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GUEST POST with GIVEAWAY: Nocturne by Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt

Guest Post

Thanks so much to Nic & RJ for having us as guests. Today is Nocturne’s release day, and Irene and I are so excited to see this one makes its way into the world!

Actually, I’m writing this post a week before the release, so I’m still in the nervous stage. The first couple reviews have been positive, though, and we’re grateful for readers’ enthusiastic response.

So why the nerves?

Nocturne is the second book in our Hours of the Night series, but this is the first time either of us had written a sequel. Bonfire, our holiday novella, doesn’t really count. For that story, we deliberately focused on the relationship between Thaddeus and Sara, and let most of the dangling plot threads from Vespers, well, dangle.

But with Nocturne, we had to pick them back up. After we remembered what they were. (lol!) I’m going to quote Irene here…

I love being in Thad and Sara’s world, so I’m always excited to return there. In just two novels and a novella, though, it’s insane how much we already have to go back and look up.

Honestly, remembering the story arcs didn’t make us as crazy as figuring out how to balance them, so that the wrong one didn’t take over. We posed questions in Vespers that we really don’t want to answer until book 3, if then. We also struggled (hard) with figuring out how much backstory to include so that new readers could enjoy the story without boring people who’d read the earlier books.

Irene’s the detail girl, while I tend to think in terms of the bigger picture get lazy and write whatever comes to mind first. Which was a problem when, near the end of the first draft, I’d set a few scenes in a room that didn’t exist in Vespers.

Oops.

So, yeah. It took us a while, but we’re ready for release day, and I think we’re both tremendously proud of the story we created. Keep reading here for an excerpt, and be sure and enter our rafflecopter giveaway. Someone’s gonna end up with a $

Buy Links

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | More Stores

Special Release Pricing

Vespers (Book 1) – $0.99 reg. $3.99

Bonfire (Book 1.5) – $0.99 reg. $2.99

Nocturne (Book 2) – $2.99 reg. $4.99

Giveaway

Win a Gift Card!

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

The giveaway will open be thru 10/31/17.

Blurb

It’s Mardi Gras, cher, but this year le bon temps kick off with murder…

For generations, the White Monks have treated the vampire Thaddeus Dupont as a weapon in their battle against demons. However, when a prominent matron drops dead at a party, Thaddeus and his lover Sarasija are asked to find her killer. Their investigation leads them to an old southern family with connections everywhere: Louisiana politics, big business, the Church, and an organization just as secret as the White Monks.

Meanwhile, an esoteric text containing spells for demon-summoning has disappeared, Thaddeus is losing control of le monstre, and Sara is troubled by disturbing dreams. These nightmares could be a side-effect of dating a vampire, or they could be a remnant of his brush with evil. As the nights wear on, Sara fears they are a manifestation of something darker – a secret that could destroy his relationship with Thaddeus.

Nocturne is only $2.99 (40% off) through Oct. 12.

Don’t miss Vespers and Bonfire (Hours of the Night 1 and 1.5) at the special price of $0.99 for the same period!

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | More Stores

About the Authors

Join Liv & Irene in their private reader group, After Hours!

About Irene Preston

Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one.  As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe.  Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

Where to find Irene

IrenePreston.com

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Mailing List | Goodreads | After Hours

About Liv Rancourt

I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at work or at home. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.

Where to find Liv

LivRancourt.com

Facebook | Twitter | Mailing List | Goodreads | After Hours

Excerpt

The demons did not die easily.

We’d found them spray-painting nonsense syllables on the side of an abandoned brick building, not too many blocks from the river. One went down easily. The other, a small person, put up quite a fight, leaving Nohea and me bruised and breathless. Our walk back to the car was slow, and I was shamefully grateful to sink into the leather seat of my business manager’s sports car.

“Well.” Nohea slammed her door and glanced at me sideways. “That was a barrel of fun, wasn’t it?”

The second demon whimpered right before I deanimated her, and the echo of that pathetic sound tempered my response. “I’m glad no innocents were involved.” Assuming one of the possessed women had summoned the demon in the first place. Brother George’s accusation that I’d neglected my duty still chafed. I’d never refused to do anything they’d asked me to do.

Nohea rubbed at her face with an air of exhaustion. “So, where to, boss? You still want to chase Sara down?”

Did I? I stretched my sense, seeking Sara’s sweet warmth. And found… “Merde.” I whispered the word, surprise blossoming into a sense of horror.

“What?” Unconcerned, Nohea rolled her head from side to side, stretching as much as the small space would allow.

“I cannot find him.” I whispered the words, as if saying them any louder would make them true. I sprang from the car, spinning in a circle, reaching out with everything I possessed.

Rien.

Nohea climbed out of the car, eyes wide. “Thaddeus?”

“He is…nowhere.” I refused to give credence to the most obvious reason for this circumstance.

“He’s probably at the house by now. Come on, get back in the car.”

I made another slow circle, taking in the abandoned building, the ramshackle shotgun houses, the rust, the despair.

And not one particle of Sara’s spirit.

A buzzing noise came from the car, as unimportant and irritating as a wasp. Pain crashed over me in waves, and I stood with my hands clasped on top of my head, forcing my body to breathe.

The buzzing came again, and then Nohea’s voice. “Thaddeus, come on.” She stood in front of me, holding a cell phone. “Brother Michael wants to talk to you.”

“I do not…” The words faded. I clung to her gaze, as if by the force of our wills combined, we could alter this terrible thing.

She nodded once, sharply. “I’m sorry, Brother Michael, but Thaddeus is unavailable. How ’bout I take a message for you.” She paused, catching her lower lip in her teeth. “Okay.” Her silence went on a beat too long. “He says”—she pressed the phone to her chest—“wait. Just talk to him.”

Holding the phone out like a weapon, she came closer. I found myself taking it from her, holding it against my ear, all while trapped in a miasma of distress. “Yes?”

“Thaddeus, where is your companion? Where is Sara?” Brother Michael said frantically. “Nohea wouldn’t answer me just now, but you must know.”

“I…do not.”

 

Nocturne is only $2.99 (40% off) through Oct. 12.

Don’t miss Vespers and Bonfire (Hours of the Night 1 and 1.5) at the special price of $0.99 for the same period!

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | More Stores

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT with GIVEAWAY: Gatekeeper by Charity Parkerson

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BLURB

He’s a player. Everyone knows it. Except Sean isn’t a game to him.

Mateo has been the biggest contender for the Super Lightweight title for over two years. No matter how hard he works, he can’t seem to beat the current champ. Since boxing is all he has in the world, it’s an issue. His confidence is in the can, and his social life is non-existent. Mateo has had no real friends or relationships that have lasted longer than one night in years. That is, until he meets a man whose beautiful heart leaves him mystified.

Rescuing a drunk from the parking lot of his workplace, Slip, isn’t a new thing for Sean. People leave the bar and grill plastered and intent on driving all the time. Usually, Sean calls them a cab and sends them on their way. Mateo is the first one he’s ever taken home. There’s something sad about Mateo. Sean lost all his friends years ago, and he sees a kindred spirit in the sexy boxer. It’s easier than he ever dreams to consider the man his best friend in no time at all. Except he’s not. Mateo is so much more.

It’ll take the purest heart to save a broken man from a hellish life. Unfortunately, when it comes to Mateo and Sean, it’s hard to know who needs rescuing the most.

Find Gatekeeper on Goodreads

Find the Low Blow series on Goodreads

Pre-Order: Amazon Universal

Releases 30th October.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

“Just read the report,” Renato snapped, sounding furious. “You are worth millions and this guy is a thief.”

Sean sat on the steps. He couldn’t take another step.

“I don’t give a shit what you dug up on Sean. He’s no thief.”

Renato growled. “He stole money and a car from a guy he was dating. It’s all in the police report.”

“And?” Mateo sounded bored, but Sean thought he’d faint. He couldn’t force a full breath into his lungs.

“And what? He’s a fucking crook and you’re bringing him to your mother’s house for Christmas. You mark my words, son, he’ll sue us over that cut. He saw an easy mark in you.”

“I am easy,” Mateo said, obviously attempting to give his dad a stroke.

“Goddamn it, Mateo. Everything isn’t always a joke. Even if he doesn’t mean you harm, he will hurt you. You have a reputation to uphold. If you ever stop fucking around and actually win a title, everyone will be talking about him and not you. You’ll look like a fool.”

Mateo laughed. It was so fake it hurt Sean’s heart. “I thought I was a gatekeeper. That’s what you’ve always said, so really, there’s nothing to worry about.”

“Pull your fucking head out of your ass,” Renato roared, making Sean jump. “Stop thinking with your dick and embarrassing everyone. You’re a man. Act like it. You’ve had your mother crying all night— the way you always do. I’ve never met a more selfish, ungrateful—”

“Okay, well, this has been fun,” Mateo said, cutting him off. “It’s always nice when you stop by for a visit. I’ll walk you out.”

“If it wasn’t for your grandmother always coddling you.”

“Yes, I know,” Mateo said, sounding tired. “I wouldn’t suck dick. Yada yada. Let’s go.

“We should’ve beat you as a child,” Renato said, his voice getting farther away.

“It wouldn’t have helped,” Mateo said with laughter lacing his voice. “I let people beat me now and I kind of like it.”

 

GIVEAWAY: Win a Kindle Fire with case

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Charity profile pic

Charity Parkerson is an award winning and multi-published author with Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Midnight Books, and Punk & Sissy Publications. Born with no filter from her brain to her mouth, she decided to take this odd quirk and insert it in her characters.

*Winner of 2, 2014 Readers’ Favorite Awards

*2014 Golden Ankh nominee

*2013 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner

*2013 Reviewers’ Choice Award Winner

*2012 ARRA Finalist for Favorite Paranormal Romance

*Five-time winner of The Mistress of the Darkpath

Links: Website | Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Honey and Heat by Rian Durant

Blurb

Linden has only one thing on his mind a few days away from Christmas—his pending university exams. That is, until he meets his neighbors’ son who has returned for the holidays. Brice Stevens is gorgeous, but he’s insufferable.

It’s Linden’s first love, and he falls hard for Brice, despite Brice’s occasionally aloof and cool behavior. It’s an emotional ride for both of them while Linden takes a crash course in real love and Brice learns to trust in a relationship.

Exclusive Excerpt

“Do you want some coffee? I was just…”
“Yes, that would be cool. I’ll probably have a long night.”
Linden wished he could slap his mind or his imagination or whatever it was that at the mention of late night started projecting wild scenes involving Brice which distinctly reminded him of a music video, but he didn’t remember which exactly. Without commenting further, he went to the kitchen to boil some water and mixed the ingredients taking his time to relax. When he went back to his room with the tray, Brice looked quite comfortable sitting in his armchair with one of the textbooks in hand.
“Political science? You don’t strike me as the type of person to delve into politics.”
He left the tray and shrugged. “It’s just one of the basics courses we have, otherwise you are right. Sugar, stevia?”
Brice’s eyes crawled over him the same way they did with the room and that unnerved him. He knew he was acting stupid but couldn’t help it, especially when the observation went on with the silence between them.
“So did I pass the assessment? Hm? Do you want me to show you my grades or some recommendations from the places I’ve worked? Maybe I can get back the key then?”
He quirked his eyebrow again, and after taking a sip from his coffee, Brice replied, “Not until I’m gone. I don’t want you walking in on me again when… you know.”
He prayed that it was dark enough so the blush on his cheeks remained unobserved, but his prayers weren’t heard because the blue eyes focused on his face and that cursed smile twisted his lips again. Brice was about to suck the sanity out of him without any permission.
“By the way, something sweet would be good.”

Buy links

NineStar Press ||Amazon.com || Amazon.co.uk || Amazon.de|| Smashwords

Author Bio

Rian is one of those who are both blessed and cursed by the insatiable desire to write, primarily M/M (insert more Ms if you like) stories.

Always having a plot in mind is hard when having a day time job but Rian manages them currently, assisted by the priceless support of her soul mate, lots of coffee and pure obstinacy.

What makes Rian smile is anything that could be the reason for that spark in the eyes, accompanied by the exclamation: “Oh my, I just saw something!”

Links

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/riandurantauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rian_durant
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rian_durant/
Blog: https://riandurant.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14370031.Rian_Durant

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RELEASE BLITZ with GIVEAWAY: Circle by Garrett Leigh

 

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 50,000 words approx
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Roads Series
 
Slide (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Rare (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

I love him…but he’s forgotten why.


A lot can happen in six years, and Ash and Pete have seen their world flipped upside down more times than most. Being parents to Pete’s young nephew wasn’t in their plan, but life happens to them and they roll with the punches. Or at least they did, until new heartache rocks their hard-won happily-ever-after.


Ash loves Pete as much as ever—more, in fact—but Pete battles alone with a burden that weighs heavily on his heart. Ash is no stranger to dark clouds, but the secret Pete keeps from him is a storm that could break them.


Despite the fierce love that once buoyed them, they’re both drowning until a new friend throws them a lifeline. His wisdom offers insight—for better or worse, real love is rarely a smooth journey. For Ash and Pete to come full circle once more, they’ll have to hit the road and chase it.

Excerpt



Okay, so feline-themed clubs were definitely not my bag, but I couldn’t deny that it felt amazing to be out and proud with Ash. I sank into a couple of beers, and the dark cloud that had become my constant companion lifted a touch, chased away by neon lights, glitter, and the swathes of naked man skin all around us.


Not that I took much notice of any man but Ash. He was never going to take his shirt off in public, but he didn’t need to. The fucker turned heads wherever he went, and the fact that he had no idea made me love him even more.


Made me want him even more.


We didn’t dance. Ever. But clubs had always made us horny in the past, and this one was no exception. The music ramped up and the heat seeped into us. The crowds thickened, pushing us ever closer. I pressed myself tight against Ash, so absorbed in him that I forgot to glare at anyone who dared look his way, and backed him into a nearby wall. “I like this club.”


“Yeah?” Ash hadn’t touched any booze, but his face was as flushed as mine felt, his eyes as hooded, and his skin jumped when I slid my hands beneath his T-shirt and over his chest. He licked his lips. “Do you think we’re gonna be here long?”


I doubted it, and it wouldn’t be the first time we’d cut loose early to run home and bang. But we weren’t at home now, and as I kissed Ash, it occurred to me that we’d never fucked anywhere that wasn’t our home. If tonight went the way most of our club adventures had before, where would it end? Would Ash fuck me in a hotel? I honestly had no idea. And whose fault is that? If I’d come with him when he’d first started traveling two years ago, I’d know, and perhaps would have even persuaded him that we could fuck anywhere we damn well pleased.


We kissed for hours in the club. The fact that Ash made no move to hustle me out clued me in to how he felt about banging in our hotel room, but I didn’t let that stop me enjoying him. Because, fuck, I’d missed him, even though he’d been right there from the moment I’d met him. Ash was my home, my family, my everything. We didn’t need to screw for me to know that.

Author Bio

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock sitemoonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

Website: http://www.garrettleigh.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

 Giveaway

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

 

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UPCOMING RELEASE: Alpha’s Warlock by Kris Sawyer

 BLURB: Clyde Barrington is a werewolf with a curse on his head. Every night, he shifts from human to wolf and lives the life of a lonely predator, never fully accepted by his pack. When he saves a handsome stranger from a fire, everything changes.

In a world divided by the ancient feud between werewolves and warlocks, Clyde and Terry must learn to trust each other. When wolves start to disappear, their bond is tested by the fear of a pack now balanced on the edge of destruction.

Amidst a web of lies, deceits and betrayals, Clyde must decide where his loyalties lie, and choose between a forbidden love and the ties that bind him to his brothers. Is Terry an enemy to the pack, or the saviour that will lead them out of the darkness?

EXCERPT

The feeling of creeping heat, pleasant at first, began at Terry’s feet. He was dreaming of summer in Mississippi, where his boyhood had been spent in the sultry air of the southern bayou. The sheet that clung to his naked chest felt clammy and damp, but in sleep was no more than the humid brush of a vine against his forearms. He was unconscious by the time the exterior propane tank blew a hole, clear through his kitchen wall.

The alarm from the volunteer fire department called the villagers to action, but the house was fully engulfed by the time they gathered and hooked the canvas hoses to the hydrant. Being a member of the crew gave each volunteer a tax deduction and some pocket change, but the frightened group had always hoped never to be called to a genuine blaze. The real thing was so different from the annual training, which simply involved setting someone’s decrepit barn on fire and laughing about it later over a beer. They turned their hoses on the inferno and bent their backs to ensure it didn’t spread to the nearby barn. None made any attempt to enter the house, and few believed anyone inside could be left alive.

So focused were the men on their labors that they didn’t notice the shadow that crept quickly from the edge of the pine forest. The figure bounded on soundless paws, a sliver of moon catching gray fur as it paused before a shattered window, smoke belching from the jagged opening. In seconds, the shadow had disappeared over the sill.

Terry was oblivious to the powerful jaws that tore away the bedding, and did not feel himself being clutched by two sinewy forearms to the beast’s massive chest. It leapt from the window as the structural beams began to crumble, leaving a trail of blood against the broken pane that ripped at the animal’s side. Running on its hind paws, the animal carried its prize to the edge of the forest and laid the unconscious form gently on the ground.

As he slowly regained consciousness, all Terry could feel was a raw burning in his lungs and he gasped at the pain of each breath. Rolling to his side, he pushed himself to sit, bewildered at his surroundings. He was wearing only his boxers, and began to shiver uncontrollably in the cool of the autumn air. In the distance, he could see the flames licking at the roof of his house, and a dozen frantic forms scurrying like ants around its glowing perimeter.

A scuffling to his left brought Terry’s attention abruptly to the shaggy form that stood immobile between the towering lodge pines. The wolf’s eyes were fixed on his own, and fear shot down Terry’s spine as he scrambled to get to his feet. The wolf remained unmoving, staring intently at the man he had rescued but content to keep his distance. Smears of blood spread across Terry’s thighs but he could find no injury to account for their presence. It was only when the wolf bent to lick his wound that Terry could fathom a connection between his sudden awakening and the animal’s presence. He knew without comprehending that the wolf meant him no harm.

When it was clear that the man had recovered his senses, the wolf rose on his hind legs and gave an unearthly howl, shattering the silence between them. A distant voice returned the call and it was taken up by a dozen others, echoing through the trees and filling Terry with a blind terror. Closing his jaws, the wolf turned abruptly and was gone, lost to the darkness which was quiet once more.

Terry began his slow and painful return to a house that was now a steaming mound of embers.

LENGTH: 15000 words approx

GENRE: M/M, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal

~~ PRE-ORDER IT NOW – http://amzn.to/2wcw630 ~~

Add it to your Goodreads TBR list – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36068143-cursed

——————-

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kris Sawyer is the pseudonym of Sid Love, who has written several books in the M/M Romance genre but with the Alpha’s Warlock series, he intends to introduce a new world of supernatural beings that will intrigue the readers.

Sawyer grew up in one of busiest cities in the world, Mumbai, listening to the excerpts of Indian epics from his father every night. He is a Potter-head and loves a good mystery in the books he reads.

Alpha’s Warlock is Sawyer’s dream project that he’s been working on forever!

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RELEASE BLITZ: Peep Show by Clare London

 

 
Length: 16,000 words
 
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
 
Blurb
 

Ever wanted to spy secretly on other peopleís lives?


Ken doesnít have a choice: his student summer job is manning the CCTV screens for the new central London shopping mall. But instead of spotting criminals or vandals, he becomes fascinated by a cute waiter from the local bistro who sneaks out to the backyard for his breakóand plays sexy to the camera.


Is he an old friend, or just an anonymous exhibitionist? Should Ken be excited by this naughty peepshow, or will people think heís a voyeuristic pervert? Poor Kenís confused and thrilled in turn. Itís like living in one of the movies heís studying at university. He knows the man canít see him, yet Ken feels a connection of some kind. It all encourages Ken to continue with his guilt-ridden Waiter Watch.



Ken bears the suspense as long as he can, until a chance meeting and an abortive blind date provide the explanation to the secret assignations. But will this guide Ken to a real-life chance of romance?


First Edition published by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2013.

 

Excerpt


Ken had to admit he hated his job. With a passion. Or rather, with a slow-burning boredom and distaste. Passion implied some kind of energyóthe agony and the ecstasy!óand Ken had none of that left after another night sitting in the small, stuffy room and gazing at a wall of screens.


He leaned back in his hard-backed chair, stretched, and yawned. A glance at the clock confirmed it was a good hour until his official break time, when the steroid-enhanced Tomas would reluctantly pause in strutting his security patrol around the shopping centre, and arrive to cover Kenís post while he went for coffee and a sandwich. Then another two hours until the end of the shift at 2:00 a.m., when old Charlie would shuffle in for duty, complete with his tatty Aran cardigan, his Maeve Binchy paperback, and an oversized thermos of homemade vegetable soup, to take over from Ken until the offices opened.


Ken sighed. What a way to spend a Saturday nightóor any night, for that matter.


Over three hours to go.


Over three hoursÖ.


He yawned again. The screens flickered and settled into a range of views from another angle. There was a bank of them, covering critical points around the shopping centre, and they were manned 24/7. Ken was one of those ìmanningî people. He was meant to watch the screens closely at all times. The centre was a small one, in Surbiton on the outskirts of London, and couldnít compete with the massive retail complexes built off the M25 in Essex or central Londonís Oxford Street. It was really just a dozen shops hanging out together under the same roof. But these were high-fashion, prestigious-designer stores, full of valuable goods and constantly at threat from thieves, vandals, and general abusers. Or so Kenís summer-job employers, Safeguard Assured, would have people believe.


Ken thought it wouldnít be so bad if he actually saw something. Look out, itís beHIND you! He knew it was ludicrous to wish for theft, destruction, or general abuseówhatever that coveredóbut heíd been working here for over a month now, and heíd seen nothing untoward. Nothing at all. No fights, no malicious damage to the shops or the building, no tanks ramming through the night-time shutters, no intercontinental ballistic missiles shrieking in from the dark night skies aboveóonly twenty-four hours left to protect historic London!óto destroy everything the population held dearÖ.


Okay, so his mind was rambling again. His mum always said he had a vivid imagination. Heíd chosen well when he took a media and film studies course at Kingston University, because heíd always spent far too much time imagining book and movie quotes around real-life events. Of course, Mumís respect wasnít always matched by the rest of the familyóDad said Ken lived in a fantasy world, and his teenage brother, Joe, said he was just a sad bloke. Ken sighed again. He knew he was pretty safe here in the control roomóexcept, of course, from the intercontinental ballistic missile scenarioóbecause he wasnít expected to leap into personal action if he saw any crime taking place. Thereíd never been any training session for that, just a brief run-through of the screens and the logging in and out procedures, and a schedule of the night-time shifts. Heíd been given a list of contact numbers if he needed help. From the way his boss had wrinkled his nose at that, Ken knew it wouldnít be welcome if he called up his boss at a quarter to midnight to ask where the milk was for his tea. Iím sorry, caller, thereís no record of that numberÖ. No, the contact numbers were for the duty security guards like Tomas, and also an emergency number to the local police station. That was if something went seriously wrong.


Which it never did.


No, of course he wasnít inviting that missile again. But Ken hadnít seen any action so far except people coming and going at the takeaways and late-night restaurants, which stayed open until the early hours of the morning. He swung aimlessly back and forth on his chair and opened another packet of cheesy snacks. He could feel the coating sticking to his teeth, but at least chewing it off helped to keep him awake. The Lord of the Rings paperbackóthree books in one, special offer!óhad been last weekís additional incentive, but the boxed set of assorted crime thrillers heíd borrowed from Mum this weekómurder, intrigue, and suspense from some of Britainís finest!óhadnít worked as effectively. Screen-watchers werenít meant to spend their time with their head in a bookóhow would they see the incoming missile?óbut it was about the only way to keep the boredom at bay.


ìYou should knit,î his mate Simon had suggested. Simon knitted, but not lumpy long scarves or hideously misshapen Christmas gloves like Kenís gran. Si created cool beanie hats and cotton gilets and wonderful album cover designs on sweaters. He was studying textile design at the same university, with fellow students far more arty than Kenís peers, judging by their clothing and the bold interior design of their rooms. Ken had tried knitting a hat onceóyou shouldnít knock it until youíve tried it, right?óand Mum was still using it as a tea cosy. She said the gaps down the side gave the steam somewhere to go. Ken hadnít battled with knitting needles againóhe was happier with a storyboard. Yet where had his first year of film studies taken him? Watching rain fall on the concrete pavement outside a shopping centre for hours at a time. There was irony there, somewhere.


Heíd tried plenty of things to help pass the time. He played solitaire until he found himself almost homicidal when a three of clubs refused to reveal itself. The book of crosswords had been abandoned at page nine, after heíd expressed his frustration by inserting every obscene word he could think of, whether they fit the grid or not. And his songwriting attempts had never got any further than I woke up this morning before he started salivating for bacon sandwiches and brown sauce. Heíd tried sketching out a storyboard for a film project of his own but, unfortunately, Charlie had caught sight of it one night, and now he kept suggesting Ken should remake a couple of Maeve Binchyís classic stories. Charlie even suggested casting and the songs for the soundtrack. Much as he liked the old codger, Ken now found it less teeth-grinding to keep that work for the privacy of his own room. So he was back to nothing but the screens for distraction.


There was a small yard at the back of one of the restaurants where the waiters came out to smoke. It was plumb in the middle of Kenís central screen. This one was a French bistro, which meant the prices were too high for his student pocket. Spare a coin for a sandwich, sir? He didnít have sound as well as a view, but he watched the way the waiting staff nodded to each other, laughed, shared matches for the ciggies. There wasnít much space to move around in the yard, because the wall between the restaurant and the next-door dry cleaners was covered almost entirely with huge, shoulder-high recycling and waste bins. The waiters leaned against the bins or scuffed their shoes on them. Sometimes the chef opened the door from the restaurant and yelled at them to get their arses back to work. Well, Ken couldnít actually hear the words, but the chefís face looked flushed and impatientóeven in grainy black-and-whiteóand Kenís imagination supplied the language. Although the waiters rolled their eyes and mimicked his gestures as soon as he turned his back, they usually stubbed out the cigarettes quickly and shuffled back indoors.


Sometimes Ken saw them leaving at the end of their shift from a gate at the farthest point of the yard. It was a shortcut back to the housing estate across the ring road. He had to imagine the gate, because it was out of view of the camera, but the waiters would tumble out of the back door with their coats on and backpacks slung over their shoulders, waving and joking with the new shift who were taking over. The place did breakfasts too. Didnít it ever close?


Heíd noticed a group of friends who seemed to work and travel everywhere togetheróa cluster of students like him, presumably, all dressed in similar hoodies and jeans; two men who were obviously a romantic couple; a mother and daughter who still had a smile for each other after a long night in the kitchen.


Ken grimaced. So it had come to thisóhe was getting familiar with the monochrome faces of people heíd never meet in real life, probably didnít want to meet, and who probably wouldnít want to meet him. He didnít think of them as friends, did he? Thatís what his other good mate Robbie said when Ken shared some of his stories at the pub. ìYouíre not mates with these people, Kenny. Thatíd be bloody weird.î Everyone around the table agreed with Robbie. In fact, Ken laughed and agreed too.


Because thatís not how it was. He preferred to consider the people caught on CCTV as his own private soap opera. Previously, on the Surbiton Spectrum Shopping Centre Security ChannelÖ. The waiters at the restaurant. The foxes that came sniffing around the bins, arrogantly careless of anyone else. The police cars that periodically cruised the front of the centre. The fat man who ran the all-night grocer/newsagents, who took a break every now and then, drained a bottle of cola, and had a thorough scratch of his crotch through trousers shiny with wear. The young couple who stocked up the Moroccan cafÈ at weekends and who loitered in the service road behind the shop for a snogging session. The boy would have taken it further; Ken could see his eagernessóand bloody quick handsóbut the girl was always looking over her shoulder in case someone caught them.


Yes, even outside shopping hours, there was a lot of activity in and around the centre. It wasnít really what Ken was employed to watch out for, but he reckoned he could weave it into his film projects; he could let it inspire him. Everyone enjoyed people-watching, didnít they? And his personal soap opera was benign. It wasnít full of clichÈ gun battles or car chases. Only sometimes did he feel like a voyeur, but without the sexiness.


A waiter ambled out of the French bistro, and Kenís attention darted back to that screen. The young man moved quicklyómaybe he only had a few minutesí breakóand made for the far side of the yard. That corner was partially hidden by two of the largest bins and out of reach of the security lights. The only CCTV screen that covered it was one of the oldest and with the poorest picture. Sometimes one of the waiting staff would sneak behind these particular bins, and Ken assumed it was because they didnít want to be seen, either by CCTV or from inside the restaurant. Was that what this man was doing? He had his back to Ken, hiding what he was up to. Was he smoking? Taking drugs? Ken had seen it on other evenings. Was he meant to report that kind of thing, or just crimes that involved damage to the centre itself? And how hypocritical would he be, when heíd smoked more than a few things in his time?


He peered more closely and wished there was a zoom feature. He didnít like to touch the controls too much, since the time heíd fiddled with the brightness, messed up screens one to four, and spent three hours looking at staticóIím breaking up! Iím breaking up!óuntil Charlie arrived. The old man had shrugged at Kenís apology, turned the control button to its fullest point, thumped somewhere under the desk, and the screens had all popped back into focus. Luckily, of course, the missile hadnít arrived at that very time, though Ken rather thought thereíd be other clues if the building were attacked from space.


The man in the yard turned his head, and Ken caught sight of his shadowed profile. He wasnít smoking; he was sucking juice from a carton. A new employee? Ken didnít think heíd noticed him before. Tall, lithe body in tight black trousers and a white shirt that stretched taut over his pecs, short-cropped dark hair, prominent but attractive nose. Ken couldnít see his eyes because he was looking down at the carton, but the heavy lids were sexy. Even though the picture was blurred, Ken could tell that clearly enough. And the way the manís lips tightened on the carton straw wasÖ. Be still, my beating heart. Ken laughed at himself a little bitterly. His poor old dick hadnít hardened that quickly for a long time. He shifted on the seat, trying to get comfortable again. He really needed to get back out in the dating game again. Oh wait, first he had to find the time to date, didnít he? But if and when he did, this was just the kind of look heíd always liked, ever since school days, however shallow Mum would say it was to judge a book by its cover aloneÖ.


And then the guy turned towards the camera so that one side of his face eased out of the shadowsóand he winked.


Huh? Ken leaned forwards in his chair, startled, but the moment was gone. The waiter turned on his heel, threw his empty carton into the bin, and sauntered back inside the restaurant.

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Author Bio


Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. Sheís written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say sheís just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, sheís happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.


Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.


All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!


Website: http://www.clarelondon.com
Blog: http://clarelondon.livejournal.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
Facebook chat: https://www.facebook.com/groups/clarelondoncalling/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clare_london
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BOOK BLAST: Bad Boys Need Love Too by Christa Tomlinson

Why Do Bad Boys Make You Feel So Good?

Inspiration for Bad Boys Need Love Too

Hello everyone! My name is Christa Tomlinson and I’m here showing a little love for one of my older titles. Bad Boys Need Love Too was the second full length novel I completed. It tells the story of Gage Mason, a motorcycle mechanic and Joseph Naderi an up and coming lawyer.

Bad Boys Need Love Too is an opposites attract erotic romance. Gage is blue collar with grease under his fingernails, while Joseph wears nice suits and comes from a good family. But these two men need in each other in ways neither of them expected.

I got the inspiration for this story as I was on a plane ride back to Texas. I had my headphones on and was doodling in my notebook, waiting for plot bunnies to hop by so I could catch one. Then Bad Boyfriend by Garbage came up on my playlist. As I listened, I envisioned a tough bad boy on the back of a motorcycle. He was quick tempered but charming. Rough around the edges, but naturally smart and caring to those he counted as family.

I knew I had to write Gage’s story. And I knew I had to give him a partner who was sweet and could soothe his rough edges. That’s where Joseph came in. But Joseph isn’t a doormat martyr. He gives Gage what he needs, even if it’s not always what he wants. And Joseph has some things to work through on his own.

It was a blast writing this story. Bad Boys Need Love Too is full of angst, drama and lots of sex. As I was writing, I listened to songs from Garbage, Joan Jett and Peaches to get me in the right head space. The influence from those songs was perfect, and helped me create the exact world I’d imagined on that plane ride.

I hope you’ll give Gage and Joseph’s love story a try. If you do, be sure to drop me a line and let me know what you think. Happy reading!

Love,
Christa

Title: Bad Boys Need Love Too

Series: Book 1 of 3 in the Bad Boys Need Love Too series

Release Date: October 21st, 2014

Publisher: Self Published

Genres: Gay (m/m) Erotic Romance

Pages: 432

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23295042-bad-boys-need-love-too

Why Do Bad Boys Make You Feel So Good?

“You won’t let anybody else have you, Joseph. I won’t let anybody else have you. I want you all to myself.”
– Gage Mason

Everyone has had their experience with him. The Bad Boy. The one with rips in his jeans and a lazy, devil may care smile on his mouth. The man who can make you do bad things that feel so good.

For Joseph Naderi that man was Gage Mason. They met when Joseph took his motorcycle into Gage’s shop for repairs. The second Joseph laid eyes on Gage he knew he was trouble, but something about the sexy mechanic drew him in. Maybe it was the dark eyes that studied Joseph like Gage wanted to know everything about him. Maybe it’s the way he made Joseph feel with the rough touch of his hands and a possessive grip on his hair when they kissed. Or maybe it’s the way Gage grows to need Joseph, even though he won’t admit it.

For once in his life Joseph is taking a risk. Despite everything that tells him he shouldn’t, he’s taking a chance to be with Gage. Joseph doesn’t know if it will end well. He just knows that he can’t resist that Bad Boy.

Bad Boys Need Love Too is a steamy gay romance full of drama, love, and explicit sex scenes. Gage and Joseph’s story is book one in a complete three book series.

 

Gage settled down at the metal desk in his office to review invoices for parts orders. He’d only been at it for five minutes when he heard the sound of a motorcycle pulling up in front of his building. He could tell it was a racer by the sound of the engine. The shop was closed, but Gage still went to see who it was. If it was a friend, he’d let them in no matter the hour. But instead of seeing one of his buddies through the glass, he saw the distinct body of the Diavel he’d repaired last week and its owner, Joseph Naderi.

Gage smiled in pleased surprise and hit the button to raise the garage door. He hadn’t expected to see Joseph again unless he went after him. He knew he did careful and thorough work so there was nothing wrong with that bike. Which meant that Joseph was here because he wanted to see him.

Joseph rode in and Gage walked over to him as he shut down the bike and pulled off his helmet. Gage didn’t even try to keep the heat out of his expression as he looked at Joseph straddling his bike. Again he was dressed casually, and his long, curly hair was down, windblown from his ride. There was the faintest hint of a five o’clock shadow along the sharp line of his jaw and above the curve of his lip. And those gorgeous eyes of his were bright with excitement. This man was beautiful. Even in his jeans and tee, Joseph still looked fresh and neat and clean. Gage wanted to get him dirty. He wanted to see him sweaty with his hair even wilder and his clothes ripped and twisted half off his hard body. So many things he wanted to do, and now that Joseph was back it looked like he might get that chance.

“You’re still here.”

Gage quirked a brow. “Obviously. What are you doing here? Bike giving you trouble again?”

Joseph shook his head slowly. “No. I uh… wanted to say thank you for fixing her. The ride has been smooth just like you said it would be.”

Gage smiled real slow and moved in closer. “You go around and personally thank everybody who does work for you? Your cable repair man? The guy who changes your oil?”
Again Joseph shook his head slowly. “Not usually.”

Gage gripped the bike’s throttle, watching as Joseph’s gaze dropped to his hand. He squeezed the throttle once and saw Joseph’s throat working as he swallowed. “Tell me why you’re really here, Joseph.” Sea green eyes rose to look into his. They were so expressive that Gage could easily read his nervousness. Gage smiled again. “I already know but I want to hear you say it.”

Regular Price $4.99. On sale for .99 for a limited time

August 8th thru August 20th

 

Bad Boys Need Love Too swag pack: print copy of book, cover art key chain & poster

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6d41b92d131/?

Christa Tomlinson is an exciting up and coming author in erotic romance. Her first self-published novel, The Sergeant, was an Amazon Best Seller for Gay and Lesbian Erotica for seven weeks straight.

Christa graduated from The University of Missouri-St. Louis with a degree in History. She loves to create stories that are emotional and lovely with sex that is integral to the characters’ romantic arc. Her books include straight couples, curvy couples, gay, and multicultural couples. Love is love and everyone should have their story told.

Christa lives in Houston, Texas with her two dogs, and is a retired roller derby player.

Where to find Christa

Website: ChristaTomlinson.com
Email: contactchrista@christatomlinson.com
Twitter: @shockz314
Facebook: Christa Tomlinson
Instagram: Christa Tomlinson
Goodreads: Christa Tomlinson

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BLOG TOUR: When Heaven Strikes by F.E. Feeley Jr

Book Title: When Heaven Strikes

Author: F. E. Feeley Jr.

Cover Artist: Goonwrite.com

Genre/s: Contemporary Romance, gay literature

Length: Words: 60,400/No. of Pages: 298

Goodreads

Blurb

Can love survive heaven’s wrath?

Artist Ted Armstrong lives a solitary and eccentric life. The survivor of child abuse disguised as religion, Ted has cut himself off from the world.

Then Ted meets Anderson Taylor, and it’s like being struck by lightning.

Anderson is a cardiac surgeon whose passion for his work has consumed him. He fears he’ll never find a partner—until he sets eyes on Ted. It’s happening fast, but both men know what they feel is right.

Confronted with an angry preacher, a scandal, and an act of God that threatens to destroy everything, their relationship will face its first true test.

Excerpt:

“He was scared.
“Grandma, what’s wrong?”
“Thunderstorm, baby. Hang on,” she said to him, and then to his mother, whom he just spotted to their left, “Where’s the car?”
“At the front of the lot. We were one of the first ones here this morning,” Ann said as she worked to keep up in her flip-flops.
On the water, he saw his yellow bucket floating bottom down. It was spinning hypnotically, but it was when Anderson looked skyward he found himself becoming terrified. Above the lake, the sky had turned a sickly green. The clouds directly above it and moving in closer were swirling in a tight formation with what looked like a big black eye staring down at them.
“Grandma! What’s that?” Anderson exclaimed pointing skyward. She stopped and turned to look.”
“Oh, my God,” she breathed, mostly to herself. Anderson felt panic begin to set it.
Someone shouted close to them, “Jesus Christ! It’s a tornado!”

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Paperback

Meet the Author

F.E.Feeley Jr is a poet and the author of six published works – four full length novels, two short stories featured in anthologies, and a good deal of poetry.

Married to the love of his life, John, he came to the writing world about four years ago where he fell in love, again, with the written word.

Visit F.E. Feeley Jr.’s Blog

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When Heaven Strikes Tour Schedule 3

July 23rd: Foxylutely Books, Millsy Loves Books

July 24th: My Fiction Nook, Lily G. Blunt, Gay Book Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

July 27th: Drops of Ink

August 2nd: Stories That Make You Smile, Because Two Men Are Better Than One

August 4th: Hoards Jumble, Hearts on Fire, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

August 7th: The Way She Reads, Louise Lyons, Bayou Book Junkie

August 9th: Gay Media Reviews, Lily’s Reviews, Diverse Reader

August 12th: The Novel Approach Reviews

August 14th: Love Bytes Reviews

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GIVEAWAY & EXCERPT: Comes A Horseman by Anne Barwell

 Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Comes a Horseman, the 3rd and final book in my WWII Echoes Rising series from DSP Publications.

I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter.  DSP Publications also have the ebooks for Shadowboxing (book 1), and Winter Duet (book 2) on sale from 17th July-August 4th.

Blurb

Echoes Rising Book 3, sequel to Winter Duet

France, 1944

Sometimes the most desperate struggles take place far from the battlefield, and what happens in secret can change the course of history.

Victory is close at hand, but freedom remains frustratingly just beyond the grasp of German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer, Resistance fighter Michel, and the remaining members of the team sent by the Allies—Captain Matt Bryant, Sergeant Ken Lowe, and Dr. Zhou Liang—as they fight to keep the atomic plans from the Nazis. The team reaches France and connects with members of Michel’s French Resistance cell in Normandy. Allied troops are poised to liberate France, and rescue is supposedly at hand. However, Kristopher is no longer sure the information he carries in his memory is safe with either side.

When Standartenführer Holm and his men finally catch up with their prey, the team is left with few options as they fight to keep atomic plans from the Nazis. With a traitor in their midst, who can they trust? Kristopher realizes he must become something he is not in order to save the man he loves. Death is biding his time, and sacrifices must be made for any of them to have the futures they want.

Buy Link

DSP Publications

Excerpt

“He’s late.” Matt glanced toward the door again. Although he was trying to appear nonchalant, hiding his nervousness was growing more difficult.

Their journey to Gernsbach had gone too smoothly, and that made him edgy as hell. After one night there, he’d suggested they keep moving for a couple more hours until they reached Bischweier. He’d been to Bischweier years ago when he’d lived in Germany before the war. The local priest was an old friend of Father Joseph’s, the man who had run the orphanage where Matt had grown up in Pennsylvania after he’d lost his family in a fire.

“Not that late.” Michel shrugged. “If we’re not back by two, Ken knows not to stay in Bischweier.”

Michel and Matt had gone ahead to Rastatt to meet their contact in the back room of a local Kaffeehaus. The owner—a member of the local Resistance—had been kind enough to leave them some coffee to drink while they waited.

“They should be safe if they stay in the chapel,” Matt said. He hadn’t been surprised to learn that Father Markus was working with the Resistance. He was a good man, and Father Joseph had spoken highly of him.

“You didn’t trust our contact in Gernsbach,” Michel said. “Why?”

“Just a feeling.”

Now they were finally heading toward home, he kept expecting Holm or one of his men to turn up. Standartenführer Holm wouldn’t give up easily, and Matt doubted he would have spent all this time looking in the wrong direction. The last few weeks had gone too smoothly, reminding Matt of the way a cat played with a mouse, waiting until the right time to finally pounce.

“Holm is not going to give up until he’s captured his prey,” Michel said. “It’s better that both Kristopher and Ken stay away until we are sure it is safe here.” He offered Matt a cigarette, but Matt declined.

“Kristopher is the one Holm is after,” he said cautiously.

“Officially, yes.” Michel lit his cigarette and took a long puff of it. He wasn’t usually very forthcoming with information, and this was the first time he’d implied he knew about Ken’s history with Holm.

At least to Matt.

“What has Ken told you?” Matt asked. Until they’d met up again in Freiburg, he’d only met Michel briefly in Berlin. He still knew Kristopher better, as he was not as reticent. Matt had gotten the impression Michel didn’t have much time for social niceties. He was pleasant enough, though, and it was obvious as hell he cared a great deal for Kristopher.

“We spoke briefly in Stuttgart.” Michel shrugged. “Holm is a dangerous man, and once he has made up his mind to achieve something, he doesn’t let anyone or anything get in his way.

Do not be fooled by his manner. He’s the type who would shake your hand while putting a knife in your back.”

“I’m well aware of Holm’s less than charming nature, thanks all the same,” Matt said. His meeting with Holm was not one Matt would forget in a hurry, if ever. Nor would he forgive him for killing Elise. “He’s a cold-blooded murderer.”

“That’s a polite way of putting it.” Michel narrowed his eyes and swore under his breath.

Although Matt’s French wasn’t that good, he knew enough to appreciate the sentiment.

“I believe Ken was foolish enough to promise not to harm him,” Michel continued in German. “I take it you have no problem in doing whatever needs to be done?”

“No problem at all,” Matt said grimly.

Giveaway

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Follow the Tour

July 25 –  MM Good Book Reviews

July 31 –  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

August 1 – Two Men Are Better Than One

August 1 – Top to Bottom Reviews

August 1 – Genre Talk at The Novel Approach Reviews

August 2 –  Love Bytes Reviews

August 3 –  Andrew Q. Gordon

August 3 –  DSP Publications Blog

August 4 –  Nic Starr

August 4 – Alpha Book Club

August 7 –  My Fiction Nook

August 8 –  Divine Magazine

August 9 – Aisling Mancy

August 10 – Lucy Marker

About the Author

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Website & Blog: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anne.barwell.1

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sylvrebarwellhoffmann/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115084832208481414034/posts

Instagram: https://instagram.com/anne.barwell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/annebarwell

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4862410.Anne_Barwell

Dreamspinner Press Author Page:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/anne-barwell-65

DSP Publications Author Page:

https://www.dsppublications.com/authors/anne-barwell-49

Queeromance Ink Author Page:

https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/anne-barwell/

New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/491382394538058/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: One Plus One by P.A. Friday @penelopefriday @GoIndiMarketing

Title:  One Plus One

Series: Maths, Book Two

Author: P.A. Friday

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 7/31/17

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 40400

Genre: Contemporary, gay, bi, age gap, friends to lovers, grief, slow burn

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

James Cape has been in love with his mother’s best friend Laurie since James was sixteen and Laurie an inaccessible twenty-six. When he’s turned down flat by the older man just after his nineteenth birthday, James’s best friend Al encourages him to forget Laurie and find someone else. And James tries, he really does. But can he cope with his feelings for Laurie, his best friend’s home-life problems, and the deteriorating health of his father, all at the same time? And will Laurie ever notice the young man who’s right in front of him?

Excerpt

One Plus One
P.A. Friday © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

James Cape was fourteen years old when he realised he was gay, fifteen when he came out to his best friend, and sixteen when he realised how he’d recognised he was gay in the first place. He’d thought he’d ‘just known’ until his mother’s friend Laurie came over one day with his new boyfriend, Kieran—the first boyfriend he’d ever bothered bringing round—and James had felt his heart explode with jealousy and rage. Kieran couldn’t have Laurie. Laurie belonged with him.

The longed-for relationship wasn’t—quite—as inappropriate as it might have sounded. Laurie was his mother’s friend, yes, but he wasn’t his mother’s age. Gillie, James’s mum, was thirty-nine; Laurie, twenty-six. They’d met online when James was about nine and had made friends over the next year, despite the age gap. When Gillie had discovered that Laurie was a student at the university she herself taught at, she’d invited him over, and he’d become a regular visitor. To start with, James hadn’t been much interested—the gap between ten years old and twenty was a big one, and James had been more interested in playing with Al, his best friend both then and now. Between them, the pair had teased and hassled and joked around with Laurie, treating him as something between a friend and an older brother; but as the years had passed, James’s feelings towards Laurie had changed. He just hadn’t realised quite how much they had changed until Laurie turned up with Kieran by his side.

It wasn’t as if Laurie had never had boyfriends in the past. He had. But he’d never brought them over to James’s house before, and that made all the difference. When Laurie had been at James’s house, he hadn’t belonged to anyone else. He’d been theirs. With Kieran there, the dynamic was different—spoilt. Al, also over for the weekend—as usual—cocked a knowing eyebrow at James’s moodiness and dragged him out for a long walk.

“You don’t like the boyfriend,” Al said when they were in the woods and miles from anywhere. Trust Al to get straight to the point.

James shrugged. “Bit of a wanker, that’s all. Laurie could do better.”

“Mm.” Al didn’t sound convinced. “D’you remember telling me that you weren’t interested in Laura Fielding because Mary MacDonald had bigger tits?”

“What?” James looked at his best mate in bewilderment. “That was nearly two years ago. Why are you bringing that up again?”

“You weren’t interested in Laura Fielding because she was a girl, and you weren’t interested in girls,” Al said bluntly. “By the way, I’m still pissed off it took you nearly a year to tell me you were gay. You can’t have thought I’d give a toss.”

“You’re still the only person who knows,” James pointed out.

James and Al’s school was not the sort of place where it was safe to be ‘out’. James had no intention of telling anyone else about his sexuality until he’d left. Telling Al was different—Al was Al. And he was quite right; James knew he could tell Al anything and Al wouldn’t care. You could say what you liked about Al—and most people did—but he was intensely loyal. To James, at any rate. When it came to relationships, it was a different matter. Unlike James, Al liked girls and had a steady stream of girlfriends, but none of them lasted longer than a month before he got itchy. Usually it was considerably shorter.

“They get so clingy,” Al had complained. “They want stuff.”

“That’s called dating,” James had told him unsympathetically.

He was amazed anyone still agreed to go out with Al, but there was something about his best friend. He had a strange sort of manic charm, and his very unpredictability seemed to draw people in. However, that was a different matter. Why Al had gone back to harping about old news, James couldn’t imagine.

“Thing is,” Al said, scuffing the last of the autumn leaves with his shoe—the woods didn’t seem to have cottoned on to the fact that it was March, “it didn’t have anything to do with Mary MacDonald.”

“Al, you’ve lost me.”

Al—so very like James to look at in some ways: dark-haired, regular features, similar body shape, albeit several inches shorter—looked seriously at his friend.

“It’s not Kieran you don’t like,” he said. “It’s Laurie having a boyfriend.”

“He’s had boyfriends before,” James said defensively.

“Ah. Hasn’t brought them home, though, has he? Different thing altogether.”

James shrugged petulantly. “I just think Kieran’s an idiot, that’s all.”

Al knew when to stop—usually. “Whatever you say, mate. Just…don’t piss Laurie off by being too rude to his guy, you know? Probably a bad plan.”

Which, as James admitted and worked by, was a sensible idea. But when Laurie turned up a fortnight later alone, James couldn’t help his heart lifting.

“No Kieran?” he asked, hoping Laurie would say that they’d broken up.

Laurie gave him a lazy smile. “No, not this time. I wanted you lot to myself. Any objections?”

“Nope.”

The weather was nice, and they were all sitting out in the garden, drinking beer. James and Al—who spent considerably more weekends at James’s house than at his own, to the point that Gillie and Terry, James’s dad, had assigned the spare bedroom as belonging to him—had been told that one was their limit, to Al’s laughing protest. James had his guitar out and was strumming it from time to time. He had a passion for music and already knew that he wanted to study it at university; it was just a case of getting through GCSEs (now only a few months away) and A levels first. Al was more interested in drama and films, which gave him something in common with Laurie, who was currently working on a PhD in Film Studies, focusing on bringing books to life as films, with particular emphasis on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The trilogy was special in another way—Gillie and Laurie had met via an online discussion board about the films and had found they got on well, moving from there to talking about everything under the sun. “And some things not under it,” Gillie usually added at this point, as science fiction and astrophysics had also been discussed. James joked that his mum was a science geek on the quiet.

“Just surprised you could bear to be parted from him,” Al added cheekily.

Laurie took a gulp of beer and shook his head sadly at Al. “We’re twenty-six, not sixteen, Al. We can manage to be parted for an entire afternoon without dying of angst. You might be like that, but we’re not.”

James snorted. “Al? Seriously? God knows why he has girlfriends because he seems to spend all his time hiding from them once he’s dating them.”

“An interesting approach.”

“I like snogging them and suchlike,” Al said cheerfully. “It’s just the rest of it which is a bother. Is it like that with you, Laurie, then? You’ve only got your bloke for the snogging? And the suchlike,” he added thoughtfully.

James tried not to blush at the thought of Laurie doing ‘the suchlike’ with Kieran. It seemed Laurie was having a similar problem as he choked back a laugh.

“I can’t say I object to that side of things, but no, there’s a little more to it than that, thanks.”

“Al, are you teasing Laurie again?” Gillie called from where she was chatting animatedly with James’s dad. Terry was having a good day today; the wheelchair was at the side of the garden, and he was managing to potter round to check on his vegetables with just the aid of a stick. James was pleased—his dad had had too few good days recently. Multiple Sclerosis was a bugger. “I’ll have to get you a muzzle.”

“Just showing a friendly interest,” Al said, blinking would-be innocent green eyes at his friend’s mother, who unfortunately for him knew quite how much to trust that particular look.

“That’s what they’re calling it nowadays, is it?” Laurie riposted, and James and Gillie both laughed. Laurie smiled at James. “So, what are you up to, James? Apart from studying for GCSEs, that is.”

James rolled his eyes dramatically, though he was secretly pleased that Laurie cared enough to ask. “Nothing, really. Study, study, study.”

“Liar,” Al said mildly. “You spend all your time with that guitar. I reckon I’m losing my place as your best mate to that thing.” He looked across at Laurie. “I think he goes to bed with it, you know. A love affair like no other.”

“Oh, shut it, you,” James said, taking one hand off the precious guitar to give his friend a shove. “Anyway, I’m working on my composition, so it’s not like it’s not work.”

“The best sort of work is work you actually enjoy,” Laurie commented. “Al’s clearly just jealous. But you’re still loving the guitar as much as ever then.”

“God, yeah,” James said fervently. “It’s like… I dunno. It feels right, somehow—do you know what I mean? When I’m playing, it’s like my fingers know what they should be doing. Bit like Dad and the garden, I guess. He just seems to know what to plant where and what to do to make things grow, and I’m hopeless. But my teacher shows me things on the guitar, and it makes sense.” He flushed, embarrassed. Trying to explain how he felt about his instrument made him self-conscious. Al hadn’t laughed at him, as he’d feared, when he’d said a bit about it to him—but then Al was his best mate. Laurie was…well, something different. And if Laurie laughed or teased, James didn’t think he’d cope.

“That’s brilliant,” Laurie said, though, his expression genuinely delighted. “It sounds like you’ve found what’s right for you, and there’s nothing like that feeling. Trust me, I know.”

Al ruffled James’s hair. “See, it turns out you’re not a weirdo. You’re talented. Bastard,” he added, laughing.

James was grateful for Al’s interjection. It stopped the conversation getting too heavy. Talking with Laurie like this, after realising just how he felt about him…it was almost too much, in some ways.

“I wish,” he said instead. “Just obsessed.”

“Obsession got me a long way,” Laurie assured him, looking around the garden with an expression of affection on his face. “My obsession with Lord of the Rings, for example, found me my best friend—and her family,” he added, smiling at James, “and now my PhD. Don’t knock obsession.”

“I’ll bear it in mind,” James said, smiling back. “Speaking of which, how’s the thesis going?”

Laurie sighed. “Well, it’s going. I just had my last chapter ripped to shreds by my supervisor, but that’s pretty much always the way. Apparently, this time, I’ve put in too many examples. Last chapter, it wasn’t enough.”

“Still searching for the pleased psychic?” James teased.

It was a long-time joke between them: at twelve, hearing the phrase “happy medium” for the first time, James had been merely bewildered, his mind quite seriously running on the idea of the paranormal. Laurie had patiently explained and had the courtesy not even to crack a smile as he did so, though they’d all laughed about it since—and the alternative term had become a standing gag.

Laurie laughed. “Apparently so. The annoying thing is my supervisor is always right. I went away and looked back through what I’d written, and every third line was an example. But still. On the plus side, I’ve had an article accepted by a journal this week.”

“Really?” Gillie, who had wandered back to the table whilst James and Laurie chatted, settled herself comfortably in a chair and leaned across. “Which one? That’s fabulous!”

Gillie was an academic herself, lecturing in English Literature, with a special interest in fantasy and science fiction, hence the shared love of the Lord of the Rings in both book and film version. The conversation got a bit technical for a while; James tuned out as phrases such as ‘peer reviewed’ and ‘on the e-library catalogue’ got thrown about. He concentrated instead on his guitar. He was writing a piece for his GCSE composition, and there were a few bars he wasn’t happy about.

Once he settled down to music, he was lost to the world and barely noticed as Al wandered off, only registering when Al shouted, “Oh, hey, there’s a bird stuck in the netting here.”

“What?” demanded Terry, fired to interest as James put down his guitar to look over towards where Al was standing. “Are they after my brassicas again? I knew I was right to put those nets up.”

“Its wing’s all caught up, poor thing,” Al said, trying to get closer to it and making the bird flap more wildly.

“Serve it right,” said Terry firmly. Easy-going about most things, James’s dad was undeniably overprotective when it came to his vegetables.

Laurie got to his feet and cast a laughing glance at Terry. “Probably so, but we can’t just leave it there. Here, Al, move back a bit. I’ll have a go.”

“You?” Al looked at him doubtfully. “Aren’t you a bit…big?”

Laurie stood a couple of inches over six feet and was broad-shouldered with it. Compared to Al, who was a skinny five foot six and impatiently hoping for a growth spurt which showed no sign of coming, he was definitely sizeable. And, James thought wistfully, bloody gorgeous, with his muscular physique and lazy, lopsided smile.

“Oh ye of little faith,” Laurie said genially.

James watched as Laurie went carefully and quietly over to the bird, murmuring to it in an undertone. It still flapped and tried to escape, but not as manically as it had done for Al. Laurie caught it up in big gentle hands, stilling its movements with ease with one hand as he untangled the netting with the other one. It was less than a minute until he had freed the bird, which looked dazed and scurried into the undergrowth, leaving a couple of fawn-coloured feathers behind it.

“Collared dove,” Terry said. “They’re the worst. Still, I suppose you’re right. Couldn’t have left the little bugger there. Thanks, Laurie.”

Gillie went over and gave Laurie a kiss. “My hero,” she said. “Well done.”

Laurie turned to Al. “Too big?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

Al threw his arms up in a dramatic display of defeat. “I admit it. I was wrong. Apparently not too big at all. Having enormous hands is a great thing for rescuing small fragile creatures. Who’d have thought?”

Only James said nothing. He hated the way it had made him feel, watching Laurie concentrate so carefully on the bird. All fluttery inside, like a girl or something. Wondering what it might feel like if Laurie put those hands against him. He blinked and looked away, back at his guitar, back at anything else, and the moment passed. It didn’t help him get over his crush on Laurie, though—anything but.

Still, in retrospect, that had been the best afternoon of the entire year when it came to Laurie. Most of the other occasions on which he visited, he did indeed bring Kieran. James reluctantly had to admit to himself that there was nothing intrinsically wrong with the other man except the sin that he was Laurie’s boyfriend, and James was insanely jealous.

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Meet the Author

P.A. Friday fails dismally to write one sort of thing and, when not writing erotica and erotic romance of all sexualities, may be found writing articles on the Regency period, pagan poetry, or science fiction. She loves wine and red peppers, and loathes coffee and mushrooms.

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