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Book Blogs

Seasons Greetings ❤️🎄❤️I hope you had the very best Christmas possible.🥰

Having attempted to write a few reviews and post them here, I’ve realised that Book Bloggers don’t recieve the plaudits they deserve. For the time they invest in our stories and the heart put into their work, day after day, book after book. It’s no small task, trying to write an insightful review. Let alone one worth reading. I very much doubt that I’ve pulled it off yet.

I feel far more comfy releasing a novel than posting a review—when it’s my heart on the line—not that of a fellow author.😨 Posting a review is scary; they feel more revealing than my books. There I am, in the white spaces between the words, naked without a character to wear. 😳

Anyhoo, without further ado, here are a few of my favourite things… Pt 1

Book Bloggers…

The discovery of a favourite book blog is up there with happening upon an author I adore. For much the same reason: their wonderful way with words that feel as welcoming as they are a pleasure to read.

(I haven’t included favourite Author Websites, that’s a post for another day…)

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The Quille and Lampe

If ever your love of books and passion for stories has flatlined and needs rocket fuelling, I doubt there’s a finer place to rekindle those flames.🥰 Warm, witty and utterly unique. Every word a gem…and most of them inimitable. https://thequilleandlampe.wordpress.com/

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Never Hollowed By The Stare

A wonderful book blog packed with personality, fabulous tags, reviews, playlists & LGBTQ movie news, too. One of my favourite places to visit, full stop. It’s my ‘magazine’ of choice. https://neverhollowed.com/

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Books Best Blog

My favourite all-inclusive (both LGBTQ and M/F novels) book blog. Particularly fabulous if you delight in darker tales. In many genres. I love reading the reviews, even if I know I’ll never read the books themselves. https://ilikebooksbest.com/

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❤️ ‘My Way’ will be out in the New Year. Mehopes ❤️

Bookaversary · free

Full o’Festive Spirits

Hiya…Today is the 2nd Bookaversary of 𝗙𝘂𝗹𝗹 𝗼’𝗙𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗦𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗶𝘁𝘀 🥳

I can think of no finer time to make it free for 5 days and wish you A Verily Kooky Christmas from Gabriel & Dylan

Guest · New Release · series review tour

Guest: J.K. Jones – Weeps Indigo Series

Hi ❄️❤️❄️❤️❄️

December is my favourite month…and the very best of times to curl up with a not-so cosy mystery to warm your cockles on a cold wintry night. Tis the season to extend the most festive of welcomes to my guest, J.K. Jones with her irresisitibly titled Weeps Indigo Series.

SERIES REVIEW TOUR

BOOK 1

Book Title: Weeps Indigo

Author: J.K. Jones

Publisher: Self-Published

Length: 370 pages

Release Date: May 18, 2019

Genre/s: Dark M/M Romance, Murder Mystery, LGBTQ horror and tragedy

Trope/s: Forbidden love, underage love, infidelity, mental illness

Themes: Coming out, forgiveness, cheating, lies, secrets, prostitution,

psychological abuse, physical abuse, unreliable narrator

Heat Rating: 3 flames

It is not a standalone story.

Goodreads

WEEPS INDIGO copy

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

A FALL FROM GRACE

Blurb

The Sheriff of Byrmonville, Richard Clayson, has a dark secret.

That night he found Beau walking down the familiar bleak streets, he knew exactly what he was doing. Watching him in the interrogation room, his eyes coveting the way that cigarette easily slid between his lips, the way the tattoos wrap easily around his flesh. Those eyes haunting and familiar, awakening something in him long since beaten dead.

He knew exactly what Beau’s nighttime occupation was.

It was his job. To investigate the things unknown, the things hiding in the darkness. He loved a good puzzle piece, a good riddle he could unravel.

Richard wasn’t a cop for nothing.

This is dangerous. Reckless. He could lose everything, hunting Beau like this.

So why can’t he stop?

Excerpt

It’s all about a boy.

A boy who changed his life. He’s not just any kind of boy. Not someone of social status or unforgettable features. Not a boy that throws tantrums or is the sort to excel at everything.

Richard bets he isn’t particularly athletic, nor is he quick when it comes to arithmetic. However, he isn’t ordinary. In retrospect, there’s absolutely nothing ordinary about him. For one thing, his attitude is foul, so much so that half the guys in the office cringe when he opens his mouth.

He’s rough around the edges with a boorish attitude which does nothing to inspire the idea that the youth of today will amount to much in the world. However, there is something incredibly striking about his pitch black, thick curly hair, his long straight nose, thin lips, dimpled grin and a beauty mark hovering the corner of his upper lip.

Richard mentally runs through the Blackwell’s sordid history in town. His brother’s been arrested more times than he can count and it seems Beau was headed in that same direction.

Beau smokes too much, drinks too much, swears too much—hell, he does everything he shouldn’t do in abundance.

Richard even spots a couple tattoos peeking out from underneath his shirt, and is immediately repulsed. How old is he anyway?

Beau takes out a packet of smokes, slides one between his thin lips, tilting his chin up exposing that beauty mark in a way that makes Richard feel things—things long since beaten dead.

BOOK 2

Book Title: Cage The Night

Author: J.K. Jones

Publisher: Self-Published

Length: 600 pages

Release Date: November 20, 2020

Genre/s: Dark M/M Romance, Murder Mystery, LGBTQ horror and tragedy

Trope/s: Forbidden love, underage love, infidelity, mental illness

Themes: Coming out, forgiveness, cheating, lies, secrets, prostitution,

psychological abuse, physical abuse, unreliable narrator

It is part two in the Weeps Indigo series. Book 3 is due for release in September 2021.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

A BATTLE WITHIN

Blurb

What happens when the hunter becomes the hunted?

When instead of running he is being chased? Richard doesn’t understand when or how things turned. He just knows the tightness in his chest intensifies, the demon is growing restless.

All he wants to do is go back in time and stop this whole thing from happening. Starting with the first day when he saw Beau in the interrogation room, Richard wants to stop himself from becoming mesmerized by those haunting emerald eyes and that otherworldly face.

He would stop the world from turning, the heavens opening up and beaming sunlight down on them. He would stop his heart, his lungs, and all the creatures in the world just so that he would never ever have to meet Beau.

Excerpt

By the time he makes it to the Blackwell residence the blood is pounding in his ears.

He can barely see straight. The rage is boiling over and there isn’t anything stopping the demon from tearing its way through.

The house comes into view, dilapidated on the hillside, crumbling piece of shit that Richard loathes more than anything. He presses harder on the gas, dirt and debris flies everywhere as he drives recklessly up the pathway. Sirens blare loudly, as he slams his foot on the brake, nearly crashing into the front porch. Richard flies out of the vehicle, leaving the door hanging wide open and stumbles up the porch with his gun heavy in hand.

There is nothing, white noise, air bustling in his ears and the tunnel vision of paralyzing vehemence. It’s dark, raw and savage, the demon’s lips curl, breathing fire and brimstone as he clatters his way up the stairway of the Blackwell property.

The M1191 is secure in his grasp, fingers tightening around the trigger because there will be nothing, but brutality, sickening violence of blood and guts and gore.

Wooden stairs creak and groan under his foreign weight, the screen door is hanging off its hinges and he knows, that there is something very very very wrong here.

TAGLINES copy

About the Author

Heaven and hell, demons and angels. J.K Jones has always had an affinity for other worldly things. From her debut novel it’s easy to see she loves all things crawling in the shadows. As it so happens, J.K Jones is the author of a gritty, fun, action-packed, soul-rending novel. Her characters are so dark and twisted they defy the dimensions of this world. She is an avid reader, poet and LGBTQ activist. She is a York University graduate with a BA in Sociology, also has a TESOL certificate for teaching English as a Second Language.

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Blog Tour · Guest · Interview · New Release

Guest: Philip Gambone – As Far As I Can Tell

Happy December!

A very warm welcome to my guest Philip Gambone with his new release, a memoir entitiled As Far As I Can Tell. Many thanks to Philip for kindly answering a question I posed about writing this most personal of stories. 

***

BLOG TOUR

As Far As I Can Tell: Finding My Father In World War II

Author: Philip Gambone

Publisher: Rattling Good Yarns Press

Release Date: October 30, 2020

Genre: Memoir

Trope/s: Father/Son Relationships

Themes: Connecting to the past, Understanding our fathers,

Father/Son silence and the inherent lack of communications,

Coming to terms with history

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 155 000 words/474 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Publisher

(Note – The Rattling Good Yarns online store only ships within the US)

Amazon US | Amazon UK

2021 Lambda Literary Award Nominated

Blurb

Philip Gambone, a gay man, never told his father the reason why he was rejected from the draft during the Vietnam War. In turn, his father never talked about his participation in World War II. Father and son were enigmas to each other. Gambone, an award-winning novelist and non-fiction writer, spent seven years uncovering who the man his quiet, taciturn father had been, by retracing his father’s journey through WWII. As Far As I Can Tell not only reconstructs what Gambone’s father endured, it also chronicles his own emotional odyssey as he followed his father’s route from Liverpool to the Elbe River. A journey that challenged the author’s thinking about war, about European history, and about “civilization.”

Philip Gambone weaves a moving memoir of his family, a vivid portrayal of his travels through the locales of WWII, and a powerful description of what that war was like to the men who fought it on the ground into a seamless and eloquent narrative.” — Hon. Barney Frank, former Congressman, Massachusetts

“A single question pulses through As Far As I Can Tell: why didn’t my father talk about his time in the war? With meticulous research, Philip Gambone puts sound to silence, offering us a book-length love letter, not just to his father, but to anyone whose life has been hemmed in by obligation, obedience, and the brutality of the system. It’s also a coming to terms with the unknown in others, which is its own hard grace. A vital, dynamic read.” — Paul Lisicky, author of Later: My Life at the Edge of the World

“As Far As I Can Tell is a fascinating mix of autobiography, travelogue, and historical research that not only takes us on a great adventure in search of what World War Two was like for those who fought in the European theater but probes that most difficult of all subjects, the relationship between a father and a son — in this case, a gay son. Extensively researched, highly literate and profoundly thoughtful, the story Gambone tells uses not only soldiers’ memoirs but writers as disparate as Samuel Johnson and James Lord to make this a reader’s delight.”— Andrew Holleran, author of Dancer from the Dance

AS FAR AS I CAN TELL

Interview

A special thank you to Philip for taking the time to write this post for us in answer to my question:

 As far as you can tell…which of your discoveries has had the most profound impact on your present self/life? 

I made so many discoveries as I wrote this book.  They fall into three camps: (1) historical discoveries; (2) deeper understanding and appreciation of my father; and (3) discoveries about myself.

I had only a layman’s knowledge of WW2 when I started the book.  So I picked up a lot of information, much of it quite shocking and painful.  The extent of physical devastation, of loss of life, of psychological harm, of the atrocities was often so overwhelming that would burst into tears as I did my reading and writing.

I also learned a lot more about my father.  While we were certainly not estranged, we didn’t communicate much.  He certainly remained silent about the War his entire life.  What I learned is what a brave, resilient, steady, reliable soldier he must have been.  And how modest he was about what he endured and what he contributed to the war effort.  His contribution was one of millions—a small part—but nevertheless one I hope he took pride in.  I certainly am proud of him in ways I never was before I undertook the book.

Finally, I learned a lot about myself.  One of the questions that runs through this book is whether I could have met the challenge of going off to Vietnam as a soldier.  Without giving away too much of what I say in the book, I can say that I never fully answered that question.  No person knows how he or she will behave under the kinds of tests and stresses of war.  But I do know that I came out of the project with greater respect for soldiers.  I still abhor war, I still have little sympathy with jingoistic patriotism, with invoking God in matters of politics, with all that old, paternalistic nonsense; but the many stories I learned about soldiers—their courage, their loyalty to one another, the sheer grunt-like tenacity that they brought to the task—those stories moved me profoundly.

***

Excerpt

On February 12, 1942, Dad reported for induction. The chief business was the physical examination, which was conducted assembly-line fashion. The inductees were naked, wearing only a number around their necks. It was the most comprehensive physical most of them had ever had. For some it was intimidating, for others embarrassing.

Most inductees were eager to pass the physical exam, so eager in fact that in many cases, they indulged in “negative malingering,” trying to conceal conditions that might get them disqualified. Once the physical was out of the way, the only screening that remained was a brief interview with an army psychiatrist, who had been instructed to look for “neuropsychosis,” a diagnosis that covered all sort of emotional ills from phobias to excessive sweating and evidence of mental deficiency.

Paul Marshall, who ended up in the same division as Dad, remembered being asked at his physical if he liked girls. “I didn’t quite understand what he meant about it. I told him, ‘Why sure, I like girls.’” Later Marshall figured out what he was really being asked. “The ultimate question mark of manliness,” James Lord, himself a homosexual, recalled. “Do you like girls? Or prefer confinement in a federal penitentiary for the remainder of your unnatural life.” The terror of being considered a sexual leper or worse, “unfit to honor the flag of your forebears,” was real. Lord answered, Yes, he liked girls, and was promptly accepted into the army.

Not every homosexual inductee lied. Some, like Donald Vining, came clean with his interviewer, who turned out to be “marvelously tolerant, taking the whole thing easily and calmly, without shock and without condescension.” The interviewer marked Vining’s papers “sui generis ‘H’ overt,” and he was out.

My father passed his induction physical. Hale, hearty, and decidedly heterosexual, he needed none of the remedial medical work—dental, optometric—that millions of other inductees did. With the physical and the psychological screenings done, Dad signed his induction papers, was fingerprinted, and issued a serial number. The final piece of business was the administration of the oath of allegiance, done, according to army regulations, “with proper ceremony.” Once sworn in, Dad was sent home to put things in order before he went off to Camp Perry to be processed for basic training.

Twenty-eight years after Dad’s, my own induction notice arrived, during my senior year in college. I was instructed to report to my hometown on May 6, where the Army would put me on a bus and drive me to the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station in South Boston. I remember standing, before dawn, on a curb outside the town offices waiting for the bus. Other fellows from my high school were there, and I nervously tried to make small talk with them. We’d had nothing in common in high school, and the situation hadn’t changed in the intervening years.

My recollection of that day is shrouded in numbness. I remember standing in a line, stripped to my underwear, making my way from one examining station to the next. I kept assuring myself I could not possibly go to Vietnam, that the good fortune I’d enjoyed so far would see me to a different destiny than the one where I would end up dead in a jungle in Southeast Asia.

I was clutching a letter from my dentist attesting to the fact that I needed braces, in those days a cause for rejection. But aside from that, I had not taken any steps to ensure that I wouldn’t be taken. I’d heard stories of guys planning to go to their induction physicals drunk, or stoned, or wearing dresses and makeup. Others said they would flee to Canada or apply for conscientious objector status. I had made no such plans. Throughout senior year, I had been sitting on my damn butt, still banking on magic or luck to get me the hell out.

I passed every exam. I was not overweight. I did not have flat feet or a heart murmur. My blood pressure was excellent. At one station, I handed over the dentist’s letter. The examiner gave it a perfunctory glance and tucked it into my file.

At last, I came to the psychological screening area. All I remember is the examiner asking me if I’d ever had any homosexual experiences. And when I said yes, he followed up with a few more questions. Had I sought counseling? Did I intend to stop? That was it. He thanked me and I moved on. Less than two weeks later, I received a notice from the AFEES: “Found Not Acceptable

for Induction Under Current Standards.” I’d been declared 4-F. In the parlance of the day, I had “fagged out.” My parents thought the dentist’s letter about braces had done the trick.

***

About the Author

Philip Gambone is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. His debut collection of short stories, The Language We Use Up Here, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. His novel, Beijing, was nominated for two awards, including a PEN/Bingham Award for Best First Novel.

Phil has extensive publishing credits in nonfiction as well. He has contributed numerous essays, reviews, features pieces, and scholarly articles to several local and national journals including The New York Times Book Review and The Boston Globe. He is a regular contributor to The Gay & Lesbian Review.

His longer essays have appeared in a number of anthologies, including Hometowns, Sister and Brother, Wrestling with the Angel, Inside Out, Boys Like Us, Wonderlands, and Big Trips.

Phil’s book of interviews, Something Inside: Conversations with Gay Fiction Writers, was named one of the “Best Books of 1999” by Pride magazine. His Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans was nominated for an American Library Association Award.

Phil’s scholarly writing includes biographical entries on Frank Kameny in the Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford) and Gary Glickman in Contemporary Gay American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. He also wrote three chapters on Chinese history for two high school textbooks published by Cheng and Tsui.

He is a recipient of artist’s fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. He has also been listed in Best American Short Stories.

Phil taught high school English for over forty years. He also taught writing at the University of Massachusetts, Boston College, and in the freshman expository writing program at Harvard. He was twice awarded Distinguished Teaching Citations by Harvard. In 2013, he was honored by the Department of Continuing Education upon completing his twenty-fifth year of teaching for the Harvard Extension School.

Author Links

Blog/Website | Facebook | Newsletter Sign-up

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

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

Book Blast · Guest · New Release

Guest: Alex Hall – Midas Touch

Hello…and Happy Thanksgiving to my Stateside friends.🥰

Ooh, this looks irresistible.😻Tis top of my Christmas read list after putting my tree up on Advent Day.

A warm welcome to my guest, Alex Hall, with their new novel, the fabulously festive Midas Touch. 

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Midas Touch: A Christmas Romance

Author: Alex Hall

Publisher: Madison Place Press

Cover Artist: Rebecca Slather

Release Date: November 9, 2020

Genre: F/F Romance

Themes/Tropes: Christmas, childhood friends to lovers

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 75 000 words/ 208 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Gwen Cook has returned to Williamsburg, Virginia, after more than a decade away from her family estate. Frankie Porter has spent the last year renovating that same estate, turning the dilapidated Cook mansion into a showpiece. Gwen and Frankie shared a childhood full of hard secrets and ripe with first love. Now adults, their paths cross again and sparks fly.

A HEA with content warnings for PTSD and implied child abuse.

Excerpt

The boathouse had barely changed in twelve years. The creek ran quite a bit deeper and wider. Brown water had swallowed up much of the far bank and licked in pools about the base of the boathouse itself. Frankie had to shove back kudzu and sumac as she walked. The soles of her boots sank inches into mud. Tiny pink-and-white wildflowers grew up between the trees, and here and there she spotted a drooping hedge bright with red berries.

She made her way cautiously through the undergrowth until she could touch the old building. Standing against the foundation, she cocked her head and squinted up along brick walls. The boathouse seemed as sturdy as she remembered. Two stories high and crumbling on the outside, it was ruler straight and strong except for the roof, which still sagged but hadn’t given in to the elements and fallen.

“Used to be, they knew how to build to last.” Frankie patted the warm brick.

The structure didn’t tower the way it had in her childhood, but she supposed it wouldn’t. She had grown—her bones had lengthened into adulthood. She’d managed to top five feet, barely. At sixteen, she’d feared she would be stuck forever just above four.

Frankie hesitated, glancing up into the sky. The trees had grown tall, and she could see less of the sun than she remembered. The place was definitely cooler, definitely shadier; but on a warm summer afternoon, shade wasn’t such a bad thing.

She leaned against the boathouse and untied her boots. Stripping off her shoes and socks, she stood barefoot in the mud, regarding the brick walls. Twelve years gone and she was no longer a child. Could she do it?

Of course she could. Was it wise?

Probably not.

But her fingers and toes found the old cracks easily, and before she knew it, she was halfway up the wall. The brick brushed her khaki shorts, leaving brown stains. A branch streaked her white shirt with sap. Frankie didn’t notice. At the top she hoisted herself over the edge of the roof and onto the shingles. She sat very still, holding her breath, waiting to see if the roof would protest. The shingles held, even when she rose to her feet and tiptoed across the top of the boathouse to her old perch.

She looked up and around first, admiring the oak and the dogwood and the ash with their green-as-grass leaves. She sucked in the fragrance of the creek as she brushed her bangs from her eyes. Then she took a deeper breath and looked down.

James Creek glittered below, cut into geometric shapes by dim sunlight. Shadows gathered at the edges of the water and then spread away along the bank. From where she stood, the water looked deep and inviting.

Sarah_Remy-72dpi-1500x2000-2

About the Author

Sarah Remy/Alex Hall is a nonbinary, animal-loving, proud gamer Geek. Their work can be found in a variety of cool places, including HarperVoyager, EDGE and NineStar Press.

Author Links

Blog/Website | Twitter: @sarahremywrites

Giveaway

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Guest · New Release · Release Blitz · Reviews

Guest post & review: My Ticket Out by J.N. Marton

Hiya,

I hope you’re keeping well. I’ve been readying My Way for release, which should be done soonish, but in the meantime… I’d like to welcome my guest J. N. Marton with her new novel My Ticket Out. 

***

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: My Ticket Out

Author: J.N. Marton

Cover Artist: 100Covers

Release Date: November 17, 2020

Genres: Contemporary F/F Romance, Coming-of-age

Tropes: Forbidden love(ish) and friends to lovers

Themes: Coming out, Embracing who you are

Heat Rating: 2-3 flames

Length: 260 pages

It is a standalone story.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

A senior basketball player. A mysterious new girl. A secret romance…

Blurb

Charlie Baker wants out. She wants out of her small, southern hometown of BluHaven and she has her sights set on a basketball scholarship to a college as far away as her dreams can take her. Everything is going according to plan until she moves to town.

Aspen Sullivan is breathtaking. She is beautiful, smart, talented…. She evokes feelings in Charlie that she hadn’t thought possible. When their friendship blossoms into something more, Charlie discovers a new truth about herself. But with Aspen’s mysterious past, they must keep their relationship a secret.

Will their love be strong enough to endure the trials of deceiving those closest to them? Do they have what it takes to escape the constraints of the south and the closet together?

My Ticket Out is a Young Adult, LGBT story about love, and self-discovery. If you enjoy stories that include romance, heartbreak, and embracing who you are, then you will definitely love this book by author J.N. Miller.

Pick this book up today to see if Charlie will find her ticket out.

Review

Friends-to-lovers and coming out tales have forever been favourites of mine, no matter when that dawn of awakening occurs. I’ve particularly loved books about two girl friends falling in love since reading my very first: Hey Dollface by Deborah Hautzig, many moons ago. It remains a charming coming of age story to this day, despite being more than a mite dated, having been published in 1978. This book makes that one seem…fluffy. Quaint. While both are told from the POV of a teenager who finds herself falling for her new best friend, forty years makes for a very different read. 

Charlie and Aspen’s story is far from a ‘romance’ in many ways. They spend as much of the novel apart as they do together, and those shared times often focus on the difficulties they face, rather than the romance aspect. Although there were some lovely moments of emotional intimacy, these insights were often shared retrospectively by Charlie. Expressed through sorrow when she and Aspen were forced apart, rather than shown during their together times. All my favourite scenes were their stolen moments spent curled up, watching movies and simply hanging out. I would have loved more of these and a mite less angst but that is purely a personal preference. 

The students and school setting were written so well and captured so vividly, I felt myself transported back in time. So much so, I wouldn’t have been surprised to feel a sore throat coming on. Or a headache. Period pains. Appendicitis. The peer pressure and spite, bitchiness and bullying were palpable. How I felt for Charlie in those scenes and admired her strength in both facing them and remaining true to herself.

I rooted for Charlie and Aspen all the way, no matter how fractured their relationship became at times. They had a helluva lot to overcome in order to be together. It was hard to judge Aspen for falling in line with her fathers wishes and trying to placate him because being a teenager is tough enough without losing the love of a lone parent. Her subsequent actions were less easy to forgive…if understandable in the face of that fear. He was a difficult man with his own issues, which is a scary tightrope to walk without further inciting their ire.

It was harder to forgive Charlie at times for being a very selfish sort of friend. Riley is a fabulous character and loyal to the last. I possibly liked her, Matty (Charlie’s brother), and Aspen’s Aunt Beth most of all. Charlie treated Riley  dreadfully when their rivalry for the basketball scholarship reared its head. Riley may have had more options open to her, but Charlie’s passive-aggressive attempts to guilt her into giving up the place, should she earn it, made me very uncomfortable. Charlie’s dreams may have depended on what she deemed her ‘ticket out’, but the pressure she put on Riley to reject the opportunity was most unfair. Particularly when Charlie herself uses the expression ‘it’s not fair’ very often when things don’t go her way.

Living in the UK, it is shocking to witness such everyday religious bigotry. Homophobia tends to be a…visceral reaction to same sex couples here; be that a personal hatred or learned within a family. While I’m sure we must have extreme evangelical Christians intent on praying the gay away, I never come into contact with them. While I have known devout Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, English Protestants don’t tend to vehemently expound their beliefs. The bigotry Charlie and Aspen faced from God-fearing folk was gut wrenching, heartbreaking. It makes me sick to my stomach that people who preach that God is love spend so much time proclaiming hatred.

This story is a rollercoaster ride of emotion, rather than a romance. It focuses on Charlie’s personal growth rather than that of her relationship with Aspen. A fact which seems borne out by the ending of the book, so don’t hold out in hope of a hea for its heroines. However, if you enjoy well-written stories that put you through an emotional wringer of very real feels, this is for you.

MY TICKET OUT

Excerpt

Chapter 1

“We did not come this far to roll over like a bunch of pigs! Take the ball and put it in the damn basket!”

Falcons on three… one… two… three… FALCONS.”

Twelve seconds left on the clock.

One more shot.

One more play.

One last chance.

Twelve seconds is all the time we need.

Defense pounces the second the ball is inbounded like a leach latching itself to the only available life source.

The fast break is swift–over before it even started. One hard dribble towards the middle and the ball is launched to the center of the court.

Seven seconds left.

What comes next is second nature. A hard cut to the basket and back out to the wing, my hands raised in the air as I catch the ball before defense has time to adjust.

Four seconds left… Three seconds… the ball rolls off my fingertips.

Two seconds… it swirls around the rim.

One second… and falls to the ground.

The sound of the buzzer erupts through the gymnasium, solidifying our defeat. Final score thirty-six to thirty-seven.

I inhale the musty stench of sweat, perfume, and hairspray as we sulk into the locker room and take a seat while we wait for the aftermath that is Coach Stewart. I lean forward, resting my elbows on my knees and focus on the sweat dripping from my forehead, plummeting to the ground, leaving a minuscule puddle between my shoes.

One shot.

That’s all we needed. And I blew it.

My main priority from the second this year started was getting a basketball scholarship out of this small town. From our very first game, it’s felt like my life has been dependent on one specific goal. A single accomplishment–like making the game winning shot–is going to make or break my future.

Coach Stewart charges through the door, letting it slam against the concrete wall as he steps in front of us. His gaze is intentional and cold, his demeanor full of discontent and indignation. His eyes trace over us, one by one, pausing just long enough for us to feel the misery set in.

He dips his head, slowly shaking it back and forth, before he holds up his index finger. “One shot. One damn shot. That’s all we needed to be undefeated this season.” He lifts his head, settling his hands on his hips. “We made mistakes tonight. And sometimes one mistake is the difference between winning and losing. The season’s not over yet. We’ll just have to practice a little harder to end it on a high. We’ve got a few games left, don’t give up now. Practice tomorrow after school. Bring it in.

Falcons on three… one… two… three… FALCONS.”

I shuffle to my locker, ignoring the hushed conversations happening around me, and begin gathering my stuff.

“That was a nice shot, Charlie,” Riley says as she pulls off her jersey, tossing it to the growing pile on the floor and retrieves her tshirt from the locker next to mine.

“Thanks,” I mutter, “I’ll see you tomorrow,” and sling my bag across my shoulders, heading for the door.

I get about three steps away from the locker room when I’m cut off by Ben. He’s wearing faded jeans, a red and black flannel over a plain white shirt, and boots with dried mud on the sides. The typical wardrobe of the boys that live around here. He’s taller than me by about three inches, with chocolate brown hair falling in his face, and forest green eyes that can’t seem to focus on what’s in front of him. “Hey, Charlie. Nice game.”

“Thanks,” I say, trying to brush past him.

He takes one long stride to the right, blocking my path. “I was thinking about checking out that new movie this weekend. Thought you might like to join me?”

“No thanks, I’m busy.”

He leans in closer, the smell of popcorn lingering on his breath, “C’mon, Charlie,” He whispers, “It’ll be fun. It wasn’t too long ago you jumped at the chance to go out with me.”

That’s not actually true. I only went out with him because Riley insisted and I finally agreed in order to get her off my back, not because I found him even remotely attractive. Of course, he doesn’t realize that, which isn’t all that surprising when I really think about it. We did the typical dinner and movie date but he couldn’t hold a conversation that didn’t revolve around him. Within the first twenty minutes of the movie, he’s shoving his tongue down my throat. I managed to wrangle him off before awkwardly sitting there trying to pretend I was somewhat interested in the film playing on screen. I haven’t gone out with him since.

“Ben, I need to get home. Can we talk about this some other time?”

“So,” he says, straightening up, his tone chipper as a smile plays around his mouth, “You’ll think about it?”

I stagger past him, picking up my pace as the EXIT sign beacons above the door, hoping my silence will answer his question.

I step outside, breathing in the bitter, frigid air of late February and make my way to my old grey Sedan. I pull out of the parking lot and head towards downtown. BluHaven is a small, southern town where the same families, shops, restaurants, and business have been here for generations. There’s a church on nearly every street corner, everything shuts down on Sundays, high school sports are the main source of entertainment, and everybody knows everything about everyone.

They say you have the freedom to be whoever you want to be, to express yourself in your own way. But if that goes against the belief system that’s been set in stone since before I was born, then don’t even bother. It’s not that I hate living here. It’s just that I never felt like I truly fit in, like my place has always been somewhere else in this world.

About the Author

J.N. Marton graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor’s degree in education. Along with educating the future of our nation, she enjoys taking her daily morning run, reading any book she can get her hands on, and binge watching the latest shows on Netflix. Marton happily lives with her wife, Hollis, and their Lab/Basset Hound mix, Sam.

Email her at jnmartonauthor@gmail.com and follow her on her favorite social media platform, Twitter @jn_marton.

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cover reveal · Guest · New Release

Cover Reveal: The Valet by Mel Gough

Hiya,

I love this cover and the book itself looks fabulous. 🥰I never can resist a spot of forbidden romance. Or white tie and tails, for which I blame Count Victor Grazinski…and, o’course…one Thin White Duke… 😻

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*****

A warm welcome to my guest, Mel Gough, with her new novel, The Valet. Out on December 1st.

COVER REVEAL

Book Title: The Valet

Author: Mel Gough

Cover Artist: Black Jazz Design

Release Date: December 1, 2020

Genre/s: Historical M/M Romance

Trope/s: Forbidden love

Themes: Restoring trust

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Goodreads

When love does not dare speak its name, trusting is the hardest thing to learn.

Blurb

England, 1910 – Ted has a good situation as first footman at Montague Hall, the splendid Gloucestershire manor of the 6th Earl of Carran. But he has just made a mistake so serious it could cost him his position, and even land him in prison if the authorities found out.

As valet to the 9th Duke of Argyll, Richard’s London life is glamorous. But when he has his heart broken, he longs to get as far away from the city as possible. The pace at Montague Hall might be sedate, but its tranquillity is like a salve to his shattered soul. And unforeseen diversions are to be found even here. Like handsome, despondent first footmen.

The last thing Ted needs is a new temptation. But his Lordship’s new valet isn’t just gorgeous. Richard is also brave and kind – and he wants to make Ted happy, something Ted never dreamt would come to pass.

Trusting again is hard, and in a world that reviles their love happiness is hard-won. Can they hope to carve out a contented life against all odds?

Excerpt

Dorcas was just coming through the baize door, carrying a tray stacked high with serving bowls. Ted hurried to hold the door for her.

“Thank you.” She gave him a smile and quickly but gently deposited her load on a sideboard.

Ted was fond of the head housemaid. They got on well, and unlike many of the other servants, Ted trusted her. Dorcas was plain-spoken and a hard worker, and she didn’t tolerate the mean kind of teasing that some of the younger servants engaged in with impunity.

He went to open one of the tall cabinets where a couple of shelves were bare. “Here, I’ll do it.” He started stacking the bowls on the shelves, which were too high for Dorcas to reach without a footstool.

“Thank you.” Dorcas rubbed her arms. “Golly, those were heavy. Good thing Mrs Stokes didn’t see me. That would’ve been quite the hiding.”

“She would’ve had good reason.” Ted hefted the bowls. “Imagine if you had tripped with these!”

“Yes, but the stairs are steep and narrow, and it’s bad enough coming up once with that huge tray.” She watched as Ted opened a different cupboard and started counting bread plates. “Aren’t you done yet? You’ve been up here an age!”

Ted made a face. “You know what Mr Wymer is like. He won’t stand for a single spoon out of alignment. And Jimmy’s managed to wriggle out from under him, so I’m doing the dogsbody work.”

Dorcas clicked her tongue impatiently. “You have to stop letting him walk all over you, Ted.” She stood with her hands pressed into her sides, shaking her head. “Who’s the first footman, hmm? You or him?”

Ted kept his eyes on the plates. He might have confided many things in Dorcas, but the reason why he didn’t dare vex Jimmy was too shameful to share even with her. “You’re right, of course. But…you know what he’s like.”

“Oh Ted.” Dorcas sighed. “What are we to do with you?” She turned back towards the door to the back stairs, but then wheeled back around. “I nearly forgot! You were up here, and you wouldn’t have heard yet.” With a glance at the door to the dining room, which was half-open, she lowered her voice. “You won’t believe what happened. Mr Brown has handed in his notice. He just told us.”

Ted stared at her. “What do you mean?” He nodded towards the dining room. “But Mr Wymer didn’t say anything. He must be aware.”

“You know what Mr Wymer is like. Discreet to a fault.” Dorcas put on a serious face and lowered her voice. “An upstanding servant does not gossip, Theodore.”

Despite himself, Ted grinned. The imitation was spot on. Then he remembered the news and grew sombre again. “So Mr Brown’s gone.” After Dorcas, the Earl’s valet was Ted’s second favourite amongst the servants. They weren’t bosom friends – clearly, or Mr Brown would’ve confided his plans in him – but Ted valued the man’s support against Jimmy and Mrs Dankworth, who was the Countess’s lady’s maid and who liked to team up with Jimmy to make Ted’s life hell. Losing the valet would bring change to the balance downstairs, and that would not bode well for Ted. An unease settled in his gut.

Dorcas seemed not to notice. “He’s not gone yet, but he will be by the end of the week. The Earl agreed to let him go on short notice. You know he’s courting the daughter of that Cheltenham pub. Her father died a few days ago, and they need to move quickly so that the pub can stay open.”

“Mr Brown is going to be a pub landlord.” Ted was bemused by the idea. “You’d think that being valet for an Earl would beat that life any day.” He couldn’t imagine leaving service. The work at Montague Hall wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, but the house was comfortable and the Peytons were fair employers. After what he’d left behind at home in Yorkshire, this house was paradise. But then he remembered the impossible situation he’d gotten himself into with Jimmy. Maybe starting over new somewhere wouldn’t be so bad.

Dorcas shrugged. “I guess love trumps all in the end.”

Ted didn’t know what to say to that. He knew that people like Dorcas believed this, but he also knew that for people like him, this was not likely to ever happen. He picked up the stack of plates. “I better take these through, before Mr Wymer sends out a search party.”

“Right you are.” Dorcas gave him a smile and a wave, and vanished through the baize door.

About the Author

Mel Gough loves writing about love – but with a twist. Nominated for the 2019 Selfies Awards, her bisexual romantic suspense novel He is Mine is a typical Mel Gough story. She needs her HEA fix, but on the way there will be thorns and fire, and sometimes brimstone. All right, that might be over the top, especially since her stories are firmly based in the real world – though not always in the here and now.

Born in Germany, exploring other realities has been Mel’s siren call since she was young. Books opened up a plethora of worlds, and soon gave her a strong love of the English language. After an MA in Anthropology, field work in the middle of nowhere seemed like one adventure too far, so Mel settled in London, which, to misquote Dr. Johnson, she will never tire of.

Mel loves to bend genres – her romances are gritty and dark, and sometimes there’s a dead body. She’s been told that her prose is beautiful yet disturbingly real. She’s curious about bygone times, and hopes to speculate about the future in one of her next books.

Author Links

Blog/Website | Facebook | Twitter

Instagram | Newsletter Sign-up

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Blog Tour · Guest · Interview · New Release

Guest Post & Interview with Eric Huffbind

Hiya,

I’m working on the final edits of My Way and formatting it as a freebie from Prolific Works. Having always used Amazon before, I fancied venturing further afield and wanted to release a perma-free novel in a fussless sort of way.

In the meantime, I’d like to welcome my special guest, Eric Huffbind with his new release Surrounded by Silence. Many thanks to him for agreeing to be interviewed and for sending along a picture of the adorable Linus.🥰

***

BLOG TOUR

Surrounded by Silence

Author: Eric Huffbind

Cover Artist: Eric Huffbind

Release Date: October 14, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary Gay Male Romance

Trope/s: Billionaires, Hurt/Comfort, Post-Divorce, Middle Age

Themes: Learning what it means to be selfless rather than selfish.

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 71 000 words/259 pages

This is a sequel to The Rescuer, but can be read as a stand-alone.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon UK

Lonely billionaire, Samuel Barron, has finally met someone he finds himself falling for, but can he handle a romance for a gentleman whose entire world is surrounded by silence?

***

Blurb

After public humiliation, Sam Barron has come to the realization his billions can’t buy him love or happiness. Despondent and feeling like his life is in a downward spiral, he comes to realize he needs some professional help. Despite trepidations, Sam turns to Jason Parker, a social worker who at his heart, is a rescuer. Even though Sam had been so hateful towards him in the past, Jason can’t help but think Sam deserves to suffer. Jason tells Sam straight out, “You’re a spoiled brat without a shred of humility!”

Jason has deep concerns about helping Sam, but might be willing, if Sam volunteers at a soup kitchen. Grudgingly, Sam accepts Jason’s condition, and while performing his volunteer work, meets the flirtatious Noah Wagner. Noah is close in age, attractive, and Sam likes the way he feels whenever he’s around him. Noah is the first person Sam has known who is profoundly deaf. So, how is Sam to navigate a romantic interest with a man who can’t hear a word he says?

Surrounded by Silence, a Contemporary Gay Male Romance, is a sequel to Mr. Huffbind’s debut novel, The Rescuer. However, this book can be read as a stand-alone. If you enjoy a story where the villain becomes the hero, you will love Surrounded by Silence.

***

Interview with Eric

*

Introducing Eric and his writing… 

My home is in West Chester, Ohio. It’s in the southwest corner of the state and  a suburb of Cincinnati. I have been with my husband Paul for 16 years, and legally married since January of 2013.  As much as I wish I could simply write fiction all the time, with the need of income and health insurance, I have been working full time as a travel agent. Unfortunately, due to the current Covid-19 crisis, I was recently placed on furlough and praying I will be able to return to work some time in 2021. I have a 25-year-old autistic son who lives in a nearby group home. Plus, we have an 11-year-old Pomeranian dog who goes by the name Linus. 

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I write Contemporary Gay Male Romance. This is the book genre I most enjoy reading and, consequently, gives me the best emotional, feel-good high. They always say, write what you love! So, to me, there is no other genre I would ever wish to write in. 

How long have you been an author?

 I have been writing for three years. Not full time, as nice as that would be, I need a more steady, consistent income.

What/who inspired you to start writing? 

Writing a book was just something that had been on my bucket list. As to why I wanted to write a book at all, not sure. It was just something I wanted to accomplish during my time here on earth. Once I fell in love with MM Romance, it simply dawned on me, “I can do this!” If someone had said to me 10 years ago, I would be writing Gay Male Romance novels, I would have thought they were crazy. Once I discovered the world of self-publishing, it somehow felt like a no-brainer. 

Tell us about your new release. What inspired you to write it? 

At its heart, Surrounded by Silence tells a love story of a billionaire, who historically has been selfish and spoiled, falling in love with a gentleman from the deaf community. Inspiration for my stories has always been from real life. I have distant cousins who are deaf. My mother had a female first cousin, who married a man who was deaf. And from that marriage, there have been a fair number of descendants who are deaf, as the cause for this deafness is genetic. Many of these extended deaf family members have married individuals who were hearing. So, the concept of this story had its roots in real life. Let’s just say, I had a little bit of knowledge about the deaf community, and how some of their attitudes shape what motivates them. My husband and I were out to breakfast with another couple, and our friend Linda said, “Why don’t you write a story that involves a main character from the deaf community?” That was all it took for my inspiration for Surrounded by Silence.

How did you decide on the title? 

It just hit me all at once. Since I was writing a love story between two men, one from the hearing world, and one from the deaf world, the title made perfect sense. For Sam, who cherishes music and the sounds in nature, meets a man with a heart of gold, but lives in a world Surrounded by Silence.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? 

Without a doubt, the hardest part of writing this book was the ground level research for the development of credible story lines. Yes, I had some knowledge of the deaf community, and even have a friend who is both deaf and gay. Still, my knowledge was not sufficient. I have no skill in the use of sign language. Now, my friend Harold, who belongs to both the deaf and gay communities, lives in California, but is originally from Ohio where I reside. When we are together, it is challenging, since I have no American Sign Language to access, but nevertheless, my husband and I manage. I wanted to have a clear knowledge base of what it’s like for someone in the hearing community to fall in love with someone from the deaf community. How does one cope and deal with initial communication barriers?

Additionally, I desperately needed an understanding of the inner workings of child welfare and protection laws. I had zero knowledge in this area. Thank heavens for the power of Facebook. From a single post, I met my dear friend Amy, who has a wealth of knowledge. 

Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it? 

Most definitely! I learned that is is quite possible for a child born deaf and given the tool of cochlear implants, to grow up with full use of verbal language–individuals raised without any need to learn sign language. 

I learned how critical it is for cochlear implants be placed during early childhood when the language center of your brain is most receptive to learning spoken language. Not that this should be a surprise to anyone if we all think back to learning speak as we grew from infancy, as compared to the struggle of tackling a foreign language during high school. With all that being said, It is this capability that has many in the deaf community worried that American Sign Language will disappear. A language that is so entwined in the fabric of the deaf community. Not sure that that would ever happen. Not all deaf individuals have success hearing with cochlear implants. Unless in the future, technology is enhanced to bring hearing to those individuals as well. 

Why M/M?

 I’m a gay man. I can see numerous films of heterosexual romance, which I totally enjoy, but finding gay romance in films, with positive story lines is extremely difficult to find. Quality MM Romance removes that limitation. As a gay man, there is something special and entertaining in these love stories between two men. I want to read stories that for me, reflect real life.

What other novels do you adore/ writers you follow?

That is easy. My answer has to be Agatha Christie. I love murder mysteries, and she had genius talent. 

Are any of your characters based on you or people you know?

Most definitely! In both my first book, The Rescuer, and this book, Surrounded by Silence, Jason Parker, is based on me. I’m a retired RN, and I have always thought of my self as a rescuer. As Jason discovered in The Rescuer, trying to mix being a rescuer with romance, often ends badly. With the man I fell in love with and married, there was definitely no rescuing required.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I am most definitely a pantser! Lord knows I have tried to become a plotter figuring it would help be to write the book more quickly. I’ve read books on how to convert from being a pantser to a plotter. However, regardless of my efforts trying to plot out the entire novel upfront, those attempts have been met with complete failure. I just don’t feel that my brain functions in that way. 

I start with a character that is flawed in some aspect. When I begin writing, I know where I want that character to start, and I know how I want that character to end up. As to how I will accomplish my character’s goals is something that has to organically unfold in my head. I often have a small basket of scenes in my imagination I would like to see during the course of the novel. And I will pull from the basket as I pants my way along.

Is there a downside to being a pantser? You better believe there is! At times during my writing, I will slam against a brick wall as to what I am going to do with my characters. Perhaps I have written 30,000 words and think, “I need a whole lot more story than this before I can conclude my book.” I have found myself stuck brainstorming 2 – 3 weeks before a good idea comes to me. That would frustrate me to no end, but now, I just relax and wait for an epiphany to hit me.

Are you a cat person or a dog person?  Tell us about your pets. 

Great question! Although, to be honest, I would probably say I am both a cat person and a dog person. In the past, I have had as many as 4 cats at one time. However, I came to realize that is just too many animals for me. It starts becoming a big job caring for that many animals. Between taking each cat to and from the veterinarian for care or keeping the litterbox clean. 

For years, during my twenties and thirties, I dreamed of having a dog, but never felt like my work schedule would allow for it. When I was an RN, I worked 12-hour shifts. That was just too much time away from my home to properly care for a dog. After my husband Paul came into my life, getting a dog felt much more doable, as he worked more sane hours.

So, currently, we have just one dog, a Pomeranian by the name of Linus. I must say, he is crazy cute. Linus will be 12 years old in February 2021. He’s a tri-color, which is a coat pattern not seen as much as a solid color. And It is just one dog, not several. As much as I love dogs, I don’t want the cost and upkeep to care for multiple animals again. My husband and I did have 3 cats at one point in time. After getting Linus, as they passed away, we didn’t replace them.

***

INSTAGRAM

Excerpt

Coming through the front door of their apartment, Jason called out, “Honey, I’m home. Where are you?”

Poking his head out, Christopher announced, “I’m in the kitchen making dinner.”

Strolling into the kitchen, Jason gave Christopher a kiss, and asked, “How was work today?”

“Oh, it was okay, same old same old. Not particularly exciting. How about you?”

Jason took a small step backwards and began rubbing his eyebrows. “Well, an old friend of yours came to see me today, without any forewarning, of course!”

“An old friend of mine? I can’t imagine what old friend of mine would come to see you.”

“I’m being facetious,” Jason said. “Calling this man a friend is a bit of a stretch, and he’s someone I wasn’t happy to see.”

Christopher’s eyes narrowed as he squinted. “Please, tell me it wasn’t Sam Barron?”

“I’d be happy to tell you it wasn’t Sam Barron… but I would be lying. Yes, it was Sam. Admittedly, I was floored! And as you can imagine, especially since he showed up unannounced, I was less than ecstatic to see him.”

“Dear God, almighty! What in the hell did he come to see you about?”

“As you might suspect, I was a bit miffed. Not trying to change the subject, but something smells awfully good. What’s for dinner?”

“Just a frozen entrée of lasagna. Don’t get too excited, but it’s your favorite brand. So, go on, why did Sam show up at your office?”

Jason took a seat at the small dinette table. “As hard as you might find this to believe, he came seeking my professional help. As far as I can gather, ever since all the bad press in the media hit the airways, he’s fallen into a deep depression. Perhaps, a deep depression isn’t the best choice of words. Significant emotional distress is more accurate. Complains of loneliness and being guilt-ridden.”

Christopher said sharply, “And why should you care if he’s guilt-ridden? He deserves to feel guilt-ridden!”

“You’re not going to get an argument from me. Still… I felt bad for him. It was as if he was pleading for forgiveness, and begging for my help. He says he wants to become a better person. The guy was crying. Sounded desperate.”

“Christopher responded, “It sounds like he needs a psychologist, not a social worker.”

“Exactly! That’s what I told him, but he insisted he wants me.”

“No offense, but why does he want your help?”

“You know Sam,” Jason answered. “He always wants the best. In his mind, I’m the best. In addition, I’m gay, which is especially important to him, and I get that.”

Christopher started shaking his head in utter disbelief. “Wait now! Wait just a minute here! After the way that man treated you! And treated me for that matter! He has the gall to come and ask you for help!”

“He said he was a nervous wreck coming to see me! He knew damn well I wasn’t going to be happy having him show up on my doorstep. The thing is, honey, I felt bad for him, and believe me, I hear myself saying this, and yet, I can’t believe these words are coming out of my mouth.”

Christopher crossed his arms against his chest. “Let me guess! Your inner rescuer kicked in.”

Jason nodded his agreement of his husband’s quick and accurate assessment.

Jason waved his hand in a gesture to encourage Christopher to sit down with him. He pushed the chair away from the table giving Christopher easier access to sit.

“He saw how much I helped you. So, he trusts me. That’s why he wants my help. You’re right, of course, my inner rescuer did kick in. I told him I had to speak with you, and I would only help him if you granted me permission to. I wasn’t going to do it without your consent. The guy looks pitiful. He said I could name my price! He even offered to pay me five hundred dollars an hour. Mind you, not during my regular working hours. He knows this is something that must take place outside the realm of my job. He was willing to come here, or I could go to his home. Tell me, what do you think? How do you feel about it? Would you be okay if I worked with him? Trust me, I have my own reservations, and… I can’t lie, the money does sound appealing. I’m not a licensed therapist, but what I do isn’t such a stretch from what a psychologist would do. So, I’m asking, would you be comfortable with this?”

Christopher asked, “The question you should be asking yourself is, how do you feel about it?” Although, I must admit, I know that man. If he wants you bad enough, he’ll pay you whatever price you want. Ever since you sold your condominium and decided to live in my apartment, you’ve wanted to buy a house for us. Remember the model home we saw? The one built by Kirkland Home Builders. That money could help a lot towards a down payment. It’s just so ironic! This is the same man who sent you into a panic attack, and now he comes crawling to you for help. Although, I know what you’re talking about. There’s a side of Sam Barron he doesn’t let people see. I’ll be okay with it—if you’re okay with it.”

About the Author

Eric Huffbind is a man of many talents. Over the course of his lifetime, he has worked as a Registered Nurse, a Travel Agent, and an Uber driver. He characterizes himself as a hopeless romantic and is the eternal social butterfly. Among his passionate interests are history, genealogy, romance books, and travel.

Although his novels focus on the romantic relationship of two gay men, regardless of your sexual orientation, his stories are meant to rekindle the spirit and euphoria of falling in love.

Eric is a lifelong resident of Southwest Ohio. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he currently resides in West Chester, Ohio with his husband Paul and their Pomeranian, Linus.

Social Media Links

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Book Blast · Guest · New Release

Guest: Maggie Blackbird – Toy Soldiers

Hiya 🥰

 The warmest of welcomes to my guest, the very lovely Maggie Blackbird, with her latest novel in the When We Were Young series: Toy Soldiers. 💜

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Toy Soldiers (Book 2, When We Were Young series)

Author: Maggie Blackbird

Publisher: Devine Destinies

Cover Artist: Martine Jardin

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, young adult, multicultural, LGBT

Trope/s: Friends to lovers

Themes: Coming of age, coming out

Heat Rating: 1 flame

Length: 70 349 words/ 244 pages

It is NOT a standalone book. Book 1 needs to be read first.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

Publisher | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

Google Play | Smashwords |

Once a thief, always a thief, and if he can’t win the heart of the boy he loves, he’ll steal it.

Blurb

Billy Redsky’s made one of his biggest dreams come true, but there’s a problem. Even though the boy he loves is mere footsteps across the hall from his bedroom, they might as well live a country apart because claiming René Oshawee’s heart is more difficult than Billy anticipates.

Much to Billy’s disgust, René can’t accept his true self, so he’s incapable of loving someone else. And all he cares about is living a life the chief and his wife foresee for their youngest son.

If Billy is to finally have what he truly desires, he must stop René from running away from who he really is and face the man in the mirror, or what they share will never blossom into true love

Excerpt

Stuart lived past the recreation center. Billy huffed down the road. Sure, he’d be interrupting dinnertime, but big deal. He couldn’t stay in Castle Oshawee any longer.

The boiling heat of anger beneath his clothing stopped him from freezing under the clear, cold sky. Darkness was fast approaching. The sun on the horizon was bursting with colors of mauve, scarlet, and pumpkin.

The big door at the recreation center opened. Billy’s old buddies, Lonn and Dylan, strolled outside to probably have a cigarette. When they strutted away from the doors and beelined for the road, Billy stiffened. They knew he could beat their asses—especially since he outweighed them by a good fifteen pounds now.

“’Sup?” Lonn called out, slyly grinning.

“Not much.” Billy stopped. He wasn’t going to keep walking like a coward afraid of the neighborhood bullies. “Heard you both got kicked out.” Because neither rode the school bus anymore.

“No biggie.” Lon shrugged. “Y’know we were bailing when we turned the big one-six.”

A direction Billy had been heading before dumb ol’ René had turned him into one of The General’s toy soldiers in Oshawee Army.

Splashes of rebellion bubbled under Billy’s skin. He might’ve blown off telling Mr. and Mrs. O where he was going tonight, but he’d been heading for Stuart’s, and later going home right on the button of his curfew time, like a good little grunt.

He folded his arms. “What’re you doing?”

“What else? Heading for the old house.” Lonn dropped another sly smile.

Dylan nodded, also grinning.

When Billy had used to party there, they’d burned stuff in the woodstove to keep warm during the winter.

“You coming, or are you still hanging with the geek twins?” Lonn elbowed a chuckling Dylan.

“Sure, why not?” Nobody at Castle Oshawee had given a flying fuck Billy had left the house. As for René, screw him. All he cared about was following the rules and obeying the orders coming from everyone seated in the living room.

About the Author

An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.

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cover reveal · Guest

Guest: Eric Huffbind Cover Reveal Surrounded by Silence

 A warm welcome to my second guest of the day, Eric Huffbind. Being a bitalot fond of a theme…I couldn’t have conjured a more fitting title than Surrounded in Silence to shatter my um, seasonal silent as the grave streak.😳 

COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Surrounded by Silence

Author: Eric Huffbind

Cover Artist: Eric Huffbind

Release Date: October 14, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary Gay Male Romance

Trope/s: Billionaires, Hurt/Comfort, Post-Divorce, Middle Age

Themes: Learning what it means to be selfless rather than selfish.

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 71 000 words/259 pages

This is a sequel to The Rescuer, but can be read as a stand-alone.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon UK

Lonely billionaire, Samuel Barron, has finally met someone he finds himself falling for, but can he handle a romance for a gentleman whose entire world is surrounded by silence?

Blurb

After public humiliation, Sam Barron has come to the realization his billions can’t buy him love or happiness. Despondent and feeling like his life is in a downward spiral, he comes to realize he needs some professional help. Despite trepidations, Sam turns to Jason Parker, a social worker who at his heart, is a rescuer. Even though Sam had been so hateful towards him in the past, Jason can’t help but think Sam deserves to suffer. Jason tells Sam straight out, “You’re a spoiled brat without a shred of humility!”

Jason has deep concerns about helping Sam, but might be willing, if Sam volunteers at a soup kitchen. Grudgingly, Sam accepts Jason’s condition, and while performing his volunteer work, meets the flirtatious Noah Wagner. Noah is close in age, attractive, and Sam likes the way he feels whenever he’s around him. Noah is the first person Sam has known who is profoundly deaf. So, how is Sam to navigate a romantic interest with a man who can’t hear a word he says?

Surrounded by Silence, a Contemporary Gay Male Romance, is a sequel to Mr. Huffbind’s debut novel, The Rescuer. However, this book can be read as a stand-alone. If you enjoy a story where the villain becomes the hero, you will love Surrounded by Silence.

Excerpt

Sam stood up and walked towards the office door. He knew he was getting nowhere and felt defeated. Sam turned to face Jason. “If I told you I was sorry a thousand times…” Tears began forming in Sam’s eyes. “No matter how many times I apologize, it’ll never be enough! It will never be enough!” He grabbed the doorknob and started to turn it.

“Hold up,” Jason halted Sam. He was completely taken aback seeing Sam wracked with this much emotion. Jason was a rescuer, had always been a rescuer, and would always be a rescuer. He couldn’t help himself. No matter what, that was who he was, through and through. And now, somehow, Sam Barron was exposing his soft underbelly. Somehow, this bastard of a man had him starting to cave. Jason grabbed his ever-present nearby box of facial tissues and handed them to Sam, so he could dry his tears. “Please, sit down again.” Sam took a seat. “Look… as I said… I’m not comfortable with this. I need to talk to Christopher. This involves him as well. I don’t know how he’d feel about me trying to help you, and I’m still in a quandary if it’s right for me to even try to help you. I should at least ask Christopher how he feels about it. I’m still struggling with why you want me, of all people, to help you.”

“Because… I always want the best. I’ve always learned to trust my instincts, and my gut tells me you’re the best. Just name your price!”

“As I live and breathe, I can’t believe I’m going to say this to you out loud. Thank you. It’s nice to be valued.” He knew how important it was to all individuals to be validated, and in that respect, he was no different from the patients he cared for. Jason sighed. “And I can name my own price? I recall you have a habit of tossing money at issues as a way of resolving problems. Sam, being perfectly frank, I think you’re a spoiled brat!”

Sam became quiet, having to absorb harsh words about himself. Staring down at the floor, he said, “You’re right, I know. The thing is… I’d like to be a better person… earn your forgiveness for my actions… not just yours, also your husband’s.”

Jason snapped, “You were so cruel to me, and you wanted to control Christopher like he was your puppet, someone to serve your sexual needs.”

“I’m sorry. Like you heard me just say. It’ll never be enough. I said you could name your own price! How about five hundred dollars an hour?”

He pondered a moment. “Hmmm… Five hundred dollars an hour? That’s a lot of money. Let me think about it. I’ll talk to Christopher. Without his consent, there’s no way I’m going to allow myself to get involved!”

“Thank you. I completely respect your wishes, and wanting to talk it over with your husband, I can respect that.”

Jason inhaled deeply and slowly exhaled. “Sam… I will tell you this much. If you want to help yourself in trying to resolve all this anguish you’re having, as well as becoming a better person, the first thing you need to do is learn some humility. I can’t see you moving forward without it. You must learn humility. You need to think of someone other than yourself. My instincts tell me that’s a deep-rooted cause of why you’ve behaved so abominably in the past. I’m sorry if those words sound callous, but you have to start somewhere in this process. There are many in this world who don’t have the prestige and capital you’ve become accustomed to.”

“You don’t like to mince words,” Sam blurted out.

“If you want help, then you’re going to have to take a deep look inside of yourself. If you’re not completely honest, not just with me, but with yourself, you have no hope of pulling out of this emotional crisis you’re in.”

“What would you suggest I do to learn humility,” Sam asked, frowning.

“Volunteer. You should do some volunteer work. My suggestion would be to volunteer in a local soup kitchen, to work with people significantly less fortunate than you.”

“A soup kitchen?” Sam said with a pained grimace. “Don’t you think that’s a little beneath me?”

“No, it’s not a little beneath you… it’s enormously beneath you! That’s exactly why you need to do it, Sam. You have got to climb down off that high horse you are saddled on. I’m not promising I’m going to be able to work with you, but if you ever expect to become a better person, you have got to learn humility, even if I have to beat it into you. You’re going to have to throw yourself into the deep end of the pool. So, go out there and apply to volunteer at a soup kitchen. Let me have one of your business cards. I’m going to need a phone number to call you back at.”

Sam reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a billfold filled with business cards. “Can I have something to write with?” Jason was quick to hand him a pen. He scribbled down additional phone numbers to be certain Jason could get ahold of him. He handed over the business card. “Every phone number you could possibly reach me at is here. Thanks for your consideration. Now, I’ll excuse myself and let you get back to your work.”

“I’ll be in touch. You have my word,” Jason confirmed.

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About the Author

Eric Huffbind is a man of many talents. Over the course of his lifetime, he has worked as a Registered Nurse, a Travel Agent, and an Uber driver. He characterizes himself as a hopeless romantic and is the eternal social butterfly. Among his passionate interests are history, genealogy, romance books, and travel.

Although his novels focus on the romantic relationship of two gay men, regardless of your sexual orientation, his stories are meant to rekindle the spirit and euphoria of falling in love.

Eric is a lifelong resident of Southwest Ohio. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he currently resides in West Chester, Ohio with his husband Paul and their Pomeranian, Linus.

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