Book Title: Lessons in Chemistry
Author: Colette Davison
Cover Artist: Designs by Morningstar
Release Date: July 27, 2023
Genre: Contemporary gay romance
Tropes: MMM, college/university romance (all characters are over 18), slow burn, fake date, opposites attract
Themes: Finding yourself while finding each other
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 96 500 words
It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited
What do a nerd, a jock, and a slacker have in common? Each other.
When Auggie’s controlling father threatens to cut short his studies, it’s time to put his life in order. Add one cute nerd and one dedicated swimmer, and he has a new lesson to learn—how to love.
Emory is all kinds of confused. He really, really likes Auggie but is also in love with his best friend, Casey. Then Auggie comes up with a plan to see if Emory and Casey share any chemistry, and nothing will ever be the same again.
Casey lives for swimming and snuggling his best friend, Emory. Except Emory is in love with him, Auggie’s confusing him, and suddenly he has to confront his feelings and his sexuality.
Three men and one conundrum. How can they all get the guy?
Lessons in Chemistry is a slow-burn MMM college/university romance between an inexperienced nerd, an asexual jock, and the slacker who’s been around. There’s a fake date, first times, three guys finding their way in love and life, and a whole lot of snuggling.
“I want to kiss you,” I tell him.
Casey tilts his face up so I can lean down to give him a closed-mouth kiss. It’s long, tender, and soft. His lashes flutter as I pull away and smile at him.
“That was lovely.” He lays his head on my chest again.
I smile and kiss his hair.
“That’s nice too.” He half rolls, so he’s semi-facing Auggie.
Auggie seems to know exactly what Casey wants. He pushes up onto his elbow and kisses Casey. Even though it’s a sweet kiss, watching them still turns me on. They look stunning together, especially as Auggie’s beard scruff creates a red texture on Casey’s chin.
Auggie pushes up farther and kisses me over Casey. I’m aware of Casey glancing up from the movement of his head. Is he watching us as our mouths open and our tongues connect? Auggie lies down again, and the three of us go back to snuggling.
After a while, Casey shifts position and snuggles against Auggie. I turn to spoon his back, which is a new experience. I’ve never spooned with anyone. It’s nice being so close to him, having his back resting against my chest. I loop my arm over him and stroke Auggie’s arm. A thrill runs down my spine. We’re in a three-way relationship. Okay, so it’s brand new and tentative and awkward, but I’m lying in bed, cuddling two amazing and beautiful men.
Copyright Colette Davison 2023
About the Author
Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.
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M.D. Grimm has a new MM fantasy book out, Stones of Power book 9 - Jade: First and Last.
Morgorth and Aishe must contend with a deadly threat that could spell disaster for their world.
Payshthas were the first of the Mother’s intelligent children. It is rare for true friendship to form between them and another species—which makes Morgorth’s bond with Enfernlo unique. And it is due to their friendship that Morgorth doesn’t hesitate to answer Enfernlo’s plea for help.
A thief has stolen something vital from Enfernlo’s colony—a stone of power.
Their hunt for the stone leads them to a war torn kingdom, and Aishe can hardly stomach what he sees. The devastation urges him to assist however he can, no matter the risk. Meanwhile, Morgorth is faced with reminders of the monster he used to be, and contemplates how far he’s come, and yet how far he still has to go. And when his estranged mentor joins them on their search, Morgorth is forced to confront his resentment and sense of betrayal, and use Master Ulezander as a tool to save the payshthas.
Forced into a deadly quest where trust is in short supply, and faced with challengers for the stone, Morgorth must put his faith in those he loves and in himself... and become a champion not just of the Mother but for Karishian itself.
Warnings: magic violence, dragon violence, war-torn country
About the Series:
Lord Morgorth is a dark mage on the planet Karishian. His peers consider him a villain, but there is more to him than they choose to understand. Cursed by a dark destiny and tormented by painful memories of the past, Morgorth struggles to find his place in the world. Far from innocent, Morgorth has teetered between embracing his destiny and fighting against it his entire life. A decision that is made easier when Aishe comes into his life.
Aishe is a creature of the forest, a warrior and healer. He has the moral compass that Morgorth needs, and Morgorth gives Aishe the companionship he craves. Together, they forge ahead, weathering the storms and fighting the enemies fate puts into their paths.
However, their greatest enemy is not a living being, but gemstones infused with deadly power. They are addictive, seductive, and completely treacherous. Morgorth hates them and is determined to find and imprison all of them. But he soon realizes they are keys to a greater power. He learns his destiny is not all he thought it was. And an even greater enemy stirs in the darkness.
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Morgorth snarled a word, and his magick speed shot him like an arrow into the tunnels. I followed in his wake, focusing on the eight gVattaren who were running away. The hard sand didn’t hinder us, and I caught up with their shorter strides. I shot two in the neck before those remaining reeled around and attacked. They cursed and squealed as their blades blinded me when the sun broke the horizon. I dropped my bow and grabbed my short sword.
With my own snarl, I barreled into them. My blade sang as I swung at their arms and heads while also dodging and swerving as they tried to stick me with their knives. The six surrounded me, and while a few broke through my defenses and slashed at my legs, their blades glanced off my armored clothing. It didn’t take long for the gVattaren to realize they couldn’t puncture through the cloth to my flesh.
One sneaky fellow sliced the back of my uncovered hand while another threw a blade at my face. I ducked and hissed at the sting on my hand. I cut off their arm while slashing at the one who’d flung the knife.
“What do you hope to accomplish?” I asked, spitting mad. “Do you not see the payshtha over there? He can burn you to a crisp in an instant!”
“Then why hasn’t he?” one of them said, voice raspy and filled with dark amusement.
I turned to the mocker and found an opening to kick them in the head. They dropped like a stone and the other five hissed and snarled.
“I’m not done having fun yet,” I said.
I trusted Morgorth to recover whatever they’d thrown into the tunnel as I gradually moved them farther away from the Jesllan. The small group was vicious and quick, fueled by rage. I would have been bleeding from many shallow wounds if Morgorth hadn’t enchanted my clothing. But then they surged toward me all at once, and one leapt upon my back, trying to stab my face. I gripped their wrist and twisted sharply. With a snap and a scream, they fell off me, dropping the blade. Unfortunately, with their other hand, the stabber grabbed my wrist and used their weight to force me to drop my sword arm. Then they clung and bit my hand, turning the previous slice into torn and mangled flesh that gushed blood.
I screamed, unable to shake them off.
I dropped my sword.
Seizing the opportunity, the other four attempted to saw their way through my clothing. They clung like leeches, and their combined weight made it hard for me to move.
“Get off me!” I punched at their heads with my free hand and struggled to keep my face beyond their reach.
“Close your eyes!” Enfernlo bellowed.
I snapped them shut an instant before hot air slammed into my back and engulfed me. The gVattaren shrieked in agony as the five spasmed against me. Then all the weight vanished, and it was silent except for the roar of the wind. Then that, too, dissipated.
I swayed and fell to one knee, panting. When I opened my eyes, I grimaced. The streaks of ash against the crystallized sand told me it hadn’t been hot wind, but payshtha fire. He’d disintegrated the gVattaren, just as I’d warned them he’d do.
Payshthas, like mages, could control their fire and who it harmed. To some extent, at least. But while mages needed to retain the connection to their fire, payshthas could direct it even when the bond was severed.
I tucked my mangled hand to my chest and grabbed my sword with the other. It was no worse for the wear, much to my relief. I turned and jolted. Enfernlo stood just behind, towering over me, his teeth bared, his eyes glimmering dark with rage. His wings were unfurled to their full span, and his posture reminded me of a striking snake or diving bird.
I was grateful my bowels didn’t betray me.
I turned and Morgorth engulfed me in his arms.
“Careful,” I said, grunting.
He jerked back and swept his gaze over me before focusing on my hand. His mouth twisted and his magick flared. “I’m sorry. Right after I retrieved that bomb they threw in, another group leapt out of the sand and attacked.”
I cupped his cheek with my good hand and met his gaze. “I’m all right.”
“Show me your hand,” Enfernlo said.
He no longer looked about to attack, and I breathed easier as I held out my hand. A gentle stream of fire blew out of his mouth and landed on my wound. It seeped into the torn flesh, glowed yellow, and then vanished. The pain stopped, my hand as good as new.
“Thank you.” I touched his snout.
Then I turned to Morgorth and cupped his cheek again. “And thank you for the clothes.”
He grunted. He covered my hand on his cheek and kissed my palm.
M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!).
After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier. Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.
Author Website: https://www.mdgrimmwrites.com
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Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/M.D.-Grimm/e/B00I0KZMY6/
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From the outside Jay’s life seems idyllic, a twenty-something, runs his family’s business with high disposable income and freedom. The reality, is Jay’s life is dictated by a bigoted, controlling, abusive father who insists Jay simply can’t be gay. Jay yearns for his own life with a dominant man, but it’s an out-of-reach pipe dream. When he meets trained Dom, Eric, the most Jay can hope for is the occasional one-night-stand or quick fling.
Eric has his heart set on Jay, and not only for more than one night. Jay is the type of sub Eric could easily spend the rest of his life with, fall in love with. While trying to navigate winning Jay’s love, Eric’s life is further complicated by chasing down a killer who may be something other than human.
When Jay is targeted, Eric wants only to protect him. Can he save Jay’s life and win his heart as well?
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Book Title: Luck of the Draw
Author: Addison Albright
Publisher: JMS Books, LLC
Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs
Release Date: July 22, 2023
Genres: M/M Light Fantasy Romance, Gay/Bisexual
Tropes: Peace Treaty, Arranged Marriage
Themes: Accepting Fate, Dark Secrets, Forgiveness
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 25 700 words
It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Drawing the short straw is bad luck…isn’t it?
Drawing the short straw is bad luck…isn’t it?
A treaty between three warring realms calls for a mass wedding ceremony amongst their eligible princes and princesses to solidify the peace. But since the number of males and females differ, one of the marriages must be between two of the princes.
Prince Obren of Canna draws the short straw, sealing his fate, and Prince Dukan of Butari volunteers to be the other half of the nontraditional marriage. The two princes fought nobly in the years-long war and are willing to do whatever it takes to finalize the treaty, ending the conflict that took the lives of their loved ones…Obren’s brother and Dukan’s lover.
Each harbors a dark secret, and King Rogan of Canna has long nurtured a deep hatred of Obren, blaming him for bringing home the deadly virus responsible for the untimely death of his much-adored wife. Obren and Dukan can’t deny their chemistry, but can they overcome the ugly truths complicating their path to a friendly, respectful, and—dare they hope—loving relationship? Will King Rogan stop at nothing to dash Obren’s chance at happiness, or does that short straw represent good luck, after all?
Chapter 1: Drawing Straws
Obren, a prince of Canna, had drawn straws many times in the past, but never had the stakes been so high. This time it was not about who would go first or last either in childhood games of years gone by, or in sexual liaisons from more recent years. It was not about who would help pitch the army tents versus dig the holes for the latrine. Or fill them in, later, when breaking camp.
This time, the rest of his life was at stake. Not life or death itself, but the direction his life would follow and its potential to bring him happiness.
Obren’s stomach twisted into a knot as his father, King Rogan of Canna, offered his closed fist. Obren drew in a deep breath, understanding, to the marrow of his bones, that any plea to avoid this choice was pointless. A straw must be drawn, and as the older of the two brothers, he would draw first.
Not that the order of drawing mattered. Whether or not he drew the short straw would be down to luck. The luck of the draw would decide his life’s path. His hand twitched as he checked a nervous impulse to smooth down his already neatly styled blond hair.
Obren closed his eyes, shut out the sounds of his father’s heavy breathing, and focused on preventing the quiver building in his gut from reaching his hand as he lifted it. He paused and opened his eyes. Was there any possible stratagem he could employ to boost his chances?
“Just pick one,” Lale hissed. “Let’s get this over with.” Lale, being Obren’s younger brother, was as invested in the outcome as was Obren.
Obren swallowed, squared his shoulders, and snatched one of the two straws sticking up from Father’s fist. He stepped back and stared at the stick, but it gave him no information.
No useful information, anyway. Length could be both absolute and relative. He could see that the absolute length of his straw was about six knuckles long. But it was the length relative to the straw remaining in Father’s hand that would give the answer.
Lale strode swiftly forward and grabbed the remaining straw. The brothers stood staring at one another for ten solid beats before slowly raising their hands to compare straws.
Obren stared blankly at them, but it was the slow grin spreading across Lale’s face that came into focus first. Lale held the longer of the two.
Heat suffused Obren’s face as he snapped his straw in half and let the two pieces drop to the floor.
“Enough of that.” The king used his regal tone, usually reserved for court. “You will do your duty, and you will do it without displays that should have been left behind when you graduated out of the nursery.”
Obren clenched his jaw. He shouldn’t say anything more, but his mouth ran on unheeded. “I’m older. It wouldn’t have been out of order for you to have decided based upon our ages.”
“Your sisters are older still. You’re not even the spare, let alone the heir. You don’t matter.”
Lale snorted, and Obren shot a glare in his direction. But Lale was looking at their father with an unwise expression of disgust. The snort hadn’t been directed at Obren; it had been in response to Father’s unkind remark about both of their worth.
Obren softened his own expression, and when Lale returned his gaze to Obren, Lale swallowed, and said, “Obren’s right. Neither of us wants this, of course, but it should be me.”
The two brothers had never been the best of friends. Their personalities didn’t align well for that. But they’d always felt the bond of brotherhood, and here, Lale probably felt a sense of duty to repay Obren for saving his life amidst a fierce battle in the final year of the war.
Obren wasn’t entirely sure if his conscience would have allowed him to let Lale take this burden upon himself after winning the draw—probably not, impulsive comment notwithstanding—but that option wasn’t on the table. “Nonsense. The selection was fairly made,” the king said with a glare of his own directed at Obren. “I expect you to behave like a rational adult at both the reunion dinner this evening and the ball tomorrow night.”
Obren held in his retort and gave a curt nod before turning on his heel and striding, with as much dignity as he could muster, from the room.
Anger roiled through his belly as he raced through the castle hallways to his suite of rooms. His footsteps clicked on the stone floor and echoed through the empty passages. A lingering whiff of the sausages they’d eaten at breakfast still hung in the air.
It was an understatement to say that Father preferred Lale. Had done since Obren had been a schoolboy. In fact, Obren wouldn’t be surprised to learn if Father had somehow manipulated the straws to ensure Obren picked the shorter of the two.
Father had never forgiven him for his mother’s death. As if Obren had deliberately caught the jumping spotty fever. He certainly hadn’t been aware enough during the height of his illness to influence his mother to stay away from him. She’d nursed him, as a loving mother would do, and she’d become ill herself, succumbing to the disease whereas Obren had recovered.
Once in his suite, he flopped face down onto the bed and screamed into his pillow.
About the Author
Rainbow Award winning author Addison Albright lives smack dab in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a dash of drama/angst, and a sprinkle of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, French fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.
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Mary Rundle has a new MM paranormal romance out, Blackwood Pack book 12: Lord Manetu. And there's a giveaway.
This is part of a continuing series by Amazon 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 and helping shifters everywhere.
Barely surviving Arald’s prison, Theo’s luck has finally changed. Discovering an unknown passion for cooking, he’s settled into his new life with his fiancé at the Blackwood Pack. He’s excited about tying the knot with Norm in the company of all their friends. It’s everything Norm promised him during their bleakest days of incarceration and he doesn’t think he can be any happier.
Waking up at Arald’s, Norm's sole mission in life is to help his Fated Mate, Theo, survive the horrors inflicted on them both. Now free, he sets about to make all of Theo’s dreams come true, including the most important one, the cub his mate so dearly wants.
Smokey heads North to pick up Kevin’s parents and deliver them to the Blackwood Pack before hurrying back to LA. Easy-peasy…right? That’s what Smokey thinks but then, what is supposed to be a simple mission, turns into a race to avoid human hunters who have already shot Kevin’s father. Using his skills honed as a secret agent, Smokey manages to elude the hunters, heal the father’s wound and then successfully transport them to safety only to find the Fates have a surprise waiting for him.
After a series of misunderstandings and then with some help from Jackson, the pack’s Alpha, Theo and Norm finally accept Smokey as their mate and set upon a journey to unite the three of them. Discovering truths about their past lives leads to uncovering long-kept secrets that end up bonding Theo, Norm and Smokey together, giving each more love and happiness than they ever knew existed.
Astounding surprises, rare and unique gifts, an action-packed mission, and many unexpected twists and turns make this passionate love story by Mary Rundle impossible to put down once you’ve read the first page.
Mary is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card with this tour:
Peering into the underbrush to his left, Smokey found the glowing eyes of Ivan’s mountain lion staring back at him, waiting for the signal to attack. Then swiveling his head to the right, he found a pair of gleaming wolf eyes focused on him. Satisfied, he looked up through the branches of some huge pine trees, searching for Hawkeye, but the sky was empty. Huffing quietly, he turned his attention back to the three men in front of the cave where Kevin’s parents were holed up. Studying his preys’ body language, he deduced that the man on the left was the leader, while the other two were carrying out his orders.
Gesturing with one of his paws to Ivan, Smokey pointed out the man he was going to kill.
Ivan nodded, impressed by the giant paw with razor sharp claws.
Suddenly a hoarse screech broke the silence as a Red-Tail Hawk dive bombed the clearing at the mouth of the cave, causing the men surrounding it to scatter and duck. Before they could recover, a thunderous roar froze them in place.
Smokey’s bear rushed forward, his paw aimed at the leader, his four-inch claws easily piercing the man’s back. Ignoring the ear-splitting scream of pain, he clutched his prize then, pausing for a moment, he tore the man’s heart out. Swinging around, he saw Ivan’s mountain lion momentarily incapacitated by bear spray. Smokey’s eyes glowed red with anger as he aimed a paw at the man with the spray, his claws sinking deep into his stomach, eviscerating him. Scooping out his victim’s guts and scattering them on the ground, he then moved on to the next target.
Though all three men had now been killed, Smokey’s bear was still in a frenzy. Anger pulsed through him, demanding further revenge against those who dared hurt Kevin’s parents. Lifting up his head, Smokey’s bear roared again, silencing the forest as he broadcast his displeasure. Finally, after several more bellows, Smokey forced his bear into a shift and reclaimed his human form, his body still filled with adrenaline. Opening and closing his fists, Smokey slowed his breathing, calming himself. Standing in the clearing, he surveyed the bloody scene before turning to Ivan. “Anyone injured?”
Smirking, Ivan’s eyes lingered on the bodies of the men lying on the ground. “I’m assuming you don’t mean them. In that case, nope, other than a few scratches, everyone’s fine.”
“Smartass!” Before Smokey could say more, he heard Elen calling his name. Whirling around, he ran toward the cave, his gut tightening at the sound of panic in her voice. Once inside, he blinked several times until his eyes adjusted to the darkness, then spying Elen kneeling next to Harte, he rushed over to her. Dropping down beside her, he asked, “What happened?”
“He’s been shot and I can’t stop the bleeding, Gabriel.”
“Lemme see.” After Elen removed her hand from the blood-soaked cloth, Smokey gently lifted it, inhaling sharply at the still-bleeding wound. With the amount of blood Harte was losing, it was impossible for him to be moved. Replacing the bandage quickly, he said, “Here, press down as hard as you can.”
“Gabe, he needs to shift now. His heart has already stopped once.”
“I know…” Lifting his right hand, he extended a claw before cutting open his left wrist. Waiting a second until blood flowed from the wound, he put the open cut tightly against Harte’s mouth. “C’mon Harte…drink,” he muttered.
“Will it work?” asked Elen, trying to hide her fear.
“I don’t know…he’s weak.” Reaching down, with his right hand, he pinched Harte’s nose closed, hoping the lack of air would cause him to open his mouth. Waiting for Harte’s survival instinct to kick in felt like hours for Smokey, who was running through other options in his mind. But suddenly he felt a tugging at the cut as Harte started swallowing his blood. Removing his fingers from the man’s nose, Smokey was relieved to see the rise and fall of Harte’s chest as his breathing became steady.
Harte drank for several minutes before Smokey gently pulled his wrist away, licking his cut to seal it. “That should be enough for it to work,” he murmured, leaving the part ‘if it’s gonna work’ unsaid. There wasn’t any reason to stress out Elen anymore than she already was, especially since she was critical to her husband’s survival.
Glancing at the man she regarded as her second son, Elen softly said, “Thank you for coming, Gabriel.”
“No thanks needed,” Smokey smiled. “Kevin would kick my ass if I hadn’t.”
A shadow passed over Elen’s face at the mention of her son. “You haven’t found him yet.”
Placing his large hand over Elen’s delicate fingers, Smokey squeezed lightly. “No, but I will…promise.”
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, twelve books later, Lord Manetu, 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
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Book Title: Don’t Mess With The Ex
Author: DJ Jamison
Publisher: Must Love Books LLC
Cover Artist: Morningstar Ashley
Release Date: July 20, 2023
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance, small-town romance
Tropes: Secret husband, second chance romance, fake relationship, forced proximity
Themes: Rekindling old love, being true partners, standing together, fighting for love
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 86 000 words
It is book 2 in the Rules We Break series, but it can be read as a standalone.
It does not end on a cliffhanger.
Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited
For years, I've lived by one rule: Don't Mess With The Ex.
For years, I've lived by one simple rule: Don't Mess With The Ex.
When Laurie and I got married the first time, it had been a speedy elopement at a courthouse. I hadn’t cared, beyond a flicker of guilt that my mother would be disappointed. I’d never been one to want a lot of fanfare. But seeing everyone come together for us—everyone believing in us—made my stomach flip with a mix of nerves and excitement.
Laurie and I are just beginning to get to know each other again, I reminded myself. All of this is a performance.
But it didn’t feel that way, especially when my mother stood and raised a plastic glass filled with champagne. “To Tucker and Laurie! I’m so glad you boys have found your way back to each other. I don’t have to tell you to treasure each day together after nearly twenty years apart.”
LeRoy called from the crowd, “Imagine the fun of making up for all that lost time though!”
Everyone laughed, and I turned toward Laurie, a joke poised on my lips. The words evaporated and my heart nearly stopped at the sight of him.
The man’s smile was fucking magic, his eyes glowing with promise. This wedding reception might be for show, but I hoped we’d be enjoying a hell of a wedding night anyway, because I was done fighting this pull between us.
My mother scolded us playfully. “I know I don’t have to tell you two to never get married in secret again,” she said, wagging a playful finger at us. “You’re just lucky Laurie is such a delight, or I’d really be in a tizzy.”
“She was in a total tizzy,” my dad called out. “Don’t let her fool you! I heard about it for a solid week!”
My mother waved him off, wrapping up the speech with something a little more heartfelt. “I’m so happy to be able to celebrate this night with you, Tucker. And you too, Laurie. I’m so happy to witness this new chapter for the both of you and to see you looking so happy.” She lifted her cup again. “Let’s all drink to the next twenty years that Tucker and Laurie will spend side by side as true partners. I know you two are taking it a day at a time, and that’s good. It’s how all the best marriages work. I have no doubt, seeing you together like this, that you’ve got a very happy life ahead.”
We all dutifully sipped our champagne. The ringing of a bell sounded, followed by the chant of “Kiss kiss kiss.”
Well, hell, I wanted to kiss him anyway. I wanted to kiss him every minute of every day. I always had, since the very first moment I saw him on Hunter’s lawn, but now I could finally give in to the craving.
I leaned in, brushing his lips with mine—and even with the whole room watching—sparks shot through me and I had to fight the desire to deepen the kiss. Laurie caressed my jaw, his touch so loving and sensual I wanted to drag him beneath the table right here.
“Awww,” my sister crooned, rudely interrupting our moment. “Aren’t you two just sickening?”
I pulled away with a little laugh and shot her a mock glare. “Jealous?”
She glanced at Laurie. “Well, to be honest, a little. Laurie is one fine man.”
“Hey!” Her husband, Rusty, wrapped a possessive arm around her waist. “Maybe we’ve been together all fifteen years of our marriage, but don’t even think about trading me in for a flashier model.”
She turned a killer grin on him. “Just making sure you appreciate me.”
“I could help with that.” Wes Potter strolled up, a flirtatious smile on his handsome face. He usually wore grass-stained jeans and faded T-shirts, but he’d cleaned up fucking nice in a suit that molded to his muscled arms and chest. “Care to dance, Julie?”
His stepbrother, Beckett, was a step behind him, a scowl on his cute, freckled face. “Don’t the grooms get the first dance?”
Wes turned with a shit-eating grin. “My bad. Laurie, care to dance?”
Laurie tilted his head, gaze panning up and down Wes’s fine form, while Beckett looked skyward and shook his head, as if he was not the least bit surprised by Wes’s shit-stirring.
“Don’t even think about it,” I practically growled as I pushed my chair back and grabbed Laurie’s hand. “He’s dancing with me.”
Laurie chuckled good-naturedly, allowing me to drag him around the table. “I’ll have to send Wes a thank-you card.”
“For inviting you to dance?” I asked in disbelief.
“No,” he said, smiling up at me as we took our position on the dance floor. “For making you jealous enough to go all caveman on me.”
“Shit, sorry,” I said, glancing around self-consciously. “I might have let all this go to my head.”
Laurie took hold of my jaw, guiding my gaze back to him. “All of this?”
“The celebrating, the toasts, the congratulations. It feels…”
Laurie leaned in to brush a kiss to my cheek. “For me, it is.”
He wrapped his arms around my neck, pressing close, and spoke in my ear. “No, listen. I know we’re starting over and you’re not ready to make any promises. But we didn’t get this the first time, and…maybe we deserve to enjoy it. Just a little? What do you think?”
I gazed into his eyes, full of love for me. Full of understanding too. I was still a little afraid, taking this step, but Laurie knew where I stood. He accepted me and my reservations gracefully, just as he’d accepted my rejection, as flimsy as it was.
Every step of the way, Laurie took me as I was, I realized, and was grateful for whatever I offered.
And it was time I offered honesty. He deserved that much.
“Let’s enjoy it,” I agreed, dipping my head to kiss him. “I want to enjoy every moment we have together from now on.”
“Good, then go fucking caveman over me anytime you feel the urge,” he said, eyes hot. “Don’t hold back anymore. Please.”
The note of desperation in that plea nearly did me in. The reception was far from over, and all I wanted was to get this man alone and finally relearn the lean, gorgeous body that I’d once known so well.
About the Author
DJ Jamison writes romances about everyday life and extraordinary love featuring a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, one snake, and a sadistic cat named Birdie.
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CC Bridges has a new MM contemporary romance out: Better Latte Than Never. And there's a giveaway.
Finn's love stories always end in death.
He's made millions writing as author Morgan Heart and his fans can't get enough of his tragic love stories. But a bad breakup results in a killer case of writer's block, and Finn needs to try something drastic to fix it, like. . .going to a coffee shop to write. There's got to be a reason it's a cliche, and in his world, cliches sell.
He shouldn't be flirting with the hot, younger barista. He shouldn't be using said beautiful barista as another character to kill off in his new book. And he sure as hell shouldn't be getting his heart involved, especially since he's still keeping his real identity secret.
Working at his aunt's coffee shop is a temporary thing. . . that's been going on for eight years now. One day soon Enzo is finally going to make it big with his art and move on. But when Finn walks into the cafe - confident, mature, put together, everything Enzo is not - he can't help developing a huge crush, even if Finn is a customer.
As their relationship deepens, Finn's deceptions and Enzo's insecurities threaten to undermine everything they are starting to build together. If they can each confront their inner demons, then Finn might be writing a happy ending for the first time in his life.
Better Latte Than Never is an m/m age gap, coffee shop romance featuring a slow burn attraction that grows steamier than an espresso machine.
Warnings: Mention of partner betrayal, death of character's parents in the past
CC is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:
Yeah, the cafe was so damn predictable. Except for this new guy.
Enzo downed his cake and tossed the plate into the trash. He should really square up with his aunt before she left for the day. Still. What if the guy left before Enzo could say anything? He’d make his rounds with the regulars after, but right now, Enzo couldn’t contain his curiosity about the stranger.
He threw on his apron and sauntered over to the corner where the stranger sat half-hidden behind a laptop. If this went wrong, Enzo could claim he’d come over to offer a refill. Not to, you know, see if the guy’s smoldering look when Enzo had walked in the door meant anything.
“Hey.” Enzo cleared his throat. “Thanks for coming to my birthday party.”
The guy looked up from his computer, those gorgeous eyes moving slowly upward in a way that made Enzo want to blush. His jaw was straight and covered with a smattering of stubble. Enzo wanted to rub his hands along it and enjoy the feel of the soft roughness against his fingertips...and in other places. There was an adorable sprinkle of freckles across his sloped nose. But his lips—perfect and pink and a bit too full for a man—were what made Enzo’s thoughts move straight into the gutter.
“It was my pleasure. Enzo, right? I’m Finn.” He held out his hand.
Enzo took it, squeezing tightly. Finn had a firm handshake, but his palm was soft and warm against Enzo’s. When he pulled away, Enzo curled his hand into a fist, wanting to savor that feeling.
“Finn? Is that a nickname?”
“It’s short for Finnegan.”
“Ah, a nice Italian name.” Enzo grinned and, happily, Finn laughed at his joke.
“What brings you to our cafe?” He winced at how terrible that sounded. Apparently Enzo completely forgot how to flirt when it was a customer he thought was hot. He could charm the old ladies like nobody’s business, but a cute guy? Nope.
Finn nodded at his laptop. “Came for the Wi-Fi and stayed for the coffee. And then the surprise party.”
He picked up his fork and stabbed the last piece of cake left on his plate. “This cake is amazing.”
“Everything my aunt bakes is amazing.” Enzo watched the bit of chocolate make its way to Finn’s mouth and the sensual way his lips closed around the metal of the fork. That shouldn’t be turning Enzo on right now, but God, if he didn’t want to follow that piece of cake with his own tongue against Finn’s lips.
“So what do you make that’s amazing?” Finn asked with a wink, and that was when Enzo knew they were in business, or at least on the same wavelength.
He could feel the blush creeping up his cheeks. “I don’t bake, but I do brew a mean cup of espresso.” “I’d love to have a taste.”
“You’ve got—” Enzo gestured to his own face. A smear of chocolate had found its way to Finn’s chin.
“Here.” He picked up a napkin from the table and brushed it away.
Finn took the napkin, his fingers tangling with Enzo’s for a moment. His eyes were smoldering. “Thank you.”
CC Bridges spent her childhood visiting other worlds in books, comics, and the starship Enterprise. It's no surprise that she ended up a librarian, being surrounded by the books she loves so much. She writes about amazing worlds with honorable heroes. Her hobbies include paying money to get locked in a room for an hour so she can solve puzzles to escape, along with the aforementioned reading. She lives with her husband and son on the Jersey Shore. She is currently pursuing an MFA from Southern New Hampshire University
Author Website: https://www.ccbridges.net
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/ccbridgeswriter
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/ccbridges10
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ccbridgesauthor/
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2780312.C_C_Bridges
Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/cc-bridges/
Book Title: Inhale
Author: D.P. Denman
Cover Artist: AJ Corza
Release Date: July 20, 2023
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance
Tropes: damaged lead finds love, professional model, learning to love again, blackmail, voyeur, private investigator stories
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 75 000 words/ 300 pages
It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger
Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited
What can you do when love takes you by surprise? Just breathe.
Cole Rinne is a model with an impossible problem. An invasion of his privacy ends up in the hands of a blackmailer and the details could go public any day. His only hope is to ditch the spotlight and hide in the shadows. Then he meets someone with a solution.
Gage Marx is a PI who specializes in impossible problems. He's used to solving the unsolvable. The only thing he's ever declared a lost cause is himself.
From the start, Cole's case holds more surprises than Gage expects. The most shocking is that for the first time in over a year, Gage’s broken heart is showing signs of life.
Their plan to wade slowly into love comes apart when an unexpected opportunity threatens to turn it all into a long-distance relationship. Will occasional reunions be enough to keep them together or will their separate careers tear them apart?
Gage woke to the jostling of his mattress. The shadowed figure at the end of the bed had him up from his pillow in an instant. He fumbled for the light on the nightstand, his heart hammering. One hundred watts burst into the room and Gage dropped his head back, breathing to the ceiling.
Cole sat at the end of the bed, still in his rumpled clothes.
"You scared the shit out of me," Gage told him.
"Sorry." Cole slumped.
The misery on his face silenced the rest of Gage's lecture. "It's okay."
"I couldn't sleep. I keep thinking about everything. I feel so…." Cole's face twisted into a smudge of anger and sadness.
"Violated?" Gage supplied when it was apparent Cole couldn't come up with the words.
"That." Cole nodded.
Cole kept nodding until the last word. "Oh, I passed pissed an hour ago. I'm whatever you are when you reach the molten lava stage. If I thought it would make me feel any better, I'd ask for a meeting so I could spit in his face."
"I don't blame you." Gage leaned against the headboard.
"I also don't want to be alone." Cole looked at him, sad green eyes and crooked eyebrows asking permission.
Gage stared back, searching Cole's face for a lust-inspired ploy to get into his bed. He didn't find one.
"Why don't you sleep in here?" Gage offered.
It was a mistake, and he knew it. There would be no way to maintain any kind of boundary after a night together, even if all they did was sleep. The alternative was to send Cole back to the couch alone, where he would sit in the dark, ruminating over the betrayal. Gage would stare at the ceiling over his bed, imagining him doing it. He'd end up back on the couch, holding Cole and watching infomercials until one of them fell asleep again.
"Thank you." Cole climbed under the covers and nestled into the empty pillow.
Gage turned off the light and settled back where he'd been, pretending he could see Cole on the other half of the bed until his eyes adjusted and Cole returned to a shadowed form beside him.
They stared at each other for a moment.
"I know you have your rules," Cole said quietly, "and I still want you working my case. I also think I want you as something more than that."
"Are you sure it's not because you're feeling vulnerable? I don't want to take advantage of you not having anyone else to talk to."
Cole reached out and rested a hand on his arm. "I'm not sure of anything, but I know what I'm starting to feel, and I'm pretty sure I know why. It's more than the case."
Gage covered Cole's hand, caressing his knuckles, using touch to mask the silence. It was more than the goal of maintaining a professional distance. He didn't think he was ready for a physical relationship. Not yet. Not in that house with a room full of similar memories right across the hall.
"Is there a way to make that happen?" Cole asked. "Assuming you want to."
The question wasn't new. Gage had already wasted hours thinking about what he would do if Cole kissed him again, digging for loopholes he could bend his ethics around. His only solution was to hand the investigation off to someone who would let him stick his nose back in it at will. No one could fault him for keeping an eye on a situation that affected a man he was dating.
"I could let the law firm take over. They'll be doing most of the work on it from now on, anyway."
"I don't want to take money away from you just so I can date you."
"I have other clients."
"People put lawyers on retainer, right? What if I do that with you?"
"I would hope you don't have things like this happening often enough to be worth that."
"This would be so much easier if you were a bodyguard or something."
"They aren't supposed to get involved with clients either."
"Sure, if you didn't mind me hauling you in for skipping bail anyway. Otherwise, I'd be aiding a fugitive."
"This is much sexier in the movies."
Gage smiled. "That's why they call it fiction."
About the Author
Award-winning author DP Denman wrote her first short story when she was eight and has been crafting fictional adventures ever since! You can usually find her with a cup of coffee in hand, contemplating her next story.
A covert romantic, she writes addictive, character-driven gay romance about damaged people who find the strength to put their lives back together. Her stories are gripping and dramatic -- guaranteed to hold you hostage to the last word!
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Lucas shook himself, sending water droplets spraying across the area. Forge threw his phone to the dock, stumbled to the edge, then dropped into the water, bobbing up and down, running one hand through his hair. The dust spread out around him and mingled with drops of blood. He ducked under the water and came up a few feet away. Lucas reverted to his completely human self and ran forward, grabbed Forge’s hand, and yanked him out of the water.
“Quit your whining. It won’t kill you,” Lucas said. He scooped up his shirt and pressed it to Forge’s shoulder.
“Ow!” Forge bellowed. “Where is that asshole?”
“He left.” Lucas sat back, snatched his jeans, and shimmied into them.
“And you let him?”
“Yes!” Lucas yelled. “He had more wolfsbane and a silver-edged knife as well as a gun.” He took a few deep breaths. “You’ll catch him; you always do. I wasn’t going to risk him doing more damage. He’s on a motorcycle, which was probably hidden.”
Lucas’s phone chimed, and Forge’s phone played the sixties Batman theme. Pulling his phone out, Lucas held it up to his ear and said, “I’m fine. The big guy is fine too.”
“I’m shot,” Forge shouted. “It hurts!”
Lucas scooted back a few feet and smiled when Declan said, “If he can yell like that, you’re both good.” Lucas grabbed Forge’s phone and tossed it to him.
“And now I’m soaking wet, too,” Forge said. He rested his phone on his knee. Taking a deep breath, he spoke more calmly. “Really, Blair, we’re both okay. We’ll give you guys a call if we need help or a ride.”
Lucas stood up and pocketed his phone again. He held out his hand to Forge and helped him up. “Lemme see that.” He took his shirt away and looked more closely at Forge’s shoulder. “It went through.”
Forge twisted around. “I was over here.” He moved to the spot he’d been standing in when the gun had discharged.
“What’s a werewolf from Scotland doing here?”
“Besides shooting me?” Forge paced closer to the wall behind him.
“Yeah, and why did he shoot you? He had to know it wouldn’t do much good.”
“Diversion?” Forge was running his fingertips over the wall. “Can you dig this out?”
“Did you find it?” Lucas followed Forge. He extended his claws and used one to pluck a bullet from the wall. Claws retracted into fingers again, he held his hand out palm up.
“Thanks,” Forge stuffed the bullet into his pocket. “We need to ask a few vampires a few questions, I think.”
Lucas spotted the odd little flakes he’d found and dropped earlier. He bent and picked them up. “Look at these.”
“What are they?”
“I don’t know,” Lucas said and shook his head. “They were stuck in the hull of the boat. They must have some kind of autoluminous property since it was dark under there and they shimmered.” He tilted his hand side to side. “They remind me of scales.” The flat, oblong objects changed color as Lucas moved them.
He and Forge looked at each other. Lucas stuffed the objects into his pocket. Forge pulled in a deep breath, took his phone out again, and placed a call.
“You alone?” Forge waited a few moments before continuing, “Grab Declan and we’ll meet you in Lucas’s lab at the station.” He disconnected, pocketed the phone, and nodded at Lucas.
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