Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Tender with a Twist by Annabeth Albert

Title:  Tender with a Twist

Series: Rainbow Cove #2, but stands alone well

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Annabeth Albert

Release Date: October 2, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 79,000 words

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, May-December, BDSM (light), Small Town

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Synopsis

One kinky wood carver. One younger chef looking to try new things. A series of lessons that bring both men more than they bargained for…

Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.

Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…

But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good.

Tender with a Twist is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, featuring a second chance at love, opposites attract, loads of sexy times with mild BDSM elements, and one emotionally-charged, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

Excerpt

Logan

The crazy woodcarver was shirtless. Again. It was a sleepy Thursday in January on the Oregon Coast which meant most sane people were in flannel and jackets and bundled for the sharp bite of the wind. I was wearing fleece-lined bike pants and a long-sleeved cycling jacket myself as I celebrated the first good ride of the year, and I was still chilly when I stopped my ride near the jewelry store on 101—the main highway running through Rainbow Cove. I told myself that I’d stopped for some water from my bottle, but I knew it was a weak excuse. Really, I’d been transfixed by the sight of Curtis Hunt carving up a giant tree trunk with his chainsaw.

For all that rumors flew about his eccentricity, the man was an unparalleled artist, and watching him do his thing was a true pleasure. Sweat dripped from his head and back despite the cool temperature, and he worked like a man possessed, moving this way and that around the piece, dancing almost as his chainsaw flitted about with the sort of grace I’d expect from the jeweler, not this buff lumberjack with heavy machinery.

He wore sawdust splattered jeans, heavy boots, safety googles and ear protectors, but his red flannel shirt lay discarded on a nearby sculpture of a falcon, showing off his shimmering muscles and tats that even from a distance were impressive. For all that the guy had probably fifteen years on me, he was in amazing shape. Hell, if I had ink and muscles like that, I wouldn’t keep my shirt on, either. All the muscles made something warm unfurl in my gut, but I dismissed the low thrum of arousal as a never-happening-in-this-lifetime thing. Chances were very high that he’d laugh at any of my fantasies, especially the ones involving him, some rope, and his usual intense stare replaced with something closer to supplication.

But, a guy could still look. And want. So I took my time drinking my water, watching as the outline of a bird slowly emerged from the raw tree trunk.

In a town as tiny as Rainbow Cove, the rumor mill worked overtime, and I knew all the rumors about Curtis. Knew he’d lost his longtime lover a year or two ago and that the two of them had been mythic fixtures in the area. Curtis had apparently gotten more eccentric since the other guy had passed, moving into the old gas station he used as a gallery for his carvings, growing his own food, and going notoriously cranky about change.

And change was what had driven me to Rainbow Cove. Change was what my restaurant represented—hope that the area economy could find a new foothold in tourism. So it wasn’t surprising that Curtis didn’t seem to like my friends and me any. Probably wouldn’t appreciate me looking at him like he was a lumbersexual Tumblr all queued up for my viewing pleasure.  But damn, those muscles…

I gave myself last look before I pedaled away, heading away from the center of town, taking the turnoff that would lead me to the narrow residential road that skirted the beach to the south. I was alone on the road, glorious, vast gray skies and sprawling blue ocean my only companions. This was what I’d come to Rainbow Cove for, the space to be alone, the quietness that I’d only ever found before in a dojo. Portland was crowded, and not just with people. My parents’ expectations always loomed large, as did past mistakes and hurts, and the general hustle of the area made it hard to catch my breath, hard to think and breathe and simply be. The traffic. The noise. The demands. All of it had gotten to be too much for me, and when my friend Mason had proposed the idea of the bar and grille here on the coast, I’d leapt at the chance to start fresh, especially since I’d loved the coast from some of my earliest memories of family weekends away.

Eventually, my ride returned me to the tavern where Mason was signing off on a meat delivery from a local farm.

“Chef!” The driver greeted me with a wave as I locked up the bike. “We’ve got some new fillets in. Think you might want some for a special this week?”

My mind immediately flitted away the shirtless woodcarver and back to my real passion—cooking. I loved being the chef here, the guy who made the decisions and the specials. I’d had years of sous chef positions in Portland, growing ever more eager for my own menu, one where I could play with sauces and presentation and choose my own local ingredients.

“I’m picturing a peppercorn crusted fillet with red wine reduction.” I inspected packages Mason was loading into the freezer and fridge. We’d do most of our business with the endless stacks of burger patties, but I loved changing things up with my daily specials, too.

“Don’t know if anyone will pay fillet prices.” Mason shook his head. The slow winter season was starting to wear on my friend, who also served as our business manager. “You can try it as a special, but let’s not over-order.”

I reluctantly took a small order of fillets, ceding to Mason’s wishes, and rounded out my weekly specials plan with cheaper options like shepherd’s pie.

“How was your ride?” Mason asked after the delivery guy was on his way.

“Fine.” I didn’t feel the need to report on my perving of the woodcarver. It had been a little personal indulgence. Not to mention the fact that Mason’s police chief boyfriend, Nash Flint, was close friends with Curtis, which meant I’d be in for double the teasing if I let on that I’d let my eyes wander in that direction.

“You’re not too lonely, are you?” Mason pressed. “It’s your first winter on the coast, and I know that can be hard.”

“Not lonely,” I said, truthfully. I was so happy to be free of all the voices of Portland—my well-meaning parents, my ex, my aikido master, my many opinionated friends, the executive chefs and restaurant managers who hadn’t seen fit to promote me. The silence of the off season meant that for the first time in my life I was finally free to figure out my own direction, and I intended to seize that. I wasn’t telling Mason, but that was my New Year’s resolution—be the person I’d been reluctant to embrace in Portland. It was high time I took a chance on myself.

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Meet the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Release Day Review: A World Apart by Mel Gough

Source: NineStar Press

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: A World Apart by Mel Gough
Release Date: September 18, 2017
Pages: • Format: Kindle e-arc (196 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: NineStar Press
Purchase Links: •NineStar Press Amazon US

Synopsis: Ben Griers is the darling of Corinth Georgia’s Police Department—intelligent, handsome, and hardworking. Thanks to his beautiful wife and clever daughter, Ben’s family is the envy of the town. Yet desperate unhappiness is hiding just below the surface.

When Donnie Saunders, a deadbeat redneck with a temper, is brought to the Corinth PD as a suspect in a hit-and-run, Ben finds himself surprisingly intrigued by the man. He quickly establishes Donnie’s innocence but can’t shake the feeling that Donnie is hiding something. When they unexpectedly encounter each other again at an AA meeting in Atlanta, sparks begin to fly.

With his marriage on the verge of collapse, Ben is grateful for the other man’s affection. But he is soon struggling to help an increasingly vulnerable Donnie, while at the same time having to deal with the upheaval in his own life. Ben eventually realizes that they cannot achieve happiness together unless they confront their darkest secrets.

two-half-stars

I would describe reading this book as getting into a vehicle where the author took me on a high-speed car chase where I was hoping it would end well but my heart was in my stomach a lot.

It started with a very dramatic courtroom scene. The entire book, I kept waiting for the courtroom scene to tie in, but it didn’t really impact the story as I thought it would. There was such potential but it wasn’t realized here as there was no real foundation laid for this romance nor real chemistry between the characters.

The main characters met when Police Officer Ben Griers saw his best friend and fellow officer Jason being overly aggressive with a suspect. Ben stepped in and insisted that Jason release the suspect Donnie Saunders since Jason had no evidence connecting Donnie to an alleged hit-and-run accident. Donnie was grateful and went on his way. It seemed that something passed between them although it felt like sympathy, a bit of pity and gratitude.

Later at an AA meeting, Ben ran into Donnie and there was a recognition of sorts. Two struggling people trying to find their way out of their predicaments. Ben was having problems in his marriage so the reader was supposed to understand why and how Donnie evoked feelings that seemed dead in Ben. Other than having substance abuse issues that they were working through, I don’t see anything these two had in common. The author didn’t really set a foundation of loneliness for Ben, though it was clear that Donnie had a very troubled past and no real support system. Ben quickly stepped into Donnie’s life and started helping him with his illness with no hesitation. Considering he has a daughter and a wife, it was unbelievable that he didn’t even give a second thought to how this would affect their lives. Ben’s wife seemed like a reasonable person. I am not entirely sure what was the real problems in their marriage and why it couldn’t be addressed via counseling and effort.

There was a very heavy subject with serious issues all around, but they weren’t worked in carefully. The subjects of bisexuality, addiction and severe health condition should have made for a great hurt-comfort read but unfortunately, it didn’t deliver. Ben’s wife, daughter and even best friend Jason were all relationships that I didn’t really comprehend because there was no real depth to the dialogue nor real expression of emotion amongst these characters. They all seemed to be good people at heart, but seomthing just wasn’t right so they were glossed over. The writing was so uneven that it felt like I was holding on for dear life through this rather shallow journey of the character’s lives.

  I had high hopes for the book based on the enticing blurb but I was disappointed.

Release Blitz & Giveaway: Circle by Garrett Leigh

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 50,000 words approx
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Roads Series
 
Slide (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Rare (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

I love him…but he’s forgotten why.


A lot can happen in six years, and Ash and Pete have seen their world flipped upside down more times than most. Being parents to Pete’s young nephew wasn’t in their plan, but life happens to them and they roll with the punches. Or at least they did, until new heartache rocks their hard-won happily-ever-after.


Ash loves Pete as much as ever—more, in fact—but Pete battles alone with a burden that weighs heavily on his heart. Ash is no stranger to dark clouds, but the secret Pete keeps from him is a storm that could break them.


Despite the fierce love that once buoyed them, they’re both drowning until a new friend throws them a lifeline. His wisdom offers insight—for better or worse, real love is rarely a smooth journey. For Ash and Pete to come full circle once more, they’ll have to hit the road and chase it.

Excerpt



Okay, so feline-themed clubs were definitely not my bag, but I couldn’t deny that it felt amazing to be out and proud with Ash. I sank into a couple of beers, and the dark cloud that had become my constant companion lifted a touch, chased away by neon lights, glitter, and the swathes of naked man skin all around us.


Not that I took much notice of any man but Ash. He was never going to take his shirt off in public, but he didn’t need to. The fucker turned heads wherever he went, and the fact that he had no idea made me love him even more.


Made me want him even more.


We didn’t dance. Ever. But clubs had always made us horny in the past, and this one was no exception. The music ramped up and the heat seeped into us. The crowds thickened, pushing us ever closer. I pressed myself tight against Ash, so absorbed in him that I forgot to glare at anyone who dared look his way, and backed him into a nearby wall. “I like this club.”


“Yeah?” Ash hadn’t touched any booze, but his face was as flushed as mine felt, his eyes as hooded, and his skin jumped when I slid my hands beneath his T-shirt and over his chest. He licked his lips. “Do you think we’re gonna be here long?”


I doubted it, and it wouldn’t be the first time we’d cut loose early to run home and bang. But we weren’t at home now, and as I kissed Ash, it occurred to me that we’d never fucked anywhere that wasn’t our home. If tonight went the way most of our club adventures had before, where would it end? Would Ash fuck me in a hotel? I honestly had no idea. And whose fault is that? If I’d come with him when he’d first started traveling two years ago, I’d know, and perhaps would have even persuaded him that we could fuck anywhere we damn well pleased.


We kissed for hours in the club. The fact that Ash made no move to hustle me out clued me in to how he felt about banging in our hotel room, but I didn’t let that stop me enjoying him. Because, fuck, I’d missed him, even though he’d been right there from the moment I’d met him. Ash was my home, my family, my everything. We didn’t need to screw for me to know that.

 
 

Author Bio

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock sitemoonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

Website: http://www.garrettleigh.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

 

 

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Scorpio Hates Virgo by Anyta Sunday

Scorpio Hates Virgo: by Anyta Sunday
Series: Signs of Love #2
Release Date: September 1st, 2017
Pages: 245 • Format:eARC
Published By:Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Anyta Sunday

Blurb

This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .

“Scorpio Hates Virgo” contains sarcasm, sexual content, a slightly sappy HEA, and an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs.
It can be read as a standalone.

Excerpt

The image of Cal in his shower stuck in his head like a nasty thorn, following him back to his place an hour later. It took a concentrated effort and a ton of porn to knock it from behind his retinas.

It really didn’t help when, on the edge of coming a second time, he realized he was sliding the soles of his feet over the sheets Cal had given him.

It knocked the generic porn-dude out of his head and he found himself imagining Cal’s form through lightly fogged glass.

Cal stroked himself, his thick cock sliding through a slickened hand. He choked on a groan, his head rolling back. His eyes widened when he glimpsed Percy on the other side of the door watching but his hand didn’t stop. He stroked faster. His voice was mellow and dripped of sarcasm. Sarcasm and curiosity. “Perseus.”

“Callaghan.” Percy entered the shower, straining and naked. He walked through the mist spraying off Cal’s gently coiled muscles and pushed him against the wall. “You’re not meant to star in my sex-fantasies.”

Cal set those measuring eyes on his, bottom lip parting, the slick sound of his working hand growing louder. On every upward stroke, his hand grazed Percy’s stomach. “Sex in the shower is one of your fantasies? How highly imaginative of you.”

“Since your favorite weapon is your mouth, I think that’s what you should use.”

“To what?”

“Ruin me for any other man.”

Cal dropped to his knees, looking up smugly. “Like my mouth doesn’t do that already.”

Percy’s toes curled and pinched the sheets, and his cock unloaded hot and heavy, the orgasm wringing through every damn inch of his body.

Well. Wasn’t this peachy?

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Author Bio

Slow burn romance that quickens the heart.

Anyta is a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. She loves to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.

Some of her favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

Anyta writes a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy. Her books have been translated into German, Italian and French. Member of Romance Writers of America. You can find me at these places:

Website ¦ Twitter ¦ Facebook

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Trust with a Chaser by Annabeth Albert

Title:  Trust with a Chaser

Series: Rainbow Cove, Book 1

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Annabeth Albert

Release Date: 08-01-2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 75,000

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Law Enforcement, Small Town, May/December

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Synopsis

One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks…

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

Trust with a Chaser is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, a hot law-enforcement hero, opposites attract, plenty of sexy times, and one hard-fought, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

Excerpt

Chapter One

Mason

When Adam stepped inside the glorified closet I was using as an office, eyes all twitchy and hands wringing a bar towel, I knew I wasn’t going to like what came out of his mouth.

“Sheriff Sexy just walked in. He’s your problem.”

Fuck. I squeezed my eyes shut and took a deep breath. “Please don’t call Police Chief Flint that. He might hear, and I’m pretty sure he’d find a citation for you. And I am not bailing your ass out.”

“You’re just worried that one of these days you’re going to slip up and call him that.” Adam grinned at me. This was an old argument—he’d been calling Flint that stupid nickname since we were in high school. The hard-nosed cop wasn’t one to cut teen drivers any slack—especially if they were in any way associated with the name “Hanks.” “Anyway, you know he freaks me out. I’ve got no idea what he wants—all our permits are in order, right?”

“Of course.” Standing, I grabbed the folder with the permitting paperwork. I prided myself in the organization I was bringing to the bar and grill that I co-owned with Adam and our friend, Logan. Flint wouldn’t find anything to complain about, not with me in charge. “I’ll go deal with him. You go back to the bar in case we get a rush.”

Adam snorted. Despite it being opening weekend, traffic had been embarrassingly light. We’d worked for weeks transforming the old tavern—a Rainbow Cove institution for decades—into the newly renamed Rainbow Tavern. The gay-friendly bar and grill was our vision for pulling our sleepy little coastal town into the twenty-first century. Logan had crafted a new menu of upscale bar food ready to go, and Adam had innovative drinks specials at the ready. All we needed were customers. And to not run afoul of Nash Flint on our first day of operation.

Flint was a Rainbow Cove institution himself—born and raised here, same as Adam and me, but unlike me, he’d never left, sliding into his father’s shoes as police chief and apparently fitting the role as easily as a pair of broken-in jeans. He’d been Officer Flint last time I’d seen him, almost ten years prior.

Guess I could have seen him had I come down for Freddy’s trial, something I still felt niggles of guilt over, and I told myself that was why my stomach fluttered on my way out to the tavern’s dining room. Unlike Adam, I’d never found Flint particularly…

Sexy. All my thoughts fled as I took in the man sitting in front of the plate-glass window. He dwarfed the small wooden chair, one of dozens that Adam and I had painted bright colors. Broad shoulders stretched the confines of his uniform shirt, biceps bulging under the short sleeves. His cut-glass jaw was firm as ever, as were those hard hazel eyes. But what had been frankly terrifying to my teenaged self made my twenty-seven-year-old libido sit up and take serious notice.

Flint blinked as I approached, head tilting to one side. I’d been getting a lot of that since I’d been back in town. “Mason…Hanks?”

“The one and only.” I stuck out my hand. “What can I do for you, Chief Flint?”

He returned my handshake with a sure grip, only a moment’s hesitation. I guessed he wasn’t all that used to shaking hands with a Hanks. Oh well. I was out to prove to the whole damn town that I wasn’t like my father and brothers, and if I had to start with Flint, so be it.

“Nice place you’ve got here.” His eyes swept around the renovated room—restored antique bar on the far wall where Adam wasn’t bothering to conceal his nosiness, dance floor beyond that, colorful tables and chairs in the front of the bar, only a handful occupied despite the dinner hour.

“Thanks. Our permits are all in order.” I held out my folder. “Liquor license is on top.”

He waved the folder off. “Not worried about that.”

No? Then why the heck was Flint in my establishment? “Good. We’re on the up-and-up. You won’t have trouble from us—”

“Glad to hear it,” he said levelly, eyes skeptical, reminding me that I was, after all, nothing more than a Hanks. “Cheeseburger?”

“Pardon?”

“That Ringer kid didn’t see fit to give me a menu, but I’m trusting you all offer something approximating a burger? Salad, no fries, and an iced tea.”

“You want to order?” I was still struggling to keep up with him.

“This is a food establishment, right?” He shook his head as if he hadn’t expected more from me, and that rankled.

“Of course.” I crossed the room in long strides, grabbed an order pad from the bar, ignoring Adam’s gaping. As soon as I returned to Flint’s table, I added, “Anything you want. On the house.”

“None of that.” He sighed like my very existence was tiring. “Got my meals from the old tavern for years. They kept a tab open for me.”

“We can do the same—”

“Let’s see if you can cook first,” he said, voice drier than yesterday’s toast. “I thought I’d come by, check the place out.”

“Appreciated,” I said and meant it. Business, any business, was good, but people in Rainbow Cove trusted Flint. If he gave us the seal of approval, more locals might give us a try, make us less dependent on the tourist trade that we were going after. Tourism took a while to build, and our grand plans of making Rainbow Cove an LGBTQ travel destination weren’t going to happen overnight. We needed every customer we could get, Flint included, even if he was the unlikeliest of allies.

“You still haven’t brought me a menu.” He shook his head. “But whatever you’ve got passing for a burger is fine. Nothing vegan though.”

“We’ve got local grass-fed beef, third-pound patty on a brioche bun with a pesto mayo and local gouda. Or—”

“I reckon that will do fine.” Flint always had a bit more country than coastal in his voice. Not Southern, but you could tell he was rural Oregon through and through, and I liked the slow, deep rumble of his words. What I didn’t like, however, was the implication in his tone that he wasn’t expecting much from us.

“Sure you don’t want fries? We have hand-cut sweet potato as an option with a chipotle dipping sauce. As far as salads, I’ve got side, Caesar, spring berry and pecan—”

“I’m on duty here. Kind of pressed for time. The burger and a side salad are fine. I don’t need anything fancy.”

Yeah, well, maybe I want to give it to you. I quashed that thought, same as I had the one about how hot he looked in his uniform. Wanting to impress Nash Flint wasn’t going to get me anywhere.

“I’ll put a rush on it.” I made a note on the order pad, not that it was really needed since Logan hardly had a packed house to worry about.

As I walked over to the window to put in Flint’s order, I noticed more than one table giving him curious glances. Hell, maybe I was wrong about any business being good business. Last thing I needed was Flint scaring away what few customers we had. Not that he was known as a gossip or anything like that, but he was awfully…old school. Traditional. The last kind of guy you’d expect to find at a gay bar, that was for sure, and even though we were attempting to attract a mixed clientele, he stood out.

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Meet the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Annabeth’s Angels Facebook Group | Annabeth’s Mailing List

 

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Release Day Blitz: Resurrection (Redemption Harbor #1) by Katie Reus

Series:
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: InkSlinger PR

Today we have the release day blitz of Resurrection by Katie Reus! We’re so excited to share this fantastic new release with you—check out the festivities and grab your copy today!!

About Resurrection:

From USA Today bestselling author Katie Reus comes the ALL NEW Redemption Harbor series where sparks fly and so do bullets…

She faked her own death…

Skye Arévalo left the CIA and faked her death to protect Colt Stuart, the only man she ever loved. Months later, a brutal kidnapping draws her to quietly infiltrate a dangerous cartel. Just when she thinks she’s home free, things go horribly wrong and she escapes with bloodthirsty enemies on her heels…only to find herself face to face with a bewildered and angry Colt.

He’ll cross every line to save her…

When Colt, a former Marine, finds out the woman he loved betrayed him, he’s shocked and hurt, but it doesn’t stop him from breaking every law on the books to keep her alive. Unfortunately, it might not be enough to stop a powerful enemy who will do anything to see the world burn and Skye dead.

 

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Colt banged his fist against the door, fear and the smallest bit of hope punching through him. “Answer the fucking door,” he snarled. “Open, or I kick it in.”

“Maybe you should take it down a notch.” Next to him, Brooks shoved an agitated hand through his hair, his Stetson held loosely at his side.

“And maybe you should be freaking out more.” One of their best friends had been holed up in his home for weeks, refusing to talk to anyone, to see anyone. Colt didn’t know exactly what his friend was going through, but he’d lost a lot of damn friends in the sandbox and the only woman he’d ever loved had died too. Something he couldn’t think about right now. He couldn’t focus on his own pain when he could help his friend, when he had a damn purpose.

Mercer had recently lost his wife, and the man wasn’t handling it. The guy had been in love with Mary Grace since he was fifteen. They’d been each other’s world. And two months ago she’d been killed in Mexico, a victim of cartel violence. Allegedly.

Colt hadn’t been in love with Skye since he was a kid, but eight months with her sure felt like a lifetime. Hell, when she died it felt like he’d lost part of himself. The only part that mattered. He had to force himself out of bed every day, to shove back the emptiness. So on one level, he understood how Mercer felt. He shoved that thought right back inside where it belonged and ignored it. He couldn’t fix his own problem, but he could help out Mercer.

Panic swelled through Colt as the seconds ticked by without any response from inside—until he heard cursing on the other side of the door. Good. If his friend was cursing, he was alive. A solid minute later the lock snicked loudly as it twisted open.

Colt grabbed the handle and shoved it open, pushing past his best friend in case he tried to slam the door closed in his face.

Mercer, wearing boxers and nothing else, had grown a full black beard and his dark eyes were glassy. “What the hell are you doing here this early?”

“First, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon. Second…” Colt hauled off and punched him right in the nose. He needed to wake Mercer the hell up. Violence was pretty much the only way to do that now.

“Ah, hell,” Brooks muttered as Mercer flew back and fell on his ass with a grunt.

He held a hand to his nose, looking more alert than he had in two months as he glared up at Colt and Brooks. “What the hell, man?” His voice was muffled as he tried to stop the bleeding.

“I believe this is called an intervention,” Colt said, stepping into the foyer, cringing at the stench. “God, it smells like old pizza and cow crap in here. Mary Grace would kick your ass if she saw you living like this.”

“Don’t say her name!” Mercer shoved to his feet, letting his hand drop. Blood dripped down his face as he snarled at Colt. His teeth were toothpaste commercial white against his dark brown skin. Right now he looked like a rabid wolf baring his teeth at them.

“I’ll say her name if I want.” Yeah, he knew he was being harsh, but this was what Mercer needed. He needed to feel something, to wake the hell up. And making Mercer angry was the only way Colt knew how. Because the guy sure wasn’t going to talk about his fucking feelings. He needed to get out of this rabbit hole he’d let himself fall into. “We all lost her. Every single one of us.”

Most days Colt couldn’t believe she was gone. They’d all grown up together, and in his case, he’d been friends with Mary Grace since they were five years old. She was like a sister to Colt. Hell, he was still holding on to the hope that she wasn’t actually gone. It was why he was about to get on a plane in two hours and see if the tip he’d received was right. But first he had to make sure one of his best friends didn’t do something stupid while he was gone.

“Mary Grace.”

“Ah, hell,” Brooks said again, clearly not going to intervene. Just muttering his standard curse.

“Fuck you,” Mercer snapped, taking a step toward Colt.

That was it. Get angry, he silently willed his childhood friend. Mercer needed anger to replace the grief. God, or at least mute it. Just for a week. That was all Colt needed. Because if Mary Grace was alive, he was bringing her home to his best friend. He just couldn’t give Mercer the hope she was alive. Because if he did and it turned out she wasn’t… It would destroy him. “Mary. Grace.”

Mercer rushed at him like a bull.

About Katie Reus:

Katie Reus is the New York Times, USA Today, and IndieReader bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Moon Shifter series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense. Her book Avenger’s Heat recently won the Georgia RWA Maggie Award for Excellence in the fantasy/paranormal category.

Connect with Katie:

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About Katie Reus

Katie Reus is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Darkness series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense.

Release Blitz & Giveaway: Lying Eyes by Robert Winter

Title:  Lying Eyes

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher:  Robert Winter Books (self-published)

Release Date: July 7, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 84300

Genre: Romance, Mystery, BDSM

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Synopsis

This bartender’s art lies in more than mixing drinks …

Randy Vaughan is a six-foot-three mass of mysteries to his customers and his friends. Why does a former Secret Service agent now own Mata Hari, a successful piano bar? Where did a muscle daddy get his passion for collecting fine art? If he’s as much a loner as his friends believe, why does he crave weekly sessions at an exclusive leather club?

Randy’s carefully private life unravels when Jack Fraser, a handsome art historian from England, walks into his bar, anxious to get his hands on a painting Randy owns. The desperation Randy glimpses in whiskey-colored eyes draws him in, as does the desire to submit that he senses beneath Jack’s elegant, driven exterior.

While wrestling with his attraction to Jack, Randy has to deal with a homeless teenager, a break-in at Mata Hari, and Jack’s relentless pursuit of the painting called Sunrise. It becomes clear someone’s lying to Randy. Unless he can figure out who and why, he may miss his chance at the love he’s dreamed about in the hidden places of his heart.

Note: Lying Eyes is a standalone gay romance novel with consensual bondage and a strong happy ending. It contains potential spoilers for Robert Winter’s prior novel, Every Breath You Take.

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Excerpt

Saturday rolled around, and Randy headed to town early to make sure everything was ready for Mata Hari’s busiest evening of the week. Although the bar officially opened at five-thirty, it was rare for anyone to wander in much before seven o’clock. Randy was surprised when the front door opened at six to admit a good-looking man.

The stranger was probably about five foot nine or ten, and wore a three-piece suit that seemed tailored to accentuate a lean build. His dark hair was cut stylishly short on the sides but thick and swept back on the top, and his mustache and full beard were closely trimmed. A brightly colored necktie contrasted with the somber gray of his suit. Randy had trouble assessing the man’s age, but he would go with thirty. European, though—Randy would stake the bar on that guess.

The newcomer contemplated the walls of Mata Hari, passing almost dismissively over the art on display. He studied each piece for no more than a second before moving to the next, but Randy had a distinct impression the man sought something in particular. As he completed his survey, he kept turning and eventually met Randy’s eyes across the bar.

Immediately desire flared in the man’s face as his hungry gaze drifted over Randy’s tight white shirt and up to his face, lingering on his mouth. Shoulders tightened almost imperceptibly as he drew himself to his full height, yet Randy recognized a softening of hard edges. He lazily ran his own eyes to the stranger’s luxurious beard, and he imagined stroking the softness there. He sensed something accommodating. Something potentially submissive, yet more subtle than the wanton displays of obedience and posing he was used to on Mondays at his private club.

Something he would enjoy channeling and rewarding, in the right circumstance.

The man started toward the bar. As he moved, Randy had the odd sense that the suit he wore was ill-fitting, even though it seemed perfectly tailored. A step away from the bar, his face just—closed. That was the only word for it. One instant he was cruising Randy; the next he was stone.

Randy sighed to himself. The guy was probably a closet case on his first night at a gay bar. That usually meant an unsatisfying encounter, even if the newbie didn’t rabbit. In any case, it wasn’t Randy’s thing. He’d had plenty of virgin ass over the years, and preferred his men experienced.

Fine. Nothing for me here. He waited at the bar, vaguely disappointed.

“Sir, good evening.” The man’s accent was English, his words precise and elegant like his hair and his clothes and his beard. Probably from London. Up close, Randy could see his eyes were a deep shade of brown graced with streaks of gold around the pupils that caught the lights over the bar. “I’m looking for a Mr. Randall Vaughan.”

Despite forswearing his immediate attraction to the stranger, that honeyed voice caused Randy to smile slowly and show his teeth. He registered the slight widening of the eyes behind the stranger’s mask as he focused on Randy’s mouth.

“I’m Randy Vaughan. And you are…?”

The man blinked in surprise. “Oh. The Mr. Vaughan I was seeking is an art collector.”

Shit. Just another jerkwad, making assumptions right away. Randy was a big man so he couldn’t possibly be knowledgeable about art, could he? Well, fuck that noise. One more chance.

“I wouldn’t use the term collector, but…” Randy gestured at the walls.

“Quite so,” the man said distantly, and turned to sweep his gaze over the works on the nearest wall. “Neither would I.”

Randy’s back stiffened immediately. The stranger—no, the asshole—turned his attention back to Randy and held out a hand. He seemed oblivious to the fact that he’d just royally pissed Randy off. “My name is Jack Fraser. I’m from the Kensington Museum in London.” Fraser paused as if waiting for Randy to be impressed. “I sent you a letter recently.”

Randy willed himself not to think further about Fraser’s whiskey-colored eyes or the luxuriousness of his beard, and he didn’t take the offered hand. Instead, he wiped a small spill on the counter before him. “You did,” he agreed in a bored tone.

Fraser dropped his hand. “Ah, yes.” A pause. “My secretary didn’t hear from you to set up an appointment.”

“Which was my answer to your request,” Randy said, letting some snarl appear as he met Fraser’s eyes. They were still guarded and closed off, but Randy could see embers burning deep inside. In the right setting, and with proper motivation, he could imagine making those embers flare and ignite in the slender man before him. For the moment, though, the eyes just narrowed in calculation.

Before Fraser could say anything, Randy turned away. “If you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.”

“May I buy a pint?” Fraser asked, desperation shading his smooth accent.

Randy considered calling Malcolm over to deal with it, but stopped in front of the beer taps. He was annoyed at his lingering attraction, and he decided to push back on this prick a bit. “Fine. What’s your pleasure?”

“Guinness. If you have it.”

“Of course you’d drink Guinness.” A little scorn curled Randy’s lip. “Well, the closest beer I have is a stout from Flying Dog.” He let his sneer turn feral. “It’s called Pearl Necklace.” He dropped his eyes to Fraser’s necktie, as if he could picture that very thing replacing the colorful silk.

Fraser blinked nervously. Probably he could picture it too. Maybe he even imagined Randy’s hot jizz splattering his chest and neck as his reward. Well, he shouldn’t have been a condescending shit out of the gate then. Randy waited, one hand on the tap, the other idly scratching his ear to make his bicep flex under his white shirt. Fraser focused on his arm and swallowed audibly.

“That’ll be fine,” he said. “A, uh, Flying Dog then.” Randy drew the pint to set before Fraser on a coaster. He didn’t wait for the man to take a sip or comment, but headed to the other end of the bar to check inventory.

He stayed busy but somehow noticed that Fraser lingered at the bar for several minutes, apparently hoping Randy would come back and let him ask again about the piece Randy had purchased from the Gates Gallery. When Randy deliberately kept his distance, Fraser took his beer (which, Randy was pleased to note, was more than half gone) and wandered around the room to examine more carefully each painting displayed. Sometimes he moved on quickly to the next piece of art. Other times, he gave a slight shake of his head.

Randy’s ears burned, and he considered throwing the guy out. Since he’d opened Mata Hari no one had given him grief about his collection. To be honest, no one had studied it the way Fraser did, but still. Each piece had been acquired because Randy connected to something in it. To have this handsome English stuffed shirt look down his nose offended Randy in a way he couldn’t even articulate. He seethed inside the longer Fraser spent on his dismissive tour of the room.

When Fraser reached a landscape that was hung over a small settee, he gave a distinct snort. He set his empty beer glass on a nearby table and Randy swooped over to pick it up, ostentatiously swiping the wood as if it had left a ring. “Another Pearl Necklace?” he snarled.

“Ah, no. Thank you.” Fraser seemed surprised to find Randy standing so close, though his eyes remained closed off and stony. “But it was a quite nice stout after all. Thank you for the recommendation.”

Randy gestured at the landscape with his chin. “Is that painting offensive to you for some reason? You’re practically laughing at it.”

“What? Oh no, it’s…fine. Competent. It’s the presentation, the arrangement of the art, that I find amusing.”

Randy ran his gaze over the pieces arranged on that wall of the bar. He’d decided where to hang each and every work over a long stretch of time as he’d readied Mata Hari for opening. He revisited the collection frequently and rotated different pieces in and out of prominent positions. Most of his customers were oblivious but Randy took great satisfaction in presenting something unique in the atmosphere of his bar.

“What’s amusing about it?”

“Well, there’s no story, is there?” Fraser answered him.

“What do you mean?”

“Individually each piece is presentable. A few are even intriguing. But see here,” he gestured at the landscape, “this is a nicely executed pastoral, yet it’s positioned between a Japanese scroll and a watercolor of a monarch butterfly. The pieces say nothing about each other, and have no intrinsic relationship.

“But over there,” he indicated the wall opposite, “is a modern landscape. Change the frames to something complementary, place them side by side, and the two landscapes together suggest a conversation in, oh, quite a lot actually. Painting techniques, the subject and tonal changes in works separated by two artistic traditions. You see?”

Randy did see, but he’d be damned if he’d admit it. “Two landscapes here wouldn’t fit,” he said stubbornly.

“Ah. Art as furniture. Of course,” Fraser said with a smirk, and that did it.

“No charge for the Pearl Necklace,” Randy barked. “Since you made the trip for nothing.”

 

Meet the Author

Robert Winter lives and writes in Provincetown. He is a recovering lawyer who prefers writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

 

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Enter for a chance to win a paperpack copy of Lying Eyes.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Force of Nature by J.K. Hogan

Title:  Force of Nature

Series: Coming About, #4

Author: J.K. Hogan

Publisher:  Euphoria Press (self)

Release Date: 7/4/17

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 80,000 words

Genre: Romance, contemporary, adventure

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Synopsis

Everyone knows that bonds formed under extreme circumstances never last.

Harbor Patrol officer Neal Hesse has had his life turned upside down by a sudden break-up with his partner of ten years. After sleeping his way through Seattle failed to take his mind off his broken heart, he decides to take a leave of absence from work to find himself again. He hires a professional wilderness guide to take him up into the mountains, so he can get away from everything and live off the grid for a few days.

Travis “Rock” McCreary, ex-Army Ranger turned survivalist, hates doing guided excursions, but it’s his primary source of income while he’s working towards getting his own survival show. Working in such a testosterone-fueled profession has forced him so deep into the closet, he feels like he might never see the light of day again, which makes it even harder to put on a friendly face for his happy, normal clients.

When Rock is hired by clumsy city-boy Neal to take him up into the North Cascades for a survival adventure, his patience and his resolve are tested at every turn. He has to teach Neal to survive in the wilderness while fighting an attraction he can’t allow himself to act on. When their trip doesn’t go as planned, Neal’s getaway turns into a true survival situation, and he and Rock are forced to rely on each other to stay alive. If they make it out of the wilderness, can their newfound connection survive in the real world?

Excerpt

Neal didn’t see how this was supposed to help take his mind off his ex because, as they trudged up the trail mostly in silence, he had nothing but time to think. Time to think about how he’d fallen for and spent years with a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He thought he’d been settled, that Tony was The One, that they had been on their way to growing old together. How wrong he’d been.

When the party reached an overlook at the highest point on the trail, they stopped for a panoramic view of the waterfall. Even Neal had to admit, with the sun streaming into the gorge and casting rainbows from the mist, it was a beautiful sight. It was still hard to drag himself out of his head, though. He knew his friends meant well, and they were right, of course. He needed to get up, get out, get back on the proverbial horse of life. But he didn’t wanna. He wanted to be at home on the couch moping, damn it.

He wished for that even harder when he saw the so-called trail that descended from the overlook to the foot of the falls where hikers could walk around or swim on warm-enough days. This trail was also steps, but natural ones of smooth, flat rock. It was narrow. Very narrow, and the lower part had a thin coat of slime from the water spray and mud. So it was fucking slippery.

When he’d almost made it to the flat riverbed, Neal lost his footing on a slick rock. He barely avoided taking a tumble—probably would’ve cracked his skull open—but he gained his balance again at the last moment. He breathed a sigh of relief when he stepped off that part of the trail. The falls dumped into a wide open part of the gorge, forming a broad pool that was bordered by a large, semicircular bank of river rock. There, day-hikers and tourists spread out on the rocks, picnicking, sunning themselves, or generally just taking in the scenery. Neal’s friends spread out to do their own thing.

Addison stalked off to the tree line with her cell phone, probably trying to get a signal so she could call her girlfriend. Bennett led Rory around the edge of the pond so they could get close to the actual waterfall. He was wearing a chest harness that held his Go-Pro, the action camera he usually kept on his boat. Rich and Paddy sat down on some large rocks and got out their trail snacks. And Nic Valentine, the crazy fucker, was wading in the frigid pool while Justice looked on, shaking his damn head.

Neal shivered just thinking about it. It was the tail-end of summer, so it was still quite warm, but these high lakes and rivers were always brisk, even on the hottest days. He’d been trained to withstand cold water temperatures for marine rescues, but that didn’t mean he had to like it, and he certainly didn’t do it for fun. Turning away from the splashing idiot, Neal looked around at all of the tourists and vacationers. Everyone had phones out, taking pictures, and he was sure they were tweeting and Instagramming like mad whenever they could find a bar or two.

He shook his head, then smirked and took his own phone out. “When in Rome,” he muttered. First, he snapped a picture with the reverse camera of himself with the waterfall in the background. Then he flipped the view so he could get a shot of the gorge. His frame wasn’t wide enough, so he took a few steps back, mindful of the rocks that became more slippery the closer he got to the falls.

His foot slipped and plopped down into water still cold enough to make him gasp, and right at the same time, he backed into something hard. Solid. Something alive. Neal winced when he heard an outraged cry and a splash behind him. Oh, fuck. Had he just…knocked someone into the water? He knew he needed to make sure they weren’t hurt or anything, but damn, he was afraid to turn around…because that had not felt like a small person.

Cautiously, he turned around and looked down, where he saw a man flailing around in the shallows of the pool. Once he got control of his feet, the man sprang up in the perfect kip-up. Neal cringed when he saw that his clothes and trail pack were completely soaking wet. And when he looked at the man’s face, he froze. His brain registered three things almost simultaneously: he looked vaguely familiar, he was very attractive, and he was really fucking mad.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” the stranger shouted.

He stepped forward so aggressively that Neal backed up, and his right hand went instinctively to his hip, where he would’ve put his hand on the stock of his service weapon—only there was nothing there because he was off duty.

Not wanting to seem like an equal aggressor, he covered the move by sticking his hand in his pocket, hoping to appear non-threatening. This guy was about his age and shorter by a few inches, but he was ripped. He looked rugged and whipcord strong and looked ready to kick some ass in a heartbeat. Neal might’ve been able to take him—he had him on height and weight, but the guy looked like he might be stronger…and a lot meaner. Neal really didn’t want to fight. That was a helluva lot of paperwork.

He held his arms out in front of him, both as a gesture of peace and to stave off an attack if that were to happen. “Man, I am so sorry. I didn’t realize anyone was behind me.”

“Clearly,” he growled, shrugging out of his pack. He unzipped it and started digging through it.

“Again, really sorry. If anything in your pack got damaged, I’ll reimburse you.”

He scowled at me. “This is a waterfall hike. I’m not an idiot. Anything of value is inside a dry bag.”

Neal bristled because the guy was basically calling him and everyone with him an idiot because they hadn’t brought dry bags. They’d just figured they could avoid, you know, falling in the water. Probably should’ve planned better, because if Neal hadn’t knocked into this guy, it would’ve been him in the water. But Neal had been the one to cause the fall, so he tried not to let his attitude get to him. “If you need a towel, I think one of my friends might’ve brought one.”

He sat down on a large, flat rock and pulled off his hiking shoes, probably to let them dry a little in the sun. His socks looked dry, so Neal assumed his footwear was waterproof. That also would’ve been a good idea, since Neal’s right sneaker was soggy as hell from stepping in the water.

The guy shook his head and didn’t make eye contact. “I’ve got more hiking to do. I’ll air-dry. Just try not to drown anyone, will ya?”

Neal’s eyes narrowed, and he fought a valiant battle not to tell the guy to fuck off. Instead, he fell back on his usual façade of charm and reached out a hand. “I’m Neal. Wish it had been under better circumstances, but it’s nice to meet you.”

His mega-watt smile, the one that had gotten him laid all the time when he was with Tony and before, bounced off this angry stranger like he had some kind of nice-guy force field. He glared at the proffered hand until Neal got the hint and put it back in his pocket. Just when he was about to say ‘fuck it’ and walk away, the guy mumbled, “Travis.”

“Pardon?” Neal asked, raising his eyebrows.

“Name’s Travis.”

“Well…Travis. It’s been a pleasure. I’ll get out of your hair.” About maxed out on politeness, Neal turned on his heel and started walking, stumbling slightly on the wet stones.

“Hey, Neal?”

He turned and looked at Travis. “Yeah?”

“You should stick to walking in the park or going to the gym. You don’t belong out here.”

Rage burned in Neal’s gut. He’d apologized profusely, and this guy just wouldn’t let it go. Where the hell did he get off? “The fuck did you say to me? I’ll have you know, I’m a police officer.”

Bennett had obviously picked up on the tone because Neal sensed his partner and Paddy creeping up on his flanks.

Travis’s eyes flicked back and forth between the three men, then he shook his head with a scoffing sound. “I’m just trying to give you some advice. It’s guys like you who come out here and fall down into the ravine because you don’t have the instincts to pay the fuck attention to where you put your feet.”

Neal lunged forward, but Bennett stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. “Nuh-uh. Walk away, Hesse.”

“But—”

“Nope.” Paddy started pulling him backward.

Travis spoke again, and the sound of his voice grated over Neal’s nerves like sandpaper. “I’m not just trying to be an asshole, although I’d be justified, considering.” He gestured down at his wet clothes. “But seriously, if you want to be all outdoorsy and shit? Get yourself some survival training, because you seem pretty fucking hopeless.”

Neal growled and lunged again, but was stopped by his two strong friends.

“Aaaand we’re done here,” Bennett said, as he and Patrick hauled Neal to the other side of the river where the rest of their group was waiting.

“Come on, just one swing!” Neal shouted over his shoulder. It was just for show because his pride was more bruised than he wanted to let on, but the boys kept a firm grip on him just in case.

Why the fuck did it matter that some asshole stranger thought he was incompetent? But Neal knew the answer to that—because his own boyfriend had as well. Tony had basically unmanned him by suggesting Neal’s career and choices didn’t matter, and now some random guy was telling him he couldn’t even wipe his own ass without help.

Neal seethed quietly all the way back down the trail. He’d never see that crazy fucknut again, but he’d be damned if he’d let the guy be right. So as soon as he got back, he booked himself on a survival excursion with a professional wilderness guide. That’d show that asshole. The one he would never see again.

Purchase

Euphoria Press (self) | Amazon

Meet the Author

J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?

J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and two sons, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit www.jkhogan.com.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Romancing the Ugly Duckling by Clare London

 

 
Length: 63,000 words
 
 
 
Blurb



Is this the makeover of a lifetime?


Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.


Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.


Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

Excerpt



After the meal, they settled in the living room again. Greg poured himself a glass of what he introduced as his homemade wine, but Perry politely declined a glass for himself. He couldn’t recall any decent wine he’d ever drunk being that particular shade of purple. He was definitely making a mental shopping list for when he could find somewhere civilized, and gin and tonic would come several steps above couscous on that.


Greg picked up a book and started reading. Perry waited a while—after deciding against asking what they could watch on the miniscule TV in the corner of the living room, with obvious dust settling on the controls—then coughed to get Greg’s attention. “Where do you need me tomorrow?”


Greg peered at him over the book. “What are you talking about?”


“Working together, remember? Um. What exactly do you do, apart from painting?”


Greg’s look was possibly sly, but that could have been due to the waning light outside the cottage.


“Sometimes I work in the Sea Bird restaurant.”


Perry thought he remembered seeing a sign to that place on his journey here in Dougie’s car. The building itself had been very small, more like a tea room, with a single light on in the front porch, and it didn’t look very open for business. But he’d go with the flow. “Are you a chef?”


Greg laughed. He seemed more relaxed tonight. “No, I think you’ve realized my cooking skills aren’t the best. And it’s not really big enough for a chef and full kitchen staff. I mean, it wouldn’t meet your London standards.”


“That has nothing to do with anything.”


“What?”


“My London… standards, experience, whatever you want to call it. I’m in Uist now, and I want to know what you do here.”


Greg was looking at him oddly. Was he, Perry, coming across as too bossy? God, this man was impossible to gauge properly.


“It’s more of a large dining room where friends can hang out.” Greg still sounded reasonably relaxed. “It’s owned by a couple of elderly sisters who are marvelous cooks, and we sometimes hire it out for a celebration. We’re not big on dinner parties here, you can imagine. I help out with serving when it’s busy. But mainly I provide the fish dishes, especially scallops.”


“You’re a fisherman?”


Greg nodded slowly, his gaze still on Perry. “Yes, you could say that. I’m a diver. I dive for scallops.”


“Can’t you just… I don’t know.” Buy them in a shop? “Don’t they have official suppliers?”


Greg frowned. “Hand-collected scallops are better. The sweeter ones are chosen, and the dish is more precious. Haven’t you ever tasted the difference?”


It pained Perry to admit weakness, but he did. “I’ve never had scallops in my life.”


Greg’s eyes narrowed. “I thought you lived in the center of the sophisticated city?”


“We can’t all afford posh restaurants,” Perry snapped back, then blushed at—yet again—having to admit shortcoming.


“Oh.” Greg blinked. “Well, you’ll see them in the raw when you come out in the boat tomorrow with me.”


“When I…? Tomorrow…? Boat?”


Greg smiled slowly. “Yes. The weather should be fine, so I’m driving west past Lochmaddy to one of my favorite coastal seawater lochs. I’ll pack some provisions so we can eat lunch there. You can help carry the equipment, then collect the scallops into boxes and keep watch for me.”


“We… I….” Perry was struggling for words. Worse, Greg seemed to realize it and find it highly amusing. “I’ve never been in one.”


“One what?”


“Boat. I’ve never been in a boat. Well, until the ferry two days ago.”


Greg nodded, also slowly. “That’s fine. You can stay here if you want.”


“No!” Perry’s cry was instinctive. Did this brute of a bloke think he, Perry, was a lightweight? “I will not! We made a deal.”


“Okay. Well, I hope Bridie brought a selection of decent waterproofs as well as your day clothes, because you’ll need them.”


“You said the weather should be fine….”


“Just in case,” Greg said ominously. He concentrated back on his book.


Perry sat silently for a long moment. In fact, everything was silent, inside the cottage and out, apart from the occasional call from a bird, and Greg turning a page. Perry wasn’t used to such quiet. Nor was he used to living in close quarters with a man who barely tolerated him, and actually wanted him to get lost. There was a small pile of paperbacks on the table beside Greg’s armchair, and Perry picked one up. He also wasn’t used to reading anthologies of horror stories, his preference being for romantic comedies and the occasional biography—but he supposed there was always a first time. Opening it to the first chapter, he bit back a sigh. At least he’d won this stage of the battle with Greg Ventura, and he had more time to convince him about the TV project.


But thinking about the trip out onto a likely freezing Scottish loch tomorrow, he wasn’t sure whether the price would be too much to pay.


Author Bio

Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.

She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.  Come find me at:

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E-mail: clarelondon11@yahoo.co.uk
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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Accepting the Fall by Meg Harding

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 61,000 words
 
 
Blurb
 
Confronting the past is never easy.


Cole Whitaker is happy. He has the job and boyfriend he always wanted. His heart’s in no danger of being broken, and he can’t ask for more from life. As a kindergarten teacher, he sees it all; however, one troublesome student has him reaching out to the parent, wanting to help. There’s something about Savanah that tugs at his heartstrings.


He never expected her father.


Zander Brooks hasn’t had an easy life, and he’s made some mistakes. Freshly retired from the military and working as a firefighter, Zander thought he’d left Cole in the rearview mirror. He’s not expecting him to appear in St. Petersburg, Florida, of all places, teaching his daughter’s kindergarten class. Suddenly, his biggest mistake is being shoved in his face.


This is Zander’s chance to close a door he’d never fully shut, but time with his former flame might change his mind.
 

Excerpt


Time had done nothing to dull Cole’s memories of Zander Brooks, though he wished it had. His stomach rolled, and he had to lock his knees to keep upright. Breathe, Cole, you’re being dramatic. Of all the places for them to see each other after nearly two decades…. It was some consolation, a very small amount, that Zander appeared equally as shocked to see Cole. He stood in the doorway, unmoving and silent, his lips parted. Cole could feel Zander,s gaze on him like a physical touch. It made his skin prickle, his heart skip a beat. He was supposed to be over this.


Cole needed to find his words. He was a professional, and whatever personal history they’d had, it was just that. History. It was irrelevant in this room. He played pretend with his class sometimes. He could do that now. He cleared his throat, feeling a bit like a cat with a hairball. “Hello, Mr… Emerson?” It was less confident than he’d been going for, but it would have to do. Zander took a minute to noticeably reorient himself. He walked into the classroom slowly. His pace could even be considered hesitant. Cole tried to ignore the observation, the nagging surge of satisfaction that he wasn’t alone in being off kilter.


From behind him, Savanah snorted. Cole glommed onto the excuse to look away from Zander and turned to her. Savanah’s pert nose was scrunched. “Can I play outside?” she asked, gaze darting between Cole and her father.


Jesus. Zander was a father. Zander was the father who Cole had been wanting to meet. If Cole didn’t regulate his breathing, he was going to have a full blown panic attack. He’d been in love with one of his student’s fathers. He’d had his heart broken for the first time by him. Seventeen years later and it somehow still stung. “No, but you can use one of the stations,” he said, hoping he didn’t sound too strangled. He ran a hand over the back of his neck, damp from sweat. He thought it was possible he’d had a nightmare like this before.


Savanah pouted but went in silence to the reading corner. She made sure to scuff her shoes over the carpet on the way.


“It’s Mr. Brooks,” said Zander, sounding much closer. His voice was the same, deep and smooth like velvet. It sent parts of Cole’s insides fluttering in a way he hadn’t experienced in years.


Cole retreated under the guise of picking the workbook and pencil off the floor. Savanah had Goldfish crumbs littered around the legs of her desk. “Ah, I see. My apologies.” He aligned the book and pencil symmetrically on the scarred desktop. A few of the workbook’s pages were crinkled now, folding in on themselves. He tried to smooth them down and noticed in the process that Savanah had been working ahead. He made a mental note of it.


He was going to have to stop delaying and face Zander eventually. Could he play this off like he hadn’t recognized Zander or was that cat long out of the bag? “Why don’t you take a seat? I’ll be right with you.” He cupped his hand at the edge of Savanah’s desk and used his other to sweep eraser crumbs into his palm.


“Uh.” Zander coughed, shuffling his feet and rustling his jeans in the process. “Here?”


Cole managed to look at Zander at last. His lips even twitched into a half-smirk of their own accord at the picture of Zander squeezed into a child-sized seat. The smirk didn’t last long. Zander was too close. Cole could make out the nearly golden striations in his irises, could see the slow progression of his pupil taking over the brown. He had a scar at his temple now, a jagged slash from hairline to the arch of his eyebrow. Stress lines looked to be permanently etched in the dark brown skin at the corners of his eyes and mouth. If Cole didn’t know better, he’d have said he was staring at someone in their forties. The years they’d been apart had not been overly kind to Zander.


Strangely the realization left Cole with a hollow feeling, a tinge of… disappointment, maybe. He’d been angry with Zander with every fiber of his teenage being, but buried underneath had always been a quiet hope that Zander would figure out how to be happy.


Clearly he’d not.

 

Author Bio


Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF, and recently completed a masters program for Publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.


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