A Hundred Promises of Love by Aidee Ladnier – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Aidee Ladnier will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

For Ethan and Nico, a broken millefiori ornament is more than a few shards of glass−it’s a chance at finding love at Christmas.

Ethan Carson wants to treat his mother to the perfect Christmas while she’s visiting over the holidays. He’s spent all his savings on presents and bought an enormous tree that takes up half his living room. But when he starts to trim the tree with the family heirloom decorations, he finds her favorite ornament, the one his late father bought on their honeymoon, is broken.

Glassblower Nico Kazan doesn’t celebrate Christmas—unless you count trying to sell the art glass in his gallery to holiday shoppers. When Ethan, the object of his secret crush, asks him to recreate a broken Murano ball, he knows it will take more than his skill and time. Can he risk his heart to give Ethan back a symbol of love and family for Christmas?

Enjoy an Excerpt

On the Christmas card, two fluffy Persian cats sporting felt antlers stared at Ethan in disgust. Behind them a miniature sleigh sat empty. A thought balloon rose above one cat with the words, “Pull your own sleigh, fat man.” Ha. Ethan tried to smother the chuckle, but it escaped.

“Are you laughing at your Cousin Emmylou’s lumbago?” His mom’s disapproving question snapped Ethan back to the conversation on his phone. He shoved the card back in the rack and lined them up from where the last customer picked through them.

“What? No. What is lumbago, anyway?” His Cousin Emmylou always had some ailment discussed ad nauseam by the family. A pang of regret thrummed in his chest as Ethan realized he wouldn’t see Cousin Emmylou or any of the extended family this Christmas.

At least his mom would be here to celebrate.

“It’s a three-dollar word for back pain.” Ethan’s mom sighed. “Last month it was impetigo. I swear that woman is a walking health hazard.”

“Well, you’ll get a week off from Cousin Emmylou. I’m looking forward to your visit, Mom.” And he was. His mom traveled little, and he wanted to pamper her this Christmas. He’d spent his cash, extra savings, and maxed out his puny credit card to buy spa day gift certificates, theatre tickets, and a special weekend stay at the Opryland hotel. He’d even sprung for passes to see his mom’s favorite performer in concert. He’d need to watch his budget through January to make sure he didn’t overdraw his checking account, but she deserved it. Christmas was always hard, now that Dad had passed. And with her move out of the family home this year… He wanted her new memories to be just as special.

“I can’t wait to spend quality time with my baby boy again.”

“Well, it will be a whole new experience to see Nashville at Christmas. Don’t forget to bring a warm coat.”

His mom’s laughter sparkled through the phone’s speaker. “No shorts for Christmas?”

“I’m hoping for snow.” Ethan chuckled at his mom’s exaggerated “brrr” noise in response.

“There’s something else I—” She began but movement beyond the coffee shop’s plate glass window caught his eye.

Ethan recognized the tall, delicious figure in purple lens sunglasses striding toward him. He interrupted her mid-sentence. “Oops. Gotta go, Mom. Love you.”

“Love you too, baby boy.”

Ethan rammed the phone back in his pocket and ducked behind the counter a minute before the bell over the door jingled.

About the Author: Award-winning author Aidee Ladnier began writing at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, fold origami, and send ping pong balls into space. Don’t tell anyone, but she secretly likes to watch Hallmark Christmas movies because she’s convinced that the holidays are the most romantic time of year.

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Balancing Life and Writing by Ann Swann – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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

BALANCING LIFE AND WRITING

How does one balance life and writing? It’s a tightrope. You walk it every day, then you turnaround and head back the other way. If you have a family, if you have any sort of job, if you have any other responsibilities in your life, writing must sometimes take a backseat. It’s the nature of the beast. However, it’s my belief that it’s when you fall off the tightrope that the writing Muse sits up and takes notice. When you aren’t writing, when you are forced to do everything but write, that’s when the best words take shape in the back of your mind. That’s when the ideas flow. It isn’t that life prevents us from writing, it’s that life gives us something to write about.

My new novel, THE REMAINS IN THE POND, originated from an image of a skull sunk down in a weedy pond. I saw the image in a movie trailer or something; I don’t even remember what it was, something life threw at me somewhere along the way. All I know is it was a fleeting thing that had nothing to do with anything, but by the time my subconscious played around with the image for a few days, while I was busy doing ordinary life-stuff, an idea began to form about two girls—rivals for the same guy—who wound up at the old pond late one night. One girl returned home that night, and the other became known as the remains in the pond.

That’s how I balance life and writing. I don’t worry about it; I just allow nature to take its course.

Senior prom is the happiest night of Gabi’s life. Her crush has just revealed that he is every bit as infatuated with her as she is with him. When he has a car wreck and is transported to the hospital in a coma, Gabi feels as if she’s taken a knife to the heart. But his jealous cousin, Rose, sees her chance to give the knife an even harder twist. She convinces Gabi to meet her at a local parking spot outside town. It’s a night that will change several lives forever. One of the girls will return, and one will become known as the remains in the pond.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I pushed my glasses up and took a deep breath. “We were in love. I know that’s what teenagers always think, but in our case, it was true.”

The unsmiling detective simply stared at me and pulled out his little notebook. His burnished head gleamed under the fluorescents.

Why wasn’t he writing in that notebook? He just held it, as if he found nothing I said worth noting.

The room grew cold and I began to shiver. Probably some sort of tactic; turning down the temperature to make me uncomfortable. Just like this little waiting game. Waiting me out to make me talk. I’d seen enough crime TV to recognize these schemes. I took a sip of the Diet Coke he’d brought—to make me feel grateful, I suppose—and immediately regretted it because it made me need to burp.

I let the little bubble of gas explode in my closed mouth and began to talk to cover the sound. “We fell in love at prom. We were both with other people. I went with Asa and he brought Rose.” I sat up straighter in the hard-backed chair and hoped I’d said enough to placate him.

The detective sat chill, one ankle propped on the opposite knee. I got the impression he wanted to be my best friend.

I don’t know why I started talking again. I think it had something to do with the way he looked at me, as if he already knew everything I wanted to tell him, because yes, suddenly I did want to tell him. I’d held onto the truth for too long.

I wanted to tell him everything about that night.

About the Author:Ann has been a writer since junior high school, but to pay the bills she’s waited tables, delivered newspapers, cleaned other people’s houses, taught school, and even had a short stint as a secretary in a rock-n-roll radio station. She also worked as a 911 operator and a police dispatcher.

Ann’s stories began to win awards in her college days. Since then she’s published novels, novellas, and short stories. But even if no one ever bought another book, Ann wouldn’t stop writing. For her it’s the cathartic pause in a sometimes-crazy world. Most of the time, it even keeps her sane.

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Jenn Burke’s Top 5 Favourite Spec-Fic M/M Romance Books – Guest Blog and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jenn Burke who is here to celebrate today’s release of The Gryphon King’s Consort. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win one of two $25 store credits for Dreamspinner Press.

Jenn Burke’s Top 5 Favourite Spec-Fic M/M Romance Books
Hello everyone! Thank you to Long and Short Reviews for having me here today. I’m going to share my top 5 spec-fic m/m romance books—and by spec-fic, I mean paranormal, romance, and sci-fi.

1. Wolfsong by TJ Klune

This book. THIS BOOK. Okay, I need to say more than gushing and flailing. Wolfsong is long, and therefore a commitment, but believe me—if you love paranormal romance, it’s so worth it. The story follows Ox, who’s always thought of himself as slow and not particularly smart, thanks in large part to his jerk of a father. When new neighbours move into the previously abandoned house next door, Ox’s life changes in the form of a precocious boy—werewolf—named Joe, who hadn’t spoken for two years but suddenly can’t stop telling everyone how Ox smells like candy canes and pinecones and epic and awesome.

There’s so much to say about this book—the slow development of Ox and Joe’s relationship, the way the narrative matures as Ox does, and the patient unfolding of the epic story. The sequel is due out next year, and I can’t wait to read it.

2. Reawakening by Amy Rae Durreson

I adore the world that Amy Rae Durreson has created for her Reawakening series. After an epic war a thousand years ago where the immortal and all-powerful dragons defeated the evil Shadow, they fell asleep, and the world of men continued without the influence of magical beings. But now something has reawakened the king of the dragons, and he goes searching for it—only to find a young and rather annoyed desert spirit who isn’t too fond of a dragon appearing out of nowhere and stating that he wants to include the desert spirit in his hoard.

3. Strength of the Pack by Kendall McKenna

When I first read this book, I had a moment of disconnection from the real world. Or, rather, this book suddenly seemed like it could be the real world. Like, of course werewolves exist and of course this is how they would function in the military. I loved the bond between Noah and Lucas and how they miscommunicated due to Lucas’s lack of understanding about werewolves. It was a fantastic adventure.

4. How to Walk like a Man by Eli Easton

Eli Easton’s How to Howl at the Moon series is just a joy to read, but this book (the second) is my absolute favourite. It’s about Roman, who started out life as a German shepherd dog working for the military. When his handler is killed, Roman discovers the spark that allows him to transform into a human. He’s this big, military protector guy who’s also very innocent and loyal, and his character is just so much fun to read.

5. Tap-Dancing the Minefields by Lyn Gala

I just finished reading this recently, and it’s going onto my best of 2017 list. I love all of Lyn Gala’s sci-fi, and this book is no exception. The main character is George “Tank” Tankersley, a 20-year-old private in the Army who accidentally discovers some military secrets while on a supply run to a base in Alaska. Except…he kind of already knows about these secrets. Or something like them. Because he spent high school fighting creatures like this. Basically, picture Xander Harris from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, if Xander had enlisted in the Army out of high school, and you’ve got Tank.

I absolutely loved the concept of this book—the look at what would happen after high school if you’d spent your high school years fighting evil only to discover you have to keep fighting it. I’m really, really hoping the author has a follow-up planned.

Do you have a favourite spec-fic m/m romance? Please share!

Love takes flight.

The sudden death of the Gryphon King throws the kingdom of Mythos into uncertainty, and Crown Prince Luca rushes both his coronation and an arranged marriage to a man he’s never met. Eirian is young and idealistic, and while they both want what’s best for their people, their philosophies couldn’t be more different. While Luca believes in honoring tradition, Eirian is determined to infuse modern values into their kingdom of magical creatures. When given the choice between loyalty to his husband and his own crusade, Eirian makes a decision that might doom their marriage.

Still, Luca is committed to making their union work, and that means forgiving his brash consort. But when Eirian becomes the target of a deadly conspiracy, Luca must act fast—or forever lose the chance to explore their burgeoning love.

About the Author: Jenn Burke has loved out-of-this-world romance since she first read about heroes and heroines kicking butt and falling in love as a preteen. Now that she’s an author, she couldn’t be happier to bring adventure, romance, and sexy times to her readers.

Jenn is the author of The Gryphon King’s Consort from Dreamspinner Press and the co-author of the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series (with Kelly Jensen) from Carina Press. She’s also the author of Her Sexy Sentinel, a paranormal romance from Entangled Publishing.

She’s been called a pocket-sized and puntastic Canadian on social media, and she’ll happily own that label. Jenn lives just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and two kids, plus two dogs named after video game characters…because her geekiness knows no bounds.

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Thank you so much for joining me on The Gryphon King’s Consort blog tour. Enter for your chance to win one of two $25 store credits for Dreamspinner Press!

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A Day in the Life of Dianne Hartsock – Guest Blog and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dianne Hartsock will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF DIANNE HARTSOCK
Okay, I have to admit, I don’t live the most exciting life on the planet, so following me through a day might not be the romantic story you’re expecting. My alarm clock goes off at 7 a.m. I turn it off, then cuddle against my husband for fifteen to twenty minutes before dragging myself out of bed and into the shower.

After that I watch the local news while I have my first cup of coffee. Husband’s off to the gym for his daily workout. Then I warm up the computer, check Facebook of course, then get to writing.

This is my favorite part! I do my best writing in the morning and spend the next hour lost in whatever world I’m creating at the time, drinking another cup of coffee or two and having something for breakfast. It’s always agonizing to drag myself away, leave my characters in whatever predicament I’ve put them in, to get ready for work.

I arrive at work by 9:20 a.m. I’m a floral designer at a locally owned gift shop which smells fantastic! We have a coffee bar, sell candles, books, music, indoor/outdoor plants, house and garden gifts, imported items. A very eclectic selection. And my floral department is right in the heart of the store, smack dab in the middle. I get started on the arrangements due that morning for deliveries. I love designing unique flower arrangements for each customer.

And sometimes, in walks the customer who’ll become the hero in my next book! I’ll hear a laugh across the room and meet the deep blue, gorgeous eyes and bashful smile of a man in search of flowers for his lover. I have to coax and tease the color and types of flowers from the shy man that he wants to send, work with him to create the arrangement that brings that happy look to his attractive face. Oh yeah, he’s definitely in my next book!

I have lunch where I again check Facebook and do whatever promoting I need to, then back to work for the afternoon. I’m home by six, have dinner, spend time with husband/friends/family. But by nine o’clock I’m back on the computer writing on my current WIP.

My days are pretty much like this, broken up by walks downtown for coffee, going to movies with friends, dinners out, time at the beach/mountains/ Portland. Live plays and live music. Zumba and yoga classes for me. Okay, I guess my life isn’t as boring as I made out, but most of it is taken up either writing or planning to write stories. Oh, and reading. I read everything I can get my hands on. So I have to say, my life is pretty full and definitely happy.

For Tracey, life has become a nightmare. Kidnapped from a nightclub in Boulder, Colorado, brutalized and raped by the killer known as Crimson, he’s held captive alongside Kyle, a young man Crimson keeps chained to his bed and is slowly torturing to death. Though Tracey manages to escape with Kyle’s help, he is forced to leave Kyle behind.

Gene has never stopped looking for his brother Kyle, abducted from a nightclub seven months previously. The case breaks open when Tracey comes forward, claiming to have knowledge of the whereabouts of Crimson’s hideout.

A manhunt begins, but Crimson’s birthday has come and gone, and he will kill again.

Read an excerpt:

“I know.” Paige gave him an intense look. “I will find them, Gene.”

 

Gene sighed, scrubbing at his face with his hands. “How many men do we have out here?” he asked, staring into the darkness below them.

“There’s a team two ridges over, working their way toward us, and another sweeping from the west. We have Crimson boxed in, as long as no one gets careless. Another reason I wanted to stop. Can’t risk him doubling back and getting behind us.”

Gene nodded, though his skin crawled with nerves. He let out a long breath and shifted, stretching out on the hard ground.

Paige leaned back on his elbows, his gaze on the dark trees in front of them. He flicked Gene a glance. “You should get some sleep.”

“Fuck that.” Gene saw him flinch. “Can you find Crimson in this?”

“Yes. He’s very good, though. The signs I’ve been finding have been left by Tracey. A footprint here, bent twigs, a button. ”

Gene pictured Tracey as he’d last seen him: beautiful, strong, despite the shadows lurking darkly in his eyes.

“Okay,” Genes said, nerves on edge. “We’ve had Crimson cornered several times and he’s managed to get away every time. And now he has Tracey again.” He rubbed his aching forehead. “How did that happen, exactly? How’d Crimson find us?”

“I have no idea. You, Craig, Klinton, and me were the only ones who knew the location. My money’s on Craig.”

About the Author:

Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, the occasional thriller, and anything else that comes to mind. She lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee warming her hands, which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

Blog: http://diannehartsock.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/diannehartsock
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/diannehartsock
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4707011-dianne-hartsock
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Dianne-Hartsock/e/B005106SYQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1361897239&sr=8-1
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Dianne-Hartsock-Author-107985445959828/

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Going Gone by Anita Dickason – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway


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

Code Name Trackers: The elite of the elite. FBI agents, each with a secret, an extraordinary ability that defies reason and logic.

An intricate scheme to kidnap the children of high-ranking politicians on Capitol Hill gets disrupted when private investigator Kerry Branson rescues one of the victims.

Teamed with FBI Tracker Ryan Barr, they discover the plot extends to the Office of the President and—the horrific plan has drug cartels and terrorist cells lined up to cash in.

Enjoy an Exclusive Excerpt

The footsteps came closer. A beam of light flashed over the ground. Pulling his knees tight to his chest, he wrapped his arms around his legs, tucked his head under his arms, and squished his eyes shut. Tears clogged his throat. Momma, where are you?

The harsh voice sounded over his head. “I don’t see him over here. I’ll circle the other way. The damn brat can’t get far.”

When the noisy steps faded away, Tristan scrambled from under the tree and ran. Pajama bottoms flapped around his bare ankles. Ahead was a break in the woods, and he raced toward the opening.

A shout echoed not far behind him. “He’s running toward the road.”

It was the man from the bedroom. Terror pushed him. His legs pumped, but he couldn’t go any faster, and it hurt to breathe. He had to find another place to hide, but where? It was getting dark, and the mist made it hard to see. Behind him, footsteps kept getting louder.

Ahead was a fence, a road—then—lights. A car. Could he reach the road before it passed? Dropping, he crawled under the barbed wire and felt a hand scrape the sole of his foot.

About the Author:Award winning author, Anita Dickason, is a retired Dallas Police Officer. Anita served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics officer, advanced accident investigator, and SWAT entry/sniper.

Upon retirement, she became involved in a research project that dealt with the death of a witness to the Kennedy assassination. The research led to her first book, JFK Assassination Eyewitness: Rush to Conspiracy, that details the results of her reconstruction of the 1966 motor vehicle accident that killed Lee Bowers, Jr.

The project jump-started a new career as an author and publisher, and she started a new business: Mystic Circle Books & Designs, LLC.

As an author, her fictional works are suspense/thrillers with a touch of paranormal and romance. Characters with unexpected skills, that extra edge for overcoming danger and adversity, have always intrigued her. Adding an infatuation with ancient myths and legends of Native American Indians, and Scottish and Irish folklore creates the backdrop for her characters.
As a publisher, her diverse background has proven to be an invaluable asset. Assisting other authors to publish their works utilizes the gamut of her experience. Graphics design has become one of her favorite endeavors.

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The Last Wolf by Maria Vale – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Maria Vale who is visiting with us and sharing some early excerpts from The Last Wolf, the first book in her The Legend of All Wolves series, which will be released in February. Maria is giving away 2 advance copies of The Last Wolf and 2 posters – enter at the end of the post.

For three days out of thirty, when the moon is full and her law is iron, the Great North Pack must be wild.

If she returns to her Pack, the stranger will die.
But if she stays…

Silver Nilsdottir is at the bottom of her Pack’s social order, with little chance for a decent mate and a better life. Until the day a stranger stumbles into their territory, wounded and beaten, and Silver decides to risk everything on Tiberius Leveraux. But Tiberius isn’t all he seems, and in the fragile balance of the Pack and wild, he may tip the destiny of all wolves…

Enjoy an Excerpt

In which Tiberius eats dinner with the hostile Pack and learns that not everything that is small and cute and furry is a puppy

Upstairs, the screen door opens and closes with a slam. Orders are barked out, and heavy treads stomp back and forth between hall and kitchen. As the Pack passes the stairs to the basement, the complex fragrances of the dishes they’re carrying waft down to us. Benches start scraping across floors, and I push Ti’s extra clothes into a bag and push the man himself up the stairs.

As soon as we reach the hall, the smile I hadn’t even known I was wearing fades. The Alphas of every echelon are standing around the heavy hand-scraped tables, each one of them holding tight onto their seaxs, the sharp daggers that all adult Pack wear at their waist.

There are strict penalties for attacking a table guest, and John will kill anyone who tries, but edgy wolves are edgy wolves and not always in control. I am this man’s shielder, and I face them, my thighs coiled low, my shoulders squared, and my lips curled back from my teeth, so these wolves know that I will fight, even in skin.

Tock, tock, tock.

Behind me, Ti is not even facing the right way. He’s looking at the table, opening up casseroles with one hand, while flicking his spoon up and down against his bowl with the thumb of the other (tock, tock, tock). As though there weren’t a hundred evil-eyed wolves staring holes into his back.

He lifts a hand-thrown lid and sniffs the saag paneer. Another basket with bread. A selection of Corningware casseroles hold cauliflower and lentil stew; sun-dried tomatoes and fresh cheese; corn chowder. Pasta with herbs. Egg salad.

“So…you’re vegetarians?” Ti says to no one in particular.

“Not vegetarians,” John answers. “But not carrion eaters either. You are our guest,” he says loudly to remind all the wolves with itchy palms about our very ancient and very strict rules of hospitality, “and free to hunt anywhere on our land, but Shifter? You must eat what you kill.”

“John?” I whisper, pulling at his elbow, and he bends down. “His name?”

John scratches his graying beard for a moment before pointing to one casserole dish in Blue Onion pattern. “Tiberius?” he says, “My personal favorite is the cauliflower and lentils. Be sure to add some toasted hazelnuts.”

Someone coughs, but John has broken the spell, and the Alphas reclaim their seats. Though when they do, they seem to have doubled in size, their broad shoulders and thighs now claiming whatever spare space we might have squeezed into.

I bend my head toward one of the empty tables. Those too will be full when the Offlanders come home for the Iron Moon, but for now, we sit there alone, side by side. The Pack starts talking again, bent low over their food because our table manners at home are not all they should be.

Naturally, there is a lot of talk about Ti, and while no one will question John’s decision, it is one of the peculiarities of the Old Tongue that the word giest means guest and stranger and enemy, so when someone speaks of our new giest, everyone understands the double meaning.

Then John says that’s enough Old Tongue for now.

A handful of pups scrabble up the stairs from the basement storage. They’re chasing something, taking wide frantic turns around the room.

“Mouse,” I whisper to Ti. “They don’t last long here.”

“She didn’t take me down,” Eudemos complains loudly.

“I mean, I was still standing.” He hacks at the big loaf of bread with his seax. “Where’sa butter?

“I neber submided,” he insists, a pale-yellow crumb flying across the table. He uses his thumb to push the mouthful back in. “If what she did counts as submitting now, I think we should change the laws, thass all I’m sayin’.”

“Deemer?” says John.

Victor, our Deemer, our thinker about Pack law, crosses his arms and looks at the ceiling for a moment. “The law does say an opponent must be pinned down,” he says. “But while Eudemos was not down, he was very definitely pinned, and that is the more important part of the law.”

“Your Alpha agrees. The spirit of the law was upheld.”

And with that, Eudemos will not say another word about the matter.

The mouse finally caught, Golan trots up to John, followed by a roiling mass of fur. He lays his tiny prey at the Alpha’s feet. John looks at it, making sure the kill was clean and the mouse didn’t suffer, then he scratches Golan’s ear and wishes him good eating.

Suddenly, Ti jumps and lowers his hand to fend off a juvenile, who has her damp nose in his crotch.

“Rainy!” shouts Gran Moira. “Come here!”

Rainy cocks her head to the side and stares up at Ti before running off.

“Why do you have so many dogs?” Ti asks, his legs now tightly crossed.

“Nooo,” I hiss. “They’re not…” It’s too late. He didn’t say it loudly, but our hearing is very good, and one set of very good ears is all that’s needed. One by one, the Pack falls silent, appalled by what Ti has called our children.

Four fuzzy snouts peek over the arm of one of the fireplace sofas. Other pups glower down from the curved stairs that lead up to the children’s quarters.

Then the only sound is the brittle crunch of Golan’s sharp, white teeth.

“Excuse me, Shifter?” pipes a small voice. A ten-year-old girl with long, pale-brown curls, wearing shorts and a much-washed blue T-shirt with a picture of a pickle on it, scratches the back of her calf with a bare foot. “I am sorry I smelled your crutch?” she says, glancing back at Gran Moira, who mouths the word crotch with an encouraging smile. “But that’s what I said. ‘Crutch.’”

“It’s ‘crotch,’” corrects Gran Moira.

“Oh,” Rainy says, turning back to Ti. “I am sorry I smelled your crotch? I didn’t mean to be offensive. I am just in the Year of First Shoes?”

The Year of First Shoes is the first twelve moons in the juvenile wing, when you’re too old to scamper around and be fed tidbits from the table, and you’re too young to see even the remotest advantage to being human. It’s when we first wear shoes and clothes.

It is a terrible, terrible time.

About the Author:
Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don’t really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet.

Website

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Top Ten Reasons to Read The One Apart by Justine Avery – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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

Top Ten Reasons to Read The One Apart

Hmmm… the cover is full of mystery, and the description promises a compelling plot and a big, intriguing puzzle to be uncovered, but how do you know if The One Apart is really for you?

10) The One Apart is filled with eeriness, a dark presence leering over your shoulder, and apparitions only one special child can see. And you’ll never guess who or what they are. In fact, you may begin to wonder if they really do exist—all around us…

9) The One Apart will make you laugh, gasp, cry, and glance over your own shoulder to remind yourself you’re safe and sound in your own room.

8) The One Apart introduces you to compelling characters you’ll fall in love with, feel every struggle with, or love to hate. You will not want to say “goodbye” to any of them when the story ends.

7) The One Apart grabs you like a compelling saga and treats you to an epic adventure. It’s a mystery wrapped in a mystery, gripping your attention like a suspense thriller.

6) The One Apart will keep you guessing until the very end. There are twists around every turn, unpredictable events that will leave you gasping and expecting nothing but the unexpected.

5) The One Apart is a roller coaster of emotions—ups and downs that will have you clenching your pillow tight and then throwing it into the air in elated celebration.

4) The One Apart rewards you with a surprise romance tucked into its pages, waiting for the main character when he needs—and deserves it—most. And you’ll wish it was all your own.

3) The One Apart is not like any other book you’ve ever read. It’s a fast-paced ride that will whirl you away, spin you around, send you soaring, and leave you wondering what’s actually real and what may not really be. It’s a story that will stick with you long after you’ve reached the end.

2) The One Apart introduces you to a world like none you’ve ever read before, one seamlessly integrated with the world you know and live in, a world you’ll wish is actually true and out there, waiting for you.

1) The One Apart delivers an ending that will leave you in awe, speechless, and completely satisfied. It will reward you so richly, that you will want to start at the beginning and live the story all over again.

Only one obstacle stands in his way of enjoying a normal life. He remembers—every life he’s lived before.

Tres is about to be born… with the biggest burden any has ever had to bear. He is beginning again—as an ageless adult trapped in an infant body.

He and his teenage mother face life filled with extraordinary challenges as they strive to protect, nurture, and hide how truly different he is. But Tres alone must solve the greatest mystery of all: who is he? The answer is linked to the one question he’s too afraid to ask: why am I?

In his quest, Tres discovers that all is considerably more interconnected and dynamic than he could ever imagine—and fraught with far more danger. He cannot hide from the unseen threat stalking him since his birth.

Life as he knows it—as all know it—is in peril. And Tres is the only one aware.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Tres felt his body abruptly drop around him with overbearing weight, encapsulating him once again.

The mental images, the overpowering memories, finally faded. Only an ominous stillness remained.

Every cell within him began to twitch, infusing with energy—even as he felt immobile. Every joint, tendon, and bone ached under the pressure of being alive.

A deep sadness engulfed him. He pondered possible rea
sons. And, just as quickly, he was distracted by the presence of his own simple thoughts.
Thoughts. He realized his own thinking.

This mind—certain of its own newness—desired to explore, feel, do, be. Tres opened his eyes—tried to open his eyes. He found his eyelids fused shut.

He opened his mouth. Thick, warm syrup seeped inside his swallow. Intense fear washed over him, even as he knew exactly where—and how—he was.

Oh, no.

Tres was aware, more aware than any had ever been. In this moment, he knew everything—and yet, nothing.

He was beginning again.

About the Author:Justine Avery is an award-winning author of stories large and small for all. Born in the American Midwest and raised all over the world, she is inherently an explorer, duly fascinated by everything around her and excitedly noting the stories that abound all around. As an avid reader of all genres, she weaves her own stories among them all. She has a predilection for writing speculative fiction and story twists and surprises she can’t even predict herself.

Avery has either lived in or explored all 50 states of the union, over 36 countries, and all but one continent; she lost count after moving 30-some times before the age of 20. She’s intentionally jumped out of airplanes and off the highest bungee jump in New Zealand, scuba dived unintentionally with sharks, designed websites, intranets, and technical manuals, bartered with indigenous Panamanians, welded automobile frames, observed at the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo in Noba, Japan, and masterminded prosperous internet businesses—to name a few adventures. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree that life has never required, and at age 28, she sold everything she owned and quit corporate life—and her final “job”—to freelance and travel the world as she always dreamed of. And she’s never looked back.

Aside from her native English, Avery speaks a bit of Japanese and a bit more Spanish, her accent is an ever-evolving mixture of Midwestern American with notes of the Deep South and indiscriminate British vocabulary and rhythm, and she says “eh”—like the Kiwis, not the Canadians. She currently lives near Los Angeles with her husband, British film director Devon Avery, and their three adopted children: Becks, Sam, and Lia. She writes from wherever her curiosity takes her.

Avery loves to connect with fellow readers and creatives, explorers and imaginers, and cordially invites you to say “hello”—or konnichiwa.

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Writing a Series by Joe Cosentino – Guest Post and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Joe Cosentino to talk about his upcoming release The Perfect Gift. Check out his giveaway at the bottom of the page.

Writing a Series
by Joe Cosentino
I remember as a pre-schooler watching Search for Tomorrow and As The World Turns on television with my mother. Carrying on the family tradition as I grew older and went to school, at lunchtime I’d watch All My Children, and after school I’d hurry home for Dark Shadows and Edge of Night. What I found so captivating about these television serials was how the characters, relationships, and stories continued over a long period of time. Instead of getting involved in a character’s life only to never see him/her again after two hours, those characters became our friends, family, and loved ones over many years. We laughed when they laughed, cried when they cried, and felt romantic when they had romances. We advised them in our heads, rejoiced with their happiness, and pounded our fists against our chests when all was lost. However, tomorrow always came with a new set of stories for our favorite characters.

It was an incredibly exciting time for me when as a young actor in New York City, I won a role on Another World. Wouldn’t you know, it was the one daytime drama I had never watched. I was a snitch for the show’s very popular villain, Carl Hutchins, played by Charles Keating. The job only lasted a week, but it was great fun.

So, it came as no surprise that when I began writing novels, I would revel in creating series. Currently, I am up to eight Nicky and Noah mystery novels (five published so far), four Cozzi Cove beach novels (four published at this point), five Jana Lane mysteries, and I’m writing my second Tales from Fairyland. However, what I’m here to talk about today are my Bobby and Paolo holiday stories published by Dreamspinner Press. That series started with my popular novella and audiobook performed by Joel Leslie, A Home for the Holidays. The story chronicled the relationship between young American law student Bobby and his sexy, muscular, handsome Italian distant cousin Paolo after they met and fell in love in the gorgeous, magical Island of Capri. Now comes my two-part novella beginning a year after A Home for the Holidays ends. Bobby and Paolo are living in Philadelphia as a junior lawyer and junior fashion designer. When Paolo proposes, Bobby’s family and friends are intent on giving the couple a gaudy, elaborate wedding against their wishes. Bobby and Paolo jump through quite a few holiday hoops and finally have their perfect December wedding (December Grooms). A year later, since it’s again Christmas time, the couple tour many of the quaint and wonderful holiday sites in their area featuring elaborately decorated trees and wreathes, Dickensian villages, Victorian carolers and bell ringers, vendors selling hot mulled cider and roasted chestnuts, and bay-windowed shops. They exchange beautiful gifts, and enjoy spending Christmas with Bobby’s eccentric family and hilarious friend Jared. While playing department store Santa, Bobby’s father suffers a heart attack. A man in a Santa suit, who Bobby assumes is his father’s replacement, brings the young couple to the hospital room of a sick little boy. Could this boy be the holiday gift leading to happily ever after for Bobby and Paolo (An Unexpected Present)?

Will there be a third Bobby and Paolo holiday novella? I’m writing it now. As I mentioned, the stories always continue.

Thank you, readers, for your love, support, and requests for more Bobby and Paolo holiday stories. I hope you get lots of surprises in your holiday stocking, including something you never knew you needed. Enjoy my special holiday gift novella to you. Please know that it comes wrapped in a huge ribbon of love.

THE PERFECT GIFT (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 2)
by JOE COSENTINO
published by Dreamspinner Press, e-book $4.99

Back in America after finding A Home for the Holidays and each other in Capri, new couple Bobby McGrath and Paolo Mascobello are ready to tie the knot during the winter holidays. Their families, friends, and pastor offer more advice than sages on speed. So, young lawyer Bobby and fashion designer Paolo are caught in the matrimonial holiday circus. Will a shocking turn of events somehow lead to the perfect wedding for the December grooms?

The following Christmas, Bobby and Paolo aren’t feeling the holiday spirit. They have a nice apartment, designer clothes, entertaining and supportive friends and family, but little time for each other. While out shopping in their quaint local holiday village, Bobby and Paolo encounter Gregory, an adorable seven-year-old who changes their lives forever, offering them a true holiday miracle… if they’re willing to accept it.

Enjoy an Excerpt from The Perfect Gift

A few minutes later, Paolo and I sat across from each other at our cherry dining room table. The scent of Italian cheeses, garlic, olive oil, mushrooms, spinach, and chicken filled the room. Between bites, Paolo asked, “What is it that you wanted to ask me?” The candlelight from our antique brass candleholders made him look incredibly sexy. He didn’t need much help.

I took in a deep breath. Though I had rehearsed my speech a hundred times over the last few months, what came out was, “I bought lemon gelato for dessert.”

He blew me a kiss. I caught it and placed it over my heart. Ready for take two, I took a sip of my herbal tea in a failed attempt at moistening my bone-dry throat. “Paolo, we’ve been living together for almost a year now.”

“Are you tired of me already?” He winked at me.

I slid to the edge of my seat. “During that time, have you… did you ever think about….”

He swallowed his food. “Bobby, I told you before. I look at other men. But you are the only one I want.”

“And you’re the only one I want.”

“Then it is a good thing we live together.” He continued eating.

“Do you miss your life in the villa with your family in Capri?”

“Not when I am with you. Don’t worry; we will never end up like Edgar and everyone else getting a divorce.”

“Why not?”

“Because we do not need a piece of paper to validate our love.”

The lawyer in me surfaced. “That piece of paper would enable us to make healthcare decisions for each other in emergency situations, and to protect our wills from a family member who might want to contest them.”

What reviewers said about A Home for the HolidaysK/I>, Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 1:

“I adore the character of Bobby…the heartwarming family moments…the love the author has for Capri and the people there flows off the page in every word he has written…..When you finish reading this story, you will want to book your own flight to Italy and boat to Capri.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

“Joe Cosentino’s holiday novella, A Home for the Holidays, delivers in every way that a romantic, feel-good story should. Every book I read by this author continuously pulls me in and wraps me up like a warm blanket.” Kathy Mac Reviews

“The one thing you can’t escape when reading Cosentino’s books is his humour; it’s what draws me back time and again to this author. Sometimes the humour is subtle, sometimes it’s unashamedly overt – every time it is hilarious.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews

I’m going to go on record saying that Joe Cosentino pretty much has me at hello. His writing style is incredibly smooth with beautiful details that never feel like too much or too little. Even in this very short story, I felt like I was right there in Capri with Bobby. Both the scenery and Bobby’s emotions are painted with lush, vivid detail…exceptional writing and beautifully gift-wrapped love story.” AM Leibowitz

About the Author: Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. He was voted 1st Place Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015, and 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Romance Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine. He has also won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions including for In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star.

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Giveaway: Post a comment about your favorite holiday gift. The one that reaches the star on the tree will win a gift audiobook of A Home for the Holidays, Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Book 1, by Joe Cosentino, performed by Joel Leslie, published by Dreamspinner Press.

Lovesick Gods by Amanda Meuwissen – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Amanda 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.

The elements touch everyone on Earth—Fire, Water, even Light—but every so often someone becomes more attuned to their elemental leaning and develops true power. When an evil Elemental known as Thanatos arrived in Olympus City, it saw the rise of its first hero—Zeus. But the death toll caused by defeating Thanatos changed Zeus, who by day is young detective Danny Grant.

It’s been six months since Thanatos terrorized the city at the start of Lovesick Gods. Danny should be used to his duty behind the mask, but the recent past haunts him. His girlfriend left him, he snaps at the barest provocation, his life feels empty—he needs an outlet, any outlet to pull him out of his depression.

Enter notorious thief Malcolm Cho, the Ice Elemental Prometheus. There was a time when Danny welcomed a fight with Cho, filled with colorful banter and casual flirtations that were a relief compared to Thanatos. Even as a criminal, Cho had recognized the threat Thanatos posed and promised to help Danny stop him, but the day Danny needed Cho, he never showed. Cho was the reason so many people died that day—including Danny’s mother.

Danny decides to teach the man a lesson and fan the fire of their attraction into something more. At worst, he’ll get some no-strings-attached sex out of the deal and finally blow off steam; at best, he’ll get Cho to fall in love with him and then break his heart to spite him. Danny doesn’t expect to fall for Cho in the process, and he certainly can’t predict the much darker threat on the horizon.

Enjoy an Exclusive Excerpt

Dropping his hands to the collar of Danny’s jacket, Mal pushed it from his shoulders. Danny wouldn’t release his hold on Mal, so the jacket caught at his elbows and Mal reached for his jeans instead. As soon as his fingers brushed the skin of Danny’s stomach, the hand at Mal’s head and the other dipping low along his backside started to spark with a tingle of electricity.

Mal startled. It should have hurt, should have shocked him like a jolt of static on a cold, dry day—he’d felt Danny’s lightning offensively before, and it was not a pleasant experience—but this was different.

Automatic reactions out of self-defense or eruptions from extreme emotion were one thing, but usually only children who’d just Awakened had trouble controlling their abilities. Though, to be fair, Danny had been an Elemental for only a year. Mal never would have allowed his powers to get out of hand like that, but even as he thought the reprimand, his ice seemed to stir in response, wanting to creep over his skin like frost and seek Danny’s lightning out.

Fighting to hold his ice at bay, he was still intoxicated by the tingling sensation from Danny.

“Sorry!” Danny jerked away once he realized what was happening and reined his sparks back in.

“No,” Mal said, already missing the strange, enthralling buzz. “Do it again.”

Danny’s puzzled expression made him look so young as he stared back at Mal, but when those words caught up to him, he grinned.

About the Author: Amanda Meuwissen has been writing and posting online for many years, including maintaining the website and blog for the software company Outsell. She is an avid writer and consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games, and is the author of the paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga and young adult novel Life as a Teenage Vampire. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their two cats.

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Anne Elizabeth’s Favorite Holiday Traditions: Raise Your Voice – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Anne Elizabeth as she shares one of her favorite holiday traditions. Enter to win one of five copies of The Power of a SEAL.

RAISE YOUR VOICE
Holiday songs remind me of my childhood. Attending church with my parents and brother, and listening to the exuberance with which the congregation sang inspired intense warmth and comfort. Voices lifted in song varied from out-of-key to perfectly pitched tones, and it was wondrous! Each individual contributed to the joy as we created these beautiful sounds together.

After services, most of the congregation was full of cheer and would hurry outside for hot cocoa or tea. With cups in hand, we walked as a group down to the live action crèche. It was here that we sang the last Christmas song of the night, Away In The Manger. Of course, the goats bleated and donkeys brayed along with the clucking chickens and mooing cow; and all the sounds blended together. To this day, I still wonder if the animals were commenting or singing along.

Do you have a special holiday song, and why is it a favorite?

With over two decades of experience, Navy SEAL Leaper Lefton is bringing his expertise to young and impressionable SEAL trainees in BUD/s. As an instructor, he knows he must prepare them for all kinds of situations—and there’s a perfect opportunity for hands-on training when he spots a woman in danger in rough water. Kerry Hamilton, a marine mammal veterinarian for the U.S. Navy is beyond grateful when Leaper saves her from the rough seas, and their attraction is instant. But after everything Leaper has been through, can he truly love again? And is Kerry willing to give him the chance?

About the Author:New York Times bestselling author Anne Elizabeth is an award-winning romance author and a popular comic creator. With a BS in business and MS in communications from Boston University, she is a regular presenter at conventions as well as a member of the Author’s Guild, Horror Writers Association, and Romance Writers of America. Anne lives with her husband, a retired Navy SEAL, in the mountains above San Diego.

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