost bothered by it. But that was impossible. Boys like Topher didn’t care what girls like me thought of them.

“I mean, I’ve heard the royal thing, but . . . Anyway, it’s not like I wanna be called that.”

“Okay,” I said, when what I really meant was You expect me to believe that?

“So that’s it, then, huh? One label and you’ve got me all figured out?”

His throat bobbed, and he almost sounded . . . angry or upset. Which was weird.

When I said nothing, he straightened in his chair and glanced down at his book. “Whatever. Let’s just get on with this.”

Author Bio:

Gracie Graham writes contemporary young adult novels and is the pen name for adult author Tia Souders.

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Sea Lover

Title: Sea Lover

Author: J.K. Pendragon

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/28/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 27300

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, MM-trans romance, merman, fisherman, interspecies, fantasy

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Ian is happy with his life in a remote Canadian fishing town, where he has only the sea and his fishing crew for company. People say being alone is terrible, but he’s never had any problems with it. Then his peaceful life is thrown into upheaval when he finds an injured merman washed up on the shore. With no idea what else to do, Ian takes the merman home and nurses him back to health. But as he helps S’mika heal, a bond begins to form, and Ian starts to wonder if maybe there is more to life than being alone…


Sea Lover J.K. Pendragon © 2021 All Rights Reserved He found the merman on the beach as the sun was setting orange over the horizon and the waves were turning a deep green with foamy, silver tips. The tide was going out, and every time the waves washed over the body lying prone in the surf, they took swirls of dark blood with them. Ian’s first thought was that it must be a seal, injured and washed up on the beach. He resolved to come back in the morning, drag the thing up to his cottage, and burn it so it didn’t rot and stink to high heaven for the next couple of weeks. But as he got closer, another wave washed in and rolled the figure up and over, so that it was lying on its back. As it rolled, Ian saw a long, spindly arm drop to the side and a mess of shiny, black hair. He dropped the net and tackle he was carrying and ran, his heavy fishing boots sinking into the sand and catching on the rocks and seaweed as he sprinted towards the figure. He fell to his knees at the man’s side as the waves washed up over his body once more and was distracted for a moment, frantically checking vitals before he glanced over and saw the tail. Ian sat back on his knees and gave a weak laugh. It had to be a joke. Some very realistic art project that had befallen unfortunate circumstances. But then the figure breathed and convulsed forward, coughing and spitting. Ian stared as the man, or boy—he didn’t look older than twenty—frantically pulled himself over onto his side and pressed his head to the sand, gagging. Then his face tightened, and he made a keening, painful noise, before glancing down at the thick, blubbery, black tail. Without thinking, Ian lunged forward. “Don’t move,” he said hoarsely, and the boy looked up at him, his dark eyes showing no sign he understood what Ian was saying. His hair and skin were both dark, too, and Ian wondered briefly if the tail was some sort of cultural attire. Or maybe there was a movie filming in the area that he hadn’t heard about? Then he decided that it didn’t matter, because the boy was obviously badly injured, and he needed to get whatever it was off. He reached for his knife at his side and swore when he realised he’d left it in the bag with his tackle. “Shit. Lie back.” He gently pushed on the boy’s shoulders so he understood. The boy complied, lying back with another whine of pain as Ian moved his hands down his torso, desperately trying to find the place where the brown skin met black pelt. He couldn’t. “What is this?” he asked, flabbergasted. “How do I get it off?” He glanced up in time for the boy to make a twisted face. The boy opened his mouth, obviously frustrated, and let out another high-pitched cry, followed by a noise that was halfway between a growl and a bark. Then his head whipped back, and he convulsed again, bringing the full weight of his tail up, and Ian saw the injury—a gash, deep enough to cut through the muscle and possibly tendons. It was difficult to see the depth of the injury, because blood was gushing up out of it as he thrashed. The blood spattered Ian in the face, and he wiped at it, stunned. This was not normal. Being a fisherman meant he had to be able to handle himself in tense and stressful situations, and usually he was great at it, but this…? This was something else. “Hey,” he said sharply as the boy writhed on the blood-soaked sand, obviously in terrible pain. “You need to stop moving. You’re only going to make it worse. Do you understand me?” He didn’t know what he was going to do. He couldn’t possibly carry him, and trying to move him would only make things worse. He had his cell phone on him, but there was absolutely no reception out here. He should go and get help. Get his truck and drive it into town, letting emergency services know. But what would they do with something like this? Ian stared at the limp tail on the sand, blood gushing out of the warm, velvety, and obviously very real tail. His mind was in a fog, and all he could think about were news crews and scientists and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The boy was looking up at him now, his eyes glazing over a little. “I-I’m gonna be back,” Ian stammered, standing jerkily. “Stay here.” He ran the rest of the way home, not bothering to pick up the net and tackle he’d left on the ground, not letting himself think about anything until he’d jumped up into the seat of the old Chevy pickup and revved the engine. He stared at his wild eyes in the review mirror for a moment, wondering if he was going crazy. Then he put the truck into gear and screeched out of the driveway. The seal-boy wasn’t moving when he got back. Ian drove the truck up next to him on the beach, tires skidding in the soft sand, and jumped out to check on him. His eyes were shut, the silvery sand coated his face and body, and his skin was cold and clammy. But he was still breathing. Ian got up again, pulling his heavy raincoat off as he lowered the tailgate. Then he went to the boy and wrapped the raincoat around him, moving his arms into position and rolling him onto the coat and into a bundle. He staggered a little as he lifted. He was strong, but the boy was deadweight, and the tail was ridiculously heavy. The bleeding seemed to have slowed, and Ian hoped it wasn’t because he had bled out completely. He dropped the prone body onto the tailgate and jumped up to roll him onto his back again, checking for vitals. He was still alive, breathing shallowly, but Ian didn’t know if he was going to make it. Normally, he’d apply a tourniquet to the limb, but in this case, that didn’t seem to be an option. He swore and pulled the tailgate shut, jumping over the side of the truck bed and hurtling himself into the cab. He tried to drive carefully, but he knew it wasn’t going to matter how gentle the ride was if the boy bled out before Ian could get at him with his medical supplies. The sun had set completely by the time he pulled up to his cottage, and the porch light flicked on as he hurriedly unlocked the door and let himself in, swatting at the mosquitoes buzzing around him. He grabbed at the old striped couch, dragging it around so it could be easily accessed from the door, and then rifled through a cupboard, pulling out the old, dusty first aid kit. When he got back out to the truck and lowered the tailgate, the boy was awake again, staring at him with glazed, frightened eyes. “Come on,” said Ian in what he hoped was a gentle voice. He reached out and slid the raincoat forward, hauling the whole bundle up into his arms. The boy groaned, his voice sounding more human now, and distinctly pained, and Ian carried him into the house. He kicked the door shut behind him and deposited the boy as gently as he could onto the couch. His hands were bloody again—Ian noticed as he fumbled for the light switch, illuminating the room with dusty, orange light that definitely wasn’t bright enough. Next to the couch, there was an old end table with a lamp, and he grabbed for it, fumbling to knock the shade off and set it up next to the tail, which was drooping off the couch and oozing blood onto the hardwood floor. “Okay,” he said as he reached for the first aid kit. “It’s been a few years since med school. How many…five? I dropped out too.” He gave a hoarse little laugh. The boy was looking down at him through groggy eyes, and Ian knew he didn’t understand a word he was saying. But talking helped. “Not that I have any idea how to patch this up anyway,” he continued, pulling on his gloves hurriedly and opening a package of sterilized wipes. “I was trained to treat humans. And I’m guessing you are not that. This is gonna hurt, by the way.” A morphine drip would be nice. So would a sterile hospital bed. But this was as good as it was going to get. The boy hissed as Ian wiped the wound clean, and when Ian pulled out a needle and cotton thread, he lifted his arms and tried to sit up. “No!” said Ian sharply, raising a hand, and the boy sank back down, his eyes wide in a mixture of anger and fear. Ian finished sterilizing the needle and thread and held them out to show him. “I’m going to stitch the wound shut. I need to, okay? Or it’ll keep bleeding.” The boy didn’t look reassured. “I’m trying to help you,” said Ian firmly, eyes locked with him. “You need to trust me.” “Trust me,” repeated the boy, so accurately that, for a moment, Ian thought he must speak English after all. He looked like he was thinking hard, which must have been difficult, considering the amount of pain and blood loss he’d suffered. Then he glanced down at the wound and back at Ian. Ian took that for permission and started stitching. The boy was quiet as he did it, and Ian was worried he’d fallen asleep again. It was best he stay awake, at least until Ian could get some water into him. But when he glanced up, the boy was staring at him, flinching only slightly as the needle pierced the flesh. “I’m Ian,” said Ian, touching his hand quickly to his chest. “I-an.” “Ian,” said the boy, emphasizing the an a little too much. His voice was clear, and surprisingly deep, considering how young he looked. “Sss…” he said, and broke off into a hiss as Ian tightened and tied off the first stitch. “S’mika.” “Smika?” mumbled Ian, wiping away a trickle of blood and pulling another stitch through. The boy frowned at him. “S—” He made a glottal stop. “—mika.” “S’mika,” said Ian, and laughed a little at how ridiculous this was. “What are you, S’mika?” S’mika rattled off something in a language that Ian was absolutely certain he’d never heard before, but S’mika’s tone suggested he’d said something like “I can’t understand you, dumbass.” Ian shook his head and continued working, his hands thankfully steady. S’mika groaned and lay back, and Ian quickly tied off the last stitch and moved up to check on him. He was shaking, and the skin around his mouth was dry and crusted white. A hand on his forehead confirmed he was clammy and feverish. “Damn it,” said Ian, and he stood and rushed to the sink to pour a glass of water. He brought it back to S’mika, who looked at it, confused. “Like this,” said Ian, taking a drink of the water. After watching carefully, S’mika took the glass in shaky hands and brought it to his lips. He made a face at it, as if it wasn’t acceptable somehow, before downing the whole glass and passing it back to Ian. Ian took it, feeling like he was the one in shock, and went back to bandaging the wound. “We need to elevate your…um, legs,” he said, once he’d finished taping the gauze to the soft pelt. “It’ll help with the blood loss.” S’mika looked annoyed that he was talking so much, so Ian shut up, and S’mika let him lift his tail gently onto the arm of the couch. He’d never been too up close and personal with a seal, but he was pretty sure this was a seal tail. It was thick and blubbery, ending in two stunted flippers with claws. “I must be high out of my fucking tree,” he muttered. “Maybe I’ll wake up in the morning and this’ll all have been a really weird dream.” He glanced at S’mika to see that his eyes were closed again, and Ian decided to leave him like that. If he died in the night…well, Ian would deal with that if it came to it. He suddenly felt incredibly tired. He’d been up before dawn and pulled a long day, and although he’d just celebrated his twenty-ninth birthday a month ago, he was starting to feel the wear and tear of hard living in his bones. “I’m going to bed,” he said, gesturing at the door to the bedroom. “Call me if you need me.” S’mika just looked at him, eyes heavy, but reassuringly a little more alert. “Ian,” he said, and Ian supposed that meant “Thank you.”


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

J.K. Pendragon is a Canadian author with a love of all things romantic and fantastical. They first came to the queer fiction community through m/m romance, but soon began to branch off into writing all kinds of queer fiction. As a bisexual and genderqueer person, J.K. is dedicated to producing diverse, entertaining fiction that showcases characters across the rainbow spectrum, and provides queer characters with the happy endings they are so often denied. J.K. currently resides in British Columbia, Canada with a boyfriend, a cat, and a large collection of artisanal teas that they really need to get around to drinking. They are always happy to chat, and can be reached at

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The Alchemy Thief

The Alchemy Thief
Pirates and Puritans Book 1
by R.A. Denny
Genre: Historical Fiction
When the secrets of the past threaten to destroy the future.
A tale of hope, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of a woman, this sweeping epic spans the Atlantic from New England to Morocco during the Age of Exploration.
2019: A young woman finds a relic engraved with a mysterious symbol off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Terrorists in Morocco steal a 17th-century book engraved with the same symbol. As the woman struggles to unravel the secrets behind the symbol, her life changes in ways she could never have imagined.
1657: Transported back in time, she meets the alchemist, John Winthrop, Jr. who is plotting to lure the greatest scientific minds to the New World. But the more she learns, the more she fears for the lives of the loved ones she left behind.
In a stunning twist of fate, a modern terrorist has traveled into the past, where he has become a Barbary Corsair. He has plans of his own. And he will stop at nothing to succeed.
R.A. Denny is the author of six historical fiction and fantasy novels. Readers have described her books as deep, spirited, and imaginative.
After receiving her Juris Doctor from Duke University, she practiced criminal law for over twenty years. During that time, R.A. developed creative methods to educate the public about the law, presenting dramatic programs to over 300,000 people across the United States and producing a full-length feature film that screened internationally.
R.A. left the law to pursue her passion for writing. She had promised her dying mother she would finish the research they had begun in the Library of Congress when R.A. was 11 years old. One mysterious line about her 9th-great-grandfather led to years of research and a trip to Morocco. The result is R.A.’s latest novel, The Alchemy Thief.
An adventurous traveler, R.A. enjoys swimming, kayaking, and horseback riding. She delights in pursuing creative projects with her two adult sons and playing silly games with her grandchildren.
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Release Blitz

Elemental Ride

Title: Elemental Ride

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/28/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 21300

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, elementals, sprites, motorcycle club, gangs, mail carrier, split personalities

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Rawley isn’t the type to crush hard and fast on anyone, but he’s helpless when it comes to Reign, the new mail carrier. Even his bikes and his job as enforcer for a local motorcycle gang, the center of his world, don’t compare to his interest in Reign. Unfortunately, Reign doesn’t seem to be as interested—but secrets and magic have a way of turning everything upside down and Rawley discovers he not only loves one man, he loves four.


Elemental Ride Mell Eight © 2021 All Rights Reserved Apparently, the doorbell worked. Not much else in the apartment complex did, but as the damn thing buzzed its loud vibrating hive of angry bees clamoring a second time, Rawley quickly understood why. The thing was so frigging annoying that it was likely never used, thereby saving it from the continual decay the rest of the place exhibited. It was far too early for those thoughts though. Rawley groaned and scrubbed a hand over his face while levering his body off his rumpled bed and stumbling toward the door. A glance at the clock over the oven on his way past told him it was only eight thirty in the morning. Since he hadn’t gotten to bed until after six, it was pretty damned early to him. When Rawley threw the door open, no one was there. He blinked stupidly at the empty space and then carefully leaned out and glanced down the hall with the lone, blinking light bulb overhead. A guy glanced over his shoulder at the sound of Rawley’s door opening and quickly spun on his heel to hurry back. He was wearing a uniform, Rawley saw immediately, and it set him on his guard. Cops weren’t a welcome presence here. Then he noticed the Sylph Post logo on the breast—an artistic logo that, should Rawley twist his head just right, could read Swift Post instead—with a nametag clipped below it that read Reign. He lifted an incredulous eyebrow. Sylph Post was basically the USPS, but was privately owned. Anyone who didn’t trust the USPS or thought Sylph was faster or cheaper went with Sylph instead. Since Sylph had access to mailboxes and also shipped packages, a lot of people used them. Rawley liked not having a government organization going through his letters or coming to knock on his door, so he used Sylph almost exclusively. Still, he hadn’t expected to see one of their employees at his door. “Mail hasn’t been delivered here in over two weeks,” Rawley drawled. He had stupidly left his gun in the drawer of his bedside table, but it wasn’t difficult to summon a fire sprite to the hand he hid behind his back. “I know,” the courier gushed, his blue eyes wide and guileless. He held out a brown square package toward Rawley. “I’m Reign, your new Sylph deliveryman. I ended up filling your mailbox with everything else and couldn’t get this in.” The shipping label said it belonged to the supplier Rawley had ordered a part from over a week ago. He glanced back at Reign, who was grinning uncertainly, his dirty blond hair a little too long under his official hat. That grin started to fade slightly under Rawley’s nonplussed stare, but he still resolutely held the package out. Rawley let the fire sprite fade away before slowly reaching forward to take the package. Nothing happened except the man’s grin returning at full force. He nodded politely to Rawley. “Have a good day, sir,” Reign said before turning and heading back down the hall and to the staircase that led out of the building. Rawley stepped back so he could close his apartment door and walked over to his small kitchen table to set the box down. He hunted up a box cutter to slash the tape holding the package shut and carefully tipped it so the packing peanuts spilled across the plastic tabletop. He half expected a trapped sprite to erupt from the box as the peanuts were rearranged, and he was more than prepared for anything that might attack him, but instead he only found the custom side panels he was adding to a customer’s crotch rocket. Maybe Reign really had been a mail carrier? If Rawley’s apartment was a piece of crumbling shit, the surrounding neighborhood was far worse. This was gang territory. If you didn’t have a motorcycle and came strolling through this block, you were liable to end up lynched. A couple of blocks over were a bunch of water sprite wackos; only people who held one or more water sprites under their skin were welcome. Was the guy dumb enough to deliver the mail there too? Rawley hoped not. Those big blue eyes didn’t deserve to be darkened by a violent death. Rawley shook his head to clear those thoughts away. It wasn’t any of his business what happened to the mail carrier, no matter how pretty Reign was. Rawley took one last look at the peanuts and the side panels strewn across his kitchen table, mentally shrugged, and decided to fuck it all until he had enough sleep to actually be thinking straight again. He stumbled back across the room and gratefully dropped onto his bed. Rawley pulled the blanket up to his chin and let sleep take over.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

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Did It All Before

Title: Did It All Before

Author: Cynthia Hamill

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/28/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 115800

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, gay, British, doctor, photojournalist, healing, hurt/comfort, PTSD/Post Traumatic Stress, angst, slow burn, friends to lovers, soulmates

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Award-winning photojournalist Scott Rowe is struggling with the physical injuries and emotional scars caused by the terrorist attack that killed his interpreter, Omran Saleh. A long succession of doctors and surgeons have put his body back together, but to Scott, his mind seems beyond repair. Panic attacks ambush his days, and nightmares haunt his fitful sleep. He can’t bring himself to touch his broken camera, let alone consider returning to work. His only sanctuary is the darkroom, where he can escape the secret he carries surrounding Omran’s death. Dr Jason Andrews is determined to bring Scott back from the brink. His alternative healing methods are like nothing Scott has ever seen, and at first, Scott feels foolish lying on Jason’s table with hot rocks in his hands or acupuncture needles in his skin. But one thing keeps Scott coming back: the detailed visions that appear like movies in his mind, of himself in other times, cultures, and continents, and Jason himself, whose relentless hope steers them through the storms of Scott’s recovery. As his health improves, Scott begins to wonder what his visions mean. Are they vivid daydreams, figments of his exhausted mind? And why does he only have these visions when he is with Jason? Scott hopes the answers will give him a reason to make peace with Omran’s death and begin to truly live again, instead of merely surviving. But what if they also give him a reason to love?


Did It All Before Cynthia Hamill © 2021 All Rights Reserved Scott opens his eyes slowly as he steps out of the darkroom. The small lamp on his bedside cabinet provides only a shadowy glow over the flat, and he shuffles toward it with a yawn, finally ready for sleep. When he’d started renting this place in Camden three years ago, it was meant to be somewhere to crash between jobs, a glorified storage locker with a shower. It’s square and plain, his bed on one side and galley kitchen on the other, decorated only with photos and trinkets from his travels. After the accident, when it became clear he’d be grounded for a few months, he transformed the bathroom by draping a blackout curtain around the door and setting a plank over the bathtub for his chemical trays. There, he can flip on the fan and work for hours, just feet away physically but miles away mentally from his bed, where insomnia and nightmares crowd out any hope of sleep. His darkroom habit is his only connection to photography these days. He hasn’t picked up his camera since he left the hospital in January; it’s in pieces, after all, his £3,200 digital Canon collecting dust in his cupboard. Scott never did find out who collected it from the scene and sent it along with him in the ambulance. They shouldn’t have bothered; he can’t bring himself to touch the thing, even to throw it out. Instead, he finds solace in the undeveloped film from his 35mm Leica. Film is reserved for London, family, and home, where there are no publishing deadlines to meet or editors to please. He has compiled quite a collection of undeveloped rolls over the last few years; being home only a day or two at a time had given him a chance to take pictures but not develop them before he’d be on his way again, so his desk drawer holds a grab bag of birthday parties, impromptu picnics, and London day trips. He never knows what will appear on the long strip of film, but he knows what won’t. There will be no Ukraine, no Kabul, no Delhi; no plane crashes, no war zones, no children dying in poverty. Last night, the roll he processed had turned out to be all Olivia and Thomas, two years ago at Christmas. Scott’s heart clenched pleasantly when the images appeared, remembering how he and his sister had sprinkled jelly babies and crisps in the garden for reindeer food because Thomas thought that’s what they’d like. Tonight, Scott picks out a few frames to print for Olivia, of their mum filling stockings and Thomas’s astonished reaction to his new toy train. He spends time printing the images, making sure the contrast is perfect. His eyes finally get heavy as he places the last few photographs on the drying rack. The sky is not yet lightening. Scott picks up his phone from the bedside cabinet to check the time. Thursday, the 19th of May, 4:07 a.m. An appointment reminder lights up, and shit, today is his first session with the new guy Dr Coulter wants him to see. At least the appointment isn’t until two. After he crosses the day off his calendar with his black Sharpie (he’s up to day one hundred fifty-nine) and sends a quick goodnight message on WhatsApp, Scott arranges himself in bed, flat on his back with his bad arm propped up on pillows. He’ll get a few hours of sleep after all.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Cynthia’s love of romance began in eighth grade when she chose to read Jane Eyre instead of Huckleberry Finn. Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Daphne du Maurier shaped her passion for love stories that feature mysterious plots and unforgettable characters. At thirteen, she couldn’t have imagined a world where books appear on screens at the touch of a button, but decades later, romances of all genres fill her (digital) shelves while her dog-eared, well-loved copy of Jane Eyre still lives on her bedside table. Cynthia’s art history degree landed her a museum job in New York, but she left the Big Apple when her own love story took her to the prairies of the Midwest. She now lives a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River, and you can find her poring over art books, reading tarot cards, taking nature walks with her family, and reading and writing love stories.

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Come Fly With Me by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Come Fly With Me
Janet Elizabeth Henderson
(Invertary Too, #1)
Publication date: June 28th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

They married in their teens. They haven’t seen each other in ten years. And now they have to fake a relationship to keep their land.

At seventeen, Katya Savage eloped with her lifelong best friend, Brodie MacGregor. Everything was perfect for two glorious years—until Katya became obsessed with her great-grandmother’s legacy. To be fair, who wouldn’t get excited about having a female bomber pilot in the family tree? Brodie, that’s who. Because when Katya asked him to help her find a plane exactly like the one her great-gran flew during World War Two, he had a hissy fit and gave her an ultimatum—him or the plane. Yeah, that was a dumb move…

Anyway, now Katya’s back. With her plane. And all she wants to do is set up a scenic flight business on the land gifted to them both. Unfortunately, there are a few teeny tiny problems with her plan: 1. Brodie has his own ideas for the land that don’t involve her or her plane. 2. The family who gifted the land to them wants it back. 3. The only way to keep the land is to convince their families, the town, and a bunch of lawyers that they’re back together again.

Now, if they could just stop fighting long enough to act like they’re in love…

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It wasn’t every day you watched a World War Two Soviet fighter plane make its way up the main street of a small Highland town. To be fair, it was wingless and secured to a flatbed lorry at the time, not flying over the cobblestone road. Still, the sight was definitely out of place in among the crooked old white houses that made up the high street. Nor did it blend in with the green hills and blue loch that gave the town of Invertary its picturesque setting. In fact, the aircraft was such an oddity—in a town where oddities were commonplace—that it’d brought everyone out to watch the spectacle.

“So, she’s really come home then?”

At his younger brother Darach’s words, Brodie MacGregor grimaced. “It would appear so.”

“And she has the plane she went off to find.”

“Aye.” The self-same plane that was responsible for ending his marriage.

“I hear tell she’s a rocket in the sky. Can fly pretty much anything you put in front of her.”

Brodie cocked an eyebrow at his brother. “Where exactly did you hear that?”

“A wee bird told me.” The dickhead grinned. “Must make you feel like a complete arse, seeing as you told her she’d never make it as a pilot or find one of the planes her granny used to fly. In fact, some might say you had egg on your face from being so bloody arrogant in the first place.”

“If some were to say that within my hearing, it would be the last words they uttered.”

From the mocking smile on Darach’s face, it was clear he wasn’t intimidated by his brother’s threat. Idiot. Even though Darach had a couple of inches on Brodie, and some army training under his belt, the numpty still thought he could take him in a fight. Brodie knew better. Unlike Darach, he never pulled his punches with his brothers. It was the only way he’d managed to survive growing up as the middle child of seven boys.

“Did she give you a heads-up she was coming back?” Darach asked, lifting his chin toward the cab of the truck, where Brodie’s ex-wife sat behind the wheel.

“A letter from her lawyer.”

“So, she’s still pissed at you, then.”

“You could say that. I was charged for the postage.”

Darach burst out laughing. “I always liked that girl.”

Aye, and so had Brodie. Liking Katya was never the problem—living with her was.

When the truck sped past, he caught sight of Katya’s face as she stared straight ahead. And just like that, his jeans became uncomfortably tight while his stomach did a backward somersault. Almost ten years since they’d parted ways, and all it took was one glimpse to make him want to bed her. It came as a brutal blow to his ego to discover his Katya addiction hadn’t waned. And he’d just bet she would laugh her head off if she ever found out.

Darach elbowed Brodie to get his attention. “Does it bother you that she’s still calling herself MacGregor?”


Sure, it’d been a slap in the face when she’d kept the name and dumped the man, but he could hardly blame her. MacGregor was preferable to Savage any day of the week. In fact, he’d often wondered if one of the reasons she’d been so eager to marry, despite them both being barely legal, was just to get rid of her family name.

But then, there were easier ways to achieve that than taking on a MacGregor.

“Do you think she heard about your plans?” Darach mused as they watched the plane disappear over the crest of the hill at the top of town.

“I’d be surprised. Her family doesn’t exactly live on this planet most of the time. Even if they heard the gossip, it probably didn’t register.”

Darach grinned widely. “Have to say, I kinda miss the family dinners we had when you two were together.”

Yeah, it was hard not to smile at those memories. Brodie caught his brother’s eye, and they both said, “Delia Savage’s dramatic monologues!” And burst into fits of laughter.

“But seriously.” Darach wiped at his eyes as he sobered. “What are you going to do if she has plans for your land?”

And just like that, all the humor in the situation was sucked right out. “I’ll do what I have to.” Both their names might be on the title, but he’d been the one tending the land for the past decade. Katya hadn’t set foot on it since she’d walked out on him.

“Eh, I hate to point this out, big brother, but you don’t exactly have a lot of options. Unless you split the land down the middle.”

Aye, that wasn’t going to work. Their plot of land was a long, narrow rectangle, with the best views lying on one of the shorter sides. Even if they halved it, neither of them would take the back section with the crappy views. And you couldn’t split it lengthwise, because they’d both end up with a strip that was too narrow to be of any decent use.

“She’ll just have to see reason.” Brodie folded his arms over his faded blue plaid shirt.

Darach nodded. “Because Katya’s well known for her ability to see reason. Like when you told her to do exactly that, right before she left you.”

“This is different.” It had to be. “We’ve both grown up since then. Surely now, we can act with civility toward each other?”

“The letter from her lawyer seemed really civil.”

Brodie glared at Darach as he wondered for the millionth time why he’d been cursed with six smart-arsed morons for brothers. “Are you trying to help here?”

“Mainly, I’m trying to ensure I get a ringside seat for whatever happens next. I know it’s going tae be helluva entertaining.” He mimed an explosion, with sound effects.


Entertained dickhead. One whose sister-in-law has returned to town and is about to drive my brother insane.”

Author Bio:

Janet is a Scot who moved to New Zealand fifteen years ago. Among other things, she’s been an artist, a teacher, a security guard at a castle, a magazine editor, and a cleaner in a drop in center for drug addicts (NOT the best job!). She now writes full-time and is working on her 19th book. Her books have won several awards, including the Daphne du Maurier award for excellence in mystery and suspense. When she isn’t living in her head, she raises two kids, one husband, and several random animals. She survives on chocolate and caffeine.

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The Imperial Orchid by Nicola Italia

The Imperial Orchid
Nicola Italia
Publication date: June 22nd 2021
Genres: Historical Romance

At the end of the Victorian era, Orchid Mania has gripped the wealthy and aristocratic men of England. Collectors are willing to spend a small fortune to obtain the rare flowers from distant lands. Lord Holloway, president of the Royal Horticultural Society in London, has decided to finance an expedition team to Ceylon to capture one of the rarest orchids on earth.

Frances Wakefield is an educated woman and a gifted illustrator and has traveled throughout Europe documenting various plants and flowers for the Society. When Lord Holloway handpicks her to travel to Ceylon as a member of the expedition team, she is thrilled.

When she lands in Egypt to meet the other team members, she comes face-to-face with Miles St. Clair, Lord Holloway’s son and heir. He is the arrogant, handsome, insufferable man she encountered at several soirees in London and the team’s leader.

Frances soon learns the trip to Ceylon is to find a very rare orchid. But someone has been watching Lord Holloway’s expedition team, and treachery is afoot. While the expedition intensifies, so does the growing attraction between Miles and Frances, who must work together if they hope to make it out of Ceylon alive.

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Miles rubbed his chin and felt the growth of a day’s beard. He could barely remember the night before except that he had lost a goodly sum on whist, and he vaguely recalled a blonde half-naked in his arms.

He opened his eyes gingerly and saw that there was no blonde in sight, and he was indeed lying in a bed in one of his favorite brothels. The curtains covering the windows were crimson red, and the bed was a plush mattress in an ornate wooden frame with baby cupids detailed in the artwork. He groaned as his head ached; he had lost count of the number of whiskeys he had consumed the night before.

He contemplated looking for his trousers and getting dressed, but he knew that would cause his head to pound more. He preferred to lie in bed a while more until he felt a little better.

A sharp knock fell upon the door, and he looked up, wincing. He looked around but knew he was very much alone. Had the blonde returned? He wasn’t up for any more love play.

“Come in,” he called out.

He grinned with relief when his companion and long-time friend from university, Percival Browne, entered the room.

“You look like half-baked shit,” Percival told his friend as he picked up Miles’s trousers from the floor. Miles groaned as he caught the pants Percival flung at him.

“I don’t remember much of last night, Percy. Except that I lost a fair amount, and there was a blonde.” He tossed the bed sheets back and pulled on his trousers.

“Do you see my shir—” he began just as the clothing article hit him in the face.

“Cheers, mate,” Percival said as he took a chair opposite the bed. Miles narrowed his eyes at his friend as he pulled his shirt on.

“And did you say, ‘lost a fair amount?’” Percy eased the chair back. “If I recall the exact amount you lost as the correct amount, your best bet is to go to America and start afresh, so your father doesn’t skin you alive.”

Author Bio:

Nicola spent her childhood in Los Angeles. As a young student in elementary school, she had a great fondness for reading and began to write creatively. She graduated from university with a degree in communications and held a variety of positions in journalism, education, government and non profit.

Nicola has traveled extensively throughout Europe, China and Central America.
Nicola’s goal is to create rich characters with a strong male lead and a passionate female lead.

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These Walls Can Talk 2 Audio Play by Erin Mallon

These Walls Can Talk 2: The Narwhal Strikes Back, a hilarious must download audio play by Erin Mallon is available now!

THESE WALLS CAN TALK 2: The Narwhal Strikes Back!
Written by Erin Mallon
Featuring Joe Arden, Andi Arndt, Shane East, Tanya Eby, Teddy Hamilton, Erin Mallon, Maxine Mitchell and Emma Wilder
With Sound Design by Nick Long and Editing/Line Mixing by Tyler Whitlatch of Plunk Productions

It’s one year later and a LOT has changed.

Audiobook superfan Vera is “in the industry” now, and Cameron is not so sure he’s onboard. Jennifer has rocketed to narrator fame, but not everyone is comfortable with her newfound status. Neil and Georgia are happily married, but their HEA is wreaking havoc on her writing career.

With The Audie Awards just around the corner, all these tensions are higher than ever. But you know who’s feeling just fine?

The Narwhal.

Because The Narwhal… is in love.

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Meet Erin Mallon
Erin Mallon’s debut romantic comedy novel, Flirtasaurus, releases in July 2020. She is an award-winning narrator of over 450 books and an accomplished playwright and producer in New York City. She has written over 40 plays, which have been produced Off-Broadway and all over the country, including These Walls Can Talk, a raucous theatrical love letter to the romance audiobook community. She lives in a little yellow house on the outskirts of NYC with her husband and Three J’s.

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