Published in 2019

Top Shelf by Allison Temple: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Top Shelf

by Allison Temple

One of the books had flopped open when Martin dropped it, and he was momentarily distracted as the words on the page shifted. But the words weren’t moving; he was seeing several pages at once. He bent to lift the book, and the pages rolled as the spine shifted in his hands. Once again, he was struck by the sense that the book was lighter than it should be. The pages had been cut, but unlike the bird book on the table, this one had no images. Instead, small rectangular-shaped perforations dotted the lines of text so words on subsequent pages were visible. He turned the page, delicate as lace.

He flipped the cover shut. The title had been carved away, but the author’s name was left. Calvin Forrester. Martin turned through the first few pages again. The original book’s topic was nearly unintelligible with so few of the words remaining. How would Mr. Forrester feel?

“What are you doing?” Seb was standing surprisingly close.

“I was just—”

“How did you get in?”

“I was showing him my project.” Cassidy was still crouched on the floor.

“That’s not your project.” Seb’s cool eyes were on the book in Martin’s hand.

“She asked for something to weigh it down.”

“It’s not a paperweight.”

“No, I can see that,” Martin said as he bounced his hand up and down with the open book in it. The spiderwebbing of pages fluttered in the breeze. Seb’s eyes widened, and his nostrils flared.

“Stop that!” He pulled the book out of Martin’s hands. “It’s not a toy.”

Martin’s face flushed, and his insides squeezed. He hated how he couldn’t control the reaction. Who was Seb to make him feel like this?

“It’s art.” Cassidy interjected from her spot on the floor.

“Cass.”

“You cut up a book?” Martin’s frustration tried to boil over. He shouldn’t be the only one upset here. He wanted to hold the book again, really heft it. If the rest of the pages were like the ones he’d seen, only a third of the words remained.

“And what if I did?” Seb’s voice was flat.

Didn’t he understand? “Those are someone’s words.”

“Words no one was going to read. It was about agricultural best practices in New England, printed in 1977.”

“That’s not the point. It was someone’s work. You can’t deface a book like that.” Despite everything, Martin’s spine straightened. Whatever awkwardness he normally felt in Seb’s presence gave way to anger on behalf of the unknown writer’s lost words.

“What do you know about it?” Seb brushed past him, his shoulder pushing against Martin’s.

The casual dismissal made Martin’s face heat. He never seemed worthy of Seb’s time, but he was suddenly unsure Seb’s interest was something to aspire to. “What gives you the right to ruin someone’s work like that?” He thrust his chin out. This was one place where he could hold his ground. He’d made a career out of unearthing the words of lost writers.

Seb slid the book back onto the shelf where it had been. “What gives you the right to judge me for it?”

“I wrote my dissertation on—”

“Your dissertation?” Seb’s laugh was low and mean as he turned back to face Martin. One blond eyebrow arched.

“I told you he was a doctor,” Cassidy said.

“A doctor. Is that right? Doctor Martin?” He stepped forward. Despite Martin’s conviction, the accusation in Seb’s eyes forced him to take a step back.

“That’s right.”

“Like a real doctor? Or one of those fake doctors? The ones with all that useless knowledge that only qualifies them to judge the rest of us poor slobs who actually had to go out and face the real world?”

“Real” doctors. Because, those who couldn’t do taught. He’d heard all the things PhD stood for: Post hole digger, pathetic hopeless dreamer.

“I worked hard for my degree.” Years of hard work. He’d loved those years before he’d finished his doctorate, when his direction had seemed so clear. And now he was defending them to someone who didn’t even see what was wrong with cutting up a book. How had he gotten himself into this? He’d only been trying to save Cassidy from giants.

“What are you doing in my house?” Seb asked again.

“I wanted to show him my portfolio,” Cassidy said.

“Well, he’s seen it.” Seb gestured behind them without looking away from Martin. “Now you can go.”

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Book Review: Surprise Groom by D.J. Jamison

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Surprise Groom
Author: D.J. Jamison
Series: Marital Bliss #1
Heroes: Caleb & Julien
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 322 pages
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: May 16, 2019
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Can two men fake their way to marital bliss?

Caleb Taylor is shocked to learn his family could lose Bliss Island Resort — their home and livelihood — unless he makes use of a clause to marry the child of investor Louis Chastain. Sofia Chastain is more like a sister than a love interest, and Caleb isn’t ready to sign over his future. But Sofia has a brother, and Caleb has a plan …

Julien Chastain was disowned at fifteen and has made a life as a go-go dancer in Miami, but he lives paycheck to paycheck. When his childhood friend proposes an outlandish marriage contract, he thinks he’s crazy. But it’s a chance at a future that’s tough to pass up.

Caleb and Julien must present themselves as an authentic couple for the legal loophole to work, but the lines between “fake” and “real” keep shifting as they navigate intimacy, public scrutiny, and sabotage.

Love isn’t part of the plan, but plans change. If they can outsmart Julien’s father and prove their love is worth more than a transaction, they just might find a true happily-ever-after.
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Categories: 3.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eight Lives by Autumn Breeze & Ashley Chamblee: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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by Autumn Breeze & Ashley Chamblee

“Look.” Anselm paused beside one of the many stalls set up in the open market, pointing to a necklace on one of the tables. It was a black choker with a simple small silver bell at the end of it. “I forgot your bell broke. Do you want another one?”

“I like it. It’s cute,” I said, moving closer to the stand. 

Anselm moved to the display as well. He picked up the bell and paid the woman behind the stall counter before he grabbed my hand. His fingers were colder than a normal human’s hand. I’d never noticed before, but that was probably because of my fur. 

The chill of his touch was comforting. 

“I have an idea.” Anselm pulled me along behind him. “Let me see if I can find—there she is!” 

Anselm found a woman sitting behind a small round table only a couple of stalls down from where we had purchased the choker. She had cards laid out in front of her, and I could feel the way the air around her seemed to spark. 

She was a witch. I stepped behind Anselm. I really didn’t like witches; even the Med-Witch we had seen was a bit scary. 

“Ma’am,” Anselm said, holding out my new choker, “could you enchant this? Something to make it the right size needed to fit around the owner’s neck. I’m willing to pay.” 

“I suppose. It is a simple enchantment.” The witch took the bell from Anselm. Her hands glowed a pale yellow for a few seconds before she held out her other hand. She had finished with her enchantment but was clearly not releasing the choker until Anselm placed a crisp new bill in her palm. “It was a pleasure doing business,” she said.

Anselm spun me around and pulled the choker across my neck. 

“We’re not even going to ask if she actually cursed it?” I said as Anselm snapped it in place. 

“She wasn’t a dark witch,” he explained. 

I reached up to touch the small bell. “Will it really still fit when I . . . go back?” I wondered. My last bell was something Anselm had given me years ago. I had cherished it until it broke, and even afterward, it was still in our home with a collection of my things. Now I had a new gift from him, one that would fit me as a cat or a man. 

“I hope so,” Anselm said, flicking the bell and making it ting. “It suits you. Do you really like it?” 

 I smiled, looking up at him. “I love it.” 

“Let’s get you some clothes,” Anselm said.

I nodded and reached out to grab his hand, lacing his fingers with mine. My heart raced as we walked. My tail swung behind us. I wished this could be our life, that maybe I could find a way to exist with Anselm as I was now, that maybe he would accept me as a man and not just a cat. 

I shook that daydream away. I couldn’t afford thoughts like that. 

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Release Blitz: Torn by Rick R. Reed + Excerpt & Giveaway!

Torn by Rick R. Reed

Ever been torn between two lovers? That’s Ricky Comparetto’s problem.

It’s 1995, and Ricky is making his very first trip across the pond with his best friend. Ricky, hungry for love and looking for it in all the wrong places, finds it in the beach city of Brighton. His new love has the curious name of Walt Whitman and is also an American, which only serves to make him sexier and more intriguing. By the time Walt and Ricky part, promises are made for a reunion in Boston.

But the course of true love never runs smooth. In Chicago Ricky almost immediately falls in love again. Tom Green is a sexy blue-collar beast with the kindest heart Ricky has ever run across.

What’s he to do? With a visit to the East Coast on the horizon and a new love blossoming in Ricky’s home of Chicago, Ricky truly is torn.

Available at: Amazon

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Book Review: Redesigning Landry Bishop by Kim Fielding

Reviewed by Ami

Title: Redesigning Landry Bishop
Author: Kim Fielding
Series: Stars from Peril #2
Heroes: Landry Bishop/Jordan Stryker
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 230 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 21, 2019
Available at:  Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Love never goes out of style.

Landry Bishop fled his tiny hometown and never looked back. Now his expertise in food, fashion, and décor has earned him all of Hollywood’s glittering perks. But with his husband deceased and his personal assistant retired, Landry has nobody to rely on—and no one to help him indulge his secret cravings.

Casual, plainspoken Jordan Stryker seems a dubious choice of a PA for someone as formal and self-controlled as Landry. Jordan’s questionable fashion sense and limited kitchen skills don’t exactly enhance his résumé. But as Landry soon realizes, Jordan has many attractive qualities too.

With a strong pull toward Jordan, new career opportunities on the horizon, and a persistent tug from family back home, Landry is in a quandary. He can advise others on how to make their lives special, but what should he do about his own?
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Categories: 3.5 Star Ratings, Ami's Reviews, Book Review, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

T.A.G. You’re Seen by A.G. Carothers: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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by A.G. Carothers

Conny was cute if you went for that sort of guy, the small impish build perfect for holding up against a wall. He wore wire frame glasses that made him look far too innocent, which he wasn’t. Where I had held back in exploring my sexual desires Conny had not. Dad thought for sure we were going to get together when we were teenagers since we were both gay and really close, but that was just never going to happen. We really were like brothers. We’d cuddle and watch movies, but my dick wouldn’t even twitch when looking at him naked and neither would his. It was better that way. We both had at least one person in our lives we could tell absolutely everything to without judgment or recrimination. We could both talk to Dad about anything too, but there were some things you just didn’t want to talk to your parental figure about. 

In this case, it was jacking off while spying on a mark. “I can’t believe you did that, Yoshi.” Conny shook his head with a half-smile.

“I couldn’t help it. The words had me at their mercy and his voice. God, it was so growly and sexy.” I leaned back into the couch with the phone in my lap not really caring where the camera was pointed.

“I guess it now makes sense why Ms. Ne handed me your contract file and told me to call you with her findings.”

“Oh yeah?” I sat up again and looked down into the phone. I was like an excited puppy. I wanted to roll my eyes at myself for acting like such a little kid. I’d never felt this way. I’d never been excited about a guy before. I didn’t know what to do with this energy or these feelings, but I did need to get a grip on myself before I had my talk with the mark.

“Yeah, she didn’t find anything else significant. There were some contracts done at the same time as the mark was in some of these places, but we have so many contracts that’s not really a sign of anything. She says everything looks like it’s on the up and up.” Conny turned over the papers he was looking at and shrugged. “I don’t know what to tell you brother, but you can’t let this infatuation get in the way. Just do the assignment and come home.”

I shook my head. “I can’t, Conny. I’m going to talk to him.”

“Don’t. You know that’s a bad idea.”

“Yeah, but you’re not going to tell me who or why there’s a contract out on him.”

“No, you know I can’t do that.”

“See so my only option to find out more is to talk to him.”

“No, you could just do the assignment.”

“I can’t. I just can’t. Something isn’t right, and I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t at least try to get to the bottom of it.”

Conny huffed out a breath. “Fine. How are you going to talk to him?”

“I’m already working on that part. I’m building a nice comfy room for him to stay in while I break down his mental defenses and question him.”

Conny burst out laughing. I looked at him confused. He laughed some more. I furrowed my brow. “You’re building a torture room to talk to him in?”

“Well, yeah. How else am I supposed to talk to him?”

Conny finally calmed down and composed himself. “Why not just ask him out?”

“How is that supposed to get me the information I need in a timely manner?”

“Yes, it may take longer, but at least then you could get some.”

I looked disgusted at him. “You want me to seduce him, get information out of him, fuck him, and then kill him?”

Conny shrugged. “Yeah, sure why not?”

“And they say you’re the cute and cuddly one.” I laughed a little bit at him and shook my head again. “No, that’s just cruel, and if I don’t want to give up my ass to some guy I pick up at a club, what makes you think I’m going to give up my ass to some guy I’m going to kill right after?”

Conny raised a hand in front of him in surrender. “Sorry, sorry. I forget your ass is the most precious thing in the world to you. God forbid you actually let anyone near it.” He stuck his tongue out at me, and I snorted out a huff.

Conny sobered. “Just don’t get attached, Yosh.”

My face fell, and I became serious. “I won’t. I know what I have to do.”

Conny nodded. “I’ll keep looking just in case I can find anything else. When are you going to grab him?”

“Next Monday. I finished pouring the concrete for the walls last night. It’s going to take all week for them to cure especially in this cold even with the blankets and stuff I put up to help keep out the cold. Then I’ll need a few days to put in the finishing touches.”

“Camera feeds going to our servers?”

“Of course.”

“Good. I’ll make sure to watch them when you get him.”

I smiled at my brother. “I know you have my back.”

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The Hierophant’s Daughter by M.F. Sullivan: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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by M.F. Sullivan

XIV

Communication Skills

In many ways, Tobias Akachi seemed too good to be true. Dominia first thought this was because she had not known many humans in anything other than a bureaucratic sense, as when they came into her San Valentino office to appeal to her for grants, favors, stays of execution, etc. Humans, therefore, seemed increasingly to be an otherwise defenseless group in need of a compassionate hand—though she had always felt that way, even while slaying them. The bloody course of her final war arose from a deep admixture of love and hate, in which love found but recent consideration. Somehow, love was more painful for the General. Was that a symptom of evil? Humans, after all, seemed to express love with ease. Not having seen them in their own environment since her aborted childhood, she had not recognized how their kindness, their prevailing belief in the basic decency of conscious individuals, drove some to help even martyrs. And martyrs, well…perhaps it was wrong to call her kind inherently selfish, but what else could be said of a cannibal race? Her Father had, since before their human births, drilled the message of martyr superiority: How could humanity but believe it? How could martyrs but act with those beliefs lodged in their hearts? If, in the martyr world, Dominia had called a friend for help at a strange hour, would she have received any friendship? Any help? Martyrs were to be hospitable to other martyrs, of course. But they were also taught it was understandable to refuse the phone call of an absurd hour, and acceptable to find a solution other than inviting a general, a prostitute, a wounded man, and a dog over for unlicensed emergency surgery. Dr. Akachi had a different approach, about which he discoursed while tending the thrashing patient.

“One should leap at the opportunity to help one’s fellow man.” The dentist used one great hand to hold Kahlil while the other manipulated a pair of silver tweezers in a way topical anesthetic and slow-acting opiates wouldn’t help. “And, with love in the heart! If you do not have love in your heart, you’d might as well do nothing at all.”

“I don’t know.” Miki pinned Kahlil’s shoulders to the silver surface of the dentist’s chic dining room table, sometimes grimacing through her friend’s struggles. “A lot of great charities were founded from a sense of obligation. Lots of old people have been helped. My country has a whole system of elder care—and why? Because old people are so good at guilt!”

“Obligation breeds mutual resentment. I help because I am happy to! Because I was put on God’s Earth to help my fellow man. To help you, Kahlil, get this nasty fellow out of you!”

With a glance for the martyr, then the dog, who observed from the living room couch, Miki said, “This is a great argument for ID-locking all guns.”

“This is an antique,” protested Dominia, who lifted the hem of her shirt to show the handle. Kahlil hissed.

“Put it away! Didn’t you learn your lesson? That stupid dog— Ow!”

While lifting into the light a bloodied bullet that made Miki wince, Tobias laughed. “Relax. You won’t die! Maybe limp a bit. Some long-term aches. You’ll get a good idea of when it’s going to rain!”

“You should be grateful.” Dominia adjusted with a snap the band of her drugstore eye patch, procured at a clerkless convenience store to blind the DIOX-I to their conversations. “That dog saved your life by forcing you to leave your house. You think your Caliphate would have been understanding?”

“Oh, Allah.” Kahlil tried to sit up until Miki shoved him back. “Do you need to mention my—affiliations?”

“I do not care. Much.” The winking dentist brandished a hooked suture needle intended for stitches in gums. “After all, I have a martyr who can testify to my impartiality! That is high praise, I think.”

“You should have destroyed her brain while she was in your office,” said Kahlil, who swore as Miki slammed him down into the table. “Shit— Well? Can you blame me?”

“Yeah, asshole, I can blame you. It’s your own fault you got shot, the way you barged in.” Sniffing, Miki looked over at the dog. “Poor boy was startled. Weren’t you, boy? Who’s a good boy?”

“He shot me!”

“He doesn’t know that!”

Dominia wasn’t so sure, but there was no point in arguing. Better to play along, to smirk and say, “Holding a grudge against a dog is kind of petty, Kahlil.”

“So maybe I hold one against you.”

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Under the Jasmine Flowers by W.S. Long: Exclusive Excerpt!

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by W.S. Long

A very attractive hostess wearing a red ao dai greeted them. “Mr. Arias, thank you for joining us tonight. I’ll let Mr. Chan know you are here. Let me show you and your friends inside.” 

“Thanks!” Jojo answered. He stepped aside allowing Adam and his friends to be ushered in the monstrous space of what was probably the most exclusive dance club in Manila. Their necks craned, and one of them had his mouth open as he eyed the three floors of the club. 

“Wow, I’ve heard about this place!” Nate shouted. Jojo was about to respond but was cut off by Nate. “Shit, it’s true, they have midget boxing!” Nate brushed past the hostess and the other Marines followed, including Adam, leaving the hostess to stand there unsure of what to do.

“It’s okay,” Jojo said, reassuring her that she had done nothing wrong. “They’ll find the away around.”

“Thank you, sir. Mr. Chan is on the second floor.” She dutifully went back to the host stand.

Jojo moved through the boisterous crowd. Here twentysomethings gathered to party. Single, and untethered from vows of matrimony, they partied as if their last days of freedom were about to end and the family pressure to marry into a good family, raise kids, and help with the family business or family fortune was about to catch up with them. Many of the partiers here were from Manila’s small upper middle class, who had to pay a large fee to join the club, and after passing background checks, happily paid their annual dues to be free from the pressures of life. Even though he could easily afford the fee and the dues, Jojo and his cousins always had a free pass. Jojo surmised that Tiny didn’t charge the cousins so could keep up with family gossip and when it suited him, to help stir the pot when it helped him or the Chan branch of the family. 

The velvet rope that blocked the stairs to the second floor came off when the security guard, this one dressed in a black tux, recognized Jojo. Jojo took the stairs only to be greeted by a shriek before he reached the final step. 

“Oh my God, it’s Saint Jojo, come to mingle with the natives!” There was no one behind Tiny when he said this but a couple of blonde models, sipping champagne and another security guard in a tux off to the side. “Ito ang aking pinsan!” he shouted. 

Jojo rolled his eyes. He didn’t know why Tiny was announcing they were cousins to no one, but he hugged Tiny anyway. Sanguinely, Actinious Chan, known to everyone as Tiny, or Tin-tin, was a distant cousin on his father’s side, but in the Philippines, there was no such thing as distant cousins. Once a cousin, always a cousin. The Chans had come from Mainland China around the 1800s, and opened shops on Manila Bay. First, they’d sold yarn and fabric, then they’d opened up a dress shop, then after the Spanish-American War when the Philippines had become a territory of the U.S., they’d supplied clothing accessories, dry cleaning, and tailoring services to the U.S. military, even opening a larger shop in Subic Bay where the fleet was based. Their shop in Manila had become well known, and soon they’d expanded into a department store, then two department stores in Manila, and then one in Cebu City the next largest city. 

When the Japanese came and occupied the Philippines, they’d remained open only because they’d kow-towed to the Japanese while the rest of the Garcia Arias had fled the country for Australia or the U.S. since Spain hadn’t been an option due to Francisco Franco. 

Jojo’s great-grandfather had married a Chan in an arranged marriage between families before the Second World War. The family legend was that although they didn’t know each other very well, they’d come to love each other. There was even a picture of Lolo José, his great grandfather, and Lola Liu, his great grandmother, in the study at his parents’ home. That oil painting was one of the few things to survive the fire that razed his great grandparents’ home, during the first wave of Japanese bombings of Manila, hours after Pearl Harbor. In the picture, both Lolo Joséand Lola Liu were smiling enough so maybe the family story had some truth in it. 

“So what brings the crown jewel of the Arias family to my lowly den of iniquity?” Tiny asked. 

Jojo stifled a laugh. He loved his cousin dearly, and sometimes Tiny’s dramatic flair made him chortle. It didn’t seem to faze Tiny that Jojo deferred on making a decision on a loan to Tiny’s club until his father returned. Tiny’s joking sometimes made him so mad though he wanted to yell at him. He knew he couldn’t ignore Tiny too long because Tiny was a persistent fellow. Even standing here in a bright silk smoking jacket with red velvet oversized collars, holding a long cigarette holder that had no cigarette, he knew Tiny would want an answer or he would do something that Jojo dreaded—Tiny launching a litany of texts to their mutual cousins to stir the pot and cause mischief. 

“I already know about Lani. I’m surprised you stayed together for so long. I’m guessing you only kept that relationship because your parents approved of her.”

Jojo’s mouth dropped. “How’d you know?” As he spoke, Tiny brought out his gold-cased iPhone. Jojo hung his head low. “Oh. I should have known.”

“Lani is good friends with cousin Elizabeth Mercado. You know the Tang Mercados?”

Jojo knew that Tiny knew that Jojo knew the Tang Mercados. They were his cousins through a marriage on his great-grandmother’s side. “Of course I know.” Playing this game drove Jojo crazy. It had driven him crazy when Tiny played this game of I-know-our-family-better-than-you-do when they were in school at Ateneo and it drove him bonkers now. 

“So Lizzybet, you know, Elizabeth, texted everyone. So pretty soon your mom will know, then your father will know.”

“And then the gossip pages of the Philippine Herald will know,” Jojo sighed. But if he had to be honest, he preferred the press than his disapproving parents. It wasn’t what they would say, but how they non-verbally expressed their disapproval that their son, who was nearing thirty, was still unmarried. The gossip that their only surviving son sometimes played for his own team had followed him from CalPoly back to the Philippines, and if there was anything that his parents hated more than losing money, it was losing face because their son was bakla.If Jojo’s older brother had survived cancer, Jojo probably could have lived under the radar, here in the Philippines, in Spain, or back in the states. But the family’s loss of Julius, his older brother, four years ago to a rare bone cancer had changed things. 

“People were taking bets how long before you the wedding of the year was going to take place, that’s what yours would have been. Other notable families would have moved their weddings to avoid competing with yours and Lani’s. But that’s over now. Maybe at this moment, you can consider the possibilities and just follow your heart.”

“Follow my heart? Is that possible? Your mother accepts you, but my mother still hasn’t invited you to the annual Christmas party since you unfurled your flag.”

Tiny laughed. “Are you sure that they’re not waiting for you to come out of the closet. Paglaladlad ng kappa. When are you going to unfurl your cape? If you came out, I wouldn’t be so alone. We could go bar hopping and pick up boys. Think of all the fun we would have, like we used to when I visited you at San Luis Obispo.”

“That was a long time ago, when Julius was alive.”

“Julius knew about you and didn’t care. Didn’t he tell you stay in California, live your life? You could have stayed at your dead-end, boring job at that engineering firm where everyone had pocket protectors. As much as I know you were bored, and one step away from the Asian bowl cut, you were happy and bored. Here you are now, miserable and bored, and your parents, God bless them, guilted you in staying in that relationship with Lani. If Julius could see you now.”

Thinking about Julius pained Jojo. “I really don’t want to talk about Julius right now. Not here.”

“Fine. Then tell me why you brought those military boys with you? Why did you invite them? There must have been something to drive you to be unusually social towards them. You’ve become the most private, practically most reclusive man in Manila since you came back from the states, since Julius died, and you hardly do anything social. Not the charity functions, nothing. Sure, when your mother forces you to do something, then we’ll see you at family events. Even then, it’s like we all smell like dead fish to you. You used to love hanging out with all of us. You used to be the happiest, easiest going of all the Arias’ family. Now, not so happy. Now all we hear is you work sixty to eighty hours a week. We are Filipinos, not Koreans, man. Work is not our life. It’s family, food, and fun.”

Jojo reeled from the emotional punch to his gut, and stepped one foot away from his cousin. “I know I haven’t been the same since Julius, since CalPoly. I have to take over the business some day. I have a lot of catching up to do. I never paid attention to any of it growing up.”

“Yes, someday you can run Garcia Arias Holdings, and you can find out how many tentacles your family has all over Asia, Australia, Arabia, and the states involving real estate, building projects, export and imports. Maybe, just maybe you’ll get to do that. And maybe you can have help so you’re not all alone in this. You have a sister who wants be there right with you. But your own family is shutting her out.”

“She needs to stay in school in London. Enjoy her life.”

“Wow, you have just become Julius,” Tiny said. “I loved Julius, just like everyone else, but Julius was a stick in the mud. You are no Julius.”

Jojo’s cheeks flushed, and his heartbeat quickened. “I’ll forgive you that comment, pinsan.”

“It wasn’t meant as an insult. Come here closer to the railing, take a look at the main floor. While we’ve been chatting away, there’s this guy down there who constantly keeps looking up here.”

Jojo scanned the area and then saw Adam. When their eyes met, Adam smiled. He stood still in the spot, behind his friends, who were busy watching the fake boxing. 

“You sure do have a type. He looks like the guy you dated in CalPoly. Doesn’t he? Tall, blond. I bet he has blue eyes.”

“I don’t know what color eyes he has.”

“Not yet, you don’t, you mean,” Tiny said. “I’ll radio to bring him up.”

“No, don’t, he’s spending time with his friends.”

“Whatever. I want to meet this guy who keeps looking up here, and who is somehow probably the unexplained reason why you brought them to my club.”

“Tiny, you don’t have to do that,” Jojo said, protesting weakly, but as soon as he spoke he saw Adam following a security guard up to the velvet ropes. The velvet ropes dropped and Adam walked up. Jojo moved to greet him. “Hey,” he said.

“Hey,” Adam answered, smiling broadly again.

“Enjoying yourself?” Jojo asked. 

“Yeah, this club is something. My friends can’t believe this place.” 

Before Jojo said anything else, Tiny moved between them. “My name’s Tiny, and it’s not because I’m only five feet four and you two are much, much taller than me, it’s short for my full name. You know Filipinos like to have nicknames right? So what’s your name? My cousin doesn’t remember his manners sometimes.”

“Adam. Adam Stevenson.” Adam held out his hand, and Tiny shook it briefly. 

“Well, Adam Stevenson,” Tiny said. “It’s a little loud in here, so let’s go to the private rooftop to talk, okay?” Jojo’s eyebrows furrowed. Tiny raised his hand to stop Jojo from talking. “My security guards will make sure your friends are having fun and the free booze keeps flowing, okay? We won’t be long. I don’t have any American military guys at my club so you beguile me.”

“Yeah, okay. I doubt my friends are going to complain about the free booze, or anything else around here. It’s one of a kind.”

“Thanks, I only hire the prettiest men and women to work here, other than security. I want them to be mean and ferocious. And besides, Jojo is coming with us.”

As Adam and Jojo followed Tiny to an elevator, Jojo cleared his throat. He wanted to warn Adam about Tiny. He was sure Tiny was going to pepper him with questions. Before the elevator arrived, Tiny stepped away for a second to take a call. 

“So is he your interference?” Adam asked.

“What do you mean?” Jojo asked.

“In a group setting, there’s always someone, usually a wingman, who makes sure that the person who is hitting on you, is the right type of person to be hitting on you.”

Wait, so you were hitting on me when you placed your hand over mine?

“God, no. Tiny is one of my oldest friends. We grew up together. We’re actually cousins, which right now I’m embarrassed to say, so he thinks he gets to know everyone in my life, or everyone he thinks wants to be in my life, or anyone who talks to me.”

“So he’s more a protective sheepdog then?” Adam asked.

“Yeah, if a sheepdog can text with one hand and tell everyone I know what’s going on in my life.”

“So what type of interrogation should I expect? Water torture? Electrical shocks?” Adam asked.

Jojo laughed. “My cousin is a very dramatic person, you won’t think he is asking you any questions of substance, but he is gathering intelligence.”

Adam nodded. “So before he pokes out my eyes with that empty cigarette holder, I should just tell you that I’m Adam, born in Bakersfield, California, family moved to San Diego when my dad joined the Navy, and I have six more months of my enlistment to serve before I leave the Corps. And I find you to be a very intriguing, good looking, mysterious Filipino who happens to pay tabs at an expensive bar, and whose cousin owns the most exclusive night club in Manila.”

Tiny continued talking in Tagalog on the phone. Jojo couldn’t discern to whom he was talking. It sounded like a family member since he was talking very fast and his voice was raised higher than normal. 

“Quick, get underneath this light.”

Adam complied and stood at attention. “I figure I’m being inspected so I might as well stand at attention.”

Jojo stifled a laugh. Clearly, Adam could dish light-hearted sarcasm. He might be Tiny’s match after all, or at least hold his own. “You have blue eyes,” Jojo said.

“Is that a problem?” Adam asked. 

“No,” Jojo smiled, “but it will confirm my cousin’s suspicions.”

“Oh?” Adam asked. 

But before anyone could say anything else, Tiny magically showed up between the two again. Jojo crossed his arms.

“Shall we go?” Tiny asked. “The elevator to the rooftop is waiting.” Tiny grabbed Adam’s hand, and they walked together to the open elevator. As they both turned to face Jojo, Tiny beckoned Jojo with his free hand to join them. Jojo uncrossed his arms. Tiny still had his death grip on Adam’s hand. “Coming, cousin?” Tiny asked. 

Jojo just shook his head in disbelief at Tiny’s brazenness, and then joined them in the elevator.

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Release Blitz: Surprise Groom by DJ Jamison + Excerpt & Giveaway!

Surprise Groom by DJ Jamison

Can two men fake their way to marital bliss?

Caleb Taylor is shocked to learn his family could lose Bliss Island Resort — their home and livelihood — unless he makes use of a clause to marry the child of investor Louis Chastain. Sofia Chastain is more like a sister than a love interest, and Caleb isn’t ready to sign over his future. But Sofia has a brother, and Caleb has a plan …

Julien Chastain was disowned at fifteen and has made a life as a go-go dancer in Miami, but he lives paycheck to paycheck. When his childhood friend proposes an outlandish marriage contract, he thinks he’s crazy. But it’s a chance at a future that’s tough to pass up.

Caleb and Julien must present themselves as an authentic couple for the legal loophole to work, but the lines between “fake” and “real” keep shifting as they navigate intimacy, public scrutiny, and sabotage.

Love isn’t part of the plan, but plans change. If they can outsmart Julien’s father and prove their love is worth more than a transaction, they just might find a true happily-ever-after.

Available at: Amazon

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Release Blitz: It’s In My Blood by Sean Azinsalt + Giveaway!

It’s In My Blood by Sean Azinsalt

Death eventually comes for us all. But what if there’s a way for older people to regain their youth? To stay a step ahead of the grim reaper?

Turning 40 was the last straw for me. It’s practically 60 in gay years and I wasn’t ready for dentures yet, so I came to Youthology — a program that injects clients with blood transfusions from young, fit and healthy donors.

I chose Nick.

Handsome. Masculine. And more importantly, young.

I thought I hit the lottery, until my life started to change for the worst. Not even the top medical experts can explain what happened to me. From the moment Nick’s blood flooded into my veins, I stopped being me, and I became something new; something dangerous and deadly.

I became my donor.

His obsessions are mine now. His darkest desires, his dreams, his needs, and nightmares are all a part of me, and I don’t want to let them go.

I embrace them and the beautiful boy who haunts both of our dreams.

My blood pact was sealed the moment I entered Youthology.

I never thought I’d become a killer.

This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.

Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

Available at: Amazon

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Categories: Book Promo, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment