Excerpts

Fancy Love by A.F. Zoelle: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Fancy Love

by A.F. Zoelle

At the sound of Jules’s cheery greeting, I turned around to face him. My initial response died on my tongue when I saw that he wasn’t alone. Rune was with him, looking like sin itself in a dark gray suit, black shirt, and silver jacquard tie with purple, blue, and red flourishes. In black-rimmed glasses, he resembled a sexy professor I desperately wanted to teach me a lesson.

It was almost impossible to tear my gaze away from Rune, but I forced myself to focus on Jules. I was proud I managed to squeak out the word “Hi,” when inside I was losing my shite over Rune being there with his brother.

Jules was kind enough not to laugh at my response. “How’s it going?”

“Uh, good? Yeah, good. Good is good. Great, actually. Right?” Fantastic, I sounded like an idiot in front of Rune again.

“Right,” Jules agreed, amusement lacing his tone. “I’ll go bug Xander now, so I’ll see you around.”

My heart leapt into my throat when I realized he was leaving me alone with Rune. I dared to glance up at him through lowered lashes, causing my pulse to skyrocket at how beautiful he was. How was it possible for one person to be that attractive? God, and he smelled so fucking good. Was there an aphrodisiac in his cologne? It made me want to lick his neck to see if he tasted as good as he smelled. Where did those weird thoughts keep coming from?

I knew I needed to speak so I didn’t come off as a total gobshite. If I had been outgoing like my brother, it would have been easy to say, “It’s great to see you again. Are you doing well?” Instead, all I got out was a breathy “Um, hi? Again. Hi. Hello. Hi again.”

The corners of his mouth quirked up at my pathetic attempt at greeting him. His voice was smooth as silk as he replied, “Hello, Callum.”

I hadn’t known my name could be sexy until I heard Rune say it. The sound of it on his lips sent shivers through me. It made it exceedingly hard to respond, but I valiantly fought against my ineptitude. “How have you been?” I applauded myself for getting out a complete sentence. It was a serious triumph in the face of his good looks.

“It’s been brought to my attention that I’ve been a shitty friend.” He carded his fingers through his hair, making me feel faint. “I owe you yet another apology.”

“Huh?” I cleared my throat and tried again for a better response. “What? Why?” Oh well, so much for those complete sentences. They were overrated, anyway.

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Standard Candle by G.B. Lindsey: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Standard Candle

by G.B. Lindsey

It’s quiet out. A few porchlights are on, mostly in the tiny apartment complex. Denny’s is one of them. His stoop is plain and flat, just a concrete slab with a railing, a single potted plant at the edge. The broken step is fixed, filled in with barely smoothed cement, and the old screen door has finally been replaced.

When you knock, the front door opens. Den looks bewildered, still in the jeans he wore to the party, the dark lines hugging his legs and washing out to thundercloud blue at the knees. His green shirt’s off, just a thin, ribbed tank top. “Avery?”

“Hey.” The sight of him shoves core deep. You want this. You don’t need any more parties or deals.

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People Like Us by Ruby Moone: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from People Like Us

by Ruby Moone

Joseph arrived clutching two tankards of ale. He put them down and settled himself opposite.

“Your good health,” he said, raising his ale, before taking a long drink then wiping the residue from his whiskers which the back of his hand.

Arthur took a smaller, more delicate sip, tilted his head, and regarded Joseph. “You know, you should let me shave you.”

Joseph’s eyes widened with alarm. “Why?” He ran what looked like a protective hand over his face.

“I’ll wager you’ve forgotten to trim your beard for a while.”

Joseph shifted uncomfortably.

Arthur gave him a playful pout. “I suspect there’s a jolly handsome man under all that fur.”

Joseph’s gaze dropped to Arthur’s mouth. Arthur’s mouth promptly went dry. Blinking rapidly, he took a long drink of the ale.

“How old are you anyway? It’s hard to tell with all that hair.”

“Five and twenty. Why, how old are you?” Joseph was still watching his mouth. Intently.

Arthur sighed in a theatrically wistful manner and waved a careless hand. “I can almost give you twenty years. You’re a babe in arms.”

He expected a witty retort, but instead Joseph’s arm stilled in midair, holding his tankard.

“I’m no babe.”

Arthur held his gaze for a moment, then swallowed and looked away. “No. No, you’re not.”

Joseph took a long drink of his ale, still looking directly at him. “You can shave me if you like.”

Arthur swallowed. Wondering just what Joseph was agreeing to. “Thank you.”

They drank in silence for a while. It wasn’t a comfortable silence, unlike previously. From nowhere, Arthur’s body was humming in a way it hadn’t done in years. He was aware of each movement Joseph made. Aware of his hands, large and work roughened around his tankard, the way his eyebrows plunged in a frown that looked entirely forbidding, but Arthur now knew that he was simply thinking. The swipe of his tongue over his lips to collect the foam from the ale that left them soft and glistening. Arthur drew in a long, slow breath and realised he might be in trouble. He was hard in his breeches, but the biggest worry was the ache in his chest. The pleasurable ache in his chest, he noted, that came when he watched Joseph Wilkinson do anything at all. The realisation that he could happily spend a long time just … watching him. It was an attraction that caught him completely unawares. He’d acknowledged at some level that Joseph was an extremely attractive young man, but this… He sighed. He needed to get things back on an even keel.

He glanced up at Joseph. Those penetrating blue eyes were wary, but curious.

Arthur smiled, raised his tankard, looked away, and took a long drink. It was the best he could do.

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Honorary Blogger Kristoffer Gair: Not A Horror Novel This Time + Excerpt!

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Not A Horror Novel This Time

by Kristoffer Gair

“You do psycho a little too well.”

I laughed out loud when I read that comment from Martha Davis in her e-mail to me. She’s just finished reading Chapter 18 of Falling Awake III: Requiem and decided to drop me a little note. There’d been chapters of buildup, and when it finally came to this one, I felt unleashed. The crap had to hit the proverbial fan in a big, big way. Writing the main characters (Daniel, Tam, and Alex) meant keeping true to their personalities as they fit in with each other and their families, plus their inability beyond gut feelings to know what they were up against. But when the bad guys make an appearance? All bets were off.

I wrote a couple of villains in the comedy, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell (under my old pseudonym, Kage Alan), and they were borderline stock characters because that’s what the story called for. The focus wasn’t on them. It was on the heroes. The same could be said in the Falling Awake novella. We didn’t get to know the antagonists then other than they were mentioned in passing. That seemed enough for the story. Then came Falling Awake II: Revenant.

Instead of picking up where the novella left off, I decided we needed to take a little trip backwards in order to see just what Daniel, Tam, Alex, Larenz, and Amanda were truly up against. It’s easy to say characters are bad or evil. You’d have to take my word for it, though, right? Not much of an impact, is it? But if I show you the horrors these characters inflict, and also that they’ll never stop? That’s a whole different matter. It’s this sharing of our antagonists that turned Revenant into a horror novel. I never meant to. I didn’t set out to. The story turned out that way organically.

The character of Andrew in Revenant lived a nightmare. I wrote that nightmare. Readers consumed alcohol after reading this nightmare.

There is such a thing as overdoing it, though. I didn’t want to approach Falling Awake III: Requiem as a continuation of a nightmare. Yes, there are some horrible things that happen, but we now already know what could happen because of the previous book. Will it happen again? Will things go in a different direction? That’s the suspense of it. Do I need to duplicate the second book with a horror show at the end? No. The third book can be its own entity. Yes, all three books are completely connected, but each is unique and different from the others.

I once joked that the second book was my Empire Strikes Back. If so, and I’m about to jump franchises here, then this is my Search For Spock. You have the characters you’ve grown to care about, there’s loss, there’s a little adventure, a little humor, a little philosophy, and an ending that gives us a taste of what we’ve been searching for all along: hope.

Incidentally, Martha Davis e-mailed me again after she finished reading Falling Awake III: Requiem. She said, “You do love better than psycho (thank god!).”

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Release Blitz: The Man from Milwaukee by Rick R. Reed + Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Man from Milwaukee by Rick R. Reed

It’s the summer of 1991 and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer has been arrested. His monstrous crimes inspire dread around the globe. But not so much for Emory Hughes, a closeted young man in Chicago who sees in the cannibal killer a kindred spirit, someone who fights against the dark side of his own nature, as Emory does. He reaches out to Dahmer in prison via letters.

The letters become an escape—from Emory’s mother dying from AIDS, from his uncaring sister, from his dead-end job in downtown Chicago, but most of all, from his own self-hatred.

Dahmer isn’t Emory’s only lifeline as he begins a tentative relationship with Tyler Kay. He falls for him and, just like Dahmer, wonders how he can get Tyler to stay. Emory’s desire for love leads him to confront his own grip on reality. For Tyler, the threat of the mild-mannered Emory seems inconsequential, but not taking the threat seriously is at his own peril.

Can Emory discover the roots of his own madness before it’s too late and he finds himself following in the footsteps of the man from Milwaukee?

Available at: Amazon

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Prancing of a Papillon by Tara Lain: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Prancing of a Papillon

by Tara Lain

“I’ll bet you played football in college.”

Jericho squeezed the words out between his teeth. “No. I studied education. What about you?”

Malcolm ran a hand over his slicked-back hair. “I’m an administrative assistant.”

“Oh, how interesting.” Jericho swallowed and rushed on. “I mean, it must be interesting if you have an interesting, uh, person you assist.”

“She’s a pain in the ass.” Uneasily, he glanced at Batshit. “So, you like dogs, huh?”

“Truthfully, she belongs to friends. I’m just taking care of her.”

He smiled bigger. “That’s nice of you.”

“Yes. My dog’s under the table.”

Malcolm glanced and said, “Oh dear God.”

“I gather you don’t like dogs?”

“I don’t have a lot of experience. I mean, I travel a lot, and I hear they need somebody to take care of them all the time and shit.”

“Yes, dogs are a lot of work.”

“Woof.” Batshit looked up at Jericho with implied criticism.

Malcolm frowned as he glanced around. “Jesus, who do I have to kill to get a cup of coffee?”

“Sorry.” Jericho waved a hand and the waiter, Timmy, hurried over.

“Hi, Jericho. How’s your mom?”

“Pretty good. How about your auntie?”

“Oh dear, her arthritis get’s worse and worse.”

Jericho nodded. “I understand. It can be so debilitating.”

Malcolm made a huffing sound. “Could I get some coffee, please?”

“Oh sure.” Timmy rushed off, came back with a pot, and filled the empty cup in front of Malcolm. “Are you ready to order?”

“Just coffee and keep it coming. Gotta keep the boyish figure.” He leaned over toward Jericho. “I’ll bet it’s steak and eggs for you, right?”

“Uh, no. I’ll have the feta and spinach scramble and a lemon scone, please, Timmy.”

“Aka, your usual?” Timmy grinned. “I’ve already got it ordered.”

Jericho giggled. “And, of course—”

Timmy and Jericho spoke simultaneously. “A side of turkey bacon.”

“Woof!” Batshit gave a little hop on Jericho’s knee and Malcolm again pulled back. Behind him, Timmy made a face, then walked away.

Malcolm said, “I would’ve thought at a restaurant in such a ritzy town they’d have better service.”

Jericho stroked Batshit to calm his nerves. “Timmy’s actually a great waiter. He just knows me really well, so he’s a little familiar. Sorry.”

“Oh sure, no problem. So you must be some big-time educator to get to live in Corona del Mar.”

“I teach first grade.”

“First grade?” He laughed. “Kindergarten Cop. Jesus. Aren’t people afraid to leave their kids with you?”

Jericho tried hard not to scowl. Scowling made him look scary, but he’d heard that tired Kindergarten Cop joke so many times. He cringed, waiting for Malcolm to say, “Boys have a penis. Girls have a vagina.”

He was saved by Timmy who bustled to the table with a tray, set it on a stand, served Jericho’s eggs and scone, and then poured more coffee for both of them.

“Woof!”

“I didn’t forget you, cutie.” Timmy made kissy sounds at Batshit. With a flourish, he picked up a plate loaded with turkey bacon and put it on the table. “There’s your favorite.”

Bat’s expressive ears stuck straight up at that moment. While she was super finicky about food, turkey bacon got her attention. Jericho took the saucer from under his coffee cup, broke up some bacon on it, and pushed the saucer toward Bat. Then he grabbed a saucer from under an extra cup, ripped two pieces of bacon in half, and set the plate on the ground. Killer was on it like a rat on a pile of rocks, the job cairn terriers had been bred for.

Batshit cocked her head, daintily removed a single piece of turkey bacon, and pulled it onto the tabletop, where she stuck out her tongue, and slid it into her mouth. Her head disappeared as she ate it—on Jericho’s good jeans, of course, but if he put her down, Killer would have her food in a flash. Jericho smiled as she gracefully chewed. He looked up to say something to Malcolm.

Malcolm stared at him in horror, like Jericho had just invited Godzilla to the table and fed him one of the diners. Jericho tried to make his smile reassuring. “It’s no big thing. Everyone in Corona del Mar has a dog, and they all feed them at the table.”

Malcolm literally cringed, pulling his coffee cup off the table’s surface.

Jericho added, “I suspect they do clean the tables between dogs.”

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Matched To His Wolf by Lorelei M. Hart & Colbie Dunbar: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Matched To His Wolf

by Lorelei M. Hart & Colbie Dunbar

“Watch where—Bentley,” the man said, who I now recognized as a lawyer from the firm we used.

“Brad, dressed in liquor are we.” I inhaled deeply to prove my point and was stopped dead in my tracks. It wasn’t just booze saturating his scent. Mate.

A growl built in my chest as I grabbed the bear’s shirt. 

“What the fuck, Bentley?” His bear rose within him, pushing to get out, Brad’s eyes no longer his own and snapping me out of my building rage. 

“Sorry.” I stepped back. Could I take Brad? That was debatable. Did I want to find out? Fuck no. “I thought—never mind.”

“You’re lucky your business is more valuable than my pride right now, you dog,” his spit reached my face. “What a fucked-up day.” He turned around and started to leave, mumbling to himself. 

That could’ve gone much worse. I needed to get my shit together. 

“Stupid human shows up for a date and then the damn wolf gets in my face.” He walked out of earshot as the truth of what he’d just said rang clear. He’d had a date with Colin.

Did the man have a death wish randomly going on blind dates with shifters? And how did he even know how to set them up? Rob and his stupid-ass codes.

I stalked in the direction Brad had come, assuming he had been at the bar given his scent and level of intoxication. It took a lot to get a bear drunk. Chances were good that he started well before happy hour.

I opened the door, and sure as shit, there was Colin sliding off of the bar stool. Did the man want to die a painful death? In this place he was the prey.

“Shame he’s leaving. We might’ve had fun,” some piece of garbage called out from the back. My wolf wanted to go over there and tear his throat out, but not more than he needed to protect our omega. The omega. Colin.

He sauntered in my direction, putting on a brave face, his fear palpable.

Brave.

I opened the door again, louder this time so everyone in the bar would notice. I needed them to see he was protected in case he ever attempted anything this dumb again.

Ours.

My wolf needed to pipe down.

Colin met my eyes, stopping his journey only briefly and then closing the distance between us, attempting to walk around me. “Let me by.”

“You shouldn’t be here,” I scolded low and firm, my wolf so present my body shook slightly to contain him. 

“You are not the boss of—” 

Forget that noise, I grabbed his hand and hauled him out of there. I needed to get him home and safe.

His home.

Not mine.

Probably.

I dragged him down to the corner, the one in the opposite direction of where I came. My wolf wouldn’t allow me to bring him closer to Brad, even if Brad was most likely already home and back to his drinking.

The scent of cigarettes to my left had me swapping sides with the omega, my fingers grazing and holding his for a few seconds and only pissing him off more. Did he not see I was saving his ass?

“Get your hands off me.” He shrugged out of my grip, and I allowed it. Out here I could protect him. It was one cigarette guy that reeked of rat and my wolf. No contest. In the bar? That was a completely different story. I might be fierce, but thirty against one never ended well for the one.

“We may have fucked, but that doesn’t give you the right to manhandle me.” 

The man with the cigarette stepped out into the light and started to clap, his eyes shifting. Yep. Rat. And the rat was eyeing my mate like a delicious morsel.

I turned my head and allowed my wolf to shine through, and he took the hint and scampered away as Colin took a step towards a car at the curb.

He drove! On top of meeting a stranger—a bear at that—at the seediest bar in town, he planned to drive home afterward?

It was official, Colin needed his own security team if these were the types of decisions he made.

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Hardwood by K.M. Neuhold: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Hardwood

by K.M. Neuhold

“Shit,” I curse under my breath. “Not to add to the situation, but I really have to pee.”

“Dammit, what are we going to do?” he asks, his eyes pleading as he starts to chew on his bottom lip. During our make-out session, one of my hands seems to have made it onto his chest, and I can feel his heart pounding now as panic starts to set in.

“Take a deep breath. We can figure a way out of this.”

“I can’t very well come stumbling out of the closet with my daughter’s music teacher. No matter how perfect that metaphor would be,” Everett points out sounding a bit frantic.

“Okay, calm down. Give me a second to think.” We don’t exactly have a lot of options here. I can still hear both muffled voices right outside the door.

“Of all the ways I could end up coming out to Val,” he mutters. “And, fuck, are you going to get in trouble for fooling around with a parent in the janitor’s closet?”

“Ev,” I say firmly but quietly. “Listen to me, this isn’t how you’re coming out to Val. And I’m not going to get in trouble, although of all the reasons I could lose a job, making out with a hot dad in the janitor’s closet would be my preferred way to go.”

“Sorry. If I have a meltdown, it’s not going to help anything,” he says.

“Exactly. Okay, here’s what we’re going to do.” I check over his appearance quickly to make sure he doesn’t look like he’s been in here getting ravaged. “You go out there, and I’ll stay here.”

“What?”

“Play dumb, act like you got turned around while looking for the bathroom, and then lead Val away from here so I can come out,” I explain.

“I got turned around looking for the bathroom and have been standing in the broom closet for ten minutes?” he hisses. “Am I supposed to pretend I took a piss in the mop bucket too?”

“Do you have a better idea?” I challenge.

He clenches his jaw and is quiet for several seconds before pressing his ear to the door to listen and cursing again.

“All right, fine. It’s going to be a miracle if Val buys this.”

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Ride the Lightning by Aimee Nicole Walker: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Ride the Lightning

by Aimee Nicole Walker

Avery stood up and stretched his arms up over his head before bending his upper body to the left and right, stretching his back and abdomen. His untucked dress shirt had risen in the process, giving Jonah a peek at pale flesh that would contrast so nicely against his darker, olive-toned skin. Was that a cinnamon-colored freckle above the waistband of Avery’s pants? Where else did he have freckles? Jonah wanted to lick a path between each one. A grown-up version of connect the dots.

“You need to get up and stretch to get the blood flowing.”

Jonah’s blood was pumping fine and heading straight to his dick. Standing up would not be in his best interest. “I’m good,” he told Avery.

“We’ve been at this for hours, and your brain has been as busy as my fingers,” Avery said, interrupting Jonah’s thoughts before they could get too out of control.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Avery smirked. “There’s smoke coming out of your ears. Maybe you’ll feel better if you get things off your chest. You’ve had a pretty shitty week. Let’s get out of here and get some fresh air and a bite to eat.”

Jonah’s first instinct was to grab a snack and keep working, but he knew Avery was right. “Fine,” he agreed after a few moments. “But no avocados.”

“I have Benadryl in my desk,” Avery grumbled.

“No avocados or no lunch date.” Oh, shit. Why had he called it that? They’d had lunch together dozens of times since Avery started working for him.

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Heart2Heart Vol. 4 – A Caller From Austin by Susi Hawke: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from A Caller From Austin

by Susi Hawke

God, I wished someone would kill me now. First, the vampire I’d told to hit the bricks turned out to be my favorite author. I couldn’t take back my first impression where I’d threatened to kill him, or the second where I threatened it again. Now my mother wanted to discuss my so-called sexual repression? Jeebus.

I sat back down when I realized I was making a scene. Dammit, apparently a man not only couldn’t have privacy in his own home, but he couldn’t storm off in a huff either. At least, not without making his mother’s ramblings sound valid.

Mama gave me a break—or so I could hope—and looked at Storm with fresh interest. “Storm, it occurs to me that you can’t have been a vampire for long if your twin sister still looks the same age as you. And we all know you won’t age now that you’re immortal. Pardon me if I’m touching on a sensitive topic, but do you mind if I ask how you came to be a vampire? I’m curious because I thought vampires stayed in a central nest, and yet here you are being such a good brother to your sister.”

Before I could stop myself, my hand shot out and grabbed his wrist. “Storm, you absolutely do not have to answer any questions that come out of my mom’s mouth. She’s nosier than a hound dog on the hunt.” I jerked my hand back, glaring at the intrigued look on my mother’s face.

Shaking my head in her direction, I blew out an exasperated breath and turned back to Storm. “Honestly, if you’re going to live here, then you might as well learn from the get-go that it’s perfectly okay for my mother’s curiosity to remain unfulfilled. Heck, some might even say it’s good for her.”

Storm’s eyes lit with silent laughter. “I don’t know about that, Darcy. It seems to me that curiosity left unfulfilled often leads to wild conjecture. I’d be better off just answering the question in the first place.” He winked and turned back to my mom. “As it happens, the jerk I was dating at the beginning of the war was a vampire. I had no idea because, like everyone else, I didn’t know the supernatural lore was based on truth until they came forward with that stupid press conference.”

I snorted. “God. That day when they revealed themselves and declared they were taking over because they were dominant and were better left in charge of the earth? I’ll never forget that. I mean, they had a point about us humans ruining it for everyone, but still. I can’t believe they didn’t expect war after that.”

Muriel nodded her agreement. “They would’ve won, too, if the supes hadn’t started fighting each other over which species was higher on the food chain. If they’d just maintained solidarity, we’d never have gotten that armistice agreement signed.”

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