Hi everyone —
Welcome to Big Backlist Weekend! This is the fun monthly event where Tara invites the best and the brightest authors in romance to join her and together they give away selected FREE Books from their backlists to two lucky commenters.
I’m so excited to welcome my friend Jordan L. Hawk to BBW! I am a HUGE fan of her Whybourne and Griffin Series so i wrung her arm and today she is giving away Widdershins, the first book in the series! If you haven’t read it, it’s so hard to describe. Hmm? Historical, MM, Supernatural Thriller? Maybe Jordan’s tagline says it best — Men, Monsters, and Mayhem! The funny thing is, I read little historical, few thrillers, and almost nothing that borders on horror, and yet i adore these books. I’m not alone, as this is one of the most popular MM series around!
To go with Jordan’s wonderful book, I’m giving away Spell Cat. This is the first book in my Aloysius Tales Series of contemporary witches and shifter stories — MM, of course.
Here’s how BBW works. Leave one comment. That’s it. Your one comment enters you in both drawings and there will be two winners. If you have the book you win (and i know lots of people have read both books), we’ll work something out! Ready?
Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk
Some things should stay buried.
Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.
So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.
As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?
The explosion was deafening; a huge cloud of fire rolled out the window after us, its immense heat brushing against my face as we tumbled into the snow.
We hit the ground and rolled. Flaming debris from the house came down around us; Griffin shoved me flat on my back, covering us both with his heavy coat.
The echoes of the explosion reflected back across the river, then slowly dwindled away, like dying thunder. The leaping flames threw warm light onto the falling snow, turning it into a storm of sparks pouring down from the heavens.
Griffin started to push himself off of me, then stopped. His hands were braced to either side of my shoulders, his legs twined with mine. My heart pounded, my palms sweated, and I was suddenly, acutely aware of how close his face was to mine.
“You’re a madman,” he whispered. “An utter madman.”
“Perhaps,” I allowed. “But it worked.”
The leaping light from the burning house painted his features in gold, highlighting his patrician nose and finding the threads of brown and blue in his green eyes. His pupils widened, the irises contracting to slivers. “Whatever am I to do with you?” he murmured.
The warmth of his breath feathered over my skin. Heat collected in my groin, my lips. My mouth was dry, my voice hoarse, and perhaps he was right and it was madness when I whispered, “Whatever you want.”
A shiver went through his body, perhaps because we were lying on the cold ground. But instead of getting up, he leaned closer, his overlong hair tumbling over his forehead. He paused, his mouth almost touching mine, his eyes seeming to ask a question.
It was madness; it was folly; it was sheer selfishness. I was delusional, misguided, wrong, out of control. I needed to pull back, to say something sane, to re-establish mastery over myself. I could not do this. I could not take this risk.
Later tonight, I’d relive this moment in my lonely bed and wonder if I’d done the right thing. But at least that would be familiar, would be something I knew how to cope with.
And yet the very thought felt like dying.
I surged forward, crossing the final, tiny gap and pressing my lips to his. It was awkward and desperate and frantic, but the feel of his mouth against mine sent a bolt of electricity straight down my spine. Just a moment, just this one kiss, surely that would be enough…
Then he kissed me back, and it would never be enough, a thousand years of this would not be enough. His mouth was hungry and insistent, his tongue probing my lips, asking for greater intimacy. I granted it, tongues swirling together, mine following his when it retreated and tasting him in return.
There came the clanging of bells in the distance, the fire company alerted to the explosion. Griffin drew back a fraction. His breath was as ragged as mine, which left me dazed with wonder.
“My dear,” he whispered against my lips. Then he swallowed convulsively. “We should leave, before the fire companies come.”
“Y-Yes.” It was amazing I managed that much coherence.
He closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against mine, our breaths mingling. “Will you come home with me?”
Was he asking…? “Yes.” Oh, God, yes.
Spell Cat by Tara Lain
When Killian Barth, history professor, meets Blaine Genneau, quantum physicist, they ignite their own big bang. But sadly, Killian walks away because he doesn’t do physics professors. In fact, he doesn’t do humans; Killian is the most powerful male witch in 10 generations and, though gay, he’s expected to save his declining race by reproducing. Sex with humans depletes his power – or so he’s been taught. Then why can young human, Jimmy Janx, dissolve spoons with a thought? Somebody’s a lying witch. With his powerful cat familiar, Aloysius, on his shoulder, Killian brings the lightning against deceit and greed to save Blaine from danger and prove love is the greatest power of them all.
He looked at the feline, whose head was curved around and practically tucked under his chin. “What the hell. Okay, Al, let’s go.” Since the cat wasn’t budging from around his neck, Killian got up, hugged his mother, and pulled on his jacket against the early spring chill, all with a fur necklace. He grabbed the carrier, heard a soft growl by his ear, and set it down. Okay… Cat three, Killian nothing. “Thank you, Mother. I’m sure I’ll find him very, uh, useful.”
Evangeline trailed him to the foyer of the house where a maid waited to open the door, looking slightly startled at his new accessory. He kissed his mother on the cheek. “So I guess I’ll see you Saturday.”
“No guessing about it, young witch. It will be a grand occasion. I’m already discussing details of the wedding with Nicholas Karonoff.”
He sighed. Better not to argue. Wrapping his jacket and fur cat a bit tighter around him, he stepped out into the early spring chill and headed for the car. His mother’s house — his house actually — sat on a grand street in New York. He preferred the bohemian flavor of the neighborhoods near the college, but still, all these trees coming into leaf, shimmering in the streetlights, made the place look like fairyland.
He glanced down at Al, whose head rested on the shoulder of his jacket. “Good thing I brought the car, cat, or you’d be demonstrating your flying skills on the back of my motorcycle.” He opened the door of the electric sports car and slid in. The cat didn’t slip an inch. “Don’t think this car is an indication of my lifestyle. I just happen to be a fool for the occasional technological toy. You’ll find the rest of my accoutrements pretty sparse.”
Killian wasn’t sure what that meant, but he didn’t comment. “So, what do you eat? Shall I stop and get you some kitty kibbles?”
Oookay, that meaning was pretty clear. “I’ve got some canned salmon. Will that do?”
He swore the damned cat smiled.
Driving into SoHo, where his apartment was, even the hum of the little car couldn’t keep his mind from the sorry state of his life. The stupid cat purred in his ear. “Glad you’ve got something to purr about.” Powers that be, the whole universe was closing in. He wanted a life. Every cell ached to be loved. He yearned for someone like… No. He just wanted someone to love him. And he was signing away that chance on a marriage license. It would be great to be noble, but — face it — he wasn’t. He was no Witch Master. Why couldn’t he have been born human? What kind of prankster gods gave him more power than any other witch? He felt like the lead performer in a giant cosmic joke.
He pulled into the very expensive parking garage — his other indulgence — got out, and locked the car in its stall beside the motorcycle. He walked the block to the old brownstone, the top floor of which he called home. The mail was boring. Okay, cat, check out your new digs. He opened the apartment door.
Aloysius leaped off his shoulder, hit the floor with a soft thud, and began exploring. Make yourself at home. He closed the door. “I know. I told you, it’s not much.” Of course, it was perfectly decorated, though in flea market finds and amusing hand-me-downs from friends. So what? It interested him to see what he could do, living without any of the resources to which he had title. No one understood it. Maybe he didn’t either.
He walked into the small bedroom and took off his coat and shoes, stripped off the semigood clothes he’d worn to his mother’s, and pulled on a pair of drawstring sweatpants and a comfy sweater. The cat followed on his heels into the kitchen. “Okay, I know I promised.” Aloysius watched carefully as Killian opened a can of salmon and dumped it in a dish. He started to put the dish on the floor and got one paw crossed over the other and a patient stare. “Oh hell.” He set the dish on the counter. Al hopped up and dug in.
Killian sat on the little chair by the breakfast table. He’d remodeled this kitchen with his own hands, scrounging used subway tile and pieces of granite. He’d only used magic when he couldn’t lift an object or make two pieces fit. And he’d spent a bit extra on the appliances. “So what do you think?” The cat kept eating.
Killian leaned his head against the wall. “What am I going to do, Al? Everyone expects me to do this marriage. I guess it really could mean a lot to my people. My people… Well, you know what I mean. But gods, producing kids with a woman! I don’t swing that way.” He got up and walked down the short hall back into his bedroom. When he looked down, Al was right there.
Killian sat on the edge of the bed. “If you’re supposed to be my familiar, I guess you better know that your witch is a fag. And not a very good one. Can’t really do the job for witchery, but I’m no better at doing the job for myself.” He fell back on the blue bedcover, a bedcover that had hardly seen anyone on it but Killian since he’d gotten it. The cat jumped up and looked at him as if he understood. Okay, he was losing it. But he had to talk to somebody.
“I haven’t ever had a serious relationship. When I was young, my mother managed to scare off any boyfriends I could find, and she wouldn’t let me anywhere near human boys. I guess she was just protecting me, but still, no boyfriends for me. And now, I just get users who think I’m some kind of road to the top of witchery. I hate it so much.” Damn. His eyes blurred. “You’re going to think I’m some kind of witchy wuss.”
The cat walked over and licked his hand. The sandpaper surface tickled his thumb. That did it. When had he last felt even a tiny lick done with true affection? His mother loved him in her way, but she was a Master Witch and cared far more for power and scheming than she ever had for love. She couldn’t understand why he didn’t value the same things. She had carefully selected his father for his good breeding potential, and she’d sent him on his way as soon as she’d shown signs of being pregnant. She’d gotten just what she wanted. The most powerful witch in the world, or at least one of them. Well, no. He guessed she hadn’t wanted a flaming gay witch who would give his last spell to be held by a lover who truly cared for him.
Tears began to drip from his eyes. Hell, what’s the use? He might as well cry. A moan escaped him, and he rolled into a fetal ball. “Oh, Al, I’m so lonely. So very, very lonely.” He cried until he slept from exhaustion.
Aloysius stared at the lean body and the long dark gold hair. He slipped under the man’s arm so he could lie close to his chest and hear his heartbeat.
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Okay, one comment enters you in both drawings! Good Luck. Winners will be chosen and notified on Monday. Thank you for coming to BBW! : )