#Review: The Royal Curse (Twilight Mages Book 1) by @eliotgraysonauthor #LGBTQ #RecentRelease #Romance #Fantasy #Magic

Moonbeams over Atlanta welcomes Eliot Grayson to the blog.  Welcome to the first post on the new site. 🙂 Eliot is a new author to me but was intrigued by the burb she sent to me in Instagram direct message and wanted to read it.

Note: A reader copy was provided for an honest review.  The book released on Amazon December 7th, 2023.

The Blurb:

Dawn mage. Twilight mage. Cursed, useless, damaged, dangerous

His birth magic leaves Prince Nikola with nothing but bad choices: live as another man’s possession, subject to his whims and his desires, or remain dependent on a potion that stunts his powers and prevents him from knowing love.

Andreas vows to protect the prince with his life—whether Nikola wants him to or not. After all, the queen pays his soldier’s wage. Nikola’s nothing but a job to do.

But when they find themselves stranded, with Nikola’s potion running out, Andreas has to…improvise. Because what Prince Nikola needs to survive is the opposite of a lowly guard’s respectful protection.

It should’ve been only one night. Just until the potion’s refilled. But now that Nikola’s had Andreas’s touch, he craves Andreas again and again. He shouldn’t. But he—and his magic—can’t live without it…

The Royal Curse is a high-heat MM fantasy romance with a stubborn prince, an even more stubborn soldier, and cursed magic that can’t be denied. There is an on-page attempted sexual assault that is not between the main characters. HEA guaranteed.

The Review:

5 Stars

bluestarclipart
bluestarclipart
bluestarclipart
bluestarclipart

I read this a few months ago, in one sitting no less; but, work, holidays, and moving my blog to be self hosting delayed this review. I realized as I was writing this post that it’s been a few years since my last review on my blog. I had said in an earlier post I wanted to review more this year. Well, now I have posted the first review of the year. 🙂 Hopefully, the first of many.

It is a start of a new series about Twilight mages and I have to say that Eliot knocked it out of the park with this first installment. We have Prince Nikola who suppresses his magic with a potion that needs to be carefully made, a trip that has some action-packed scenes highlighting that Nikola is not just a pretty, ryal face, and Andreas, who started out as a bodyguard but the seeds of romance were in place long before these events. The writing is a cross between Victorian and medieval English in wording and cadence, and just a delight to read. It is definitely high-heat and wonderfully written with the requisite happily-ever-after ending.

It’s a fun story with some darker elements, a betrayal, and the romance gives you all the feels. In it, you can see the hints of who will be one of the main characters in a later book. Whether it’s the next book, or not, remains to be seen. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I can’t wait for the next installment.

With this, I give The Royal Curse 5 stars.

Eloreen Moon

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon

About the Author:

Eliot’s a lifelong Southern California girl, right down to the flip-flops and backyard garden. When she’s not writing her next book, you can find her reading, drinking tea, or (more likely) catering to the demands of her kids and ancient, cranky cat.

Steamy books with delicious tension, heart-wrenching pining, and a hefty dose of action and adventure have always been her jam as a reader. Guess what she writes?

You can catch up with her on Facebook in her reader group, Eliot Grayson’s Escape from Reality, or sign up for her newsletter at eliotgrayson.com.

Website | Goodreads Author Page | Amazon Author Page | Instagram | Facebook Group ~ Escape from Reality | BookBub | Linktree

#Blitz The London Chance by Lane Hayes #Contemporary #LGBTQ #Gay #Romance #Rafflecopter

Title: The London Chance

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: July 25, 2023

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 27,500

Genre: Romance, Romantic Comedy, Bisexual Romance, Gay Romance, Humor, Contemporary Romance

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Two strangers, an online dating app, and a chance at forever… Chance After months of online correspondence with a sexy businessman, we’re finally meeting in person—in London, no less! Okay. It’s a casual meet-up. Nothing to get excited about. I fully understand that online connections don’t always translate in person. Roman could be pompous or worse…boring. Wish me luck! Roman Dinner with my online “friend” doesn’t go well. I shouldn’t be disappointed. That’s life. But just as I’m ready to write our peculiar acquaintanceship off, Chance turns up unexpectedly at a karaoke bar. Don’t ask what I’m doing there. I have no idea. However, I don’t mind at all. It feels like the universe is giving us a cosmic redo. Sure, Chance lives in California and my home is in the UK now, but this feels like the real thing. Something worth taking a chance on. A forever chance. The London Chance is an MM, bisexual romance featuring an American, a Canadian, a dating app, and an unexpected HEA.

Excerpt

“What time is it?” I grumbled, rubbing my stubbled jaw. “Half one,” a deep, rumbly voice replied. I spun on my heels with my mouth wide open, unsure where to begin. An apology, a thank-you, maybe even a fuck-you.…Words weren’t my friend without caffeine and if it was really one thirty in the afternoon, I was going to have a difficult time navigating this one. If I was going to unravel in a foreign country, was an audience necessary? And better question…did it have to be this man? Roman stepped into the room, instantly taking over the space. The combination of his height, broad shoulders, and broody presence made him seem intimidating as fuck even in a navy V-neck sweater, casual jeans, and bare feet. His hair flopped roguishly over his right eye, which should have softened his sharp features, but…it didn’t. He was devilishly handsome and sexy and— I think I puked on his shoes last night. Oh, please let this be a bad dream. I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping for a scene change and a new cast when I opened them again. Nope. I was still in Roman’s guest room, standing three feet from the man himself, wearing his T-shirt and— “Are these your boxers?” I asked, plucking at the silky red fabric. One corner of his mouth twisted in wry amusement. “They were a gift. You can have them. How are you feeling?” I wrinkled my nose. “I’ve been better. I’m sorry about—” “Don’t worry about it.” He waved dismissively and moved to the doorway. “Would you like coffee or tea?” “Coffee, please.” He smiled kindly. “You got it. I’ll make toast and bacon too.” “Thank you. Coffee is fine, but—” I paused to look around the immaculate room. “I need my clothes.” “Trust me. You don’t want your clothes.” “Huh?” “I threw your socks and underwear in the wash, but your suit and shirt needed to be dry-cleaned. They’ll be ready tomorrow. I’ll grab a pair of sweatpants and socks for you. You’re welcome to shower. The toothbrush on the counter is the one you used last night. I’ll leave clothes on the banister for you. Meet me downstairs when you’re ready.” Roman was gone before I could thank him or protest. I decided I wasn’t ready to deal with the fuzzier parts of last night that had resulted in my clothing immediately needing to be dry-cleaned. I headed for the bathroom instead. The deliciously hot shower under a wide spray felt so amazing, I never wanted to get out. And the thick towel on the warming rack was a slice of nirvana. I dried myself, then wrapped the towel around my waist and wiped steam off the mirror. I scanned the marble-and-glass haven as I brushed my teeth, sighing at the very unwelcome memory of kneeling on the tiled floor in front of the porcelain god. How was I going to face this man? I’d been a fucking mess last night. Running into traffic, dancing in the rain…and oh…shit. I’d called him daddy. More than once. Heat bloomed across my cheeks as I rinsed and patted my mouth dry, but I couldn’t exactly hide in here. I slipped the boxers and tee on and found a pair of gray sweats and black socks perched on the banister post where Roman said they’d be. I finished dressing, finger-combed my short hair, and took one last cleansing breath before following the scent of coffee downstairs.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. She loves wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and her fabulous pup, George.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | BookBub

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

White background in pink lettering: Book Hooks Marketing for Romance Writers

Will Victor get a second chance with his best friends? last day #free #limited #promo #july4thweekend #Romance #MMM #Ménage #contemporary #KindleUnlimited #Amazon #MFRWHooks

White background in pink lettering: Book Hooks Marketing for Romance Writers

This is a blog hop from the Marketing for Romance Writers Book Hooks Blog Hop promotion that happens on Wednesdays. Since this weekly Blog Hop coincides with the last day that the Together eBook is free on Amazon, I thought I would participate. If you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s free to borrow as well. There is also a paperback format if you would prefer to hold it in your hand. Below is an excerpt from the story. Enjoy!

Excerpt

I’d returned to Atlanta the month prior to meeting up with El and En again that sunny day a week ago. I needed to do the final touches on the youth center I’d helped create before the official opening the following week. Angela Carter, my best friend from college, followed me, helping with my new software creation business and the volunteer work I did including the LGBTQ+ youths the center focused on. I’d gone out on my own as a game designer consultant about a year ago when flexibility and opportunity landed in my lap. The financial aspect wasn’t too shabby either. The game I’d helped create then would release soon, and preorders were looking promising. I had other software projects in the works, but the game was the first where I was part of the full cycle. I was pleased with my stable finances, but my thoughts went back to El and En. I had kept my contact with them to the bare minimum since their marriage weekend. Enough contact that I hadn’t quite disappeared off the face of the planet, but not as much as I’d had when I’d gone away for college.

“You are such a coward, Vicky boy.” Angela startled me out of my musings.

Considering we were meeting up for the post mortem on the fundraiser for said youth center she partnered with me, it was a wonder I had forgotten where I was.

“I know,” I agreed with her.

Angela and I had briefly dated while at college. She in her tailored, tan skirt suit—a six-foot, blonde-haired Amazonian woman with legs for miles and a heart of gold—to my introverted, brooding, and muscled sport-jacket-and-slacks self. While I was attracted enough to go on a few dates, my heart belonged to my men, and our dating relationship never went further. She had wheedled the story out of me not too long after our second date over drinks at a bar, and we had been friends and business partners since.

She stepped away from the conference table in the office we rented in Midtown. Since that was where we’d opened the center, it was the best location to have it all. I had a place not two blocks from both the center and the office. The commute was great.

From Together by Eloreen Moon © 2018

Purchase links:

To see the other blogs in this blog hop, click on their links below.

Powered by Linky ToolsClick here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list...

Together by Eloreen Moon #Romance #MMM #Menage #free #KindleUnlimited #Amazon #limited #promo #july4thweekend

-waves- I should have posted this yesterday. Oh well. The life of living with a forgetful brain. I’ve been coping so far with likely undiagnosed ADHD.

Together is free on Amazon for a limited time: July 1st – 5th, 2023. If you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s free to borrow as well.

I’ve been mulling in the back of my mind to re-edit and add the epilogue I wrote for a blog tour I did a few years later. It’s been a thing to get started. There are several stories that I would like to republish and some that I would like to finish. With the holiday weekend (ish, still have to work at the Day Job tomorrow, but I have the 4th of July off), perhaps I can start on something. Story of a writer’s life. -smile-

Have a happy 4th of July US readers!

New Kindle Together #promotion and #newsletter, #writing, and #socialmedia updates

Apologies everyone who was a newsletter subscriber and it stopped and faded away fall of 2022. I just found the emails that Mailchimp had sent then that they deleted my account when it went inactive for 24 months. Oops!

Partial view of two Dell monitors with text and images on them  on a white desk with a coffee mug in the middle below them, a black pen and mousepad with a partial picture of a mouse, and what looks like an Apple keyboard below the coffee mug and papers to the left with scribble notes
Photo by Picography on Pexels.com

I’m working on recreating my newsletter with Mailchimp and re-adding what I had before. I believe I’ve relinked my Mailchimp account so my blog should post to it again. Not that I have any subscribers anymore. Oh well. Such is life.

Mailchimp changed a bit so I’m trying to figure out what I should do. Being out of pocket in writing and online presence in general for the last four years is tough. Covid fog is a thing. I’m slowly coming out of my self-induced online isolation as I slowly come out of the offline one. I’m an introvert (most everyone who knows me in person will know this) and so not being social is the norm most of the time. I do like to see people on occasion, and I live in a polyamorous household, but I do have to retreat to my bedroom to recover from socializing. I’m hoping that I have enough spoons to see this through.

If you are one of those that would like to be back on the newsletter, feel free to email me and I can add you again. I believe I have a signup form back on my blog but it might be pretty bare bones as I get everything setup in the next week or two. As always, if you do signup up and want to opt-out later, feel free to do so. Previously, I provided a free copy of one of my earlier works for signing up called Charon’s Dilemma via the automation of Mailchimp but I don’t quite have that updated yet. If you would like it, sign up for my newsletter and let me know to send it to you and I’ll manually send it in whichever format you prefer. I have EPUB, MOBI, and PDF. If you are like me and like all formats, I can send that too. 😀

Stay tuned to the blog and I will follow up as things progress.

Top-down look at a white coffee mug with coffee in the center, a Kindle tilted 45 degrees to the bottom right with a red and green small-leaf succulent and a larger large-leaf succulent immediately to the right and above the Kindle on a white background.
Photo by Adrienne Andersen on Pexels.com

To celebrate getting back into things with writing and online presence, I’m running a book promotion for the US Independence Day (July 4th) weekend July 1st through 5th since the 4th is on a Tuesday for my eBook of Together on Amazon.com worldwide where you can purchase it for free. It’s on Kindle Unlimited as well but I thought I would see if others who don’t have Kindle Unlimited would like it too. If you would like the book, please purchase during this time and consider doing a review on Goodreads and/or Amazon and sharing on social media. I’m most everywhere even if I’m not active on the platform specifically currently. I’m trying to get back into the social media game. 🙂

Along those lines, I will potentially do a second version of the book to include the short story I wrote for a blog tour I did for Together as an epilogue a few years ago. Some of the people who had read it before then wanted more about my characters. I appreciate my readers especially those who give me feedback as well. Really, Really, please let me know how you like it especially if this is the first time you have read anything of mine. If there was something you didn’t like, or formatting issues, let me know directly with feedback from here or directly to my email that’s posted on my About Eloreen Moon page. I’m still pondering and may look into do some editing of both before publishing them together for the first time. It may or may not have a new cover (I really like my cover) but refreshing covers is something that is done in this industry. I will have to see after I do edits and figure out costs for all of it.

Drawing of lightbulb on yellow Post It note pinned with a red thumbtack to a background of a corkboard.
Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

For those that want more writings from me, I do have flash fiction published in a few anthologies (details in About Eloreen Moon page here and Goodreads.com) on topics across all LGBTQ+ and genres. I’m working on a few new projects and will probably edit and re-publish other writings I did in the beginning, including Charon’s Dilemma and Coil Me Up. It’s one of those things that I will start somewhere one word at a time. It’s a little daunting being out of the loop for so long and starting up again. It’s almost like starting over but different. -wry smile-

Speaking of Coil Me Up, I talked with Adan recently and she’s given permission to re-edit and re-publish it fully under me again. She had helped me with writing a few chapters to get it finished for the the contest that inspired the story when it was originally published in October 2015 and hasn’t had motivation to write for quite awhile. I hope that we get to collaborate on something new as it was a lot of fun working with her. It is about snake shifters and if that’s not your thing, feel free to pass it up.

I think I will close with a picture of my favorite flower that’s about to bloom this year: Oriental Stargazer Lilies. I used to have Starfighters but I think they died out several years ago and these have been going strong for at least 4-5 years now. I’m not 100% sure but I think the ground-cover plant below them are baby strawberries from another pot elsewhere on the porch…

#Blitz Tangled Warriors (Weavers Circle 04) by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott #NewRelease #LGBTQ #Menage #Romance #MM #Giveaway #Paranormal #multiplepartners

Title: Tangled Warriors

Series: Weavers Circle #4

Author: Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Publisher: Drake & Elliott Publishing LLC

Release Date: September 24, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 85k

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Lucien Cummings

The pestilents are trying to kill him.

He’s pretty sure the Water Weaver wants to kill him as well.

But after two months of fighting an attraction for a man who couldn’t possibly be his mate, Lucien cracks when he’s pulled into an impulsive threesome with Calder and a sexy man they picked up in a bar.

That night was earth shattering.

And now he needs to figure out how to keep both men safe and his.

Calder Saito

Calder doesn’t want to fight his attraction for the Fire Weaver any longer, but they can’t really be soul mates, right?

And what about Gio? The sexy man gives him such a feeling of completeness and peace.

Could one man really have two soul mates?

Gio Russo

Can’t he just have them both?

Tangled Warriors is the fourth book in the Weavers Circle series. This MMM paranormal romance includes fast-paced action, running through Savannah, secrets, shapeshifting, kidnapping, deadly Girl Scouts, sexy times, insecurity, three crazy old ladies, soul mates, and magic!

Excerpt

“Shots!” Gio suddenly proclaimed. “I think we could all use a round of shots. What do you say?” He looked up at Lucien and smiled. “Join me in a round of shots. Break the ice.”

“Nothing feels icy to me,” Lucien murmured, while the fingers on Calder’s waist tightened.

He suddenly felt bad. He was intruding like an annoying little brother. Yes, his intention had been to stop Lucien from hitting on this guy, but now that he was standing there, he felt how wrong it was. What Lucien did and who he slept with was none of his business. He was supposed to be working on getting rid of the bad blood between him and Lucien, not making matters worse.

“None for me,” Calder said softly. “I’ll grab the drinks and get out of your way.”

Gio surprised him by cupping the side of his face with a warm calloused hand. “Oh no, sweetness. We don’t want you going anywhere. You’ve got to stay.” Gio looked over Calder’s shoulder at Lucien. “We want him to stay, right?”

Calder tensed, waiting for the rejection, but Lucien shocked him even more by pulling him in tighter so that he could feel Lucien’s groin against the small of his back. Those long fingers slipped down from his waist to caress his hip bone, sending the most delicious tingles all over his body. “Stay. Have a shot with us,” Lucian pressed. His voice was warm and so very tempting. Calder couldn’t remember ever hearing Lucien talk to him like that. He wanted to live in that voice. Just curl up in it like a warm, handmade quilt.

Releasing him, Gio turned to the bartender as she delivered Lucien’s and Calder’s mix of drinks and ordered a round of shots. Calder didn’t hear what he’d ordered exactly because Gio had also slotted himself better against Calder, causing his brain to short out. He was now in the one place he’d never thought he’d be—a Gio-Lucien sammich. Even with all their clothes on, it was now his favorite kind of sandwich. He would happily eat it every day for the rest of his life.

Calder was too tongue-tied to manage words. He nodded. At least he thought he nodded. He must have done something, because Gio’s smile grew wider. A second hand landed on his hip right where Lucien’s

The shots arrived, and Gio slid one over to Lucien before physically placing one in Calder’s hand as if he knew that his brain wasn’t in control of his body any longer. He watched as Gio clicked his shot glass on Lucien’s and then Calder’s. Tipping his head back, he sent the amber liquid down his long, sexy throat. Calder did the same without a thought. The burn was enough to wake him out of his stupor.

Sucking in a harsh breath, he coughed several times while slamming his shot glass on the bar. Gio grabbed his hand again and shoved a drink into it. Without thinking, Calder sipped it, relieved that it was his gin and tonic. The addition of more alcohol to his system probably wasn’t the smartest, but at least it had gotten rid of his coughing.

When he could breathe, he took a deep drink and set the glass on the bar to find Gio smiling at him while Lucien’s hand continued to dig possessively into his hip.

You okay?” Lucien inquired. For once, the question didn’t sound spiteful or mean. There was genuine concern in his tone.

Calder managed a small nod and Gio laughed.

Of course he’s okay. What are you drinking, sweetness?” Before Calder could answer, Gio leaned in and licked his bottom lip, sucking it into his mouth for a second, then releasing it with a wet pop. “Mmm…gin and tonic. Not bad.”

Calder barely heard the words. It was just a rush of blood past his ears as it raced to his steadily hardening dick.

As Gio moved away, he reached past Calder and pulled Lucien close. “And what are you drinking?” Calder watched as Gio licked his way into Lucien’s slack, welcoming mouth. He didn’t know what turned him on more—actually kissing Gio or watching Gio kiss Lucien. It defied all logic, but it was clear that his libido had zero interest in logic. He only wanted to know all the wonderful things Gio could do with his mouth.

Gio released Lucien and licked his own lips slowly. His dark eyes had turned black as his pupils dilated with desire. “I can tell this is going to be a fun night already. I suggest we head to my place so we can get more comfortable and less likely to be arrested.”

We? Calder croaked out.

Review

bluestarclipartbluestarclipartbluestarclipartbluestarclipartbluestarclipart

I love the Weaver’s Circle series and had just finished book three when I had received the notification for this blitz several weeks ago. It was perfect timing! I wasn’t sure if I could get it read in time for this post, but I managed. It’s the last day of the new release blitz tour and I just made it! This is book four of the series and I would recommend reading the first three books in order to enjoy this book to the fullest. Then again, I tend to read in series order anyway because I don’t want to miss anything.

Note that I will discuss things known from the first three books in this review. If you don’t want any potential spoilers, go read the rest of the series first before finishing this review. Then go read Tangled Warriors! 😀

I’m a big fan of polyamorous relationships and ménages with three men are no exception. Up until now, we’ve had a Weaver and their soul mate join up in the fight against the pestilents trying to take over Earth. Once the Circle completes with the six weavers: Earth, Animal, Soul, Fire, Water, and Air, they can permanently close the rift that allows the pestilents to the planet. The three grandmothers, goddesses in their own right, assist with the fight and give each Weaver their powers. We’ve met the Earth Warrior in the first book, the Animal Warrior in the second, and the Soul Warrior in the third. Now we see Fire and Water’s quest to find their mate together in this fourth installment.

I love that we have two Weavers who share their mate and each other. The story was very well done showing the angst that Lucien Cummings (Fire) and Calder Saito (Water) have from the moment they met roughly a month before we start the story. They are also the latest two Weavers to arrive at the plantation home everyone stays at with their mates. Seeing the others have a mate for each individual Weaver previously, it never occurs to them that the reason they are so at odds is because they are mates to each other and Gio Russo, a man they take to their bed when they meet, the connection between the three is so strong. Throw in a dash of humor, and you will be rolling around laughing at some of the antics these brothers-in-arms have with each other and their mates, while Gio, Lucien, and Calder find themselves and each other. It was great to see how they got to their happy ending with all three of them together in an unconventional union.

There is a bit a repetitiveness to catch you up on the back story if you end up starting the series with this book. You can read out of order because of this, but I would recommend reading in order to get the full history of the characters, the goddesses, and the lives of the Weavers Circle.

They rescue the Air Weaver, along with a little help from Gio’s family, and we get hints of who might be paired with him for the next book. I can’t wait to see the Air Warrior get his powers and happy ending.

Overall, I give it a 5 out 5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed.

-Eloreen

Purchase at Amazon


Meet the Author

Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments. Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | eMail

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

#NewRelease #Blitz: Kline Agency Series Collection by Ana Raine #Contemporary #MM #Menage #Romance #LGBTQ #Gay #multiplepartners

Title: Kline Agency

Series: Kline Agency #5

Author: Ana Raine

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: June 18, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 248

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Gay, Action Adventure, Multiple Partners

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Manhattan — urban center of metropolitan New York. Home of the Kline Agency, where a young man can earn his fortune — or find his love. Chilled Champagne: Micah’s job as an escort is to be whatever his client wants him to be. But Daniel won’t stop exploring until he knows all Micah’s dangerous secrets. Levi: Levi is content in his life as an escort at the Kline Agency — until he meets a new client, Wesley. Can Levi and Wesley escape their haunted pasts and learn to love — and trust — again? Avery: Avery expects to work as an escort at the Kline Agency long enough to help fund his younger brother’s college tuition. A chance meeting with an artist changes everything. But Milo loses his sponsor, he can no longer afford Avery’s services, and Avery is forced to choose between a relationship with Milo or the rich clients of the Kline Agency. Next To You: Twins Alexei and Vasily fulfilling fantasies for customers of the Kline Escort Agency. Kane was once Vasily’s lover, though Vasily doesn’t remember, due to a head injury sustained at the hands of the vicious Noch gang. As his memories slowly return, Vasily becomes determined to end their debt to the Noch Gang — a decision that may cost them all more than they’re willing to pay.

Excerpt

Copyright ©2021 Ana RaineExcerpt from Chilled Champagne Lance was staring at Micah, his toned arms crossed over broad pectorals. At forty-one, he was still handsome and built. Everyone around the Kline Agency knew he was called Loose because he used to put out for his clients. All of that had changed when he’d met the man who was now his lover. Micah didn’t often hang out at the Kline Agency offices like some of the others did. “How did it go?” Lance wrapped his arm around Micah’s still chilled shoulders and led him back to his office. “Did Mr. Patrick have a complaint?” Micah asked hesitantly. “Why would you say that?” Lance laughed, his eyebrows shooting upward. “I wouldn’t put out,” Micah replied. He’d said this so often he barely blushed anymore. Lance didn’t seem surprised. “I figured as much. All the same, he wants to know when he can see you again.” “He called back already?” “Yes. A few minutes ago.” Micah felt his stomach doing a tug of war. He felt flattered he’d made such an impression, but at the same time, he wasn’t going to change his mind. Painfully, his cock kept captive in his pants reminded him how turned on he was. Flushed, he gathered his thoughts before speaking. “What does my schedule look like this week?” “You’re open for tomorrow.” Lance glanced at his computer, clicking his mouse. “Then you have an appointment with a Mr. Hart.” Micah was surprised. “I don’t remember Mr. Hart.” “He’s new. Requested the most beautiful escort we have.” Micah covered his laugh with a cough. “Didn’t he bother looking at the website?” “Sounded like he decided to get an escort last minute,” Lance said, clicking some more. “He didn’t want to take the time to look through pictures.” One thing Micah loved about The Kline Agency was that while most escort services posted full body shots and bios on their websites, Kline posted only profile shots, no faces. Potential clients had to register first. Full-face pictures only went out to email after Lance ran a background check. Micah couldn’t hide if his picture was blasted all over a high volume website. Lance sighed. “Get some sleep.” “Yeah, I’m tired.” Micah unclasped the hair clip. “Is Candace back yet?” “She’s with her favorite client. But she said you could keep the clip. Something about how that color looks better in dark hair than red.” Micah nodded, replacing the clip before grabbing his bag. He would change when he got home. Candace’s hair clip stuck to the side of his head, pressed tightly because he’d worn a knit cap. His gloves had a hole in the right index finger, reminding him he had to buy a new pair before winter came and New York got seriously cold. The Kline Agency office was in a good part of the city. The streetlights were always working at every corner, and the cars lined up were clean without a scratch. His studio was nice enough, considering how quickly he’d had to move and the funds he’d had available at the time. Unlocking the door, he kicked aside a pile of mail. He recognized letters from his mom, and his ex… they only brought back the terrible decisions he’d made. Kisaki, a kitten he’d rescued, was waiting, rubbing his head affectionately against Micah’s leg. “Hey baby,” Micah cooed, dropping his bag on the table. “Hungry?” He held Kisaki with one hand while sifting through his cupboard for a fresh can of cat food. “I’m hungry too.” The scent of wet food had barely hit Micah’s nostrils when he heard his phone buzzing from his bag. “Hello?” There was a pause before a familiar voice made Micah cringe. “Don’t hang up this time.” There was no way Micah was staying on the line. Breathing heavily, Micah slid to the floor, pressing the end button before resting on his side, one hand on Kisaki’s back as he lapped up his food. He’d have to get his number changed. Again. The warm fur beneath his hand and then against his chest made Micah’s throat tighten. He was too tired to stay awake. And he definitely didn’t want to deal with the phone call. His ex was supposed to stay in his past. If he found him now, after four years, Micah was sure his strong resolve would crumble. And what was worse was that Micah didn’t think he’d get so lucky in his next attempt to run away.

Purchase

Changeling Press LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Ana is still figuring out what she wants to do with her life, although social work seems to be the most likely. Her best friends are a box of chocolate and her kitten who always sit beside her while she writes. When Ana was in high school, she often wrote about the LGBT community, but now her work is less…innocent. Ana enjoys writing anything and everything, including BDSM, dragons, shifters, magic, and more.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Bookbub

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js
Blog Button 2

#Blitz: The Couple Next Door by @rickrreed #NewRelease #Contemporary #Romance #LGBTQIA+

Title: The Couple Next Door

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 14, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 66500

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, MM romance, author, multiple personality disorder, brothers, murder

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Jeremy Booth leads a simple life, scraping by in the gay neighborhood of Seattle, never letting his lack of material things get him down. But the one thing he really wants—someone to love—seems elusive. Until the couple next door moves in and Jeremy sees the man of his dreams, Shane McCallister, pushed down the stairs by a brute named Cole.

Jeremy would never go after another man’s boyfriend, so he reaches out to Shane in friendship while suppressing his feelings of attraction. But the feeling of something being off only begins with Cole being a hard-fisted bully—it ends with him seeming to be different people at different times. Some days, Cole is the mild-mannered John and then, one night in a bar, he’s the sassy and vivacious drag queen Vera.

So how can Jeremy rescue the man of his dreams from a situation that seems to get crazier and more dangerous by the day? By getting close to the couple next door, Jeremy not only puts a potential love in jeopardy, but eventually his very life.

Excerpt

The Couple Next Door
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

How many disappointing dates will I endure before I just give up?

I mean, here I am, a perfectly attractive, fit, self-sufficient thirty-year-old, and I’m still waiting to meet the man of my dreams. Mr. Right. Hell, tonight I’d even settle for that character who seems to come along on dates for most of us, the all-too-common Mr. Right Now. But even he isn’t on the seat beside me. In fact, I strongly doubt he’s anywhere in the vicinity of the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle where I live.

Believe me, I’ve looked.

Mr. First Date pulls his Ford Fusion up to the curb in front of my apartment building on Aloha Avenue. We sit in awkward silence for several long moments, listening as the engine ticks down as it cools. I can feel him looking at me. As he’s done most of the evening, he waits for me to speak. I turn my head and, in the dark, give him a weak smile. The date, dinner at a little sushi place on Broadway, had not gone well, full of uncomfortable silences, awkward pauses, and desperate looks around for avenues of escape—on both our parts.

Do I need to say we just didn’t click?

I didn’t think so.

So what he says now surprises me.

“Do you want me to come up?”

Really? We’ve just spent an hour and a half of agony together, trying to find a snippet of common ground that doesn’t exist, and he’s wondering if I want him to come up, which we all know is code for “Shall we make the beast with two backs?”

Seriously? The most irksome thing is, I’m considering it. I mean, he’s cute in spite of our lack of social connection. He’s a games developer for a software company here in town and looks it, with a sort of hipster/geek vibe going on. He has red hair, which I love. He has a beard, which I love. He wears retro glasses, which make him look paradoxically goofy and sexy—which I love.

Would it be so terrible to sleep with him? I mean, it’s been at least two weeks since I’ve enjoyed the charms of anyone other than Mr. Thumb and his four sons, so at least in terms of a release, maybe I should just say “Sure” and open the car door. If things go like some of my dates in the past, he’d follow me upstairs to my apartment and be back in his car in, like, fifteen minutes.

No, I tell myself. And then I tell him, shaking my head, looking sad, and saying the words countless heartbreakers have used over the years to stop ardent passion in its errant tracks.

“I’m sorry, Neil. But I have to get up early.” Lamely, I pat his hand. “Maybe another time.”

I don’t need to be psychic to know that we both know another time ain’t gonna happen.

Neil seems relieved as he restarts his car. He shrugs. “It’s okay. Club Z’s just a couple minutes away, right? Down Broadway and a right on Pike—easy.”

He grins at me, and I wonder if he expects me to laugh. Club Z is one of Seattle’s filthiest bathhouses, and yes, it’s only a few minutes away. He doesn’t seem to need directions.

It’s my turn to be relieved that I didn’t actually succumb to the temptation of inviting this jerk upstairs. Wordlessly, I get out of the car and slam the door behind me.

Neil roars off into the damp and still night.

I pause and sigh, staring up at the building in which I’ve lived for the past five years. It’s an okay place, an old redbrick three story with none of the modern amenities—no stainless steel, granite countertops, or gas fireplaces. My apartment is homey. It even has the original tile, sink, and claw-foot tub in its single bathroom. The living room is large, with three big windows that look out on Aloha and let in lots of light—on the days when we have sun in Seattle (that means usually summer days). The floors are scuffed original hardwood. The kitchen actually has a pantry and built-in china hutch. I’ve painted the place a cheery, soft yellow.

Upstairs, the TV, with its DVRed episodes of at-odds Sons of Anarchy and Downton Abbey, awaits. Upstairs, there’s the gelato I love from Whole Foods in the freezer—hazelnut dark chocolate.

Such is my life. Comfortable and a little lonely.

Sometimes I wonder, like Peggy Lee, if that’s all there is.

I head toward the glass-paned front door. I grope in my jeans for my keys. The mail had not yet arrived before I left for my date, and I wonder if there will be any surprises in the vestibule mailbox. You know, like an actual letter from someone, standing out from the usual assortment of bills and solicitations by the cursive spelling out of my name—Jeremy Booth.

My problem is I always have hope, even when there’s little reason.

I open the front door, and that’s when everything changes. My life turns upside down. I go from bored discontent to panic in a split second.

The first thing I hear is someone shouting “No!” in an anguished voice. I look up from the lobby to see two figures on the staircase above, on the second-floor landing. One is a guy who looks menacing and so butch he could pose for a Tom of Finland poster. An aura of danger radiates from him. Aside from his imposing and muscular frame, he’s even wearing the right clothes—tight, rolled jeans and a black leather biker jacket with a chain snaking out from beneath one of the epaulets. His high- and tight-buzzed hair gives him a military—and mean—air. He has his hands on the shoulders of a guy who looks a bit younger and much slighter, making me want to call up the stairs, “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?” The smaller guy, blond and clad only in a pair of pajama bottoms, struggles with his attacker, looking terrified. Their movements, clumsy and rough, would be comical if they weren’t so scary. The smaller guy is panting and batting ineffectually at the bigger one.

“Please! No! Don’t!” the smaller guy manages to get out, his voice close to hysteria.

I have never seen either of these men before. In fact, the whole scene has the quality of the surreal, a dream. The danger and conflict pulsing down the stairs makes my own heart rate and respiration accelerate, causing feelings of panic to rise within me.

And then the worst happens. The big butch guy shoves the smaller one hard, and all at once he’s tumbling heavily down the stairs toward me.

The fall is graceless, and it looks like it hurts. It’s over so fast that I’m left gasping.

I look up to see the leather-jacket guy sneer down at his mate, lying crumpled and crying at my feet, and then turn sharply on his heel to go back into a second-floor apartment that had been vacant yesterday. He slams the door. The sound of the deadbolt sliding into place is like the report of a shotgun. Both slam and lock resound like thunderclaps, echoing in the tile lobby, punctuation to the drama and trauma of this short scene.

I switch into Good Samaritan mode and drop to my knees at the sniveling, crumpled mess of a man lying practically at my feet.

“Are you okay?” I ask and reach out to lightly touch his shoulder.

He jerks away and, wincing, pulls himself up into an awkward sitting position. He stares at me with clear blue eyes for a moment, almost as though he’s trying to place me. He finally looks away.

“My ankle is throbbing. It hurts like hell. Maybe I twisted it.”

I don’t know what to say, other than to ask, “Would you like to try and stand? Test it out?”

He nods.

I lean over to grip him under the arms—it’s damp there, and I can smell the ripe aroma of body odor, probably inspired by fear or panic—and pull. He comes up with me and then stumbles, wincing and crying out.

“Damn. I might have sprained it when I fell.” His eyes are so appealing, in both senses of the word, as he stares at me, as though seeking direction for what to do next. He leans on me, taking his weight off the injured ankle.

I keep my arm around him, and together we limp over to a bench set beneath the bank of common mailboxes. We sit.

“What do you want to do?” I ask.

“I don’t know. I think Cole may have locked me out for the night.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

#Blitz: The Handsome Twist by @PezhmunDGhiassi #NewRelease #Thriller #Horror #Romance #Menage #LGBTQIA+

Title: The Handsome Twist

Author: Pezhmun D Ghiassi

Publisher: Friesen press

Release Date: 8/19/2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male/Female (Male/Male interaction), Male/Male Menage

Length: 144 pages

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Horror, Literary Fiction, New Adult, Thriller/Suspense

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

The Handsome Twist is a dark fairy tale inspired by the author’s actual life, being raised in Iran as a gay male, which for many who don’t know, is equivalent to the death penalty. Due to tackling topics such as perverse behavior, taboo lust, political oppression, maltreatment, rape and homicide, in high volume of vulgar language, this book is aimed for the mature audience.

Living his sweetest life in a cozy cottage, deep in the heart of a magical forest, a little boy by the name Pezhmun is cursed on his 10th birthday by the 1st royal subject of Hell, queen of lust, to live a life full of horrific trauma and tragedy.

In the rudest awakening he is stripped from his chakras as they take human form, helping him to truly comprehend the power of love, through self acceptance and courage, where only then he meets his soulmate, but hopefully in time to save the world from plunging into eternal darkness.

This story points to topics in which many of people who grow up LGBTQ, usually face throughout the journey of self discovery and self acceptance with a hope of inspiring all to be there true organic selves.

The Handsome Twist simple edition is written in a more comprehensive manner for all to read without difficulty in comparison to the sophisticated, prosaic and poetic original version.

Excerpt

I was born on a glacial Thursday, 4 am of January 4th, 1990, in Baltimore, Maryland, from a mixture of Persian, Irish, Italian, and Native American, something my mother use to call a Heinz 57 ketchup. A year later, after my birth, both my father and mother grew exasperated from to the complexities of the cold climate. In a drastic change of mind, our domesticity was relocated to the Sunny Scottsdale of Arizona.

I confess life in the scorched city did us well. My parents both successful businessman and woman, steady income, a beautiful home and anything to ever ask for and how I wish life always showed its brighter side to me and my loved ones, but that’s not always the case, and this life we speak of isn’t always dreamy…

I recall being ten and en-route from school to home that day as a certain anxiety pommeled my paunch.

I swung the door open only to my witness, the household tarnished! I had never seen so much shattered glass and porcelain gathered in one spot! My pops seeing me rapidly tugged my wrist, marching to the bedroom, sitting us at his computer. “You want to see what your mom’s doing?” My momma’s shriek from the other side of the house rang loud “Parheez No! Don’t do that to him!” Disregarding her plea, he opened his browser, pulling up a website. A tall, scrawny man, his blinkers framed in glass binoculars, and a dirty brown mustache with a red cap on his head appeared as my father uttered, “You’re mother is fucking this man!” I gasped in shock! My breath shortened as I dashed to my only sibling, my older sister’s room drowning in tears! I leaped to her embrace as she nurtured me. How could someone do that to a 10-year old I pondered! Anyhow, let’s let that minor one slip, considering that the least of our worries, for now, that is.

Months later, the once upon a time madly in love couple split! My father by fate lost all his fortune to his partner who had swindled him to his very last dime and as far as my mother who till that day had dedicated her life-giving me and my sister her all, chose emancipation parting ways, re-wedding to a forest firefighter named” William Delaney ” who most likely now quivers in the icy flames of Hell!

My old man now left with empty pockets, and two kids on his hand did what he only knew best, returning to his homeland, Iran.

Luckily his parents had been financially blessed and were indeed the significance of benevolence granting us a home to launch a new life!

A year later, my Baba saw suitable to remarry, so he did. He pondered maybe if a motherly figure hovered our lives, it would do us good, another erroneous mistake!

My step-dame initially seemed the kindest, sweetest being to roam the earth, though gradually in time, she allowed her true colors to show vibrancy.

This woman I speak of had seen much darkness and cruelty in her life, and by the time she had been locked into our family, already had she entrapped herself in a chamber of bitterness, constructed by bricks of pessimism and paranoia. So to be honest, yes, she has a golden heart, though like myself a very fucked up past with the only difference I chose the path of wisdom, not ignorance in my years of youth.

My father made certain to never deprive her of emotion, yet still, she portrayed envy for the love and affection he offered us, making it her mission to assure our lives a misery.

By night shame would be our pillows and goosebumps of gloom our blankets. Now imagine me, my sister to her brown almond eyes, adversaries, not offspring!

Years of her crudeness sailed the sea of our existence till in a sudden twist, this compulsively jealous spouse of a wife of my father went down a darker spiral of violence as one day I declined one of her many ruthless requisitions, expecting me to drop whatever I had in hand and spring at her ease.

I stood up for myself for once, in-surprise my merit were sharpened claws! Scaring my throat, leaving a sting of blood, the image of my scrag!

If a wicked stepmother was my only pain, I’m positive I wouldn’t be here scribbling away.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Raised in Iran, Ghiassi is a renaissance in the field of art! At the age 10 after the separation of his parents he along with his father and sister moved to Iran. He soon began school in a Farsi language school and easily became adapted. In his teen years he discovered himself a dilatent in the field of art by sowing clothing, painting, dancing and high school plays. Ghiassi is a graduate with a BA in Persian literature. At the age 24 he returned to America, served as a US Marine reservist and soon found himself obsessed with writing and a brilliant outlet to manage his heavy luggage of trauma and pain. He currently now resides in Southern California, studying film and directing as an actors student in hopes to one day transform The Handsome into a full length feature.

Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

#Blitz: M4M by @rickrreed #NewRelease #Contemporary #Romance #LGBTQIA+

Title: M4M

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 31, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 63500

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, MM romance, online dating apps, deception, HIV, men over 40, grief

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Three great stories. One great love.
VGL Male Seeks Same

Poor Ethan Schwartz. It seems like he will never find that special someone. At age forty-two, he’s still alone, his bed still empty, and his 42-inch HDTV overworked. He’s tried the bars and other places where gay men are supposed to find one another, but for Ethan, it never works out. He wonders if it ever will. Should he get a cat?

But all of that is about to change…

NEG UB2

Poor Ethan Schwartz. He’s just had the most shocking news a gay man can get—he’s been diagnosed HIV positive. Up until today, he thought his life was on a perfect course. He had a job he loved and something else he thought he’d never have: Brian, a new man, one whom Ethan thought of as “the one.” The one who would complete him, who would take his life from a lonely existence to a place filled with laughter, hot sex, and romance.

But along with the fateful diagnosis comes another shock—is Brian who he thinks he is?

Status Updates

Ethan finds himself alone once more and wonders if life is worth living, even one with a cat. Via a Facebook friend request, an old nemesis appears, wanting to be friends. Ethan is suspicious but intrigued because it seems this old acquaintance has turned his life around…and the changes just might hold the key to Ethan getting a new lease on life…and love.

Excerpt

M4M
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Ethan Schwartz was alone. At forty-two, the state of being alone was almost like having another person by his side, a person he was growing to know more and more intimately with each passing night in his too-big-for-one bed. In fact, Ethan sometimes wondered if being alone was his natural state of being. Perhaps it was simply his fate to spend his evenings in front of his brand-new forty-two-inch Toshiba HDTV, watching classic 1940s movies from an endless queue at Netflix.

He wondered if his life would ever change. Maybe he would continue to go to work at his job as a publicist for several Chicago theater companies, come home about seven o’clock, nuke a Lean Cuisine, fall asleep in front of the TV, and repeat the routine until he expired.

He had thought, as he tossed in bed at night, in those endlessly stretching hours slogging their way toward dawn, of getting a dog or even a cat. He envisioned himself walking into his apartment door at night, greeted by a French bulldog’s grin or the slightly harlotish leg rub of a Maine coon. But an animal just didn’t seem like—well, it just didn’t seem like enough.

In the above scenario, he also imagined a man coming in the same door minutes later and Ethan getting the four-legged companion riled up by saying “Daddy’s home!” No, Ethan knew—in his heart of hearts—he wanted an animal of the two-legged variety, one who would talk back to him, one he could spend long autumn weekends in Door County with, one he could take out to dinner parties and bring home to his family at Christmas. He wanted an animal that wouldn’t shed and would need little housebreaking. Well, at least not much. At forty-two, Ethan had lowered expectations.

He also dreaded the thought of subjecting some poor tabby or Boston terrier to a solitary existence much like his own. After all, the stand-in-for-a-boyfriend pet would spend most of its time roaming the apartment by his or her lonesome and staring mournfully out the window because of Ethan’s long hours at work.

He knew from experience that subjecting an unsuspecting animal to an existence akin to his own would be cause for calling out the SPCA.

So Ethan would have to go on dreaming of meeting Mr. Right in human form and continue to watch as those dreams faded into wispy gossamer as the years relentlessly marched toward old age. Already Ethan found it necessary to use a moisturizer on his face and a depilatory on his back. His dark brown hair he kept buzzed close to his skull in an effort to minimize its traitorous thinning. Starting at around age thirty-two, every year he’d added a pound or two to his five-foot-ten-inch frame, and every year that pound or two became harder and harder to lose, in spite of long, sweaty hours on the treadmill or a diet consisting chiefly of the frozen culinary delights of the people at Smart Choice, Lean Cuisine, or South Beach Diet.

Heading toward middle age sucked…especially when you were doing it alone.

Tonight Ethan dug in the Doritos bag for one remaining chip of decent size while glued to the adventures of Ugly Betty. Why couldn’t he at least find a nice nerd, as Betty once had? Why couldn’t he at least have a little drama at work, like the Mexican magazine assistant faced every single day of her charmed life? Ethan’s days were spent trying to chat up theater critics in hopes of persuading them to write a review or feature on whatever play he was pushing that week. Or he holed up in his cube and wrote the same press release over and over, with only the titles, venues, and dates changed. When he had taken the job ten years ago, he’d thought the free nights out at the theater would be a great way to get dates. He’d assumed he would meet lots of handsome actors, and they would all want to cozy up to the publicist who could get them so much press.

He’d thought wrong.

Ethan got up and shut off the TV and threw his Doritos bag in the trash. He stretched and looked out the window. His move to this North Side Chicago neighborhood had been another misguided romantic maneuver, one that started full of hope and confidence and had been dashed by cold reality. He felt even more isolated and alone as he looked down from his studio apartment on Halsted Street, the blocks between Belmont and Addison that Chicagoans referred to as Boystown. When he had rented the little studio above a gay bookstore a decade ago, he had reasoned that wrangling a date would be no more difficult than hanging out his third story window with a smoldering gaze and a come-hither pout.

He had reasoned wrong.

Shortly after Ethan had moved in and hung his first Herb Ritts poster, Boystown had begun quickly gentrifying itself. Most of the gays moved farther north to Andersonville or even Rogers Park. Sure, gay bars still lined the street, and the teeming throngs continued to taunt him with luscious examples of masculinity on the prowl, but it had been a long time since one of the minions had made his way up the creaking stairs to Ethan’s studio.

Oh, he supposed he could throw on some jeans, T-shirt, and his Asics and run across the street to Roscoe’s or any of the other watering holes lining the rainbow-pyloned avenue, but he had been to that dry well too many times to even consider it. Every year, it seemed, there was a new crop of gorgeous twentysomethings laughing and drinking…and practiced in the art of ignoring nice but nondescript men like Ethan. One could only endure so long the hours of standing against a wall, Stella Artois in hand, trying to look approachable and then never being approached. It didn’t do much for the ego.

And it didn’t do much for the wallet. Or the self-esteem. Or certainly the romantic, or even sex, life.

No, the bars had long ago lost their allure, becoming more and more an exclusive club for younger gays looking to hook up, or dance, or text message each other…or whatever other ways they found these days to make Ethan feel old. Besides, Ethan hoped for a more meaningful connection.

And with each gray hair, each crow’s-foot and laugh line stamped upon his features, he despaired of ever finding it.

He padded into the little bathroom and gasped as a cockroach beat a hasty retreat into a crack between the baseboard and linoleum-tiled floor. He shook his head and thought that even the bugs wanted nothing to do with him.

He looked at his tired face in the mirror and laughed. “Jesus,” he said to his reflection, “you’re pathetic.” He held his aging mug up to the light cast by the overhead fixture and said, “What’s wrong with everybody? You’re not so old. You’re not so bad.” And indeed, Ethan spoke the truth. He looked every bit of his forty-two years, but that was still pretty young, wasn’t it? Didn’t somebody at the office just yesterday say something about forty being the new thirty? And his face, while certainly not Brad Pitt sexy, was pleasing, with a nice cleft in his chin, a strong nose, and deep blue eyes framed by long black lashes. His lips were a bit thin—a gift from his German father—and he could probably use some sun to give his pasty complexion a little pizzazz, but all in all, it wasn’t a face one would run from, screaming into the night. It was every bit as cute as a Tom Hanks or Will Ferrell.

Ethan pulled his toothbrush from the medicine cabinet and decorated its bristles with orange gel—when had toothpaste gone orange?—and gave his teeth a savage brushing, even though his dentist always admonished him about that, telling him a slow, gentle course was the way, lest he wanted to erode his gums entirely away. But Ethan had never been able to dissuade himself from the idea that the harder the brush, the whiter the teeth.

He spit and wiped his mouth on the hand towel and headed back into the common area to pull out his queen-size—hush!—futon for another night of lonely slumber.

Tomorrow, he thought, he had to do something about his depressing state. And he did not mean moving out of Illinois. Somewhere there had to be a companion for him, just waiting. His dream man wasn’t in all the places he had fruitlessly checked, like the bars, backstage, and in his office. But he was out there, and like Ethan, he too was pulling the covers up by himself and thinking the answer to the riddle of how to escape a solitary existence was just within reach.

Just before he fell asleep, he wondered if his mystery man also cynically told himself the same thing every night.

“Shut up!” Ethan cried into the darkness. And then whispered, muffled into his pillow, “Tomorrow will be different. I just know it.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2