Astray Wavesongs #1 Elvira Bell Release Date: May 1, 2018 Genre: Romance, Historical fiction, LGBT, M/M, Coming of age, Pirates, Age gap
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Monday, March 12, 2018
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6 Days Series, Book Two
A Nick & FatBoy Romance
Mixologist Nick Valentine never thought love was in the cards, but after a scorching Valentine’s Day kiss from bouncer Davis “FatBoy” Newman, he’s beginning to think it’s possible. After four weeks of dry spell, Nick’s losing patience—it’s time FatBoy stop acting the gentleman and just throw him over the bar or Nick may just change his mind.
All FatBoy wants is a shot at winning Nick’s heart. As long as meddling bosses, an Irish hurling team and a bar riot don’t ruin his chances forever, he might just get lucky and take the man of his dreams, home.
I'd been a bartender a lot longer than I'd known FatBoy, and in much seedier places than Frisson: places that kept sawdust on the floor to help soak up the blood, vomit, and spilled beer left in the wake of a typical weekend.
When I was bartending at twenty-one, I was smaller, less muscled than the clientele. It was harder to intimidate the drunks with my physical presence, and the places I worked didn't employ beefy bouncers to keep the peace, so I developed numerous strategies to head off the worst of the altercations. Having the sheriff close you down at midnight just when the wallets had finally been pried wide open was akin to flushing half a week's wages away, so I adapted.
Bar defense is a skill set, not unlike proverbial bicycle riding, which you just don't forget. So when I hopped up on my bar and hosed down a bunch of angry Irishmen with water, it felt like just another rowdy Saturday night on the outskirts of town.
And just like that, silence fell.
Thirty faces stared at me in shock, and in the void, you could hear wet gasps and the sound of water making fat splats as it hit the floor.
Rory stood shuddering in front of me. He was soaked, looking like a large wet rat with his hair plastered to his head, making the point of his nose and chin more pronounced. While still wet, Corwyn had managed to avoid the same full body drenching as Rory—either he was lucky or he had the reflexes of a Formula One driver and had used Liam as a shield to avoid the bulk of the deluge. Fortunately for them, all the high-tech athletic gear they were wearing already seemed to be doing its job, wicking away most of the liquid. They'd dry fast.
Maybe I'd send them outside to run laps around the parking lot.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Juan standing in wait, a mop in his left hand and Louisville slugger in his right. I guess Juan had worked in the same kind of bars I had.
Our chef Marco had joined him, standing at his shoulder, arms crossed over a nine-inch omelet pan. I wasn't sure if he had plans on feeding the rabble to death or using their carcasses in the night's specials, but he seemed particularly amused by the proceedings.
I glared, the water nozzle still clutched in my hand, and addressed them.
"Are you all done being assholes, or do you need to be run through the rinse cycle one more time? I'm assuming this isn't what y'all meant by an exhibition, but maybe I'm wrong and this is how you normally behave at home..."
Juan moved in with the mop and a large stack of clean bar towels, tossing them to the men who dispersed to tables and stools, drying themselves off out of the line of fire as I waited for my apology. It looked like I might get one from each and every one of them. With their sheepish shuffling and lowered eyes, they resembled a group of chastised children rather than the aggressive angry men they'd been channeling a minute before.
As cute as some of them were, they either needed to settle down and go back to drinking peaceably or get the hell out of my bar. I wasn't paid enough to babysit.
Corwyn alone was willing to look me in the eye, or at least in the direction of them as I stood above him actively ignoring the water droplets clinging to his bangs and dripping onto his cheeks and how they made me think of showers and naked wet skin...
"Ah, deepest apologies, Nick. We didn't mean to disrespect your place here. Forgive us. Here... let me help ya down..."
His dimple was back, and when he reached up to me, it seemed safe enough to risk. Corwyn put his hands on my hips after guiding mine onto his shoulders and stepped back, muscling me off the bar and against the safety of his body.
He leaned back far enough to give me room to slide slowly down the front of his wet torso, avoiding barstools and hurlers alike.
I felt a shiver as I stuttered to a halt, eye to eye with the man. His were warm and liquid—full of invitation, the look hot enough to quick dry the bar itself. I swallowed, unable to look away. For a split-second, I didn't move, frozen like a bunny cornered by a cobra.
I blame his wet shirt and my damp apron for causing the friction that prevented me from slipping easily away from danger, but like everything else in my life lately, I seemed in need of perpetual damage control.
I felt someone large move up behind me, hot breath teasing my ear as the drawl I'd been dying to hear just moments before was now making my balls shrivel at being caught hung up like this.
"I didn't realize you started having Wet T-shirt Tuesdays, Nicky. I can't wait to see what you plan on givin' the winner."
Excerpt from 6 Days To Get Lucky copyright 2018 LE Franks
About The Author:
LE Franks is an author of Gay Romance fiction, living in the SF Bay Area surrounded by inspiration; and after years of ignoring the voices in her head, she’s now giving them free reign. Her stories are a unique mix of humor and drama with enough suspense to produce fast-paced action filled with emotion and passion, featuring characters that are quirky and complicated.
For the latest, check out her website for links to current works, news, and social media. www.lefranks.com
Currently available exclusively on Amazon & Kindle Unlimited
Title: Teacher's Pet
Author: Kashmira Majumdar, S.A. James, Asta Idonea, Hudson Lin, Aila Alvina Boyd, Valentine Wheeler, Damian Serbu, Jack Harbon, Arden Powell
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: March 12
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal. Sci-Fi/Fantasy, age gap, contemporary, Fantasy, paranormal, romance, teacher/student
Nine Stories of Lessons Outside the Classroom
By Virtue Fall by Kashmira Majumdar – The rules have changed…and so have the consequences for breaking them.
Striking Gold by S.A. James – Sometimes when we think we have no choice, life brings something brighter.
Full Marks by Asta Idonea – When Jacob seeks out his favourite lecturer at a university reunion, will he get full marks?
Lessons for a Lifetime by Hudson Lin – A second language, a first chance at love.
Welcome to Ms Skinner’s Freshman Composition by Aila Alvina Boyd – After auditioning for a play, professor and student find themselves cast opposite each other as romantic leads.
Piece of Cake by Valentine Wheeler – All Richard wanted was a nice, quiet retirement. His kids aren’t going to let that happen.
Professor Ghost by Damian Serbu – An otherworldly mentor might be his way out.
Bare by Jack Harbon – When a passion for art turns into something more.
The Botanist’s Apprentice by Arden Powell – Don’t get too close to the flowers.
By Virtue Fall by Kashmira Majumdar
Jonah Shapiro is no model student, even by the lax standards of his preppy New England boarding school. His penchant for rule-breaking and leather makes him the bête noire of his teachers—except the earnest, tea-drinking, cardigan-wearing Mr. Donovan, who’s determined to not give up on Jonah. Life used to be simpler five years ago when Mr. Donovan was just Head Boy Nick and Jonah’s best friend. Easier, too, for Jonah to kiss him when it was dark and no one was watching. Now the rules of the game have changed, and so have the consequences for flouting them…
Striking Gold by S.A. James
The day Daniel met Silver shone brightly for a number of reasons. It was the last day of high school, but it was also the day he realized he could never leave home. Being the son of an alcoholic mom didn’t leave many choices for Daniel. He could only hope that life and love would treat him kindly.
Full Marks by Asta Idonea
Jacob Corby decides to attend his university reunion for one reason only: Professor Hobbs. Arthur Hobbs is surprised to see loner Jacob’s name on the attendance list, but it is enough to make him change his mind about going to the event. After all, he’s always harboured forbidden feelings for his favourite student.
Lessons for a Lifetime by Hudson Lin
When high school English teacher Patrick signs on to teach an adult ESL course on the weekends, he doesn’t know his life is about to change. Into the makeshift community center classroom walks Salim—tall, soulful, a refugee from Ethiopia with a heart for storytelling and a talent for music.
A midwinter offer to drive Salim home after class one week leads to the breakdown of the student-teacher boundary. As their relationship grows, the prospect of moving in together brings out both their insecurities about commitment and money. But working through differences makes them stronger and Patrick soon realizes that perhaps he had been the student all along.
Welcome to Ms Skinner’s Freshman Composition by Aila Alvina Boyd
After auditioning for a college production, a first year professor finds herself being cast as the romantic lead opposite her least favorite student. Just as it appears as though the production is going to be an utter failure, something clicks. From there on out, chemistry between the two of them no longer needs to be faked.
Piece of Cake by Valentine Wheeler
Richard’s daughters are worried about him, alone in his house after retirement, so they sign him up for a cooking class at the local community center. But what he ends up finding is more than just baked goods.
Professor Ghost by Damian Serbu
Antonio arrives on campus for his first day of college a little overwhelmed from the experience of moving from a rural area to the big city, not to mention that he firmly planted himself in the closet and intends to stay there. When a ghost appears before him on the first night, his terror gradually gives way to curiosity, as this hot specter promises to mentor him toward a better, and out, life at college.
Bare by Jack Harbon
Before his best friend went away for vacation, Levi Singh promised her that he would take life by the balls and live on the edge. So, when the nude model for his art class doesn’t show, Levi takes it upon himself to volunteer. To his surprise, no one seems to be staring too long at him. No one, that is, except for his professor.
When Noah Rose suggests working with him on an assignment after class, Levi suspects he might be looking for something else. Something Levi will happily give him.
The Botanist’s Apprentice by Arden Powell
Graduate student Eli Katz approaches the accomplished botanist, Robert Lord-Harding, to request access to his greenhouse of magical flora. Though Lord-Harding is reluctant to take on a new apprentice after the scandal of his last one, he is intrigued by Eli’s academic work, and agrees.
Eli is primarily interested in the violet man-eater, a carnivorous plant that preys on men by emitting a certain pheromone, luring them in close and then devouring them. Eli wants to return the man-eater to its classic status as a sexual performance enhancer, and spends his days studying the plant. But is it as safely secured in Lord-Harding’s greenhouse as they both believe, or will its pheromones wreak havoc with their new apprenticeship?
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Title: The Witch Stone
Series: Court of Ash and Thorn, Book One
Author: Jasmine Hong
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: March 12, 2018
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Genre: Fantasy, action, demons, magic users, urban fantasy
One of the unfortunate truths in life is that if someone dumps a war on your doorstep in the small hours of the morning, well, you’re kind of stuck with it. Especially if that war comes in the form of a mostly naked man and he just happens to be one of the most powerful beings in the city.
And your ex.
Another unfortunate truth: No matter how poorly things ended, you’re going to wind up scraping him up off the cement and dragging him in off your doorstep. And, of course, that’s when the real trouble begins.
The Witch Stone
Jasmine Hong © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Chapter One: The Ex
The day started out normal.
The dawn sky had been clear; I had my study’s window cracked open while I worked because of the heat. The glass warding chimes my mother gave me sat in the kitchen throwing colored shapes all over the floor while I reviewed schematics at my desk. Outside, there was nothing but the orange glow of the streetlamp and the lightening horizon.
Not ten minutes before six, clouds rolled in, blotting out the moon, leaving me in the anemic light of the candles guttering from the wind. That was when my wards started screaming bloody murder, shooting bright yellow lines of alarm along my walls, ceiling, and floor. The chimes spun violently even though there was no wind. Drama queens. Although considering who they told me was at my doorstep, pounding on the door—well.
I thought I knew what to expect when I opened the door, and I dragged my feet as much as I could. I paused to disentangle my leg from the blanket that fell off my half-collapsed couch instead of just kicking it off, and even went so far as to ball it up and throw it on the armchair. I considered watering the dried hunk of fern that rested on the table. I had no desire to see my ex any time soon, much less at six in the morning.
I slammed the door open. “What do you want?”
What I did not expect, however, was for him to fall forward as soon as I opened the door, hitting the foyer floor with a thud and splattering my bare feet with what looked like blood. Lucky the landlord was too cheap to buy carpet—much easier to clean questionable fluids off concrete.
My entire living room blazed with yellow, making him look even more sickly.
He sat up and snarled, “We have to get out of here.” Most of the blood wasn’t his, but he was hurt worse than I’d thought, bruises already forming on his torso and limbs. A giant handprint wrapped around his neck.
There was something else, though, in my home. Something that didn’t quite belong there, though it wasn’t malicious or it would have been expelled. No, it was powerful but passive enough to go through my wards and not set off any alarms. Its presence felt like a strong pulse. Warm.
“What did you do, Salim?”
“What do you mean, what did I do?”
Something slammed against the wards on my doorway. Claws groped through the opening, piercing the thinner webbing but catching on the main lines. The wards screeched, flaring purple and sparking. I could feel everything my wards touched in a way. It wasn’t precisely the same as touching it myself, just sort of a muted sensation depending on how much magic the thing had. But Salim was almost bursting with magic. And so was the thing fighting against my wards now.
For a moment, I froze. It wasn’t like I was accustomed to seeing demons on a regular basis and this was one ugly motherfucker. Some demons can look human—better than human—but this…was not one of them.
“Cal!” Salim grabbed hold of my shoulders, shaking me.
With a twist of my hand, I tightened the wards on its claws, managing to sever one of its fingers in the process. Immediately, my wards absorbed its blood, lines of runes shooting back and forth between them as they started breaking the material down to find a weakness. Losing that bit of itself didn’t even give the demon pause. It threw itself against the entrance again, this time using its teeth. I spread the net of the ward lines apart this time, forcing its jaw wide. Too late I realized that it was preparing to spit venom at us.
The liquid writhed against my wards, hissing and finally oozing—hurtling forward as it ate through the gaps. In a last-ditch effort, I pulled my wards back like a slingshot and sent the entire glob back at the gaping maw with one huge heave.
The wards finally finished processing and started wrapping around the demon, immobilizing limb after limb, and set to absorbing it, which was a bit like eating fiery shards of glass, only less pleasant. They were, after all, an extension of my power, so I felt every second of the absorption process.
Sidestepping spots of the venom where they had gotten past the wards, I went to go grab my staff. Without a conduit, using magic was like trying to grapple with lightning. Kind of like talking to Salim. He was a lot more pleasant to be around when he was passed out.
Several lines of the wards gathered along my staff as I picked it up from beside the coat rack. The thing let out an ugly roar.
“What are you doing, Cal?” Salim asked.
“I’m going to destroy it.”
“That’s not going to work!”
“Isn’t that why you came here? Now shut up!”
“The Court is dead!” Salim said.
The wards had started strangling the demon; its blood smelled like battery acid. Its eyes bulged as it fought to let off another roar and struggled against the wards.
“You’re as bad as Salim in one of his moods.”
It thrashed to let me know just what it thought about that. This time when the blood hit the wards, it was launched back at the demon. The wards might be able to handle it on their own, but it was time to give things a little push.
“Batter up, motherfucker.” Swinging my staff with my whole weight, I hit it right on the schnozz. I felt the lines take, ramming into its head like hooks and sending out spines to prevent it from pulling free.
“Cal, you fucking dickweed,” Salim said. “Don’t compare me to that thing.”
I spun around to look at him, just in time to see the demon’s claws shoot past me toward Salim, who was holding something in his hands. Something that felt like a heartbeat that thrummed through my entire living room.
Then everything exploded.
I shook my head, trying to get rid of the lights dancing in my vision. The demon was little more than a smudge on my doorstep. I foresaw a great deal of scrubbing the next day.
Outside, the sky rumbled and buzzed with electricity. All the hair on my body stood on end.
“Salim…was that you?” He was never that strong before. The most he could do was call up a strong wind or two, or a rain. Not call down lightning.
“Bastard,” he wheezed, collapsing at my feet.
And that was when the storm broke.
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Meet the Author
Jasmine Hong lives in a sweltering suburb of sunny Southern California. She has a tiny dog with giant ears. Her hobbies include eating and sleeping. When she isn’t doing either, she’s usually writing, drawing, or coding. Jasmine wants you to know that you can, and should, fry cheese. It’s delicious. Try it.
As much an omnivore when it comes to reading as eating, she wishes there was more variety in her literary diet. She writes everything from urban fantasy to silkpunk and wishes she could just read her stories instead of having to write them.