My Tuesday Teaser this week is from Electric Candle,
book 2 of The Sleepless City (series written with Anne Barwell).
Moose was always happy for a run and padded along while Forge schooled his pace so the dog could easily keep up. As he ran, he glanced at the indigo sky, dotted with pinpoints of light. He jogged east and saw Canis Major peeking over the treetops, pointing to Forge’s favorite constellation, Orion the Hunter. As he veered north and west to the park, he got a good look at Ursa Major and Minor, Draco and Pegasus. Lucas was going to be sorry he missed the clear skies and good viewing. Eventually, Forge turned in a more easterly direction. When Leo broached the eastern horizon, Moose was lagging and panting, and Forge slowed to a walk, turning toward home.
He turned onto his street, and as he neared the castle, he saw a figure sitting on the front steps, leaning back against them and gazing up at the sky. Forge’s heart nearly stopped, his stomach did a flip, and his cock began to stiffen the instant gray-green eyes focused on him.
“Guess there’s no sneaking in the back door,” he whispered to Moose. The corners of Blair’s mouth turned up as Forge drew near.
Blair scooted over on the steps as Forge and Moose ambled up the walkway. It was a clear invitation, and Forge knew he’d be a fool to refuse it. Moose sat beside Blair, licking his hand a few times.
“I woke up a little while ago and felt you leave. It actually hurt, here.” Blair rubbed the dip in his chest just under his pecs.
“I’m sorry. I had no idea that would happen.” Forge sat on Blair’s other side.
“It’s okay.” Blair scratched Moose’s ears and patted his shoulder. “You know, I had to quit softball too, and I loved playing,” he said softly. “I would have loved—given anything to have a dog.”
“Dogs not allowed in your apartment or something?”
“No. I have my own house. I just thought if I had one, I’d end up killing it,” Blair said and shrugged. “And I was afraid of what would happen if someone got hurt playing ball and started to bleed. No one wants a guy on their team who might kill them. Or burst into flames in the middle of a game on a sunny day.”
“Blair, I’m so sorry. If I had known, had even the slightest idea… your life wouldn’t have been like that. I hope you understand that,” Forge said.
Blair nodded. “I do now. It wasn’t your fault.” He looked away for a few seconds, then wiped the back of one hand over his nose. “I’m sorry about what I said, that you were worse than that man who changed me. That’s not true.” He looked up at Forge, eyes glistening. “And I did mean what I said about you being a hero.”
“I meant what I said about being a hero too. How did your dad die?”
“Car accident. Well, complications from one. He got a clot in his lung. Did he know about you guys? I know he did research for you and traded information on cases.”
Forge shook his head. “If he figured it out, he never let on. He was a contact I made working a case, and he liked helping. A onetime thing turned into asking for his expertise on other cases. He was a good man. Look, I understand how you feel about being turned. I was in a battle, run through with a saber and shot. I was dying, and I knew it and let it come. I wanted to die.”
“Because I always had to hide who I was…am,” Forge admitted.
Forge nodded. “Yeah. I always had to be careful and having any sort of relationship…well, it wasn’t going to happen, not the way I wanted it to. No matter how kind a woman was, she was never going to be someone I could be in love with.”
“But you clearly didn’t die,” Blair said.
“No. Then the next thing I knew, I woke up, healed, and dumped in with dead soldiers in a mass grave. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, has ever been so frightening for me. I ran, lived off the land for nearly fifty years.”
“Until you met Declan?”
“Yeah. I don’t remember most of the time between dying and Declan rescuing me. I know I was angry, a lot. I wanted to die and didn’t and I was fucking pissed off about that. And scared. Every day was nothing but terror and I’m not even sure I can explain why.”
Blair leaned his elbows on his knees and rested his chin against his knuckles, watching Forge. “And Declan rescued you from that?”
“Yes. It was bizarre. When I left society, there was no United States. We were the British Colonies. I came back to a whole new nation, new life, and nothing I knew remained,” Forge said. “I understand being lonely and thinking I have to live that way, with no one else, no companions. Declan came along, I don’t know how, or why he felt the need to help me, but he did. He took care of me and made the world a much less scary place for me at what was possibly the lowest point in my life.”
“That’s rough. So, you and this Declan guy stuck together?”
Forge nodded, and Blair stared up at the sky for a few minutes before continuing. “You love him a lot, huh?”
“Yes. But I have a bond with you, so my feelings for you are stronger than for anyone else.”
Blair nodded. “Do you like him—Declan—more?”
Forge opened his mouth, then closed it and looked away.
Blair stood up. “That’s what I figured. I’m tired now, and the pain stopped. Guess I’ll go back to bed.”
“Blair. I know Declan more. But, I’d like to know you better than I do.” Forge got up quickly. “You can sleep in my suite. I’ll take the couch if you want. It opens up to a bed.”
“I’d really like that, but I think it’s better I go back to the guest suite. Thanks for dinner.” Blair ran up the steps and into the house before Forge could say anything.
A few minutes later, Forge stood and slowly walked into the house, retrieved his sheets, and went to bed.
Electric Candle is available in eBook, paperback and
through Kindle Unlimited.
“Don’t interrogate me. He doesn’t have a lot of friends. Lots of people knew about Fern’s foot when it happened. Readers like to hear about their favorite authors’ lives, so I blog about our dogs. Everyone likes cute dogs.”
“How much detail do you give out about our lives?”
“Griff. They’re dogs. However, if you’d rather, I can write about my overly paranoid US Marshal boyfriend and his exploits.”
“Clint, Dylan has focused on every little detail you have posted on your website and Facebook. Does he know your real name? Because keeping all of your friends and their secret identities straight is a challenge. Coming from me that says a lot; I’m supposed to be good at tracking aliases.” Griff’s voice was steadily going up in volume.
“Oh, for God’s sakes. Yes. A lot of people know Bishop Gryven and Clint Bishop are the same man. And they’re not aliases, Griff, they’re pen names!” Clint was shouting now. Because of Griff’s job, Clint used a pseudonym, combining his own last name and a play on Griff’s first name of Griffen. “I don’t advertise it, but it’s not a big secret, and you’ve known that for years.”
“This guy right here is not normal. How can you not see that?”
There are more snippets to be read on the
Rainbow Snippets Facebook group!
Jewel Cave is available in eBook, paperback and through
Book Title: Love and Valentines at Caynham Castle
Authors: Jeanne Adams, Morgan Brice, Caren Crane, Seressia Glass, Nancy Northcott
Publisher: Rickety Bookshelf
Cover Artist: Lyndsey Lewellan
Release Date: February 1, 2023
Genres: Contemporary, paranormal, MF, MM
Caren Crane's story—opposites attract & forced proximity
Jeanne Adams' story—Grumpy-sunshine, forced proximity, different backgrounds/worlds
Seressia Glass's story—friends-to-lovers, grumpy-sunshine
Morgan Brice's story—hurt/comfort, evolving relationship
Nancy Northcott's story–Second chance at love, redemption
Themes: holiday, dealing with the past, bargains and deals, redemption, facing the future
Heat Rating: Varies by story
Length: 150 000 words/482 pages
This is the fourth in the Caynham Castle shared-world holiday romance series.
One castle, five authors, five love stories, all at the same holiday event!
Racing Toward Love by Jeanne Adams
Dr. Oriela Deschamps was overjoyed to get a job appraising an estate for the Wellington family in the small English town of Caynham-On-Ledwyche. From the first meeting with the Byron "Bo" Wellington, Ori knows the job is going to be a challenge. First, there's Bo himself - the sexy, grumpy heir to Ribald Racing Stables. Then, there's the exceedingly dangerous artifact that's the centerpiece of her appraisal. That artifact, a set of riding silks from 1947, carry a curse and someone wants them for dark and desperate reasons. Can Ori's magic save them, or will the would-be thief kill both Ori and Bo, just as they find their special Valentines?
Fae-ted Mates by Morgan Brice
Dawson and Grady King are honeymooning at Caynham Castle, hoping to take a break from monster hunting. They have one piece of family business to handle, involving a generations-long agreement with the Welsh Fae. When things go wrong, will Dawson and Grady survive, or will they be trapped in the Faerie realm forever?
Romance Sells Records by Caren Crane
After watching her mother’s hope for a grand romance get dashed time after time, Hannah Evans grew into someone with no tolerance for romance. Callum Hughes’ parents had an enviable relationship, and he wanted the same for himself: if only he could convince Hannah to trust what they could build together.
Cupid Comes to Caynham by Seressia Glass
In Cupid Comes to Caynham, Oliver Jones' family has run the Boar and Knight off and on for centuries. After his father's death, it is now Oliver's responsibility to manage the ancient pub, a duty that leaves him no time or desire for love--until professional tourist Shayla Munroe literally falls at his feet. With Valentine's and Shayla's departure date fast approaching, does love have time to bloom or will it die on the vine? Not if Venus and Cupid have anything to say about it.
The One Who Got Away by Nancy Northcott
Hastings Whitney grew up driven not only to succeed but to be seen to succeed. His focus on success cost him two marriages and any number of relationships. Now he has a second chance with the woman he never forgot, jewelry designer Corinne Lanier. Has he changed enough to balance work with a relationship? Or will a business crisis bring old habits back to the fore? And is there a sinister side to his problem?
Excerpt from Fae-ted Mates by Morgan Brice
“I can’t believe we’re really here.” Grady King pulled Dawson along by the wrist to the check-in desk. “It’s a real castle!”
“It’s called Caynham Castle. Not exactly a surprise—it sort of looks like one,” Dawson teased fondly.
“Yeah, but ‘Magic Kingdom’ isn’t a real kingdom,” Grady retorted. “Truth in advertising is rare.”
The lobby was in one of several buildings along the wall of the outer bailey. Dark wood wainscoting covered the lower half of the hewn stone wall, matching the counter. A large oil painting of a man in the opulent clothing of another century hung behind the check-in desk. Grady assumed it was one of the many Earls of Caynham whose most recent descendant still owned the castle and ran it as a hotel and event destination.
The woman behind the counter watched their banter with a bemused look. “Welcome to Caynham Castle. I’m Constance. Could I have your last names, please?”
Grady plunked their joined hands onto the counter so that the matching rings showed. “King. My husband and I have the honeymoon suite.”
“Theatrical much?” Dawson joked. “She’s seen married folks before, I’d wager.”
“We’ve never been here before or been married before. Don’t dim my joy.” Grady knew he was being over the top, but everything about the trip had his excitement cranked up to the max. Honeymoon. England. Castle—and our own suite. Vacation. And no monsters for two whole weeks.
“He had a lot of coffee on the flight,” Dawson told the woman in a faux-apologetic tone. His grin made it clear that he enjoyed Grady’s enthusiasm.
“You have to understand,” Grady confided in Constance, “we’ve had several friends who absolutely loved their stay here. They told us plenty about the castle. I want to find all the gargoyles.”
“Let’s get you checked in so you can deposit your luggage and go hunting,” Constance said with a smile.
Grady’s eyes widened. “I didn’t mean hunting them—” He snapped his mouth shut, realizing that she hadn’t meant their kind of monster hunting. Dawson subtly elbowed him in the ribs, but his unspoken message was clear.
Don’t freak the mundanes.
“Grady and Dawson King.” Grady tugged a bit on their joined hands, loving how the matching gold bands caught the light.
“Ah yes, here’s the reservation. And it seems as if your friends have sent some welcome gifts. There’s a package from Teag Logan and Anthony Benson, one from Erik Mitchell and Ben Nolan, and another from Simon Kincaide and Vic D’Amato.”
Her tone shifted as she read the names, and her eyes widened. “Oh. Oh, my. Are you all in the same business?” She dropped her voice. “Do we have a ghost problem again?”
Meet the Authors
All five authors are members of the same Facebook Author Group - Romance Bandits
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Book Title: Light My Way Home: A Treasure Trail Novella
Author: Morgan Brice
Publisher: Darkwind Press
Cover Artist: Adrijus Guscia
Release Date: January 25, 2023
Genres: Paranormal MM romance, urban fantasy
Tropes: Hurt/comfort, second chance, age gap, friends-to-lovers, misunderstood ghost, lonely lighthouse keeper
Themes: Working up the courage to love, getting over old betrayals, fighting the odds to stay together, forbidden love (medium and ghost)
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 22 000 words/ 74 pages
It is a standalone book and is the prequel to the series.
It does not end on a cliffhanger
A love strong enough to transcend death.
A shy lighthouse keeper who can talk to ghosts. A lonely ghost mourning the losses of the past and hoping for justice. A love strong enough to transcend death.
Monty Clark is the new park ranger for the Cape May Light. He hoped to find someone to love who can accept his ability as a psychic medium.
Jon Richards was a movie stuntman murdered on the beach in the 1950s. When the new lighthouse keeper strikes up a conversation and invites him in to watch TV, Jon discovers that a beating heart isn’t required to fall in love.
Light My Way Home is an MM paranormal romance with a shy park ranger, a protective ghost, unsolved murders, a dangerous shipwreck, supernatural ninja nuns, vintage movies, old secrets, and love bigger than life or death.
"And that concludes today’s tour of the Cape May Lighthouse. Don’t forget to stop by our gift shop and tell your friends if you had fun today.” Lighthouse keeper
Montana “Monty” Clark watched his guests troop toward the shop and followed close behind so he could ring up their snacks and souvenirs.
“What is that big thing out on the beach?” a lady who reminded Monty of his grandmother asked as he ran her credit card for a lighthouse Christmas ornament, some post‐ cards, bottled water, and a bag of gummy worms.
“That’s Battery 223, built to survive an air strike, and back during the Second World War, it protected the coast with guns that could fire shells miles out to sea,” Monty said with a smile as he carefully wrapped the ornament and bagged her purchases. “Of course, the guns have been gone for a long time. It’s part of the park now, but it’s closed up, so unfortunately, no one can go inside.”
“I bet it would be a popular tour if you could get that changed,” she replied. “Is it haunted? Seems like everything in Cape May has ghosts running around, or at least that’s what our last guide said.”
Even more than you know, Monty thought, although his grin never wavered. “People claim to have spotted some ghosts nearby, but I don’t think any of them were soldiers. The bunker’s guns never fired, and it didn’t come under attack.”
“You did a nice job with the tour,” the lady said. “Tonight we’re taking a ghost tour. Maybe we’ll get lucky and see some spooky stuff.”
“Good luck,” he answered and hoped he sounded sincere. Monty had been able to see and talk with ghosts all his life, and he knew that most people had no idea what they were asking for by seeking out restless spirits.
She gave him a cheery wave as she left, and several more customers kept him busy until the last of the cars drove away, and the lighthouse was peaceful again.
Monty liked the quiet. He enjoyed spending time with close friends, but being alone didn’t bother him. When he had read a book about a lighthouse keeper as a kid, he’d known right then what he wanted to do.
Unlike the lighthouse in that book, the Cape May Light wasn’t on a desolate, windswept rocky island accessible only by boat. As part of a state park in a touristy beach town, it had plenty of visitors in summer and lots of walkers and birdwatchers strolling the grounds off-season. School groups and tours came to learn about the town’s seafaring history, and Monty loved showing them around the building, answering questions, and tossing in unusual facts.
But at the end of the day, the quiet grounds and empty beach soothed Monty’s soul. He bustled around the public areas of the building, making a quick check for trash or lost items. Then he locked the doors and headed for a stroll on the sand to enjoy the sunset.
About the Author
Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.
On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.
Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!
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How far is too far to go to save someone you love?
Brandon Lynch is magical. He’s a scintilla, wielder of electricity and is in love with a werewolf—or maybe he’s just in love with the idea of loving a werewolf?
Raul Fierro is a bounty hunter and a werewolf. He knows he loves Brandon. He’s made a promise to always protect Brandon and will carry out that promise at all costs.
When Brandon and Raul go head to head with human traffickers, Brandon’s morals are stretched to their limits. Will Raul keeping his promise tear them apart?
“You.” Brandon moved so he was closer to Raul and faced him. “You can do this either facing me or from behind, but it would be difficult from the side.” He unzipped his sweatshirt and pulled it down so his neck was exposed. “Put your hands here, just under my jaw, as close to my skin as you can without actually touching me.” Brandon ran one finger along his jawline then let his hands rest on his knees.
Raul scooted closer, kneeling in the sand directly in front of Brandon. The heat from Raul’s body crept out and wrapped Brandon in a sort of cocoon. Raul reached out and placed his hands with his palms a fraction of an inch from Brandon’s skin. The short hairs there twitched and rose. Brandon felt Raul’s fingers as if he could see them, the way they mimicked wrapping around his neck sent a shiver through him. Raul licked his lips and murmured, “that’s…uh…,”
Brandon smiled a bit and blew out a nervous laugh. “Intense.”
“Sure. I can go with that.” Raul raised his eyebrows when the hair along his arm quivered and lifted away from his skin.
“Every living thing has an electric field,” Brandon began. He had to speak slowly and concentrate on his words. “What you’re feeling is mine and yours mingling.”
Raul smirked. “Oh, there’s mingling alright.”
“For me that field is stronger, and I can manipulate it. When that field is distorted—your fingers almost touching me—on that part of my body it creates a sort of reflex reaction.”
“Like when hitting your knee in a certain spot?”
“Yes, but the reflex and reaction are a little different.” Brandon gripped his knees until his fingers cramped. “Now, do not move. And breathe, remember to breathe. Don’t hold your breath, no matter what.”
Brandon extended his own electric field, he felt how the charge moved out, bounced off Raul’s fingers and returned, warmer and with more power.
“Holy…” Raul’s voice faded.
Brandon gave into the sensations created and let his head fall back so more of his neck was exposed to Raul’s hands. His electric charge grew, began to throb in time with the beating of his pulse. He felt more than heard Raul gasp softly when Brandon’s body swayed then began jerking in rhythm with the charge’s oscillation. The sparks he gave off grew in power and warmth and kept Raul’s hands from bumping his skin. Raul’s hands trembled but held fast. When Raul hissed in a breath, Brandon eased off knowing he’d reached the limit Raul could take before Brandon did harm.
As Brandon’s charge diminished Raul slid still closer, his hands made full contact with Brandon’s skin making his neck tingle. Raul eased Brandon onto his lap, kissed him, gently at first then with more urgency and hunger.
Raul broke their kiss and whispered, “Intense.”
“We should probably leave that last part out,” Brandon said softly. He took a few deep breaths to further relax before he began to explain. “It’s a very personal thing, not something everyone will know, other than another scintilla. It’s also something I wouldn’t do with anyone other than a person I trusted without reservation, it leaves me that vulnerable. I do lose a little control when the charge is higher. If it’s too much of a jolt, sever the connection.” He stopped and closed his eyes, struggling to get his body to quiet. “To break it all you need to do is move away from my field.”
“How far away?”
Brandon held his hands a foot or so apart. “Not far. Taking one step back would be enough. If you touch me for longer than a few seconds we’ll get some extra sparking. It won’t hurt me, but it might be unpleasant for you.”
“Then you act woozy and…”
“It won’t be an act.” Brandon licked his lips again. “I will need protecting for ten minutes or so.”
Raul ran his thumb over Brandon’s cheek, nuzzled him and planted light kisses over the same spot he touched.
“No better protector than a werewolf.”
“Especially a werewolf who knotted me. Despite what he told me months ago.”
“Yes.” Raul nodded. “You’ll be in a sort of trance or look as if you are. I’ll give you orders, you’ll then provide whatever digital information is needed.” He pulled his hands away and stared down at his fingers, waggling them, making a fist then opening his fingers again.
“Did I burn you?”
Raul shook his head. “No. There was tingling, still is, no pain, it feels good. Could I be an anchor for you?”
“Organic instead of artificial. I like that idea. Yes, I think if we practice a bit it could work. My equipment kept me anchored by helping me manipulate my field and keep me stable inside the digital world. I don’t see why you couldn’t learn to do that for me.”
Brandon slipped off Raul’s thighs and inched back. He pulled his shirt off over his head. “This will work with one hand or two, from in front of me… or behind. Remember to put your hands around my neck, right under my jaw, and don’t actually touch me at first or when I start to expand my field or we’ll both get blown across the room. Once I get the field stable and can push against your fingers, if you tap my skin we’ll be safe because there’ll be a more even exchange and my body will naturally start absorbing any shocks created by you touching me. My charge originates from the base of my skull and right under my jaw, it’s most powerful there.” He pulled his lower lip between his teeth, chewed a few times and looked into Raul’s eyes. “Maybe you should try from behind too.”
“Practice all angles.” Raul stood and walked slowly around Brandon, shedding his own jacket and shirt along the way. He knelt behind Brandon and rested both hands on Brandon’s shoulders, leaning close.
“Why do I think you’ve been waiting for the chance to show me this?”
Brandon shivered and croaked, “Maybe.” It was the closest to a confession of one of his most deeply buried fantasies he was going to get.
Raul’s voice was low, husky and his breath was warm against Brandon’s ear. His fingertips inched up and lightly stroked Brandon’s neck as he licked along Brandon’s jaw. “Ready to do this again?”
Brandon gulped once and jerked a nod. He raised his charge making Raul yank his fingers away and snort a laugh. Moving painstakingly slowly Raul ran his fingers up and down Brandon’s neck a few times before settling along the most sensitive spot just under Brandon’s jaw.
Scintilla is available in eBook, paperback and through Kindle Unlimited.
My Tuesday Teaser is from my second chance romantic thriller,
Gone Away, book 4 of the Circles series.
Mason grappled with himself. Should he tell these men who he was and hope he could talk them down and convince them the best option was letting him and Riece—or at least Riece—go? Or keep his mouth shut and hope for an escape?
The oldest of the three waved at the ground with the crossbow and said, “Get down.” He then said to the third man, “Get his gun.”
“We’re here to take pictures. That’s it,” Mason said as he eased to his knees a few feet from Riece. If he’d been alone, Mason would have made his move while they were trying to disarm him, and taken his chances.
He wouldn’t take chances with Riece’s life, however. Civilians’ lives always took priority. Riece’s life even more so.
The man sidestepped close and held out one hand, waggling his fingers. “Try anything and you’ll end up dead.”
Mason slowly took his gun from his hip holster and set it on the ground, then gave it a shove so it was closer to the man. He was trying to decide the best way to diffuse this situation and get Riece the hell out of here when he heard the approach of yet more people.
Riece’s eyes widened and Mason’s hopes of them leaving without a fight were dashed. He pressed his lips together and stifled a groan when the woman and kid from the general store tromped through the trees along the gully.
“What the hell?” the woman asked. She carried a rifle, standard for hunting, but also wore a sidearm. The kid had added a crossbow, slung over his back, and a rifle to his collection.
Mason was getting a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. These people were armed to the gills. Far more than any hunter needed to be or usually was. He ran through the possibilities—drugs, poachers, survivalists, escaped cons—none of them were good.
“Oh, Ranger Rick isn’t so mouthy now,” the kid chimed in.
“What?” the older man asked.
“He’s a park ranger,” the woman snapped.
Red Hair burst out laughing. “So, don’t litter and we have nothing to worry about.” Mason sort of hated this guy.
The woman rolled her eyes, and her shoulders slumped. “Are you stupid? Park rangers are federal officers same as ATF and FBI. We trapped a fucking fed.”
“What’s he?” Red Hair pointed to Riece.
“A photographer. Like I said, we’re here to take pictures. That’s all,” Mason said.
“Empty your pockets,” Red Hair ordered Mason. He still held the gun on Riece but didn’t seem interested in him.
Mason pulled his badge from his hip pocket and his wallet from his back pocket, tossing them to the ground and out of his reach. The kid swooped in and grabbed them off the ground. He immediately rifled through the wallet.
“Huh, he’s a real card-carrying Injun.” The kid held Mason’s tribal ID card between two fingers and flipped it in the air.
The older man snickered, “Half-breed mutt with those blue eyes. I guess setting up a trap down here wasn’t such a waste after all.” He reached out and rubbed his hand over the kid’s hair.
Gone Away is available in eBook, paperback and
through Kindle Unlimited.
Book Title: Fall of the Pathfinder (Kessler Effect Book 1)
Author and Publisher: L. C. Lowe
Cover Artist: Lance Buckley
Release Date: December 19, 2022
Genre: Science Fiction M/M Romance
Tropes: Slow Burn, Friends to Lovers
Themes: Finding yourself outside society’s labels
Heat Rating: 1 flame
Length: 75 448 words/284 pages
It is not a standalone story.
The book ends on a soft cliffhanger (ie. the story is resolved but larger plot-lines are left hanging)
Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited
The company controls his life, but not his destiny.
Working for ARC in the depths of space, 17-year-old Julian Sastre has struggled in the mines for two years to make the family name mean something again. He is a Pathfinder - the most dangerous and elite job in the mines, seeking out the richest growths of C6.
When he is blamed for an explosion that causes a collapse, he flees into the ruins of Old Easton, the city his father’s mistake destroyed a decade ago. The only ally Julian has there is Garret, a charming thief with secrets of his own.
ARC is determined to capture him, and the Wasters who live in what's left of the city are more than they appear. Will Julian decide to protect what he truly cares about and find his own path?
Get the first book in the Kessler Effect series, Fall of the Pathfinder, and find out today!
Fall of the Pathfinder is a slow burn queer science fiction romance.
“I don’t—” Another crack. The window made a sound like breaking stone. Kernels of clear plastic pelted Julian’s right side. His HUD flashed a bright red damage warning.
“I’m all right!” Julian said.
Something hit Julian’s back. Hard. He couldn’t swallow down the grunt of pain. Another warning flashed across his HUD. He ignored it and kept his eyes focused on the map. “Left again. One de— Half of the last turn.”
The driver’s eyebrows slashed downward, but the smile didn’t quite leave the man’s face.
They flew over the sand and the rover spent at least as much time in the air as it did on the ground, leaving Julian’s stomach behind each time it rose.
More debris clanged against them. The rear window cracked. It pelted his back. The debris overwhelmed the map with flashing red warning messages, but it didn’t matter. He was past the point of being helpful. If he’d let his teeth open, the only thing that would come out would be a scream.
The driver’s eyes never flicked away from the windshield, and his fingers never left the wheel. Not even to wipe away the blood rolling down his cheek.
Everything in Julian’s HUD lit up bright red, then it went dark. He looked down.
A rod of rusted metal was jutting through his side, just to the left of his belly button.
The pain hit him like it was waiting for him to notice it.
He ground his teeth together. The scream scorched his tongue. His arms shook. Sand streamed past his shoulders and into the rover. Julian pressed hard against the space of the window. It was the only way to keep himself from dropping forward into the seat with each bump. The pressure shoved the metal rod deeper, and spots of color danced across his vision.
The driver’s grip on the wheel was so tight that it made his knuckles white, but the guy was still smiling.
The roar of the storm was everywhere. It was filling up the world, and there was no room left for any other sounds.
The darkness was thick enough to feel. It pressed against Julian’s skin and sucked up the warmth. There was nothing but the dark, the scream, the pain, and the driver’s tight expression lit by the displays on the dashboard.
Laughter bubbled out of Julian. Holding on was the only thing he could do.
The rover hit a bump, and he flew. His head hit the roof. The world started spinning and flickering.
Julian bit the end of his tongue to keep the sounds locked inside. Another bump made him bite too hard, and his mouth filled with the metallic taste of his own blood.
His hand slipped, and he smacked the front window hard enough to make his vision flare red and then black. For a second, Julian was sure that he was going to pass out. He wanted to pass out.
Julian’s eyes cleared, and he got a look at the spot his rescuer chose to get them through the storm. It was a stretch of desert locked away inside a blacked-out Wall. The darkness of the storm had been bad, but the shadows that had pooled where they were now were something else. They were the thick, living kind that he’d only ever seen inside the mine.
The rover entered the space at an angle and the headlights caught on strange shapes and crumbled walls. It was impossible to see anything beyond the cones of light they cast in the heavy darkness, but Julian didn’t need to see to know where they were.
They were in Easton. The town his father destroyed.
About the Author
L. C. Lowe lives in Kansas City, where she spends most of her time trying to convince a very needy dog to let her pay attention to anything but him. She loves stories in all forms, be it books, movies, video games, or a car commercial that may or may not have made her tear up one (ok, maybe more than one) time.
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Bey Deckard has a new MM dark erotic psychological thriller out, Max the Series book 2: Max, the Sequel. And there's a giveaway.
Robert Montagnet and Dan Cooper are a nice gay couple who live in a nice waterfront condo in a nice, touristy part of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
At least, that’s who they’re pretending to be.
After five months on the lam, Dr. Crane is strained to the point of breaking—he just wants it to be over. But, with his mental and physical health in decline, living where he doesn’t speak the language and relying on his partner for everything, he feels trapped.
Just the way Max likes it, of course.
When Crane is presented with an opportunity to clear his name once and for all, he’s compelled to take it… But, it means betraying the young man who thoroughly intoxicates him in ways he had never imagined possible.
Can Crane break his addiction or is he too far down the rabbit hole to escape?
This book is available through Kindle Unlimited.
Warnings: abuse, mind games, drugs, alcohol, lying, cheating, crime, dubcon, violence
Bey is giving away one Signed paperback copy of book one in the series, “Max”:
Crane left a note for Max, letting him know he’d gone out for errands and closed the door quietly behind him so he wouldn’t wake Max from his well-deserved nap. Whistling, he took the stairs down, spinning the key ring on his finger as he shielded his eyes against the midafternoon sun. He stopped on the last step and stood there momentarily, just glad to be out of the house. It felt great. He felt great. Crane watched a family of four cross the street, the mother squinting down at the phone in her hand while dragging along a little boy in bathing trunks. From the pallor of their skin, Crane assumed they’d just arrived and weren’t familiar yet with the area. Sure enough, the father spotted Crane and steered the baby stroller towards him, a smile on his face.
“Howdy! Hablar Ang-lays?” the man asked in a twangy accent as he touched the rim of his cap.
“I do,” Crane replied. “Are you looking for the beach?”
“We are,” the man replied, then called to his wife. “Mags, I found help!"
Crane grinned. “Just keep following this road, then turn left at the fence. You’ll see the access to the beach right away.”
“Thank you. We got turned ‘round,” the man said, jiggling the stroller back and forth a few times to soothe its cranky occupant. “Much obliged. Mags, it’s this way!”
Watching them go, Crane felt his mood shift. Soberly, he thought about how foreign it all seemed to him now. Just a nice little family vacation where no one was trying to drug or manipulate anyone, where no one had to worry about winding up in jail or whether someone was going to sodomize them while drunk . . .
With a rueful chuckle, Crane shook his head and went up the street in the opposite direction of the tourist family and had to admit the voice in his head had a point. If there was one thing life with Max certainly wasn’t, it was boring.
Artist, Writer, Dog Lover.
Bey Deckard is the author of a number of novels including the Baal’s Heart books, Max, Beauty and His Beast, and Better the Devil You Know.
Bey lives in Montréal, Canada where he spends most of his time writing, doing graphic work, painting portraits, speaking French, cooking tasty vegetarian eats, or watching more movies than is good for him. If you’re the curious type, www.beydeckard.com is where you’ll find art and free stories by Bey as well as information on his published works.
Author Website: https://www.beydeckard.com
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Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Bey-Deckard/author/B00IE4DZT2
J. Scott Coatsworth has a new MM sci-fi romance audiobook out, Oberon Cycle book one: Skythane. And there's a giveaway.
Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.
Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.
Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.
Warnings: past abuse, past suicidal ideation.
About the Series:
Oberon is unique among the Common Worlds - a half-world with a strange past and an uncertain future.
Jameson Havercamp and Xander Kinnson are thrust into the middle of a world-ending event and have to scramble to save the world - and themselves.
Along the way, they peel back the layers of the onion to discover secrets wrapped in secrets that will eventually take them to where it all started - and may provide the key to saving Oberon and everyone on it.
Scott is giving away a signed print first edition of the trilogy to one lucky winner:
Xander’s bike flew over the crowded streets of Oberon City. It was midmorning, as far as Jameson could tell from the slanting rays of sunshine over the city.
The wind whipped through his hair, making a rat’s nest of it. He was going to look a mess when he arrived at the OberCorp Headquarters, but there was nothing to be done for it. He mollified himself with the thought that it was the company representative’s fault.
Jameson clung to Xander’s waist, uncomfortable at being so close to the other man, but terrified all the same to loosen his grip. The man’s wings settled in around him like a feathered blanket.
Xander Kinnson had wings—he was a skythane man.
Sure, the whole wings thing had been in the briefing, but reading it and seeing it in person were two very different things. They were beautiful, running up from his shoulder blades into the sky when he had them extended, and powerful. The dark feathers glimmered with an iridescent sheen in the sunlight.
Jameson didn’t think he would have the courage to fly—hoverbike flight was unnerving enough. And yet… wings.
They whipped past heavy armored transports and automated delivery trucks that rode the streets below them, mixed in with pedestrians and even some wagons and rickshaws, as strange an assortment of traffic as he had ever seen in one place.
“We’re going to Oberon Corp Headquarters, right?” he shouted at Xander over the noise. He hated shouting.
“What?” Xander shouted back.
“Sorry. Can’t hear you!”
Jameson gave up. He settled in to observe the city around him.
The huge arcos formed a virtual blue metallic wall ahead that began to block out the sunlight as the hoverbike moved closer. They were impressive in their uniformity, reminding him of the statues of Easter Island he’d visited during his trip to Old Earth.
From this vantage point, the city seemed much bigger than it had looked from the shuttle flying in, but outside of the impressive architecture of the arcos, the rest of Oberon City was made up of much less impressive, shorter buildings, with the tallest of these topping out around fifteen stories. They were in varied states of decay, with broken windows and rusted stanchions, some of them overrun by wild vines. The city looked like it was badly in need of an urban renewal project—a few buildings were in such bad shape that Jameson was amazed they hadn’t already collapsed under their own weight.
After about fifteen minutes, Xander’s bike slowly dipped down to the ground, coming to a landing between a couple of low buildings. They arrived at a nondescript three-story, concrete-slab structure that would have fit into almost any urban cityscape. It was made entirely out of prefab plascreet panels like all the other ugly buildings around it.
Xander palmed a sensor next to the metal roll-up door and it chugged up noisily, revealing a storage space maybe three meters wide by about three times that length deep. He pulled the bike inside and parked it, beckoning for Jameson to dismount.
Jameson did as he was told, though he was starting to get worried. When it came right down to it, he knew nothing about this man, having taken Xander at his word that he really was a representative of OberCorp.
How could he know for sure?
The idea nagged at him.
The man might be a pirate who preyed upon unsuspecting arrivals at the immigration center. He certainly fit the profile—standoffish, antisocial, certain he was always right. Jameson had seen that many times before in his practice. Then again, most sociopaths were more social.
At least he’d made it to the city now. It might be best to get out of here and find his own way to OberCorp.
Jameson started to back slowly out of the storage unit, away from Xander. He could make a run for it.
“Stay right there,” Xander said without turning, his voice sharp. “This is a bad part of town. It’s dangerous, especially for off-worlders who don’t know any better.”
Jameson looked out onto the street nervously. Oberon City was a lot grittier at ground level than it had appeared from the shuttle—the pavement looked petrochemical based, and it was uneven and black, so different from the beautiful marble streets back on Beta Tau. Some dark fluid flowed in fits and starts down the gutters, and it gave off a nasty smell: part urine, part hydrocarbons, part rotting food.
He was overdressed for such squalor. “Are there any good parts?” He stepped back inside with a sniff.
Xander snorted. He’d set aside Jameson’s suitcase, and was now rummaging around through some plas containers at the back of the storage unit. He pulled out something and threw it over the back of the bike.
It looked like the saddlebags that Jameson’s parents used with horses on their estate to carry supplies or foodstuffs for picnics or hunting trips into the Holywood.
Xander pulled out a knife and used it to pry open Jameson’s suitcase, setting off the luggage’s alarm. Xander snarled and kicked it until the sound died down to an irritated chirp.
“Hey… what are you doing?” Jameson reached out to stop him, but Xander pushed him back, knife in hand. “You can’t wear that where we’re going.” He indicated Jameson’s clothing with the same disdain Jameson himself had used for the hoverbike. He rummaged through the clothes in the suitcase. “None of this will do.” Xander turned to size Jameson up, head to toe. “I think I have something that will work.” He returned to going through the bins at the back of the unit.
“What do you mean, this won’t do? I’ve met with upper-level management in the Psych Guild on numerous occasions, dressed just like this—”
“We’re not meeting with management.” Xander returned with an armful of clothes. “Here, put these on.”
“I must insist that you take me to OberCorp Headquarters right now and—”
Xander dropped the new clothes on the dirty floor and ripped Jameson’s button-down shirt right up the middle, exposing his bare chest. His wings flared out behind him, and he gave Jameson an evil grin. “Change. Now.”
Jameson tried to stare him down, but there was an angry gleam in the man’s eyes that he decided he didn’t want to challenge. He lowered his eyes and picked up the new clothing. “Is there a place for me to change, at least?” He was not getting naked in front of this barbarian.
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
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth
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Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/
Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/
Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ
“It is when that someone can get you killed. Fuck him all you want but believe me when I say you care about him, open yourself up to someone like that, and it’ll destroy you.”
“I’m not backing down on this, Dad. Either you do this and treat Nick how I say or stay away from us. Both of us.”
“I’m your father. You can’t mean you’ll pick a slave over me.”
“He’s my responsibility. Nick depends on me, and I need to be able to depend upon him. Without that we’re both dead and you know it. Frankly? He’s better company, and I think he cares more for me than you ever did. You’re not who I work with or live with, and that’s how I want it. My way or no way. Where do you get the idea that will destroy me?”
There are many more snippets from a wonderful collection of writers in the Rainbow Snippets Facebook group.
Marked Yours and the entire Sentries series and the Sentries box set are available from your favorite online book seller. It can also be purchased from the publisher, JMS Books.
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