14 August 2022

Shawn and Henry Series: Take a Shot, Book Two by Jessica Skye Davies New Release and Giveaway! @ninestarpress @indigomarketingdesign #LGBTQIA+ #romance

Title:  Shawn and Henry

Series: Take a Shot, Book Two

Author: Jessica Skye Davies

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/09/2022

Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 42600

Genre: Contemporary romance, LGBTQIA+, enemies-to-lovers, Aussie race car driver, Wales, long distance relationship, age gap, slow burn, London, amateur historian, light BDSM

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Description

James and Merrick (Take a Shot, book 1) are just beginning to navigate their relationship, and their best friends, Shawn Lasting and Henry Martin, are doing their best to be cautiously supportive. Shawn and Henry frequently come into contact, but after the tension and animosity of their first meeting, they remain wary of each other.

When Shawn finally confronts Henry about his animosity, their tension proves to have been sexual all along and quickly transforms into a long-distance relationship. With encouragement from Shawn, Henry explores his sexuality far more than he’s ever previously allowed. Meanwhile, Henry encourages Shawn to work toward making some of his own lifelong dreams a reality.

When Henry informs Shawn he’s in love with him, Shawn balks and explains that he’s always been a no-strings sort of guy, leaving Henry feeling stung and rejected.

A difficult family experience at his mother’s funeral makes Shawn question some of his preconceptions, and he realises that what he feels for Henry is love. Now, he needs to ask Henry’s forgiveness and hope that it will be enough to let them both have a love neither ever thought possible.

NOTE: The beginning of this story runs concurrently with book one, James and Merrick, but is told from the POV of their best friends, Shawn and Henry. Because of the overlap, this one can stand alone and readers do not have to read book one first.

Excerpt

Shawn and Henry
Jessica Skye Davies © 2022
All Rights Reserved

June

Shawn Lasting leaned back in the café chair that was surprisingly more comfortable than it looked and stretched his legs out, taking a sip of his dry stout. The table had ceased its wobbling only after Shawn conscripted a couple of beermats to act as shims. There wasn’t often a lot of foot traffic worth watching from the pub’s front beer garden, despite the proximity to Kew Gardens and the National Archives, but it was a quiet neighbourhood pub that suited the situation best that evening.

Shawn adjusted the shawl collar of his jumper a little higher as a breeze of typical British summer weather delivered a chill. He was waiting for his best friend, James, to join him for their usual Thursday dinner get-together and was beginning to question his decision to sit outside. Shawn’s attention was caught by a fit jogger going by the cricket grounds across the road. The jogger’s abbreviated running shorts—a throwback style that took him back to adolescent PE classes in the late 70s—showcased a pair of long, toned legs that more than made up for the weather.

James approached from around the corner while Shawn was leaning half out of his chair to watch the jogger’s progress toward the Thames. “Well, at least that explains why we’re sitting outdoors in fourteen degree weather,” James said, sitting down.

“Sheer stubbornness, I reckon. It’s summer and not raining, ergo, we sit outdoors,” Shawn said. “Anyway, I figured you could do with some fresh air. Expect this is the first you’ve been beyond your front steps since the weekend, isn’t it?”

James shrugged and took up the pint that Shawn had waiting for him. “Laying low, that’s all.”

“Not that I blame you,” Shawn said. “Especially since Michael’s little meltdown made it all public fodder.”

James sighed.

Shawn glanced over apologetically. “Sorry. We can leave that subject out for the duration.”

“Appreciate it,” James nodded.

“What about what’s-’e-called? Talked to him at all?”

“Merrick. His name’s Merrick. I did talk to him yesterday, as it happens. Wanted to talk to him all week, really, and again today. But I’m doing my best to give it space. And time.”

Shawn hummed understandingly. “How did it go?”

“Fine, really. He’s very easy to talk to,” James said.

Shawn noted the immediate change in James’s demeanour as soon as he started talking about Merrick. He was pretty certain James had never looked at ease like that when Michael was discussed, even before things had started to go genuinely bad between James and his ex-fiancé.

“Not been round to see him yet, though, right?” Shawn asked.

“Not yet. Thinking about asking him to get a coffee with me on the weekend or something.”

Shawn gave James a hesitant look. “Sure that’s wise at the moment? With that big bouncer bloke hanging around him an’ all?”

James snorted. “Henry’s not a bouncer; he’s Merrick’s mate. He explained the situation when we talked yesterday. Henry’s been his closest friend since he was in uni; he was there when Merrick went through his own nasty breakup with a control freak. He was also the one who saw that awful joke of a wedding announcement in the paper. He’s very protective of Merrick. Not so different from you, really.”

Shawn rolled his eyes. “Yeah, only difference is I don’t use my physical stature to intimidate people.”

“Shawn, your physical stature is a trace better than average. Besides, you’re all Big Dick Energy, so you don’t need to.”

“And what the bollocks is Big Dick Energy when it’s at home?” Shawn said doubtfully.

James laughed. “Confidence. You know—like you know what you’ve got and don’t have to prove it to anybody. That kind of thing.”

Shawn considered it for a moment before saying, “Well, can’t argue wi’ that.”

James just shook his head affectionately. “What are you eating?” he asked, standing to go put their dinner order in.

“Salad,” Shawn practically grumbled. “Knee was giving me shit this morning; missed my workout.”

James patted Shawn’s shoulder sympathetically. “Add on chicken or anything?”

“Grilled, yeah,” Shawn said with a nod.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Jessica Skye Davies has been a writer since her first works were “published” in her grandparents’ living room and written in crayon. She’s been a professionally published author since 2011. Jessica lives in Pittsburgh and is active in the community, having served with a local LGBT community center for several years and currently serving with the local Welsh society. She’s often found spending time with friends, attending the symphony, watching hockey, rugby, or soccer, and moonlighting as human pillow/concierge for her official writer’s cat, Squidge.

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The View From Olympus Mons by Barry Creyton Book Tour and Giveaway! @ninestarpress @indigomarketingdesign #LGBTQIA+ #contemporary

 Title:  The View From Olympus Mons

Author: Barry Creyton

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/09/2022

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 56500

Genre: Gay Fiction, LGBTQIA+, sex workers, bartender, scientist, men with children, performance arts, reunited, deep closet, coming out, HIV/Aids, tear-jerker

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Description

Nate and Craig are inseparable high school friends in spite of their social differences—Nate from a wealthy family, Craig struggling to support his drug-addicted mother.

The boys seal their friendship by burying a time capsule, a collection of childhood possessions representing their lives, swearing to unearth it thirty years hence. They look forward to the future with optimism, but when Nate declares his deep feelings for Craig, he’s rejected and circumstances part the two. Thirty years later, Craig is informed of Nate’s hospitalization in critical condition, the victim of a hate crime.

In the twenty-four hours Craig spends at his boyhood friend’s bedside, events which have shaped their lives over three decades unfold—Craig’s journey from poverty to respect as a computer scientist, through twenty years of unhappy marriage, to the late discovery of his true sexuality, while Nate is disowned by his family and forced to support himself by prostitution.

Though contact between them has been nil for thirty years, neither has been able to break the bond formed in their childhood—Craig unable to forgive himself for re-jecting his friend; Nate’s life and relationships ham-pered by his unending, unresolved love for Craig.

Ultimately, Craig will drive a frenzied 900 miles to find release from the guilt that has shadowed his life—back to the tree house where it all began.

Excerpt

The View from Olympus Mons
Barry Creyton © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Denver, Colorado

Craig was early. He parked the SUV and sat contemplating the house he’d once called home.

July was warmer than usual, the sky clear, and twilight lent some enchantment to this row of houses on Cherry Street. All remained as determinedly cozy as they had been in the thirties when, in that sliver of affluence between the depression and the war, developers had smelled profit. The result was this stretch of sugar-candy houses that were snapped up by newlyweds, unaware that many of them would soon be separated by World War II.

Craig always thought the Tudor facade of his former home was a monument to kitsch, but he’d bowed to Janet’s passion to live within its deceitful walls. Twenty years ago, he’d bowed to all of her demands. Light from the cross-paned living room windows fanned across the lawn, hinting at warmth within. But there’d been little warmth here—with one exception: Madeleine.

Now a pretty, intelligent twenty-three, Maddy had organized this evening in hopes of—what? Certainly not a reconciliation. Ever the diplomat, the bridge-maker, Maddy wanted her parents to be friends. The ostensible excuse for the evening was the few possessions Craig had left behind two years ago when he’d abandoned this house and his marriage: a few old text books, some CDs of twentieth century French music, which he’d loved and Janet loathed, a stack of worn T-shirts, a pair of shabby jeans. Janet had dumped them into a waste bin in the garage when Craig left. Maddy packed them into neatly labeled boxes and used them as a ploy to get her father and mother to the same table.

He glanced at his watch, then turned the rearview mirror to check his appearance. There was evidence lately of his forty-five years. A frown line and small creases at the edges of his mouth indicated a determination to which he’d come late in life. And a little silver had appeared at his temples. His secretary deemed the streaks “distinguished.” Craig saw only the decline of his youth, misguided rather than misspent. His unemotional assessment of the status quo was interrupted by the chortle of a mockingbird hoping to attract a mate.

Benediximus bird.

He took a bottle of red from the passenger seat, a Californian wine he knew Janet liked, and got out of the car. The path he walked was familiar, ringing the doorbell to request admission was not.

From inside, he heard Maddy call “I’ll get it!” A moment later the door opened. Maddy beamed. “Hey, you,” she whispered as she pulled him into the hall and hugged him tightly.

“Hey yourself, kiddo.” Craig nuzzled the top of her head with his chin. She took the wine without inspection and placed it on the hall console, then eased Craig out of his bomber and hung it up.

“Looking good!”

“For an old guy.”

“You’re still movie star material and you know it.” She took his hand and led him into the living room. “Mom’s in the kitchen. Come on, I’ll make you a drink.”

He slipped an envelope from his jacket and dropped it on the table by the wine bottle, then walked the short hall to the living room. He took in the newly covered sofa and chairs. “Been some changes.”

Maddy looked around as if seeing the room for the first time. “I guess. I haven’t been back here for a couple of months.”

“How’s the apartment going?”

“Fine. Close to work. Noisy. But all mine.”

Craig stood uneasily, reluctant to make himself too comfortable as Madeleine poured vodka into a shaker. “How’s Danny?”

“He’s good. He’s on the final edit. It’ll be out in the fall.”

“His first is way up on the bestseller list. He should be very pleased with himself.”

Craig smiled. “He is, believe me.”

“And you should be proud of him! Has he let you see the new one?”

“He doesn’t want anyone to read a word until every last phrase is perfect.”

“Another historical piece?”

“Peloponnesian War.”

“Wow. He tackles the big ones!” She handed a martini to Craig. “Sit! You look as if you’re waiting for a train!”

Craig regarded the armchair, which had been exclusively his for so many years, and decided against it. He sat on the edge of the sofa, a stranger in the room he’d known so well for so long.

He watched as Maddy sank gracefully into an armchair. She wore a gray business suit, befitting her position as a rising ad exec, softened with a silk blouse in pale blue. She was pretty. That was beyond question—she’d inherited his wavy, pitch-black hair, his deep-brown eyes, but her mother’s high cheekbones and full lips. He was so proud of her. This urbane, attractive woman was the finest thing his marriage had produced. The only really happy thing. He sipped the martini, relaxing a little into the warmth it offered the pit in his gut.

Janet appeared in the doorway. “Dinner in ten.” No greeting, no smile.

“I brought some wine. It’s on the…” But Janet was gone.

Maddy smiled a sympathetic smile. Craig acknowledged this with a patient shrug. He took another look around the room and familiarity began to morph into claustrophobia.

Maddy reached for his glass. “Let me top that up.”

Craig shook his head. “I’ll have wine with dinner. So. Are you running the agency yet?”

“I’m working on it,” she said lightly.

“And how’s what’s his name?”

“Connor.”

“Has he proposed?”

“I’m working on it,” she repeated in exactly the same tone. Then she chuckled. “If it goes anywhere, you’ll be the first to know.”

Craig reached over and took her hand. “Don’t waste time, kiddo. We only get so much of it.”

Maddy was about to reply when Janet called them to dinner.

The predominant sound at the dining table was the clink of flatware on china. Maddy’s best intentions were being eroded by her mother’s grim silence. She started inconsequential topics—the new furniture covers, a group of Janet’s watercolors over the fireplace. Craig offered praise for the meal which he knew Janet had not exactly slaved over. Each foray into bonhomie drew a monosyllabic response from Janet. But then, dinner conversation was something this table had barely known during the final years of the marriage.

“I left the check on the hall table,” Craig said, breaking a longueur.

“You could’ve mailed it,” Janet allowed without looking at him.

“I thought, since I was coming by…”

Craig noted now that she seemed older than he remembered. Over the last couple of years, the pretty girl he’d met in twelfth grade had been completely absorbed into this rigid, unsmiling woman. She wore black jeans and a gray denim shirt, colors that compounded the aspect of severity, colors—or rather, noncolors—she would never have worn ten years ago. Her once luxuriant auburn hair was pulled back tight in a pony tail. There was no cynicism in Craig, but he surmised that her grim appearance was calculated. Remembering her talent for manipulation, he wouldn’t have been surprised if this was a tactic to exacerbate the guilt he already felt at the way their marriage had turned out.

Maddy kept the flow of conversation moving as brightly as possible to counter Janet’s silence. “So, what are you working on now?”

“We’re trying to increase the accuracy and performance of semantic parsing.”

“Once more for the layman.”

Craig smiled for the first time since they’d sat at the table. This was his field, his passion. “Okay, let’s see. You talk to your phone, your computer, your TV, Alexa, Siri. They talk back, answer questions. But, in spite of the label ‘Artificial Intelligence,’ what you hear is a collection of recorded syllables, short phrases, reassembled by computer to respond to what is understood of your query. So, what I’m aiming for—well, my team—is a program that can create an actual voice, construct phrases all by itself, learning new words, new colloquialisms each time you interact. And I don’t mean the kind of speech generator Stephen Hawking used, I mean speech that’s indistinguishable from human speech. The program learns, without human intervention, improves its own efficiency, and eventually, will even simulate emotion. What we’re aiming for is literal artificial intelligence.”

Maddy smiled and shook her head. “I hope I never have to ask Alexa to open the pod bay door.”

Janet folded her napkin and pushed her chair back from the table. “Someday,” she said with a smile, “one of your machines might teach you how to simulate emotion.”

Craig sounded no more than resigned. “This is uncomfortable. For all of us.”

“It was your daughter’s idea to get us together, not mine.”

Your daughter. Not our daughter.

“Maybe I should go.”

“Oh, finish your dinner! If this is what it takes to get the rest of your crap out of this house, eat.” She left the room, taking her wine glass with her.

Maddy offered Craig a sheepish shrug and a whispered, “Shit.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Barry Creyton has worked extensively in British and Australian theatre and television as actor, playwright and director. His plays are produced in more than twenty languages. Awards include the prestigious Kessell Award for his outstanding contributions to Australian theatre, the L.A. Ovation Award, and the Noel Coward International Writing Award. He resides in the United States. Visit Barry's Website.

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13 August 2022

Bratva Sweetheart by @sabinebarclayauthor Book Blitz and Giveaway! #sabinebarclay #BratvaSweetheart #XpressoTours @XpressoTours⁣

 

Bratva Sweetheart
Sabine Barclay


(The Ivankov Brotherhood, #2)
Published by: Oliver Heber Books
Publication date: August 9th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mafia, Romance

She thought it was only for one night…

I’ve never let anyone into my life.

At least not like her. Not until her.

She sees a side of me that isn’t the bratva monster everyone else believes.

Now that she knows, she’s mine.

Mine to keep and protect. Mine to please. In return, it’s her love I crave. She’s my soulmate.

Every kiss, every touch will take her to her limits, and I’ll be the one to catch her.

Bratva Sweetheart is an interconnecting, standalone Dark Mafia Romance with a HEA and no cliffhanger. It contains extra-steamy scenes that will make your toes curl and your granny blush. This is book two in The Ivankov Brotherhood, a six-book series that’ll keep you warm at night.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I can’t help but love people watching in a strip club. It’s New York City, so there’s usually something shady going on somewhere. Sometimes it’s more than just a lap dance. Sometimes it’s a guy getting thrown out for trying to make it more than just a lap dance. And sometimes you see the most unlikely people conducting business. I’m certain that’s one of the club owners. Pussycats. How utterly unoriginal. But damn, he can call this place whatever he wants. He’s hot.

“Bourbon on the rocks with a splash of water.”

“If you drank vodka, you wouldn’t need to dilute the taste.”

That voice. It’s sin waiting to happen. I look to my left, and the man who’d been in the corner talking to a rather large Italian-looking guy is now beside me. He was hot from a distance. He’s Lucifer in a suit up close. Are my panties on the floor? Those blue eyes might have just made them drop. They’re certainly wetter than they were a few minutes ago, watching Todd and the understudy stripper. God, I can be a b*tch. The girl is just doing her job.

“I had a bad experience with vodka in college. I steer clear.”

“Made yourself sick?”

“And if I’d like to continue to enjoy orange juice without being certain I taste vodka, I stay away.”

I offer him what I hope is a slightly sarcastic yet sexy smiley kind of smirk. From the way he’s grinning, it either worked, or he thinks I’m batsh*t. Oh! Maybe he did like it. He smells amazing, and now his chest is practically against the side of my shoulder. I can smell the hint of vodka on his breath, and for once, it doesn’t make me want to shiver and turn away.

“You didn’t look like you were having a good time earlier. Boyfriend not paying enough attention? Or perhaps too much attention?”

“He’s not my boyfriend.”

“Your date then.”

“Not a date. Those both imply romance. That’s not our arrangement. Partners in crime. Partners in fun. Definitely not partners in life.” I cock an eyebrow, waiting to see how he responds to me basically admitting that Todd is a f*ck buddy. We tried going on a couple dates. We enjoyed each other’s company, and we really enjoy having sex together, but no sparks ever flew for either of us.

“So you came for an appetizer, and I suppose you’re supposed to be the main course later.”

I look back over my shoulder and can’t find Todd. He’s not at the table I just left. I wonder if he went to the bathroom. He better not be taking care of anything, otherwise, I’ll have to do all the work to get him revved up again. Sometimes we enjoy the foreplay, but that wasn’t the deal tonight.

“Something like that.”

“But only one of you gets to sample. That hardly seems fair.”

“It’s fine for tonight.” Todd and I have been to clubs that allow us to do more than just watch. He might get a lap dance, and I might get his fingers. I might sit on his lap while he f*cks me, and I get a lap dance. We’re kinky like that, but we’ve never had a full-on threesome. Women just don’t interest me enough for that. Now two guys? One can only wish.

Mr. No Name shakes his head when the bartender approaches, and I reach for my purse. Before I can insist that I pay, he’s picking up both of our drinks and turning away from the guy. I don’t know what to say beyond a mumbled thanks. I follow this guy, which I know is ridiculous, but I’m too damn curious for my own good. He steers us away from the men in the corner where I first spotted him. There’s another man who looks so much like him they could be twins. My mystery man nods to his lookalike before taking us to a corner table on the opposite side of the stage.

“You can see if your friend returns. That way you won’t miss him.”

There’s something about his tone. Those two sentences have more than one meaning. As I meet his gaze, I can see it just as much as I heard it.

“Thank you for my drink. But I usually don’t accept drinks from strangers.”

“Good thing you watched it being poured. I’m Bogdan Kutsenko.”

Oh, holy f*cking sh*t. I thought he might be, but now I know. He’s a f*cking billionaire. He and his brothers own a slew of strip clubs, casinos, commercial developments, and Lord only knows what else. And I’m fairly certain that whatever else is not even close to legal. I’ve heard the rumors. Russian mafia.

“You recognize my name. Should I let you go back to your friend?”

Sabine Barclay, a nom de plume also writing Historical Romance as Celeste Barclay, lives near the Southern California coast with her husband and sons. Growing up in the Midwest, Sabine enjoyed spending as much time in and on the water as she could. Now she lives near the beach. She's an avid swimmer, a hopeful future surfer, and a former rower. Before becoming a full-time author, Sabine was a Social Studies and English teacher. She holds degrees in International Affairs (BA), Secondary Social Science (MAT), and Political Management (MPS). She channels that knowledge into creating engrossing contemporary romances that will make your toes curl and your granny blush.

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⁣⁣⁣⁣ The Devil’s Den by Lilian Harris Book Blitz and Giveaway! #LilianHarris #TheDevilsDen #CavaleriBrothers #XpressoTours @XpressoTours⁣⁣⁣

 

The Devil’s Den
Lilian Harris


(Cavaleri Brothers, #4)
Publication date: August 13th 2022
Genres: Adult, Dark Romance, Suspense

He was the boy held captive in the basement. I was the girl who knew.

But I never told a soul. I had innocent lives to protect. And this was the only way.

He was my friend first. My lover second. We wanted to be free, to make a life together. But that was a dream we knew would never come true.

Prisoners of my ruthless father, we could not escape the horror we were forced to endure-until I drew a weapon on the only boy who ever loved me.

And as they drag me away, screaming his name, I hope he’s still breathing.

Because our story, it’s not over yet.
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Author note: This story contains dark themes and scenes depicting SA.


 

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“What are you thinking about?” he asks, rubbing his thumb over the top of my hand, my head lying over his shoulder.

“That I have ugly hair.”

“What?” He jerks his head back in an instant. “Who gave you that idea?” The way he stares, it’s not with anger at me, but for what I just said.

I shrug, avoiding his gaze by staring at my bare feet. After a few seconds, he snakes a hand under his pillow and retrieves something. In his palm is the notepad I once gave him.

But as I look at it, as he turns to open a page, I let out a small gasp, my stomach flipping all over again.

I can’t stop staring.

My breathing goes ragged.

I’m there on the page, in a long wispy dress, my hair caught in the wind, skipping among flowers, butterflies floating around me, like he knew that’s how he makes me feel. But that’s silly, of course, there’d be butterflies in a meadow. That’s what this is. He continues to turn, page after page, and I find more of me on every single one.

He’s been drawing me this whole time? Why?

He gazes straight at me, the crooked smile reaching the far corner of his mouth. “Your hair reminds me of the sun, and the sun is beautiful.”

My heart flutters in my chest, tears growing within my eyes. And his face, the one that barely ever smiles anymore, grins so wide for me now. “Did you just call me beautiful?” I whisper with a thread of shock, because there’s no way he said that.

He raises a shoulder with a smirk. “I may have.”

My mouth spreads into a smile of my own, those butterflies in my stomach flying higher. And my head, it falls right over his shoulder, his arm draping around my back. “I think you’re kinda beautiful too.”

With a deep sigh, his head slants over mine and we stay that way until it’s time for me to go, wishing I didn’t have to.


For Lilian Harris, a love of writing began with a love of books. From Goosebumps to romance novels with sexy men on the cover, she loved them all. It’s no surprise that at the age of eight she started writing poetry and lyrics, and hasn’t stopped writing since.

She was born in Azerbaijan, and currently resides in Long Island, N.Y. with her husband, three kids, and a dog named Gatorade. Even though she has a law degree, she isn’t practicing. When she isn’t writing or reading, Lilian is baking or cooking up a storm. And once the kids are in bed, there’s usually a glass of red in her hand. Can’t just survive on coffee alone!

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A Foster Fling Anthology and Giveaway! #XpressoTours @XpressoTours#AFosterFling #anthology @ihateyolandaolson @allyvanceauthor1 @jknollsauthor @author_crenee @ydlamar @authorselenamichaels @lucidquill

 

A Foster Fling Anthology


Publication date: September 10th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Seven families.

Seven forbidden trysts.

Seven decadent romances.

Get lost in the streets of Urban Decay where moral lines are crossed.

Where The Tower looms in the distance, and the Destructive Harbor is just beyond the shore.

Hidden in the Depravity of the Dark, Bury Me Alive as we crawl Under the Skin of right and wrong. And remember, If I Can’t Have You, then no one will.

In this system, the family rules are blurred, and lines are crossed.

A Foster Fling is a limited-edition romance anthology collection from USA Today and Bestselling Authors.

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SNEAK PEEKS:

If I Can’t Have You – Jordain Knolls

I don’t remember much about the kid but I remember the way he looked at me once we were alone. The air shifted, like the oxygen suddenly disappeared. My breath was caught in my throat. I felt like I was on fire, and I knew it wasn’t the liquor anymore making me feel this way

I swallowed hard, trying my fucking hardest to stay calm. He stood from the bed, his gaze never leaving mine as he stalked toward me.

For fourteen, he was intimidating.

He leaned down, placing his hands on either side of my head. His gaze floated across every part of my face. Time was fucking frozen, but I was spiraling.

“What are you doing?” I whispered, my voice cracking.

“Kissing you.” Before I could interject, his lips crashed down on mine.

I was done for. Melting into the bean bag chair as a wave of emotions crashed through me like an angry sea. So many thoughts were going through my head.

I’ve never kissed a boy before.

Why did I like it so much?

Where is Gabe?

Why is he kissing me?

But the main one stirring in my head was what is he going to do next?

I never got that answer.

I never would.

Because while he was kissing me, Gabe was in our dads office, loading a shot gun, putting it to his head, and pulling the trigger.

The rest of that night and so many months after were one giant blur and My life crashed and burned. I never saw that Forster kid again.

And every night since, I’ve spent my time dousing my pain with the Lords amber embrace.

Destructive Harbor – Ally Vance

When I picked up my latest foster daughter from the social services office, I found a young, woman who was little more than a shell veiled with defiance. It called to my protective urges, and I knew I had to take her. The report I was given when they told me they had another foster child for me detailed a troubled past, the reason she was thrown into the system, along with the history of previous foster parents she’d had.

It’s a game of chance when someone enters the system, whether they’ll end up in a loving, nurturing home, or with someone who does it for the paycheck. I won’t deny that the money isn’t a nice bonus, but it’s more than that.

Ten years ago my wife passed away suddenly from a heart attack, taking with her our unborn child and leaving me with my young son and a half-empty heart. I had a lot of love and care to give, so I applied to become a carer for the unwanted and lost children who needed a safe harbor to reside in.

What I didn’t expect was how deeply I would come to care for her, or how wrongly I would feel. There are boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed, and all I want is to hurtle straight over them to the other side.

I’m supposed to be the one offering her safety, comfort, and the love of a surrogate parent, but all I want to do is take her in ways I shouldn’t even consider, that I shouldn’t be dreaming about.

The quiet, reserved girl is calling out to the darker side of me, creating a storm in the harbor I’ve spent years creating, threatening to destroy it. The darkness of her eyes, contrasting with her honey-colored hair and fair skin made her far more appealing than I had any right to find her.

All my life I’ve given everything in me to those I’ve taken care of, have loved. But when Robyn Wymer walked through the door to my home, with her shaking hand clutching mine, I had no idea what kind of storm was about to be unleashed, and what the lasting effects of that would be.

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Jester by @briellums Book Blitz and Giveaway! #BrielleDPorter #Jester #XpressoTours @XpressoTours

 

Jester
Brielle D. Porter


Publication date: August 9th 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

What happens in Oasis, stays in Oasis.

Lisette’s father killed the King. His execution leaves Lisette alone, disgraced, and without the magic he intended to pass on to her. In Oasis, that’s a problem. Glutted with enchanted performers, Oasis is a sin city where courtiers pay in gold to drink, gamble, and above all, be entertained. To survive on its competitive streets, Lisette peddles paltry illusions in place of magic.

Desperate to prove herself, Lisette enters into a deadly competition to be chosen as the highest-ranked magician in the world, the Queen’s Jester. But her rival, the irritatingly handsome Luc, possesses the one thing Lisette does not—real magic. Lisette will do anything to win, but when evidence implicating the Queen in her husband’s murder surfaces, Lisette must choose between redeeming her family name, or seizing the fame she’s hungered for her entire life.

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EXCERPT:

A group of tourists has gathered to watch me throw knives at a shopboy. They’ve come here for magic; I’ve kept them here with misdirection and lies. Maybe it’s not magic exactly, but it is undeniably entertaining watching my unwilling assistant flinch every time the knife point gets too close to his groin.

I hold the knife steady, aiming, watching his limp hair flop as the wooden wheel he’s strapped to slowly rotates.

Stefan lets out a whimper, and I toss him a smile. He was a lot braver in the shop where I’d found him, flirting as he bagged my books. It hadn’t been hard to trick him into volunteering.

The crowd jeers.

“Aim lower!”

“Aim higher! Maim his ugly face!”

“Throw three at once!”

“Mirage, don’t you dare!” Stefan shouts.

The nighttime crowd is always hungrier for violence. I hold up my hands placatingly.

“Obviously, I can’t throw three knives at once. That would be dangerous and highly irresponsible…”

There are a couple of groans, but my reputation must precede me, because there are a few whoops and chuckles thrown in as well. With a sweep, I pull my deadliest knife from my belt, the one with the wicked serrated edge, brandishing it for the crowd.

“But I think we can spice things up a bit!”

I stab the knife into a vat of oil, the shimmering liquid sliding down the tang of the blade. Then, with a flourish, I sweep it through a nearby torch. Flame devours the knife. The crowd roars its approval. Stefan pales.

The hilt burns in my hand, throwing off sparks, as I wonder if perhaps I’ve gone too far. I’ve only tried this a few times. And the jackrabbit I had caught to practice with wasn’t even good to eat after, blackened to an inedible crisp.

Either way, I’ll give them a show.

Brielle D. Porter decided to become a writer after a well-meaning elementary school teacher told her she had a gift for it. Stolen moments under the covers reading anything from Harry Potter to William Goldman solidified the desire to tell stories herself one day. Jester is her debut novel.

Brielle lives with her husband and three sons on a lavender farm in Northern Idaho. When she’s not writing, she can be found running and beekeeping. Only ask her about her hobbies if you have plenty of time to spare.

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Behind the Scenes: Midsummer Night’s Delights – A Sizzling Historical/Fantasy Romance by Kelli A. Wilkins!


www.KelliWilkins.com

This “Behind the Scenes” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each blog, I’ll talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. Warning: Blogs may contain spoilers.

Hi everyone,


Today I’m sharing a behind the scenes look at the making of the first book in my Naughty Nobles trilogy, Midsummer Night’s Delights


Like many of my romances, this novella has its own origin story. Years ago, I was writing romances for Amber Quill Press, and they put out a call for super-hot erotica stories including/featuring ménage. I thought about it for a while, then I got an idea for a story. The premise was simple: What if a highly repressed/inexperienced couple was introduced to the world of wife swapping, ménage, and group encounters? Hmmm… 


I wasn’t exactly sure where the story would lead, but I had a good opening scene/sequence, and a few ideas for key scenes. Based on those, I just started writing.


Midsummer Night’s Delights introduces readers to Julian and Annabelle. They are strangers trapped in an arranged, sexless marriage. To loosen them up, Julian’s father sends them to the Marquis of Demby’s estate to attend a Midsummer Ball. (And this type of ball isn’t for dancing!) 


Julian and Annabelle meet the marquis, Vincent, and his wife, Sabrina. Over the course of their visit, they learn how to open up and explore their sexuality. When they attend the Midsummer Ball, they shed their inhibitions while indulging in their wildest fantasies. Anything goes in this erotic tale, and I had a lot of fun showing how Annabelle and Julian loosen up and embrace their wanton sides. 


When I wrote Midsummer, I had no idea I would write a trilogy. I figured the story was self-contained and had wrapped up nicely. Julian and Annabelle were no longer repressed, the end. 

But readers and reviewers loved the story and the characters so much that they wanted these very naughty adventures to continue. So, I wrote two sequels, Midwinter Night’s Delights and Ultimate Night’s Delights. Although the stories are connected, each novella stands alone as an individual read.


After the original release of Midsummer Night’s Delights, readers asked for a prequel. They were curious about how Vincent and Sabrina met and what their history entailed. Although I had no plans to write a full prequel, I was still able to give readers what they wanted. In Midwinter Night’s Delights, Sabrina tells Annabelle how she met Vincent and how they got involved in their unusual games. (I’ll be sharing more about that book in another “Behind the Scenes” blog.)

I liked writing this novella because it was something different for me. I had never written a full-fledged super-hot, X-rated erotica story before. Most of my romances are heavy on plot, characterization, adventure and/or mystery with key love scenes included every so often—this book is the opposite of that. It was good for me to break out of the pattern of full-length historical romances and write something shorter, hotter, and out of character. 


I’m happy to say readers enjoyed the book. Here are a few kind words:


Praise for Midsummer Night’s Delights...


 “Smokin’, 4 Stars! Looking for an author who isn’t afraid to push the envelope in erotic romance? Kelli A. Wilkins has gifted us with her take on a secret summer ball that opens the eyes of two unsure newlyweds. Midsummer Night’s Delights is a story that draws you in. Subtle teases and heated scenes ebb and flow around the central characters and before you know it, not only are you eagerly turning the pages to see what unfolds. You won’t be disappointed with this piece – you’ll be curious, become titillated, and leave aroused.” - Natalie, Reviewer, EroticRomanceWriters.com


“For those of you who delight in erotic romances, Midsummer Night’s Delights is a book you won’t want to miss. Kelli is an author who brings joyful imagination to her writing, an equal part of enthusiasm, and a lot of talent, as well. Her love for her characters shines through in her words. Midsummer Night’s Delights is a must-buy for Kelli Wilkins fans everywhere, as well as those who enjoy a truly excellent erotic romance. This book is a keeper, so get your copy today.” - Rose, RomanceatHeart.com


"4.5 Blue Ribbon Rating! What a romp! Midsummer Night's Delights is a delight in itself! I really felt for poor Julian and loved how he “rose” to finding the solution to his predicament. And Annabelle proved to be an apt pupil for her lessons. They are endearing characters with a real problem and a rather thrilling, fun answer. Good writing and lots of action make this a book to recommend!” - Kris Jones, Romance Junkies Reviewer



Here’s the book summary and links to all the books in the trilogy:

 

Midsummer Night’s Delights

At this Midsummer Ball, couples pair up everywhere—but not for dancing!

 

Young newlyweds Julian and Annabelle are miserable. Their arranged marriage is lacking everything—especially sex. Julian suffers from a lack of confidence and is harboring a secret urge. Innocent Annabelle’s longings go unnoticed and unfulfilled, no matter what she tries. 

 

But all that changes when they are invited to a Midsummer Ball. Their unconventional hosts, Vincent and Sabrina, introduce them to a world where their most intimate desires and hidden passions are explored—and fulfilled. Swapping and naughty games are just a few of the surprises awaiting them…

 

* * *



Order Midsummer Night’s Delights (Book 1) here:


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6W5QHM 


All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3LrJP1 



Get Midwinter Night’s Delights (Book 2) here:


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06VTH1GCC


All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/mdKaaX



Order Ultimate Night’s Delights (Book 3) here:


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XGCCTJW 


All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bxgyPk



I’ll be sharing more about Midwinter Night’s Delights and Ultimate Night’s Delights in future blogs, so stay tuned. 


I enjoy hearing from readers and other authors. If you’ve read the trilogy, drop me a line with questions or comments. Let me know which book or character is your favorite!


Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media. You can read more “Behind the Scenes” blogs here: www.KelliWilkins.com/blog 


I also made a Facebook page for my historical romances: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/


Happy Reading,


Kelli A. Wilkins



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories. 


Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in early 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.


She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021. 


In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions. 


Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor


Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.



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