My teaser this week is from Electric Candle, book 2 of The Sleepless City. This series is cowritten with Anne Barwell.
Lucas led the way to his office. It was at the far end of the building, near the morgue. Forge hung back. Something was wrong. He could feel it coming off Blair, and it had nothing to do with a soulbond or Declan.
“Want the tour?” Lucas looked excited.
Blair’s expression was suspicious. He glanced around the office and through the door to Lucas’s lab. “Are there dead bodies?”
Lucas grinned. “Kid, it’s a morgue, and I’m a medical examiner. Of course, there are dead bodies.”
“No, thanks, I’ll pass.”
Forge laughed, and he felt Blair relax. “Blair, what’s wrong?”
“Maybe it should wait until we’re back at the castle,” Blair said.
“We can talk here, and Stewie knows about things like vampires and werewolves,” Forge said. He took a step closer to Blair and laid one hand on his forearm for a few seconds. A tingle ran through his hand and the length of his arm to spread across his chest and down his belly to settle in his groin. Blair arched an eyebrow and glanced down at Forge’s hand, convincing Forge he’d shared the experience. Forge didn’t move away, however.
“I was tailed. Some guy, except I don’t think he was human. It was more like he stalked me.” Blair pulled his lower lip between his teeth. “I’d think it sounds crazy except….”
“You’re a vampire having a discussion with another vampire in the office of a M.E. who is a werewolf?” Lucas asked.
“Yeah.” Blair looked down at the floor, then up at Forge when he squeezed Blair’s arm. “This guy followed me, watching me in all the stores I went into. When I came here he was behind me right up to the front door.”
“Security cameras.” Lucas was moving across the room to a computer. “Here’s the feed.” Lucas pointed at the monitor. “Who?”
Blair and Forge shadowed Lucas and looked over his shoulder. There was a clear image of people walking along the sidewalk, some going up to the front of the building, others passing by. The outside door appeared to open and close on its own.
Lucas nodded at it and said, “That must be Blair. Where’s the guy?” he asked, turning to look at Blair and Forge.
“He’s not there. I swear to you, a man followed me. While I was waiting for you, I could see him out on the sidewalk,” Blair blurted. “He got close enough to me I could do what you told me to do, I listened to his body. I could hear something moving inside him, but he wasn’t giving off any heat or smell. He was a little taller than me, lighter red hair, glasses. He was trying to look geeky, but it was fake.”
“How’d you know?” Lucas asked.
“He asked me about smartphones in the store.”
“Could have been a ploy to talk directly to you,” Lucas said.
Forge nodded, leaned against the desk and stared at the monitor. “Apparently, we have something that can hide from a camera or doesn’t show up on one, but isn’t a vampire.”
“You believe me?”
That surprised Forge. “Of course, I believe you.”
“Why do I have the ‘we’re screwed’ feeling?” Lucas asked.
“There was another murder. Lucas and I had just gotten back from checking things out when you arrived. This time the victim was a werewolf. An adult male werewolf, and either he had changed or was in the process of changing when he was killed. Do you have any idea what sort of force is needed to bring one of those guys down?” Forge asked.
Blair shook his head. “I never thought about it.”
“Think about it,” Forge said. “A werewolf in full form is one of the most powerful creatures around.” Blair’s gaze shifted to Lucas for a second, then back to him. “They’re not all as sweet and friendly as Lucas, and I sure as hell wouldn’t want to go up against one.”
Hello everyone! My snippet this week is from Bait. It's part of the Circles romantic mystery suspense thriller series.
“Fucking cold.” Linden put his head down, gripped his bags to his chest, and ran to the door of the main lodge. When he grasped the door handle, he was sure it was going to be locked, and he gave a few seconds’ thought to breaking it down. The handle turned easily, though, and the door swung open. “Thank you,” Linden whispered to the door. Even if no one was here, he’d be warm, sheltered, and out of the storm.
“Are you serious?” a husky and familiar male voice said. At the same time, someone grabbed Linden’s arm and dragged him farther into the lodge. The door closed behind him with an audible snap.
Linden shook snow from his head and brushed it off his coat. “Goddamn, it’s cold.”
“Yeah, welcome to Wyoming in the winter. Great place in the summer, but every winter I swear I’m moving, and then I never do. Hey. I know you.” The guy standing beside Linden blushed suddenly. “I started to call you a few times and chickened out. We’re… uh… closed for some renovations. You should have called first.”
Linden blinked at the man—Tyler McCall—then glanced around. Big plastic tarps lay scattered near what looked like a bar, and wooden and metal workbenches and sawhorses littered the area. Some of the tables in the dining room were draped in thick black plastic.
“This isn’t exactly a social visit,” Linden said. He wasn’t in the habit of calling ahead to arrange an appointment when he wanted to question someone. Holding out his hand—no reason not to be civil—Linden offered a small smile and said, “Special Agent Linden Bourne.”
Read more snippets on the Rainbow Snippets Facebook group.
Bait is available in ebook and paperback
and is also in Kindle Unlimited.
This week's Tuesday Teaser is from For the Long Run.
You can get this book in eBook or paperback
and it's available in Kindle Unlimited.
When the door opened Eric turned to greet his new boss.
“Hey, I’m sorry, for some reason there is always some disaster in the kitchen when I need to—” The young man stopped short and blinked at Eric. “Oh God… I….” His voice just sort of faded away.
Rubbing the back of his neck, Eric tried for a casual chuckle and produced a nervous laugh instead. “This is—a surprise.”
“I… um… Jason Molloy,” he held out his hand, but before Eric could grasp it, Jay raised it to pinch the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger. “Jason… Jay.” Shoulders sagging in defeat, Jay moved his hand up to run through his glossy black hair and managed to look everywhere but at Eric while finally shaking his hand. The poor kid looked like a deer in the headlights with a cannon pointed at it. “But you know that… the Jay part.”
Eric swallowed another laugh and put on a sympathetic face that was real. He felt sorry for the guy. Jay was surprised to see him, that was evident, but the reaction wasn’t quite right. What it wasn’t was a man who’d spent the night with the wrong person, more like a man who’d spent the night with the right person. Eric couldn’t put his finger on what his exact impression was, but it wasn’t rejection. “Eric Keger.” He offered Jay a crooked smile and decided it was time to put Jay out of his misery. “It seems like I’m your new head of security.”
Jay’s mouth dropped open, but he recovered quickly this time and snapped it shut, then moved around to the other side of the desk. Eric turned, following his progress, stuffed his hands into his pockets, and waited.
“Look, this is….” Jay stopped and took a few deep breaths. “Let me try this again. I had no idea, honestly, none. My father hired you and told me a few days ago.” He picked up a file and let it drop back down, opened. “I guess I should have looked at the damn thing.” Jay flicked with one finger at Eric’s picture on the first page, then shut the folder.
“I’m honestly pretty glad you didn’t.” Eric smiled, nodded, and shrugged. “No one is perfect.”
He had to bite his lip to keep from laughing outright when Jay managed to look even more horrified and grumbled, “My father is.” That did it; Eric couldn’t hold back the hearty chuckle waiting impatiently to burst out any longer. Jay’s eyes narrowed for a split second before he blushed. “You think this is funny?”
“Yeah, I sort of do.” Eric shrugged and moved to the desk, hiking one hip onto the edge and twisting to look at Jay, who’d sort of collapsed into his chair. “You didn’t know, and neither did I. We, either of us, didn’t do anything wrong, and we were a county away, so who’d think? I mean seriously, come on, this is like a scene out of a bad date-night movie.”
Ian was, without a doubt, a leg man. Maybe a shoulder and chest guy, too. The fact was he was a man who deeply appreciated a hot, powerful body.
Taren was all those things and more.
He was Ian’s Dom. There was never any abuse of power, infact the opposite. Taren took his responsibility as Dom, protector and guardian very seriously. He took such good care of Ian, in every way which gave Ian the freedom to be himself. Not the executive who needed to stay in control and keep up appearances, not the guy who fantasized but never lived the experience.
Because of Taren, Ian lived many sensual experiences he’d otherwise be afraid to try, or even admit to himself he wanted.
There are many more great snippets at the
Rainbow Snippets Facebook group.
The Freedom of Submission and the entire series is available at JMS Books, Amazon and other fine book sellers.
Tim Rayborn has a new bi urban fantasy book out, book one of the Qwyrk Tales: Qwyrk. And there's a giveaway!
Qwyrk is having a bad day; several, in fact. One of the Shadow folk tasked with keeping an eye on humanity, she’s ready for a well-earned break in Yorkshire, but now she’s (literally) run into a girl, Jilly, who just saw something quite supernatural and truly awful happen in her town.
As Qwyrk tries to unravel the mystery, layers of villainy are exposed, and she’s stuck with an assortment of unlikely folk that she’d rather not have “helping” her.
Together, they confront ancient magic, medieval conspiracies, and the possible end of the world (that again?). It’s not the holiday Qwyrk was hoping for!
Aboyt the Series: Qwyrk is the first in a series of four novels about the adventures of a group of misfits at the edge of reality in modern northern England, a world of shadows, Nighttime Nasties, sorcery, intergalactic councils, tacky nightclub attire, an abundance of sarcasm, and even elves…though they are a bit silly.
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Booksamillion | Blackwells | Liminal Fiction | Goodreads
Tim is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:
Qwyrk and her friends sat on the slanted rooftop of the Ecklesons’ large old home a little later on, quite annoyed. Now they were just trying to avoid all of the clatter and the obnoxious human adults stomping around below. Jimmy’s second outburst had no doubt earned him a grounding for the next month. Mr. Eckleson had let out a few stern words that were decidedly inappropriate for young Jimmy’s ears.
So Qwyrk, and her mates Qwypp and Qwykk, sat and surveyed the scene. It was a nice detached Edwardian home, with a lovely yard. Well, it would have been lovely except that it needed more tending than the Ecklesons were prepared to give it.
An old rosebush had grown to quite a size, such that its thorny branches often grabbed people as they walked by, often to gasps of surprise that then turned to annoyance as new victims found themselves unable to walk any farther until they became untangled. Those that ventured forward to smell the roses risked never being seen again.
At least twice a month, Mr. Eckleson threatened to hack the whole thing down, but somehow, he always got distracted by other weekend activities, such as football on television. And secretly, he harbored a slight fear of the thing, as if it were watching him. He worried that if he cut it down, a mob of rosebushes might return one night to enact a brutal vengeance. Mr. Eckleson needed a bit more fresh air.
Yes, it could have been a charming entryway to an old house, even with the disagreeable rosebush. But the plastic pink flamingos that Mrs. Eckleson had brought back from their Florida holiday and displayed with pride out front ensured that “charming” was not a word on the lips of guests. So did the bright blue ceramic garden gnome.
So, the trio looked down on the yard now: gnomes, flamingos, petulant rosebushes, and all. Humans could only see them as shadows with glowing red eyes, but up here, all alone, they saw each other on their natural form, which was basically like humans, except for their pointed ears. Humans would probably be disappointed by that. The occasional human—like a witch, a druid, a shaman, or some such—who could see them in their true form called them elves or fairies, which the Shadows resented. Elves were pretty silly, after all.
“So… what are we looking at?” Qwypp asked. Her bright red bob haircut clashed with her blue overalls and purple Doc Marten boots in a noticeable way.
“The rosebush,” Qwyrk sighed, as she ran her hands through her short but oh-so-stylish blonde hair.
“The rosebush,” Qwypp repeated. “And we’re looking at this rosebush because…”
“Shhh! Did you see that?” Qwyrk interrupted.
“What?” asked Qwykk, curling a strand of her long, wavy brown hair around her finger, and smoothing out wrinkles in her new designer exercise outfit. She obviously prided herself on being the glamorous one of the three.
“One of the branches moved.”
“Oh. My. Goddess!” Qwypp exclaimed. “You mean they have… wind up here in the north? We got here just in time!”
Qwykk stifled a giggle.
Qwyrk shot both of them an angry look. “It bent a little, like an elbow, you idiots! The rosebush is taking on anthropomorphic qualities. I’m sure I just saw it.”
“Anthro-what?” Qwykk asked.
“It means it’s becoming animated, moving like a bipedal being,” Qwypp answered, looking quite proud of herself, and smiling a smug smile.
“I don’t care what its sexual orientation is! That’s its own private business,” Qwykk answered in an equally snooty voice, clearly trying to sound impressive.
Qwyrk sighed and rolled her eyes. “Look, let’s just focus on it for a while, all right? It may do something else. We have to find out.”
“I wonder how that would work?” Qwykk mused after another minute of the three of them watching in silence.
“How what would work?” Qwyrk knew she’d regret asking.
“I mean, if you was a rosebush, how would you know who you fancied? Like, what if you had a knob with thorns? That wouldn’t be very pleasant! And even if you did know, what could you do about it? I mean… suppose you liked the rosebush on the other side of the street, how would you know if it fancied you back? And even if you knew it did, how would you actually get over there to get a snog? It’s not like you could move or anything. And how would you actually snog? Like, with what? Rosebuds on your branches? And suppose you actually fancied the oak tree next door instead, well, that opens up a whole new set of problems!”
Qwyrk almost put her face in her palms. Almost.
“Why can’t we just go downstairs and do some yoga?” Qwypp interjected, and for once, Qwyrk was glad for her whining.
“I told you…” Qwyrk started.
“You didn’t, though!” Qwypp said, annoyed. “Just that you’ve got a job up here to do, because of some funny reports.”
“Yeah, Qwyrk, what’s up? You dragged us all the way up here from London, when we were going clubbing this weekend, and we have a right to know why.”
Qwyrk assumed a mock pleasant voice. “Look, here it is again, in small words, so you’ll understand: that big rosebush has been doing some strange things over the last couple of weeks. It’s been moving like a human, and people have also been seeing things like ghosts, goblins, strange lights, and apparitions in the neighborhood; there was even a little earthquake a few days ago. When a plant starts moving by itself, it’s usually not a good thing, and if there’re ghosts and goblins involved, and the earth starts rumbling, it doesn’t usually lead to snogs and chocolate. All clear now?”
“But what are we supposed to do about it?” pouted Qwykk. “Now I can’t use my VIP pass to London’s ‘Club Nitro Ibiza Hedonistic Fun Dome’ this weekend.”
“The council wants us to keep an eye on it for a bit, to watch over everything. Our mate Jimmy down there is making that a bit difficult and making me question the wisdom of that order. I’ve a good mind to gag him tomorrow night.”
“The fact that we’re the ones that scare the bejeesus out of most kids who see us is somehow lost on the council, eh?” snarked Qwypp. “I don’t make the rules,” Qwyrk answered. “I just follow them.”
Qwyrk did ponder the irony of it all. “Well, what can I say? Sometimes kids are up far past their bedtimes and spot us. Then they get more scared of us than of the dangers we’re supposed to be watching for.”
It’s time for a change in policy.
Tim Rayborn is a writer and internationally acclaimed musician. He plays dozens of unusual instruments that many people of have never heard of and often can’t pronounce, including medieval instrument reconstructions and folk instruments from Northern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East.
He has appeared on over forty recordings, and his wanderings and tours have taken him across the US, all over Europe, to Canada and Australia, and to such romantic locations as Marrakech, Istanbul, Renaissance chateaux, medieval churches, and high school gymnasiums.
On the writing side of things, Tim lived in England for nearly seven years and has a PhD from the University of Leeds, which he likes to pretend means that he knows what he’s talking about. He has written several books and magazine articles about music, the arts, history, and business, and undoubtedly will write more (whether anyone likes it or not).
He currently resides in Northern California amid many books, antique music reproduction devices (i.e., CDs), instruments, and with a sometimes-demanding cat. He’s also rather enthusiastic about good wines, single-malt Scotch, and cooking excellent food.
Author Website: https://timrayborn.com/
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/timrayborn
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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.
Bait is available in eBook and paperback from Amazon. It is also available in Kindle Unlimited.
This week's Tuesday Teaser is from A Barlow Lens.
Two romances. Two stories. Two timelines. Two mysteries solved.
Once they were back at their hotel, Wyatt ushered Val into their room, not bothering with the light. They were high enough up there was no need to close the drapes, and light from the city cast a soft glow over them.
As Val unbuttoned his suit jacket, Wyatt stepped up behind him, placing his palms on Val’s shoulders, then rubbing lightly up and down his arms a few times. “Let me give you a hand.” Wyatt eased the jacket off and kissed the side of Val’s neck, nudging his head to the side as he did so. A low moan rumbled out of Val’s chest. Wyatt dropped the jacket on a chair and slipped his hands under Val’s shirt, caressing Val’s skin with his fingertips.
When he reached Val’s tightening nipples, he rubbed small circles until Val’s hips jerked. Val shuddered and pulled in a quick, shaky breath, making Wyatt smile. Val’s tie and shirt joined his jacket. Wyatt ran his hands over Val’s torso before returning them to Val’s shoulders. He lightly traced the scars on Val’s shoulder with first his finger, then his tongue.
Val’s surgery to repair the damage done in the course of stopping some seriously dangerous people who had been trying to force jockeys to throw races, had left several scars. They weren’t red, raised, and angry anymore. Val never complained about them hurting, but the marks were still puckered and darker than the surrounding skin.
“You know,” Val whispered between dragging in a breath and panting it out again. “That first time we went out to dinner, I was so worried you’d think I was some uncouth, country hick because I don’t know about wine and art. And that I was too young to bother with.”
“Hmm, do you know what I worried about when I was thirty?” Wyatt scraped his teeth across Val’s shoulder blades.
“Getting a sweet piece of hot ass,” Wyatt said in a low voice.
Val laughed. “Well, you’re sort of slow. Took you long enough. Worth the wait?”
“Oh, hell, yes.” Wyatt maneuvered Val to the bed.
A Barlow Lens is on sale this week for $2.99 (ebook) and $6.99 (paperback). It's also available in Kindle Unlimited.
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