New Release – Crossing Lines by Jeris Jean #giveaway #KindleUnlimited

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Crossing Lines (Hollywood Hopefuls Book Three)

Author: Jeris Jean

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Jeris Jean

Release Date: March 30, 2021

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Age-gap, Hollywood 

Themes: Trust, commitment

Heat Rating: 4 flames     

Length:  61 095 words/181 pages

It is a standalone story. 

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A Hollywood executive. A sexy barista. A bold proposition. 

Blurb

Crossing Lines is a sexy and sweet age-gap, opposites-attract mm romance set in Hollywood.

When Matt is propositioned by Jasper, a hot older guy, he’s more than down. That is until he realizes Jasper has a boyfriend, and Matt would be joining them both. He’s not into it, especially since the boyfriend is a jerk. What Matt doesn’t expect is the lingering disappointment that the handsome man who approached him wasn’t single.

Jasper is not used to rejection. He didn’t become one of the most successful executives in Hollywood by accepting defeat. So when Matt, the sexy young barista, turns him down flat, he’s determined to find out why, especially when there is such undeniable chemistry between them.

Crossing Lines is the third book in the Hollywood Hopefuls series, but it works as a standalone novel.

Excerpt 

Jasper turned in Reid’s arms and simply nodded. Reid’s face lit up, and he drug Jasper off the dance floor. They made their way to the bar to reload on drinks, then they found a small table in the bar area to scope out their options. After quickly scanning the bar, Jasper knew they’d have no trouble finding a willing third. While he was probably a solid 8, even at his age, Reid was a fucking 10, taking tall, dark and handsome to a whole other level. Jasper could already see guys shooting them the Pick me! Pick me! eyes. They were practically licking their lips. 

“How about him,” Reid said, nodding his head toward a table near the back. Jasper followed his gaze to a table with three young guys, seemingly in jovial conversation. He watched the three men for a few minutes, trying to gauge their relationship to one another. It certainly seemed like they were close, but the vibe was very platonic. Easy laughs, casual postures, but not sitting close or touching at all. They appeared to be oblivious to the entire club around them, and from what Jasper could tell, they were celebrating. Judging by the baby face on the one guy, it could be his 21st birthday. Jesus. I’m old enough to be that kid’s dad

“I hope you’re not talking about the ginger, because if you are, I’m going to have to institute a must be old enough to rent a car policy.” He shot Reid a judgmental glare. 

Reid laughed. “Not the baby gay. The blonde.” 

Jasper considered this. The blonde was also really young, early twenties at best. He was good looking in a boy-next-door sort of way, but Jasper wasn’t particularly attracted to the innocent type. If they were going to have a threesome, he wanted someone who would know what to do. And when his eyes flicked to the third man at the table, all Jasper could think was “Bingo.” 

“Him,” Jasper said, not phrasing it as a question. 

“Lip Ring?” Reid lifted an eyebrow. 

Jasper slowly raked his eyes over the man, considering his appearance. There was something about him that seemed vaguely familiar, thought he was sure they didn’t know one another. He’d certainly have remembered meeting him. He was young, too, but older than the other two. Definitely still in his twenties. He had black hair that was shaved on the sides and longer on top, and it had a few streaks of blue in it. He had piercings in his eyebrow and lip, and while the black hair and piercings would make a lot of guys look rough, the man’s clear blue-grey eyes and easy smile made him seem approachable, kind even. He was long and lean, dressed in all black, tight jeans and a t-shirt that was rolled at the sleeves. His exposed arms were all creamy-pale skin contrasted with stark, bold tattoos, all black and grey and striking blue. 

“Yeah,” Jasper croaked, realizing he had been staring for longer than he probably should have been, “him.” 

Reid grinned. “Fuck yeah. I’ll go say hi. You go grab a…looks like he’s drinking a beer?”

Jasper stood up quickly. “I’ll go talk to him. You get the drinks.” 

About the Author 

Jeris Jean is a life-long Minnesotan with an obsessive love of books. She has a master’s degree in English Literature but didn’t write her first novel until she was in her mid-thirties. Something just “clicked,” and all fell into its rightful place.

Jeris is a lover of cats, coffee, binge-watching tv shows, her bffs, puzzles, knitting, white sunglasses, black nail polish, purple hair, and reading and writing like it’s going out of style, especially mm romance.

She lives with her husband, two sons and their cat, Fluffy Cat Love, in a lovely little suburb of Minneapolis.

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 ebook copies of both previous books in the series (Running Lines and Crossing Lines)

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New Release – The Harder We Fall by Rebecca Raine #giveaway

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Book Title: The Harder We Fall

Author: Rebecca Raine

Cover Artist: Bec Rivers

Release Date:  March 29,  2021

Genre: MM Romance

Trope: Hurt/Comfort

Themes: Grief, Penance, Personal Growth

Heat Rating: 4 flames

 Length: 70,000 words

It is a standalone book.

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For years, I’ve been bound by sleeplessness and sorrow. His voice threatens to set me free.

Blurb 

Insomnia. It’s part of the penance I pay for my greatest mistake. But when an ill-timed doze behind the wheel of my car nearly introduces me to a pole, I know something has to change.

Sleep with Me, a locally-made meditation app, promises a cure. I don’t expect it to work. Nor do I expect to become enthralled by the voice of its creator, Sam Stephenson. His ability to coax forth my nightly surrender is unnerving. I have to meet this man and learn the secret behind his techniques, so I can evict him from my head—and still get a good night’s sleep.

In person, the quiet and reclusive Sam is his own kind of complicated. He needs my business skills as much as I need his meditation skills and we forge an unlikely partnership. But the attraction between us soon flares into passion and, as we grow closer, I start to long for more than my guilty conscience will allow.

I have no right to love, not after the damage I’ve done. How can I give Sam all he deserves, when our chance at a happy ending was ruined before we even met?

Excerpt

“We’re running out of time.”

“So, we are,” I say with a false show of surprise. “It’s my fault, of course.” I pause, trying to figure out how to word the next part without making it obvious this was part of my plan all along. “I could always email you the questions. Then you can take as long as you like to answer them. After you send them back, I’ll write up a plan and we can meet again to discuss it.”

He looks aghast at the idea. “That’s a lot of work. I don’t want to take up too much of your time.”

“Actually, Sam, I’m the one asking for more of your time.” I brandish my most charming smile. It’s worked on men in the past, though I’m not usually trying this hard for the win. Desperation may have knocked the polish off.

Sam’s mouth drops open and somehow he manages to look panicked and thrilled at the same time. “You want to see me again?” he asks. “For the quid pro quo, I mean.”

“If you don’t mind.” I try to look calm, but my pulse is roaring like an express train. If he says no, I’m screwed. “I know this is all a bit odd, me coming to you the way I have. I suppose I hoped, once we met, you might be willing to give this whole process some more time.”

He shifts in his chair again, his gaze dropping. There’s no sign of his earlier trepidation, though, only a subtle wariness. “This was never going to be one hour, was it?”

“Not really, no,” I say, surprised at my honesty. “Not if we’re both going to get what we want from this.”

I can feel his attention all over me, even with his gaze glued to the table. “What exactly do you want from me, Tristan?”

It’s the voice. Right there in front of me. Coming from his mouth. Holy fuck.

Hearing that voice say my name, after all the ways I’ve used and abused his—in curses and moans and whispered pleas—is a goddamned fantasy come to life. Lust surges through my veins and I want to growl in frustration. This infatuation has to end. “I need to stop sleeping with you.”

His head snaps upright and we both gasp.

My right hand slaps over my mouth. “Fuck, I didn’t mean it like that.”

Looking away again, he releases a shaky breath. “It’s all right.” He runs absent hands along his arms, soothing a severe case of goosebumps. Sam is responding to my voice, my words, the same way I inevitably respond to his.

How would we respond to each other’s touch? Stifling a groan, I shift clenched fists into my lap. That’s not what this is about. I’m obsessed enough without learning the texture of his skin and the taste of his—

Sam starts to laugh, really laugh. “That stupid name,” he manages to say between breaths. “Sleep with Me. It wasn’t even my idea, but it certainly does get a reaction.” There’s another peel of laughter, as if he’s releasing all the tension from his body, and I find myself joining in. Every time we look at each other it gets worse and before I know it my stomach is sore from laughing. It feels good to laugh at myself. Weird, but good.

“Let me rephrase,” I say as we start to regain our composure. “What I mean is, now you’ve succeeded in getting me to sleep, I want to figure out how to do it on my own.”

“Should be easy enough. It’s probably something in the phrasing.”

Reality seeps back in, killing off the last of my amusement. “No, it’s something else.” Sam isn’t the first person to tell me to let go of my guilt. My mother used to say it constantly. It wasn’t your fault, Tristan. You shouldn’t blame yourself.She didn’t believe her words any more than I did, but she tried. “I don’t know what it is about you that’s different. I don’t think it’s necessarily something you can teach me, but whatever it is, I need to figure it out.”

“So, what’s the plan?” he asks with a baffled expression. “Are you going to hang around me until you get your answer through osmosis or something?”

“Maybe? I don’t know.” I drop my head into my hands. “Honestly, I’m making this up as I go along.”

“You and me both,” he says with a snort. “I don’t know if I can give you the answer you’re looking for, Tristan. But I’ll try.”

Slumping back in my chair, I release a sigh. “Thank you, Sam.”

He smiles that tiny smile and I try not to drool when his cheeks turn pink. “It’s my pleasure.”

About the Author 

Rebecca is a long-time lover of all things romance. Whether it’s a book, movie, or real life, she will always have more fun if there’s a love interest thrown into the mix. She lives in Queensland, Australia with her very own hero husband, two quirky kids and one big, black dog. Other than reading and writing books, her favourite things include loud music, enjoying a glass of wine on the patio, organising everything in existence, and spending too much time on the Internet.

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one of five ebook copies of The Harder We Fall

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New Audiobook – Love’s Lawyer by Janice Jarrell @Revolut35174972

AUDIOBOOK TOUR

Book Title:  Love’s Lawyer

Author:  Janice Jarrell

Publisher: Self-Published

Narrator: Walker Williams

Release Date: March 4, 2021

Genre:  Contemporary M/M Romance

Themes: Law school stress

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 8 hours and 42 minutes

It is a standalone story but also part of a group of books.

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Audible US  |   Audible UK  |  Amazon US  |   Amazon UK

Would law school do what a drug lord’s bullet could not – hand Colin Campbell the bitter defeat he never believed he’d have to face? Or would the man he loved find a way to draw him back from the abyss?

Blurb 

Colin Campbell had been a champion all his life. Nothing had ever beaten him, not even a drug lord’s bullet. He approached law school the same way he approached everything in life, with cocky confidence fizzing through his veins like ginger ale. He had it all. He had the looks, the brains, the experience, the know-how and he also had the love of his life at his side. He couldn’t be defeated… he thought.

But he hadn’t counted on the gravitas of law school, the reading, the preparation, the cases, the competition, the Socratic Method, the concepts, the grading curve, the expectations, the finals, memos, study groups, outlines… all of it piled and heaped upon those preparing for a career as an attorney until it wasn’t surprising that some of them simply imploded under the weight of it all.

Suddenly Colin was spinning out of control, scrambling to keep up, rarely ever seeing Joshua. His grades slumped as he tried desperately to balance the opposing forces in his life, but his only solution was stretching himself thinner and thinner, until he feared he’d be torn in two. Joshua pleaded with him to slow down, but Colin refused to lighten his load and the path before them grew darker and darker.

They’d been through so much and survived. Would law school do what a drug lord’s bullet could not – hand Colin Campbell the bitter defeat he never believed he’d have to face?

Or would the man he loved find a way to draw him back from the abyss?

About the Author  

My name is Janice Jarrell. I am a retired grandmother who lives in Seattle, WA.  I have two children and three grandsons. I’ve been writing gay romance since I was twelve years old, only back then it wasn’t called ‘gay romance’. In fact, it had no name at all. It was the fifty’s, and it was worth your life to admit to being gay, let alone confess to being a girl who constantly fantasized about relationships between gay men. Hell, I didn’t even know what a homosexual was. I lived on a farm out in the sticks in a tiny Michigan village and I’d never, to my knowledge, even heard the word. I just knew I loved the thought of boy on boy romance. I just knew that there was something hot going on between Tom Corbett and his Space Cadets and all those guys on ‘Combat’.

I wrote slash fanfiction for 30 years, writing over 337 stories, some as short as 100 words (a drabble) some as long as a series which was over 119,012 words. I enjoy writing my stories. I enjoyed the feedback I received from my readers. It was a creative release I’d been searching for my entire life and I blessed the Internet for leading me to this artistic oasis for my spirit.

Love’s Magic was my very first step into writing my own characters. I will always be grateful the slash fanfiction community for nurturing the budding author until she was ready to blossom into a fully realized novelist. It’s been an amazing thing to watch the gay community’s growth over these past twenty years. My own journey has echoed theirs in many ways, and I’m grateful to all those gay activists who fought to give the gay community the rights and privileges they always deserved.

My second contemporary gay romance novel, Love’s Trials followed Colin and Joshua on their journey as men and as a couple. The readers who fell in love with them in Love’s Magic were thrilled to see their romance continue to grow and blossom, but were forced to watch our beloved boys go through some pretty traumatic trials in this book, trials which nearly shattered their relationship. But their love proved stronger than any troubles in the end and they now move forward into the happiness they know they deserve.

In Love’s Glory, Colin and Joshua bask in the happiness that eluded them in Love’s Trials. If you’re looking for a book filled with anger, fear, and anxiety… look elsewhere. Love’s Glory is about just that… the glory of love and the continued growth of these two extraordinary men and the amazing friends who are a large part of their lives.

I’m also grateful to the gay romance community, readers, authors, publishers and promoters, who are making these, my retirement years, the most creative ones of my life. When I’m not writing, I’m traveling, walking, hiking, knitting, crocheting, and weaving, and enjoying my life here in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

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Book Blast – Young King Arthur and the Round Table Knights

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Young King Arthur and the Round Table Knights

Author: Siryn Sueng

Publisher: Deep Hearts YA

Release Date: September 18, 2020

Genre/s: Fantasy, M/M YA Romance

Trope/s: First Love, Arthurian Legend

Themes: Coming of Age, Knights 

Heat Rating:  2 flames      

Length:  68 322 words/ 270 pages

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Smashwords  |  Apple Books  |  B&N  |  Kobo

Arthur grew up a peasant, but when he was fourteen, Excalibur chose him, and now as King Arthur, he must learn to play the game of royalty quickly … or suffer the consequences.

Blurb

There was no reason for Arthur to think he would ever become king.

A peasant and son of a baker, Arthur grew up in the castle town of Camelot. When he attended the choosing ceremony, it was merely to see who would draw the Holy Sword, Excalibur – to see who would inherit the throne of the recently departed King Uther. He never expected the sword would choose him…

But it did.

Now, at the young age of fourteen, he has become King Arthur, and for all the power he has gained, he has made just as many enemies. Surrounded by the Knights of the Round Table, and led by the mysterious mage, Merlin, Arthur is grateful for his allies, though he would just as soon return to his old life. Surely, someone more worthy should be chosen as king.

Arthur is in the middle of chaos, a world where everyone wants more than they let on, where many hate the idea of a young boy with no noble background being crowned king; where cold stares and whispered words are just as sharp as an assassin’s blade.

As Arthur fends for his life, he must draw on the strength of his knights, especially fifteen-year-old Mordred, who becomes closer to him than the mere bounds of duty. He must become king, not just in name, but in his heart.

And he must do it quickly, because his enemies want more than just his crown…

Excerpt

Two days had passed since I’d pulled the sword free—since becoming King. On the first full day within the castle, Merlin had found me wandering the halls and dragged me back to my room to be fitted for an outrageous amount of clothing. We discussed Illian.

Merlin assured me that he was being treated well within the dungeons, despite his cold attitude that he gave to everyone. Nothing would be done to him without my consultation. That fact only added more weight.

He also brought up his conversation with my mother and the letter I should expect. The day after, I received it. She’d expressed her worries, but also her love and support. She praised me, and though I knew it was meant as encouragement, it only made me more wary and frightened. My station as King was not something to take so lightly—even if she had all the confidence in the world. I tried to reply, but nothing I wrote seemed fitting. Rather, it all seemed more like complaints and childish pleading. It wasn’t something I wanted to send to her, not after having her praise me.

Within the mirror, the striking blue doublet that covered me looked even more out of place as I thought about my mother’s letter. The kingly raiment I now wore wasn’t the only one. I had a rich dark purple one, a red one, a light blue, and a solid black. And to think, those were just for me to wear when I wasn’t in the throne room! All the different clothes were going to make my head explode.

“Yes, he did a wonderful job,” Elias said. “Perfect fit. Of course, he is the best tailor in the lands. Only the best for our King.” He stepped back from me and bowed.

“I don’t need the best,” I said softly, but Elias caught it.

“I suppose it’s good to know that you haven’t drowned in the riches, but at the same time you do need to look the part at least.”

I turned to look out the window. The sea burst against the cliff side, throwing water in a violent display of white foam. I watched the waves for a moment longer, knowing that I needed to get going. I was stalling because I was nervous about meeting the knights. What were they going to think of me? I was young, and a peasant. No royal blood flowed through my veins.

I chewed on my lower lip. Elias touched my arm. I looked over at him. He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t have to. I nodded and followed him out of the room and into the large corridor.

We left the castle and crossed from the tree-lined grounds into the gardens. The smells of the flowers permeated my senses. I took a deep breath. The scents calmed some of my nerves.

Ahead of us on the other side of the castle grounds stood the Knights’ Tower, where they all resided. The tower was imposing, dark in color, and vines crawled up the sides of the rocks. Windows lined the entire building, spiraling up to the top. Elias led me to the tower’s set of wooden doors and bowed to me.

“This is as far as I can go, Your Majesty.”

My heart clenched and ice shot through my chest. I was going to be alone with the knights. Terror flooded me and I began to tremble. Elias touched my arm again. I focused on him. He smiled and the gentle look helped me relax.

“You will be just fine, my lord. They might be rough around the edges, but they’re loyal and actually very nice.”

“Okay. I’ll be just fine. Thank you, Elias. I’ll see you later.”

He bowed and left me standing in front of the doors. I contemplated leaving and hiding in the library. I turned and took a step forward—right into a warm body. With a startled gasp, I stumbled back and bowed forward as I squeaked, “Forgive me! I didn’t see you there! I’m sorry I ran into you!”

The one who I had run into snickered and I recognized that tone well. I looked up to see Merlin smirking at me. My heart fell like it had become a lump of lead. I stared at him as he laughed at me. I could feel a hot blush creeping across my face.

“My, my. You’re a King now, my lord. You don’t bow to anyone. So, what is it that has you cowering before the Knights’ Tower? Are you intimidated by them?” Merlin seemed a little more welcoming, but I still didn’t like the look on his face. It seemed like he was scrutinizing me beneath his outward demeanor.

I turned back to the double doors and swallowed dryly. “They won’t approve of me.”

“Not everyone will. But that’s what it means to be king. No one is loved on their first day on the throne. Everyone questions the new crown; that is simply how it is. It takes time to earn trust and loyalty. You will earn it. But…if you do nothing, then you will have nothing.”

His words shook me. The mage was right. I understood then why he was the advisor to the King of Camelot. He knew what he was talking about. Despite being condescending at times, he was truly helpful.

“I can’t avoid everything, and why should I? Thank you, Merlin.”

He bowed to me. “Of course, Your Majesty. It’s what I’m here for. So, shall we?”

“Yes.”

I turned around and pulled the door open.

About the Author 

Siryn Sueng is a writer of fantasy, paranormal, and even Sci-Fi genres. She’s married to a wonderful husband with a minion of two years. They have a full house with three adorable fur babies, Anubis -the mighty cat hunter- Kida -the momma bear- and Mishka -the loveable husky-.

Siryn is a lover of games on a wide range of platforms. She plays on the PC, console, and hand-held devices including the phone. Japan is where she would love to visit sometime and is a huge inspiration to many of her projects. She’s a huge fan of Japan, including manga and anime. Siryn has even begun to dabble in comic/manga script writing. Future works in this will be posted on WebToon.

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New Release – Wishes for Rohi by K.L. Hiers #KindleUnlimited #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Wishes for Rohi

Author: K.L. Hiers

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Release Date: March 26, 2021

Genre: Fantasy Romance 

Trope/s: Arranged marriage, fish out of water, falling in love with the wrong brother, magical mpreg

Themes: Love Overcomes All Things

Heat Rating:  4 flames 

Length: 53 000 words

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

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Blurb

Ashley Mostrich gets one heck of a birthday surprise when the guy he brought home for the night turns out to be the twin brother of the prince he didn’t know he was supposed to marry. Unbeknownst to Ashley, his grandpa made a deal with a jinn and promised him off to the royal family before he was even born.

Zamir is the heir to the mystical kingdom of Palmyra and promises he will love Ashley in time, while his younger brother, Zaire, is trying to get into Ashley ‘s bed again. Ashley wants to be a faithful fiancé to Zamir, but he cannot deny the powerful chemistry he feels with Zaire. Additional jealousy flares when Ashley discovers that Zamir’s heart already belongs to another, but the pressure for the wedding is on because the future of the Palmyran people hinges on a royal union magically producing an heir.

Once Ashley realizes that Zaire’s feelings for him might be more than physical, he finds himself falling in love with the wrong brother and risking the fate of the entire kingdom. It’ll take a miracle—or one very powerful wish—for everyone to have a happy ending.

Excerpt

“Why does everyone keep calling me ‘savior’?”

“You don’t know? About the prophecy?” Zaire questioned slowly.

“No?”

Zaire made a sour face, mumbling a few soft curses before clearing his throat. “My brother is truly an idiot. Come with me,” he said, taking Ashley’s arm and guiding him back toward where the little girl was.

People were bringing her little trinkets and baubles, receiving a slice of the cake from her in exchange. She had a crown of flowers in her hair, well dressed, and seemed to be of some importance despite her youth.

Ashley watched for a few moments. “Who is that?”

“That is Lady Alana,” Zaire replied, waiting for the name to settle in Ashley’s brain.

“Lady Alana. Wait, she’s the birthday girl?”

“Yes,” Zaire said, something sad in his voice. “Our people are dying, Ashley. Slowly but surely, jinn are fading away. Every generation has gotten smaller and smaller, and there hasn’t been a new jinn child born in over thirty years.”

“Thirty years… Alana was the last one?”

“Yes. Even with all our proper breeding and perfect little arranged marriages, every mating ritual since her birth has failed. But there’s a prophecy, you see, that a royal wedding will bless the entire kingdom with an entire new generation of children.”

“Wait a damn second, that little girl is freakin’ thirty?”

“Yes,” Zaire huffed impatiently. “We don’t age as humans do. Now, do you understand why you are so important?”

“Everyone actually believes that me getting knocked up by your brother or me knocking him up is the future of your entire race?” 

“Mmm, pretty much. It’ll probably be you getting knocked up, to be honest. But you know, no pressure!”

“Fuck,” Ashley mumbled, rubbing a hand over his face and chugging his drink.

“My brother knows what’s at stake,” Zaire said gently, a tone meant to be comforting. “He will make amends for his behavior, I know it.”

“Do you believe the prophecy?” 

Zaire’s brows furrowed, and he glanced down at his mug as he thought over the question. He took a small sip before he said, “I believe that other people believe it’s true. I’ve never been much for fate or destiny. I much prefer the idea that I’m in control of my own life.”

“You realize this makes what you did even more screwed up?”

“Hmm?”

“If the prophecy is real, you risked the future of your race just to piss off your brother.”

“First of all,” Zaire drawled, wagging his finger, “I never planned for ‘what we did’ to go that far. I truly had no intentions of having sex with you. I was expecting to find a blushing virgin, not an insatiable bedroom hellcat—”

“A bedroom what now?”

“And second of all,” Zaire went on with a smirk, “it was quite impossible to think about the good of my people once I had tasted your gorgeous flesh.”

“Zaire!” Ashley protested, whipping around to see if anyone was listening. He stared back at Zaire, and he suddenly realized that although he could hear his voice, his lips were not moving.

“When you were screaming my name, all I thought about was wanting to hear that sweet sound as many times as I possibly could.”

Ashley gulped, blood creeping up into his cheeks as he stammered, “That’s… that’s, uhm, that was very s-selfish of you.”

“I know,” Zaire said out loud with a smug little smile. “I’m a very selfish person. At times, quite envious as well.”

“Envious?”

“Seeing my brother get all the things I want for myself has become a bit tiresome,” Zaire replied, his lips not moving again, and yet his voice was fully in Ashley’s ear as he stepped into his space. “Not very fair at all.”

“How, how are you doing that?” Ashley hissed, instinctively backing away.

“Doing what?” 

“The talking without talking.”

“Magic,” replied Zaire’s voice in his ear.

“You’ve gotta stop saying those kinds of things,” Ashley barked, cringing when he noticed his raised voice earned them several curious stares.

“Hmm, I didn’t actually say a thing,” Zaire pointed out smugly.

“Fine! Stop not saying those things!” 

About the Author 

K.L. “Kat” Hiers is an embalmer, restorative artist, and queer writer. Licensed in both funeral directing and funeral service, she’s been working in the death industry for nearly a decade. Her first love was always telling stories, and she has been writing for over twenty years, penning her very first book at just eight years old. Publishers generally do not accept manuscripts in Hello Kitty notebooks, however, but she never gave up.

Following the success of her first novel, Cold Hard Cash, she now enjoys writing professionally, focusing on spinning tales of sultry passion, exotic worlds, and emotional journeys. She loves attending horror movie conventions and indulging in cosplay of her favorite characters. She lives in Zebulon, NC, with her husband and their children, some of whom have paws and a few that only pretend to because they think it’s cute.

Author Links

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Book Blast – Tik Tok No by Lucy Ravens #KindleUnlimited

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Tik Tok No

Author: Lucy Ravens

Cover Artist: Chandra Trulove Fry

Release Date: February 23, 2021

Genre/s:  Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Friends to lovers

Heat Rating:  4 flames     

Length: 40 000 words/98 pages

It is a standalone story

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Amazon US   |   Amazon UK 

Can I turn my best friend into more in front of thousands of followers?

Blurb

Will

Lucas Bentley has been in my life almost as long as I can remember. 

The boy next door. My sister’s short fling. My best friend.

And while we have been inseparable like brothers for years now, I have been loving him at a distance in my heart this whole time. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s a tatted, skateboarding bad boy from my dreams.

Now that we’re adults, I want to be out of the friend zone, but after putting myself there for damn near 20 years, I’m not sure he will ever see me another way.

So, like the lovesick fool I am, I’m going to show him how I feel with an audience of thousands and hope I don’t crash and burn back into the friend zone.

If you love it when best friends become more, big romantic gestures, a new kind of bromance, and lots of sarcasm, scroll up to start the first book in the Friend Zone series! 

Excerpt 

The heartfelt words slip out of my mouth on their own. I only meant to think them. Saying them out loud isn’t at all what I want. It is foolish at best. I can only hope that I didn’t speak loud enough for Will to understand my words. 

Of course, I’m not that lucky. I know that because he is frozen in place with a deer in headlights look in his eyes. As the moments pass his expression changes a thousand times. He goes from shock to fear to confusion to sadness to desire, and then starts the cycle all over again. It’s difficult for me to watch. It’s my fault he’s so freaked out.

“What did you say?” he eventually chokes out through lips that don’t appear to move. 

“I think you heard me,” I boldly reply. I stand up tall to face him down with the truth for once.

“What does it mean?” he asks, intently gazing into my eyes as if searching my brain for answers.

“You know that, too,” I say with a crooked smile, not even trying to hide from his searching gaze.

The tension in the room gets thicker by the moment. We don’t speak. There’s just a staring contest and a battle against giving in to desire. The room is growing hot. One of us is bound to break. It’s inevitable.  

Will takes the first halting step in my direction, and the battle is lost. We collide like freight trains on the same track. Our chests bang together taking our breath away. Neither of us seems to care about whether we can breathe or not. There’s no reason to. We’ve got each other.

Our lips meet in a heated exchange. This is no ordinary kiss, nor is it soft and gentle. Instead it’s demanding, overwhelming, intense, and almost as physically draining as an MMA fight. Our mouths open wide to let the other gain entrance. Tongues battle for supremacy; twisting and turning inside the wetness of our cheeks. Will bites my bottom lip, and I taste the drop of blood that rises from the tiny wound. I gasp with intense joy as he sucks at the droplet, and he growls.

Will is leaning into me. His weight grows heavy against me. I can’t stand in place or hold myself steady. Suddenly, he’s pushing me backwards, and I slam into the wall. I hit it hard, but I like the power he’s using against me. It’s a turn-on. I’m filled with excitement and need. This is a whole new Will. I’ve never seen him like this. I revel in his strength and power.

He holds my arms in a tight grip. They are plastered to the wall. I can’t move, and I really don’t want to. I will let him do whatever he wishes to me. I need him to control me. At the moment, he’s ravaging my lips. I don’t fight back. I take everything he’s giving and savor it. I pray he never comes to his senses. I want more which scares me in a delightful way. 

About the Author

A Mommy, vampire fanatic, Harry Potter nerd, and hopeless romantic are just a few of the things to describe the enigmatic personality of one, Lucy Ravens. A long time author with two bestselling pen names, she has now expanded into the MM universe after she read some of her first MM rom coms and fell in love with how they can be romantic, sweet, and sexy all at once in a way contemporary romance for MF couples has somehow lost. She hopes to bring all her quirks over to this pen name to entertain readers and make them swoon!

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New Release – Finding His Boy by K. D. Ryan #KindleUnlimited

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Finding His Boy (An MM Age Gap Daddy Romance)

Author: K. D. Ryan

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: K. D. Ryan 

Release Date:  March 25, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance 

Tropes: Age Gap, Slow Burn, Daddy Kink

Themes: Self-confidence, Trust, Exploring Sexuality 

Heat Rating:  5 flames

Length:  96 000 words

It is the first book in the series – Safe Harbor #1

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Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited 

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Amazon AUS 

A lonely Daddy. An innocent boy. A twenty-year age gap. Whatever happens next is in Daddy’s hands. 

Blurb

Finding his way in life all on his own hadn’t been easy for eighteen-year-old Elliot Hedrick, but he’d managed to hold it all together so far. 

Even though it was just by the skin of his teeth. 

Between his warehouse job and pursuing a career as a professional ballet dancer, he’d been working sixteen-hour days and was still barely making ends meet. 

He was fraying at the seams. And he was so damn lonely.

There was nobody for him to lean on, nobody to come to his rescue when things fell apart—it was all up to him to achieve his dreams.

Then suddenly Grant Weston charged into Elliot’s life, his knight in shining armor—literally and figuratively—and despite their twenty-year age gap, Grant couldn’t seem to leave the boy alone. Even though Grant knew he should.

There were too many obstacles between them—and not just their ages. Grant had secrets of his own, ghosts from his past that made him hold back from taking what he really wanted from Elliot. 

And what Grant wanted was to make Elliot his boy. 

To have a true partner.

But Grant was afraid to trust himself—afraid that history would repeat itself and leave him with a broken heart yet again.

 Is age really just a number, or will the years between them end their relationship before it can even start? 

Finding His Boy is the first book in a duet taking place in the Safe Harbor universe but can be read as a stand-alone and has an HFN ending. This book is a 90+K word slow burn, steamy romance that features a Daddy/boy relationship between two consenting adult men. No age play. Dual POV. There are explicit descriptions of sexual acts, so this book is intened for a mature audience (18+). 

Trigger Warning: On-page physical assault (not between MCs), mention of sexual assault. 

Excerpt 

Grant knew he should pull back, he should close the door—that would be the smart thing to do. He should be respectful of Elliot’s privacy. 

Because if he crossed this line, there would be no going back—all of his noble rationalizing about not taking advantage of Elliot’s vulnerability would be out the window. 

But fuck, the boy was incredibly gorgeous—the planes of his slim muscular body highlighted in a soft blue glow from the moon, his face a study in shadow and light. He looked so young, so vulnerable, and so ripe for the taking. Exposed, ready for Grant to sink his teeth into the pale expanse of flesh on display, to mark Elliot as his. 

If Grant stepped further into the room now—and he wanted to, oh he’d never wanted anything so badly in his life, he could taste the wanting like metal on his tongue—where would that choice bring them? 

Because the boy had no clue what Grant wanted to do to him. 

He couldn’t know how Grant wanted to use him. To flay him wide open with word and action and touch, and pick apart the soft tender insides of him, to leave him wanting and vulnerable and his. To deliver the safety and comfort and pleasure that his boy craved and that only he—Grant—could give.

Grant’s own possession. 

His boy. 

Those words—his boy—they acted like a bucket of cold water—a wave of uncertainty and apprehension to temporarily subdue his lust. Was this just history repeating itself? Would Elliot realize a year down the line that Grant couldn’t give him what he wanted, and Grant would be left high and dry once again? 

Could Grant risk his heart like that again? The thought of sharing that experience with someone, only for his heart to be trampled, handled carelessly, and discarded…  

He should leave now, back out and pretend he’d never been here. Just leave and act like nothing had changed the next day. Leave this beautiful boy whole and innocent and let someone else break him in gently, softly, like he deserved. Someone he could grow with, change with, learn with. 

Fuck, he was a coward. 

But then

But then Elliot opened his eyes. And he parted his lips. And he kept on pumping his hand up and down as he locked his eyes with Grant’s, his heated gaze burning with open desire. 

Desire for Grant. 

And Grant knew he couldn’t walk away.

About the Author 

Just a dreamer fueled by coffee who’s been writing about love that comes in all forms since she got her first word processor. Passionate bibliophile and lover of science, caretaker of humans and friend to dogs. 

Social Media Links

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New Release – Unapologetically Me (Offbeat Shifters #3) by Colette Davison @Colette_Davison #KindleUnlimited #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Unapologetically Me (Offbeat Shifters #3)

Author: Colette Davison

Publisher: Independently Published

Cover Artist: Colette Davison

Release Date:  March 23, 2021

Genre: Supernatural M/M romance

Tropes: shifters, mpreg setting but there isn’t pregnancy or childbirth in the books,

age-gap, pop-star, hidden disability, hidden relationship

Themes: Standing up for yourself and others, not letting opportunities pass you by,

importance of family, second chances

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length: 68 000 words

Book 3 could be read as a standalone, 

but has spoilers for the other two so is definitely better read as part of the series.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links 

Universal link  |   Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 

Austin Steele is my idol. He’s also the guy I can’t get enough of.

Blurb

Austin Steele is my idol. He’s also the guy I can’t get enough of.

Everyone thinks they know who I am—one of pop’s biggest divos. They don’t know me at all. Austin Steele makes me want to see the real me, only there’s some problems:

We’re both omegas, he’s nineteen years my senior, he’s nursing old wounds, and he wants to keep what’s happening between us a secret.

I thought a one-night stand was all I wanted. Now it’s becoming so much more. But how can we look to the future when we can’t let go of our pasts?

Unapologetically Me is the third book in Offbeat Shifters, an m/m paranormal romance series with a continuing storyline. This book includes a misunderstood and unapologetic Arctic fox shifter, a caring capuchin monkey shifter, and a HFN ending. While it’s set in an alternate universe where omegas give birth, there are no pregnancy or birth scenes in this book.

Excerpt 

“I can’t remember the last time I just hung out with someone before this week.” I laid my head on his shoulder. “That’s not true. It was right before my first album went viral.”

“That’s a long time.” Austin didn’t sound even remotely surprised.

“I guess you know how that feels, huh?”

“Yes.”

“The cupcakes will be cool enough to decorate.” I cleared my throat and stood.

We’d been having fun, and I didn’t want to drag the day down with drama about how lonely I was. Had been. Could I consign my loneliness to past tense now that I was spending time with Austin?

“I’ll help you make some icing if you want.”

“That might help,” Austin said around a chuckle.

I showed him the recipe I liked to use, loaded up a piping bag for him, and hand over hand showed him how to use it.

“You’ve gotta be gentle,” I said as I left him to it.

I carefully cut a hole out of the centre of each of my cupcakes, into which I pushed a fresh strawberry. Then I popped the top back on and began to ice them. I’d coloured my icing a soft shade of pink, much paler than the bright red of the strawberries. Using a controlled motion, I spiralled the icing onto the top of each cupcake.

“Bollocks!” Austin said.

I looked around to see that his hands were covered in icing, and the nozzle had shot off the piping bag onto one of his cupcakes. Icing dripped everywhere.

I couldn’t help but laugh. “You squeezed too hard, didn’t you?”

“It wasn’t coming out,” he grumbled.

He put the piping bag into a bowl, washed his hands, and grabbed a spoon. I watched for a moment as he dolloped icing onto the top of each cupcake. They looked anything but pretty. Still chuckling to myself, I finished mine off by sprinkling the tiny pieces of chopped strawberry over the icing.

“It’s obvious who’s won,” Austin said.

“No, it’s not. Don’t we have to do a taste test or something?”

“I guess so.”

“Get a couple of plates out.”

He complied. I cut one of his cupcakes in half and put a piece on each plate, then did the same with one of my own.

“Forks?”

“We could use our fingers?”

“I’m pretty sure that’s not how they do it on cooking shows.”

Austin smiled and grabbed a couple of forks. “We should taste the same one.” He handed me a fork. “Mine first.”

“Why?”

“So we’re saving the best until last? We’ll need to eat yours to get rid of the taste of mine.”

“They can’t be that bad.”

He raised his eyebrows. We both took a bite.

“Oh.” The cupcake was like a dry rock in my mouth.

“See what I mean?” Austin said around his own mouthful.

I grabbed some water to wash it down. “They’re not bad for a beginner. A little dry.”

“And heavy.”

“You might want to try adding a bit of milk when you’re mixing the ingredients. It helps to make the mixture light and fluffy.”

“What would help the taste?”

“Some vanilla-bean paste. It’s much better than vanilla extract,” I added, glancing at the small brown bottle of extract that Austin had bought but obviously not used in his own cakes.

Austin nodded thoughtfully before trying my cake. He closed his eyes and murmured his approval. “Now this is like an orgasm in my mouth.”

I snorted a laugh. “A what?”

“An orgasm in my mouth.” He devoured the rest of his half of the cupcake and then put his plate down. “You win.” He wrapped his arms around my waist.

“What do I win?”

“A kiss.” His lips and tongue tasted of strawberries and icing.

“Good prize.”

Check out the first two books in the Offbeat Shifters Series

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

  Amazon US   |   Amazon UK 

Pre-Order Book 4 here

About the Author 

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |   Facebook Page   |  Facebook Group: Colette’s Cosy Corner

BookBub   |   Twitter    |   Goodreads  |  Instagram: @colettedavison

  Mailing List  |   Newsletter Sign-Up

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New Release – Gamer’s Choice by Valerie Ullmer @valerieullmer #KindleUnlimited #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Gamer’s Choice

Author:  Valerie Ullmer

Publisher and Cover Artist: Valerie Ullmer 

Release Date: March 25, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Friends-to-lovers, Age Gap, Bisexual Awakening, Gay/Bisexual Romance, Instant Connection

Themes: Accepting oneself, moving past partner abuse

Heat Rating:  5 flames

Length: 51 000 words

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads 

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

Blurb

Neko-Ren Ellison

Love wasn’t in the cards for me.  

My first relationship ended with a dramatic event, and police involvement. Needless to say, I wasn’t keen starting a new one. But a knock on the door one random night changed everything. After exchanging some witty banter through my closed oak door, safety first, I threw it open to find an exquisite bearded man, hair tied back, muscles on display… all-in-all, my fantasy come to life.

I wove elaborate dreams around the two of us within minutes, yet my illusion shattered when I learned he was straight. But the protective and intense man became a fixture in my life, and no matter how many times I tell myself he’s not available, I stubbornly hold out hope.

Graham Norris

I’m screwed.

I can’t figure out what shocked me more. The realization I’m not only attracted to a man, but to my dazzling, openly gay, younger next-door neighbor who makes every protective instinct in me flare. Or at the ripe old age of thirty-four, I’m stupidly fighting against my one chance at happiness.

Despite my grumpy and staid personality, the brilliant and funny man introduced me to his world, his family, and worked his way into my heart. The more I’m immersed in everything Neko, my desire for him only grows.

Yep, completely screwed.

Gamer’s Choice features an age gap, bisexual awakening romance between a professional let’s player and his new neighbor. It’s a standalone gay/bisexual romance with an instant connection and a ten-year age difference.  

~Descriptions of domestic violence and stalking, includes abuse from an ex-partner, descriptions of an attempted assault with a weapon.  Please avoid if the subject matter is triggering.~

Excerpt 

I don’t know why I did this to myself.

The situation was not tenable. I hunched my shoulders close to my ears, spine frozen in place and arched away from the back of my ergonomic chair, and if I tensed any more, I’m sure I would sprain something.

My gaze darted around the darkened room and I listened out for any signs of the upcoming attack, and I realized I hadn’t spoken in several minutes. I found a locker for a momentary reprieve and slipped inside.

But as I opened my mouth, hoping whatever words I spewed forth came across as witty and brilliant, the ghost girl who’d stalked me for two hours popped up in front of my hiding space with no warning, baring her teeth with a growl.

To add to my humiliation, she surged toward me with a screech. An embarrassing scream punched up from my chest and past my throat as I wretched the headphones from my ears and covered my eyes with my hands.

I listened to my heart thumping hard in my chest, worrying me for a long minute, until the rhythm decreased and my fear dissipated.

It’s not real. So not real.

By the time I opened my eyes, I caught sight of the screen as the fake blood dripped down from the top of the monitor and the words ‘Game Over’ flashed at me.

My eyes tracked up toward the camera and I said, “Well, that’s all I have time for today. Yes, I am going to pass the last few minutes off as though they never happened. I hope you enjoyed that as much as Echo will, and I’ll catch you next time. Later.”

I held up two fingers, flashing the peace sign, my signature, I stopped the recording before reaching for the stainless steel bottle I kept handy. With the last remnants of the ice-cold water swirling around, enough to sustain me and sooth my sore throat until I dragged myself downstairs for a refill and cooked myself dinner, I tilted the bottle back and swallowed.

My best friend, who was the greatest editor I’ve ever known, was waiting for my text. She’d handle everything for the upload.

It’s ready for you. Don’t laugh too hard.

Got it. I’ll laugh the right amount, thank you very much.

I shook my head and stood.

Like me, Echo started her career because of an interest in something she loved. She cut her own movie trailers, which she somehow included proper voice overs, and they were so much better than what a normal Hollywood production churned out.

When I started gaming online, she offered to edit my videos, which involved me rambling through whatever game I was playing, hoping whoever watched paid more attention to the game than my acne covered face and squeaky voice. My excuse for the awkwardness… I was sixteen.

Since then, I’ve developed into a lanky, long-limbed, acne-free, deep-voiced man who enjoys speaking to others through the internet and connecting them to a community they are proud of. I thank the deities above I moved past puberty without causing harm to myself or others.

But Echo followed my channel and realized before I did that I’d gained subscribers at a steady rate. She promoted herself to my full-time editor when we were nineteen. Although she has her own successful channel, a fashion and beauty one, I keep her busy with my upload schedule.

My stomach growled, and I shot a glance at the clock. Two hours past my normal recording time. I stretched my arms over my head, hearing the usual popping sounds in my joints from whenever I sat too long at my desk.

Done for the day, I tucked in my chair and reached over to shut off the three monitors, but as I turned to exit, I noticed my opened office door.

“Well… fuck.”

Although my house was on the corner of a cul-de-sac with a gigantic yard surrounding it, I attempted to keep my profession from bothering my neighbors. So I closed the door whenever I recorded because I’m not quiet. And when I remodeled the house a few years before, I added soundproofing to the entire top floor.

I’d chosen to buy the house because the bedrooms were on the second floor. The rooms were spacious enough my setup was away from the windows, and the bonus had been the rest of the place. Curved doorways, wooden floors throughout, the modern kitchen that included a farmhouse sink along with the dual oven gas range, and the sunroom that faced the backyard.

The three-bedroom house was enormous for only me. But my family lived close by and on the weekends, and sometimes during the week when mom and dad hounded them about homework and the possibility of their interest in either boys or girls, my parents weren’t picky, my twin sisters stayed over with me.

It wasn’t as if I had a social life they could interrupt. I’d tried years before, and it turned out to be a disaster, so I’d given up. Instead, I concentrated on my career. And when I wasn’t working, I divided my time between Echo or my family.

Tired of my depressing thoughts of being alone with no man in my bed, I headed out of the room and downstairs, wondering what I might make for dinner. After, I would indulge in a true crime YouTube marathon.

The moment I hit the last step, a knock from the front door stopped me in my tracks. At close to nine on a school night ruled out my sisters dropping in for a visit, and Echo was busy editing. Curious, I padded over to the front door.

Thinking myself stealthy in my woolen-clad feet, I stopped about a half a foot in front of solid oak and placed my hands on the smooth wood before inching forward. Through the peephole, my eye focused on a solid figure facing away from me. He was tall, so my tired brain played out a fantasy where a gorgeous man realized he could no longer live without me and was waiting outside to declare his feelings.

But what’s the likelihood of that?

Still freaked out from being immersed in a horror game and catching the damp chill of the night air from the thunderstorm earlier, I opened my mouth and forced words through my tight throat.

“You are unfamiliar to me, so before I open this door I have to ask, are you a serial killer?”

Yeah, my conversation skills rock.

The man turned toward the door, but his height prevented me from seeing any defining features. The deeper voice on the other side answered, “Um, that’s a new one. I’m not, but I don’t know if you’re going to take my word for it.”

“Shit! You make a good point. Well, let me ask you this? Are you here to use my phone because your car broke down and your mobile ‘died’?”

My dumb ass used air quotes as if he could see me. To be honest, I’m surprised I’m still alive.

The stranger huffed out a snicker. The sound did not send flutters of pleasure through me.

“Are you always this suspicious?”

My head nodded up and down before I slapped my forehead and replied, “I think that’s what an untrustworthy, immoral man would say, using reverse psychology to make me feel guilty for being unhelpful, which would make me lower my inhibitions and let you inside.”

The man had the nerve to laugh, a deep, throaty, sexy sound. He asked, “You read that in a book, right?”

“Well, I didn’t read it, per se, I heard it in an audiobook from a retired FBI agent about how following your instincts could save your life and the only reason I listened to it because both of my sisters refused. I admit, it scared the poop out of me, but if I can keep them safe, I would do it again.”

“That’s fair, I suppose. But no, I’m not here to harm you and I’m not a criminal. I heard a scream and thought it was a woman in distress, so I thought I would check.”

My hesitation forgotten in that moment, I jerked open the door and glared at the chest in front of me.

Sometimes I hated being short.

I gulped as my eyes traveled upward until I met amused gray eyes, one eyebrow arched in question.

“I knew that would do it?” The tall man who I would love to climb said.

“Shit, did I say that aloud?”

Another chuckle and I forced my eyes up again.

About the Author 

Valerie resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband.  While she had been interested in writing a romance novel for years, it wasn’t until she wrote her first book that she really became hooked, and now she can’t stop.  She has notebooks full of ideas, and she plans to write most of them in the years to come.

When she’s not writing or learning about the craft of writing, she can be found surfing the internet way too much, watching Investigation Discovery and thinking that her neighbors are up to no good, and finding new ways to get her husband to laugh.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |   Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Newsletter Sign-up  |   Pinterest  |   BookBub  |   Goodreads  

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a $25 Amazon Gift Card

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Blog Tour – All the Way Out by Ingrid Sterling @ing_sterl24 #KindleUnlimited #giveaway

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: All the Way Out

Author: Ingrid Sterling

Publisher: Literary Wanderlust

Release Date: April 1, 2021

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, New Adult

Trope/s: One-night stand turned into true love; Forced proximity; Athlete with musician; closeted sports star

Themes: Self-acceptance, coming out publicly

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length: 79 000/263 pages

It is a standalone book.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

Literary Wanderlust  |  Bookshop.org

Blurb 

Ever since Zach was 14 years old, he knew two things about himself: 

1) He wanted to play football at the highest levels of college and pro ball. 

2) He was gay.

Even at that young age Zach knew that those two truths – all-star athlete and homosexual male – could not exist concurrently. So, he’d started dating Rebecca, his devoutly Catholic girlfriend who wants to wait to have sex until she’s married, during his junior year of high school and never looked back.

But on the last night of a team trip to Rome, on the cusp of his senior season at Northwestern University, a Heisman, a number 1 draft pick and a National Championship, Zach seeks out one last anonymous encounter. He opens Grindr and slips out into the Italian summer night to meet Liam – Liam who has a face that looks like it was carved from Carrara marble by one of the ancient greats and whose brazen facade becomes sheepish when he’s asked about his past in Paris. The night is intense, better than Zach could have imagined. But like all one-night stands, it comes to an end by morning’s light.

But what happens to Zach’s carefully manicured plans for a professional football career and a life in the closet when Liam shows up, not only on the Northwestern campus the first day of the fall semester, but in Zach’s upper-level Plato seminar, too?

Excerpt 

“What are you doing in my upper level classics seminar?” Liam snapped.

 “Um, I’m fulfilling my degree requirements,” Zach snapped back. “What are you doing in my upper level classics seminar? You live in Rome.”

 “No, I was regrouping in Rome. I’d been going to school in Paris before that but—Wait, degree requirements? You’re a Classics major? Mr. Hotshot-starting-quarterback is a Classics major?” Liam’s voice came out shriller than he would have liked.

 Zach set his hips back against the table, crossing his arms with a sudden smugness. “A Classics major focusing in Pax Romana philosophers with a 3.7 GPA, you mean? Yeah. I am. How do you think I recognized that ridiculous Metamorphoses quote on your Grindr profile?”

 “I figured you Googled it like everyone else usually did.”

 Zach’s face softened at Liam’s unintentional reveal. “Why didn’t you say anything about coming to school in the States that night?” Zach asked.

 Liam leveled him with a look. “I don’t remember us doing an awful lot of talking.”

 “We talked enough. You could have mentioned it.”

 “I’d only decided to come here a week or so before we met,” Liam explained. “I barely knew anything about Northwestern aside from the fact that it has a pretty well-respected music program. Certainly not enough to know it has some big deal football team. And besides, what were the chances?”

 “I’m not a betting man, but I definitely wouldn’t have taken these odds.” Doe-eyed panic lingered on Zach’s face even as he shifted to a more conversational tone. “So, the music school, huh? That’s cool. I remember you had music on your desk. What do you play?”

 “Piano mostly, but I’m a composition major. I added a Classics minor ‘cause I can, here. My other school didn’t offer liberal arts courses.” Zach nodded, and Liam realized it was probably his turn to attempt conversation. “A jock with a brain, then. Color me impressed.”

 Zach gave a bored lift of his shoulder. “It makes for a great human-interest story. I think every bad pun about Greek gods or Roman gladiators has been made about me at least once. The ESPN announcers think they are so fucking clever.”

 Liam stared at him. “You keep saying these things thinking I know what they mean.”

 “ESPN.” Zach gave him a patient grin. “It’s a cable sports network that shows games. You know, on the TV.”

 “Yeah, alright.” Liam’s pursed lips morphed into an unbidden smile.

 It was impossible not to note how the tension in the room had slipped away. The looks that passed between them carried a certain playfulness once they were forced to accept the inconceivable fact that they were both here in the same city, at the same school, and even in the same class. And into that ease slipped the feelings of attraction and memories of the intimacy they’d found on Liam’s mattress by the end of their night together. Liam had sought hidden parts of Zach’s body with his fingers. That small, insinuating touch, burned into his memory, had ignited such terrified want in Zach’s bright blue eyes that Liam had known that he would have been allowed to feel Zach from the inside if only they’d had more time. One more night. One more hour, even. And now here Zach was, standing before him. It was as baffling as it was thrilling. Liam certainly wouldn’t mind if they wound up hooking up again.

 “Look,” Zach started, “This is crazy that you’re here, and I hope you love your time at Northwestern as much as I have, but it’s probably for the best if we don’t interact.”

 Liam was rendered mute.

 “I mean, I know we’re in class together,” Zach continued. “We’ll have to interact, discussion grades and everything, but what I mean is, we shouldn’t be friendly.”

 “Why not?” Liam asked after another stunned beat.

 “It’s nothing personal. In fact, I think you’re—” Zach stopped. He pressed his eyes closed and shook his head sadly. He took another steadying breath before speaking again. “It would make things really difficult for me. Like I told you in Rome, no one knows about me. About me and…” He spoke the next word at a careful volume. “Men. In fact, you’re the only person on this entire campus who does.”

 Zach’s sexuality was a secret that should have bound them. But instead, Zach was using it to put a wedge between them, between even the possibility of them. Liam didn’t think the conversation could get any more ridiculous.

About the Author  

I named myself “Ingrid” after a character in a story I started writing and will never finish.

I named myself “Sterling” after my dad’s boyhood dreams.

I’m a Yankee who has lived south of the Mason Dixon for a decade and I use ‘Y’all’ without irony. I dance in my kitchen. I vote. I love all the cats in the world and a good IPA. I will scream over college sports.

I write about love, with love, because #loveislove. 

With two degrees in music performance, I strive to make my words sing. The rhythm and pacing of the prose are as important to me as my complicated, imperfect characters and my guaranteed happily-ever-afters.

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