Drowning Blog Tour

Drowning

Welcome to the blog tour for Drowning by Steven M. Cross! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and more details!

Drowning digital coverDrowning

Genre: Young Adult/ Contemporary

Publication Date: October 29th, 2019

Publisher: Liminal Books

Dean knows being different isn’t always a good thing.

Trapped by the voices and visits from the dead, Dean is drowning. His father, allegedly drowned, and the friend who took his own life taunt like the school bullies he can’t seem to get away from.

A sliver of hope breaks through when his mother announces they are moving. A chance for a fresh start for all of them. So why does she move them to the cottage near the river his father drowned in?

The water begins to envelop him, threatening to pull him under, when Dean discovers nothing changes and the bullies find not only him, but his twin sister, Dee, as favorite targets. Dean’s personal struggles worsen as his tentative grasp on reality weakens.

An unexpected hand plunges through the water toward him, bringing with it questions and a family secret that haunts them all.

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Excerpt

My dad looks up at me, “I’ll catch you.”

I know he probably won’t, but that doesn’t scare me, not today. What scares me is knowing that this day—this perfect day—one of the few my family ever has will end soon, and it will be back to yelling and screaming and being slapped for saying the wrong thing even when I don’t know what is wrong.

I turn to Dee and ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I don’t ever want to grow up,” she says.

And I realize I don’t want to either. I back away from the cliff.

Dee says, “Finally. Don’t kill yourself.”

“I don’t want to grow up either.”

I run to the edge of the cliff, but this time I don’t jump feet first. I dive. I think as I sail through the air and hit the water that it’s the perfect day to die.

My dad jerks me out of the water. “What the hell are you doing? You could have killed yourself.”

I just look at him and say, “I didn’t.” Then, I swim toward the beach.

Dee yells, “Holy shit, brother! Way to go.”

Drowning is Available on Amazon!

About the Author

Author Pic

Steven Cross remembers his first literary success, a play about a wolfman that his English class read. His first publication was a Haiku about hearing wolves at sunset one evening as he sat on his back deck with Luke his faithful mutt by his side. He also published a horror story about mutant moles whose taste buds begin to crave human flesh.

Cross, born in Missouri, has published plays, novels, and poetry and done well in some screenwriting competitions, most recently as a quarterfinalist in The Bluecat Screenwriting competition, considered one of the best in the country.

Cross often writes about mental illness. He is an example of how a person can overcome mental illness and succeed. His young adult book Drowning covers bullying and mental illness and is a must-read for teenagers, parents, and teachers.

An educator for over 30 years, he is now semi-retired. Right now he and his wife Jean live in Poplar Bluff, MO, where they spend a lot of time spoiling their grandchildren. Cross is a St. Louis Cardinals fan and has been ever since he was old enough to hold a baseball card. He also enjoys music, reading, and of course writing.

Steven M. Cross | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Drowning

Blog Tour Schedule

January 27th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

I Love Books and Stuff (Spotlight) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

January 28th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Tranquil Dreams (Spotlight) https://klling.wordpress.com/

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Spotlight) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

January 29th

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

My Bookish Bliss (Review) http://www.mybookishbliss.com

January 30th

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

January 31st

Entertainingly Nerdy (Review) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com

Phantom of the Library (Review) https://phantomofthelibrary.com/

Crossroad Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.crossroadreviews.com

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

Loose Ends Blog Tour and Review

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Loose Ends (Badlands Book 4)

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Natania Barron

Release Date: December 30, 2019

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance

Trope/s: Spooky supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, dark magic.

Themes: Trust, loyalty, commitment, partnership

Heat Rating: 4 flames

It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and

features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels.

Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

Length: 62 000 words/ 220 pages

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As a deadly trap closes around them, can Simon and Vic tie up the loose ends to stop the threat, or will they become the newest ghosts of the Grand Strand?

 

Blurb

Cold cases, old enemies, ex-lovers, and vengeful spirits are making life dangerous for psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato.

The ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless, trapped by love, secrets, scandals, and spells, keeping Simon busy protecting the living from the unhappy dead. Someone from Vic’s past is out to destroy him and everyone he holds dear, and the high-profile trial of the first case Simon and Vic worked together puts them in the spotlight—and put a target on their backs. As a deadly trap closes around them, can Simon and Vic tie up the loose ends to stop the threat, or will they become the newest ghosts of the Grand Strand?

Loose Ends is an urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with spooky supernatural suspense, hot sex, hurt/comfort, feisty friends, found family, ghosts galore, and dark magic. It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels. Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

 

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Nook

 

Excerpt

“I’ve been poking around on the Buccaneer story since the place shut down,” Josh said. “My team’s visited probably a dozen times. Plus, I knew people who worked on the construction and dismantling, and who ran the rides when it was open.” He leaned forward, dropping his voice. “They won’t talk on the record, or to the police, but I’ve heard all their stories. And the rumors that got out? They’re just a fraction of how fucked up that place was.”

Simon sat back in his chair, settling his lanky body and long legs as best he could. He warmed his hands on the hot paper cup and tucked a strand of long chestnut hair behind one ear. “Tell me.”

“One of my sources was a crane operator when they were installing the Riptide Roll steel coaster,” Josh confided. “He saw one of the workmen fall from the top of the first hill when they were assembling the ride. Says the guy died on impact. The company paid to hush it up. Same thing happened when another worker was crushed to death. A load of steel pipe shifted, and he ended up underneath it.”

“Jesus.”

“That’s not all of it. The place was only open for barely two seasons, but the ride operators had stories that would curl your hair. Riders got whiplash, one girl lost a couple of fingers, and a kid died from head injuries when his ride car came loose and crashed. Not to mention the operator who got electrocuted when he had to run his ride in the rain.”

“If the owners had to cover all that up, no wonder they went bankrupt,” Simon said, shaking his head. “I can’t believe they didn’t get shut down.”

“Their rides continued to pass inspections from the state office—or maybe someone got paid off. Still, they closed suddenly before the end of their last season,” Josh said. “Whistleblowers went to the media. The situation was going to be ugly. But then it turned out to be even worse.”

Simon remembered the end of the story. Investors clamored for their money back when the park abruptly shut down, only to find out that the accounts were empty, the books had been cooked, and the profits were never real. Before it could turn into a media circus and authorities asked for serious jail time, Ellington killed himself, and Stevens skipped town.

“Any clue about who’s haunting the place?”

Josh chewed on his lip and looked at Simon. “I was hoping you’d come over with us this afternoon and help me figure that out. I’m doing my best to learn, but my skills aren’t as powerful as yours, and I don’t know how to really use them. I can sense when spirits are nearby, and I see them better than the average person, but having a conversation is beyond what I can do.”

Review:

Danger lurks around every corner in this spine chilling sequel. I loved how suspenseful and exciting this book was. I enjoyed reading more about the characters and watching their relationship continue to bloom and evolve.

About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, and Treasure Trail. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

Read a copy of my Badlands short story Restless Nights here for free

 

 

Social Media Links

Facebook Group | Pinterest (for Morgan and Gail) | Twitter: @MorganBriceBook

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Follow me on BookBub | Instagram

 

 

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of three ebook copies of any book in the Badlands series

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Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

Smoky Mist Book Tour and Giveaway

Smoky Mist
The Legend of the Ghost Train Book 1
by C.J. Baty
Genre: M/M Paranormal Ghost Romance
Jesse Lawson was never afraid of the strange and unusual dreams he had. But lately, they were becoming darker leaving him with a need to discover why he was having them. The Great Smoky Mountains once were the site of many logging camps. It only made sense to travel to the place where his great grandfather had lived and died, since it seemed his dreams were about Jackson Douglas himself.
Carter Thompson never knew his great uncle George Thompson, but he inherited his land, home, and money. George had come here to find work in the lumber camps. Secluding himself from the outside world, no one really knew what happened to make him become a recluse. Carter only knew he loved his home and the bar he owned. Meeting Jesse Lawson was about to turn his world upside down.
There was a secret about a train wreck that killed Jackson Douglas. Now it seemed that something was trying to destroy Carter and Jesse’s growing attraction to each other. Whoever it is will stop at nothing to keep them apart, even if they have to repeat the past to do it.

“Amazing.” Jesse said out loud, causing a rabbit to skitter out of a nearby bush and hop away. He chuckled as the white fluffy tail ran into a hedge by his feet.

Yes, you are.”

Jesse whipped around at the sound of a voice in the wind.

“Who’s there?” He asked, searching for another person, yet he saw no one.  

He knew he’d heard a voice, and yet, it was clear he was totally alone where he stood. A warm breeze ruffled the leaves in the trees overhead. It surrounded Jesse, wrapping him in a comforting embrace. It felt like a hug.

I missed you,” the same voice whispered in Jesse’s ear.

It didn’t frighten him, that was the surprising part of the situation. He wasn’t afraid. Curious… yes. But definitely not afraid. The name was on his lips and in the air before he could stop it.

“George?”

Icy tendrils snaked around his body causing instant pain. The feeling was so cold, it burned his skin. The ground reached up for him, he relaxed against it. He felt the softness of the new grass beneath his head, and then nothing.

 

His head hurt when he woke, but not so much that he knew something was very wrong. Jesse knew he was lying on a small bed in a setoff house. They all looked the same. He could smell wood burning, strong coffee, and bacon. A man with his back to him was bending over a black pot belly stove stirring something in a pan.

Jesse opened and closed his mouth trying to form words, but nothing came out. In visions before, Jesse saw through Jackson’s eyes, but he was always in his own body. This wasn’t his body. Something was very wrong.

He could feel the fear rushing through Jackson. He shook with emotion. The taste of bile tinged his words when Jackson finally spoke.

“You’re a monster,” Jackson said throwing the blanket off his naked body. 

Jesse didn’t want to be here. This experience was nothing like his prior dreams. It was too real, too painful. When Jackson reached for his pants that lay on the floor by the bed, Jesse noticed the raw rope burns around Jackson’s wrists. Dried blood flakes fell away as Jackson dressed.

Jesse felt everything Jackson felt. All the pain and confusion. This was nothing like what he had experienced with George. Where was George?

Why was this happening to Jesse?  Why did he feel the emotions and pain?

The door crashed open with a bang. George looked like a wild beast as he rushed inside the small building.

“Get out!” He screamed at Jesse. “Get out now.”

Jesse grabbed the rest of his clothes and ran through the open door behind George. He stopped a few yards from the setoff house and listened as he dressed.

The two men inside yelled at one another. They were fighting. Jesse could hear the sound of fists hitting flesh. Suddenly, flames shot up in the window. The setoff house was on fire. 

“George!” Jackson screamed.

“Remember.” A voice Jesse didn’t recognize screeched at him.

 

CJ Baty dreamed of writing her own stories from a very young age. Time and life got in the way, but with the encouragement of her two grownup children, she began to follow that dream. She loves a mystery and when you mix in romance and hot men, you can bet there’s going to be a happily ever after. She brings her love of nature and the mountains of the Southern states into her stories too. Too many years spent in an office crunching numbers, left her with the desire to explore new places and experiences. Whenever, possible you can find her in Tennessee enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery. Her muse lives there so she visits often. She believes deeply that love is love and love is what binds us all.
$20 Amazon Gift Card
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

The Sinful Scot Release Blitz

THE SINFUL SCOT by Maddison Michaels is out now! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy of this historical romance today!

Title: The Sinful Scot

Author: Maddison Michaels

Genre: Historical Romance

About The Sinful Scot:

Constance Campbell, the Duchess of Kilmaine, once believed that all she needed in life was a duke. But everything unraveled when she realized her perfect husband was a perfect monster. Now broken beyond repair, she hides her misery behind a perfect Society mask…even from her childhood friend, Alec.

Dr. Alec McGuinness reluctantly finds himself back in Scotland, and checking up on the only woman to ever get under his skin, Connie. After she spurned him many years ago, he knows his humble life as a doctor could never be enough for her. But when the Duke of Kilmaine is murdered in cold blood, with Connie sleeping right next to him in bed, Alec knows he must protect Connie at all costs from those who would frame her for the duke’s murder.

Now on the run, Connie feels a freedom she only ever dreamed about before, and an unexpected attraction to the man who is keeping her safe. But even if they can win her freedom and clear her name, could she ever open her heart up to someone again?

Order Your Copy Today!

Amazon | Apple | Nook | Kobo | GooglePlay | Indigo

Catch Up on the Series:

Book 1 – The Devilish Duke

Book 2 – The Elusive Earl

Exclusive Excerpt:

Taking a deep breath, she turned around, only to be caught in Alec’s penetrating gaze. She’d forgotten how handsome he was. A strange combination of rugged athleticism mixed with the air of a scholar. But there was also a steadiness to him, a gentle strength, that Connie felt drawn to. This was a man who would have no need to take out his anger on anyone weaker than he. She’d never met a more honorable or honest man.

She cringed with the thought of how badly she’d once treated him. Often ignoring him at assemblies and the like, simply because he hadn’t fawned over her like the other men had.

She’d been a fool.

“Sophie sent you, then?” was all Connie could think to say. She must sound like an imbecile.

“She asked me to check on you.” He paused, staring steadily at her. “So how are you, Lady Connie?”

He was still calling her by her maiden title, and there was something so familiar about him doing so, it reminded her of a time long ago. A time she wished she could escape back to.

Unable to withstand his close scrutiny, she strode over to the hearth and closed her eyes for a second, fighting the urge to cry again. She’d thought her tears from earlier were well and truly dried up.

It would be so easy to tell Alec what had been happening. He would believe her. Probably try to save her, too. But what could he do, when up against the powerful Duke of Kilmaine, whose word was law in these parts? And though she knew Alec could defend himself in a fight, Duncan never fought fairly. Her husband had enough servants and guards around the estate to ensure that Alec would be outnumbered.

No. She couldn’t risk getting him hurt. She’d never forgive herself if he did.

Filling her lungs with a hearty breath, she turned back to face him, and once again, she plastered a serene smile on her face. “Everything is fine. Absolutely fine, in fact.”

But Alec didn’t smile back. Instead he frowned. “Don’t lie to me, Connie.” He strode across to her, until she found herself staring at the crisp white cravat covering his neck.

She gasped softly as his hand gently tilted her chin upward, until her eyes met his. Warring with the frisson of fear from having a man touch her was a giddy sensation fluttering in her stomach. She couldn’t remember the last time anyone had touched her with such tenderness. If ever, actually.

“What’s going on? And I’ll have the truth this time, please.” Alec’s voice was firm, but she could hear the concern in it. It had been so long since she’d felt that anyone cared.

“As I said before, everything is fine, Doctor McGuiness.” She carefully reached up and very deliberately pushed his hand away from under her chin. “And you take too many liberties touching me and calling me by my first name. I am a duchess now. Or have you forgotten?” Perhaps if she sounded condescending, as she’d often done in the past with him, he’d believe her, and go.

“Aye. I’m well aware of that fact.” He stepped back and bowed stiffly. “Forgive me, your grace.”

There was contempt in his voice, and Connie felt her heart sink. He would forever remember her as being a coldhearted shrew, she was sure of that. And though a part of her hated knowing he would, at least he’d be safe.
“You can tell Sophie that all is well.” She was glad her voice sounded steady, when inside she felt like she was shattering into tiny pieces. “Now if you will excuse me, I have duties to attend to.” She inclined her head at him before sweeping past him toward the door.

She extended her hand toward the doorknob when, from behind her, Alec reached over her shoulder and pressed his palm against the wood. Preventing her from opening it and leaving.

“You’re not going anywhere, duchess. At least not until you tell me what the devil is going on.”

 

About Maddison Michaels:

Indoctrinated into a world of dashing rogues and feisty heroines when she was a teenager, Maddison Michaels is a bestselling, award-winning Australian romance author, who loves to write sexy history with a dash of mystery! Her debut novel, THE DEVILISH DUKE, won the 2019 RWA Australia Historical Romance Book of the year. Maddison lives in Sydney with her gorgeous hubby and daughter, and always starts her day with a cup (or two) of liquid gold… coffee (just quietly, she’s addicted to the stuff)!

Connect with Maddison:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page | Bookbub

 

Blood Bound Book Blitz

Blood Bound: A Lowrance Vampires Novel
R.J. Blain
Publication date: January 28th 2020
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

After waking in a shallow grave and clawing her way to freedom, Penelope Francis hunts for the rogue who stole her life and transformed her into a vampire. Despite being corrupted into a feared preternatural, she clings to her humanity and refuses to prey on innocents, instead slaking her thirst on other miscreant vampires.

In exchange for a chance at revenge, she joins forces with the charismatic master of the Lowrance brood, a choice that may spell the salvation—or destruction—of humanity as she knows it.

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EXCERPT:

Another night, another vampire, another double-dead end. If I didn’t get lucky soon, I’d run out of miscreants to drain, stake, decapitate, and decorate with holy wafers. In reality, I only needed to stake the toothy bastards, but I figured if I was going to kill every damned unclaimed vampire in New York City, I’d do so with style and get a free meal out of the deal at the same time.

In life, I’d done well for myself; I’d become my father’s perfect daughter, dedicating every waking moment to my budding career as a corporate lawyer on a mission to protect his business interests. In death, or undeath as it was, I’d become a big nothing. I couldn’t even claim I’d become a big fat nothing, as I kept losing weight instead of gaining it, no matter how many of my kind I tagged, bagged, drained, and tossed out with the trash.

Penelope Francis was dead and gone to everyone who mattered, even me.

My stomach reminded me of my neglect with a displeased gurgle. Grunting my dismay over having completely drained another vampire without slaking my hunger, I checked his pockets for cash and found nothing but lint, not even a wallet, ID, or pocket change.

If he’d had food hidden in his pockets, I might’ve been tempted to try my luck. If I ever ditched the relentless hunger, I’d never take food for granted again. I resented my maker’s decision to abandon me in a shallow grave, forcing me to fend for myself. The bastard could’ve left a damned note with a few clues, especially in the feeding department. A manual about life as a vampire would’ve been appreciated. I still wasn’t sure what I could eat. Shortly after I’d risen, I’d tried a slice of pizza once and only once. It hadn’t ended well. I dodged food, afraid I’d throw it up along with my literal guts.

Just to be sure, I rechecked my victim’s body to confirm his lack of cash, ID, or food.

Nothing. Color me not surprised.

I hated killing those as destitute as I, but I refused to harbor guilt over ridding the world of a vampire who hunted homeless teens struggling to survive New York’s harshest streets. While I hoped the kids would survive, I had my doubts.

Miscreants—unclaimed, rogues, or whatever society called the illegal vampires lurking on the streets—couldn’t afford to let their prey live to tell the tale. When found, humans and preternatural alike hunted us to ensure we never bothered anyone again.

Living on borrowed time sucked, as did homelessness. When I found the vampire who’d turned me, I’d take my time draining him. I’d enjoy every swallow. I’d turn his last moments into a masterpiece of brutality.

All I knew was that my maker had been a man, and he’d left some dark mark on me, something that tainted my soul. I could still feel his corrupting influence deep within, a pressure on my heart.

Until I breathed my last for the second time, I’d spend every night seeking him out so I could end his miserable existence. I still wasn’t sure why I’d been targeted or how I’d survived the transition from human to vampire without help. My desire for revenge confirmed one unassailable truth: I was no better than the filth I hunted.

Author Bio:

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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Earnest Ink Book Blast

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Earnest Ink

Author: Alex Hall

Publisher: Nine Star Press

Published: October 14, 2019

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Genre/s: Queer Spec Fic, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense

Trope/s: Found family

Themes: Mystery/adventure

Heat Rating: 1 flame

Orientation: Asexual, Pansexual

Identity: Cisgender, Trans

Warning: Depictions of Trauma, Blood, Violence, Murder,

Eating disorders, Body hatred, Transphobia, PTSD, War

Length: 72 100 words/244 pages

It is a standalone book.

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Blurb

While twenty-year-old FTM Hemingway is making an excellent living as a tattoo artist in a near-future version of Hell’s Kitchen, the rest of the country is splintered and struggling in the wake of a war gone on for too long. Technology has collapsed, borders rise and fall overnight, and magic has awakened without rhyme, reason, or rule, turning average unwitting citizens into wielders of strange and specific strands of magic.

Hemingway’s particular brand of magic has made him a household name. Not only is he a talented artist, but his work comes to life. Literally.

When NYC’s most infamous serial killer—the East River Ripper—abducts Hemingway’s best friend, Grace, he has only days to save her. Hemingway teams up with his stoic cop roommate to hunt for the killer and rescue Grace before she becomes the Ripper’s latest victim. But as the duo chase clues to the serial killer’s identity, Hemingway begins to fear the magic he and the Ripper share might eventually corrupt him too.

 

Buy Links

NineStar Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Smashwords | B&N | Kobo

 

Excerpt

Earnest Ink

Alex Hall © 2019

All Rights Reserved

I work without speaking because that’s the way I prefer it. The vibration of my machine, the softer buzz of the fluorescent lights overhead, the tap of my foot on the pedal—it’s the best music in the world.

When I hit a ticklish spot, the girl I’m working on gasps, jolting in my chair.

“Don’t move,” I say. And then, with a salesman’s false cheer: “Almost done!”

The girl is sweating down the crook of her neck. She’s got silver glitter paint on her eyelids and cheeks, a new fashion trend I just can’t quite get behind. Under my lights the mix of perspiration and makeup looks like a blurry constellation.

She wanted a bee inked onto her collarbone, one of those tiny honeybees you find on good tequila bottles. Easily done, and she met the cash requirement. She’s eager, nervous, and breathing in and out in little puffs.

I can’t remember her name, but that’s fine. Customer relations is Eric’s job.

There’s another kid leaning over my glass counter, watching eagerly as I work. “Does it hurt?” he asks. “When the magic happens?”

The bee’s fat yellow thorax wriggles from side to side as it begins to wake, fighting the pressure of my needle, hungry for life.

“It looks like it hurts,” the kid says. I ignore him.

One minute more and—thanks to my peculiar magic—this bee will fly free.

I’m perched on a swivel stool, a wet paper towel in my hand to wipe away ink. It’s too hot in my studio, even with the industrial fans whirling overhead and the door propped wide open. Evening light slants in through the door and the north-facing, floor-to-ceiling window panes that look out onto West Forty-Sixth. It’s muggy, too warm for New York in October, and all of Hell’s Kitchen is wilting, including my client.

“What does it feel like?” the kid demands. He’s leaving greasy fingerprints on the surface of the glass as he strains to get a better look at what I’m doing. I study him out the corner of my eye, wiping sweat off my nose with the back of my wrist before it drips on my customer. He looks like one of the street punks who have taken to running in packs near the cruise terminals, sleeping in old, abandoned cargo containers and panhandling up and down the marina.

He’s skinny and tall, hair dyed an unsettling violet and styled into spikes all over his head. He’s got a silver ring in his septum and more hoops in his ears; his eyelashes are coated with purple mascara to match his hair. Green glitter paint sparkles on his lids. His T-shirt and jeans are torn and dirty, and he’s got a pack of black-market cigarettes rolled into one sleeve against his upper arm.

 

 

About the Author

Sarah Remy/Alex Hall is a nonbinary, animal-loving, proud gamer Geek.

Their work can be found in a variety of cool places, including HarperVoyager, EDGE and NineStar Press.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website| Twitter: @sarahremywrites

 

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

Halfway to Someday New Release Blitz

Title: Halfway to Someday

Author: Layla Dorine

Publisher:NineStar Press

Release Date: January 27, 2020

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 110300

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, PTSD, musician, ex-military, insta-love, contemporary, gay, rock star, hurt/comfort

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Synopsis

Rocker Jesse Winters just wants to be left alone. If he could melt into oblivion, he would and bid farewell to the wild child of rock n’ roll so many had dubbed him in recent months. Truth is there was never anything reckless, wild, or even deliberate about most of the things that had happened on Wild Child’s last tour, but had anyone cared to listen? No! Which was precisely why he was sitting in a cabin high up in the Colorado mountains, hoping the incoming blizzard would bury him forever.

Ryker Jorgensen left the VA hospital with a bunch of prescriptions and pamphlets on how to deal with reentering the civilian world, not that he’s in any hurry to do so. His nightmares still keep him up at night, and every new limitation he discovers gives him more reason to believe that he’s hopelessly useless now. Better to drive up to his cousin’s cabin and lick his wounds. Come spring, maybe, he’d look into being around people, if only for long enough to make the kind of money he’d need to buy his own secluded place.

The last thing Ryker ever expected to see was the man whose face had been plastered in his footlocker and his dreams for the better part of the past six years, but Jesse Winters is nothing like he imagined. When trying to leave Ryker out in the storm doesn’t work, Jesse resorts to ignoring him. But two wounded souls trapped in a snowed in cabin have little choice but to reach out for one another when emotions get frayed. His only hope is that Jesse will trust him enough to let him drag him back from the edge before he’s just another burned out star in the legacy that is rock n’ roll.

Excerpt

Halfway to Someday
Layla Dorine © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Firelight flickered against the stone mantel of the fireplace, yet despite its warmth, Jesse shivered and huddled in the blankets he’d wrapped around his shoulders. The winds outside had picked up as the sun sank lower in the sky. Now, as the minutes ticked closer to sunset, they howled like the crowds in the stands at every show he’d ever played. Staring into tear-blurred flames, he wasn’t sure if he’d ever climb up on a stage again. His fingers itched to touch his guitar, but what was the point in creating anything with the way his bandmates had turned their backs on him.

“Way to go.”

The sarcasm in Tish’s voice was unmistakable. Whirling, Jesse turned to glare at her.

“You think I ruined the concert on purpose?”

“What are we supposed to think!” she spat, crowding into his space. Didn’t matter that she was shorter, she had a way of getting right in his face. “The way you played tonight was abysmal. The fans didn’t deserve that. We didn’t deserve to have you out there ruining the set like that. You let everyone down tonight, so instead of making excuses, why don’t you tell us what the hell you’re on so you can get the treatment you need!”

“I’m not on anything!” he roared; then Kyle and Griffin were there, crowding him back against the wall.

“You garbled half the words to songs you wrote!” Griffin shot back.

“Not to mention how many times you were off-key and singing in an entirely different pitch than you were supposed to!” Kyle rebuked, staring into his eyes. “Were you drunk up there? High? Are you high now?”

“It was a bad night, okay? Why the hell can’t you all leave it at that?”

“One night is a bad night,” Tish hissed. “Hell, even two nights out of an eight-month tour, but this was what, the eleventh, twelfth time you’ve fucked everything up?”

“Fourteen,” Griffin said. “You’re forgetting the show he had to cut short in Reno, and the one we had to cancel in San Diego when he called and said he couldn’t perform. Couldn’t even bother to come tell us to our faces, he was so strung out.”

“I. Don’t. Use,” he snarled, exhausted, throat hurting as they’d loomed over him like vultures ready to pick him apart.

“Then tell us what the fuck is going on!” Kyle snapped.

Jesse shook his head, defeated, as he stared up into the eyes of his oldest friend. “I-I can’t.”

“You mean you won’t!” Tish chided. “And you’ll drag all of us down with you as our band, our dream, fizzles and burns.”

“It’s not like that. That’s the last thing I want.”

“Could have fooled me,” she snapped, sidestepping him and walking away, leaving the others to follow her.

“I just need time to work a few things out,” he called after them, cringing at the burn in his throat any time he tried to get loud. None of them even so much as turned back to look at him.

Pain sliced through his insides like broken glass, and he cringed and curled inward, rocking in the hopes of easing the ache. It wasn’t fair—he’d never set out do anything that would hurt the band or their music, never meant to get up there and fail or worse, not make it up there at all. But he’d screwed up both his personal and his professional life in all the worst ways possible…well, all except the ways they’d thought. He wasn’t stupid. He’d never use any of the hard stuff; he knew what it could do to bands, and he didn’t drink to get drunk, despite how free-flowing the whiskey and liquor got. Pot was different; it came from the earth, and besides, he only smoked it in the states where it was already legal recreationally. It mellowed him out when his brain was racing a mile a minute, and sometimes, that hazy silence was the only way he could relax enough to sleep. They knew him; they knew how deeply he loved the music, how it was all he had aside from them, and yet…

Did he even have them anymore?

Not knowing the answer doubled his pain, leaving him desperate to make it stop shredding his insides. The wind screamed and he raised his head, stared out the window, and watched the trees wave like angry shadows across the sad, gray sky, before turning his attention back to the song he’d been struggling since morning to write. The half-filled page in the journal on his lap taunted him with all its unfilled lines.

Too soft. It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t anything but another feel-good fluff piece like the rest of the shit he’d been writing for the past year. With a growl, he ripped the page out, crumpled it, and tossed it into the flames. Orange licked around white, curling the edges, blackening them before devouring it completely.

Good riddance.

Glaring down at the previous song, he skimmed a couple lines, then yanked it from the journal and hurled it into the fire too. The sound of tearing paper brought some sick kind of satisfaction, so he ripped out several more and consigned them to the flames, leaving nothing but the darker pieces he’d penned earlier in the week. Now those words he could connect with.

“Holy shit, guys, do you know what this means?”

They all turned their attention toward Kyle, who was still bent over the contract on the table, rereading every line of the document they were preparing to sign.

“Yeah,” Griffin called out. “It means no more ramen-noodle stew and day-old Bolivian creams. We can finally buy the fresh ones instead of the stale fifty-nine cent kind.”

They all broke into laughter then, the energy level in the room so high everyone was vibrating with it. Tish moved to stand behind Kyle, hugging him and rereading the contract over his shoulder.

“Means we beat the odds,” Tish said, her voice trembling with awe. “We really did it. We got a record deal.”

“Hell yeah, we did!” Jesse laughed, high-fiving Griffin, who caught him by the wrist, yanked him into a headlock, and proceeded to muss up his hair, which turned into a wrestling match that Jesse had no chance of winning. He’d resorted to tickling Griffin instead, their drummer writhing on the carpet as Tish decided to get in on the action and tickle him too. Of course, that had led to Kyle tickling her and all of them eventually collapsing into a laughing pile beside the couch.

Now, as he poured all his angst and rage onto the page, he found it impossible to remember when they’d last laughed together. Back in the studio, maybe, when they’d recorded their last album before the tour? He tried to think back that far, tried to temper the darkness of the would-be song with thin tendrils of lightness and hope, but the only images he could conjure in his mind were angry ones. Bitter accusations hurled at him the way he was hurling sarcasm and ire at the page, dotting it all with a heavy dose of scorn and a metric fuckton of guilt.

Snarling, he scrawled a few more words in the journal then tossed it aside, kicked a blanket off to the side, and squirmed around until his back was against the couch and his fingers were beside his pillows. For several moments, he caressed one of the soft, fluffy pillows before jamming his hand underneath, fingers fumbling below the plush overstuffed feathers, brushing against the coolness of the blade he kept tucked there. He curled his fingers around it, pulled it from its hiding spot, and let the firelight glint off the sharpened steel, the sparkle mesmerizing him for a moment. The flashing red-and-orange hues reminded him of strobe lights. He ran the blade up the back of his hand and arm, watching the tiny lines of blood well up and drip over the scars. Old white lines, angry red raised ones, an endless pattern that disappeared beneath his sleeve. If the photographers ever saw, they’d have a field day selling those shots to every music magazine they could find, which was why he never went sleeveless on stage. Here though, in the solitude of this borrowed cabin, he’d left his scars uncovered, if only to make it easier to carve in more.

Turning his hand over, Jesse pressed the blade against his wrist, traced the sharp edge along his flesh, but didn’t part it. Not this time. It was so tempting though. Maybe later when he dreamed of all his failures and woke up crying again.

How long he sat that way he’d never know, firm grip pressing the knife to his arm, body poised for action, muscles tense, beginning to ache from being held on edge so long. The voices in his ear warred, screamed, raged, one telling him to do it, the other pleading with him to think. All he wanted was the shame to stop and the heavy pressure in his chest to ease up enough to let him breathe.

The wind raged, and he longed to go out in it, throw his head back, and howl until his voice was shot. It wasn’t fair. He’d been scared and sick and struggling with what to do, choking on feelings of inadequacy and rage, a whirlwind of words in his head, and yet he hadn’t been able to string them together. Each time he’d attempted to stammer out something, they’d hit him with another accusation; if anything, that had hurt more than what Troy had done.

His fingers shook, so he pressed the knife deeper into his arm, trying to still the shaking. Pain shot up the back of his neck, throbbing in his temples and behind his eyes, his body coiled so hard it hurt.

There was no one left to believe in him, so why keep fighting? His band was the only family he’d had since his folks died. Without them, why keep playing? Why write another song? Why even bother to live another day? It would be so easy to give in, become another statistic. There was no one to stop him, no one to find the body until spring, and by then it wouldn’t matter—they’d have already replaced him anyway.

Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly, the vicious voice in his head telling him to get it over with.

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Meet the Author

Layla Dorine lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

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