J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out, the final book in his Liminal Sky trilogy: "The Shoreless Sea." And books one and two are on sale!
As the epic trilogy hurtles toward its conclusion, the fight for the future isn’t over yet. It could lead to a new beginning, or it might spell the end for the last vestiges of humankind.
The generation ship Forever has left Earth behind, but a piece of the old civilization lives on in the Inthworld—a virtual realm that retains memories of Earth's technological wonders and vices. A being named Lilith leads the uprising, and if she succeeds in setting its inhabitants free, they could destroy Forever.
But during the generation ship's decades-long voyage, humanity has evolved. Liminals with the ability to connect with the world mind and the Inthworld provide a glimmer of hope. They'll have to face not only Lilith’s minions, but also the mistrust of their own kind and persecution from a new government as homotypicals continue to fear what they can't understand.
The invasion must be stopped, the Inthworld must be healed, and the people of Forever must let go of their past and embrace what they’re meant to become.
Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs. At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.
The eBook for book one in the Liminal Sky trilogy, "The Stark Divide," is just 99¢, and book two, "The Rising Tide," is $1.99 at all vendors:
Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour, along with three eBook sets of his Oberon Cycle trilogy. For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:
Kiryn Hammond-Clarke floated in the darkness of space, stars he’d never seen in person twinkling against the velvety black depths.
The voice came to him from out of nowhere. “Can anyone hear me?”
In his dreams, he could hear. Like when Belynn let him ride in her mind.
The voice repeated, sounding stretched and thin. “Is anyone out there?”
In the distance, a single star glowed brighter than all the others, though it was still just a small golden dot.
Kiryn reached out toward the light, his hand naked to the cold of the void.
Ice crystals formed on his arm, hardening it in place. The cold reached into his bones like knives of frozen glass. It raced up his bicep, the burning cold fire of the void.
He snatched back his arm, but he was too late. The freezing grip reached his heart, and he screamed silently--
Kiryn awoke with a start, sitting up in bed in his dorm room drenched with sweat. He ran his hands through his dark hair, letting them come to rest clasped behind his head.
First Light flashed past in the trees outside his window, brightening up the room.
The world was utterly silent.
The silence, his constant companion since birth, was particularly soothing after his rude awakening. It wrapped itself around him like a blanket, a suit of armor, a barrier between him and the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
Between him and emotion.
He held his arm out for inspection, half expecting it to be blackened by the void. Instead, it looked perfectly normal. Warm and tan, halfway between his mothers’ sepia and white skin tones.
He shivered at the memory.
The bed moved under him, and his date from the night before sat up, his mouth moving soundlessly.
The man was handsome, a Thyrean sent to the university at Micavery for his higher schooling—long limbs, blond hair shaved short, warm brown eyes.
His name was Dax. Or Zack. Or something.
Kiryn’s lipreading was decent, but he hadn’t bothered to spend too much time learning this one’s name. Dax or Zack hadn’t seemed to mind much.
Kiryn pointed at his ear and shook his head.
The man’s mouth closed, and he blushed. “Sorry. I forgot.”
That one was easy enough to read.
He grabbed the piece of cotton paper and a pencil Kiryn kept at his bedside just for that purpose and scribbled something out longhand, then handed it over to him.
It’s Dax. And are you okay?
Kiryn stared at him. Did you just read my mind? Maybe there was a little Liminal in him. He laughed, wondering not for the first time what it sounded like from the outside. It felt clunky and awkward on the inside.
He sighed and took the paper and pencil.
Dax’s hand lingered over his for an extra second before letting go.
Bad dream. Class in fifteen minutes. He hesitated, then scribbled, Dinner?
Dax took the paper, and a grin lit up his face. His eager nod needed no translation. I work at the hatchery until six. Meet me there?
Kiryn nodded and grinned.
Dax slipped out of bed and pulled on his trousers and white shirt, the V-neck showing off his chest to perfection.
Kiryn sat back with his hands behind his head, admiring the view.
He leaned over, kissed Kiryn on the cheek, and mouthed, “See you.”
When Dax left, Kiryn grabbed a change of clothes and headed down the hall to the dorm bathroom. He hopped into the shower, using the aromatic red berry soap bar his mom and mamma had sent him from the Estate. The smell transported him, and he closed his eyes and imagined himself standing among the long, even rows of red berry vines that arched across the hillsides.
His parents worried about him, out here alone, but it was Andy who had insisted he go.
When Kiryn had been born congenitally and profoundly deaf, Andy and Shandra had learned sign language from the world mind in vee.
There were so few other deaf people in Forever. So few like him.
The day before he was set to leave for university, to catch the public wagon headed for Darlith and then Micavery, he’d had a huge panic attack.
His parents had sat him down along with his sister, Belynn:
“I’m scared. Why do I have to go away?” He was fidgeting, nervous.
“You have to go. There’s nothing here for you.” Andy indicated the Estate, where the family had built a thriving agricultural business on the backs of Trip’s and Colin’s earlier work.
“You’re here.” His hands signed it while his knee bounced up and down.
Andy shook her head. “This is our place. You need to go.”
He flushed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was such a burden.”
“No.” That was emphatic. “That’s not what I meant. We don’t want you to get trapped here, working on the Estate for the rest of your life. There’s a whole world out there for you to explore.” She looked up at Shandra, who nodded.
“I’ll go with him,” Belynn said and signed it at the same time, but he could hear her inside his head too.
Mom could do that, too, of course, but she had to touch him to do it.
“You’re not ready.” Shandra glared at Belynn and shook her head.
“I’ve been with Kiryn in every vee class since I was born. I’m only two years younger than he is. Let me go with him to help.”
Kiryn frowned. He wasn’t sure he wanted his little sister tagging along after him, cramping his style. If he decided to go.
Belynn’s hand found his, palm to palm, and he could feel her emotions. We can take care of each other. That thought was private, just for him, inside his head.
Andy looked at Shandra. “They could take care of each other.” She echoed Belynn’s thought and touched Shandra’s hand. Something passed between them.
Shandra looked at him and then at Belynn, uncertainty clear on her face. “We could… try it.”
Belynn squeezed his hand. “Yes!”
“For a semester.” Andy kissed Shandra on the forehead.
Kiryn thought about it. It would be nice to have someone close by, just in case. Someone who really knew him. “Okay.” And it would be a lot less scary.
Now he was here, and Belynn wouldn’t be far behind.
Where are you, big brother? Belynn’s insistent voice.
I’ll be back in a minute. He pulled the towel from its wooden peg, dried off his hair and shoulders.
A couple of the other guys in the dorm, Stave and Trevor, waved on their way to their own showers. Cute as hell, but straighter than the old antenna on Micavery’s village green. Well, except when Stave got drunk on red berry wine….
Kiryn grinned. He pulled on his trousers and shirt and padded back to his room. Belynn was waiting for him on his bed. “How did you get in?” he signed.
They touched palms, the emotions flowing between them and synching.
“Easy. Aric at the front desk is a sucker for a pretty girl.”
“Like I said, how did you get in?”
She stuck out her tongue at him. “Come on. We’re going to be late.” She tugged him off the bed, and Kiryn barely had time to grab his carry sack before she had him out the door and down the hall.
Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.
He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.
A Rainbow Award winning author and Science Fiction Writer’s Association (SFWA) member, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecitng their own reality.
Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth
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Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ/
What are ten things about Doug Porter that people should know?
M.D Neu has a new MM paranormal/alternate universe book out: T.A.D - The Angel of Death.
Tad loves bouncing around in time and watching mankind grow and change. He loves humanity and helping when he can. However, his job isn’t conducive to helping people. He’s an Angel of Death.
Doug is fun loving and a drama queen. Despite his witty exterior, he has a dark history and is prone to self-destruction. He’s also an amazing drag queen and hairstylist with big dreams.
When Tad pushes the boundaries of his duties too far, his angel wings are stripped away from him, and he is sent to New York City to live as a human. Lost and alone he ends up meeting Doug, and the two start a friendship that will shape them both and last a lifetime. But nothing is simple when you’re dealing with a former Angel of Death and a Drag Queen. Could these two cause the fabric of our world to collapse or will they manage to keep the future as it should?
Marvin is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this reveal and tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:
Doug glanced up at the big void where the buildings once stood.
How could anyone do that? All those people, and for what? Thank God, no one I know was there. Thank goodness, Garret’s train was running late. Even from across the river, seeing the buildings fall, one minute there, the next not, awful. Not knowing if Garret was alive or dead. The not knowing was awful, and it seemed to last forever. Then getting his call when the phones were back up. It was a relief. Still, the not knowing? Horrible. How do survivors do it?
Doug shuddered. He had to look away before he started to cry again. That day. The world wasn’t the same. How could it be? Would it ever be the same again? He swiped at his eyes, keeping the tears he was trying to hold back from dropping. He caught his reflection in one of the storefront windows and fussed with his blond spiky hair.
The months right after the attack had been hell for everyone. People from all over the world sent support and offered help. But New York was moving on, as it should. They already had seven different architects offering new designs to fill the empty skyline. Mayor Giuliani was doing everything he could for the city, and there was even talk of him running for president.
Doug checked his flip phone and picked up his pace. He was running late. He shouldn’t have spent the night at Tim’s, but leaving such a sexy guy was no easy task. Not to mention they might have partied too much.
I doubt that is even possible. You can never party too much.
There was a large group of mourners, and he had to step to the side to let them pass. He took a deep cleansing breath, pushing all thoughts from his mind, and started walking again. He rushed past the families and friends heading to Ground Zero. Now he had to hustle to make it to work. He’d gotten lucky no one he was familiar with was killed. Still, every time he thought about the attack and looked up at the twin lights filling the night sky, he wanted to cry.
Why President Bush didn’t blow up the whole of the Middle East after the attack, Doug would never understand. Instead, the president sent troops to Afghanistan, searching for Osama bin Laden and taking out Al-Qaeda.
Just as long as they find and kill the monsters who did this to us.
Doug couldn’t help but stop again and glance up to where the twin towers once stood. He quickly wiped at his eyes. “I need to get out of here.” He moved over to the brick façade and leaned against the wall as more people passed him, heading to the memorial ceremony.
“So much suffering and for what?” Doug mumbled. He started walking again, taking a deep breath and trying to avoid the crowds. A woman in a dark jacket passed him and bumped his shoulder, causing him to step closer to an alley. She didn’t bother saying anything; however, Doug thought she said something about his size. He caught his reflection again. He hated how everything made him feel so fat. Nothing he wore looked right on him. Even the baggy pants still made him look fat and messy. He would need to start at the gym if he wanted to continue dating Tim and keep up with his partying. He frowned.
At least I have good hair.
He played with the spikes of his hair.
“It’s my fault,” a gruff voice whispered from behind him.
Doug startled and turned around, but no one was there. He glanced over to the dumpster.
Sitting there, a raggedy black man, with kinky hair in desperate need of a cut and wash, stared at him. The man had the most beautiful green eyes Doug had ever seen. The rich tones of his skin really made his eyes pop, quite possibly the unkempt man’s best feature. The man was in shambles, and tears streamed down his dirty cheeks.
The anniversary affects everyone.
“I did this,” the man groaned through his sobs. “And now I’m being punished.”
Doug wasn’t sure what to do or say. Should he walk away and get to the salon? Leave what appeared to be the crazy homeless guy alone? Could he do that now that they made eye contact? Could he do that today of all days? The man needed help. The man needed a shower and clean clothes. Perhaps, if he talked to him, that would be enough…well, the talk and ten bucks.
That’s what Shannon would do. Talk to him and give him money. Shannon was such a kind soul, and I need to be more like him, more like he was. To honor him. Just like my drag name. Maybe Miss Enshannon needs to be more. I need to be more.
Doug’s heart ached at the memories of Shannon and how wonderful he was. When he picked his drag name there was no doubt on what it would be, but to honor someone you loved had to be more than using their name.
“It’s not your fault.” He knelt close to the man, still keeping his distance just in case. “It was the work of terrorists. They killed all those people, not you.”
“I should have stopped them. I should have done more,” the dirty man moaned.
“Oh, baby, no one could have done more,” Doug offered. Some people thought the government knew about the attack beforehand and the president allowed it to happen. Doug didn’t buy it. Why anyone listened to these people was beyond him, but they did. He just wished they would shut up and crawl back under the rocks they came from. They weren’t helping anyone, and in the long run, their remarks and comments only hurt people more.
“Now, I’m being punished. They sent me here and took my wings,” the man whispered.
Was this guy a pilot? Oh, that would be awful. I bet he was supposed to fly one of the planes, and he couldn’t take it. Survivor’s guilt.
M.D. Neu is a queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.
Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.
When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.
Author Website: http://www.mdneu.com
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/mdneuauthor/
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Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-neu/
Louisa Masters has a new MM contemporary romance out in the Joy Universe series: "I've Got This."
Derek Bryer loves his life. His job as an assistant director at Joy Universe, the second-largest theme park complex on the planet, makes him indirectly responsible for bringing joy (pun intended) to millions of people. So what if none of his relationships are that close? Everyone he meets loves him.
Except Trav Jones. For some reason, the visiting Broadway performer would rather Derek just go away. He appreciates Derek’s work ethic, though, and after Trav steps up when Derek desperately needs someone to fill in for his sick staff, Derek seizes the chance to convince Trav he’s not such a bad guy.
Falling in love while distracted by a murder at the park, food poisoning, and colleagues laying bets on their relationship won’t be easy, but between the two of them and with the magic of Joy Universe, they’ve got this.
Louisa is giving away a $20 gift certificate for Amazon, iBooks, B&N, or Kobo – enter via Rafflecopter:
He grins at me. “Can I use your number for more than just confirming dates?”
Heat climbs up my neck and floods my face, and I know I must be red. Christ, I’ve always blushed easily, but I spend more time red-faced around this guy than anyone else I can remember. “Maybe.” I meant it to sound flirtatious, but it comes out sounding more like a parent who means no, but doesn’t want to say it for fear of incurring a tantrum.
What the hell is wrong with me? I’m no Casanova, but I’m not a reclusive virgin, either. I usually have a pretty good dating life. I know how to flirt.
I pull out my phone. “What’s your number? I’ll text you.”
He rattles off the digits. I put them in my phone and then send him a text. The faint ding from his pocket tells me he got it.
The rest of the ride back to my resort is silent, and I’m pretty sure it’s my fault. Our conversation over dinner was so easy and fun—but my stupid failed attempt to be flirty seems to have killed the vibe. Is he regretting the whole thing? Wondering how he can get out of our date on Thursday?
He turns off the road onto the driveway of the resort, but instead of pulling up to the entrance, he takes the road that loops around the property to the four parking lots and the three other shuttle stops.
“Where—” I begin, but he interrupts me.
“Which is the closest parking lot to your room?”
Oh. He’s being thoughtful and saving me the seven-minute (no, I didn’t time it—the receptionist told me when I checked in) walk from the main building to the building that houses my room.
“The west one,” I tell him, and then we both fall silent again as he skilfully navigates along the deserted, mostly dark road. I rack my brain for something to say. How did this happen? Twenty minutes ago I was one half of an interesting, fun conversation. How did we go from that to awkward silence?
It has to be the idea of dating that’s turned us into mere acquaintances with little in common. Right? Until he confirmed that we were on a date, and I asked him on another one, everything was fine. After that, it all went downhill.
Wait… he knew all along that we were on a date. I was the one who wasn’t sure what he thought it was. Does that mean this is all me? Am I the reason for the awkwardness?
I’m saved from further introspection (although I suspect it’s going to keep me up most of the night) when Derek pulls into the west parking lot and finds a spot at the far end. The lot is pretty well-lit, but back in this corner there are more shadows.
I undo my seat belt. I’m almost desperate to get out of the car and away from this tension, but at the same time, I’m terrified that if I leave it like this, I’m going to get a text from Derek, canceling our date. What can I say to make it all better?
Derek’s hand on my face makes me jump.
“Whoa! Sorry, I didn’t mean….” He starts to pull away, but I grab his hand and hold it against my cheek. I like having him touch me.
Is this weird? Maybe he was just trying to get my attention and didn’t actually want to hold my face.
I drop my hand to my lap, giving him the opportunity to pull back. My face is hot, and I’m thankful for the dim light. He can probably still see that I’m blushing, but not exactly how red I am.
His fingers lightly stroke my cheek.
My breath stutters. I slowly turn to him. His face is closer than I expected, and there’s a soft smile on his lips. Even in the dimness of the car, I can see how warm the expression in his eyes is.
I swallow. His smile grows.
“I love when you blush,” he says. “It’s so—”
“Sweet?” I interrupt acidly. He shakes his head.
“Hot.” The word sits between us. Hot? Does he mean literally? Because, yeah, my skin gets hot when I--
Derek leans in and kisses me, and I get it. Hot. Derek thinks it’s hot when I blush. Really?
Also, man can he kiss.
I gotta be honest, the next few minutes kind of blur out. I’m too focused on Derek’s mouth on mine, his hands, his body—because my hands get busy too. The only words I can actually think are adjectives: warm, hard, wet, silky….
I’ve got my hands in his pants (and can I just say wow?) when it finally occurs to me that as cushy as Derek’s car is, it’s not roomy enough for us to fuck—well, not comfortably. I jerk back from his kiss. “Not here,” I pant. Crap, Kev’s likely to be back at our room by now. He was saying earlier that he was exhausted, not having had a day off, and wanted an early night. “Your place?” He’s gotta live in Joyville, right? That’s what, half an hour away?
Maybe we can get a room. We’re at a resort. I’m sure he gets an employee discount here too.
Derek sighs and pulls back, stroking my chest under my polo one last time before drawing his hand out. I miss it instantly.
Louisa Masters started reading romance much earlier than her mother thought she should. While other teenagers were sneaking out of the house, Louisa was sneaking romance novels in and working out how to read them without being discovered. She’s spent most of her life feeling sorry for people who don’t read, convinced that books are the solution to every problem. As an adult, she feeds her addiction in every spare second, only occasionally tearing herself away to do things like answer the phone and pay bills. She spent years trying to build a “sensible” career, working in bookstores, recruitment, resource management, administration, and as a travel agent, before finally conceding defeat and devoting herself to the world of romance novels.
Louisa has a long list of places first discovered in books that she wants to visit, and every so often she overcomes her loathing of jet lag and takes a trip that charges her imagination. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she whines about the weather for most of the year while secretly admitting she’ll probably never move.
Author Website: http://www.louisamasters.com
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/louisa.masters.31
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Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Louisa-Masters/e/B008YBZT0S
A big welcome to Ann Grech and congrats on the new novel! Ann was kind enough to let us hear directly from her characters.
A note from Ann Grech: In Safe Arms is my most recent novel. Ten in total, and my fifth inspired by a trip to Queenstown. This story means the world to me. Itâs more than words on the page. These boys truly have my heart. I fell for them the moment they started talking to me. Trentâs brash and angry and hurting. Angelo is like a balm, healing him. Trent doesnât understand how strong he is. It takes Angelo to show him. Best friends through thick and thin, their story is one of redemption and healing. Of kindness overcoming darkness. Of love strengthening the strong of heart.
Letâs talk to your characters for a minute:
Trent: âEh, not so much demanding as annoyingly persistent. Ann had it in her head that things were going to turn out a certain way and she didnât like it when I told her it wasnât happening. The first time she tried it, I was seventeen. She was all âIâm nearly old enough to be your Momââshe totally is old enough, never mind nearlyâ'so please, listenâ.â
Ann: âOld enough now, really? I used to like you.â
Angelo: âMamma mia, you two. Trent, please donât antagonize Ann. And Ann, come on, you know what heâs like.â
*Ann squeezes Angeloâs hand* âI do and donât worry, I was picking on him. He spent months not listening to me, so itâs the least I can do.â
Angelo: âWith Trent I only ever had one motivationâto love him. Whether that was as friends or as partners, that was the only thing I wanted to do.â
Trent: âI needed to overcome my past. For me, it was learning to love myself, to accept myself and to heal enough that I could become the man Angelo deserves. I try every day to become that man.â
Ann: âI wanted to give voice to the people who needed to see themselves in this story. Itâs harrowing. What Trent went through was the worst kind of terrible. It scarred him in ways that took a decade to overcome, but with the support of his network of friends-turned-family, and especially Angelo, he found himself again. He found love. Trent says heâs trying to become the man Angelo deserves, but he already is. Yes, heâs strong willed and opinionated, heâll always do things his way, but he has a good heart. Heâs a good man. He deserves the love that Angelo wants to give him. And, you know, Angelo deserves that love too. He puts his friends first and is always there for them. Heâll be strong for you when you canât be, and he loves unconditionally. Gentle spirited but iron-willed. He waited for a long time for Trent, and getting to experience their journey together was so special.
*Trent and Angelo look at each other and smile, before saying together:*
Trent: âMy life is nothing like I expected it to be. If I could go back in time and tell seventeen year old me what it was like, I would. Ann said my past was harrowing. It was, but I wouldnât change a single thing to get where I am now.â
Angelo: âIâm blessed. Thatâs all I can say. Iâm blessed.â
Angelo: âMy camera, an endless supply of cannoli, andâ¦ I donât know. A blanket?â
Trent: âPfft. Whiskey, limes and lube.â
Ann: âWhat, no sunscreen?â
Trent: âMaybe instead of Angeloâs blanket.â
Angelo: âTwo words: sandy crack.â
Trent: âFair call. Pre-mix whiskey and dry with lime, lube and sunscreen. Angelo can bring the blanket and food.â
Ann *laughing*: âAll the important things.â
Angelo: âWe cook together.â
Trent: âAngelo cooks. I make a mess, then I eat. His mama taught him so many of the family recipes and he loves to make them. Iâm spoiled because his food is like heaven. Simple ingredients, complex flavors and as Mama says, an authenticity that only comes with generations of Italian perfectionists who love their food.â
Angelo: âWe cook breakfast together whenever we can, Itâs our thing. But we spend a lot of time outdoors too, fishing and hiking.â
Angelo *knocks Trent with his elbow and smiles at him*: âWeâre fully stocked. All the healthy stuffâplenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, some handmade sausage from the local butcher and a leg of lamb that Iâll be roasting on our first day off together. Trent makes out that he doesnât know what we have, but he was the one who bought everything.â
Trent *shrugs and flushes red*
Iâm writing about two really fun characters now, Pete McKenzie and Scottie Pearce. I havenât named it yet, but the storyâs very different to In Safe Arms. Iâm enjoying stretching my wings while Iâm writing it. It is set in the Aussie outback. Scottie is a fifth-generation cattle station owner in western Queensland and is surrounded by strong, amazing women and an extended family of his station hands. Pete is a history nerd and an expert on the Australian myth that thereâs a reef of gold somewhere in the outback discovered in the early 20th Century, but unable to be relocated since. He believes he knows where the reef is and goes in search for it.
Ann Grech has a new MM romance out: "In Safe Arms."
When a damaged man stumbles on a second chance, itâs all too easy to turn and run. It takes a determined photographer to convince him risk is worth it all.
People deserve a second chance, right? How about a third or fourth?
But what if I canât even admit to myself who I am? I was truthful once before. I came out to one other person, and he left me broken and scarred. He destroyed the boy I was. I donât even use the same name anymore; I go by Trent now. But I survived the streets. I got lucky and I made something of myself. Iâm happy, sort of.
Itâs Angelo who lights up my life. Heâs my world. My rock and my family. Heâs always there for me. But I keep hurting him. I say stupid things, and I always keep him at a distance. Still, he knows me better than anyone.
And I want him. But I canât let myself go there. Not again.
Iâve lived in denial for so long and itâs killing me. In my weakest moments, I reach for Angelo and when he slips into my arms, I can breathe. Heâs my solace. Selflessly, heâs there and he never expects anything in return. No judgment, not even an explanation. Having him in my arms is everything, and itâs getting harder to push him away. Iâm not sure I want to anymore.
He doesnât date, but he deserves to be loved. Cherished. Then he drops a bombshellâheâs found The One. I wish heâd fallen for me. I need that second chance to tell him. I need to risk it all because in his arms, Iâm safe. Iâm me.
Warnings: violence, rape
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âThe cat youâre minding?â
âYep.â He nodded. I bit my lip trying not to laugh. It wasnât funny. He was telling me about some shit thatâd gone down that had upset him,but come on. How was I supposed to react? Heâd used needing food for the cat he was sitting as an excuse to get out of a date. And the catâs name was Dodge? You couldnât make that shit up. I snorted, unsuccessfully trying to stifle my laugh, and wiped my eyes, tears welling from the effort. Trent paused and looked at me, confused, and I couldnât hold it in any longer. I laughed and shook my head, holding my hand up to him.
âIâm sorry, I donât mean to laugh at you, but seriously?â I sucked in a breath, my side hurting because I was laughing so hard. âCat food? For Dodge?â Trentâs lips twitched, and I could see him fighting the smile. I looked at him again and laughed once more, nudging him with my shoulder. âYou didnât even realize how it sounded until now, did you?â When he shook his head and finally let that smile loose, I sucked in a breath, happy for a whole other reason. It was his story andheâd told it, but he was smiling andI couldnât help but take a little pride in that.
âFuck me. She looked so damn horrified when I said that, but all I could think about was getting out of there.â He chuckled and ran his fingers through his hair. âIâm such a dumb ass.â
âNah, you just didnât think.â I nudged his shoulder playfully, letting him know that it wasnât all bad. âAt least tell me you got the food.â
He nodded and sobered up. âI couldnât wait to get out of there, but I didnât want to go home either. Figured you would have been busy, so I stopped by the sports bar. Watched a footy match. Havenât done that by myself in years, and I hated every minute of it. Suppose I had too many drinks.â
My heart clenched, and I wanted to reach out to him. InsteadI leaned closer, my side pressed against his, and asked, âYou didnât drive home, did you?â I wasnât sure whether I was begging him or scolding him for being so damn stupid. If heâd been drinking and driving not only could it be the end of his career, but more importantly,he could have killed someone. And it was all because he didnât call me.
âNah, I walked it. The night air sobered me up pretty fast.â
Thank God. I let out the breath I was holding, relief winningmy emotional tug-of-war.
âSo whathappened yesterday and today? You just kept drinking?â It was none of my business, I knew that, but I didnât care. I needed to know.
âSomething like that,â he muttered. This was him shutting down. A noncommittal answer followed by either a subject change or him going quiet, but I couldnât do it. I needed him to be able to talk to me.
âLook, Iâm not going to push you, but maybe itâll help if you spoke about whatever is bothering you. Iâm here. Iâll listen, and Iâll do my best to help, but I canât unless you talk to me. If not me, then pick someone else. Iâm worried about you.â
âSome bad shit happened when I was younger. This time of year always drags it back up, but Iâll get through it.â He paused and added, âThisâwalking and being outside, spending time with youâitâs helping. Youârehelping.â
By day Ann Grech lives in the corporate world and can be found sitting behind a desk typing away at reports and papers or lecturing to a room full of students. She graduated with a PhD in 2016 and is now an over-qualified nerd. Glasses, briefcase, high heels and a pencil skirt, sheâs got the librarian look nailed too. If only they knew! She swears like a sailor, so thatâs got to be a hint. The other one was âthe lookâ from her tattoo artist when she told him that she wanted her kidsâ initials âBâ and âJâ tattooed on her foot. It took a second to register that it might be a bad idea.
Sheâs never entirely fit in and loves escaping into a bookâwhether itâs reading or writing one. But sheâs found her tribe now and loves her M/M book world family. She dislikes cooking, but loves eating, canât figure out technology, but is addicted to it, and her guilty pleasure is Byron Bay Cookies. Oh, and shoes. And lingerie. And maybe handbags too. Well, if weâre being honest, weâd probably have to add her library too given the state of her credit card every month. What can she say? Sheâs a bookworm at heart.
Author Website: http://www.anngrech.com
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Jasper Warren is a happy-go-lucky young man in spite of the tragedy that’s marred his life. He’s on a road to nowhere with his roommate, Lacy, whom he adores, and a dead-end retail job in Chicago.
And then everything changes in a single night. Though Jasper doesn’t know it, his road is going somewhere after all. This time when tragedy strikes, it brings with it Lacy’s older, wealthy, sexy uncle Rob. Despite the heart-wrenching circumstances, an immediate connection forms between the two men.
But the secrets between them test their attraction. Will their revelations destroy the bloom of new love... or encourage it to grow?
Dreamspinner Press ebook
Dreamspinner Press paperback (get ebook FREE when you buy the paperback!)
EXCERPT: THE SECRETS WE KEEP
It’s always exciting for me, both as a writer and as a reader, when the two main lovers in a book first meet. In THE SECRETS WE KEEP, that first meeting is at a funeral home wake, for someone both men loved deeply (and for whom many of the secrets in the book are kept).
When he stepped out of the bathroom, someone was waiting for him. An older man.
Jasper tried to thread his way around the guy. “Did you want to go in?” Jasper gestured toward the open bathroom.
“No. I was waiting for you.” The guy eyed him. He was probably a good twenty years older than Jasper, but as inappropriate as it was at a time like this, Jasper couldn’t help noticing how sexy he was. Trim, a little on the short side, it was obvious, even in his impeccably tailored black suit, he was in very good, and very powerful, shape. Jasper was certain those weren’t shoulder pads testing the seams at the tops of his arms.
He had kind eyes. And they were the most amazing shade of pale gray. Jasper had seen a husky once with eyes like that; he couldn’t say he’d ever seen anything like it on a human being. Those eyes were mesmerizing, arresting, and chilling, framed in long, black lashes.
His hair was silver, shorn close on the sides with a bit more on top, spiked with some gel.
He wore a fashionable five-o’clock shadow that Jasper couldn’t deny he wanted to feel—either with his fingers or against his own smooth cheeks.
“For me?” Jasper smiled. “I’m sorry. Do I know you?”
He simply smiled enigmatically. “Probably not. But I bet I know you. You’re Jasper, Heather’s roommate, right?”
“Yeah. And you are?”
“I’m Robert. Robert Burroughs.” He extended his hand.
Jasper gripped the warm hand, slightly soft and a little damp. He didn’t take his eyes off Robert the whole time, and the “whole time” was much longer than the duration of a handshake for most guys. It sent a shiver through Jasper.
“Burroughs?” Jasper had a terrifying thought. What if this is her dad? Good Lord, I’m flirting with Lacy’s dad! At her funeral! The very thought caused beads of sweat to pop out on Jasper’s forehead. He held in a giddy burst of laughter. “Are you, um, related to Lacy? Er, Heather?”
Please don’t say you’re her father.
“I’m her uncle Rob. Did she never mention me?”
Jasper wracked his brain. One thing neither of them did much of was talk about their respective families. They liked to believe they were each other’s family now, “chosen family” was the term they used. The idea, the memory of this, brought a lump to Jasper’s throat, bringing home for real that his best friend was gone. “I’m not sure.”
“It’s okay if she didn’t. I hadn’t seen her in quite some time. My schedule doesn’t afford me much opportunity to see family, as much as I might want to.” He smiled, and Jasper noticed the sadness around his eyes despite it. Robert went on softly, “I wish I’d had one more chance to talk to her, to tell her how I loved her. I’m afraid she didn’t know.”
Jasper nodded. “Me too. If I could just talk to her one more time, maybe we wouldn’t be here.”
Robert cocked his head. “No?”
Jasper didn’t want to disabuse him of the notion that Lacy had not killed herself, if that was what he was choosing to believe. So he simply said, “Who knows?”
“Heather used to write sometimes, a long time ago. She’d shoot me a text, you know, a birthday emoji or a holiday one. We were close when she was a kid. I used to take her places with me whenever I could. Her parents never really got her, you know?”
“Oh, I know.”
“They were always trying to change her. Like, she was left-handed naturally, and they worked and worked and worked on getting her to use her right. They tried to get her to hang out with what they deemed the popular girls. They bought her American Girl dolls when all she wanted was a set of paints and a good book, preferably horror. I could stand here all day and tell you how little my brother and sister-in-law knew their girl. But I won’t.
“I just wish I’d stayed in better touch with her. Once my career took off, back when she was just becoming a teenybopper, I kind of got preoccupied and we lost touch.” He paused and Jasper noticed the tears standing in his incredible eyes. Unexpectedly, he laughed. “When she was a little girl, and I mean like three or four, she would sigh and say, ‘Woe is me.’ What little girl says that?”
“Lacy. It so figures.”
“You call her Lacy. Why?”
“That’s how she referred to herself. She was even thinking of legally changing her name. She hated Heather.”
Robert nodded. “I get that. I never thought of her as a Heather. I’m glad she found something else.” He glanced over his shoulder into the viewing room. “I wish they’d respected that.”
I do too. Jasper felt, suddenly, even sadder. For his own loss, sure, but more for Lacy’s loss. The rest of her life. She could have done so much. She could have been happy. He just knew it.
He placed his hand on Robert’s shoulder. “Look, I intended to stay longer, but I need to get out of here. This place is too oppressive. And it honestly feels like someone else is being waked, not the girl I know. So I’m gonna book. But it was nice to talk to you.”
Robert nodded. “Will you be at the funeral tomorrow morning?”
The funeral was set for one of Rogers Park’s Catholic churches. Then they’d fly the body back to California for burial in the family plot.
It was all wrong. All not what Lacy would have chosen.
Jasper shook his head. “No. I don’t think so. This isn’t her. I think I’ll just remember her as I knew her.”
Jasper turned away, feeling on the verge of tears. He didn’t want to cry in front of Lacy’s uncle—or anyone else gathered at the funeral home, for that matter.
As he reached the door, Robert’s voice stopped him.
“Would you mind if I came with you? I need to get out of here too."
RICK R. REED BIO
Real Men. True Love.
Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” You can find him at www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix.
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James Brock has a new MM Military Romance out: "Dog Tagged."
Drill Sergeant Clay Norris has his military life running right on schedule. Career focused he appreciates that he joined up when his sexuality is at least acknowledged under Don't Ask, Don't tell, even if he doesn't get to act on his urges as much as he likes.
In formation with his new trainee group he locks eyes with Chevrolet Banks and his life, their lives, are changed forever.
Dog Tagged is an insta love military romance based on real life incidents.
James is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this cover reveal – enter via Rafflecopter:
Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4789/?
What also became clear to me in my short time with the fun, cute guy was that I had fallen so hard for Private Chevy Banks that I couldn’t get him out of my head even standing next to this walking hard-on.
I did let the hot salesman give me a quick kiss on the cheek in the changing room and tried to forget the warmth of his lips as I headed out to the clubs and got some dance and further drink on, always bearing in mind that I was an officer now and had some decorum to maintain.
Okay, all that means is that I got pretty wasted.
And that I danced with all comers. I was quickly stripped out of that cute little shirt salesman Evan had put me in, my training ripped body giving me pick of the litter. Not last call litter, not still breathing and leftover litter. Porn star guys (REAL porn star guys) were fighting over me, actual pushing and shoving, it was quite the scene, the knot of men who had surrounded this former Drill Instructor.
At some point I looked up to see the smiling face of Evan the clerk from the clothing store next to me, an arm thrown protectively thrown around my shoulder. His sweet smile was the brightest of the lot, I latched onto him like an octopus gripping a clam.
I have no idea how long the revelry went on or how I got back to the hotel.
Let alone what might have happened there.
The next morning I woke not feeling well at all. Slick with sweat, sick to my stomach I rolled my head on the pillow slowly, not knowing what kind of guy I was going to find next to me. Thankfully the pillow was empty, as was the bed, although the blankets were mussed enough to let me know someone had recently nested there. Carefully lifting myself I checked the floor and was relieved to see no other bodies in the room.
But at that moment the bathroom door opened and a figure came out.
Evan, blond and sunny, cute as the night before in tattered jean and a faded green t shirt with a cracked and worn logo on it stepped into the darkened room.
“Hey buster, didn’t think you’d be up for a while,” he said with a giggle in his voice.
Flopping down onto the chair across the room he slipped his feet into athletic shoes and laced them. “Or should I be calling you Lieutenant Buster?” he added with a nod toward my dress uniform hanging neatly in the closet.
“Just call me a time machine man, I wanna go back about twelve hours and start over again.” I sighed from the bed. “What the fuck happened….”
“What didn’t happen is the better question,” Even said evenly. “you were wined and dined, if you count the bag of Dorito’s you were given to strap on like a feed bag dining, given drinks and very nearly given drugs and taken to other clubs and there was talk of taking you to that skeezy bath house connected to the dance club, but you wouldn’t go anywhere without me once I had been spotted. You seemed to be quite taken with modest little moi and since I refused to go to that bathhouse everyone was trying to get you to go to I finally got you back here where there were more drinks and salty snacks then there was some crying….” he trailed off. “I’ve ordered room service for you; hope you don’t mind.”
“Wait. Wait, wait.” I said using a nearly Drill Sergeant size voice as the handsome young man stood, “I need the whole story.”
About that time there was a knock at the door; Evan let room service in, signing the check. “You are a good tipper, just so you know,” he grinned while pushing the tray of food over toward me on the bed then pouring coffee. He motioned for me to eat then sat back down. “I was going out anyway so when I closed up I came over to the club and there you were, gaily lit as a Christmas tree and surrounded by faeries more headstrong and stubborn than Tinkerbell all out to get a piece of the hottest man in the city. Not the bar, the city. And I’m not just saying that because I am the one who ended up sleeping with you.”
I guess I looked up at him like a deer in head lights.
“Stop, don’t flatter me. I’ve got it going on but I’m not ripped like you. Word was out that there was a military hottie on the hoof in the club and every muscle queen and gym bunny in town showed up to audition as your hook-up for the night. I think guys were flying in from LA and San Francisco trying to get to you,” the blond smiled.
“So you brought me back here and we….” I said, mouth full of egg. The food was going down smoother than I expected it would.
“I didn’t get in the way of your fun too much, I just kept an eye on you. Until they started to undress you and began offering you pills, powders and potions.”
I felt myself shudder and freeze.
“Don’t worry. I didn’t let them. I just brought you back here, where you insisted on another drink or ten. Then you got weepy and I held you and let you talk about a car until you fell asleep. I dunno, everyone has a kink or two, but I’ve never heard anyone rhapsodize about a vehicle the way you went on and on about your Chevy last night.”
I was really embarrassed then.
I let a silence settle between us before taking a sip of scalding hot coffee and replying.
“Not a car, a guy,” I whispered.
“I fell off a turnip truck but that was a long time ago,” he smirked while reaching over and snagging a crisp piece of bacon off my plate and began chewing on it, “I figured as much.” Evan said with true kindness in his voice. “I had a brother in the Army and knew you were just blowing off some steam. Those wolves would have eaten you and I like to think someone would have looked after my brother the same way. Nothing happened between us.”
“That would have been the best part of the night it sounds like,” I managed, no longer interested in the food.
“You were a hot mess, but I am very glad you are alright. Now I’ve gotta go to work. If you are in town for a while here is my card.” With that Evan produced a business card with his name, number and e mail on it. “Use it at will.” he slipped the card on the breakfast tray then slid his arms around my body, giving me a very nice hug.
“Leaving tomorrow, but some other time without question.”
Stopping at the closet on his way out he reached in and touched the sleeve of my dress uniform.
“Are you going over?”
There was a slight pause before he broke his eyes form the uniform.
“Be safe. E mail and let me know how you are. Promise?”
“Promise, and thanks. Is your brother back?” there was a pause before Evan answered Yesin such a quiet way that I knew the way his brother had come home.
“I’m sorry,” was all I had time to say before the cute blond turned and gave me a wan smile and slipped out of the room.
James Brock is an Amazon number one best selling author, with fifteen M/M romance novels published and two family autobiographies.
Once upon a time he sold comedy to Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller, was published in every gay men's magazine on the market (when there was a market, those dinosaurs were killed off by DVD, which were in turn eaten by streaming and on demand...), the Seattle Gay News and Seattle Standard and essays with the late great Alyson Publications.
James lives in Seattle.
Author Website: JamesBrockBooks.com
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Men-Overboard-100109810041126/
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamesbrockbooks
Cover art by Jess SmallThank you Elizabeth for giving me a spot today! I really appreciate it. When I was doing the research for locations for the trip, I realized pretty quickly how just desolate many of their stops would be. Funny enough, that feeling lent itself well to the story and I just ended up feeling doubly bad. One problem with the US Southwest is that it’s still truly empty in so many places. Southern California, east of San Bernadino, Arizona (most of it!), New Mexico, and Texas all have vast open deserts with very little to break it up. There are quite a few stops along the way on their journey to, eventually, Forbes Pack in Southwestern Pennsylvania. (Fortunately for them, they do end up flying a bit more than half the distance!) Today, I thought I might share the view from a few of the stops on their trip. Stop #1 – Tonto Pack – Phoenix, Arizona [caption id="attachment_6506" align="aligncenter" width="744"] Please pardon the fisheye distortion - I wanted to provide a 360 degree view of that stop.[/caption] Not the first actual stop on the trip. But the first one I’d like to share. Miguel and Luis are city boys, except for their monthly jaunts up into the forest for the full moon. So, Miguel is a little… dismayed at what he finds on the trip. He’d spent so much time in a city—a real, big city, with a McDonald’s and an In-N-Out on every corner—that to step outside and see nothing besides the bus station but an airport and desert was disheartening. Stop #2 – (On the way to) Gila Pack – Deming, New Mexico It was Luis’s turn to be about as disappointing as Phoenix was for Miguel, though they at least got a little bit more out of their stop than they did the Phoenix one. Including a bit of authentic Mexican food that was “so good, it reminded Luis of home and made him ache.” Luis had hoped for a bit more from Deming, though he didn’t know why. They didn’t have a full bus station. It was a stop at the Shell gas station just off the highway. After purchasing tickets for the local bus to Silver City, they got directions to a nearby Mexican restaurant the Shell owner promised was authentic and relatively cheap. Stop #3 –Albuquerque, New Mexico (midpoint stop) Albuquerque was weird (entirely aside from its spelling, which took me forever to remember—I depended a lot on Word for that. *cough*), because Greyhound doesn’t actually go into Santa Fe. It’s pretty! But weird. Probably something to do with their Rio Metro Regional Transit train system. The time they got into Albuquerque was probably not the best time—1:00 a.m.—but at least they could protect themselves if it came down to it. Miguel had no doubt Santa Fe was going to turn them away. But since he had no idea where else to go, he followed Alpha Mike’s advice, and they bought tickets in Deming for Las Cruces. They’d had to spend the day in Deming, but finally made it to Las Cruces in the afternoon, where they changed buses for Albuquerque. Stop #4 – Santa Fe Pack – Santa Fe, New Mexico The Santa Fe “station” was… tiny isn’t too strong a word. And the poor boys got there at six. I can’t even imagine being awake at that time, much less traveling. After waiting until nine—which he thought was a more respectable hour than six—they got a hold of the Santa Fe alpha, the aforementioned Nate, and made plans to meet him. However, not two minutes after sitting down at the table with the alpha with silver-streaked hair, Miguel knew Alpha Mike had been right. Stop #5 – United States National Wolf Headquarters – Denver, Colorado Denver wasn’t their last stop—technically that was Forbes Pack in SW Pennsylvania—but it was almost the last. Probably the most important stop, though. They didn’t get in until at almost midnight, tired and not a little terrified. They were, after all, about to go to their version of the White House to meet the wolf version of the president. I’d be a little terrified… well, depending on who was attached to the title at the time. Anyway… “Wait… did you say Miguel Garcia? Is Luis Rodriguez with you?” “Yes, ma’am,” Miguel said, turning a puzzled look at Luis, who shrugged. “Oh dear. Are you still at the bus station?” “Yes. We just got in a little while ago.” “All right. Stay there. We’ll have someone pick you up shortly.” And with that, she hung up. Miguel stared at his phone for a moment, then looked up at Luis. “That… is not what I expected.” “Me either. Are we in trouble?” “I have no idea, but I think the best thing to do would be wait.” They got in at midnight, so they didn’t really get to see much of the surrounding land on the way to Wolf Headquarters, but the view of the mountains above is what they would have seen on that route. I hope you enjoyed a peek at the boys’ journey! I loved being able to research their trip. I didn’t love sending them on it, but it helped the wolf population as a whole, so they both agreed it was worth it. To find out how, well… you’ll have to read, won’t you? Thank you again to Elizabeth for sharing her blog with me today! Hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the auditorium! Thanks again to Lou for the space. When you have a chance to read Hope, let me know how it compares to your mental image of the place! **All images taken from Google maps and streetview.
* * *
Hope, part of the Forbes Mates series Length: 13,000 words Genre: m/m paranormal shiftersMiguel Garcia and Luis Rodriguez have been best friends all their lives. For the last year, they’ve been hiding the fact that they’re also destined mates. When Luis’s family finds out, they kick him out. Miguel’s family would keep them… except their alpha has been known to be downright violent against gay wolves. With the help of Miguel’s mother, they set out to find a pack that will accept them. They run into more that a few obstacles before they end up in Denver, at the national wolf headquarters, meeting the alpha prime. They’re stunned to find, not only offers to join more than one pack, but that their struggle can shine light on a bigger problem–and make things better for LGBT wolves across the country. Hope is available on September 6, 2019 exclusively at Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited. There is also a giveaway for this release. Details are below. a Rafflecopter giveaway
And check out the upcoming blog tour appearances below!About Grace: Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica. A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind. As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art. Website ◊ Facebook ◊ Twitter ◊ Youtube ◊ Goodreads
Lew’s life is pleasantly boring until his friend Mira messes with magic she doesn’t understand. While searching for her, he is pulled back in time to 1919 by a catastrophic magical accident. As he tries to navigate a strange time and find his friend in the smoky music clubs of Soho, the last thing he needs is Detective Alec Carter suspecting him of murder.
London in 1919 is cold, wet, and tired from four years of war. Alec is back in the Metropolitan Police after slogging out his army service on the Western Front. Falling for a suspect in a gruesome murder case is not on his agenda, however attractive he finds the other man.
They are both floundering and out of their depth, struggling to come to terms with feelings they didn’t ask for and didn’t expect. Both have secrets that could get them arrested or killed. In the middle of a murder investigation that involves wild magic, mysterious creatures, and illegal sexual desire, who is safe to trust?
He parked the department’s Model-T on the small lane off Hackney High Street where Tyler indicated and followed the man up a flight of steps from a small courtyard, behind what looked like a laundry. Tyler unlocked the door and looked at him. “Come in. You can wait in here.” He threw his damp cap and ‘cycle goggles onto a table that clearly served for kitchen and dining, shucked his coat and gestured to a battered settee in front of a cold grate. “Would you like a drink?” He was un-stoppering a half-full bottle of whisky and sloshing it into two glasses as he spoke.
Alec shut the door and leaned back against it, his arms folded. “How did you know him?”
He kept his gaze uncompromising.
The hand holding the bottle froze in mid-air and then very carefully replaced it on the counter. “I didn’t know him.”
The stopper of the bottle was replaced with deliberation.
“Do you want me to take you down to Wapping for questioning?”
More silence. Tyler lifted the glass and took a long slug. He turned to face Alec and Alec suddenly realized that he could have read the young man incorrectly and that he was face to face with the killer. He wasn’t as young as he had initially thought, now Alec was looking at him with a professional eye, and his hands and arms were sinewy and muscled where he’d undone his sleeves. His eyes were dark-chocolate colored, shot through with lighter hazel — almost gold — hooded and wary; and there was a smear of what looked like blood on his fingers where he was gripping the glass and another on his cheek. He told himself that Tyler couldn’t have killed the man — he’d have been covered in blood, the way the throat had been ripped out. But he knew the victim. Alec was sure of it.
Tyler raised the glass again and tossed the rest of the contents back; then turned and went to refill it. Alec caught himself watching the play of his shoulders under his shirt and a little frisson of desire shivered through him. Hell. That was the last thing he needed.
Tyler turned back to Alec, both glasses in hand and caught him looking. He held one out to him, clearly dismissing what he’d seen. “Do you want this?”
Alec unfolded from the door and took it. He gestured to the other man’s fingers. “You touched him.”
He said it flatly, not a question.
Another pause. Tyler stared into his glass and Alec drank some of his. The bite of the spirit steadied him a little.
“Just as I was setting up the shot. Not deliberately.”
Again, he was lying.
Alec stepped toward the small table where Tyler had put down his camera kit and placed his glass down with a deliberate clunk on the surface. Then he took off his hat and his coat and threw them over the chair-back of one of the mismatched wooden dining chairs before he took another drink.
“Get going with the pictures, then.”
Let it play out, he told himself. Wait. Just let it play out.
He sat down on the battered settee, crossed his arms, and stretched his legs out, tilting his head back against the cushions and keeping eye contact with Tyler all the time. Tyler threw back the remains of his second drink and picked up his kit.
“Dark room’s through there,” he muttered, gesturing at a door. “Not much space in there.”
“I’ll wait here.” Alec was laconic.
He was more tired than he thought — a long day followed by two hours sleep, then being woken again by Grant when the call came in. It was pleasant sitting in the relatively warm flat, listening to the rain outside. It was proper rain now rather than the dank drizzle of earlier and he thought absently to himself that anything left at the scene would be washed away by the time he could get back there to have another look. His eyes started to droop and he let them, lulled by the sound.
Meet A.L. Lester
A. L. Lester likes to read. Her favourite books are post-apocalyptic dystopian romances full of suspense, but a cornflake packet will do there’s nothing else available. The gender of the characters she likes to read (and write) is pretty irrelevant so long as they are strong, interesting people on a journey of some kind. She lives in the south-west UK with Mr AL, two children, a permaculture vegetable garden and a dachshund.
She sees herself as: parent, queer, gardener, author, spouse, daughter, beer-maker, disabled, ex-goose-keeper, carer, procrastinator. Short tempered non-binary control freak.
A big welcome to Julia McBryant. She was kind enough to answer a few questions.
What question do you wish someone would ask about this book?
I wish someone would ask/wonder why Calhoun really did lie about being a virgin. Audie obviously keeps secrets all the time, but Calhoun’s an open book. Everyone just seems to accept that Calhoun wanted to have sex, but doesn’t that seem out of character to what you get to know about him later? Answer: he had it really, really, really bad for Audie from the very beginning, and he knew what he wanted.
What secondary character would you like to explore more?
Quinn, no question. Quinn is my twink baby. He has a kink daddy novel started; he has a short story started for an anthology. But nothing’s finalized, and I haven’t really gotten very far into his head yet. I know he was raised by staff, mostly; that he was an oops baby after three other kids; that he came out when he was sixteen and got a lot of hell for it in school, and that he hooked up with Calhoun in secret all through their senior year. But I want more than that, and I can’t wait to find it out.
Who has been your favorite character to write and why?
Audie, Audie, and Audie. He brings out that just hands me the best prose I can manage. I don’t know why. I also feel like I know him better than any character I’ve ever written. He’s my favorite baby.
What’s your core motivation with this book?
I wanted to give Audie a boyfriend to help him on the path to getting mentally healthy — he’s the only surviving character from a bad MMF novel I trashed, and he deserved to be happy. But mostly, I wanted to explore the effects of complex trauma on someone and the way in which it affects their ability to maintain healthy relationships.
Are you happy with where you left us at the end?
Yes yes yes. Calhoun doesn’t fix everything but he helps. I think that’s important: he’s not riding in and offering some easy solution to a complex trauma. But he starts Audie on a road to getting there, something that Audie desperately needed. Audie gets a HFN. But I promise I love him too much not to give him a HEA.
Julia McBryant has a new MM contemporary book out: "Hurricane Dreams."
Audie Currell, the only son of one of the richest families in Charleston, runs off from his parent's wine tasting with his father's business associate's son, Calhoun Chatterton, another well-off teenager from Savannah. They start dating in secret. But Audie's abusive childhood stands in the way of an authentic relationship — as does their family's homophobia. They have to hide their relationship while coping with Audie's trauma. Can two naive teenagers manage such a difficult task?
The Southern Seduction series chronicles the interconnected lives of a group of well-off, high society young adults in Savannah, Georgia, most of whom have known each other since kindergarten. Their complicated relationships (and unconventional sexcapades) form the meat of the series, along with a careful attention to chronology, character, and prose. More than romantic erotica, the Southern Seduction series details a fully realized world of drama, theme, and most of all, memorable characters.
Julia is giving away a $20 Amazon gift certificate with this tour, as well as eBook copies of It’s Enough, Like Sunshine, and Slow Dance. Enter via Rafflecopter:
“God, I fucking love your car. You’re super hot and you come with a Porsche Carrerra. Jesus, Audie. Are you seriously real?”
“Are you?” Audie laughs and tucks Calhoun’s hair behind his ears. He still can’t believe the things he says to Calhoun every goddamn day. Audie never imagined using words like these with another person. You don’t hand your heart to someone else. As soon as you do, you know it’s going to shatter one day. It reminds him of a hurricane slamming down the Carolina low country, Hugo or another big one: you can’t stop the storm from coming. You can only close the shutters and pray the seawall holds.
Audie tries to catch Calhoun’s hand when they get to the restaurant, but his boyfriend shakes his head. “We can’t.”
“Not at all?” Audie asks.
“No. But we can go out to Tybee.”
Calhoun seems to relax with the change of scenery. Audie thinks some alcohol helps too. It helps Audie. Always has, since he was fifteen years old. He doesn’t share that with Calhoun. Some things you just don’t tell anyone. Like, my daddy belted me bloody. Or, his business partner’s daughter Easter stood there terrified while it happened. And that’s why I bought bourbon the first time.
You don’t say it. The same way you don’t talk about high school.
The Savannah heat slams them when they come out of the restaurant. “Been hitting like, a hundred this week,” Calhoun says. “At least Tybee has the sea breeze. You really don’t swim at all?”
“No,” Audie says. “But I’ll wade.” Another thing you don’t say: why you don’t swim. My daddy marooned me in a pontoon boat when I was eleven because he said I had to get over my fear of bull sharks. Told me to swim over to his boat and we could go home. It took me four goddamn hours to get the courage to do it and it was the worst thing in the world and I will never get in the ocean again ever. You say: I have this shark phobia. Can’t shake it, sorry. You can tell the truth without telling it. You can come close to a thing without touching it at all.
Calhoun directs him down East Bay Street onto the highway. They leave the windows down and let the wind whip their hair, Audie’s into a curly froth, Calhoun’s into mermaid tangles. Audie blasts the Charleston band Jump, Little Children, who Calhoun’s never heard and Audie’s seen a million times. “They’re really good,” Calhoun yells over the wind and the music, between bites of the black licorice he dug out of his bag. Audie had laughed when he unearthed it. “We should go see them sometime.”
Audie snorts. “Maybe if they play Columbia,” he shouts. “Not seeing you in Charleston again. Stupid. Just have to act like friends.”
“Same in Savannah.”
“Should say we chartered a boat in Pauley’s Island or Georgetown next time with some friends. Maybe the Outer Banks. I could even summon up some friends if we needed.”
“Say we went fishing and picked up girls. Send pictures of fish and girls to our daddies.” Audie laughs even though it’s not funny and he’s not joking and Calhoun nods.
Calhoun’s Tybee house sits on the water, huge and modern, all sleek lines. “I love this house,” Calhoun says as they park underneath it.
“Hate that hurricanes’ll always take a beach house,” Audie says. “Hate it for our Folly house.”
Calhoun looks at him kind of strange. “I guess.”
They walk hand-in-hand, bags slung over their shoulders, up the stairs. Calhoun shuts the door behind them and Audie has him against the wall. “This okay now that we’re at the beach?” he says, intentionally talking right into Calhoun’s ear.
“Yeah,” Calhoun breathes. “Doesn’t matter in this house.”
Audie moves his leg between his boyfriend’s thighs. “Because I want you real bad.” He knows Calhoun likes it when he talks to him.
“Want you too.” Audie feels him stiffening.
Audie kisses him hard, like before, but his time braces himself against the wall and pins Calhoun against it completely. His boyfriend thrusts against him. God, Audie loves this. He loves that Calhoun loves this. He moves slightly so their cocks rub against each other through their thin shorts. Their belts clink and it’s somehow one of the hottest sounds Audie’s ever heard. He breaks off the kiss and moves to Calhoun’s ear again. “Go into the bedroom,” he says, “And get your fucking clothes off. I missed you and I want you.” Audie’s pretty sure Calhoun wants him to talk like this, and he wants to talk to Calhoun like this, and he thinks he can get away with it.
He knows he can when Calhoun sort of sucks in a breath and moves on him. “Okay,” he says. “Okay, Audie.”
Calhoun leads him into a big room with a king-sized bed. He strips. Audie rummages in his bag and takes out what they need, then takes his own clothes off. Calhoun watches. Audie knows his boyfriend’s watching, but when he looks up, Calhoun drops his eyes. Audie hopes he doesn’t fuck this up. They’ve only done it twice, once the afternoon in his beach house and once the next morning, which makes a total of two times Audie’s ever had sex in his entire life. Calhoun doesn’t know that and Audie isn’t telling.
“Get on the bed,” Audie orders. God, he’s wanted to say things like this his whole life. Every time, he gets bossier and bossier and Calhoun loves it more and more. Obediently, his boyfriend pulls down the bedspread and sheets, climbs into bed and waits for Audie. Who takes his goddamn time getting over there. Calhoun looks too good lying on his side, watching Audie with those big eyes and a hard cock. He messes with it a little, which makes everything better.
Julia McBryant is, as the saying goes, Southern born, Southern bred, and when she dies, she’ll be Southern dead. When she’s not riding her horse or writing, Julia likes to play with her German Shepherds and rescued greyhounds, make all the crafts (especially those involving glitter), and hike, especially in the North Carolina mountains. She is grateful her husband tolerates both the dogs and the glitter.
However, she spends most of her time writing like tomorrow won't arrive, like she needs it to survive, every second she's alive, etc. (see Hamilton for details). She also lives to sing in the car, especially David Bowie.
Author Website: https://www.juliamcbryant.com
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*Big sigh* Dreamspinner Press.
I've been with this publisher since 2011 and this current situation is difficult.
There is a lot of talk going around social media about DSP, some true, some less than true, some a mixture. Lots and lots of opinions.
I won't bore you with details or my opinions on this current situation.
There are, however, a few things I'd like to say.
DSP has employees. Other than upper management those people are just that, employees and probably know just as much about this situation as the rest of us. They're not responsible, and I have friends who are contract people who have told me they're owed money as well. They're in the same boat as the authors. Please don't be mean to them. Please direct your anger where it belongs...those in charge of the financial management of the company.
Buying books. If you have bought, or are planning to purchase any of my books THANK YOU! Do NOT under any circumstances feel guilty about where or whom you purchase books from. Buy your books from the retailer, be it publisher, or Amazon, or Kobo or whoever, that you like and are comfortable with. Really, at the end of the day, all I truly care about is that people enjoy the stories I write.
I've asked for the rights to all my DSP and DSPP books back. Sentries is no longer for sale anywhere but rerelease of those titles will begin in October from JMS Books LLC as the publisher. If you see them for sale anywhere between now and Oct 12, those books are being sold illegally and I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know. The exception is the paperbacks being sold by private individuals on places like Amazon.
Until the rights for my other books published by DSP are reverted to me they'll remain on sale wherever DSP places them. That's legal and I have no issue with it. As I understand it if you've purchased a book through DSP directly and it's on your bookshelf there, it will not go away once my rights are returned. If you have a question about purchasing feel free to contact me, I'll do my best to help. I'll post updates here and on my website when and where other books will be rereleased as the information becomes available.
I can't stress enough, not a single author or a single reader or a single blog owner or reviewer is responsible for what is going on at DSP. I personally know many authors who've emailed with questions and comments. Some get answers, most do not. Some talk about it on social media, some do not.
I will continue to support my fellow authors, which means I might share their releases on social media, have them on my blog or in my newsletter. Where they publish their books is not my business. I'm supporting the person who wrote the book, not the entity its published through.
As always, thank you for your support,
Welcome to My World