Yakuza by Lilia Blanc

Greetings book lovers!

Today I want to share with you Yakuza by Lilia Blanc! This book was published by my company, Deep Desires Press. I loooove this book, but because of its sad ending, it’s been getting some rough love.

Take a look below, and keep in mind the sad ending (which is redeemed in the forthcoming sequel), and then click on through to get your copy!


Blurb:

The people of Tawano are used to the yakuza. They know to avoid them, to get off the streets when fights are brewing. At least, most of them do.

When college student Hiroshi makes a fatal mistake, and finds himself held at knifepoint, there’s only one person who can help him: Kazuo, the yakuza who controls Tawano, and the one who started the fight in the first place.

They’re completely different, and as their paths keep crossing, neither of them can understand the other—but it’s clear they’ll have to, or the dangers that follow Kazuo could claim more than just the lives of a few city-folk.

Click here to get your copy!

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Excerpt:

“Anything?”

My right-hand man shook his head. Masao looked over at me from where he stood leaning against the wall of my elaborate office, arms crossed and eyes narrowed. He was disappointed, and most likely in himself. Masao always prided himself in getting the things I asked for without delay or hassle. But, I suppose there were some things that even the ex-assassin couldn’t do. I frowned as I looked away from his piercing hazel stare to the dark wood of my desk.

“Bastards,” I hissed to myself. I leaned back in the large leather chair and eyed the room we were in while I listened. A bookshelf to my right held odds and ends from my father, an old collection I dare not part with. To my left a printer was set up on a separate desk. My computer was to the left on my desk and a black jar holding a handful of pens sat next to it.

“They hide well,” Masao commented. He shoved off the wall and stepped further into the room. He still wore the full black clothing he’d gone out in the night before. I could see the handles of many knives clinging to the vest he wore. Masao sat down, the leather chair he’d chosen creaking as he sank in it and crossed one leg over the other. He tilted his head and gave a heavy sigh. The sway of the single earring in his right ear marked him as my right hand. “Too well and it reminds me of a certain someone we used to know a long time ago,” he added with an irritated groan.

I was afraid of that. I hadn’t wanted to hear it, yet it was being spoken in my private office in Kiyto. “No, that can’t be. I shot him. Watched the ocean wash that bastard away.”

“Ghosts don’t always disappear, Kazuo. Sometimes they have accomplices.”

“Then find this ‘accomplice’!” I snapped at him and he stiffened in the chair briefly. I sighed, regretting losing my temper with him. Masao was the best of my men, I knew he was doing everything in his power to accomplish the order I’d given him.

“I’m doing what I can to do that for you. We’ll find him. Soon.” The sharp edge to his voice added to the determination painted on his face.

“I hope you’re right about that. If I begin to lose too much money, Tawano is going to fall into a depression. Much like the one I fought so hard to bring it out of,” I answered him in a softer tone, hoping to make up for yelling at him.

“We know that. It’s why we’re doing everything we can to figure it out. Trust us, Kazuo. If not your men, then trust me in the least.”

“I do trust you.”

Masao sighed and leaned forward. “Sometimes I wonder if you really do.”

I frowned at him. “Of everyone here who I know would put their life in danger for me, I trust you the most. I know you’ll find this person, whoever they are. And when you do, we’ll deal with them as we’ve dealt with others before.”

Masao nodded and stood up. He gave me a deep bow before he turned to leave the private office. “I’ll give you their head on a silver platter if you wish.”

“I know.”

The door closed, leaving me to brew over my thoughts in silence. Masao would undoubtedly find them; the source of the leak. The one who was channeling a fair amount of money out of Tawano and into an unknown account. I’d been watching the money filter its way toward a number I didn’t recognize for a week now and we weren’t any closer to finding the culprit than we had been at the beginning of the investigation. Not even the police who worked for me could find the source. It was driving me mad.

• • •

Despite having told Masao that I trusted him, it was difficult to sit and just wait. I had to do something, anything. So I left Kiyto and took the hour drive into Tawano city. The downtown area was rather nice to cruise around once I got there. Bustling with people, clean streets, and holding the lowest crime rate; I was proud of my city. And I was determined to keep things the way they were in Tawano. I drove with no particular destination in mind. As I took turn after turn, watching the shops and the people who went about their daily lives, my mind wandered. It had been a handful of years since the streets had seen any dark horrors. In the clutches of a man who was bound and determined to run it to the ground, Tawano had once been the center of all kinds of crime. The death toll was one of the highest in the world and, in addition to that, the city had also been labeled the worst to even dare visit.

It took everything I had to overthrow the asshole who had nearly destroyed it all. Including me. If not for certain events, I was certain I’d have had a hand in the destruction too. If only … Izuya.I clenched the wheel a little too tightly, my knuckles turning white as I waited for the light ahead of me to switch to green. How long had it been? Six … seven years? I couldn’t recall. It wasn’t as if that part of my life was the most vibrant either. The only light that had been in my life at the time was Izuya.

When he found me in the dark alley, rain was pouring down on me. Three men dead because of the hit ordered on them and their blood soaking my clothes. Izuya had come out of nowhere. Instead of being afraid of me, he held his umbrella out over me, covering my body from the rain. Damn his light. His pretty smile. The overly large sweatshirt he wore that his slender fingers barely peeked out of.

Izuya.

A horn blared behind me and I started in the seat. The light was green and for how long I didn’t know because I had been daydreaming. I gunned it, tearing through the intersection while I frowned and glared in my rearview mirror. As if it were the man’s fault I hadn’t been paying attention. After a moment, I sighed and relaxed, slowing down as I cruised the streets. I couldn’t let myself get lost in old times. It wasn’t good for me, or any of the men that worked for me either.

They needed someone strong and unwavering. If I showed any of the opposite, I would be killed. Even Masao wouldn’t be able to stop it. We had far too many enemies. Tawano was a port city, perfect for trade. The ideal hot spot for any yakuza to take control of. And one that I had no intention of giving up. Some might have called me yakuza as well, but I wasn’t the kind of businessman who would destroy his place of operations. I was smarter than that.

And as my thoughts wandered yet again, I passed by another busy section of town. The university was blooming with ripe students. The wealth of the area was easy to see, as was the entirety of my city. Yet here, as I slowly rolled past the park, coffee shop, and library, my heart clenched so hard that I came to a hard stop without realizing it.

“Izuya…” I whispered his name, yet even as I did so I knew it couldn’t be right. It wasn’t right because I knew better. There was no possible way it was him. Yet, the young brunette looked exactly like him. Even his smile. I trembled as I watched the college student talk with his friend as they passed the university, either on their way home or to whatever part time job they held. It took everything I had not to get out of the car and call to him.

I wrenched my gaze away and glared at the street ahead of me. I forced myself to hit the gas and keep moving. Where had that young man come from? I scolded myself for even considering the things that ran through my head. Izuya wasn’t with me anymore and there was nothing I could do about it. I shouldn’t shove off my old affections onto someone else, let alone a complete stranger who had no idea to begin with.

I drove through the streets a little faster that time. It was already well into the late afternoon hours. Instead of heading to the office, I went out of the city and took the long hour drive back to Kiyto. There, at the very least, I could relax somewhat. Without the temptations of the city, or the brunette. I ground my teeth as I drove a little too fast through the streets to get to the highway. I hoped to hell that Masao would have something for me soon. Something else to focus on since I’d thoroughly managed to screw myself over.

Kiyto was a beautiful place — an ancient temple that was built in the wayo style — that I had inherited some years ago. Of course my father would be more than disappointed in how I was utilizing the grounds now. It hadn’t been a place for worship in many decades, even during his time. After overcoming the tyrant who held Tawano in his clutches those years ago, I found Kiyto to be the only sanctuary for myself and those that followed me. It was massive, housing the entirety of my men if they so chose. Currently it only held a small portion of the group, seeing as many had families to go to at the end of their workday.

I pulled into the gravel yard after passing the massive pitch-black gates at the front of the estate. Almost all of the vehicles in the yard were black SUVs large enough to hold a small army of men and powerful enough to rush through the city should it be needed. The only one that was different belonged to Masao. The sharp silver color was a stark contrast to the rest of the fleet of vehicles. And it wasn’t meant for a large group of men to go rolling around in either. Four was its max seating, and with it being only a two door, even that was pushing it.

The supra was his pride and joy. And I was happy to see it sitting in the yard. It told me that he was in Kiyto and probably long before I’d decided to return. I parked my car and got out. Gravel crunched under my shoes as I crossed the massive yard to follow the old bridge that crossed over into the sacred grounds. The rock gardens were immaculately kept, designs woven through the sands in intricate displays that immediately calmed my chaotic mind.

The small creek that flowed beneath the bridge gurgled softly as I passed, the wood creaking under foot. The rails were red and the sides that held it up were black, reflecting the temple that lay ahead of me. The old design recalled a time long past when Japan was still fighting over territories. Red pillars rose up high to hold the curving roof. Black walls gave off a sense of formidable elegance. I followed the path up to the steps of the place I called home.

I passed through the double doors, which were carved with dragons on either side, their jaws coming down as if to engulf the handles. Once inside, I was greeted by a good many voices as the men passed through the halls, busy with their own agendas. I replied as I saw them, not bothering to stop for too long. Masao was there and I had to see if he’d come up with anything for me. We had been dealing with the problem we’d spoken about that morning for weeks now. Masao was good, but I couldn’t help losing hope over the matter.

“I was just about to call you,” Masao said as he exited a room down the hall and caught sight of me.

“I decided to finish early.” I kept walking and he fell into step next to me. “Do you have anything?”

“I do. It’s small, but it might lead to something bigger. You’re not going to like it though.”

I frowned. “I think at this point, anything you tell me is something I’m not going to like.”

“It’s Gin.”

“Gin?”

“He’s the one siphoning the money to that strange account. I don’t know why I didn’t catch it before.”

“Because we weren’t looking on the inside,” I replied, rage starting to seethe as I thought it through. Of course it was Gin, how could I have missed that. As of late he’d been offering a lot of opposition to our decisions. He was the only one to argue with me during meetings on where the group was headed next, what direction we were going to take. I’d ignored him, his reasonings weren’t sound enough to be of any worth. I was seeing my mistake now.

“I got him to agree to a meeting tonight. I didn’t say for what or why. He’d have bolted otherwise.”

“Good. He still might run, but at least we have a start. We’ll interrogate him and get to the bottom of this. He’s been a pain in the ass lately. I wonder who’s bought him out.”

Masao snorted. “Probably some half-wit who thinks they can waltz into Tawano and intimidate us with stealing money. And not even that much.”

“No, just an annoyance really.”

“An annoyance that’s got our attention,” he sighed. “I don’t know. I guess it feels odd. In any case, we’ll deal with Gin and get our hands on the asshole who’s pulling the strings.”

I nodded. “Tonight you said? What time?”

“Around eight. I figured he’d feel better if we met in the city. More witnesses for him.”

I shook my head as I gave Masao a small smirk. “Unfortunately, all of those witnesses are mine and no one will say a damn word should he end up with a bullet through his skull.”

“Well. They might say something, but it’s not a big deal. The cops here know about everything. They won’t listen to a story about the yakuza leader who disposed of a leak.”

“Get ready. We’ll see how it goes tonight. No doubt someone is going to end up with a hole in their body. And it’s not going to be me.”

Click here to get your copy!

 

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Bloodspell by Lily Luchesi

Greetings, book lovers! I’m excited to share an excerpt with you from Bloodspell, written by USA Today bestselling author Lily Luchesi! Read on for the blurb, cover, and excerpt — and be sure to get your copy today!


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Blurb:

Bound by an ancient prophecy, freed by love.

Mages have lived by a prophecy that states that once there are two mage houses left, one must kill the other to maintain a magical balance. But the prophecy is disrupted when a new mage is revealed and begins killing everyone in his path.

Simon Moonspell and Tobias Bloodworth, the last two mages of the ancient houses, must put their animosity aside in order to stop this new mage and fulfill the prophecy. However, when their hatred slowly turns to love, can they remain impartial or will they be forced to battle to the death?

AVAILABLE NOW FOR 99c! OR FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED!

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Excerpt:

Tobias scoffed, but he was smirking. “Well, there is a first time for everything, isn’t there?”

“Git.”

“Yes, I am, and I own it.” He stood up and stretched his legs. His coat was discarded, and he wore only a pair of black trousers and a white shirt. Simon noticed his nails were polished matte black. It was a nice touch … as was that gorgeous body.

“Once we find the prophecy and see if there is a way to circumvent it, we need to figure out where Thornhill is hiding and eradicate the bastard from existence,” he said with more vehemence than Simon had ever heard from him. “We have spent hundreds of years fulfilling this prophecy, upholding the names of our houses and the standards at which mages have always been held and he — he — ” Tobias trailed off in a huff. “Damn it,” he muttered. “Control, control.”

Simon stood up and walked behind Tobias. He placed a hand on his bony shoulder and said, “Hey, it’s okay. We’re going to kill him; we’ll make him pay for his crimes. I promise.”

Tobias’ skin was warm beneath his shirt and Simon wanted to melt right into him, to hold him from behind and —

Stop it, he scolded himself.  For once my brain makes more sense than my body!

Tobias stood straighter and turned, dislodging Simon’s hand from his shoulder and breaking the moment. “Forgive me. I am not often like this.”

“There’s nothing to forgive. This is a lot of pressure, mate,” Simon said. “We never really discussed it but … if there is no way to change the prophecy…”

“Then one of us must kill the other. Yes, I am familiar with it,” Tobias snapped.

“You don’t want to kill me?” Simon asked, confused. He always assumed that Tobias would relish the chance to kill him and make it hurt after how he’d treated him when they were children.

“No, despite my sour disposition, I am not a particular fan of murder,” he said. “And you? Were you relishing the idea of finally getting rid of the pesky little brat you used to knock over on the playground?”

Simon felt sick. Had he really hurt Tobias so much that those beautiful black eyes were filling with moisture? “No… I — I’m sorry,” he said, head hanging. “I was a stupid kid. I never wanted to hurt you, not really. And I don’t want to kill you.”

“Then let’s do what mages do best, shall we? Create a solution to a magical problem.”

Tobias acted as though he hadn’t just been on the verge of some sort of breakdown as he gave Simon a translator and they began looking for the prophecy again.

It wasn’t until late that night as Simon was starting to fall asleep that he heard Tobias exclaim, “I’ve got it!”

Simon nearly fell out of his chair from the shock. He had never heard the reserved man shout so loudly. “W-what?”

“The prophecy, you imbecile! I found it! And it’s already translated for us.”

“Well? What’s it say?” Simon asked, going to stand at his side. He could feel the heat from his skin, smell an earthy shampoo that was just so … Tobias. It was enough to send his libido into overdrive as if he was a teenager again.

“Here.” Tobias angled the book so that Simon could see.

* * *

“Here we stand with mages uncountable, in the age where magic is new. They will create and make the future, spells all shall use. But one by one the houses must fall; as magic expands, they must recede. Until one day only one house name shall remain of the mighty mages, lasting for eternity in history. On the day that two remain, one must make the deciding blow and concede their name. Only one name can remain. The balance of magic must be maintained, and so it has been said, so shall it be.”

AVAILABLE NOW FOR 99c! OR FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED!


About the Author:

Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula. She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

www.facebook.com/LilyLuchesi

http://lilyluchesibooks.wix.com/lilyluchesi

http://amazon.com/author/lilyluchesi

www.twitter.com/LilyLuchesi

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1000888509953193/
(street team)

www.instagram.com/lilyluchesi

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7369101.Lily_Luchesi

https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/LilyLuchesi (have
your e-books autographed!)

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My new young adult novel is out!

I wrote a young adult gay romance! Check it out!

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Gay Love and Other Fairy Tales

Dylan James

Jordan Ortiz decides he can no longer hide who he truly is. He’s gay.  He comes out to his family, then he comes out to everyone, and it goes well. Like, way better than he thought possible. But that’s about where it ends. There aren’t enough out gay kids at school for him to build a queer social life or even consider the possibility of dating. For now, he’s happy to be the gay bestie for his BFF, Hannah.

Benjamin Cooper is the captain of the football team and has known Jordan for almost his whole life. And he has a secret. When they won an award at the science fair in grade nine, Jordan hugged him—and that’s when Ben realized he had feelings for Jordan. As he watches Jordan come out and flower into who he is, he can’t help but feel ashamed—ashamed at what a coward he is compared to Jordan.

When a broken leg and fair-weather friends leave Ben feeling lonely on Christmas break, he spends New Year’s Eve with Jordan, just hanging out in his basement like they used to years ago. But as the countdown to midnight happens and the ball is about to drop, Ben has something else in mind. At the stroke of midnight, he kisses Jordan.

What starts with a surprise kiss leads to a year of shared secrets, hidden love, relationship troubles, and broken hearts. Through it all, one fact holds true—Jordan loves Benjamin and Benjamin loves Jordan. But is that enough to carry them through when Ben wants to stay firmly in the closet, to the very point that this might destroy what hope they have of true love?

Gay Love and Other Fairy Tales is a sweet young adult romance published by Deep Hearts YA.

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New YA gay romance coming soon!

As I’ve mentioned a few times around the internet, I’ve branched into young adult gay romance. These stories have none of the sex, but all of the heat.

My first book under my new YA pen name (Dylan James) is called Gay Love and Other Fairy Tales and it comes out next week on Tuesday September 11!

Heads up — I seem to have a high “cry rate” among readers! More than half the readers so far have reported crying or tearing up during the ending. Can you keep it together?


Blurb:

Jordan Ortiz decides he can no longer hide who he truly is. He’s gay.  He comes out to his family, then he comes out to everyone, and it goes well. Like, way better than he thought possible. But that’s about where it ends. There aren’t enough out gay kids at school for him to build a queer social life or even consider the possibility of dating. For now, he’s happy to be the gay bestie for his BFF, Hannah.

Benjamin Cooper is the captain of the football team and has known Jordan for almost his whole life. And he has a secret. When they won an award at the science fair in grade nine, Jordan hugged him—and that’s when Ben realized he had feelings for Jordan. As he watches Jordan come out and flower into who he is, he can’t help but feel ashamed—ashamed at what a coward he is compared to Jordan.

When a broken leg and fair-weather friends leave Ben feeling lonely on Christmas break, he spends New Year’s Eve with Jordan, just hanging out in his basement like they used to years ago. But as the countdown to midnight happens and the ball is about to drop, Ben has something else in mind. At the stroke of midnight, he kisses Jordan.

What starts with a surprise kiss leads to a year of shared secrets, hidden love, relationship troubles, and broken hearts. Through it all, one fact holds true—Jordan loves Benjamin and Benjamin loves Jordan. But is that enough to carry them through when Ben wants to stay firmly in the closet, to the very point that this might destroy what hope they have of true love?

Pre-order your copy now so you’re the first to read it!

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Excerpt:

Nineteen minutes and thirty seconds.

I can’t keep counting down like this. I’m going to drive myself insane. I’m going to kill the mood if I’m glued to the clock. I hear some rustling beside me and I see that Jordan has pulled out his phone and he’s scrolling through Instagram. He suddenly angles his phone away from me.

“What?” I ask.

He hesitates, then says, “Nikki’s posting pics of her and Winston.”

“I’m not her boyfriend,” I say automatically. I’ve never actually said that to anyone. I’ve always just let people make their own assumptions and I was happy to play along with it. “We were never together.”

“Really?” Jordan asks, raising an eyebrow.

“I make her look good in photos, but I have no interest in her,” I say. I can feel a bead of sweat forming at my temple.

He scoffs. “You put on a good act then.” He goes to her profile and scrolls down until he finds pictures of me and Nikki. Together. Kissing.

“That’s exactly what it is. An act.” My heart is beating so hard it feels like it’s going to punch through my ribs.

He looks at me like he’s assessing me. “She’s gorgeous,” he says. It’s like he’s pushing me, like he knows what I want to say, even though I don’t think he has a clue. “She’s a control freak sometimes, yeah, but she’s gorgeous.”

“Not my type,” I say.

“Oh?” He shuts off his phone and tosses it on the couch between us. “What is your type?”

You. You’re my type. But can I say those words out loud? Hell no. Coward.

Instead, I turn my attention to the TV. Fourteen minutes left.

“I’m still figuring that out,” I say.

He seems to accept that as an answer, or at least accepts that I’m not ready to talk more about it. We silently watch the rest of the countdown and inwardly I’m kicking myself again — way to ruin the mood right before the hug! I’m saving my last mouthful of Bud Light for midnight, so I’m just sitting here idly holding an almost-empty can of beer.

Finally, what seems like ages later, we’re down to less than a minute. Slowly, the energy in the room warms up. I lean forward, like getting closer to the TV is going to somehow make this more exciting. Beside me, Jordan does the same.

“Ten!” he says out loud, joining the cheering people on the screen counting down.

I join in with him. “Nine! Eight! Seven! Six! Five! Four! Three! Two! One! Happy new year!”

I take that final swig of beer, letting the alcohol give me a burst of courage. I stand up and hold my arms out and Jordan stands up and comes into them. I wrap my arms around him, holding him tight.

“Happy new year,” I whisper.

“Happy new year,” he whispers back.

I know I should let go, end this hug, because it’s getting too long — it’s past the limit of how long friends hug. But I don’t want to let go.

I never want to let go.

Jordan feels so right in my arms.

But there’s something I want even more.

I loosen my arms a little bit and he backs up just an inch or two and he looks up at me. His eyes sparkle in the light and I can see a question behind those clear, brown eyes. He knows something is different.

With the alcohol pushing my decisions, I angle my head in and kiss him.

He puts his hands on my chest like he’s ready to push me away, but I keep kissing him, even though he’s not moving his lips, even though he’s as still as a statue. Panic starts to rise in me and I can feel myself starting to shake. Jordan isn’t responding.

Pre-order your copy now so you’re the first to read it!

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Donovan’s by CC Strix

Wyatt is at the top of his game. His restaurant, Donovan’s, is booked out six months in advance and his goals of having the top steakhouse in Las Vegas no longer seem like a dream. Despite his professional success, it’s not enough, because no matter how hard he works, he’s still alone at the end of the day. Wyatt can’t let anyone close. A lesson that’s been drilled into him time and again. There’s too much at stake. One mistake could cost him everything. So, he keeps his head down and stays out of trouble, until a customer drops dead in his dining room and he realizes his past may not be as far behind as he hopes.

Rhonan needs a change. Small towns and small town minds have worn on him. When his granddad calls and says he needs help, they both know it’s the excuse Rhonan needs to make the move from Illinois to Las Vegas. The change of pace and fresh start is just what he needs to find himself. When a guy drops dead at the restaurant Rhonan’s eating at and he overhears something he shouldn’t, his journalist instincts kick in before he can stop himself. Soon, he finds it’s only the beginning of the whirlwind that trails behind the mysterious chef. It may not be quite what Rhonan had in mind when he decided to turn his life upside down, but there’s something about the handsome chef that keeps Rhonan coming back for more.

Buy your copy now or read for free on Kindle Unlimited!

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Excerpt:

Rhonan paid for his drink and tipped the gorgeous blue eyed, black haired, muscles on top of muscles, bartender then turned his head slightly towards the center of the club. The way the club was set up, there were two levels for the bar, but the upper level was quieter, if only marginally, due to the huge open center than revealed the dance floor below. He let his gaze run over the crowd below and his heart kicked in his chest when his gaze landed on those same hazel eyes he’d been trying to chase from his head since Rhonan walked away from them hours before. He had tried to brush off his interest in the chef as a simple curiosity. After all, someone was murdered in his restaurant and a threat was found. Add in the fact Rhonan was having visions about the same man, how could he not be curious? After that brief run in with Wyatt in the parking garage, Rhonan knew his interest ran deeper. It had taken all of Rhonan’s self-control not to get closer to Wyatt as they stood there smoking. His deep timbered voice had soothed Rhonan’s nerves and he had actually considered slipping Wyatt his number before he remembered himself and walked away. He knew it wasn’t something he should pursue at this point. Wyatt would be busy enough at the restaurant and Rhonan had to figure out what the hell he was going to do with his life. There was no sense in starting anything up until he knew if he would even be sticking around. Then again, they could have simply had one night. Apparently they still could.

Rhonan shook his head, trying to rid himself from these thoughts and found Wyatt on the dance floor once more, still staring up in Rhonan’s direction. His heart skipped a beat like it had back in the parking garage when he caught Wyatt staring at him. The chef was definitely going to be bad for Rhonan’s heart at this rate. What was he doing here? Had they closed the restaurant down? Rhonan stopped caring once Wyatt flashed a predatory smile his way. Through a bold move of trying to maintain disinterest, Rhonan turned away from the sexy chef and focused on the bartender instead. He laughed and flirted with the man while he discretely pulled out his phone to check for new information on the restaurant or the investigation, but found nothing other than the standard, ‘police are investigating, business as usual after today’. Rhonan had just slipped his phone back into his pocket when the bartender gasped quietly and took a step back, his eyes pinned on whoever was closing in on Rhonan’s personal space.

“Two of whatever he’s having.”

The rough voice with the slight accent to it, one Rhonan still couldn’t place, sent a shiver racing right down his spine. He leaned his head back without turning around, “You might be sorely disappointed in that, Mr. Palmer. It’s only soda for me tonight, I’m afraid.”

Wyatt leaned down so his lips were close to Rhonan’s ear. “I’m not looking to get drunk. There are plenty of other ways to get a buzz without liquor.”

The bartender quickly returned with two more lime sodas, flashing his megawatt smile as he tried to flirt with both men. Wyatt slapped down a twenty, barely giving the bartender a second glance as he told him to keep the change. His attention never straying from Rhonan, “I was thinking about you. Or rather trying not to think about you. I came here looking for a distraction,” Wyatt leaned in near Rhonan’s ear, again, and dropped his voice, “and imagine my surprise when I found the source of my frustration instead.” He shook his head, “I don’t think it’s a coincidence I ran into you. I think I was drawn here to find you. Maybe I need to try a different way to get you out of my system.”

Wyatt’s body pressed closer to Rhonan’s and Rhonan found himself shifting and pressing his ass back against Wyatt’s groin. Rhonan tipped his head again, bringing his lips dangerously close to Wyatt’s. “That’s funny, I was thinking about you too. Figured you’d be at the restaurant though and I didn’t want to keep stalking you in the garage.”

Wyatt let out a low chuckle, his hot breath fanning Rhonan’s face, “So you admit to stalking me, then? I do believe that’s a crime, Mr. Blackwell.”

Buy your copy now or read for free on Kindle Unlimited!

About the Author:

As a young child, CC would often immerse herself in books, loving the ability to lose herself in the magical worlds. As she grew older, she was no longer content reading about magical worlds and instead started to create her own.

She likes to explore worlds where magic is real and supernatural creatures walk among us. Vampires, angels, demons, were creatures and those with other supernatural abilities have their own challenges but one thing CC tries to remember is they all deserve a little love.

CC holds the firm belief that love has little to do with what’s in a person’s pants and celebrates love in all forms. While she primarily writes M/M,  sometimes the voices decide it’s not always so cut and dry. She gave up pretending she had control of the characters in her head long ago, it makes them all much happier that way.

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Butt Week Deals!

Butt Week — an annual celebration of MM erotic fiction — is almost over!

I’ve got three books on sale for 99 cents each, and prices go back to normal on Sunday August 25th — so pick up your copies now!

Find the buy links, and info on tons more MM books and fun, at CB Archer’s official Butt Week webpage!

 

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The Art of Falling in Love by Eli Summers

Greetings, book lovers!

Today I’m thrilled to share The Art of Falling in Love by Eli Summers! I read this book and I loved it — Holden and Aaron have some nice, easy chemistry — and the conflict comes from those around them, often in the form of micro-aggressions. The ending is wild as secrets get revealed. It’s fun! You should read it!

The Art of Falling in Love comes out next week — Tuesday, August 28th, 2018 — and you should preorder it now!


Blurb:

Love is never easy to find or to keep especially with the hormone and cliche induced drama typical within the walls of a small town high school. For seniors Holden Rogers and Aaron Stevens, it’s not just high school drama that stands in the way of love and happiness.

Holden struggles in the shadow of his older brother’s success by a father who berates and demeans and a mother who stands back and does nothing while neither one can see the man their son has become or the dreams of the successful man he wants to be. Aaron is expected to take over the auto shop his family has run for generations whether he wants it or not.

When word gets out the two have been seen together, racial and homophobic microaggressions that have been brewing in shadow breach the surface of this small town atmosphere. When big money talks, morality walks, and strong family ties that will break or bind, will this made for each other couple overcome the mounting obstacles or crumble beneath their weight as hard choices and sacrifices must be made?

Amazon | Smashwords | Eli’s Site | Goodreads

BookCover-sm

Excerpt:

It all started at the local burger joint down the street from our high school at lunch. I was with my friends, a large group of us chatting about our plans after high school. The time we could kiss our high school lives goodbye and move on to what lay ahead, be it college, real jobs, or adulting in the real world was getting closer. I could feel it in the warmer, more humid air signalling we’d soon hit the beach for the summer and spend our time in the sand and water, outwardly not caring how much was going to change once the fall hit. I could pretend we would all remain friends, keep in touch even if several of us were going to universities and colleges across the country. Was it ignorance? Wishful thinking?Whatever it was, I didn’t see the point. I knew it wasn’t possible. The distance would eat away at us, and early lectures and coursework would eventually erode the friendships we had carefully cultivated throughout our four years at Elmwood High School. For now, it was easier for them to focus on the excitement of being seniors and the mystery of what lay ahead, but I couldn’t do it. Something much more within my reach, yet, not quite real was far more appealing than faking ignorance of what I knew was coming.

While everyone discussed where they’d be going, what they’d be majoring in, and where they’d be living, I had already checked out of the conversation. My mind focused on the waiter behind the counter. I had been spending the majority of my time here, much more than usual, staring at him from a table where my friends were more than oblivious of the fact I hadn’t heard a single word they were saying. Or so I thought.

“Holden, are you even listening? Your head hasn’t been in the game for the last few weeks. What the hell is going on up there? You’re going to have a rough time if that’s how you’ll be acting in University.” A quick jab to my arm from Tiffany made me lose focus on the waiter as I turned to my group of friends. “Have you figured out where you’ll be going after this? I’m sure your parents have a plan for you, just like your older brother.”

I shuttered, the thought of my older brother was unpleasant. I hadn’t thought about him in several months; I had tried to pretend I was the only child in the family now. I must have had a dramatic look on my face because my best friend, Tiffany, rolled her eyes and slapped me on the arm again.

“Oh, come on, he wasn’t that bad. Sure, he had an ego the size of this town, but he did have a good side.” She returned to the fries on her tray, drenching them in almost half a bottle of ketchup before shoving far too many in her mouth at a time. I couldn’t control the slight cringe of disgust at her fry habit despite years of witnessing the disaster.

Tiffany and I had known each other since kindergarten. I used to have a crush on her sometime in elementary school. It faded out and turned into the friendship we now had. I can’t quite remember where it ended, but I think it had something to do with the fact her dad loved me a little too much. I swear if I had decided to date her, he would have planned our wedding the next day. I wasn’t ready for that step just yet. It probably made her much less desirable. It also might have been the fact I liked the thrill of the chase. I liked having to earn someone’s approval, and I wouldn’t need to with Tiffany or her father.

I returned my attention to the waiter behind the counter, my mind trying to come up with any scenario about how I could get him to talk to me beyond ordering food. I had been daydreaming about him for a few weeks, wondering what it would be like to have a friend that appreciated me more than my current flock of associates. My breath hitched as he looked over at me, so I quickly turned away, accidentally spilling Tiffany’s drink on her.

“Shit. Tiff, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to, oh god.” I grabbed napkins from the table, trying desperately to soak up all the Diet Cola I could. Tiffany was in shock; she just stared at the cola that was starting to seep into her clothes and onto her skin. “Tiff, you need to get up, we need to clean this fast.”

Tiffany slowly turned towards me, her eyes, small slits, her cheeks a bright shade of red, and her lips thinned and trembled in anger. Then she shoved me out of the booth onto the floor. She got up and stared down at me, Diet Cola dripping from her skirt to the floor. “What the hell, Holden!? Did you see a ghost or are you just trying to get on my bad side? You might as well be an only child; you’re nothing like your brother.” She stalked away, slamming her hand into the bar on the windowed door, shoving it open, and storming outside. I quickly looked at the rest of our friends and muttered a quick apology before smiling and running after her. She stood at her car with the trunk open. I hoped she wasn’t getting her tire iron out to hit me.

“Tiff, I’m sorry. I’m clumsy; I was distracted.” I was pleading. I hated when she was mad at me. Then again, I hated when anyone was mad at me. My social anxiety would flare up at the first sign of conflict. She was the kind of person that felt an intense flare of anger when something happened and let it out in unpredictable ways, even if she cooled down a little later.

She just turned to me, yanking out a bag from her trunk, and slamming it shut before stopping to glare at me, “Sometimes you can be a complete idiot, you know? What were you even looking at before you decided to ruin my day?”

I started to stutter as the panic set in. What was I going to tell her? She wouldn’t understand. Hell, even I didn’t understand my fascination with him. I hadn’t figured out if she would be cool with me trying to be friends with someone new right before graduating. Would she think I was trying to replace her?

“That’s a good look on you, Tiffany. Maybe you should call it something new, like Wet Dog.” Snickering, Clarissa probably felt like she had just made the sickest burn of them all. I don’t remember why we were even friends with her. She was outcasted from the popular kids a few months ago when her dad lost his business, and they became middle-class working folk. “I have to give props to the artist though. You’re such a visionary, Holden.”

I rolled my eyes, but before I could say anything, Tiffany got into Clarissa’s face. “Listen here, bitch. I don’t know who the hell you think you are. We invited you into our group because we felt bad for you. You’re not some rich class girl anymore. You’re just like the rest of us, so back up and remember your place.” She shoved Clarissa aside before entering the business again, a small bag in her hand.

I just shrugged before moving around her, heading into the building as well. I waited at the door, hoping Tiffany would be in a better mood after a fresh change of clothes. She wasn’t someone you wanted to anger and still had grudges from kindergarten. She would bury you six feet under before she forgave you, and even then, it wasn’t a guarantee.

“Hey, are you alright? Your uh … friend gave you quite the treatment there.” He moved beside me, and I could smell the grease from the burgers wafting off his clothes. I couldn’t tell if I was okay or disgusted by it. I turned to face him, almost crashing into him. I hadn’t realized he was so close to me.

“Oh shit. Sorry, I didn’t realize you were that close. She’ll be fine. She just has a thing about my clumsiness. We all thought it would be a phase, but since it’s been a few years, turns out I’m just meant to be the clumsy friend for the rest of my life.” A small smile crossed my face before I looked down at the floor. I could feel the sweat beading on my hands.

“I’ve seen you come in here quite a few times since the start of the school year. I only learned your name because your friends say it every so often. I’m Aaron Stevens; my dad owns Stevens Cars & Trucks over on Fifth Street.” He stuck out his hand, and I hesitated a second before shaking it. A feeling of electricity flew through my body, and I couldn’t look at him at all.

“Hey Aaron, I’m Holden. Your dad is the mechanic in town?” Aaron nodded, a small smile on his face. “He’s currently working on a truck I brought in a couple of weeks back, and it’s a fixer-upper for sure.”

Aaron let out a boisterous laugh. “My dad swears at that truck more than I’ve ever heard him yell at anything. He says it’s totally messed up, and if you weren’t eighteen, he would tell you to find a new car to buy. You’re sure giving him a lot of work.”

I let out a small, nervous laugh. “Yea, it’s been sitting in my garage for several years. My father kept saying he’d teach me how to fix it, but then he got busy helping my brother with a truck he bought and ‘forgot’ he was supposed to help me. I’m working to pay it off and hoping for it to be ready before college starts. Not like I’ll need it, I’ll probably end up going to the community college here anyways.”

A woman called over to us, something about service. That’s when I realized we were still at the burger joint. I turned to see Aaron walking away, waving at me as he made his way back behind the counter. I was about to say something when Tiffany burst out of the bathrooms in her new outfit.

“We need to get back to school. I have a strong feeling Amanda Rothford is going to make some snarky comment about the change. I hate that girl. This is your fault; I hope you realize that.”

I just smiled, “We’ll just make some comment about being fresh, something she knows very little about, and maybe for shock value, we’ll add something about fish.”

Tiffany smacked my shoulder again, a little harder than the last time. “That’s disgusting, Holden. As much as I hate her, you know we only have to be nice for a few more months. Her family is moving to France or something for her school. Must be nice to just jet off across the ocean to some stupid art school.” As much as she claimed to hate how rich the Rothfords were, she couldn’t hide the tinge of jealousy in her voice. Getting into her car, she slammed the door and tossed her bag onto the back seat. I stood outside of the car, watching as Tiffany started her car. “Are you getting in or what?”

I waved her off, “I’ll let you cool down and just walk to school. I’ll see you in sixth period, alright?”

Rolling her eyes, she peeled out of the parking spot and threw up her middle finger. I hoped she’d get over this soon because I couldn’t afford to not have her as a friend right now. I threw my backpack over my shoulder, grabbed the headphones from one of the pockets, put them in my ear, and turned on some music for my walk. As the music drifted into my ears, I started walking to the school, feeling like it was going to be a much longer day than I would have liked.

“Hey, Holden. Wait up.” I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around, fear and panic in my eyes. I felt surprise and relief when I realized it was Aaron.

“Holy shit, sorry. I was listening to music. Aren’t you supposed to be at work?” His apron was gone, as was the hairnet he had been wearing only a few moments ago. “Didn’t you have someone to help?”

Aaron smiled, starting his walk with me, “I’m a little ahead of the credits I need, so I only have classes after lunch. I work in the mornings for some extra cash because my dad says my helping him out in the evenings is ‘good experience not work.’ Can I walk to school with you or would you rather drown out the shrieks of your friends before you have to deal with your classes? I can leave if you’d rather be alone.” He looked so shy as he stuttered the last few words.

I put away my headphones, paying attention to him as we walked, “No, I’m all yours. I mean, you have my attention. Like, yes … you can walk with me. I don’t need to be alone.” I felt like such an idiot right now, why was I acting like this? This was too socially awkward even for me.

Aaron didn’t seem to mind, he just started talking about college after high school, “I won’t be going anywhere. I’ll probably end up not even going to college. My dad is committed to me taking over the shop from him when he retires. He took it over from his dad who took it over from his dad who took it over from his. It’s been in the family since the thirties or something. I don’t have the heart to tell him I don’t really want to take it over but I will. If I didn’t, he would probably blow a gasket and maybe even kill me.” He looked at my horrified face, “Not actually kill me! But he would be mad, this business is a mainstay of our family, and if I don’t take it over, it’ll go to his brother’s kid, and he cannot stand that child. He says he’s too immature to manage the shop, and that he should never have passed the eighth grade.”

I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle, “Well that’s good.” I stopped, “I don’t mean it’s good you have to take over the business, it’s just good because I’ll probably end up being stuck in this town anyways, so maybe we can be friends for a while. I mean, I’m not saying you have to be my friend, but if you want to be friends, we can. Or like, maybe you’d rather just not be friends. I don’t know.” I couldn’t stop myself. I could feel my face burning up, not from the sun but the damn boy standing next to me.

Aaron just smiled as we walked up the school steps, “I’d sure like to think we can be friends. I’ll see you around and then maybe you’ll finally talk to me outside of ordering food.” He turned on his heels before heading in a different direction than me. I wanted to yell something at him, but that might make me look desperate or something. I just sighed before heading to my next class, with thoughts of Aaron running through my head. Would I even be able to concentrate today?

Something told me I was going to have a really hard time.

Amazon | Smashwords | Eli’s Site | Goodreads


About the Author:

AuthorPhoto-smEli Summers was born and raised in Saskatoon, Canada, a small city in the middle of the Saskatchewan prairies. It is said you can watch your dog run away for two days straight. The city and the surrounding area make the perfect backdrop for most of Eli’s novels. Although he plans on moving to somewhere with a little more mountain, like Kelowna or Banff, he’s content to sit in his apartment, drinking coffee and dreaming about what his characters will get up to next. Sometimes he even drives out to the middle of nowhere to lie on the top of his car and watch the stars.

Eli has a knack for turning the copious amounts of caffeine (that no normal human should consume) into #ownvoices novels about boys that love other boys. Sometimes this includes a happy ever after, sometimes it involves tears, and sometimes the characters take the story in a direction even Eli didn’t realize would happen. He adds a generous heaping cup of fluff, love, and angst in everything he touches, most of the time on purpose but sometimes his characters make him do it. He wrote his debut novel, The Winter Experience in 2014 and followed up with the sequel The Summer Experience in 2015. He took a hiatus of about three years because his imaginary friends wouldn’t talk to him but now he has a new novel, The Art of Falling In Love coming out on August 28, 2018. He is also working on a much different kind of novel that involves the Devil, five chosen warriors and a whole lot of evil. The first episode is expected to come out on January 5, 2019.

When he’s not toiling away with word counts and a thesaurus, you can probably find Eli playing video games (Saints Row 2 and Witcher 3 among his favourites), daydreaming about the mountains or cuddling with his House Panther, Salem. He dreams of one day opening a publishing press that serves the LGBT+ community with a place to get their books out to the world.

Amazon | Smashwords | Eli’s Site | Goodreads

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