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Something About You by Riley Hart: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Something About You

by Riley Hart

“The three of you are close?” Saint found himself asking.

Lucky took a piece of chicken, dipped it in his mashed potatoes and gravy, then took a bite. “We are. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that Lewis and Andy are a little closer to each other than I am to them, but yes, we’re close. We’ve always had a good relationship.”

Saint nodded, thought, and then went with his gut. “You’ve always felt just a little bit different from them?”

Lucky’s eyes snapped up, these wide, shocked orbs. “Yeah… I… How did you know?”

He shrugged. “I didn’t. I wondered. I think most queer people feel a little different. When we’re younger, we don’t really know what that is. People tend to gravitate to those they have something in common with, and queer people tend to do it with each other. I think it’s normal to sense a difference, no matter how close you are to someone. At least for me.”

“I…I never thought about it that way, but I think you’re right. There’s never been a time in my life I didn’t feel different from Lewis and Andy. I just didn’t know why. I never had anyone to gravitate to that way.”

Saint took a bite himself, again thought about holding back but didn’t. “You do now.”

“Do now, what?”

“Have someone to gravitate to. I mean, look at us. We’re incredibly different. You hated me from the start, and I could be way off, but to me, it felt as if there was a strange closeness from the start too. Maybe that’s not the right word because it’s not as if every LGBTQ person is close or feels a draw to one another, but I intrigued you.”

“Because I thought you were hot.”

That made Saint smile. He’d been called attractive too many times in his life to count, but he liked hearing it on Lucky’s lips. “Well, that, yeah. Maybe I’m wrong.”

There was a short pause before Lucky said, “You’re not—wrong, I mean. I don’t know if it has anything to do with being bisexual or not; there was just something there.”

Aaaaand now it was time to change the conversation. It was getting in uncomfortable territory. “How do you feel? Wearing them.”

“Too close?” Lucky asked without replying to his question. “I didn’t mean that to sound like I—”

Saint held up his hand to stop Lucky. “It didn’t.” He and Lucky were different where these kinds of things were concerned, and he knew Lucky thought Saint believed him too emotional for this. “It’s all on me, not you.”

Lucky nodded, but Saint wasn’t sure he believed him.

Saint wasn’t sure he believed himself.

“Was it hard? Not growing up with siblings?” Lucky asked, changing the subject as they continued to eat.

“No. I had nothing to compare it to. It was just my life. Sure, when I was younger I wanted a little brother or sister, but in reality, I was likely too selfish for that. I recognized it the older I got.”
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Honorary Blogger Sadie Rose Bermingham: If A Picture Paints (80) Thousand Words… + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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If A Picture Paints (80) Thousand Words…

by Sadie Rose Bermingham

A couple of years ago, in between novels, while we were both obsessed with tales of urban fae, ruined buildings and faded industrial environments, Bellora sent me a photograph of a run down looking building that could have existed in any post-industrial city in the western world. The building had been an auto-parts store and the sign out front had been dismantled and graffiti-ed over so that instead of AutoParts, it read Utopia. A less likely utopia, neither of us could imagine.

It sowed the seed of an idea though. Bellora is originally from the Detroit area of Michigan, and it was Detroit that began our fascination with the wrecked and the run-down, the echoes of fading splendour in the magnificent civic buildings of that city, now gone to rack and ruin. Out of that seed grew the story of Demon Familiar. The idea was to create a kind of dystopian, post-fossil fuel Detroit, but given our track record it was never going to be a faithful recreation of a normal human city. We’d both been interested in writing a kind of warped fairytale. The fae in Or d’Roit are living on the edges of society, in a world shared with humans and demons. Magic is a form of currency in our fictional city and our central characters’ lives have both been colored by it.

Malachai is the son of of an English alchemist and an Irish leprechaun baron, the disinherited scion of a very long line of powerful fairy folk. A former racing driver, he finds himself stuck in Or d’Roit once the gas and oil dried up. Mal is employed by Mercurio Geiger, a grouchy gremlin mechanic with a heart of gold, to use his alchemical ability to make valuable and elusive petroleum,

Neil’s father is a notorious demonic sorcerer, who has made his fortune killing other people with magic. When a group of assassins called Bone Men show up at Neil’s home and murder his mother in front of his eyes, Neil is forced to go on the run. With no idea whether the killers were looking for his father or sent for some other reason, he literally has nowhere to turn.

They both wind up in an unlikely Utopia, which just happens to be the name of Mercurio’s chopshop in the decaying downtown area of the city, inspired by that initial photograph. Together with the aid of some unlikely allies, also scraping together their livelihoods in the shells of some of downtown’s formerly magnificent theatres, hotels and stately homes, they make a stand against whoever is hunting for Neil.

As we began to assemble their story, the city itself became a pivotal character for us. We wanted to explore its depths and celebrate its past glories. The ruined buildings become virtual fortresses for those who inhabit them, a protection against the violent, unpredictable world outside. The streets and buildings in Demon Familiar became as important to us as the people. So much so that the city gets its own dedication in this first volume of  the Wanted series. We hope that you enjoy exploring Or d’Roit as much as we enjoyed creating it.

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Author Q&A: Todd Allen Smith + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Please welcome Todd to The Blogger Girls!

Todd, if you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?

I love transportation. It would be exciting to see what we might be traveling in the future, hopefully not cars and trucks and using a hyperloop, that would be so cool.

We’ve all got a little voyeurism in us right? If you could be a fly on the wall during an intimate encounter between two characters, not your own, who would they be?

Comicbook related: Ice-Man and Spiderman

If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

Leftover spaghetti and meatballs and cranberry juice along with bagels and cream cheese.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

I would like to have teleportation so I could go to different places easily. Have breakfast in Paris, lunch in Morocco and dinner in Hong Kong.

If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing, where would you go and what would the environment be like?

My dream is attending a writing conference led by Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert, my memoirist writer idols.

What’s the one thing, you can’t live without?

Coffee

What Internet site do you surf to the most?

Googlemaps

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three author guests be and why?

Cheryl Strayed who wrote Wild
Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat, Pray, Love
Also, I would do Rick Steves since he writes all the travel books I read.

When you got your very first manuscript acceptance letter, what was your initial reaction and who was the first person you told?

I was ecstatic and the first person I told was my husband.

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The Merchant’s Love by Antonia Aquilante: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from The Merchant’s Love

by Antonia Aquilante

MAXEN STEPPED FORWARD to greet Tristan and the man Tristan would shortly marry, Lord Etan, cousin to the crown prince. He’d teased Tristan once about his “royal connections”—as their mother called them—but he couldn’t say at the time he’d expected his older brother to marry into the royal family. Tristan had been friends with Amory, Prince Philip’s husband, since they were children, which had brought him into the highest circles of the court, somewhere the wealthy merchants of Jumelle rarely reached, and into Etan’s path.

Tristan’s road hadn’t been an easy one, and it had taken him and Etan a long while to find happiness together. Maxen was nothing but thrilled that they finally had, even if he did find it all a bit surreal: Tristan, living in the palace, about to marry a royal cousin. And Maxen living in the house that had once belonged to Tristan and his late wife, playing host to Tristan and his soon-to-be husband. Maxen hadn’t expected to leave the family house until he married, if then, but doing so had been the right decision.

“Tristan, Etan, good evening.” He took Etan’s hand and then let Tristan pull him into a brief hug. They’d worked together that morning at the offices of their family’s shipping company, but Tristan acted as if they hadn’t seen each other in days. Maxen was glad to see the return of Tristan’s natural exuberance, though. It had been dulled for far too long. “Come in. Sit down. Dinner will be ready shortly, but would you like a drink first?”

Maxen led them into the front parlor, which he’d redecorated from when Tristan lived there. The first time Tristan saw it, he’d relaxed just slightly. Perhaps it had been better for him not to see memories every time he came in. The room looked completely different, and Maxen preferred it now that it was to his own taste—a little less formal, a lot more comfortable, warm, and cozy.

“A drink would be nice,” Etan said as he took a seat on the couch, Tristan sitting right beside him. Tristan had been hovering much closer to Etan the last few times Maxen had seen them, which was odd, since Tristan wasn’t particularly clingy. “How are you, Maxen?”

“Good.” Maxen swallowed back the honorific that wanted to spill from his lips—that he’d been told he didn’t have to use with Etan—and went to the liquor cabinet to pour them each a drink. “Tristan has been keeping me busy.”

“You asked for a bigger role in the company,” Tristan said.

“I did. I’m not complaining.” The shipping business interested him. But perhaps more importantly, with his help—and with the oldest of their younger brothers getting some experience too while he finishing his schooling—Tristan didn’t have to shoulder everything on his own. “How is my niece? You could have brought her, you know.”

“Bria is wonderful, bigger every day.” Tristan’s face slid into the smile that was reserved for his baby daughter. “And I know we could have, but we’d have had to leave early to put her to bed.”

“You’ll have to visit with her soon, then. I can’t have my favorite niece getting bigger every day and me not witnessing it.” She was his only niece so far, but that didn’t matter one bit. She might always be his favorite. Maxen handed glasses to Tristan and Etan and went back for his own.

“You could come up to the palace to see her,” Tristan said.

“Yes. You’re always welcome,” Etan agreed. It was completely obvious he was sincere as well, but Maxen just wasn’t sure he’d ever feel comfortable showing up at the gates to the royal palace and expecting to be admitted.

“Thank you.”

Tristan gave him a narrow-eyed stare, but Maxen only looked serenely back at him until he shook his head.

Maxen allowed himself to be satisfied. “How are the wedding preparations coming?”

“Everything is mostly settled now.” Tristan’s voice held a strained quality that hinted at the difficulties of trying to get those plans settled. Neither Tristan nor Etan had wanted the wedding to be bigger or more elaborate than it absolutely had to be, but both of their mothers had other ideas. There’d been a delicate bit of balancing and negotiating—and some line drawing from Etan and Tristan finally—because of the fraught relationships there, especially between Tristan and Mother. Maxen didn’t blame him for it. He was surprised Tristan had allowed her anywhere near the wedding plans, or the wedding for that matter. Tristan shot a look at Etan. “There are always surprises, though.”

Etan chuckled. “My aunt unexpectedly arrived from Teilo this afternoon with three of my cousins. Of course, we invited them, but we never thought they would come all that way.”

“That’s a surprise,” Maxen said. “Should you be up at the palace with them? We could’ve dined together another night.”

Etan shook his head. “My aunt decided to eat in her rooms and retire early, which saved us from a long family meal tonight.”

“But it’s good that more family will be at the wedding, right?” Maxen didn’t know the dynamics of the royal family. For most of his life, he’d only seen what they showed to their people—the flawless image of strength, intelligence, and beauty. It was only after Amory had married the prince, and then when Tristan decided to marry Etan, that Maxen began to hear more of the inner workings of the family. He mostly knew the good—the strong bonds between siblings and cousins—but surely there was more to it than that.

Tristan laughed when Etan shrugged slightly. “Well, I haven’t met any of them yet, but Etan says she isn’t the easiest person to get along with.”

“Oh?” Maxen glanced between them, wondering if he should be asking, but Tristan and Etan had brought it up.

“My aunt was raised a princess, the youngest daughter of the previous crown prince, and she’s used to getting her way and expressing her opinion.” Etan shrugged again and slid an arm around Tristan, an action he seemed to think nothing about doing, but Tristan radiated pleasure. A pang of envy startled Maxen so much he almost dropped his drink. Instead, he tightened his fingers around the glass and took a long gulp of the liquor inside.

“I got the impression just from what Amory said that they’re here at her insistence and that she has plans for your cousins,” Tristan said.

“I wouldn’t doubt any of that. I assume we’ll learn what all of her plans are soon, and what her sons actually think of them.” Etan sipped his drink. “I’ve barely seen them in…oh, it has to be ten years—none of us have—but Philip won’t let her run right over them.”

“This is a possibility, I take it?” Maxen felt a bit of sympathy for these unknown cousins of Etan’s. He had some experience with a strong-willed mother who thought she always knew best.

“It may be.”

“Amory told me she’s planned out what they’re each to be doing after the wedding,” Tristan said. “Though he also said the twins seemed to have talked her into getting what they want instead. Or that’s what it looked like to him.”

Etan chuckled. “I can believe it. The twins always could slip around people, and they had a mischievous streak, though Alexander was always in the lead there. I wonder if they’ve grown out of it. It doesn’t sound as if they have the former. Should be interesting.”

Etan proceeded to tell a story about the twins as children that involved a party, a fountain, and three swans that was so unbelievable it had to be true. Maxen was still chuckling when they walked into the dining room together a while later. These twins sounded as if they would liven everything up. Maxen was almost sad he’d probably never see it.

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The Recruit by Addison Albright: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from The Recruit

by Addison Albright

The “men in black” frowned. The grave-looking vamps from the security team weren’t actually wearing black—or suits for that matter. They weren’t even both men. Like the rest of the vamps, they had their own styles meant to make them blend seamlessly into the general population. But they had the “men in black” demeanor down pat. “It’s not optional,” the shorter one, Cristine, said.
Neil rubbed the top of his head where they’d indicated they would essentially scalp him—well, peel back a two-inch-wide patch so they could insert some kind of tracking and bio monitor—and appealed to Albert. “Does everyone have this? Even you?”
Albert nodded. “Even me.”
“But…” The whole thing had a very “big brother” vibe to it. “Don’t you trust me?”
“It’s not so much a trust issue, as it is a matter of safety,” Albert said. “For all of us.”
“We can’t exactly leave bodies dripping black blood lying around, can we?” Cristine said.
Neil winced at the visual, but it was a valid point. If he—or any of the vampires—were killed without warning, the implant would detect that and immediately send an alert to the security team. They would have the fallen vamp’s location, and they had trained team members spread throughout the city. They could swoop in and handle the situation before it got out of hand. Precisely how they’d “handle” it was still above his pay grade, but Neil was pretty sure the vampires had more gadgetry up their sleeves than they were sharing.

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Release Blitz: Rainbow Place by Jay Northcote

Rainbow Place by Jay Northcote

Can Jason find the courage he needs to be the man Seb deserves?

When Seb Radcliffe relocates to a seaside town in Cornwall, he feels like a fish out of water. He misses queer spaces and the sense of community he enjoyed when he was living in the city, and decides to open an LGBT-friendly cafe–bar.

Jason Dunn is the builder Seb hires to help renovate the rundown space where the cafe will be housed. Jason is also gay, but unlike Seb, he’s deep in the closet. He’s never had a relationship with another man—only allowing himself the occasional hook up with guys who are prepared to be discreet.

The attraction between the two men is instant and impossible to ignore. But while Seb is out and proud, Jason is terrified of being exposed. With the grand opening of Rainbow Place approaching, tension is growing among some locals who object to Seb’s plans. When things escalate, Jason is forced to choose whether to hide in the shadows and let Seb down, or to openly support the man he’s fallen so hard for.

Although this book is part of a series, it has a satisfying happy ending and can be read as a standalone.

Available at: Amazon
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The Looking Glass Series by Penny Brandon: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

Though The Looking Glass is a series of three books, each one can be read as a standalone, however, there is one character (The Mirror’s Keeper – Simon) who is a part of the first two books, and his story is told in the third. So those reading His Heart’s Desire (The Looking Glass 3) may want to read the first book Choices (TLG 1), and then the second book First Kiss (TLG 2) if they want to get the whole of Simon’s story. But those reading Choices or First Kiss don’t need to read either of the others.

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About Choices

Marc was straight, always had been and always thought he would be, but when shown his true love in a magic mirror he was shocked to find out his true love was a man. Not only that, it was up to him to convince his true love they were meant to be together. All bad enough, but after finding Liam, the only way he’s able to persuade Liam to go out with him is to offer him sex – even though that was something Marc was definitely not ready for.

Liam thought Marc was crazy. Marc was straight and he was talking about true love and making a life together, but Liam didn’t believe in love and he certainly wasn’t going to fall in love with a crazy straight guy regardless of how sexy he was. But he hadn’t reckoned on Marc’s pushy attitude or his offer of sex which, no matter how much he knew he should, Liam couldn’t turn down.

 Available at: Amazon

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An Exclusive Excerpt from Choices

Eight nights and eight gay bars later, Marc stood in front of another and wiped his sweaty palms down the front of his suit pants. He’d loosened his tie and undone the top button of his shirt, but he still felt hot. He was nervous, as he’d been every night he’d decided to start searching, but at least he was doing something and not acting the coward he’d been before he’d spoken to his sister.

He still hadn’t made that final decision about what would happen when he found the man who matched the image, but for his own peace of mind he needed to at least find him and see if the mirror was right. Then, and only then, would he choose what to do about him.

Ignoring his twisting gut, Marc shoved open the door and walked in. The bar was like the last few he’d been in, clean and filled with music and men. A few merely glanced up at him as he entered, while some took more interest. Marc carefully and slowly looked around the room. He’d quickly learned that if he seemed to be searching for someone in particular, no one approached him. It was only when he looked lost or unsure did men come up to him. It had been embarrassing at first, but after several nights of being sidled up to and offered drinks, he’d gotten used to it. He was getting some pretty good experience in turning men down.

Gazing around the slightly dim interior, Marc noted the dark paneled walls, the timber floors, and the half-crescent booths that lined the walls. Together they all seemed to hint at a bygone era. Quaint, and not what he expected. Marc actually felt a little more comfortable than in the other places he’d been in, and a little more optimistic—until his scrutiny included the faces of the men in the bar and came up empty. He sighed, disappointed, the tension in his body worse than it had been before he’d stepped through the door. Contemplating a future entirely different from the one he’d planned was scary enough, but he was also beginning to worry about what would happen if he didn’t find the man he was looking for. What would his life be like then? Aimless? Lonely? Not wanting to even think about the possibility, Marc squared his shoulders and decided to wait. It was early, and the man might still turn up. Spotting an empty booth tucked away in a corner, Marc started toward it, then stopped dead in his tracks.

A man angled toward him from what appeared to be the bathroom. He was tall, his long, jean-clad legs bringing him quickly across the wooden floor. Slim hips, slim waist, flat stomach, broad chest and shoulders covered in a tight black T-shirt and a loose button-down shirt. As the man got closer, Marc focused on his face. Strong jaw, full lips, straight nose, beautiful dark brown eyes, and dark, almost black, hair.

In that instant, as the man glanced his way, as their eyes met and held, recognition hit so powerfully that Marc nearly staggered backward in shock because the recognition he felt didn’t just come from the physical apparition which strode in his direction, but the absolute and unmistakable knowledge that this man belonged to him.

Stunned, Marc stood rooted to the spot, his body suddenly becoming alive with an awareness he never expected to feel. Something pulled at him, something deep inside that woke up and started a little happy dance while a hot need lit up every nerve ending until Marc thought he’d combust. It was obvious what was happening to him, but even as Marc tried to refute it, his stomach clenched at the sight of those long legs coming toward him. His heart skipped a beat, his mouth went dry, but worse, so much worse, was that his cock undeniably stirred at the interest that suddenly flared deep within those dark brown eyes. What the fuck?

No. No way! He wasn’t gay, he knew he wasn’t, but despite that conviction, Marc wasn’t stupid enough to try to deny his body wanted this man, especially when he passed and Marc turned to watch, awkwardly appreciating that broad back and tight ass and inexplicably wondering how it would feel to run his hands over every muscled inch. He groaned, low and deep in his throat. What the hell was he thinking? But it was at that point Marc realized he was still thinking. Though his body had gone completely gaga, he was still able to process thoughts and feelings and knew he could easily separate the two. Relief flooded him. He could still walk away from this if he wanted to.

But he didn’t want to. Not yet. Marc didn’t need to remind himself he’d gone looking for this, looking for love, but was he going to find it in this man? According to Stella his soul was already bound to him, and the last few seconds had just proved his body didn’t seem to be having a problem, but what of his heart and mind? He hadn’t felt that love-at-first-sight thing, which was another relief, but now he had to make the decision whether he wanted to offer his heart to someone who might not even want it.

He settled his gaze on the jean-covered ass now seated at the bar, and his body gave a small shiver of awareness. Disconcerted at the way his body was reacting, Marc wondered how far it was willing to go, or how far he was willing to let it. Taking a deep breath, Marc took a few hesitant steps toward the bar. His stomach roiled, but he wasn’t sure if it was because of nerves or excitement, until his dick started clamoring for some sort of contact with the hard body he now approached. God. Unbidden thoughts and images made their presence known, ones he would never have contemplated before now. Disturbed, Marc pushed them deep into the back of his mind. His body might want, but Marc definitely wasn’t ready to admit he desired sex with a man. Not even this man.

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My Anti-Marriage by DJ Jamison: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from My Anti-Marriage

by DJ Jamison

Chris gulped two glasses of water, took a leak, and got in the shower. Before he could start the spray, Ant walked in.

“Don’t even think of joining me,” Chris warned. “Whatever happened last night will never happen again.”

“Oh, relax,” Ant said. “I’m here to piss.”

He proceeded to do just that. His bladder obviously wasn’t shy. Chris turned on the shower to block out the noise.

“We didn’t fuck,” Ant said, his voice carrying over the sound of the water. “You’d be feeling me if we did, and you don’t feel me. Do you?”

Chris clenched his jaw, annoyed by Ant’s ego. Then he clenched his ass. Ant was right. No one had been inside him in far too long; he’d feel it if he’d been fucked.

“Maybe I fucked you.”

He didn’t know why he said that. He felt contrary, waking up with a huge mistake in his bed. Didn’t help that all his friends had coupled up while he failed again and again to meet a nice — or even normal — guy.

Ant laughed. “Yeah, right. That’s a good one.”

Chris poked his head around the shower curtain, getting a nice view of Ant’s muscular back and ass as he stood at the toilet.

“I wasn’t joking!”

“Nothing happened,” Ant insisted. “We got drunk; we crashed. End of story.”

Ant was tan, a nice toasted brown, everywhere. Chris stared until Ant flushed the toilet, then jerked his head back into the shower, hissing as his water turned scalding hot.

Finally alone, Chris hurried to finish washing and dry off. After wrapping a towel around his waist, he returned to the bedroom, hoping Ant would be gone.

He wasn’t.

Ant stood next to the bed, distractingly naked. Pecs. Abs. Thighs. DICK. Chris’s gaze flitted over him. How could he not look with all that in front of his face? It took a minute for him to notice that Ant was tugging on his finger.

More precisely, tugging at a ring on his finger. His ring finger.

“What’s that?” Chris asked.

“A fucking ring, what’s it look like?”

“Is this some kind of joke?”

“Yeah, I love shackling myself in jewelry that doesn’t fit,” Ant muttered. Then he did a double-take and snatched Chris’s left hand, raising it between them. “Fuck, is that …”

Chris stared at the matching gold band.

“Oh my God. It’s a wedding ring.”

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Release Blitz: Overtime by V.L. Locey + Giveaway!

Overtime by V.L. Locey

Sander March is one season away from the pros, or so everyone tells him.

If only Sander had as much faith in his ability as the Cougar coaching staff does. Outwardly, he’s cocksure, borderline bitter, and slightly sarcastic. All that strut and sass hides a wounded soul though. Working to hide a brutal past filled with humiliation, abuse, and a family member who still haunts him, Sander has never found the kind of comfort and understanding he so desperately needs. Until he meets Mateo Castillo, a minor league baseball player for the nearby Elmira Egrets. Mateo and Sander click instantly, and a budding friendship develops between the two athletes.

Mateo then introduces Sander to his boyfriend, Noah Coombs, an aspiring manga comic creator. The three men find themselves bonding strongly, and that slowly gives way to sexual attraction. Eventually, Mateo and Noah invite Sander into their relationship. The path to happiness isn’t going to be easy for Sander as he faces criticism from his friends, teammates, and the press for his choices. The brash young star can handle all that, it’s when his abuser shows up in Cayuga that Sander fears not only for his own safety, but for the lives of the two men he has grown to love. Will Sander’s past tear him away from Mateo and Noah, or will he be able to leave the darkness behind?

Warning – This story has disturbing subject matter.

Available at: Amazon
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Catch Me by Beth Bolden: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Catch Me

by Beth Bolden

“I got fresh supplies,” Ryan said, pulling out a bottle of Grey Goose from the paper bag he was holding.

“Should have gotten tequila,” Wyatt said, forcing his voice to stay even and normal. “I’m making barbecued shrimp. Great with a margarita.”

“I probably have some somewhere,” Ryan said. “But Tabby was determined to drink all my vodka.”

“I was trying to make you feel better,” Tabitha said with dignity. “And I’ve been telling you for years not to call me that.”

“Someday,” Ryan said, slinging an arm around his friend, “you’re going to realize that every time you say that, it makes me more determined than ever to call you that.” His affectionate gaze was completely platonic, but Wyatt couldn’t help it; he burned with jealousy anyway.

Even if they couldn’t be a thing—fake or real or anything else in between—he still wanted to be Ryan’s friend. Not just his employee. And Wyatt was terrified that turning down his proposal had left him his job, but had demolished everything else

He couldn’t imagine how much it would burn when Ryan moved on and found someone new to pretend to date, and fuck for real.

No matter how much he needed this job or how much he didn’t want to leave, Wyatt wasn’t sure he could stick around and watch that.

“You are an asshole,” Tabitha said. “Even though you went and bought me more vodka.”

“Yeah, I’m still trying to figure out how you coming over and drinking all my booze was supposed to make me feel better.” Ryan was smiling, but Wyatt thought he could see the bad mood lurking behind his dark eyes. Present, but concealed. Just like his own.

It shouldn’t have made Wyatt feel any better, but it did, a little. If Ryan felt bad, at least that meant he’d cared. He’d really wanted it to be Wyatt, and Wyatt still felt incredulous that Ryan had cared so much. It shouldn’t have mattered. Wyatt should have been pissed as hell that he’d concealed his motives, but there had been genuine understanding in his eyes when Wyatt had told him why he couldn’t accept.

“It’s a secret talent of mine,” Tabitha said. She turned to Wyatt. “Don’t you feel better, too?”

“I’m fine,” Wyatt said stiffly, even though they all knew it was a lie. Nobody knew it more than Ryan.

“Then it’s time for me to get out of your hair,” Tabitha said, gracefully sliding off the barstool. Even though Wyatt was beginning to suspect she’d drank quite a bit of Ryan’s vodka.

“Wyatt’s making dinner, you can’t leave yet,” Ryan said. They all knew what he really meant was, you can’t leave me alone with Wyatt.

Tabitha reached over and patted him on the cheek. “I’m sure I’ll be back.”

Wyatt threw a towel over his shoulder. “I’m holding you to that.”

She batted her eyes exaggeratedly and it didn’t even make her look ridiculous, only more beautiful. “It isn’t every day that I get to enjoy the efforts of a Michelin-starred chef,” she said.

He wasn’t really Michelin-starred. That had been his boss, Bastian Aquino, but he didn’t correct her, only smiled.

“I’ll call you an Uber,” Ryan said, “you are so damn drunk.”

“Don’t worry, I already texted Calvin, he’ll be here in a minute.”

Ryan rolled his eyes. “Next time I’m not calling you.”

Tabitha’s expression was dead serious. “Of course you will. That’s why we’re friends.” She tugged Ryan into a quick, tight hug.

Wyatt turned back to his corn in the sink. He didn’t want to cry again, but he felt close and he didn’t even know why.
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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, LGBT, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment