Release Blitz: Out On The Serve by Lane Hayes

Title: Out on the Serve

Series: Out in College, Book 7

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: July 10

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 55K

Genre: Romance, New Adult, Bisexual, Friends to Lovers, College romance, Athletes, Volleyball, Humor

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Synopsis

Roommates to friends to lovers…

Elliot-

I need a roommate fast. Even a temporary one. Beggars can’t be choosers. Going pro after graduation has been intense, and time is precious. Thankfully, Braden seems cool. He’s a little quirky…and very sexy. Of course, I would never get involved with a roommate. That’s a bad idea. Isn’t it?

Braden-

Moving to Long Beach seems like a no brainer. It’ll be a perfect chance to wind down before grad school and a nice respite from my folks. Plus, my new roommate is a great guy. A little messy, but sweet. Gotta admit, I like him more than I should. And we’re off to a strange start when a mutual friend hooks me up with his ex. Elliot’s the one I want, but going from friends to lovers is a risk. We could end up out on the serve…or we could win it all.

Excerpt

Ten minutes later, I tied a towel around my waist and opened the bathroom door to release some steam just as Braden opened his bedroom door.

It might have been my imagination or wishful thinking, but I could have sworn he eye-fucked me before he met my gaze.

“Mornin’,” I said in a raspy voice.

“Good morning.”

“How’d you sleep?”

“Pretty good. Are you going to the beach today?” he asked awkwardly.

“Yeah. I’m leaving soon.”

“Hmm. I heard the swell is huge,” he said in a fast, clipped tone.

I crossed my arms and leaned against the doorjamb. “Yeah, I heard that too. There’s some big storm off the coast of Mexico.”

“Right.”

“Want to come with me?”

“To Mexico?”

I barked a laugh. “No, dork. To the beach.”

Braden chuckled. “Believe it or not, I’m going to the theater. Sophie talked me into trying out the assistant gig. Hopefully, it’ll keep me out of trouble.”

And there was the opening I needed. I wasn’t sure how to word it, though. The hint of unease between us told me that I should proceed with caution. We had to be on the same page and willing to try something new and—fuck. My window of opportunity was closing. Braden’s cheeks reddened as he mumbled a good-bye.

I grabbed his wrist before he closed his door, ignoring the spark and sizzle that zipped along my spine. “Hang on…thank you.”

“For what?”

“The cereal.”

“Oh.” He let out a half laugh and yes…his face went a shade pinker. Fuck, that was both cute and hot at the same time. “It was silly.”

“I love silly. I’m a huge fan of all things ridiculous. Ask anyone.”

“I believe you.”

“Good. So…let’s agree that this doesn’t have to be weird. We’re grown adults. Well, you are anyway. We can call it a celebratory kiss if you want and move on. What d’ya say?”

“Yes, okay. I’m—I’m sorry about”—he circled his wrist meaningfully—“everything. I overreacted.”

“You mean the part when you yelled at me for getting sand on the floor? I forgive you.”

“No, I was serious about that part.”

“I know. But don’t worry about the other thing. Boners happen.”

Braden sputtered. “I did not have a boner.”

“Liar. We both did. Might have been your mom’s fudge,” I teased.

“You think my mother’s homemade fudge gave you a hard-on,” he repeated incredulously.

“Dude, chocolate totally gives me wood. Or maybe she added a chemical substance that made us too relaxed.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know…weed?”

Braden snickered. “Unlikely. My mom is very proper. I don’t think she even knows what weed looks like.”

“Hmm. You seem kind of proper too. Do you take after her?”

“Maybe, but I know what weed looks like,” he assured me. “My roommate in the dorms my freshman year was very fond of the stuff. We didn’t get along at all. He was a total—”

“Slob?” I supplied, quirking my brows.

“Yeah.” He shrugged carelessly. “I was probably overbearing, but in my defense, I come from a super rigid household. I’m an only child, and I was sick a lot when I was little. I had colic and sensitivity issues. I’d break out in rashes if I was in the sun for five minutes or if I ate citrus. My asthma was off the charts. I had a nebulizer at home, and I carried inhalers everywhere I went.”

“That’s a lot of information,” I said with a laugh.

He winced, then sucked in a deep breath. “Sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. My geek is showing.”

“Ha. Nothing wrong with that. You like me, eh?”

Braden chuckled. Like I’d hoped he would. “What makes you think that?”

“You kissed me. Twice. We might as well get married and pick out His and His towels. Thoughts?”

“Great idea. Just don’t tell my mom. She’d have a heart attack. She was already worried I’d moved in with you because you were my…”

“Boyfriend,” I supplied.

“Yeah, except she has a hard time saying that word, so it comes out in a strained whisper like…boyfriend.” Braden modulated his voice to sound like a scared woman. He grinned when I busted up laughing, and I could have sworn a ray of sunshine burst through the wall of our apartment.

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes 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. 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, 2017, and 2018-2019 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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Release Blitz: The Secrets We Keep by Rick R. Reed

Title: The Secrets We Keep

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: July 6, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 61200

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, MM romance, family drama, age-gap, men over 40, celebrities, family estrangement

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Synopsis

Jasper Warren is a happy-go-lucky young man in spite of the tragedy that’s marred his life. He’s on a road to nowhere with his roommate, Lacy, whom he adores, and a dead-end retail job in Chicago.

And then everything changes in a single night. Though Jasper doesn’t know it, his road is going somewhere after all. This time when tragedy strikes, it brings with it Lacy’s older, wealthy, sexy uncle Rob. Despite the heart-wrenching circumstances, an immediate connection forms between the two men.

But the secrets between them test their attraction. Will their revelations destroy the bloom of new love… or encourage it to grow?

Excerpt

The Secrets We Keep
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
“Hey! I don’t think you should go through that,” Rob said, barely audible because he didn’t want his fear to show. He sucked in a breath and clutched his suitcase close to him, as though it were a child—or a flotation device. Or a boy he loved and didn’t want to lose…

The water spread out on the road under the overpass like a black mirror. It could have been a few inches deep or a few feet. From just a visual, there was no way to gauge how deep it was. No person with any sense would drive into it.

His Uber driver, a sallow-complexioned man in his forties wearing a black baseball cap, gave out a low whistle. “We’ll be okay,” he said cheerfully, with a confidence Rob simply didn’t have. “Just sit back and let me worry. We’ll be fine.”

Rob wished he had the nerve to speak up, to command, “No! Don’t! Just turn around.” After all, this driver was putting them both in danger. But he felt like protesting would make him seem insane or, at the very least, silly. So what’s worse, he wondered, seeming crazy or drowning? He cursed himself for the ridiculous lengths he went to so as to avoid confrontation.

A thunderclap as loud as an explosion sounded then, and Rob swore the black Lincoln Continental shuddered under its vibration. Lightning turned the dark, cloud-choked dawn skies bright white for an instant, as though day had peeked in, seen the weather, and then ducked back out.

“This baby can get through it,” the driver said, giving the car a little more gas.

Rob tightened his lips to a single line and furrowed his brows as his driver set off into the small lake stretching out before them. As the driver moved completely under the overpass, the drumming sound of the rain on the roof suddenly ceased, and the silence was like the intake of a breath.

“C’mon, c’mon,” the driver urged almost under his breath as he sallied farther into the water, giving the car more gas.

Even before the engine started to whine in protest, Rob knew they were in trouble by the way the water parted to admit the Lincoln. Waves sloshed by on either side.

Rob thought again he should speak up—like maybe to suggest that the driver could attempt to back up—but held his tongue. The guy was a professional, right? He knew what he was doing.

They’d be okay.

And the driver continued, deeper and deeper into the water standing so treacherously beneath the overpass.

The engine made a lowing sound, like a cow’s moo, as the flood rose up the sides of the vehicle.

Rob gasped as brackish, foul-smelling water covered his loafered feet, pouring in through the small spaces around the doors.

The driver eyed him in the rearview mirror. There was a defeat in his voice as he said, “You better open your door and get out while you can.”

Rob wondered, for only a moment, why he would want to. Then it struck him with the adrenaline-fueled clarity born of panic that if he didn’t open his door now, he might never get another chance. The rising water and its pressure would make it impossible to open the door.

If it wasn’t already too late…

Rob leaned over and pressed against the door. The engine stalled at that moment, and his driver reached for his own door handle up front.

For a brief moment that caused his heart to drum fast, Rob feared his door wouldn’t open. He slid over and leaned against it with his shoulder pressed against the black leather, grunting.

The door held and then suddenly gave way.

Granted access, water rushed into the vehicle. The icy current rose up, covering his ankles and his calves. It was almost over his knees when he managed to slide from the Lincoln.

Outside the car, he stood. The water rose up almost to his neck. He felt nothing, only a kind of numbness and wonder. His driver was already sloshing forward toward the pearly light at the other side of the overpass. He didn’t give Rob so much as a backward glance.

Rob started moving against the water, wondering what might be swimming in it.

Thunder grumbled and then cracked again. The lightning flared, brilliant white, once more. And the rain poured down even harder.

He looked back for a moment at the Lincoln Continental, thinking about his TUMI bag on the seat. There was no hope for that now!

He slogged through the water and progressed steadily forward, feeling like a refugee in some third-world country, bound for freedom. In his head he heard the swell of inspirational music.

After what seemed like an hour, but was really only about five minutes, Rob reached dry land at the end of the overpass, where the entrance ramp veered upward toward the highway. Cars whizzed by, sending up sprays of water, the motorists oblivious.

His driver eyed him but said nothing. He was out of breath.

Rob stood in the rain and remembered his iPhone in the front pocket of his khakis. He pulled it out, thinking to call for help. But when he pressed the Home button, the screen briefly illuminated and then blinked out, the picture of an ocean wave crashing toward the shore first skewing weirdly, then vanishing.

“Shit,” he whispered and then replaced the phone in his soaking-wet pants pocket.

He needn’t have worried about calling for help, however, because it seemed the universe had done it for him. On the other side of the overpass, a fire truck, lights on but no siren, pulled up to the water’s edge. Then two police cruisers. And finally, surprisingly, a news van with a satellite antenna on top brought up the rear.

The rest was kind of a blur. Through a bullhorn, one of the firemen advised them to come back toward them but to use the median instead of slogging through the flood. The concrete divider was only a few inches above the sloshing water.

Somehow, Rob and his driver managed a tightrope walk across the lake the underpass had become, balancing on the concrete divider.

When they reached the other side, one of the newscasters, a guy in a red rain slicker, stuck a microphone in his face and asked him to tell him what happened. Was he afraid? Stunned, Rob shook his head and moved toward the cop cars. Behind him, he could hear the driver talking to the reporter.

At the first police car, a uniformed officer got out from behind the steering wheel. She shut the door behind her and held a hand above the bill of her cap to further shield her from the rain. She was young, maybe midtwenties, with short black hair and a stout and sturdy build.

“You okay, sir?”

Rob nodded. “Yeah, I guess.” He smiled. “Didn’t expect a swim this early in the morning.”

The officer didn’t laugh. “Where were you headed? We might be able to take you, or at the very least, we can summon a taxi for you.”

And Rob opened his mouth to say, “To the airport” and then shut it again.

One thought stood out in his head. I could have drowned. He looked toward the Lincoln, which was filled now with water up to the middle of the windshield.

“Sir? You need us to get you somewhere?”

Rob debated, thinking of a young man, perhaps out in this same rain, getting almost as drenched as he was. He opened his mouth again to speak, unsure of how he could or should answer her question.

What he said now could very well determine the course of the rest of his life.

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Meet the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at http://www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

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Release Blitz: Drifter by Eden Winters

Title: Drifter

Author: Eden Winters

Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books

Release Date: 7/7/20

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 238

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Rocker

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Synopsis

Some legends never die.

Killian Desmond met his end in the fiery crash that killed his band, or so the newspapers say. Now a nameless drifter, he plays one pick-up gig after another in a haze of pain and regret, moving on the minute someone says, “You sound like that guy from Trickster.”

Getting outed cost Mike Rose his musical family. A bassist without a band, he’ll play any kind of music to earn a paycheck, but Trickster’s music provides light during the darkest moments of his life.

A chance meeting brings together two lost souls who spark enough heat to set their guitars on fire. Their chemistry, both onstage and off, feels like something written in the words of a song and gives them courage to face life again.

But to seize their future, they have to confront their past.

Excerpt

The throbbing beat blended with screams from the crowd; a crowd hidden by bright lights. Sweat and cologne and beer filled Killian Desmond’s nose. Familiar sounds. Familiar scents.

Home.

Did he love this life or hate it? Who cared, he’d never known another. Back to back with his brother Elliot, he shredded his electric acoustic guitar, improvising for the fans. The strings bent to his callused fingertips, note after note falling from his guitar.

Elliot kept up. Elliot always kept up. Others might get lost in Killy’s musical fantasies, but El gauged Killy’s intentions by the way he moved, held his shoulders, or gestures, like pausing to flip his sweat-dampened hair out of his eyes.

The drummer and keyboardist faded away, letting El set the tone with a deep bass beat.

Killy strutted to the front of the stage. Hot lights illuminated him from behind, shining on sweat-soaked skin. “What you wanna hear?” He didn’t need the words to know they’d be sticking to their prearranged lineup. At their manager’s urging, he’d saved the best for last.

Highway!” roared through the arena.

He grinned and cupped a hand to one ear. “What’s that? I can’t hear you.”

Highway!” roughly six thousand voices cried out in unison, louder this time.

“Aw, c’mon, now,” Killy teased. “We’ll play whatever you want, but you gotta tell us.”

The thunderous chant of “Highway! Highway! Highway!” threatened to blow the roof off the building.

Strolling over a few paces and throwing an arm around his brother, Killy said, “Well, I reckon we better do as they say.”

“Since when have you ever taken orders?” Elliot shot back.

Faster than most could follow, Killy slung his guitar back into place and launched into their best-known riff.

The screaming nearly deafened him. He tried again. On his sixth attempt the crowd settled enough to begin.

He grinned. Adoration and energy flowed from the crowd, straight into his veins, to gather strength and escape through his fingers and his voice.

His deep growl purred through the arena, pouring out the melody he’d written in a single night in a hotel room God knew where. High on life, cheap vodka, and the rush of their first big show, he’d settled onto the bed in the dark, except for the flickering image of a black and white movie on the TV, sound turned down, and began strumming.

The words flowed out of him unbidden, leaving him raw, shaken, and in possession of a number one hit.

He didn’t sing or play Highway—the melody made him its bitch, possessing him, demanding release into the world.

Who was he to refuse?

“Some were born to sand and wind, on the sea they make their home

Some may live a hermit’s life, on a mountain all alone

Or in a glass and metal cage, high up in the sky

Packed in tight with a thousand souls, all trying to get by

Nine to five may work for some, but that don’t work for me

Saddled to day in day out, no, I need to be free

Living a life all on my own, free of family, lover or friend

On the highway I was born, it’s there I’ll meet my end.”

Alone, just him and the highway, until the chorus.

“On the highway I was born, it’s there I’ll meet my end.”

Elliot’s sweet tenor wrapped around Killy’s pack-a-day growl, blending together seamlessly.

The audience joined in, chanting, “Highway! Highway! Live and die on the highway!”

Rob kept pace on the drums, a musician not really worthy of the band they’d become, and Ace, a friend and one hell of a musician, wound his way through the twists and turns on his keyboards.

“The only home I’ll ever know stretches from sea to sea

No start, no end, no in between, just miles of road and me

Living a life all on my own free of family, lover or friend

On the highway I was born, it’s there I’ll meet my end

Highway! Highway! Live and die on the highway!

Highway! Highway! Live and die on the highway!

Highway! Highway! Live and die on the highway!”

The mass of humanity might have started chanting again for all Killy knew. His world boiled down to this moment, the music, his brother, his friend, and the life laid out for him long ago, the first time his mother brought him and Elliot onstage.

They’d stayed. She’d gone.

Here they still stood, though she didn’t.

Never would again.

Nope, no bad thoughts. Just the music.

Note after note poured from him like rain, blocking thought and feeling.

He crashed to his knees, striking a chord and letting his guitar speak for him. Caught in the spotlight, he leaned back in a signature move his manager made him practice, making his shirt ride up to show some skin, while his hair fell back, glittering like gold in a strategically placed spotlight.

The blue streak, his own addition, voiced his defiance at being a commodity.

He should’ve been exhausted after the show they’d put on, but in that moment, he swore he could go all night.

He jumped to his feet, racing across the stage and running through part of the guitar solo for those seated to the left of the stage, then reversed course to the right, repeating the solo.

Arms reached for him, a thousand voices calling his name.

Rejoining Elliot centerstage, he launched into the chorus and let the others join him.

After extending the song by two more choruses, he finally wound down.

An announcer stepped up on stage, to catcalls, whistles and ear-splitting shouts. “Let’s hear it for Trickster!”

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Meet the Author

You will know Eden Winters by her distinctive white plumage and exuberant cry of “Hey, y’all!” in a Southern US drawl so thick it renders even the simplest of words unrecognizable. Watch out, she hugs!

Driven by insatiable curiosity, she possibly holds the world’s record for curriculum changes to the point that she’s never quite earned a degree but is a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit.

She’s trudged down hallways with police detectives, learned to disarm knife-wielding bad guys, and witnessed the correct way to blow doors off buildings. Her e-mail contains various snippets of forensic wisdom, such as “What would a dead body left in a Mexican drug tunnel look like after six months?” In the process of her adventures she has written twenty gay romance novels, has won Rainbow Awards, was a Lambda Awards Finalist, and lives in terror of authorities showing up at her door to question her Internet searches.

When not putting characters in dangerous situations she’s a mild-mannered business executive, mother, grandmother, vegetarian, and PFLAG activist.

Her natural habitats are airports, coffee shops, and on the backs of motorcycles.

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Release Blitz: Goldie by Danni Maxwell

Title: Goldie

Author: Danni Maxwell

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: July 6, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 12400

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, mythical creatures, Magic/Magic users, Fairy tales, fantasy, romance

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Synopsis

Cast out of her village after being accused of killing her father, Marigold Lovelock has nothing but the clothes on her back and the willpower to make it into the woods.

With the company of an Ursidae, a mythical creature known as Squeak, she seeks out The One, the Storyteller who speaks the truth.

Throw in a nasty beast called the Gromas, a pack of wolves, and a girl with lips as red as blood, Marigold knows she must learn how to embrace the person she was always been destined to be.

Excerpt

Goldie
Danni Maxwell © 2020
All Rights Reserved

A person falls in love with three people in their lifetime. At least that’s what the Storytellers will show you in their legends.

Each love will come at a time in a person’s life when they need it most. Even if they don’t realise they needed it in the first place.

There’s the first love, the one who teaches what the magical thing called love is. It’s young love. It’s innocent, and it’s pure. It ends far before it can truly begin, but it will always remain the first love of one’s life.

The second love is a hard love to endure. It changes a person, teaches them that a heart can break, that a person can wound you more than a knife, that not every love is a fairy tale. It makes a person stronger; it shapes them, helps them grow, teaches them that a heart can mend in time.

Then there is the third love, a love that has no warning, that sneaks up on a person and takes them by surprise. It’s the love that they didn’t know they needed, the one they were not looking for. It’s the love that will truly last the test of time. This is the love that can withstand all the battles a person has to endure. It’s unwavering. This is the love that feels like a fairy tale.

*

Marigold Lovelock had heard these legends more times than she could count, but she never once believed in them.

Her father was a Storyteller. His job was to be the one a person seeks for the knowledge, the truth, the wisdom. His job was his life. It took precedence over everything else, including Marigold. Her father’s favourite thing about his title, his powers, was the fact that people blindly adored him. They believed her father could do no wrong, that he was the one with all the answers. He could gather as many of the townspeople as he wanted, tell them of the stories, the legends, the prophecies that had been passed down to him by Storytellers past. And the townspeople would gather; they would flock, run, rally to the town’s centre to hear a new story each day; their eyes and hearts full of belief, of wonder and whimsy.

They truly loved her father, for he could tell them all the things their hearts desired to hear, could warn them of the dangers of the beasts and demons that lay beyond the town’s edge. Her father was the light, and Marigold his shadow. The people treated her like she was nothing, like all she did was bring the darkness wherever she went. They skittered away if she got too close, made shifty, judging glances with narrowed eyes and lips pressed in tight lines. The children were ushered away and taught to keep their distance.

Though Goldie never knew why they did this, she wondered if it was out of fear, and if that were true, perhaps she was afraid of them too. She’d shy away from everyone as they would hiss and pull away from her. Because why would you even try to fit in when you’re a puzzle with one too many pieces that will never be completed?

Her life had never been easy. She lost her mother to childbirth, she lost her father to the Storytellers, and she lost herself to the darkness of being alone. The darkness enveloped the townspeople too but not as heavy as it weighed on her. They all had lost their light; her father had died this past spring, and though the doctor had said he passed from age and peacefully in his sleep, Marigold wondered if he had died of a broken heart. He was always so lost without her mother, and he blamed Marigold for that loss; it’s why she never felt close to him, to anyone.

Everyone believed Marigold was cursed, that she possessed something inside her so dark and wicked that it had killed her mother, and that anyone who got close to her, anyone who loved her, would fall dead to the curse too. Her father was just another reason for them to fear her. The townspeople were lost without their Storyteller. The next was still learning the stories and prophecies, and so they had no one to turn to for guidance, for what should be done about Marigold, about who they thought she was, what she was to become, and who she might hurt in the process. The elders of the town were brought up on the stories, but they could only remember so much. Only the mind of a Storyteller could remember all. Their older minds were forgetting, slowly with time, but they never failed to forget the prophecy of the Kalakuta. That is what they believed Marigold was.

The Kalakuta were ancient beings, the ones the elders and Storytellers alike would call “the potion people of death.” Their prophecy tells of the Kalakuta being a sentient being that lived long before the time of people. Beings that, once they found a host, would kill any human or being in its path, for the darkness inside told them to do so. They were the makers of death. Her father, the Storyteller, had spoken of a Kalakuta preying on their town, feasting on the sick, the weak, the lost, believing that over time they would eventually take everyone, and there would be no one left to stop it. The minute Marigold’s father had passed, it was like any suspicion they had of Marigold being a Kalakuta had all but been confirmed.

This is why she now stood at the edge of the wood, at the final edge of sand between the unknown and the town, her only belongings scattered just beyond the trees, and the entire town standing at her back, waiting to be rid of her at last. Their mourning period was over for the Storyteller. The townspeople were no longer grieving; they were rioting. The moment their mourning cloud had lifted, they went on a manhunt for her. They found Marigold hidden away, wishing to be forgotten in her small hut of a home. They were all afraid of her, just as she was afraid of them. No one was willing to get too close to her. She cowered in her corner, begging someone, anyone, to leave her alone.

Someone looped rope around her body, cinching it at her waist and all but dragging her out of her home toward the dark wood. She was scrambling to grab anything she possibly could, begging them to stop, promising them that she would willingly go if they just let her grab her things. They stopped for a moment, enough time for her to grab a satchel with two dresses to change, her pouch of every coin she had saved that her father had hesitated to give her as gifts on special days, and the only drawing she had of her mother, one that her father had tried to throw away in anger and mourning on the anniversary of her death, Marigold’s birthday. It was the one thing Marigold had treasured all her life. It was the last thing she had.

“Now. Get going,” the man holding the end of the rope had grunted, tugging on the rope so hard her chest ached with the effort to breathe.

The people gathered in her hut parted at the door. They led Marigold out of the town to the wood with a rope around her waist, something hard pressing into her back, pushing her forward while tears streamed down her face. She gripped at her satchel, her heart breaking with every step she put in behind her. Please, she had begged them. Please don’t send me away.

All that resulted in was her being shoved even harder, falling to the ground, her crying out in pain as something hard, no doubt the broom handle of a local keeper, cracked down on her back. Her things were grabbed by the children, her satchel tossed, her dresses strewn, her photo crumpled into the tiniest ball. Her pouch of money pressed against her hip, hidden in the pocket she’d sewn into her dress herself. It was the only thing they couldn’t take from her.

“Be gone, Kalakuta!” They were all shouting obscene comments at her now, where she stood straight as a pin, her bare toes touching the edges of the dark wood.

“Please, I am not a—”

“You are a killer, Marigold Lovelock. You killed your parents; you kill the elders, the children even! You have a darkness in you that will never settle. We ought to kill you, but that would be too kind of us. We shall let the beasts of the woods decide your fate. Never return to Veritas, or we will change our minds. Kalakuta.” The man spit at her. The crowds were throwing things at her, rocks and sticks and anything they could use to hurt her.

“Please—” Marigold pleaded one last time, her cheeks dripped with tears, her whole body trembling. She had never been so scared in all her life.

“She does not learn. We have no pity,” an elder breathed in hushed tones.

“Let us show her what we do to Kalakuta.”

This was the last thing Marigold heard before she felt a sharp, blunt pain at the back of her skull, and the world went black.

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Danni Maxwell has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, she is a debut author who is currently studying to become a librarian, a job she defines as the best of both the reading and writing world. She has won multiple prestigious writing awards in the past few years. Her favourite genres to write are contemporary, LGBT+, and more recently she’s been dabbling in YA, sci-fi and poetry. When she’s not writing, you can find her creating book- and writing-related videos on Youtube’s Booktube community, at Danni Darling.

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Release Blitz: Shoot The Moon by Jacqueline Gray

 

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Title: Shoot the Moon

Series: Suit of Harte’s, Book Two

Author: Jacqueline Grey

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: June 29, 2020

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 27700

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, BDSM, romance, contemporary, gay, sex industry, prostitution, D/s

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Synopsis

All Adam Kern was looking for when his best friend dragged him to the club Harte was some good dancing and a little flirting to distract him from his troubles. He never anticipated meeting the club owner, Jesse Harte, and having a whole new world of experiences opened up to him. On an impulse, Adam follows Jesse to the upper, kinkier floors of the club where an informative tour ends in a steamy scene that both men are looking forward to repeating. The attraction between the two is scorching and over the next few weeks their adventures into kinky sex are nothing short of daring.

Adam loves the thrill of sex with Jesse but soon a gnawing fear sows doubt into his mind about the possibility of a relationship with the other man. Though he loves every moment he spends with Jesse, he fears what these sexual explorations may mean for him. Jesse is successful, an entrepreneur, and a well-known Dominant in the BDSM community, but Adam cannot see himself as a submissive. What sort of future could they have if he is unable to give his lover what he needs?

Excerpt

Shoot the Moon
Jacqueline Grey © 2020
All Rights Reserved

“We’re going to Harte.”

Ash said this as if Adam would know what the hell he was talking about.

“Where?”

Ash waved the question away with a flick of his wrist and an expression that clearly said it didn’t matter. “You’ll know when we get there. Now, come on.” He linked their arms and half dragged Adam out the door.

On the taxi ride to wherever they were going, Adam tried to get more details, but all Ash would tell him was that Harte was a local nightclub.

“You didn’t let me get dressed.”

“Why do you think I lent you that shirt to begin with? You look fantastic. Trust me.”

The crowd outside the club wrapped around the side of the building and back again. Thankfully, it wasn’t too cold out, or they would have frozen solid before getting inside.

“Is this place always so crowded?” Adam asked as they took their place at the end of the line.

“Packed like sardines,” Ash confirmed. “Best place in the city for good drinks and dancing.”

A man in skintight leather pants and what Adam guessed was a harness walked by. “Varied crowd,” he said.

Ash spotted the man and did that wrist-flick thing again. “He’s headed around back for the upper floors.”

“The upper floors?”

“Yeah, the nightclub is only on the first floor. It’s got three dance floors, each with their own bar, and a backroom, which was most likely meant to be a bathroom but is usually otherwise occupied. Upstairs is the kinky stuff. From what I hear, Harte has the best dungeon in the city, and he’s known to be top-notch on safety. It’s pretty well-known despite being members only up there. The entrance to the second floor is in the back, though, because there’s a difference between exhibitionism and indecent exposure.”

“Huh.” Adam had never been to a kink club. Granted, they didn’t have plans to head upstairs, but this was the closest he’d ever been to one.

Eventually, they made it inside. With the beat of the music and the press of sweaty bodies grinding around him, it was easy for Adam to be distracted from thoughts of the upper floors. It wasn’t long before he’d lost Ash to the throng as well. His friend tended to sidle toward the nearest hot guy before passing him up for the next one on the dance floor. It gave him more exercise than the dancing itself. When he wanted a break, he’d pop up next to Adam as if finding someone in a crowd was the simplest thing to do.

Tonight, Ash’s method fit Adam’s mood. He scanned the floor for someone to dance with. It didn’t take him long to find what he was searching for.

The man was dancing alone and, apparently, without a care in the world. He seemed lost to the music, his body moving with enviable grace and confidence. He was lean with boyish good looks and the kind of face that would still look thirty when he was fifty-five. His light-brown hair was just long enough to be spiky, and though his clothes were casual, he dressed stylishly.

When the dancer turned his head, he caught Adam staring. A jolt ran through Adam, but he couldn’t look away. Even from a distance, the man’s pale eyes had him trapped, and Adam found himself moving through the crowd as if pulled by an invisible string. When he was close enough, he reached for a seductively swaying hip. The touch of a hand on the back of his neck encouraged him to move even closer.

They moved together for a while, sliding their bodies against each other but in no hurry to make it anything more than dancing. They simply let the pleasure of touch build on itself. The feel of his partner’s body against his was electric.

Adam was about to ask if they should find the “bathroom” when the man asked, “Care to go upstairs?”

Adam hesitated. “Isn’t it members only?” He figured that was a simple way to change the subject without having to turn the guy down.

“I can bring a guest if I want to.”

There went his easiest excuse. His reluctance must have shown on his face because the man asked, “Not your thing?”

“Not really,” Adam admitted.

“Ah” was the only reply, but Adam heard the disappointment in the word.

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay.”

Truthfully, Adam had never given kink much thought. He’d heard about it, read a little online, but he’d never considered putting what he’d read into practice.

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Meet the Author

Jacqueline Grey currently lives on an island on the east coast of the United States. She spends her time outside her day job juggling her many interests which include reading, writing and drinking tea. She loves M/M romance, usually focusing on stories that include BDSM themes to one degree or another.

Jacqueline has always been driven by characters. She loves a good plot, but it’s the characters that pull her into a story. She loves romance and believes everyone has a right to be happy. She enjoys seeing her characters find that happiness for themselves.

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