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RETRO TOUR AND GIVEAWAY! Tournament of Shadows by SA Meade

Retro Review Tour & Giveaway 

 SA Meade – Tournament of Shadows

Author: SA Meade
 
 
Length: 55,000 words
 
Blurb
 
In a shadowy game where defeat can mean death, a deal with the enemy can change things forever.
 
In 1842, Captain Gabriel O’Riordan of the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars is sent on a
mission to Bukhara. His task—to try to free two of his compatriots from the clutches of a mentally unstable Emir. On his way, he encounters Valentin Yakolev, an officer in the Russian Army, who is also on a mission—to persuade the Emir that an alliance with Russia would be in his best interest. Gabriel, disguised as a holy man, is not happy to be the object of Yakolev’s intense scrutiny. After all, he’s working for the opposing team in the Great Game being played between their two nations. When Gabriel realises that his mission is little more than a forlorn hope, a game he has no chance of winning, he’s desperate enough to turn to Valentin for help and offers him anything in return. What he doesn’t expect is to have his plans to return to Calcutta scuppered by events.
 
Instead, he and Valentin flee north, fighting off bandits, their desire for each other and the hardship of desert travel. Their travails bring them closer together until a secret from Valentin’s past tears them apart.
 
Can they set the past behind them and move on together?
 
Author Bio
 
S.A. Laybourn lives in Wiltshire with her son and two needy cats. She works as a freelance editor and sometimes writes stories. Her alter-ego S.A. Meade writes gay romance. She loves cooking, reading, gin and tonic and the occasional glass of wine. She is not terribly domesticated and has trouble finding things that she thought she’d put in a ‘safe’ place.
 
You can find her books at:

And follow her on:

 
 
 
 

 Giveaway!

Click the image below to win two of S.A. Meade’s backlist stories.

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BLOG TOUR and GUEST POST! Rockin’ It Forever by Morticia Knight

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The Language of Music

Longfellow said, “Music is the universal language of mankind”. Then there was seventeenth-century poet and playwright, William Congreve, who included what has now become a legendary line about music in one of his plays: “Music has charms to soothe the savage beast”. But it is Hans Christian Anderson’s quote, “Where words fail, music speaks”, that is at the heart of my book, Rockin’ it Forever.

Rockin’ it Forever picks up where the short story, Rockin’ the Alternative leaves off, so it’s important to read that one first. But in both stories, the clear theme is how music brings these two yearning souls together, because truthfully, music is the only language they speak.

When I first became a part of the What’s His Passion? imprint at Pride, it didn’t take much for me to decide on what passion I would use for my men. Music has been a big part of my life since a young age. My father was a professional musician, with an engineering career sandwiched in-between, and he encouraged me early on. Sadly, I didn’t find out until after she’d passed that it was my grandmother who was the singer of the family. Although my dad could play many instruments very well, his vocals were to be avoided!

The ups and downs of my career in the music industry also informed Aubrey’s character. For those of you familiar with the alternative rock artists and songs of the nineties, that would’ve been the time that Aubrey’s band, Falling in Stereo was at the height of their fame. That was also my most shining moment. I played in and around Hollywood from 1989 to the year 2000. My CD was out in 1997, which was right when Aubrey had his biggest hit.

When it got time for Aubrey to share some of his songs (this happens early on in the short story), it didn’t feel right not to have the lyrics. Bryan, the rock journalist who falls for Aubrey then questions his own sexuality, connects to Aubrey through both his music and lyrics. You can’t have one without the other. I couldn’t have actual music playing in the book, so I decided there needed to be lyrics in order for the readers to connect with how strongly Aubrey affected Bryan emotionally.

Aubrey is searching for his one true love, he really is. But that person can’t only appeal to him sexually or be compatible in day-to-day life – that man who he gives his whole heart to has to speak the language of music. For Bryan, music is what has always mattered to him more than anything else. He’s not searching for love, because he wonders if it’s even possible for him. When he meets Aubrey, the singer he’s idolized since he was twelve, he’s attracted to him in a way he never anticipated being that he’s always identified as straight. However, there’s such an immediate soul connection, Bryan can’t help but wonder if maybe this was what he’d been waiting for all along.

Of all the arts, I believe that music is the most powerful. When I hear a song that I love, it triggers those endorphins running around in circles in my head as they do a happy dance. How many times have you played a song to evoke a certain emotion, whether it was anger, joy or sadness? People hear a song and it immediately transports them back to a time in their life when they first heard it, or reminds them of someone or a specific event.

In the Rockin’ books, Aubrey and Bryan speak the language of music beautifully to each other. They get it. And even though they have their own ups and downs, ultimately, it’s the music that leads them to their ever-after.

 

Author Bio and Links

Author Morticia Knight spends most of her nights writing about men loving men forever after. If there happens to be some friendly bondage or floggings involved, she doesn’t begrudge her characters whatever their filthy little heart’s desire. Even though she’s been crafting her naughty tales for more years than she’d like to share – her adventures as a published author began in 2011. Once upon a time she was the lead singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She currently resides on the northern Oregon coast and when she’s not fantasizing about hot men she takes walks along the ocean and annoys the local Karaoke bar patrons.

Pride Publishing Author Page: https://www.pride-publishing.com/author/morticia-knight

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Morticia-Knight/e/B005IQ2B6W/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MorticiaKnight

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/authormorticiaknight?fref=nf

Website/blog: http://www.morticiaknight.com/

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

 

 

 

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GUEST POST AND EXCERPT ~~ The Tenth Muse by Belinda McBride

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Today we welcome Belinda McBride to Two Men to talk about her latest release, The Tenth Muse.

 

With His Sweet Breath…Zephyrus

The Tenth Muse is a love story featuring characters from the Greek Pantheon. It’s quite a cast of characters, so I thought I’d take a moment to introduce readers to a few of the supporting gods and goddesses. Some are familiar, so not so much.

Zephyrus is a fairly major deity in Greek mythology. I first heard his name through Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. He’s the God of the West Wind, and the bringer of the Spring. There are strong connections to Spring and life and re-birth, so to me, I visualize him as a good natured man, with pale golden-red hair and vivid green eyes.

He was best known for his part in the myth about the youth Hyacinth, who was the lover of Apollo. Zephyrus was also infatuated with the youth, and was quite jealous. When Apollo and Hyacinth were practicing the discus, a gust of wind from the west blew Apollo’s shot astray, sending it wild to strike Hyacinth…killing him.

Of course, Zephyrus denies everything and we only have Apollo’s word on what really happened…

In The Tenth Muse, Zephyrus plays a small, but vital role in the story. He’s the close friend and reputed lover of Hermaphroditus, the half-brother of our hero, Eros. Zephyrus is a bit of a busy-body, but doesn’t mind getting his hands a little dirty when it’s time for mischief.

It’s quite possible that the God of the West Wind is bearing a torch for Herma, one that is unrequited. As you read The Tenth Muse, you’ll notice that wherever Herma goes, he’s always accompanied by light breezes that lift his hair and whisper secrets in his ear. Those are wind sprites Zephyrus has sent to live with Herma. While the sprites are children of Zephyr’s creation, they are not of his body, and they will never “grow up.” When I wrote them, I perceived them like little fairies or pixies. They are completely loyal to Herma, aiding him as servants, company and as spies.

As a god associated with spring, of course, Zephyr is associated with goddesses with similar attributes. He was married to Chloris, also known as Flora, a nymph of the Elysian Fields. He pursued her, carrying her away and ravishing her, but took her to wife. He also was the lover to Iris, the Goddess of the Rainbow, who was the messenger of Zeus.

As an author, I take liberties, reading various sources, picking and choosing the characters I like and embellishing them to suit the story I’m writing. Choosing who to include is much like standing before a massive buffet filled with beautiful and appetizing selections…it’s hard to decided which goes on the plate! The more I played with Zephyrus, the more appealing he became, so someday…he might wind up in a story of his own!

 

Blurb:

In a wicked game, the God of Love falls to his own arrow, and a gentle scholar learns how dangerous knowledge can be.

Aphrodite has had it.

It was bad enough that her son Eros walked a fashion show in drag, but did he really have to show the entire world his wings? Desperate to rein in the impulsive young god, she recruits the scholarly muse Rees to lure him back to Olympus until the scandal dies down.

After hundreds of years, Eros has finally located the reincarnation of his former love, Psyche. The only way to her heart is through fame, so the God of Love plans a daring campaign to win her back. Yet the closer he gets to Psyche, the more he’s drawn to a geeky young professor who came crashing into his life.

Eros drags Rees into his wicked world of high fashion and risqué parties, only to expose him to danger from an unexpected source. When Rees’ secrets come out, they threaten to destroy Eros’ love for him. Yet when Rees is kidnapped, Eros is forced to turn to the woman who set this catastrophe in motion—his mother, Aphrodite.

Reader Advisory: This book contains some scenes of kidnapping/captivity and graphic scenes of death and violence. This book also contains references to/discussions of rape.

 

Excerpt:

“What else do you know about Eros? Not me, but the god.” He was intrigued. Granted, Rees seemed to know a great deal about…well…everything. But it was just weird to hear him talking about the historical version of Eros.

“He loved long and true. Odd, that the god you say symbolizes lust is one of the few who had only one consort and one child.”

He pressed his eyes closed at the mention of his daughter, Bliss. She’d been his blood, half-divine, but like her mother, she’d finally succumbed to mortality. And like her mother, she’d chosen forgetfulness and rebirth. She’d been a mere heartbeat in his long existence. The memory of her made his heart ache. Sometimes he spotted a man or woman on the street, his gaze drawn by golden hair and blue, blue eyes. His grandchildren, hundreds of generations removed. It was another thought he avoided.

“It’s all fairy tales and fantasy, Rees.”

“Yes, of course. But people created these mythological beings out of a need for explanation. For comfort. They needed reassurance that there was more to the world than hard work and eventual death.”

He waded out farther, still facing Eros. His hands drifted in the clear water. “And think of it, Eros. Most of the Greek pantheon were rather fearsome characters, representing that which they feared and what they desperately needed. Apollo promised that when we woke in the morning, the sun would rise. Poseidon controlled the seas—when fishermen didn’t come back, it was the god’s will. And the fertility deities, Aphrodite, Hermes, Demeter…so very many gods and goddesses to pray to for successful crops and children. Then there was Eros. He was all about love. Not the weather or the crops or pregnancy, but quite simply…love. That was an amazing step forward in social development.”

Eros waded out into the water, enjoying the sensation of the sand slipping under his feet. He smelled salt on the air and thought of his mother. “He sounds a bit unnecessary to me.”

Rees turned and smiled at him. “He sounds like the creation of an evolving society.”

For a moment, Eros was afraid Rees would see his erection and be spooked, but even as the thought crossed his mind, warm water slipped up over his hips, hiding his groin. He tried to see if Rees was aroused, but the ebb and flow of the water revealed nothing.

Without much thought, Eros gave himself to the ocean, gliding under the surface, smiling a brief greeting to the tiny fish darting past.

Nearby, Rees was cutting through the water as though he’d been born to it, gliding down into the depths then rising, breaking the surface in a smooth, tireless stroke. The water was shallow. Eros skimmed along the bottom and kicked upward, rolling onto his back to watch the stars.

The version of Eros that Rees had described seemed like a stranger. How long since he’d really cared about others? He’d certainly known about Justin and Alejandro, but hadn’t been concerned enough to intervene. He’d worried over Rosalinda, and had almost talked himself out of the idea that she’d once been the love of his life. Because how could she be Psyche when he felt little for her beyond lust and a warmth that warred with his annoyance at her selfish behavior?

Beside him Rees drifted, completely comfortable in the water. Like Eros, he watched the sky, smiling at the path of a falling star.

“Did you make a wish?”

Eros blinked, surprised at how much the saltwater stung his eyes. “Yeah. I made a wish.”

He wished the hollow spot in the middle of his chest would go away. He wished that the two young men back at the hotel would gather up their courage and grab their happiness. He wished like hell that Rees would touch him, just brush a hand against his cheek. Nothing happened, and his buzz faded away. When he looked up, they’d drifted far down the beach.

The lights of the hotel were distant. He wanted nothing more than to keep drifting, away from his past and his present. Away from the heartache of Rosa.

His eyes were burning again.

A strong hand settled on his arm and the gentle surf tugged them back to shore. He landed on the sand with his head pillowed on Rees’ chest, his ass coming to rest on boney knees. Rees wrapped his arms tightly around Eros’ shoulders. He held on as the waves tugged at them, pushing, pulling and bathing them in warmth and the tingle of sea foam. It felt odd to have someone else holding him. And when a strong, graceful hand settled over his heart, Eros could no longer blame the ocean for the sting in his eyes and the salt on his cheeks. He turned his face into Rees’ chest and he cried.

 

Author Bio:

Belinda was born in Inglewood, California, but grew up far to the north in the shadow of Mt. Shasta. While her upbringing seemed pretty normal to her, she was surrounded by a fascinating array of friends and family, including various cowboys, hippies, scoundrels and saints.

She has a degree in history and cultural anthropology, but in 2006 made the life-changing decision to quit her job as a public health paraprofessional and stay at home full time to care for her severely disabled niece. This difficult decision gave Belinda the gift of time, which allowed her to return to writing fiction, which she’d abandoned years before.

Belinda’s hobbies include soap making, dog shows, collecting gemstones, travel, and Chinese martial arts. She has two daughters, three Siberian Huskies, two Salukis, and an array of wild birds that visit the feeders in the front yard.

As an author, Belinda loves crossing genres, kicking taboos to the curb, and pulling from world mythology and folklore for inspiration. She won the Passionate Plume in science fiction for her m/m romance An Uncommon Whore and the EPIC in paranormal romance for Blacque/Bleu, and in science fiction for The Bacchi. She, along with co-authors Cherise Sinclair and Sierra Cartwright were nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award.

You can find Belinda on the web at her website, goodreads, Facebook and Twitter.

 

Website: http://www.belindamcbride.com

Blog: http://www.belindam.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Belinda-McBride-49209583129/

Twitter: @Belinda_McBride

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EXCERPT AND GUEST POST! Counterfeit Conscience by Helena Maeve

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Blurb

On the brink of retirement, a spy will risk all.

The writing’s on the wall. Will Rowe has no illusions about retaining his post as the head of the largest Section field office in South America. Private contractors, some more lawful than others, already see to most of their interests. It’s only a matter of time before Will himself is made redundant. He’d like to think he’s made peace with the inevitable, but when a figure from his past offers one last chance to make a difference, Will can’t resist.

Caught between his duty to the agency and his commitment to protect his operatives, Will must persuade the man who nearly wrecked his career to give up the one and only constant in his world—revenge.

Ignacio was a low-grade runner for the infamous Macias cartel the last time he and Will spoke. Now he is the head of the family and a direct beneficiary of MI6 cost-cutting measures. Will knows that approaching such a man without his superiors’ knowledge or approval is a perilous undertaking, but he doesn’t expect his body and heart to become forfeit. As events spiral out of his control, Will finds himself at the mercy of an old lover intent on awakening desires he long thought suppressed.

 

 

Excerpt 

“I was wondering when you’d work up the nerve to come see me,” Ignacio admitted, switching to English. “Have a seat. What will you have to drink?”

“That’s not what I’m here for.”

Ignacio shook his head, shoulders slumping. “Always business with you… Very well, but it’s your loss. They make an excellent martini. Shaken, not stirred, of course. That’s how you spooks prefer it, yes?”

Ten years on and his smile was just as warm as Will remembered. He had the kind of face that made men want to confess their sins and beg absolution. Will had been stupid enough to trust his soft, slanted eyes once. He had worshiped diligently, on his knees, and nearly lost his job for it.

“Manuel Sosa,” he replied, sidestepping the question altogether.

Ignacio froze, whiskey halfway to his lips. “What about him?”

“He’s in custody. He’s under our protection. I’m here to request that you don’t attempt to interfere with that state of affairs. Again.”

A sharkish smile taking form on his lips, Ignacio clucked his tongue.

“No, that’s not it… You look like you haven’t slept in weeks. Has this meeting been keeping you up? Did you play it out in your head until you drove yourself crazy, like you used to?”

“It’s been ten years,” Will shot back, bristling. It took everything he had to keep his voice even. “I’ve grown out of it.”

 

Liars, traitors, and other sexy things

Thank you, Because Two Men, for hosting me today. It’s with a sigh of relief and a slight pang of regret that I watch book five of my six book series Shadow Play fly the nest for general release. What began as a chance meeting in a bar in Rome has become a tangle of lust and (dis)loyalty. Enemies have become lovers, lovers have become traitors, and now traitors must fight for their lives… or die trying.

A year or two ago, I wrote a short story entitled In the Presence of Mine Enemy, which pitted a newly retired MI6 spy against the man he thought he’d killed. It’s a claustrophobic, fast-paced, on-the-brink novella that should end in tears but somehow (spoiler alert!) doesn’t. The Shadow Play series sprang from that same kernel of an idea. Deception doesn’t quite spell out true love in real life, but fiction is more lenient with liars. And what better reason to bend the truth than Queen and country?

As much as I enjoy James Bond and the sleek, good guys fighting the good fight theme of the 007 books and films, I’ve always been partial to stories about average people doing extraordinary things. Shadow Play focuses on six such pairs. The stories are interconnected but distinct and each character must carry its own cross. Some, as the pair at the heart of Best Kept Lies, are divided by their allegiance to rival agencies, others, as in The Price of Freedom, are separated by a commitment to truth and justice, while others still are only in it for their own survival, like the hit men of Splendid Isolation.

In Counterfeit Conscience, the fifth installment in the series, the choice to be made is one between answering the call of duty and allowing oneself to be manipulated into renewing ties with a very dangerous (and very seductive) individual. But if lies are tolerable when they serve the common good, the question then becomes who decides what the common good is. And that’s when the fighting for one’s life business comes into play. (I did warn you!)

I hope you enjoy the different dynamics at work in the Shadow Play series. And by dynamics, yes, I mean all the sexy bits.

Happy reading!

Helena

 

 

Get it at: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/counterfeit-conscience

 

Author Bio:

Helena Maeve has always been a globe trotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she’s collected in her excursions. When she isn’t writing erotic romance novels, she can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning in her trusty little notebook.

Author’s Social Media Links:

Website (helenamaeve.wordpress.com)

Twitter (twitter.com/HelenaMaeve)

 

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GUEST POST: Carol Lynne

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Blurb

It was a Thursday. The day one eighteen-year-old gunman would change the lives of an entire town.

Principal Mark Kurtz loved his school. He worked hard to give his students every advantage in life, but he could have never predicted that on a warm day in May, a distraught senior would commit an unimaginable act of vengeance on his classmates.

In the aftermath of the shooting that left both students and faculty members dead, Mark must deal with his own guilt while trying to help those around him feel safe once again.

Mark’s problems are compounded when an old flame, Lane Warner, arrives in town to help treat the trauma victims. How can he possibly deal with his own guilt, be there for his seventeen-year-old son and confront the part of himself he’s always denied while trying to heal a broken community?

People Need Time to Grieve

My newest release, It Was a Thursday, deals with the aftermath of a school shooting. I’ve been sitting on this story idea for about five years. Four years ago, I decided to write the story that continued to sneak its way into my dreams. However, each time I started working on the story, another mass shooting would happen somewhere in the United States. I would feel guilty about bringing up such tragic events, so I’d put the story away until society had time to heal.

Here’s where the tricky part lies. In the US, mass shootings have become the norm. We, as a society, aren’t allowed the time to grieve before another tragedy happens. Because of this, I’m afraid we’re becoming numb to the overwhelming sadness that comes with a shooting like the one that happened last month, last week and yesterday. Worse, in my opinion, is what these acts of violence are doing to our children. For years, there have been advocates against violent video games because some people believe if I child sits in front of a television playing a game that is filled with violence, they’ll become immune to it. Hmmm. Unfortunately, right now, it’s not the video game industry that is threatening the humanity of our children, it’s us. It’s the violence we, as a society, accept without doing a damn thing to stop it. We are creating an entire generation of people who are immune to violence because we as adults let it happen every single day.

Groups will gather to protest a single shooting and practically bring down a city while doing it, but we sit in front of our television sets and do nothing to change policies that are literally killing hundreds of people a year. What sense does that make? Why are we so afraid to stand up to the small segment of our population who demand they have complete access to guns without jumping through legal hoops to get them? Damn it! People should have to jump through serious legal hoops to gain access to a firearm.

My daughter has to take a test and put in fifty hours of driver’s training before she’s issued a driver’s license. When I was young, I had to take a written and a driving test in order to get my license. The laws were changed because too many teenagers were getting injured and killed in car accidents. So, are you really going to tell me that our government is unable to change laws in order to protect us? I’m calling bullshit on that one. I honestly don’t care if you want a rifle to hunt with or even a handgun to protect your family as long as I feel safe in the knowledge that those firearms were earned through a serious waiting period and a serious amount of training before you were allowed to take it home. Like a driver’s license, I want people to prove to me they know what the heck they are doing before they are allowed to be in charge of something so dangerous.

Excerpt

Mark Kurtz paused in the process of scrubbing his hands to throw back another swallow of the dark amber liquid that had been his constant companion since the shooting. He didn’t take notice of the raw skin under the nail brush or the sound of the ringing phone because once again he was lost to the memories.

* * * *

A loud crack pierced Mark’s ears as he sat in his office, checking the weather report. The blood froze in his veins when he realized what he’d just heard. “Fuck.” He jumped up and rushed around his desk. A second shot rang out as he threw open his door. “Code Red,” he yelled as he ran through the administration office.

Juvenile screams nearly drowned out the third and fourth rounds as he hit the hallway and tried to assess the direction from which they’d been fired. Gym? He did his best to push down thoughts of his own son as he raced toward the gathered class of 2015 while the loudspeaker overhead ordered students and teachers to follow lockdown procedures. The school board had fought him when he’d insisted on implementing the Code Red drills after several shootings across the country had put students and teachers at the mercy of a madman with a gun, but he hadn’t backed down until they gave in to parental pressure.

By the time he neared the first set of double doors that led to the gymnasium, all hell was breaking loose. He fought to stay on his feet as the panicked students pushed and trampled their own classmates in search of safety. Mark did his best to hold his ground as he fought his way into the gym. He had no real idea of what he’d do once he made it inside, but a bullet in him meant one less in a student.

While squeezing his bigger body between the crush of students and the metal door frame, one of the lock plates scraped against the side of his face, but suddenly, he was inside. The coppery scent of blood mixed with the pungent smell of gunpowder filled his nostrils. It only took a moment to spot the gunman.

Mark skidded to a stop. “Scott!” he shouted over the echoing screams. He couldn’t believe the devastation had come from the confident, fun-loving senior in front of him. No. Scott didn’t fit the profile.

Scott Brown, better known as Skittles, lowered the gun slightly before turning to face Mark. He blinked several times, as if coming out of a trance. “Principal Kurtz?”

Holding his hands up and out to his sides, Mark took three steps forward. “Put the gun down, Scott.”

Scott quickly scanned the gym’s interior. “You know I can’t do that. Just look at what I’ve done.”

“It’ll be okay,” Mark tried to reason. “We’ll get you help.” He heard several students moan but didn’t take his eyes off the boy with the gun.

“I’ve had to fight every day to be true to who I really am, knowing it would be easier if I were someone else. I’m tired of fighting,” Scott’s voice quavered as he raised his arm again.

Mark braced himself as he watched the gun swing upward. Not me, not me, he silently prayed. “Is that what this’s about? Is someone bullying you?”

“Yes, sir.” Scott’s eyes swept the carnage he’d wrought before returning his gaze to Mark. His facial expression seem to change from sorrow and guilt to pure hatred. “They thought because they weren’t on school property they’d get away with taking my self-respect. I had to show them they were wrong.”

Before Mark could react, Scott pressed the gun to his own temple and fired.

* * * *

“I’ve been calling you for an hour!” Max yelled after opening the back door. “You scared the shit out of me.”

Mark jumped at the sound of his son’s voice. He methodically put the scrub brush back into the soap dish before turning off the hot water. “Sorry. Reporters are still calling for an exclusive, so I’ve just stopped answering the phone.”

Max grabbed a dishtowel off the counter before moving to Mark’s side. He gently wrapped Mark’s bleeding hands in the towel. “You have to stop this.” He eyed the half-empty bottle of Johnnie Walker beside the sink. “I’m worried about you, Dad.”

“I’m fine,” Mark lied.

Max lifted Mark’s wrapped hands. “This is not you being fine. Do you want me to call Dr. Long?”

Mark shook his head. He’d spoken to the psychiatrist three times a week for nearly two months, and it hadn’t done a damn bit of good. “I’m just nervous about tomorrow. That’s all.”

“What’s tomorrow?” Max asked.

“I have to go back to work to get ready for the new school year. It’s the reason the press is still interested.” Mark tried to muster a smile for his son. “You’ll be a big senior this year. Nervous?”

“Sure, but it has nothing to do with being a senior and we both know it.” Max released his hold on Mark before opening the refrigerator. “We’re all scared, Dad. It’s going to be as hard on us as it is on you, but you don’t see me getting drunk in the middle of the day or scrubbing the skin off my hands.”

Mark bit the inside of his cheek to keep from saying what he really wanted to say. He should have been grateful Max hadn’t been anywhere near the gym when Scott had opened fire. He should’ve been over the moon that his only son hadn’t been forced to choose which of the students to help before the paramedics could arrive. Nope, only he had stared into the eyes of a dying Mitch Crawford while trying to stem the bleeding from Julie Rosedale’s chest wound.

“You’re right,” Mark finally agreed. “I’ve got two weeks to face my demons before you kids come back. Don’t worry. I’ll have my head straight by then.”

Buy Link

http://www.pride-publishing.com/book/it-was-a-thursday

About the author

Carol Lynne

Carols-Glamour-shot-1Carol Lynne – An avid reader for years, one day Carol Lynne decided to write her own brand of erotic romance. While writing her first novel, Branded by Gold, Carol fell in love with the M/M genre. Carol juggles between being a full-time mother and a full-time writer. With over one hundred releases, one thing is certain, Carol loves to keep busy. Although series books are her passion, Carol enjoys the occasional stand-alone title.

As an organizer of the annual GayRomLit Retreat, Carol has little free time, but enjoys trips to the lake with her family when she has the rare weekend off.

Carol loves to hear from her readers. You can email her at carol@carol-lynne.net. She also has two websites www.Carol-Lynne.net and www.CattleValley.net

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EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Held Hostage by Morticia Knight

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Held Hostage

by Morticia Knight

Book #4 in the Sin City series

Blurb

SWAT officer Cole can handle just about anything, until he rescues Brett – a man who makes him question all he’s ever believed about love.

As a member of the Las Vegas Police Department’s SWAT team, Cole has seen his fair share of danger, but he’s never taken a chance on love. He’s willing to have some fun when the mood strikes him, but he’s married to the job. Called in on a hostage situation, Cole is prepared for anything and everything… except for the brave and beautiful Brett.

Brett has been burned before, most recently by Officer Parker McLean. He’s hoping to settle down in Vegas, perhaps find someone he can build a life with. The last thing Brett’s looking for is another man in uniform. But when he meets Cole, there’s an attraction that can’t be denied. Still, he hadn’t expected to fall for the chiseled alpha.

What begins as nothing more than two people experiencing a great night together spirals into something far deeper. But will Brett be able to handle the stress that comes with having a lover who constantly puts his life in jeopardy? And can Cole risk his heart on an everyday hero, or will the job he knows so well remain his top priority?

Excerpt

Brett had already grabbed both of them a beer and had brought it straight to the bedroom. Instead of jumping him the minute they’d entered the apartment, Cole had simply followed behind, eyeing him, as Brett had moved through the motions of being a good host and getting comfortable. He wasn’t going to stop and analyze why a man who’d just told him the night before that he didn’t do relationships had shown up unannounced at his job and was once again in his bedroom less than twenty-four hours later.

“Stop.”

Brett let go of the tie that he’d half unknotted already. He’d already hung his suit coat in the closet and had toed off his loafers then pushed them out of the way over by the dresser.

“How important is that tie to you?”

Brett glanced down at the royal blue silk neck accessory that had an elegant silver paisley design woven into the fabric. He liked it. Liked it a lot even. But was it important? Not really. He’d purchased close to a hundred ties since he’d been employed by Jon Martin. He wore one every day and preferred to have on the most recent seasonal styles when he went to work. It had no significance beyond that.

“Not important at all.”

Cole stepped toward him and Brett’s heartbeat accelerated. Cole reached down to finish untying the knot then pulled one end, sliding the thin strip of fabric out from under his collar. Cole wrapped the ends around each of his large hands then snapped them. It went taut. It was strong. Brett couldn’t wait to find out what it would feel like when Cole bound him with it.

Buy Links

Totally Bound

Amazon

Amazon UK

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Giveaway

Be sure to comment on this blog post!

Each blog on the tour has one eBook copy of Book One of Sin City Uniforms to give away. So leave your comment now!

Winners will be announced at the completion of the tour.

About the author

Author Morticia Knight spends most of her nights writing about men loving men forever after. If there happens to be some friendly bondage or floggings involved, she doesn’t begrudge her characters whatever their filthy little heart’s desire. Even though she’s been crafting her naughty tales for more years than she’d like to share – her adventures as a published author began in 2011. Once upon a time she was the lead singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She currently resides on the northern Oregon coast and when she’s not fantasizing about hot men she takes walks along the ocean and annoys the local Karaoke bar patrons.

Where to find the author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormorticiaknight?fref=nf

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MorticiaKnight

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Morticia-Knight/e/B005IQ2B6W/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1435546684&sr=1-2-ent

Tour Dates & Stops

7-Jul

Bayou Book Junkie

Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

Up All Night, Read All Day

8-Jul

Prism Book Alliance

Jessie G. Books

9-Jul

Because Two Men Are Better Than One

Inked Rainbow Reads

10-Jul

TTC Books and More

VS Reads

13-Jul

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

Molly Lolly

Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy

 

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REVIEW: Life Under New Management by Jane Davitt

Life Under New Management

The blurb

Working for a perfectionist like strict, sexy-as-hell Ethan isn’t easy. Falling in love with him? No problem at all.

Taking a bar job in an exclusive hotel is a stopgap for Andy. He’s an actor and his big break is coming soon—he knows it. His hot new boss Ethan is strict, demanding and totally off-limits but Andy can’t stop thinking about him.

When Andy learns of Ethan’s need to be in control of his partner—in bed and out of it—he’s stunned by the intensity of his reaction. He wants Ethan guiding him, bringing order to his chaotic life. And he sees that Ethan needs him too, though they can’t be open about their feelings.

Ethan deals out deliciously perverse consequences for misbehaving, but when it comes to incentives, he knows just what to offer to have Andy on his knees begging for more.

But some secrets can’t stay that way for long. And when difficult choices arise, for once Andy can’t turn to Ethan for guidance. This time, he’s on his own.

What did I think?

I read enjoyed this story which is Jane Davitt’s contribution to the Totally Five Star series of stories. I loved the way the two men balanced each other, giving/taking what was needed on both their parts to build a relationship that lead them to more fulfilled lives and ultimately love.

The BDSM side was an interesting exploration into a relationship where the dominant partner wanted to control all aspects of the relationship every sexual move. Ethan opened Andy’s eyes to the pain he craved, and Ethan knew exactly how to give Andy exactly what he needed. The control extends to Ethan influencing all aspects of Andy’s life, pushing him to achieve his goals and be the best man he can be.

The hotel provided a nice backdrop and introduced the employer/employee angle which added another element to the story. Read this is you enjoy interesting characters, a bit of kink, a good dash of sex and a well paced story.

5 stars for this Totally Five Stars story!

About the Author

When I was eight I decided to write a book. I found a blank notebook, wrote ‘Chapter One’ at the start, scribbled a few hundred words about triplets with improbable names, and lost interest. Three decades later I still wanted to write a book, but the dim realization was dawning that meant I had to actually, well, write something.

Yes, it surprised me too.

So I did. Not about triplets, but love, angst, hot and spicy smut, and for the most part they’re m/m romances.

There’s a shelf in my library where I keep the books with my name on them and yeah, there they are. I did it.

That eight-year-old me expected a lot of her future self though. Like being an astronaut. Did not do that.

Sorry, younger me. Here, have a wine gum.

Check out Jane’s Website by clicking here.

Buy Link

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GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: To Stand Close by Faith Ashlyn

FaithAshlin_ToStandClose_BlogTour_600x315_final Blurb for To Stand Close:

Can love grow and survive for two men on opposite sides of the deepest of chasms—slavery?

In this world, one country has cut itself off and is closed and mysterious to everyone else. What’s the secret it’s hiding? Magic? Monsters? No, just the cruel reality of slavery. But inside its borders life goes on as normal, and it competes with the rest of the world at sport just like everyone else, just to prove that it’s the best.

Nicky accepts that and is happy in his own small, simple life as a gymnastics coach. He accepts it because he’s never known anything else, but he stays as far away from the brutality of slavery as he can, until he’s given a present he doesn’t want and isn’t allowed to refuse.

As for love? Well, he loves his sport. Isn’t that enough?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of slavery.

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GUEST POST

Where is it meant to be set?

The old saying goes write what you know and it’s good advice. It is so much easier to write without having to keep checking details of the time or place. I really admire authors that can do that but I find it too hard – or maybe I’m just too lazy.

I set my book Pathfinder during World War 2, in the RAF, but that didn’t require much new research. I’ve had an odd passion for WW2 planes for years. Oh the details I could bore you with about Spitfires, Mosquitoes or Lancasters. But I won’t because that’s mind-numbingly dull to anyone but me!

Pathfinder was really a case of writing what I knew but I can’t set everything then.

I could set stories in the here and now but that’s limiting. To be honest anywhere concrete is a bit limiting. There was only one thing to do: make up my own place. But that can bring its own problems with it. When I’m writing the blurb or cover art request it’s normal to say where a book is set. It’s an obvious detail, one that shouldn’t be too hard to answer. But for me it can be.

I write stories set…. somewhere. Nowhere.  Made up but not completely. I try to keep to the ‘write what you know’ advice so my places are very like here, with the same cultural references and general set up. They also all speak English because it would be way too difficult to write otherwise (I really am very lazy.)

In my book Knights and Butterscotch the world is like this one only there are still knights. They have tanks and machine guns instead of horses but they’re still brave and true. I had the best of both worlds writing that. I could write what I know, here and now, but change things so the possibilities are limitless.

I have written a few slave stories and they are also set in places like here but not quite – also not the same not-here place as each other. I took what I knew but added slavery, in different forms and realities.

My new book To Stand Close is a slave story. Again, they have the same language and culture as us but this time slavery is permitted by the very harsh government. I was thinking somewhere closed off from the rest of the world, with total state control like North Korea, only much, much worse. England under an evil regime.

But I didn’t want to write about the world, I wanted to focus on my two beautiful men finding each other. They would, of course, be affected by the world around them but it was their relationship that I was interested in. I wanted a dark exterior with a tiny, claustrophobic smudge of light where they were. I gave them a scruffy, cluttered flat to live in and a women’s gymnastics studio to work in.

My aim was to bring those two places alive and leave ‘outside’ shadowy, filled with danger and the unknown. I wanted the reader to feel the confinement of the walls, of the situation they are trapped in, to feel the pressure they are under without giving all the gory details of the world around them.

To Stand Close is out on now,. I hope you think I succeed in what I was trying to achieve.

 

Extract from To Stand Close:

For the first time the slave looked him straight in the face, hesitation and need warring in his eyes.

“Go on,” Nicky urged him, then turned away deliberately. It was silent for a long moment then there was the sound of the slave pouncing on the food and eating it with indigestion inducing speed. Nicky loaded the toaster again.

A wave of nausea suddenly hit him as he realized that this wasn’t allowed. The government would most certainly not approve of what he was doing. The slave was sitting at the table, while his owner cooked for him. No, there was no way that would be allowed. He could beat, rape and even kill his slave, but not do something for him. If some nosey-parker saw this and decided to report them… He pulled down the blind at the small window and went back to cooking.

When he’d filled the two plates, he put them on the table, along with mugs of coffee, and sat opposite the slave. The table was so small that the edges of their plates almost touched and their knees would have knocked underneath, if the slave hadn’t made way for Nicky. This time the slave didn’t start eating until Nicky did, and stopped when he did, so Nicky was careful to keep up a slow but continuous momentum.

GIVEAWAY

Enter Totally Bound’s March blog tour competition for the chance to win an eBook of your choice, not including boxsets or anthologies!

Embed link: http://www.totallybound.com/index.php?route=information/competition&competition_id=60&embed=1

Direct link: https://www.totallybound.com/march-blog-tour-giveaway

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About Faith Ashlin:

When Faith was clearing out her attic many years ago, she found a book she’d written as a ten-year-old. On rereading it she realised that it was the love story of two boys. Over the years her fascination with the image of beautiful young men, coiled together as they fell head over heels in love, became a passion for her.

Since that first innocent book—written in purple sparkly pen—she has written many stories, set in varied worlds, but always with two men finding their way to happiness.

Still nothing much has changed because now she can be found in a daydream, wandering around the supermarket, or sitting in a meeting at work still dreaming up stories.

BUY LINK

Totally Bound

Amazon

 

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REVIEW: Turkish Delights by Trina Lane

 Turkish

Blurb

Three very different men from three different countries look to build a love greater than any wonder of the world.

Project manager Garrett Sloan builds majestic hotels for the rich and famous around the world, but when it comes to love, all his relationships seem to crumble. His latest project lands him in Istanbul, where the desire he’s held for a certain French architect heats up under the Middle Eastern sun, and his resolve never to mix business with pleasure melts beneath the added hot stare and skilled hands of a Turkish mason.

The three men discover they want to build a relationship to stand the test of time. Much like Kyle LaFleure’s buildings and Emir Şahin’s stonework. As the bonds between Garrett and his partners grow stronger and more complex they work to lay the perfect foundation on which to build a lasting relationship. Can the three men construct a relationship that will endure? Or will their love reach its zenith when their shared task of finishing the ultimate Ottoman luxury hotel reaches it completion?

What did I think?

Turkish Delights is part of the Totally Five Star imprint from Totally Bound. The reason I point this out is because it goes a long way to explaining the setting of this book.

Glamor, high society and exotic locales. Come with us as we take you on a journey around the world to some of the most opulent and famous tourist destinations favored by the elite. This is five-star quality, five-star service and five-star entertainment, ensuring that every single part of this imprint is Totally Five Star. Head into the hub of this network of hotels and meet the employees who enable this luxury world to be what it is today. Get to know these characters over time as they develop and grow throughout the imprint, and become completely consumed with this diverse lifestyle.

This is the story of three men who meet and fall in love while building a hotel in Istanbul. The hotel is a top class, luxury hotel designed with old-world touches of traditional Turkey.

The story takes the reader on a tour of Istanbul, providing information on the place, the architecture and the culture. The descriptions are rich and detailed, so as to really give a sense of the place.

The story focuses on the construction of the hotel and once again, there are many details provided about the processes and what is going into the hotel. There are descriptions of the interiors and the facilities in great detail.

At times I did find the detail slightly overwhelming and pulling me from the romance part of the story, however this series of books is meant to give a sense of the exotic location and luxury and this does that.

The lead characters are Garrett, the English man in charge of the project, Kyle, the French architect, and Emir, the Turkish stonemason. It was an interesting blend of cultures and the three worked well together.

The relationship aspect delves into the complexities of dating people you work with (although there was no real problem here) and also the cultural elements of Emir who has hidden his sexuality from his deeply religious parents and is a religious man himself.

Overall I enjoyed the book, the sex and the setting. I like the glimpse of Istanbul, a country where my m/m romance doesn’t usual visit.  4 stars

About the Author

Find out more about the author at her website.

Buy Links

Amazon

Totally Bound

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GUEST POST: TA Chase

TA Chase is visiting Two Men as part of the blog tour for the newly released anthology, Semper Fidelis.

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Thank you for having me here at Because Two Men Are Better Then One.  I love the name of your blog. It’s so true.

My name is T.A. Chase and I write m/m romance. In case some of you didn’t know that. I have a new story out in the Semper Fidelis anthology called Always Ready.  All the stories in this particular anthology are about Marines, the Navy or the Coast Guard.

Always Ready is the Coast Guard motto, so obviously my story features a man serving as a rescue swimmer out of the Guard station on Kodiak Island in Alaska. Dean Jacobson loves saving people who get caught in the unpredictable weather of the Bering Sea. There’s only one person he loves more than his job and that is Phillip Rhodes. Phil Rhodes’s family has been crab fishermen on the Sea for generations. He knows the dangers, but he also knows his lover will be there to save him if things go wrong.

I’ll admit to watching too many episodes of Deadliest Catch. I love watching those guys battle the elements to bring in their quota and have had this idea for a story set in that place for a long time. Being a crab fisherman on the Bering Sea has long been considered the most dangerous job in the world. They have to deal with negative temperatures while being pummeled by storms that reach hurricane strength. I never knew there could be hurricanes in that stretch of the world.

Crabbers have to worry about being crushed by their crab pots while huge waves crash over the sides of the boats. They have to worry about being swept out into the freezing water or their boat capsizing. Once they go into the water, they have a short period of time to be recovered before hypothermia sets in.

Plus I’ve thought the Coast Guard has kind of gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to romances being written about them. Yet they deal with some of the most dangerous situations our military gets involved in. They must confront drug smugglers on the high seas as well as go into hurricanes to save people.  I decided to write a story about unheralded heroes. Those men—and women—who don’t always get the publicity and accolades for what they do, but they still do their jobs, keeping our shores safe.

What better way to show my appreciation of both types of men than to have them fall in love with each other. A man in uniform who risks his life every time he climbs into the helicopter and the captain of his own fishing boat who risks his life each time he leaves the docks at Dutch Harbor for the season.

For both men, their jobs are dangerous, but they wouldn’t do anything else. Doing something else wouldn’t make them who they are.

Thank you again for letting me talk about my obsession with crab fishermen and Coast Guard rescue swimmers. I hope you take a moment to check out Semper Fidelis and the other stories in the anthology.

About TA Chase:

There is beauty in every kind of love, so why not live a life without boundaries? Experiencing everything the world offers fascinates TA and writing about the things that make each of us unique is how she shares those insights. When not writing, TA’s watching movies, reading and living life to the fullest.

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Blurb for the Semper Fidelis anthology:

‘Anomaly’ by S.A. McAuley

Staff Sergeant Galen Welc is known for his uncanny ability to spot improvised explosive devices and so he’s pitted against the latest in defense technology. He trusts his instincts and his training, but they may just be leading him somewhere—and to an explosive reaction with someone—he could never see coming.

‘Always Ready’ by T.A. Chase

Making a living on the Bering Sea is hard enough, but throw love into the equation, and things can blow into a hurricane. Dean and Phil must always be ready to love each other because life can be taken so easily when one works on the sea.

‘A Ring and a Vow’ by Devon Rhodes

Every promise must someday be fulfilled, and the best way Owen knows how to reward Cary’s faith is with a vow. It’s been nearly five years since Owen went down on one knee with his Academy ring and promised Cary he’d someday do it for real. With Cary being a Naval aviator and Owen a Marine officer serving in Iraq, they’re rarely on the same continent, let alone together. Cary has been waiting for Owen for years—there was no chance he’d ever say anything but yes. Owen is coming home at last, and wants to make a home with him.

‘My Marine’ by LE Franks and Sara York

Marine Captain Sean Kelley loves his country and the men he serves with, but when he meets Akim, he’s tempted to throw it all away for the mysterious man. Akim Bijan has a secret of his own—one large enough to get more than just himself killed if it’s revealed. But from the moment he first lays eyes on the handsome Marine, he’s tempted to do just that. When tragedy strikes, Akim is afraid he’s lost Sean for good and he’s forced to make a decision that will change both their lives.

‘Soul Sick’ by Kendall McKenna

Jamie thought he made it home to Tucker, leaving war behind. Now, each day he battles to fit into his own life, and save the love that saved his life. Jamie is a captain in the US Marine Corps who carried a photo of Tucker with him throughout his deployment. Tucker is a reformed bad boy who has an advanced degree and an important job but still sports long hair and tattoos. Now, they’re struggling to learn to live with each other again, and things are going downhill fast.

‘Safe Shores’ by Morticia Knight

Kirk’s Coast Guard lover, Shane, is the only person who can save his son from a vicious storm—if he’s not too late. Shane and Kirk’s joyful reunion is interrupted when an unusually vicious gale storm threatens the coast. Kirk has to stand by helplessly and wait while his lover battles the raging seas to save his son. In an instant, Kirk could lose everyone he holds dear.

Like the sound of the Semper Fidelis anthology? Buy it here.

Enter Totally Bound’s February blog competition for a chance to win an eBook of your choice!

https://www.totallybound.com/competition/february-blog-giveaway-2015