A brilliant scientist out to save the world. A jaded agent looking to save the one he lost. And a conspiracy that spans oceans, reaching into the deepest parts of American national security.
Lennon is a genius. He’s devoted his energy and his time to designing products to save lives. He’s gotten rich doing it, too. This time he’s created something to revolutionize war, crime, and policing – a bullet that heals. He’s on top of the world and the one thing he needs is someone to share it with. The one he loved disappeared without a trace years ago, and until he gets closure he can’t commit.
Ben is an agent with an agency so secretive for years people didn’t know it existed. He screwed up years ago and fell in love with the man he was supposed to be guarding. Now his lost love is in danger again. He’s developed a product bad actors all over the world will want to get their hands on. When Ben’s superiors order him back to Lennon’s side, he goes without hesitation. There’s only one catch – Lennon can’t know he’s there.
When one of those bad actors strikes, all the rules go out the window. Can Lennon overcome his mistrust once he knows the truth about Ben? When the enemy turns up the heat, will Ben manage to save Lennon from people who want him to kill?
Ben checked his look in the mirror. Everyone had their “thing,” something that would throw the entire meeting or experience off for them, and there was nothing that could rescue it. For Ben, it was talking to someone who had food stuck in their teeth. Anyone reporting to him knew that they needed to clean their teeth before stopping in for a meeting.
Ben’s commanding officer, Agent Dickinson, had a thing about people’s ties. They had to be perfectly straight and not askew in any way. Ben could remember coming out of a fight with a spy from a drug cartel, trying to make an immediate report to Agent Dickinson, and getting dressed down because his tie was crooked. Ben had been bleeding from a stab wound at the time. Agent Dickinson had been so distracted by the messy tie he couldn’t see the blood.
Ben wasn’t bleeding now. He had no legitimate excuse to be slovenly. He straightened his tie and brushed a few pieces of lint from the jacket as well. Then he headed out to go and face Agent Dickinson.
Dickinson waited for him in his office. A giant American flag stood behind him. Dickinson wasn’t usually that guy. They all knew where they were and who they were working for; they didn’t need to be clubbed over the head with it every time they walked into a room. The ever-present flags had come in with the new administration. Every room had to have a flag now. It was a mandate. Every room had to have a flag, and every lapel had to have a flag pin. Apparently the new president thought people would get confused without them.
“Siddown, Kellogg.” Dickinson drummed his fingertips on the desk for a moment and then he sighed. “It looks like we’ve got a burgeoning situation in Boston.”
Ben felt a twinge in his heart, but he ignored it. An agent wasn’t supposed to get twinges in his heart. An agent shouldn’t have felt anything for someone in his charge to begin with. Besides, Lennon had almost certainly moved on a long time ago. He probably had a movie star partner now. Maybe he’d married a model. Maybe they stood around looking gorgeous together on the red carpet.
“Kellogg!” Dickinson slapped his hand on his desk, making Ben jump. “You paying attention or you going to sit there and gather wool on the taxpayers’ dime?”
“Sorry sir.” Ben straightened up and forced his brain to focus. “Just trying to think of which Boston situation you could be referring to.”
Dickinson acknowledged Ben’s point with an incline of his head. “That place always was a hotbed of sedition. I’m talking about the ongoing operation at Interior, Inc.”
Ben had been trained to show no reaction to any stimuli, so he was able to keep his face neutral and relaxed when his supervisor mentioned Lennon’s company. Ben had very carefully not followed the company’s progress, at least not where anyone could track him. He didn’t want to get bitter toward the Agency. “I’ve been kept in the dark about the operation at Interior, sir.”
“And for good reason, too. You’ve been kept in the dark because you couldn’t keep it in your pants, and don’t think I’ve forgotten that.” Dickinson waved a finger at Ben. “But it’s been a good decade since then. With any luck, the threat can be neutralized without any issues at all. No one will ever need to know you were involved.”
Ben couldn’t help but close his eyes at that. He didn’t have any choice about it, of course. An agent couldn’t choose his assignments. It seemed egregiously cruel to put him on an assignment this close to Lennon and not let him speak to or see his old lover, but the Agency didn’t choose its assignments for the agents’ benefit.
He opened his eyes again. He would do what he had to. He knew Dickinson wouldn’t ask it of him lightly. “Okay. What’s the threat and what’s behind it?”
Dickinson nodded once, a little bit of grudging pride showing through in the gleam of his eyes. “You know what Interior does, correct?”
J. V. Speyer has lived in upstate New York and rural Catalonia before settling in the greater Boston area. She has worked in archaeology, security, accountancy, finance, and non-profit management. She currently lives just south of Boston in a house old enough to remember when her town was a tavern community with a farming problem. (No, really. John Adams complained about it. A lot.)
When not writing, J. V. enjoys watching baseball and seeking out all of New England’s creepiest spots. Her Spawn has turned her into a hockey enthusiast. She can be bribed with gin, tequila, and cats.
Meet Haskell Hodge. At sixteen, he’s already garnered some fame as a former child actor and star of a popular cereal commercial. But that doesn’t do much for him when he’s dumped at his aunt’s house in the suburbs of Los Angeles to face an assortment of neighborhood bullies.
He thinks he might be gay. In fact, he could be the only gay person in the valley, maybe on the entire planet. Even if he does manage to find a boyfriend, their relationship would have to be secret and invisible.
After all, it’s 1966. And though Time Magazine claims the sexual revolution is in full swing, the freedoms straight people are enjoying don’t seem to apply to everyone. And as much as Haskell attempts to hide his true self, carefully navigating the tricky and risky terrain of being queer, he’s still taunted and teased relentlessly.
Rather than give in to the irrationality of this hate, Haskell fights back, eventually finding an unlikely outlet to vent his frustration and angst—playing a bully in a screen test for a major motion picture. If he plays his cards right, it could catapult him into Hollywood stardom.
Of course, like most things in life, it comes with a heavy price Haskell’s not certain he’s willing to pay.
Haskell Himself by Gary Seigel Published by: Acorn Publishing Publication date: January 19th 2020 Genres: Historical, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
Gary Seigel was raised in Encino, California where his debut novel, Haskell Himself, takes place. After completing a PhD in English at Rutgers University, Gary taught at several colleges and universities, but his most memorable experience was a brief 12 week stint at the same high school he (and Haskell) graduated from, teaching side by side with some of the same teachers he once endured. Currently, Gary gives grammar and proofreading classes to business professionals eager to write error-free emails. He also has spent the past two decades helping employees control their inner jerk when texting or holding conversations with an impossible boss. His book The Mouth Trap: Strategies, Tips and Secrets for Keeping Your Feet out of Your Mouth, published in 2008, has been translated into over a dozen languages. He is the father of three sons and currently lives in South Pasadena.
To battle an ancient evil, the greatest weapon each hero will have is each other.
Hundreds of years ago, facing defeat, the witch Morgana sent monsters into the future to vanquish a humanity King Arthur wouldn’t be able to save. The King might have won the battle, but now, centuries later, a few chosen men will have to fight the war.
Merlin always hated being named after some mythological wizard. His dad had been obsessed with the magic man of King Arthur’s Court before his untimely death – a loss that had sent Mel reeling in a downward spiral. He is ill-prepared, to say the least, for the outrageous claims of a proper English knight bent on overcoming evil.
Born a commoner, Lancelot was never supposed to be a knight in his own time, never mind now in a modern world he is so woefully untrained to protect. Thrown into a battle centuries in the making, this flawed hero, and a young man too-used to battling monsters of the present day, will have to come together in a last desperate fight to save humanity.
Can Mel and Lance defeat the greatest enemy the world has ever known? Or in the midst of fighting evil, will they discover the real threat has always been a shattered heart?
And what if the one fight they cannot ever hope to win is with themselves?
Mel leaned his back on the door as it clicked shut with finality. Okay, so if he’d just let a serial rapist or murderer into his apartment, he’d be really annoyed. The being dead part would take care of that though, he supposed, and he tried not to roll his eyes. The fact that the guy was insanely hot hadn’t escaped his notice either, although with Mel’s track record that probably meant he was best buds with Ted Bundy.
Liar. Although the shitty record with men was right but not, he thought, the question over Lance’s integrity. There had been something inherently right about the man which drew Mel in like a moth to a flame. Unresolved hero issues. As in he was still dreaming some crusader—caped or otherwise—was going to rescue him. All it probably went to prove was that he was a bad judge of character. Mel rubbed his eyes with resignation. It had been a crappy day on top of a crappy week. The funeral where he had been one of only three people there, and the pathetic small bag which was what all the home had given him belonging to his gran. And then tonight it had nearly been his own.
The small window Lance wandered over to gave a clear view of the street and his SUV, so he would know Mel had been watching him. Lance turned and studied him, equally silent. Mel flushed a little at his calm, unhurried gaze. His eyes traveled from his cheap sneakers up his too-skinny, too-short legs.
Mel wanted to fidget. He really should move, say something—say anything—but the gray eyes that had studied him so closely had now arrived at his face. Pinned him still. He’d always wondered where the stupid saying about deer and headlights came from. Now he knew, because he felt like he was about to get run over by a truck.
In the alley he’d felt the same, although maybe that had been simply relief at being saved. Because obviously “not dying” was a big thing. Whatever hero complex Lance had going on, it seemed to be working for him anyway. He supposed offering a cup of tea was the least he could do, and for a second he regretted Lance turning down the blow job.
“Don’t like tea?” Lance had put the cup untouched on the kitchen counter. Mel wanted to kick himself at the random question and followed Lance’s gaze. Mel looked critically around the small space and not for the first time acknowledged it was crap. He didn’t see any cockroaches though. There’d been three when he woke up this afternoon. So, there was that. Mel studied Lance for a brief moment as he stood at the window near the kitchenette. Although kitchenette was a very optimistic word for the white piece of laminated something he’d found outside by the dumpsters that he currently had balanced on a few pallets. It had nearly killed him to get up the four flights of stairs, but the sink worked okay, so he couldn’t complain. The electricity did too whenever he had cash for the meter. The plumbing was often questionable, but not a health hazard.
Lance was looking around the small space as well. Maybe that was why he wasn’t drinking the tea. Maybe he was frightened he’d catch something.
“So why are you here?” Mel asked after another ten seconds’ scrutiny.
Lance stared at him. “We need to talk.”
If it had been remotely funny, Mel would have laughed. Five minutes in his apartment and he was breaking up with him already? “Tell me why you go around fighting monsters in alleyways?”
Lance tilted his lips upward in a small smile. “I don’t just fight them in alleyways.”
Mel sighed and rubbed his forehead. He could feel the headache starting behind his eyes. “I mean—”
“I know what you mean.”
“Can we just get this over with? I’m sure no explanation could be worse than me thinking I’m actually certifiable.”
“It’s a long story.”
“One you don’t want to tell or one you’re about to invent?”
Lance scowled. “I do not tell untruths.”
Mel lifted his brows like sure. “Thief?” And what was with the weird speech? Untruths?
Mel clicked his fingers. Of course. “You’re a Brit, huh?” Made sense. He spoke like that royal. Although he preferred the younger one, and it was a damn shame he’d gotten married. Every fantasy he had ever needed to keep him warm generally involved a prince.
Victoria Sue fell in love with love stories as a child when she would hide away with her mom’s library books and dream of the dashing hero coming to rescue her from math homework. She never mastered math but never stopped loving her heroes and decided to give them the happy ever afters they fight so hard for.
She loves reading and writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best—and creating a family for them to adore. Thrilled to hear from her readers, she can be found most days lurking on Facebook where she doesn’t need factor 1000 sun-cream to hide her freckles.
Cold cases, murder, lies, and an unimaginable truth.
Sydney detective August Shaw has spent the last decade of work solving cold cases. Since the death of his boyfriend eight years ago, August works alone, lives alone, is alone — and that’s exactly how he likes it. His work is his entire life, and he’s convinced a string of unsolved cold-case suicides are linked to what could be Australia’s worst ever serial killer. Problem is, no one believes him.
Senior Constable Jacob Porter loves his life in the small town of Tallowwood in the middle of the rainforests in northern New South Wales. He runs summer camps for the local Indigenous kids, plays rugby with his mates, has a close family, and he’s the local LGBTQIA+ Liaison and the Indigenous Liaison Officer.
When human remains are found in the camping grounds at Tallowwood Reserve, Jake’s new case turns out to be linked to August’s cold cases, and Jake agrees they’re not suicides at all. With Jacob now firmly in August’s corner, they face one hurdle after another, even when more remains are found, they still can’t seem to gain ground.
But when the body of a fellow police officer turns up under the same MO, it can’t be ignored anymore. August and Jake must trace the untraceable before the killer takes his next victim or before he stops one of them, permanently.
(August and Jacob have just been given the identity of a man who was found deceased. They’re about to inform the family)
Two hours later, they sat in the car in a quiet suburban street in Cronulla. They had a name, the case file, and the address of the parents and were about to drop a bombshell on the guy’s family.
Tristan Kurtz was twenty-six years old when he was reported missing by his mother, when he never arrived home in Sydney from an LGBTQIA+ music festival in Byron Bay. He’d reportedly hitchhiked from Byron Bay to Coffs Harbour, having travelled with local residents who he’d met at the festival, and had given him a lift. The missing person’s report had said Kurtz was dropped off in the main street, and had waved them off. He was later seen on CCTV footage walking toward the highway, at 8:11pm.
He never arrived at his parents’ house, he never contacted them to say his plans had changed, which was out of character for him. His parents had called everyone he knew—friends, workmates, old boyfriends—to no avail, and twenty-four hours later he was reported as a missing person.
Well, he wasn’t missing anymore.
He was only twenty-six. A kid, August thought, with his whole life in front of him. A life stolen, stripped away, and thrown away like garbage.
August stared at the house and sighed. He was spread too thin, he was stretched as far as his skin would allow. Another murder, another gay man slaughtered for no other reason than pure bigotry and disregard for human life. “I hate this. I hate everything about it.”
Jacob was quiet for so long, August looked over at him. “Yeah, me too,” he said flatly. He was reading through Tristan’s file. He finally closed the folder and met August’s gaze. “We need to find this bastard.”
“We need to see his parents and tell them.” Jacob looked over at the house and frowned. “Fuck, I hate this part.”
“Yeah. Me too.”
Neither of them made a move to get out of the car. “Is it better to know?” Jacob asked quietly. “Is it better to find out what happened, for closure? Or is it worse, because when you don’t know you still have hope?”
August was pretty sure it was supposed to be a rhetorical question, but it was one he knew the answer to. “It’s better to know. In the long run.” He cleared his throat. “Hope can break your heart every day for years, and living with false hope is hell on earth.”
Jacob stared at him, and August wondered if he’d said too much. But Jacob nodded and unclipped his seatbelt. “Then we shouldn’t wait another minute.”
August got out of the car and together they walked up to the front door and rang the bell. They’d called ahead, so they were expected, but when a tall, middle-aged man opened the door to greet them, Jacob took off his hat and with that single gesture, the man nodded and began to cry.
Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.
A soldier with a curse Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic… and her own flesh and blood.
A prince with a debt Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.
A detective with a grudge Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.
A thief with a broken heart Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.
This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.
Dimangan heard his name and came when he was called.
Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger
I have noticed a couple of themes in the books that I have been reading lately. The first one is that I saw is the plenty of strong female characters. The second is that Japanese/Chinese based fantasy is becoming more popular. Both caught my attention when I read the blurb for Steel Crow Saga. I am happy to say that I loved Steel Crow Saga!! It was a fantastic read.
Steel Crow Saga has four separate plotlines. Usually, that would be an issue for me. I lose focus on many plotlines. But, in this book, it wasn’t an issue. The author was able to keep all four plotlines separated. I had no problem keeping them straight. I also loved that while the plotlines did get merged towards the end of the book, they were still separate.
The characters in Steel Crow Saga were well written and well fleshed out. That made the book so much more enjoyable for me to read. I did have my favorite characters in the book. I loved Lee and Xiulan, separately and together. I also did like Tala and Jimuro, but Lee and Xiulan captured my heart.
The fantasy angle of the book was amazing!! I loved how shadepacting worked. To have an animal bond that close to you must be amazing. But I also could see why it was done with only animals and not humans. I thought having the bad guy having hundreds of shades was great. I also liked that the characters could steal the shades from other people. I liked it.
Another part of the book that I loved was the LGBT representation in the book. Xiulan and Lee had feelings for each other. Jimuro’s oldest friend was a transgender man. Mang, Tala’s brother, was gay. Lee, and I believe Jimuro, were bisexual. I loved it!!
I have read reviews where this book was compared to The Last Airbender and Pokemon. I did get the Pokemon vibe while reading it but I didn’t get The Last Airbender vibe. Shrugs.
I also liked that each race was a different Asian country. China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and India were represented. Doing that added more depth to the book. There also could be more countries that I didn’t pick up on.
There was a lot of violence and death in Steel Crow Saga. It didn’t bother me (violence in books usually don’t). But some people are bothered by violence. Unfortunately, this book couldn’t be told without the violence.
Tala and Mang’s relationship was one of the saddest ones that I have read to date. My heart broke several times whenever their relationship came up. The author also explains how he became a shade. Again, talk about my poor heartbreaking. I was in tears. What Mang asked Tala to do was awful, and it shaped her for the rest of her life.
The end of Steel Crow Saga was interesting. It was interesting because while the main storylines ended, the author left room for another book. I am curious to see what will happen with Tala and Jimuro, especially after what was revealed. I am also interested to see where Lee and Xiulan’s relationship will go. Also, I want to know what will happen with the different countries now that the war is over. I can’t wait for book 2 to come out!!
I would give Steel Crow Saga an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread Steel Crow Saga. I would recommend it to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**
Sheriff Avery O’Rourke has tried to obey his strict Christian faith and lead a “normal” life. In 1923 in a rural East Texas town, “normal” means heterosexual. A cholera outbreak has made Avery a young widower, so he is married to his job. When a murder investigation forces him to confront his truth, will he finally be able to accept being gay?
Veterinarian Garland Sands has returned from Europe to take over his father’s practice. Struggling with shellshock (PTSD) and heartbroken by the suicide of his French lover, he resigns himself to a quiet, solitary life as a country vet. But the murder of the town doctor brings the sheriff to Garland’s doorstep looking for help with the investigation. Seeing Avery awakens dormant feelings. Can he love a man who hates what he is?
This isn’t the lavish 1920s of The Great Gatsby. This is the flip side of that coin—rural East Texas. No electricity. No indoor plumbing. No flappers. In 1923, the timber barons have left and racism, homophobia, and sexism thrive.
A Little Sin is a realistic mystery with unlikely heroes and a timeless romance between lovers caught in a world where their love is forbidden. This book contains steamy sex scenes and is intended for adults only.
Garland watched the attractive, dark-haired man with mixed feelings. They were bonded by death and blood—just like he and the men who became his brothers in the Great War. Death had a way of pulling you into its embrace and making you family. He also felt connected to Sheriff Avery O’Rourke because they both wore masks. They were members of a velvet gang who lived on the fringes of a ruthless, heterosexual tyranny. They were shadow men.
And yet he couldn’t shake a feeling—some instinct—that Avery belonged, at least in some small degree, to many of the things he loathed. Garland had not come ‘home’ to Timberland with joy in his heart. He had fallen back to it like Icarus, his wings in tatters, his heart broken. He had returned to the red dirt and haunted forests to bury his sorrow. In front of others, he tried to keep his smile in place, but he fell apart when alone. Five years had passed since the war, and over six months had passed since he had discovered Philippe dead. He hadn’t fully recovered from either trauma; he wasn’t sure he ever would.
Ruggedly handsome Avery, with his smoky blue eyes the color of aged denim and that trim beard shading his firm jaw, could be an interesting diversion…or he could be something else entirely. For now, Garland tamped his desire down and focused on the dead man on the table. He huffed smoke. “I’ll do a thorough examination and take notes. I’ve never performed a dissection—er—autopsy—on a man before, but men are animals.”
At that, Avery bristled. “Men are God’s children. We aren’t beasts.”
Katydid hopped up on the table and sniffed the doctor’s groin. Garland stuck his cigarette in his mouth and gathered the errant calico in his arms. “Off,” he murmured through his cigarette and released her a foot off the ground. She poured out of his hands and weaved around his legs. “Men are either miracles or they’re monsters,” he told Avery. “Either way, their bodies aren’t that much different from a hog’s. Which is good for you, because I can help you with this murder case.”
Sionnach (pronounced shuhn ukh) Wintergreen is a genderqueer author of gay romance, epic fantasy, and adult fantasy. (She uses feminine personal pronouns because she has lived most of her life responding to them, but she would love it if people used ‘they.’) Her character-driven stories usually involve misfits because she is one. Sionnach has always loved writing and animals; she was a grant writer for an animal rescue group. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and six furbabies–one sweet dog and five spoiled-rotten cats. She also has a wonderful human son.
Alex Hancock needs money to salvage his career. Finn West needs a spouse to stop his aunt from sabotaging his future. Can the two men make more of the fake marriage they enter into?
When Alex’s business partner runs off to Mexico with their company funds, the lawyer has little choice but to return to his hometown of Twilight Falls to marry someone he’d never met in order to raise the money to save his business. What he didn’t expect was that the woman he was meant to wed would turn out to be a gorgeous, brooding man.
Finn had resigned himself to a life without love after his wife’s death from cancer. Wracked with guilt at never being able to satisfy her in bed, Finn is shocked when his body and his heart starts responding to the man he is tricked into marrying to stop his aunt from dissolving his trust fund.
Passions collide when the two men start exploring their relationship in ways neither of them anticipated. Can Alex convince Finn to embrace his sexuality and take a chance on them? Or will Finn run away from his only chance at true love?
Discover Alex and Finn’s story in the enthralling first novel in Twilight Falls, the new series by the author of the bestselling, contemporary romance series Nights.
Alex Hancock came out of the coffee shop opposite the courthouse and froze in his tracks.
Someone had parked their dirty, mud-streaked Jeep Wrangler close to his pristine, black and red Triumph motorcycle.
Alex’s knuckles whitened on his cup of black coffee.
When it rains, it fucking pours!
He stormed across the street, stopped in front of the offending vehicle, and glared at it as if it had committed a crime. A car slowly pulled up behind him.
“Wow,” someone murmured. “You look pissed.”
Alex turned. A pretty brunette was watching him with an amused expression from behind the wheel of a red, convertible Mini.
“You would be too if some asshole just blocked you in!” he snapped.
Izzy Batista’s green eyes sparkled impishly as she observed the grimy, four-wheel drive. “Yup, that guy must be one giant dick.”
She parked her car and joined him outside the courthouse.
“I gotta give it to you, Hancock. You sure scrub up nice.” Izzy placed her hands on her hips and scrutinized him with a critical eye.
Alex sighed irritably and downed his drink. He winced when a burst of acid rose in his throat.
“Easy on the coffee, stud,” Izzy murmured. “We don’t want you getting an ulcer on your big day.”
A fresh bout of nerves twisted Alex’s gut at Izzy’s words.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” he mumbled to himself. “Me, Alex Hancock, getting married.”
Izzy patted his arm. “No backsies.” A trace of steel underscored her friendly tone. “Remember, you got a lot riding on this.”
He crushed the coffee cup and tossed it in a nearby trash can.
It had been a month since the life Alex had carefully built in San Diego had come crashing down around him, after his business partner of two years embezzled from their law firm and ran off to Mexico. Mired in debt and with his new condo on the verge of being repossessed, Alex had desperately been trying to raise the necessary capital to salvage his career and company when Izzy Batista had called him out of the blue ten days ago. The sister of Wyatt Batista, one of Alex’s lifelong friends from his hometown of Twilight Falls, Izzy had discovered the predicament he was in through her older brother.
“I may have a solution to your problems,” Izzy said. “Word of warning though, it’s pretty unorthodox.”
Alex stilled where he sat on his couch, his cell phone in hand. “What do you mean?”
“One of my clients is in trouble,” Izzy said. “They have to get married by the end of the month or they’ll lose their estate and half of their considerable fortune.”
Alex frowned. “I don’t understand.”
Izzy sighed. “I’m saying this client needs a mail-order groom. And pronto. They’re willing to pay half a million dollars to the right candidate.”
Alex’s mouth went dry. “Half a million dollars?” His heart pounded against his ribs as he glanced at the boxes filling the apartment. He’d barely started unpacking when Ryan had pulled the rug out from under him and disappeared with half the company’s funds.
“Yup, half a million dollars,” Izzy repeated. “The contract’s for six months. Marry the client, live with them, and then walk into the sunset with the money and no strings attached.”
Alex swallowed, shocked that he was even entertaining the crazy idea Izzy had just proposed.
“Where does your client live?” he mumbled.
Alex grimaced at Izzy’s answer. He raked a hand through his hair and stared at the dazzling lights of San Diego Bay through the glass doors overlooking his terrace, a storm of memories and bittersweet emotions crashing over him.
“I know you don’t like coming back here, Alex,” Izzy said quietly. “Not since the accident. But this could solve all your problems. And my client’s too.”
Alex chewed the inside of his cheek. “What’s wrong with your client?”
“What makes you think there’s anything wrong with my client?” Izzy said in a voice that Alex immediately distrusted.
“Because someone with that much money shouldn’t be struggling to find herself a fiancé, even a fake one. So what is it? Is she unattractive? Does she have a horrible personality?” He pulled a face. “Does she eat puppies for breakfast?”
“None of the above,” Izzy replied in a cheerful tone. “The client is gorgeous. They’re just a bit…eccentric, is all.”
Alex mulled Izzy’s words over. Eccentric he could deal with.
“Are they expecting sex?”
A soft chuckle travelled down the line.
“No, it isn’t that kind of arrangement. Besides, I know you’re more into dicks than vaginas.”
“Yeah, well, my dick hasn’t seen much action lately,” Alex muttered.
“And here I thought you moved to San Diego for all the gay guys,” Izzy said drily. “You know, since you’d pretty much fucked all the hot ones here in Twilight Falls.”
Alex scowled. “I only fucked one hot guy in that town.”
Izzy laughed. Alex found his lips curving in a faint smile at her bubbly voice. Truth be told, he missed Izzy and Wyatt. He missed all the friends he’d left behind when he decided to move to San Diego, after the accident that had changed all of their lives.
A comfortable silence settled between them.
“So, what will it be, Alex?” Izzy finally said.
Alex hesitated. “The end of the month is only ten days away.”
“Your math is spot on. I knew there was a reason why you became a lawyer.”
Alex ignored her sarcastic words. “Give me a few days to think about it.”
It had taken him three days to make his decision. Six days later, he’d put his stuff in storage, returned his apartment keys to his realtor, and climbed on the beautifully restored, classic motorcycle he’d owned since he was seventeen for the one-hundred-and-fifty-mile ride to the San Bernardino Mountains and the quaint, historic town of Twilight Falls.
Nestled in a valley of towering pine forests and home to the picturesque waterfall and rapids from which it took its name, Twilight Falls started life as a nineteenth-century trading post and mining settlement, during the California Gold Rush. After a slump following the two World Wars, the place saw a strong revival in the second half of the twentieth century, as a result of a sustained campaign by the city council to turn it into a tourist town. The rise in outdoor sports activities meant it now stayed busy pretty much all year around, with the briefest of lulls at Thanksgiving and the New Year.
Alex had reached Twilight Falls late last night. Having refused Izzy and Wyatt’s offer to put him up at their place, he’d booked himself into a motel outside town; the spring tourist season was just getting started and there’d still been rooms available at short notice. Not that he would have wanted to stay in town. Even though it had been twelve years since he’d left the place, he was bound to bump into someone he knew and he wasn’t in the mood for small talk.
“Are you ready?” Izzie said presently, excitement raising the pitch of her voice.
“Not really,” Alex murmured.
Izzy grinned. “Yeah, well, if you’d stayed at our place, we could have gotten you wasted and you’d be doing this drunk right now.”
“I really don’t think the county clerk would be impressed if the groom turned up with a hangover,” Alex said sternly. “Besides, I’m entering a legal agreement with this woman. The least I can do is show up sober.”
He looked up at the two-story, cream stucco and red-brick building before them and squared his shoulders.
Whoever this broad is, I only have to live with her for six months. How bad can it be?
An odd expression danced across Izzy’s face.
“What is it?” Alex said.
“Nothing.” Izzy flashed him a bright smile, hooked her arm through his elbow, and guided him up the short flight of steps and into the building.
They checked in at reception and headed in the direction of the court rooms. Surprise darted through Alex when Izzy walked past the austere wooden doors and continued down the hall.
“Where are we going?” he said, puzzled.
“To the chapel,” Izzy replied breezily.
He arched an eyebrow.
“The client insisted,” she explained with a mysterious smile.
The first tendrils of unease started coiling through Alex. Izzy was acting strange. And he wasn’t sure he liked the hint of devilment in the depths of her eyes.
The chapel doors appeared up ahead. Alex’s pulse speeded up when they opened them and stepped inside a large, airy chamber. The chapel was a relatively new addition to the courthouse and had been designed along the traditional lines of a church, with an altar, a chancel, and a nave split by a central aisle. But it wasn’t the charming ecclesiastical interior or the delightful pastel colors around them that caused Alex to draw a sharp breath and rock to a stop on the checkered marble flooring.
He stared beyond the bright posies and white lace decorating the wooden pews to the two figures rising to their feet from the front right row.
“Jesus, Izzy!” Alex hissed, shock reverberating through him. “I can’t marry her! She’s older than my grandmother!”
The elderly dame in the pink brocade dress and pale floral hat arched an eyebrow.
“You were right,” she told Izzy. “That one has a smart mouth on him.” The woman’s eyes fairly twinkled with glee as she studied Alex’s stunned expression. “I’m not the one you’re marrying, sonny.”
Alex’s heart stuttered. His gaze switched to the tall, dark-haired man in the smart, navy-blue suit and the ivory, rose boutonnière next to the woman. A thunderous expression clouded the stranger’s handsome, stubbled features.
Shit. You’re kidding me.
“What the hell is going on, Izzy?” the man growled.
Ava Marie Salinger is the pen name of an Amazon bestselling author who has always wanted to write scorching hot contemporary romance. In 2018, she finally decided to venture to the steamy side. NIGHTS is the first of several sizzling series featuring sweet, sexy men with dark pasts and a whole lot of love to give to the ones brave enough to fight for their hearts. When she’s not dreaming up hotties to write about, you’ll find Ava creating kickass music playlists to write to, spying on the wildlife in her garden, drooling over gadgets, and eating Chinese.
Want to be the first to know about Ava’s new releases and get access to exclusive content, sneak previews, sales, and giveaways? Then sign up to her Reader Group here and join her VIP Facebook Fan Group here. Here are some other places where you can connect with her:
What would you do if your beloved girlfriend suddenly became your worst enemy? That dilemma’s all too real for Syl Skye. As the last princess of the fair Fae, Syl is all things brightness and sun and white flame, but even though she’s Summer incarnate, she’s drawn to Rouen Rivoche, the dark Fae princess-assassin of the Winter Court.
They should be mortal enemies, but they’re best friends. Girlfriends. In love.
That is, until an old enemy puts Roue under a dark spell that makes her forget all about Syl, their lives and their love. Now Roue rules Dark Faerie as a cruel and cold Queen, and she wants nothing more than to destroy Syl and her fair Fae people.
Worse, both opposing Faerie realms stand on the brink of utter destruction, and only their queens, Syl and Rouen, can save them—and only if they can put their differences aside for two seconds and fight together as allies.
But how can you fight against an enemy when your true nemesis is on your team?
Raised by witches and dragons in the northern wilds, GIE writes angsty urban fantasy YA romance–where girls who are mortal enemies kick butt, take names, and fall in love against all odds.
She enjoys long hikes in the woods (where better to find the fair folk?), believing in fairies (in fact, she’s clapping right now), dancing with dark elves (always wear your best shoes), being a self-rescuing princess (hello, black belt!), and writing diverse books about teenage girls finding love, romance, and their own inner power.
She might be planning high tea at the Fae Court right now.
GIE is multi-published, and in her role as an editor has helped hundreds of authors make their dream of being published a reality. The Circuit Fae series
In all the books I’ve ever read, Faeries are immortal.
Nemesis (Circuit Fae: Book 4) by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
I detest picking books up mid-series. I always feel that I am missing out on something by not reading the previous books, which was the case with Nemesis. There were things mentioned that made me think, “Darn it, I wish I had read that book.”
I know you all are asking yourselves, “Well, Jolie, WHYdid you agree to the blog tour if this happens to you?” Plain and simple, the blurb. There was enough written there that caught my attention. Add in that the LGBT angle and yeah, I needed to read it. Putting my frustration aside, Nemesis was a great book to read.
Nemesis’s plot was super fast. The author wasted no time getting the book going. What impressed me was that she was able to keep the fast pace up the ENTIRE book. I loved it!!
I liked Roue and Syl. They were wonderfully written with compelling backstories. There was a depth to these characters that made them come to life in my mind. But I couldn’t get as connected to them as I wanted to. I had so many questions about different things that were mentioned about them.
I loved Roue and Syl’s relationship. It was evident that they loved each other, which made the scenes with Dark Roue hard to read. Because Dark Roue wanted to kill Syl. I also liked that the author didn’t add sex in the mix until the end of the book. Roue and Syl had some serious sexual chemistry and attraction going on. But it wasn’t the main focus of the book. I loved it!!
I thought the plot with Syl trying to stop the Faerie Apocalypse was interesting. She had to not only battle Dark Roue but her own “generals.” That made for a few tense chapters.
The storyline with Roue made my heart hurt. She didn’t want to battle Syl. She loved her. But she felt she didn’t have a choice when Jarden told her that she had the heart stones. I even felt awful when she changed into Dark Roue after Jarden gave her something that was her mother’s. She was manipulated the entire book (as was Syl).
I didn’t read the previous books but man, I didn’t like Jarden. I did figure out what her connection to Syl’sGlamma was. Well, kind of. There was a bit of a twist that made me go “Whoa.” I didn’t feel bad for her at the end of the book. She got what she deserved.
Speaking of the end of the book, I loved it. That final battle was epic. It was one of the best fights that I have read to date. The author did wrap up the main storyline in a way that I loved. There were a few storylines that were left open. Because there is going to be a book 5!!!!
I do want to add that Nemesis is not a stand-alone book. You do need to read the first four books before reading this one.
I would give Nemesis an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.
I would reread Nemesis. I would recommend it to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**