'I love you' is just the beginning of the story.

“Take Two” is Here!

review-meme-take-twoTake Two is here and it’s getting great reviews! I’m so happy to share just a few of the comments reviewers have made about the book.

Take Two is a second chance at love story set during a movie shoot. It’s a sweet, poignant, slightly angsty, and sometimes funny story about love that won’t quit, and includes anachronistic pirates, silly dialogue, and general mayhem as action star Sander Carson, a.k.a. Sam Carr, tries to woo back his estranged husband, pirate expert and history professor Wesley Coolidge. To celebrate the release, I’m taking readers on a tour of Bald Head Island, where the book takes place. You can watch all the videos on my YouTube channel.


I hope you’ll enjoy this lighthearted romp and that you end up believing in second chances! The book is now available at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and all the usual suspects. -Shira

TakeTwo_headerbanner

Blurb: Shiver me timbers! When Professor Wesley Coolidge accepts a summer job as a historical consultant to a pirate movie being filmed in North Carolina, the last person he expects to bump into is his soon-to-be ex, movie star Sander Carson. Just like the flamboyant pirate he’s playing, Sander, aka Sam Carr, is used to getting what he wants, and he makes it clear he wants Wesley back in his life.

Sam acknowledges it’s his fault they split up. He lost Wesley when he left their life in New York City behind for a career in Hollywood. But Wesley has finally managed to put the pieces of his heart back together, and he isn’t interested in Sam and Wesley: The Sequel. Sam soon realizes that convincing Wesley to give their relationship a second chance will take much more than apologies and reminders of good times past. If he wants Wesley back, Sam will have to show Wesley that they really can sail into the sunset together–a real-life happily-ever-after that won’t end once the final credits roll.

Excerpt from Chapter Two:

The entire scene was surreal. Gorgeous boat, beautiful scenery, good wine, and me by my lonesome. In the grand scheme of life, it certainly wasn’t the worst outcome. Still, he wished he wasn’t alone.

He pulled his cellphone from his pocket and tapped the preset for Carl. If they couldn’t be together, at least Wes could describe the alternate universe he’d just stepped into for him. It took a few seconds for the call to connect, and Wes imagined the signal snaking its way down through Florida, then skimming the waves to the southwest, across the Gulf of Mexico, and over to Guatemala.

“This is Carl Stephens. I’m unavailable to take your call at the moment. Please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able.”

Figures. Wes shook his head and disconnected the call. He’d catch Carl another time. He didn’t want Carl to feel guilty about the change in plans. It wasn’t as if he was suffering here in North Carolina anyhow. He replaced the phone in his pocket and glanced up at the fly bridge again. Why not? He’d never been particularly shy, and he figured he’d feel more comfortable hanging out with the crew instead of pretending to be some pampered Hollywood celebrity. He refilled his glass and headed up the stairs.

The fly bridge was every bit as Wes had expected. Sleek, with the newest instrumentation, radio, and radar. The seats and console were white, as was the rest of the yacht, and the panoramic view was impressive. The captain sat facing the console, only the top of his head visible over the high-backed leather chair.

“Impressive.”

“We aim to please,” the captain responded without turning around. His clipped British accent reminded Wes of a young Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. “Are the accommodations to your liking?”

“You mean the presidential suite? I only wish I could spend a month or two sailing the Caribbean in accommodations like that.” He sighed.

“I might be able to arrange that.” The captain spun his chair around so he faced Wes. Except he wasn’t a captain, and he wasn’t British at all—

“Sam?” Wes knew his jaw had just dropped to the deck.

Sam Carr—no, Sander Carson, Wes reminded himself—grinned back at him. It was too easy for forget that the Sam he’d married no longer existed. “That would be me.” The British accent was gone, replaced by a hint of a soft southern drawl. Well, at least that was authentic.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Wes demanded.

Sam appeared entirely nonplussed. “Is that any way to say hello to your husband?”

“Ex-husband,” Wes corrected.

“Not for another 46 days and seven hours.” Sam leaned back in the captain’s chair, causing the thin fabric of his T-shirt to stretch tight over the muscles of his chest. He looked better than Wes remembered. No doubt he had some expensive fitness coach he worked with every day to manage pecs like that. His bright blue eyes were as disarming as they’d always been, the hint of stubble on his strong jaw only made him look more attractive. Like a movie star. Which, of course, Sam—or Sander—was.

“You haven’t answered my question,” Wes said, trying to ignore the jab to his gut at the reminder that their divorce would soon be final. “Why are you here?”

“I had a few days off from shooting, and I thought I’d take her out for a spin. They delivered her last week, and I haven’t had a chance to—”

“Wait a minute. You mean she… this is your boat?”

“Yep. Bought and paid for,” Sam said with pride.

The pieces began to fall into place. Marv leaving suddenly. The shoot in North Carolina. Sam wouldn’t have had anything to do with Carl’s boss’s change in plans, but he’d have known whom to call to find out about Wes’s plans. And Jeffrey. Shit, he remembered where he’d heard that name before: Sam’s personal assistant.

Total setup.

Wes made a mental note to read his secretary, Viv, the riot act when he got back to New York. Which would be very soon, if he had anything to say about it. She didn’t usually handle the details of his personal life, but she had access to his Outlook calendar. Come to think of it, she’d been asking him a lot of questions about his personal life lately. And she’d always loved Sam.

Everyone loves Sam.

“This isn’t going to happen, Sammy,” he told Sam. “I’m outta here.”

“Contract?” Sam said as Wes turned to head downstairs.

“Contracts can be broken.”

“You never read the fine print, do you?” Sam was clearly enjoying this.

“What have you done?” Wes glared at Sam.

“I didn’t do anything. The studio’s attorneys, though….”

“You set me up.” Stating the obvious. Sam was a hell of a lot smarter than he appeared. And way more devious. “What do you want from me, Sam?”

Sam tilted his head to one side and rubbed his chin as if he were considering the question. “You haven’t figured that out yet?” he asked.

Wes wouldn’t dignify the question with a response.

“I want you, Wesley Warren Coolidge. What else?”

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/take-two-by-shira-anthony-7477-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Take-Two-Shira-Anthony-ebook/dp/B01KPU7CU0

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-taketwo-2089463-149.html

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/take-two-shira-anthony/1124416760?ean=2940156863518

TakeTwo_headerbanner

About Shira: Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found at the Carolina coast aboard Land’s Zen, a 35’ catamaran sailboat, with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.

Want to hear Shira sing? You can listen to an excerpt from a live recording of Shira performing Tosca on her website: http://www.shiraanthony.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/tosca-visse-darte-exceprt1.mp3

Where to find Shira:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/shira.anthony

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/4641776.Shira_Anthony

Twitter: @WriterShira

Website: www.shiraanthony.com

E-mail: shiraanthony@hotmail.com

Flash Sale Monday: Take Two is 25% Off!

header_bannerThere’s a flash sale today only at Dreamspinner Press. You can pick up any new release for 25% off list price. That’s including my brand new novel, Take Two!

TakeTwoFS_v1Take Two is a sweet and funny story about getting a second chance at love. Some angst, some adventure, hot sex, and lots of silliness and romance.

Wesley’s a slightly uptight college history professor. Sam is a Hollywood superstar. Entirely different personalities, but they fit well together. At least they did until Sam’s career took him away from Wesley and their life in New York City. Wesley’s the first one to admit he still loves Sam, but his heart has just started to heal and he’s doing his best to move on. Sam, on the other hand, knows he wants Wesley back and he’s willing to grovel if he needs to.

Sam conspires to take a role in a less than D quality movie about a pirate that’s being filmed on location at the North Carolina coast, and manages to trick Wesley into consulting on the movie. But will Sam’s over the top antics to get Wesley back work? Maybe. Maybe not.

I hope Take Two will leave you with a big smile on your face! -Shira

TakeTwo_headerbanner

Blurb: Shiver me timbers! When Professor Wesley Coolidge accepts a summer job as a historical consultant to a pirate movie being filmed in North Carolina, the last person he expects to bump into is his soon-to-be-ex, movie star Sander Carson. Just like the flamboyant pirate he’s playing, Sander, aka Sam Carr, is used to getting what he wants, and he makes it clear he wants Wesley back in his life.

Sam acknowledges it’s his fault they split up. He lost Wesley when he left their life in New York City behind for a career in Hollywood. But Wesley has finally managed to put the pieces of his heart back together, and he isn’t interested in Sam and Wesley: The Sequel. Sam soon realizes that convincing Wesley to give their relationship a second chance will take much more than apologies and reminders of good times past. If he wants Wesley back, Sam will have to show Wesley that they really can sail into the sunset together—a real-life happily-ever-after that won’t end once the final credits roll.

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/take-two-by-shira-anthony-7477-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Take-Two-Shira-Anthony-ebook/dp/B01KPU7CU0

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-taketwo-2089463-149.html

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/take-two-shira-anthony/1124416760?ean=2940156863518

 

TakeTwo_headerbanner

Author Bio: Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found at the Carolina coast aboard Land’s Zen, a 35’ catamaran sailboat, with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.

Shira can be found on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/shira.anthony

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/4641776.Shira_Anthony

Twitter: @WriterShira

Website: www.shiraanthony.com

E-mail: shiraanthony@hotmail.com

TakeTwo_headerbanner

Excerpt from Take Two:

The setup – The night before, Wesley realized Sam set him up. Wesley drank a little too much, and he wakes up on Bald Head Island where the film he’s agreed to consult on is being shot. He doesn’t really remember getting to the island, but he remembers what happened before he passed out….

When Wesley finally made his way to the sink to splash some cold water on his face, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and cringed.

Reminder to self: don’t drink when Sam is around. He repeated this thought several times as he trimmed his beard and mustache. Sam was dangerous enough without the booze.

Wesley made it downstairs a half an hour later, slightly less rickety after having showered and shaved. The smell of coffee grew stronger the closer he got to what he guessed was the kitchen. He walked through the living room into the kitchen and—

“Morning, sunshine!”

Wesley grabbed a countertop to steady himself as his heart slammed against his ribs and his head began to pound again. “Shit. Sam. You scared the crap out of me.”

“Sorry.” Sam appeared only slightly remorseful.

“What are you doing here?”

“Making you coffee?” Sam offered Wesley a large mug, which Wesley took. The coffee smelled incredible, dark with a hint of chicory. Splash of milk, hint of sugar.

Of course he knows what kind of coffee you like—he made it for you every day for years.

“Thank you.” Wesley took a long sip. A few more cups and he’d feel human again.

“One step closer to your happy place?” Sam turned back to the stove.

Wesley ignored the question and drank some more. Sam had always been a morning person. He’d been a night person too, when Wesley really thought about it. Sam was always up. Always happy. Irritatingly so. Then again, if those were pancakes Sam was cooking, Wesley was inclined to forgive him his cheerfulness.

Sure enough, Sam handed him a plate full of Sam’s special sourdough flapjacks. A small bouquet of wildflowers at the center of the table created a burst of color in the otherwise white kitchen. Sam had probably picked them himself. The flowering stalks of rosemary interspersed with the blooms smelled really good.

Fuck. It was hard to complain when Sam was doting on him. “Sam, I really don’t need—”

“I’m just making sure you eat,” Sam said, pointing to the table.

Sam had always worried too much about him, like he was some delicate flower in need of protection. The reality was that Wesley had always been as healthy as a horse, and at six feet tall and 190 pounds, he was hardly a shrinking violet. Maybe compared to Sam’s six-foot-three-inch frame and 230 pounds of muscle, he wasn’t Superman, but…. “Sammy,” Wesley warned.

“I know, I know, I’m leaving,” Sam said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I’ve got an early makeup call anyhow. I just wanted to make sure you had something to eat.” He set the remaining flapjacks on the table.

Wesley repressed a sigh. “Thank you.” Whatever he and Sam were to each other—or weren’t—Sam was a good man.

“Someone will be by around ten to take you to the set.” Sam was out the door a second later. “See ya!”

Wesley rubbed the bridge of his nose and released a slow breath. If he was going to make it through the summer, he needed to relax. Sam was old news.

Wesley reached for one of the pancakes and nibbled his way around the crispy edge. Fuck. The man can cook. He sighed as he savored the soft interior, allowing the slightly sweet fluffiness to flood his mouth. Heaven. Okay, so Sam was old news, but Wesley could still enjoy the pancakes, couldn’t he?

 

Release Day for “Take Two”!

TakeTwoFS_v1Today is release day for Take Two  from Dreamspinner Press. I’m so excited to share this new novel with readers – I hope it will leave you with a big smile at the end!

Take Two is a sweet and funny story about getting a second chance at love. Some angst, some adventure, hot sex, and lots of silliness and romance.

Wesley’s a slightly uptight college history professor. Sam is a Hollywood superstar. Entirely different personalities, but they fit well together. At least they did until Sam’s career took him away from Wesley and their life in New York City. Wesley’s the first one to admit he still loves Sam, but his heart has just started to heal and he’s doing his best to move on. Sam, on the other hand, knows he wants Wesley back and he’s willing to grovel if he needs to.

Sam conspires to take a role in a less than D quality movie about a pirate that’s being filmed on location at the North Carolina coast, and manages to trick Wesley into consulting on the movie. But will Sam’s over the top antics to get Wesley back work? Maybe. Maybe not.

I hope Take Two  will leave you with a big smile on your face! -Shira

TakeTwo_headerbanner

Blurb: Shiver me timbers! When Professor Wesley Coolidge accepts a summer job as a historical consultant to a pirate movie being filmed in North Carolina, the last person he expects to bump into is his soon-to-be-ex, movie star Sander Carson. Just like the flamboyant pirate he’s playing, Sander, aka Sam Carr, is used to getting what he wants, and he makes it clear he wants Wesley back in his life.

Sam acknowledges it’s his fault they split up. He lost Wesley when he left their life in New York City behind for a career in Hollywood. But Wesley has finally managed to put the pieces of his heart back together, and he isn’t interested in Sam and Wesley: The Sequel. Sam soon realizes that convincing Wesley to give their relationship a second chance will take much more than apologies and reminders of good times past. If he wants Wesley back, Sam will have to show Wesley that they really can sail into the sunset together—a real-life happily-ever-after that won’t end once the final credits roll.

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/take-two-by-shira-anthony-7477-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Take-Two-Shira-Anthony-ebook/dp/B01KPU7CU0

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-taketwo-2089463-149.html

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/take-two-shira-anthony/1124416760?ean=2940156863518

 

TakeTwo_headerbanner

Author Bio: Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found at the Carolina coast aboard Land’s Zen, a 35’ catamaran sailboat, with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.

Shira can be found on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/shira.anthony

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/4641776.Shira_Anthony

Twitter: @WriterShira

Website: www.shiraanthony.com

E-mail: shiraanthony@hotmail.com

TakeTwo_headerbanner

Excerpt from Take Two:

The setup – The night before, Wesley realized Sam set him up. Wesley drank a little too much, and he wakes up on Bald Head Island where the film he’s agreed to consult on is being shot. He doesn’t really remember getting to the island, but he remembers what happened before he passed out….

When Wesley finally made his way to the sink to splash some cold water on his face, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and cringed.

Reminder to self: don’t drink when Sam is around. He repeated this thought several times as he trimmed his beard and mustache. Sam was dangerous enough without the booze.

Wesley made it downstairs a half an hour later, slightly less rickety after having showered and shaved. The smell of coffee grew stronger the closer he got to what he guessed was the kitchen. He walked through the living room into the kitchen and—

“Morning, sunshine!”

Wesley grabbed a countertop to steady himself as his heart slammed against his ribs and his head began to pound again. “Shit. Sam. You scared the crap out of me.”

“Sorry.” Sam appeared only slightly remorseful.

“What are you doing here?”

“Making you coffee?” Sam offered Wesley a large mug, which Wesley took. The coffee smelled incredible, dark with a hint of chicory. Splash of milk, hint of sugar.

Of course he knows what kind of coffee you like—he made it for you every day for years.

“Thank you.” Wesley took a long sip. A few more cups and he’d feel human again.

“One step closer to your happy place?” Sam turned back to the stove.

Wesley ignored the question and drank some more. Sam had always been a morning person. He’d been a night person too, when Wesley really thought about it. Sam was always up. Always happy. Irritatingly so. Then again, if those were pancakes Sam was cooking, Wesley was inclined to forgive him his cheerfulness.

Sure enough, Sam handed him a plate full of Sam’s special sourdough flapjacks. A small bouquet of wildflowers at the center of the table created a burst of color in the otherwise white kitchen. Sam had probably picked them himself. The flowering stalks of rosemary interspersed with the blooms smelled really good.

Fuck. It was hard to complain when Sam was doting on him. “Sam, I really don’t need—”

“I’m just making sure you eat,” Sam said, pointing to the table.

Sam had always worried too much about him, like he was some delicate flower in need of protection. The reality was that Wesley had always been as healthy as a horse, and at six feet tall and 190 pounds, he was hardly a shrinking violet. Maybe compared to Sam’s six-foot-three-inch frame and 230 pounds of muscle, he wasn’t Superman, but…. “Sammy,” Wesley warned.

“I know, I know, I’m leaving,” Sam said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I’ve got an early makeup call anyhow. I just wanted to make sure you had something to eat.” He set the remaining flapjacks on the table.

Wesley repressed a sigh. “Thank you.” Whatever he and Sam were to each other—or weren’t—Sam was a good man.

“Someone will be by around ten to take you to the set.” Sam was out the door a second later. “See ya!”

Wesley rubbed the bridge of his nose and released a slow breath. If he was going to make it through the summer, he needed to relax. Sam was old news.

Wesley reached for one of the pancakes and nibbled his way around the crispy edge. Fuck. The man can cook. He sighed as he savored the soft interior, allowing the slightly sweet fluffiness to flood his mouth. Heaven. Okay, so Sam was old news, but Wesley could still enjoy the pancakes, couldn’t he?

 

Cover Reveal: Take Two!

TakeTwoFS_v1I’m thrilled to be sharing the fabulous new cover by L.C. Chase for Take Two, my upcoming release from Dreamspinner Press! It’s now available for preorder on Dreamspinner Press.

For those readers who may be familiar with my Mermen of Ea Series or the Blue Notes Series, both from Dreamspinner, this book is a bit of a departure for me. Why? It isn’t a sweeping fantasy adventure or super angsty contemporary. It’s a sweet and funny story about getting a second chance at love. Some angst, some adventure, but lots of silliness and romance.

Wesley’s a slightly uptight college history professor. Sam is a Hollywood superstar. Entirely different personalities, but they fit well together. At least they did until Sam’s career took him away from Wesley and their life in New York City. Wesley’s the first one to admit he still loves Sam, but his heart has just started to heal and he’s doing his best to move on. Sam, on the other hand, knows he wants Wesley back and he’s willing to grovel if he needs to.

Sam conspires to take a role in a less than D quality movie about a pirate that’s being filmed on location at the North Carolina coast, and manages to trick Wesley into consulting on the movie. But will Sam’s over the top antics to get Wesley back work? Maybe. Maybe not.

I hope you’ll enjoy Take Two. It’s a story I hope will leave you with a sigh and a smile. -Shira

TakeTwo_headerbanner

Blurb: Shiver me timbers! When Professor Wesley Coolidge accepts a summer job as a historical consultant to a pirate movie being filmed in North Carolina, the last person he expects to bump into is his soon-to-be-ex, movie star Sander Carson. Just like the flamboyant pirate he’s playing, Sander, aka Sam Carr, is used to getting what he wants, and he makes it clear he wants Wesley back in his life.

Sam acknowledges it’s his fault they split up. He lost Wesley when he left their life in New York City behind for a career in Hollywood. But Wesley has finally managed to put the pieces of his heart back together, and he isn’t interested in Sam and Wesley: The Sequel. Sam soon realizes that convincing Wesley to give their relationship a second chance will take much more than apologies and reminders of good times past. If he wants Wesley back, Sam will have to show Wesley that they really can sail into the sunset together—a real-life happily-ever-after that won’t end once the final credits roll.

Buy Links:

eBook: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/take-two-by-shira-anthony-7477-b

Paperback: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/take-two-by-shira-anthony-7478-b

TakeTwo_headerbanner

Author Bio: Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found at the Carolina coast aboard Land’s Zen, a 35’ catamaran sailboat, with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.

Shira can be found on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/shira.anthony

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/4641776.Shira_Anthony

Twitter: @WriterShira

Website: www.shiraanthony.com

E-mail: shiraanthony@hotmail.com

TakeTwo_headerbanner

Excerpt from Take Two:

The setup – The night before, Wesley realized Sam set him up. Wesley drank a little too much, and he wakes up on Bald Head Island where the film he’s agreed to consult on is being shot. He doesn’t really remember getting to the island, but he remembers what happened before he passed out….

When Wesley finally made his way to the sink to splash some cold water on his face, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and cringed.

Reminder to self: don’t drink when Sam is around. He repeated this thought several times as he trimmed his beard and mustache. Sam was dangerous enough without the booze.

Wesley made it downstairs a half an hour later, slightly less rickety after having showered and shaved. The smell of coffee grew stronger the closer he got to what he guessed was the kitchen. He walked through the living room into the kitchen and—

“Morning, sunshine!”

Wesley grabbed a countertop to steady himself as his heart slammed against his ribs and his head began to pound again. “Shit. Sam. You scared the crap out of me.”

“Sorry.” Sam appeared only slightly remorseful.

“What are you doing here?”

“Making you coffee?” Sam offered Wesley a large mug, which Wesley took. The coffee smelled incredible, dark with a hint of chicory. Splash of milk, hint of sugar.

Of course he knows what kind of coffee you like—he made it for you every day for years.

“Thank you.” Wesley took a long sip. A few more cups and he’d feel human again.

“One step closer to your happy place?” Sam turned back to the stove.

Wesley ignored the question and drank some more. Sam had always been a morning person. He’d been a night person too, when Wesley really thought about it. Sam was always up. Always happy. Irritatingly so. Then again, if those were pancakes Sam was cooking, Wesley was inclined to forgive him his cheerfulness.

Sure enough, Sam handed him a plate full of Sam’s special sourdough flapjacks. A small bouquet of wildflowers at the center of the table created a burst of color in the otherwise white kitchen. Sam had probably picked them himself. The flowering stalks of rosemary interspersed with the blooms smelled really good.

Fuck. It was hard to complain when Sam was doting on him. “Sam, I really don’t need—”

“I’m just making sure you eat,” Sam said, pointing to the table.

Sam had always worried too much about him, like he was some delicate flower in need of protection. The reality was that Wesley had always been as healthy as a horse, and at six feet tall and 190 pounds, he was hardly a shrinking violet. Maybe compared to Sam’s six-foot-three-inch frame and 230 pounds of muscle, he wasn’t Superman, but…. “Sammy,” Wesley warned.

“I know, I know, I’m leaving,” Sam said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I’ve got an early makeup call anyhow. I just wanted to make sure you had something to eat.” He set the remaining flapjacks on the table.

Wesley repressed a sigh. “Thank you.” Whatever he and Sam were to each other—or weren’t—Sam was a good man.

“Someone will be by around ten to take you to the set.” Sam was out the door a second later. “See ya!”

Wesley rubbed the bridge of his nose and released a slow breath. If he was going to make it through the summer, he needed to relax. Sam was old news.

Wesley reached for one of the pancakes and nibbled his way around the crispy edge. Fuck. The man can cook. He sighed as he savored the soft interior, allowing the slightly sweet fluffiness to flood his mouth. Heaven. Okay, so Sam was old news, but Wesley could still enjoy the pancakes, couldn’t he?

 

Two Day Sale at Dreamspinner Press!

header_bannerDreamspinner Press has a 25% off everything sale today and tomorrow only! Time to fill up your e-reader or your bookshelves! Do you have a Kindle? You can have Dreamspinner email your book directly to your device. You can find all my books here, but there are tons of other great books by great authors on sale too!

Happy summer everyone! -Shira

Cover Reveal: Grace Duncan’s “Acceptance” (Forbes Mates Book 3)

AcceptanceFS_halfsize

Dr. Miles Grant acknowledges that his destined mate could be either gender even though his bisexuality cost him his family and his pack. Luckily he found the Forbes Pack, who happily accept him just as he is. What he never counted on was finding his mate in Pittsburgh or for his mate to be another species entirely—a cat!

 

Quincy Archer isn’t just any jaguar shifter. He is the heir to the leadership of his pride. Destined mates are nothing but legend to the nearly extinct and generally solitary jaguars, and Quincy certainly never expected to find one for himself, much less a male… or a wolf.

However, finding each other and coming to terms with their species is the least of their worries. Quincy is expected to select a proper female mate, father a cub, and take his place as heir to the pride. Except Quincy refuses, having no interest in women or leadership and knowing he isn’t right for it. But his father will stop at nothing—not even attempting to kill Miles—to get his way. Quincy and Miles must overcome many obstacles to stay together as the destined mates they’re meant to be.

Preorder – June 8, 2016 at Dreamspinner PresseBook & Paperback

Release date – July 8, 2016

Excerpt:

Miles flopped down on the end of the couch in the tiny break room and rested his head on the back. His eyes closed on their own before he could tell them to. He didn’t have long—maybe twenty, if he was lucky.

He was seriously regretting taking on so many shifts. But he’d been missing Quincy and needed something to occupy his mind, to distract him. It was ridiculous, he knew that; they’d met twice. But they were mates, destined, and their bond had already started forming. His wolf had been driving him crazy, pushing him to try to find Quincy and mate.

The problem was, whether he liked it or not, he didn’t doubt for a moment Quincy spoke the truth about why they couldn’t be together yet. He’d talked to Chad and Jamie a little and got the gist of the problems Quincy was having, though Chad wasn’t in good enough shape to do much talking yet. He was still recovering from the change, still learning how to filter sounds and light, still learning how to be a wolf.

But Miles’s wolf didn’t understand, didn’t give a shit about any of that. In fact, he was pushing Miles to protect Quincy, which was more than a little laughable. He’d been truthful—he wasn’t afraid of a cat—but he had no knowledge whatsoever of the jaguar world. It still killed him that Diana had given him a cat. He’d been ready for his mate to be either male or female; he would have been content with either, even if his family and former pack had other ideas about that. But no, he had to get a different species altogether.

And a species he didn’t know a damned thing about. He didn’t know how far someone like Quincy’s father would go to get his way. And Miles was a healer, not a fighter. He could fight—all shifters learned how—but that didn’t mean he relished it, so he wasn’t as good as most others.

He needed to see Quincy again, even for a little while. He could appease his wolf a little, make himself feel a little better, and maybe find some patience to wait more.

Quincy had sent a few messages since he’d seen his mate last—in the emergency room waiting area two months ago—mostly texts and a couple of e-mails to let Miles know he was still alive and still in hiding. They’d exchanged little bits about each other, but Quincy hadn’t wanted to say a lot lest it was intercepted. It wasn’t much, but at least knowing Quincy was okay helped keep Miles from going completely insane. He’d like to think he’d know if Quincy was killed, but he wasn’t sure how far their thin bond went, for something like that. When he’d asked Chad how Quincy had gotten his contact information since he’d never had a chance to give it, Chad had told Miles not to wonder about it. But Miles knew at least part of what Quincy did and wasn’t worried. He didn’t think for a moment Quincy would use it against him.

The last two months had been pure hell. He had no idea how Tanner had managed to keep Finley at arm’s length for two years. Granted, they’d been able to date, hang out together, that sort of thing, and he hadn’t so much as glimpsed Quincy in two months.

So he’d spent most of it working. A few times he’d been told point-blank to go home, that he’d been working too much. Whether he’d liked it or not, they’d been right. He’d been so tired he’d barely been standing. But after getting a few hours’ sleep—filled with some very vivid dreams of Quincy—he’d needed to do something.

Since he couldn’t go back to work, he decided to do the other thing he was good at: learn. He’d gone down to the Carnegie Library in Oakland and begun reading up on all things Ancient Egypt, starting with Bastet. He had no idea how much of it was accurate to the jaguars and how much was pure myth, but he figured having a basis to start from wouldn’t hurt.

Miles sighed and sat up again, eyeing the coffee machine in the corner. It was clear he wasn’t going to get any sleep, so he might as well get going the only other way he could. But as he stood and turned to the counter, he got hit with a huge tangle of emotion that wasn’t his. Anger seemed the primary emotion, though there was fear mixed in. And pain. Too much pain.

Quincy?

Miles raced out of the room, not thinking about how it would look—not thinking much at all. If Quincy was close, something was very, very wrong.

Just as he rounded the corner near the ambulance entrance, one of the nurses ran up to meet him. “Dr. Grant! Your pa—”

“Partner,” Miles interrupted, then stopped himself when the nurse simply blinked at him. He’d never told them about a partner—because he hadn’t actually had one, as far as he knew—but he’d deal with that later. “A friend called me,” he said, thinking quickly.

“Oh. Okay. They’re bringing him in now.”

“Thanks. How bad is it?”

Just then the doors opened and the paramedics pushed Quincy in on a stretcher. He was naked except for a sheet, his normally pale skin way too light. He had long gashes on his chest and stomach, but the rest was covered by the sheet. It looked like the scratches—probably caused by shifter claws, if he was any judge—had already started healing, though plenty more still looked wrong with him.

Miles had to take a quick breath, then a second as Quincy’s scent hit him hard—the hint of graphite and paper that overlaid a sweetness incongruent to Quincy’s outer personality. Miles had to shove hard on his wolf. He wanted out and wanted to go after whatever or whoever hurt their mate. Not now. We’ll help our mate, but not now.

With another breath through his mouth, he went into professional mode, falling back on his training and knowledge so he could make sure Quincy healed properly and didn’t raise too many eyebrows in the process.

* * *

Title: Acceptance

Author: Grace R. Duncan

Published: Dreamspinner Press

Genre: M/M Paranormal

Release date: July 8, 2016

If you haven’t read it yet, now would be a great time to check out the Forbes Mates series.  Find out more about Devotion (Tanner and Finley’s story) and Patience (Chad and Jamie’s story) here: http://www.grace-duncan.com/books/out-now-2/forbes-mates-2

About Grace

Grace Bio Pic (1)Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination.  She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble.  Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States.  She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics.  She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Find Grace here:

Website  ◊ FacebookTwitterYoutubeGoodreads

Elizabeth Noble’s Sentries: Exclusive Excerpt!

RingedLove_postcard_front_DSPPlease welcome the wonderful Elizabeth Noble who is visiting to share an excerpt from her Sentries series! Have I mentioned that I LOVE this series? Yep. I have now! – Shira

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Hello and thank you Shira for hosting me today. The first chapter of Ringed Love is posted on Dreamspinner Press, so over the next two weeks I’ll be offering the first one hundred or so words of each subsequent chapter.

Today’s excerpt is from chapter 13, the final chapter. Thank you to everyone who has joined along during this tour!

Excerpt:

Nick stood quietly to the side and watched the scene before him. Todd had a map spread out on the big table in Nick’s clinic. That was the best place to gather the area sentries when they all had to meet.

“Listen up, boys and girls, here’s the plan.” Todd pointed to different areas on the map as he talked.

“There were three bad earthquakes in less than two weeks, and things are getting bad down there.”

He nodded to one group of three people. Kids, really. When had Nick gotten so old that young men and women in their twenties and early thirties with families of their own seemed like kids?

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Blurb: New Colorado Protectorate fell with the assassination of Chancellor Clarke. Like many others, Todd and Nick Ruger left the land of their birth and made a home to the north in Yellowknife. Their world was ever changing. The time came to say a sad farewell to some of their friends and loved ones, but they were taken in with open arms by others and in turn offered shelter to yet more. Through the years they remained steadfast in their duty as sentries to protect and defend those that needed it the most.

Time marches on but through it all they hold each other dear and cherish the love they’ve shared. There are still angry ghosts, Windigos and water spirits to contend with. Their lives change, offering them new roles. When the time comes, they do what sentries have done for generations prior and teach others the skills to carry on as sentries. The Rugers lives were rich and their hearts full with their devotion and love for each other. The tradition of the sentries lived on forever. It was the legacy of Todd and Nick Ruger. That was the way it was always meant to be.

Buy Link: http://bit.ly/1pVSbMl

nerw logo EN 61915 copyBio: Elizabeth Noble started telling stories before she actually knew how to write, and her family was very happy when she learned to put words on a page. Those words turned into books and fanfiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M romance fiction. Being able to share her works with Dreamspinner is really a dream come true. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural and a bit of an unnatural interest in a super-volcano in Wyoming.

Elizabeth has three grown children and is now happily owned by an adorable mixed breed canine princess and her sidekick, tabby cat.  She lives in her native northeast Ohio, the perfect place for gardening and winter and summer sports (go Tribe and Cavs!) and stargazing all year long. When she’s not writing she’s working as a veterinary nurse, so don’t be surprised to see her men with a pet or three who are a very big part of their lives.

Elizabeth received several amateur writing awards. Since being published two of her novels have received honorable mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Her novel Jewel Cave was a runner up in the 2015 Rainbow awards in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category.

Website:  http://www.elizabeth-noble.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.noble.77

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4781553.Elizabeth_Noble

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Tour Stops:

May 16 Kris Bethke

May 17 Susan Laine

May 18 Meg Harding

May 19 Jamie Lynn Miller

May 20 Charlie Descoteaux

May 23 Grace R. Duncan

May 24 Sarah Madison

May 25 Rick R. Reed

May 26 Skylar M. Cates

May 27 Lou Sylvre

May 30 Ki Brightly

May 31 Shira Anthony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He Needs a Hero: Tali Spencer’s “Victory Portrait”

Victory Portrait_Rough Draft 7I’ve been a huge fan of Tali Spencer for nearly as long as I’ve been reading and writing gay romance. Her writing is beautiful and has a poetic touch that reminds me of one of my all-time favorites, Marion Zimmer Bradley. Her worlds, whether contemporary, fantasy, sci fi, or historical, are beautifully drawn, with wonderful world-building. And her characters… What can I say but that they capture my heart, hang on for dear life, and won’t let go!

Did I mention hot sex? My favorite sex scene ever in gay romance is from another book in her Uttor series, Dangerous Beauty. *swoons and fans self*

So when she asked me to beta read the latest Uttor book, I jumped at the chance. Victory Portrait is as wonderful and wonderfully sensual as the other series books. I highly recommend all of them. Two are heterosexual romance (Captive Heart and Adored), the other two are gay romance (Dangerous Beauty and Victory Portrait). Although the storylines are intertwined, if you don’t read het romance, you can skip those, although I loved them in spite of my lack of interest in het. Whatever you do, don’t skip the other two!

So with that recommendation, please welcome my good friend Tali! I can’t wait to read what she has coming up next. -Shira

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Thanks so much to Shira for hosting me and letting me talk about how hero-worship is at the core of my new book, Victory Portrait.

hero-worship: a feeling of extreme admiration for someone, imagining that they have qualities or abilities that are better than anyone else’s.

Idolizing an older, successful man—sight unseen—might seem foolish, but a young gay male otherwise lacking for role models can be excused for creating one. The fourth Pride of Uttor book, Victory Portrait, tells the story of the youngest captive Sebboyan prince, Peta, and what happens when he encounters his dream man, the Uttoran general Darius Arrento.

Both characters have appeared in the previous Uttor books. In the opening chapter of the first book, Captive Heart, Peta declares his admiration for Arrento. Soon after, readers meet the great general for the first time. But he’s not a main character in that book and we mostly glimpse him through Peta’s infatuation. Peta has followed Arrento’s career and mapped every battle. After Sebboy’s royals are taken to Uttor to be imperial captives, Peta bemoans to his sister that he alone of his family has not met Darius Arrento. To which she answers:

“I saw him. He’s tall and built like a castle wall.”45114ec83980289053703fe7586f71b7

That description only serves to anchor Peta’s impression of Arrento as bigger than life.

In Victory Portrait, Peta at last gets a chance to see his hero face to face, although he must do so as a slave serving the artist who is painting the great man’s portrait. Although he has misgivings about how this is happening, Peta leaps at the opportunity. Can Arrento possibly live up to Peta’s expectations?

Even the greatest heroes are just men. They get cranky. They make mistakes in judgment. They get ill, tired, hungry, sentimental, fixated, stubborn, proud, and a hundred other human frailties. Even so, great men are thought great for a reason and they bring those virtues to the table.

As moralist Thomas Carlyle so eloquently put it: “We all love great men; love, venerate and bow down submissive before great men: nay can we honestly bow down to anything else? Ah, does not every true man feel that he is himself made higher by doing reverence to what is really above him?”

Peta reveres Arrento for being what he himself wants to be: loyal,fc3ce755341aab24b338211cee728e02 respected, and fearless. Their meeting will decide whether he can accept that his hero possesses other, less heroic qualities—and also reveal Peta’s own best qualities as well.

 

Blurb: Imperial captive and former Sebboyan prince Peta Kordeun has one great wish: to meet Darius Arrento, conqueror of his country and a man he has idolized since childhood. That wish comes true the day the Uttoran emperor assigns Peta to assist the artist who will be painting the great general’s official portrait.

General Darius Arrento would rather take a crossbow bolt through his flesh than sit for a portrait, until his friend the emperor forces his hand. The notorious artist, Brazzi, uses semen and other sexual fluids to bind his colors—and Arrento is captivated by the artist’s pretty helper. Before long he is driven to possess the gorgeous young man who draws battle maps and whose naïve charm has won more hearts in Uttor than Arrento has won battles.

When Arrento learns that Peta, the slave he covets and wants for his own, is one of the despised Kordeun princes, he storms from Uttor toward a far corner of the empire—where he quickly finds himself embroiled in a plot to tear Uttor’s empire apart. His emotions and loyalties frayed, the great Arrento is in the battle of his life…and Peta may hold the key to his survival.

Buy Links:

Amazon

AllRomance

Resplendence

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Excerpt:

“The emperor has given General Arrento permission to use you. I received word. The message bore the emperor’s seal.”

Though his skin goose-pimpled, Peta nodded. That the news was not being delivered in person did not surprise him. He and Gaspar had agreed their contact would by necessity be minimal, and they had already discussed the issue of his consent.

“I understand. I did say I would agree to it.”

The furrow on Brazzi’s brow brought his bushy eyebrows down a few notches. “Yes, well, my contract with the emperor pre-dates the general’s oral one, and mine states you must be returned to His Imperial Majesty in good condition. Which means I have a legal interest in how this matter will be conducted. My first term is that any using happens here, in my work room, and nowhere else. I’ve fucked slaves in this room and so can he.” Brazzi pointed across the room to a silk and pillow-covered couch. Its four golden lion paws crouched upon a costly rug. Draping of gold, red, blue and green velvet hung as backdrops. The artist had props for every occasion.

Peta flushed at the sight of the bed. “Shouldn’t you be telling Arrento this?”

“I will. Letting you know what I will allow won’t hurt anything.” Brazzi pulled over a rough-hewn stool and sat upon it. His long face looked grim. “I’m not convinced by this decision—yours or the emperor’s. Teasing a man with a little hands-off foreplay is a mild provocation, yes, but it isn’t personal, not truly…and if my process feels personal in any way, it’s more so for you than it is for him.” The artist’s jaw clenched. “Fucking, though…there is nothing more personal. Even for the great Arrento. I’ve made love to countless women, slaves and royalty and everything female in between, and what was beautiful about those trysts…what was sublime…was that all parties were of the same mind. We knew what we were doing.”

Peta swallowed against the dryness tugging his throat. What he wanted from Arrento, and what Arrento wanted from him, was pretty clear. “I agreed.”

“To a notion. To an idea.”

“To having sex with another man. To having sex with him. Do I have to tell you how much I want…Brazzi, I’ve dreamed of that.”

“I believe you, yes, but I’m not convinced you want the man…not yet. The gods know you don’t even see him. At least you know who he is. But Arrento doesn’t have that same consideration, does he? Blind, both of you. All you see is a war hero and all he sees is a beautiful boy.”

Peta sought to deny this, even though he knew what Brazzi said was true. “Maybe that’s changed. Maybe Gaspar told him about me.”

Brazzi considered. “He didn’t say he had, but if he did I’m sure we will know the moment the general shows up for his session tomorrow…if he shows up at all.”

Peta wasn’t sure whether to hope for that or not. If Arrento knew who he was, and hated him because of it, and fucked him anyway…he’d not thought of that possibility. “If he doesn’t know, don’t tell him. I beg you.”

“I won’t have to tell him. He’s bound to find out.”

But not right away. Not until after. Not until Peta had fulfilled the greatest fantasy he’d ever held secret. A fantasy that—since seeing the man and feeling his touch—had grown into a firestorm of hope. If Arrento would only see him and learn to know him, who knew what might be possible.

“Please.”

After a long moment, Brazzi conceded. “If General Arrento comes for the sitting, I will paint him. Only that. After all, you and I are the emperor’s servants. I promised the emperor a portrait and I foresee a masterpiece. So paint I will. Do whatever you and the emperor have worked out between you. It’s not my place to interfere. I’m just pointing out that you are young and haven’t thought this thing through. I must trust that our emperor has. One way or another we will all play out our parts.”

They would…and if Arrento didn’t know by now that Peta was not just any slave, he would find out one day—and soon. He would see Peta at Gaspar’s wedding to Julissa. Or Arrento would spy him one day in the Imperial Villa or elsewhere in town and ask about him—and when he did, someone who had no reason to hide the truth would reveal all…

What was he thinking? That Arrento would forgive all?

I’ll have to go away, Peta realized. Now that he thought of it, the solution to the problem was clear as day. He was the least of King Lukacz’s heirs, the youngest of three surviving brothers and known to be a lover of men. He could never be king of Sebboy or any Koth land. In political terms he was practically worthless. Once the sittings were finished and the portrait certain to be finished, Gaspar could easily send him elsewhere to serve out his captivity, someplace Arrento would never visit. He could not imagine a more terrible sentence.

******

About the Author:

Author Bio:

Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.

When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.

Tali’s other books include the three preceding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, and Adored, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds, are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often posts free stories and excerpts on her blog.

Visit Tali’s blog at http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com
E-mail: tali.spencer1@gmail.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tali.spencer

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/talispencer/

 

 

Release Day! Tharros by C. Kennedy is Out!

  Tharros-600x900Release Day! Thárros by C. Kennedy is Out!
Θάρρος
Thárros. Greek. Meaning courage
Courage. n. /ˈkərij/
1. The ability to do something that frightens one.
2. Strength in the face of fear, pain, or grief.
~*~
Courage is resistance to fear,
mastery of fear,
not the absence of fear. ~Mark Twain
High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. Almost. He has great friends, parents who love him just the way he is, and he was a champion hurdler until someone took out his knee when they kidnapped his boyfriend. Yet, Michael is determined to make the USATF tryouts in spite of his injuries.

Christy Castle is Michael’s entire world. Healing from years of abuse, his abduction by a predator has left him hiding a new secret as he tries to start his life again. Together, Michael and Christy work to recover from their wounds Tharros - Quote - Michael would make sure they wonin time to make prom and graduate high school. To complicate matters, Christy is astonished to learn a fellow victim from his native Greece has survived. Christy will stop at nothing to bring him to the US to keep him safe.But the prosecution of Christy’s kidnapper looms large in their futures and the struggle to return to normal only worsens. Christy’s past continues to haunt them and, when the prosecution turns ugly and Christy’s new life is torn apart, only their unrelenting courage and determination can save them from the nightmare that threatens to destroy their future together.

 

Add Thárros to your Goodreads and BookLikes Lists!

Read Chapter One or Read en français

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About Cody

Cody is an award-winning author who lives, most of the time, on the West Coast of the United States. Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much-maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary. Among many other awards, Omorphi was a runner up in the 2014 Rainbow Awards, and Slaying Isidore’s Dragons was a finalist in the 2015 Rainbow Awards. Cody does respond to blog comments and emails because, after all, it is all about you, the reader.
Find Cody on Facebook, Twitter @CodyKAuthor, Pinterest,
Booklikes, and read a free serial story, Fairy

Cover Reveal: What About Now by Grace Duncan!

WhatAboutNowFSWhat About Now
Dreamspinner Press
Cover by Reese Dante
Release date: 5/9/2016
100k words
Preorder:
Ebook: http://bit.ly/1q9U75b
Paperback: http://bit.ly/1SsdMDx

 

Blurb:

Five years ago, everything went wrong.

Braden Kirk and Rafe Jessen’s long-term relationship started unraveling. They stopped talking, fears mounted, then Braden walked in on Rafe and another man, completely misreading the situation. Without giving Rafe a chance to explain, Braden walks out. Out of their home, their relationship, and the game development company they started together in college.

After months of therapy to deal with the attempted rape Braden walked in on, Rafe begins to understand that his dominant tendencies in the bedroom aren’t a bad thing and that Braden’s submission is likely what scared his partner into silence. But Rafe isn’t ready to let go of the man he loves more than life itself. He arranges for himself and Braden to end up on the same charity cruise, knowing Braden won’t let his phobia—terror of vast, deep waters—rule him.

With a plan and twenty-eight days, Rafe is determined to get Braden back, make him see there’s nothing wrong with being submissive, and find a way to get Braden to stay with him when they get home to LA.

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Excerpt:

Braden stared at the monstrosity that was to be his home for the next four weeks. He shifted his weight from foot to foot as he tried to remind himself this was a good idea. He was helping a charity he felt strongly about. He really did need a vacation.

He kept telling himself that as he moved forward with the rest of the passengers along the ramp to the gangway. He’d heeded his cruise-veteran mother’s advice and arrived after two so he could go straight to his room. She’d mentioned if he went earlier, he could eat while on the ship, but Braden was delaying boarding as long as possible. Since they were set to depart at four and it appeared most of the passengers had already boarded, Braden had gone from curb to gangway in what he felt was much too little time.

He didn’t know if he was ready to step on that ship.

Braden shook his head at himself, went through the open doorway, smiled at the uniformed lady on the other side, and nodded at something she said. He had no idea what it was, possibly directions to somewhere. He was a bit too overwhelmed at the moment to worry about it. He figured there’d be maps. He could handle that.

He didn’t know if he could handle being trapped in a ship, even one as huge as this one. In the middle of the ocean. For four weeks.

He was committed now. Braden blinked when he was offered what looked like a glass of champagne. Deciding alcohol could only help, he took the offered drink. He half expected to hand over his card—his mother told him they sometimes charged for drinks—but the lady simply smiled. He managed to say “thank you” and moved farther down the hallway, hoisting his backpack, the only carry-on he’d bothered with, a little higher on his shoulder.

But before he got too far, he stopped dead again. He knew he probably looked a bit like a fish, his mouth gaping, but he couldn’t help it. He looked up, then up, and farther up still as he took in the huge atrium.

Plants, marble, wood, glass, and gold seemed to be everywhere. Glass-backed elevators rose to his right, with a white grand piano nestled between them. Groupings of chairs set around glass tables created cozy chatting areas, scattered around the space. Across from him, he could just see the front of a shop, and off to the other side, what looked to be a florist. A three-story fountain poured along still more marble off to his left. And a pair of glass-and-gold curved staircases led to the second and third floors.

Someone bumped into Braden and he shook his head again, cheeks reddening. “Sorry,” he mumbled, moving out of the way. He remembered the glass in his hand and downed the fizzy drink in one long gulp.

He needed to get out of public for a few moments and collect himself. He was being ridiculous and he knew it. With another head shake, he looked down at the paper he’d been handed when he checked in and saw a map—or more like a series of maps of each of the decks. In the upper right, he found the ship name and a list of abbreviations below it that made no sense to him. He ignored those and looked at the tiny maps. A big red arrow pointed to the center of the right-most map. Braden guessed that was this atrium.

He scowled at his boarding pass, then at the map, and squinted at the ridiculously tiny numbers. He had good eyesight but could barely make them out. Where the hell was he supposed to go?

He went back to his boarding pass and found his room listing. Emerald Deck, stateroom E519. Well, he could find the deck, then worry about his room. According to the map, he had three flights up to go, so he headed for the curved stairs in the middle of the room. He paused long enough to leave the glass on a table, then started up the closest set of steps.

It didn’t take him long to find the right deck. They were, at least, clearly marked by big brass plaques between the elevators on each floor. So, a moment later, he was walking along the hallway toward midship on the correct deck and was counting down numbers. He breathed a sigh of relief when he finally stood in front of the correct door.

Braden’s first impression was that his parents had spent an absurd amount of money for him to live in a closet for a month. It seemed impossibly small, despite the queen-sized bed—or perhaps because of it. Braden didn’t know, but there was barely enough space to move around the bed. The tiny desk didn’t look deep enough to hold his laptop, and the LCD television mounted to the wall was even smaller than the pictures made it look.

His luggage wasn’t there yet, but he’d been expecting that. His mother had told him it wouldn’t show up until a few hours, at least, after he got there. He set his backpack on his bed and slipped around it to peer out the window.

He’d agonized over that decision for what felt like forever. He had no wish to look at the vast deep waters, but he wasn’t much fonder of being closed in. Then he’d discovered the obstructed-view rooms and was relieved to find he could have light without having to look at the water.

When he pulled the curtain aside, he was happy to see lots of blue sky… and a huge red lifeboat. If he stood on tiptoes, he could just glimpse the water, but that was fine with him.

Braden let the curtain go, and turned back to his room, dropping onto the side of the bed. He rested his face in his hands and forced himself to breathe deeply. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. He hated big bodies of water. Well, hated seemed… mild. He was, in a word, terrified.

But he’d agreed to go. He’d accepted the ticket his parents wanted to buy him, especially when they’d explained it was to benefit the house he’d been helping raise money for, to provide shelter for homeless LGBT youth. He’d seriously considered buying the ticket himself and just not going on the cruise, but his mother convinced him he was letting fear rule him and the vacation was more than needed.

She was right about that. Braden had spent more of the last nine months quite literally at his office than in his apartment. As the lead developer on a new game his company was finalizing, he’d put in upward of eighteen hours almost every day. Once the game went live and their first update completed and released, he had no more excuses. He’d earned plenty of money, which he hadn’t spent while practically living at work. His boss had pretty much ordered him to take a month off. When the cruise came up, he knew there was no reasonable reason for him to not accept.

Braden didn’t like the idea of letting his fears rule him. His terror of deep waters had bothered him for years, but he’d managed to avoid the ocean for the most part, despite living in Los Angeles. He’d once had help with that, but that help was gone and it was up to him to face his fear, now, alone.

His mother had pointed out that he didn’t need to spend a lot of time at the railings. He could stay in the lounges, read his Kindle at the pool—which didn’t scare him—or in any of a dozen inside places, work out in the gym, or watch shows in the inside theater. He didn’t need to expose himself unnecessarily.

What he hadn’t told his mother was there was another reason he didn’t necessarily want to go. Exactly the same one, he was sure, she had for pushing him so hard to go on this cruise in the first place. The charity group functions on the ship focused on gathering LGBT singles. And while Braden knew there were more than a few lesbians on the ship, the coordinator had told him the larger portion of their group of more than three hundred was made up of gay or bisexual men. It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce his mother wanted him to find someone.

Braden loved his mother and would do almost anything for her, but he had no interest in that whatsoever. He’d avoided relationships for the last five years and had no intention of breaking that record. When he’d walked out of the last one, he promised himself he wouldn’t make the same mistakes again. He refused to admit his insistence on not dating had as much to do with the fact that he still loved the man.

He rubbed his face hard and took a deep breath, then sat up. For good or ill, he was on the ship and staying. He’d be damned if he let his fears dictate his actions—whether that was his fear of the ocean or of getting hurt, it didn’t matter. They would not rule him, neither of them.

He stood up and snatched up his bag, opened it, and pulled out the information sheet from the group coordinator. He found the location for the group welcome reception, consulted the map, then stuffed it in his pocket. After stowing his wallet and money in the safe, he snatched up the card that served as identification, payment, and key while on board and headed out.

With any luck there’d be an open bar. The champagne in the atrium hadn’t been nearly enough.

 

 

Rafe Jessen stepped quickly into an alcove and waited for the man to pass. He hoped he wouldn’t be seen or at least recognized. After all, the man had no idea he was even on the ship and thus wouldn’t be expecting to see him. Which was exactly what Rafe wanted. For now, anyway.

When he was sure it was clear, he stepped out and walked along the same hallway. A couple flights of stairs and a few turns later, he found a quiet corner of the Explorer’s Lounge where they were holding the welcome reception. He held a slightly weaker rum and Coke than he usually liked—but didn’t much mind, since it was free—and settled in to watch the man he’d been waiting to see again for what felt like forever.

He didn’t look happy. That was the first thing Rafe noticed. The brown hair was a bit longer than he remembered and currently disheveled, as if he’d run his fingers through it a lot. Rafe smiled. Braden had been guilty of doing that quite a bit when something didn’t work in the game he was developing.

The blue eyes looked a bit sadder. Well, maybe not than the last time Rafe saw them. The last time he’d seen them, they’d been spitting the blue fire of Braden’s rage. Now, they were sad. But Rafe remembered when those eyes crinkled at the corners with humor. He remembered heat and want. He remembered love. All for him.

Rafe hated that he was the one to put that sadness there. And as it had for five long years, that knowledge still pierced him. He finished the rum and Coke and waved at the bartender for another, never taking eyes off the man he’d never stopped loving. Braden stood barely thirty feet away and didn’t know he was there. Rafe’s heart thudded, his throat closed, and he reminded himself to breathe. Take air in. Let it go.

As he started in on his second rum and Coke, he drank in the lean frame he knew hid muscles and strength—both mental and physical. He ate up the quick smile Braden flashed at their charity coordinator, Janie, who’d made a joke. And he reminded himself he was on that ship for a reason, and with any luck, the plan he had would work.

It had to. He’d been without Braden for far too long.

Five years. Five years that felt like an eternity.

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noh8Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination.  She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble.  Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States.  She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics.  She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

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