This week my teaser is from Electric Candle, book 2 of The Sleepless City.
“You guys have a dog? I love dogs.” Blair was out of the car as soon as it stopped. He wasn’t ashamed to show his exuberance. The realization that he was going to meet people he’d known for several years and thought of as friends was sinking in. “This is like going to Comic-Con and meeting all my gaming buddies.”
Forge had followed Ben to the back of the car and was helping unload the bike. He turned and glared at Blair. “Yes, we live here, and yes, I have a dog. His name is Moose. Let’s get something straight.” Forge slammed the trunk shut and started up the walk to the front door. “We have rules. Rule one, we don’t drink human blood. Rule two, we never drink dog blood or that of any domestic pet unless it died of natural causes and it’s an emergency. Rule three, and this one is an important one, we do not change animals. There will be no vamp-dogs flying around like in those cartoons.”
“Graphic novels,” Blair and Ben corrected. Blair added, “That was Krypto. He wasn’t a vampire.”
Ben laughed. Forge grumbled something and ground his teeth together. Their few moments of being at ease around one another vanished. Forge jammed the key into the lock and shoved the door open, stalking through. Blair followed, barely turning when Ben grabbed at his arm. Ben’s grip slid away almost immediately.
Something hard hit Blair in the chest, and he bounced backward, lost his balance, and landed on his ass on the front porch. “Huh?”
“When did you turn into such a wanker?” Ben snapped at Forge, who suddenly took on the appearance of a gigantic two-year-old chastised for stealing a cookie.
Forge pulled his lower lip between his teeth and mumbled, “Sorry.”
Ben and Forge helped him up. The arm Forge’s hand rested on for a few seconds tingled, sending a jolt of lust through Blair. The way Forge jerked his hand away and turned so Blair couldn’t make eye contact made Blair think he’d felt the same thing.
“What happened?” Blair demanded.
Once Blair was on his feet, Ben let go and rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, one of the 15 percent that’s real is you have to be invited into a human’s home. I live here, so….” Ben’s voice trailed off.
“Really? That’s what’s true?”
Ben nodded and pulled a face. He gestured grandly at the door, where Forge was hovering on the threshold. “Please, Blair, come in, and welcome to our home.” Ben leveled a harsh look at Forge, then slapped the back of his head when he walked past him into the house.
Electric Candle is available in eBook, paperback and in Kindle Unlimited. This month the eBook is on sale for $2.99, that's 50% off!
My snippet this week comes from For the Long Run.
Jay studied the prints and photos for a few minutes, shifting from one to the next before reading more of the descriptions. “And that leads to a what, not a who.” He flicked a finger at the paperwork. “It’s almost as if this stuff was put together by the same person—it’s that exact in detail.”
Eric nodded. “Yeah, I know. The anger of the attacker just radiates off these.”
Find a diverse collection of snippets in the Rainbow Snippets Facebook group.
For the Long Run is available in eBook, paperback and through Kindle Unlimited.
Lexi Ander has a new LGBTQ+ space opera out, The Valespian Pact book 4 (Ace, Demi, Bi, Poly): Cherish. And there's a great giveaway!
Saving a life can change the course of history.
Destin is torn away from his chicks and his bonded when the Terrens invade Aries 7. Experimented on in Terren labs, and made to work their mines, the GyrFalconi struggle to survive. Destin becomes their caretaker, endeavoring to save as many as possible, despite the emotional toll. Amidst the battle for survival, the universe shines on him and he bonds with not one but four people who give him a reason to keep fighting. When Valespia sends its Legions to the GyrFalconi’s aid, Destin and his bonded are eventually freed, only to face new cruelties from their own people.
Freedom comes with its own trials, though, as a divide forms in GyrFalconi society between the winged and the wingless. Destin and his bonded are given a chance at true happiness and they keep what they claim, no matter what.
Warnings: violence, captivity, experimentation/not shown, physical trauma, death of unnamed character/not shown, talk of suicide, suicide not on page, death of chicks when eggs go cold.
Amazon | Tolino | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Liminal Fiction | Smashwords
Lexi is giving away three $20 Amazon gift cards with this tour:
Dashing tears from his eyes, he finished packing a small but heavy satchel. Alaina and Paxx waited for him in the receiving room holding large, overstuffed bags. At least they were not flying any great distance. The door was open to the balcony and the sight beyond confirmed their reality like nothing else could. Transports large and small zipped between the tall spires of this residential quarter of Skylight. The buildings were hundreds of floors tall with every roost boasting a balcony or three for landing. Usually, municipal transports flew above the spires, but these originated from the base of the buildings where the personal transports were stored.
The aircraft were not the only traffic. GyrFalconi flew everywhere, either singly or in small flocks, and there was a lot of swerving and near collisions, the people too panicked to pay attention. A lead weight formed in Destin’s stomach and a sense of urgency whispered that they needed to hurry. At least his parents’ rookery was only a couple spires over.
“Stay close to me,” he warned. The fledglings’ eyes were round with dawning fear as they observed the chaos. Paxx and Alaina nodded vigorously.
Clutching the pack to his chest, Destin sprinted and leaped off the balcony, his wings spread as he tested the air for a wind to glide on while he waited for his fledglings to catch up. They carried more, so they dropped quicker and had to flap hard to reach him, their burdens clutched to their chests. Destin spiraled down to the building’s lower floors, hoping that the air there would be less travelled, and he was right. As long as they stayed above the storage levels, they would not cross many individual flyers.
A few minutes later, they reached his parents’ building. Destin searched for his mahen’s storage garage where she and his dahen would be waiting. All the bay doors were open and the interiors empty. He did not need to read the labels, since his mahen, Akela de la Zudora, stood in the opening to her bay watching for them. Her golden-brown feathers were streaked with a darker brown that made her look severe when her feathers were clapped tight to her crown. Her brown-ringed black eyes held a wealth of worry as well as a touch of fear, which abated when her gaze landed on them.
Destin circled around behind his fledglings and made them land first. Both immediately went to Akela when their feet touched the floor. She wrapped them in a calming embrace as she clicked her nose-plate to theirs. His dahen, Imrie, rushed from the transport when Destin set down. Imrie’s long, sweeping gray-tipped pink feathers were ruffled in the strong breeze that pushed into the bay. The pink contrasted beautifully with his ebony skin. Of all the Aries collectives, Destin thought his dahen’s feather coloring the prettiest. His own were red feathers dusted with the broody black of Aries 1. When he was much younger, he’d wished he had the pretty pinks of Aries 4 like his da. Destin had outgrown such vanities and he was content with his coloring, though he still thought the red and black was somber.
Imrie grabbed his face and clicked his hard yellow nose-plate against Destin’s. “Where is Dena?” he asked softly enough that the chicks did not hear.
Destin refused to answer, not wanting to bring to the fledglings’ attention that he and their mahen were at odds. Imrie’s blue eyes narrowed with comprehension, and Destin did not envy the dressing down that his dahen would give Dena when he saw her next.
His parents’ personal transport was a modest five-person pipit. Glancing inside, food stores were crammed into every available space, leaving just enough room in the back for Destin’s fledglings. They would be holding their overstuffed burdens in their laps since there was no other room to store the bags.
“I think we can make room for you,” Mahen said, coming up behind him. But they could not and still eat. There were questions about whether the sky-cities receiving refugees would have enough foodstuff to feed everyone. Destin would not have his family going hungry when there was a seat for him on another transport.
“Dena made arrangements for me,” he replied. Akela pursed her lips, sweeping her gaze over him and the fledglings as if to say, ‘yes, my son, I can see the accommodations your bonded has made.’ He forged on. “Speaking of, they are waiting on me. I am already several minutes late.”
His chicks made frantic noises. They were all talk about building a nest of their own, but here they were, not wanting to be separated from him. It warmed Destin’s heart more than it should have. Perhaps Dena was correct, and he was holding onto the fledglings too tightly. He wrapped each chick in his arms, reminded of how much larger they were when he tilted his head up so they could click their nose-plates against his.
“Do what you are told and help your granden and granhen with what they need. They will rendezvous with your bondeds’ families. Together, they will all work to keep you safe.” Destin waited for them to nod before he stepped away.
“When will you and Dena be joining us?” Mahen asked, pushing the fledglings toward the transport.
“The de la Bao flock are meeting up with some of their extended family. I will make my way to you once we stop,” he replied, hoping that the fledglings did not notice he said nothing about their mahen. The fact was that he did not know what her plans were, especially after their argument.
Imrie pulled out his data pad and demanded Destin give him the location where he would end up.
“I will come and get you myself once we have settled Alaina and Paxx,” Akela stated, her expression telling him not to argue with her. Destin nodded, saying hurried farewells to his parents before sprinting to the open bay door and leaping into flight.
He was not exaggerating when he said he was late. He owed the neighbors many apologies when he arrived. They were kind, patient people but the stress of fleeing to safety could make anyone terse, especially when waiting on someone who delayed their safe departure.
The weight of his bag seemed heavier than before, which Destin was sure it was just in his mind. There were more individual fliers clogging the airways. With great care, he dodged a couple of near collisions before reaching the correct building. The bay door was open, and Destin pulled up from his dive to land on the edge… of an empty storage slot. He double checked the name and number to make sure he had arrived at the correct place. This was where he was supposed to meet up with the neighbors.
Destin stared at the bare floor, his mind stalled for a few precious seconds as he tried to comprehend what it meant. Again, he double checked the ID to make sure he was at the right location, and he was, but they were gone. They had left. He was only a few minutes late, but the bay was not even warm from the aircraft’s engine, so they had been gone much longer than he was late.
Had Dena cancelled his seat, thinking he would be travelling with her? He could not imagine the neighbors leaving without him. They were close friends of Destin’s and if they were leaving, they would have contacted him, and there were no waiting messages on the data pad. If Dena told them he did not need the seat, then why did she not say something to him? Did she forget since they had fought? Was--
Destin shook his head, trying to clear his mind. This was not the time to allow emotional turmoil to take over. He would broach the questions with her later, after he reached safety. He considered flying back to his parents’ bay, but they were probably gone already, and he could not waste the time. He would have to fly.
A two-time Rainbow Award recipient, Lexi has always been an avid reader and started reading (secretly) her mother's romances (the ones she was told not to touch) at a young age. She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a notebook, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in North Carolina with her Yankee husband and her 80-pound puppy named after a vacuum cleaner.
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My teaser this week is from Scintilla.
Brandon swallowed, stood up and waved.
Hey!” He debated using the name Raul or the more formal, Mr. Fierro. “Raul,” burst out of Brandon’s mouth before his brain made an actual decision.
Raul stopped and turned toward him. Brandon’s heart sank when it appeared Raul didn’t recognize him. A split second later his expression softened and he offered Brandon a small chin jut before making his way to where Brandon waited.
“Everything okay? Your bike wasn’t stolen or anything, was it?” Raul asked.
“No. I was just checking out the town and saw you.” Brandon sort of told the truth and immediately cursed himself mentally when Raul arched an eyebrow. The man was a werewolf. That meant he heard heartrates change and could sniff out changes in body chemicals when someone lied. “I mean… c-could we… are you hungry?”
Raul put his hands in his jeans pockets and stood regarding Brandon calmly. He seemed to be studying Brandon, looking for something in his face or body language maybe. It was unnerving.
“Brandon,” he corrected immediately.
Raul nodded and said, “Brandon, look I think I know what’s going on here. What you’re feeling isn’t real.”
“I—you don’t know that.”
“Yes. I do,” Raul said. His voice was firm, kind and Brandon realized he’d had this conversation before.
Raul turned as if he was going to leave, so Brandon darted forward and put one hand on Raul’s forearm.
Scintilla is available in eBook, paperback and through Kindle Unlimited.
My snippet this week is from A Barlow Lens.
“Wyatt,” Kevin replied, voice tight. His gaze slid almost at once to Val, who’d turned away from the telescopes, taken a few steps toward them, and froze.
“This is Kevin Fells,” Wyatt said, turning far enough to look at Val. “Vladimir Mihalic, my fiancé.”
Val stepped forward, held out his hand, and shot Wyatt a curious look. Clearly he caught the fact Wyatt introduced him as Vladimir not Val. He smiled at Kevin.
Kevin looked Val up and down, shrugged, and walked to the bar. He snatched a glass from the table and a bottle of whiskey from the bar. He poured more than a shot’s worth into the glass and downed it, then poured another one. Wyatt resisted the urge to shake his head. Kevin had already smelled of booze when he came in, and his eyes were bloodshot.
“So, my brother is barely cold in his grave and you get yourself a brand new boy toy.” Kevin’s voice was so cold Wyatt had to make a conscious effort not to shudder.
There are many more interesting snippets
in the Rainbow Snippets Facebook group.
A Barlow Lens is available in eBook, paperback and in Kindle Unlimited. Right now the eBook is only $2.99.
Wyatt simultaneously squeezed Val’s wrist and brushed a kiss over his lips. When a shudder ran through Val, Wyatt’s arm snaked around Val’s back and he pulled them close together. “You do enjoy being caught, don’t you?” He held his other arm out with the tea glass still in his hand.
“Y-yeah, I—” Val’s words were cut off by another kiss. This one made Val arch his back and press his body firmly against Wyatt’s as his knees weakened. He swallowed hard when Wyatt leaned away, broke their kiss, and let go of him.
“We’ll explore that a bit later, I think,” Wyatt said. He ran the back of his hand over Val’s cheek. “But right now, let’s eat and I’ll fill you in on more details.”
All Val could do was nod and sit at the kitchen table, wondering how he was supposed to concentrate when the only thing his brain wanted to focus on was being caught by this man.
Wyatt retrieved his briefcase, which he’d left sitting near the kitchen door. He sat back down and opened the case, pulled a thick folder out, and set it on the table between them.
“I was wrong when I said the Nottings were in the wrong place at the wrong time and that they were innocent victims,” Wyatt said.
Val nodded. “Carol Notting and Marcus Paulle were half siblings.”
“And remember Janelle saying Charlie was into gambling?”
“Yes,” Val said. “He wasn’t very good at it.”
“That was just an act. The reality was he was very good at it. Or more to the point, very good at cheating when he gambled.” Wyatt began spreading papers out on the table as he spoke. “In a way I’m glad what happened last night happened. It’ll just reinforce what I want to do. Tomorrow I’m going to talk to the manager of the apartment I—”
“If you’re hinting at moving in here, yes. Bring your things and move here,” Val said.
Wyatt laughed. “I have to say I’m happy for the invite. When Charlie grabbed Janelle, I don’t think she was his target. I think you were.”
Run for the Roses is on sale until Dec 31 for only $2.99 for the eBook.
It is available on Kindle Unlimited as well.
Tim Rayborn has a new queer urban fantasy out, sequel to Qwyrk: Lluck. And there's a giveaway!
All Qwyrk wanted was a few winter days of rest of and relaxation in the small town of Knettles in Yorkshire, but of course, it all goes wrong immediately. She wants to spend time and with her young human friend, Jilly, but Jilly and her not-so-imaginary friend blip have just met a remarkable boy named Lluck, who seems to be able to bend events to his favor.
Lluck is on the run from some awful and obnoxious goblins. On top of that, Qwyrk meets a mysterious and beguiling woman, who's also looking for the boy. And in the dark, something wants Lluck for itself, but why?
Tim is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:
“I’ll be dead in a few seconds… or worse.”
Still, he kept running, plowing through snowy lanes, stumbling more than once on wet cobblestones blanketed in a thin sheet of slippery ice and powder. His breathing was furious, his heart pounded, and he knew he was running out of time. He sprinted back out to a main street and worked his way through thronging crowds of holiday shoppers, trying to hide in their numbers.
“Blend in, shake them off!” But he knew his pursuers weren’t interested in these people; they were only after him. He ducked into another alleyway, sped for the exit on the other side, and almost crashed into a padlocked gate.
“No!” He slammed the bars with his fists.
They were near; he could smell them, like bad fast food and garbage, with a hint of cheap cologne. But he tried pulling on the lock, and sure enough, it came loose. He laughed and opened the gate. Dashing through, he shut it behind him and relocked it.
“Have fun with that, you knobs!”
He turned around and there they were: grotesque, lumpy goblin creatures with mottled grey skin, bulbous noses, and large, pointy ears. They were mostly bald, except for some wiry black curls under said ears. Their snarling grins revealed bared, off-white crooked teeth. Beady yellow eyes completed the horrific ensemble.
“Well, well, what ‘ave we got ‘ere?” the larger one grumbled.
“Looks like a lost waif in need of some assistance to get to where he’s goin’,” the other replied.
“I’m not going with you, you tossers!” he shouted, defiant. He raised his fists in front of him. They just laughed.
“You gonna take us on in a fist fight, little boy?” the big one mocked. “That oughta be entertaining. Maybe I’ll even let you get in a blow or two in before I mash your pretty face into the pavement!”
“Oh, I won’t fight you, you miserable troll! I’m just getting ready.”
“Ready for what, lambkin?” the smaller one sneered.
“For this!” He threw his open hands forward in one jerking motion, and at once, both fell on their behinds, slid on the ice, and smacked their heads on the stones. They groaned, but didn’t get back up. He stepped over them (well, on them really, just to make a point; he might have even dug his boot heels in a bit) and made his way back to the crowds.
Once on the main street, he looked around and saw the town hall in the distance, with its multitudes packed in to celebrate the holiday festivities.
“All those people milling about; you can lose them there. Then get the hell out of here and head south.”
He paused, took a deep breath, and ran again.
* * *
“I do love a good festive celebration!” Blip announced. Resembling a bipedal frog sporting a handlebar moustache and a proper Victorian-style mutton chop beard, he strolled along the pavement in his Regency riding boots, while swinging an ornate walking stick, every so often accidentally hitting a passerby and eliciting an astonished yelp. A red, woolen scarf wrapped snugly around his short, froggy neck completed the ensemble.
“I love it too! It’s so much grander than the one in Knettles,” Jilly Pleeth said in a hushed voice. She looked down at him, quite grateful that a magical two-foot creature who liked to expound on nineteenth-century philosophy couldn’t be seen or heard by anyone over the age of thirteen, give or take a bit. Of course, there were plenty of children about, a few of whom gasped and stared; but most ignored him, being far more fascinated by the lights of the Leeds Christmas market, the aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate, the sounds of carols and stall hawkers, and the general merriment of the season. It was all rather like one of those displays in a department store window, but larger, louder, and less garish.
“We’ll have to keep an eye on the time, though,” she continued. “I need to meet mum and dad back at the train station in about an hour. They’ll be done with their stupid real estate meeting and keen to get back home before it gets too dark.”
“Come, come, my dear, no need to be so reserved, at least not in this instance! It’s the holidays, and the day of your birth is also upon us—twelve years!—so just this once, it is entirely satisfactory that we kick up our proverbial heels and live a bit. The holiday market is splendidly arrayed in front of us, a fine old tradition that I am glad to see being kept alive. So, throw caution to the wind, and embrace the revelry!”
“Oh, it’s not that,” she whispered. “It’s just, since most people can’t see you, I look like I’m talking to myself, like I’m a bit mad.”
“Hm, well yes, I do suppose that could cause some to think that you are a suitable candidate for admission to Bedlam, but again, this is the time for inversions of the social order in a controlled way, don’t you know? The Feast of Fools! The Boy Bishop! Saturnalian silliness! So I say, let them think that you are singularly odd and be done with it! And other children can see me, so what does it matter?”
“Yeah, but they probably just think you’re one of Father Christmas’s elves, anyway,” she said with an impish grin.
“Do not mention that reprobate in my company!” Blip admonished. “You know very well that the Father Christmas affair is a bone of contention with me!”
“Are you ever going to tell me what happened between you two?” she asked.
“A gentleman does not duel and tell, I’m afraid.”
“You fought a duel with Father Christmas?”
Tim Rayborn is a writer and internationally acclaimed musician. He plays dozens of unusual instruments that many people of have never heard of and often can't pronounce, including medieval instrument reconstructions and folk instruments from Northern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East. He has appeared on over forty recordings, and his wanderings and tours have taken him across the US, all over Europe, to Canada and Australia, and to such romantic locations as Marrakech, Istanbul, Renaissance chateaux, medieval churches, and high school gymnasiums.
On the writing side of things, Tim lived in England for nearly seven years and has a PhD from the University of Leeds. He has written books and magazine articles about music, the arts, history, and business. He currently lives amid many books, antique music reproduction devices (that is, CDs), and instruments, and with a demanding cat. He's also rather enthusiastic about good wines, single-malt Scotch, and cooking excellent food.
Author Website: https://www.timrayborn.com
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Riece was rifling through the bear bag. “Our canteen is here, filled with water. The first aid kit,” he said and pulled it out and dropped it on the ground beside his leg. “Our phones are gone.”
Mason opened the first aid kit and took Riece’s arm. “It was a long shot that they’d leave our stuff alone.” He took alcohol wipes from the kit and tore them open. “They obviously found our camp and probably reasoned we’d go back there for supplies and communications.” Mason wiped the gash on Riece’s arm clean.
Riece sucked in a harsh breath and hissed, then bit down on his lip. Mason ran one hand through his hair and said softly, “Sorry.” He smoothed a Telfa pad over the wound and used some gauze wrapped around Riece’s arm to make sure it stayed there. “That’ll do for now and keep you from attracting a curious bear.” When Riece chuckled Mason looked at him and frowned. “That wasn’t a joke.”
“It still was kind of funny,” Riece said.
“Okay. Yeah, it was.” Mason gathered the wipes and packaging and stuffed it all back into the bear bag. Mason gave in to the urge to pull Riece into a tight hug for a moment. He reluctantly let go a few seconds later and took some deep breaths. “They want us out in the open. There are more caves on the other side of the hills and also a road another few miles beyond that. Tyler shortcuts down it a lot when he’s running late on his deliveries.”
Mason nodded. “I think so. If Tyler uses that road, it’s reasonable to think other people do as well.” He pulled two sealed bottles of water from the bear bag. “Looks like they left us a gift.” Mason handed one off to Riece. He cracked open the other and took a drink from it. The canteen was full, but that water he dumped out. When Riece raised his eyebrows, Mason explained, “Let’s not trust that they didn’t put something in here our purifiers won’t take care of.”
“Maybe. These are still sealed, and I’m guessing that was to encourage us to think the canteen wasn’t tampered with,” Mason said. He scooted closer to the entrance and peered out.
Riece moved behind him and gripped his arm, whispering, “See anyone?”
Gone Away is available in paperback, eBook
and through Kindle Unlimited.
This week's snippet is from Strays, a post-apoc, scifi romance!
Marching toward the barracks entrance, Kyle in tow and scrambling to keep up, Daniel ignored the snickers and looks of his fellow militia members. He hit the door with one hand and didn’t look back to see if it was shut properly or not before heading for his Jeep.
Daniel Shanks didn’t do strays. He didn’t!
Except apparently he did.
There are many more snippets in the Rainbow Snippets Facebook group.
Strays is available in eBook and in Kindle Unlimited!
Welcome to My World