Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday's Montage Mantlepiece: Love Across Time Box Set


Title: Love Across Time
Authors: Amanda Mariel, Lynne Connolly, Tammy Andresen
Carra Copelin, Karyn Gerrard, Meredith Bond, Aubrey Wynne
Janis Susan May, Katie Stephens, Elena Kane
Genre: Romance
Release Date: January 10, 2017

***Currently 99cents***
Summary:
Enter the world of yesterday… Ten full-length historical and time travel romances by bestselling authors will take you from Ancient Egypt to the British Regency to the American West and more.

Sexy, stubborn heroes and beautiful, daring heroines follow their hearts to prove love does indeed transcend time. Explore another century and find your timeless happily ever after.



Scandalous Endeavors by Amanda Mariel
Lady Amelia has only known the comfort of life in mid-eighteenth century English aristocracy. But when her father dies, she finds herself alone, grief stricken and not of age. Her appointed guardian, an American uncle, has ordered her to relocate to America where she must remain until she comes of age.

Counterfeit Countess by Lynne Connolly
After Waterloo, John Dalkington-Smythe travelled overseas to Canada to find some peace and make his fortune. A frantic visit from his cousins, the Earl of Graywood and his brother brings him back home, but a tragic incident aboard ship leaves John the new heir.

In London, John meets the woman calling herself his widow. Except he isn’t dead and he’s not married. When he discovers the impostor is the woman he’s desired for years, he decides to persuade her to keep the position of Countess of Graywood.

Faith spent years trying to ignore the presence of Lieutenant-Colonel Dalkington-Smythe, her husband’s military commander. Finding herself in dire straits after Waterloo, she poses as his widow. She only ever meant it as temporary. To find that John is alive comes as a severe shock, but her feelings for him are as strong as ever. The passion John and Faith discover together is worth fighting for. 

Someone is threatening to expose Faith’s deception and destroy John’s fortune and position in society. If they don’t discover the identity of their unknown enemy and thwart the schemes, John and Faith could lose everything—title, fortune and even their lives.

Stealing a Lady's Heart by Tammy Andersen
Locksmith by trade, Graham Fairfield needs a miracle to save his father’s barony. Instead, disaster comes calling in the form of Lady Charlotte Beaumont, cousin to the prince regent. Fleeing the dastardly attentions of a Scottish lord, Charlotte finds a safe haven with the tradesmen in the crumbling old manor and she breathes new life into their lives. It is almost as though fate has brought her to their door. When danger catches up with her and steals her away, it will be up to Graham and his clever brothers to rescue her. Will he be too late to save the lady and the love blooming between them?

Faith and the Texas Lawyer by Carra Copelin
Faith Daniels has had a hard time fitting in all her life, from the time she was left on the steps of a firehouse to her recent divorce. The only time she feels connected is when she rehabs old houses. Often she wishes she could have experienced life in a simpler time. Her current project, a 1900 Galveston mansion, is all she ever wished for and more. When some mysterious force transports her from 2016 to 1900, just prior to the most devastating natural disaster on record, will Faith give up all she has attained in her present life to stay in the past with the sexy turn-of-the-century lawyer?

Joseph Benning has serious trust issues. He is still recovering from the jolt of being dumped by his fiancé shortly before their wedding. In order to prove to himself he can manage on his own without a woman in his life, he decides to reach outside of his routine and buy a house. Suddenly, a strange woman shows up inside his house telling fantastic stories of disaster and destruction. Will Joe be able to make the right decision and let her go, when it comes time to save her life?

Timeless Heart by Karyn Gerrard
Suffering from burnout, elementary school teacher Sandra Cranston is on leave and trying to eliminate stress from her life. That plan is blown when she discovers an abandoned carriage deep in the woods. Inside is a man, Jerrod Ross, who fuels all of her wicked Regency dreams and fantasies. Take him home? Sure, why not?

Jerrod Ross has been ripped from the only world he has ever known—1821 Cornwall, England. A mine owner with many responsibilities, all he wants to do is return to his time. But his growing attraction for the lovely lady who found him makes staying in the future a temptation he finds hard to resist.

Torn between duty and desire, past and future, the hardest thing Sandra and Jerrod will do is admit their feelings. Or say—goodbye.


Falling by Meredith Bond
Long-hidden secrets, ageless magic, forbidden romance—nothing Erin could have ever imagined when she called on a hypnotist to cure her of her fear of falling. When fate gives Erin and David a second chance they need to find their happily ever after before things go very wrong… again.

Rolf's Quest by Aubrey Wynne
A wizard, a curse, a fated love…

When Rolf finally discovers the woman who can end the curse that has plagued his family for centuries, she is already betrothed. Time is running out for the royal wizard of King Henry II. If he cannot find true love without the use of magic, his line will end. 

Melissa is intrigued by the mystical, handsome man that haunts her by night and tempts her by day. His bizarre tale of Merlin, enchantments, and finding genuine love has her questioning his sanity and her heart.

From the moment Melissa stepped from his dreams and into his arms, Rolf knew she was his destiny. Now, he will not only battle against time and a powerful duke, but defy his king and the gods to save her.

Passion's Choice by Janis Susan Kay
Tourist Elissa McLaughlin falls over the edge of the Hathor chapel reconstruction at Deir el Bahri, but when she lands she finds herself in the time of its construction. Taken as a pleasure woman by the general in charge of building, she soon finds herself constrained to a dangerous masquerade in the center of political intrigue that could change the course of Egypt’s history forever. It is no time to fall in love…

The Art Gallery by Katie Stephens
When the sole purpose of the company you work for is to send people back in time to fix things, mistakes happen. Kara Brennan’s job is to pursue those mistakes and bring them back to the present before they can do more damage, even if her mark happens to be the dangerous Jack the Ripper. Kara’s lover and fellow teammate sent Jack through the wrong art gallery painting, but now Quinn Markham searches her out for another reason. Another mistake, one that could eliminate his very existence.

Lucas Taylor doesn’t understand why he appears during the American Revolution as a British soldier. Even more disturbing, while attending a celebratory ball in eighteenth century Philadelphia, he recognizes Kara as the young orphan he hasn’t seen in sixteen years—in the twenty-first century. He’s never forgotten her.

Kara identifies her mark, but never expected him to be the boy she knew from the orphanage. Lucas Taylor had been her hero once before. Will her girlhood dreams of the perfect man turn out to be true? Or can Quinn keep Lucas from winning back the only woman he ever loved?

Witch by Elena Kane
When suspicion is everywhere, how can love be found? Especially, when you're the one they seek.




Amanda Mariel
Amanda Mariel dreams of days gone by when life moved at a slower pace. She enjoys taking pen to paper and exploring historical time periods through her imagination and the written word. When she is not writing she can be found reading, crocheting, traveling, practicing her photography skills, or spending time with her family. 

Amanda lives along the Lake Huron shoreline in northern Michigan with her husband and two kids. She holds a Master of Liberal Arts Degree with a concentration in literature and has a long-standing love affair with sugary junk food.

Lynne Connolly
Award winning, top selling author Lynne Connolly writes historical romance, paranormal romance and contemporary romance.

She lives in the UK with her family and her Mews, Jack. She also loves travelling, and often incorporates the places she visits into her books.

Tammy Andresen
Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachussetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

In addition to this set, Tammy has published two full length novels: Lily in Bloom and Midnight Magic.

Carra Copelin
I write contemporary and historical romances but, unlike so many other authors, I didn’t write from childhood or read long into the night beneath the covers with a flashlight. I found romance novels as an adult. After reading about a million, I discovered numerous people residing in my head, all looking for a way onto the printed page.

I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and Yellow Rose Romance Writers, plus I’m a regular contributor to the blogs, Smart Girls Read Romance and Sweethearts of the West. I’m a member of The Daughters of the American Revolution, and The Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

My husband and I live in North Central Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex where we enjoy our family and grandchildren. In addition to writing and researching, I enjoy my Bridge group, crochet, and tracking down our relatives through genealogy.

Karyn Gerrard
Karyn Gerrard, born and raised in the Maritime Provinces of Eastern Canada, now makes her home in a small town in Northwestern Ontario. When she’s not cheering on the Red Sox or travelling in the summer with her teacher husband, she writes, reads romance, and drinks copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

Even at a young age Karyn’s storytelling skills were apparent, thrilling her fellow Girl Guides with off-the-cuff horror stories around the campfire. A multi-published author, she loves to write sensual historicals, particularly in the Victorian era. She also writes contemporaries. Tortured heroes are an absolute must.

As long as she can avoid being hit by a runaway moose in her wilderness paradise she assumes everything is golden. Karyn’s been happily married for a long time to her own hero. His encouragement and loving support keeps her moving forward.


Meredith Bond
Meredith Bond's books straddle that beautiful line between historical romance and fantasy. An award-winning author, she writes fun traditional Regency romances, medieval Arthurian romances, and Regency romances with a touch of magic. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith’s heart belongs to her husband and two children.

Aubrey Wynne
Bestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trailriding and all things Christmas. 

Her short stories, Merry Christmas, Henry and Pete's Mighty Purty Privies have won Readers Choice Awards and Dante's Gift received the 2016 Golden Quill, Heart of Excellence, and Aspen Gold award, as well as being a Maggie finalist. 

Aubrey’s medieval fantasy series launches in 2017 with Rolf's Quest. Besides the Chicago Christmas novellas, Aubrey will also release "A Vintage Romance" series inspired by tales of her stepfather, who served for the British Air Force in WWII. The stories will be set in the 40s & 50s.

Janis Susan May
Janis Susan May is a seventh-generation Texan and a third-generation wordsmith who writes mysteries as Janis Patterson, romances and other things as Janis Susan May, children’s books as Janis Susan Patterson and scholarly works as J.S.M. Patterson.

Formerly an actress and singer, a talent agent and Supervisor of Accessioning for a bio-genetic DNA testing lab, Janis has also been editor-in-chief of two multi-magazine publishing groups. She founded and was the original editor of The Newsletter of the North Texas Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt, which for the nine years of her reign was the international organization’s only monthly publication. Long interested in Egyptology, she was one of the founders of the North Texas chapter and was the closing speaker for the ARCE International Conference in Boston in 2005.

Janis married for the first time when most of her contemporaries were becoming grandmothers. Her husband, a handsome Navy Captain several years younger than she, even proposed in a moonlit garden in Egypt. Janis and her husband live in Texas with an assortment of rescued furbabies.

Katie Stephens
If you discovered a sealed box with "Katie's memories" scribbled on the side, you'd find a lifetime of partially completed stories, plays and musicals. Katie Stephens has opened that box and writes both non-fiction and fiction, where she happily experiments with all genres. Although her grown children are scattered east and west across the country, she lives solidly in mid-America with two kitties and a husband who keeps asking when she's really going to retire.

Elena Kane
Elena Kane is preschooler teacher who lives in a small town in Ohio. She has three wonderful children who enjoy family movie night, playing board games, and the occasional game of hide-and-go-seek. She loves watching her kids play in the marching band, football in the fall and simply cannot get enough of the lights, decorations, music, and anything else that has to do with the Christmas. She love flowers, the outdoors, and considers flip-flops an absolute must in the summer.


Amanda Mariel
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Lynne Connolly
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Tammy Andresen
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Carra Copelin
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Karyn Gerrard
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Meredith Bond
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Aubrey Wynne
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EMAIL: aubreywynneauthor@gmail.com

Janis Susan May
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Katie Stephens
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Elena Kane
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***Currently 99cents***
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Wicked Bride Games by Clarissa Wild

Title: Wicked Bride Games
Author: Clarissa Wild
Series: Indecent Games #1
Genre: Erotica, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Summary:
Fifty million dollars for three weeks of your life in the hands of a total stranger. Would you do it?

When Naomi Lee finds herself out of a job and out of the money she needs to pay her father’s medical bills, she receives an anonymous letter, containing an offer she can’t refuse.

Max Marino, a wealthy businessman, wants her and he’ll pay any price.

Three weeks of her time, no-holds-barred, in exchange for fifty million dollars.

With no other means to pay her bills, Naomi has no choice but to accept.

However, Naomi isn’t the only one who signs the contract.
And Max isn’t alone in his deal.

Three brothers …

Nine girls …

All competing for the ultimate prize … marriage.

Let the games begin.

WARNING: contains disturbing content some readers may find offensive. Includes scenes involving multiple men & women being dirty together. Every boundary is crossed. Read at your own risk.


“Listen up, ladies,” Max says. “I know you must be confused, so let me explain what’s going to happen.”

I can feel the air thicken with angst.

It chokes me, even though it isn’t my fear I’m feeling. It’s the girls’ fear.

“Each of you signed a contract with one of us. You were picked because you are special. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are perfect. Which is exactly why we want you. Why you now belong to us. And it’s why we chose you for this game.”

“What game?” Camilla interrupts.

Anthony lifts his finger and places it on his lips, silencing her without saying a single word.

“Our game. To win it, you must compete against each other. You will earn fifty million dollars if you win our game. The rules are simple. Entertain us in whatever way necessary, and you will win.”

“How?” I ask bluntly, not giving a shit whether I’m allowed to ask questions.

Max bites his lip. I don’t know why I see it, but I do. “By doing everything we desire. Whether it be serving us, massaging us—”

“Or undressing for us,” Anthony adds.

Devon grins. “Or being fucked in any orifice.”

“What?” Jordan’s jaw drops.

“Do you mean …” Stacey mutters.

Asya, who’s standing beside me, grabs my hand and squeezes it tight. I want to shake her loose, but I know that’s not in my best interest now. It wouldn’t look good, and I will fucking look good if I have to fight these girls for the same prize.

“Yes, you heard that right,” Max muses, his eyes honing in on my face. “Sex. Anything goes. Anywhere. Any time. Any fucking thing that we want, you will do it.”

He takes a step into my direction, one foot ahead of the other as he broadens his shoulders, obviously trying to intimidate me.

“Do you want to get fifty million dollars? Earn it. Follow the rules.” I know he’s talking to all of the girls, but his eyes are on me. “Do not defy us. Do not deny us pleasure. Fail, and you will be eliminated, the contract nullified. That’s all. Any questions?”

Eliminated.

I wonder in what sense.

Stacey raises her hand, and Max signals her to speak. “What are the rules exactly?”

Max’s wicked smile somehow finds its way into my devious little heart. “You’ll find out soon enough.”





Dirty Wife Games #2(Coming February 28, 2017)
Summary:
* This is a Standalone Novel *
A scorned wife on the run, and a stalker who follows her every move … Match made in heaven?

After being forced to marry a tyrant, Hyun Song flees his home in a desperate attempt to save what’s left of her dignity … and her life.

Now on her own, she tries her best to move on with her simple life. But she quickly realizes she can’t escape her past … and that she’s not alone …

He watches her through her window.
Sends her indecent notes.
Stalks her everywhere she goes.

He wants her badly, and when she finally lets him in …
It’s time for the wife to play a dirty game.

Author’s note: This story contains sensitive content that may be upsetting to some readers.

Author Bio:
Clarissa Wild is a New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author, best known for the dark Romance novel Mr. X. Her novels include the Fierce Series, the Delirious Series, and Stalker. She is also a writer of erotic romance such as the Blissful Series, The Billionaire's Bet series, and the Enflamed Series. She is an avid reader and writer of sexy stories about hot men and feisty women. Her other loves include her furry cat friend and learning about different cultures. In her free time she enjoys watching all sorts of movies, reading tons of books and cooking her favorite meals.

Want to be the first to get your hands on new books & get access to free short stories, giveaway prizes, previews, and more? Sign up here.


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Wicked Bride Games #1
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Dark Legends Box Set

Title: Dark Legends
Authors: TF Walsh, Monica Corwin, JL Weil, Laxmi Hariharan
SD Wasley, JA Culican, May Sage, Muffy Wilson, GK DeRosa
Marilyn Peake, Kevin McLaughlin, Carissa Ann Lynch
Vivienne Savage, Anna Hub, HJ Lawson, Emma Nichols
Shelley Munro, JA Armitage, Leilani Love, Demelza Carlton, Xyla Turner
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: January 17, 2017


Summary:
This Collection is packed with more than 20 full-length Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads from New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors!

Don’t miss this collection of more than twenty unique twists in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, providing over one million words of supernatural suspense that will transport you to new worlds with smoking hot action and heart-throttling adventure!

The DARK LEGENDS boxed set includes: Mermaids, Sirens, Shifters, Vampires, Dragons, Sorcerers, Warriors, Angels, Faeries, Demons, Witches, Psychics, Ghosts, Mythology, Folk Tales, Legends, Dark Magic, Time Travel, and More!



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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Release Day Review: Regeneration by Louise Lyons

Summary:
In the 23rd Century in the galaxy of Sigma Kappa, Kim Fortune was the first surviving experimental enhanced human—a regenerate. Aged fifteen, he escaped the lab and years later, his failings as a regenerate and the suspicion of regular humans, leave him lonely and lacking in self-worth. Stranded on an abandoned planet, the arrival of a stricken ship and its crew give him hope that he may finally find what he always longed for—love.

Christian Novak is a successful regenerate with all the intended attributes—including lack of human emotion. Despite their immediate attraction to each other, Kim's failing confidence, and Christian's inability to empathize are a recipe for disaster. But war, imprisonment, and danger throw them together, and after each saves the other's life, their feelings begin to change.

Can a seemingly unsuitable pair ever find love, or is a future together destined to fail?


WOW!  I just had to start by throwing that out there.  I have been a sic-fi fan since I first saw Star Wars when I was 4 years old in 1977 so as you can imagine I've seen and read many science fiction plots in the years since.  It isn't easy to tell a romance story in science fiction setting and pull it off with amazing heart, well Louise Lyons has done just that with Regeneration.  Kim Fortune worms his way into your heart with his lonely soul, he may be a bit naive when it comes to certain things but he's always genuine.  When Novak crashes into his life, nothing will ever be the same for either of them.

Not a lot I can say without revealing too much but I will say I love how the technology and science in Regeneration may not be doable in our lifetime but it certainly is a believable progression given the future time frame.  Add unlikely romance into the possibility that one day it just may be the world our future generations live in and you have a story that really sucks you in and sticks with you.  Once I started I just couldn't put it down, I know that may sound cliche but it's no less true.  Prepare yourself to get lost in Kim & Novak's tale.

RATING: 


I found the galley empty, Neil having left his dish on the table with the others. I gathered up the dishes and spoons and dumped them in the steel sink. Novak hovered by the table, muscular arms folded across his chest. Silence hung heavy around us, and I struggled to think of some way to break it. Ask a question.

“Who are you?” I knew nothing about him. I’d learned a little about the others, but this man—he could be anyone and have done anything. Why was he a prisoner? Susan, Dina, and Johnson hadn’t been able to tell me much.

“Christian Novak; escaped convict. Well, I had escaped, until that jerk Ross caught up with me.”

“What did you do?”

“Killed a few people.”

“Are you trying to scare me?”

His grin broadened. “Ain’t it workin’?”

A faint prickle of fear touched my spine, but I ignored it. His attitude toward me didn’t indicate a threat. “Who did you kill?”

“Anyone who got in my way. You do that when you want to get away from something.”

“You didn’t kill Neil.” I turned my back to him, and opened a cupboard to retrieve a box of what passed for coffee granules. Removing one of the sachets, I emptied it into a mug. I didn’t offer him one.

“My mistake.” His boots scraped on the floor as he stepped closer to me. The scent of warm flesh and stale sweat reached my nostrils, and I wrinkled my nose. My heart pounded harder as his breaths came, slow and steady, inches from the back of my head. “Most people don’t turn their back.” His voice rumbled in my left ear, low and teasing.

“I’m not most people.”

“What would you do if I were to do this?” He moved his hand so fast I saw only a blur from the corner of my eye, before he gripped my throat and squeezed, not hard enough to cut off my air supply. Just as quickly, I snatched the pistol from the back of my pants, and thrust its barrel back over my left shoulder until it connected with hard flesh.

“Squeeze a little tighter and you’ll find out,” I hissed.

Novak loosened his grip, but his hand still cupped my throat. “It’s not primed.”

“It would have been, if I really thought you planned to hurt me. I can take care of myself.”

“You sound like my kinda boy.”

“Don’t push your luck.” I silently cursed the way my voice shook. Novak released me and raised both hands, one either side of me so I could see them. As he moved away, I tucked the pistol back into my pants, and wiped my sweating palms on my thighs.

I turned to face him and leaned against the sink. He watched me steadily, still smiling. He was dangerous, I acknowledged. Not because he’d killed people. I didn’t care about that, whatever the circumstances. He was hardly the only one. In this world, the strong survived and sometimes there was no other way. What scared me was the way he made me feel; the way he made my heart race and my hair stand on end; the way my cock twitched in my pants as he looked at me with hunger in his brown eyes. I’d never encountered anyone like him and it seemed we were to spend some time in each other’s company if I meant to leave Pardus behind. Maybe things would be different this time. He was a regenerate, so if I revealed we came from the same place, it wouldn’t matter to him. But would it matter when he realized I was a failure? Lacking most of the attributes I should have? Probably. My enthusiasm faded and I tried not to hope, but in that way, I was too human. I felt, and hoped, and longed, and prayed it wouldn’t matter to him.

Author Bio:
Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the Church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy. Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered Fan Fiction in her late twenties.

Posting stories based on some of her favorite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad Dobermann, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races into the house afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and joy, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.


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Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Bringing Nicky Home by Sean Michael


Summary:
Can the magic Whip and Nicky found at the Gay Riders’ Carnivale continue when they return to their regular lives?

With the Gay Riders’ Carnivale over, Whip brings Nicky home with him to his converted warehouse condo in Ottawa with the hopes that what they started at the Carnivale will grow into something they can both live with forever.

All is going well, the two of them learning more about each other and playing hard between Whip’s returning to work as an EMT and Nicky finding a job at a coffee shop.

When Nicky’s former master, the abusive Dirk, steps back into Nicky’s life, it threatens their very lives.

Can Whip and Nicky survive both real life and Dirk?



Whip attached his new saddlebags to the bike and made sure he’d stowed all his stuff. The fact that Nicky only had a pair of jeans spare and a couple of T-shirts because Whip had bought him a few things over the weekend was criminal.

They were about to leave for home, though, a brand new relationship that had started so hot and heavy here at the Carnivale, and he didn’t want to mar it with thoughts of the asshole who’d been Nicky’s so-called master. He was going to focus on the good, which Nicky was. He was why this year’s Carnivale had been the best ever.

Whip did up the straps and grabbed his helmet, plus the extra, which he handed over to Nicky. “You ready to come home with me?”

“Yes. God, yes. Please, Sir.” Huge blue eyes looked up at him from above a large fading bruise. “I swear you won’t regret me.”

“I know I won’t.” He cupped Nicky’s cheek, then put the helmet on his pup’s head and grinned wildly. “We have a four-hour ride back to Ottawa. Make sure you hold on tight.”

“I won’t let go, I swear.”

He took a kiss, sucking on Nicky’s tongue for a moment. “That’s to tide us over until we’re home.”

Then he straddled his ride, waiting for Nicky to get on behind him. It took a second to adjust to the weight, to get his balance, but the sensation when Nicky’s hands slipped around him was just right.

He started his bike and eased off the brake, moving slowly until he’d wound his way out of the parking lot and onto the road. From there, he opened her up and let her rip. It felt great, having Nicky clinging to him, plastered to his back.

They headed east, zipping down the highway, traveling toward home, and the whole scenario made him a breathless. He couldn’t remember if he’d made the bed or picked his underwear off the floor before he’d left the house four days ago. He supposed it didn’t matter. He wasn’t the neatest biker in the bunch, and Nicky would have to deal with that.

They hit rain about three-quarters of the way home, the squall bad enough that he pulled off, heading for the neon lights of a diner. He was hungry anyway, and he knew Nicky needed more of a break than a gas pit stop.

He stopped the bike, put down the kick-stand, and waited for Nicky to get off before joining him. They ran together to the diner, shaking off when they got there, and took off their helmets, shucked their jackets.

“You doing okay, baby?” Whip didn’t know how well Nicky traveled and getting caught up in the rain was nasty no matter how experienced you were.

“Yeah. Yeah, totally. That was exciting, huh? All the lightning.”

Whip laughed and nodded. “Yeah. Might have been a little more fun from the loft windows at home, but yeah.”

“You can sit anywhere, guys. I’ll be by with coffee and menus in a second.” The waitress gave them a smile and hurried on to deliver the plates of food she was carrying.

“That looked good,” Whip noted as he led them to a booth with hooks on the side where they could hang their wet leather jackets.

“Totally. Loft windows, huh? That would be so cool, watching a storm.” Nicky was buzzing, bouncing and young and alive and interested.

This was how it was supposed to be for Nicky. The world was supposed to be full of promise, exciting. As was his relationship with his Dom. Whip was glad he’d found Nicky when he had. Doubly glad, really. He was happy Nicky wasn’t with the asshole anymore just on its own. The fact that Whip had fallen in love too, made it awesome.

“Wait until I tie you to the St. Andrew’s cross that faces it.” His playroom was very well equipped and, while he might choose to start more slowly with Nicky, he definitely wanted to work up to using all the equipment at some point.

Nicky blinked up, the sudden rush of arousal showing in his cheeks.

Whip grinned, his own leathers going from a little tight due to having his hog between his legs and Nicky’s body pressed against him to fairly tight at the images his own words had brought forward.

“Let’s figure out what we want to eat before we get too distracted,” he suggested.

“I want the roast beef and mashed potatoes, if that’s okay with you. It smelled like heaven on a plate as it went by.”

“Yeah, yeah. That’s cool. I’m getting the blue light special. I love a good diner meatloaf. And this one comes with the mashed potatoes too. And green beans. And a vanilla milkshake to drink.” Whip’s stomach growled. He hadn’t realized how hungry he was until they’d started talking about food.

“Oh… Oh, that sounds good too…” Nicky grinned at him. “I’m sorry. I feel like… Like life is starting again.”

“Well, it is in a lot of ways and you should never apologize for enjoying the things life has to offer. Tell you what, you get the beef, I’ll get the meatloaf and we can share. You’ll have to get your own milkshake, though, unless you’re good with vanilla. I don’t like any other flavor.”

“No?” Nicky’s blue eyes danced. “Just vanilla?”

“When it comes to milkshakes, yes. It’s my one food weirdness. Otherwise, I’ll eat pretty much anything you set in front of me. As you may have noticed at the Carnivale.”

“Good to know. Vanilla master,” Nicky whispered.

Whip had to laugh at that, the sound bursting out of him. “As long as it doesn’t give you any ideas that I’m going to go easy on your ass, you can call me vanilla.”

“I think I want a strawberry shake. Or coffee. Ooh. They have salted caramel.” Nicky looked like a kid in his first candy store. Whip was willing to bet good money that Dirk had always chosen Nicky’s meals for him, and he’d add a side wager that he’d never chosen anything fun or exciting for Nicky—only the basics.

“Now see, I like salted caramel. But not in my milkshake.”

The waitress arrived at their table and he ordered for Nicky, getting him a salted caramel milkshake to go with the roast beef. He figured they could have coffee with their desserts. And, given the number of pies he could see listed on the board over the counter up front, they were definitely going to have dessert. The only question was how he was supposed to narrow it down to one?

Nicky watched him the entire time, like he might disappear any moment, like this was only a dream.

He turned his attention back to Nicky after he’d ordered, stretching and letting his foot touch Nicky’s. One day Nicky would be confident of his place in Whip’s life, but he hoped he was always this pup’s dream.

“So, uh, do you think I’ll be able to find work close by?” Nicky asked. “I know I have to pull my own weight, help with rent and stuff.”

Whip would have been happy to have Nicky helping around the loft with cooking and cleaning in place of contributing financially, but he knew it was important to Nicky to be earning, for his pride’s sake, so Whip didn’t say anything to discourage Nicky’s plans. Besides, Nicky might feel better if he actually had money of his own coming in, just in case. From what Whip understood, he’d been beholden to Dirk for absolutely everything, and that was a shitty place to be when the man who was your master and provider was such an asshole. Was an abuser.

“There’s a bunch of restaurants downtown and I’m always seeing help wanted signs, so I imagine you’ll find something you like fairly quickly. And I can wait on rent until you have something.” He didn’t want Nicky grabbing the first shitty position he found, just to have a job.

“Cool. I’m good at cleaning and stuff, too. I’m a laundry whiz.” Nicky stretched out the ‘zed’ sound.

“Oh yeah? I’m not a fan of laundry, so you could have that job around the house. We can divide the work and financial contributions so that we’re both happy in what we’re contributing and feeling like we’re doing our share. That work for you?”

“Of course. I’m good at taking care of things, at paying attention.”

He’d bet Nicky was. That was how abused people survived.

He reached out and grabbed Nicky’s hand, curling his fingers around Nicky’s. “You’re going to be a great help to have around the house. You know that’s not why I’m bringing you home, though, right?” He wasn’t looking for a maid—he was looking for a pup of his own. He was looking for Nicky.

“I know,” Nicky insisted. “You’re bringing me home because we have this big thing. It’s new and a little shaky, but it’s real.”

He beamed at Nicky for nailing it on the head. “You really do pay attention. And you’re smart, too.”

“I try.”

And that was enough, wasn’t it? Nicky tried. That was all any master had a right to ask of their sub. Effort. Whip approved.

“You do, and I notice you doing it.” That was important too, Whip knew, that Nicky didn’t feel invisible. And it was another reason not to exchange doing all the grunt work at the loft instead of rent. He didn’t want Nicky stuck with it all. “I’d like to make my room our room, but if you need some space of your own, there is a spare room and I won’t kick you out for using it.”

“I guess we’ll have to figure out what’s right, huh? I mean, you’re pretty good at telling what you want.”

Whip chuckled at that. “That’s kind of in the Dom job description. I’m more concerned that you tell me what you want and need. I won’t take advantage of you.”

“Me either. I’m not a bitch, no matter what anyone says.” Nicky raised his chin.

“I know you’re not. I know who you are better than that asshole you’d taken up with. I’m not going to let anyone hurt you like that again.” Dirk had treated Nicky like dirt and made him believe that was what the lifestyle was, that that was what Nicky deserved. Now Nicky knew better.

And if Nicky slipped, then Whip would drag him right back up.

Their milkshakes arrived. “Your meals will be along shortly, boys,” the waitress told them as she headed off again.

He called out a ‘thank you’ to their waitress and dove in, loving that the shake was thick enough he really had to suck. That was his favorite thing about milkshakes, the thickness, needing to suck and suck before the liquid would flow up the straw.

Nicky used his straw as a spoon, scooping bites out, licking the straw clean. Whip groaned as he watched, his cock reacting immediately to his sexy, oral pup. He could sit there and watch Nicky eat the entire shake just like that.

“You want a bite?” Nicky asked when he noticed Whip staring.

“Nope.” He wanted to watch Nicky use his tongue.

“‘Kay.” Nicky scooped up another bite, lapping at the straw. Little tease.

Whip groaned softly. He could get used to this. He wanted to. That was the plan. His mind babbled a little to distract himself from pouncing Nicky. He didn’t think diner management would approve. They’d been spoiled at the Carnivale, where finding a couple of guys making out in the middle of everything wasn’t that unusual.

Still, anticipation was a lovely thing and it would make the last leg of the trip amazing. He could already imagine what it would feel like, to be fully hard, the bike vibrating along his cock and balls, Nicky pressed up tight against him, firm cock digging into his back as if Nicky were drilling to China.

The waitress came back with their meals and it smelled amazing. Like real food after a long weekend of eating from food trucks. Not that this was actually homemade, but it came damn close.

“Damn, I think we might have to put this place on a perma-stop any time we head out in this direction.” It was only an hour from Ottawa, so it was always either right at the beginning or right at the end of his trip, and those weren’t ideal stopping times. Looked like the storm had done them a favor.

“It’s…wow. Wow.” Nicky waited for him to start, before digging in happily.

It was delicious and he almost forgot to share with Nicky. He did remember when he was through nearly half of his second piece of meatloaf, so he cut off the edge and gave the rest to Nicky, along with a few green beans. “You have to taste it—it’s delicious.”

“Thank you. I saved you roast beast.” Nicky chuckled. “This is our first restaurant.”

“It is. I bet we have many more together.” There were lots of different restaurants downtown near where he lived. They’d have their pick and he was sure they’d soon have favorites they would enjoy together. At the same time, he was anticipating having home-cooked meals with his very own pup.

He took the roast beef from Nicky’s plate, and they dug into each other’s meals. He thought maybe he liked his meatloaf a little bit better, but it was splitting hairs really, because the beef was delicious.

“Oh, the meatloaf is great. I think you made the best choice,” Nicky told him.

“Your roast beef is really good too, though.” He appreciated Nicky’s instincts. His pup was all about loving on his Dom and treating him right. Good thing Nicky had him now to offer the same care and attention right back. “The only question left is, are we going to get one dessert to share, or two?”

“If you’re willing to share, that’s good with me. I ate a lot.”

“You feel like a rhubarb pie? I haven’t had one of those in ages.” He knew it was an acquired taste, but he’d learned to love them as a kid, visiting his grandparents, and he hadn’t seen it on a menu in… Maybe he’d never seen it on a menu.

“I’ve never tried, but sure, why not?”

That was his pup, eager to learn, to try. He didn’t understand how a Dom could squander such eagerness.

“It’s a little sour, but if you like sour candy, I bet you enjoy this. We’ll get it √† la mode—it doesn’t need the ice cream, but that way if you don’t like it, you still have something sweet to eat.”

“That works for me, Sir.”

When their waitress came to clear their plates, he ordered dessert and coffees for both of them. “We need to stay alert for the rest of our ride. It looks like the rain’s stopping, but the road is still wet.”

“How can I help?” Nicky asked, eager as always to do his part.

“Stay alert, cling and move with me.” Whip had this, but it would be easier if he and Nicky moved as one, which was where the clinging to him came in.

“I can do that, no problem.”

“I know. You’ve been doing it all along. You’re a good rider.” He’d enjoyed the trip so far, despite the deluge.

Nicky pinked a bit and Whip knew Nicky was thinking of a completely different kind of riding. It made him chuckle and nod.

“Yes, you’re good at that kind of riding, too.”

“I hope so. I try.” Nicky winked.

“No, pup, in this case you don’t try—you do.” He was still grinning at himself when their pie and java arrived. The pie looked like his grandmother’s. He hoped the coffee wasn’t like hers, though. She made a horrible cup of joe. He wasn’t sure if it was the weak coffee, the cheap coffee, or her utter lack of concern. He wasn’t sure that mattered one way or the other.

He took a sip of the hot drink, finding it good enough that he only had to put a bit of milk into it. “It’s decent road coffee. I have an espresso machine at home. Kind of a birthday-Christmas-every other holiday gift all combined into one for myself a couple years ago.” The thing had cost a small fortune and felt like the biggest kind of indulgence.

“Oh, yeah? That’s wicked good, huh?”

“Yeah. It’s not even that difficult to use. I mean there are some complicated drinks out there, but for a simple espresso or latte, it’s easy and delicious. The more ingredients your coffee has in it, the more complicated it is to make, seems to be the rule of thumb.”

“If you show me what to do, I can make your coffee. Every day,” Nicky offered.

“I like the sound of that. I’ll teach you how to use it anyway so you can make your own. I especially need a good strong cup before work, you know? And I was spending a fortune on coffees at Timmies and the like. I figured if I didn’t drink coffee-shop coffee for a year, I’d be able to afford the expensive machine no problem. And I was right.”

“Oh, I bet. Working at a restaurant let me drink as much as I wanted. Coffee-wise, I mean.”

“That’s a neat perk—as long as the coffee is good.” Some places it wasn’t worth the hot water and you had to load it with sugar to make it drinkable. “Have you got any barista experience? There’s coffee shops on every other corner downtown.” Between Starbucks, Van Houtte, Second Cup and Tim Hortons, not to mention the little independent places, the core was lousy with coffee shops.

“No. No, I think I’d love doing that, though. I wonder if anyone trains.”

“I imagine they do. I mean most of the time it’s young people working in those places. Doesn’t hurt to apply, anyway, right?” Whip thought getting a job close to home would be optimal. He wouldn’t be worrying about Nicky’s commute that way.

The waitress returned with their pie and two spoons. “It was made fresh this morning, so it should be a good one.”

“Thanks.” Once she’d gone, he turned his attention back to Nicky. “Go ahead and try it.” He wanted to see Nicky’s reaction to the sour but delicious fruit.

Nicky took a small bite, then blinked. “That’s really unusual, huh? Neat.”

“Yeah. I like it a lot.” He took a piece for himself, humming at the sharp flavor tempered by the sugar and the crust. He didn’t need ice cream with it—he thought that would make it too sweet. But he was glad they’d gotten the scoop included with the pie as Nicky dug into it and took a large spoonful. His pup took another bite of the pie, too, making Whip smile.

“It’s good. You have the rest, though,” Nicky offered. “I’m full.”

“You sure?” He didn’t want Nicky only having a couple of bites out of some sense of, he didn’t know, pride or something.

“I ate an entire side of beef, Sir.”

Whip laughed, tickled to death. “That might be a bit of an exaggeration.”

“I look like an anaconda that swallowed a water buffalo. Look.” Nicky smoothed down his T-shirt.

Nicky did have a bulge and Whip laughed some more. “You need more meals like this.” Sure it had been a large meal, but not outrageously so. Nicky needed to have decent, regular meals and Whip would see to it that happened.

“I’m happy to be here with you, you know?”

“I know, baby. But while you’re with me, I want you to be more than subsisting—I want you thriving.”

Nicky offered him a grin, a nod and the lean cheeks turned pink. It was utterly charming.

“You deserve the best, pup.” And he was going to make sure Nicky got it. Food, loving, emotional support. Everything.

Nicky gave a half-shrug, right shoulder rising and falling. “I don’t know about that, but I’m glad you have me.”

“Well, I’m the master and I know about it. You deserve the best,” he insisted. He’d keep expressing that until Nicky knew it, believed it.

“Thank you. I swear, I’ll make you happy.”

“We’ll make each other happy.” He was pretty confident of that.

The waitress returned. “You boys need anything else?”

“No, we’re good, thank you. Stuffed.” Whip rubbed his belly.

“I’ve got your bill for you.” She put it down on the table. “You can pay me or up at the cash.”

“Thanks.”

Nicky bit his bottom lip as she left. “I swear I’ll have a job soon. I swear.”

“Nick.” He waited until Nicky met his eyes. “Stop stressing. It’s not going to break me to have to support you until you’re making money. Just relax.”

“I worry that you think I’m a mooch, and I’m not.” Nicky was so earnest.

“I am fully aware that you’re not a mooch.” He squeezed Nicky’s hands and looked into his face. “I know you’re going to contribute and be my partner.”

“Four days ago I was hiding in your room,” Nicky pointed out.

“That was a nice bit of fate, wasn’t it?” And Whip thanked whoever was responsible for looking out for gay bikers that they’d found each other.

“It feels a little like it could slip away.”

Whip shook his head. “We aren’t going to let it. We’re going to work at it, and stay together.” He got Nicky’s fear, though. They’d had a whirlwind courtship, hot and heavy from the start, but away from home, away from the regular stressors of life. They hadn’t been tested yet.

They hadn’t even slept in his bed together. There was only one way to fix all that, though. “Let’s go, pup. Let’s get home and make it real.”
Author Bio:
Often referred to as "Space Cowboy" and "Gangsta of Love" while still striving for the moniker of "Maurice," Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and persuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to "Chicago."

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.

Barring any of that? He'll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

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