Griffin Days and Pixie Nights by Bailey Bradford – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Bailey Bradford, who is celebrating the recent release of Griffin Days and Pixie Nights, the third book in the Fire & Flutter 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.

The kingdom’s most focused griffin shifter and its slackest pixie. It’s a match made in what the hell?

Gage is the most dedicated of the kingdom’s powerful griffin shifter Guardians. He’ll do anything to close a case…even if his commander says not to. Now Gage is fuming. Being reassigned to the World Magic Convention is bad enough. Babysitting the keynote speaker is worse. But the absolute pits? He has to work with a good-for-nothing pixie!

Daire the pixie is a lazy ne’er-do-well chancer…one who’s failed to charm his green-eyed, pointed-eared way out of trouble this time and is on his last chance. Being given community service is crap. Doing it as local liaison at some stupid convention is even crappier. But the crappiest of all? He has to work with a stick-up-his-ass griffin!

Sparks blaze, the pair get into a heated fight…and have the hottest sex ever. And that’s just their first meeting. Morning brings not just shock and remorse, but the loss of the VIP they were guarding, kidnapped while they were…busy. Hells! But Gage has never failed on a mission yet, and Daire doesn’t want a prison stretch, so there’s only one thing to do.

Form the unlikeliest partnership ever and solve the case themselves.

And try not to have sex or kill each other along the way…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of slightly off-page body piercing, med fet, and the use of hypnosis and spells.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Sir!” The guard on duty outside the two-room suite in the Griffin Guardians HQ sprang to attention at Captain Gage’s approach. He snapped out a smart salute, but his hand fell when Gage didn’t march past but instead stood waiting in the corridor. “Sir…?” he repeated, uncertainly.

“As you were.” Gage jerked his head to one side, illustrating how he wanted the corporal—returned to his position in between the doors and not in front of one of them.

The guard took a quick glance at the sheet of parchment paper pinned to the board on the wall. “Captain, you’re not listed as—”

“Stand aside, Corporal.” Gage added a raised eyebrow to the emphasis he placed on the last word and the junior officer recoiled.

Some officers might have raised their voice, or tapped their uniform badges, drawing the corporal’s attention to the greater number of feathers displayed. That would have reminded the junior who was of a higher rank in the Griffin Guardians, the kingdom’s elite federal law enforcement agency that griffin shifters ran and dedicated their lives to.

Gage never wanted or needed to pull rank, either here inside the HQ or outside. His height and breadth, coupled with his implacable, unflinching manner did it for him. Now was no different—the corporal not only scuttled to one side, but opened the door for him and saluted again. Gage murmured his thanks. While he liked how the junior officer had assessed and regrouped, he didn’t like that a situation demanding such a response existed.

The list displayed outside in the corridor was a symbol of all that was going the wrong way in the Guardians, in Gage’s opinion. This bureaucratic keeping account of which griffin shifter was assigned to which aspect of which case in which room at which time was getting out of claw.

What had Colm said last week? “Pretty soon admin will be assigning us times for bathroom breaks, and probably make us sign in and out of the stall if we take a dump.” It had been a joke, but Gage hadn’t laughed. Not many of them had.

The two first lieutenants on duty in the observation room sprang to their feet, shooting puzzled looks at each other when Gage marched in, but both sat when Gage waved them down.

“Don’t worry. I’m not here to supervise how you’re implementing some new directive that came into force five minutes ago or check if you’re reaching your latest performance targets,” he told them, trying to sound lighter than he felt.

He made straight for the mirror-pane that divided this small room from the equally small but brighter room beyond.

It was a light-mirror, meaning that he couldn’t use it to see his reflection, but he wasn’t there to do that. He knew his uniform would be clean and crisp—Guardians’ uniforms were designed that way—just as his blond hair, short back and sides and longer on top, was regulation length and cut. He bet his face bore the same narrow-eyed, focused look it always did. What he wanted was to look through the light-mirror to its other side.

But what he didn’t expect was that the moment his gaze found the prisoner in the interrogation room, the prisoner would raise his head and stare back at him through the glass.

“The hells?” First Lieutenant Antonin exclaimed. His chair scraped on the floor behind him as he joined Gage. “He can’t see through the glass?”

“He’s a mage,” Gage reminded his fellow officers, spitting the words out. “Who knows what these magic users can do?” His revulsion left a sour taste in his mouth as he continued, “His powers have been dampened, yes?”

“As much as the regs allow, Sir.” First Lieutenant Sandrine joined them at the mirror, giving a choked-off exclamation when the prisoner sent a mocking finger-wave her way.

Gage swore. “This tricky bastard needs neutralizing, stat.”

“I’m afraid we can’t, Sir. Not until the request’s been approved and stamped by two duty officers and the prisoner’s been examined and cleared by the HQ physician.” Antonin tucked his chair back into the table.

“New regulations, Sir,” Sandrine added.

Both Antonin and Sandrine sounded apologetic, but it wasn’t their fault, nor were they telling Gage anything he didn’t know. Neither of those things made the information easier to hear, or the situation any easier to bear, however. Gage’s hand had formed into a fist, and he exhaled as he opened it flat again, wishing he could huff away all the irritation and frustration he was feeling as easily.

Few people could say, their hand on their heart, that they loved their job, and Gage would never say that either, because being a Griffin Guardian was more than a job to him. The corps was his life, and he took pride in the knowledge that he’d given the organization his all since joining the Guardians thirty years ago. That’s good…isn’t it? Laudable? Because lately he’d begun to feel that, well, perhaps it wasn’t.

He hauled in those stray thoughts. If he was feeling that there could perhaps be more to his life, it was because every moon-cycle seemed to bring with it new guidelines and directives, most of them aimed at giving what Gage still thought of as the lesser beings ‘representation’ or ‘a voice’ and making sure the higher beings—sorry, winged beings—didn’t abuse what was becoming increasingly seen as their position of privilege.

Gage wasn’t political or even very aware of interspecies politics. All he knew was that the new social climate made it increasingly hard for him to perform his duties, thanks to the ‘accountability’ and ‘visibility’ and every other hells-be-damned ‘ility’ the Equality Awareness Office dreamed up, and hamstrung the entire corps with, from its five-feathered general down to its lowliest private.

“Rules are one thing,” he muttered. He liked rules. Lived by rules. Wished all the species did, that they followed the same ones as the griffin kingdom did. The griffins’ codes of conduct and honor were revered throughout the plane, as was their ability to impose order, making them the natural choice for a federal law enforcement species. A mission undertaken is a mission accomplished. It was no coincidence that this was the Guardians’ motto. “Rules keep things safe.”

“I’m so sorry about Captain Colm, Sir,” Sandrine said, perhaps catching Gage’s last words.

Gage gave her a brusque nod in acknowledgment. He was sorry too. He’d had Colm as partner for the last ten years of his three decades in the Griffin Guardians, and they worked together well. Colm was as reliable and committed to getting the job done as Gage could want. There were always risks, in the job they did, of course, but to think that that contemptuous bastard sitting there—

“It was an accident. And I have no idea why he was chasing me. Why either of them were, these winged shifter beasts, whatever they were. Dragons, right?”

The mage’s voice held defiance and there was triumph in the gaze he leveled at Gage through the glass as he spoke. But when he added a derisive kiss to the end of his sentence, Gage was out of the observation room and into the one next door almost before he was aware of moving or that he’d had all he could take. He had an assignment and he would do what it took to see it through. That was the way he operated. How he saw the world.

“Out,” he ordered the second lieutenant in the interrogation room before the officer had gotten out the S of Sir. “Now!” he snapped. He rounded on the prisoner the second the door was closed, his eyes narrowed. “So. It’s just you and me now, scum.”

“I’m a mage,” the prisoner snarked. “Which means that I’m—”

“Oh, excuse me. Mage scum,” Gage snapped. “A mage scum con artist who used his ‘magic’ to rob money-vaults and businesses, having found a way around the thief protections. One who I came to question, which, for the record, is why you tried to run, and in your escape, you injured my partner.” He let the fury he felt show.

“What? I did that? Well, that was wrong of me. I made a mistake there.” The mage looked down at the desk in front of him for a few seconds. When he looked up again, his eyes grew darker as he turned his head slowly toward Gage. By the time he stared full force at him, his eyes were completely black, with no white to them at all. The effect was unnerving and the revealed strength of his powers worrying. Gage braced himself.

“Because I was aiming for the both of you.” The mage got to his feet, his movements swift and jerky. Snakelike, almost. “You’re stronger than your partner, though. Colm, wasn’t it? Or isn’t it, if he’s still alive? Pity. A two-for-one hit-and-destroy would have saved me time and effort.”

“Like you’ve saved us time and effort?” Gage kept his voice quiet when he wanted to yell at this piece of troll shit. “By confessing?” He smirked.

“Oh, if only anyone had witnessed it, either visually or audibly.” The mage pulled a pitying face. “If only the mirror-glass hadn’t silvered, and the listening holes hadn’t all blocked.” He gave Gage time to take in his meaning.

What—? Gage took his eyes off the prisoner to throw a glance at the light-mirror and the conduit holes below it.

“Because without a record of this, it’s like I was never here, griffin. And that being the case, I think I’ll be off.” The mage moved.

Instantly, Gage took a step forward to block him. “Oh, we just let you walk out of here, do we?” he scoffed.

The mage shrugged, as if he didn’t care, then brought his hands up at lightning speed and weaved his fingers in a quick, complex pattern. “A state of balance or a lack of motion,” he began, his voice low, and his eyes glowing a molten silver. Before Gage understood or could make him cease, he continued, his volume getting louder with each word, “A slowing or stoppage of a flow.”

He brought his hands together on the last word, the clap loud, and the stasis spell he’d cast hit Gage like a punch to the stomach. It didn’t have him staggering backward or knock him onto his ass like a physical blow would, though. Instead, it trapped him in place, unable to move. With a caw of triumph, the prisoner thumbed his nose at Gage, opened the door and walked out.

No. No no no! We should have neutered him, regulations be damned! Gage heaved in a breath, fighting with all his strength. That troll-dung mage had said Gage was stronger than his partner, which was true, but not true enough. Gage was stronger than any Griffin Guardian currently in the corps or in its records. He trained and honed the strength and resistance in his muscles and sinews and mind and spirit, increasing year-on-year what he could battle—and defeat.

Fighting the spell cast on him was like pulling himself along a too-narrow corridor whose walls were lined with broken glass, but he ignored the jagged shards ripping into him and actually—he saw, glancing down—rending his uniform and cutting his flesh. The pain barely registered and any spots of blood staining the gray tunic and pants vanished, just as rips in the fabric disappeared.

With one final almighty heave Gage was free. Panting, he shook off the remains of the stasis bind to hurl himself to the door. The mage was at the end of the corridor by now, and there was enough of his residual power left dusted on Gage for Gage to see the outline of the shield spell the prisoner had cloaked himself in.

The pull of the magic used snapped from its victim to its caster, the rogue mage who stopped in his tracks and turned around. The drop of the prisoner’s jaw on seeing Gage free was the only amusing thing about the situation. The mage whipped around again and broke into a run.

“Stop!” Gage yelled, and the command in his voice had everyone freezing…everyone except the one he wanted to, the one who was making for the large window at the end of the corridor.

The mage ran faster, gathering speed and power. If that didn’t give a hint about his escape plan, the hissed incantation and his hand outstretched toward the window did. A crack and the glass was gone. It hadn’t shattered, but vanished, leaving the window frame gaping empty. The mage had already demonstrated an affinity with glass, but Gage had no intention of letting the bastard use it as an exit route. He sped up too.

“Captain, you can’t!” Second Lieutenant Ralnd yelled behind him.

Oh, but Gage could. This was his case and he was doing whatever it took to close it.

Whatever it took.

About the Author A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn’t happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey’s brain demanding to be let out.

Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey’s office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey’s presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.

First for Romance Author Page | Goodreads

Buy the book at your favorite online venue or First for Romance.

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In Deep by Bailey Bradford – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Bailey Bradford who is celebrating today’s release of In Deep, the first book in her Hooked on You series. Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card!

Titus wanted a summer fling—then he wanted more…

Titus Eisenhower loves his job as an elementary school teacher in a small Texas town. Sure, he has to be careful, but not being out is fine with him since he’s not interested in dating another man after his last relationship went so badly. But now he’s got the career he’s always wanted, a safe place to be and friends. Isn’t that everything he’s dreamed of?

But when he meets a man he can’t resist, Titus realizes he’s stifled a part of himself…and a part of his dream. He can’t trust another man ever again, but he can manage a little summer fling, right? Wrong—everything about the mysterious Draven calls to him, and the two share a connection Titus has never dreamed of.

That’s already mind-blowing, but learning the truth about Draven is world-shattering. With evil threatening, and old enemies closing in, Titus will have to believe in things he didn’t know were possible if he and Draven are to stand a chance…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of fighting, reference to murder and abusive relationships and arson.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published as Across the Tides. It has been revised and reedited for publication with Pride Publishing.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Come on, kids, let’s see if we can find any shells!” Titus Eisenhower nodded to the parent volunteers forming a human wall between the Pre-K children and the ocean, keeping the kids from getting in past their ankles. The annual field trip to the beach was one of the highlights of the school year for the kids and teachers alike.

Seeing the children’s faces lit up with joy, hearing their shrieks of—mostly—laughter, watching them run and splash in the bit of water they could reach…it made his heart swell every single time he got to take part in this trip, and this was his fifth with one of his classes.

The other teachers were at his sides, vigilant, but when it came to children and water, all parents, all adults, needed to be watching the whole group.

This year’s parents were great. He’d only had one pissed-off dad who had refused to let his child go since he couldn’t just hang out with his kid. Other than that, there’d been plenty of parent volunteers, and, wonder of wonders, they got on well, too. Last year, two of the dads had gotten into a fist fight over some perceived insult. That had been a disaster.

“God, I bet we don’t ever get such a great group of parents again,” said Stacy Evans, his best friend and colleague. She’d been hired the same year he had, and they’d become fast friends. Stacy’s bright-orange hair was all over the place as the beach breeze whipped it about. She shoved uselessly at several flapping strands. “Why, oh why don’t hair ties work for me?”

“Honey, that hair can’t be tamed any more than you can,” quipped Michelle Ochoa. She was older than Titus and Stacy, but not by too many years. “You’re as wild and powerful as the wind.”

Michelle was also Stacy’s girlfriend, though no one but Titus knew that.

Stacy laughed. “Whatever. When I’m blinded by my own hair, then what’ll I do?”

“Mr. Eisenhowew, I finded a shell!” Little Bobby Garza hopped in place as he waved a sandy glob in the air. “Wook!”

Titus grinned and jogged over to Bobby before squatting so he could be eye to eye with the boy. “Hey, you did! That’s awesome! Want to dip it in the next wave and see if we can get the sand off?”

“Yes!” Bobby’s delighted shriek made Titus’ ears ache, but the rest of him filled with sheer wonder and delight. He loved his job, and he loved the kids, loved seeing them grow and learn. It made him less cynical every time he saw the world shine in a child’s eyes.

“Then let’s do it.”

Titus got the other kids to show their treasures. A couple were upset that they didn’t find good shells, but, overall, everything was going surprisingly well.

After they’d got the kids lined up—and allowed the parent volunteers to take their kids home in their own vehicles, rather than making them ride the buses—Titus took a moment to look back at the ocean. The waves were slight, which was normal for this area of the coast. It was only one-thirty in the afternoon, so the sun was high and bright, the reflection on the water exquisite in its beauty.

“Just think…next weekend, we’re going to be here in our own beachfront condo, partying—or relaxing, more likely—for a whole seven days,” Stacy said, her soft voice breaking into Titus’ quiet appreciation of the view.

Not that he minded. He grinned at Stacy. “You and me and some margaritas,” he promised.

Stacy nodded. “Darn right. I’m so looking forward to it.”

“Me, too.” Titus and Stacy had started their beach tradition their first year at the school. Michelle and Stacy hadn’t been dating then. They’d fallen for each other a little over two years ago, but Michelle didn’t come to the beach vacations. She had prior commitments with her family in Michigan that took her away.

Titus privately thought Michelle didn’t want to intrude, and he had mixed feelings about that. He didn’t want to be a third wheel, but he hated to think Stacy might regret Michelle not being there.

“Stop brooding,” Stacy said, poking his arm. “You’re going to get wrinkles all over your forehead and around your eyes before you hit thirty if you keep doing that.”

“I wasn’t brooding,” Titus protested, immediately trying to smooth out his features.

“Yeah? Then what were you frowning at?” Stacy asked.

“Y’all need to hurry up—we have to get on the road,” Michelle called out to them.

“Oops, we’re holding everyone up.” Titus grinned, relieved at being saved from having to answer Stacy’s question.

“I’ll keep bugging you until you answer me,” Stacy promised as they rushed to the buses.

Titus could have protested, but he knew better. Besides, all he had to do was tell Stacy the truth—he didn’t want her to feel like Michelle wasn’t welcome.

But he’d keep the other truth to himself—that he was lonely, and when he’d looked out over the water, that sense of loneliness had permeated his happiness, and now, melancholy lingered in the place where joy had been. Yes, I’ll definitely keep that secret.

About the Author: A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn’t happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey’s brain demanding to be let out.

Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey’s office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey’s presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.

Goodreads | Website | Blog

Buy the book at your favorite online venue or First for Romance.

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Antiques by Bailey Bradford – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Bailey Bradford who is celebrating today’s release of Antiques, the second book in the Intrinsic Values series. Enter and get a FREE romance book from the author!

Elliot Douglas lived his life on the sidelines—until Drew Harrington smashed front and center into it…

Since rebuilding his life, Elliot Douglas has led a quiet existence, hiding behind a routine and the old-fashioned clothes and behavior that make him seem older than his early forties. Now he’s taking one step at a time toward creating a more fulfilling life…one in which his sexual needs to submit are met.

However, baby steps are left behind when he meets Detective Andrew Harrington.

A driven—some say obsessed—Scotland Yard detective, Drew lives by compartmentalizing, focusing on his work and, as a Dom, enjoying BDSM sex as a stress relief. On the track of stolen paintings, he’s traced them to San Antonio, where he’s distracted from the case by an infuriatingly handsome antiques trader who’s not as predictable or fuddy-duddy as he wants the world to think.

Intrigued, Drew’s drawn to that mystery as much as the one he’s there to solve, which blindsides him.

Elliot and Drew’s attraction is instant, and their feelings strong, especially when Drew poses as Elliot’s boyfriend to infiltrate the local antiques scene. But nothing is what it seems—not the case, not Drew…and not even Elliot. With deception all around them, what hope do two men unused to trust and commitment have of a relationship?

Reader advisory: This book contains a scene of on-page stabbing, assault and the threat of sexual assault.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Elliot Douglas knew he should have been hurrying. He detested being late for anything, considering it disorganized at best and impolite at worst, when he prided himself on being neither of those things. In addition, he was very much looking forward to this appointment. No—he very much needed this appointment. While those undeniable facts made him lengthen his stride a tad, his interest in the architecture and design of the houses on the midtown streets he was walking along meant he kept glimpsing things that grabbed his attention.

As the proprietor and manager of San Antonio’s Intrinsic Value antiques shop, his wide-ranging interest in art and design had him taking in everything from the houses’ building styles to their colors and trims. He’d been to many well-known interactive museums and ever since his first visit to this area of San Antonio had thought of it as a living architectural gallery.

His whimsical feeling that he should have a chart or worksheet so he could tick off examples of the different building types all around him made him smile. Maybe he should make something along those lines, some mini poster to be labeled and even colored in? Edwardian, Victorian, Tudor… His quickening steps echoed the rhythm of his thoughts that listed the design styles he passed. I would design that, yes, if I could draw.

Should he have chosen this neighborhood to settle in? The question surged whenever he came here to Tobin Hill, where his love of collectible objects and period pieces had him slowing down to appreciate details of everything from lawn or porch furniture to hanging lanterns or even lampposts that caught his eye. If his pace slackened, it was because of that and nothing to do with him being in his forties. Forty-two wasn’t old, no matter how old-fashioned he was or even how he might feel at times, and Elliot kept his six-foot-plus frame fit and in shape.

But the visual appeal of this community, and the location, so convenient for his store, had him second-guessing yet again the area he’d actually bought real estate in. Well, too bad. With all the work he was putting into his property, he couldn’t see himself moving. And besides, he really liked his house, his refuge from the world.

His destination was in sight, and he hurried up the short drive and onto the small porch of the square ranch-style house, smiling anew as always at the realtor description of these nineteen-seventies stucco properties as “California bungalow style”.

There would be no need to lift the brass knocker, so Elliot raked both hands through his light-brown hair to settle the slightly long waves that sprang from his temples, trying not to think that he’d combed his fingers through where his hair had started to silver. He even went to polish his wire-framed glasses before remembering he didn’t wear them in the daytime any longer…which of course had him blinking, aware of his relatively new contact lenses.

“Lars.” Elliot greeted the man who’d opened the door for him and who now stood back to usher him in with his usual pleasant, welcoming expression.

“Elliot.” Lars was discreet, never saying Elliot’s—or anyone’s name—until the front door was firmly closed. He tended to blend into the room, tasteful yet unremarkable, and was now unobtrusively noting Elliot’s arrival on a slim handheld tablet, the dark-gray cover of which he flipped open and immediately flicked closed again.

The computer equipment had grated on Elliot at first. He wasn’t at all a fan of technology, but he knew he couldn’t expect people to keep track of appointments in ledgers or books these days. And goodness, he had a cellular phone—as he still called it—himself nowadays. A friend from the club where Elliot exercised and swam worked in IT and had helped him choose a sleek, slimline model. Nothing big or bulky or flashy, and Elliot was still in the forgetting it in his office or kitchen phase of coexistence with it.

Karl, the man he was here to see, came out into the waiting room and regarded him. “Good morning, Elliot. Do come on in…or do you need another minute yet to look around and think how you’d decorate and furnish the place?”

He’d told Karl about that silly habit of his, something he did in homes or stores or restaurants, and Karl had found it charming, always remembering it. Elliot gave a rueful nod of acknowledgment and, casting his eyes down, walked past Karl into the next room, where there was calm and peace and barely audible soft music playing. He waited for Karl to enter behind him, close the door and sit, then nod toward a chair for Elliot to seat himself.

“You walked here?” Karl asked, his steely blue eyes catching the light. The morning sun made his neatly groomed dark hair, short beard and mustache shine. He probably chose to sit where he was on purpose and his stillness ensured he’d remain in the light. “Elliot?”

“Oh, excuse me. Wool-gathering. Yes. I like the walk. It’s part of coming here, for me. A warm-up.”

He knew what he meant. The distance was nothing from Intrinsic Value, in the city’s cultural Pearl District, but more of a stretch from his home in Lavaca.

“And you came from home? I’d hate to think you were at work so early.” Karl gave him an assessing once-over. “Help yourself to water.” His short, sharp chin jerk indicated the jug and glasses on the small table. “Have you been overworking since your last visit?”

“Well…” Elliot hedged, pouring himself a little water that he didn’t want and wouldn’t drink.

“Elliot. You know better than that.” Karl sharpened his tone a little. “Tell me.”

He hadn’t gone into recent…incidents in any great detail with Karl but had shared some of what had been happening at the store and with his employees lately. Now he caught Karl up on how things had finally settled down again after the events that had been set in motion when Elliot had purchased items from the Buckman sale.

“I swore off them, but I did go to another estate sale last week actually. There’s the local art and antiques fair coming up soon and I have a list of items to look out for there,” he finished.

“With most of them being for your house, on which you’re still working nonstop,” Karl surmised. Elliot dropped his gaze. “But you’ve found time to relax, to exercise? You look in great shape.”

Elliot’s face heated at the kind words. “Swimming most evenings, and I took up squash again.” More like he’d forced himself. But…

“Excellent. And we’ll have you switching to racquetball soon!” Karl’s eyes gleamed and he stood, motioning Elliot to his feet with a quick crook of his fingers. “It’s time. Go on through.”

Through into what Elliot thought of as the real room, after he’d showered and prepared, of course. Elliot was used to older mirrors, in the store and his house, and tended to avoid modern ones, but the full-length bathroom mirror here didn’t give too stark a reflection. The recessed lighting made his eyes seem more tawny than brown when he peered at his irises, checking on his lenses. Towel tucked around his waist, he walked into the treatment room. The real room.

“Elliot.” Karl coming in the other door caught him by surprise. “You’re not lying down.”

“Sorry,” Elliot muttered.

“Don’t be sorry. Be more obedient.” Karl took off his suit jacket, leaving him in his shirt and vest. He rolled up his sleeves, revealing his muscular forearms. He was powerfully built, with quiet, contained strength.

About the Author A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn’t happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey’s brain demanding to be let out.

Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey’s office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey’s presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.

Goodreads | First for Romance

Buy the book at your favorite online venue or First for Romance.


Destined Predator by Bailey Bradford

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Bailey Bradford who is celebrating the recent release of Destined Predator, the second book in her Wild Ones series. Enter and get a FREE romance book from the author!

Never in his wildest dreams.

Rhett Tucker, a rough, tough, meat-and-potatoes Wyoming rancher, has just about accepted that shifters exist. His little brother Jack is now mated to one, Ben, whose family are the only coywolf—wolf-coyote hybrids—shifters in existence.

Rhett’s also accepted the fact that he’s gay, even if he’s never been with a guy. What he can’t deal with is Ben’s big brother, the swaggering, dominating, permanently smirking Casey. The head of the Akers pack might be their alpha, but he’s not Rhett’s and never will be.

Casey has never met a challenge he didn’t leap at, and he sure wants to jump the handsome rancher’s bones. He sees that under all the bluster, Rhett yearns to submit, and Casey’s more than happy to fulfil Rhett’s needs…when the stubborn man’s ready to admit to them.

But when both humans and coywolves are under attack, there’s no time for Rhett and Casey to do anything but join forces to find out if the inter-shifter battles are starting up again, or if the pack and the Double T Ranch are facing a new and deadly enemy.

One thing’s for sure—any relationship between Rhett and Casey is gonna be wild.

Enjoy an Excerpt


Rhett Tucker, co-owner and boss of Wyoming’s Double T ranch, stared at his reflection in the shaving mirror.

He bobbed down to his right, so his face showed in the corner with the splintered crack. He blinked, then studied his altered image, seeing his strong jaw elongated to exaggerated proportions and, when he ducked lower still, how his hazel eyes fractured and his short dark hair looked long and bushy, like a pelt.


No. That wasn’t right. Wasn’t fair.


He closed his eyes, but it didn’t stop him seeing beasts, the coyote and wolf shifters who’d fought a turf war on Double T land, or the biggest beast of all of them, the one his foreman Ernesto had turned into. A terrifying, giant wolf-demon hybrid out of a nightmare who’d slayed and slaughtered—

Nope, not going there. Tucker bent from the mirror to the sink so he could scoop water onto his face, splashing at any leftover shaving foam then patting with a towel to remove the last traces. He even wiped behind his ears and wriggled the corner of the towel into them, first one, then the other.

Go with cologne? He did have a bottle, and it was a scent he liked, but it’d been a present from his ex-girlfriend, Olivia, and it felt plain wrong to wear it on a date with someone else.
Rhett straightened his shirt—he should have ironed it. “Bathroom steam never works,” he reminded himself, needing to fill the silence. The sound of his voice didn’t work to plug the gap, and he circled back to what had been consuming him since he’d found out…that shifters existed.

He prided himself on being a plain-thinking rancher like his father, one who believed in what he could see and touch, like his land, or his cattle. And now, that included people who turned into animals. Who were animals. Some were murderous, terrifying monsters, and some were, if not angels, then more on the side of good as they went about their lives. Oh, and his brother had fallen hard and fast for one.

And if I can’t handle that, I’ll lose my little brother.

The thought of losing Jack made Rhett’s hands tremble as he tossed the wet towels into the hamper. His chest seized, making him sit on the edge of the tub to catch his breath. He’d accept anything he had to if it meant keeping Jack in his life. They’d only just started growing closer as brothers recently, when Jack had come home after years of them barely staying in touch because he’d lived and worked in New York City. Rhett wasn’t going to mess up again and let Jack get hurt—not by him, and not by anyone else.

I won’t fail him this time, like I did before because I didn’t want to tell him the truth about myself. Because I didn’t want to accept it, either.

Before he could continue his silent castigation, laughter rang out in the hallway, and the bright, joyful sound went a long way to drowning Rhett’s fears.

Hearing Jack so happy was worth anything. Even the scariest monsters in the world couldn’t have kept Rhett from leaving the bathroom so he could see his brother smiling, eyes crinkled at the corners, his mouth in a wide grin, arms around his boyfriend, Ben. Ben the coywolf shifter.

It didn’t matter if Ben was a shifter, not when he was looking at Jack the same way Jack looked at him. Only thing I can do is plow through my fears—or bury ’em as deep as possible. Jack deserved that, and maybe, although Rhett didn’t know him well, Ben did, too. That was what he wanted to believe, anyhow.

“Hey, Rhett.” Ben gave him a nod before pulling a face at Jack. “Oh, what’s your brother gonna think, huh? Him all neat and tidy like that and look at you, with your JBF’d hair.” He knuckled into Jack’s messy head.

Jack snorted and wiggled his butt. “I’ve got a JBF’d something all right, and it isn’t my hair.”

“Jacky-boy, behave!” Ben pretended to fan himself. “You’ll have your big brother blushing.”

“Maybe you should be the one blushing,” Rhett replied, standing his ground as he always did, even in this new situation. “If it’s done right, ya can’t walk for days, and here’s Jack looking ready to go line dancing at Bard’s Saloon, so…” He looked Ben up and down, pursing his lips in concern as fake as Ben’s shock of a moment ago. “I’d hate to think you weren’t treating Jack right.”

“Hey!” Ben’s indignation sounded more genuine now, and he pouted when Jack started chuckling, glared when Rhett sniggered too, then joined in.

Rhett didn’t know which of them laughed the loudest, but by the time he’d gotten his amusement under control, his sides ached, and he was shaking his head. “Aw, man. Y’all are something else.” He went to walk off.


Jack calling his name stopped him. “You doing okay there?” Jack asked. They might not have been close in recent years, but they’d grown up together and each was hard to fool.

“I…” Rhett chewed on his bottom lip a second. “Got some stuff spinning my gears up here.” He tapped his head.

Ben gave him a cool look from where he stood so close to Jack that Rhett couldn’t have swiped a credit card between them. “Stuff like wanting reality to go back to the way it used to be?”

As life should be for a solid, no-frills Wyoming son of the soil who didn’t believe in mumbo-jumbo. Well, that was the question he’d already answered for himself before he’d left the bathroom. Rhett hitched his thumbs through his belt loops and tipped his head back to look down at Ben, slow and easy. “I wouldn’t change anything about this world that makes my brother light up like he does around you.”

“Aww.” Jack’s eyes teared up and he hugged Rhett and, after a second, another pair of arms snaked around them—Ben joining in, too. It took a few seconds, but Rhett relaxed into the group huddle. Well now. How ’bout that.

Ben was the first to pull away. “I have to go. We got a pack run scheduled.”

“Can’t keep your alpha waiting,” Jack replied.

“Yeah, just like your big brother’s word is law too.” Ben wrapped a hand around Jack’s neck to bring him in for a smacking kiss. He slapped Jack’s ass then strolled down the short corridor to the front door, touching the first two fingers of his right hand to his forehead in salute as he went.

The lame joke barely registered with Rhett. His mind was busy thinking about Ben’s oldest brother and alpha of the Akers coywolf pack. Casey. That perma-smirking, cocky, swaggering— Taking in a deep breath, Rhett wrenched himself back to the here and now.

“Hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave,” Jack called after Ben, tilting his head to take in Ben’s rear view, then laughing when Ben slapped his own ass and made a sizzling noise.
Ben didn’t close the door properly after him—Rhett had been meaning to plane it a little smoother, to stop it sticking—so Rhett walked over, intending to close it. Instead, he pushed the door open wider to get some air, never mind that he’d been outdoors all day. Jack joined him, leaning against the other side of the jamb like they were bookends.

“You really okay?” he asked, side-eyeing Rhett. “’S’okay not to be, after all…that.”

“That,” Rhett echoed, looking out over Double T land. “’S’funny—when I run into something new to handle on the ranch, I ask myself, ‘What would Pa do?’ and I usually find the answer, the way forward, you know? Only for ‘that’, well, I got no idea what he would do.”

“I didn’t know him as well as you did,” Jack replied, his words coming slowly. “And I guess I’ve learned more about him since coming back, if not from you, then from people’s stories and memories, here or in town. But I don’t think he’d have known what to do if he discovered shifters existed and that his younger son is destined mate to one of ’em.”

“Y’all might jus’ have the right of it there, son,” said Rhett, his impersonation of Chauncey Tucker’s measured, guarded speech so accurate that it set them both laughing again.

Jack twisted around and took one of the framed photos off the hall table. “I swear, you hold this up in front of your face when you do that, we’d fool anyone he’s still around!”

“Ah reckon we abou’ might,” Rhett couldn’t resist saying, Chauncey-style, as he took the picture to return it to the table. He studied it. He looked like Chauncey—no-time-to-fuss short dark hair and a big and burly frame, although his eyes were a hazel blend of his pa’s brown and his mom’s green—and was like him, too, in his focus on the ranch and the land.
“I’m more like Mom.” Jack followed Rhett’s line of sight to where the portrait of Lorraine Channing Tucker gazed down at them from the wall.

True, he had her large, dark-lashed green eyes and more delicate bone structure. Lorraine had been a beauty, with her high cheekbones and wide, full mouth, and Jack shared those, too.

Jack had always liked the formal-looking painting of Mom, in a silk evening dress she rarely had occasion to wear. Remembering how as a kid, Jack had used to exclaim “Portrait pose!” whenever Mom happened to be half-turned away and looking back at him, the same position she’d been put into for her painting, made Rhett laugh.

Seeing the expression Jack wore now, as he gazed at one of the last photos of Chauncey and Lorraine together on their wedding anniversary, Rhett knew he was wishing he’d been able to tell them he was gay. Jack had spoken of it before.

“Hey.” He got his younger brother’s attention. “I reckon they’d be glad you found someone. I know I am. And I’ll say it one more time for the folks at the back—there’s always a place for you here at the Double T. Heck, you own half the Double T!”

“Even if I know more about ranch dressing than ranch work?”

“Thought you worked in an office in New York City, not a restaurant. Like, publishing, not fast food?” Rhett joked. “And you know, that’s something we could think about. I was wondering about getting the admin side of things more up to date here— Oh, sure, go ahead. Laugh it up, kid.”

“’S’hard not to, when I think what passes for a ‘system’ in that home office back there!” Jack wiped his eyes. “If it’s Monday, you move the pile of papers to the back of the desk. Tuesday, to the table beside the desk. Wednesday, the chair halfway between the table and the filing cabinet. And by Friday—”

“By Friday I’m kicking your ass.” Rhett grinned, too.

“Tryin’ to.” Jack folded his arms. “But yeah, the office processes need streamlining. And not just the office. I got interested in data management—well, data science, or even data technology, really—and I’ve been havin’ some ideas for using it for the cattle, too.”

“That so? Like what? Putting a jumbotron in the far pasture to show the herd movies? Or giving each cow a cell phone, get ’em to take selfies, maybe set ’em up with an Instagram account? You wanna solve our ‘social media problem’ that way?” Rhett bent to see in the mirror, to give a final brush to his hair, and raised an eyebrow at his brother’s reflection behind him.

“Hey, neat idea—pretty pictures of cows in costumes and us dressed as cowboys in chaps… Hmm…” Jack couldn’t keep up the joke. “No. Tagging each cow with an electronic ID that stores all their info, to make herd management more efficient. It’s just something I was reading about.” Jack looked from the carriage clock on the hall table to his watch. “Hey. You wouldn’t be stalling there, would you, big bro? Seeing as how tonight’s your first date…with a guy?”

“No.” Rhett tweaked his sheepskin jacket from the coat stand and put it on. “I’m ready, see?” Well, he was the ‘dressed clean and tidy’ part of ready, and hoping to meet a nice guy, even if he didn’t think he’d ever be ‘ready’ for it.

“It’s a big step.” Jack nodded. “You want some pointers, bro?”

“Jack, I never wanna see your pointer. Ev-er,” Rhett emphasized, quitting the house. He was glad Jack walked him to his truck, although he could have done without the “Make me proud!” and “Make it happen!” that his one-hundred-percent certified brat of a little brother hollered after him as he drove away.

Rhett fiddled with the radio, getting it to his favorite classic rock station in time to catch a group suggesting he “take it easy”. Good advice. That was followed by “one for the oldies,” a classic country song telling him to “be a man”. He was—if facing up to being gay and wanting to be with a man counted.

Well, even if it didn’t and it wasn’t what the singer or songwriter had in mind, Rhett was off to Bard’s Saloon for his first-ever date with a guy, and one who was more experienced than him, better-looking than him and more take-charge than him.

A smug, bossy alpha, all long legs, wide shoulders and overlong wavy hair, strutted into his mind’s eye, and Rhett turned up the music to wipe him out. Well, ready or not, here I come.

About the Author:A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn’t happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey’s brain demanding to be let out.

Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey’s office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey’s presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.

Goodreads | First for Romance author page

Buy the book at your favorite online venue or First for Romance.


Wyvern Ways & Elven Magic by Bailey Bradford – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Bailey Bradford who is celebrating the recent release of Wyvern Ways & Elven Magic, the second book in her Fire and Flutter series. Enter and get a FREE romance book from the author!

Take one magic-sensitive wyvern shifter, one horny royal-adjacent elf…and stand well back.

Brick’s a wyvern shifter, but he’s not wily or skilled in diplomacy like wyvern shifters should be. Instead, he’s big and brawny and slower than the rest of his family—the ruling family. Worse, he doesn’t fare well around magic, so being in the elf kingdom for the royal wedding celebrations is one big nosebleed. Literally.

Jagger’s an elf. A royal-adjacent one, whose family have been chancellors and councilors to the king for centuries. It must have skipped a generation, however, as Jagger’s more interested in drinking and seducing his way through the kingdom. Well, everyone wants to know if it’s true what they say about elves, right? Spoiler alert—it is.

When Brick discovers he’s being handed over as part of the wyvern-elf alliance treaty, he fumes and decides to cut ties with his family to make his own way in the world. But first, he has to find his way out of the elf kingdom. Asking at the tavern for an elf to be his guide, he’s taken to a room where a half-naked Jagger is lounging on a four-poster bed.

And that’s just the beginning of their dangerous, crazy and sexy adventure…

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Ow!” Brick grabbed at the hand slapping his face and glared at its owner. If he hadn’t known who was hitting him, the selection of bright cocktail rings and the jingling bracelets she wore would have told him it was his younger sister, Scarlet. “Any reason you’re smacking my face?”

Scarlet tilted her head, her forehead creased. “Habit? Whatevs. Hold still—”

Brick held still enough for her to shove wads of cotton wool up his nostrils, then brushed her hand away. Scarlet’s sharp fingernails near any of his body parts made him uneasy at the best of times, and in the rumbling, jolting carriage he and she were currently traveling in, more so. Her nails were long and pointed and they gleamed the brightest mahogany shade she could find, all to mimic the talons they became when she shifted.

Well, that’s only natural, Brick reasoned. Wyverns in general were proud of being wyverns, the ruling family even more so and his sister, the youngest offspring of the Ruby Throne, in particular.

“Thanks,” he muttered, the thick clog in his voice not just due to his nosebleed and the wedges of cotton wool. “Thanks for staying with me.” He knew she’d rather be flying alongside the carriage with their father, Potentate Carnell of the Ruby Throne, and mother, the First Lady Cerise, not to mention the son and heir, Lord Gules, and their older sister, Lady Vermillion. But it was her turn to keep him company, and Scarlet, like all of them, put family duty first.

“Sit up straight,” she replied, wagging a finger in the direction of his face to tell him it was the best way to deal with a nosebleed. She knew. All his family did—Brick got them when he was around magic, and they were prepared for today. “Open wide for your pills.”

Brick obediently opened his mouth, and Scarlet, snickering, moved back to the farthest corner of the royal carriage and flicked in first one tablet, then another, using her middle finger and thumb to launch them as if she were playing a game and getting points. Scarlet performed her family obligations, sure…and made sure she had fun doing so. But she loved Brick, just as he did her.

He tried not to choke—the tablets were huge and foul-tasting. “Thanks,” he repeated, wishing she’d thought to give him a drink to swallow them down with. Actually, no—he didn’t want her squirting it in with a water pistol. He checked the cotton wool was still in place up each nostril. “There must be a lot of magic in the air here.”

“Well, duh,” his sister replied. “Inside the elven kingdom, and just approaching the capital? What d’you expect? They breathe it in and fart it out here, then breathe it in again.” Oh, she was a charmer. “I got orders to smarten you up—you’re not gonna bleed on me, are you?”

He shook his head and let her pull his smart suit jacket into place as if he were a baby, for all she was younger than he was. Well, that fits, with me being as useless as a hatchling. She tutted and brushed off the shoulders and lapels, as if he had flaking head scales. I don’t, do I? That’d be all he needed, with them having to look their best as they arrived for this regal state occasion.

As soon as Scarlet settled back again, grumbling that there wasn’t much she could do with his short hair, he took a sly peep in the glass of the carriage window to check for scale-flake. He caught a quick glimpse of his bronze skin and slitted gold eyes before the spectacle outside claimed his attention. Oh, not the well-maintained kingdom they were driving through, with its paved roads, sturdy-looking buildings and general cleanliness all signs of its good governance, but his family, in the air above the small procession.

Brick lowered the glass to see better. The four royal wyverns made a stunning, vibrant swoop of color as they flew, their wings beating with synchronized grace, their heads turning slowly on their long, elegant necks to incline this way and that at the gasps and applause from townsfolk lining the route, who were all eager to see visiting nobles and dignitaries.

“Elven folk must be used to flying beasts, right?” he asked Scarlet.

She scoffed. “Not like us.”

“Yeah.” Brick had to admit that. A woman stumbled, shading her eyes against the wyverns’ shimmering scales, the gleaming shades of red carefully arranged from his father Carnell’s shining cardinal to his mother Cerise’s glossy pomegranate—“the first seen in the kingdom in a hundred years!” as she often reminded people.

His brother Gules’ proud imperial red came next, then his sister Vermillion’s brash crimson. The family at wing, in the correct order, looked like flames burning up the sky.

Although why they should want to arrive anywhere making the place look like it was on fire, Brick couldn’t fathom. What he did know was Scarlet wanted to be up there too, making an entrance like a bold streak of lava against the blue and white of the sky. He jumped as the most jewel-colored creature of the quartet swooped low and stuck her beak through the window—his mother, checking in on him.

She couldn’t talk in her shifted form, of course, but he had no problem interpreting her caw and twists and jerks of her head. She was concerned for him—she loved him. They all did. Like they would any slow-witted hatchling. He wasn’t wily or cunning, no asset in statecraft or trade negotiations, so they gave him busy work. Grunt work. He nodded to show Cerise he was fine and reached up to pat her on the head, near the top, just after the brow ridge finished.

With a click of her beak, she took off again and rejoined Carnell, circling him with a slow flap of her wings before taking her place at his side. He flicked his tail out to slide along hers.

“Oh, ewww!” Scarlet, on the seat opposite him now, pointed up at the Potentate and First Lady and retched like a caterwaul bringing up a hairball. She made a show of rummaging for one of the sick bags they kept for Brick—there was no telling what form his sensitivity to magic might take. “Old people foreplay is just gross.”

Brick didn’t think it was that bad. Sure, he had no wish whatsoever to see his parents making out like subadults or immatures ever, anywhere, but that they were still loving and affectionate was…something he didn’t see himself ever having. The only people who’d wanted him so far had been those seeking a way into the ruling family and using him as their way to get within polishing distance of the Ruby Throne.
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“Mommy, look!” A little girl on the sidewalk near a tavern, her eyes full of wonder, tugged at her mother’s arm. “Up there—dragons!”

“Wyverns!” yelled Scarlet, flinging herself so far out of the window to correct the kid that Brick, alarmed for her safety, grabbed at the back of her dress. “Look at the picture, small fry!” She tapped the crest on the side of the royal coach, a plain outline of an almost S-shaped beast, its wings stretched and its slim legs prominent. “Count the limbs, kid. There’s two, not four. We look like lumbering oxen dragons to you?”

She subsided into her seat again and shot Brick a glance. “No offense, bro.”

“I know.” Brick was wide and tall, built like a brick smokehouse, as the saying went, whereas wyverns, in addition to being wily, were light and lithe. Winged serpents, really. He tried not to feel like he was letting down the Ruby Throne, but…

“You’re not even red!” Olahf had scorned when, realizing a relationship with Brick wouldn’t bring him into the inner governing circle, he’d ended things between them. “Brick by name and brick by nature and brick by color!” Yeah, Olahf didn’t really have the gift of eloquence a senator or diplomat should, although his tongue could be said to have been silver in other ways… Brick shivered at the memory, then felt sad.

How much of that had been fake? Had Olahf even liked him? If not, their relationship had been, well, transactional at best and icky at worst. It had also made him dwell on his experiences with all the other wyvern shifters who’d befriended him over the years…and hadn’t seemed very friendly. How many had if not used him, then put up with him, for what they could get out of it?

Would life have been different if I were called Flame, or, or Rosso? Maybe if the former, he’d have been dashing and just a little bit dangerous, or if the latter, darkly seductive and a lot more dangerous?

“Persimmon’s a good name,” he mused out loud. “Then Sim would be a good nick. ‘Hey, Sim, coming out for a quick tankard of sack mead?’ Maybe Simmy? ‘Simmy, joining us for dawn patrol?’ Perse? Percy?”

“What? No—you know what? Never mind.” Scarlet waved a hand at him. “Because we’re nearly there.”

About to ask his sister how she knew they were almost at their destination—where they’d be doing some trade-and-aid diplomacy over drinks—Brick saw the ceremonial herald bird flying to join the four wyverns in the sky. The escort would please his mother, who was into appearances. Even his father had commented more than once that the elves had used to do things properly, and that he hoped the Storm King was keeping up traditions.

“He will as long as he has Jerrick advising him,” Cerise always replied. “Jerrick served Jade’s father, too, and Jerrick’s father, Jacron, was chancellor to the Storm Emperor before that. And Jerrick’s son—” She usually stopped herself there.

“Gotta love ya and leave ya!” Scarlet opened the carriage door even though the vehicle was still trundling along.

“I feel okay now the meds have kicked in,” Brick assured her. “Shouldn’t I join in?”

“And risk you having an allergy—sorry, sensitivity—attack up above and bleeding down on Jade or his big green groom?” Scarlet sniggered. “While it would be hilarious, best not.” Blowing a kiss over her shoulder at him, she launched herself from the open door.

Scarlet shifted effortlessly in midair and took her place just behind Gules and Vermillion. It was hardly worth her shifting, though, when the carriage jolted to a stop at the top of a meadow. Two ruby and pale jade pavilions stood proudly, their pennants waving in the early evening breeze, and councilors and nobles waited before them.

The Ruby Throne circled the meadow in a group, then made a tighter circle of the tents to finally drop into the space set up beneath the main pavilion’s awning. They descended one at a time from Carnell to Scarlet—all executing flawless landings and simultaneous shifts back to their other-forms the second their claws touched the ground, clothing themselves as they did so.

They’d left a space for him, and Brick decided he was going to take it properly, instead of scuttling to it, shamefaced. Ignoring his headache and throbbing nose, he ran a few paces and leaped as high as he could with a gurgled “Eaaarrgghhh!” to shift into his wyvern form and, oh, how good it felt to be in the air again, stretching his wings.

He liked the world better in his shifted form. He loved the view from up on high, how things looked when seen from his bigger, more golden than yellow eyes. Scents were more acute to his snout, with its slits for nostrils, than to his other-form nose, which was broad and had never worked as well after being broken during a heated game of tail ball. Which his team had still lost.

Okay, so he wasn’t all polished and gleaming reds like the others, but he liked his scales, with their rust and terra-cotta and ochre shades. Recalling Cerise’s insistence that his hues were “alternative reds” made him snort with laughter and swish his tail, the triangular barb it ended in swinging near his face.

He was going to do this! He dropped lower. I can do this! Can drop into that landing zone! The really small landing zone… I can’t do this.

“Believe in yourself!” Cerise had told him over and over since hatchhood. He would. He did! With a high-pitched squeal, a bit like a teakettle coming to the boil, he took a final squint at the target zone, landed, shifted and…belched. Oh gods. He’d meant to clothe himself, not burp one out. And certainly not such a loud one…or one that stank like a dragon’s taint.

“Oh, ewwwwwwww!” cried Scarlet, her longest ever. She pinched her nose closed with her talon-like fingers. She’d get the worst of the stench, being next to him. “How, how, is that so foul? What the fuck you been doing, bro, sucking off a troll?”

“Could have been worse!” called a voice from the crowd. “Just imagine if he’d farted!”

About the Author A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn’t happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey’s brain demanding to be let out.

Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey’s office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey’s presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.

Goodreads | First for Romance Author Page

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ENTER HERE AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 1st June 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Dragon Dreams and Fairy Wings by Bailey Bradford – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Bailey Bradford, author of Dragon Dreams and Fairy Wings, the first book in the Fire & Flutter series. Enter to win a fabulous gift package and a FREE Bailey Bradford romance book!

When one fairy with a faulty memory meets a snarky dragon, the supernatural world will never be the same.

Griff was born a Love fairy, but he never quite fitted in. He didn’t want to be part of a harem…at least he didn’t think so. What with his wings gone and his memory damaged, he can’t be certain of what he felt in the past. All he does know is he wants his wings back. Without them, he’s grounded.

Blaze is a dragon shifter who tends to stick his foot in his mouth—and some other parts in other places—when he really shouldn’t. His brother’s the king, and his sister-in-law is scary. Blaze’s last screw-up got him grounded, unable to shift into his dragon form. His punishment seems harsh to him, but there’s no escaping it.

When the Love fairies come to the castle to work on forming an alliance, Blaze has about had it with guarding the horny beings, and he’s disappointed that they don’t stay small and cute. Swatting at something buzzing him, he almost starts an inter-species war when it turns out to be a fairy on a dragonfly.

And from that snarky first meeting between Griff and Blaze, something wonderful, and dangerous, will come…

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released elsewhere. It has been revised and reedited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Blaze rubbed his shoulder where it still ached. He’d been lucky the whip had only caught him a glancing blow, otherwise he’d really be in pain.

Of course, even being whipped would be better than his punishment of not being allowed to fly. Or shift. Being stuck in the puny human form and dependent on two scrawny legs just sucked troll balls.

That imagery almost made Blaze gag. Trolls smelled really bad, worse than the dragon dumping grounds—and if anyone needed an explanation for what that area was, they didn’t have a nose.

Plus, trolls were ugly. It was part of them being trolls and all. They also tended to have large, pendulous balls that swung down close to their ankles.

Blaze did gag then, pressing a hand against his stomach. He had to get his mind out of the troll gutter.

“Hey, freak, heard you got your powers taken away, all for a piece of ass.”

Blaze glared at Bort. “Oh, yeah. Your dad wasn’t worth it.”

“My—” Bort’s eyes glowed red, and smoke gusted from his nostrils. “I’ll bake you, you fucking freak!”

Blaze kept his trembling inside. He’d learned not to show any fear to bullies. “Go ahead. King Fyre will be thrilled with you. You’ll look great on a spit.”

“You think just ’cause your brother’s the king means…”

Blaze arched an eyebrow at Bort—which he knew looked cool, because he’d practiced it until he had it perfected and he knew how awesome that one arched eyebrow thing was. “It pretty much means he’ll toast you if you lay a hand on me.”

The only reason the guy who’d hit Blaze with a whip wasn’t dead was because Blaze had kind of deserved it. Kind of, because he hadn’t known Valdez was married to another man. Otherwise, Blaze wouldn’t have fucked him. Probably. Blaze’s morals were questionable at times, but only because he was so desperate for someone to touch him.

“Right, whatever,” Bort drawled. “You’ll probably cook yourself anyway and save all the good dragons the trouble. Crazy Blazy.” He cackled and flipped Blaze off with both hands.

Probably with his toes, too, but Blaze didn’t think to check. Instead he watched enviously as Bort shifted into a gorgeous teal and gold dragon.

Bort blew a stream of fire right past Blaze’s head, then flapped his mighty wings and flew off. A rancid scent lingered in the air.

Blaze sighed and touched his hair that Bort had just singed. Everyone was going to think he’d done that to himself—again. Even though he was grounded, assumptions would be made that he’d done something stupid to burn his own hair, and rumors would fly. He’d have to worry about that later, if at all. Right now, he had to deal with a bully. Blaze really missed being able to shoot flames.

It was true that he couldn’t control his fire, and he could be dangerous. He hadn’t killed anyone on accident, yet, though. “Sheesh.” Blaze sniffed and fanned the air around him. It was no use. The smell was on his head. He could fan all day, and it wouldn’t make any difference.

Resigned to walking all the way back to his nest—which meant heading through the center of the dragon city, since he could no longer fly—Blaze prepared himself for the looks and murmurs. People would be talking about him more than usual today. He ought to be used to such stuff, but the truth was, it always hurt.

Even so, when he heard the buzz of conversations around him, Blaze held his head up high, despite the burnt hair. He hoped everyone gossiping about him got a snoot full of the noxious odor.

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“Where did I put my shoes?” Griff fluttered as much as a fairy without wings could as he looked for his soft purple shoes. Surprisingly, he could flutter a lot, although that translated into gestures with his hands and much twitching on his behalf.

“Did Egregio eat them?” Gia asked, hovering above him.

Griff glared at her. “Could you maybe not do that? I already feel like a complete loser without my wings.” Who knew they could be knocked off you? Griff hadn’t, and it’d come as a shock to the other fairies in his frolic. Of course, Love fairies weren’t exactly brainiacs. They were more into the sensual than the mental. For brains, people looked to the Genius fairies, though good luck to anyone wanting help from those snobs. They didn’t speak to anyone with an IQ under one-sixty—which left out most of the magic world.

“Sorry.” Gia floated down and grimaced. “Ick. How can you tolerate standing all the time? My legs don’t like it. It’s work. It’s so much easier to fly, or—” She smirked.

“Don’t go there.” Griff knew his own kind through and through. As a Love fairy, he shouldn’t be bothered by hearing about his sister’s sexual escapades. Maybe he was just jealous. “Keep your sordid stories to yourself.”

Gia crossed her eyes at him. “Please. How did a prude get hatched into our frolic?”

“I’ve asked myself that a thousand times,” Griff muttered. “Aha!”

“Aha what?”

Griff knelt and stuck his hand under his bed, then reached farther. “I swear to the gods, Egregio, if you bite me, I will feed you to the dragons.”

“Rawr!” It sounded more like a whine than not.

Griff ducked his head and looked at the catterwaul under his bed. Much like the human-world cat except with two legs and large, hairy toes, and fangs the size of Griff’s index fingers, the beast was rather fierce-looking.

“I’m not joking. Last time you bit me, it got infected. You’re lucky I didn’t toss you out then.”

Beady red eyes glowed at him. “Rawr rawr rawr.”

“Yeah, you’re sorry now.” Griff wiggled his fingers. “Give me my shoes.”

The purple shoes were tossed at him while Egregio continued to vocalize.

“I know, I know, they’re pretty. That’s why I like them, too. Now if you’re good, and you keep the dung beetles away for a whole week, I’ll see about getting you your own shoes.” Catterwauls were great to have as long as they were loyal. Sometimes they forgot that, though.

A few more rawrs and Griff was pretty sure he had his catterwaul vowing to fight off the shiny green beetles that migrated through the area on the way to the dragon dumping grounds. Griff hoped so. The buzz of beetle wings always left him with serious headaches as well as memories of the worst time in his life.

“Okay, got my shoes on, Gia. Now we can go…” Griff spun around, looking for his sister, but no. She had left the mushroom’s interior at some point. “Great. Great! Now how am I going to find my way to where my wings might be?”

Griff couldn’t remember things like he should have been able to. The hit he’d taken from a human’s fly swatter had cracked his skull, knocked off his wings and almost killed him. His memory hadn’t been right ever since, but he was lucky to even be alive.

Although the term lucky was relative. If he couldn’t find his wings, what point would there be to life?

About the Author:A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn’t happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey’s brain demanding to be let out.

Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey’s office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey’s presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.

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