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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!”

Book Trailer

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

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

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.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Elias by Erin E. Keller @Erin_Author @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title:  Elias

Author: Erin E. Keller

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 7/17/17

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 36800

Genre: Contemporary, romance, contemporary, gay, cisgender, explicit, domestic abuse, panic attacks, law enforcement

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Synopsis

After his partner’s death, Thomas Doyle lives a life made of work and late-night sexual encounters with unnamed bodies. It’s a life of solitude that leaves him too much time to think and regret.

Yet, despite everything, he jealously treasures it.

That’s why when Elias Byrne—who comes out of the shadows of Thomas’ nights—suddenly bursts into his everyday life with arrogance, Thomas finds himself fighting against ambivalent feelings—the need to reject the tormented Elias and the strange, inconceivable, and difficult to accept desire to join their solitudes.

Excerpt

Elias
Erin E. Keller © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Thomas started the car and lowered the window a little, turning off the heating to get rid of the condensation on the windshield.

“What do you want?”

“A ride. Can you give me one?”

Instinctively, Thomas would have said no, but at that moment, he was grateful to the boy who had distracted him from his panic attack. Also, it was pouring rain and he felt bad for him. Thomas nodded and waited for the guy to get in and close the door before speaking again.

“Where do you need to go?”

“Far from here.”

Thomas looked at him, puzzled. “Okay, listen, I’m sorry to let you down, but I only have a ten-minute trip to make, so you won’t get very far with me.”

The guy turned to look at him but didn’t say anything. He moved his hair a little off his face and blinked. Thomas noticed that his hair was as long and wet as his own was.

“Okay, so let’s go for the ten minutes. I’m going where you’re going.”

Thomas wrinkled his nose but didn’t speak and pulled away from the sidewalk, back onto the road. None of their conversation had made any sense, but he was still confused by his anxiety and he didn’t feel like thinking too much about what was happening. He only hoped that, if the guy was a delinquent, he wouldn’t pull out a knife to rob him because even though he was a police officer and armed, Thomas felt like he was on the edge of an abyss. Not that Landmeadow was full of criminals, but you could find bad eggs everywhere, even in a lovely Irish village. His heart contracted in an unpleasant way, and Thomas started tapping nervously on the wheel to push away the bad sensation.

Panic, just go away. Thanks a lot, shit brain. The trip continued silently. The stranger kept his face stubbornly turned toward the window, and Thomas couldn’t stop himself from wondering who he was, now that he had decided —or almost—that he wasn’t a danger, or looking to assault him, rob, or slice him open. For no particular reason, he felt curious. It also felt strange that this guy was sitting in his car after he’d dealt with his panic attack, asking him for a ride. Now, thinking about it, Thomas could have been dangerous too, for all the guy knew.

Yeah, sure.

“Shouldn’t you be at school?” he asked, trying to lighten the atmosphere, since his last thought had given him another worrying sensation. It was ridiculous that a grown man could be afraid of a teenager, but that strange feeling was really weird. And he wasn’t feeling that good at the moment.

“Why would I be?” the boy answered, turning slightly to look at him.

“I don’t know, you seem…young. Don’t they go at school at your age?”

“At my age? How old do you think I am?”

Thomas shut up and studied him out of the corner of his eye. “Eighteen? Seventeen?”

A sound similar to a woof came from the boy, and Thomas jumped a little, realizing only afterward that it had been a curt laugh.

“I’m twenty-three.”

Thomas turned and observed him better. “Well, it’s impossible to see your face with all that hair and you’re…thin. You look younger.”

A couple seconds passed before the man answered. “Do you usually prefer them bigger? Guess I’m not your type.”

Thomas almost slammed on the brakes in the middle of the street. He swerved a little and felt his blood pumping in his temples.

Who was this man? What did he want from Thomas? Did he know him? How could he? Had he crawled from the hidden night life to mix with Thomas’s life on the surface? What a fucking start to the day!

“Who are you and what do you want from me?” he asked, hoping his voice wouldn’t crack as he looked at the man from the corner of his eye.

The young man shrugged his shoulders. “My name’s Elias. I’ve seen you a few times at the Black Sheep. I followed you. I’ve seen where you live.”

Pulsations at his temples started up violently, in a worrying way.

Oh my god, what if I have a stroke right now?

Elias is a strange name around here.

What has he seen? With who? When?

My temple is pulsing so much.

Count! You are not going to have a stroke.

Shit!

“What are you? A stalker?” Thomas asked in a harsh voice, keeping a strong grip on the wheel, pushing away the last terrible thought.

Elias smirked. “I don’t know. Is that what you’d call it? I wanted you to notice me.”

What the fuck?

 

 

 

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Erin is Irish in her heart and soul, and she hopes she’ll move to the Emerald Island one day. She lives with her husband and their cats in a house near a wheat field.

She has been writing for years but admits she is a very undisciplined writer. The problem is that handling a couple of jobs makes it almost impossible to write every day. She loves letting her mind wander through the real world and likes to write contemporary M/M romance, because she loves love. And men.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Tour Schedule

7/17    A Book Lover’s Dream Book Blog

7/17    MillsyLovesBooks

7/18    Because Two Men Are Better Than One 

7/18    Book Lovers 4Ever

7/19    Bayou Book Junkie

7/19    Happily Ever Chapter

7/20    Divine Magazine

7/20    Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter

7/21    Erotica For All

7/21    Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews 

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: An Unexpected Truth by S.A. Meade

A trust destroyed is a trust that is hard to recover…

Brendan Matthews is happy training racehorses for a living. He thinks he’s hit the jackpot when a wealthy orthopedic surgeon, Adam Ahmadi, sends six yearlings his way. Not only are the horses a cut above the rest, their owner isn’t too shabby either.

But not everything is as it seems. Adam has many secrets, most of them dark and deadly. When Adam’s past returns with a vengeance, he disappears, leaving Brendan confused and hurt.

If Adam survives, will his past destroy their future?

Exclusive Extract:

What a fucking racket.

Brendan wandered along the stable block, wincing as Bertie, his yard man, sang in tuneless disharmony with a song blaring from the tinny radio. Horses, equally offended, nodded their heads over stable doors, their ears twitching at the onslaught of bum notes and falsetto warbles. Bertie swept on, marshaling errant wisps of straw into a tidy pile.

“For fuck’s sake. Give it a rest, Bert. You’re scaring the horses.” Jerry, one of the stable lads, staggered past under the weight of a laden muck sack.

“And I don’t want you scaring off Dr. Ahmadi.” Brendan paused to rub the nose of one of the new arrivals, a Galileo yearling fresh from the sales and, arguably, one of the best-bred horses ever to grace the yard. All thanks to his newest owner, who was due to arrive at any moment.

“We’re ready, boss.” Wahid carried a leather lead and chain. “All the babies are clean, rugged-up and ready to be shown off.”

Brendan glanced at his head lad. Wahid was the only one who hadn’t staggered into the yard earlier nursing a hangover. The rest of his staff, having celebrated Bertie’s birthday the night before, were a sorry collection of pale, stumbling wraiths. He sent a prayer of thanks to the gods that they were just leading Ahmadi’s purchases out for his perusal, rather than riding them. Hangovers made this lot ride like sacks of shite.

“Yeah, make it happen.” Brendan patted the yearling’s neck absently then continued toward the tack room to rouse the rest of the troops from their stupor. “He’ll be here in a minute or two and I’d rather not keep him hanging round. It’s fucking cold this morning.”

He found Mary, Naz and Yuri huddled around the oil heater clutching mugs of coffee and looking miserable. They glanced up when Brendan walked in, then set their drinks down.

“Sorry, boss.” Mary stood. “Rough night.”

“Thank Christ you lot aren’t riding out this morning. You couldn’t stay on a seaside fucking donkey. Can you all, at least, tidy yourselves up? Yuri, you look like you spent the night under a haystack.”

“He probably did,” Naz suggested, tipping the rest of his coffee into the sink.

Yuri, having scrambled to his feet, raked his fingers through his tousled hair, sending a shower of straw to the tack room floor. “Yes, boss.”

“Go check your horses, and get them ready to be led out. He’ll be here any minute. When he’s gone, then you can thank your lucky stars that your boss is taking pity on you and not making you ride a third lot. After you get back to the yard and feed the horses, you can call it a morning.”

“Thanks.” Naz shuffled past him, offering him a smile. “It won’t happen again, sir, we promise.”

“Pull the other one, Naz.” Stable lads and monumental piss-ups went together. “Anyway, I might make you all start breaking in the yearlings tomorrow. Wouldn’t that be a great way to spend a Sunday morning?”

Of course, he had no intention of doing such a thing. The week of the October sales was always a fraught affair. They all needed a rest before the breaking-in began.

The clang of the main gate ripped Brendan from wistful thoughts of bacon butties and a mug of builder’s tea. The good doctor had arrived in a gleaming black BMW which he was currently parking in front of the house. The second clang of the gate heralded the arrival of Sam Mason, Ahmadi’s bloodstock agent. The one who’d attended the sales on his client’s behalf and filled half a dozen of Brendan’s boxes with an impressive collection of very expensive horses. Beautiful, well-bred creatures.

Brendan brushed a stray bit of straw from his jacket and strode out to meet them.

“Brendan! Good to see you.” Sam seized his hand in his usual bear-like grip and shook it. “Meet Dr. Adam Ahmadi.” He grinned and turned toward his client, who had emerged from his car.

Fuck me. Please…

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/an-unexpected-truth

About the Author:

S.A. Meade lives in deepest Wiltshire with her son, a dog and two cats. She is still partial to gin and tonic and loves to cook. When she’s not working, she stares at her laptop and waits for inspiration to strike, preferring that to mowing the lawn or weeding. When parked in front of a computer, she can be found wandering the streets of her village, dog in tow.

 

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Rescued by Dakota Storm

Blurb

Dean Montgomery loves his ranch and his family, but something is missing. When he sets out on a road trip to purchase land to expand his ranch, he finds himself stranded in a snowstorm.

When the sexy and gruff Colt James, a tracker and rescue worker, rescues Dean, both of their lives are turned upside down. Attraction sizzles, and hearts race. But then trouble brews, and Dean is needed back home. Can these two make their new relationship work?

Short exclusive excerpt

Dean raised the Johnny slowly and looked down at Colt’s hard cock. He’d felt it yesterday, and it rubbed up against his leg a few nights before, but nothing did it justice. It was long, cut, and thick, with a deep purple head Dean ached to have in his mouth.

“I want to feel your mouth,” Colt whispered as he stroked his hand down his own cock. “But not until I get a bath.”

Colt used his other hand to tenderly rub his thumb on Dean’s lips. Dean licked it thumb and dragged a long moan out of Colt’s chest. Never breaking eye contact, he sucked Colt’s thumb into his mouth. Dean moved Colt’s hand off his cock and ran his own fingers up and down while licking Colt’s thumb, mimicking a blow job. Dean got so turned on, he rang his finger behind Colt’s balls. Colt’s hips jolted forward as Dean continued his torment, bringing Colt to a quick orgasm. Dean delighted in the fact Colt moaned out his name.

“Kiss me,” Colt whispered.

Dean dove for Colts lips, sliding his tongue in and out of Colt’s mouth. Dean couldn’t get enough of Colt’s taste. Colt held Dean’s head in his hands, biting down gently on his lip.

A text sound came from Colt’s phone, and reluctantly they broke apart. Colt checked the message and said, “Coop is outside with Amanda.”

Colt gave Dean one more kiss and a gentle nip. Dean assisted in helping to get Colt’s clothes on. It was slow-going, walking to the door, but there was a nurse with a wheelchair ready for him when he exited the room. Grumbling the whole way, Colt apparently didn’t like to be helped or waited on. Dean knew he and Coop had their work cut out for them while getting Colt to relax and heal.

Dean couldn’t get out of his mind the feel of Colt’s cock in his hand, the way he tasted, or the way he felt when Colt caressed his face. Dean was all but screwed.

Buy Link

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Other books by Dakota Storm

Hunter (Standalone)

Sexy-as-sin bounty hunter Hunter Jones lives, eats, and breathes his next case. He’s always been content to live his life on the road with no attachments and no one to answer to. Love is for other people. But when he stops in a small town for a little R&R and meets up with a fellow bounty hunter to review a case, he runs into the man of his wet dreams. Hunter isn’t ready for love, but Van turns his head and heart upside down.

Donovan “Van” Madsen has it all: a lucrative business, a close-knit family, and a best friend. But something is missing. Van always dreamed of finding the “one,” but never thought it would happen … until Hunter.

The mutual attraction is instant and intense between the two men. Neither can say goodbye.

When trouble brews and Van is kidnapped, Hunter realizes life is too short to not take what he wants. In this action-packed romance, both men’s lives are on the line and their love might not be enough to save them.

http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=29_94&products_id=2005

https://www.amazon.com/Hunter-Dakota-Storm-ebook/dp/B01N25PRZD/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

About the author

Dakota Storm was born and bred in rural southwest Massachusetts. Her love of writing romance brings many stories to life in her head, all culminating in a happily ever after. Even though she lives up north, she hates the winters but loves cuddling up with her husband by a toasty fire.

She harnesses her creativity through photography, and loves to hike and photograph animals in the wild. She loves to blog and reads all genres, but her favorite is M/M romance with a happily ever after.

Author Links:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDakotaStorm/

http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=212

https://www.amazon.com/Dakota-Storm/e/B01N2659MJ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1496184828&sr=8-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: A New Way to Dance by Sean Michael

Thank you to Because Two Men Are Better Than One for hosting me today!

And what a great blog title! Two men are better than one when it comes to romance and I love giving everyone their happy ending.

Speaking of happy endings, I’ve noticed in a number of interviews I’m asked if I prefer HEAs, or at least HFNs. And my answer is always YES! A resounding YES! Yes! Yes! Yes! Because yes, everyone deserves a happy ending, but also because I don’t want to write stories that don’t end happily.

There’s enough awfulness and sadness and negativity in the world. I want my stories to be a place where, in the end, there is happiness, there is love, and there are two (or more!) men who have found their place in life with their lover.

So with very few exceptions, and certainly anything I’ve written in the last ten years or so, you can be assured that there will be a happy ending for my characters.

Sean Michael

smut fixes everything

Excerpt

She stuck her tongue out, but before she could retaliate, Mel was calling ready on the chicken. “You two stay sitting, I’ll go get you plates.”

“Remember that I like more food on my plate than you’ll eat in a week,” Brook told her. “I eat like a real person.” Brook turned towards Seth, his cheeks heating. “No offence, man, just most dancers I’ve met don’t eat enough to keep a mouse alive.”

“Don’t worry about it. I only eat vegetables and lean protein.”

“See? I mean, I get it, you’ve got to keep the form, but it’s so restrictive. I doubt I could do it.”

“It takes discipline, for sure.” And Seth was incredibly good at focus.

“You were in that show with Lizzie last winter, weren’t you? It was amazing.” If Brook was just making polite conversation, he was extremely good at it.

“I was. It was incredibly fun. I think we all had a good time.”

Lizzie nodded, refilled his wine. “It was hard enough to be interesting, but joyful enough to be entertainment.”

Brook’s eyes travelled the length of his body, the guy smiling at him when their eyes met.

“I’ll get those plates of food,” Lizzie said, moving away.

He offered a smile, but it wasn’t much of one. He wasn’t interested in looking at anyone right now, at having anyone see him.

Lizzie brought their food over, mostly salad and a bit of chicken for him, a full plate including potato salad for Brook. Then she and Mel joined them and they sat and ate, making more small talk in between bites.

He had to admit, it was easy, and a better way of passing time than sitting in his room and brooding.

No one mentioned Fayden or newspapers or being called a monster, thank God. It was just an evening with friends. Like everything was normal.

He let himself enjoy it, even though the constant voice in the back of his head insisted nothing would ever be normal again.

After supper Lizzie helped Mel clean the outside kitchen and the grill, leaving him with Brook, who was very nice, their conversation light.

The two glasses of wine were making him a touch maudlin, but he was forcing it back, keeping control of his emotions. That was what he did. Control. Discipline.

Brook moved his hand across to Seth’s chair and placed it lightly on his knee. “I’d like to see you again.”

He jumped, the touch surprising him. “I’m… I’m recovering from a rather intense break-up right now. It’s a bad time.”

His knee was squeezed gently, then Brook withdrew his hand. “I’m sorry.”

“Me too, but thank you for understanding. I appreciate it.”

Brook nodded, then reached for the bottle Lizzie had left on a nearby table. “More wine?”

“I… Sure. One more. I’ll catch a cab home.”

Brook filled the glass up for him.

“Thank you.” Seth knew Lizzie would make sure he got into a cab safely.

“I still think you’d like my beer,” Brook said.

“I probably would. I love a good brew.”

“I make good ones. I’m perfecting them, in fact.”

“Does it take long?” Seth asked.

“It varies. Depending on the type.” Brook leaned forward and began to tell him all about it, face and hands animated.

Seth had to smile. How charming was that?

Synopsis

Dancer Seth Avery has it all. He’s at the top of his game as a dancer and he’s in love with famous dance director Fayden DelMonaco, the man who is his sub. Seth’s whole world is turned upside down when Fayden dumps him in the nastiest and most public way possible. To compound matters, he’s in near fatal car crash shortly thereafter that leaves him severely injured.

Brook Turner is an ex-lawyer turned micro-brewer, baby-brother of Seth’s best friend Lizzie. The two met briefly before Seth’s accident, but it’s when they meet again six years later that they get a chance to act on the attraction they’d initially felt.

With Brook’s help, Seth begins to heal not only from his residual physical injuries, but also from the emotional ones inflicted by Fayden. Will it be enough to keep the two of them together?

Join Seth and Brooke as they find a new way to dance together.

Purchase

Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Meet the Author

Often referred to as “Space Cowboy” and “Gangsta of Love” while still striving for the moniker of “Maurice,” Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to “Chicago.”

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.

Barring any of that? He’ll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

Sean’s available for interviews, by the way. He can always be talked into, well talking about himself. Just drop him an email.

Website | Facebook | TwitterPinterest

Tour Schedule

June 26 – Sue Brown’s Stories |  MillsyLovesBooks | Because Two Men Are Better Than One

June 27 – BFD Book Blog | Stories That Make You Smile

June 28 – The Really Naughty Corner | Happily Ever Chapter | Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

June 29 – MM Good Book Reviews | Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words | Boy Meets Boy Reviews | Divine Magazine

June 30 – SiK Reviews | Dawn’s Reading Nook | Two Chicks Obsessed

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GUEST POST and EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY: Aqua Follies by Liv Rancourt

The Aqua Follies!

Hey, so, thanks for having me back as a guest on Because Two Men Are Better Than One! I very much appreciate connecting with your readers, especially today. I’m excited for everyone to finally have my new novel Aqua Follies out in the wild. Happy release day to me!

You may well be wondering, um, Aqua Follies? What exactly are the Aqua Follies? Right? Let’s talk about it. Basically, the Follies were a variety show on the water. In the days before triple-digit cable channels and Netflix & chill, people went out for their entertainment. From 1950 until about 1962, during the Seafair celebration, Seattleites could run down to Green Lake for the show.

Here’s a bit of background for those of you who aren’t from Seattle. Seafair is an annual August event that stretches out over a couple weeks. It’s still happening, so if you’re in town this summer, you can catch the Milk Carton Derby (boats made out of milk cartons race around the lake), maybe get hit on by a Seafair Pirate, or watch the grand finale, the hydroplane races on Lake Washington with the Blue Angels overhead.

It’s about as corny as can be, and pretty much unavoidable if you live here.

For the first Seafair in 1950, an open-air grandstand and stage was built at Green Lake, a lake in the northwest corner of the city with a 2.8 mile perimeter (that I once walked around in 35 minutes. Just sayin’…). The stadium sat a little over 5000 people, though it was built really fast and they had to take down about half of the seats in a rehab project in 1970.

In the ‘50s, though, Esther Williams was a huge star, who appeared in movies like “Bathing Beauty” and “Million Dollar Mermaid”. The Aqua Follies tapped into the public’s interest in water ballet, bringing a group of synchronized swimmers – the Aqua Dears – from Minneapolis to perform, along with their dancing sister-troupe, the Aqua Darlings.

The Aqua Follies also featured Olympic divers and a live band. Older friends who attended the Follies tell me that for kids, the divers were the most popular act. I’ve seen pictures of the original theater, and I’ve walked past that section of the lake uncountable times, and the water just doesn’t look deep enough for divers. They must have dug a trench or something, or else the bottom of the lake drops down past where I can see.

At any rate, the Dears and the Darlings were huge news when they got to town. The front page of the Seattle Times would feature them, with headlines like, “The Aqua Dears, Darlings Arrive for the Follies!” or “Sleepy Swimmers!”(which went along with a picture of six of the girls leaning on a bannister, grinning way too hard to be convincingly sleepy). The performers were housed in sorority houses at the nearby University of Washington, and tickets for the show ranged from $2 to $3.5 for a box seat.

All good things must come to an end, and after the Seattle Worlds Fair in 1962, the aqua theater fell out of regular use. The weather in Seattle is just too unpredictable, and frequent rain-outs made the shows cost-prohibitive to produce. In the ‘60s, promoters organized one-off events with performers like Sonny and Cher and even a rather notorious concert by Led Zeppelin, who opened for Three Dog Night. One of the final big shows was put on by the Grateful Dead in the summer of ’69. Soon after that, the stage and diving towers were dismantled.

Now the aqua theater is the home of the Green Lake Crew, and the only people in the remaining grandstands are joggers looking to add some stairs to their training. They say you should write what you know, and while I wasn’t old enough to see the Aqua Follies (or even that Led Zeppelin show, darn it) I do know the neighborhood, and it felt right to imagine the Aqua Dears’ coach, Russell, falling for the trumpet player in the band.

I hope you’ll check out Skip and Russell’s story. Keep reading for an excerpt, and please do enter the rafflecopter giveaway. My writing partner Irene Preston and I have a $25 gift card up for grabs, to celebrate Aqua Follies release!

Giveaway

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Prize pack includes $25 Gift Card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Blurb

The 1950s. Postwar exuberance. Conformity. Rock and roll.

Homophobia.

Russell tells himself he’ll marry Susie because it’s the right thing to do. His summer job coaching her water ballet team will give him plenty of opportunity to give her a ring. But on the team’s trip to the annual Aqua Follies, the joyful glide of a trumpet player’s solo hits Russell like a torpedo, blowing apart his carefully constructed plans.

From the orchestra pit, Skip watches Poseidon’s younger brother stalk along the pool deck. It never hurts to smile at a man, because sometimes good things can come of it. Once the last note has been played, Skip gives it a shot.

The tenuous connection forged by a simple smile leads to events that dismantle both their lives. Has the damage been done, or can they pick up the pieces together?

About the Author

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 home or at work. 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

Excerpt 

When Skip had crossed the line into blatant flirting, Russell blushed like a girl. Skip liked the charge that came with pushing the pedal down, and—despite Lou’s opinions—he had enough self-preservation to know when to cut the gas.

Skip followed Russell to a shadowy area in the back of the parking lot, and once they were out of sight of anyone in the club, Russell brought out the flask and handed it over. Skip took a hit, the whiskey’s smoky burn warming his chest on the way down. “I got another question for you.”

Russell took the flask and raised an eyebrow.

“How come you don’t dance?” Skip was mainly curious, but the words carried more heat than he’d intended.

Russell snorted, crossing his arms over his chest in a way that made his biceps bulge. “I just don’t.”

“Maybe you need someone to teach you.” Lou would sure scold him for this one. “Maybe you just need the right person.”

Russell’s fists clenched, and for half a second, Skip thought he might haul off and punch him. Heck, he probably deserved it. Then Russell choked out a laugh. “The right person. Sure.”

“I mean…” Since he hadn’t been served a knuckle sandwich, Skip struck a pose, hip cocked, hands in the air like they were on a partner’s shoulders. “I can do the cha-cha.” He swung his hips, fighting a laugh at Russell’s perplexed expression. “Or the swing.” He mimed a four-step pattern, then swung his hips again for good measure. Russell appeared transfixed by the motion.

A shout of laughter distracted them. A group of people spilled out the nightclub’s door, a woman’s voice rising over the hubbub. “Where are we going again?”

Russell shifted in their direction, hands on his hips. “Annette?” he said softly.

“Wait. I want to go back in and hear the band.” To Skip’s ear, the woman wasn’t laughing nearly as hard as the bunch of guys she was with.

“Come on, sugar. It’s just out here,” one of the men said. Skip didn’t like the way he laughed.

“No.”

This time there was no mistaking the distress in her voice. Russell took off running, with Skip right behind. He detoured to the door of the club, where he ran into Ryker and Susie. They were laughing, his arm around her shoulder.

“Come on, you guys,” Skip said. “It sounds like your friend Annette’s in some trouble.”

By the time they got to the other end of the parking lot, Russell was chest to chest with a drunken college boy, the kind with pale skin, a buzz cut, and a mean attitude. Skip looked around for anything he could use as a weapon if it came to a fight. There were two other fellows backing the one in front of Russell, and Annette huddled against a car, tears streaking her cheeks.

“So you’re going to take on all three of us? All by your lonesome?” The boy stuck his finger in Russell’s chest. Russell grabbed his wrist and leaned into him. The college boy was taller, but Russell was broader and bulkier.

“If I have to.”

Under different circumstances, the rock-solid certainty in Russell’s tone would have given Skip a hard-on. Saving that thought for later, he grabbed a thick branch lying between the cars.

“One against three.” Another of the college boys snickered.

Skip stepped forward, holding the branch loosely. “Looks like three against three to me.” Ryker followed his lead.

One of the arrogant fools came right up to Ryker. “Two and a half against three, I’d say.”

With a click, Ryker opened a switchblade. “Funny how this extends my reach.”

Swinging the branch, Skip took a step forward. The college boys all shifted back, even the one facing off with Russell. Skip might be slender and a little light in his boots, but anyone who grew up in Pioneer Square knew how to fight. He and Ryker moved into position on either side of Russell, and the college boys backed off.

“We were just playing anyway.” One of them laughed like it was all a joke.

“Didn’t sound like that to me,” Russell said. “I think you should apologize to my cousin.”

“Your cousin’s a slut.”

Skip wasn’t sure which one said it, but before anyone could respond, Russell took three big steps forward and put his fist into the middle guy’s belly. The boy dropped to his knees, and Russell stood over him. “Anyone else?”

The other two beat feet, which didn’t surprise Skip. These candy-ass college boys were all show and no go. Susie ran up to Annette, with Russell right behind her. “I’m going to get the car,” Skip said to Ryker. “We gotta cut out.”

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