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

“Stealing the Wind” is now available in audiobook!

StealingTheWindFSStealing the Wind, the first book in the Mermen of Ea Series is now available in audiobook format! The timing is perfect, since the final installment in the series, Running with the Wind, will be released on June 8th.

I love the narrator for the series, Michael Stellman. He really brings the characters to life, and I love the great accents he uses for some of the pirates, in particular. His voicing of Taren is perfect–vulnerable and naive. I’m enjoying listening to the complete recording. You can hear an excerpt by clicking here. You’ll see a “Listen: Play Sample” link right below the book cover.

Just a reminder that you can pre-order the final book in the series at Dreamspinner Press and AllRomanceEbooks right now. I do promise a hard-won HEA, of course, since I don’t write books without HEAs. But that’s all I’ll say! You can read excerpts from the first two books here on my website, or stay tuned for excerpts from the final book in the series!

The Running with the Wind blog tour starts on June 1st, so stay tuned. The grand prize is 55-90824_december_diamonds_ornament_groomsa December Diamonds mermen marriage ornament, and there are other fun prizes too! You can find the giveaway here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cf0ba94912/?

For those of you in Raleigh, North Carolina this weekend, I’ll be manning a table with authors Venona Keyes and Jordan Hawk at Animazement. Feel free to stop by! We’ve got lots of great paperback books for a big discount off retail. Or just say hello and pick up some fun swag! Have a great weekend. -Shira

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Blurb: Taren Laxley has never known anything but life as a slave. When a lusty pirate kidnaps him and holds him prisoner on his ship, Taren embraces the chance to realize his dream of a seagoing life. Not only does the pirate captain offer him freedom in exchange for three years of labor and sexual servitude, but the pleasures Taren finds when he joins the captain and first mate in bed far surpass his greatest fantasies.

Then, during a storm, Taren dives overboard to save another sailor and is lost at sea. He’s rescued by Ian Dunaidh, the enigmatic and seemingly ageless captain of a rival ship, the Phantom, and Taren feels an overwhelming attraction to Ian that Ian appears to share. Soon Taren learns a secret that will change his life forever: Ian and his people are Ea, shape-shifting merfolk…and Taren is one of them, too.

Bound to each other by a fierce passion neither can explain or deny, Taren and Ian are soon embroiled in a war and forced to fight for a future – not only for themselves but for all their kind.

 

The Complete Mermen of Ea Series is 30% Off!

RunningWithTheWind-colorsREVThe complete Mermen of Ea Series is 30% off at Dreamspinner Press right now to celebrate DSP’s 8th anniversary! You can find all three books here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=914

The final book in the series, Running with the Wind, will be released on June 8th, so if you haven’t already started the series, or haven’t finished the second book, now’s a great time to catch up! Not sure about hot, mermen shifters? Check out the NSFW excerpt below for a taste of what’s to come.

The Mermen of Ea Series is high fantasy, adventure, Stealing the Wind Cover - FINALand romance set on the high seas. It follows the story of Taren Laxley, an indentured servant who works as a rigger repairing the ropes of ships putting into port in Raice Harbor. When Taren is kidnapped by the lusty captain of a pirate ship, he finally realizes his life-long dream of sailing on the ocean. After Taren falls overboard trying to save a fellow crewmate, he is plucked from the water by the crew of the Phantom, a mysterious ship captained by the seemingly ageless Ian Dunaidh. What Taren soon learns is that Ian and his crew are not human at all, but Ea, merfolk shifters who can take human form. More surprising still, Taren discovers he, too, is Ea.

IntoWindThe final book in the series, Running with the Wind, takes up where the second book, Into the Wind, left off after a battle at sea that culminates in the destruction of the Sea Witch. Haven’t read any of the books yet? You’ll want to start with the first book, Stealing the Wind.

I can’t wait to share this last series book with you! I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. -Shira

~*~

Blurb: Sequel to Into the Wind

With the final confrontation between the island and mainland Ea factions looming, Taren and Ian sail with Odhrán to investigate a lost colony of merfolk in the Eastern Lands. Upon their arrival, the King of Astenya welcomes them as friends. Odhrán, however, isn’t so quick to trust the descendent of the man who held him prisoner for nearly a decade, especially now that he has someone to cherish and protect—the mysterious winged boy he rescued from the depths.

Armed with the knowledge he believes will save the Ea, Taren returns to the mainland. With Ian at his side, Taren convinces Vurin that their people must unite with their island brethren before it’s too late. When Seria and his men attack, Taren must call upon the ancient power of the rune stone to protect his comrades. But using stone’s immeasurable power commands a hefty price—and Ian fears that price is Taren’s life.

RunningWithTheWind_headerbanner

NSFW/18+ Excerpt from Stealing the Wind (Mermen of Ea #1):

IAN led Taren to a secluded cove about an hour’s walk from the village, where they sat and ate the meager lunch Ian had purchased on their way. Taren knew they would fish later, but the small meal satisfied him like a feast, and the crisp scent of the salt water reawakened his spirit.

They undressed in silence under the shade of the palm trees. Taren admired Ian’s beautiful skin as it shimmered and rippled with each of Ian’s movements. Once beneath the waves, Taren swam against the current, his belly full, the water warm on his skin. How long had it been since he’d felt the sun on his back? It had rained nearly every day in the prison, the weather mirroring the bleakness of his future. He’d expected to die there. Worse, he’d wanted to die.

At this thought, the warmth of the sunshine seemed to fade, and Taren let himself sink to the sandy bottom. He wished the dreams would find him once more, but they did not. A wave of grief and the memory of pain washed over him as surely as the sun had only minutes before. His eyes burned. Could an Ea cry?

“Taren?”

Taren felt the reassuring pressure of Ian’s hand clasping his own, willing him back from the depths of his despair. He forced a smile before taking off in the direction of the dark shadow of a reef in the distance. He didn’t want to show Ian his weakness. Ian had done enough already. He didn’t need a simpering fool for a companion.

“You’re running from me.”

I’m fine. He knew that would do little to assuage Ian’s concern. Just tired.

“You lie. I can sense it as clearly as I hear your thoughts.”

Taren swam away, slipping between two large protrusions of rock and coral and out of the sunlight. A parrot fish swam up to him, eyed him warily, then darted away. He turned to find Ian directly behind him, blocking his exit. I thought you couldn’t read my mind unless I wanted you to.

“It’s different with you.” Ian did not move—a challenge, no doubt.

Taren was half-tempted to simply accept Ian’s dominance. He wanted to go home to Rider and Bastian; he wanted to go back to his life aboard the Sea Witch. He knew he could do neither. How could he? He wasn’t one of them and he never could be. Now that he understood what he was, he wished he could forget it and return to the simple life of a slave. What Ian asked of him—whatever it was—Taren feared it. He feared a future with choices and uncertainty.

Leave me be. Taren pushed past Ian, brushing his slippery skin and emerging on the other side only to feel Ian grab him around the waist. Still weak from his time in the prison, Taren struggled to escape Ian’s grasp. He finally gave up and laid his head on Ian’s shoulder. Ian stroked his hair, calming him. For the longest time, Taren allowed Ian to hold him.

You’ve suffered.” Taren sensed the guilt in Ian’s words. He knew as surely as if it had been his own thought to share. “And you fear the future.” Ian kissed Taren again, and Taren released a long, slow breath. Ian’s tender embrace seemed to ease the painful turbulence in Taren’s heart.

They continued to float, Taren’s face pressed against Ian’s chest. Taren could sense Ian’s physical desire for him, but Ian waited patiently and held him close. The feeling of peaceful repose settled deep within Taren’s heart, and Taren became slowly aware of how much he wanted Ian. Not a new feeling, but this time Taren’s doubt had fled with the onslaught of Ian’s embrace.

Taren reached up and kissed Ian. He wasn’t sure what he’d expected of the kiss. He’d never kissed anyone under the water. Ian’s mouth felt hotter than before. The saltwater caused Taren’s mouth to vibrate with sensation, as if Taren could taste Ian’s desire. Ian’s scent was powerful and primal, more like those of the other creatures Taren had smelled beneath the waves. No longer human. Taren’s body responded to the scent even more strongly than to Ian’s touch. The stirring inside his body felt both strange and wonderful. They swam side by side a few feet above the sand.

Taren’s heart beat a steady tattoo, and his body heated under Ian’s intensely possessive gaze. Taren’s need to submit was primal and demanding. Ian flicked his tail and moved to nuzzle Taren, brushing against Taren’s skin in a sensual and dizzying dance. Around and around they swam, spiraling, their bodies always in contact. Without thinking, Taren nipped at Ian’s neck. Ian swam on his back, exposing his neck to Taren’s mouth and teeth. Taren continued to bite and lick until Ian hissed in reply. The sound was like a soft whistle, audible through the water.

“Goddess!” Ian’s voice in Taren’s mind was a husky growl. “Where did you learn to do that?”

Taren had no answer except that his body knew this. He floated just above Ian, their bellies now pressed together, tails propelling them in unison. They moved in a slow, languid line above the sand. Taren nearly laughed to feel Ian’s cock hard against his own, where before they’d been hidden inside their bodies. He stopped moving and reached down to clasp it, surprised at how human it felt, hard and veined. He wanted to taste it, to learn its secrets with his lips.

Ian gazed down at Taren and stilled so Taren might better explore his body. Taren wrapped his arms around Ian’s tail and hooked his own tail around Ian’s body so they floated as one, their bodies rocked on the gentle current. With a quick glance upward at Ian—Ian’s expression was serene, even vulnerable—Taren took Ian in his mouth.

Ian’s cock was long and thick. Taren licked around the tip, flicking his tongue in tiny circles until he felt Ian’s body shudder with pleasure, then swallowed Ian’s erection until it tickled the back of his throat.

Ian moved his tail just a bit, sending them spinning again as Taren continued to explore with his tongue, reveling in Ian’s sweetness. How strange it felt to hear the surf as he coaxed Ian’s body to the brink. Stranger still, Taren’s mind filled with images from Ian’s thoughts, as if by giving his body over to Taren’s attentions, Ian had given all of himself to Taren.

Through Ian’s eyes, Taren saw the waves buffet the Phantom and felt joy stir in his heart as the mighty ship rode the crest of a wave and fell, the spray cool on his face. He saw himself asleep on Ian’s bed, his head in Ian’s lap as Ian stroked his hair and spoke softly to him. He felt Ian’s concern for his welfare, Ian’s need to reassure himself of Taren’s well-being. He felt the freedom of Ian’s transformation, the power of Ian’s body as it cut through the water and chased dolphins in the surf. He felt his own lips on Ian’s member, his mouth hot and hungry, and Ian’s climax as it exploded through Ian’s body. When Ian finally spent himself in Taren’s hungry mouth, Taren experienced Ian’s climax as if it were his own. Taren’s orgasm sent him over a cascade of emotion and physical sensation.

 

THEY drifted near the sandy bottom, and Ian held Taren as he dozed. “Do you know how truly beautiful you are in this form?” Taren had also been beautiful as a human, but there was something about him now, when his mind was open and his heart full, that Ian found particularly striking. To Ian, finding Taren felt like a homecoming after years spent at sea. Was this the connection of which Renda had spoken?

Taren awoke and stretched catlike, arms over his head. Ian secured Taren around the waist and sucked at a pale nipple. He flicked it between tongue and teeth, continuing to work the flesh until it pebbled. Taren arched his back to meet Ian’s tongue, and Ian moved his hands over Taren’s tail, cupping Taren’s ass and squeezing it.

“What was that? Before, when you spent, so did I, as if I were the one…?”

It isn’t just thoughts we share, Taren. When Ea mate in this form, they share sensation as well. Ian didn’t need to hear Taren’s thoughts to know this pleased Taren. He smiled, then went back to work, making sure to give Taren’s other nipple its due.

Ian. Please don’t make me wait.

 

“Running with the Wind” Now Available for Preorder!

RunningWithTheWind-colorsREVRunning with the Wind, the final installment in the Mermen of Ea Series from Dreamspinner Press, is now available for preorder here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6455! You can find the complete series on Dreamspinner Press’s website: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=914 The gorgeous cover art is by the incomparable Anne Cain. Read to the bottom for an extended NSFW excerpt from the first book in the series.

The Mermen of Ea Series is high fantasy, adventure, and romance set on the high seas. It follows the story of Taren Laxley, an indentured servant who works as a rigger repairing the ropes of ships putting into port in Raice Harbor. When Taren is kidnapped by the lusty captain of a pirate ship, he finally realizes his life-long dream of sailing on the ocean. After Taren falls overboard trying to save a fellow crewmate, he is plucked from the water by the crew of the Phantom, a mysterious ship captained by the seemingly ageless Ian Dunaidh. What Taren soon learns is that Ian and his crew are not human at all, but Ea, merfolk shifters who can take human form. More surprising still, Taren discovers he, too, is Ea.

The final book in the series, Running with the Wind, takes up where the second book, Into the Wind, left off after a battle at sea that culminates in the destruction of the Sea Witch. Haven’t read any of the books yet? You’ll want to start with the first book, Stealing the Wind.

I can’t wait to share this last series book with you! I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. -Shira

RunningWithTheWind_headerbannerBlurbSequel to Into the Wind

With the final confrontation between the island and mainland Ea factions looming, Taren and Ian sail with Odhrán to investigate a lost colony of merfolk in the Eastern Lands. Upon their arrival, the King of Astenya welcomes them as friends. Odhrán, however, isn’t so quick to trust the descendent of the man who held him prisoner for nearly a decade, especially now that he has someone to cherish and protect—the mysterious winged boy he rescued from the depths.

Armed with the knowledge he believes will save the Ea, Taren returns to the mainland. With Ian at his side, Taren convinces Vurin that their people must unite with their island brethren before it’s too late. When Seria and his men attack, Taren must call upon the ancient power of the rune stone to protect his comrades. But using stone’s immeasurable power commands a hefty price—and Ian fears that price is Taren’s life.

RunningWithTheWind_headerbannerNSFW/18+ Excerpt from Stealing the Wind (Mermen of Ea #1):

Chapter One

The sound of thundering hooves outside the door of their one room hut caused the wooden table to shake and the lamp light to flicker. Surprised, Taren met Borstan’s wide, fearful eyes over the top of the book he’d been reading.

Borstan jumped up from the bench. “Hide, boy! Quickly, now!” he hissed as he shooed Taren up and away from the table.

“Who—?”

“Go! Now! And not a word from you!” Borstan shoved Taren hard and he scrambled behind the stores of rope and flour.

The heavy thud of a battle-axe nearly shook their wooden door from its ancient hinges. “Rigger Borstan Laxley! By order of Lord Grell, we seek recompense for your gambling debts!”

Taren peered around a flour sack. Borstan stood next to the door, his back flat to the wall, his eyes squeezed shut.

“Who are they?” Taren whispered loudly.

Borstan put a finger to his lips to silence Taren just as the men broke through the door, only Borstan’s body kept it from banging against the wall. Borstan yelped as four ironclad giants stormed the room. “Borstan Laxley!” the leader shouted as he dragged a terrified Borstan from behind the door. Another man pulled the bench, their only bench, from the table and aligned it in front of the fireplace. “Tie him!” the leader commanded.

“No, please.  No!  I told his lordship I’d have the money to pay in a fortnight.”  Borstan shouted as they lashed him, face up, to the bench with his own finely crafted cordage.

Taren started when the first blow landed. He huddled in the corner, trembling like a newborn leaf, and buried his head beneath his arms. He couldn’t bear to hear Borstan’s mewling cries with each successive blow. Hot tears quavered on his cheeks for the only master he’d ever known.

“Use the tar!” the leader shouted.

Taren’s head snapped up. No. The cauldron over the fire held the boiling tar they used to coat the rigging they made. Borstan began to scream in earnest and Taren, no longer able to contain himself, shot to his feet with a shriek, his voice cracking with emotion and youth. “No!”

The four soldiers turned to Taren in unison, one holding the dripping tar swab in his hand.

“Y-y-you… you cannot do that to him!” Taren forced out in terrified effort, fists balled at his sides.

The leader advanced on Taren, a wicked grin of rotted teeth filling his rat’s nest of a beard. “What have we here?”

Taren backed up quickly. His heels met a flour sack and he fell on his ass, the sack bursting and caking him in fine white powder.

The brutes roared in laughter as the leader’s beefy hand claimed the front of Taren’s cotton shirt and hauled him into the air with a single, powerful arm. The man’s odor was an acrid stench in Taren’s nostrils as his feet left the floor. “Who are ye?” Taren’s shirt pinched his throat as the man shook him violently.

Taren desperately batted at the man’s powerful forearm in an effort to loosen the grip on his shirt. “Taren.” The single word was a strangled breath on the air.

The leader leered at him. “Yer a right pretty one, boy.”

“Leave ‘im be! He’s mine!” Borstan mewled.

“Yer what?” he demanded with another suffocating shake to Taren. Spots of gray filled Taren’s vision.  His tongue felt thick from the lack of oxygen. The soldier who had held him put Taren back on his feet.  Taren struggled to stay standing.

“He’s my apprentice! Leave ‘im be. Leave ‘im be.” Borstan struggled against his bonds.  Taren saw the red marks where the soldiers had beaten the old man begin to blossom into purple.

The soldier who’d held him now looked Taren over, head to toe. “He’s yer pretty little slave, ye mean to say!” All four soldiers roared in laughter.

“He’s mine.”  Borstan’s voice was less forceful this time.  His eyes darted between Taren and the men, as if he were considering something.

“He’s a bit spare, but he’d be an extra pair of hands for Lord Grell,” said one of the other men.  “No doubt he’ll grow.” In two big strides, Taren found himself thrown over one of the men’s shoulders like the sack of flour he resembled. Blood rushed to his face as he gulped air into his lungs.

“Aye,” Borstan agreed.  Taren looked at his master with a dawning sense of horror.  Surely Borstan wouldn’t let them take him away?

The leader strode back over to Borstan. “Yer debt is ten silver coins, Laxley.  Ye willing to trade ‘im?”

“He’s worth more than ten,” Borstan replied.

“Master?” Taren looked to Borstan, but the old man would not meet his eyes.

“Fair recompense, I’d say.  Will ye sell the lad, or not?”  The leader made a fist and covered it with his other hand.  “Or perhaps we should talk some more.”

Borstan’s eyes widened and he nodded quickly. He did not look at Taren.  “Aye.  Fair recompense.”

Cold terror clawed at Taren’s gut and he fought the powerful arms that held him fast. “No! No! You can’t sell me! I’ve worked hard for you. I’ve done all you’ve asked of me.  Please, Borstan, no!”

The leader nodded to one of the other men, who untied the bloodied and beaten Borstan.  A moment later, the soldiers walked out the doorway with Taren, who continued to fight to free himself. “Borstan, no! No! No! Borstan, please! I beg you! Don’t do this! Please, I beg you!”

 

Two years later

Taren huddled beneath a tattered blanket as an icy wind blew through the cracks of the ramshackle dormitory. The mortar between the bricks had crumbled and the fire was a good twenty feet away, providing him little warmth. He didn’t dare move closer—he had been beaten more times than he cared to remember by the other, bigger men with whom he shared the drafty sleeping quarters of Lord Grell’s Inn.

He’d lost track of time since he had come to this place. The living quarters at the inn were far less comfortable than Borstan’s hut on the edge of the docks, but the work wasn’t nearly as strenuous. Still, Taren longed for the freedom of climbing the ropes of incoming vessels and standing atop their masts with the wind in his face.  More than a warm place to sleep, he wished to work at the harbor once more, where he could pretend he was sailor or better, that he captained one of the great ships.

More than anything, Taren dreamed of the ocean.  He closed his eyes and imagined the spray against his face, the rocking of the vessel beneath his bare feet. He imagined crouching on the masthead, looking out through the telescope, trying to spot approaching boats. He imagined hoisting the sails, watching them billow and fill, and feeling the vibrations of the deck beneath his feet as the ship caught the wind.

Sometimes he dreamed his parents’ home had been one of the far-flung islands, or that he’d been born at sea aboard a great vessel. Sometimes he dreamed he was a creature who lived under the waves, chasing schools of fish and watching the waves overhead as he lay in the sand at the bottom.  Sometimes he dreamed he was an admiral in the King’s navy, ordering his men to fire their guns at an enemy vessel as he defended the Kingdom of Derryth.  But whatever Taren dreamed, he always dreamed of the ocean.

Dreams were all they were, for Taren had never been to sea.

“You, boy,” a sturdy woman called from the doorway. “What’s your name?”

“Taren, ma’am.” He got to his feet and repressed a shiver. It would do him no good to irritate Madame Marcus at such an ungodly hour—she would see his weakness as a complaint, and he didn’t want another whipping.

“Cook’s needing you in the dining room. A new ship’s put into port. He wants an extra pair of hands.”

“Of course, ma’am,” Taren said, dropping the threadbare blanket by the wall.

Dining room duty was better than some chores. Cook might even let him scrape the dregs from the pots as they cleaned up. Taren’s empty belly growled at the prospect and he followed the woman across the open courtyard, past an angry rooster who pecked at him when he strayed too close, and into the warmth of the kitchens.

“Cook, sir,” he said to the large man standing at the ovens, his face dirtied with soot from the fires. “What do you need?”

“Grab the soup from off the counter, boy, and ask the gentlemen if they would like more.”

Taren nodded and pulled a potholder from a hook beside the smallest of the ovens. The fabric of the potholder was, as with everything else, worn thin, and he felt the heat from the iron handle as he reached for the pot. A few months before, he’d have struggled to lift it, but his arms had grown stronger and he lifted it with ease. He ignored the pain as the metal burned his palm and scurried out into the dining room, retrieving a large ladle hanging near the doorway along the way.

 

 

The light in the dining hall was far more subdued than in the kitchen. The candles burned a warm yellow and made the faded red fabric wall coverings less tawdry than in the daylight. Men crowded around the long wooden tables that ran the length of the room laughed and shouted, some singing off-key, most with large tankards of ale in their hands. The warm smell of sawdust and the sour tang of sweat mingled with the scent of the stew.  At first, Taren had found the odors overwhelming.  Now they comforted him.

Taren met  Verita’s gaze. She was one of the other servants and old enough to be his mother, but her inclinations were hardly of the maternal kind. Still, she had always been kind to him—as kind as could be expected in a place such as this. She nodded and got back to filling tankards, leaning over as she poured the men’s drinks so they could easily see her full breasts, and cackled when the men fondled her ample bottom. Later, he guessed, she would offer her services in their rooms, as many of his fellow servants did for the paltry coins they might receive in return. The master never complained about such activities, but Taren knew he expected half of what Verita and the others earned with their bodies. Taren had never been tempted to follow a guest to his or her bedroom, although he had been presented with the opportunity on many an occasion.

He felt a rough hand on his forearm and nearly lost his grip on the pot. “You’re a pretty one,” the owner of the hand said in a low voice. “Ain’t he, Captain?”

Pirates, thought Taren, judging by their looks and their rough manner.

“Please,” Taren said in a trembling voice.  “I must serve the soup.”  Another hand grabbed his buttocks and squeezed.  He couldn’t pull away or he’d spill the hot soup on himself and possibly the man seated to the left of his antagonist.

The man seated at the head of the table—the “captain”—pursed his lips in appreciation. He raked his gaze over the open collar of Taren’s shirt and the tight fit of his too-small britches, Taren felt hotter than he had under the blanket only minutes before.

In the past year, Taren had begun to grow from a boy to a man. He now stood taller than the Verita and the other women at the inn, and although most of the male servants were larger than he, Taren guessed it was only a matter of time before he reached and perhaps surpassed their stature. This transformation had come as an enormous relief. He had no idea how old he was—eighteen or nineteen, perhaps?—and he didn’t know his parents. For as long as he could remember, he had been the smallest of all the boys at the inn, and he had been given no reason to expect that it would ever be otherwise.

One of the men at the other end of the table laughed as he squeezed Verita’s bottom. “Nice ’n meaty,” one of the men said as Verita cackled and wiggled her hips. “Nice tail on ye’, woman.”

“I want me a mermaid,” another man interjected. “Now that would be a nice tail. Hear you have a few ’round these parts.”

“Only a fool believes those stories,” the first man said. “Don’t you think we’d’ve seen ’em if there were any?”

The captain, whose eyes hadn’t strayed from Taren, shook his head. “Something so beautiful wouldn’t go near the likes of you, Charlie.”

“They’d’ve swum away from you!” shouted another man.

Taren had long heard the stories of mermaids here in Raice Harbor. One of the other boys at the inn swore there had been a woman with a tail like a fish found near the water’s edge. Taren spent enough time down at the docks to know that if the merfolk existed, they would hardly be whiling away their days in the filthy water of the harbor. Still, he often imagined what it might be like to swim beneath the water without having to surface.

“I heard tell of a mermaid who led a pirate ship full o’ gold to wreck upon a reef,” Charlie said as he emptied his tankard of ale. “They say the pirate Odhrán keeps merfolk as pets. Like dogs. Uses ’em to lure ships.”

“Come here, boy!” the captain shouted, interrupting the men.

Taren did as he was told, trying to ignore the lecherous gaze of several of the men seated nearby. “What can I get for you, sir?” he asked as he’d been taught.

The captain, middle-aged with a coarse beard peppered with gray, was a broad-chested bear of a man whose relaxed manner and intense gaze spoke of confidence and power. Taren had to admit he was attractive. His skin was weathered from the sun and the wind, his eyes were a piercing blue. The weight of that gaze and the raw desire in his eyes frightened Taren and made him dizzy. The master won’t abide a servant taken without consent.

Taren began to ladle the fragrant soup into the captain’s bowl. He would endure the wanton looks and the fondling in silence, as he had done in the past. Then he would retreat to his duties in the kitchen, safe once more behind the wall that separated servant and guest.

“What’s your name, boy?” The captain’s voice was a deep rumble that seemed to work its way through Taren’s ears and into his body.

“Taren, sir,” he answered as he did his best to control the trembling of his hand. “Taren Laxley.”

“Charlie’s right. You are a pretty one.”

“Thank you, sir.”

The captain rubbed Taren’s ass before Taren realized what was happening. He couldn’t move away or he’d spill the soup, and he couldn’t put the pot down on the table and risk Cook’s wrath either. The captain pulled Taren’s shirt from the waistband of his trousers before he could protest, and moved his hand from Taren’s ass to Taren’s hardening cock.

“Now there’s a tempting treat,” the captain rumbled appreciatively.

Taren’s legs shook at the contact. The touch of the captain’s hand was practiced, sensual. Taren tried to repress the moan that escaped from his lips.Taren was surprised that the captain’s musky scent aroused him even more.

“You like that, don’t you, Taren Laxley?” The pirate let him go and Taren sighed in disappointment. “Don’t worry,” the captain added, “I just wanted to make this a bit easier for you.” He took the pot from Taren’s hands and set it on the table, then pulled Taren closer to him by his shirt.

Taren looked around the room. No one seemed to notice that he now stood in front of the pirate with his back against the table, or that his cheeks were surely now as bright red as the feathers of the rooster in the courtyard. Whereas before he’d have tried to escape the touch if given the chance, his own growing desire to experience the captain’s touch once more had him frozen in place. He swallowed hard and trembled not out of fear but with desire.

What is wrong with me?

“I won’t hurt you,” the captain said, his voice low, his expression unfathomable.

“I know,” Taren whispered. He shuddered in anticipation as the captain reached around him and slid his large hand under Taren’s trousers and over his buttocks. This time, however, his hand was slippery. Taren caught the faint whiff of butter from the table and saw the smile on the pirate’s face.

“Better like that, isn’t it?”

Taren nodded, too overcome to speak.

The captain found the soft flesh of Taren’s sac with his free hand and rolled it around. Taren gasped as he pushed back the foreskin of his cock with his large finger and swept over the crown. Taren nearly fell forward, but the captain held him upright with his muscular thighs.

He had never known such pleasure. The captain’s scent was powerful, adding to the intensity of the sensations that ran through Taren’s body like fire. The man’s eyes held him captive as much as his hand. Taren fought the urge to reach out and touch the captain’s rough jaw, to feel it beneath his fingertips.

The captain continued to play with Taren’s balls, caressing the sensitive skin behind them and straying close to the hidden opening between his ass cheeks. Taren moaned and shuddered with each slippery tug on his cock. The captain pulled and stroked until Taren bit his tongue to keep from crying out. Taren no longer saw the room or the other men as the captain rubbed his hand up over Taren’s tip and probed the slit.

“Ahhh,” Taren groaned. He didn’t care if anyone else heard. He couldn’t hold back anymore. The captain found the tight ring of muscle with a buttery finger, not breaching it but stroking it tenderly.

“Lovely,” the pirate captain said. “You please me well, boy.”

Taren relaxed at the man’s appreciative smile and reassuring words. He closed his eyes and gave in to the heady sensations, spellbound by the touch. He wouldn’t have moved if he could have stayed there; he didn’t want this pleasure to end. And when the pirate pressed his finger so that it barely breached Taren’s opening, Taren came hard, his body shuddering with his release, his head reeling from the intensity of it.

“Thank you, sir,” he managed to croak as he came back to his senses.

The captain chuckled and licked his hand as if it were covered in honey. “No need to thank me, boy,” he said. “The pleasure was all mine.”

Taren tucked himself back into his trousers, escaped from between the captain and the table, and picked up the soup. Thank goodness his long shirt hid the evidence of his release! He walked back toward the kitchen with a heated flush still on his cheeks, and he stood at the entrance, trying to calm his racing heart as his breath came in stuttered gasps.

Oh God! Had Verita witnessed the entire sordid act? And what of himself? Had he enjoyed it?

No. Anyone would respond to such a touch. The thought didn’t comfort him. And yet the warmth he had felt, having been satisfied by a hand other than his own—a man’s hand, no less—still lingered.

He set the soup down on the fire to keep it warm and glanced over at Cook, who was happily tasting an aromatic stew in large spoonfuls, oblivious to Taren’s return.

“I’ve finished, sir.” Taren set about washing the dishes while he awaited further instruction. Perhaps he might be able to explain away the embarrassing stain as water from the sink.

He needn’t have been concerned. Verita returned a short while later with a stack of bowls for washing, then left with the stew on her arm. She didn’t say a word; she didn’t even attempt to catch his eye.

 

 

More than an hour later, the dishes dried and replaced on the shelves, Cook gave Taren leave to return to the sleeping area. Taren had avoided any further contact with the pirates, and Verita had vanished after the tables were cleared, most likely to spend what remained of the night with a guest.

The faint color of dawn lit the horizon as Taren stepped into the courtyard. The rooster who had scolded him before crowed from atop a stone wall. Taren yawned deeply and strode with purpose across the dirt, taking care to steer clear of the other birds that were already pecking the ground in anticipation of breakfast.

He was nearly to the doorway of the building when he heard footsteps from behind him. He turned in surprise, confused as to why any other servants were up before the morning call. But it was not a servant he saw—it was one of the men from before.

“What can I get for—” he began to say, but a hand clamped tightly over his mouth from behind cut short his words. His heart pounded with fear as the hand pressed a piece of cloth against his mouth and nose and he inhaled a pungent odor. The world seemed to dim, and he remembered nothing more.

 

 

“Running with the Wind” – Mermen Universe Map!

With the final Mermen of Ea Series book, Running with the Wind, to be released on June 8th, and the cover reveal only 2 days away (Thursday, May 7th!), I wanted to share some more amazing artwork with you. This is the fabulous Ea universe map Dreamspinner Press created by artist Margaret Warner. The map will be included in Running with the Wind.

MAP 02-05-2015fourFor those of you who have read the first 2 installments in the series, Stealing the Wind and Into the Wind, you’ll recognize the Kingdom of Derryth, where Taren starts his journey when he’s kidnapped by the captain of the Sea Witch and finds himself at sea. You’ll also find the Luathan Islands and the tiny island of Ea’nu, where most of the merfolk are hidden behind enchantments. The map also shows the location of the fabled Eastern Lands and the country of Astenya, the land of the high mountains, where much of the final book takes place.

I grew up with my father reading the Lord of the Rings stories to me and my sister, and I remember being enthralled by the maps of Middle Earth on the inside covers. As I was working on the Mermen of Ea Series, I created my own map so I would be able to move the characters about and not get completely turned around. Just for giggles, here’s my map, which Margaret turned into the beauty you see above.

Shira map

I hope you’ll join Taren and Ian in this final series book as they fight for the survival of their people. And if you’ve been waiting to start the series because you wanted to wait until it’s finished, the wait is over! Happy reading! -Shira

******

Blurb:

Sequel to Into the Wind

With the final confrontation between the island and mainland Ea factions looming, Taren and Ian sail with Odhrán to investigate a lost colony of merfolk in the Eastern Lands. Upon their arrival, the King of Astenya welcomes them as friends. Odhrán, however, isn’t so quick to trust the descendent of the man who held him prisoner for nearly a decade, especially now that he has someone to cherish and protect—the mysterious winged boy he rescued from the depths.

Armed with the knowledge he believes will save the Ea, Taren returns to the mainland. With Ian at his side, Taren convinces Vurin that their people must unite with their island brethren before it’s too late. When Seria and his men attack, Taren must call upon the ancient power of the rune stone to protect his comrades. But using stone’s immeasurable power commands a hefty price—and Ian fears that price is Taren’s life.

Buy links (active late on May 6th):

eBook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6455

Paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6456

Blue Notes #1 is now available on audiobook!

BlueNotes[2ndEd]LGI can’t tell you how excited I am that the first book in the Blue Notes Series, Blue Notes, is now available in audiobook format. The narration is by Peter B. Brooke, who does a wonderful job bringing Jason Greene and Jules Bardon to life! The book in unabridged, and comes in at nearly 8 hours in audio format. The book is available at Amazon, iTunes, and Audible. You can link to all of those here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6454&cPath=673

Stay tuned for future audiobook releases including my Mermen of Ea Series. Stealing the Wind should be available in audio format this year. And along those lines, the cover reveal for the final book in the Mermen of Ea Series, Running with the Wind, will be this week, May 7th! The cover is amazing. Anne Cain outdid herself on this one.

Happy May everyone! -Shira

“Blood and Ghosts” Release Day Giveaway and Blog Tour!

BloodandGhostsFSBlood and Ghosts (Blood #2) releases today, April 20th! Even better? Dreamspinner Press is running a great sale, you can purchase the book for 25% off. Haven’t read book #1, Blood and Rain, yet? That one’s also 25% off! Want to read an excerpt? Scroll down to the bottom of this post.

I’ve got a brand new giveaway for blog tour (and a second shot at the Dr. Who Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey pendant. You can enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There are three books planned in the Blood Series. For those of you who might have been putting off reading BloodandRainFSbook #1 because it has a bit of a cliffhanger at the end, the second book ends with a HFN. And of course, you’ll find a HEA at the end of book #3. Three, HEAs, to be precise! The last book in the series, Blood and Eternity, will be released in early 2016.

Here’s the list of wonderful blogs I’ll be visiting with my vampires and hunters over the next few weeks:

April 20th – Prism Book Alliance

April 21st – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

April 22nd – My Fiction Nook

April 23rd – Love Bytes

April 24th – MM Good Book Reviews

April 25th – Andrew Q. Gordon (The Land of Make Believe)

April 26th – Aisling Mancy

April 27th – Bike Book Reviews

April 28th – Charlie Cochet

April 29th – Hearts on Fire Book Reviews

April 30th – Kim Fielding

BloodandGhosts_headerbannerBlurb for Blood and Ghosts:

Sequel to Blood and Rain

With vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.

On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.

Categories: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Sales Links: Dreamspinner eBook and Paperback

 

SmBloodandGhostsFSExcerpt:

Adrien walked back onto the main street and over to the curb, where someone caught his eye. A man with short black hair walked toward him. Dressed in dark jeans, with a white shirt and dark wool jacket, he wore a single diamond stud in his left ear. A woman hurrying down the sidewalk dodged Adrien as he stopped, but the man behind him knocked him to his knees.

“Are you all right?” someone said with a hint of a French accent.

Adrien looked up into familiar brown eyes. Adrien inhaled slowly, hoping to head off the bloodlust that buzzed at the back of his brain. Heat tingled at the back of his neck, raising the hairs there. His palms felt suddenly sweaty. He felt sick. Not nausea—shock at seeing Nicolas here, realizing it really was Nicolas.

“Yes, I….” Adrien took the hand Nicolas offered and struggled back to his feet. The world spun and he grabbed Nicolas’s arm to steady himself.

“You’re not all right. You look ill. I should call an ambulance—”

“No ambulance.” Adrien righted himself. “I just need to eat something. It’s hotter than I realized.”

Nicolas glanced around, frowned, then said, “There’s a coffee shop at the corner.” He didn’t appear convinced by Adrien’s words. “Why don’t I help you over there?”

As if Adrien would object. “Thank you.”

Five minutes later they sat at a booth by the window, Adrien drinking coffee with a trembling hand. Adrien had watched Nicolas as they’d walked the short distance to the restaurant, his swordsman’s muscles straining against the fabric of his shirt. He looked only slightly older than he’d been when they met. “I’m sorry,” he said, coming back to himself and wondering why Nicolas was sitting with him when he could have left. “I must be keeping you from something.”

“No,” Nicolas answered. “In fact, I just came from a meeting. I’ve got the rest of the afternoon free.”

“I’m Adrien.” He forced a smile and set the empty mug down.

“Nicolas.”

“It’s good to meet you, Nicolas,” Adrien said in French. He drew another long breath and his heart slowed its gallop.

“Please call me Nico,” Nicolas said, also in French.

Giveaways and Blood and Ghosts Blog Tour!

BloodandGhostsFSBlood and Ghosts (Blood #2) releases this Monday, April 20th! Even better? Dreamspinner Press is running a great sale, you can preorder the book for 25% off. Haven’t read book #1, Blood and Rain, yet? That one’s also 25% off! Want to read an excerpt? Scroll down to the bottom of this post.

The pre-release giveaway for the  cool Dr. Who “Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey” pendant ends very soon (Sunday at midnight). You can enter the giveaway here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I’ll be giving away one more of these amazing pendants at the end oft he Blood and Ghosts Blog Tour. Details about that starting on release day.

There are three books planned in the Blood Series. For those of you who might have been putting off reading BloodandRainFSbook #1 because it has a bit of a cliffhanger at the end, the second book ends with a HFN. And of course, you’ll find a HEA at the end of book #3. Three, HEAs, to be precise! The last book in the series, Blood and Eternity, will be released in early 2016.

Here’s the list of wonderful blogs I’ll be visiting with my vampires and hunters over the next few weeks:

April 20th – Prism Book Alliance

April 21st – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

April 22nd – My Fiction Nook

April 23rd – Love Bytes

April 24th – MM Good Book Reviews

April 25th – Andrew Q. Gordon (The Land of Make Believe)

April 26th – Aisling Mancy

April 27th – Bike Book Reviews

April 28th – Charlie Cochet

April 29th – Hearts on Fire Book Reviews

April 30th – Kim Fielding

BloodandGhosts_headerbannerBlurb for Blood and Ghosts:

Sequel to Blood and Rain

With vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.

On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.

Categories: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Sales Links: Dreamspinner eBook and Paperback

 

SmBloodandGhostsFSExcerpt:

Adrien walked back onto the main street and over to the curb, where someone caught his eye. A man with short black hair walked toward him. Dressed in dark jeans, with a white shirt and dark wool jacket, he wore a single diamond stud in his left ear. A woman hurrying down the sidewalk dodged Adrien as he stopped, but the man behind him knocked him to his knees.

“Are you all right?” someone said with a hint of a French accent.

Adrien looked up into familiar brown eyes. Adrien inhaled slowly, hoping to head off the bloodlust that buzzed at the back of his brain. Heat tingled at the back of his neck, raising the hairs there. His palms felt suddenly sweaty. He felt sick. Not nausea—shock at seeing Nicolas here, realizing it really was Nicolas.

“Yes, I….” Adrien took the hand Nicolas offered and struggled back to his feet. The world spun and he grabbed Nicolas’s arm to steady himself.

“You’re not all right. You look ill. I should call an ambulance—”

“No ambulance.” Adrien righted himself. “I just need to eat something. It’s hotter than I realized.”

Nicolas glanced around, frowned, then said, “There’s a coffee shop at the corner.” He didn’t appear convinced by Adrien’s words. “Why don’t I help you over there?”

As if Adrien would object. “Thank you.”

Five minutes later they sat at a booth by the window, Adrien drinking coffee with a trembling hand. Adrien had watched Nicolas as they’d walked the short distance to the restaurant, his swordsman’s muscles straining against the fabric of his shirt. He looked only slightly older than he’d been when they met. “I’m sorry,” he said, coming back to himself and wondering why Nicolas was sitting with him when he could have left. “I must be keeping you from something.”

“No,” Nicolas answered. “In fact, I just came from a meeting. I’ve got the rest of the afternoon free.”

“I’m Adrien.” He forced a smile and set the empty mug down.

“Nicolas.”

“It’s good to meet you, Nicolas,” Adrien said in French. He drew another long breath and his heart slowed its gallop.

“Please call me Nico,” Nicolas said, also in French.

Andrew Q. Gordon’s “The Eye and the Arm”

eyeandthearmthe_fbbanner_dsppThe second book in Andrew Q. Gordon’s series, Champion of the Gods, has just been released by Dreamspinner Press Publications! Andrew’s running a special giveaway as part of the release celebration. You can find out how to enter below and read a bit more about the book as well! Congratulations, Andrew! -Shira

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Eye And The Arm

Series: Champion of the Gods Book 2

BLURB:

TheEyeAndTheArm-Front-PreviewAfter defeating Meglar at Belsport, Farrell returns to Haven to recover from his injuries, but Khron, the god of war, has other ideas. He gives Farrell a new mission: free the survivors of the ancient dwarf realm of Trellham from their three-thousand-year banishment. To fulfill Khron’s near impossible task, Farrell will need the help of his distance ancestor, the legendary wizard Kel. But Kel has been dead for a thousand years.

Farrell finds information hinting that Kel is alive, so he moves his search to Dumbarten, Kel’s birthplace. To reach Dumbarten unannounced, Farrell and Miceral disguise themselves as mercenaries on board a merchant vessel. Their journey is disrupted when pirates attack their ship. While attempting to subdue the attack, Farrell is struck down by one of Meglar’s minions.

Unconscious and trapped in his own mind, Farrell’s only chance for survival rests with Miceral and the peregrine king Rothdin entering his thoughts and helping him sort fact from illusion. To reach Farrell, they will need to rely on an untested spell from one of Kel’s spellbooks. If they succeed, Miceral can guide Farrell home safely. If not, Farrell will destroy not only himself, but Miceral, Rothdin, and everyone around him.

DSP Publications

Length: 99,775 words/296 Pages

Release Date: April 14, 2015

Video Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk6OfKOU6nc&feature=youtu.be

EXCERPT:

“Relax, my friend.” Klissmor’s presence calmed Miceral’s growing anxiety. “You won’t feel my presence.”

Miceral took a deep breath. “Will I be able to hear?”

“Every word. Ready?”

“No, but let’s do it.” He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

“I need your eyes open for everyone to see.”

He snapped his lids open, blinking several times before could focus again. “Sorry.”

“Master Teberus.” Miceral knew the words came from him, but as promised, he didn’t feel anything. “I have Masters Erstad and Wesfazial as well as Wizard-Priestess Glendora. Ask your questions to Miceral and we four will also hear you.”

“Astounding.” The elder Arlefor glanced at the high priestess. “All four at once?”

“Wizard.” Miceral had heard that tone enough to know Klissmor’s mood. “Maintaining this link, this far away with this many minds, is a strain. If we are to save Farrell, you must focus on him.”

“Of course. My apologies.” Teberus bowed deeply. “My examination of the one who did this to Farrell confirmed that he is no wizard.”

“Then how in the eight gates of Neblor did that man defeat Farrell?” Even though Teberus couldn’t know, Miceral recognized the voice as Wesfazial’s.

“The obvious answer is the correct one. A wizard gave this man the weapon.”

“But Farrell could defeat all four of us and all the other wizards you brought with you and not be tested.” Erstad’s steady temperament sounded tested. “No weapon used by a nonwizard should be capable of this.”

Teberus raised the crest of his hairless eyebrow. “But since that is what happened, we must use it as the basis of our search for a cure.”

No one answered. As the silence dragged on, Miceral’s anxiety slowly returned. If Haven’s senior wizards didn’t know what to do, who could?

“Tell us what happened.” Erstad’s request almost didn’t register with Miceral.

“No,” Klissmor said. “Show them. Let them see the memory.”

Miceral closed his eyes and focused on reliving the attack. The clarity of the image caused his chest to tighten, making it hard to breathe. He knew the result, but watching it again, almost in slow motion, added to his agony.

When the image played over again, he realized Klissmor must have been guiding his thoughts.

“My apologies, old friend—the need is great.” Klissmor’s voice didn’t interrupt the stream of images.

“Do whatever you need. Just find a way to save Farrell.”

“Your friends are doing all they can. Have faith that Lenore will send us what we need.”

When the memory started for the third time, he didn’t find any comfort in Klissmor’s assertion. The Six wouldn’t—couldn’t—help. He needed something that didn’t exist—a great wizard like Heminaltose or Kel.

“In theory, I recognize the magic.” Erstad sounded confused. “But I’ll need to find a reference to be sure.”

“What about Farrell?” He knew he shouted, or at least what Farrell told him passed for shouting, but he couldn’t prevent it. “He could be dead before you find that.”

“It can’t be helped, Miceral. I need to be sure before I suggest a counterspell. If I’m wrong, whatever I try might kill him.”

“He is in no immediate danger.” Teberus put his hand on Farrell’s forehead. “But my fear is the number of spells that draw on him for power. I can only give him but so much. If he doesn’t wake, his body will burn out.”

“Do what you can, Master Teberus. We’ll begin searching immediately and contact you when we find the answer.” When Erstad stopped speaking, Klissmor’s presence left with him.

“Hurry. Please.” Miceral knew no one heard him.

BUY LINKS

DSPP Link: http://www.andrewqgordon.com/2015/04/champion-of-the-gods-books-one-and-two-available-now/

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Eye-Champion-Gods-Book-ebook/dp/B00VGZB6SS

Amazon UK Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Eye-Champion-Gods-Book-ebook/dp/B00VGZB6SS

Are Omnilit Link: https://www.omnilit.com/product-theeyeandthearm-1773344-234.html

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

086Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.

He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of eighteen years, their young daughter and dog. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day and not get the shakes.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website: www.andreqgordon.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/andrewqugordon,

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/dominic.andrews.7568

On Twitter: @andrewqgordon,

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AndrewQGordon/posts

Email: andrewqgordon@gmail.com

GIVEAWAY

FIVE Winners will win one e-copy of ANY book* each from DSP Publication’s backlist.

*Giveaway is of any currently released DSPP book, which excludes the books that are on pre-order and “The Eye And The Arm”.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cody Kennedy: The Smut on Alex and Hephy

SlayingIsidore'sDragons -Book Tour- 400x600Please welcome the fabulous Cody Kennedy, glitterati, to my blog! Cody’s got a brand new release from Harmony Ink Press he’s here to tell us about. And… pasties. Yep. Pasties. But I’ll let you figure out how that fits in! Welcome Cody! -Shira

*~*

When I write for young adults, I try to include information about different cultures, history, and old and new music. I try to teach youth history in a way that they will remember it and joking about it usually helps it stick. As such, throughout Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, there is running subtext about Alexander the Great and Hephaestion. It begins with Isidore being frustrated about his homework and Declan trying to help him:

“Some believe the story of Alexander and Hephaestion is one of the greatest love stories in all of history, and that it was the death of Hephaestion that caused Alexander to go on a rampage in an attempt to conquer the remaining known world until his death ten months later. They were great lovers and open about it.”

“Wow, didn’t know that. So?”

“My assignment is to write of the last year of Alexander’s life. How can I do that without speaking of his rage over the death of Hephaestion?”

Now, a little history. We know that Alexander the Great was, well… great! He lived from 356 BC to 323 BC, was the son of Phillip the II, inherited the throne in 336 BC, grew up with Hephaestion, and both were tutored by Aristotle. Further, Bucephalas, Alexander’s horse, played a big role in his life. No one could break him. Alexander bet his father that he could break him and did within a very short time once he figured out that Bucephalas was afraid of shadows. He simply turned the horse to the sun and all was well. Bucephalas remained Alexander’s battle horse throughout his adult life. But our knowledge of Alexander is limited to that of men who lived five hundred years after he died. 1) Ephemerides, Alexander’s royal journal, is a case of the victor rewriting history; 2) The Alexander Romance, often cited as authority, is fiction; and two chronicles by Arian and Plutarch, both reputable chroniclers.

There are two diametric opinions about Alexander:

The first is that of great benign conqueror and statesman. A great military commander, politically shrewd, a Greek who ultimately became a Persian, and the first person to unite the then known world. His conquests were bloody and brutal because that’s war, and he had little tolerance for petty nationalism. After he died, his generals divided his empire among themselves, which insured that Greek culture dominated for centuries. The Hellenistic age changed Western Civilization.

Or

Alexander slaughtered people on an unprecedented scale, squandered the resources of the lands he acquired, murdered friends out of paranoia, and led most of his troops to early deaths. In short, a gambler who staked his life and the lives of those around him on chance, and there was nothing magical about him.

In any event, two elements of history are consistent irrespective of the foregoing opinions. First, his empire became prey to his generals and they played finders-keepers with his body after he died—a story for another time—and, second, he was in love with Hephaestion, his life-long companion who was also his general. The former is accurate, the latter no one likes to discuss. But I discuss it in Slaying Isidore’s Dragons and hope youth remember it.

When Isidore has nightmares and can’t sleep, Declan tells him stories of Alexander and Alex with pastiesHephaestion making the stories up as goes. Here is the smut on Alex and Hephy:

“You’re looking rather chipper this morning, Isidore,” Sorcha complimented as they rode to school.

Isidore shook his head and looked away with a shy smile.

“He had a nightmare last night, and I told him the story of Alexander and Hephaestion to put him back to sleep,” Declan said.

“You did not,” Isidore retorted, his smile one of his priceless genuine smiles.

Declan grinned. “I sort of made it up as I went.”

“This is what you did. I am certain no literature exists wherein Hephaestion favored women’s clothing and accessories.”

“Sure he did. Especially pasties. They were his favorite,” Declan teased.

Sorcha howled in laughter. “Declan David de Quirke the second, you didn’t!”

Isidore giggled and shook his head again. “Yes, Sorcha, he did and worse. Can you imagine Hephaestion leading men into battle in pasties, stockings, and heels?”

“It kept you from having another nightmare, didn’t it?” Declan defended.

“It did and provoked others.”

“I don’t believe you, Declan,” Sorcha said through her laughter. She had tears in her eyes by the time they reached the school. “Both of you try to behave. I’ll see you this evening.”

By the end of the book, pasties are an issue to overcome. There you have it. The very unofficial smut on Alex and Hephy. Enjoy Slaying Isidore’s Dragons!

Follow Slaying Isidore’s Dragons’ Book Tour!

Now available in print and ebook at

Dreamspinner/Harmony Ink Press

Amazon   GooglePlay   Barnes & Noble   OmniLit/ARe

Beam-eBooks in Europe

Ingram Books for Libraries and Schools

 

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Follow Slaying Isidore’s Dragons’ Book Tour!

About Slaying Isidore’s Dragons

5 Best friends
4 Vicious brothers
3 STD tests
2 Guys in love
1 Car bombing
&
Nowhere to run

Follow the burgeoning love of two teens during the worst year of their lives. Irish-born Declan David de Quirke II is the son of two ambassadors, one Irish and one American. He is ‘out’ to his parents but to no one else. French-born Jean Isidore de Sauveterre is also the son of two ambassadors, one Catalan and one Parisian. His four half brothers have been told to cure him of his homosexuality. Both teens have lost a parent in a London car bombing.

5 Weeks of hell
4 Attempts on their lives
3 Law enforcement agencies
2 Dead high school seniors
1 Jealous friend
&
A love that won’t be denied

Declan and Isidore meet at the beginning of their senior year at a private academy in the United States. Declan is immediately smitten with Isidore and becomes his knight in shining armor. Isidore wants to keep what is left of his sanity and needs Declan’s love to do it. One is beaten, one is drugged, one is nearly raped, one has been raped. They are harassed by professors and police, and have fights at school, but none of it compares to running for their lives. When the headmaster’s popular son attempts suicide and someone tries to assassinate Declan’s mother, they are thrown headlong into chaos, betrayal, conspiracy, allegations of sexual coercion, even murder. And one of them carries a secret that may get them killed.

 5 New family members
4 BFF’s
3 Countries
2 Extraordinary Psychologists
1 Courageous Mother &
A new beginning for two young men in love

Read Chapter One of Slaying Isidore’s Dragons

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About Cody Kennedy

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.

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Stop by Cody’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind.

Find Cody on Facebook, Twitter @CodyKAuthor, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, Ello, Goodreads, & read Cody’s free serial story, Fairy

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Giveaway and Dreamspinner Sale: Old and New

Encore-BuildI love spring! The frogs have been chirping at night, we’re sleeping with the windows open, and I’m waking to birds singing in the morning. It was 86 degrees here yesterday and bright sunshine. Daffodils are in full bloom, as are the ornamental trees and bushes (Bradford pears, plums, forsythia). Now that the time has shifted back, I’ve been running in the local state park in the evenings after leaving my RL job, trying to get into shape for my first 10K in May. I’m about to shift from winter clothes to spring/summer, and attempting my usual half-assed spring cleaning.

Dreamspinner Press is doing a bit of its own spring cleaning. First, they’re featuring one of my backlist books for a song (pun intended). Encore is available for 35% off list price the entire month of April. I personally think it’s one of my best books ever. It was Bradford pear3a Prism Book Alliance Recommended Read, and a The Romance Reviews Top Pick. Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words wrote, “I can’t say it enough, Encore is such a remarkable story.  It is definitely one of the best of 2013.  It is a symphony of emotions, its instruments the men Shira Anthony has created along with their deep love for music and each other.  Encore will have you calling for a repeat performance from this incredible author.  Brava, brava!” Live Your Life Buy the Book said, “After reading this story, I was on my feet shouting “Bravo!” Encore is a stunning portrayal of the human condition.” And The Romance Reviews (TRR) wrote, “Where are more than 5 stars when you need them? Former opera singer Shira Anthony has outdone herself in this fifth Blue Notes novel….”

Encore is a standalone love story in the Blue Notes Series that spans several decades, from when the two main characters meet in high school until that last note (happily ever after) is played years later. Best friends to lovers, with lots of bumps along the way. Roger is a rebel and a gifted violinist who can’t accept that he’s gay, John is an aspiring conductor who has never doubted his sexuality. Coming-of-age story, contemporary romance, and the first, chronologically, in the Blue Notes Series, Roger and John pave the way for some of the other characters in the Blue Notes novels.

BloodandGhostsFSAnother great sale at Dreamspinner? In stock paperbacks are 50% off right now! That’s a better discount than we authors get. Of my books, Aria, Blood and Rain, Blue Notes (2nd ed), Dissonance, and Lighting the Way Home are all 50% off. Fantasy and sci fi are 30% off, which leads me to the upcoming release of Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2) in two weeks! You can preorder the book for 30% off. Haven’t read book #1, Blood and Rain, yet? That one’s also 30% off! Of you can check out my mermen books ahead of the June release of the final book in the series, Running with the Wind. The first two books in the series are 30% off right now.

Interested in a giveaway? I’m running a fun one ahead of the Blood and Ghosts release. Since the book has a time travel element, I’ve got a cool Dr. Who “Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey” pendant. You can enter the giveaway here:

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There are three books planned in the Blood Series. For those of you who might have been putting off reading book #1 because it has a bit of a cliffhanger at the end, the second book ends with a HFN. And of course, you’ll find a HEA at the end of book #3. Three, HEAs, to be precise! The last book in the series, Blood and Eternity, will be released in early 2016.

I’ll leave you all with the blurb for Blood and Ghosts. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway. I do enough of these over the year that just about everyone will win something if they keep entering. You know the old adage, “You can’t win if you don’t enter!” Seriously.

Happy spring, happy Easter, happy Passover! -Shira

~*~

Blurb for Blood and Ghosts:

Sequel to Blood and Rain

With vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.

On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner eBook and Paperback

 

 

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