Midnight Highlander by Anya Summers – Spotlight and Giveaway

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Xavier Campbell needs a miracle. If he doesn’t want to lose the life he’s worked so hard to build, he must get married, and quickly. Trouble is, there is no woman in his life. Not even a friend with benefits. As a regular Dom at Eternal Eros, he gets what he needs and goes home. And a wife? Hell, no. This Highlander is single for a reason. So when his entire existence threatens to come crashing down, he realizes he might have to make some adjustments…or a bargain with the she-devil who beguiles him, body and mind, from the first moment he touches her.

Emma Morton wants a man. To play with. Watch television with. Cuddle with. And yes, God help her, she wants him hard, naked, and in her bed. More than once. What she doesn’t want is complications. Expectations. She is dedicated to her work, to building her business. She’s worked too long and too hard to change her plans for something as fleeting as love. No matter how much she wishes otherwise, life has repeatedly proven that romance is a myth. Pure fairytale.

But passion? Yes. She could definitely go for a ‘Single’s Night’ of play—and release—at the infamous Eternal Eros.

After one scorching night of pleasure, a reckless bargain is made. Marriage with an expiration date. A business arrangement. Nothing more.

But what starts as a farce becomes a bit too real and Xavier realizes this is no game. Telling Emma the truth would be dangerous…especially when he realizes he is playing for keeps.

Enjoy an Excerpt

On her trek to the bar, she smiled demurely at Cooper, the hotshot, daredevil firefighter. He was sitting at one of the booths with Dr. Levi Mitchell, Gage Walker, and his business partner, Henry Sinclair. By the time she reached the bar, she was certain tonight would be exactly what she needed as a reprieve from the impending financial doom of her business.

Not even a short sale on the building would help get her out of this mess.

Every hair on her form stood at attention as the bartender’s frosty ice blue gaze landed on her. She didn’t know what it was about Xavier Campbell, but the sexy hulking brute always rubbed her the wrong way. Most of the Doms here, she could charm with a sweet smile and by exposing some skin.

This one, not so much.

He prowled her way, dressed for the event tonight in Scottish tartan, shit-kicker boots, and a bad attitude. For such a large man, he moved with lionlike grace. Emma was tall for a woman, clocking in at five nine. Yet Xavier towered over her, even in her four-inch stilettos. And he wore his control around him like barbed wire, liable to rip a body to shreds if they got too close.

“What’ll you have?” His voice, thick with Scots burr, seemed to caress her skin as he raked his scowling gaze over her body.

For tonight’s pagan-themed event, she had dressed as a Pagan Warrior Queen, which, at the costume store, had turned out to be a miniscule black dress that shimmered with glossy fabric made to look like leather, and a faux chainmail panel down the front. She even had a fake plastic sword attached to the belt around her waist. “Macallan. Make it a double. Neat.”

A thick inky brow rose at her drink order. “You sure you can handle that, lass?”

The way his voice rolled over the word lass turned her insides to melted butter. If he could do that with a simple word, he would be lethal if he touched her. Thank god she would never let that happen. Even if the man was the most sinfully handsome man she had ever had the good fortune to meet, he had danger written all over him. She even thought his long, dark chestnut hair with braids descending from each temple was sexy as hell. Most often, he wore it pulled into a ponytail at his nape. Seeing the wealth of his thick hair had her fingers itching to find out if it was as soft as it looked.

And his naked chest on display made her want to fan her face to diffuse the flames. The guy was ripped. Every muscle was defined, exuding just how powerful the guy was, with a light dusting of dark hair over his bulging pectorals, which arrowed down into a single happy trail over his muscly abs.

But his insinuation that she couldn’t handle her liquor pissed her off. “Why, because I’ve got tits?”

His expression turned to stone. “It’s a valid question. If I were you, I would drop the attitude, lass. Not a single Dom here wants to take a viper to their bed.”

“It’s a good thing then, that I’m not in your bed. Nor will I ever be.”

“I’d rather take a poisonous snake to bed than to have to deal with your sharp tongue. Just be careful, lass, because you’re walking a fine line with your disrespectful tone. If you cross it, I won’t hesitate to punish you. And I can guarantee that you won’t like it.”

She rolled her eyes at his brutish attitude. “And you’ve not earned my submission… Sir.”

She was in no mood to trade barbs with the beast.

About the Author:

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

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Fire and Clay by Noja Lina – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Noja Lina who is celebrating the recent release of Fire and Clay. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Who will end up getting burned when they collide?

Ian is a skilled but foulmouthed photographer with an aversion to meeting new people, a short fuse and a relatively short stature. One evening, he starts a squabble with Victor before knowing that Victor is the best friend of Ian’s current crush.

With them being in the same social circle and Victor being a model and theater actor, they keep meeting over the course of several months. Their interactions feature an array of jabs at the other’s height, mild aggression and attempts to mock or one-up the other.

But, through instances of Ian involuntarily showing his caring side and Victor showing what he’s made of, several sparks and serious talks, some denial and three successful photoshoots, their relationship gradually evolves.

Will they get past their initial animosity? Will they get burned by colliding with the other? Or will fire come in contact with clay to create something beautiful?

Reader advisory: This book contains bullying, mentions of eating disorders, violence and threats.

Enjoy an Excerpt

There was no clear-cut explanation for how Ian had ended up in a corner of a dark closet, fervently kissing a person who had once been a statue—or for why Victor was kissing back. Weren’t they supposed to come at each other’s necks?

It had all started several months before, when Hayden, Ian’s best friend since before they could read or write, moved into a new student dorm and invited Ian for a visit.

“Do I have to go?” Ian asked Hayden while they were talking on the phone.

“No, but I’d like it if you did.”

Hayden received a familiar grunt in return. That was how Ian usually relayed he’d do what Hayden asked him to, despite hating the idea.

There was nothing bad about going to see Hayden and his new dorm. It was having to meet Hayden’s new roommate that had made Ian avoid the visit for as long as possible. Going to the dentist was an easier experience for Ian than meeting new people.

Both of them had been living in Thornburg for over two years. It was a city that attracted people from all over the country, even from abroad, with its array of educational and professional opportunities, its growing social diversity and its vibrant cultural and entertainment scenes—not to mention its colorful palette of bars.

Thornburg’s vibe and offer had also attracted Ian to it, but college had been a short-lived initiative for him. His passion for photography had grown years before any facial hair had and Ian had been cultivating his skills in taking pictures for over half a decade at that point. As such, photography courses that treated their students as beginners had underwhelmed him greatly. He’d dropped out of college after the first year and applied to paid photography gigs with his extensive portfolio and a half-decent attempt at being friendly. Luckily, the portfolio had done its job.

Hayden was on the opposite end of the spectrum, both in terms of college and his capabilities in being friendly. If he still liked Ian after so many years of Ian being Ian, he could probably be friends with an anthropomorphized lemon. Hayden was in his third year at the veterinary medicine college and, as the extroverted person he was, he’d always chosen to live in the student dorms since coming to Thornburg.

When he’d first announced his plan to become a veterinarian, he’d said, “I already have experience in dealing with all sorts of animals, especially a chihuahua.”

His family had many pets, but that bunch hadn’t included a chihuahua. It was a reference to Ian. Hayden often compared his best friend to the small, mouthy dog that thinks of itself as a big beast and sometimes gets itself in trouble by aggressively challenging an actual large one. Ian’s only counterargument had been that, as opposed to him, dogs didn’t like being left alone.

To this, Hayden had replied, “If that really were the case, then why do you always come when I call you over?”

Admitting that he liked being around Hayden was too melodramatic for Ian, so he’d answered with a simple and dry ‘whoof’.

Thus, when Hayden had called Ian over to show him his new dorm room and introduce him to Danny, his new roommate, Ian had gone, despite his DNA constantly reminding him how hardwired he was to dislike meeting new people.

Danny was a year younger than Hayden, they’d hit it off from the get-go, they attended the same college and were equally as balanced in handling their studies and social lives.

If this Danny guy’s anything like Hayden, it probably won’t be so bad… F***, who am I kidding? It’s guaranteed to be bad.

Ian sighed before entering the dorm room. He relaxed his throat in preparation of swallowing many words he shouldn’t say but would probably end up voicing anyway. Taking in air, he opened the door and was instantly ambushed by something bright.

It might’ve been the warm rays piercing through the window, it might’ve been Hayden’s flower-power T-shirt but it was most likely Danny.

Danny was dazzling. All his features were soft and curvy, all his gestures smooth and inviting. His voice sounded like windchimes, his skin looked like fruity yogurt and his presence was as welcoming as one’s bed after a hard day at work. Ian barely remembered the correct sequence of the two syllables in his name when Danny smiled and initiated their introductory handshake. Whenever Hayden didn’t elbow him, Ian also barely remembered that he was a fully-fledged, functional homo sapiens specimen who should be able to hold a conversation.

But Ian was also a drawn-to-visuals person, and everything about Danny’s appearance gave off early summer day, with wildflowers swaying in the pleasant breeze and birds chirping in the trees. So, despite it being late October, Ian’s mind packed up and went on vacation, leaving him to be about as articulate as the chair he sat on.

By the time Danny had offered him the umpteenth solar-like smile and his second beer, Ian’s synapses were finally back to their usual productivity level. But there was a glitch in that system of synapses, and Ian let out, “You’re so sweet.”

Hayden choked on his beer. “You’re complimenting someone during your first meeting with them? I see… We should get our textbooks updated because flying pigs are definitely coming.”

“They’ve been around since the invention of the airplane,” Ian replied, referring to any human in the air.

“Okay, now, that’s the usual you. You had me worried for a sec.”

There was no need for Hayden to be concerned. Ian hadn’t been replaced by an alien lookalike. He was just smitten. In fact, he was so much so that he’d almost brought flowers on his next visit to that dorm room.

Becoming attracted to someone based on looks wasn’t unusual for Ian. But being smitten had been a rare experience, so it wasn’t just Danny’s looks that were working their magic on him. Despite being more apprehensive than the average person when meeting new people, Ian had started floating in a pool of serenity right after stepping into the range of Danny’s sunray-shaped aura. Danny often smiled—always with sincerity—acted in caring ways and looked at people as if he were hugging them with his gaze. Ian knew he was smitten when the thought of actually hugging Danny one day made something explode within his chest.

He continued visiting Hayden and Danny in that dorm room for the following two months and always tried having many pleasant interactions with Danny. It was easier than Ian-ly possible, because Ian wasn’t his usual self around him.

Hayden asked him about the reason behind his change in behavior, but Ian just said, “I have more vitamin D in my system now,” because ‘D’ stood for ‘Danny’, who was like sunlight in Ian’s mind, and sunlight was a known source of vitamin D.

Normally, Ian would’ve told Hayden the truth. But Danny was Hayden’s roommate, and Ian didn’t want to make things awkward by revealing his feelings. Hayden knew Ian was into guys just like Hayden was into girls, so there was no problem there. However, Ian didn’t know Danny’s preferences and he didn’t want to open Schrödinger’s cat’s box by asking either Danny or Hayden about that. If he discovered the cat dead, he’d also have to kill his current crush. If the cat were alive, he’d have to—God forbid—put himself out there and lay his feelings on the table for someone else to shuffle at will.

Both options came with downsides, so Ian just maintained a quiet crush on Danny. At least, that had been his intention…

About the Author:New writer on the romance block, Noja Lina likes writing uplifting contemporary romance stories. These stories are centered around engaging male characters, usually dealing with personal struggles alongside love struggles.

Noja lives in Romania, specifically Transylvania. When she’s not working at her full-time job or working on one of her stories, she enjoys her one-sided love relationship with various forms of Asian media, enjoys adding another cooking fail to the collection and hanging out with friends over a cold beer.

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Hearts Ease by Mimi B. Rose – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Mimi B. Rose who is celebrating the recent relase of Heart’s Ease. Enter the rafflecopter at the end of the post for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Her mysterious past holds the key to protecting his clan.

Between helping teens at an After-School Art Club and trying to publish her granny’s fairy tales, Chantelle’s life still feels somehow unfulfilled.

When his father and older brother died, Charles was forced into the role of Alpha. Three years later, he still hasn’t dealt with the loss. Now a rival pack is stirring up trouble in his grandmother’s hometown, and he must investigate.

But that is only where the mystery begins. There’s something else going on and it starts with the mysterious and beautiful Chantelle. The secrets of her past and her untrained magical abilities hold the key to the rival pack’s attacks. And when they discover that sorcery is behind the violence against women and children in the territory, they have to trust each other and forge a connection.

But is their bond strong enough to protect the pack and fulfil a Fated Mates prophecy, or will they lead the pack, and their love, to ruin?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of racism, violence and attempted/threatened sexual assault. There is reference to past memory modification and the off-screen death of a teen.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Chantelle Mizuki didn’t want to die today.

I’m wearing old underwear. With holes. Nobody is going to see them. No nurse, no doctor, no coroner. Nobody.

Chantelle’s footsteps crunched in the autumn leaves of the mountain forest. Night was falling. Wolves were howling.

Real wolves.

Granny Ceci’s voice rang in her ears. “Don’t go in the forest at dusk, mon chou.”

Too late, Granny.

She hadn’t planned to be out this late. It was light when the After-School Art Club finished at the library. She had asked her student Alfonso to stay and talk about his application for art school. By the time they were done, the sun was low in the sky. Only after Alfonso had left did she discover she’d locked her keys in the car.

In the daytime, everyone used the path through the woods to get to the other side of the village in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. She loved the soft pine needles underfoot, tall trunks stretching their branches to the sky, soothing fragrances of moss and fern. During the day Chantelle expected to stumble across Snow White singing and dancing among the trees.

Night-time was different. Every noise was menacing, every shadow a predator waiting for her to stray off the path.

Chantelle kept to the darkened trail, wishing those howls and barks were getting fainter. The sounds of the forest were soothing when she was tucked into Granny Ceci’s gingerbread cottage—her cottage now. This evening, those sounds took on ominous undertones.

She remembered Granny Ceci telling her, “Ma cocotte, the Laurentian Mountains are home to many creatures, some fair, some foul. Be prepared for both.” Tonight, it was the foul creatures. Why couldn’t it be chipmunks or raccoons?

Another howl wailed over the tops of the trees. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up. One step in front of the other. You can do this.

Soon she reached the edge of the village. Only a quarter of a mile left. Past Marie’s big house on the hill, through the ravine, then up the path to the top of her street.

No problem. She had survived book signings with dozens of cranky children and their bad-tempered parents. She had run off her cheating no-good boyfriend. A wolf or two? No sweat.

She picked up her pace to a jog. Her legs were aching, her chest heaving. At the very least she’d have a funny story to tell Yvette and Kat. Well, it would be funny if she made it home in one piece.

The recent wolf sightings had everyone in town worried. The wolves were larger than usual, more vicious. They had even killed some dogs. Villagers were warned to stay away from the woods at night. She knew her woodcraft and carried her multi-tool at all times, but that wouldn’t be enough to stop a feral wolf.

Of course, today was the day she’d locked her keys in the car. She’d forgotten to take her ADHD medication. And her publisher called in the afternoon to say they were passing on her “passion project,” as they’d called it. Illustrating Granny Ceci’s stories and having them published were a way to honour her grandmother’s legacy. But her reputation as a children’s story illustrator was not opening doors for the collection of folk tales. Her usual collaborator hadn’t helped at all. He didn’t want his favourite illustrator distracted from his own book projects.

Was the howling closer now? Or was it her imagination? She crouched by a small cluster of sumac bushes. Her heart raced. The wind whistled through the treetops, clattering in the dying leaves.

There was a clearing ahead. What a relief! It was the small field behind her neighbour’s house. Marie, a dear friend of Granny Ceci’s, lived on the edge of the village. The little meadow divided the forest from her garden, which was enclosed by a stone wall.

There would be a large blue spruce at the northern edge of the clearing. The conical silhouette of the tree stood tall against the dying light. Three shadows, large and shaggy, skulked at the base.

She spared half a breath for one of Granny’s favourite curse words.

Could she make it to Marie’s house? She should move slowly, deliberately, not run. But rabid or savage wolves would still attack. If they came for her, she would have to run along the perimeter.

She was stuck. Sweat trickled down her back.

I need a plan. If she got out of this, she could move back to Montreal. There was nothing keeping her here. Granny had died last year. Why was she still here? Pull yourself together, girl!

The moon burst out from behind a cloud.

One of the wolves looked up, the cool light illuminating his outline. He cocked his head and looked in her direction. He howled, long and low. The other two wolves nosed him, turning towards her. Could they see her?

She sent a silent prayer up to Ceci. Wherever you are, please help me.

The wolves paced at the edge of the clearing, whining and sniffing the air.

She had to move. Maybe make a commotion once she got closer to the garden wall. Marie might hear.

She breathed in and out. Now. She took a cautious step.

One of the wolves inclined his head. Had he seen her? Another step.

He pointed his muzzle at her, his tail arching over his back. Two steps.

The lead wolf pushed off on his hind legs, padding towards her position. The others followed on his tail.

Ben l’on! Granny would have said. Oh, come on!

She sprinted towards the wooden gate in the middle of the stone wall.

They reached her in the clearing. The largest one growled, ears and tail erect. His eyes looked odd—orange, almost glowing. Impossible. It must be a reflection of the moonlight.

These wolves were big. And their faces looked funny—no, not funny, just strange. Almost human-like.

Heart racing, Chantelle took a step back.

The wolves advanced, circling her. They weren’t acting like regular wolves. What was going on?

The leader surged forward, snarling. She backed up and bumped into another wolf. The wolf behind her made a huffing noise that sounded almost like a laugh. Goosebumps broke out on her arms. Was this the end?

The largest one snapped at her leg. As she stepped back, her knees buckled and she fell to the unforgiving ground beneath her. Tears stung her eyes as she scrabbled in the grass and dirt. He descended on her and sunk his teeth in her calf. She batted at him, a shrill scream erupting from her throat. She had to get away.

The other wolves nipped at her arms as she pulled back, dodging their snouts and paws. She searched for purchase on the ground. They dragged her across the ground, away from the wall.

Fear churned in her stomach. Her heart beat fast as she struck at the wolves. Then something changed, fear turning into anger in her chest. Tingling sensations erupted into a warmth across her chest. Her ears buzzed.

What’s going on?

Some kind of energy bubbled from her middle. Rising up, it surged from her core out towards her arms and legs. It felt strange, yet familiar somehow.

The buzzing increased, changing into a burning sensation. A shooting pain in her leg snapped her attention back to the wolves. Sliding along the ground, she reached for the wolf attached to her leg. She smiled as she caught hold. His fur was matted, his bulk solid beneath her fingers.

The low droning made her ears itch and blocked out the growls of her attackers. Her field of vision telescoped into her hands, legs, and torso in front of her.

Anger surged within her. She pushed out from her diaphragm. Energy tingled and sparked, hot and strong. It poured down her arms and into her hands. When she shoved against her attacker, something blue zapped out of her palms.

The wolf let go when the blast hit him. Falling back a few inches, he shook his head and coat.

Growling, ears back, he pushed forward. The lights in his eyes glowed. The wolves regrouped and closed in.

I’m going to die here. With no one present to hear a snappy parting line.

A spotlight came on, almost blinding her. A rifle shot rang in the air and the creatures froze. Out from the garden gate stepped a small figure.

Marie!

The ancient woman leaned forward, hefting a rifle that was almost as tall as she was. Her red plaid jacket was three sizes too big and hung down to her knees. She peered out from thick glasses beneath a dark green hunter’s cap.

“Allez-y vous, sales chiens!” The old woman’s Québécois accent was thick but her tone was unmistakable.

Chantelle sucked in a big breath. She shuddered and turned to her attackers. The larger brown wolf swung his head towards her.

Another shot grazed the attacker’s mud-coloured fur. Yelping, he jumped out of the ring of light. He whined, pawing the ground, the other wolves huffing beside him. He glanced over at the old woman.

A new growl, low and menacing, rumbled by the gate. Beside Marie was a large dog, ears back, tail up. They moved forward in unison. The wolves backed away from Chantelle.

The lead wolf slunk towards the trees with his two companions. Looking back, he howled once before the trio disappeared into the night.

Chantelle pushed up from the ground, relief warring with the fear and pain. She tried to stand but her leg throbbed. The bite marks oozed blood. Her feet shuffled forward as she held her elbow against her side. Had they bitten her arm too?

She reached towards Marie by the gate.

Then she was falling.

Strong arms wrapped around her. A low voice murmured and Marie’s voice answered. She was being lifted up, arms carrying her to warmth. The voices faded away.

Her fingers touched a soft blanket. How long had she been out? A fire crackled nearby. Gentle hands prodded at the bite.

She faded out again.

About the AuthorMimi B. Rose writes fantastic tales filled with steamy enchantment and tender-hearted fulfilment to thrill strong women. As a teen she read V.C. Andews’s Flowers in the Attic and Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat and she was hooked on fantasy romance and paranormal romance. Some of her favourite tv shows are Sleepy Hollow, Grimm, and Once–and the reboot of Beauty and the Beast starring Kirstin Kreuk (does anyone remember that series?).

She loves all kinds of shifters and vampires. Her all-time favourite authors are Faith Hunter, Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, and more recently Richelle Mead.

Mimi likes a sassy heroine who is independent but finds a strong hero who can keep up with her and treasure her for their uniqueness–including her flaws!

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Healing Their Wounds by Hayden West

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Hayden West who is celebrating today’s release of Healing Their Wounds, the third book in the City of Fountains series. Enter the rafflecopter at the end of the post for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Sometimes you have to face the past to heal old wounds.

Craig Donaldson has been through a lot in his life. There’s one good thing that has come from it—his son. Owning his own business is hard but he’s making it work. Landing in the hospital after a car accident brings into his life someone he wasn’t sure he needed. The problem is, Craig isn’t positive he’s willing to expose himself to more wounds.

Dr. Hobert ‘Bobby’ Pearson loves his job at the hospital. Being the disappointment of his family isn’t something he is happy with. It seems as though when he gets close to someone he feels he could start a real relationship with, the past shows up and he’s again left alone. His family leaves fresh wounds in their wake. This new patient he has, however, hits all kinds of emotions inside him.

Will they be able to heal together? Or will past pain keep them apart?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Craig leaned forward, his heart caught in his throat. Perspiration dripped down his face, and he shuddered as excitement thrummed through him. So close. Oh God, he was close. So close.

He tensed, words lodged in the back of his throat, almost ready to be released but Not. Quite. Yet. Fingers curved, digging for purchase on something, anything, around him.

A few more seconds. He could hold out. He wouldn’t let go until he was sure. That strain on his body didn’t matter two seconds later.

He erupted, launching up from the hard bleacher seat he’d been on as he watched his son and his team compete in the semi-finals of the Little League World Series.

“Yes!”

All around the parents and friends of the team were cheering beside him. His son, Cody, was twelve this year, and it was his last year to participate. And Cody’s double had allowed his teammate to get that winning run.

Craig’s legs were weak as he continued cheering. He wanted to sink back down to the seat, but wouldn’t. Tears burned his eyes as he watched all of his son’s teammates gather and cheer to celebrate their win.

“Congrats, Craig.”

He accepted the hug from the father of another player, Christopher.

“Same to you. This is great for them.”

The man crossed his arms and nodded. “Sure will help line up the women.”

Craig frowned. “They’re twelve.”

Christopher smirked. “Never too young to start.”

Craig disagreed. “Yeah, they are. And it’s not happening with my boy.”

The man’s wife dropped between them with a squeal. “What are you two talking about? Colleges that will come after them?”

“Something like that,” Christopher said.

Emily kissed Craig’s cheek. “Congratulations, Craig.”

“You too, Emily.”

The blonde bounced down a few more bleacher steps to continue chatting it up with other families. Their son was one of the pitchers on the team.

About the Author

Hayden West lives in the Pacific Northwest, enjoys being outdoors, and hanging out with friends when not working on the next novella to be released.

Find Hayden at their website and blog.

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Complicating Roy by Megan Slayer – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Megan Slayer who is celebrating the recent release of the second book in her Love Me Do series, Complicating Roy. Enter the rafflecopter at the end of the post for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Complication doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.

Duke Charles needs a break. He’s tired of life on the road and never having a place to settle down. He decides to head to Norville for a rest in his childhood home. Once there, he realizes his life isn’t quite so relaxed—he’s not only inherited the house, but a cat to go with it. When his friend from high school sends him on a date, he finds out how complicated life can be…in a good way.

Roy Mars likes his life as an artist. He paints, sells work and takes his cat, Raphael, for walks through Norville. He channels his emotions into his art…until he goes on a date and meets Duke. His uncomplicated life gets thrown into chaos, not least because Duke has rabid fans who insist on knowing every detail of his life.

Can Roy handle a little complication in the form of Duke, or will he quit before he finds his forever?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Art is for everyone,” Roy murmured. He added a few more strokes to his painting, then stepped back to admire the piece. He loved creating art, but hated special commissions. As far as he was concerned, art should be creative and allowed to flow, not dictated according to a special plan—especially without his input. He’d been given the project and told what to do. Don’t deviate, just paint what the mayor wants.

This piece would drive him to drinking. He’d been commissioned to paint a bold, abstract piece that still featured faces for the wall behind the mayor of Norville’s desk. It should be a snapshot of the town.

Roy groaned. He didn’t think the painting, under the direction of the mayor, looked anything like a cross-section of Norville. It was too clean and orderly…and boring. He’d added all the elements desired and none of his personality.

He glanced back at the mayor. If Floyd Gatlin liked the work, he could be done with it. If not, he’d have to keep working until Floyd was happy. His own paintings, his Depressions series, could wait.

“Well?” Roy asked. “What do you think?”

Floyd tapped his chin. “It’s colorful.” He stepped back. “It’s got action, too.”

“I tried to follow your directions exactly.” Roy folded his arms. “It’s quite vibrant, like you wanted.”

“Vibrant, but not gay.” Floyd nodded. “I’m tired of seeing so much gayness in town. We needed to get the movie theater razed or turned back into a theater.”

Roy didn’t see the issue with the hairdressing salon that the former cinema how housed, or the amount of gayness in Norville. The people of the town liked color and to be unique. That wasn’t bad. “You don’t like Dye Hard Style?” Roy frowned. “James is a great stylist. He cuts my hair and I’ve never been done wrong.”

“Uh-huh.” Floyd made a sound that reminded Roy of a grunt mixed with a groan. “Why don’t you try Cutting Up? They’re better.”

He’d seen the new salon in the strip mall at the edge of town. Where James was flamboyant and fun, Cutting Up was much more conservative. He’d bet every Cutting Up across the state looked exactly the same. “James is a friend of mine, too. I support my friends.”

“Well, to each their own, but I’d like for him to move outside of the Norville limits.” Floyd waved his hand. “I’ll take it. Send it over for framing. We have a plan for displaying it.”

“Sure.” He didn’t frame his works and preferred the edge of the canvas. “I’ll have it over in a day or two.”

“Perfect.” Floyd faced him. “You know, I like working with you. You don’t act gay, don’t shove it in my face, and don’t expect me to be understanding. You accept me and I can be myself.”

Roy seethed. How rotten! He couldn’t keep his tongue. “Mayor Gatlin, may I speak freely?” He had no idea how this man had gotten elected, but he didn’t deserve the role.

“Sure.” Floyd clapped him on the shoulder. “We’re friends here.”

Jesus. “I create work for you, that’s for sure. The thing is, I’m gay. I might not be as flamboyant as James, but it doesn’t make me any less homosexual. I am gay. Also, I don’t appreciate you talking about James like he’s a scourge. I might not throw my being gay in your face, but I don’t appreciate your saying I don’t expect you to be understanding. You should be a representative of the entire town, not just one section and not just those who voted for you. You can be voted out of office, you know.”

“Did you vote for me?” Floyd narrowed his eyes. “You didn’t, did you?”

“My vote is private, but suffice it to say I don’t agree with your principles. Never have.” He chucked his paintbrush into the water cup. “Take the painting if you want. I don’t care. You can decide not to, as well. But know this, I will continue to be myself, which is gay. I’ll champion gay causes and will not take your bullshit. Please leave.”

“You’re throwing me out?” Floyd snapped.

“Yes, my non-understanding gay ass is throwing you out. I can’t listen to you insult me because I’m gay.”

“You’ve changed,” Floyd said. “You got famous and you think you can snap at people. See if anyone wants to buy your terrible art now.”

“At least you’re telling me the truth.” He opened his studio door. “Goodbye.”

Floyd stomped out of the building.

Roy slammed the door behind him. How dare Floyd talk to him that way? He’d prided himself on keeping his moodiness to his studio, but he’d been insulted. His friend had been slandered. Jesus. He’d been treated like a lesser person. He moved the painting off the easel and onto a side table. He couldn’t look at the work any longer, especially knowing he’d expended energy to create it, and now for nothing.

He didn’t act gay enough. What a crock of shit. What did he need to do to act more gay?

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.

Find out more about Megan on her website, and sign up for the newsletter here. You can also check out her Blog, Amazon Author Page, Bookbub and Instagram.

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The Corpse Princess by Jayce Carter – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jayce Carter will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Karma is a bitch—but then again, so am I.

Ten years ago, a group of men murdered my mother and thought they had killed me. I’ve spent every day since planning revenge against the man behind the attack—my father. As the head of a powerful crime family, he won’t be an easy target, but nothing matters more than making him pay for what he’s done.

Now, I return in disguise, only to end up on the radar of the Quad—the four most dangerous men in the city…men I’ve been desperately in love with since I was a teen. I have no idea if they were in on the plan to have me killed, but I can’t stop myself from craving their taste, their bodies and their rough, domineering touches. Even though I know the risks, I keep falling deeper into our twisted relationship.

My plan is simple—find and get rid of the people who carried out the attack, kill my father…and don’t fall in love with the men who might have betrayed me.

This world already killed me once—let it try again.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Well, damn,” he muttered, the end of his stick tapping against the floor. “Guess I didn’t need to give you a handicap, did I?”

I picked my glass up again, taking another sip, before leaning a hip against the edge of the pool table. “I might have let you play if you hadn’t called me sugar.”

“That name sure doesn’t fit you, does it? Not so sweet.”

“I don’t know about that.” A new voice stopped me in my tracks, made me hang my drink in the air a breath before the edge touched my lip.

It can’t be…

“I had this coffee drink one time called The Desert Dog, and it had a mix of brown sugar and cayenne pepper—sweet as hell but with a kick. What I learned was that cowards need sugar without the spice—for the rest of us, we’re just fine with a bit of heat,” the new man finished, his lips pulled into a smile that twisted my stomach.

I pressed the glass to my lips and sipped my whiskey as a way to hide my reaction while I stared at Dane, who looked so much the same even after ten years. His hair was still short and messy, and he had that five-o’clock shadow that always made him appear disheveled.

And his silver tongue was every bit as talented, if his little pick-up line said anything.

About the Author:

Jayce Carter lives in Southern California with her husband and two spawns. She originally wanted to take over the world but realized that would require wearing pants. This led her to choosing writing, a completely pants-free occupation. She has a fear of heights yet rock climbs for fun and enjoys making up excuses for not going out and socializing.

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A Valentine to Day For by Aver Rigsley – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Aver Rigsley, who is celebrating the recent release of A Valentine to Die For, the first book in Noir Nights series. Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Having a secret admirer can be deadly.

Ricky Morris, private investigator on New York’s elite Upper East Side, has forged a shady yet profitable life as a gumshoe for wealthy Manhattanites after burning the bridge to his law enforcement past. When women in the city are targeted by a sweet-toothed murderer in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, the last thing Ricky expects is to be hired by the younger brother of the man who ruined his life.

Timothy Ward, young, fresh patrolman for the N.Y.P.D. who never thought he’d have to step outside the law, finds himself in desperate need of Ricky’s help when he fears his brother, James Ward, the Deputy Chief, could be behind the killing spree.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, both men will have to work in the shadows, putting their careers and lives on the line to get to the bottom of the murderer’s sickly sweet and cruel plans. That is, if the burning heat of undeniable—and very forbidden—lust between them doesn’t consume them in the flames of reckless desire first…

Reader advisory: This book contains period-typical attitudes including slurs. There are mentions of on-page gunplay, and a slow-burn between the main characters over the course of the series.

Enjoy an Excerpt

February 1954. New York City.

“Mrs. Banks…this is going to be hard to hear.”

“What exactly are you telling me, Mr. Morris?”

Ricky’s head was pounding, right behind his eyes and down the back of his neck. A full-blown shit-show of a hangover. He took a last puff of his cigarette and smooshed the butt of it out in the ashtray.

“I’m sorry to say, but it’s what you were afraid of.”

“I knew it,” she snapped, her ruby-painted lips pursed tight. “I just knew it.”

“Unfortunately, I have photo evidence here of your husband, on multiple occasions, visiting, let’s say…some of the less savory parts of the city, ma’am.”

He reached into the top drawer of his desk, plucked out a glossy photograph and slid it across for Mrs. Banks to inspect.

“And who is she? Who is the whore?”

“Actually, there are three different broads here.” He pulled out a couple more photos, a short stack of four-by-five gelatin silver prints that he had developed himself in his makeshift darkroom. He laid the photos out, candid shots of Mr. Banks in his snazzy Buick Roadmaster, ladies hanging in through the passenger-side window, sitting beside him in the car, kissing the side of Mr. Banks’ thick neck—and those were just the photos that were considered decent compared to the others processing down the hall.

“I should have goddamn known. Theo is a f****** pig and always has been.”

Ricky raised his eyebrows but kept his cool, nodding to make her feel better. That was just Mrs. Banks—that sharp tongue of hers was very unladylike, no matter how expensive her silk pantyhose and real mink coat were, or how many strands of pearls she looped over her hand-tailored housedress.

Regardless, she wasn’t wrong about Mr. Banks. Ricky had spent the last week tailing Theodore Banks around the Financial District. Theo was a man who knew how to make dough. A pencil-pushing broker, Banks was the perfect example of a man whose money didn’t buy happiness. His wife was half his age—a stunning doll in her own right—and Ricky had noticed the moment they’d met how well she presented herself. She was a real looker of a dame, but Theo had a wandering eye and a penchant for not keeping his prick in his pants.

It was sort of pathetic how easy it had been to track him down and snap the photos of him getting a messy blow job in the front seat of his Buick. The fella had hardly lasted more than five minutes. Ricky did not envy Mrs. Banks, the poor woman, considering what she must deal with in the marital bed.

“What the hell am I supposed to do now?” she asked, digging into her handbag and rummaging around before pulling out a sleek chrome cigarette case. She popped the clasp and pulled out a menthol from the red velvet-lined inside. Her hands were shaking.

“Here, let me.” Ricky stood and leaned over the desk, offering her a light from his silver Zippo. Her red lips wrapped around the end of the cigarette and smoke curled up as she took the first few puffs.

“Thank you,” she said.

“Of course, and, Mrs. Banks? As for the…delicate predicament you find yourself in…”

“Yes?”

“As I see it, your best course of action would be to pursue a legal divorce.”

“Divorce? Like hire a lawyer?”

“That would be what I would do in your position, ma’am. You’ve suffered long and hard from a husband who is not only an adulterer, but who has also been recklessly spending your household income on lewd, and may I add, illegal activities.”

“Well, yes. Who knows how much money he’s thrown away on those filthy prostitutes?”

“Exactly, ma’am. May I ask, Mrs. Banks, is your name also on all your husband’s accounts?”

“Yes…”

“Well, I’m certain that if you ask a bank teller to show you all withdrawal statements for the past few months, you will see quite a bit of cash being removed. I could even give you the dates that all these photographs were taken, which I suspect would match the same dates of the withdrawals. On top of that,” Ricky said, hardly feeling the pounding headache as he played his role of charming confidant, “while these photos here might be argued against and possibly dismissed by the right defender in a court of law, I have in my possession downright illicit photographs that would be impossible to sweep under the rug. The more proof of the wrongdoing built against the accused, the better chance the court will grant you a larger portion of your husband’s estate.”

“Is that so?” Her cigarette smoldered forgotten between her fingers, her hands no longer shaking.

“Yes, indeed. Between the photos I have and any bank statements showing the frivolous spending, you could make out with quite a pretty penny, Mrs. Banks. More than enough, I’d say, to keep a lady such as yourself very comfortable.”

“At least until I find a second husband,” she quipped. “I can’t help but notice that you aren’t wearing a wedding band, Mr. Morris. Are you single? Or maybe that quiet blonde girl at the door is your girlfriend?”

“You mean Liz? No, she’s just my secretary and close friend. And I have never been interested in marriage. I’m a simple bachelor and I enjoy it that way.”

“Such a shame,” she said. “So, what do I owe you? For your services, and for those other photographs you mentioned. I would very much like to purchase those as well.”

“In my line of work as a private investigator, I am often the bearer of bad news, and I feel terrible for your hardship, ma’am, so I’ll give you a courtesy discount. It would be my honor. How about we call it…eight hundred and fifty for everything, and I’ll be happy to have done business with you, Mrs. Banks.”

“Do you accept traveler’s checks?”

“Of course, ma’am.”

“Splendid.” She dug around in her handbag again, and Ricky leaned back in his chair. He lit a new cigarette, pleased with himself. Tonight, he was going to order a juicy steak dinner with all the fixings and a hefty glass of whiskey to go along with it. Jobs like these were perfect for milking desperate housewives. Show them a few pictures of their sleazy asshole husbands, and they turned to putty in his hands. Gold-diggers like Mrs. Banks were the best kind of all—all too eager to spend their husband’s money.

She handed over the checks, almost nine-hundred-bucks’ worth, and Ricky tucked them safely into his desk drawer.

“Much thanks indeed, ma’am.”

“Thank you, Mr. Morris. I will be sure to mention your name if any of my friends need similar help.”

“That’s all I can ask for, ma’am. You know where to send them. My door is always open to those in need.”

If they had the green for it. Simple as that.

About the Author:Aver Rigsly was born and raised in the Boston, Massachusetts area and spends her days working at a travel agency in Quincy. Some of her favourite places to visit are Washington D.C., Bangor, Maine, and most of all New York City. When she isn’t working a trip or writing LGBTQA+ romance obsessively, she spends her free time relaxing with knitting, needlepoint, video games, or marathoning horror movies with the family.

First for Romance Author Page | Goodreads

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The Love Token by Raven McAllan – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Raven McAllan who is celebrating the recent release of The Love Token. Enter the Rafflcopter below for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Spies, smugglers, scandals. Stealth, seduction and sex. All they had to do was decide which was theirs to take and what had to be earned. And hope they reached their happily ever after.

Jonathon, Viscount Carville, soldier, spy and would-be lover of Miss Miranda Riston, has accepted a mission to discover who is smuggling contraband into East Yorkshire. Her papa, however, is convinced Jonathon is dead, and wishes her to marry elsewhere. Miranda refuses and is delighted to find Jonathon is very much alive but working undercover on behalf of the British Government.

More is at stake than just a few shillings of tax duty owed.

Among their close friends and acquaintances there is a traitor working against the crown on behalf of Emperor Napoleon. Danger threatens as they seek to discover the identity of their treacherous foe.

Who is an innocent pawn? And who is not all they seem?

It’s a puzzle that must be solved if they are to get the happy ever after they long for.

Enjoy an Excerpt

February 1818

Miranda Riston stared at her parents in horror. Surely they must be mad? Addle-pated and, not to put a finer point on it, ready to be admitted to Bedlam. Otherwise, why on earth would they suggest such a thing?

“Do I understand you correctly?” she said with deliberate care as she did her best not to lose her temper and show herself in a less than rational manner. Even if she was of a mind to scream like a fishwife and throw things. “You think I should become betrothed to Edward Twain? Viscount Carville’s younger brother?” Over my dead body—or yours. “Never in a million years.” Apart from the fact Edward had an understanding with another young lady, he was one of her beloved Jonathon’s siblings.

The least effectual one. The one who moaned and whinged and assumed almost everyone was against him.

She wasn’t against him, but if she were honest, she had little time for his attitude and feeling of entitlement. If he had worked with Jonathon and helped to create a strong and growing family estate, she probably wouldn’t have been so critical, but as far as she could tell, he had not.

Jonathon. Who worked tirelessly for his family and country and was happy not to be recognised for all he achieved. He just, as he’d once said, “got on with what had to be done and did it without a fuss”. “Fussing”, he had added with a grin, “was so much effort for very little reward”. Unless it was over her.

Miranda had laughed.

If only he was there now to say the same things. She put one hand over the necklace she had worn under her gown for the past three years. The tiny blue sapphire in half of a silver four leaf clover. A symbol, he had said, of his love for her. My lover. Even if he never became her husband, he was the one man she’d given herself to gladly, and she would do so again as easily as before.

“You are nigh on the shelf. It is a good alliance,” her papa said in a ‘listen to me, I am your parent’ voice. “He is the heir, and it will cement your future.”

There had to be more to it than that. “He is not the heir,” Miranda said firmly. Why on earth did they think that? Unless they knew something she didn’t. That was not anything to bear thinking about. “Jonathon is the heir as you well know.”

Jonathon.

The only man she would ever love. The one man who she admitted she would go to the ends of the earth for.

The man she had spent one magical night with, learning all about love and sex. How to pleasure and be pleased.

About the Author After 30 plus years in Scotland, Raven now lives near the east Yorkshire coast, with her long-suffering husband, who is used to rescuing the dinner, when she gets immersed in her writing, keeping her coffee pot warm and making sure the wine is chilled.

With a new home to decorate and a garden to plan, she’s never short of things to do, but writing is always at the top of her list.

Her other hobbies include walking along the coast and spotting the wildlife, reading, researching, cross stitch and trying not to drop stitches as she endeavours to knit.

Being left-handed, and knitting right-handed, that’s not always easy.

She loves hearing from her readers.

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I’ve Landed a Personal Interview with Svadishana Caroline Elizabeth Lindqvist In Her Private G650 by Emancietta “Emasculetta” Berkley – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

I’ve Landed a Personal Interview With Svadishana Caroline Elizabeth Lindqvist
In Her Private G650

I wouldn’t have stood a newt’s chance in hell to get this interview if not for the huge help of Ms Alyssa Lenz, who is Dr Lindqvist’s BFF since preparatory school.

Dr Lindqvist is more formidable in person than the stunning beauty of the media dazzle-‘em-senseless snatches. Her presence is naturally dominant, with no conscious effort. Part of her, like her golden skin. Beauty like hers could stop the Earth spinning around its axis, if the Earth had eyes. I have 30 seconds, so I plunge in.

EB: I hear you’ve finally met Europe’s undisputed Sexiest Heartthrob, Roman Castell.
[She looks at me with a quiff of her brow. Her eyes – lethal. The most gorgeous shades of grey-blue-turquoise-mother-of-pearl blends I ever saw. They stand out like stars at midnight in rural Australia. She absolutely rocks her genes]

SL: Indeed I have.

[I realize that’s all the answer I’m getting. She gave me half a minute, for crying out loud.]

SL: You accepted thirty seconds, Ms Berkley. You have twenty-one seconds left.

[I snap out of it]

EB: Your first meet—

[She cuts me off. She already figured where I’m going with the question]

SL: My impression? I believe Mr. Castell is fast, whatever he sets his mind on doing or achieving. He possibly lands on it at one hundred kph and still floors the accelerator all the way. It most likely forces him to crash-land often. And even then, he doesn’t quite apply the brakes. That was my first impression of him the first time I met him, Ms Berkley. That impression hasn’t changed.
[You’re worse than him, I think again, deciding that I’ll fill in most of the interview on my desk with descriptions of her jet and the now disappeared personnel who had just served us vintage Krug in tulips. I also have some photos from Ms Lenz’ websites. We sit facing each other in the spacious cabin, which is done up in minimalist but not frugal style. Huge designer panoramic windows – can one really call them portholes, I wonder? Dubs of beige, grey and turquoise-blue. I rest my arse on the seat with her initials like some sort of monogram: SCEL]

EB: Any plans to see Mr. Castell again, Dr. Lindqvist?

SL: That’s a question you should ask Ms Lenz. Ay you know, she’s the one romantically liaised with Mr. Castell. I met him through her.

EB: But his interests are in you.

SL: Wrong, Ms Berkley. His interests have lost nothing in me. There’s hardly enough room in me for my own interests.

[Damn. She really is worse than him]

EB: I think you know what I mean, Dr. Lindqvist.

[She smiles at me in a way that brings the cavewoman in me to the fore, hackles up: You can’t go having all the Alphas mounting you, you witch; we Beta females need f*ucks and spanking bairns too! And yet, even while I bristle, I can’t help thinking what an absolutely gorgeous pair they would make. He wants her with a vengeance, if what he told me in our one-minute-and-a-bit interview was the truth.]

SL: You think I read minds. [It’s a statement] I don’t. And your time is up, Ms Berkley. Thank you for stopping by. I have a skip over to Hong Kong to hop. [She calls out to Alyssa Lenz at the other end of the cabin] Hey, girlfriend. We’re done here.

I sigh but I know this is it. Thirty seconds agreed, thirty seconds given. To the dot. Break the Agreement and it’s your last interview with her ever. We haven’t even touched the champagne tulips. And I want more interviews with her in the future, so I behave.

I discreetly take more pics of her Gulf650 cabin on the way out, accompanied by Alyssa. Of course I couldn’t photograph her – part of the Agreement. But there were tons of photos of her on the Internet; you only had to know where to look.

I look over my shoulder at her as I leave – she’s got her laptop open again and she is bent over it, working. I think of some of us less privileged ladies who are reported to bitch and call her Ms Bank of Mum & Dad. Now I have the begrudging but strong feeling that Beauty does work hard for her Beast. If only… well, you know – the cavewoman in us all that survived the evolutionary processes by choosing who gets to make us pregnant and can protect us and our children?

So, if only she wasn’t such an effortlessly-Alpha-male-magnetic-field…

Golden_Shana_Der_Jaeger

An evening at the La Scala in Milan twirls the lives of five people into a web of rivalry, intrigues, heartaches, obsession, murder, loss, and revenge.

“… for those who love selective eroticism with substance. An exciting and sophisticated erotic thriller for the astute romance reader, woman or man.”

Love, a word Roman can hardly spell, hits him when he sees Shana one evening. She’s the first woman not dropping to her knees at his mere presence. Used to getting whatever he wants, he chases her. Only to discovers that she prefers the girls. Roman can’t let that deter him. But is he for once up against his own comeuppance? At any rate, he needs assistance, which comes in the form of Alyssa, Shana’s BFF. Trouble crops up when Alyssa is all too ready and willing to drop on her knees for him.

Roman can’t get anywhere near Shana on his own. Would he start anything with Alyssa as long as this finally leads him to meet Shana in person?

Then there’s Marie, his current companion, who has a life-changing surprise for him.

Roman: I never chased after a woman. Then I caught a glimpse of the woman I would kneel for, but didn’t even know her name. Heck, I determined to find her if it took me the rest of my life.

Shana: He stood in the room with her. The frisson in the currents freaking between them knocked her senseless. The mutual force of predator and prey, blasting into her core … her soul … Danger. Keep far away from him.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Was it love I felt for Svadishana? A woman I’d spoken three whiny words – Please call me! – to? Was it more than simple lust and desire? Did I want to possess more than just her body? Pondering these questions alone was so unlike me. That woman had turned me into an alien even unto my own self. What I felt, my inner voice said, was more than the thrill of the hunt. More than lust, desire, need, passion, the excitement of possession, and subjugation. Of course all that was part of it. But the basis or the source, the seedbed on which all that sprouted and was growing to full blossom in me, could well be something else.

When I thought of her, saw her image from Milan in my mind, watched how she moved in long smooth strides in YouTube, my brow beaded with sweat. I couldn’t pull my gaze away from the few photos I’d fished out of the Internet. Group photos at a family birthday or the authorized biography of her father. Her movements in a YouTube conference clip were springy and powerful even in their smoothness. She exuded strength all over the place, laughing, talking, gesticulating.

A breath-taking beauty. Such beauty that I dared not believe it at times.

And brains to go with it.

In love or not, I knew what I wanted and Svadishana was the answer. I wanted her and would do anything short of suicide to get her. Who knows – perhaps when it came to that as the only means available, I’d really murder too. I didn’t in the least care about the consequences, as long as they got me to where I wanted to get to.

Svadishana’s arms and knickers and… heart?

What obsession, Roman. Get back to real.

No chance. Real was Svadishana.

About the Author:

IMG_0350JPG

A P von K’Ory writes the kind of books she herself would like to read and is passionate about, whether romance, psychological thriller or nonfiction. She is the winner of six awards from four continents, the last one being the Achievers Award for Writer of the Year 2013 in the Netherlands. The Selmere Integration Prize was awarded her in 2014 for her engagement in helping African Women in the Diaspora cope with a variety of domestic and social problems. The Proposal, a short story, won the Cook Communications first prize in 2010 and is published in an American anthology Africa 2012. In 2012, she won the Karl Ziegler Prize for her commitment to bring African culture to Western society in various papers, theses, and lectures. Again in 2012, her book Bound to Tradition: The Dream was nominated for the 2012 Caine Prize by the Author-me Group, Sanford, and in 2013 she was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize.

Von K’Ory is married to an aristocrat and politician of Franco-German descent, has a large extended family. She lectures Economics and Sociology in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. She’s migratory and – weather willing – lives in Germany, France, Cyprus, and Greece.

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The Journeyman’s Trial by Lisabet Sarai – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Lisabet Sarai who is celebrating the recent release of The Journeyman’s Trial, book 2 of Lisabet Sarai’s steam punk erotica saga The Toymaker’s Guild. Lisabet is giving away a $25 book store gift certificate to one reader during her tour. Contest ends on January 13, 2022. Special deal! Get The Pornographer’s Apprentice, The Toymakers Guild Book 1, for only 99 cents during the tour!

If she builds it, will they come?

Technically brilliant and thoroughly wanton, Gillian Smith has found her vocation: designing innovative erotic devices for the Toymakers Guild. Lust is a lubricant to creativity at Randerley Hall. But what happens when two Toymakers fall in love?

The Guild’s tribe of talented, uninhibited engineers has embraced Gillian as one of their own. Edward Thorne, the perverse genius who founded the Guild, undertakes to train her in the skills she’ll need as a journeyman, from practical mind-reading to transcendental orgasms.

As Gillian labours to impress the charismatic Master, her enigmatic fellow journeyman Rafe both entices and frustrates her. Their passion seems to go beyond mere appetite, but in Randerley’s promiscuous and permissive environment, does love make any sense?

When the Toymakers receive a commission to equip London’s most exclusive brothel with the latest sexual technology, Gillian has the chance to demonstrate her formidable abilities as well as to help Rafe exorcise the demons of his past. She doesn’t realize she’ll be forced to choose between Rafe and her future in the Guild.

Read an Excerpt

Christmas at Randerley was a more sedate affair than Gillian had expected, partly because the Master had invited the entire household. As the apprentices and journeymen gathered around the gaily decked tree on Christmas morning, they were joined by Henderson the butler, Mrs Jones from the kitchen, her scullery boy Jim, Pete Murphy, and a compactly built young woman with a crown of ash-blond braids, wearing a grey uniform with a white collar and apron. Gillian had assumed that the steam-powered robots that hurtled up and down Randerley’s corridors handled all the cleaning, but perhaps this girl was responsible for the more complicated aspects of domestic management.

The Master, with his characteristic discernment, noticed Gillian’s curiosity. He gestured at the young and rather pretty stranger. “I gather you’ve not met Emily. She joined us a few weeks ago.”

Given that Gillian had spent the bulk of her time over the last month working in the laboratory, her failure to notice the new maid was not that surprising. She gave the young woman a warm smile. “I’m pleased to meet you, Emily. I’m Gillian Smith.”

Emily’s eyes focused intently on Gillian’s face. After a short pause, she nodded and returned the smile, but not the greeting. Gillian glanced at the Master.

“Emily comes from a village west of here,” he commented. “A childhood fever left her unable to hear, and she’s quite reluctant to speak. However, she can understand what we say by reading our lips.”

A deaf-mute servant! That was certainly convenient for protecting Randerley’s secrets! Gillian’s initial sympathy for the maid quickly transformed into admiration as the girl circulated among the Guild and household members with a tray of eggnog. Emily moved with quiet grace, a self-assured presence that made her a delight to watch. Very likely she knew that she was fortunate to have found work here. Gillian did not doubt that the Master paid her generously.

Rafe sidled up and slipped an arm around Gillian’s waist, distracting her from Emily’s trim figure. He planted a quick, nutmeg-flavoured kiss on her lips, but somewhat to Gillian’s regret did not take further liberties. More quickly than she would have liked, he released her. Slipping his hand into his trousers pocket, he extracted a box about three inches long and half as deep, wrapped in brown paper and tied with green twine.

He offered her the diminutive parcel. “Happy Christmas to you, Jill.”

“Oh, Rafe! That’s very sweet of you, but really, you should not have gone to the trouble.” Guilty embarrassment made her blush. In fact, she’d been so focused on her work that the question of Christmas gifts had never even entered her mind.

She shifted the package from one hand to the other. It was unexpectedly heavy. What could it be? She hoped he hadn’t spent a lot of money on her. Thankfully, the box was the wrong shape for a ring. Last night she’d told him she loved him. The declaration had been sincere, but still, she couldn’t possibly accept a ring as a gift, given the implications.

“Open it,” he urged.

Gillian glanced around the drawing room. Everyone seemed engrossed in their own conversations, sipping their eggnog and nibbling the gingerbread fingers Mrs. Jones had provided. The Master sat on the chaise near the tree, Amelia at his right hand and Roderick on the left. Both of them half-turned toward him as if to catch some words of wisdom. Jia was ensconced in one of the wingback chairs by the fire, with Ian perched on one arm, Tug on the other, and Archie on the ottoman by her feet. Lucy gestured dramatically as she related some funny story to Pete Murphy and Emily. The groundskeeper chuckled, while the tidy little maid nodded and smiled.

No one was paying any heed to her and Rafe.

With a touch of trepidation, she pulled on the end of the twine. The bow came loose and the paper unfolded, revealing a box of unvarnished wood. She turned it over several times, as Rafe grinned. “What is it?” she asked finally.

“Check the front panel,” he told her. Sure enough, there was a barely visible depression near the bottom edge on one side. She centred her thumb in the dent and pushed away from her. The thin wooden sheet slid upward along a pair of grooves. Nestled in the soft red wool lining was a miniature hourglass.

She extracted the instrument and cradled it in her palm, a bit puzzled. “It’s lovely,” she told him. The sand inside was white as the snow outside. “Thank you.”

“I made it especially for you. Blew the glass and brazed the enclosure.”

“You made it? Oh my!” She examined the item with more care, noting a few minor imperfections that marked it as handmade. A comfortable warmth settled in her chest and her residual guilt evaporated. “Your versatility continues to amaze me, Rafe. But why?”

“I wanted to give you a Christmas gift.”

“No, I mean, why an hourglass?”

Taking the artefact from her, he turned it on its end and placed it on a nearby occasional table. Sand flowed smoothly from the top orb to the bottom through the narrow waist. “To continue your lessons in patience,” he told her, arching an eyebrow. “For instance, I won’t touch you again until all the sand has collected in the bottom.”

Gillian burst into laughter. “That’s hardly a lesson,” she countered. “I doubt it will take more than a minute to empty the top chamber.”

“Well, that depends.” He lifted the device, fiddled with a tiny thumbscrew between the two globes, then set it down again. The flow of sand slowed to the point that it was almost imperceptible. “Now what do you think?” he asked. “Can you wait until the sand runs out?”

Gillian gazed into his dark eyes, full of love and challenge. “You rogue!” She licked her lips. “Can you?”

She yearned to grab him, despite their very public situation. She wanted to drag his mouth to hers and run her hands along his muscled back, down to his firm buttocks. He could tease her, could pretend he’d mastered his own lust, but now she knew better.

About the Author: Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – over one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

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