Restoring His Howl by Megan Slayer – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan will be awarding a bracelet made by the author and a swag pack to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Opposites can attract, but can they make the love last?

Dillon came to the Sanctuary to hide, but also to heal. He’d been abused and needed a safe place to come into his own. He never expected to find a partner, but love came looking for him. Can he accept what he deserves or will he push away a chance at forever because he feels unlovable?

Cinders knows from the moment he sees Dillon that he wants the wolf shifter for his own. But can a jaguar shifter and a wolf shifter really pair up? He doesn’t know, but he’s banking on the attraction to pay off. What he doesn’t expect is how deep Dillon’s scars run. Is he strong enough to see beyond what’s happened to Dillon and help create a future for them together?

Anything’s possible when the jaguar shifter, a former stripper, and the wolf shifter figure out how to restore his howl.

Read an Excerpt:

©Megan Slayer, 2018 – All Rights Reserved

“You can talk. Well, all right. That’s amazing. I thought you could, but since you don’t, I wondered. You’ve got a nice voice,” Cinders said. He grinned, his bright teeth standing out against his mocha skin. “You’re cute, too.”

Dillon longed to taste Cinders’ mouth and kiss him. Would it feel like heaven?

“So we’re supposed to be at a party tomorrow. I’ve got some costumes. Most of it is tear-away stuff, but it’ll work for one night. You’re welcome to try on anything I’ve got and find something that fits. I’ve got dibs on the naughty cop, though.” He laughed. The throaty sound echoed in the room. “Want to?”

Dillon almost asked what Cinders meant but nodded instead.

“What? I got one word out of you, and now, you won’t talk to me?” Cinders frowned. “If you’re going to use my clothes, you’ve got to speak to me.”

The wolf stood up within Dillon and watched Cinders. The animal tensed.

For a split-second, Dillon had thought Cinders meant he’d make Dillon fuck him for the clothes. He fought the urge to shake his head. Fucking to get things was part of his old life. He had a new one here at the Sanctuary.

Cinders smiled, and his shoulders slumped. “I’m sorry.”

“Why?” Dillon managed. Despite his best attempts, he couldn’t get out any other words. He spent most of his time tongue-tied, but around Cinders, something different happened. His wolf took notice, which was unusual. The wolf distrusted more individuals than his human side did. If the wolf cared to pay Cinders attention, then that meant something, right? He needed to keep an eye on the panther shifter.

“I’m being pushy,” Cinders said. “Ryan will tell you I’m good at pushy. Quiet? Not a chance. Look, you don’t have to talk. I can do that for both of us.” He waved to his end of the corridor. “Come over when you’re ready, and pick out a costume. The jaguar and I won’t bite. Promise.”

Dillon nodded. The first step to healing had to be getting out of his comfort zone. Going with Cinders was a leap. God help him, he really wanted to leap.

About the Author:

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice.

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Entrance by J.J. Sorel – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J.J. Sorel will be awarding copies of the entire series (3 books in all) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Clarissa Moone is a young, classy, impoverished art history graduate. Her life transforms when she lands a job working for the enigmatic billionaire, Aidan Thornhill. As the contract stipulates that she reside at his lavish Malibu estate, Clarissa suddenly finds herself surrounded by jaw-dropping art and opulence. A significant step up from the run-down apartment she shares with her best friend.

Aidan Thornhill is a self-made billionaire whose earlier start in life was riddled with poverty and a dysfunctional upbringing. Running away from scandal, he joins the army and works his way up to the Special Forces. Accompanied by haunting memories, Thornhill re-enters civilian life with a million dollars gifted to him by a dying buddy. He travels to Europe where he develops a passion for art. And after many astute investments, he becomes one of LA’s wealthiest bachelors.

Voluptuous, intelligent and sensitive, Clarissa Moone’s beauty makes Aidan gasp for air. But with a reputation that is as much invented as true, he has to convince Clarissa that he is not a heart-breaker. Aidan Thornhill’s movie-star looks, love of art and passionate support for the downtrodden, soon wins Clarissa’s heart, soul, and innocence.

After living a life devoted to intellectual pursuits and art, being new to love, she succumbs to her smoldering hot boss, who stops at nothing to pleasure her, sending Clarissa off into toe-curling ecstasy.

Behind the scenes, however, the claws are out. Determined to stir trouble, three characters, one of whom, a spoilt heiress, do everything to reap revenge.

With mutual burning passion impossible to extinguish, the couple’s chemistry is so potent that their souls implode when Thornhill’s mysterious past threatens to drive a wedge between them. The former soldier goes into battle determined to have Clarissa even if it means losing everything.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Her stretched gaze nearly ate me alive. “Shit, Clary, he’s only the sexiest and most eligible billionaire in LA.” Without a moment to lose, she sprang up and tapped away on her laptop. “Come and have a look. Shit, he’s hot.”

Aidan Thornhill was indeed very good-looking. “He appears glum in every shot,” I said.

Tabitha leaned on her elbows and peered into the screen. “Hmm…the broody type. That makes him even sexier. Wow, imagine if you get the job.”

“I haven’t got it yet, Tabs,” I said.

“But you might. That’s the exciting bit.”

I sighed. “Let’s not jinx it. It’s better that way.”

“Don’t be so negative, Clary. Remember that seminar we attended. If one projects positive thoughts, life will deliver.”

“That’s new-age claptrap and a recipe for disappointment. At least this way, I’ll be ecstatic if I get it.” Standing over Tabi’s shoulder, I checked the images of my potential boss. In each photo, he appeared with different women, never the same one twice. “He’s got a thing for blondes.”

“But wait till he sees you in a bikini.” Tabitha’s voice had gone up a decibel.

“Now you’re being crazy. I’ll be working as a PA, not a model. I don’t even own a bikini. And if I did, I wouldn’t be wearing it to work.” I tilted my head. Tabitha’s mouth curled into a wide, contagious grin. Imagining me at a computer in a bikini made us giggle.

The sound of “La Marseillaise” blaring startled both of us. I must change that ringtone.

While I searched for my phone in my handbag, Tabitha was close at my heels like an eager puppy dog. Taking a deep breath, I pressed the button. “Hello.”

About the Author:

50 Shades of Grey was the first contemporary romance book I’d ever read. Up to that point, I’d spent my entire reading life buried in literature.

But then, one day, I picked up 50 Shades of Grey and couldn’t put it down. Impressed by their heart-felt, down to earth portrayal of love and sex, I quickly developed a voracious appetite for contemporary romance books. I was so inspired by the genre that I decided to explore that world as a writer.

After completing a certificate in Writing Romance with the Australian College of Journalism I embarked on writing three books. All of which are still sitting on my computer.

Then Aidan Thornhill entered my imagination and came alive on paper. From that moment, like all emotional love stories, nothing else mattered. I fell in love. And was compelled to write, almost in a frenzy, every day without fail. I am presently working on my latest novel – The Importance of Being Wild.

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Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope – Spotlight

Long and Short Reviews welcomes L. Penelope, who is celebrating the upcoming release on May 1 of Song of Blood and Stone, the first book in the Earthsinger Chronicles.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagrimar is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and its people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their vicious captors and together embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Shh,” she said, peering closely at him. “Hush all that foolish­ ness; you’re not in your right mind. Though I’ll admit, you speak Lagrimari surprisingly well. I’m not sure what happened to you, but you should save your strength.”

She closed her eyes, and suddenly his whole body grew warmer, lighter. The odd sensation of Earthsong pulsated through him. He had only experienced it once before, and it hadn’t been quite like this. The touch of her magic stroked him intimately, like a brush of fingers across his skin. The soft vibration cascaded over his entire body, leaving him feeling weightless.

He gasped, pulling in a breath, and it was very nearly an easy thing to accomplish. Tears pricked his eyes. “Sovereign bless you.”

Her expression was grave as she dug around in her bag. “It’s just a patch. You must have ticked someone of real good. It’d take quite a while to fix you up properly, and the storm’s coming. You need to find shelter.”

She retrieved a jar filled with a sweet­smelling substance and began spreading it over his wounds. The Earthsong had turned down the volume of his pain, and the cream soothed him even more.

“What is that?”

“Just a balm. Helps with burns, cuts.” Her hand paused for a moment. “Never gunshot wounds, but it’s worth a try.”

About the Author:Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.

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Dead Giveaway by Diane Benefiel – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Diane will be awarding a $15 in Boroughs Bucks + a copy of Flash Point to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other tours on the stop.

THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN

If asked, Gwendolyn Ballard would admit she co-parented her best friend Chloe’s son, Cameron. Now Gwen is all he’s got as they flee from the man who murdered his mother. There’s only one place Cameron will be safe, and that’s with his uncle, Elijah MacElvoy. Arriving on his doorstep at the Broken Arrow Ranch is a desperate decision, and Gwen knows he’d slam the door in her face if she didn’t have his nephew with her. But she’ll do anything for Cam, even if it means putting up with Elijah’s distrust and judgment.

Chloe’s dead. Cam’s orphaned, and Elijah is confronted with the prospect of living with the one woman who’s driven him crazy for the past ten years. He’ll fight to keep her safe. That’s encoded in his DNA. But can he trust her with a little boy who just lost his mother? As Eli watches how Gwen loves and cares for his nephew, he reevaluates his thinking and gives in to the smoldering attraction he felt the first time he saw her. With so much on the line, Eli comes clean about his past, making way for a future that’s all about silver linings.

Enjoy an Excerpt

In the long, drawn-out moment that Eli stared at her, she saw something flicker in his expression. The flint gray eyes she remembered so well seemed to burn over her, his scrutiny like a physical touch. Gwen kept her feet locked to the ground even as the insane urge to turn and run surged through her.

He shifted his gaze to Cameron, then back to her. Cameron’s death grip nearly cut off the circulation in her fingers.

“Gwendolyn.” His deep voice held a timbre that, despite their mutual animosity, had always sent warm shivers down her spine.

“Elijah.” She held her breath as tension swelled, and waited for the door to slam in their faces. He stepped back.

“We can come in?”

With a mocking look, he opened the door wider. She let out her breath in a shaky sigh. Two dogs, the larger a Rottweiler mix, the smaller a fluffy black and white terrier, sat at alert, the terrier all but quivering in excitement. Stepping into the warm house, Gwen felt the fear and panic she’d been carrying ease a fraction, leaving behind an aching exhaustion. For tonight at least, she and Cameron were safe.

The dogs sat with butts planted. Keeping Cameron at her side, she held out a hand to each of them to let them get her scent.

Nerves jumping, Gwen straightened. She hadn’t seen Eli for over five years and the subtle signs of the passing of time were evident. While he still maintained the rangy, lean build he carried on a tall frame, his face showed fine lines fanning out from narrowed eyes. He wore his straight brown hair longer than she remembered, combed back except for where it fell across his forehead.

His bearing, the way he carried himself, made her think of a cowboy sheriff in the old West, tough and unshakable. After the terror of the past days, she needed someone with that unyielding steadfastness on her side. She really hoped that he would be on her side.

She could see the questions in the hooded eyes, but he didn’t ask why she had shown up at his door.

Cameron gave his uncle a cautious look. Eli must have sensed the boy’s reserve, because he crouched down on one knee. Gwen watched, curious as to how he would interact with his nephew.

“Cameron, this big guy is Bubba, and the little one is Oreo.” Eli’s voice was low and calming.

“Oreo?” Cameron leaned down to pet the little dog. “That’s because he’s black and white, right?” Oreo reached out a tongue to lick his hand.

Eli’s features softened fractionally. “Yeah, that’s right.”

Cameron flashed a brief smile, one of the first Gwen had seen in days. Eli rose and led them into the room. The entryway opened to a comfortable living room with a large couch and a recliner that invited curling up with a good book. A fire warmed the room from behind a wrought-iron screen, and a large area rug in front of it covered the knotted-pine floor. Even if Eli wasn’t exactly welcoming, his house felt homey.

“What took you so long to get here?” The abrupt question startled her. He had been expecting them? The idea that he had somehow known she would come to him, had been waiting for her, unsettled her, like there was some unspoken connection between them. And that didn’t bear thinking about.

About the Author:

National Readers’ Choice Award winner for her novel, Solitary Man, Diane Benefiel has been an avid reader all her life. She enjoys a wide range of genres, from westerns to fantasy to mysteries, but romance has always been a favorite. She writes what she loves best to read – emotional, heart-gripping romantic suspense novels. She likes writing romantic suspense because she can put the hero and heroine in all sorts of predicaments that they have to work together to overcome.

A native Southern Californian, Diane enjoys nothing better than summer. For a high school history teacher, summer means a break from teenagers, and summer allows her to spend her early mornings immersed in her current writing project. With both kids living out of the house, in addition to writing, she enjoys camping and gardening with her husband. Diane loves hearing from her readers.

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What is Your Dream Job? by Kim Fielding – Guest Blog


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kim Fielding who is celebrating the release of her newest book A Full Plate.

Hi! I’m Kim Fielding, and I’m very excited to announce the arrival of my new Dreamspun Desires book, A Full Plate! If you’re in the mood for a sweet little opposites-attract romance with a hint of spice, this may fit your tastes exactly.

What is your dream job?

In a way, that’s a difficult question, because our answers are often subject to limitations. Some of those limitations lie in our own abilities. For instance, maybe it would be fun to be a rock star, but that’s highly unlikely for someone like me—I can’t carry a tune and have never succeeded at learning to play an instrument. And as an ER doctor once pointed out to me while stitching up a long slice atop my right index finger, I will never become a professional hand model either.

Other limitations lie in practicalities, like what’s going to pay the bills. I think it would be pretty cool to be an artist—specifically, a photographer—but the chances are slight that I’d make enough to cover the mortgage and my kids’ college funds. I’ve recently been telling my 15-year-old that while pro video game player sounds interesting, she might want to consider a Plan B.

Other people’s expectations can also limit us, along with our access to education and training and mentors.

But once we settle on a dream job, and maybe even decide to pursue it, we have to decide what success means to us. Fame? Fortune? Fun? A sense of accomplishment at the end of the day? Making a difference in people’s lives?

In A Full Plate, both main characters are struggling with these issues. Tully makes a lot of money as a corporate attorney, and he’s earned respect from his colleagues. But he works such long hours that he has virtually no personal life, and he’s not sure he feels fulfilled. On the other hand, Sage wants nothing more than to cook at the small-town restaurant his family has run for several generations. But money woes and family obligations have sent him down a different path.

I think it would be wonderful if more of us were free to pursue our dream jobs. I did. I dreamed of being an author.

Here’s something else to dream about: homemade chocolate ice cream. I have this recipe in my collection, but I don’t remember where it first came from.

Double Chocolate Ice Cream

2 ½ oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
¼ to ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Chopped nuts or mini marshmallows (optional)

In 2-quart saucepan, heat chocolate, sugar, milk, cream, and vanilla until chocolate is melted. Cool. Pour mixture into a blender and process until smooth. Add chocolate chips and blend until chips are broken up. Pour into prepared ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Just before done, add chopped nuts and/or marshmallows, if desired.

Makes 1 quart.

Opposites come together for a spicy surprise.

Bradford “Tully” Tolliver has everything—money, a great car, a beautiful condo, and a promising career as one of Portland’s hottest young lawyers. Sure, he puts in long hours and has no social life to speak of, but who needs romance when corporations pay top dollar for his expertise? He hesitates when a colleague asks if her cousin can live with him, but the arrangement will last less than a year, and then the cousin—Sage Filling—will return to his tiny hometown.

But Sage is handsome and intriguing, and his cooking makes Tully swoon. Sage has obligations back home, though, and Tully has offers he might not refuse from a persistent—and very wealthy—ex. Since Tully and Sage each have a full plate, can they make room for a side of love?

About the Author: Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

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You can find a complete list of Kim’s books here.

Buy the book at Dreamspinner or Amazon.

Come Back to Me by Trilina Pucci – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will receive an author selected package which includes a signed copy of the book, mug, water bottle, and other essentials for the avid reader. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Mia West is drawn to Cole Parker and she doesn’t know why but each time he is around, she can’t stop the pull, drawing her into dark secrets and closer to her past. Will she put the pieces of her life back together or just end up in his bed?

When she meets Jack, it’s clear he wants Mia as his own but knows that to keep her means he has to keep her away from Cole. She wants to feel the spark with Jack but something keeps holding her back. Is it Cole or is there more to Jack than meets the eye?

When her past and present intersect, both men will give her reasons to run, the question is…whose arms will she run into.

Come Back to Me is the first book in the Forever series duet. The finale, Forever with Me, releases in June.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Step three, take care of Carter Williams, once and for all. Enough is enough. If I believe what my therapist says, I am not his victim. I am my own heroine and the time has come to rid myself of Carter the demon. It isn’t up to Jack to hold my hand, or Richard to keep me protected in some princess tower. I need to somehow free myself from Carter Williams so he can’t hurt or scare me again. This part of the plan is the least thought out… spontaneity is essential. Premeditation is always key when sentencing happens in a murder trial.

About the Author:

Trilina is an author, wife, and mama to three rowdy kiddos. When she isn’t making grilled cheese sandwiches, she can be found writing saucy novels that titillate and excite her readers.


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Daemon Reckoning by Mariah Ankenman – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mariah Ankenman will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Hidden in the shadows of our world, supernatural creatures wage war for the fate of humanity.

Euadaemons protect the innocent, Kakodaemons desire absolute power. Both have altered Krista Culver’s life. After spending the past ten years as a Drone for evil, she’s finally awake and doesn’t want to waste another moment. No one will stand in the way of her kicking Kako butt. Not her sister, not her father, not even her incredibly tempting boss.

Racine is about to go mad trying to find his evil twin brother responsible for the Kako uprising, but Rysis is in the wind. Adding to his problems, Krista returned from Enforcer training. Gone is the sweet girl. In her place is a fierce woman who stirs something deep inside. Something he thought long dead and buried.

As their desires grow so does the danger surrounding them. The Kako threat is mounting and the time for a reckoning has come.

Read an Excerpt:

“Well done, Krista.”

She turned at the deep timbre, body still quaking with excitement. Racine stood at the edge of the mat. When had he come down from the track? The man was huge, but sneaky. How could a man that big move through such a dense crowd without her noticing? He towered above everyone here by a good three inches. Of course, she had been a little distracted kicking butt and taking names.

“You did well, but don’t get over confident.” The corner of his lips turned up in a wry grin. “Let’s see how you do against someone with over four hundred years of fighting experience.”

No way, Racine wanted to fight her? Forget alternate dimension, she’d fallen into a whole other universe.

The crowd backed away, but no one left the room. Apparently, they all wanted to see this. She didn’t blame them. She wanted to see this. Racine never fought new recruits. Everyone said so. Made her wonder why he wanted to fight her.

Pushing her curiosity aside, she took a deep breath, centering herself, readying for the fight. She trusted her skill and strength, but Racine had centuries of experience. Also, she wasn’t too proud to admit the thought of getting to touch him—even in a sparring capacity—sent a thrill of excitement through her. Inappropriate? Sure. Unavoidable? Not a chance.

About the Author:

RWA® Golden Heart® Nominated author Mariah Ankenman lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her two rambunctious daughters and loving husband who provides ample inspiration for her heart-stopping heroes.

Whether she’s writing hometown heroes or sexy supernaturals, Mariah loves to lose herself in a world of words. Her favorite thing about writing is when she can make someone’s day a little brighter with one of her books.

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Buy the book at Amazon, The Wild Rose Press, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, or Kobo.

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Lost Souls Found by Kris T. Bethke – Exclusive Excerpt

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kris T. Bethke who is celebrating the recent release of Lost Souls Found.

Hi there! I’m Kris T. Bethke, and I’m here today to bring you an exclusive excerpt from my newest release, Lost Souls Found. Though it’s the second one in the series, it can definitely be read as a standalone. I hope you get a chance to check it out!

Excerpt:

The moment stretched between them. And then suddenly the energy changed, became electric instead of tense. Michael listed forward. Sam did too. And then they both froze. Sam blinked. Michael dropped his gaze to Sam’s mouth, and Sam’s tongue snaked out to wet his lower lip.

Michael broke and surged forward to chase that tongue. He pressed his mouth against Sam’s, and the instant their lips touched, Sam became pliant. Scorching heat raced between them. Michael changed his grip to hold instead of restrain, and Sam pushed closer. Michael wanted that too. He hauled Sam in until they held each other as tightly as humanly possible.

With a groan Michael tested the seam of Sam’s lips with his tongue. Sam immediately opened and let Michael in. So he explored, changed the angle, and dove in again. He couldn’t get enough of Sam’s taste. Lips, teeth, and tongue clashed over and over as they both fought for control.

And then Sam gave up, melted against Michael, and let him take over. Michael slowed the kiss, though it was just as intense. He took his time to learn Sam’s mouth and which angles worked best. And he breathed hard through his nose and took in Sam’s scent—something citrusy, fresh, and clean. Michael pushed harder and turned so he could press Sam against the desk and get better leverage.

Sam skated his hands up Michael’s shoulders and neck and into his hair. He gripped tightly and held on to the short strands. Michael gave a low, desperate moan, fitted himself between Sam’s parted thighs, pressed his hard dick against Sam’s, and made sure Sam could feel it all—that he could feel all of Sam.

Wrenching his mouth away, Sam sucked in a harsh breath. But Michael continued his exploration of Sam’s skin. He nosed across his jaw, latched on to the corded muscles of his neck so he could kiss and bite gently. He laved the spot he’d bitten, and smiled at Sam’s shiver.

“Michael,” Sam moaned.

Michael froze with his lips pressed against Sam’s Adam’s apple.

What the hell was he doing? He shouldn’t be kissing Sam—not now, not ever. He had to keep distance between them, keep things professional. They couldn’t get involved with one another.

He’d been fighting it for ten years.

Slowly and with the utmost care, Michael pulled back. He made sure Sam was steady and then took a giant step back and put more than a foot between them. Sam gave a tiny whine, and Michael wanted to pull him back into his arms to soothe him.

But he couldn’t.

“Michael?” Sam’s voice was filled with concern, and a little bit of hurt. Michael shook his head.

“We can’t do this.”

Sam’s expression crumbled, and the hurt was right there for Michael to see. The despair poured off him in waves, and Michael couldn’t help but feel it. That kiss had torn down his walls, and all he could feel was Sam’s confusion—his hurt. It almost made his knees buckle.

“You kissed me.”

“I know.” Michael tried to get himself under control. “I know. But we can’t. You know we can’t.”

For a minute Sam didn’t move. But that ache in Michael’s chest got stronger, more painful. It was Sam’s emotions, and it literally felt like his heart was breaking and a black hole was replacing it. Michael found it hard to breathe… and he felt it all secondhand. It had to be a thousand times worse for Sam. Michael lifted a hand before he could stop himself, but Sam skirted to the side and evaded his touch.

“You… I… I can’t even believe you right now.” Sam dropped his head and just breathed for a moment. Then he walked toward the door and spoke in a voice so low Michael almost didn’t hear it.

“It hurts less when you shove a sword through my chest.”

Dying is all in a day’s work. Love is more dangerous.

Ghostwalker Sam Jones has been half in love with Michael King since he started working at Requiem Inc. But Michael is his boss and a Guardian, to boot. Sam thinks they could make it work anyway, but Michael uses his position and his age to keep Sam at arm’s length.

When Sam continues to volunteer for the most dangerous cases, Michael has to intervene. He tells himself he’s just doing his job, but he’s always seen Sam as more than another operative, and he can’t bear the thought of not taking his chance. The connection between them has been strong from the beginning, and Michael’s telepathy adds unexpected depth and an edge to their new romance, but working together while they try to build their relationship might be the hardest part of their job if they don’t make some sacrifices.

About the Author: Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long. An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project. Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time. A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures. She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head. She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.

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Authors, Apply the 80/20 Rule by James M. Jackson – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. James M. Jackson will be awarding the chance to name a character who will appear in FALSE BOTTOM (Seamus McCree #6) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Authors, Apply the 80/20 Rule

In 1906 an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto analyzed the distribution of wealth in Italy and discovered 20% of the people owned 80% of the wealth. Fast forward to the 1930s and 40s. Dr. Joseph Juran, an early quality management guru, discovered the broad principle of “the vital few and trivial many.” In the magic of naming conventions, this broad observation, combined with Pareto’s economics work led to this phenomenon being labeled as “Pareto’s Principle.”

Pareto’s work was a single statistic. Juran’s a broad principle. Combined they became the ubiquitous 80/20 rule, which in one general form states that 80% of the results are due to 20% of the actions.

For example, many corporations discover that 80% of their profits are derived from 20% of their customers.

One result of this kind of analysis is frequent buyer programs. Airlines, for example, want to capture business flyers who regularly travel and often pay more for a ticket because they don’t qualify for advanced purchase pricing or multiple day stays. These fliers provide a disproportionate share of airline profits for the same or less cost than the typical family traveler. That’s why airlines heavily promote their frequent flyer programs to retain these profitable customers. The program costs provide relatively large benefits.

How can this concept apply to an independent author?

Let’s look at some statistics from Cabin Fever, the middle of my five books in the Seamus McCree series. It was traditionally published by a small publisher. During the three years of that contract, 85% of the ebooks sold through Amazon (Kindle). Only 15% sold through the combination of Google, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others. The publisher did not promote the title on any of the platforms, so the sales were essentially organic.

When I took back the rights from the publisher, I decided my main task was to grow readership of the series. Given limited time and budget, I doubled down and concentrated my online sales on Amazon. That’s where my buyers were. Selling the electronic version of Cabin Fever exclusively on Amazon meant they would include it in the Kindle Unlimited program (Amazon’s subscription-reading service). My bet was that I would earn more income through Kindle Unlimited than I gave up by eliminating the other venues. As a bonus, it meant I would only have to manage one vendor, one form of the ebook, etc.

After going exclusively with Amazon, I invested in some promotions. In the year and a half since I took over the publishing rights, I have earned as much net after expenses from Amazon sales as I had the first three years with the publisher.

But did Kindle Unlimited replace the 15% of revenue I gave away? Yes, and then some. For every $1.00 I gave up in nonAmazon sales, I made $3.50 from Kindle Unlimited! After seeing the initial results of that experiment, I made all my novels exclusive to Amazon and ratios for the other novels ranged from $2.50 to $4.00.

Here’s another example of applying the 80/20 rule that I learned the hard way: Bookstore signings are generally a waste of time. I read a blog by Joe Konrath that said he no longer went on book tours. And at a local Sisters in Crime meeting, CJ Lyons told me she only does one or two book signings, and those in her home town. I thought to myself – yeah, but they’re already best sellers.

I should have done some analysis instead of going with my gut instinct. Taking Cabin Fever again, I paid a publicist a lot of money to schedule an extensive bookstore tour. Final tally, less than 20% of the paperback books I sold resulted from that tour. The other 80% came from local events I scheduled myself, contingent sales at area bookstores and online. Lesson learned: the extra effort to get those 20% of sales was a poor application of my time (not to mention my money).

The thing most likely to increase overall sales—especially for those who write a series—is a new book. Time spent marketing current books takes away from time writing new books. As an exercise, every author should consider what would happen if she eliminated the least productive 20% of her marketing time and applied that time to writing or editing new material.

Continue to experiment to see what works for you. Remember, fun and enjoyment have intangible benefits. If you really love doing something and would miss it if you didn’t, then keep doing it—but don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s a good business decision; it’s a life decision, and that’s okay.

If you love the suspense and plot twists of domestic thrillers, this page-turner will be for you. Seamus McCree’s first solo bodyguard assignment goes from bad to worse. His client disappears. His granddog finds a buried human bone. Police find a fresh human body.

His client is to testify in a Chicago money laundering trial. He’s paranoid that with a price on his head, if the police know where he’s staying, the information will leak. Seamus promised his business partner and lover, Abigail Hancock, that he’d keep the witness safe at the McCree family camp located deep in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s woods.

Abigail is furious at his incompetence and their relationship flounders. Even his often-helpful son, Paddy, must put family safety ahead of helping his father. Seamus risks his own safety and freedom to turn amateur sleuth in hopes he can solve the crimes, fulfill his promise of protection, and win back Abigail. Wit and grit are on his side, but the clock is ticking . . . and the hit man is on his way.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Dread joined us in the car. Even normally bubbly Megan grew silent.

Loggers had cut a narrow lane through the sixty-foot spruce I had watched come down at the beginning of the Grade, leaving most of the tree in place and towing the cut section to the side. They’d wasted no time on smaller branches littering the road and were opening up a one-lane path. I tiptoed the Outback over the debris and moved through the gap.

At first the downed trees were scattered, although limbs and branches dotted the entire road. But the further north we drove, the worse the damage became until the downed trees were a nearly continuous hazard. Paddy frequently left the car to remove branches with sharp breaks that might puncture a tire. I was regretting we hadn’t taken my old beater truck into town with its multi-ply tires. The Outback carried a donut spare, which wouldn’t last thirty seconds on the gravel roads. We had yet to see any other cars or people.

By the time we passed the five- and six-mile markers without any letup in the damage, tightened metal bands had taken up permanent residence around my chest. I feared for Elliot. I feared for my property. I worried whether I’d get a flat. Whether there would still be a hotel room if I had to send Paddy and Megan to Tall Pines. Megan, on the other hand, had given up her concerns and was in the back seat, singing along with a CD, a cheerful canary amidst the devastation.

About the Author: James M. Jackson authors the Seamus McCree series consisting of five novels and one novella. Jim splits his time between the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Georgia’s Lowcountry. He claims the moves between locations are weather-related, but others suggest they may have more to do with not overstaying his welcome. He is the past president of the 700+ member Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

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His Valentine by Megan Slayer – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtul book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan will be awarding a bracelet made by the author and a signed swag pack to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Brandon Kidd thought he overcame his demons. He thought he’d conquered his addiction to booze and his need to be promiscuous. He thought he’d left his depression behind. Why? He met and is dating Aydin, the man who stokes his muse. But the depression and his insecurity have come back, and he’s also got to pass his annual review for his fine arts program. He’s got to get through the grueling review, open up to Aydin and have the Valentine’s Day he deserves?

Aydin loves Brandon. He sees the changes in his boyfriend and wants to help, but how do you help when you don’t know the problem exactly? To compound the problem, Brandon’s brother, Benson, has started causing trouble. Benson doesn’t want his brother to be gay, let alone in a relationship. Aydin found the strength to admit he wanted to be with Brandon. Aydin’s come into his own. Will he be enough for Brandon or will the crushing outside influence be too much to overcome?

They’ve come together for Valentine’s Day, but can the romance last?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

©2018 Megan Slayer, All Rights Reserved

“It’s Valentine’s Day. What’s on your docket?”

“I’m not sure. Aydin said something about a plan and celebration. I’m the lousy boyfriend this time. I hadn’t gotten him anything and was going to on the way home.” The tips of his ears burned. “I was so worried about the review, I kind of forgot it was Valentine’s Day.”

“You forgot?” she blurted.

“I did.” He walked beside her. “I was going to get him flowers.”

“Flowers?” She stopped in her tracks. “Are you serious?”

“He likes them.”

“Not chocolates?”

“He doesn’t like them. I thought he did, but he just ate the ones I got him for Christmas because he didn’t want them to go to waste.” When she started walking again, he fell into step beside her. “I know what he likes—now.”

“Flowers, eh?” She laughed. “And what else? Some hey-hey?” She elbowed him. “Right?”

He wasn’t about to tell her the other gift would be a blow job.

“Well, good.” She stopped at the classroom door. “I hope you have a good night.” She poked her head into the classroom. “Bye, Aydin. Have a wicked hot night.”

“That’s the plan.” Aydin left his spot on the desk and picked up the portfolio. “Ready?”

Heat slid through Brandon’s body. He couldn’t wait to get home. He’d strip Aydin down and taste every inch of him. “Yeah.”

“Good. Let’s go. I drove, so we can blow this popsicle stand.” Aydin carried the case out of the room. “Goodnight, Georgie. Do you need us to walk you out?”

“Nah, I’m meeting my friend Durand upstairs.” She waved. “Night! Do all the things I can’t do but want to watch.”

“We will,” Aydin called.

Brandon stood rooted to the spot for a second. Do all the things I can’t do but want to watch…holy shit. And Aydin hadn’t batted an eye. Damn. Excitement radiated through Brandon. He had the guy, the grade, and good friends. Now, he’d have a hot Valentine’s Day. Sweet, indeed.

About the Author:

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice.

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