Release Blitz: A Deceptive Alliance by Sydney Blackburn

Title: A Deceptive Alliance

Author: Sydney Blackburn

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 12, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 37200

Genre: Fantasy, twins, slow burn, royalty, cross-dressing, road trip, arranged marriage

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Synopsis

Kel and his twin sister Isabel have traded places before—to escape lessons, to prank their royal cousins, and for Kel to flirt with handsome men at royal balls. But when Isabel runs away in tears shortly before her proxy wedding to Prince Darin of Pervayne, Kel takes her place, knowing he could cause serious problems between Pervayne and their home kingdom of Karleed if discovered.

Isabel will show up—eventually—and take her rightful place and no one will ever know. The question is, will Isabel arrive before Kel falls hopelessly in love with the servant his sister’s husband has sent along? What if Kel isn’t the only one pretending to be someone else?

Excerpt

A Deceptive Alliance
Sydney Blackburn © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Kel was as nervous as any bride as he prepared to take his sister’s wedding vows to Prince Darin of Pervayne. More specifically, the prince’s proxy, a duke to whom Kel had never been introduced.

It wasn’t the first time he’d dressed as his twin, but never for occasions of state—her wedding, of all things!—and never before had the consequences of discovery been so great.

Twins were considered an ill omen in the kingdom of Pervayne, so Kel had been sequestered upon the arrival of the foreigners in a tower that had fallen into disuse. Isabel, who had always known that, as the king’s niece, her marriage would be arranged, had seemed resigned to her fate right until a few hours ago. She’d stormed into Kel’s draughty chamber in tears and swore she would only marry for love.

Kel had tried to reason with her, but that had resulted only in Isabel accusing him of betraying her before she left in as much of a flurry of silks as she’d arrived.

When her maid, Molly, was unable to locate her mistress in order to dress her for her wedding, she’d sought out Kel. He and Isabel spent a great deal of time together, under normal circumstances, and it was reasonable to assume that, even if they weren’t in company, Kel would know where she was. But he hadn’t.

He had donned a hooded capelet to search out Isabel’s usual haunts, without giving away his close relation to her, while Molly waited nervously in Isabel’s chambers.

Unable to find Isabel anywhere, he’d returned to her chamber, certain she must be there, letting Molly array her for the ceremony.

She wasn’t.

By that point, finding someone in the family—his cousin, the crown prince, for example—would delay the proxy wedding.

Kel and Isabel had been raised in the royal palace after being orphaned at the tender age of three. They knew almost as much about the king’s policies as his own children, their cousins. Kel understood this ceremony, proxy though it might be, was an important aspect of the treaty King Maurice of Karleed had negotiated with King William of Pervayne.

Now Isabel was gone, the proxy wedding only an hour away, and Kel was in his sister’s undergarments with his sister’s lady’s maid. “You could simply tell the king your sister’s run off,” the maid, Molly, suggested as she combed out Kel’s hair.

“I wish it was that simple. But it’s still a much-needed political alliance and informing the prince’s envoy that ‘oops, we’ve misplaced the bride’ may be taken poorly.”

“She is twenty,” Molly said with the kind of reproof only many years of personal service could get away with. “Time she wed and got over her foolish—”

Kel nodded in the mirror, jerking the brush stroke somewhat painfully. Already his hair, normally worn in a single plait down his back, hung in loose dark waves over his shoulders. It softened the planes of his freshly-shaven jaw and angular cheekbones. “I know of her lovesickness for the gardener’s first apprentice.”

Molly tutted. “If the world did not hold a woman’s virtue higher than a man’s, she’d have got him out of her system by now.”

Kel coughed out a surprised laugh at the lady’s frankness. “You think it’s merely a passion of the flesh?”

“I’m a woman myself,” she remarked. “I know of these feelings. Many a young woman in the palace feels the same for you, I’ve no doubt.”

Kel snorted.

“Pardon my frankness, my lord, but while it is fairly common knowledge among the staff at Castlemere that your eye never falls on the fair sex, many a maid desires to be the one to ‘fix’ you. Granted, many others are relieved to know there’s a man of rank in the palace who’s safe to encounter in a dark stairwell.”

“I hadn’t realized I was so transparent,” Kel said cautiously.

“Oh it’s none of ours what the above stairs get up to,” Molly said cheerfully, adopting a broad, country accent.

“I can see her fascination with the gardener’s first apprentice, though,” he said in a thoughtful, if hesitant tone, still studying his reflection. The chemise he wore had a scooped neckline and only the thinnest of straps to hold it up. The delicacy of the fabric served to emphasize the most unladylike shape of Kel’s arms and shoulders. Because his sister dodged needlework to join him in the yard learning swordplay, her arms were almost as muscled as his—the sleeves of her gown wouldn’t strain if they were of a close-fitting style.

Molly chuckled. “Simply to look at, he’s a fine specimen, especially when he strips down in the heat, but my mistress believes she’s in love with him.”

“Could she be? I’ve heard love is a fickle thing.”

“It is. But for people like you and the mistress, love and marriage are completely different things, my lord. Marriage is—”

“An alliance, a joining of houses,” Kel finished with her.

“You really should not be taking her place.” She lifted the frothy concoction Isabel was to take her vows in. “Come stand up and let me help you into this. Then we’ll see where we need to accentuate with some well-placed padding.”

“It’s a proxy wedding. If the groom needn’t be here, neither does Isabel,” he said, trying to hide his uncertainty of the truth of his words. “What do you know of padding? Do you dress other men in women’s clothing?”

“Naive child,” she mock scolded, dropping the heavy skirt over his head and tugging it into place around his waist. She quickly tightened the skirt strings. “You think every woman is naturally endowed with breasts ample enough, hips broad enough to suit herself?”

“I hadn’t ever thought about it, finding neither ample breasts nor broad hips desirable,” he said. His previous adventures in Isabel’s clothing had been wrought in secret, Isabel powdering his complexion paler and lacing him into one of her awkward bodices.

The ivory skirt was full and of a rather stiff fabric that someone had spent a great deal of time sewing pale pink, ivory, and white fabric flowers to, making it seem almost fluffy. “I think you can do without hip padding,” Molly said, giving him a critical look.

She helped him pull the bodice over his head, being careful of the hair she just dressed. She tugged the lacing at the back and then moved to the wardrobe to fetch two small bags. She handed them to him. “Put these in your bodice. It’s millet, which gives a natural enough shape, but it won’t pass a squeeze test. Not that anyone should be grabbing at your chest, anyway.”

Kel didn’t admit he was familiar with them. Nor did he ask how it was Molly knew of them. He simply did as she instructed. Today would be the first time he’d have to fool people in broad daylight. Including his own relatives.

Molly laced him up tight and fixed his hair before standing back to study him critically.

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Meet the Author

Sydney Blackburn is a binary star system. Always a voracious reader, she began to write when she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read. She likes candlelit dinners and long walks on the beach… Oh wait, wrong profile. She’s a snarky introvert and admits to having a past full of casual sex and dubious hookups, which she uses for her stories.

She likes word play and puns and science-y things. And green curry.

Her dislikes include talking on the phone, people trying to talk to her before she’s had coffee, and filling out the “about me” fields in social media.

Besides writing, she also designs book covers for poor people.

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Holiday Stories Release Blitz: Checked Baggage and A Touch of the Brogue

Books Sold Separately

Title: Checked Baggage

Author: Valentine Wheeler
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 12, 2018
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 11200{Audiobook Length:39}
Genre: Contemporary, Thanksgiving, travel, airport, Lebanon, grief, holiday

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Synopsis

A Thanksgiving Romance

When Faris has to take a trip back to his family’s home in Lebanon to handle his grandmother’s estate, he finds himself caught between the world he left and the world he’s built himself in the United States. After an exhausting stay with his boisterous extended family, all he wants is a quiet trip home and a chance to rest before Thanksgiving with his parents in Massachusetts. But the weather has different plans for him.

Charlie’s father left when he was a toddler, and he’s never gotten a chance to connect with his paternal roots. A trip to the village his grandparents left in the 1930s gave him the facts but left him yearning for a connection he still didn’t feel.

When both men are stuck in Beirut for the night unexpectedly, can they find the feeling they’re both missing and make it home in time for Thanksgiving?

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Meet the Author

Valentine is a latecomer to writing, though she’s always been a passionate reader. Through fanfiction she found her way to an incredible community of writers who’ve taught her to love making stories.When she isn’t writing, she’s making bad puns, yelling about television, or playing with her small child.

Her life’s ambition is to eat the cuisine of every single country. Find Valentine on Twitter.

Title: A Touch of a Brogue

Author: Christine Danse
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 12, 2018
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 28800
Genre: Contemporary, chef, restaurant owner, food critic, lies, second chances

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Synopsis

Eric Rossi isn’t a bad person. But he’s been talked into doing some pretty regrettable things by the man he thought he loved–like write a fake review of a pub he never stepped foot in for a food magazine that makes or breaks restaurants in Portland. He’s since dumped the boyfriend, but he can’t undo the review or the damage it’s done to the Irish Sisters and its passionate owner, Colm.

When Colm paid to have his family pub shipped from Ireland to Oregon, he put his savings, his heritage, and his sanity on the line. Now he gets so few customers, he notices each one. Especially the sweet, shy man who is dragged into the pub by his pink-haired niece. He calls himself Mark, and he is a chef’s dream, a man who completely enjoys everything Colm cooks. What Colm doesn’t know is that the man he’s falling for is the critic who’s almost cost him everything.

Eric didn’t mean to fall in love with the Irish Sisters or its blue-eyed, Irish-American owner. He definitely didn’t mean to lie about his identity. He’s already done enough damage, after all. Now he must make things right for the restaurant and disappear from Colm’s life before Colm learns the devastating truth, because the last thing Eric wants to do is destroy the chef’s heart, too.

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Meet the Author

Christine lives with her writing partner in the wilds of urban Oregon, where they raise weeds, worms, and eyebrows.

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Release Blitz: Rocky Road of Love by Liam Livings

Title: Rocky Road of Love…in Heels
Series: Kev, Book Two
Author: Liam Livings
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 12, 2018
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 63200
Genre: Contemporary, contemporary, cross dressing, drag queen, family drama, coming-of-age, gay, romance, 1990s

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Synopsis

Still single, despite his best efforts,
Kev is a gay cross-dressing teenager, searching for love in the late nineties
in Wiltshire. He may not know whether to put Yours Sincerely or Yours
Faithfully at the end of a letter, but he sure can belt out a show tune in a
pair of heels and a frock.
Looking after his worrying mum, who
refuses to slow down despite having a funny turn and ending up in hospital,
Kev’s working in a shop to support the household now his dad has left.
Irreconcilable differences. His dad said Kev needed fixing and Kev and his mum
thought he was perfect as he is.
Tony, his best friend and Human League
fan agrees, although he thinks Kev’s a chaotic big-hearted, trusting mess. But
he’s Tony’s mess and they’re there for each other through useless boyfriends,
jobs, and studying. Because that’s what friends are for, right?
Contains an inordinate amount of singing
on stage, many costume changes, lashings of heart, family and friendship, an
almost complete absence of the internet and a big dollop of optimism.

 

Excerpt

Rocky Road of Love…in Heels
Liam Livings © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Chapter One
May 1999
Still no sign of Kieran. He was in
Australia with Jo, living it up in the sun, enjoying the fun with the surfers
and costumes and whatever else they had planned. And where was I? I was still
in the same little village just outside Salisbury, with Mum. Who was better
now. On the mend the doctors said. Making a full recovery, was another phrase
they used at her review meeting.
I knew my luck was going to change
because it was my birthday. Nineteen. I was in the final part of those teenaged
days. This time next year, I’d be twenty. A proper adult. Probably.
Anyway, that’s a year away.
I was at the bar, of the Sailor’s Arms
pub, in Southampton, getting Tony and Donna a drink.
Tony said, flicking his fringe from his
eye, “One round, and then it’s back to us paying. This is your night. I told
you how it was going to work, didn’t I?”
Donna sipped her lime and soda, the
designated driver for the night. “Same again. Stack ’em up baby and I’ll glug
’em down.” She slapped her thigh. “If half as much has happened to you as he’s
told me, you should be selling the rights to your story to a film company,
love. Get back sharpish I want to hear all about your last gig. He said
everyone stood and clapped at the end and asked for an encore.” She turned to
Tony.
He nodded, flicking his fringe again.
So, in preparation for regaling them
with the story of my past glories, I went to the bar for my one round of the
night.
No Jo and Kieran because, oh yes, I told
you that. The bar was three deep and I stood politely, waiting my turn, trying
to catch the eyes of the bar staff with a smile. Much better than waving money
at them. Oh no, never do that.
I wore a very understated and normal
pair of flared jeans, platform trainers and a grey T-shirt with three-quarter
length sleeves, Chinese wording across the front. Goodness only knew what it
said, but its bright yellow and white had caught my eye in the shop. It had
been a busy week of performing, lots of different costume changes, sets to
learn, so tonight I wanted a night off from all that. And a night off from
looking after Mum—not that I begrudged her it, not at all, but I wanted a night
of not having to worry or think about her and taking her to appointments,
picking her up, having to slip off work early to collect her, fitting eighty
minutes of things into an hour. All that. And the Plan. I definitely wanted a
night off from the Plan. And aren’t they always the nights when something
unexpected happens? Like when you’re really gagging for it, and really on a
manhunt, it’s a barren desert, but when you’ve sworn off men, it’s like a
real-life underwear catalogue for Calvin Klein.
Well, this was one of those nights, this
was the night, he came along.
And there in front of me, all six feet
six and a bit of him, dark blond hair, dark jeans and a red and white plaid
shirt, was a man who reminded me of He-Man.
“What have you done to mean you’re
getting all the drinks?” He smiled, and his teeth were almost as white as
He-Man’s too.
I smiled at him weakly. Now was not the
time for men. Now was the time for friends, that was what we’d agreed a while
ago, since my run of terrible luck with boyfriends over the past year.
He held his hand for me to shake.
“Aaron.”
Another weak smile. I really wanted him
to leave me alone, but part of me, and I was well aware which part, wanted to
see if he still looked like He-Man under the plaid shirt, or whether he was
wearing one of those fake muscle stomachs I’d read about in Gay Times. I caught
the eye of a barman, shouted my order and thanked him.
Aaron’s hand hung in the air between us,
not quite limp, he didn’t look like the sort of man who’d have anything limp
about him, no, it was more in anticipation. He had a light dusting of mousy
blond hair on the back of his hand, and his nails were perfectly clean and
trimmed. “Why are you here tonight? Look, if it’s with friends, I’m just making
conversation, I’ll leave you alone once I’ve got my drinks. I’m only having
one, and then I’m off. I’m here on my lonesome.” And he did the smile thing
again, and this time his blue eyes did something too, a sort of smile with the
eyes, and I knew he wasn’t lying.
My stomach fluttered with butterflies.
Shit, I think he might be my next mistake. I shook his hand. His handshake was
firm. A good pump up and down. Smooth hand. It smelt of hand cream. He didn’t
roof houses or shift pianos for a living. I looked up to his face. “It’s my
birthday.” I was still holding his hand and found myself smiling back at him,
staring into his greeny-blue eyes.
“How come you’re buying the drinks?”
“They’ve already got me a few, and I
don’t want to take the piss. They did say it was my night, I could do anything
I wanted, I didn’t have to pay for a thing. But I don’t want to freeload off
them. Not with friends. You know?”
“I’ve just left an old friend’s
twenty-first. Not that old. He wanted a pub crawl in the city centre, so we
started at Above Bar and worked our way down towards St. Mary’s street.” He
paused, told the barman what drink he wanted, then returned to staring at me.
“He’s not that old, this friend. Twenty-one’s not old, is it?”
I laughed. “I’m nineteen, so you’re an
old man as far as I’m concerned. Once you’re in your twenties, it’s downhill
all the way. So I’ve heard.”
He knocked my shoulder playfully.
“Cheeky. Anyway, after all that beer swilling in the sports bars. We ended up
at the one by the river. They all wanted to go, so I followed alone.”
I knew of it well. It had a TV to rival
the cinema and was always full of men in brightly coloured sports shirts,
shouting at the TV and drinking pints of lager. I usually avoided it. “So you
thought you’d grab yourself a bit of gay before going home.”
He laughed, his white teeth flashed.
“No, nothing like that. I’m not on the pull. I just wanted to be. Without
having to think about where I was.”
I looked him up and down. “Wouldn’t
think you’d have too much problem blending in those places.”
“You’re hardly Julian Clarey yourself.”
Little did he know. I smiled, handed
over my money as my drinks had arrived. “Still, better get back. My friends’ll
be wondering what’s happened to me.” I started to leave.
He put his hand on my shoulder. “Wait
until my drink’s here, eh? Keep me company a bit longer. I was enjoying talking
to you.”
Is he really? Or is that just a line.
“Five minutes.” I put the drinks back on the bar and sipped mine. I peered
through the crowd to try and catch a glimpse of Tony’s lopsided black haircut
but couldn’t see anything.
“What do you do?”
I rolled my eyes, internally, at his
wonderfully original question and told him about TK Max and some singing work
too, leaving out the dressing up part.
“I love coming here for the cabaret.
That’s why I came here. Needed something to balance all the sport in the other
pub. I hoped there’d be one of the drag acts on. I enjoy them. The put-downs,
the songs. I’m a fan of it all.” He leant forward and whispered, like he was
going to say something illegal. “It’s a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine as it
goes. Do you like all that stuff?”
I smelt his aftershave. A sweet musky
scent. His cheek had brushed against my ear as he’d whispered to me. The finest
dusting of a weekend beard grazed my ear. Maybe I’ll stay with him just another
five minutes, just until I’m a third through my drink. “Funny you should say
that, I do actually. You know the singing I told you about?”
He nodded, accepting his drink and
paying, taking a sip and listening to me as I told him about the Plan, and
performing at that pub, and others in I’d visited on the circuit.
He asked me how I’d got into it, and how
did I know I could perform.
“I’ve been performing all my life
really,” I said with a smile. “Always loved karaoke, so singing on stage was
pretty obvious for me.”
He chinked his now almost empty glass
against mine, which was almost finished too.

 

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Meet the Author

Liam Livings lives where east London
ends and becomes Essex. He shares his house with his boyfriend and cat. He
enjoys baking, cooking, classic cars and socialising with friends. He has a
sweet tooth for food and entertainment: loving to escape from real life with a
romantic book; enjoying a good cry at a sad, funny and camp film; and listening
to musical cheesy pop from the eighties to now. He tirelessly watches an awful
lot of Gilmore Girls in the name of writing ‘research’.
Published since 2013 by a variety of
British and American presses, his gay romance and gay fiction focuses on
friendships, British humour, romance with plenty of sparkle. He’s a member of
the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
With a masters in creative writing from Kingston University, he teaches writing
workshops with his partner in sarcasm and humour, Virginia Heath as
http://www.realpeoplewritebooks.com and has also ghost written a client’s 5 Star
reviewed autobiography.

 

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Release Blitz: The Kinsey Scale by C Jane Elliot

Title: The Kinsey Scale
Series: Campus Connections Book 1
Author: CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 11/9/18
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 89 pages
Genre: Romance, New Adult, contemporary, friends to lovers, college

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Synopsis

Life is good for Eric Brown. He’s a
senior theater major, an RA for a freshman dorm, and has a great circle of
friends. Single since sophomore year, Eric isn’t looking for love. But then
Will Butler—fellow senior, co-RA, and the cutest guy Eric’s ever seen—walks
into his dorm. Will has a girlfriend he sees off campus—a minor disappointment
that becomes a major problem when a housing shortage causes Will and Eric to
become roommates, and Eric is forced to witness Will’s hotness day in and day
out. For protection, Eric asks Jerry, his ex-boyfriend, to pretend they’re
still together. Jerry warns him it’s a stupid idea, but he reluctantly agrees.
Too bad it won’t save Eric from losing
his heart.
Will Butler has never believed in
himself. His dysfunctional family saw to that. Although Will has loved music
since childhood, he’s never seriously considered pursuing it, and the person
he’s dating doesn’t encourage him. Then he and Eric Brown become roommates, and
everything changes. Eric believes in Will and his talent. He’s also gorgeous
and playful and fast becoming Will’s best friend. And that’s not good, because
Will is hiding some big things, not only from Eric, but from himself.

“So how’s it going with Hottie the
Roommate?” Jerry asked. He lounged in the armchair at the coffee shop and took
a languid sip of his latte.
“Fine.” Eric made a face. “We stay out
of each other’s way. It sucks, but nothing we can do about it now.”
“I’m surprised you haven’t taken
advantage of the situation.” Jerry arched his eyebrow.
“He’s straight. He has a girlfriend who
doesn’t go here. I guess he sees her on the weekends. I don’t know. We don’t
talk about that.”
“Don’t talk? Oh honey, that doesn’t
sound like you at all. What’s up with that?”
“I don’t know. Shut up.”
“Touchy, touchy. God. You’re not usually
this grumpy. Maybe you should look at changing this RA thing, because it sounds
like it’s causing you stress.”
Eric shifted in his chair and sipped his
latte. Jerry knew him too well. He was grumpy lately, but it wasn’t the RA
thing. He enjoyed being an RA and counseling the kids. He and Will functioned
well as an RA team, seeming to know instinctively when one of them would do
better than the other in handling a situation, and then debriefing about it
later. They talked about stuff really easily, and laughed a lot, having
discovered they shared the same kind of crazy humor. And Will composed his own
songs, which Eric thought was totally cool. He loved lying on his bed listening
to Will play his guitar and sing.
“Yeah, it’s not that bad. We get along
great, actually.”
And it wasn’t true that they never
talked about Will’s girlfriend. Her name was Jessie, and Will sometimes
mentioned her in passing, but Eric never pressed for details. In fact he had a
strange reluctance to regale Will with his own sexual escapades, the way he
always had in the past with friends or roommates. It was a weird thing, almost
like a force field or something. They both shut up whenever the conversation
veered too close to sex or relationships.
And then having to look at Will every
day, with his bedhead when he woke up and his naked chest when he came out of
the bathroom in his sleep pants, or when his face was animated and he threw
back his head and laughed at something Eric said and…. God. No wonder he was
grumpy.
“Let’s go out tonight. You need to dance
and get laid.” Jerry’s voice brought him back.
“Okay.” It was Friday, so Will would be
out of the room, thank God. Maybe Eric would even get lucky and bring someone
back with him tonight… or go to their place, given the shitty dorm beds. He
yawned, all of a sudden weary.
“Oh yes.” Jerry peered at him
critically. “We’ve got to get you back to your perky self, my dear. I’m getting
you another latte, for starters.”

 

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Meet the Author

 

After years of hearing characters
chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper
and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys
writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has
traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too,
traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy
ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ
equality and is particularly fond of coming-out stories. In her spare time,
CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her
family supports her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her
hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

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

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Release Blitz: The Duke and the Deadbeat by Gregory L Norris

Title: The Duke and the Deadbeat
Author: Gregory L. Norris
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 5, 2018
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 50900
Genre: Contemporary, romance, bisexual, contemporary, pansexual, musicians

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Synopsis

Duke Donovan was born into rock royalty. Front man for the popular Goth band 3-D, Duke’s had everything handed to him his entire life—fame, fortune, flesh. The problem is he wants none of it. After staging an unforgettable concert performance meant to give him an exit from the spotlight, Duke skyrockets 3-D’s rising star past the stratosphere, making the band more popular than ever and Duke ready to crack from all the unwanted attention and pressure.

Seamus Whyler is tall, handsome, and passionate about music. Seamus has had none of Duke’s lucky breaks and dreams of a rock star’s life while living out of his car between gigs. Meeting Duke is like looking into a mirror—and long last being given a shot at true stardom when the pop prince offers to switch places with the pauper. But as Duke and Seamus soon discover, leaving their real identities behind isn’t so easy a thing to accomplish while being dogged by their pasts and a ruthless celebrity music blogger who smells a ringer, and when the opportunity for true love forces them both to face the music.

Excerpt

The Duke and the Deadbeat
Gregory L. Norris © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Track 1
Maroon 5 stud Adam Levine had taken to
the stage stripped down to his black boxer briefs, black socks, and smoldering
Cheshire Cat’s smile that insured the other side of his bed would never grow
cold. The guys in Blink 182 had turned mediocre talent into megasuccess by
conveniently forgetting to put on their pants or underwear before streaking out
to their instruments, dicks swinging, hairy butts displayed for the crowd to
behold. Before them, Green Day’s handsome frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, with
his mop of hair bleached blond and dyed neon-green, had strummed his guitar and
crooned for the orgasming audience with his lush thatch of pubic curls and limp
cock hanging in clear view. After, it was the Scissor Sisters and Queens of the
Stone Age letting it all dangle. Once, live on MTV, some hairy
Wolverine-looking tool going by the name of Evil Jared Hasselhoff hopped on a
crate, whipped out his manhood, and relieved himself on the lead singer of the
band Placebo.
Duke Donovan Dalton, the driving force
behind the Goth-rock band 3-D, planned to outshine all of them. The Death Heart
Tour’s final leg, winding through Austin and concluding in Boston, would be the
ultimate musical mind-fuck.
“You can do this,” Duke said, casting a
nervous glance into the mirror.
Harley shot him a look from the other
side of the room. Duke’s trusted assistant, who also maintained the band’s
website and social media pages on FaceSpace, MyBook, and Chatter, always knew
when something dangerous was brewing, and what Duke sensed now was no
different. What would he Chit about, using that economy of a hundred and
forty-four words? Duke looking way too calm. Huge audience, eager to hear the
tunes, screaming bloody murder. What if the murder victim’s Duke Dalton? I
think he’s contemplating suicide!
Harley knew Duke, had since they were
kids touring with their dads. An uncomfortable rush of warmth bloomed in his
gut, threatening to crack the calmness staring back from the glass.
“What the fuck’s going on?” Harley
demanded. No one else would dare speak to Duke Dalton that way, not the band’s
concert promoters, the rock journalists or late-night talking heads. Not even
Duke’s dad, Jack Dalton, lead singer in the big hair juggernaut, Stage Fright.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Duke said
flatly.
“For starters, you haven’t touched the
snack bar.”
Duke swept a glance across the table.
There were plenty of bottles looming over a half dozen bowls, each filled with
colorful, tempting vice—big red disks, blue ones, green, two shades of brown,
yellow.
Duke marched over to the snack bar,
grabbed a handful of green, and crunched down.
“Mmm, peanut butter, my favorite,” he
said and then popped one of the bottles, washing the candy down with a jolt of
lukewarm soda. “There, satisfied?”
Harley watched Duke from the cut of his
eye but didn’t answer. The dude was onto him. Oh well, Duke thought. By the end
of the show, the whole world would be. And he was okay with that. Better than
okay. Every other day, some new scandal and sex tape broke on the news.
At least he wouldn’t bore them.
Shaye Floden, 3-D’s keyboard player,
grabbed a handful of red candy. He stood in the middle of the backstage
clubhouse and dressing rooms clad only in his underwear, a pair of
tight-fitting designer whites stuffed to capacity in the front. Shaye had the
second biggest cock in the band, inferior size-wise only to Duke himself, and
wasn’t ashamed to let that fact be known.
“You nervous?” Shaye asked, crunching on
candy and scratching at the meat of his balls.
“No,” Duke answered.
“Figured you must be, on account of the
fact that you look so calm.” Shaye flashed a cocky smile and groped the front
of his underwear. “Damn, I can’t wait to fuck something tonight.”
Harley, or the hotties in the makeup
team, one of the best in the business… there certainly would be enough holes to
plug after the concert. Ladies as well as dudes, depending upon where his
tastes went. Shaye’s pale blue eyes drifted toward the little blonde thing
waiting to paint his face.
“Okay, who’s ready to turn into a
zombie?” she asked.
“I’m coming to get you, Barbara,” Shaye
said in a comically sinister voice. He extended his hands. “And I’m so very
horny!”
The makeup artist—Duke doubted her name
was Barbara—giggled and waved him over to one of the chairs. There, Shaye
Floden began his transformation into “Bones.”
Bass player Arif Yusian, better known to
3-D fans as “Scalpel,” entered the room for a drink and a snack. Another makeup
artist seized him by the arms.
“Give me five, okay?” Arif said.
“Only if you tell Joe-Kev to hustle his
ass in here. We need to start early on him for the full effect.”
Joe-Kev Hallet, who went by the handle
“Autopsy,” soon made an appearance. The oldest member of the band at
twenty-seven, his body was a canvas of colorful ink. A sleeve of thorns and
roses covered one arm from shoulder to elbow. A tiger slinked down the opposing
leg, its extended paw reaching across the top of his foot. A small
constellation of five-pointed stars appeared to twinkle at his neck.
Duke knew the artistry didn’t end there.
From their tumbles together in the early days of 3-D, he’d gotten intimate with
the skull tattooed on the top of the dude’s shaft. When Joe-Kev’s bone snaked
out, thickest in the middle, the skull swelled and stretched with it, flashing
a sinister Halloween grin.
Their drummer joined Shaye in the makeup
chairs. Arif wandered back in and took his seat. The usual banter filled the
air, and a wave of nostalgia embraced Duke. By all outward signs, there had
been many blessings associated with being the son of a rock legend. And a
legend in his own right, lead singer and stud of a powerhouse coming into its
own, this generation’s U2 or Electric Light Orchestra. Bigger blessings, like
the fame, the fortune and, yes, all that fucking. But it was this little
moment, seeing the guys get painted, that he hoped he remembered best when it
was over.
And it would be over after this night.
Regret replaced the brief flicker of
happiness.
A hand touched his shoulder. Duke seized
in place. Turning, he faced Perry, 3-D’s lead makeup artist.
“Whoa, dude,” Perry said. “Didn’t mean
to spook you like that. Forgive the pun, but you look like a fucking ghost.”
“Sorry, nerves,” Duke said.
The other man aimed a thumb toward the
lone empty makeup chair. “You ready to become ‘Duke De Morte’?”
“Duke of Death,” Duke sighed,
punctuating the statement with a humorless chuckle.
His emerald-colored eyes drifted back
toward the guys, each man presently having his face painted into character. The
nostalgia was gone completely. More importantly, so was Duke’s sense of regret.
“Not yet, man,” Duke said, clapping a
hand on Perry’s arm. “Meet me in my dressing room, would you? And do me a
favor. Bring some extra paint with you.”
The gimmick sounded lame on the surface
at first but had caught on with the fans, especially the legions jerking off to
vampire romance novels. The white faces looked elegant, more so when you
factored in the crisp white button-down shirts, thin black ties, black suit
coats, and shiny black shoes. Total sharpness—and those white ghost faces sure
rocked when you shined a black light on them, picking up the phosphorescence on
four handsome 3-D apparitions gyrating on stage.
The ghostly faces of 3-D had become as
recognizable in recent years as the symbol for the Artist Formerly Known as
Prince and Mick Jagger’s lips.
Perry finished working on Duke’s visage.
Duke gazed into the mirror. The work was, as usual, artistry at its purest.
“What do you think?”
Duke studied the perfect glowing white
skull painted over his handsome face, his dark hair, a messy but intentional thatch
of cowlicks and spikes, his full lips, the lower slightly plumper than its twin
on top. Those eyes were so green in the fake skull’s sockets that they glowed
preternaturally like a wild nocturnal animal’s reflecting in a car’s
headlights.
“I’d fuck me,” Duke said.
“Yeah, you and millions of rock junkies
around the globe,” Perry said.
And Perry knew; they’d enjoyed the
occasional fuck since the night that first smear of white face paint went on.
To enhance the look, the guys’ suits
also reacted to the black light, transforming into an illusion of zombie rags
thanks to the invisible chemicals painted onto them by the band’s wardrobe
department. At intermission, 3-D did a change into kilts, black and white
tartan, thick black wool socks, combat boots, and black tuxedo jackets over
white shirts. During that fifteen-minute interlude when the opening act, some
dude who’d won Idol two seasons back, entertained the crowd, the white skulls
got a solid touchup.
The four men huddled offstage. Autopsy,
his face streaked with intricate red strips of flesh on one side, extended his
hand, palm side down. Bones clapped his hand over Autopsy’s. Scalpel tossed his
mitt onto the pile. The persona known as Duke De Morte hesitated. The other
characters, each demanding that their preconcert tradition be maintained, shot
him looks.
Duke slammed his hand onto the top of
the pile. “3-D on one… two… three—”
The four musicians barked the band’s
name and, as one, raised their hands toward the ceiling. The announcer trilled
their arrival over the speakers, and the crowd outside, some ten thousand souls
deep, collectively screamed. Duke’s cock twitched, a sure sign that he’d gotten
hard as he always did whenever the band played to a packed venue. His erections
had also become part of the 3-D lore; crotch shots and camera phone video of
his tented pants littered the Internet. At last count, according to Harley,
there were over fifty thousand amateur websites devoted solely to his dick.
The guys raced onto the scallop-shaped
stage ahead of him. More shrieks from their worshippers rose up, and he
wondered if the concerts, not the eruption of some volcano, had taken bragging
rights to the loudest sound event ever recorded in human history. His ears
would ring for days. Duke’s nuts tightened against the root of his cock in
anticipation. Once he started singing and sweating, they would loosen and spill
down his pant legs, hanging, he sometimes imagined, all the way to his hairy
ankles.
Steeling himself, Duke pursued. Fuck
Vesuvius, the voice in his head decided. The roar that rose up as he trotted
toward his Fender guitar was powerful enough to crack the fabric of time and
space, to send planets spinning out of orbit and whole constellations of stars
crashing into one another.
His cock pulsed.
The audience went insane.
That kind of power, Duke already knew,
was dangerous. It could create the universe. But it could also destroy it.
They opened with “Guillotine Romance,”
their anthem from the teen slasher flick, Spinal Column, a gore-fest about the
vengeful skeleton of a high school newspaper reporter murdered by fellow
students he’d dug up serious dirt on. Their cover of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total
Eclipse of the Heart” followed, in which hot female werewolf dancers gyrated
and slithered to the smoky, liquid melody. From there, it was a catalog of
their greatest hits.

 

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Meet the Author

Raised on a healthy diet of creature double features and classic SF television, Gregory L. Norris is a full-time professional writer, with work appearing in numerous short story anthologies, national magazines, novels, the occasional TV episode, and, so far, one produced feature film (Brutal Colors, which debuted on Amazon Prime January 2016). A former feature writer and columnist at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), he once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager. Two of his paranormal novels (written under my rom-de-plume, Jo Atkinson) were published by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape With Romance” line — the first time HSN has offered novels to their global customer base. He judged the 2012 Lambda Awards in the SF/F/H category. Three times now, his stories have notched Honorable Mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Best-of books. In May 2016, he traveled to Hollywood to accept HM in the Roswell Awards in Short SF Writing.His story “Drowning” appears in the Italian anthology THE BEAUTY OF DEATH 2, alongside tales by none other than Peter Straub and Clive Barker.

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Release Blitz: Advent Adventure by Karrie Roman and Santa’s Kinky Elf by Damian Serbu

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Title: Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon

Author: Simon the Elf, with Damian Serbu

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 5, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 11400

Genre: Paranormal, Santa, elves, vampire, holidays, romance

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Synopsis

Santa has big plans to release a story about himself right before Christmas, revealing his true nature as a vampire. He decides the best advanced publicity comes from reality stories and enlists Simon the Elf, a captive former human, to hit Chicago for the holidays and strike up a romance.

Santa wants Simon to document the whole thing, so they can give people a taste for life under Santa’s enslavement before the main story hits. Forced to the Second City against his will, Simon at first resists Santa’s orders, knowing a romance would be short lived at best, and at worst bring some innocent victim into Santa’s evil orbit.

But Simon failed to reckon with the charm and wit of Jonah, a hot guy he meets his first night on the town. Falling hard, Simon takes up with his new love despite knowing the awful choice ahead of him. Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon, tells you this tragic love story in the elf’s own words.

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Meet the Author

Damian Serbu lives in the Chicago area with his husband and two dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys. He has published The Vampire’s Angel and The Vampire’s Protégé with NineStar Press. Coming later this year from NineStar: The Vampire’s Quest and Santa Is a Vampire.

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Title: Advent Adventure

Author: Karrie Roman

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 5, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 11500

Genre: Contemporary, law enforcement, holidays, established couples, humour, men with pets

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Synopsis

A Holiday Sequel to Saved

With their nightmare at the hands of a serial killer behind them, Jack and Will are determined to give each other a perfect Christmas. As the countdown to the big day begins, life continues on with all its little ups and downs, laughs and tears, as Jack searches for the perfect gift and Will makes plans that will change everything for them.

Surrounded by friends and family Will and Jack do their best to have the kind of normal, loving Christmas neither of them has experienced in a long, long time. No matter what kind of Christmas they have, though, they both understand that as long as they are together the day will be perfect.

When the big day arrives, Jack receives a gift from Will he never thought possible, one he didn’t even know he wanted and the last gift he will ever need.

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Meet the Author

Karrie lives in Australia’s sunshine state with her husband and two sons, though she hates the sun with a passion. She dreams of one day living in the wettest and coldest habitable place she can find. She has been writing stories in her head for years but has finally managed to pull the words out of her head and share them with others. She spends her days trying to type her stories on the computer without disturbing her beloved cat Lu curled up on the keyboard. She probably reads far too much.

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Release Blitz: A Fated Bond by TL West

Title: A Fated Bond
Author: T. L. West
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 5, 2018
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Female
Length: 39800
Genre: Paranormal, Paranormal, werewolves, shapeshifters, Vampires, Witches, Demons, Magic

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Synopsis

Joseph Roth, a young member of the Rockfort Paranormal Department which is in charge of keeping vampires, shifters, fairies, and all kind of supernatural creatures in check, finds himself facing more than he bargained for when he is assigned to investigate a mysterious murder. Not only is Joseph stuck between his department and a prestigious vampire family, he’s unaware of the target on his back. With the department keeping secrets from him, Joseph decides to uncover the truth on his own, unaware that dark forces are on the rise. Will Joseph be able to find the truth in time or is his search allowing the enemy to come close enough for a kill?

Excerpt

A Fated Bond
T.L. West © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Chapter One
Joseph sighed as he drove his car
through the streets of Rockfort. It was nearing midnight and the
twenty-five-year-old would’ve been sleeping in his apartment if it hadn’t been
for the message he received two hours ago. It wasn’t a long message, just a
single line of text telling him about the address he was supposed to be at
soon. He knew from experience to arrive some hours after he had received such
messages because it allowed the local police to disperse from the scene. Not
doing so would’ve been a rookie mistake.
Joseph took in his surroundings. He
cruised past buildings on either side of him. The streets were dark and he
didn’t see anyone roaming around except for a homeless person or two trying to
find a place to sleep for the night.
Joseph parked the car outside the
alleyway he was supposed to go into. He looked around one more time. No one in
sight, he thought. It was time to get to work. He made sure his gun was in the
holster he was wearing under his coat before getting out of the car. Waiting a
moment, he concentrated on the sounds around him. He knew he was only human,
but it didn’t hurt to be safe and take a second to register one’s surroundings,
right? In his line of business, you could never be sure about what was lurking
in the darkness ahead.
I guess I’ll have to get on with it, he
thought, after making sure no one was watching him. Taking a deep breath,
Joseph walked toward the dark alley that had crime scene tape at the entrance.
He turned on a small flashlight after taking it out from his coat’s pocket. The
beam of light illuminated the alleyway. He noticed some overturned trashcans at
a distance. Walking under the crime tape, Joseph took careful steps as he went
farther in. As if being watched, his cell phone buzzed the moment he got close
to the overturned trashcans.
“Right on time.” He smiled and took out
his cell phone. He began reading the e-mail he just received from the
department he worked for. The e-mail told him that a murder occurring in the
alleyway had been reported about six hours ago. The identity of the man was
still unknown and the local police were looking into the matter.
If they were close to finding out who
committed the murder, I wouldn’t be here now would I? Joseph rolled his eyes as
he continued reading the e-mail. The Rockfort local police was an impressive
task force, but some cases fell out of their domain of expertise. The current
situation in the alleyway needed a different approach, one that Joseph was
trained in taking due to working for the Rockfort Paranormal Department or
R.P.D.
Joseph opened the images accompanying
the e-mail. The man who was murdered seemed to be in his thirties. The e-mail
told Joseph that the cause of death was believed to be excessive blood loss,
but the medical examiner hadn’t been able to find any wound or cut responsible.
It was as if the man had just dropped dead. One of the residents, living two
stories up in the building to Joseph’s right, had alerted the authorities about
a man lying on the ground when she looked out her window into the alleyway,
calling her cat to come back home.
Joseph put his cell phone back into his
pocket after reading the e-mail. Looking at the spot in front of him, the young
detective tried to find something important. There were no blood stains on the
ground, just plastic markers placed by the police where the victim’s body had
lain. Joseph wished he could’ve looked at the body in person, but that wasn’t
his job. His job was to investigate crime scenes after the police were done and
alert his department in-person if he found something of paranormal interest.
There must be something here, he
thought. The department wouldn’t have sent me here if there was nothing for me
to find.
The cause of death was listed as
excessive blood loss, but as far as he knew there could be a number of things
out there that could kill a human that way. Aren’t all such things registered
and observed? Joseph asked himself, brushing his black hair away from his eyes.
The thought of creatures who could kill in such a way made his heart race.
He was scared? Who wouldn’t be scared if
an unregistered being had killed a human? But he was letting his imagination
get the better of him. Shaking his head, Joseph tried to focus on his case.
Taking out a small glass bottle from his shirt pocket, he flipped open the cap
and sprinkled the bottle’s white powder onto the ground.
“Oh no!” Joseph’s eyes opened wide. The
ground in front of him shone with a dim green glow. He knew about that glow. He
knew something dangerous had entered Rockfort. Quickly pocketing the small
bottle, he took out his cell phone to directly call his department. He wasn’t
supposed to make direct calls, not with his current rank, but it was an
emergency.
“Hello! Sally?” he asked as soon as his
call was answered.
“Yes, Mr. Roth,” she said in a bored
voice. “What is it? I don’t think you’re authorized to be using this number.”
“Forget about authorization,” Joseph
answered quickly. He didn’t take his gaze away from the faint green glow. It
was starting to fade away. “Warn the department! We have a vampire case on our
hands!”

 

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Meet the Author

T.L. West is an author of paranormal romance, mystery and fantasy. He enjoys writing characters that grow during the story and feel relatable to readers. His stories are a mix of romance, action, and danger. He’s been writing since high school. He has a degree is Human Genetics. Along with writing stories he also loves staying healthy, drawing, reading and taking the time out to relax. He likes maintaining his privacy. You can find T.L. on Twitter

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