Monday, July 11, 2016

Permanently Hanging Up My Hat (Party)



It's been an absolute blast! I want to thank every author who donned a hat and everyone who stopped by to enjoy finding out which dachshund is the best dachshund. Please feel free to browse the archives--all of the zaniness will live on there. :)

And until we meet again, keep on wearing those hats!

--Raine O'Tierney

Thursday, May 26, 2016

BOOK BLAST: Cinnamon and Cigarettes by Samantha Kate plus #Giveaway! #NewAdult #LesbianRomance

Cinnamon and Cigarettes Banner
Title: Cinnamon and Cigarettes
Author: Samantha Kate
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Release Date: June 1, 2016
Heat Level: 3
Pairing: F/F
Length: 88,800 words
Genre/Tags: Contemporary, Bisexual, Lesbian Romance, New Adult

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Synopsis

Sara Clarke, recent college grad, is sweet, demure, and cautious in all things, but especially romance—until she meets Moira Estrada, a bold amateur pilot and patron at the library where Sara works. Their intimacy blooms rapidly as they share everything from a sudden medical emergency to Christmas with the Estrada family. With her dashing new girlfriend by her side, Sara learns to overcome some of her greatest fears, whether they be acknowledging her own bisexuality, flying across the sky in a Cessna, or falling in love for the first time. But Sara’s fear of confrontation is harder to conquer. When asked about her relationship, she finds herself lying to her family, pretending to date a man so she can avoid conflict with her straight-laced and image-conscious parents. But her attempts to please everyone cannot last forever and could result in far worse than her parents’ disapproval: she might lose the respect of her new friends at the library, or become estranged from her sister—or, worst of all, Sara might lose the only person she’s ever truly loved.

Excerpt

Moira pulled her key-ring out of her pocket, plucking out a large silver key from her collection. “Fasten your seat belt. We’re starting the engine now.” She inserted the key; the plane gave a small lurch as the engine burst to life beneath Sara’s feet, and the propeller began to spin. This engine was nothing like the smooth start of a car; it ignited with a roar, like a motorcycle gunning to maximum velocity, and within moments that sound was pierced with sharp, rhythmic bursts from the propeller’s increasing oscillation. The sound was cacophonous; Sara put her hands to her ears, to block out a fraction of the din. Amid the noise, she heard Moira speaking into her microphone. “Fairways Air Control, this is Lamassu. Oil pressure gauge is green, transponder is on. Are you receiving transmission?…Okay, thank you. Requesting permission to taxi to Runway Three…You’re the man, sir.” Sara smiled faintly at her pilot. Moira’s combination of aviation jargon and casual slang was, admittedly, really endearing. So was the way her eyes widened as she scanned the blinking lights and bright monitors in front of her, grinning gleefully, looking simultaneously mischievous and reverent. “Hang on,” Moira said, removing one hand from the controller and fumbling around by her feet. “I forgot to give you your intercom.” She withdrew another pair of headphones, handing them over. “These will help with the noise.” Sara put on her headphones; the cacophony was quelled into the distance, now just a background ambiance. In the forefront now was Moira’s voice, smooth and sanguine, every word spoken directly in Sara’s ears. “Removing parking brake now,” Moira said, a hand reaching out to pull the brake knob near Sara’s knee. The plane slid forward, and Sara gulped, hoping to keep her stomach from lurching as well. “Beginning taxi.” They slid along the main “road” at a slow crawl. Sara noted each white stripe that passed by until they’d arrived at one of the runways; they did a slow 90-degree turn until they faced the open road. It was barely wide enough to accommodate the plane’s wings, and the forest was perhaps a mile ahead. Was that really enough space for them to take off? Even in such a small aircraft? Wouldn’t it take a massive amount of acceleration to lift them into the air? Was this even possible? Was it— “Trim and flaps set,” said the voice in Sara’s ear, shaking her out of her fretting. Moira had a more “official” tone now, like one might hear over an automated line, with measured rising and falling inflections. “Engine temperature normal. Wingtip strobes on. Airspeed indicator reads zero.” Sara fidgeted with the boom mic on her headphones. “That’s a lot of things to know about,” she whispered into it. Moira turned her head, smiled, and put one hand on Sara’s knee. “That it is. But I’ve had my license for almost four years now, and if I were a shit pilot, they wouldn’t let me waltz back in those doors.” She grinned. “I’m going to bring you home safe, Sara. I promise.” Sara nodded slowly. “Okay,” Moira continued, pulling her hand back and gripping the throttle, “Lamassu departing now.” She pushed the throttle in, gradually but firmly, and they lurched forward, slowly at first, but soon they were gathering speed—the pine trees lining the runway lost the detail of their branches and needles, and soon they were a blur of dark teal and mossy green, punctuated by open field—and Sara’s stomach was shoved down and back into the seat; she felt like where she once had flesh and sinew and blood there was now only a void, an empty space filling itself with nothing but the rush of incoming air— “Okay, Sara, we’re going to lift off—now!” Sara hadn’t known what it was like to lose the ground beneath her until this moment, when Lamassu’s nose flicked up and an anchor tied around her feet her whole life came undone, evaporated, dissipated into the afternoon sunlight—she realized it existed only when it ceased to exist. Suddenly there was space around her in every direction; she was now bound by nothing. The seat belt wrapped snug around her waist, the windshield ahead, the pane of glass a few inches from her right cheek—they seemed trivial, insignificant, incapable of truly binding her when the space beneath her feet was exponentially expanding. “You’ve taken flight, dear.” Soon the white lines beneath them vanished as well, as the runway shrank down, becoming a tiny part of a tiny complex that was quickly passing beneath and behind, no longer required, no longer relevant. She needed nothing in the air, only that constant whir of propeller oscillation, the humming of the engine, and the whipping of wind through the microscopic crack between the window and the fuselage. She almost thought she might float above her own seat, no longer subject to earth’s gravitational force. “How are you feeling?” Even Moira’s voice was distant now. “I’m fine,” she said, in a tone that was half hummed, half spoken. She reached one hand up to the windowpane, tracing random curves along the glass with a couple of fingers. “I…I’m flying.” “That you are.” Moira dropped her professional tone, her voice wrapping snugly around Sara’s head again. “And how does it feel?” Even the trees were shrinking away now, becoming indistinct clusters of viridian mixed with a soft palette of mossy and earthy hues, separated by strips of gray asphalt drawing mechanical grids along the earth. She looked ahead, and for the first time took in the sky; its cerulean blue spread out infinitely across the horizon, accented with a few wispy cirrus clouds and an occasional burst of gold light reflecting from nearby lakes. “It’s liberating.” “Perfect.” Moira pressed a few more buttons, and the plane gently pitched forward, sliding into a consistent altitude. Within a few minutes they leveled off, thousands of feet above the earth, the bustling metropolis a mere memory behind them.

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Meet the Author

Samantha Kate works as a paralibrarian (that’s library support staff) for her day job. In her free time, she tries to pursue more creative projects than is humanly possible. Cinnamon and Cigarettes is her first novel; her short story, “Bottom of the River,” was published in Torquere Press’ Twisted Fables anthology in February 2016.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

BOOK BLAST: No Place Like Home by DC Juris plus #Giveaway! #Erotica #MMRom

No Place Like Home Banner Title: No Place Like Home
Author: DC Juris
Series Title and Number: Soulmates #2
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kristian Norris
Release Date: May 25, 2016
Heat Level: 5
Pairing: M/M
Length: 13,822 words
Genre/Tags: M/M Romance, Erotica, Fantasy

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Synopsis

Calliph and Mateo are back! The peace of the shifter pair's calm, quiet life is shattered by a visit from one of Calliph's old pack members. Calliph must travel to the town of his birth, Naolassel, to speak on behalf of his twin brother, Rupos, who has been charged with murder. But Calliph's decision will endanger his beloved kitten...not to mention their relationship. Can Mateo reconcile with who Calliph was--and what he did--during the war, or is the truth of his wolf too much to bear? Previously published by Noble Romance.

Excerpt

Mateo sat next to Calliph as the carriage rolled and bumped along. Calliph held himself rigid and tense, jaw tightly clenched. Across from them was Paular, with his legs crossed and his hands folded in his lap. He and Calliph hadn't stopped staring at each other since the journey had begun. Mateo had tried to make small talk at first, but the wolves' disinterest had quickly become obvious. Though Calliph had indulged him with a few answers, they had been short and terse, and Mateo had given up. Outside the snow fell, sticking to the windows and sliding down to collect in an ever-growing ledge of white. Mateo could barely see out the window to his left, but what he could make out alarmed him: high-banked drifts of snow. The carriage moved slower and slower, and by the time the blackness of night had enveloped them, they were forced to stop. Paular's human driver dismounted and came to the door, tugging it open with a grunt. "The snow is too thick for the wheels," he explained, forced to yell over the howling winds. "I'm going to unhook the carriage, and tie the horses under the trees. I'll stay here. You'll have to continue on foot if you want to keep going." He surveyed the three of them. "Or paws, I guess." Calliph left the carriage first and helped Mateo down. He unfastened his cloak and slid it around Mateo's shoulders over Mateo's own. "You will stay with the horses." "No." Mateo shook his head as he pulled the cloak tight. "I'm going with you." "Naolassel is still hours away. It's a treacherous journey for you." Calliph took him by his upper arms and looked into his eyes. "And you know why." Mateo frowned. All Paular and Calliph had to do was shift and continue -- their thick, furry coats would keep them warm. However, unable to hold his panther form for long, Mateo didn't have such an option. While running wasn't nearly as strenuous as fighting, he would be able to go only so far until he'd be forced to revert to his human form. And humans didn't do well in the cold -- he was already shivering. "I'll send a carriage for you when we reach Naolassel." Calliph turned and strode away to speak with Paular, who was helping the driver with the horses. Mateo's frown deepened. The prospect of spending a frozen night huddled in the carriage with the human, surrounded by the stench of horses wasn't one he relished. He grabbed Calliph's arm as the werewolf walked by. "I'm going." Calliph stopped and looked down at him. "Kitten..." "Don't ask me to stay behind without you." Playing on something he knew Calliph wouldn't be able to ignore -- his fear of being alone -- he leaned into Calliph and laid his head on Calliph's chest. Manipulation wasn't a talent he was particularly proud of, but it would get him to Naolassel with Calliph. "Please." The tension melted from Calliph's body and he relaxed into the embrace as he slid his arms around Mateo. He pressed a kiss to Mateo's forehead. "You're a manipulative little bastard, you know that?" Mateo nodded. He went back to the carriage and rearranged their clothing into one bag, had the human strap the bag to his back, and they were off.

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Meet the Author

Romance author, sci-fi fan club Captain, cosplayer, reigning Queen of Monkeyland, and random menace. Yep, we’re talking about DC Juris. She’s a cupcake-making, football-watching, rubber-duck-collecting, drag-show loving, full-of-fabulous-with-a-capital-F kinda gal. She’s also an ordained minister and an amateur photographer. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband, three dogs, and three cats. When she’s not writing, you can find her in her favorite chair watching Star Trek and Supernatural repeats on Netflix, or surfing the web for porn. Er…research. Surfing the web for research. She may speak softly but she lives and loves loudly. Just ask the neighbors. ::wink::

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

BOOK BLAST: The Balance by Dusk Peterson plus #Giveaway! #GayFic #Historical


Author Name: Dusk Peterson
Book Name: The Balance
Series: The Eternal Dungeon bk #3
Can be read as a standalone
Release Date: April 11, 2016 (reissue)
Pages or Words: 90,000 words
Categories: Alternate Universe, Gay Fiction, Historical, Adventure, Queergender
Publisher:  Love In Dark Settings Press
Cover Artist: Dusk Peterson

"'The Eternal Dungeon is my home now,' the High Seeker said. But as he spoke, he lifted his face and looked at the Vovimian carving, as a man might look at a beloved he must leave forever."

The Seekers (torturers) in the Eternal Dungeon have always expressed contempt toward the Hidden Dungeon in the neighboring kingdom of Vovim, whose torturers abuse prisoners without restraint. But the balance between mercy and hell is not so clear as might be thought in either dungeon, and now that balance is about to tip. Only the strength of love and integrity will determine the paths of two Seekers whose fortunes are bound together.

A winner of the 2011 Rainbow Awards (within the "Eternal Dungeon" omnibus), this tale of love and adventure can be read on its own or as the third volume in The Eternal Dungeon, a speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

The Eternal Dungeon series is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of alternate history series (Young Toughs, Waterman, Life Prison, Commando, Michael's House, The Eternal Dungeon, and Dark Light) about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.

Excerpt:

He had awoken, on that day after, to find himself lying alone in bed.

It had all been a dreaming, then: the promise of everlasting love, the passion that had followed upon that promise, the warmth of Elsdon's body – and more importantly, the warmth of his companionship. Layle had expected it to happen one day: his dreamings had become so real that he had begun to believe them.

The bedsprings creaked.

He reacted automatically, which meant he reacted violently. Reaching toward the only loose object at hand – the night-table next to the bed – he grasped it by its leg, wrenched it from the floor, and had begun to swing it toward the intruder before he checked himself in time.

He opened his eyes. Elsdon, fully clothed and hooded but with his face-cloth raised, sat beside him. He looked, Layle realized with amazement, more amused than fearful.

"By all that is sacred," Elsdon said, speaking the mildest of oaths, "is this how you always greet your love-mates upon awakening?"

Layle slowly lowered the night-table, feeling the blood thunder within his body. "I've never had a love-mate before who slept with me."

"I can see why, if this is how you wake from your sleep."

Layle slowly raised himself into a sitting position. Elsdon was still smiling, he noted with growing incredulity. The Seeker-in-Training had made a joke about the fact that Layle was a killer born.




Meet the author:

Honored in the Rainbow Awards, Dusk Peterson writes historical adventure tales that are speculative fiction: alternate history, historical fantasy, and retrofuture science fiction, including lgbtq novels and young adult fiction. Friendship, family affection, faithful service, and romance often occur in the stories. A resident of Maryland, Mx. Peterson lives with an apprentice and several thousand books.


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Friday, May 6, 2016

BOOK BLAST: Fairest by K.S. Trenten plus #Giveaway! #LesbianRomance #NewAdult

Fairest Banner v1Author: K.S. Trenten
Title: Fairest
Publisher: Prizm Books (A Torquere Imprint)
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Release Date: May 11, 2016
Heat Level: 2
Pairing: F/F, with bits of M/F and M/M in the background
Length: 27,425 words
Genre/Tags: Lesbian Romance, Fantasy, New Adult

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Synopsis

On the eve of my sixteenth year, I'm cursed to prick my finger on spindle and fall into a hundred year sleep. This is what the witch with the snow white skin and haunting dark eyes promised me, as I lay in my cradle. I haven't been able to get her out of my mind, since. She haunts my dreams, steals into my quiet moments, when I think I'm alone. Everyone thinks she's my enemy. Everyone thinks I need to be protected from her. I can't think of her as an enemy, no matter what anyone else thinks. Who is she, truly? The only name she's ever been given are a few, enigmatic words. The fairest of them all.

Excerpt

My first memory was of her dark eyes. They seemed to capture all the colors of my infant universe, even as they threatened to swallow me. Her eyes should have been terrifying, but they weren’t. Her blood red lips moved, shaping words I could only dimly recall. My parents remembered them only too well, as did everyone else who’d gathered at the castle for my christening. “I, too, have a gift for this child. She shall grow up, with all the beauty and promise of the dawn, but her sun will never rise.” My mother told me she nearly swooned with terror at the look of sheer malevolence the witch gave to the sunbeams, playing about my cradle. She wanted to stop the witch from speaking, as did my father. No one could move, no matter how much they wished to. Everyone stood, still and motionless, spellbound by the witch’s gaze. “Before the sun sets on the eve of her sixteenth year, the princess shall prick her finger on a spindle. With the first drop of her blood, a sleep will fall upon her, claiming her for a hundred years.” My mother tried to call in another witch to remove the curse. My father burned every spindle he could find. However, nothing could lift the curse, for all their efforts. The witch had disappeared into a cloud of green smoke. No one could find her after my christening, despite many attempts to locate her. The only thing she left behind, besides her curse, was the memory of her dark eyes.

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Meet the Author

Writing isn't just a job for me. It's a calling.

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

BOOK BLAST: Growing Strong by BL Dayhoff plus #Giveaway! #MMRomance

Growing Strong Banner v1
Author: BL Dayhoff
Title: Growing Strong
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Release Date: 5/11/16
Heat Level: 2
Pairing: male/male
Length: 47K
Genre/Tags: Contemporary, M/M Romance, New Adult

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Synopsis

A chance—and embarrassing—encounter brings Hunter and Chase together, but it’s patience and kindness that keep them there. Through a slow-blossoming friendship and a series of misunderstandings, Hunter finds himself fighting an attraction he thinks isn’t returned. But with the help of his roommate, Tony, he may just be able to make the leap and confess his feelings.   But love isn’t Hunter’s only concern. With his sister’s upcoming nuptials, he also must learn to face a family that hasn’t quite disowned him for his sexuality. With Chase by his side, it’s going to take strength for Hunter to stand up for himself and to hold on to what really matters.

Excerpt

Hunter tripped over Tony’s briefcase in his rush to get to the door, cursed, and somehow remained upright. He stumbled a few more steps, caught himself on the kitchen counter, and stopped. Huffing once, he continued, with slightly more competence, the final few feet to the front door. When he opened it, Chase was there with a stack of DVDs in hand. “Hey.” “Hey, c’mon in. You find the place okay?” “Yeah, it was really easy and—oh, hi.” “Yo.” “Chase this is—Tony! Put some pants on!” Tony grinned from his boxer-clad position on the couch. “You didn’t tell me you were having a guest.” He most certainly had. “Well I do, so, pants!” “Careful, I might take that as an order.” Tony winked, then wagged his butt all the way back to his room. “Sorry about him. I think his mother dropped him a few times as a child.” Chase chuckled. “Don’t worry about it. We all have a few in our lives.” “Tell me about it. So what movies did you bring?” He sat on the couch, tucking himself against one armrest, and was pointedly not disappointed when Chase sat on the opposite side—making himself as far away as possible. “Um, well, La Belle et la Bête, because it’s so standard, The Bitter Sweet Tears of Petra von Kant, The Four Hundred Blows, Run Lola Run, Rashomon—which is dry but classic—and A Love to Hide.” “Well,” Hunter chuckled. “I think I’ve heard of one or two of them. How about Lola? Unless there’s one you wanted to watch?” “No, I just brought a variety so if you get bored, we can switch.” He opened the case, popped the DVD out, and handed it to Hunter, who got up and slid it in the DVD player. He tracked down the remote, and when he turned around he found Tony sitting in his spot. Glaring at Tony was equivalent to yelling at the rain, so he dimmed the lights, took the spot between them, and hit play. Lacking an armrest, he folded his arms across his chest and glanced at Tony. What did he think he was doing? Why was he crashing in when Tony had been egging him all week about how Hunter had a second date? Was he trying to make sure nothing happened? Or was he forcing Hunter to sit closer? He shifted his gaze to Chase, who was watching the previews. With a sigh, Hunter sagged into the couch and skipped the disc ahead so he could stare at the opening credits. But he couldn’t focus. He wished life was full of do-overs like movies. He had the running down. Or maybe just the running without ever getting anywhere. He woke up in the same bed every morning. Went to the same job. Knew the same people. Leaning forward, he picked up the remote and paused it. “Everything okay?” Chase asked. Tony elbowed him in the side and said, “Dude?” “I just realized we don’t have popcorn. Do you want popcorn? I want popcorn.” He stood and shuffled into the kitchen. “Sure, I could eat some popcorn.” Chase followed behind. “Plain?” “Um.” He pulled the box off the shelf. “Movie theater. So extra buttery, I guess. That good?” “Yeah.” Chase smiled. Hunter opened a bag, shoved it in the microwave, entered the time, and started it. “I was worried that you hated the movie already.” “No! I mean, it’s fine; it just started. I don’t like to judge things immediately.” “Good. I know it’s a weird one, but sometimes I swear we only get the weird ones.” “Ah, well,” Hunter said in his worst European accent, “you crazy Americans love that shit.” Chase chuckled and leaned back on the counter as the smell of hot butter filled the air, joined by the pop-pop-popping of their snack. “It’s true. America sometimes feels like the redheaded stepchild of the world.” “Well, least we’re not Canada.” “Hey, my grandparents were Canadian!” “Oh, uh… I…” Chase laughed. “I’m kidding. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.” He tilted his head to the side and flashed a grin. Cute. Hunter diverted himself by pulling a bowl down and removing the hot popcorn. The comforting aroma rushed out when he opened the bag and poured the popcorn into the bowl. Chase snuck around him to steal a piece, popping it into his mouth with a satisfied crunch. “First piece is always the best.” “Right…” He was distracted by the smudge of oil on Chase’s lip and the pink tongue that darted out to clean it up. Averting his eyes to the bowl in his hands, he headed back toward the living room. “So, shall we?” “Yep!” Chase followed him, plopping down in his previous spot on the now-empty couch. Hunter hesitated, then sat beside him with just enough room to nestle the bowl between them. He hit play. Chase glanced down the hall toward the bedrooms. “Should we wait for Tony?” “No, I don’t think he likes foreign flicks. It’s fine.” “Okay.” They settled into the movie, taking turns gobbling up popcorn as the scene unfolded again and again. Hunter couldn’t concentrate. Their hands kept bumping, knuckles grazing and skin brushing, each awkwardly pulling away. Was Chase doing it on purpose? Was it subtle flirting? Hunter couldn’t tell. He knew he wasn’t doing it on purpose—not that he minded—but what if Chase was? Eventually he just grabbed a large handful and ate from that, leaving Chase what was left. It didn’t matter. Things could just progress naturally. If Chase was interested, he’d say something. He’d have to have seen how incompetent Hunter was. God, he was incompetent. Not that he necessarily wanted to date Chase. Friends first, that was a good idea. So that way they’d have something to base a relationship on. Not that he thought Chase was interested in a relationship. If he was gay—and Hunter was pretty sure he was—it didn’t mean he’d automatically be interested in Hunter. Hunter was a dork, socially screwy, and God, they’d met when he’d been fucked in an alley, drugged, and was throwing up. Yeah, there was no way in hell Chase was interested in him. He wiped his hand on the leg of his jeans and stared pointedly at the screen. Friends was good. He needed more friends. Tony would argue he needed friends period, but that wasn’t true. He winced at a loud noise in the movie and sank down into the couch, shifting away inch by inch until he was leaning against the opposite armrest. To distract himself from the man on the other end of the couch, he tried to focus on the movie. When that didn’t work, he pondered if his character Erik would like this kind of movie. He didn’t seem like the type. Too busy with work and school to waste time watching movies when he could be studying or hanging with friends. Half closing his eyes, Hunter composed in his head.

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BL Dayhoff is working on coming out of her shell. She's always had an interest in writing, but only recently has done it for more than just her own personal amusement. She loves to fill her time with too many things, and her initials really are "BL" but unfortunately do not stand for Boys Love. Although maybe her parents knew something about the future...

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

BOOK BLAST: Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending by Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths plus #Giveaway!

Will & Patrick's Happy Ending

Author: Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths
Title: Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending
Series Title and Number: Wake Up Married, Episode 6
Publisher: Leta Blake Books
Release Date: 4/15/16
Genre: Romantic Comedy, M/M Romance
Tags: gay, woke up married, rom-com, happy ending
Heat Level: 5
Pairing: M/M
Length: 127 pages

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Synopsis

Follow Will & Patrick in this final installment of the romantic-comedy serial, Wake Up Married, by best-selling author Leta Blake and newcomer Alice Griffiths! Sure, Will and Patrick are in love now, but they weren’t when they got married in Vegas. For Patrick, that’s no problem, but Will can’t shake his doubts that a relationship started through coercion can ever become the real deal. Since the Molinaro crime family has reversed their position on divorce, Will and Patrick have a chance to rectify their drunken mistake. But is divorce the solution? Find out in this final instalment of the much-beloved Wake up Married serial. Episode 6 of 6 in the Wake Up Married serial.

Excerpt

Will leans back heavily in his desk chair and sweat pricks the back of his neck. A tight band squeezes his chest, but he manages to ask, “What do you mean we can get divorced? Did Frankie and his new bride call it quits?” Eleanora’s throaty chuckle comes through the phone. “No, darling. They’re still madly in love for now. It’s Romeo Molinaro we have to thank for this piece of good fortune.” Will frowns, mind scrambling through dozens of half-forgotten or never-known relatives. “Zeno’s favorite nephew,” Eleanora prompts. “Oh. Right.” Zeno is the current boss of the Molinaro family, his father’s uncle, and a terrifying man. “Unfortunate marriages are going around like the flu in this family. It seems Romeo got hitched to a fetching ragazza. Charming, beautiful, young—the usual. But, as it turns out, also a spy from the Korotayev crime family in New York.” Nonna clucks over the line. “Oh, men. Following the dictates of their little heads always leads to their downfall.” Bright sunshine screams through the window of the room, ricocheting around and giving Will an instant headache. “If she’s a spy, why arrange a divorce? Why doesn’t Zeno just—” Will drags his finger over his throat even though Nonna can’t see him. “Off her?” “How like your father!” Eleanora puffs her disapproval. “No, no, darling. That’s no solution. Besides, Romeo begged his father not to kill her. Apparently he’s still smitten. But don’t worry. There will be some other kind of recompense paid, I’m sure. William, the less we know about it all, the better.” Will exhales slowly. He stands up, turns to the windows behind his desk, and adjusts the blinds, dimming the light. “Romeo’s still in love with her? But he’s going to divorce her anyway?” “Presumably. Regardless, Zeno’s quote-unquote discovered a loophole in the Trust that smashes through the edict regarding love matches and divorces.” “Dad knew about this the whole time he was in town, didn’t he? He was just messing with us.” “We’ll never know for sure, darling. All I know is he told me about Romeo’s situation and Zeno’s solution this morning before his flight out. Regardless, the issue is resolved. You and your doctor are free to handle your marriage as you see fit and Good Works is safe.” Will stomach knots hard, and he stares at the lines of light the closed blinds leave on his desk. “We could file for divorce immediately? Today?” “You could. That is, if it’s still what you want to do.”

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Meet the Authors

Leta Blake

imageAuthor of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake's educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family. You can find out more about her by following her online.

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Alice Griffiths

A long-time reader of romance novels, Alice Griffiths finally took the plunge into writing, teaming up with best-selling author Leta Blake for the 'Woke up Married' serialized comedy. A lover of tropes, Alice enjoys mining old ideas and putting a fresh, funny spin on them. Formerly working in the newspaper industry, Alice is now an art curator. She lives in Sydney, Australia. You can find out more about her by following her online.

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