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The Sweetest Ladybug



Children’s Books

Date Published: November 24, 2021

Publisher: Underline Publishing LLC


Imagine if everything happening in your imagination also happens in real life. This is exactly what happens one day in the life of a curious, sweet, and intelligent girl named Johana. Under the colors of a beautiful ladybug, Johana discovers all the mysteries and beauties hiding in her own garden!


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Thomas Jefferson Family Secrets

 

Nonfiction / Biography

Date Published: 2-1-2022

Publisher: Palmetto Publishing / Blackstone Publishing



A fascinating biography of Thomas Jefferson that presents an entirely new and provocative look at the final years of Jefferson’s life, as seen through the eyes of his most trusted family confidants. Based on fresh research and unpublished memoirs, it is also a riveting account of Jefferson’s adult grandchildren—Thomas Jefferson Randolph and Ellen Coolidge. Most historians have overlooked them, yet they profoundly influenced seminal events in Jefferson’s long life, including a sexual scandal. A powerful psychological profile.


Excerpt

On April 13, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial on the edge of the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. World War II had injected the two hundredth anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth with special significance. The tide of history had just shifted its course. One of the foremost political figures in American history finally took his place in the ultimate American pantheon, within sight of George Washington’s soaring monument and Abraham Lincoln’s brooding, seated statue. No American has ever before enjoyed such a transcendent status as Thomas Jefferson. And over the next 250 years of American history, no public figure would ever reach the same historic heights.

This is the triumphant “political” image of Jefferson, yet one far from reality. Jefferson had desired to live in the “tranquil, permanent felicity” that flowed from a secluded home life at his elegant mountain estate, Monticello.[i] But during the last seventeen years of his cloistered family life, his story was infused with high drama in a congealed world of alcoholism, domestic violence, family jealousies, bankruptcy, and a grisly murder. Then came a humiliating series of political wounds, including an alleged sexual affair with a slave, corroding Jefferson’s personal and professional reputation.

[i] Thomas Jefferson, Letters and Addresses of Thomas Jefferson, ed. William B. Parker (Buffalo: National Jefferson Society, 1903), 43.


About the Author

WILLIAM G. HYLAND JR., a native of Virginia, is the author of four widely praised historical biographies, including IN DEFENSE OF THOMAS JEFFERSON (St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne Books), which was nominated for the Virginia Literary Award.

Mr. Hyland is a seasoned litigation attorney with the national law firm of VERNIS & BOWLING, with nearly thirty years of high profile trial experience. A former prosecutor, he is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Florida, Alabama, Colorado and before the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Hyland is also a former Adjunct Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law. His professional lectures include televised speeches at the National Archives, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the University of Virginia, CSPAN, BOOK TV (https://www.c-span.org/video/?463476-1/george-mason) and The Federalist Society. He is a member of the Virginia, Massachusetts and New York Historical Societies and serves on the Board of Directors of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society. He holds a B.A. from the University of Alabama and a J.D. from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Before law school, Mr. Hyland held a TOP SECRET security clearance and worked for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.


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Somewhere Between Light and Time

 

Historical Fiction

Date Published: December 21, 2021



Have you ever met a stranger and felt that you already knew them?

The story begins in the 1800s when Elias and Henry are souls on the Other Side. Their own time as humans lies ahead of them, but they unwittingly observe their ancestors-to-be as they progress through major historical events. From slave-liberation missions in antebellum America to the horror of the Vietnam War, they follow six generations across two centuries. But as the family separates, the descendants form two divergent lineages, thousands of miles apart, into which the two souls are eventually born.

Elias and Henry grow up in different countries but meet again in modern Britain—without any recollection of the Other Side. Civil-rights activist Elias is hiding from a Russian kidnapper when he runs into Henry, who has become a kind-hearted but prejudiced Englishman. Against the backdrop of repeating historical patterns, they become entangled in a love triangle with free-spirited Lana, who becomes Elias’s protector.

Blinded by his intolerance, Henry unwittingly brings danger upon them as the agent closes in on Elias. But soon, all their historical experiences unravel into the present, and eventually produce an unexpected, startling ending.

Somewhere Between Light and Time is a fast-paced adventure drama in which historical events and everyday reality are interwoven with elements of the supernatural. Aiden Leman lives in East Sussex, England, where he works in financial services for his day job. He studied International Relations in Scotland and was previously active in the teaching sector. He has worked in five different countries across three continents, although his dream job would probably be a firefighter.




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The Extra Myles by Melanie Munton

The Extra Myles
Melanie Munton
(A Southern Hearts Club Novella)
Publication date: December 21st 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

NOW HIRING… Fake boyfriend for 27-year-old desperate female. Must be able to deal with pretentious, New York City socialites. Attendance at family Christmas events required. Seasonal work only. Applicants not named Myles Colson need not apply.

The position has been filled. Granted, Myles is the only man in Blair McCauley’s life capable of looking her dragon mother in the eyes and not bursting into tears. Blair will need that steel whenever her mother helpfully reminds her over a glass of eggnog that a career is pointless when she could just marry rich. Thankfully, the barbecuing, beer swilling, football watching guy’s guy doesn’t even sort of fit in with her flashy New York lifestyle.

Which is exactly the point.

Although Myles is a lot more than a former jock with a pension for frosted mugs and Sweatpants Sundays. He also happens to be a gifted artist, and Blair is helping him carve out his space in the art world. Lucky for her, she’s the only one who gets to see the man behind the pottery wheel. Sans shirt.

But when Blair and Myles both come to the realization that they’ve just been pretending at pretending, they never see what’s coming for them next.

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EXCERPT:

Blair McCauley.

Every time she’s around, I get all antsy and excited for some reason. Like when my Clemson Tigers complete a sixty-three-yard pass and run it in for the touchdown to win the game.

I snicker.

Little Miss Blair here has probably never even watched a football game in her life.

The woman breezes into the back room with all the air of a European queen. And from what I’ve read, she practically is that up in NYC. Or at least, a princess. Either way, Blair McCauley is American royalty.

And I might as well be the guy who cleans horse shit out of her family’s stables.

“Are you ever going to fix that door?” she asks in the exasperated tone I recognize.

She sounds that exact same level of annoyed every time she stumbles through my studio door that, even I’ll admit is a bitch to open.

Damn, but she’s beautiful.

Like, the breathtaking kind of beautiful. The kind of woman who deserves to have a sultry theme song play every time she enters a room. My favorite is when she gets all huffy like this. Blowing her Marilyn Monroe-styled blond hair off her forehead, planting her dainty hands and manicured nails on her slim hips, and cocking said hip out. The whole move pushes out her full, rounded breasts beneath her silk top, her tight skirt stretching across those svelte legs.

Stunning she may be, but the woman is also the prissiest, most high-maintenance, spoiled city girl I’ve ever met.

Expensive.

And I don’t do that type. Sure, I’ve fantasized about having this woman beneath me—a shameful number of times—but I prefer my women to be a little more kickback. Someone who’s content to sit around with you on a Sunday afternoon in nothing but ratty sweatpants, watching football without complaint. A woman who’s okay with going out in public without makeup. Someone who doesn’t turn her nose up when I don’t wipe my mouth between each chicken wing and just wait until I’m done eating them altogether.

If Blair has never watched football, then she’s damn sure never eaten a chicken wing.

I don’t know jack shit about hair, makeup, or clothes, but I know that all of hers are top-of-the-line. The material of her blouse is high-quality. Every pair of shoes I’ve ever seen her in are high heels that you just know cost a small fortune. Her purses are all designer names I’ve at least heard of—Prada, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana. I even caught a glimpse of one of her lace bras one day when she bent over, a move that about gave me a fucking aneurysm, and I definitely know that item was high-priced.

No. Blair McCauley definitely isn’t my type.

I could never afford her. The best I could do is a hot night between the sheets because a man’s bank account doesn’t matter then. When she saw my place in the daylight, that’s when she would surely saunter all the way back up to New York in her five-inch stiletto heels.

I lift an eyebrow. “Why do you presume I know how to fix it?”

She tilts her head to the side. “Don’t you work in a factory?”

I would be pissed off by the question if I knew she didn’t mean it condescendingly. For all of Blair’s quirks, she’s not a mean person. Perhaps a little naïve at times, but not rude.

I lean back on my stool, crossing my arms over my chest. Her eyes briefly flick down to my biceps before quickly averting to stare at the wall.

Now that’s something.

In all the months I’ve known this woman, in all the phone calls made and trips from New York to Charleston she’s taken, I haven’t seen much in the way of…awareness…from her. At least, not in the sexual sense. God knows I think she’s hot as hell, in the not-so-much-as-a-hair-out-of-place kind of way. But if she felt any attraction toward me whatsoever, you’d never know it.

“We don’t produce doors at a steel manufacturing plant.”

Her apple-shaped cheeks tinge pink. “I realize that. I just pegged you as a jack-of-all-trades type.”

“Because of the uniform? The dirt under the nails?”

She frowns and somehow looks cuter like that. “No. Because you don’t seem like the useless type.”

My ears perk up at something in her voice. Something almost…self-deprecating. Has someone actually told her that she’s useless?

Why does that piss me the fuck off?

She bites her lip in uncertainty, as if afraid she said something wrong. “Or maybe, you know, you can just buy a new door or something? They have those at Home Depot stores, right? I’ve personally never been inside one, but I hear they’ve got them around here.”

I chuckle because I think she’s being funny on purpose, but I can’t always tell with her. It’s almost as if she doesn’t recognize her own sense of humor and doesn’t understand why people might laugh at one of her jokes. Or sardonic quips. Either way, I aim to wipe that look of uncertainty off her face.

“No, you’re right. I can fix the door. I just haven’t had the time lately.”

Truthfully, I haven’t messed with the door because I like how it announces her entrance. And how it makes her angrily curse under her breath. And how she’s slightly out of sorts by the time she reaches me in the back room. I like seeing her hair falling across her forehead before she shoves it back into place. Like seeing the flush on her cheeks, rather than the porcelain doll look they usually have. In those brief seconds, I think I’m seeing the real Blair, rather than the polished, prim illusion she projects.

“I see.” She smooths her hands down her skirt, pushing her shoulders back. “So, how are the final pieces coming along?”

I take another swig of my beer to avoid staring at her legs in those tights that I know have that fucking seam up the back. “Firing up now. Should have them done by tomorrow afternoon.”

She excitedly starts tapping around on her phone. “Excellent. I can have them shipped up to New York before my flight back, and everything will still be on schedule for the exhibition on the twenty-ninth.”

“You don’t even want to look them over for approval before you ship them off?” I question. “You’re so sure these final pieces will be good?”

She peeks up at me through long, lowered lashes. “Not necessary. There’s no way I won’t like them.”

Scout’s honor, my dick turns to a full-blown erection at her compliment.

She actually likes my work.

Her eyes widen as her words finally sink in. “I-I mean, the others are all so fantastic, I doubt these will pale in comparison.”

If she’s trying to backtrack her apparent admiration for my work, she’s doing a piss-poor job, at least from my perspective.

And now my dick is hard as a fucking icicle.

Granted, if you stuck an icicle in my pants right now, it would melt in about two and half seconds. Even in December, it’s a scorcher down here in the South.

“Thank you,” I rasp, fighting to get all my bodily functions under control. “I hope they meet your expectations, then.”

Her eyes stay on me for silent moments, baffling me. She never holds eye contact with me for this long. It’s like she makes a point not to.

“Trust me.” Her voice is barely above a whisper. “They’ll exceed them.”


Author Bio:

Melanie grew up in the Midwest, but she loves living in the Southeast (where the beaches are!) now with her husband and daughter.
Melanie’s other passion is traveling and seeing the world. With anthropology degrees under their belts, she and her husband have made it their goal in life to see as many archaeological sites around the world as possible.
She has a horrible food addiction to pasta and candy (not together…ew). And she gets sad when her wine rack is empty.
At the end of the day, she is a true romantic at heart. She loves writing the cheesy and corny of romantic comedies, and the sassy and sexy of suspense. She aims to make her readers swoon, laugh out loud, maybe sweat a little, and above all, fall in love.
Go visit Melanie’s website and sign up for her newsletter to stay updated on release dates, teasers, and other details for all of her projects!

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Don’t You Wanna Stay?

Don’t you Wanna Stay? by Aliyah Burke

Book 1 in the Family Forever series

Word Count: 30,607 Book Length: SHORT NOVEL Pages: 126

Genres:

BILLIONAIRE CONTEMPORARY EROTIC ROMANCE MULTICULTURAL SECOND CHANCE

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Book Description

Decisions must be made about what’s more important, love or work. One explosive night between strangers isn’t something billionaire Gareth Ericsson could, or wants to, easily forget. When a second-chance meeting with the one woman unlike any he’s met before comes up, he decides he’s not willing to let her go again. Xandra Asher has enough on her plate during the fundraiser she spearheaded when she finds herself facing the man she had a one-night stand with. He’s as enigmatic as he was that night, and she soon finds he’s inserted himself back into her life. Work is cutthroat and accusations fly. When careers are on the line, which will come out on top—their jobs or their hearts? Reader advisory: This book contains references to abduction and drug addiction, as well as scenes involving an emotionally abusive parent.

Excerpt

“Don’t worry, Mr. Yoon, I just got off the phone with the management staff liaison we have at the MontClaire, and Ms. Noit has confirmed with me that all the stipulations we gave them to hold the fundraiser there have been and will be met.” Xandra turned her right wrist, caught a quick glimpse of her fitness tracker and made a mental note to make sure she changed out the floral print band for her gold one, which would better accentuate her outfit. She listened to her boss, who was a business tycoon. Mr. Yoon had turned all his attention and money to a line of banks that had been on the way out and now he rivaled Rockefeller and Rothschild in his standing. He was well known in the business world for his brutality, though she tended to laugh at that description. He could be that way, sure. The man took no prisoners when it came to business, but he was a devoted family man, still married to the same woman he’d fallen in love with back in school. They had three children who he worked hard to make sure had respect and didn’t assume they were better than anyone because of their money. Or rather, their father’s money. She flicked a hand along her red dress, dislodging a piece of lint that dared to land there. “The car will be by to pick up you and Mrs. Yoon at half past eight. I will meet you there when you arrive.” “Did anyone say they weren’t attending?” She touched the device in her hand, even though she already knew the answer. “Mr. Ericsson is unable to attend, as he came down with something, but he is sending his son in his stead. Gareth Ericsson.” “That’s good. I know his son. You will like him.” Regardless of the fact that she was rising in the executive elevator alone, she smiled as if her boss stood before her. “I’m sure I will.” Mr. Yoon laughed, and her smile fell from practiced to real. She truly enjoyed this man. “One day a man will come by and sweep you off your feet.” “You keep me far too busy to give my feet a chance of holding still for that to happen.” The door to the elevator slid open on silent gliders and she stepped out into her boss’ waiting area. “Is there anything else you need from me before this starts, Mr. Yoon?” “I will see you there. I hope you’re heading home to get something to eat first.” She walked toward her office, the thick mat beneath the carpet masking her steps. “I’ll be on my way shortly.” “I’m calling back in ten minutes, and you better be on your way.” She opened her mouth, yet he continued, not giving her a chance to speak. “I’m calling security because I know you’ll lie. Get home, and I will see you for this fundraiser. It will be amazing—you always make sure they are.” He was gone, and she still gave her usual farewell before touching the device in her ear, completing the call on her end as well. The moment the door to her office closed behind her, she kicked off her shoes and moaned as she padded in her sheer stockings to the large leather couch and flopped down. She could totally go for a full-body massage. Or a hot tub with massaging jets. This fundraiser was important to her boss and she refused to let him down. It wasn’t like this was the first one she’d ever put together—far from it—but this one meant so much to him and his family. It would kill her to disappoint him. Mr. Yoon had taken a chance on her when she’d first applied for this position. There had been others who had had resumes that had made hers look like a turd she’d tried to polish beside their shining stars, but he’d gone past their ivy-league degrees and chosen her. That had been five years ago, and now she spoke fluent Korean, had holiday gift exchanges with the family, and his children looked upon her as a person they could go to for anything they needed if they were unable to reach their parents. Moaning once more, she pushed up on her arms and glanced around her office with eyes that were far too blurry and, with her luck, probably swollen. Giving in, she fell back down and mentally ran over everything on her schedule, making sure she didn’t have anything that demanded her attention right now. Content she didn’t, she began looking for the energy to get back up and make her way down to the car to head home. If she moved now, she could sleep for an hour before she put on the face that would hide all this exhaustion. Her ear vibrated with the notification of an incoming call. Struggling, she touched her ear and answered the call. “This is Xandra.” “I would love to hope that your voice was all muffled and exhausted because I’m interrupting some spine-tingling sex, but given your fundraiser is tonight, I’m sure that’s not the case.” Despite her exhaustion, she smiled as her cousin Xahara’s words reached her. “You’d be correct. In fact, I’m face first in the couch, wishing I had hands on me. Would you like to spare your man? You know, share and all that.” “Don’t make me plant some evidence on your ass and shoot you.” They weren’t words to be taken lightly. “Fine. Don’t share.” “I won’t. I wanted to check on you before this thing started, and yes, I know you’ve been busting your ass, which is why I’m calling. Are you eating enough? I’d ask about sleep but I don’t think that’s happening.” “Not until tonight. Thankfully I have the next week off—Mr. Yoon said I deserved it.” Pumped by speaking with her cousin, she managed to wrangle her body up from the couch and back to her shoes. Instead of putting them on, she picked them up and walked out of her office, purse slung over one shoulder and heels dangling from two fingertips. “I think I’m going to sleep and get a massage.” “Sex?” “No.” “We both know you need to. What about that one-night-stand guy?” Her nipples tightened just at the thought of that man and his touch. She swallowed. This train of thought wasn’t any good for her. At all. Time to shut it down. “I’m not talking about sex with you right now. I have to get ready for the event.” “Talk me home.” It wasn’t an uncommon thing for either one of her cousins to call and they would keep the other company until they reached home. Sometimes it was all the chance they had to catch up, so she listened to the eldest of their trio. True to her word, Xahara ended the call when Xandra reached her apartment. Her shower was fast and she padded around her place in a silk robe, allowing her lotion more time to soak into her skin. Pausing by the large one-way windows, she stepped close and brushed her fingers along a cool pane. She stared down at the bustling city of Marbleton below her. People going about their business, not giving her any thought whatsoever high up here. I could be getting murdered right here and no one would be the wiser. Or I could be getting fucked and no one would know. She’d know for sure. To either one. She’d not had sex since that one-night stand she’d dropped her guard for all those months ago. The tingling in her pussy was yet another reminder that she needed to stop thinking about it. She wasn’t getting any tonight. “I have to do my job.” She ate a light meal, knowing there would be appetizers and hors d’oeuvres at the event. She didn’t have to do a lot of work there—her main role had been to set it up. While she didn’t anticipate stuffing her face, because that wouldn’t be a good look, she would allow herself a bite or two. Xandra dressed and stood before her three-way mirror, critiquing her outfit. Red and gold, a nod to Mr. Yoon’s company colors. She adjusted the delicate band for her fitness tracker, pleased it blended in perfectly. After one final look, she touched her gold and diamond earrings as well as the diamond X pendant necklace she wore. It had been a gift from her two cousins when she’d landed this job. It was her good-luck charm and something she didn’t like to go without. At the door, she slipped her feet into her five-inch heels, swiped her clutch and walked out, exhaustion vanishing with each step. She loved this. She lived for this. And I’m fucking going to rock this! Her attitude was the same when she got out of the car at the event and walked in. After handling a few last-minute things, making sure to say hello to Mr. Yoon and his wife, she mingled through the gathered guests, making sure no one was wanting for anything. She moved to the door that led to the balcony and had stepped out for a quick respite when she noticed a large shadow to her left. “You know, you’re just as stunning with all your clothes on as you were when I had you naked with your legs over my shoulders while I feasted on that perfect pussy.” Her legs trembled at that decadent voice. Before she could even pray that she’d misheard the words, or start to get angry at them, the owner of the voice stepped into view, and her breath escaped in a rush. His tuxedo had been made for him alone—that was obvious by the fit and how it amplified his broad shoulders, trim waist and lean hips. Blond hair, which had been messy when she’d snuck out of his bed after their hot sexual night, was slicked to perfection, and those blue eyes burned straight through her clothing, seeing her nude. She faced her one indiscretion. Her one-night stand. Fuck.

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About the Author

Aliyah Burke

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Aliyah Burke is an avid reader and is never far from pen and paper (or the computer). She is happily married to a career military man. They are owned by six Borzoi. She spends her days at the day job, writing, and working with her dogs. She loves to hear from her readers and can be reached here. She can also be found on Facebook or Twitter: @AliyahBurke96. And Pinterest. If you would like to be kept abreast of what’s going on in the world of Aliyah, you can sign up to her newsletter here.

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The Forest God’s Favor

The Forest God’s Favor by AT Lander

Book 1 in the Of Gods and Men series

Word Count: 19,781 Book Length: NOVELLA Pages: 79

Genres:

EROTIC ROMANCE FANTASY GAY GLBTQI GODS AND GODDESSES HISTORICAL MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS

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Book Description

Can the love of a man heal the heart of a god? Fertility god Anthos, a shy and gentle three-hundred-year-old virgin, has grown up in the shadow of his brutal older brother Dryas and spent his life hiding from mortals, no matter how much his nature draws him to them. Cleon, a humble farmer who always has room in his heart and his bed, knows that Lord Dryas is angry. The crops aren’t growing, and his family is going to starve if he doesn’t give the god a worthy sacrifice—his own body. But when he reaches the shrine, he finds a very different god, the sweet, untouched Anthos. Eager to satisfy Anthos’ curiosity, Cleon shows him what sex is…and what a relationship between them could be, with their instant attraction blooming into love. But when Dryas returns with a vengeance and Cleon’s life hangs in the balance, Anthos is forced to make a choice. Will he bow once more before his brother’s rage, or take a stand for the only man who has ever had faith in him? Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of abusive behavior, double penetration, voyeurism, exhibitionism and violence.

Excerpt

Cleon’s heart sank as he walked the rows of his family’s field, scanning for a single green shoot and finding none. The barley was two weeks late for sprouting—if it didn’t start growing soon, his family would starve come winter. “Anything?” his little sister Amara asked as he left the field. Her hands were wringing the fabric of her peplos skirt even as her eyes said she knew the answer. “Not one,” he said. “Any eggs from the chickens?” “Not one,” she echoed. “The gods must be angry at us.” That was the only explanation Cleon could think of, too. Dryas, their local fertility and forest god, was known for his temper. It would take very little provocation for him to withdraw his blessings. The family gathered in front of their modest farmhouse, worried faces gazing at their patriarch. Cleon, the eldest son and the only one unmarried, glanced at the other members of the household. Amara sat beside him, while his twin younger brothers sat with their wives, both of whom were pregnant with their first children. They had no servants, no field hands, just them. “We have to beg Lord Dryas for his forgiveness,” their father said, pacing back and forth. “Someone must go to the shrine and pay tribute. Whatever it takes, this curse on our farm must be lifted!” “W-whatever it takes?” Amara asked nervously. “Yes,” their father said gravely, words heavy with guilt. “Whatever it takes.” His children looked at one another, eyes wide with anxiety. They wouldn’t say it out loud for fear of angering the god, but they knew what their father was asking. Dryas’ tastes in tribute were usually carnal and never kind. None of them had any illusions about what would happen to whoever went to plead their case, but there was no other option. Cleon looked from face to face. Neither of his brothers had any taste for men, and it would be cruel to send either of their wives to such a fate, especially pregnant as they both were. As for Amara, the thought made his stomach twist in disgust. There was only one choice. “I’ll go,” he said, getting to his feet. “Are you sure?” Amara asked. “You know what—what he’ll do to you.” “I know,” Cleon said, trying to sound brave. “But I’ve been with men, so it won’t be so bad for me as it would be for one of you.” It was weak reasoning, but none of the others had anything better. Cleon was tall and strong, hardy enough to take some punishment and tan from hard labor in the sun. He was no Adonis, but he’d been called ruggedly handsome by past lovers, and he’d earned every muscle on his arms and chest. Dryas preferred pretty youths and maidens over men in their late twenties, but hopefully the god would accept his tribute anyway. Cleon bathed in the river, combed his black hair and trimmed his short beard, brown eyes watching his reflection in a still pool. He prepared his body as best he could with slick oil and shaking fingers, hoping to reduce the inevitable pain. Finally, he donned their newest, finest tunic, the one Amara had woven and each of his brothers had worn for their weddings, and picked up their offerings with white-knuckled hands. There was nothing left to do but go. Cleon gave his family the bravest smile he could muster, and they smiled back with pinched, anxious faces—all save his father, whose eyes were solemn and dark with guilt, and Amara, who was crying in his arms. Cleon squared his shoulders and turned resolutely toward the woods. He would face any terror and endure any hardship, if only he could save his loved ones from starvation. The worn dirt path led deep into the forest, twisting and turning on the way to the shrine. Dappled light slipped through the swaying branches as chittering squirrels fled his passage to peer down at him from the trees. He suppressed a shiver. These woods were old and sacred, the domain of a cruel and capricious god. At least Lord Dryas didn’t like live animal sacrifices—Cleon would hate to make this trek with a squawking, struggling chicken in his arms. Instead, he had a small jug of spiced wine, a half-dozen honey cakes and his own body…no matter how meager his offerings, they would have to be enough. He had been to the shrine before as part of the harvest festival, placing the fruits of the year’s labors before the god’s great throne. Those had been times of song and drink and dance, honoring Dryas’ bounty and appeasing his temper with revelry and praise. The god had always chosen one or more young worshippers for his pleasure, and the thought made Cleon nearly sick. It always took them days to recover, if not weeks, and their eyes remained haunted for far, far longer. This time the shrine was empty, the ring of marble pillars standing silent around the sacred oak. At the base was the god’s throne, grown out of the living wood, made for a nine-foot giant of a being. Cleon could remember looking up at him during the last festival—his eyes dark and cold, his legs those of a black deer and his antlers spreading like ancient, gnarled branches. “Hello?” Cleon called, looking around for the shrine’s priest. The little hut next to the sacred circle was empty, but that shouldn’t have been a surprise. Lord Dryas tended to discard his priests when they turned twenty-five, and he must not have found a new one yet. It seemed like Cleon would have to beg for divine intervention on his own. He walked to the stone altar and tried to keep his hands from shaking as he kindled the sacred flames. He doused the honey cakes in wine then fed them to the fire. The offerings were more than his family could really afford, but still they seemed too little. Finally, Cleon knelt before the great throne, pressing his forehead to the grass and trying to look as humble and pathetic as possible. “Oh Lord Dryas, god of the forest and the field,” he prayed. “I beg your forgiveness! Whatever sin my family or I have committed against you, I humbly offer these gifts to appease your wrath.” There was a deep, terrifying silence broken only by the blood pounding in Cleon’s ears. He dug his fingers into the grass, eyes squeezed shut, praying with all his might. If Dryas didn’t answer— “Uh…yeah…” The voice was so small and hesitant that Cleon almost missed it. “Not your fault, really…” Cleon’s head snapped up and he scanned the treeline. He didn’t see the speaker at first, looking for a taller shape, but when he finally found him… Oh gods, the young man was exactly Cleon’s type. He looked to be twenty or a little younger, cute and small and beardless, with willowy arms and a bare, slender chest. His eyes were a vivid green against sun-bronzed skin dusted with faint freckles, and his light brown curls looked delightfully soft. He was blushing prettily, shifting from foot to foot and biting his full, kissable lower lip. “Um, hello,” Cleon said when he could remember how words worked. He struggled to stay on task—he was here to save his family, not get distracted by a pretty face. “I don’t suppose you know where the forest god is?” “That’s the thing,” the youth said, ducking his head bashfully. “I kind of…am the forest god?” Cleon frowned at him. The young man might be cute, but he was clearly delusional. Yes, the gods could take other forms, but the idea of Lord Dryas becoming so small and adorable was ridiculous. “I wouldn’t say that if I were you,” Cleon said. “Lord Dryas is not known for his merc—” He stopped, eyes widening as the young man stepped out into the clearing on slender, delicate hooves. Deer hooves, just like Lord Dryas’. Unlike Dryas, though, his flanks were dappled with faint white spots and tawny brown to match his hair. What Cleon had assumed to be branches above the youth’s head revealed themselves to be antlers, short and nubby and covered in soft-looking velvet. Cleon’s heart plummeted like a stone. This was no mortal boy, or even a common satyr. There was an aura about him—the trees leaning in just a little to bask in his presence, the sunlight glowing off his skin. He might be different from Dryas, but there was no denying that Cleon was in the presence of a god. “Please forgive me, great one!” he cried, groveling once more in sudden terror. He already had one god angry at him and he wouldn’t survive a second. “I had no idea—I am so sorry—” “No, don’t be,” the youth said, sounding weary and miserable. “I’m a pretty terrible god, to be honest.” “What do you mean, my lord?” Cleon asked, daring to raise his eyes from the grass. The godling was shifting awkwardly from hoof to hoof, not looking at Cleon. “Your farm,” he said. “It’s my fault nothing’s growing. My big brother left last month and I…well…” “You mean Lord Dryas?” Cleon asked. The youth nodded, biting his lower lip in an adorable way, and Cleon couldn’t help a twinge of relief. His farm was still in trouble, but at least this god seemed willing to help. “I’ve been trying, I really have,” the godling said, running his hands through his hair. The gesture revealed adorable little pointed ears, and Cleon had to fight to stay focused. “I just don’t know how to make it work!” “My lord—” Cleon started, sitting back up on his knees. “Anthos, please.” The god ducked his head. “I’m not used to…it feels weird.” “Anthos,” Cleon said, “what exactly is the problem?” Anthos sighed, walking over and sitting on the grass a few feet from Cleon. He pulled his fuzzy knees up to his chest, hugging them close and staring at the ground. “I’m a fertility god,” Anthos explained. “I’m in charge of new life, new growth…or I am now. My brother took care of things for so many centuries that I never learned how to do it. Now he’s gone, it’s my job, and I can’t do anything.” “He never taught you?” Cleon asked. “We’re not Olympians!” Anthos cried, eyes flicking up to Cleon and face turning bright red. “Only the highest gods do…that with their siblings.” “Oh,” Cleon said, blushing too. “Uh, sorry. I didn’t mean—” “No, no, it’s fine,” Anthos said, dropping his gaze again. “But that’s the problem—it requires personal experience. I can’t make things fertile until I’ve, you know…had sex.” “Oh,” Cleon breathed. His heart was beating faster now, his throat going dry as he stared at Anthos. “Would a mortal do? A man?” “Yeah,” Anthos said with a mirthless little chuckle, “if anyone wanted me. Big brother always said nobody would want to sleep with a puny, pathetic runt.” Rage flared up in Cleon, all the hotter for its rarity. He’d revered and feared Lord Dryas all his life, burying resentment deep in his heart. The gods could be cruel or kind to mortals—that was their right—but this? The thought of treating his own siblings like this made Cleon ball his hands into fists, and a lifetime of suppressed hatred boiled over. For the first time in his life, he spoke ill of a god. “You’re not a runt!” Cleon cried. “Your brother was a cruel bastard! He made whole families starve…he set wolves on their flocks and took any man or woman he pleased! I bet he cut down your confidence because he was scared of you. Anyone would prefer a god like you over him!” “R-really?” Anthos gasped, looking up with wide, shocked eyes. “As long as you don’t send a famine when there aren’t enough dancing girls at your festival,” Cleon said, belly clenching in remembered hunger. “We worshipped him because we were afraid, but nobody liked him.” “And you…you like…me?” Anthos asked, voice soft and hopeful. Cleon opened his mouth then closed it again, unsure of what to say. His flirting experience said this was going pretty well, but how was he supposed to proposition a god? He was just a farmer, rough and rugged and no great beauty. Anthos was so out of his league it wasn’t even funny. Still, in for an obol, in for a drachma. The god didn’t seem like the type to curse someone for asking, and if he said yes… “I like you a lot,” Cleon said earnestly, “and I’d really like to kiss you.” “I…” Anthos licked his lips, his gaze lowering. “I’d like that too.” Cleon scooted forward slowly, like he was approaching a skittish deer. He reached out to cup one cheek, tawny-gold and warm. Sun-dappled lashes fluttered, the godling’s green eyes falling closed as he leaned in with bated breath. The first kiss was soft and gentle, just a chaste brush of lips. It was a little thing, but it still sent a thrill through Cleon, a surge of desire. His body knew what Anthos was, something wild, ancient and divine. By the time they pulled away, his cock was hard and twitching. Anthos let out a soft little sigh when they parted. He gave Cleon a shy smile, nervous and sweet. “Again?” he asked, as though Cleon might say no. Could say no.

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About the Author

AT Lander

AT Lander has loved stories, both the reading and the telling, since she was a child. Born in upstate New York to an English professor and a former librarian, she now lives in the queerest part of Massachusetts. She never leaves home without a knitting project or a pencil, and she’s never met a cat she doesn’t like. She has worked as an history museum guide, a professional storyteller, and an actress, sharing tales of what was, what could have been, and what can only be imagined. World mythology is her driving passion, as what better way to understand a people than through the tales they tell? Follow AT Lander on Twitter and Facebook.

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Release Blitz

DARKEST MATE by Alexis Calder

I am so excited that DARKEST MATE by Alexis Calder is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon GC courtesy of Alexis, & Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, check out the giveaway info below.

 

About The Book:

Title: DARKEST MATE (Rejected Fate Book 1)

Author: Alexis Calder

Pub. Date: December 21, 2021

Publisher: Alexis Calder

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 346

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle

Weakness means death. Or worse.

After I was abandoned as a child, I was taken in by the Shadow Pack. A group of ruthless, lawless, shifters who have only one rule: never let anyone see your weakness.

In exchange for them keeping me alive, I owe them. The leader of the Shadows is as handsome as he is ruthless. And he’s offered to wipe my debt in exchange for marriage. He’d offer protection, but it would cost me my freedom.

Survival in the Shadows depends on back alley deals and shady alliances. It’s become a way of life that I stopped questioning years ago. When a routine burglary goes wrong, I find myself captured by the one family I never should have crossed.

The Umbra family owns this city. They make us Shadow wolves look like the good guys. They should have killed me for my crimes, but there’s a tiny problem… It turns out Madoc Umbra is my fated mate.

Instead of killing me, I’m a prisoner. The rest of the family doesn’t know of our bond and I intend to keep it that way. Madoc’s brothers want to end my life; he wants to break the bond. I just want to get the heck out.

As long as I don’t let them see any weakness, I might have a chance of making it out of here alive.

Darkest Mate is a full-length paranormal romance. 17+ for dark content, steamy scenes, and language. This is book one in a trilogy and is not a standalone. Mind the cliff.

Upcoming Release Dates:
Darkest Mate: December 9, 2021
Forbidden Sin: January 20, 2022
Feral Queen: March 3, 2022 

EXCERPT:

I glanced over at the ring, hoping to catch a glimpse of the undefeated Dark Wolf. He had removed his hoodie, revealing a muscular back, strong shoulders and short dark hair. I couldn’t even see his face, but I was frozen in place, looking at him wide eyed. There was something about him that pulled me in, forcing me to stare.

He rolled his shoulders, then tilted his head from side to side slowly. As I watched the muscles in his back ripple and his arms flex and relax, my breath hitched. Warmth radiated from my center, and the unmistakable sensation of longing rushed through me.

What the fuck was wrong with me?

I shook my head, trying to break the spell he had over me. Something was very wrong with me. I’d seen shirtless men more times than I could count. It was part of being a shifter. We didn’t get freaked out by nudity. But that man wasn’t just a normal shirtless male, he was a work of fucking art.



About Alexis:

Alexis Calder writes sassy heroines and sexy heroes with a sprinkle of sarcasm. She lives in the Rockies and drinks far too much coffee and just the right amount of wine.

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Giveaway Details:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon GC, International.


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Cover Reveal

The Nut Low by Giulia Lagomarsino

Title: The Nut Low
Series: A Good Run of Bad Luck Series #5
Author: Giulia Lagomarsino
Genre: Small Town Romance
Release Date: January 3, 2022
Cover Design: T.E. Black Designs
Photographer: Golden Czermak
Cover Model: Frank Johnson



Jo

After two years in this town, I hoped I’d find someone to spend my life with.
Or at least warm my bed.
With only the shelter and my two Mafioso best friends, sometimes a girl just needs to get laid.
And there’s one man at the bar that checks all my boxes.
He’s sexy, makes my heart speed up, and makes me tingle in all the right places.
And when one night turns into an undetermined amount of time, a girl starts to hope for more.
But he has secrets he’s not willing to share, and they could tear us apart.

Mason

I was one of the golden boys around town.
But that all changed the night my brother died. I left, hoping to find myself, or something like that.
Instead, I found a best friend and a fiancé. Life was great, until once again it all blew up in my face.
I was beginning to think I was jinxed.
So, I came home.
I had no plans, no next step.
And then I met her, and life changed once again.





Jake nodded as he wiped down the bar. “So, where have you been all these years?”

“You know, a little of everywhere.”

Jake nodded. “The whole town has been buzzing since you walked through earlier today. I think it’s even on the town page by now.”

“The town what?” the man asked.

“You’ve been gone too long,” Jake grinned. “Don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll have it figured out in no time.”

Someone whistled at Jake and he walked away, leaving me alone to stare at the man. When he slowly turned his head and looked at me, I didn’t bother looking away, though I may have turned a pale shade of pink.

I tipped my beer at him, getting the same in return. Not knowing what else to do, I flicked my eyes to the screen, though my body was still turned to face him.

“Are you new in town?” he asked.

My eyes flicked back to his and I tilted my head. “I could ask the same about you.”

“Not new. I’ve just been gone a long time.”

Based on the conversation I overheard between him and Jake, I knew he didn’t want to talk about it. “I’ve been here about two years. The people are weird.”

The truth was, I liked this town. Between the town Facebook page and all the unique characters here, it really was a great place to settle down. Just not a great place to find a man, since most of them were already taken.

He nodded at me, his eyes intense as they slowly slid over my face taking in every inch of me. As he stared at me, I felt like he was undressing me with his eyes. And then he lifted the beer bottle to his mouth, his eyes still trained on me and I lost control. Suddenly, I just wanted to feel someone’s arms around me again, even if it was only for one night. All my instincts about men flew out the window as this man stared at me.

“Do you have someplace to stay tonight?” I asked. It was totally out of character for me, but I felt bold as his eyes raked over my body.

He shook his head slightly. “I was just planning on going to the motel.”

“My bed’s better.”







I’m a stay at home mom that loves to read. Some of my favorite titles are Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Horatio Hornblower. I started writing when I was trying to come up with suggestions on ways I could help bring in some extra money. I came up with the idea that I could donate plasma because you could earn an extra $500/month. My husband responded with, “No. Find something else. Write a blog. Write a book.” I didn’t think I had anything to share on blog that a thousand other mothers hadn’t already thought of. I decided to take his challenge seriously and sat down to write my first book, Jack. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed writing. From there, the stories continued to flow and I haven’t been able to stop. I hope my readers enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them. Between reading, writing, and taking care of three small kids, my days are quite full.


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Release Blitz

Sleep For Me by Kay Elle Parker




Title: Sleep For Me
Series: Club Avalon Series #5
Author: Kay Elle Parker
Genre: BDSM Romance
Release Date: December 21, 2021


BLURB

As one of the new Masters of Avalon, Saul Danvers takes his responsibilities seriously.
With two Masters absent from the club, he knows it’s not the best time to take a few days’ vacation, but he needs to clear his head. When the opportunity to borrow a cabin becomes available, he’s all over it, packed and ready to head two hours away to where the fall leaves are dropping and the nights are drawing in colder.
Halloween is on its way.

Too young to feel so damned old, Caera Huxby stands on a precipice of life and death.
She can’t sleep for the monsters in her head, she barely eats, and functioning like a normal human being is foreign to her. She can only see one way out of the mess, and the decision is final once it’s made.
Desperation is a powerful motive.
When an offer from someone she considers a friend comes out of the blue, Caera takes it as a last chance to find some peace.

Little does she know that when the Masters of Avalon set their minds to something…

They don’t quit.







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Free in Kindle Unlimited






ALSO AVAILABLE


AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

All free in Kindle Unlimited



AUTHOR BIO


International Bestselling Author:
“Black Light: Roulette Wars” Anthology
“The Vampire’s Captive: Midnight Doms book 14.”
“Christmas at the Club” Anthology

Kay Elle Parker is a British author living in the wilds of Yorkshire.

She has an eclectic taste in music, reads anything when she has the time, and loves Fell ponies and Border Collies. Her sense of humor is wicked and often downright dirty.

Writing romance is the dream, and Kay has books in dark, BDSM, and paranormal romance.

She loves writing all things vampire and shifter.

She loves to chat to readers!


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