New release: Forever Nine by Kris T. Bethke

My publisher, JMS Books, celebrate their ninth anniversary this summer, so they invited their authors to write a story that is somehow related to the number nine. Which was how I came up with my bunny shifter story, 9 Willow Street, and which is why you’ll find several stories with nine as the theme (either in the title or playing a big part in the story) now at JMS Books.

And one of those books are Forever Nine by my dear friend Kris T. Bethke. So join me in wishing Kris a happy belated release day, and if you’re in the mood for a BDSM story, this is for you!!


forevernineWhen Jesse Reid needs emergency surgery, he calls his neighbor to come pick him up instead of one of his many family members. As the youngest of nine, Jesse is used to feeling like a leftover, and he doesn’t need their coddling.

Holden McRae is a big, beautiful man, everything Jesse wants. But Holden has made it clear he doesn’t want Jesse as a submissive.

Under the influence of Holden’s care, Jesse becomes bolder and makes Holden see what he’s been missing. The two men’s interests line up, and the attraction that has always been there is something they can finally act on. As Jesse heals, he shares parts of his life with Holden, and Holden helps him see he’s so much more than #9. Their love might not be the most conventional, but maybe it’s exactly what both men need.

M/M BDSM erotic romance 25910 words 

Buy link: JMS Books | Amazon


Excerpt: 

“Hey, wait. I live over there.” I gestured sloppily to the left.

“Jesse, do you really think I’m going to let you stay by yourself tonight?”

I squinted up at him. “Um yes. Yes I do.”

He scowled, which I shouldn’t find hot, but I totally did. “Nope. Try again. You had surgery, Jess. You need help.”

“It was little surgery. Not big surgery. It’s fine. I’ll be fine.” I tried to pull away, but he was much stronger than I was, and if I fought too hard, I might hurt myself.

“It was major abdominal surgery,” he corrected, a hint of frustration in his voice. “Even if it was, what did you call it, ‘minimally invasive.’ I have the instruction sheets right here, and you’re gonna be seriously hurting for at least a couple of days. Someone needs to help. So unless you want to call one of your siblings or your parents, you’re stuck with me.”

I shuddered. “God, no. Don’t want to call them. But I don’t want to be a burden.” I frowned. “Well, any more than I already have been. Asking you to come get me. I didn’t expect you to take care of me afterward.”

“Yeah, well. That’s what I do. So can you just let me?”

I was going to argue. I was. But the fact was, I’d called him for a reason. I wanted him to be there for me. I wanted him to care for me. And even though taking care of me after surgery wasn’t what I had in mind, I’d take it. At least for a day or two. Just to see what it was like. Until I could convince him I was fine on my own.

“Yes, Sir.”

“Don’t say that if you don’t mean it,” he muttered, his voice very low. He probably hadn’t meant for me to hear it, but I was practically smooshed against his chest. There was no way I couldn’t hear it.

“I mean it. I’ve always meant it. You just don’t believe me.”

He froze halfway in the house, and looked down at me with shock all over his face. It didn’t last long. After only a few seconds, that neutral mask was back in place. He shook his head.

“It must be time for another pain pill. You shouldn’t be this coherent.”

“They aren’t that strong. At least, not enough to really get me high. Which is a shame, really.” I laughed at the look he shot me. “I’m kidding, Holden. I don’t do drugs. I barely even drink. You know that.”

Holden didn’t seem to think that required a comment and he resumed our trek into the house, down the hall, and into a bedroom.

I knew it was Holden’s room the moment we walked in. Not only did it smell like him — citrus and smoky — but it felt like him. Warm and dominating. The furniture was big, and everything was done in dark browns with splashes of color — in the art on the walls, in the red sheets, and in the throw rug on the hardwood floor. My body relaxed as I took it all in, and it wasn’t until he was trying to settle me on the huge bed that my brain kicked in.

“No, this is your room and I can’t take your bed,” I protested.

He looked at me with a placating smile. “It’s the only bed in the house. The guest room is used for … other things.”

I had an idea what those other things were, but I wasn’t going to bring it up now. I knew he’d just shut me down.

“Then I’ll take the couch.”

“Like hell you will.” I saw a hint of anger rising and part of me felt awful at displeasing him. But most of me was gearing up for a fight.

“Then I’ll go home. I’m not taking your bed.” I tried to sit up, but he placed a firm, warm hand on my chest. I could have moved, he wasn’t holding me down exactly, but it would have been a struggle and that could tear my brand new stitches.

“It’s not taking if I give it to you. Now lie down, or I’ll tie you down.”

I sighed heavily, giving in. But only because I was suddenly too tired to do anything else. “Empty promise, that.”


Author Bio

Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long. An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting / crocheting her latest project. Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time. A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures. She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head. She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.

Find her on her site https://kristbethke.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/people/Kris-T-Bethke/100014524539852
or on Twitter https://twitter.com/kristbethke

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Release Blitz: The Yakuza Path by Amy Tasukada

 

 
Blood Stained Tea
 

A bloody past haunts him. A devastating present calls him back…

Nao hides from his violent past in the Japanese mob by opening a teahouse in Japan’s cultural center, Kyoto. His past comes flooding back when he discovers a gravely injured man with a tattooed chest, a bloody knife, and a Korean business card.

Saehyun would’ve died if not for Nao’s help. He knows nothing of his savior’s connection with the local mafia, but Saehyun has his own secrets. He commands the Korean mafia, the mortal enemy of Nao’s former syndicate.

As Nao and Saehyun grow closer, so does the strength of the Korean mob. A shocking murder pulls Nao back into a past he’d all but abandoned. War is looming, and Nao must choose between protecting Saehyun or avenging the honor of his old mafia family.

 
Better Than Suicide


A twisted cop. A mob on the verge of self-destruction…

Nao Murata is the new Godfather of the Matsukawa syndicate. When Detective Yamada confronts Nao over a dead drug dealer, the Nao knows his organization isn’t responsible. The Matsukawa doesn’t deal drugs… or does it?

When Nao discovers drugs in a locker owned by his syndicate, he no longer knows who to trust. With the police bearing down on the Matsukawa, Nao must make unlikely allies to find out the truth. Can he discover who is betraying him before time runs out, or will everyone suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?

 
One Thousand Cranes

When a body goes missing, a young Yakuza’s life hangs in the balance…

Aki Hisona’s latest promotion is a cause for celebration. But because his new job is working as the personal secretary for the Yakuza’s Kyoto-based godfather, it’s also a cause for dangerous envy. He takes an invitation from a friend for congratulatory drinks, but Aki never thought the night would end with a deadly knife fight…

Aki is tasked with disposing of his friend’s corpse, but there’s one problem: the body is missing. As body parts surface around town, it’s only a matter of time before the police piece together the clues. But keeping one step ahead of the cops may not matter if Aki can’t solve the mystery before his cold, unforgiving godfather boss does…

 

The Deafening Silence

An unproven alliance. A broken promise. A mafia boss must shed blood to secure peace…

Nao Murata is on the verge of brokering peace between his syndicate and the rival Mafufgumi mob. To seal the deal, he’ll need to pick up Russian prostitutes to appease his newest ally. When the exchange goes sour, both sides draw blades and Nao has no choice but to care for a blood-soaked enemy. If the man doesn’t make it through the night, Nao and his crew will pay with their lives.

Outnumbered and stranded in enemy territory, Nao is forced to fight his way out before the Mafufgumi Godfather takes the deal off the table. As his wounded enemy’s heartbeat slows, Nao must act fast or condemn his syndicate to a brutal turf war.


Amy Tasukada lives in a catless home in North Texas. (She enjoys cats but can’t quite make that kind of commitment yet.) As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. When she’s not chasing after stray cats, she can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.

 

 
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1 oz of Cream Oolong tea (Nao’s favorite tea!)
1 cast iron teapot
1 autographed copy of The Deafening Silence
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Release blitz and #giveaway: The Best-Laid Plans by Addison Albright

RELEASE BLITZ

 

Book Title: The Best-Laid Plans (Plans, book #2)
Author: Addison Albright
Publisher: JMS Books, LLC
Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs
Genre/s: M/M Fantasy Romance
Tropes: abduction, hurt/comfort, princes
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 28 130 words
Release Date: June 1, 2019

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Blurb

A death that wasn’t what it seemed…
A kidnapping that isn’t what it seems…
Time is running out.

The morning after his wedding night, Prince Marcelo thought he’d be embarking on a journey to his own personal fairytale happily ever after with his husband, Efren, the crown prince of Zioneven. But when news arrives indicating his sister’s death wasn’t as accidental as previously thought, that journey becomes fraught with danger.

Enmeshed in political intrigue, death, and a kidnapping that might not be what it seems, will Efren untangle the web of misleading clues in time to save the naïve young man he’s already come to admire, or will Marcelo dig deep to discover a previously untapped inner strength and determination to facilitate his own survival?


Excerpt

Chapter 3: …Oft Go Awry

Efren

Efren blinked rapidly as he came awake with a start. He stared into the darkness and mentally shook the cobwebs from his mind. What had awoken him? Marcelo lay softly breathing in his arms, as relaxed and peaceful as only the innocent can truly be.

Around him, the night was silent. Too silent? He strained to hear the patrols rustling through the grasses, or the faint trills of their signals to each other.

A breeze swirled through the branches of the trees in the distance, rippling the leaves. Crickets chirped, apparently unconcerned about whatever either was or wasn’t going on in the meadow.

And footsteps. Quiet, approaching footsteps. It must be time for the shift change. That’s what had awoken him. Efren relaxed and nestled Marcelo tighter against him. One at a time, the guards would come in and wake their replacements.

Except—Efren tensed, then maneuvered his arm out from under Marcelo’s head and eased himself from under the blankets—the footsteps, furtively stopping and restarting, were approaching from multiple directions.

Efren shivered as goosebumps rose on his naked skin in the chilled night air and soundlessly slipped his broadsword and knife from their leather scabbard. He glanced at Marcelo, still sleeping, although less serenely with the sudden loss of the warm body next to him.

Guilt pinged his core as he shook off a strong desire to waken and forewarn Marcelo, but he pushed it down. Marcelo, completely untrained in warfare, would be safer in here. He seemed a heavy sleeper, likely incorporating outside noises into his dreams, unused to a need to be readily alert. He might even doze through the skirmish.

Or was that just wishful thinking? Because there’d be no hope that Marcelo could escape unseen, if it came to that.

Surely it would be better for such an innocent to be killed in his sleep, or with scarcely a brief moment of shock beforehand than to spend minutes quaking in terror, unable to defend himself.

Efren shook off his doubts and quickly pushed out the weighty flap, sword raised ready, and opened his mouth to yell an alert to awaken any of his warriors who hadn’t already sensed the looming danger, same as he had. But the breath he drew to strengthen his voice instead choked him.

He’d never before smelled these fumes, but the pungent, wet-dog odor had been described to him. The material of their tents was heavily treated to keep the toxin producing that odor from permeating the walls and closed flaps.

Icy apprehension slithered across Efren’s skin before settling in the pit of his gut. This was a completely unexpected development. The alchemists from the kingdom of Proye who’d developed this toxin—and unfailingly guarded the recipe—called it “Knockout.”

As Efren’s sword arm dropped, followed swiftly by his eyes rolling back in his head and his body slumping in a boneless crumple, a corner of his brain recognized how fittingly it was named, and hoped that enough of it had entered the tent through the briefly opened flap that Marcelo would succumb before Proye agents executed whatever they had planned. They’d been married for less than two days, and already he’d failed his innocent, young husband.

Copyright 2019 Addison Albright


About the Author

Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a smidgen of drama/angst, and a healthy dose of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

Author Links

Blog/WebsiteFacebook Author Page | Facebook ProfileTwitterBookBub | QueeRomance InkAmazonNew Release Notifications Group

Giveaway

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3 winners will each get to choose 2 ebooks from Addison’s backlist

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Read how the story began…

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Release blitz and giveaway: Family Camp (Daddy Dearest #1) by Eli Easton

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited. 
 
Length: 219 pages
 
Cover Design: Reese Dante
 
Blurb

When Geo signs up for Family Camp, he envisions nature hikes, s’mores, and a chance to win over his recalcitrant new foster kids, Jayden and Lucy. He’s tried to become a dad for so long, and he hopes the three of them can be the family he’s always wanted. What he doesn’t anticipate is the prickly and gorgeous camp counselor who constantly comes to his rescue.

Travis spends a week every year at Camp Evermore, the camp his adoptive parents own. As a pro baseball player, his presence guarantees a full campground and excited campers. He has one rule: never, ever mess around with anyone at camp. His profession demands he stay in the closet. But one sweet and funny new dad is about to test all his resolve.

Sparks fly for Geo and Travis, and not because of the nightly campfire. Having been a foster kid himself, Travis is drawn to Geo’s sincerity and big heart and to his kids. The four of them just fit. But will this be a summer romance? Or can they find a way to be a family long after Family Camp is over?

About the Daddy Dearest series

The Daddy Dearest series will consist of stand-alone contemporary novels focusing on single gay dads who find hot romance. Expect laughs, sweet and sexy slow-burn romance, and lots of family feels!

Excerpt

Sixth inning. Geo was ready for the game to be over. It was fucking hot on the ball field, all open and exposed, the sun baking down. And he was also not sure how much more Travis-watching he could take—him with his silky burgundy gym shorts and a sweaty Camp Evermore green shirt stretched over those muscles. His long legs were tanned and well-defined from hours at the gym.Those thighs could fucking crack walnuts. Dude.

Damn, but that was one fine-looking man. Geo knew he should lay off, though. Travis had made himself clear.

Only he hadn’t. At all. One minute, Travis seemed into him him. He sought out Geo’s company, like the way he kept coming by the cabin at night. And the next minute, he’d put distance between them, ignoring Geo or closing himself off behind a granite-like expression and those eye-hiding shades. And Travis had laid a clear line in the sand. Not at camp. Not gonna happen.

Yup. That was fine. Sure, Geo hadn’t been mutually attracted to a guy that hot in ages. Or ever, really. But Geo hadn’t come to camp to fool around. He had other priorities.

It did make him wonder though. Bridget had said Travis wasn’t out. A quick Google search last night had confirmed that. In fact, Geo had been shocked to discover there’d never been an out baseball player in the major leagues. Like, in the history of American baseball. Which was tragic. No wonder Travis was in the closet. It had to suck monkey balls living like that. Especially with all the women who threw themselves at him constantly. There were a dozen women on the sidelines right now that looked ready to have his babies. That had to be weird for a gay guy. Didn’t it?

Geo himself was always super uncomfortable when women came on to him. He felt compelled to blurt out “I’m gay!” in the first five minutes. It was just too weird otherwise.

Then again, Travis’s love life was none of Geo’s business. Maybe the guy was bisexual. Maybe he liked dating women just fine.

Jayden came up to bat. Geo focused on his son, clapping hard. “Come on, Jayden! You’ve got this!”

Jayden took a wide stance beside the plate, both hands gripping the bat, choked up a little. Travis had spent a few minutes with Jayden at the start of the game, showing him how to stand, and Jayden copied him exactly. The kid was a great mimic. He’d been nervous at first, tense and defensive. But by now he just looked focused. He stared, narrow-eyed, at Frank as Frank pitched an easy ball.

Geo loved that about this game, that everyone tried to give the kids easy wins, and no one took the competition seriously.

Jayden hit the ball hard. It flew through the air a short ways then plonked to the ground and skipped along fast. It was heading right down the center line, though a bit more towards third base and Travis’s side of the field.

“Go Jayden! Go!” Geo shouted. He went after the ball. In his peripheral vision, he saw Jayden round first base and keep running.

Travis was going after the ball too, dodging low. He scooped it up. He was going to throw it to third base, keep Jayden back on second. Geo couldn’t let that happen.

He dove in front of Travis, crowding him, holding an arm out to block Travis from throwing the ball.

Travis snorted, bemused. “What are you doing? You’re on my team.” He backed up, trying to get away from Geo.

“Blood before bros, man,” Geo said with fake seriousness. He kept up with Travis, step for step, grabbing Travis’s right arm in a firm grip so he couldn’t raise the ball.

“Stop it!” Travis laughed. “Dork. That’s not legal.”

“Don’t care.”

They took three steps back, like they were dancing. Geo held Travis’s right arm, staring him down. Travis met his gaze, a goofy smile on his lips. Back and back they stumbled. Suddenly, Travis got a sparkle in his eyes. He wrapped his left arm around Geo’s waist and picked him up, swinging him around so he ended up behind Travis.

Geo was still finding his feet as Travis drew back his arm and sent the ball sailing.

Right to home plate. But Jayden got there first. Umpire Cindy made the motion with her hands, safe.

Geo laughed and raised his arms in triumph. “Yeah, baby! Great job, Jayden! Home run, whoo!”

Then he realized everyone was staring at them. On the sidelines, there were a dozen cameras raised, filming.

Oh. Er. Hmm. Geo wiped his face, feeling sheepish.

That’s when a piercing scream rent the air.

 

 

About Eli

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

Her website is www.elieaston.com
You can email her at eli@elieaston.com

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New release and #giveaway: Okay, Then by Addison Albright

okay then

INFO

Publisher: JMS Books, LLC
Cover Art: Written Ink Designs
Release Date: February 9, 2019
Length: Short Story / 2,614 words
Heat Rating: 3 flames / Moderate

BLURB

Okay, then…that’s what Sam said after Henry convinced him he was interested in dating, not merely a fling while together on a research trip to the Solomon Islands. And so they embark on their first date, but the conditions are not ideal.

Henry is desperate to convince his crush of his sincerity but second guesses his every move. He’s thrilled to discover Sam is just as anxious to impress him. Can these two work through their first-date jitters or are they destined to drift apart?

PURCHASE LINKS

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okay then graphic 2

Author’s Note:

Revisiting the main characters from ’Til Death Do Us Part, this short story takes place within the timeline of the flashback scenes from that novel, detailing Sam & Henry’s first date/encounter after Sam tells Henry “Okay, then” while they’re together on a research trip in Honiara in the Solomon Islands. It’s a short story written to be able to stand alone, with its own HFN.

EXCERPT

“Okay, then.” That’s what Sam had said. His leg had bounced like it always did when he was nervous. It was endearing, and one of the things that drew me to him. His grin was another. I melted a little each time he leveled it in my direction, which had made it incredibly hard to hide my attraction. That ship had now sailed. For better or for worse, Sam now knew of my interest, and had agreed to a date.His words had come at the end of a conversation we’d had at breakfast yesterday morning after we’d cleared up a misunderstanding regarding my intentions when I’d previously asked him out. Well, I suppose technically I’d asked him back to my room for a drink, so I couldn’t actually fault him for not understanding that I truly wanted to date him, not just have a fling while we were here in Honiara collecting research data.

“I’m sorry, Henry,” Sam said now as we approached Mambo Juice’s entry. “I wasn’t thinking straight, obviously.”

Perspiration dripped down my face. My pits felt more than a little damp, and sweat matted my chest hairs. The shower I’d taken right before we’d left the Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel, where we were staying a few days before heading to the smaller islands in the chain, had been a complete waste of time. But even if I’d known Sam would suggest we walk a mile to the Mambo Juice, I probably would have bathed anyway. I wanted to impress the man, after all.

“I’m fine,” I replied. And truthfully I was; other than feeling, shall we say, somewhat less than fresh, the trek and the heat didn’t bother me. We’d both been out in it all day for most of a week, and would be spending at least five more weeks in the islands before heading back to Seattle. This wasn’t the first research trip either of us had taken to a tropical location, and we were both in good health and in the prime of our lives.

Sam looked miserable, biting his lower lip. His body seemed tense, and his brows drawn together. Not unduly physically uncomfortable, but like he was mentally kicking himself in the ass for having suggested we walk.

“Seriously, it’s not a big deal. If I can’t handle one little mile, then I’m a pretty sad case with no business attempting field work.”

He cocked his head to the side and stared curiously at me as I attempted a reassuring smile. His stance relaxed.

“You’re—” He cut off whatever he’d planned to say. His eyes widened and I got the distinct impression he’d been thinking aloud, and hadn’t meant to say anything.

“You’re what?” Because, really, it was better to find out now, before we fucked up our professional relationship beyond any hope of repair by, well…fucking…if there was something about me that bothered him. We’d been colleagues in the university’s biology department in Seattle for ten months, so we knew each other fairly well. I hoped to hell he wasn’t having second thoughts about dating me.

“You’re…you’re actually trying to impress me, just as much as I’m trying to do the same with you.”

I laughed and pressed a palm to my heart. I was so damned relieved to hear those words. “You’re damned right I am!”

His Henry-melting grin appeared, and I was lost.

 

okay then graphic

 

ea1ae-file2bjul2b19252c2b112b032b032bamAUTHOR BIO

Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a smidgen of drama/angst, and a healthy dose of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

Blog/Website | Facebook Author Page | Facebook Profile  |  Twitter  |  Google+  |  Pinterest |  BookBub | QueeRomance Ink | Amazon | New Release Notifications Group


Giveaway

For the chance to win an ebook copy of ’Til Death Do Us Part, comment on this blog post by answering this question: if you knew you were about to be abandoned on an uninhabited island for one week and could bring three things with you, what three things would you choose?

Don’t forget to add your email address so we can contact you if you win!

Release blitz and #giveaway: The Choice (The Faction #2) by Addison Albright

Book Title: The Choice (The Faction, book 2)
Author: Addison Albright
Publisher: JMS Books, LLC
Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs
Genre/s: M/M, Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 28 692 words
Release Date: January 5, 2019

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Buy Links

JMS BooksAmazon USAmazon UK

addison albright

Blurb

As a freshly turned vampire, Neil had frozen in panic when he’d found himself face-to-face with his ex-boyfriend, Cameron. Neil thought that misstep and its associated danger was all in the past, but Cameron’s current boyfriend, Dennis, is like a dog with a bone, and a keen imagination. When the two men’s curiosity progresses to the point the vampires consider their secrecy to be endangered, choices must be made.

Now that faction leader Albert has a blood-mate, he finds himself second-guessing his decisions. Neil would be crushed knowing his mistake led to human deaths, but Albert shouldn’t factor that into the difficult choices he must make. Will Albert’s indecision put the entire vampire establishment in danger? Or is redemption only a flamethrower away?

Excerpt

Neil closed his eyes and bit back a whimper. He’d been so happy these past months loving Albert, a man—vampire—that in many ways he barely knew, yet somehow he could see and truly understand the man’s fundamental essence. Albert’s core…what made him tick.

Although Neil wasn’t party to many of the details of faction business, he had made friends among the vampires, and he and Albert frequently socialized with other vamps of all “ages” and levels within the faction. Among their fellow moviegoers tonight had been one of the faction’s team leaders on one end of the scale, and a delivery driver on the other. Albert treated them all with the same respect and caring as he would likely give to fellow faction leaders or council members. If there was something within Albert’s power that would make life more enjoyable for his people without risking their safety, he did it.

Albert might have black blood flowing through his veins, but he didn’t have a black heart…he had a heart of gold. Neil knew that with every fiber of his being. But he also knew that Albert had to untangle ethical dilemmas that would make most people quake in dismay. At least, the good ones would flinch away from those concerns. Those with hearts steeped in foul malevolence would relish the decisions Albert faced.

Two men’s lives hung in the balance on one side of the scale versus a calculated risk to the lives of all vampires worldwide. Albert’s hand at Neil’s back steadied him as he wobbled. Neil reopened his eyes and stared into Albert’s.

It was as if Albert could read his mind. The look in the man’s eyes screamed that he understood Neil’s pain and would shoulder it if only he could.

Neil’s sorrow centered on knowing that two human lives were on the line because of his own screw-up. The downside to perfect recall was that he would never be able to forget his failure that day when he’d first been trusted out on his own as a fairly new vampire, delivering packages for the faction’s delivery service. He still had the occasional nightmare, reliving it…

The click of a door opening, and a light bark accompanied by the sound of footsteps, alerted Neil to a dog on the landing above him, heading down to be walked. This would be a little trickier than the incident this morning, since they’d be crossing paths in a narrow passageway, but he had his head in the right space now. He could deal with this.

He straightened confidently and slapped on a friendly smile. The dog came into view first, and Neil stutter-stepped, then froze when the man walking the Boston terrier—Hobbs was the dog’s name—came into view.

Hobbs whimpered but at least he didn’t try to dash in the opposite direction. Not that trying to bury himself in Cameron Ferguson’s shoes was much better. What the hell was his ex doing in this building? Cam ground to a halt and stared with his mouth hanging open.

Which was Neil’s own damned fault for freezing and looking guilty, because the changes to his appearance had surprised even himself for the first few days, any time he’d caught sight of his reflection in a mirror. It would not have jumped out at Cam if Neil had managed to keep his cool.

“Oh, my God. Phillip? I heard you died.”

Cam moved as if to embrace him, and Neil finally—fucking finally—broke out of his trance for damage control.

So yeah, it had been Neil’s mistake. If he’d kept his cool, given a disinterested nod or “how’s it goin’?” then Cam wouldn’t have taken a second look in his direction.

“Okay,” Neil whispered, since Albert seemed to be waiting for some sign that he had his emotions under control.

Albert tipped up Neil’s chin for a brief, gentle kiss that spoke more of his love for Neil than words could have done. Albert’s finger traced Neil’s jawline, while his eyes begged for understanding. Then he opened the door, and they stepped into the apartment.

The room, like the hall and stairs leading to it, was unlike most of the vampire-owned apartment buildings. At least, it was unlike the ones Neil had visited. This building was a loft conversion that had once been something else—a small warehouse or office building perhaps. The point that stood out to Neil was the highly polished concrete floor. The better to easily clean up DNA should the need arise?

Cameron and Dennis sat peacefully on steel stools in the otherwise-unfurnished vestibule. Doorways to the living areas were closed. If Neil were to guess, he’d say those doors contained heavy-duty soundproofing—a buffer between the apartment’s entryway and the outside walls and windows.

Cameron looked much the same as Neil remembered him. His dirty blond hair was subtly highlighted and cut short. Dennis had thick, straight, light brown hair, longer than Cameron’s, especially on top. Both pairs of brown eyes stared obliviously.

Four others stood waiting. Two men and two women. Vampires, obviously, although Neil wouldn’t have guessed that by their appearances, only by the fact they were there.

Albert quickly made the introductions. April and Lester had been on the street following them and communicating with Albert. Vinny and Bridget lived here.

“They’re prepped?” Albert asked.

Vinny nodded.

Albert glanced at Neil. “We have a tendency to inadvertently, and quite literally, scare the piss out of people, so it makes sense to have them ‘go’ while still under the influence.”

Neil winced. That did seem like a wise move, though, whether it was so the two could walk away inconspicuously or to minimize potential DNA on the scene.

 


Read THE RECRUIT #1 first to fully understand and appreciate #2.

the recruit blurb

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About the Author

ea1ae-file2bjul2b19252c2b112b032b032bamAddison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a smidgen of drama/angst, and a healthy dose of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

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Release blitz and #giveaway: Trusting Jack by Ruby Moone

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 45,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Blurb

With only a few days to go until Christmas, Michael Cross has to admit there is something amiss about his latest employee, Jack Whelan. Quiet, jumpy, thin… he never seems to eat. He is also incredibly gorgeous with dark spiky hair that Michael aches to touch. But as his boss, Jack is off limits. And when it comes to relationships, he…well, he sucks.

Jack Whelan is at the end of his tether. He’s living rough in the middle of winter, and paying off a massive debt, so getting a job with MC Securities is a lifeline. His new boss is also the hottest guy ever. Geeky, broody, and scarily clever.

When Michael stumbles upon the reality of Jack’s life, he offers to help. But as Michael’s feelings deepen, and Jack’s terrible past catches up with him, Michael has to decide between believing in the awful truth that is staring him in the face, or trusting Jack.

My name is Ruby Moone and I love books. All kinds of books. My weakness is for romance, and that can be any kind, but I am particularly fond of historical and paranormal. I decided to write gay romance after reading some fantastic books and falling in love with the genre, so am really thrilled to have my work published here. The day job takes up a lot of my time, but every other spare moment finds me writing or reading. I live in the north west of England with my husband who thinks that I live in two worlds. The real world and in the world in my head…he probably has a point!

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