Calm – General Release

“Calm” is available for general release today!

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Here’s a little teaser from the book.

Jesse licked his lips, appearing to consider his words before speaking. “I know you agreed to meet me here tonight—I mean, you messaged me back, which I took as a sign that you were willing to spend some time with me.”

It was Carter’s turn to frown. “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.”

“Are you sure?” Jesse asked gently. “Because I can’t help feeling I’m making you incredibly uncomfortable.”

Carter’s chest ached at Jesse’s earnest words. God, he was so fucked up.

“It’s not you.” He paused, then laughed with relief when Jesse grinned and broke the awkwardness between them at last. “I’m sorry. It’s a bit early to be spouting relationship clichés, especially when we hardly know each other.”

“Hey, I’m just glad you don’t look like you’re about to bolt,” Jesse told him, head cocked as sat back in his seat.

“I’m not,” Carter assured, “and you’re right. I wouldn’t have messaged you back if I didn’t want to see you again. I’m just out of practice with dating.”

“What makes you think this is a date?” Jesse’s eyes twinkled and he picked up his menu.

“Honestly, nothing. I’m a bit hopeless in social situations lately.”

Jesse dropped one corner of the menu to reach across the table and lay a hand on Carter’s.

“Relax. I asked you to dinner because I enjoyed spending time with you last week. I thought there was something between us worth exploring. But whatever happens depends on you, too. Tonight isn’t about business and I don’t want you to feel as though you’re being forced to be here.”

“I don’t.” Carter struggled to smile through his lingering guilt. “I meant what I said before—I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be.”

Jesse’s megawatt smile lit his face once more. “Then let me buy you dinner.”

Things between them were easier from there. Carter and Jesse fell naturally into conversation, ranging through various topics rather than focusing on any one thing. They shared oysters on the half shell and tuna tartare to start, then moved on to NY strip steaks for the main course, with another bottle of wine.

Carter relaxed as they ate and talked, even while his attraction to Jesse increased. The idea of acting on the impulse appealed, but it worried Carter too. He was out of his depth when it came to fooling around with men. He’d been dating, but hadn’t gone beyond a few kisses with any of the men he’d seen. Jesse, so confident and assertive, was on a whole other plane from any of them, even when Carter included Riley in the mix.

Then again, he didn’t really know Riley anymore, did he? When it came down to it, Riley had more in common with Jesse now than he did with Carter. Maybe that has always been the case, Carter thought, and his stomach dropped with the realization.

Pride

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

 

 

 

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Right Here, Right Now Anthology – The Soldier Next Door – Early Download

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If you pre-ordered a copy of the “Right Here, Right Now” anthology, you should already have it! If you didn’t, you can run to Pride’s Website and download your copy now. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until October 3 to read my short story, “The Soldier Next Door” along with short stories from Lily Harlem, Samantha Cayto, Alexa Milne, Jon Keys, and Thom Collins.

Summary:

Sometimes, love is right next door.

All twenty-seven-year-old Travis Schultz is supposed to do is keep an eye on the kid next door for a few weeks while his parents are out of town. Eighteen-year-old Owen Wheeler has other plans. Newly graduated, with plans to enlist in the Army, Owen wants to get laid before he ships out and he’s had a crush on Travis for years.

The age difference and the responsibility he’s been entrusted with make Travis hesitant, but the attraction is too much to deny. When the casual one-night stand turns into something more, Travis has no idea how to tell Owen how he feels. He misses his opportunity before Owen leaves and is left at home with a broken heart when Owen cuts off all contact.

When they meet again years later, Owen is in the midst of recovery from being injured in the line of duty and Travis will have to decide if he can forgive Owen and try again.

Reader Advisory: This book contains brief mentions of PTSD and war-related injuries.

Excerpt:

Owen was still sleeping when Travis awoke. He was sprawled on the bed next to Travis, on his stomach. Travis’ fingertips itched with the need to touch him. He wanted to trace them down the long lines of Owen’s back.

It was morning now. Not so late he was worried he’d missed work, but late enough he knew he’d have to get up soon. For a moment, he contemplated calling in to work and staying in bed with Owen all day. But that had never been part of the deal.

The sex had been amazing. Phenomenal. But it was a one-off. Four—five—off, maybe? One night. He knew Owen didn’t want more. Of course this had to end, but that didn’t mean it had to end this second. Maybe he could convince Owen to take another shower with him, for a final soapy hand job or a quick, wet rim job. Travis had enjoyed himself too much to stop now.

“I’m heading to work,” he said forty-five minutes later. He’d sucked Owen off in the shower. Afterward, Owen had staggered back to bed and collapsed. He’d snored while Travis had gotten ready for work.

Owen squinted up at him. “Shit, I should leave.”

Travis shrugged. “If you want to go back to sleep, that’s fine. Just lock up behind you.”

“Cool, thanks.”

Travis leaned in to kiss him goodbye, then hesitated. Is that crossing a line?

Owen let out a small, annoyed-sounding grumble, looped an arm around Travis’ neck and pulled him down until their lips met.

What Travis had meant as a perfunctory goodbye became a lingering kiss. They were both panting by the time Travis tore himself away. “Damn.”

He stared down at Owen and shook his head. Funny, he’d warned Owen about the way feelings could get complicated and here he was the one having a hard time ending the night.

Calm – Pre-Order

Yesterday K Evan Coles and I teased you with the cover of Calm, today, we’re offering it for pre-order!

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If you’ve been dying to read the conclusion to Wake, this is the perfect opportunity to do it!

By pre-ordering through Pride’s website, you’ll get the book the moment it’s available for early release on August 15, a full month before it’s available for general release on September 12 everywhere else!

Here’s a teaser for you:

“I’m really sorry, Ri,” Carter blurted. Riley pressed his lips tightly together. “I’m sorrier than you can imagine for the way I disappeared after you came out. I didn’t know what else to do…how else to keep everything together. But I should have been a better friend to you.”

The tips of Riley’s ears turned red as he stared at Carter. A server approached then and Riley changed gears instantly, smiling as he ordered a large macchiato.

Carter ordered the same, aware of Riley’s gaze, and cursed himself for becoming so flustered.

“I’ve never been here before,” he began when they were alone again, striving to keep his voice light. “Come here often?”

Riley nodded. “Often enough to know what’s good without really needing to think about it. I have friends in the neighborhood and this is one place everyone agrees on when we’re craving different kinds of food.”

Carter dropped his gaze to the tabletop while Riley spoke. He imagined the man from the photographs to be one of the friends Riley had mentioned. Riley looked relaxed tonight, impossibly handsome and put together in his beautiful blue suit. Whatever difficulties he’d experienced since coming out, he was clearly flourishing now. And wasn’t Carter a god-awful mess in comparison?

“Carter?” Riley’s gaze had thawed slightly when Carter looked up. “I was asking how you’ve been.”

“I’m…still trying to figure stuff out.” Carter gave him a weak smile. “I wasn’t lying earlier when I said that I was coping. I still have my job, though, see the kids and sometimes get together with friends. I do okay.”

Riley gave him a knowing glance. “But nothing’s the same. Everything in your life—”

“Is different,” Carter finished. “Pretty much everything outside of my job is radically different. And figuring it all out is fucking tiring.”

“I understand,” Riley replied.

“I know you do.” Carter clasped his hands together in his lap. “Dan’s been pushing me to talk to you…told me if anyone would understand how I’m feeling, it would be you.”

Pre-Order Calm Here

Calm – Cover Reveal

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K. Evan Coles and I are so excited to share with you the gorgeous cover made for Calm by Totally Entwined/Pride’s Emmy Ellis.

The Tidal series is a Contemporary M/M Romance, and Calm tells the second half of Riley and Carter’s story. We will be sharing the first teaser from it tomorrow and you will be able to pre-order it then!

When Riley Porter-Wright comes out as bisexual and confesses his feelings for Carter Hamilton, it severs their friendship. Carter’s rejection forces Riley to move on and he’s shocked to learn Carter’s marriage has fallen apart. 

Overwhelmed by his failure as a husband and father, Carter misses Riley, but feels guilty for disappearing after Riley’s coming out. After Riley extends an olive branch, the former friends agree to repair their relationship. Slowly, Carter pieces together a new life, admits his attraction to men and confesses his feelings for Riley. 

Leery of Carter’s initial rejection, Riley turns his focus to a new man, Will Martin. 

Disappointed, Carter fosters new friendships with men like Jesse Murtagh and Kyle McKee, while also navigating new waters with his ex-wife, Kate, as their children learn their parents are dating other people.

As they rebuild their friendship, both Carter and Riley draw strength from each other, hoping the choices they’ve made are for the best.

If you haven’t read the first book, Wake, run to Pride Publishing’s site or Amazon and buy it!

Calm will be available:

For pre-order – August 1

Early download (on Pride’s site) – August 15 

General release – September 12

 

 

Wake Early Release Day!

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“Wake”–Book one in our two-part “Tidal” series–is now available for early download on Pride Publishing’s site! You’ll be able to read it a whole month before the general release date on May 30. Run and get your copy now!

Here’s a little teaser.


Carter sighed. “What about the lecture?”

“We can get the notes from someone else.” Riley grabbed Carter’s bag and waved at him to stand. “Get your ass up, Carter,” he muttered. “I’m not in the mood to carry you. You’re all tall and gangly and I’m not awake enough to deal with it.”

A couple of hours later, Riley’s bossy attitude had ceased to bother Carter. He was floating on a haze of muscle relaxant and sitting on the edge of his bed while his friend clattered around the bathroom.

“How do you feel?” Riley asked when he emerged, holding towels and a bottle of what appeared to be hand lotion.

“I don’t feel much,” Carter replied, smiling slowly while Riley scoffed. “No, really, I don’t feel anything. I’m kind of… I don’t know, wobbly.”

“Wobbly, huh?” Riley shook his head and grinned. “You’re so stoned, dude.” Putting everything down on the bed, Riley helped Carter take off his jacket, then knelt to pull off his sneakers.

Carter closed his eyes and the world spun slightly. “Oh. Yep.” He hummed and opened one eye to peer at his friend after a touch on the buttons of his shirt. “What’s going on?”

“The doc said some light massage would help with the muscle spasms,” Riley told him. He unbuttoned Carter’s shirt, then waited for him to lift his arms so he could ease it off Carter’s shoulders. “I can do that for you.”

Carter said nothing and let Riley help him out of his sweatpants. His drug-fuzzed brain was still processing the words ‘massage’ and ‘do that for you’ as Riley covered the mattress with a towel.

“Lie down, Car.”

Easing himself clumsily onto the bed, Carter lay with his head pillowed on his forearms. Two big, slick hands began moving over his neck and upper back, flooding his body with warmth, rubbing soothing circles into his skin, turning his already loosened muscles to mush.

“Jesus.” His voice was a low rumble in his chest and he struggled to open his eyes.

“Hold still, Car—I won’t hurt you, I promise.”

“I know,” Carter murmured. He lay boneless while Riley set his muscles ablaze. His body responded and he groaned, his cock growing hard.

Those capable hands moved steadily lower over Carter’s muscles, soothing knots that he hadn’t known were there. He grunted when Riley’s palms slid underneath the waistband of his boxer briefs. Talented fingers trailed fire across the base of his spine, making him shiver, and he sighed as lips pressed gently over his shoulders and neck. He’d nearly fallen asleep when a weight settled beside him at last, slipping one arm around his waist.


We hope you enjoy the book and if you can, please take a moment to rate and review it on Pride Publishing and Goodreads!

In addition, be sure to stop by the three stops on our book blitz for multiple chances to win the $25 Amazon gift card we’re offering!

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Monday Flash Fiction – Lenses

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I watched Henry from beneath my eyelashes as he paced the studio apartment, sitting then standing again, picking up my belongings and inspecting them with a curious eye though he’d seen them a thousand times before. Although his expression remained calm, something lurked under the surface. Short, jerky movements and glances at the door spoke of restless tension and a desire to flee.

He grabbed his jeans from where I’d  tossed them on the orange flowered couch the night before. He slid them over his lean hips, and I held my breath when his fingers hesitated on the zipper.I didn’t want him to leave, but I was afraid if I spoke it would spook him.

I’d fully expected to wake up to a politely apologetic note on the pillow.

Sunlight glinted off his salt and pepper hair and kissed his sculpted shoulders and abs as he began to pace the room again, fly still open. He picked up my beloved Mamiya RZ67 and turned it over. He’d posed in front of that camera the day before and my fingers itched to photograph him once more.

“I know you’re awake,” he murmured, aiming the lens at me and leaning in to peer through the top viewfinder.

I sat up, the rumpled sheets falling down to my waist and I fought the urge to gather them up and cover myself.

“And I know you’re itching to leave.” After a night of passion, my voice was huskier than it had been in a long time.

“It’s not why you think.”  His tone was apologetic.

I pushed my hair behind my shoulder—finally long enough to do that—and I heard the quiet whirr of the autofocus. I shielded my face and reached for the covers, drawing them up over my chest. “Don’t, Henry.”

When he set the camera on the nearby bookshelf I lowered my hand. His expression was apologetic as he crawled toward me, the motion making his jeans slide down so his ass was partially bared.  “I’m sorry.”

My smile was tremulous and sad. “Sorry for what? Finally doing the photoshoot I’ve been bugging you about for years? Fucking me? Or are you sorry you woke up to this?”

I gestured to my body, the one I’d been fighting with for years. It was only recently that I’d begun to feel comfortable in it.

“Hey—“ Henry gently nudged me down onto the mattress with his body “—you are beautiful and last night was incredible.”

“Then why were you pacing my apartment like a caged lion?” I murmured, running my fingernails across his biceps and shoulders.

He shuddered and placed a kiss just above the swell of my breast before rolling off me, onto his back. “Because I’m shit at commitment. I stayed because I knew if I bolted you’d assume the worst.”

I flipped onto my side so I could see him better. “So it wasn’t weird or awful?”

“Well, maybe a little weird, but certainly not awful. In fact, if you were listening, you’d know I used the word incredible. I meant it, Eth—Evelyn.”

He still slipped up sometimes, calling me Ethan.  With most people, it made me bristle, but Henry and I had been friends for too long for me to be angry at him.

“So what now?” I asked.

His head lolled to the side and he gave me a serious look. “I stop at home and feed the cat and then go to the university to grade some projects.”

I swallowed thickly, tears stinging my eyes. “So that’s it? We chalk last night up to too much wine and an erotically-charged photoshoot and leave it at that?”

It was a terrible thought. Henry was the first man I’d felt safe enough to get intimate with in years. He’d made me feel beautiful. Desirable.  I wanted the feeling to last but it had already begun to slip away, disappearing like sand through my fingers.

“I didn’t say that.” Henry sat up on one elbow. “I was thinking that tonight we’d grab dinner at that stupid gastropub you like so much and go to the film festival. Just like our usual Saturday nights.” He leaned in to brush his lips against mine. “But with one difference. We’ll come back here after. And I don’t mean to develop the film in that camera.” His tone was teasing, gentle.

“You know I develop film at the university anyway,” I replied, my heart beating fast in my chest at the prospect of another night with Henry. It wasn’t much of a clue about where this was going, but I’d take it. Unsaid words crowded together on my tongue, but all I could speak of was photography. It was a safer topic than my fears and doubts.“I haven’t had a darkroom here in years.”

Henry gave me one last kiss, and stood. “I gotta go. Starla’s going to shred my curtains if I don’t get back to feed her soon.”

I pushed myself up on my elbows and watched Henry dress.  His cranky cat was the only creature he’d allowed to get close to him and vice versa. Truth be told, I was a bit like Starla sometimes, but Henry had kept me in his life despite all of my snarling. That had to mean something.

Fully dressed, he stood at the foot of the bed and looked down at me. “You sure I can’t take a photo of you in bed?” he asked. “You have no idea how beautiful you are in this light.”

I swallowed hard and nodded once.

Rather than reach for my camera, he slipped his phone out of his pocket. He must have seen the wariness in my eyes because he gave me a reassuring smile. “Just for me, Evelyn, I promise. I just want to carry it with me.”

I trusted him. So I wet my lips and looked up at him.

Naked and vulnerable.

With Henry, I could be no one else.

 


This was a flash I wrestled with for a long while, until I heard Evelyn’s voice. It’s nearly twice the usual length, but the words were needed to tell her story.

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics.

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Brigham’s Recommendations – Stuck Landing by Lauren Gallagher

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Summary:

For months, acclaimed Wolf’s Landing director/producer Anna Maxwell has been nursing a crush on Natalya Izmaylova, a former Russian gymnast and current Wolf’s Landing stunt coordinator. When Anna witnesses Natalya’s very public breakup with her boyfriend, she can’t resist inviting her over for drinks to commiserate about love and all that nonsense. Commiseration doesn’t last long, and soon Anna’s in bed with the hottest woman she’s ever touched, living out fantasies she didn’t even know she had.

Despite the amazing sex, Anna wants to proceed with caution. They’re both newly single. They’re colleagues. And there’s the not-so-small matter of Anna’s biphobia.

Natalya won’t commit to someone who clings to ridiculous stereotypes, but they can’t avoid each other at work, and there’s no ignoring their chemistry. Anna’s defenses are slowly eroding, and Natalya is willing to give her another chance. But Natalya only has so much patience, and even scorching-hot sex won’t keep her coming back forever. If Anna doesn’t come to her senses soon and let go of her prejudices—not to mention her insecurities—she’s going to lose the woman of her dreams.

Review:

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the “Bluewater Bay” series or that I am a fan of L.A. Witt’s writing, whether she’d doing it under that name or as Lauren Gallagher. So when I realized she had written a lesbian romance as part of the “Bluewater Bay” series I was thrilled.

I don’t read a lot of lesbian stories. Mostly because I lack the time to keep up with all of the amazing books in the m/m genre, much less read lesbian fiction on top of it, but I was glad I took the time to read this. I found “Stuck Landing” very enjoyable.

In the previous books in the series, we caught glimpses of the main characters in “Stuck Landing” and saw the crumbling of Anna Maxwell’s relationship and her growing attraction to Natalya Izmaylova. This book can certainly be read as a standalone novel, but having that backstory was nice. It added an additional layer to the story.

Anna and Natalya were interesting and well thought out characters. They’re both driven, successful women, but the author did a fantastic job showing where they differed and how that impacted their approach to a relationship. For example, Anna’s career as a director and producer has developed into a need to control the relationship she’s in. Natalya’s career as a gymnast and stunt woman means she’s more willing to dive in and risk it all. It was a nice contrast, because it gave them enough in common to build a foundation, but a source of tension as they went from  hooking up to being in a relationship.

The author also did a fantastic job addressing the issue of biphobia. It’s something that many bi people have experienced (myself included) and I was very pleased to see it as part of the storyline. Much of Anna’s growth as a character was centered on acknowledging her prejudices and letting go of them.  Natalya’s frustration with Anna’s beliefs came from her previous experiences with biphobic people and made the resolution of those issues even more satisfying.

Lauren Gallagher delivered a story with great pacing, complex characters, steamy romance and love scenes, and a solid resolution at the end. Highly recommended.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Riptide Publishing