Tag Archives: LGBTQ Novel

First Born Sons by Vincent Traughber Meis Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A group of Coastal Californians faces racism, wildfires, and their own demons in author Vincent Traughber Meis’s “First Born Sons”.

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The Synopsis

A group of coastal Californians battle wildfires, racism, and their own demons in five distinct narratives set in late 2019 and 2020.

First Born Sons is populated by a cast of LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies who struggle to find love, comfort, and fulfillment. As the novel progresses, characters interact across the separate narratives and are brought together for a birthday and a disastrous Black Lives Matter demonstration. A man returning to the horrors that made him leave Mississippi, a blind gay man flirting with love, an FTM transgender starting hormone therapy, a woman struggling to protect her sons from her ex-husband’s surge to right-wing politics, and a teenager with two gay dads searching for his Black surrogate mom paint a disturbing tableau of modern-day America.

The Review

This was such a powerful, emotional, and relevant read. The author did an incredible job of layering this drama with rich and powerful character development, story-driven narratives that span the world, and themes that speak to the communities most impacted by the surge of violence and bigotry that is affecting our world right now. The author finds natural and relatable ways of infusing issues such as Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ rights, and so much more into the story, weaving together a narrative that feels heartfelt and evoked strong emotional responses from readers, from sadness and grief to outrage and hope all at once.

Yet it was the character growth that truly spoke to me as a reader. The relationships and personal turmoil that really affected these characters were really humanizing and allowed readers to feel seen and heard in this narrative. For me, it was the scenes involving Lamar, George, and Byron that really popped off the pages of this novel. From the shocking initial chapter introducing these characters to the cruel reality of police profiling and brutality to the strong emotional and physical relationship that develops between the two of them over time, and all of the prejudices that their pasts and present bring to their relationship felt so impactful to get lost in through this narrative.

The Verdict

Shocking, moving, and engaging, author Vincent Traughber Meis’s “First Born Sons” is a must-read drama. The brilliant character development and emotional themes that the author brings to life so beautifully will have readers unable to put this book down, and the blend of intimate moments and powerful societal studies that this book brings to life will have readers eager for more from this powerful author. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Vincent Meis grew up in Decatur, Illinois and graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans.

He has worked as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, publishing many academic articles in his field as well as articles about teaching ESL overseas. He has also traveled extensively in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Central and South American. He is fluent in Spanish. As result of his travels and time abroad he published a number of pieces, mostly travel articles, but also a few poems and book reviews, in publications such as, The Advocate, LA Weekly, In Style, and Our World in the 1980’s and 90’s. His travels have inspired four novels, all set at least partially in foreign countries: Eddie’s Desert Rose (2011), Tio Jorge (2012), and Down in Cuba (2013) and Deluge (2016). Tio Jorge received a Rainbow Award in the category of Bisexual Fiction in 2012. Down in Cuba received two Rainbow Awards in 2013. Deluge won a Rainbow Award in 2016. Recently his stories have been published in several collections, including WITH:New Gay Fiction, Best Gay Erotica Vol 1and Best Gay Erotica Vol 4. In December 2019, his fifth novel Four Calling Burds will be published. In 2021, he has published two books with NineStar Press, The Mayor of Oak Street, a novel, and Far from Home, a collection of short stories.

https://www.vincentmeis.com/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B6T5WWHK/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61680454-first-born-sons%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DsDwIiz2aFA%26rank%3D4&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Herald’s Call by Jaymie Wagner Excerpt & Giveaway (OWI Blog Tours)

Herald's Call - Jaymie Wagner

Jaymie Wagner has a new FFF urban fantasy out, Sing For Me book 3: Herald’s Call. And there’s a giveaway.

Woe to the wolf who dares to call

With unworthy hearts lest darkness fall

Dour note this horn will play

The hounds shall rise and wolves shall bay

Through the horn Herne shall command

By blood of the Hunt and a worthy hand!

It is said that long ago Herne, the god of the Hunt, could use his Horn to make wolves obey his commands. A legend that Amy Oakley, Alpha of the Howlers pack, learned as a child and stopped believing in long before her first change beneath the full moon.

After spending three years fighting for her lovers and packmates’ right to live among the werewolves of Londinium, all she wants is a chance to breathe, go back to running her pub, and never see the manipulative Marcel Charron again.

As an ancient prophecy begins to unfold, can Amy and the Howlers find the Horn of Herne and keep it out of Marcel’s hands, or will his web of schemes and plots spell doom for their pack and the rest of London’s werewolves?

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About the Series:

When Leah Corbyn was bitten on her mail route by a dog, she expected to go to the hospital for some stitches, a few days of medical leave, and for life to go on.

She had no idea that two weeks later she would become a werewolf under the full moon, or spend the next year trying to hide her ‘condition’, but after meeting and dating fellow werewolf Amy Oakley, it wasn’t long before she started to find an entire community in the shadows of London.

Surrounded by unexpected friends and dangerous enemies, Amy, Leah, and their packmate Amélie must fight to make a place for themselves, unaware that the conditions of an ancient prophecy are being met…


Giveaway

Jaymie is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

Herald's Call banner

Leah swallowed hard, and her voice was a hushed, raspy whisper. “Do you think…I mean…if my mum was a werewolf and she knew I wasn’t going to be. Could that be why she got rid of me?”

“Oh,” Amy breathed as she pulled Leah into a hug. “Oh, pup.”

“I mean…” Leah shook her head, tears starting to well in her eyes. “I never really knew anything. Where I came from. Why I was abandoned. Nobody even knows who gave me up. They just found me like a lost wallet!” She shuddered in Amy’s arms, tears running down her face.

“I finally learned something about where I came from and suddenly I wish I hadn’t!”

Abigail sat down slowly. “Leah,” she said in her most kind but firm doctor’s voice. “I can’t speak to why your parents made that decision. I wish I could. What I can tell you is that mitochondrial DNA takes a very long time to change from generation to generation, and the fact that you did not possess the full were sequences until you were turned suggests that it was a fairly distant ancestor. Five or six generations, easily.”

She waited for Leah to meet her eyes before she concluded: “Whatever their reasons, this was not one of them.”

Leah gave a sniff and dried her eyes with the back of her hand as she sat up. “That’s…that helps. Thanks, Abby.”

“Of course.” Abigail smiled at all of them before going back to the papers. “So – as I said, we don’t know as much, medically, as we would like about Turning. But this does suggest a few things to me. For one – it may explain part of why you survived the process, particularly with a diet that was…not terribly conducive to your new existence.”

That got a weak laugh out of Leah, and Amélie smiled with relief. If she could laugh…it was a good sign. “So – you think that explains my eyes, too?”

“It would seem so,” Abigail agreed with a nod. “I am not certain why it took so long to express, but my theory is that some of the latent werewolf traits you carry finally began to show through.”

Leah’s lips pulled into a slight frown. “Could that be part of why I’m a different sort of wolf than whoever turned me?”

Abigail nodded again. “Likely, yes.”

Amy reached up to lightly scratch at Leah’s scalp as she examined the different sets of results. “Does that explain Leah’s ear, too?”

Abigail shook her head and went back to the first chart. “The trait that affects the development of cartilage in the ear is an autosomal one. It most likely came from the were who bit you.”

Amélie looked down at the results again, and suddenly felt like she’d been given the last piece of a puzzle.

No one has been able to find the wolf who bit Leah…but they were assuming it was a were who lived in England.

Leah said the ‘dog’ who attacked her had a blonde and pale grey coat.

Marcel knew Leah was Turned.

Marcel knew Leah had no family.

Marcel knew where the Howl was.

Leah never spoke to Marcel at the trial, and Amy would not have told him anything about Leah or herself. If the records from Leah’s trial were sealed, there is no way he should have known any of the things he tried to use against us.

Marcel always said his ears drooped because of an old injury from a fight…but Marcel lied about almost everything.

Her chest felt tight as the facts began to add up.

Marcel…

Marcel is a liar.

Her mouth felt dry as she looked up. “Abigail?”

Everyone turned to look at her, and Amélie didn’t try to hide the dread and shock she felt.

“I know who Turned Leah.”


Author Bio

Herald's Call - Jaymie Wagner

Jaymie Wagner is a queer, trans, polyamorous author who lives in the Twin Cities with her cats and an alarming collection of tiny giant robots.

She has been published in several anthologies, short story collections, and posts her “Fractured Fantasies” twitter micro-stories where she explores different ideas and kinks.

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jaymie.wagner.98/

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/JaymieDWagner

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/JaymieDWagner

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21846389.Jaymie_Wagner

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/jaymie-wagner/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B09HF3P2ZC

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Guest Blog Post and Blog Tour Blast For Author M.D. Grimm’s “Sapphire: Home and Abroad” with OWI Blog Tours

Hi everyone! Thank you for joining me today. I hope you’ll give author M.D. Grimm a warm welcome as we hear some fantastic insight into the development of “Sapphire: Home and Abroad”.


Good day lovely readers! Thank you for joining me. I am M.D. Grimm and I am here to promote my newest release, “Sapphire: Home and Abroad.” This is the latest entry in The Stones of Power. I am overjoyed and relieved to finally release a new book in this series. After re-publishing back titles, I can now work on new projects. So, if you like magic, surly, anti-hero mages (wizards), and a fun setting with quirky supporting characters, this series might be for you!

So… Morgorth. He’s a difficult character, isn’t he? I don’t think I quite knew what I was getting into when I wrote the first book over ten years ago. I have an affinity for dark and/or damaged characters. Their journey and trials as they become better people is something I never grow tired of either writing or reading. One of the worst things in the world is for a writer to be bored with a character and/or a story. And when it comes to series, I strive to have a character(s) that needs to overcome something as they evolve over the course of several books. If I’m not interested in their journey, then why would anyone else be?

“Ruby: Lost and Found” was the third book I ever published. It presented Morgorth in a time of his life where he was bored with being a villain. He’d embraced the label after his peers, fellow mages, decided he simply had to be one because of his birthright: being the seventh son of a seventh son, which they determined meant he was to be the Destroyer of their world. It is said that we often create our own monsters, and in this case, it was true. Morgorth became what his peers already thought he was. However, when Aishe crashes into his life, the desire to be something different awakens within him. In my opinion, he becomes an anti-hero. Or, as he would say, a dark mage. He’s not out to wreak havoc on the world but he’s certainly not going to play by the rules, either.

My initial goal for this series was to challenge myself to write an anti-hero. I’m not quite sure if I succeeded or not, but I can’t argue with the result. Morgorth is wonderfully flawed, his struggles are real, and his desire to be worthy of his mate, Aishe, pushes him into uncomfortable situations and makes his choices harder. What I love most about Morgorth is his refusal to surrender. Despite the abuse he survived as a child, the hatred from most of his peers, and the struggle with his own internal demons, he continues to fight. The closest he came to defeat was in the previous book, “Lapis Lazuli: Forgotten and Remembered,” but even then, even without Aishe kicking his butt into gear, I don’t doubt that after a bit of time in self-pity, he’d roll up his sleeves and start fighting again. It’s one of the things I love most about him: he continues to get up every time he’s knocked down.

Due to the abuse from his father, Morgorth has always carried a deep-seated rage inside him. Unfortunately, it led him to unleashing his pain on innocents until he made a promise to his mentor that he would stop perpetuating the cycle of abuse. Morgorth has grown a lot from book one to book eight, but the core of him hasn’t changed. He still carries the rage, only now he channels it into protecting those he loves. He still has a darkness inside him, a thirst to hurt others, and yet again, he targets it at other villains and in defense. I find that the hardest balance to strike with such a complex character is letting them evolve without changing who they are at their deepest core. I didn’t want Morgorth to lose his edge. I didn’t want it to seem as if he simply flicked off his past trauma and that it no longer affected him. That is unrealistic and an insult to folks who live with trauma. However, he did find the tools and the support to work through his trauma and to use his rage for good instead of evil.

And how did he do that? By finding a mate who accepted all of him. With Aishe, he found the motivation and the reason to work on himself. That’s what I love most about their partnership—they make each other better and stronger. 

The Stones of Power 1-8 are available for purchase at Amazon (also in print!) and Smashwords. I have a newsletter that I send out monthly with all the goodies you can expect in the future. That’s the best way to find out about my current and future projects.

For fans of the Saga of the Bold People series, I just finished the first draft of “Resistance,” book 3. I hope to release it October 2022, so keep your eyes peeled for that! I am also booked (pun intended) solid this year, working on the next shifter book, the next Stones of Power book, a couple single titles, and the next On Wings Saga book. Wish me luck!

More information on my catalog can be found at my website.

I hope you stay safe and healthy, and may dragons guard your dreams,

M.D. Grimm

Sapphire: Home and Abroad

M.D. Grimm has a new MM fantasy book out, Stones of Power book 8: Sapphire: Home and Abroad.

The Dark Mage, Lord Morgorth, and Aishe of the Ravena Tribe, are to become bondmates.

Morgorth is equal parts nervous and excited. He wants to unite with Aishe in the sacred dialen ceremony, to proclaim their devotion to the world, to show everyone that Aishe is his equal and deserving of respect. After all they’ve survived together, why shouldn’t they make the cosmic promise before friends and family? But duty must often come before pleasure. When Morgorth’s estranged mentor, Master Ulezander, comes to him with a time-sensitive mission involving a major stone of power, Morgorth has little choice but to acquiesce.

Aishe knows his mate struggles with the revelation of his true destiny, after a lifetime of defining himself as the future Destroyer of Karishian. All he can do is reassure Morgorth that being the Savior is a far better fate for both of them. But as Morgorth and Aishe leap through worlds and dimensions in pursuit of a stone of power, more pieces to the puzzle of Morgorth’s destiny are revealed. And they form an image of sacrifice and tragedy.

The dark cloud of an ancient enemy looms ever closer, and the path to becoming the Savior might prove more monstrous than that of the Destroyer.

About the Series:

Lord Morgorth is a dark mage on the planet Karishian. His peers consider him a villain, but there is more to him than they choose to understand. Cursed by a dark destiny and tormented by painful memories of the past, Morgorth struggles to find his place in the world. Far from innocent, Morgorth has teetered between embracing his destiny and fighting against it his entire life. A decision that is made easier when Aishe comes into his life. Aishe is a creature of the forest, a warrior and healer. He has the moral compass that Morgorth needs, and Morgorth gives Aishe the companionship he craves. Together, they forge ahead, weathering the storms and fighting the enemies fate puts into their paths.

However, their greatest enemy is not a living being, but gemstones infused with deadly power. They are addictive, seductive, and completely treacherous. Morgorth hates them and is determined to find and imprison all of them. But he soon realizes they are keys to a greater power. He learns his destiny is not all he thought it was. And an even greater enemy stirs in the darkness. Enter the world of “The Stones of Power.”

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Excerpt

Sapphire Home and Abroad meme

Morgorth stepped forward and stretched out his arms. He murmured a series of words under his breath and an opaque pinprick of light appeared. I stepped a bit closer, fascinated. The pinprick grew into a swirling, pulsing liquid silver gateway. It was beautiful and ominous. It made no sound, and yet gave off pressure that I felt against my body, and the hair on my arms stood on end.

The few trees bordering the clearing creaked and groaned as they bent away from the portal. I didn’t hear anything—not birds or squirrels, not deer. Nothing was near us, and the poor, stationary trees were doing their best to also get away.

Morgorth fisted his hands and widened his stance, still muttering. His skin glowed, and I silently shifted to his side. His eyes were a burning amber, his expression set in stubborn determination and intense concentration. Sweat slid down his face. The portal pulsed a bit faster, the beat knocking against my ribs. What was he doing?

Then the silver gained a bluish color before darkening to mossy green. Morgorth grunted and lowered his hands, though his magick still glowed.

“Take my hand,” he said in a stiff, strained voice. “And hold on tight, to both me and your bow.”

I swallowed hard and took a deep breath. I clung to my bow as I took his outstretched hand and pressed to his side. His skin was hot to the touch but not burning.

“What can I expect?” I asked.

“Discomfort and weirdness,” he said with a hint of a smile. “Just don’t let go.”

“Never.”

Then Morgorth ran and yanked me with him. We dove into the portal without hesitation, and he was right about the discomfort and weirdness. It wasn’t the emptiness of teleportation nor the whiplash of magickal speed. Morgorth charged through the swirling green, dragging me along. The green slipped over my skin and hair like cold putty and tried to capture my feet in its murk. It seemed to last forever but I was certain it was only a moment or two. Then we were somewhere else.

I caught my breath and stumbled forward, still clinging to Morgorth. He didn’t let go either, his magick still at the surface. He took a cloudy crystal from one of the many pouches at his waist and bent to place it at the base of the portal.

This time, I heard his word of magick.

“Lelleknau.”

Words of magick were supposed to be nonsensical, something each mage created for themselves. It was personal, each new word linked to a spell and used for nothing else. It took both words and hand flourishes for a mage to cast a spell or secure an enchantment. It was different for magick healers like myself. It wasn’t so much magickhealers used, it was our life essence, gifting a part of ourselves to our patients. Give too much and it could kill us. The missing part of our essence would replenish over time, faster if we were happy and balanced.

To open a portal and redirect it was remarkably heavy magick, and my mate never ceased to leave me in awe of his abilities and his continual growth in both strength and intelligence.

“Will the crystal leave the portal open?” I asked.

He nodded. “Only on this side, though. We don’t want anyone or anything following us.”

“I doubt any of Vorgoroth’s creatures want to follow.”

Morgorth shrugged and straightened. “I don’t want to take the chance. And I wasn’t just thinking of my minions.”

He was thinking of our guests. Probably about Lyli.

I sighed. Yes, that girl was fearless and far too curious for her own good. And wherever Lyli went, Olyvre wouldn’t be far behind. Then Elissya would also come.

“This will also prevent any of the creatures here of getting inside. The crystal is also a shield.”

“Clever.”

“Draining,” he said with a sheepish grin. His magick settled into his core, causing his eyes and skin to lose their glow. “It won’t hold for long. In and out, no sightseeing.”

I snorted and glanced at our surroundings. “I don’t think that will be a problem.”

A thick, dense jungle surrounded us, and I was only now noticing the oppressive heat. My skin broke out in sweat and my clothes soon stuck to me in the most uncomfortable way. I exhaled sharply and let go of Morgorth to wipe at my brow.

“Aye, in and out, please.”

Morgorth grimaced as well and readjusted the bag.

“I hope you can track the bloody thing.”

“I don’t sense magick like on Karishian so it shouldn’t be a problem to open my third eye and spot the box. And if for some reason that doesn’t work, I can always try to meditate and find its aura and track it back to its location.”

“Wouldn’t the box shield the stone’s power?”

“Its power but not its signature. According to Melondia, the box doesn’t have enough layers to truly block it. Think about the layers of Geheimnis. A mage could use their third eye but not spot the stones I have in the tower because the barriers are too thick.”

I nodded, and he closed his eyes. This place did feel… empty. Magick was everywhere in Karishian, in the land, the water, in the creatures. In the sky and in the clouds, and in the sun. In the air itself. I didn’t like it here. I shuddered and fingered my bow. The familiar texture of the wood soothed me just enough to unclench my muscles.

I kept an eye on our surroundings as Morgorth once again called to his magick.


Author Bio

M.D. Grimm Logo

M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!).

After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier.

Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.

Author Website: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001710645622

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4574220.M_D_Grimm

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-grimm/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-grimm/

Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/M.D.-Grimm/e/B00I0KZMY6/

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Salad on the Side (Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat Book 1) by Karenna Croft Review 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A mutual attraction between two neighbors turns into a life-altering stroke of fate as a lifelong vegan finds himself part of a pack of werewolves in author Karenna Croft’s “Salad on the Side”, the first book in the Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat” series. 

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The Synopsis

Since moving to Boston, Kyle Slidell has met only a few of his neighbors, including Tobias Rogan. Kyle is very interested in Tobias and is ecstatic to learn that Tobias wants him to. But his neighbors have a secret: They’re werewolves, and Tobias is the pack Alpha. When one of the wolves attacks Kyle in the neighborhood garden one night, Kyle learns the truth in a hurry. Now he’s a werewolf too-and since he’s vegan, he refuses to eat meat. With Tobias’s help and love, Kyle must adjust to his new life and protect himself and his friends from a neighboring pack.

The Review

This was such a fun and compelling LGBTQ-driven supernatural romance. The fast pace of the narrative immediately thrusts readers into the action of this supernatural world. The classic werewolf lore comes into play quickly, taking great care to honor the legacy of the mythos while also delving deeper into the pack mentality that is often associated with werewolves. From the Alpha mythos and how they assert themselves as the head of the pack to the connection, wolves make with their “mates”, made this story is so fascinating to behold.

However, the character growth and LGBTQ themes were the driving force of the narrative. The headed, passionate, and adult romance scenes played out heavily, and fans of M/M romance will absolutely love the development of these two protagonists as they grow together and develop in their own ways. Tobias’s struggle to publicly accept his sexuality paired with Kyle’s struggle with accepting love itself really balanced out their journey together and the narrow line that werewolf culture brings to the question of LGBTQ romance as a whole was unique to see play out, being accepted by their human sides and yet viewed as some sort of “weakness” in the werewolf power/hierarchy. The author’s handling of that storyline was robust and really mirrored our own society’s struggles to normalize and accept love in all its forms.

The Verdict

Heated, engaging, and thrilling, author Karenna Croft’s “Salad on the Side” is the perfect first novel in the Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series and a brilliant LGBTQ-driven supernatural romance novel. The wit and humor the dialogue brings the two protagonists in their relationship and the balance of action and politics within the werewolf power system made this story so engaging. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Salad on the Side - Karenna Colcroft

Karenna Colcroft has a new MM paranormal romance out, Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat book 1: Salad on the Side. And there’s a giveaway!

Since moving to Boston, Kyle Slidell has met only a few of his neighbors, including Tobias Rogan. Kyle is very interested in Tobias, and is ecstatic to learn that Tobias wants him, too.

But his neighbors have a secret: They’re a werewolf pack, and Tobias is their Alpha. When one of the wolves attacks Kyle, he learns the truth in a hurry–and in the most painful way. Now he’s a werewolf too, and as a vegan is at war with his wolf aspect, who craves meat.

With Tobias’s help and love, Kyle must adjust to his new life. But can he protect the pack and his lover from a werewolf seeking revenge against Tobias?

Warnings: References to sexual assault.

This is a rerelease.

Get it On Amazon


Giveaway

Karenna is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

No! Oh, God, anything but this!

That was the first conscious thought I’d had since the wolf had bitten down. I didn’t know what it meant at first.

Then I opened my eyes. Nothing looked right. Everything around me appeared flat and muted. I definitely wasn’t in the garden anymore, but since I couldn’t see things properly, I couldn’t tell where I was. Inside, somewhere. Not my apartment. I was lying on a floor; that much I could tell.

When I tried to stand, my legs didn’t want to cooperate. Then I caught a glimpse of my foot.

It was covered in fur.

Shit. Wolf bite. Wolves didn’t live in Boston.

Maybe werewolves did. Even though as far as I knew those didn’t exist.

I tried to see my body. Fur, check. Pretty off-white color, or at least I would have thought it was pretty if it didn’t cover me. Snout protruding out far enough to see, check. Four paws with claws sticking out from the end of each… finger? Toe? Didn’t know what to call them. Check, anyway.

Shit.

At least my head moved the way I wanted it to. I glanced around, trying to gain some sense of place. This time, I spotted two humans crouching nearby. One of them was Tobias. Even as a wolf, I recognized the regret and sadness in his expression.

Tobias was there, and that meant he knew what had happened to me. My brain refused to go any farther than that.

The other human… After a second, I recognized her too. The hair color gave it away, perfectly matching the color of the fur on the wolf that bit me.

Fucking Melia. She eyed me with a contemptuous smirk which vanished quickly when Tobias glanced at her over his shoulder. He turned back to me, and Melia glowered. “He should be dead.”

“Fortunately for you, he isn’t,” Tobias snapped. “I thought you’d learned better control than this, Melia. Clearly I overestimated you.”

Melia bowed her head. “I’ll do better in the future. He could have died.”

As a wolf, tone of voice wasn’t quite as obvious to me as it was when I was human. But something in the way Melia spoke caught my attention. She meant what she’d said. I should have been dead, because that had been her intention. Maybe I was wrong, but the fury and contempt in her eyes confirmed it.

I snarled and tried to stand, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to get those four legs under me. Tobias raised his hands and took a couple steps toward me. “Kyle, easy,” he said softly. “We aren’t going to hurt you.”

“I didn’t mean for this to happen,” Melia said. “Tobias, I didn’t mean—”

“Shut up, Melia,” Tobias ordered without taking his eyes off me. “You’re here to see the results of your poor control, not to make apologies. I don’t think Kyle will accept your apology easily.”

I managed to move my head in something resembling a nod. Fuck if I’d ever forgive the bitch! It hadn’t been my fault I’d wandered into the path of a frigging werewolf. Like I’d even known there would be a wolf in the garden. It wasn’t the sort of thing people usually considered when going out to pick strawberries. “Oh, I’d better be careful; there might be a werewolf out there.” Right. Not outside horror movies.

Hopefully they’d figure out soon how to change me back so I could get things ready for my dinner with Tobias the next night. I’d be sorely pissed if that had to be put on hold.

The next night. Except I didn’t think it was “next” anymore. I had no clue how long I’d been unconscious. The sunlight streaming through the window beside me pretty clearly told me that it wasn’t night any longer. But if it wasn’t night, why was I still a wolf? Didn’t werewolves only shift when it was dark?

I blinked at Tobias and he caught the question. “It’s your first shift, Kyle. You changed while you were out cold and it’s going to take your body and mind a little while to coordinate so you’ll go back to human. That’s how it works for all of us our first time. And we can shift whenever we want.”

All of us. Now I couldn’t prevent myself from grasping the truth. The truth Tobias and Mrs. Frelich had been so damned determined to keep from me. Tobias was one of the wolves. And he’d probably made sure none of the other neighbors would ever see anything he didn’t want them to. Tobias, the man I lusted after, was a fucking werewolf. I didn’t even know what to think about that.

“You have to eat something, Kyle,” Tobias said. He crouched low to look me in the eye. “You’ve been unconscious for three days, since Melia attacked you. You don’t know how sorry I am about this. I wanted to protect you from it.”

Even in my current form, my heart and a couple other things responded to his words. He did care about me. Maybe at our dinner he would have admitted all this to me. Though I certainly understood why he’d been reluctant. Without seeing it for myself, I probably wouldn’t have believed him.

He might have told me the truth, though, and if I’d believed him, if I hadn’t thrown him out, who knew where things might have ended up? I knew where I would have wanted them to end, whether Tobias was a werewolf or not.


Author Bio

Karenna Colcroft lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts, and has been in love with the city since childhood, though she has yet to encounter any werewolves, vampires, or other paranormal beings in her travels. At least none that she knows of. Though since in her non-writing life, under another name, she offers services as a channel and energy healing practitioner, it could be said that she herself is a paranormal being. The jury’s still out on that.

Karenna is a polyamorous, nonbinary human who splits time between the home she shares with her husband and the one she shares with her committed partner. She also has two adult children and a bonus son, three grandchildren, and two and a half cats. (Half in terms of time the cat lives with her, not in terms of the cat itself…)

Author Website: http://www.karennacolcroft.com

Author Facebook (Personal): http://www.facebook.com/riverlightbearer

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://www.facebook.com/KarennaColcroft

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Karenna-Colcroft/e/B0031HAOUK

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Restrained Desires (Rehoboth Pact Book 3) by Katherine McIntyre Review 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An attempt to convince her family she is in a committed relationship leads a woman on a heated road of passion and romance when the fake relationship she has with a straight woman turns into something more in author Katherine McIntyre’s “Restrained Desires”, the third book in the Rehoboth Pact series.

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The Synopsis

One rule: don’t fall for your best friend’s straight sister. Especially not when she’s pretending to be your fake girlfriend.

Chelsea Moore is officially divorced from her asshole husband, and after wasting her early twenties putting up with his shit, she’s burning to get out there and play the field—especially a certain kinkier side he made her feel like garbage about.

Kyle Walker’s terrified to put herself out there. According to her mother, she doesn’t have the looks to hook anyone, but what makes it worse is that her dating history falls in line. However, when her family tries to claim she’s not really a lesbian, she tells them she’s bringing her girlfriend to Christmas. Only problem? She doesn’t have one.

In comes sexy, newly divorced, and straight Chelsea Moore to the rescue—her best friend Aubrey’s little sister. She’s doing Kyle a favor—like any friend would—except Kyle’s half in love with her from the moment they start hanging out. All too soon those lines begin to blur—lingering touches, flirting, kissing…. And when they connect on kink and begin hooking up, that’s when Kyle knows she’s screwed.

Chelsea might have Aubrey to protect her heart, but Kyle could lose both her best friend and the only woman who’s made her feel like she’s worth more. 

The Review

This was such an emotional and heated LGBTQ-driven romance! The author perfectly captured the raw intensity and passion with which these two protagonists came together. The complexities of sexuality are greatly explored in this narrative, with Chelsea’s exploration and eventual romance with Kyle showcasing that things aren’t always so black and white as they may appear. The narrative was evenly paced and the holiday setting will make this the perfect read for romance fans come the holidays this year. 

The character development was so crucial and perfectly written in this book. The protagonists came from such different walks of life, and yet their struggle to be seen and heard was a truly powerful theme that united them both. The struggle for Chelsea to accept this part of herself she never realized was residing just under the surface was something many people could relate to, but it was Kyle who felt truly relatable, as the struggle to accept compliments and see herself the way others do is something so many of us can identify with, and how it impacts romance was so fascinating. 

The Verdict

Heated, engaging, and emotional, author Katherine McIntyre’s “Restrained Desires” is a must-read LGBTQ Romance of 2022! One of my top reads of the year so far, this novel truly does an amazing job of presenting a narrative that is both entertaining and adult-oriented without sacrificing the emotional strides these characters make or the connection readers will have with these protagonists. The connection to the previous entries in the series will be a plus with fans of characters like Aubrey, and the heartfelt delivery of this romance will have fans rooting for the protagonists to make it. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Restrained Desires

Katherine McIntyre has a new FF contemporary romance out: Restrained Desires.

One rule: don’t fall for your best friend’s straight sister. Especially not when she’s pretending to be your fake girlfriend.

Chelsea Moore is officially divorced from her asshole husband, and after wasting her early twenties putting up with his shit, she’s burning to get out there and play the field—especially a certain kinkier side he made her feel like garbage about.

Kyle Walker’s terrified to put herself out there. According to her mother, she doesn’t have the looks to hook anyone, but what makes it worse is that her dating history falls in line. However, when her family tries to claim she’s not really a lesbian, she tells them she’s bringing her girlfriend to Christmas. Only problem? She doesn’t have one.

In comes sexy, newly divorced, and straight Chelsea Moore to the rescue—her best friend Aubrey’s little sister. She’s doing Kyle a favor—like any friend would—except Kyle’s half in love with her from the moment they start hanging out. All too soon those lines begin to blur—lingering touches, flirting, kissing…. And when they connect on kink and begin hooking up, that’s when Kyle knows she’s screwed.

Chelsea might have Aubrey to protect her heart, but Kyle could lose both her best friend and the only woman who’s made her feel like she’s worth more.

Amazon | Universal Buy Link | Goodreads


Giveaway

Katherine is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

Restrained Desires Meme

“So, care to explain how I ended up here?” Chelsea asked, leaning against the counter. “Everything got a bit hazy after I jumped onstage to do amateur burlesque.”

Kyle ducked her head, the blush lighting up her cheeks. “Yeah, no one managed to top your performance.” The tension in the air between them thickened, and Chelsea cocked her head in curiosity. Before she could ask anything, Kyle continued. “Then we all proceeded to drink. A lot. And when Aubs was ready to ship you home, you told her if you got in a car you’d hurl. Then you explained that we were having a sleepover, since I lived right up the street.”

Chelsea snorted. “Yeah, sounds about right. I’m sure my sister went apoplectic.”

“I got a stern talking to, but that was about it,” Kyle said, bringing the laden plates over to the small two-seater stationed in her kitchen. “And then I got you into the bed, and I took the couch.”

Christ, this woman. She’d never met someone as genuinely caring as Ky, and she wouldn’t again. Her brows drew together. “Wait, why’d you get the talking to?”

Kyle arched a brow, a blush spreading to her entire face. “Because we’re both single women, and she seemed to think I’d try to jump you in the middle of the night or convert you to the gay.”

“That ever-contagious gay.” Chelsea rolled her eyes. “Aubrey’s one to talk. Besides, I’d way rather wake up in bed next to you than half of the guys at the bar last night.”

Until the words escaped her mouth, she didn’t realize how suggestive they sounded. Right, that was going to go over great, flaunting herself in front of her sister’s best friend. Not like the woman wasn’t hot as fuck, especially all relaxed like this in her own environment. Kyle glanced away, letting out a slow breath. Chelsea’s heart sped a little faster, probably from the coffee kicking in.

“Better dive into breakfast before it gets cold,” Ky muttered, as if she wasn’t trying to divert the conversation. “Cold eggs just taste like scrambled rubber.”

Chels snagged a slice of bacon and began to chew, enjoying the salty flavors exploding on her tongue. When she added the buttered toast to the mix, she almost let out a groan. Breakfast might be simple to fix up, but this was cooked to perfection. The yolk of the sunny-side up eggs split, running across her plate, and she dipped the pieces of toast into it. The breakfast and coffee started to invigorate her, as if she wasn’t roadkill in the wake of bad decisions.

Still, she refused to count her divorce as one. Marrying Noah, yes, that had been a grievous error on her part, but leaving him had been her best choice, even if Dad had been disgruntled about the whole thing the past few months.

“Did you have fun last night?” Chelsea asked, curious to have some of the blanks filled in. The outing had been necessary, a chance for her to let loose and declare her freedom to the world. “Sorry if me crashing here vag-blocked you or anything.” She scratched her wild waves, more than aware she looked like a train wreck right now.

“Please. Me?” Ky responded, shaking her head. “Do I look like the type who’s bringing home girls every night? Maybe like the type who owns a thousand dogs, but I don’t play the field like that. I had a blast, mostly because you were so trashed it kept Aubs and Sky from trying to hook me up with any single lady they found at the bar.”

“What would be so bad about that?” Chelsea asked, taking a sip of her black coffee. She’d known Kyle for years but never got a chance to talk with her one-on-one like this.

“If we could skip past the awkward introductions where I say something horrifying, nothing. But I’m the least charming person in the tristate area, and I’ve scared more women away in the first five minutes than I can count.”

“No fucking way,” Chels said, shaking her head. She took a minute to wipe under her eyes, realizing her makeup probably streaked everywhere. “Sorry, I didn’t even look in the mirror. I probably look horrible.”

Kyle shook her head. “Nah, you’re gorgeous.” Her voice was so soft when she said those words in an earnest tone that made Chelsea melt.

“Wait, you’re telling me women walk away from this?” she asked, circling her finger around as she pointed at Kyle. “Between the genuine grin of yours that would make hardened criminals weak in the knees and the way you put the people around you at ease, you’re a freaking catch.”

“I’m going to hope the earth swallows me up in the next five seconds so I don’t die from embarrassment,” Kyle said, taking a bite from her bacon all while avoiding Chelsea’s eyes.

Kyle’s tendency to dodge compliments and downplay herself never struck her before, but while talking one-on-one like this, she noticed immediately.

Kyle swallowed her bacon and glanced back up. “Most women don’t seem to agree. Whenever I meet someone new, rational conversation escapes my brain, and I end up telling them they’ve got great sternocleidomastoid muscles or ask if free will is real or just an illusion.”

Chelsea pursed her lips. Disbelief coursed through her. How had no one found those questions charming? Everything about Kyle Walker was endearingly cute. Maybe her sister had the right idea after all. After Noah, the idea of hopping into bed with another guy made her gut roil.


Author Bio

Katherine McIntyre

Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes—and there’s an equally high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women.

Author Website: http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://www.facebook.com/kmcintyreauthor

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pixierants

Author Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authorkmcintyre

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473654.Katherine_McIntyre

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Katherine-McIntyre/e/B00J8U4VNU

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Blood Bound (Youkai Bloodlines Book 3) by Courtney Maguire Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A heartbreaking breakup between two immortals sends one on a quest to find comfort and warmth among humanity while the other struggles to keep the peace between their people and those they’ve made peace with in author Courtney Maguire’s “Blood Bound”, the third book in the Youkai Bloodlines series.

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The Synopsis

Two hundred years can strain even the seemingly eternal love of the youkai.

When Hideyoshi’s coldness drives them apart, Hiro finds comfort in his friendship with Takanori, a vociferous human man he met at a ramen shop and can’t seem to keep away from.. Everything Hiro had to fight for from Hideyoshi, Takanori gives freely, making it all too easy to turn away from his responsibilities–and Hideyoshi–in favor of something sweeter.

But while Hiro is off playing human, danger is brewing among the Youkai. Hideyoshi, still reeling from his breakup with Hiro, struggles to uphold the promise they made to the Hunter leader, Kyo, but the Youkai’s loyalty has been challenged by Hiro’s abrupt disappearance. With Hunters literally banging at the door, Hide must find a way to bring Hiro home or risk igniting the war they’ve spent the last two hundred years trying to prevent.

Content Warnings: graphic violence, terminal illness, depictions of grief and depression/mental illness, suicidal actions

The Review

As a relative newcomer to the series, I appreciated that the author did such a fantastic job of crafting a well-balanced narrative both for newcomers like myself and longtime fans of the series. The mythology and world-building the author did with the Youkai and the Hunters and the conflict that had brought them to this tumultuous point was amazing to dive into, for it gave a whole new mythological journey to the typical “vampire” story. 

The two things that stood out to me were the character growth these protagonists had and the attention to detail the author gave the inclusion of Japanese culture and history. The emphasis on the psychological and spiritual nature of who the Youkai are and their struggle to maintain their humanity gave weight and emotional pull to the character’s arcs, and made readers invested more into their personal developments over the narrative. Meanwhile, the author really did a fantastic job of conveying the emotions and heartbreak that comes with grief and loss, and really brought that raw pain to the pages early on, examining what the pain of loss is like for those who will always outlive those who surround them daily.

The Verdict

A masterful, entertaining, and incredible read, author Courtney Maguire’s “Blood Bound” is a must-read LGBTQ+ Fantasy novel. The attention to detail in the character’s backgrounds and sexuality perfectly mirrored the attention to detail surrounding Japanese culture and mythology and elevated the emotional undercurrent of themes surrounding grief and loss in this supernatural fantasy world the author has crafted. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Blood Bound cover reveal - Courtney Maguire

Courtney Maguire has a new MM paranormal historical romance out, Youkai Bloodlines book 3: Blood Bound. And there’s a giveaway!

Two hundred years can strain even the seemingly eternal love of the youkai.

When Hideyoshi’s coldness drives them apart, Hiro finds comfort in his friendship with Takanori, a vociferous human man he met at a ramen shop and can’t seem to keep away from.. Everything Hiro had to fight for from Hideyoshi, Takanori gives freely, making it all too easy to turn away from his responsibilities–and Hideyoshi–in favor of something sweeter.

But while Hiro is off playing human, danger is brewing among the Youkai. Hideyoshi, still reeling from his breakup with Hiro, struggles to uphold the promise they made to the Hunter leader, Kyo, but the Youkai’s loyalty has been challenged by Hiro’s abrupt disappearance. With Hunters literally banging at the door, Hide must find a way to bring Hiro home or risk igniting the war they’ve spent the last two hundred years trying to prevent.

Warning: graphic violence, terminal illness, depictions of grief and depression/mental illness, suicidal actions

Publisher | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Universal Buy Link | Goodreads

Art Card Meme


Giveaway

Courtney is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card with this tour:

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Excerpt

Blood Bound Meme

Chapter 1: Trainwreck

Spring 2004

You can live a hundred lifetimes and the world will still surprise you, hit you like a high-speed train and drag you along the rails before dumping you off a thousand miles from where you started. Sometimes, the ride isn’t as violent as all that. Sometimes, it feels like a vacation, an escape, like falling in love. But, the end of the line is always the same—a broken, bloody mess far from home.

Sitting on a hard cobblestone path in my two-day-old funeral suit, I stared at a pillar of granite with his name on it, a fifth of Jack in my gut and my soul shattered into a million pieces. Aikawa Takanori—the name of the train that hit me.

A broad shadow fell over me and I closed my eyes against it. I knew who it was, knew the sound of his steps, the way the air trembled in his presence. Sakurai Hideyoshi. He sat down beside me on the stone path without a word, so close our shoulders touched. Over two hundred years had passed since the day we met, and his nearness still made my skin prickle. His fingers brushed against mine as he slipped the nearly empty bottle of whiskey out of my hands and raised it to his own lips.

“You knew it would end this way,” he said, his voice low and cold. Not a judgement or an accusation, just a statement of fact.

“If you’re here to lecture me, you can save it,” I said, snatching the bottle back out of his hand.

There was something shocking about seeing him again, sitting there like an inkblot on my vision. The same solid frame, the same dark features, sharp as cut granite and just as immovable. How much time had I spent pounding myself against that hardness, like the ocean against a rocky cliff, trying to break it away? Now I observed him as if from a distance. Something bitter pushed up against my grief, but there was no room for it, so it settled back into my gut. He had been my home before Takanori, but now he was almost unrecognizable. He hadn’t changed, of course. I was the one who was different.

“How long since you’ve drank something besides whiskey?”

“Not since—” I broke off, my eyes darting to the gravestone. My hands trembled as I took a long pull off the whiskey bottle. It could have been hours or years, every second since that day stretched into an eternity.

“Come with me,” he said, pulling himself gracefully to his feet. I didn’t move. “Hiro.”

“I can’t,” I choked. I struggled to breathe around the ball of grief wedged in my throat. He was here for a reason. He wanted something and I couldn’t give it to him. “I’m not…ready…”

“He’s dead. It doesn’t matter if you’re ready,” he barked. The words were sharp, the edge of a blade iced over, and they cut deep.

He grabbed the collar of my jacket and yanked me to my feet. Without even waiting for me to catch my balance, he turned and stomped off down the path. It had been this way since the day we met, Hideyoshi plodding ahead without looking back, so confident I would follow. I found it comforting somehow, like nothing had ever broken between us. We would always be Hideyoshi and Hiro. The shape of his back would never change. He would never get sick and die.

I ran my hand over Taka’s name on the granite and felt my heart tugged in two different directions. Another train had come, this one promising to take me back to somewhere familiar, but part of me was afraid. What if I got there and found it wasn’t my home at all anymore, but just another strange place that would leave me even more broken?

But, Hideyoshi was right. Taka was dead, the home I could have had here reduced to ashes. I had nowhere else to go.

My chest constricted and I cursed under my breath as I ran to catch up to Hideyoshi, falling in step just a few paces behind. The sun was setting as we exited the cemetery and darkness fell quickly over the narrow streets of Tokyo. Neon signs lit up one by one with an electric pop as we passed, the early evening crowds already taking their places in the izakayas that lined the street and disappearing into basement bars. Hideyoshi led me all the way to Ikebukuro and the busy streets surrounding Sunshine City. Wires hung like spider webs overhead, feeding power to the garish artificial light. Loud music and cigarette smoke filled the streets and the smell of sweaty bodies started a scratching under my skin that had me gritting my teeth.

He stopped in the most crowded part of the busy street and looked over his shoulder at me for the first time. My gut clenched. I knew what he wanted. I scowled and shook my head, but he simply pinned me with those needle-sharp eyes that didn’t take no for an answer until I relented.

His silent command: Sing.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The scratching under my skin intensified and the sounds of the city died away as something else rose to the surface, something dark and dangerous. When my eyes opened again, the electric lights paled behind the glare of human life, every movement leaving a streaky after image in blue and white. My pulse sped and my mouth watered. I pulled in a deep breath and my voice rose from the depths with an old song, something traditional that took me back to a different Tokyo, and despite its terrible purpose, it warmed me. My heart swam in it, cleansed its wounds in it.


Author Bio

Courtney Maguire

Courtney Maguire is a University of Texas graduate from Corpus Christi, Texas. Drawn to Austin by a voracious appetite for music, she spent most of her young adult life in dark, divey venues nursing a love for the sublimely weird. A self-proclaimed fangirl with a press pass, she combined her love of music and writing as the primary contributor for Japanese music and culture blog, Project: Lixx, interviewing Japanese rock and roll icons and providing live event coverage for appearances across the country.

Author Website: https://www.courtneymaguirewrites.com/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/courtney.maguire.37

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyMaguireWrites

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/PretentiousAho

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/courtneymaguirewrites/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19774498.Courtney_Maguire

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/courtney-maguire/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B082S34S7W

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Opposed Desires (Rehoboth Book 2) by Katherine McIntyre Review 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

When a woman known for her bravado and sexual casualness is confronted with a shock that brings down her defenses, the bar owner and woman that has made it a point to avoid her finds herself drawn to this new side of the woman during one fateful summer in author Katherine McIntyre’s “Opposed Desires”, the second book in the Rehoboth series. 

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The Synopsis 

Closet Romantic falling for the Hookup Queen? Never gonna happen… until one memorable vacation changes it all.

When it comes to women, Aubrey Moore believes in no-strings-attached hookups and keeping things simple. On her beach trip, her plan is clear—hit the bars and find single hotties. What she doesn’t bargain on is the phone call from her sister. Distraught, Aubrey would like to have a breakdown in private, but the one woman who’s never fallen for her slick lines takes her by surprise and blurs her simple rules.

The last thing owner of the Renegades bar, Selina Beckett, expects to see on vacation is Aubrey Moore in the middle of a personal crisis. Every time they meet, they clash—whether Aubrey was picking up women at Selina’s bar or flirting to try and get her attention. Selina’s not interested in flings, cheaters, or womanizers, so she’s made a point to avoid Aubrey at all costs. But this raw, real side of Aubrey convinces her to bend those rules, just a little.

The more Selina gets to know Aubrey beyond the bravado, the more she begins to fall. But each day closer to the end of their vacation marks a return to reality—one where this entanglement between them won’t survive.

The Review

This was a gripping and heated LGBTQ-driven romance! The author shows the perfect way to balance emotional storytelling with passionate and driven relationships between two protagonists that readers can relate to and root for. The exploration of two women who only know one another’s surface-level personas and grow close after those personas are shed was such an amazing storytelling tactic, as it explores what happens when what begins as an antagonistic relationship can quickly develop into a whirlwind romance overnight. Yet it was the way the author showed how much work and baggage this kind of relationship takes to work through that made the payoff of this relationship so enjoyable.

The author’s pacing of the narrative was what really sold this story to me. The set-up between these protagonists obviously set up this feud of sorts between two very different women, and yet the pacing allowed readers to see how the layers surrounding their feud were shed and the mystery behind both of their circumstances and mindsets on relationships as a whole came to be, allowing them to find a bond and connection neither thought possible.

The Verdict

Emotional, heartfelt, and sizzling, author Katherine McIntyre’s “Opposed Desires” is a must-read romance. The book is perfect for readers missing those steamy summer romances during these cold winter months, and fans of LGBTQ narratives that give purpose and the perfect amount of romance into the story will absolutely fall in love with this story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Opposed Desires - Katherine McIntyre

Katherine McIntyre has a new FF contemporary romance out: Opposed Desires. And there’s a giveaway!

Closet Romantic falling for the Hookup Queen? Never gonna happen… until one memorable vacation changes it all.

When it comes to women, Aubrey Moore believes in no-strings-attached hookups and keeping things simple. On her beach trip, her plan is clear—hit the bars and find single hotties. What she doesn’t bargain on is the phone call from her sister. Distraught, Aubrey would like to have a breakdown in private, but the one woman who’s never fallen for her slick lines takes her by surprise and blurs her simple rules.

The last thing owner of the Renegades bar, Selina Beckett, expects to see on vacation is Aubrey Moore in the middle of a personal crisis. Every time they meet, they clash—whether Aubrey was picking up women at Selina’s bar or flirting to try and get her attention. Selina’s not interested in flings, cheaters, or womanizers, so she’s made a point to avoid Aubrey at all costs. But this raw, real side of Aubrey convinces her to bend those rules, just a little.

The more Selina gets to know Aubrey beyond the bravado, the more she begins to fall. But each day closer to the end of their vacation marks a return to reality—one where this entanglement between them won’t survive.

Publisher | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Universal Buy Link | Goodreads


Giveaway

Kathleen is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47215/?


Excerpt

Opposed Desires Meme

They reached the edge of the boardwalk, the sand and the sea stretching before them in a pale strip that clashed with the inky darkness of the waters. Something loosened in Selina’s chest at the sight. The ocean always calmed her, especially at night when most of the daytime rabble had retreated. She was used to being surrounded by people, but sometimes she preferred the solitude.

“I’m sorry for dragging you away from your friends,” Aubrey said, loosening her ponytail to run her fingers through her hair. The moonlight highlighted her deep brown strands, and the way they fell down to her shoulders made her seem a little softer than the sharp, pointed woman Selina’d come to know. She found this side of Aubrey far more alluring.

“I could’ve done this by myself,” Aubrey admitted. “I just lost my mind a little bit back there.”

“I wouldn’t have left if I didn’t want to.” Selina shrugged. “Bars aren’t really my scene.”

“Said the bar owner.” Aubrey gave her the side-eye. “Why even own one then?”

Selina swung her arms by her side, staring at the half moon overhead. It glowed with pearlescent promise, a steadiness she’d always longed for. “Spend your whole life traveling from one town to the next and you get desperate to set down roots. I wanted to create a safe space for folks like me, and I needed to stay in one place. Renegades ensured that.”

Aubrey shook her head, a throaty laugh escaping her throat. “I’ve known you for four years now, and I’m pretty sure that’s the most you’ve ever shared about yourself.”

“Well, we’re having a truce tonight,” Selina said. “Tomorrow I can go back to loathing you, and we can return to the usual witty repartee.”

Aubrey pointed at herself. “Me? Witty? Glad you think so, doll. I don’t keep track of half of the things that leave my mouth.”

“Good to know,” Selina murmured, a smile nudging her lips. The earnest note in Aubrey’s voice had her warming up to the woman far faster than she had in years. The lack of an agenda helped too. Selina slipped off her sandals to hold them in her hand, walking barefoot on the sandy shore. “Won’t the girls be wondering where you went?”

Aubrey shrugged. “They’ll assume I took someone home. It’s my MO when I pull the vanishing act.”

“That sounds pretty lonesome.” The words slipped out before she could help herself. Selina licked her lips, not knowing what to say. The salt air wove past her, caressing her senses.

“Different bed every night? How could that be lonely?” Aubrey joked, yet her voice scraped over the words like a tire crunching uneven rocks. She cast Selina a sideways glance. “Maybe a little,” she admitted, her dark eyes somber in the surrounding dark. The slight gleam from the moonlight only enhanced that sharp, vibrant beauty. This version of the woman, framed by moonlight and unguarded with her hair down, struck Selina as far more gorgeous than the sweet-talker she regularly saw at the bar.

Aubrey bent down to slide off her sneakers, and Selina couldn’t help but follow the motion. Those long legs were on full display, all corded muscle and defined calves, and the red shorts she wore showcased a gorgeous sculpted ass. Selina never argued that the woman was hot—Aubrey Moore undeniably, unequivocally raised her temperature, but she was also the exact sort of person Selina needed to avoid.

She wanted someone to settle down with. Someone who wouldn’t get bored, or cheat, or ditch her when the routine got too monotonous. Been there, done that. She’d learned her lessons well and committed them to heart.


Author Bio

Katherine McIntyre

Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes—and there’s an equally high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women.

Author Website: http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://www.facebook.com/kmcintyreauthor

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pixierants

Author Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authorkmcintyre

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473654.Katherine_McIntyre

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Katherine-McIntyre/e/B00J8U4VNU

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The Ex’s Boyfriend by Hurri Cosmo Blog Tour Spotlight

Hello everyone! I’m so honored to be working on this next blog tour, for author Hurri Cosmo’s “The Ex’s Boyfriend”. I had the pleasure of working on the author’s last book, The Superior Jewel, and I have always been so honored and proud to work with and connect with authors and writers in the (or who celebrates the) LGBTQ+ community. I hope everyone will check out this amazing excerpt, and the chance to enter this giveaway as well.

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The Ex's Boyfriend - Hurri Cosmo

Hurri Cosmo has a new MM paranormal ghost romance out: The Ex’s Boyfriend. And there’s a giveaway!

Mark has always been a Dominant. The Top in every relationship. Just ask Leon, his very ex-boyfriend, because that’s what he told Mark he was.

Okay, Mark’s only had the one relationship so the ‘always’ was a reach, but it didn’t matter. It was more than over with now, and Leon was long gone. That is until Leon felt it necessary to show off his new boyfriend, a gorgeous mountain called Rogan, by evidently telling him that Mark was stalking, bullying, badgering, harassing and get this, abusing him.

“He’ll kill you, Mark, because he loves me and wants to protect me.”

From whom? Skinny little Mark? What a joke. Because all Mark has ever done was exactly what Leon told him to do and that now included staying as far away from Leon as he could get. But how can he do that when Leon is hell-bent on proving all the lies he’s told Rogan about Mark were true, and by any means possible except the actual truth? Thankfully, it seems Rogan’s not quite as clueless about Leon’s wild imagination as Mark has always been. In fact, the big, beautiful man has come to Mark’s rescue a couple of times and has made it clear, Leon and he are not a thing. At least, not anymore.

Which is good since Mark is going to need Rogan’s help. Mainly because something else is out to get Mark. Something not Leon.

This something isn’t even human…

Amazon | Smashwords


Giveaway

Hurri is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47210/?


Excerpt

The Ex's Boyfriend meme

They took the elevator to the sixth floor and headed cautiously down a deserted hall. Okay, maybe it was only Mark who walked warily. Rogan marched slightly ahead of him and seemed to barge down the hall with his chest puffed out like some storybook bodyguard protecting the prince. However, no apparitions flew out at them this time, no lights exploded trying to kill them. When they got to Mark’s apartment, Rogan snatched the set of keys Mark dug out of his pocket and opened the door of 612 and attempted to turn on the light.

“It doesn’t work,” Mark remarked. “It never has.”

As if that might have been important in the whole scheme of things, Rogan turned to him. “Really? Why?”

“I have no idea. They have never been able to fix it, either.”

Rogan grumbled a string of profanities against landlords as he pulled out his phone. “Hey Raptor. Flashlight.” The phone shot out a bright beam and Rogan shined it into the apartment. “Where is a switch that does work?”

“Right here.” Mark glanced around the apartment before he tiptoed over to the switch in the kitchen and turned it on. The apartment lit up enough to see that everything was normal―so to speak. The destroyed TV was right where it had been when they left, debris still everywhere. Not the chaos Mark had walked into with Leon, but shivers of that time chased through him as well. “What I don’t get is why you don’t even have a scratch on you.”

“That is a mystery,” Rogan murmured. “What’s even more an unknown is why you were basically sliced in the first place. Cut, I would understand. But sliced?” He walked over to the large, jagged piece laying against the wall, the piece that had been laced with blood but no longer appeared to be and picked it up. “This should never have been sharp enough to do that.” He brought it over for Mark to see.

“Fuck,” Mark whispered as he gazed at the piece of plastic. “It’s… like a knife.” And it was. The six-inch, razor-edged side appeared paper thin, to the point of it being see-through. As if someone had purposely honed it down to that sharpness. “But… didn’t it have blood on it?”

Rogan narrowed his eyes and glared back at the plastic as if it had just lied to him. “You’re right. It did. Exactly my point.”

“Which is?”

Rogan glanced briefly at Mark. “This isn’t right. I mean, how does something like this even happen?” Rogan’s lips pursed together.

“So, what are you saying?”

“I’m not sure.” Rogan gazed down at Mark. “And I don’t like not knowing. I will find some answers. That I promise.” He sighed. “Now what do we need to take with us so we can get out of here?”

Mark packed a backpack while Rogan kept watch. Mark would have thought it laughable if he wasn’t so panicked. It was one thing to be bullied by Leon. Quite another by a ghost.

“The extra apartment key is in the kitchen drawer,” Mark told Rogan as he threw the backpack over his shoulder.

Rogan immediately reached over and grabbed the backpack. “Go get it. I got this.”

Heat climbing Mark’s face he walked quickly to the drawer. “I can carry it. I’m not a princess.”

Rogan smirked but remained silent as he adjusted the backpack and held out a hand to accept the key. “Thanks,” he said, winking at Mark when he dropped the key in his hand.

“I don’t know what you plan on doing but have at it.”

Rogan grimaced as if he were guilty of something and shook his head.

When they arrived at Mark’s dad’s house, Rogan insisted on walking Mark in. “I didn’t keep you safe like I promised. He deserves an explanation.”

“Are you kidding me? I’m not some fragile teenager on a date. Besides, I can take care of myself.”

“I know that. But security is my job, and I should have…”

“Should have what?”

“Known.” He knocked on the door.

“Known? How? Why?”

But Rogan remained silent. Except it was clear he was battling something in his head.

“Whatever,” Mark mumbled. “Just… I can take care of myself.” Mark went to knock as well but the door flew open in front of him, Mark’s dad standing on the other side.

“What the fuck is going on out here?” Rob snarled, startling both Mark and Rogan.

“Sir!” Rogan nearly shouted back, gaining the older man’s attention. Then he lowered his voice probably realizing how loud he was being. “Mr. Corda. Sorry to wake you…”

“What the hell happened to you?” Rob grabbed Mark and pulled him into the house. “Why the bandages?” He turned his attention back to Rogan. “Why is my son covered in bandages?”

Mark took immediate offence. “Dad, I’m standing right here! Ask me!”

“Um… sir…” Rogan interrupted. “it’s a long story.”


Author Bio

I am Hurri Cosmo and I live in Minnesota where I hold tight to the idea that here, where it’s cold a good part of the year, I won’t age as fast. Yep, I avoid the truth as much as I avoid mirrors. But one of the reasons I love writing is reality doesn’t always offer up a “happily ever after” and being able to take control of that is a powerful lure.

Being a happy ending junkie, writing just makes them easier to find. Oh, I don’t mind “real life” and I do try to at least keep it in mind when I write my stories, but I truly love creating a wonderful couple, knowing they will fall in love and have their HEA. Every – single – time. And, of course, that is exactly the reason I love reading this genre, too.

Give me a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, and my computer, whether I am reading or writing, and I will entertain myself for hours. The fact I actually get paid to do it is Snickers bars on the frosting on the cake.

Author Website: https://www.hurricosmo.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/hurri.cosmo

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/HurriCosmo

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6466687.Hurri_Cosmo

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hurri-Cosmo

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Exclusive Excerpt

Two nights later Anna, Rogan and Mark were standing at the back warehouse of Streeter Manufacturing. Rogan had a couple of his people help haul the boxes to the entrance but told them they were not needed for anything else. Mark understood the reason but didn’t necessarily agree with it. He was thinking the more humans in this place, the better. Rogan had made it clear he had no idea how this night would go. 

“Why night, Rogan? Why darkness?”

Rogan only rolled his eyes at him.

Shit.

Anna had brought all kinds of things with her. She was the first to enter the space burning some foul-smelling thing. ‘Smudging’ is what Rogan whispered to him.

“What’s it supposed to do?”

“Clean the space.”

“Of what?”

“Bad energy.”

“I thought you wanted the bad energy to come, not run and hide.”

“Yes…” Rogan shook his head. “It’s complicated.”

“Hmmm.”

They set up the equipment, seven each of the Molecular Polarization Arrays and Variance Sequencers, after Anna finished her chants, of which, the words and tone of voice oddly sent shivers through Mark. He never saw the stone that she banged on the cement either, Rogan explaining that that was what it was, but the vibrations of each tap seemed to shake his very bones. Finally done, the two of them picked a spot to wait for the action to start, Anna decided to venture to the other side of the warehouse. 

“Are you okay with her being all the way over there?”

Rogan huffed. “She does what she does. I don’t question her. I’m grateful she once again listened to me that this damn shadow was back.”

“Oh.” 

“It’s not like that,” Rogan whispered. “She knows things and sees things that I just don’t. I have to trust her judgment of what she feels she has to do in a space and where she thinks she needs to be. Just as she implicitly trusts me and my equipment to do what we do.”

“How long will we have to wait?”

“Honestly, I expected to be interfered with as we set up the equipment. The last few times I have entered this space the shadow has attempted to stop me.”

“So, you don’t know?”

“I do not.”

“Okay. So, we wait.”

And wait they did.

And waited.

“There’s no sign of the shadow,” Rogan whispered after they had sat silently for what seemed to Mark hours. 

“Is that a problem?” Mark whispered back. He had been crouched down ready to spring to action, but his legs and feet were completely asleep now. He needed to move. He squirmed to scratch an itch he could not find.

“Might be.” Rogan glanced at him, his eyes narrowing. “My equipment needs to have close proximity with the energy, or it can’t even read it much less capture it.”

“That’s unfortunate.” Mark squirmed some more trying to allow blood to flow back into his lower extremities but then the pins and needles began in earnest. Oh hell. He wouldn’t be able to stand now anyway. 

“Are you alright?”

“No. I have to go to the bathroom.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yeah. Bad.” It was true. The moment he thought it, he couldn’t think anything else.

“I really don’t want you out of my sight.”

Mark’s heart stuttered. “I don’t want to be out of your sight.” Mark wiggled some more. “But I got a go.” 

Rogan sighed. “I could go with I suppose. Not much going on here anyway. I’ll radio Anna.” Rogan had insisted on the walkie talkies if Anna wanted to be separated. She had complied as long as the volumes were low, and it didn’t interfere with her aura. “I’m walking with Mark to the bathroom,” he announced softly into the radio.

“You’re what?” came the instant reply.

“Mark has to go to the bathroom. I don’t want him going alone. We’ll be right back.”

“Fine but be careful.”

“Don’t worry. We will.”

They left the warehouse and Mark led the way to the bathroom nearest the back warehouse area which happened to be the same one that he had accused Leon being in. Maybe he should have gone to the one in the other warehouse. Too late now. Didn’t matter. He would be fast. Mark slipped into a stall while Rogan remained at the main door. He kept it open as he gazed out. “Do you think it will show?” Mark called from the stall.

“I have no idea.”

After he finished, Mark went to the sink to wash his hands. “Have you had this happen before where the ghost never shows?”

“Yes.” Rogan said as he continued to gaze beyond the bathroom. “Sometimes in big areas like this or like your apartment building ―”

“Or yours.”

“― or mine, an energy can move around. The repeats can also be random. I have had several incidents where I was called to what I understood to be a very active sighting and before I could do anything, the activity stopped. Completely.”

“Wow. Unpredictable.”

“Very. That was going to be my next focus. Some sort of way to detect the paranormal that isn’t active. Find even dormant paranormal energy. I would be able to rid a place of the ghosts prior to there being any problems with them.”

“Sort of a housewarming service?”

“Hey. Yeah.” Rogan chuckled as he turned to Mark. He lowered his voice to mimic a radio announcer. “Hire Ghost Securities to clear your new home of any and all paranormal energy.”

“Um…we’ll have to work on that catchy phrase though,” giggled Mark as he wiped his hands.

Rogan laughed but then jerked back around with an in-take of breath to look out the door again. “What was that?” he breathed.

What’s wrong?” Mark squeaked as he jumped back from the sink farther away from the door.

“I don’t know. Stay here for a moment,” Rogan said and left the bathroom, the door swinging shut.

“Oh God, don’t leave me,” Mark whispered, his heart beating in his throat. He backed up until he was up against the far wall of the small bathroom. Why why why had he agreed to come? Fuck. He slid down the wall as he waited for Rogan to return and put his head in his hands. The stupid endorphins he had been floating on for days now were totally gone and who in their right mind ever wanted to face a fucking ghost. Or a shadow. Demon. Fuck. Clearly Rogan did! 

Marky,” came a voice from in front of him. It was more a hoarse whisper, maybe a grumble. One thing for certain, it wasn’t Rogan’s voice. Fuck. He didn’t look up right away. He honestly did not want to see what the thing that wasn’t Rogan actually was. 

But he knew.