Ethan Stone, Wilde City Press

Plenty Of Mobsters And Demons and Dogs, Oh My!!! In Ethan Stone’s Past Tense

Man’s enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself. – Lao Tzu

I must admit that I have been a fan of Ethan Stone’s for a long time. I have followed his career closely since the beginning. There is so much growth and maturity as a writer evident in his most recent effort, Past Tense. One thing has remained the same, though: Ethan writes men who rarely show a weak side. His men aren’t often romantic. They occasionally “make love”, but more often, they fuck. He is honest about anal sex being painful sometimes. There are rarely flowers and candles (unless being used in pain play), but occasionally proclamations of love.

In Past Tense, Jason Holt, a man from a different place with a different real name, hires private detective Quinn Reynolds to “kill” him. Someone from his old life has found him in Las Vegas. It turns out that that someone, Nic Demos is also after Quinn Reynolds.

In Jason’s former life he had experienced first love. It just happened to be the son of the head of the New York Mafia. And Jason just happened to witness said mobster murdering an undercover cop. After Jason testifies and the mob boss goes to jail and is killed , Jason’s lover’s brother promises to get revenge. This brother now also has a new name and home. He is Nic Demos and he lives in Las Vegas.

Ethan Stone deals very well with the growing attraction between Quinn and Jason. During the course of the investigation it comes out that Quinn’s “soul mate”, Liam died and that Jason looks remarkably like him. This resemblance first draws Quinn to Jason, but then he gets to know him and the resemblance all but disappears in his mind.

When Liam died, he left Quinn a cabin and some land which is part of a ranch owned by Liam’s family, the MacKennas. When Quinn decides it is time to take Jason away to hide at the cabin, the anticipated fireworks erupt. Jason has no family left, as Nic had killed them all years ago. Quinn has no blood family, but Liam’s family embraces him as one of their own.

When Quinn shows up with a man, and one who looks so much like Liam, it makes for an interesting meal. Ethan writes every family member’s reaction thoroughly and differently. As in life, some immediately loved Jason and one in particular; Kayla, the teenaged princess hated him. I have no idea how Ethan was able to write from the perspective of a nineteen year old girl so well (**grins**), but he did. And he made me understand why she felt the way she did and almost sympathize with her.

The MacKennas’ business turns out to be demon hunting. Now with Nic’s last name being Demos, I’m sure you didn’t see any of this coming. Nic’s family has long been affiliated with the dark side. To cement his power, he needs to make a sacrifice on the full moon. To further strengthen his power, he must kill an enemy. Enter Jason. He is kidnapped by one of Nic’s henchmen, Kyon, who dresses up as a BDSM dog. I know, Ethan has a very imaginative sense of humor.

While hidden away in Kyon’s dungeon awaiting the full-moon, in-between torture sessions, Jason discovers a strange talent. He can manipulate plants with his mind. Pretty handy because Kyon sure has a lot of plants in his dungeon.

Using his skill, Jason escapes the dungeon, then the grounds. There he plows into Quinn’s father and finds out that Quinn went in to rescue him and has been grabbed in his stead. I know! So much going on, so much excitement. Kept me on the edge of my chair.

Jason answers a call from Nic and offers himself in exchange for Quinn while I am screaming, “You moron, he isn’t going to trade, he’ll kill both of you!” Which he of course tries to do. Jason comes through with his plant manipulation (which we now know means he is a Terran). The MacKenna family comes through with their demon killing skills and everyone except the demons survives the battle.

Turns out Quinn has a “power” of some sort, too. When they make love or fuck or whatever word you prefer, wings appear on Quinn’s chest and sprout out his back. What the hell is that about and why are we just finding out about it? I certainly hope Ethan plans to write more about these guys, because I want to see where the end up next. Nic had a brother. Whatever happened to him…

Funny, adventurous, secret pasts, weird super-powers, manly men, bitchy little girls, Past Tense has it all. It is a fun thrill ride and I want to get in line to go on it again. Ethan, please, please, can I have another ride? Highly recommend this one!

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Past Tense here:

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Jacob Z. Flores, Videos, Wilde City Press

Jacob Z. Flores And His Mega-Watt Smile Are Here Today To Lead Us To Love In The Most Desolate Of Places – Welcome, Jacob!

I’m so excited to be here at The Novel Approach. This is my third visit, and each time gets better than the last. Lisa and I always have a great time doing what we do best. Chatting and knocking back drinks. You know, for such a tiny woman, she could drink a man twice her size under the table. She puts me to shame. And it was great to meet Tina, the newest addition here at TNA, and it was also extra special to hang out here with my hubby, Bruce, who Lisa snagged for her blog as well. Such great people here, and the drinks are top-notch! Who could ask for more?

Now why am I here today? Well, this week is Wilde City Press week at The Novel Approach, and my latest release Moral Authority just happens to be from Geoff and Ethan at Wilde City. This means I get to be included. I so love being included! When I’m not, it’s kinda like being invited to a three way and being expected to watch. That’s just no fun at all.

For those of you who don’t know, Moral Authority is a dystopian novel. It is set in America of 2050, where a fourth branch of American government has been established. This branch of government is charged with providing a moral code of conduct for all citizens, for establishing moral laws for the country, and for upholding those laws. The name of that government is the Moral Authority. Samuel Pleasant is the man in charge of the Moral Authority. He is a megalomaniac who will do anything to protect moral law as well as the power he wields. No matter what the cost.

Obviously, like most dystopian novels, the America in my book is meant to be frightening. It is a lesson of what shouldn’t be done because morality is not something that can be prescribed for all by a select few. When that happens, the freedoms we currently have can be stripped away in the blink of an eye.

But there’s more to Moral Authority than just the dystopian slant and the brewing civil war. There is also love, and it happens in the most desolate of places.

Mark Bryan, one of the three main characters of the book, is a young man, who offers us a glimpse of true humanity and the one character who truly loves with all his heart. Sure, he’s angry, and sometimes he’s brash. But at the heart of those characteristics, there is love.

And Mark loves even when loving would seem impossible. When most of us would give in to the horror with anger and hate, Mark reaches deep inside and finds the best in himself to help those around him, and he truly makes a difference in the lives of the people he comes across. He offers them friendship, when they are lost and alone. When they are faced with impending death or torture, he gives them hope. And in one of the most horrific settings in the novel, Mark manages to find true love, and their budding relationship saves that man’s life.

Mark puts others above himself because that is what love is about. When Mark is juxtaposed with the Moral Authority and their selfish and terrible deeds, it is easy to see that the true moral authority rests within each individual and not with a group of elected officials or a majority voting block of the country.

It is the individual that makes the difference.

Blurb:

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are prescribed ideals in America of 2050. The Moral Authority, the nation’s newest branch of government, has virtually eliminated crime, poverty, and most social ills, but it also rules the land with a tyrannical fist, championing ignorance and brandishing fear.

Mark Bryan is a gay man whose existence brands him an outlaw; Isaac Montoya is a charming stranger, who entices Mark to defy moral law; and Samuel Pleasant runs the Moral Authority and plans to punish moral offenders and a rebellious uprising—no matter the cost.
Will liberty and justice return for all?

Excerpt:

On deck, Mark looked around at Provincetown harbor. Boat slips surrounded the area, but there were no boats. At one time, Provincetown was home to many boats, both commercial and private. Now, the only boat was the one he currently stood on. No doubt all other water transportation was forbidden since Provincetown had been turned into a detainment camp. Forced by K3s, citizens and businesses relocated off the cape.

The line of men in orange jumpsuits extended all the way down the pier, toward a New England-styled building with white trim and a gray roof. No doubt the building was once a visitor’s center or some official site for Provincetown tourism. Now, it was where the processing of prisoners occurred. It even had K3 guards standing sentinel along the white ramps, their weapons drawn and their muscles tense, anxiously awaiting the opportunity to shoot someone.

He focused his attention instead on the cool sea breeze that continued to swirl around him, whispering to him that he wasn’t alone. Mark then stepped off the metal plank used for disembarkation and onto the wooden slats of the pier. As he walked forward, Mark imagined what Provincetown might have been like a generation or two ago.

Mark pictured the excitement his gay brothers in the past must have experienced upon exiting the ferries that used to shuttle them back and forth from Boston. When their feet touched these same wooden slats he now walked across in chains, they were no doubt liberated from their daily selves. He imagined their excitement, as opposed to his dread, about their arrival. Instead of being detained like Mark, they had arrived at a destination where they were the most free, where they could be who they truly were and express that without hesitation or fear of reprisal.

He clearly saw them in the past, walking hand-in-hand as they hurried to join the rest of their kin at the local bars or shops. Each person they encountered was a potential new lover or friend. In the past, there were no limits here, no boundaries like the rows of chain link and barbed wire fences that extended for as far as the eye could see along the beach in both directions. Provincetown was whatever they wanted it to be. It could be filled with dancing and debauchery, shopping and sightseeing, or relaxing and lounging, or it could be all those things.

In fact, if he listened hard enough, he still heard the thumping bass beat of a long ago silenced speaker churning out the dance music to which the boys used to love to dance. The music drifted on the air currents, refusing to die and challenging the present to ever erase that part of this town’s past. The vibe was in the air. It was the essence of what Provincetown was and what it promised to be again. This was no doubt what he sensed while climbing out of the boat hold. It was the spirit of Provincetown and the ghosts of his gay brothers from the past. They were here, they told him. They wouldn’t be chased away.

The line stopped, and a gunshot exploded from down the pier, drowning out the ghostly drumbeat. Up ahead, a body fell to the pier. Blood pooled around the man’s head and stained the wood on the pier a reddish brown.

Another shot went off, and another body fell.

Mark tried to avert his eyes, but he couldn’t. The image was much too surreal to be real. He stared because his mind told him he was hallucinating.

Another shot pealed and another body fell. Then three shots with three more bodies falling onto the pier. When Mark heard another shot, he turned away. It was too much. He closed his eyes as another shot echoed through the sky, followed by another. He tried to listen for the bass beat again, to reconnect with the past, but it was impossible. All he heard were gunshots and the awful thump of bodies falling onto the wooden slats.

You can buy Moral Authority here:

http://www.wildecity.com/books/gay-mainstream/moral-authority/#.UZe6WpUmzzI

Become a part of Jacob Z. Flores’ social media, by visiting any of the following:

Website/blog: http://jacobzflores.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jacob.flores2,
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JacobZFlores,
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5142501.Jacob_Z_Flores

And now, ladies and gentlemen, behold! The man himself, Jacob Z. Flores!

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Jacob Z. Flores, Wilde City Press

Jacob Z. Flores’ Moral Authority Is Light And Love In A Desolate Place

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. – Mahatma Gandhi

I am the new kid on the block here, and in preparation for Wilde City Press Week, I was asked to review Moral Authority by Jacob Z Flores. Now, I will be honest and tell you that I normally don’t enjoy futuristic novels unless they are on the paranormal side of things. Well I am going to have to admit Jacob’s Moral Authority may have changed my mind forever.

Basically, this is a story of what happens when a government takes over the most basic choices from its citizens. As the story unfolds, we learn that the new 4th branch of the government, The Moral Authority, has taken over the responsibility of everyone’s moral compass. Not only is no one allowed to curse, but many other restrictions have been placed on all Americans. No longer can you ignore your fellow Americans, if someone greets you on the street, you better return the greetings with a smile, or you will be arrested. Do you love your cheeseburgers, not anymore you don’t. Each citizen has a caloric intake card and you are only allowed a certain amount per day. No more running late, because if you are found running down the sidewalk, disturbing other citizens, you could be arrested. Oh, and just for chuckles, don’t forget homosexuality is illegal also. If there is even a hint of a man looking at another man too long, there could be a ticket issued. Oh and the absolute scariest part of this novel? The former president that enacted the constitutional amendments that brought about the Moral Authority, yeah that would be former President Sarah Palin!!! Makes you shudder, huh?

In the beginning of the story our main character Mark Bryan is rushing for Starbucks to get his frappuccino that he has saved his allotted calories for. While in Starbucks he finds himself in an unusual predicament. Not one, but two gorgeous men are cruising him. This is a very dangerous situation for Mark. Luckily for him, one of the men saves him when two undercover Moral Authority officers catch the other man flirting a bit too obviously. This leads to a very candid conversation with the man who helped him. Mark finds himself intrigued by man #2, Isaac Montoya. Realizing after a close call he shouldn’t tempt fate, Mark ends the encounter right there but realizes Isaac has left his phone number. After some soul-searching, Mark decides to give Isaac a chance and he goes out on his first date, which leads to Isaac’s apartment and, well, you can guess what happens from there. Unfortunately, Mark should have trusted his sixth sense. It turns out he has been turned in for being homosexual, which leads to his being arrested, tried and convicted for homosexuality.

We then get to meet the patriots, the freedom fighters, the HRC (Human Rights Campaign).These are modern day rebels, people that do not agree with the Moral Authority. While learning about the HRC, I compared them to the kids in Red Dawn (Patrick Swayze version, duh). The difference is these guys have much more sophisticated weapons and equipment. Most of the members of HRC remind me of our liberals of today. As the story progresses, we realize that the HRC reaches much further than anyone expects.

Now, for the truly scary part of the book, The Moral Authority itself: The leader of the Moral Authority is Samuel Pleasant. But let me tell you this he is anything but pleasant. The scary part about Samuel is he truly believes in the Moral Laws. He is convinced that what he is doing is best for everyone. For him, the new additions to the constitution were the best things to happen to America in a long time. His nemesis, the HRC, has been striking with more accuracy and drawing attention to themselves. So, to draw them out and try to make them lose face, he decides to build “containment centers”. This is just a fancy term for concentration camps. All I am going to say is, anything you think Hitler may have done, Samuel Pleasant took it up a notch. To combat the HRC he has created his version of military police. They are called the K3s, yeah, you got that KKK. They even wear solid white fatigues, so, yeah, I told you this guy was scary.

So, we experience Mark’s arrival to Provincetown Detention Center and we get to witness Mark’s strength. Maybe not his physical strength, but his strength of character. Mark witnesses firsthand how bad it can get if you get out of hand. Yet when the K3s tell him and another man to dispose of some bodies on the beach, Mark refuses to leave without praying over the bodies, consequences be damned. Unknowingly, Mark earns the respect of one of his fellow inmates. We are then taken thru weeks of torture, both physical and mental, with Mark and his fellow inmates. He and a few of the men form a special bond, but a very traumatic event brings him closer than ever before to one man. In a virtual Hell, Mark finds love, and he finds some stolen moments of solace in the arms of a wonderful man.

As tensions heat up between the Moral Authority and the HRC the nation starts to divide and civil war seems unavoidable. There were some major betrayals that I never saw coming, but there were allies revealed that shocked me even more. I don’t want to give any spoilers, because I think it was enjoyable being blindsided by Jacob Flores’ twists and turns as they come.

This book will make you think, it will make you question your own morals, and if you are anything like me, it might just scare you to death. Just imagine yourself living in a country where uttering a curse word or two could land you in jail, where being friends with a gay man could land you in jail as a sympathizer, and where speaking your mind could literally get you shot.

One thing I did take away from this book was a quote from a surprising source, a high ranking officer in the K3s said this and it just struck me as a divine truth: The term is subjective to the whim of whatever individual espouses it. Morality means different things to different people. You just have to follow in step with what the majority thinks is moral, and you will do fine. I will leave you with these parting words and I will urge you to read this book. I went into this without being sure if I would make it thru the book, and now I am glad that I didn’t miss it.

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy Moral Authority here:

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Eric Arvin, TJ Klune, Videos, Wilde City Press

You’ll Laugh, You’ll Cry, You May Even Wet Yourself – Ladies and Gentlemen, Behold… Eric Arvin and TJ Klune





















What is it that makes a great video? Is it the thrills, the chills…the random hilarity and smoochy faces and cat butt? Yes, there’s Otter butt in this one, people. Never let it be said you weren’t warned.

This video is epic. Epic, I tell you! There are zombies and questionably good impersonations! (No, really, they’re lovely, guys) And there’s The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men… And there’s just no easy way to prepare you for it, so here they are in all their epicliciousness. ::drum roll:: It’s the Eric and TJ show! ::fanfare::
















THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

There. That is all. Now go and behold the madcap Klarvin shenanigans!

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Hank Edwards, Wilde City Press

Ladies and Gentlemen, here all the way from Venom Valley–no, not really–please welcome Hank Edwards!

Thanks for having the Wilde City Press authors on your website! We’re quite a diverse group of authors, aren’t we? We seem to have hit all the major genres.

My first few books published with Wilde City Press are from my Venom Valley Series, and they land firmly in the paranormal genre. When I was planning the series, I decided I really wanted to place the story in an unusual setting, so even before the movie Cowboys & Aliens came out, I had started writing the first book, now titled Cowboys & Vampires, and set the story in the American Old West. I wanted to explore how a vampire–an old school, evil, blood-thirsty brand of vampire, not the redemption seeking good guys of today–could swoop into a small prairie town and quietly start turning its residents into vampires. I drew from the likes of the original Dracula and Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot for inspiration. I knew I wanted the classic vampire scenario–three bites to turn a person, holy items, silver, and garlic can wound or ward off, and a stake through the heart and exposure to sunlight can kill–but I also wanted a new way to combat the vampire threat.

That was when Josh Stanton popped into my head. To me Josh is the main character of the series. When Cowboys & Vampires opens we are inside Josh’s head as he’s discovering the body of someone close to him. But he’s reacting to the presence of the body in a physical way that’s much different than grief. Along with his despair over the loss of someone he loves, Josh feels a power thrumming through him, manifested by building heat. And then the body begins to move. It slowly, painfully gets to its feet and lurches toward him, hungry for flesh.

To this end, I took the classic zombie and made it more of tool for a necromancer. Josh is just discovering this power inside him, and he spends a good deal of the first book learning how to use this power to fight the growing vampire threat, for, as he and his best friend since childhood–and, to date, unrequited love interest–Dex Wells discover later on, where lead bullets cannot penetrate vampire skin and bone, zombie teeth and nails can. I had this idea that only another species of the undead, for instance a zombie, can tear into another undead creature, such as a vampire. It’s my personal twist on the “rules” of the paranormal world.

So now I had a witch, Josh Stanton, a vampire, the big bad Balthazar and his evil minions, and a handful of corpses that reanimate when Josh is near. That’s a pretty full plate for any paranormal series. Throw in the hunky, deputy best friend/love interest Dex, and I was good to go.

But then I heard a new voice as I started plotting out the book, one that was–to me, at least–very unique and fascinating. It was a woman, and as Glory whispered her background in my ear, I wrote it down as fast as I could. She was half white and half Native American and she worked in the One-Eyed Rooster, the town saloon. Glory’s father had been pure-bred Apache and fell in love with her mother, a white woman from town. They married the only way possible back then for a mixed race couple, by Native American custom, and lived outside of town where Glory was conceived, born, and raised. When Glory was very young, her father took her out into the woods and called forth a spirit guardian to act as her guardian and protect her from danger. Not long after, Glory’s father was taken by a group of men from town and hung for lying with a white woman.

Now in her early twenties, Glory lays with the men in town for money, the only work she can find. Her one and only love is her spirit guardian, Ohanzee, who can only appear to her when Glory is in danger. Because of this, Glory is quite the risk taker, as she tries to see Ohanzee as often as possible. When the vampire Balthazar begins to prowl the halls of the One-Eyed Rooster at night, hypnotizing the other girls into inviting him into their rooms, Ohanzee’s protection keeps Glory from falling under the vampire’s spell and allows her to escape.

Hot off the presses, the cover of Stakes & Spurs: Venom Valley Book Two!

As if things weren’t crowded enough in the town of Belkin’s Pass, I now had a Native American spirit to throw into the mix. But the story grew inside my head to an epic showdown between living men, protective spirits, the risen undead, and the vampire threat. I don’t think it would be as fulfilling if one of these creature types were left out, the story really works because they are all included. The characters themselves have been defined by the paranormal elements around and within them, and, should one or two of these elements suddenly be removed, they may have to learn how to be themselves in a totally different context. It’s interesting times out there in Belkin’s Pass, just on the edge of Venom Valley and not too far from the US Army post of Fort Emmerick. Very interesting times.

And always remember, where there are a few paranormal creatures, another one or two may be lurking in the shadows nearby, eager to tell tales of his own.

Here’s a blurb from the first book of the series, Cowboys & Vampires – Venom Valley Book One, now available at Wilde City Press in all major e-book formats, and at most e-book retailers. Enjoy!

Excerpt:

“Josh!” Dex knelt in front of him and grabbed his shoulders. He gave him a rough shake, but Josh could not focus. All he knew, all he could feel, was the heated rush of his blood.

Dex pulled Josh against him, hugging him against his chest. As if through a wall of rushing sound, Josh heard the crack of Dex’s Colt and felt the jump of the man’s shoulder as Dex held off the wolves. Then Dex had his hands under Josh’s arms and was dragging him across the hard packed sand and dirt to the mine entrance. Josh tried to speak, tried to warn Dex not to get any closer, but his tongue was hot and swollen behind his teeth.

Josh felt himself spin around, and then Dex sat him up against the weathered and rotting boards that covered the old mine entrance. Cool, dank air washed over him, bringing with it a hint of things left too long in the damp. The cool air chilled his fevered, sweaty skin and Josh shivered. His senses returned a little, and he watched Dex kneeling before him, protecting him, waving the burning branch at the advancing wolves as he shouted. Dex was saving his bullets, Josh knew, for when the wolves were close enough for them to feel their breath.

Soft, skittering sounds whispered out of the mine. Shuffling, crackling sounds that sent a familiar chill through him. Someone, something, was moving behind the rotting boards that covered the mine entrance. Josh slowly turned his head, the rugged, splintered surface of the board beneath catching in his sweat-damp hair.

A face with skin dry as parchment hovered just on the other side of a gap in the boards. Rotted teeth stuck up from brown gums and a milky white eye rolled to meet Josh’s gaze. The thing let out a rank gasp of air as it moaned and stuck skeletal fingers through the narrow gap, the tips brushing along Josh’s cheek.

He gave a start, the touch of the thing snapping him from his daze even as the heat in his body burned hotter. More fingers from other walking corpses reached out for him. Josh pushed away from the boards that covered the mine, letting out a shout of fear. As he watched, a number of bone thin hands gripped the edges of the boards and pulled them apart, making a path for the walking dead miners to shuffle out toward them.

Buy links:
Wilde City Press: https://www.wildecity.com/books/gay-mainstream/cowboys-vampires-venom-valley-book-one/#.UbzPGuvkB6w
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Vampires-Venom-Valley-ebook/dp/B00CQDY7OO/
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cowboysvampiresvenomvalleybookone-1194152-145.html

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Hank Edwards, Wilde City Press

Cowboys & Vampires: Venom Valley Book One – It’s A Nice Place To Visit If You Don’t Mind The Ghoulies

I had the pleasure of reading this book way back when, in its original incarnation, so I’m going to cheat just a wee bit and post an excerpt from my original review for Top2Bottom. It’s a great book, and believe me, it’s a memorable one too. I’m still hanging from that cliff, Mr. Edwards! :)

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If you haven’t read Hank Edwards’ Cowboys & Vampires: Venom Valley Book One yet, then you’re just going to have to trust me when I tell you the real Wild West was never as wild as the West that is Belkin’s Pass…or, at least I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. Anyway, this once sleepy little frontier town has suddenly become host to some ghouly boo-wiggly undeads, so there’s at least a little bit of proof to my theory, yes? Yes, I think so too.

Lifelong friends, Josh and Dex fell in love with each other somewhere along the way in their journey, though neither man has ever found the courage to express his feelings for the other. Now? Well, now seems the perfect time to declare themselves and consummate their relationship, because the future looks a lot less bright than it ever has before and, let me assure you, the present could use all the hope and promise it can get.

Strange things are afoot in the town, you see—the dead who just don’t seem happy to stay that way, a mysterious and foreign stranger called Balthazar who preys on the townsfolk, glamouring them and drinking their blood, creating new progeny to grow his legacy, and Josh is caught directly in the midst of all these supernatural events. That is to say he is a supernatural event himself, and it’s the strange power hidden within him that reanimates the corpses he encounters, which causes the man no end of problems when he’s accused of murdering two people, one of them the woman who’d raised him, she being the only mother Josh had ever known.

In a matter of moments, those crimes transform him into a fugitive with a price on his head and the promise of the noose if he’s ever caught. The question? How can a man be guilty of murder if the victim was aleady dead? The problem? Who’s going to believe a story like that, especially coming from a man who’s considered an outcast by some. The answer? Dex Wells, that’s who, and he is willing to sacrifice everything he has, everything he is, for the man he loves.

Dex tracks Josh to the home where he’d spent the first few short years of his life before his mother, a woman accused of everything from practicing witchcraft to devil worship, had abandoned him. Dex listens to Josh’s admittedly far-fetched tale of the reanimated dead, and luckily is able to believe that some strange event or another has occurred involving Josh and the deceased. It should probably be a harder pill to swallow, but he’s just experienced his own brush with the preternatural when he’s attacked by a few of the prostitutes at the One-Eyed Rooster Saloon, where Dex witnesses them threatening Glory, a half-breed call-girl protected by a Native spirit, Ohanzee.

This story is told from three different perspectives—Josh’s, Dex’s, and Glory’s—the stories running parallel to each other until the point they each converge perfectly in the place known as Venom Valley, a place where those who dare to enter are seldom seen or heard from again. Scorpions, snakes, stinging beetles, all the creepy crawlies that give Venom Valley its name, aren’t the only things to be scared of in this haunted and dangerous place. There are things with far more bite to them that come out in the dark to play, and the two men encounter each and every one in their mission to escape the hangman’s noose, locate Balthazar, and save their town from a fate worse than death.

But Balthazar, oh, you better believe he has other plans for our heroes, plans that will be revealed in the next installment in the series. At least, I hope so.

Yes, Hank Edwards leaves the reader suspended on the edge of a cliff, dangling precariously by the fingertips over the little Venom Valley of horrors, waiting to learn the fate of our heroes. As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Cowboys & Vampires is step one of what promises to be a thrilling adventure. I, for one, am more than ready for step two.

Check out the terrific guest post HERE to learn a little bit more about this fantastical place that Hank built.

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Patrick Darcy, Videos, Wilde City Press

Here With Us All The Way From Dublin, Ireland, Please Welcome Patrick Darcy!






Through this magical portal called the internet, we’re pleased to be able to welcome Patrick Darcy to The Novel Approach today.

Patrick is the author of the Confessions of a Gay Rugby Player series of books published through “Charlie Harding Presents…”, Wilde City’s Black Label press, a premier selection of stories approved by none other than Charlie Harding himself, specifically for their steamy, erotic goodness.

Here’s a little bit about the books and the characters Patrick has created:

Star Irish rugby player, Conor Murphy, lives and breathes rugby. He spends his weekends playing rugby, drinking beer, and singing songs with his teammates. There is only one thing he loves more than rugby, and that is hot rugby players. But after the final whistle sounds, the real competition begins: the hunt for the hottest men.

Conor’s muscular body and roguish good looks ensure he can have his pick of the sexiest players. But what happens when this alpha male meets his match on and off the field? Who will come out on top when he meets the horniest rugby players from the USA? Can two alpha males have the night of their lives?

Rugby—it’s all about scoring, whether it’s on the field… or off.

While on tour in Copenhagen, it seems nothing is going to stop the Irish from bringing home the trophy and taking the spoils of victory. And while teammates Conor and Sean work up a sweat on the field to claim their prize, the real competition begins after the whistle blows, as the lads discover that Copenhagen is full of hot distractions.

To be sure, there is nothing rotten in the state of Denmark! In fact, Danish men are ripe for the picking. They love sex, have no inhibitions, and they want Irish meat.

But as Conor and Sean put their friendship aside in the pursuit of the hottest Danish players, the question is, will their friendship survive the real sport of man hunting?

And now that you know a bit about the books, let’s carry on with getting to know a little bit about the man behind them. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Patrick Darcy!

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Jordan L. Hawk

Warning: This Is An ALL Gray Area!

I was going to call this post “Interview With the Vampire,” but that one’s kind of been-there-done-that, so let’s talk drakuls, one in particular, and YOU get to do the interviewing!

I’m not sure if you’ve heard or not, but Jordan L. Hawk has another book coming out in the SPECTR series, the third book to be precise, called Reaper of Souls, and in honor of its imminent publication, she’s managed to convince Gray, Caleb Jansen’s incorporeal but entirely sentient demon-munching body-dweller, to answer some of your questions about, well, pretty much anything you can come up with.

All you have to do is leave your questions right here on this post. I’ll compile them all on June 23rd and send them to Jordan so she can get Gray’s answers. Hopefully, he’s feeling cooperative. You’ll find out on July 3rd! :)

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Eric Arvin, Ethan Stone, Jacob Z. Flores, Sandrine Gasq-Dion, TJ Klune, Wilde City Press

Folks, The Novel Approach Is About To Go A Little Wilde

We couldn’t be more thrilled to be playing host this week to Wilde City Press and some of the authors who make that city such a Wilde place to visit. To put a finer point on it:

Wilde City is a metropolis of male fiction brimming with the best in Gay Male Romance, Gay Male Erotica and Gay Male Mainstream books; a place inhabited by the most talented writers in the industry whose page-turning tales will make you laugh, cry and beg for more!

From stories of romance and desire, to thrills and spills, you’ll experience all the fun and fantasy, all the suspense and steaminess, of a city that only sleeps when you do.

You’ll find stories of Gay Romance on just about every corner of Wilde City. Look out for those lingering gazes between strangers as they pass by on the Boulevard of Hopeless Romantics, or book a table at Wilde City’s Gay Rainbow Room and watch someone’s fingers brush against the hand of a man longing to be kissed. Yes, in a city this big, romance is everywhere.

But many other gay worlds exist within Wilde City. Walk through the cobblestone alleys of the Old Docklands and you’re sure to stumble across something that will chill you to the bone. Venture through the haunted mansions of the old Parisian Quarter and you might catch a glimpse of a handsome ghost, or powerful werewolf, or a vampire hungry for your blood. Or perhaps you’d prefer a laugh with the gay characters you’ll meet on Vaudeville Avenue as they bumble their way through life looking for Mr. Right… or Mr. Right Now! Or buy yourself a ticket to gay adventure atop Wilde City’s Empire Tower and board the Wilde World Airship for an action-packed trip of a lifetime!

Then again, if you’ve come to Wilde City for action of a different kind, welcome to a city teeming with Gay Erotica. You’ll find sex in almost every back alley and respectable dive in Wilde City’s notoriously naughty Pink Light District. Or for something that’s sure to turn you on, visit Mr. Charlie Harding’s exclusive black-label sex soiree, ‘Charlie Harding Presents’… because why not get the best in Gay Erotica from the Expert!

It’s time to go Wilde… this City is calling!

We’ll be kicking off the festivities tomorrow with our first guest, author Patrick Darcy, who’ll be discussing erotica and homosexuality in Ireland, so stay tuned for that.

Throughout the week, we’ll have a variety of interviews, videos, guest posts, and some great reviews of more than a few Wilde books.

Here’s what’s on tap for the rest of the week:

Tuesday – Hank Edwards will be our guest, discussing the meshing of multiple paranormal elements into one story/series in Venom Valley, where his book Cowboys & Vampires takes place.

Wednesday – we’ll have Eric Arvin and TJ Klune here with a video that’s sure to be fun.

Thursday – Jacob Z. Flores will have a guest post discussing finding love in dark places, as well as a video reading from his latest release Moral Authority.

Friday – Ethan Stone will be here with an interview and maybe talk a little bit about his book Past Tense.

Saturday – Sandrine Gasq-Dion is our guest, and she’s got a new book out with Wilde City called A Betting Man.

My bet is you won’t want to miss a moment of this!

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Christine Price, Samhain Publishing

Christine Price’s Half Blind (Freelance Magic, Book 1) Has Given Me Perfect 20/20 Obsession

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? – Sherlock Holmes, “The Sign of the Four”

Before August Brandon became an agent with the Canadian Supernatural Investigation Team, he was a wizard-in-training who nearly didn’t survive his education for reasons that are very significant to the story, and for that reason, I will not reveal them to you. ::taunt:: Let’s just say that what he learned at the hands of his mentor is the direct line from a deep and bitter betrayal that can be traced to Brandon’s trust issues and can be blamed for his never allowing anyone to cross the very stringent barriers he’s erected to keep people from getting too close.

When the laws of Brandon’s particular sort of magic were changed to accommodate stricter controls over its use, and for arguably good reason, one might say, it limited his options as an agent with the CSIT, relegating him to a position as desk jockey and paper shuffler rather than being out in the field where the risk exists that he could potentially use his powers for evil instead of good. Or, at least that’s the fear and the argument used to enact the new regulations. But Brandon has a boss who believes he deserves a chance to prove himself, and the perfect opportunity has arisen for him to use the magic with which he’s been gifted when the North American Museum of Unnatural Wonders (Un-Won) is scheduled to receive an ancient artifact of immeasurable power—the Eye of Odin—which infuses its bearer with omniscience. And we all know that knowledge is power, yes? Of course we do. Then again, we also know that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that the human mind is nothing if not powerless against the whims of the metaphysical.

Fredrick Greer is the man who’s been hired by the Vancouver CSIT to ensure the Eye is secured against any and all contingencies possible while housed in its exhibit. What that means is he’s responsible for ensuring that no one has the ways or the means to steal the Eye and all the corruptible power that goes along with it. But that doesn’t mean there are those who, in spite of all that diligence, won’t still try. The question is, will that someone—or someones—succeed?

Greer is, shall we say…unconventional, although Brandon would probably word that a bit differently. Honestly, the best that can be said is their personalities mesh about as well as lemon juice and a paper cut, that is to say if Greer were the lemon juice and Brandon were an exposed raw nerve. But just because Greer doesn’t fit the professional mold, it doesn’t mean he’s not serious about ensuring the safety of the Eye, working night and day and weighing all the options for securing the museum’s every ingress and egress point before the artifact arrives, and he’s not above using some very unorthodox methods to do it.

Of course, you understand that all the due diligence Greer and team are putting into this assignment is going to work out something like a self-fulfilling prophecy, don’t you? Yes, you do, because that’s one of the umpty-bazillion things I adored about this book. And yes, there were exactly that many reasons for me to love it. Give or take a few umpties.

Half Blind is a book of sorcery and technology pitted against the keen intellect and instincts of a man who makes a living at testing and pushing limits, and acquiring ill-gotten gains for the sake of profit. It’s filled with action and suspense and grave danger, seduction and magic and mystery, twists and turns and sacrifice, and an if I didn’t want to punch your face so hard, I might just like to kiss it romance that all lead to a breath-holding climax and a revelation that has me itching for book two, somewhere right about this very minute, thank you very much.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say I halfway believe Christine Price is a sorceress herself. It would certainly go a long way in explaining why I was utterly bewitched by the snappy dialogue and non-stop intrigue packed cover-to-cover in this book.

You can buy Half Blind here:

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Ramblings

Night Song – Because Sometimes I Feel Purple

And today was one of those days. When that happens, I often sit down and pretend like I know how to write, mostly reviews, but there are times I get a little poetic and when I do, things like this come out. :) You don’t have to read it. I’m just leaving it here for safe keeping, and now I’m heading for the hills. :-P

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tumblr_lmyxocMas31qi0mnqo1_500Night sounds drift through a thin curtain of decomposing light, light that has been tamed and is now shrouded within the dusky gray of the softening day. A symphony of crickets accompanied by the sibilant sound of leaves slipping one against the other carries itself in through the open windows and over the gossamer fabric that plays lazily on a fickle breeze, sounds that land without effort, stroking quiet fingers along and over the landscapes of the two bodies entwined in the pale cool sheets, laying a trail of gooseflesh beneath the sheen of sweat that’s testament to the mellowing of the heated day.

The room glows sepia with the flicker of a dozen candles, adding the scents of cinnamon and clove to the heady blend of lilac and summer hovering around and over them, skin shimmering in a mix of clean exertion and mellow flame where it touches the men in the most intimate way, illuminating a path to the places they will each welcome the stroke of a tongue, a soft kiss, a sharp nip to tender flesh, each laying claim to the body beneath as they battle for the lead in this primal dance.

The silken whisper of skin against skin, soft words spoken on sighs—yes, more, right there, oh God…yes. Please!—the rasp of facial hair as a kiss deepens into something frantic, something frenzied that demands rather than asks permission, each breath a testament to two lives that have somehow become one, tongues dueling not with words but with lust and love and need and want. It is a battle, this desire to take, to possess, to each overwhelm the other in a press of flesh and a joining of bodies at a place where hearts collide.

A long, low lover’s moan harmonizes with the night chorus, a bass vibrato that is part pain, part pleasure, and resonates like the desperate prayer of a man seeking salvation from the only one who can offer him redemption. Face to face, touch to touch, eyes seeking and finding perfection, the two become one, sharing breaths and sighs in an endless confession, hips rocking in a synchronous rhythm both ancient and timeless; silken steel sheathed in molten heat fanning flames long held in check, now set to a steady burn that threatens to consume them the nearer they come to catching the electric current humming through their veins and buzzing along every nerve, beginning somewhere deep and unknown and primitive, then radiating outward like a pebble that’s broken the smooth surface of a quiet pond, tight rings of energy growing wider as they flow ever outward from the center until they simply no longer are…

And then the world explodes in a chorus of light and color. The ambient noises that had once surrounded them are now swallowed in a litany of cries and moans and hot, heavy breaths that carry promises of forever, and words that offer praise and give meaning to that small and simple one—Love. They are each wrapped tight around the other, Yin-Yang, neither knowing where they begin and end, neither wanting to be the first to let go, neither willing to end what they’d begun, both certain that forever is built upon single moments such as this.

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Julie Bozza, Manifold Press

Julie Bozza Takes Readers On A Stroll Through The Aphothecary’s Garden

And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles. ― Frances Hodgson Burnett

Hilary Kent has something Tom Laurence very much wants—his garden. But it’s not just any garden Tom’s after; it’s the centuries-old physic garden planted by a priest called Thaddeus who disappeared under mysterious circumstances, some four-hundred years before, that Tom’s most interested in because he’s reading Medieval History at Uni and plans to make the apothecary’s garden the foundation of his graduate thesis.

Hilary inherited the tower and its accompanying garden from an estranged cousin, moving from London to the quiet countryside that is the perfect accommodation for his preferred solitary life. Hilary is firmly ensconced in his golden years and aims to spend the rest of his days enjoying the seclusion his new home affords him, and that’s still his plan even though he’s given Tom permission to begin excavating Thaddeus’ original designs from the now overgrown disarray the garden has fallen into after years of neglect.

Tom is a young man who might be called nothing less than an old soul in the body of a confident and enthusiastic student of the history he’s about to unearth, a history that will uncover a mystery without any clues. His friendship with Hilary is one that blossoms and flourishes, and with care and nurturing affection, grows into a deep and abiding love in spite of the 4+ decades’ difference in their ages. But it’s not a love that is so easily cultivated, at least not on Hilary’s part, not by any means.

Hilary is of a generation that recalls very much what it was like to hide his attraction to other men, because he is of a generation that remembers a time when who he is was against the law. It takes some getting used to, this idea of living and loving openly the way Tom’s generation is striving to do, and it’s something he tries very hard to continue to foster in Tom while denying himself the right to do the same. Though, this time it’s not about his sexuality but about the conflict of falling in love with a man hypothetically young enough to be his grandson, an issue that Tom is blind to, not seeing their difference in age as an issue at all.

The Apothecary’s Garden is a gentle romance in which the conflict is internal for poor Hilary, who loves Tom so deeply but can’t seem to fathom it’s possible those affections might ever be returned. There is a forty-two year age difference between them, after all, so if that’s something that you’d have a difficult time with, I can’t say this is the book for you because it’s the crux of the conflict in their relationship for the entirety of the book.

While this novel was perhaps just a bit too sedate for my tastes, the drama in some instances a bit on the theatrical side to suit me, I can say without hesitation that Julie Bozza holds an obvious affection for her characters. Hilary was entirely sympathetic in his doubt and self-denial, acknowledging his love of a man he thinks he can never have, convicted in his belief that Tom could never see him through the eyes of anything other than a dear friend. The bond that grows between Tom and Hilary is genuine, making it easy to see how they could be kindred spirits, perhaps separated by generations but connected by their similarities.

There were some lovely metaphors in the story, illuminating the love that grew from the seeds of friendship for these two men, and the way in which a garden, much like that love, cannot survive until all the detritus that chokes the new and fragile blossoms of that love, which keeps it from thriving and growing into something lush and beautiful, has been removed to allow a new life to begin.

The Apothecary’s Garden is a book I’d recommend unreservedly if you’re looking for a story that leads you quietly along the path to its happy ending. Don’t read it if you’re expecting loads of angst and conflict, don’t read it if you’re expecting erotica, but do read it if you’re looking for an understated and touching romance.

You can buy The Apothecary’s Garden here:

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Avery Dawes, Torquere Press

Music Is The Languange Of Love In Avery Dawes’ Mountain Memories

Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends. – Alphonse de Lamartine

Mountain Memories is a sweet story with some great twists and turns. We have Jax the concert pianist and composer. Then we have Mason, the park ranger with the National Park Service. Jax is running away from a broken heart and trying to put his life back together. Mason is doing a job he loves and trying to figure out why he hasn’t fallen in love with his friend and sometimes lover, Roger.

When Mason rescues Jax from a mountain lion attack the sparks immediately start flying. Due to a bad storm, Jax and Mason spend the next few days together in the ranger cabin getting to know each other both in and out of bed. A surprise visitor puts a major wrench into their plans on the last night they were supposed to spend together.

While both men are in the hospital Jax realizes he has lost his heart to Mason, but unfortunately a bullet wound, a not so serious lover, and Jax’s own trepidation put a stop to anything that may have grown between the two men. While Mason is still out of it, Jax hops a plane back to Virginia to mend his broken heart. After a couple months, Jax has worked his feelings out, well, at least he has gotten them all on paper in the form of his composition Mountain Memories, and he is playing it at a benefit concert.

A surprise visitor backstage at the benefit could make or break Jax’s future. Will Jax take a chance or will he continue to live thru his music alone? Well, you will have to read it to find out.

This story was well written and had, for me, just the right amount of angst to keep me on the edge of my seat. The characters are well written and have just enough backstory to have you invested in what happens to them. I would recommend this story if you are looking for a short, sweet read with a happy ending. I would love to read more by this author in the future.

Reviewed By: Jackie

You can buy Mountain Memories here:

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Andrea Speed, Dreamspinner Press

Are You Ready For Your Daily Dose Of Thunderballs?

So they were both crushing on each other, and yet, both were afraid of venturing into dangerous territory. – Andrea Speed

Luke Diaz has his friend Marc and an herbal drug laced health shake to blame for his sudden, and now soberly inexplicable, urge to sign up for an adult dodgeball league. He’s baffled, sure, but now that he’s done it, it’s more curiosity than anything that draws him to the high school gymnasium to check out what kind of people actually take the sport, if that’s even the right word for it, seriously enough to try out for a chance at one of the four vacant spots on the Seattle Thunderballs’ team roster.

It’s all a bit of a weird experience for Luke, and he’s sort of tempted to write it off as a momentary lapse of sanity…until the team’s captain saunters his way across the gym floor, blowing his whistle and clutching that red rubber ball. Oh yeah, Shane Kinrade catches Luke’s attention and suddenly dodgeball doesn’t seem so weird after all. In fact, Shane makes Luke want to try really hard to earn one of those coveted spots on the team, and now it’s not a matter of blaming Marc and that herbal shake for the urge to dodge some balls as much as it is thanking them both for the eyeful of pretty that is the sexy captain. The problem is, Luke has no idea if Shane is gay.

Thunderballs is Andrea Speed’s contribution to Dreamspinner Press’ Daily Dose collection, and if you’ve ever seen the movie Dodgeball, you can probably imagine what was going through my head when I snatched this one up to read. But let me assure you, Thunderballs is much less goofy than the movie (nary a wrench to the face to be found), and Luke and Shane and their winks and smiles were fun to watch as they finally got about the business of getting their flirt on.

You can buy Thunderballs here:

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Andrea Speed, Dreamspinner Press

Get Swept Away By Andrea Speed’s Infected: Undertow

If you’re reading this… Congratulations, you’re alive. If that’s not something to smile about, then I don’t know what is. ― Chad Sugg, “Monsters Under Your Head”

There are so many things that scare me about the “Infected” series. Not the beasties that could eat my face off. No, that’d be too simple. What I’m really terrified of is that Andrea Speed doesn’t fear me enough not to do things that have the potential to make me weep openly. Hey, she’s done it before and could very well do it again, considering that my love for this bizarre little corner of her world is only mildly insane and entirely obsessive.

Roan’s morphing. Again. But you all knew that already if you’ve been following along on this bizarre Rorschach test of a journey that I look at head-on and think, I should really know what that is, but the image is just this side of, “huh?” And I can’t grasp it. Maybe if I squinted and tilted my head a little to the right I’d understand what the lion is doing to Roan. Or, maybe it’s a matter of what Roan’s doing to the lion. I don’t know, but one thing I do know for sure is this is getting good. I also know another thing: the general public, the extremists, and even some of Roan’s own are still bent on punishing him, or deifying him, for his nature.

And then there’s Holden. You remember him; the guy who never met a social more he wasn’t willing to break, or annihilate, until it weeps under the heel of his derision. Holden, the unflappable man-whore who isn’t above a little lying and cheating and doing whatever he has to do to get results…isn’t quite so unflappable anymore now, is he? Because he’s finally met someone, someone who isn’t Roan, who’s willing to take Holden at face value and doesn’t ask anything more of him than to just be himself, which isn’t always easy for Holden, because who he is morphs according to the circumstances and situation. When Holden let’s anyone see the real him, the him behind all the external trappings and affectations, you can believe that person is someone Holden trusts, regardless of whether he’s willing to admit what it could potentially mean. And he’s morphing again, it would seem. Maybe that’s why he and Roan get along so well; they’re both in a state of constant evolution and are just cynical enough of the world and all who inhabit it that it doesn’t matter whether they go out with a bang or a whimper as long as they’re going out on their own terms and are flipping off the bulk of humanity as they go.

Roan, Holden, Dylan, Scott, Grey, and most of the other usual suspects are back in Infected: Undertow, and you know Roan and Holden are throwing around loads of the general wiseassery they’re so good at. But they’ve got a few cases to solve too, which isn’t unexpected considering how good they are at what they do, even when there are seemingly no clues to follow, and the stench of failure clings like a miasma that almost foils even Roan’s super-senses.

There are so many downfalls inherent in loving a man like Roan, but Dylan appears up to the challenge of nurturing his husband along until he finally believes he’s got something, or someone, a lot of someones, actually, to live for. Let’s hope the lion agrees and deigns to allow him a little more life in his years and a lot more years in his life. Roan is not allowed to simply go gentle into that good night. Why? Because even if Roan ever gets only a small slice of normal in this world, at least it’s a slice worth living and fighting for.

I’d say Andrea Speed dialed Infected: Undertow up to eleven, but that’s so passé these days. So, I’ll give it a twelve. Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It is. Honestly, I can’t decide what I’d base my recommendation of this book on, because there are layers to it that keep peeling away as we get closer and closer to the end. The mysteries; the transmogrification of our badass virus child; the pain and conflict he endures not necessarily for being who and what he is but for who he loves and for all that they suffer on his behalf; maybe I’d recommend it for nothing more than the obscure cultural references and witty banter. I’d even recommend this book for Holden’s story alone, so let’s just say, all of the above.

You can buy Infected: Undertow here:

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Dreamspinner Press, Lou Sylvre

Look Who’s Come For A Visit – It’s Lou Sylvre, And She’s Brought Some Special Guests With Her

As the author of the Vasquez and James books, I called a number of the characters together for a meeting because readers had been asking questions—questions I couldn’t answer—and I thought it was time to put their concerns to rest, once and for all. When I called to make arrangements, it seemed at first as if the plan would come off without a hitch. Sonny answered the phone.

“Sure, we’d love to,” Sonny said, after I explained about wanting to do a group interview. “Where did you want to meet?”

“Well, I was hoping you might be willing to come down to my place,” I said. “I’m just down here off Budd Inlet, near the Capitol.”

“Oh, yeah. Love that area! It’s a nice drive down the canal, too, and Kaholo’s never been that way…. I guess I’ll have to take the Merc, since it’s a little bigger. What with two extra men and Bear.”

“Perfect,” I said. “I have a couple of questions for Brian, too, and I’ve got a pretty good sized yard for Bear to investigate.”

Sonny laughed, that sweet, deep, rolling chuckle that always lightened my heart. “Okay, it’s all set, then. And if Bear digs holes I’ll make Luki go out and fill them in.”

But then, a distant, deep, scratchy, grouchy-sounding voice in the background. “Give me the phone, Sonny.”

Sonny must have put a hand over the mouthpiece, because his reply was muffled. “Luki, it’s just Lou. She wants us to meet at her place for an interview.”

“I am quite well aware that Ms. Sylvre is trying once again to manipulate our lives. Just give me the phone, please.”

“Fine. But we’ll talk about this later.” Then, into the receiver again, “Lou, Luki wants to talk to you.”

Next thing I know Luki was on the phone and growling at me. “No, we’re not coming to your house, Ms. Sylvre, and that’s final. We’re finally here at Sonny’s home—”

“Your home, Luki.”

“Right, my home, but that’s between Sonny and me. The point is in the entire plot of Finding Jackie you never let us be home for even a day. We’re here now, trying to recover, and we’re staying here. I mean, who the hell knows where you’ll send us next—could be fucking France or something.”

“Um.”

“Oh, don’t tell me! France? Really?”

I decided it might be wise to try to placate him. “Anyway, that’s fine, Luki. I’ll just come to your place again.”

***

And so here we were, once again on Sonny’s beautiful land by the Straits of Juan de Fuca, surrounded by forest. This time, though, we’re driven inside by a steady summer rain. It’s just cool enough, off the water in the shadow of the Olympics, to warrant a small fire in the wood stove in the living room, and we’ve gathered round the kitchen table with very good coffee steaming in our cups—except for Brian who has a glass of milk. Luki, to my surprise, is busy finishing up appetizer offerings. Already, we each have fluted, pedestaled, shallow carnival glass dish set before us with something he calls Aloha crisp—pineapple, bacon, nuts, coconut, and only Luki knows what else in there. He sets down a tray of mini-kebobs with pork, peppers, onion, and pineapple, and a mountain of rice-prickly glazed meatballs, each with its own toothpick handle, and finally he sits down in the seat next to me.

Everyone else is digging in and licking lips. Luki is watching me. I’m overwhelmed.

“Is everything all right, Ms. Sylvre? You need something?”

Yes, Luki, I think, I need to figure out how not to cry. “No, everything’s beautiful. I just didn’t expect it, that’s all. Perhaps you should have been a chef?”

An odd look crossed his face, and I wasn’t sure if he was wondering if I could get any stupider, or if he was touched by what I said. Sonny caught his eye, and that’s where Luki was looking when he answered. “My uncle taught me to cook. I enjoy it.”

“Thank you,” I said, remembering my manners.

“You’re welcome, Ms. Sylvre. Can we eat and get this questioning business over with at the same time?”

***

LS: Okay, guys. I was going to interview you each one at a time, but I’ve decided that we’re all gathered around Luki’s beautiful pu-pu—

Luki: Watch it, Sylvre.

LS: Uh… Anyway we’ll just ask questions of the appropriate person as we come to them. First, a couple of questions from Traci.

Q: Sonny, what is something that you do on purpose to drive Luki nuts? Is it funny to see your favorite bad ass lose his shit over something?

Sonny: (Note that to his credit, Sonny did not look toward Luki to see if it was okay to speak.) Well, Lou and Traci, I hate to start off with a boring answer, but I really can’t think of much I do on purpose, although I do tease him about the bucket loads of sugar he puts in his coffee. And well, when he was in the hospital under the influence of pain medication, he was pretty easy to string along. That was kind of fun. He does kind of get all wound up about things when I change my mind suddenly, stuff like that, and its really cute. (Here, Luki inserted a silent eye roll.) But I don’t do that on purpose, I’m just being me. But, the thing is, I’d never drive him to seriously lose his shit on purpose. He needs to be in control, and it’s really hard on him when he’s not. The only times he’s ever totally lost his cool around me were not good memories. They were painful for both of us.

Q: Luki, Traci’s question for you is this: what is your favorite part of everyday life that you share with Sonny? Something that is small & simple that you never would have thought as being enjoyable.

Luki: (Luki looks at Sonny, eyes perceptibly wide with surprise, and when Sonny smiles at him, kebob juice dripping from his chin, Luki actually, clearly smiles back. It’s beautiful. Then Luki turns to me, ready to answer.) Ms. Sylvre, Traci has asked a very good question. Problem is it’s so hard to choose just one. I love seeing him next to me if by some miracle I wake up before he does; I love hearing the rattle of his looms when he’s working; I love seeing him go for his quick dip in the cold straits in the morning; I even love his off key singing as long as he’s in another room. But I guess if I have t choose a favorite, it would be our walks on the beach in the late afternoon, just the two of us and Bear. I can’t say why. It just makes me feel… maybe happy.

Q: Bluesimplicity has a a question for both of you, Luki and Sonny. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve each learned about yourself now that your married?

Sonny: This might sound silly, but I’ve been surprised to find out that I was lonely out here, before.

Luki: This is maybe cheating a bit, because I think I learned it before we were actually married, but it shocked the hell out of me to find out I like sleeping—I mean actually sleeping—with the man I love. I never had anybody sleep in my bed before Sonny.

Q: Jackie M. has questions for everybody. First, Sonny, she’d like to know how long you’re going to… um, now these are her words, okay? Not mine. How long are you going to let Luki make you wait for kids.

Sonny: Um… I never thought about kids, Jackie. I mean, I enjoy them. I just can’t see me… Well, I had Delsyn with me, of course, but I don’t think I did that great of a job. I had help, thank heaven, but… I never asked Luki about this either. Oh my god. How could I have married the man and never even thought about asking him…

Luki: Hey, baby. It’s okay. The nice reader didn’t mean any harm. Listen we’ll talk about it later, if you want, but there’s no problem here. ‘Kay?

Sonny: ‘Kay. I love you, Luki.

Q: Well, I’m sorry that turned out to be a much tougher question than I expected. Um, but while we’re on the subject—”

Luki: We’re not.

Q: Amy wants to know whether there are children in your future, Luki?

Luki: After you just made Sonny so miserable, you’re going to ask that? (Luki’s eyes are really quite disturbing when he’s glaring right at you. I almost peed.)

LS: Don’t shoot the messenger? (I meant that literally)

Kaholo: Now, Luki.

Luki: Alright, fine. I’m sure Amy meant no harm either. And just to shut up the subject, I’ll try to answer, for my part anyway. Here’s the thing. I have no idea how to be a father. Where would I ever have learned? If Sonny decides he wants kids, I’ll try to make myself into a parent, but although one part of me would love to raise a child, the greater share of my intelligence tells me that wouldn’t be kind. My mother—I know she was wonderful, especially before she got sick, but I barely remember that. And my father, well, I would never want to do that to a child. (I glance at Sonny and see he is nearly in tears. He reaches over and lays a hand on Luki’s shoulder. Luki doesn’t answer the look, but he does put his hand over Sonny’s and give it a squeeze.)

Brian: You had Kaholo.

Luki: (To my surprise, Luki doesn’t scold Brian or give him a fear-inspiring look, and Kaholo doesn’t respond. When Luki speaks, it’s to Brian.) Brian, Kaholo is the most wonderful uncle anyone can hope for, but he’s not my father. My dad loved me, but you know, that isn’t enough.

Q: Okay, Luki, on a lighter note, I hope, Jackie also wants to know if you might ever learn grass dancing to surprise Sonny?

Luki: (Bursts out in actual laughter.)

Kaholo: You know Luki did dance, when he was young, before…things happened. He was still learning but he was pretty good at it. If the readers want to go this You Tube video, it’s the kind of dancing he was learning:

Q: Kaholo that actually brings me to Jackie’s question for you. She’s wondering when you are going to find a nice woman and settle down.

Kaholo: Well, I am pretty settled down, and (He laughs his deep, bass laugh, and bobs his bushy eyebrows.) I do know some ‘nice’ women.

Q: Listen, Kaholo, I have a question here for Josh. Can we get him on the phone, do you think? (There’s a little fussing, Josh is in Nebraska with Jackie, who is still, understandably hospitalized, getting some intensive therapy. When he comes on the line, on speaker, I ask him Jackie’s question.) Josh, a reader named Jackie M. wants to know what you see yourself doing in the future, careerwise. Do you think you will follow in Luki’s footsteps?

Josh: No. Not in Luki’s footsteps. I don’t have whatever it is that takes. Right now I just want to get me and Jackie through high school—I’m almost done. Then I want to get a job, something physical. I like tools and things, and working outside.

LS: Thanks, Josh. You remind me of my brother. And speaking of brothers, Jackie M. also wants to get a message to your brother Jackie. She says, “I hope you work it all out, sweets.”

Josh: Tell her thank you, okay. I gotta get back. I’ll tell him.

Q: Carol wants you two, Sonny and Luki, to sum each other up in one word.

Luki: What the fu…?

Sonny: Honey that’s probably true but it’s more than one word.

LS: Stop it, you two. Carol is serious and it’s a very god question. But I don’t want you to influence each others answers. So I’m passing each of you a sticky note to write your answers. (It took them no time at all, they both scribbled their answers quickly and passed them back. Sonny’s said, “everything.” Luki’s, surprisingly said, ”sanctuary.”)

Q: Okay, moving along. (It had grown pin-drop quiet.) Amy also asked why you trim your toenails before sex, Sonny. She thinks it’s weird.

Sonny: (Sonny happened to be standing pouring more coffee, and his free hand went straight to his hip in indignation.) Not weird at all. I don’t want to scratch Luki with my toenails. You would do well to be considerate in that fashion as well, Amy!

Q: And that sort of leads us right into the next question, which Lisa couldn’t resist asking, she says. Luki, how long did it take for you to realize that when Sonny’s hand goes to his hip, you’re in big trouble?

Luki: (A surprised laugh bubbles out, even though Luki isn’t smiling.) Well, just look at him. It didn’t take me any time at all. I mean, formidable, right?

Q: Well this one, too, then, Luki, from Lisa. What’s the one thing Sonny does without even realizing he’s doing it that takes your breath away?

Luki: That’s hard to answer! There’s something during sex, but I’m pretty sure he knows. And then, well, there’s… oh, wait. He calls me ‘husband’. (Sonny turns purple and Luki’s chewing his lip.) I hope now that he knows he won’t stop, or become self-conscious. I love him so much.

Q: (I clear my throat and surreptitiously wipe my eyes.) Brian, this one is from Lisa for you, okay?

Brian: (Looks surprised.) Oh, okay.

LS: If you could wish for one thing and have that wish come true, what would it be?

Brian: (Smiling.) That’s easy. I would wish for Jackie Vasquez to be whole, healthy, and happy.

Q: Kaholo, the question for you is, what about Luki are you most proud of?

Kaholo: The question is difficult because I can think of nothing about him that doesn’t make me feel proud. But I guess we’re usually proud of those we love for doing things that are both good and difficult for them. The hardest thing, and also probably the best thing, that Luki has ever done, to my knowledge is learn to let Sonny love him. That wouldn’t be hard for everyone, but for him, monumental. And, proud? God yes I’m proud of Luki everyday. (Luki scratches head, clears his throat, chews his lip, and looks everywhere but at somebody. So suddenly he almost knocks his chair over, he gets up and says Bear needs a walk. As soon as he and Bear stepped out, Kaholo nodded and spoke up again.) Mission accomplished, eh?

Q: Sonny, Lisa wants to know what’s the most challenging thing about loving Luki?

Sonny: I have to name two things, sorry. I can’t pick one. First, he has a hard time accepting help no matter how badly he needs it. Second… well, sometimes I know he’s hurting, usually because of some memory or whatever, but he usually won’t share it. I just have to be there with him and trust that he knows that if he wants to tell, I’ll listen. Those are hard times.

Q: Sonny, one more, much easier, I hope. (Just then the screen door banged lightly and a damp Bear trotted past on his way to the fireside. Luki poured coffee for anyone who needed it before sitting down—even got Brian another glass of milk. He seemed completely recovered and made it a point to run a hand along Sonny’s shoulder on his way to his chair. He said nothing, so I went on with the question.) Lasha wants to know, Sonny, if you had it to do over again, big Hawaiian wedding, or Vegas.

Sonny: Oh, definitely Hawaii. I would do it again, and again, and again. It was wonderful.

Q: Sonny, I have two more questions for you. For this first one I’m going to have use my time turner and then wipe everyone’s memories, afterward.

Kaholo: What’s a time turner?

Brian: You have a time turner?

Luki: Where in the hell did you get a time turner?

Sonny: Wipe our memories?

(I put the time turner on the table, holding onto it with one hand to stop inquisitive or bratty grabbing, and told everyone to hold on to me. They grumbled and bitched, but they did it and that was a weird feeling in itself. Then I turned the turner, a lot, so that we ended up roughly 5.333 years in the future, after Luki’s cancer.)

Q: Sonny, Lisa asks, if you could weave a tapestry of Luki’s illness, chemo, and recovery, what colors would you use, and what would the image be?

Sonny: It would be so hard to crunch that whole experience down into one tapestry. Probably, I wouldn’t. But if I did, the colors would be, I think the ordinary colors of life. I weave pictorial tapestries, and this one would be no exception. The primary image would be a road, or a path, I think. In the foreground it would be dark, muted, winter. The dimension would be wide rather than tall. There would be obstacles, there might be comfortable resting places. But at some point the road would fork and one side would lead back into desolation, while the other would lead back into life. Not glory, but the colors of sunrise on the straits, out here. I suppose.

(I brought us back with the time turner, and wiped memories succinctly.)

Luki: Why are we all sad and don’t know why? And I asked you before, where did you get a time turner?

LS: Dumbledore of course.

Luki: Dumble…!

Q: Now if you don’t mind I have one more question Sonny. Anne wants to know something about your weaving.

Sonny: (Scrunches his eyebrows.) Seems familiar.

LS: (I clear my throat.) Anyway, Anne says, “I love the description of colors in your weaving and how you see colors. Now that you and Luki are married, what colors would you use to weave a piece that represents both of you together?

Sonny: Oh, what a sweet question. I think Anne and I would get along well. Hard to answer though. There would be a certain amount of simple comfort to it—maybe the deep blue of the sky around here in autumn, maybe for the refreshing and always surprising wakefulness, awareness that there is between us, that bright, light gold of morning on the water. But there would be fire too! I don’t weave with red anymore, but deep to bright oranges and yellows and the blue that you sometimes see at the base of a flame. Finally, the cool moonlight meadow where one comes to rest. The colors are “almost colors.” Silver light.

LS: Oh that’s beautiful, Sonny. Thanks. I have just—”

Luki: No. Absolutely not. (He’s actually holding his hand up right in my face.) It just so happens, Ms. La-di-dah Sylvre, that I too have been in touch with Jackie M. and Lisa. So we’re going to get some straight answers from you! First, when is there going to be another book in the series?

LS: Hopefully this year. I’m waiting to hear from the publisher. And let me tell you, Mr. La-di-dah Vasquez, you are not having much fun in that book.

Luki: Why you little—

Kaholo and Sonny: Luki!

Luki: Fine. Well listen to what else Jackie wants to know. If you could learn a skill from Sonny or me, would you want to be the… hm hm, hardass… Luki Vasquez, or would you be the artistic Sonny Bly.

LS: It’s a difficult choice. Sonny is, I’m sure you’ll agree, so extraordinary. And I’ve done some art things and enjoyed them. But I could never live up to that beauty and grace. No, I’d like to play with guns for a living and know how to knock someone over with a finger or a mean look. I’d like to be a Luki Vasquez.

Luki: Of course you would. Well, one more. Lisa wants to know what is the one thing that happened as you’ve been writing the series that completely shocked you when you wrote it because you didn’t see it coming.

LS: I cannot pick one thing, sorry Lisa and Luki. The characters have surprised me at every turn. There is one thing that was most surprising to me, but it hasn’t yet been published, so I’m going to keep mum on that one. In the meantime, I’ll name something about Sonny, and something about Luki. In regard to Sonny, when he revealed his history, including but not limited to the stint in prison, it left me completely confounded. For Luki, I think I’d have to say the bit that is revealed about his youthful forays into the world of man-sex in Finding Jackie. In both those cases, I spent some time arguing before I agreed they needed to be in the story.

Luki: I knew I shouldn’t have told you that shit. You just ran with it didn’t you?

LS: Luki, it made the story make more sense. And it made me love you more. So shut up. I have one more question from Lisa for both you and Sonny. Where do you go from here?

(They answer at the same time)

Sonny: Bed.

Luki: To get a hamburger.

(Sonny’s mouth opens, and his hand rests on his hip.)

Luki: After bed, I mean. Or before if you prefer. Or hell, we can get the hamburger and have hamburgers in bed… Or no hamburger… Or… Whatever you want sweetie, really….

(End)

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Dreamspinner Press, J.P. Barnaby

There’s A Dose Of Forgiveness In Bane of Boston by J.P. Barnaby

When baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game. – Joe DiMaggio

Jonathan Young did a very bad thing. Something so bad that he was turned into a pariah by an entire city. You might not think it such a bad thing. I certainly don’t. The very bad thing that Jonathan Young did? He caught a baseball. Not just any baseball, though. The baseball that Jonathan Young caught could have been the ball that landed the Boston Red Sox in the World Series for the first time since 1918.

Baseball fans in Boston take their Sox very seriously. Jonathan was harassed from every angle. The photographers wouldn’t leave him alone, so he lost his job. He changed his phone number five times. His boyfriend of five years couldn’t take the pressure, so he left. Even his own brother wouldn’t speak to him. All over a baseball. Jonathan refused to talk to any reporters regarding the incident, no matter how much money they threw at him. All this over a baseball. He earned the nickname The Bane of Boston.

Jonathan changed his name to Jack and moved to Chicago. Jack thought he could easily get lost in such a big city. For three years, this proved to be true. Then Jack me Ryan in a bar near Wrigley Field. Ryan was the first man Jack had met since moving. Unfortunately, Ryan recognized Jack. Even more unfortunately, Ryan is a sports reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

Ryan sees in Jack the possibility to have the career he always wanted. He had the chance at an exclusive interview with the Bane of Boston! He would take Jack home, and after spending the night with him, get him to open up about the very bad thing.

After spending some time together in and out of bed, Ryan confesses to Jack who he is and that he took Jack home in hopes of writing an article about him. He also tells Jack that now that he knows him, he can’t write the story, because he wants Jack more than he wants an exclusive. He wants to spend every day proving it.

Jack leaves, but not before Ryan writes down and gives him his phone number. That piece of paper seems to burn a hole in Jack’s pocket. He avoids the bar where he met Ryan. Ryan searches for and eventually finds Jack in a new bar and repeats his desire to have Jack in his life.

My favorite thing about this book was Jack and Ryan’s ability to forgive and forget. Ryan was willing to forget that his Jack was Jonathan Young, the Bane of Boston and was willing to sacrifice his career goals for Jack’s love. Jack was able to forgive Ryan for starting their relationship on a lie and he finally found someone to love him in spite of being the most hated man in baseball.

Bane of Boston was a short, but sweet read. I highly recommend it to the romantic in all of you!

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Bane of Boston here:

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Dreamspinner Press, Posy Roberts

Posy Roberts Is Risking It All In Dreamspinner Press’s Daily Dose 2013

If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained. ― Neil Gaiman

August Ferrell and his high school basketball team are playing in the North Dakota Class A basketball tournament, and this one’s for all the marbles because August is a senior, so there are not more do-overs if his team doesn’t pull out a win this time around.

August has never been what you’d call a risk taker. He’s always played his cards pretty close to the chest, and there are only a couple of people in his life who know he’s gay. He’s never learned the finer art of flirting, or even how to tell if another guy’s gay without getting his behind kicked for coming on to the wrong one. Keeping his secret has conditioned him not to take chances when there’s a safer alternative, but that all begins to change the moment he meets Luca Knutson, point guard on a rival team that August’s own team needs to defeat to make it to the final round of the playoffs.

Posy Roberts’ Risking It is a lovely coming-out and coming-of-age story, in which somewhere amidst the smiles and the eye contact and the adrenaline of the competition, August discovers that taking risks is often the only way in life to win. It’s the story of two young men who are about to take the monumental step from high school to college, and is a story of the freedom simply to be. It’s the promise of a relationship that began with secret stolen kisses but will grow in the pride of living and loving out loud.

I’d love to see August and Luca, Part Two: The College Years someday. That’s how much their new beginning drew me in and made me sorry to see their story end.

Risking It is part of Dreamspinner Press’s 2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play project, so this book’s individual release date is a super top-secret-reveal-it-on-pain-of-death surprise, but if you’re interested in pre-ordering it, you can do that here:

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Videos

“Even as I hold you, I am letting you go.” – Alice Walker

I’m sure so many of you have already seen this video since it went viral last month, but it bears watching. Repeatedly. Though, sadly, I must say if you’ve seen it before, or are watching it now, it’s likely because you believe in its message and not because you’re a DOMA supporter whose heart and mind will be changed by the images on your computer screen.

I often wonder what would happen if even one person who believes that marriage is the sacred right of heterosexuals were to sit down and watch this, then took a moment, one selfless and reflective moment, to ask themselves the questions, “What if this was me? What if I was the one who was being forced to say goodbye to the person I love seventeen times over the course of the past six years? What if I was forcibly separated by thousands of miles of ocean and the narrowest of minds from the person I should be going to sleep next to every night and waking up with every morning, because it’s the promise we made to each other?” Would it become impossible for that person to continue to believe that the right to equality, not solely in the language of the laws of our country but also in the far more eloquent language of human compassion, is a right that belongs only to a select few rather than to every man and woman, simply because of an ideal that’s been taught, in spite of millennium of social evolution, as a collective fact rather than a speculative theory?

I’d like to think that hearts and minds can be opened to change by letting each other’s lives play in the key of love, and not limiting those lives and loves to those that look exactly like our own.

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Dreamspinner Press, Maja Rose

Sometimes A Little Flexibility Is All You Need

Love is blind and thinks that others don’t see either. – Danish Proverb

Flexibility is Maja Rose’s second contribution so far this year to Dreamspinner Press’s Daily Dose Anthologies. Her previous story Made Good Under Pressure was featured in DSP’s “Closet Capers” anthology.

In Flexibility, we meet a pair of Olympic Men’s Gymnastics hopefuls. Jared Glass and Andrew Blackwell have been best friends since grade school and roommates for almost two years. Andrew is gay and, unbeknownst to Jared, Andy is in love with him.

The story opens with Jared’s teammate Sam breaking a leg (literally!) and being replaced on the team by Andrew. Jared reacts badly to this information. He doesn’t want to have to spend more time than necessary with Andrew, but doesn’t understand why. His twin sister, Anna, has a pretty good idea of why, though. She thinks that Jared has been in love with Andy since they were in third grade and held a mock wedding. Where they married each other!

The more Jared thinks about spending much more time with Andy at home and at the gym, the more he gets a warm fuzzy feeling. He refuses to admit to himself that it may be something deeper than friendship until Andrew is involved in a minor car accident.

Suddenly, Jared realizes that he wants to be the one at the hospital comforting Andy, taking care of him. He realizes that his sister just may have been right all along.

Ms. Rose is a young woman of only twenty-one, and I believe she has a long future ahead of her as a gay romance writer.

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Flexibility here:

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Dreamspinner Press, Marie Sexton

Fear, Hope, and Bread Pudding Is The Recipe For Something Really, Really Good

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love. ― Sophocles

Goose bumps and tears. That’s what this book gave me, goose bumps and tears. Pretty nifty, that, I think, because it means an author has not only written a story that has provoked an emotional response but a physical one as well, and to do that, to keep me so invested in the lives of her characters that a single name causes me to shiver and tear up at the same time, I’m thinking that’s what’s called…voodoo witchcraft. No, not that, but it’s something really, really good.

If you fell in love with Cole Fenton and Jonathan Kechter in Strawberries for Dessert and couldn’t get enough of them in Paris A-Z, then fear not, because Fear, Hope, and Bread Pudding will likely send you into fits of the giddies for the sheer love of these two men and the turn their lives are taking. There is pain and promise and expectation tempered by fear but founded in hope in this installment of the lives and love of these two men, who are setting out on a journey from which there is no turning back, one in which each step forward will be marked with a discord of emotions and a revisiting of the past that holds promise for the future.

Jon and his father, George, tell this story, but there is never a moment’s doubt that this chapter in their lives belongs entirely to Cole, as he alternately advances and retreats, both emotionally and physically, as is his way. But there comes a point in a man’s life when forward is the only direction left to travel, regardless of how terrifying that may be, and sometimes that means exhuming the things you’ve buried because dredging them up and examining them and admitting aloud that they hurt you is the only way to exorcise them, and to put paid to that hurt, and to give someone a second chance to be a part of your life rather than living with the regret of never having tried at all.

Fear, Hope, and Bread Pudding is both an opening and a closure, a beginning of the most humbling and terrifying journey a person can set out on, and a closure of the most painful and bitter journey a person may travel. Marie Sexton doesn’t pull any punches in this book. This one was meant to go straight for the emotional jugular and her aim is true. There is so much joy to be found at the end of this story, though, that it was almost easy to forget my heart was in a vice grip the entire way through. And it was so worth it.

Fear, Hope, and Bread Pudding can be purchased here:

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Abigail Roux, Riptide Publishing

A Little Touch & Geaux Goes A Long Way

What’s past is prologue. — William Shakespeare

I went into this book with great expectations for our boys Ty & Zane. After reading Stars & Stripes, I figured we were all good and the boys were on the right track, ya know? So as I sit down and start reading, I found myself in this warm little bubble of joy. The first chapter has a sexy photo shoot, some great flirting, unfortunately for the boys a poorly timed phone call, and a 20th anniversary surprise party for Zane. Sounds great right? Well that is how it starts, but not how it continues. For all of us that have read this series we know that Ty CANNOT go to New Orleans right? Well, guess where he and Zane end up? You guessed it: NOLA!

Trouble does seem to follow these two men everywhere they go. While they join with the Sidewinder team to celebrate Sanchez’s birthday, a murdered woman is found in the bathroom of the bar they are in. Along with this, a not so chance meeting between Zane and Liam Bell starts a domino effect of epic proportions. Ty & Zane have always known there were secrets; recently they had cleared the air and put all their cards on the table, right? Well…not so much. Ty ends up having to come clean with Zane about one situation that isn’t so terrible, but when Zane keeps digging, he forces Ty to bare all. All I can say is, be careful what you wish for, Zane. Once Ty reveals all, it leaves Zane questioning the entire two years they have spent together, both professionally and personally.

It seems Ty’s past has come back to haunt him in more ways than one. Liam Bell turns out to be a huge thorn in their side, and he brings about some confessions that just may level Ty & Zane for good, and he also brings back Zane’s past in a huge way. When a threat to Ty is revealed, Zane and the Sidewinder boys instantly go on the offensive. While looking for a place to lay low, they end up with Ava. You remember her, right? The cleaver wound to Ty’s ribs? I have to say when it rains on Ty, it just seems to pour. Zane is not handling Ty’s confessions well; if you thought the alley fight in Cut & Run was good, it has nothing on the brawl between them in Ava’s bar. Ty truly broke Zane’s trust, and it doesn’t seem that it is going to heal anytime soon.

There is as much action as you can handle in this book. Between the crooked NOLA cops, the Columbian drug lords, an assassin and the Sidewinder boys, all I can say is WOW. Abi Roux wrote some of the best action scenes of the entire series. A shootout in a cemetary, a footchase that ends with a voodoo powder to the face, an OMG so cool motorcycle rescue, and a standoff in an amusement park kept me on the edge of my seat.

Not everyone makes it out in this installment, but I think the ones that do, come out stronger in the end. I will tell you this was not an easy read. Ty & Zane do some major soul searching, and I believe they both come out stronger for it. Now, we may not like the angst caused by Ty’s confessions, but I personally believe these two needed to put it all on the table so to say. All the issues between them lead to major soul-searching for both of them. Zane finally gets to know the true Ty and at the same time, he also finds the true Zane. It is an arduous journey but a necessary one.

Now, don’t fret. There are some light moments too. One of my favorites is this one: “Zane.” Ty’s voice was harsh in his ear. “Don’t speak geek to me when you’re naked. It shatters the illusion.”

There was also a gift given to Zane by Ty, no words needed; he gave him an orchid, ya know, in case he wants to cut and run. One thing I don’t think I ever doubted in this book was their mutual love. That message came through clearly. This quote from the book defines it for me: “He trusted Ty with his body. He always had. He trusted Ty with his heart. It was his very soul that Ty had the power to break.” Don’t we always say you always hurt the ones you love? Of course, Ms. Abi Roux couldn’t leave us without the cliffy right? The final sentence in this book is a killer!!!

I look at this book as a pivotal point for our boys. What will happen in the future only Abi Roux knows, but I know I will be there to read it, I have already pre-ordered the next book. I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did.

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can purchase Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run Book 7) here:

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Dreamspinner Press, Lou Sylvre

Lou Sylvre Is Bringing Luki, Sonny, Kaholo, and Brian Over For A Visit This Week!

And she’d like to know if you have any questions for her guys. If you do, you’ll need to act quickly because she’ll need time to interview them and get their answers typed up and sent to us to post, so no dawdling! :-D

Click HERE to be directed to Lou’s Facebook Author Page and ask away, and guess what?! If you ask a question or two, you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win a $15 gift card for Dreamspinner Press! That’s good stuff, yeah? Go. Ask. Be nosy and it just might pay off!

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S.A. McAuley, Total-E-Bound Publishing

One Breath, One Bullet Adds Up To A Whole Lot Of Obsession

One breath.
Inhale.
Hesitation is my enemy.
Solitude my ally.
Death the only real victory.
Exhale. – S.A. McAuley

Sometimes the enemy of your enemy is your friend. Sometimes it pays to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Sometimes your friends and your enemies come wrapped in the same skin. Sometimes you come to trust the man who has been your enemy for more than a decade, and it is the same as loving him…though you don’t know it yet. And you’ve got a mission to accomplish before you can examine the secrets and lies and half-truths that you’ve been told for most of your natural born life.

No one ever said being a Peacemaker would be easy.

Merq Grayson has been groomed nearly from the womb to be the killing machine he has become; some might even say it’s the legacy of this unstoppable man who, in only the best irony one can find in fiction, meets his irresistible force paradox in the form of the immovable Armise Darcan, the man who is Yang to Merq’s Yin, the man who is his completion wrapped up in the body of the enemy that Merq can’t seem to resist.

They are both integral cogs in a dystopian future where the world is a war-torn and fractious place in which a man playing both sides against the middle can never be sure what is the Judas-kiss-of-death and what is a kiss that means something more than betrayal.

S.A. McAuley dragged me through unholy political waters, took me wading through the murky depths of deception, and left me hanging by my fingertips on the ledge of the abyss that is the coming revolution. And not only that, but has also taken complete control of my ever-obsessive need for more.

One Breath, One Bullet is not hearts and flowers romance; this is an oxymoron, like the Peacemaker who is the catalyst of war, like something that can be sweet as sin or hurt so good. I am so excited by the promise of this series and am anxious for Book Two, to see where this broken man who has been forged into a tool of war and the man who seems poised to put him back together again will take me.

One Breath, One Bullet (The Borders War, Book One) can be purchased here:

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