WRECKED Blog Party – Part 2 – Sexy Excerpt

May 16, 2015

Wrecked

Thank you for joining me, Deanna Wadsworth, for my blog party to celebrate the release of my historical romance WRECKED. Earlier I was talking about inspiration and where I got the idea for WRECKED.

Now I have a question for you….

What is your favorite era in American history to read about?

The Wild West? Revolutionary War? Civil War?

I’m a huge American history fan, so I like all the eras because it feels like my history. J

If you don’t know the setting for WRECKED, here is a quick peek at the blurb:

Blurb from WRECKED:

Off the Key West coast, Rief Lawson works as a wrecker, salvaging ships and their cargo. Exiled to the outskirts of society because of his mysterious gift of sight, Rief’s only respite from his loneliness is painting an unknown blond man. When a merchant ship wrecks during a violent storm, Rief rescues a drowning victim and comes face-to-face with his destiny.

It is the man from his art!

Heir to an English barony, Mathew Weston entered the merchant trade with his greedy father and soon-to-be father-in-law. Dominated by his father and smothered by the people around him—including his sweet but tiresome fianceé—Mathew is terrified to follow his true desires. Marriage and obedience seem safer than a life of secrecy and possible prison.

After the daring rescue, a fire ignites between the two men. Powerless to resist his desire, Mathew learns what it means to be a man in Rief’s arms. With this newfound confidence, Mathew teaches Rief through gentle touch that he deserves the affection he’s long been denied. Yet their affair is doomed from the start. Two desperate men, wrecked in heart and mind, must find a way to salvage the chance at love fate has given them.

 

Now would you like a quick, naughty excerpt? Please leave a comment about what era in American history is your favorite for a romance novel and then check out the naughty excerpt from WRECKED! I mean, if any of you read EASY RYDER or A CUPID’S WAGER, you know that I like to write some steamy stuff!! And don’t forget to enter to win your own copy WRECKED!

~D

 

Enter to win WRECKED here:a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

EXCERPT for WRECKED:

With a soft moan, Rief clung to him for a moment. Then he rolled over. “Take me again before you go.”

Mathew groaned when that ass brushed against his cock. Already pretty stiff from being so close, his groin throbbed at the sight of such submissive posturing.

Sideling up to him, he brushed Rief’s mussed hair off his face before cupping it possessively and kissing him. An intensity of emotions roared inside him knowing Rief trusted him enough to share his secrets. It made Mathew want to protect Rief’s heart while bringing every pleasure to his body he had ever been denied. He would give anything to this man, anything to make him heal and to prove, more than any drawing, Mathew would give Rief peace. Their time together would surpass any joy Rief experienced while painting him.

He would be immortalized, not on a canvas, but upon Rief’s very soul.

Drawing back, he asked in a pant, “Where is the oil?”

Rief found it and poured some in his hand, passing it to Mathew to coat his cock. He stared, enthralled at the indecent pleasure on Rief’s face as he plunged his own fingers into his ass with expert precision.

“Please,” Rief begged, lying on his side and raising one leg.

Never before had Mathew heard a more rousing word, nor seen such an erotic sight. He’d first believed buggering was something done to a woman or someone less than a man. Perhaps doled out as a punishment.

How foolish he had been!

This morning, he saw everything so differently.

To all outward appearance, Rief was the heartier of the two. Big and masculine. Yet pleading for a cock inside him did not make him less of a man, nor did it render him weak or feminine. His need to release all control, to be vulnerable before Mathew, made him incredibly enticing. Mathew had been living in fear most of his life, but when they were in this bed, he was empowered. Bold and courageous, just as Rief painted him.

There was no greater or lesser between them. Being connected this way made them both whole.

Enter to win WRECKED here:a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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The Royal Treatment with John Wiltshire

April 27, 2015

The Royal Treatment

 

Readers who know me well will probably be amazed at me doing this blog post. My name is John Wiltshire (http://johnwiltshire.co.nz/), and I’m a social media virgin. There, confession over, apologies made in advance if I press the wrong buttons and end up answering questions that were never asked. I’m only here today because the sequel to my novel A Royal Affair is out today. Aleksey’s Kingdom picks up the tale of Nikolai Hartmann and King Christian X (Aleksey) two years after Nikolai finished narrating the events of the first book, which took place in Hesse-Davia. I very much wanted A Royal Affair to be a complete and satisfying read without the need for a sequel, and I think I achieved that. The novel has an almost lyrical, fairytale ending as Nikolai and Aleksey carve their new life in the freedom of the great woods of the New World.

However, although it has a romantic ending, A Royal Affair is an exploration of conflict—political ones, the war in which the protagonists are engaged and the reformation they attempt in Hesse-Davia, but also a very personal one between Nikolai and Aleksey. At the end of the novel, they are still two very different men with very different experiences and outlooks on life. So, leaving them in a perfect relationship in the dreamlike innocence of the New World and just concluding ‘they lived happily ever after’ would have been a denial of this central premise. I’m fascinated by the idea of what lies beneath the surface of things, what you discover if you journey into the heart of darkness. In other words, I couldn’t help but picture Aleksey’s face, tool (hammer) in hand, as he was expected to build and live in a cabin in the woods…So, the personal conflict for Aleksey’s Kingdom was very easy to establish—these men haven’t changed who they fundamentally are, and Aleksey, a king and the general of a victorious army, is now stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing very much to do. I envisaged mischief ensuing.

I then had to plan the dramatic clash—the plot. I’d recently watched a little-known (well, I’d never heard of it) film called Ravenous (1999), in which a group of soldiers travel to an outpost to unravel various nefarious goings on. There’s nothing better for any plot than to have a small group of people trapped together with mysterious emanations (and possibly cannibalism). Today, such stories need to be set in space (or perhaps the Arctic) to establish such a profound sense of isolation, but in the late seventeenth century everything was unknown and can be used to create a wonderful sense of fear and menace. It’s no coincidence that the most infamous witch trials in history took place in the New World at this time—Salem. So, I borrowed the very basic premise of Ravenous, mixed it with the atmosphere and hysteria that surrounds The Crucible and had the skeleton outline for my story. I also have to give credit to John Connolly, one of my favourite authors, who explores the idea in his novels that evil does exist in this world—that the fallen angels still walk amongst us.

So, in Aleksey’s Kingdom, Nikolai and Aleksey join a small band of soldiers and colonists travelling to a deserted outpost that lies alongside a vast waterfall on the border between the English and French occupied regions of the New World. The falls, which dominate the book, are real, and based on Niagara. I once visited this out-the- world place and, for a dare, paddled in the river above the drop off. I leave it to Nikolai to describe the impression that foolish action had on me…This natural cataclysm comes to represent the great metaphorical descent he has to make to save Aleksey—his own personal journey into the heart of darkness and the final abandoning of his scientific, rational way of seeing the world.

I think most of my readers have worked out by now that I don’t write conventional m/m fiction. I’m rather proud of the eye scrawled in blood on the cover of Aleksey’s Kingdom—thanks to L.C. Chase, who did such a great job bringing this to life. Trust me that smear of blood sets the tone for this novel. It’s not a book for the faint-hearted. No adorable presents are exchanged; no romantic dinners eaten; no babies adopted or fluffy kittens were purchased during the making of this novel. There is death and horror—after reading one scene, my editor came back to me and exclaimed, “You have to leave this out; you’ll have no readers left!” The scene is still in. I have faith. And sometimes, as with soldiers in war, there’s great humour in adversity. I find Nikolai extremely amusing, and I know Aleksey secretly does, too. Ultimately, this novel is about bravery and sacrifice. It’s about Nikolai and Aleksey, Faelan, Xavier and Boudica. It’s about love. Always love.

***

To celebrate the publication of Aleksey’s Kingdom, I’d like to give away a copy of the first in the series: A Royal Affair. I said earlier that I’m fascinated by the concept of what lies beneath the surface of things—the journeying into literal and metaphorical darkness. To win a copy of A Royal Affair, comment on this blog post and let me know of a book you love that you think also explores these themes. We’ll pick the best answer and a copy of A Royal Affair will be winging its way to you.

***

I have a very active fan club on Goodreads, where they discuss all the novels (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/151017-john-wiltshire-fan-group). Tempers flare; emotions heat up, because these books are controversial. I have a feeling there will soon be a very long thread on Aleksey’s Kingdom, especially after some of the scenes in it. This is your chance to challenge me—ask me anything…I could give some hints to up-coming events in the More Heat Than the Sun series about Benjamin Rider and Nikolas Mikkelsen (Book 8 of which is currently being written). Or I could chat about my new novel set in New Zealand (where I’m currently living): Ollie-Always.

I love discussing books (especially mine). I’m sitting comfortably, so let’s begin…

The House on F Street by Christopher Hawthorne Moss

December 2, 2014

When I woke that morning, I was alone in the bed.  This was not unusual as Rufus often got up early to take his “customary constitutional on Constitution”, but I was sorry anyway.  Last night had been lovely, sweet and passionate at the same time.  After nights like that I always wanted to wake up in his arms.

I heard the door to my bedchamber open slowly and twisted my head to see if it was he.  “Oh, it’s you, Annie.”  Out of kindness to the girl, I hoped she did not hear the disappointment in my voice.

“A good mornin’ to you, Senator,” she replied in her brogue.  Annie is our maid of all work and came straight to Washington from somewhere near Limerick.  “I am here to open your curtains and to see if you’ll be after comin’ down for breakfast or want to have a tray brought up.”

I sat up in bed and made sure my nightshirt wasn’t a scandal.  “Is the Senator at home?” I asked her hopefully.

“Himself is not, sir,” she answered, grasping the heavy curtains and thrusting them apart with a clatter of the curtain rings.  “Senator King went out quite early this morning.”

I sighed.  It was a special day, you see.  It was St. Valentine’s Day, and I so wanted to spend it with, well, my paramours is a word I have heard it called.  I am sure the wags in Congress have unkinder terms than that.  I had hoped to breakfast with Rufus on this special day of all days.  I knew he had not forgotten, as he had made reference to the occasion when we lay together in my bed last evening.

“I shall take my meal in here then.  Will you be a dear and hand me my dressing gown?”

A neat and prim little woman, no older than 25, Annie was a country girl and seemingly blessedly ignorant of the ways of the world.  I once overheard her speaking with the boy who delivers produce talking in low tones.  He appeared to have been telling her how my old friend Andrew Jackson called me “Miss Nancy” and my dear Rufus “Aunt Fancy”.  She must have expressed some confusion as I saw him lean to her and whisper something in her ear.  She drew back with a look of horror on her face and exclaimed, “Jack, no!  Senator Buchanan is a very respectable statesman, so he is.  He and Senator. King are just housemates.  I never heard such a shameful thing in all me days,” she went on.  “I am thinkin’ you have a filthy mind, Jack Hamilton.”

I was loath to believe that she was that innocent, I must tell you.  But then so young and just off the boat, who knows?  I saw to it she got a stern talking to by our cook, Mabel, who impressed upon the girl the importance of not sharing tales with the likes of delivery boys.

I had breakfasted and dressed and decided to go into my study and read up on two bills that my party would bring to a vote in the afternoon.  I took my seat by the small fireplace to read when I happened to look up at the mantelpiece.  I sat and stared for a moment, sensing something missing.  I realized with a start that the empty place on the wall was where my painting of Mr. Jackson, Old Hickory, should be. It was a gift from him.   “My stars!” I exclaimed.  I shot up from my chair and flew to the door.  When I was in the hall I shouted, “Annie!  Come here this instant!”

In a moment the girl was standing before me, her eyes wide and her hands twisting anxiously in her apron.  “Whatever be amiss, sir?” she asked.

“That!” I said, pointing to the bare spot on the wall.

She peered in the direction I indicated.  “Sir?”

“See for yourself!” I accused.

She crept past me, crossing the room to peer closely at the wall.  She carefully looked all around, her nose no more than a few inches from pressing against the wallpaper.  She reached up a pale finger and touched a spot.  She finally turned to me with a perplexed expression.  “I be that sorry, Senator, but I’m not findin’ anything amiss.”

Making an impatient harrumph, I stated, “That is just what I mean, girl.  You don’t see anything amiss… because what should be there is missing.”

She turned back and looked, then threw up her hands and said, “Saints preserve us!  Why this is where that picture of that disagreeable looking old gentleman should be.  What happened to it?”

“That ‘disagreeable old gentleman, as you describe him, my dear, is the seventh President of these United States, Mr. Andrew Jackson!  The painting was a gift to me from that august personage.  And how should I know where it’s gone?  I called you in here to have you tell me that.”

Her look of chagrin quickly shifted to hurt feelings.  With her fists on her narrow hips she muttered something in what I assume was Irish and then, in what passes for English through her lips, she said, “Senator, you cannot be suggestin’ that I should take the old thing, now, would you?”

I realized she was right, that I had not taken care to be clear that all I wanted to know was if she had removed the portrait.  “I beg your pardon, Annie.  I was intemperate.  I merely wanted to know if the picture had been removed for some reason.”

Giving me such a look of “Are you simple?” she shook her head.  “Well I am that certain that it has, Senator.  By whom and why I cannot tell.”

Now I was annoyed that she should take such an insolent approach to my obvious wish to learn where my treasured portrait of Old Hickory had been removed to.  Impatiently I demanded, “Then go ask cook what she knows.”

Annie put her proud shoulders back and an imperious nose in the air and whisked out of the study.  “Aye, sir, that I shall.”

I followed her to prevent her from sharing her less flattering thoughts about me with the cook.  When I arrived at the kitchen just behind her I heard her ask, in a manner of utmost asperity, where the portrait of Mr. Jackson that was hung on the Senator’s study wall above the mantelpiece might be.

The cook looked up at me then and bobbed a respectful curtsy.  “Senator Buchanan, I cannot say.”  She turned towards the scullery door and called out, “Jack, come in here.”

From the scullery emerged the tousled headed befreckled face of the young scamp, Jack Hamilton.  “Ma’am?” he squeaked.  He had a partly consumed piece of cake in his grubby hand.

I took over the questioning.  “Young man, a very valuable picture is missing from my study.  Do you know anything about that?”

The boy looked from me to Mabel and then to Annie, the look on his face bespeaking a readiness to make up a story turned into genuine puzzlement.  “Why, no, sir.  I never even seen it.”

Annie said smugly, “It’s a paintin’ of the seventh president of these United States, it is!”

The boy looked back at me, wide eyed.  I headed off whatever he was going to say.  “Never mind, boy.  I shall no doubt have to summon a policeman to look into the matter.  Would be so kind as to find one and send him to this house?”

He had gone pale, making me wonder if I had been hasty in exonerating him from guilt, but with one look at Mabel, he stuffed the rest of the cake in his mouth, said something no one could have understood, took his soft cap from a back pocket, and exiting quickly, pulled it onto his head.

It was clear when no officer of the law arrived at my front door within a half hour that Jack had not made the effort.  I called for Annie to fetch my coat, gloves and hat.  I shall go to the Senate for the rest of the day.  If I see a policeman on the way, I will enlist his assistance.”

In the foyer, she helped me on with my coat.  I asked, “Is Senator King expected to take his supper at home, do you know?”

“I do not, sir.  The Senator left so early this morn that I did not see to speak to him”

I went out the door onto F Street where carts and horses clattered by and natty young gentleman strode with purpose on some business.  I had no eye for them at the moment, intent as I was on getting to the Hill.

I did let myself become distracted from time to time as I made my way to Constitution Avenue and the Capitol for I was anxious to spy Rufus along the way so I could inform him of the missing portrait.  I was not far from my own destination when I caught sight of him, head to head with a most attractive and elegant young man, laughing and sharing a pleasant moment together.  I was about to call to him when I saw him put his arm about the younger man’s shoulders.  I quite simply froze.  I did not call out.

Rufus is an extremely handsome and well turned out fellow.  I on the other hand am plain and what some would call dumpy.  I should lie if I did not say it had puzzled me these several years that a man as fine-looking as my Rufus should want to be with me, to live with me, to be my one and only.  The result of this uncertainty has been a sort of vigilance where my love’s attention might turn, if that attention is to another quite good looking fellow.  I am quite sure some day I shall lose Rufus to such a one.  I shall be the pathetic abandoned lover, pitiful in all men’s eyes.

I sighed and turned to walk quickly away.

Seeing a policeman as I approached the Capitol, I waylaid the man and described my loss, the portrait of Old Hickory and not, of course, the future loss of my dearest one, nor of my heart and present peace of mind.  He promised to go to my house straight away to look into the matter.

I spent a dispirited day, I can tell you, feeling as if everything I cared for was slipping through my fingers.  Rufus was not at luncheon in the Senate dining hall, and as a result I was quite unapproachable and some of my colleagues made some quite common remarks that should not be spoken of in the presence of the fairer sex.  Fortunately there were none about in the Senate.

As I wended my way home to our house on F Street , I lacked an appetite for my supper.  I fully expected to find my portrait still gone, no news from the policeman, and no Rufus awaiting me with a glass of whiskey and a cigar.

Annie, it seemed, was no more cheerful with me.  With no syllable of her lilting speech, she took my hat, gloves and coat.  When I asked if the Senator was at home, she gave me a tight-lipped shake of the head and left me standing there quite alone.  I proceeded into the parlor with the newspaper which I had taken from the hall table and found my own whiskey and cigar, feeling most misused.

I had despaired of companionship at supper when I heard the front door open and close.  I heard Rufus’s voice, shushing Annie as he divested himself of his coat and the rest.    My heart beat faster waiting for my love to come into the parlor, then it fell when I heard his footsteps pass the door and head up the staircase.  I sat for a while trying to decide what to do.  Why had he shushed Annie?  Was there someone with him?  Someone he took up to his rooms?

I had had enough.  I threw down the paper I was reading and stormed out of the parlor and up the stairs.  I went to Rufus’s bedchamber door and without announcing myself, I reached for the doorknob.  I was surprised when it turned and the door opened.  I had half expected it locked, to prevent discovery of whatever indiscretion my Rufus was involved in.

“Jamie, dear!” he called, obviously startled.  He spun to face me, and I could not help but stare, admiring him, his slender but manly form, his fine features, his dapper apparel.  I found myself thinking, whatever you have done to break my heart, dear boy, I shall forgive you.  What I said aloud however was “What are you hiding, Rufus?”

The look he gave me then shook me to the core.  He looked embarrassed, sheepish, and guilty.  I thought, Here it is.  The death of the idyll. 

I had to sit down.  I stumbled to a chair and planted my backside heavily.

“Oh Jamie, I wanted it to be a surprise.  I was going to give it to you at supper.”

I looked up sharply at Rufus.  “You what?”  I gazed into his eyes to see them twinkling, so full of love and happiness.

He slowly turned and lifted a package wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine.  “Since you caught me with it, I suppose I shall just give it to you now.”  He came towards me, and I stood to face him.  He held the package out to me.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, dearest Jamie,” said in that soft warm voice of his with its Alabama drawl.  “I love you.”

I must have looked like a trout, standing, holding the package and staring into his eyes open-mouthed.  “I-I love you too, my darling Rufus,” I managed to get out.  “What is it?”

“Open it.  Here, I’ll cut the string with my pocket knife.”  He proceeded to match his actions to his words.  The twine felt to the floor and, meticulous as he always is, he crouched to pick it up and tuck it in his pocket.

I turned over the package and unfolded the brown paper with which it was wrapped.  I could see at once that I was looking at the back of a frame.  The wire for hanging it was attached.  I turned the gift over as Rufus carefully refolded the paper and set it aside to reuse.  He is as frugal as he is meticulous.  Well, except for fashions.  Those he spends what he must on.

He looked at me expectantly as I gazed back, then I lowered my eyes and was confused.  What I held in my hands was my portrait of Andrew Jackson.  The portrait that Jackson himself gave me.  I stammered, “W-why, Rufus, it’s wonderful.”

“What a silly man you can be, Jamie.  Look at it.  There is something different.  That is your gift.”

I looked again, perplexed.  Then I realized what the difference was.  “It’s the frame. It’s new.”

Rufus gave me one of those patient indulgent looks he often gives me when I am being obtuse.  “Yes, but you don’t see it, do you.  The wood.  It’s hickory!  Old hickory!”

My Rufus was the one who had removed my treasured portrait of Old Hickory and had a new frame made of old hickory wood.  I was speechless with wonder and gratitude.

Rufus went on chattily.  “I was on Constitution today as I was going to pick this up at the woodworker.  I ran into Simon Beauregard.  Do you remember him?  That very tiresome fellow from Tuscaloosa.  I was so excited about seeing the new frame I could not get away from him fast enough.  He is a pretty man, to be sure, but all I could do was pretend to laugh at his jokes and get away as soon as I could manage.”

He reached to take the portrait away from me and set it down on a table.  He walked the short distance to the door and bolted it.  He came back, took me in his arms, and pressed his sweet lips to my own thin ones.  I relaxed into his embrace.

“I do so love you, Jamie,” he said softly when we ended the kiss.  “These past years have been such golden ones.  Promise you will never leave me for some younger, more handsome man.”

I could only lean back in for another of his delicious kisses.

“Take me to bed, Jamie,” he sighed against my lips.

“But what about supper?” I reminded him.

“It can wait.”  His hands were already at my cravat loosening it as he applied the firm but gentle pressure to my chest to guide me through the door and into his bedchamber.

_______________
Author’s note:  Was President James Buchanan gay?  He and William Rufus King lived together for many years and their colleagues in the Senate called them “Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan”.  Their nieces burned all their letters.  Let’s just say we don’t really know if he was, but then again we don’t really know that he wasn’t.

 _______________
Christopher Hawthorne Moss wrote his first short story when he was seven and has spent some of the happiest hours of his life fully involved with his colorful, passionate, and often humorous, characters. Moss spent some time away from fiction, writing content for websites before his first book came out under the name Nan Hawthorne in 1991. He has since become a novelist and is a prolific and popular blogger; he is the historical fiction editor for the GLBT Bookshelf, where you can find his short stories and thoughtful and expert book reviews. Moss is transgender, having been born with a female body but a male heart and mind. He lives full time as a gay man in the Pacific Northwest with his partner of over thirty years and their doted upon cats. He owns Shield-wall Productions. Moss welcomes comment from readers via email and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

To Schmoop or not to schmoop, that is the question and Gangster Slang, Damon Suede style

November 18, 2013

Welcome back to the Tarnished Souls Blog Tour, and a post about gangster slang.

These dates, plus a few additional, make up the tour

Giveaway: Two winners per blog stop.

One random commenter will win an ebook copy of Tarnished Gold or For Men Like Us. Another commenter will win a swag pack, with signed bookmarks, and a couple other goodies. Winners chosen on November 27.

Gangster Slang and romance, Damon Suede style

Writing any piece of fiction requires myriad decisions, many made before a single word is set to the figurative paper. Each piece you write must have a consistent tone, as well fully realized characters and plot. A period piece or historical, two different things, requires and author to set each scene, to place readers in the period you want them in, so there is no question in their minds that these characters live in, in the case of Tarnished Souls, 1934, and that they are really gangsters. Without a careful setup, believable characters, a world built to accommodate the story, all you have is a costume drama. You have to bring in a flavor of the times—the clothing, hairstyles, places, music, and even language. When you toss in a couple of gangsters, you add a layer of language that I found extremely interesting. To create the proper tone, I tapped a very clever friend of mine.

Damon Suede and I often beta read for each other, and bat ideas around. He’s a font of knowledge about many different eras, genres, and has a particular interest in the entertainment industry. He once wrote a play about gangsters, so he was the one person I wanted to talk to about this book.

Tarnished Souls would be a different book had Damon Suede not beta read for me.  While he saw the characters as raw, he also saw them as too refined. He encouraged me to create them with more authenticity, while forgoing the traditional idea of a romance novel.

I struggled with that, because I wanted this story to be about a romance between Frankie and Gent. They’d had a relationship before the story begins, and this story felt like it should be about continuing that. Damon saw it much differently, and I came to understand that the story required something different.

The first thing I had to do was to let go of the traditional romance, where guys speak to each other with terms of endearment. These guys are from the tough New York streets, and despite the number of years since that primitive introduction to life they received in Hell’s Kitchen, no amount of life takes that out of a guy. They are fundamentally scrapers, roughhewn, more likely to take what they want rather than to ask nicely.

I dedicated the book to Damon. He is on every page. His marvelous insight helped me create the characters this story demanded. He asked me some hard questions and the answers resulted in the  stripping away of the schoopiness, particularly in a scene between Mac and Gray, the subjects of the next Tarnished Souls book. That set Mac and Gray up, and gave the interaction between Frankie and Gent depth and a quality I’m not sure I would have tapped without Damon’s help. Then I tackled the year’s old feelings between these two men.

Damon read the first draft of Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent, then called me with what was the first of many calls to do with the project. Don’t ask for Damon’s help unless you want his honesty. He’s all about the story and how best to achieve the goals you set for yourself.

He pointed out that I had entered Romancelandia, (no one says that word quite like Damon,) and in doing so, I had misrepresented the characters.

“They are mobsters, they wouldn’t talk like that,” Damon said. “These are he-men, no schmoopy talk.” (If you know of or read Damon’s work, you know he has a language all his own. LOL)

We discussed, for the better part of three hours that one time, the importance of authenticity in their language and expression of feelings. Mobsters feel, yes, they care. But they don’t fall into the “I love you forever” realm. Open expression, in any situation, could get them killed. Gangsters don’t have a place at the romance table, as we know it. They unashamedly demand their own table, full service required.

I’ve written fifteen plus romance novels, many Regencys. The language used in those is quite different from 1934 Los Angeles mobster-land. In Tarnished Gold, where I used 1920s slang to affect the mood of the times, but very little of that translated to Tarnished Souls.

In the first draft, I had Gent tell Frankie what a nice home he lived in. After Damon read it, the line became, “You live in kippy digs.”

Aside from the easily deciphered meanings of some slang, words like vig and snipe not so much. Vig is vigorish, as in “Those loans make you good vig.” Excessive interest on a loan. Snipe is a cigarette butt.

In Tarnished Souls, guys carry rods, and no, that doesn’t refer to their private parts. They knock off or ice people, and even bump them off. Women are sometimes broads or chippies, and people earn simoleons and greenbacks, dough and scratch. They sit around after a long day, and punch the bag or chinwag, when what we do is talk. They make their bones (commit their first kill) and when they’re tired, they’re joed out.

A friend of mine isn’t something cozy. He’s a connected guy, an associate of the mob. A friend of ours is a made man, fully invested in the mob. Two different things, both situations that can get them killed.

Frankie is sent for, which is what brings Gent to him in California. No mobster wants to hear those words. As Lefty explains in Donnie Brasco, “When you’re sent for, you go in alive, and you come out dead, and it’s usually your best friend who kills you.”

I bought several books on slang, and with them, combined with Damon’s enormous help, Frankie and Gent came alive, as did the historical period.

Many bits of slang from those days live on today. Beat it and you’re aces, have a looksee and dough.

I’ve included a slang glossary in the front of Tarnished Souls. Buy the book and take a peek. Think you’ll recognize porking or moxie?

As fully invested members of the Sebastiani crime Family, Frankie and Gent struggle with what I’ve come to see as an almost robotic loyalty to the mob, to the old ways, to the man who brought them to that way of life.

My next post will dig into that loyalty—where it comes from and why it’s so important. Check back here at 6 pm, for my final article – Mob Loyalty

Here’s the blurb for Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent:

Hollywood’s Golden Age is not all glitz and glamour. Mob boss Frankie Monetti controls the unions and the studios, which makes him and the syndicate very rich. But after five years, Frankie runs afoul of the law and those who put him in power.

Primo hit man, and Frankie’s lifelong friend, Arvin “Gent” Vitali, goes west with orders to clean up the mess and then bring Frankie back to New York to answer for his double cross. But as the noose closes tighter around Frankie’s neck, Gent questions where his loyalty truly lies. Is business just business or is freedom worth the risk?

Purchase Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent

Schedule for Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent Blog Tour

November 14 –The Rainbow Studio

November 18 – Dreamspinner Press Blog

November 18 –Brita Addams

November 19 –Sid Love

November 20 –Joyfully Jay

November 21 –You Gotta Read

November 25 –Jacob Flores

November 26 –The Novel Approach

December 3 - J.P. Barnaby

December 4 - Lynley Wayne

December 5 –Michael Ruptured

About Brita Addams:

Born in a small town in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals, as well as few contemporaries, have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her Tarnished series for Dreamspinner, received honorable mention, and is a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, historical romance category.

Brita and her husband love to travel. They’ve taken no less than twenty-five cruises and countless long car trips, as well as completed a Civil War battlefield tour, and visits to many sites involved in the American Revolutionary War. Their 2013 anniversary tour of England, Scotland, and Wales gave Brita fodder for many new tales.

On a trip to Hollywood, California, Brita stood in the footprints of some of her favorite actors—Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, and many others, at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and has even kissed Mickey Rooney.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.

Readers can find Brita Addams at any of the following places:

Website

Blog

Twitter: @britaaddams

Facebook

Fan page

Goodreads

Pinterest

Booklikes

Monthly column at The Novel Approach

Here’s the blurb for Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent:

Hollywood’s Golden Age is not all glitz and glamour. Mob boss Frankie Monetti controls the unions and the studios, which makes him and the syndicate very rich. But after five years, Frankie runs afoul of the law and those who put him in power.

Primo hit man, and Frankie’s lifelong friend, Arvin “Gent” Vitali, goes west with orders to clean up the mess and then bring Frankie back to New York to answer for his double cross. But as the noose closes tighter around Frankie’s neck, Gent questions where his loyalty truly lies. Is business just business or is freedom worth the risk?

Purchase Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent


Schedule for Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent Blog Tour

November 14 –The Rainbow Studio

November 18 – Dreamspinner Press Blog

November 18 –Brita Addams

November 19 –Sid Love

November 20 –Joyfully Jay

November 21 –You Gotta Read

November 25 –Jacob Flores

November 26 –The Novel Approach

December 3 - J.P. Barnaby

December 4 - Lynley Wayne

December 5 –Michael Ruptured

About Brita Addams:

Born in a small town in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals, as well as few contemporaries, have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her Tarnished series for Dreamspinner, received honorable mention, and is a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, historical romance category.

Brita and her husband love to travel. They’ve taken no less than twenty-five cruises and countless long car trips, as well as completed a Civil War battlefield tour, and visits to many sites involved in the American Revolutionary War. Their 2013 anniversary tour of England, Scotland, and Wales gave Brita fodder for many new tales.

On a trip to Hollywood, California, Brita stood in the footprints of some of her favorite actors—Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, and many others, at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and has even kissed Mickey Rooney.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.

Readers can find Brita Addams at any of the following places:

Website
Blog

Twitter: @britaaddams
Facebook

Fan page
Goodreads

Pinterest

Booklikes

Monthly column at The Novel Approach

New releases: October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013

Serenading Stanley by John Inman

Roger is smitten. Stanley is shy and turns to neighbors for love lessons. Roger was hurt before, but willing to risk his heart for Stanley.

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Welcome to the Belladonna Arms, a rundown little apartment building perched atop a hill in downtown San Diego, home to the city’s lost and lovelorn. Shy archaeology student Stanley Sternbaum has just moved in and fills his time quietly observing his eccentric neighbors, avoiding his hellion mother, and trying his best to go unnoticed… which proves to be a problem when it comes to fellow tenant Roger Jane. Smitten, the hunky nurse with beautiful green eyes does everything in his power to woo Stanley, but Stanley has always lived a quiet life, too withdrawn from the world to take a chance on love. Especially with someone as beautiful as Roger Jane.

While Roger tries to batter down Stanley’s defenses, Stanley turns to his new neighbors to learn about love: Ramon, who’s not afraid to give his heart to the wrong man; Sylvia, the trans who just wants to be a woman, and the secret admirer who loves her just the way she is; Arthur, the aging drag queen who loves them all, expecting nothing in return—and Roger, who has been hurt once before but is still willing to risk his heart on Stanley, if Stanley will only look past his own insecurities and let him in.

Length: Novel (234p.) | Genre: Humor, Contemporary | Release Date: October 14, 2013
Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-193-4) | Buy as Paperback ($14.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-192-7)

The Door Behind Us by John C. Houser

Returning from WWI, Frank has no memory and Jersey has one leg. They might find a future if they can make peace with the past.

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It’s 1919, and Frank Huddleston has survived the battlefields of the Great War. A serious head injury has left him with amnesia so profound he must re-learn his name every morning from a note posted on the privy door. Gerald “Jersey” Rohn, joined the Army because he wanted to feel like a man, but he returned from the trenches minus a leg and with no goal for his life. He’s plagued by the nightmare of his best friend’s death and has nervous fits, but refuses to associate those things with battle fatigue. He can’t work his father’s farm, so he takes a job supervising Frank, who is working his grandparents’ farm despite his head injury.

When Frank recovers enough to ask about his past, he discovers his grandparents know almost nothing about him, and they’re lying about what they do know. The men set out to discover Frank’s past and get Jersey a prosthesis. They soon begin to care for each other, but they’ll need to trust their hearts and put their pasts to rest if they are to turn attraction into a loving future.

Length: Novel (260p.) | Genre: Historical Americas, Coming of Age | Release Date: October 14, 2013
Buy as eBook ($6. 99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-075-3) | Buy as Paperback ($16.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-074-6)

Slide by Garrett Leigh

Pete’s love soothes Ash’s savage past. But fate is cruel—nightmares crash with the present and Pete must fight to save the love of his life.
Roads: Book 1

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Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back…

Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.

Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.

Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies
unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.

Length: Novel (274p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: October 14, 2013
Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-148-4) | Buy as Paperback ($16.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-147-7)

Marked by Garrett Leigh

Tonight’s the night. Ash is ready to leave his mark on Pete in ways he couldn’t imagine.
Roads: Book 1.5
Missing Moment from Slide

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It’s been six months since Ash shuffled into Pete’s life and turned his world upside down, and six months since they sat in an all-night diner plotting Ash’s theoretical solution for Pete’s faded, botched tattoo. Pete has just about given up hope of Ash ever fulfilling his promise when one day the end of a long shift finds Ash waiting for him.

Tonight is the night.

Ash is ready, and it seems the time has come for him to leave his mark on Pete in more ways than he ever imagined.

Length: Free Short (20p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: October 14, 2013

New releases: October 9, 2013

October 9, 2013

Biochemistry by Andrew Grey

Freddy’s a rich kid athlete, Kurt’s a hardworking openly gay scholarship student. But Kurt slips past Freddy’s defenses to be more.

A sequel to Organic Chemistry; Chemistry: Book Two

When his college biochemistry class turns out to be much more difficult than star quarterback Freddy Samuelson imagined, his lab partner, Kurt Maxwell, agrees to help. They’re very different: a rich kid athlete and a hardworking openly gay scholarship student. But Kurt slips past Freddy’s defenses, and little by little—despite Freddy ignoring his own sexuality in the past—Freddy realizes he wants to get to know Kurt, especially when Kurt helps him through more challenges than their science class. But it isn’t long before rumors begin to fly, and the obstacles Freddy will face may block him from
both the future he planned on and the future he didn’t know he wanted.

Length: Novella (158p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age | Release Date: October 9, 2013
Buy as eBook ($4.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-122-4)

Blue River by Theo Fenraven

L.A. photographer Ethan goes back in time and meets closeted Quinn. Ethan falls for him, and has to make a choice: go home or stay?

Blue River

2nd Edition

Photography genius Ethan Mars is out and living the fast life in Los Angeles until a mysterious mist in Topanga Canyon sends him back in time. There he meets Quinn Parker, a farmer who has hidden his homosexuality from everyone, even Margaret, his fiancée. Falling in love is the last thing Ethan expects, and the last thing Quinn can allow—in 1863, being gay can get him killed. When Ethan is unexpectedly offered a way home, he faces an impossible decision: go back… or stay?

A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.

Length: Novella (92p.) | Genre: Time Travel, Historical Americas, Holiday, Timeless Dream
Release Date: October 9, 2013
Buy as eBook ($3.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-165-1)

Medium, Sweet, Extra Shot of Geek by R. Cooper

Out, proud, and nerdy Tommy flirts with Tavio using Trekkie lingo. Tommy also is a father—is Tavio ready to romance a family man?

Medium, Sweet, Extra Shot of Geek

Former soldier Octavio “Tavio” Reyes works as a barista, a favorite with the customers—especially Tommy O’Shaughnessy. An avowed geek, Tommy comes in daily to flirt, usually under the guise of Trekkie talk. Tavio hesitates; now that he’s out of the army, he’s not sure how out he should be, or whether to take his chances on a geek devoted to sci-fi and comic books. But when Tommy compares him to an unemotional Vulcan, Tavio finally considers dating an out-and-proud nerd. Then Tommy surprises him again and introduces him to his daughter, whom Tommy loves even more than Star Trek or Tavio. Now Tavio has a whole new decision to make: Is he ready to romance a family man?

Length: Novella (66p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Humor | Release Date: October 9, 2013
Buy as eBook ($3.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-164-4)

New releases: September 25, 2013

September 25, 2013

Iron and Ether by Augusta Li

In a world of magic and bloody warfare, Sasha, Duncan, and Yarrow must decide between old loyalties and the love newly forged among them. Iron and Ether by Augusta Li, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Sequel to Ice and Embers; Blessed Epoch: Book Three

Sasha was born to, and has always defined himself by, the secret assassins’ Order of the Crimson Scythe. He chose the love of Yarrow L’Estrella and Duncan Purefroy over his duty to his clan, forfeiting his last mission and allowing Prince Garith to live. Now, the order—previously Sasha’s family—has branded him a traitor. He’s marked, and that means the brethren of the Crimson Scythe won’t stop until Sasha is dead.

Garith’s twin kingdoms balance on the brink of war and all three men have reasons to help the King, whether loyalty, duty, or the interests of their own lands. Still, Yarrow and Duncan are willing to seek out and destroy the assassins’ order to keep Sasha safe. But Sasha isn’t sure that’s what he wants. None want to admit their energy would be better spent helping Garith keep the kingdom united, or in his war against foreign invaders. All plans and assumptions shatter when it becomes clear that the real warmonger isn’t a foreigner, but someone who lives in their midst. Their world teeters on the precipice of change, and Sasha, Duncan, and Yarrow can only hope the links they’ve forged will hold if Garith’s kingdom is torn apart.

Length: Novel (344p.) | Genre: High Fantasy, M/M/M | Release Date: September 25, 2013 | Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-121-7) | Buy as Paperback ($17.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-120-0)

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Playing Ball Anthology edited by Grace McCullough

Baseball—America’s favorite pastime—provides a field wide open for romance. A Home Field Advantage may not help when Toby must choose between the team he’s loved all his life and the man he could love for the rest of it. In 1927, Skip hides his sexuality to protect his career until he meets One Man to Remember. Ruben and Alan fell victim to a Wild Pitch, leaving them struggling with heartache and guilt, and now they’ve met again. And on One Last Road Trip, Jake retires and leaves baseball behind, hoping to reconnect with Mikko and get a second chance at love.

Home Field Advantage by Shae Connor

One Man to Remember by Kate McMurray

Wild Pitch by Marguerite Labbe

One Last Road Trip by Kerry Freeman

Length: Novel (270p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Historical Americas | Release Date: September 25, 2013 | Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-176-7) | Buy as Paperback ($16.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-175-0)

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Home Team by Jameson Dash

Aaron left Zach for pro hockey long ago. Sent to the minors because of his attitude, he finds Zach again, and hopes for another chance. Home Team by Jameson Dash, available from Dreamspinner Press.

After fifteen years playing pro hockey, Aaron Buckley screws up, and his mistake and his attitude get him sent down to the minor leagues. His new team is in his old city, where he started his career in hockey, and also where he left his boyfriend behind. His luck hasn’t improved since joining a team of rookies and kids, but he has discovered that Zach—the ex-boyfriend who could never compete with hockey for Aaron’s love—is still in town. Aaron has a second chance to answer the same question: Zach or hockey? But maybe it’s time for a new question.

Length: Novella (82p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: September 25, 2013 | Buy as eBook ($3.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-159-0)

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Wild Magic by Poppy Dennison

Joseph finds shifter Dominick’s nephews orphaned by a killer. Dominick must solve the crime while hoping to keep human Joseph in his life. Wild Magic by Poppy Dennison, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Triad: Book Four

Joseph Anderson was heartbroken when his childhood best friend Dominick Levent moved away. Years later, Joseph is a successful real estate broker with good friends, an easy smile, and a stunning house. When he finds a dying mountain lion who miraculously shifts into Dominick’s sister, Joseph must find Dominick and reunite him with the two young sons she left behind.

When mountain lion shifter Dominick gets a call telling him his sister is dead, he rushes home to protect his nephews and avenge his sister. Seeing Joseph brings back the feelings Dominick tried to bury and he dares to hope Joseph’s newfound knowledge of shifters means they can finally be together.

Length: Novella (108p.) | Genre: Paranormal, Werewolves/Shifters | Release Date: September 25, 2013 | Buy as eBook ($4.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-177-4)

New releases: August 28, 2013

August 28, 2013

Call Me But Love by Tracy Rowan

In these four stories, Mercutio’s love for Romeo goes far deeper, always somehow entwined with the fates of Romeo and Juliet. Call Me But Love by Tracy Rowan, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Mercutio is a funny, moody, complex foil for Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but in the four stories presented here, each an independent tale, Mercutio’s love for his friend goes far deeper, always somehow entwined with the fates of Romeo and Juliet.

The first tale sets the trio back in Renaissance Verona, where Mercutio vies for Romeo’s love. Romeo is oblivious, but the love triangle has deadly consequences. Next, we find Romeo and Mercutio in Victorian England. Though Romeo knows Mercutio loves him and returns his passion, he struggles to fit his desires into the strict mores of the day. The third story takes us to post-WWII America, where war-weary Romeo, Juliet, and Mercutio long for the right to love whom they choose. The final story in the collection brings the three characters into contemporary times, a band on a road trip that will change their lives forever.

Length: Novella (74p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Historical (European, Americas) | Release Date: August 28, 2013 |Buy as eBook ($3.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-014-2)

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Ride the Wind by Anne Dudley

Alex meets the confident and outgoing Jordon at the Sturgis motorcycle rally, finds new experiences, and faces fear and love. Ride the Wind by Anne Dudley, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Alex Durant lives in a room behind the motorcycle repair shop where he works as an underpaid mechanic, bullied by his boss. There’s a truth he’s ignored most of his twenty-three years: men on their bikes turn him on, not women on the pin-up calendars that line the shop walls. It’s during a well-earned vacation to Sturgis, South Dakota, to attend the motorcycle rally where he comes face to face with his truth.

He meets the confident and outgoing Jordon Baker, who races motorcycles as a career. Alex is overwhelmed by Jordon’s incredible smile and kind eyes and his need to live life to the fullest. In the week they spend together, it’s Jordon who shows Alex things he’s never experienced: concerts, races, and the stars. It’s Jordon who shows him that two male bodies can ignite in pleasure when they come together. By the end of the week, Alex sees in Jordon’s eyes what he feels in his heart, and the truth of that scares him to the core.

But Sturgis week has ended, and Alex is back to the grind. He’s now stuck with making a difficult choice: continue to live his sad life alone and in hiding, or live his truth with the man who has big eyes for the world.

Length: Novel (246p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age | Release Date: August 28, 2013 | Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-033-3) | Buy as Paperback ($14.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-032-6)

New releases: August 23, 2013

August 23, 2013

The Courage to Love by E E Montgomery

Bernard needs David to help him face each day and find a way they can be together without stigma or legal and physical danger in 1915. The Courage to Love by E E Montgomery, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Sequel to Between Love and Honor

In 1915, after his beloved Carl died from a vicious beating, David Harrison enlisted in the Army and went to war. He returns home to find a world seemingly unchanged, while he will never be the same. At Mrs. Gill’s boarding house, he meets Bernard Donnelly, a young man suffering the aftereffects of his own war experiences. David finds himself increasingly attracted to Bernard, but that terrifies him. He blames himself for Carl’s horrific death and fears he isn’t strong enough to lose another love to violence.

Bernard needs David to help him face each day and find a way they can be together without stigma—and without putting them in legal and physical danger—but David clings to his idea that the only way to keep a lover safe is not to have one. His fears threaten to destroy everything, unless he learns that sometimes the risk is worth it and finds the courage to love.

Length: Novel (200p.) | Genre: Historical World | Release Date: August 23, 2013 | Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-62380-944-7) | Buy as Paperback ($14.99 ISBN: 978-1-62380-943-0)

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Easy Ryder by Deanna Wadsworth

On the ride across Route 66, Snake introduces Michael to new and steamy pleasures, leaving Michael aching for more than just the physical. Easy Ryder by Deanna Wadsworth, available from Dreamspinner Press.

It’s July 3, 1976, the beginning of America’s bicentennial weekend, and everyone seems to be celebrating their freedoms except eighteen-year-old runaway Michael Ryder. Fresh from rural Pennsylvania, Michael is doing whatever and whoever it takes to get to San Francisco, where he hopes to find a new life with the freedom to love without fear.

While hitchhiking, a mysterious, tattooed biker named Snake offers him a ride west—on the back of his customized Harley chopper. During their journey across Route 66, Snake introduces Michael to new and steamy pleasures, leaving Michael aching for more than just a physical relationship. But a violent encounter with a cruel biker gang and a harrowing secret from Snake’s military past might destroy their unlikely relationship long before they reach the end of the road.

Length: Novel (228p.) | Genre: Coming of Age, Historical – Americas,  Mystery/Suspense | Release Date: August 23, 2013 | Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-62380-038-8) | Buy as Paperback ($14.99 ISBN: 978-1-62380-037-1)

New releases: July 31, 2013

July 31, 2013

The Prince He Loved by Michael Barnette

It will take all of Raphael and Ice’s combined skills to restore the government of Alleven to its rightful ruler—and stay alive. The Prince He Loved by Michael Barnette, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Prince Raphael d’Alleven flees for his life after his family is murdered and the government of Alleven is taken over. Exhausted and unable to find a way off world, Raphael literally runs into his best hope for salvation: a genetically engineered soldier named Hadrian Ice. Ice hadn’t planned on taking service with anyone, but understanding the predicament Raphael finds himself in, Ice is unable to turn him away.

With bounty hunters on their trail and Vicount Alfonso Macchoine, scion of the House responsible for the coup, joining the hunt, it will take all of their combined skills to restore the government of Alleven to its rightful ruler, Raphael’s missing twin sister, Raphaella. As long as they don’t get killed first.

Length: Novel (258p.) | Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Paranormal |Release Date: July 31, 2013 | Buy as eBook (ISBN: 978-1-62380-029-6) | Buy as Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-62380-028-9)

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Where My Love Lies Dreaming by Christopher Hawthorne Moss

Frankie and Johnny’s passionate love affair falls apart when Johnny refuses to admit two men can be in love in the Civil War South. Where My Love Lies Dreaming by Christopher Hawthorne Moss, available from Dreamspinner Press.

As the famous riverboat Le Beau Soleil lazily steams down the mighty Mississippi into the heart of the South, distractions of every sort attempt to pull agent for the Treasury Johnny Stanley away from his assignment. While liquor and gaming are no great temptations, his fascination with Le Beau Soleil’s owner, the debonair Frankie Deramus, means Johnny’s steadfast denial of his attraction to men is no longer feasible. Johnny fights his lust, but when he must come to Frankie’s aid, he can’t ignore his urges any longer.

Their passionate love affair falls apart when Johnny refuses to admit two men can be in love. A bitter confrontation between the lovers at a Mardi Gras masquerade forces Johnny to run north. Frankie tries to follow, but the Southern states secede one by one, making it impossible to track Johnny down. The Civil War pits brother against brother and separates lover from lover. When at last the lovers meet again, it’s on the battlefield….

Length: Novel (350p.) | Genre: Historical, Americas | Release Date: July 31, 2013 | Buy as eBook (ISBN: 978-1-62380-638-5) | Buy as Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-62380-637-8)

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The Mirror by Bell Ellis

Vic sees his face in a mirror—but it’s a ghost looking for reincarnated love. Vic then meets Jules and finds himself torn between the two. The Mirror by Bell Ellis, available from Dreamspinner Press.

When Vic Ledore buys an antique mirror only to find it’s haunted, his initial fear turns to intrigue when he realizes he and the ghost wear the same face. The mirror is possessed by Philippe Montmarche, a vagrant who lived in early-1800s New Orleans and committed suicide after his lover went to war and died. Philippe is helplessly trapped until he can find his true love again. He also believes Vic is his reincarnation, but Vic isn’t so sure.

Soon after, Vic meets Jules Cassell, a gorgeous, witty, interesting man who relieves Vic’s ennui and quickly finds his way to Vic’s heart. But Philippe has captivated Vic as well, and when Philippe’s search to find his lover mysteriously involves Jules, Vic can’t help but be drawn in to the tragic love story as he hopes to discover his own.

Length: Novella (93p.) | Genre: Paranormal, Ghosts/Spirits | Release Date: July 31, 2013 |Buy as eBook (ISBN: 978-1-62380-878-5)

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What There Is by Kate McMurray

New roommates make a pact: Justin will help Mark find a man, and Mark will help Justin find something he loves more than baseball. What There Is by Kate McMurray, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Former professional baseball player Justin Piersol needs a new life after a career-ending injury, and his job as a high school baseball coach isn’t exactly fulfilling. Still, things are looking up: he finds the perfect room in an apartment in Brooklyn with Mark, who writes a popular column on sports statistics.

Mark is nerdy and socially awkward and intensely shy, and he immediately develops a terrible crush on Justin, who barely seems to notice him. As they get to know each other, Justin admits he misses playing baseball, that coaching doesn’t scratch the itch. Mark confesses he thought he’d be married by now, that he wants a serious relationship. So they make a pact: Justin will help Mark find a man, and Mark will help Justin find something he loves more than baseball.

They put their plan into action… and then life gets complicated. Mark meets a nice guy named Dave, and Justin is suddenly crazy with jealousy. Justin realizes he wants to let go of the past and focus on the present, but as Mark and Dave become an item, Justin fears he’s too late.

Length: Novella (67p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: July 31, 2013 | Buy as eBook (ISBN: 978-1-62380-016-6)