Book Title: Star of the Game (Stick Side #6)
Author and Publisher: Amy Aislin
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: December 27, 2022
Genre: Contemporary M/M sports romance
Tropes: Best friends to lovers, roommates, hockey
Themes: using your voice/platform for good, mental health, friendship, taking risks
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 94 000 words / 360 pages
It is book 6 in the Stick Side series, but can be read as a standalone. It's not necessary to have read the previous books in the series.
The previous book in this series, Two-Man Team (Stick Side 5),
is on sale for $0.99 on all platforms from December 20-January 3
Felix only wants two things:
Music was his heart and soul. It would never not be a part of his life. But he was ready for something different, whatever that “something” looked like. It was a vague, nameless something that poked at the back of his brain like a child lazily poking at a drum set.
He had tour dates and venues for this summer to firm up with his tour manager, and although he loved performing, the thought of touring made him slump back against the wall.
Twisting open the bottle cap, Felix chugged half his water, mopping up a drop that spilled onto his chin with the back of his hand. Fuck, he couldn’t wait to get home, even though Vancouver in January was as dreary as Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3. He had a house in LA too, in Playa del Rey, but Vancouver was home. He wanted to sleep in his own bed, visit with his parents and younger sister, help out at his mentor’s after-school musical theater program, and spend time with Emery.
His phone rang, and he pulled it out of his pocket. Well, speak of the devil. Emery Stanton read his caller ID next to a photo of his childhood best friend’s face, and Felix’s heart skipped a beat, an automatic smile pulling his lips upward despite his exhaustion. Felix remembered snapping that picture. “Smile,” he’d said one day when they—along with their other best friend, Kris—had been strolling along Vancouver’s Seawall a couple of summers ago, and instead Emery had made a kissy face.
“I was going for pouty and sexy,” Emery had explained, but the result was that he looked like he’d eaten a lemon.
Felix swiped to answer the video call. “Hey, Em.”
“Oh, hey.” Dark eyes flared in what Felix wanted to believe was pleasure but was probably surprise. “I thought you were still doing the show. I was going to leave you a message.”
“We just wrapped up,” Felix said. “What’s up?”
Felix waited out a whole ten seconds of silence where they did nothing but stare at each other. Emery scratched his bristly jaw. Felix sipped more water. Amusement tickling the back of his throat, he finally said, “What was your message going to be about, then?”
“Oh, nothing. I was going to ramble on about the latest movie I saw with the guys just so you didn’t forget the sound of my voice.”
The guys being his friends on his NHL team.
Felix rolled his eyes. “I haven’t been gone that long.”
“It’s been two weeks, Fe. You disappeared right after New Year’s. I miss your face.”
Felix did not let that go to his head—or his heart. This was just Emery being Emery. “You were in Winnipeg playing a New Year’s game, and then in New York, then Colorado. If I’d have been home, we wouldn’t have seen each other anyway.”
Emery scowled. “That’s not the point.”
“What is the point?”
“The point is that it’s the middle of January and I haven’t even said ‘Happy New Year’ to you in person yet.”
“Oh, the horror.”
“Sarcasm is unbecoming,” Emery quipped, quite primly.
About the Author
Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.
An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram, or sign up for her infrequent newsletter.
Social Media Links
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This week my featured books is a series, The Vampire Guard!
Vampires are cool. And they make awesome spies!
Being a long-time fan of James Bond (or any sort of spy/secret society story) and all things paranormal I thought a series that combined both would be great fun. The Vampire Guard is a spin-off from a paranormal romance/urban fantasy series, The Sleepless City, I wrote with wrote with Anne Barwell. As we developed our series we wanted our vampires, and werewolves, to be different.
In this world, the vampires heal extremely quickly making them almost super-hero like. They’re capable of surviving where a human might be killed. Then there’s the fact of their superior hearing, speed and strength.
These vampires don’t hunt humans and all vampires begin life as a human so as a group it’s in their best interest to preserve humans. One purpose of The Vampire Guard is to protect humanity and those who can’t protect themselves. While some of the characters are centuries old, they’ve adapted to changing times, some are proud of that ability! A poor farmer from the 1700s becomes a mercenary, musician then a detective with a degree in law. A boy born to nobility lives a life as a pirate, fur trapper then art thief! Another was a rabbi and Nazi resistance fighter, and yet another a humble seamstress turned international diplomate and spy. The list goes on! The Vampire Guard is multi-cultural and international and each character’s name and attitude matches their culture and time of origin.
Since these are espionage/thriller stories, The Vampire Guard employs high-tech tools during their missions. The characters use a combination of natural vampire (and werewolf) enhancements and technology to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. They don’t rely solely on their speed and acute hearing, however. At their disposal is cutting edge technology such as special holograph equipment allowing them to ‘see’ another vampire on camera. The Vampire Guard motto is Where legend and myth meet science and technology. Each book demonstrates that motto in different and exciting ways.
The Vampire Guard isn’t all vampires. Humans and werewolves have joined their ranks. A requirement for recruitment (you don’t join, you’re invited) is all the vampires are soulbonded. Since they can soulbond with humans and werewolves the skill set of the organization is tripled! This soulbonding makes each pair more than the sum of their parts and gives them powerful advantages as field operatives. It gives them abilities and attributes they might not otherwise have access to, such as empathically sensing their partner, or being impervious to vampire mind-control known as thrall.
In general, The Vampire Guard isn’t a romance, though there are couples, all established. The focus of the series is on a brotherhood of found family, friendships, and how four men come together and mesh as a team despite past histories, personal conflicts, and differing ideologies. Each member has unique skills: hacker, scientist, thief, soldier. They’re a well-oiled, snarky, and sometimes, deadly group of protectors and you’d better hope they never come for you!
The Vampire Guard is available in eBook and through Kindle Unlimited. The first two books are also in paperback.
Right the entire series is 50% -- each eBook is only $2.99! Sale ends December 31 so don't wait!
🧬🧬🧬🧬Welcome to The Vampire Guard, where legend and myth meet science and technology.🧬🧬🧬🧬
Vampires and werewolves live long lives. The Sleepless City saga might have ended but the story continues…
Warrior, hacker, thief, and scientist. Take a smart-mouthed werewolf and three vampires and The Vampire Guard's newest team is born. They get in, do the job and get out before the bad guys ever know what hit them.
Supernatural powers and cutting-edge technology combine to hunt down terrorists, thieves, biological weapons… and even fellow vampires and werewolves. The Vampire Guard’s eclectic collection of individuals possessing diverse personalities, backgrounds, and abilities, gives this organization it’s teeth —and they’re not afraid to bite.
When the elevator door opened, Forge bolted out, Sophia on his heels. Kai and Declan followed their lead since they didn’t take the path to the library but went in the opposite direction. Kai heard Ori’s footsteps approaching and it wasn’t more than a few seconds before he fell into step with Kai. Kruger stayed a meter or so behind them.
“Do we know what’s going on?” Ori asked.
Kai shook his head but that was all he had time to do.
Blair was backing down the hallway, arms held out in front of him. “Calm down…just stop and--stop!”
The vampire they’d locked in the werewolf room had gotten loose. He snarled and snapped, then he began screaming, and launched himself at Blair.
“Crap!” Forge spat and darted forward.
Declan pushed his arm across Forge’s chest and shoved him away. Ripping off the hood of his hazmat suit, Declan dashed between Blair and the man. A wave of cold hit Kai—it made him stagger sideways a few steps. Declan’s forehead broadened and his jaw elongated. He stood his ground, facing down the oncoming, deranged vampire. He didn’t shout. Only a small percentage of vampires could fully shift and when they did they could make a noise that would incapacitate other vampires. The wave of cold he projected did enough to confuse the charging vampire. He turned one way, then the other, and faced Blair again.
“Get back!” Porter shouted. He brandished a Taser and skidded to halt a meter or so from Blair and the man.
Forge recovered and ran to Blair, grabbed him around the shoulders, and pulled him away just as Porter fired. The Taser shot hit the man in the back, but that barely slowed him down. Forge and Blair slammed into the wall and Forge jumped in front of Blair a split second before the vampire whirled toward them and spat. Forge was still wearing his hazmat suit, but Blair had taken his off. Pink-tinged saliva hit Forge’s face shield, streaking the plastic. He growled.
Porter fired again and the vampire stumbled forward. At the same time Declan and Kai lunged at the vampire, grabbing him as he dropped face first. Declan returned to normal and caught the man. Kai quickly stepped up and pulled him away since Declan was no longer protected by the hazmat suit.
Kai took advantage of the vampire’s weakened state, caught his neck in the crook of his arm, and applied enough pressure to cut off his air supply and render him unconscious. Easing him to the ground, Kai stepped away, shaking his head. “How did he get out?”
“I need that,” Lucas said to Forge, stopping him from wiping his face shield clean. His shoulders slumped but he didn’t argue.
Endosymbiont is available in eBook and through Kindle Unlimited.
Until December 30 all The Vampire Guard eBooks are only $2.99!
Book Title: Deep Waters
Author: Thom Collins
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artist: Kelly Martin
Release Date: December 27, 2022
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance, thriller and suspense
Tropes: Murder mystery, small town, coastal romance
Themes: Secret lives, seeking justice, danger at sea
Heat Rating: 3 - 4 flames
Length: 61 740 words/ 262 pages
It is a standalone story. The third book in a linked Jagged Shores series but can be read alone.
It does not end on a cliffhanger.
Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited
In search of a story, he found murder and romance.
Author Christian Costner is researching material for one of his dark thrillers and Nyemouth seems like the perfect setting for his next book. The small seaside town has witnessed plenty of trouble over the years, and Christian thinks it will provide him with the inspiration he needs.
He hires local tour guide and fisherman Harry Renner to help him explore the coastline for a couple of days. Harry is knowledgeable and mature beyond his twenty-eight years. Handsome too, though Christian thinks Harry is far too young for him..
As the weather worsens, Harry cuts short their first sight-seeing trip. Heading back to shore they spot a figure in distress in the water. A difficult rescue is made far worse when they discover the casualty has a knife wound to his abdomen and dies before they reach the safety of the harbour.
United by the trauma, Christian and Harry find comfort in each other, but when another murder comes to light, they find themselves at the heart of a dangerous mystery and the target of a killer more ruthless than they could ever imagine.
Harry went to the bar. He didn’t know the bartender so didn’t have to face another barrage of questions about Niko’s death. “Two of whatever these were,” he said, holding up the empty tumblers. “Make them doubles.”
He glanced over his shoulder as he waited. Christian gazed into the fire, looking lost in his thoughts. What was it about him? Just this morning Harry had dismissed him as being far too old, but the more time he spent with him and talked to him, Christian’s appeal grew stronger. He can’t be that old, anyway, he reasoned. Ten, maybe eleven years older than he was. It wasn’t like fancying someone his dad’s age.
Of course, Harry knew what really drove this new attraction to Christian.
He’d learned from his time in the lifeboat how sex and death went hand in hand. He had taken part in three failed rescues when he was a member of the crew and afterwards he had always wanted sex. It wasn’t unusual. He’d even read an article about it—how sex helped people to feel alive after a clash with mortality.
Is that what this is? Do I only fancy him because we didn’t save Niko?
As he carried the drinks back to the fire, Harry realised just how much he did want Christian. They had been through a gruelling experience. What better comfort could there be than each other’s bodies? He didn’t want to go back to his flat on his own and wondered whether Christian felt the same about his lonely hotel room.
Fuck it. One more drink and I’ll ask him. The worst he can say is no.
Christian lifted his gaze from the flames when he returned. Their eyes connected and, just for a second, a hint of a smile. “Thanks,” he said, accepting the drink.
“Is this your favourite tipple? Whisky?” he asked, sitting down.
“Sometimes. It depends on my mood. But at the end of the night, when I want to unwind, it’s the best. I always bring a bottle with me when I’m working away—for a nightcap.”
Their eyes locked again, and Harry wondered if there had been a hint of an invitation in the last remark. Or is it just wishful thinking?
He had never been good at reading signals.
“What’s your hotel like?” he asked in a rush. “I’ve had a drink at the bar in Quay House, but I’ve never been upstairs.”
Christian’s brow furrowed in confusion.
Oh shit. I’ve judged this all wrong.
Then he smiled. “It’s nice. I’ve got a good-sized room that overlooks the harbour. Actually, it’s pretty great.” He sipped. “You’re welcome to come up, if you’d like to look around. I could also give you that nightcap.”
Harry’s pulse quickened, and a stiffness developed in his groin. “I’d love to.”
This morning he’d been so dismissive about Christian because of his age, and now there was nothing he wanted more than to spend the night in his protective embrace.
About the Author
Thom Collins is the author of Closer by Morning, North Point and the Anthem Trilogy. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.
Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonk-busters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age, but in 2013 he realized cruising is the best way to see the world.
Check out his website for news updates and a free ebook, The Night.
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Riece thought about stepping closer to Mason, which would encourage him to put an arm around Riece and share some extra body heat. Mason had always been willing and happy for any such opportunity, but Riece held back, not sure if it would give Mason the wrong idea. Then again, they’d just had very memorable sex, which probably gave Mason all sorts of ideas, and Riece wasn’t certain any of them would be wrong. The truth was Riece wasn’t sure what he wanted Mason to think. He could barely sort out what his own thoughts were.
As they walked Mason nudged his arm and pointed up. “Check it out.”
Riece stopped and gazed up. “That’s…. I wish I’d come to this part of the country sooner. I completely understand why you love it here so much.”
The sky had darkened to a deep purple-blue. With no city lights, Riece saw the Milky Way, a vibrant speckling of glitter arched across the sky. Brighter points of light dotted the whole area from horizon to zenith.
There are many more snippets to found in the
Rainbow Snippets Facebook group.
Gone Away is available in eBook, paperback and
through Kindle Unlimited.
A while back I decided to write more contemporary books that indulged my love of thrills and suspense and the idea for Run for the Roses began to take shape. I couldn’t find the right type of story or characters until I saw something advertised about the Kentucky Derby and inspiration hit me over the head. I love horses, what’s not to love? A mystery surrounding the Derby was a perfect fit for me.
I've always enjoyed an age gap in my romances. Wyatt is the older of the two MCs. Older characters have more experience in life, are more level headed and come at romance differently. They have learned a tiff or argument doesn't end a relationship and the real and true happy ending is spending years together, weathering the ups and downs.
The biggest trick for me was finding things for them to have in common. Val and Wyatt didn't have that shared time period growing up to fall back on and reference when they were getting to know each other. It was getting them beyond their differences that was the most challenging and I think most satisfying part of their relationship.
Each man brought different things to their relationship and both are old enough to have 'baggage'. Val is more insecure and like a lot of men his age judges himself on how he compares to others in terms of job, clothes, and life experiences. Wyatt has gotten to the age where he is beyond all that and has the type of security in himself that only comes after the age of forty. He's learned, in the way one only can by living through various events, that life goes on and there is always a new opportunity ahead.
Run for the Roses is available in eBook, paperback
and through Kindle Unlimited.
A killer romance!
Relationships aren’t in the cards for everyone and Vladimir ‘Val’ Mihalic figures in his case it’s for the best. When his best friend, Janelle, is seriously injured in a carjacking, putting her career as a jockey on hold, Val steps up to help her through the crisis. It's not long before Janelle’s estranged father shows up at Val’s front door and Val’s life takes a hard sideways turn.
Wyatt Harig loves his daughter, but an estrangement was forced upon them. After her injury, he knows things have to be different and he’s the only one who can make that change. Arriving in Kentucky he finds Janelle and Val, a kindhearted, alluring man twenty years his junior, neck deep in an elaborate gambling scheme that’s led to murder.
Val is a little happier than he should be when Wyatt stays and starts digging deeper for the truth about Janelle’s ‘accident’. As they uncover the events leading up to that fateful day, a solid friendship, and then more, blossoms between the men. Discovering the truth, which exposes conmen and murderers, puts their love and their lives, in jeopardy.
My Tuesday Teaser this week is from Run for the Roses, book 1 of Circles.
“So…I can be bait. Let the story out that I saw the whole thing and then when—”
“Oh no. Hell, no. That kind of shit only works in Hollywood. But it does mean we’re going to have to be observant and careful. Anyone starts nosing around asking about you, we’ll have to find somewhere very safe for you to go. I suspect the fact you were following is a detail the cops are keeping quiet to sift out false confessions as well as protect you. We’re going to let them keep right on doing that.”
“But people know. Rod knows, and I never kept it a secret until they asked me to keep quiet about it. People who work here know, and some at the track as well,” Val said. “Am I going to have to start looking over my shoulder?”
“You’re safe. I promise.” Wyatt leaned over and kissed Val’s cheek, then pushed out of the car and turned to wait for Val. “Can you find out what horses Marcus Paulle owned?”
“Yeah, sure. It’s public record,” Val said. He unlocked the office door and pointed to a hallway. “My office is down here. I have some stuff to do here, anyway.”
Once they were inside the office with the door safely shut behind them, Wyatt called Janelle. Val listened to him give her a list of warnings and made her promise to call the police if she so much as felt uncomfortable around someone.
“Not worried at all she might be in danger, are you?” Val looked up from the computer screen and at Wyatt.
“I’m her father—of course I’m worried. I really do think the chances are low, and I can’t do any kind of investigative work from the rehab center. She promised to let the administration know. No one will get in to see her other than you and me, and we’ll have to show ID.” Wyatt pulled up the other chair and sat next to Val at the computer. “Let’s start with horses Marcus Paulle owned.”
Val spent a few minutes searching the records before finding the correct document and bringing it up on the monitor. “Here are all the horses he owned.”
“What are these other names?” Wyatt pointed to the list.
“Racing isn’t cheap. It’s not uncommon for there to be co-owners. Sometimes they’re silent owners, like investors. They don’t have that much to do with the day-to-day racing operations,” Val said. “Paulle was a silent owner, or at least it looks that way.”
Wyatt pointed at the monitor. “Notice whose name keeps popping up with Paulle’s?”
Val nodded. “I noticed. Allen Stein. But Stein is the sole owner of Ramble On. I know that for sure.”
“Janelle said he had several horses. What about the others?” Wyatt asked.
Val did another search. “Looks like Ramble On was his latest acquisition. The others have, or had, silent owners. One silent owner.”
“Let me guess—Marcus Paulle,” Wyatt said. “Is that common?”
Run for the Roses is available in eBook,
paperback and through Kindle Unlimited.
Book Title: Kaplan Chronicles Volume 3 *Special Christmas Edition*
Author and Publisher: H.M. Wolfe
Cover Artist: A.M. Snead
Release Date: December 15, 2022
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance with a dash of PNR
Tropes: Forbidden love, second chance, found family, holiday spirit
Themes: Coming out, forgiveness, finding true love.
Heat Rating: 5 flames
Length: 35 000 words
The book is the third of a series that has to be read in order. It does not end on a cliffhanger.
Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited
With Cameron out of their lives for good, the Kaplans are ready to celebrate Yule, a time of spiritual renewal and giving thanks to the gods of their ancestors for the benevolence showed to them. Eoghan’s and Gwylim’s miraculously coming back from the dead, Aidan putting his traumatic past behind, Bennett coming home—these are only some of the things the clan is grateful for.
Eoghan and Phelan, now an established couple, have the approval of both families…except Niall, who still hopes to break them up somehow. Phelan has plans of his own; his fiancé is in for the surprise of his life, and so is the former elder of the Kaplan clan.
Carradine and Thorne, on the other hand, still hesitate to voice what they feel for each other, and Fionnuala is tired of putting up with her cold, arrogant husband, so different from her one true love.
Enter Graham, a ghost boy from the Kaplan family, who met an untimely death almost three centuries earlier, who decides to help the true soulmates find the way to each other’s heart again and enrolls the help of Gareth, Thorne’s son, and Methuselah, the resident ball python with a larger-than-life personality.
Gareth woke up in the dead of the night, the mighty thirst which overtook him driving him to the kitchen to quench it. Methuselah-the-python uncurled from the foot of the bed and followed the teen, hissing worriedly. There was no one on the corridors or into the kitchen, but the teen felt a shifting into the air and a chill ran down his spine.
Gareth took a small bottle of water from the fridge, twisted its cap, and emptied the contents in almost one go. Letting out a small sigh of contentment, he put the bottle into the trash can, then turned around to walk to the exit but bumped into something on the way. The object was emanating the same kind of chill Gareth sensed on his way to the kitchen.
Definitely someone, not something, he thought. “It’s freezing outside. What in the name of the gods are you doing in the snow and cold at this hour? You should be in bed wrapped in blankets, sleeping.”
“No blankets would keep me warm.” The answer came in an overwhelmingly sad voice. “And I haven’t slept in ages; I forgot what it’s like, but I’d really like to…” The one who spoke, a boy about Gareth’s age, abruptly stopped, then continued in a voice tinged with disbelief. “Wait, can you see me?”
“Of course I can. Blond, curly hair, beautiful blue eyes like the clear summer’s sky, a little shorter than me and also a bit thinner, and…” It was Thorne’s son’s turn to stop talking and vehemently shake his head. “No. That’s impossible. No way.”
Methuselah let out a long hiss as though he were confirming Gareth’s words, much to the other boy’s amazement. “You’re right, it is odd because you offered a perfectly accurate description of me.” The blond boy frowned. “Is this an expression from your time? Perfectly accurate? I’m trying to adjust and, since you are the first one I talk to in…”
“My time?” Gareth’s eyes went wide as a thought crossed his mind, making his blood freeze. “What time do or did you live in? What country?”
“Last I remember, I was seventeen in my father’s house, the Akedene Manor in Scotland, just before the brave, mighty clans were defeated by the English dogs in the Battle of Culloden.” The other boy paused a bit. “I’m Graham, the fourth son of Barclay Kaplan, laird of Akedene, and his loyal wife Annabelle.”
“I’m Gareth, the only son of Thorne St. Ives, a retired spy of sorts.” The teenager stopped to choose the right words. “What my dad does…it’s pretty difficult to explain to someone who is not from this time, as you put it.” The teen took a sharp inhale. “And I’m blind most of the time. I mean, all the time, except for now when I only see you.”
Graham gave a small smile and bent down to pet Methuselah’s head, causing the snake to express his affection through a long, soft hiss. “Is the sacred creature yours? Can he see me, too, or just using his senses?” He looked into Gareth’s eyes. “Don’t tell me you didn’t know snakes have healing and magical powers. Also, they are very wise.”
“I don’t know about other snakes, but Methuselah has quite a personality and sometimes he acts like he knows things, so yeah, I think there’s a drop of magic in him.” Gareth swallowed hard. “Back to you now; so, from what I understood, you are a ghost, right?” When the other boy nodded, he continued. “How did you end up in this situation?”
About the Author
H.M. lives with the coolest Mom in the Universe and a fat, gay, submissive tomcat. She loves writing stories about boys and men who love, cherish, respect and protect other boys and men.
Social Media Links
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your choice of book from The Kaplan Chronicles series (10 winners)
Chad Grayson has a new space opera romance out, Broken Stars book 4: Between the Sacred Stars. And there's a giveaway.
Journalist Will Corwin and Doctor Amelia Warren have been apart for a month, while Will finishes building the school in honor of Father Morgan, the priest killed by hybrid alien terrorist Nod Corvus. But things get complicated when Amelia’s ex-boyfriend shows up out of the blue with an offer…he knows where Amelia’s father is—the man they need to find so that Will and Amelia can adopt Amelia’s younger brother, Jonah-- but what does he want in exchange for the information? What will they be willing to give him?
Thus begins a star-spanning chapter for Will and Amelia. First, they must find Thomas Warren, and serve him notice about the adoption. But what will he require in exchange for his consent? And when they return to Amara, and to the village of Burden, a threat from the past reaches out to try and destroy Will once more and jeopardizes the entire building project. There’s also the wedding of Will’s sister Natalie, and her longtime girlfriend, Jada. It’s the event of the year and will be Amelia and Jonah’s introduction to the life that awaits them as members of House Sinclair. But dark forces conspire to threaten the wedding, and the lives of all who attend.
Can Will navigate the demands of his family, and find a comfortable place for himself within it? Will Amelia be welcomed into the society of the Twelve Houses? Can their love survive the challenges that threaten to tear them apart? When the worst happens, who will be left standing?
Between the Sacred Stars is the book that changes everything. Life for Will and Amelia will never be the same.
One person will win all three of the previous titles in the “Broken Stars” series in paperback.
Will brought his cameras back from where they had been swooping over the chanting crowd and focused them on the line of police. If this was going to get out of hand, it would probably start with them. They were coming back down the steps now, approaching the crowd. At first, they seemed content to watch and wait. But even Will had to admit the crowd was getting to be too much to handle. Hundreds of people were approaching the CMPD, some shouting at them.
They tensed, forming their line, holding it. The crowd vented itself, then people started walking away. Elsewhere in the plaza, Will could hear shouting. Fights were breaking out, but Will had no sense of what the cause was or how many were involved. Probably just drunk people with no focused outlet, taking out their malfunctions on the passersby.
Will returned his attention to the police. They were standing, looking ready to pounce at the first sign of a threat. Someone, threw a bottle. It shattered against one of the police shields. The cops looked at each other, and apparently, this had been all the signal they needed. They pressed forward, into the crowd, pushing with their shields, batons out, smashing the heads of the people closest to them. Some in the crowd started to scream and run the other way, others surged forward. But the cops were angry now, and they were giving no quarter. Will filmed as they fought the crowd, spilling blood, knocking people to the ground and roughly stepping over them.
One of them suddenly saw Will standing there. Hal took a defensive position in front of him, but Will pushed him back. “Whatever you do,” Will said, “don’t draw your weapon. They will shoot both of us.”
Hal took his advice as the nearest police officer leaned into Will, pointing at his cameras.
“You filming this?” he snarled.
As calmly as he could, Will said, “I’m Will Corwin, with INA, and yes, I am filming this.”
“Turn your cameras off!” The police officer shouted into his face.
“Sorry, I don’t think I will,” Will said. Hal was getting in front of him now, sensing something was about to happen. The cop surged forward, around Hal, and grabbed Will by the arm, yanking him forward. Will dropped the compad in his hand, and the officer grabbed it, throwing it as hard as he could at the stone of the plaza, then finishing the work by bashing it into pieces with his baton.
Will didn’t tell him the footage had already been backed up on INA’s servers. But the cop wasn’t done. He threw Will to the ground, and a couple of his fellows joined him, kicking at Will, their batons raining blows down around his head and shoulders.
Hal threw himself on top of Will now, his arms up, taking the blows for him. But the officers did not let up; they kept hitting Hal and Will. As Hal brought his right arm up to block the blows, Will heard a sickening crack. Hal cried out and dropped his arm. The cops surrounded them now, four of them. They hauled Will to his feet, grabbed hold of Hal, and marched both of them out of the plaza. The pain in his head was so intense that Will thought he might lose consciousness. He tried to keep track of Hal, but his vision was blurry with pain and blood.
The demonstration had devolved into a full-on riot. Will stumbled as the cops led him and Hal away, tossing them in the back of a police wagon, along with several others. Hal’s face was white with pain, his breath coming in ragged pants.
“How badly are you hurt?” Will asked as the wagon filled with prisoners, pushing Will and Hal farther into the back.
“Not sure, but I’ve been better, got to admit,” Hal said, through gritted teeth.
As the wagon filled up, the doors closed behind them, submerging them in darkness. Will leaned close to Hal to whisper, “Sorry I got you into this.”
“You were doing your job,” Hal said. “I’m doing mine.”
“Well, I’m pretty sure we’re being arrested. You have your compad?”
“So, we’ll have to hope they give us a phone call, so I can call Hana and get our lawyers on this.”
The police wagon was moving now, launching itself over the curbs to instead travel on the wide sidewalks. Will settled back in his seat, trying to concentrate on something besides the pain in his head and the sound of Hal’s ragged breathing in his ear.
Chad Grayson has worked as a phone service rep for various tech companies, a gas station attendant, a middle school language arts and history teacher, and even spent one night cutting the mold off the cheese at the cheese factory.
He currently works part time at the local library, and spends the rest of his time writing, reading, hiking, gaming, painting miniatures, and binge-watching Netflix. His superpowers are procrastination and dyscalculia.
He lives near his children in Cottonwood, California, with an assortment of pets including a very bossy cat. He is an associate member of SFWA. You can find him online at chadgrayson.com, on twitter as @chadgrayson, and on tumblr as @therandomavenger.
Author Website: https://www.chadgrayson.com
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