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Title: Upon broken Wings
Author: EL Reedy & AM Wade
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Release date: April 20, 2018
Word count: 69,500
Genre: m/m paranormal YA
Warnings: death, suicide, demons
Cover artist: Jay Aheer
Bound by a dark act of hate and despair, high school freshmen, Andrew and Kiernan, learn that their untimely deaths did not bring an end to their pain, but only began the suffering of those left behind. While his lost memories return, Andrew must master seemingly impossible feats, both spiritual and physical. As a dark spirit stalks Kiernan through the borderlands of life and death, he must also face the pain his actions have caused his loved ones. To save both their souls, Andrew must convince Kiernan to return to life and open his eyes to the love and beauty which had always been there.
Andrew was at the graveyard that same morning, of course—every morning, windy or calm, snow or shine—he hadn’t missed a single day since the previous Halloween, when he said the final goodbye to the last of those dear to him.
Despite the sun’s half-hearted attempt to shine, the chill of autumn easily seeped through his black jacket, which he wore in turn over a black shirt and pants. He had not taken up an interest in the Goth Mythology, in truth, he did not even know the meaning of the word. He simply wore the only color that could accurately reflect the feelings tormenting a fourteen-year-old autistic boy who had found no other way to share with the world he felt no longer cared about him.
Andrew had placed his offering of white roses at four graves that morning, the fourth being that of his father, Matthew, whom he had never met. Michael’s final gift, the gold medallion, hung free from a chain around his neck and glittered in the morning sun.
The mysterious angel statues—there were two of them now—the woman, his mother, and a slightly shorter male, which could have represented a young teen—shone in the sparse daylight. The second statue, which held a book in both hands, had appeared within days of Michael’s funeral, but it never struck Andrew as odd and he never guessed its purpose, despite the resemblance and the timing of its appearance. As you might understand, he was rather wrapped up inside of himself, far more so than usual in those dark days of mourning, numbness, and irreparable regrets.
He glanced one last time at Judith’s grave. “Love you, Mom,” he half mumbled. He then sighed, resigned to a fate he lacked the strength to change and regarded Michael’s headstone. “When you left, you took my heart with you.” He sobbed quietly for the longest moment, before whispering, “and today—tonight—I want it back.”
A sudden gust of wind disrupted his reverie and reminded him that he still had to go to school. And that’s when he saw him—a sad-faced light-haired boy, right around his age, with his head down—who walked through the rows of tombstones. Something slipped free from the boy’s fingers and rode the wind, twirling high at first, then as if driven by destiny, it sailed the distance between them and landed at Andrew’s feet, coming to rest against one of his shoes.
While wringing the fingers of one hand—he had perfected that ability—he retrieved it, a business card with the name and number of a local suicide hotline. The irony of the situation escaped him. As I may have eluded to earlier, that was another part of his autism. Things made sense or they did not, there was no in between, no use of symbolism to make understanding easy.
He only shrugged and crumpled the card, before letting it go. He shot another curious glance back toward the sad boy, and he could swear that he vanished before his eyes. He shook his head and blinked rapidly, disregarding what he had seen, and put one foot in front of the other, and walked aimlessly with only the thought of reaching school on time.
Andrew paused when he came to the old rustic bridge, a decorative path across a small pond at the edge of the graveyard. He had a sudden flash of Michael’s face, and the memory of how he had died. He walked the long way around the pond and he never looked back.
Wow. Can I just say "Wow" and leave it at that?
This was wonderful. Sad, yes. Absolutely. Heartbreaking, even. There's pain and anger, loss and fear, suffering and assault and missed opportunities. Death, both accidental and through suicide. It's not an easy read.
But, God, it was also so beautiful. Full of friendship, love and, above all, hope.
To be honest, the beginning was a bit confusing. I didn't know what was happening and there were a lot of characters introduced, but once the book got going and I got into the swing of things, I couldn't put it down. The characters jump off the page, their pain is so real, and the descriptions are poetically written.
I highly, highly, recommend this book. It's one of the most unique reads I've ever read and will stay with me for a long time.
The authors are giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour via Rafflecopter.
About the authors:
EL Reedy — EL Reedy was born and raised in Iowa, where he devoured tomes of fantasy, sci-fi, and young adult novels as a child. In his free time, he is an avid gamer (D&D and Pathfinder). He has traveled the world as a soldier in the U.S. Army, and now lives in Iowa, where with his writing partner, he continues to pen works in the realms of Fantasy and Horror in the Young Adult Universe.
AM Wade — As the only girl in a family with five boys, she readily escaped into fantasy, sci-fi, and other fiction novels. Having traveled through most of the US, she enjoys using scenery and characteristics of the different states in the story adventures she created for the little ones in her family. Now, she writes sci-fi, fantasy and horror with a lifelong co-conspirator.
Author: Kim Fielding
Series: The Bureau #3 (can be read as standalone)
Length: 34,000 words
Genre: m/m paranormal, historical
Release date: May 7, 2018
Tropes: Frankenstein? Lovable monster? It's really not tropey
Keywords/Categories: gay, noir
Warnings: some violence and abuse, but not in detail
Alone in a cell and lacking memories of his past, John has no idea who—or what—he is.
Alone on the streets of 1950s Los Angeles, Harry has far too many memories of his painful past and feels simply resignation in facing his empty future.
When Harry is given a chance to achieve his only dream—to become an agent with the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs—all he has to do is prove his worth. Yet nothing has ever come easy for him. Now he must offer himself and John as bait, enticing a man who wants to conquer death. But first he and John must learn what distinguishes a monster from a man—and what a monster truly wants.
John was greedy.
Every time the first sliver of sunlight came through the high barred window, he’d crawl across the floor and lay sprawled on his back, waiting for the thread of heat to grow into a ribbon. Eventually it became a blanket, warming him through the thick layer of grime that coated his skin. He closed his eyes and spread his scrawny limbs, and for a short time he possessed a crumb of comfort. One small thing he could claim as his own.
But then the sun would recede, unraveling his blanket until nothing remained but darkness and cold and the unforgiving hard surfaces of the cell. During those bleak hours, he hated the sun with an icy rage that chilled him more than the stone floor on which he lay. But every morning when the first rays again snuck in the window, his love was rekindled. John gorged on the light as long as it was his.
John wasn’t his real name. He didn’t remember his name, didn’t remember having a name. But a man needed a name, even if he was all by himself in a cell with inconstant sunlight as his only visitor. Sometimes he said it out loud just to hear the solid consonants echo against the walls. “John. I am a man called John.”
Only… he wasn’t at all certain that he wasa man. He had all the parts a man ought to have, at least as far as he could tell. His legs were too weak to hold him upright, his arms as thin as broomsticks, and his cock hung flaccid and useless. Yet he did have legs and arms and a cock. Like a man. But within the long emptiness of his memories, he’d never once had food or drink, and men needed those things to survive. And in those days before he was in the cell—God, he wished he didn’t recall those days—people had done things to his body that no man could have survived. He still had marks from those days, bumpy scars and puckered ridges that itched under the dirt but wouldn’t heal.
And he had no heartbeat.
If he wasn’t a man, though, he didn’t know what he might be instead. So he called himself John anda man, and he greedily drank the sunlight when he could.
“John,” he whispered today as the light slipped away. “I’m John. Come back to me soon, please.”
One lucky winner will get an audiobook copy of “Ante Up,” Kim’s Czech vampire tale, and an eBook copy of the first two books in “The Bureau” series – "Corruption” and "Clay White.” Enter via Rafflecopter.
About the author:
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They;'re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.
Title: Machine Metal Magic
Author: Hanna Dare
Series: Mind + Machine #1
Cover artist: Natasha Snow
Release date: May 3, 2018
Word count: approx. 65,000 words
Genre: m/m sci-fi romance
The galaxy's a dangerous place. Best not to travel it alone.
It's been over a century since the AIs rose up and attacked, driving humans from Earth and leaving them scattered across the galaxy. Humanity survives, but always fearful of the technology that allows them travel among the stars, never knowing when it may turn against them once more.
An interstellar fugitive.
For Jaime Bashir, born with the ability to communicate telepathically with computers, his gifts are more of a curse. They also make him a target. On the run, he finds himself among a starship crew, one transporting a mysterious cargo. Even more intriguing is Rylan, the muscled guard watching his every move. Jaime has no reason to trust him, but nowhere else to turn.
A disgraced ex-soldier.
Rylan Slate is looking to leave his past behind. Joining a crew of smugglers is one way to do it. But capturing Jaime is both an opportunity and a danger. He starts out as a prisoner, but then becomes something more, testing loyalties in ways Rylan never expected. Will regaining his honor mean betraying Jaime?
About the author:
A writer-for-hire for more than ten years, Hanna Dare now writes what she loves to read: well-written, character-driven stories of men exploring their identities and discovering their own unique kind of happily ever afters… usually through sexytimes.
Find Hanna on the internet enjoying pretty pictures, procrastination and caffeinated beverages!
Luc Weston is employed by his uncle as a cartographer. He’s an office dwelling creator of maps and plans, but as his uncle’s heir, he must learn all aspects of the company. Specifically, surveying. The upside—spending time with the gorgeous surveyor, Rick Masters, in a cozy cabin. The downside—the cabin is in the woods. Luc hates nature, and nature hates him. He’s got the injuries and bites to prove it. How can he impress Rick in such a foreign and hostile environment?
Rick Masters can’t believe he has to babysit the boss’s privileged nephew for two weeks. Come on, the man turned up for a mountain survey wearing skinny jeans and toting a suitcase on wheels. But Luc’s attitude and self-deprecating humor has surprised him. Perhaps he’s misjudged him? He’s nothing like the robust outdoorsmen Rick is usually attracted to, and yet…those skinny jeans sure hug him in all the right places. But Rick has a plan for his life, and a man like Luc Weston could never be part of it. No way!
CM Corett © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Luc Weston pressed his heel down onto the floor to halt his nervous leg jiggling and leaned forward in his chair. “I know what surveyors do! Why do I need to follow one around for two weeks?”
Luc’s uncle, Jeremiah Weston, sighed. “I expect all my employees to participate in the job-swap program, and that includes you, Luc.”
Needing an outlet for his agitation, Luc stood up and paced around his uncle’s office. The workspace was uncluttered, organized, and neat, just like his uncle, and provided plenty of room for pacing. The large tilted drafting board beside the window caught his attention, and he stopped to stare at the displayed survey plan. “I know, I know, but I’m not just an employee. Surely I’m different?” He winced. Okay, that had come out wrong. He hadn’t meant to imply he considered himself better or more important than his colleagues, just…different. Shit.
Jeremiah frowned. “Yes, you are different. It’s important for every employee to understand the various roles within the company, but it’s vital for you, Luc. If you want to take over this company one day, you need to experience every aspect of the business. I need to make sure I’m leaving the company with someone who understands not only our drafting practices, but the surveying and other offsite processes too.”
Luc drew in a deep breath. When his uncle spoke in his official “boss talk,” there wasn’t much room for negotiation, but Luc had to try. “Sure, I get that, but I understand the surveying side of the business. I practically grew up here. I’ve been surrounded by cartographers and surveyors since I was six years old. Hell, old Harry Miller taught me to mark up a surveyor’s field book as soon as I could hold a drafting pen.”
“Yes, you’ve gained a lot of knowledge over the years, but hearing stories and anecdotes from a bunch of surveyors is not the same as experiencing what they perform in the field. And yes,” he held up his hand as Luc opened his mouth, “you interpret field books as well as anyone, but physically finding coordinates and hammering in marker pegs is another aspect altogether.”
“Yeah, I know.” He grimaced. “Out in the wilds of nature and all that.”
“Is that what’s worrying you?”
“Come on, Uncle J. You know how useless I am in the great outdoors. Surely our one and only camping trip convinced you I was destined to be a city boy.” Luc’s mouth twisted into a wry smile at the memory. He had been twelve years old and had begged his uncle to take him camping in the nearby national park. During the anticipation stage, his excitement had been off the charts. Once they’d arrived—not so much. Between his tent-erecting ineptitude and his determination to trip over every rock, tree root, and tent peg, the experience had soon lost its promise.
And then there were the sounds—scary, predators-coming-to-get-you-in-the-night sounds.
Jeremiah gave him a stern stare. “You’re not twelve years old anymore, and this is your career. And the future of our family company. So, you’ll do as I ask.”
Luc stood, hands on hips, in front of his uncle’s desk. “Or what?”
Jeremiah rubbed his hand across his face. “Or nothing. You’re twenty-six years old, Luc. You’re a damn fine cartographic draftsman—one of our best. I’m not about to ground you like some disobedient teenager, and I’m surely not going to fire you or even demote you, but I will be severely disappointed in you if you refuse to do this.”
Oh, God. Luc dropped his hands to his sides, and his shoulders slumped. In the past, he had clashed with his uncle over a few issues, and the resulting anger and the consequences were understandable, but disappointment? Hell, no. He hated disappointing the man who’d raised him and had always been there for him. No way could he win the argument, but perhaps the details were negotiable. “Okay. Okay, I’ll go.”
“But does the surveyor have to be Rick Masters? Can’t I tag along with someone else?”
“Why not Rick? Rick Masters is our best and most experienced surveyor, and we were lucky to hire him two years ago. He had job offers from multiple companies. Yes, he can be a little gruff, and he’s a man of few words, but I’ve always found him to be decent and hardworking. I have a lot of respect for the man. What do you have against him?”
“I have nothing against him, but I feel… It’s just…” His heart hammered in his chest. How could he explain his feelings for Rick Masters? He couldn’t admit—to his uncle—that Rick Masters made his heart race and his dick behave inappropriately every time he caught a glimpse of the man. No, not the type of explanation his uncle would want to hear. He cleared his throat. “Actually, I think I’d get more out of the experience if I paired up with someone else. What about Jessica Taylor or Stan Myers?”
Jeremiah frowned. “If this was coming from anyone else, I’d think they had a problem working with a gay man, but as Rick and you are both gay, I really don’t— Ahh!” He nodded. “Are you worried about the gossip, or is there something else you want to tell me?”
“You know what?” Jeremiah raised both palms. “I don’t want to hear it. What you think or feel about another of my employees is none of my business. You’re a professional, and I know you won’t let those emotions interfere with your job. The same goes for your dislike of nature.”
“Yes, sir.” What else could he say? He had no legitimate reason to refuse, and he would have to suck it up and follow Rick around for a while. Two weeks. With Rick Masters.
And field trips into the wilderness.
I really enjoyed this. I say that with surprise because I've never read this author before and didn't know what to expect. Amending Plans was cute and light, which is exactly what I needed after reading a difficult book. I liked both Luc and Rick and thought they were good together.
I don't know anything about cartography and surveying and would have liked the author to explore that aspect of their jobs and lives a bit more. I also feel like Luc and Rick never really got to know each other. Every encounter, and every time one was thinking about the author, was riddled with tingling or vibrating balls, hard cocks, and lustful thoughts. I didn't need to be told that as often as I was, and it got repetitive. I kept wanting to tell these guys that there's more to a relationship than sex.
The conflict was a bit over the top, and I feel like it wouldn't have happened had these guys actually gotten to know each other. And (I don't know why this bugged me so much) I couldn't tell what time of year it was. Luc was shivering in a leather jacket one moment, and in the next scene he's in shorts. I just couldn't get a good grasp of the setting.
That being said, this was a quick, fun read, fairly predictable, but with good writing. It was funny and not too angsty, and I enjoyed Luc and Rick when they were being themselves and not bemoaning their class differences and lack of commonalities. I look forward to picking up more by this author.
About the author:
CM Corett is an Australian author of M/M romance who has given up on trying to limit herself to one sub-genre. She writes contemporary, historical, sci-fi, and time travel… and she may have a few paranormal drafts hidden under the bed! An avid writer and reader of love between men, she has lived in the USA and traveled the world gathering inspiration for her stories. She loves movies, superheroes, and video games with awesome graphics. She hates housework and anyone who expects her to notice (or care about) the dust on top of the fridge.
One lucky winner will receive a $10.00 NineStar Press Gift Code!
Pushing himself off the chair to stretch his legs, and ignoring the phone that had started buzzing in his pocket ten minutes ago, Alex Dean wasn’t surprised to find a tenacious Greyson standing on the other side of the table. What did surprise him was the tangle of nerves that knotted his belly when he got a better look at how attractive the other man was.
Greyson was lean and wiry and several inches shorter than Alex’s own six-feet-four, putting the top of his head level with Alex’s chin. His eyes were the color of chocolate, which matched his evening scruff and his messy, curly hair. Curls fell over his ears and his forehead. Alex wasn’t sure if he wanted to run his fingers through them or pull on a lock to see if it would spring back into its curly place. A backpack slumped off one shoulder, he had a notebook tucked under one arm, a smoothie in his hand, and an impish spark in his eyes.
The man was hot. He knew it too, if the way his smirk widened while Alex took his time checking him out was any indication. Attraction, however, meant nothing to Alex without emotions, so a person’s physical appearance didn’t usually elicit a response reminiscent of a teenage girl with a crush.
Nonetheless, he shook Greyson’s proffered hand. Greyson was twenty years old at most, and his flannel shirt didn’t suit him at all. He looked like a kid playing farmer in his older brother’s clothes.
“Mitch Greyson,” Greyson said, setting his notebook and smoothie on the table. His backpack thunked onto the floor at his feet. “Nice to meet you. Can I ask a follow-up question? Or five?”
Without waiting for Alex to answer, Mitch continued. “Can you elaborate on how the NHL is and isn’t what you expected?” He opened his notebook to a page with a list of questions that was way more than five. “I also had some questions for Chris Blair that you might be able to answer? What kind of hands-on experience do I need for a career in sport rehabilitation? Also, should I be getting involved in any kind of formal or informal research? Are there any courses that you know of that would help me get better prepared for a career in sport rehabilitation? If you were looking for an athletic therapist, what qualifications would you—?”
“Whoa, whoa,” Alex said, chuckling, holding his hands up to ward off more questions. “Hold it, hotshot. You’re asking the wrong person. Isn’t there anyone here you could interview, like Halley?”
“I’ve already talked to them all,” Mitch replied. “But they’re all academics now, or they work in fields I’m not interested in. I wanted to talk to someone specifically about sports science and rehabilitation.”
“You must’ve been disappointed when I showed up instead of Chris.”
“Do you think he’d talk to me?” Mitch asked, eager as a puppy. “We could set up a phone call. Or I could email him my questions. Do you have his card?”
Alex tilted his head sideways and tried to read the questions in Mitch’s notebook. There had to be at least two dozen, and he got the feeling Mitch was the kind of person who would have follow-up questions to his follow-up questions.
“Let me talk to Chris,” Alex offered. “See if I can’t set something up between you.” It wasn’t an offer Alex would usually make, but he felt bad that Mitch hadn’t gotten to hear Chris speak when it was clearly something the kid had prepared for.
Mitch’s whole face—which was expressive to begin with—lit up. “Yeah? Let me give you my info.” He jotted his name, email, and phone number on a blank page of his notebook, ripped the page out, and slid it across the table to Alex.
“And, you know,” Mitch said, tapping the paper right above his phone number. “If you want to use this for something else too, I’d be okay with that.” Then he winked.
Wait. Was Alex being hit on?
He was mentally backtracking through their conversation when something must’ve caught Halley’s attention. He made his way over to them with clipped strides, his mouth in a tight line.
“Mr. Greyson,” he said. “You are not the only one wishing to speak with Mr. Dean.”
Mitch glanced around and his eyes went big at the line of students behind him waiting to talk to Alex. Alex bit back a sigh. His line was longer than the other panelists’. He sent a mental apology to his friends waiting for him at the pizza place in town, even as the phone in his pocket buzzed again.
“Should you wish for an autograph from Mr. Dean,” Halley continued, “the request needs to be made on your own time.”
“Autograph?” Mitch repeated. “Why would I want his autograph?”
Alex choked back a laugh. It was refreshing to talk to someone who didn’t give a shit about his pseudo-celebrity status.
“We were discussing career paths, actually,” Alex said, coming to Mitch’s defense. It was becoming clear that Halley had it in for Mitch for some reason.
“Is that so?”
Mitch stood silently, his arms crossed, an annoyed gaze on Halley.
“Don’t take up too much of Mr. Dean’s time please, Mr. Greyson.” Halley gestured at the cluster of students behind Mitch. “There are others waiting to speak with him.”
As Halley walked away, Mitch eyed the line over his shoulder before turning back to Alex.
“Bet they’re all wanting an autograph,” he muttered.
In line were three women—one of whom was holding a tiny mirror up to her face and applying lip gloss—a man wearing a blue and white Tampa Bay jersey, and another who was unashamedly filming Alex’s conversation with Mitch.
“You never answered my question,” Mitch said to him.
“Why the NHL is and isn’t what you expected.” Mitch tucked his pen into the notebook and slid both into his backpack.
“You follow hockey?” Alex leaned a hip against the table.
Alex tried to think of a response that wouldn’t sound wishy-washy, but also wouldn’t give anything too personal away. He didn’t know this guy from Adam. What if he was with the school newspaper and was angling for a sound-bite?
Except as he was wracking his brain for an appropriate answer, it hit Alex all at once that Mitch Greyson was blatantly checking him out. Okay, not so blatantly that someone not looking directly at his face and body language could tell, but blatantly enough that Alex—who never got hit on by men—finally clued in. He was, in fact, being hit on.
It completely threw him and whatever Mitch’s question had been? Yeah, it was gone. Not that Mitch seemed to care anymore whether or not Alex answered.
Was Alex giving off some kind of gay vibe or something? He’d promised himself a long time ago that if he ever made it to the NHL, he wouldn’t divulge his sexual preferences for anyone. He didn’t want to make a Thing out of it, wasn’t going to give the media something other than his skills to talk about. Not that he was worried—at twenty-four years old, he could count on one finger the number of times he’d been sexually attracted to someone. At this point, he was pretty sure the whole dating-romance-marriage-babies thing wasn’t in the cards for him. Not only did it take him forever to figure out if he was attracted to someone, but the way dating was going nowadays, nobody wanted to be friends first and wait for romantic feelings to develop, if they developed at all. There just wasn’t an app for that. Instead, people were too busy jumping into bed with random strangers and having casual friends-with-benefits hookups.
No, thank you.
Hell, he didn’t even like kissing. He’d kissed all of two people in his life and it hadn’t done anything for him either time. It was wet and gross and unpleasant. The way things were going in his nonexistent love life, he’d be a virgin for the rest of his life. Others might bemoan their virgin status at twenty-four years old, but frankly, Alex didn’t care. What was the big deal about sex anyway?
In today’s sexually-charged culture, Alex often felt like an alien.
That didn’t, however, prevent him from acknowledging the attractiveness of another person. Like Mitch, for example. Alex’s extremely limited sexual experience was the reason the butterflies had come out when faced with such an outwardly beautiful person.
Mitch’s gaze swept him up and down, a half smirk on his face, his thumbs tucked into the waistband of his jeans and drawing attention to his crotch. The man really was attractive in an I-know-I’m-the-shit kind of way. It was the kind of personality type Alex usually avoided. It was disingenuous and he didn’t have time for fake people in his life. Alex’s bullshit meter clanged and any butterflies that’d appeared at Mitch’s good looks disappeared in the face of Mitch’s in-your-face personality.
Mitch’s gaze landed on Alex’s mouth for one, two, three seconds. Then he took his time cataloguing Alex’s face. When Mitch’s eyes met his again, the man’s smile turned lewd.
It was possible Mitch was the type of person who hit on anything that moved.
Eyes hooded, he leaned in across the table and whispered, “Maybe I’ll see you around sometime.”
Well, it was blatantly obvious what that meant.
With one last parting glance at Alex’s mouth, Mitch turned and left.
Title: Forged in Fire | Author: Ari McKay | Series: Asheville Arcana #2 | Publisher: Dreamspinner Press | Release date: May 1, 2018 | Genre: m/m paranormal romance | Sub-genre: werewolves, shifter, magic | Word count: approx. 59,500
The magic touch.
Ever since Harlan Edgewood was bitten by a possessed werewolf, his monthly shifts have been agonizing. When he meets Whimsy Hickes—a mage who specializes in transformation—the attraction is mutual. But Harlan believes his curse is too great a burden to inflict on any romantic partner.
Fortunately, Whimsy thinks he can help.
When Harlan is provoked into an unexpected change, Whimsy uses his magic to help ease Harlan’s pain, but with an unexpected consequence. While he’s shifted, Harlan’s wolf claims Whimsy as his mate.
As they draw closer, suspicious events in the Asheville magical community escalate. Shifters are disappearing, others are murdered, and Harlan’s curse makes him an obvious target. It will take all of Whimsy’s magic to force back the rising evil—and if he fails, Harlan will lose not only his life, but his very soul.
About the author:
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.
Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.
McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.
Nick Andrews has grown up in poverty in a tiny village. All his life he’s been told that he’s useless. After getting one scolding too many he decides to go far away, off to sea. But his experience as a farmhand has done little to prepare him for the hardships of a sailor’s life.
When his ship is attacked by pirates, Nick’s life is miraculously spared by the notorious pirate captain, Christopher Hart—a man in charge of a crew feared for their brutality. Nick is forced to join the pirates, and he dreads finding out for what reason the captain has saved him.
But Hart is nothing like his reputation suggests, and Nick soon finds himself entangled in a relationship that could endanger both their lives. Unless Nick can help Hart on his quest to find a long lost treasure, their forbidden love may tear his new life apart.
Warning: This book ends with a cliffhanger, and it does not have a happy ending. The series as a whole will have a HEA ending.
Content note: This book contains dark themes and depictions of torture, murder, and rape.
Nick enters the cabin to find Hart sitting at the table. A book is open in front of him. Red-tinted sunlight floods the windows, casting a burnt orange glow over his hair and coat. He doesn’t look up as Nick steps inside and closes the door behind him.
“What did you want with me, sir?”
Hart sighs. Gives Nick a brief glance. “Ah, yes. My boots need a cleaning. Over there.” He points to the boots, neatly placed next to the door. “You should find what you need in that chest opposite them.”
Nick glances at the clogs on his own feet. Hart has not just one pair of footwear, but two—on his feet instead of the jackboots are black leather shoes. Sinking down to his knees, Nick gets to work. He grabs one of the boots, reaching for the cloth he’s found. His stomach clenches. All he can think of is that pool of blood around Stubbs’ head. He worries that Hart’s soles will be red, stained with the cabin boy’s blood. Thankfully, they aren’t. In fact, there’s not a trace of blood on them—almost as if they have been cleaned before.
Nick glances over to Hart. Did he clean his own boots before calling Nick in here? And if so, why? It makes no sense that he has wiped away the blood himself, when he could have made Nick do it.
Hart sighs and scribbles in the book. It’s unnerving to be alone with him and Nick feels relief surge through him when both boots are spotless and shiny.
“All done, sir.” He puts the boots back by the wall and stands up, turning to face Hart again.
The Captain doesn’t look at him. “Thank you.” Outside the window, the glowing sun has turned to just a sliver on the horizon. “That will be all.
About the author:
Elvira Bell lives in Sweden and spends most of her time writing, reading or watching movies. Her weaknesses include, but are not limited to: vintage jazz, musicals, kittens, oversized tea cups, men in suits, the 18th century, and anything sparkly.
Elvira writes m/m fiction with a touch of romance and has a penchant for historical settings. She adores all things gothic and will put her characters through hell from time to time because she just loves watching them suffer. It makes the happy endings so much sweeter, after all.
One lucky winner will receive a copy of "Entertaining the Sombrevilles."
The truth is complicated.
On September 11th, 2001, Kris Caldera was a junior member of the CIA's Alec Station, the unit dedicated to finding and stopping Osama Bin Laden.
Ten days later, he was on the ground in Afghanistan with a Special Forces team, driven to avenge the ghosts that haunted him and the nation he'd let down. On the battlefield, he meets Special Forces Sergeant David Haddad. David - Arab American, Muslim, and gay - becomes the man Kris loves, the man he lives for, and the man he kills for, through the long years of the raging wars.
David Haddad thought he'd be an outsider his whole life. Too American for the Middle East, too Arab for America, and too gay to be Muslim. It took Kris to bring the parts of himself together, to make him the man he'd always wanted to be. But the War on Terror wreaks havoc on David's soul, threatening to shatter the fragile peace he's finally found with Kris.
When a botched mission rips David from Kris's life, Kris's world falls into ruin and ash. A shell of the man who once loved with the strength to shake both the CIA and the world, he marks time on the edges of his life. The days bleed together, meaningless after losing the love of his life.
After being captured, tortured to the edge of his life, and left for dead by his comrades, David doesn't know how much of himself is left. He vanished one day in the tribal belt of Pakistan, and the man who walks out almost a decade later is someone new: Al Dakhil Al-Khorasani.
But strange rumblings are whispering through the CIA. Intelligence from multiple sources overseas points to something new. Something deadly, and moving to strike the United States. Intercepts say an army from Khorasan, the land of the dead where the Apocalypse of Islam will rise, is coming.
And, at the head of this army, a shadowy figure the US hasn't seen before: Al Dakhil Al-Khorasani.
This book was fabulous, but it was a hard read for two reasons.
First, it's based on actual events that happened surrounding 9/11. Don't get me wrong: It was interesting as hell. But war is never easy and it was hard to see not just our characters, but the world, go through that. I'll admit that as a Canadian I'm willfully ignorant about events surrounding 9/11 (I find it hard to read about war), so this was an eye-opener.
Second, if you've read Tal Bauer's Hush (you can read my review of Hush here), or if you've read the blurb for Whisper, you know something bad happens to David and I was on the edge of my seat the entire novel just waiting for it to happen, and that made the book, and thus Kris and David's romance, so hard to read.
That being said, this is exceptionally well-written and well-researched. Usually I highlight one or two passages on my Kindle per book I read (if that). This time I had 55. The wording is poetic, the character arcs are fresh and minutely detailed, the romance is heartbreakingly beautiful. I laughed, I wanted to throw my Kindle at the wall, I gritted my teeth, I cried, my hands shook. Tal Bauer really has a way of making the reader feel and question.
Kris and David's romance is something for the ages, something so epic that really resonates. They're so in love, and so devoted to each other, so in sync, that it was like watching a perfectly choreographed dance. I don't remember the couples in every book I've ever read, but this is one that will stick forever.
The secondary characters don't get left behind. They're just as developed and flawed as our mains, with their own personalities. You'll find yourself loving some and hating others and flip flopping between love and hate for a couple.
The descriptions of war, of Afghanistan, of Pakistan, paint a picture in a reader's mind they're so well-detailed. You'll find yourself sympathizing with the characters, questioning the decisions of some, following along on their journeys as if these guys are your best friends and you wish you could help.
If I could give this more than five stars, I would.
With Medley, Layla Reyne combines love, self-discovery, swimming, and the excitement of the Olympics in to one stellar event. I loved Jacob and Bas’s story.—Anna Zabo, author of Syncopation
Author: Layla Reyne
Series: Changing Lanes #2
Will the race for gold cost them their hearts?
Release date: April 30 (Print & Ebook)
Length (Print & Ebook): Approx 270 pages
Subgenre: m/m romance, bisexual romance, contemporary romance, sports romance, new adult romance
Sebastian Stewart was never Mr. Dependable; he was more the good-time guy who only wanted to swim, party, and ink tattoos. Until he cost his team the Olympic gold four years ago. Bas is determined to do right this time around—by his medley relay team and his rookie mentee.
Jacob Burrows is in over his head. The Olympic experience—from the hazing, to the endless practices, to the unrelenting media—makes the shy nineteen-year-old’s head spin. He’s trying to be everything to everyone while trying not to fall for his gorgeous tattooed teammate who just gets him—gets his need to fix things, his dorky pirate quips, and his bisexuality.
When Jacob falters under the stress, threatening his individual races and the medley relay gold, he needs Bas’s help to escape from drowning. Bas, however, fearing a repeat of his mistakes four years ago, pushes Jacob away, sure he’ll only let Jacob down. But the only path to salvaging gold is for Jacob to finally ask for what he needs—the heart of the man he loves—and for Bas to become the dependable one.
“How can you be your best when you’re not sure if your best will measure up? That’s the dilemma facing Bas and Jacob, as they deal with the immense pressure of swimming for Olympic gold while also trying to sort out their tangled hearts.” --Layla Reyne
Lawyer, priest, shrink.
Ask someone to name their confessor and those were the usual suspects.
Bas would argue tattoo artist for the last spot in the top five. Humming needle in hand, he’d heard more than a few confessions over the years.
From the second a client stepped into his shop, they told a story. The design they picked. How much liquid courage it took. The tale of joy or woe that spilled from their lips after the first shock of the needle. Their reaction when it was done—relief, pain, regret, pleasure.
He’d heard almost every story.
In love, in lust, in rebellion, in hate, in freedom, in chains.
But he still couldn’t figure out the story that’d nagged him most the past ten days. He swiveled on the stool in the rented studio, droplets of dark ink splattering his worn jeans. “You gonna give me something to go on, Pup?”
Straddling the fancy tattoo-massage chair, Jacob laid a cheek in the cradle and glanced to his side. Mint green eyes, tequila-hazy, peered out from under long burnished lashes. “This was your idea, not mine.”
Maybe there was the start of a story. Why did his nineteen-year-old teammate have a fake ID, and why was he so friendly with Mr. Cuervo? Was it the same story as countless other college undergraduates?
Bas didn’t think so.
Jacob’s eyes slipped shut again, lips turning up in a faint smile. “You said you needed to get out of there and work.” He shrugged his bare left shoulder, the one closest to Bas. The breaststroker’s upper back was wide, like most swimmers’, his delts and lats hard and lean beneath suntanned skin. Not yet fully developed, given his age, but stronger than most. “So do what you need,” Jacob said. “Work it out.”
There was the start of the story.
About the author:
Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs. Layla is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. She was a 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.
Win an ecopy of any back catalog ebook by Layla Reyne, or a paperback copy of Relay and Medley.