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The Difference Between

Title: The Difference Between

Author: Stephanie Burke

Publisher: Changeling Press, LLC

Release Date: November 12, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Female, Male/Male

Length: 190 pages

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Multicultural & Interracial, Action Adventure, Dark Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Bisexual, Multisexual & Pansexual, Magical Creatures, Multiple Partners

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Synopsis

Rotic, a human boy, was a slave when High Orc Chieftain Vizri first rescued him. Now, as Vizri’s adopted son, Rotic has become a renowned warrior and leader of the Orc Army. Rotic is confused when he’s gifted with a male consort, but he knows he has earned his place in life, and he has full confidence nothing will ever take his power and position away from him. Ogun is used and broken when he’s brought to the castle of the High Orc Chieftain as tribute — actually a sly insult — by the underhanded Dark Elves. When Ogun is named Consort and meets Rotic, his new partner, he finds himself lost in a whole new way of life before the sun has set. He has a new position and a growing relationship with Rotic. Nothing could ever ruin this for Ogun. But with treacherous humans threatening the Orc Nation, magical and cultural landmines to traverse, and a new wife added to the mix, Ogun and Rotic’s lives are changing faster than they can blink. Ogun and Rotic have to learn to adjust and overcome before the differences between them become an insurmountable mountain that will destroy them both. Publisher’s Note: The Difference Between was published previously by another house and has been extensively edited for re-release.

Excerpt

The tent flap ripped open with surprising easy. But then, Vizri didn’t expect much from human beings on the whole. The dim light in the tent did nothing to hamper his vision, as Orc eyes were designed to be useful in the dark tunnels that spawned their ancestors as well as the bright sunlight in which the multitudes of humans dwelt. The first impression? Humanity smelled. Even before he entered the tent the smell of sour milk and salt filled his nostrils, making him snort as he curled his nose in disgust. The place also smelled of human sex and excrement. It was nearly enough to make his eyes water. It was a good thing his eyes adjusted so quickly, because almost as soon as he stepped foot inside the hide monstrosity the humans decided to call a domicile, he had to duck to the right as a pale blur flew at him from out of nowhere. He shifted his weight and reached behind him, gripping the shaft of his great-ax, but something, some odd instinct, made him stay his hand. Unlike the confusing humans, Orcs always followed their instincts. He might be reluctant to swing but he was no fool. And an Orc who was always prepared for the worst was an Orc that lived to languish in the care of his wives. So he gripped the handle of the great weapon strapped to his back and he tracked the blur with his eyes. It was a human, a small one. At least it looked — he inhaled deeply, his nostrils flaring, and nodded. Indeed, it was human, small… wounded, fearful, and furious at the same time. Interesting. He was deciding if he should just put it out of its misery when it turned and snarled at him. He could not stop his brow-hair from rising as he stared at the pitiful creature. Although it never showed in his expression, the actions of this small wretch… delighted him. This small thing behaved in a most appropriate alpha-type manner. It was refreshing and confusing to see proper behavior out of a human, especially one so small and wounded. It looked underfed and wild as it glared at him, its chest heaving as its eyes tracked rapidly around the room, looking for an escape route while keeping him firmly in view. He tilted his head to the side and relaxed his stance as the small human snarled again. There was a table between him and the human, so he decided he had time to test a theory that had been raging along the lower courts of his chiefdom for years. Were humans truly intelligent beings, capable of instinctual thought and the ability to act properly on those impulses, or were they just the Elder Gods’ evolutionary joke? He moved forward and unclasped a human weapon, a well made great sword, from his side. He had meant to bring it as a present to one of his wives who loved cute little trinkets like this one, but now it would do well to serve another purpose. If the small human could pass his test, he would not put it out of its misery. If it actually reacted in the correct manner, then he might take it home as a pet and spare its life. One of his thirty-seven wives might like an intelligent toy to fetch and carry, if they could get past the smell. He lay the sword on the table and stepped back to gage the creature’s reaction. When it just stood there, glaring at him, eyes still darting around the tent, he reached into another pouch at his side and withdrew a small jeweled dagger. He had taken it from the treasury the human in charge of this ramshackle village had acquired and unlike the worthless gold and other somewhat more useful jewels, he thought it could be bent and pounded into something like a bit of jewelry for one of his wives or for his newest consort. He moved forward and laid it on the table as well. Still the small creature didn’t move, but its eyes were darting back and forth between him and the weapons, its scowl growing deeper. Finally, Vizri unwound a heavy steel bolo from around his waist, a very important weapon in Orcish warfare, dropping that beside the dagger before he again stepped back. There. He had given the creature three options. He would wait and see if it was intelligent enough to realize he had given it a choice. As he waited, he examined the pitiful thing, noting the many and varied differences between humans and Orc. It had none of the advantages that nature had blessed the Orc with for survival, which led many species to speculate that humans really were nature’s big joke. It had thin skin, through which he could see its red blood pumping through its veins. Its ears were rounded and placed on the side of its head, not sharply arched and placed on top so that they could swerve and easily pick up the sounds of enemies approaching or sneaking around from behind. It had no claws for defense, no horns for intimidation, and worse of all, it had no protruding lower tusks. How could it properly mate if it could not gore its female into ecstasy? Humans were a strange breed that had somehow managed to grab a foothold in the Orc territory.

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Meet the Author

Stephanie is a USA Today Best Selling, multi published, multi award-winning author, Master Costumer, handicapped, wife and mother of two. From sex-shifting, shape-shifting dragons to undersea worlds, sexually confused elemental Fey and homo-erotic mysteries, all the way to pastel-challenged urban sprites, Stephanie has done it all, and hopes to do more. Stephanie is an orator on her favorite subjects of writing and world-building, a sometime teacher when you feed her enough tea and donuts, an anime nut, a costumer, and a frequent guest of various sci-fi and writing cons where she can be found leading panel discussions or researching varied legends and theories to improve her writing skills. Stephanie is known for her love of the outrageous, strong female characters, believable worlds, male characters filled with depth, and multi-cultural stories that make the reader sit up and take notice.

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Release Blitz

Take You There

Title: Take You There

Series: Second Chance Omegas #4

Author: Willa Okati

Publisher: Changeling Press, LLC

Release Date: November 12, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 103 pages

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult, Mpreg, Action Adventure, Second Chance Romance, Gay, Single Parents/Pregnancy, Medical Romance, Urban Fantasy, paranormal romance

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Synopsis

Thoughtful, quiet, and just a wee bit on the dryly sarcastic side, Ethan teaches music at the university in Second Chance. With barely enough time to breathe between hysterical students and faculty shenanigans, he’s not looking for Mr. Right — just Mr. Right Now — and only when the moment calls for it. The beautiful man who calls himself “Blue” in a quick, dirty alley encounter should have satisfied him. But now Ethan can’t get Blue out of his mind, and can’t seem to stop looking for him.

Carter –”Blue” when he wants to stay anonymous — wears his scars on the inside, but they’re deep and still bleeding. He doesn’t venture far outside his antique & pawn shop unless he’s desperate for someone to touch and hold him and make him feel good for a little while. He promised himself he would never want more again. The smoldering musician who caught his eye, and what they did in the alley, should have been enough. That should have been the end of it.

It wasn’t. It isn’t. Their encounter left him pregnant, and he’s been frozen since then, not knowing how to break free of his shell or what he should do. Until Ethan finds him — and then, everything changes. Again.

Author’s Note: Also featuring Oscar, everybody’s favorite sarcastic best friend. We all need an Oscar in our lives.

Excerpt

Take You There (Second Chance Omegas 4)
Willa Okati
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Willa Okati

Was there a place like this in Second Chance?

Of course there was. Carter’s lips curved wryly around the rim of the highball glass he held to his lips. There was always a place like this no matter where you went. It just depended on whether who you asked knew what you wanted. And if you wanted a bar that didn’t serve chicken wings but did pour good beer and better tequila and top-shelf vodka, you wanted the bar called Speakeasy, just off Main Street. You could only get in through the back door and only if you knew where and how to knock, but once you did…

It wasn’t a place where everyone knew your name, but for most people there, that wasn’t even close to the point and sometimes —

Carter kept to himself when he could, lived silently and solitary, and he’d chosen that kind of life on purpose. It was better that way. Safer. He could watch his twelve and his six, and he could walk away from anything before it overwhelmed him. But sometimes —

Sometimes, he needed this.

Tucked quietly and carefully in one corner of the room, he kept the rim of a glass of tequila at his mouth, but only for show; he’d already sipped his way through two shots. Enough to work the tension out of his knotted muscles, but not so much that he’d do something he’d regret in the morning. Or if he did, to know it’d been worth it.

Carter’s hand spasmed around his glass, remembering it all too keenly, and knew he’d keep remembering until —

He should have turned the radio at his antique-slash-junk shop workbench off as soon as the first broadcast about the quarry disaster came through, but it’d caught him before he could switch the app off and he’d been lost. Drowning in it. He’d spent the day ignoring a workbench full of things that needed repairing, fixated on the steady voice of the broadcaster droning on and on and on with the lists of missing, injured, dead. On and on and on. Heartbreak after heartbreak after heartbreak, and he’d felt them all. Even now he could feel the echoes in his chest, cracking with each one —

He knew better.

Carter rubbed the heel of his palm against his eyes. He’d always been like that, ever since he was a kid. Too sensitive, even if he’s probably going to be an Omega, they’d said. Strange, even for someone with — you know — his kind of bloodline, and everyone knows how they are.

So.

He’d taken that to heart too. He’d learned how to turn himself off — but too well. Even if he hadn’t intended it, he’d gone too far in the other direction. Unless he was as careful as careful could be and didn’t slip up as he had with the radio, it took him so long to warm up to people and let them in that it turned them off, made them look at him oddly and give him a wide berth.

What’d happened today at the quarry wasn’t about him. Carter knew that.

But if he ever wanted to sleep again, he needed this.

Carter tilted his head back and gulped, letting the whole shot burn its way down his throat. He came up breathless, but — better. Much better, even if it left him gasping and with his heart pounding. He lightly thumped the heel of his shoe on wooden floorboards worn smooth from years of others doing the same. The owner, who set the playlists every night, had a sense of occasion. No wailing jazz or mournful blues tonight. Just hard, driving beats that made a man want to shout, stomp his boots, pump his fists to the sky.

To dance, and —

To erase everything except feeling good for a little while. To fuck.

Fuck, no playing around, no sugarcoating it. A soundtrack like this demanded hard kisses and hands on harder bodies from anyone who was willing, who was able, and who was old enough to know better but still didn’t give a damn.

But who?

Carter ran a finger around the rim of his glass as he searched the room and sorted through his options. The locals all knew him here. He had to do his hunting among the new-to-town men, but there were plenty. Firemen and rescue crews who’d done their jobs and been turned loose to celebrate, for one. Graduate students, a whole crop of them.

A few who weren’t nearly so easy to pin down. Those were the ones he wanted. Carter wanted that, to chase after the distraction they provided.

Or to be chased, instead. That was new.

Carter could feel one of them watching him. Staring at him. He wasn’t sure how long the man had been looking. He might have started while Carter emptied his glass and had his throat on display; that would have piqued any Alpha’s interest. Slowly, slowly, he swept the room, searching.

Finding.

There. Someone he’d never seen before. An Alpha in a dark green shirt, well-worn jeans that hugged his ass, and scuffed leather boots. Long hair pulled up in a messy knot — to hell with fashion for this guy, he clearly liked what he liked and he liked his man-bun — and a feral grin. Lean as a lone wolf in early spring but lined with lean muscle and blessed with a sense of rhythm. He’d probably had just as many drinks as Carter, or more, but he could still keep up with the beat, swinging his hips and raising his hands to the roof.

When Carter met his hot, interested stare, the Alpha raised an eyebrow in both dare and invitation.

Yes. That. Him.

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Meet the Author

Willa Okati (AKA Will) is made of many things: imagination, coffee, stray cat hairs, daydreams, more coffee, kitchen experimentation, a passion for winter weather, a little more coffee, a whole lot of flowering plants and a lifelong love of storytelling. Will’s definitely one of the quiet ones you have to watch out for, though he — not she anymore — is a lot less quiet these days.

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