Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Vampire Claus (Robert Winter)

Title:  Vampire Claus

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher:  Robert Winter Books

Release Date: November 15, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30,000 words

Genre: Romance, Christmas vampire novella

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Synopsis

’Twas the night before Christmas, but what’s stirring is a little more dangerous than a mouse.

Taviano is nearly two hundred years old and never wakes in the same place twice. Weary and jaded, the vampire still indulges in memories of childhood Christmases in Naples. He lingers in shadow, spying on mortals as they enjoy the holiday.

When Taviano spots a handsome young man in Boston loaded down with presents and about to be mugged, he can’t help but intervene. Soon he’s talking to joyous, naïve, strong-willed and funny Paul, a short-order cook who raised funds to buy Christmas presents for LGBTQ children. Before he knows what’s happened, Taviano is wrapped up in Paul’s arms and then in his schemes to get the presents delivered by Christmas morning.

A vampire turned into a Christmas elf… What could go wrong?

Vampire Claus is a 30,000-word standalone gay romance about a lonely vampire and a fearless mortal with no instinct for self-preservation. A heartwarming ending, no cliffhanger, and a young man who discovers he has a thing for fangs. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Excerpt

Paul’s apartment was indeed small, a studio with exposed brick walls and two white-cased windows. Through them Taviano could see a fire escape and then, across the street, a tiled roof. The latch on the right window had broken. Foolish man, he thought as he watched Paul hop on one foot to take off a boot. Let a monster in the front door. Invite a robber through the window. How are you still alive?

He surveyed the rest of Paul’s home. An open door revealed a small bathroom. The opposite wall contained a two-burner stove, a sink, and a half-sized refrigerator. A wooden café table sat with two mismatched chairs. A futon couch along another wall likely served as Paul’s bed.

Next to it was a milk crate on which sat a tiny Christmas tree, wrapped in blue and yellow lights. A few small ornaments dangled from its boughs, though no presents rested underneath. That struck Taviano as sad, given the work Paul had gone through to gather gifts for the homeless youths.

A distinct combination of smells tickled his nose from the area of the futon. Besides Paul’s unique scent there were echoes of other men. Different colognes or bathing products. Latex, foil, something oily, and then…

Taviano turned away as he identified traces of semen. The turmoil in his chest that the evidence of Paul’s life produced disturbed him. If he could blush, he would.

Paul finished with his boots and socks and tugged off his bloodied T-shirt. Tossing the garments in a heap on the floor, he strode to the sink. Dressed only in low-slung corduroys, he turned on the faucet and began to scrub away dried blood on his shoulder and palm.

Taviano took in the sight of lean muscle, flexing under pale skin as Paul washed. That skin reminded him of cream. A tattoo of a tree adorned Paul’s back. Its delicately drawn branches spread to his shoulders. The twisted and sturdy trunk disappeared into the mistletoe-themed boxers resting low on his hips. One side of the tree showed a splintered stump, as if someone had wrenched off a branch.

Although curious about the imagery, Taviano wondered more how that inked skin would feel under his lips. Then he wondered why he wondered. His demon’s hunger for blood drove him for such long years. He’d all but forgotten what it was like to hunger for touch.

Year after year, he hunted with a singular purpose, among people useful to him only as food. Yet he found himself imagining what it would be like to draw Paul against his body. The warmth would be delicious. Soothing. It reminded Taviano of the difference between appetite and attraction. He found the thought both sobering and exciting.

Twice, many decades ago, and before he began to hunt exclusively among villains, he’d given in to curiosity. He’d caressed a willing man with his sensitive fingertips, and even allowed him to stroke Taviano with lust. Both times, the sensation was too intense to be pleasurable. It had been like dragging woolen cloth over a sunburn.

Neither encounter had smelled like Paul, though. Would the taste of his skin be as unique as his scent? Would his body be warm and welcoming? Why should just one man out of the multitudes he’d encountered draw him so profoundly and calm his demon? If he touched Paul once, Taviano wasn’t sure he’d want to stop.

Paul turned from the sink to grab a hand towel and caught Taviano staring at him. Another tattoo, of a sun rising above a mountain range, sprawled down his left pectoral. He stilled but made no effort to cover his hair-dusted and spare torso.

Instead he stood silently as Taviano studied him. His eyes caressed the alabaster planes of Paul’s chest, the sinewy shoulders and elegantly tapered arms. He admired the tight skin at Paul’s stomach, the tracing of fine hair that disappeared down into his boxers. Paul began to breathe more heavily under the scrutiny and his pants tented outward. Taviano smelled arousal and it echoed in his own belly.

Finally Paul swiped the cloth against his shoulder and dried his hands while holding Taviano’s eyes. He licked his lips and flushed. In a slightly hoarse voice, he asked, “Did I get it all?”

As if drawn by a magnet, Taviano stepped closer, hearing Paul’s heart beat faster at his approach. His body glistened in the dim light of the room. Taviano sensed no fear as he took another step and peered at Paul’s shoulder. He brushed trembling fingertips over clean white skin and murmured, “It looks perfect.”

Thankfully his face couldn’t blush and his heart couldn’t pound; he was sure he’d be a sight to behold otherwise. The desire to touch, to stroke, was difficult to hide, from Paul and from himself. Paul stood mere inches away. His coursing, rich blood generated warmth that called to Taviano. For once, it had nothing to do with his demon’s clamor for food.

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Robert Winter Books | Amazon Universal | Amazon AU

Meet the Author

Robert Winter lives and writes in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He is a recovering lawyer who prefers writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | Instagram

 

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: A Bolt of Blue (Nicky Spencer)

Title:  A Bolt of Blue

Series: Angel’s, Book 1

Author: Nicky Spencer

Publisher:  Self-published

Release Date: November 10

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male Menage

Length: 90,000 words

Genre: Romance

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Synopsis

Ian Golinski has been in love with his best friend since he was fourteen years old. When he finally decides to confess his feelings, he finds that his perpetually single friend isn’t so single anymore. What’s a boy to do when he has to share the love of his life with someone else? Especially someone so damn hot?

Dusty Smith has finally found The One. The only problem is The One clearly has feelings for someone else, even if he doesn’t realize it. Dusty has to convince his lover that they’re meant to be. But how does he do that when the other man turns out to be perfect for them both?

Mitch Becker likes things nice and simple. But as his relationship with his boyfriend heats up, he starts developing feelings for his best friend. Suddenly his life is one big complication. How can he choose between two soul mates?

Find out what happens when three men ask the question: What if we don’t have to choose?

A Bolt of Blue is an m/m/m contemporary romance with a happy ending and no cliff-hanger. It is approximately 90,000 words and is a stand-alone.

Excerpt

I’m not sure I heard him right. Even if I did, I need to make sure I’m really clear on what he’s saying. “What do you mean?” I ask.

Ian sighs into my ear. “I mean, what if it was the three of us? Together?”

“All three of us?” I’m like a parrot.

“Yeah.”

“And how would that work?” I know how it would work sexually. I’ve seen plenty of porn, and there are a lot of really creative possibilities when you get three guys together. Just thinking about it is getting me hard.

But I don’t think that’s what Ian means. At least, that’s not all he means.

“Well, I don’t know exactly. It’s not like I’ve ever done it before. But I think…I mean, you have feelings for me, right?”

He sounds so timid asking, and I wish he was here so I could show him how much he doesn’t need to worry about that.

“You know I do.”

“And I think Mitch does too. I hope he does. And I know how you guys feel about each other. So if we all feel that way, then why can’t we be together? There wouldn’t be anything to be jealous of. We would all be in it together.”

I have to admit, it sounds appealing. Like really, really appealing.

But it won’t work.

“Mitch would never go for it. He’s way too traditional. He wants the white picket fence, the kids, the dog. The whole domestic bliss thing. He wants to get married. You can’t be married to two people.”

“Not legally, no. I know it’s crazy. I’m just thinking out loud, mostly. But I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s the only way we all get what we want. Why can’t we all have what we want?”
“Because that’s not how life works.”

“Well, it should.”

Yeah, it should.

“It would be nice,” I say.

“Can you picture it?” Ian asks. “Will you think about it with me for a minute?”

“Okay.”

“So imagine you and me. It’s a Sunday morning, and we sleep in late and then get up and make breakfast. Are you imagining it?”
I nod, and then remember he can’t see me. “Yeah,” I say.

“Imagine we spend the whole day just hanging out. Like we did that one day, remember? Only we don’t have to keep our distance. We can touch each other. I can brush your arm with my hand when I walk by you in the kitchen. You can kiss me in the bathroom when we’re brushing our teeth.” The picture makes me smile.

“And then imagine that Mitch comes home. He was on a road trip, and he’s tired. And you’ve made dinner for him, and we all eat together. And then we sit on the couch, and I rub Mitch’s feet and you play with his hair. We’re watching some dumb movie on Netflix. Can you see it?”

“Yes, I can see it.” I can, too. And it’s so sweet it makes my chest ache. I can practically smell Mitch’s hair, and hear him purr at Ian’s touch. He loves to have his feet rubbed.
“And then the movie ends, and we all go to bed. Together.”

I smile at that. “Who’s in the middle?” I ask.

“Me,” Ian says without hesitation.

I imagine myself spooned around him, my hands brushing along his stomach while he pushes his ass into my groin. And all the while I’m looking into Mitch’s eyes. He’s on his side facing us, reaching out to touch Ian’s face, but he’s looking at me. He’s so content and happy. He’s in love.

I see him kissing Ian. Softly at first, but then with more intensity. I see my own hand running up and down Mitch’s arm while he presses his body against Ian’s. I hear the soft, wet sounds of their mouths moving together, and I reach out with my own tongue to trace the shell of Ian’s ear.

“Dusty? Can you see it?” Ian asks, breaking into my reverie.

“Yes,” I breathe.

“Is it beautiful?”

“It’s perfect.”

“Tell me again why we can’t have that?” Ian asks.

I think about what Erik said to me the other night, about how I always play it safe. And where has it gotten me? He wasn’t just talking about my career. Maybe it’s time I took a risk for love. Honestly, at this point, I have nothing to lose.

“Maybe we can,” I say.

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Meet the Author

Nicky Spencer is a romance writer of all pairings. Nicky is a firm believer that love conquers all–that’s why her favorite theme is forbidden love. If two (or three!) people shouldn’t be together, Nicky will find a way to get them there. When you love someone, nothing else matters.

Nicky live in Salt Lake City, Utah with no husband, no kids and a part-time dog. She loves to read, write, listen to podcasts, watch baseball and waste time on the internet. She is firmly anti-oxford comma.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Psycho Romeo (Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott)

Title:  Psycho Romeo

Series: Ward Security Series #1

Author: Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Publisher:  Drake and Elliott Publishing, LLC

Release Date: October 27, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 81K

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Romantic Suspense, Gay Literature, Gay fiction, bodyguards

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Synopsis

Geoffrey Ralse is known for being the life of the party. He loves the club scene, hanging with his friends, and flirting with whomever catches his eye. He certainly isn’t going to stop living his life just because some would-be stalker starts sending him threats.

But it all changes when Geoffrey is drugged and wakes up half naked in his own home with a new message from his stalker.
He needs help and there’s only one person he trusts…

Protective Agent Sven Larsen has been fighting Geoffrey’s flirtatious advances for months, even though he’s impossibly drawn to the man. There’s no way he can be around him twenty-four/seven and not finally crack. But one look at Geoffrey’s haunted eyes, and he knows there’s no way he’s letting Geoffrey walk out of Ward Security without him.

Even if it means breaking his own rules, he will keep Geoffrey

Excerpt

Once again, Geoffrey had surprised him. That jump to his defense had been swift and hard. Sven watched anyone who came near them, but he also watched Geoffrey fume as he walked the wrong direction on Freedom Way. People strolled the sidewalks all around them. In the back of his mind, he stayed aware of the fact that they didn’t know for sure his stalker was a part of his group. It could be anyone.

Over a million followers on one site alone.

He shook his head and stayed close as he took in everything about their surroundings. Skyscrapers of downtown Cincinnati rose up behind them while the Great American Ballpark was on their left. There was the rush of traffic on nearly all sides, but Geoffrey appeared to be heading away from the biggest crowds of people and toward Ohio River rippling in the distance, winding between Ohio and Kentucky.

Sweat gathered on his back, under his arms, and at the back of his neck. Maybe it was time to cut the hair. He’d grown it in a challenge with his brothers—who could stand it the longest. His oldest brother still held out. But Sven could out-stubborn them all.

Mostly because he actually liked it. Low-maintenance hair—just needed a brush or something to keep it off his neck. Digging into his pocket, he found one of the thick hair ties he used and looped his hair into a messy knot at the back of his head. He glanced down to find Geoffrey watching his movements with fascination.

“I don’t know how you stand it. Mine drives me crazy when it gets past my ears.”

He eyed the light blond gelled hair brushed back off Geoffrey’s forehead. “It suits you.”

“Thanks.” Anger returned to his expression, tightening his lips and he stomped off again. He had his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his jeans—probably to keep from throwing them about as he did when his emotions were high. And they were. It was obvious in his quick, hard steps, his tight expression, and the energy radiating from his body. Sven had never met someone with so much liveliness. So much fire. He’d often marveled over it during the classes at Ward, fascinated and drawn to all that brightness and vitality like Geoffrey had hooked him on a short fishing line.

He could hardly ever take his eyes off him.

And now that he’d seen the sexy, trim body under all those clothes, he was having trouble not watching for the flex of muscle underneath the slouchy blue T-shirt Geoffrey wore today. When he shrugged, it slipped off his shoulder and Sven wanted to lift him high, press his back into the nearest wall, and put his mouth on that tantalizing collarbone. Learn the taste and scent of his skin. And he wanted the laughter back. Amusement transformed him, making him all golden sunlight and joy. He’d throw his head back, revealing white teeth and when he let himself go like that, the trace of sadness he seemed to carry at all times disappeared.

Sven had the feeling Geoffrey’s loneliness ran deeper than his own, and he’d felt the ache of it for some time now. He didn’t enjoy bars or nightclubs and although he’d downloaded a hookup app onto his phone, he’d never seen anyone on it worth contacting. But he wasn’t one for anonymous sex, so he mostly went without. Hoping he’d eventually meet someone worth the effort it would take to build a real relationship.

His fierce attraction to Geoffrey made little sense. They couldn’t have been more opposite in personality, size, income bracket…pretty much everything.

Except for the loneliness.

Geoffrey had tons of people around him, yet none of them were true friends. Not any that he’d met today anyway. And every time his gaze had locked with Geoffrey’s, he’d seen something that had ripped the world right from under his feet.

Geoffrey knew. He was completely aware that they used him. For money, for notoriety, for another selfie on their social media accounts.

The absolute…fakeness of it all tightened his chest to the point of pain. Because he could see, in those blue eyes, that Geoffrey Ralse needed so much more.

Purchase

Drake and Elliott Publishing, LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Smashwords

 

Meet the Authors

Rinda Elliott
Rinda loves unusual stories and credits growing up in a family of curious life-lovers who moved all over the country. Books and movies full of fantasy, science fiction and romance kept them amused, especially in some of the stranger places.
For years, she tried to separate her darker side with her humorous and romantic one. She published short fiction, but things really started happening when she gave in and mixed it up. When not lost in fiction, she loves making wine, collecting music, gaming and spending time with her husband and two children.
She is the author of the Beri O’Dell urban fantasy series, the YA Sister of Fate Trilogy with Harlequin Teen, and the paranormal romance Brothers Bernaux Trilogy. She also writes erotic fiction as Dani Worth.
She can be found at RindaElliott.com and her Dani Worth blog . She’s represented by Miriam Kriss at the Irene Goodman Agency.

Jocelynn Drake
Love comes in many varied forms. There is the love of family, love of country, and love of chocolate. But for Jocelynn Drake, one truly treasured love is the love of a good story. This former Kentucky girl spends the majority of her time lost in the strong embrace of a good book.
When she’s not hammering away at her keyboard, frowning at her monitor, or curled up with a book, she can usually be found cuddling with her cat Demona, walking her dog Max, or flinging curses at the TV while playing a video game. Outside of books, cats, and video games, she is completely enamored of Bruce Wayne, Ezio Auditore, travel, tattoos, explosions, fast cars, and Anthony Bourdain (but only when he’s feeling really cranky).
She is the author of the urban fantasy series: The Dark Days series and the Asylum Tales. She also occasionally writes as Joy Douglass when she’s in the mood for a little historical romance. She can be found at JocelynnDrake.com.

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Release Day Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: In Over Our Heads (CJane Elliott)

Title:  In Over Our Heads

Series: Stories from the Shore

Author: CJane Elliott

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: October 16, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67,000

Genre: Romance, Second Chances, Vacation

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Synopsis

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

Excerpt

The door burst open, and Sophia sailed in with my morning cappuccino. She was humming under her breath and had that telltale postsex glow about her. I tried not to hate her too much.

“What’re you doing in here with me, doll? Don’t you have a sexy dive instructor to entertain?”

“She had to leave early.” Sophia handed me the mug. “She’s taking her group out on the ocean dive too, and she had to go to Back Bay to get the boat ready.”

I took a restorative sip of cappuccino. “Ahh. Well, I hope you didn’t tire her out too much last night. Or vice versa.” I winked at her, even though I didn’t feel very winky.

“Guilty on both our parts, I’m afraid.” Sophia smirked, then perched on the side of my bed. “Can we talk more about what’s going on with you and Walter?”

“Going on?” I blinked and buried my nose in the cup. “I mean, I told you guys last night. What more do you need to know?”

“Whatever it’ll take to help you and him figure yourselves out, because second chances like this don’t come around often.”

“God, not you too. You and Jonny need to start a group for incurable romantics.”

She straightened, her dark eyes snapping with intensity. “Caro! You’re the one who talks about destiny. This is your destiny!”

I sighed. She was so over the top sometimes. Must be her Italian blood. “Maybe my destiny is to be reminded to never let a guy walk over me the way Walter did.”

“I…. Look, Marco has a good point, and I agree with him that Walter needs to apologize. It was awful of him to drop out of sight. You so don’t deserve to be treated that way.”

“Right.” I put down my cup, having lost my taste for the cappuccino.

“But you two were barely out of high school. So young! People change. It certainly doesn’t seem in character with how he is now.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“Well, I mean, Walter seems so conscientious and thoughtful. Yes, a little gruff, but not someone who would knowingly hurt you. But maybe… safety seems to be a huge concern to him. And maybe he couldn’t stand that you almost drowned, and he couldn’t face you after that? Did he ever explain it to you?”

“No. I begged him to tell me why, and all he would say is ‘I’m not good for you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.’ I guess the safety thing is the most plausible explanation. Because other than that, it’s bizarre that he would walk away and throw away a great thing. We were….” I paused, hit by an unexpected wave of grief. “Damn it, Soph, we were really good together. Yes, we were young, but we complemented each other so well. Like, I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.” My eyes betrayed me by welling up.

“Oh, Anthony. That’s lovely. I can tell he still does. Take you seriously, I mean. He hasn’t been able to stop staring at you the whole time we’ve been around him. It’s obvious he still cares.”

Sophia’s words threw little daggers at my silly heart. Jonathan had said essentially the same thing. If they both thought Walter still cared for me, maybe it was true. And God, if it was true, I was in deep waters. I knew I should stiffen my backbone and armor myself with outrage. But I couldn’t. Still hung up on Walter Elkins? Guilty as charged. Convicted. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I had no hope of rehabilitation. I put my face in my hands for a moment. What a hopeless sentimental fool!

Luckily for my humiliation factor, Marco came barging in with a brilliant grin. “All right, darlings! Today’s the day! Scuba diving or bust! Get ready for the adventure of your lives.” He stopped short and peered at me. “You okay?”

Pulling myself together, I returned his smile. “Fabulous, doll! Off to the reefs we go to swim with the fishies!”

In Over Our Heads is marked as the second story from Stories from the Shore series but can be read as stand-alone. I love second-chance romance trope, it’s probably my favorite trope, which is one of the reason why I put a request for ARC in this one.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work for me.

First of all, I have ENOUGH of characters who turn 30 years old and call themselves “old fart” or “too old”. I know that people have obsession about youth. But look, based on RWA Romance Reader Statistic, the U.S. romance book buyer is most likely to be aged between 30 and 54 years (with average age of 42 years old based on Nielsen). Can romance authors be more, I don’t know, relevant to the majority of readers by NOT making these 30 year old character look like they already have middle-age crisis?!? PUH-LEASE! Sorry, but it’s aggravating for me.

Second of all, I’m sorry, but the reason of Walter’s avoiding Anthony is a bit lame. Yeah, yeah, so he has tragedy when he’s 10 years old. But the whole “I’m doing this to protect you” stance is bullsh*t. He’s a scientist, shouldn’t he based everything on facts and data rather than being rather superstitious about it?

And for second-chance romance, I think the first 50% of the book is mainly about Anthony trying not to care about Walter and has a little flirty-flirty with 22-year-old Miles.

Maybe I’m not in my best mood reading this one, but I can’t really find anything I like about it. Oh maybe Miles… I like him okay. He’s young and fun. I’m more interested in him compared to Anthony and Walter. Plus he dares to call Walter an idiot, so high five to Miles.

RATING: 2.5 stars

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Celebrate the release of In Over Our Heads with a special sale: All the Way to Shore is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon through October 24 with that price matched at the Dreamspinner Press store October 16-24.

Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Off Pitch (Brianna Kienitz)

Title:  Off Pitch

Series: Pitch Prodigies, Book One

Author: Brianna Kienitz

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: October 9, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 92600

Genre: Contemporary, lesbian, musician, new adult, performing arts, romance, sports

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Synopsis

Soccer star Adeline Fahey has never taken an interest in the world outside of the pitch. The daughter of wealthy Irish immigrants, and a straight-A student, she sees nothing but the goal—finish her last two years of school and join a professional soccer team—no ifs, ands, or buts.

Then Gabriella Soto, a cello prodigy in her own right and the teaching assistant in Adeline’s dreaded Beginning Spanish class, walks onto her playing field.

After a drunken night in a T-rex costume boots their hearts onto a collision course, Adeline and Gabriella must tackle a field of school scandal, homophobic parents, and their own passionate career goals to have a shot at something more. In the face of so many obstacles, Adeline and Gabriella fear that their love may not be strong enough to score them the championship relationship they never knew they wanted.

Excerpt

Off Pitch
Brianna Kienitz © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

I stood back to watch my handiwork as the soccer ball soared gracefully into the top-right corner of the goal, and a whistle blew from somewhere near the sideline to signal the end of practice. I sighed with contentment at my own spectacular skill and jogged toward the net to help clean up the mess of balls that littered the goal area. My bedeviled locks clung to my sweaty forehead as the summer sun beat down from the clear August sky and reflected off Lake Michigan, bathing the soccer field in a double-whammy heat wave.

“God, Adds! Do you ever let up? The season hasn’t even started yet,” Jessica whined from her position inside the goal.

“After fourteen years on the pitch together, I thought you’d have learned the answer to that question.” I gave her chestnut ponytail a playful tug, and she glared at me while she leaned casually against the goalpost.

“Well, there was that one time in first grade when we sat down in your living room and watched a movie.”

“Ha. Ha.” I rolled my eyes. Jessica Strobel and I had been best friends since first grade. Now, going into our junior year at Northwestern University, our relationship subsisted entirely on sarcasm and caffeine.

“I’ll tell you what. Since you managed to block almost 10 percent of my shots, and I know what a sore loser you are, I’ll take you out to coffee after we’re done here.”

“Wow, your highness. You are so magnanimous. Thank you soooooo much,” Jessica said with a flagrant eye roll. As much as we teased, I did feel a little guilty for dragging her to this practice. It was the last day before the start of fall classes, and while pre-semester practices weren’t mandatory, I was beginning to feel the stress of the inevitability of graduating in two years. I only had two seasons left to impress scouts and get picked up by a professional team, or risk becoming another college has-been. That was a fate to which I refused to succumb.

Jessica was, and always had been, my rock. She kept me grounded and sane, which was no small feat, given my penchant for being a high-strung ass much of the time. Her role in my life was much like that of the Roman slaves who whispered in Caesar’s ear, “Remember, thou art mortal,” as he paraded victorious. Not that I thought I was immortal but I did have a big head. Jessica was the person who kept my over-inflated ego from carrying me away like a hot-air balloon.

“Fahey! Strobel! Clean up now, chitchat later,” Coach barked from the sideline. “Some of us have places to be.”

“You heard the man.” Jessica gave me a pointed look. “You made this mess. You clean it up.” Without another word, she traipsed off toward the locker rooms. I sighed audibly, but silently smirked at her retreating back. She put me in my place like no one else could. It was only fair that I pick up. If I hadn’t dragged her to this voluntary practice, she would probably still be sitting in our shared apartment in her pajamas, watching whatever show she was currently obsessed with.

Once I had stuffed the plethora of soccer balls back into a bag, I hitched it over my shoulder and hauled it to the sideline where the coach waited impatiently. He seemed focused on whatever he was doing on his clipboard, so I didn’t dare disturb him. I threw the bag into the pile of soccer sundries for the equipment manager to deal with and started to trot toward the locker room. I was only a few steps along when the coach called after me.

“Hold up, Fahey. A word, please.” His tone was always gruff, but I had learned that his demeanor was more warm than harsh. His face seemed to bear a perpetual five-o’clock shadow, but his blue eyes were always bright beneath his bushy rich brown hair. It was as if he was built to be a coach, right down to his powerful physique and firm attitude.

“What’s up, Coach?”

“Gardener is gone,” he said without looking up from his clipboard.

“Yeah. I know.” I felt like he was stating the obvious. Cam Gardener had been the captain of Northwestern University’s women’s soccer team for the past two years. She had graduated last year, and we’d held a big going-away party for her and the other graduates at the end of the semester. I was perfectly aware that graduating meant she wouldn’t be on the team anymore.

“So, we’ll need a new captain.” Coach looked up at me finally. “It’ll be the ladies’ decision, ultimately, but I want it to be you.” His expression was calculating as he waited for me to respond.

“Oh…wow! I…thanks, Coach. I mean, it’s up to the others, obviously, but…yeah. I’ll think about it. Thank you. I’ll think about it,” I babbled and started to walk away. I felt Coach’s gaze weighing on the back of my strong shoulders, and my thoughts began to race. I had never really considered being captain of any team. I was an excellent player by any standards, and it wasn’t that I was selfish, or a showboat, but I was always focused on being the best I could be. I loved being part of a team, but I had never thought of myself as a leader.

The prospect was both exhilarating and daunting. I tried not to let it worry me as I undressed and showered in the locker room. Hopefully, Jessica was up for being a sounding board, and she could help me figure this whole situation out. She was always the level-headed one.

Deleted Scene with Commentary

This isn’t a deleted scene, but a scene that crossed my mind one day after I had finished the manuscript. It takes place the first weekend after school starts. I call it “Adeline and Jessica Visit the Bean.” If you’re not familiar with the Cloud Gate statue in Millenium Park in Chicago, it’s a mirrored sculpture shaped like a bean (hence the colloquialism) inspired by liquid mercury.

 

I was distracted from watching a family make faces at themselves in the shiny surface of Millenium Park’s famous Cloud Gate statue by a slapping sound beside me.

“Adds, I’m flicking the bean. Get it?” Jessica stared at me with a proud smile, as if she hadn’t just make a lewd joke in the middle of of crowded tourist spot.

I tried to ignore her obscenity. “Is this why you brought me here? I have work to do.” The parents I’d been watching were glaring in our direction.

“It’s the first week of school. How much homework can you have? Besides, there’s plenty to learn here.” She kept slapping the statue. “When was the last time you flicked a bean. Maybe you need some practice.”

I started walking away before she could say any more horrible things in front of innocent strangers.

“Aww. Come on, Adds,” Jessica whined, chasing after me. “You know I’m just worried about you getting rusty.”

“Get rusty for what? It’s not like ladies are lined up around the block.”

“Only because you’re not putting yourself out there. Are you going to tell me you not even a little interested in anyone?”

I pushed the vision of my Spanish TA’s silken hair cascading over her touchable shoulders to the back of my mind, but not before it caused me to flush.

Jessica cracked a sinister smile. “I knew it. Who is she?”

“No one. I mean, I don’t have time for thinking about anyone that way. There’s no one,” I sputtered.

“Mhmm. Whatever you say, Adds.” Jessica wasn’t convinced in the least, but I was being halfway honest. I didn’t have time for stupid schoolgirl crushes.

“Do you want to go get some ice cream?”

“If you think you can distract me from my best friend obligations with comfort food-” Jessica gave me severe look “You are absolutely right. You’re buying.”

I followed Jessica to the nearest ice cream cart, trying hard not to wonder at  Gabriella’s favorite ice cream.

 

I love the interplay between Adeline and Jessica, and I love writing them together. They are the perfect foil for one another, and they are more complete people for being together. I hope you’ll find their relationship as touching as the one that blossoms between Adeline and Gabriella.

 

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Meet the Author

Brianna Kienitz (pronounced Kee-nits) started out as an avid reader of lesbian fiction on Wattpad. When reading no longer sated her appetite, she turned to writing the stories she craved. Brianna believes a good story should make you feel every moment deeply, whether it be laughing until it hurts, crying yourself dry, or screaming with unbridled rage. Her Wattpad works have been widely read and have received multiple awards from the Wattpad community. Her current project, Off Pitch, was named Wattpad LGBT Book of the Month in March 2017.

Brianna lives in Missoula, Montana, where she works as a slayer of transit demons, and a dance instructor. She spends most of her down time hiding in her Hobbit Hole with her wife and cat, curating T-rex costume GIF’s and pretending not to be socially awkward on the internet.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: His Convenient Husband (Robin Covington)

Title:  His Convenient Husband

Series: Love and Sports, Book One

Author: Robin Covington

Publisher:  Entangled Publishing

Release Date: October 9, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50,000

Genre: Romance, marriage of convenience, interracial romance, sports romance, LGBTQ

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Synopsis

NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not.

Brash and loud, Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence.

Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary…until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe. . .marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.

Excerpt

Victor didn’t even think. If he had thought about it, he would have talked himself out of it, but his body took over, and before he knew it he’d pulled Isaiah into his arms. Nothing sexual, nothing calculated, just an embrace for a man who’d lost something precious and who’d carried the weight of his grief, and the grief of his son, on his shoulders.

Isaiah didn’t fight him, just melted against him, his large arms wrapping around Victor’s body as he allowed the moment to spool out naturally. Victor slowly released the breath he was holding, afraid that any sudden movement would spook Isaiah back into his previous arm’s length regimentation.

The house was quiet, soft music drifting out from the docking station, Evan’s muffled footfalls overhead as he undoubtedly chattered away with his best friend. He curbed his desire to make this more than it was, ignoring the voice in his head that whispered that this was what he always thought having a family would be like. A warm, safe home, children, and a man who loved him, and building a life together.

This wasn’t it, but it was as close to perfect as he was likely to get, so he’d take it. For as long as he could have it. They’d never discussed an end, but the natural end date was when he gained his citizenship. So, three years. Not long, but he’d take it, because Isaiah was quickly getting to him, taking up residence in the part of his heart he’d never thought would be filled.

Pathetic? He didn’t care. Victor was a romantic, something he had in common with Stephen. And look how Stephen had fallen. Victor didn’t have a chance.

The music switched, shifting down into a slower rhythm, not a Latin beat by any measure, but sultry. They began to move together. Victor didn’t make a conscious decision to dance, but it was the language that came most easily to him, and he responded to the natural sway of the embrace.

Isaiah followed his lead, the shuffle of their feet falling easily into a modified variation of the bachata. Limbs pressed against each other, muscles flexing as they moved slowly, finding their own pace. Victor sucked in a breath when Isaiah’s hands ran across the bare skin of his back, callouses dragging and igniting sparks of arousal in their wake. He made a sound, low but audible, and somewhere between a gasp and a moan, prompting his husband to pull back, eyes locked on his own.

Victor was relieved when he didn’t end the exquisite torture, but instead continued to maintain eye contact as they swayed together in the honey-glazed light of the kitchen. He was hard, sure that Isaiah could feel it through the thin material of his sweatpants, because he felt Isaiah’s erection through his dress pants. They shifted against each other, cocks aligning in a way that made the most of the lazy friction, sending ripples of pleasure over his skin and up his spine.

And then Isaiah pulled him closer, and Victor buried his face in the sweet dip of his shoulder, inhaling the scent of laundry detergent, cologne, and the intoxicating smell of his man. Isaiah’s hands dipped lower on his back, fingertips skimming the waistband, the occasional slip below the edge ratcheting his heartbeat up to the point where he knew it could be felt by the man holding him.

“So beautiful.” The words coasted across Victor’s skin, barely above a whisper. “Such a temptation.”

“I’m here for the taking,” Victor replied, his fingers coasting over the nape of Isaiah’s neck just to satisfy the urge to feel skin.

The moment was cloaked in madness, which was the only explanation for his mistake, and he knew it was the last thing he should have said when Isaiah went still, his fingers unconsciously digging into Victor’s hips.

They both pulled back, slowly, stubbled cheek against stubbled cheek, until their mouths were touching. Victor licked against his husband’s soft lips, begging for entrance and diving in when he was granted admission. Spice and sweet lemon and heat were everything in this kiss, more exploration than demand as they held on to each other and gave in.

The remains of dinner were around them, but this was another kind of hunger, and he’d waited too long to have it satisfied. Victor knew how good they could be together, and while he knew they would walk the razor’s edge between emotion and pure physical indulgence, he was willing to risk it. If he fell, then he’d embrace it.

But he knew he’d be falling alone.

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Meet the Author

A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets. . .one page at a time. When she’s not writing she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans.

A 2016 RITA® Award finalist, Robin’s books have won the National Reader’s Choice and Golden Leaf Awards and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and the Book Seller’s Best.

She lives in Maryland with her handsome husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder (Yes – THE Joan Wilder)

Drop her a line at robin@robincovingtonromance.com – she always writes back.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Leaning Into Touch (Lane Hayes)

Title:  Leaning Into Touch

Series: Leaning Into Stories, #4

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher:  Lane Hayes

Release Date: October 5

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 80k words

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Humor, Second Chance, Friends to Lovers, San Francisco, Office

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Synopsis

Josh Sheehan is unlucky in love and now… newly unemployed. He’s not sure what to do next, but he’s sure he should give up on romance. Especially after last time. His friends warned him that falling for the hunky Irishman was a bad idea. Josh can’t help feeling torn even though he knows it’s best to move on. But when an unexpected dose of family drama blindsides him, Josh finds himself leaning on the one man he’s supposed to forget.

Finn Gallagher is driven by success. He makes no secret that building a name for his tech company is his number one goal. Finn left home a decade ago with a ton of regret, a heavy heart, and a vow to never repeat the same mistake twice. However, there is something undeniably appealing about the self-deprecating man with the silly sense of humor that makes it difficult for Finn to remember why falling for Josh is a bad idea. It soon becomes clear they’re both in deeper than they intended. There is no way to remain untouched. And there is so much to gain, if they’re brave enough to lean in.

Excerpt

Finn smiled and fell into step beside me. It seemed quieter on the street than it was earlier; there wasn’t as much foot traffic. Typical for midweek, I supposed. I breathed in the refreshing night air, loving the faint smell of the ocean. I shivered and crossed my arms. So much for enjoying a leisurely stroll. It was cold as fuck out here. I picked up my pace, but Finn pulled at my elbow to stop me.

“Are you daft? Where’s your coat?”

“I f-forgot it at the last bar. It’s okay. I’m cl-close.” I visibly shook when the wind whipped up the sidewalk, sending a scrap of newspaper flying by us like a paper airplane.

“Let’s go back and get it.”

“No, my friend will give it to me later. Or her friend will. I’m almost h-home so—what are you doing?”

“Put this on, then.”

Finn shrugged his suit coat off and set it over my shoulders like a cape or a cloak. He was two inches taller than me and far more muscular. It was like being wrapped in his warm, cologne-scented embrace. The gesture was so chivalrous, it left me speechless for a moment. I knew he was just being kind, but I couldn’t contain my smile.

“Thank you,” I said. “Are you sure you won’t be too cold?”

“Where I’m from, this is a summer breeze. You need it more than I do. Now tell me about your mates. I’m relieved to know you weren’t out drowning your sorrows on your own tonight.”

I snickered at his paternal tone. “I’m not above it, that’s for sure, but no…I was with my work crew for one last happy hour. Marley insisted. She was the redhead with the awesome curls I was with this morning at the museum.”

“I remember. She’s the one holding your jacket for ransom, eh?”

“Yeah. She’s on a mission to find the perfect man for me,” I huffed, making sure he saw my eye roll before we turned the corner to my street.

“Has she ruled out women? You’re bi, aren’t you?”

“Honestly, I don’t know what I am anymore. I had girlfriends in high school and even in college but after the first time I was with a man, I haven’t been interested in anything but dick.”

Finn laughed. “Good to know.”

“What about you?” I asked, leading him down a brick path and up a short flight of stairs.

I leaned against the bright red door as I fumbled for the house key in my front pocket. In my head, I was planning a cinematic-worthy good-bye. Something lighthearted but sincere before we parted for the last time. It would have been a helluva lot easier to concentrate if he wasn’t standing so close and looking at me like I was the last brownie on the buffet table. I cocked my head and waited for him to break the spell.

“I like it too,” he said in a husky voice I hadn’t heard in far too long.

I gulped and licked my bottom lip as he moved in, bending slightly to brush his nose against mine. He surrounded me in every possible way. The heat of his body and the warmth of his coat draped me in a seductive cocoon. I felt woozy with a rush of desire so intense, I would’ve swayed on my feet if he hadn’t been standing so close. I set my right hand on his hip to steady myself and leaned in…just as he pushed away.

Finn let out a ragged breath and swiped his hand over his stubbled chin. “Fuck. I forgot how bloody difficult it is to walk away from you.”

“Then don’t.”

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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