PROMO: Legacy

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Legacy - M.D. Grimm - Saga of the Bold People

M.D. Grimm has a new MMF sci fi romance out, Saga of the Bold People Book 2: “Legacy.” And there’s a giveaway!

What does a former assassin do when he’s not out there… well… assassinating? Saving his species from extinction, of course.

At least, that’s what Leopold wants to do with every molecule in his body. But the task won’t be fast or easy, and he can’t do it alone. Enter Mastrodai—a mrrog prince who has absolutely no desire to rule, much to his father’s exasperation. He craves the ability to prove his worth as a mate and to somehow atone for his actions that led to Leopold’s torture at the hands of an enemy. Making humans official would be a good start.

But politics rule no matter what the species, and Mastrodai has to maneuver carefully and risk what he has built to give his mate what he deserves. And when he realizes both he and Leopold have deeper feelings for Alex, one of Mastrodai’s human slave women, he knows his future is out among the stars with his humans, not planet-bound with his kin.

Unfortunately, before they can set their plan into motion, Leopold receives a vision that sends him reeling and questioning everything he knows about himself. A vision he must investigate, back to where he began—Lex, the backwater planet where he spent his early years, and where he swore never to return.

About the Series:

Leopold is a human in an alien-dominated InterGalactic Community. He gained a reputation as the assassin Voidstriker, until his identity was revealed. He soon finds himself reassessing his life, his mission, and his own identity. Having spent his entire life driven by hate and fear, he soon finds himself motivated by hope and love. He decides on a new mission in life: freeing the human species. It will be a long, hard road, and one he can’t walk alone.

Even as his allies grow in number, he will most depend on his mates–Mastrodai, the mrrog prince, and Alexandra, a fellow human, his best friend, and their lover. Along with Sasha, a young girl with extraordinary abilities. Leopold is no stranger to challenges but this might be his greatest trial yet.

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Giveaway

M.D. is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

Legacy meme - M.D. Grimm

The explosion thundered against my eardrums, cutting off my conversation with a large group of crop tenders. All of us flinched and I spun around as the boom thrummed through the air, and every mouth gaped, even mine, when the enormous fireball shot into the sky. Flaming debris rained down on the dry stalks, reaping chaos in seconds.

“Save what you can!” I said in Veruvian, the official intergalactic language. I ordered my bodyguards to split up and keep their eyes peeled. Then I sped toward the origin of the explosion, quickly outpacing Wekladai, my chief bodyguard. I lowered to all fours and raced into the danger zone, dodging and weaving around scalded metal and open flame. A growl sat contained in my chest, vibrating against my lungs. I bared my teeth, blood and death on my mind. Who would dare?

Who would dare?

Smoky hot air burned my nostrils and irritated my throat. I narrowed my eyes in deference to the discomfort, shrugging it off. I’d felt worse. The mrrog academy and my rite of passage had beaten weakness out of me. Not to mention my father’s lessons. I reached the epicenter to find that nothing but rubble and blackened ground remained of the supply building in that quadrant of the moon. I recognized a couple of corpses in the mess as I picked my way through.

My growl finally loosened, and I resisted panting to save my throat and nose. I would personally slice apart the culprit. It could only be sabotage. A competitor, perhaps, angered that I’d received the contract from the InterGalactic Council instead of them.

I straightened and stared in disbelief. Was my security so lax as to allow an enemy to saunter right in? I walked over to the top of a shallow rise to stare out at the acres of crops set in quadrant EC-1. The fire was out of control all around me, the smoke and heat flaming my rage deeper.

Wind rose up and blew away much of the smoke. Movement caught my eye, and I looked down the incline. I froze, staring at the creature standing not far away, next to an old, unused shack. A strange land cruiser sat right next to him. It was a male; of that I was certain. And… could he be… a human?

Yes, he was a human. And a thief. Familiar rejlfei hung from his shoulders and arms, the straps straining against the weight. Did he merely come to steal from me?

Hair as black as the void covered most of his pale face, and brilliant blue eyes reflected the distant sun’s light, reminding me of stars. He was tall for a human, with broad shoulders, and a lean body clothed in a black bodysuit. His face was sharply angled, and yet everything was well-placed, coming together in harmonious union. His expression was stony, and his posture spoke of confidence and strength. The aeunn in his hand never wavered as he kept it aimed at me.

Standing before me was no cowed human afraid of his own shadow. No. He was a predator, one made of grace and purpose and a formidable persistence. Why he was on my moon I couldn’t say, but he wasn’t leaving it. He wasn’t getting away.

I crouched slowly, not wanting to startle him. One good leap and I would be on him. Even as the human must have guessed my intent, because his eyes abruptly shot wide, the wind blew again, hurling his scent into my face. I took a deep breath. His aroma was dense and organic with metallic and synthetic undertones along with a masculine musk that caused me to salivate. It made me think of thunderous nights when electricity charged the air, where passion danced between lovers, a wild and furious battle of wills and the need to dominate. It was violent and edgy, tense and defiant. Alive. Real.

My vengeful rage morphed into a sharp, all-consuming need, and it nearly knocked me on my ass. The wind brought his scent to me once more, and one word repeated again and again in my mind.

Mine.

My body responded in a way it hadn’t in years. Not since Nandeely. Every lover after her had been an itch to scratch. But this human? I had to possess him. I had to claim him now, before he got away. Before another dared touch him. Images of what I’d do once he was under my control caused my cock to slip out of its sheath. I growled at myself. It had been a long while since such control was beyond me. And I needed it now more than ever.

“Mastrodai! What did you find?”

I startled at Wekladai’s voice as he joined me on the hill. Only then did I realize that the human was on his land cruiser and speeding away, clearly determined to escape.

“What was—?”

“Come!” I charged after the human with Wekladai on my heels. My hesitation and the human’s distracting scent had cost me. I snarled and leapt, landing right where the human had once stood. I raced after him but it was no use. I wouldn’t catch him. Despite my speed, his cruiser was just too damn fast. He tore up more crops on his reckless ride, and I took another deep breath, focusing on his vibrant aroma instead of the smoke and burnt metal. Unfortunately, he was soon out of sight but I couldn’t stop running.

“Contact Jauntai!” I snarled at Wekladai. He stopped and I continued on. I followed the human’s trail, easily distinguishing his fragrance amid the acrid burning of the crops. It was a warmth in my blood, a song in my head. I couldn’t analyze the effect he had on me, not yet. I was hunting, and I needed to focus.

The fire swept across the land far too rapidly for me to compete with. The trail was gone in an instant, his scent taken away, only smoke and heat in its place. I stood and growled, frustrated and angry at myself. Surprise had slowed my reactions and now my prey was gone. Prey that should not have found his way on my moon in the first place.

Unacceptable. All of it.

The obvious failure on all fronts burned my pride, and I dragged a hand over my hair. I turned around and huffed a deep breath at the wreckage. Duty first. Always duty first.

I will find you, human.

I hurried back, wary of becoming trapped by the flames. I resigned myself to an unpleasant call to my emperor. I met Wekladai on the way back, and from the look on his face, I rightly surmised the human had slipped through Jauntai’s fingers.

“Why did you hesitate?” Wekladai asked.

I growled. He wasn’t impressed. He was much older than me, about the age of my father, and had known me all my life. He used to be a compatriot with my father before I asked him to head my bodyguard team. He was the only one I allowed to be familiar with me. But right then I wanted to claw his face.

“Mastrodai?”

I turned away. “I must find him. Now. Immediately. Send probes. Look at the satellites and see if they caught anything. I want that blasted human!”

He blinked and tilted his head, ears straight and pointed forward. “Why do I sense more than anger in your urgency? Why do I smell your arousal?”

I spun around and gripped his throat, baring my teeth. He gripped my arm and bared his own, daring me to start something. Our claws slid out, and I was seconds away from brawling.

“Do not question me, Wekladai,” I said. “Not now. Not in this. Find. Him.”

Wekladai growled and covered his teeth. I let go and stalked back to the spot I’d first seen him. It didn’t take me long to find an aeunn that was clearly not one of mine. I carefully picked it up, trying not to handle it too much. I sniffed it. Oh, yes, that was him.

Why hadn’t he shot me? He wouldn’t have missed.

“Jauntai is looking over the recordings now.”

I nodded. Without a word, I walked away, holding the aeunn delicately.


Unique Content!

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Good day lovely readers! Thank you for joining me. I am M.D. Grimm and I am here to promote my newest release, “Legacy.” This is book two in my “Saga of the Bold People” 6-book sci-fi/romance series, and the follow-up to my amazingly popular “Leopold.” I am thrilled to finally be able to present it, and I can say that much sweat, blood, and toil went into this one. While “Leopold” took me nearly a decade to finish, “Legacy” was about a year. I think. Hard to keep track sometimes. And they are basically the same length! Whew.

To celebrate my newest release, I thought I’d share a bit about me. Namely, answering the question: if you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose, and why?

Hands down, it would be 2010. Specifically, that summer. Why?

Ireland. ‘Nuff said.

Kidding. I had the wonderful chance during my Junior year of college to study abroad in July in Galway with an optional week before that in Dublin. Of course, I took that option as well. I learned about the opportunity during my Sophomore year when a professor of Irish Studies visited my English Lit class. In fact, he was the one to start the program and was, in fact, from Ireland. His family moved to the US when he was a child. However, he doesn’t have an accent. He said, and I quote, “Kids can be mean.”

Ouch.

I made sure to take one of the professor’s classes so I could get to know him and pick his brain about the program. He’d been running it for years with another Irish counterpart in Ireland. I had the choice of taking two classes out of five at Galway University. I chose Irish music and Irish Gaelic. The others were Irish history, Irish literature, and another option I don’t remember.

And then it happened. For someone who’d never even been in an airport before, I decided to take a plane over the Atlantic Ocean to another country. Sure, I had a slight panic attack before even getting on the plane but… I got over it. Heh.

Both of the flights to Ireland were delayed so I was hours later than my planned landing time. I ended up being the last person to arrive in Dublin. Thankfully, my professor was there to greet me at the airport. He also paid for our cab to the hotel. He is such a classy man.

The week in Dublin was packed full of events and wonderful moments. I had the foresight to bring a journal to write down everything at the end of every day. I didn’t want to forget a single moment.

When we hopped over to Galway, we started classes, and I managed to squeeze in a couple of independent tours for myself in combination with the two official tours. I visited Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran Islands, and the Cliffs of Mohr. Independently, I visited the Giant’s Causeway with a four other people and also visited the town of Tuam twice by myself.

Unfortunately, I somehow missed visiting Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone. Oh no. Now I have to go back. *snort* One of these days, I plan on returning and fixing that monumental error.

Certainly, I have a few regrets, mostly in not packing every day with new experiences. Sure, I paced myself but I also could have upped the speed a time or two.

I have to say that what struck me the most during my trip to the Giant’s Causeway was that moment we crossed from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland. All the Irish flags turned into British flags. Talk about whiplash. And we needed to exchange our Euros for pounds. Same island, completely different atmosphere. Oh! And you know those stone walls that cut across all the green green fields? No gates. You just knock down a section of the wall, step through, and then build it back up again. The cultural difference (from US) is amazing.

The tour guides we had were great. Sociable, amusing. They probably said the same stuff several times a day and hundreds of times a month, and yet they still injected enthusiasm and encouraged questions. One of the nights, after class, I stayed at the university bar with a fellow student and we had some drinks and chatted up the bartender. He closed the bar around ten but the three of us stayed talking until after midnight. Had a Guinness… of course.

Gosh, there are just too many stories to tell. That trip absolutely blew my mind in the best ways. I highly recommend that if anyone gets the opportunity, to take that leap and visit Ireland.

After it’s safe, of course.

Enjoy the pic!

Glendalough – You see that hole in the stone? That’s not a window. That’s a doorway. This is where monks brewed Jameson whiskey!

Please make sure to sign up for my newsletter. That is the best place to receive the latest information before anyone else.

I plan on republishing my entire Shifter Chronicles, On Wings Saga, and Eye of the Beholder in 2021, with updated and expanded text for most of them. Keep your eyes peeled for those!

I hope you stay safe and healthy, and may dragons guard your dreams,
M.D. Grimm


Author Bio

M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!).

After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier.

Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.

Author Website: www.mdgrimmwrites.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001710645622

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=md+grimm

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-grimm/

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-grimm/

Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/M.D.-Grimm/e/B00I0KZMY6/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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PROMO: The Hunter’s Gambit

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The Hunter's Gambit - Nicholas McIntire

Nicholas McIntire has a new queer fantasy book out, The Archanium Codex book 1: “The Hunter’s Gambit.”

Aleksei Drago never expected an easy life, but he never expected what he got. Growing up amongst the Ri-Vhan of Seil Wood, losing his mother and just as suddenly being torn from the forest folk, Aleksei had no choice but to make the best of the unpredictable path in life.

But what happens when the monsters and figures of fiction become horrifyingly real? Can Aleksei find the right path? When his life and the lives of his family and friends are at stake will he fight, reforging himself into the man Prophecy demands he become? In a world of magic and Magi, of Angels and Demons alike, how will a simple farm boy survive his own contorted destiny?

This is the story of a seemingly-simple world gone mad, and the reality that every action, no matter how apparently benign, can serve to unravel terrifying truths. This is the story of Aleksei Drago, farmer, Hunter, and so much more.

Publisher | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Google Play | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Giveaway

Nicholas McIntire is giving away two $20 Amazon gift cards with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

Henry spent the rest of the day watching his son closely. Something was undeniably troubling him, but until Aleksei decided to open up to him there was nothing he could do.

“He’ll tell you in his own time, Henry.” he muttered under his breath.

So he waited. Every now and then he would engage his son in conversation, but every time he thought Aleksei might be on the brink of telling him something, the conversation fled to some superficial topic. Did he think it would rain by Market Day? Who did he think would bring the biggest pig to the Harvest Festival? Did he think Mother Margareta would come to bless their fields before the first frost?

Henry answered each question as though it was the direction he meant to steer the conversation, and refused to allow his frustration to surface. But by the end of the evening, he was no closer to understanding his son’s troubles than he’d been that morning.

Finally Aleksei rose from his seat before the fire, put his book away, and went to bed. Henry watched him go, more troubled than ever. The boy had never gone to bed without a word before. He always had some last comment to make, even if it was just to wonder at the next day’s activities.

Henry sat before the dying embers of the fire well into the night, thinking. He didn’t remember falling asleep, so when the voice woke him his eyes started open.

Hello, Henry.

He looked around, trying to get his bearings.

Gone was the heat of the hearth, the comfort of his chair. Instead he stood in an enveloping fog of shimmering gold.

He could see no one.

“Where am I?” Henry demanded.

A dream, Henry. This is merely an illusion. I apologize that I cannot offer you more comfortable surroundings at the moment.

“Who are you?” Henry called, feeling a touch foolish, shouting at phantoms.

His question went unanswered.

Henry, I’ve come to ask a favor.

“Who are you?” Henry repeated flatly.

There was a moment of hesitation before the voice responded. A man much like yourself, Henry Drago. One who only wants what’s best for your son.

“Speak then.”

When the favor was uttered, Henry blinked in confusion. A thousand questions bubbled to the surface, yet he found that he only possessed the strength to ask one.

“Why?” he choked, surprised by the weakness in his own voice.

The air before his face shimmered and distorted, as though he were looking through intense heat. Slowly, images formed. Images of Aleksei. An Aleksei he didn’t recognize.

“Why are you showing me this?” Henry managed.

Because I want you to see what your son could become. The man he could be, if you’d only let him. If you just do as I say.

“I don’t trust you.” Henry barked back. “I can’t even see your face.”

Another image shimmered into being. A man, though Henry saw nothing remarkable about him. The man leaned forward and whispered in his ear, and Henry heard the unmistakable ring of truth.

In that moment he thought he might have preferred a dagger to the heart. It would have been far less painful to simply die at the end of a highwayman’s blade than to agree to this. Either way, he would lose the most precious thing he had.

“Bargain struck.” Henry whispered bitterly, a tear winding its way down his cheek.

You’re doing your son a great service, Henry Drago.

The man even sounded earnest.

Henry started to say something, but even as he opened his mouth, darkness swirled around him. He slipped back into the empty chasms of sleep.

#

Morning greeted Aleksei gently, rousing him from a dreamless oblivion. It had taken him hours to finally find some rest, and his relief was immeasurable when he woke without encountering the specter of the green-eyed man. His wish had been granted. The man was gone.

He made his way down the narrow stairway and walked into the kitchen, frowning at what greeted him. Their rough wooden table was laid out with provisions for what Aleksei could only guess was a journey.

But a journey where? His father hadn’t said anything about travel. There was still wood to chop and hay to store. The first snow might be weeks away, but there was no telling when the winds would usher in the chill of Northern air. Working outside in the cold was not something he, nor any farmer, relished.

“I see you’re up.” Henry said from behind. Aleksei jumped.

He turned, “Da, where are we going? I thought we were going to finish the hay this morning.”

His father shook his head and smiled, though Aleksei caught the deep sadness in Henry’s eyes. “We aren’t going anywhere, Son. You are.”

Aleksei frowned, “Me? But I thought—”

His father tried to hold the smile, but it was forced, “You’re needed, Son. In the North.”

Aleksei thought his heart would stop. He forgot to breathe. He could hardly process what his father had just said.

You know the truth he speaks, Aleksei.

Aleksei fought back a sob of frustration. He thought he’d freed himself of the damned voice, but now he knew the truth. He would never be free from it. It would hound him until the end of his days, or until it drove him mad, whichever came first.

Or until you simply do as I ask.

“Why?” he finally managed.

His father looked out the kitchen window, and Aleksei followed his gaze. Dash waited patiently outside, a saddle fitted snugly about his muscular frame.

“Because you’re needed, Son. It’s the only answer I can give you.”

“I’m not needed here, Da? Don’t you need me?”

Henry bit back the pain in his voice, “You are more of a help than I can say, Aleksei, and I love you dearly. But no, I don’t need you. Not like this. If you stayed here, you’d be wasting something…extraordinary. And honestly, I think you’d know it too. They need you in the North, Son. And their need is much more important than mine.”

Aleksei stood there, stunned by what his father was saying to him. And then the questions came pouring forth. What did Henry mean by ‘extraordinary’? What had his father learned? What was still being kept from him?

“And I’m sorry I can’t give you the answers you want, Son. But I think you know who can. Find him.”

“But how can I….” Aleksei began, fighting back the tears springing into his eyes.

“You’re strong, Aleksei. You’ve always been strong. That won’t fail you now.”

Henry swallowed back his own tears and tried to smile again, “Now you’d better get on the road. The sooner you get beyond the Southern Plain, the better. You don’t want to be riding under the Harvest sun too long if you can help it.”

“But where am I going?” Aleksei cried, his voice breaking. It was happening too fast. His life was slipping through his fingers moment by moment and there was nothing he could do about it.

“North, Son. North. You’ll know where you’re headed as you get closer. That’s all I know to tell you.”

Aleksei looked into his father’s eyes and saw the sadness, the regret that burned within him. His father wanted to know just as badly as he, to know just what sort of place he was so blindly sending his son.

Finally, after a long silence, Aleksei nodded. “Alright, Da. If you want me to go, then I’ll go.”

“I’ll never want you to go, Son.” Henry whispered, his face contorting with pain. He had already lost his wife, and now he was losing his son, too. Aleksei would still be alive, but he would be so far away.

“But promise me something, Aleksei.”

Aleksei nodded, “Anything, Da.”

“If you find this place and if it’s not what you want, what you need, promise me you’ll come back. Even if this isn’t what you want either, at least we can figure that out together.”

Aleksei finally allowed a tear to wind its way down his cheek, “I promise, Da.”

Henry stepped forward and wrapped his arms tightly around his son, hugging him as close as he could, as though any moment Aleksei might turn to mist and vanish forever. Henry stepped back and managed a sardonic smile. Aleksei might remain solid as stone, but surely enough he was about to vanish.

#

Henry didn’t watch his son ride away. In truth, he couldn’t bear it. As long as he’d never seen Aleksei leave he could always pretend the boy was out in the barn, or by the pond he’d swum in as a child. It was a good hour before Henry allowed himself to sit down in his chair and sob.


Author Bio

Nicholas McIntire

Critically-acclaimed author Nicholas McIntire has been writing fantasy since he was 8 years old. The bones of the Archanium Codex were first created when he was 16, and in the past 20 years, he has taken that initially simple idea and crafted it into a fully realized world, finished the sequel, earned three degrees (one in Russian, Eastern European Studies, two in Nursing), and lived life to its fullest. Now writing full-time, Nicholas is ready for share is vision of the Archanium Codex, a 10 book series. The first book of the series being The Hunter’s Gambit.

Nicholas, lives in Fort Worth, Texas, but writes in both Fort Worth and Fort Davis, TX, where his family has a small place situated at 5200 feet in the Davis Mountains – and, yes, Texas does have mountains.

Author Website: https://www.nickmcintire.com/

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NGMcIntire/

Author Twitter: @nickmcintire

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17088295.Nicholas_McIntire

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nicholas-McIntire/e/B07X7D7CH6

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PROMO: Expression: Telepaths Rising

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Expression: Telepaths Rising - Colin D. Vaughn

Colin D. Vaughn has a new queer multi-racial sci fi book out: “Expression: Telepaths Rising.” And there’s a giveaway!

It’s the year 2113. Telepaths are real. They’re exalted. Feared. Hunters. Hunted. Kingmakers and slaves. With his expression, Ken is catapulted into the ranks of a tiny elite. With immense telepathic potential, he will have to learn how to use his powers and whom to trust. And quickly. Because there are enemies, both within and without, and they’re not going to wait.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN


Giveaway

Colin is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

Expression: Telepaths Rising

Tarrington placed his datapad on the table. “This begins the psychic assessment of Kenneth Jared Kawashima. Nigel Tarrington, Authorized Facilitator of the Ministry of Citizen Services and Mauricio Vargas, an Authorized MCS Liaison from the Ministry of Psychic Affairs, presiding. Also in attendance are the subject’s father, Takahiro Kawashima; mother, Claire Alma Reed; and sister of minor age, Stephanie Fusako Kawashima.”

Tarrington turned to me: “Kenneth, pursuant to the Telepath Registration Act, as a suspected telepath you are required to undergo psychic assessment. You may not decline, delay or obstruct this hearing in any way. You may, however, have the presence of counsel at this proceeding. If you do not have one available to attend within 24 hours, one will be provided to you by the Ministry. Please touch the datapad and state whether you request or waive counsel.”

All of this was rather pro forma – I was surrounded by my family and it wasn’t as if a lawyer could stop or save me from this process. Not that I wanted it to stop. I touched the pad. “I waive counsel.”

The datapad chirped: “Identity confirmed. Waiver of counsel acknowledged.”

Tarrington turned to my parents. “Please touch the datapad to confirm that you have no objection to this proceeding, its recordation, or your son’s waiver of counsel.”

My parents touched the pad and it chirped: “Identities confirmed. Acknowledgements confirmed.”

Tarrington smiled, “Well, now that all that fussy business is complete. I will turn things over to Mr. Vargas.”

Vargas smiled at me, and then, clear as a bell in my head, I heard him sing a jaunty tune: I am the very model of a modern major general. I am the very model of a modern major general.

I laughed and asked him, “So you’re a general, eh?”

He smiled: No, more like a lowly foot soldier, little brother. Ask me a question. In your head – look into my eyes and say the words of your question one at a time. Remember, don’t speak.

I looked him straight in the eyes and thought: Where. Are. You. From?

Honduras. Suddenly I could see a wide stretch of forest, leading to deeply forested mountains, their tops veiled in low-lying clouds. Though I knew I was still crouched on the floor of our living room, I cool also feel moist spongy earth under my feet, a cool breeze across my cheek. This is my home. Well, actually, my hometown is the metropolis of Gracias a Dios, but the rainforests on the outskirts are what I think of as “home.”

For a moment, I almost felt like it was my home, too. I, who had only ever left Tennessee for our family’s annual trip to the Japan Territory, almost ached to return and hike those forests. Gracias a Dios. Thank you.

It wasn’t until Vargas smiled and said aloud: “My pleasure” that I realized that I had spoken to him mind-to-mind again, but in a natural, almost instinctual, way.

Was this what it meant to be a telepath? This incredible sharing, this intimacy? I felt as if Vargas – no, Mauricio– was some long-lost friend. Could he sense the same about me? I was just about to ask him for more when Tarrington clapped his hands once and said, “I take it that it was a success? He’s a true expressive?” I came to and looked around. My family was just staring at me. At me and Mauricio.

Mauricio nodded, then reached and touched the datapad: “Confirmed that subject’s telepathic gene has expressed, as verified through the receipt and transmission of audio, visual and tactile stimuli between subject and myself.”

Tarrington said: “Excellent! Now, Ken… I may call you ‘Ken,’ yes? . . . You understand that you will be more fully and properly assessed by the Psych Ministry at a later point?” I nodded. He then continued, “However, for myMinistry’s purposes an initial, somewhat rough assessment is necessary. Mr. Vargas will perform this. I am sorry for any discomfort.”

Mauricio then said aloud: “Ken, I will now force myself onto you” – at my sister’s gasp, he addressed everyone and continued – “in a very safe and controlled way, I assure you all. Though unpleasant, I will not harm Ken, I promise you.” Then turning to me: “Ken, what you must do is push me away. Pretend there’s a door that you’re trying to push closed. Or pretend there’s a pot on a heating unit bubbling over that you need to slam a lid onto. Or think of it however you think right – trust your instincts. OK, here goes.”

Then, before I could even begin to ponder what Mauricio was getting at, I saw his green light brighten and felt him touch me as he did before, but somehow both heavier and louder than before. Where before I felt like I was sharing with Mauricio, walking in his shoes, I now felt like he was walking on me. Instead of beautiful forests, I saw a man wielding a leather strap. The man – Father! – started hitting me over and over with the strap, shouting. It hurt! God, had this really happened to Mauricio? Or was this all part of the test? I couldn’t imagine my own gentle father or mother (however strict) ever acting so. But – ow! – the bastard kept hitting me! And I felt so angry, that he was hitting me, that he might possibly once have beaten my friend this way. I jumped up and yanked the strap from him. I then pushed him and lashed the strap across his face. He started to back away and I lunged after him hitting him again and again with the strap…”


Author Bio

Colin D. Vaughn

Colin is a Midwesterner by birth who lives in Washington, D.C. with his husband. Lawyer by day and aspiring writer by night (and lunch break). Since discovering Asimov and Tolkien as a child, he’s had a lifelong love of science-fiction and fantasy. And he has enjoyed the explosion of wonderful stories featuring fellow LGBT and people of color.

But the more he read, the more he realized that he had his own tales he wanted to tell. And themes he wanted to explore – power and temptation, social progress, the fall of civilizations, ways to love, futurism, beloved community, and many more.

He very much hopes you enjoy his story!

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/colin.vaughn.5203

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Colin-D.-Vaughn/e/B08FJBW69M/

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PROMO: Prince Ivan, A. Wolfe, & A Firebird

Promo, Uncategorized

Prince Ivan, A. Wolfe & A Firebird - Eric Alan Westfall

Eric Alan Westfall has a new queer fairy tale out: Prince Ivan, “A. Wolfe & A Firebird.” And there’s a giveaway!

Dear Reader,

What do you get when you combine a greedy Great Tsar, his two cheating, bullying older sons, his youngest esser (shh! no saying that aloud) son, stolen gold apples, a Firebird quest, A. Wolfe who has the power t’assume a pleasing shape, a magickal sandstorm, as well as two bands and a full Symphony of Gipsumies?

A rollicking, roisterous Russian Fairy Tale, with vigorous esser activities in tents, halls, bedrooms and alcoves, with and without the assistance of PSTs. Plus princely parades, a duel over Gus, new lyrics to an old drinking song, and the possibility of bits of blood, gobs of gore or moments of mayhem. As required by CORA (the Code of RFT Authors), should these occur, your author will give you timely warning.

Ah. Still not ready to part with your kopek-equivalent? Consider the fun you’ll have reading chapters like:

  • “To Kvetch, Or Not To Kvetch? A Reader’s Choice”
  • “Ivan Has A Close Encounter Of The F-Word Kind”
  • “Second Direction Questers vs. The Caliph’s Sayer Of Sooths”
  • “Will Sasha Succeed In Seducing Prince Ivan?”
  • Bad Prince Ivan! No Touch Cage!”
  • “A Travel Pause For Gratuitous Sex In The Tent—Which Does Not Advance The Plot—At The Insistence Of The Characters”
  • “A Necessary Interlude To Consider The Age-Old Questing Question: What The [Expletive Of Your Choice, Dear Reader] Do We Do Next?”

If you buy it and try it, you’ll like it, or so says your most talen…er…humble author.

p.s. If Karrie Jax and I have covered you and blurbed you to buy, look for “Dear Reader, Along The Way, Did You Happen To See The Allusion To Olivier?” in the TOC. It’s a spot-the-allusions chance at gift cards of $25, $15, or $10.

166,000 words of story fun and frolic, plus a 2160-word teaser from another MM fairytale: The Tinderbox.

Amazon | Smashwords | Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

Eric is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

Prince Ivan, A Wolfe & A Firebird meme

IVAN PUTS HIS HORSE AT RISK, AND MEETS A. WOLFE

“A wolf who talks,” Ivan said, his voice all full of surprise.

“I am not a wolf, Prince Ivan, I am A. Wolfe.”

Ivan lifted an eyebrow, in his long-perfected “inquiring princes want to know what you mean” mode, while wondering what effect it might have on such an enormous beast. Well, not a beast, exactly, since it could talk.

No reaction, except the bright gold eyes—so like one of his father’s apples, well-polished after plucking, or the gold circles in the Firebird’s tail—stared back, unblinking.

Since his eyebrow inquiry failed to a verbal response, it was Ivan’s turn to talk. Politeness had worked with the Firebird, when used in place of “I am royal, hear me roar” arrogance, and might be best for Ivan’s well-being in the current situation, conversing with a wolf, the top of whose head was above Gus’ shoulder.

“‘A wolf who talks,’” yes. My exact words, Sir Wolf.”

The wolf opened his mouth. Wide. No mere flash this time. Ivan was fully fanged. As they had only just met, he could not tell whether he was being fang-grinned for a reason he could not fathom, or fierce-fanged to frighten him. If it was the latter, there was a glimmer of starting-to-work happening.

But the wolf’s voice was neither fierce nor fun-filled when he hid most of his fangs and talked again. His tone was a goblet of great size, filled not just to the brim but overflowing—with more coming from somewhere so the over kept on flowing—with…patience. The kind of patience you use for, with, and on, those who are not very bright. Indeed, those who are so dim that if their brains were used to provide light for reading at night they’d be as effective as an inch-tall stub of a quarter-inch wide candle, set in a candlestick in the bowels of a cavern on the far side of a mountain range five-and-a-half eighths of a continent away.

“When you bathe, do you clean your ears, Prince Ivan?” [See above for how he said it.]

“Uh…what?”

A sigh was heard.

Ivan wished he’d brought along a sigh that big, but then, since it was a large wolf letting it loose, accompanied by, Ivan was almost sure, a hint of a scent of pasta, pesto, garlic and butter, Ivan might not have been able to use it with the same effect. The sigh might almost have been designed to complement the show-patience-to-the-afflicted voice.

“Do. You. Clean—”

“I heard you the first time, Sir Wolf. I just don’t understa—”

It was the wolf’s turn to interrupt. “It’s clear you don’t understand, young prince. I was trying to ascertain whether your inability to understand plain Russian was based on a physical defect—stuffed ears, whether unclean or for another reason, bad hearing, something of that sort—and if not, on some mental lack which in theory requires me to be considerate and gentle.”

There was a tiny pause, so infinitesimal Ivan would have had no chance to get a syllable of a word in edgewise, sidewise, upwise, or downwise, even had he tried. “You do understand kindness and gentleness are not traits associated with a wolf, and especially not A. Wolfe?”

At the end of this series of insults, the Great Tsar would have raged, calling on his ever-present Imperial Guards to “Rid me of this wolf!”

Anatol would have ranted about the presumptuousness of peasants who did not know or stay in their proper place, probably forgetting who had just offended his sense of propriety.

Vlad would have grabbed his sword, and whether from horseback, or following a grandiose leap to the ground which displayed his awesome athleticism for the admiration of any viewers lurking in the vicinity—it was his policy to always act as if he was being viewed with admiration—would have started hewing and hacking away.

In part because Ivan suspected the outcome would have been the same with all three of those scenes—dead soldiers, dead royal family, likely including bystander youngest prince—Ivan chose the fourth door…and laughed.

He couldn’t say why he saw—thought he saw—a twinkle of humor in the great golden eyes. But he must have been right, because the wolf didn’t leap up, all howling, growling and slavering, and drag him off Gus before doing the devouring which would logically follow offending laughter.

Ivan forced a halt to his own humor. With gasps interrupting his initial words, he said, “My apologies, Sir Wolf. I was not laughing at you. It was an image in my head of my family’s reactions to your words, and yours to theirs. However, with all the respect to which you are entitled, which seems to be at least a reasonable amount”—Ivan was willing to be reasonable, but not obsequious—“I have no mental or physical defect which interferes with my hearing or my understanding. Perhaps the, ah, flaw lies in your explanation of what you mean? Or, you might consider, the lack of one?”

Ivan gave the wolf a princely grin of satisfaction with his response.

Wolfe gave the prince back a wolfeish huff. “I’ll entertain the possibility you might be right, if you’ll entertain the possibility you are not listening as well as you should.”

Ivan nodded.

“Very well. Repeat after me, ‘A wolf is not the same as A. Wolfe.’”

“A wolf is not the same as a wolf.”

Wolfe sighed again. He apparently had an inexhaustible supply, in a wide range of sizes.

“A wolf is an animal, Prince Ivan. It resembles me, but is far smaller, roams the forest, howls from time to time for various reasons, and at times for no reason at all. Perhaps because it doesn’t reason. I am a wolfe—with an ‘e’ at the end. Which means I have magickal skills. My name is: A…full stop…Wolfe.”

Ivan grinned again. “Your first name is Afullstop? What an unusual name. Not Russian, is it?”

No. Not an ‘uh’ sound, but a long a-sound, which rhym… You’re teasing.”

Ivan learned another lesson in wolfe-prince relations. A wolf-with-an-e-at-the-end could grin, without his fangs looking all fearsome.

Ivan widened his own grin. “I am. So what does long-A stand for?”

“Aleksandr.”

“A handsome name for a handsome wolf-with-an-e.”

Ivan paused. He shouldn’t, he really shouldn’t, but he decided he would, anyway. “Sir Wolfe, now that I know your name is A. Wolfe, and since we are being so precise with our pronunciations, are you really quite certain I shouldn’t call you ‘A. Wolfie?’ To be sure the final ‘e’ gets its just and proper due?”

Ah. So that’s what a Wolfeish glare looked like with a fillip of fang.


UNIQUE CONTENT!

A Pause to Provide a Reassuring Response for the Horse Kvetchers in the Crowd

The author extends his apologies, dear reader, for this interruption. But the kvetchers in the crowd, whinging on and on about the horses, are a probable distraction for other readers who, unlike you, are incapable of fully focusing on the tale while extraneous noise is being made. So, if you will be so kind as to bear wi—

The horses belonging to the princes. As you will recall, the horses were…

Oh. You don’t.

Ah.

Well, in that case, this interruption will serve as a reminder for those who perhaps don’t care as much as they should about tales which seem to include the abandonment of two fine animals to an unknown, and potentially dire fate, given the RFTness going on. This will also be a reassurance for those more vocal in their concerns over the possibility of off-page horse endangerment.

As it so happened—and as you know, you may trust the author to true-tell all this tale’s events occurring on and off the pages—not long after the brothers were swept up and swirled away by the sandst…

No. There has not been a precise allocation of the passage of a particular amount of time sufficient to serve as a definition of “not long.” Suffice it to say—and with all the authorial respect appropriately due to the kvetchers in the crowd, when this author decides something sufficeth, more than a mere sufficiency of sufficing has thereby been accomplished—the not-longness was not short enough to make subsequent events even more improbable than they already are because of the fairy taleness occurring, but also not long enough for the horses to experience more the mildest need for something to eat or drink.

If the author may now proceed?

Thank you.

As the author was saying, not long after the brothers were swept up and swirled away by the sandstorm, a band of Gipsumies happened by.

A happenstance of any form, of course, is by its very nature naturally nothing more than an alternative form of coincidence, but one which carries with it far less sheerness.

The Gipsumies—sometimes referred to by the ignorant as Roaminies, which they find offensive—were experienced travelers and well aware they were well beyond the far edge of All The Russias in the third direction.

Their band arrived at the site of the happenstance—the location of two saddled, bridled, Imperial warhorses—with all its instruments in tune, and being played with vigor, especially the violins, and with the men, women, and other genders, dancing with spectacular (of the non-Russian-axe variety) leaps and bounds, swirls and twirls and intricate steps. The perfect-pitch singers sang a series of songs during the course of the happening-by arrival, with also-perfect timing so they all finished simultaneously with a final stamp of the dancers’ feet, and a long-lasting high or low note from the singers.

No. There is no definition of how long the last notes lasted.

Great Tsar’s War Hammer, as named by Vlad—the horse much preferred his actual name, Nikki, but he answered to the other one because he had no choice—had seen a Gipsumy arrival before in Moscow and was impressed. Unaware this was only a rehearsal, he rose a bit on his back legs, and slammed his front feet down, giving them his stamp of approval.

Gleb, who answered to Anatol’s choice of Imperial Storm Racer, had seen that Moscow arrival alongside Nikki, but was less impressed with this one. He gave it only a modest half-stamp of a left foreleg of approval.

Rehearsal and arrival complete, the members of the band swiftly put their instruments away, stripped off their costumes and handed them over to the cleaners, and donned working garb in dull, drab colors, designed to make them easily overlookable in civilized circumstances. That done, the pre-selected men and women—it was the other genders’ turn for a day off from this task—spread out to investigate this most excellent finding in many a happening-by.

What the surroundings said to the Gipsumy investigators in subtle signs was threefold.

First fold, “There’s no one anywhere around who might claim to be the owner of the horses.”

Second fold, “There are some owner-type footsteps leading from the horses to the edge of the desert, but there are no steps indicating an owner’s desire to return to two valuable horses before anyone happens upon them and concludes they were abandoned. There are no signs of steps to the right of the desert line, nor steps to the left, or steps out into the desert. Therefore, the only conclusion to a reasonable degree of Gipsumy investigatorial certainty, is that the owners stepped out onto the sand and were likely sucked down.” (One lithe, elegant, more fey than the Fae, Gipsumy man sighed at the thought of such a sad ending to a sucking.)

Third fold, “Inasmuch as horse abandonment is a clear sign of intent to relinquish ownership thereof to anyone who thereafter happens by, and we, having thereafter happened by, it unquestionably follows the horses, and everything on them, are ours.”

Experienced in avoiding ownership confusions caused by returning persons denying horsical abandonment, the members of the band took the time for a brief meal and taking care of those needs which cannot be mentioned. After hitching Nikki and Gleb to the back of the chief’s caravan, and storing the saddles, bridles, saddlebags, and everything else in secret compartments scattered throughout the rest of the band’s caravans, they left the scene of the happenstance.

Some time later—

No!

they reached actual civilization, and thanks in part to the parchment provenance carefully crafted on the way, the Gipsumies made a more than healthy profit off an investment of the few rubles spent keeping the horses healthy and happy on the journey.

As paid-up members of GAPCHBOP—the Gipsumy Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Happened-By Beasts and Other Property—this band took more than the minimum amount of time mandated by GAPCHBOP rules to ensure that the new owner of both horses would treat them with love, care, and good food, water and grooming.

The author adds his personal assurances that many years after the events in this tale were concluded, Nikki and Gleb died of comfortable old age, surrounded by several herds’ worth of horsical friends, acquaintances and a great many descendants, the pair having been most active in their post-prince years.

Moving along, dear readers, moving along…


Author Bio

Eric Alan Westfall

Eric is an American Midwesterner, and as Lady Glenhaven might say, “He’s old enough to have sailed with Noah.” In the real world he writes for a living, with those who would claim what he writes is fiction. His partner of thirty years—who died unexpectedly in 1995—enthusiastically encouraged him to try to get his writing published (mostly poetry back then, plus some short stories), but he didn’t have the guts to do so until 2013. At this point he’s not sure which was officially first, The Song, or Like a Mountain, Waiting.

Starting then, he’s published 13 novels and novellas, 1 poetry collection, 2 short story collections, and 3 short stories. God willin’ and the crick don’t rise, 2020 will also see The Tinderbox out and about. But since real life is, as we all know, a pain in the (anatomical site of your choice)…no guarantees.

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Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Eric-Alan-Westfall-1045476662268838/

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PROMO: New Release! Brains and Brawn

Promo

Brains and Brawn - R.L. Merrill

R.L. Merrill has a new MM rock and roll book out: “Brains and Brawn.” And there’s a giveaway!

Billy “Brains” Brennan has achieved rock stardom in not just one, but two chart-topping bands, but events from his past have him convinced he’s living on borrowed time. Brains and his brothers-in-Hush are ready to take the last cross-country Warped Tour by storm…until the actions of two drunk dudes with bad attitudes set off a chain of events that leave him incapacitated…and face-to-face with a handsome stranger who inexplicably feels like home—and not the home Brains fled at sixteen.

Chief Petty Officer Paul McNally has spent his 25-year career as a Navy Corpsman responding to emergencies and caring for wounded soldiers. When fate has him in the right place to provide aid to a fallen rock star, it sends his life spiraling on a trajectory he never planned for. Instead of concentrating on his impending retirement and a second career, he’s now playing nursemaid to a fascinating younger man…and falling in love—a fact he can’t seem to figure out how to explain to his adult son.

A health scare, band drama, and pain from both of their pasts threatens to end Brains and Paul’s fledgling relationship. Fate brought them together. It will take trust, honesty, and hope to keep them together.

Amazon | Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

R.L. is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

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Excerpt

Brains and Brawn meme

Paul’s head whipped around when he heard the first scream. He watched in horror as the tent Bowie had just been standing in front of—Hush’s tent—collapsed and a crowd of people fell.

Without hesitation, he ran for the tent. Then he spotted Bowie standing over some big guy.

“You okay?” he yelled to him.

Bowie nodded, his big blue eyes wide as he looked back at the disaster.

Security began barricading the area around the tent and moving the screaming fans away from the scene. Adults attempted to pull the kids out of harm’s way.

That’s when Paul saw the tabletop on the ground and a pair of black-clad legs sticking out from underneath.

Oh God.

Guys in bright yellow security shirts lifted and pulled the rest of the tent out of the way. Paul rushed toward the broken table and sank to his knees next to Brains.

“Can you hear me? Are you with me?”

Brains locked gazes with him, and Paul felt pain in his right hand. He looked down to see Brains squeezing the life out of it.

“Please don’t leave….”

Medical staff approached in blue cargo pants and polos and swarmed the members of the band and their staff, several of whom were on the ground. Two women approached Brains with medical kits, and Paul started to move back, but Brains’s grip grew tighter.

“Please don’t leave me!” Brains said again, more insistently. He was panting, his face losing color, and Paul feared he was going into shock. He glanced at the table on his legs and at the staff who were preparing to lift it off him.

Paul worried perhaps the worst had occurred, but the fact that Brains was still squeezing the shit out of his hand was a good sign.

Brains coughed as he brought his other hand up to grasp Paul’s. “Please!” His appeals were growing in urgency.

Paul leaned a little closer to his face and pressed his free hand to Brains’s cheek. “I’m not going anywhere, okay? But they’re going to lift the table now. You ready? Try not to move.”

Brains nodded—another good sign—but Paul pressed a hand to his shoulder. “Stay still.”

The staff guys counted to three, and then they lifted the table.

Brains let out a guttural shout, and tears streamed down his face as he winced in agony.

Paul breathed a sigh of relief to not see any blood or rips in Brains’s pants. He half expected to see a bone shard sticking out. But they weren’t out of the woods.

“Brains, listen to me, okay?”

“Billy.”

Paul frowned. “Billy?”

“My name is Billy. Please—”

“I’m not leaving you, but these medics here are going to look you over, and they’re probably going to poke and prod you a bit.” He nodded to the young women in Rock Medicine shirts who stood by, hesitating to approach. Paul heard sirens in the distance, which meant better-trained professionals were on their way, but Brains—Billy—needed to be assessed immediately.

“Sir, we need you to move—”

“He’s not going anywhere!” Brains shouted at them.

Paul addressed the one with the first-aid kit. “My name is Paul McNally. I’m a Navy corpsman, and I’m trained in triage and emergency medical treatment.” And I’m not leaving his side.

The young women looked to each other and then crouched down next to Billy. One of them placed a hand on Billy’s arm.

“I’m going to touch you, okay?”

“He’s staying with me, you got it? He’s staying.” Billy’s chin quivered as he spoke to the medics. The two women looked at each other with eyes wide.

Paul was losing circulation in his hand, but he wouldn’t have left Billy if the entire venue burst into flames. The way he was reacting… Paul had been through countless emergencies and could recognize when there was a psychological issue at work that needed attention.

He looked around for Bowie and saw him with Dimples, watching from a distance. Relieved that he hadn’t been hurt and seemed to be doing okay, Paul turned his full attention on Billy.

One of the women took Brains’s vitals, and the other ran her hands over his body, checking for injuries. She barely spoke to Brains, and Paul was perturbed at the way they were assessing him.

“Billy, can you wiggle your toes for me?” Paul asked.

Brains nodded, and then Paul looked at his Vans-clad feet. Thankfully, he saw movement on both.

Paul smiled down at Brains. “You’re doing great. You know what today is?”

“A fucked-up day? I had a bad feeling this morning….”

“Seems like it was warranted.”

Brains’s deep blue eyes fixed on Paul, and his breathing seemed to slow for just a moment. Paul hoped that meant he would maybe be able to relax—

“Sir, I’m going to need to put a collar on you.”

Brains flinched when the medic touched him. “I’m fine, just let me up—”

Paul placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, and it was enough to keep Brains from trying to sit up. “Billy? It’s important that you lie still and let them put a collar on you. With this sort of accident, they need to keep your spine aligned to avoid any further injury, okay?”

Brains began to pant and tugged Paul’s hand as though he wanted to try to pull up, but when he tried to move his legs, only the right one moved, and he screamed in pain.

“Look at me,” Paul said, getting closer to his face. He needed to distract him, to make Brains focus on him. “Brains, they need to take you to the hospital—”

“No. No, no, no, please,” he whispered. “I can’t go, please, Paul, please—”

“I’m not going to leave you. I won’t let them hurt you, okay? They need to take you in for X-rays to make sure nothing’s broken.”

Brains’s voice sounded like that of a frightened child. Something was seriously wrong. He pulled on their joined hands again, and the medic placed a hand on Brains’s chest to keep him from moving.

“Sir? You may have a spinal injury, so we have to place you on this backboard with a collar to protect you. If you won’t cooperate, we’re going to have to sedate you.”

“Can you give us a minute?” Paul asked the medics, irritation clear in his voice.

“We need to get him to the ambulance,” the medic closest to him said, and then was distracted by the band’s manager. She gave the medic Brains’s information and shot a worried look Paul’s direction. His full name was Billy Brennan.

Paul ground his teeth together and took a breath to calm himself. “I understand. Will you give me a moment to speak to Mr. Brennan? I’d like to avoid the use of sedatives.”

She nodded, and they stood and backed away a few feet to confer.

Paul squeezed Brains’s hand and placed the other on his forehead.

“Hey, man. The sedatives are a drag. This will all go better if you let them collar you and get you on the backboard. Hopefully everything is fine. The fact that you’re moving your toes and strangling my fingers leads me to think your spine is just fine, but it’s procedure. I swear I’m staying with you.”

Billy swallowed hard, his eyes wild. “I know I’m acting crazy. There’s a reason, I just… please.”

Paul smiled at him. “You haven’t seen crazy until you’ve got a wounded Marine pulling his pistol and pointing it at your face while you try to remove a sliver from his other hand.”

Brains’s eyes bugged out. “A sliver?”

Paul shrugged. “It was a four-inch piece of shrapnel, but I’d still call it a sliver.” He winked, and Brains barked out a laugh. Good, keep that smile. “You going to let them collar you and take you for a little ride?”

Brains’s smile faded. “Just please stay with me. Can you? Will you?”

If Paul hadn’t already been 100 percent in on this mission, he was now.


Author Bio

R.L. Merrill brings you stories of Hope, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll featuring quirky and relatable characters. Whether she’s writing about contemporary issues that affect us all or diving deep into the paranormal and supernatural to give readers a shiver, she loves creating compelling stories that will stay with readers long after.

Winner of the Kathryn Hayes “When Sparks Fly” Best Contemporary award for Hurricane Reese, Foreword INDIES finalist for Summer of Hush and RONE finalist for Typhoon Toby, Ro spends every spare moment improving her writing craft and striving to find that perfect balance between real-life and happily ever after.

She writes diverse and inclusive romance, contributes paranormal hilarity to Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Universe, and works on various other writing and mentoring projects that tickle her fancy or benefit a worthy cause.

You can find her connecting with readers on social media, educating America’s youth, raising two brilliant teenagers, trying desperately to get that back piece finished in the tattoo chair, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area! Stay Tuned for more Rock ‘n’ Romance.

Author Website: https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005746815103

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/rlmerrillauthor

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/rlmerrillauthor

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Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9828914.R_L_Merrill

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/r-l-merrill/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/R-L-Merrill/e/B00PI6Q1LI

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PROMO: Hearts Ablaze

Promo

A.D. Ellis has a new contemporary MM romance out: “Hearts Ablaze.”

Chase Steele and Xander Copperfield are down on their luck, as similar as they are different, and ready for a love they didn’t even realize they’d been waiting on their whole lives.

With two gorgeous “tough guys” discovering and exploring their true selves, Hearts Ablaze is a steamy, slow-burn, friends-to-lovers, opposites attract, bisexual awakening romance.

*This is the first book in the Forged in the City series.*

Amazon | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads

About the Series:

Love will find you whether you’re ready for it or not. Join the men of the Forged in the City series as they navigate the twists and turns of falling in love when it’s least expected. This series contains steamy, M/M age-gap, opposites-attract, friends-to-lovers romance tropes.

Series Link


Giveaway

A.D. is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

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Excerpt

Hearts Ablaze Meme

As I quietly opened the door, I was overcome with nervous anticipation. Sage and Bode were nice, they invited me to stay, there was no reason to feel like I was intruding or needed to sneak around.

Yet, I found myself just outside of the kitchen eavesdropping on Sage and Bode. I hadn’t meant to slink in the shadows and listen to their conversation, I just wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted to be and their words caught my attention. Before I knew what was happening, I was spying like a damn spying spier.

“Think about it. It’s like fate. Remember when you didn’t want me to move in here? You did everything you could to convince the guys to pick someone else. But you ended up with me and it turned out to be fabulous.” Sage’s words were low and persuasive. “Ginny finds her long-lost nephew, he discovers his aunt and a sister he never knew, and it looked very much like he and Xan are totally hitting it off.”

“Babe, he’s a complete stranger.” Bode’s words were gruff.

“Ginny had his records checked. You checked his records—even had Mark check them which I’m still not okay with. We could run a complete check for employment.” Sage paused and I heard the soft noises of a gentle kiss.

Bode groaned.

I was a total perv hiding in the shadows and getting turned on knowing Sage and Bode were kissing.

“We need an employee. We have an extra room.” Sage was laying it on thick. “We could help bring two siblings together and maybe even strike a love connection.”

Bode began to speak, but I missed what he said because I nearly shit myself as Rosie gripped my hand and basically screamed, “Whatcha doin? Why you hidin?”

Sage and Bode stuck their heads out of the kitchen and I prayed to melt into a puddle right there. Rosie shrugged when she realized it wasn’t a game and went back to playing with Oliver.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to listen in.” My words poured from me like the pathetic excuse they were. “Really, I came for coffee, heard Sage and didn’t want to interrupt. By the time I realized you were talking about me, it was too late and I was frozen.” I ran a hand over my face, my cheeks on fire. “Shit, I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t sweat it,” Sage assured and waved a dismissive hand in the air. “Coffee?”

Since I wasn’t lucky enough to die on the spot, I nodded and entered the kitchen. “Yes, please.”

“Well, what would you think?” Bode leaned against the counter.

“About?” I stammered.

Sage beamed at Bode. It was clear Sage had won. Something told me Sage often won when it came to winning over Bode.

“Sage is right. We do need an employee at The Lizard. We lost quite a few people to college graduation or busy school schedules.” Bode shrugged. “We planned on inviting you to be around as much as possible to build a relationship with Rosie. If you’d be willing to have a complete background check, the position and room are yours.”

I stared at him for years. Decades even.

“What’s wrong with him? Did I break him?” Bode scowled and spoke out of the corner of his mouth to Sage.

Sage chuckled and moved closer to me. He pushed my jaw up. “Close your mouth, sweetie.” He stepped between me and Bode. “Chase, would you like a job at The Salty Lizard? It’s not glamorous or exciting.” He frowned. “Actually, it can be kinda exciting sometimes. And it’s always fun. Great people.” He dipped his head to catch my eyes. “Chase? Job? You want it?”

I nodded and tried to work my sandpapery thick tongue. “Yes, yes, of course, I want it.” I tried to breathe, but my lungs seemed to be faltering.

“We have a room here. You’d pay rent, but it’s a decent price. We’d set some ground rules. You’d have to be okay living with kids.” Sage spoke slowly as if trying to explain quantum physics to me. “Would you like the room?”

“I, um, I just can’t. I mean, yes, of course I’d want the room, but I can’t ask you guys to give me a job, give me a room, and let me hang with my sister. It’s too much.” I moved to the right and leaned against the sink.

“Want to talk about the rent and salary? Make a decision from there?” Sage patted my arm.

I nodded mutely.

Sage went to check on the kids and set them up with crayons and coloring books along with Kidz Bop on a tablet.


Author Bio

A.D. Ellis is an Indiana girl, born and raised. She spends much of her time in central Indiana as an instructional coach/teacher in the inner city of Indianapolis, being a mom to two amazing school-aged children, and wondering how she and her husband of almost two decades have managed to not drive each other insane. A lot of her time is also devoted to phone call avoidance and her hatred of cooking.

She loves chocolate, wine with friends, pizza, crocheting and naps along with reading and writing romance. These loves don’t leave much time for housework, much to the chagrin of her husband. Who would pick cleaning the house over a nap or a good book? She uses any extra time to increase her fluency in sarcasm.

Author Website: https://www.adellisauthor.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/adellisauthor

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/ADEllisAuthor

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adellisauthor

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8068864.A_D_Ellis

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/a-d-ellis/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/A.D.-Ellis/e/B00K0YJ8CW

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PROMO: Warrior’s Way

Promo

Warrior's Way - M.J. Calabrese

M.J. Calabrese has a new Gay/Bi mystery thriller out: “Warrior’s Way.” And there’s a giveaway!

Friends since childhood, Albuquerque detective Eagle Woodard and criminal profiler Adam Coulter are dragged into a serial killer case. Gay couples are being murdered and tortured and the FBI needs their help to capture the sadistic murderer.

Deciding to implement a plan to trap the killer, Adam and Eagle go undercover as an involved gay couple. Or is it really pretend?

Faced with their toughest challenge yet, they must find the active serial killer before he strikes again. With the powers that be not cooperating and the killer proving to be elusive, will Eagle and Adam be able to stop the murderer while navigating their changing relationship?

Please Note: This is the first book in an ongoing story arc. Although the case is solved, the relationship ends on a cliffhanger. Contains graphic violence and scenes of torture.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | QueeRomance Ink


Giveaway

M.J. is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47125/?


Excerpt

Warriors Way Meme

The cool wind attacked Eagle Woodard’s body as he fell head over heels. He tumbled, body tightly tucked as he cleared the modified Cessna, momentarily catching sight of the blue, cloudless horizon before stretching out to embrace the air. Below him, the rust toned surrealist canvas of desert and mountains began to take shape as he allowed himself to freefall through the biting tempest. The winds transformed his tanned face, warping it into a mad, Joker-esque grin.

The former Army Ranger set his plan into motion.  Pulling his muscular arms tightly against his torso, the angle of his descent began to change. ‘I feel the need, the need for speed.’ If the wind hadn’t been so brutal, he would’ve laughed. How many times had they used those iconic words in training? At 38, it felt like a lifetime ago.

Eagle tilted his head down. He pressed his legs together with toes pointed toward the heavens, becoming a human bullet streaking through the atmosphere. He could feel the friction heating his head and shoulders. His dark, goggle covered eyes flickered to the left, quickly gauging his altitude in relation to the horizon. One…, two…, three seconds passed.

Eagle reveled in the multitude of sensations inundating his body. The angry roar of the wind deafened him. The white noise of the rushing air blotted out all sound except for the popping of the black, nylon jumpsuit. The wind strained the cloth protecting him almost to its limit. The powerful, talon-like turbulence threatened to shred his clothes, leaving him bare and unprotected from the tempest. The bee sting lash of his long, raven ponytail as it whipped against his neck and face revitalized and reddened his brown skin.

Four…, five…, six…, seven…, eight.’  With an eerie calm, Woodard counted the seconds. As he drew closer and closer to terra firma, his confidence in his abilities never wavered. Here he was master. Here he was the great bird of his people’s folklore. He was the embodiment of Atsáh, the Eagle, swooping with deadly accuracy toward his prey on the ground.

The Albuquerque homicide Detective didn’t need to see his altimeter. He knew he only had a few more moments of precious freedom. Reluctantly, his right hand moved reflexively to the left side of his chest. Gripping the cold metal ring, he tugged.

A grunt of air was forced from his lungs. The nylon straps crisscrossing his body suddenly tightened, drawing him up. Eagle grimaced as pain seared up his back. The sudden opening of his parachute at this rate of speed aggravated more than one old injury. Gravity, the purveyor of his discomfort, pressed his chin to his chest for an instant before the strain of rapid deceleration eased.

With skill born of countless jumps, Eagle maneuvered the billowing canopy toward his destination. Calculating the high desert cross winds, he made a last-minute correction which allowed him to plant his right foot firmly onto the center of the large, white cross target. As his left foot touched down, he leaned back, encouraging his chute to take the rest of the breeze until it collapsed and fell impotent to the sand. Instantly, the tall man began to gather the yards of thin ripstop nylon and cord into his arms, beating down any last show of resistance from the exuberant ram-air parachute.

Turning, Eagle reached up and pulled his goggles from his face just as his cell phone rang. Pulling it from his zippered pocket, he grimaced at the sight of the familiar number.

“I thought I was supposed to have a day off, Captain.”

“You do, but I’ve got an FBI agent here that needs to talk with you. Says you knew his brother. Here, talk to him.”

“Detective Woodard, my name is Kessler. Rick Kessler. I think you served with my brother, Dean, in the Army.”

The voice and the name triggered unpleasant memories of a time he had tried to bury. He couldn’t tell if it was his Spanish or Navajo side sending a warning chill up his spine. Suddenly, Eagle realized the man on the other end of the line was waiting.

“Yeah, sorry. Yeah, I remember Dean. He died in Afghanistan, didn’t he? Sorry.”

What Woodard remembered was what a closeted bastard the guy had been and how he’d used the knowledge of Eagle’s own closeted sexuality against him. Threatening to report him and risking dishonorable discharge at best…, or death if members of their team found out. He didn’t mourn Dean Kessler’s passing when he got word that some insurgents finished him. “Captain said you were with the FBI?”

“Yes. Detective Woodard, I’ve heard a lot about you and Dr. Coulter. I was very impressed when you apprehended Martin Devoreaux. I read the case report. You and Dr. Coulter are quite the team. The good doctor’s a legend at the bureau. His book on  Ritual Behaviorism Among Serial Killers is mandatory reading now at the academy.”

“Oh, Adam would love to hear that.” Eagle rolled his eyes. The last thing Adam Coulter needed was something to bolster his ego.

“If it’s alright, I really need to talk with both of you about a case I’m working. I think you might be able to help me.”

“Today?”

“No. I’m still putting some final touches on a plan I’ve got in motion. How about tomorrow morning at your home? I want to keep this as low key as possible. Strictly, on a need to know basis, so I’d prefer it if your Captain and I met with you and Coulter privately.”

Eagle unzipped his jumpsuit from chin to navel. “What time?”

“0900?”

“Sure. Tell Cap to bring the creamer.”

Pocketing his phone, Eagle gathered his parachute from the ground and slowly made his way to his truck. Stowing the chute away, he unzipped his jumpsuit the rest of the way. Dragging it down off his shoulders, he revealed a tan-colored work shirt and jeans. He pushed the loose-fitting black nylon from around his narrow waist. Wrestling the last couple of inches of fabric over his shoes, Eagle jerked the material free and tossed it behind the driver’s seat completing his impromptu striptease. He looked up toward the sun before glancing at his watch.

“Yeah…, I know, I’m late.” He said to no one, but the wind.


Author Bio

Warriors Way author logo - M.J. Calabrese

My mother now regrets her fateful words she offered the day I came home from our small town library in Palm Springs, California (yes, I’m a Cali girl) complaining that there were no more books to read. “Then why don’t you write some.”

My father never saw his old Remington portable until I entered college and they gifted me an IBM Selectric. By then I had produced at least two dozen unpublishable novels which make me cringe when I read them today.

I found inspiration in innumerable odd jobs (from migrant work as a Date palm pollinator to the person who cleans the washing machines at the launderette to professional Dominatrix) for stories. After a stint in Rehab for Alcohol and Heroin abuse (so when I write those scenes, I know what I’m talking about), I cleaned up and have stayed that way for 29 years. (Me and Sir Elton, LOL). My gypsy lifestyle gave me a unique perspective on the different people who inhabited the Washington, Oregon, Arizona, California, and New Mexico areas where I have lived.

After 3 very bad marriages to men, I finally figured out what was wrong and fell in love with a woman when I lived in Portland, OR 23 years ago. We’ve been married since 2008 (yes it was legal in California at that time). We now live in Asheville, NC and love the people in this liberal and accepting corner of the mountains of North Carolina.

Author Website: https://www.mjcalabrese.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100043704531611

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/authormjcalabrese/

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/calabrese_mj

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mj.calabrese/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/m-j-calabrese/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/M-J-Calabrese/e/B082VDNB6T/

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PROMO: Far Away

Promo

Far Away

Bryan T. Clark has a new contemporary MM romance out: “Far Away.” And there’s a giveaway!

First love can save you … and ruin you …

Eighteen-year-old Noah Rothenberg spent the perfect summer with his first love, the charming and seductive Spiro. He fell head over heels in love from what started as a clumsy crush.

But that was twelve years ago. His relationships since have been spectacular failures because of how things ended with Spiro. If he has any hope of moving forward, he needs to find Spiro and get some closure … even if he has to fly halfway around the world to do it. Too bad he instead finds himself falling—again—for the man who ruined him for all other men.

Love isn’t an emotion Spiro Papadopoulos entirely trusts anymore. He’s far too pragmatic for that. His focus these days has to be on his art and caring for his ailing mother. Being with Noah again is easy and feels so right … but is it love? Spiro isn’t sure. Besides, with his entire life being tied to Greece and Noah’s to New York, love might just be a luxury neither of them can afford.

Can Spiro and Noah overcome the oceans and years between them—or will their second chance at love end as badly as their first?

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink


Giveaway

Bryan is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

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Excerpt

Far Away meme

“Good morning, Mr. Rothenberg.” Eros put a hand on his knee to steady himself as he stood. Aloof in the shadows, Spiro held his gaze on him. Noah couldn’t look away as Spiro’s eyes washed over him from head to toe. Were they brown or green? Afraid he’d stared too long, he broke eye contact, his eyes sweeping past the visitor’s long dark sideburns that cupped his ears.

“Sorry to disturb you.” Noah’s voice cracked. He cleared his throat and tried to put on a cool and collected face, not wanting to seem like the dork that he was. “I was hoping you could help this morning with the rowboat.” His thumb pointed to the boathouse, but his eyes remained on Spiro. Face-to-face, Eros’s nephew was… beautiful. A statue of beauty.

Noah tried to look away but couldn’t. Yes, Spiro was a hair taller than he. His square jawline, straight nose, and jade eyes rimmed in gold were mesmerizing. Noah’s heart sped as he broke eye contact. Excitement swirled in his gut at the proximity of this Adonis.

“Sure.” Eros tossed his hammer into his box of tools. Noah’s eyes followed Eros as Eros turned and spoke to his nephew.

Noah’s eyes drifted to Spiro’s bow-shaped lips before moving up to his eyes. Their eyes met, causing Noah’s heart to skip a beat. Noah had no idea what he saw in those cat eyes that were staring intensely back at him and caused his heart to flutter. It wasn’t disdain, dominance, or dismissal, the usual looks his peers gave him upon meeting him for the first time. It was… he’s really looking at me.

Everything about Spiro enthralled him. No longer wishing away the next two months before he could escape to Harvard, he was cautiously excited about the summer.

“Hi, I’m Noah.” He felt the heat of a blush on his cheeks as he extended his hand. Spiro looked directly at him; his deep stare instantly pinned Noah. His dark locks of hair, jet black, ran the length of his neck and curled at the nape of his neck. Noah tried to release a breath quietly. Adrenaline pumped through his veins like the multiple streams that fed into Lake Winnipesaukee. He’d never acted this boldly when it came to meeting someone. The way Spiro looked at him gave him the boost of confidence that he could actually stand here and talk to him. This was a first, and it surprised him.

Spiro shook Noah’s hand. “Um, my English is not so good. My name is Spiro.” A deep voice cast from his full lips. Spiro saying his own name sounded more exotic than when Noah’s grandmother said it.

Geeze Louise, his teeth are perfect, too. They’re so freaking white. Noah stumbled over his own words as he searched for something to say. Spiro’s gaze kept Noah from looking for more than a second before lowering his head.


Author Bio

Bryan T. Clark

Bryan T. Clark is a multi-published award-winning author of gay romance, and contemporary books.

In his early in life, Bryan learned that he was different from everyone else in his world. As a young African American boy, he was the second to the youngest of seven children. Long before hormones kicked in and the realization of same sex attraction, it was his light skin and blond hair that made him different from those around him. Teased within his own race for being lighter than everyone else, the kids on the playground called him “Cornbread”.

As a writer, Bryan has taken back the power once given up to those schoolyard bullies. He is committed to bringing his readers stories of real life, with multicultural characters, riveting plots, and where the underdog always wins. He is the founder of Cornbread Publishing: the name empowers him and is a constant reminder that life can have a Happily-Ever-After.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Bryan and his husband of thirty-six years has made their home and life in the Central Valley of California.

Author Website: https://www.btclark.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/btclarkauthor

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/BryanTClarkx2

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/romanceauthor/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/bryan-t-clark/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bryan-Clark/e/B00INKEVWM

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PROMO: The Qinali Virus

Promo

The Qinali VirusValerie J. Mikles has a new queer sci fi book out: “The Qinali Virus.”

Rage. Poverty. Disease.

They’re gone. Every last one.

The cost was great. The population has been devastated. But for the survivors, utopia has arrived.

Then the suspicious death of a young person forces Amber to question her world like she never has before. The Contentedness Council is after her, determined to protect their perfect society. Now Amber must unbury her city’s repressed past, expose the crimes that led to their utopia, and find a way to stop the Council from killing the world… again.

Join astral-projecting asexual Amber and her telepathic sister as they fight to save the human race from extermination!

Get It on Amazon


Excerpt

The Qinali Virus MemeJenise gasped. “Don’t do it.”

“Don’t call for help?” Amber asked, setting the tablet aside. “This is an astral injury. Maybe someone back home can help you.”

“No, please,” Jenise whimpered.

Amber felt her body vibrating and heard a ringing in her ears. The world became hazy and she saw her physical body collapsed on the ground. She hadn’t moved, and when she reached to the side, her hands passed through everything. This was how her book had described the astral plane.

“I did it! I’m here,” she squealed. Then she saw Jenise lying on the ground. A needle-like splinter pierced Jenise’s brain, and her aura seemed to ooze from the wound.

“Oh, this… this is bad…” Amber stammered, gathering the oozing essence back toward Jenise. Her hand went right through the glowing ooze and Jenise’s body. “How can I help you if I can’t touch you? What did the book say?”

“She’s coming for me,” Jenise murmured. Her physical form twitched, the red welts spreading as the needle dug deeper into her brain. Amber tried to clamp Jenise’s chin, but Jenise’s body passed through hers, so she grabbed the needle, and suddenly Jenise went still. She saw the needle because Jenise had described the needle. It was a manifestation of an injury; not a physical injury.

“I can manipulate a manifestation,” Amber murmured. Moving gingerly, Amber extracted the needle from her sister’s brain, and Jenise started to scream.

“Do you want me to stop?” Amber asked. Jenise kept screaming, oblivious to the question.

Gritting her teeth, Amber removed more of the needle, and her sister’s essence gushed from the wound. Amber blew gently on the oozing liquid and it seemed to dissolve into her sister’s skin. Once the needle was out, she molded her hands around her sister’s head, trying to close the wound. Her hands kept passing through Jenise’s skull, making her twitch. Amber didn’t like astral surgery, and she hoped she was helping.

“They’re coming,” Jenise murmured, her hands flailing, passing through Amber’s astral body. She felt her form vibrate and a ringing sound filled her ears.

“No. No, I’m not finished!” Amber cried, feeling an anchor pulling her back to her physical form. She curled into a fetal position, fighting to get back to the astral plane.

Jenise rolled onto her side and spooned behind Amber. “We have to run,” she rasped. “Someone’s coming.”

“Who? Is it Parey? Someone from the Council?” Amber asked. Amber heard the truck now, its wheels crushing the dirt and gravel as it came down the road from Highmere.

“I can’t tell,” Jenise rasped. “Don’t give up, Amber. Don’t go back.”

Amber sensed Jenise’s urgency, but when she saw the truck, she felt relieved. Running meant more isolation and uncertainty. What if Jenise wasn’t really better? Going back to Highmere made sense.

“Let’s go home,” Amber said. “You were scared, Jenise. We were scared. We can say… I don’t know. They’ll give us counseling and then we can go back to our lives.”

“I don’t want to go to brainwashing therapy,” Jenise said.

“Stop calling it that,” Amber explained.

“You don’t even know, do you?” Jenise said. “You don’t remember how you were before Cenn died. What “therapy” did to you.”

“It helped,” Amber insisted, looking hopefully at the truck ambling toward them. “I was a mess. I needed to be able to talk to someone without dumping it on all of you.”

“But you stopped feeling,” Jenise argued. “Not just the grief; you stopped feeling joy. You used to make twittering noises when you read books. You used to get so excited about things that Cenn had to sit you down so you wouldn’t pass out.”

“I’ll be fine. I’ll be calm,” Amber said, fighting for a reason to trust her people. “They want the tablet with Chenna’s research. That’s all this is. A misunderstanding.”

“I was almost misunderstood to death!” Jenise cried, kicking at Amber, and rolling out of reach.

“Jenise, unless you can move, we can’t outrun them,” Amber said. “I am not leaving without you. I—oh, no.”

The stress of the argument made her dizzy and she dropped to her knees. A moment later, she was standing by the road, watching the truck roll by. Her voice caught in her throat, but she didn’t need to call out. The husky man in the passenger seat saw her and hollered, and the truck screeched to a stop. She recognized him from the Council—Tobin Wauld.

“I know we’re not supposed to be here. We’re scared. Can you take us home?” she asked. The weight of fear lifted for a moment, but then Wauld hoisted himself out the window, and drew a long-barreled weapon.

“Well, well, Discontent Delouise. This was too easy,” he smirked.

Amber’s lips quivered and her legs froze. She’d never seen a weapon like that in Highmere, but she’d seen them in that zombie movie. Run, you idiot, her brain shouted. She’d muttered it at the characters in the movies often enough.

He shot Amber with an orange-tipped weapon as he stalked past. She felt the sting of the puncture and a thin stream of liquid dripping into her astral form.

“Tobin, you shot her!” his companion cried.

“We came with tranqs for a reason. We don’t have time to argue with discontents,” Wauld said.

Amber still couldn’t believe a councilperson had shot her. Pretending to faint, she turned and dropped, rolling down the embankment. The moment the truck was out of sight, she willed herself back to her physical body.

“How’d it go?” Jenise asked.

“They shot me,” Amber said. Her whole body was trembling from adrenaline and she could feel the spread of the tranquilizer dart pushing against it.

“Misunderstanding?” Jenise taunted.

“Oh, no. Very clear,” Amber said, blinking away the spots in her vision. She had never experienced violence in Highmere, and she didn’t even know her people had dart guns. The feelings of shock and betrayal hit her in waves, as did a profound sense of loss. This wasn’t a short camping trip that ended with a meek return home anymore.


Author Bio

The Qinali Virus - Valerie J MiklesValerie loves dancing, writing, astronomy, sci-fi, and grapes. She’s agender, aromantic, and asexual, and even though her labels describe many things she is not, her motto in life is “I can be everything I want, just not all at the same time.”

Although she has yet to get paid to eat grapes, she was delighted to learn that people would pay her to study black holes, and spent much of her twenties as a black hole hunter. She was rewarded with an astronomy PhD, which promptly inspired her to move to L.A. to be a screenwriter. How she ended up working on weather satellites for NOAA, we may never know.

Her passion for story-telling extends back to before she could write, and in fall 2017, she achieved a life dream and published her first book, “The Disappeared.” Valerie currently has six books published in her New Dawn series You can learn more about Valerie’s books on her website: http://www.valeriejmikles.com

An asexual activist, Valerie has written and produced a series of comedic short films featuring asexual characters. You can watch her films online at: http://www.aces-sitcom.com. Her third book ‘Trade Circle’ features an asexual protagonist, and interestingly, she created this character before she even knew there was a word to describe it. She is super-excited about the release of the Qinali Virus, featuring an asexual, aromantic astronomer (and a weather satellite for good measure).

Author Website: http://www.valeriejmikles.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://www.facebook.com/vjmikles

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/valeriebean

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16941635.Valerie_J_Mikles

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Valerie-J-Mikles/e/B074K2QCHG

Author LibraryThing: https://www.librarything.com/author/miklesvaleriej

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PROMO: Belega

Promo

Belega - Dianne HartsockDianne Hartsock has a new MM fantasy romance book out, The Karthagans Book One: “Belega.”

The Karthagans have regained their ancient powers of manipulating nature, but at the price of madness. In their lust for control they’ve destroyed their island and most of their race. They come now to Belega where one of them, Camron, seeks domination over the known world.

The Mage has come from the northern continent of Sennia to bring peace, but finding his strength no match for the coming struggle, he passes his abilities on to Natan, who only desires a simple life. Now only Natan has the ability to stop Camron, but the personal cost is more than he imagines.

It is only with the combined strength of his friends, his Karthagan lover, Kavi, and his deep desire to bring peace to the earth, that he finds the courage to overcome Camron and restore balance to the world. The power of the mind is immense.

In this world, mankind has learned to gather the energies of creation to use at their whim. But absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Publisher | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN

Barnes & Noble | QueeRomance Ink


Giveaway

Dianne is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47115/?


Excerpt

Belega meme - Dianne Hartsock“I have you.”

Natan rose into a low crouch from the scrub brush, careful not to scrape his cloak against the foliage, and searched his memory for the trick Kavi had taught him. Oh, yes. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, releasing all worries. His expectations. Letting go. The clip of the horse’s hooves echoed in his mind and he concentrated on that, the smell of the horse, the feel of its hide, the oats on its breath. He became aware of a vague fear in the animal’s mind.

But then the tenuous connection broke without time to try again as the soldier leading the roan brought him to a stop, his gaze sweeping the path ahead, alert. Gathering his scattered wits as best he could, Natan lunged to his feet and dove for the soldier’s legs. They went down hard, Natan gasping at the whoosh of air against his cheek as the horse reared, hooves barely missing him. Knowing he was no match for the soldier physically, he scrambled to jab a knee into the man’s back, then drew his thin knife and pressed it against the pulse at his throat and felt him stiffen.

“Hold very still,” he warned. The soldier didn’t move as the keen blade inadvertently nicked his skin. Recalling Kavi’s imprisonment, Natan gritted his teeth and swung his arm back, then brought the hilt of the knife down sharply on his vulnerable skull. The man went limp with a grunt. Natan climbed to his feet, cursing under his breath as the horse disappeared up the trail. He rolled the man over so his face wouldn’t be in the dirt, making sure he could breathe without difficulty.

Frowning at the thick trees crowding them, he left his captive a moment to scout the vicinity, at last coming upon a small clearing off the trail. It took some effort to drag the unconscious soldier to the spot, and a relief to roll the heavy body down the last few feet. He retrieved leather strips from his pack and bound the man’s hands and feet to a small sapling, and examined the soldier’s head once again. Although the purplish welt had swollen, the bleeding had stopped.

Natan watched the soldier a moment, and shook his head in disgust when he didn’t waken. “Hit him too hard,” he muttered, angry with himself. He built a small fire as the air grew chilly, and sat with his back to a tree while he waited for the soldier to regain consciousness. Darkness descended on the forest and he chewed his lips in growing anxiety. Bryon had gone to Nagal to petition the Mage to help them recover Kavi. Had he reached the city yet? If so, Natan would need to be at the Lake of Glass to meet with them in a few short days. A lifetime, while Kavi remained captive.

He sharpened his knife on a whetstone to pass the time while the soldier remained unconscious. The stars came out and an ache crept into his chest as he thought of Kavi and how they used to lie awake and watch for falling stars. Natan would make them tea in a little pot over the fire, and they’d wrap in warm blankets and talk quietly while the sky wheeled overhead. Sometimes they made love, Kavi’s warm sleek body pliant as Natan searched out new ways to draw those sweet breathy moans from his lips.

And then it had all ended. Natan closed his eyes at the jab of pain in his heart. The Nagal soldiers had come to their camp and dragged Kavi away, laughing when Natan struggled, and methodically beat him senseless. That had been two weeks ago, and every attempt he’d made to find his lover had failed. The last time he’d been threatened with imprisonment himself.

He would do Kavi no good behind iron bars, he reminded himself again.

Natan opened his eyes to find the captive staring at him from where he’d slumped against the tree. Natan went over and helped him to a sitting position.

“What’s your name?” he asked with ice in his voice. The man continued to stare at him, insolent. Natan looked him over carefully. “Let me guess. You’re dressed as a Nagal soldier, though you’re obviously not one. Maybe a deserter? Maybe a Barkuit spy?” He watched the soldier’s face as he named the rival country, then leaned closer to whisper, “What of Kavi?”

“That trash?” the man asked in surprise, and yelped when Natan lunged at him, knife slipping into his hand.  “Say that again and I’ll slit your throat. Now, what

is your name?”

“Captain Syros Reed.”

Natan sat back on his heels, fury hot in his chest.

“Speak.”

“I could tell you where they mean to bury him,” Syros drawled, holding Natan’s gaze, and smiled slightly at his sharply indrawn breath. “He was alive the last time I saw him, but I heard they mean to bury him soon. If you hurry, he may still be breathing. I don’t know.”

“And you didn’t help him?” With a sudden enraged cry Natan drove his knife into the sapling inches from Syros’s face. “He’d better be alive, for your sake.”

He left his water skin for Syros, should the man succeed in freeing himself, then gave the soldier no more thought as he snatched up his pack and settled into the long run ahead, determined to be at the Lake of Glass on time.


Author Bio

Dianne HartsockDianne grew up in one of the older homes in the middle of Los Angeles, a place of hardwood floors and secret closets and back staircases. A house where ghosts lurk in the basement and the faces in the paintings watch you walk up the front stairs. Rooms where you keep the closet doors closed tight at night. It’s where her love of the mysterious and wonderful came from. Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, the occasional thriller, and anything else that comes to mind.

She now lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. Dianne says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee in her hands, which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

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