The past becomes the present

January 16, 2015

Hello, I’m Elizabeth Noble and my time on this blog, discussing A Barlow Lens, my latest release is about up. Dreamspinner Press is offering a 25%off coupon code good from now until Monday. The code is Noble0116 (case sensitive). Everyone commenting is eligible to win a free eBook copy of A Barlow Lens. I’ll announce the winner Sunday evening.

In the present day part of the book Val and Wyatt use a number of sources to look back into the past and solve a decades old mystery. I had to really think about how someone now would investigate a murder that took place about 90 years prior. Val and Wyatt had to get pretty crafty when digging up their facts. They used a few resources, old photographs, a museum and drawings from a school girl from the time.

Just like an astronomer uses a telescope and special lens as tools to exploring the night sky, Val and Wyatt used a number tools as well. What they discovered was how the lives of a street cop, a teacher and a gangster collided in 1927. The lives of Tom and Philip intertwined with Val and Wyatt’s years after their deaths.

Every life is a circle.

 

Excerpt:

After coffee and breakfast, Val looked much better and Wyatt definitely felt much better.

“Kevin destroyed all our evidence. How are we going to find out what happened?” Val asked. They sat at the table, and he was finishing a second cup of coffee. “From what we learned so far, I’m having a hard time believing it was Tom who started that fire. I want the end of the story.”

“I agree. That article you read, the one written by one of the surviving students, you said she disputed Tom being at fault,” Wyatt said.

“Yeah.” Val put his coffee cup down with a soft clunk. “Think she’s still alive?”

“I suppose it’s possible. If not, maybe we can track down a relative who might be able to shed some light on things.” He stood up, taking his phone. “I have to call Lily. We were supposed to meet her yesterday, and I want to make sure she’s all right and let her know we’re okay.”

It took them some serious searching, putting both training and skills to good use. Wyatt had years of experience researching and ferreting out useful bits of data from the most mundane sources. He was constantly impressed and surprised by Val’s ingenuity and downright creativity when it came to hunting facts and people on the internet. Val found sites and resources Wyatt would never have thought existed, let alone gone to while trying to locate someone.

They ended up spending a day at the police museum and city hall searching records, even enlisting Lily’s aide. She was able to aim them at documents kept at the museum and a local university containing a great deal about the woman who’d written the article as well as other pieces that had appeared in newspapers over the years. The woman had mounted a campaign to bring the story of what really happened to light, but it never seemed to happen.

It took considerable effort on all their parts, but finally there was a solid trail to be followed. While it didn’t lead to the little girl who grew into the woman who’d written the article, they did have a clear picture of who she was.

“Molly and her brother Dennis, who was three years older, survived the school fire,” Val said, reading Wyatt the notes and timeline they’d put together. “Molly was really an amazing woman. She grew up and married a Tony Petite a few years before we got into World War Two. He was in the Navy and stationed in Hawaii. They not only lived through Pearl Harbor, but she also survived the 1946 tsunami. He wasn’t in Hawaii at that time.”

“That is one lucky woman. She lives through a fire that killed more than survived, the bombing of a naval base, and a tsunami.” Wyatt settled in a chair. He’d bought some large pads of paper with adhesive strips on the back and watched as Val stuck them to the wall, making lists and drawing arrows from one thing to the next.

 

I have a number of old photos sitting in several boxes. Some of them are more than a century old and I love looking at them. Each one tells a story. Do you have any photographs or documents that give you clues into the lives of people living in the past?

1927 and Now

January 16, 2015

I’m Elizabeth Noble and I’ve confiscated the Dreamspinner Blog to talk about my latest release A Barlow Lens.

The story this book tells takes place in two separate, but interconnected timelines. The story begins in the present with Val and Wyatt, two men preparing for their wedding. When Wyatt is asked to consult on a cold-case murder, he and Val get a look back at what life was like for another gay couple Tom and Philip. The majority of the story takes place in Cleveland, Ohio which looked a lot like this in 1927.

 

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This is part of the neighborhood Tom and Philip lived in. This business and building no longer exist today. The neighborhood I’ve used while telling the story is the same one I live in now. It was also the neighborhood where my grandparents spent much of their youth. While A Barlow Lens isn’t a historical novel, I have tried to make the sections written in that time line as accurate as possible. One of the characters in the book, a small time gangster named Archie is loosely based on stories my grandfather told me about one of his older brothers.

Tom and Philip read the Cleveland Press newspaper and back then it looked a lot like this.

firrst

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you like novels that give you a little bit of history but aren’t necessarily historical novels or are you a purist?

Don’t forget Dreamspinner is offering a 25% off coupon code for all my books now through Monday. The code is Noble0116 (case sensitive).

Here is an excerpt from the 1927 portion of the story:

 

TOM MANNING stopped just inside the heavy, wooden door and stomped the snow from his boots. He shrugged out of his overcoat and waited for his eyes to adjust to the lower lighting. A shiver worked its way down his spine. There was a fire, the room was warm, but it still took his body a few minutes to acclimate to the temperature without his coat. He turned to the right where one of the large coatracks stood next to the door and added his coat to the ones already there. Taking his hat off, he shook snow from the fabric and wiped one hand over his hair. He gave his head a little shake to clear off any excess snowflakes.

 

A radio in one corner provided music. Despite its scratchy reception, there were a few couples swaying on the dance floor. Tom had become a regular in this particular juice joint, even though it was far enough from his small apartment in the West Park section of Cleveland that it took planning and a little time to get there. That was just fine by Tom. It made the Canary, this joint’s name, safer. Most cops wouldn’t bother coming this far north and west, and if they did, there’d be plenty of warning. At least Tom hoped so.

 

The first few times he’d come there, he had worried about who might see him. Then he realized that if someone saw him, they’d come to the Canary for the same reason. This particular speakeasy catered to a select and secretive group of men and women.

 

Tom slid onto a stool and smiled when the bartender sashayed over with a plate of sandwiches thick with meat and cheese on freshly baked bread.

 

“We got a new shipment in this week. Care to give it a try, honey?” The bartender, Billy, flipped a towel over his shoulder and put his hand over Tom’s for an instant. He tipped his head at a table on the other side of the room. “He’s been asking after you. I’ll get you two of what he’s having.”

 

“Appreciate it,” Tom said. He twisted on the stool to get a better look at the man at the table. The man had dark hair and was built like a bull. His big hands cradled the glass of bootleg, and that sent a spark coursing right through Tom to his balls. Beefy hands that handled a glass gently. What would they do to Tom’s flesh?

 

Thanks to Billy and his need to be in everyone’s business, Tom might just find out.

Every life is a circle

January 16, 2015

Hi there. I’m Elizabeth Noble and I’m here today to celebrate my latest release: A Barlow Lens

Dreamspinner Press is offering a coupon code beginning today and good until Monday for 25% off all my books! The code is Noble0116 (case sensitive).

logo

 

 

A Barlow Lens is the second book in the Circles series. Run for the Roses kicked the series off. When I wrote Run for the Roses I intended it to be a standalone story. It sort of ended on a tiny cliff hanger, but the story itself was wrapped up. Then somewhere along the way between submitting and release I had an idea for a series. So, Circles was born. The series tagline is ‘every life is a circle’ and that is also an underlying theme of the series. Each book introduces one or two of the main characters featured in the next book in the series. All the stories in Circles are a mystery. Sometimes there is murder, sometimes not, but one of the MCs is involved in law enforcement. Will the books eventually circle back to earlier characters? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually happens.

A Barlow Lens takes its title from a piece of equipment used in an astronomical telescope, the Barlow lens. When one takes a peek into a telescope and views the stars you are actually looking back in time. Starlight travels vast distances over many, many years. The light we see in the sky tonight may have started its journey hundreds or thousands of years ago. We are seeing something that happened long ago.

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There is no way that is not the most coolest thing ever!

What does this little bit of metal and glass have to do with a murder mystery? Good question.

The plot of A Barlow Lens takes place in two separate timelines. The modern day characters, Wyatt and Val, find themselves involved in solving a cold-case murder that happened eighty years prior. They look back at the lives of another gay couple, Tom and Philip, living in a completely different social atmosphere in order to solve the mystery. During the investigation the story of two lovers from the past comes to light. That story, like starlight, traveled a long way through time before being seen and told.

In keeping with the theme of the series during the investigation Wyatt’s past comes back in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways. A Barlow Lens is a look back that sheds light on the present for Wyatt and Val, proving every life is a circle.

Anyone answering any of the questions in any of my posts today will be entered into a contest to win a free eBook copy of A Barlow Lens, simply make sure I have your email. I will leave this contest open until Sunday evening.

What branch of law enforcement  should I write about in the future?

Welcome to A Barlow Lens release party!

January 16, 2015

1813614  Hello. I’m Elizabeth Noble and welcome to the virtual release party of my latest novel, A Barlow Lens. Please visit the Circles website to stay up to date on the entire series.

Before I forget, because I always forget, Dreamspinner Press has offered a coupon code: Noble0116 (case sensitive).  It’s good for 25% off all my books beginning today, Friday, and expires on Monday.

To start the festivities here is the blurb and a bit of an excerpt from the book.

 

Blurb:

While planning a future with his partner, Val, Wyatt’s past refuses to be forgotten. Wyatt’s old friend asks him to look into the mysterious death of her uncle in a fire back in 1927, when men were silent, tough, and did not love other men—except when they did. Working with Val, Wyatt digs up clues uncovering the truth behind the tragic school fire and the one responsible. The story of Tom and Philip slowly reveals itself, and Wyatt and Val realize nothing is as simple as they originally believed. As their trail heats up, an old enemy of Wyatt’s decides he’s waited long enough for revenge. If Wyatt can’t tie everything together, history might repeat itself.

 

 

Excerpt:

Once they were back at their hotel, Wyatt ushered Val into their room, not bothering with the light. They were high enough up there was no need to close the drapes, and light from the city cast a soft glow over them.

As Val unbuttoned his suit jacket, Wyatt stepped up behind him, placing his palms on Val’s shoulders, then rubbing lightly up and down his arms a few times. “Let me give you a hand.” Wyatt eased the jacket off and kissed the side of Val’s neck, nudging his head to the side as he did so. A low moan rumbled out of Val’s chest. Wyatt dropped the jacket on a chair and slipped his hands under Val’s shirt, caressing Val’s skin with his fingertips.

When he reached Val’s tightening nipples, he rubbed small circles until Val’s hips jerked. Val shuddered and pulled in a quick, shaky breath, making Wyatt smile. Val’s tie and shirt joined his jacket. Wyatt ran his hands over Val’s torso before returning them to Val’s shoulders. He lightly traced the scars on Val’s shoulder with first his finger, then his tongue.

Val’s surgery to repair the damage done in the course of stopping some seriously dangerous people who had been trying to force jockeys to throw races, had left several scars. They weren’t red, raised, and angry anymore. Val never complained about them hurting, but the marks were still puckered and darker than the surrounding skin.

“You know,” Val whispered between dragging in a breath and panting it out again. “That first time we went out to dinner, I was so worried you’d think I was some uncouth, country hick because I don’t know about wine and art. And that I was too young to bother with.”

“Hmm, do you know what I worried about when I was thirty?” Wyatt scraped his teeth across Val’s shoulder blades.

“N-no. What?”

“Getting a sweet piece of hot ass,” Wyatt said in a low voice.

Val laughed. “Well, you’re sort of slow. Took you long enough. Worth the wait?”

“Oh, hell, yes.” Wyatt maneuvered Val to the bed.

There is an age difference between Val and Wyatt. What’s your preference, couples that are closer or farther apart in age? Any personal experiences to share?

 

 

Foxtails by Elizabeth Noble

January 11, 2015

Title: Foxtails

Author: Elizabeth Noble

Pairing: Nick and Todd from Marked Yours and Together Bound

Prompt: celebration

Nick dropped the knapsack full of salt, magnetized iron, knives with silver edged blades, and sacrosanct oil onto the floor next to a chair. He sat on the same chair, leaned his elbows on his knees and rested his chin in his hands. Barely moving, he tracked Todd’s movements around the large room. A couple of dozen round tables covered with white cloth, and chairs stacked beside them, dotted the room. Todd went from table to table, looking under the clothes and moving the chairs around.

Todd stopped and turned, staring hard at Nick. “Are you going to help?”

Shaking his head, Nick said, “No.”

Glaring, Todd let his hands drop to his sides, tilted his head and sighed. “The party starts in a few hours. We’re the only sentries in Elk’s Ridge.” He waved at Nick in a ‘get up’ motion. “So, let’s get at it.”

“There’s no ghost.”

“Yes, there is. How do you account for all the weird things the owner told us has been going on around here lately?” Todd asked.

“I’m a psychic. If there was a ghost here, I’d know it,” Nick reminded his mate. “I’ve never been wrong before.”

Todd huffed an annoyed noise. “There’s a first time for everything. How do you explain—?”

“I don’t know. If there was a ghost, it’s gone now.”

“It could come back,” Todd countered. Nick nodded, conceding the fact Todd could be correct, but said nothing.

It was New Year’s Eve and Nick had much better ideas on how to spend the afternoon with his mate than chasing ghosts around. On a good day that wasn’t his favorite thing to do.

Elk’s Ridge had become their home. The town had taken them in during the war between New Colorado Protectorate and West Caldera Protectorate. Like many other owner/slave couples they’d fled north to Yellowknife Protectorate and landed quite by accident in Elk’s Ridge.

Now they had a house and a small farm to care for when they weren’t busy being sentries and chasing after supernatural threats.

This so-called ghost wasn’t so much of a threat as it was an annoyance. Every New Year’s Eve the town of Elk’s Ridge hosted a huge celebration. That celebration would begin in a few hours in this room. It took up one entire floor of a hotel and the proprietor insisted the place had become haunted recently.

He’d told them yesterday—when Todd had cheerfully volunteered their services—things had been disappearing, food was disturbed, and items were moved. It was more poltergeist behavior than a true haunting, but thanks to Todd and his quick-draw mouth, Nick had only had a day to research the building, employees and land. Research that had turned up a big, fat nothing as far as useful information went.

“I’m hungry… and cold. Can’t we go home and get ready for tonight’s celebration? There’s nothing here.” Nick tried not to whine, but judging from the arched eyebrow and the look he was on the receiving end of from Todd, he’d failed miserably.

“Not until this place is deemed safe for the guests tonight. It’s our duty as sentries.” Todd pulled a bottle from the shelf behind the bar and held it up. “How do you explain this?”

The cork had crumbled and pieces of it were floating in the whisky inside. The bottle’s label was scratched, but none of the liquid seemed to be missing.

Nick shrugged. “Okay, you don’t see that every day, but it doesn’t prove a ghost. And, let’s revisit the fact I can’t sense any spirit in this building.”

“The sooner we finish here the faster we can get home and I can warm you up,” Todd said and smirked. He leaned down and looked under the bar. “There are more bottles down here like this.”

“Really?” Nick got up and crossed the room. Joining Todd behind the bar he bent down and looked for himself. “This is weird, I’ll give you that.”

“Are you sure you don’t sense anything?” Todd asked. Nick shook his head and Todd held one hand up, his forefinger and thumb an inch apart. “Not even a little bit?”

“Not so much as a twinge,” Nick said. “Let’s go home now so you can warm me up.”

Todd slid one arm around Nick’s waist and tugged him close. “The faster we get this place clear, the faster you’ll get warmed up.” Todd’s voice was deep and smooth, his breath hot against Nick’s ear. His hand slipped down Nick’s back and gave his rear a quick swat. “If you want more of this,” Todd’s thigh pressed between Nick’s legs and against his groin, “we need to get rid of a ghost first.”

Scratching and something falling off a shelf under the bar made them both stop. Grumbling, Nick went one way. Todd was far too excited about searching in the other direction. Crouching down as they walked to search underneath the bar, they each made a complete circle around it, examining it entirely until they were back where they’d started.

Todd held up a pair of heavy drinking glasses. “Explain this.” He tipped them back and forth a few times before he replaced them to the shelf under the bar. “They weren’t stacked nicely like the rest of the glassware and one was on the floor.”

“Explain the scratching,” Nick countered. “Ghosts don’t make noise.”

“They sometimes knock things over,” Todd said. He crossed his arms over his chest and tapped his foot.

Nick stepped close enough to rub one hand up and down Todd’s thigh. He leaned in and pressed a sting of light kisses along Todd’s neck before saying, “I don’t sense any ghost.”

Todd put one hand on Nick’s chest and moved him back a step. “What about tonight’s celebration? Hmm? How embarrassing will it be to have everyone from town here and weird shit starts to happen? After the sentries deemed the place clean.” He slid one arm around Nick’s waist and pulled them together. Todd kissed Nick, lightly at first, but a few seconds later Nick was moaning into the kiss as his tongue slipped over Todd’s. When Todd broke their kiss he smiled and said, “You’ll get more after we have cleared up whatever is causing the problem, remember?”

Banging came from the kitchen and cut off Nick’s impending complaint. The kitchen was off the ballroom and there was a swinging door separating the two rooms. Letting go of Nick, Todd sprinted to the door saying, “It may not be a ghost, but there is something.”

Nick silently cursed whatever was keeping him from the warmth of his mate’s body and trailed after Todd. The kitchen was dark and it took them a few minutes of fumbling to find the Faraday lanterns evenly spaced along the wall. Todd prowled close to the large double oven and cook top. He pressed his cheek to the wall, looking behind the appliance.

Cans of food rolled on the floor near an opened pantry and a bag of sugar had been ripped open. It lay on its side, contents still pouring out onto the floor. Nick righted it and rolled the paper down to close the bag. He leaned it carefully against the back of the pantry shelf.

Todd must have heard the scratching at the same time Nick did. It came from a cupboard under the sink. Holding his finger to his lips, Todd dipped his head at the origin of the noise and moved quickly in that direction. Nick nodded, keeping his steps light and fast as he closed in from the other direction. They each took hold of a handle. Nick met Todd’s gaze steadily, took a deep breath and when Todd nodded, they pulled the doors open.

“Whoa!” Todd jerked to the side, lifting one foot when something red and white flashed by him.

Nick punched the air with his fist. “Ha! Not a ghost!”

“Alright, fine! You were right. What do you want, an extra blow job?” Todd spread his arms wide.

“Yes.”

“We still have a problem to solve before tonight’s New Year’s celebration. Wild animals can’t be running loose in here,” Todd said and shut the cupboard door. “How the hell did they get all the way up to the third floor anyway?”

“I think the more appropriate question is how do we get them out?” Nick asked. He sighed, shut the other door and leaned back against the counter. “I wonder if there’s just the two of them.”

Todd looked at him. His shoulders sagged and he groaned, not in the having hot sex way either. “There’s at least one more in the other room, if that’s what pushed the glasses over and chewed up the corks in the whiskey bottles. Waste of good whiskey.”

“Our only other explanation is a ghost, which I would sense,” Nick reminded him.

“That you don’t even sense a tiny bit,” Todd said. “Let’s deal with what is in here first.” He strode to the kitchen door and moved the bar that would stop the doors from swinging into place. “You’re the animal expert, any ideas?”

“I know about livestock.” Nick looked around the kitchen. “Let’s find some meat, fresh or dried.”

“Good idea.” Again they split up. Todd rifled through the refrigerator while Nick searched the pantry. After a few minutes Todd straightened and held a covered platter in one hand. He gave the refrigerator door a shove and it swung closed. “Fish. They like fish.” Looking around, he added, “Now we need something to trap them with.” The platter was handed off to Nick. “Here, put your knife skills to good use and cut this into smaller chunks. I’ll find something to make a trap with.”’

“I don’t like fish, why do I have to cut it up?”

“Because making a trap is my job,” Todd said and smiled that cocky smile of his.

“We are going to catch them alive, aren’t we?”

Sighing and dipping his head to one side, Todd rolled his eyes. “Yes! We’ll just catch them and turn them loose. Problem solved.”

“Uh-huh.” Nick found a cutting board and a butcher knife and went to work on the fish, dicing it into bite-sized chunks. He heard Todd rummaging through the kitchen; items were moved, doors opened and closed. After a few minutes the room became suspiciously quiet. Nick turned around to find Todd grinning at him. He raised his eyebrows and stood there watching his mate.

“All we have to do is get them into here,” Todd said and pointed inside a wooden crate. He dropped the lid and continued, “We close the lid and viola, back outside they go. Celebration continues and most importantly our awesome reputation remains intact.” Setting the crate at his feet he held up both thumbs.

“Uh-huh.”

Todd waved Nick’s doubts. “Oh, ye of little faith.” He carried the crate to the corner of the kitchen with the most shelves. “They ran this way.”

“Plenty of places for them to hide.” Nick shrugged and scooped up the pieces of fish. He laid trails of fish fanned out in front of the crate Todd had set down on its side. They backed up so they both stood behind the crate.

It didn’t take long for a small canine with pretty red fur, brownish legs and a white tipped tail to slink cautiously toward the fish. Nick wondered if Todd was holding his breath too, afraid to move and scare the little creature.

Sniffing the fish, the fox’s tail flipped side to side. It pawed at the pieces then jumped sideways. Todd snickered and Nick swallowed a full out laugh. “It’s just a kit,” he whispered to Todd.

Nick put a few more pieces of fish inside the crate. The little fox inched forward and gobbled up more of the fish then it stopped and looked up. Todd and Nick froze. Staring up at them the fox swished its tail and yipped. A second kit, smaller than this one, crept out from under the shelves. The two little fuzz balls wrestled, rolling over one another, then both grabbed a morsel of fish and played tug-o-war, the smaller of the pair winning the prize.

“C’mon, we’ll get you out of here,” Todd coaxed in a soft voice. He held a piece of fish out. The larger of the fox pups darted forward, grabbed the fish and scrambled off. It ran in a zigzag around the room, crashing into pans and toppling things stored on lower shelves.

Nick couldn’t help it; he doubled over and burst out laughing. That seemed to incite it further and made the second one join in. They apparently thought it was great fun to run close to Todd or Nick, snatch a snack and dart away, tails wagging, making squealing sounds.

Finally the larger kit ran headlong into the crate. It turned a circle and almost scrambled out, but Todd was faster by a mere second and managed to get the lid on the crate. The other fox darted around, between their feet, then it sprinted just out of touching range. It sat and looked at them.

Todd and Nick gazed back. The crate rattled in Todd’s arms. He balanced it with one hand and braced his other against the top of the crate.

Nick leaned down, holding out more fish. “We’re not going to hurt you. We’ll take you outside.” Slowly he sat down, cross-legged, and threw one piece to the floor. Never taking its eyes off Nick, the kit slunk forward, sniffed the fish swishing its tail a few times.

Scooting back a few feet, Nick repeated his actions. The fox smacked at the next piece of fish, jumped up, paced to the side and belly-crawled close enough to grab the food. Todd stepped silently until he was a foot or so from the fox and set the crate down, careful not to dislodge the top.

“When I lift the lid, you throw some pieces inside. That will keep the one inside busy and hopefully get the other one into the crate,” Todd whispered.

Nick nodded. He stood slowly and stretched far enough to grab more of the fish from the cutting board. The loose fox cocked its head to the side, watching. It whined softly and Nick smiled down at it. “Hungry?”

Todd’s plan seemed like a good one. Until he cracked the lid so Nick could get his hand and the fish in far enough.

The crate’s lid ejected out of Todd’s grasp and a red and brown blur scrambled up Nick’s arm, leapt to the floor and chirped happily as it bounded in a circle around Nick. Jerking his arm away, Nick gasped, slipped on the remains of a piece of fish and landed on his ass.

“Oops,” Todd said and laughed.

Nick grumbled, “Oops?” He pushed off the floor just as the kits chased each other around him and ran across his legs.

There was scratching on the opposite side of the swinging door, and loud yipping and barking. Both the kits ran to the door. Tails wagging, noses pressed to the space under the door.

“We get one in this crate and the other two will stay with it,” Nick said.

Todd nodded. “I think you’re right.” He whistled and the two young foxes turned, ears forward, heads up. “Play time’s over boys…girls…kids.”

He took the last bits of fish and tossed it into the crate then grabbed a salt shaker and rolled it along the floor at Nick. Stopping it with his foot, Nick met Todd’s gaze and grinned. He gave the shaker a push. It rolled back toward Todd.

The foxes jumped in opposite directions then scrambled after the glass shaker, their nails clicking against the wood floor. One kit ‘caught’ the shaker, pushing at it with its nose then leapt straight in the air and landed with the shaker underneath it.

Todd grabbed another shaker and rolled it neatly into the crate. Two heads, with black tipped ears straight up turned and watched. At the same time they took off, running so fast in circles around the crate they slipped and slid on the polished wood. Todd’s shoulders bounced and his entire body vibrated. He gave the crate a shake and the kits’ attention riveted to it.

Moving silently, Nick snatched up the lid and crept closer to Todd and the crate. A third shaker went into the crate, this time followed by two little foxes tumbling over each other.

“Ha! Gotcha!” Todd lifted the crate off the floor and Nick slapped the lid into place.

“We need more food for the other one,” Nick said. He hurried back to the refrigerator and pulled a plate of chicken out. Grabbing a few handfuls, he stuffed it in his pockets.

Nick peeked through the slats in the crate; two sets of deep brown eyes looked back. “I’ll get the door.” Crossing the kitchen to the door, Nick slid the bar free and looked back at Todd. “Think the other one will follow?”

“I think it’ll follow you,” Todd said. He tucked the crate under one arm, holding the lid securely in place with his free hand.

Nick opened the doors and stepped out into the main room, holding the door for Todd. Walking as fast as possible, and still keep quiet, they crossed the room. All the time Nick was aware of the larger fox. This one was heavier and he could easily tell it was female. She watched them from near one of the round tables. “Todd, look. I guess we were both right.” Nick sidled up and whispered in Todd’s ear.

The female was a deep gray with a vibrant white tip to her tail.

Todd nodded. “She almost looks like a spirit with that coloring. Come on, sweetheart, follow us and we’ll get you and the kids somewhere better for you than here.” He looked at Nick. “Give her a smell.”

Nick crouched down and rubbed his hands on the floor in front of him. When the fox took a few steps forward and sniffed, he extracted some of the chicken from his pocket and dropped it in front of him. Bushy gray tail arched over her back, waving side to side, the fox took a few more steps toward him. Nick stayed perfectly still while she crept forward and nibbled at the meat. Smiling he took a few more pieces and set them down, pushing them over the floor to her. She paced back and forth a few times before snatching the morsels.

“Poor thing is probably hung over from all the whiskey she broke into,” Todd said. “Let’s see if we can coax her down the service entrance.” He jerked his chin to the door leading to the back stairs. They’d checked all the exits before going into the room and knew it would lead straight outside.

As he had with the kitchen doors, Nick held the service entrance door open for Todd to get the crate through. The two kits must have smelled the adult fox; now they were crying and yipping, sounds Nick knew was one fox calling to others. He threw a few pieces of meat down the steps ahead of Todd. Walking carefully so he didn’t step on them, Todd made his way down the stairs.

The female fox eyed Nick for a minute then darted after Todd, barely stopping to snatch up the scraps Nick offered her. When they reached the exit, Nick pushed the door open and Todd slipped outside. The crate was jostling around in his arms, but he grinned and headed toward their wagon.

They wasted no time securing the crate in the wagon bed. Nick peered through the crate slots once again. The kits were curled together in a corner, watching him. When something poked his leg, Nick looked down. The female sniffed his foot, putting one paw on his boot.

Todd held his fingers to his lips and mouthed the words, “don’t move.” Nick watched as Todd moved to where the horses were hitched and untied them. He tossed the reins to the seat and jumped up. Todd twisted around and waved with his fingers for Nick.

Nick took the rest of the chicken meat from his pocket and tossed it to the wagon bed near the crate. Watching the female, he backed toward the front of the wagon. When he started to climb to the bench seat and take his place beside Todd, the fox bounded into the back of the wagon. Todd clucked softly and turned the horses, guiding the wagon down the street.

“Any ideas where to take them?” Todd asked.

“How about the woods along the edge of our farm? There’s a creek there,” Nick said. “They’ll have plenty of food and space and no danger of getting shot at going after someone’s chickens. They certainly don’t seem too afraid of people.”

“They’ve been living in a hotel for three weeks, why should they be? I’m surprised no one saw them before now.” Todd turned and looked between them before saying softly, “Nicky.”

Nick followed Todd’s gaze. The female fox had her front legs on the back of the bench seat. She sniffed first Nick’s arm, then Todd’s before backing away and sitting beside the crate. The day was cold, but clear and sunny. Todd held the reins in one hand and put his other arm around Nick, rubbing his shoulder for a few minutes. Nick scooted closer, relaxing against Todd’s side and sighing happily.

“Okay, you were right,” Todd said. He leaned to the side, giving Nick a quick kiss.

“I love being right.”

Todd chuckled. “We’re still sentries and that means protecting all sorts of families.”

It didn’t take them more than a half hour to find a suitable spot on their farm to release the little family of foxes. There was a thick covering of snow on the ground so they’d have to leave the wagon on the road. Nick swung his legs over the bench seat to the back of the wagon and untied the crate. The entire time he was closely supervised by the gray fox. She darted in, licked his hand when he loosened the ropes and ran in circles yipping when the crate was handed down to Todd.

They carried the crate into the woods, and set it close to the creek bank. Laying it on the side, Todd removed the lid and stood back. The female ran into the crate as the two younger kits came barreling out. Todd took Nick’s hand and squeezed while they watched three bundles of fur romp and roll over one another.

Letting go of Nick, Todd scooped up a handful of snow, patting it into a ball. He launched it and it landed just in front of the kits. They scampered after it, jumping up to bite at the spray of snow.

Todd hooked one arm around Nick’s neck and nudged him back to the wagon, but didn’t get in. Instead he turned Nick and leaned him against the side of the wagon. “Now, Nicky, I believe I promised to warm you up.” He cupped the back of Nick’s head, fingers threading through Nick’s hair while he pressed soft kisses to Nick’s cheek and down his neck.

Nick slid both arms around Todd, hugging him close. “Guess we’ll be a little late for tonight’s celebration,” Nick said softly.

Todd stepped away, and climbed into the wagon. He held his hand out for Nick to use to pull himself up and onto the seat beside Todd. “That’ll be going on until morning. In the meantime, we cleared away the ‘ghosts’ and gave a family a new home. The good people of Elk’s Ridge can have their party in peace, other than the ruckus the drunks cause.” He slapped the reins gently against the horses, and the wagon rolled forward. Taking the reins in one hand again, he slipped his palm between Nick’s thighs, fingertips rubbing along Nick’s hardening cock. “Now, Nicky, time for our own celebrating.”

That was one celebration Nick was looking forward to. He leaned in, nipped at Todd’s ear and whispered, “Drive faster.”

 

Did you enjoy Elizabeth Noble’s story? If so, check out the rest of her books and take 25% off at checkout with the code ElizabethNobleFlash2. Coupon code is good for one order per customer through February 11, 2015.

This Crazy Little Thing by Elizabeth Noble

January 6, 2015

Title: This Crazy Little Thing

Author: Elizabeth Noble

Pairing: Jonas and Blair from Electric Candle

Prompt: apple

Jonas Forge held out a fork full of pastry and fruit. “Here, try this. Little slice of heaven is no exaggeration.”

Blair leaned forward and caught most of what Forge offered, in his mouth. He smiled, eyes lighting up, and groaned. “That’s good.” He licked up the little bit that dribbled off the fork with a swipe of his tongue under his lower lip.

Autumn was wonderful in America’s Midwest, Forge’s favorite time of year. He was a 240-year-old vampire and he’d had plenty of time to decide this season was the one he liked the best. “I’ve lived quite a few different places, but I have to say this part of the world has definite advantages this time of year. I bet you didn’t get pie like this in New Mexico.”

Blair shrugged. “True, but no one up here knows what a good burrito is.”

“Touché,” Forge said and grinned. “But the leaves don’t change color in the desert either.” He cut a piece of pie for Blair and handed it across the table. They had two entire nights alone at Boggs’s Castle, a rare occurrence. In fact, Forge wasn’t even sure how that happened. He couldn’t remember the last time everyone else was away for so long at once.

Blair Turner had been living here, in Flint, Ohio with Forge just about a year now and this was the first night they’d been alone in the house. He poked at Blair’s plate. “Want some ice cream with that?”

“No, I like it just the way it is.” Blair took a forkful and scooped more of the pie into his mouth. He swallowed and there it was, exactly what Forge was waiting for. Leaning back in his chair he watched Blair’s Adam’s apple slide up and down as he swallowed. Some of the filling slipped off the fork and oozed down Blair’s chin. He used the fork to scrape it off and into his mouth. Stopping mid-swallow, fork still in his mouth, he met Forge’s gaze and raised his eyebrows. “What?”

Forge and Blair had been soul bonded last year. It was autumn then as well, but too much had been going on for them to enjoy what the season had to offer. Bonded vampires felt each other’s emotions to varying degrees, depending on the individuals. For Forge and Blair that connection was very strong.

Tonight it was clear Blair was sensing Forge’s feelings a bit more intensely than usual. From the expression he wore and the emotions rolling off Blair, Forge knew he liked the way Forge watched him.

Blair swallowed leisurely, smirking around his fork. Earlier, while they were setting the table, Blair had put music on. Despite Forge being born before the artists popular in this century, he and Blair shared very similar tastes in music.

Humming along with Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Blair scooped up another forkful of pie. He eased it into his mouth and swallowed even more slowly than before, eyebrows bobbing and eyes twinkling. Before taking another mouthful of apple pie Blair asked, “So, what do you want to do tonight?”

Forge blinked at him and poured more wine into both their glasses. He ran his tongue along his lips and shrugged. “I hadn’t thought about it.” There was a fire crackling and popping cheerfully in the living room fireplace. Moose, of course, sprawled in front of it, soaking up all the heat.

“Wine and pie don’t really go together well,” Blair pointed out. He plucked a loose slice of apple from the pan and sucked it deliberately into his mouth. Then he swiped the tip of his tongue across his lower lip.

Clearing his throat, Forge stood up. “I’ll make some coffee.” He waved at the remains of their main course. “We should clean up so Moose doesn’t help himself to scraps.” He stacked the dinner plates and wandered to the kitchen.

“You’ll probably need the caffeine for extra energy, old man,” Blair murmured. Forge snickered when he heard the sound of Blair’s footsteps behind him and his humming made Forge smile. Setting his plate with his half-eaten piece of pie on the counter, Blair used one finger to scoop up a chunk of apple.

Forge put coffee beans in the grinder and pressed down, turning to face Blair as he did so. Blair’s eyes had changed to solid hazel. He put the piece of apple in his mouth and grinned, licking the juice off his finger a second later.

“You’re distracting me from my mission of making coffee,” Forge teased.

Blair swayed with the music, brushing against Forge’s hip. “Um-hum. Yes, I am.” He took another finger-full of pie and held it up between them.

Forge leaned in, slipped one arm around Blair’s waist and ate the offered fruit. Pulling Blair close, he licked Blair’s lip then kissed him. “You taste like apples.”

Blair smiled into the kiss and scooped up more pie. This time he smeared some of the filling down his neck. He stepped back so he could lean against the counter. “You like apples.”

“I do.” Forge’s fangs dropped and he used them to rake lightly over the skin of Blair’s neck before sucking the juice off. “Love them actually.”

Blair’s Adam’s apple bobbed, but this time it was caused by the deep, needy moan he exhaled. Forge wrapped both arms around Blair and moved him so he was wedged securely between the counter and Forge. Using one hand between Blair’s thighs Forge pressed his fingers against the inside of his left thigh, rubbing the marks he’d made there when they’d bonded. He knew they were hot-wired directly to Blair’s cock. Blair squirmed against him, breath coming in fast pants.

When he thought of it, this whole soul bonding thing was crazy. Being drawn to someone who was in many ways his opposite—no, complement, Forge reminded himself—was mind boggling. Mind boggling, amazing and incredible all at once, but love in general was a little crazy he supposed.

Letting go of Blair, Forge took one step back, held his arm up and made a big deal out of looking at his watch. “We can still get to that orchard a few miles outside of town and get some cider and apple fritters for breakfast.”

Blair sagged back against the counter. “Huh?” His voice cracked and Forge chuckled. “You want to go now?”

Forge shrugged. “They close a few hours after dark. We should get another pie. I bet they have hay rides.”

“Do you have some kind of bizarre addiction to apples?” Blair asked. Feelings of lust, heavily spiced with impatience and a dash of annoyance radiated from him.

“I know you’ve only been a vampire for a handful of years, but we have plenty of time. There’s no ru—” Forge’s words were abruptly cut off when Blair reached out, grabbed Forge’s shirt in both hands and yanked him hard against Blair. In the next instance he had a mouthful of Blair’s tongue.

Turning them, Blair reversed their positions. Now Forge was trapped against the counter. Widening his stance, Blair stepped close so one of Forge’s thighs was between his legs. The tips of his fangs skimmed a path across Forge’s jaw before he nipped lightly at Forge’s ear.

“So, are you saying you don’t want to take a car ride?” Forge ran one hand up Blair’s spine and moaned softly when Blair’s tongue followed his fangs.

“I’d rather take a walk,” Blair said softly, squeezing Forge’s waist and pressing even more closely to him.

“Oh, okay, if that’s what you want. Your wish and all. Let me grab Moose’s harness, we can’t go for a walk without him,” Forge said. He laughed when Blair’s feelings turned to aggravation and innocently asked, “Am I missing something?”

Blair bounced with the music and gave him a playful shove, forcing Forge to stay where he was. Snatching up more apples from the pie, Blair smeared the juice over his lips then licked his fingers clean. He sucked in a ragged breath and Forge was drenched in an emotional cocktail of love, desire and needy desperation.

“I hate you,” Blair grumbled.

“Uh-huh.” Forge grinned and Blair smiled back.

“Not buying it, huh?” Blair tipped his head back and gave Forge complete access to the length of his neck. He took full advantage of that offer.

Forge ran his fingertips along Blair’s left inner thigh again, making him shudder. “Nope.” His own body quivered in response. Pulling them together again, Forge pressed a hungry, long kiss to Blair’s mouth. His tongue slipped over Blair’s and his hands moved to Blair’s hips, moving them in time to the music. He put his other arm around Blair and walked him backward toward the door. “A minute,” Forge said, stopped and held up one finger. “I really do have to take care of this or else someone…,” he tipped his head in Moose’s direction, “…will clean up for us.”

“Right.” Blair sidestepped and grabbed the garbage bag out of the can, holding it open so Forge could dump the contents of the plates inside. He sprinted to the dining room and came back with the pie dish and what was left of their dessert. That went into the refrigerator.

Forge tied the bag and took it out to the garbage can, secured the lid and bound back into the house, locking the door after him. “You were asking about what to do tonight?”

“I have an idea or two,” Blair said. He held up one hand and crooked a finger as he backed toward the stairs to the second floor.

“Only one or two?” Forge shook his head and rested his hands on his hips. “You’re slipping.”

Blair arched an eyebrow, a subtle enough gesture. The emotions that accompanied it, however, took Forge back to him thinking how much he loved Blair. And how crazy it was, considering they’d barely had much chance to get to know one another. When one’s life span had the potential to cover hundreds, if not thousands of years, one year together was a mere blip.

“We still have time to get to the apple orchard,” Forge said innocently.

Blair threw his hands up in the air. “Arrrgghh!” He turned and bolted up the steps.

Forge laughed. “Or we can go tomorrow.”

Feelings of love and craving washed over Forge as he bounded up the stairs to join Blair. Tomorrow they’d have a late breakfast at the orchard and get some extra cider to bring home. Later in the afternoon was the Ohio State/Michigan football game—go Buckeyes—complete, of course, with the halftime band show featuring the ‘best damn band in the land’.

Blair was starting a fire in the bedroom fireplace. He stood to face Forge, grinning. Forge snagged him around the waist and hustled him to the bed, dumped him there and pounced on top of Blair, loving how his chest vibrated when he laughed.

Autumn in Ohio was Forge’s favorite time of year. There were apples, football, trees awash in golds, reds and oranges and nights spent in front of a fire. Even better was this crazy soul mate bonding thing and a future forever with Blair.

 

Did you enjoy Elizabeth Noble’s story? If so, check out the rest of her books and take 25% off at checkout with the code ElizabethNobleFlash. Coupon code is good for one order per customer through February 6, 2015.

New Releases: November 26th, 2014

November 26, 2014

By Blood by Sasha Kay Riley

 

Vince and Dustin build their relationship as Vince trains for the Olympic equestrian team. But a disgruntled stable hand changes everything.

Anderson Stables: Book Two

 

When Vincent Anderson returns from eight months in Florida helping his dad train racehorses, he expects a peaceful homecoming. But the initial happiness over the reunion with his boyfriend Dustin doesn’t last long. Chris, a disgruntled stable hand, causes a riding accident that sends Dustin to the hospital—then Chris disappears.

 

The fear of Chris’s return hovers over the stable like a dark cloud while Vince and Dustin build their relationship and Vince works with his own horse, Xander, to begin trying for the United States Olympic equestrian team. The competition becomes the last of Vince’s concerns when Chris shows up at the barn brandishing a gun and demanding money. Vince faces his former employee alone, and what happens next changes everything.

 

Length: Novella (172p.) | Genre: Mystery/Suspense | Release Date: November 26, 2014

Buy as eBook ($5.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-292-2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Belong to Me by Edward Kendrick

 

As Corey and Scott, the undercover detective assigned to protect him, work together, they realize they’re starting to care about each other.

Corey Byrne loves his family—as long as he only has to see them once a year. Since he’s not out to them, it makes things… tense. Returning to his job at a homeless shelter after Christmas, he finds someone has left him a very expensive present. Soon, he begins to get messages from the anonymous gift giver. Then Corey’s friend Brad is murdered in Corey’s apartment and undercover detective Scott Reed is assigned to protect Corey. As they work together to find the killer, they realize they’re starting to care about each other. However Scott is unwilling to act on his feelings unless Corey comes out to his family and coworkers. As the threats from the stalker intensify, Corey is forced to admit that love is too precious to hide from. Perhaps now is the time to be honest about who he is and accept the possibility of love in return—before it’s too late.

 

 

Length: Novella (118p.) | Genre: Mystery/Suspense | Release Date: November 26, 2014

Buy as eBook ($4.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-293-9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tethered Pair by Elizabeth Noble

 

Sentries Todd and Nick Ruger face demons onboard a riverboat while trying to stop the flow of illegal weapons.

 

Sequel to Collared Souls; Sentries: Book Five

 

War rages across New Colorado Protectorate, and both sides employ normal and supernatural soldiers and arsenals. Sentries like Todd and Nick Ruger have the talents and training to combat such paranormal threats.

 

When Todd and Nick are sent by New Colorado’s Chancellor Clarke to investigate a group of weapons smugglers, they wind up posing undercover on the riverboat Annabelle. To their horror, they discover the arms dealers are demons—creatures they have no experience facing. Staying alive will take all their skills and abilities, especially trust in the powerful bond they’ve forged.

 

In the process of trying to stop the flow of illegal weapons, Todd and Nick learn of an assassination plot—targeting Chancellor Clarke. The events it sets into motion will alter the Rugers’ lives forever.

 

Length: Novel (200p.) | Genre: Other Paranormal, Angels and Demons, BDSM, Science Fiction, Mystery/Suspense | Release Date: November 26, 2014

Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-393-6) | Buy as Paperback ($14.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-392-9)

Mended release party post: Always Plan Ahead

June 1, 2014

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Elizabeth Noble is popping by to talk about her Mended Anthology release, Always Plan Ahead.

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Oh hello hurt/comfort one of the sweet little staples of many, many genres of writing and storytelling! It’s taken many forms and had other names dating back to the time humans began weaving stories and using the stars as characters. We’ve read it in books and watched it on the big and little screen. It’s in every culture and every age of humanity.

Clearly it is a popular theme.

Who doesn’t like their hero being comforted, loved and cared for by the other hero. Notice how I go from stars and through the ages to M/M romance?

What is it about hurt/comfort that we like so much? Most human beings don’t really want to see someone hurt, but the hurting is important. Without the hurt we never get the comfort. It’s the comfort that speaks to something in us all. The hurt takes many forms. It can be mental anguish, physical pain, emotional trauma, or some combination of all three. The hero can get a broken leg, or in the case of Juan in Always Plan Ahead a hurt back. He can have the crap scared out of him and then his hero comes along to provide a much-needed sense of security. His friend can be hurt and he feels helpless and alone or maybe his family has shunned him (or he thinks they will) for being gay. The possibilities are endless.

After the hurts comes the comfort. The understanding without the need to explain feelings. Strong arms and shoulders to lean on for support. A lover who is first, a friend, someone a guy can depend on no matter what.

The real theme, however, of Always Plan Ahead isn’t the hurting, but how comforting someone can be when we least expect it. Juan’s long time boyfriend, Victor, a socially awkward nerdy guy becomes a hero in a totally unexpected way. He not only takes care of Juan, but the things in Juan’s life that are very important to him. Victor shows Juan those things are important to them both.

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Blurb for Always Plan Ahead:

Juan and Victor have been together for a long time. Victor is a sweet man, but hides it well. Most people see him as a bit cold and distant. Juan knows better. He is given a powerful reminder when an accident on the space station where they are both living and working leaves Juan temporarily helpless. Victor steps in, becoming Juan’s hero in some very unexpected ways.

My Second Winner for a copy of Run for the Roses

May 4, 2014

….is Susan! Congratulations and happy reading! I’ll send you an email in a bit.

Everyone has another chance to win today from 4pm -7 pm eastern I’ll be on Dreamspinner Press Facebook, come join the fun and contest.  Follow the link:  https://www.facebook.com/dreamspinnerpress

Thank you for a great release day!

May 2, 2014

It’s a been a wonderful day. I’ll leave you with two things, first a little more Val and Wyatt, this one with some spice:

 

They left the restaurant and walked to Wyatt’s car. Stepping around Val, Wyatt went to the passenger side and unlocked the car door. Val saw Wyatt glance around the parking lot. No one else was around. When Wyatt reached out and slipped one hand through Val’s hair and pulled him gently closer, Val tensed despite his brain screaming at him not to.

 

“Shush. I’m not going to hurt you.” Wyatt tenderly brushed his fingers through Val’s hair. “Though, I’ll be honest, I have hurt people. But they were bad people stealing valuable national treasures and wouldn’t give them back.”

 

Val burst out laughing, and the tension left him. Wyatt smiled in that way that made the corners of his eyes crinkle. When Wyatt leaned in toward Val again, he inched forward.

 

Wyatt’s kiss was light and gentle. He didn’t push, but seemed to wait patiently and coax Val into opening his lips. It was the hottest thing Val ever could imagine, and he moaned, rocking his hips into Wyatt as Wyatt’s tongue slipped over Val’s and skimmed the roof of his mouth.

 

Val slid his arm around Wyatt’s back. At the same time Wyatt wound his free arm around Val’s waist, pulled him closer, and pressed his thigh between Val’s legs, applying steady pressure upward. It was delightful and maddening at the same time. No one had ever affected him in this way or so completely. Val wanted more.

 

Wyatt ran a hand softly up Val’s spine, making him shiver, then moved his hand to Val’s shoulder. He pushed back from Val barely enough to break their kiss and caressed Val’s cheek with his own before saying in a low voice, “I thought I’d burst before I had the chance to kiss you.” Wyatt’s breath was warm against Val’s skin, making him quiver and his breath catch in his throat. Reaching around Val, Wyatt pulled on the car door latch. He nudged Val to the side and opened the door completely, then waved grandly at the inside. “Shall we?”

 

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I’m hard at work writing the next installment of Val and Wyatt’s story, the title is A Barlow Lens. There are more mysteries to investigate and Dreamspinner has at least two more races to run after all! There is no horse race without other horses to race against and I need a few name ideas. Got a great idea for a Thoroughbred name  you’d care to share with me? Leave it in the comments below and I’ll enter your name in a drawing to win an eBook copy of Run for the Roses. There is a catch, however. In the United States the official name of a Thoroughbred racehorse can’t be more than 18 letters.

 
Thank you for stopping by today and happy reading!

Elizabeth Noble