Thursday, 30 September 2010

Excerpt Day – Nineteen & With a Little Help From My Friends

Nineteen

Author: A.J. Mars

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Genre: GLBT

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READ EXCERPT HERE

Ezra is nineteen, going to college in his blue-collar hometown, and still living with his mother. It’s all very ordinary… but Ezra is gay, and “ordinary” isn't really what he wants or needs. The romantic in him yearns for a story-book kind of love, but he certainly doesn’t expect to find it at a party that starts in an old field behind campus. That’s when he meets Nick. Ezra doesn’t believe in love at first sight, not really. But there’s a first time for everything.

With a Little Help From My Friends

Author: J.P .Bowie

Publisher: Total E-bound

Genre: GLBT

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READ EXCERPT HERE

Drew’s friend Wendy means well, but her attempts to set him up with a new man is driving him crazy—then he meets Cameron—who drives him crazy in a very different way.

When Drew Weston’s six year relationship falls apart, his best friend Wendy is determined to find him a new love. It looks like she’s not going to succeed, until she introduces him to Cameron Murdoch, who is everything Drew admires in a man—both in looks and personality. There’s just one problem. Cameron has never been with a man before.

Drew is only too eager to ‘show him the ropes’ but in doing so finds himself falling in love with the handsome, charming man. The realisation saddens him, convinced that now Cameron is ‘out’ he will be a magnet for every red blooded gay male in the vicinity, and Drew will merely be the first in a long line of lovers.

Or will he?

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Excerpt Day - Thrown to the Wolves & Bachelor Action

Bachelor Action

Author: Darah Lace

Publisher: Wild Rose Press

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READ EXCERPT HERE

Marcus Preston wants a relationship built on love and trust, but the woman he wants made it clear long ago she's only interested in fun and games. Yet, moving on proves difficult when no one else can erase the memory of the night they shared last summer.

Charlotte Reese doesn't believe in love, marriage, or happily ever afters. An occasional one-night stand is all she needs to take the edge off her loneliness and enhance the bad-girl image she uses to discourage commitment-seeking men—especially Marcus, the only man to melt both her body and her heart melt.

When Charlotte wins Marcus hot off the block of Houston’s Most Eligible Bachelor Auction and they’re forced to spend the weekend together, she seizes the opportunity to seduce him and extinguish the attraction sizzling between them once and for all. But for Marcus, it’s all or nothing. He won’t be seduced. Instead, he’ll show Charlotte she has more to offer a man than sex.

 

Thrown to the Wolves

The Four Brothers Clan Series 2:

Author: CJ Elliott

Publisher : Cobblestone Press

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READ EXCERPT HERE

The second installment of this series introduces Sébastien des Quatre-Frères, the oldest of the loups garoux brothers. Set against the lush backdrop of the Florida Everglades, the brothers unite to battle an unknown threat terrorizing Sébastien's subjects.
But secrets and lies abound in his territory—star-crossed romance, a dangerous invader, and a union that pits brother against brother.

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Excerpt Day - The Reluctant Dom © Tymber Dalton

Excerpt

 

"I made her three promises when we got married, Seth. I would never lie to her. I would always take care of her. I would protect her, never let anyone hurt her ever again."

 

Seth watched his friend swirl the bourbon and ice in his drink. Kaden had laid his glasses on the table and his face looked haggard and worn. There was something deeply wrong with his friend tonight. They'd known each other over forty years, since they were babies and their moms were best friends, and this was plain...

 

Wrong.

 

Kaden met his friend's concerned gaze. "I love her, Seth. She's my life. What am I going to do?"

 

"What are you talking about, dude? You're freaking me out."

 

Kaden sat back in his chair. "I went to the doctor today."

 

Seth felt a mental chill. "Are you gonna make me beat it out of you or what?"

 

Kaden took another drink. This was their weekly boys night out but Seth knew this was nothing like any other night. "I'm dying," Kaden whispered.

 

This had to be a horrible practical joke. Kaden was always looking for a way to get one up on Seth and sucker him in. "Dude, that's not funny. You don't f***ing joke about something like that."

 

"Do I look like I'm laughing?"

 

Seth studied him, a cold, hard rock of emotion settling in his stomach. "What the f**k?"

 

"I've got cancer. Best guess is a year or so."

 

"Well you need to go get a second opinion! Maybe the doctor's wrong. They can be wrong, you know."

 

Kaden looked at his glass again. "This was my third opinion. Pancreatic cancer. Inoperable."

 

Numb shock engulfed Seth. This man was his brother in everything except name and blood. There were a few years they were separated by distance while Seth was in the Army, and even then they'd emailed and talked on the phone as much as possible. Other than that, they'd been close.

 

"They've got medicine, radiation, chemo. There's got to be something."

 

"No. I refuse to spend the time I've got left like that. They said it'll only buy me a few months, if I'm lucky. I'd rather not spend it puking my guts up."

 

"But there's got to be something—"

 

Kaden shook his head. "I refuse to go out like my dad did. I go out on my terms." He took another sip of his drink.

 

What do you say in a situation like that?

 

Seth shook his head. "F**k." He took a swig of beer. "How's Leah holding up?" he quietly asked.

 

"I haven't told her yet."

 

He stared at his friend in disbelief. "What do you mean you haven't told her?"

 

"I wanted to make sure before I did. I saw the first two doctors last week. They all agree on the diagnosis--and the prognosis."

 

Poor Leah. They'd been married nearly twenty years. Seth was overseas in the Army when Kaden met and married her in the span of three months. Seth had immediately liked her when he returned home and got to meet her. She was good for Kade.

 

Seth was lost in a swirl of emotions. Kaden had to repeat his question. "How's the apartment hunting going?"

 

What the f**k? Kade had just dropped the bomb that he was dying, and now he was asking about that?

 

Seth numbly shook his head while still trying to process Kaden's news. "I'm still looking. It's hard since I'm in school. I'm sick of living at Ben's place, need to get back out on my own." Seth's older brother had insisted on him staying with them during Seth's divorce.

 

"So you're finally free of the bitch? I knew the papers had to be coming soon."

 

"Paperwork came through last week. I'm officially divorced. Only took two years and losing my ass." He looked at Kaden and refocused on the discussion at hand. "Quit changing the subject!"

 

Kaden knowingly smiled. "I wasn't."

 

"You were."

 

Kaden sat back. "We need to have a talk."

 

"You need to get your ass home and tell Leah."

 

Kaden's grey eyes settled on his. "I need to talk to you first," he said, his voice dropping to a soft, steady tone. "Seriously."

 

Seth took a deep breath. "Okay, what?"

 

"I want you to move in with us."

 

Seth blinked. "What?"

 

"We've got plenty of room."

 

"What?" He'd wake up any minute from this nightmare. Or whacked out dream, or whatever it was. This could not be real, couldn't be happening.

 

Kaden leaned forward and dropped his voice even further. "I need you to hear me out, without interruption. I don't want you to give me a yes or no tonight, okay? Can you do that for me?"

 

Seth slowly nodded.

 

Kaden's eyes never left his. "I need to tell you a few things about myself. About Leah. I need you to listen so you understand where I'm coming from, because this is hard enough for me to talk about without justifying myself to my best friend, okay? Promise?"

 

Seth nodded again. Kaden was the "still waters run deep" poster boy. They were close, but while Seth could dump everything on the table, Kaden played everything close to the vest, he always had. Maybe that's why he'd been happily married for nearly two decades and Seth was on his third ex-wife.

 

Kaden clasped his hands together. "You know I love Leah. She's my f***ing life. I have never cheated on her, and she's never cheated on me."

 

Seth nodded. He knew. He'd seen and envied their obvious love and passion for years. Any moron could see how devoted they were to each other.

 

Lucky bastard.

 

"There's a few things I've never told you. About Leah's past. About how we met. Some of that doesn't need to be told tonight, you'll learn about it soon enough. Suffice it to say she was a mess when we met. I probably saved her life. She had a horrible life before we got together."

 

Kade took a deep breath. "Leah's not just my wife, Seth. She's my slave. I'm her Master, her Dom."

 

© Tymber Dalton

 

The Reluctant Dom

Author: Tymber Dalton

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Genre: Erotica, BDSM

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Love hurts...if you're lucky.


Kaden knows he's dying, but before he goes, he has one problem he needs to solve - he must ask his oldest friend Seth to take over as his beloved wife's Dom and Master after his death. Seth has always seen himself as the perpetual screw-up and Kaden as the strong and steady one, so his friend's request rocks his world.


Now Seth finds himself immersed in a role he's far from comfortable with: inflicting pain to provide emotional comfort for the woman he's secretly loved for years. Can he deal with his crushing grief and learn the skills he must master in time to become THE RELUCTANT DOM?

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Excerpt Day - The Innocent’s Progress And Other Stories © Peter Tupper

Excerpt

From the story “The Impurity”

 

Each transformation was a little different. This time, he didn’t vomit and the twitching didn’t blossom into spasms. When the shaking stopped and his transformation was complete, leaving his body stable for the moment, he took stock of himself. His flesh was hotter, denser; even his skin was tighter. He sniffed, opened his mouth and tasted the air, savoring the myriad flavors and aromas. Without looking, he could distinguish the many different chemicals in the laboratory. He opened his eyes, and the colors were more intense. Hot things glowed.

 

Edward Hyde got to his feet, straightened his clothes, now loose and rumpled, and sat on the stool at the laboratory table.

 

A figure stood in the corner of the laboratory, a column of black rubber with a wasp waist and brass buttons, capped by a rubber hood with an air filter that looked like a shortened elephant’s trunk. A pair of hazel eyes was just visible through the circular glass lenses. It clasped its two hands in heavy black rubber gauntlets.

 

“Take that off,” he ordered.

 

The black hands rose and undid the laces at the back of the hood, then pulled. There was a suction-like sound as the rubber slid over the woman’s head, eventually revealing Mary’s face, flushed and glistening with a mixture of perspiration and corn starch. She breathed as deeply as her corset and collar allowed and scratched her matted fair hair. The hood went on the hat rack next to the others.

 

“You know what to do,” he told her.

 

The rubber habit squeaking with every movement, the maid trotted forward, dropped to her knees between his legs and undid his loose trousers. His cock, erect and ready since his transformation finished, stood out. Without hesitation, she opened her mouth and he slid into her. Just as he had trained her, she let him in all the way to the back of her throat. Ah, the perfect way to start the evening.

 

He let his head roll back with pleasure. “How long have you worn your habit, Mary?” he asked.

 

She took him out of her mouth for a moment, a strand of saliva connecting them briefly. “I slept in the cabinet wearing it, so since ten o’clock last night, Master.”

 

Sleep, he thought, hating the idea, even as Mary resumed her ministrations. I wonder how little sleep she really needs? He loved to watch her move around the laboratory, slick and black and upright, more like a chess piece than a woman. The long black rubber habit, thick shoulder-length gloves, and hood with the glass eyepieces and air filter were, ostensibly, to protect her from the dangerous chemicals in the laboratory. The tight-laced corset and stovepipe collar, well, he just preferred them. Or rather, he preferred her constant struggle to meet his requirements. Had she a naturally slender waist and long neck, he would have done something else to put his stamp on her; have her tattooed and ringed like a savage, perhaps?

 

The thought of that was enough to push him to climax. He spent into her mouth, a release that only sharpened his near-constant desire. Mary swallowed his seed, without even a little coughing, and then licked him clean. She grinned up at him, pleased with herself.

 

“Good girl.” Hyde appreciated her attention to detail as much as her near-canine devotion as he absently patted her head. In fact, she was a little too compliant. He missed the delicious tension of pushing her just a little further each time. Each time he returned to the laboratory in the back of the house, he was always pleased and sometimes surprised to see that she had not left. She always adapted to the latest ordeal or stricture. Now his curiosity, perhaps the only trait he shared with his other half, drew him towards a new experiment.

 

He pointed at the second beaker containing the black liquid, next to the empty one. “Do you know what this is?”

 

She stood up and looked at it. “It appears to be the formula you created, Master. I mean, that created you.”

 

“So it appears.” It was a strange substance, black as tar and thick as syrup, but with a way of beading and moving like liquid mercury. Pour it on a flat surface and it would shift about like a living thing. Even in the beaker, the surface of the liquid bulged upwards slightly. “It might also be poison. It might also be water with harmless coloring. Even if it is the formula, it might have no effect at all.” Or it might just kill you. He smiled. The prospect of imminent destruction was delicious. “Drink it.”

 

She started to reach for the beaker, then hesitated, her fingers beating faintly against the countertop. It wasn’t the reward that appealed to her, he knew: it was the challenge. Even when he assigned her tasks that were obviously pointless or even impossible, she threw herself into them with a relish of some medieval nun performing devotions. He rather liked the idea, actually, of being so worshipped.

 

“Haven’t I proven I’m strong enough to do anything you demand of me?” she said.

 

“Test to destruction, pet.”

 

She picked up the beaker, raised it to her lips and drank. She choked, almost retched, and finally gulped it down. Her hands shook as she put the beaker down, but he knew that was nerves, not the formula itself.

 

“Good girl! And now we wait.” He leaned forward, delighted. Already he could see her body temperature rising.

 

“I don’t feel any diff—” Mary doubled over as if someone had punched her in the stomach.

 

He leaned forward. “Did I mention that the initial transformation is somewhat agonizing?” he commented, watching with his hand resting on his chin.

 

She straightened up, cheeks flush and shivering. “Me stomach feels…” The tremors increased to outright shuddering. Her face twitched grotesquely, and she stumbled forwards and collapsed onto the counter.

 

He watched in delight; there was nothing he liked better than witnessing something in disarray. Mary was a hardy little thing, as he well knew, and she would hang on to the bitter end.

 

The laces up the length of each glove broke with two loud snaps, followed by a louder crack of her corset laces breaking. Mary keeled over, choking and sputtering. Hyde leaned forward slightly so he would have a clear view.
She lay on the floor in a fetal position, deathly still. He frowned slightly. It would be damned inconvenient if she were dead…

 

She took a huge, gasping breath at the same moment as she sprang to her feet, arms outstretched. She was all flashing emerald eyes, sharp widow’s peak, body now all bone and sinew, fingers flexing as if she wanted to touch everything around her. He’d wanted to rip open that mousy little servant naïf and see if there was anything more interesting inside. And what could be more interesting than a distaff version of himself?

 

“This is new,” she said, looking around the laboratory as if seeing it for the first time. He knew what she was feeling and thinking, her new heightened senses turning the world into a fantastic spectacle. “There are two alley cats rutting ten yards north of here.” She sniffed the air. “And the Harrison boy down the street just spent into his handkerchief.”

 

“Welcome!” he exulted, spreading his arms wide. “Welcome to the world, my dear.”

 

She turned to face him, tatters of her rubber dress whirling around her. “I want to do everything! Show me everything!”

 

“And why not? Even a tiger enjoys the company of a tigress from time to time.”

 

See full excerpt of all stories HERE

 

© Peter Tupper

 

 

The Innocent’s Progress And Other Stories
Author:  Peter Tupper
Publisher: Cirlet Press
Genre: Steampunk
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In a steampunk society where sex is ritualized and marriage is sacred, the slightest misstep can bring your world tumbling down. In this collection, Peter Tupper explores the many facets of a time that never was, and a society that is all too familiar. Rich in eroticism, and immersive in its detail, The Innocent’s Progress and Other Stories is a sterling example of what steampunk can be.

In an unnamed place, in a time that never was, sex is elevated as high as ritual, and can be had for the price of a theater ticket. In The Innocent’s Progress and Other Stories, Peter Tupper explores the many facets of a complicated, sensual, and, in many ways, rigidly conservative society. Here, we are given passes to a theater of fantasies; we are allowed into the labyrinthine world of steam-powered workhouses; and we are given glimpses into the minds and mettle of the kind of people who survive in such a world.

Includes the stories:

  • The Innocent’s Progress (originally published in Like A Wisp of Steam)
  • The Pretty Horsebreaker (originally published in Like A Corset Undon)
  • Delicate Work
  • The Slave
  • The Impurity
  • The Spirit of the Future

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Excerpt Day - Not Seeing Is Believing © T.A. Chase

Excerpt

 

Seeing is believing. What an ingenuous statement. Really. So many people don’t believe in something until they’re given proof, like a photograph or an encounter all of their own to talk about. Yet what about beings like me who couldn’t see? How do I believe in something when I can’t see? You’re smiling, but I tell you, it’s difficult to take someone at their word when they tell such fantastic tales.

 

Of course, it helps that I’m a vampire. Yes, I’m one of those unreal creatures created in the minds of ignorant peasants or authors with wild imaginations. Yet, I exist and so do many other imaginary creatures that go bump in the night. Most of us find it easier to blend in and mingle with humans who aren’t sure if they want to know we exist or would rather just ignore our existence all together.

 

The sun is setting and I have a date. Anthony, the mysterious man who lives next door to me finally worked up the nerve to ask me out and I eagerly said yes. I’ve been dateless since I arrived in Strange Hollow. Dating a blind person, or vampire, takes more patience than most people are willing to put out.

 

Angelica nudges my hand with her nose and warns me about whining. Laughing, I pat her head and stand, grabbing a hold of the leash she suffers to wear for me. “Am I dressed properly?”

 

She woofs softly. Yes.

Good, I hate when she lets me leave my house looking like a slob. Believe me, there have been days when she has. My Seeing Eye dog has a vicious sense of humor at times.

 

A hard nip to my thigh and I am reminded that Angelica isn’t an ordinary Seeing Eye dog. Large and muscular, she defies all attempts at guessing what breed she might be. No one believes me when I tell them the truth. Angelica is a breed unto herself. Another bump from her and I realize she’s listening to me. “You really shouldn’t read my mind, dear.”

 

After tucking my keys and wallet in my pocket, I slip on a pair of sunglasses. You might wonder why I would need sunglasses at night. Well, my attackers removed my eyeballs with spoons, leaving me with empty sockets. I’ve been told it’s not a particularly attractive look. So to spare others, I cover them up.

 

I reach out, searching for the doorknob, and grin when my hand wraps around it at the first try. The cool metal turns in my fingers, allowing me exit from my home and entrance into the rather chilly autumn evening.

 

Why shouldn’t I read your mind?

I can feel her ruffling through my mind, trying to find some disparaging thought about her. Those I tuck as deep inside my brain as I can because if she feels insulted she isn’t above abandoning me on my front porch and letting me find my own way around. On those nights, I turn around and head back inside, calling Rufus, my werewolf friend, and inviting him over for pizza.

 

What kind of dog is Angelica? She is a hell hound, released from Below to escort me around town. Though I think she’s being punished for something she did since no self-respecting hound would want to lead a blind vampire around in the human world.

 

I’m not being punished for anything. I chose to come up here and help you out.

“Stop being indignant, Angelica. I’m glad to hear that being with me is your choice. You are a rather determined lady. I’m sure there are many down there who wouldn’t argue with you.”

 

I leave the door unlocked. Strange Hollow isn’t the type of town where crime happens. I’m in no danger of being staked in my bed or robbed on the street. Rules and laws are strict here, but not to the point of chaining any of us down.

 

Strolling down to the sidewalk, I breathe in the brisk earthy scent of the evening. Rufus has tried to explain what autumn looks like to me. Unfortunately, his isn’t an imaginative brain, and at times I am more confused than normal about what the world around me looks like.

 

I’ve lived on this earth for four centuries, having celebrated my birth in the year 1610 and embraced my undead life in the year 1639. My eyesight was taken from me only two short years after I became a vampire. None of my makers warned me about the dangers of silver or superstitious villagers.

 

It was a combination of both that conspired to steal my eyesight. I’m sure they hoped it would kill me, but being ignorant of vampire physiology, they had no way of knowing I would heal for the most part as soon as I fed. The damage to my eyes remained permanent. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t feed soon enough after the attack or simply because they attacked me with silver. Either one condemned me to a life without sight, and slowly, over the years, I have forgotten what colors looked like.

 

Angelica jerks my entire body and I flail, trying to regain my balance. Strong arms catch me, holding me tight to a hard chest until I get my feet back under me. I breathe in and smile. The odd combination of wood smoke and cinnamon tell me the identity of my rescuer.

 

“Good evening, Anthony.” I glance in the direction of his eyes, never sure if I actually make contact or if I end up looking slightly crazed.

 

“Hello, Barry.”

 

Anthony’s voice holds a slight accent and I shiver. I step away from him, hoping he thinks the shiver came from the cool air, not the attraction skating down my spine. “Anthony,” I repeat, sounding like an idiot, but trying to think while the brain function I had drained from my head to my groin.

 

Angelica bumps me and I trip into Anthony’s personal space again. Silly dog, I mutter silently to her. Her teeth grip my hand in teasing pressure, drawing a sigh from me. I’m sorry. She doesn’t like it when I call her a dog.

 

He slips his arm around my waist, my heart races at the contact. The warmth from his body soaks through my clothes. I’ve never gotten used to how cold I can get at times, but I guess when you don’t have blood running through your veins, you don’t need to be warm.

 

“I’m glad you asked me out,” I blurt out, apparently losing control of my tongue.

 

Sometimes it’s hard to judge Anthony’s mood, especially since I can’t see his expressions. I must rely on the tone of his voice, and like most people, Anthony is adept at disguising his emotions.

 

A hot, moist puff of air crosses my temple as Anthony sighs. “So am I, though it took me long enough to work up the nerve, didn’t it?”

 

I place my hand on his lower arm, arranging my scarred face into a pleading look as I raise my head toward him. “But you asked, and ultimately that is all that matters. I’m a vampire. Time doesn’t mean much to me.”

 

With a swift tug and twist, Angelica jerks her leash from my hand and bounds away. I lower my head, hiding my smile as I listen to her footsteps dash down the sidewalk.

 

“She did that on purpose, didn’t she?” Anthony’s voice held a smile.

 

“Yes, I do believe she did.” I smile, shaking my head at the thought of my hell hound playing matchmaker.

 

“I guess I should see her desertion as a good thing, considering how protective she is of you.”

 

I chuckle at his exaggerated shudder. “She does tend to overdo it at times.”

 

“She knows what a treasure she has in you,” Anthony murmured, not realizing, I’m sure, how acute my hearing has become over the centuries.

 

I want to thank him, but don’t want to embarrass him, so I allow his comment to pass without remarking on it. He cradles my hand in the crook of his elbow and we wander down toward the center of town. Our shoulders bump. Our hips rub and my pulse goes up. Anthony covers my hand and squeezes. I lean my head on his shoulder.

 

“I admit I don’t have any particular plans for our date. I wanted to spend time with you. Would you like to walk to the park? We don’t need to go anywhere special. I just like getting out of my house,” Anthony confesses.

 

“Sounds perfect to me.”

 

As we walk toward the park, I hear footsteps coming at us. What makes those steps so interesting to me is how the instant the walker spots us, the steps move quickly in the other direction. I find it odd along with the rising tension in Anthony each time it happens.

 

I have never asked Anthony why he lives in Strange Hollow. Not because I’m not curious, but I believe in privacy. Every person here has the right to not reveal why they choose to live in this town.

 

Only one person knows and that is Jacinda, the town’s founder. She meets each newcomer personally to explain the rules. I’ve often thought it must be a heavy burden to bear, knowing why a person needs sanctuary.

 

“Here’s a bench.” Anthony speaks for the first time since we decided to go to the park. Stress clips his words.

 

We sit and I snuggle as close to Anthony as he’ll allow me without sitting on his lap. He wraps his arm around my shoulder. An unfamiliar sense of contentment fills me. I often feel that way when near Anthony, which is why I said yes when he asked me out. Our easy friendship has the promise to become more.

 

A young woman strolls closer. I can tell her sex and age by the speed of her stride and the click of her heels. She gasps when she draws near and scurries away.

 

Frowning, I ask, “Do you think she never saw two men sitting on a bench together?”

 

“I don’t think it was us as a couple that upset her.” Anthony’s arm tightens around me.

 

Even with my glasses on, my scars spider web away from my eyes. My attackers hadn’t been gentle or caring about how I would look if they didn’t succeed. The scars aren’t ugly, or so I’d been told, but whatever coating had been used on the silver spoons that gouged out my eyes left behind bits of phosphorous. They tend to glow under the right conditions. I had been so overjoyed to hear that when my doctor explained it to me. One more reason to be branded a freak.

 

“No.” Anthony clasps my hand and trails the fingers of his free hand over my face. “Your scars are beautiful.”

 

I snort. “You don’t have to sweet-talk me, Anthony. I already like you.”

 

“Barry, what are you doing here?” Squeaky, one of my friends, interrupts us.

 

“Anthony and I are on a date. Don’t you have a wheel to turn or something?”

 

Squeaky is a hamster shifter, and while I’ve never inquired as to why he lives in Strange Hollow, I have a feeling it’s because of Squeaky’s size. He’s rather large for a hamster. Of course, his real name was Herbert, but Rufus nicknamed him Squeaky when he arrived at the shifter’s house to find him running on a wheel. And everyone knows how squeaky hamster wheels are.

 

“No offense, Anthony, but do you think it’s a good idea to be out with him, Barry?”

 

“Oh, for God’s sake, Squeaky, I’ve been friends with him for over a year now. Why this concern all of a sudden?” Anthony starts to move away, but I entwine our fingers and won’t let go.

 

“Ummm ... well...” Squeaky hesitates.

 

“It’s the first time any of them have really seen me. I’ve rarely left my house, except to visit with you, and when I do go into town, I usually wear a trench coat and a hat.”

 

I laugh. “Are you a flasher? Is that why people run from us?” Squeaky tries to say something and I hush him. “I’ll be fine. I’ll even meet you at Maude’s tomorrow evening to prove it.” I flap a hand in Squeaky’s direction. “Now go away.”

 

A loud exhale informs me that Squeaky isn’t happy about being dismissed, but I don’t care. It’s time to find out more about Anthony, the mysterious man I lust after. I listen as Squeaky shuffles off.

 

© T.A. Chase

 

Not Seeing Is Believing

Author: T.A. Chase

Punlisher: Samhain Publishing

Genre: GLBT

Buy Link

Living in Strange Hollow, a blind vampire like Barry can have a normal life ... or as normal as a blind vampire can have. He has friends and his Seeing Eye dog, Angelica. But when he accepts a date with Anthony, his mysterious next-door neighbor, he realizes just what he’s been missing. Love.

Yet when Anthony reveals the reason he’s made Strange Hollow his home, Barry has to question whether Anthony’s interested in him because of his personality, or because of his blindness.

Sometimes the statement “love is blind” can be the most freeing words of all.

 

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Excerpt Day - Play Dirty © Lorie O'Clare

Excerpt

 

Haley shouldn’t be there. It was stupid thinking driving past the house where she and Greg raised their boys, and where he still lived with both of them, would help her clear her head. After the quick drive by, seeing a new looking black Avalanche in the driveway and the porch now closed in, appearing to have been converted into another room, Haley refused to let herself drive by the house again. She’d kept going, passing the grocery store where once she’d known everyone who worked there, the small strip mall where they used to take the boys for ice cream and to rent movies. For such a huge city, the neighborhood where they raised their boys hadn’t changed all that much in the years since she’d been gone.

 

“You’re torturing yourself,” she complained when she pulled into the small, secluded parking lot and parked her car in a stall facing the football field.

 

It seemed a thousand years ago. Haley could still see Greg running across that field, the crowd cheering when he made a touch down. He’d been her high school sweetheart, her husband and the father of her children.

 

“He’s still your husband.” She swallowed the lump in her throat wondering for the hundredth time why she hadn’t filed for divorce. Living her life in limbo wasn’t healthy. There were other men out there, men who weren’t obsessed with their job, who would trip over themselves to have someone like her.

 

She got out of her car, immediately feeling the heat from the sun make her shirt cling to her back as she locked her car door. The grove of trees still surrounded the end of the field and she headed that way, forcing herself to focus on recent current events and not a life that was long gone. At some point she would seek out her sons, explain why she did what she did, and pray they would accept her in their lives once again. But that couldn’t happen until she figured out what happened to her boss.

 

“Which is why you came here.” Haley picked up her pace, anxious to reach the shade and get out of the sun. At this rate, she would be a melted mess before she got to the end of the field. “I’m going to look like an idiot if I approach Greg about John with no facts and clues that are barely clues.”

 

She admitted being a chicken shit in seeking out Greg simply to say hi, it’s nice to see you again. It was easier thinking about talking to him about a case, one she would like assistance in solving instead of approaching him to discuss a relationship that was on the rocks years ago. But Pierre was dead, her reason for leaving no longer existing, and it was time to come home.

 

“My God, are you seriously thinking about asking him to work with you on this?” She wiped moisture from her forehead and walked into the shade.

 

It was only a few degrees cooler among the trees but she slowed her pace, staring at the apartments that didn’t used to be there. Once this secluded area was the ideal place for young lovers to come and escape the crowd, spend time making out and getting to know each other. There was still some seclusion and the narrow path made of packed dirt where the grass had been worn down by many people walking through the trees over the years was still there. Haley walked along the path, wiping sweat from her brow until she reached the large cement ditch that looked a lot smaller than it used to.

 

She sat at the edge of the cement, stretching her legs down the incline. Glancing both ways, she took in the length of the huge cement ditch that was actually a sewer run-off. Heat waved off the cement, and her vision blurred as she focused on the direction where she knew there was a place where people could walk into an underground sewage area. It had grossed her out as a teenager, although a lot of the kids would go there to get laid, or on dares. No one was around and she wondered if kids at the high school today still came here to hang out. More than likely not, with computers and cell phones having replaced the need to find secluded areas like this to have uninterrupted conversations.

 

“Haley.” The deep voice behind her interrupted the silence.

 

Haley jumped, lost her footing and started sliding down the steep cement incline. “Stop!” she yelled, slashing out with her arms when someone gripped her from behind, lifting her off the ground. “Let me go! No!”

 

“It’s me.” Those powerful hands turned her around.

 

Haley slapped her palms against Greg’s hard packed chest, staring into his piercing blue eyes that were as radiant and compelling as she remembered. Her breath caught in her throat and she swore her heart stopped beating. Greg pulled her into his arms, not saying another word, holding her against his virile body with her feet dangling against his legs. When he kissed her, her entire world toppled to the side, taking her with it.

 

© Lorie O’Clare

Play Dirty

Author: Lorie O’Clare

Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Buy link

Heartthrob bounty hunter Greg King knows how to work it—and he knows that he can have any woman he wants. But there’s more to Greg than meets the eye…and he’s still haunted by the memory of his beautiful, estranged wife. Much as he’s tried to move on, he’s never been able to stopstopped wondering why Haley left him. Or what he could have done to make their marriage better—and make her stay…

After putting a vicious criminal behind bars, Haley King had no choice but to leave her loved ones behind and enter the witness protection program. Turns out that, in her new life, Haley has once again found herself in serious trouble—and needs help from the only person she can trust: her husband. Now, as old secrets threaten to tear them apart and danger closes in from all sides, it’s up to Greg to keep Haley safe…and convince her that this time, he’s playing for keeps.

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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Wednesday Musing – I am woman, We are Women – ROAR!!!

Woman is in the lap of A, B, C.....

A says
Woman is attractive flower
B says
Woman is beautiful gift
C says
Woman is great source of comfort
D says
Woman has a sweet dialect
E says
Eastern or western, woman is the worthy
F says
Woman is central figure of family
G says
Woman always glitters with the rays of her partner
H says
Woman has holy spirits
I says
Woman has basic institution in her lap
J says
Woman is a full of joy
K says
Woman is head of kisses
L says
woman is lovely thing
M says
woman is symbol of modesty
N says
nails increase the beauty of woman
O says
Woman is an pretty ornament
P says
Woman is princess
Q says
Woman is queen
R says
Woman is a rare gift
S says
Woman is a main source of survival the human being
T says
Woman has true spirits of love
U says
Woman is an peaceful umbrella
V says
Woman is valley of love
W says
Woman is wafer
X says
Woman has sweet kisses
Y says
Woman is your jewellery
z says
Woman has great zeal

© abdul razaq

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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Just Checking in – How are you guys!!!

Hello …

Just checking in and waving hi to you all….

I have been so busy for the past few days, but I am back with Wednesday Musing and reviews from tomorrow..

I hope the beginning of the week has been all kind of something special for you guys…

Pssst… How is your ban book reading going.. I am still just a few pages into my Maya Angelou – I Know Why the Cage Birds Sing book…

But I am hanging in there…

See you in the morning..

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Monday, 27 September 2010

Monday Again - I had a Graphic Novel week

A weekly event hosted by Sheila - Book Journey to discuss your reading week ~ the books you've read and those you plan on reading in the coming week.

Books I completed last week are

Andi Anderson - A Realistic Romance

Fumi Yoshinaga – Gerard & Jacques  

Seyoung Kim – Boy Princess

Konohara, Shimizu – The Man Who Doesn’t Take Off His Clothes

You Higuri – Cantarella Bk 1-4

Stephani Hecht – In The Crease

The Frenchman's Love Child -

Book Pimping

The Brat

Sherry Gloag

Release Date - October 1

Gina Williams has a secret and prays it is buried with her childhood persecutor, Em Kouvaris, as discovery will ruin her reputation as a famous children’s author. She soon discovers the son, Ben Kouvaris, new owner of her publishing company, has uncovered her past and is making demands. Will he ruin her career if she doesn’t comply?

Ben Kouvaris is blown away by the unknown beauty at his estranged mother's funeral, and when his father demands he marry, immediately, to secure the family business, he knows just who he wants as his temporary bride. But can Ben persuade Gina to trust him?

Thomas Riley

Nick Valentino

Buy Link

For more than twenty years West Canvia and Lemuria have battled one another in a constant war.

From the safety of his laboratory, weapons designer Thomas Riley has cleverly and proudly empowered the West Canvian forces with his brilliant designs. But when a risky alchemy experiment goes horribly wrong, Thomas and his wily assistant, Cynthia Bassett, are thrust onto the front lines of battle.

Forced into shaky alliances with murderous sky pirates in a deadly race to kidnap the only man who can undo the damage--the mad genius behind Lemuria's cunning armaments--Thomas' own genius is put to the ultimate test.

Up next on the reading deck

I still have last week set of books to get through – I seem to be having a all over the place reading format going on… Hopefully I’ll get some reading in this week..

Arctic Shift-Lissa Matthews

V.J. Devereaux - Special Delivery

Ethan Day – Piper’s Point

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Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Sunday Salon – Challenges, Books and Discussions

My feet are up after a long day at a craft fair and I thought I would touch base with you all while I have a cup of tea and give you a heads up on a few things..

Firstly thank you guys for bearing with me during my MINI RANT the other day – it is nice to clear the air now and again.. But as I said on comments, I live in hope that things will change.

Here’s a heads on a STEAMPUNK CHALLENGE hosted by Rikki from The Bookkeeper

It is of course another book reading challenge – what I love about it however is that it’s quite relaxed in it’s rules and because it is a relatively fresh genre, especially the romance angle, readers of the genre have already been chipping in and giving their recommendations.

The challenge will flow right over into next year and I have a few books already that I can make bedside reading material and there are still a few more to be released in the coming year.

I do like this genre and for me it is nice to mix up my reading genres… interested, go visit The Bookkeeper..

Banned Book Week

September 25−October 2, 2010 is banned book week and all over the net and in my local area I have events galore encouraging  reader to get involved and read a banned book.

I do have quite a few of the banned books on my shelf and I am re-reading Maya Angelou’s – I Know Why The Cage Bird Sing as my book of choice during this period.

Here is a synopsis of why that book was banned and some general info.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by celebrated African-American poet Maya Angelou was challenged in many American high schools in 1994. The book was said to contain "encouragement to partake in premarital sex, homosexuality and use profanity."

 

Angelou is one of America’s most important writers, and this book is one of her most brilliant works. These accusations were made mainly in Texas, under George W. Bush, as well as in Iowa and Colorado. All accusations stated the book as "a lurid tale of sexual perversion" for its depiction of homosexuality as an appropriate lifestyle. These accusers seemed to ignore the fact that I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is one of the landmarks of American (especially African-American) literature.

Ms’ Angelou has been and still remain one of my favourite author and poet. As I was looking around at the books on the banned list  Daddy’s Roomate by Michael Willhoite caught my eyes.

Here is a synopsis of why that book was banned and some general info.

Daddy’s Roomate by Michael Willhoite is an open-minded children’s book that encourages tolerance towards gay and lesbian relationships. Boy, did this one get dissed! When it was read in class to schoolchildren in Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Arizona in 1994, complaints flooded in, alleging that the book ‘promoted gay and lesbian relationships as appropriate.’ The book is in many libraries across Canada, but has been removed by most in the United States.

I am going to try and read the two during this week – even if I don't complete them during this time I will definately complete this one.

Will you guys be reading any of the banned books?

Some Conversation around the web..

While I was trawling around the web this week – I found so many interesting conversation that not only had me thinking but comments really shed a different light on certain topics.

Here’s one that was right up my street..

Rebecca from Dirty Sexy Book – talked about Erotica and Romance 

Why does it have a “dirty” reputation?

Because our culture is closed off, and closed mouthed when it comes to sex.  Our idea of sex education is a joke.  We talk about the mechanics of the act, the repercussions of disease and pregnancy, but does anyone inform young ladies how to actually have an orgasm?  Does anyone tell those horny young men how to satisfy their partners?  No.  Erotica explores the stuff we’re afraid to talk about, and frankly, I wish someone had handed me a quality anthology back when I was a teen.  I think it empowers women, it educates men, and it entertains us all, beautifully.

© Rebecca – Dirty Sexy Books

Have you guy come upon any good discussions recently ?

 

Enjoy the weeks peeps…

Until next week – cheers


From  site –

What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....

That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book.

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Saturday, 25 September 2010

Weekly Geek – Are you an O.C.R. - Overly Critical Reader

Tara SG from 25 Hour Books ask the Weekly Geekers -  

Over the Tara…

That's right, the girl who likes to make up weird for reading terms is back! After introducing the world to such things as P.A.B.D. (post amazing book depression) and S.B.S. (shiny book syndrome), I'm here to show how to spot if you're an O.C.R. and even more importantly how to avoid becoming one!

O.C.R. = Overly Critical Reader

Symptoms:

  • not liking characters in the beginning
    • needing the main character to prove themselves before you'll respect them
  • rolling your eyes while reading
    • needing things to be completely realistic
  • shouting things such as "WTF?!"
    • needing every plot twist and turn to be foreseeable 

How do you avoid becoming an OCR?

  • alternate genres between books (or vary storylines)
    • I find I compare books less and don't overly raise my expectations if I read a UF after a great YA rather than jumping right into another YA book.
  • make a note and let it go
    • Instead of figuring out how you're going to word something in your review, note the page and let it go until later.
  • think about what you're reading
    • Are you reading a paranormal? Then I guess you can't be too surprised if things are unrealistic. Are you reading Chic Lit? Then yeah it's full of completely gag worthy unrealistic romance and steamy sex scenes you probably can't recreate.
  • We read because we want the fantasy... STOP comparing it to real life!!

So now that you've seen some of the symptoms, are you an OCR? What makes you one and how to do try to avoid doing it?

My thoughts..

I don’t  think I am or at least I read right across the genres and I take every book as it comes.. Some things obviously I wont like, but I am not choosey or picky or any such malarkey..

I have been know to curl up with a TSTL heroine and even the over the top hero can float my boat if I am in the right mood.

How about you guys – any of you have O.C.R.

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Friday, 24 September 2010

Dear Authors – I am ranting at you

 

 

 

Dear Authors

Since my three weeks break and my baby steps back into the world of blogging… yes, baby step, for anyone who has taken two weeks or more out from blogging you will know what I am talking about – you have to take it slowly.

Anyhow during my baby step reacquainting myself with the blogs and site I love and even finding a few new ones to enjoy -  I find am looking at them with new eyes so to speak and I am finding some of them wanting.

Before anyone get on their high horse – this is really geared at authors. As much as I blog about books and I share my thoughts about the books I read, before anything else I am a reader. During my recent web crawl I was and still am astound as some of the things that would just seem so basic to me and every body else for some reason seem to slip pass the minds of some author.

This is not a name bashing rant, if you see your self in any of the point I am listing below – just know you may have an irritated and frustrated reader out there.

@ Email.

This really is the simplest of things to do and know – would it kill some of you to actually put an email address on your site or a contact widget if you are tech savvy.

I read your books, I take the good and the bad,  I even take the typos and the TSTL hero and heroine – I am one of those readers who like to pass on a nice word and say I read your book, I liked it or just to simply ask a question – I don't want to @ Twitter you, @ Facebook you or god forbid  @ MySpace you - all I want is to email you.

There are still a few of us who don't want our business to be advertised to 5 million people at the click of a button. I for one like to know I can send off an email and probably make your day or even make it worst depending on your latest product.

Put some contact info on your shop front . Please.

 

@ Social Networking

I personally couldn’t care less what you eat for breakfast or even what you get up to at 2 am in the morning – but I accept that this is a new day and a new age where you have to market yourself, make your public feel you, but could you actually find time to do other stuff as well without social networking all the time..

Namely

@ Website/Blog

Tidy up your bloody web space or blog or what ever you are using as your home site. Not only tidy up but actually keep it active. What ever medium you are using, the giants like Wordpress and Blogger makes it ABC to have a presentable product, even the free web services are so easy .

They literally provide everything at your finger tips – then there is the fact that you guys are researchers, so a little brain work in how to twik and twink your place shouldn’t be to much of a hardship. It is really depressing to visit your home space and see firstly it has not been updated in probably the last year and the site looks like crap.

Yes it looks bad – come on people care about what you have, remember business class, first impression last.. believe you me I wont be visiting a few of your sites anywhere in the near future.

I am a blogger and I have a demanding life so believe me I know the stress of juggling it all to keep it fresh and make it happen – but talk to me, let me your reader know right from the outset that your place is just a spot for books,nothing else.

If you are a once a week poster, say that as well – I have to tell you, you don't have the same flexibility  that us bloggers have when it comes to space management. As a blogger I may not post for a whole month – yes I might lose some readers, but I have a hardcore fan of supporters that will always be here to chat books with me, just as I do with them irrespective of the length of time I or they are away.

You on the other hand really can’t afford to lose even one prospective CUSTOMER – because let’s be honest you want my/our/their money.. I would imagined that falling off the radar for any length of time will affect sales and depending on how big a name you are probably not a massive drop off, but can a new author afford to lose any customer can any author afford to lose customer. 

@Excerpts

This is a pet peeve of mine, I love excerpts. They do more than just give a sneak peek at your upcoming body of work. They build the excitement, they show your writing style –  some readers are quite funny about their adjective and their pronoun – but more than anything else for me it shows that you are willing to share – to tease.

With all that said I cannot for the life of me understand why when you have a novel, super-romance or just anything over about 80page you are unwilling to put a decent size excerpt for viewing. Three paragraph is not an excerpt – no matter how you want to spin it.

To be honest I am not sure if this is a publisher thing or just you – but please pull your socks up and put a reasonable size excerpt for YOUR readership to sink their teeth into. 

Even if you cannot post long excerpt on your publishing house site, post it on your web space.

Sort it out - please

@Cover Images

200 x 250 is not a decent size cover image to use. If you did not know let me tell you. Get a large image of your book cover/s, upload it to a hosting site and we will find it.

Book pimper’s like myself don’t use tiny images and I want the best quality if I am going to HELP YOU promote YOUR book.

Please don’t make this rocket science people, you have written the book, you have gotten it contracted – how hard can it be to tell the powers that be that you want a large image of your cover to be used for promo.

Think people, think…

 

@Branding

Once again it is not for me to tell you authors how to manage your business, blog or readership, but  - yes but, I am one of your readership and whilst I can have a laugh with the best of them and appreciated even the most erotic photo or lewd comment, there really is a time and place for these sort of things.

Authors with blog as your main site – Please don't let the first thing that I see when I hit your URL is a full frontal nude picture. I personally hate it, not that I can’t appreciate a nice guy or a cute chick in all her bloom, but come on this is your main spot, where you are selling yourself.

Have a site and then a blog for all this social participation that you feel you need to take part in. Once again remember bloggers who are just bloggers have the advantage here again – you don't have to compete or even be over the top to share something you have in common with us.

Even authors who write genre specific material, you are not exempt either – not because you write erotica, or hard core material that means that you have to not respect the people who take the time to find your work and your place.. make us welcome and full frontal is not the way to go.

In Closing.

Sometimes you have to get these thing off your chest and I am feeling good about letting you guys know my thoughts.

I am not a bitch-fest sort of person – but some of you guys have lost me as a reader over the past few week.. I can put up with alot but my cup will over flow at some point and I think it has now.

The letter above are all my own thoughts and opinion, with no direct targeting at anyone person or persons.If you do however see yourself in anything that I have written, please sort it out. You may jolly well have a whole bunch of irrated and just plain fed up readers out there..

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I got me some books – Alot of books actually

The Princess and the Hound -  Mette Ivie Harrison

Shadow and Betrayal - Daniel Abraham

Chronicles of the Black Company – Glen Cook

Mischief Night – Roddy Lumsden

My Lady Vixen – Connie Mason

The Kings Bastard - Rowena Cory Daniells

These Days – Leontia Flynn

Houses Without Walls - Susan Utting

The Virtu – Sarah Monette

Melusine - Sarah Monette

The Battle for Gullywith – Susan Hill

 

 

Jennifer Turner -

Eternal Hearts 01 - Eternal Seduction

After living on the streets of New York City for over a decade, Logan Ellis admits her perceptions might be a little skewed. But twisted or not, there’s a satisfying irony in watching a well dressed vampire stand in the middle of a ghetto alley, windblown trash scraping small circles near his feet. What she finds even more intriguing, is waiting for him to decide whether or not he’s going to kill her.

Kerestyan Nelek hasn’t quite made up his mind. As the Lord of New York, he can’t allow a homeless drug addict, whose memories are packed with knowledge of vampiric existence, to run free in his city. It’s not the first time he’s been in this situation with a human, it’s just the first time in thousands of years he’s come face to face with one who doesn’t seem to care. And that’s what makes the decision so damn difficult.

What horrors would you have to witness before you went numb? How many years would it take for you to feel that way? What would it take to make you care again?

Logan’s answers are simple: the worst humanity has to offer, almost thirty…and something she never expected.

 

 

Kris Cook

Eternally Three Book 1 - Perfection

While searching for her missing brother, Micki Langley visits a nightclub with a notorious reputation as ménage a trois central and comes face-to-face with two amazing men straight from her fantasies.

Ancient jinn Jared endures heavy guilt and wants nothing to do with the human girl. Tripling is necessary to keep immortals alive, but his hunger for Micki is far beyond normal.

Though warrior angel Bradley completes their threesome, he despises Jared for his tainted reputation. He vows the jinn won't hurt the gorgeous human and has no problem fighting him to prove it.

But when the threesome comes together, they share more than an exchange of energy, they share an unshakable bond that generates astounding power. Their enemies seek to destroy their perfect triad, which could unsettle the balance of power between angels and demons. Will the threesome be able to stand strong together - in trust and love - to defeat the relentless evil?

 

Jenika Snow - Leucross Wolves - Feral Cravings

Crissy Smith - Bid High

 

 

Cara McKenna

Backwoods

Shane thinks he’s simply auditioning a new musician for his bar, but when Gabriel saunters into the Shivaree it becomes clear the man has more to offer than just his talent. Gabriel’s got sexual charisma potent enough to make a straight man such as Shane lose his senses, lose sleep, lose himself to dark desires and not want to find his way back to reality.

What follows is not a love story. This is a story about an unforeseen attraction that brings a strong, sane man to his knees, and about lovers tangled up in each other too deep to know who’s in control and who’s helpless.

 

 

J.B. McDonald

Off Trail

Recently widowed, with one dog now crippled and another about to give birth, Keith needs help. Problem is, he doesn't want it. When Spencer blows into his life, Keith does his best to shove Spencer back out. Spencer is everything his dead husband wasn't, and little too close to the wild side for Keith's taste.


Spencer can see that Keith is drowning in details, just as he can see how a little aid would go a long way. But Keith keeps refusing help -- for everything except the crippled dog. Spencer's way into Keith's house is through fur on wheels; finding his way into Keith's heart won't be so easy.

 

Sarah Black

Tootsies

When David Miller publishes his excellent first book of poetry, his jealous-minded colleagues set him up to take a fall. Rather than be semi-fired in a quasi sex-scandal, he decides to live in his grandpa’s old log cabin, deep in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. Maybe he's hoping to run into Quanah Parker Running Bear, his best friend from childhood.

But Quanah Parker is so much bigger than he remembered. Bigger and sexier and bossier, and he seems to have this strange foot thing going on. Sucking toes, rose foot cream, rubbing dicks across the tender arches of his foot -- it's weird but kind of wonderful, too. Is David in over his head?

 

Did you get anything good this week…

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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Excerpt Day – A Shared range © Andrew Grey

Excerpt

Dakota drove his truck along the road that led to the ranch, passing the mailbox and pulling into the drive before stopping the vehicle. Opening his door, he got out and leaned against it. The ranch house, barns, stables, and paddocks were all laid out before him against a backdrop of pastures, rangeland, and, in the background, the imposing peaks of the Tetons. Taking a deep breath, he let the scent and feel of home work its way into his blood. He needed to do this, needed to remind himself that this was home and that he loved it.

 

“Hey, boss, you looking for something?”

 

He turned in the direction of the voice and saw Mario walking up the drive. “No, just lookin’.” He did this every time he was away for more than a few hours. Getting back in the truck, Dakota restarted the engine and pulled up to the house. Grabbing his bags out of the back, he walked up the steps and through the front door.

 

“Hey, look what the cat dragged in.” Bucky got up from a chair and walked over to him, giving Dakota’s back a pat hello. “I was starting to wonder if you’d make it in today.”

 

“I had to.”

 

Bucky nodded his understanding, and Dakota dropped his bags by the sofa and walked down the hall, opening the door to the last room.

 

The nurse sitting by the hospital bed looked up from her book and smiled. “He’s doing just fine.” Grace marked her page and put the paperback into her purse before getting up and walking toward the door. Dakota followed, and they talked in hushed tones in the hall. “It’s been a good day. He had dinner about an hour ago and kept looking at me like he was wondering when I was leaving because he knew you’d be back.”

 

“Did he say anything?”

 

She shook her head. “But like you said, he understands and has ways of making himself known.” Dakota had already paid her for the week, but he reached into his pocket and gave her an envelope. “No, Kota.” She tried to push it back, but he pressed harder.

 

“Then you spend it on those grandkids of yours.” He closed her hand around the paper. “The only reason I can enjoy myself is because I know you’re taking such good care of him.” She was a godsend, and both he and his dad trusted her, which was saying a lot.

 

She gave up and put the envelope in her pocket. “I bathed him this morning and changed the bedding. He’s been turned, and Doc Hansen stopped in and said he’s doing fine.” Well, as fine as could be expected, but Grace would never say that. The woman was an eternal optimist. “I’ll be going, but if you need anything, just call me.” She picked up her things and turned to leave. “If you need help a day or two a week, give me a call. I like it here, and he’s just a dear.” She gave him another smile and walked away.

 

Smiling to himself as he watched her go, he pushed the door to his father’s room open and walked inside. The only sound was his soft breathing as he slept, which he did more and more—not that there was all that much difference between his waking and sleeping hours any more. Oh, there were times when his dad was very alert, but those times were becoming fewer and fewer, and his ability to control his muscles less and less every day. “I love you, Dad.” He said that every day, no matter what, just like he had for the last four years. Turning quietly, he cracked the door so he could hear any noise, and then headed back to the living room.

 

Bucky was asleep in the reclining chair he’d claimed after Jefferson could no longer use it. Officially, Bucky was retired, but he’d been with the ranch for almost forty years and Dakota had told him he’d always have a home here. The man was as much family as his dad, and the sister he heard from about once a month, usually toward the end when she was running low on cash.

 

“So tell me about this cruise you went on.” Bucky’s eyes slid open as he spoke. “Was the thing as big as it looked in the pictures?”

 

“Bigger.” Dakota went into the kitchen and got a couple of beers before popping them open and handing one to Bucky, taking a seat on the couch. “The ship had three swimming pools, six hot tubs, a gym, ice skating rink, basketball court, and anything else you could think of.”

 

“So, you think it’ll last you ’til next year?” The old man took a long pull.

 

“It’ll have to.” Dakota allowed himself one week away from the ranch a year—one week where he could let himself go and sow all the wild oats he possibly could, and this year he’d gone on a cruise.

 

“Did you meet anyone?” The man’s eyes swam, and when a smile appeared on Dakota’s face, Bucky slapped his knees. “Well, tell me about her, son.”

 

This was the part he always hated, and every year he debated coming clean. Before he left on the trip, he’d told himself he wasn’t going to lie to himself or anyone else anymore. “Well, that’s the thing.” He took a long drink from the bottle, downing the rest of the beer before putting it on the table. “I don’t know how to say this, but I didn’t meet a woman. I met a man.” There, he’d said it.

 

The recliner lowered slowly, Bucky’s feet resting on the floor. “Are you telling me you’re queer?”

 

“Gay, Bucky, I’m gay.”

 

“Oh, sorry… gay.” Bucky took another drink of his beer. “What I want to know is why you took so long to say something.”

 

“You’re not upset?” Dakota had built up this moment in his mind into such a dramatic production that the reality was kind of a letdown.

 

“Hell, no. What happens between two people in the privacy of their bedroom ain’t nobody’s business.” Bucky’s eyes narrowed. “So, are we gonna have a boyfriend showing up? ’Cause, laddie, you shouldn’t be alone all the time.”

 

Dakota could barely believe what he was hearing. He never expected this type of reaction. “I don’t understand.”

 

“What?” Bucky sat back in the chair. “You thought I’d turn my back on you?” He shook his head. “You should know better than that. You’re as close to a son as I ever got, and I’ll be damned if something as ridiculous as that is gonna change anything.” Bucky reclined in the chair. “So, does anyone else know?” Dakota shook his head. “Not even him?” Bucky inclined his head toward the hall.

 

“No. I was going to tell him the summer he got injured and never got the chance. After he got hurt, it didn’t seem as important.” Dakota got up and got another beer from the fridge, then returned to the sofa. “Since then, I’ve kept it to myself.” And he had, except for the one week a year he went on vacation and let himself cut loose. “I mean, this is Wyoming, Matthew Shepard country.”

 

“So what’s the difference this time?”

 

The simple question made him think. On his previous trips, he’d always gone to larger cities and fucked his way through a bevy of men until his balls ached and he couldn’t move. ‘I’m not sure.” He was lying to Bucky and to himself. This trip, he’d spent the entire time with one man, a dark-haired beauty with the body of an angel and the imagination of a devil. More than that, he’d found that he’d engaged his heart.

 

Dakota wasn’t naïve enough to think he’d fallen in love with Phillip. But Phillip had awakened something in him that he’d kept closed off—and that Pandora’s box, once opened, couldn’t be closed. And Dakota found himself taking the first tentative steps toward opening up.

 

“Something happened on that cruise, didn’t it, laddie?”

 

“Yeah, I just wished I understood it.”

 

Bucky shook his head. “You have to be yourself, laddie.” Bucky finished the beer and set the bottle on the table by the chair. “And you need to be happy. Not everyone’s like me and content with their own company their entire life.”

 

Dakota thought the older man was done, but Bucky surprised him and continued.

 

“You gave up medical school when your dad got sick, and have taken care of him almost every day for the last four years. So you don’t owe me or anyone any explanations for how you live your life. Besides, there ain’t a man on this ranch that you haven’t helped in one way or another, that’s what matters. ”

 

Bucky picked up the remote and turned on the television. Ten minutes later he was asleep, just like he was every night, and Dakota sat on the couch and watched him in complete, surprised awe. Not that he was going to go out and start carrying flags in the pride parade they had in Cheyenne every year, but he felt better knowing that maybe it wasn’t that big a deal to some folks.

 

Getting up, Dakota finished his beer and put the bottles in the trash before heading outside. At the paddock, he stood and watched the horses for a few minutes until Sadie walked up, bumping him on the chest. “Hey, girl.” He hadn’t brought any treats with him, but she didn’t seem to care. “I missed you too.” He stroked her neck until a high cry echoed over the range, deepening to a low, rumbling howl. Sadie spooked slightly and backed away, looking around and tossing her head.

 

The door to the bunkhouse banged open and the guys poured out. “Did you hear which direction that came from?” Mario asked, on the run.

 

“From the northwest.” The men were still pulling on coats as they headed for the trucks and down the drive.

 

What’s going on, laddie?” Bucky called from the porch.

 

“Wolves. I’m heading out with the men. Will you stay with Dad?” Bucky nodded, and Dakota knew part of Bucky wanted to go along and part of him was relieved to be staying. Knowing his dad was taken care of, Dakota hurried to his truck, making sure his rifle was under the seat before hurrying in the direction of the wolf call. They weren’t supposed to shoot them, even if they caught a wolf among the cattle, because technically, the wolves were the property of the federal government. But they could scare them away, and if one got shot in the process….

 

Reaching the road, he stepped on it, going as fast as he dared, turning the corner and flying along the west road to the far northern ranges.

 

As he approached, he saw the other men had already fanned out and heard a shot in the distance, followed by another, and then quiet. He could see headlights dotting the range in places, and his phone rang. It was Mario. “I think Sparky scared one off with his barking. You want us to keep looking?”

 

“For a while. You know they hunt in packs, and they won’t give up unless we make it hard on them.” Dakota hung up and saw headlights flash. Reaching beneath the seat, he pulled out the gun case and got out the rifle. Loading it, he closed the door and began walking along the fence line. As he did, he could hear his father’s voice. He’d always said Dakota could spot a wolf faster than anyone he’d ever seen.

 

Large, dark shapes moved around the range in the last light of the day—the cattle grazing, their shadows lengthening. It wouldn’t be long before it would be dark and too late to scare the bastard wolves away. Dakota checked his watch. He had about half an hour to get rid of the wolves or he’d lose a few head to them, and he had no intention of letting that happen. Walking away from the truck, rifle at the ready, he watched the borders of the range near the stand of trees. He knew if they were anywhere, they were hiding in those trees. The sun kept lowering and Dakota kept watching.

 

Then he saw it—a slight movement, low to the ground and crouched, scooting in the taller grass. “I’ve got you, ya bastard.” Dakota waited. He could barely see the animal, just its movement, and he knew there were probably others as well. Settling behind one of the fence posts, he waited until the movement resumed, and sure enough, he saw another one at the edge of the trees, watching. Raising his rifle, he sighted it and squeezed the trigger. The explosion he expected, but he didn’t expect the loud, ringing ping. “Fuck!” He’d hit the fence post right next to the bugger. The sound did have an effect, though, and both wolves raced for the trees. Dakota thought he saw them tear out from the other side, heading toward the mountains and away from the ranch. Lowering his rifle, Dakota slowly walked back toward his truck and his phone rang again.

 

“Mario, I missed, but scared them away. Last I saw them, they were headed back toward the park.”

 

He heard Mario laugh. “You missed? What happened, you get soft on the big cruise ship?” He heard the other guys chuckling along with his new foreman. “We’ll meet you back at the house.” He disconnected and stowed the rifle before starting the truck. The drive back didn’t take long, and after saying good night to the men, he walked inside.

 

“You awake, Bucky?” Dakota closed the door gently so he wouldn’t wake his dad.

 

“Yeah. Did you get ’em?” There was a hint of excitement in the old man’s voice. Bucky was one of the men who’d helped organize protests a decade earlier when the federal government decided to reintroduce wolves into Yellowstone. The animals had done well, and while they generally stayed in the park, the wolves sometimes roamed outside and into rangeland. It was an extremely touchy issue for all the ranchers and farms in the area.

 

“I missed. Scared the shit out of them, though.”

 

“Good. Filthy beasts. It took us decades to wipe them out, and the damn government brings ’em back.” It was obviously still a very sore subject. For Dakota, they were a fact that he had to deal with. The wolves were protected, and while he’d killed a few in his time, he tried to abide by the rules, no matter how unfair he felt they were.

 

“Don’t get worked up over it. They’re gone for now.” Dakota patted Bucky on the shoulder. “I’m going to check on Dad.”

 

Dakota walked quietly down the hall to the bedroom and pushed the door open, surprised to find his father’s eyes open and scanning the room. “You’re awake.” Dakota could see him trying to move his lips and throat. Sometimes he was able to speak a few words, but it had been a while.

 

He made a small sound that sounded like a slight whistle and then stopped before trying again.

 

“Wolf?” Dakota asked, and his father stopped and relaxed. “There were a few out tonight. Harry, the new man, shot at one and so did I.” Dakota settled next to his chair. “He was huge, Dad. Gray and brown, and I think I saw his mate.” As much as he hated what they could do to his herd, he had to admire the creatures. “I only saw him clearly as he ran away, but, man, he was fast, and strong too.” He told his dad about the sunset he’d seen as he’d driven back, how the red and gold light faded behind the peaks in the distance. “It was like their shadows lengthened and covered us in a blanket.” Dakota kept talking until his dad’s eyes closed again.

 

Dakota sat with him almost every evening, telling him everything that happened on the ranch. He had no idea how much he understood, but that didn’t seem to matter to either of them. Even though the conversation was now one-sided, for years, before the disease had advanced this far, they’d talked until his dad couldn’t talk anymore.

 

“You remember when I was a kid and you used to tell me all kinds of stories about cowboys and Indians, even the time Great-grandpa met President Roosevelt when he was visiting and Yellowstone was new?” Dakota turned the light down as low as he dared. “You’d tell me story after story until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Every night you’d sit with me.” Dakota rested back in the chair, a blanket folded next to it. “I think it’s going to snow soon.” His father’s head shook slightly, and Dakota wasn’t sure if it was a shake or him agreeing. He took it as the latter. “I used to love the snow, do you remember? You bought me my first sled.” Dakota remembered his dad running and sliding, pulling him on it across the yard.

 

Looking up, he saw his dad’s eyes were closed and his breathing even. “’Night, Dad.” Dakota got up and squeezed a hand lightly before placing it back beneath the blanket and walking next door to his bedroom. Sidestepping the as-yet-unpacked suitcases, he got cleaned up.

 

As he climbed beneath the covers, his phone rang. The number wasn’t one he recognized, and Dakota almost sent the call to voice mail, but then on impulse answered it.

 

“Dakota? It’s Phillip… from the cruise.” His voice was deep and rich.

 

Damn, he sounded good right now, and Dakota’s dick stood right up. He remembered that voice so well, along with the feel of that hard body as it moved beneath him.

 

“Did you make it home okay?” Phillip asked, and Dakota’s mind flashed on the image of Phillip on the beach on Saint Martin, naked, all laid out on a lounge chair. He went with the memory and let it settle on him.

 

“Yeah, it was a long trip, but good.” The sheets shifted lightly over his length, and he stifled a groan and pushed back a wish that Phillip was here with him. Dakota wasn’t in love with him, and he knew Phillip didn’t have any illusions about them, either, but it was nice to talk and have a good fantasy. “I’ve already been out chasing wolves, keeping them away from the cattle. And you, no troubles getting home?”

 

“No, it was easy traveling.” Phillip was quiet for a second or two. “I just called to say thank you for a great time. You were terrific, and….”

 

Dakota laughed into the phone. “I know, you always wanted to fuck a cowboy. If I remember, that went both ways.”

 

“It certainly did.” Phillip chuckled lightly. “Listen, I don’t want to keep you, but I wanted you to know I had a great time and that you made the cruise extra special. And I wanted to ask if it would be okay to call every once in a while.” There was more of that rumbling laughter. “I mean, I know I’m not the love of your life. Lord knows I’ve got enough of that with Gary. The man moped the entire way home.” Now it was Dakota’s turn to chuckle at Phillip’s queeniness. “But I thought we could still be friends.”

 

“Lord, of course.” Phillip had Dakota worried there for a second. “If you’re out this way, I’d love to have you stop for a visit, and maybe a ride.” Phillip burst out laughing, and Dakota realized what he’d said. “On a horse,” he clarified with mock indignation. “You’re a complete nut.” Although his body definitely liked the idea of the other type of ride, he wasn’t going there, and certainly not on the ranch. Dakota figured he should change the subject or the conversation would turn into phone sex. “So how is Gary taking the separation from Scott?”

 

“Not good. He’ll get over it, but he’s one of those happy-ever-after guys who really want to meet the love of their life, and unfortunately, he thinks he has with Scott. And having to go their separate ways after the cruise is tearing him up.”

 

Dakota understood; he’d been able to see it on the cruise. Those two had been inseparable. Fortunately for Dakota, both he and Phillip knew they were having a bit of fun—really hot, steamy fun.

 

“It’s late and I know you’re an early riser, so I’ll say good night.”

 

“Thanks for calling, Phillip, and I mean it, the invitation’s open for a visit.” They disconnected, and Dakota set the phone on the nightstand and turned out the light.

 

For the past week, while he was on the ship, his dreams had been of the ranch and home. Now he dreamed of the wind and waves, the roll of the ship, and the incredibly sexy, dark-haired spitfire who’d shared his bed for much of the voyage. That’s what his vacations were for—to fill his dreams. And for now it would have to do.

© Andrew Grey

A Shared Range

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Genre: BLBT

Buy Link

After a year in medical school, Dakota Holden returned home to take care of the family business full time and help his father cope with multiple sclerosis. Devoted to his family, Dakota allows himself just one week of vacation a year, which he spends in some exotic location having all the fun he can stand. On his last vacation, a cruise, Dakota struck up a friendship with Phillip Reardon, and it fills an important role in Dakota’s life.
So when Phillip decides to take Dakota up on his invitation to visit the ranch, Dakota is happy to see him and meet his veterinarian friend, Wally Schumacher. Despite Wally’s inclination to help the wolves Dakota’s men shoot to protect the cattle, he and Dakota find they have a lot in common, including a fierce attraction. But they’ll have to decide if the Wyoming range is big enough for Dakota’s cattle, Wally’s wolves, and their love.

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