Embers of Darkness (D’Vaire, Book 27) by Jessamyn Kingley

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Book Title:  Embers of Darkness (D’Vaire, Book 27)

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Publisher: Independently Published

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson, Mayhem Cover Creations

Release Date: February 3, 2022

Genres: M/M Romance, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy Romance 

Trope/s: Fated mates

Themes: Love, reconciling the past

Heat Rating:  3 flames

Length: 90 503 words

It is not a standalone story. The book does not end on a cliffhanger.

Check out the D’vaire Series on Goodreads

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To embrace the future and find love, both men must face the darkness of their pasts. 

Blurb

A man torn between what his soul wants and what he believes is expected of him, Scheredin D’Vaire is still fiercely loyal to his family. Scheredin is one of the few remaining warlocks and spends his days aiding his cousins in running the D’Vaire sanctuary. In his free time, Scheredin loves gaming. With the tap of a few keys, Scheredin can lose himself in another world. 

Kieran Tarinthfenix is a phoenix shifter whose tribe likes to forget that elf blood also runs through their veins. A driven man, Kieran takes his hobby of gaming and learns to craft titles of his own. He hands his income to his chieftain despite Kieran’s lack of respect for a man who forces his people to take part in an ancient but cruel ceremony every year.

Scheredin and Kieran meet online and quickly grow into gaming buddies. For years, they are content with an online relationship and the anonymity it provides. When Scheredin decides to meet Kieran in person, they discover they’re mates, but there are secrets between them. To find lasting love, both men will have to throw away the past and seize their destinies.

Excerpt 

A product of elven blood, even though the Tarinthfenix refused to admit it, Kieran had lacked any kind of sexuality until that moment. His breath caught, knowing that inside the shop was his mate. Stepping into the bright space, Kieran scanned the customers, and his silver gaze with hints of purple locked on a short man with dark hair and a light goatee. 

His expression was one of shock, and there was little else to read in his heavily lashed green eyes. In his hand was a stunning lily of blue and black, which brought a smile to Kieran’s face. Somehow, it made perfect sense that the man he’d become instant friends with all those years ago was the other half of his soul.

Crossing the distance that separated them, Kieran’s grin grew as he delightedly considered the handsome man still staring at him blankly. “Hi, Scheredin.”

“Hi, Keladriel. I’m Brexton,” said the man at Scheredin’s side, who resembled him a great deal.

“A pleasure to meet you, Brexton,” Kieran replied immediately and flicked his attention back to Scheredin.

Brexton nudged Scheredin’s shoulder. 

“Say hello,” he murmured to Scheredin, whose mouth snapped shut.

“Hi, Keladriel,” Scheredin whispered.

“Crazy, right?” Kieran asked. “Makes me kind of mad. We should’ve planned this a long time ago.”

“What does that mean?” demanded a broad-shouldered man with navy eyes and soft brown curls.

“Keladriel is my mate, Brogan,” Scheredin told the tall guy.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” yelled a man around Scheredin’s height as his hands rose to grab fistfuls of his blond ringlets, catching the attention of several customers.

“You can calm down,” Brogan growled. “I already know you’re going to give me shit for the rest of eternity.”

“Hi, I’m Dra’Kaedan,” the blond said, shouldering his way between Scheredin and Brexton to wave. “I was so excited I nearly forgot and tried to shake your hand.”

Kieran was seconds away from refuting Dra’Kaedan’s assumption that he was an elf, despite his ears and attire, when the name hit him. “Like, Grand Warlock Dra’Kaedan D’Vaire?” 

Although he wasn’t allowed to explore the outside world, it fascinated Kieran, and he’d often read about the famous people within the Council. As far as Kieran could tell from the online newspapers, there were few families as reputable and powerful as the D’Vaires, so it made sense that people would name their kids after the royal family.

“He is Grand Warlock Dra’Kaedan D’Vaire,” Scheredin remarked. “We’re all D’Vaires. The tall guy behind him is his mate, Grand Duke Brogan D’Vairedraconis. At the table next to you pretending not to listen are Coven Lord Bridger D’Vaire and Coven Lord Hadley D’Vaire. They’re here to protect me in case you turned out to be a homicidal maniac planning to butcher me in a coffee shop or whatever other nefarious idea Brogan had for what might happen today.”

“Why does everyone always make me sound crazy?” Brogan demanded.

“Please, you do that all by yourself, Mate,” Dra’Kaedan muttered.

“Do you follow all elven traditions even though you aren’t a part of the Council?” Brexton asked, cocking his head.

Kieran wasn’t fond of lies, but there was no hesitation in his soul over his matebond. Although they had plenty to learn about each other, Kieran knew Scheredin’s character and was wildly attracted to him. He was ready to explore his new sexuality with the attractive man studying him, and Kieran understood that their belief that he was an elf named Keladriel could help speed up the process of binding them together for eternity. 

Not only would Kieran not have to wait to be with Scheredin, but he could also finally walk away from the Tarinthfenix without guilt.  Fate wanted Kieran to be with Scheredin, and he was fully on board with her plan. In fact, in Kieran’s eyes, she couldn’t possibly have done better. Kieran’s gift was his closest friend and a real, honest-to-Fate warlock to boot. 

If there was anything that fascinated Kieran more than the Council, it was magic, and Scheredin likely had plenty. While building the foundation of the most important relationship of his life with dishonesty wasn’t the smartest choice, Kieran would explain who he truly was and give Scheredin his real, non-elf name as soon as they were mated. It was perhaps not the best way to speed up the timeline, but Kieran could find no patience, and his beast was egging him on.

Instead of answering Brexton’s question with a complete falsehood, Kieran went with his gut. “I’d like to have a mating ceremony as soon as possible if you’re okay with that, Scheredin.”

“I will honor your customs, Keladriel. It’s not like we’re total strangers.”

It rankled both man and phoenix to have his other half call him by the wrong name, even though it was the one he went by in the game, but Kieran set the outrage aside and smiled again. “Thank you.”

About the Author 

Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.

Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.

Visit her website 

Join her Facebook group, Jessamyn’s Ruffian’s

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Crush Box Set 1 by Elouise East #kindleunlimited #giveaway

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Book Title: Crush Box Set 1

Author: Elouise East

Cover Artist: Maria Vickers

Release Date: January 13, 2022

Genre:  Gay contemporary romance

Heat Rating: 3-4 flames

Length: approx 210 000 words for all 3 books 

Each one can be read separately, but characters pop into all books.

The stories do not end on a cliffhanger.

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Crush is not just a bar… it’s a family.

Blurb 

Box set 1 contains:

First Kiss follows Charlie and Josh as love crosses boundaries they never expected it to. When Charlie tries to find someone to take his virginity, he doesn’t realise he is knocking down the first domino in a long line of changes set to test their loyalty and put them on a path neither anticipated.

Instant Desire is what Sean feels when he first meets Asher. Unfortunately, it pushes Sean further away from the man instead of closer. Asher does everything he can to help Sean get past what haunts him, but even though he understands the grief, he can’t wallow in it himself. His niece needs him.

Primary Seduction follows Trent on his bisexual awakening. He never would’ve thought Max would be the one person he wanted. A match flickers to life inside him, and he can’t hold back, even when Max comes complete with a BDSM lifestyle Trent knows nothing about. Trouble comes calling, but his newfound relationship helps him in ways he never expected.

MM romances where love wins over everything. Everyone is welcome at Crush.

Excerpt from First Kiss

“Hello?” 

Josh rushed into the hallway and ploughed into Charlie. 

“Umph!” Charlie dropped his bag with a thump, then slid his arms around Josh’s waist, one reaching up to rub his back. “Hi, J,” he whispered.

Josh didn’t say anything. Charlie hadn’t realised exactly how much he had missed him until he’d come back through the door. The same for Josh if how tight he was holding him was anything to go by. Josh squeezed him tighter. A throat cleared but they ignored it. Josh burrowed his face into Charlie’s neck. “I love you,” he whispered so quietly, Charlie wasn’t sure if he’d heard right.

Charlie’s body started shaking. Josh pulled back a little to look at him, and Charlie realised he was crying. Josh cupped his cheeks, wiping the tears with his fingers. “Is that okay?”

Charlie nodded as more tears fell.

“Why have you made my boy cry?” Josh got pushed aside as their mum took his place, pulling Charlie into a hug. “Are you okay, sweetheart? What did he say to upset you?” His mum looked at Josh, eyes narrowed. “You better have a good explanation, young man.”

Josh straightened, looked her in the eye and said, “I told him I loved him.”

There was a beat of silence then his mum burst into tears, hugging them both tight, mumbling words he couldn’t understand. He was hoping they were happy tears too. But he wasn’t sure.

His mum pulled away after a minute and pulled them into the living room. She pushed them both down onto the sofa and she sat on the coffee table facing them. She looked at Josh. “You love him?”

Josh nodded. “With everything I am.” He wrapped his arm around Charlie’s shoulder.

His mum looked at Charlie. “What about you?”

Charlie nodded. “I love him.” Then he turned to Josh, “I love you.” A lone tear dripped down his cheek, which Josh wiped away.

His mum clasped her hands to her mouth and laughed. “I’m so happy for you both.” She looked at them tenderly for a moment, then her face became serious. “You’re going to have many problems, my beautiful boys. There will be people out there,” she pointed out the window, “who will try to bring you down with their hate. You must stay strong. Believe in each other.

About the Author 

I am Elouise East but feel free to call me Elli. I write sweet and steamy connections in gay romance. I also touch on taboo stories under the name Elouise R East.

Books that tell the stories where friendship and family are the focal point – be it blood family or chosen – is very important to me. That’s why I include a variety of personalities, talents, ages, situations and abilities as I believe a story needs, or a character needs. I want my characters to be real, to be relatable, to be free to have whatever views they tell me they have. And trust me, most of the time, I do not have any say in the matter!

My characters come to life on the page for me as well as my readers. Their stories unfold in front of me, and I have very little input into how they want to be shown. Just like real life, the lives of my characters change with every choice, every interaction and every conversation. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I write books that are emotionally realistic, even if liberties are taken with other aspects of my stories. I don’t know any other way to write. It comes from deep inside.

Who am I? A single parent to two children who make life worth living. An avid reader who still devours every book she can get her hands on. A student of learning about any subject that takes her fancy. An author of books she would read herself. And a romantic at heart who loves anything cheesy. 

Who’s in?

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Series Tour – The Sky Nymph Trilogy by Charlie Godwyne #kindleunlimited

SERIES INFORMATION

The Sky Nymph trilogy is an MMM romance that is best read in order, featuring spirituality, found family, and falling in love with one’s best friend. Although the Sky Nymph series takes place in the same magical Vienna as the Augarten pentalogy, this series can be read as a standalone.

The Sky Nymph series is about finding one’s way in the world, and reconnecting with nature and the spirit. As Ollie searches for meaning, he turns inward toward his Higher Self, and solidifies his bond with two men who are also on the path.

Author: Charlie Godwyne

Genre: Contemporary MMM Romance with spirituality and magical realism.

Trope: Best friends to lovers

Themes: Finding home, finding family

There are no cliffhangers. Each book ends happily, with a happily ever after at the end of the trilogy.

The books should be read in order.

Overall Heat Rating for the series: 4 flames (Detailed, but slow burn to set up.)

BOOK DETAILS

BOOK 1

Book Title: Infinite

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Length: 50 000 words / 186 pages

Release Date: March 24, 2021

The start of a trilogy that is best read in order.

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I’m on the run, leaving behind everything I’ve ever known.

I’m on the run, on a blessed path that leads me straight into their arms.

Blurb 

In 2026, Oliver Smith emigrates from the United States to Austria, to start a job as an editor for Boutique Press. Anxious, tired and broken, he hallucinates an angel comforting him on the plane. Ollie assumes it was a dream, but the Catholic contract lawyer Moritz who picks him up at the airport assures him that angels are real.

As Ollie builds a new life on the other side of the world, working his job while trying to keep himself together and hold his shadows at bay, he meets Bryn, a young man who practices a secret magic and sings gentle prayers to the sunset. Bryn is married to Moritz, the same contract lawyer who helped Ollie settle in and who keeps showing up and cooking for him in the evenings. But things have gone wrong: Bryn and Moritz are separated, pending divorce.

Ollie and Bryn fall fast together, becoming best friends, and as Ollie gets to know Moritz’s caring heart he realizes he has feelings for this beautiful man, too. It’s clear that Bryn and Moritz still love each other. As Ollie works to bring them back together, he finds himself being healed in return and drawn into their loving embrace.

Infinite is the first book in the Sky Nymph series and is a 50,000-word MMM romance with magical realism, patient angels, typewriters on bicycles, and lots of espresso. Although Infinite takes place in the magical Vienna of the Augarten series, it can be read as a standalone.

BOOK 2

Book Title: Nebulae

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Length:  37 500 words / 152 pages

Release Date: September 8, 2021

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I pray, Angel, please keep my lovers safe…

Blurb 

In 2027, one year since emigrating from the United States to Austria, Ollie has settled into a happy life in Vienna with his two boyfriends, Moritz and Bryn. He has handled nearly all of his lingering debt, and is excited to embark on the next stage of life with his partners.

But on the eve of Fasching, Vienna shuts down. The Schöner Himmel coffee shop is forced to close, and with the mandatory ambulance service and the military deployed, Bryn and Moritz are called up. As his loved ones fall to illness and injury, Ollie works himself to the bone, helping his friends keep the Schöner Himmel, the Buchinger book bindery, and the tailoring shop running. With nowhere else to turn, he prays to his guardian angel, eager to seek spiritual refuge in dark times.

Instead of giving comfort, the angel challenges him to face what he is running from. Alone, without the support of his lovers, Ollie can no longer deny his greatest fears and must accept the test his angel has set for him. To awaken to the mystery and the forest of a myriad ways, Ollie must stand and fight what chases him.

He has found his home. Now, he must find the way forward.

“The path lies open before you,” the angel says. “Will you take it?”

Nebulae is a 37,500-word MMM romance featuring magical realism and endurance through hard times. It is the sequel to Infinite and is thus best read in order. Although the Sky Nymph series takes place in the same magical Vienna as the Augarten pentalogy, this series can be read as a standalone.

BOOK 3

Book Title: Etheric

Length: 35,000 words / 146 pages

Release Date: December 15, 2021

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 Come what may, I have what it takes to hold us together.

Blurb 

Two years after the events of Nebulae, Bryn, Moritz, and Ollie are enjoying peaceful days and continuing to build on their relationship. Meanwhile, Milly—Bryn’s sister—and her wife, Grace, have always wanted children, and as planned, Milly starts trying to conceive with Ollie’s help. Bryn never thought he’d become a parent or even an uncle, but seeing everyone around him so happy at the prospect of children, he is doing his best to open his heart to the fruitful gifts that life can bestow.

Then circumstances take a turn, and Bryn is left holding the reins of an exhausted and stressed-out family. With Moritz working non-stop at a local law firm, Ollie’s panic disorder rearing its ugly head, and the addition of a little bundled-up blessing who had a rough start coming into the world, suddenly everyone is relying on Bryn to lead. Yet Bryn’s intense self-doubt leaves him feeling like he isn’t anywhere near good enough—or strong enough—to be all that his two men and their fragile baby need.

As magical forces become active in Vienna, Bryn must make a choice: refuse his role and watch his family fall apart, or invoke his higher self and come into his own to navigate the spiritual and magical flow of the world.

Etheric is a 35,000-word MMM romance featuring magical realism and the cutest baby ever. It is the third book in the Sky Nymph series, which is best read in order. Although the Sky Nymph series takes place in the same magical Vienna as the Augarten pentalogy, this series can be read as a standalone.

About the Author 

Charlie Godwyne lives in Vienna and loves to walk at Augarten and shop at book binderies. A translator by trade, Charlie loves to take train trips around Europe and hopes to one day learn how to play the banjo.

Sign up for Charlie’s release-only newsletter and get a free short story from Equinox, in which Gabriel, Florian, and Solomon take a dip in the Danube. 

Author Links

 Website and Newsletter sign-up   

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House Arrest Without a Home by Brina Brady #kindleunlimited #giveaway

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Book Title: House Arrest Without a Home

Author: Brina Brady

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Brina Brady

Release Date: January 10, 2022

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Steamy, Age Gap, Hurt and Comfort, Forced Proximity, MM Romance/HEA

Themes: Learning to love and trust again

Heat Rating: 4 flames   

Length: 59 184 words/180 pages

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

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Blurb

Pre-law student Shawn O’Brien loses his mind when he finds his live-in boyfriend Jasper Logan with a younger man in their bed. Shawn breaks the law and ends up in big trouble, in danger of losing his scholarship and freedom. He needs a new place to live to serve his house arrest sentence or he will go to jail for six months. 

Successful District Prosecuting Attorney, Noah Braun, has it all: money, friends, and a top career, but he’s at risk of losing it all as he grieves the loss of his husband. His father, Judge Braun, finds the perfect lover to save his son. The judge asks Noah to take Shawn into his home to complete his sentence.

Everything changes when Noah and Shawn meet and find themselves living together. Noah is determined to do whatever it takes to prove to Shawn that their relationship will be different from his nightmarish one with Jasper.

Can Noah find a way to win Shawn’s heart forever, or will Shawn move on when his house arrest is complete?

Steamy, Age Gap, Hurt and Comfort, Contemporary, Forced Proximity, MM Romance/HEA

Excerpt 

“You don’t have to like me, but I like you.” Noah paused the movie so he could focus on talking to Shawn.

“That’s not the problem. I do like you, but you wanted to pay me for sex. That means you just want to fuck me. That’s all you want from me.”

“First, the money was added to entice you. I do want to fuck you, and I only want that from someone who I care about.”

“I’m afraid of getting hurt again.”

“Think about how much fun we could have. I can’t promise you we won’t get hurt, but I want to try to have something with you. I have a feeling we might work out sexually.”

“Are you sure you didn’t have me stay here to entertain you?”

“Do you think you can entertain me?”

“I’d like to try, but right now I feel like I’m sexually boring. When your lover cheats on you because you’re not enough, something must be wrong.”

“I loved kissing you. Do you like to try new things?”

“Always. I guess I feel like I might fail in the sex department.”

“It’s not about performance, though it helps, but taking on a new lover is exciting. Learning what they like and don’t. Not every time is going to be perfect but, in some sense, it is. I get this feeling by being in your presence. I can’t explain why I want you sexually as opposed to remaining just friends. It’s either there or it’s not.”

“I know what you mean. When I saw you the first time, I wasn’t expecting someone so hot! I just figured you were an older lawyer and a friend of Henrik’s. I didn’t understand why you would consider taking me in without even meeting me. The entire set up is odd to me, but I’m grateful for what you did for me.”

“What are you trying to say?” Noah hoped he felt the same way about him, but it wasn’t a given. His experience involved working for it, and maybe Shawn still loved bully Jasper. How could someone so brilliant fall for that ignoramus? And that shaggy beard was sickening.

“I want to be with you, but I’m afraid of disappointing you.”

“Your kiss didn’t disappoint me.”

“Your kiss was hot to my lips, but I got scared.”

“Do you bottom?”

“I do both. Do you only top?” 

“No, I top mostly, but I’m not against switching it up now and then.”

“Really?” 

“Do you have any kinks?”

“I probably do. Like what are we talking about?”

“Spanking, handcuffs, role playing. What do you think of those kinks?”

“I like those things you mentioned. I like to feel a little pain.”

“Am I making you feel uncomfortable?”

“No. I like getting to know more about you. I want to know what you look like naked.”

“That can be arranged. I think it’s good we talked. I want you to feel on equal basis at all times with me. That’s the reason I wanted to pay you. I figured it would balance us.”

“The money is not happening, now or ever. The only item unbalanced between us is our age difference and that doesn’t bother me at all.”

“Then money is off the table for now. I’d like you to sleep with me in my bed. What do you say about that?”

“I don’t know.” Shawn fidgeted in his seat.

“We could finish watching Dune in my bed, then maybe you could see how I look without clothes on.”

“Only if we can take the popcorn and our Diet Cokes.” Shawn didn’t take any time to think about it. He just answered as Noah suggested Shawn could see how he looked naked. 

“It’s a deal.” Noah picked up the bowl of popcorn with his drink and Shawn followed behind him as they climbed the stairs. Shawn had surprised him with his quick response, which led Noah to believe Shawn might like him in some way and maybe he was just afraid of making a mistake. 

About the Author 

I am from Huntington Beach, Ca. I taught various subjects at a Continuation High School in Los Angeles, California for 27 years. I obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in History, Secondary Social Science Credential and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Reading and Secondary Education from California State University, Long Beach. I also enrolled in some creative writing classes at UCLA.

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Freezing Aversion by BL Maxwell #kindleunlimited #giveaway

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Book Title: Freezing Aversion

Author: BL Maxwell

Publisher and Cover Artist: BL Maxwell

Release Date: December 29, 2021

Genre: Paranormal M/M Romance

Tropes: Fated Mates, Forced Proximity, Paranormal Romance, Vampire Thriller, Vampire Hunter

Themes: Found mate, Vampire Romance, Newborn Vampire, Trapped by snow

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 50 000 words

It’s the second book in the Consortium Series but it is a standalone story.

It does not end on a cliffhanger.

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A Tracker who can find anyone except the mate he’s always craved.

Blurb 

Benjamin Coulton is a tracker employed by the Consortium, the ruling counsel of vampires. When he’s sent to investigate a rogue vampire killing indiscriminately in a remote region of Alaska. Bad weather hampers his effort and he loses the vampire he’s been tasked to find.

Leon Davis and his friend Brian agreed to be winter caretakers for several cabins and a fishing lodge, thinking it would be easy money. They settle into their daily routine of checking the cabins for animal break-ins, or broken water pipes, and prepare for a long winter.

Until a run in with a vampire changes everything. Ben finds a newly turned vampire left for dead by the rogue vampire, and suddenly Ben’s mission changes course. In the freezing wilderness of Alaska, he uncovers more truths and the mate he’d always longed for… and now the killer vampire is tracking them.

MM Paranormal Romance.

Excerpt 

Letting my senses guide me, I came upon a small grouping of cabins that surrounded a lake, just like the sign promised. It was so far removed from where I’d turned off the main road that I couldn’t believe there could be a human out here. But there was.

I was slammed from behind and tumbled toward the ground but managed to land on my feet before spinning to face whatever had attacked me.

Before me crouched a vampire who appeared to have been feeding to the point of being blood crazed. He had no control over his instincts at this point and was consumed with the need to feed, and by the way he bared his teeth at me, he didn’t know any better than to try to feed on me. His face was partially hidden from view by the hood of his jacket, and what looked like a stocking hat pulled down low.

“Stand down, vampire, or I will end you.” I readied for his attack that I knew would come. He was far past caring about consequences and believe me, there would be consequences.

He snarled and attacked; grabbing my hair and running up the trunk of a tree, he ripped my head back. Twisting around, I tore myself from his grip and stood on his back as I pressed him into the snow.

“Get off me or you will die.” He fought, even though he knew he would not win. The madness that overtook him left him unreasonable to a point he would not be saved, and I grunted as he heaved me off him and against a tree.

He was up in a flash charging at me again. “Must feed,” he screamed, his hands curled into claws as he charged. I spun as he reached me and pulled the knife from my waistband. Though it only left him off balance for a split-second, it was enough to give me the advantage. When he attacked again, I spun the knife and plunged it into his heart. It wasn’t enough to destroy him, but it would injure him.

He screamed in pain before running off into the woods. Fuck, why did it always have to be so hard?

About the Author 

BL Maxwell grew up in a small town listening to her grandfather spin tales about his childhood. Later she became an avid reader and after a certain vampire series she became obsessed with fanfiction. She soon discovered Slash fanfiction and later discovered the MM genre and was hooked. 

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His Boy to Cherish (Naughty or Nice Season Two) by Colette Davison #kindleunlimited #giveaway

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Book Title: His Boy to Cherish (Naughty or Nice Season Two)

Author: Colette Davison

Publisher: Independently Published

Cover Artist: Colette Davison

Release Date: December 28, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Daddy kink, age-gap, age-play, light ABDL, hurt/comfort

Themes: Letting go, trusting in others, it’s okay to not be okay.

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length:  88 644 words

It is a standalone story, but some of the characters appeared in Greeking Out (Destination Daddies). The story does not end on a cliffhanger.

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Blurb

Dear Santa,

I’m going to be upfront and tell you that I feel silly doing this, but here goes nothing!

I’ve realised that I lean more towards being a Daddy, than a strict Dom. I’m kind and caring, and I want someone to spoil. I’ll always put my boy’s needs before my own. I’ll take care of him in every way he needs me to. I’ll discover what he wants, how to make him smile, laugh, and moan

As for what I’m looking for in a boy… I’d like someone who wants to feel special, and who enjoys being held by his Daddy. If I had to choose between a naughty or nice boy, I think I’d choose nice. I can put a naughty boy through boot camp, but I’d much rather praise a good boy.

What I really want, Santa, is someone to cherish this Christmas. I hope that’s not too much to ask for.

Sincerely,

ExCombatDaddy

His Boy to Cherish is an M/M winter romance with a disabled first-time Daddy, a little who loves stuffies, a twelve-year age-gap, nappies, a loud-mouth best friend, some familiar faces, and a lot of feels.

His Boy to Cherish is part of the Naughty or Nice Season Two multi-author series. Each book can be read as a standalone, but there are so many Daddies looking for some holiday magic to bring them their perfect boys, why not grab them all?

Excerpt 

“Do you want to come in?” I asked.

“Not tonight.”

I must have looked disappointed because he cupped my cheek in his hand and smiled at me warmly.

“I had a really good evening, little bird. I’d like to see you again.”

“You would? Really?” There I went, sounding like a desperate idiot.

He chuckled. “Really. But you need to know that I’ve only just realised I’m a Daddy. The caring and nurturing aspects of being a Daddy Dom appeal to me far more than bondage and impact play. I’ve done those things at a club, but I like cuddling and taking care of the man I’m with.”

“I got that from your letter.”

“What I’m trying to say is that I’ve never been a Daddy to a little before.”

I should have known this was coming. He’d said he wanted to see me again, but maybe he was going to ask me to agree not to be little when we were together.

He stroked my cheek with his thumb. “I like you, little bird. Can you be patient with me while I learn how to be the Daddy you deserve?”

My eyes grew wide as saucers. “I…” Had he said what I thought he had?

“I’ll let you think about it,” he said. “I’ll message you tomorrow if that’s okay?”

I nodded. My head was spinning. He leant close, his lips pressing to mine ever so softly. When I didn’t pull away, he increased the pressure of the kiss. His thumb brushed my cheek, and his fingers stroked my neck. His kiss was tender and sweet, and it turned my legs to jelly.

“Good night, little bird,” he said before kissing my forehead. “Hopefully, I’ll see you again soon.”

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

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Audiobook – Tristan by S. Legend

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Book Title: Tristan

Author: S. Legend

Publisher: S Legend Fiction

Narrator: Curtis Michael

Release Date: November 24, 2021

Genre:  Arranged Marriage M/M Romance, fantasy

Tropes: Enemies to lovers, age gap

Themes: Self-discovery, forgiveness

Heat Rating: 4 flames     

Length: 9 hours    

It is not a standalone story. Tristan is book one of the Tristan Trilogy. The story ends on a cliffhanger.

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An alliance forged through marriage.  The cost?  One Man’s dream.

Blurb 

An alliance forged through marriage.  The cost?  One Man’s dream.

Tristan dreams of the day he’ll succeed his father as the next Warlord of Markaytia.  Elves—creatures famous for their darker passions and tantalizing culture—approach the Markaytian king with an offer he can’t refuse: an alliance with the Elves for the one Tristan Kanes. 

Tristan is forced to give up his dream. 

He’s not thrilled, but Tristan is a man of duty above all else.  What choice does he have?  He cannot refuse the king or Markaytia. He begrudgingly comes to terms with the arranged marriage. Is he a tad sour about it?  Yes, but he’ll get over it.  

Probably.

Maybe it won’t be so bad.  Elves have cool weapons, maybe he’ll get one? 

Corrik bans him from cool weapons.

Corrik’s seen Tristan’s gruesome death on the point of a sword in a prophetic vision.  He bans Tristan from picking up a sword ever again.  Tristan wants to accept the marriage with grace to make his people proud, but he resents Corrik for his remorseless attitude over his life’s work.

Facing the Ice Prince and himself.

Tristan’s conflict follows him on the journey to the mysterious Elven land of Mortouge.  He hates Corrik for taking him from the life he loved, boy does he, but his new Elven husband is an enigma and he’s captivated.  He sets Tristan’s blood on fire and freezes it at the same time.  Corrik unravels Tristan’s true nature and despite his best efforts, Tristan falls for his ice prince. 

But Corrik won’t bend.

Corrik wants to be obeyed.  He’s demanding and possessive.  He’s overbearingly protective. 

Can these two find a suitable compromise?  Or will Tristan’s resentment and Corrik’s arrogance ruin forever their chance at love?

Tristan by Mock (S. Legend) is a gay romance fantasy featuring enemies-to-lovers vibes, an age gap, arranged marriage, first times, and a happy ending (um, eventually). This is the first action-adventure romance in the Tristan Trilogy.  Mock may have written it down, but truly it’s told by your lovable host, Tristan Kanes.  He’s funny, sarcastic and while it may not seem it at times, he’s the real person in charge of this story.

Excerpt

I remember the day I was called to the Great Hall alone, which set o all kinds of warning bells. Lucca and I were attached at the hip then and were usually called to the Hall together. In hindsight, I think it was because my uncle, King Amarail Kanes, knew Lucca would react poorly when he heard the news.

I walked into the hall with my stomach already churning and when I saw that my father and uncle were not alone, it plummeted like it had been shoved in ice-cold water.

That was when I saw him for the rst time.

The power of his features came from what wasn’t there, rather than from what was. The man was devoid of imper‐ fections; not one thing about his face or his body hinted to a deciency. There was no weakness in his impenetrable demeanor—the man was used to winning and getting what he wanted. His cold purple eyes knew no warmth or sunshine and sat as sentinels atop the high bridge of his patrician nose, complementing the supercilious manner that surrounded him. Without a smile on his face, he looked cruel and stony. At the same time, there was no darkness in him, whatsoever. Gold hair owed long over silver robes that were open to reveal porcelain white skin; unmarred, and solid. The breezy, pretty robes did nothing to diminish the restrained force of his chest and abdomen muscles—he seemed to dominate the eeminate attire, as if he’d already defeated it. Not a body built for eldwork, but for blood—war.

My cock stirred for him and made it impossible to deny that I was attracted to this ice mountain of a man—I blushed. This was not the place I wanted to have an erec‐ tion. I shifted my eyes away from the prince, down to my boots, placing my hands over my crotch.

“King Vilsarion, Prince Corrik. This is Tristan, my son,” Father introduced me.

“Welcome,” I said, giving a deep bow to each using the Markaytian etiquette Papa taught me, then I took my place beside Papa.

“Tristan,” my uncle said. “We are honored to announce that we have reached an alliance with Mortouge.”

I smiled my best smile. Absolutely, bloody fantastic! The Elves didn’t align themselves with just anyone and knowing what I knew of the recent unrest in the Northeastern Plains, since we helped them a while back, I knew it was best to have as many strong alliances as possible, if the Kanes were to maintain our hold of Dragon’s Rock. For the rst time in millennia, we had to take extra measures to protect Markaytia’s crown city.

“That is excellent, Sire.” I turned to the Elven king. “I’ve been named as successor to my father at my coming-of- age ceremony, and as future Warlord, I will look forward to dealings with your Warlord. We Markaytians could learn from your teachings. I’ve read much about your weapons—I know you forge the best ones,” I gushed.

I wage for peace, but war is inevitable and the prospect of ghting alongside an Elf was exciting. All I knew of Elves at the time was of their weapons and great wars. I had little interest in their other qualities. The Elves are a beautiful, mysterious race, but I didn’t see much use getting involved in their politics or anything else about them since they were also a private race who didn’t often allow outsiders into their grand kingdom.

I didn’t expect the Elven king to frown at my words. The smile on his face lit up the room before, and especially standing next to his grouchy-looking son, the contrast was far reaching. I turned to look at Papa, confused, and he took a sharp breath, ready to cry. Father stepped between us; his dark eyes pinned me in place.

Uncle continued. “The alliance will be sealed with a marriage, Tristan. You to Prince Corrik.”

The displeasure must have been plain on my face, though I tried for the life of me to hide it.

About the Author 

Some of you know her as Mock, others as S. Legend, or Miss S.  She welcomes all names but will often go by Mock, a name given to her by her readers.

Mock is an ambitious creative, weaving the most precious aspects of her soul into stories.  She is an architect, building fascinating worlds, designed from inquiry, rooted in worldly wonderings.  It’s an intuitive process where she is the scribe, the translator, the conduit. 

It helped that storytelling was the language spoken at home.  One simply didn’t say, “We have an ant infestation. ” In Mock’s family it was, “I was on my way to the living room, when a peculiar ant crossed my path.  I looked to my right, a suspicious line of them marched toward the pantry.  In that moment I knew; my kitchen was under siege.”  The natural flow of conversation always took this form.  

And so. 

When Mock wrote her first novel, she didn’t plan it chapter by chapter, there was no outline, no “plotting” to speak of.  But she didn’t “pants” it either, she didn’t make it up as she went along.  She knew how the story felt, where it curved in places and hollowed in others; she knew the destination it rushed toward.  Instead of orchestrating, she let the world inspire her, and held space for the words to come, trusting the characters knew what they were doing.  All she had to do was tell a story, as she always had done; like breathing.  

This is her peace, her healing and solace: Gifts better shared.

Mock’s works are the comfort you seek when you need to come home.  Her unique writing style will take you, wayfaring reader, to unexpected destinations. 

She always says, “I’m not in the business of making up stories, I couldn’t if I tried.  I’m lucky enough to get picked to share someone else’s story when I ask a question to the universe.  Someone answers; I write it down.” 

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About the Narrator

Curtis Michael is a worldly creative and proud member of the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities. Having traveled and taught drama overseas for upwards of the past decade, he has somewhat recently taken up voice acting and narration. You’ll hear some of the flavourings of his experience in the Tristan audiobook, as the characters are wildly inspired from not only the world of Tristan, but also Curtis’ different cultural encounters. With two dogs, two cats and a Corrik of his own, Curtis currently resides in Southeast Asia. He can be found on the many beaches or secluded in his vocal booth poring over juicy stories at every chance he gets.

Website  |  Instagram

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A Quick Buck by K.L. Hiers #kindleunlimited #giveaway

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Book Title: A Quick Buck

Author: K.L. Hiers

Publisher: Stormy Night Publications

Release Date: 11/19/2021

Genre/s: Contemporary MM Mafia Romance 

Trope/s: Daddy Kink, May/December, Silver Fox, Rich Boy Needs Love 

Themes: Love and Power, Lust Before Love, Revenge

Heat Rating: 5 flames       

Length:  108 000 words/503 pages

This is a standalone story. It is a spin-off from the Cold Hard Cash series, but the other books do not need to be read in order to enjoy this one.

It does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  

Blurb 

Alistair Star didn’t come to Noah Allan’s house looking for a boy in need of a hard spanking from a man who knows how to give one. Noah was just meant to be kept as collateral until his uncle could be tracked down. But when the twenty-two-year-old trust fund brat gets mouthy, Alistair decides it’s long past time someone took off his belt and put him very firmly in his place.

Noah may be used to buying whatever he wants and doing as he pleases, but he wouldn’t call himself spoiled. Unfortunately for him, the dangerous, infuriatingly handsome mob boss holding him prisoner disagrees, and Alistair doesn’t just plan to teach Noah a shameful lesson that will leave him sore, sorry, and desperately aroused. He’s going to give Noah exactly what he needs…

A daddy.

Publisher’s Note: A Quick Buck includes spankings and rough, intense sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

Excerpt

“You are an exceptionally rude young man.” Alistair rose from the piano.

“Says the fuckin’ geezer who’s kidnapping me in my own house!” Noah growled. “Wow. Fuckin’ dementia settin’ in, Gramps? Do you understand how crazy you sound?”

“I do believe it’s time for that lesson in manners.” Alistair slid his belt from his pants, folding it in half and lightly patting it against his palm.

Noah froze, staring stupidly at the belt. He was so stunned by the clear implication that he laughed.

“I’m going to take you and put you over my knee,” Alistair said sternly. “I’m going to spank you with this belt until I hear a very sincere apology followed by absolute and total silence. While we’re staying here, I am going to expect you to be a model guest. Obedient, quiet, and dare I even say grateful. Do you understand, dear Noah?”

“You?” Noah laughed again. “You’re going to spank me?”

“Unless you’d like to apologize right now?”

“Ha!” Noah stood up straight and tall, towering over Alistair as he taunted, “I’d love to see you fuckin’ try it, old man.”

“Very well.”

In the space of a blink, Alistair grabbed Noah’s arm and twisted it into his back, dragging him over his knee as he sat down on the bench. It happened so quickly that Noah didn’t have enough time to register the pain until the belt cracked over his ass for the first time.

“Oh, fuck!” Noah tried to kick away, but the pressure on his arm in Alistair’s iron grip made a compelling argument to stay as he was. His ass felt like it had been branded where the belt had struck, and he hissed angrily. Even through his jeans, it hurt like hell. “Oh, wow, yeah, fuck you.”

“That didn’t sound like an apology, dear Noah,” Alistair chided.

“How about you take that ‘dear Noah’ and shove it up your—oh, fuck!” Noah cried out as the belt hit him again. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”

“Mmm, that sort of language will simply not do.” The buckle clinked as Alistair set the belt aside, and he reached around Noah’s hips to grab at the front of his jeans. “A strong-willed boy such as yourself usually requires additional motivation.”

“Hey! Stop!” Noah squirmed as Alistair undid the button and opened up the fly of his jeans in one swift jerk. A rage like he’d never known filled him when Alistair grabbed the seat of his jeans and pulled them down with his underwear, just enough to expose his ass to the entire room. “Oh, fuck you!”

“Now.” Alistair had the belt again, and he lightly dragged it over Noah’s bare cheeks. “Let’s try this again, shall we?”

Noah tried bucking away, but he couldn’t get out of Alistair’s iron hold. He was furious from being stripped and humiliated like this, and he refused to comply. “Go fuckin’ die in a fire. A really big fuckin’ fire.”

“You still have plenty of time to apologize.”

“Yeah? But you sure don’t. Bein’ all old and shit. Might have a heart attack and drop dead right—agh, shit! Shit!” The pain from the belt against his bare skin was new, burning white hot, and Noah couldn’t explain the overwhelming rush coming over him.

Definitely didn’t have an explanation for his hard dick.

There was no way to hide it from Alistair, considering it was digging into his thigh, and Noah ducked his head, embarrassed and furious he couldn’t escape. For some reason, being held down was only making him harder, and the vicious cycle of shame and anger kept right on fueling his persistent erection.

“Why, Noah.” Alistair chuckled low. His voice dropped to a sultry tone, whispering as if they were lovers as he said, “I’m not sure I should continue your punishment under these circumstances. Would you like to apologize yet?”

“Eat… a dick,” Noah panted, refusing to acknowledge how all the little hairs on the back of his neck suddenly stood up from the way Alistair spoke.

“Mm, I take it that’s a ‘no’?”

“You’re… a fuckin… genius…”

“Well.” Alistair clicked his tongue, the leather creaking as he raised the belt back up. “I can already see you’re going to be quite a handful.”

“You’ve got no fuckin’ idea, you stupid—ow, fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck!”

This was going to be a very, very long day.

And he still hadn’t gotten that shower.

Fuck.

About the Author 

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

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

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Twitter  |  Newsletter Sign-up  |  Patreon 

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Soul of the Imperian (D’Vaire, Book 26) by Jessamyn Kingley #kindleunlimited

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Book Title: Soul of the Imperian (D’Vaire, Book 26)

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson of Mayhem Cover Creations

Release Date: December 9, 2021

Genre: M/M Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Tropes:  Enemies to lovers, fated mates

Themes: Fate, love

Heat Rating:  3 flames

Length: 96 664 words

It is not a standalone story, but does not end on a cliffhanger.

Check out the D’vaire Series on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Demons are expected to hate the Imperian, but what if he’s your mate?

Blurb

Praetor Sashati Soriandras is adjusting to his wonderful new life as part of the Council of Sorcery and Shifters. His new leader’s choice to leave the demonic realm gained Sashati’s immediate approval. There is nothing there but dark memories and a horrible legend about the butcher who ripped magic from the demons a millennium ago.

After being banished to a tiny realm, Imperian Paszratorabiel—or Paszra, as he prefers to be called—is waiting for his wings to grow back. The minute he recovers, Paszra hunts for a place to bring his family so they can find mates. When Paszra finds a planet full of interesting beings, the presence of demons is the only thing he hates about his potential new home.

When Sashati and Paszra meet, neither man is happy to learn they are mates. The demons blame Paszra for everything, while the Imperian despises Sashati’s people. However, they share a tradition of not denying Fate. But to honor the way their souls are connected, Paszra and Sashati must overcome much more than their initial dislike of each other.

Excerpt 

After they arrived in their office space, Sashati sprawled in his office chair and opened the book Arch Lich Chander Daray had suggested would further his education on the Council. 

“Reading again?” Diyarta asked. Once forced into teaching, Diyarta had left that life behind her for good. Her preference was to be in a gym sweating rather than burying her nose in between pages.

“I’m an advisor to our leader. I cannot function in that role if I don’t fully understand the Council.”

“Are you suggesting that I’m failing in my role as advisor?” Diyarta asked.

“I believe we have different strengths. You have the ear of the demons. You can advise Hexaniys on how to improve their lives. They are strangers to me and him. In our former realm and here in the Council, advisors have areas of expertise. If we were to study the same thing, our voices would be redundant.”

“You were so wasted as a guard in that palace,” Diyarta remarked.

“As long as I never have to return to such a role, I will have no complaints.”

“The same cannot be said for our people. You want to be an expert on the Council, but you cannot forget your place. Hexaniys lives with the Darays because he is one now. You are not. Hexaniys is safe surrounded by sentinels.”

“So are the demons,” Sashati replied. “They live in the Daray Sentinel Complex.”

“It is a temporary home, or at least it was supposed to be, I believed. They want to embrace being demons, not be forced into training and the things that sentinels love simply because the Imperator is mated to one.”

“No one has asked them to train. I do it because I like it.”

“As do I,” Diyarta said.

“One reason the complex suits them is because of the many classes the sentinels offer in the evenings and on weekends. It was supposed to be an avenue for the demons to learn about the Council and to find something to give their lives purpose. Instead, they shop and rest in their apartments. They will go to restaurants for meals but not to the sentinels’ cafeteria.”

“I told you, they fear being lumped in with the sentinels.”

“They must find hobbies at the very least,” Sashati replied.

“They are recovering from the atrocities they’ve endured.”

“Diyarta, they refuse to even explain what happened while we were here at the behest of Masal’akra. How are we to help them if they will not discuss the war?”

“Perhaps when the wounds are not so fresh, they’ll be more forthcoming.”

“It has been many weeks,” Sashati said.

“They worry about you living with Hexaniys among the sentinel leadership.”

It was a cause of disagreement that had slowly grown between Sashati and Diyarta. The demons supposedly wanted Sashati to live among them, but Hexaniys and the Darays had offered bedrooms to Sashati and Diyarta. His fellow praetor had refused the invitation and gone to the Daray Sentinel Complex. 

Sashati was torn between the two places and didn’t know if he was right to stay near Hexaniys, but the demon refused to be dictated to by anyone. That was a life they’d left behind, and the new Imperator gave them plenty of space to make decisions for themselves. The problem, as far as Sashati could see it, was that the demons wanted to do nothing. They spent money and complained to Diyarta instead of exploring the Council.

“The guards of other leaders often elect to share homes or land with them,” Sashati said.

“Demons must find their own path.”

“I’m entitled to do what I choose.”

“Just don’t forget that you’re a demon.”

“How could I ever do that?” Sashati asked.

“It’s easy to get swept away into this world of sorcery and shifters, even though we differ from the others in this world. Our power is lost, and we must never forget how that came to be or that there is no ability to regain it.”

“My hatred for the Imperian burns as brightly as it has since the first time I heard his name,” Sashati growled. The Imperian inspired rage in him like nothing else could, and he doubted any demon lamented the loss of their magic more than Sashati. There was so much of it around them, and it pissed Sashati off to think that if it weren’t for a single man, he’d be casting spells alongside his new allies.

“I wish I had been alive in those days. I would’ve slit his throat myself.”

“Get in line, Diyarta,” Sashati retorted.

About the Author 

Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.

Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.

Visit her website 

Join her Facebook group, Jessamyn’s Ruffian’s

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Blessings and Miracles (Full Circle Christmas Edition) by H.M. Wolfe #kindleunlimited #giveaway

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Book Title: Blessings and Miracles (Full Circle Christmas Edition)

Author: H.M. Wolfe

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: A.M. Snead

Release Date: December 9, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Second chance, found family, insta-love

Themes: Christmas wedding, family reunion, supportive family, Christmas party, marital bliss

Heat Rating: 4 flames     

Length: 56 000 words

It is not a standalone story, but does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

It is that time of the year again…

Blurb

It is that time of the year again…

With her niece Willa and her nephews’ Sebastian and Fabian’s life partner Vincent and husband Lance as trusted kitchen helpers, Zoe Stark throws another epic Christmas party at the family mansion near Hartford, Connecticut. All the members of the Stark and Bloom clans are going to be present, and there are a lot of achievements and happy events to celebrate.

Zane Parsons, a young widower, drives all the way to Orlando, Florida, to Connecticut, to honor the promise he made his grandmother on her deathbed. He is torn between hoping for a new life for him and his only child and the fear of being rejected. Zane strongly believes in Christmas miracles, but will he experience one, too?

After being separated from the only man he ever loved for more than thirty years, Rhett Randall gathers his courage and drives to his ex-husband family’s mansion to talk to him for what could be the last time. It could be a total disaster, but it could also be one of those magic moments associated with Christmas.

The Christmas carols mix with the pitty-pat sound of little children’s feet and their happy giggles in this gay romance novel about blessings, miracles and the power of love in its many forms

Excerpt 

“We won’t be ready on time,” Zoe Stark lamented in the middle of the Connecticut mansion’s spacious kitchen. “All my nephews and nieces coming to visit me will starve on Christmas Day because the deli’s delivery service takes forever,” she continued in a desperate tone.

“Nana Zoe, calm down, please, everything will be all right,” Ava, the woman’s granddaughter, spoke in a soft but confident voice. “If the deli fails to deliver the  order, we have Dunstan, Leon, and the others who can take care of the problem in the blink of an eye.

“Yes, Nana, listen to my wise little sister and try to relax a bit. All this agitation won’t do any good for your blood pressure. On the contrary,” Rayne intervened, taking his grandmother’s hands between his own.

“How can you be so calm, child? Your son comes home after spending a year abroad, he’s going to ask Claran to marry him, and you are telling me to relax? What will Gerrard think about his Nana when he and his fiancé sit at an empty table on Christmas Day?” Zoe shook her head, sighing dramatically.

“Nana, I don’t think Gerrard and Claran will get engaged this Christmas,” Rayne calmly spoke. “I know my son, and he would have told me had he intended to propose to his boyfriend. We don’t keep anything secret from each other,” the man said in a confident voice.

Zoe let out another sigh, suddenly saddened. “And I was thinking that… Anyway,” the woman continued in a livelier voice, “engagement party or not, there is still the problem of the Christmas dinner. The menu I chose for this year is very special to me, but, in the absence of the meats and ingredients…”

“Auntie, everything is fine,” Willa, Zoe’s niece, who just ended the phone call she was engaged in, said “I talked to the people at the deli store, and the delivery truck is on  its way. With all the ice on the road, they had to slow down a bit and…”

“Enough talking. Let’s get to work.” Zoe clapped her hands, bouncing back to her usual organized and commanding self. “Where is Lance when you need him the most?”

“He’s in the dining room with Vincent and Joraan waiting for you to tell them what to do,” Willa answered, amused by her aunt’s sudden change of attitude.

“Call them. I have work for them until the delivery truck arrives. Young man, what are you doing in my kitchen? I don’t remember me taking over your office at the Van der Meerwe Institute, so please, go away and let me do what I know best.” Zoe shooed Rayne with a gesture of her hand.

“Yeah, sure, no one orders the others around like you do,” Alastair’s second-born muttered under his breath as he left the kitchen.

Rayne headed to the mini-apartment he and his three life partners occupied in the other wing of the mansion, plopping on the four-post, king-size bed. Seymour and Sagan, two of his lovers, were helping Ardan with the Christmas party for The Base’s residents, while Doctor Ross Brentano-Tavernier, the third man in Rayne’s life, was giving the last instructions to the volunteers working on the sanctuary’s clinic.

Rowena. So, this was her older brother Willard who loved her and her twin sister very much but couldn’t see them as often as he wanted. Kane mentally facepalmed himself for not figuring things out earlier. The poor redhead must have been involved with some asshole who controlled his life and, most likely, abused him in the worst of ways.

“Well, most likely Uncle Alastair gave them a map with the best hiding places,” Sebastian tried a joke in an attempt to make the atmosphere less tense.

“It’s a possibility I never considered,” Willard replied, his voice a bit livelier than earlier. “I have nothing against the girls playing all day long, but, when great-uncle Alastair and Mallory are away, Morwena and Rowena are my responsibility, and I wouldn’t want to lose their trust.”

“Older brother, you couldn’t find me! I won again!” Rowena hugged Willard, looking up at him and giggling happily. “I’m the champion, yay!” She did a little victory dance.

“Yes you are, indeed. But don’t forget about your good manners,” Willard said in a soft voice. “We have guests.” He discreetly gestured to Ian, Warrick, and Kane who were about to climb the stairs to the main entrance with Sebastian and Vincent as guides.

“Hi, Ian, I’m so happy Warrick brought you with him. The girls’ team needs a big, strong man like you to help us build a taller snowman.” Rowena cutely grinned. “Your friend Kane is a gentleman. He let me hide in your car and didn’t rat me out to brother Willard.”

“And voilá!” Ian exclaimed, making great efforts not to burst into a wild fit of laughter. “The explanation of your mysterious absence from earlier. A couple more clever maneuvers like this one, and you’ll be in the top position for the kiddies’ preferences.”

“My older brother Fabian won’t be happy about it, and neither will Ardan.” Sebastian grinned. “Trust me, kid, if you managed to be in Princess Rowena’s good graces in such a short time, all the others will be at your feet in no time.”

“Run, it’s a trap.” Willard feigned panic. “The shorties will pretend to worship you, but before you know it, they’ll turn you into their slave. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about, been there, done that.” Adoration, affection, and warmth mixing in his emerald-green eyes, Willard picked Rowena up and kissed her on both cheeks. “But you can’t stop loving them.”

“Let’s get inside. You young folks are not affected by this bitter cold, I see, but my old bones are freezing.” Vincent shivered dramatically, making Warrick, Ian, and even Sebastian smirk.

“Go ahead. I think I’ll stay for a while longer,” Kane said, looking at Willard from the corner of his eye. “I want to get to know the rest of the…um…shorties,” he continued, blushing a light shade of pink.

“As you wish, but I wouldn’t advise you to go there unprepared. Listen to Willard; he’s an invaluable source of advice on how to avoid the kiddies’ traps.” Ian benevolently smiled, disappearing into the mansion.

“I’m sure I have a lot to learn from him”—Kane offered the redhead a shy smile—“if he wants to share, that is. I don’t want to become an inconvenience,” he added in a hesitant voice.

“Brother Willard is alone and sad,” Rowena suddenly spoke in a small voice. “Don’t you want to be his boyfriend? He’s always good, but Santa never has any presents for him.” She wrapped her arms around the redhead’s neck.

“Rowena Stark, that was…this is not how things go.” Willard hugged the little girl, then put her down. ”It’s…it takes time and…relationships are complicated. You’ll understand this when you grow up.”

“I just remembered I have important things to do.” Rowena ignored the redhead, grinning cutely. “I’ll leave the two of you to talk.”

“I apologize for my little sister’s behavior. This is not her usual self, she’s…I guess it’s my fault.” Willard lowered his head.

“I love children very much,” Kane gently spoke, “and I saw you do, too. I’m sure we have other things in common, as well, and I’m looking forward to discovering them.”

There must have been something in the air that morning that affected people, making them act differently than usual. From an impulse he couldn’t explain, Kane touched Willard’s hand with the tips of his fingers, then took it in his. The redhead stared down but didn’t shy away from the touch, the deep intimacy of the skin-on-skin contact making his heart beat a little faster.

Kane could sense that Willard Stark had a lot of wounds that went deep down into his soul, and he kept many painful secrets to himself. However, the redhead was a special man, and Kane was willing to wait for as long as it would take for Willard to open up to him. Maybe the two of them were brought together for a reason. Maybe the Christmas magic really existed. Kane smiled at the thought.

About the Author 

H.M. lives with the coolest Mom in the Universe and a fat, gay, submissive tomcat. She loves writing stories about boys and men who love, cherish, respect and protect other boys and men.

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