Cover reveal: Blood Bathory: Like the night by Ari McKay


Cover Design: Lou Harper @ Cover Affairs
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Length: 123,737 words

You can run…

After losing his younger sister to cancer, fashion photographer Evan St. John tries to outrun his pain, leaving New York for the excitement of Paris. His talent and striking good looks bring him to the attention of Elizabeth Nadasdy, the elegant and powerful owner of House of Nadasdy. Evan is thrilled at the opportunity to work for such a prestigious designer, but he soon discovers Elizabeth wants more than his talent. Beneath the beautiful mask she presents to the world lurks the evil of a vampire whose lust for beauty is surpassed only by her thirst for blood.

Evan’s life is shattered when Elizabeth turns him into one of her “children.” Unable to bear what he has become, he flees to New York to find his best friend, police officer Will Trask. The one person who might be able to help him.

But you can’t hide…

Together, Evan and Will find themselves drawn deeper into a strange world they never knew existed. Standing against the vampires are the theriomorphs, shapeshifters who serve as the guardians of Gaia, the embodiment of all life on earth. Though sworn to eradicate every vampire, Marielle Du Lac, the leader of the theriomorphs, offers them a bargain. If they help bring down Elizabeth, her people will try to find a way to restore Evan to life.

Caught up in an ancient war between two powerful supernatural forces, Evan and Will must choose sides, because if they are to have any chance of a future together, they must destroy Elizabeth Nadasdy before she destroys them.

About The Authors

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.


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Release blitz and #giveaway: Would It Be Okay to Love You? Box set by Amy Tasukada


Length: 287 pages

A robot fanboy. An erotic voice actor. Will their secrets overwhelm their love?

Sato doesn’t get out much. The anime company accountant spends his days at a desk and his nights working on his own small-scale robots. His geeky life is like a dream, but it has just one piece missing…

The world only knows outgoing playboy Aoi for his moans. The budding voice actor has sworn off relationships since they’ll only distract him from his budding voice acting career. That was until he met Sato.

As Aoi’s popularity rises and secrets about his past begin to reveal themselves, can the accountant and the voice actor rise above their problems to create something real?


After a few more minutes of searching, Sato found two model kits worthy of assembling. He liked one figure more, but the other would be more challenging. After all, he couldn’t spend his entire New Year’s vacation watching anime like last year.

“It’s really hard to pick one sometimes, isn’t it?” Sato said.

“I guess so,” the teenager said.

Sato bit his lip. Usually he wouldn’t hold a conversation with random strangers, but the teen clearly loved Gundam as much as he did. Why else would he linger as much as he had?

The teenager lifted his sunglasses and perched them on his black beanie. Blond hair peeked out from under the hat. He smiled at Sato, showing the dimples on his cheeks.

“They let you dye your hair in school now?” Sato blurted out without thinking. “A friend of mine got in trouble when he lightened his to brown.”

“I’m twenty-five.”

“Oh, please excuse me, I didn’t mean…” Sato bit his lip.

“Is it because I’m short?” The dimples disappeared, and a mischievous glint appeared in the man’s green eyes. “Maybe you’re just really tall.”


“Don’t worry so much. I once bought my friend a pack of cigarettes and a cop popped out of nowhere and said I was too young to use the vending machine. He went into this big lecture, then I showed him my ID and he thought it was a fake! He threatened to call my parents and everything.”

Sato gave a weary smile and rubbed the back of his neck. Knowing the blond was close to his own age zapped away what little social courage he possessed.

The man’s gaze met Sato’s, then wandered down his body without shame. Sato’s face grew hot, and his heart thumped in his ears.

“So is everything else about you as big?” he asked.


The guy was actually flirting with him? Sato’s technique consisted of vaguely making eye contact and hoping the other person realized he was into him. The way the blond’s crooked smile spread across his face didn’t make Sato’s heart beat any quieter.

In the accounting department, the most out-there anyone got was wearing a khaki suit. Sato had never even talked to anyone bold enough to wear colored contacts and dye their hair so drastically. He pushed up his glasses but couldn’t squeak out a reply.

“So which one did you decide on getting?” the blond asked.

Sato swallowed. The man still wanted to hold a conversation with him?

“I think this one.” Sato picked a five-hour do-it-yourself kit. It would take him three if he was lucky.

“Nice choice.”

Sato rubbed his sweaty palms against his coat. “I—ah—which one are you getting?”

“Oh, these.”

He held up a few manga graphic novels. The cover of one had a man clinging onto another man, his private parts covered by a conveniently placed bedsheet. They were boys’ love novels. Sato’s tongue twisted into a Windsor knot like his tie.

If the guy was reading them, then he surely had to be gay, or at least bi. Though the fact he’d flirted with Sato had to be the biggest giveaway.

Sato’s breath caught in his throat even thinking of buying a gay manga himself.

Sure he’d dated people who were out before. There’d been that upperclassman in high school, but that had only lasted three days. His college boyfriend had lasted longer. They’d been in the same trigonometry class and had even studied together. Then he’d stopped taking Sato’s calls after the final exam. Sato tugged at his tie. He couldn’t really count those as meaningful relationships.

The man stared at Sato.

“So you’re not getting a kit?” Sato asked.

“I ducked here to hide from them.” The blond pointed to the door where the group of women walked out.

“All of them?”

He laughed. “What can I say?”


Author Bio
Amy Tasukada lives in North Texas with a calico cat called O’Hara. 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. She can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.


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Release blitz and #giveaway: Art by Adonis by Kris Sawyer


Book Title: Art by Adonis
Author: Kris Sawyer
Publisher: Self-published
Cover Artist: Sidney Lowell
Genre/s: Gay Romance, Contemporary
Length: 45000 words approx/ 210 pages

It is a standalone story.


When a man takes an unexpected turn and ends up where he isn’t supposed to be, his fate will bring him back to his own path. But when it happens to two people at the same time, their fates will interlink and their paths ultimately entwine.

Aidan Ross, artist extraordinaire meets Rick Mahoney when the man comes for an interview, except he is at the wrong one. Aidan wants him to be the inspiration for his next paintings so badly that he makes a tempting offer. But soon he realizes that he has a decision to make. Aidan can’t be certain whether it’s only the artist in him who is allured by Rick’s charming looks or if there is more than that.

When an unexpected job proposal is made, Rick has his own concerns, the main one being the fact he is in a wheelchair. Why would a renowned artist like Adonis want to paint him? But he is in dire need of a job and he finds it hard to say no to a handsome man like Aidan Ross.

Art by Adonis is a journey of two men, imperfect in their own way yet so perfect for each other.

Buy Links – Available on KU

Amazon US
Amazon UK


The models came and went. They auditioned, shared their portfolios and answered some of the questions Aidan asked. Some did impress him quite a lot, but somewhere his mind still compared them with the guy he’d bumped into earlier leaving him inexplicably with utter disappointment.

When the last guy had left, he watched as Kim’s head appeared through the half-open door. Kimberly Hobbs had worked for him for the past two years as his personal secretary. Ever since the beginning, they had bonded so well Kim knew exactly what Aidan wanted and it almost always got done before he could even tell her. She was in her mid-thirties and a mother of two, but she looked younger than his twenty seven years. Her blood red lipstick and brown hair tied up in a tight bun was the usual signature style she flaunted every single day.

“Do you know a Mr. Pattinson? I never saw him in any of your appointments, so I thought I’d ask.”

“Pattinson?” Aidan racked his brain to put any familiar face to that name but nothing came up. “No, why?”

“There’s a guy here. He says his name is Rick Mahoney and that Mr. Pattinson sent him for the interview.”

Aidan had no clue who Rick Mahoney was or a Mr. Pattinson for that matter. None of the names rang any bells. He made a hand gesture signaling Kim to let him in. “I might as well meet him and see if I can remember anything.” He told her and waited.

Kim moved aside and held the door open for Rick. “Mr. Mahoney, my boss will see you now.”

A familiar face came into view as Rick entered, wheeling his chair inside the room and Kim closed the door to give them some privacy. Aidan couldn’t help the grin that appeared on his face. Of course, he’d recognized this man. Not because he knew who Mr. Pattinson was – but Rick was the same guy he’d met earlier that day. “Hey, you’re the guy on the wrong floor.” He said it as a matter of fact. “Didn’t think we’d meet again so soon.” It was a pleasant surprise.

Rick seemed surprised too and a bit intimidated. “I’m sorry, Mr. Gilbert. I didn’t realize it was you who I ran into earlier.”

“Gilbert?” Aidan laughed. “I’m not Mr Gilbert. My name’s Aidan Ross and I’m an artist. I was interviewing male models here for my next set of paintings. I’m guessing you are here for that too?”

“No, no, no…” The color had drained from Rick’s face. “I’m not a model. I think I must have come to the wrong interview.” Aidan tried to concentrate on the words as Rick rambled on but his nervousness amused him more. He’s so cute. “Mr. Pattinson is the hotel manager and I came here for the bookkeeper’s job at the hotel. He told me I’d be interviewed by Mr. Gilbert on the tenth floor. I came here looking for him and I saw this lady talking to one guy about his interview. I assumed she was talking about Mr. Gilbert’s interview, so I asked and she brought me here to see you.” Ha! What are the odds? “I’m really sorry for the confusion, Mr. Ross. I didn’t mean to bother you.”

Aidan waved his hand dismissively and smiled. “No bother at all!”

Rick shook his head, refusing to look Aidan in the eye. “I’m sure you’ve loads of errands to run. I’ll get out of your way.”

“Hey, wait!” Aidan called out as Rick was about to turn, the suddenness astounded him. Aidan chuckled. “Don’t you think it’s amazing?”


“That we meet again so soon.” Aidan replied with the excitement he felt within him. “I mean I’ve wanted to see you again so badly. I knew it was totally impossible for us to run into each other again. And yet, here you are. I still can’t believe it!”

Rick furrowed his brows. “Why did you want to see me again?” He asked.

“Because I like you.” He said without any hesitation.


“Yes, I love the way you look. You are a specimen of male beauty in its rarest form.” Aidan grinned.

Rick’s face flushed. “That’s enough.”

“Look, I’m an artist and I don’t want to see such beauty going unnoticed. I want to paint you. I want to put you on my canvas and show it to the world.” He realized he was leaning over the desk too much and sat up straightening the slim tie he wore. “So will you let me? Draw you?”

About the Author

Kris Sawyer is the pseudonym of Sid Love, who has written several books in the M/M Romance genre but with the Alpha’s Warlock series, he intends to introduce a new world of supernatural beings that will intrigue the readers.

Sawyer grew up in one of busiest cities in the world, Mumbai, listening to the excerpts of Indian epics from his father every night. He is a Potter-head and loves a good mystery in the books he reads.

Alpha’s Warlock is Sawyer’s dream project that he’s been working on forever!

Social Media Links



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Release blitz and #giveaway: Fox and Birch (Rowan Harbor Cycle 3) by Sam Burns


Length: 48,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Melanie Harlow @ Clause & Effect
The Rowan Harbor Series
Book #1 – Blackbird In The Reeds –
Book #2 – Wolf And The Holly –

Fletcher Lane wants to protect people. It was why he became a deputy. A month ago, it was why he killed a vampire who kidnapped one of his friends. Now, that death has started a cascade effect that’s tearing his life apart, leaving him possessed by magic that whispers to him in ancient Gothic.

While he’s already fighting for control of his own mind, he has to hold it together when strangers come into town looking for the dead vampire. They say they’re bounty hunters, but Fletcher knows that’s a lie. They’re the same kind of murderers who killed Fletcher’s mother. When one of them puts up a kind front, Fletcher knows that people who hunt the supernatural can’t be trusted. However nice Conner Mason seems, the worst thing Fletcher could do is fall for his act.

This is the third of nine books in The Rowan Harbor Cycle, not a standalone. It continues where the second book left off. Fletcher and Conner will return in book six to continue their story, so this book contains a HFN, not their HEA.


The book was whispering again.

It wasn’t exactly a book anymore, since its pages and binding had been consumed in the fire and the only remnant of it was in his head. But Fletcher didn’t have another word for it than “book,” so that was what he was calling it to himself. Out loud, he tried to talk about it as little as possible.

He hadn’t learned Gothic, and he wasn’t going to, especially not in order to understand the things whispered in his brain by an evil, magic book. Tristan Hunter had assured him that the book hadn’t been evil, just the grimoire of a power-hungry witch who had died hundreds of years ago. Fletcher was hard pressed to see the difference.

The pursuit of power rarely ended well. To see that, a person only had to look at what had happened with the book in the last twenty-five years. They didn’t know how many people Hector MacKenzie had killed in his desperation, but it was at least two, with another planned.

And Fletcher had killed a man over it too, which was how he’d ended up in the position of being driven crazy by a dead witch whispering Gothic straight into his brain.

“Shut up,” he mumbled to it, as though that ever had any effect. The damned thing just kept rambling, like it didn’t understand him any better than he understood it. It probably didn’t. When it whispered to him at the station, it was all he could do to refrain from banging his head against the nearest filing cabinet.

He was sitting at his desk, trying to catch up with the massive backlog of paperwork he’d accumulated over the previous month. With his partner on medical leave for more than half of December, he’d fallen so far behind on everything he wasn’t sure it was possible to catch up. Every time he had a chance, the voice would start again, like a monologuing movie villain.

He had only told Devon, Jesse, and Isla about the whispering, but even to them, he’d downplayed how bad it was. How sometimes it drowned out actual conversations he was trying to have. How sometimes it chanted in a way that sounded like magic to him, and he felt things in his body shifting unnaturally. He shuddered.

About The Author

Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.

If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.


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Audio blitz and #giveaway: Leaning Into the Fall by Lane Hayes

Title:  Leaning Into the Fall
Series: Leaning Into Stories, #2
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Self-Published
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Bisexual, humor, San Francisco, May to December romance

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Nick Jorgensen is a quirky genius. He’s made a fortune in the competitive high tech field with his quick mind and attention to detail. He believes in hard work and trusting his gut. And he believes in karma. It’s the only thing that makes sense. People are difficult, but numbers never lie. In the disastrous wake of a broken engagement to an investor’s daughter, Nick is more certain than ever he isn’t relationship material.

Wes Conrad owns a thriving winery in Napa Valley. The relaxed atmosphere is a welcome departure from his former career as a high-rolling businessman. Wes’s laid-back nature is laced with a fierceness that appeals to Nick. In spite of his best intention to steer clear of complications, Nick can’t fight his growing attraction to the sexy older man who seems to understand him. Even the broken parts he doesn’t get himself. However, when Wes’s past collides with Nick’s present, both men will have to have to decide if they’re ready to lean into the ultimate fall.

Listen to an audio excerpt & purchase at Audible

 Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Meet the Narrator

Nick is an award winning narrator with a fan following for his work in fiction, specifically in the romance genre. His performances in two of Amy Lane’s books, Beneath the Stain and Christmas Kitsch, made him the recipient of Sinfully M/M Book Review’s Narrator of the Year – 2015. When he’s not in the booth, Nick enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessica, and kids, (aka their beagle Frank and cat Stella), drumming in his cover band, exploring rural back roads with his wife on his motorcycle, or being enthralled in a tabletop role playing game with his friends. 


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Release blitz and #giveaway: Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack

Title:  Take Your Medicine
Author: Hannah Carmack
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: March 5, 2018
Heat Level: 1 – No Sex
Pairing: Female/Female
Length: 24400
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, LGBT, YA, chronic illness, coming out, lesbian

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Alice “Al” Liddell is from Echola, Alabama. She leads the life of a normal teen until the day she’s diagnosed with vasovagal syncope – a fainting disorder which causes her to lose consciousness whenever she feels emotions too strongly.

Her mother, the “Queen of Hearts,” is the best cardiothoracic surgeon this side of the Mason-Dixon Line and a bit of a local hero. Yet, even with all her skill she is unable to cure her daughter of her ailment, leading Al into the world of backwater witchcraft.

Along the way she meets a wacky cast of characters and learns to accept her new normal.

Take Your Medicine is a southern gothic retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


Take Your Medicine
Hannah Carmack © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Golden Afternoons
I got sick the summer of 2010. At first, it was slow. A little fatigue here, a little light-headedness there, but by the time the scorching heat of July settled in over the little town of Echola, Alabama, I was having one or two fainting spells a day. My mother, bless her heart, was always trying to cure what ailed me, though it never quite worked. She was the best cardiothoracic surgeon this side of the Mason-Dixon Line. She was known for the occasional sarcastic quip, wearing braids down to her belly, and a nearly unscathed OR record. They called her the Queen of Hearts.

But, no matter how sick I got, my mother always expected me outside right at seven o’clock, ready to tend the garden. The day I met the witches was no different. We were up and outside a good five minutes early, trying to beat the already record-breaking heat. Barely past six a.m. and we were already pushing ninety. I joined her in the rose bushes, pruning and picking as we talked about our plans for the day.

“And I want you to go over The Odyssey one more time. I don’t feel you got the Cyclops as well as you should have.” Ma was sweating more than a tall glass of tea as she worked those beds.

“I think I got it just fine,” I answered her. “I just didn’t like it.” I worked my dark hands deep into the soil and pulled out an overgrown dandelion. It seemed like no matter how many I plucked, five would grow back in its place by the next morning.

Ma turned to me, her brow finely arched and her lips spread in a smirk. “Give it another read. You’ll appreciate it more the second time ‘round.”

“Why don’t I just read Midsummer again?” I asked, sheepishly avoiding her gaze as I busied myself in the roses. “I mean, it is midsummer.”

“Because you’ve already read that one five times.”

“So?” I kept my expression genial, not wanting to risk my mother thinking I was taking a tone with her.

“It’s important you expand your library.”

“That’s it?” I raised my gloved hands to the sky and pretended to plead with a higher power in hopes of a better reading assignment.

“Well then, fine.” She let out a low hmph and brushed the dirt from her hands. “Let’s just say it’s because I told you to, Al.”

“You’ve always said that’s a lazy reason to give.”

My mother rolled her eyes to the clouds in the sky. “Lord help me.” She huffed. “Fine, don’t read it. When your teachers give you trouble, don’t you come cryin’ to me, ’cause I did all I could to help you.”

Anything sounded better than suffering through Homer again. “Just twenty pages or so then?”

“Twenty.” My mother tsk’d. “Arright, arright. Twenty it is, but don’t go runnin’ off today. We’ve got a lot of work to do when I get home. Your auntie is droppin’ in this weekend and I want the place sparklin’, foyer to the chimney. Collect some of the collard greens from the vegetable patch today, would ya? I’m thinkin’ we’ll make a casserole.”

I assured her I understood and then turned back to uprooting an especially stubborn creeping vine. She’d just brought over a big old tin water can when a little compact car drove up on our gravel drive.

“Guess that’s me.” My mother turned her attention to Jackson. He was a tall man who always looked just a little too big for his ride. He usually struggled to get out of the car in time to get Ma’s door for her. “I’ll be home ‘round supper.”

I wiped my palms on my pants before wrapping her into a hug. The smell of her morning coffee still clung to her blouse.

“And don’t forget to water out back,” she called to me as they were pulling off. “Those river birches need it!”

The car backed out of the driveway, and I waved to them as they left. As soon as she was gone, I tightened my headwrap and turned to my watering duties. I tended to each bush with care and pulled a few stray weeds along the way. Kudzu was coming closer and closer to our little haven, and even if gardening was more Ma’s hobby than mine, I didn’t want to risk losing all our hard work to that tangled-vine devil. After finishing the roses, I went back inside to cool off in front of the fan. I sat there for a little while and let the breeze hit my face.

I still had the back bushes to do, but I decided to treat myself to a couple of speckled eggs and toast before hiking it all the way back to the orchard. If Ma had been there to ask, I’d say I wanted a break from the sun so I wouldn’t burn to a crisp before noon. But on the inside, I knew I was only eating because I wanted to have a full stomach and energy to burn. There was something I loved about that thick brush. The hum of cicadas and june bugs, the lush green forestry, and the shade from the hundred-year-old oaks. I’d go to water the trees, but I’d stay for a chance to roam the land. Times where I could just wander were few and far between since I’d gotten sick. The chance of being out in the woods and having a bad fainting spell was too risky. You could end up seizing if you didn’t fall just right. Luckily, the orchard wasn’t too far, but getting there was always a trip that you had to respect. It was dangerous terrain. Since the spells started, Ma hadn’t wanted me going that far out, but this was day four in a streak of no fainting attacks. She must have had some kind of hope, or she would have told me to wait for her to come home so we could go water them together.

The last trip I took to the river birch, I snuck out our camera to take pictures of the flora and fauna. Between the most beautiful flowers you could find the deadliest of things. Last week, it was a rattler perched in a patch of lilies.

Before leaving, I skimmed through The Odyssey. I know Ma said I didn’t have to keep reading it, but her words got me wondering. Of course, she’d been right. I did appreciate the cyclopes more this time. Ma was always right. It drove me a little crazy but made for some sound advice.

After finishing my reading for the day, I descended, a bulk of water canteens slung around my arms. Eight jugs for the trees. One for me. The path to the orchard was long, twisty, and confusing if you didn’t know the property. But, we’d been living there our whole lives. Same as my mama’s ma, and her ma before her. For me, it was nothing. This was the air I grew up breathing. The trees I grew up climbing. The tilted rocks that I scraped my knees on and the river I’d caught my first crawdaddy in. So for me, this Southern jungle was nothing.


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Meet the Author

Hannah Carmack is a writer and spends most of her time connecting reluctant readers and bookworms alike to the world of literature and science. Although living with an auto-immune disease is difficult, she finds power in using her writing as a way to convey the world that people with disabilities live in to people who may not fully comprehend it.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


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Release blitz and #giveaway: Room for Recovery (Hearts&Health #4) by DJ Jamison


Length: 77,000 words approx.
Hearts & Health Series
Volume 1 Books 1-3 – Universal Buy Link

Beau James isn’t out, but he’s not fooling anyone. When he’s cornered by two bullies, he’s rescued by none other than the broody Wade Ritter, who he’s crushed on from afar. Despite their family connection, Wade has resisted all of Beau’s attempts at friendship — until now. His protective streak gives Beau an opportunity to get past Wade’s prickly exterior.

Wade considers Beau to be a quasi-cousin. He’s been careful to keep Beau in that box because he is too tempting to a gay boy determined to remain in the closet after his coming out went all wrong. But when Wade sees bullies harassing Beau, he offers to help. Little does he know this small crack in the walls around his heart is the opening Beau needs to move in and change Wade’s life.

After years off the rails, Wade realizes there’s room for recovery. If he can face hard truths about his sexuality and love himself, he might be able to love Beau too.

Room for Recovery is part of the Hearts and Health series. It contains cameo appearances by other characters in the series, but it can be read as a standalone.


Beau James was trashed. Eyes glazed, words slurred, inhibitions gone, full-on trashed.

He balanced on the orange-and-brown plaid couch in Barry Gleason’s basement, a cup of beer sloshing in one hand as he tried to dance to rap blaring through Barry’s speakers. Tried to dance, as in, couldn’t dance to save his life. It was painful to watch — Beau thrust his slender hips completely off-beat — but it was also hard to look away.

It was hot in the small room with so many bodies crowding in, and Beau’s curly hair was frizzing into a halo around his flushed face. A halo for the angel, Wade thought sarcastically. A sheen of sweat made Beau look as if he were glowing. Or maybe that was the huge smile on his face, beaming his care-free, drunken joy to everyone in the room.

Even Wade wasn’t immune.

That smile did squirrely things to Wade’s insides. It always had, which was why he worked so hard to make that smile disappear when they were together.

He’d known Beau was gay from the moment they met three years before. With puppy dog eyes full of adoration, Beau’s crush on Wade hadn’t been subtle. Wade tried to keep his distance — because annoying or not, Beau was cute — but that was easier said than done when their families were intertwined. Wade saw Beau for Sunday dinners with the James family, for Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthdays in between.

And now, as the drunken star of Barry Gleason’s party.

Barry’s parents let kids drink, so long as none of them drove, so his house was the go-to party spot. Wade didn’t often come to these parties, but Anna had dragged him out and promptly disappeared to gossip with her friends on the cheerleading squad. He tried not to feel too relieved about that. He wasn’t in the mood to have an armful of girlfriend.

Glancing around, he noticed a couple of guys holding up phones, taking pictures or videos. Beau was going to be embarrassed come Monday morning.

“Take it off,” someone called.

“Strip show!”

Beau laughed and fluttered his eyelashes. “I don’t get naked with a guy before the second date!”

“Knew he was gay,” Jeremy Krantz said. “Fucking gross.”

Wade was afraid things might get ugly if Beau didn’t get home soon. He had perfected the art of avoiding Beau, so he searched the room for someone who might know him. Beau mostly hung with the same two friends. Wade scanned the room and spotted Beau’s friend, Nathan something, near the television, where a video game was under way.

Nathan was tall, with dark, messy hair and skinny as a skeleton. Wade mostly remembered because of his height-to-weight ratio. Taller even than Wade, he towered over Beau when they stood side-by-side. Usually a cute, freckled blond girl stood between them, but he didn’t see her.

Nathan held a game controller, and Wade realized he was one of the players. Two others were seated in gamer chairs low to the ground.

“Dude!” a familiar voice said. “I didn’t know you could do that!”

Wade wasn’t surprised to see Shane tucked away in the gamer’s corner. His best friend was addicted to video games. He was more surprised to see Anna in the other chair, fumbling with a remote.

“How do you fire? I forgot which button to hit.”

Shane leaned over and nudged her index finger onto the A button. His hand lingered on hers a fraction longer than necessary, and Wade narrowed his eyes. Was his best friend trying to make a move on his girlfriend?

He wasn’t jealous, exactly. He’d been relieved not to have Anna all over him tonight. It was more the principle of the matter. He shelved his irritation for the moment and turned to Beau’s friend.

“Hey, man, uh … you hang with Beau, right? You’re Nathan?”

The guy was focused on the game, and it took him a minute to respond.

“I go by Nate.” He spared a look at Wade, then did a double-take. “Why?”

There was a hint of suspicion to his voice that made Wade wonder what Beau had said about him.

“Uh, well, Beau’s pretty smashed.”

Nathan hit the pause button, and Anna protested loudly, before she noticed Wade standing there. She smiled brightly and jumped up.

“Hey, you. I thought I’d lost you to a love affair with the wall.”

Wade rolled his eyes. She thought she was funny. She was, which was part of her appeal. If only the rest of her appealed to him. Try as he might, he couldn’t get excited about the thought of the make-out session they’d have before he dropped her off at home later.

“Beau’s wasted?” Nate said, sounding incredulous. He turned, taking in the room, and his eyes popped wide. “Holy crap!”

He rushed off, and Wade watched him intercept a guy trying to hand Beau yet another beer. There was laughter and boo’s as Nate coaxed Beau off the sofa and led him toward the door. Wade couldn’t hear their words, but he could tell Nate was pissed as he flipped off someone and pulled a stumbling Beau out the door.

Disaster averted.

Anna wrapped a hand around his bicep and leaned close. “I’m done playing games. You want to get out of here?”

Wade cut a glance to Shane, who stared at the television, despite the game still sitting on pause. He seemed to be avoiding watching them together, and Wade felt a fleeting sense of guilt. He knew, even before he saw them together tonight, that Shane was into Anna. But Shane had the hots for everyone. Wade didn’t take it seriously. Now, he wondered.

“You want to come out for a burger, Shane?” he asked.

“I can’t drive,” Shane said. “I drank too much.”

“I’ll drive. We can get your car tomorrow.”

“Okay.” Shane unfolded himself from the chair. “If you’re sure I’m not going to be in the way?”

“Come with us,” Anna said easily enough, which was another reason Wade liked her. She was easy-going and genuinely a nice person. “It’ll be fun. Wade’s pretty to look at, but he’s not much of a conversationalist.”

“Fuck you say?” Wade said, though he wasn’t really offended. When she looked as if she was about to apologize, he added, “I’m not pretty.”

Anna and Shane busted up laughing, and Wade headed for the door.

Before they got in the car, Shane pulled him aside. “You’re sure I’m not a third wheel? You could just take me home.”

“Would you stop? I’m pretty sure we both like you enough to hang out for a burger before we tear off our clothes.”

Shane rolled his eyes. “Thanks so much for your patience.”

“No problem. What are friends for?” Wade joked.

But for all their playful banter, Wade was beginning to think that if there was a third wheel in their little trio, it might actually be him.

About The Author

DJ Jamison worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years, which helped tremendously when she began her series centered on The Ashe Sentinel, a fictional small-town newspaper in Kansas. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, two sons and three glow-in-the-dark fish.

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