Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Beyond the Surface by Felice Stevens

On 9/11 firefighter Nick Fletcher’s world changed forever. He's unable to rid himself of survivor’s guilt
made worse by the secret he hides from his family and co-workers. Nick's life is centered around helping burn victims until he is reunited with the man he’d once loved but pushed away. Now he has a second chance at a love he thought lost forever.

For fashion designer Julian Cornell appearances mean everything. His love affairs are strictly casual
and the only thing he cares about is making his clothing line a success. A chance encounter with the man he loved long ago has Julian thinking for the first time in years there may be more to life than being seen at the best parties and what designer labels to wear.

When Julian’s world takes an unexpected turn it's Nick who helps him regain perspective on what matters most in life. Julian in turn helps Nick accept who he is and understand he isn’t responsible for tragedies he couldn't prevent. Lost love found can be even sweeter the second time around and after all the years apart both men learn to look beyond the surface to find the men they are inside.

Pages or Words: Approximately 78,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance

Julian was in the kitchen, sitting on one of the stools by the counter. He had a glass in front of him filled with what Nick presumed was vodka, having spied the Grey Goose bottle.
“Would you like a drink? I have beer, wine…anything you’d like.”
Nick shook his head, regret piercing his heart as he watched the hope drain from Julian’s eyes.
“I don’t think so. I’m going to head home. I want you to know how much I appreciate what you did for Jamal tonight.”
Julian stood abruptly, kicking the stool away from his feet.
“Don’t treat me like I’m some fucking stranger, Nicky. You owe me. It’s been eighteen years; you think I’m going to let you walk out on me again like you did before? After what just happened between us? After you fell apart? No fucking way. I’m not that same person and neither are you, obviously.”
Taken aback by Julian’s anger, Nick remained mute.
“What the hell is going on with you? One minute you’re tongue fucking me into the next century and the next you’re freaking out. I know I’m a damn good kisser, but this isn’t about us, is it? It has nothing to do with our past and everything to do with you and the shit that’s floating around in your head.”
Julian stepped closer to him and Nick, who normally couldn’t stand people near him, was rooted to the floor, unable to move.
“Talk to me, Nicky. Tell me what happened to you.”
He was so tired of holding himself together, feeling like at any moment he’d shatter into a million tiny pieces, leaving nothing behind but a pile of dust.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
The words poured out of him, flowing unchecked this time. “It should’ve been me. We all went to the Towers to save them. It was my day off, but I went anyway. I heard and couldn’t stay home; I had a duty to help, you know? But I lived and they all died. Why, Julian? Why did I live and they didn’t?”
“Oh, Nick.” Julian held him close. “I don’t have the answers for you. No one does. But I’m going to be completely selfish and say I’m so thankful you did make it and we’re here together after all these years.”
Unflinching green eyes gazed back at him. Clever, beautiful eyes that Nick could never stop dreaming of. Eyes that at one time had held the promise of forever, until Nick ruined everything with his cowardice and shame. Unable to maintain Julian’s scrutiny, Nick broke away and ran to the elevator, his chest heaving, eyes stinging with tears.
“Let me out. I need to leave here. NOW.”

About the author:
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.

But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

Where to find the author:
Twitter: @Felicestevens1

Publisher: Felice Stevens
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Tour Dates & Stops: July 28, 2015
Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Beyond the Surface’

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Breeding Stations by Chris T. Kat

So, what makes Breeding Stations different from the rest? Hmm, I really had to think about that question.

Breeding Stations is a m/m science fiction romance story. Now, nothing of this is really new or different, but I think my take on the sci-fi part is a bit different. The Tash’Ba, the alien race the humans fear and fight, have created war beasts. They combined dinosaur genes with genetic material of their own world’s worst predators, thereby creating almost indestructible beasts. I’ve based most of the war beasts on well-known dinosaurs, but still gave them new attributes—a different appearance or behavior, for example. I also created completely new beasts, like the mandrox, who resemble meerkats, but really are dangerous little critters.

The characters are chased, fear for their lives—some lose their lives—and still try everything to end the beasts’ control on the planet Ligador.

There’s a lot of danger and adventure included in the story, but it’s not a dark-themed book. Despite everything, there’s an undercurrent of hope, loyalty, and love that gets them through the dark times.

The Nadisc, the humanoid alien race that help Berit and his team, were also fascinating to create. They look like humans, but they’re larger and much stronger. They wear their hair in dreadlocks, and all of them have long tails that help them during fights, but also enrich their sex life greatly. Tom’s tail is one of his features that Berit adores. ;-) Some of the Nadisc also have frills. Under normal circumstances, they’re folded up, but in dangerous situations or when their emotions get the better out of them, they swish into life. I don’t think I’ve read about a character with a frill before, but it was a blast to write about.

Another aspect of Breeding Stations is my take on gender roles. I didn’t follow traditional rules for gender roles and relationships, especially not when it comes to the heterosexual relationships. Niyara, for example, is a strong, dominant woman, who desires Carson, Berit’s best friend. Even though Carson fights his attraction to her (he’s usually interested in petite women), he gives in after all. It takes a lot of time, and a bit of prodding from Berit, for Carson to accept Niyara’s dominance and admit to himself that he craves it, that it makes him happy.

Spunky commander Berit Turner is known for two things: his huge libido and his lack of a filter—he says what he thinks. Berit sets his mind on being part of the mission to Ligador, to make sure the planet is habitable for humans. He’s ecstatic when his team is assigned to the task force. A delegation of Nadisc, a humanoid alien race, accompanies them, and passion ignites between Berit and their commanding officer, Tom. But Berit is determined that Tom is just another notch on his bedpost, as he doesn’t do relationships.
The excursion to Ligador goes wrong from the beginning, when they discover Ligador has been established as a breeding station by their worst enemy: the Tash’Ba. Dinosaur-like creatures become the team’s worst nightmare, and staying alive is going to take everything they’ve got… and then some.

Pages or Words: 204 pages or about 65,000 words

Categories: M/M Romance, Science Fiction

Excerpt from Chapter Two

Several alarmed shouts warned me of something going on, but I had no time to process what happened. Something roped around my waist and yanked me over to the side. I crashed into Tom’s chest as a harsh growling sound erupted from his throat.
I tried jerking myself free, but he held onto my wrists with one hand, while his tail kept me tethered to his body. “What the hell?”
Niyara squared off in front of Tom, her dark eyes gleaming with an eerie, demonic red glint where her pupils should’ve been. Her long tail swished from one side to the other and her arm muscles flexed.
“What the ever-loving fuck is going on?” I asked.
“Quiet!” Tom hissed.
My mouth fell open, and I gaped at him. Okay. Enough was enough. I caught the tip of his tail in my hand and pinched it—hard. He roared, but I used the chance to slip free. A Nadisc’s tail tip was the most sensitive part, which came in handy during sex but was a real disadvantage in a fight. Or maybe not. I’d never heard of someone winning a fight against a Nadisc when—
Niyara’s fist closing around my shirt stopped all my pondering. She lifted me off my feet, hissing and boring her eerie gaze into mine. Maybe I should’ve stayed with Tom. He’d felt slightly less dangerous than she did.
Carson appeared next to Niyara’s side, eyes as large as saucers but an equally determined look on his face. He reached out. As soon as he touched her arm, her head whirled around. I held my breath. Would he be able to save me from Niyara’s wrath? She’d seemed rather taken with him earlier. What the hell had I done, anyway, to agitate her?
As I wracked my brain, Carson and Niyara gazed at each other. The next instant he rose on tiptoes and placed a gentle kiss on her lips.
She let go of my shirt, and I would’ve landed flat on my ass if Tom hadn’t snatched me around the waist. Niyara rested her head on Carson’s shoulder, which meant she had to stoop because of her height. No one said anything, and no one moved for what seemed like a long time. When she lifted her head, several people—including me—hissed, afraid of what she’d do next.
Niyara bowed her head toward Tom. “I apologize for my outburst. I’ve never encountered a jealousy spell before.”
“Jealousy spell?” I echoed.
She gazed at me, suddenly looking sheepish. “Feeling such a strong connection is new to me, and I didn’t like Carson using an endearment toward you.”
I blinked, then looked over at Carson. He gawked, and his eyes were the same size as before. Would they stay like that forever?
Niyara swept an arm around to include everyone in her proclamation, which resulted in startled jerks and coughs. “I’m claiming Carson as my mate. Anyone who’d like to object has to fight me.”
No one objected. Everyone seemed busy inspecting their boots or the ceiling. I never noticed before how very ugly the hatch’s ceiling was.
“Berit!” Carson wheezed out.
I sighed and transferred my gaze from the ceiling to Carson. “Congrats?”
Someone cheered and the others followed suit, clapping their hands to add to the noise. Carson was so pale I feared he’d faint, but Niyara cupped his face in both hands and kissed him. After that, he didn’t seem to mind that much, not anymore.
Chuckling, I told the others to open the hatch and take up their position. The hatch opened with the usual buzz, but when I started to walk, Tom’s arms around my waist tightened to an almost painful level.
“Tell them to secure the area and wait for further instructions,” he whispered into my ear.
“Dream on. I won’t do—” My words ended abruptly when the steel bands around my waist left me no room for breathing.
Tom allowed me more breathing room, and I gave the desired order. No one looked twice or questioned my instruction, for which I’d have been grateful on any other day, just not today. Ticking off a Nadisc was a bad idea. One of the worst, really.
We waited until everyone had cleared the hatch’s area. Tom spun me around in his arms and lifted me up until we were face-to-face.
“You accepted me as your leader on this mission, remember? That means no punching me,” I said, “or doing anything that would harm me.”
Tom’s gaze intensified, and my mouth went dry when he spread out a red and orange speckled frill around his neck. I’d read about this display, but had never seen it before. Only a few Nadisc still had those frills—most opted for surgery because it gave away their emotions too easily—and those that did had a very tight control over it.
“But it’s okay for you to hurt me?” he rasped.
I tried to reason with him. “I… look, I’m the commander here. You can’t just order me around or hold me captive, okay?”
“Niyara could’ve killed you.”
I shrugged. “She didn’t, and she’ll just have to get used to the way Carson and I talk to each other.”
The frill around his neck unfolded even more. He said, “I’m not fond of the way you talk to each other.”
I had an inkling where this conversation was headed. I had an even bigger inkling that I’d panic if Tom said anything, so I closed my eyes, wrapped my arms around his neck—over the frill, which was kind of awkward—and sought his mouth with mine.
He opened up immediately, and I dipped my tongue into his mouth, licking along his teeth and eliciting an approving hum from him. Somehow I ended up with my legs wound around him and one of his hands steadying my ass.
When we broke apart for air, he said, “I won’t forget what you did.”
“I’ll make it up to you,” I replied. His eyes lit up with interest, so I added, “Deal?”

Sales Links:

About the author:

Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there's any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.

Where to find the author:

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Tour Dates & Stops: July 28, - August 10, 2015


Rafflecopter Prize: $20 Amazon gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Luckiest by Mila McWarren

I welcome Mila McWarren to the blog today!

Right around the time of our 10th anniversary, I went to see Love Actually with my husband – this was long enough ago that it was a new theatrical release at the time. By the time the movie was over, I was pissed – like, actually, really completely pissed off. I still get pissed off when I think about that movie.

The reason is because the film advertised itself as being about all kinds of love stories, but what it left out is what happens when it's easy and it works and you're so damn happy to keep falling in love with each other. As somebody who was celebrating 10 years of marriage and who was really very damn happy about it (it's been 21 years now and I'm still disgustingly happy), I felt cheated and a little left out – you might remember that the only longterm couple in the film is not doing particularly well.

I have always felt like there is a lot of beauty and pleasure in not just the coming together but the staying together – the kind of sweet, everyday happiness that that kind of endurance can bring.

The problem, of course, is that it can make for a REALLY boring story. We like first times, we like stories about getting together, and the will-they-won't-they drama is the driving force behind a romance. There needs to be peril, and threats – the best romances, the ones we know best and that have set the patterns for the genre, are the ones where our heroes overcome obstacles both external (geography! Other people! Work!) and internal (fear of vulnerability and intimacy! Being an immature jackass!) to be together. (Okay, I admit it: I just described the plot of Pride and Prejudice.)

I spent a lot of time trying to avoid that in this book while still maintaining enough tension for it to be an engrossing, interesting read. I wanted it to feel inevitable and comfortable and glowing, but something that you got to watch happen, a warm, glorious pleasure that you got to share in just by following along. The goal was to build a romance that didn't have to overcome massive, overwhelming obstacles, but that was still interesting to watch settle into place. Just like, I think, most of the relationships that most of us eventually settle into. Life is hard enough, and I think most of us just want to be happy without running a relationship obstacle course. We want people that fit into our lives, not people who we have to earn.

It is… okay, honestly? It's really fucking hard to do that! I'm not sure how well I hit the mark; I'm also not sure how much people want to read that. But I want to read it, and I really, really wanted to write it.

And so that's how this story is different from the rest. When we read a romance novel, we all know they're going to end up together – it's the rule of the form. This story isn't interested in the things that keep people apart. This story is interested in the things that draw them together, inexorably and inevitably, and in watching what happens as both of them settle into that and learn to build something new together.

I hope you'll give it a try, and I hope you like it!

Thanks for having me on Book Reviews, Rants and Raves today!


When New York-based memoirist Aaron Wilkinson gathers with his high school friends to marry off two of their own, he is forced to spend a week with Nik, the boy who broke his heart.

As they settle into the Texas beach house where the nuptials will be performed, Nik quickly makes his intentions clear: he wants Aaron back. "He's coming hard, baby," a friend warns, setting the tone for a week of transition where Aaron and Nik must decide if they are playing for keeps.

Pages or Words: 256 pages

Categories:  Contemporary, Gay fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

Aaron finishes the song and Stephanie snatches the mic out of his hand, crooks her finger at Nik and launches them into a reprise of their performance of "Dancing on My Own" from the homecoming weekend they all spent here at the house back in senior year. Stephanie still has questionable rhythm and tragic pitch—she loves to sing, which is why they have a karaoke machine in this house, but it's one thing she will admit she doesn't have much of a gift for—but there's a reason Nik majored in music at The University of Texas, and his voice has come a long way.
Somehow, this deliberate throwback to a memory that was never anything but happy seems different than what Aaron has just done. He sits on the sofa, flanked by Alex and Jasmine, hating them both a little for participating in it even while he smiles. Nik dances—how can you not, with this song—but he still watches Aaron, gives him a little head-tilt during the chorus, and it's charming and devastating and infuriating.
Jasmine leans to murmur, "Oh, I see how it is."
"Oh, shut up."

"You might not be desperate, but I'm not sure about him. He's coming hard, baby."

Sales Links:

About the author:
Mila McWarren grew up in Texas, but has happily made her home on the East Coast for the last decade. In her day job she works as a social scientist and has spent the last 10 years developing her fiction writing online. She lives with her husband and their two kids. When she isn't using working, writing, or hanging out with her family, she likes knitting and watching television, because they go together like peanut butter and chocolate, two of her other great loves.

Where to find the author:

Twitter: @milamcwarren
Tumblr: milamcwarren.tumblr.com

Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Messer

Tour Dates & Stops: July 7 – July 20, 2015










Rafflecopter Prize: One $25 Interlude Press gift card. Five e-book copies of ‘The Luckiest’

a Rafflecopter giveaway