Big Backlist Weekend with Jessica Scott & Tara Lain #2giveaways #Romance

Welcome to Big Backlist Weekend! This is a special event I post every month or so where I ask a wonderful author to come and join me in giving away a copy of an ebook from their backlist.

My guest today is author Jessica Scott. She’s giving away 1 paperback copy of the Before I Fall (Falling Series, bk 1), a contemporary romance

I’m giving away an ebook copy of Fast Balls

Here’s your chance to win one or the other of our books. Just enter on the Rafflecopter below and watch for Big Backlist Weekend with special guests every month.

 

Before I Fall 
(Falling Series, Bk 1) 
by Jessica Scott

Blurb:
Stay focused. Get a job. Save her father’s life.
Beth Lamont knows far too much about the harsh realities of life her gilded classmates have only read about in class. She’ll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah – a guy who represents everything she hates about the war, soldiers and what the Army has done to her family.

Noah Warren doesn’t know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he’s going to college now to fulfill a promise and he doesn’t break his promises. Except he doesn’t count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous and distracting as hell. One look at Beth threatens to unravel the careful lies Noah has constructed around him.

A simple arrangement turns into something neither of them can deny. And a war that neither of them can forget could destroy them both.

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

Beth

My dad has good days and bad. The good days are awesome. When he’s awake and he’s pretending to cook and I’m pretending to eat it. It’s a joke between us that he burns water. But that’s okay.

On the good days, I humor him. Because for those brief interludes, I have my dad back.

The not so good days, like today, are more common. Days when he can’t get out of bed without my help.

I bring him his medication. I know exactly how much he takes and how often.

And I know exactly when he runs out.

I’ve gotten better at keeping up with his appointments so he doesn’t, but the faceless bastards at the VA cancel more than they keep. But what can we do? He can’t get private insurance with his health, and because someone decided that his back injury wasn’t entirely service-related, he doesn’t have a high enough disability rating to qualify for automatic care. So we wait for them to fit him in and when we can’t, we go to the emergency room and the bills pile up. Because despite him not being able to move on the bad days, his back pain treatments are elective.

So I juggle phone calls to the docs and try to keep us above water.

Bastards.

I leave his phone by his bed and make sure it’s plugged in to charge before I head to school. He’s got water and the pills he’ll need when he finally comes out of the fog. Our tiny house is only a mile from campus. Not in the best part of town but not the worst either. I’ve got an hour before class, which means I need to hustle. Thankfully, it’s not terribly hot today so I won’t arrive on campus a sweating, soggy mess. That always makes a good impression, especially at a wealthy southern school like this one.

I make it to campus with twenty minutes to spare and check my e-mail on the campus WiFi. I can’t check it at the house – Internet is a luxury we can’t afford. If I’m lucky, my neighbor’s signal sometimes bleeds over into our house. Most of the time, though, I’m not that lucky. Which is fine. Except for days like this where there’s a note from my professor asking me to come by her office before class.

Professor Blake is terrifying to those who don’t know her. She’s so damn smart it’s scary, and she doesn’t let any of us get away with not speaking up in class. Sit up straight. Speak loudly. She’s harder on the girls, too. Some of the underclassmen complain that she’s being unfair. I don’t complain, though. I know she’s doing it for a reason.

“You got my note just in time,” she says. Her tortoise-shell glasses reflect the fluorescent light, and I can’t see her eyes.

“Yes, ma’am.” She’s told me not to call her ma’am, but it slips out anyway. I can’t help it. Thankfully, she doesn’t push the issue.

“I have a job for you.”

“Sure.” A job means extra money on the side. Money that I can use to get my dad his medications. Or, you know, buy food. Little things. It’s hard as hell to do stats when your stomach is rumbling. “What does it entail?”

“Tutoring. Business statistics.”

“I hear a but in there.”

“He’s a former soldier.”

Once, when my mom first left us, I couldn’t wake my dad up. My blood pounded so loud in my ears that I could hardly hear. That’s how I feel now. My mouth is open, but no sound crosses my lips. Professor Blake knows how I feel about the war, about soldiers. I can’t deal with all the hoah chest-beating bullshit. Not with my dad and everything the war has done to him.

“Before you say no, hear me out. Noah has some very well-placed friends that want him very much to succeed here. He’s got a ticket into the business school graduate program, but only if he gets through Stats.”

I’m having a hard time breathing. I can’t do this. Just thinking about what the war has done to my dad makes it difficult to breathe. But the idea of extra money, just a little, is a strong motivator when you don’t have it. Principles are for people who can afford them.

I take a deep, cleansing breath. “So why me?”

“Because you’ve got the best head for stats I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve seen you explain things to the underclassmen in ways that make sense to them. You can translate.”

“There’s no one else?” I hate that I need this job.

Professor Blake removes her glasses with a quiet sigh. “Our school is very pro-military, Beth. And I would consider it a personal favor if you’d help him.”

She’s right. That’s the only reason I was able to get in. This is one of the Southern Ivies. A top school in the southeast that I have no business being at except for my dad, who knew the dean of the law school from his time in the army. I hate the war and everything it’s done to my family. But I wouldn’t be where I am today if my dad hadn’t gone to war and sacrificed everything to make sure I had a future outside of our crappy little place outside of Fort Benning. There are things worse than death and my dad lives with them every day because he had done what he had to do to provide for me.

I will not let him down.

“Okay. When do I start?”

She hands me a slip of paper. It’s yellow and has her letterhead at the top in neat, formal block letters. “Here’s his information. Make contact and see what his schedule is.” She places her glasses back on and just like that, I’m dismissed.

Professor Blake is not a warm woman, but I wouldn’t have made it through my first semester at this school without her mentorship. If not for her and my friend Abby, I would have left from the sheer overwhelming force of being surrounded by money and wealth and all the intangibles that came along with it. I did not belong here, but because of Professor Blake, I hadn’t quit.

So if I need to tutor some blockhead soldier to repay her kindness, then so be it. Graduating from this program is my one chance to take care of my dad and I will not fail.

 

Available for purchase at

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About The Author

Jessica Scott is the USA Today bestselling author of stories set in the heart of America’s Army. She’s an active duty army officer and holds phd in sociology focusing on status and morality. She has 12 years prior service, earning the rank of SFC prior to commissioning in 2007. She commanded at Fort Hood twice and deployed as part of OIF/New Dawn in 09 with 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, First Cavalry Division.

She has written for the New York Times At War blog, War on the Rocks, Modern War Institute, PBS Point of View Women and War and has been featured in Esquire Magazine as an American of the Year in 2012. She has published 14 novels and novellas about soldiers returning from war.

She has compiled two nonfiction projects about her time in Iraq and the return home. She holds a Ph.d & Masters Degree in sociology from Duke, a Masters Degree in Telecom Management from University of Maryland University College, and a BA in Cultural Studies from State University of New York.

Fast Balls
(Balls To the Walls Series, #5)
by Tara Lain

Blurb:
Can two men with skewed self-images see their true reflections in each other’s eyes?

Jerry Wallender—firefighter, surfer, and occasional nude model—knows he’s no rocket scientist. So why does he keep choosing intellectual guys who make him feel dumber? He worked his buns off to overcome his reading disability and pass the firefighter’s test, and he loves everything about the job. Well, except for Mick Cassidy, the big, blond, hunky homophobe who harasses Jerry for being gay. But Jerry is smart enough to realize it’s not hate driving Mick, but the pain of a very unhappy upbringing.

Mick Cassidy, Firefighter Assist and Search Team, fights fires, but he can’t fight his attraction to the kindest, most generous—and sexiest—guy he’s ever met. Does that make him gay? If it does, he just might get himself killed by his gay-hating preacher father—and take Jerry down with him.

Grab your copy at
Kindle | iBooksNook | Kobo | Dreamspinner


Excerpt

Mick wrenched the bag from
Straight’s hands. The guy tried to pull back, but he was so off base. No one,
certainly not this pipsqueak white trash, was keeping Mick Cassidy from trying
to save the kindest, best man he knew.

Mick threw an arm toward
Straight, and the guy fell backward on his ass. Get out of my way.

He crouched, focused, breathed
deeply, and hurled himself through the flames. It felt like a mountain of fire.
Please God, let there be another side.

And there was. The solid wall
of burning hell thinned, and Mick fell through.

Jerry.

Quiet, still, broken like a rag
doll. One of his long legs lay at an odd angle.

No.
No. No.

He scrambled to Jerry’s side,
pulled the respirator from the bag, and pressed it over his face.

“Breathe. Breathe, Jerry.”

A new hot spot flared up beside
him. Damn!

He looked over his shoulder,
back the way he’d come. Wall of flame. No exit. Embers rained and a chunk of
the ceiling fell a foot away. He leaned over Jerry’s still body to shield him
and felt the heat closing in. So this is
it.

He stared down at the closed
eyes of the man he had rushed to save. No question. No hesitation. Funny. It
felt like a choice. A choice that had been no choice.

He looked up. Was God up? Up in
that flaming ceiling? Up in the roof that now opened to the sky?

He took a deep breath and bowed
his head. Okay, God, I spent my whole
life hearing what you love and what you hate. According to my father, you hate
the man who’s lying here, and I should hate him too, and leave him here to die.
If he’s not already dead.

He looked up, and sparks lit up
a disintegrating beam. It would fall real soon.

The
thing is, God, if you hate this man and love my father, your priorities are
screwed up. And if that’s true, I guess I don’t care so much about dying
because I’ll be going to hell, and I know it will be full of people I like.
People like Jerry.

I
sure wish I could have saved him, though. The world is better with him in it.

He looked down at the man who
had said he cared about him. That and being a firefighter were about the only
things he could think of that amounted to much in his life, but they were a
lot. He lowered his head to Jerry’s chest.

 

Big Backlist Weekend with Molly Harper & Tara Lain #2giveaways #Romance

Welcome to Big Backlist Weekend! This is a special event I post every month or so where I ask a wonderful author to come and join me in giving away a copy of an ebook from their backlist.

My guest today is an author I’m a huge fan of, Molly Harper! I’ve grown fangs and run with many a naked werewolf in her company. Her newest series Southern Eclectic is awesome!! She’s giving away 1 paperback copy of the first book in the series, Sweet Tea And Sympathy!

I’m giving away an ebook copy of Return of the Chauffeur’s Son! This is as close as i get to romantic comedy. I call it champagne romance.

Here’s your chance to win one or the other of our books. Just enter on the Rafflecopter below and watch for Big Backlist Weekend with special guests every month.

Remember to grab your copy of Molly’s SWEET TEA AND SYMPATHY at Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Audible | Nook | Kobo

 

Sweet Tea and Sympathy
(Southern Eclectic) 
by Molly Harper

Blurb:

Nestled on the shore of Lake Sackett, Georgia is the McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop. (What, you have a problem with one-stop shopping?) Two McCready brothers started two separate businesses in the same building back in 1928, and now it’s become one big family affair. And true to form in small Southern towns, family business becomes everybody’s business.

Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot’s rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society, and made elegance and glamour her business. She’s riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she’s blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start—and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.

As Margot finds her footing in a town where everybody knows not only your name, but what you had for dinner last Saturday night and what you’ll wear to church on Sunday morning, she grudgingly has to admit that there are some things Lake Sackett does better than Chicago—including the dating prospects. Elementary school principal Kyle Archer is a fellow fish-out-of-water who volunteers to show Margot the picture-postcard side of Southern living. The two of them hit it off, but not everybody is happy to see an outsider snapping up one of the town’s most eligible gentleman. Will Margot reel in her handsome fish, or will she have to release her latest catch?

Excerpt

 MARGOT CARY LEANED her forehead against the warm truck window as it bounced along the pitted Georgia highway. She closed her eyes against the picturesque landscape as it rolled by. Green, green, green. Everything was so effing green here.

GREEN WAS NOT her lucky color. It certainly hadn’t blessed the opening of the botanical garden’s newly completed Wesmoreland Tropical Greenhouse. Maybe it had been a mistake to carry the green theme so far. Green table linens, green lanterns strung through the trees, down to emerald-green bow ties for the catering staff. Weeks later, she still remembered the terrified expression on one waiter’s face when she caught him by the arm before he carried his tray of crudités into the party space.

Despite her glacial blond beauty, the younger man practically flinched away from her touch as she adjusted his tie. Margot would admit that she’d been a bit . . . demanding in organizing this event. She had taken every precaution to make sure that this evening’s black-tie opening was as smooth as Rosaline Hewitt’s recently Botoxed brow. She’d commissioned a silk-leaf embroidered canopy stretching from the valet station to the entrance to prevent the guests’ hairstyles and gowns from being ruined by the summer rain. She’d researched each invitee meticulously to find out who was gluten-free or vegan and adjusted the menu accordingly. She’d arranged for two dozen species of exotic South American parrots to be humanely displayed among orchids and pitcher plants and a flock of flamingos to wade through the manufactured waterfall’s rocky lagoon.

She was not about to have all of that preparation undone by a cater waiter who didn’t know how to keep a bow tie on straight.

“Go,” Margot said, nodding toward the warm, humid air of the false tropical jungle. He moved silently away from her, into the opulently lit space.

Margot turned and tried to survey the greenhouse as it would appear to the guests, the earliest of which were already filtering into the garden, oohing and aahing. Calling it a greenhouse seemed like an understatement. The glass-paneled dome reached four stories into the sky, allowing the tropical plant specimens inside plenty of space to stretch. Carefully plotted stone paths wound through the flower beds, giving the visitor the impression of wandering through paradise. But knowing how much Chicago’s riche-est of the riche enjoyed a nice soiree, the conservators had been smart enough to add a nice open space in the middle of the greenhouse to allow for a dance floor. She’d arranged elbow-high tables around the perimeter, covered in jewel-tone silk cloths. Gold LED lights cast a hazy sunset glow over the room, occasionally projecting animated fireflies against the foliage. And since society’s ladies would never do something so inelegant as visit a buffet, the waiters had been informed to constantly circulate with their trays of canapés in a nonobvious, serpentine pattern around the enormous shrimp tower in the middle of—

Wait.

“No,” Margot murmured, shaking her head. “No, no, no.”

She snagged the next waiter to walk through the entrance and took his tray. The sweet-faced college kid seemed startled and alarmed to have the chief planner for this event grabbing him by the arm. “You, get two of your coworkers and very quickly, very quietly, very discreetly get that shrimp tower out of here. If anyone asks, just tell them that you’re taking it back to the kitchen to be refilled.”

The poor boy blanched at the brisk clip to her tone and said, “But—but Chef Jean was very specific about—”

“I don’t care what Chef Jean was specific about,” she said. “Get it out of here now.”

The waiter nodded and pulled away from her into the gathering crowd.

Margot stepped forward into the fragrant warmth of the greenhouse, careful to keep her expression and body language relaxed. She was aware that, while professionally dressed in her black power suit, she was not nearly as festive as the guests in their tuxedos and haute couture gowns, but she was perfectly comfortable. She’d attended hundreds of events like this growing up. She would not be intimidated by some plants and a pretentious wannabe Frenchman. She pressed the button of her earbud-size Bluetooth and whispered, “This is Margot. I need to speak to Jean.”

She could tell by the way her words were echoing in her own ear that the head chef of Fete Portable had taken his earpiece out—despite Margot’s repeated requests to keep a line of communication open with her—and set it on the stainless steel counter in the makeshift kitchen. She blew out a frustrated breath. Jean LeDille was not her preferred caterer for high-profile events, but the de facto hostess of tonight’s opening—Melissa Sutter, first lady of Chicago and head of the botanical garden conservators’ board—had insisted on using him. So far he’d been temperamental, resistant to the most basic instruction, and a pain in Margot’s Calvin Klein–clad ass. And when she was done with this event and had secured her partnership at Elite Elegance, she would have Jean blacklisted from every Chicago party planner’s contact list. Theirs was a close-knit and gossip-driven circle.

Someone in the kitchen picked up the earbud and said, “Ms. Cary, he says to tell you he’s unavailable.”

Margot gritted her perfect white teeth but managed a polite smile to the head of the opera board and his wife as they passed. Jean wouldn’t be able to get a job making a clown-shaped birthday cake by the time she was done with him.

“So I guess I’ll just have to make myself available to him, then.”

Margot’s assistant, Mandy, a sleek brunette who reminded Margot of a Russian wolfhound in four-inch heels, fell in step behind her. “Make sure that tower is gone. You have two minutes.”

“On it,” Mandy snapped, and peeled off after the hapless waiters.

Margot pushed through the heavy plastic curtain that separated the greenhouse from the kitchen tent. Far from the muted music and golden-green light of the greenhouse, the tent was ruthlessly lit with fluorescents and heating lamps. Jean’s shouts filled the air, demanding that the canapé trays be restocked tout de suite.

Jean was a stocky, balding man with thick, dark eyebrows and an unfortunate mustache. His chef whites were splattered with various sauces and he sneered—actually sneered—at Margot as she walked into his kitchen.

“What are you doing in ma’ kitchen?” he demanded in an exaggerated French accent. “I tell you before. No outside staff when I am creating.”

“Jean, would you explain to me why there is a shrimp tower in the middle of my venue?”

“I was overcome by the muse this morning. I decide to build you a shrimp tower. Only four hundred dollars extra. I do you favor, eh?”

“Wait. Is that shrimp salad on the crostini?” Margot asked, stopping a waiter before he left with his tray of appetizers. “Because we agreed on poached quail eggs. Mrs. Sutter, the hostess of tonight’s event, whom you’ve cooked for on several occasions, is allergic to shrimp. As in, she can’t even be around people who are eating shrimp because she might come into contact with the proteins. I wrote it on everything. Everything.”

Margot motioned to the field refrigeration unit where she had taped a neon-green sign that read PLEASE REMEMBER THAT MRS. SUTTER IS HIGHLY ALLERGIC TO SHRIMP.

Jean waved her off. “I do not read the cards. My sous chef reads the cards.”

“Jean. Drop the French accent that we both know is about as real as that ridiculous hairpiece and tell me what you are feeding the mayor’s wife.”

The chef, whose real name was John Dill, shrugged and in his natural, Midwestern voice said, “The market didn’t have enough quail eggs, so I took the shrimp. It’s not a big deal. If she’s allergic, she’ll know not to touch it. People make too much of their food allergies anyway.”

“It’s just lovely to know that someone with that attitude is making food for innocent bystanders,” Margot snapped. She called out loud enough for the entire kitchen staff to hear, “Eighty-six the shrimp crostini. Throw them out and take the bags out of the tent. All of you wash your hands—twice—and any utensils that have touched the shrimp—also twice. I need one uncontaminated staff member to make a special shrimp-free plate of food for Mrs. Sutter so we can feed her tonight without poisoning her. Get it done, now.”

Jean was seething, but Margot didn’t give a single damn. Mandy popped through the plastic curtain, a stricken expression on her angular face.

“There’s a problem with the tower,” she said. “It’s too heavy to move. But they’re working on disassembling the shrimp trays to bring them back in before people notice.”

“I don’t care if it’s made of concrete. I need it—” Margot’s response was cut short by a strange honking ruckus from the greenhouse, followed by screams and crashing . . . and running?

One of Margot’s golden eyebrows rose. “What is that?”

Mandy grimaced. “Don’t flamingos eat shrimp?”

Margot dropped her clipboard and her headset to the ground and scrambled through the plastic curtain. “Oh, no.”

The flamingos were making a run at the shrimp tower, pink wings flapping, pecking at the waiters who were attempting to remove the shellfish. The guests were falling all over one another trying to get away from the shrimp-frenzied birds and in the process had knocked over several cocktail tables and the votive candles on top. Those candles had set fire to the tablecloths, which set off the greenhouse’s sprinklers and alarms. The parrots did not appreciate the clanging alarms or the sudden scramble of people. They broke free from their perches and were flying around the greenhouse, leaving “deposits” on the guests in protest. Oh, and Mrs. Sutter was purple and covered in hives.

Margot gave herself ten seconds to surrender to the panic. She let her stomach churn. She let her ice-cold hands shake. She allowed herself to hear everything and nothing all at once. In her head, she saw her career going up in flames with the tablecloths. The promotion and partnership she’d worked for were disappearing before her eyes in puffs of smoke. Everything she’d planned, everything she wanted in life, was slipping out of her fingers because of some misplaced shellfish.

And then Margot put a lid on her anxiety and did what she did best. She put out fires metaphorical and literal. She called an ambulance and the fire department, grabbed the EpiPen from Mrs. Sutter’s purse, and jabbed her in the thigh. Hell, she even took off her pumps and wrangled the shrimp-seeking flamingos back into the lagoon.

But the damage was done. The news photographers who’d prepared themselves for a boring evening shooting glamour poses gleefully snapped photos of society matrons in soaked designer gowns and runny makeup dashing for shelter from the sprinklers. A guest who happened to be a member of PETA started screaming at Margot for mistreating the flamingos while trying to herd them away from (attacking) the guests. And a conservators’ board member handed her an invoice for the thousands of dollars in rare orchid species that had been trampled in the melee.

The next morning, an exhausted Margot sat slumped in the offices of Elite Elegance as her boss, Carrington Carter-Shaw, slapped newspapers with headlines like FLORAL FIASCO and REAL-LIFE ANGRY BIRDS! on her desk. One particularly cheeky tabloid had printed a picture of Margot beating the smoldering remains of a matron’s hairpiece with a wet napkin under the headline FLOWER POWER F***-UP!

“How could you let this happen?” Carrington cried, her carefully blown-out dark hair dancing around her heart-shaped face. “We’re the laughingstock of the Chicago social scene. Guests from last night are trying to stick us with dry-cleaning bills, medical bills—Michelle Biederman claims a parrot flew off with her two-karat diamond earring! The mayor’s office has contacted us—twice—to call our business license into question. I had to move three guys from the mail room just to handle the incoming phone calls. Margot, you’re my star! My rock! You can make a backyard potluck birthday party look like a black-tie gala. You’re the planner I call when it’s clear in the first meeting that the client is absolutely batshit insane. What happened?”

Margot wanted to blame the untested Chef Jean and his “inspired” impromptu shrimp, but ultimately the fault rested with her. She’d lost control of the party. She’d lost control of the food. She’d lost control of two dozen species of birds.

“I don’t know,” Margot mumbled, shaking her head. She took a prepackaged stain wipe out of her Prada clutch and dabbed at a questionable blotch on her lapel. “It all happened so quickly. I—I know, at this point, the partnership is off the table—”

“Partnership?” Carrington scoffed. “Honey, I can’t even keep you on staff. You’re professional poison. I’m going to have to fire you and do it in a very public manner—I mean, picture the polite urban equivalent of putting you in stocks in the town square and pelting you with rotten fruit—so people know that our company is safe to use again.”

Margot let loose a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding. She nodded. In some way, she’d been expecting this. She knew it would be rough for a while and she would have to put off some bullet points in her five-year plan, but she could handle this. She had contingency funds and a secret contact list of important people who owed her favors.

Margot cleared her throat and tried to straighten her rumpled suit jacket. “And what, you’ll shuffle me out to one of the branch offices in the suburbs and I’ll organize bar mitzvahs until this all blows over?”

Carrington frowned. “No, Margot. Fired. As in employment permanently terminated. The partners are willing to give you a three-week severance in recognition of the work you’ve done for us. And I’ll write you a positive recommendation letter. But that’s it.”

“But I’ve worked here for almost ten years. I’ve put in eighty-hour weeks. Ninety during the holiday party season. I don’t have a social life because I’m always here. I haven’t been on a date in more than eight months.”

“Yes, I know. That’s why you get the third week of severance pay. Really, Margot, I think we’re being more than generous here, considering the fallout from this fiasco.”

As Margot walked out of Elite Elegance’s plush offices with a banker’s box full of her belongings and a severance check in hand, she told herself that it would be okay, that this was what backup plans were for, that this situation couldn’t possibly get worse.

It got worse.

Stage one of Margot’s plan had been to retreat to her apartment to regroup, polish up her résumé, and compose a list of companies she could apply to, but her unit’s new tenants kept stopping by to measure for new flooring and curtains. Just a week before the “Floral Fiasco,” she’d given up her lease in preparation to move to a newly purchased condo in Wicker Park. Between the down payment she’d saved and the raise she was supposed to get with her promotion, she would have been able to afford it. But the day after she was fired, she’d gotten a call from the mortgage officer handling her condo loan. Mrs. Meade had seen the news about the greenhouse incident and her firing, and informed Margot that without a job, the mortgage company could not guarantee her loan. The only good news was that the mortgage company was willing to return 70 percent of her down payment. So now, with her lease running out and her condo being sold to someone else, Margot was effectively homeless.

And still, it got worse.

Without a job, she couldn’t get an apartment in a decent building. And the buildings where she could get an apartment were not places where she wanted to live. And she could not find a job. Anywhere. Receptionists laughed and hung up when she called the best event-planning companies in Chicago. Receptionists from second- and third-tier event-planning companies in Chicago also laughed at her. She couldn’t get the companies in New York or Los Angeles to call back. Hell, she couldn’t get companies in St. Louis to return her calls. She still had her savings, but thanks to Mastercard and her monthly expenses, they were dwindling quickly.

Her friends weren’t returning her calls or messages, either. And she couldn’t turn to her adoptive father for help. Gerald hadn’t spoken to her since her mother’s funeral three years before. And she’d promised herself that she wouldn’t take a dime after her parents made their last tuition payment. She still had the shreds of her pride.

The shreds were costing her. She was three days away from living in the storage unit where she’d moved her stuff, sitting at her breakfast bar—because it was the only table space she had left—actually filling in a JobLink profile, when a Skype notification popped up on her laptop. The message said it was from “hotsy-totsy45.”

Margot frowned. She used this account for after-hours and long-distance consultations with clients. She definitely would have remembered a client nicknamed hotsy-totsy45. Leaning back from the screen, she clicked decline.

Blowing a long breath out through her nose, Margot continued to fill out the JobLink form. Another notification from hotsy-totsy popped up.

“Still a ‘no,’ creep,” she muttered, clicking decline again.

But hotsy-totsy would not be denied. And given the amount of chardonnay Margot had consumed just for the sake of not having to move it out of her apartment, it wasn’t surprising that her hand slipped a bit and she clicked accept.

“Damn it!” she grunted, trying to close the chat window before it opened. She did not want to witness the latest in creative junk shots currently being embraced by the Internet’s weirdos. But instead of the expected random nudity, Margot’s screen was filled with the face of an adorable little granny lady with a cloud of snow-white hair and Dalmatian-print reading glasses balanced on the tip of her nose.

“Hello?”

A brilliant smile lit up the granny lady’s face, showing teeth too white and too even to be original parts. “Well, hello there! It took me a little while to track you down, but here you are!” the lady crowed in a Southern drawl so pronounced that Margot had trouble processing what she was saying at first. “You look just like I thought you would. A lot like your mama, mind, but you got a bit of your daddy in there, too. Of course, I thought you’d be a little more polished up, but I’m guessing you haven’t left your house in a while.”

Margot caught sight of her appearance in the little preview window in the corner of the screen and winced. She looked like someone who was unemployed. She was wearing a grubby Northwestern sweatshirt. Her carefully highlighted blond hair was piled into a haphazard topknot. She was wearing her thick-rimmed black glasses, making her hazel eyes look owlish and too big for her face. She hadn’t worn makeup in days, so her skin had taken on a cheesy appearance in the blue light of the computer screen.

“I’m sorry, do you know my parents?” she asked. As friendly as this lady might be, she didn’t exactly look to be Linda and Gerald’s speed. Linda McCready, a nobody from nowhere with traces of a Low Country accent and a toddler daughter in tow, had managed to snag Gerald Cary, MD, while she was working as the records clerk in the hospital where the handsome British expat practiced surgery. She had spent considerable time and energy clawing her way into the upper middle circles of Chicago society. Linda Cary would have gone blind before she wore Dalmatian reading glasses.

“Well, your mama and I were never close, but your daddy is my nephew, so I guess you could say I know that sad-sack face of his pretty well,” the woman said with a chuckle.

Margot’s jaw dropped. Her stepfather had adopted her when she was four years old. But considering that he was from just outside London, it was unlikely he had relatives in Georgia. “You know Gerald?”

“No, honey, your daddy. What do you young people call it—your ‘biological father.’ Stan McCready. I’m your great-aunt Tootie.”

“Beg pardon?” Even Margot couldn’t be sure which part she was questioning—the “biological” bit or the ridiculous nickname. Even in the South, people knew better than to name their children Tootie, right?

“I’m Stanley McCready’s aunt, honey.”

Stanley McCready. Margot slumped on her bar stool. She’d never met her father’s family. Linda had made no secret of her “unfortunate” first marriage to a man named McCready, but she’d referred to it as a youthful mistake she’d corrected when Margot was barely three years old. Stanley was a heavy drinker, Linda had insisted, a train wreck of a man who couldn’t provide for them. After Linda left, he’d almost immediately given up his rights to his daughter without so much as a court motion.

Margot didn’t know where he lived. She couldn’t remember what he looked like. Her mother had never even shown her a picture, insisting that it would be disloyal to Gerald. Neither Mr. McCready nor his family tried to contact her in thirty years, which was fine with Margot. She didn’t have room in her life for an irresponsible drunk who couldn’t be bothered to send so much as a birthday card. And frankly, she resented the idea that her father’s family only reached out now, when she was at her lowest.

And it wasn’t even her father, just some wacky great-aunt with a ridiculous name.

“You know, I thought you’d have that nasal-sounding Chicago accent, but you sound like you should be having tea with the queen. So proper and prim. I suppose that’s your mama in ya. Did she make you take those diction lessons?”

“No, I just like using all the letter sounds.”

The woman snorted a bit and said, “My point is, honey, I’ve been looking for you for weeks now, after I saw the video of your party on YouTube. I spotted you and knew you had to be Linda’s daughter.”

“YouTube?” Margot winced. “How many hits did it get?”

“Hundreds of thousands! Honey, you’re your own meme!” Tootie exclaimed. Suddenly, a window popped up in the corner of Margot’s screen, showing one of the press photos of Margot herding the flamingos away from the shrimp tower with giant print reading NO CAN HAZ SHRIMP, FLAMINGOZ! NO CAN HAZ!

Margot buried her face in her hands. She’d spent most of her twenties carefully policing her own social media posts so as not to damage her professional reputation. And now this. Also, her great-aunt seemed to be awfully tech savvy for a woman who looked to be in her eighties.

“Well, thanks for contacting me and mocking me with age-appropriate Internet humor . . . and dredging up a bunch of unresolved emotional issues,” Margot muttered. “But I’m going to have to sign off now.”

“Oh, sure, honey, I’m sure you’re busy with your job search. How’s that going?”

“I’ve submitted quite a lot of résumés,” Margot said, trying to sound casual.

“Any interviews yet?” Tootie pressed.

Margot floundered a bit while searching for an answer. “It’s still early. You don’t want people to think you’re too eager.”

“Not one callback, huh?”

Margot pursed her lips. “Not one.”

“Well, that’s just fine, because I have a proposition for you.”

Margot’s instinct to say no right that second was quelled when the bank paperwork that showed her checking account balance caught her eye. “What sort of proposition?”

“We need an event planner here at the family business. We’d be willing to provide room, board, and a generous salary.”

“How generous?”

“Well, now, you’ve got to remember that the cost of living is much lower here as opposed to the big city,” Tootie cautioned.

“How generous?” Margot asked again, and Tootie’s blue eyes sparkled behind those reading glasses.

“Here, I’ll send you the compensation package the family put together.”

Another box popped up on Margot’s screen. She clicked on the file and grimaced at the salary, which was about one-quarter of what she’d made at Elite Elegance. “How much lower is the cost of living there? Also, where is ‘there’?”

“Did you notice that the package includes health insurance?” Tootie asked. “When does your coverage run out?”

“Soon,” Margot grumbled. “Also, I noticed you didn’t answer the question about location.”

“And I’m guessin’ from the packing boxes in the background that your lease runs out pretty soon, too. So really, I could see why you would want to stay where you would be homeless and at risk of huge medical bills, in a city where you could be mugged or run down by a taxi or have a windowpane fall on you from twenty stories up. That’s far preferable to coming down to Georgia, to a town where the crime rate is next to zero.”

Margot had never passed the Mason-Dixon Line, not even to Florida. Her mother had always insisted on family vacations to Lake Geneva, to New York, to France. Anyone could go to Disney World, she’d told Margot; Linda was trying to give Margot the world. Margot didn’t know how well she would function in a rural environment, much less a place where she would constantly hear the banjo music from Deliverance in the back of her head.

“But my life is here. My friends are here. I need to stay where the jobs are. And right now, that’s in Chicago.”

“So you lay low for a few months in God’s country, get to know your kinfolk, get that city air out of your lungs, and then relaunch yourself at people who will have forgotten your foul-up once someone else messes up worse. It will be good for you,” Tootie told her.

Margot stared at the offer. Tootie had thought of everything: financial compensation, meals covered, a clothing allowance, and health insurance. She’d even attached a picture of a small cabin on the edge of a lake, labeled housing. And another photo of a huge family posed in front of a lakeside dock. Tootie stood with an older man, holding his hand. Two couples in their fifties stood behind them next to a man with deep frown furrows barely touched by his lopsided smirk. His arm was thrown around a twentyish girl with purple-streaked hair in pigtails wearing a black T-shirt with a pink radiation symbol on it. Another couple stood on the far left, a man in his thirties with curly reddish-blond hair hugging a laughing blonde. The sun was setting behind the family and they looked so happy together, so at ease with one another. And it felt like a punch to the chest. These people didn’t miss her at all. They didn’t feel a Margot-shaped hole in their family, they’d just moved on without her. It shouldn’t have hurt as much as it did. She’d spent a lot of time on visualization exercises so it wouldn’t hurt. And yet . . .

She cleared her throat. “The whole family put this together? Even my . . . even Stan?”

“Everybody,” Tootie said emphatically.

Margot skimmed the top of the document and caught sight of the letterhead, which read McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop.

“Funeral home? Wait, you run a funeral home? And a bait shop?”

“Well, it’s more of a full-service marina, but yes! For four generations now! You’re part of a Lake Sackett institution, hon.”

“Why would a funeral home–slash–bait shop need an event planner?”

“Well, the baby boomer generation is dropping like flies around here, so we’ve got more business than we can handle. We’ve needed to add another planning consultant for a while now, and when I saw your video and looked up your background, I knew you’d be perfect.”

“I’m an event planner. For major society parties, galas, charity balls, that sort of thing.”

“Well, a funeral is a kind of event. And some of the considerations are the same—timing, speeches, music, food, and such.”

“Oh, I just don’t think I could—”

Suddenly, the lights flickered out and her refrigerator died with a whine. Because she’d shut off utilities in preparation for the move to the condo that was supposed to have taken place the week before. But she had nowhere to go. And no health insurance.

She pursed her lips. “When can I start?”

AUNT TOOTIE—MARGOT was still refusing to call her that out loud, on principle—had been very helpful in organizing her immediate move to Lake Sackett. Using her above-generational-average tech skills, Tootie arranged for a local company to ship the few belongings Margot was bringing to Georgia. Tootie booked a flight from Chicago to Atlanta and then assured her that she’d have a car pick her up at the airport and drive her the two and a half hours to the lake country.

Tootie was just so efficient.

Three days later, Margot’s flight was taxiing down the runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and she was clutching her cell phone to her chest. Margot had no idea what she’d face when she deplaned. She’d intentionally avoided reading up on the funeral home or her new base of operations because she was afraid that additional information would convince her to cancel the whole agreement.

Margot managed to find her bags without problems, but she couldn’t find the car service at the arrivals terminal. She scanned the little signs held by the handful of drivers near the exit. Not one of them said Cary. Maybe Tootie hadn’t sent anyone, she thought. Maybe she could take the airport transit system to the departures terminal and book a flight back to Chicago. She didn’t believe in signs, but maybe this was an omen. Maybe she wasn’t meant to meet her father’s family. Maybe she wasn’t supposed to live in Georgia. Maybe she should step back on the sidewalk before that enormous green truck barreling through the pickup area squashed her flat.

The battered early-model truck skidded to a stop in front of her. The side door was marked MCCREADY FAMILY FUNERAL HOME AND BAIT SHOP—LAKE SACKETT, GA in bold gold print.

Margot murmured, “Oh . . . no.”

Tootie hadn’t arranged for a car service. She’d sent a family member to pick Margot up. A stranger in a pickup truck. Everything inside of Margot seemed to tense at once. She’d thought she’d have at least a few more hours to pep-talk herself into the right frame of mind to meet any of her extended family—not to mention the little bottle of vodka she’d purchased on the plane to help prepare her to meet her father. But here it was, spewing exhaust at her, while the driver’s-side door opened. The windows were tinted too darkly to allow her to see the driver. Would it be Stan McCready? Was she ready for that? Was it too late to run back into the airport and hide behind the baggage carousel?

A man in his thirties—the man with curly reddish-blond hair from the family photo she’d studied relentlessly for the last three days—popped his head over the truck frame and grinned at her. His eyes, the same ocean blue as Tootie’s, glowed with amusement as he held up a poster-board sign that read WELCOME HOME, COUSIN MARGOT! in bright red glitter letters. The sign had been decorated with balloons and glittery star stickers. He waved it madly and yelled, “Hey!”

Definitely not her father, then. Margot stepped back, eyes wide, and in a move natural to someone who spent most of her life in a major city, pulled her purse closer to her body.

The bearded man scampered around the front of the truck and threw his arms around her. “Hey, cuz!”

“Who . . . are you?” Margot whispered as he squeezed her tight. His T-shirt smelled of citronella and sunscreen, a pleasant combination, but she generally liked her personal space bubble to be a little more . . . bubbly.

“Oh, I’m sorry! I’m Duffy McCready, your cousin. Well, my grandpa is your grandpa’s cousin, which always muddies the waters with third cousin and once-removed and all that. So we’ll just keep it simple and say ‘cousin.’?”

“And Tootie McCready sent you?” she asked, just in case there was some other half-wild McCready picking up his long-lost cousin at the domestic arrivals terminal.

“We’re so excited that you’re here,” he drawled in his heavy Georgian accent. “I’m sorry I’m late. I had this nightmare customer, refused to give up the search for Billy the Mythic Largemouth Bass. And then Atlanta traffic is always awful.”

“You’re still hugging me,” she noted.

“Sorry,” he said, detaching himself from her. He was a pleasant-enough-looking guy, thin but nicely muscled, with a cheerful face. He was dressed in well-worn jeans, work boots, and a plaid shirt over a forest-green T-shirt that read MCCREADY FAMILY FUNERAL HOME AND BAIT SHOP.

He attempted to take her Vuitton suitcase from her and she held firm to the handle, shaking her head. “I’ve got it.”

After he realized that she was not, in fact, going to let go of her luggage, he raised his hands in surrender. “Suit yourself. I just can’t believe I’m finally getting to meet you,” Duffy said, opening the passenger door for her. “Everybody’s excited that you’re comin’ back home.”

“Everybody?” Margot whimpered.

About The Author

 

Molly Harper is the author of two popular series of paranormal romance, the Half-Moon Hollow series and the Naked Werewolf series. She also writes the Bluegrass ebook series of contemporary romance. A former humor columnist and newspaper reporter, she lives in Michigan with her family, where she is currently working on the next Southern Eclectic novel. Visit her on the web at MollyHarper.com.

You can find Molly at

 

 

 

 

Return of the Chauffeur’s Son
(Movie Magic Romances Book 1)
by Tara Lain

Blurb:

Luca McGrath may be returning to Napa Valley, California, as a promising chef with dreams of starting his own restaurant and winery, but his heart still lives with the bad-boy son of a billionaire, James Armstrong. Luca spent his childhood playing games with the golden boy of California society, so blinded by James he barely noticed the dark, quiet lure of his conservative older brother, Dylan Armstrong.
But now Luca’s home, and his own powers of attraction are enough to make James question his dedicated heterosexuality and his promised marriage to a wealthy and powerful businesswoman. The obvious attraction between Luca and James spurs Dylan into action—but he’s fighting a huge secret. While Luca dreamed of James, Dylan dreamed of Luca. When Luca gets caught in the struggle between the brothers and gets accused of culinary espionage he’s ready to chuck the fairy tale—unable to even imagine Dylan’s power to make his dreams come true.

Grab your copy at
Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Audible Nook | Kobo


Excerpt

That soft, deep voice slithered up his spine and filled
his brain with even more fog. He turned and watched Dylan amble toward him
across the grass, dressed in black jeans and a black long-sleeved T-shirt. He moves like a cat. “I’m not sure I’ve
ever seen you in anything but a suit before.”

“It does happen—occasionally.” Dylan half smiled.

“They should star you in a movie about a panther that
turns into a human.”

Cat People?”

 Luca cocked his head. “You know that old movie?”

 “Yes. Movies are a passion of mine.”

 “Seriously. I thought you just worked all the time.”

 “Surprise.” His light green eyes sparkled.

 Luca leaned back against the fence. “What are some of your
favorites?”

Dylan stepped to the fence and leaned against it too,
about two feet from Luca. Do I really
feel heat coming off his skin?
 Luca took a deep breath.

 Dylan looked up at the stars. “I love No Country for Old Men.”

 Luca barked a little laugh.

 Dylan glanced at him. “Funny?”

 “It’s just the stereotype of the powerful businessman
taking out his enemies wholesale. Sorry.”

 “Okay. Well, I love The
Notebook
.”

 “You’re kidding?”

 “Nope. I don’t think it’s a great movie, but I do love
the chemistry between the young couple.”

 “Yeah, the old couple’s story was even too sappy for me.”

 “I love Michael
Clayton
.”

 “No shit!” Luca chuckled. “One of the least appreciated
movies ever. Love that film.”

 “But I’ll see almost anything with Tilda Swinton in it.”

 “Me too.” He shook his head. How could they have so much
in common?

 “I also love My
Fair Lady
.”

 “Now you are joking.”

 Dylan smiled and gazed at Luca. “No, I’m not joking. I’m
gay. Remember?”

 The word felt like a karate chop to the windpipe. “Uh,
right. Sometimes I forget.”

 “So, how’s the new job?”

 “Uh, wonderful. They really want me to develop new
recipes and dishes. It’s what I love—along with wine making.”

 “Oh? You’re interested in viticulture?”

 Luca nodded. “Part of my degree is in winery management.”

 Dylan pushed away from the fence. “You’re a man of many
talents, Luca.”

 What the fuck did
he mean by that?

 Dylan strolled a few feet toward the house.

 Luca said, “By the way, I wanted you to know that James
invited my dad and me to your party and polo match this weekend.”

 That got his attention. He looked back with a crease
between the beautiful eyes. “Oh? When did he do that?”

 “Earlier tonight, when he and Nila had dinner at the
restaurant. She seconded the invitation and, since it’s kind of her party, I
figured it would be okay.” Did that sound like he had a chip on his shoulder?

 “Then I’m sure it must be okay.”

 Luca stared at the grass. “If you ever want somebody to
watch a movie with, just holler.” Crap!
He wanted to bite off the tip of his tongue.

 Dylan looked equally astonished. “I’ll keep that in
mind.” He turned and walked into the shadows.

 Why the hell did I
say that?
 The sound of the big house door opening and closing carried
across the quiet space.

 Dylan just looks so
lonely.

 And so damned
beautiful.

 

Giveaway!! Paranormal & Sci-Fi Romance sweepstakes. Tara Lain & 55+ Authors

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you. I’ve teamed up with 55+fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of paranormal & sci-fi romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!

Oh, and did I mention you’ll receive a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering? ;D
You can win my novel THE PACK OR THE PANTHER, plus books from authors like Kathy Lyons and D.D. Miers.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/prn-march2018

Cole Harker, son of an alpha werewolf, is bigger and more powerful than most wolves, tongue-tied in groups, and gay. For twenty-four years, he’s lived to please his family and pack—even letting them promise him in marriage to female werewolf Analiese to secure a pack alliance and help save them from a powerful gangster who wants their land. Then Cole meets Analiese’s half-brother, panther shifter Paris Marketo, and for the first time, Cole wants something for himself.

When Analiese runs off to marry a human, Cole finally has a chance with Paris, but the solitary cat rejects him, the pack, and everything it represents. Then Cole discovers the gangster wants Paris too and won’t rest until he has him. What started as a land dispute turns into World War Wolf! But the bigger fight is the battle between cats and dogs.

Don’t forget to enter as the giveaway runs Monday, March 26th and ends on Monday, April 2nd!!

Good luck and enjoy!

 

Big Backlist Weekend with Sasha Summers & Tara Lain – 2 Giveaways!

Hi everyone!
Welcome to Big Backlist Weekend! This is a special event I post every month or so where I ask a wonderful author to come and join me in giving away a copy of an ebook from their backlist.

My guest today is Sasha Summers! COWBOY LULLABY is her latest release and the sixth book in The Boones of Texas Series! If you love cowboys, this is the series for you! You can learn more about COWBOY LULLABY here.
Sasha is giving away an ebook of A Son for the Cowboy (The Boones of Texas #5). I’m giving away an ebook copy of COWBOYS DON’T COME OUT! Cowboys for everyone!! LOL

Here’s your chance to win one or the other of our books. Just enter on the Rafflecopter below and watch for Big Backlist Weekend with special guests every month.

 

A Son For The Cowboy
(The Boones of Texas Series, #5)
By Sasha Summers

Blurb:

IT’S TIME TO DADDY UP!

For retired rodeo queen Poppy White, settling down in the picturesque little town of Stonewall Crossing, Texas, had seemed ideal. Until Toben Boone showed up on her doorstep. It had been a lifetime since their explosive one-night encounter in Cheyenne. Her son Rowdy’s lifetime. And she hadn’t heard a word since.

Toben was still easy on the eyes, still able to set her pulse racing–and still breaking the hearts of buckle bunnies all over the circuit, she had no doubt. But if he thought his boyish cowboy charm, dangerous dimples and baby blues were going to sweep her off her feet again, he was in for a big surprise. A big six-year-old surprise!

Available for purchase at
Kindle | Amazon Paperback | iTunes | Nook | B&N | Kobo

Excerpt

Toben’s cut-off jeans were uneven, but the length of muscled legs revealed was impressive. He wore a short-sleeved button up shirt… hanging open to reveal far too much of him. His jeans rested low on his hips. The sharp cut and dip of muscles of his chest and stomach had her dipping beneath the water again.

            When she came up, Toben was laughing.

            “Did you hear that, Ma?” Rowdy asked.

            She shook her head. “What?”

            “Otis’s joke,” Rowdy said.

            Otis had told a joke? She glanced at her nephew. He was smiling. So was Dot. Were they really having a good time? She grinned. “What joke?”

            “What do you call a bear with no teeth?” Otis asked.

            Poppy shrugged.

            “A gummy-bear,” Otis answered.

            She laughed.

            “Next time the water’s up we could float down to the first bridge?” Toben asked. “Not much current right now, but it sure feels good.”

            “Your eye’s all messed up.” Dot pointed out. “Looks like it hurts.”

            He nodded. “It doesn’t feel good.”

            “What happened?” Otis asked.

            Toben glanced at her. “I walked into something.”

            She frowned. The thing he’d walked into was sporting an angry bruise on his jaw. Mitchell had left before Rowdy woke up because he didn’t want to upset her son. She knew boys would be boys, but why would Mitchell and Toben exchange blows? What good would that do? Maybe Toben hadn’t changed. The Toben she remembered had either been picking up women or starting fights.

            “Next time you should watch where you’re going.” Rowdy said, swimming to the flat rock.

            Toben was still looking at her. “There won’t be a next time.”

            She hoped that meant he and Mitchell had reached an understanding. If they were going to do this, raise Rowdy together, no one should be throwing punches.

            “I’m jumping,” Rowdy said, leaping off the rock.

            The water splashed, eliciting laughter all around.

            Poppy smiled, watching them together. For the first time in days, the three of them were getting along.

            “How deep does it get?” Otis asked.

            “I’ll find out,” Poppy swam out. The water they’d been swimming in wasn’t deep, she could sit and the water reached her chin. But in the middle of the river, she had to stand on tip-toe in places. “Too deep.”

            Surprisingly, none of them argued. They took turns jumping off the rock, splashing each other and spinning in the inner tube she’d carried down.

            Toben surfaced beside her. “Good to see them smiling. I was beginning to think they didn’t have it in them.”

            Poppy nodded, acutely aware of how close he was. “What happened with Mitchell?” she asked.

            He swam around her, putting them face to face. “Does it matter?”

            Her gaze locked with his. “Yes.”

            “He the one you’re engaged to?” he asked, his voice wavering slightly.

            “No.” She opened her mouth, then closed it. “Does it matter?”

            His blue eyes narrowed but he didn’t say anything. Instead he disappeared beneath the water. Seconds later, his hand grabbed her ankle and he tugged her under.

            Poppy plunged beneath the water, swallowed in sensation. His hands sliding up her bare stomach. His arm sliding around her waist, anchoring her against him. He was warm, and strong, his bare chest pressing against hers and lighting a fire inside of her. She was going to drown, in this—not the water. And then he was tugging her back to the surface.

            “He got you, Ma,” Rowdy said, laughing.

            She sputtered, her hands gripping Toben’s shoulders until there was air in her lungs. But seeing his chest, the rounded muscles of his shoulders, his thick neck and square jaw… She was gasping for air. Her fingers curled into the wet fabric of his shirt.

            Don’t look at him. Don’t do it.

            Her eyes met his. And the hunger she saw there, raw and fierce, had her pushing off of his chest and back under the water. She swam back to the rock, pulling herself out and onto the flat surface. It was hot, so she spread her shirt out and sat, dazed.

About The Author

 

Sasha Summers grew up surrounded by books. Her passions have always been storytelling, romance, and travel. Whether it’s an easy-on-the-eyes cowboy or a hero of truly mythic proportions, Sasha falls a little in love with each and every one of her heroes. She frequently gets lost with her characters in the worlds she creates; forgetting everyday tasks like laundry and dishes. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and helpful.

You can connect with Sasha at
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest | Youtube

Cowboys Don’t Come Out
by Tara Lain

 Blurb:

Rand McIntyre settles for good enough. He loves his small California ranch, raising horses, and teaching riding to the kids he adores—but having kids of his own and someone to love means coming out, and that would jeopardize everything he’s built. Then, despite his terror of flying, he goes on a holiday to Hana, Hawaii with his parents and meets the dark and mysterious Kai Kealoha, a genuine Hawaiian cowboy. Rand takes to Kai’s kid brother and sister as much as he drools over Kai, but the guy sports more prickles than a horned toad, and more secrets than the exotic land he comes from.

Kai’s earned his privacy and lives to protect his “kids.” He ought to stay away from the big, handsome cowboy for everyone’s sake—but since the guy’s just a haole on a short vacation, how much damage can he do? When all of Kai’s worst fears and Rand’s darkest nightmares come true at once, there’s not much chance for two cowboys who can’t—or won’t—come out.

 
Available for purchase at

Excerpt

He stopped and tried to hear over the rushing of the surf out beyond the reef if anyone else hid in the dark. No sounds. Fortunately, no big water hit this beach, so he didn’t have to worry about getting swamped. Actually, between the lapping waves and the brilliant moonlight, the scene resembled some fairy-tale romance. Fuck that.

Right where the dry sand verged on the wet, he flopped on his butt. What she’d said—that he settled for a good-enough life. That he wasn’t happy. Don’t I get to decide that?

He leaned back on his elbows. Yeah, but she’s right. I created a whole life—as if I was somebody else. Most people find “the one” and build a future so it suits them both. I imagined a cowboy and slid into his boots—Rand McIntyre. Say that with a drawl, son. Just one problem. I’m gay—always have been—and cowboys don’t come out. Where does that leave me? A-fucking-lone, pardner. Always will be.

You’re not the only gay cowboy.

Have you seen Brokeback Mountain? Shit.

Phosphorescence sparkled on the tops of the waves farther out. Pretty. Guess there could be all kinds of weird man-eating shit in that water.

Do you think more sharks and barracudas swim at night than during the day?

Yeah, right.

He sprang up, stripped his Hawaiian shirt off and tossed it on the sand, then pulled off the shorts his mom had given him. Commando. What would it feel like to have fishes nibbling at his balls? Not like anybody else was doing any nibbling. He strode into the water. Whoa! Not cold, just startling.

When he waded out past his thighs, his penis and balls started to float. He chuckled. Kind of like being a kid in the bathtub. Endless hours of fun playing with your own built-in toys. A few more steps, and he submerged to his shoulders. He gave a tiny shiver. Weird being sunk in inky blackness. Still, the water felt good. He kicked off and swam a few yards out, turned, and stroked back towards shore. He wasn’t a good enough swimmer to push his luck alone at night.

After treading water a couple of minutes, he pulled himself back into the shallows and sat on the hard wet beach. He glanced down. Some shrinkage, but his balls still lay on the sand. Remember to rinse them off or you’ll itch. Slowly he released his breath. What was he going to do? Answer? Same as always. Nothing. He couldn’t risk all the great shit he’d made to try to make it better.

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Big Backlist Weekend with Santino Hassell & Tara Lain – 2 Giveaways!

Hi everyone!
Welcome to Big Backlist Weekend! This is a special event I post every month or so where I ask a wonderful author to come and join me in giving away a copy of an ebook from their backlist.

My guest today is Santino Hassell! Santino is giving away an ebook of CITYWIDE:  A Five Boroughs Novella Collection.

I’m giving away an ebook copy of HIGH BALLS!

 

Here’s your chance to win one or the other of our books. Just enter on the Rafflecopter below and watch for Big Backlist Weekend with special guests every month.

 

Citywide
by Santino Hassell

Blurb:
A record-breaking heat wave engulfs the Five Boroughs, and emotions run as hot as the temperatures.

In Rerouted, Chris Mendez is trying to live a drama-free life. That doesn’t include another threesome with Jace and Aiden Fairbairn. But then a citywide blackout leaves them trapped together, and Chris is forced to re-examine everything he thought he knew about relationships and his own heart.

In Gridlocked, former Marine Tonya Maldonado is keeping real estate heiress Meredith Stone on permanent ignore. Mere isn’t Tonya’s type. Not even close. Who cares if she kisses like a dream and has the filthiest mouth this side of the East River? But then a security detail at a summer party ends with her saving Mere’s life and discovering they have more chemistry than she’d ever imagined.

In Derailed, Stephanie Quinones escapes the heat and her complicated love life by going on a company retreat. Trouble is, it’s a couples’ retreat, and she lied about having a boyfriend. Unfortunately, the only person willing to play pretend is her on-again/off-again fling, Angel León. They’re currently “off again,” but after a week in the woods, Stephanie realizes she wouldn’t mind them being permanently on.

Available at
Amazon | iBooks | RiptideKobo

Excerpt

Stephanie was still eyeing Scott like he’d just wandered in off the street. Then she glanced at me, but she had a weird look on her face, and that weirdness spelled reluctance. She did not want me to meet this person. “Scott is my boss. He’s the, um, DeFrancis of Berger & DeFrancis.”

“Uh-huh.”

I stared at her hard, waiting for her to introduce me, and watched that panic grow. What the fuck? There was absolutely no way Stephanie was banging her boss. She had too much integrity. And besides that, she’d often complained about the inequity of salaries, and how her fellow paralegals and the legal assistants irritated her by obsessing for years over her not having a boyfriend or girlfriend. She’d never once said anything to imply . . .

But it wasn’t my business. She did not belong to me.

I pasted on a half-assed smile and held out my hand. He had a limp, damp handshake.

“I’m Angel León. Nice to meet you, man.”

Scott nodded, cocked his head, and then awareness sparked. “Oh, you’re Stephanie’s fiancé.”

I stared. “What?”

Beside me, Stephanie’s face was flaming. She seemed close to exploding right there in the glass-encased office as Caleb and Oli looked between us in confusion. They, wisely, didn’t speak.

“Stephanie’s fiancé,” Scott awkwardly clarified. “We don’t, uh, well, that is, I don’t talk about personal things with my employees, but—” Holy fuck, would he ever get a sentence out? Stephanie appeared ready to melt into a puddle of humiliation on the floor. “She said she couldn’t come to the company retreat in Lake George next weekend because she had plans with her fiancé. Angel.”

The effort to not crack a smile was monumental. This was stupid. I knew it was stupid. She’d thrown my name in the fray at work to keep them off her back. It had nothing to do with some actual desire to ever be engaged to me. But even so . . .

I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and pulled her in with a shit-eating smile. “Gotcha.”

Across from us, Oli was also turning red from an obvious effort not to laugh. Caleb looked like he wanted to die from secondhand embarrassment.

“Um . . .” Stephanie shuffled besides me. “Right . . .”

“But you know what, Scott?” I dug my fingers into Stephanie’s arm. “Those plans may dry up. Is it too late for her to go along?”

Oli had taken a sip of his drink and choked. Stephanie gave me a hateful glare. I kept smiling at Scott.

“No, not at all. We’re going to have cabins, do team-building activities, and there will even be a hike.” Scott listed these activities as if in theory they were awesome, but his voice barely made it to semi pleased to be participating. “There are a lot of couples going, so you’re more than welcome to attend. We still have one room available.”

This time it was Stephanie who brightened like her wattage had suddenly received a boost. “Well, we might just take that into consideration, Scott. My Angelito loves outdoorsy stuff.”

I kept my mouth sealed into a smile even as I saw this plan backfiring.

About The Author

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

You can connect with Santino at
Website | Facebook Group “Get Hasselled” | Twitter | Instagram | Patreon | Newsletter

 

 

High Balls
(Balls To The Wall Series #6 )
by Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
Though only twenty-six, single father Theodore Walters lives with his head in the clouds and his feet firmly planted in reality. At the center of his life is Andy, his seven-year-old son, with whom he shares no DNA, though nobody—including his religious-fanatic in-laws—knows that, and Theodore will do anything to keep them from finding out. Theodore works hard to get his PhD and the tenure and salary that might follow to make a better life for Andy—but the head of his department thinks his dissertation on Jane Austen and romance novels is frivolous.
Theodore’s carefully planned life goes off the rails when he walks into a popular Laguna Beach bar and meets the bartender, “Snake” Erasmo, a pierced and tattooed biker who sends Theodore’s imagination—and libido—soaring. Snake has even more secrets than Theodore and couldn’t be a less “appropriate” match, but he might be the only guy with the skills to show Theodore that happily-ever-after is for real.

Available for purchase at

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iTunes | Dreamspinner Press

Excerpt

A second later in his bedroom, as Theodore stood in his boxer briefs staring at his minimal wardrobe, Andy stuck his head in the door. “Hiya, Dad.”

“Hi.”

“Whatcha doing?”

“Trying to figure out what to wear.”

He wandered in and plopped on the unmade bed. “You got a date?”

“Uh, kind of. I mean, yes.”

“So what kind of guy is he?”

“What do you mean?” Was his son checking his date’s résumé?

“You know, is he, like, really conservative—I don’t mean, like, Republican, I mean, does he wear ties and stuff? Or is he, like, ace?”

“Ace?”

“Uh, like, rad, cool?”

“Definitely cool.”

“Okay.” He flipped on his stomach and pointed toward the closet. “Black jeans.”

Theodore pulled his one good pair from the hanger and slid them on.

“Excellent. Now white shirt.”

“Really? Isn’t that kind of conservative?”

“No, you gotta trust me.”

“Okay.” He shrugged on the shirt. “Do I tuck it in?”

“Of course. Black belt.”

He did as instructed. Had to admit those jeans did show off his ass and the shirt made him look more mature and a bit—well, cool.

“Okay, now take the vest you wear to work.”

“You mean, like, a suit vest?”

“Yeah.”

“Which one? I have two.”

“Let me look.” He hopped to a cross-legged position as Theodore held up his navy blue vest and his tan vest.

“That one.” He pointed toward the tan.

“You sure?” Andy nodded. Hell, humor the kid. I can take it off later. He slid on the vest and—son of a bitch if it didn’t look bitchin’. “Hey, good job, this looks—” He grinned. “—ace.”

“Told ya.”

Theodore sat on the edge of the bed next to his fashion consultant. “I won’t be real late, but go to bed on time for Jillian so you can get up and be smart tomorrow. How’s your homework?” Personally he thought they gave second graders too much, but he didn’t want to have Andy falling behind.

“I’ve got a lot done.”

“Ask Jillian to check it over when you’re finished, okay? If you need me, call me.”

“Sure. Have a good time with the ace.” He flashed his little teeth with the big gap in the middle.

“I will, derp.” He kissed Andy’s nose.

“Dad, nobody says that. Especially not grown-ups.”

“How could someone so hopelessly uncool have such an awesome son?”

“Good question.”

 

Giveaway

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Big Backlist Weekend with Elisabeth Staab & Tara Lain – 2 Giveaways!

Hi everyone!
Welcome to Big Backlist Weekend! This is a special event I post every month or so where I ask a wonderful author to come and join me in giving away a copy of an ebook from their backlist.

My guest today is Elisabeth Staab. Elisabeth is giving away a copy of By The Rules, the third book in the Evergreen Grove series.

Since Elisabeth’s book is New Adult, i thought i’d add a New Adult book to the BBB and give away Outing the Quarterback. This book was my first foray into sports romance, although in truth, sports play a smallish role. I did have to learn a LOT about football.

Here’s your chance to win one or the other of our books. Just enter on the Rafflecopter below and watch for Big Backlist Weekend with special guests every month.

By the Rules (Evergreen Grove Book 3)
He thinks I want him because of the rumors around town. Because I think he’s easy. I want AJ, because he’s AJ.

No liars. No suits. Absolutely no straight guys…

AJ Fabin’s list of rules keeps him safe. Since getting kicked out of his parents’ home and attacked by a former escorting client, his rules and his life in the tiny town of Evergreen Grove provide a quiet haven. He may be lonely, and he may stick out like a sore thumb, but the folks like him well enough. When he’s not dodging his old pimp, things are peaceful.

Hayden Price is having a quarter-life crisis. Engaged to a woman he can’t connect to and working a job he secretly hates, he comes to Evergreen Grove to help his mother through a health scare. Returning to his childhood home makes Hayden reevaluate a lot of things, including himself. When he meets AJ and finds he can’t stand the mouthy jerk—almost as much as he can’t stop thinking about him—he has a lot more to change than his career.

To be together, they’ll both have to break all of their rules.

By the Rules is book 3 in the Evergreen Grove series, but reads as a standalone.

Available for purchase at

Kindle | Amazon PaperbackNook | B&N | Kobo | iTunes 

Excerpt

 You know that movie where the devastatingly handsome billionaire falls head over heels for the former rent-boy with a heart of gold and they ride off into the sunset with their limo, their unicorn, and a cuddly little bichon?What? Are you kidding? Okay, me neither.

Nobody’s ever gonna make that movie, because nobody would buy the premise. Not even if Julia Roberts does make the prospect look good all kinds of glittery-ever-after on camera. And for real, I’m telling you I could rock a string of diamonds just as well as her (I could!) even if you wouldn’t catch me dead in an evening gown. Or dating a douche who drives a five-speed penis-mobile. Well… maybe it would depend on the penis-mobile.

God bless Richard Gere’s fine ass in a three-piece, though. I may have a rule against dating a guy like him in real life, but there’s nothing wrong with a little fantasy. Like a big ole slab of red velvet cake, it may not be good for you to eat, but looking doesn’t cost any calories.

Rule #1: Keep your distance from rich guys in business attire. They’re sleek, gorgeous, and powerful-looking like jungle cats, and as likely to take a chunk out of you when your back is turned.

 

About the Author

Elisabeth Staab started hunting mutant hedgehogs back in 1842… Oops, wrong bio… Elisabeth Staab digs coffee, saucy stories, and sexy things that go bump in the night. Once, she ate dinner in a jail and liked it. She lives in the Washington DC area with her incredible family and does her best to juggle life while ignoring the laundry.

You can connect with Elisabet at
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter

 

But Wait! There’s more!!
The At the Stars, the first book in the Evergreen Grove series is FREE! Make sure to grab your copy now!

A GIRL TRYING TO LEAVE HER PAST BEHIND

I was a normal teenager who loved music and dancing, until the day I was attacked in my favorite record store. A few years later when my mom succumbed to depression and took her own life, I couldn’t stay in my hometown with all the memories and the curious stares. I decided to get in my car and just go – except my car decided it was done going outside a tiny place called Evergreen Grove. That’s where I found Jake. Or I guess Jake found me.

A GUY WHO CAN’T LET HIS GO

For the last eight years, all I can think about is the day I ended another man’s life. Then I manage to save Cassie’s, and I feel like maybe I’ve got some kind of second chance. To do what I couldn’t before, or maybe even for something bigger. Something like love. If only I could feel like I deserve her…

At the Stars is a story of lost hope, new beginnings, and found love.

Available for purchase at

Kindle Amazon Paperback | Nook | B&N | Kobo | iTunes 

 

Outing The Quarterback
(Long Pass Chronicles Series, #1)

Blurb:
Will Ashford lives in two closets. He meets his wealthy father’s goals as both the quarterback for the famous SCU football team and a business major, but secretly he attends art school and longs to live as a painter. And he’s gay. But if he can win the coveted Milton Scholarship for art, he’ll be able to break from his father at the end of his senior year.

In a painting master class, Will meets his divergent opposite, Noah Zajack. A scarred orphan who’s slept on park benches and eaten from trash cans, Noah carefully plans his life and multiple jobs so he has money and time to go to art school. Will’s problems seem like nothing compared to Noah’s. Noah wants the scholarship too and may have a way to get it since the teacher of his class has designs on him, a plan Will isn’t happy about.

When a gossipmonger with a popular YouTube channel finds evidence that Will is gay, the quarterback’s closet doors begin to crumble. Hounded by the press and harassed by other players, Will has to choose. Stay in the closet and keep his family’s wealth, or let the doors fall off and walk out with nothing. Nothing but Noah.

Available for purchase at

Kindle Amazon Paperback | Audible |  Nook | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

Excerpt

 “You’re not telling me that your own parents don’t know you’re gay? No way.”

“Way. I’ve never come out to them.”

Noah opened his mouth, then closed it. Being alone looked better and better. “How is that possible? Did you just decide you like guys last week or something?”

“No. I think I pretty much knew when I was twelve.” He smiled. “Our neighbors had a son who was about sixteen. His bedroom was across from mine. I used to peek through the curtains and watch him dress. Watched him jerk off too. Man, he did that a lot.” Will laughed. “I got hard every time, and I ended up beating my meat as much as he did. One day I finally realized that he had a sister who walked around the backyard wearing, like, nothing. I never looked at her, just him. That’s when I got worried.”

Had Noah ever been worried about being gay? Maybe a little. “But you date a girl. I saw you with her hanging all over your body.”

“Yeah. For the last couple years I’ve had sex with girls. I hoped I was bi.” He leaned his elbows on his knees and shook his head. “It doesn’t work very well. I even had to take Viagra once. I finally gave up and broke up with her.”

“When?”

“Today.”

“Jesus.”

He smiled, kind of sad. “Yeah, it’s been a helluva day.”

“So are you going to come out now?”

His golden eyebrows drew tight above that straight nose. So damned Aryan. “I wish I could. No, that’s a lie. I dread the whole thing. But the truth is, if I come out, the whole team takes it in the ass. Other teams will harass me, which means my guys will defend me. Some of them will. And they’ll get suspended for fighting. Anyway, it’s a fucking mess trying to come out in team sports. I’ve got to wait until after I graduate.”

Noah frowned. “If big-time athletes like you never come out, it will never change.”

“I get that and I hate to say this, but I’ve got enough shit in my life without carrying the damned rainbow flag.”

Noah sucked in his breath to call the guy a pussy. And stopped. Coming out had been no big deal for him. Just one more weird thing about weird Noah. No one expected anything different. Will’s life was another whole pile of bullshit. Different but maybe not better. “So why did you come here?”

The green eyes glanced up, then away. “To tell you I didn’t lie to you about my name because I wanted to deceive you. I’m just so deep in lies I can’t see over the top.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why did you want me to know? Why did you care?” He held his breath.

Will frowned. “Did you just have sex with Masterson?”

What the—? He pushed himself back on the couch. “What the fuck business is that of yours?”

He didn’t look up. “If you’re committed, spoken for, I want to know, that’s all.”

“Nobody speaks for me. I’m committed to no one. And I’ll have sex with whomever I please, got it?”

Will looked up from under his eyebrows, and this time he grinned. “I just wanted to check to see if you were too tired.”

Noah suppressed a snort. “What makes you think I’d want to have sex with you?” He tried to keep his lips from turning up.

“You kissed me, remember?”

The smile must show by now. “What if I didn’t like it?”

“Not an option.”

“You think you’re that good, huh?”

Will steepled his fingers in front of his own smile. “Yep.”

“I might catch girl cooties from you.”

“You’ll have to take that chance.”

Noah cocked his head at the big, handsome quarterback. Did he dare suggest it? Hell, the guy ate painters for breakfast. “There’s just one thing, jockoid.”

“What?”

“I like to top.”

“Oh. My. God.”

Giveaway

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New Release! HIGH BALLS by Tara Lain and Enter to Win! #new #BallsstotheWall

Sometimes only the wrong guy can bring the 
right happy ever after.

Hi everyone — I’m so thrilled to be able to announce the release of High Balls. As you may know, this is the first entirely new book in the popular Balls to the Wall series since 2013. Volley Balls is mostly new, but this one is a brand new story and set of heroes. I had a blast revisiting my ballsy guys and weaving their lives into the love story of Theodore and Snake. I hope you love it — and be sure to enter to win! HUGS!

Blog Tour Stops

October 4, 2017
MainelyStories
books are love
Books,Dreams,Life

October 5, 2017
Making it Happen
Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews
Readaholics Anonymous

October 6, 2017
V’s Reads
Bookworm Brandee
My Fiction Nook

October 9, 2017
 Love Bytes
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

October 10, 2017
The Reading Addict
Bayou Book Junkie

High Balls
(Balls To The Wall Series #6 )
by Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
Though only twenty-six, single father Theodore Walters lives with his head in the clouds and his feet firmly planted in reality. At the center of his life is Andy, his seven-year-old son, with whom he shares no DNA, though nobody—including his religious-fanatic in-laws—knows that, and Theodore will do anything to keep them from finding out. Theodore works hard to get his PhD and the tenure and salary that might follow to make a better life for Andy—but the head of his department thinks his dissertation on Jane Austen and romance novels is frivolous.
Theodore’s carefully planned life goes off the rails when he walks into a popular Laguna Beach bar and meets the bartender, “Snake” Erasmo, a pierced and tattooed biker who sends Theodore’s imagination—and libido—soaring. Snake has even more secrets than Theodore and couldn’t be a less “appropriate” match, but he might be the only guy with the skills to show Theodore that happily-ever-after is for real.

Available for purchase at

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iTunes | Dreamspinner Press

Excerpts

 

A second later in his bedroom, as Theodore stood in his boxer briefs staring at his minimal wardrobe, Andy stuck his head in the door. “Hiya, Dad.”

“Hi.”

“Whatcha doing?”

“Trying to figure out what to wear.”

He wandered in and plopped on the unmade bed. “You got a date?”

“Uh, kind of. I mean, yes.”

“So what kind of guy is he?”

“What do you mean?” Was his son checking his date’s résumé?

“You know, is he, like, really conservative—I don’t mean, like, Republican, I mean, does he wear ties and stuff? Or is he, like, ace?”

“Ace?”

“Uh, like, rad, cool?”

“Definitely cool.”

“Okay.” He flipped on his stomach and pointed toward the closet. “Black jeans.”

Theodore pulled his one good pair from the hanger and slid them on.

“Excellent. Now white shirt.”

“Really? Isn’t that kind of conservative?”

“No, you gotta trust me.”

“Okay.” He shrugged on the shirt. “Do I tuck it in?”

“Of course. Black belt.”

He did as instructed. Had to admit those jeans did show off his ass and the shirt made him look more mature and a bit—well, cool.

“Okay, now take the vest you wear to work.”

“You mean, like, a suit vest?”

“Yeah.”

“Which one? I have two.”

“Let me look.” He hopped to a cross-legged position as Theodore held up his navy blue vest and his tan vest.

“That one.” He pointed toward the tan.

“You sure?” Andy nodded. Hell, humor the kid. I can take it off later. He slid on the vest and—son of a bitch if it didn’t look bitchin’. “Hey, good job, this looks—” He grinned. “—ace.”

“Told ya.”

Theodore sat on the edge of the bed next to his fashion consultant. “I won’t be real late, but go to bed on time for Jillian so you can get up and be smart tomorrow. How’s your homework?” Personally he thought they gave second graders too much, but he didn’t want to have Andy falling behind.

“I’ve got a lot done.”

“Ask Jillian to check it over when you’re finished, okay? If you need me, call me.”

“Sure. Have a good time with the ace.” He flashed his little teeth with the big gap in the middle.

“I will, derp.” He kissed Andy’s nose.

“Dad, nobody says that. Especially not grown-ups.”

“How could someone so hopelessly uncool have such an awesome son?”

“Good question.”

 

 

“Mr. Walters, please explain the methodology of your research.”

And so it began. The words flowed across his tongue—the thousands of questionnaires and over a hundred personal interviews showing the education, expertise, and experience of romance writers, their use and extension of techniques pioneered by Austen and other major literary figures. He discussed tropes and their application in so called “fine” literature as well as genre fiction. Quoting verbatim from scholars he’d interviewed, he showed how many academics dismissed romance fiction purely because of its association with female readers.

Dr. Willamette said, “How large is the romance market, Mr. Walters?” She actually seemed interested.

“It’s a moving target and difficult to pin down due to the vastness and fluidity of the ebook market, but well over a billion dollars, for sure. It’s the largest book market in the world by double over the next genre.”

“Oh my. Wouldn’t it be nice to bring those people more actively into the field of literature? More teachers and more students?” She smiled.

“My point exactly.”

Ashworth sputtered, “You want to bring these illiterate, uncultured old maids and housewives into the literary tent? You must be joking.”

Dr. Willamette’s face fell, and Theodore worked to ungrit his teeth.

Dr. T. tried to keep the tone upbeat, but every time Mr. Karl or Dr. Willamette asked a good question or seemed to show interest in his research, Ashworth would find a way to belittle their opinions. They practically shrank in their seats. The chances they’d stand up to the chairman? Zilch.

Theodore kept fighting, but he felt like a salmon on a dammed-up stream.

Dr. T. said, “Why did you undertake this research, Mr. Walters? What do you feel it contributes to the future of literature?”

Theodore gazed at the carpet for a minute. “When my wife was dying, I would read to her. Classics and current literary fiction felt so cold and helpless in the face of death. Only love prevailed. So I bought a romance novel, just for diversion. I was amazed at the true literary value the book possessed. I tried another and another. Yes, I found bad ones, but then that can be said of any type of literature. Gradually I came to realize that what I’d been taught about romance fiction was bull. Here were truly gifted writers, more of them than in any other type of fiction, toiling away with not only no recognition, but also actual denigration, and still producing exceptional work. I decided to find out why.”

He looked up at each member of the panel, even the sneering Ashworth. “I think if I can encourage or inspire even one of these excellent authors to persevere and have some of their work recognized, my research will have succeeded.”

Dr. T. said, “Thank you, Theodore. I wish to add that the dissertation reader agrees with Mr. Walters. She states that the paper has done more to legitimize one of the most popular forms of world fiction than anything she’s seen. She highly recommends the paper for publication.” He looked down the panel. “If there are no more questions, Mr. Walters can go and we can determine the time for our deliberation.”

Ashworth said, “I have one more. Walters, do you really expect us to take this dissertation seriously?”

Theodore stood. “Yes, sir, I do.” He looked down the table. “Thank you all for your consideration.” He turned and walked from the room with a straight spine.

 

 “Dad?”Snake whispered, “Showtime.” He stood.

Teddy looked up and rose.

Andy rubbed his eyes and his nose. “How come you guys are on the floor?”

Teddy smiled and picked up Andy. “I was just surprised and unhappy when Snake told me what your grandparents did.”

“Yeah.” He snuffled and snuggled into his dad’s shoulder.

Teddy sat on the couch and settled Andy on his lap. Snake started to sit in the chair across from them, but Andy looked up. “Snake? Will you sit by me?”

“Sure, buddy.” He glanced at Teddy, who looked up quickly and then away. Snake sat beside Teddy, who held Andy in his arms. Snake took Andy’s feet.

Teddy started to rock him. “So you know about babies coming from mommies, right?”

“Sure.”

“Moms might have different possible dads around before their baby is born, but after the baby is born, the mom might choose a dad.” He looked at Snake, pleading in his eyes.

Snake picked up the thread. “It could be that the dad the mom chooses isn’t the same dad that actually caused the baby in the first place. But that doesn’t matter.”

“Right.” Teddy kissed Andy’s hair. “You mom chose me, and we got married right away, and I was there the whole time you were in her tummy, and I saw you get born and loved you when you were barely an idea.”

Snake blinked hard. “That guy who came to talk to you might have caused the baby, but then he was gone, and he never married your mom or helped her or saw you born or raised you—or loved you. So guess who your dad is?”

Andy tightened his grip on Teddy. “Daddy is my dad.”

“Ding, ding, ding, ding. Give the prize to Andy Walters!”

Andy was quiet for a minute. “But that guy caused me?”

Teddy’s chest rose and fell. “He might have, sweetheart.”

Andy sat back and stared at Teddy with his brows scrunched over his nose. “You didn’t cause me ’cause you don’t like girls, right?”

Snake bit the inside of his cheek.

Teddy smiled. “Kind of. I actually loved your mom a lot. She was my best friend. And when she told me she was going to have a baby, I said maybe I could be the dad. She loved that idea, and we had such a good time raising you.”

“Wish I remembered her better.”

Snake had to look away or Andy might see the tears pushing out of his eyes.

“She loved you so much. Just like I do.” Teddy hugged him tight.

 

 

The Balls to the Wall Series


Volley Balls
Bk #1

Available to purchase at
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Fire Balls
Bk #2

Available to purchase at
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Beach Balls
Bk #3

Available to purchase at
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FAST Balls
Bk #5

Available to purchase at
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Prefer paperback?
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About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

 You can find Tara at Lain

Giveaway

 

Presented By

 

New Years Kisses Day 1 Group 2! Prizes! Prizes!

nykp2014_mmWelcome BACK to New Years Kisses Group 2! If you missed New Years Kisses Group 1, Click HERE! This the the event of the holidays with fantastic, sexy kisses from fantastic sexy authors — and Prizes! Prizes! Prizes!

In this Group we have Kisses from Jamie Lynn Miller, Becky Black, Sasha L. Miller,  A.J.Thomas, and Lex Valentine.

INSTRUCTIONS: Answer the question after each kiss in the comments below (comments will be screened) for a chance to win one of three massive selections of romance and erotica ebooks, plus $GCs, and more! Find out more details of prizes here.

 You only need to answer ONE set of FIVE questions at the New Year’s Kisses Party to enter the draw, but every set you enter gives you another chance of winning these great prizes. Please indicate after your answer if you’d rather win m/m, m/f, or a mixed batch. Leave blank if you have no preference.

Leave Your Email with your comment

You can enter through January 5th! So don’t miss a Kiss! Winners announced January 7th!

Good luck and enjoy those kisses! Excerpts are predominantly m/m and m/f with some ménage. We proudly swing all ways.

 

YOU CAN ACCESS ALL THE KISSES ONCE THEY ARE POSTED AT THE INDEX PAGE HERE.

 

Kisses are hosted by Tara Lain, Angel Payne, and Kay Berrisford. Visit all three sites each day to see new kisses!

1JAMIELYNNMILLEREXCERPT  ONE: Memory’s Prison by Jamie Lynn Miller

 

Buy it now: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_994

 

Joey leaned forward, head tipping slightly to the side, eyes sliding almost closed. His breath was soft against Mitch’s face as he whispered, “This should have happened as soon as I opened my eyes.”

Then his lips were on Mitch’s.

Mitch opened his senses wide, letting the taste, feel, smell, sight, and sound of Joey explode through his system at this first, intimate contact in two years. He felt Joey’s tongue dart out to sweep across his bottom lip, seeking entrance, which was given instantly with a dual groan of pure desire. Their tongues slid smoothly against each other, dueling, velvet heat on velvet heat.

Mitch’s hands grasped Joey’s waist, pulling him from the chair, tumbling them both to the ground. Joey was half on, half off Mitch’s lap, legs tangled with legs, strong hands buried in long hair, smaller hands gripping tightly to clothing. The kiss deepened, passion and desire climbing higher and higher, each man now clinging desperately to each other and to the love they both thought had been lost forever.

Joey’s hands cupped Mitch’s face and he started, surprised to find moisture there. He pulled back from the kiss, opening his eyes. Blue eyes identical to his own stared back, bright with tears.

“I love you, Joey….”

“I love you too. God, Mitch, so much.”

Mitch crushed Joey to him, face buried in the smaller man’s shoulder, his breathing rapid. “I was so afraid I’d never hear you say that again.”

Joey ran his left hand through the short strands of his lover’s hair, while his right rubbed up and down the broad back. “Until today, I felt like part of me was still in the coma, like part of my brain was still sleeping. But now…” he tilted Mitch’s face up. “Now I know I’m really awake.” He smiled and kissed Mitch once again. “And ready to make more memories.”

 

QUESTION ONE: What is Joey surprised to find on Mitch’s face?

 

2BECKYBLACKEXCERPT TWO:  Patient Z by Becky Black

 

Buy it now: http://www.loose-id.com/patient-zero.html

 

“Mitch, no!”

 

Cal, grabbing him. Still moving, ready to make Mitch like him. God, no, never. Never let that be. He tried to pull away, but Cal caught and twisted his wrist, and the pistol dropped from his hand.

It clanged to the floor. Not to the deck of the helipad, but to the floor of his bedroom. Cal shoved Mitch down onto the cot, pinning his arms at the wrists.

 

Cal. Not trying to bite him. Not dead.

 

“What’s happening?” Mitch struggled against the hold.

 

“Are you awake?” Cal sounded desperate. He was staring wide-eyed. “Do you know me?”

 

“Of course I know you, Cal. What’s going on?”

 

“You were crying out,” Cal said. “I figured you were having a bad dream. I put on the light, and you were on your feet. Sleepwalking, I guess. You didn’t hear me when I shouted at you. Then I saw you had your gun.”

 

The sound of it clanging to the metal floor came back to him. Real. Not a dream. The gun was real. He’d been going to…

 

“I thought you were going to shoot me,” Cal said. “Then I thought you were going to shoot yourself. Fucking hell, Mitch, you scared the shit outta me!” His voice was thin and breathless, and he let go of one wrist to punch Mitch hard in the arm. It hurt. All or nothing, no sparring. The pain helped dispel the last traces of the dream.

 

“I’m okay,” Mitch said. “It was a dream.”

 

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, my heart’s hammering like a fucking piston.” Cal dropped his head forward. He was panting and shaking. Their legs were tangled together, and both wore only boxer shorts.

 

Mitch raised his free hand to touch the left side of Cal’s bare chest, to feel the pounding heart inside. As soon as he touched it, he knew why he had. Proof of life in that beating heart. Cal was not a zombie; he was alive and beautiful. His warm, naked skin pressed against Mitch’s. Cal raised his head and looked down at Mitch. Mitch read the desire there, read the question Cal asked him every day with his eyes. There was proof of life in his desire too. Like hunger and thirst, they were all proof of life.

 

The cold, dead Cal in the dream had only one desire—to bite. This warm, alive Cal had better uses for his mouth. He dipped his head as Mitch raised his, and their lips met.

 

Cal sighed into his mouth and freed Mitch’s other wrist. Mitch raised both hands, sliding them over the sides of Cal’s face, into his hair, pulling him closer. Cal relaxed, his body settling down on top of Mitch’s, heavy and comforting. It was so good to feel the weight of a man on him again. To smell that distinctive scent of a man. To feel bristles scrape his skin. Why had he denied himself this? He might have so little time to enjoy it. Cal might leave at any time. He would be gone, and Mitch would never know how good it would feel to be with him. Cal slipped his hand under the waistband of Mitch’s shorts. He ran his fingers through coarse hair, over delicate skin, and…

 

“Hey! Mitch!” Horrible clanging from the door. Bren’s voice, sounding alarmed. “Hey, everything okay in there?”

 

“Fuck,” Cal muttered. For an instant, Mitch froze, and then abruptly he shoved Cal away, toward the wall. Cal swore some more. As Mitch rolled off the cot, Cal snapped, “Tell her to go away!”

 

QUESTION TWO: What does Cal fear Mitch was going to do in his sleep?

 

3SASHAMILLEREXCERPT THREE: Battle of Will by Sasha L. Miller

 

Buy it now: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=92&products_id=557

 

 

“Stay,” Ackley repeated when Ealdwin didn’t elaborate again. He was doing that on purpose, Ackley was sure of it.

 

“You can say no,” Ealdwin said quickly, and Ackley rolled his eyes.

 

“You could give me a reason before telling me I can say no,” Ackley said. It was bound to be magic-related, Ackley knew it, but that didn’t stop him from getting his hopes up anyway. Ealdwin smiled at that, brief but amused.

 

“Morcia doesn’t have the best track record with magic,” Ealdwin started.

 

“Neither does Skirfall,” Ackley said, managing to keep most of the bitterness out of his voice. Hopefully Ealdwin would attribute the rest of it to Ackley’s dislike of Skirfall. He’d known it couldn’t be because Ealdwin wanted him to stay, because Ealdwin enjoyed his company and well … cared for him in any way.

 

“You’re better at regulating it and teaching it,” Ealdwin said, persevering. “I’m planning to create a new ministry for everything related to magic. We won this war on the power of magic, and I don’t want to turn around and sweep that progress under the carpet. I want your help with that.”

 

“You want me for my magic,” Ackley said. Just like everyone else in Ackley’s life. The only reason they ever wanted him to stick around was his magic. Scowling, Ackley stood and stalked away from the table, not waiting for Ealdwin to reply to that.

 

He couldn’t. He wouldn’t torture himself that way. A position like that would only remind him of everything he didn’t have every time he saw Ealdwin. He still wanted to say yes, to give himself the barest, faintest hope that someday Ealdwin would look at him and see more than someone who could be useful.

 

“Ackley,” Ealdwin said, sounding frustrated. Ackley turned, scowl at the ready. He hadn’t even heard Ealdwin approach, but he was right behind Ackley, barely a few inches away.

 

Ackley tilted his head back to glare at Ealdwin, not wanting to hear whatever excuses Ealdwin had. He didn’t move away, refusing to cede any ground. Ealdwin stared back, and if Ackley were a weaker man, he might have felt bad about the hurt expression on Ealdwin’s face. Then Ealdwin’s expression shifted, turning into something less hurt and more measuring, as if he were trying to get a handle on something.

 

Deciding discretion was the better part of valor, Ackley started to step away. He didn’t get the chance, however, as Ealdwin grabbed the front of his shirt and kissed him.

 

Ackley froze, his mind going completely, utterly blank. Ealdwin’s kiss was every bit as determined as his expression had been, sure and confident, and Ackley started to return it before his brain caught up to him.

 

Ealdwin wanted him to stay because of magic. Ealdwin had kissed him after asking him to stay for his magic. Ealdwin was kissing him to get him to stay.

 

Furious and hurt, Ackley shoved, wishing he had his magic so he could do it with more force. Ealdwin stumbled back anyway—apparently he hadn’t expected Ackley to protest that. How had Ackley given himself away? It didn’t matter. Ackley opened his mouth, ready to yell at Ealdwin, but the words didn’t come.

 

“Ackley—” Ealdwin started, and Ackley couldn’t take listen to whatever excuse Ealdwin had ready. Turning, he stalked from the tent, nearly running into one of the guards on his way out. He didn’t stop, swerving and slipping around the soldier in the snow.

 

QUESTION THREE: What does Ackley think Ealdwin wants him for?

 

EXCERPT FOUR: Sex and Sourdough by A.J.Thomas

 

Buy it now:  http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Sourdough-A-J-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00HAGFLJM/ref=zg_bs_301889_70

 

 

Kevin shuddered as Anders grazed the head of his cock with his thumb. He didn’t trust himself to speak. When Anders tried to shift to the side and roll off him, Kevin pulled him down again. It would have been so easy to shift Anders’s shorts to the side, free his own cock, and slam Anders down onto him. He would rip Anders apart, taking him dry and unprepared, but, God, he’d wanted to do it anyway.

 

The desire to bury his cock inside of Anders was a constant, niggling source of tension. He’d almost gotten used to it. But the desire to pull Anders down, to claim his mouth, surprised him. Kevin had hooked up with friends, both guys and girls, throughout high school. He had kissed a few girls—or, rather, he’d been kissed by a few girls— but never the guys. The times he’d hooked up with other guys had been brief, adrenaline-fueled, and frantic. They had torn at each other’s clothing and bruised each other’s skin, but they’d never kissed. Somehow, touching another man’s lips always seemed too intimate, too personal, when he and his partner just wanted to get off. He was shocked by how badly he wanted to kiss Anders. The idea of touching Anders’s tongue, of feeling their breath mingling, left him stunned.

 

“I just….” Kevin ran his hands up Anders’s back. “Can I ask you something?”

 

Anders leaned back a little and cocked a single eyebrow at him.

 

Kevin took a deep breath and tried to think of what to say. He’d never been very good at expressing himself. He grabbed Anders’s cheeks, tilted his head down, and kissed him.

 

He wasn’t trying to be aggressive, but the taste of Anders’s lips bypassed his dwindling self-control and shot straight to his cock. Anders’s taste was an intoxicating mixture of salt, spice, and the lingering flavor of the mint milkshake he had been drinking. Kevin grabbed the back of his head and pulled Ander’s mouth against his hard, pouring the desire he’d been fighting for a month into the kiss. Anders melted against him, not fighting for dominance but surrendering completely.

 

QUESTION FOUR: What does Anders taste like?

 

5lexvalentineEXCERPT FIVE: Scrambling by Lex Valentine

 

Buy Link: http://www.loose-id.com/scrambling.html

 

Excerpt: “I want you. I need to feel you touch me, taste me. I need to be with you. I want your arms around me, your cock inside me. I need to be with someone who cares about me. For sixteen years, it’s been you and me. Even Len and Bryce haven’t come between us. It’s always been you and me.”

Reed poked Evan’s chest with a finger when he said you and his own when he said me. Evan blinked and shook his head as if he were dazed. “I-I don’t understand. Where is this coming from?” he asked with a frown.

 

“It’s coming from deep inside me, Ev. Whenever something is wrong, you’re there for me and vice versa, although God knows it’s usually me with problems not you,” he said with a tinge of bitterness at the life destiny had given him. “This time, I need more than just hand-holding. Will you give it to me?”

 

He stared at the man he’d loved since they were kids. The man he’d shared everything with. The one he couldn’t imagine his life without. And he willed Evan to say yes.

 

A long, soft breath escaped Evan, tension leaving his big body. “Yes. You know I love you. I could never say no to anything you ever asked of me.”

 

Reed pushed himself against Evan’s chest, his hands coming up to frame the handsome, beloved face of his best friend. “Then just love me. Death is cold. I need to be warm.” He pressed his mouth to Evan’s, and a pleasure like none he’d ever experienced exploded inside him.

 

Evan’s lips were soft and warm, gentle in a way Reed hadn’t known men could be. He took control of the kiss, took control of Reed, his hands and his mouth leading Reed to ecstasy. Their tongues slid together, tentative in the way of new lovers but without urgency or fear, just a growing awareness and heat. Evan’s hands slipped over Reed’s shoulders and down his back, causing a slow burn in Reed’s veins.

 

The limo turned a corner, and they rocked, swaying with the movement of the car. Reed pulled his mouth from Evan’s, and they stared at each other, breathing hard.

 

“Are you sure? I don’t want to push you into something you don’t want,” he asked as pain threatened. He needed Evan, but he could walk away if Evan didn’t want him.

 

The big man pushed a trembling hand through his sandy hair. “I want it,” he replied, reaching for Reed’s hand. He pulled it toward him and pressed it into his lap.

 

Beneath his fingers, Reed could feel the hard ridge of Evan’s erection, and his heart sang in triumph.

The evidence of Evan’s desire was enough for him tonight. He didn’t need to own Evan’s heart although he yearned to.

 

QUESTION FIVE: How long has Reed loved Evan?

Remember, you only have to answer one set of five questions to be entered to win, BUT every set you answer gives you another entry! Leave a comment below WITH YOUR EMAIL. Be sure to visit Kay Berrisford and Angel Payne for more Kisses! You may be the winner of batches of great books and GCs.

Kay Berrisford is LOCKING HORNS with Love! Free Book for You.

KB_LockingHorns_coverlg-1Hi everyone–

I always love welcoming my friend Kay Berrisford to the blog. Her books are so exciting and she’s so nice! Be sure to comment, because Kay is giving away a copy of one of her Greenwood Series and that’s some good books! Here’s Kay–

Stag-shifters in love and war!  Revisiting Herne the Hunter in Locking Horns.

In my new release, Locking Horns, I’ve revisited two of my favorite characters—Herne the Hunter, that brooding fifteen-hundred-year-old spirit whose stag antlers shift into being when his passions are stirred, and his lover, Tam. Those of you who’ve read Bound for the Beast will already know all about these two. (If not, now’s the time to catch up, though Locking Horns can also be read as a standalone introduction to the Greenwood series.) In first book, Herne and feisty village lad Tam are bound together when a fairy betrothal ceremony goes wrong. They’re hurtled into a magical race against time to break their enchanted connection before the effects prove fatal for Tam. Of course, love blossoms—to know how and why you’ll have to read the book—and Herne eventually claims and remakes Tam as a fellow immortal shape-shifter, so they can find their “happy ever after.”

As I’d set Tam and Herne up for an eternity together, it seemed natural to revisit them some time in a sequel. But this presented me with that age-old problem. How can I create enough tension between my boys for an interesting romance, without spoiling the ending of the previous book? I was recently lucky enough to discuss this matter with some writers more experienced than I. I learned that some people argue believable characters can never have a real “happy ever after,” unless we follow them all through life to death—which is kind of sad in a different way. We can only ever have “happy for now” endings, but the trick is to satisfy yourself and the reader that the folk we’ve been on a journey with are in love and can now negotiate the pleasures and pitfalls of a life together.

This seems a helpful way of viewing the issue.  I don’t think I’d like to read or write about two characters I’d seen falling in love cheating in a sequel, but that’s just a personal opinion. I’m open to anything that’s written sensitively and well. However, the course of true love rarely runs smoothly—and for Herne and Tam, negotiating hundreds of years together was bound to throw up some trouble.  After all, Herne is an Iron Age warrior, and by the start of Locking Horns, set in 1804, the world is changing rapidly. Herne yearns for the ancient past—whereas Tam embraces all things shiny, modern, and new.  But they’ve even greater challenges ahead. As the forests are diminished and destroyed, Greenwood magic is fading. Herne fears his and Tam’s enchanted existences are threatened. Will they find a way to tackle their troubles as a couple, or have to face the brave new world—and maybe death—alone?

In the end, I enjoyed exploring these issues so much, I have tentative plans for a Herne/Tam story set in the present day. After all, if Herne is having trouble in 1804, how would my ancient stag-shifter negotiate 2013? Would Tam embrace the modern world too keenly, and go horribly wrong—become a speed freak, or fall victim to an addiction? Who knows! But it’s too fun picturing Herne getting impatient in a supermarket queue and trying not to sprout those mighty horns—lest he get arrested or dragged off to appear on Jerry Springer!

Thanks to Tara for having me here today J

Locking Horns (The Greenwood) is out now, from Loose Id.  http://www.loose-id.com/authors/g-k/kay-berrisford.html

Find out more: http://kayberrisford.com/locking-horns/

If you’d like to win your choice of any of the previous three Greenwood books KB_BoundBeast_coverin(Bound for the Forest, Bound to the Beast, or Lord of the Forest) plus a $10 GC please comment to win here or at any of the stops on my mini blog tour (For schedule visit http://kayberrisford.com)

Blurb: England, 1804. Herne the Hunter has roamed the forests for hundreds of years and he’s known love with fellow half stag-shifter Tam for the past two centuries. The passion between them sizzles hot as ever, but times are changing. Greenwood magic is fading and this threatens both Herne and Tam’s immortality and the bond between them.

After Herne discovers the Greenwood fairies are dying, and dockworkers felling oaks to build warships might be to blame, he wants to fight the modern world with his warrior’s sword. Tam, who embraces all things new, desires a dominant partner, not a brute who wants to drag England back to the Dark Ages. Soon the Wild Hunt, Herne’s ancient army of doom, are back, tempting him to unleash his wrath, and the rhythm of Herne and Tam’s lovemaking seems broken for good. When Tam’s plan to reinstate a spring ritual goes awry, only Herne can save him. Herne must choose between his past and future, and they both must decide what matters most—eternal life or eternal love.

This story can be read as a sequel to Bound to the Beast, a prequel to Bound for the Forest, or as an introduction to the Greenwood series.

KB_LockingHorns_banner

Excerpt:

Herne’s amused grunt betrayed that his anger had waned. Now Tam could turn the huntsman’s wild passions to their advantage. He splayed his hands across Herne’s back, smoothing the leather of his old-fashioned tunic, relishing the muscles beneath. Herne relaxed under his touch and looked down at him, those great antlers swaying forward, and raised a brow.

He cupped Herne’s iron-hard arse and squeezed. “I’d feel a lot better if we found the fairies’ secret betrothal dell. Do you remember the way?”

“I do.” Herne’s midnight-blue eyes glinted, and heat seared between them. Tam felt the outline of Herne’s burgeoning erection against his belly, and his cock twitched in response.

His smile broadened into a grin. “You know what those bloody fairies are like. Inquisitive as washerwomen. If we set about recapturing past glories—if you claim me all over again—they won’t be able to resist coming to watch. Then all your worries…will…be…over.”

Tam’s words trailed to near nothing as Herne pressed forward and seized his lips in a ravishing kiss. He yielded at once, drawing Herne’s hot tongue inside, savoring the scrub of hard stubble against his softer skin. Even after all their years together, Herne’s taste and commanding demeanor sent a wondrous shock coursing through him. Herne’s raw masculinity had been wrought in a lost era of tribal lords, when he’d battled the might of Rome. His power as a spirit—gifted to him by the Mother Goddess, creator of all things—rolled in torrents from him too.

Herne crushed Tam against him, sweeping to such depths that Tam could scarce breathe. Tam didn’t care. He slipped his tongue against Herne’s and worked the kiss with an affection that sang sweeter each season they passed together. The demispirit of the holly, while not always in perfect agreement with his lover, had been created to cherish the oak.

When Herne finally broke the kiss, he cupped Tam’s face and growled in hunger. Tam gasped for air, and his cock ached. He needed Herne to pull him closer, to fuck him to oblivion, and he couldn’t contain the lust that flooded his veins.

An exquisite pain ripped through his head, and the pressure released. As Herne caressed him, his antlers surged upward from his skull. When Herne had made him a demispirit, he’d shared his crown. Though not as majestic as Herne’s, Tam’s horns were now as impressive as those of a buck in his prime, covered in a velvety down.

Panting, Tam scuffed his foot and straightened, adjusting to the weight on his head. When he leaned closer to Herne, their bony appendages interwove with a noisy clack.

“All right?” Herne’s voice sounded thick with desire.

Tam nodded, teeth gritted. When their antlers reared, their carnal needs—whether born of man or beast—held sway. He gathered his breath and then grabbed Herne’s hand. “Let’s find this dell, or you’re going to have to fuck me right here among the bluebells.”

 

All Greenwood titles are available from Loose Id:  http://www.loose-id.com/authors/g-k/kay-berrisford.html

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kay-Berrisford/e/B006JLQ4L8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

All Romance:

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Kay+Berrisford

Fine out more at Kay’s website: http://kayberrisford.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KayBerrisford

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kayberrisfordwriter

*********************

Thank you so much for stopping by. Be sure to leave a comment to win one of Kay’s Greenwood books! YUM!

Welcome to the New Tara Lain Blog!

DSC02856Hi and welcome to my new website and blogging home. I’m so happy you found me. In case you don’t know, I’m Tara Lain and i write the Beautiful Boys of Romance. Please look around and discover new things. On this blog, you may notice a few things missing, like videos. Please excuse. These blog posts were transferred over from my two previous blogs and a few things got lost. From here on out, all the posts will be new and on WordPress, so hopefully, no more lost items!

I love hearing from you. We’re going to be having a Website and Blog Launch Party so watch this space. It will likely be happening in the next day or two! : )