CONTEST…contest…contest…. Meet-cute release party.

August 13, 2014

Free meet-cute ebook download for the first person that reads the sample and can tell me what Elliot thinks should be banned in schools.

Aaaaaaannnnd go!

Still partying – meet-cute release day

August 13, 2014

I may or may not be doing a keg stand right now.

I would like to hear what your preferred main characters are like. For me, it’s the typical tattooed bad boy with a suitcase overflowing with emotional baggage, and an I don’t give a crap attitude. (Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)
I also have a soft spot for an intelligent man that hides a low self-esteem behind layers of self deprecating, dry humored, sarcasm.
(Ahhhhhhhhhhh…this is my comfort zone of “write what you know” for me.)

Here’s a little excerpt from “meet-cute” of my
main character Elliot at the gym with Chase:

“Four minutes into jogging, I could feel the sweat running down my face, and I was trying to figure out if there was a way to make asthmatic breathing sexy. I was pretty sure I was about to die and he was still standing there being all motivational-coach on me. I was partially distracted from jogging by him running his fingers through the top of his hair.

“So, E, uh, I was wondering if I could take you out to dinner tonight?”

That’s the last thing I heard before my toe caught the edge of the treadmill and I felt my body being ejected off the back of the machine like it had decided only pretty people should be allowed to ride it.

“Oh shit, E, are you okay?” I heard Chase say, but it sounded like it was from far away. I’m not sure what hurt worse, my pride or my face from hitting the treadmill on my way down. “Holy shit, I’ve never actually seen that happen in real life,” he said, and I could hear the concern and overwhelming awe in his voice.

“I think I’m done for today,” I said as I tried to get up.”

Meet-cute release party- C.C. Dado

August 13, 2014

Hello all, C.C. Dado here, I am a new author with DSP. I am celebrating the release of my book “Meet-cute”. I feel I should warn you up front, this could end up being one of those epic parties where you wake up the next morning, not sure what happened, your head is throbbing, your mouth taste funny and you can’t find your pants.

So let’s get this party started:

Hopefully you will all find my book as entertaining as I find bad 80′s dancing. Here is a little blurb and a link to “meet-cute” to kick us off:

“Elliot Beck may not have been blessed with mad art skills, a crooner’s voice, or a godlike physique, but he makes up for it with an abundance of quick-witted sarcasm, massive insecurities, and a love of bad boys.

After his best friend Trevor finds him naked and tied to his bed—abandoned by his latest troublemaker—Trevor convinces him to take a chance on a nice guy. When he has an awkward encounter in the men’s restroom with a fitness instructor named Chase, he never suspects the Adonis might be his perfect bad boy.”

 

Buy Meet-cute here!

 

 

The post with the steamy excerpt!

August 11, 2014

Here it is, my last post before announcing the winners of today’s giveaways!

Thank you for visiting the release party for my first full-length novel, The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds! I’m so glad you stopped by, and hope you had a little fun.

Speaking of fun and sex (we weren’t talking about sex? Well, why the hell not?) Strange Birds is an erotic romance so naturally sex figures prominently in the growth of both men. They come into the story with their own ideas of what sex is, and what it should be. Those ideas don’t always mesh, because that would just be too easy. ;)

Besides, sex is different for everyone (I’m guessing here, since I haven’t actually had sex with everyone). What it’s like, and what it includes, both depend on a lot of variables. Not the least of which is who your partner is and what they bring to the table (or the sofa or the backseat of the car or…). Sex for same-sex partners is different than it is for opposite-sex partners too—not only in the most obvious ways.

It’s pretty obvious that same-sex partners don’t go into it with the idea that sex is about procreation. It’s about pleasure, about showing your partner how you feel about them, about the connection. So, very often, it’s not about penetration either. I’m not going to knock it in general, but penetration doesn’t have to be the culmination of every sex scene—or every relationship, for that matter. Most of the opposite-sex romance novels I’ve read seemed to be saying that it is, that penetrative sex is the ultimate goal two people should have (along with marriage, but that’s a whole post unto itself).

What’s the point of this, you ask? I enjoy same-sex romance because you never really know how it’ll end. Sure, if it’s marked romance you expect someone to be in love with someone else by the end and for those feelings to be returned, but it seems to me this is the only hard and fast rule. The mysteries of how they’ll get there and what they’d do along the way are the fun parts. The journey can look wildly different for every couple.

Okay, I’ll stop rambling and make with the steamy excerpt now. :)

I’ll be back by 7 p.m. Pacific Time to announce the winners.

In the meantime, tell me about your expectations when you read male-male romances. Do you like a lot of sex, or just a little? Wild or vanilla? The sky’s the limit, and every post is an entry for my giveaways.

No fair saying “it depends on the story” either–everyone has a favorite thing and I want to hear ‘em!  In this, as in all the truly fun things in life, there are no wrong answers. :)

All the excerpts today have been from Phil’s POV, but Lee has a voice in this book too. Here’s a little from him. The context for the excerpt is a little spoilery, so I hope I’m not too horrible if I don’t share it. :D

Lee moaned when Phil knelt on the floor in front of him, and again when he leaned against him and kissed him slowly, deeply, circling Lee’s tongue with his like a preview of coming attractions.

Lee didn’t have to wait long, after that kiss, Phil moved faster with every passing moment. He pulled at Lee’s shirt, and as soon as it was off, tossed it behind him without a glance, and dove forward to kiss a path down his abs. Phil’s hands shook as he slid the elastic waistband of Lee’s sweats down, and by the time his dick was free, both panted loudly in the otherwise silent room.

Phil sucked gently on the head until Lee raised his hips. After a long teasing moment, he opened his lips and let Lee fuck his mouth. A few strokes like that and Phil lowered his head, just a little, every time Lee pushed up. Lee fought the urge to bury both hands in Phil’s hair. He wanted to tangle his fingers, feel Phil’s head banging from both sides, but settled for watching as his hair bounced up and floated down.

Whoa, it’s getting long—it hardly even curls anymore.

Lee grunted with the effort to keep from grabbing Phil’s hair as he sped the pace. Almost like he’d been listening to a Tool song but then Metallica came on the radio. Lee smiled and pulled his good leg up over the arm of the little chair. More leverage meant more friction and—oh shit—and then Phil wrapped a hand around the inside of Lee’s hip. He gripped the crease where leg and ass met, massaging until Phil’s thumb found his hole. For a moment, that felt much longer than it could’ve been, time stopped, just like the hummingbird wings in Phil’s pictures. The moment ended when Phil gripped harder and traced a circle with his hot thumb, ripping a hoarse scream from Lee’s throat as he came.

“Oh shit,” Lee panted, his head lolled to the side, his ass hanging off the chair. He opened his eyes and saw the ottoman about four feet away, his casted foot barely hanging on to the corner.

Phil kissed Lee’s deflating prick and then turned away. He lifted his cast and slid the ottoman under Lee’s leg.

“Oh man, I think you should pay me now.”

“What?” All the happy disappeared from Phil’s face and his body got very still.

“You need to feel this good too.”

Lee leaned forward and rested a hand on Phil’s shoulder. When he didn’t look any less happy, Lee drew his palm down across his chest. He scooted a little more upright and then slipped his hand around Phil’s hip, drawing him closer. Phil shook his head but didn’t really seem to be saying no. After a careful moment spent watching Phil’s face for any sign he was going too far, Lee pushed his fingertips past the waistband of his jeans. Phil shivered, and he took that as a sign and opened the snap.

“Come up here?”

Phil turned his face up to Lee, panting through his beautiful swollen lips. When Lee slipped both hands under his arms and pulled, he didn’t resist. Lee kissed those luscious lips as he arranged Phil across his lap, and didn’t stop while he opened his pants. He was about to pull them off, but at the last minute just brought them down enough to get at Phil’s burning erection.

“Oh shit, you’re so hot.”

Lee grabbed a big handful of Phil’s ass and lifted until he could lick the glistening tip of his cock. When Phil moaned in response, Lee closed his lips over the head. He was tempted to move to the bed so he could watch Phil’s face—his gorgeous face—while he came, but didn’t want to stop sucking his dick to do it.

As though getting off had erased the tough workday, Lee lifted Phil in a faster and faster rhythm until he got close.

Much more fun than free weights.

 

Thanks again for hanging out with us today—hope you enjoyed the excerpts! I’ll be back in a couple of hours for the drawing. If the train is on time, I’ll be back before then to answer any questions and enjoy the party from the comfort of my PC instead of my phone. :)

 

Buy The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5271

Follow me on Twitter or Goodreads

Rainbow Rose

The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds Release Party!

August 11, 2014

Cover The Nesting Habits of Strange BirdsHello and welcome! Charley Descoteaux here, to celebrate the release of my first full-length novel, The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds!

I’m taking over the DsP Blog today to give away a copy of the book, of course, and I also have something a little different. More on that later. ;)

For those of you who don’t know me, Dreamspinner released my first novella in June of 2013, and Strange Birds is my fifth title. I live in Portland, Oregon, and right now am missing the rain big-time! I’m happiest when it’s 75 or below, and this summer it feels like we barely get those temps at night. I exaggerate, but 90 is just too hot for us web footed folks.

Soon I’m heading to the day job (which isn’t evil, only demanding :) ) so I’ll only be around during breaks and on my commutes (don’t worry, I take the train :) ). I’ve planned ahead—four posts with excerpts and a little extra are scheduled throughout the day, and all comments are eligible for all the giveaways. If the winner already has a copy of Strange Birds, they can choose two from my backlist.

Before I go any farther, I want to thank everyone who pre-ordered Strange Birds during my charity drive. Between pre-orders and my Rainbow Award entry fee, I’ll be sending a total of $XX to The Trevor Project! They’re my go-to national charity, and especially relevant to this book.

Okay, just a little business and then I’ll give you the first excerpt.

All comments today will be in the running for copies of Strange Birds—one signed paperback (US only), and one ebook copy.

I also have a special charm bracelet I made to celebrate my fifth release with Dreamspinner. I’ve added a charm for each of my stories, and left plenty of room for you to add to it with charms for your favorite books, vacations, anything that makes you happy!

The bracelet has a flip-flop for Directing Traffic, a piece of hard candy for Curious Sustenance, a wing for Toy Run, a key for Not the Doctor, and a camera for Strange Birds.

Along with the bracelet will come one very strange bird—a rubber owl. I saw these little guys and just couldn’t resist! Since this will be the first one to go, the winner can choose which color they’d like.

Now, on to the fun part! This excerpt is a good introduction to Phil and Lee, and how they see each other. It’s the first time they talk. But first the blurb.

All he ever wanted was to be a normal guy….

Phil Brask spends his days in the basement of his mentor’s Victorian home, converting legal documents into electronic format. When the pipe feeding the water heater bursts, Lee Redding arrives in the plumber’s truck and draws Phil away from the narrow focus of his computer and camera lens. Lee gives Phil hope for a life beyond the walls he’s constructed using the nesting habits of migratory birds and dense legal files, a guided tour through a world filled with romance and music…maybe even family. But there’s a reason Phil retreated behind those walls, why he panics at a simple touch.

Lee has a good life—working with his uncle and on his mother’s farm, playing bass in a horrible metal band, and hooking up when he pleases—but he’s always suspected something was missing. When he meets the hot photographer with the icy-blue eyes, he knows exactly what that something is. Phil isn’t like other guys, but neither is Lee beneath his carefree exterior. Maybe Lee’s the perfect guy to show Phil that everything doesn’t have to be done the hard way and “home” isn’t a four-letter word.

 

TWO DAYS later he was busy again—scan; file; shred—when unfamiliar footsteps entered the garage.

“Sorry to bother you, but would it be okay if I used the phone in the kitchen?”

His hand shook when he reached for the next sheet of paper, so he pulled it back empty. After a quick glance up to make sure the guy was looking, he nodded.

“Thanks….”

The guy didn’t leave.

“Say, this is the part where you tell me your name.”

He waited, but still the guy didn’t leave. He took a slow deep breath and rehearsed it silently first. “Phil.”

“Hey, Phil. I’m Lee.”

He glanced up again. Lee’s smile—patient; kind; happy—wasn’t like anything he’d ever seen before. Lee had arrived in the plumber’s truck, with his worn jeans and his surfer hair. Lee. Lee had laughed at Jerry’s silly story about the case that made him want to retire. Lee still wore that same smile when Phil tilted his head to the side just enough to see that Lee’s eyes were brown. He returned his gaze to the floor beside his feet. “H-hey.”

“So I’m half brain-dead from lack of sleep and forget to charge my phone.”

Lee laughed, and the sound felt so good in his ears Phil wanted to laugh along with him. He settled for a strategic head-tilt that allowed him to watch Lee while keeping his face mostly hidden.

“What’re you doing with all these boxes?” Lee twisted to look around the small garage at the Bankers Boxes lining the workbench and sitting in stacks on the floor.

“S-scanning the d-documents.”

“Why? I mean, this is a lot of documents to scan.”

Phil sidestepped behind a stack of boxes and glanced up again. Lee’s smile dialed up a notch. He was so close, Phil could see the outline of his body beneath his T-shirt—the muscular body of a guy who ate like a guy. How was he supposed to get anything out with that in front of him? Talking was difficult enough anyway.

Lee leaned over an open box and looked inside.

“Th-those are p-priv—They’re c-confidential.”

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t see anything.” He took a step back and wiped his palms down the front of his shirt. “Are you a lawyer too? Jerry’s a cool guy. I bet he’s fun to work for. Or with.”

Phil shook his head. “N-not a…. Jerry’s great.” The corner of his mouth twitched into something like a smile.

“Well, I better make that call. Thanks. You really saved my bacon, Phil.”

Lee grinned and took a few steps toward the door. He looked over his shoulder just before he disappeared in the direction of the house.

After he left, Phil leaned against the table holding the computer and scanner to catch his breath.

 

Thanks for reading!

I’ll be back in a bit with another excerpt and a bit about the actual birds in The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds.

I’ll check in during my break, so if you have any questions fire away!

Rainbow Rose

Buy The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5271

Rattle my cages anytime:

Blog:  http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/blog/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote

e-mail: c.descoteauxwrites@gmail.com

 

 

 

Wine and Roses Release Party–Celebrating!

August 9, 2014

Hey all! You probably know that my book, Wine and Roses, a spin-off in the Blessed Epoch universe but a standalone story, released today. I’m doing something very appropriate to celebrate–I’m at a wine tasting! This is my friend and sommelier Beau Schemery. He helped me a lot with the technical aspects of winemaking I depicted in the book. I learned even more about wine and its history, and it’s fascinating. I hope you find it as interesting in a fictional setting as I did researching it. So, here’s Beau serving Cava, a sparking wine from Spain.

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This one was my favorite.

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Look how happy I am! Cava is delicious wine, a lot like Champagne, but usually for a much better price.

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Here is some other cool stuff I saw around the wine shop:

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Anyone else out there enjoy trying different wines? If not, what do you like to drink? And if you don’t drink, what do you enjoy doing to relax on the weekend?

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Wine and Roses–Character Intro and Excerpt #1

August 8, 2014

WineandRoses_headerbanner

 

Hello again! Gus (August Li) here to celebrate the release of my latest novel, Wine and Roses. As I said in a previous post, Wine and Roses is set in a fantasy universe but features everyday people. I’d like to introduce you to the main characters.

 

Alain Lamont is a vintner. He grows grapes and makes wines on Mountain Shadow Winery, which has been in his family for over five hundred years. Alain is quiet, even awkward in social situations at times, but he’s very dedicated to the vineyard and the dozens of families who live and work there. He shows his love best by working hard, sometimes to his own detriment. Alain loves taking care of the grapes and would never want to do anything else. He just wishes he had someone to share it with, but he doesn’t hold out much hope of finding a partner in a culture where homosexual relationships are forbidden, so he tries to content himself with his land and his work.

 

Alain’s life becomes much more difficult when a fire—the one Yarrow summoned in Ash and Echoes—destroys over half of the vineyard. With so many of his vines destroyed, Alain doesn’t know how he’ll make enough wine to sustain the vineyard or all the people living on it. Worst of all, he feels the weight is on his shoulders alone, and he feels more isolated than ever.

 

Most people can’t pronounce Fabrezio Orvina d’Caelus’s name, so when he joined a mercenary company, he was given the nickname Breeze, and it stuck. Breeze makes no apology for being a soldier for hire, and at first he has a hard time understanding how Alain can be so satisfied with life on the vineyard. He assumes it’s boring and can’t fathom that Alain doesn’t want to seek glory and excitement. Still, Breeze appreciates that Alain helped him when he was seriously wounded after the battle, and he wants to do what he can to repay Alain and get the winery back on its feet before he’s well enough to rejoin his company.

 

Breeze and Alain don’t get along very well at first. Breeze thinks Alain is uptight, and Alain is mistrustful of soldiers and mercenaries, especially after the fire. He sees Breeze as an opportunist—selfish and only interested in money. Breeze is also a mercenary and he talks and acts like one—he swears a lot, teases, and flirts with Alain, which Alain does not appreciate. It takes a long time before each of them sees there’s more to the other….

 

GrapesExcerpt:

 

Alain looked wan and pale when he came in with Breeze’s breakfast the following morning. The dark crescents under his blue eyes made Breeze wonder if he’d slept at all. He suspected Alain’s restlessness might have been his fault. He hadn’t realized Alain had lost his wife in the fire. What an ass.

Still, Alain offered him a smile as he set a tray bearing some porridge, boiled eggs, a slice of ham, and a bowl of beans on Breeze’s lap. He sat on the edge of the bed as he always did and poured wine. “How are you feeling this morning? Did you sleep well?”

“Better than it looks like you did. Why is that?”

“I’m fine.”

Breeze put down the forkful of bacon-flavored beans he’d been about to shovel into his mouth and took Alain’s hand. At his touch, Alain flinched and tried to pull away, but Breeze held firm, and eventually he relaxed. “Look, Alain. I’m just a sell-sword. I never claimed to be a scholar, but I feel like a stupid ass for not realizing you lost your wife in the fire. I hope that damned mage rots in the rankest pit of the Shades’ Abode. But I’m sorry for being dull-witted, and for letting my tongue wag like the fucking fool I am. I know I hurt you, and I’m sorry.”

When Alain looked at Breeze, tears glittered in his summer-sky eyes but didn’t fall. He shook his head. “No, I’ve never had a wife.”

“But Courtenay and Fenn?”

“My twin sister’s children. My niece and nephew. My brother-in-law, their father, died in the fire. I’m all they have left now. I… I don’t know if I’m good enough to raise them on my own. I love them, but I’m afraid I’ll fail them.”

“What happened to your sister?”

Alain caught the single tear he let fall on his fingertip and looked away to hide his grief. “She died giving birth to Fenn. Six years ago.”

Breeze didn’t know what to say, so he squeezed Alain’s hand a little tighter, and Alain squeezed back. What he really wanted to know was how Alain had remained unmarried. Breeze freely admitted he was a handsome man, with his rose-and-honey coloring and those expressive eyes. And lips—pink, firm, and full without looking pillowy or slack. Add to that his estate, and he could have his pick of the buxom country girls. If he wanted help with the children, why not take a wife? Could he be…. Damn, out of nowhere, Breeze really wanted to know whose body Alain imagined when he slid into bed and slipped his hand into his trousers. He could see it: Alain’s teeth denting his lower lip, red rushing all the way to the tips of his ears—

And he was a fucking pig for thinking about that while Alain struggled not to break down. Besides, it was none of his damned business who or what the vintner fucked, if anyone. Hopefully, in another month or so, he’d be long gone. On to better things. Still, he didn’t like seeing Alain suffering. “I’m sorry.” What a platitude. Breeze just wasn’t used to men who needed comforting.

Alain nodded. “Thank you. You should finish your breakfast so I can change your dressings. Best to get it over with.”

After a few more bites of food, Breeze asked, “Do you have a bathtub? I’m as rank as a whore’s underpants, and I’d kill for a proper wash.” He set his fork on his plate and scratched his chin. “And a shave.”

He didn’t know why that made Alain smile, but seeing it pleased him. “Why do you want to shave off your whiskers?”

“That’s just how it’s done in Espero. Men shave every day. The heat, I suppose. I’m just not used to these whiskers. Why, do you like them?”

Alain tensed visibly, and Breeze felt like horse’s ass. Again. He was making this a habit. Why had he said that?

“I don’t care about them one way or another. I just wondered. Most men in Selindria don’t shave their whiskers.”

“You do,” Breeze observed.

Alain touched his soft-looking cheek with the fingers of his splinted hand. The way Alain worked and took care of him, Breeze found it easy to forget about the other man’s injury. Truth be told, he bore it like a warrior. “Mine comes in all patchy. I can’t grow a proper beard, just little scraps here and there. I look like a fool when I don’t shave.”

Breeze wondered if the hair grew in little golden swaths down the center of his chest, his soft belly, between his legs. Bleeding Shades, he had to drive off the pictures in his head. They’d make an Elvaran street slag blush. “So, could I trouble you for a bath? I’m sure you’ve had your fill of my stink.”

“You’ll have to come down the stairs, to the kitchen. We have an indoor well and a tub in a room just beyond it. I can help you, if you think you can make it.”

“I think I can. I feel heartier than I have since I woke up.” And if Alain looked beneath Breeze’s sheets, he’d see plenty of proof. Probably best to get rid of that before Alain helped him bathe. He struggled to focus on his breakfast and think about anything else. Luckily, Alain helped distract him.

“So, I guessed you were from Espero. I haven’t met many people from the island. How long have you been away?”

“About seven years.”

“You must have been quite young when you left home,” Alain said.

“Yes, I’d just come of age.”

“Why did you leave?”

“Wanted to see the world, I suppose. Don’t you?”

Alain laughed. “No! I have everything I need right here. This land has been in my family for nine generations—almost five hundred years. Since my ancestors accepted this property from the valen of Lockhaven, it’s taken care of us. I love this place. I can’t imagine leaving. Espero wasn’t like that for you?”

“No.” Silence fell between them as Breeze finished his breakfast. He didn’t want to talk about Espero, and it wasn’t anything Alain would be able to comprehend. “You don’t want more for yourself? Something grander? Adventure and glory for your name?” What young man didn’t?

“No. I have no one to prove anything to. I love tending the grapes and the land. The goddesses have blessed us, and I’m thankful. My heart is here.”

Sounds frightfully dull, Breeze thought, if comfortable. “No aspirations at all?”

“Maybe just… someone to share it with. But that won’t happen.” Alain seemed ready say more, but stopped himself and paused before rushing to quantify his statement. “Not anytime soon, at least. I have too much to do to get the vineyard back to where it can support us. Buildings need repaired, and over half of the vines will have to be replanted. I can only pray we’ll be able to harvest enough come Berris’s Moon to produce enough wine to sell next year. What we have to take to market this summer will barely get us by. Too many of the cellars caved in when the support beams burned. Luckily, last year was good, and we’ll fetch a good price for what’s left. And we have the ice wine. I’m sorry. You probably don’t care about any of this.”

To Breeze’s surprise, he found he did, a little, and he caught himself imagining ways to help the vineyard thrive. Not that he knew a thing about it. “What is ice wine?”

“We leave the grapes on the vine until the frost, let them freeze before harvesting. The water in them turns to ice, and it concentrates their sweetness. We press them while they’re still frozen, and it produces the most exquisite wine, as golden as the sunlight, sweet as honey, and with a taste of the mountains and the winter. It can be sold for exorbitant prices; the nobles here in the north adore it. Ice wine is risky, though. First off, if the frost comes too late, we chance letting the grapes rot on the vine and losing an entire crop. Secondly, the frozen grapes produce much less juice than they would if we picked them normally, so of course they produce less wine.”

“That seems the thing to do, then. You might end up with less wine, but you’ll make more gold in the long run, won’t you?”

Alain wiggled his fingers in Breeze’s hand like he wanted to tap them on something as he considered. “Possibly. Not all the grapes will work, though. And there’s a good chance the goddesses and seasons won’t cooperate. We usually only risk a small portion of the grapes for the ice wine, those we can afford to lose. If we made them all into ice wine, we would do quite well, but if we lost them to rot, we’d be doomed.”

“Octavian always tells me destiny smiles on the bold man and ignores the timid.”

“You speak highly of him,” Alain said.

“He’s a good man, as I explained. Shrewd, though. Sharp as a dagger. And, I suppose, he was good to me. Gave me a chance.”

Alain looked at him intently, batting his long golden lashes, so Breeze continued. “He could have turned me away. I wasn’t much of a warrior when I went to join the Roses. But I told him my story, and he told me his, and it turned out they weren’t so different. He gave me a place to belong. Saw some worth in me that no one else ever had. I owe him a great deal.”

“You didn’t feel like you belonged in Espero?”

“No.” Dammit, he didn’t want to talk about this. He pulled loose of Alain’s hand and took a long drink of wine to avoid speaking.

“Why?”

“I just wanted a different life from the one laid out for me there. Same as Octavian. I wanted to make it on my own like he did. He’s not much older than us, you know.”

“He sounds like a remarkable man.” Alain looked like he wanted to say something else, but he busied himself with stacking Breeze’s empty dishes onto the tray. “I suppose we should see to your bath.”

Alain left the tray on the floor next to the bed and helped Breeze to stand. He arranged Breeze’s arm over his shoulders, and Breeze caught his own scent. Goddesses, he really reeked, and he felt suddenly self-conscious.

The trip down the stairs and through the cheery kitchen hurt less than Breeze expected, but by the time they reached the small, whitewashed room at the end of the long corridor, the side of his left thigh trembled and threatened to cramp. Alain helped him to sit on a wooden chair while he filled three metal pails from the pump and suspended them over a raised pit of coals in the corner of the room. Then he picked up a pair of shears. “Oh no. I have to take your bandages off, and you didn’t take your elixir.”

Breeze laughed. “I can hardly wash and shave myself if I’m fast asleep. Or were you planning to do it?”

Alain colored. Goddesses, that was alluring, and Breeze wondered how far the dusky-rose color spread down his neck. Even his lips darkened when he spoke. “I have done it, you know. Bathed you.”

“I know. Thank you. I was only teasing. I did not mean to upset you.”

“I’m not upset. I just don’t like doing this. I know it’s necessary to the healing, but I don’t like seeing you… seeing anyone suffering. I should go back to your room and fetch the tonic.”

“I’d rather do without it,” Breeze said. “I’ve had enough of feeling fuzzy.”

“You really should—”

“Alain, I will be fine. This isn’t the first time I’ve been injured.” He didn’t add that it was by far the worst, or that he wanted to experience what was about to happen without the haze of the elixir.

“I’ll at least go the kitchen and get you more wine to dull the pain.”

He returned with an open bottle, and Breeze drank. Goddesses, this would spoil him. This tasted like wine from Espero, bright and bold with notes of bitter cherry, currant, the black stone Pherara had pulled from the sea to form the island, leather, and tarberry. He almost moaned as it slid down his throat to warm his belly. “Amazing. You made this?”

“It takes a great many people,” Alain said as he emptied the buckets into the round wooden tub.

“But according to your instructions,” Breeze pressed.

“Yes, I suppose.”

“You, my friend, are an artist.”

“Thank you, but that’s hardly the best we have to offer. Just table wine, really.”

“Goddesses.”

“Your bath is ready. I should take your dressings off. Drink some more.”

Breeze didn’t need to be told twice. After a few long pulls, he carefully rolled the loose brown trousers the children had given him to his ankles and lifted his feet out. Aside from the linen strips, he was completely naked. Not that he was shy—at Rosecairn, the men swam together in the summer and helped each other on and off with their armor. Besides, Alain had seen him, so he didn’t bother covering himself. When Alain turned and saw him sitting with his legs open, everything on display, he blushed almost as burgundy as the wine and tossed Breeze a towel.

Breeze chuckled but draped it across his sensitive bits. “I’m sure you’ve seen it.”

“I have seen it,” Alain said a little shortly, “not that I was trying to look, or staring at it, or something. I kept it covered up when I could!”

“I never meant to imply otherwise, friend.” Alain did not like being teased. Breeze was used to the back and forth jibes between the warriors at Rosecairn, and sometimes they grew quite vicious, but he didn’t want to make Alain uncomfortable. “You know me. Not used to the company of civilized men. I apologize.”

 

Buy Link (25% off August 8-12!)

 

So what do you think of Alain and Breeze? Who is your favorite so far?

 

Do you like “opposites attract” storylines—where it takes a while for characters to look past their preconceptions and understand each other?

Wine and Roses Release Party

August 8, 2014

WineRosesLGHello everybody and happy Friday! My name is August Li but most people call me Gus.  I’ll be here on the Dreamspinner Press blog throughout the day today to celebrate the release of my latest novel, Wine and Roses.

 

Those of you who are familiar with me and my work will know I’m primarily a fantasy author. I have a sweeping fantasy series called the Blessed Epoch featuring epic conflicts, mages, knights, assassins, and large scale battles. As much as I love writing that series, I wanted to go in a different direction with Wine and Roses. While it is set in the same universe as the rest of the Blessed Epoch, it features “ordinary” characters because I wanted to explore the lives of people living in this world who aren’t princes, pirates, or sorcerers. After all, those kinds of people can only exist with “average” people to support them. So, Alain (the blond on the cover) is a vintner and farmer, living and working on a winery that has been in his family for over five hundred years. Granted, he’s a very superior vintner and makes exceptional wine, but he wants nothing to do with the power struggles of the privileged and would be happy to be left alone and take care of his land and his grapes.

 

Of course war affects Alain, his family, and Mountain Shadow Winery, and this is how he meets Breeze, who is just a soldier for hire. Breeze’s interests at the start of the book are pretty simple: some excitement and some money to spend. He’s outgoing and can be crass as often as he’s charming, but there’s a lot more to him than that….

 

Wine and Roses is also the closest I’ve come to writing a true romance novel. Most of my books are more High Fantasy with some romantic elements. Wine and Roses, while it has some fantasy elements—I had to put at least one fight in—is a love story at the core. It’s set in a fantasy world, but I hope it might appeal to those readers who don’t want the outside conflict in epic High Fantasy. I hope it can appeal to readers of both genres.

 

Here’s the book blurb and buy link for Wine and Roses. Best of all, it’s on sale for 25% off between August 8-12.

 

*****

Mage Yarroway L’Estrella decided the Battle of the Starlight Bridge when he summoned fire from the heavens. The blaze decimated much of the vineyard that has been in Alain Lamont’s family for nine generations. Mountain Shadow Winery may no longer be able to support Alain’s family or the dozens of others who call it home, but Alain vows not to fail all those depending on him.

 

Mercenary Fabrezio Orvina d’Caelus, Breeze to his friends, appreciates Alain taking him in when he’s badly wounded after the battle, but he has no intention of living the dull life of a farmer any longer than necessary. Though he likes the vintner, he sees Alain as soft and sheltered, hardly a man who can understand a warrior’s calling.

 

As they live and work together, Alain realizes Breeze isn’t exactly the amoral opportunist he suspected, and Breeze sees more strength in Alain than he thought possible of a simple winemaker. Life on the estate is richer and less boring than Breeze first imagined. With ingenuity, courage, and cooperation, they may devise a way to revitalize the vineyard and move beyond the pain and loss of their pasts.

 

*****

 

Buy Link

 

I’ll be around throughout the day with more information on the world and characters of Wine and Roses. I’ll have excerpts and a giveaway later. Until then, feel free to ask me questions, and I’ll do my best to answer.

 

My questions for readers:

 

Do you read fantasy? How do you feel about reading about the “ordinary” people in a fantasy world? Or would you rather read epic storylines about powerful characters?

 

How much external conflict do you like in your romance? Do you prefer it when characters are facing a lot of obstacles or when they can focus on the love story?

Harmony Ink New Release: August 7, 2014

August 7, 2014

Loveblood by M.J. O’Shea

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

From the moment teenage werewolves Jonah and Max meet, their worlds get turned inside out. Nothing will be the same for them ever again. Loveblood by M.J. O’Shea, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

LovebloodFS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Max Appleton and his mother Celia are are on the run, hiding from an abusive father and husband who’s also a notoriously bad pack leader. When Max hit puberty and it became obvious he’d never make an alpha wolf, his father turned the brunt of his anger toward his inferior son and his beta wolf wife for producing him. Max and Celia find sanctuary in a garden cottage at Holly Court, the sprawling estate where Celia’s oldest friend lives with her pack alpha husband, three daughters, and teenaged son Jonah.

Jonah Spellman has what seems like the perfect life. His family is close, his dad is respected by their whole pack, and he’s been groomed to take over for as long as he can remember. Everything is set, his whole life planned, and Jonah works hard to be exactly what everyone expects. He’s under enough pressure without a runaway from a bad pack complicating his life.

When two teenaged werewolves from very different worlds meet one snowy January day, both of their worlds get turned inside out. From the moment they meet, nothing will be the same for Jonah or Max ever again.

Length: Novel (256p.) | Genre: Paranormal – Werewolves, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: August 7, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-242-7) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-240-3)

Release day for BAMF

July 28, 2014

22045791

With his fauxhawk, sleeve tattoos, and visible piercings, Ridley Corbin has the whole badass vibe going on in spades. The image serves him well as the self-proclaimed protector of the underdog, and he wants nothing more than to be Alex Firestone’s hero.

Alex, a mild-mannered library assistant, has moved to Slater, a quiet college town, hoping to hide from his past. He keeps to himself, but that doesn’t save him from catching the unwanted attention of the campus bully. But not all is as it seems. Alex’s past comes calling, and it’s time he becomes top dog.

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

RIDLEY CORBIN was the protector of the underdog, a role he’d come into as a direct product of his upbringing. A squirrely little kid, he had buckteeth, bright red hair, and was a good ten pounds and two inches shorter than the next smallest kid. A runt, and an ugly one at that, he’d been bullied nearly every day of his first three years at Gates Elementary School.

During those early days, he’d drop to his knees next to his bed and beg God for a little brother or sister. It would have been cool to have had a sibling to play with—even if he or she were forced to play with him by their mom. Apparently something had gone wrong during his birth, though, and they’d had to pull out Mom’s baby box. But hey, at least the prayers had been good for something—he got a puppy.

The summer between third and fourth grade, Ridley thought he’d gotten the next best thing to a sibling. Brock Hanners moved into the house next to his, and Ridley thought that, since they were the only two kids on the cul-de-sac, Brock would want to play with him. He was wrong.

Brock was huge; well, at least to Ridley’s scrawny little ass he was. Much to his dismay, Brock bullied him too. He used to steal Ridley’s bike, take his toys, even came over once and knocked down his clubhouse. Granted it was only a couple of kitchen chairs and old blankets and he was the only member, but it was his. Instead of the friend he had hoped for, Ridley found himself even more miserable after Brock moved in. He was being picked on at school and now bullied at home as well.

However, Ridley was a smart kid and Brock, well, he wasn’t too bright. Brock had been held back a couple of years—hence why he was so much bigger than everyone else. So when classes resumed in the fall, they came to a little agreement. Ridley would do Brock’s homework and Brock would keep Ridley safe at school. Brock was like his own personal bodyguard. Not a perfect arrangement, but he learned some great study habits doing the work of two, and it saved him a crap-ton of ass beatings.

Brock moved away during their junior year of high school, but by then Ridley had had his teeth fixed, his hair had changed from Bozo red to a nice chestnut color, and, most importantly, he’d grown. He was still scrawny, but he was inching up on six feet and had a wicked bank shot.

It would have been easy to become one of those kids who felt that just because he’d been bullied his whole life, it was now his turn to be the bully. Instead, he became more like Brock, except Ridley did it for free and he was a lot smarter. Okay, he was nothing like Brock. He never took advantage of someone and he’d never failed a class, but he did take to the protector part.

So it was only natural that he was on the move as soon as he heard Kyle Bouche’s familiar sneer—Hey, nerd boy. Where can I find a book on Gustave Courbet?—on the other side of the books he was searching through. Damn, he hated that guy. Kyle was the big man at Slater University. Quarterback for the football team, student body president, as well as president of his fraternity, blah, blah, blah. Ridley didn’t normally pay attention to the shit that went on around the campus, couldn’t care less. He kept his head down, stayed to himself, and worked hard to keep his grade point average at a 4.0. The only reason he knew about Kyle’s activities was because the fucker liked to brag about them. Personally, Ridley thought Kyle was a complete and utter dickhead.

Ridley eased his way around the aisle, and there in the next row was Kyle, smirking at Alex Firestone. Ridley was about to step in and teach Kyle a few manners, but stopped when he saw Alex glare at Kyle and say, “Look it up on the computer like everyone else.” Alex then went back to sorting the books in his cart.

Ridley tensed and his hands tightened on the Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood he was holding as Kyle moved up close to Alex. Kyle puffed his chest up in an obvious attempt to intimidate Alex. The idea made Ridley crazy and he wanted so badly to slap Kyle up against his thick head. The little bantam rooster had no idea who he was messing with. Yes, Ridley fancied himself protector of the underdog, but with Alex the need was even sharper. It was personal. If Kyle laid so much as a finger on Alex, Kyle would be washing the cold blood from his face later. Ridley had to bite down on his lip to keep from laughing at the irony.

“Do you have any idea who you’re talking to?” Kyle snarled.

Ridley shifted slightly, fighting back the urge to pounce when Kyle put the cart between him and Alex and leaned in close. He couldn’t see Kyle’s face but clearly saw the narrowed gaze and challenging look Alex gave him in return.

“Yeah, you’re the guy who is going to use the computer to search for your book like everyone else,” Alex informed Kyle without so much as flinching.

Alex worked in the library, and although Ridley didn’t really have a need to be in the library—with his major in mechanical engineering, most of his studies were done hands-on or on the computer—he found himself drawn there anyway. Basically he was there to gawk at the star of his wet dreams, Alex Firestone. No, he wasn’t a freaky stalker. He just hadn’t built up the nerve to approach the sexy man. Okay, it might have been bordering on stalkerish since he’d been doing quite a bit of gawking over the last six months, but damn, it was Alex Firestone.

Alex was the same six-foot height, and although he tended to wear dress shirts and slacks that were a bit big for him, Ridley could tell Alex had an impressive build beneath the cotton material. He also had the most amazing gunmetal-blue eyes Ridley had ever seen. Oh, and then there was the fact that Alex had a head full of unruly blond curls and the biggest and sweetest dimples ever. He also wore heavy-framed black glasses, and the bow ties he sported were just too adorable for words. Basically, Alex worked the fuck out of cute.

Read more and get your copy here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5260