Before I show you the cover, let's find out a bit more about Chris Scully and Nights Like These:
CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada where she grew up spinning romantic stories in her head. When the tedium of a corporate day job grew too much, she took a chance and found her creative escape in writing. Always searching for something different, she has discovered a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve.
Want to know more about Chris Scully?
Who in history would you like to have met?
If I could invite 5 people (dead or alive) to a dinner party it would be: Elizabeth I, Henry VIII, Winston Churchill, Frank Lloyd Wright and George Washington. Here is why: Elizabeth I because she a strong woman and even stronger monarch; Henry VIII because I’d want him to see what his daughter accomplished even though he tried so hard for a male heir; Winston Churchill because he would have fascinating stories (and he was a pretty funny guy too); Frank Lloyd Wright to see if his ego was as big as reported; George Washington, because for all that has been written about him, I feel like the man is still a mystery.
Now that I look at this list, they all have very big egos so the party would either be amazing or a disaster.
Will technology save society or destroy it?
Not to bring everyone down, but my gut says “destroy”. I don’t mean end of the world, Terminator-like destruction, but I definitely think there is a trade-off. For every benefit we gain, we’ll likely lose something as well, like privacy, or imagination, or the ability to form real, interpersonal relationships. No doubt part of my gloomy outlook is age-related; I’m at that stage where I keep thinking nothing is as good as it was when I was young, and the world is going to hell. But the other part of me knows that it’s human nature to abuse things. I’m very much like my character Sky in Rebound. I eschew a lot of today’s technology. I don’t have a smart phone, or a tablet, or even 500 channel cable TV. I still pay cash for most things. It’s not that I’m completely anti-technology, but I use it judiciously. It has to fill some sort of need for me.
Nights Like These:
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Starting over sucks. At forty, Miles Koprowski thought he had life all figured out. He had a nice car, a hot young lover, and a cushy job… and then he didn’t. Call it fate, or karma, or a downturn in the market, but this opinionated cynic is now forced to play rent-a-cop in a dying office building in the burbs just to make ends meet. Throw in an unhinged ex, a coworker who hates him, and a hot new boss, and suddenly everything is uncertain.
Miles doesn’t plan on liking the night shift or becoming embroiled in a mystery that reawakens old passions and puts him in danger. And he certainly doesn’t plan on falling for the overbearing head of security, Colton Decker, former soldier and doting dad. But nights like these can change a man, make him start to believe there’s more to life than a high paying job and a warm body in his bed. With a thief on the loose and his new job in jeopardy, Miles will have to decide what’s truly important. He might discover things he never knew he wanted… as long as he makes it through the night.
Categories: Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery
“Why don’t you watch where you’re going, dumb—” I managed to sputter before my mouth stopped working entirely and dropped open. The ability to speak, to think, deserted me at the first sight of the hunky stranger standing in front of me, his face contorted with apology as he tried to mop up my sodden jacket with a handful of napkins. He was a few inches taller than me—closer to six feet—and on the stocky side. His broad shoulders filled out a nicely tailored suit, and he projected an air of confidence that I’d never be able to pull off in a million years. He was clean-shaven too, with a dark buzz cut that made me long to run a hand over his head simply to feel the texture. And gorgeous. Did I happen to mention that?
In short, he was the kind of guy you’d want to be stranded with on a deserted island; the kind you could count on to save you. If you were so inclined. Me? I didn’t need saving.
A pair of friendly, light-colored eyes now stared back at me, bemused. Odd that his lips were moving, but no sound was coming out.
“What?” I asked, blinking back to attention. I couldn’t remember the last time anyone had literally made me speechless. Me, Miles Koprowski, who never met a silence he didn’t want to fill.
Hell, I couldn’t recall the last time I’d been on the receiving end of a full-body pat-down either. At least not so quickly. His hands were still drifting over my chest, wiping up the last drips of coffee, and the simple touch was doing alarming things to my heart rate.
“Are you okay?” he demanded. “Did you get burned?” Before I could react, he seized my wrist and held my hand up for inspection. Strong, lightly calloused fingers, I added to my mental list. Working hands. Dumbly, I looked down. The skin on the back of my right hand was red and stung like a son of a bitch, but it wasn’t blistering. I did flinch slightly when he skimmed his thumb over the sensitive area, but not from pain, more from the touch itself. My entire body lit up, as though I’d stuck a finger in an electrical socket. “It doesn’t look too bad. I think you’ll live. Put some aloe on it when you get home.”
“Doctor?” I croaked, because really, that would be too perfect.
“Nope. Just seen a lot of injuries.” His lips twitched with barely contained amusement. “Sorry to disappoint you.” Sense of humor, check.
Tour Dates/Tour Stops:
Parker Williams, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings, The Hat Party, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Queer Town Abbey, Havan Fellows, Amanda C. Stone, Gaylist Book Reviews Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Love Bytes, Fallen Angel Reviews, Molly Lolly, Bayou Book Junkie, Inked Rainbow Reads, Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews, EE Montgomery, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, MM Good Book Reviews, My Fiction Nook, Cate Ashwood, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Velvet Panic, Andrew Q. Gordon, Kristy's Brain Food
Dreamspinner Press (eBook)
Dreamspinner Press (Paperback)
What's that? You want to see the cover? Well, okay, but just because you asked so nicely.
You gotta love those shoulders!
So... interested? Want a copy? Why not enter the competition and try for a free one of your own?
Will Barter’s been in love with his best mate Jack for as long as he can remember. They’ve shared everything: love, life, laughs, even Will’s first kiss. But Jack’s straight, and Will’s long-buried infatuation means nothing until their last summer together draws to a close.
Then one night, everything changes, but with Will bound for university in Leeds, and Jack for his dream DJ job in Ibiza, there’s no time to explore their blurred lines. Before long all that’s left are secrets, lies, and misunderstandings.
In the months that follow, anger and hurt overshadow fifteen years of friendship, and Will must dig deep to remember Jack is his mate… his best mate, and nothing matters more than that, right?
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
“So, are you game, or what?” Will blinked. “Eh?” Jack laughed. He lay back on Will’s bed and folded his arms behind
his head, all dark eyes and shaggy hair. “You’re such a dreamer. No wonder you don’t notice any blokes. I was saying we could practice kissing if you want. You know, so you’re not nervous next time the bottle lands on you.”
This time Will couldn’t stop the beer going down the wrong way. He coughed. “Next time? What are you going to do? Out me to the whole school by snogging my face off? I’d rather smooch the girls.”
“Liar.” But Jack looked sheepish all the same. “Okay, maybe we shouldn’t mess around in front of other people, but I still reckon you should try your techniques out on me. Ginny says I’m the best kisser in the whole school, and she should know.” Jack swooned and pitched into a fit of weed-fueled giggles.
Will dove at him and pushed him off the other side of the bed. “It’s not funny, arsehole. I’m the only gay in the whole bloody town. I’m going to die a virgin at this rate.”
Jack hit the floor with a thump. He lay there a moment, still laughing, then hauled himself back onto the bed. “Chill out, mate. No one said anything about bonking.”
Will tried to grin. Chill out. Yeah, right. Jack had been taking the piss since that stupid bloody bottle had put the idea of them kissing in his daft head. “You’re not funny.”
Jack sobered and stared with an expression Will couldn’t decipher. “I wasn’t joking, at least not about the kissing part. We’re friends, right? Ginny and Meg snog all the time.”
He had a point. The girls were always messing around with each other, and Will had often watched them and maligned the fact that girls had it easy... from his point of view, at least. They could do whatever they wanted and no one cared. It would be a different story if Will jumped on Jack in the middle of the park. Snogged his face off and squeezed his arse.
So why not do it here? No one will ever know.
Pages or Words: 104 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: G.D. Leigh
About the author:
Rainbow Award winner Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.
Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzpress.com
Where to find the author:
Here's the second part of the story. Jensen has his work cut out for him: all he needs to do is get his head out of his arse and do it! There's one more installment after this one: to be posted on 22 December.
Jensen looked up from the papers on his desk. He’d been checking the children on his list all day and now his shoulders ached and the muscles in his neck burned. The office was empty and, beyond the doors, the workroom was silent. It was nearly midnight, and all the elves would have long been in bed. He stood and stretched. He didn’t really need to be putting in such long hours yet. Extended hours would be implemented in November. He rolled the list up and slid it into the circular cavity at the side of his desk.
He flicked the lights off as he left his office and strolled into the dimly lit workshop. At the other end of the building, lights shone through the frosted glass doors. Either someone was still working in the lab, or they’d forgotten to turn the lights off when they left. Jensen increased his pace.
The doors opened silently to reveal P.D. perched on a stool, one foot on the floor, one on a rung, his back bowed as he stared through the lenses of a microscope on the bench. Jensen leaned against the bench and waited until he straightened.
“Anything?” he asked.
P.D. started slightly then frowned. “Lots of things, but nothing we want to find.”
“What does that mean?”
“Fertility isn’t our only problem.”
“I know. We’re getting sick too.”
“Human diseases.” P.D. pushed back from the bench and gestured to the microscope. “Take a look.”
Jensen dutifully leaned over the microscope and peered through the lens. Whatever was in there was blurred. He humphed. “You know I have no idea what I’m looking at, don’t you?”
P.D. pushed him aside. “It’s September. You probably can’t even see what you’re looking at,” he said as he stared through the lens again. He sighed and rubbed his forehead as if all the tension in the world rested there. “These are human diseases. We don’t get human diseases, Jen. The only people who can contract human diseases, are humans.”
Jensen paced the length of the lab, then stopped again in front of P.D. “So what you’re saying is we’re turning human.” He scrubbed his hands over his face. “Will that solve the fertility problems?”
“So not only are we facing extinction because we can’t reproduce, we’re facing extinction because we’re losing our elvenness. We’ll become human and there’ll be no more magic in the world.”
“And the only thing that can save us is—”
P.D. pressed his lips together and turned away. Jensen grabbed his elbow and pulled, pressing his chest against P.D.’s back. He lifted his chin so his nose could nuzzle the soft skin behind P.D.’s ear.
“I miss you, P.D.” he whispered as he ran his hands down his lover’s chest. “I can’t sleep without you beside me.”
P.D. pushed Jensen’s hands away and spun around, grabbing his shoulders and pulling him into a rough kiss. He’d had peanut butter and jelly for his supper again, the familiar flavor exploding through Jensen’s senses like a memory. Jensen sank into it, able to simply relax and enjoy for the first time since… since he’d last seen P.D.
They were both panting, gasping for breath, when they separated. P.D.’s soft brown eyes were troubled. “Who are you marrying?”
Jensen stepped back and wrapped his arms around himself. “I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know? You’re going to spend the rest of your life with her. Shouldn’t you at least know her name?”
“The only person I want to be with for the rest of my life is you. If I can’t have you, it doesn’t matter who I end up with.”
“Mer will choose someone I can get on with.”
Jensen turned away.
“Jensen! Look at me.” P.D. grabbed Jensen’s arm and turned him around. “Look at you. How are you going to be happy when you hate this so much?”
“It’s not about me being happy, P.D. It’s what I have to do to make sure we survive, that all the elves survive.”
“But nothing.” He threw his hands up in defeat. “I have to get back to work,” he said, even though he was way ahead because of the hours he’d been putting in. He walked to the door.
“Don’t come back, Jensen.”
He stopped but didn’t turn back.
“Don’t come back here, and don’t invite me to your wedding. I’m not going to watch you commit yourself to a miserable life.”
The doors opened in front of Jensen but he didn’t walk through. He’d suddenly forgotten how to move, how to breathe. The only thing on him that moved were the tears sliding slowly down his cheeks.
Eventually, his lungs expanded and air filled him, bringing with it the need to get away. He strode through the doorway. By the time he was halfway down the workshop, he was running. His feet stopped running when he reached his house, but his mind and heart kept going. He didn’t think they’d ever stop.
The day before, Jensen started wearing his big-boy clothes and his beard was beginning to curl on the ends. His cheeks were round and ruddy, his belly well on the way to being jolly, but there was no sparkle in his blue eyes behind the round glasses.
The Elves were still getting sick. Jensen knew P.D. was working all hours of the day trying to find a cure for the illnesses and the fertility, but he hadn’t been back to the R&D lab since September. Meredith kept insisting the records weren’t precise and seemed to expect Jensen to know what that meant.
Jensen couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept through the night. His eyes constantly felt gritty and he always felt slightly ill. Food held no appeal and if it wasn’t for the magic of Christmas changing him to the jolly old man everyone knew and loved, he’d look gaunt. He couldn’t bring himself to care, not even when his parents cut their holiday short and came home.
His father was once again in charge of the workshop. Production had fallen off to practically nothing before his parents came home because Jensen’s bad mood scared the elves so much they couldn’t work. Jensen spent his days, and most of his nights, in his office, crossing names off The List. He spent so much time staring at the snow globes that lined the walls of his office, and showed all the children of Earth, that nothing escaped his notice. The slightest misdemeanor was spotted and noted, and the demerits mounted up. This year, more children than ever before had been crossed of The List.
“Jensen, look at me!” His mother strode into the office and waddled down the centre of the room amidst gasps from the elves working there.
Jensen almost smiled as he watched her. She looked much as she had all through his childhood. Jolly and round, curly blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. Only now, her eyes were sparkling with anger, not joy. When they’d returned from Hawaii three weeks ago, she’d been slim and tanned, and her eyes were green.
“What have you done?” It was an accusation, not a question, but Jensen still had no idea how to answer it.
“I’ve done everything I can to fix it.”
“Well, it’s not working. You have to do something else. Something different.”
“There is nothing else to do. R&D haven’t come up with anything that doesn’t confirm what the records already say.”
“The records say Santa has to—”
“I have to marry to ensure the survival of our species, so that’s what I’m going to do.”
“You can’t marry someone you don’t love, Jensen.”
“Didn’t you hear me, Mother? I don’t have a choice.” He stood and walked past her. “I’m going for a walk.”
This is it! The last installment of this story. How can Jensen save the Elves without sacrificing his own life and happiness?
Jensen had lost weight at the same rate his father had gained it. His beard had begun falling out, hanging in tangled tufts with spots of reddened skin showing between them. He sat on a bench under a straggly tree, icy rain slipping down the collar of his brown coat, making him shiver.
He’d cancelled the wedding. P.D. and his mother were right. Condemning himself to a lovely marriage wouldn’t have solved anything. If it was going to, there’d have been some sign of returned health as the date grew closer. Instead, only his parents glowed with health, and that had an edge to it, as though there was a time limit.
Jensen knew it wouldn’t last. He was Santa now, not his father. Oh, his father could stand in from time to time, but he couldn’t take over full time again. It didn’t work like that. At best, Jensen had been given a reprieve. He stared over the drab expanse in front of him. The snow was thinner on the ground this year than it usually was, piled in dirty drifts under the trees. It had been snowing less and less each year since he’d taken over and not married. Now he’d cancelled the wedding, nothing would stop the rot seeping into his world.
A shadow fell over him but he ignored it. It was probably either one of his parents or Mer come to try to cheer him up. It amazed him that they never realized nothing would make him happy again. He was solely responsible for the death of Christmas and everything that went with it. He was killing his own people. The shadow moved and the person sat beside him, still silent.
“Peanut butter and jelly,” Jensen whispered, knowing immediately who it was. His breathing eased and he closed his eyes to savor the scent. “My dad told me it was always fruit cake he smelled whenever Mother was near. His father always smelled fresh-baked cookies.”
“You’re an idiot, Jen.” P.D.’s voice was low and ragged, as if he’d spent hours screaming.
“I know.” He sighed, the breath coming from so deep it carried all the pain he’d felt the last few months. “Nothing I’ve done has helped at all. It’s only made it worse.”
“You know I never read the records myself. I just accepted that you had.”
“Of course I read them. They say Santa has to be married to ensure the health and happiness of the Elves and the continuation of Christmas.”
“Like I said. You’re an idiot.”
“Thanks.” Jensen leaned back on the seat and closed his eyes. The peanut butter and jelly soothed him, making every muscle in his body relax. His head became too heavy to hold up so he tilted it sideways and rested it against P.D.’s shoulder. Warmth flooded him and his breathing slowed and deepened.
“So what are you going to do now?”
P.D.’s voice jerked Jensen out of his light doze. He sat up straight and turned to face the man he’d love forever. There was nothing left that he could do to save his people. They were going to die anyway, so he’d grab what happiness he could before the end. “We’re all going to die, P.D. there’s nothing any of us can do about it. I’m sorrier than I ever thought I could be, but I can’t make myself love someone else. You’re it for me. I don’t want anyone else; I never will.” He slid off the seat, onto his knees and reached up to hold P.D.’s hands in his. Fine tremors wracked his body; fear that it was too late. But he had to try. “The time I have left, I want to spend with you. Will you marry me, P.D.? Will you live with me and listen to my ranting and deal with my obsession with toys and helping the people of Earth learn about love, and love me anyway?”
“What if we find a cure? What if we find a way to save everyone but you can’t be Santa because you’re married to me?”
“It doesn’t matter. We’ll leave. We’ll live on Earth and become human, and die in forty years.” He sat back on the seat and drew P.D. close to him. “I’ve tried to live without you and life’s no good that way. I’d rather live a short life with you, than exist for a thousand years without you.” P.D. said nothing and Jensen’s heart thudded. “Do you still love me, P.D.? Have you moved on? Is…,” he swallowed around the sudden lump of trepidation in his throat, “Is there someone else?”
“I was joking before when I said you were an idiot, but I’m not now. You, Kristof Jensen Kringle, are the biggest idiot I’ve ever had the misfortune to know.”
Jensen sat back, a tremulous sigh gusting between his lips. This was it then. He’d sit on this park bench and be alone forever.
P.D. thumped him on the arm.
“Good. I’m glad it hurt, you idiot. You’re so focused on your damned lists and production schedules that you never look around you, do you?”
“Well excuse me for wanting to do a good job.” Jensen huffed. “And you can’t talk, Mr. I’m-the-best-scientist-there-is. How many nights in the last six months did you go home at all?”
“I’ve been trying to save us.”
“So have I!”
P.D. grabbed his shoulders and shook. “If you’d had your bloody brain engaged when you read those records, this would have been sorted out months ago.” He tugged Jensen into a kiss that was at once the same and totally different to the last one they’d shared in September. Yes, it was still almost brutal, but this wasn’t a goodbye kiss. This was nothing like the end would be.
Finally, they separated, breath lingering and mingling, skin tingling wherever they touched. “Santa has to be married to the one person in the world he’ll love forever,” P.D. whispered.
“I know. I—”
“The records don’t say Santa has to be married to a woman. Hell, they don’t even say Santa has to be a man! Did it never occur to you that Christmas is all about love, not tradition? We just use the traditions as an expression of the love we feel.”
Jensen leaned back so he could look P.D. in the face. “What—?”
“Take a look, Jen,” P.D. whispered. He cupped Jensen’s cheek and turned his head to look at the park. It was snowing, coming down heavier as they watched, and the trees…. Instead of standing forlornly in the dim light, they now stood proud, limbs lifting to the sky, welcoming the snow that sparkled as it fell.
“I think you’d better tell Mer the wedding is still on,” said P.D., his cheek pressed warmly against Jensen’s.
He jumped. “The wedding? No! I’m not marrying anyone but you.”
P.D. put his arm around Jensen and pulled him close. “Idiot. Of course you’re not. I’m keeping you.” He pressed a chaste kiss to Jensen’s cheek, making him sigh. He’d never felt more loved.
They sat silently, watching the flakes of snow drift gently to the ground. Suddenly, the silence was fractured by a scream. Jensen looked over at the Workshop to see his mother running toward them, turning to yell at his father who stood at the open doorway.
“Kris! Kris! He’s done it. Our boy’s finally got his head out of his arse and done it!”
In the months following the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, fourteen-year-old Joshua, a half Native American boy, is new to a Boy Scout troop and spending a week camping in northern Wisconsin. The weaker kids in the troop soon realize Joshua is not afraid to stand up to the troop's ruthless bullies. Joshua’s bravery and kindness is infectious, and the bullied Scouts quickly find their own inner strength.
Joshua, however, is plagued by self-doubt as he realizes he has feelings for Cody, the son of the troop’s harsh and puritanical Scoutmaster. The two discover they have more in common than Scouting as they share their deepest secrets and develop a close friendship. That friendship faces its greatest challenge as the homophobic bullies claim a “faggot” has “infected” their troop. As if struggling to come to terms with his sexuality while dealing with hatred and bigotry isn’t enough, Joshua discovers the camp holds another dark mystery, one that will make him summon all his courage and learn for the first time what it truly means to be brave.
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 180 pages
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
“Now, what you have to understand,” Pastor Bob continued, “is that these urges are a test from God. God wants you to love him with all your body and soul. In order to do this, you will have to discipline these urges.”
Everyone knew he was now going to tell them how.
“The Bible specifically says that the only proper outlet for these urges is in the context of marriage. Now, you will all grow up and eventually get girlfriends. But let me tell you that, as much as you are tempted, you must show that your love for God is stronger and wait until marriage. After all, ‘it is better to marry than to burn,’” he pointed out, quoting from his Bible.
Joshua was amazed. Pastor Bob had nearly completed an entire sermon on sex without mentioning the word at all. He was truly skilled.
Jay Jordan Hawke holds a bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. in history, as well as a second master's in Outdoor Education. He loves everything sci-fi, especially Star Trek, and hopes to be on the first starship out of here. In the meantime, he teaches at a college prep school and anxiously awaits the day when he can write full time. In addition to all things sci-fi, his hobbies include camping, reading, running, and writing. He has lived in several Midwestern states and currently resides in Indiana. Ugh – get me out of here!
I decided, it being Christmas, that everyone deserved a free story. This one, as yet unnamed, began as a thought triggered by the Santa Clause movies. Of course, it couldn't be the same--there had to be a twist--and I've been writing SF lately. I'll put the first half here now, and will post the rest before Christmas. The whole thing will go on the Free Stories page on this website, so you can enjoy it any time.
Meredith stormed through the double doors, knocking each one so hard it bounced off the wall behind it before slowly closing again. With her came the whistle and whirr of the workroom, along with shouted orders, called-out responses and murmur of conversations above the clank and hammer of machinery.
Jensen put his pen down, pushed the papers aside and watched as she strode down the centre of the room, her heels clacking on the marble tiles that shone between the rows of desks. Her red hair, perfectly matched to the color of her skirt, was drawn back into a severe bun and her green eyes glowed with ire.
It was serious then.
Jensen pushed back from the desk and stood. Much better to great her with a handshake; it would disconcert her and give him a few more seconds to work out what was wrong.
Meredith glared at him when she arrived at his desk and ignored his hand. “Santa, you can’t keep avoiding the situation. You have to do something about it.”
Jensen sighed and returned to his seat as he gestured for Meredith to make herself comfortable. “Which situation are you talking about, Mer?”
“The same one I talk to you about every week. Stop avoiding it. There’ve been no live births amongst the elves in five years, and no pregnancies in three.”
Jensen slumped. It was that bad? The elves always found it difficult to have children, particularly with the loss of magic in the world, but no live births in five years? That was harsh. “There’s nothing I can do about it, Mer. You know that.”
“You have to marry.”
They’d been through this before. Numerous times. Jensen’s job was about more than being Santa and watching over all the children of Earth. It was his duty to ensure the health and prosperity of the elves as well. “I can’t get married. We’ve discussed this before and there’s nothing I can do. R&D is researching solutions. We just have to be patient until they can come up with something.”
“They’re not going to come up with anything in time. You know that. There’s no way they’ll find a solution to the problem and have it operational in time. With such a short fertile period to work with, elves will be on the road to extinction within the next ten years.”
Jensen slammed his hands on his desk making Meredith and every elf in the office jump. On the other side of the doors, the hum of work ceased abruptly. “What do you expect me to do? I won’t marry someone I don’t love and I can’t love anyone suitable to marry. R&D is our only hope.”
Tears brimmed in Meredith's eyes and Jensen thought, not for the first time, that she was where they’d got Puss-in-boots’ bereft gaze from. He sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. It was only August, so his beard hadn’t grown in yet and the soft stubble tickled his palms.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to snap.”
“Talk to them again. Please, Santa, they might find something new if you go and talk to them again.”
Jensen lowered his hands to find every head in the office turned to him. Every elf’s eyes were trained imploringly on him. He could feel their desperation like warm honey oozing over his skin and ants scurrying under the surface trying to reach it. “Fine,” he said as he pushed himself away from his desk and to his feet. “I’ll go down to R&D and see what they have today.
Relief rippled through the office, so strong it blew the doors open. Great. They really want me to go down there. Why couldn’t they just say so? He tugged at his white dress shirt to make it sit straighter. His belly was rounder this week than it had been last week, but it was August. Another week or two and he’d need to break out the next size up in his wardrobe.
Meredith frowned at the small gaps showing between his buttons. “Why don’t you just wear your suit? It would fit you all the time.”
Yes, the red suit would fit, but that would mean he’d be round and jolly all year round. Santa hadn’t done that since his great-grandfather’s time, and Jensen much preferred the comfort of modern clothing—and being relatively slim and clean-shaven for nine months of the year. He’d had that discussion with Meredith and numerous other elves before—many times—so he didn’t bother responding. “I’ll go down there now.”
He didn’t miss the smirks on several faces as he passed the rows of desks on his way out of the office. Not one elf was working when he entered the workroom either. They all stared at him with varying degrees of humor, hope and worry on their faces. He avoided their expectations and kept his gaze trained on the floor in front of him and he strode the length of the workshop and pushed through the doors that matched his own at the other end of the building.
The silence of R&D enveloped him as the doors swished closed behind him, like a workroom eclipse, instead of a solar one. In the deadness of surprise, one voice could be heard.
“Try it again, with a 0.05 degree increase in temperature.”
“But that’ll be too hot.”
“We have to find the outer limits of tolerance and we’re running out of time. If 0.05 is too much, we’ll decrease it.”
“The histories tell us the optimum temperature—”
“There can’t be just one degree for optimal fertility. It must be a range. We just have to find out what that is. Now, 0.05 degrees.”
“Yes, sir,” a sullen voice responded to the strident tones of the instructor.
Jensen paused, almost turned and walked away. P. D. Blooms, the scientist in charge of R&D, sounded irritated—again—and Jensen didn’t do irritated. Not in himself, and not from other people. Before he could leave, though, a lab technician spotted him.
“Santa on the floor,” she called, her face breaking out into a glorious smile.
Jensen smiled back automatically, unable to resist the joy on the tech’s face. “Hello, Flower.” He leaned over to kiss her cheek. “How are your parents going?”
“They’re fine, thanks Santa.” Her face clouded for a second. “Mum’s hoping next month will be the one,” she finished, determined positivity strengthening her voice.
Flower’s parents had volunteered to be part of P.D.’s fertility experiments and hadn’t given up, even though there’d been no pregnancy in the nearly eighteen months since they joined the program.
“I told you yesterday there was no progress. There’s no progress again today. If you stopped interrupting, I might be able to get some work done.”
Jensen turned to regard the man who’d come up behind him. P.D. was one of the tallest elves Jensen had ever met; so tall he towered over most humans. Being an elf himself, Jensen had to tilt his head to look at P.D.’s face. P.D. scowled at him, a disconcerting expression in the Toy Shop, but one Jensen had been seeing more and more often lately. He regarded P.D.’s deep brown eyes for a second; farseeing eyes shadowed by the prominent brows, like Legolas in the movies.
“Could we talk in your office for a few minutes, please P.D.?”
P.D. scowled again then turned abruptly and led the way to his office in the far corner of the lab. The door closed softly behind them, blocking the worried, expectant faces from view. P.D. turned leaned back against his desk. “It’s no good, Jen. Sorita was right. There’s only one temperature where conception can occur.”
“How far off that are we now?”
“A full two degrees. With each month you delay marrying, it rises another 0.025 degrees.”
“That doesn’t sound like much.”
“It mightn’t sound like much, but the impact is huge. We’ve already lost the ability to procreate. That alone means we’re heading for extinction, but with each rise in temperature, another aspect of our bodies is impacted. Have you noticed how much sick leave has increased over the last few months?”
Jensen nodded. “I thought they were timing their sick days, trying to get pregnant.”
“Some of them are, but the rest are genuinely ill. We’re getting colds and the ‘flu; if we cut ourselves, we’re getting infections.”
“Infections?” Human antibiotics didn’t work on them. They’d never needed them before.
P.D. nodded and held up a finger. The tip was pink and, when Jensen touched it, warm. “A paper cut from a few days ago. This isn’t serious enough to kill me, but when have we ever got infections from paper cuts?”
When had they ever got paper cuts?
“You have to marry,” P.D. stated baldly.
Jensen froze then stepped forward to lean heavily against P.D. and breathed in the warm chemically scent of him as he wrapped his arms around the taller man and hugged tight. “No. Marrying someone I don’t love would make it worse.”
“If you marry and have children, the elves will be saved.” P.D.’s arms came around Jensen and held him. His hands ran up and down Jensen's back soothingly.
And Jensen would spend the rest of his life—his very long life—tied to a woman he could never love, and forever separated from the only one he did love.
“You’ve always wanted children,” said P.D., his voice thick with emotion.
Jensen’s throat was hot and tight. Unable to speak through the tension, he nodded, then shrugged. He shook his head in denial. He didn’t want children more than he wanted P.D.
P.D. eased him back onto his own feet, cool air washing between them as they separated. “Go and plan your wedding. Tell Meredith to find a suitable wife for you.”
“P.D.” Jensen sniffled. He must be coming down with one of those colds.
“It’s the only thing that will save the elves.”
He knew that. He’d always known it, just as P.D. had too. But they’d hoped. They’d both worked so hard to make it different. He lifted a hand and stroked his fingertips down P.D.’s smooth cheek. Soft, silky blond hair slid over his hand as P.D. bowed his head and pressed his lips against the inside of Jensen's wrist. The silence thickened. Jensen knew he had to leave: his life was full of things he knew he had to do, but none of them were things he wanted.
“Go on, love,” whispered P.D.
“I will always love you,” Jensen said as he stepped back.
P.D. nodded and Jensen left his office. He focused on the floor directly in front of him as he strode away, not wanting to see any of the pity, the sorrow or the expectation he could feel swirling in the air around everyone in the Toy Shop. He’d do what he had to do, but he didn’t have to like it.
It wouldn’t make him happy.
Meredith was waiting for him when he returned to his office.
“Start planning my wedding, Mer,” he said as he sat and let out a sigh.
Her face lit up, but the joy morphed into confusion when he continued speaking.
“You’ll need to find someone suitable for me to marry too.” he held his hand up against her questions when she opened her mouth. “I trust you to choose someone… compatible. I don’t want to meet them or see them before the wedding. Just—” he swallowed against the sudden tightness in his throat. Was this how ‘flu felt? “—just arrange it all.”
“Your best man?” She sounded choked up, almost as upset as…
The best man, the best friend. He only had one best friend, and that was P.D. There was no way he could have P.D. standing beside him while he married someone else. “You. You do it.”
I was contacted by this author earlier this month re promoting her book. I said 'yes' because promotion is difficult and good on her for being proactive. I don't have a cover image or a bio, or any other information about the author, but I've posted what I have below.
Title: Here Comes Trouble
Author: A.E. Via
Genre: MM Erotic Contemporary
Release Date: 11/28/2014
Length: 294 pages
Detectives Mark Ruxsberg and Chris Green are very good at their jobs. Being the enforcers for God and Day's notorious Atlanta PD Narcotics Task Force causes the crazy duo to get into more trouble than they can often get out of. The pair never misses out on an opportunity to drive their Lieutenants crazy with their dangerous, reckless, and costly stunts, landing them in the hot seat in front God... often.
Ruxs and Green love their jobs and they don't mind the very demanding schedule that leaves them little time for socializing or dating. It was fine with them, they enjoyed hanging out with each other anyway.
However, most of the men in their close circle of friends and colleagues are pairing off and settling down. God has Day, Ro has Johnson, and their Sergeant Syn has Furious.
For the past several years, Ruxs has only sought out the advice and company of one person, his partner and best friend Green, and vice versa. Both of these alpha males are presumed straight, but neither can deny the heat that's building in their once 'just friends' relationship.
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Here-Comes-Trouble-Nothing-Special-ebook/dp/B00Q3UI6VG/ref=zg_bs_7588788011_12
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23517970-here-comes-trouble
We're joined today by the dynamic writing duo, Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows, who are talking about their new release: Christmas in His Heart. First, though, lets have a closer look at the book:
Christmastime brings joy to hearts everywhere. Between snow angels, festive clothing, holiday decorations, and of course, all the beautiful lights, it’s hard not to partake in the season.
Unless you no longer have Christmas in your heart.
Dermot Alasdair has never shared the horrific memories that keep him from celebrating the happiest time of the year, nor does he ever plan to. He’s fine being alone and shut off from everyone; he has his restaurant and that’s all he needs. He believes that, too…until the craft store next door from his eatery hires a perpetually smiling annoyance. Really, it isn’t normal for someone to be that happy all the time.
Xander Leahman didn’t know what he was getting into when he accepted an invitation to visit his best friend and help her interview people for the newly created position of manager at Craft Time. When a surly man bumps into him and then walks away with an enticing sway to his hips, Xander decides the position—and Dermot—are perfect for him. Now all he can think of is finding ways to get Dermot out of his clothes. Well that, and how to open this grinch’s heart to the Christmas season and, hopefully, love.
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Romance, Holiday
“Hey! Good morning!”
The cheerful greeting broke through his concentration, and Dermot looked up to see the new manager of the Craft Time craft store sweeping the sidewalk in front of the shop. “Hey,” he muttered sourly. Xander Leahman made his head ache. Just one glance and he wanted to snap at the man to comb his hair, put on a heavier jacket, and for Christ sakes why wasn’t he wearing gloves outside in this weather?
Dermot wasn’t going to stop. He had no plans stop and talk to the smiling man. Xander bubbled more than a bottle of shaken soda water. Dermot didn’t have time for his chatter, and he didn’t have time for the strange, compelling not-quite-nausea he seemed prone to in Xander’s company.
Maybe he was allergic to the man’s cologne, or deodorant, or shampoo. Dermot leaned forward and sniffed surreptitiously, but he couldn't smell anything other than cinnamon and vanilla. An overwhelming urge to bake overcame him, and he jerked himself upright.
He was an executive chef, not a pastry chef. He didn’t bake, and especially not something as…plebeian as oatmeal raisin cookies, which was what Xander smelled like.
“Excuse me.” He deliberately stepped around Xander, who put out a hand and caught his arm.
“I saw you coming down the street.” Xander set the broom aside and picked up a steaming mug from the windowsill. “It’s not as good as Prudence’s coffee, but I made it fresh this morning.”
Blinking in astonishment, Dermot stared from the mug to the hand on his arm. He could really… “Thanks.” He accepted the mug and inhaled the rich aroma of good coffee, scented with cinnamon and…yeah, vanilla. And he’d thought it was Xander who smelled so good? He didn't know whether to be relieved or embarrassed. “I needed this. That walk feels longer every day that the temperature drops.” The first sip exploded on his tongue with soothing heat and delicious flavor and he bit back a moan of appreciation.
Publisher: Lime Time Press
Cover Artist: Laura Harner
I love knowing how people work and what things work best for them in the process of writing, so that's what I asked Lee and Havan.
About Lee and Havan:
Somewhere in a small town in up-state New York are a librarian and a second grade teacher to whom I owe my life. That might be a touch dramatic, but it's nevertheless one hundred percent true.
Because they taught me the joy of reading, of escaping into worlds crafted of words.
Have you ever been nine years old and sure of nothing so much as that you don't belong? Looked at the world from behind glasses, and wondered why you don't fit?
Someone hands you a book, and then you turn the page and see… There you are, running from Injun Joe in a dark graveyard; there you are fencing with Athos; there you are…beneath the deep blue sea- marveling at exotic creatures with Captain Nemo.
I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now. It's why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it's why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture.
If I'd had my way, I'd have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and I've come to realize that's the best thing in the world to be, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.
If I hadn't learned to value the stories between the pages, who knows what would have happened? Certainly not college…teaching…or writing.
I annoy, love, respect, scare, seduce, hurt, anger, infatuate, frustrate, flatter, envy, amuse and tolerate everyone. I just do it better in writing thanks to a little thing called…edits.
Okay no, seriously…I'm a simpleminded person who enjoys the escape from real life through a book. I write with the group Story Orgy and hope to continue doing so for a long time. I also am privileged to be with the Pulp Friction writers, creating intermingling books in a world all our own. And just like every other red-blooded human—I love hearing from people. So feel free to drop me a line—whether it's a comment on my blog, an email, a tweet, or you track me down on FaceBook or Google +…it's easy to catch someone who wants to be caught.
What part of writing Christmas in His Heart did you least enjoy and why?
Havan: I don’t think there was a part I least enjoyed...I mean seriously, Lee had a way of making even the edits fun. :) Now...if we are talking about content of the book, I hated when Xander and Dermot had their downs. Lee and I talked about these characters so often to each other that they were real in my mind and I just wanted to strangle them sometimes.
Lee: I guess that what I least enjoyed was having to be patient sometimes. Havan has this wicked, evil day job thing that kept getting in the way of creating. I’d wake up all inspired, whip out a thousand plus words, and then bounce around thinking about how she was going to react to it, whether she’d like it, or how her character would carry it forward, until she got home from work.
What part of writing Christmas in His Heart did you most enjoy and why?
Spending even more time with Lee...sharing our creativity and the workload! I loved sharing the workload…*blushes*.
I loved how the whole story just clicked...I don’t think I’ve ever written anything that just flowed so beautifully, from idea to idea. Usually, I end up at least once or twice in a story sitting there staring at a blank page thinking I should just delete it all and start over. That never happened.
You’re right...there was no “That’s it, I’m done with this book” moments...I fell in love with the characters and storyline and never lost that interest in it. :)
What would you do differently?
Well, I’m not sure about that. I really enjoyed the whole experience, you see. There were some timeline issues that we had to finesse later, so probably we ought to work out the timeline more carefully ahead of time next time.
Yeah, definitely write out a more detailed timeline and maybe better plotting (which kills me to say since I’m a pantser lol), but as for the whole experience in general - I loved it.
Do you have plans to work together again soon, and under what circumstances?
Actually, we are always working together. We both contribute to a group project called Pulp Friction, which is a series of inter-related stories, with Laura Harner and Tom Webb. Currently we’re writing a group finale for the 2014 series and plotting out the basics of the 2015 series, where we are joined by Will Parkinson.
Awww...that’s Lee’s PC way of saying he’s stuck with me...lmao
Lee Brazil’s Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/crawlinbedwithlee/
Lee Brazil on Twitter: @LeeBrazil
Havan Fellows on Twitter: @Havanfellows
Lee Brazil on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/leebrazil/
Havan Fellows on PInterest: http://www.pinterest.com/havanfellows/
This is book one in the Passion’s Hero series and subsequent books should be read in order.
Centuries after the destruction of Earth, destiny is being fulfilled and plans are in motion to restore not only the Earth, but mankind, to its former glory. One family is fated to bring about this amazing destiny. One man puts it all in motion, the day he crashes on to the wolf-planet of Tumaro and met his mate.
Talon Versuthion always knew that some kind of way, life was going to screw him over. His parents died when he was just a boy and he can't remember a thing about them. He was adopted by a great family only to have them tell him that he is a Vermithian, one of the most despised humanoid species. Even worse than that? He has no idea that a prophecy was made about his family, one that mentions that someone from the Versuthion family will bring back a pure human race. And there are people out there who will stop at nothing to make sure that never happens. No matter what.
While on a delivery for the GPA with his adopted sister Josie, however, Tal's space shuttle crashes onto Tumaro, the notorious wolf-shifter planet. Tal is lucky to be alive, though Josie can't be found. He is desperate to find her, but destiny steps in and history is changed forever. Because the Alpha King of the planet, Blazell Roughshire, is Talon's mate. And before the two men can even settle into their new relationship they must deal with conspiracy, murder, kidnapping and a centuries old plot to completely eradicate the human race. Will Blaze be able to keep his mate safe from those who would see him dead? Is Tal truly the only one left from his family who can fulfill this centuries old prophecy? And can Tal, who has made it a point to never fall in love with anyone, open his heart and let Blaze be Passion's hero?
Warning: This book contains references to abuse, rape, torture, and violence. It also
contains hot sex between a young man with an affinity for celebrities that may sound familiar to you and his hot possessive Alpha mate. This is a R&P Whips & Chains novel which means the story contains BDSM elements. BDSM is a Lifestyle and while certain elements of it are not dangerous, please do not engage in any part of the BDSM Lifestyle without a trained professional on-hand.(This is a re-edited, re-published novel. The publisher has been changed. Over 22,500 words have been added to the original)
Categories: Alternate Universe, BDSM, Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction
“Where the hell are my clothes? More than that. Where the hell is my sister?” Talon yelled, pulling the bedcovers up to his chin.
Blazell laughed heartily, not at all deterred by his mate’s little freak-out. “Your clothes
were destroyed in your accident, my love. I took the liberty of removing the hospital gown you
wore when I brought you here to our bedroom,” he stated with amusement.
“Our bedroom?” Talon questioned in a small, hesitant voice, quivering with fear and shock.
“Yes, love, our bedroom. Where we will sleep and make love, more so the latter than the
former.” He didn’t know how to respond about the man’s sister. He hadn’t heard anything about there being anyone else found at the crash. He would fully admit he was being rather selfish at the moment and only wanted to focus on his mate’s well-being and Talon’s sudden appearance in his life. Once they were fully bonded, Blazell would look into Talon’s missing sister. Blazell knew that made him an asshole, but, at the moment, he couldn’t bring himself and his wolf to feel ashamed.
Talon shook his head in bewilderment. “But you don’t even know me, and I certainly don’t know you!”
“My soul knows yours, my heart embraces yours, and my life and I were made for you as
yours was made for me. I know you in the deepest parts of me, even though my mind may not,”
Blazell declared. “You were made for me,” he said as he placed his hands on either side of his
mate’s face, his thumbs delicately caressing Talon’s cheeks. “As I was made for you.”
Words/Pages: 92,505 words, 258 pages
Publisher: Rooster & Pig Publishing
Cover Artist: Vicktor Alexander
About Vicktor Alexander:
Vicktor “Vic” Alexander wrote his first story at the age of ten and hasn’t stopped writing since. He loves reading about anything and everything and is a proud member of the little known U.N. group (Undercover Nerds) because while he lives, eats, breathes, and sleeps sports, he also breathes history and science fiction and grew up a Trekkie. But don’t ask him about Dungeons & Dragons, because he has no idea how to play that game. When it comes to writing he loves everything from paranormal to contemporary to fantasy to historical and is known not only for being the Epilogue King but also for writing stories that cross lines and boundaries that he doesn’t know are there. Vic is a proud father of two daughters one of whom watches over him from Heaven with his deceased partner Christopher. Vic is a proud trans* and gay man, and when he is not writing, he is hanging out with his friends, or being distracted by videos of John Barrowman, Scott Hoying, and Shemar Moore. Vicktor has published numerous bestselling novels and has a WIP list that makes him exhausted just thinking about. He knows that he will be still be writing about hot men falling in love with each other, long after he is living in an assisted living facility, flirting with the hot, male nurses.
Author Contact: http://www.twitter.com/VVeeB
E E Montgomery
About writing, life, and random thoughts.
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