The Island: Complete Series (The Cowboy Gangster / The Base crossover series) by CJ Bishop and H.M. Wolfe
THE GANGSTERS… Clint, Cochise, and the men return home from Canada, looking forward to some much-needed rest and relaxation. But they soon discover there is no rest for the weary—as they are immediately faced with another crisis—missing loved ones that seemed to have vanished into thin air. With no leads and no idea if their missing family and friends are dead or alive, the gangsters are desperate to dig up a single clue—anything to set them in the right direction.
As the gangsters are about to lose hope, an unexpected lead takes them to a reluctant witness. With a forced confession, they are still left with little to go on… until two strangers—in search of their own lost loved ones—show up at their front gate with just enough information to suggest they are hunting the same monsters.
THE BASE... After the unexpected, violent encounter with his arch-enemy Alexander Kane, Ardan MacNamara, the founder of The Base sanctuary for child prostitution victims, finally closes the door on his dark past. His honorary adoptive father, Fabian Bloom, who also suffered horrific physical, sexual and mental abuse at Kane's hands, no longer looks over his shoulder, enjoying his new life to the fullest.
But then, Ardan's three sons and their friends are kidnapped in broad daylight, only a few hundred yards from The Base, and the two men's world collapses. Numerous search parties are organized and no stone is left unturned, but the kids are nowhere to be found. The evil force behind the kidnapping seems to be greater and more dangerous than anything Ardan and Fabian have fought against in the past.
Desperate situations require desperate measures and, for the first time, the two men search for help outside their circle of traditional allies—and find it in an unlikely source.
BK 1 - THE VANISHED
BK 2 - THE LOST BOYS
BK 3 - THE HUNTED
BK 4 - THE REAPERS
THE RETURN - COWBOY GANGSTER FOLLOW-UP NOVELLA
THE HOMECOMING - THE BASE FOLLOW-UP NOVELLA
TRIGGER WARNING: Child sex trafficking, sexual/physical/emotional abuse, graphic violence, extreme language.
“I hope you don’t mind me just showing up?” Wyatt sounded hesitant, almost shy.
“No, not at all,” Val said.
Wyatt wore khakis and a polo shirt with the first few buttons opened. He had a sports jacket with him, but it was flung over one shoulder. Val’s heart stuttered a few beats as he watched the muscles of Wyatt’s arms slide under his skin. Normally he wore a sports jacket or longer sleeves, and Val hadn’t noticed how well built Wyatt’s arms and shoulders were. Val decided right then and there, he definitely had a thing for older men.
“I was kind of hoping you hadn’t had dinner yet and would like to join me.”
As Val got closer, he picked up a hint of cologne and saw a soft sheen on Wyatt’s salt-and-pepper hair, still damp from a recent shower. Warmth curled around Val’s belly and nestled between his legs and in his balls.
“Um…I mean, I’d like to, but…you don’t….” Val’s throat and mouth were too dry for him to talk properly.
Wyatt stepped closer, reached out with his free hand, and ran his palm lightly down Val’s arm to his hand, then took it and applied light pressure before he let go. “Val. I’m asking if you’d like to have dinner with me. For no other reason than I’d love to spend a few hours with you. And I’m hungry.”
Until March 31 Run for the Roses is only $1.99 for the eBook.
Book Title: Cursed (A Balance of Magic #2)
Author: Jackie Keswick
Cover Artist: Jackie Keswick
Release Date: March 23, 2022
Genre: M/M Fantasy
Tropes: Friends to lovers, love vs. duty, soul mates, found family, worlds in peril, two against the world, hurt/comfort
Series Themes: the world is fragile, short-term decisions have long-term consequences, gifts are given for a reason
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 77 000 words
It is the second book in a trilogy.
The book does not end on a cliffhanger. Raijin and Sandro’s story ends on a HFN. The main story arc continues across all three books.
Two friends. Two worlds. A selfish desire that threatens them both.
Two friends. Two worlds. A selfish desire that threatens them both.
Raijin killed a witch and found himself cursed.
Sandro went to Raijin's aid and became an assassin's target.
Neither expected that they would trigger the biggest upheaval their world had seen in a thousand years.
And that it needed the love between them to lift the curse.
Cursed, the second book in the Balance of Magic series, is a slow-burn m/m fantasy romance featuring friends-to-lovers who become soulmates, irate death gods, curses, inept, narcissistic politicians, curious, compassionate witches, and a found family.
France, Summer 1920
“Poplars and plane trees, beeches and birches, or a mountainside of firs.” Sandro stared into the bottom of his wine glass and tried to keep the misery at bay. “Is it really too much to wish for a few olive and lemon trees? I’ve not been near my grove in six years. Six years, Raijin!”
“What if they’ve dug it up?”
“Why would they?”
Sandro set the glass down. “To spite us,” he said.
Raijin stared at him.
“I know, I know. It’s not like me to think badly of people.” He waved a hand. “But what other interpretation is there for the way Tan Hao treats us? Every time we finish a task, he finds another one that keeps us from the base. Do you really think he does that to everyone?”
Raijin wisely kept his mouth shut.
Sandro was grateful. He’d never been a maudlin drunk, but the last six years had changed many things. Being prevented from visiting the only home he’d ever known… hurt. Even if he’d barely spent a day alone while the human world tore itself to pieces.
Maybe he shouldn’t complain. Especially not to Raijin. He hadn’t been home for far longer, but… He lifted a hand to summon the waiter and order another bottle of wine, when Raijin stopped him.
“Come along. I have an idea.”
“The good kind.” Raijin smiled the soft, lopsided smile that Sandro had no defences against.
“In a moment.”
They paid for their meal and left the restaurant, wandering up the street towards their lodgings. They had their own courtyard garden, had food, and even wine, but Sandro had been too restless to stay home, and Raijin had indulged him.
“You’ve been doing that a lot lately.” He tried to express his gratitude.
“Indulging me. I’m… Ignore me.”
“Never.” Raijin unlocked the gate and ushered them into the place they’d made their base since the Armistice. It was clean, comfortable, and private. But it wasn’t home.
Sandro had no idea what Raijin meant to do, but he didn’t have to wonder long. As soon as he’d locked the gate behind them, Raijin took hold of his arm, opened the veil and tugged Sandro through.
Two steps later, scents of brine and citrus hit his nose. Soft, springy turf caressed his feet, and one look at the familiar trees had him fight back tears.
Raijin had brought them to the top of the Custodia base. Had given Sandro what he’d most needed: a visit to his grove of lemon trees.
If he could have touched all his trees at once, he’d have done so. Since he lacked that ability, he wrapped his arms around the nearest tree, and hummed.
The trees responded, impressions wrapping him up like a cloak: comings and goings, hot sun and sparkling raindrops, a storm from the east. Sandro soaked it all up like a starving man and shared his own experiences in turn.
After the first sharing was done, Sandro went from tree to tree, touching, checking, renewing his connection. When he joined Raijin at the centre of the grove and accepted the glass of wine Raijin had poured him, he hummed with green energy, his watcher sight as sensitive as it had never been before.
“I wish I could explain—” he began hesitantly.
Only for Raijin to wave it away. “It’s fine. You wanted to check on your family. I understand.”
Raijin wasn’t demonstrative.
But when he chose to make a point, he took Sandro’s breath away.
About the Author
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 write their own rules. 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, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places
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My snippet this week is from Run for the Roses, book 1 in the Circles series. Get the eBook for only $1.99 until March 31!
“I was wrong when I said the Nottings were in the wrong place at the wrong time and that they were innocent victims,” Wyatt said.
Val nodded. “Carol Notting and Marcus Paulle were half siblings.”
“And remember Janelle saying Charlie was into gambling?”
“Yes,” Val said. “He wasn’t very good at it.”
“That was just an act. The reality was he was very good at it. Or more to the point, very good at cheating when he gambled.” Wyatt began spreading papers out on the table as he spoke. “In a way I’m glad what happened last night happened. It’ll just reinforce what I want to do. Tomorrow I’m going to talk to the manager of the apartment I—”
“If you’re hinting at moving in here, yes. Bring your things and move here,” Val said.
Wyatt laughed. “I have to say I’m happy for the invite. When Charlie grabbed Janelle, I don’t think she was his target. I think you were.”
Read more snippets on the Rainbow Snippets Facebook group.
Mary Rundle has a new MM paranormal romance out - Blackwood Pack book 11: Blood Prophecy. And there's a giveaway!
This is part of a continuing series by Amazon International Bestselling Author, Mary Rundle – reading the previous titles is advised. Readers will enjoy catching up with members of the Blackwood Pack and reading about what is happening to them as the pack does what it does best ̶ caring for one another, fighting evil, and helping shifters everywhere.
Finally free after spending more than 50 years controlled by a cruel master, Lucius has one goal only—return to the family taken from him when Valerian transformed him into a vampire. But he soon finds that even though his master is now dead, a death grip on him remains. Stripped of his powers to translocate and in constant pain, Lucius’ only hope is to follow a force pulling him toward a place he hopes will end his suffering.
Brady, a retired attorney, who worked at the Witches Governing Council, arrives at the Blackwood Pack after agreeing to help one of the pack’s brothers whose mate is the new Ruler of the Mystic Realm, and whose life is in danger because he wants to end the blatant corruption and exploitation of low level magic users.
Brady meets the pack’s members and is in awe of the powers the Fates have bestowed on them. But, after his previous years of dealing with the unscrupulous members of Witches’ Governing Council—and then being ousted for his efforts to achieve justice—he’s become distrustful of outward appearances.
Called into Alpha Blackwood’s office, Brady learns the Fates have given him the young vampire as his mate. But Lucius, having been found unconscious, lies dying, and Brady must decide if he is willing to do the only thing that will save his mate.
Eventually, Brady and Lucius begin a journey, where the past and present are woven together until both achieve the love and happiness they always desired, but never knew how or where to find.
Mary is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card + a Blackwood Pack Mug with this tour:
Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47228/?
“Will do…thanks Penn.” After ending the call, Jackson turned to Brady. He was relieved to see some of his wariness gone, but there was still an air of caution. Guessing Brady was still reconsidering his decision, Jackson decided to focus on why he wanted a meeting. “I know you’ve been promised any assistance you might need from me in regard to helping Remy and Carson deal with the Witches’ Governing Council, but I want you to hear it directly from me. As Alpha of the Blackwood Pack, I guarantee you can count on us to be there for you. The trouble with giving you my word is that you have no idea exactly what kind of help I can offer which, if I were you, would have me questioning exactly what my word is worth.”
“Oracle has given me some idea of the powers the Fates bestowed on you and your brothers,” Brady murmured.
“Yes, she told me, but I believe you should know everything before you commit to the task ahead,” Jackson said.
Brady snorted, “I don’t even know what the task is until I speak to the Ruler of All Magic.”
“Franky, I don’t either,” Jackson said, “but from what I could glean from Oracle…Carson, Remy, and his three young brothers are in mortal danger by a magic user or magic users unknown.”
“That about sums up what I know, too,” Brady muttered.
“Right…so how about we fill in some of those blanks. In order for you to do whatever you need to do for Remy, I think it’s critical you to know exactly what gifts are at your command. Do you agree?”
“My command?” Brady asked, anger and panic jostling for control of his voice. “You just can’t go handing out that kind of power. What if I possess bad intentions? Do you have any idea the havoc I could wreak in the paranormal world? This is exactly why…why…oh, never mind.”
“This is exactly why…what?” Jackson asked softly.
Shaking his head, Brady wouldn’t give voice to his thoughts. What the Fates had decreed certainly wasn’t any business of his and bitching about their decisions wouldn’t change anything.
Jackson leaned forward, looking at Brady intently before speaking. “If you were going to say it’s insane my pack has so many powers…I would agree with you. Or if you were thinking the Fates made a mistake…I’d say the jury is still out on that. But if you think my pack would ever use these powers for any purposes other than what they were given for, then I would say, you’re dead wrong. How can I be so certain? Because I know my pack and I’ll stake my life on the righteousness of each and every member in it.”
“I’m sorry if you thought I was insulting you, Alpha…I wasn’t,” Brady replied, chastising himself for his lack of tact. “My thoughts pertained to the Fates’ decisions. I’ve seen what power in the wrong hands can do. It’s the reason I agreed to help…to right a wrong done to many magic users for years now.”
“No insult taken, Brady,” Jackson said, softening his tone. “I’m not arrogant enough to assume I know why the Fates did what they did, but I do know evil will never find a foothold here. And if that’s the sole reason my pack was blessed, then the paranormal world will only benefit from it.” Jackson paused before continuing. “When Oracle warned me that my brother and his family were threatened and asked my permission to reveal my pack’s gifts to you, I gave it without hesitation and, frankly, you are the first outside this pack to know. Honestly, if there were any other way to protect Carson and Remy, I would’ve jumped on it like a duck on a June Bug. Does you knowing about us make me nervous? Absolutely. But I also trust Mystia and Oracle implicitly and their assurances about your motives has eased my mind…somewhat.”
“You can trust me,” Brady replied. “As I promised Oracle, I will never betray her…or your confidence.”
“I believe you,” Jackson said, smiling. “Now, back to the job at hand. I’ve decided to assign Dylon as your contact person regarding whatever it is you need from us.”
“Why did you pick him?” Brady asked, wondering if this was a subtle attempt by Jackson to be able to sidestep any help he might need.
“Dylon has the power of Hercules, giving him extraordinary strength and courage, and the ability to solve any problem presented to him. But what’s most important in this case is his strategic brilliance. Once you tell him the situation, he will be responsible for selecting which pack member…or members…would best be able to assist you and make sure the mission succeeds.”
“What if there are multiple missions?” asked Brady. “What if it takes several months before I can get everything sorted out?”
Shrugging, Jackson said, “It doesn’t matter. I’m committed no matter how long it takes. As far as I’m concerned, the job isn’t finished until Carson and his family are safe.” Hearing a rapping on the door frame, Jackson’s gaze shifted over there, smiling at the man waiting for permission to enter. “Dylon, come in. Did they arrive safely?”
Taking a chair next to Mystia, Dylon greeted her and Brady before turning back to Jackson. “Everyone’s fine. At Sawyer’s insistence, Mac took Alex downstairs to check him over and Glenn’s with them.”
A few years ago, I wrote my first book, Dire Warning. Readers loved it and I was on my way to chronicle the Blackwood Pack, seven brothers who are gay wolf shifters in search of their fated mates—stories about love at first sight with twists and turns, angst and humor, romance and adventure and, of course, happy endings. Since then, the pack has expanded, allowing more stories to be told and different paranormals to be included. The series has become, as one reader described it…an “Epic Saga.”
Now, eleven books later, Blood Prophecy, has just been published. I love the M/M paranormal genre because it gives my imagination a lot of territory in which to roam. My mind can really run wild and come up with some amazing stuff when it doesn’t have to stay inside the box. My story ideas come to me as if they were being channeled by my characters, all of whom I love (except for a few villains). They are eager to recount their lives, loves and adventures, and are not reluctant to let it all out when it comes to revealing steamy details. My writing style is free-wheeling and uninhibited and my readers tell me they love it that way; that it makes them feel like they’re right in on the action and a member of the Blackwood Pack.
I live in the Northeast and love the beautiful change of seasons, my husband, and our quirky calico cat, though not necessarily in that order. I read a lot (good for the mind) and love gardening (good for the soul). And I’m always happy to hear from my readers and can be reached through Facebook, my private Facebook Group, Twitter, Instagram, or my website.
Author Website: http://www.maryrundle.com
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/maryrundle69
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/maryrundleauthor/
Author Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/171112140176036
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaryRundle69
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maryrundle69
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14246427.Mary_Rundle
Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/mary-rundle/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Rundle/e/B0763CDQQ6
My snippet this week comes from Scintilla!
“Thank you. I do aim to please.” Raul finished the massage then said, “You’re a scintilla.”
Brandon rolled over and eased to a sitting position, flinching. “Is it a problem I didn’t tell you?”
Raul shook his head. “Nah. I was surprised, but I’ll admit you’re one of the best clients I’ve had. That was different, surprising and…very enjoyable.”
Brandon smiled shyly. “Thanks. A lot of people are afraid to even hug me without wearing all sorts of rubber gear, let alone more. They think they’ll get electrocuted.”
Snagging bottles of water from a crate beside the bed, he handed one off to Brandon. Raul sensed that Brandon was a person who craved physical affection with an emotional connection. Having people think they needed to keep him at a distance must’ve been very painful for him.
“That’s sad. I might ask before swimming with you, but—” He had other questions, but didn’t think it was appropriate unless they’d be spending more time in bed together.
Brandon burst out laughing. He expression changed in a split second to one of horror when he glanced over Raul’s body.
“Holy crap, what happened to you?”
There are many more snippets in the Rainbow Snippet Facebook group.
Scintilla is available in eBook, paperback and in Kindle Unlimited. This month it's specially priced at $2.99.
Edale Lane has a new FF historical steampunk book out: Daring Duplicity. And there's a giveaway!
Solving mysteries is her business. Finding love is her dream. Will combining the two get her killed?
Victorian Era England. Stetson revels in being unconventional. So when society shies away from her independent nature, the bold woman creates an imaginary boss and opens her own detective agency. And her keen observational skills, convincing disguises, and Holmesian methods quickly bring in a string of tough-to-crack cases.
Struggling to squeeze a personal life in around a series of hazardous investigations, Stetson worries she'll never find a woman of like-passions. But with her heart set on true love despite the risk, she carries on hunting for the perfect relationship.
Will her clever escapades lead to death… or delight?
Daring Duplicity: The Wellington Mysteries, Vol. 1, Adventures of a Lesbian Victorian Detective is a collection of five sequential novellas, each encompassing its own exciting mystery while furthering the story of Stetson’s life in London. If you enjoy crime dramas, Victorian era fiction, or a sweet lesbian romance, then you’ll love award-winning author Edale Lane’s Daring Duplicity. Order yours today!
Edale is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:
Jewel gripped her own gloved hands and scanned the room anxiously. "It is a matter of the utmost discretion," she began in a tone much more demanding than she had intended. "It is of a personal nature, you see," she continued more gently and forced a polite smile. "May I speak with Mr. Wellington in private?"
Miss Goody responded with a pleasant smile of her own. "I'm afraid that will not be possible. Mr. X is extremely successful in foiling criminals because of his anonymity. In fact, no one has ever seen him but me. All correspondence between the investigator and the clients goes through his assistant—me. So how this works is, you tell me the specifics, I talk to him, and he gives me a list of questions to ask, and so forth. I assure you, anything you say to me will be kept in the strictest of confidence, just as if you were conversing with the detective himself."
"I see." The assistant paused for a moment before continuing and her attention fell on Miss Goody for the first time, being specifically drawn to ample breasts squeezed into her buttoned waist coat. It required conscious effort for Jewel to raise her gaze, but doing so she became captivated by two warm, caring cognac eyes. "Very well, then. I am being blackmailed, and the nature of the information being held over me makes it impossible to go to Scotland Yard, or a constable, or even my father, for the money. I receive an allowance, not enough to meet the foul villain's demands, but sufficient to cover your agency's fees and expenses I'm sure."
"I see," she replied with a soft expression of compassion. "Was the man you were seen with married, or simply from the wrong side of the tracks?"
"Well," Jewel stammered, cleared her throat, and fixed her gaze on a painting on the wall. "Not exactly. And he has a photograph."
Miss Goody sighed and leaned forward, her palms on the desk top. "Now, Lady Jewel Ashton, if we are to find this blackmailer and save your reputation, you cannot hold anything back. How can Mr. Wellington help you if you won't tell us the whole story?"
"It is not my reputation I am concerned with," she admitted, a hint of real fear trembling in her voice. "My whole family could be ruined, utterly ruined, and destroy my father's political career. We would be forced to retreat to our estate in the countryside. I cannot allow shame to come upon my family for one moment's indiscretion."
Miss Goody met her eyes. "I assure you if you provide Mr. X all the information he needs, he can find this scoundrel, take back the photo and the plates, and give him every reason to keep his deceitful mouth closed on the matter."
Jewel held her gaze for a long moment, and believing her sincerity, made a decision—the only one she could really make. She opened her reticule and withdrew a tan envelope. "Someone left this in my carriage while I was shopping. My driver said he didn't see or hear a thing." She placed the parcel on the desk within Miss Goody's reach and held her breath.
Stetson opened the envelope and spilled its contents out onto the desk. Inside was a note and a photograph, not of Jewel kissing a married man, but another young woman! For an instant, time stood still. A flush rose in Jewel's cheeks while Stetson's mouth absently fell agape as she stared dumbfounded at the image. Stetson's mind raced almost as fast as her heart. Could it be that this beautiful gem who walked in this morning has the same inclination as myself? Could there actually be other women who love women, that I am not a singular oddity? She not only had these thoughts, but acted on them! She had never met another like-minded woman—not to mention one whose looks could stop a locomotive in its tracks like Jewel Ashton.
She was roused from her musings when she heard a desperate voice from across the desk. "So now you see the urgency and delicacy of the matter."
She quickly shoved the note and the photograph back into the envelope and replied with sincerity. "Do not be distressed, Lady Jewel Ashton. We will take care of this with great expediency. I shall show these to the detective and he will know just what to do. Wait here. I'll return anon."
Stetson stepped into the room behind her, leaned against the closed door, and let out a deep sigh. With eyes shut and hugging herself, she took a moment to process the warm thrill that rose from her loins. Reveling in the euphoric rush, she wanted to believe the impossible–that maybe her dreams could come true. Mayhap there was a chance, ever so slight, that she, too, could act on her passions. Her breathing became ragged as she imagined kissing Jewel, and being kissed in return. Her heart pounded in excitement. Until reality stuck its ugly head into her dream reminding her there was a case to solve. Stetson moaned softly in aggravation and opened her eyes to glance around her inner sanctum.
Within the confines of Mr. Wellington's lair were all the implements one would need to be a successful private investigator. On the wall to the left was an array of weapons, including both an umbrella and walking cane hiding swords in their handles, an umbrella with a singleshot rifle barrel and a trigger in the handle, several knives, guns, and gadgets. A glass-doored cabinet contained other curiosities such as a wristwatch that concealed a tiny explosive, a unique copper and brass miniature camera with flash attachment, a mirror attached to a long folding pole for seeing around corners or over walls, telescopic opera glasses, and a voice recording device. There was a table holding an array of wigs in vast colors and styles for both men and women, false beards and moustaches, along with an exhaustive selection of hats. Hanging from hooks on another wall were various costumes for the well-to-do business people, and the poor, male and female alike. There was a large vanity with a mirror and cases of cosmetics and face powder as one might see backstage of a theatre. Yes, the windowless room had all the trappings to outfit a man of mystery save one—there was no Xavier Wellington… only Stetson.
Edale Lane is an award-winning author (Rainbow Awards, Imaginarium Awards, Lesfic Bard Awards) who is realizing her dream of being a full-time writer. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Tribute in Blood, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication regarding research. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature. After driving an 18-wheeler cross-country for eight years, she now lives with her partner in beautiful Chilliwack, B.C. Canada.
Author Website: https://pastandprologuepress.lpages.co/
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/melodie.romeo/
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Pastandprologuepress/
Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/EdaleLane
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melodieromeo/
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15264354.Edale_Lane
Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/edale-land/
Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/edale-land/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Edale-Lane/e/B07GRFPDRZ
James Peters has a new sci-fi adventure out, Black Swan series book 3: Black Swan Empire.
Raka Varoule, Maven Blackheart, and Marco return for one final adventure in Black Swan Empire!
When Maven nearly starts WWIII as a result of an international nuclear incident, she and Raka are forced to flee from Earth and return to the Galactic Empire, but they aren’t exactly welcomed with open arms. They are quickly drawn into a plot that just happens to involve the assassination of Emperor Caligula himself.
With the help of some old friends and a few frenemies, they face their biggest challenge yet when the entire Empire is on the line.
About the Series:
Raka Varoule is a second-rate investigative reporter and just an average citizen of the Galactic Empire. When he weasels his way on the Emperor’s own Star-Cruiser and exposes the illicit activities of this very adult party, his life takes a minor change of direction.
Escaping with the help of a leather-clad dominatrix, the Emperor’s own ganja runner, and a chimpanzee wearing assless chaps, Raka makes it to a barbarian world some call “Earth”, only to find himself very alone and very vulnerable.
Raka survives and has a series of hilarious adventures before learning that it’s up to him to protect Earth from an Imperial retrieval team, set to destroy everything. He’ll need the help of his Imperial companions to do this, but can he trust them?
To my great surprise, I found myself on a warm beach watching the waves pound repeatedly against a rocky shoreline, while winds whirled around me making a repetitive and comforting pattern of sounds. I was completely alone, yet I felt a sense of contentment just to be. Just to be here, just to be alone, just to be alive.
A lemon-yellow sun smiled down upon me, and a few cotton-candy clouds dotted a perfect blue sky. A wave washed up just far enough to tickle my toes; the water was warm and welcoming. I took a few steps into the ocean to see small fish schooling around my legs. When they looked up at me, they seemed happy.
A dolphin crested over a distant wave. It turned toward me, approaching quickly but I felt no sense of fear. The dolphin raised up out of the water in front of me and spoke, but not in Dolphinese, instead, he spoke in perfect English. “What do you do if you don’t have enough cash to buy a coffee mug?”
I didn’t waste my time considering the concept that an aquatic mammal was talking to me. Instead, I simply responded, “I don’t know Mr. Dolphin. What do you do if you don’t have enough cash to buy a coffee mug?” “You write a cup-check!” The dolphin said as it slammed its nose into my crotch with enough force to shatter the side-window of an ’83 Escort.
I screamed and flailed to find myself snapped into reality, and it wasn’t a pleasant one. I was laying on my back in a bed with dozens of electronic sensors connected to me, an IV line in my arm, a hospital-style light shining in my face, and a fat little fuck of a kid laughing at me. He was maybe twelve years old and he still had his hands on my junk. He had black hair, raging acne, a triple chin, thick glasses, and he repeatedly sniffed as if he were snorting black pepper.
“Now the stinky man is awake!” the kid said and made a snorting sound like he was hawking up a loogie. “Fifty buck says I can hit you in the eye with this.”
“Fifty bucks says if you don’t back away from me immediately, I’ll beat you into next year, you little shit.” I began ripping off the electronic sensor pads and tried to get up, only to find I didn’t have the strength.
“You think you’re a tough guy? My bodyguard could rip you in two long-ways and not even break a sweat.” He sniffed, then wiped his nose down his black shirt sleeve. An eight-inch-long trail of mucus glistened in the light on his shirt sleeve.
I grabbed Tubby McZitface by both arms where his biceps should have been and tried to shake him. “You ever touch me again you’ll regret it for what little is left of your sad, pathetic life.”
The kid’s eyes opened wide and his lip quivered in fear. Tears flowed freely down his cheeks, making a roundabout path between fat and pimple. His mouth opened for several seconds before any sound came out, but finally he screamed an ear-piercing wail of “Smiles!”
The door flung open, rattling against its stop. A huge gorilla wearing a perfectly tailored gray suit stepped inside. He had a scar across his cheek, and as he approached I smelled the pleasant fragrance of his shampoo.
“Rip the bad man in two!” Tubby said to the gorilla.
“I’m sorry, Master Filbert. I’m unable to harm Mr. Raka, as I’m sworn to protect him.”
“Can you at least give him a super-atomic wedgie?” Filbert wiped big wet tears from his cheeks.
“No,” the gorilla replied.
I felt a sense of relief. “General Smiles. It’s good to see you again. Be a sport and toss this evil little turd into the street, ideally into traffic. Thanks buddy” “I can’t do that either.”
“I’m sworn to protect him as well.”
“Why?” I asked, as a deep sense of nausea and dread flushed through my body as if I were in a porta-potty in the act of being tipped over, balancing on its edge for just an instant before engaging maximum shitstorm.
“Because sir, he’s your son.”
James Peters fell in love with Science Fiction at a young age, becoming hooked on the works of Asimov, Anderson, and Pohl (among many others), as well as the mixed bag of anything labeled Science Fiction on television or at the movies while growing up. While in grade school, he was given an assignment to write a journal about anything he wanted. He quickly filled the pages with a Buck Roger’s type adventure of robots, spaceships, and pew-pewing lasers, discovering his inner passion to write.
He writes with a gritty blend of character-driven action, wry humor, and social commentary that transports the reader through wild worlds of speculative fiction and fantasy. He’s known to cross the borders of different genres into new territory, along with an occasional ‘wink and nod’ to pop culture and other authors, then shock the reader with an unexpected turn of events.
Sit back, open your mind and enjoy the ride. Your adventure awaits.
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“You do. I think we should celebrate.” Mal released Colt and crossed to a cabinet housing a television and stereo system. After Mal spent a minute or two fiddling with the stereo, the sound of mellow jazz filled the room. He held out one hand to Colt. “Dance?”
Colt’s face lit up with a brilliant smile. He stretched his arm far enough to take Mal’s hand and moved in close. Mal slid one arm around Colt’s waist, and Colt hooked an arm around Mal’s neck. The way Colt leaned into him felt good, and his body certainly enjoyed the warmth of Colt in his arms. Mal inhaled deeply, relishing the way Colt’s aftershave mingled with the fresh scent of his skin as they swayed gently in a small circle.
“I could stay here and do this forever,” Colt murmured and leaned in even closer.
Mal nuzzled his cheek, tightened his grip, and hummed along softly with the music. Colt melted against him, relaxing in Mal’s arms, radiating trust and the heat of arousal. Mal’s mood skyrocketed. He shifted so he could take Colt’s face in his hands. Jeffery and the board be damned. His only thought was that he liked Colt, and Colt seemed to return the sentiment. He wanted this and was sure Colt did as well.
Mal licked his lips and kissed Colt.
For a brief second, Colt tensed; then he stilled and relaxed against Mal again. Colt glided his hands down Mal’s side, and Mal cupped the back of Colt’s head. When Mal eased back, Colt followed and ran his tongue over Mal’s lower lip. Mal tilted his head ever so slightly and claimed Colt’s mouth again, this time parting his lips just enough for Colt’s tongue to glide inside. For a few seconds, their tongues mingled.
Very slowly, reluctantly, they broke their kiss but held on to each other, Colt’s cheek resting against Mal’s shoulder. Wound in Colt’s arms, surrounded by Colt’s scent, and enveloped in music, Mal’s senses reeled. There was no hiding how his body reacted, but Colt couldn’t hide his excitement either. Mal took a deep breath and dipped his head far enough so they could lean their foreheads together. He blew a soft breath against Colt’s cheek before he kissed him in that same spot. Colt’s breathing sped up, and Mal tightened his grip to stop their bodies from trembling.
Without letting go, Colt leaned back against Mal’s arms, letting Mal support his weight, and studied him. He pinched Mal’s shirt collar between his thumb and forefinger, tugged a tiny bit, and stammered, “I-I sh-shouldn’t have…. I’m s-sorry.”
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