Thursday, December 31, 2015

7th Day of Christmas Author Spotlight: Erin O'Quinn

Author Bio:
Erin O’Quinn earned a BA (English) and MA (Comparative Literature) from the University of Southern California. Her life has been a pastiche of fascinating vocations—newspaper marketing manager, university teacher, car salesperson, landscape gardener—until now, in relative retirement, she lives and writes in a small town in central Texas.

Erin has published six M/M novels and three novellas with AmberQuillPress and two independent M/M novels.

Her series titled “The Gaslight Mysteries” includes Heart to Hart, Sparring with Shadows, To the Bone. and Thin as Smoke.

Erin's indie books are NEVADA HIGHLANDER and THE KILT COMPLEX, both very well received.

In addition to these Amber Quill Press and indie books, Erin has thirteen other published novels. Of those, two are M/M historicals published by Siren Bookstrand, set in the Ireland of badass clansmen, cattle drovers, druids, Saxon mercenaries and St. Patrick himself.

KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  B&N  /  ARe

Noble, Nevada #1
Drifter Rick Hendrickson has a secret, one he’s tried to keep even from himself as he moves along the spine of California’s great midsection, working as a migrant field hand. Unconsciously running from memories of an abusive father, Rick leaves California for Nevada, where he thinks he’ll find work.

Tony Grazzo has just graduated from Nevada U with a Poli Sci degree. A would-be law student, he suddenly finds himself back in his hometown of Noble, Nevada to attend his mom’s funeral and to look after his grief-filled father. He has gladly left behind a smothering girlfriend who has become dependent on him, all the while shutting out every friend he has tried to keep.

Then one night in a seedy bar, Rick and Tony meet.

Tony sees Rick as an immensely attractive man, a cowboy-hatted stud who no doubt dangles a string of beautiful women. And from the moment Rick lays eyes on the handsome Tony, he wants him. Not for just a night, but maybe forever.

But as luck would have it, their pasts return to shatter their dreams. Can these two men find happiness together, even while steel bars and the prison of anguished memories separate them?

The Chase #2
Brew Lloyd, openly gay, returns to his hometown of Noble, Nevada, to live in his parents’ home while they travel to see his dying uncle. Brew’s been gone since graduation, avoiding his gay-hating father, yet all the while taking the money offered to him almost as a bribe from his father for not accepting him or his sexual orientation. Upon his return, his lawyer-father maneuvers him into securing a summer job at a ranch called The Chase. There, Brew finds himself face-to-face with an old fantasy—the rancher’s son Chase, former football hero at the local high school, a soft-spoken and dynamite-looking young man.

Chase has struggled with his sexuality for years, and has shunned dating in favor of staying on the ranch. Unable to come to terms with his frequent fantasies of a young man he’d secretly admired in high school, Chase pours his emotions into hidden erotic writing. But now, when he sees Brew again after many years, he’s forced to confront his hot desire for the glib guy who’s not shy about his own sexual preference.

As these two men grow closer, two other men stand in their way. The first is a federal agent, who taunts Chase with the news that part of the ranch is being reclaimed by the BLM, the agency that owns most of Nevada’s rangeland and mining concerns. The other man is Brew’s lawyer-father, who’s been helping long-distance in the fight against the BLM, and who cannot guess that his own son Brew is having an affair with a manly ex-football player.

Can two sensuous young men expose the crooked federal agent, cope with a hateful parent’s prejudice, and still find unbridled joy together?

A Hard Place #3
Nevada game warden Shawn Murphy is a man of principle, an experienced agent who sets out to do his job in the rugged Paiute Mountain range. Sent to track down a poacher, Shawn eventually discovers the perp—a falconer, illegally shooting wildlife for his bird.

Dylan Morgan—a hippie-looking man with long, lustrous hair—has lost his falcon and is hurt. In helping Dylan overcome his injury, Shawn begins to learn how to see the wildness and hunger in himself and the other man as well.

Soon, in a remote cabin, the two men begin to develop a relationship. The falconer explores Shawn’s strange tattoos—a stag beetle and a howling wildcat—and Shawn tries to understand the nature of falconry, and of the unique man who trains the wild birds.

Can these two men, hungry, yet never satisfied, find closure in each other’s arms, especially when sudden peril in the pitiless desert puts them between a rock and a hard place?

NOTE: This book is also part of the Brand Me series.

Cowboys and Kilts
Lanky Hugh MacPherson wears his tattoo and his cowboy boots all the way from Nevada to his ancestral home in Scotland, only to find a clansman named Graeme Guthrie has a subtle way of claiming the boots, the tattoo, and the man who wears them.

On a tour to the sites of Pictish stones, Hugh meets the Laird of the Castle in the oversized, handsome body of Graeme, a man who traces his ancestry back as far as the tattooed Picts who carved those very stones.

What happens when two gorgeous men first lock eyes, then bodies, and at last their very spirits as foretold in the mysterious tattoos they wear?

NOTE: This book is also part of the Brand Me series.

Heart to Hart #1
Michael McCree is one with a mysterious past, who ends up as a newspaper man, thereby meeting the strikingly handsome Simon Hart, who comes to his shop to turn in an obituary notice.

Simon’s flat-mate and former business partner has been killed, and Simon, a private investigator, needs to track down the murderer. Michael, immediately smitten with the sulky and sexy man, lays a plan to first become his new roomer, then his business partner.

But Simon, stricken by his recent loss, is having none of Michael’s undisguised interest.

Not a man to be deterred easily from a goal, Michael sets about winning Simon’s affection. That particular battle is almost as difficult as tracking down the murderer of his predecessor, a nosy detective who was getting too close to the crimes of an evil person.

Simon spends more time ducking Michael’s advances than actually finding clues and solving the mystery. Inquiring minds want to know—how hard is Simon really trying to avoid Michael? And Michael isn’t hiding his forthright urges, but what secret is he hiding?

Sparring with Shadows #2
Simon Hart, private investigator, has always thought of himself as a regular fellow. He’s standoffish and a loner with a sullen attitude—yet surely a normal bloke. And then he meets the randy Michael McCree.

In short order, Michael has become his flat-mate, his business partner, and his wannabe lover. Now Simon must look deeper, into his own hidden desires, if he wants to survive.

There’s something about Michael’s secret vocation that invites trouble. Simon finds himself sparring with shadows: in the hidden bedrooms of a roaring twenties version of a gay a chained wall decoration in the flat of a thief and sexual deviant...and as the quarry in a deadly confrontation in an exhibitionist’s bed and then in a sewer tunnel beneath the streets of a 1923 city somewhere in Ireland.

Above all, Simon is sparring with the shadow of his own secret urges. Michael will not allow him to turn away from a kind of private investigation of which he has not even dreamed. Until now.

Follow a fastidious, surly investigator and his horny yet secretive partner through the very cracks in a city of gaslights and vintage motorcars, into a hidden homosexual culture, as the men find themselves sparring with shadows...

To the Bone #3
The time is 1923, and the place is a fantasy city in Ireland. Two unlikely men have formed a partnership: good-natured Michael, who keeps a serious secret, and sulky Simon, who has plenty of reasons to be angry at the world. Michael has stalked the standoffish Simon from the beginning, and Simon has consistently rebuffed him...yet not enough for Michael to give up a dedicated pursuit of the handsome investigator.

As private eyes, the men have a case to solve: to find more than a score of stolen paintings, and especially one small valuable work of art worth more than all the others. But the case grows more complex the deeper they look into it. Soon Michael and Simon find themselves searching not just for a thief, but for a city-wide ring of criminals. And the closer they get to the paintings, the closer they find themselves to a killer.

Into this mix steps a man named Moshe—a pesky, secretive, nosy man who is nevertheless a brilliant investigator himself. He gives both the men fits, burrowing like a tick into their very private affairs, so close they have a hard time evading him.

Can the investigators solve a series of crimes, take care of the interfering Moshe, and drive their own intense relationship all the way to the bone?

Thin as Smoke #4
In 1924, the PI team of Michael McCree and Simon Hart are on the trail of missing motors—a mundane case that turns deadly when they discover the link between their case and that of Samuel Dashiell Hammett.

The writer of hard-boiled crime is scratching to earn a living, and his work as an undercover Pinkerton operative lands him on the shore of the Irish Sea, in the city of Dun Linden. In one of a series of coincidences, Hammett finds himself paired with his old friend Michael, a man he knew in the U.S. before he left for the World War.

“Sam,” as he’s known to Michael, unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that separate the two partners and sometime-lovers. Working on his own, Simon finds himself on both ends of a Smith & Wesson revolver. Meanwhile, Sam and Michael discover that the perilous connection between motors and Mafia bootleggers also means a shattering of former alliances...because Michael and his old friend share a secret, one that threatens to end both his career and his complex relationship with Simon.

Burns to Deep #1
The story of an Irish detective and a mysterious Scot. Two men meet on a stretch of highway between nowhere and Dundee, Scotland. What secret does each man hold? And what will happen if those truths are ever revealed? Both men have much to lose. And something crucial to gain, if only they can stop running.
Close-mouthed CID Detective Thomas Fitzgerald has just finished a harrowing case. He’s traveling the highway between Arbroath and Dundee, Scotland. Now all he wants to do is go to his flat, strip down and soak before catching a good night’s sleep. But a stranger on the side of the road changes everything.

The quiet man named Burns is a puzzle—a dark-haired, sensuous enigma whose harmless invitation to a drink he decides to accept.

Before the next twelve-hour phase of the moon has come and gone, the lives of both these men will change profoundly.

Can they stop running long enough to find each other?

The Dundee Law #2
A solitary Irish detective and a reclusive Scottish academician … hardly a match made in heaven. Blond and dark, yin and yang, perhaps even angel and devil. 

In fact, sometimes Thomas Fitzgerald wonders whether the mysterious Burns is not a figment of his lonely nights, a creature evolved from an idealized portrait of the poet Robert Burns. 

Real or not, the university teacher-curator teams up with him to solve a murder involving an ancient burial site and a voice from Scotland’s bloody past. 

Join two unusual sleuths at the ancient mound called “The Dundee Law” as two men merge their talents, and much more.

Red, Red Rose #3
Two men, opposites in every way, have somehow found each other. The attraction between blond detective Thomas Fitzgerald and the sable-haired “Professor Burns” is instant and all-consuming.

Even cops and scholars take a holiday. When they bridge the physical distance between themselves and finally spend time together on Burns’ own turf, Thomas finds that his mysterious “poet” is a shadow behind another shadow.

There’s something about Burns’ past that hangs on him like a shroud. Always a cop, Thomas cannot help looking past his lover’s charms, delving into the heart of him. What he finds is chilling.

A tight-lipped Irish cop and an enigmatic Scot come together in a place of sorrow and hidden passion. Can a “red, red rose” from a poet named Burns solve the unknowable mystery of love itself?

A Kilted Christmas #4
For a hard-nosed undercover cop, love is a rare treasure to bring out when he can, to polish off, and to tuck away for a time when he’s not tracking the bad guys. But the enigmatic, sultry Burns is not a man to wait until Thomas has a day off.

This Christmas, it’s all about kilts and commitment for detective sergeant Thomas Fitzgerald and his lover, university professor Burns. Meeting in a place of monster horses, the men track down a lawbreaker while taking their love affair to a new level.

Can these men’s love survive the physical distance … and the more subtle, more challenging differences … between the two of them? It’s a matter of clashes and kilts, as a cop and a scholar collide in a storm of passion.

You may also want to follow the clues to the first three Burns-Fitzgerald romance-mystery novellas: Burns Too Deep … The Dundee Law … Red, Red Rose … all part of the Nevada Highlander universe of stories.

Maelstrom by Jordan L Hawk

Between his father’s sudden—and rather suspicious—generosity, and his own rash promise to help Christine plan her wedding, Percival Endicott Whyborne has quite enough to worry about. But when the donation of a mysterious codex to the Ladysmith Museum draws the attention of a murderous cult, Whyborne finds himself in a race against time to unlock its secrets first.

Griffin has a case of his own: the disappearance of an historic map, which quickly escalates to murder. Someone is sacrificing men in dark rituals—and all the clues lead back to the museum.

With their friends Christine and Iskander, Whyborne and Griffin must discover the cult’s true goal before it’s too late. For dark forces are afoot at the very heart of the museum, and they want more than Whyborne’s codex.

They want his life.

Click Here to Check Out the Whyborne & Griffin Series #1-5

As usual, I was blown away by Jordan L Hawk's Whyborne & Griffin, of course, I never expected not to be.  The entire series has me on the edge of my seat but there was something about Maelstrom that had me perched on the edge that I might as well have sat on the floor because it took everything I had to stay on the chair.  As always, Christine adds her unique brand of friendship and determination.  I don't do spoilers but I will say there came a point that I was yelling "NO! NO! NO!", the rest I will let you discover for yourself and trust me, you will want to find out.  Can't wait to see what she has planned for their next adventure.


Chapter 1
I stood amidst the press of bodies at the Nathaniel R. Ladysmith museum, desperately wishing I were elsewhere. Preferably back in Alaska; although I’d despised the cold climate, at the moment the memory seemed heavenly compared to the stuffy heat of the crowded grand foyer. Sweat crept down my back beneath my layers of clothing, and I longed to slip outside and remove my gloves. In previous years, I might have at least escaped to one of the open windows in hopes of catching a bit of a breeze.

Unfortunately, the days of my anonymity were over. Almost as soon as I arrived this evening, Dr. Hart and the museum’s president Mr. Mathison cornered me. We’d soon been joined by the head librarian, Mr. Quinn, whom I couldn’t remember ever seeing outside of the Ladysmith’s library before, let alone in formal wear.

The gathering tonight celebrated a rather large donation of rare books to the museum’s library. Although my philological expertise tended to the deciphering of more ancient languages, the source of the donation made it of more than usual interest to me.

Two years ago, my husband Griffin and I had traveled to Egypt to assist our dear friend Dr. Christine Putnam. Christine’s sister, Grafin Daphne de Wisborg, had joined us, ostensibly in mourning for her dead husband.

In reality, Daphne had used the books in the late graf’s library to find a way to communicate with the spirit of Nitocris, Queen of the Ghūls, lurking Outside our ordinary world and awaiting her chance to come back. Daphne, possessed by Nitocris, then murdered her husband and came to Egypt with the intent of turning the world into a wasteland of the dead for her ghūls to rule over. My left shoulder still bore the scar of the bite she’d inflicted with her jackal teeth, as we fought for our lives in the Egyptian desert. As for Christine, losing her only sister in such a terrible fashion…well, she didn’t speak of the incident, but it couldn’t have been easy.

The letter from the current Graf de Wisborg had taken Christine by surprise; that much I did know. The young graf had found himself in possession of a crumbling castle he had little interest in maintaining, and an extensive library he cared for even less. Daphne’s connection with Christine, and thus the museum, had inspired him—and if his generous donation came with the chance to travel and meet rich American heiresses, so much the better.

I’d come tonight not only to please the museum director, but to offer my support to Christine. Her nerves were already stretched thin from the stress of planning her upcoming wedding; this had certainly done them no good. Unfortunately, I could think of no way to politely extricate myself from the director and president.

“This is quite the triumph, don’t you think, Mr. Quinn?” asked Dr. Hart. His balding head shone with sweat, and his face flushed red with the heat.

“Indeed.” White tie and tails somehow failed to make Mr. Quinn look any less like an undertaker. His silvery eyes went to Dr. Hart, then to me. He then proceeded to stare at me without blinking. “I suspect we’ll find many tomes of great value within. Perhaps Dr. Whyborne would care to assist when we open the crates.”

His suggestion caught me off guard; cataloging new arrivals wasn’t remotely one of my duties. Still, it would give me an excuse to look for the truly dangerous tomes and suggest they be kept under lock and key, before they had a chance to find their way onto the general shelves. “Of course, Mr. Quinn. I’d be glad to assist.”

Dr. Hart rubbed his hands together with glee. “The Wisborg Collection will finally wipe the smirk off the faces of those fellows from Miskatonic. Their paltry library will be nothing compared to ours!”

“Now, now,” Mr. Mathison said with a good-natured smile. “Let’s not forget Miskatonic University is Dr. Whyborne’s alma mater.”

“Dr. Whyborne belongs to Widdershins,” Mr. Quinn said, giving Mathison a rather poisonous glare. “His allegiance, I should say. To the museum.”

“Er, yes.” I cast about for some means of escape. Once again the elite of Widdershins crowded the Ladysmith’s grand foyer, nibbling on canapés beneath the looming hadrosaur skeleton, exclaiming over the carefully curated displays from Nephren-ka’s tomb, and silently judging one another’s clothing, demeanor, and heritage. “I say, has anyone seen Dr. Putnam recently?”

“Last I saw, she was speaking with the graf,” Mathison said, taking a flute of chilled champagne from a passing waiter. I snagged a flute of my own.

“No, no, the graf is being set upon by every heiress in the place,” Dr. Hart replied. “The ones with enough money to desire a title to accompany their fortune, that is.”

“He looks like Orpheus stalked by the maenads,” Mr. Quinn observed wistfully.

I edged away from him—but I also took a quick look about to make certain the graf wasn’t actually being torn apart. I assumed as much from the lack of screams, but…well, the former Graf de Wisborg had been killed and eaten by his own wife.

I didn’t see the new graf, but I finally spotted Christine near the Nephren-ka relics. Iskander stood beside her, in earnest conversation with my father.

My heart sank. God only knew what Father might be saying to them. To suggest I’d been shocked when Father offered Whyborne House as the venue for Christine’s wedding would be an understatement. Obviously he must have some sort of ulterior motive, but what he had in mind hadn’t yet become clear. Most likely he thought doing favors for my friends would convince me to abandon my career, return to the fold, and take up my position as the heir of Whyborne Railroad and Industries. It was, I suspected, the same reason Father settled a large amount of stock on Griffin for his birthday last month.

“Excuse me—I need to speak to Dr. Putnam.” I hurried away without waiting for an answer. As I wove through the crowd, I caught sight of my friend Dr. Gerritson and his wife. Unfortunately, they appeared to have been cornered by Mr. Durfree and Mr. Farr, a pair of art curators known for their passionate disagreements on anything and everything. I hurriedly ducked behind a gaggle of heiresses to avoid being drawn in.

My champagne had grown warm in the stifling heat. A whisper of magic chilled the glass, frost forming briefly on the outside of the flute before melting. I lifted it to my lips and was promptly jostled from behind. Champagne splashed across my chin and down the front of my shirt.

“Oh, sorry Percy, didn’t see you there,” drawled Bradley Osborne. He didn’t sound sorry at all.

I took out my handkerchief and began to dab ineffectively at my now-wet clothing. “Quite all right, Bradley,” I gritted out between clenched teeth. “Accidents do happen.” Not that I imagined for an instant this had been an accident.

Bradley observed my efforts at drying myself with a smug smile. “You really ought to watch where you’re going. Been drinking a bit more champagne than good for you, eh?”

The old familiar anger ached in my chest. I straightened my spine, which forced Bradley to look up at me. “Actually, I’ve been speaking with Mr. Mathison and Dr. Hart.”

His jovial mask slipped—just for an instant, but enough to let me know I’d struck home. Bradley had spent his years in Widdershins trying to claw his way higher into society. When we’d first met, he’d held me in contempt, for…well, for all sorts of reasons, but not taking advantage of the class I’d been born into was certainly one of them.

Bradley’s right hand tightened around his champagne flute; his left he tucked at the small of his back, perhaps to conceal a fist. Then he relaxed and put on a false smile. “I’m sure they found your father’s money and name—I mean, your conversation—most fascinating.”

I forced my expression to remain neutral, even as I seethed within. It wasn’t just Father’s money that had brought me to the attention of the museum’s board and president. Most of the blame lay with my wretched brother Stanford, who’d held Widdershins’s upper crust hostage in this very foyer, forcing me to save them.

“Among other things,” I replied coolly.

“Ah, yes, other things.” He continued to smile, but his eyes were cold and dead as knives. “By the way, how is Mr. Flaherty?”

“I’m quite well,” Griffin said from just behind Bradley. “Thank you for your concern, Dr. Osborne.”

I felt a thrill of savage satisfaction when Bradley started in surprise. Griffin stepped to my side, his green eyes fixed on Bradley and a smile no more genuine than Bradley’s on his lips. The man I called husband always cut a handsome figure, but the tailcoat and white tie suited him very well indeed. His chestnut hair, worn longer than strictly fashionable, curled around his collar.

Unfortunately, Bradley recovered quickly enough. “I’m glad to hear it, Mr. Flaherty,” he said even as his lip drew into a sneer. “After all, if I recall correctly, you were shot right over there. I take it the wound no longer troubles you?”

Goosebumps prickled on my arms despite the heat, and I felt as though the marble floor had shifted beneath me. The night Stanford had taken the museum staff and donors hostage, he’d also tried to kill me.

But first he’d shot Griffin, with the clear intention of hurting me. After first calling me a sodomite.

The implication had been obvious enough. But Stanford was a madman who had tried to murder the most powerful people in Widdershins. Polite society put his insults and actions down to lunatic ravings.

Whether anyone really believed that or no…well, Griffin had quietly received an invitation to various museum functions, including this one, with no real explanation as to why. If pressed, no doubt it would be pointed out he’d tried to save everyone at the Hallowe’en tour and been gallantly wounded in their defense. Surely that was worth a few invitations to exclusive events?

And perhaps it was the real explanation. I honestly didn’t know and certainly would never ask. But I had no doubts as to Bradley’s opinion.

Would he try to use it against us? He hadn’t so far, but that didn’t mean the day wouldn’t come when we’d find police knocking on our door. Or my name in some headline from a tawdry New York paper, as no reporter in Massachusetts would dare risk Father’s wrath.

My hand tightened on the champagne flute, the scars beneath my white glove pulling tight. The great arcane maelstrom that underlay Widdershins turned beneath my feet. A breeze ruffled through the gathering, bearing on it the scent of the nearby ocean.

“As I said, I’m quite fine,” Griffin replied. “Come, Whyborne—you need to dry your shirt.”

He touched my elbow. The breeze died away, and my sense of the maelstrom receded to the back of my mind, in the same place that kept track of my heart beating and my lungs breathing.

“Yes,” I said, and let him steer me away.

Author Bio:
Jordan L. Hawk grew up in the wilds of North Carolina, where she was raised on stories of haints and mountain magic by her bootlegging granny and single mother. After using a silver knife in the light of a full moon to summon her true love, she turned her talents to spinning tales. She weaves together couples who need to fall in love, then throws in some evil sorcerers and undead just to make sure they want it bad enough. In Jordan’s world, love might conquer all, but it just as easily could end up in the grave.



Wednesday, December 30, 2015

6th Day of Christmas Author Spotlight: Summer Devon & Bonnie Dee

Author Bios:
Bonnie Dee
I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.

Writing childish stories for my own pleasure led to majoring in English at college. Like most English majors, I dreamed of writing a novel, but at that time in my life didn't have the necessary focus and follow through. Then life happened. A husband and children occupied the next twenty years and it was only in 2000 that I began writing again.

I enjoy dabbling in many genres. Each gives me a different way to express myself. I've developed a habit of writing every day that's almost an addiction. I don't think I could stop now if I tried.

Summer Devon
Summer Devon is the pen name writer Kate Rothwell often uses. Whether the characters are male or female, human or dragon, her books are always romance.

You can visit her facebook page, where there's a sign up form for a newsletter (she'll only send out newsletters when there's a new Summer Devon or Kate Rothwell release and she will never ever sell your name to anyone).

Bonnie Dee

Summer Devon

The Psychic & the Sleuth
Trusting a psychic flash might solve a mystery…and lead to love.

Inspector Robert Court should have felt a sense of justice when a rag-and-bones man went to the gallows for murdering his cousin. Yet something has never felt right about the investigation. Robert’s relentless quest for the truth has annoyed his superintendent, landing him lowly assignments such as foiling a false medium who’s fleecing the wives of the elite.

Oliver Marsh plays the confidence game of spiritualism, though his flashes of insight often offer his clients some comfort. Despite the presence of an attractive, if sneering, non-believer at a séance, he carries on—and experiences a horrifying psychic episode in which he experiences a murder as the victim.

There’s only one way for Court to learn if the young, dangerously attractive Marsh is his cousin’s killer or a real psychic: spend as much time with him as possible. Despite his resolve to focus on his job, Marsh somehow manages to weave a seductive spell around the inspector’s straight-laced heart.

Gradually, undeniable attraction overcomes caution. The two men are on the case, and on each other, as they race to stop a murderer before he kills again.

Warning: Graphic language and hot male/male sex with light BDSM themes. Despite “Descriptions of Murderous Acts” perpetrated by an unhinged killer, resist the temptation to cover your eyes—you’ll miss the good parts!

The Gentleman & the Lamplighter
You Can’t Walk Away from Love.

Destroyed by the death of his former schoolmate yet unable to show it publicly, Giles Fullerton has taken to walking the streets of London in the middle of the night, the only time he can safely mourn the only person he’s ever loved—until one chance meeting with a lamplighter changes everything….

But You Can Walk Toward It...

Widower John Banks knows a thing or two about grief, and immediately recognizes a kindred spirit when he finally meets the handsome, haunted gentleman he’s admired from afar. And in fact, the two men discover shared passions and the possibility of a forever love—if they can overcome social taboos, and their own fears….

The Gentleman's Keeper
Confronting the darkness of his past, he finds the light of his future.

After years gadding about Europe, Everett Gerard can no longer avoid his responsibilities. Word has come that a child bearing the unmistakable Gerard stamp has shown up at the family estate—and he realizes it’s time to face his demons.

As his carriage nears the gates of home, he fights the urge to flee the memory of the horrible crime he witnessed as a child. Yet the Abbey delivers surprises and delights he never expected.

Miles Kenway was content with his quiet life as the Abbey’s bailiff, until the wild child, clearly a bastard son of some Gerard, upends his peace with constant pranks and mischief. And when the master of the house arrives, an unsettling attraction heats Miles’s blood.

As they clash over the fate of the ancestral land, they battle a powerful desire to grapple in ways that could disrupt the delicate balance between master and servant. But when the boy’s real sire appears, they must unite as only true fathers can to protect the boy whose mischievous charm has captured their hearts.

Warning: Gothic murder, hot man loving, and emotional family drama.

Mending Him
"As his world collapses, love opens his heart."

Robbie Grayson has always felt like a bit of an outsider in the Chester family, though he's related by blood. An orphan taken in at a young age, he is further set apart by a limp inflicted by a childhood illness.

Nevertheless, he's content enough with his quiet country life-until a mercurial wastrel named Charles Worthington explodes into it. And Robbie is assigned to play nursemaid to an invalid with an attitude.

Injured in a carriage accident, Charles arrives at the Chester estate drunk as a lord and with empty pockets. Despair consumes him as his broken body slowly heals, but the kindness of quiet, thoughtful Robbie saves him from drowning in self-pity.

Over chess matches and conversation, these polar opposites challenge each other to break out of old patterns, until desire burns through the thin veneer of pure friendship. Yet their passion could destroy the family bonds they value so highly. Especially when someone catches wind of their relationship-and threatens blackmail.

Warning: This book contains hot man-on-man lovin' between not-quite kissin' cousins.

Seducing Stephen
What does a jaded earl see in a studious young man? Everything he never knew he was missing.

The dark, alluring Peter, Lord Northrup, is Stephen's every nighttime fantasy made flesh and he's in Stephen's bed, ready for passion. When Peter discovers the bedroom mix-up, he's ready to leave until Stephen begs him to teach him all the things he's only imagined.

The two men, visitors at a country house, begin a delirious, passionate affair with Northrup as teacher and Stephen his eager student. Peter knows their liaison is about hot sessions of sexual exploration, not love--and backs away when he sees shy Stephen's heart is involved. Passion and commitment can't coexist for men like them.

But Peter is haunted by memories of the summer fling and the quiet young man he spurned. But he may have taught him Stephen too well the lessons of a cynical roué.

Simon and the Christmas Spirit 
The holiday spirit has forsaken Simon Harris. A recent reminder of the man who used then left him sends lonely Simon on a glum visit to his club to while away a few hours. A breath of fresh air in the form of Christopher Andrews is about to enter his stale life.

Performer of many talents and faces, Christopher gained entrée into the club to win money at cards. Unfortunately, he’s losing. But the evening needn’t be a complete disappointment as he strikes up a friendship with a gentleman which ends in a bedroom.

Simon and Christopher enjoy a few hours of pleasure together, never expecting to see each other again, but Simon’s newfound resolution to change might just transform both their holidays.

The Bohemian & the Banker
"A night lost in Paris finds two hearts changed forever."

Sent to Paris on business, Nigel Warren doesn’t quite understand why his colleagues’ eyes twinkle as they tell him to meet them at a local night spot.

When he discovers it’s a drag cabaret and his acquaintances aren’t there, he realizes he’s the butt of a joke. Yet he finds himself quite undone by a singer dressed in an elegant gown, crooning a spellbinding ballad.

It’s not unusual for Jay, a former Londoner, to bring a new “friend” home from the cabaret, but he’s never had a guest quite like Nigel, whose straitlaced manner hides an unexpected passionate streak.

One romantic night on a rooftop under starry skies, followed by an afternoon enjoying the excitement of the 1901 Paris Exposition, bonds these opposites in a way neither can forget—even after they part.

Their spark reignites when Jay comes to London, but he’s not sure he can go back to hiding his true self, not even for the sake of love…unless Nigel is willing to shed his cloak of staid respectability and take a leap of faith.

Warning: Contains a virgin who doesn’t speak French but is fluent in numbers, and a drag performer who is trilingual in English, French and Love. Not responsible for extra pounds brought on by the urge to dine on croissants au deux.

The Nobleman & the Spy
They once faced each other on a battlefield. Now soldier-turned-spy Jonathan Reese must keep watch over the man he’s never forgotten. A close encounter reveals Karl von Binder, the count’s son, also recalls the day he spared Jonathan’s life.

Sparks fly between the former enemies and Jonathan begins to lose perspective on his mission. He knows he must maintain distance because the heat he encounters in Karl’s touch stirs him far too deeply for his own good. He can’t keep away -- especially when he suspects someone is trying to kill the nobleman.

The spy becomes a protector as Jonathan guards the man he’s begun to care for. Together the men try to puzzle out who would benefit from Karl’s death -- and how much they’re willing to trust each other when a torrid sexual fling threatens to become an affair of the heart.

And Nights Descend by Bruce Blake

Title: And Night Descends
Author: Bruce Blake
Series: Small Gods #3
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Release Date: December 29, 2015
To raise the Small Gods, a Small God must die,
When stars go out, the end is nigh.
One must die to raise them all,
Should Small Gods rise, man will fall,
One can stop them, on darken’d wing,
The firstborn child of the rightful king.


The moment Teryk and Danya, the royal siblings, spoke the words inscribed on the long-forgotten scroll, they foolishly set in motion events destined to bring about the prophecy’s predictions. Teryk is the firstborn, but why do the words only make sense to his sister?

As they each launch themselves recklessly into a heroic mission to save mankind, it seems inevitable that key elements in this game of the gods would be drawn to one another and collide with frightful and yet-unfathomable consequences.

With a Small God already captured and being dragged to his death by a colossal, bloodthirsty golem, is it too late to turn back fate? Can any of them find a way to resist their destinies?

Intrigue in the court, an impenetrable veil between two worlds, escape, sacrifice, retribution and magic pull the strings of these puppets of destiny on a massive, creation-spanning chessboard hidden in shadow, veiled in darkness, lost in the night.

Long ago, blood and anger colored his dreams red every night until the night she came to him.

In his sleep, steel glinted through the haze of crimson, pain flashed. A coppery scent stirred him in his bed, rank bile soured his tongue, and Trenan woke with sweat on his brow and agony tearing through him from an arm no longer there. Every time he awakened, he reached out with a phantom hand, expecting—hoping—for fingers to brush the rough wool blanket or touch his face. But they found nothing because they remained attached to an arm rotting in the bottom of a ditch with the rest of the dead.

“At least the rest of you isn’t down there,” Erral had said with a chuckle one day as he sat beside his bunk, struggling to articulate his appreciation.

Trenan thought lying in the ditch with the dead might be better than losing the arm meant to wield his sword.

What good is a soldier with no hand to hold his weapon?

The one-armed swordsman stared up at the dark ceiling, the muscles in his jaw clenched hard against the throb in his shoulder and the knot clogging his throat. Since the days of his childhood, his life had been based on what that arm could do with a sword. It performed feats others couldn’t, moved in ways and with speed beyond the abilities of but a few men. It took lives, saved lives, helped to put down a rebellion.

But no more. Off it came, a sacrifice to save the king from a blow meant to separate his royal head from his regal body. A more than fair trade in the kingdom’s mind, but a bitter mouthful to a master swordsman left with the wrong arm.

Trenan closed his eyes and inhaled through his nose, filling his lungs to capacity and using the air to squash regret from his chest. Sacrificing himself for the king was expected of him and an honor. But it wasn’t he who’d been sacrificed but his arm, with the rest of him left behind to cope without it.

I’d rather have died.

And they knew it; it was the reason his chambers were devoid of sharp weapons.


The whispered word didn’t startle him, but he was surprised by the timbre of the voice speaking it. The doctor assigned to his bedside like a hairy-chested wet nurse would return soon to touch his forehead to gauge his temperature, or give him more of the acrid herbs to hide a pain that would never leave, but the man charged with caring for him didn’t speak with a woman’s voice.

Trenan dragged his lids open, cocked his head. The woman perched on the chair set beside his bunk was the last person he’d have expected to find.

Her hair, which he’d only ever seen her wear up, hung loose past her shoulders in waves the color of honey tinted with a few drops of blood. Her eyes sparkled with the dim light of the taper flickering in the far corner of the swordsman’s chamber, worry plain in their set. Concern tilted the corners of the full lips of her exquisite mouth.

“My queen.”

Trenan scrambled to push himself up on his elbows, forgot he had but one, and tumbled onto his side on the mattress, jarring his wound. He gritted his teeth and pressed his lips together to keep from crying out, but when he found the queen’s hand upon him, he forgot the pain.

“Are you all right?”

He looked into the eyes of the young woman who’d seen the seasons turn eighteen times since her birth and once since she’d become wife to the king. The knot of despair that had choked him dissipated, the pain in his shoulder faded. He nodded.

“Yes, my queen.”

“Ishla,” she said and brushed his cheek with the backs of her fingers. “You poor man.”

She settled back on the edge of the chair, removing her touch from his face, but the feel of it remained with him. He struggled himself up to sitting, the wool blanket falling from his bare chest as he stretched to see past the wife of his friend. Behind her, the chamber lay empty.

“Where is Gollard?” He looked to her face, found her still gazing at him, so diverted his eyes. “Where is the doctor?”

“Do you need him?”

She stood, took a half-step toward the door and stopped, awaiting his reply. He’d have answered at once but, when she stood, he saw she’d chosen not to wear one of the elaborate dresses he’d seen her wear every other time he’d been in her presence. Instead, she wore white bed clothes with sleeve cuffs that clung to her wrists and a hem that brushed her ankles.

“ I’m fine, just wondering where he’d gone.”

Ishla clasped her hands in front of her, lowered her chin to regard her intertwined fingers.

“I had him called away.”

Trenan stared at the young woman. Now her eyes weren’t upon him, he let his gaze linger, saw that the taper burning behind her cast her outline in the fine cloth. Trenan swallowed hard.

“Called away? For what?”

She raised her head, making him slip his gaze back to her face, then gestured toward the side of the bed.

“May I?”

Trenan looked from her to the bed and back, uncertain what she meant, at first. He cleared his throat and nodded.

“Of course, my quee...Ishla.”

She alighted on the edge of the mattress close enough Trenan felt her warmth. Her perfume filled his nose—not a cologne she’d put on, but the smell of her hair, the scent of her skin. Apprehension stirred in the swordsman’s chest, excitement, confusion.

Why is she here?

“I’ve come to thank you for saving the king, Trenan.”

It might have surprised him that she read his thoughts, but what else might he have been thinking? Trenan shifted away, trying to quell his excited discomfort.

“There’s no need. The king has conveyed his appreciation with the best surgeons the kingdom can offer and his promise to take care of me as long as I need.”

The words were Erral’s, but this marked the first time Trenan had spoken them aloud. They tasted of vinegar on his tongue, but the queen’s sweetness was enough to overpower the bitter morsel.

Ishla wiggled nearer, closing the distance he’d created, her lithe body making little impression on the mattress. His eyes strayed from hers, fell to her curves beneath the bed clothes before returning to find a smile beginning on her lips.

“That is Erral’s way of thanking you, not mine. And I suspect his method may be more hurtful than fulfilling.”

She lifted a hand and touched her palm to his cheek. Trenan nearly jerked away out of sense of duty to king and kingdom but didn’t for fear of offending the queen. And because he liked the way her warm flesh felt against his.

Ishla moved closer and leaned in, leaving a hand's-breadth between the tips of their noses. Her breath touched his lips, her gaze found its way inside him.

“It is my thanks I bring tonight.”

“And Gollard?”

“Won’t be back until morning.”

“Who else knows you had him called away?”

She shook her head. “A queen can be discreet.”

Trenan licked his lips, resisted the urge to close the space between them. A plethora of furtive smiles returned to his memory. From the first time he’d seen his friend’s wife—the queen of the kingdom—they’d been there, finding their way to her lips whenever their eyes met. As much as he wanted them to be for him, about him, he’d convinced himself her nature and her youth brought them forth, convinced himself the tingle-inspiring smiles and gentle blushes weren’t meant for him.

Now he didn’t know if he should be elated he’d been wrong, or fearful.

His gaze slipped form her eyes to her mouth. He imagined his lips pressing against hers, their tongues finding each other, until the king’s angry visage intruded on his thoughts.


“Is your friend,” she finished for him. “And my husband, but he isn’t here. There is you and me, and no one else knows I’m here.”

Her hand left his face, fell to rest on his upper chest. The tight thrill swirling beneath his ribs expanded, flowing into his stomach, lower, stirring other things. Ishla held his gaze but moved no more, staring into his eyes with her lips parted, her head tilted.

This is wrong.

Trenan’s mind continued to resist even as he leaned forward and their mouths came together.
Ishla ran the tip of her finger along the swordsman’s breast bone, tracing a line through the cooling perspiration. The ache in Trenan’s shoulder he’d forgotten as the queen expressed her appreciation crept back as though someone pressed the tip of a stick into his wound.

The queen peered at him and he held her gaze. Though neither spoke, words swam through his mind—things to say, plans never to be executed, the vision of an impossible life. He thought he saw the same shining in her eyes, hidden behind a mix of nurturing care and sadness.

After a moment, the breathtaking young woman climbed off him, her weight lifting from his hips as another palpable one settled into his chest.

“I must go before I am missed,” she said, one corner of her mouth lifting in a lopsided smile.

She bent and retrieved her nightgown from the floor. Trenan watched as she shook it out, revelling in the way her muscles moved beneath her porcelain skin, the tremor shaking her breasts. She stretched her arms toward the ceiling and slipped her hands into the sleeves, let the nightshirt fall around her like the curtain falling at the end of a masterful play.

A performance Trenan never wanted to end.

The gown fell into place and she smoothed the front with her palms. The swordsman reached out, a jolt of pain shooting along the right side of his chest, and grasped her wrist, coaxed her back toward the bed.

“When will I see you again?”

She looked at him, the smile still on her face, but he watched the sliver of sadness in her eyes overtake it. The queen said nothing in response; she didn’t need to. He’d already known the answer before his lips spoke the words—this was a dangerous game they shouldn’t play again.

Dangerous, but worth the risk.

Ishla leaned over and put her lips to his, the passion and longing of their earlier kisses usurped by regret, mourning. The touch lingered, and he thought to grab her, pull her to him, but the moment passed and she moved away. Trenan released his hold on her wrist and watched her stride across the room to the chamber door.

She let herself out without a backward glance.
“I’ve seen the seasons pass nearly fifteen times,” Dansil mumbled under his breath as he stalked through the castle halls. “I’ll be a man soon enough; bitch can’t tell me what to do.”

His cheek still stung in precisely the shape of his mother’s hand, but her punishments didn’t hurt like they did in his youth. Then, they’d caused him more than physical pain; it was as though she’d struck his soul.

But if something gets beaten enough times, it toughens.

He came to a corner and slowed his pace, peeked around before continuing. Getting caught wandering the halls wouldn’t get him killed, but none of the king’s men would be impressed should they discover him. Even with the red haze of anger at his mother hanging around him, he knew better than to be careless—he’d crept these halls enough times.

Dansil followed the hall and went up the next staircase, avoiding the routes the guards followed when patrolling in the evening. At the top of the stairs, he paused a second time, checking both ways along the corridor. Thick carpet in a shade of deep red covered the floor in both directions; portraits of people he neither recognized nor cared to recognize lined the walls.

On a whim, he took a right and maintained a slow but steady pace, the muscles in his thighs tight and ready to hie him away should one of the many doors lining the hall open and a visiting noble step out. He figured none would this late at night, but better ready than caught.

The end of the hall intersected another; here he stopped again and found himself rewarded for his care. Halfway along the corridor, a door opened. A woman clothed in white bedclothes emerged, the wall sconces behind her illuminating the outline of her body through the cloth.

Dansil sucked a sharp breath at the sight and his hand darted to his groin. The woman stood for a short time, hand on the door’s handle, her head hung. Her long hair caressed her arms and shoulders, the light highlighted the shape of her breasts, the curve at the small of her back. After a moment, she raised her head, glanced along the hall away from where Dansil peered around the corner, then swivelled her head toward him. The young man faded back from the corner before she saw him, a silent curse on his lips.

He waited, breath held, resisting the urge to peep around the corner again. If he did, and she was walking away, the wall sconce’s light might shine between her legs, outlining the most secret of places. But if she headed toward him, he’d be discovered.

The whisper of footsteps padding on the rug interrupted his thought.

She’s coming this way.

No time to hurry back the way he’d come; if he tried, she’d see him, even if she didn’t turn his direction. Lips squeezed hard together, he pressed himself against the wall and hoped she’d continue straight along the corridor.

A moment later, she passed by and Dansil saw her face. His eyes widened and his grip on his half-swollen man thing released.

The queen!

As she hurried down the corridor, Dansil stepped out from his hiding spot to watch her go, forgetting the possibility she might glance back and see him. She didn’t and, instead of admiring the swing of her hips, the shape of her body hidden beneath the bedclothes, the young man wondered why she’d be out alone at this time of night. When she disappeared around the far corner, he peered back toward the door she’d exited.

The curiosity was too much for Dansil. He crept along the corridor in the direction from which the queen had come, his hand extended and fingertips dragging along the rough stone wall. Every door appeared the same as the others, but he’d noted the one from which she’d emerged: the third on the left. A moment later, he stood in front of the plain wood slab, staring at the handle. After a quick survey of the empty hall, he leaned close, pressed his ear to the door, but heard no sounds within.

Excited saliva filled his mouth. He swallowed hard, raised his hand and rapped his knuckles against the wood.

The knock garnered no immediate response so Dansil assumed the chamber empty until a man’s voice spoke a single word.


The curiosity burning in his brain tingled into his chest and along his limbs. The hand he still held raised after knocking fell to the door handle, gripped it. He didn’t recognize the voice or know who might reside within, but was aware he shouldn’t enter any room in the castle without invitation. He also knew no invitation would come if he waited for one, and he’d never discover who the door concealed.

Dansil set his jaw and pushed the door open.

A musky odor filled the air in the room, one he recognized from the occasions when his mother came home with a man and sent him off to his chambers. The furnishings were sparse and a man lay upon a bed to the left, one shoulder wrapped with a pink-tinged bandage where his arm was missing. The tender expression on his face went stony when he spied the lad.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?”

“Beg your pardon, m’lord swordsman. Wrong chamber.”

Dansil backed out of the room and closed the door behind him, a wicked grin creeping onto his lips as he went. The door clicked shut; he hurried away along the hall lest the man rise and come after him.

Trenan and the queen. The king’s friend and his wife. Together.

He rounded the corner and hastened to the staircase, the path of his future falling into view.

Sometimes, one unexpected turn of events can change a boy’s life.

When Shadows Fall #1
A hundred hundred seasons have turned since the Goddess banished the Small Gods to the sky, leaving the land to mankind alone.

For Prince Teryk, life behind the castle walls is boring and uneventful until he stumbles upon an arcane scroll in a long-forgotten chamber. The parchment speaks of Small Gods, the fall of man, and the kingdom's savior—the firstborn child of the rightful king. It's his opportunity to prove himself to his father, the king, and assure his place in history. All he needs to do is find the man from across the sea—a man who can't possibly exist—and save mankind.

But ancient magic has been put in motion by a mysterious cult determined to see the Small Gods reborn. Powerful forces clash, uncaring for the lives of mortals in their struggle to prevent the return of the banished ones, or aid in their rebirth.

Named in a prophecy or not, what chance does a cocky prince who barely understands the task laid before him stand in a battle with the gods?

The Darkness Comes #2
When shadows fall, the darkness comes...

A disgraced Goddess Mother wanders blind and alone, praying for her agony to end. When a helpful apostle finds her, could it truly be salvation, or does worse torment lie ahead?

A sister struggles to understand a prophecy that may not be meant for her while her brother fights for his life. If the firstborn child of the rightful king dies, will it spell the end for everyone?

Darkness and shadow creep across the land in the form of a fierce clay golem animated by its sculptor's blood. It seeks a mythical creature whose sacrifice portends the return of ancient evil banished from the world long ago. With its return will come the fall of man.

As the game unfolds, the Small Gods watch from the sky, waiting for their time to come and their chance to rise again. They wait for the fall of shadows, the coming of the darkness.

They wait for night to descend.

Author Bio:
Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don't take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn't really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the "u" out of words like "colour" and "neighbour" than he does shovelling (and watch out for those pesky double l's). The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of a burlesque diva.

Bruce's first short story, "Another Man's Shoes" was published in the Winter 2008 edition of Cemetery Moon. Another short, "Yardwork," was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod. Bruce's first Icarus Fell novel, "On Unfaithful Wings", was published in Dec., 2011 while the follow up, "All Who Wander Are Lost", came out in July, 2012. The third in the series, "Secrets of the Hanged Man", came out in July, 2013. The first part of his Khirro's Journey epic fantasy trilogy, "Blood of the King", was released Sept., 2012, book 2, "Spirit of the King," in Dec., 2012, and book 3, "Heart of the King," in Feb., 2013.

The two books in the Small Gods series, "When Shadows Fall" and "The Darkness Comes", were released in 2013, after which Bruce took a year out to concentrate on his family and career. Book three in the Small Gods series is Bruce Blake's current project.


And Night Descends #3

When Shadows Fall #1

The Darkness Comes #2

Brought to you by: