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Under the Cover of Darkness by Emma Luna

Title: Under the Cover of Darkness
Series: Twisted Legends Collection
Author: Emma Luna
Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Romantic Suspense, Rockstar, Twisted
Release Date: August 16, 2022
Cover Design: Dani René at Raven Designs




Beautifully dark. Hauntingly horrific. An especially twisted tale that will evoke so many emotions.” ~ The Lushy Reader
“… a fast paced, gripping, intense romance that ensnared my attention immediately and kept me riveted until the very end.” ~ Anna’s Bookshelf

ADDY
I thought the suffocating loneliness of the last two years was bad, but then I was sent to Lakeridge Psychiatric Facility.
On the outside it’s disguised as helpful brochures and friendly doctors who have vowed to help, but the real truth is just below the surface, lurking in the shadows, and haunting my dreams.
At night he comes–taunting and abusing me. Bending me to his will, and making sure no one believes me.
That is until Dylan.
I can touch him and see him, but if my mind is capable of creating such horrors like my nightmares, can I trust that he’s real?

DYLAN
I’m no stranger to breaking rules and living on the edge. I guess it kind of comes with the territory of being a rockstar. But when I’m forced to attend Lakridge to serve my time and get sober, I’m met with the one thing I know I can’t have.
Addy.
I know we don’t have a chance, not unless I want to get kicked out of here, made to finish my sentence in a proper prison. Still, something about her calls to me.
There is more to the marks on her pale skin than the doctors say, and her nightmares seem to be a little too real.
Digging deeper into the madness, I’m left to question, can nightmares really leave scars? Or am I becoming mad too?






Emma Luna is a USA Today Bestselling dark romance author from the UK. In a previous life she was a Midwife and a Lecturer, but now she listens to the voices in her head and puts pen to paper to bring their stories to life. In her spare time, when she should be sleeping, she also loves to edit, proofread, and format books for other amazing authors.

Emma’s books are dark, dangerous, and devilishly sexy. She loves writing about strong, feisty, but underestimated women, and the cocky, dirty-mouthed men they bring to their knees.

When Emma isn’t writing, promoting, or editing books she can be found napping, colouring in adult colouring books, and collecting novelty notebooks. She also enjoys coffee and gossiping with her mum, playing or having hugs with her gorgeous nephew, who is the light of her life, stealing her parents dog Hector, and curling up on the sofa to watch a film with Mr Luna. Oh and for those of you that don’t know, Emma is a hardcore Harry Potter fan—Team Ravenclaw!!

Thank you for taking a chance on a crazy Brit and the voices inside her head. That makes you a true LUNAtic now too!



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The Asshole Heir by Whitley Cox & Ember Leigh

Title: The Asshole Heir
Series: A Winter Harbor Heroes #2
Authors: Whitley Cox & Ember Leigh 
Genre: Small Town, Second Chance, Secret Baby, Estranged Family, Secret Romance
Release Date: August 16, 2022


Mending fences with my brothers as I uncover family secrets is easy compared to winning back the woman carrying my baby…

Carson
Six months ago she ghosted me.
She stopped taking my calls and didn’t even answer her damn door.
Now, with my world upside down and my arm in a cast, where do I find her, but Winter Harbor, seven months pregnant with my baby.
Despite her keeping this secret from me, I want her. I’ve always wanted her. And even though I was dead-set on never having kids, given my own garbage dad, seeing Amaya pregnant and knowing that the baby is mine changes everything. I’m ready to right my father’s wrongs and be there for my kid.
I want the family life, and I want it with Amaya.
But she’s not convinced. And for good reason. Now I just have to prove to her that taking a chance on love–and building a family with a man who’s ruined more romances than started them–is a risk worth taking.

***This is the second book of the Winter Harbor series which features a quirky small town, secrets galore, and three estranged brothers who find the key to healing comes from the women who steal their hearts.






“This book had me captivated from the very first chapter and drawn to Carson like a moth to a flame. The chemistry between Amaya and Carson is absolutely electric and radiates through every word. This second chance romance is filled with secrets, suspense, drama and just enough chaos to have you on the edge of your seat.” – Wiley Kate (Amazon Review)
“The reader will instantly fall in love with Carson and Amaya and only want them to succeed while they want the pages to go quicker to get more of them but at the same time want the pages to go slower so they can enjoy the ride. Simply a wonderful tale of family and forgiveness.” – Nicki Holt ~The Overflowing Bookcase (Amazon Review)
“I really didn’t want the book to end, and definitely looking forward to the next. Highly recommend and to me it’s worth every one of the 5* I give it.” – Sue Hancock (Goodreads Review)
“This book was one amazing read that kept me totally enthralled as I turned the pages of this must read story! The plot was so well planned and fleshed out with characters that were so well created with such great detail and depth that I remained totally captivated as the story developed between Amaya and Carson!” – Pat (Goodreads Review)



“You’re scaring me with that look, Carson,” she murmured, breaking our eye contact. “You look like you want to devour me whole.”

Because I fucking did. I wanted to eat her mouth, lick her pussy until she was hoarse from screaming, and then sink into her tight heat and make her mine all over again.

Shaking my head, I dislodged those primal, possessive thoughts … until later, and went back to the task of making her feel good and distracting her from her foul mood after running into Stinky Cheese Bree.

I waggled my finger over her clit a couple more times, loving that she met my movements with hip thrusts of her own. Our eyes locked again, but what stared back at me was a need so powerful I had to adjust my cock in my jeans for fear of getting a permanent bend in my favorite body part.

Not that Amaya wasn’t good and thoroughly soaked already, I made sure she was dripping, before I slid one, and then two fingers inside her, pressing my thumb to her swollen clit and moving it back and forth in a way I remember she loved.

“Dear God, Carson,” she said on a strangled moan, her eyes now slammed shut and the bottom lip of her fuckable mouth clenched tight between her teeth, so much so the skin was turning white. “Yes …”

“Yes, what?” I demanded, surprised at how hoarse my voice came out.

“If you make me say Daddy, I will ram my foot into your dick so fucking fast.” She bent her knee and nudged my crotch with her heel in a warning, which made a chuckle roll through me as I curled my fingers inside her and pressed on her G-spot. “Holy fuck.” She arched her back and straightened her leg again, forgetting all about her threat to kick me in the dick.

“I want you to scream for me, Vixen. Burst my fucking eardrums. We know you can. Take all of that rage, all of that tension that’s been making your shoulders kiss your ears and breathe it out into the fucking world. Let it go … Elsa.”

She popped one eye open, calling me an idiot with just a look. I grinned at her cheekily.

But she quickly closed that eye again and continued to writhe on the bench seat of my truck, bucking up into my hand, pushing her pussy further down on my fingers, and reminding me just why this woman had become the closest thing I’d ever had to an addiction.





A Canadian West Coast baby born and raised, Whitley is married to her high school sweetheart, and together they have two beautiful daughters and a fluffy dog. She spends her days making food that gets thrown on the floor, vacuuming Cheerios out from under the couch and making sure that the dog food doesn’t end up in the air conditioner. But when nap time comes, and it’s not quite wine o’clock, Whitley sits down, avoids the pile of laundry on the couch, and writes.

A lover of all things decadent; wine, cheese, chocolate and spicy erotic romance, Whitley brings the humorous side of sex, the ridiculous side of relationships and the suspense of everyday life into her stories. With single dads, firefighters, Navy SEALs, mommy wars, body issues, threesomes, bondage and role-playing, Whitley’s books have all the funny and fabulously filthy words you could hope for.



Ember Leigh has been writing erotic romance novels since she was far too young. A native of northern Ohio, she currently resides near Lake Erie with her Argentinean husband, where they run an Argentinian-American food truck and wrangle two wild boys.




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Pieces of Him by Willa Woods

Title: Pieces of Him
Author: Willa Woods
Genre: New Adult Romance
Tropes: Steamy, Sexy, Alpha Male, Age Gap, Office Romance
Release Date: August 16, 2022
Cover Design: Arden O’Keefe





Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet a stranger and act on your impulses?

My name is Remington Edwards, and I did just that. It was a chance encounter that changed everything…

I’d finally landed my dream job with a top advertising company. I was collaborating with an award-winning team, and I couldn’t believe my luck.

And then I met my boss.

Except we’d met before…

He was the stranger I had spent the last three months obsessed with.

He acts like he doesn’t remember me but, I can’t let him forget. As I descend further into his world the more, I want from him.






Willa Woods, writes about over the top alphas and the woman they fall for. She wrote her first short story when she was in the sixth grade. Her first alpha was her dog, Bruiser. She has always been an avid reader, spending all her free time when younger at the library. She loves chocolate , pineapple gummy bears, and jewelry. When she’s not writing, she is binging the latest show on Hulu or Netflix. She is an avid gardener and loves to hang out on her back deck watching all the birds and bees, (see what I did there) enjoying all the plants and flowers she has grown. Her and her husband love to go to stock car races. This is her first novel. She hopes you will enjoy reading it as much as she did writing it.



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Release Blitz: Ten First Dates Anthology

Swoony heroes and feisty heroines galore!

Ten First Dates, a FREE romance anthology featuring ten brand-new prequels from ten of your favorite bestselling authors is now available!

He was the last person on earth she’d ever want to be stuck with for a weekend…
Their eyes met across the room and she knew…
They’d been friends forever but everything was about to change…
Once upon a time…

There are so many ways a great romance can start, and we’ve got TEN of them right here for you!

Ten ALL NEW, never-before-seen prequels from ten bestselling romance authors all in one place!
Find out how these swoony heroes and feisty heroines are first thrown together on the path to their happily ever after!

Enemies to lovers? Friends to lovers? Opposites attract? Small town? We’ve got it all!

TEN FIRST DATES features brand new stories from:
Ainsley Booth, Angela Denise, Erin McCarthy, Erin Nicholas, Julia Kent, Kaylee Ryan, Molly Mclain, Piper Rayne, Samantha Chase & Zoe York

Grab your FREE digital copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ayUjaA
Nook: https://bit.ly/10-First-Dates-BN
Google Play: https://bit.ly/10-First-Dates-GP
Apple Books: Coming soon!
Kobo: Coming soon!

Connect with the Authors
Ainsley Booth
https://www.facebook.com/ainsleyboothwrites
Angela Denise
https://www.facebook.com/AngelaDeniseAuthor
Erin McCarthy
https://www.facebook.com/ErinMcCarthyBooks
Erin Nicholas
https://www.facebook.com/ErinNicholasBooks
Julia Kent
https://www.facebook.com/jkentauthor
Kaylee Ryan
https://www.facebook.com/KayleeRyanAuthor
Molly McLain
https://www.facebook.com/mollymclainbooks
Piper Rayne
https://www.facebook.com/PiperRayne
Samantha Chase
https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaChaseFanClub
Zoe York
https://www.facebook.com/ZoeYorkWrites

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KINGDOM OF EMBERS FREEBIE BOOK BLITZ

  

Title: Kingdom of Embers
Author: Tricia Copeland
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: True Bird Publishing LLC
Editor: Jo Michaels, Indie Books Gone Wild
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR

Blurb:

Her pale skin and weird diet make her a target at school. If only they knew the truth about her feeding habits…

 

Seventeen-year-old Alena Scott is tired of pretending to be something she’s not. As an outlawed vampire-witch hybrid, she’s forced to abide by the oppressive secrecy imposed by her Vampire Chancellor mother. But she’ll have to ignore the rules when she comes face-to-face with a handsome, full-grown version of her childhood imaginary friend.

 

Shocked that he recognizes her as his own pretend play pal, the two embark on a quest to solve the mystery of their fantasized companionship. And as they unravel their entwined destinies, Alena realizes she holds the key to a curse which could free them all—or condemn witchkind to eternal suffering.

 

Can Alena and her impossibly familiar partner reverse an ancient spell before they’re sent to a mortal grave?

 

Kingdom of Embers is the first book in the enthralling Kingdom Journals YA urban fantasy series. If you like intriguing characters, shadowy magic, and a fresh twist on modern vampire storylines, then you’ll love Tricia Copeland’s heart-stopping tale.

 

Buy Kingdom of Embers to embrace a prophetic fate today!




An avid runner and Georgia native, Tricia now lives with her family and four-legged friends in Colorado. She believes that magic infuses every aspect of our lives, whether it is the magic of falling in love, discovering a new passion, a beautiful sunset, or a book that transports us to another world. You can find all her titles from contemporary romance and fantasy, to dystopian fiction at www.triciacopeland.com.

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INHERITING MURDER GREAT ESCAPES TOUR

Inheriting Murder: A Bobwhite Mountain Cozy Mystery by Jamie Rutland Gillespie

About Inheriting Murder

Inheriting Murder: A Bobwhite Mountain Cozy Mystery Cozy Mystery 1st in Series Setting – Tennessee Independently Published (May 1, 2022) Paperback : 287 pages ISBN-13 : 979-8814800398 Digital ASIN : B09Z9889D4

When Landry Burke’s favorite Aunt Tildie passes away, Landry inherits the entire estate. It includes a five story apartment building named Magnolia Place, as well as a bookstore across the street named Jasmine Bloom Books, both located in Bobwhite Mountain, Tennessee.

Landry packs up and leaves Bent Branch, SC for the hills of Tennessee. On her very first day there, she and her aunt’s attorney, Adam Wilcox, find the body of one of Magnolia Place’s employees. Between her panic attacks, anxiety and trying to adjust to her new surroundings, Landry wants this murder solved and fast.

Sheriff Wyatt Collins and his deputies are on the case. Now, if they can just keep Landry from trying to help and causing danger to herself.

And Jasmine Bloom’s manager, and late Aunt Tildie’s best friend, Ms. Millie, is convinced that Landry is trying to get her killed because of all the zany situations they find themselves in.

Take a visit to Bobwhite Mountain and find out what all of the fuss is about.

About Jamie Rutland Gillespie

Jamie Rutland Gillespie was born and raised in a tiny, country town in South Carolina. At the age of 18, she moved to a slightly larger town in the same state and still lives there. She spent much of her youth visiting the beaches of the low country and taking trips to the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. The mountains were always her “happy place” and she still visits every chance she gets.

Jamie has always loved to read; she got her library card at the small library of her hometown at the young age of 6. She has a vivid imagination and has always made-up stories of places, people and situations that only exist in her head.

She currently lives in South Carolina with her husband, daughter and 17-year-old Yorkie Pom, who is her baby and shadow. She loves college football and has been a South Carolina Gamecock fan since birth. She also loves MLB and has been a Braves fan since she was a little girl, watching the games and going to games with her Dad. She is still an avid reader and enjoys writing, crossword puzzles, baking, and spending time with her family.

Author Links FacebookInstagramAmazonTwitterBookBub Purchase Link – Amazon

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

August 1 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT August 1 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT August 2 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW August 2 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT August 3 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT August 3 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT August 4 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – RECIPE POST August 4 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT August 5 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT August 5 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT August 6 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT August 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT August 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT August 8 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT August 9 – Novels Alive – RECIPE POST August 10 – Novels Alive – REVIEW August 10 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT August 11 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT August 12 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT August 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW August 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT August 14 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js Have you signed up to be a Tour Host? Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today! Additional Banners
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Our Little Surprise by S.L. Sterling

Title: Our Little Surprise
Series: The Spencer Brooks Diaries Book 2
Author: S.L. Sterling
Genre: Age Gap, Instalove
Release Date: August 15, 2022
Cover Design: Thunderstruck Cover Design



Spencer Brooks was the most attractive man I’d ever laid eyes on. Not only was he my boss and father’s best friend but he was also the man I had been sneaking around with for the entire summer.

That is why my world shattered the night my father caught us in bed together. Angry as hell, my father forbade us to be together, but Spencer promised me that everything would work out. In the coming days, my father demanded I quit my job. Only he didn’t stop there. He also called Spencer’s ex-wife, who threatened to take Spencer’s daughter Nikki away from him, forcing Spencer to call us quits for good.

Heartbroken, I buried my feelings for the man I loved, and put in a transfer to another department to appease my father. Only to my surprise Spencer refused to sign it until after I helped him organize his company Christmas Party.

I could only do this if he promised to keep it professional, but soon I was noticing the soft touches and lingering glances. Then one night he delivered a kiss that brought all my feelings back to the surface. I try to fight it at first until I discover something that will either bring us together or tear us apart for good.


 






S.L. Sterling was born and raised in southern Ontario. She now lives in Northern Ontario Canada and is married to her best friend and soul mate and their two dogs. 
An avid reader all her life, S.L. Sterling dreamt of becoming an author. She decided to give writing a try after one of her favorite authors launched a course on how to write your novel. This course gave her the push she needed to put pen to paper and her debut novel “It Was Always You” was born. 
When S.L. Sterling isn’t writing or plotting her next novel she can be found curled up with a cup of coffee, blanket and the newest romance novel from one of her favorite authors on her e-reader. Her favorite authors include Kendall Ryan, Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward, Lauren Blakely, Alessandra Torre and Willow Winters. 
In her spare time, she enjoys camping, hiking, sunny destinations, spending quality time with family and friends and of course reading.



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Pieces of You by Willa Woods

Title: Pieces of You
Author: Willa Woods
Genre: New Adult Romance
Tropes: Steamy, Sexy, Alpha Male, Age Gap, Office Romance
Release Date: August 16, 2022
Cover Design: Arden O’Keefe



Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet a stranger and act on your impulses?

My name is Remington Edwards, and I did just that. It was a chance encounter that changed everything…

I’d finally landed my dream job with a top advertising company. I was collaborating with an award-winning team, and I couldn’t believe my luck.

And then I met my boss.

Except we’d met before…

He was the stranger I had spent the last three months obsessed with.

He acts like he doesn’t remember me but, I can’t let him forget. As I descend further into his world the more, I want from him.


Willa Woods, writes about over the top alphas and the woman they fall for. She wrote her first short story when she was in the sixth grade. Her first alpha was her dog, Bruiser. She has always been an avid reader, spending all her free time when younger at the library. She loves chocolate , pineapple gummy bears, and jewelry. When she’s not writing, she is binging the latest show on Hulu or Netflix. She is an avid gardener and loves to hang out on her back deck watching all the birds and bees, (see what I did there) enjoying all the plants and flowers she has grown. Her and her husband love to go to stock car races. This is her first novel. She hopes you will enjoy reading it as much as she did writing it.



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The Poison Bottle

The Poison Bottle by LM Somerton

Book 3 in the Treasure Trove Antiques series

Word Count: 58,408 Book Length: NOVEL Pages: 231

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE BONDAGE AND BDSM EROTIC ROMANCE GAY GLBTQI MYSTERY THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description

There’s no antidote to the malignant craving for power and wealth. Landry Carran should know better than to get involved in yet another murder mystery, but it was hardly his fault that someone dumped a dead body on the doorstep of Treasure Trove Antiques. He can’t resist recruiting his friends to help him play detective. Meanwhile, Landry’s partner and Dom, Gage Roskam, is doing real detective work that proves hazardous to his health and brings with it the assistance of an annoying Englishman who Gage believes should be behind bars. The case twists and turns across Seattle’s antique trade, and the bodies multiply. As clues are solved, it becomes apparent that those closest to Gage are in grave danger. He’ll need to control his errant sub, deal with the most irritating Brit ever born and solve the case if he wants to prevent more death. Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, abduction and murder.

Excerpt

Landry Carran gave his ass a rub and grinned at the resulting ache. His boyfriend and Dom, Detective Gage Roskam, had delivered a stupendous spanking less than an hour earlier, and Landry was still glowing—physically and mentally. He gave a happy jig then bounced down the stairs from the apartment he shared with Gage to Treasure Trove Antiques, which occupied the ground floor of the building and was his place of gainful-ish employment. The two cups of strong coffee and bowl of sugar-laden cereal that he’d had for breakfast ensured his current energetic state would last for at least an hour, which was when his best friend and assistant, Petey Templeton, would join him. Landry didn’t usually have to open the store alone, but Petey had finally given in to a nagging toothache and had an early dental appointment. “Such a wuss,” Landry muttered. “Can’t believe I had to bribe him to go.” Worth it though. An assistant who doesn’t want to eat baked goods is no use to me at all. That globe he had his eye on was a small price to pay. Petey had a thing for maps and had fallen in love with a battered globe that dated back to the nineteen seventies. It was about as accurate as a Fox News report, but Petey liked finding the mistakes. Landry had gotten so fed up of Petey whining about his tooth, he’d promised Petey the globe if he put aside his phobia of dentists and got it taken care of. Landry had also persuaded Carson, Petey’s boyfriend, to act as escort and make sure he made his appointment. Carson had been happy to help because, as he’d put it, “a boyfriend who cries when you kiss him does not boost a man’s confidence.” Bopping and humming as he went, Landry unlocked the door between the building’s stairwell and the store. As he entered the cavernous space, piled high with antiques and collectables, he took a deep breath. The familiar scent of beeswax polish, old wood and leather always settled him and put him in the right frame of mind for a day at work. He moved around the store, turning on an eclectic mix of lighting—mainly old lamps that were for sale because his boss, Mr. Lao, insisted that they were more attractive to potential buyers when lit. Of course that meant that whenever they sold one, a corner of the store would be in the dark until Mr. Lao obtained a new one to replace it, but Landry didn’t mind because part of Treasure Trove Antiques’ charm was its nooks and crannies. He knew the stock inside and out but loved seeing the wonder on customers’ faces when they spotted something unique or unusual hidden behind an aging armoire or balancing on top of a bookcase stuffed with rare tomes. He glanced around, checking that all was as he’d left it the previous evening. Everything was as it should be. Not that there was any reason for him to think otherwise, but there had been an incident with a mouse once when somehow, the tiny rodent had set up home in a basket of vintage tablecloths and had nibbled a hole through two of them before he was spotted. It had taken a humane trap and enough peanut butter to feed a raccoon, let alone a mouse, to catch the beast, so Landry was constantly on the lookout for any sign of critters in the store. He grabbed the long pole he needed to lift the security shutter into place then went back into the hall. He left the building then crossed the yard to the alley gate. After his usual fight with the padlock, he rounded the corner of the building to the street. His friend Prisha, whose dad owned the Eastern Emporium opposite Treasure Trove, was outside brushing down the sidewalk with hot soapy water. Landry gave her a wave before jogging across the road. “Hey, Prisha, what’s going down?” “What came up, more like.” She grimaced. “Somebody deposited the contents of their stomach on the sidewalk last night. So gross.” Landry wrinkled his nose. “Better you than me, especially first thing in the morning.” “Hey, if you want to do a girl a favor, I’d be happy to hand over the broom.” “No can do.” Landry grinned. “Petey’s at the dentist so I have to open on my own this morning. Gotta go before hordes of voracious customers start beating on the security shutter.” “Yeah, I can see where they’re lining up around the block.” Prisha went back to brushing. “I’ll come over on my break later. You can buy me a coffee.” “Deal. Have a good morning.” Landry skipped back across the street, managing not to trip over his pole. He had less trouble opening the security shutter than closing it because he didn’t have to get the hook on the end of his pole through the tiny D-ring that allowed him to draw it down. It was way above his head and like trying to thread a needle while standing on the deck of a pitching boat. Opening up just meant using the pole to push the shutter back into place once he’d released the padlock that locked it to a concealed ring in the sidewalk. A padlock that was no longer in place. Landry frowned. He distinctly remembered snapping it shut the night before because he’d scraped a knuckle doing it. “Fuckety-fuck. What the heck is going on?” There was no sign of vandalism or any other damage to the shutter. Landry shrugged, slipped the pole into place then pushed. The shutter rolled up of its own accord, only needing a shove for the last couple of feet. Landry unhooked the pole then gaped. In the recessed store doorway was a person, huddled in a ball, facing away from him. “What on earth…? Hey, padlock thief, you can’t stay there.” He groped in his pocket for a few dollars. “Go get yourself some breakfast.” Whoever it was didn’t move. With a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, Landry propped his pole against the store window then leaned over his visitor. He touched his shoulder, gave it a little shake and the man rolled toward him. “Holy fuck!” He was dead. Completely and absolutely deceased. Blood stained the front of the beige trench coat he wore. There was a blue tinge to his skin and his eyes were open, staring. Landry danced back a few steps as he stared at the corpse. “No, no, no… This is not good for business. I mean, poor guy, but why my shop doorway?” His cell was inside so he turned and waved frantically at Prisha who dropped her broom before running across the street. “Call 911! I found a body.” Prisha, who was always good in a crisis, did a quick turn and rocketed into the Eastern Emporium. She was soon back with her dad at her side. “The cops are on their way,” she said, putting an arm around Landry’s now shaking shoulders. “You should call Gage. Here, use this.” She handed over her cell, but Landry’s hands were trembling too much to punch in the number. Prisha grabbed it back. “Tell me the number. I’ll call him for you.” Landry reeled it off without thinking. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the dead body and his bloodstained clothing. “Gage, it’s Prisha. I’m here with Landry and… Yes, he’s fine but the dead guy he just found behind the security shutter isn’t looking so good.” “What?” Landry heard Gage’s yell even from where he was standing. He took the cell back. “Can you come home, Sir?” Landry used the honorific without thinking, defaulting to his role as Gage’s submissive rather than his boyfriend in his stressed state. “There’s a b-b-b…body. A real-life body, I mean it’s a dead body but it’s real. An actual genuine, honest to God, not breathing, corpse. And it’s in the shop porch blocking the door and there’s blood. Gage, why is there a dead person in my shop doorway?” Tears welled in Landry’s eyes and he sniffled. “I’m not really in a position to answer that question yet, love. Stay put. Sancha and I are on our way. Who’s there with you?” “Petey’s at the dentist and Mr. Lao isn’t here but Prisha and her dad have come over.” “Stay with them. I mean it, Landry. You are not to go anywhere on your own.” “Not going anywhere,” Landry mumbled as Gage ended the call. “How can I go anywhere when there are dead people?” “It’s one dead person, Landry, not a massacre.” “Where there’s one, there might be others. That’s logical.” Landry glanced around in case more corpses littered the place. Prisha gave him a comforting hug. She and her dad had been joined by the guy who had been cleaning windows at the café next door to Treasure Trove and the crew of a passing garbage truck. The manager of the café arrived with a tray of coffees and a plate piled with Danish pastries. “Someone came into the café and said there’s a body out here. I know it doesn’t seem appropriate,” she said, “but a hot drink and something sweet will take your mind off what’s going on, Landry. It’ll help with the shock.” “Thanks, Mary.” Landry discovered that shoving a cherry Danish in his mouth made all the difference. A new infusion of sugar and caffeine into his system helped him see things in a more clinical light and stop thinking about how on earth a dead man had gotten behind the security shutter. “The padlock,” he said, spraying crumbs. “When I came to lift the shutter earlier, the padlock was gone. I wonder where it is.” The small crowd started searching up and down the sidewalk and it wasn’t long before there was a shout from one of the garbage crew. “Found it!” Landry, coffee in hand, walked over to look at where the guy was pointing. The padlock lay in the gutter, partly covered by a discarded banana skin. “I guess we should leave it where it is,” Landry said, “in case of fingerprints.” “That’s right. I’m Elton.” The garbage guy held out his hand, which Landry shook, hoping that his fingers wouldn’t be crushed in the process. Elton was built like a linebacker. “Nice to meet you, Elton. Shame it couldn’t have been under better circumstances.” “You’d be surprised how many bodies we come across in our line of work,” Elton said, sounding philosophical. “We get training on what not to do when it comes to possible evidence. We were about to empty the dumpsters along the street when we saw what was going on, so we’ll leave them until the cops get here. They may want to keep the contents to search through for clues.” “Well, I never thought of that.” Landry was fascinated. “I don’t suppose antique selling is a job that gets you involved in much crime,” Elton said. Landry thought about the last few months, the adventures he and Gage had had, first with his lucky cat and then the gilded mirror. “No, not really. Old stuff is tame.” “I wonder if there are any pastries left.” Elton ambled toward the café where Mary was eyeing him like a piece of prime beef. Landry shook his head. “People sure do meet under the strangest of circumstances,” he muttered, watching Elton get coy and stutter in front of Mary. Sirens announced the arrival of the cops and not long afterward, Gage’s Jeep screeched to a halt next to a patrol car. He and Sancha jumped out and while Sancha went over to the uniforms, Gage headed straight for Landry. “Again? Really?” He drew Landry into a tight hug. “So not my fault,” Landry mumbled into the hard planes of Gage’s chest. “It’s not like I have a sign up saying ‘leave your dead bodies here’, is it?” “You attract trouble like a magnet.” Landry nuzzled against Gage’s body. He could feel the warmth of his skin through his shirt and smell the gel he’d used in the shower that morning. “Do not.” “Do so.” “Someone cut off the padlock. It’s in the gutter over there. They must have lifted the grill, dumped the body in the porch then pulled it down again.” “I want you to go sit in the café,” Gage said, “while Sancha and I get the investigation started.” “Will you be assigned the case?” Landry asked. “If the captain doesn’t think I have a conflict of interest, it’s quite likely.” Gage steered Landry toward the café. He gestured for Prisha to come over and asked her to stay with Landry. Landry didn’t want to leave the safety of Gage’s arms but knew he had to let him do his job. Once he’d settled at a table in the café with Prisha next to him, he took a deep breath and eased some of his tension with a roll of his shoulders. He slurped his coffee. “Here we go again.” “Are you ready for another adventure?” Prisha asked. “It’s not like I had a choice the first time, or the second. Hopefully this will amount to nothing.” Landry didn’t need Prisha’s skeptical expression or his own gut feeling to tell him that amounting to nothing was the least likely outcome of the morning’s events. He wondered if impending doom merited another pastry.

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About the Author

L.M. Somerton

Lucinda lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted. She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and some not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM. You can follow Lucinda on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

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