Back Door Into Purgatory by Rory Ni Coileain
Rory ni Coileain has a new MM gay/demi/ace urban fantasy romance out, the last book in her Soul Shares series: "Back Door Into Purgatory." And there's a giveaway!
Sometimes Fae love stories aren’t what you expect.
The Marfach—devourer of magick, long-imprisoned mortal enemy of the Fae race—is free of its Antarctic prison.
The Demesne of Purgatory—Fae, humans, a Fade-hound puppy, a Gille Dubh, and a darag—is all that stands between the monster and the power it needs to destroy both the Fae Realm and the human world.
The only clue they have as to how to kill the unkillable is a cryptic note from the Loremasters:
“Osclór, Nartú; Tobar, Soladán; Nidantór, Breathea; Glanadorh, Coromór, Farthor; Scian-omprór, Nachangalte; Crangaol, Síofra; Gastiór, Laoc, Caomhnór; Fánadh, Ngarradh.”
Opener, Strength; Wellspring, Channel; Unmaker, Judge; Cleanser, Equalizer, Sentry; Blade-bearer, Unbound; Tree-kin, Changeling; Binder, Warrior, Guardian; Wanderer, Sundered.
As they rebuild Purgatory from the rubble the Marfach left behind, they have to stand together, using everything they know—everything they are to their partners, lovers, husbands. Everything SoulSharing has made them.
And not everyone who enters the final battle will leave it.
What if you could only be whole by finding and loving the human with the other half of your soul? The SoulShares are the sword of two worlds... and love is the shield of the SoulShares.
Follow this merry band of Fae, humans, a tree spirit, and a flatulent Fade-hound puppy that make up the Demesne of Purgatory as they seek magick and love. Celtic lore (with a twist), hot guys, terrible danger, and heart-wrenching love stories will drag you body and soul into SoulShares.
Amazon Series Link
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What was beautiful, in Lucien’s opinion, was the light in his Fae husband’s eyes as he studied the huge tank built into one wall of what was going to be the new Purgatory dance floor. Other clubs had cages for dancers; one the three of them had found in New York had glass-walled shower stalls. Purgatory was going to have the biggest mauditefish tank anyone had ever seen.
Complete with naked mermen. One of whom—because le bon Dieu apparently had a perverse sense of humor—was going to be Lucien de Winter.
Arms went around Lucien from behind, and a chin rested on his shoulder; Lucien didn’t need to turn, or even to look down and see the “Semper Fi” tattooed on one forearm to recognize Mac. “Ready to take the plunge, Fuzzball?”
Lucien grunted. “I hope the filters in this thing are up to spec. You know how I shed.”
A flash of white reflected in the glass of the tank was Rhoann’s grin. “Perhaps we should put a tail on you.”
“If the tail didn’t have hair, no one would believe it was mine.” Lucien couldn’t stay grumpy, though, not when Rhoann teased him. “But I think the two of you, not to mention our boss, are out of your minds, if you think our guests are going to be turned on watching me doing underwater barrel rolls.”
Rhoann left off studying the tank fittings and took Lucien’s hands, running his thumbs lightly over knuckles dusted with short dark curly hair; his slight worried frown was one of the sweetest things Lucien had ever seen. “How could they not be, laród-ar-Fuzz?”
Lucien found himself having to swallow an unexpected lump in his throat before he could answer. “I love you, too.”
Mac leaned around and kissed the side of Lucien’s neck. “He beat me to it. And I’m not even going to tell you how many guys used to come up to the bar and ask me why the bouncer wasn’t part of the floor show.”
Lucien craned his neck, partly to plant a kiss of his own on Mac and partly to glance at the new bar, the one the workmen had just finished installing last week, to replace the one Mac had presided over ever since Tiernan bought the place. The curved expanse, now taking up the whole back wall of one level of the club instead of being shoehorned into a corner, looked pretty much the same as it always had, from where Lucien stood. But no one had been able to figure out how to replicate the show-stopping feature of the original, the hellish flames dancing under the glass bar top, that seemed to go down and down into an infinite depth. Conall thought he might be able to do it with magick, or maybe Rian could, but nobody wanted to fuck around with magick of any kind near the great nexus, not with the way it and its companion wellspring were acting right now. Good thing he and his husbands had decided to try out the famed nexus chamber when they had—a half-Royal Fae in the throes of erotic overload was the kind of thing guaranteed to short out the entire wellspring network right now.
The fact that their new-found underground garden of delights was now off limits seriously pissed Lucien off. It wasn’t forever, though. The three of them could get back to happy business just as soon as they figured out how to kill the monster who had left him for dead behind the bar back in August.
Can’t happen soon enough for me. Lucien was a peaceable sort—as peaceable as a nightclub bouncer built like a hairy fire hydrant and married to an only-sort-of-ex-Marine could be, anyway—but he was looking forward to getting his hands around whatever was left of Janek O’Halloran’s throat and getting creative.
“I recognize that look.” Mac nipped at the top of Lucien’s ear.
“What look?” Lucien blinked. “And I could have sworn you’re standing behind me.”
“You reflect in the tank.” Mac’s chuckle rumbled against Lucien’s back. “At least for now—once you’ve been for a swim after we open, the glass is going to have... uh, palm-prints... all over it.”
Lucien couldn’t help snorting. “I repeat, what look?”
Rhoann wrapped his arms around both humans. He could do that—Mac was a good head taller than Lucien, but their Fae had Mac beat by a good four or five inches, and he had arms to match his height. “The look you wore through most of the bás i’gcuine last night.”
The Faen words Rhoann had originally translated for them as “war council” turned out to have meant something closer to “fore-memory of death.” The intent of the Demesne of Purgatory had been, more or less, to create the memory of the Marfach’s death before it happened. And, like pretty much everything asking Fae to behave in an organized manner, it had gone south from the moment Rian tried calling the group to order. It hadn’t helped that Fae who learned English magickally thought the word “brainstorming” was almost as funny as horseradish. Which wasactually pretty damn funny, once Maelduin had explained it to him.
Rory Ni Coileain majored in creative writing, back when Respectable Colleges didn’t offer such a major, so she had to design it herself, at a university which boasted one professor willing to teach creative writing, he being a British surrealist who went nuts over students writing dancing bananas in the snow but did not take well to the sort of high fantasy she wanted to write.
She graduated Phi Beta Kappa at the age of nineteen, sent off her first short story to an anthology being assembled by an author she idolized, received one of those rejection letters that puts therapists’ kids through college (Ivy League), and found other things to do, such as going to law school, ballet dancing (at more or less the same time), nightclub singing, and volunteering as a lawyer with Gay Men’s Health Crisis, for the next thirty years or so, until her stories started whispering to her.
Now she’s a lawyer, a legal journalist (and thus a card-carrying Enemy of the State and darn proud of it), an Associate member of the Order of Julian of Norwich, a proud mother, studying for her certification as a spiritual advisor, and engaged to the love of her life, and is busily wedding her love of myth and legend to her passion for m/m romance.
Author Website: www.rorynicoileain.com
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Shadows of the Past by Matt Doyle
Matt Doyle has a new lesbian sci fi mystery out: "Shadows of the Past."
Shadows of the Past is the new novella collection set in The Cassie Tam Files universe! Enjoy two new stories that follow PI Cassie Tam and her girlfriend Lori Redwood as they deal with the fallout from LV48. This book is part of a series and needs to be read in sequence.
A Week in New Hopeland
When Lori Redwood agrees to help out her girlfriend, PI Cassie Tam, by going undercover at a local shipping firm, she gets more than she bargained for. Her ‘boss’ Mr. Graves is a misogynist and a bully, and has been targeting one girl in particular. Cassie is known to him, and he tends to be cautious around Tech Shifters. Which means that Lori may be the best person for the job.
Will Lori be able to help Cassie gather enough evidence for the police to act, or will she become the next target?
PI Cassie Tam is not the only person who lives with regrets, and like most people, she just wants to get on with her life. But in New Hopeland, the past never remains buried. When she’s hired to track a stalker that’s been using some interesting tech to mask their identity on the city’s security cameras, Cassie ends up face-to-face with her darkest memory.
Can Cassie find out who’s responsible before her past mistakes tear her – and her friends – apart?
Warnings: Contains: bullying, stalking, a deceased family member, guns, and workplace harassment
About the Series:
New Hopeland City was built to be the center of the technological age. It was supposed to be a shining example of humanity’s achievements. A beacon to guide us towards a better future. But some habits die hard. Within five years, it had become a hotbed of crime and corruption. And now, even the police are sometimes in too deep to help. That’s where I come in. My name is Cassie Tam. I’m a PI. When no one else will help, I’m the one people turn to …
I roll over in bed and let my arm flop into the empty space next to me. Even with my eyes closed, I can tell the early morning light is beginning to creep in through the window. My slightly bent leg finds a long warm spot, giving away that Cassie hasn’t been up long. I instinctively grip the bedsheet where her body would normally end and let out a content sigh.
“Mine,” I say to myself and roll onto my back again. I raise my hands to my face and rub the sleep out of my eyes, taking in the familiar sight of my bedroom as I clear the cobwebs a little. There are other things to wake me up too; new things that are becoming more familiar as time passes. Smells and sounds I don’t experience as often as I’d like. But I have to be careful, gentle even. Cassie is outwardly quite rough, but she’s softer on the inside. She’s like an emotional armadillo.
A partial conversation from last night flashes across my mind, and a smile reaches my lips. I sit up and stretch, forcing out a yawn as I glance at the back of the door. “Someone’s borrowing my robe again.”
I grab my spare from the wardrobe and tie it up, then walk down the hall, through the living room, and up to the kitchen. I rest against the doorframe, watching Cassie as she carries on oblivious to my presence. After a moment, I say, “Morning.”
Cassie jumps a little and smiles my way. She pulls gently at the sleeve of the robe and says, “Sorry, I didn’t bring mine. I wasn’t planning to stay over, but…”
“Ink can be quite persuasive, can’t she?” I nod to the frying pan on the hob and ask, “What’cha cooking?”
Cassie’s lips tighten and her nose wrinkles, making her look like a cute, frustrated, pouting bunny. She taps the bowl she’s been piling the food in. “It was supposed to be pancakes. I don’t know what went wrong, I’m normally really good with pancakes. These keep sticking, though. And burning. Maybe I didn’t use enough oil.”
“Nah, it’ll be the pan,” I reply, walking into the room and grabbing some plates from the cupboard. “And they look fine, just a little broken.”
“The pan, eh?”
“Yup. That one never was much good. Everything sticks to it, no matter what you do.”
“Huh. If it’s that bad, why keep it?”
“Sentimental reasons,” I reply and start splitting the pancakes out. “So, come on, detective, see if you can figure it out.”
“The first thing you bought for here?” she tries.
I hand her a plate and shake my head. “Nope. Try again.”
“A gift from a relative?”
“Swing and a miss,” I say and start pouring us a drink from the percolator she’s been keeping warm in preparation. “One more guess.”
She shrugs and grabs two forks from the drawer. She hands me one as she answers, “You got me.”
We walk to the living room and sit on the couch. “Well, a few years back, I was woken up by this noise in the kitchen. It must have been about three in the morning, I think. Anyway, I started panicking, right? There’s someone in the house. Who is it? What do they want? That sort of thing.
“Well, we’d been covering some home break-in stories at work, and I decided there and then I wasn’t going to be just another victim, sitting scared in my room while someone takes all my stuff. So, I got up, and creeped up to the kitchen as quietly as I could, and what did I find? Someone going through the fridge.”
“Who was it?”
“I couldn’t tell. Between tiredness, the darkness, and the fridge door being slightly closed, I couldn’t see anything at all really, other than a silhouette. So, I grabbed the first sturdy thing I could.”
“The frying pan.”
“Exactly. I grabbed it, waited for them to step back, and swung. Bam.”
“Then what happened?”
“The woman dropped her milk and starts yelling, ‘What the fuck, Lori?’ So, I turn the light on, and everything starts slotting into place. I’d been out at a club and taken this lady home. Karen, I think her name was. The problem was, I’d gotten a bit drunk and, between that and the stories we’d been covering, I’d completely forgotten she’d stayed over and had gotten a little paranoid.”
“Was she all right?” Cassie asks, staring at me in disbelief.
“She was angry more than anything. That was our one and only night together, though. But yeah, so the frying pan is sentimental for me because it reminds me that one, I shouldn’t bring people home if I met them while drunk, and two, I’m not as much of as a wuss as I thought.”
Cassie laughs. “I guess I should be happy you didn’t think I was an intruder, eh?”
I smile and kiss her forehead. “You never need to worry. If I wake up and you’re gone, I’ll just assume you’re off dealing with any intruder. And even if I did somehow forget you were staying over, I can always tell when you’re in the kitchen in the morning. You sing while you cook.”
Cassie stops mid-sip, and her eyes go wide, peering over the top of the mug. “Diu. You can hear that?”
“‘Iris’ by the Goo Goo Dolls, wasn’t it? I mean, it’s clearly a product of its era, but it’s a good track.”
“Oh, no, no, no. You weren’t meant to hear that. It’s why I stop when I hear your bedroom door open.”
I tilt my head and frown. “Really? I like it. You sound happy.”
“I am happy, but…I don’t really sing…well. Or in front of people.”
“Oh,” I reply, a little worried now. “Sorry, I wasn’t thinking. I didn’t really notice you stopped. I always get excited to see what you’re making, so it never really occurred to me.”
“It’s fine,” she says, but I can tell she’s still embarrassed. “Anyway, it can’t be that exciting. I only use what you have in.”
“I know, but I don’t always bother myself. Usually, it’s cereal or toast if it’s just me. Work, right?”
Cassie’s shoulders relax a little and she takes another mouthful of coffee. “Oh, I get that. I’m the same at the apartment, really. I don’t usually stay here when I have a case on, so there’s rarely any rush for me in the morning when I do. I do try to get up early, though, just in case you need to head out earlier. I can make sure I still get something made for you then.”
I take a leaf from Cassie’s playbook and fail to stop the blush rising to my cheeks. If she enjoys doing it, I may as well tell her. “Okay, confession time. Sometimes, I buy a few things I know I might not have the time to cook. You know, to see if you use them when you stop over. I kinda might have noticed you enjoy cooking more than you let on. And, you know, I quite like what you put in front of me.”
I take another big mouthful of pancake to prove the point, and Cassie giggles. “Well, aren’t you full of surprises today?”
“Oh, speaking of surprises, it’s the Saturday after next, right? Your birthday?”
She rolls her eyes. “Yes, it is. Look, Lori, I really don’t want you to make a big deal out of it. Just something small, eh?”
I wave my hands frantically, spilling a little coffee on my knee. Good job it’s cooled down. “Absolutely. I promised I wouldn’t go overboard, so I won’t. We’ll do a stop at a café. And maybe a present or two.”
“No more than two,” she says, fixing me with a stern look.
“No more than two,” I reiterate.
“And a limit of one hundred dollars.”
“I know, I know. You never did explain why you don’t like doing too much.”
Cassie sighs and puts her empty mug down. “Okay, I guess I owe you that much at least. If you really have to know, my birthday falls exactly one week before…one week before the anniversary.”
Cassie’s dad was a cop back in Canada. He took a bullet for her during her last major case back there, and his death tore her and her mom apart. That was why she moved to New Hopeland. “I’m sorry. I knew it was coming up, but the connection didn’t click.”
She waves it away, and her walls come up a little. “It’s fine; I never told you the date. Honestly, if I didn’t want to do anything at all, I wouldn’t have told you my birthday either.”
“Are you sure?”
“Just don’t be a Nancy, okay?”
“My nan. She hated having a fuss made on her birthday, like at all. But she never told us because she didn’t want to disappoint anyone. It wasn’t until she was at death’s door that she finally came clean. Don’t be like her. If it’s too much, tell me so I can back off.”
Cassie’s face softens a little and she pulls me into a gentle kiss. “Thank you. It means a lot knowing you’d do that. It’s fine; just keep it low key. Anyway, I better get a wash and head back home. You never know when the next case will drop in your lap.”
She gets to her feet and starts walking to the door, but I can’t help myself. “An armadillo.”
She stops. “What?”
“Last night. You asked what sort of animal I thought you’d be if you were a Tech Shifter? Well, I’ve decided. An armadillo.”
“An armadillo,” she repeats. “Why?”
I gather the plates and mugs and give her a wink. “I’ll let you figure that one out.
Matt Doyle is a speculative fiction author from the UK and identifies as pansexual and genderfluid. Matt has spent a great deal of time chasing dreams, a habit which has led to success in a great number of fields. To date, this has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing multiple works of fiction.
These days, Matt can be found working on multiple novels and stories, blogging about pop culture, and plotting and planning far too many projects.
Author Website: https://mattdoylemedia.com
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Pat Henshaw has a new MM holiday romance out: "Making the Holidays Happy Again."
Blacksmith Butch has secretly loved his best friend, science nerd Jimmy, since grade school. Now their shops in Old Town Seven Winds, California, are only doors from each other.
They’re about to turn thirty, and Butch refuses to wait another day to make a decision: propose to Jimmy and start the family he’s always wanted or forget his dream to avoid risking their friendship.
Why can’t the choice be as easy as creating decorative ironwork in his forge?
“Okay, what’s up?” I sat on the bench with my back against the bricks at the Old Time Pub. “You’ve been pissed since last week.”
My best friend and secret love of my life Jimmy glared but didn’t answer. We’d known each other for so long that I waited him out like usual. I crossed my pumped arms and sat back, smelling my sweat-soaked T-shirt in the AC blowing around us.
The past summer in Seven Winds, once a Gold Rush town in California’s northern Sierra Nevada mountains and now a tourist trap, had been brutal. A record number of days over one hundred degrees had turned a lot of the shop owners into snarling dogs.
As the resident blacksmith, I took the heat as business as usual. So I was hot and sweaty? I was always hot and sweaty. The day I ain’t I was either sick or dead.
I figured Jimmy’s problem was more than the heat though. He’d been acting funny lately. Like he had something caught in his craw but he couldn’t spit it out.
Jimmy wasn’t looking at me, but down at his hands. They was long and thin, completely different from mine. I had a collection of burns and scratches, scars from the forge and the tools and all.
His hands was pale white with a bunch of freckles that went with the freckles all over the rest of his body. When we was kids, the tiny red hairs on his arms stood out almost more than his carroty hair. The bright red had changed as he got older and was now more muted. Me? I’d stayed hairy brown all over.
I tapped his hand with my blunt fingers.
“Whatever it is, you know you can just spit it out.”
He stared at me, and I swear his green eyes got darker. He was making me uneasy. What the hell was wrong?
“You ever look at your life, Butch, and ask yourself, ‘Is this all there is?’” He sighed. What the fuck? What had gotten into him? “Don’t give me that look. You’ve got to know what I’m talking about.”
“Sure. But you know me. Something’s wrong, I make it right.” Takes me time but I figure it out eventually. “So, uh, what’s wrong with your life?” I wanted to make a joke and laugh, but he was too damned serious. And Jimmy’s never this serious.
“I mean, look at us. We work all day in our shops. We make good money. We got nothing to spend it on but ourselves. We go out drinking with the guys on the weekends. Or we go into the city to a game. Or we go fishing, camping, riding around.” He shook his head. “But in the end, what have we got?”
“Fun. Friendship. I don’t know. Life?” It wasn’t much of an answer. I knew where he was coming from. I figured it was because we was about to turn thirty after Christmas and it was time for us to grow up. I’d been thinking on it a lot lately.
“Don’t you want something else, Butch? Something more? Something better?” He sounded desperate, like he was drowning and I wasn’t saving him.
“Yeah, sure. I guess. I mean, I want a husband, a house, a dog, you know, stuff like we talked about when we was kids.” I’d had it mostly planned out. I’d been saving my money.
I was surprised Jimmy hadn’t already figured it out. He was usually two steps ahead of me in everything. “Okay, I gotta ask. What brought all of this on? What happened?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve been sitting around thinking lately. And mom’s been on me to move out.”
His mother Hazel’s a character. She’s an old hippie with graying auburn hair and grass green eyes. Her face is a roadmap of lines cuz she spends so much time outdoors. And she worries. She thinks we need her to run our lives. We mostly let her think that even though it’s not true.
“She says she wants me to move out of the farmhouse.” Jimmy said it like it was a death sentence.
“So? Isn’t that what you always wanted to do?”
He shrugged, then nodded, reluctant like. “I guess.”
“Jimmy, you’ve always talked about living in your own place.”
Once I thought me and him would get together, and, you know, live happily ever after. But then he became a doctor of chemistry and natural medicine. I never finished high school.
“Yes, I know. You’re right. I’ve wanted to move out for a while now.” Jimmy sighed. “But this feels like her trying to push me out. I don’t like to be pushed.”
“I don’t get the problem. You know what you want already.”
He laughed. “I don’t like to be pushed by my mother.”
“So the Apple Festival is coming up, and I’m making some changes,” I said, moving on to another subject.
“Yeah? What’s up? Whare are you doing?”
“I wanna make the shop more family friendly.”
He looked at me weird.
“I don’t get it, Butch. This isn’t like you.” He ran a hand through his shaggy hair. “You’re making me nervous. First my mother, now you. Why is everybody so hot to change suddenly?”
“It’s like you said.” I hunkered down, putting my elbows on the table and spreading out my hands. “I took a look at my life. I figure if I don’t do something to get settled, it ain’t gonna just fall in my lap. The Big Three Oh is the first step to the rest of my life. If I don’t get my shit together, nobody’s gonna hand my life to me. I may not know everything, but I know it’s up to me to do it myself.” I shot him a frown. “And you know it too.”
He nodded and looked like dog meat.
I may not have solved his problem of moving out or nothing like that, but maybe we was finally on the same page. Maybe.
I was making changes. He had to decide on his own life.
She wants you to remember: Every day is a good day for romance!
Author Website: http://www.pathenshaw.com
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Welcome to My World