New Release – Kings of the Mountain by Morgan Brice #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Kings of the Mountain

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Natania Barrron

Release Date: May 21, 2020

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance

Trope/s: Hurt/comfort, mutual pining, friends-to-lovers,

childhood best friends, second chance

Themes: coming of age, forgiveness for self and others,

crush maturing into love, letting go of guilt, family

Heat Rating: 4 flames     

Length: 63 000 words/238 pages

It’s the first in a new series

Goodreads 

Buy Links

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK  

Fast cars. Outlaw country boys. A love that can’t be denied.

Snarky werewolves, vengeful ghosts and menacing monsters. 

 

Blurb 

Fast cars. Outlaw country boys. Snarky werewolves, vengeful ghosts, and menacing monsters.

Dawson King’s family has been hunting things that go bump in the night in Transylvania County, North Carolina, since before the Revolutionary War.

Dawson was never happier than when he was racing his souped-up Mustang along winding mountain roads and hunting monsters with his best friend, Grady. Then Grady fell in love with him, which should have been perfect since Dawson had already fallen hard for Grady.

But Grady was only seventeen, and Dawson feared that sooner or later, Grady would realize his feelings were just a first crush, and then he’d be gone, leaving Dawson devastated. They both needed space to figure things out. So Dawson joined the army, while Grady stayed on the mountain.

Four years later, Dawson is coming home. He’s more sure than ever Grady is his forever love, and they’ve both agreed to begin this new aspect of their relationship as soon as Dawson gets back.

Then Grady’s father is killed in a werewolf hunt gone wrong. Grady is devastated, and he’s throwing mixed signals about moving forward. Dawson knows he needs to hold off on this new thing between them until Grady has time to grieve. But monsters never sleep, and one hunt after another throws Dawson and Grady into constant danger, while tension and unresolved feelings ripple between them.

Making it even harder, Dawson’s got a secret. He’s dreamed of death omens—which point to something stalking Grady. Can Dawson figure out who’s trying to kill Grady, save his life, and win back his heart?

Plenty of mutual pining, hurt/comfort, spooky chills, sexy thrills, and a very happy ending. The Kings of the Mountain is the first novel in the series. It is a MM romance intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

 

 

Excerpt 

Chapter One

The longer they spent time on the road and on hunts together, the more Dawson felt a powerful attraction to Grady. He’d always been fond of the younger man, but Dawson found himself admiring the person Grady was growing into. Grady deserved to find the right guy—if that’s what he wanted—who could make him happy. And as much as Dawson wished fervently that could be him, he knew he couldn’t take the chance that Grady might feel pressured or obligated to respond if Dawson made any advances.

Not to mention how Grady’s mother had always carried on about how awful it was to marry a “cousin,” something that she claimed no one in her family had ever done. She’d made her position loud and clear while she was married to Aaron, which had not endeared her to the rest of the community. Such marriages were legal in North Carolina, and not uncommon in the rural areas.

The fact that Grady wasn’t a cousin by blood probably wouldn’t matter to Camille. But what if Grady had accepted his mother’s bias? Maybe Dawson had imagined the flirtation, or worse, projected his own feelings onto the other man. So Dawson took the edge off with hookups and out-of-town one-night stands, very aware that he tended to choose partners with a resemblance to Grady.

Until he couldn’t stand it any longer.

That’s when Dawson enlisted.

Once they were on the main highway, Dawson turned to watch Colt’s profile.

“So…what happened with Uncle Denny and Grady?”

Colt’s grip on the steering wheel tightened, and the tic in his jaw told Dawson that the other man didn’t want to have this conversation. “They’re both alive. But a hunt went wrong a week ago, and Grady isn’t dealing with it very well.”

A week, Dawson thought. That was when he’d stopped getting emails from Grady. He had tried to convince himself the silence was due to any number of impersonal reasons, but Dawson knew in his gut something wasn’t right. His responses from Uncle Denny had gotten short and less frequent around the same time.

Was this what his nightmare had been warning him about?

“Could you be a little clearer?” Dawson knew Colt could read the warning in his tone.

“Grady got hurt. Aaron was killed. Grady’s not dealing well with it. Uncle Denny didn’t want to leave Grady alone. So they sent me.”

Dawson’s head swam. Uncle Aaron, dead? That’s hard to even imagine. He was always so full of life. And Grady—it’s got to be bad if he couldn’t come. Oh, God. I almost lost him. Plus there’s something Colt isn’t saying, something even worse. Because if Uncle Aaron died on a hunt, then Grady had to have been right there when it happened. That’s bad, really bad. No one should see their parent die, especially not like that.

About the Author 

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

 

Author Links

Facebook Group  |   Pinterest (for Morgan and Gail)  |  Twitter: @MorganBriceBook    

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a new release

Read a copy of my Badlands short story Restless Nights here for free

Follow me on BookBub  |  Instagram

 

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of three ebooks from Morgan’s backlist.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts here

 

New Release – The Beast of Bodmin Moor by Zakarrie C #giveaway #free

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title:  The Beast of Bodmin Moor

Author: Zakarrie C

Release Date:  April 8, 2020

Genre/s:  Supernatural M/M Romance 

Trope/s: Shapeshifters

Themes: Self-acceptance, unconditional love

Heat Rating:  4 flames      

Length: 110,000 words

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

FREE FOR FIVE DAYS from April 12 – 16 

Amazon US  |    Amazon UK 

 

 

 

Can one man’s battle to be himself win another’s war with himself?

Blurb

Two years ago Jake McCain encountered a compelling stranger at the Glastonbury festival. Two days later his life, as he knew it, was over. Enter Jack. They have…cohabited ever since. Much to Jack’s despair, Jake has remained dogged in his bid to be the most bloody-minded human a jackal ever had the misfortune to manage.

Phin Finley has embarked on a magical mystery campervan tour of Cornwall. Free to potter about, doing as he pleases for the first time, he wants to prove he can do just fine without having a fatal mishap. Or causing one. Or losing his trusty bicycle clips. Even if he is a tad too…Phinish for most folk’s comfort, his mum’s peace of mind and dad’s constitution.

Theirs is a tale about finding your (happy) place in the world, making (foxy) friends, and the much fabled Beast of Bodmin Moor. 

 

Excerpt

Phin sat atop a craggy crumble of rock, content as can be in his happy place. His very own sliver of heaven. A sacred spot where the twenty-first century had quite forgotten to do charging in like the cavalry, hell-bent on rescuing it from perfection.

Here, Phin could breathe; alone in his tumbledown haven, but never lonely. Loneliness was feeling alone in a room full of people. Phin had never been comfy in company, it was tricky to do concentrating on seeming ‘normal’ to more than one person at a time amidst the siege of too much. Too loud, too bright, too many colours clashing in a cacophony of sound; as if all his senses had been bunged in the washer and switched to spin-cycle. 

All this was so befuddling, Phin found it impossible to do believing big fat fibs on top. They made him too scratchy. He liked facts. Letting his mind waft off to ponder fascinating things stopped Phin from fretting about people. Instead, he was supposed to do paying attention to pretend feelings—to make folk seem kind—when they weren’t. This was not Phin’s best thing. It was an important skill called being sociable

Phin hated feeling like a fraud. Everyone seemed to do concentrating on things he couldn’t care less about; the impression they made on others, how they were ‘seen’. A concern that had nothing to do with donning orange jumpers, which would’ve been an understandable worry. Phin wouldn’t be seen dead in such a detestable colour. That was an idiom, not a fact, as it didn’t make sense in the scheme of things. He would be dead, and ergo, unable to see. Let alone be in any fit state to insist that his corpse wasn’t desecrated by a despicable sweater. 

Nope, Phin was uncomfy in human company, but he did adore animals. He could do trusting them—even predators—they were honest. They never did acting kind before biting your head off. He loved that the animals dotted across the moor were allowed to do roaming fairly free. The cows often pottered across the road and parked up when they fancied a rest or a gaze-about. They didn’t give a stuff, just stood there, staring over their shoulders with mild disinterest if a queue of cars did honking at them. For all the world as if that might persuade them to do shifting their furry butts.

An animal’s love was unconditional. They never, ever, made you feel not good enough. Or aware that you’d let them down when you couldn’t help but be yourself. Phin had known this forever, but the older he got and the more of his dad’s dreams he dashed, the clearer it became. Polarising his family with Phin stuck in the middle like an equatorial embarrassment. His poor mum and elder sister loved him despite himself and defended Phin with lioness finesse. Then did suffering the consequences of dooming his dad to a son who would never do him proud. This while subjecting him to social humiliation horrors that made his younger sister’s hair curl. Her intrepid efforts with an evil contraption that made her smell like a singed cat couldn’t compete with Phin. Apparently.

 

About the Author

When asked what she’d most like to tell her younger writing self, Zakarrie plumped for two snippets of wisdom:

  1. Those dreams that feel too daft to ever believe into being? Hug them to your heart and keep them safe. Some day, somewhere over the rainbow, you might wake up to one so impossible, you’ll suspect you made it up yourself.
  2. You are never going to be the next Enid Blyton. Oddly ’nuff.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website   |   Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

 

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a £10 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts here

 

New Release – Tainted Tales (A Dark Folklore Anthology for Save the Children) #KindleUnlimited #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Tainted Tales (A Dark Folklore Anthology for Save the Children)

Authors: Claire Marta, Anna Edwards, Faith Ryan, Sara Dobie Bauer,

Emma Jaye, T.S. McKinney, Abrianna Denae, Leigh Kenzie, Jessica Collins, L. Ann

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: TRC Designs

Release Date: March 26, 2020

Genre/s: Dark M/M and M/F Folklore (this includes dark romance and dark reads).

Majority is dark PNR/Fantasy but there is dark contemporary

Trope/s: Forbidden love, captor/captivity, stalking, enemies to lovers, others

Heat Rating:  Each story has its own flame rating.

Length: approx. 200 000 words/500 pages

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Amazon Link  |  Amazon US  |   Amazon UK

 

A Dark Folklore Anthology for Save the Children

Blurb

Some stories paint us sweet, told to children as they fall asleep.

Mother Earth she weaves the world with a whirl of her magic, and her kind embrace shapes us all. Father Time keeps us all, ever constant, ever moving onwards, for time never stands still.

Icy hands and a frozen touch, Jack Frost ushers in the cold snap, coating the earth with sparkly delights. If Jack brings cold, May Queen brings warmth, her delicate touch bringing forth the spring.

Follow the rainbow and maybe you’ll find, a Leprechaun with his lucky pot of gold.

The watchful eyes of Man in the Moon keeps all of the secrets of the night, shining down on us with his silvery light. The Sandman is here to soothe you to sleep, bringing all to slumber with a pinch of magic dust. Shhh, sleep now. Beware the Boogeyman lurking out of sight, waiting under your bed, to catch naughty children in the night. Be good little children, for Santa is watching, and he knows if you’ve been naughty or nice.

Tales of lore, fair music to our ears. Can you hear it? Did you know? Not every tale is sweet. The truth is darker, our stories more twisted, unlike the rhymes that children hear.

All proceeds will be donated to Save the Children.

This is a mixed M/F and M/M anthology that contains trigger warnings for its dark content.

It is intended for a mature audience of 18+.

 

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

Blog Tour – Inheritance by Gail Z. Martin #giveaway

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Inheritance

Author: Gail Z. Martin

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Release Date: October 22, 2019

Genre/s: Urban fantasy with romantic elements.

(Note—Characters from my Morgan Brice (MM paranormal romance) books make several key appearances in this book. Also, a long-time committed MM couple figure prominently in the plot).

Themes: Friendship and established relationships

Heat Rating:  0 – 1 flame (No sex, kissing/hugging for MF and MM characters)

Length: 66 000 words/ 222 pages

It is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a standalone.

Add on Goodreads

 

 

Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?

 

Blurb 

Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curio shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them, and she teams up with friends and allies who use magic and paranormal abilities to get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.

Caribbean ghosts terrorize Charleston and start racking up a body count. Then Beckford Pendlewood, the heir to a powerful family of dark warlocks, shows up raving about a bound demon locked in a lost box and begs sanctuary. Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?

 

Buy Links – ebook and paperback 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

 

Excerpt 

“I have a problem antique I’d like you to take a look at.” The man on the other end of the call sounded rattled. I recognized his name—Alfred Stone, from Stone Auctions—but I didn’t think we had ever spoken, let alone met.

“What kind of ‘problem’ does it present?” I asked. A number of possibilities came to mind. “Questionable provenance? Not sure how to authenticate?”

“I think it’s trying to kill me.”

Well, damn. That kind of problem. “All right, Mr. Stone. Try to stay calm.”

“I just told you, it’s trying to kill me. I heard you…know…about these things. Please, help me.”

Across the store, Teag Logan glanced up to make sure everything was all right. I nodded, and he went back to helping a customer.

“I can come now. Are you at the showroom?”

“Yes. Thank you. And…please…hurry.”

I ended the call and sighed. This might be the first time Alfred Stone had an antique try to kill him, but that made it just another day here at Trifles and Folly.

I’m Cassidy Kincaide, and I own Trifles and Folly, an antique and curio shop in historic, haunted Charleston, South Carolina. The shop has been in my family for more than three hundred years. While we’re known as a great place to buy high-quality antiques, the shop is also a cover for the Alliance, a coalition of mortals and immortals who save Charleston—and the world—from supernatural threats. I’m a psychometric, which means I can read the history and magic of objects by touching them. Teag is my assistant store manager, best friend, and sometimes bodyguard—and he’s also a talented Weaver witch. Sorren, my business partner, is a nearly six-hundred-year-old vampire. Together with some other friends with very specialized abilities, we do our best to keep the world safe from dark magic and things that go bump in the night.

“Problem?” Teag asked when the customer left.

“I’m not sure,” I replied. “Alfred Stone just called—from the auction house. He says he’s got an item that’s trying to kill him.”

“You want me to go with you?” Teag pushed a lock of dark hair out of his eyes. His skater-boy haircut and skinny jeans made him look younger than his late twenties. “Maggie can handle the store.”

On cue, Maggie—our lifesaver of a part-time associate—waved to agree from the other side of the store. She was sporting a new bright pink streak in her short gray hair, and it matched her sweater, a reminder—as if I needed one—that she believed in taking risks and living large.

I reached up to slick my humidity-frizzy strawberry blond hair back into a ponytail and shook my head. “Let me go see what the problem is, and I’ll figure out what to do from there. It’s not far away, in case I need to give a shout.”

 

About the Author 

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, SOL Publishing, Darkwind Press, Worldbuilders Press and Falstaff Books. Recent books include Convicts and Exiles, Sellsword’s Oath, Inheritance, and Night Moves. With Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of the Spells Salt & Steel, Wasteland Marshals, Joe Mack and Jake Desmet series. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance including the Witchbane, Badlands and Treasure Trail series. Recent books include The Rising, Flame and Ash.

Get a free complete short story, Catspaw here

 

 

Social Media Links

Blog  |  Website  |  Facebook  |   Facebook Group  |  Twitter @GailZMartin  |  Pinterest

Newsletter Sign-Up  |  Instagram  |  BookBub  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon Author Profile

 

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of three $10 Amazon Gift Cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

Release Blitz – Inheritance by Gail Z. Martin #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Inheritance

Author: Gail Z. Martin

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Release Date: October 22, 2019

Genre/s: Urban fantasy with romantic elements.

(Note—Characters from my Morgan Brice (MM paranormal romance) books make several key appearances in this book.

Also, a long-time committed MM couple figure prominently in the plot).

Trope/s: Established relationships, strengthening commitment, supportive partners, protective partners

Themes: Friendship, found family, loyalty, family always has your back, trust

Heat Rating:  0 – 1 flame (No sex, kissing/hugging for MF and MM characters)

Length: 66 000 words/ 222 pages

It is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a standalone.

Add on Goodreads

 

Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?

Blurb 

Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curio shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them, and she teams up with friends and allies who use magic and paranormal abilities to get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.

Caribbean ghosts terrorize Charleston and start racking up a body count. Then Beckford Pendlewood, the heir to a powerful family of dark warlocks, shows up raving about a bound demon locked in a lost box and begs sanctuary. Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?

 

Buy Links – ebook and paperback 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Excerpt 

From Chapter 1 

“It’s a ‘sailor’s valentine,’” I said, recognizing the style. I leaned closer, careful not to touch. While the idea of an intricate design crafted from shells sounded like a kitschy souvenir, antique sailor’s valentines could be true works of folk art and fetch thousands of dollars. This one was particularly well done, with a floral rose inside a nautical wind rose, enclosed in a detailed decorative border, and all of it painstakingly pieced together from naturally-colored seashells.

“We can authenticate the original ownership,” Alfred asserted, probably hoping to regain my professional respect. “It’s old—the date on the back says 1845, and the appraiser confirmed that the materials are consistent with that period. The writing next to the date reads, ‘To my darling Millicent, undying love from Joseph.’”

“Do you have any idea who Joseph and Millicent were?”

“Unfortunately, no,” Alfred admitted. “The representative said that it had been given by a sailor to his fiancée when he returned to port.” He cleared his throat. “Unfortunately, it was a parting gift, because the sailor had already married someone else. After that, the piece passed through various hands until it was acquired a few decades later by the family of the late owner.”

I walked around the piece, which was secured on an easel. The mahogany frame appeared to be in good shape, and despite the age of the piece, the shells had not discolored or come loose from their glue, and the glass had no chips or breaks. The shell work itself was a wonder, using a variety of types—common cockles, beaded periwinkles, baby’s ears, bubbles, jingles, and more—in an array of colors and sizes. I could understand why it could catch someone’s eye.

Assuming they couldn’t feel the psychic reek of malevolent energy that made me recoil. If it has that much resonance when I’m a foot away, I really don’t want to know how it feels to pick it up.

When an item gave off vibes that were that strong, I could usually get a read without having to touch it. I closed my eyes, aware that Alfred was watching, and reached out with my psychometry, stretching my gift toward the piece but not getting any closer than necessary.

Hatred and vengefulness hit me like a punch to the face. After all this time, the resonance was so powerful that I caught my breath and took a defensive step back. I saw everything, like a movie in fast-forward. Millicent’s happiness that her beloved had returned from the sea, and her delight in the beautiful gift. Joseph’s admission of betrayal. Her shock, turning to grief and then cooling into anger. A heated argument, and the swing of a candlestick in rage, leaving Joseph in a pool of blood. Fear, remorse, loss, and guilt, and then a knife blade that Millicent used to open veins and let herself die beside her faithless lover.

The vision ended as abruptly as it had begun, leaving me breathless. I might have spared some sympathy for Millicent, despite her reaction, if I didn’t feel the temperature drop and know from the prickle on my skin that Millicent’s spirit still clung to the tragic gift.

“Get back!” I reached into the pocket of my jacket and grabbed a handful of the loose salt I kept there for situations just like this. As Millicent’s spirit began to take shape and the air around us grew freezing cold, I hurled a handful of salt at her ghostly outline, making her flicker and vanish.

“Run!” I grabbed Alfred by the arm and dragged him with me as I sprinted toward the storage room door. I’d disrupted Millicent’s manifestation, but it wouldn’t take a spirit that strong long to regroup.

 

About the Author 

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, SOL Publishing, Darkwind Press, Worldbuilders Press and Falstaff Books. Recent books include Convicts and Exiles, Sellsword’s Oath, Inheritance, and Night Moves. With Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of the Spells Salt & Steel, Wasteland Marshals, Joe Mack and Jake Desmet series. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance including the Witchbane, Badlands and Treasure Trail series. Recent books include The Rising, Flame and Ash.

Get a free complete short story, Catspaw here

 

 

Social Media Links

Blog  |  Website  |  Facebook  |   Facebook Group  |  Twitter @GailZMartin  |  Pinterest

Newsletter Sign-Up  |  Instagram  |  BookBub  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon Author Profile

 

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of three $10 Amazon Gift Cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Check out the other blog posts her

 

 

Cover Reveal – Inheritance by Gail Z. Martin

COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Inheritance

Author: Gail Z. Martin

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Release Date: October 22, 2019

Genre/s: Urban fantasy with romantic elements.

(Note—Characters from my Morgan Brice (MM paranormal romance) books make several key appearances in this book.

Also, a long-time committed MM couple figure prominently in the plot).

Trope/s: Established relationships, strengthening commitment, supportive partners, protective partners

Themes: Friendship, found family, loyalty, family always has your back, trust

Heat Rating:  0 – 1 flame (No sex, kissing/hugging for MF and MM characters)

Length: 66 000 words/ 222 pages

It is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a standalone.

Add on Goodreads

 

Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?

Blurb 

Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curio shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them, and she teams up with friends and allies who use magic and paranormal abilities to get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.

Caribbean ghosts terrorize Charleston and start racking up a body count. Then Beckford Pendlewood, the heir to a powerful family of dark warlocks, shows up raving about a bound demon locked in a lost box and begs sanctuary. Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?

 

Buy Links 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Excerpt 

From Chapter 1 

“I have a problem antique I’d like you to take a look at.” The man on the other end of the call sounded rattled. I recognized his name—Alfred Stone, from Stone Auctions—but I didn’t think we had ever spoken, let alone met.

“What kind of ‘problem’ does it present?” I asked. A number of possibilities came to mind. “Questionable provenance? Not sure how to authenticate?”

“I think it’s trying to kill me.”

Well, damn. That kind of problem. “All right, Mr. Stone. Try to stay calm.”

“I just told you, it’s trying to kill me. I heard you…know…about these things. Please, help me.”

Across the store, Teag Logan glanced up to make sure everything was all right. I nodded, and he went back to helping a customer.

“I can come now. Are you at the showroom?”

“Yes. Thank you. And…please…hurry.”

I ended the call and sighed. This might be the first time Alfred Stone had an antique try to kill him, but that made it just another day here at Trifles and Folly.

I’m Cassidy Kincaide, and I own Trifles and Folly, an antique and curio shop in historic, haunted Charleston, South Carolina. The shop has been in my family for more than three hundred years. While we’re known as a great place to buy high-quality antiques, the shop is also a cover for the Alliance, a coalition of mortals and immortals who save Charleston—and the world—from supernatural threats. I’m a psychometric, which means I can read the history and magic of objects by touching them. Teag is my assistant store manager, best friend, and sometimes bodyguard—and he’s also a talented Weaver witch. Sorren, my business partner, is a nearly six-hundred-year-old vampire. Together with some other friends with very specialized abilities, we do our best to keep the world safe from dark magic and things that go bump in the night.

“Problem?” Teag asked when the customer left.

“I’m not sure,” I replied. “Alfred Stone just called—from the auction house. He says he’s got an item that’s trying to kill him.”

“You want me to go with you?” Teag pushed a lock of dark hair out of his eyes. His skater-boy haircut and skinny jeans made him look younger than his late twenties. “Maggie can handle the store.”

On cue, Maggie—our lifesaver of a part-time associate—waved to agree from the other side of the store. She was sporting a new bright pink streak in her short gray hair, and it matched her sweater, a reminder—as if I needed one—that she believed in taking risks and living large.

I reached up to slick my humidity-frizzy strawberry blond hair back into a ponytail and shook my head. “Let me go see what the problem is, and I’ll figure out what to do from there. It’s not far away, in case I need to give a shout.”

 

INSTAGRAM

 

About the Author 

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, SOL Publishing, Darkwind Press, Worldbuilders Press and Falstaff Books. Recent books include Convicts and Exiles, Sellsword’s Oath, Inheritance, and Night Moves. With Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of the Spells Salt & Steel, Wasteland Marshals, Joe Mack and Jake Desmet series. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance including the Witchbane, Badlands and Treasure Trail series. Recent books include The Rising, Flame and Ash.

Get a free complete short story, Catspaw here

 

 

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New Release – Sleigh Duty by L.M. Brown #KindleUnlimited

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Sleigh Duty

Author: L.M. Brown

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Studioenp

Release Date: December 7, 2019

Genre/s: Paranormal / Shifter M/M Romance

Themes: Family ties, Christmas

Heat Rating:  1 flame out of 5

Length: 13 974 words/ 44 pages

It is a standalone story.

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Can a reindeer shifter find love this Christmas?

Blurb

Being called upon to pull Santa’s sleigh is an honour for any reindeer shifter, but for Dashiel the timing couldn’t be worse. 

Stuart was looking forward to his Christmas Eve date with Dashiel, only to have him cancel at the last minute.  He puts his disappointment aside and instead focuses on making his younger brother’s Christmas as wonderful as it can be, despite the loss of their parents the previous winter. 

While flying over his home town, Dashiel spots a young boy on the streets, and he knows he has to help. When the young runaway turns out to be his date’s little brother, he brings him on board the sleigh, determined to see him safely home to Stuart. 

Can a reindeer shifter pull Santa’s sleigh, reunite two brothers, and find love this Christmas?

 

Excerpt 

“Dashiel, you’re up next,” the elf in charge of fittings called. “Get your hooves moving, you’re holding everyone up.”

Dashiel wondered who had first depicted Santa’s elves as cheerful little toy makers. He had yet to see one smile. They seemed even more miserable than he was right now. Of course, he hadn’t met many, and it was the most stressful time of year for them. Not to mention they hadn’t seen daylight in three months. That would make him grumpy too. Still, there was no need for them to prod him in the rear quite so hard to get him moving. 

The next few hours were spent being trained in how to respond to the reins. Dashiel didn’t mind learning how to pull the sleigh, he just wished they could leave off the bells until they were in the air. The constant jingling was driving him up the wall. 

Then came the flying lessons. Yuri must have seen Dumbo recently, because he was giving them a loud rendition of the song about elephants flying, but substituting reindeer instead. Apparently teasing the first timers like Dashiel was the highlight of his night. There were three shifters who had never been summoned before, Dashiel being the youngest of the trio.

The first time Dashiel’s hooves left the ground he almost panicked. Thoughts of flying off into space nearly had him hyperventilating, even though the others assured him that no matter how hard he tried, he would never even reach the height of a plane. 

Finally, they were as prepared as they could be. Dashiel took his place beside Fred. Yuri and wife were in front of them, the couple taking the lead.

Everyone went quiet when Santa arrived. He was just as Dashiel had pictured him, though he had never seen him in person. Unlike the couple in front of him, Dashiel’s parents had never been summoned on the same night, so he had never been brought to the North Pole with them. 

As they took off into the sky, Dashiel glanced below and saw how large the toy factory truly was. It was so much more than a single building. There was an entire village, with every house decorated for Christmas. 

“Isn’t it beautiful?” he said to Fred. 

“I’ll take your word for it,” Fred replied.

“You’re not scared of heights are you?” 

“I’ll be fine as long as I don’t look down.”

Dashiel snorted. “I’d rather look down at the ground, than at Yuri’s arse all night.”

“I heard that,” Yuri replied. “I’ll have you know, my arse is the envy of reindeer the world over.”

Dashiel couldn’t laugh properly in his reindeer form, but he was starting to feel the Christmas spirit now. Chances were, he would be required to do sleigh duty again in the coming years, but there were those who were only summoned once in their life, and since he didn’t know if he would be called again, he intended to make the most of tonight.

 

 

About the Author 

L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances. She believes mermen live in the undiscovered areas of the ocean. She believes life exists on other planets. She believes in fairy tales, magic, and dreams. Most of all, she believes in love.

When L.M. Brown isn’t bribing her fur babies for control of the laptop, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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New Release – Dragon’s Hoard: Dragon War Chronicles Book Four by A. G. Carothers #KindleUnlimited

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Book Title: Dragon’s Hoard: Dragon War Chronicles Book Four

Author: A. G. Carothers

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: AngstyG with illustration by Adrienne Wilder

Release Date: September 26, 2019

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy and Paranormal, Action Adventure

Trope/s:  First Time, Hurt / Comfort, Smartass Twinks

Themes: Traumatic Past, First Time, Marriage, Soul bindings, Mates, Dragon Shifters in hiding, Genetic experimentation, 

Heat Rating: 3-4 flames. There’s only two scenes but they are pretty graphic and one is between dragons in dragon form. 

Length: 57 000 words

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Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Blurb

Previously on Dragon War Chronicles, the first strike was made against their enemies, but the cost was heavy. 

Mourning their losses Danica still must prepare for dragons that will be coming to woo her. She already knows the dragon she wants to mate to, but will she convince Kollin that she’s ready to commit?

Of all the dragons going to Toulouse to meet Danica and see if they have a chance only one has a completely different agenda. He knows which dragon he wants and it isn’t Danica. Will Xavier win the heart of Danica’s brother?

Anchin Luu, Danica’s brother and manager of her Las Vegas casino, Dragon’s Hoard, has spent his whole life alone due to his deadly nature. A broken experiment and retired assassin Anchin isn’t sure what to make of the water dragon that has invaded his life.

Love is in the air, but so is gunpowder. SLIPs going missing, Coyotes crashing parties, and a mating you’ll never forget are all in store for you on the next exciting installment of Dragon War Chronicles.

Attention: This book contains explicit sexual content between consenting dragons, depictions of relationships that are MF and MM with a dash of doublemint fun.



Dragon War Chronicles is a continuous series. It is best read in order.
SYN Consulting
Secrets Revealed
First Strike
Dragon’s Hoard

 

Excerpt 

The door chime went off again, and Anthony hurriedly threw on a silk robe, put his feet in his slippers, and went to the door. He sensed a dragon on the other side of the door, and he knew that color. He almost didn’t answer the door, but it chimed again. Why was he here this early?

Anthony tightened his robe, making sure nothing untoward was showing, put on a mask of calm, and opened the door. Xavier fucking Inti stood on the other side with a smile looking like he stepped out of the fifties today. His multicolored hair was coiffed just so, very John Travolta like, a plain black t-shirt with the sleeves cuffed, black jeans also cuffed, and black chucks. 

If he wasn’t so annoying, he’d be super-hot. At least he didn’t have one of those stupid suckers in his mouth. Anthony finally decided to break the silence. “Yes?” He tried to sound nonchalant, but he thought he just sounded like a stuffy old butler to a billionaire. 

“Good morning, gorgeous.” Xavier’s smile widened. “I’m here to pick you up for our date.”

“What date?”

“Didn’t your sister tell you?”

“No.” What the hell was my sister doing?

“She called me last night and said that she wasn’t going to be available today and insisted upon you going in her stead. Which is just as well since I had tours arranged of all the vineyards between here and Carcassonne.”

Anthony’s back stiffened, and he inhaled sharply. “You didn’t?”

“I do. Including this little one right on the other side of Carcassonne that apparently never does tours, but I was able to arrange a tasting there. It’s called Château du Coeur Noir.”

Anthony whispered the name as he said it, knowing exactly which one he was talking about. He narrowed his eyes and then looked down at Xavier. “Fine. I’ll need to get ready.” He closed the door and turned around with a smile. Let’s see if he’s still there in an hour. 

Anthony took a nice long shower, and the whole time he kept tabs on Xavier. He didn’t move. He stayed at the door. He didn’t even pace. Anthony didn’t understand why the little dragon wanted him. So their magic was compatible? He obviously had some inkling about his true nature if he gave Danica the gift that he did, so why would he want him?

Anthony swung open the door and screeched to a halt with his mouth open. Xavier stood with a wide smile and hot pink cat-eye shaped sunglasses. Xavier pulled down his glasses just enough for his eyes to show, and he tilted his head up and down. His tongue darted out and licked his lips.

“Are you ready, hot stuff?” He pushed his glasses up and held out his arm. 

 Anthony schooled his features and stepped out into the hall. Xavier turned to face the elevator and continued to hold out the crook of his elbow. Anthony hesitated and then cautiously put his hand on Xavier’s arm. Anthony pulled his hand back as a dart of magic zinged up his arm. 

“Maybe that’s not such a good idea.”

“Nonsense. Do it again, sweets.” Anthony was sure that Xavier winked at him from behind his glasses. He shouldn’t, but there was just something soothing and irritating about his cockiness. Anthony put his hand on his arm again, and this time there wasn’t a zing. There was a low hum of magic just beneath the cool, smooth skin. Anthony relaxed and snaked his arm around Xavier’s, his fingers splayed across his forearm.

The elevator doors opened, and they stepped inside. Once on the ground floor, Xavier stepped in front of Anthony and opened the door for him. He stepped out and waiting for them on the curb was a gorgeous nineteen-fifty-seven Chevrolet Bel-Air. The turquoise and white paint shown in the sun, the top was down, and the leather seats shined. The whitewall tires were spotless, and every bit of chrome sparkled.

Xavier rushed forward and opened the passenger door for him. “Are you sure this isn’t too much car for you?” Anthony quipped.

As Anthony placed a foot in the car, Xavier ran a hand down his back and over his ass grabbing a handful. “Oh, Anchin, sweetheart, I’m very experienced in handling large things.”

A shiver ran up Anthony’s spine, and he huffed as he sat down. Xavier closed the door and went around to the driver’s side. “Are you sure you can reach the pedals, imp?” It was a good thing Anthony wasn’t that much taller than Xavier. The bench seat was all the way up, but Anthony still had plenty of legroom.

Xavier hopped into the seat, pulled the keys with rabbit foot keychain out of his pocket, slid the key into the ignition, and turned. The car roared to life and then purred. Xavier revved the engine, and the vibrations were felt through the seat. He put the car in gear and cruised into traffic. 

Xavier turned his head quickly to face Anthony. “Sweets, I can always reach what I need to.” He put one hand on the wheel and the other across the back of the seat.

 

 

About the Author

A.G. Carothers is actually a dragon very cleverly disguised as a human. They are a non-binary author of LGBTQIA Romance and Urban Fantasy, who enjoys writing original and entertaining stories. They are very excited to share the worlds they’ve created with you.

A.G. currently lives in Tennessee with their platonic life partner, who is not a dragon. They yearn to live back in Europe and will some day. In their spare time they are addicted to losing themselves in the lovely worlds created by other authors

A.G. is committed to writing the stories they see in their head without restrictions. Love is blind and doesn’t see gender, race, or sexuality.

 

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New Release – Repeat Offence by Jackie Keswick

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Book Title: Repeat Offence

Author: Jackie Keswick

Publisher: Jackie Keswick

Cover Artist: Pavelle Art

Release Date: August 14, 2019

Genre/s: Fantasy/metaphysical, fantasy/paranormal

Trope/s: abiding love, defeating death, 

Themes: actions have consequences, paying the price for compassion, perseverance, triumph over adversity

Heat Rating: 0 flames. No sexual content. (It’s a love story, but not a romance)

Repeat Offence is a fantasy story, told in first person POV. It’s NOT a romance, and there’s no sex, but I consider it a love story. Apart from the first and last scene, the two MCs are apart. Readers can infer that it’s m/m, but Taz’s (the narrator’s) gender is never mentioned in any way. It fits into general fantasy as much as into LGBT+.

Length: 20 000 words/66 pages

It is a standalone story.

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Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon AU

 Amazon CA  |  Amazon DE  |  Amazon FR  |  Amazon It

 

 

Blurb

It should have ended with their deaths.

But dying in a wash of blood was just the beginning.

Sentenced to eternal life for sacrificing themselves in battle, warriors Taz and Hiro must take turns living as human and Guardian on opposing sides of the veil with only a chance to catch a glance of each other in the moment of death.

Until an attack forces Taz and Hiro to make a choice. Should they cling to what little solace they’ve carved out for themselves? Or should they sacrifice their lives to save countless others and risk the wrath of the Judges for a second time?

 

Excerpt – Judged

It should have ended with our deaths.

It didn’t.

Dying in a wash of blood was just the beginning.

I’d closed my eyes to firelight and pale grey mud, trampled and stained crimson, grateful when death took me swiftly, only to wake to light harsher than the noonday sun at midsummer.

The stone beneath my back leeched the heat from my body and the brightness around me held so little warmth that my breath rose in puffs of vapour. I felt no pain, and my arms bent when I willed them to. I raised my hands to my neck where the smooth skin under my fingertips mocked my memories.

By the time we’d fought our way out of the Sakkadian king’s tent, I’d been bleeding from a raft of shallow wounds. And when the king’s guards had overwhelmed us, a savage cut to my neck had ended my life.

There was no sign now of the slash that had almost severed my head. The fatal wound had vanished, along with the mud, the firelight, and the sounds of battle.

A rasping cough made me turn my head. Hiro lay beside me on the cold stone, skin smooth and eyes wide. “Taz?”

“Yes.” My voice grated, as if I’d not used it in years. I cleared my throat and tried again. “It’s me.” I sat up to better watch him—alive, serene, with his blue eyes glowing like the finest gemstones. “Do you think—? Is this the afterlife?”

He scratched his head, his fingers catching at the curls in his pale hair.

It hadn’t been that long when I’d seen it last. Running through the ward fires had singed the ends to ragged shreds. They framed his face in messy tangles, dark with sweat and spattered with blood. Holding a sword in one hand and a long dagger in the other, he’d appeared like a savage in the final moments of our lives. Glorious, undefeated, victorious. Dying shouldn’t have felt so right, but with Hiro beside me, elation had left no room for fear. Even the pain of my wounds had shrunk to a minor annoyance.

I’d gone to my death with a broad grin on my face.

Only to wake here… wherever that was.

I fingered the loose trousers and deep blue tunic that covered me from neck to ankle. Slippery, and with a soft sheen, the material was as unfamiliar to me as the cut of my outfit. As strange as waking from death, my wounds gone and even Hiro’s long hair restored.

When Hiro rose, I rolled to my feet and stood beside him, surveying the place where we’d woken. A huge, empty hall stared back at us, perfectly proportioned and large enough for a company of men. A mosaic of pale-yellow stone formed the floor. Whitewashed plaster covered the walls.  Dark beams leaned towards each other high above our heads, twining in an intricate pattern to create a roof.

Neither cressets nor sconces marred the smooth expanse of stone and plaster, and no hearth or fire pit interrupted the slabs covering the floor. Since the room lacked doors and windows, it should have been pitch dark. Instead, we stood in frigid brightness.

I took a step towards the nearest wall, intent on solving this riddle, when Hiro’s grip on my wrist held me back.

“I’ve never believed in tales of an afterlife,” he answered the question I’d asked earlier.

“Wise of you,” came a voice from behind us. “Because what might pass for an afterlife in your world will be your penance in ours.”

We turned as one and the sight sent my heart racing.

“I am your Judge,” he rumbled.

The Judge towered over us, his height that of two ordinary men, with breadth to match. Swirls of shadow and light swathed his form and hid his face, and his regard touched me like an icy breath, colder even than the chill air in the hall. I itched to wrap my arms around myself to ward off the shivers, but I didn’t want to show weakness. His words hinted at worse to come, and whatever he chose to throw at us, he wouldn’t find me any less steadfast than Hiro.

I had no idea who or what he was, whether god or demon. Every kingdom on the continent had its own gods, temples, and rituals and I’d never been one for much worship. I’d made offerings to Balar, the god of storms, and Veenis, the hearth goddess, at times, but those had been little more than token gestures. I swore by the gods, of course, or at them, though I wasn’t insane enough to mention that. The entity facing us looked forbidding enough to be Balar, but the storm god was never judgemental. He smote sinners and believers alike.

“I am not a god,” he said as if my mind was an open book to him. “Neither am I a demon. The Judges guard the balance of these worlds.”

Worlds. As if there was more than one.

I pushed the thought aside and focussed instead on Hiro and the Judge who watched each other like rival cats.

“Why do you require our penance?” Hiro dared to ask when too much time had passed in silence.

“You were given a gift, and you chose to squander it,” the Judge unbent enough to enlighten us. “You didn’t wait for death to come for you at the appointed time. You went out of your way to seek it. You both lie dead long before that destiny was meant to be yours. And for what?”

His voice rolled through the empty hall and teased echoes from each corner. The anger and disdain in his glare heated my blood until I no longer felt the cold. I was about to tell him not to sit in judgement over what he would never understand when Hiro’s grip tightened on my wrist and stopped me.

“We didn’t squander our lives,” he told the Judge, much calmer than I would have done. “We didn’t raid the Sakkadian camp on a whim. We’d long waited for such an opportunity and we took it when it arrived. We fell to Sakkadian swords, but not until we’d achieved our goal. Ten years of warfare are done with. Over.”

“That is irrelevant.” The Judge’s anger crackled in the air like static before a thunderstorm. “I hold that you threw away your lives, because you knew that your mission was suicide.”

Hiro let go of my wrist and turned his head until our gazes met. I couldn’t tell whether he was trying to reassure me or keep me quiet. I wanted to argue—desperately so—but what could I say that would be acceptable to the Judge?

We hadn’t known. Not in the way he implied. I’d never once gone into battle believing I’d not make it through. And I’d swear any oath that Hiro hadn’t either.

“We didn’t—”

“It is irrelevant.” The Judge didn’t let Hiro plead our case. “We have judged you by your actions. You wasted the life gifted to you and you will do penance for your transgression.”

With each word, the Judge seemed to grow taller and wider. His voice filled the hall until even the harsh, bright light gave way before his wrath. “You are sentenced to eternal life. You will spend your lives on opposite sides of the veil, taking turns living and watching. You will switch places at death. We will consider your penance complete if you manage to meet in the exact moment the human in your pairing dies.”

His pronouncement ended with a snap. The air grew icy and thick. And before I could exchange more than a single glance with Hiro, darkness wrapped me up and my sense of self disappeared with the light.

 

About the Author 

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.

Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who write their own rules. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.

And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.

For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:

 

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 one of five ebooks from Jackie’s backlist

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A Series of Fates by C.C. Dado

SERIES REVIEW TOUR

A Series of Fates 

Easter Valley is a place for shifters to thrive, protect each other, and be themselves. It’s also a place for friendships, laughs… and love. From the Alpha, to the shyest of pack members, these mates find their way into each other’s arms in this trio of romantic comedy tales, and while the path to love can be bumpy when fate is involved, the endings are always happy.

The stories should preferably read in order but can be read individually as they have their own main characters and HEA.

Author: C.C. Dado

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Genre/s: Paranormal Comedy,  M/M Romance

Trope/s: Fated Mates

Themes: Shifters

Overall Heat Rating: 2 flames (my stories are intended to be more comedy romance, bordering on young adult)

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BOOK 1

Book Title:  Denying Fate

Length: 23 500 words/ 83 pages

Release Date: August 31, 2018

Blurb

A Series of Fates: Book One

Fate is a funny thing. Some try to cut its threads, while others wrap themselves in it like a blanket.

Young wolf shifter Max is cocky and crass. Unlike others his age, he has yet to discover a talent that will serve his pack. Since childhood, he’s been convinced the pack alpha is his mate, but Alpha Christian cannot envision unfiltered and directionless Max taking the place of his elegant mother at the head of the pack. As Max begins to build a life with his best friend, he also begins to see that maybe what he thought was inevitable was all in his head, and it’s time to move on.

Or are they both denying fate?

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press  |  Amazon US  | Amazon UK

 

BOOK 2

Book Title: Embracing Fate

Length: 27 222 words/ 91 pages

Release Date: October 26,  2018

Blurb

A Series of Fates: Book Two

Sometimes you just have to embrace your fate.

Seth has a secret: he has a crush on the human next door. His brilliant plan to meet Jack, the man of his dreams who happens to be an animal trainer? Take wolf form and ask his best friend, Max, to take him next door for training. Seth is the only one surprised when things go horribly awry.

Still, can this shy wolf and a human meet their fate as mates?

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press  |  Amazon US  | Amazon UK

 

BOOK 3

Book Title: Fearing Fates

Length: 21 250 words/ 71 pages

Release Date: December 14, 2018

Blurb

He is a fearless protector by nature and in his heart. But nothing’s ever simple with love… or fate.

At nearly seven feet tall, Zeus’s role had always been to protect the pack—but his newest charges need him more than most. Kimber and Kron are transplants from another pack, and they have a dangerous stranger on their tails. Zeus is determined to do his duty and drive the human out of town. But when he confronts Toren, his wolf has other ideas….

Something isn’t right, but should a huge, tattooed wolf with a secret soft heart fear his fate—to love a man with secrets of his own?

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press  |  Amazon US  | Amazon UK

 

Excerpt from Embracing Fate

Seth walked down to the bakery to get the ovens warming and opened the window behind the sink so it didn’t get too hot. It was still early morning, but it was already at least seventy degrees out. He could smell the morning dew burning off under the sun. He spent the next few hours preparing the backup set of baked goods for the display cases. Max had come in a little while ago to get the front ready for another busy Saturday. Seth was really glad they had high school kids helping out in the afternoons now, so they didn’t have to put in such a long day. Seth was on his last batch of cupcakes. He’d grabbed the muffin tin off the cooling rack and started filling the paper cups with batter when he heard a commanding voice pierce through the window.

“Sit.”

Seth was unable to control his response as he dropped his spatula and sat his butt hard onto the floor. What the hell was that? Not even his alpha had that type of control over him. His premonition of undecidedly awful things coming ran through his mind—this is it. He barely registered the squeak of the swinging half doors as Max walked into the kitchen from the front.

“Whatcha doing there?” Max asked, leaning across the kitchen island.

Seth stared up at Max, his eyes blown wide. “I have no idea,” he said, the cupcake tin he had somehow managed not to drop still held awkwardly in the air.

“Lie down.” The voice came through the window again.

Max looked at Seth questioningly as Seth instantly fell onto his back.

“Okay…,” Max said, obviously trying to stay calm. “That was weird, right? Did you just lie down because someone outside said to?”

Seth whined, lying on the floor of the bakery in shock, scared eyes staring toward the ceiling.

Max came around the island, rushing to help Seth up.

“Okay, I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m calling Christian.” Max pulled his phone out of his pocket.

“Wait,” Seth said, needing a moment to process.

“Umm, no. We should call Christian.” Max leaned over the sink to see out the window into the backyard. “There’s a guy out back at the house next door. I think it’s the new neighbor. Maybe he’s an evil wizard or something. Is that a real thing? Oh….” He paused. “He’s pretty hot, but like not really my type. I like them with a little more muscle, to the point where their shirts stretch just a bit across their chest and shoulders, like Christian’s do. But he’s not bad, lanky, brunet too,” he said, sounding disappointed. “I prefer blonds, and he has on glasses. Can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of a man in glasses, but they fit on him.”

“Are you seriously checking out my neighbor right now?” Seth demanded, his anxiety starting to lower from DEFCON 3 as he took calming breaths.

“No, I mean yes, but not for me. Sorry, okay. Focus. Let’s get you up off the floor. We’ll call Christian and Zeus.”

Seth let Max help him up off the ground, and he peeked out the window. “Wait,” he said again, stopping Max’s hand as he reached for the phone in his pocket. “I’m not scared anymore.”

“What do you mean, you’re not scared anymore? You just laid down on the ground because someone told you to.”

“I know. And it scared me at first too. Normally I’d still be having a full-blown panic attack in the corner, probably crying a little, but I’m not.”

“Okay, so, you don’t want me to call Christian because you’re not freaking out anymore that someone is controlling your mind?” Max sarcastically summarized.

Seth shook his head at his friend. “I meant, I’m not panicking. The voice, it makes me feel different, like in a good way, peaceful almost.”

“I don’t know what’s going on, but you’re obviously not thinking clearly. You’ve lost the ability to make your own choices. I’ll have Christian’s lawyer draw up papers. I’ll be your legal guardian from now on.”

“If you’re ever the rational one out of the two of us, we’re both screwed, and I’m not insane, just curious, I guess. I don’t want to tell them yet.” Seth looked out at the stranger again. He was tall, his dark brown, wavy hair fell just past his shoulders, his nose was a little too big for his face, and Seth thought it was perfect. “Handsome but not too perfect.” His earlier words to Max about his preferences played back through his mind, making him take a deep breath.

Max leaned in next to him a bit to get a better look. “What is he doing out there?” Max attempted to whisper, watching intently out of the window.

“Zeus said he was a trainer.”

“Oh, Seth,” Max said, pausing to choke back a laugh with his fist. “He’s a dog trainer.” He snorted, apparently unable to hold it in any longer, “And you’re… you’re obeying his commands.”

Seth could barely make out what Max was saying past his laughter.

“Shit, I think I may die,” Max said, bent over the counter, holding his side. “This might be the best thing that has ever happened in my life.”

“I hate you,” Seth said, focusing his attention back out the window. Recalling his conversation with Zeus, the new neighbor was a dog trainer. Seth watched as the man knelt down in the grass and patted his leg for the dog to come. The chocolate lab bounced his way across the yard, ramming into the man.

“That’s a good boy.” The man’s purr sent chills over Seth’s body. His wolf was definitely awake, pulling at him to get closer.

About the Author

I write about painfully awkward, usually embarrassing, romance because long confident gazes followed by sexy dancing NEVER happens to me. I am a native of the Pacific Northwest, and will probably never leave. I’m like a hypochondriac sundae, with claustrophobic sprinkles, and a big cherry of anxiety on top, so I don’t travel much. I read to relax my mind, so I love getting lost in someone else’s story, even if it is only for a little while.

Author Links

Twitter: @C_C_Dado

 

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