Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday's Montage Mantlepiece: Sins of Spring


Summary:
The seven deadly sins: lust, wrath, greed, gluttony, envy, pride and sloth.

The Sins of Spring weaves a general thread of expectation loosely tying these tales together. Greed, Pride and Envy are exposed in these hot M/M tales involving action, explosive sex and paranormal experiences that will get you hot and wanting more...in no time!

Stories Included:
Takeover by D.J.Manly
DJ Manly looks at the sin of greed in Takeover.

Clive is sent to take over Frost Trucking...Seth intends to protect his grandfather from corporate greed...and desire has plans of its own.

Corporate greed is in abundance in today’s economy, and Seth Frost is about to come face to face with it in the person of Clive Roberts.

Clive Roberts comes to Port Credit as a representative of a large trucking corporation—there to take over Frost Trucking, a company on the verge of bankruptcy. Seth Frost had taken time off from his job in the city to visit his grandfather in the hospital. He resents the fact that Roberts is there in Port Credit like a circling piranha, watching his ailing grandfather...just biding his time till he’s able to take over a company his grandfather built from scratch.

But there’s more to Roberts than meets the eye. In spite of his reason for being there, Seth feels a little off balance when he looks into his eyes. Forced to work together to get the best deal for Seth’s grandfather, the attraction between the two men grows. Clive may well be there to take over the trucking company, but can Seth stop Clive from also taking over his heart?

The Kaupe by A.J.Llewellyn
A.J. Llewellyn tackles the sin of pride in The Kaupe.

Dino Perez is a super-hot Hollywood makeup artist who is used to dating the most gorgeous men in town. When he meets the dynamic and sexy—but not very handsome—art dealer Alek Briatore, pride stops him from accepting him as a suitor.

Alek, not one to be easily discouraged, pursues Dino, following him and his three friends on their vacation in Honolulu. Then, while on a hike in a remote, mountainous bamboo forest, Dina is seduced by a wicked-handsome suitor, leaving him feeling faintly slutty. Their scorching sexual encounter is one he can never forget.

He doesn't tell his friends what happened, particularly since Alek has become a well-liked part of their group. Obsessed with his mountain man, Dino sneaks back to the forest, hoping for another wild encounter. He gets it...in more ways than one. He discovers his lusty forest friend is a supernatural being —a kaupe—and soon learns that pride makes even the smartest man make extremely foolish choices...

Spring Discovery by Serena Yates
Serena Yates examines the sin of envy in Spring Discovery.

Shawn Adens is out for blood—an ex-tabloid journalist with a new mission to unveil the dark and illegal machinations of powerful bankers and businesspeople. His new career with the Philadelphia Herald depends on finding a scandal! When he discovers that the man who used to be his best friend still lives a life of privilege, envy fuels his determination to expose every sordid detail.

Gerald VanBrunt, CEO of one of his family’s companies, is delighted that Shawn is back in his life. They had lost contact when Shawn’s father risked and destroyed the Aden family fortune. For Gerald, none of that is important and he welcomes Shawn back into his life with open arms—quite literally.But the deception cannot last. Circumstances and a mysterious enemy reveal Shawn’s underhanded plot. What will Gerald do when he discovers their renewed relationship is only a ruse?


Takeover by D.J.Manly
The CEO of Simpson and Associates Inc. stood up in front of the podium and looked out at the members of the business community. Only the elite were present in the huge room at the downtown Hilton Hotel.

The president of the local Chamber of Commerce, as well as managers of several Toronto banking institutions, sat in the front row. They'd all come to applaud Trevor Simpson and Associates for gaining a near monopoly in the transport industry.

Clive Roberts sat at a table next to the VIP crowd. Several terminal managers and their wives sat at the table with him. He was the only one unaccompanied but that was all right. He had no time for romance and all the hassle that came along with it.

Mark had left him a year ago, and he'd done him a favour, really. When he'd lost his job, Clive had been stuck paying the bills for months. As soon as Mark had found another, he had written Clive a cheque for a few hundred dollars and packed his bags. Mark had accused him of being unable to share.

"What do you mean, unable to share?" Clive had protested. "I've been footing the bills for months."

"Yeah, and you've never let me forget it," Mark had countered. "You could never share your life with anyone. One day, you just may discover that there's more to life than money."

Okay, so Clive had to admit he had felt a little let down when Mark had left him. He had loved him in his own way. It wasn't his fault he had a hard time with this sharing business. It was the way he'd grown up. His mother had died when he was six, and his father couldn't seem to hold a job after that. He drank. Clive had done what he could to make sure his little sister and he had something to eat. As a result, he was a hoarder. He hoarded everything from food to money. And it was never enough. There was always this fear that he'd come up short.

He'd worked his way through college doing any job he could find, and, with a degree in computers and business, had landed the job with Simpson and Associates. Even today, with a big salary and an expense account, Clive felt insecure. At Mark's insistence, he'd tried counselling. It had worked for a while then he'd gone back to his old self again.

Luckily, Simpson and Associates had soon discovered that Clive had a talent for more than just solving computer problems. He was good at finding cost-saving solutions. Already, he'd saved the company millions of dollars.

Simpson and Associates had been going through a period of restructuring when he'd been hired on. They'd wanted to improve their efficiency, cut the fat, and increase their market share. Clive had offered them some ideas, and they'd told him to run with them.

Within three years, Clive had increased efficiency and made the company more competitive. Mass firings, undercutting the competition, and rerouting the trucks had saved the company a fortune. Turning a profit, amassing money, and swallowing up the smaller trucking companies was the bottom line, and Clive instinctively understood how to do that.

When Trevor Simpson began his presentation, a projection screen appeared behind the silver-haired man. Statistical charts and graphs explained the rationalisation and restructuring the company had undergone. The word 'profit' was mentioned often when he talked about undercutting the competition.

Clive noticed that when Simpson said, "We have almost won a total monopoly in the industry," he looked directly at Clive. Clive knew what he meant. Frost Trucking was the 'almost'—Clive's last mountain to climb. Clive had made it his mission to know everything about Frost. And they should have been easy to break, but, for some reason, they kept hanging on. What stumped Clive about Frost Trucking was that it was no more than a little Mom and Pop outfit with some sentimental hogwash philosophy about putting customers first. Sure, every company spouted stuff like that, but Frost meant it. That philosophy, along with the old man who adhered to it, had put the company in a very vulnerable position.

Frost was the thorn in his side. He was obsessed with it and he vowed that, before this year was through, Frost was going to be his.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Simpson called out suddenly, "let me introduce to you my top efficiency expert, Mr Clive Roberts."

Clive stood up and took a bow. There was applause, which was decidedly less animated coming from the terminal managers. They resented the power he had to point out their shortcomings and to terminate their jobs tomorrow if he decided the company could operate just fine without them.

The Kaupe by A.J.Llewellyn
"Aloha! Aloha!" Dino waved, blinking into the morning's bright glare as he spotted his friends standing in front of a row of tiny, fake grass shacks, with pristine thatched roofs. The shack with the emerald green signs marked National Car Rental, their designated meeting place. They'd all arrived!

He was madly pleased to see everybody had made it. He was already in tropical idyll mode thanks to the lei greeting he'd received at his arrival gate via his package deal through Pleasant Holidays. The fact that one now had to pay an extra twenty—five dollars for the traditional Hawaiian welcome didn't bother him too much.

What did bother him was that he hadn't spotted a single hot guy on the plane and now none of his friends seemed very happy or excited to see him. As he dragged his suitcase on wheels across the sweltering parking lot, nobody moved a muscle or returned his cheery greeting.

"Can you believe we were having drinks in Los Angeles last night and here we are two thousand miles away...together again at lunchtime?" he called out.

Nobody said a word. Dino Perez didn't think a thing like flying safely from one place to another was small potatoes this day and age. To him, it was nothing short of miraculous. This trip is meant to be!

His friends stood in a small semicircle, preoccupied with apparent mini—dramas, judging by their long faces. His heart sank.

"There's a line." Jay pointed. His tone suggested it was the end of the world.

Dino shrugged and dug into his laptop bag for his sunglasses. Man, it was hot. He couldn't remember Oahu ever being this humid. What the hell had happened to the island's gently wafting trade winds? It was spring. It was supposed to be perfect temperatures. Not stifling. He glanced around him. Construction going on everywhere. More and more cars were jammed into the gigantic multi-car rental agency lot at Honolulu Airport than he'd ever seen. More and more office buildings blocking out the wind...and the perennial palm trees.

The classic line from Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi reverberated in his mind...

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot...

Gone were the days when half-clad men and women rowed to visiting ships in small canoes, brandishing sweet—smelling leis and the promise of so much more.

Ah...those must have been fine, glorious times. Nowadays you clicked a link for the privilege of a factory-produced, scentless, cheerless greeting.

Stop it. You're here. Your heart's home.

Dino eyed his three friends as they all glowered in the stifling heat. Fl├ívia, his forty—year—old friend who dreamt of being a cougar, was going to be his roommate. She wore jeans and a T—shirt, which surprised but delighted him. She always wore suits and heels back home. He hoped she'd left every last strand of pearls she owned with them. She was very cool towards him. Oh, great. This is a spiffing start to our holiday.

Jay and Colin, the fiftyish gay married couple who'd tagged along for the vacation, seemed to be arguing with each other over something stupid.

"Is there a problem?" he asked, wishing for the answer no.

"Colin pocketed the complimentary headphones from the flight. Who does that?" Jay griped. Dino privately agreed it was ludicrous but said nothing as Jay went on and on.

"You're so cheap and besides, they give us another pair on the way home!" Jay shouted at his husband. All of which was true.

Jay and Colin—who rarely left their home to buy groceries let alone fly two thousand miles to Honolulu—seemed more suitably attired for an Arctic expedition than an island getaway. Colin—who was, to be fair, a bit of a fuddy—duddy—wore corduroy pants, a flannel shirt and a thin tie. His only hint of relaxing his academic rules was a pair of brown leather sandals. Dino stared down at them.

"Why are you wearing socks with those?"

Colin gave him an incredulous look. "Because sand might get in my toes. I hate when that happens."

Oh, boy.

Spring Discovery by Serena Yates
"This is it. My life is officially over." Shawn Adens made sure his mouth didn't move and no sound louder than the softest whisper escaped his dry, cracked lips. The need to say the words out loud in the face of total despair was overwhelming. What he said, at least to himself, was the last remaining area of his life that he truly controlled.

"Get on with it, boy, you're holding everyone up." Uncle Bryson stood right behind him, breathing down his neck and far too close for comfort. His bony hand was suddenly on Shawn's shoulder, squeezing painfully. It was a reminder of who was in charge now.

Shawn tightened his grip on the small shovel the priest had handed him until his knuckles turned white. He scooped up the requisite amount of earth, took one last look at the casket containing the man who had ruined his life, and threw the dirt into the grave with enough force to make a hollow sound before the small clumps bounced back several times.

"Thanks for nothing, Dad." He spoke loud enough for his uncle to hear, not caring about the consequences.

"Shawn!" Uncle Bryson added more earth before turning his attention to Shawn. "Your father was a godless man, leading you astray into a sinful life of temporary wealth, but he still deserves your respect. Especially now that he's been punished for his numerous sins."

Shawn took one last look into the grave, shrugged and turned away. He didn't think of his father as godless or sinful, but their wealth sure had been temporary. Money made in the stock market was what had enabled his father to move to Philadelphia, taking Shawn with him right after his mother had vanished when he was only five. Working for a major investment firm had kept them wealthy and Shawn had gone to all the best schools, never looking back.

Now that his father had lost everything and killed himself in a fit of what Shawn assumed was shame, Uncle Bryson had marched back into his life and taken over. Being only sixteen and with living relatives who were happy to take care of him, or so they said, he had little choice in the matter. The authorities were glad he wasn't going to be their responsibility and had sanctioned Uncle Bryson's guardianship. His uncle had made it quite clear that Shawn was coming back to Franklin, Tennessee, to live with him and Aunt Jennifer and learn to atone for his presumed sins committed while in 'the big city'.

"Come on, time to take you home to Franklin." Uncle Bryson motioned toward the battered Ford he called his own. "No need to stick around."

Shawn followed quietly. There would be no wake, since there was no money left for Shawn or anyone else. The banks and debtors had taken what little was left, and his uncle had made it clear he wasn't willing to pay for even the smallest get-together. Shawn snorted as he got into the back of the car. Not that there was anyone here. A few reporters had attended, a couple of men he presumed to be ex-colleagues of his father, and two of their neighbours had shown their faces, but that had been it. For a man who'd been one of the most popular party throwers in the city, that was an extremely poor turnout.

But then, nobody wanted to be associated with failure.

And that was what his father would always be remembered as. Unfortunately, this label, by association, now also applied to Shawn. It was the only thing he'd inherited and the one attribute he could have done without. His previous plans of becoming a novelist were as obsolete and nonexistent as his country club membership. Uncle Bryson owned a farm and had told him he needed help, so that had become Shawn's future as well.

For now, there was nothing he could do.

He settled back into the uncomfortable seat, wiggling to find the spot where the least number of broken springs would poke him in the ass, and closed his eyes. They'd be on the road a while, and the best thing he could do was switch off his mind and rest. He suspected that was pretty much his lot for the next two years. Once he turned eighteen, though, the rules would change.

Nothing could keep him in Franklin then. He'd come back to Philly and build a life of his own, if it took him years to do it. Just because his father had been an idiot didn't mean he was going to suffer for the rest of his life.

No way!

Author Bios:
DJ Manley
D.J. Manly says, "I write not only for my own pleasure, but for the pleasure of my readers. I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t written and told stories. When I’m not writing, I’m dreaming about writing, doing something wild and adventurous, or trying to make the world a better and more open-minded place to live in. I adore beautiful men, and I know I’m not alone in this! Eroticism between consenting adults, in all its many forms, is the icing on the cake of life!"

AJ Llewellyn
A.J. Llewellyn lives in California, but dreams of living in Hawaii. Frequent trips to all the islands, bags of Kona coffee in the fridge and a healthy collection of Hawaiian records keep this writer refueled.

A.J. never lacks inspiration for male/male erotic romances and on the rare occasions this happens, pursues other passions such as collecting books on Hawaiiana, surfing and spending time with friends and animal companions.

A.J. Llewellyn believes that love is a song best sung out loud.

Serena Yates
I’m a night owl and start writing when everyone else in my time zone is asleep. I’ve loved reading all my life and spent most of my childhood with my nose buried in a book. Although I always wanted to be a writer, financial independence came first. Twenty-some years and a successful business career later I took some online writing classes and never looked back.

Living and working in seven countries has taught me that there is more than one way to get things done. It has instilled tremendous respect for the many different cultures, beliefs, attitudes and preferences that exist on our planet.

I like exploring those differences in my stories, most of which happen to be romances. My characters have a tendency to want to do their own thing, so I often have to rein them back in. The one thing we all agree on is the desire for a happy ending.

I currently live in the United Kingdom, sharing my house with a vast collection of books. I like reading, traveling, spending time with my nieces and listening to classical music. I have a passion for science and learning new languages.


DJ Manly
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AJ Lleweylln
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EMAIL: aj@ajllewellyn.com

Serena Yates
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EMAIL: serena@serenayates.com



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Cover Reveal: Corralling Kenzie by Joanne Jaytanie

Title: Corralling Kenzie
Author: Joanne Jaytanie
Series: Winters Sisters #4
Genre: Romantic Suspense with paranormal elements

Summary:
Will Kenzie ever find peace and security inside the corrals of her ranch again?

Kenzie Vaughn is lucky to have a big-city, big-paycheck position. But her great job serves as nothing more than the path to her dream: a horse boarding and training ranch outside the big city. Kenzie is a horsewoman who loves Dobermans and peaceful country living. Now she’s found the perfect ranch, right next door to a lovely campus that houses the Winters Corporation. Her luck is holding, for the Corporation is run by the Winters’ sisters, wonderful women who could easily grow to become great friends.

One night her peace was shattered by a gunshot that wounded her horse, Boone. Good thing for Kenzie, Victory Winters is a veterinarian. Still the gunshot was no accident, and Kenzie’s past and the Winters’ present are dangerously intertwined. Kenzie is sucked into a vortex of rogue scientists who only want her for her DNA. Fortunately, the Winters Corporation can help. Even better, a Special Ops team member, Logan Mendoza, is assigned to watch her ranch. He isn’t interested in Kenzie’s DNA; he wants her for much more. Logan takes Kenzie’s personal security personally.

Will corralling Kenzie become Logan’s full-time mission?


As she spoke gently to him, she began inspecting his body. His blanket was securely strapped around him. She left the blanket in place as she ran one hand over him. At the same time, she searched the ranch with sweeping beams of the flashlight. As her hand worked its way down his flank, she felt something warm and wet. He snorted and his muscles rippled under her touch. There was a tear in his heavy, brown blanket. Surrounding the tear was a dinner-plate size spot. Carefully Kenzie loosened the strap closest to the tear and lifted the blanket. Underneath, she found a long, deep, gouge that oozed blood. She followed the blood path and discovered deep red spatters and a pool on the pristine white ground.

“Boone. Oh Boone, you’re hurt!”

She examined the snow and spotted two sets of large boot prints. The prints crisscrossed and headed to the backside of the paddock. She gasped as it dawned on her that someone else could be near.

Smearing blood everywhere, she patted herself down frantically, hoping her phone was still in a pocket. Yanking it out, she murmured, “come on, come on,” as she impatiently waited for the phone to come to life. She punched in the number she knew by heart. The phone call went directly to voice mail.

“The doctor had a family emergency and will be out of town until next week. If this is an emergency please contact—”

“That vet is ninety minutes away,” she said as she disconnected the call. By the time she loaded Boone up in the horse trailer and drove him out to the vet, he could bleed out. The same thing could happen if she waited for the vet to arrive. She had one other option, except she told herself she would never use it. She scrolled through the phone numbers until she found it. The phone rang and rang, but Kenzie refused to disconnect the call.

“Hello?” came a sleepy female voice.

“Hello, is this Victory Winters?”

“Yes, who’s this?”

“I’m terribly sorry to call you so late. Normally I would never do such a thing. I tried to reach my vet, but he’s out of town and this is an emergency. My name is Kenzie; I own the ranch south of your campus. Todd gave me your number. He told me to call you if I ever had a problem with my animals. He said you can work on all types of animals. My horse, Boone has been injured. He’s bleeding—can you please help me?”

“What?” Now Victory’s voice sounded alert and worried. “What did you say?”

“Boone. My horse. He’s been shot, and I just found boot prints in the snow. They came from the direction of your campus. Is there someone shooting there?”

“Kenzie, is it? I haven’t heard any gunshots. I will come out and help you. Try and keep Boone quiet. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

“I’m going to stay with Boone. I’ll be in the barn when you get here, right past the house. Thank you, Victory.”



Author Bio:
Joanne was born and raised in Sherburne, New York, a quaint village surrounded by dairy farms and rolling hills. From the moment she could read she wanted to explore the world. During her college years she slowly crept across the country, stopping along the way in Oklahoma, California, and finally Washington State, which she now proudly calls home. She lives with her husband and Dobermans, in their home located on the Olympic Peninsula with a panoramic view of the Olympic Mountains.

Joanne writes romantic suspense, paranormal, and contemporary romance. She loves to submerge herself in the world of her characters, to live and breathe their lives and marvel at their decisions and predicaments. She enjoys a wide variety of books including paranormal, suspense, thriller, and of course romance.

Joanne is a member of Romance Writers of America, and past President of Peninsula Romance Writers, which was Debbie Macomber’s home chapter.


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Chasing Victory #1

Payton's Pursuit #2

Willow's Discovery #3

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