Ellora's Cave, Margie Church

Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway: Coming Back For Drew by Margie Church

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Solid Story and Supporting Cast

Recently, a reviewer said my newest book, Coming Back for Drew, was very good and the story was filled with fascinating supporting characters. When I stepped back and looked at the core of the story this reviewer was spot on.

Coming Back for Drew is not just about having a second chance at love. It’s proving you deserve it. When each of us reflects about our lives, we know there are people along the way who impacted the choices we made, the successes and failures we had and the people we became. Continue reading

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Charity Parkerson, Ellora's Cave

Excerpt and Giveaway: Unequaled (No Rival #3) by Charity Parkerson

Unequaled Banner

Unequaled

by Charity Parkerson
No Rival, #2
Publication Date: July 2, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance

Add to: Goodreads

UnequaledSynopsis: Book 3 in the No Rival series

Kerry has hated Rhys from the moment she set eyes on him. They’ve never had an encounter that didn’t end with them both enraged. Paired up at his brother’s wedding, their clashing personalities come to a head and a daring wager is made. Rhys agrees to submit to Kerry for a single evening if she will do the same. Considering the sexual flavors Rhys has enjoyed in his past, it’s one bet Rhys is sure he can’t lose. But Kerry has a few secrets of her own and her plans for him land Rhys in a place he never expected, the arms of sexy Italian solicitor, Asher D’Ettore. Continue reading

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Ellora's Cave, Kerry Adrienne, Reviewed by Lisa

Kerry Adrienne Brings Art To The Page In “Artist’s Touch”


“Intent reveals desire; action reveals commitment.” ― Steve Maraboli


Title: Artist’s Touch

Author: Kerry Adrienne

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave

Pages/Word Count: 147 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Every starlet wants master painter Kenon Alavi to do her portrait…and more. But Kenon prefers firm to soft and sates his desires with the boyfriends of the women he paints, enjoying the diversity of many lovers but shunning any attachments.
Continue reading

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Ellora's Cave, Kerry Adrienne

Kerry Adrienne Has The Artist’s Touch, And She’s Also Offering A Giveaway



Hi—thanks so much for having me on The Novel Approach. I appreciate you letting me stop by and talk about Artist’s Touch, and Kenon and Wally. Wally was inspired by a bartender I met when I was road-tripping to see Green Day on tour. The bartender was so super friendly, and I wanted him to have a happy ending. I imagined a while life story for him—and what kind of guy would make him happy. I wanted him to have a challenge. In walked Kenon. I’d figured Wally, as my friend had named him (his real name was Chris), was a creative type and would respond to another creative type. Kenon was Mr. Creative in all the wrong ways. He came with all the trappings and very little of the depth, or so it seemed. I absolutely pictured him as the good-looking Adam Lambert—on the exterior only (I don’t think Adam is the jerk Kenon starts out being). Don’t you think the Ellora’s Cave cover artists did a fantastic job bringing my vision into being? We couldn’t have Adam on the cover, but I described the characteristics Kenon had that were similar to Adam and I think the guy on the cover is spot-on.

I like “opposites attract” stories, both reading and writing them. Writing about a visual artist was fun because I’ve dabbled in most of the visual arts. Since the Guild is a series, I get to write about all kinds of art. The next book, Sculptor’s Desire, explores three-dimensional art. I’m almost done writing it—it’s been a lot different and a lot of fun, too.

Thanks again for having me!

Kerry Adrienne

Artist’s Touch
The Guild, book one (Sculptor’s Desire and Guitarist’s Wish coming soon!)
By Kerry Adrienne

Blurb: Every starlet wants master painter Kenon Alavi to do her portrait…and more. But Kenon prefers firm to soft and sates his desires with the boyfriends of the women he paints, enjoying the diversity of many lovers but shunning any attachments.

Wallace Harte’s English degree isn’t helping him find a job and working at a bar is the closest he’s gotten to being the Second Coming of Faulkner. Something’s gotta give soon or he’ll be out on the street.

Kenon zeroes in on the bartender at an art exhibition, intending to add him to his long list of conquests, but Wally bolts, initiating a heated game of cat and mouse. Kenon delights in the game until he discovers what Wally is writing. Feeling betrayed, Kenon swears off all entanglements until he reads Wally’s story and discovers true love is sometimes between the pages and not the sheets.

Inside Scoop: This book contains hot, sexy scenes of M/M interaction of an artistic nature. Who knew having your portrait painted could be so hot?

A Romantica® gay erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

EXCERPT:

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, please exit this site.

An Excerpt From: ARTIST’S TOUCH

Copyright © KERRY ADRIENNE, 2014

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

Another day, another drink for those who had dollars. Wally slipped the candied cherry into the Manhattan and handed the glass to the tall brunette leaning against the bar. With barely a nod, the woman slinked away as if on skates, joining one of the clusters of patrons waiting on Kenon Alavi’s arrival. The artist, notorious for being late, probably wouldn’t arrive for another ten minutes at least. Light jazz floated through the air from the ensemble set up in the far corner and spots of colored lights beamed up the walls to the tall ceilings that arched over the studio space. This would make a great setting for a novel, Wally mused. Too bad he didn’t have the plot to go along with it. His creativity had hit an impasse as cliché as the proverbial brick wall.

“Martini. Wet and stirred, no olive, no twist.” The man put his hand on the bar and looked over his shoulder toward the gallery door. “I’m tired of waiting. Don’t care how special Alavi thinks he is, my time’s important too.” He tapped his fingers on the bar. “Annoying bastard. Wouldn’t be here if my wife wasn’t so keen on having him paint her.”

Wally pulled out the glass for the martini, not speaking to the customer. He’d been hired to make drinks, not socialize. The man was just complaining anyway. He wasn’t really expecting a conversation, especially from the bartender. Plus, tonight Wally had to remember all the different highbrow cocktails. He rarely served anything but beer and frozen drinks back at the Cellar Bar. He poured the vermouth into the sloped glass, then stirred the concoction. As long as Mr. Alavi paid his wage, who cared when he actually showed up? His gala, his schedule.

“Told her we could get a portrait done for a lot less but she insists on this guy.” The finger tapping grew more vigorous. “He’s refused her calls for two months now. Arrogant bastard.”

Wally nodded and set the drink in front of the man. Mr. Alavi sounded like a typical snobby artist. Big surprise. “Here you go, sir. Wet and stirred. No olive, no twist.”

“Top shelf?” the man asked, raising an eyebrow. He toyed with the rim of the glass, running his finger around it as if he was checking for chips.

“It’s all we serve,” Wally mumbled, wiping up a few drops of condensation from the top of the bar. Alavi’s guests were snobby too. “Only the best.” Bottles of fine alcohol that could pay off his student loans with cash left over for a few months of rent. He looked out over the room of people. Wealth and privilege as far as he could see, well, except for the musicians in the corner. He smiled. At least they were making a living off their art. One day he would too—if he could ever shed his writer’s block.

The man shrugged and tipped up the glass, finishing off the cocktail in one gulp. He held the glass to the light and examined it, then set it on the bar. “Good thing Alavi has an open bar at this reception. Otherwise, I’d leave right now, no matter what my wife said. I’ll take another, please. The same.” He resumed his tapping.

Wally took out a new glass and prepared the man’s drink. The jazz music was making him sleepy. He’d much prefer something a little more lively. Having spent the previous night out on the town dancing to a club beat didn’t help. But he couldn’t refuse the extra money this bartending gig would put in his pocket. He pushed the glass over to the man and tried not to yawn.

Silence hit the entire room at once, echoing off the vaulted ceiling in thick waves. Someone gasped, then the patrons broke into applause. Mr. Alavi had arrived. The large front doors banged closed and the music softened.

Drink forgotten, the man strode off to join the mass of bodies that now moved as one as they pushed toward the door where Mr. Alavi waited to be greeted. Wally squinted to see what the excitement was but the crowd blocked his sightline. He’d heard the artist put on quite the spectacle and with the number of people and amount of money spent on the reception tonight, he didn’t doubt it for a second.

The crowd parted like the Red Sea in front of Moses and a man walked toward the grand doors that led to the open studio in the back of the room.

Wally stared.

Mr. Alavi’s stopped to shake hands with a tall gentleman and then moved on through the crowd. Light glinted like a beacon off the silver brooch at his throat. Murmurs filled the room—whispers, really. Like a creature of the night, Mr. Alavi was dressed in black from head to toe with a few flashes of silver sparkle sprinkled here and there. God, why did all the handsome men have to be rich and unattainable? Alavi was probably straight too. Life was definitely not fair.

Wally reached for the two martini glasses and bumped one over. He caught the stem of the second one just as the glass bowl shattered against the bar. His heart pounded and blood rushed to his ears. When he looked up, Mr. Alavi was staring at him, looking him right in the eye with a piercing gaze and unreadable expression. Everyone in the room watched. Wally’s face flooded with heat and sweat trickled down the back of his tuxedo shirt. Fuck.

“Sorry,” he stammered to no one in particular.

Before anyone could respond, Mr. Alavi moved in his direction and Wally’s throat tightened. Would he fire him on the spot? He began picking up pieces of glass and dropping them into the bar wastebasket, avoiding Mr. Alavi’s approach. Way to go, Wally, blow your chance to earn some extra cash. The one glass probably cost more than the night’s wages.

He bent to drop a large piece of glass into the trashcan, still holding on to the marble bar with his free hand. He squeezed his eyes closed. He’d get through this. Bile rushed into his throat. Why did he always screw things up? He took a deep breath. What was the worst thing that could happen? He’d been fired before and for worse offences.

A warm hand covered his, sending a wave of fear up his arm. Wally stood, coming face-to-face with Mr. Alavi. Wally wanted to pull his hand away and run but fifty wealthy snobs would stop him before he made it to the front door and onto the New York streets. He was trapped.

“Everything okay?” Mr. Alavi asked, his voice as smooth and dark as his slick black satin shirt.

Wally met the man’s gaze—green eyes lined in kohl, set in warm skin that shimmered in the bar light. Black spiky hair dusted with glitter.

Mr. Alavi squeezed his hand and Wally shivered.

“I said, is everything okay?”

“Y-y-yes,” Wally stammered. Even from over the bar, he could tell that Mr. Alavi was tall, well over six feet. His shoulders broadened and then tapered to trim hips. Wally’s mouth filled with saliva. The man was hot. Even if he was about to fire him for breaking the barware.

Avoiding eye contact, Wally studied the black leather jacket Mr. Alavi wore. It was no rental but made to slip around his body like water, hugging the right places, with a few silver studs and spikes on one shoulder. Designer-made, no doubt. In place of a tie, he wore a silver serpent brooch pinned at the neck, its eyes made of tiny rubies and its forked tongue licking out.

Wally gulped and his already-warm face burned. The man must think he was an idiot, drooling and fumbling like a fool. The crowd had gone back to chattering and mumbling but a few people still glared toward the bar, probably annoyed that Wally had taken the artist’s attention away. Mr. Alavi lifted his hand and pulled Wally farther down the bar, away from the rest of the broken glass. The artist looked out at the crowd. Wally didn’t see the look he gave them but anyone staring suddenly turned away and ignored the scene at the bar. The man had the power, no question about it. This was his scene and his alone. Wally’s pulse quickened. At least he wouldn’t be totally humiliated by stares when Alavi fired him.

“What’s your name?” Alavi asked, squeezing Wally’s hand.

“W-w-wall…Wallace Harte, sir. I’m sorry I broke the glass.”

He brushed away Wally’s comment with his free hand. “Ah. An unusual name. Wally for short?”

Wally nodded and gulped down the panic in his throat.

“Call me Kenon,” the artist said, stretching out his name in a French-sounding accent. He ran his thumb over Wally’s knuckles in a slow circular motion and Wally closed his eyes.

The scant hairs on his arm stood erect and he hoped Kenon couldn’t feel how damp his palm was beneath his grasp or how his pulse beat a frantic escape rhythm. From the corner, the music started playing again and the low murmur of the crowd drowned the silence in his ears. Deep breath.

“Thank you, sir,” Wally said. He opened his eyes and met Kenon’s gaze. For a moment, he stared into Kenon’s green eyes, pausing to fully examine them. Enhanced with dark eyeliner, the artist’s eyes almost glowed with feral sparkle. Predatory. Waiting. Wally looked down, not daring to move his hand. Mr. Alavi must be quite the lady-killer. Who wouldn’t want to be with him?

“Time to open the show, Mr. Alavi,” a gallery aide said, sidling up to Kenon at the edge of the bar. “Everyone’s getting impatient.” Wally had seen the aides milling around, making sure things stayed perfect. It must cost a fortune to produce an event like this.

“This is my show. Let them wait,” Kenon growled and clamped down on Wally’s hand.

The aide looked at Wally and smirked. “I’m sure the bartender won’t mind talking to you after the show.” He emphasized the word “bartender” as if it were a dirty word.

Kenon snapped his head and turned to the man. “I said I’m busy.” This growl was louder and deeper and the aide’s eyes widened and his shoulders tensed.

“Yes, sir,” he said and backed away, hands up.

Wally began to shake. He tried to tell himself it was from the air-conditioning but he knew it was from a mixture of fear and longing to be near this mysterious man. The artist must always have a rapt audience. Despite his growling, everyone seemed to be taken in by his charm. Kenon milked Wally’s finger in a stroking rhythm and Wally clenched his thighs together, willing his dick to be still. Kenon was too close and it was a good thing the bar was between them or things could get embarrassing.

“Now,” Kenon said. He tugged Wally’s hand close to his chest, tightening his grip once again. “Lean in so I can whisper what I have to tell you. Privacy you know.” He smiled, a tight line of control.

Wally leaned toward Kenon, drawing in a deep breath of what was likely the most expensive cologne he’d ever smell, combined with a fresh scent that could have been makeup or fine-milled soap. Underlying everything was an all-male scent of danger combined with sex and power. The bar was cold against his chest but the man’s breath was hot in his ear. “Yes?” he asked, voice trembling. “I’m sorry I broke the glass.”

“I said I’m not worried about the glass.”

“What, then?” Wally squeaked out.

“Why are you shaking?” Kenon touched his nose to Wally’s earlobe and Wally tensed. “Am I too close?”

“I…I…don’t know,” Wally said, his breath stuttering in his throat. Why was he shaking? He’d not had a boyfriend in ages but had never responded to man’s presence so strongly and so urgently before. Especially a straight man. At least not while he was sober.

Kenon pressed closer and his warmth radiated over Wally’s neck and face. Wally stood statue-still under the assault of heat. “I want to see you after the show,” Kenon whispered. “Will you stay around? To…talk…”

Wally nodded. Was he in trouble?

“Goooood,” Kenon blew. “See you then.” His lips brushed Wally’s ear and then he nipped it gently, holding on to the lobe for a second before releasing it. Wally shuddered as heat jolted straight to his groin. Why was Kenon flirting? Wasn’t he straight? And why was he so close? Wally squirmed as his pants tightened and his dick disobeyed the order to stand down. The ruby eyes of the serpent brooch glinted as Kenon pulled away.

Viper.

Just as quickly as Kenon had latched on to Wally’s hand, he dropped it. Turning, he sauntered off as if he were strolling along a promenade without a care. The crowd, cued into his movement, followed him through the open doors to the main exhibit hall. Wally stared after him, watching the people meander into the larger room where Kenon’s latest paintings would be unveiled.

What had just happened? And why had he agreed to meet Kenon after the show? He knew better than to tempt fate with an employer, especially one he was so attracted to and who was so out of his league. He always screwed things up. He adjusted himself and sighed. What did he have to lose?

Add Artist’s Touch to your Goodreads’ shelf HERE.

Kerry Adrienne photoAbout the Author:

Kerry writes about love in its many forms, and enjoys exploring the dynamics of relationships and the quandaries people get themselves into. She lives in suburbia, but is making plans to escape to the ocean and NYC, as both places hold a piece of her heart.


You can connect with Kerry here:

Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Pinterest

You can purchase Artist’s Touch here: Ellora’s Cave

The Giveaway: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Ellora's Cave, Extasy Books, VJ Summers

Birthmas? It’s The Way VJ Summers Celebrates The Holidays, And She Wants To Give You A Gift


I’m a Christmas baby, kinda. Kinda a New Year’s baby, too. I was born on December 29th, and like many holiday babies, this caused issues in the gift department. Not that I could blame anyone in the family. Insult to injury, my oldest sister decided to get married on December 27th! How was that fair?

My sisters are both MUCH older than I, enough that, by the time I was old enough to realize I was Birthday-Impaired, they were popping out babies of their own, and there wasn’t spare cash for two gifts in one week’s time. Woe was me. Woe, woe, woe.

So, the year I turned six (my first year as Auntie VJ), my mom created a tradition for us. Each day between Christmas and my birthday I got a small, usually inexpensive and novelty, gift. We called it “Birthmas”, and it was wonderful. I looked forward to those little presents, not because they were all expensive and extravagant — Lord knows they weren’t (favorite Birthmas gifts included a set of “glam color” Sharpies, a collection of embroidery floss in holiday colors, and a bottle of neon green nail polish). No, I looked forward to them because they were concrete evidence that in spite of all the holiday hoopla my birthday wasn’t forgotten.

Insecure much? Well, yeah. But there were some years when I really needed to feel like my birth was something to celebrate and not lament. (To which I can add, “drama much?” Well, duh!)

My mom continued Birthmas until I was well into my thirties. In fact, I was thirty-eight the last year we had Birthmas, and the only reason we don’t do it now is because Alzheimer’s has stolen the memory of it from her. That said, for a couple years even after Mom couldn’t do it, #1 Sister sent me email Birthmas. Probably because she felt guilty for plopping her wedding right in the middle of my birthday week!

I was a lucky holiday baby. No, I’ve never gotten two big, extravagant gifts within a week of each other, but I’ve got a family that goes out of their way to remind me I’m special and loved.

That, in my opinion, is the true spirit of Christmas, and the true meaning of birthday celebrations.

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The Giveaway:





THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED


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Santa Claus Is Coming Blurb: T’was the Night After Christmas:

It’s the night after Christmas and all Santa wants is a drink, a shower, and a long winter’s nap. When he stops into his favorite bar to unwind, one look at the live entertainment has him adding a little stress relief to his post-Christmas wish list. Luckily, lounge singer and drag queen extraordinaire Chimera is more than willing to get right to work on that!


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Santa Claus is Coming Excerpt:

Niklaus Kristofer Kringle was not a fat jolly old elf. Well, old, maybe. He’d stopped counting after the big five-oh-oh. But definitely not fat. Assuredly not jolly. He was also most emphatically not a Saint.

Where people got the idea he was fat and jolly was beyond him. Yeah, at one point he’d dressed in fur, which had, admittedly, made him look a bit…fluffy. Hell, for centuries it was the warmest garb available. But, shit. He’d been wearing polar fleece for decades. Nik scrubbed his hands over his face, trying to rub away some of his fatigue.

Not fat. Not jolly. Not a fucking Saint.

What he was, was tired, jet-lagged and cranky. When he walked into the North Pole’s dirtiest dive, Santa’s Workshop, pretty much all he wanted in the world was a drink, a shower, and a long winter’s nap. Preferably with a good hard fuck thrown in there somewhere. Just to help him unwind.

The bar was the next thing to empty. Most of his minions, er, helpers, were either sleeping off nearly forty-eight hours straight of non-stop work—being an “elf” was a lot of hurry-up-wait-hurry-the-fuck-up-you-moron—or sleeping off a shot or ten celebrating the end of forty-eight hours of non-stop work.

Nik slumped at the bar and ordered whisky, neat. Forty-eight hours really wasn’t that bad. He remembered when it had been a week and a couple favors from Father Time to get his shit all done on Christmas Eve. The advent of internet shopping had cut his workload nearly in half, thank God.

He looked up in surprise when the classic rock on the radio cut off, and the lights dimmed. When the strains of jazzy string instruments replaced the growly vocals of the Boss, he shot an incredulous look toward the elf manning the bar.

Joe, the ubiquitous overweight, under-washed bartender, shrugged. “Owners wanted to class up the joint.” He gestured toward the small stage area on the other side of the small dance floor. “Chimera there’s our latest attraction.”

Nik noticed that the few people who’d clustered at the bar were drifting toward the stage, where a slender woman stood silhouetted against a gold spotlight. Brightly colored Christmas lights created a merry, twinkling frame and the over-all effect was dramatic.

Striking.

Even more striking when the lighting changed and the singer was finally fully revealed.

Red hair, several shades darker than Nik’s own ginger spikes, tumbled to curl teasingly around pale, silky looking skin left bare by the off-the-shoulder ruby velvet dress. The contrast of ruby hair and ruby dress made her skin glow like a pearl.

She was tall for a woman. In her glittery red stilettos with silver metal heels, she was probably only a few inches less than his own six-five. And slim. Willowy, even. Her crimson dress clung from shoulders to mid-thigh, emphasizing the almost boyish lines of her body. Nik narrowed his eyes, looked closer at the rounded muscles of her shoulders, the nearly smooth line of her dress across her chest.

Not almost boyish. Chimera, The Workshop’s claim to class, was definitely male. Nik’s prick perked up.

Then he (She? Was that the proper pronoun while the performer was in drag?) began to sing, and all thoughts of male or female, classy or crass, fled his mind in a rush of goose-flesh.

That voice was, in a word, oh-holy-fuck.

Chimera made love to the microphone, the song, her (His? Did it even matter?) audience. Delicate hands cupped the mic. Long, graceful fingers tipped with long, scarlet nails traced sinuous lines over the mic stand.

Nik—and, undoubtedly every other elf in the room—was caught in the vision of those hands, those fingers, tracing something a lot warmer and thicker. Like his cock.

Chimera continued to weave a spell with music and lyrics, and Nik felt his exhaustion fade. Every word, every note was another teasing stroke of his flesh. Every dramatic pause a caress of his increasingly hard and aching dick. When the singer sent a sultry, teasing glance in his direction and started a very suggestive rendition of “Santa Baby”, it was all Nik could do to keep from storming the stage and dragging her (While the dress was on and the hips had that shimmy, Nik decided, Chimera was definitely a her.) off to his lair. But, dammit, he was The Santa. He wasn’t going panting after a lounge singer, no matter how magical, like a common elf. Even if his dick was screaming for him to do so.

There was no doubt she was singing directly to him. Wide, dark eyes conveyed total sincerity when she insisted she’d been an awfully good girl, but the kittenish way her lips curved when she invited him to hurry down her chimney suggested she’d rather he hurry up something entirely different. Yeah, Chimera so belonged on the Naughty List, in all the best ways.

By the time she’d finished her set, pretty much everyone else in the bar had gravitated to the tables closest to the stage, and Nik was about on hard stroke away from coming in his ski pants. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so horny. If the glances she’d been sending him through her last few songs were anything to go by, Chimera was plenty turned on, too.

He was the only elf who didn’t crowd the stage to applaud and loudly offer praise, drinks, or whatever the hell she wanted if she’d just give him a little time, a little attention. Still, he wasn’t in the least surprised when she slid onto the barstool next to him, crossing her legs with a whisper of silken stockings.

She leaned toward him, and her scent teased him even over the stale smell of smoke and the tang of spilled alcohol. She smelled as good as she looked. A faint hint of evergreen, overlaid by vanilla and spice and everything wonderful about the holidays.

“Buy a girl a drink?” Her speaking voice was as alluring as her singing voice, as alluring as every fucking thing about her. Nik, however, was The Santa, and he’d be damned if he let her turn him into a babbling fool so easily.

Not that he’d ever admit how close she had him to babbling fool. And how easily.

“Not interested in girls,” he replied, leaning on an elbow he’d propped on the sticky bar. She raised one brow and the corner of her glossy red lips quirked. “I will, however, buy you a drink, Sweetheart.”


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Author Bio:

Unshackled from the Evil Day Job from Hell, VJ can now be found obsessing over whether her parents are getting enough to eat, obsessing that the kid is sexting the boyfriend, making coffee, drinking coffee, feeding the cats who allow her to live with them, or reading and writing erotic romance – either solo as m/m author VJ Summers, or as the shorter, quieter half of the “Violet Summers” writing team.

VJ loves to hear from readers! Email Her, and visit Her Blog, or find her on Facebook – she needs all the friends she can get!

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Ellora's Cave, Keira Andrews, Leta Blake

Ascending Hearts by Keira Andrews and Leta Blake – This Isn’t Your Childhood Version of “Jack and the Beanstalk”

It isn’t possible to love and part … I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal. – E.M. Forster

There’s nothing you might expect and everything you might imagine in Keira Andrews and Leta Blake’s Ascending Hearts, the story of a man named Jack who, by virtue of his red hair and his unnatural desires, is an outcast in his village and believed to be the spawn of the Devil. Jack’s mother even buys into the superstition, blaming him for his father leaving them when Jack was but an infant. Now Maura has sold their only cow Inga to the local butcher because it’s the only way she was going to see any financial benefit from the aging animal, not to mention Maura has manipulated her way into greener pastures and is leaving Jack to fend for himself in a world that doesn’t want him.

But there is a beanstalk in the village that withers each winter and resurrects each spring with the temptation to climb its heights and attempt to steal what the giant in the clouds so greedily hoards. It is in desperation to pay a debt that Jack risks the climb to gain the gold that waits at the top, but he ends up losing his heart instead and discovers a treasure far more precious than anything material riches could bring him.

Rion is the guardian of his family legacy, destined to live alone in his ancestral castle as he guards the gold he made a deathbed promise to his father never to leave. Jack’s intrusion upon Rion’s sedate and solitary existence delivers an unwelcome discord to Rion’s orderly life, though it’s not too long before the two men discover that they are each the completion of the other’s soul. That does not, however, in any way guarantee their happily-ever-after.

Mirroring prejudice and overcoming misperceptions, not to mention a case of serious mutual attraction brings Rion and Jack together, but it’s duty and a bargain that must be honored that tears them apart. There is betrayal in the end, a deadly enemy who must be vanquished, which leads to the abiding of the true love that will help these two men to overcome.

Once again, Keira Andrews and Leta Blake have teamed up to make a fairy tale their very own, with the slightest of fractures in the familiar to make the story new and altogether too exciting to resist. Ascending Hearts isn’t the first retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” I’ve ever read, but I can almost guarantee it’s the most erotic. And, if I’m being entirely honest, I would pretty much also guarantee it’s the most romantic version of the story I’ve ever got my hands on. At least, I think it is.

If you like a really good love-conquers-all story that will give you a bit of a tug at the heartstrings for a minimal investment, I’d definitely recommend giving this one a go.

You can buy Ascending Hearts here:

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Ellora's Cave, Leta Blake

Leta Blake And Keira Andrews Give Gravity To Their Earthly Desires (Tempting Tales, Book One)

One’s not half of two; two are halves of one. – E.E. Cummings

I’m such a sucker for Once Upon A Times that lead to Happily Ever Afters. You know, there’s a school of thought out there that says fairy tales can be harmful to impressionable young minds, especially for girls who may begin to believe that their worth as a person exists solely within how beautiful the image in the mirror, and that the pursuit of Prince Charming is the one thing in life worth aspiring to. Well, pooh on that, I say. Somebody’s just reading them the wrong fairy tales; either that, or they’re forgetting to teach these girls the moral of the stories because, yes, every fairy tale is a cautionary tale with a message, and Earthly Desires is no different. Okay, maybe a little bit different. There wasn’t so much of the sexy bits in the fairy tales I read as a kid, that’s for sure.

“And the sins of the father shall be visited upon the son.”—that’s the conflict within this story of a young prince cursed with levity, who meets a handsome young woodsman cursed with gravity when the prince floats away on a breeze and becomes stuck in a tree on the woodsman’s land. Earthly Desires is a story of the sky and the earth meeting at the horizon of a new beginning, a story of witches and curses, of revenge and elemental magic that happens between the opening and the closing of this opposites attract story. It is a Yin-Yang, full-circle completion of vengeance and redemption, one in which heroes arise through sacrifice and salvation.

This is a story of a name, a name so significant that on the tongue it gives a soul weight. It is the story of Prince Efrosin and Dmitri and the way they discover their curses are their cures, that love endures, and that tears offered in grief are a powerful magic in their own right.

Authors Leta Blake and Keira Andrews have retold the fairy tale “The Light Princess” with some added twists to make it decidedly more adult for those of us who enjoy a grownup fairy tale every now and then. If that reader just so happens to be you, then I’d definitely recommend giving this endearing and enchanting and altogether uplifting story a try.

You can buy Earthly Desires (Tempting Tales, Book One) here:

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