Symphony for Connor by Shane Ulrrein

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Symphony for Connor

Author: Shane Ulrrein

Publisher: Deep Desires Press

Cover Artist: DreamScape Cover Designs

Release Date: March 4, 2022

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance/Mystery

Tropes: Opposites attract

Themes: Coming of age, Gay College/ Tragic/Dark/Sad/Spicy Romance

Heat Rating: 4 out of 5 flames

Length: 60 510 words/207 pages

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Publisher’s note: Symphony for Connor contains scenes of suicidal ideation and the death of a main character.

Goodreads

Buy Links

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B & Noble (NOOK)  |  Smashwords  |  Google Play Books  |  Kobo 

David falls in love with Connor—a man in every way his opposite—but he can’t stay away, no matter how toxic this relationship becomes.

Blurb

“David Schoenberg is shy, nerdy, and has big dreams of becoming the next great composer. Those dreams seem to become reality when he is newly admitted to the Barnard School of Music, a selective academy for future musicians and artists.

It’s here that David meets and falls in love with fellow freshman, Connor Pfeif. Connor is handsome, a gifted composer, and the biggest flake in school. He’s everything the studious, hard-working David isn’t, and no matter how David feels about him, it seems Connor would never return that affection.

This all changes when the truth comes out after a wild party and David and Connor form a deeper bond than either of them has ever known.

But with this newfound love comes a dark side as he learns terrible truths about his new boyfriend—unfinished relationships, a history of reckless behavior, and suicidal tendencies. Things turn tragic and ugly, putting David to the ultimate test as he must decide if he can stand with the greatest love of his life.

Publisher’s note: Symphony for Connor contains scenes of suicidal ideation and the death of a lead character.”

Excerpt

“I was seated in front of a desk, playing with the keys on one of the lab keyboards, trying to create something, anything, for the next part of my symphony. My music notebook lay flat on the side ready to absorb all of my best ideas, but, still, nothing was coming to me. Many times, I’d stop playing and end up tapping the end of my pencil on my manuscript paper, racking my brains, my mind blank like the staves.

Earlier, I had come up with a great theme for my symphony, a melody that I’d played that sounded good and had wanted to repeat over and over in my piece. Yet, once I heard the tune again in my head, somehow, the very last note didn’t sound right to me.

I played the theme countless times, but, for some reason, I kept harping and insisting on another note. I had to play the whole damn A scale up on the piano but got stuck on the penultimate note. I played it again and again but didn’t finish. I sat here, straining hard in my chair, my eyes and eyebrows raised, trying to find it.

“It’s that last note,” I said aloud, angrily.

It was driving me crazy! At that moment, I wondered if Connor was having any composer problems like me with his project. Then again, he was the compositional genius in Barnard that I doubted he’d have any trouble writing an entire symphony. He was probably already done, smiling smugly at me with his good-looking face in my head.

Slowly, I began to picture my cute boyfriend, shirtless or maybe in his underwear. Or maybe naked and sprawled all over the piano in front of me, smiling, just like during that magical sleepover when we’d made love on his bed in his messy room. I was getting aroused and lusted over him, not even bothering to finish my project.

The other night, I had an erotic dream about Connor. He was standing naked in my shower, staring at me, while smoking a cigarette. My boyfriend had a longing, sensuous stare on his face, the water dancing all over his beautiful, bare body. Every trickle rode his alluring curves as they accentuated his divine nudity, my eyes following as they circled around his cute belly button then went down to his nether region.

There was a small window facing out from inside my shower that let in the daylight that shone on my attractive boyfriend. The bright light illuminated Connor’s boyish face, and I could almost touch his soft-looking skin that was wet from the shower.

“Fuck me, David,” he said in his sexy, breathy voice. “Please.”

It was that same seductive voice that always excited me, and it all soon became the biggest homoerotic dream of my entire life. I’d had plenty of other steamy dreams when I was a teen, but this was definitely the hottest one yet. I remembered the next morning when I’d woken up, the inside of my pajama bottoms had been moist, and I’d felt hot and sweaty, as though I’d actually taken a refreshing schpritz with that fuckable guy.

Then, all of a sudden, I began to feel warm and really turned on. I looked down and saw a small bulge from the crotch of my shorts that only seemed to grow bigger. Connor was giving me such a hard-on that I was so glad I was alone in the student lab!

Oh, shit, I wailed inside of my head. I’m soooo horny.

I needed Connor; I needed him right now so badly that it hurt. He’d really wanted me to fuck him in my dream and now, wanted to fuck him. And I wanted it to feel exactly like that very special night when I’d lost my virginity to him. My boyfriend was like a catchy tune that got stuck in my head, no matter what I did to try to get him out.

But he was more like that elusive song you fell in love with and searched everywhere to find out what it was and who sang it. That infectious melody that you just begged to hear one more time and would do anything to own forever. He was like that. Connor was so addictive, and I just had to see him again and again. It was like tapping “Repeat” on that song from your playlist for the hundredth time, only you never get tired of it…”

About the Author 

Shane Ulrrein is a life-long storyteller and first-time LGBT author currently living in Orange County, California, USA, who one day dreams of leaving his home in sunny Southern California for the wet, dreary weather of England.


Mr. Ulrrein has a Bachelor of Arts degree in music composition in California State University, Fullerton and is a proud member of the LGBT community. In his spare time, Mr. Ulrrein likes to draw, read, and write music that he hopes someday will be heard in all the great concert halls in the world.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website   |   Facebook   |  Twitter  |  Instagram

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Light Falls Away by Teegan Loy #kindleunlimited #giveaway

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Light Falls Away

Author: Teegan Loy 

Publisher: Rotten Girl Press 

Cover Artist: Me (Rotten Girl)

Release Date: May 2, 2022

Genre: M/M Paranormal Romance  

Tropes: Friends to lovers, Coming of Age 

Themes: Finding your place in the world 

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 84 534 words/ 304 pages

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited 

Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

When the Fallen is the One to Rise

Blurb 

Growing up in Evermore, Echo always knew he didn’t belong with the angels. He’d come here as an infant and grown up as the only child in a city that never aged. Now as an adult, his wings are turning black, so he is being sent down to the human world to experience life to try and stop his decline.

Before Echo can prepare to leave, things go horribly wrong. In a frantic effort to save his life, his memory is replaced with another’s and he is left on his own to navigate in a world where, once again, he feels he doesn’t belong.

Slowly Echo makes friends and falls in love in this new place, but he still has a nagging feeling that he doesn’t quite fit. Memories of people he doesn’t know invade his thoughts until he feels he’s going crazy. Things deteriorate until Echo is sure he’ll never find his happily ever after.

Excerpt 

 Music played, vibrating in Echo’s brain and squealing in his ear. He rolled over and almost fell off the small bed. His head throbbed and he blindly reached out, trying to find the offending phone, speaker, or whatever was allowing that sound to fill the room.

When he came up empty, Echo struggled to sit and quickly realized that was a terrible idea. He immediately fell back into bed, where he smacked his hand on a phone and was able to stop the music. He didn’t even know he had music on his phone.

“Oh,” Echo groaned and rolled his shoulders, which brought about a new round of excruciating pain.

Echo tried sitting again, only this time he took it slow. Things gradually came into focus and he realized he might be late for work. He glanced around the unfamiliar room, confused. He didn’t belong here.

He scratched his head, positive his bedroom had blue walls when he’d gone to bed last night. This place had colorless walls and no décor. A dresser leaned against one wall and a small table with a drawer sat beside the bed. He reached over and pulled open the drawer. A lone pen rattled around. He slammed it shut and frowned. His room was filled with books, spilled ink, and feathers.

Spilled ink and feathers?

Echo swung his legs off the twin bed and his feet hit a wood floor. With great effort, he pushed himself up and grabbed the wall, wincing as another sharp pain stung his shoulder blades. When he glanced back at the bed, the sheets were damp with sweat.

“What did I do?” he muttered as he stumbled to the bathroom.

The light was too bright and he had to blink several times before he could see his reflection. The ache in his back was lessening a little but he turned to see if there was anything on his back. His skin was clear, but he felt odd, like there should be something there.

He wrinkled his brow and tried to recall anything from the last few days. He was blank.

Echo leaned in closer and studied his reflection. His skin was slightly gray and the dark circles under his eyes had him wondering if this was the first time he’d slept in days. His hair stuck up in all directions that no amount of combing was going to help. He splashed cold water on his face and tried to concentrate harder on last night, but his mind remained stubbornly blank.

“Maybe a shower,” he mumbled.

But before that happened, the sensible thing to do was check out the rest of the apartment to make sure there wasn’t anyone else around. He could also search for any clues that might tell him why he was here. He didn’t think he’d randomly break into an empty apartment.

The bigger problem was that Echo didn’t know where he was supposed to be if he wasn’t supposed to be here—wherever here was.

Thinking so many tangled thoughts made his headache worse.

The faint smell of coffee tickled his nose, and he breathed deeply, hoping there would be a steaming cup in the kitchen. It might actually be helpful if another person was in the apartment. They might be able to explain things to Echo.

He wandered down the hall, checking the other rooms. The master bedroom was huge, but just like the small room he’d come from, it had limited furnishings. When he opened the walk-in closet, he was faced with empty shelves and a few stray hangers.

Surely Echo would remember renting a new apartment.

About the Author 

When she’s not writing, Teegan Loy can be found listening to Kpop, working on her artwork, and creating junk journals. 

She’s a huge hockey and tennis fan, loves having coffee with friends, and enjoys attending concerts. 

Always on the go, she is able to gather countless ideas for new stories through her travels. Life is best lived through experiences.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook

Twitter  |  Instagram

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of five ebook copies from the author’s backlist

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The Fire Island Ice Queen by B.J. Irons #kindleunlimited #giveaway

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: The Fire Island Ice Queen

Author: B.J. Irons

Publisher: Spectrum Books

Release Date: May 7, 2022

Genres: Contemporary M/M Romance – Beach Read

Tropes: Friends to lovers

Themes: Coming of Age, Embracing Sexual Identity

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 50 000 words

It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads 

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US   |  Amazon UK 

A Fire Island beach read that will melt the hearts of all ice queens

Blurb 

College law student, Connor, is a bit pretentious, high-strung and what some might describe as being cold as ice. After catching his boyfriend cheating on him and then being dumped, Connor decides to take his best friend Byron up on his offer for a summer gaycation experience to Fire Island.

While at Fire Island, Connor reevaluates his identity and goes through a deep soul searching experience to truly understand himself. While on vacation, he befriends a stranger named Lawrence, who encourages Connor to open up more and become lively. Lawrence proposes that Connor completes a series of wild, fun tasks, which he dubs as the Fire Island Ice Queen Challenge to get Connor to come out of his shell more. Will this frivolous and boisterous vacation at Fire Island be enough to melt the heart of this Ice Queen?

Excerpt

Chapter 1

“Ewwwww!” I exclaimed, noticing the skinny, shirtless guy dancing on the box out of the corner of my eye. He had two older men standing below holding dollar bills up at him.

Pathetic!

The whole scene gave me an unsettling feeling in my stomach. The boy reeked of desperation for attention and the old men reeked of desperation for the pale and frail twink. I was expecting to see his skin glisten like diamonds when the strobe lights moved on top of him. He was decidedly vampiric-looking, but lacked the hot features of Edward Cullen.

I rolled my eyes and diverted my focus back to my boyfriend, Derrick, who was beside me at the bar, ordering us another round of drinks.

“What are you ewww-ing about now?” he asked.

“Just that dirty ginger up on the box.” I pointed in the direction of him, now bending over on the box, getting the money tucked into his waistband by the two tragic geriatrics.

“Ugh! Why do you care about him anyway, Connor?” Derrick questioned me with a vexed tone in his voice.

He was right. I did care too much about how other

people behaved, dressed, acted, etc. I was a very judgmental person and I could recognize that in myself. However, I wouldn’t dare to let other people think that of me. As much as I cared about how others presented themselves, I cared even more about how I looked and how I was judged. I went to the gym every day, made sure I was the top student in all of my college classes, and wanted everyone to know that I was beyond mature for my age. I wouldn’t have them think any less of me.

But, I’d be out of my mind to admit this to my boyfriend.

“I don’t really care about him at all. It’s just an observation,” I confessed.

Derrick handed me my drink that the bartender gave him. “Yeah. But just let him be. He’s a young guy just trying to have fun. Clearly, he doesn’t care what other people think of him. If anything, you’re giving him the attention he wants by even making thatcomment.”

My boyfriend had a point here. I was giving him more attention than I should. And now, by having this conversation with Derrick, I was donating way too much of my time and energy in talking about him.

Derrick then reached for my empty hand. “Do you want to dance?”

I shook my head, recoiling from him. “Nah. I’m good. You can go ahead. I’ll chill out here at the bar for a bit. I wouldn’t be caught dead dancing out there.”

He simply shrugged and chugged his drink before turning around to head out to the dance floor.

I decided to take the now empty seat at the bar he left open. I glanced down at my phone and began scrolling through a few social media posts. This place was getting boring. Yawning, I checked the time to realize it wasn’t even midnight yet. What a snooze-fest tonight had turned out to be. Our usual friends had other plans and couldn’t make it out tonight, which left Derrick and me stuck alone with ourselves. I turned back around to try and pinpoint his location on the crowded dance floor, but had no luck.

I let out a heavy sigh, tapping my right leg up and down on the foot of the barstool. I had to really take a piss, and couldn’t hold it in much longer. But, at the same time, I didn’t want Derrick to come back and think I had disappeared.

However, I would only be gone for a minute or so. Oh well. I stood up and walked across the dance floor towards the bathroom.

“Nice ass!” I heard a man behind me say as he grabbed my butt as I scooted by him.

Dirty fucker! He was lucky I had to use the bathroom so badly. Otherwise, I would have turned back around and made a whole scene in front of everyone.

I pushed my way through the random guys chilling in the hallway leading to the bathroom, who were either gossiping or making out with one another. I opened the bathroom door and saw that the four urinals were occupied. One of the two stalls had the door halfway open, so I slightly kicked it to make sure no one was in there before I claimed it.

Locking the door behind me, I dropped my pants and released myself, letting out a light sigh of relief. I glanced down at the floor and could see a rather large shadow coming from the next stall over. There was definitely more than one person there. I could then hear a few wet and sloppy kiss-like noises coming from next door as well.

Like seriously!? Get a fucking room!

I flushed the toilet and walked out of the stall, shaking my head in disdain. Moving towards the sink, I checked myself out in the mirror as I proceeded to wash my hands. I rubbed my hand through my hair, making sure it was swept back nicely. My mouth gaped open at what I saw next. The door to the stall that was next to mine opened and the two guys emerged from it. The first was some random, cute guy who had a similarly toned body to me, except he had bright bleach blonde hair. Then, behind him, was Derrick.

Derrick was with that stranger in the stall!? What the fuck!?

I immediately turned around to face them both.

“Derrick! What the fuck!? Are you shitting me right now!?” I yelled.

About the Author 

BJ Irons works in the field of education as an educational leader and college professor. Many of his personal experiences as a gay man, have contributed to his works. Being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community himself, BJ hopes to continue to bring more fun fictional works to his LGBTQIA+ readers. The world could always use a little more color and fun.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Instagram 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of three ebook copies of The Fire Island Ice Queen

or one of three paperback copies (U.S. only)

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Bedside Manners by Ella Fenn #kindleunlimited #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Bedside Manners (Living Situations Book 2)

Author and Publisher: Ella Fenn

Cover Artist: Mayhem Cover Creations

Release Date: May 10, 2022

Genre: Contemporary M/M romance

Tropes: Age gap, hurt/comfort, BDSM, hot mountain man, forced proximity

Themes: Healing trauma, second chances, coming of age

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 88 000 words 

It is the second book in the series, so characters from book 1 do show up in it, but the reader doesn’t need to know their story to read this one. 

The book does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads 

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

A freak windstorm. A life-changing accident. An unlikely helping hand. 

Blurb

A freak windstorm. A life-changing accident. An unlikely helping hand. 

After years spent suffering under the weight of his father’s expectations, Max Castillo-Grant is celebrating his shiny new law degree by drinking, partying, and bed-hopping around Seattle. Max isn’t stupid—he knows the good times never last—but if the world’s going to bring him low, he might as well enjoy the high. 

Six years ago, a broken heart and a deep loss turned Ben Greer bitter and reclusive. Formerly the life of the party, he quit his job, rejected his friends, and hid from the world. Now, he spends his days alone, working on occasional custom carpentry commissions, with only his dog, Judith, for company.

Two severe weather events conspire to leave Ben in need of a full-time caretaker for his injuries, and Max in need of a respectable job. Despite a rocky start, Ben is begrudgingly won over by Max’s good humor, and the two form a lasting connection. But emotional wounds leave deep scars, and both Ben and Max are damaged. Can they find a way to heal hurts that go far beyond the physical before it’s too late?  

The second book in the Living Situations series, Bedside Manners is a gay romance featuring an age gap, BDSM, and 4-6 terrible puns about woodworking. If you like steamy situations, hurt/comfort, and grumpy mountain men, then you’ll love Ella Fenn’s latest novel.

Pick up Bedside Manners and let Ben and Max sweep you off your feet today! 

Excerpt 

Ben woke to the disconcerting sensation of a tongue between his toes. He sat up, yanking his foot away, and faced down the wet-mouthed perpetrator.

Judith sat back on her haunches and grinned, her tongue lolling from her lips as she stared at him with brown eyes that radiated canine intelligence. She was smart enough to know how to get Ben out of bed, at any rate. 

“Menace,” Ben said, scowling as he scrubbed a hand through his hair. “Delinquent. I oughta take you back to the pound.”

Judith gave an impatient yap, her shaggy tail thumping against the hardwood. Ben glanced at the clock and yawned. “All right, all right. I’m coming.” 

He rose, ignoring the way his knees popped and his neck twinged—forty-five was forty-five—then dressed in his standard flannel and jeans then navigated the maze of boxes that lay between him and the stairs. eBay purchases, mostly, things he’d intended to refurbish and sell but never quite got around to dealing with. 

Judith led the way downstairs to Ben’s well-stocked kitchen, where he poured a bowl of kibble for her and got coffee brewing for himself before flipping on the radio.

“We’ve got a windstorm advisory for Seattle. It’s gonna be a nasty one out there, folks, so if you’re planning on hiking, maybe reconsider,” the announcer said as she detailed the day’s weather. A quick glance out the kitchen windows confirmed her words. The tall pines surrounding Ben’s isolated property were bending under the wind’s assault. 

“Guess we’re staying in the shop today,” he said, more to himself than to Judith, who was still preoccupied with her food.

Not that staying in was a problem—Ben had been doing it every day for the better part of five years. There was plenty of gas in the generator and food in the fridge, so even if the wind blew the power down (which it had been known to do on occasion), he and Jude could stay tucked up and safe for a good long while. Not forever, but… well, forever would be the dream, with unlimited supplies appearing as if by magic. 

“Come on, little girl,” he said, patting her head. “You wanna get to work?”

That got her tail wagging, and Ben grinned. He felt the same way about the workshop, that welcoming cocoon of sawdust and wood awaiting them across the drive. Originally, it had been a two-car garage with a mother-in-law suite overhead, but he’d converted the space into his workshop when he bought the place, putting up a carport between the buildings to link them. The shop was his sanctum sanctorum, full of tools he’d inherited from his father and some shiny new toys he’d purchased to make it perfect. 

Judith bounded ahead, eager to get to her favorite place—favorite bed, favorite toys, favorite box of treats—and Ben followed, cupping one hand over the top of his mug, the scalding splashes barely registering against the worn calluses he’d built up over the years. No more than half the coffee remained by the time he made it to the workshop and opened the side door. Judith, true to form, was already curled up in her bed, the doggy door Ben had installed years before having allowed her ease of access. 

“Shit,” he said, leaning against the heavy wooden door with a laugh. “That’s some gale, huh, Dorothy?”

Judith didn’t get the joke. Humor was wasted on canines. Harrumphing, Ben went to his desk, set his coffee between two precarious-looking piles of papers, and picked up the leatherbound sketchbook he’d need to continue work on his latest commission of six dining chairs. 

Notebook tucked into his back pocket, he went to his wood rack, selected a sheet of oak, and eased it out. He whistled along with the wind as he brought the wood to the table saw that dominated the corner nearest the rack. An ancient relic, the saw had been his father’s, carefully packed and shipped from Montana after the old man had died a few years prior. 

Ben flipped the switch that powered the table then got to it, carefully cutting the slab of oak down to size. It was rote work, peaceful in its way, and he lost himself in the rhythm, heedless of the screaming wind outside… until there came a bang on the roof so loud it made him jump. That was a mistake, since he’d been damn close to the blade. The torque of the motor kept chewing through the wood, and when it got to Ben’s forearm, the saw chewed through that too. 

About the Author 

Ella Fenn is a romance author best known for telling tawdry tales tinged with a little something sweet.

Author of the Living Situations series, Ella wakes at the crack of dawn each day and spends a few hours tapping at the keyboard before beginning her 9-5 job in marketing and communications. 

Using her bachelor’s in journalism and a master’s in organizational behavior, Ella enjoys diving deep into the unique traits and tricks that make her characters tick. She believes everyone has a story to tell, and loves to engage with readers, whether it’s answering questions or discussing the nitty-gritty of her process. 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  | Facebook  |  Facebook group  |  Twitter

Instagram  |   Newsletter Sign-up  |  TikTok

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win 

one of 5 signed copies of Bedside Manners (for US residents only) or ebooks for non-US residents.

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Meduso: A Greek Mythology Gay Retelling #kindleunlimited #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Meduso: A Greek Mythology Gay Retelling 

Author: B.J. Irons

Publisher/Cover Artist: Spectrum Books

Release Date: February 19, 2022

Genre: Fantasy M/M Romance – Greek Mythology

Tropes: Forbidden love

Themes: Coming of Age, Innocence, Betrayal, Tragedy

Heat Rating: 3 flames    

Length: 75 000 words/270 pages

It is book 1 of 9 in the Mythologay Series

Warning: The book has a sad ending.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Greek Mythology with a Gay Twist

Blurb

Venomous snakes for hair.

A glare that will cast people to stone.

Beheaded by the tragic Greek hero, Perseus.

It’s a safe assumption that we all know the basic facts about one of Greek Mythology’s most famous monsters, Medusa; the beautiful maiden cursed and turned into a Gorgon. Her tragic story and death at the hands of the hero, Perseus, has been told countless times for thousands of years.

But the thing with Greek Mythology is just that. They are myths. Narrated, fictional legends as old as time that have been passed down from generation to generation. Time has a way of changing the original tale. So, how can we be sure that the myths we think we know are the real story?

What if important aspects of these myths have been altered? What if the monster wasn’t really a monster at all? What if Medusa wasn’t actually Medusa? What if her name was Meduso? And what if she wasn’t a her, but a him? This is the tale of Meduso and his death at the hands of the hero Perseus’ sword. It is a tale of innocence, love, betrayal, and tragedy. 

Excerpt 

Stheno and I continued to descend the mountain until we passed the precipice. The slope flattened, leading to a narrow trail. We followed this trail until we were able to see a bare hole right in the middle of the mountain. Stheno led the way inside, grabbing a lit torch at the entrance, carrying it with her as we explored deeper into the cave. 

It felt like a never-ending tunnel. We continued to walk for several minutes until we finally reached a very large and circular room within the cave. The torch was no longer of use to us since there was a massive oculus overhead, allowing light to enter. 

A figure came forth, stepping into the light. My mouth gaped open. For being Typhon’s wife, I was expecting to see a monstrous female creature. A repulsive, murky beast with fangs and talons, smelling of putrid, rotting flesh. But this was not what stood before me. She had similar features to my mother. The lower half of her body was composed of forest green scales, coiling into a snake’s tail. Her upper body was that of a human, but not just any human. An alluring one. Pleasant to the naked eye. Fair-skinned with shiny hair, the color of emeralds. 

“Come forward, brother and sister,” the figure commanded.

Stheno and I approached her, now allowing me to get a closer glimpse of her jade eyes that matched the jeweled tiara on her head.

She slithered just inches away from us. Her palm rubbed along my cheek, with her fingertips tracing my chin. She studied me carefully. 

“My. Oh my! And to think Ceto and Phorcys had the capability to produce such a lovely creation,” she said to me. Her fingers now spun in a circular motion to feel my hair. “And these beautiful golden locks. You will tempt all of the mortals with this face. Dare I say the goddesses and even the gods too?” Echidna winked at me before stepping back to give us separation.

“Meduso has yet to be introduced to the mortals, Echidna. He will begin to socialize with them soon,” Stheno proclaimed. 

“Ahhh. Is that so? His gorgeous features and now the added layer of innocence and naivety will do wonders in the mortal world,” Echidna declared.

My face began to turn as red as the rose of Aphrodite. I did not know whether to be appreciative or stunned by her flattery. I’ve never had anyone pay me such compliments in my entire life.

“Tell me, my dear, what is it you desire?” Echidna asked.

“Desire?” I questioned.

“Yes. What is it you seek from this world? Power, riches, a gorgeous woman… or maybe a handsome man?” 

Stheno cut her off. “That will be enough, Echidna. There is no need to tarnish the boy’s mind.”

I was unsure of what Echidna meant by desiring a handsome man. I’ve never even set sight on a mortal to know what aspects of them I was captivated by. Most of the stories I’ve been told involved a male being in  love with a female. However, Euryale did share some rumors she had heard about certain Olympian gods taking some of their male servants as lovers. But I did not know where my attractions lied, based on my lack of experience.

“Oh, don’t be so dull, Stheno!” Echidna exclaimed. “At least give the boy some direction! He’ll wind up as dull and stupid as Koalemos if you keep him secluded any longer.”

Stheno shook her head. “I think you of all people are the last immortal that should be giving me advice. Look at the direction you chose for yourself. And know where it put you!”

“Hmph. I’ll never understand you and our parents. Choosing to stay isolated in the oceans while the rest of the world around you is drastically changing.” Echidna continued to express her disdain for the traditions and beliefs of our family.

As my sisters continued to banter back and forth, I stood still, just staring ahead at them. Their silhouettes became blurry and then non-existent in my line of vision. Was I having an out-of-body experience? Instead, a new sight was before me. Some sort of rope. No, it was a net with a gigantic fish caught in it, in the water, except the water was fairly shallow. I could see its translucence and the glimmer of light shining through it. I swam toward the caught fish, trying to free it with my bare hands. The fish was able to escape, but as I tugged away, I realized I was snagged within the confines of the net. I tried my best to yank away, but to no avail. As I glanced upward, I realized I was being pulled towards the surface, until… 

Stheno called out to me, bringing me back to reality. “Meduso! Are you okay!?”

I just glanced at her blankly. “Yes. I’m fine. Why? What is wrong?”

“Your eyes…” Stheno began, with a worried expression on her face. “They turned pure silver, for a moment,” she revealed.

“What? Are you sure?” I was extremely bewildered, not even sure if I believed what she had just shared.

“A vision.” Echidna slid close to me and raised my chin up with her hand, glaring into my eyes. “Did you have a vision, Meduso?”

“A vision? I mean, I saw a fish being caught in a net just now. I’m not sure where. I’ve never experienced anything like this. What is happening?” I felt shook up.

“It’s nothing to worry about, dear brother. You just had a vision. Call it a gift, if you will. A sight into the future or a major phenomenon happening elsewhere in the world. Such things gods usually experience. I’m surprised you, as a mortal, are able to have them,” Echidna confessed.

“This truly is your first time experiencing this, Meduso?” Stheno asked.

“Yes,” I admitted.

“Hmm. I wonder what it could mean. A fish in a net?” Stheno was puzzled.

“View it as a mark of destiny, Meduso.” Echidna advised. “Whatever you do, never run from these visions you have. The Fates are reaching out to you, for a reason. They want you to see this. They want you to be brave and follow through with these visions.”

“Do you really think so?” I turned to Stheno to see if she had the same opinion.

“I think you should inform our mother and father about this first,” Stheno recommended. 

“Oh. Don’t listen to her, Meduso! They’ve held you back long enough from whatever your destiny may be. Press onward, dear brother. If I were you, I would leave the oceans the second you get the chance to, and never look back,” Echidna advised.

“Yes. Echidna did the same, Meduso, and look where she ended up. Locked away, alone in a barren cave in the mountains!” Stheno wittily remarked.

Echidna’s eyes flared at Stheno as she made this comment. Her once pale skin shifted to a dark green color to match her scales. She was now angered. “I’d watch your tongue, Stheno! Although I am your sister, I am not to be made a fool of! Do not trifle with me!” Echidna threatened.

Stheno stood her ground. “And what are you going to do? Make any tumultuous action and the gods and goddesses will know of your location. An empty threat, if I’ve ever heard one.”

“How dare you! Get out, now!” Echidna vilely screeched.

Stheno grabbed the torch and turned back to face me. “Come, Meduso. We leave!”

I just stood there, equidistant between both of my sisters. Echidna glided to me, caressing my cheek one last time before our departure. “You are more beautiful than I had ever imagined, brother. It will serve you well in their world. Never put that beauty to waste.” Those were her parting words as Echidna swiftly skidded out of sight in the blink of an eye, deeper into the dwelling of her cave.

I followed behind Stheno as we left, ascending the mountain once again.

“That Echidna! Curse her!” Stheno grumbled.

“I don’t think she was so bad, Stheno. Much more pleasant than I had imagined.”

“Meduso, that was only one side of Echidna that you saw. Remember, she is the wife of the most cruel and vicious monster known to existence. Do not forget. It takes a certain someone to be able to commit to that,” she explained.

Once we reached the summit, Stheno held out her hands to me for me to take. I clasped onto them and we closed our eyes, summoning our mother for our return. Within a flash, I opened my eyes, and I was once again standing on the ledge of the cliff in our grotto.

“How does Echidna fare?” my mother, Ceto, asked.

Stheno shook her head and dismissed herself. “Troublesome as ever! We have much to talk about, mother!” She headed back into the palace, with my mother following in pursuit.

I chose not to join them, knowing Stheno would have private affairs to discuss with my mother and father. I sat on the edge of the bluff, gleaming into the crystal blue water, reflecting on the vision I had.   

A net with a fish? What could it mean? 

I found myself coming up with little to no answers or guesses.

I was then reminded of Echidna’s counsel and the last words she spoke to me.

Never put that beauty to waste.

Little did I know that I would carry this guidance with me for years to come. Never did I picture that it would end up shaping my future.

About the Author 

BJ Irons works in the field of education as an educational leader and college professor. Many of his personal experiences as a gay man, have contributed to his works. Being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community himself, BJ hopes to continue to bring more fun fictional works to his LGBTQIA+ readers. The world could always use a little more color and fun.

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New Release – Land On Me by Matthew R. Corr #kindleunlimited #giveaway

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Book Title: Land On Me

Author: Matthew R. Corr 

Publisher: Quill Hawk Publishing 

Cover Artist: Dessiree Perez 

Release Date: August 26, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Coming-of-age 

Tropes: Forbidden love, mystery

Themes: Coming out, forgiveness, grief, self-love

Heat Rating:  3 flames

Length: 120 000 words/440 pages

The author is working on a sequel.

The book does not end on a cliffhanger.

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His secret could cost him everything.

Blurb

Landon Griffin has everything going for him. He’s a high school senior on the brink of receiving a football scholarship, his dad is running for mayor of Madison, Texas, and his future with his girlfriend looks bright. But his simple life shatters when feelings spark for a guy he’s never met. Giving the stranger the codename Mystery Boy, Landon hesitates to step out of his comfort zone to solve the mystery. Living in a conservative town, he struggles to hide his new obsession while trying to figure out where he fits within the spectrum of sexuality. Can he dodge the constant questions from his friends and find answers before the escalating anxiety becomes too much to handle? Land On Me is Matthew R. Corr’s debut novel akin to the drama of Christopher Rice and the coming-of-age brilliance of Alex Sanchez.

Excerpt 

OPENING HOOK

 My ears rang. I’d heard gunshots in movies, but in real life, they are louder than you’d expect. My elbows locked and my arms shook. I wanted to drop the gun, but my entire body was frozen in place. All I could smell was the scent of hot metal emanating from the barrel of the weapon. My mouth was too dry to speak, and I could hardly swallow. I desperately wanted to reach out to make sure he was okay, but there was so much blood. It was so red, and it was coming out so quickly. I didn’t want to shoot him but he wouldn’t have stopped otherwise. Tears welled in my eyes. His blood was on my hands now.

About the Author 

Matthew Corr was born and raised in beautiful New England. Coming out as a gay man in high school in his small town fueled his big city dreams. Matthew moved to New York City, where he gained a degree in musical theater. After countless performances on stages across the country, his passion for writing finally stepped into the spotlight. Matthew is a huge nerd for film and everything Marvel-related. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. Land On Me is his debut novel. To learn more about Matthew, and the release of his next book, please visit http://www.matthewrcorr.com

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99c Offer – Crystal’s House of Queers by Brooke Skipstone #giveaway

99c BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Crystal’s House of Queers

Author:  Brooke Skipstone

Publisher:  Skipstone Publishing

Cover Artist: Cherie Chapman @ccbookdesign

Release Date: May 24, 2021

Genres: LGBTQ Fiction, Lesbian Fiction/Suspense, Lesbian Romance, Coming of age

Tropes:  Friends to lovers, found family, power femme

Themes: Forgiveness, no secrets, overcoming past abuse, fight because we love

Heat Rating: 3 – 3.5 flames

Length: 93 000 words/ 330 pages

It is a standalone story.

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Three senior girls in rural Alaska escape their abusive pasts by raising their dyke flag for themselves and their community.

Blurb

Crystal Rose woke up at three in the morning today, drenched in sweat and breathless after another sex dream with Haley Carson. Later at school in the tiny town of Clear, Alaska, Crystal saves Haley from an assault by her abusive boyfriend.

The two girls renew a love started years ago that had to stay hidden until now. But with Crystal’s grandparents in the hospital with Covid and the possibility of her drug addict parents returning from a 14-year absence, Crystal needs Haley as much as she needs Crystal.

They connect with Payton Reed, a gun-toting artist who helps them feel proud to be gay and willing to stand up to anyone. Together they struggle to make Crystal’s house safe for those who are hated for their love.

Excerpt

Crystal’s room is small with drawings and photos stuck randomly all over the walls—closeups of  leaves, flowers, and berries; intricate natural designs created by Labrador tea, spider webs, and lichen; every local animal, including a grizzly sow and two cubs digging through trashcans from this past June; sunrises and sunsets plus northern lights; and, of course, line drawings of her house and family, along with pages of self-portraits. Crystal’s entire world greets her every morning and evening. Nothing is ever removed or covered, just added to, now up one corner of the ceiling. A large white board on one wall displays a self-portrait drawing of Crystal sitting.

Haley stands in the doorway, open-mouthed, trying to absorb it all. “Damn, Crystal, you are something. I love this.”

Crystal smiles. “I’m glad. So do I.” She opens her closet to show Haley her clothing options, including a never-worn pair of stretch jeans Crystal bought at Value Village in Fairbanks—a size too big for her, but a size too small for Haley.

“I’m not sure my butt can fit into these,” says Haley, holding the pair waist high. “You’ll have fun watching me put these on.” 

“Oooh, do I get to watch?”

“Certainly.” Haley raises a brow and half smiles as she pulls off her sweatshirt.

Crystal’s breath catches in her chest as her mouth gapes open.

“Oops! I forgot to pick out a shirt. Can I use your robe until I find something suitable?”

Crystal’s face reddens. “Sure.” She removes her robe and tosses it to Haley, who then tosses it on the bed. “Now we can stare at each other.”

Crystal licks her lips. “You are so evil.”

“I’m just getting started.” She tilts her head and cocks a brow. “Do you like evil?” 

“So far.” Though she’s afraid her heart will burst, it’s beating so fast.

“Great.” Haley moves toward Crystal until their chests touch. “I love your drawing on the white board. Would you do another of me? Maybe one of us kissing?” Haley touches her lips to Crystal’s.

“Yes.” She struggles trying to pull her phone out of her pocket while Haley rubs her tongue tip over Crystal’s bottom lip. Gasping for air, Crystal asks, “Do you want me to take a pic or not?” Haley smiles and steps back a little. Crystal props her phone against the mirror on her dresser and sets the timer. “We have five seconds.”

Haley moves her hand to Crystal’s neck as they kiss. The camera takes the picture, but they don’t separate.

 After a few more seconds, Haley pulls back just enough to speak. “You are the best kisser. Even in fifth grade I liked kissing you. Think of all that time I wasted.”

“We have plenty of time now.” She grabs her phone and shows Haley the photo. “I like that. I can draw it now, if you want.”

“Yes, please.”

“Hold it for me.” Crystal takes her drawing pad and pen from her desk and sits in her chair. 

Haley holds the phone against her cleavage, her boobs hanging over her arms. “Is that good?”

Crystal stares and shakes her head. “Evil. Pure evil!”

“Just focus on the photo, Crystal.” Haley slowly sways her torso, making her boobs jiggle close to Crystal’s face. “Can’t you focus?” Her voice drips with seduction.

Crystal clears her throat and closes her eyes. “I think I can. I think I can.” She takes a deep breath, opens her eyes, and places her pen on the paper. Haley sways faster. Crystal starts a line then runs it off the page. “Can you please stop moving?” she pleads, unable to turn away from Haley’s breasts. “Just for a few minutes?” She rips off the page and readies another.

Her voice coy, sweet, and sultry—“As you wish. I’ll stand perfectly still.” She holds the camera away from her body, partially covering her breasts.

Crystal starts a line under her chin, sweeps down to make hair, then her face and lips before moving to Haley’s lips, hair, and then ending with her hand. She stares at the drawing for a few seconds then turns it around. “What do you think?”

 “Oh, my god! I love it. We look good together.” She gives Crystal a kiss. “Thank you. Thank you.”

About the Author 

Brooke Skipstone is a multi-award-winning author who lives in Alaska where she watches the mountains change colors with the seasons from her balcony. Where she feels the constant rush toward winter as the sunlight wanes for six months of the year, seven minutes each day, bringing crushing cold that lingers even as the sun climbs again. Where the burst of life during summer is urgent under twenty-four-hour daylight, lush and decadent. Where fish swim hundreds of miles up rivers past bear claws and nets and wheels and lines of rubber-clad combat fishers, arriving humped and ragged, dying as they spawn. Where danger from the land and its animals exhilarates the senses, forcing her to appreciate the difference between life and death. Where the edge between is sometimes too alluring.

Crystal’s House of Queers is her third novel. 

Visit her website for information about her first two novels, Some Laneys Died and Someone To Kiss My Scars.

Social Media Links

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New Release – Crystal’s House of Queers by Brooke Skipstone #KindleUnlimited #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Crystal’s House of Queers

Author:  Brooke Skipstone

Publisher:  Skipstone Publishing

Cover Artist: Cherie Chapman @ccbookdesign

Release Date: May 24, 2021

Genres: LGBTQ Fiction, Lesbian Fiction/Suspense, Lesbian Romance, Lesbian Coming of age

Tropes:  Friends to lovers, found family, coming of age, power femme

Themes: Coming out, forgiveness, no secrets, overcoming past abuse, fight because we love

Heat Rating: 3 or 3.5 flames

Length: 93 000 words/ 330 pages

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

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Three senior girls in rural Alaska escape their abusive pasts by raising their dyke flag for themselves and their community.

Blurb

Crystal Rose woke up at three in the morning today, drenched in sweat and breathless after another sex dream with Haley Carson. Later at school in the tiny town of Clear, Alaska, Crystal saves Haley from an assault by her abusive boyfriend.

The two girls renew a love started years ago that had to stay hidden until now. But with Crystal’s grandparents in the hospital with Covid and the possibility of her drug addict parents returning from a 14-year absence, Crystal needs Haley as much as she needs Crystal.

They connect with Payton Reed, a gun-toting artist who helps them feel proud to be gay and willing to stand up to anyone. Together they struggle to make Crystal’s house safe for those who are hated for their love.

Excerpt

Crystal and JD are very happy to be back in school. They’d been online from mid-March through May and then from late August until Monday, two days ago. During that time, Crystal had seen virtually none of her classmates. She’d never been very social, but she had missed seeing her art teacher and especially Haley. They’d been close friends in the elementary grades but had drifted apart in high school. 

Crystal unties her hair and shakes her head. “One reason we went back this week is that special needs students don’t learn as much in remote learning.”

“Who said that?” asks Summer.

“SPED teacher.” Crystal bends over the table to grab her computer and feels her grandmother’s eyes searching her, just like she felt the moose eyes earlier. 

“Crystal, why aren’t you wearing a bra?”

She lifts her eyes to Summer, who signals to hold her shirt against her chest. “Why are you looking?” She stays bent as she shoves books and her computer into her bag. “No one cared about me wearing a bra before. What difference does it make now?”

“Crystal, we’ve talked about this. You developed over the summer. You can’t be flashing everyone.”

“Am I flashing, or are you making a special effort to look down my shirt?” She feels blood rushing to her face. Her eyes throb.

“Please stand up straight.”

Crystal finishes stuffing her pack without hurrying, drags the zipper closed then swings her pack onto her shoulder as she stands. “Better?”

“Please put on your bra.”

Mac coughs. “Just don’t bend over in front of the boys, Crystal, and keep your jacket zipped.”

Crystal cocks a brow. “Because it’d be my fault if they stared at my boobs?”

JD laughs. “Gena calls them boobs too. A lot of my friends call them tits.”

“JD!” Everyone flinches when Summer slaps the table. Crystal can remember only one or two other times when she screamed at JD. He now stands with his mouth open, breathing noisily. His eyes bulge. “There’s no need to be crude. Why are you and Gena talking about her . . . breasts?”

Because they’ve been having sex for the past six months, thinks Crystal so loud she wonders whether anyone hears her. “C’mon, JD. We need to go.” Crystal pushes a chair farther under the table and heads for the door.

Summer grabs her arm. “Why are you being so defiant about this?”

“I’ve gone my whole life without my chest being strangled and bound. No one cared. Now if I don’t crush my boobs all day and much of the night, there’s something wrong with me. Guys go shirtless at PE all the time. Why can’t the girls?”

“That’d be embarrassing,” laughs JD as he moves through the door. “Hope you feel better, Mac.”

Summer releases Crystal’s arm and wrings her hands. “Now you want to go topless? Where are you getting these ideas?”

“Why do I have to get them from somewhere besides my own head? Cause I’m too dumb?” Her heart pounds in her chest and lips tighten against her teeth. She wants to say much more but is afraid to start another argument. She tries to slow her breathing. “Hope you feel better, Mac.” She exits the house and heads toward her Honda 4-wheeler where JD sits sideways behind the seat.

“I think it’s my turn to drive,” he says, just like every morning.

Crystal straddles the seat and starts the motor. “It’s not your turn until you’re older than me.”

“And what day will that happen?”

“Exactly.” She zips up her jacket, shifts gears, and races away from the house down her long driveway, bordered by spruce and aspen. 

Last weekend, Kato told her she needed to wear a bra when she returned to school. He said he didn’t want guys staring at her all day. They’d been best friends their whole lives and had never even kissed. Then her boobs grew over the summer, and he couldn’t keep his hands off her. He complained she was teasing him, being coy, making him think dirty thoughts. All during July and August, she’d felt excited and confused, sometimes angry. Before this past weekend, they’d only kissed, and honestly, she’d never wanted to do anything more.

But she finally relented. The experience wasn’t very exciting, certainly nothing like her dreams of girls. Or kissing Haley in fifth grade.

At first, the dreams bothered her. Could something more be wrong with her brain beyond what school told her? She’s never fantasized about a boy. After Saturday’s session with Kato, she believes she understands why, but doesn’t know what to do or who to tell. 

Maybe Haley? 

What’s the worst that could happen?

She could laugh. Walk away. Tell others.

What’s the best she could say?

Me too.

How amazing would that be?

When the best option offers so great a reward, Crystal always ignores the danger. Witness—her encounter with the moose this morning.

Maybe she’ll talk to Haley today.

About the Author 

Brooke Skipstone is a multi-award winning author who lives in Alaska where she watches the mountains change colors with the seasons from her balcony. Where she feels the constant rush toward winter as the sunlight wanes for six months of the year, seven minutes each day, bringing crushing cold that lingers even as the sun climbs again. Where the burst of life during summer is urgent under twenty-four-hour daylight, lush and decadent. Where fish swim hundreds of miles up rivers past bear claws and nets and wheels and lines of rubber-clad combat fishers, arriving humped and ragged, dying as they spawn. Where danger from the land and its animals exhilarates the senses, forcing her to appreciate the difference between life and death. Where the edge between is sometimes too alluring.

Crystal’s House of Queers is her third novel. 

Visit her website for information about her first two novels, Some Laneys Died and Someone To Kiss My Scars.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |   Instagram  

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

a $20 Amazon gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts here

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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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 – My Ticket Out by J.N. Marton #KindleUnlimited

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title:  My Ticket Out

Author: J.N. Marton

Cover Artist: 100Covers

Release Date: November 17, 2020

Genres: Contemporary F/F Romance,  Coming-of-age

Tropes: Forbidden love(ish) and friends to lovers

Themes: Coming out, Embracing who you are

Heat Rating:  2-3 flames 

Length: 260 pages

It is a standalone story.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 

A senior basketball player. A mysterious new girl. A secret romance…

Blurb

Charlie Baker wants out. She wants out of her small, southern hometown of BluHaven and she has her sights set on a basketball scholarship to a college as far away as her dreams can take her. Everything is going according to plan until she moves to town. 

Aspen Sullivan is breathtaking. She is beautiful, smart, talented…. She evokes feelings in Charlie that she hadn’t thought possible. When their friendship blossoms into something more, Charlie discovers a new truth about herself. But with Aspen’s mysterious past, they must keep their relationship a secret.

Will their love be strong enough to endure the trials of deceiving those closest to them? Do they have what it takes to escape the constraints of the south and the closet together?

My Ticket Out is a Young Adult, LGBT story about love, and self-discovery. If you enjoy stories that include romance, heartbreak, and embracing who you are, then you will definitely love this book by author J.N. Miller.

Pick this book up today to see if Charlie will find her ticket out.

Excerpt 

Chapter 1

“We did not come this far to roll over like a bunch of pigs! Take the ball and put it in the damn basket!”

Falcons on three… one… two… three… FALCONS.”

Twelve seconds left on the clock. 

One more shot. 

One more play. 

One last chance. 

Twelve seconds is all the time we need. 

Defense pounces the second the ball is inbounded like a leach latching itself to the only available life source. 

The fast break is swift–over before it even started. One hard dribble towards the middle and the ball is launched to the center of the court.

Seven seconds left.

What comes next is second nature. A hard cut to the basket and back out to the wing, my hands raised in the air as I catch the ball before defense has time to adjust. 

Four seconds left… Three seconds… the ball rolls off my fingertips.

Two seconds… it swirls around the rim.

One second… and falls to the ground. 

The sound of the buzzer erupts through the gymnasium, solidifying our defeat. Final score thirty-six to thirty-seven. 

I inhale the musty stench of sweat, perfume, and hairspray as we sulk into the locker room and take a seat while we wait for the aftermath that is Coach Stewart. I lean forward, resting my elbows on my knees and focus on the sweat dripping from my forehead, plummeting to the ground, leaving a minuscule puddle between my shoes. 

One shot.

That’s all we needed. And I blew it. 

My main priority from the second this year started was getting a basketball scholarship out of this small town. From our very first game, it’s felt like my life has been dependent on one specific goal. A single accomplishment–like making the game winning shot–is going to make or break my future.  

Coach Stewart charges through the door, letting it slam against the concrete wall as he steps in front of us. His gaze is intentional and cold, his demeanor full of discontent and indignation. His eyes trace over us, one by one, pausing just long enough for us to feel the misery set in.  

He dips his head, slowly shaking it back and forth, before he holds up his index finger. “One shot. One damn shot. That’s all we needed to be undefeated this season.” He lifts his head, settling his hands on his hips. “We made mistakes tonight. And sometimes one mistake is the difference between winning and losing. The season’s not over yet. We’ll just have to practice a little harder to end it on a high. We’ve got a few games left, don’t give up now. Practice tomorrow after school. Bring it in.

Falcons on three… one… two… three… FALCONS.”

I shuffle to my locker, ignoring the hushed conversations happening around me, and begin gathering my stuff. 

“That was a nice shot, Charlie,” Riley says as she pulls off her jersey, tossing it to the growing pile on the floor and retrieves her tshirt from the locker next to mine. 

“Thanks,” I mutter, “I’ll see you tomorrow,” and sling my bag across my shoulders, heading for the door. 

I get about three steps away from the locker room when I’m cut off by Ben. He’s wearing faded jeans, a red and black flannel over a plain white shirt, and boots with dried mud on the sides. The typical wardrobe of the boys that live around here. He’s taller than me by about three inches, with chocolate brown hair falling in his face, and forest green eyes that can’t seem to focus on what’s in front of him. “Hey, Charlie. Nice game.”

“Thanks,” I say, trying to brush past him.

He takes one long stride to the right, blocking my path. “I was thinking about checking out that new movie this weekend. Thought you might like to join me?”

“No thanks, I’m busy.”

He leans in closer, the smell of popcorn lingering on his breath, “C’mon, Charlie,” He whispers, “It’ll be fun. It wasn’t too long ago you jumped at the chance to go out with me.”

That’s not actually true. I only went out with him because Riley insisted and I finally agreed in order to get her off my back, not because I found him even remotely attractive. Of course, he doesn’t realize that, which isn’t all that surprising when I really think about it. We did the typical dinner and movie date but he couldn’t hold a conversation that didn’t revolve around him. Within the first twenty minutes of the movie, he’s shoving his tongue down my throat. I managed to wrangle him off before awkwardly sitting there trying to pretend I was somewhat interested in the film playing on screen. I haven’t gone out with him since. 

“Ben, I need to get home. Can we talk about this some other time?”

“So,” he says, straightening up, his tone chipper as a smile plays around his mouth, “You’ll think about it?”

I stagger past him, picking up my pace as the EXIT sign beacons above the door, hoping my silence will answer his question. 

I step outside, breathing in the bitter, frigid air of late February and make my way to my old grey Sedan. I pull out of the parking lot and head towards downtown. BluHaven is a small, southern town where the same families, shops, restaurants, and business have been here for generations. There’s a church on nearly every street corner, everything shuts down on Sundays, high school sports are the main source of entertainment, and everybody knows everything about everyone. 

They say you have the freedom to be whoever you want to be, to express yourself in your own way. But if that goes against the belief system that’s been set in stone since before I was born, then don’t even bother. It’s not that I hate living here. It’s just that I never felt like I truly fit in, like my place has always been somewhere else in this world. 

About the Author

J.N. Marton graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor’s degree in education. Along with educating the future of our nation, she enjoys taking her daily morning run, reading any book she can get her hands on, and binge watching the latest shows on Netflix. Marton happily lives with her wife, Hollis, and their Lab/Basset Hound mix, Sam.

Email her at jnmartonauthor@gmail.com and follow her on her favorite social media platform, Twitter @jn_marton.

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