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GUEST POST: Anthem of the Sea by Thom Collins

Thanks for having me here today to talk about my new release, Anthem of the Sea, the first book in The Anthem Trilogy. I’ve been working on the trilogy for two years and am very excited to have the first book coming out. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous too. This book is a huge deal for me.

Anthem of the Sea is a contemporary thriller set on board a massive cruise ship called the Atlantic Anthem. The Anthem has everything: luxury accomodation, restaurants, bars, spas, shops and a theatre. It’s a five star hotel at sea. Daniel Blake, a successful singer, comes aboard to perform on the final few days of the ships maiden season. He soon meets Elijah Mann, a handsome comedian, who’ll shares the entertainment bill with him on the return voyage to England. The guys hit it off straight away. Both talented and good-looking, they’re a perfect match. But not everybody thinks so. Also on board is Oliver Gill, a man from Daniel’s pass who bears a long and bitter grudge against him. As the ship sets sail, two days from next port, the scene is set for romance, passion and revenge.

I loved writing and researching this book. The Atlantic Anthem is a fictional ship but based on my own experiences as a traveller and from doing researching into modern super-ships. There’s something about the sea that is inherently romantic which makes a cruise ship the perfect location to set a story. Not just romantic, but exciting, dramatic, exhilarating and sometimes even a little scary. I grew up in a coastal town and my father was a fisherman, so I’ve spent my whole life in love with the sea.

Without giving too much away, readers can look forward to learning a lot more about these characters in the next two books. How events in this story shape and colour their future. Although Anthem of the Sea is book one in a trilogy, I’d like to assure everyone that this also works as a standalone read. I don’t like series books that read as one continuous novel, often leaving the reader hanging mid-scene. Although part of an on-going story, this is a novel in it’s own right, reaching an exciting climax in the middle of an Atlantic storm.

I hope everyone has as much fun reading as I did writing it.

Blurb

An ocean of possibility. For love, revenge and murder.

Daniel Blake, a handsome young singer, boards the Atlantic Anthem in Portugal for the final voyage of her maiden season. The state-of-the-art ship is the jewel in the Royal Atlantic cruise fleet. For Daniel, a one-time boy band member and TV talent show winner, it’s an honor to perform aboard such a vessel. Daniel loves the freedom and adventure of the sea. He began his solo career as a cruise ship entertainer and returning to the ocean as a headline act brings him full circle. He isn’t looking for love.

Neither is comedian Elijah Mann. Working at sea has given Elijah’s career the boost it desperately needed. Often considered too good-looking and sexy to be funny, work has been hard to come by since his TV show was canceled. With a potential new career opening up, he must remain focused. But when Elijah meets Daniel the attraction is mutual and instant. As the ship sets sail for England they have three days to get to know each other. Elijah can’t let that opportunity pass.

The voyage home is far from smooth. Also on board is a figure from Daniel’s past. A man who’s been holding a grudge for years, waiting for his moment. As a storm builds in the North Atlantic, Daniel and Elijah discover that the trip of a lifetime could be their last.

Buy Links

Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/anthem-of-the-sea

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anthem-Sea-Thom-Collins-ebook/dp/B0725JDM29/

Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/Anthem-Sea-Thom-Collins-ebook/dp/B0725JDM29

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/anthem-of-the-sea

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/anthem-of-the-sea-thom-collins/1126384702?ean=9781786515681

About the Author

Thom Collins is the author of the novel Closer by Morning, with Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.

The novellas Gods of Vengeance and Silent Voices were published by Pride in early 2017, followed by the novel Anthem of the Sea, the first book in the Anthem Trilogy. He has recently finished writing the second book in a series and is working on the third.

Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonk-busters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age. Since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.

Links

Blog: www. thomcollinsauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter:   @thomwolf     and  @realthomcollins

Email: thomcollinsauthor@aol.com

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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

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

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.”

Buy Links

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

 

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GUEST POST: The Wounded Warrier by BA Tortuga

Cowboys and Soldiers, oh my!

Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, and I write cowboys and rednecks. A lot. No, really. I love a man in Wranglers, and I hail from Texas, so I love to set stories in and around my old hometown. In fact, you could say cowboys are my brand, my stock in trade, and what readers have come to expect from me.

That’s why when I set out to write Wounded Warrior, I was a little worried. I didn’t have a cowboy, really. Luke is an ex-soldier, and Rory is a legal eagle who’s dabbling in real estate for the moment. Now, they’re both Texans. Lifelong. Hardcore. But neither are cowboys. At least not at the beginning, and I feared that would turn people right off the story.

See, Wounded Warrior was important to me because most of the men in my family were in the military at some point. Most of them men, and some of the women, of my wife’s family served. And every day we hear stories of soldiers coming home with very real injuries, with terrible PTSD, and with troubles re-entering society. I wanted to represent those people, to show that they’re important, not people to forget or ignore. I wasn’t sure how to do it within the kinds of stories I write, but I was determined. Trust me, y’all, when I’m determined, I get the job done. That’s the cowboy in me.

So I set out to write Luke’s story, and in the process, I realized he was learning to be a cowboy. He learns to care for horses from his brother Matt. He learns to cowboy up from his family and his newfound friends. He learns that he can be a stubborn ass and people will still love him, which is definitely a cowboy trait…

I do love the breed, but I have no illusions about them.

Another surprise for me was how Rory stepped up in the book, as well. He’s got just as many issues as Luke, if for different reasons. He didn’t fight the same war, but he’s wounded all the same, and he’s working hard to make things right, and to get his life going exactly where he wants it.

I guess the story is all about recovery. Luke and Rory have the potential to heal each other a lot, which really makes me happy.

By the end of the story, I felt like I had three cowboys on my hands. Matt, Luke’s brother, who’s the reason the ranch gets going in the first place, became way more of the story than I expected. He was a cowboy from the get go, and he becomes a mentor to both Luke and Rory in a lot of ways. But Luke and Rory also measured up to the painfully honest, loving, stubborn cowboys I know and love so well.

I loved writing these boys, exploring some themes near and dear to my heart. I hope y’all will take a chance on them, too.

Much love, y’all.

BA

You can find BA at:

Website: http:www.batortuga.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/batortuga

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/batortuga

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/batortuga/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/batortuga

Blogger: http://batortuga.blogspot.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/batortuga/

Tumblr: http://batortuga.tumblr.com/

BA Tortuga bio:

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

Buy Links

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/the-wounded-warrior

Blurb

When Luke’s lost everything, the only thing to do is head back home to the ranch and pray that he finds his way again.

When Navy SEAL Luke Blanchard comes back to Northeast Texas after a devastating injury, he feels like the whole world has gone dark. In a wheelchair and feeling worthless, Luke has no idea what to do, even as his twin brother Matt is determined to lift him up and help him heal.

Rory McConnell is a local prodigy, a real estate lawyer with a plan to buy up land before his bitter rival can collect it. When the Blanchard ranch goes into the red, he offers to buy out the debt. Luke backs his brother instead, but he doesn’t believe for a minute that Rory is a bad guy. No one that sexy and fun can be, right?

As Luke claws his way out of depression with a crazy idea to run a therapy ranch, he and Rory start to explore the need growing between them. Will Rory’s need for revenge against a man who damaged him forever come between them, or will it be the force which brings these two wounded men together for good?

Reader Advisory: This book contains fragmented recollection of gang-rape which happened off-screen several years earlier. 

 

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NEW RELEASE: Kade & Cameron by A.D. Ellis

✰ “Real-life romance that keeps you coming back for more.” ✰

 

Title: Kade & Cameron

Series: Something About Him Book 6 – Can be read as standalone

Release Date: June 15th, 2017

Publisher: A.D. Ellis Publishing

Categories: M/M Romance

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35076824-kade-cameron

 

 

 

Cameron Lewis is left reeling when his perfect life—two beautiful children, an adoring husband, and a house on the lake—is ripped apart by loss.

Kade Ramsey is living the American dream with a wife, two amazing children, and a comfortable job. But dreams are often only illusions, and Kade discovers his life isn’t all he thought it to be.

Kade and Cam have been friends for years. When their lives begin to fall apart, they turn to each other for support. Is friendship all they share? Or will their need for each other drive them down an unexpected path?

Kade & Cameron is a first-time-gay, out-for-you, friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story.

**This is a male/male romance meant for ages 18+ due to adult language and situations.**

 

What inspired me to write Kade & Cameron

Kade & Cameron’s story came to me one day while I was driving home from school (I’m a teacher.) Two men in my life were on my mind. One of them had lost his beloved spouse and was working hard to raise his children on his own. The other man was going through a nasty divorce thanks to his spouse cheating on him and basically walking out on him. This man was also trying to keep things going for his young children.

My emotions were all over the place as I thought about these two men. My heart hurt for what they were going through. I was angry at the two very different yet similar situations they were in. I was thinking about how much I wanted them to get through the rough times and find love and happiness again.

Voila! Kade & Cameron’s story was born. I love these two men in real life, and I love the fictional versions of them as well. While names and details have been changed and possibly mixed and mashed together to make this story, the inspiration behind it came from a very real place.

 

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0719756HG

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0719756HG

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B0719756HG

Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B0719756HG

 

 

The school year came to an end about the time the boys and I had been living at the lake for almost a month. The transition had been mostly smooth, and Cam and I found we worked very well as a team. For the first couple weeks, I treated our living there as if we were guests. But, Cam sat me down for the first of many chats.

“Kade, this isn’t a bed and breakfast and you aren’t a guest in my home. No more asking if it’s okay if the boys take a bath or if they can have a snack. This is our home. I want you and the boys to be comfortable.” Cam’s words weren’t harsh, but I knew he’d meant what he said.

“Okay, I appreciate that. It’s hard, I don’t want to overstep,” I’d begun. When Cam had started to protest, I held up my hand. “Just let me know if I ever cross the line.”

“Deal.” Cam had agreed.

The boys and I settled in much more after that discussion, and I had to admit our whole arrangement seemed to be going well.

I hadn’t heard from Steph or my attorney, although I knew from a visit to the house that she had taken all of her remaining items. I had the locks changed and started preparations to rent the house. What I wished I had prepared for a little more was the reaction of local friends to my new living arrangement.

Either I hadn’t been listening or the rumor mill kept itself pretty hush-hush. But, the night of Cam’s annual “Welcome to Summer” bonfire, I heard more than I cared to.

After checking on the boys and the local neighborhood kids to make sure they weren’t at the water by themselves or they had a trusted adult with them, I grabbed a beer and headed toward the bonfire to shoot the shit with some long-time buddies.

“He found himself a fuck buddy pretty quickly.” Craig’s words and the resulting laughs echoed in my ears.

“Yeah, husband’s barely cold in the ground before he’s getting his hands on another dick. Guess he couldn’t stand not having a hard one to ride.” A man I barely recognized agreed and more laughter abounded.

“Never thought I’d see Kaden Ramsey turnin’ gay. Must be why that wife of his left. Needed to find a real man, not a butt-fucker.” Craig’s words registered and sent hot anger straight through my core. I downed my beer as the next comment was made, but I’d already made up my mind what I was going to do.

“I mean, I ain’t gonna judge. If Ramsey wants to pack some fudge, it aint’s hurtin’ me none,” Jared, a man I’d considered a decent friend and golf partner, chimed in. “I’m just sayin’, the whole gay thing ain’t my thing, man. Why can’t they just be friends? And what’s it doing to their boys? Don’t seem right to me.”

“Gentlemen,” I spoke from behind them and felt a satisfied spark travel through me when they all turned to face me, their faces pale with fear. “You know what I don’t think is right?” I spoke, using Jared’s words. “I don’t think it’s right that a man would lose the love of his life to cancer. I don’t think it’s right that two young boys would lose their father. I don’t think it’s right that a woman would cheat on her husband and leave her two sons without so much as a second thought.”

I had stepped closer and closer while I spoke. Lowering my voice so as not to call attention to myself, I continued, “I also don’t think it’s right that local friends and neighbors, those who have offered their support through a rough time, would speak ill of men who are supposedly their buddies.” I spit on the ground before running my hand along my jaw as if I was thinking. “In fact, I’d call it downright rude that any man worth his salt would show up for free food and free drinks and sit around a fire spreading more gossip than any quilting bee ever hoped to have.”

None of the men spoke, all of them had found something very interesting to study on the ground. I wasn’t wasting my time, or the evening’s celebrations, on the idiots any longer than I had to.

“I’ll leave you boys with one more thought. Any person, man or woman, would be lucky to have Cam in their life. What’s more, I consider myself damn lucky that Cam and I are friends and work so well together as a team. We’re there for each other and, most importantly, we’re there for our sons. If you all can’t accept that, maybe you should keep your homophobic asses home.”

I shook my head in disgust before walking away. I stopped abruptly when I almost ran over Cam. I glanced at his face to see how much he had heard. Cam’s features were guarded, closed off, so I simply nodded and continued on my way.

 

 

5 lucky winners can pick any book from A.D. Ellis backlist (not Kade & Cameron and not box sets)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6d41b92d119/?

 

A.D. Ellis spends the majority of her days loving and wrangling two school-aged children and a husband before heading to the inner city of Indiana to teach a challenging group of alternative education students in grades third through sixth. Most days she hits the gym after school in hopes of running and lifting away the stress and headaches of the day before picking up her children and squeezing a whole day’s worth of loving and living into the too-short hours before bed. It’s no wonder Ms. Ellis lives for the slower, easier days she gets to enjoy on breaks from school.

Growing up in a small farming town in southern Indiana, A.D. is grateful to her mother for passing along the love of reading. With her nose constantly stuck in a book, Ms. Ellis became accustomed to friends and acquaintances snickering and shaking their heads at her love of reading.

A.D. never dreamed of being anything but a teacher, although there are certain times of the year when she laments her career choice. Ms. Ellis had a story idea floating in her head for about a year. After persistent prodding from a friend, A.D. put pen to paper and began writing her first story in October 2013. From that moment on, she was hooked. Taking the people and stories from her head and sharing them with readers is a scary, exhausting, rewarding, and fulfilling experience which A.D. plans to continue until there are no more stories banging around in her mind.

A.D. Ellis’ work can be found on both iBooks and Amazon. Please contact her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.

iBooks bit.ly/ADEllisiBooks

Amazon author.to/ADEllisAmazon

Facebook www.facebook.com/adellisauthor

Twitter www.twitter.com/ADEllisAuthor

Website http://www.adellisauthor.com

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GUEST POST: Maui, A Cozy Mystery Paradise by Joe Cosentino

MAUI, A COZY MYSTERY PARADISE

Drama Luau, the fourth Nicky and Noah comedy/mystery/romance novel

by Joe Cosentino

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’ve been all over the world, and no place is more beautiful, exotic, and romantic than Maui, the perfect location for a gay cozy mystery.

A few years ago, my spouse and I survived the long plane ride and visited hidden white sandy beaches (our favorite was the beach used in the movie South Pacific), giant and spectacular waterfalls (as in the opening of Fantasy Island), craters of every hue on steep mountaintops, palm trees waving in the gentle breeze, and incredibly low key and hospitable Hawaiians. We braved the white-knuckle drive to the fantastic Seven Sacred Pools, yawned at the gorgeous sunrise at Haleakala, snorkeled in the clear turquoise water, and flew through the crystal blue sky while parasailing. We also attended a luau with a dramatic boat procession, pig roast and ceremony, huge and sumptuous buffet of Hawaiian foods, and of course the hula dancer show. The dancers were muscular Hawaiian men wearing grass skirts, leis, flower headdresses, anklets, and bracelets, who gestured with their arms, waved their knees, stomped, and grunted on an outdoor stage masked by a dormant volcano.

So when it came time for Nicky and Noah to go on their honeymoon in the fourth novel in my popular Nicky and Noah mystery series, I knew they had to go to Maui. It was great fun including all the things my spouse and I did on our trip into this fast-paced, humorous, spine-tingling mystery with a very shocking ending. Nicky and Noah have the time of their lives solving this one, and also find their relationship in for quite a change.

As you remember, in Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of 2015), college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains at Treemeadow College, and amateur sleuths/college theatre professors Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention 2016), Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. Also, Nicky and Noah’s relationship reaches a milestone by the end of the novel. In Drama Cruise, it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back (which my spouse and I also did). Nicky and Noah must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring Noah and other college theatre professors from across the US. Complicating matters are their both sets of wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with the handsome couple.

Now in Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort, and he and Noah need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Their department head and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In addition to the sexy hula dancers, we meet a handsome Hawaiian detective, a Bloody Mary type housekeeper, a cigar chomping hotel manager, the hotel owner and his senator wife who give new meaning to the term family values, and a cute young waiter who wants to be a hula dancer more than a priest wants a new altar boy convention.

And watch for Drama Detective, book five, releasing in six months!

It is my joy and pleasure to share these stories with you. So grab your plate at the buffet table, and take your front row seat for the luau show. The grass curtain is going up on Drama Luau!

DRAMA LUAU (a Nicky and Noah mystery)

a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO

http://myBook.to/DramaLuau

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/711186

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drama-luau-joe-cosentino/1125994872?ean=2940154062050

Theater professors and spouses, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are on their honeymoon at a Hawaiian resort, where musclemen in grass skirts are keeling over like waterfalls. Things erupt faster than a volcano when Nicky and Noah, along with their best friends Martin and Ruben, try to stage a luau show. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the grass curtain down on male hula dancers—before things go coconuts for the handsome couple. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fourth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and aloha!

 

Praise for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, Contemporary Novel of 2015):

“I love this story, just the right mix, of fun, hilarity and mystery in the mix. The storyline is fresh and well thought out, and the dynamic of the characters is through the roof! Bike Book Reviews

Praise for DRAMA MUSCLE, the second Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention):

“reading these books is like watching a fabulous comedic, murder mystery, action, adventure, romantic film.” “I was giggle snorting and laughing so much I had to stop reading. Joe Cosentino’s writing is absolutely flawless. He’s a master storyteller and will keep you guessing and utterly riveted until Drama Muscle’s highly satisfying ending. This is an absolute gem of a book, and series.” Divine Magazine

Praise for DRAMA CRUISE, the third Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press:

“Each (Nicky and Noah mystery) is a wonderful mixture of sex, comedy, romance and murder, but when Cosentino took it to an Alaska cruise and the high seas, well, it tossed it up into theatrically delicious magic….I loved this story. I love this couple. What on earth is going to happen to them next? I can’t wait to find out.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press), Drama Luau; In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press); Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries; and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015! Coming next: Drama Detective, the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery.

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Excerpt of Drama Luau by Joe Cosentino:

Rivaling our heated argument with the Kapenas, the fake volcano onstage erupted, thanks to the theatrical effects of red lights and smoke. The dancers entered the stage to welcoming applause and executed their opening number. I held Noah’s hand as the men gestured toward the palm trees, ocean, and mountains behind them. As the dance built in intensity, they stomped, grunted, and made faces in honor of the goddess of the ocean. Though lead dancer Kal was positioned front and center for most of the dance, each dancer filled the stage with dramatic character (thanks, Noah!) and strong presence. The conclusion of the opening number was met with appreciative applause from the audience.

After a brief musical interlude, the dancers returned to the stage in their grass skirts and performed the next few numbers. Kal maintained his magnetic charisma. Though older and drooping a bit in the middle, dance captain Ak and bulldog faced Kimu held their own, as did cute little Ahe. Not surprisingly, Ahe’s lover, Keanu, commanded the audience’s attention with his obvious desire to move from dancer helper to lead dancer. With each successfully completed routine, Noah and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Pulling off their skirts and wearing only G-strings, the dancers performed their homage to the creation god. I noticed that both of the Kapenas seemed to be quite interested in that number.

Finally, the stage lights dimmed, and the cast lit their fire clubs. Waving them enthusiastically to honor the fire goddess, each dancer performed his routine beautifully. As I had instructed, a technician turned on the fan near the stage to highlight the flames that danced along as the men carried them. I thanked the theatre gods when Kimu, no doubt having taken a swig in the dressing room, doddered a bit but managed to stay on his feet until the end of the fire finale.

“Nicky, look!”

I followed Noah’s index finger pointing to a tiki lamp onstage as it came crashing down on Kimu’s head. Kimu saw the light.

The music stopped as the audience shrieked. Noah and I raced up onto the stage. Checking Kimu’s pulse, Noah said, “Nicky. He’s dead!”

The stage became a blur of activity with dancers, technicians, Walter, the Kapenas, wait staff, and band members racing around like bear cubs without their mother.

Feeling like the star of a 1940’s thriller, I stood at the apron of the stage. “Is there a doctor in the house?”

Before anyone could answer, Noah tapped my shoulder. “Nicky, Kimu’s gone.”

I continued scanning the audience for a doctor or a nurse. “Maybe there’s still a chance to save him.”

“No, Nicky, he’s really gone,” Noah said.

I looked behind me at the place onstage where Kimu had fallen. It was empty.

 

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GUEST POST: Remmy Duchene

Hi everyone!

Thank you so much for stopping by! I’m Remmy Duchene, author of Interracial Romance (sensual, erotic, sweet – depending on my mood lol).

Today, I’m here to gab about my newest release coming to Pride Publishing titled The Smell of Camellias. This story has a special place in my heart because it is the first time a reader has requested a story from me. One of my readers, who’ve been with me for years now, asked if I could write a longer piece with the Blasian (Black/Asian) mixed. Of course, I was flattered, excited, even cried a little (Says my friends – I mean, I had something in my eyes) but then I freaked out.

Why? I am notorious for starting a story and 15-20 thousand words in, scrapping it because it makes no sense to me. I didn’t want this to happen with this story and I wanted it to be something kind of similar to a Korean Drama but not really. There has never been an interracial Korean Drama of this magnitude so I was free to work with my own imagination.

Sung-go’s name was changed about eight times. No word of a lie. I had to make sure his name wasn’t similar to any of the other Korean men I’d written in the past. Though, if you research the names from the culture and watch as many dramas and listen to as much Kpop as I do, the names are remarkable similar.

I actually created Frank for another story – he was going to be a rapper who was still in the closet but somehow the personality that came through didn’t mesh well with that story so I brought him over to Camellias.

I think these two works really well together.

Different story brings out a different love in me. For The Smell of Camellias I was able to mesh my love of Korean Dramas, my adoration for culture and writing multicultural romance (With tons of spice) and toss in a little drama to make it all sizzle.

To add to that, this book comes out four days before my birthday!! But since I declared June my month (lol) and I’m sharing it with Pride Month in Toronto – I am over the moon about this release!

I’m very lucky to be able to do this.

Blurb

Broken to be whole…

After a life that had little to be desired, Frank Dunn has a sea of possibilities ahead of him. Young, good-looking with a kick-ass education and credentials from Cal Tech, Frank is ready to take on the world. When he is offered his dream job, Frank jumps on it even though he has to move to South Korea. Since he has no family except his best friend, staying put is irrelevant.

Sung-Go Hyun is the man when it comes to White Tiger Industries—a multi-billion-dollar luxury automotive giant in South Korea. From the outside, people think he has it all, but he knows his struggles and they have left him stoic. When he meets Frank Dunn, they immediately butt heads. Sung-Go is instantly attracted to the brown-eyed devil and Sung-Go hates that. But since his heart isn’t going to cooperate, Sung-Go decides to go after what he wants. Frank on the other hand wants nothing to do with Sung-Go or his bed.

Sung-Go isn’t used to such a reaction, but he will have to learn that Frank would rather burn Sung-Go’s world to the ground than submit.

Links

You can snag The Smell of Camellias from Pride at https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/the-smell-of-camellias or wherever you tend to buy your Remmy sexiness!

Website: https://remmyduchene.wix.com/remmymantasy

Twitter: @remmyduchene

Instagram: @Manluvlikeaboss

And you can find me on Facebook

*hugs*

Remmy D

About the author

Multi-published Remmy Duchene was born in St. Anns, Jamaica and moved to Canada at a young age. When not working or writing, Remmy loves dabbling in photography, travelling and spending time with friends and family.

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EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Sunset at Pencarrow by Anne Barwell and Lou Sylvre

Thanks for hosting us here today as part of our blog tour for Sunset at Pencarrow.

We have a Rafflecopter running as part of the blog tour so be sure to enter—which you can more than once. Use the discount code PENCARROW for 30% off Sunset at Pencarrow only from the Dreamspinner Press store from 31st May-30th June.

Blurb

Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.

Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Excerpt

“I don’t bloody believe this.” Nathaniel “Nate” Dunn took a deep breath. “So, any idea when my flight might actually leave?”

The woman at the counter gave him what she probably thought was a pleasant smile. Instead it came across as condescending with a touch of oh help me, God, how stupid is this guy?

“I’ve already told you—” She glanced at his ticket. “—Mr. Dunn… Nathaniel… I don’t have that information. The fog will lift when it decides to lift, and we can’t begin to reschedule flights until that time. In the meantime, you’ll have to wait like everyone else.”

“You don’t understand. I have to be in Christchurch this afternoon. I have a job interview tomorrow.”

“Of course you do.” The woman seemed ready to dismiss him but then appeared to reconsider. “If you’re desperate, perhaps you can catch the afternoon ferry sailing to Picton and then a flight from either Blenheim or Nelson.”

“The ferries are full.” Nate read the name on her badge—Heather Rawlins. “Ms. Rawlins, I’ve already thought of that.” He waved his hand to indicate the very full airport. Many of those in line behind him were students. Several of them looked very young, and they had parents hovering around them. Probably their first time away from home, and not a great start to a course of study at either Canterbury or Otago universities. “Uni starts back last week of February. That’s next week. There’s only me and several hundred others trying to make it to the South Island.”

“You’d better settle in and wait, then, hadn’t you? This might take a while.” Heather looked past him. “Next, please.”

“Charming,” Nate muttered. Why the hell had the fog decided to pick today of all days to turn up? Beautiful weather for weeks, and on the only day he needed to fly out of Wellington, the bloody stuff foiled his plans. His flatmate, Amy, had warned him to be prepared for delays when they hadn’t been able to see the airport from across the harbor that morning, but he hadn’t listened. Fog in the morning didn’t mean the stupid stuff would hang around all day. Typical of his luck lately. “Windy Wellington” and today there wasn’t even a breeze to blow the fog out.

It was a conspiracy.

Much like the rest of his life. One could only take so much of pretending everything was hunky-dory and plastering on a false smile. He was sick of it. Bad enough that Glenn—who he’d thought was the “one,” the guy he’d be with forever—had dumped him, but to find out his job of the last ten years was finishing as well? And now this….

“Next, please,” Heather repeated.

“Excuse me, sir,” a man behind him said in an American accent. “There’s a line here, and I’m sure the lady has done all she could to help you.”

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press (Discount code PENCARROW from 5/31-6/30, 30% off, DSP store only.)

Google Books

iTunes

Kobo

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Giveaway

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

Blog Tour

We hope you’ll join us for the other stops on the tour.  Click here to see the complete schedule and links to the blogs.

About the Authors

Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She works in a library, is an avid reader and watcher across genres, and is constantly on the lookout for more hours in her day. Music often plays a part in her stories, and although she denies being a romantic at heart, the men in her books definitely are.  Anne has written in several genres—contemporary, fantasy, historical, and SF— and believes in making her characters work for their happy endings.

Website: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/annebarwell

Email: darthanne@gmail.com

Lou Sylvre

Lou Sylvre loves romance with all its ups and downs, and likes to conjure it into books. The romantics on her pages are men who fall hard for each other, end up deeply in love, and often save each other from unspeakable danger. It’s all pretty crazy and very sexy. Among other things, Lou is the creator of the popular Vasquez and James series , which can be found at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and many other online vendors.

Website: http://www.sylvre.rainbow-gate.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLouSylvre/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sylvre

Email: lou.sylvre@gmail.com

 

Lou and Anne’s shared Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sylvrebarwellhoffmann/

 

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RELEASE BLITZ with GIVEAWAY: Misdemeanor by CF White

 

Buy Links:  Pride Publishing (Early Download) Amazon US | Amazon UK (Out July 4)

Blurb

After his mother tragically dies and his deadbeat father goes off the rails, nineteen-year-old Micky is left to care for his disabled little brother, Flynn.
   
Juggling college, a dead end job and Flynn’s special needs means Micky has to put his bad boy past behind him and be the responsible adult to keep his brother out of care. He doesn’t have time for anything else in his life.
Until he meets Dan.

“Amazingly gritty and raw. This slice of life is so realistic it flays you.” – Pride Publishing

Excerpt
 

The Sun Keeps Rising

“Shit!”

Micky cursed loudly and squinted through the morning glare to read the alarm clock that was obviously having trouble performing its one and only basic function. He threw off his duvet and jumped out of bed, his foot landing on a plastic wind-up toy penguin discarded on the floor. The penguin openly mocked him by tossing itself into a noisy backflip.

“Fuck!”

Micky cursed again, bending down to pick up the toy and throw it savagely against the wall. It shattered into a million pieces and Micky felt instantly guilty.

“Flynn!” he yelled, hopping over to his bedroom door and yanking it open. Treading more carefully to the bathroom opposite, he rubbed his eyes before coming face-to-face with himself in the mirror above the sink.

He looked like shit. No change there. The three hours of almost sleep he’d gotten obviously hadn’t done anything to improve on his disheveled appearance. He ran a hand over the stubble on his chin. He needed to shave but now didn’t have the time. Micky turned on the tap, dunked his head under the cold stream and squeezed paste onto his toothbrush.

“Flynn!” he shouted again, louder this time, before shoving the toothbrush into his gob and brushing vigorously. The minty taste did nothing for his dry mouth.

“Yes, Micky,” came a quiet little voice from the bathroom doorway.

Still holding the toothbrush between his lips, foam dripping out from the side of his mouth, Micky turned.

“We’re late,” he said, trying to suck the minty drool back up and stop it escaping from the corners.

“I’m dressed,” Flynn replied with a huge proud smile.

Flynn stood in the doorway, clutching another wind-up plastic toy. He kept spinning the thing around, setting off an ear-piercing buzz as it unwound at double speed. He appeared so small and fragile. More like a five-year-old than his actual eight years. He’d gotten dressed. Sort of. He’d managed to pull on his gray school trousers over his pajama bottoms and his army-green jumper clung inside out. No socks, and his mousy-brown curls stuck out from his head in all directions.

Micky’s heart melted a little at the sight.

“Well done, Flynn.” Micky finished brushing his teeth, spat down the plughole and cupped a handful of water into his mouth to rinse. Turning back to his brother, Micky then crouched in front of him. “But how about we try taking the pajamas off?”

Flynn looked down, waggling his toes, and back up at his big brother. “Why?” he asked, confused. “I put them back on later.”

Micky laughed. The kid had a point.

“Come on.” Micky took hold of Flynn’s hand to walk him back into the small box room. It had twin beds, pushed up against opposite sides. One had used to belong to Micky before he’d moved into the master bedroom.

“What time did you get up today?” Micky asked, dragging Flynn’s jumper over his head.

“Five five two,” Flynn replied.

He wound up the blasted plastic toy again and Micky breathed in deeply, preventing his immediate instinctive reaction to take the thing and smash it against the wall in comradeship with its penguin mate.

“That’s early,” Micky said, pulling off Flynn’s pajama top then rooting around in the drawer for his brother’s school polo shirt. He found it scrunched at the bottom and helped Flynn squirm into it while trying to smooth out the creases.

“For what?” Flynn asked, holding on to Micky’s shoulder as he knelt and stepped out of his trousers.

“Everything,” Micky replied with a yawn.

“Daddy didn’t say it was.”

Micky looked into Flynn’s blue eyes. The white starburst pattern within them gave him the feeling of being hypnotized. Micky blinked.

“Dad’s not here, Flynn,” Micky said slowly, standing to inspect his now school-uniform-clad little brother.

“Yes, he is.” Flynn smiled widely, his plastic toy buzzing in his hands.

Micky stared down at for a brief moment, then spun around and ran full pelt down the stairs and into the living room. The place was dark and dank, stinking of booze and fags with beer cans littering the floor.

Micky yanked open the curtains to witness the disgusting figure sprawled on the sofa. Tatty stonewashed denim jeans bagged around his knees and the T-shirt he wore, once white in color, was stained yellow with patches of Micky didn’t want to know what. His greasy, graying hair hung around his face like rats’ tails. He was snoring and every breath out from his wide-open mouth filled the room with a putrid stench.

Micky kicked at the arm dangling off the sofa. The man grumbled but didn’t move. Micky kicked him again, more fiercely. Opening one eye, the brute belched as he squinted through the glaring sunlight.

“Get the fuck out,” Micky demanded.

The laughter that followed made Micky’s skin crawl, along with the irritating scratching of fingernails across the man’s chest. The shirt rubbed against the curly dark hairs scattering his fat body and made the unbearable scraping of nails down a chalk board.

“Now,” Micky growled.

The grunted response wasn’t something Micky could decipher, nor did he care to. Micky watched with contempt as he rolled off the sofa and landed on the floor with a thump. Several beer cans crunched under his heavy frame and he rolled again to push up on to all fours. Grunting once more, he heaved himself to stand. He tripped on his own feet and clutched at the wall. Micky clenched his fists at the ready as the second loud belch blasted out and Micky had to turn away from the oncoming stink.

“Money,” he demanded, holding out a hand.

“Get fucked,” Micky spat back.

“Then I take his.”

He staggered over to the fireplace mantelpiece and made a grab for the handmade clay moneybox shaped like a car. Micky wrapped firm fingers around his wrist and squeezed tightly.

“Over my dead body.” Micky gritted his teeth. Clutching the wrist harder, he used his other hand to root around in the dirty jeans pocket and yanked out a key. Shaking his head, Micky shoved him away. “Now leave, before I fucking kill you.”

“Micky?” Flynn’s delicate little voice squeaked from the living room door. He clung to the plastic toy still in his hand, his eyes tightly shut.

Micky ran over, picked him up and settled him on his hip. For an eight-year-old, Flynn weighed no more than a couple of stone, his body skin and bones. It wasn’t his fault. It was the condition. Flynn rested his head on Micky’s shoulder, wrapping his arms around his big brother’s neck, still clamping his eyes shut.

“It’s okay, Flynn. Dad’s leaving now.”

 
Author Bio
 

Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.

Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.

She eventually moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.

Having worked in Higher Education for most of her career, a life-altering experience brought pen back to paper after she’d written stories as a child but never had the confidence to show them to the world. Having embarked on this writing malarkey, C F White cannot stop. So strap in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…

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GUEST POST: Nurture by Jaime Samms & Sarah Masters

Nurture by Jaime Samms & Sarah Masters

No doubt about it, abuse is a difficult thing to read about. It’s difficult to write about, too.  Nurture explores abuse within a relationship—extreme abuse—and how two men fight their way through it. Three men if you count the new love interest—four and five men if you count the two friends also in the story. It’s a tale about pulling together, about helping a man see that what he’s suffered is abuse. All right, Paul knows his relationship with Carl isn’t normal, but he needs time to come to terms with that.

We see both sides of the coin, with Carl showing the reader why he’s abusive; how his upbringing and the things his father said to him brought him to where they are today—with Carl expressing his love for Paul in a manner that no one should express. By murdering people to prove how much he cares. His logic is twisted, but to him it makes absolute sense. To Paul, it’s horrific, and he wonders where and when Carl crossed that line. When did he shift from charming and wonderful to wicked and sadistic? Paul learns that it’s possible to feel empathy for a deranged and evil person—and that’s what he struggles with. Emotions and feelings have a habit of swaying our minds and hearts, and although Paul can see exactly what Carl has become, he still holds on to the fact somewhere deep inside that Carl wasn’t always like that.

However, Paul isn’t some whimpering bloke who refuses to see what’s right in front of his face. He can see it—has felt a fist or two connect with it as well—and it’s time to move on. The problem is, Carl isn’t about to let that happen, and rather than let Paul go, or get Paul to run away with him so he can have him all to himself, Carl would rather see Paul in jail than free. At least then he’d know where Paul was. Yes, twisted logic again, but through his eyes a child, we can see how he came to that conclusion—that Paul being incarcerated is better than Paul being free.

There are too many good people on Paul’s side, though, encouraging him, believing him—in him—and Paul’s journey, though as harrowing as Carl’s but in a completely different way, is about to take a different turn. He realises he must put the past behind him—and he must learn to let go. With the help of a police officer (Vic), and Paul’s friends Brian and Lil, he finds the courage to take the first step into a life without restraints. It’s a hard thing to do, walking away from an abuser, but the strength to do so is inside him. The problem is, Carl is stubborn and refuses to set him free.

Nurture isn’t a book everyone will want to read, we know that. But it is one we couldn’t not write. It called to us, and while writing, we wondered where on earth the plot would go next. We were surprised by ourselves on many occasions, and once we’d completed it, felt drained from the intensity of it all. But we’re glad we wrote it. Glad that if someone somewhere reads this book and alarm bells start ringing in their heads, giving them the courage to walk away like Paul, then we’ve done a good thing.

It’s not all doom and gloom. We also wanted to show that new horizons are out there, just waiting and, once a person is ready for it, beautiful things can happen. There’s hope, there’s a light at the end of a long and dark tunnel. There’s nurturing, not torturing.

There’s love.

URL for Nurture: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/nurture

Jaime Samms Author Bio:

Jaime writes, romance, fantasy, urban fantasy, shifter stories about men, about life, about love. Her work is populated with mostly men, most of whom are into each other, and yes, we do mean into each other. You can find plenty of free reading on her website.

She also reviews for Dark Diva Reviews, mostly the same types of stories, and will happily spout her opinion on the books she reads to her kids, who she home schools. Finally, she’s occasionally gainfully employed. She writes for the love it, and hopes to pass on that love to her readers, her kids, and anyone else who comes along.

 

Sarah Masters Author Bio:

Sarah Masters is a multi-published author in three pen names writing several genres. She lives with her husband, youngest daughter, and a cat in England. She writes at weekends and is a cover artist/head of art in her day job. In another life she was an editor. Her other pen names are Natalie Dae and Geraldine O’Hara.

Sarah also co-authors with Jaime Samms, and as Natalie Dae she co-authors with Lily Harlem under the name Harlem Dae.