Promo Tour

Sunset by Garon Whited

Title: Sunset
Series: Nightlord Series #1
Author: Garon Whited
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: September 15, 2014


Sunset brought a hangover, a beautiful woman, and the thirst for… blood? Eric didn’t ask to be a vampire. In fact, he didn’t even believe in them. Then he meets a beautiful woman, wakes up with a hangover, and bites his tongue with his own fangs. Which pretty much settles the question. Now he’s trying to hold down his day job while learning the rules of the Undead — the most important being that bloodthirsty urges and predatory instincts are a real bitch. Upside; Eric has the beautiful Sasha to teach him the ropes, including the magic he’ll need to survive. Downside; it turns out being a vampire is the least of his problems. When Sasha is killed, Eric is thrust into an alternate world in his quest to avenge her death. There he becomes a Nightlord, fights a dragon with the help of his magical steed, Bronze, and upchucks a sword named Firebrand. But things get really interesting when Eric finally finds Tobias, head of the Church of Light. Soon Eric finds himself at the center of an epic battle at the literal edge of the world in a fight to keep a terrible darkness at bay.







I ignored the susurrus of voices, dashed up the avenue between the ruined monuments, and took the broad stairs before the door in three skipping jumps. The door itself was a carefully-balanced block of stone. It stood about eight feet tall and was perhaps twice that in width. Opening it required it to pivot around the center, its balance. Judging by the scrapes along the dusty portico, Tobias had found it no trouble at all. I, however, shoved on each side of the block in turn without result. Maybe he locked it.

I backed off, got a running start, and jumped. I kicked it with both feet, as high up as I could manage. Something snapped in the wall as I hit the door. I came to a sudden halt, thudding into the stone like a cannonball, then fell heavily to the dusty floor. I rolled to my feet awkwardly—Firebrand can be an annoyingly large chunk of metal—and was in time to watch the whole block of stone finish a slow, majestic topple inward. It landed flat with an echoing, tomb-door thud and sent up a huge cloud of white dust.

I was over that stone and past the cloud in an instant, dashing down a long tunnel before the echoes had finished. Directly ahead, far distant, I could see Tobias out in the open air. I came out of the mouth of the tunnel like the bullet from a gun.

The plaza was large. Two football games and a cricket match could have been held concurrently in that space—complete with spectators. The tunnel I exited was at the floor level of a grandly-curving amphitheater facing Tobias. All of this was scoured from rock and worn by years of use. The floor was also natural stone, cut only to smooth it down and level it. There was no roof at all.

Perhaps a quarter-mile away, the radius of the half-circle, Tobias had his back to me. Shada was lying naked on a slab of rock just beyond him. And beyond her…

The world ended.

I once wondered about the nature of the world I’m in. Is it round? Is it flat? Does it go around the Sun or vice versa?

The world is flat. Sure, it may be round—like a coin. But it has an edge, very real, and sharply defined. I know. I’ve seen it. At least that explained why my compass never found north.

Beyond that edge exists a gulf of yawning blackness, speckled here and there by the distant stars—or are they stars? I don’t know what they are. Maybe they’re just lights on the inside of a great sphere of crystal, or holes in that sphere to an even greater space that happens to be better illuminated. Maybe the stars are really angels with flaming swords and glowing halos.

Maybe they really are distant suns… but I doubt it.

Right up near the edge live the Things. I recognized a few from having seen them before. The rubbery monstrosity from the lab in Baret, along with the multi-tentacled creature that tried to eat me outside the gata camp. They had a bunch of brothers with them, along with a whole lot of more distant relations. There were hundreds, no, thousands of the Things in every shape and size imaginable—and many I wouldn’t choose to imagine without serious drugs. They seemed to have no gravity out there. They weren’t a flat crowd, but a wall, extending up and to the sides, as though they were all pressing against a barrier of glass, trying to get in. They were clustered most thickly near Tobias, thinner out away from him. All of them were fairly frothing at the mouth to pour from the outer darkness onto the stone floor of the world. They chattered and chittered, hissed and clacked and moaned. Their sounds were muted, as though there really was a barrier, but there was nothing to be seen holding them at bay.

Tobias was chanting. He had some tools in his hands—I couldn’t tell quite what, but one seemed to be a knife.


Sunset
Shadows
Orb
Nightfall
Void
Mobius
Fugue



Garon Whited was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1969 or 1970; the original birth certificate is suspiciously unavailable and other records do not agree. After following his parents around the South for several years, he finally caught up to them and settled somewhere in Texarkana.

Garon attended Texarkana College, the University of Fayetteville, and Texas A&M. While he was in college, he studied physics, math, robotics, religion, philosophy, psychology, and of course, girls. Sadly, his grades were excellent in all but one of those categories.. He is presently single.

When he’s not “vomiting words onto the page and then going back to clean it up”, Garon is a fan of Dungeons & Dragons and has been playing since he started 5th grade, with a box of paper booklets. He’s also a fan of running games when he has the time. Garon loves to read, usually science fiction and fantasy. His favorite authors include Robert Heinlein, Roger Zelazny, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Steven Brust, Spider Robinson, David Drake and E.E. “Doc” Smith. Garon has a particularly soft spot for Tolkien; his first copy of “The Lord of the Rings” fell apart because he was too young to take proper care of it — he read it to death.

Garon Whited has written novels and various short stories and shows no signs of stopping. Having fought zombie dolphins, quasi-corporeal spirits, and brain-sucking mole rats, he is uniquely qualified to write fantastic fiction. His first book, “Nightlord: Sunset,” features a human physics teacher who is turned into a vampire against his will and proceeds to go on fantastical adventures.



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Release Blitz

The Jock Script

Title: The Jock Script

Series: The Script Club #3

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: Sept. 24, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 250

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Jock and Nerd, Romantic Comedy, Coming Out, Humor

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Synopsis

The nerd, the coach, and the hookup… Asher- Swipe left, swipe left, swipe left. Sure, the idea of a quick, no-strings intimate rendezvous via hookup app sounds oddly thrilling, but it’s simply not me. Or maybe it is me, because it happened…and I liked it. Until I realized he looked familiar for a reason. A bad reason. Now I’ve made a faux pas with the sexiest man on planet Earth, and my internal karma system requires me to fix it. Help! Blake- I may seem like I have it together, but the truth is, I’m a hot mess. I’m so deep in the closet that I can’t remember my real name some days. That’s okay. The benefit of one-night stands is anonymity. Until Asher. Not a total surprise. I’ve always had a thing for geeks, but I’ve never met anyone like him. He’s a pint-sized dynamo on a quest for perfection who can help me come out…if I follow his script. Hmm. I’m in. The Jock Script is an MM bisexual, geek/jock romance starring a bowtie wearing nerd, a sexy lacrosse coach, and a shenanigan inducing script!

Excerpt

Asher closed his mouth in a tight line and sighed. “We should change the topic. Every time I’m with you, I secure my spot in Hades.” I threw my head back and laughed. “What’s with you and the guilty conscience? I admire your commitment to honesty, Ash, but I don’t think it’s healthy to punish yourself after the fact. Not to mention, your rules seem arbitrary. They don’t make sense.” “Sure, they do.” “Hmph. You say sex is a part of nature, and you’re happy to discuss it until your internal sex-o-meter overloads and you decide you’ve overstepped some invisible boundary. It’s like you want to punish yourself for no good reason.” Asher opened and closed his mouth. “I don’t do that.” I polished off my salad, pushed my plate aside, and reached for my wineglass. “Yeah, you do. You should give yourself a break once in a while.” “Says the devil incarnate.” “Who me?” I flashed a roguish grin. “I’m not so bad, and you don’t have to be so good. Is this the remnants of a super religious upbringing or—” “Oh, gosh, no. My mother is a hippie. She’s not judgmental at all.” “Then why—” “I’m just weird, Blake.” His tone was firm rather than sharp and sent a strong message that he’d prefer to drop the subject. In fact, he looked suspiciously eager to greet the waiter when he returned to clear our salad dishes and set dinner plates on the table. I observed his animated hand gestures, his starched collar, and perfectly straight bow tie, wondering what he was hiding under all that armor. Asher wasn’t weird, he was—okay, fine…he was totally weird. But I had a feeling he was compensating too. Making up for something or glossing over an unseen flaw. Sort of like a kid standing guard over a lamp he’d busted by accident. No one would notice as long as he made sure the unblemished side was never shown. Call me crazy, but that got me. Yes, I was very attracted to him and definitely wanted to get naked and horizontal with him ASAP. But I wanted to know him too. I wanted to peel away his protective layers and study his quirks. His internal system of checks and balances fascinated me. I twirled my fork around my pasta and smiled. “You know, I’m no devil and anyone who sucks dick like you cannot be an angel. There’s got to be a good middle ground for us.” “Yes. As friends.” “Right,” I agreed, shifting in my seat to adjust my cock when he hummed around a mouthful of pasta. No joke, my dick woke up at the mention of alien sex and was now stretching the seam of my zipper. I sipped my wine and willed my body to get the “friend” memo. “So, buddy…since we’re supposed to be spending time together now, I think you should come to my game next weekend.” “Game,” he repeated, drawing out the single syllable into two. “The one you coach? Or do you play also?” “I play with a club team, but our season ended a couple of weeks ago. We’re on a break till summer, which is fine ’cause my kids have finals and my girls’ team is in the last stretch before CIFs.” “I don’t understand that acronym, but I’ll come to your game and maybe afterward we can do power tool…things.” “Sounds like a date. The game is at ten at Westgate. I’ll text you the address.” “Okay. I have questions, like…where do I sit and what should I wear? Also, what are the rules?” I smiled. “Sit wherever you want and wear whatever you want. The idea is to have fun. Well…and to kick OC Lutheran’s ass. As for the rules…the goal is to put the ball in the net more times than our opponent. You’ll be able to follow along.” He didn’t look convinced. “I’ll do some research. Now, what about us? Do you want me to be there and not speak or…are you going to introduce me? And if so, what will you say? I need to rehearse my lines.” “Lines? This isn’t a play, Ash. We’re friends.” “No, we’re not. We hardly know each other.” I frowned. “Then we need to fix that ’cause I’m going to introduce you as my friend. It’s less complicated that way.” “And if someone asks where we met, I’m allowed to improvise, correct?” he teased. taking a big bite of pasta. Too big of a bite. He slurped a rogue piece of tagliatelle with wide eyes, then covered his mouth with his napkin. It was pretty freaking cute. I pointed at the sauce on his cheek. When he swiped at the wrong side, I hooked my finger and motioned for him to lean in. I wiped his cheek with my thumb, underestimating the intimacy of the gesture. The strong current of heat and desire sizzling between us threw me off guard, rendering me speechless.

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. 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 not quite empty nest.

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Blog Tour

Brutal Boxer by Naomi Porter

Title: Brutal Boxer
Series: Knight’s Legion MC #4
Author: Naomi Porter
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: September 16, 2021

Brandy Roberts Goodreads Review – “Brutal boxer just tore my heart out this story was emotional over load to the max and there was some shocking things I didn’t see coming.”
Doris Goodreads Review – “What a fantastic MC book filled with everything that checks off all the boxes in what I love about this genre!”
KelChickBookLover – “Naomi delivers another fantastic book that grabs your attention right from the start.”

Aspen. My Snow.

As teenagers, we were always each other’s forever and ever. Until we weren’t.

Today, I am the enforcer for the Knight’s Legion MC. I dole out punishments on soulless criminals with my blade Ricky.

In the MMA cage, I unleash my anger and frustrations. Fighting is my lifeline to living without the only woman I ever loved, my Snow.

My MC life is disrupted when she arrives at the club, nearly frozen to death and battered. I’m shaken to the core. Buried feelings resurface, pissing me off.

Snow needs the club to protect her from her ex.

I need her gone.

After a decade of hating each other, we’re thrust together and it’s about to get brutal. If I can protect her from her lunatic ex, maybe this could be our second chance…

CONTENT WARNING: This book contains dark elements that may be triggering to some readers. Discretion advised.






 





Naomi Porter always had a knack for storytelling, and she’s finally putting pen to paper to share with you, the reader. Whether she is trying to stay warm in the freezing winter weather or cool in the sweltering heat, she’s pounding away at the keys of her laptop to bring you the latest gritty motorcycle club romance or decadent billionaire saga, or an outlandish, heart-stopping sexy drama.

No matter what story she’s telling, you can bet it has sexy as sin men, sassy and confident women, and plenty of sizzling passion. Enter Naomi’s naughty world today!


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Release Blitz

Ground of Insurrection

Title: Ground of Insurrection

Series: Wizard Wars, Book One

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/27/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 22400

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, criminals, farming, gods, magic, magic users, political, revenge, royalty

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Description

Life on the prairie isn’t easy, especially since the prairie has a habit of eating people it doesn’t like. Ruse knows the dangers, but there’s so much more to the prairie than death. The nearby country of Ammet, however, only sees an exploitable resource to be conquered. Caught between the political machinations of Ammet and his love for the prairie, Ruse can only hope he doesn’t wind up killed by one or the other.

Excerpt

Ground of Insurrection Mell Eight © 2021 All Rights Reserved When Ruse stepped outside that morning, Dahlia was already in the square, her wooden basin for washing clothes and a full wicker basket of dirty laundry set up next to her. She was pulling water from the large stone well in the center of the square by the time Ruse reached her side. Her strong forearms bulged with muscle as she easily lifted the heavy bucket from deep underground and carried it over to her basin. It took ten buckets to fill the basin, and Dahlia did it every morning without fail. Ruse wouldn’t be able to do it every day, but Dahlia never complained. Her auburn hair was tied tightly to her head in a series of braids that kept it safely out of the water. It made her look severe and dangerous, too, but that was probably just an extra bonus. No one messed with Dahlia because otherwise they wouldn’t have clean clothes to wear. She did all the washing for the village. Three feet to Dahlia’s left, a dead body lay on the ground. Poor Stan had been disemboweled sometime during the night, and his body was left where he had eventually fallen. It likely hadn’t been a slow death, judging by the drag marks his legs had dug in the dirt as he’d struggled toward the tavern across the square. The ground was soaked with blood, and his intestines, poking through the wide gash in his abdomen, glistened in the morning sun. Dahlia was ignoring Stan, as everyone else in the village was also doing. If Stan was weak enough to get caught by a knife in the dark, then he deserved his death. Someone had alerted Ruse that he had work to do, of course. A body couldn’t be left lying like that for too long, not if the village wanted to avoid pests gathering and the potential for disease. Besides, Ruse knew Dahlia wouldn’t tolerate the body when it began to steam and bloat and mess up her washing schedule. If it got that bad, she would blame Ruse, and then Ruse wouldn’t get his rations that day. He hurried to collect his tools from the storage area, which included his wheelbarrow, a shovel, and a rake. The air smelled like yeasty baking rolls from the tavern and moldering blood. Though an unpleasant combination, Ruse was used to it. He rolled the wheelbarrow over to Stan. “If you’re going to sleep with the spit-boy, at least kick him out early enough that you can get to work on time,” Dahlia admonished as she dropped the empty bucket back on its metal hook next to the well. She turned her back on Ruse and leaned over her basin, dipping her fingertips into the water briefly. The water began to steam as her magic took hold, and she stepped back to get a cake of soap and the first of the shirts. Ruse grumbled under his breath at her words. He had only slept with Ethan once or twice, and it was just to scratch an itch. There was someone else he would much prefer to be sleeping with, of course, but since that wasn’t possible Ruse made do with what was available. Once he and Ethan both got tired of their own hands, they would probably have sex again, but Ruse hadn’t been with Ethan last night. “I think Lettie’s new concoction at the tavern did me in,” Ruse replied. “There’ll be a lot of people with sore heads this morning.” He bent down and gripped Stan under the armpits. Ruse wasn’t particularly tall or strong, just five foot six and wiry, but there was an art to moving dead bodies around that he had long ago perfected. The body would flop whichever way gravity took it, so all Ruse had to do was lever Stan high enough that he tipped easily into the wheelbarrow. Dahlia grunted. “That explains Old Dave. He’s still facedown in the street that way.” She pointed along the street toward the tenement house where most of the town’s residents lived. It was along Ruse’s route toward the dump site, so he’d stop and see if he had a second body to collect this morning. Ruse used his shovel to get all the large pieces of intestine into the wheelbarrow with Stan, then raked at the ground to try to remove as much blood from the soil as possible. Once he had done as much as he could, Ruse gripped the handles of the wheelbarrow and pushed. Old Dave was still lying in the dirt of the road when Ruse trundled past him. The gray hair from his unkempt beard fluttered over his mouth as he breathed, so Ruse left him alone. Live bodies weren’t his responsibility. The dump site was a spot of ground just outside the town. No one lived there, of course, but Ruse usually ran into one or two townspeople as they brought their personal trash to the site. A spell in the capital city emptied the city’s trash receptacles once a week, and that spell had been replicated in the dump site for the village. The city wizards took everything away, bodies included. But it was also where the wizards left things for the town. The tailor came to the dump site to collect bolts of cloth while the group of farmers came for the seeds every spring. Ruse came for the bodies, to collect anyone the city wizards sent to their village. None of the villagers were without fault however. The tailor had been convicted of killing people, dismembering their bodies, and then sewing them back together out of order before leaving them lying out in the middle of a busy street. The farmers were an entire gang of thieves who had chosen to make a homestead with their members instead of joining the rest of the town. Ruse was just Ruse, but he fulfilled a vital role in their community. Admittedly, he didn’t just cart around bodies; his other role was behind the scenes working with Moe to keep the village running smoothly. The community they lived in only worked because everyone took an active role. Dahlia washed laundry, Lettie cooked meals for the community, and Moe ensured they always had something to drink. Ruse couldn’t hide behind a job that was practically invisible, so he carted around bodies. When he got to the dump site, Ruse tipped his wheelbarrow and let Stan’s body flop out. It took a couple of shakes to get all the bits and pieces out too. Ruse left the wheelbarrow tipped and headed over to the small well that had been dug by someone with an affinity for water before Ruse had been sent to the town, but it was convenient for him. He pulled up a bucket from deep inside the well and brought it over to his wheelbarrow. It took a couple of buckets to get all the blood off. Once his wheelbarrow and tools were clean, Ruse headed to the pickup side of the dump site. There was a body waiting for him along with two gigantic pallets of what looked like bricks. The city apparently wanted them to start building with the fancier material now that they had proven their abilities with their wooden houses being sturdy. Damned bastards. The body was alive, barely, and Ruse’s job also included carting in new arrivals. He brought them to the tavern where Moe, the proprietor, would lay down the law and explain the rules. Live bodies didn’t handle the same way as dead ones. There was always more resistance in the unconscious bodies. Plus, Ruse had been asked not to bruise or bang up the new arrivals before Moe had his turn. It took a lot more effort to hoist the newcomer into his wheelbarrow than it had to pick up Stan. It was a man this time, which would disappoint the villagers hoping for a woman. He was tall, at least six feet, but probably even more. Each additional inch in height made it that much more difficult for Ruse to lever his body into the wheelbarrow. Luckily, he was thin and muscular; Ruse had to get help when an obese person arrived. His features were pleasant: eyes evenly spaced, lips full, and his cheekbones well formed. He made the old wheelbarrow look like a fancy chair just because of how pretty he was. Ruse knew someone even prettier, but if he allowed his thoughts to drift in that direction now, he would remain distracted throughout the day. The wheelbarrow bumped over ruts and ridges in the road as Ruse walked back into town. Old Dave was still breathing as Ruse passed him again, and the square smelled pleasantly like fresh bread and soap, which was a good change. The tavern was the largest building in the square. It served as a meeting place for the entire town and was where Ruse was supposed to bring any news. Ruse left the wheelbarrow in the square and walked across the long porch outside the tavern and into the building. It was still dark inside. The shutters hadn’t been opened yet, and the fire that had been left to die down overnight still showed faintly glowing embers. Moe was standing behind the bar, wiping down mugs. He was a large, dark-skinned man and heavily muscled. Moe had the type of frame that at first glance made Ruse think he was obese, but all that hard-packed flesh was actually muscle. With one swing, Moe could crush a man’s skull. “New arrival for you, Moe,” Ruse said with a jerk of his thumb over his shoulder toward the door. His wheelbarrow with its cargo was waiting outside. “They also sent us bricks.” “Bricks?” Moe asked. “Well, damn those city wizards to hell and back. What do they expect us to do with bricks?” “Build,” Ruse sighed. Moe spat to the side. “Fuck them anyway. I’ll send someone to pick the stuff up. Go have your breakfast, Ruse. I’ll put your wheelbarrow back in your shed when I’m done with the newcomer.” Ruse nodded politely to Moe and headed to the kitchen. The village couldn’t be found on any maps. It didn’t have a name and people didn’t travel to it to visit or sightsee. There were many different reasons for that, foremost the fact that an idiot tourist from the city was more likely to die violently than have a good time. Although, since almost no one knew the village even existed, dead visitors weren’t really a problem. The country of Ammet was an ancient one, formed after the Great Wizard Wars two centuries ago that had ruptured the earth and destroyed half of humanity. Out of necessity, the war’s survivors had banded together in one location. It was more defensible and sustainable to work and live together. Their single location soon became a thriving city. The city grew and eventually became powerful enough to claim all the land between the Great Bone Canyon in the east and the Ruptured Mountains in the west. The northern border was the frozen sea where fire and heat wizards melted the ice to ensure the continuation of shipping and trade. The southern border was contested, as it didn’t have a natural landmark to point to on a map. The area was prairieland. Ammet claimed the entirety of the prairie. Oshe, the country immediately to the south of the prairieland, claimed the same. The two countries were not friendly because of that disagreement, but they had never gone to war to cement their borders. The prairie didn’t welcome invaders. The magic during the Great War had warped the land too, so while the prairie might not have been as physically imposing as the Great Bone Canyon, it was just as deadly. Armies on both sides had marched into the prairie and mysteriously vanished. With no military option available, both countries had instead continued to snub each other for decades with no border solution in sight. However, in the last twenty years, Ammet had found what they believed to be a solution. The prairie rarely bothered travelers or traders. Groups of fewer than ten people passed through all the time. Ammet couldn’t march against Oshe with so few soldiers, but they could attempt to physically claim the land. If they could prove to the International Wizards’ Council that they had citizens living in the prairie, the IWC might be willing to write the permanent border in favor of Ammet. Oshe would get nothing, which suited Ammet perfectly. Ammet was comprised of damned bastards as far as Ruse was concerned, and he knew they didn’t actually understand the prairie they were trying to co-opt. The prairie was not to be taken lightly. Even those small trade caravans that braved it were just as likely to vanish as emerge unscathed. Ammet didn’t want to experiment with their own wizards, who might die in the attempt, but the prisons were overfilled, so Ammet chose five criminals and magically transported them far into the prairie with some rations and a pile of wood and nails. Ruse didn’t doubt that the first group of murderers, thieves, and other ilk sent to the prairie had killed each other instead of building themselves a shelter, but the city wizards kept trying with new groups. At some point, they had gotten the starting group balanced correctly and all five criminals survived the first day and longer. Eventually, the first house was built and the first farm sown. The wizards slowly sent more people, one or two at a time, and also included more materials needed for the village to grow. When the prairie ignored the first village, the wizards sent another five criminals to another location to start a second. There had to be at least a dozen of the villages throughout the prairie now. Ruse’s village, the sixth village, had finally grown large enough that the city wizards appeared to want sturdier buildings built of brick instead of wood. Many of the criminals living in the village were just happy not to be in jail—the material their houses were built out of was inconsequential—but Ruse and some of the smarter villagers knew better. Ammet was letting them build houses, stores, and taverns, but they were still criminals. Ruse knew that once the village had reached the point where even the least hearty city wizard could live in total comfort, all the criminals would be disposed of so the new, law-abiding and Ammet-supporting tenants could move in. Ammet would proudly fly their flag over the prairie, and there wasn’t anything Oshe could do about it. The new bricks would be utilized immediately in various places around the village. The new criminal would swim or sink according to his own strengths. Either he would find some way to fit in, or he would end up at the wrong end of someone’s knife. That was how the prairie villages worked. Lettie was stirring something in a pot over the stove when Ruse walked into the kitchen. She was as old as Old Dave although she wasn’t mean about life like Dave was. Her back was bent and her hands wrinkled, but her grip on the spoon was strong. She had been an alchemist before being sent here when she was caught experimenting on humans. Moe ensured she kept her experiments to culinary pursuits. Lettie ladled Ruse a bowl of oatmeal from the pot and filled a plate with two freshly steaming rolls. Ruse thanked her and took his meal to the small table in the corner.

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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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The Baby-whisperer and the Brute by Tru Taylor




Title: The Baby-whisperer and the Brute
Series: Eastport Bay Billionaires #4
Author: Tru Taylor
Genre: Small Town Romantic Comedy
Cover Design: Emily Cover Design
Photo: Eric McKinney, 612 Photography
Model: Quinn B.
Release Date: October 19, 2021


BLURB

You can’t appreciate all the implications of the word “conflicted” until you come face to face with the guy you’ve been secretly lusting after for weeks… and then learn he’ll be signing your paychecks—Angelina Rappaport

Some people might call me sheltered. That doesn’t begin to cover it. I’ve been practically sequestered my whole life. Constantly warned by my eccentric and reclusive mother against the “dangers of the world,” I was only allowed outside my home to attend a strict girls’ school. No parties. No sleepovers. NO boys.

Ever.

Even now in my early twenties, the extent of my social life is spending time with the adorable three and four-year-olds at the preschool where I work. I’ve hardly ever spoken to a man, except for exchanging morning greetings with the fathers of my students.

And soon, I’ll obey my mother’s wishes and enter religious service, training to be a nun.

But gazing out my bedroom window in the turret of my family’s crumbling seaside mansion, I secretly dream of a different life, one that involves freedom, adventure, love, and children of my own.

I at least want a kiss before I give up and follows my mother’s plan for my life.


Sullivan Reece

As a heavyweight boxing champion in prime condition, I can easily go twelve rounds with the toughest fighters on the planet—but when it comes to my two little girls… I’m a lightweight.

Now that my ex has declared herself “done” with mothering, and my spirited and mischievous daughters are living with me full-time, I’m realizing just how much I don’t know about raising kids. My own upbringing in a tough neighborhood left a lot to be desired—I basically raised myself, and honestly, didn’t do all that great a job of it.

And then there’s my demanding training schedule and the travel required for my career. What I really need is a live-in nanny. Yesterday.

But as newcomer to Eastport Bay, I have no idea where or how to find the right caretaker for the two most important people in my life. So when my neighbors say they know the perfect person, I jump at the chance to hire her. She has experience with children, she needs a place to live, and she’s exactly the kind of classy role model I want for my daughters.

There’s just one problem… the new nanny is everything I’m not—sweet, innocent, good. It goes without saying she’s completely off-limits.

Oh, and she’s a total knockout.

The Baby-whisperer and the Brute is a full-length small town rom com fairytale retelling of Rapunzel. It’s a standalone single dad/forbidden love/forced proximity/slow burn romance with no cheating or cliffhangers but plenty of humor and heat and a gentle bruiser with a heart of gold.







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EXCERPT

Angelina
I knew he was only trying to be nice, buying me all this stuff. I’d witnessed many examples of his extreme generosity in the past two months. It was part of his nature. He was an unrepentant spoiler.
But I couldn’t keep the dress. I couldn’t keep any of it.
It was too personal, too intimate to allow him to buy clothing for me.
The lines were already too blurry with my attraction to him growing stronger every day.
Besides, I was still furious at him for the things he’d said. A “frumpy old lady?” I had half a mind to open the second-floor window and dump the whole collection of haute couture out on the front drive.
And the thing he’d said about my hair?
The fury intensified, blended with a heaping measure of hurt. The more I thought about the sneering tone of his voice and the challenging look on his stubborn face, the more my blood boiled.
Instead of stuffing more garments into the bag, I dropped it and picked up one of them to examine more closely. The orange bikini.
It was tiny. Really tiny.
I’d told Sully I wouldn’t wear it if my life depended on it, and I’d meant it.
But now it felt like something else depended on it. My pride. My self-respect. I wanted to show Mr. Sullivan Reece that he couldn’t bully me, that I wasn’t cowed by him. I wanted to show him how wrong he was.
I wanted to shut that beautiful, infuriating mouth of his.
I’d show him what a “frumpy, old lady” I was. I’d make him sorry he’d ever dared to say such things to me. I was going to make his head spin around.
Hurriedly stripping off the shapeless blouse and shorts ensemble, I yanked the tag off the swimsuit—before I could change my mind—and put it on.
Then I turned to look at the full-length mirror on the closet door.
Oh my.
The woman in the reflection looked like someone else. I wasn’t sure who exactly, but not me. This woman looked bold. She looked fun. She looked young and vibrant, not to mention sexy in the way a man like Sullivan Reece might appreciate.
But that wasn’t the point of this exercise, was it?
No. Not at all. I only wanted to make him eat his words and maybe a side of crow to go along with them.
Something was still wrong with this picture though. With sharp, nearly frenzied motions, I yanked the pins and elastic from my hair, freeing it to fall to my bottom and stream over my shoulders.
There. I nodded, stunned at my own actions but filled with a strange new sense of satisfaction.
There’s your “great-grandma Olive,” Mr. Smartypants.
They were in the middle of a game of Marco Polo when I reached the pool. Sully was the finder, yelling out “Marco,” every few seconds while his elated daughters scrambled and splashed to a new location before yelling, “Polo” back at him.
One of his large hands was over his eyes, but I knew he was peeking because there was no way he’d take his eyes off his kids in the water.
Also, he spotted me coming.
How did I know? As soon as I came into view, his hand dropped to his side and he stared.
“Can I play?” I asked in a happy-go-lucky tone.
“Angelina!” Skyla and Claire reacted with screams of delight, not even noticing my attire.
Sully noticed.
His eyes roamed over me, taking in the sight of my long hair hanging loose and all the newly exposed skin. It tingled everywhere his gaze landed. I forced myself not to look away or wrap my towel around myself.
When he spoke, Sully’s voice sounded rough. “You…” He cleared his throat and began again. “You changed your mind.”
“Yes,” I said, purposely missing his meaning. “I decided not to let you three have all the fun when I’m the best Marco Polo player around.”
With that, I ran and leapt into the pool, splashing him. The girls laughed like it was the funniest thing they’d ever seen.
“Look at your face, Daddy,” Claire said. “You’re all red.”
He swiped at it. “Yeah. I guess I’m… sunburned.”






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AUTHOR BIO


Award-winning romance author Tru Taylor writes romantic comedies to make you swoon, smile, and snort with laughter.

She runs on Coke Zero and dark chocolate, lives for lunches with her girlfriends, and drives to the town beach several times a week to watch the sun set over the water.

She loves LOVE and will attempt to turn any show or movie she’s watching into a romance whether it is one or not. Star Wars? A romance. Lord of the Rings? Clearly a romance. The Expendables? Okay, well not even Tru can redeem that one.

When she’s not writing, Tru enjoys watching movies and reading books with happy endings, spending time with her husband and two kids, and sneaking Hershey’s Kisses from the top shelf of the freezer throughout the day. (Top shelf because… two kids. Enough said.)

Tru is the author of the Eastport Bay small town rom com series and loves living in a small New England town where she’s surrounded every day by the beautiful coastal setting you see brought to life in her books.


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Cover Reveal

Summer at the Ranch by Taylor Jade




Title: Summer at the Ranch
Author: Taylor Jade
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Outlined with Love Designs
Release Date: October 15, 2021


BLURB

Catalina’s world has just been flipped upside down.

At least, that’s how it feels to her.

Instead of spending the summer on the beach, getting a tan, and shopping with her best friend before starting college in the fall, she’s just been told she’s spending it on a ranch.

In the middle of a one-horse town.

She thinks things might look up because there’s a sinfully hot guy with a sexy southern drawl and killer good looks at the ranch.

But of course, they don’t. Xavier and Catalina can’t stand each other.

Catalina is one hundred percent sure that this is going to be the worst summer of her life.







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EXCERPT

He sighed, dragging a hand through his already ruffled, blonde hair. “I would have taken the bullet for you,” he eventually muttered.

“Easy for you to say now, but you don’t even know me, Xavier. We’ve been dating all of one day, and now, you’re willing to take a bullet for me? Do you understand how insane you sound?” I crossed my arms over my chest to protect myself from the hurt and rage flickering across his face.

We were having our first fight.

“I care about you a hell of a lot, darlin’. Don’t dismiss my feeling for you. I’m a man of my word.” He reached his hand forward, but I pulled back. I would give in to his sweet words and charming drawl if I felt his touch.

“I think we’re moving too fast,” I blurted. “This is crazy.”

“I’m crazy about you,” he shrugged, “but yeah, we can slow things down. I understand, baby.” My gut twisted at the soft term of endearment aimed at me.

“I don’t want to fall in love with you only to have my heart broken by another person.” I looked away from him, finding more interest in the dirt road than his intense gaze. His thumb grazed my bottom lip, pulling my eyes back to him in a flash.

“You listen to me, darlin’. I ain’t gonna break that beautiful heart of yours; I ain’t a piece of scum. I’m a cowboy – we fall hard for our women, and we love ’em just as hard. We never let ’em go, you hear me?”

I nodded my head, taken aback by the conviction in his tone. He meant every word. He planned on falling in love with me. I was speechless. No one had ever been so straightforward with me before.






AUTHOR BIO


Taylor Jade
SWEET, HEARTFELT ROMANCE

At 14 she published her first novel and then got wrapped up in the drama of life. Taylor Jade, twenty years old and already pursuing her dreams. Starting when she turned twelve Taylor wrote numerous stories for personal pleasure and school, always excelling when it came to essays. Writing is one of her many favorite hobbies where she can be herself and escape into another world, where there are no rules, as you make up your own.

After finishing her senior year, receiving an award for being the most passionate in her class for English, she decided it was time to publish again.

Living in Florida since the day she was born, Taylor hates the intense heat but loves chilly Florida winters.

Work, college, jet skiing, and water skiing are other hobbies that take up her busy schedule, amongst the writing.

Taylor began her writing career on a website called Wattpad. It went from reading numerous stories to posting her own. After finishing her second book she decided it was time to publish after all the reviews she got.

Now in 2021, she has published her first series that takes place in a town just like the one she lives in!


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Blog Tour

Bly by Kelsey Ketch

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Today is my post during the blog tour for Bly by Kelsey Ketch. Bly is a standalone contemporary fantasy book with mystery and horror.

This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours and the tour runs from 20 September till 1 October. You can see the tour schedule here.

Bly book cover
Bly
By Kelsey Ketch
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy/ Ghost Story
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: 22 September, 2021

Blurb: I left the United States to find inner peace. Instead, I find myself confronting a malicious ghost.

Astyr Salt is a spiritual and emotional empath who moved to England with the intent to forget about a traumatic, supernatural event that occurred during her freshman year of college. However, when she takes a spiritual cleansing assignment in a haunted country home in Essex, she is isolated with all her own pent-up emotions.

These emotions energize the ghosts inhabiting the country home, helping them draw their own tragedies to the surface. Searching for the truth, Astyr is forced to relive the past. And the deeper she dives into the country home’s horrific history, the more the intertwined memories place her in the path of an evil and demented predator.

A blend of contemporary fantasy, horror, and mystery, Bly is inspired by Henry James’s classic novella, The Turn of the Screw.


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Bly teaser


Kelsey
About the Author:
Kelsey Ketch is a young-adult/new-adult author, who works as a Wildlife Biologist and Data Analyst. During her free time, she can often be found working on her latest work in progress. She also enjoys history, mythology, traveling, and reading.

For more information, please visit her site at kelseyketch.com.

Author Links:
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Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway during the blog tour for Bly. These are the prizes you can win:
– a signed copy of Bly and a lavender wand (US Only)
– 10 ecopies of Bly – through Bookfunnel (International)

You can see what the lavender wand looks like here.
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Release Blitz

Immortal Things

Title: Immortal Things

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/27/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Female, Male/Male, Female/Female

Length: 84700

Genre: Horror/Thriller, LGBTQIA+, vampires, artists, prostitution, dark, immortal, Chicago

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Description

By day, Elise draws and paints, spilling out the horrific visions of her tortured mind. By night, she walks the streets, selling her body to the highest bidder. And then they come into her life: a trio of impossibly beautiful vampires: Terence, Maria, and Edward. When they encounter Elise, they set an explosive triangle in motion Terence wants to drain her blood. Maria wants Elise . . . as lover and partner through eternity. And Edward, the most recently converted, wants to prevent her from making the same mistake he made as a young abstract expressionist artist in 1950s Greenwich Village: sacrificing his artistic vision for immortal life. He is the only one of them still human enough to realize what an unholy trade this is. Immortal Things will grip you in a vise of suspense that won’t let go until the very last moment…when a shocking turn of events changes everything and demonstrates—truly—what love and sacrifice are all about.

Excerpt

Immortal Things Rick R. Reed © 2021 All Rights Reserved Prologue No one can hear the screams, the cries for mercy, and the shrieks of agony. It is as though the house is alive and it clamps down in reaction to the turmoil going on inside. One would never guess from its calm exterior that blood drips from its walls and those unlucky enough to enter have a good chance never to emerge again. This house appears to be empty. Dignified. Crumbling testimony to the wealth that once existed on Chicago’s Far North Side. It sits like a boulder on a corner, empty-eye-socket windows facing Sheridan Road and beyond it, the expanse of Lake Michigan. The lake is dark now; white-tipped waves crash against the shoreline, breaking at the boulders, a crescent moon bisected and wobbling on its black and churning waters. The house has borne witness to these waters, moody and changeable, always fickle, for more than a hundred years. The house is fashioned from white brick, yellowed and dirty. Nothing grows in the yard, save for a few straggling weeds that refuse to give in to the barren soil. The house is dead. And so are its inhabitants. ***** The dead are inside and reveal a surprising likeness to living creatures. They can move and speak just like the rest of us. They have wants and needs. They go about fulfilling these wants and needs with the same kind of intensity and purpose as the rest of the world. One could even say they have jobs, even if their occupations would be deemed illegal and certainly immoral by almost everyone. But look beyond these superficial similarities and you’ll feel chilled. Touch their flesh and it’s cold. Lay your head at their breasts and hear…nothing. Look into their eyes and find yourself reflected back in a black void that you just know, if you linger too long in its embrace, you’ll be sucked in and it will be all over for you. Grab one of their cold wrists and feel stone, marble to be exact. There is no pulse. But tonight, they are a merry band of three. Like the living, they are filled with anticipation. An evening out awaits them. They will, like so many others getting ready for a night on the town, meet others, exchange knowing glances and a mating dance of words. They will sup, but not on the gourmet offerings of the city. Most houses borne of this period contain many rooms, perhaps more than necessary. Whoever designed this house had the presence of mind to create wide-open spaces, breathing room. Enter the double front doors and you come directly into the living room. Or is it a drawing room? A great room? No matter. What you do not enter is a vestibule or a foyer as other houses of this period would contain. The walls are parchment colored, but right now, that color is indiscernible to the human eye, lit as they are by dozens of flickering candles. Water stains mar the walls and give to them a trompe l’oeil elegance, a look of almost deliberate aging. The floors are dark, their hardwood planks, tongue and groove, blackened by the lack of light and dust accumulated over many years. Along one wall is a fieldstone fireplace, its mantel tall as a man, its hearth cold and empty. There is no furniture in this huge room. No chairs. No tables. No bookcases or desks. No divans or chaise lounges. What does occupy the room, other than these three lifeless, yet curiously beautiful souls, is art. Paintings of every period lean against the wall and hang from their crumbling surfaces. Here is one after the style of Rubens, there another that looks pre-Raphaelite, here a Picasso…Jackson Pollock…Monet…Keith Haring…Willem de Kooning…Mark Rothko…Barnett Newman…plus the works of a legion of unknown artists, in every style and medium imaginable. The walls are crowded with it. The room is a gallery assembled by someone with vast resources, but tastes that go beyond eclectic. The only common theme running through these works is that all are unique. There is a respect for form, for color, for technique. Most of all, there is a certain indefinable quality that manages to capture the human spirit in its delicacy, in its discontent, in its hunger. Perhaps it’s the hunger that appeals to them. And the floor is a cocktail party of human sculptures. Men and women carved from marble, granite, and alabaster, cast in bronze. There are later figures cast from polymers, smooth acrylic, welded metals. It is eerie—this empty house that has become museum or mausoleum. Or both. But art is what the dead crave. It sustains them—that and something else—something warmer and more vibrant, but they are too genteel to admit to such hungers. Like animals, they simply feed when they are hungry and discuss it as little as possible. The walls also contain long leaded-glass windows, through which, appropriately enough, a full moon sends its pale rays, distorted and laying upon the darkened wood like silver. The leaded glass has become opaque, obscured by layers of dust, grime, and accumulated smoke. And we can see the creatures now, gathering. Listen: and hear nothing save for the creaking of ancient floorboards. First, let us consider Terence, broad shoulders cloaked in a pewter, latex zippered vest open just enough to display the cleft between smooth and defined pecs, tight leather jeans, and biker boots. Blond hair frames his face in leonine splendor: thick, straight, and shining, it flows to just below his shoulders. Glint of silver on both ears, studs moving like an iridescent slug upward. Terence is the second oldest of the three. His skin, like the others, has the look and feel of alabaster. Dark eyes burn from within this whiteness and present a startling contrast. Terence is a study in symmetry: his wide-set eyes match each other perfectly, his aquiline nose bisects dramatic cheekbones, and his full lips speak volumes about sensuality and lust. Stare into Terence’s eyes and gain a glimpse—quick, like a jump cut in a movie—of cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and the grime and elegance that was London in the late 1800s. Shake your head and the image disperses and you are left thinking it’s only your imagination conjuring up these images. After all, what does this post-punk Adonis have to do with the British Empire in the time of Oscar Wilde? Besides, Terence’s smile will have you thinking only of the present. And the present is what Terence lives for—the pleasure he can find, the communion of flesh and blood, seemingly so religious and yet sent from hell. He throws back his head and does a runway model turn, for the benefit of his companion, Edward, who rolls his eyes and snickers. “Don’t look to me to be one of your adoring minions.” Let’s shift our focus to Edward. Edward is musculature in miniature, stubbled face and a shaved pate. Leather vest, black cargo pants tucked into construction worker boots, no jewelry save for the inverted cross glinting gold between shaved and defined pecs. On his bicep, a tattooed band: marijuana leaves repeated over and over, rimmed with a thick black line. Edward’s look would be comfortable in the leather bars along Halsted Street, and he is the only one of the three who prefers the embraces of men. He is relatively young, a newcomer to this scene of death and the greedy stealing of life. Watch him carefully and you will detect a hint of uncertainty in his handsome, rugged features. Melancholy haunts his dark eyes, which, unlike Terence’s, are not symmetrical: the left is a little smaller than the right and crinkles more when he laughs, which is seldom. Curiously, though, it is Edward’s features that look most human…because it’s humanity that lacks perfection and Edward hasn’t been of this undead world long enough to adopt its slick veneer of beauty that’s too perfect to be real or wholesome. Look into Edward’s eyes and you’ll see a beatnik Greenwich Village, a more personal vision: an artist’s studio which is nothing more than a cramped room with bad light with canvases he worked on night and day, brilliant blends of color and construction for which Edward had no name, but one day would be called abstract expressionism. Shake your head, and—as with Terence—these images disperse. There’s nothing there, save for this macho gay clone boy with eyes that still manage to sparkle, in spite of the thin veneer of sadness and remorse deep within them. And last comes Maria, on silent cat feet, moving down the stairs. A whisper of satin, the color of coagulating blood: rust and dying roses, corseted at the waist with black leather. Black hair falls to her shoulders, straight, each strand perfect, sometimes flickering red from the candles’ luminance. Dark eyes and full crimson lips. Maria stands over six feet, and her body, even beneath the dress, is a study in strength: muscles taut, defined, like a man save for the fact that the muscles speak a hypnotic feminine language: sinew locked with flesh in elegance and grace. “Feline” would not be going too far were one to describe her. There is the same grace, the same frightening coiled-up power, perfect for the hunt, perfect for surprising and making quick work of her prey. She pauses, turning slowly in front of the men, her men, waiting for an appraisal. And, unlike Terence, this move does not seem vain, but more her due. The men applaud softly and Maria stops, dark eyes boring into theirs. They do not see the watery streets of Venice, but you would, if you dared to engage her gaze for long. Dark canals and mossy mildew-stained walls, crumbling stairs at which black water laps, an open window through which one hears an aria. Smell the mildew and the damp. The three take seats on the dusty floor, bring out mind-altering paraphernalia. Terence, first: “Whom will we lure tonight?” And Edward, eyes cast downward, the candle flames reflected off his bald and shining pate, sighs. It is Maria who touches him, her hand a whisper, but with the tightness of a claw against his shoulder, forcing him to look up into her eyes. “I know it’s hard. But eventually you’ll come to understand, to be like Terence and enjoy what is natural.” Edward laughs, but there is no mirth in it. “Natural? You call what we do natural?” “We are God’s creatures, just like the ones we prey upon. Just as an owl preys upon a mouse. We have needs and we do what we must to satisfy them—or else we die.” “We’re already dead,” Edward says. Maria picks up a glass cylinder and looks at it critically for a moment. “Legend looks at us that way. That much is true.” At the top of the cylinder is a small bowl, which Maria stuffs with sticky, green bud. The smell of marijuana is redolent in the air, mixing with the burning wax of the candles. “But I prefer to think of us as another species. A different kind of animal.” Edward stares at the silver light coming in through the long leaded-glass windows. It has been more than fifty years since he first met Terence in a tiny basement bar in Greenwich Village. Fifty years since he transformed himself into this new kind of animal Maria is now trying to make him think he is, to excuse their killing, the mayhem they wreak wherever they go. The heartbreak and the bloodshed, the latter so delicious, and so damning. Will he ever become callous enough to view what they do and what they are, like Maria? Will he ever be able to look at one of their victims, convulsing before them on a grimy floor, surrendering to death, and see them as merely sustenance? He’ll never believe it. The most curious thing about his transformation is this: time has taken on completely different dimensions. Five decades have passed like five days. It makes eternity easier to bear, he supposes. “If that’s what gets you through the night, Maria, fine. And as for being like Terence one day, well, that’s a hell I hope to never visit.” His last comment elicits a snort from Terence, who seems to either find everything humorous or everything sexy. He lives for pleasure. Sometimes, Edward wishes he could be like him. Terence has no conscience. It would be easier to be so ignorant. “Here.” Maria hands him the glass cylinder, the thing that in a head shop would be called a Steamroller, and Edward fishes in his vest pocket for a disposable lighter. He fires it up and holds it to the little ashen bowl topping the cylinder, watching as it grows orange and holding his hand over the open end of the tube. It fills with smoke. When Edward removes his hand, the blue-gray smoke rolls toward him, into his open mouth, and he longs for the oblivion he knows it will bring. He holds the smoke deep in his lungs and then exhales. It doesn’t take much of this stuff to change his mood, to make him forget, and for that, he’s grateful. He hands the cylinder to Terence, who locks his hand over his and stares into his eyes. “You always were so beautiful,” he whispers. “You always were such a liar.” And the merry band of three becomes silent and a little less merry. They know the truth: Terence is a liar, and had it not been for his charm and deceptions, Edward would not be with them tonight. No, Edward would not be with them. He would be a man in his seventies by now, either a bum or a respected abstract expressionist painter; in the movie of his life, someone short but muscular would play him; the title of this film would not be Pollock, but Tanguy. Instead, Edward was no longer an artist, no longer a human being really. No, he is now a creature who has made stealth and superhuman attunement his artistic expression. He thinks, with a dark snort, that all he draws now is blood. Maria’s cold, satin flesh takes hold of his forearm; the slight pressure of her nails: the gentle touch of a bird of prey’s talons. Even with his own kind, Edward thinks, one can’t be too careful. She knows he is not attuned to the night, but is depressed and resigned to the hunt. He has never fully realized the joy of taking sustenance. Maria stares into his black irises with her own pitch orbs, and smiles. She licks her lips and raises her nose to sniff. “Mmm. Can’t you smell them, Edward? The sharp, hot tang?” She closes her eyes in a kind of rapture, breathing in deeply. The smell of people wafts through the hot summer air, as much a background as the bleating horns, exhausts, and squealing brakes from the cars on Sheridan Road. Edward allows Maria to lead him to the front door. Puncture or perish is the joke he whispered to himself. Terence waits at the curb, his big Harley churning and revving. He grins and one can see, even from yards away, Terence’s eyes twinkling with anticipation. Edward thinks as he descends the wide flight of stairs, Maria clutching his arm, that Terence is the luckiest of the three because he feels no remorse. He has no heart.

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Meet the Author

Real Men. True Love. Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at http://www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

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Release Blitz

Waiting for Raine

Title: Waiting for Raine

Series: Comet Lake Chronicles, Book One

Author: Layla Dorine

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/27/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 91700

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, shifters, mates, author, menage, hurt-comfort, disability, intersex, pregnancy, offspring

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Description

Every Gathering, Raine hides from potential mates, knowing that in a society where tri-bonds were the expectation, a wolf wanting a mate all to themselves was an anomaly. Enter Gabriel. They’d met two years before, both left disappointed when no bondmark appeared on their wrists at that time. Gabriel’s been hunting, but there’s been no sign of Raine, outside of the one brief visit that didn’t end the way he’d hoped for. Fast forward to the present Gathering. He’s stumbled onto Aiden, a wolf miserable in his own pack due to the way he’s treated. Born with a disability, he knows he can’t keep up, but no one has taken the time to teach him where his true potential lies—until Gabriel that is. Gabriel’s protective instincts kick in almost immediately. Now Gabriel has one wolf he desperately wants to care for and another who has been hiding from him. Unfortunately, it might not be a challenge Gabriel is up for.

Excerpt

Waiting for Raine Layla Dorine© 2021 All Rights Reserved Midsummer, or, as most of the pack called the season, matesummer. Raine watched the vehicles pulling onto the grounds. Large motorhomes and SUVs packed with members of other packs flooded their lands for the gathering. Resting his cheek against the bark of the tree he was sitting in, Raine grumbled a stream of curses, a nearby squirrel angrily chattering his own stream of profanities back at him. “Why does it always…have to be…a tree?” Huffing and grumbling preceded his brother Noah’s appearance beside him, a sour expression on his face as he gripped the branch overhead. Shrugging, Raine looked away from his annoyed gaze and back toward the impending invasion. As soon as they got settled, all those foreign wolf scents would fill their lands and linger for weeks afterward. “I like trees.” “I like trees too—to pee on, not to climb. We’re wolves, and wolves are supposed to keep their paws on the ground.” “There are exceptions to all things.” “Uh-huh.” “What are you doing here, Noah? Shouldn’t you be curled up with Evan and Holden in your little love nest?” He knew he’d failed to keep the bitterness out of his voice the moment his brother’s eyes narrowed at him and wolf amber momentarily replaced the gray. “And yet I’m here. I wonder why that is.” “That’s what I’m asking you.” “I came to deliver a message, not that you’ll care. That big brown-and-white wolf from the northwestern pack is looking for you. I believe he said his name is Gabriel.” For a moment, Raine couldn’t breathe. It was like Noah had sucked all the air out of the forest and left him digging claws into the branch of the tree to ground himself. “How’d he look?” Raine gritted out between clenched teeth. “At first glance, you’d never know he was in a fight that nearly killed him.” “No one asked him to do that.” “With the way he was always watching you and trailing you, there was no way anyone was going to tell him not to.” Sighing, Raine scrubbed a hand over his face, his shoulder aching from how heavily he was leaning against the trunk. Butterflies and fear warred in his belly, clenched tight to keep from vomiting up his last meal. He would not think about the gathering two years past, or the mistake he’d nearly made in allowing himself to be claimed. “Saw him struggle to lift his backpack with his left arm. It’s a wonder he can use it at all. I was certain he was going to lose it with as mangled as it was.” “Shut up, Noah.” Of course his brother didn’t listen. That was part of his charm. He was stubborn that way, always had been, even back when they were young pups and Raine steadfastly refused to have anything to do with their father, Noah’s mother, or the rest of their siblings. Alone. Scared. Grieving over the death of his mother, he’d become a snarling, feral thing, living in the small apartment at the back of the house that he and his mother had lived in for as long as he could remember. He’d bitten everyone who approached until Noah. “My guess is he was still rehabbing it last year, which was why he didn’t show up to the gathering then,” Noah continued on, as if Raine hadn’t interrupted. “You should talk to him. It’s the least you can do.” His brother was right, not that he planned to listen. Nearly going down that road once was bad enough. Never again. His mother had taught him better. “He was alone, if that helps any. No mating marks on his wrists either, so it’s safe to say he’s still single.” “So.” “Stop pretending you don’t give a shit and take the second chance you’re being offered. I doubt you’ll get a third one.” “Why can’t you stop meddling and drop it? For fuck’s sake, Noah, I’m not interested!” “Could have fooled me, what with the way you called to check on him every day after he first went home.” “And then I stopped, which should tell you something.” “Yeah, that you’re clinging to an irrational notion put in your head by an irrational woman, who…” “Do not talk about my mom!” “Why? Afraid of hearing the truth?” Snarling, Raine ripped a furrow in the wood. “Leave, Noah, before I forget how much I love you and throw you out of this tree.” “You’re ruining your life; you know that, right?” “No. Taking a mate and trusting that I would be their one and only would ruin my life. I won’t do it, Noah, and I wish you’d stop asking me to.” “I’ll stop asking when you come to your senses and see that there is room in our hearts to love more than one person,” Noah insisted, not for the first time. In fact, he was sick of hearing it. “Not equally.” “Bullshit!” “Do you really believe Evan and Holden love you as much as they love each other?” “Yes, I do.” “Then you’re a fool. They had three years together before they met you. Three years of memories, moments, and promises. No matter what you do, you can never catch up. It will never be equal.” “If that’s all you think love is, then I pity you, Raine, I really do.” The look on Noah’s face, disappointed, sad, left Raine momentarily upset that he’d put it there. Until he thought about his mother, her tears, the way she’d looked in the mirror, asking what was wrong with her that his father couldn’t love her. Asking why she’d never be enough. He’d spent his early years with a broken ghost who’d hug him one moment and scream at him for wanting to play with his siblings the next. He’ll drown you the moment I’m not around to protect you, she’d rage, grabbing him by the arm, shaking him hard enough his teeth clacked together. Sometimes she’d forget her strength, or claws, leaving deep, bleeding marks in his upper arm or accidentally dislocating it. It had happened so many times he could do it at will now—a constant reminder of her pain. “I don’t want your pity.” “No, you never want anything, do you?” Noah glanced away from him, over to the slowly filling grove where the gathering would take place. “Wrong. I want to be left alone.” “Fine, wish granted, but I want you to remember this moment in ten years when you’re alone and sorry you blew your opportunity with someone who really and truly loves you.” With those last words hanging in the air between them, Noah lowered himself to the ground, shifted, shook, and disappeared into the forest. Asshole! He’d be the one to see, in ten years, when he was living in an add-on apartment or back at Mom and Dad’s after his two mates decided there was no longer room for him in the relationship. If only there was a way to ensure a pairing would never become a tri-bond. Then he’d happily go to Gabriel and explore the possibilities. Another idea took hold then, as he watched awnings popping up on campers and people pitching tents. Maybe he should go to Gabriel anyway, talk to him and get it out of his system. Maybe they’d prove to be incompatible, and he could stop daydreaming about what it would be like to belong to someone. Hell, maybe he was just looking for Raine to curse him out about the fight. Hearing Gabriel say he hated him would go a long way toward helping him to stop dreaming about the man. Decision made, he dove off the branch, somersaulting twice before hitting the ground in a crouch, sniffing. Rabbit, squirrel, skunk, deer, moss, dirt, pine, rotting leaves, cinnamon… Cinnamon? That didn’t belong out here. Nutmeg, dough, sugar… Those definitely didn’t belong out here. His nose led him back to the trail, fully aware that following it might mean running into strangers and pairs already getting a jump on the frolicking and fooling around portion of the event. A bunch of pups would be born ten months from now; that was for damn sure. And then what? Some pairs would end up trapped by those stupid bond marks. Others would raise their pups alone. Hell, he even knew of occasions where one parent took half the litter and the other raised the rest, siblings who never saw, or even knew, of one another until they met at a gathering, stunned to discover someone else who looked like them.

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Meet the Author

Layla Dorine lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places. Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

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