Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Experiment: Release Date January 27th!

Hi all! For the first time since I started, I won't be flashing tomorrow with the Wednesday Briefers. I'm having some personal stuff, and I'm not going to manage an update this week for Take Flight. Sorry! But I found The Experiment on Dreamspinner's Coming Soon page today and couldn't wait to share!

Available for Purchase: January 27th, 2014
 
 



In the distant future, humans wage war against the alien planet Caeorleia, with no tactic off-limits if it will help the humans get their hands on Caeorleia’s resources. Ask Ryker. He thought he volunteered for a simple experiment that would help his government in the war. He didn't realize sadistic doctors would turn him into the experiment—by injecting him with blood from a captured Caeorleian, Seral Iorflas.

Nor did Ryker realize he’d be sent to sabotage a planet full of the very beings his world is battling, beings who kill humans on sight. But then, thanks to the experiment that irrevocably changed him, he isn’t exactly human any longer—and with each passing day, as his blood bond with Seral strengthens, he’s less and less sure as to whose side he's on.

A/N: Thanks to a heads up, I alerted DSP to the fact the series info was misspelled. We're still working on getting that corrected on all the promo material.



Also Available for Purchase: January 10th, 2014
 

Purchase at Amazon soon!
Pre-order @  Smashwords, and  All Romance eBooks now!
 Just $2.99

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Take Flight Part 24

First off: Merry Christmas!! I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season. This week I toyed with the idea of doing a flash story that related to the day, but I decided to keep going with Birch and Sayer's story. I can't say as you'll get too many answers, but there's a new character being introduced. This week's inspiration came from a picture prompt. Enjoy!

Take Flight Part 24


The dark hid them as Sayer flew for the veil. Birch clung to him, wishing he could fly beside Sayer. He shivered in the cold air.

“Hang on, Birch. We’ll be there soon!”

“I’m trying.” Birch struggled to stay conscious.  He was so tired. His head sank against Sayer’s chest, and he closed his eyes.

“Birch? Birch!”

The panic in Sayer’s voice scared Birch. He forced his eyes to open. “Yeah?”

“You need to stay awake.”

“Mmhmm.” The chill faded. Birch blinked. His eyelids felt like they weighed a thousand pounds.

“Please stay awake.”

Sayer risked himself to rescue Birch. All he wanted was for Birch to stay awake, but he couldn’t do it.

“Too tired.”

***

Birch roused from his lethargy briefly.

“Let him sleep.”

“But I have to go to the human realm. I don’t want him to wake up when I’m not here.” Sayer was speaking to someone.

“We’ll watch over him for you.” The man’s voice wasn’t familiar. “He’s recovering nicely, Haverlseen said. He needs rest, and you should stop hovering.”

Sayer sighed. “Fine. I won’t be gone long. I need to do some research on Grigori, and meet with that man.”

Birch didn’t want to be left behind while Sayer was meeting with his lunatic boss. He struggled to speak, to object to Sayer putting himself in harm’s way.

He failed as the darkness overtook him again.

***

The second time Birch woke up someone sat on the edge of the bed. It dipped under their weight. “Time for you to wake up, Birch.”

A trickle of power flowed into him. Birch gasped. His eyes flew open, and he sat up.

“Haverlseen!”

“What?” The healer glanced over his shoulder. “I didn’t hurt him.”

“That’s not a very nice way to wake someone up, though.”

A woman glided toward the bed. Her long hair hung, raven-black, to her waist. Her exquisite face was drawn down into a frown. “He would have woken naturally soon.”

“Well I have other patients to see to.”

“What’s going on? Where’s Sayer?” Birch coughed, his throat and mouth dry.

“I’ll get him some water.” The woman slipped away silently.

“Sayer will be back shortly. In the meantime, let’s see how you’re holding up. You know, you really should stop getting hurt so much. It takes a lot of energy to heal.” Haverlseen sniffed.

“I’m sorry,” Birch said automatically.

“Nevermind. Like before, I want you to focus within. See your inner light.”

Birch closed his eyes. “I see it.” It pulsed, not bright, not dim, but quiet. A red light imbued the space he imagined as the center of his power.

“Good, good. You’re healing nicely.”

A tingle ran down Birch’s leg. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Checking the mending I did on your leg. Again.” Haverlseen stopped running his hand through the air over Birch’s leg, and then stood up. “You’ll be a bit stiff and you should rest for a few more days to fully recover your strength. There were no adverse effects I can detect from handling that cross the others mentioned. I’ll let Sayer know when he gets back.”

“Thank you.”

Haverlseen nodded. The woman came back with a goblet of water. He took it from her and motioned toward the soft chair pulled up beside the head of the bed. “You should sit down too, my lady.”

“I’m fine.”

The healer snorted. “Yes, well, who’s responsible for that?”

She sighed. “You.”

“Exactly. So, unless you believe I would ask you to rest and not have a sound reason, you should sit down. Your recovery could last weeks, not days, my lady. Don’t hinder it.”

The woman smoothed her skirt and sat down regally.

“Thank you, my lady.”

Birch watched their interaction with interest, but he wanted that water. His tongue felt like it was stuck to the roof of his mouth.

“Can I have the drink?”

“What? Oh!” Haverlseen flushed. “Yes, of course. Sip it slowly.” He handed Birch the goblet. “I’ll be back later.”

He swept out of the room without a look back. Birch groaned when he finally got a drink.

The woman in the chair laughed. The throaty sound was at odds with her ethereal appearance and the dainty way she sat with her hands folded in her lap.

“I bet you’re really confused.” She smiled at Birch.

“Yes.” Birch wanted Sayer. The last few days were jumbled.

“First, introductions.” She held out her hand. “I’m Sayer’s mother, Lady Celeste.”

Sayer’s mother wasn’t dead? But… Birch didn’t know if he should kiss her hand or shake it. He sat up to take her hand and the covers slithered down to rest in his lap, exposing his bare chest.

“Oh my god.” Birch gasped. Would he ever learn? He clutched at the blankets, glad they hadn’t gone down any farther. Heat prickled up his neck and face. He stared at the rich colors on the goblet’s mistletoe design, sure his face was as red as the berries against the deep green leaves.

Lady Celeste laughed again. She covered her mouth. “I’m sorry! I wasn’t laughing at you, truly. You just look so embarrassed, and your face turned so red. Don’t worry, invoking the Christian Lord’s name won’t bring harm, but you should probably avoid it.”

Birch sagged against the pillows. “Thank go-goodness,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

She waved his apology away. “Don’t trouble yourself about it. Old habits are very hard to break, I know.” She looked sad. “Our realm is healing, because of you.”

“I didn’t do anything.” Birch gestured toward his leg. “Except get hurt, again.”

“Stuff and nonsense. Croll filled us in on everything that has happened since we…,” she faltered. “Well, everything. Without you, the son of the Grigori who tainted our magic and used you as bait would have destroyed us. No one here could have done what you did, without thinking of the consequences to yourself. My husband and I owe you a great debt. All fae do.”
TBC

Now check out the other updates by my fellow Briefers!
 



Monday, December 23, 2013

Protecting Bear Cover!

Mika got this fixed up today! Yay!



My Upcoming eBook: Protecting Bear

So who wants to know what's going on with my upcoming eBooks??? I do, I do! Okay, so I'm ridiculously excited but the hard work part is over... until they come out in a few short weeks! Then the promotion begins. Anyone who blogs or tweets or facebooks, and is willing in helping spread the word of my stories, I'd love to hear from you.

Okay, so first... One Night. Many of you probably remember this from my last Wednesday Briefers flash story. But the story has changed so much! I've added over 14k to the story, so it tops out just over 40k. The story has undergone an awesome evolution, thanks to help from my friends-AJ, Renee Stevens, and Rob Colton all gave me some valuable input, and Romance First Publishing's editing team, Eden Conner and Tucker McCallahan.

Right now the cover is undergoing an edit because the story changed so much a new title was warranted, but I do have a banner I made to share!


Synopsis:

 
Bear has sworn off guys who try to pick him up at his second job working as a bartender. His ex, Vilem, damn near turned him off dating altogether.  Jimmy would flip if he finds out Bear dated a drug dealer, as if Bear did it knowingly. His career as a cop only makes his brother more protective.

But Kameron doesn’t try to pick him up at the bar. He doesn’t ask for a blow job or a back alley screw. He asks Bear out for coffee. That alone is rare enough to get Bear to say yes. They have an instant chemistry, even though he will cut the giant off at the knees if Kameron calls Bear “little guy” one more time.

Kameron’s secrets grow harder to hide the longer he dates Bear. He wants to come clean, but he knows there’s a very good chance the fiery man will never speak to him again. Kameron wrestles with his conscience and his desire for Bear.

Both men’s choices lead to a series of events neither see coming. Bear believes his judgment failed him once again when he learns exactly what Kameron was hiding. At the same time, Bear learns Vilem wasn't just a corner drug dealer, and some very scary guys are after him.

Can both men survive their encounter with Vilem’s bosses? When Bear and Kameron land in a life or death situation, it's up to Bear to save himself … and Kameron, if he's lucky.

 Excerpt: ALL NEW SCENE!

 
“I don’t know man, that’s a lot.”

“Can you get the stuff or not?” Kameron shifted his weight back and forth. The inside of the phone booth was filthy and something had died in the corner. The small space had a foul smell, but Kameron tried to pretend he didn’t notice. “Ben said you could get me ten grams. I need it.” He sniffed and wiped his nose.

“I don’t usually—”

“Look, I got two fifty. I’m looking for ten grams for a… a party I’m throwing. I need it now. You coming or not?” His heart raced during the silence as he urged Maks to agree.

“Fifth and Inochs?”

“Sweet,” Kameron said with relief. “Yeah, I’ll be by the statue. See you in twenty, right? You’ll be there with my stuff?”

“I’ll be there.” Kameron heard Maks mutter about junkies under his breath. He managed to keep his response in check. He waited until he was almost to the bridge before he made the call so it only took him a few minutes to get in place. His palms were sweating, and he kept wiping them on his ratty jeans. Finally he stuffed them in his pockets to keep them still.

His hoodie obscured his vision, but he didn’t want to lower it. It was cold under the bridge, and the wind sent icy fingers inside the holes exposing his knees. Kameron hunched over, slumping against smooth side of the abstract metal statue. Damn wind was making his nose run already.

How much longer? He couldn’t help peering back and forth, checking the creeping shadows. The freeway overhead hummed with cars taking people home or out to whatever entertainment they craved on a Friday night.

And here was his.

Maks looked just like his picture. Kameron relaxed a little. He took his hands out of his pants pockets and fiddled with the strings to his hoodie.  The cold made his fingertips burn. There was a lot more snow here than he was used to, and Kameron was fucking freezing.

“Carson?”

Kameron nodded. “You Maks?”

“Yeah.”

They both knew how this went down. Kameron twitched his strings again and sniffed. “You got my party supplies?”

“Yeah, I brought them.” The drug dealer lifted a six-pack of beer. “You’re gonna pay me back for the beers, right?”

“’Course.” Kameron dug around in his pocket and pulled out a small wad of crumpled bills. He stuffed the money back in his pocket after he flashed it to Maks. “I just need to make sure the beer’s my favorite kind.”

Maks didn’t look happy, but he handed over the six-pack. “It’s all there.”

Kameron picked up a bottle, peering at it, then tilted the carton. The orange glow from the streetlight shone on the white baggies tucked in the bottom, around the beer. “Looks good.”

He put the beer back and then shoved his hood off his head. Kameron dug into his pocket, shivering as the wind blew sharply, scattering litter along the ground. He peered at Maks. “If I have another party, say in a couple of weeks, could you get me more of the same?”

“Sure.” Maks looked eager to be gone, his eyes focused on the cash in Kameron’s hand.

“Cool.”

Maks grabbed the cash Kameron held out and kept walking. “Nice doing business with you,” he said over his shoulder.
 
“Oh, it was. You can stop right there though.” Kameron tugged on the cord hanging around his neck, hidden under his sweatshirt.

“What the fuck? You gonna try to rip me off? My bosses will—” Maks spun around and froze.
 
“Not be any help to you.” Kameron pulled his gun from behind his back.
 
Come back tomorrow to check out what's going on with The Experiment!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Visiting Author: M.A. Church with Wrapped in Leather

Please welcome M.A. Church to my blog today to talk about her latest release (and a hot one at that!) Wrapped in Leather!



"Most welcome, bondage, for thou art a way, I think, to liberty."

- William Shakespeare

 
Hey everyone! I’m M.A. Church and I’m here to talk about my latest release, Wrapped in Leather. It’s the first in the Wrapped Up series. Wrapped in Leather is about two men exploring a relationship involving their love of leather, BDSM. One of the things Toshi has to answer for himself is: What is a submissive?

A submissive is a person who makes a conscious choice to give up some or all control of their life to another persona Dominant or a Top. Dominance and submission is about a power exchange between two consenting adults. It is about the control within the dynamics of that relationship, whether it be a full time 24/7 relationship, or a casual meeting, or a part time arrangement.

Choosing to be submissive means to allow someone else to control your body and behavior within the preset limits you and that particular person, i.e. the Dominant, have agreed upon. Submission is not a sign of weakness; some of the most successful and strongest people are true submissives.

Submission is not about passiveness, it is not about being a doormatmost submissives are intelligent and well-balanced people just fulfilling their basic desires to submit and to give up control. Submission is not about kinky sex and whips and chainsthough those things can and do play a part in our lifestyle, it is much deeper than just that, and comes from the heart. Submission is a choice, and a wonderful gift to the Dominantit should never be entered into lightly, even in a casual situation at a party or gathering.



Release date: January 3rd

Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Blurb:

To celebrate his decision to take the next step with his boyfriend Ian, Toshi Baylor plans a romantic evening at their favorite steak house. Toshi starts the special weekend with a bang by surprising Ian at home with lunch. There’s a bang all right, but it’s between Ian and another guy.

Jase Taylor’s auto repair shop and the BDSM club, Wrapped Up, keep him busy while he waits for Mr. Right, instead of Mr. Right Now. He’s a Dom, but playing with the club’s submissives isn’t providing the usual stress release. After a day from hell, he deserves a good meal at his favorite steak house.

Toshi and Jase find a mix-up with their reservations: a table for Baylor, not Taylor. When Toshi invites Jase to dine with him, they discover a mutual affection for leather and a shared belief that trust must be earned.

Before they can explore their common interests, Toshi suffers a series of attacks by vandals. Jase’s protective instincts kick in, but both wonder if it can lead to anything permanent.


Excerpt:

Jase placed his hand on Toshi’s arm, halting the smaller man. “Okay, as I was saying… Why not meet me sometime at the gym? You wouldn’t have to work out alone then, and neither would I.”

Toshi stopped hunting his car keys and looked up at Jase. “Really? I’d like that.”

Jase held his helmet under his arm. He really didn’t want Toshi to leave without knowing when he’d see him again or having some way to contact him. That alone surprised him, but he didn’t question the impulse, just went with it.

“Tell you what, let’s exchange numbers and I’ll call you… well, hell.” Jase wasn’t letting Toshi go without knowing something. “Why don’t you meet me tomorrow at three? We can work out.”

Toshi fiddled with his keys. “I, ah, yeah. That sounds good. Three it is. Just go easy on me, man. It’s been two weeks, at least, since I worked out.”

Jase zipped his leather jacket, debating how to answer, then threw caution to the wind. Better to see how Toshi would react now than later. “Going easy isn’t in my vocabulary. That’s not who I am. I push—that’s what I do. But I won’t push you any harder than what you… need.”

Toshi’s mouth opened slightly. “Oh. I, ah… I, oh. Three, right? Yes, I’ll be there.”

There was no mistaking the look of lust that flashed in Toshi’s eyes, and Jase felt himself respond. “Give me your phone.” After Jase programmed his number, he handed the cell back to Toshi. “Dress in street clothes and bring whatever you work out in. After we’re done, we can shower there, then grab something to eat or… whatever. And Toshi, I enjoyed tonight. Very much. Call me if you can’t make it.”

Jase put on his helmet and his leather gloves. He noticed the way Toshi eyed the leather he wore—that was promising—before he flipped the visor down. He looked at Toshi—both of them standing there, staring at each other. He made a point of glancing down at the front of Toshi’s pants, to where a nice bulge showed, before walking away.

Just as he started the bike, he saw Toshi hurry to his car. Jase pulled out and passed in front of Toshi’s car. He stopped, one foot on the road to balance himself. Toshi was just sitting there, doing nothing. Jase’s grin was hidden behind the visor. It looked like he had Toshi’s attention. He lifted his hand, making the motion of starting a vehicle. When Toshi’s car started, he nodded and drove off, very satisfied with what he’d seen so far.

He glanced in his rearview mirror as headlights turned in the opposite direction. He’d bet Toshi was a submissive but had no real training. That need was there, though. He’d seen glimpses of it during dinner and at dessert. It had been a while since he'd played with anyone who wasn’t in the lifestyle, but Toshi showed promise. If he wasn’t very much mistaken, they shared a common interest… leather.

 

Author bio:

M.A. Church lives in the southern United States and spent many years in the elementary education sector. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Her hobbies are gardening, walking, attending flea markets, watching professional football, racing, and spending time with her family on the lake.

But her most beloved hobby is reading. From an early age, she can remember hunting for books at the library. Later nonhuman and science fiction genres captured her attention and drew her into the worlds the authors had created. But always at the back of her mind was the thought that one day, when the kids were older and she had more time, she would write a book.

By sheer chance she stumbled across a gay male romance story on the web and was hooked. A new world opened up and she fell in love. Thus the journey started. When not writing or researching, she enjoys reading the latest erotic and mainstream romance novels.


My links:


Twitter @nomoretears00




 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Weekly Review: Let It Snow by Heidi Cullinan

Let It SnowLet It Snow by Heidi Cullinan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked Let It Snow. The character dynamics was interesting. I always enjoy a good bear/twink story. I liked Frankie's spunky nature. He was quirky enough to stand out, and I liked his spunky attitude when he was upset by Marcus' behavior.

Marcus' actions were harder for me to accept. He didn't feel quite 'real' to me. His friends, Arthur and Paul, felt like an irritation to me instead of an interesting sub-plot element. The lack of privacy was really creepy.

The whole trip to the beauty salon was very sweet. I've worked in places like that and it felt real. Contrasting the small town acceptance with the scene in the rundown tenements was a good move to highlight the fears Frankie had from his history living in one.

Overall, I liked the story, especially the sweet ending. I just wish it had stood out more; I finished this feeling like I'd read the story before because it was a very common plot type.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Guest Author: Jon Keys with Heart of the Pines

Please welcome Jon Keys to my blog. He's here to talk about his latest release: Heart of the Pines!
 



Howdy! Thanks so much for having me today. I’m excited about my first published story and I’ve had fun sharing with everyone. Heart of the Pines is part of Dreamspinner’s 2013 Advent Calendar and below you’ll find out all the good stuff about the story.

I don’t know about everyone else, but my family has a huge tradition of making all kinds of sugar filled treats for the holidays. When we went to my grandparent’s house for the season, they would cover the kitchen table with all kinds of homemade cookies and candies that everyone snacked from all day. There were things that I never developed a taste for, like date candy, and others that I still love and the season isn’t complete without them. Divinity would fall in that category.

For those of you who have not had the delight of tasting this delicious confection, your life just isn’t complete. Think of the whipped center of your favorite candy bar, and that would be similar. Just yummy, gooey, lusciousness. You pop it in your mouth and it starts to melt, your mouth is filled with vanilla, nuts and the winter season.

It’s also one kind of candy that I’m not that good at making. Recent years have been better (hint, try the recipe from Joy of Cooking, but no raisins…ick). But for me, it just makes the season.

Heart of the Pines is about two mature men who are trying to get through the season without their familiar ties and traditions from previous years.

~ Jon ~
 

Blurb

Christmas is the worst time of the year to find yourself alone. Chris Moss, owner of a tree farm, knows this down to his bones as he makes his way through his first holiday season after losing his wife to cancer. When Wade Hart, an annual customer at the farm, visits, they find common ground: Wade lost his own longtime lover to a parting of ways and is lonely too. The constant, gentle companionship provides fertile soil for an attraction neither expects, but nurturing a new relationship is a tough proposition. With the encouragement of family and friends, Chris and Wade may yet find that a second love later in life can be just as fulfilling as the first.
 

Excerpt from Heart of the Pines.

Jets of steamy breath shot from Wade’s nostrils as he struggled to drag the enormous Christmas tree across the loose Michigan snow. The bells on Chris’s Santa hat jingled merrily as he hurried out to help his friend pull the tree up the final hillock to the barn.

“Here, let me give you a hand.” Stepping along the slowing tree, Chris wrapped a glove-covered hand around a branch and lent his strength to the effort.

Wade nodded and smiled. “Thanks, it’s a little much by myself.”

“No problem, happy to help. Looks like you got a beaut,” said Chris.

Wade pulled off his knit hat and wiped the perspiration from his head. “It’s a good one. I think I’ve covered your whole farm, several times, to find the perfect tree.”

They pulled the tree into the work area and hoisted it onto the sawbuck. “Want me to trim it up for you?”

“Sure. One less thing I’ll have to do.” Wade laid the handsaw he’d used on the table behind them, then tugged his thick cap on while Chris made a few quick cuts with the chainsaw to ready the tree for his stand. The roar of the saw faded, and Chris struggled for a few minutes as he tried to push the tree into the netting. As he began his second attempt, Wade woke from his stupor and grabbed the other side of the tree.

“Sorry, I’m a little spacey today,” said Wade.

With his help, Chris slid the tree into the tube of netting, getting it ready for Wade’s SUV. “No problem. It’s a huge tree. I hope Jeff will be around to help you unload.”

Wade folded his arms over his chest, a pained look on his face. “Jeff moved out. Last week. I thought makin’ our annual trip to your farm for a tree would keep me from thinkin’ about it.” Wade turned his head and let out a shuddering sigh. “I guess it’s not ‘our’ trip anymore.”

Chris gave Wade’s shoulder a squeeze. “Sorry to hear that. You guys always seemed happy together. Jeff was always cutting up and flirting with Mary.” I haven’t forgotten you attended her funeral.

“It happens. I guess we lasted longer than a lot of couples. Ten years isn’t bad.” Wade’s fingers ran over one of the fir boughs edging the barn windows. “It was good in the beginning, like newlyweds. Jeff loved our loft in Chicago. But ever since we moved to Traverse City, the relationship had slowly gone downhill. Our business downtown was an attempt to find something to keep Jeff happy.”

The pain in Wade’s eyes sparked a wave of bitter nostalgia for Chris. He missed Mary so desperately some days. She always was the caretaker of the family, even when they got the diagnosis of stage-four cancer; she still took care of everyone else until it was impossible for her to keep doing it. He turned to the barn behind them, pulled off the Santa hat, and held it tight in his hands as the frigid air gusted through his short white hair.

The farm was always beautiful this time of year, the ground covered with crystalline flakes in a white carpet that extended to the steps of the house, which he kept carefully swept. He hadn’t changed anything since Mary died. It had been more difficult in the summer when the beds that hugged the foundation of their house were ablaze with flowers Mary had planted and nursed through the years. The winter covering had been a blessed relief, but his heart still ached at the lack of holiday decorations. Mary had loved the season, and given half a chance, she covered everything within striking distance with lights. Without her, the trimmings just hadn’t mattered.

He shook himself and focused on finishing with Wade’s tree. He tied the bottom of the netting and turned to Wade. “There you go. All bundled and ready to put in that great foyer you have.”

“Not so grand this year. It’s kind of tough to get into the spirit of the season.”

Chris gave Wade a sympathetic smile. “It could be worse….”

Realization hit Wade. “Oh my God! I can’t believe I’ve been such an ass. This is your first Christmas alone. I’m so sorry, Chris. I feel awful.”

“It’s not your fault. It’s been almost a year since her funeral. It’s ancient history to most people.” Although it seems like yesterday to me. I can still feel her soft hand in mine as we picnicked on one of Lake Michigan’s sugar sand beaches on our first date, playing in the chilly crystal clear water. Even then, she’d taken care of everything and had the perfect lunch basket packed.

“Yeah, but Mary always said Christmas was her favorite time of the year.”

“It was, and I haven’t felt like doing much. It’s a lot more work to take care of the farm alone too. But the income for the whole year happens in the next month or so. Doesn’t leave me with many choices.” Chris smiled at Wade. “Bad thing about a Christmas tree farm, firs just aren’t that tasty.”

Wade gave a nod, and then his eyes lit up. “Hey, what if I do it? I’ve helped Mary put up the decorations before. It’ll keep me busy, and Santa’s Tree Farm needs to look more festive than either of us feels.”

Chris couldn’t help but smile at the sudden enthusiasm. “If you’d like, that would be great. I just can’t face the stuff. Too many memories.”

“Southern boy to the rescue! I got this covered.” Wade clapped his hand on Chris’s bicep and squeezed it. Chris found a comfort from the contact that surprised him. Mary’s touch had always had that unique ability to soothe him. Some nights its absence had left him curled around her pillow with tears streaming down his face.

Chris fished a ring of keys from his pocket, flipped through them, and held one out for Wade. “This unlocks the storage padlock. Anything you want to do would be great. I have a few customers wandering around looking for trees. I better go check on them.”

Chris raced through the light snowfall while Wade started for the storage building.




Bio:

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

E-mail: jon.keys@ymail.com

Blog: http://jonkeys.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jon.keys.773

Twitter: @Jon4Keys



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Take Flight Part 23

Well here we are again! It's Wednesday and there's another flash installment to read in Birch and Sayer's story. I think you'll like this week's reveal!! The flash inspiration I used was: "A fire smoldered in his eyes."

Take Flight Part 23


“Stop them!” Sayer gasped when a hand grabbed his ankle, yanking him down. “There’s more than one!”

None of the men answered him.

Sayer strained his wings, flapping hard, but couldn’t break free of the iron grip on his ankle.

Rittenhauser heaved them downward. Sayer held Birch closer and protected his head as they tumbled to the floor. He landed on his back with a thud. Birch cried out when Sayer couldn’t prevent his legs from being jarred.

“Don’t move, or I’ll shoot!”

The man who’d captured Birch stood over them, his feet spread wide. He pointed his shotgun at Sayer’s face. “I’ll do it, demon.”

He was insane. “I’m not a demon!” Sayer protested. His instincts screamed for him to use his magic, but he was too weak still.

“What do think I am? An idiot? Your filthy tricks won’t fool me.” The remaining light flickered. Sayer strained his eyes, careful not to move his head. The sprites were dancing near the bulbs. He had to stall. The other fae would contain the humans. Birch’s boss was something… different.

“Why harm Birch? I know you said you saw me, when we were kids.”

“He drew you to our town. I’ve seen it happen. He draws you demons like a moth to a flame. He is no innocent! My father warned me of your kind so I could be a soldier in the war against evil.” Spit flew from his lips as Rittenhauser raged. A fire smoldered in his eyes. “I am Grigori! I can sense your filth. I know when your evil comes creeping out of the shadows to taint mortal men. But not here! Not in my town!”

The priest gasped and began mumbling.

Sayer had never heard of any being called a Grigori, but Birch’s boss was definitely not a mortal. It explained why he could see the fae, and why the cross had such an effect on the balance of power in the fae realm.

There might still be hope to hide the fae from the human realm for a while longer, at least until they could recover from the damage this being did to them.

A loud boom echoed off the high stone ceiling. “Mitch, stop!” A huge man, easily seven and a half feet tall, ducked through the open doors. How had he gotten by Croll? “My son, you are mistaken about these folk.”

Rittenhauser shook his head violently. “No, Father. I saw them; I feel it!” He gestured wildly with the fun. “Tell me you can’t feel that taint all around us. You taught me how to sense demons and their effect on men. This is my purpose, my calling. I will eradicate the evil on behalf of the Lord. They deserve to die.”

The barrel of the gun he was staring down shook. Sayer desperately hoped the incensed man wouldn’t pull the trigger.

“There are many folk on this Earth beyond mortal men and demon-kind. I only told you after you came across a demon as a child to help you understand. I never intended for you to become a Scourge.”

“They wouldn’t have me! Said I was delusional. But I saw him turn into smoke. He flew! He has wings!”

Birch trembled in his arms. Sayer could smell his blood and feel his pain. He had to get away from the church and get his beloved to Haverlseen. “I am Lord of the Fae. We are magical beings, but we are not demons. We are not evil.”

“No! Your kind all lie. You’re trying to trick me into letting you go, but I won’t.”

“Mitch, my son”—the man’s voice was closer, almost directly behind Sayer—“he speaks the truth. There are many realms on Earth and many creatures who have no affiliation with demon kind. I am sorry that I left your education so lacking. I wanted to keep you from this war.”

The tip of the man’s shotgun began to lower. “B-but… you said… You said to be vigilant against evil around me.”

The man reached over them with one long arm. He gently closed his hand over the barrel, plucking it from Rittenhauser’s limp hands. The older man no longer looked at Birch and Sayer; he stared at his father. He shook his head.

“I-I don’t understand.”

“That’s okay, I’ll help you. We’re going to let these folk go, and they’ll free your… friends.”

Sayer took the first deep breath he’d allowed himself since he found out Birch had been captured. The insane man who’d grabbed him looked like a lost child. All his rage seemed to have disappeared with the arrival of his father.

“What are you?” Sayer asked.

“I am a Grigori.”

There was that word again.

“I don’t know what that is, but you clearly know what I am.”

“My kind are rare. We were angels once, but now we live among humans and cannot ascend to the heavens.” The giant man sighed. “I am very sorry my son hurt your people. I know it means little to redress the balance, but he did not know he was doing wrong.”

“He poisoned my people and shot my beloved. An apology is not enough.”

Sayer curled Birch into his arms more securely and carefully rose to his feet. “I don’t have time to deal with this. I must see to my beloved. I will release his men, but not their weapons.”

“When you have settled things, you can find me through the father over there. He can contact me with a time and place. I’m sure you have questions for me.”

Sayer nodded sharply.

He rose into the air. “Let’s go.”

The fae who had followed Sayer into the church to rescue Birch followed him out the open doors.

 TBC
Now check out the other updates by my fellow Briefers:
 
 
 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Microflash! MM Romance Group Inspires: Daddy's Money

The MM Romance group on Goodreads had a photo flash prompt. Responses have to be precisely 100 words. This is mine, inspired by this picture:

 
Daddy's Money



“Your casual act doesn’t fool me.” I knew everything about him.

“And your money doesn’t intimidate me.” Jim ran a hand through his blond hair, then leaned back against the balcony. “You thought I wouldn’t find out?”

I knew he’d been warned off by my father earlier. “That’s not why I invited you here.”

“To piss off Daddy with your slumming?” he sneered.

“No. To tell him I won’t go through with the marriage. I don’t want her.” I stared, my hands white-knuckled on the railing. I had tell him before it was too late. “I need you.

“Do you?”
    

Check out the other author's responses: HERE

Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekly Review: Power Play: Resistance by Rachel Haimowitz and Cat Grant

Power Play: Resistance (Power Play, #1)Power Play: Resistance by Rachel Haimowitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I vacillated between 2 and 3 stars, though I waited a few weeks to review or it would have been 1. 2 for the content and 3 for the writing, so I went with 3. The writing itself is clean and well done. The characters are distinct and well-fleshed out. I could 'see' what I was reading. I respect authors who have a complicated story they plan to tell, and the skills to bring it to life, even if I cannot endorse the story itself.

But the content was overdone. The 'edge of consent' doesn't even begin to describe the dynamic between Brandon and Jonathan. Consent was never the issue. Control was. This is not bdsm in a Dom/sub capacity the way I expected. This was a Master/slave dynamic where the Master was a totally manipulative, conniving bastard. I hated Jonathan, AND his friend at the end of the book. I hated Brandon's need for the submission and pain forcing him to go back. I wanted to reach into the book and tell him to stay the hell away from Jonathan. The 'they wanted the best' line Jonathan had about his previous subs was so far outside what happened that the line really stuck with me and rubbed me raw.

The money and the way Jonathan used it, and their differing relationship, to his advantage was despicable. It made Brandon into a whore. That bugged me. The other part that really struck me was when they were speaking to each other 'to discuss what was happening' over breakfast. I expected that to be the turning point where things begin to go better but that's where it all really broke. Brandon was told to speak freely and then was struck AFTER that for things he said during that time. He never had a chance. He was never truly given an opportunity to learn and be open because it was all about what he did wrong and not what he did right.

Worst of all of it was the end because Jonathan feels no remorse. His epiphany of wrongdoing was so far from the catastrophic realization of harm that it only underscored his heinous behavior. The actions on the character's parts bothered me to the point that, while I have the second book, I can't read it. I'm told that it redeems the first but my thought is why? Why should it have to redeem the first book? The extremes the authors went to set up the faulty power dynamic should have been redeemed to the same level, but it wasn't. The good didn't begin to equal the bad. I was left with a bad taste in my mouth and an urge to throttle the characters. Usually a strong emotional response is a good thing, but when it incites nausea over the thought of reading Jonathan and Brandon's continuing story... well, that's just not what anyone should want.

This is a decide for yourself book, for sure. I cannot recommend Power Play: Resistance, but if extreme sadism is your thing, have at it.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Take Flight Part 22


Cannd brought up several questions last week, and I hope to answer some of them here. This week's flash update was inspired by the prompt:

Don't forget to check out the central site the Briefers have set up due to the weekly effort by Andrew Q. Gordon!

Take Flight Part 22

Sayer leaned on the passenger window. Croll parked around the corner from the church near Birch’s house. They stared at the gray stone building crouching ominously in the center of the block blocking out the fading sunlight. It had wide, square walls and a tall, pointy spire stabbing at the sky. “Why here?”

“Ange said the guy talked about a Father. That means a priest in the human world. They called us demons; where else would they take him?”

“I’m surprised you’re not rushing in to find your beloved.” Croll tapped his fingers on the steering wheel.

“The last time I rushed I became a Darkling. My actions put Birch in this place with these maniacs. We need to know more before we can save him.” Sayer could feel the fae around them, blending in with the human realm, surrounding the church. “If that man wants demons, we’ll give him demons.”

Fae, great and small, had gathered to help Sayer save Birch. He’d risked his life to protect the fae realm, and now that they knew the cause of all the damage they’d put a stop to the religious fanatic. Sayer could feel his subject around him. His magic was weak but growing stronger.

A small fae with rough, pebbled grayish skin knocked on Sayer’s window. He rolled it down. “What did you find?”

“He’s in there, my lord. But….” The dwarf clutched at his jacket, hesitating.

“But what?” Croll prompted him.

“He’s hurt. His blood coated the rock inside their building.”

Sayer’s heart began to pound. Night fell around them. He couldn’t wait any longer. “We go in.”

“Your powers are not fully recovered yet.”

“That doesn’t matter. What I have will be enough.”

The dwarf bowed his head. “We’ll help you. We’ve opened a tunnel inside the sanctuary. You can enter there.”

Croll turned off the car. They climbed out. “Sprites.” Croll waved at the streetlights. Small groups of the glowing air sprites flew toward bulbs, swarming them until the glass popped in a shower of sparks and the lights went out. Darkness shrouded the street and the fae that materialized from the rocks, trees, and stone.

“You organize out here. Cover our retreat,” Sayer told his second-in-command. He pointed at several fae in the crowd. “You, you, and you. Come with us.”

The dwarf led the way into the tunnel they’d made through the stone walls. Sayer strode behind him, anxious to see his beloved. The tunnel climbed vertically through the walls. They climbed the irregular stones like a ladder up to a balcony. The tunnel exited in the shadowy recess.

“He’s close,” Sayer whispered. They crept out to the railing and peered over.

“You shot a man. What were you thinking?” The priest was hovering over Birch’s body. He was on the floor in front of the altar.

“He’s not a man! He’s associated with those demons you refused to believe in. I told you, I told you!” the other man screamed. He waved a gun around.

“You’re delusional.” The priest pressed the altar cloth tight around Birch’s thigh but it was stained red with blood that wasn’t stopping.

“I have proof. They saw it, the demon that was with him. It melted into a tree.” Several men were ranged around the sanctuary.

The priest shook his head. “We have to call an ambulance.”

“No. No ambulance and no cops.”

“He’ll die!”

“If he dies, he deserves it for consorting for with that filth. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”

Sayer clenched his hands into fists. Birch wasn’t moving. There was blood all over his shoulder and his leg was bleeding profusely no matter what the priest tried. He didn’t have much more time.

“We need their guns,” Sayer whispered to the drow he’d brought with him. The night-stealer grinned, his round face full of wicked glee.

He bounced off into the shadows.

Two small sprites had followed them. Sayer pointed to the lights over the center aisle. “Gently take some of those out.” They flew up to the ceiling and began stroking the lights. They flickered. “When I give you the signal, encase the human’s feet in the floor,” Sayer told the dwarf. “Skim a fine layer of rock into dust while we wait.”

Birch’s boss didn’t seem to notice. He continued ranting at the priest, exposing years of fixation on the fae as demonic beings sent by Satan to pollute his town. He’d been watching Birch since he and Sayer were children. Sayer blanched. One of his trips to leave a gift on Birch’s pillow had set this guy off?

Crouched, ready to spring, Sayer held on to his control by his fingertips. The dwarf at his side watched him for the signal.

The tall sylph he’d picked to come with them stood silently, her eyes huge, her hands spread. She was powerful but wild, rarely interacting with other fae. “You’ll create a cover. Use the stone dust.”

Shadows fell across the church as two of the three main lights went out, one after the other. “Now!” Sayer sent a trickle of power to the doors, shoving them open. He panted at the effort.

The dwarf began to mutter and the sylph waved her hands in flowing motions through the air, beginning to swirl the stone dust all through the church as if huge gusts of wind flowed in through the outer doors. Men shouted and a gun went off.

“The demons are here!”

Sayer jumped onto the balcony railing. His wings burst from his back and he drifted down to the main floor. A personal aura kept the fine stone grit from blinding him as he flew straight to Birch’s side. The priest was mired in stone, still kneeling beside his beloved.

“Thank you for trying to help him,” Sayer said. He gathered Birch’s body into his arms. Sayer flapped his wings to get back to the balcony and their escape route.

TBC

Don't forget to check out the other great updates by the other Briefers! There are so many active authors taking part each week. And if you're interested in joining the group, let one of us know! We can steer you in the right direction.