Friday, September 27, 2013

eBook Review: Wallflower by Heidi Belleau

Wallflower (Rear Entrance Video, #2)Wallflower by Heidi Belleau
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m a fan of Heidi Belleau. Her writing feels ‘real’. That, to me, is what contemporary fiction is all about. Most people aren’t perfect with ideal lives or living in squalor and on the brink of complete meltdown. Yet those extremes are very well represented in MM fiction. Heidi takes stories about the average man, or woman, and makes them interesting.

Which leads me to Rob and Bobby. Okay, I’m not an online MMORPG fan. I’m not a game fan at all, but I love fantasy so I can understand the draw. With the advent of the online world, those fantasy worlds have exploded in popularity. They allow people an outlet to be who they want. Rob became Bobby. Both male names, but Bobby is the inner woman inside Rob’s body. She’s what he cannot be, sexy and outgoing, confident and casual.

That’s not to say Rob is transsexual. I don’t know that you could put a label on his character. He likes things about looking and acting like a girl, and he likes things about looking and acting like a guy. Where all this slams together is when his personas become alive in real life. Bobby agrees to a video chat, and then Rob decides … why not at work?

Unfortunately, his work isn’t a microcosm. It’s an interesting world, for sure, considering it’s an adult store called Rear Entrance, but people come and go. Some of those people are in Rob’s world too. Some good, some bad comes from that overlap.

That leads me to Dylan, who Rob meets in Art class. Of course … Dylan had already met Bobby. It was so interesting that Dylan’s character didn’t act any different. He was interested in Rob, and made it very clear. A man stuck in a world not quite his own, as an adopted Inuit, Dylan knows about pre-conceived notions and how they can hurt a person. I absolutely loved the evolution of his character throughout the story in relation to Rob and Bobby.

Telling how that evolution goes would be spoiling the story though. Let’s just say that not everyone is what they appear, and Rob is put through a wringer. He has to deal with all of his confusion and fear. Thankfully some of the cast from Apple Polisher returns to support him. Rob has a great network of people, and that’s an amazing aspect of this story.

The characters. I can’t say enough about Heidi’s ability to create men and women I feel like I can walk up to on the street. I love the creativity involved in making so many characters and letting them drive the plot. If they were one iota less real, it wouldn’t work, but it so does. I cannot say enough about the Rear Entrance books and definitely recommend them to anyone who likes contemporary stories with real life thrown in.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Poor eAuthor Practices

Okay, so I'm guilty of posting serial stories and not posting consistently a lot of the time. But I'm posting free content! I always intend to finish and I never intend to leave my reader's hanging. It happens, I'm human. I'm sure I've lost readers over it. I know I've lost most of my story commenters. It sucks, but that's my fault, and I own it.

But last night I read a book that totally smacked me in the face with extremely poor behavior on the part of the author. This was an eBook I bought. I like to read serials, but I love to read complete stories. No waiting. Yes, a bit of a hypocrite since I do serials myself... but hey, that just means I understand why some of my fans stop reading. But when I buy something, I expect to get a complete eBook, and I'd never do this to anyone who was paying for my story.

I don't want to make this part of my weekly reviews, but I just felt the need to speak up. I truly hope that authors don't do as K.A. Merikan has and perform an underhanded bait and switch.

Special Needs (Special Needs, #1)Special Needs by K.A. Merikan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This will teach me to always, always check goodreads. I looked at Amazon's reviews off my kindle and bought on a whim cause it sounded kinky and fun. *sighs* STORIES have an arc. This has a loooong arc, which was troubling to me as I read waiting for several resolutions to the problems. This is not a story. This is half a story.

Oh yeah, and the serial killer neighbor? So not a surprise. Hell no he doesn't want his place to burn down, he's hiding bodies on his property. Now, maybe the author is setting up a great twist making us think this guy is the baddie and then changing it up... but if not? Yeah, bummer.

I want to know what happens, but my conscience may not allow me to buy a 2nd book. Yes, there is almost always more plot that COULD be told when a story ends. That's why I love reading series. A good author drops hints of what could come to keep readers interested in their world and/or characters so they'll come back.

A good author does NOT stop a story in the middle of the arc and say... to be continued for you to buy later so you can finish THIS story. Even individual stories in a serial should have a beginning, middle, and end! This stops smack dab in the middle.

I was pissed off. I'm still pissed off. Good writing doesn't excuse poor author practices.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Take Flight Part 11


Welcome, welcome to another week with the Wednesday Briefers! Lots and lots of authors are taking part lately in our flash group, and we want more! All you have to do is write a 500 to 1,000 word piece based on a prompt provided by our lovely Julie Hayes, and she sends a slew to choose from! This week, I picked 'a miracle'. Read on to find out what form that miracle takes!!

Take Flight Part 11

The feeling was familiar. Sayer simply had to touch Birch when he was bouncing everywhere and the nervous energy flowed right out. Sayer had no idea how Birch figured out that he’d been taking it on purpose, but if he didn’t mind ….

“Are you sure?”

The Darkling shrieked again, his hands waving, and more of the tulips around him grew larger and began snapping nightmarish jaws full of fangs. The guards were coordinating in their attack to hold it, but the creature broke free when two were felled by the flowers.

Croll’s eyes widened. “No more time, it’s coming!” A wave of changing flowers flowed in front of the creature, the faceless flower jaws snapping toward them.

“Do it.” Birch said with quiet determination. His pale white wings flared behind him. Sayer needed to touch him. “End this, before anyone else gets hurt.”

Croll brandished his rapier and cleared a wide swath of tulips. He blew them away with a flick of his magic. Sayer focused and sent his wings dormant inside him. “Wrap your arms around me,” he told Birch.

Sayer shivered as Birch’s hands slid under his tunic, seeking his skin. Birch was a natural. Sayer had no idea how Birch understood so much but he was grateful. He could see the Darkling clearly now, the dark taint marring its skin, the black on black eyes shining like empty voids.

Sinking into Birch’s hold, Sayer gathered his magic and sent a tendril toward Birch along the link between their souls. Inside his beloved was a core of bright, shining energy that Sayer had sensed when Birch accepted him. Compared to the shadowed power of the Darkling, this blazed with a heatless fire. The energy leapt through their connection and blazed into Sayer.

Balls of light in Sayer’s hands coalesced. Wire thin filaments curled outward and extended into the air in front of them like a net. Delicate, and fine, the mesh wove together just in time.

Sayer had to stop the Darkling before it reached them. This one had the power to create elaborate illusions so powerful that they were coming alive. The damage he could wreak upon the land was immense.

“I bind thee.” Sayer sent the wall of power straight at the crazed Darkling. Birch’s voice was joined with his. “I bind thee. I bind thee.”

The Darkling hit the wall of power and it bowed outward. Like a sticky spider web, the white tendrils stuck fast and tangled its around its body. Birch’s wings swept around them and he leaned harder into Sayer’s back. The Darkling fought with its magic, trying to create an illusion to sever the bindings around it, but Sayer refused to acknowledge them and Birch was too immersed in their connection to see anything.

His hands shook but Sayer refused to let the Darkling get free. He focused on the power steadily feeding through him from Birch. The white tendrils flared and the Darkling screamed. Its mindless rage sliced through Sayer’s head, distracting him.

The net wavered around the Darkling’s hands.


Birch moved his hands from Sayer’s stomach to his arms. He grabbed Sayer’s wrists and then their combined powers surged.

The net around the Darkling became a solid wall of light. The energy swirled, built, and swirled again.

“Be free,” Birch whispered.


Sayer fell to one knee. Birch was a dead weight against his back, the tips of his wings dragging in the dirt. Dark blotches from the light marred Sayer’s vision. He blinked repeatedly to clear them.

“How is it possible?” Croll asked in a wondering tone.

The Darkling stood in front of them, normal sized, with his skin a golden bronze and his bright green eyes clear. The stain of the wild magic was gone. The tulips bobbed in the swirling breeze.

“What … happened?” the fae asked. The guards finally caught up and surrounded him. His eyes widened when two came to help Sayer. They lifted Birch from his back.

“My lord?” The earth fae gasped and fell to his knees, bowing his head.

“You were a Darkling,” the guard captain said. The rest of the guards stared at the fae and then at Sayer, their mouths open and their eyes wide. “My lord, you saved him.”

“Not me,” Sayer said. He tried to stand but his legs were quivering and his arms felt like limp noodles. Croll rushed over to him and helped him up. “My beloved saved him.”

The guards joined the Earth fae on his knees. Whispers rose from their ranks. “White wings … new fae … miracle … save us.”

Exhaustion tangled Sayer’s wits. He was too tired to explain that Birch was a human and not a fae they’d never met before. Together, they had performed a miracle, but though Sayer had used Birch’s energy he’d never even thought about purging the taint from the Darkling, just stopping him.

Birch had though. His words rang in Sayer’s mind. “Be free.”

Could Birch free all the fae from the horror of the darkness?
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Friday, September 20, 2013

eBook Review: Shadows in the Night by M.A. Church

Shadows in the Night (Leap of Faith, #1)Shadows in the Night by M.A. Church
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of MA Church's stories that I didn't read before it went to publication. I have the benefit of being friends with the lovely author, and I do get a few sneak peeks. Sometimes, though, it is refreshing to read a story without any prior knowledge of the plot.

Jason's character was much as I expected him to be. He didn't feel as old as he was, though, in the number of years he'd been alive. That made him feel more contemporary to the other main character, Chip. Since they're a romantic couple in the story, that was good because the element of Jason knowing Chip as a child could have been creepy later on with the added element of age. I also enjoyed the distinct personalities between Jason and his cougar. The quips, which I expect and love in MA Church's writing, were definite highlights throughout the storyline.

The distance, when Jason 'went away' so Chip could grow up was good as well. Definitely reduced the squick factor. However, the whole introduction of Jason and Chip's history made for the main events in the plot very transparent. I knew what was going on with Hawk and Simon which led me to know that Jason was back and things would start happening. The foreshadowing of all the backstory derailed the connection I could have had with Chip as he discovered who Jason really was and the history between him and his family.

I adore shifter stories, and alpha males, so I did like the romance between Chip and Jason. It wasn't instant: Oh, I'm a human guy that this creature says is his. Okay let me fall right into this fantastical new relationship model that comes from fantasy... on Chip's part. I believe in instant lust, even instant connection. Love takes work and getting to know a person. That wasn't ignored here, even when dealing with a somewhat pre-ordained type of romance that goes along with shifter plots in a lot of MM stories.

Overall, Shadows in the Night earned my 4 stars. I'm not quite unbiased, but I try to review with an eye to fairness on what I like and don't like regardless. I would encourage you to try out this eBook if you like shifter stories with a lot of plot. I, for one, can't wait to see if Simon and Hawk have a story coming out in this series next.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Take Flight Part 10

Here we go, another update, this time to the prompt: Tiptoe through the tulips. I hope you enjoy!
Take Flight Part 10

“I needed you there too.” Birch felt those years of loneliness keenly.

Sayer closed his eyes and then opened them. The strength of his emotions echoed through their bond. “I will never be able to say I’m sorry enough, but you’ll never have to be alone again. Birch …” Sayer gave him a pleading look.

Birch held out his hand. Sayer towed him through to water and onto his lap. “This isn’t just because of the sparkly rock around my neck is it?” Birch asked.

“That’s just the amulet that housed the magic that let us complete our souls. It doesn’t force anything on either of us. What you feel, what I feel,” Sayer’s voice dropped to a whisper, “we’re real.”

Love wasn’t something Birch was familiar with, but Sayer was his. He’d always wanted him, and now he had him. He wasn’t going to wait any longer.

“I want to go back to bed.” Birch wasn’t sure if the was anything there now that the sprites were gone but… yeah, no. Their first time wasn’t happening in front of an audience. “With you.” He rubbed his rigid cock against Sayer’s stomach. He didn’t want him to think he wanted a nap.

Sayer stood up. Water sheeted down his body. He was perfect, every sculpted inch of him. Tendrils of his pale hair curled around his shoulders and chest. He tugged Birch to the edge of the pool. They didn’t stop for their clothes or anything else.

“My lord, I was just coming to—”

“What the fuck?” Birch darted behind Sayer.

“Get out, Croll!” roared Sayer.

“I’m sorry, but there is a Darkling loose in the city. We need you.”

Sayer shoved his hair back. “Damn it. Go. I’ll be out in a minute.”

Birch stayed hidden behind Sayer until the door closed. “Who was that?”

“Croll. My best friend and sort of … personal assistant. I’m sorry, I didn’t want to go but there’s a darkling. The guards cannot deal with that without me.”

“What’s a darkling?” Birch watched Sayer rush over to a wardrobe. He began to get dressed. Great. Just exchange souls with a guy, find out he’s a king, get promised that he’d never be alone again … and off Sayer was going to go.

A green shirt landed on his head. “Hurry, Birch, get dressed. A darkling is a fae that has succumbed to the wild forces. The magic has been growing unstable for years. My father refused to believe it and it cost me the lives of both my parents.”

“What can you do?” Birch pulled the shirt on. It landed about mid-thigh. He pulled on the pair of pants Sayer thrust at him next.

“My magic is stronger than any. As the king, I can bind the power of a fae, at least long enough for the guard to control them. I need you to stay behind me at all times, do you understand? If something happens, go with Croll. He’ll protect you.”

Sayer even had soft boots for him. Birch looked like a reject from the Renfair, but at least he had more than a towel now. The fae that invaded Sayer’s room was waiting out in the hall.

“Thank you for waiting, Croll. Lead on, man.” Sayer clapped Croll on the shoulder, walking beside him and discussing the creature that Sayer would need to control. Like the dandy could protect a gnat. The guy looked like a peacock, all froofy and shiny clothing with his hair flowing in a silky fall of lavender strands. He was wearing make-up for Christ’s sake.

Birch wondered if invoking Christ in the land of the fae was some sort of blasphemy. He shrugged. Oh well.

“Think you’re ready for this, human?” Croll asked mockingly.

“Pretty sure I have personal protection from the strongest of them all, so I’m sure I’ll be fine. Don’t worry, if it comes time to run, I’ll make sure and watch for your sparkly ass racing off so I know which way not to go.” Birch seldom took such an instant dislike to anyone, but Croll annoyed the shit out of him without even opening his mouth.

Tension gathered in Sayer. Birch could feel it and see the taut line of his shoulders hunching up. Birch tried to glimpse around the castle, since that’s what it looked like Sayer lived in, as they walked. He got glimpses of small things but not enough to make an accurate mental map. He’d try again later.

Just beyond the black gates was a field of tulips as far as the eye could see. It was beautiful, temperate, and very noisy. At the edge of the field a crowd was trying to hold the darkling. It broke free and the field of tulips they were walking through turned into red sucking mouths trying to bite and tear at him. An irrational desire to hum, Tiptoe Through the Tulips hit him. Bear freaked and ran to Sayer who was chanting.

A shiver ran down Birch’s back when his wings burst out. Sayer’s wings brushed against his face when thy flared out behind Sayer.

“He’s strong.” The creature was tall and thin. His hands had incredibly long fingers that wove patterns in the air. “Don’t look,” Sayer warned him.

“I won’t.”

The darkling crowed in triumph when a guard began to bleed from a nasty bite from a flower. The flowers began to grow.

“I don’t … have enough power.”

People were going to get hurt. Sayer was scared and Birch could feel it. His voice cracked. “Use me.”

Sayer turned his head. “What?”

“Too much energy, remember? You used to take it as a kid. Do it again.”

Croll shrugged. “It’s worth a shot.”
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Featured eBook: Faded Love by M.A. Church

Please welcome M.A. Church. She's visiting my blog today to talk about another great eBook just released.

Faded Love

A drive home in the wee hours in the morning after a modeling job… then a moment’s distraction and a twist of Fate puts an end to one way of life for Ashley and opens the door to another.

Hey everyone! My name is M.A. Church, and I was part of the Carved in Flesh anthology from Storm Moon Press that came out a year ago. Now my story, Faded Love, has been released as a single title. This anthology caught my eye because of the subject matter. In a society that worships beauty and is filled with everyday images of what’s ideal, I had to wonder what would happen to an internationally well-known model who ends up scarred.

Then throw in his lover, Will—who is a sports model. To make matters even more interesting, Will just happens to have given Ashley an ultimatum before the car accident: he wants an exclusive relationship with Ashley. The mere thought of a commitment sends Ashley into a tailspin. And there you go, lol, a swirling brew of pain, anger, fear, regret, and… one man’s determination not to give up on the man he loves. In other words, Will has a hot mess on his hands, lol. Can he prove to Ashley that scars fade, but love doesn’t?

This anthology, in a lot of ways, strikes very close to home for me. Twelve years ago I had back surgery, and I have a pretty big scar on my back. Granted, over the years it’s faded, but when I tan in the summer, it’s noticeable. In my late teens and early twenties I also modeled regionally. *Laugh* It wasn’t anything to write home about, but modeling did teach me one thing. The old saying that models are nothing more than ‘coat hangers’ is so very true.

So imagine how a world-famous model would react to a scar on his face—the very face that made him a living, that he was known by. Yeah, Ashley’s emotions run the gamut from disbelief, anger, and self-loathing to fear—fear that without his looks, he’s worth nothing. Thank goodness for Will  and his stubborn nature. Not long after the accident, Ashley learns Will has been offered an opportunity that’s the chance of a lifetime… on the opposite coast. Ashley, my spoilt little diva, has a hard choice to make.

My favorite scene in the story is where Will and Ashley kiss on a beach near the end. The message that comes through by the end of the story is Scars fade, but love does not. There's so much truth to that. The harder times of life might stick with us, but the ache of them usually fades over time; true love doesn't fade away. I wholeheartedly believe that, and it's where the title of my short story came from too.



One moment in time can change your life, especially a life that revolves around your face. A near-fatal car accident leaves a world famous model's face scarred and his career in a tailspin. The life Ashley knew is over and he wants to do nothing but fade away into nothingness. Only his lover, Will, can pull him out of his dark depression and make Ashley see even scars can be beautiful.


The first thing Ashley noticed when he woke was a feeling of disconnection. He was floating, drifting. His eyes weighed a ton, as did his body, and his faced itched. Trying to lift his hand to scratch at the insistent itch, he struggled to get the limb to function. Nothing seemed to work right. Was he home in bed? He didn’t remember getting home. A soft beep caught his attention. What was that annoying sound? His mind was fuzzy and his mouth was as dry as cotton. Seriously freaked out, he fought to open his eyes, and his body jerked as he twisted. Pain exploded, greeting him unmercifully, biting at him.

“Ashley? Can you hear me?”

That voice. He knew that voice. With a herculean effort he opened his eyes. Or tried to. One side of his vision was pitch black, and the other side was blurry. Sickly fear coated his body. He flung his hands up, searching. What the hell was covering the left side of his face? Clawing at the covering, he whimpered as an out of focus face bent over him.

“Hey, hey now, ease up there. It’s okay.”

“Will?” Ashley’s hand was gently held and pulled down. Why did Will’s voice sound so funny, like he was hoarse? “Will? What’s going on? Where am I? What’s on my face?”

“Listen to me. You’re in the hospital.”

“Hospital? Why the hell am I in the hospital?” Straining, he was finally able to make out the pale walls, and smell a scent he had always associated with hospitals: cleaners and sickness.

“You don’t remember… anything?” Will bent over Ashley, still holding his hands. God, Will’s skin was so warm, and his was so cold. “Tell me what you remember.”

“Was on my way home from that shoot. You called. I was going to call you back… Will?” Ashley’s voice rose and cracked. “Then, nothing until now. What—what… Will?”

One of Will’s strong hands managed to loosen itself from Ashley’s death grip and brushed Ashley’s hair back from his face. “You’re in the hospital. There was an accident, a bad accident. You were hit on the way home two days ago.”

“Fuck me! Two days ago?” Ashley bit his lip as pain spiked in his ribs. “How bad? Who hit me?”

“It was pretty bad. You have bruised ribs from the impact with the steering wheel, your arm is bruised—not broken—and more bruises over your body. I forgot the driver’s name. They hit you on the passenger side, slammed you into a street light. Two people in the other car died.”

“Died? Jesus.” Every time Ashley tried to lift his hand to his face, Will stopped him. “What’s wrong with my vision? Why can I only see out of one side?”

Gripping his hand, Will hesitated. “You were struck so hard your head hit the driver side window.”

Ashley gripped Will’s hand. There was more, he just knew it. What little he could make out of Will’s concerned face told him that. “And? Tell me, dammit!”

 “The window busted. There was glass everywhere. Oh God, Ashley, I’m so sorry. You were cut. On your face… and—and… there’s going to be a scar.”

“A scar?” Ashley whispered, and then his voice gained in strength as horror stabbed at him. “A scar, on my face? My face? No! Oh my God, no! How bad, Will? How fucking bad?”

Tears soaked Will’s voice. “From the hair line to under your chin. Jesus, Ashley. I’m so sorry.”

The screams from Ashley’s room brought most of the nursing staff at a dead run.

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Twitter @nomoretears00


Friday, September 13, 2013

Weekly Review: Scorpion by Aleksandr Voinov

ScorpionScorpion by Aleksandr Voinov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not a big fan of historical work, but sometimes I can't help but pick up one that sounds sooo good. Scorpion lived up to my expectations too! There were many elements of this story that made it read more like a fantasy than a historical book, likely because the time was set so far into the past.

The contrast of the gritty soldier's POV to the far reaching and political landscape that made up the plot was refreshing. A simple person myself, I appreciated seeing it from the outside. I'd not have been nearly as involved in the story had I been reading it from another viewpoint, the Leader's, for example.

I've recently found myself enjoying MM military stories outside of contemporary fiction plots, and this story fit right into that. We saw all the orders, special missions, rank maneuvering, FUBAR moments and victories. Kendras' role in so many vastly important moments intrigued me. The author managed to make it all plausible that this one person, this ex-street rat turned soldier on the eve of his death, could do everything he did.

I will say this, if gritty scenes of pain, sex, or pain and sex, bother you, don't pick up this book. There are many instances of non-con and dub-con that show up. It fits with the time period and the character's lives though, so if you're not easily spooked by dark content matter, I would definitely recommend Scorpion. It has put Aleksandr Voinov onto my radar, and I will certainly be looking for more of his eBooks to read in the future.

Edit to add: I just exchanged some comments with the author and was told... nope, fantasy not historical. Perhaps it was the 'real' feel to the story that made me put this in the wrong genre, but either style you like, fantasy or history, this story could work for you.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Free Short Story: Dual Edged Hope ... Plus More!!

Gay Author's fall anthology, Pandora's Box, has gone live today. There is a large list of stories by a lot of authors, including a short story with a bit of an intellectual bent, from yours truly! You should check it out; you don't need to be a member to read on GA.

I made the banner too! =D
Apartment 3C
KC Grim
Broken Boy
Home Grown
Sasha Distan
Bumblebees and Roses
I Am Fine
Lunch Box
The Diary
advocatus diaboli
The Pyxides
Under the Sun
Dolores Esteban

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Take Flight Part 9

It's come again! Another week with Birch and Sayer. Hopefully you'll like another glimpse into Sayer's world. I've another flash piece under 1k inspired by a prompt provided by the lovely Julie Hayes. I chose this image this week.

Take Flight Part 9

“Feel like a soak? There are some submerged seats in the pool. The warm water will ease any lingering aches from your healing,” Sayer asked Birch. “I … um, I have a regular bathroom installed behind those trees.”

“Oh thank god.” Birch’s wings rustled as he hurried away. His bare ass peeked as they fluttered with his breathing. Sayer groaned. The skin flashing between the white feathers was tantalizing.

The grotto’s pool was warm. The water lapped at his skin, swirling against him and then away to the stream that drained down into the mountain. Sayer sank down into the water up to his neck, but kept his back turned until he heard Birch enter the pool. He didn’t want to make him uncomfortable staring at him, though Sayer longed to see and touch every inch of Birch’s body.

“Sayer? What do I do about the wings?”

Birch was only standing in the water to his waist. The water dragged at the bottom feathers of his wings and they were flexing and shifting. Birch shivered. “This feels so weird.”

“I bet. Just wait until you fly though.” He grinned at Birch. “There’s no better feeling in the world than soaring above the clouds as the sun rises, turning everything pink.”

It didn’t look like the idea was too appealing to Birch. “I don’t know, I kind of like my feet on the ground.”

“We’ll figure it out later. I don’t want to you flying until you’ve learned how to control your wings.” Sayer turned Birch in the waist deep water so they were both looking at the trees dancing with sprites. “For now you just imagine them away. Picture your body without wings, see your back muscles smooth and bare.”

Birch’s wings shimmered as they faded. Sayer slid their bodies together and hugged Birch from behind. “Mmm.” He adored the feeling of their bare skin together. Birch’s skin was soft over his defined chest. A thin layer of soft hair fascinated him. Fae, even dwarves, did not have chest hair. Sayer’s chest was smooth.

“Sayer!” Birch jerked forward when Sayer slid his thumbs over his nipples. “What are you doing?”

“What I wanted to do all those times we went skinny dipping as teens before school ended. Touch every inch of my body to yours.” He dropped a kiss on Birch’s shoulder, allowing him to keep the space between them though he missed the way his cock had nestled briefly against the small of Birch’s back. “I’m sorry. I know this is a lot to take in, and I’ve always known you were mine.”

“Let’s just … sit for a bit? Is that okay? And you can explain the ‘I’m a fae and you’re mine’ to me before I need to take an ink blot test for insanity.”

A bit of dread coiled in Sayer. He reminded himself they were already bonded; his amulet adorned Birch’s chest and would never come off.

“So?” Birch raised an eyebrow at him when they were seated on the mossy rocks, the water swirling around their armpits. He slid his hands through the water, cupping it and letting it trickle out. “I’m probably as relaxed as you’ll ever get me.”

He was. Birch had always liked hot tubs, and Sayer wasn’t above using that.

“The fae are both what the stories say and not. Elves and Dwarves are different races, in the eyes of men, but really they are simply fae. There are four cardinal fae characteristics that—”

Birch interrupted him, “Let me guess, they mimic the elements. Earth, air, fire and water.”

Sayer nodded. “Yes. There are dominant races, lesser races, and mixes. Dwarves are of the Earth, Sylphs are of the Air. Fire belongs to the Jinn, and Water belongs to the Nymphs. Pure-bloods are exceptionally rare, though. The races have intermixed since the beginning.”

“Like the sprites.” Birch tilted his head, staring at the lights. “They fly, so they have to be part sylph and the lightning means they’re part jinn. Right?”


“So, all the mythos are real?”

Sayer leaned back into the slightly scratchy moss. “To some extent. Dwarves aren’t tiny fat men and women with long beards. We do like fancy rocks though.” He reached over and stroked a finger down Birch’s amulet.

“You’re a Dwarf?” Birch’s eyes were comically big. Sayer had a hard time not laughing. “And what, a sylph?”

“Yes, Mother was a sylph. My grandparents were a Fire and Water pairing, so I have powers of all the races. The king must be strong, but they don’t have to have elemental powers from all four races.” A thought struck him and he spoke aloud before he thought about how it could sound. “Maybe the reason I am so strong has to do with the fact that you are human and do not have fae blood.”

“What? I’m tainted or something because I’m a human? What’s wrong with that? According to legends you people have been stealing human children for thousands of years.” Birch crossed his arms over his chest.

“No, I didn’t mean that, I swear.” Sayer hoped Birch believed him. “I love you how you are.”

Birch stared at him, his arms falling to his sides. “You love me?”

Sayer’s heart pounded. He’d never thought that was a question Birch had to ask. “Always. I’ve loved you always. It’s not just because you were meant for me so I took you as a baby to bring up here, though that is how it was always done. I didn’t want that for you.

“The human world is so busy, so different from ours with its silly customs and complicated protocols. It was an eye opener growing up there alongside you. It made me realize how bad things had gotten here. Then my parents ….”

Sayer shuddered. Things were different. There were creatures, wild fae, that had grown too dangerous, even for them.

“I always planned to come back for you. I need you.”
Okay, on to the other great Briefers!





Friday, September 6, 2013

eBook Review: Second Hand by Culinan and Sexton

Second Hand (Tucker Springs, #2)Second Hand by Heidi Cullinan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, I picked up Second Hand simply because I love this series from Tucker Springs. Of course I’d read several of the later books so I know the pairing would work out, but I enjoyed the story nonetheless. It was nice to get the backstory I’d missed since I started off with Dirty Laundry, book 3 in the Tucker Springs world.

I’m a big fan of Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton. I like both of their work singly, and they mesh together quite well. Of course knowing Heidi wrote book 3, which is my favorite, was a draw that led me to want this book in particular. What I enjoyed most was watching both author’s style come together in this story. The characters are real, and the setting and plot believable.

El’s one of those guys, the ones not looking to settle down, that we see in a few books of this series. They’re often taken by surprise by their love interest, but it’s never one of those ‘instant we love you drips from lips every other page’ even if the pairing is pretty obvious. In this case, I felt like Paul was one of the most real characters I’d read lately.

The gay for you trope has been done, quite a bit, but this story doesn’t quite fall into those lines. I do think that Paul struggles quite a bit with his sexuality in this story but there’s nothing false about it. It’s plausible, which is vital in a contemporary story that I enjoy. Watching him make those steps forward, and back when the bitch of a girlfriend shows back up, was quite the trip.

If you’re in the mood for a romance that takes you through a journey of highs and lows, but never outside the realm of what could happen, letting you almost step into the world of Tucker Springs … this book will definitely be for you!

View all my reviews

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Winner, Winner!

Libby picked the winner for her contest. The copy of her eBook, Bending the Rails, goes to .....

She'll be emailing you shortly; if you don't receive anything today please check your junk folder. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wednesday Brief: Take Flight Part 8

It's that time again! Wednesday Briefers unite! Okay, I've been watching too many old cartoons. :P Swear, we don't have funky rings or anything. However, we are all joined in bringing you some great flash fiction, between 500 and 1k in length, based on a series of prompts. The one I chose this week was to use a 'blue moon' in the story. I hope you enjoy this latest update to Birch and Sayer's story!

Take Flight Part 8

Birch stretched in Sayer’s arms. It felt good; his body was stiff. All of it. “Gotta pee,” he muttered. Sayer had him wrapped up in his arms and his wings had appeared again. They were tickling the curve of Birch’s bare back just above his ass.

He wiggled and finally got away from Sayer who mumbled and turned over. Birch shook his head. So much had changed, and yet so much was the same. He was still out of balance, physically and emotionally. He stumbled away from the bed.

“Wonder where the bathroom in this place is?” He yawned and decided on trying the open doorway before he went to the big double doors on the far wall. He stepped cautiously as he walked through into … a grotto.

Like a real life, sparkling lights among the tall, white trees and soft grass in a brilliant green carpet that flowed gently downhill to a small stone lined pond. A misty vapor hung over the slowly moving aquamarine water that seemed to be draining in a small series of steps that faded into the darkness behind the pool. He could have stepped into a scene from a child’s storybook.

It was pretty, but where was the bathroom? Birch spun around in a slow circle, trying to figure out where he was and if there was a sign for a bathroom anywhere. He was about to leave and try the other doors when the masses of little lights left the trees and streamed toward him. The lights stopped in a flicking ball of light, hovering over his head like a blue moon in the darkness of the far off ceiling.  

Several lights came down and swirled in front of him. They were glowing creatures, man-shaped but their glow was too bright and he couldn’t see any individual features. Their turquoise wings were big, dwarfing their tiny bodies. Birch’s hair stood up as they hovered near.

He lifted his hand, stretching out one finger that looked huge compared to the tiny creatures. “Hello,” he said softly. One came toward him. Could they understand him? He held his breath as the small being started to settle on his fingertip.

“I wouldn’t—”

Too late. Birch went flying backward, a harsh buzzing flooding his body. “Oomph.” He landed hard, pain shooting through his shoulders. He lay on the soft grass, twitching slightly, unable to catch his breath.

Sayer began scolding the small things. “How could you? He is human; he can’t handle your power. Go on now; go make mischief elsewhere.”

Birch drew in a painful, shuddering breath, finally able to get past the air lock in his chest. “Ow. Geez, what was that?” Sayer helped him sit up.

“Those are sprites. Air sprites, actually. They create the light displays above thunderstorms. I always found it humorous that humans call the phenomena after the real creatures. Just another sign that we won’t be able to be hidden from them forever.”

“So I just got zapped by a bolt of lightning?”

Sayer smiled. “Maybe a tiny bolt.”

Birch shook his head; the knowledge that he was in a very foreign place was impossible to ignore. He’d forgotten somewhat when he first woke up, but that morning fog was gone. Well, at least he hadn’t peed himself when he was shocked.”

“I was looking for the bathroom; I really have to go.” Birch let Sayer help him stand; he still felt a bit buzzy. “Your wings are tickling my back.”

Sayer ducked his head. “Those aren’t my wings.”

Birch jerked around. There was nothing behind him that was tickling him. “What do you mean? What is that?” His voice rose as his heart began to pound. “Is there something on me?” He twisted his head. His mouth dropped open.

“Calm down. Birch,” Sayer slid his hands down Birch’s arms and entwined their fingers, “you’re going to be okay.”

“I have wings,” Birch said faintly. “Sayer! I have wings!” If Sayer didn’t have his hands, holding him still, Birch might have ran from the room.

“You do. They appeared when we bonded.”

Birch froze. “Why didn’t you tell me? Why are you still keeping things from me? Did you really think I wouldn’t notice big, white wings growing out of my back? What the fuck, Sayer!

“I wasn’t hiding them from you. You needed healing; I could feel how much pain you were in. I swear I was going to tell you when we woke up, but you got up before me. I don’t want to keep anything from you, beloved.” Sayer was begging him to understand, but Birch was overwhelmed.

“This is too much. I can’t … Sayer, I can’t do this! How can I go home with wings? How will I work? You said I wasn’t going to turn into a fae! What have you done to me?”


Sayer’s heart could’ve stopped in that moment. His beloved’s eyes were dark with fear, his nostrils flaring as his chest heaved. Their hands were locked together, but Sayer could feel him trembling.

“Shh, it’ll be okay.” Sayer tugged Birch against his chest to enfold him in a tight hug. “You can’t see my wings right now, right? We can hide them, and so can you. You’re not a fae, but we have been bonded for a long time. No Lord has ever bonded with a human like you and I did. We’re unique, both of us.”

Birch didn’t try to pull away again, and Sayer hid his sigh of relief. “Your wings are beautiful. So soft,” he ran a hand across the downy scapular feathers down to the stiffer primary flight wings, “so pure.” He’d never seen a sylph with white wings.

“Is this going to slow down? All this crazy stuff happening to me?” Birch asked with his voice muffled against Sayer’s shoulder.

Sayer grimaced. He said he’d tell the truth. “Probably not for a while.”

Birch groaned. “Great.” He looked up. “And I still have to pee!”

Finally got to see the grotto and Birch's reaction to his wings. Still sooo much left to come though. Now, read on with the other updates, and please make sure you welcome our virgin Briefer, Rob Colton! Don't be too rough on him, lol.