It's been four years since a global pandemic has ravaged the world and almost a year since Mark and Duncan had their fateful meeting at a tiny pharmacy. Duncan has spent that time doing everything he could to ease Mark's fears of losing him—fears that go beyond the normal danger of their new world. When a minister and his wife seek out Mark for help, Duncan sees an opportunity to show Mark another level of commitment—if Mark will dare to take it.
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.
Find Grace here:
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Sweet sale going on at JMS Books LLC That includes my books, Edge Jump and Home Coming.
Thank you, Elizabeth Noble, for hosting a stop on the Keeping House blog tour. Second, hey, everyone, I’m Science Fiction and Fantasy author Jeanne G’Fellers, and I’ve here to talk a little about my newest Paranormal Fantasy release, Keeping House, the second novel in the Appalachian Elementals series.
Keeping House picks up three months after Cleaning House left off, with my protagonist, Cent Rhodes, leaving to fulfill her part of the deal that saved her life. She’s to serve the she-King of the Hunter fey, Dane Gow, for three months each year, from Brigid to Beltane, and Cent’s more than a little intimidated, given who Dane is. But just who is Dane Gow anyway?
Dane Gow is, in a word, complicated. She’s the thirtieth Hunter fey king (yes, I set a small batch of Scottish fey in the midst of Southern Appalachia, but we’ll save that reasoning for another day). Dane’s over four-hundred-years old but looks no more than twenty, runs a successful welding and ironworks business, and knows enough magic to fill a bookcase with volumes. She’s also plagued by the kings of the past, short-tempered, and oh, yeah, she’s a polyamorous lesbian married to Sissy and Bonnie Gow. Her relationship with Bonnie is tense at best, and their two hundred year long marriage has been a continual test of Dane’s patience. But Sissy? Four years of marriage and Dane’s still smitten even though Sissy has a serious problem with alcohol that’s fueled by Bonnie’s drama. All that aside, Dane’s got her eyes on Cent… again. Yes, they’ve been together in Cent’s past lives, and Dane wants Cent even though they’re both married this time around. Bonnie’s irate, and Sissy? Well, she’s handling it fairly well based on the excerpt below.
Sissy wadded her napkin and sat straight. “Cent?”
“You got my blessin'. That’s all I wanted to say. You’re a damn sight easier to deal with than Bonnie.”
Cent didn’t know how to respond, so she concentrated on her meatloaf and soup though her appetite was long gone. “Thanks, I guess. I don’t really know—”
“You don’t need to say anything. Just be a friend to me, all right? I need all them I can get.”
Yes, Sissy does need friends like Cent, and so does Dane and every other Hunter fey, but how is Dane going to convince Cent this is even possible, especially when it comes to Cent’s eternal spouse, earth elemental, Stowne? Well, that’s part of the story, I suppose, but here’s a bit of another character’s perspective on the relationship between Cent, Stowne, and Dane inside the novel.
Conall leaned forward, lessening the space between them. “Stowne ain’t a knight in shinin' armor any more than Dane is, and they’re both capable of lyin' if they think it’ll sway your thinkin'.”
“So are you.”
“Touché.” He sat back. “You got no reason to believe me, but I ain’t got no reason to lie neither.”
“You’re one of Dane’s men, reason enough.”
“And her best friend.” He sipped his coffee. “I’m only telling you this because she’s… There’s more to all this than what you’re seein'.”
So, complicated, right? It seems that description extends to more than just Dane within Keeping House, but complexities, when you get down to it, are what makes friends and lovers into family, aren’t they?
Jeanne G'Fellers has a new queer non-binary/gender fluid paranormal fantasy out in the Appalachian Elementals series: "Keeping House."
Centenary Rhodes is caught in a deal she didn’t make. Thanks to her eternal lover, Stowne’s, quick thinking, she’ll live forever, but there’s a hitch. Cent’s now fey, and three months out of the year she’ll live on the other side of Embreeville Mountain among the Hunter Fey, serving their king, Dane Gow.
As Cent begins wading through the anachronisms that come with being a Hunter, she learns that nothing is what it initially seems. Cent shares several past lives with Dane, who wants her back, and Stowne’s lied to Cent so many times that she’s having doubts about their marriage. To make matters worse, the past Hunter Kings are influencing Dane’s behavior, and the youngest Hunter, Brinn, might well be the most dangerous of them all.
It’s going to be a cold, dark spring, and Cent needs to unite both sides of Embreeville mountain before her eternal life, her relationship with Dane, and her marriage to Stowne come permanently undone.
Another rich Contemporary Appalachian tale about fantastic people and the magic they possess, including LGBTQIA+ characters Human and otherwise.
Come dance with the Appalachian fey and drink a little moonshine under the full moon while you hear Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Death share tales about families of our blood, families of our making, and magic both long ago and flowing through us now.
Warnings: depiction of mental illness including on page psychosis; discussion of gender dysphoria, cutting, and self-harm; discussion of rape and murder; on and off page violence
Jeanne is giving away a $20 Amazon gift certificate with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:
I can do this. Cent unzipped the top of her coveralls and lowered her long johns to reveal the halter top beneath them. “Sorry, not sorry to disappoint you, King Dane.” She unfurled her wings and rolled her shoulders to shake them open.
“Just look at all them sigils.” Dane stomped her boots on the circle sands as she laughed, and her men laughed with her. “You look like a doodled-out scratch pad.” She removed her arm from her coat and rolled her sleeve above her bracer to show the sigils tattooed across her plaster-pale bicep. “All us Hunters got them, but ours won’t warsh off with a good scrubbin’, and neither will yours by the time you get back to Stowne.”
“Sigils remain intact even if they cannot be seen by the eye.” Cent’s spouse’s mouth thinned with the stress she knew they were feeling. “If the sigils are applied in perfect love and trust, that is. Rest assured, Centenary’s were.”
“Like I care.” Dane shoved her arm back into her coat. “It’s my turn, you worn-out gravel heap. That was our deal.” She lunged forward to grab Cent by the arm.
“Let go!” Cent wrenched away and moved to stand between Pyre and Exan, her elemental escorts. “I’ll fly with them.” She blew Stowne a kiss and stretched her wings, shivering. “Hold on.” She pulled a pair of striped leg warmers from her pocket and slid them over her arms. They were horribly outdated, but they’d been a cheap thrift shop solution, and she was glad she’d remembered them. Still, they weren’t enough for the current weather.
“Betcha she can’t keep up.” Dane’s guard, Conall, snorted and extended his hand to the guard with the dreadlocks. “Deal, Weeds?”
Weeds knocked his hand away. “Nothing to be gained there because you’re right.” He pulled a red wool chullo hat from his pocket and drew it over his head, topping that with a pair of ski goggles he lowered over his eyes. “She’s not going to get there without help.”
“Manners, boys.” Dane pulled a pair of leather Steampunk-style goggles over her eyes. “Best not judge until we see what she’s got under the hood. Come on. We’re late for a helluva shindig.” She laughed as she took to the air, hovering above the circle until Cent, Pyre, and Exan joined her. Her men took to the air behind them, Weeds pressing ahead while Conall brought up the rear.
We’re sandwiched in.Cent flew as hard as she could, hoping to lessen the distance between her and Dane, but it kept growing.
“Problem?” Conall flew up behind Cent as she struggled to keep speed. “Get movin’.”
“I’m trying!” Cent almost stopped mid-air to confront him, but Pyre grabbed her by the shoulder, pulling her to the right so he flew past.
“Not a good idea.” Pyre hooked their smoky arm through hers, urging her along. “You’re cold.” They sent warmth into her, but she still shivered.
“Let us give you the energy to do this.” A thread of Exan’s black mass wrapped her left arm. “Come along.”
“What’s the holdup?” Dane flew back to face them. “Havin’ trouble keepin’ up, girlie?” She moved closer. “Guess Conall’s right after all. You need him to carry you the rest of the way?” Dane snickered when Conall returned to hover, scowling, behind her. Their beating wings stirred the air more than Cent’s, and her teeth chattered to the point she couldn’t hide it.
“I’ll get there.” But she knew she’d be struggling even with Pyre and Exan’s help, and she was so cold their warming energy wasn’t enough.
“You can’t, admit it.” Dane surged forward to grab Cent around the waist, forcing her wings to roll then tuck as Exan and Pyre’s grips fell away. “Your spirit form can fly, but your real wings are puny. Best hold on, or I’ll let you fall.” She turned Cent outward, holding her with one stout arm as they began to move. “Your eyes ain’t used to this cold and movement combined, so keep them closed until we’re— no. Hey, Weeds.” Dane slowed until he caught up along with Pyre and Exan, who both moved to see Cent’s face.
“I’m fine.” She blinked away the frost that’d collected on her eyelashes. “Let her do the work if she wants.”
“I got stuff to get done, or you’d be suckin’ up the rear, that’s all.” Dane motioned to Weeds. “Give her your goggles.”
“But— yes ma’am.” His dismay spread across his face as he pulled a scarf from his pocket, wrapping it around his head until only his eyes showed.
I’m making a great impression on him.
“Put them on, and let’s get movin’. Much longer up here and our wings’ll start freezin’.” Dane pulled Cent’s coveralls and long johns to her chest and opened her own coat to wrap her in it. “Damn rookie-ass flyer. Next time, wear a hat too.” Dane jerked her welding cap from her pocket, pulling it over Cent’s head as they gained speed.
Air whipped around them as they moved, and it began to sleet, pelting Cent with ice shards and freezing over her goggles by the time they touched down. “Someone get her a blanket!” Dane tore the goggles from Cent’s face and blew warm, tobacco-tainted breath in her face. “And somethin’ hot to drink!” Her voice softened. “You all right, sugar?”
“Let go!” Cent broke away and rushed to Pyre and Exan’s sides before they could fully manifest. “Dane’s being nice,” she whispered as she pulled off the leg warmers then raised her long johns and coveralls. “I don’t know what to do.”
“Take a deep breath and look around.” Pyre kept their voice soft and calm, which frightened Cent all the more.
“She means you no harm this night.” Exan wrapped their arm around her shoulders. “This is Dane’s kingdom, and she is in control of all you see.” They spun her around to view the nearly three-dozen pale Hunter faces, some clearly pissed by her presence, others amused, and a few too clouded in their expression to read, clustered around the bonfire she stood near.
“Welcome back to my world, Centenary Rhodes.” Dane bowed before her then rose wearing a mischievous smile. “Let’s get this party started!”
Born and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Science Fiction and Fantasy author Jeanne G’Fellers' early memories include watching the original Star Trek series with their father and reading the books their librarian mother brought home. Jeanne’s writing influences include Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, and Frank Herbert.
Jeanne lives in Northeast Tennessee with their spouse and five crazy felines. Their home is tucked against a small woodland where they regularly see deer, turkeys, raccoons, and experience the magic of the natural world.
Author Website: https://jeannegfellersauthor.com/
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I’ve Got You by Becca Seymour
As soon as I introduced Davis in Let Me Show You, I knew he needed a story of his own. His voice was so distinctive, his personality so visceral that I honestly I couldn’t NOT have written his HEA.
What I also knew was that, as a single dad, which was previously established, he deserved someone special, but more than that, I didn’t believe he needed added complications of exes and his daughter’s mom showing up.
There wasn’t a moment where Davis’s future, or him chasing his HEA, needed to be buried in the past. It wasn’t what I wanted for him. There were no ghosts, no added angst of drama of his one-night stand showing up wanting rights to his child. I honestly think that’s because without Davis finding his special person, he already was fully aware he was blessed. Not only because of his beautiful child, but also with his best friend, who he classes as family.
He also has a big heart and is so willing to give that away—and so much more— to support people he cares about.
Knowing this, when he meets his love interest, his focus is very much on building a friendship, while dealing with a heap of lusty thoughts, and trying to be supportive since his love interest has taken a tentative first step out of the closet.
Davis’s story is very much relationship and character driven, with the focus on Davis’s outed-vet love interest, who he has a crush on, working his way through the minefield of self-respect and self-worth. In doing so, we see Davis falling hard but falling slowly. Yep, another sultry slow burn with humor and the smallest of dramas unfolding.
But Davis deserved someone who could love him back—without reservation, without fear. He absolutely deserved a “real” love.
Becca Seymour has a new mm/bi romance out: I've Got You.
When a single dad and a newly outed veterinarian meet by chance, it takes red-cheeked conversations, a tentative friendship, and the willingness to put their hearts on the line to show these men they’re made for each other.
Single dad Davis Jackson is busy balancing his coffee shop and being the best dad he can be. That doesn’t mean he’s not lonely. After a fumbling encounter with a man who looks as gorgeous as he does unhappy, Davis is left wondering who the mystery man is.
All Davis knows is that he has never felt such an instant attraction to anyone before, but when he discovers the brown-eyed man’s identity, it’s clear the recently out-of-the-closet veterinarian is lost and quite possibly broken.
A swoon-worthy low-angst stand-alone contemporary M/M romance featuring characters from LET ME SHOW YOU.
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I was thirty-three years old and still had no clue who I was.
Just two steps and I’d be able to breathe again.
I clutched the handle and yanked the door open. Fresh air greeted me. I stepped into the darkness and pulled the door quietly closed behind me, then looked around the fenced backyard, only seeing the side panels and nothing beyond the darkness. My gaze settled on a couple of chairs. While it wasn’t complete escape, it gave me time to catch my breath and get my head straight.
Easing into the wooden chair, I leaned back, stretching out my neck and glancing up at the star-filled sky. With no lights on in the yard and just the faint glow filtering out from the busy kitchen, I was able to focus on the tiny specks overhead. I released a heavy exhale, pulling the calmness of the outside into me. I shouldn’t have come. Damn, I should have been at least two thousand miles away by now, away from this tiny town that threatened to splitapart my whole world.
Claws on the wooden deck, a not-so-softgrunt and sigh, and I glanced to my right to see Carter and Tanner’s monster dog, Rex, ambling over to me. The first couple of times I’d met Rex at the veterinary clinic, it was no surprise to Carter or methat the Ridgeback had taken an instant dislike to me. Hell, I didn’t even like myself most of the time. But as he walked toward me, I no longer tensed in fear. This was the third visit I’d made to Carter’s, andit seemed Rex had had a change of heart.
He huffed as he sat next to me, his large head immediately landing on my thighs. My first real smile of the night spread across my lips, andI reached out both hands and rubbed behind Rex’s ears. “Hey there, mutt.” I rubbed a bit harder, andhe moaned happily. I snorted. “You like that, huh?” Rextilted his head and leaned his right ear into my palm. “You know, bud, I think you’ve got the right idea.” He blew heavily out of his snout, andI laughed, the sound filling the quiet space. “Life’s a hell of a lot easier if you’ve got no balls at all to lead you around and confuse the heck out of you.”
A snort-laugh from out of the darkness had me tensing. I squinted, looking toward the end of the yard. After a moment, my eyes adjusted and I saw a man looming, his figure moving closer until he stepped into the faint light.
Damn.So much for alone.
Rex’s head flipped to the side to look at the guy coming toward me. He grunted again and then thumped his head back down onto my thighs before nudging my hand for me to continue.
I started to rub, not as invested, nor as relaxed. With my jaw locked, I risked a glance at the guy. Light spilled onto the stranger’s face, highlighting his strong jawline. While I couldn’t see the color of his eyes, I did see the creases surrounding them. It immediately made him seem approachable and friendly. As he moved closer, a small smile lifted his mouth. My gaze landed on the slight curve of his lips before traveling back to his eyes. They were brown, but in the dull light, I couldn’t tell the exact shade or depth.
Friendly, he most definitely was, if his smile and the “Hey” he offered me were anything to go by. But he also looked tired as hell.
I cleared my throat, suddenly aware I’d stayed quiet for a few seconds too long. “Hey.” My voice was gravelly and sounded unnaturally deep.
The guy paused in front of me, his hands dipping into his jeans pockets. He was quiet for a beat, seeming to contemplate what to say.
“You know Rex then?”
I nodded and then took a glance at the large head resting on my lap. With a small nod, I smiled. “Yeah. He finally likes me, so I’m taking it as a win that we’re friends.”
The brown-eyed man’s head tilted slightly, his gaze scanning my face a moment before his eyes returned to mine. “So you’re a friend of Carter’s?”
A humorless snort burst free, not enough to startle Rex, but enough for the guy to raise his brows. I cleared my throat again, not especially likingthe fact that it seemed to be closing up and becoming uncomfortably dry in front ofthis guy. “Well, sort of. We used to work together.”
I bit back the bitter retort dancing on my tongue, tempted to ask if that wasn’t what “used to” explicitly meant. There was no need for me to be so defensive or any bigger of an asshole than I already had a reputation for being.
“Nope. Just trying to figure out my next move.” I clamped my mouth shut, wondering why I’d shared so much. He sat on the lounger beside me, stopping my analysis. “Please, take a seat.” Damn, I really needed to learn to keep my mouth shut and stop being a dickhead. “Sorry.” I threw him a small grimace, noticing both of his perfectly arched brows were lifted, his attention solely on me. There was also a small smile on his lips. I was positive I saw it twitch.
“Hey, I can leave.”
Though, he stayed put, making no indication he planned on moving. He didn’t even shrug or twitch as he spoke.
While solitude had been what I’d craved, I was smart enough to recognize that just maybe not being alone was a good thing. Being alone, I was discovering, was not helpful at all. All it did was give me too much time with my thoughts. And that had a habit of screwing with my head. While I’d sought the quiet, especially since my blowout with Carter a while back, I recognized how dangerous isolation could be.Loneliness was a slippery slope.
Becca Seymour lives and breathes all things book related. Usually with at least three books being read and two WiPs being written at the same time, life is merrily hectic. She tends to do nothing by halves so happily seeks the craziness and busyness life offers.
Living on her small property in Queensland with her human family as well as her animal family of cows, chooks, and dogs, Becca appreciates the beauty of the world around her and is a believer that love truly is love.
Author Website: https://beccaseymour.com
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Today I welcome the authors of The Demon of Hagermarsh, Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus. They were kind enough to answer a few questions. Oh, and they've got their own WiKi. How cool is that? The artwork for this book is nothing short of amazing.
1) Tell us what the book is about.
'The Demon of Hagermarsh' is about a young knight in service of the Emperor, being sent undercover to a remote fishing village to investigate a potential demonist cell. Mostly, the book deals with him figuring out what is going on in town, figuring out if he really wants a romantic relationship with the cute baker, and figuring out how to use his powers in a way that doesn't create too much collateral damage.
2) What's the genre of the book? How about the series of Sir Yaden’s adventures?
Mainly, the book is a mix of adventure and MM romance in a space opera setting, maybe with a dash of mystery and New Adult. The following books will have more adventure, bromance, romance and intrigue.
3) How does the book relate to the entire series?
'The Demon of Hagermarsh' takes place in a relatively confined setting. Just one town, and it's not about saving the world, just about not letting things get worse than they are. Over the course of the series, though, the stakes will be getting higher, and the settings progressively larger and wildly diverse. More like dipping the toe into the water than a full-on assault of all the setting has to offer; which would have been a bit much for a first book, in our opinion.
4) Will all novels in the series be romances?
No. While there will be other romances, most of the novels will have an adventure core with romance, bromance and family subplots.
5) So the main character is a young knight?
Yes, Yaden is the latest addition to the Emperor's Lotus Knights. Think of King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table - confidants and representatives, doing good in the name of the Emperor. Though in this case, without the shining armour.
6) The main character is supernaturally gifted, a psion. What is psionics?
Psionics in this setting is the power to influence the material world with your mind alone. The main character is a petrakinetic, able to shape and move rock and soil as he likes - well, as long as he's got enough energy to do it. He grew up on a planet with a lot of volcanic activity and frequent earthquakes, and powerful as he is, he saved a lot of lives back there. But the power to tame a volcano is not necessarily what you need when trying to smoke out a demonist coven, and in combat situations, it's way too prone to cause significant collateral damage. So while quite a powerful Psion, our main character has a lot to learn before he's got a handle on the 'hero in the name of the Emperor' business.
7) I've seen there's an entire wiki detailing this universes background, 99.9% of which does not appear in this novel. Why all the work and will I be able to understand the novel without knowing all the information?
Yes, the world building that has gone into this novel is huge, indeed.
But 'The Demon of Hagermarsh' offers only a tiny slice of all this. That is why we decided on such a restricted setting and relatively simple plot for the first book. While almost none of the information in the wiki are mentioned in the book itself, all of it makes for an organically grown, consistent and 'lived-in' universe. Each encounter, each viewpoint is based on all of the background world building and that shines through.
After discussion with our beta readers, we cut the last remaining bits of exposure, confident that we have managed to create a setting that feels both delightfully alien and comfortably familiar at the same time that is sufficiently organic that it doesn't need datadumps.
10) Through 'memory'-chapters we get to know the past of our main characters. Why did you choose this way to give this information in small doses?
The 'memory'-chapters offer an additional dimension to the characters' motivations and attachments. While the story itself could be read perfectly without them, they cast a light on values and relationships that might not be instantly obvious to a reader. Especially concepts like slavery and aristocracy, whích are not central to the story, but inform every character's interaction to a certain degree.
If we had put them into the primary story, they would have felt like inorganic insertions - no one ever feels the need to state the obvious in the middle of the day. But offering these 'memory' chapters gave us the chance to illustrate those crucial moments in a - hopefully - lively and engaging way.
9) Even if I had no interest in sci-fi – is there a highlight that I would be missing if I didn’t read the novel?
Well, one thing that is a highlight in our eyes is the world building - grown over two decades by now, it's neither Hard SF nor Grimdark, but a wild patchwork of different cultures, beliefs and values, very colourful. We love reading and telling culture clash stories, as those always deepen our understanding of our own culture and our perceptions of what is 'normal'.
And maybe the more important way in which the 'Virasana Empire' for us is uniquely different is the positive outlook. The setting is pretty grim in many places, but it is never hopeless. If anything, it's on an overall upswing, and things, as bad as they might be, are improving, little by little.
As with all our books, we guarantee a happy ending. Only we're not telling how that may look, and considering the settings' options, it's gonna be both pretty out there and yet whole-heartedly human and soulful.
Just one example: The main character's family is the emotional pivotal point of the entire series. But the problems they deal with will never be problems they have with each other. They will face external problems, figure out how they all can contribute to solving them, and get shit done.
10) What is the next adventure readers can look forward to that Sir Yaden will have to tackle?
The next adventure sends Yaden to 'The Windmines of Bora Bora', which is a penal slave hard labour camp on a moon of Yaiciz. It's a dark, snarky adventure and bromance novel, and it's already available for preorder at all the usual retailers!
Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus have a new MM fantasy book out: The Demon of Hagermarsh.
“The Emperor cares for each and every one of his subjects.”
Many consider the catchphrase of the imperial Lotus Knights to be nothing more but well-polished propaganda, but for Yaden, it is a way of life.
A young Lotus Knight himself, his first mission in service of the Emperor sends him to the remote village of Hagermarsh, a suspiciously friendly place on a planet known for its inhospitable people. But how to uncover a demonist coven when nothing bad ever happens?
Getting to know the villagers only complicates things - the motherly fishmonger surely isn’t a demonist. Nor the gruff leader of the local militia. And definitely not the cute baker from across the street.
Or are they?
Come discover a dazzling, hopeful universe of knights and monsters, of psions, aliens and ancient deities! The Demon of Hagermarsh is the first book of ‘Sir Yaden’, an epic SF saga of grand adventure, romance, bromance and family, set in the multi-faceted Virasana Empire. It is a romantic adventure and can be read as a standalone.
Instantly, Yaden was on his feet and in the sales room, only to realise that he had absolutely no reason to do so except for his curiosity, but now it was too late for a credible retreat.
“Good day, Sir,” he greeted Colin, hoping he'd come across as a diligent shop servant and not some weirdo.
Colin looked a little startled at his sudden appearance, but he gave him that sunny smile of his. “Good day, Yaden. I thought I'd break with tradition and come in first, so the rest of them can follow. Me being the other most recent newcomer to the village and all.”
“Oh?” So that was why Colin seemed so out of place in Hagermarsh. “You're not from here either?”
“Actually I sort of am. My family has owned that bakery for generations. But my mother and her sister ran away to Schimmelbach. They hated this place, so, I wasn't born here.”
“Really? But what's to hate here? Hagermarsh seems pretty nice so far.”
“I don't actually know,” Colin replied with another smile, this time bittersweet. “Mother died when I was little, so Aunt Mildred raised me. And she rarely talked about their time in Hagermarsh.”
“So there's a terrible, dark secret to this village?” Yaden tried to keep his tone down and not too hopeful.
Colin laughed out loud. “In Hagermarsh? If there is one, I haven't been initiated yet. I only moved here a few years ago, when my Grandpa died and I took over the bakery. And so far, it's been the nicest place I've ever lived in.”
Not a useful lead. Yaden feverishly tried to figure out a way to ask more questions without making their conversation sound too much like an interrogation, until he noticed that Colin was looking at him with that beaming smile of his. It made him terribly nervous.
“So ... What are you looking to buy?” Inelegant, but at least it was a way out.
“A few odds and ends. We do need the General Store to open again. Which reminds me, can I have my basket back, yet?”
“Actually, I dropped it off with your apprentice yesterday. Didn't he tell you?” Yaden had specifically told the youth to let his master know, but had only received the usual grunt in return.
Colin groaned dramatically. “Rory! That lazy foghead is going to be the death of me one day! Eithne insisted that regular work would be good for him and he would improve, but I swear he is getting worse. That's what you get for listening to a kind old lady trying to barter off one of her grandsons.”
“I'm … sorry?”
“No, no, not your fault at all.” Colin's smile was back again in a blink. How could a man smile that much? “I'll deal with him. After all, he is my apprentice and I'm responsible for him. I'll get him into shape eventually.” He pulled a small note from his pocket, scanned it and for the first time properly looked around the sales room, his eyes going wide. “Wow! This is so orderly. And so much. It looks like you have at least one of everything.”
Before moving from Erys to Lagoona, Yaden would have agreed. He vividly remembered the first time he and Darios had visited one of the big shopping malls in Ridge, the highrise quarter of Agami, and gaped at the sheer amount of stuff on sale they hadn't even known existed. They sure had felt like clueless country bumpkins. But after a year in the Empire's capital, he had gotten used to it to a point where the General Store's range of goods felt rudimentary to him.
“Mostly I need a new pen and a whole bunch of different spices.” Colin smiled at Yaden hopefully. “Could you show me where everything is?”
“Sure, though we may not have exotic spices in stock. But we can order them for you.”
“That would be great. Okay, let me see. Most urgently, I need some garnak, ideally whole pods, and some dried lurka leaves. Do you have any terran caraway, by chance?”
There wasn't much assistance Yaden could offer, apart from showing him where they kept the spices. Deciphering the labels on the tins would have taken him much longer than Colin. But he recognized them at a glance, and Yaden stayed with him to portion out the amounts he needed and bring them over to the counter.
When Colin followed him to the counter, he noticed Darios properly for the first time and did a double take at his size.
“Master Darios, who actually owns the store,” Yaden introduced.
Darios greeted Colin with an amicable grunt and put his book down to ring up Colin's purchases.
“I promised Master Colin a discount in exchange for his welcoming bread,” Yaden reminded him.
“Oh, no, that is absolutely not necessary.”
Colin looked embarrassed, but Darios glanced at Yaden with a decidedly amused twinkle in his eye. Instead of figuring in a discount, he pulled two extra pencils from the box he kept under the counter and pushed them over to Colin.
“Thank you.” He smiled first at Darios and then at Yaden again. For a Leichnami he smiled suspiciously much, but his smile was warm and pretty and Yaden couldn't bring himself to mind. “Well, I should be on my way before the rest of Hagermarsh starts wondering whether you have eaten me.”
Walking him to the door was ridiculous, of course, but Yaden trailed behind him.
“Will I see you at the scribba training tonight?” Colin asked when he stepped out onto the porch.
“I thought that is only for the fighting citizens?”
Colin shook his head. “No, it's a bit of a social gathering, too. Lots of people standing around, drinking beer and giving useless advice to us poor fork-wielding folk.” He smiled yet again. “I could introduce you to some of the younger villagers.”
Yaden gave an exaggerated shudder. “I'm not sure I want to meet them if they are anything like Bridget from next door,” he grabbed the opportunity to gather more information.
“Oh, so you met Bridget?” Colin's smile gained a decidedly snarky edge. “Did she give you the 'in this village we don't tolerate any bullying and you better not step out of line' speech?”
“Actually, she asked me lots of questions. And she gave me the 'if anyone bullies you, I'll protect you' speech.”
“She did?” Colin looked amused and indignant at the same time. “Now, why do you look worthy of protection to her and I get treated like a ticking time bomb?”
“I don't know. Maybe I look harmless?” Which was more than a little ridiculous considering what Yaden was capable of.
“Mmh,” Colin huffed and shrugged. “Granted, Bridget is a bit odd. But there are some nice folks in Hagermarsh. They only act gruff when there is a chance of strangers observing them. Hagermarsh is a real community where people look out for each other. I think you'll like it here.”
Colin gave him that movie-star smile again, but Yaden had to struggle keeping up his own.
Those last sentences had triggered all alarms in Yaden's head. All of that sounded way too much like propaganda, crafted to keep the population calm, happy and ignorant of any ugly things happening behind the scenes. It sounded very much like the slogans the Lotus Pavilion PR team had drummed into his head. Colin had even the right kind of wholesome handsomeness that made believing such stories so easy. If Yaden managed to pinpoint where this propaganda was coming from, he'd be on the right track.
“See you at the training, tonight?” Colin asked.
Yaden only managed an affirmative grunt.
“Looking forward to it. Oh, and you may wanna bring some beer. That'll go a long way in making you less of a stranger.”
Yaden grunted again. Maybe not beer, but he had unpacked a whole crate of different kinds of schnapps and brandy earlier. Those would surely work just as well. He managed a parting smile before Colin turned around and left across the road.
We are Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus, a couple currently living our happily ever after in the very heart of Germany, under the stern but loving surveillance of our cat.
Both of us are voracious but picky readers, we love telling stories and drinking tea, good food and the occasional violent movie. Together, we write novels of adventure and romance, hoping to share a little of our happiness with our readers.
Beryll: An artist by heart, Beryll was writing stories even before she knew what letters were. As easily inspired as she is frustrated, her own work is never good enough (in her eyes). A perfectionist in the best and worst sense of the word at the same time and the driving creative force of our duo.
Osiris: An entertainer and craftsman in his approach to writing, Osiris is the down-to-earth, practical part of our duo. Broadly interested in almost every subject and skill, with a sunny mood and caring personality, he strives to bring the human nature into focus of each of his stories.
Author Website: http://www.brackhaus.com/
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Whiskey and Moonshine has recently become available in audio!
Drunk on love.
Like a well-aged whiskey, master distiller and old-money entrepreneur Malone Kensington is elegant and refined. Unfortunately he’s also a perfectionist who is more dedicated to the success of his generations-old company than his own love life.
That company needs a public spokesman.
What Colton Hale lacks in sophistication, he more than makes up for with the charisma that’s allowed him to survive on the street from a young age and charm his way into the lucrative—if overwhelming—public position at the Kensington Distillery. When Mal takes Colt under his wing, hoping to polish off his rough edges, opposites attract and a passionate romance blossoms despite the differences in age and background. But can it survive a Kensington Board of Directors who believe Colt is nothing but a gold digger and a kidnapper determined to profit from the love of Mal’s life—dead or alive?
Electric Candle eBook only 99c
There is still time to grab your copy of Electric Candle for 99c
When a vampire finds his soul mate, the bond is forever. It’s love at first sight. Or is it?
Flint, Ohio, Homicide Detective Jonas Forge has been a vampire for nearly two hundred years. He’s fought wars, seen life go from the simple but hard colonial days to the modern, high-tech world. He’s evolved with the times, adapting with each new era, blending into each new life. The one constant is his best friend and lover, Declan.
Until Forge’s soul mate tumbles, literally, into his life.
Even though they’re not fated to be together forever, Forge and Declan are perfectly happy. Despite the pheromone attracting him to his soul mate, Forge isn’t thrilled with the guy, and the feeling seems mutual. While trying to adjust to his clumsy soul mate and equally awkward feelings, Forge is on the hunt for the serial killer who’s leaving a trail of bodies, and who witnesses can’t identify. But Forge better watch out. When his work collides with his love life, things really heat up.
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It all began with Home Coming. The story continues! The Art of Domination, book 2 of Pain and Pleasure is scheduled for an August 2019 release! Stay tuned for more details.
Author Bio & Links
Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.
Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!
As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.
Linktree (for all other links): https://linktr.ee/nickijmarkus
Hello and welcome my guest today, Madeira Desouza with his newest release, Baja Clavius. He was gracious enough to answer a question for me.
How did you choose the topic for this book?
Years ago, I was driving alone very early in the morning on my way to the Grand Canyon in Arizona through the vast Navajo Nation.
Due to persistent nightmares, I had not slept well the night before at a motel where tourists stay when they are visiting nearby Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in Utah. Well before dawn I was awakened abruptly and could not get back to sleep. So, I hurriedly checked out of that roadside motel and got back behind the wheel of my 4x4 to continue driving westward.
I was reeling from the fears caused by dreams I’d had the night before about my impending death. I did not want to die that day. But I got distracted when I saw a young native American Indian man hitchhiking on the side of the road standing next to his Jeep.
He wore tattered cowboy attired that suggested he had just survived a particularly rough journey. His white cowboy hat caught the soft yellow light of sunrise in an eerie way that created an aura around his head. When I saw that, I immediately was convinced he was not from Earth.
I set aside what should have been common sense regarding the risks of picking up a stranger in a very isolated area where my body would never be found. I became convinced this young Navajo male was a time travel agent from the future. I started writing about him and his adventures traveling to the past and that grew into what is now Baja Clavius.
Madeira Desouza has a new gay erotic sci fi tale out: Baja Clavius.
This controversial science fiction adventure depicts gay male time travel agents with very bad behaviors. They are violent and immoral men.
A few hundred years from now, these time travel agents work within a top-secret agency located beneath the crater Clavius on the moon. Their time-travel missions take them to Earth in the past where they ruthlessly manipulate man who are targeted for their roles in the outcomes of historical events such as the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
Madeira is giving away a $20 Amazon gift certificate with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:
Yesterday I was lost and I died. Today I am alive again. I accept the truth about foregone tomorrows and my resurrections from the dead.
I do not claim to be a believer in a deity or a religion. Yet, I have personally experienced being repeatedly brought back to life after death. Something far more powerful than us human beings resurrected me. And now, everything I have learned about living, dying, and then coming back for more is presented here.
I have been coerced into creating this journal of my experiences. I will suffer if I am less than completely truthful. I will be held prisoner until I have completed this in full.
I work for a top-secret international agency that is so deeply concealed nobody could possibly find it. Baja Clavius is the name of the international base of operations where I live. It is from that base that I travel in time to work assignments on Earth.
Desperate efforts by others to censor this work all have ended in failure. Just to confuse you, others have circulated conflicting versions of this. But I defeated all my enemies who wanted to prevent you for seeing this.
I begin by sharing my memories of being back in my home state of Arizona—on foot trudging through the desert under dark, threatening thunderclouds that do not diminish the hottest day I have ever felt in my entire life. Through an unexpected break in the storm clouds, I see bright white sunlight and the most magnificent color of blue sky. Up there above me a haunting full moon commands my attention.
Sticking out of the landscape under the ominous skies is a mechanical structure apparently made mostly of wood. As I walk closer to the device, it looks to me as though it was created specifically to slow down the process of hanging a man by the neck so that he will experience extended agony before his death.
Hung from a thick brown rope wrapped around a wheel wench is a muscular, shirtless, and barefoot man with his arms unbound struggling desperately to stay conscious as his neck is crushed in the noose. I see his high cheekbones and long dark brown hair that is tied behind his neck into a queue. I watch his bare feet kick the sky.
I notice a pair of unattended video cameras on tripods positioned nearby on the desert floor pointing toward the hanging machine. Why would anyone go to the trouble of videotaping this man’s death by ritual hanging?
I know that I have met him previously. But this man whose name I cannot remember somehow seems to hold a distinct place at the very center of faulty recollections in my brain.
Off in the distance fifty meters or so to the west of my location, I can see four men wearing cowboy attire running away. I must have scared them away when I approached. But they left that helpless man to die on their hanging machine.
He is someone who seems obviously capable of having put up very considerable resistance against this merciless fate. His powerful body attracts my full attention. He looks like he is about thirty years old—the same age as me. His legs wildly swing in all possible directions as I reach the hanging machine. He desperately tries to reach his hands up to his neck as if it somehow were possible to free himself from the noose. But that is impossible! He groans when he sees me as if to try and tell me something.
His faded blue jeans are too tight for him. I stare at his bulging crotch as he dances in the air at the end of a rope. I marvel at his incredible masculinity contrasted with utter vulnerability. This man looks strong and tough. He must certainly be capable of protecting himself against anyone with success. But, not now.
He cannot save himself. He is simultaneously very manly and totally defenseless. This precise opposing combination of traits is, I’m sure, why men watch executions of other men.
His deep, dark eyes remain open, defiantly staring outward into the eerie sky. He resumes his kicking, but much more forcefully now.
His tight blue jeans emphasize his growing bulge. He has attained a full erection ahead of what will be his final ejaculation into his jeans. There is intense humiliation on his face. His body jerks wildly. As he shoots his last load in his pants, his neck cannot withstand the crushing force of the noose. I am stunned because I did not expect to see his body spasms, kicking, and curling of his toes.
Very suddenly, he just stops struggling. His body no longer can fight back against the effects of gravity and the noose that has applied fatal pressure to his vulnerable neck. I watch him desperately try to open his mouth to breathe, but he has no life remaining in him. I am overwhelmed with intense anger and shock as I slump to the ground. I cry without any shame for this stranger. I feel stunned by my sexual attraction to him. It is as if I have lost someone who has been very significant to me and to my life.
Even though I feel instinctively that I have suffered memory loss, I can remember where I work. I especially remember being inside some kind of cylindrical blue machine.
The inside of the circular blue glass machine was filled with a milky white liquid. It was translucent and unpleasant. It smelled like chemicals. I was naked. I felt like I was drowning. But I knew I was not going to drown. Something has taught me that I cannot die. I know with absolute certainty that I do not know death. I live on and on. But, I have so many questions that I cannot answer. Why am I repeatedly resurrected? Will I live forever?
Madeira Desouza is a gay male author. He focuses upon telling stories about mature, masculine men who are sexually attracted to other mature, masculine men. He steers clear of several deeply embedded traits of American gay culture that can be found in film and in print--eccentric or flamboyant behaviors, alkyl nitrites, dance music, trendy clothing, trendy hair, gay men who think age 30 is old, and so forth.
Desouza's creative works belong within the bara genre. This little word is shortened from barazuko. Translated from Japanese, it means rose-tribe, which is a code phrase for gay men. Originated in Japan decades ago as gay men created works for other gay men, this genre has not yet been widely embraced internationally. Perhaps this is because bara bara depicts same-sex feelings and sexual attraction to masculine, muscular men who sometimes behave in aggressive, violent, or exploitative ways towards one another.
As both a storyteller and digital artist Desouza explores conflicting and opposing compulsions that all men have. On one side there are impulses men have towards sustaining life, engaging in love, and being attracted to others. In the opposing direction are impulses men have towards being aggressive, engaging in violence, and, causing pain and death. For centuries, artists and storytellers around the world have found inspiration in these two opposing human compulsions that no man is able to resist or impede merely by his conscious will alone.
Author Website: https://bajaclavius.com/
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/madeira.desouza
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/desouzaofvegas/
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/machodesouza
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/masculine_men_images/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Madeira-Desouza/e/B008HL3B3C/
They thought to bury us. They never saw that we were seeds. Seeds of glass and steel, stronger and more resilient than either.
A Gifted Guilds novel
Hi, there – I’m Jackie Keswick and – first of all – a big thank you to Elizabeth for letting me visit and talk about my latest release. Healing Glass is a fantasy novel about a glass master, a warrior and a floating glass city.
For me, Healing Glass began with meeting Minel, as he contemplates the final piece of glass he’s wrought, convinced he’ll never make another one.
The glass carafe spun on its chain, propelled in slow swirls and small circles by the gentle breeze drifting through the wide-open doors to the roof garden. A rainbow of sparkles washed over the room’s white walls with each of its movements, bringing memories of the endless sky, of sun and sea, and the expanse of green that reached from the shore towards the horizon.
Minel lay on the floor and watched his masterpiece sway and spin. The carafe was perfect. Graceful lines and flawless material marked the craftsmanship as that of a true artist. Joy poured from each facet and curve and suffused the room until Minel felt the hum against his skin. A fitting tribute to his imagination, the carafe showed his mastery of that most difficult, fragile, and most expressive of all materials: glass.
He'd designed and crafted it to bring joy to others. Now it swung on its chain over Minel’s head, bringing joy to no one but Minel. The carafe would never be used. It would spend its days nestled in a bed of velvet, displayed as a testament to Minel’s command of his craft. A tombstone to the joy he’d thought to create.
Because Minel was dying.
There is a cure for the disease that is killing Minel, but he has no desire to hand himself over to a stranger. And once he’s made up his mind, Minel is rather stubborn.
Enter the other half of the equation, warrior captain Falcon. Equally gifted, but affiliated to the Warriors Guild, Falcon has been Minel’s best friend for years. Craft masters and warriors rarely mix, but ever since Minel and Falcon met, they’ve made it work.
That there’s some unacknowledged attraction simmering between them doesn’t hurt the matter, either.
When Falcon hears of Minel’s decision, he can’t stay away. If he can’t change Minel’s mind, at least he wants to be with him, looking after him, comforting him. He doesn’t expect to be drawn into the politics of the floating city, but if it saves Minel’s life, he’s game.
And Minel… he never thought that his decision could mean life or death for the floating city. He’s convinced that Falcon’s a walking temptation and that it will all end badly. But he’s also beginning to find that maybe his death isn’t quite as inevitable as he thought.
Healing Glass is a story about making choices and sticking to them, even when those choices have unforeseen consequences. My glassmaster, Minel, is both reluctant and stubborn, but he’s true to himself even if it costs him his home and almost his life. But he stands up and shows what he’s made of when it’s Falcon’s life or the floating city that are under threat.
Those who come after him should have remembered that it’s unwise to cross a man who has something to protect.
A dying city.
An ancient, forgotten accord.
And two gifted men caught in a web of greed and dark magic.
Despite belonging to different guilds, glass master Minel and warrior captain Falcon are friends. Their duties keep them apart, but when Minel falls ill and chooses death rather than the only known cure, nothing can keep Falcon from his side.
As their friendship grows into more, old wrongs and one man’s machinations threaten the floating city and leave both Minel and Falcon fighting for their lives. Can they learn to combine their gifts to save the city and its magic, or will everything they know and love perish before their eyes?
Healing Glass is an LGBT fantasy adventure with its head in the clouds. If you like medieval backdrops, impressive world-building, three-dimensional characters and a touch of magic, then you'll love Jackie Keswick's socially-conscious adventure.
Buy Healing Glass to visit the floating city today!
Where to buy Healing Glass
Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She's worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.
Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don't follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.
And she still hasn't found the place where the bus stops.
For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops, or recipes for traditional English food, join her in Jackie’s Kitchen on Facebook or find her in all the usual places:
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/JackiesKitchen/
Hurri Cosmo has a new MM paranormal shifter tale out: Once Upon a Wolf.
Hawk is alone, hiding from the world, living in a tiny, rickety cabin his grandfather built. He has few supplies and fewer yet of the skills needed to survive on his own, but because of what he did, because of what his father caused him to do… well, there’s just no other choice.
But then one day “Ghost” shows up. A large lone wolf who begins to “take care of” Hawk. He brings him game, he protects him from predators, and he even pulls him from a raging river. He is Hawk’s only friend and Hawk begins to talk to ghost as if he is human and can understand.
Except Ghost isn’t human.
Yes, Ghost has filled a void in Hawk’s life, and he is very grateful, but he is a wolf and Hawk needs the company of a human. In fact, Hawk is desperately lonely, to the point he even tells Ghost he longs for the touch of a man, the first time he has ever said such a wicked thing out loud.
Then one full-moon night a large, beautiful naked man breaks into the cabin and grabs Hawk, looming over him like he wants to eat him alive. At first Hawk is terrified, but then he realizes the stranger has Ghost’s amazing golden eyes...
Hurri is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:
Taking care of the man was proving to be a little more intense then Ghost first thought it would be. Comical, too. Feeding him was no challenge but keeping him from killing himself with his eagerness for life certainly was turning out to be.
His own readiness for something just out of reach every time he was with the man was also a huge trial. Something quite unusual had happened in the river this morning. Something unexplainable, even by Ghost’s standards. For a moment in time, a time of great desperation, he had been able to hang on to his human with more than just paws. He couldn’t see, the water and the situation too demanding for that. But Ghost had been able to wrap something around the man’s hips, and he knew his paws were not capable of that.
Something in his very being had changed in him ever since the human had come into his life.
He had always been attracted by the man’s aroma, always wanted to mix it with his own. His desire to taste him was overwhelming at times. Making the human his was easy enough since there had been no challenge, but it was claiming him that seemed impossible. If the human had been a wolf, Ghost would have mated with him. He didn’t care Hawk was very obviously a male of his species. How could it matter? Except, the fact Hawk was human, and Ghost was not, did.
However, there was something else that was just at the surface and with the full moon this very night, he was more aware of it than ever.
He could feel it. It was coming.
He loped into the woods, quickly finding and killing a fat rabbit. He then trotted it back to the cabin and laid it on the doorstep. He yipped and scratched at the door, but he heard no movement inside. Appeared the man was sleeping. Good. After this morning’s ordeal there was no doubt he needed it. But frustratingly, this door was proving to be a real problem. He had watched how the man opened it, with those marvelous hands of his. He lifted a paw to examine it. Similar. He also had fingers of a fashion. They weren’t long like the man’s, but he had claws, which he liked. Something the man didn’t have. Still, those fingers…
And he couldn’t help but think that was exactly what he had when he grabbed hold of the man in the river. Hands and fingers.
But it didn’t matter at the moment because, even if he had somehow, miraculously, sprouted hands this morning, they were gone now. And he had no idea how to get them back. Ghost jogged into the woods and gathered more game for the man, laying it all at his door. He would wait patiently for the man to wake up.
Hawk woke with a start. Had he heard something?
He threw his cover off, jumped to his feet and ran to the door. It wasn’t until he had flung the door open, expecting to find Ghost standing there, that he realized, not only was he well rested again but his feet no longer hurt. At all.
And there was quite the array of game lying at his feet. Seemed Ghost had already been and gone a number of times.
Hawk lifted one of his feet to examine the bottom. Once scratched and cut, now it appeared completely healed. He could still make out scabby scars but that was it. How could that be? It was only hours ago he had done the damage and these wounds seemed days old. He remembered how Ghost’s wounds, too, had given the impression of being days old once he had him in his cabin and near the fire. The large wolf had hardly needed his care. He recalled joking about Ghost’s magical skin. Was there something truly enchanted about Ghost? Could it be when he had licked Hawk’s wounds the wolf had not only stopped any kind of infection from taking hold, but also healed him like this?
Hawk pulled in a long breath as he examined his other foot and found the same thing. He could see where the cuts had been but that was it. Then, checking the minor scratches on his arms and legs and even thinking about the ant bite on his ass, he marveled that they were all completely healed. Was this proof magic existed? His father had believed in it. So did most of the townspeople. Not only did they believe in magic, but in monsters. Growing up, Hawk had witnessed more than a few times his father picking up his gun and heading out the door to meet up with any number of the townsmen, all crashing together into the dark woods after drinking themselves into false bravado and whipping themselves into a murderous frenzy. “Hunting the monsters,” he would sometimes yell out at Hawk if he caught him staring at him. Hawk never asked where he was going. Not when March was like that, all wild-eyed and smelling of liquor. He learned quickly asking his father anything in that state would as soon receive a fist to the face as it would an answer. If March offered up any kind of explanation, ever, Hawk knew to be content with it.
As far as hunting monsters, Hawk was never invited to go. “Too fucking stupid,” had been the reply, accompanied by a hard palm to the back of Hawk’s head when, one time, a friend of March’s had the audacity of asking why. “Don’t care if the dumb sonofabitch shoots himself, but I don’t want him shooting me!”
No, Hawk never went on those excursions into the deep wood where evidently the monsters lived, although it had been a favorite pastime with the men in town. However, Hawk thought those forays were more often about getting naked and drinking till dawn. Oh yes. He couldn’t help but hear the hushed stories. It was why Hawk wasn’t invited. No wives or kids. “Hunting monsters” was messy business and was no place for the squeamish. True enough since they were all old men, ugly and fat and wrinkly. But Hawk thought about the naked part anyway. He thought about it a lot. Especially these last several days because the moon was nearly full, and it was on these nights that the town’s menfolk would go about “protecting their village.”
Did he believe there were real monsters in the woods? Absolutely, but nothing more than the normal grizzly or black bear. However, he was beginning to believe in magic. All his wounds were healed, and he held the magic had to have come from the wolf. And now, because of that magic, running out to check on his traps was possible.
I live in Minnesota where I hold tight to the idea that here, where it’s cold a good part of the year, I won’t age as fast. Yep, I avoid the truth as much as I avoid mirrors. But one of the reasons I love writing is reality doesn’t always offer up a “happily ever after” and being able to take control of that is a powerful lure. Being a happy ending junkie, writing just makes them easier to find. Oh, I don’t mind “real life” and I do try to at least keep it in mind when I write my stories, but I truly love creating a wonderful couple, knowing they will fall in love and have their HEA. Every - single - time. And, of course, that is exactly the reason I love reading this genre, too. Give me a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, and my computer, whether I’m reading or writing, and I’ll be entertained for hours. The fact I actually get paid to do it is Snickers bars on the frosting on the cake.
Author Website: http://hurricosmo.com
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