Lisa Oliver has a new MM paranormal romance trilogy out: The Magic Users of Greenford. And there's a giveaway.
Lucifer Fireborn is a high magic user with a taste for the high life. He spends his days, along with his anchor brother Darwin, chasing the rogue magic users who don't follow the rules all magic users live by. When his brother claims his own fated mate, and can't anchor for Lucifer anymore, Lucifer has to find someone else to anchor for him, or risk setting everything and everyone around him on fire. But there's a problem... Lucifer really doesn't want anyone drooling over him, because that's what people do.
Stefan de Marco is homeless again. Ranking as one of the highest scoring anchors in the country doesn't count for anything when a man leaves his employ just so he can keep his pants on. It's not the first time he's been in that situation, and with his familiar Garrick, Stefan gets by. He was raised in the Trades Sector and he knows the value of hard work. When his path crosses with a desperate Lucifer, sparks fly, but not the ones Lucifer was hoping for.
Underneath it all is the insidious Brethren who believe high magic users should be able to use their magic without the grounding effects of an anchor. They seek to enslave or kill anchors in their bid to gain attention. Lucifer and Stefan have to find a way to work together to bring down the organization, but it's not an easy thing to do when the two men come from different sides of the track.
The Magic Users of Greenford Trilogy should be read in order. It follows the one couple, Lucifer and Stefan, as they learn to manage their magic, and their love for each other in the face of adversity.
Warnings: Some violence.
Lisa is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:
“Why would I be angry with you?” Stefan was looking steadfastly out of the passenger window. They were on their way to the airport, as planned. It was just their destination that had changed.
“You have to admit the situation with Foster was unusual. His anchor, Ethan was never found.”
“I doubt anyone ever looked for him. Ethan was just an anchor after all.” Stefan sniffed. “As for Foster, we got told, once we dropped him off at the facility Monty recommended, that the hexing case was under New York’s jurisdiction and therefore not our concern.”
“You weren’t curious about where his new anchor Helen got the hex?” Lucifer checked the traffic, and then risked a quick look at Stefan. Who still wasn’t looking at him. Catching Creed’s glance in the rear-view mirror, Lucifer got the impression the dog was judging him, too.
“I might have been, under different circumstances.”
Yep, Stefan was still angry.
“I mean, if my mate was still working as a Wielder of the Magic Sword, which was his occupation when I met him, and Foster’s case came across our desk as an authorized case, I would’ve jumped right on it with you. But, no, my mate told his boss, Ben, in no uncertain terms that he wouldn’t be doing that job anymore. I believe you told him that after our holiday, we were going to work at the Anchor Division.”
Stefan had an amazing memory. “Yes, I did say that.” Lucifer flicked on his indicator and took the turning for the airport. “But this case isn’t being investigated by the Council.”
“No. No, it’s not.” Stefan turned to face him then, and even out of the corner of his eye, Lucifer could see the hurt and anger on his face. “You’ve taken a case, on our behalf, from the one group of people who want to see people like me either subjugated, or completely wiped off the face of the earth.”
“If this is about the holiday…”
“What holiday?” Stefan didn’t have to raise his voice. He could snap out a sentence and make Lucifer feel as though he’d been whipped. “Are you talking about the holiday that you promised me nothing would get in the way of? That holiday?”
“I’m sure this won’t take long…”
“What the hell difference does it make how long this case takes? I’m not some spoiled society brat you have to appease with holidays and gifts. I’m from the Trades sector. I’m not afraid of hard work.”
“You really don’t get it. I can’t believe it, but you honestly don’t get it. Fine. Seeing as you clearly left your brain in your suitcase, I can tell you there are two things I’m upset about.” Stefan never used strong language, or interrupted Lucifer for any reason. But he was on a roll. “One. There’s the fact you didn’t consult me at all before you took the case. You reverted to Lucifer the arrogant ass, and made decisions for both of us, never once considering my feelings on the matter.
“And secondly, and by far the most important to my mind, did you miss the part when I said you’ve been employed by people who want to see me dead? Did you hear what they said about Technic? Council propaganda? Bad press? Excuse me? And that’s without the derogatory tones they used when they referred to me. How could you?”
Lisa Oliver lives in the wilds of New Zealand, although her beautiful dogs Hades and Zeus are now living somewhere else far more remote than she is. Reports indicate they truly enjoy chasing possums although they still can’t catch them.
In the meantime, Lisa is living a lot closer to all her adult kids and grandchildren which means she gets a lot more visitors. However, it doesn’t look like she’s ever going to stop writing - with over one hundred paranormal MM (and MMM) titles to her name so far, she shows no signs of slowing down.
When Lisa is not writing, she is usually reading with a cup of tea always at hand. Her grown children and grandchildren sometimes try and pry her away from the computer and have found that the best way to do it is to promise her chocolate. Lisa will do anything for chocolate… and occasionally crackers. She has also started working out, because of the chocolate and the crackers.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers and other writers (I really do, lol). You can catch up with her on any of the social media links below.
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R.L. Merrill has a new MM rock 'n roll fantasy/paranormal romance (bi, gay) out in the Carnival of Mysteries shared universe: You Can Do Magic. This is also book three in Merrill's Summer of Hush series. And there's a giveaway.
From the author of Foreword Indies Finalist Summer of Hush and BookLife Prize Quarterfinalist Brains and Brawn comes a new installment in the series, a contemporary gay romance with a side of time travel and magic.
Musical prodigy Kallos Alexandrou has played his calliope for countless visitors at Errante Ame’s Carnival of Mysteries, but his one-year residency has come to an end. Scars from a terrible tragedy in his past are the only explanation he has for his loss of speech and memory, but it’s time to move on, so when a music festival sets up next to the carnival, Mr. Ame sends him off with identification, a bottomless billfold, and a set of new clothes. Outside the carnival’s perimeter, Kal finds himself in an unfamiliar world surrounded by strange instruments and vibrant people like nothing he’s ever seen.
Ryan Wells is the troubled and celebrated lead singer of the metal band Backdrop Silhouette. He’s brought more than his share of baggage on the last cross-country Warped Tour, including harsh restrictions placed on him by his parole officer and the band’s label, but it’s the treatment from his bandmates that have him feeling unsettled. After a tough morning, he spots a strange young man playing carnival music on a keyboard backstage, and the sound takes him back to a particularly vulnerable time in his youth. Intrigued, Ryan asks the young man’s name, but he flees only to appear later as a replacement stagehand for the tour.
An invitation from the band Hush to ride on their bus gives Ryan and Kal a welcome distraction. They find the camaraderie and support they’ve both been craving…as well as a little magic and a fresh new romance. But the music business makes personal relationships difficult to maintain, and when the tour ends, Ryan and Kal will have to make a choice: move forward together on an uncertain path, or let fear keep them from trusting that sometimes you really can have everything you desire.
You Can Do Magic is part of the multi-author Carnival of Mysteries Series. Each book stands alone, but each one includes at least one visit to Errante Ame’s Carnival of Mysteries, a magical, multiverse traveling show full of unusual acts, games, and rides. The Carnival changes to suit the world it’s on, so each visit is unique and special. This book contains a Depression-era calliaphone, a Ouija board with a purpose, and tour bus hijinks that will warm your heart and make you gigglesnort. Reading Summer of Hush and Brains and Brawn before this book will give you the full Warped Tour experience, but You Can Do Magic can be read as a standalone as well as the other books in the shared universe. Recommended 18+.
Warnings: Mention of prior sexual abuse, off-page, no descriptions
About the Series
Welcome, everyone, to the Carnival of Mysteries! In this shared element multiverse, we invite you to partake of an array of stories by an eclectic group of authors. You'll find action, intrigue, mystery, danger, sweetness, and sorrow, but, above all, true love! So grab your ticket, indulge in some treats, experience a few thrills, maybe have your fortune read... there is something for everyone at the Carnival!
R.L. is giving away a $30 Spotify gift card with this tour:
A new day breaks
I’d memorized the ringmaster’s introduction, though it was more sensational than I deserved. And last night’s version had a new ending, one I’d been expecting, but hearing it brought a sliver of anxiety to my bones.
The instrument I played was actually a calliaphone—a more efficient and portable version of the forced-air organ—and I’d built it myself, that much I knew. It was my voice. It spoke all I knew to say, my own words lacking. I possessed the ability to speak, but I’d mostly forgotten how, therefore I preferred to let my music speak for me. I played for the crowds. I smiled for them, but I was transparent to the onlooker.
One year had passed in this way, one year of my life, and I had nothing of my own. No friends to help, no family to love, and no safe place to lay my head away from the carnival. What would I do, where would I go, and would someone see me for me?
The boss, Mr. Ame, told me soon it would be time to move on to the next phase. I’d no clue what that meant other than I would no longer travel with the carnival. There was nothing to pack, nothing to carry, only the clothes—and the scars—I wore on my body. I would miss my calliaphone and the crowds, but I knew it was time. My stay had been healing, educational. My time taught me plenty. The carnival would go on without me and my music, on to the next place to entertain…and seduce the locals. They’d fall under the spell of my fellow travelers. Some might even be chosen to come along.
I remembered little from my time before I, too, had joined the carnival. Humiliation and regret reverberated within the structures of my cells, but I didn’t recall more than that, much less the reason for the debt that forced me into servitude. The boss took me away from the darkness, and promised to set me free one day. But what was free, what would it mean, who would I be? A musician, a man, alone? I’d forgotten my past. I’d learned all I could in this place. Would I survive what lay ahead?
I took my questions to the man in charge, the one they call Errante Ame, and he confirmed that my time with the carnival was at an end.
“My dear, Kallos,” the boss said to me. “The world has done you wrong, not the other way around. You have been a part of something important here, and we shall never forget the joy your music has brought to our clan and our guests. But now it is time for you to move on, as all in the crew must do.
It is your choice where you’ll go once you leave the perimeter, what you will do with the time you have left.
“You have been invisible to our guests for so long, adored for your playing, of course, but who you are remains unseen, unspoken. A blank canvas, a puzzle. Only you can solve the riddle of your life. The time is near when you will set out on your greatest adventure, the journey to find your purpose. Being reborn can be frightening. You will have questions, but the answers you seek can be found within yourself. All you must do is follow your instincts, and your heart’s desire. Do what you feel is right and true. Be good to yourself and your fellow creatures, and walk the path of least harm.
“When the next sun rises, you will step outside the bounds of the carnival. You will have all that you need to begin anew. By the following sunrise, our carnival will have moved on. A traveling music festival will share these grounds with us tomorrow. Perhaps you can start there.”
I knew down deep in my bones that he was correct, that something momentous was about to occur.
Whether she’s writing swoon-worthy contemporary romance featuring quirky, queer, and relatable characters or diving deep into the supernatural to give readers a shiver, R.L. Merrill loves creating compelling stories that will stay with readers long after closing the book. Ro writes inclusive romance for the Happily Ever After collective, contributes paranormal hilarity to Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Universe, and pens horror-inspired tales and music reviews for HorrorAddicts.net. A mom, wife, daughter, and former educator, you can find her rocking out in her Bronco with Great Dane pup Velma, being terrorized by feline twins Dracula and Frankenstein, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area! Stay Tuned for more…
Author Website: https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com
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My teaser this week is from For the Long Run.
Eric turned on his most charming smile. “I surely will.” Taking a few steps backward, he twisted and casually settled one hand on Jay’s shoulder for a brief second, then let it slide away. The gesture was enough to urge Jay into motion again and start him back toward the car.
The minute he was inside the car and had the passenger door shut, Jay twisted toward Eric. Putting the key in the ignition, Eric let his hands drop to his thighs.
“I’m a suspect? She thinks I’m the killer, that I did that to those men.”
“No, Jay, she’s only asking because it’s part of her job to investigate every angle. If she thought you were in any way responsible, we’d be having this conversation through bars because you’d be in custody. I think what she’s driving at is more along the lines of you know who is doing this even if you know nothing about the crimes. At least if it was me asking, that’s what I’d be thinking. It’s what I do think. We’ve probably both had contact with the killer and haven’t even known it.”
Jay took a few deep breaths and relaxed against the seat. Leaning into the cushion, he let his head drop back, staring at the car ceiling for a few seconds before running his hands through his hair.
“Hey, hey, we’ll find the creature—or person—responsible. We work the case and follow the clues.”
“Eric.” Jay rolled his head and looked at him. “I don’t know how to work a case. Balance books, handle culinary emergencies, and keep proper staffing levels, yes, but work a case? No.”
He reached over and ran one hand over Jay’s thigh until Jay sucked in a quick breath and smiled. Patting Jay’s leg, Eric straightened and started the car. “I know how. I learned, you can learn too. I’ll teach you. You’ve already learned a lot and been a huge help. You know more than you think you do. You’re smart and you care.”
“Can we get out of here now?”
“You betcha.” Eric put the car in gear and pulled back onto the road. They rode in silence for a few minutes. Eric took a few deep breaths and glanced at Jay who sat staring out the passenger window. “Look, considering what’s going on….” His voice failed when Jay’s head dropped forward and his gaze shifted to between his feet. Eric realized he was anticipating Eric dumping him. Clearing his throat, Eric continued, “We should stick together as much as possible. When we can’t be, we need to check in with each other every hour.”
Jay twisted to the side far enough to look at him. “O-okay. Yeah, that’s—” He stopped abruptly.
“Not what you were expecting?” Eric grinned.
Huffing a nervous laugh, Jay shook his head and lifted his gaze to meet Eric’s. “No.”
Eric winked at him and turned his attention back to the road. He liked proving to Jay he wasn’t about to be chased off and that he was more interested in the long term and a life together than quick thrills.
For the Long Run is available in eBook, paperback and audiobook.
See my Translations page for foreign language editions.
J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci-fantasy book out, The Tharassas Cycle Book Two: The Gauntlet Runner. And there's a giveaway!
A GUARD AND A THIEF. WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
Aik has fallen hopelessly in love with his best friend. But Raven's a thief, which makes things... complicated. Oh, and Raven has just been kidnapped by a dragon.
Now Aik is off on a quest of his own, to hunt down the foul beast and make them give back his ... friend? Lover? Soulmate? The whole not-knowing thing just makes everything harder.
Meanwhile, the world of Tharassas is falling apart, besieged by earthquakes, floods, and strange creatures no one has ever seen before. Aik's ex, Silya has gone back to Gullton to do try to save her people as the Hencha Queen, and Aik's stuck in a caravan with her mother and a damnable magical gauntlet that won't let him be. He has to find Raven, before it’s too late.
Things were messy before, but now they're much, much worse.
About the Series
The Tharassas Cycle is a four book sci-fantasy series set on the recently colonized world of Tharassas. When humans first arrived on planet, they thought they were alone until the hencha mind made itself known. But now a new threat has arisen to challenge both humankind and their new allies on this alien world.
"This was a captivating and thrilling blend of sci-fi meets fantasy. The space opera narrative felt somehow natural in all its glory, and the author did an incredible job of having just the right amount of imagery and atmosphere to really bring the reader into this alien world." --Anthony Avina
Publisher - Signed Copies | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | Liminal Fiction | Smashwords | Universal Buy Link | Goodreads
Scott is giving away a $20 bookshop.org gift card with this tour:
Like Fire and Ice
He has to be here. Aik searched frantically through Raven’s pack as the early morning sunlight slipped across the stone windowsill and across the floor, a long, green-tinged ray of light.
He was anxious to be on his way after Raven. His heart was pounding, his thoughts skipping like a spinning stone off hard waters. No one else was awake yet, as far as he could tell, and he wanted to be in and out of the room before anyone was the wiser. Aik glanced at the unmade bed and blushed at what they’d done there the night before. He could still feel Raven’s touch, their bodies entwined….
The sooner he set off, the sooner Aik could rescue him from those awful creatures. The verent must have coerced him; Raven had all but said so. If he could just find Spin, the little familiar could guide him.
He doesn’t love you.
“Shut up.” Knowing that Raven had chosen the verent over him still burned. And that he didn’t say ‘I love you.’ But surely, he wasn’t allowed to be angry about that in the face of what had happened.
His mind was spinning, looking for answers, scared for his love, returning to old, stupid wounds and weaknesses.
The question reverberated again and again, but not even Aik knew what he was asking. His panic stripped away reason and maturity, and left him dizzy and afraid.
He got to the bottom of the pack, finding nothing but clothing and some toiletries. Farking hell. Where are you?
He started opening some of the side pouches, checking through each one before tying it closed again. Maybe Raven had taken Spin with him?
“Searching for this?”
He spun around to find Tri’Aya leaning against the doorway, looking as fresh as if she’d just slept ten hours, though she couldn’t have gotten more than four at best. How does she do that?
She held Spin’s silver sphere between two fingers.
Scott lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was 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 all the people like him were.
He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is the committee chair for the Indie Authors Committee at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).
Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com
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Book Title: The Earl’s Awakening
Author: Joy Lynn Fielding
Publisher: Extasy Books
Cover Artist: Martine Jardin
Release Date: September 8, 2023
Genre: Regency M/M romance
Tropes: Rake/bad boy romance
Themes: Learning to live, self-discovery.
Heat Rating: 5 flames
Length: 55 000 words/ 198 pages
It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.
One glance, and his past life was history.
Leander Talbot’s life changed forever when his wife died. He is now reluctantly venturing back into society, knowing that, as the Earl of Ockley, he must marry again to produce an heir. But he can’t bring himself to the sticking point. Instead, he spends his time evading the matchmaking mamas of the ton.
The dark and dangerous Duke of Arden is an infamous libertine. It is said that he seduces innocents, and there are even more sinister tales whispered of his predilections. Only the wild young blades who form his retinue know the truth, but he is shunned by all save those wishing to court notoriety.
A chance meeting brings Leander into Arden’s orbit. Ignoring the warnings about Arden’s intentions, Leander is drawn into a seductive world of sexual indulgence. There, he finds the freedom he craves from his overbearing family. By the time he suspects Arden might have ulterior motives, it may be too late to save his reputation—and his heart.
Leander sighed slightly. He had immersed himself in work and duty since Bella’s death, but it was only now he understood how removed from his contemporaries he had become. Most faces here were unfamiliar to him. Take the character in the corner—a dark complexion, his dress rich but careless in a way that proclaimed he cared little for the opinion of society. Leander was certain he had never set eyes on him, though the deference with which his circle of friends was treating him indicated that he was a man of some standing. He took the opportunity to ask the servant who brought him a glass of champagne.
“His Grace the Duke of Arden, my lord,” the man informed him.
The name was one with which Leander was familiar. It was a name with which all of London and some of the more enlightened provinces were familiar. Arden represented all that was decadent in the ton, his philandering ways extending far beyond opera dancers and actresses to ladies of quality. And it was not only widows or liaisons with married ladies, for it was said of him that he had ruined more than one young maiden. The number of duels that he had fought and won, the drunken orgies at which he presided, and his losses and gains at the gaming table had all assumed the proportions of legend. There were still darker things whispered about him. Only the coterie of wild young blades who formed his retinue knew the truth of these, but the intimations were there, and Arden remained unrecognised by all save those wishing to court notoriety.
Leander became aware that Arden was returning his gaze, his heavy-lidded eyes holding what appeared to be a gleam of amusement. As Leander watched, Arden raised his glass in a mocking salute before putting it to his lips and tossing back the contents.
Perhaps it was the champagne, perhaps it was the shock of realising that his acquaintances now viewed him as a prig. Whatever the reason, some demon prompted Leander to his feet. In defiance of all proper behaviour, he crossed the room to Arden and introduced himself.
Those dark eyebrows raised briefly, a noble head was inclined, and one of the young men clustered around Arden was moving from his seat, offering it to Leander.
“So you’re Ockley.” The duke’s aristocratic fingers curved elegantly around the stem of his glass and his dark eyes surveyed Leander as he sat. “I didn't think this to be your sort of place. I'd thought you more of a White's man.”
The provocation was there. It was well known that Arden had been pre-emptively blackballed by the respectable club lest any member lose their faculties and propose him for membership.
“Indeed?” Leander said stiffly, his somewhat lamentable temper aroused by Arden’s dismissal of him as a priggish bore. “And I thought you a legend, sir. A cautionary tale used by protective parents to keep young cubs in line.”
Reaction rippled through the assembled ranks, but Leander’s gaze was on Arden's face. A smile touched his lips as he looked at Leander. “A palpable hit, Ockley,” he murmured. His voice was rich and soft, with a hint of steel that intrigued Leander.
“Lea.” Henry's voice broke in. He was not precisely floored, but he was foxed enough to ignore all dictates of manners as he tugged insistently at his brother's arm. Knowing that if he resisted, Henry would only become more forceful, Leander allowed himself to be raised to his feet. His brother had been the same since nursery days—when he wanted something, he wanted it now, and it was usually attention he craved. Leander directed a small bow towards Arden, whose smile had widened at the spectacle Henry was making of them both, before following his brother's urgent strictures to leave immediately.
About the Author
Joy Lynn Fielding lives in a small English market town, where she indulges her passions for vintage aircraft, horse riding and gardening (though not all at the same time).
Joy tends to wax lyrical about the fascinating facts she discovers during her research for books. Thankfully, she has a very patient Labrador who has a gift for looking interested in what she’s saying while he waits for the food to arrive.
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a $15 Amazon gift card
Linden took the book. “A yearbook?”
“Yeah. It was published after I uh… left, but my sister saved it for me and I kept it.” He leaned close as Linden opened the yearbook and leafed through the pages. “That’s Jeremy.” Tyler pointed to a group photograph. “And that’s Dimas.”
“But you told me Dimas and Julius didn’t know each other in high school. This picture says otherwise.”
“I was in prison when this was taken. Honestly, I’ve never looked at this until now. My sister insisted I keep it because I might want it someday.”
Linden smirked. “I like your sister. This picture was taken in front of a store. What can you tell me about it and the others in the picture?”
“That’s a video-game-slash-comic-book store near the school. A few times a year they sponsored this sort of contest for groups to create role-playing games.” Tyler tapped the page. “The owners were a couple about my age, not too long out of college, and she was a relative—cousin, I think. Not a student.”
“Why would she have a picture taken with them?”
“I’d been working with the store and their contest to sponsor a similar thing for the students, using Sherlock Holmes mysteries. My thought was it could be a way to get them interested in literature,” Tyler explained. “Those kids were poor, not stupid, and I needed ways to engage them in getting an education that went beyond books.” There was another photograph beside it with Tyler, Jeremy, and Julius holding up a banner urging students to enter a contest. “That one was taken the day before I was arrested.”
“That’s pretty clever. If I’d had a teacher do that, I might have taken more of an interest in reading the classics. Did the program ever get off the ground?”
Tyler shrugged. “No idea. I never had much of a chance. But from this photo in the yearbook, it looks like it might’ve.”
“So, two of the four people in this photo are dead, one is confirmed missing, and no ID yet on the girl.” Linden sat back and studied the book. “Maybe someone is taking this game and the competition a little too seriously. I’ll add it to my list of things to look into.”
“Maybe I’m a little more freaked out than I thought, but do you think I could be a target too?”
Linden looked directly at Tyler for a few seconds then glanced away. “Maybe when we can get out of here, you should come back to Arizona with me.”
“Do you think whoever is killing these men might come after me too?” Tyler pressed.
“I think being out here in such a remote area might not be the smartest course of action right now.” Linden paused, sighed, and ran his fingers over the yearbook page. “I think there’s more going on here. Like I said before, voluntarily or not, you’re involved in these murders.”
Tyler turned away and swallowed hard. “Maybe you could use me to trap the killer?”
“I don’t think—”
They both flinched when there was a loud clunk and the power went out.
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A small white box with gold embossed writing advertising some store Riece had never heard of sat on the seat. Written over it in thick, black letters and in Mason’s handwriting was the word Riece.
He silently picked up the box and held it carefully while he climbed into the seat, only setting it down long enough to snap on and adjust his seat belt. Mason took his place behind the steering wheel and started the Jeep, glancing at Riece as he put the vehicle in gear and guided them onto the road.
“A little welcome-to-South Dakota gift,” Mason explained.
Riece frowned and looked out the window. “But we’re in Montana.”
“Not for long, and we’ll be working in South Dakota.”
“We’ll be working in the Black Hills. That mountain range is approximately 125 miles long and 65 miles wide, covering not only western South Dakota, but also eastern Wyoming,” Riece said.
“You sound like a talking travel brochure.” Mason sighed and shook his head. “I live in South Dakota. The office we’ll work out of is in South Dakota. I’m guessing you’ll live in South Dakota too.”
“We’re not in South Dakota,” Riece reminded Mason.
“Stick four or five of those taffies in your mouth,” Mason grumbled. “You like saltwater taffy. I know a place that sells amazing saltwater taffy. I thought you’d like some. Can’t you simply, for once, say thank you, enjoy your gift, and not nitpick over pointless specifics?” He used the palms of his hands to steady the steering wheel, stretched his fingers, then wrapped them around the steering wheel again.
“I’m sorry. I haven’t seen you in years, and the first thing I do is hurt your feelings,” Riece said softly.
Mason reached over and took Riece’s hand, holding it gently without squeezing. The gesture was extremely intimate and one that had been common between them at one time. “No, you didn’t hurt my feelings. You frustrate the hell out of me sometimes—most of the time—but what you say is almost never hurtful. I know better.” He let go of Riece’s hand, nodding to the steering wheel. “Gotta drive.”
It was the truth too. Riece knew that for a fact. He knew his communication skills were lacking, and somehow Mason had some innate way of knowing and, more importantly, accepting those traits in Riece. Maybe it was no different than the way Riece saw through what most people thought of as Mason’s brusque-bordering-on-asshole outward personality to the real man underneath.
“Would you like some?” Riece unwrapped a flavor he knew Mason liked and offered it.
Mason held out his palm. “Sure. Call and cancel your motel reservation.”
Riece smiled and nodded. It only took a few minutes to complete the task, and he set his phone on his lap when he’d finished.
Mason motioned to the dashboard. “There’s a hookup, so why don’t you plug your phone in and play us some driving music. Or if you’d rather, I still have the CDs you made. Those are in the glove compartment.”
“You kept them? I didn’t think you liked my music.” Riece pulled out his phone, plugged it in, and chose a playlist.
“Yes, of course I kept them. We’ll be at my friend’s place in a few hours. So, plenty of time for a nap if you’re tired,” Mason said. He pulled a threefold brochure from the visor and tossed it onto Riece’s lap. “That’s it. To answer your next five or six questions.”
Riece smiled and opened the pamphlet. Mason leaned back and rested his elbow on the door, grinning when Riece said, “It’s close to Devils Tower. I like the name, Big Rock Inn.”
“Devils Tower is a must-see,” Mason said. “You’ll like it, and since you’re now an official photographer of federal lands, maybe you can get some good shots. Tyler is a good guy, and the food there is great.” It took Riece a few seconds to sort out what Mason was saying since he sometimes tended to jump around when he talked.
“How’s your dad?” Riece asked. He yawned.
“He’s okay. His Alzheimer’s is bad enough now he has to live in a care facility, but I take him home with me when I have a few days off duty. He seems to enjoy it, though I’m not sure he always knows who I am.”
“So, you gave up time with him to pick me up?”
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Linden was a bundle of mystery. Maybe that’s what Tyler found intriguing. Though if Linden continued thinking Tyler was some sort of possible criminal, it wouldn’t matter. He should stop playing fantasy scenarios in his head about a romance that was unlikely to happen. What he could do was possibly help Linden find clues to catch the real killer of Julius Hernandez.
After giving the chili a few stirs, Tyler checked the flame on the stove and adjusted it lower. The chili would stay at a good temperature but not burn. He turned to the refrigerator again, opened the freezer section, and pulled out a package of frozen Texas toast with cheese and garlic. Those he put in the oven, and a muffled whoosh signaled that the oven was heating as well.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you,” Linden said quietly.
Tyler spun on his heels so fast he had to grab the refrigerator handle to keep from being thrown off balance and into Linden. “It’s… I… you didn’t. That’s okay.”
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My teaser this week is from Strays.
Something strong and insistent against his chest held him down and shook him at the same time. He jerked upright, gasping and putting his arms up to protect his head. Strong hands gripped his shoulders and held fast.
“Hey, hey… easy… you okay?” Daniel, the voice belonged to a man named Daniel.
Kyle knew that voice. It was the man who’d rescued him a few hours ago. The memories came to him as the horror of his sleep cleared away and he was more awake. Leaning against the hands, he looked around. He was in a vehicle, but this was a Jeep. It was dark outside.
When one hand left his arm and he felt the man lean to the side, Kyle wanted to cry and shout at him, plead with him not to leave. The inside of the Jeep was flooded with soft yellow light, and a second later the hand was back on his arm. Daniel let go of him again, this time to lift one hand to his head. Out of reflex Kyle pulled back, and Daniel froze.
“Wh-where are w-w-we?” Kyle stammered. The sounds of water hitting the shore were clear and loud, but it was too dark to see much outside the Jeep. “I w-was dreaming. They broke my door in. People in some kind of black body armor and masks.” He looked at Daniel; the man was pale. “They just took me from my apartment.”
Daniel’s hand was in motion again, brushing Kyle’s bangs from his forehead. “Hey, shhh. It’s okay. No one is going to hurt you, not with me around. I promised, remember? You’re safe.”
Nodding, Kyle swallowed hard and pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes, horrified all over again when he realized how he must sound. “God, you must think I’m just a baby. I- I’m sorry to be—” He tried pulling away, pressing against the door of the Jeep.
“Kyle,” Daniel’s voice sounded harder, but not unkind. “Look at me.” Kyle didn’t have much choice because Daniel grabbed his chin and forced him to look Daniel in the face. “No, I do not think you’re a baby. I think you had a bunch of goons crash through your door and take you. I think you were treated very badly and you’ve got every right to be scared. I’ve been on both sides of that door, and I was scared too.”
Kyle relaxed. He was embarrassed. He liked this man and didn’t want him thinking he was some sort of wimp. He didn’t understand why this guy of all the people he knew was so important, why he wanted this man to like him back so much, but he didn’t care.
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Book Title: Footwork
Author: TA Moore
Publisher: Rogue Firebird Press
Cover Artist: Tammy Moore
Release Date: September 10, 2023
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Tropes: First Love, Second Chance, Bad Boy, Grumpy One and Sunshine One
Themes: Forgiveness, second chances, family, redemption
Length: 57 000 words/ 90 pages
Heat Rating: 3 flames
It is a standalone book set in the same world/town as the Dirty Deeds series
It does not end on a cliffhanger
When your ex-boyfriend finally has the life he always wanted, it would take a real asshole to interfere with that…but not like Bode’s ever said he’s not an asshole.
Bode Harlan has never claimed to be a good guy, but he’s trying to keep his nose clean and his head down these days.
After a year in prison for assault--and to be fair, he did it--he isn’t looking to go back. Admittedly, his pretty face being the star attraction in an illegal underground fighting ring seems to run counter to that goal, but he’s gotta pay the bills and there ain’t much else he’s good at.
And it keeps his parole officer off his back…since she runs the place.
Then his mom skips town and her boyfriend kicks Bode’s 14 year old brother out on the street. Bode grew up in and out of foster care, he doesn’t want that for Danny. It’s not like he can take the kid in, though. He’s an ex-con who gets beat up twice a month for money. That’s how he ends up on his good-natured ex-boyfriend’s doorstep. Sonny is a soft touch. At least he always was for Bode. All he wants is somewhere to crash for a couple of nights, nothing more. Sonny’s got his life together now--a home, a boyfriend, even a dog--and it would take a real asshole to want to blow that up.
…of course, Bode’s never said he wasn’t an asshole.
SONNY SLAMMED THE door. Or tried to. Before it closed, Bode shoved his boot into the gap, and the heavy wood bounced off leather and bone.
Bode winced and had the balls to look put out. The cooking show Sonny had been halfway through rattled on in the background. It wasn’t the soundtrack that Sonny had imagined for his first reunion with his sort-of ex. That had either been Driver’s License or Bad Guy, depending on his mood.
“Why do you assume I want something?” Bode asked. His hair was shorter than it used to be—making it look darker, more red than ginger—and a bruise had just started to bloom around one of his eyes. At some point, Sonny knew it would fade down to a marshy green that nearly matched Bode’s eyes. He’d seen that happen before.
Back when Bode’s bruises had been Sonny’s business. That had been a while ago.
“Why else would you be here?” Sonny asked. He could hear it in his voice—the dredged-up hurt, the once-broken heart—but he doubted Bode would notice. It wasn’t the sort of thing he cared about. Other people and how what he did affected them were not Bode’s area of expertise. Sonny checked the time. “At nearly midnight.”
Bode shrugged, one-sided and laconic. “Maybe I wanted to tell you I’m out.”
“You’ve been out for three months,” Sonny said.
“Keeping tabs?” Bode asked with a slow, smug smile. It probably hurt as it creased along the edges of the bruise, but he didn’t let that stop him. “I didn’t know you still cared.”
“I don’t,” Sonny said. It wasn’t true. He cared, but that didn’t have to mean anything. It didn’t mean anything. “Just pointing out you’ve had plenty of time to drop by, yet this is the first time I’ve seen you. What happened? We keep missing each other?”
“You always got up too early for me.”
Sonny was surprised at how angry that made him. He wasn’t stupid. Bode knew that. So why stick to his stupid lie when they both knew Bode wouldn’t cross the street to see Sonny, not unless he had an ulterior motive. His temper felt like a head cold, the pressure of it at the back of his eyes. Usually it took him a long, grudging time to get mad about something, but Bode had been an asshole for years, so that pump was about ready to blow.
Except Sonny didn’t like it when he lost his temper. He didn’t like being out of control. It never ended well. He bit the inside of his cheek, a knot of old scar tissue from the habit gritty between his teeth, and throttled the hot emotion back.
“Right, well,” he said. “Whatever. If that was the only reason you’re here, job done. Now I know. I’m glad for you.”
He opened the door. Bode had the balls to look smug, as if he’d known that Sonny would come round. More fool him. Sonny braced his hands flat against Bode’s chest and gave him a shove that made him stagger backward.
“You can still fuck off,” Sonny repeated and slammed the door.
He turned around and leaned back against the door while he waited. On the TV screen, a woman in a white chef’s coat was trying to do something to a side of beef with a coat hanger. The dog had taken the opportunity to crawl up onto the couch and bury her head under a cushion, as if there was no way Sonny would see her whole ass sticking out.
The idea that he might have gotten it wrong—that Bode might have actually fucked off—had just started to nibble at the back of Sonny’s mind. He hated—really, honestly hated—that it would bother him if Bode had.
It wasn’t that he deluded himself that Bode couldn’t leave things unsaid with him—that was how Bode preferred to leave things. It was just that they’d known each other since they were kids, and Bode didn’t easily give up on anything he wanted. It would be weird if that changed now. No, the reason Bode was here was because he wanted something.
“I need somewhere to crash,” Bode said through the door. “Just for a couple of nights, until I sort something out.”
About the Author
TA Moore is a Northern Irish writer of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. A childhood in a rural, seaside town fostered in her a suspicious nature, a love of mystery, and a streak of black humour a mile wide.
Coffee, Doc Marten boots, and good friends are the essential things in life. Spiders, mayo, and heels are to be avoided.
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