Category Archives: M/M romance

New! The Harp and the Sea by Sylvre & Barwell


The Harp and the Sea


A 16th century Reiver
meets a Higlander in 1745.
Magic makes it happen.
Love Makes it work.

Get the ebook now at the publisher and save 40%: https://ninestarpress.com/product/the-harp-and-the-sea/
Get it in print or ebook from your favorite retailer: https://books2read.com/harp-and-sea

Read on for a link to the Rafflecopter giveaway!

The Story:
In 1605, Robbie Elliot—a Reiver and musician from the Scottish borders—nearly went to the gallows. The Witch of the Hermitage saved him with a ruse, but weeks later, she cursed him to an ethereal existence in the sea. He has seven chances to come alive, come ashore, and find true love. For over a century, Robbie’s been lost to that magic; six times love has failed. When he washes ashore on the Isle of Skye in 1745, he’s arrived at his last chance at love, his last chance at life.

Highland warrior Ian MacDonald came to Skye for loyalty and rebellion. He’s lost once at love, and stands as an outsider in his own clan. When Ian’s uncle and laird sends him to lonely Skye to hide and protect treasure meant for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s coffers, he resigns himself to a solitary life—his only companion the eternal sea. Lonely doldrums transform into romance and mystery when the tide brings beautiful Robbie Elliot and his broken harp ashore.

A curse dogs them, enemies hunt them, and war looms over their lives. Robbie and Ian will fight with love, will, and the sword. But without the help of magic and ancient gods, will it be enough to win them a future together?

An Excerpt

Isle of Skye, June 1745

Ian woke with a start, his dirk already in his hand before his eyes were properly open. He glanced around, unable to shake the feeling that something was wrong, although if asked what or why he couldn’t explain it…

The harp was gone!

Memories of the evening before flooded his mind. He’d walked by the beach as he usually did, checking that all was well and there was nothing there that wasn’t supposed to be. Since his run-in with Campbell and his men, he’d made a point of keeping an eye on the area at least twice a day. The harp had caught his eye, the tip of the old wood caught on the white crest of a wave, not quite submerged, or belonging.

It had taken but a moment for Ian to make the decision to rescue the thing. Part of him identified with it, he suspected. It had been so long since he’d felt he belonged. Sure, this was an important task he’d been given, but it was so lonely, especially since Fergus had died. It wasn’t as though he and the old man had conversed much, but Ian had taken some comfort in the knowledge he wasn’t completely alone. When his uncle had bestowed the task upon him, it was understood he’d keep to himself and not have much to do with the locals. The Harp and the Sea
|
It was safer for both him and what he guarded as it didn’t take much for stories to travel and find the wrong ears.
He still regretted not having had the chance to tell his parents the truth behind his banishment. His parents might not have approved of their son’s relationship with another man, but they hadn’t turned their backs on him for it. However, it hadn’t stopped his mam from telling him it wasn’t natural. A fine young strapping lad such as himself should get himself a pretty girl and settle down.

Months spent in only his own company hadn’t stopped him wishing for what he didn’t have, and what he truly wanted. On a cold night, those dreams were both a comfort and a curse.
A firm thigh. A muscular arm. The scent of someone unmistakably masculine.

“Aye, because that’s going to happen,” he’d muttered as he waded out from shore to recover whatever it was stuck out there, neither a part of the sea nor the land.

The water was freezing, but he’d expected that. He’d shivered, but it wasn’t from the cold. One firm yank and the harp was in his arms. His breath hitched, his imagination caught in the same way the instrument had been trapped by the seaweed, a green slimy rope holding it to its watery prison.

The harp was still beautiful, despite the state of it. Once ashore, Ian allowed himself to run his callused fingers over it, marvelling at the smoothness of the wood. Amazingly, the strings were still intact. He plucked at one, and then another, wincing at the following cacophony. It needed a good tuning, but he didn’t possess the knowledge. He had no clue what song it should play, just the strong feeling it was missing something—that like him, it wasn’t complete.

His thoughts snapped forward to the present, his attention taken by the slightly open door of his stone cottage. He’d shut it the night before, he was sure of it.
Ian’s eyes narrowed. Some thieving bastard had been in his home while he slept! Fully awake now, he grabbed his sword and its sheath as he stomped out of the cottage, intent on capturing the culprit and at the very least giving him or her a piece of his mind.

At least it wasn’t Campbell or one of his men. If it had been, Ian would know it by now. Campbell wouldn’t have let him sleep but more likely held a knife to his throat and ensured his waking was a painful one.

“Not very clever for a thief, are ye?”

The tracks leading from just outside the door were clear as day, the red rays of the rising sun highlighting them as clearly as though the thief had left a sign-posted trail for Ian to follow. He didn’t need any further invitation. The harp needed to be kept safe, though if asked he wouldn’t have been able to say why. Still, he had to find it.

The footsteps led him to a clearing some distance from the cottage. A man sat huddled on the ground, clutching the harp to his breast. He seemed lost, afraid, yet for some reason very familiar.

Ian forgot to breathe for a moment, lost in the sight before him. The man was slim and blond, with long hair stretching down to almost his arse. He stared at Ian, his green eyes the colour of the deep sea. Neither of them moved.

And then the harp began to sing.
***

The sun finally rose, and Robbie Elliot felt its warm finger skim along his pale skin, seeking his bones to warm them. Every time this moment had repeated itself throughout his long life, for just that blink of time, his existence seemed worthwhile. To feel the sun caress and kiss his skin, to see it spark gold off the knotty locks of hair that hung before his eyes, this one feeling made his heaven. It would pass too soon, but for that instant, everything was perfect.

He looked out at the olivine sea. He loved her, gave thanks to her for the gifts she had given. She was his mother, but she gave with a cold breast.

Heavy footsteps approached; it would be the Highlander who’d been asleep in his cottage when Robbie snuck in to retrieve the harp. The man would be afraid of witchcraft, once he saw Robbie sitting before the harp, legs stretched on either side, leaning over the arc of its neck as if it were an ailing lover.

Robbie hadn’t made it to land yet from his most recent stint at sea when the ruddy Highlander had lifted the harp from the foam at the edge of shore, but he’d been aware. Even before Robbie left the surf and stepped on dry sand, he’d sensed the man who’d touched his harp and felt he’d known him a lifetime.

And the feeling had woken him quickly, completely, mind and body, had pulled him towards the beach as if he were a fish on a line. He didn’t fight it. For the first time in so many that he’d lost count, a man had found the harp! It was a man who’d been drawn to the magic, who’d touched it and touched Robbie, though he—this Highlander who’d found the harp—had no way to know what he’d done. Drawing his first harsh breath of air as he rose from the sea, Robbie had felt such hope that it stung his eyes.

Voice raspy from long disuse, he’d whispered to himself, or perhaps to the sea. “Can it be at last? Can this be the completion of the magic?”

For all he had tried, he had not been able to make the harp sing with any of the women he and the harp had met—be they ladies or housemaids, whether they wanted him or not. And he knew why. He was, despite everything, the same Robbie Elliot he’d always been, and they were women. How could that work?

Now, sneaking a glance as the finder approached him across the meadow, Robbie thought, But this is truly a man. A ruddy, huge Highlander, kilt-clad and bearing a hand-and-a-half sword across his back.

When the man found the harp, Robbie had still been roaming far out among the waves. But despite the distance, with all the senses of the sea at his disposal, he’d seen and heard with his mind’s eye—and no less clearly. The great bear of a man had hefted the sodden wood of the harp in one massive hand—a hand that Robbie could feel as if it grasped his own flesh—and carried the wounded thing to shore, whistling off-key some song of the Highlands.

And now the Highlander stepped into the glade where Robbie sat in the sun with the harp before him as if ready to coax a tune from her broken strings and warped neck. He strode across the sunlit ground, the red flush on his face and neck betraying his anger, his eyes on the harp, intent.

But when at last the tall, red-headed Scot raised his eyes to meet Robbie’s… Oh, wonder!

The harp began to sing.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below, or email me at louwrites@rainbow-gate.com.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Vasquez Inc #4—A Shot at Perfect coming 1/24

A Shot at Perfect

Preorder now at retailers!
Download everywhere January 24, 2020—discount at the publisher!

Universal Link


Publisher’s Link



After a crash left him with new mental and physical scars, Jackie Vasquez has finally regained his focus, flair, and bright outlook. Though he’s letting Brian Harrison’s marriage proposal simmer, it’s not for lack of love. He’s set his sights on putting his life right first — a new job and a fresh start at graduate school. But Los Angeles — the city of devil winds — has new trauma in store for him. Another accident leaves him with the stump of a leg and defeated spirits, adrift despite Brian’s devoted attentions.

While Brian copes with his own emotional trauma, he hopes to break through Jackie’s apathy, but work at Vasquez Security takes more and more of his time and attention. Specifically “the Espen case,” which his boss — Luki Vasquez — has forbidden him to pursue. Help comes on all fronts from friends and family for both Brian and Jackie, but even as it does, danger mounts from outside. Can the two men find their way back to love as well as passion and fulfillment in their D/s roles? Can they survive the confrontation with danger that seems to loom closer and darker every time LA’s hot winds blow?

Excerpt

The morning after their stellar session, when Brian got out of bed, he discovered Jackie was already up. The fortune cookie was no longer on the night table. Brian walked out into the open front rooms of the apartment looking for his boy, eager to kiss Jackie soundly and get his answer to the marriage proposal.

Jackie had left three of four diagonally cut pieces of cinnamon-toast on a plate, two strips of bacon in a pan, and half a pot of coffee still keeping warm, but he was nowhere to be seen. Brian poured himself a cup of hot coffee and grabbed both bacon strips with his fingers. He sat down in his usual spot at the table, wondering if he should feel disappointed, worried, or perhaps unconcerned. Jackie had certainly demonstrated his feelings for Brian the previous night.

But the question Where the hell is he? kept popping up in his mind as he devoured the bacon and chased it down with coffee. Then, as he helped himself to Jackie’s toast leavings, the question evolved into Why the hell would he leave without a word?

Followed closely by Why hasn’t he answered about marrying me?

Shit. “No” would be better than silence…

Wait. No, it wouldn’t. But shit…

After he polished off the toast and talked himself out of putting a shot of J&B in his second cup of coffee, he remembered that phones and text messaging existed. Hopeful, he swallowed most of the coffee down and went to the bedroom to fetch his phone. Aha! A text awaited, and it was from none other…

— Good morning, Bri. I’ll be home soon. Before I forget. What happened to that broken drawer in the playroom? —

It took Brian a number of seconds before he could even make sense of the question, so far was it from what he’d expected — and desperately hoped — to see, but eventually he put it together. Annoyed, but glad Jackie had at least not forgotten him entirely, he texted back.

— It had a lock, no key, and I couldn’t pick it. I broke it. Where are you? —

Brian waited, sitting on the unmade bed in his skivvies, only vaguely aware of Marley head-bumping his arm hoping for a good scratch and not even noticing the sun blazing through the window and baking his left shoulder. He didn’t get an answer. He sighed very deeply, well aware of how piteous it sounded, and then he moaned, “Dammit, Jackie.” Sure the devil boy would be his undoing someday, he gritted his teeth, resolving not to worry until something clearly indicated he should.

He picked up his phone to send another text, but before he could do so, he got a mixed media message. As often proved to be the case with images, it had taken a long time to get to him, having been sent even before the text he’d already responded to. It was a selfie. Jackie looking very fine and dressed for success, wearing a blazer the same color as his eyes and a tie… one of Brian’s, he believed.

He texted back: You look good. Why are you wearing a tie?

He waited. No answer.

He waited some more. No answer.

He started to wait some more, said “Fuck it” out loud, and sent a final text. What did your fortune cookie say? And wherever you are, be careful.

Brian dressed, walked down to the office, and had already situated himself at his desk and powered up his PC when a reply came.

I love you, Brian.

Brian didn’t reply. He was already tired from the strange interaction. He just gathered up his things and, sighing again, turned his attention to work.

More and more he found he accomplished the tasks of management easily. He whipped through the morning’s e-mails before Livvy showed up, made a pot of coffee, assigned Lonny to manage a personal security situation for Korean corporate officers in Los Angeles for a wedding, and reviewed the latest financial reports with Ahmad. After a break, during which he tried unsuccessfully to reach Jackie by phone and then spent fifteen minutes crocheting with Livvy while she talked about her nephew’s latest musical triumphs, he worked on a plan he’d been putting together to point VSI-LA in a profitable direction over the next couple of years.

LA was rife with security companies, a good number of them with high level capabilities. It was why Luki had never concentrated his energies here — a big market with an even bigger pool of competition, and as successful and respected as Vasquez Security was, it remained a small- to- medium-sized fish in the large pond. That made it difficult to compete with the likes of Security Group International, and SGI’s office in LA was more than triple the size of Brian’s little group.

But he thought the office could do better than it had. The key was targeting the right niche. He’d researched, and he’d found two of the least monopolized areas to be security for transient high level corporate officials — like the Koreans in town this week — and event security for small to medium-sized posh gatherings. VSI was set up well to grow in those market areas, and his report included the necessary facts and figures for Luki to make a decision as to whether to invest in the additional personnel, training, equipment, and advertising to accomplish it.

Now he set his mind to propose one additional area of investment, one he wasn’t at all sure Luki would approve. For one thing, it involved privately dealing with things that technically should be the domain of law enforcement agencies. For another, it involved putting someone in the middle of very dangerous situations — negotiating with kidnappers and dealing with blackmailers — and nobody on staff at present in Los Angeles was qualified. But Brian knew Luki had done that type of work, and he had other agents in Chicago who could do it. Luki could do the training, and Brian really wanted to be trained and to do the work. He wasn’t sure why he wanted to do something so patently risky, except that he hadn’t studied what he’d studied and gone on staff with the London Metropolitan Police in order to spend all his time at a desk.

Whatever the reason, his brain got ridiculously excited at the idea. He’d need a partner, and he thought Amy might be a good choice. If not, they could hire someone. With Luki’s connections in the business, Brian had no doubt they’d pick up jobs if word got out VSI-LA was equipped to deal with them.

Interestingly, he’d found a file indicating Espen had been looking into the same field of operations a few weeks before his disappearance, but he hadn’t compiled any reports except a list of other security companies that offered the same services.

As that thought passed casually through his thoughts, a realization jolted him — as if lightning had struck and revealed Espen’s secrets. Two entries in the notebook had been different than all the others. Both had the letters RL, a date, and what was surely an amount of money. Only one had been crossed out.

Espen was a gambler, possibly an addict. Espen had been deep in debt to someone represented by the initials RL. He’d paid RL once, but not the second time. Around the same time, he’d compiled that list.

It clicked. He hadn’t been thinking of the business, he’d gone looking for help with a blackmailer.

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Filed under just a category, Lou Sylvre Book News, M/M romance, New M/M releases, Upcoming release

Now! Download A Shot at Living (Vasquez Inc 3) at your favorite online retailer

I’m happy to report that effective December 27, 2019…

Vasquez Inc book 3, A Shot at Living, is available for download from major online retailers!


New!

A Shot at Living: https://books2read.com/vasquez-inc-3-Living

From some early 5-star reviews:
“Lou Sylvre outdid herself with this one! … Write faster, Lou!” —Kitty, on Goodreads
“A fine continuation of this series…. I look forward to more.” —Tappy, on Amazon

About the story—

LA’s heat holds danger and mystery for a Dom and his sub aiming for love and a new life together.

Anxious to leave London and its horrors behind, Brian Harrison and Jackie Vasquez move to Los Angeles. Brian hopes working for Luki, managing a small Vasquez Security branch, will leave him more time to live, love, and play with sub Jackie. But Los Angeles awakens old trauma for Jackie, and follows that with a brand new hit.

While Jackie struggles back to health after a crippling accident, Brian strives to find his balance as Jackie’s lover and Dom. Meanwhile, the more Brian defies the order not to investigate the disappearance of the previous branch manager, the deeper and darker the mystery gets.

Can the couple fan the lusty flames still burning between them, rekindle romance, and rise together in time to stand against looming dangers just ahead?

“He’s late,” Brian said to himself. He double checked the app on his phone, confirming the flight had landed only two minutes late. A little bolt of worry shot through him, but he quickly quenched it. This was Los Angeles. The delay was probably due to traffic. Twenty or thirty minutes late means nothing in this town, he thought. “Hell,” he said aloud, “two hours’ delay is pretty much normal around here.”

Ignoring the hollow sound of those words in the mostly bare room, he set about hanging up carefully coiled hanks of colored rope via stick-on hooks, thinking only about the colors he’d use to make Jackie beautiful when he did arrive. He wouldn’t be able to use the suspension rig he’d bought that night — no time to set it up and make sure it was safe — but that didn’t mean they couldn’t have plenty to play with in the meantime.

Fifty minutes later, Brian had checked and fidgeted with each of the rose bouquets scattered around the apartment at least three times, made sure wine and water were chilling along with a tray of fruit and cheese, wiped the counters again, re-dusted the mantel over the built-in and partially locked cabinet, cleaned a smudge off the playroom’s triple-width, full-length mirror, and listened to two sets of phone messages twice.

Marley sauntered into the new playroom and began an inspection, disapproving as big orange cats tend to do, then gave up and sat down to stare at his human. Brian had just that moment arranged — again — the new cock-ring he’d picked up on another impromptu shopping spree, setting it jauntily alongside the vase of Black Baccara roses
and the opened box containing the new collar he hoped to put on Jackie soon — maybe even within hours. He’d chosen the collar carefully, after much deliberation purchasing a rich, pliable, black leather adorned with a silver lock and trim and a stylized Triskelia inset with iridescent labradorite. He situated the box just so, sighed, and ran exasperated hands through his hair.

Legitimately, he had no more preparation to accomplish before Jackie’s arrival, but he fidgeted, knowing he wouldn’t succeed if he tried to do anything important and unrelated. He was full of nervous energy — more so the later it got, so he turned his mind to a minor mystery he’d discovered the day he’d moved in. The playroom had a built-in cabinet, something like a bureau but mostly recessed into the walls, with a narrow counter stretching across the top instead of a mantel and a mirror. Brian had opened, inspected, and cleaned seven of the eight small drawers and found nothing.

But he hadn’t been able to open the eighth drawer. The pull was missing, and at first he thought it was fake — just a façade like the double cabinet door in the center. But why only one fake drawer out of eight? Those doors looked to be painted shut, their front recessed from the rest of the structure. But the mystery drawer had a thin strip of metal set unobtrusively — almost but not quite invisibly — along its side between it and the neighboring wood. He bent and peered closely at it, shining the flashlight on his phone into the narrow space. A space in the middle of the inch-long strip looked like it called for a key.

Brian had always been driven to solve a mystery, and this one was no different. He stood with his hands on his hips, squinting, as if that would provide answers. The locked drawer bothered him enough, and it was enough of a welcome distraction from Jackie’s lateness, that he decided to try his hand at lock-picking. He went decisively to the other bedroom closet where he rummaged through a still-packed box and came up with a few paperclips.

He understood the basics of lock-picking, but had never had much call to apply the skill, which might have been why he failed miserably. That added to his frustration with the way things were going in general. Already, things had slid downhill from his perfect plan — starting with the fact that Jackie was late. He wasn’t taking “no” as an answer from the damned drawer. He lined a butter knife up with the lock and gave it three sharp blows with a hammer, successfully knocking the lock through the wood. Brian sighed, left with mixed feelings — tension relieved, gratified, victorious, but angry as hell and disappointed in himself for ruining the perfection of the setting for tonight’s planned scene. The front of the drawer was a splintery mess. He moved the roses, collar, and cock ring to the other end of the shelf for the sake of aesthetics.

Inside the drawer, he found a small notebook and nothing else. About half the pages were filled with what looked to Brian like scribbling. A few repeated things, like a circle around a capital B followed by numbers and certain other letters that seemed to be abbreviations. The arrangement of entries looked haphazard, completely disorganized, and — to his eye — meaningless. Yet someone had found it necessary to lock it up all by itself. The someone likely to have done that would be the now-disappeared Espen, as he was the last person to occupy the apartment.

Something seemed deeply troubling about that.

But, mystifying as that was, and as much as he knew he’d have to come back to the mystery at some point, Jackie was a much more present concern, and his mind returned there insistently. With no one else to bounce things off, Brian turned and asked his audience, the former alley tom, “Where’s my boyfriend, Marley?”


Vasquez Inc is a true series, so I’m giving you all the links here. If you haven’t read books 1 and 2, follow the links to start at the beginning. (Book 4, A Shot at Perfect, will be available starting January 24th, and 4 more books are planned in 2020, so this is a great time to catch up on this series, which is jam packed full of sizzling romance as well as spine-tingling suspense!)

#1 A Shot of J&B: https://books2read.com/vasquez-inc-1-J-and-b
#2 A Shot of Fear: https://books2read.com/vasquez-inc-2-fear

Vasquez Inc series is a spin off from the popular Vasquez and James series. If you’re like me and you want to know all about the characters you’ll see Vasquez Inc, check out those stories first. Luki Vasquez loves Sonny James, and vice versa, through six suspenseful novels that culminate in one of the happiest endings ever. Find me on the publisher’s website for links to that series
https://www.changelingpress.com/lou-sylvre-a-211
< /hr>
Lou Sylvre lives and writes on the rainy side of Washington State, penning mostly suspense/romance novels because she can’t resist giving her characters hard times along with their hot sex and good love. Her personal assistant is Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow, and he makes a point of letting her know when she’s taken a plot tangent too far. When Lou isn’t writing, she’s reading fiction from nearly every genre, romance in all its tints and shades, and the occasional book about history, physics, or police procedure. Not zombies, though—she avoids zombies like the plague unless they have a great sense of humor. She plays guitar (mostly where people can’t hear her) and she loves to sing. She’s most often smiling and laughs too much, some say. Among other things and in no particular order, she loves her family, her friends, the aforementioned Boudreau, his sister George, and their little brother Nibbles, and a chihuahua-terrier mix named Joe. She takes pleasure in coffee, chocolate, sunshine, gardens, wild roses, and every touch of beauty she finds in the world. It makes her day to hear from a reader, so feel free to find her on the web—links follow.

Thanks for checking out the latest news. Follow the blog for news, sign up for my Sylvre Linings newsletter, or follow Author Lou Sylvre on Facebook. You can also find me on Twitter—@sylvre.

I always love to hear from readers and this blog is no exception. Please feel free to comment with your thoughts!

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Filed under just a category, M/M romance, New Release, suspense

Cover Reveal! A Shot at Living by Lou Sylvre—Vasquez Inc #3

A Shot at Living


Lou Sylvre’s Vasquez Inc series #3—a never before published episode in the lives of Brian and Jackie (wherein danger finds them once again after a move to Los Angeles)


Seen here for the first time: the all new cover by Bryan Keller at Changeling Press.


Links—preorder now!

Preorder now at online retailers
First download available date: 12/21 at the publisher
Download everywhere books are sold online 12/28/19

Changeling Press and Universal: https://www.changelingpress.com/a-shot-at-living-vasquez-inc-3-b-2972(Live links to all markets are available here.)
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shot-Living-Vasquez-Inc-ebook/dp/B082KHRNRL
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-shot-at-living-lou-sylvre/1135447315/1134864037
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-shot-at-living
Apple/iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-shot-at-living/id1490952770?ls=1

The story:

LA’s heat holds danger and mystery for a Dom and his sub aiming for love and a new life together.

Anxious to leave London and its horrors behind, Brian Harrison and Jackie Vasquez move to Los Angeles. Brian hopes working for Luki, managing a small Vasquez Security branch, will leave him more time to live, love, and play with sub Jackie. But Los Angeles awakens old trauma for Jackie, and follows that with a brand new hit.

While Jackie struggles back to health after a crippling accident, Brian strives to find his balance as Jackie’s lover and Dom. Meanwhile, the more Brian defies the order not to investigate the disappearance of the previous branch manager, the deeper and darker the mystery gets.

Can the couple fan the lusty flames still burning between them, rekindle romance, and rise together in time to stand against looming dangers just ahead?

An excerpt


Having limited time, wanting to concentrate on making everything perfect for Jackie, and willing to find excuses to avoid driving in Los Angeles, Brian had dispatched Shel Solomon—the second most senior of the full-time agents employed at VSI-LA—to pick up Jackie at the airport. Now, as he set a third huge bouquet of roses—this bunch almost black—in a vase in his brand-new , not yet completely furnished but promising playroom, he glanced at his watch.
“He’s late,” Brian said to himself. He double checked the app on his phone, confirming the flight had landed only two minutes late. A little bolt of worry shot through him, but he quickly quenched it. This was Los Angeles. The delay was probably due to traffic. $Twenty or thirty minutes late means nothing in this town, he thought. “Hell,” he said aloud, “two hours’ delay is pretty much normal around here.”

Ignoring the hollow sound of those words in the mostly bare room, he set about hanging up carefully coiled hanks of colored rope via stick-on hooks, thinking only about the colors he’d use to make Jackie beautiful when he did arrive. He wouldn’t be able that night to use the suspension rig he’d bought—no time to set it up and make sure it was safe—but that didn’t mean they couldn’t have plenty to play with in the meantime.
Fifty minutes later, Brian had checked and fidgeted with each of the rose bouquets scattered around the apartment at least three times, made sure wine and water were chilling along with a tray of fruit and cheese, wiped the counters again, re-dusted the mantel over the built-in and partially locked cabinet, cleaned a smudge off the playroom’s triple-width, full-length mirror, and listened to two sets of phone messages twice.
Marley sauntered into the new playroom and began an inspection, disapproving as big orange cats tend to do, then gave up and sat down to stare at his human. Brian had just that moment arranged—again—the new cock-ring he’d picked up on another impromptu shopping spree, setting it jauntily alongside the vase of Black Baccara roses and the opened box containing the new collar he hoped to put on Jackie soon—maybe even within hours. He’d chosen the collar carefully, after much deliberation purchasing a rich, pliable, black leather adorned with a silver lock and trim and a stylized Triskeli inset with iridescent labradorite. He situated the box just so, sighed, and ran exasperated hands through his hair.

Legitimately, he had no more preparation to accomplish before Jackie’s arrival, but he fidgeted, knowing he wouldn’t succeed if he tried to do anything important and unrelated. He was full of nervous energy—more so the later it got, so he turned his mind to a minor mystery he’d discovered the day he’d moved in. The playroom had a built-in cabinet, something like a bureau, but mostly recessed into the walls, with a narrow counter stretching across the top like a mantel and a mirror above. Brian had opened, inspected, and cleaned seven of the eight small drawers and found nothing.

But he hadn’t been able to open the eighth drawer. The pull was missing, and at first he thought it was fake—just a façade like the double cabinet door in the center. But why only one fake drawer out of eight? And those doors looked to be painted shut, and their front was recessed from the rest of the structure. But the mystery drawer had a thin strip of metal set unobtrusively—almost but not quite invisible—along its side, between it and the neighboring wood. He bent and peered closely at it, shining the flashlight on his phone into the narrow space. A space in the middle of the inch-long strip looked like it called for a key.

Brian had always been driven to solve a mystery, and this one was no different. He stood with hands on his hips, squinting as if that would provide answers. The locked drawer bothered him enough, and it was enough of a welcome distraction from Jackie’s lateness, that he decided to try his hand at lock-picking. He went decisively to the other bedroom closet where he rummaged through a still-packed box and came up with a few paperclips.
He understood the basics of lock-picking, but had never had much call to apply the skill, which might be why he failed miserably. That added to his frustration with the way things were going in general. Already, things had slid downhill from his perfect plan—starting with the fact that Jackie was late. He wasn’t taking “no” as an answer from the $damned drawer. He lined a butter knife up with the lock and gave it three sharp blows with a hammer, successfully knocking the lock through the wood. Brian sighed, left with mixed feelings—tension relieved, gratified, victorious, but angry as hell and disappointed in himself for ruining the perfection of the setting for tonight’s planned scene. The front of the drawer was a splintery mess. He moved the roses, collar, and cock ring to the other end of the shelf for the sake of aesthetics.
Inside the drawer, he found a small notebook and nothing else. About half the pages were filled with what looked to Brian like scribbling. A few repeated things, like a circle around capital B followed by numbers, and certain other letters that seemed to be abbreviations. The arrangement of entries looked haphazard, completely disorganized, and—to his eye—meaningless. Yet… someone had found it necessary to lock it up, all by itself. The someone likely to have done that would be the now-disappeared Espen, as he was the last person to occupy the apartment.

Something seemed deeply troubling about that.
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Thanks for reading, and as always feel free to leave me your thoughts in a comment. I love hearing from you!

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Filed under cover reveal, just a category, Lou Sylvre, M/M romance, New M/M releases, New Release, Upcoming release

Five days only! Falling Snow on Snow for 99¢ – Sale ends on 12/20

 
Seattle sparkles with snow that stayed, and Pike Place Market vibrates with color and starry-eyed shoppers. Beck Justice adds music to the mix, but he doesn’t believe in holiday joy—not until Oleg Abramov joins his ethereal voice to the intricate weavings of Beck’s guitar. While Oleg and his large, loving family brighten Beck’s bleak winter mood, Oleg thinks Beck could be the man to fill the void that nevertheless remains in his life. The two men step out on a path toward love, but it proves as slippery as Seattle’s icy streets. Light and harmony are within reach, but only if they choose to believe, risk their hearts, and trust.

Find Falling Snow on Snow at Amazon. Remember the sale ends on December 20!

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Blog Tour: Making the Holidays Happy Again, by Pat Henshaw

The Rainbow Gate book blog is happy to welcome Pat Henshaw, here with her new holiday romance, Making the Holidays Happy Again
Making the Holidays Happy Again - Pat Henshaw

Pat Henshaw has a new MM holiday romance out: “Making the Holidays Happy Again.”

Blacksmith Butch has secretly loved his best friend, science nerd Jimmy, since grade school. Now their shops in Old Town Seven Winds, California, are only doors from each other.

They’re about to turn thirty, and Butch refuses to wait another day to make a decision: propose to Jimmy and start the family he’s always wanted or forget his dream to avoid risking their friendship.

Why can’t the choice be as easy as creating decorative ironwork in his forge?

Dreamspinner | QueeRomance Ink

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

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Excerpt

Making the Holidays Happy Again Meme

“Okay, what’s up?” I sat on the bench with my back against the bricks at the Old Time Pub. “You’ve been pissed since last week.”

My best friend and secret love of my life Jimmy glared but didn’t answer. We’d known each other for so long that I waited him out like usual. I crossed my pumped arms and sat back, smelling my sweat-soaked T-shirt in the AC blowing around us.

The past summer in Seven Winds, once a Gold Rush town in California’s northern Sierra Nevada mountains and now a tourist trap, had been brutal. A record number of days over one hundred degrees had turned a lot of the shop owners into snarling dogs.

As the resident blacksmith, I took the heat as business as usual. So I was hot and sweaty? I was always hot and sweaty. The day I ain’t I was either sick or dead.

I figured Jimmy’s problem was more than the heat though. He’d been acting funny lately. Like he had something caught in his craw but he couldn’t spit it out.

Jimmy wasn’t looking at me, but down at his hands. They was long and thin, completely different from mine. I had a collection of burns and scratches, scars from the forge and the tools and all.

His hands was pale white with a bunch of freckles that went with the freckles all over the rest of his body. When we was kids, the tiny red hairs on his arms stood out almost more than his carroty hair. The bright red had changed as he got older and was now more muted. Me? I’d stayed hairy brown all over.

I tapped his hand with my blunt fingers.

“Whatever it is, you know you can just spit it out.”

He stared at me, and I swear his green eyes got darker. He was making me uneasy. What the hell was wrong?

“You ever look at your life, Butch, and ask yourself, ‘Is this all there is?’” He sighed. What the fuck? What had gotten into him? “Don’t give me that look. You’ve got to know what I’m talking about.”

“Sure. But you know me. Something’s wrong, I make it right.” Takes me time but I figure it out eventually. “So, uh, what’s wrong with your life?” I wanted to make a joke and laugh, but he was too damned serious. And Jimmy’s never this serious.

“I mean, look at us. We work all day in our shops. We make good money. We got nothing to spend it on but ourselves. We go out drinking with the guys on the weekends. Or we go into the city to a game. Or we go fishing, camping, riding around.” He shook his head. “But in the end, what have we got?”

“Fun. Friendship. I don’t know. Life?” It wasn’t much of an answer. I knew where he was coming from. I figured it was because we was about to turn thirty after Christmas and it was time for us to grow up. I’d been thinking on it a lot lately.

“Don’t you want something else, Butch? Something more? Something better?” He sounded desperate, like he was drowning and I wasn’t saving him.

“Yeah, sure. I guess. I mean, I want a husband, a house, a dog, you know, stuff like we talked about when we was kids.” I’d had it mostly planned out. I’d been saving my money.

I was surprised Jimmy hadn’t already figured it out. He was usually two steps ahead of me in everything. “Okay, I gotta ask. What brought all of this on? What happened?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve been sitting around thinking lately. And mom’s been on me to move out.”

His mother Hazel’s a character. She’s an old hippie with graying auburn hair and grass green eyes. Her face is a roadmap of lines cuz she spends so much time outdoors. And she worries. She thinks we need her to run our lives. We mostly let her think that even though it’s not true.

“She says she wants me to move out of the farmhouse.” Jimmy said it like it was a death sentence.

“So? Isn’t that what you always wanted to do?”

He shrugged, then nodded, reluctant like. “I guess.”

“Jimmy, you’ve always talked about living in your own place.”

Once I thought me and him would get together, and, you know, live happily ever after. But then he became a doctor of chemistry and natural medicine. I never finished high school.

“Yes, I know. You’re right. I’ve wanted to move out for a while now.” Jimmy sighed. “But this feels like her trying to push me out. I don’t like to be pushed.”

“I don’t get the problem. You know what you want already.”

He laughed. “I don’t like to be pushed by my mother.”

“So the Apple Festival is coming up, and I’m making some changes,” I said, moving on to another subject.

“Yeah? What’s up? Whare are you doing?”

“I wanna make the shop more family friendly.”

He looked at me weird.

“I don’t get it, Butch. This isn’t like you.” He ran a hand through his shaggy hair. “You’re making me nervous. First my mother, now you. Why is everybody so hot to change suddenly?”

“It’s like you said.” I hunkered down, putting my elbows on the table and spreading out my hands. “I took a look at my life. I figure if I don’t do something to get settled, it ain’t gonna just fall in my lap. The Big Three Oh is the first step to the rest of my life. If I don’t get my shit together, nobody’s gonna hand my life to me. I may not know everything, but I know it’s up to me to do it myself.” I shot him a frown. “And you know it too.”

He nodded and looked like dog meat.

I may not have solved his problem of moving out or nothing like that, but maybe we was finally on the same page. Maybe.

I was making changes. He had to decide on his own life.


Pat Henshaw Answers Some of the Most-asked Author Questions

When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
As a child, I wanted to be either a painter or a writer. I would lie in bed at night and paint fabulous pictures in my mind or write a wonderful story. I still tell myself stories in my head at night. When I was in junior high school, I wrote an essay that won a prize. I knew at that point that I would some day be the writer I dreamed of as a younger kid.

If you could sit down with other writers, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?
My life has been pretty amazing, actually. I’ve met quite a few writers and authors since I started in this business, but even with that background there are still authors living and dead I’d want to meet. I’d love to give a tea party for Jane Austen, the Brontes, Emily Dickinson, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, even though I know they probably wouldn’t get along and it might turn into either a very quiet affair or a shouting match. A night at a bar with J. M. M. Barrie, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, Dylan Thomas, and Arthur Conan Doyle would be a night to remember—probably raucous and profane. At any rate, instead of sitting down with one author, I’d rather put together a social event with a variety of writers and sit back and watch and listen.

Other than home, where do you like to write? Why?
I love funky coffee and tea shops, ones with local art on the walls where students and writers and readers hang out. Some of my favorite of those used to be Dantorels, New Helvetia, and Gretas here in Sacramento. But all have either changed hands or closed over the years, and the new crop of places seem to be more upscale and desperately trying to be sophisticated. The closest I can find these days is the coffee shop in downtown Pacific Grove, but even that has a more polished edge than I would like. Being in a visually stimulating and art enriched room with people engaged in creating is my ideal.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t give up. I know this is a cliché, but as they say, a cliché is a cliché for a reason: It’s usually true. I’ve written for publication most of my adult life. Even when I was teaching, I was writing book reviews for Publishers Weekly and other magazines and newspapers. When print venues dried up, I switched to online ones like All About Romance. I’ve been apprenticing to become a novelist my whole life. But at some point after getting decades of rejection and a horrific agent experience, I lost the excitement of sending out work and took a hiatus of a few years. I finally broke out of the doldrums and slowly wrote and self-published a novel. Now I have a solid backlist and am writing again. So I would give myself two pieces of advice: Don’t give up. Don’t get so discouraged.

That brings me to the last question. What are you working on now?
Currently, I’m working on a paranormal gay romance novel: Into the Dark Night is the story of how accountant Gregory dies and finds happiness as a ghost guide who leads lost souls into the afterlife. Even his love life is better in death than it was in life when he meets his ghostly boss Ford, who died as a medieval crusader. Together they must find a way to defeat a ghostly menace that targets children while getting used to new additions to Ford’s ghostly staff.

Do you have any questions for me? If so, leave them here, and I’ll answer them. Thanks for reading this!

Author Bio

Pat Henshaw Logo

Pat Henshaw:

  1. Is a she, not a he.
  2. Writes MM romances.
  3. Has interviewed Arlo Guthrie, Big Bird, Fred Rogers, Liberace, and Vincent Price.
  4. Has lived and worked on all three US coasts and in the middle of the country, too.
  5. Has been a reviewer, costumer, librarian, and teacher.
  6. Has ridden an elephant, touched the pyramids, and stood at the edge of a volcano.
  7. Believes love is essential to everyone’s happiness.

She wants you to remember: Every day is a good day for romance!

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

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/pat.henshaw.10

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

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6998437.Pat_Henshaw

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/pat-henshaw/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/e/B00BPDEDEA

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Thanks OWI and Pat Henshaw, and thanks readers for stopping by. Pat Henshaw has invited questions, and comments here are welcome as always.

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Cover Reveal! A Shot of Fear—Lou Sylvre’s Vasquez Inc Series, Book 2

A Shot of Fear


Lou Sylvre’s Vasquez Inc series—the story continues (and the suspense gets deep in London)


Seen here for the first time: the all new cover by Bryan Keller at Changeling Press.



Links—preorder now!


Changeling Press and Universal: https://www.changelingpress.com/a-shot-of-fear-b-2952(Live links to all markets are available here.)
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081BDX3BZ
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-shot-of-fear-lou-sylvre/1134864037
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-shot-of-fear
Apple/iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-shot-of-fear/id1487545012?ls=1

The story:

A Dom learns to love while Scotland Yard claims his time and a sociopath lays a trap for his sub.

Jackie Vasquez knows he needs to submit to a Dom he can trust—just as much as he needs to manage his own life. He found the right Dom in Brian Harrison, and then romance beckoned them both beyond bindings and safewords. They take the first steps toward a life together in London, where Brian is pursuing his dream career at Scotland Yard, and Jackie is working toward a master’s degree. Their private hours deep in the night brim with both heat and beauty as Brian’s artful vision for bondage makes a masterwork out of Jackie, body and soul.

But time together becomes scarce as a series of horrific gaslight crimes keeps Brian at work and out of reach for Jackie much of the time. Though Jackie is faithful, he isn’t the type to sit and wait for his lover’s attentions. His self-assured ways and his geocaching hobby lead him to a dangerous discovery—all is not as it seems at the University. Trapped in the Gaslighter’s web, he’ll need to use every trick he knows to stay calm and buy time. But will Brian unravel the knot of mystery in time to save the man he loves?

Three Excerpts

#1—Jakcie
It wasn’t too many days before Jackie realized his place in the life of Brian the Scotland Yard Detective Constable accurately set the tone for their relationship. He couldn’t say he would have chosen that type of existence, but if it was part of the package to be with Brian, he’d make it work. Once he could move into his apartment, he got busy settling in, and shortly after found himself up to his neck in preliminaries and basics for his graduate study. At that point Brian’s always-on-call status didn’t matter quite so much—Jackie wasn’t available most of the time, anyway.

He had a key to Brian’s apartment, though, and over the next few weeks he went there some nights, climbed into Brian’s bed, and slept until Brian came in. Usually, Brian woke him up with kisses, but this time Jackie woke to the smell of leather and the feel of silky ropes teasing his skin.

He opened his eyes, to find Brian standing by the bed, fully dressed, looking very serious. “Sir,” Jackie said.
“Safewords?”

“Yes, Sir. Red and yellow.”

“Use them if you need to, starting now.”

Jackie had left his long, thick hair loose, and now Brian wrapped it around his fist and pulled Jackie to a sitting position. He tilted Jackie’s head back, then bent to kiss him, hard, tongue and teeth fully involved. “Out of the bed,” he said when the kiss was done, keeping his grip on Jackie’s hair as he complied.

“Kneel, right here, facing away from the bed.”

Jackie did as told, doing his best to assume the perfect position, knees wide, posture proud, head up, but eyes demure. And his cock had already gone more than half-hard.

Brian stepped away and came back with—of all things—Jackie’s hairbrush. When he showed it to his sub, Jackie had all he could do not show his surprise. A frisson of fear snaked through him—his father had beat him with a hairbrush once. But he kept his position and neutral expression and hoped that he wouldn’t end up safewording already.

Then Brian sat behind him on the bed, long legs straddling his back, and began to… yes, brush his hair. It felt good, but Jackie found himself feeling a bit unsettled.

Perhaps Brian heard an odd sound in his breathing or felt his tension somehow, because he asked, “Something to say, baby?”

“Sir, yes please?”

“Go ahead.”

“I… why are you brushing my hair, Sir?”

Brian yanked hard enough on a hank of hair to pull his head back and tilt his face up. “Look at me.”

When Jackie raised his gaze to meet Brian’s eyes, he saw something there he didn’t expect—sadness, perhaps? Brian kissed him, this time slow and sweet, still pulling at his hair enough to hurt if he tried to pull back.

“Because,” Brian said after he ended the kiss, “it’s beautiful. You’re beautiful, and at the moment it pleases me to enjoy your beauty..” He repositioned Jackie’s head, so that Jackie was looking down at the floor beneath his knees, and started working his hair with his hands. “And because I’m going to incorporate your braid into my binding.

#2—Brian
One morning after four hours sleep at home, he headed back to work feeling just as tired as before he closed his eyes, and bummed that even Marley refused to forgive him for his neglect. He was prepared to hate everything about work that day, but then he was sent to investigate a crime scene—Detective-in-Charge for the first time. Senior Inspector Petra Shiells, the small, female, British version of Luki Vasquez, had told him it would be a good place for him to practice fieldwork.

“Our troublesome string of crimes doesn’t involve murder,” she said. “Not yet, at least, so they’re not quite as critical as some others on our roster. The press hasn’t caught wind, so the cases aren’t high profile either. Besides, we’re spread thin right now. All that means I can’t assign my tried and proven officers out there. I’ll have to send you, but I think you’ve given me reason to hope for the best.” She handed him a stack of thin file folders. “Simple enough scene. Call just came in so everything and everybody is still there—except the criminal, of course. Upton, Green Street, Pakistani immigrants found something that scared them in a transit shelter. Hocus-pocus, or the like.”

Inspector Shiells looked him in the eye for the first time and said. “The only reason we have a call on this incident is that it resembles the other Gaslighter crimes. You know from the data end of things that means it seems to have no purpose but to scare people. I question that—I think there’s more going on than meets the eye. In my experience, people who like to scare others usually like to harm others, too. As good as this gaslighting arse is at knowing just what will scare his targets the most, we’d best make our catch before it escalates. So, listen to me, detective….”

She paused, staring him down, and Brian was pretty sure her purpose was to make him feel like he was about a foot shorter than her, instead of the other way around. It was all he could do to keep his gaze steady in return.

When she finally spoke, she added only four words. “Don’t screw this up.”

#3—The Professor
The professor slowly went through her office, ferreting things that she wanted to be sure and keep with her in her summer travels. She went each year to the Netherlands, where she’d been bred and born, and endured the entire first seventeen years of her life. She thoroughly loathed her elder brother, who totally deserved his paralyzed, weak body, as she saw it. She’d had a little something to do with putting him in that wheelchair, and she did not regret it.

She admitted, however, that it was largely to him that she owed her interest in the human psyche, especially in the element of fear. She had endured for years, reluctant to rise in the morning for fear of what new torture he’d arranged for her. To her everlasting shame she’d been so cowed at one time that she would piss her bed rather than get out of it and have him confront her. But one glorious day, cold hatred had arisen in her, replacing both mindless anger and fear, freeing her mind. In an instant she’d seen how precariously he leaned on the bannister. The wooden posts had been just as rotten as the rest of the rundown house their parents had abandoned them to. It had taken one quick shove with her ill-clad foot to break it and topple him.

At the time, she’d been disappointed that he hadn’t died, but she soon realized that his helplessness rendered her revenge even sweeter than his death would have. She provided for him now, hired a nurse and a housekeeper, and kept him in that same, horrid building. Two months out of each year, in the heat of summer, she went “home.” She paid the help vacation pay and thanked them profusely for taking such good care of him. She sincerely did feel grateful, for if they hadn’t kept him alive and built up his health through the ten months they tended to him, she would not have been able to pursue her research, using brother dear as her favorite guinea pig.

Oh, how beautifully he cries!

And don’t forget where Jackie and Brian’s story began: A Shot of J&B: https://www.changelingpress.com/a-shot-of-j-b-vasquez-inc-1-b-2946?series_id=576

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Z. Allora: For the Love of Rock Stars—the Rocking Thin Ice blog tour

Rainbow Gate Book Blog is happy to be a stop on the Rocking Thin Ice blog tour. Welcome, Z. Allora!

Can a sexy rock star show a relationship-phobic ice skater that there’s more to life than gold medals?

When ice-skating’s bad boy Blaze first glimpses Drake, every fantasy he’s ever had flares to life. Not only is rock star Drake sexy as sin, his songs awaken a longing in Blaze that he’s denied for years. But Blaze Parker doesn’t believe in relationships—at least not those that last more than twenty minutes.

Drake Keys has dreamed about the sensual ice skater for years. When Drake is kicked out of his band because of his bisexuality, he drives across the country to finally see the man he’s had a crush on skate live.

Though the attraction is instant and intense, both Blaze and Drake have baggage that puts any relationship on thin ice. Blaze is driven by a long-ago betrayal to prove himself a champion, and Drake, uncertain about the future, hopes to resurrect his music career. As they take a road trip together, Drake romances Blaze, hoping to melt his heart and show him that love is possible… but not without some tough decisions.

Buy Links

For the Love of Rock Stars

by Z. Allora

I love rock stars. It’s no secret. I have two different series (The Dark Angels & Made in China) and now Rocking Thin Ice. There’s just something about a person who has the courage to stand in front of a crowd and sing out my feelings. Of course, add the cool/bad guy appeal and well, you’re in my happy place.

One of my gateways into M/M romance was a rock star story. It was perfectly imperfect and threw me down the path of lustful adoration. When I was in China, I spent hours (days… okay weeks… months) watching the Adam Lambert tour cross the USA.

I was fascinated by I could tell how homophobic the state they were performing in was by how they handled the song Fever. Did Adam Lambert and Tommy Ratcliff kiss? Did they makeout? How much did they play with each other? The tour embarked on their overseas tour and I followed it again. That song was still a good predictor of homophobia but when they headed to Malaysia and people protested because they were afraid he’d make their kids gay. I decided I had to start sharing my work.

The music industry is far from tolerant when it comes LGBTQIA people. Though as we’ve seen in the last few years more out rainbow people. Lil Nas X, who is openly gay is the rap star who went country and just won Song of the Year at the MTV Video Music.

I believe music can help people bridge gaps… therefore books about musicians can really get the job done!

Rocking Thin Ice came to be because I was enthralled with a Johnny Weir video where he skates to Lady Gaga in an exhibition. He’s all defiant and sexy… just by showing the world exactly who he is he fights and wins a war.

Blaze Parker from Rocking Thin Ice skates to music that sends messages to the judges, audiences, and the world. I struggled with who could balance and appreciate all that my skater is and wants to become… A rock star stood up for the challenge.

Drake Keys is super laid back. He likes girls, guys, and guitars. No biggie as long as everyone is happy… until the band’s homophobic manager dismisses him. He finally decides to see Blaze Parker skate live. He decides attending a skating event wasn’t stalking even if you had been crushing on the guy since you were a teenager.

Blaze doesn’t do relationships longer than twenty minutes so his decision to take a very high guitar player home was more about responsibility than spending time with a hot guy. His brother is joking about Blaze and Drake’s wedding on their first official date could easily be ignored, but even his dog (who takes the world on teeth first) loves Drake. It’s a conspiracy! But not a bad one.

About the Author
Z. Allora believes in happily-ever-afters for everyone. Z. met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty-four countries with him. Z.’s lived in Singapore, Israel, and China. Now back home in the USA, Z.’s a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. Z. wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance that explores the spectrum within each letter of the LGBTQIA+ community allows Z. to validate and open hearts as well as bring a greater understanding of orientation and gender.

Email: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com
Facebook: Z Allora Allora and join Z.’s Yaoified Love group (for fun, character chatters, giveaways, and silliness)
Website: www.zallorabooks.com
Blog: zallora.blogspot.com

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Overcoming Fear Second Edition by Grace R. Duncan

 

I’m one of those authors who can’t work in silence. I’ve got music playing pretty much all the time in some way, even when I’m playing games or the like. Lately, I’ve gotten sucked down the kpop rabbit hole (which has inspired another story!), but that’s for a different blog post. 🙂

There is an amazing number of songs about the end of the world in some way. Some use the verbiage but aren’t really about it. Some are, but only allude to that idea. I honestly have still not found any specifically about a pandemic, though I’m probably just missing it.  If you know of any, please let me know! I’m always looking for new music.

Of those I have found, one of my all-time favorites is So Cold from Breaking Benjamin.

It’s one of the more ambiguously-worded songs and as such fits really well. I have a couple of different genres represented on the list (this seems to happen pretty often with my story playlists), but in the end I’m most partial to whatever they’re calling the one Breaking Benjamin, Linkin Park, etc. belong to. I’ve given up on understanding the labels.

There are two other songs on this particular list that aren’t directly related to the pandemic, but rather more about Mark and Duncan’s relationship. In Healing, Duncan struggled with not showing his feelings for fear Mark would run away—justifiably so—and Mark struggled with his abandonment issues. If you haven’t read Healing, I won’t spoil how Duncan manages to convince Mark to stay, but the song Give in to Me made me think about them a lot. I was introduced to the song by my oldest son who has always had a thing for American Idol. He showed me the performance, then linked me to a YouTube of the studio version. Something about Allison’s version that really gets to me and made me think of these two.

(Please note: I much prefer to link official videos when possible. I have this song on my Spotify playlist from Allison, but there isn’t an official video on YouTube that I can find. Sorry!)

I tend to drive my family nuts when I’m in the middle of writing a story because the playlist for it is going pretty much constantly—when I write, yes, but also when I cook, drive, clean… everything. I’d feel sorry for them, but, well, it’s good music so… wink

Full YouTube playlist is here.  Listen to it on Spotify here.
You can find Overcoming Fear at Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited.

Thanks to Lou for the space today! I hope you’ve enjoyed the mini-tour and keep an eye out for the rerelease of Hope, Forbes Mates #5 soon!

 

About Grace:

 

noh8

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

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Filed under M/M romance, New Release

Vasquez and James Vol 2 is out today—More love, more joy, and more bone-chilling suspense!

The second half of the acclaimed Vasquez and James stories is out today from Changeling Press, following the release of Volume 1 last month. Vasquez and James Volume 2, sporting another brilliant cover, completes the long, flowing, beautiful love story of Luki Vasquez and Sonny James. Stick with them as they face suspenseful episodes, laugh with them as humor rears its marvelous head even in the toughest of moments, and rejoice with them as they come through the hardships stronger and closer than ever, with a happy ending any couple might envy. The sexy romance continues to blaze even while the suspense can chill you to the bone. Maybe that explains why Nadine said the novella Yes was “like some kind of magical incantation,” and the opening sentence of Nickie’s 5-star review of Saving Sonny James on Goodreads:

“What can I say about Lou Sylvre’s book Saving Sonny James? A veritable work of art. I laughed. I cried. I set on the edge of my seat. It was awesome.”

And here’s what Jules, of The Novel Approach review site, said in her review of the series’ final book, Because of Jade:

There is such a beauty about the way Lou Sylvre writes these characters. A pureness. A sort of reverence. If I had my way, there would be new Vasquez & James books until the end of time.

Get Vasquez and James Volume 2 today from Changeling Press and save 15% off an already great price. (And if you prefer buying through Amazon or another online retailer, the links are right there on the publisher’s catalog listing.)

About the books:

Troubles strike, Romance sizzles, Love endures, A family is made.

Saving Sonny James: The events of the last couple of years have begun to catch up with Luki — loving Sonny James and letting Sonny love him back have left gaps in his emotional armor. Sonny says yes to a European tour with Harold Breslin, a dangerously intelligent promoter whose obsessive desire for Sonny is exceeded only by his narcissism. When Harold’s plan for Sonny turns poisonous, Luki must break free of PTSD and get to France, fit and ready in time to save his husband’s life.

Yes (A Vasquez and James novella): Professional badass Luki Vasquez and textile artist Sonny James have been married for five years, and despite the sometimes volatile mix, they’re happy. From their first days together, they stood united against deadly enemies and prevailed. But now the deadly enemy they face is the cancer consuming Luki’s lungs. Sonny tries to control every thread just as he does when he weaves, but still Luki dances with cancer alone—until he gets a startling reminder of the miracle of life.

Because of Jade: Still cancer free after five years, Luki finds out his nephew Josh and wife Ruthie have met a tragic death. Luki and Sonny must help each other learn to parent an unexpected child, Jade, and still nourish the love that has kept them whole for the past ten years. A relative’s claim to Jade threatens the new family, and even if they prevail in court, they could lose their little girl unless they can rescue Jade from evil hands and true peril.

Excerpts:

From Saving Sonny James

The cemetery lay quiet in heavy mist, autumn leaves breaking the gray with fiery shades. Sonny picked up some leaves and twirled them one by one in front of him, and Luki knew his mind was busy with ideas of color. They stood together at the foot of Delsyn’s grave, looked at the still new headstone with its simple engraving: a medicine wheel with eagle feathers in each of the four directions, and the name—Delsyn James Bull.

Luki said, “I didn’t know his last name wasn’t James.”

“He preferred James,” Sonny answered, shrugging. “He didn’t like his father.”

“So why is your name James?”

Sonny grinned, “I didn’t like my father either!” Then the smile disappeared but not the good humor, and he added, “And my stepfather, whose name I had on my birth certificate, didn’t mean anything to me. When my mother died and I was living with Melvern, I wanted his name—Melvern’s—and he got it changed for me. I’ve never been sorry. I don’t feel like any other name but James would have been mine.”

“I think you’re right,” Luki said. “You’re definitely Sonny Bly James, the most beautiful thing that ever happened to the world. And I love you.”

Sonny smiled and hugged Luki, then leaned his chin on his husband’s shoulder. “I love you, too, Luki Mililani Vasquez, the hottest badass that ever happened to the world.” He took a deep breath, held on really tight. “Why are you different, Luki?”

Luki’s wrapped his arms tighter around Sonny. He stayed quiet.

“Should I not have asked?”

Finally Luki found some words. “It’s fine that you asked, baby. I just don’t know how to answer…. Do you…. Are you asking why I’m different since I… since that kid—”

“Guard,” Sonny said. “He wasn’t a kid, he was a guard. No, I think I understand that, at least in theory. I’m asking why you’re different today. You’re… good. Have I blown everything by going there? Are you not going to answer?”

“No. You haven’t, and I will. Just not right this second.”

“Okay. Don’t worry, husband. No rush, and besides, I wanted to smudge over Del’s grave…. Damn, I hate saying those two words together.”

“Yeah, that’s hard. I’m sorry, baby.”

Sonny gave Luki a puzzled look, as though he could see something beyond those words that didn’t quite make sense. Luki thought, Please don’t say anything about it, Sonny, and perhaps Sonny was sensitive to that, because he said nothing more about it.

“Husband,” Sonny said, and the way he said it, Luki felt himself blush. He knew that was silly, but when Sonny called him that, in that certain way, it sort of made him tingle. He resisted a stupid grin, and Sonny went on. “Will you help me with the smudge?”

“Sure. What do I need to do?”

“Not a lot, really.” He reached into his backpack, fiddled with some things, and then held out an abalone shell filled with cedar and some other dried plant material Luki didn’t recognize. “Hold this,” Sonny ordered, “This is just sage, with the cedar. And a little sweetgrass.” He held a Bic to the mixture and set it to smoldering, making a plume of sharp but very sweet-smelling smoke.

Luki fought a smile again—almost lost the battle.

Sonny once again gave him the puzzled look. “This seems all mysterious, you know, but really it’s just a way of being clean. Body, mind, and spirit, so they say. I’ve never smudged all that often, nor did I go to sweat lodge or smokehouse to pray. But Delsyn did. Him and Melvern…. Watch how your holding that shell, Luki, it gets hot on the bottom.”

“Ouch! Shit, burn!”

Sonny took the shell from him, and Luki felt completely foolish. He’d been so distracted by the sweet smell of the smoke and crackle of the cedar, the pretty burn, he hadn’t even noticed the shell heating up. He looked up sheepishly to find Sonny peering at him through narrowed eyes, his lips pursed in a slight, pensive smile.

“You like this smudge, don’t you, Luki? That’s good. Put your hands in the dew.”

“The what?”

“Quick, honey!” Sonny sounded a little annoyed but obviously concerned for Luki’s welfare. “Put your hands in the dew on the grass—wet and cool, for the burns.”

“Oh, well, probably too late now. They’re not that bad, anyway. That was a really good idea, though.”

In answer, Sonny gave him another one of those bemused looks—this time, just out of the corner of his eye. Luki was trying to figure out what those looks meant at this point, but it didn’t appear he was going to be getting that information.

Sonny produced a medium-sized feather from the vest pocket of his leather jacket. “You know what I should do for you, Luki? I should have Jim Standing Bear come up and put you in a sweat with fifty-two rocks and a long-winded leader.” He chuckled. “Either fix you right up or put you in the hospital. Just kidding, of course. But to clean the grave—which sounds stupid but I think Del would like it—we have to be clean first. So I’ll do you and then you do me, okay?” Luki’s eyebrows went up.

“Smudging, Luki. We’re talking about smudging. Get your mind out of my pants!”

“Never, sweetie, but okay. Smudging. What do I do?”

“Just stand there mostly, while I get the smoke all over you…. Okay, lift up one foot… the other. Okay, you’re done. Smoke’s still going good. Do me?”

“Whoa, Sonny! Right here in the graveyard?”

Sonny laughed and smacked Luki’s bicep. “I meant the smudge, Luki. And you know it.”

“Oh, okay.” He knew a smile could be heard in his voice and he let it play there. He started to move the feather, washing Sonny down with the cleansing smoke. This whole thing, this day, this smudging as Sonny called it—it all felt so good. Luki didn’t want it to stop, ever, and he didn’t care if his beloved husband knew that. He hoped Sonny knew. He didn’t think he was well, cured, absolved. He knew he wasn’t, but just for now he felt brand new. He thanked Delsyn in his thoughts—this wasn’t the first time Delsyn had brought him and Sonny closer, or adjusted Luki’s focus. He’d done it more than once while alive, and it didn’t even really surprise Luki that he’d reach from the other side of the veil to wake him up.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll enjoy this second batch of Luki and Sonny’s adventures! Coming soon, a new series! Vasquez Inc, The J&B Stories, featuring the suspenseful trials, lustful heat, and poignant love story of Jackie Vasquez, Brian Harrison—with plenty of appearances by veteran characters Luki and Sonny! Feel free to comment on the blog—your thoughts are always welcome. Happy reading, everyone.

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Filed under Lou Sylvre, Lou Sylvre Book News, M/M romance, New M/M releases