Blog Tour: Jaeger by Evelise Archer

Order of the Black Knights

Every century has seen its knights. But there are those who are never seen. They do what must be done, what has to be done—when nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s by the wizard Moriel, these men seem cold and hard, and it is said that some have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man who waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it out.

Through the ages, they’ve conquered and ruled and taken what they wanted. And they have adapted to modern times. Instead of being bullies for hire, they have taken their skills further—the Internet, the CIA, government infiltration, hacking, special ops, assassination, but each one of them has a need they don’t understand—to squash, kill, or destroy.

If the Knight pardons an enemy, he will no longer be cursed. If not, he will continue to live the same life again and again, and each life will make him harder and more unyielding. And each life will make it is less likely that he can be saved.

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon

Jaeger Blurb

US Marshal Jaeger Tripp is assigned to the Federal Witness Protection Program. The hurt and destruction he’s seen—along with protecting criminals who are only cooperating with the authorities to keep themselves out of jail—have left him with a bleak and jaded view of both life and people. His current assignment is Wren O’Riley, a computer wizard who witnessed a high-profile cartel hit.

To Jaeger, Wren is the same as any other job. He must protect him long enough to get him to testify at trial, and his personal feelings have no place in his work and must be set aside. But that’s easier said than done. On the run and fighting for their lives, Jaeger and Wren can’t help but grow closer. And Jaeger can’t help seeing beyond Wren’s nerdy exterior to a man who might be just what Jaeger needs to settle his soul and capture his heart—if they survive long enough to get that chance.

Excerpt

Wren looked out the dusty front window and admired the view from what would be his home for a while. He wasn’t just thinking about the studly marshal. The log cabin appeared to be modern-rustic—if that was a style. The sturdy log structure had a wide wraparound porch and sported three rockers made of rough wood.

Wren loved the to-and-fro motion of a rocking chair—something he learned from his mother on the countless days they spent together on the family property in New Mexico, whiling the hours away. He had fond memories of his mother, and even some of his family members during those days—before he started to work for his uncle and realized exactly what the family business was. He longed for those languid days again, and if Jaeger permitted him some respite, he’d take it on the front porch, rocking.

“Home for the next month.” Wren’s daydreaming was interrupted by the deep soulful voice of his watcher.

“There’s no place for you to go, so I’ll have those handcuffs now. You’re up shit creek if you have the balls to wander in the High Peaks on your own.” Wren lifted his cuffed hands from his lap and allowed Jaeger to remove the restraints.

“I’ll get our bags.” Wren rubbed his wrists as he extricated himself from the front passenger seat. The lock mechanism on the hatch of the SUV released, and Wren opened the door and pulled out the two suitcases. He also noticed the cooler and a few other bags. Provisions.

Dragging their luggage across the gravel and dirt clearing proved more difficult than expected. His arms were a little numb from being in cuffs for so long. Wren made it to the bottom of the steps and maneuvered each bag up onto the porch and then waited for Jaeger to unlock the door.

Jaeger grabbed his small bag from the backseat of the driver’s side and strode to the door as Wren carefully scrutinized him. The marshal definitely had a chip on his shoulder.

“Is there a problem with the accommodations, Mr. O’Riley?” Wren couldn’t miss the disdain in Jaeger’s voice.

“No, there isn’t. Actually I was thinking how beautiful it is here and how this would make a nice vacation home,” Wren replied.

“Well, don’t get too comfortable. We’re not here for a fucking vacation.”

Wren nodded and accepted Jaeger’s attitude and waited patiently as he punched a code into the panel and unlocked the door. Jaeger brusquely entered before him and offered no help with the bags.

Wren plopped them on the ceramic-tiled floor at the entrance and then did a three-sixty of the large, open room. The cabin truly was beautiful. Under other circumstances Wren could picture himself being fucked by the marshal in front of the large stone fireplace. Jaeger Tripp was just his type—bad-boy attitude, soulful voice, and a strong chiseled jaw. His legs went on forever, and Wren imagined himself wrapped around Jaeger’s tapered waist. They might be the same height, but Marshal Jaeger Tripp had a good fifty pounds on Wren’s slenderer body. He looked as if he could lift a small car.

“Marshal, should I put the bags someplace specific or leave them here on the floor?” Wren moved farther into the room where the ceramic tile turned to dark, notched-wood floors. Besides the large fireplace, the living space had two striped sofas in reds, blues, and tans, with accenting pillows and a large braided rug. The kitchen, although it appeared slightly older, was clean and contained a small table and two wooden chairs. The one thing Wren noticed right away was the coffee pot on the counter. What he wouldn’t do for a cup of coffee, but he dared not ask.

“There’s two bedrooms down the hall, last two doors. Toss my bag in the last room and yours in the second.” Jaeger motioned with his head as he made for the front door. “I need to get the cooler and rest of the bags. I’ll be right back.”

With that, Jaeger walked out the front door into the dusk. Wren strode down the hall, passed a bathroom on the left and a closed door on the right, and then came to what would be his room. He left his bag in front of the door and proceeded to move to the last door, open it, and enter with the marshal’s bag. The room was decorated in a country motif, and the focal point was a large, heavy wooden bed. Wren wondered if the marshal slept in the buff. A man could dream. The door to a separate bathroom was open, and Wren could see a large claw-foot tub. Nice.

Wren wondered if the government bought the cabin already made or if they had it built to suit their needs—secluded enough to attract no attention, yet within some distance of civilization.

Wren opened the door to what would be his new sleeping quarters and placed his bag on the quilt-covered bed. The room looked very much like the other bedroom, just a tad smaller and minus its own bathroom. He’d have to use the one in the hall.

He made quick work of unpacking his meager belongings, placed them in the chest of drawers, and stowed the bag in the closet. He heard movement outside his door but tried to keep his mind off the marshal. He grabbed his toiletries, stored them in the extra bathroom, and stopped in front of the third door in the hall, which was open—the door closest to the living space.

Wren’s pants tightened when he saw Jaeger’s taut, jean-clad ass. Jaeger was leaning over a chair, banging away on a keyboard. The temporary distraction gave Wren pause. He shouldn’t be lusting after the man who was assigned to protect him, especially when he held Wren in such disdain.

About the Author

Evelise Archer is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is a new-found lover of tea, and don’t look in her office because what you find may astound you. She currently has twenty tins of tea leaves just waiting to be brewed for her drinking pleasure. She is bilingual, lives in one of the original thirteen colonies, and is a lover of the cold weather and snow. It’s a safe bet that you may find her on the beach in the autumn and winter, but rarely in the summer. She’s been married for over thirty years to a loving man who puts up with her obsession to clean—she currently owns three vacuum cleaners—, read, and spin a tale when the voices speak to her. When she’s not in front of the computer, search her out in the local gym.

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Blog Tour: Wish You Were Here by Asta Idonea

Interview with Asta Idonea

What does your writing process look like?

I’m not a big planner; however, at the start of each short story, I have a notebook where I jot down character notes and a basic plot arc. With novellas and novels, I write longer character profiles and any key plot points, including “rules” if I’m using ghosts, vampires etc.

The first draft, I just write. As an editor, it’s hard to switch off that part of my brain, but I do my best. Once I have a full first draft, I go through various rounds of edits (usually about two for a short story and three or four for a novel/novella). Since I am essentially plotting as I go with the first draft, the initial round of edits tends to be pretty solid, fixing any plot holes or character discrepancies that have emerged during the organic writing process (not usually too many, luckily), with subsequent edits being more about prose style. Then it’s a final proofread prior to submission.

What book do you wish you could have written?

The Harry Potter series if we’re talking of monetary success, but in terms of literary merit, probably something by Milan Kundera or Haruki Murakami.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

The two guys I just mentioned. Also writers like Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Jane Austen.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

Very important. I always aim to give my characters names that reflect either an aspect of their personality or their role in the story. My favourite resource for that is Behind the Name. They have sites for both first names and surnames with decent search functions.

Were you already a great writer? Have you always liked to write?

I’ve wanted to write since I was a child! In my late teens/early twenties I started posting fan fiction, and by my late twenties I was writing and publishing original works.

If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?

My other dream was always to be in musical theatre. But in reality I’d probably be working a desk job somewhere or doing something with my foreign languages.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

In general, yes, and I still can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not! I rarely respond, regardless of the rating, unless it’s to thank someone for taking part in a blog tour, because I think it’s better for readers not to feel that the author is interfering with reviews, even in a positive light. If I wanted to reach out to someone who’d written something particularly nice, I’d do so privately. As to bad reviews, it’s best never to get into a debate. Of course a bad review is upsetting, but you just have to dust yourself off and get back to work. After all, not everyone can like the same things, and if you got a bad review today, you may well get a good one tomorrow. You have to be philosophical about it.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I am currently working on the third draft of what will, I hope, be my first novel-length MM work if I can find a publisher for it later in the year. I am also commencing a new mainstream urban fantasy story. Not sure yet if that will be a novella or a full-length novel as I’m only one Chapter One.

What literary character is most like you?

Ha, I’d like to say Jane Eyre, but I think that might be more aspiration than reality. I am very like my own character, Cassandra, in The Ragnarök Chronicles. A little of myself slips into all my works, but in that one it was really apparent. My mother commented on it when she was only four chapters in!

What secret talents do you have?

Languages. I love learning foreign languages and speak several to varying degrees of proficiency.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

There are loads, but if I had to pick one from near the top of the list, it would be Vienna, to see all the stuff about Sissi.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

An owl. That’s my symbol in the Native American zodiac.

If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

Iceland. It’s awesome! I started learning Icelandic recently.

Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

Wish You Were Here – Contemporary/Paranormal

Oakley and his family are grieving his sister’s death, but he finds new hope when he meets local boy Bobby while on vacation.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

This one isn’t explicit, so it’s suitable for YA and adult readers who are looking for a contemporary tale with a paranormal twist that looks at the psychology of grief but ends on a hopeful note. I would like to think that readers will turn the final page feeling uplifted, but with plenty of food for thought.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

This title came to me as soon as I started writing. It combines the sense of grief over the loss of Oakley’s sister with the idea of holidays and those old-style postcards with the words “wish you were here”.

Dreamspinner Press : Amazon US : Amazon UK

Wish You Were Here
Asta Idonea
Dreamspinner Press
8 February 2017
Novella/Contemporary/Paranormal
Heat Rating: 1

The death of Oakley’s sister has left his family broken and buried beneath their grief. In an attempt to get out from underneath their pain, they rent an isolated cottage in the Cotswolds. For Oakley, it’s an exercise in futility. He doesn’t see much hope for things to get back to the way they used to be, and he’s bored and restless as he waits out the time until he can return to the city and university. All of that changes when he meets local boy Bobby, and the connection between them is instant. Within a few days, Oakley is ready to walk away from everything to stay with Bobby. However, Bobby has problems of his own, and they might be more than the budding romance can survive. But they might also give Oakley a new perspective on his own situation.

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Giveaway:

Prize: 1 x e-copy of my MM Sci-Fi novella Fire Up My Heart

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Author Bio & Links

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Blog: http://www.nickijmarkus.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickiJMarkus
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nickijmarkus/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+NickiJMarkusAstaIdonea
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4567057.Nicki_J_Markus
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolamarkus
Amazon Author US: http://www.amazon.com/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
Amazon Author UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO

Blog Tour: Ardent by Heloise West

Ardent from Manifold Press
Historical M/M Romantic Suspense
Renaissance Florence

Barnes and Noble
Manifold Press
Kobo

Blurb

In the village of Torrenta, master painter Morello has created a color that mimics the most expensive pigment of all, the crimson red. Master Zeno, from strife-ridden Medici Florence, tells him the color gives him a competitive advantage – but Morello must be careful. Fraud is ever-present in the dye and pigment markets.

As they work together in Torrenta, Morello falls hard for Zeno’s assistant, Benedetto Tagliaferro, a young man of uncommon beauty and intelligence. Benedetto is still fixed on his old lover, the master painter Leo Guisculo, and cannot return Morello’s affections.

But when Leo dies in a terrible accident, it’s to Morello that Zeno and Benedetto turn for help. And Morello soon finds that in Florence, every surface hides layers of intrigue.

75,600 words
Publication February 1, 2017

Excerpt:

The village of Torrenta, Tuscany, June 1475

Morello

The sun thrust warm fingers into the ancient Tuscan earth. The gray-green leaves of the olive trees shimmered, and the woods beyond beckoned Morello to abandon the painters’ workshop for their cool refuge.

In the growing heat the apprentices inside settled into an afternoon nap, curled on benches in dark corners behind him. The harsh fumes of linseed oil and varnish had irritated Morello all morning, and he was unable to sleep in the miasma. Perhaps before their visitors from Florence arrived, he might escape the heat. A long tramp in the woods pulled at his bones.

He reached for the walking stick behind the door, but a horse’s whinny stopped him, and a man’s voice called out. When no one stirred within to answer, he cursed the sleepers and stomped back through the shop, thwarted. In the lane in front of the workshop, two men removed packs from their horses.

“Good day, Master Zeno!” From the doorway, Morello called to the older of the two. “You made good time!”

At the sound of Morello’s voice, the apprentices roused themselves from sleep and peered around him.

The gray-haired master raised his hand and smiled. “Good day, Master Morello.”

Master Zeno’s companion, a tall young man with flowing golden hair, took the older man’s pack for him and shouldered the straps of both.

“Take their horses to the stable and fetch Master Franco,” Morello ordered the apprentices, and they hurried to obey.

Master Zeno’s journeyman brushed dust from the sleeve of his sweat-stained linen shirt, slapped more dust from his long thighs, and ran a forearm across his brow. His smile was uncertain as his glance met Morello’s.

Donato stood at the window yawning and scratching his stomach. He shaded his eyes for a better look into the misty glare of the afternoon. “Who’s the beauty with the master?”

Donato’s fellow journeyman Primo jumped to his feet and crowded against Morello in the doorway. “Can it be? He’s brought Tagliaferro?”

Donato groaned. “The man you’ve been mooning about since you last went to Florence, Primo? You’ve only just finally shut up about him.”

Morello ignored them. His irritation over his interrupted walk had vanished. Primo’s garlic- and onion-laden breath on his neck registered only remotely. He gazed out at the man from Florence, who, in Morello’s memory, had once been a long-legged boy with a head of yellow fluff too big for his skinny body. Morello stepped out into the sunlight that appeared to pour itself over the grown man, and stretched out his hand in greeting. Maintaining frank eye contact, Benedetto Tagliaferro adjusted the packs and took his hand.

When flesh met flesh, Morello stumbled – at least, his heart did. As if the wind from the beating wings of the love-inspiring putti he had painted just that morning pushed them toward each other.

“Do you remember me?” Benedetto asked with the shadow of that boy’s grin.

About Heloise West:

Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mayhem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance of all flavors. She travels and gardens with her partner of thirteen years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.

Where to find Heloise:

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Story Update!

I’m going to try to start updating my blog once a week with updates on where I currently stand with stories. Some good news, I finished my novel Barbed Wire Cowboy and have submitted it to Dreamspinner Press for consideration. Curious as to what it’s about? Well, here’s a bit of a description for you.

After having been kicked off the family ranch by his father, Marc has made a new home for himself as the foreman of the Double R Ranch. His fellow ranch hands are his family, but he’s still not complete without Casey, his counterpart at the neighboring Del Rio Ranch. In the middle of a feud with his one-time best friend, Marc struggles to understand why Casey would rather take a swing at him than talk to him. He wants to put the past behind them and rebuild what they once had and make their relationship stronger than ever, but Casey is having none of it.

Casey has his own demons to deal with, and Marc serves as a reminder of things he’d rather forget. Casey can’t see beyond the past and continues to make mistakes that put both him and Marc in harms way. After one close call too many, Casey must decide whether his past is more important than his future, or if he can live with Marc walking out of his life—possibly forever.

Now that Barbed Wire Cowboy is finished and has been submitted, I’m turning my attention to some of my other stories. I have some ideas for new stories, but while I let those percolate, and wait for a decision on Barbed Wire Cowboy, I’m working on expanding and/or revising some of my current stories that I hope to release by the end of the year. So which stories am I starting with?

Reece’s Choice

The original of Reece’s Choice was just over 25,000 words. I love this story, but it could definitely be improved. I’m hoping to add at least 15,000 words in new content, possibly even going so far as to double the length.

When confronted with his family’s bigotry, Reece is faced with the first of many choices. He can continue to tolerate the caustic atmosphere or he can walk away and finally focus on making himself happy. His cousin’s friend Dave unintentionally becomes the catalyst that forces Reece to make a choice. He can only hope it’s the right one.

Joined by Blood

The original of Joined by Blood is already novel length. I am about halfway through the revision on Joined by Blood, and rather than adding much in the way of content, I am working on refining what is already there.

Damian’s belief system has been turned upside down: his sister isn’t who he thought she was, and vampires really do exist. Luckily with so many obstacles to overcome and so many choices to be made, he does not not have to navigate this new landscape alone. Vik, prince of his people, has set his eye and his heart on Damian. And what Vik wants…

Blog Tour: Disastertastic by Alicia Nordwell

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$2.99

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Blurb:

Sawyer is too busy to worry about something as frivolous as Christmas. College is hard, but he’s focused on getting into law school. Kable is studying to make the family business, Del Buon Gusto, into a successful chain restaurant. When a party debacle at the restaurant gives Kable a chance to get close to Sawyer, he’s shocked to learn Sawyer’s a Christmas Grinch. He’s determined to change Sawyer’s mind, but their dates are one debacle after another. It might not be possible to make this into Sawyer’s first Merry Christmas after all.

Night in Alps - european skiing resort Canazei

Night in Alps – european skiing resort Canazei

Excerpt:

What a waste of time. He could’ve been home starting his paper or even watching a movie if he wanted to slack off.

Fed up avoiding questions of family traditions and travel plans, Sawyer strolled away from the crowd in the dining room and headed toward the tree. He nodded and smiled at a few people but didn’t stop. Everyone else was enjoying the appetizers that had just come out, but he’d already had dinner before he left home, since he’d expected to work. He could pass more time pretending to examine the ornaments or watching the snow drift down now that the storm finally hit. He’d just have to wait a little longer until he could politely make his escape.

“You don’t like eggnog?”

“What?” Sawyer blinked and shrugged the hand off his shoulder. He took a step to the side. He’d been focused on the snow, watching the puffy flakes float down to coat the sidewalks and road. The grassy verge along the road was already completely white. He hadn’t even heard Kable approaching, which was odd because he was normally impossible to miss. He was just as loud and energetic as his dad.

“Your cup is still full.” Kable gestured toward the red cup in Sawyer’s hand. “Usually when you don’t drink something that means you don’t like it.”

“It smells gross, and I definitely don’t think a dairy product should be this thick and still be drinkable.” Sawyer’s filter was gone, just like it usually was around Kable. He got so nervous, he always ended up saying whatever came to him. It wasn’t like he was trying to hide that he was gay—everyone already knew that—but he hoped his crush wasn’t as obvious. He’d had enough embarrassment for the evening.

Kable laughed. “Then why’d you take it?”

“It seemed like the thing to do.” Sawyer rotated the cup between his palms, disgusted by the way the glop reacted. Surely it couldn’t be safe to drink the stuff.

“So, is it just dairy-based holiday drinks you don’t like? Or is it something more? You haven’t had a single thing to eat, and you’re not exactly dressed for the party. There’s so much fun to be had from dressing up for Christmas parties.” Kable waved a hand in front his chest. “Like this.” He was wearing an awful sweater with reindeer prancing around a Christmas tree that had bedazzled ornaments decorating every puffy bough. Not even something that hideous could detract from his dark-haired, blue-eyed handsomeness… but really, Sawyer shouldn’t be noticing that at all.

Sawyer scoffed. “I’d rather be here in my underwear than wear something like that.”

“Or your uniform?” Kable gestured toward Sawyer’s black slacks and plain white shirt. “Is it just that you don’t have another outfit?”

“Of course I have other outfits! Why would you think that?” Sawyer snapped. His face was hot and prickly; no one else had mentioned his clothes, even if they noticed he was wearing his work uniform. It’s not like he was wearing something inappropriate, like shorts and a t-shirt.

Kable cocked his head to one side. “If you had something else, why didn’t you wear that?”

“You’re nosy, you know?” He was always asking questions and getting into everyone’s business. The others didn’t seem to mind. Kable was Mr. McArthur’s son, and he worked the occasional shift at the restaurant when they were short a waiter even though he was in school full-time to get a business degree. He was friendly, sometimes too friendly, and made Sawyer uncomfortable with his casual intimacy. Kable was always patting him on the back or arm when they spoke, and Sawyer liked it a little too much.

“Yep.” Kable grinned. “But wait, don’t tell me! You never come out for a drink with the rest of us, not even for coffee, and you’re always studying those books on your breaks. I’ve never heard you even talk about doing something like going to a party. You thought you were here to work tonight, didn’t you?”

Sawyer grit his teeth. “So what? Your dad just said he wanted us all here.”

“And you didn’t put two and two together?” Kable gestured toward the room.

“I did once I got here. He said he was throwing a party for friends and family. What else was I going to think?” Sawyer was getting tired of Kable’s questions. He lifted his before Kable could notice his scowl and figure out he was getting to him and made the stupid mistake of taking a drink.

“Oh, ew.” Sawyer desperately wanted to spit out the eggnog, but there was no polite way to do so. He forced the mouthful down, swallowing repeatedly in an attempt to get rid of the liquid still coating his tongue. It was as horrible as he thought it would be. He stared at the cup in disgust. “People actually drink this… on purpose?”

Author Bio:

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.

Social media:

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

Blog Tour: On Fire by Alicia Nordwell

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30% Off DSP Sale
(Ends 11/13/2016)
$5.99
$4.19

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Blurb:

Nothing beats getting out of the concrete jungle and into the quiet of the forest. Website designer Scottie Ness is taking a well-deserved vacation from the grindstone, and he plans to spend it in the solitude of Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest around Mt. Adams. He’s prepared for everything—except the lightning storm that traps him in a wildfire.

The firefighter who rescues him sustains serious injuries and ends up in the hospital. Jax Quintero might be abrasive, but the guy saved his life, and Scottie wants to thank him. As they spend time together during Jax’s recovery and exploring the state’s landmarks when he’s released from the hospital, Scottie discovers there’s more to Jax than a smart-ass adrenaline junkie. Jax reassesses his opinion of Scottie as an arrogant city boy who has no business in the mountains. Though Jax’s wounds prevent them from taking things as far as they’d like for a while, they can’t deny the heat building between them—and this is one fire they don’t want to put out.

onfirefs_v1

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/on-fire-by-alicia-nordwell-7675-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Fire-States-Love-Alicia-Nordwell-ebook/dp/B01M119A79/

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-onfire-2142835-149.html

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/on-fire-alicia-nordwell/1124772923?ean=2940157073725

Excerpt:

Chapter One

“WHAT EXOTIC tropical locale are you going to spend your vacation drunk in?” Carter leaned back in his chair so he could see into Scottie’s cubicle. He smirked. “Or are you hitting the casinos in Vegas to make your fortune and leave all of us to toil away in the trenches alone?”

“Neither. Hiking and camping in the Gifford Pinchot around Mt. Adams.” Scottie adjusted a line of code, and the website header widened. “I’m all set to go in the morning.”

“Seriously? You have a week off in August, and you’re going to waste it trudging through the dirt and pine trees when you could be lounging on the beach somewhere?” Carter shook his head. “Wouldn’t catch me doing that. Aren’t there bears and cougars up there?”

Scottie shrugged one shoulder. “I might see a bear, if I’m lucky. Cougars are actually pretty shy.”

“You want to see a bear?”

“It’d make a great picture.” The website he was working on needed to be visually appealing on both computers and mobile devices, and he was having a hard time focusing. “It’s Friday. Don’t you have some reason to duck out and start the weekend early?”

“Nope. Miranda, Tark, and I are all going out for happy hour at Corrigan’s, but not until six. Don’t try to change the subject. You know you can take pictures at the beach, right? White sand, crystal blue water, and palm trees swaying in front of the setting sun.”

“Dime a dozen. I like living in Washington because we have so many places where I can take beautiful nature photos. Coastline, rivers, lakes, mountains, even the desert, all within a few hours’ drive. Besides, I’m still paying off my student loans. I don’t have money for expensive vacations.”

“Two words. Credit cards.”

Of course. Carter wore name-brand shoes with his fancy suits and never brought a lunch, preferring to order takeout. He’d graduated a year before Scottie, so it wasn’t like he made that much more money. “One word. Stupid.”

Carter rolled his eyes. “Whatever, man. When I take my week off next month, I’m going to Hawaii. Hotel on the beach, coconut drinks, and chicks in bikinis. Any women you come across in the campground will probably be covered in pitch and pine needles.”

“I’m not going to stay in the campgrounds. I’m hiking and camping off the trails, and for the most part, I won’t see any people at all.”

A look of horror crossed Carter’s face. “Seriously?”

He nodded. “I used to go camping with my family all the time growing up. We’d hike, fish, roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire. It’s peaceful.”

“Whatever, man. When you get munched on by a bear, can I get your chair?”

It was Scottie’s turn to roll his eyes. “I’m not going to get eaten by a bear, and your chair is the same as mine. Why would you want it?”

“I spilled fish sauce on mine earlier this week, and now it smells funny.”

“Well you can’t have my chair, and I’ll notice if there’s a fish funk on mine when I get back, so don’t even try to switch them. Don’t you have a project to finish? I have to get this done before I leave.”

“Fine, fine.” Carter rolled back to his desk. “Have fun communing with wildlife.”

 

SCOTTIE ROLLED up his backpacking tent with an extra tarp and fastened it to the bottom of his pack. His sleeping bag, a change of clothes, survival kit, portable stove, water filter, and food fit inside. The rest of his camping gear was piled along the wall, taking up most of the living room floor in his postage stamp of an apartment. He plopped down on the couch with a beer and opened his laptop.

Using a red highlighter, he outlined the trails he planned to take and marked his base camp as well as his possible overnight camping sites before printing out two copies. Picking up a pen, Scottie scribbled his full name, the dates of his trip, and what kind of vehicle he was driving on the back of one map. He’d drop it off at the ranger station before he stopped in Trout Lake for some sandwiches. No idea what they did to make them taste so great, but they were way better than anything he could make. He’d have to stop by the ATM on the way out of Vancouver to pick up some cash.

Now that he had all the nitty-gritty survival stuff out of the way, he had to get his photography equipment in order. Scottie didn’t spend much money on himself, but he had a nice Canon camera, lenses, a flexible tripod for his hiking pack, and a bigger telescoping tripod in its own bag. Using a polishing cloth from his cleaning kit, Scottie went over every piece of glass in his camera bag, making sure all the lenses and filters were spotless. Photography might be just a hobby, but he took pride in getting that one shot that made all the hard work worth it.

He’d finished his beer by the time he had the last memory card and battery stowed, and he waffled on what he wanted to do. He’d been up since six, worked a full day, and finished getting all his camping gear ready to load in the morning, but he wasn’t tired enough to go to bed. The weather report he checked promised sunny days and clear nights—though it wouldn’t be nearly as warm around Mt. Adams as it would be in Portland.

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

“Be advised you’re looking for a male in his early twenties, brown hair, approximately five-ten. His name is Scottie Ness.”

“Thanks, Dispatch. We’re headed in to the coordinates you sent.”

“Copy that. Be safe, Twelve.”

Jax’s crew was small, but they’d been working together for the last two years and he’d partnered with Simon for even longer than that. He knew he could trust each and every one of them, and they knew what they were doing. “Ready?”

“Sure thing.” Simon took the lead, followed by Dave, Carlos, Franklin, with Jax in the rear. The acrid stench of burned wood was lighter here than the area they’d been working last, but it was still a strong stench and the gray clouds of smoke made the sky look angry and overcast. They stuck to the trail at first, calling out Scottie’s name. Scanning the huckleberry bushes and small pine trees on the gentler slopes, Jax didn’t see any sign of a hiker.

Jax called a halt when the forest thickened about halfway to the camp coordinates. “If he was coming back and went off trail for some reason, he’d be easy to miss from here on out. Let’s fan out. Dave, keep to the trail, we’ll do a line on either side. Make sure you stay in shouting distance.” The wind felt like it was shifting, but it was hard to tell in the trees as they swayed this way and that.

The going was harder after that. They were still gaining elevation but ravines slowed them down—full of bushes and small trees that caught at their feet. Jax struggled up a hill, glad of his thick gloves protecting his palms as he used bear grass to help pull himself up the slope. “Scottie!” The closer they got to the camp, the angrier he got. They were headed right into one side of the fire, and the back burn was coming for them even faster.

Where the hell was the idiot they were risking their lives for?

“Scottie,” Jax bellowed. He listened, but all he heard was his own crew moving through the woods, calling out Scottie’s name.

“Scottie Ness,” Dave shouted.

“Like there’s another Scottie out here?” Jax muttered. He checked his GPS. They were nearly on top of the campsite on the map. Maybe they’d be able to see it from the top of the ravine. He dropped his handheld and kept moving.

The top of the steep slope did level off. The trees petered out into a meadow full of grass. Dave was on the path, so Jax stepped out of the tree line and waited for the others to catch up. They all grouped together near the path. Simon bent over, his hands on his knees, puffing for air. “Damn hill at the end was nearly vertical, I swear.”

“Anyone see any sign of this guy? Footprints? Garbage?”

They all shook their heads. Jax took a drink, draining most of the water he had with him. “All right, everyone hydrate really fast. Then we fan out in a search line. His camp had to be here in this meadow.”

Stretching out into a staggered line again, they began to walk through the grass. Jax used his ax to sweep the grass for any indication the idiot had gone his direction.

“Over here!” Carlos called.

Jax hightailed it over to the far end of their search line. He caught sight of the tarp on the ground, and then he saw a leg sticking out. Carlos and Simon were carefully lifting a thick branch laying across the tarp.

Dave grabbed a corner of the small tarp and pulled it off. The wind whipped it up, and he let the tarp go. It blew against a tree across the clearing. “Shit, it’s really coming from the east now. We’ve got a problem, Jax.”

“I know. Keep an eye on the skyline for flames. Scottie?”

No reply.

 

Author Bio:

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.

Social media:

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

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Blog Tour: Black Snow by EAB

General Author Questions

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
Authors that have inspired me…wow. probably number one would J.K Rowling. She was a mother. She was unemployed, but she had an epic story in her head she just needed to get out. I can’t imagine having the plot for Harry Potter in my head for as long as she probably did. I know how hard it is when you have nothing but your art left. She inspires me because despite it all, she persevered.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
I’ve been accused of recycling names of ex-boyfriends and girlfriends from time to time. It’s not true. I’m innocent………

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My best accomplishment has and always will be my children

Have you always like to write?
Yes, actually. I wrote my first short story at 9. I veered off into poetry and more non-fiction writing in middle school. Then more poetry, with some erotic fiction in high school. As I began to experience my sexuality, my writing became more and more graphic. I remember in high school my mom read a paper of mine for creative writing class entitled “A how to guide for sucking dick.” She was mortified.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Read. Write. Live.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I read every review I get. And I always review books I read. I love reviews because it’s a chance for you to see how readers feel about your work. How they related to your characters. How they connected/ didn’t connect with your novel. It’s okay if they hated everything. The fact that you conjured an emotional response is something to note. To me, a bad book isn’t a book where someone hates an aspect of the book, a bad book is when someone feels apathetic.

Reviews can be helpful for writers as well. Maybe there’s something technically you can improve on. Maybe your characters lacked depth. Maybe your plot fell flat half way through. A good review will tell you all that and more.

My advice would be not to shy away, but to embrace them and to always remember, there’s someone out there who rated your FAVORITE book one star.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?
Right now I’m working on two graphic novels. One is called Silent Bird. It’s part of a WWII anthology. And the other is called Hybrid. A science fiction fantasy. Both of the artist I’m working with are phenomenal. I’m also working on a new novel called A Wolf’s Howl.

Rapid Fire Questions

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? Japan
If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose? Australian
What were you like as a child? A spoiled little shit.
Book Specific

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
It’s a play on the title Snow White, but Black Snow is impure. Black snow is usually dirty and often times forgotten. It’s that snow you pile up and let slowly melt. But once it turns into water, it becomes pure and fresh again. Even though a lot of the characters in this book start as forgotten, they melt and transform into something more.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I wanted the cover to evoke the feeling of a fairytale. I wanted the characters hopes and dreams to be reflected in their eyes, as well as their intimacy physically. I’d like to give thanks to J-Witless who is my cover artist. I put her through so much to get this cover done perfectly. I love the finished product.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
This is always a hard question, but I’ve decided Brier is my favorite character from Black Snow. His personal development throughout this story is just so overwhelming to me. I love how much he grows, and yet, he still keeps the essence of what makes him, him. He’s a wonderful character and I’m honored I had the opportunity to tell his story.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?
Hmm….I guess that would probably be Lord Tamil. He’s one of those self righteous pricks who probably should have been fired 20 years ago, but is good at his job, and has way too many connections. He’s not an antagonist, per se, he’s just annoying and not a very nice person.

 

Title:  Black Snow
Author: EAB
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher:
Dreamspinner
Publication Date:  11/7/16
Word Count:
 162,045

Raffle Giveaway for a poster of  Black Snow’s cover: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b661c9420/

Buy link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/black-snow-by-eab-7730-b

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Snow-EAB-ebook/dp/B01M6ZXNPQ/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1477283256&sr=8-13&keywords=black+snow+book

Blurb:

Prince Brier Snow has lived in the shadow of King Snow’s exalted memory. However, his fate changes when he nears his majority and Lirend’s steward queen attempts to dethrone him by exploiting an obscure requirement in the late king’s will: a yearlong sabbatical.

Brier travels to the desolate land of Aire to train under the Ceve guild, scorned refugees of war, including their guarded leader, Roland. Brier’s skillful master unlocks hidden potential, and what begins as a dutiful bond turns into ill-fated affection. When Brier returns to the capital, he’s carrying proof of his indiscretions with Roland—and his condition grows more apparent with each passing day. An affair with the huntsman is a scandal Brier’s enemies can use against him, but the birth of an heir is a burden even Brier is not sure he can bear.

Roland Archer, a man with a murky past, is skeptical of the contract to train the prince but willing to do anything for the guild’s freedom. Despite his best intentions, he is smitten by Lirend’s future king. Roland has resigned himself to solitude, but fate has other plans—for him, for Brier, and for Lirend’s oppressed subjects. Can Roland help Brier face a power-hungry queen and a country torn asunder? Either they will bring equality to a land that desperately needs it, or they’ll be thwarted by cunning enemies and an illusory curse.

Excerpt:

Prologue

“LONG AGO, there was a maiden with hair black as ebony and skin as white as the snow, so that they called her Snow White. Her lips were red as the rose,” Brier’s portly nurse told him, smiling.

“And she sang and danced. And she was very beautiful,” Brier added perfunctorily.

“Indeed she was,” replied Marietta. “She was kind and comely, and all the kingdom loved her, but the queen of the kingdom was jealous and wanted to get rid of her for good.”

“How?”

“She decided to have her killed.”

“Oh no!” Brier answered, tone darkening.

“Oh yes!” cried his nurse. “She hired a huntsman to kill her in the wood and bring back her heart, so that she could keep it forever.”

Brier slid his legs up and placed his chin on his knees, enraptured in the story about the fair princess whose name was like his own.

“The huntsman did as he was told and took Snow White to the forest. As they entered the forest, they came across a field of flowers. Snow bent down to pick a bouquet of wildflowers, and the huntsman crept behind her and lifted his dagger!”

Brier gasped, horrified. “But he should not kill her!”

“He could not,” corrected the nurse, excitement alive in her eyes. “For he had fallen in love with the princess and told her of the evil queen’s plan.”

“Good gods,” Brier exhaled, relieved.

“Snow White ran,” Marietta whispered, and Brier hugged his knees more firmly. “She had to run away deeper into the woods to escape the queen’s wrath. She found herself alone in the deep, dark wood. ‘Get out… out…’ the trees whispered all around her, and she was terribly afraid. And rightly so,” the nurse added, whipping her head toward Brier almost in warning. “The dark wood is a dangerous place. She tripped and fell into a great crack in the earth. As she fell, a nearby willow’s roots seized her and pulled her under.”

“Then what happened?” Brier whispered, breath hastening.

“Then she lost hope that anyone would ever find her. She thought that she was doomed to live out her days locked in the roots of the old willow tree. Starving, thirsty, and withering away like an old winter branch. However, this could not be further from her fate. Yes, she was stuck, but a passerby heard her cries in the tree roots. He stopped in his tracks and called his brothers to come investigate. Men that wore beards and were half the size of normal men. Some might call them dwarves. Six more dwarves stopped and listened to the cries coming from the old willow. ‘Chop it down!’ the eldest brother answered. And so they did, all seven of them. They cut the tree down, and Snow White was saved.”

“Hooray!” Brier shouted as he jumped on the pillow top mattress.

“When they took her from the tree, she was dirty and exhausted. The willow had cursed her in its last effort of revenge for cutting it down. She had a scar on her neck in the pattern of a tree leaf, but she was alive, and so they brought her back to their cabin, and they mended her to good health.”

“Did she dance and sing again then, Marietta?”

“She did. And how fair she was, thought the dwarves. They spoke of her beauty to other folk who came through the wood. But then, word traveled back to the evil queen. And she was furious! She called for the huntsman, and he confessed that he could not kill Snow White. Enraged, she ordered the guardsmen to kill the huntsman, and, with his dying breath, he confessed his love for the princess.”

Brier reached over to grab a pillow off his oversized bed and squeezed. He suddenly had the feeling that the story would take a turn for the worse.

“The queen decided to finish the job the huntsman did not with a poisoned apple. She disguised herself as an ugly elderly woman, and she came to the cabin that Snow White lived in with the dwarves. She showed Snow White the apple she poisoned, bloodred and perilous, but still Snow had the urge to taste it. The princess took a bite of the apple, and when she did, she died.”

“How dreadful.” Brier shook his head. “Why should the queen hate Snow White so?” he asked, incredulous. “I do not understand.”

The nurse chuckled and smiled at him. “Shall I continue?”

“Please do, Marietta. I should like to know the ending,” Brier replied with a sad smile.

“Well,” the nurse said in a warm voice. “The queen did think that she had finally rid herself of the fair maiden, but alas, there was a crack in her black magic, one that she could not foresee. The magic of the willow was stronger than her own, and it purged the strength of her poison so that Snow White did not die but slept for many years. The prince of the neighboring land did hear of a maiden sleeping soundly in the wood on a bed of wildflowers, in the cabin of seven dwarves.”

“And, I suppose, he too was handsome!”

“He was a handsome prince, I should say, though not as handsome as you, Prince Snow.” Brier blushed through his wide smile. “He came on his white steed, and he found Snow White sleeping soundly just as the rumors had told. Indeed, she was fair, and the prince decided that he had to have her in death or in life, and so he leaned down and placed a chaste kiss to her rose lips.”

“What did happen then I wonder?”

“Then she did wake up, Prince Snow! Her eyelids fluttered open, and she rose from her bed made of daisies and baby’s breath! Oh, how happy were the dwarves and the prince. The dark magic that the queen put on Snow White fell upon herself! And she turned into the old and ugly woman she disguised herself as. The queen was so furious that she drove herself mad with rage. And so, Snow White married the prince, and the dwarves sang and danced and were happy. Princess Snow White had many children, and lived ever after.” When the story finished, the nurse stood up and helped Brier into the comforter. His eyes were heavy with sleep, but he pursed his lips and sighed.

“Did you not like the story, little prince?”

Brier bit the inside of his lip, struggling. “It is not that, Mar’, only that I feel sad for the princess.”

“And why should you? Did she not meet a happy end?” the nurse asked as she sat down on the corner of the bed.

“Mayhap,” Brier answered, considering. “But how did she come to love the prince who had only loved her for her beauty when the huntsman had loved her for her heart?”

The nurse blinked at the prince’s reply. “How indeed.”

“And the poor huntsman, who had died, rather than to disgrace himself with the blood of his beloved. ’Tis a sad story indeed, Marietta.” Brier pouted. “Although you said it was a happy end.”

“Well….” Marietta sighed, bemused. “I did not think of it in that way, little prince.” She tucked him in tighter as if swaddling a babe.

“I think that I should marry a huntsman over a prince,” Brier decided as he flopped his head into the mountain of pillows, smiling softly.

“And why not a princess?” the nurse questioned, crossing her arms.

“That is because I should like to be kissed by a huntsman,” Brier answered matter-of-factly.

Contact information:

E-mail:  Eabemie@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EAB-Author-Page-549015555136236/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12644899.EAB

EAB’s BIO:

EAB is an airline steward/stewardess—depending on the day—who loves writing erotic fiction. This translates to serving Wild Turkey bourbon at 38,000 feet and writing smut at 3:00 a.m. EAB spends free-time role-playing and reading. While EAB’s true passion is writing, EAB also enjoys reaching high scores in nerdism, spending time with family (cats included), and watching anime. An East Coaster at heart, EAB loves New York’s Broadway and greasy, heartburn-inducing pizza. Feel free to drop a line or recommend some good reads! Always looking for a new book to devour!

Blog Tour: The Necessary Deaths by David C. Dawson

The Necessary Deaths
David C. Dawson
The first of the Dominic Delingpole Mysteries.

thenecessarydeaths-final-final

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon Kindle UK * Amazon Paperback UK
Amazon Kindle US * Amazon paperback US
Barnes & Noble
Apple iBooks

BLURB

A young journalism student lies unconscious in a hospital bed in Brighton, England. His life hangs in the balance after a ketamine overdose. But was it attempted suicide, or attempted murder? At the request of the student’s mother, British lawyer Dominic Delingpole reluctantly takes on the role of investigator, aided by his outspoken opera singer partner, Jonathan McFadden.

The student’s boyfriend discovers compromising photographs hidden in his lover’s room. The photographs not only feature senior politicians and business chiefs, but the young journalist himself. Is he being blackmailed, or is he the blackmailer?

As Dominic and Jonathan investigate further, their lives are threatened and three people are murdered. They uncover a conspiracy that reaches into the highest levels of government and powerful corporations. The people behind it are ruthless, no one can be trusted. The bond between Dominic and Jonathan deepens as they struggle not only for answers, but for their very survival.

necessarydeathsthe_headerbanner

EXCERPT

“Mrs. Gregory,” said Dominic. “I would be very happy to have you as a client, but I’m not sure in what way I can act for you.”

Samantha smiled. “And neither am I just at the moment. Let’s call you a professional friend. I have no one else who I can turn to, and your legal mind will help me to see things a little more clearly. As you can tell, I’m a little emotional just now.” She turned away to wipe a tear from the corner of her eye. Then she looked at him steadily.

“Simon and I are very close. Ever since Richard, his father, died in a climbing accident, we have been a very tight family unit. I’d like to think Simon and I can tell each other everything.”

Dominic wondered if she was keeping up a brave front, or whether she really believed Simon told her everything. Her comments clearly contradicted what Simon’s housemate Jay had said an hour ago. Dominic decided that, as she was his client, he owed her the duty of honesty, and he should tell her about what he had learned in the last few hours.
“Samantha, I’m afraid I believe Simon may not have confided everything in you in recent times. I went to see John this morning before coming here. He told me about their relationship and how Simon was not yet ready to tell you.”

Samantha smiled.

“Dominic, I’m his mother. Do you think that I didn’t know?” She sighed. “I knew he was finding it difficult to tell me, and I was waiting for him to pick the right time. I didn’t want to rush him.” She paused. “But yes, you’re right, and I am wrong. Simon hasn’t confided everything to me; I merely know and am waiting for him to tell me. John is a lovely boy, and I was just pleased to know that Simon is happy.”

Samantha narrowed her eyes slightly as she asked, “But why do you think that means he must have kept other secrets from me? Surely you of all people must know how difficult it is to come out?”

Dominic blushed briefly. “Everyone’s circumstances are different, of course, and for young people it really is much easier….”

“Oh nonsense! Can I just say that I think it’s a bit rich for you to judge Simon when you’re so secretive about yourself? We spent nearly three hours in the car together last night, and I still don’t know whether or not you have a boyfriend!”
This time Dominic’s face turned crimson.

“Samantha, could we just get back to—”

“Well, do you?”

Dominic sighed. “I think it’s my turn to acknowledge that I am wrong. Yes, I do have a partner, and no, I am not very open about it. In this day and age, it probably is unnecessary for me to be quite so discreet. But after a while, it gets to be almost a habit.”

Samantha giggled. “Oh, Dominic, how delightfully bashful you are! I imagine that it’s rare you have a conversation like this with your clients.”

Dominic smiled. “Samantha, I can tell you truthfully that I have never had a conversation like this with my clients. You must meet Jonathan some time. I think you two would get on like a house on fire.”

 

headshot-for-website-low-res

David C. Dawson is an author, award-winning journalist and documentary maker, living near Oxford in the UK.

He has traveled extensively, filming in nearly every continent of the world. He has lived in London, Geneva and San Francisco, but now prefers the tranquillity of the Oxfordshire countryside.

David is a Mathematics graduate from Southampton University in England. After graduating, he joined the BBC in London as a trainee journalist. He worked in radio newsrooms for several years before moving to television as a documentary director. During the growing AIDS crisis in the late eighties, he is proud to say that he directed the first demonstration of putting on a condom on British television.

After more than twenty years with the BBC, he left to go freelance. He has produced videos for several charities, including Ethiopiaid; which works to end poverty in Ethiopia, and Hestia; a London-based mental health charity.

David has one son, who is also a successful filmmaker.

In his spare time, David tours Europe on his ageing Triumph motorbike and sings with the London Gay Men’s Chorus. He has sung with the Chorus at St Paul’s Cathedral, The Roundhouse and the Royal Festival Hall, but David is most proud of the time they sang at the House of Lords, campaigning for equal marriage to be legalized in the UK.

Website www.davidcdawson.co.uk
Blog http://blog.davidcdawson.co.uk/#home
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/david.c.dawson.5
Twitter https://twitter.com/david_c_dawson

Blog Tour: Warrior Pledge by E E Montgomery

warriorpledge_postcard_front_dsp

Available from:
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
ARe

When the two moons of Thalazar cross orbits, the Warrior Pledge must be completed or the cat-shifting Mafdeti nation will face annihilation. There are four who can save the people and their land: the Silver Shining from Rock, the Great Heart Farseeing, the Changeling, and the Pure. They must find each other before time runs out.

Silver-eyed Checa is Captain of the Guard for the Mafdeti. Thanks to the friendship and loyalty of Heath, son of the Mafdeti Matriarch, Checa has survived and thrived after a childhood of horrific abuse. He knows Heath is his Bond-Mate but refuses to bond with the younger man because he feels he isn’t worthy. Nor does Heath’s mother approve of her son bonding with a lowborn warrior.

Together they face deadly wing-strikes from carnivorous birds, earthquake, betrayal, ambush, and an enemy invasion, only to be confronted with the possibility that the Warrior Pledge will bond Checa and Heath to others. If Checa is to complete the Warrior Pledge, he must overcome the belief that he doesn’t deserve Heath’s love, and fight for the one man who can make him whole.

EXCERPT:

  1. Warrior Pledge

THE BREEZE dropped as the sun peeped between the mountain peaks on the other side of the valley. A shiver ran across Checa’s shoulders, and with a thought he deepened his slide from human to were and thickened the fur at his ruff. To the north the trees that followed the river were dry and brittle, more than half of them already dead. Radiating out from that line were patches of darkness and light, a camo pattern of toxic sludge and severe drought. Even this high up, he could smell the rot that had taken over the valley. The farms provided a patchwork of gray and brown, sliced unevenly by the sludge emanating from the river systems. Smoke curled from a few farmhouse chimneys, but most lay abandoned, their inhabitants having long given up trying to eke a living from the dying land.

To the east the sky grew dark as the norrgel took flight and headed south. Checa blinked to enhance his sight and watched the wings rise and fall, the deadly threads trailing from wings and tail, waving gracefully in the movement. Far below the first horn blew, its familiar sound picked up and echoed by other watchers throughout the valley.

Wings up. Time to find shelter or die.

Checa had never known a time when a norrgel watch wasn’t needed.

A parrot squawked. He closed his eyes against the growing light, and deep in his soul, the two moons, Makai and Nayeli, moved inexorably closer in their ages-old battle for supremacy. Another sign the prophecy was coming true.

Checa refused to be part of it. No matter what, he wasn’t going to be the hero who would save the world. He wouldn’t let his star rise on the back of another’s death.

His be-damned eyes had turned bright silver when he was sixteen, the moment he’d killed the Bastard. The judge had found out, proclaimed Checa the Silver Shining from Rock, overturned his conviction, taken him to the palace, and put him with the guards for training. None of his fellow trainees had believed he was the one. Checa was a gutter rat from the slums, a murderer. He knew how to fight, though, so that’s what he did. Every time another guard challenged him.

In the ravine below, a flock of parrots took flight. Checa shook his head and huffed in irritation. Even with fifteen years training behind him, Heath could never move anywhere quietly. Checa checked the norrgel, but they were still flying south, their screeches rising every time they found something to hunt.

Checa had killed for the second time when he was eighteen. It was an accident while training in the field, but his eyes had changed to silver again. No one challenged him to a fight after that, except when forced to for training. For a long time, no one spoke to him. Except Heath.

“Checa!”

His name carried in the still air, and an involuntary smile overtook him at the joy in Heath’s voice. Checa’s muscles twitched, wanting to move, to go down and meet him, see the morning light grow as it reached Heath’s features. Just that one sight would be enough to make Checa’s day complete, even if it hadn’t yet really begun.

He returned to his human form and counted his breaths to ensure he remained in place, sitting cross-legged on the platform. There’d been an unusual vibration in the air during the night, an unsteadiness growing louder the closer the moons moved, and even though he wasn’t a Seer, he had to determine what it meant. As Captain of the Guard, it was his duty to keep his people safe. Whether they liked or trusted him made no difference.

“Checa!”

Heath was closer now, the sound of him crashing through the brush a rhythmic counterpoint to his steady footfalls on the leaf-strewn ground. Checa allowed his posture to relax and straightened his legs. He shifted forward so his balance would be stronger, wiped the new smile from his face, and waited.

Heath burst into the clearing like a new spring bloom and launched himself at Checa. Checa braced his legs against the edge of the platform, opened his arms, and caught the younger man as he flew to him. They landed flat on the platform, the bare skin of their chests fusing, Heath’s sweat soaking into Checa’s chest hair and becoming his own. Checa oomphed as his head hit the stone and Heath’s landing knocked the air from his lungs, but he didn’t release his hold, and his smile broke free again.

Some days this was all he had. This was the best of everything he had.

He wrapped his arms around Heath more securely.

“Sorry,” whispered Heath as he snuggled his head under Checa’s collarbone.

Checa ran his fingers through Heath’s long, tangled hair, relishing the touch of smooth skin at the back of his neck. “You’ve been running,” he said as he loosened another knot. He lifted the now-smooth strand and released it. It fell like a waterfall of gold and bronze, copper and chocolate in the strengthening light.

“I had to.” Heath pressed his lips against Checa’s chest and inhaled before relaxing in a boneless heap. “It’s faster.”

“And you just had to race up here to snuggle?”

Heath nodded, then chuckled. “I don’t think I’ll get any more time alone today. And snuggling with you is always worth racing for.”

“So what had you in such a tearing rush?” Checa continued gently smoothing Heath’s hair, not in any hurry to break the contact he craved, but Heath bounced up to sit squarely over Checa’s groin. Checa groaned at the change in pressure and punched his hips up. Their loincloths prevented direct contact, but Heath’s every ridge and bulge pressed against Checa and raised his interest.

Heath grinned. “Yeah, that too, but you’ve got to hear this. It’s happening, Checa! It’s finally happening.” Heath bounced in his excitement.

Checa grabbed Heath’s hips and lifted him off, ignoring the pouting scowl he got in return. Once they were seated on the platform, with dawn washing its gentle light over them and the soft breeze returning, he raised an eyebrow and waited.

“Stop it.” Heath slapped Checa’s arm. “I’m not some test animal. You don’t have to experiment to see how long I stay silent.”

“Clearly not long. So tell me what’s happening.”

Heath leaned forward and pressed his lips to Checa’s neck. Checa groaned at the light suction. Unable to resist he dragged Heath back on top of him and gripped his asscheeks, pulling him tight against him. Heath groaned. They wouldn’t be doing any more talking for a while.

Times like this, when they were alone with little likelihood of anyone discovering them together, were rare. Checa slipped his hand between them and pushed their loincloths out of the way. Heath’s solid, hot cock pressed against his stomach. As Checa wriggled his hand, Heath lifted just enough to align their cocks, then pressed down again.

Checa wrapped his arms around Heath, not letting him slip or slide just yet. “Let me feel you,” he whispered.

“If I could, I’d brand you.”

Checa stilled.

Heath huffed an irritated sigh. “I know you won’t bond with me, Checa. I know my mother would never give her approval. But none of that changes the fact that I would do so in a minute. I’d have you wear my brand so everyone would know you’re mine.”

As Heath spoke, Checa writhed, unable to remain still at the possessive note in Heath’s voice or the picture he painted of the two of them bound forever. He slipped his hand between them again and grasped their cocks together, squeezing before setting up a rhythm that would bring them both to the brink.

Heath lifted up until he was sitting on Checa’s thighs again, his hands between them, slipping in the precome as he fisted Checa’s cock hand over hand. They stroked together, in tandem, their gasping breaths loud in the quiet of the early morning.

“Come for me, Checa. Let me see your eyes when you come,” rasped Heath.

The words were enough to set Checa off. With effort he forced his eyes to stay open as he shot stream after stream of milky liquid on his chest and stomach.

“Yes,” hissed Heath as he leaned forward, his gaze locked on Checa’s as he convulsed in the throes of pleasure. After a few frozen seconds, Heath collapsed, boneless, on top of Checa and snuggled his face in the crook of his neck.

“I think this is your favorite position,” said Checa once his breathing began to even out.

“Any way I get to touch you is my favorite.” Heath huffed, relaxation slowing his words. “I love the way your eyes change when you come. They’re so bright and beautiful.”

Checa resumed rifling through Heath’s hair, sifting the soft strands over his shoulders and back. Only Heath thought his very ordinary green-gray was beautiful. “Tell me why you came tearing up here.”

Heath jumped off, fixed his loincloth, and bounced around the clearing. “You’ve been summoned by the Matriarch.”

Fuck. They’d been found out. Heath’s mother had made it clear that Checa wasn’t good enough for her only son. He was going to be banished, or worse. The roaring red pain flashed through him and he hunched his shoulders and allowed the Change to take him.

As fur grew across his shoulders and his muscles bulged underneath, his incisors lengthened and his hips and knees articulated. He could run on all fours like this, in his were form, or he could continue to full cat mode. He could run faster like that. Faster and longer.

Checa jumped off the platform and flexed his arms to prepare for the full shift, only to find Heath in front of him. Scowling. Angry.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Heath shoved hard at Checa’s chest, making him stumble backward. “Change back right now.”

Heath. His Heath. Checa deflated. As his breath left him in surrender, so too did his muscles reduce and his fur diminish. The sting of it popping back beneath his skin made him shiver. Heath was right. A leader, especially a military leader, couldn’t run when something went wrong. A good leader would stay and listen. A good soldier would stay and fight.

He crossed his arms across his chest and gifted Heath with a scowl of his own. “Why does your mother want to see me?”

Heath huffed out a frustrated breath and looked over the valley, his jaw tight. Finally he closed his eyes in a long blink and breathed deeply. When he opened them again, his temper was restored even if his eyes didn’t hold the same joy they had a few minutes before.

“The summons is from the Matriarch. If my mother found out about us, she wouldn’t hide behind her job. She’d scoop my balls out with a spoon and send you to the norrgel nests.”

Checa sighed. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’m just—”

Scared.

“I know. Me too. But, Checa—” Heath’s eyes glowed with renewed excitement. “—it’s coming. The signs are all there. It’s time for the Warrior Pledge! The Matriarch has called the Seer to the city.”

That’s what that vibration was.

Checa jammed his fists onto his hips and looked out over the Analee Valley. The Descendants lived there now, those born of the aliens that had landed a millennium ago and taken what they wanted—but once it had been the hunting grounds for the Mafdeti. If the Warrior Pledge worked, it would be again, but Checa wouldn’t live to see it. The breeze dropped along with his hopes. If Heath was right and it truly was time for the Warrior Pledge, then he had to say good-bye. He’d studied the legends and knew only one of the four would survive. As Silver Shining from Rock, it probably wouldn’t be him.

“Checa, do you know what this means?” Heath was so close behind him, Checa could feel him vibrating with anticipation. He turned to look at the only man he would ever love. “You’re Silver Shining from Rock. You’re the only one who has the eyes, and now that it’s time, that means it’s you.” Heath reached up and cradled Checa’s face. “It’s you!”

Checa had endured the fascination with his eyes since he was sixteen. He preferred disbelief. No one else had silver eyes. Everyone else in every pride throughout the mountain ranges both north and south of the Analee Valley had yellow or green or, in the case of the ruling families, brown. Like Heath’s. Checa’s were a common green, as pale as sun-dried grass, except when he killed.

“Checa?”

Checa ignored Heath as much as he could with him standing so close, his warmth seeping into his back. He continued to look out over the valley. “What signs have you seen?”

Heath sighed, a contented sound that let Checa know he’d been waiting to be asked. “The Chronicles detail a series of events that lead up to the Pledge. The norrgel are nesting earlier this year. Their numbers are double what they were five years ago. The Crystal River has dried up, releasing only a toxic sludge that’s threatening every life in the valley.” He grabbed Checa’s elbow and turned him away from a wisp of smoke at the far end of the valley. “I had a dream,” Heath said significantly. “Last night, I had a dream.”

“You’ve dreamed before. What was special about this one?”

“There were four in the dream, just as the Pledge describes.” He crossed his arms and lifted his chin smugly. “And when I woke, I was standing by the window.”

“The window?”

Heath nodded. “The one that looks over the valley.” He grasped Checa’s hands and squeezed them. “I was in Pledge stance, Checa. Pledge stance. You know what that means, don’t you?”

If it was anyone else, Checa could ignore them. Not Heath. Heath came from a long line of rulers and Seers. If he told you he had a dream, you’d damn well better listen. He looked down the valley again. “So… the Warrior Pledge.”

“Yes! And I’m one of them.” Heath bounced on the balls of his feet in his excitement. “And so are you.”

“No, you’re not.” Checa gestured to his eyes. “I have to be, but you’re not going to be involved.”

The Farseeing dies.

“Bullshit. I’ve known since I met you that I’m the Great Heart Farseeing.”

“You were eight. You couldn’t know anything that young.” Checa increased the derisive tone in his voice. He had to get Heath to accept he couldn’t be part of this. He needed to speak to the Matriarch and get her to forbid Heath to go. “And why would you think you’re the Farseeing? Because you had a dream?”

Heath’s face changed so rapidly Checa couldn’t keep up with the emotions flitting across his features. Hurt, certainly—again—but also anger. He saw that one clearly a split second before Heath hauled back and let fly, his fist hitting squarely on Checa’s jaw. Blood flooded Checa’s mouth as he bit his tongue, and he staggered back several steps before he found his footing again.

“Fuck you, Checa,” panted Heath, his eyes glowing wetly in the bright morning light. “Fuck you,” he whispered.

Heath turned and trudged back down the mountain. Checa waited just long enough to acknowledge he was a bastard, then ran after him.

“Heath! Wait!” He stumbled over tree roots on his dash down the hill. Heath must have shifted as soon as he was out of sight to be so far ahead already. Checa crashed between some trees, back onto the rugged path they used to reach the top. In front of him was a large, growling cat, his tawny fur ruffled aggressively. “I’m sorry,” Checa panted. “I shouldn’t have said that. It’s not true.”

The air wavered and the cat’s features blurred and shortened as his body rose. Checa sighed in relief as Heath allowed his body to flow through the stages from cat to were to man. He smiled at the graceful Change. “I love watching you do that.”

Heath strode toward him, fists clenched. “Why do you always do that?”

The smile evaporated, and Checa took a step backward.

Heath shoved at Checa’s chest. “You’re my m—my best friend. Friends are supposed to support each other, not lie.”

“Heath—”

“Shut up! What is it? It’s okay to spend every day with me but it’s not okay to acknowledge I might have a future outside this claustrophobic warren of caves? It’s okay to fuck me, but only if you make me feel worthless at every opportunity?”

“You’re not worthless.”

“Then why do you always tell me I am?”

“Heath.” Checa tried reason. “The Warrior Pledge is for warriors, not Seers.”

“I am a fucking warrior, Checa. You trained me yourself. Remember? There’s not one fucking soldier I can’t flatten if I want to, except maybe you. Don’t you dare try to tell me I’m not a fucking warrior.”

“You’re a Seer.”

“Yes, I’m a Seer. What the fuck do you think being a Seer means? It means I’m farseeing. I’m a fucking farseeing fucking warrior! How long since you recited the fucking Warrior Pledge, Checa? Or are you just going to ignore that because you don’t think I’m capable of being the Farseeing one?” He punched Checa’s shoulder. Checa rolled with it. “You think being a Seer is easy? I’ve worked fifteen years to get where I am: a Warrior Seer. All you had to do was kill the bastard who murdered your brother for your fucking silver eyes to come out, but I’m the one not good enough?” Heath’s voice wavered and tears welled in his eyes. “Fuck you, Checa.” He angrily brushed the tears away and reached to shove Checa again, but he didn’t make contact. The fight went out of him: his shoulders dropped, his hands unclenched, the breath left him in a rush. “Fuck you,” he whispered again.

Then he turned and ran down the path.

“Heath,” Checa whispered. “It’s not you who isn’t good enough.” The gusty sigh that left him as Heath disappeared into the forest took most of the joy he’d been feeling just a few minutes before. Killing Warden wasn’t the only thing the Bastard had done. It wasn’t the only reason Checa had spilled the man’s guts over the basement floor. After what the Bastard had done to Checa, Checa would never be good enough for Heath. But he’d do whatever it took to protect him, both from the knowledge of what Checa had done and from the dangers inherent in the Warrior Pledge.

He followed Heath down the mountain, slowly, no longer interested in watching the new day’s light awaken the lands.

 

 

A few months before

JUN PUSHED farther back between the rocks as the men in the tan uniforms walked by. Imperial soldiers on patrol. That wasn’t unusual, but this was the fourth patrol in this area this week. At least Fan was with them. He grinned at the thought of what he’d do to his lover when he finally got him away from his unit.

The soldiers clung to the thin shadows around the rocky outcropping. Like twists of dust, they slipped between the tall columns of stone into the only shelter from the unforgiving sun.

As the heel of the last soldier disappeared around the outcropping of boulders, a shadow caught Jun’s attention. He moved his head slightly, not enough to let the hidden man know he’d noticed him. An Exile, the detritus of the land, criminals and madmen the lot of them. When the man stopped and slipped between two nearby boulders, Jun edged closer, glad he was in were form. A thick black wedge of fur ran from the back of his neck to the crack between his buttocks, thinned and faded to gray as it wrapped around to his stomach. The fur darkened and thickened again on forearms and shins before thinning to nothing over his large square hands and feet. It helped him blend with the landscape. With luck, Jun would be able to move past the man’s hiding place and follow the soldiers without being seen.

Then the fool moved and Jun knew the man had spotted him. There was nothing for it now but to engage and see if he could get some answers as to why he was there, following an Imperial patrol.

Jun sidled up against the rock, keeping to the slim midday shadows, his focus partly on the soldiers ahead and partly on the sky, watching for norrgel.

As he approached the crevice where the Exile was hiding, the man grabbed his arm and dragged him into the gap between the boulders. Jun reacted, swinging the Exile around and pressing his forearm hard against the man’s throat. The Exile gripped Jun’s arm, his breathing harsh in the confined space.

“What the fuck are you doing? Imperial soldiers kill people like you,” the Exile croaked through the pressure against his throat.

Jun tensed. Why would the Exile be concerned about a Mafdeti? At least he was smart enough not to try to fight. Jun, like most Mafdeti, was a massive, heavyset man, his body rippling muscle and strength. He fought to win or die, and he fought dirty. The Exile didn’t stand a chance.

Jun relaxed his muscles so that all the Exile would feel under his fingertips was warm, soft fur. He waited while the man sucked in a tight, relieved breath.

“The patrol has been here since dawn.” The man tilted his head so he could see around the edge of the rock and out to the desert beyond. Jun knew there wasn’t much to see, just white and charcoal on black, the dark shapes shimmering in the heat, the landscape stripped of color in the noonday sun.

“That’s not a regular patrol,” Jun murmured as he crowded behind the Exile.

“I know. They’re searching for something. Or someone.”

Jun cursed and released the man, stepping farther back into the shadows. Had they found out about his visits? It was the only explanation he could think of, though he always approached the city from a different direction and never stayed in one spot long enough to be detected.

“Shit. How could they have found out?” the Exile cursed.

Every molecule in Jun’s body jumped to high alert. “They’re after you?”

“It’s possible.”

“Because you’re an Exile or…?” He left the question hanging. He couldn’t think of any reason a lone Exile would be in this area, unless…. “Are there others out there?” Drett. Was he going to have to spend the entire day rescuing careless bloody Exiles?

“No.” The man offered no further explanation.

Jun pushed farther back between the rocks. It would be relatively easy for the soldiers to find them. It wasn’t as if there were a lot of hiding places out there in the desert. Not on the surface anyway, but Jun had another agenda. Something more urgent. “Are you going to stay squashed in here all day?” His voice rumbled through the black hair hanging down the Exile’s neck.

The man shivered and took a small step forward, putting space between their bodies. He turned his head and whispered, “If we’re going to be that intimate, you’d better know my name. I’m Fisher.”

Jun looked closely at Fisher. At first he thought the man wore camouflage makeup but then realized it was the pigmentation of his skin that made him look mottled with patches of smooth ivory and darkest chocolate.

Fisher moved forward a little more to look out at the desert, then back to Jun. “I’d rather be stuck here all day than dead.”

Jun smiled, just the corners of his lips lifting, and leaned back against the wedge of rock behind him. “So, what are we going to do to pass the time?”

Fisher scowled and slid down the rock to squat in the sand. There was something not quite right about the Exile, but Jun couldn’t work it out. Why would he be this close to the city and alone, unless he was looking for something… or someone? Fisher had been following the patrol, not trying to avoid it. Jun didn’t need to know. He had an appointment to keep, and he needed to warn Fan they were being followed. He just had to make sure that he and his lover weren’t caught in the cross fire, whatever it was.

Fisher looked up at him and smiled a smile that would fool Jun’s mother. “I don’t know what you have planned, but I’m going to sleep for a while, then leave.” He lowered his buttocks onto the sand but kept his feet under him, like a soldier, ready to rise quickly. Then he closed his eyes and ignored Jun.

After several minutes, Fisher’s breathing slowed and the muscles in his neck and back relaxed. His head dropped forward, cheeks landing on his knees. The pressure forced his mouth open and saliva dribbled out. Time passed and Fisher settled more comfortably into position. Jun wasn’t fooled Fisher was asleep, but he was almost impossible to track once he was out of sight, so he moved past slowly, barely brushing Fisher’s hair, thanking the Elders he could move so quickly and silently.

Within seconds he was back in the scorching sun, following the patrol. He kept his steps deliberate and silent as he closed the distance between himself and the last man in the Imperial patrol.

The slip and crunch of a sandy body sliding against rock was the only warning Jun had before a tan-clothed arm shot out between boulders and dragged him into a small area. As Jun scented his mate, he swiftly changed to fully human form.

“Thank the Elders you managed to get away. I’ve been waiting all day.” Jun grabbed Fan’s sandy brown hair and kissed him roughly.

“We’re on extended patrol.” Fan was panting, whether from his flight to Jun or from arousal, Jun didn’t care. He was there and that was all that mattered. “There’ve been intruders spotted.” Jun fumbled at Fan’s belt; the buckle clinked as it released. A low groan from Fan covered the sounds. “We can’t…. The others.”

“I’m so desperate for you it’ll be over before they notice you’re not right behind them.” Jun dropped to his knees, nuzzling Fan’s groin as he tugged his clothing out of the way. Within seconds his mouth closed around the warm, silky skin of Fan’s cock. Jun sucked in a deep breath as he tasted him. It was like coming home. There was no fragrance, no taste that brought more peace to him or that he craved more.

Fan groaned, the sound muffled as he shoved his hand over his mouth. Jun sucked harder, fondled Fan’s balls, and tugged gently.

“Jun, wait, it’s too much. I’m going to….”

Jun moved his fingers behind Fan’s balls to the delicate skin beyond. Frantic thrusts jammed against the back of his throat as warm liquid flooded his mouth. Above him, Fan keened like an animal in pain.

“Yes,” Jun hissed around Fan’s cock.

“Jun!”

Behind the cry sand slid against sand. Jun stilled, listening closely, his own need to come forgotten at the threat of discovery.

“What is it?”

He rose to his feet and drew his mate into a quick hug. “Nothing. It’s fine. You’d better get back before they miss you.”

“Two days?” Fan’s smooth tenor sounded gravelly and breathless.

“I’ll be here.” Jun dragged him into his arms, relishing any time he could get with him, wishing things were different and they could be together all the time. He pressed closer, letting his gentle kisses tell Fan what he needed to know. “Watch out for a tail.”

Fan’s eyes narrowed, but he nodded his understanding. He righted his clothing and walked away, sand crunching against rock as he headed through the maze of boulders and back to his unit. Jun watched him go, leaning back against the rock, waiting to make sure they hadn’t been discovered by Fan’s teammates and listening for the man on the other side of the boulder.

 

Author Links:

Web, blog and free short stories: www.eemontgomery.com
Email: eemontgomery11@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ewynelaine.montgomery
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EEMontgomery1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5347023.E_E_Montgomery
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/E-E-Montgomery/e/B008LO3SBA/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/eemontgomery11/
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/e-e-montgomery
Escape Publishing: http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/author/ee-montgomery

 

Blog Tour: Will You Be My Escort by Meg Harding

Will You Be My Escort
#2 in The Carlisles Series
200 pages
Dreamspinner Press
Cover by Reese Dante

willyoubemyescortfs_v1

Buy Links:

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All Romance

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A Carlisles novel

Jackson Carlisle has rotten luck with men and women, and after an especially bad situation, he takes a step back from romance. But with a two-week family reunion in Hawaii looming, his mom is determined to set him up with one of the sweet singles she knows would be perfect for him. A normal person would tell her no and be done with it. Instead, Jackson tells her he has a boyfriend. The only problem? He doesn’t.

Aaron Wilkes is an escort. He’s a little surprised when a friend’s girlfriend hires him to date her brother, but he’s had stranger jobs. Jackson is cute, and he thinks a fling with Aaron might be just the kind of no-strings-attached fun he needs to get over his dry spell. As they explore the islands together, their carefully laid plans begin to get away from them. Feelings aren’t supposed to come into play, but that shouldn’t be a problem. After all, you can’t fall in love in two weeks….

Excerpt:

Part of being in a large family means everyone knows everything. And it’s never forgotten, because inevitably someone remembers it. So Jackson doesn’t know how he hasn’t heard about the family reunion until he’s staring at the ridiculous card on his dark-cream tiled counter. Someone has taken the time to make a collage of the entire family’s faces and merge them into lettering that reads “You’re invited to the Carlisle Family Reunion.” He’s not sure whether to be impressed or appalled.

His phone starts to trill. He picks it up without looking. “Are you seeing this?” asks James. “I think I’m hallucinating it.”

“No,” says Jackson. “I’ve got it in front of me. It’s painfully real.”

The last thing in the world he wants to do is attend a family reunion. It’s a two-week-long affair at a resort in Hawaii (which would be lovely if the family reunion aspect was removed), occurring in three weeks’ time, during which they’re going to be surrounded by obnoxious extended family. It’s like something from a horror film.

“I don’t know why you’re complaining,” he says to James. “You’ve got a boyfriend.” He thinks about it. “Can Bastien not come?” He runs two businesses and works a lot, but he’s got a partner who can probably take things over.

“Bastien can come,” grumbles James. “He’s annoyingly excited for it.”

“He’s in for a rude awakening,” mutters Jackson. Bastien hasn’t met anyone outside of their immediate close-knit group yet—he wasn’t around for the last reunion. He’s probably expecting everyone to be like their particular branch of Carlisles. The extended family isn’t like them. Well, in some ways they are, but in others… no. They’re an eclectic group of people who mostly only bother to get together and converse for a period longer than a two-word holiday or birthday card every five years.

There’s a reason for that.

His call waiting goes off. He pulls the phone from his ear. “Mom’s calling,” he says on a sigh. “I’ll call you back.”

“Don’t bother,” says James. “I’m coming over, and we’re going to drink till we forget we’ve been invited.”

Jackson rolls his eyes. “You’re a drama queen.” He drops the call in the middle of James’s indignant squawks. “Hello,” he says to his mom.

“Hello, sweetie,” she says. “Did you get the invitation?”

He glares at their obnoxious collaged faces. “I did.” He looks closer. Someone has photoshopped a curled mustache onto James’s face. He holds the phone away from him as he snickers. Their cousin Bobby must have made the card. He hates James. “James has a mustache in the picture,” he tells his mom. “Did you see that?”

Her sigh is long and pained. “I did. I’m calling to let you know you have to go. You can’t get out of this.” She goes silent, but there’s something about it that makes Jackson feel like there’s more coming. He has a feeling he’s not going to like it. “I know things have been rough, since you had to move and all….”

And he called that.

“But I have a friend, she has a delightful daughter, and I think you two would really get along. She might take some of the pressure off the reunion? And I think it’ll be good for you. I don’t mean to worry, but you haven’t dated anyone since Angel.” He winces at the name. “It’s time to try again, don’t you think? Move on? We’re all worried about you, dear. I have a friend with a son too, he’s a bit older than you, but he’s got a nice job.”

The last thing he wants is to be set up by his mother. A sane person would tell her to butt out and hang up. Politely of course; this is his mom after all. Jackson has a short supply of sanity, though, and he’s been running on very little sleep for the last month. What comes out of his mouth, instead of “no, thank you” or “I don’t need someone else to be happy,” is “I’m already seeing someone.”

 

 

Giveaway: Paperback copy of Dinner for One

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bio:

Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF and Anglia Ruskin University. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes.  In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

 

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