J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out, the final book in his Liminal Sky trilogy: "The Shoreless Sea." And books one and two are on sale!
As the epic trilogy hurtles toward its conclusion, the fight for the future isn’t over yet. It could lead to a new beginning, or it might spell the end for the last vestiges of humankind.
The generation ship Forever has left Earth behind, but a piece of the old civilization lives on in the Inthworld—a virtual realm that retains memories of Earth's technological wonders and vices. A being named Lilith leads the uprising, and if she succeeds in setting its inhabitants free, they could destroy Forever.
But during the generation ship's decades-long voyage, humanity has evolved. Liminals with the ability to connect with the world mind and the Inthworld provide a glimmer of hope. They'll have to face not only Lilith’s minions, but also the mistrust of their own kind and persecution from a new government as homotypicals continue to fear what they can't understand.
The invasion must be stopped, the Inthworld must be healed, and the people of Forever must let go of their past and embrace what they’re meant to become.
Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs. At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.
The eBook for book one in the Liminal Sky trilogy, "The Stark Divide," is just 99¢, and book two, "The Rising Tide," is $1.99 at all vendors:
Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour, along with three eBook sets of his Oberon Cycle trilogy. For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:
Kiryn Hammond-Clarke floated in the darkness of space, stars he’d never seen in person twinkling against the velvety black depths.
The voice came to him from out of nowhere. “Can anyone hear me?”
In his dreams, he could hear. Like when Belynn let him ride in her mind.
The voice repeated, sounding stretched and thin. “Is anyone out there?”
In the distance, a single star glowed brighter than all the others, though it was still just a small golden dot.
Kiryn reached out toward the light, his hand naked to the cold of the void.
Ice crystals formed on his arm, hardening it in place. The cold reached into his bones like knives of frozen glass. It raced up his bicep, the burning cold fire of the void.
He snatched back his arm, but he was too late. The freezing grip reached his heart, and he screamed silently--
Kiryn awoke with a start, sitting up in bed in his dorm room drenched with sweat. He ran his hands through his dark hair, letting them come to rest clasped behind his head.
First Light flashed past in the trees outside his window, brightening up the room.
The world was utterly silent.
The silence, his constant companion since birth, was particularly soothing after his rude awakening. It wrapped itself around him like a blanket, a suit of armor, a barrier between him and the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
Between him and emotion.
He held his arm out for inspection, half expecting it to be blackened by the void. Instead, it looked perfectly normal. Warm and tan, halfway between his mothers’ sepia and white skin tones.
He shivered at the memory.
The bed moved under him, and his date from the night before sat up, his mouth moving soundlessly.
The man was handsome, a Thyrean sent to the university at Micavery for his higher schooling—long limbs, blond hair shaved short, warm brown eyes.
His name was Dax. Or Zack. Or something.
Kiryn’s lipreading was decent, but he hadn’t bothered to spend too much time learning this one’s name. Dax or Zack hadn’t seemed to mind much.
Kiryn pointed at his ear and shook his head.
The man’s mouth closed, and he blushed. “Sorry. I forgot.”
That one was easy enough to read.
He grabbed the piece of cotton paper and a pencil Kiryn kept at his bedside just for that purpose and scribbled something out longhand, then handed it over to him.
It’s Dax. And are you okay?
Kiryn stared at him. Did you just read my mind? Maybe there was a little Liminal in him. He laughed, wondering not for the first time what it sounded like from the outside. It felt clunky and awkward on the inside.
He sighed and took the paper and pencil.
Dax’s hand lingered over his for an extra second before letting go.
Bad dream. Class in fifteen minutes. He hesitated, then scribbled, Dinner?
Dax took the paper, and a grin lit up his face. His eager nod needed no translation. I work at the hatchery until six. Meet me there?
Kiryn nodded and grinned.
Dax slipped out of bed and pulled on his trousers and white shirt, the V-neck showing off his chest to perfection.
Kiryn sat back with his hands behind his head, admiring the view.
He leaned over, kissed Kiryn on the cheek, and mouthed, “See you.”
When Dax left, Kiryn grabbed a change of clothes and headed down the hall to the dorm bathroom. He hopped into the shower, using the aromatic red berry soap bar his mom and mamma had sent him from the Estate. The smell transported him, and he closed his eyes and imagined himself standing among the long, even rows of red berry vines that arched across the hillsides.
His parents worried about him, out here alone, but it was Andy who had insisted he go.
When Kiryn had been born congenitally and profoundly deaf, Andy and Shandra had learned sign language from the world mind in vee.
There were so few other deaf people in Forever. So few like him.
The day before he was set to leave for university, to catch the public wagon headed for Darlith and then Micavery, he’d had a huge panic attack.
His parents had sat him down along with his sister, Belynn:
“I’m scared. Why do I have to go away?” He was fidgeting, nervous.
“You have to go. There’s nothing here for you.” Andy indicated the Estate, where the family had built a thriving agricultural business on the backs of Trip’s and Colin’s earlier work.
“You’re here.” His hands signed it while his knee bounced up and down.
Andy shook her head. “This is our place. You need to go.”
He flushed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was such a burden.”
“No.” That was emphatic. “That’s not what I meant. We don’t want you to get trapped here, working on the Estate for the rest of your life. There’s a whole world out there for you to explore.” She looked up at Shandra, who nodded.
“I’ll go with him,” Belynn said and signed it at the same time, but he could hear her inside his head too.
Mom could do that, too, of course, but she had to touch him to do it.
“You’re not ready.” Shandra glared at Belynn and shook her head.
“I’ve been with Kiryn in every vee class since I was born. I’m only two years younger than he is. Let me go with him to help.”
Kiryn frowned. He wasn’t sure he wanted his little sister tagging along after him, cramping his style. If he decided to go.
Belynn’s hand found his, palm to palm, and he could feel her emotions. We can take care of each other. That thought was private, just for him, inside his head.
Andy looked at Shandra. “They could take care of each other.” She echoed Belynn’s thought and touched Shandra’s hand. Something passed between them.
Shandra looked at him and then at Belynn, uncertainty clear on her face. “We could… try it.”
Belynn squeezed his hand. “Yes!”
“For a semester.” Andy kissed Shandra on the forehead.
Kiryn thought about it. It would be nice to have someone close by, just in case. Someone who really knew him. “Okay.” And it would be a lot less scary.
Now he was here, and Belynn wouldn’t be far behind.
Where are you, big brother? Belynn’s insistent voice.
I’ll be back in a minute. He pulled the towel from its wooden peg, dried off his hair and shoulders.
A couple of the other guys in the dorm, Stave and Trevor, waved on their way to their own showers. Cute as hell, but straighter than the old antenna on Micavery’s village green. Well, except when Stave got drunk on red berry wine….
Kiryn grinned. He pulled on his trousers and shirt and padded back to his room. Belynn was waiting for him on his bed. “How did you get in?” he signed.
They touched palms, the emotions flowing between them and synching.
“Easy. Aric at the front desk is a sucker for a pretty girl.”
“Like I said, how did you get in?”
She stuck out her tongue at him. “Come on. We’re going to be late.” She tugged him off the bed, and Kiryn barely had time to grab his carry sack before she had him out the door and down the hall.
Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.
He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.
A Rainbow Award winning author and Science Fiction Writer’s Association (SFWA) member, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecitng their own reality.
Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth
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Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ/
What are ten things about Doug Porter that people should know?
M.D Neu has a new MM paranormal/alternate universe book out: T.A.D - The Angel of Death.
Tad loves bouncing around in time and watching mankind grow and change. He loves humanity and helping when he can. However, his job isn’t conducive to helping people. He’s an Angel of Death.
Doug is fun loving and a drama queen. Despite his witty exterior, he has a dark history and is prone to self-destruction. He’s also an amazing drag queen and hairstylist with big dreams.
When Tad pushes the boundaries of his duties too far, his angel wings are stripped away from him, and he is sent to New York City to live as a human. Lost and alone he ends up meeting Doug, and the two start a friendship that will shape them both and last a lifetime. But nothing is simple when you’re dealing with a former Angel of Death and a Drag Queen. Could these two cause the fabric of our world to collapse or will they manage to keep the future as it should?
Marvin is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this reveal and tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:
Doug glanced up at the big void where the buildings once stood.
How could anyone do that? All those people, and for what? Thank God, no one I know was there. Thank goodness, Garret’s train was running late. Even from across the river, seeing the buildings fall, one minute there, the next not, awful. Not knowing if Garret was alive or dead. The not knowing was awful, and it seemed to last forever. Then getting his call when the phones were back up. It was a relief. Still, the not knowing? Horrible. How do survivors do it?
Doug shuddered. He had to look away before he started to cry again. That day. The world wasn’t the same. How could it be? Would it ever be the same again? He swiped at his eyes, keeping the tears he was trying to hold back from dropping. He caught his reflection in one of the storefront windows and fussed with his blond spiky hair.
The months right after the attack had been hell for everyone. People from all over the world sent support and offered help. But New York was moving on, as it should. They already had seven different architects offering new designs to fill the empty skyline. Mayor Giuliani was doing everything he could for the city, and there was even talk of him running for president.
Doug checked his flip phone and picked up his pace. He was running late. He shouldn’t have spent the night at Tim’s, but leaving such a sexy guy was no easy task. Not to mention they might have partied too much.
I doubt that is even possible. You can never party too much.
There was a large group of mourners, and he had to step to the side to let them pass. He took a deep cleansing breath, pushing all thoughts from his mind, and started walking again. He rushed past the families and friends heading to Ground Zero. Now he had to hustle to make it to work. He’d gotten lucky no one he was familiar with was killed. Still, every time he thought about the attack and looked up at the twin lights filling the night sky, he wanted to cry.
Why President Bush didn’t blow up the whole of the Middle East after the attack, Doug would never understand. Instead, the president sent troops to Afghanistan, searching for Osama bin Laden and taking out Al-Qaeda.
Just as long as they find and kill the monsters who did this to us.
Doug couldn’t help but stop again and glance up to where the twin towers once stood. He quickly wiped at his eyes. “I need to get out of here.” He moved over to the brick façade and leaned against the wall as more people passed him, heading to the memorial ceremony.
“So much suffering and for what?” Doug mumbled. He started walking again, taking a deep breath and trying to avoid the crowds. A woman in a dark jacket passed him and bumped his shoulder, causing him to step closer to an alley. She didn’t bother saying anything; however, Doug thought she said something about his size. He caught his reflection again. He hated how everything made him feel so fat. Nothing he wore looked right on him. Even the baggy pants still made him look fat and messy. He would need to start at the gym if he wanted to continue dating Tim and keep up with his partying. He frowned.
At least I have good hair.
He played with the spikes of his hair.
“It’s my fault,” a gruff voice whispered from behind him.
Doug startled and turned around, but no one was there. He glanced over to the dumpster.
Sitting there, a raggedy black man, with kinky hair in desperate need of a cut and wash, stared at him. The man had the most beautiful green eyes Doug had ever seen. The rich tones of his skin really made his eyes pop, quite possibly the unkempt man’s best feature. The man was in shambles, and tears streamed down his dirty cheeks.
The anniversary affects everyone.
“I did this,” the man groaned through his sobs. “And now I’m being punished.”
Doug wasn’t sure what to do or say. Should he walk away and get to the salon? Leave what appeared to be the crazy homeless guy alone? Could he do that now that they made eye contact? Could he do that today of all days? The man needed help. The man needed a shower and clean clothes. Perhaps, if he talked to him, that would be enough…well, the talk and ten bucks.
That’s what Shannon would do. Talk to him and give him money. Shannon was such a kind soul, and I need to be more like him, more like he was. To honor him. Just like my drag name. Maybe Miss Enshannon needs to be more. I need to be more.
Doug’s heart ached at the memories of Shannon and how wonderful he was. When he picked his drag name there was no doubt on what it would be, but to honor someone you loved had to be more than using their name.
“It’s not your fault.” He knelt close to the man, still keeping his distance just in case. “It was the work of terrorists. They killed all those people, not you.”
“I should have stopped them. I should have done more,” the dirty man moaned.
“Oh, baby, no one could have done more,” Doug offered. Some people thought the government knew about the attack beforehand and the president allowed it to happen. Doug didn’t buy it. Why anyone listened to these people was beyond him, but they did. He just wished they would shut up and crawl back under the rocks they came from. They weren’t helping anyone, and in the long run, their remarks and comments only hurt people more.
“Now, I’m being punished. They sent me here and took my wings,” the man whispered.
Was this guy a pilot? Oh, that would be awful. I bet he was supposed to fly one of the planes, and he couldn’t take it. Survivor’s guilt.
M.D. Neu is a queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.
Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.
When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.
Author Website: http://www.mdneu.com
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/mdneuauthor/
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Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-neu/
Louisa Masters has a new MM contemporary romance out in the Joy Universe series: "I've Got This."
Derek Bryer loves his life. His job as an assistant director at Joy Universe, the second-largest theme park complex on the planet, makes him indirectly responsible for bringing joy (pun intended) to millions of people. So what if none of his relationships are that close? Everyone he meets loves him.
Except Trav Jones. For some reason, the visiting Broadway performer would rather Derek just go away. He appreciates Derek’s work ethic, though, and after Trav steps up when Derek desperately needs someone to fill in for his sick staff, Derek seizes the chance to convince Trav he’s not such a bad guy.
Falling in love while distracted by a murder at the park, food poisoning, and colleagues laying bets on their relationship won’t be easy, but between the two of them and with the magic of Joy Universe, they’ve got this.
Louisa is giving away a $20 gift certificate for Amazon, iBooks, B&N, or Kobo – enter via Rafflecopter:
He grins at me. “Can I use your number for more than just confirming dates?”
Heat climbs up my neck and floods my face, and I know I must be red. Christ, I’ve always blushed easily, but I spend more time red-faced around this guy than anyone else I can remember. “Maybe.” I meant it to sound flirtatious, but it comes out sounding more like a parent who means no, but doesn’t want to say it for fear of incurring a tantrum.
What the hell is wrong with me? I’m no Casanova, but I’m not a reclusive virgin, either. I usually have a pretty good dating life. I know how to flirt.
I pull out my phone. “What’s your number? I’ll text you.”
He rattles off the digits. I put them in my phone and then send him a text. The faint ding from his pocket tells me he got it.
The rest of the ride back to my resort is silent, and I’m pretty sure it’s my fault. Our conversation over dinner was so easy and fun—but my stupid failed attempt to be flirty seems to have killed the vibe. Is he regretting the whole thing? Wondering how he can get out of our date on Thursday?
He turns off the road onto the driveway of the resort, but instead of pulling up to the entrance, he takes the road that loops around the property to the four parking lots and the three other shuttle stops.
“Where—” I begin, but he interrupts me.
“Which is the closest parking lot to your room?”
Oh. He’s being thoughtful and saving me the seven-minute (no, I didn’t time it—the receptionist told me when I checked in) walk from the main building to the building that houses my room.
“The west one,” I tell him, and then we both fall silent again as he skilfully navigates along the deserted, mostly dark road. I rack my brain for something to say. How did this happen? Twenty minutes ago I was one half of an interesting, fun conversation. How did we go from that to awkward silence?
It has to be the idea of dating that’s turned us into mere acquaintances with little in common. Right? Until he confirmed that we were on a date, and I asked him on another one, everything was fine. After that, it all went downhill.
Wait… he knew all along that we were on a date. I was the one who wasn’t sure what he thought it was. Does that mean this is all me? Am I the reason for the awkwardness?
I’m saved from further introspection (although I suspect it’s going to keep me up most of the night) when Derek pulls into the west parking lot and finds a spot at the far end. The lot is pretty well-lit, but back in this corner there are more shadows.
I undo my seat belt. I’m almost desperate to get out of the car and away from this tension, but at the same time, I’m terrified that if I leave it like this, I’m going to get a text from Derek, canceling our date. What can I say to make it all better?
Derek’s hand on my face makes me jump.
“Whoa! Sorry, I didn’t mean….” He starts to pull away, but I grab his hand and hold it against my cheek. I like having him touch me.
Is this weird? Maybe he was just trying to get my attention and didn’t actually want to hold my face.
I drop my hand to my lap, giving him the opportunity to pull back. My face is hot, and I’m thankful for the dim light. He can probably still see that I’m blushing, but not exactly how red I am.
His fingers lightly stroke my cheek.
My breath stutters. I slowly turn to him. His face is closer than I expected, and there’s a soft smile on his lips. Even in the dimness of the car, I can see how warm the expression in his eyes is.
I swallow. His smile grows.
“I love when you blush,” he says. “It’s so—”
“Sweet?” I interrupt acidly. He shakes his head.
“Hot.” The word sits between us. Hot? Does he mean literally? Because, yeah, my skin gets hot when I--
Derek leans in and kisses me, and I get it. Hot. Derek thinks it’s hot when I blush. Really?
Also, man can he kiss.
I gotta be honest, the next few minutes kind of blur out. I’m too focused on Derek’s mouth on mine, his hands, his body—because my hands get busy too. The only words I can actually think are adjectives: warm, hard, wet, silky….
I’ve got my hands in his pants (and can I just say wow?) when it finally occurs to me that as cushy as Derek’s car is, it’s not roomy enough for us to fuck—well, not comfortably. I jerk back from his kiss. “Not here,” I pant. Crap, Kev’s likely to be back at our room by now. He was saying earlier that he was exhausted, not having had a day off, and wanted an early night. “Your place?” He’s gotta live in Joyville, right? That’s what, half an hour away?
Maybe we can get a room. We’re at a resort. I’m sure he gets an employee discount here too.
Derek sighs and pulls back, stroking my chest under my polo one last time before drawing his hand out. I miss it instantly.
Louisa Masters started reading romance much earlier than her mother thought she should. While other teenagers were sneaking out of the house, Louisa was sneaking romance novels in and working out how to read them without being discovered. She’s spent most of her life feeling sorry for people who don’t read, convinced that books are the solution to every problem. As an adult, she feeds her addiction in every spare second, only occasionally tearing herself away to do things like answer the phone and pay bills. She spent years trying to build a “sensible” career, working in bookstores, recruitment, resource management, administration, and as a travel agent, before finally conceding defeat and devoting herself to the world of romance novels.
Louisa has a long list of places first discovered in books that she wants to visit, and every so often she overcomes her loathing of jet lag and takes a trip that charges her imagination. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she whines about the weather for most of the year while secretly admitting she’ll probably never move.
Author Website: http://www.louisamasters.com
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/louisa.masters.31
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Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Louisa-Masters/e/B008YBZT0S
A big welcome to Ann Grech and congrats on the new novel! Ann was kind enough to let us hear directly from her characters.
A note from Ann Grech: In Safe Arms is my most recent novel. Ten in total, and my fifth inspired by a trip to Queenstown. This story means the world to me. Itâs more than words on the page. These boys truly have my heart. I fell for them the moment they started talking to me. Trentâs brash and angry and hurting. Angelo is like a balm, healing him. Trent doesnât understand how strong he is. It takes Angelo to show him. Best friends through thick and thin, their story is one of redemption and healing. Of kindness overcoming darkness. Of love strengthening the strong of heart.
Letâs talk to your characters for a minute:
Trent: âEh, not so much demanding as annoyingly persistent. Ann had it in her head that things were going to turn out a certain way and she didnât like it when I told her it wasnât happening. The first time she tried it, I was seventeen. She was all âIâm nearly old enough to be your Momââshe totally is old enough, never mind nearlyâ'so please, listenâ.â
Ann: âOld enough now, really? I used to like you.â
Angelo: âMamma mia, you two. Trent, please donât antagonize Ann. And Ann, come on, you know what heâs like.â
*Ann squeezes Angeloâs hand* âI do and donât worry, I was picking on him. He spent months not listening to me, so itâs the least I can do.â
Angelo: âWith Trent I only ever had one motivationâto love him. Whether that was as friends or as partners, that was the only thing I wanted to do.â
Trent: âI needed to overcome my past. For me, it was learning to love myself, to accept myself and to heal enough that I could become the man Angelo deserves. I try every day to become that man.â
Ann: âI wanted to give voice to the people who needed to see themselves in this story. Itâs harrowing. What Trent went through was the worst kind of terrible. It scarred him in ways that took a decade to overcome, but with the support of his network of friends-turned-family, and especially Angelo, he found himself again. He found love. Trent says heâs trying to become the man Angelo deserves, but he already is. Yes, heâs strong willed and opinionated, heâll always do things his way, but he has a good heart. Heâs a good man. He deserves the love that Angelo wants to give him. And, you know, Angelo deserves that love too. He puts his friends first and is always there for them. Heâll be strong for you when you canât be, and he loves unconditionally. Gentle spirited but iron-willed. He waited for a long time for Trent, and getting to experience their journey together was so special.
*Trent and Angelo look at each other and smile, before saying together:*
Trent: âMy life is nothing like I expected it to be. If I could go back in time and tell seventeen year old me what it was like, I would. Ann said my past was harrowing. It was, but I wouldnât change a single thing to get where I am now.â
Angelo: âIâm blessed. Thatâs all I can say. Iâm blessed.â
Angelo: âMy camera, an endless supply of cannoli, andâ¦ I donât know. A blanket?â
Trent: âPfft. Whiskey, limes and lube.â
Ann: âWhat, no sunscreen?â
Trent: âMaybe instead of Angeloâs blanket.â
Angelo: âTwo words: sandy crack.â
Trent: âFair call. Pre-mix whiskey and dry with lime, lube and sunscreen. Angelo can bring the blanket and food.â
Ann *laughing*: âAll the important things.â
Angelo: âWe cook together.â
Trent: âAngelo cooks. I make a mess, then I eat. His mama taught him so many of the family recipes and he loves to make them. Iâm spoiled because his food is like heaven. Simple ingredients, complex flavors and as Mama says, an authenticity that only comes with generations of Italian perfectionists who love their food.â
Angelo: âWe cook breakfast together whenever we can, Itâs our thing. But we spend a lot of time outdoors too, fishing and hiking.â
Angelo *knocks Trent with his elbow and smiles at him*: âWeâre fully stocked. All the healthy stuffâplenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, some handmade sausage from the local butcher and a leg of lamb that Iâll be roasting on our first day off together. Trent makes out that he doesnât know what we have, but he was the one who bought everything.â
Trent *shrugs and flushes red*
Iâm writing about two really fun characters now, Pete McKenzie and Scottie Pearce. I havenât named it yet, but the storyâs very different to In Safe Arms. Iâm enjoying stretching my wings while Iâm writing it. It is set in the Aussie outback. Scottie is a fifth-generation cattle station owner in western Queensland and is surrounded by strong, amazing women and an extended family of his station hands. Pete is a history nerd and an expert on the Australian myth that thereâs a reef of gold somewhere in the outback discovered in the early 20th Century, but unable to be relocated since. He believes he knows where the reef is and goes in search for it.
Ann Grech has a new MM romance out: "In Safe Arms."
When a damaged man stumbles on a second chance, itâs all too easy to turn and run. It takes a determined photographer to convince him risk is worth it all.
People deserve a second chance, right? How about a third or fourth?
But what if I canât even admit to myself who I am? I was truthful once before. I came out to one other person, and he left me broken and scarred. He destroyed the boy I was. I donât even use the same name anymore; I go by Trent now. But I survived the streets. I got lucky and I made something of myself. Iâm happy, sort of.
Itâs Angelo who lights up my life. Heâs my world. My rock and my family. Heâs always there for me. But I keep hurting him. I say stupid things, and I always keep him at a distance. Still, he knows me better than anyone.
And I want him. But I canât let myself go there. Not again.
Iâve lived in denial for so long and itâs killing me. In my weakest moments, I reach for Angelo and when he slips into my arms, I can breathe. Heâs my solace. Selflessly, heâs there and he never expects anything in return. No judgment, not even an explanation. Having him in my arms is everything, and itâs getting harder to push him away. Iâm not sure I want to anymore.
He doesnât date, but he deserves to be loved. Cherished. Then he drops a bombshellâheâs found The One. I wish heâd fallen for me. I need that second chance to tell him. I need to risk it all because in his arms, Iâm safe. Iâm me.
Warnings: violence, rape
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âThe cat youâre minding?â
âYep.â He nodded. I bit my lip trying not to laugh. It wasnât funny. He was telling me about some shit thatâd gone down that had upset him,but come on. How was I supposed to react? Heâd used needing food for the cat he was sitting as an excuse to get out of a date. And the catâs name was Dodge? You couldnât make that shit up. I snorted, unsuccessfully trying to stifle my laugh, and wiped my eyes, tears welling from the effort. Trent paused and looked at me, confused, and I couldnât hold it in any longer. I laughed and shook my head, holding my hand up to him.
âIâm sorry, I donât mean to laugh at you, but seriously?â I sucked in a breath, my side hurting because I was laughing so hard. âCat food? For Dodge?â Trentâs lips twitched, and I could see him fighting the smile. I looked at him again and laughed once more, nudging him with my shoulder. âYou didnât even realize how it sounded until now, did you?â When he shook his head and finally let that smile loose, I sucked in a breath, happy for a whole other reason. It was his story andheâd told it, but he was smiling andI couldnât help but take a little pride in that.
âFuck me. She looked so damn horrified when I said that, but all I could think about was getting out of there.â He chuckled and ran his fingers through his hair. âIâm such a dumb ass.â
âNah, you just didnât think.â I nudged his shoulder playfully, letting him know that it wasnât all bad. âAt least tell me you got the food.â
He nodded and sobered up. âI couldnât wait to get out of there, but I didnât want to go home either. Figured you would have been busy, so I stopped by the sports bar. Watched a footy match. Havenât done that by myself in years, and I hated every minute of it. Suppose I had too many drinks.â
My heart clenched, and I wanted to reach out to him. InsteadI leaned closer, my side pressed against his, and asked, âYou didnât drive home, did you?â I wasnât sure whether I was begging him or scolding him for being so damn stupid. If heâd been drinking and driving not only could it be the end of his career, but more importantly,he could have killed someone. And it was all because he didnât call me.
âNah, I walked it. The night air sobered me up pretty fast.â
Thank God. I let out the breath I was holding, relief winningmy emotional tug-of-war.
âSo whathappened yesterday and today? You just kept drinking?â It was none of my business, I knew that, but I didnât care. I needed to know.
âSomething like that,â he muttered. This was him shutting down. A noncommittal answer followed by either a subject change or him going quiet, but I couldnât do it. I needed him to be able to talk to me.
âLook, Iâm not going to push you, but maybe itâll help if you spoke about whatever is bothering you. Iâm here. Iâll listen, and Iâll do my best to help, but I canât unless you talk to me. If not me, then pick someone else. Iâm worried about you.â
âSome bad shit happened when I was younger. This time of year always drags it back up, but Iâll get through it.â He paused and added, âThisâwalking and being outside, spending time with youâitâs helping. Youârehelping.â
By day Ann Grech lives in the corporate world and can be found sitting behind a desk typing away at reports and papers or lecturing to a room full of students. She graduated with a PhD in 2016 and is now an over-qualified nerd. Glasses, briefcase, high heels and a pencil skirt, sheâs got the librarian look nailed too. If only they knew! She swears like a sailor, so thatâs got to be a hint. The other one was âthe lookâ from her tattoo artist when she told him that she wanted her kidsâ initials âBâ and âJâ tattooed on her foot. It took a second to register that it might be a bad idea.
Sheâs never entirely fit in and loves escaping into a bookâwhether itâs reading or writing one. But sheâs found her tribe now and loves her M/M book world family. She dislikes cooking, but loves eating, canât figure out technology, but is addicted to it, and her guilty pleasure is Byron Bay Cookies. Oh, and shoes. And lingerie. And maybe handbags too. Well, if weâre being honest, weâd probably have to add her library too given the state of her credit card every month. What can she say? Sheâs a bookworm at heart.
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