Monday, May 30, 2016

Monday's Montage Mantlepiece: Stand to Attention

Almost by Sean Michael
Hammer let Lane drive him away, but now he’s determined to make Lane the one who almost got away.

Lane lost his legs while saving his unit overseas. It’s been two years and he’s doing his best to come to terms with things, including the fact that he dumped his lover to free the man up from being stuck with a gimp for the rest of his life. Luckily, Lane inherited his Gramps’ cottage — it just needs some renovations to make it wheelchair friendly. He’s determined to make the best of what he’s got.

Hammer was one of the men Lane saved… and his lover while they were in the army together. He let Lane drive him away back when the man first got hurt, but now he’s hunting Lane, determined to make Lane the one who almost got away. Will Lane be able to see past his legs far enough to realise Hammer’s in it for the long haul?

On the Home Front by Jambrea Jo Jones
Forgiving yourself is the hardest battle...

Peter "Bulldog" Jakes killed his mother. People tell him it isn't his fault, but he is just as guilty as if he pulled the trigger. Bulldog knew being in the Army Special Forces would eventually hurt his family.

Moby Edwards' heart aches for his First Sergeant and he wants to help, but Bulldog blows him off — every time.

When Bulldog is forced to take leave, Moby follows, but will things out of their control ruin what could be the healing power of friends turned into lovers?

Who Dares Wins by Lily Harlem
When secret service becomes not so secret servicing by not one, but two sexy soldiers, Ken learns that dreams can come true in explosive style!

Waiting for my SAS husband Jack to come home safe and sound is always a gut-wrenching, heart-twisting time. I have no idea where he is, what jungle swamp he may be lying out in or desert he might be marching across.

So naturally when he returns to me, our emotions can't fail to run hot and our lust for each other cranks up to sky-high levels. But the one thing about Jack is he lives for the extreme and seizes the moment. I really should have known what would come of me telling him my wildest fantasies.

Oh, yes, he's a guy who gets results…and when he brings home his colleague Slider, equally tough, equally rough, the pair of them can't fail to hit the target. That target happens to be lucky old me and I head off on the ride of my life…

Reader Advisory: This book contains D/s elements and a MMM mΓ©nage.

An Act of Duty by Elizabeth Coldwell
When duty becomes mixed up with desire, can a battle-scarred soldier leave behind the horrors of war and enter a world of fantasy and fulfilment?

For Corporal Mark Stockdale, a trip to Amsterdam won’t just provide some much-needed R and R away from the horrors of the Afghanistan battlefield — it’s also a way of keeping a promise to a fallen comrade. But violence has a way of seeking Mark out, even in the most peaceful of locations, and when he stops for a drink in a quiet bar, he finds himself stepping in to help its owner, Robin Sneijder, fight off a group of opportunist thieves. Robin shows his gratitude, and Mark is stunned by the depth of the passion between them, and when Mark wakes in the night from a vivid nightmare of the attack that killed his best friend, Ozzy, Robin is there to comfort him.

Robin seems like the perfect partner, and what started as an act of duty turns into an unforgettably erotic encounter. But when Robin confesses he has an overwhelming urge to submit to a hunk in army uniform, Mark is not sure whether he can put aside the realities of war and fulfil his new lover’s most cherished desires. Can he separate fact and fantasy, and give Robin the domination he craves?

Reader Advisory: This book contains graphic descriptions of a roadside explosion, and acts of domination and submission between men.

Trusting the Army Captain by Noelle Keaton
When it comes to choosing between advancing his career in the army or being truthful with the man he loves, Patrick learns everything ultimately boils down to trust.

Ambitious army captain, Patrick Bosworth, is eager to advance in his career so that he can live up to his family’s distinguished legacy. But having been passed over for promotion to major twice already, Patrick fears his career has stalled. He worries he’ll never match the accomplishments of other family members, especially his brother, a Bronze Star recipient recently promoted to lieutenant colonel.

When a superior office suggests a way to get the promotion that involves gathering information on a fellow army captain in the Medical Corps, Patrick reluctantly agrees to participate. He regrets the assignment almost immediately, especially when he falls for Craig, the guy he’s supposed to be investigating.

When he forms a passionate and intense bond with Craig, Patrick finds it difficult to separate where his professional obligations end and his personal feelings begin. After working for so long to prove himself a worthy member of his accomplished military family, Patrick has to decide if finally finding the love of his life is worth sacrificing advancement in the army, or even giving up his career itself.

Letters to a War Zone by Lucy Felthouse
When lonely insurance broker, Bailey, gets himself a new hobby, he ends up exchanging letters with a war zone. But he’s not expecting what happens next...

Bailey Hodgkiss is lonely and dissatisfied with his boring life as an insurance broker. In an attempt to shake things up a little, he signs up to a website to write to serving soldiers. He’s put in touch with Corporal Nick Rock, and over the course of a couple of letters, the two of them strike up a friendship. They begin to divulge things that they perhaps wouldn’t have said in person, including their preference for men.

Nick encourages Bailey to add more interests to his life. As a result, Bailey picks up his forgotten hobby, photography, and quickly decides to team it up with his other preferred interest, travel.

Booking a holiday to Rome is his biggest gesture towards a more exciting existence, and he eagerly looks forward to the trip. That is, until Nick says he’s coming home on leave, and it looks as though their respective trips will prevent them from meeting in person. Is there enough of a spark between them to push them to meet, or will their relationship remain on paper only?

Almost by Sean Michael 
Lane got himself into his wheelchair, rolled himself to the back porch and started doing pull-ups. His eyes were on the lake, on the water right outside his porch as he worked his arms, his abs. He’d spent his whole fucking childhood in this lake house, fishing with his gramps, swimming, goofing off. He loved this place and now Gramps was gone and it was his to do what he wanted with.

Hell of a trade for a pair of legs.

Up. Down. Up. Down. Eyes on the water. Don’t think about sand, bombs, enemy fire. Just the lake. The water. The burn in his arms.

The snap of a twig sounded like a shot.

He stopped, frowning. It was late winter. People didn’t come out here in the winter and he hadn’t found himself a dog yet. “I have a .38 and I know how to use it.”

“I sure as hell hope so. It wasn’t your head you injured.”

Jesus fuck, that sounds just like Hammer.

Lane lowered himself down onto his chair. No. No way. He hadn’t talked to Hammer in almost two years. Hadn’t seen him in longer than that.

The owner of the voice appeared beside his deck from the side of the house. Tall, stacked, haircut high and tight over a strong, square jaw and mismatched eyes. He’d only ever met one man with one hazel eye and one green, and that was Hammer.

Lane immediately, instinctively rubbed his shaggy beard that hid the scars on his face. “You lost, Sarge?”

“I was thinking I might be, then I turned a corner and found you, so no, I’m not lost.” Hammer wore a pair of jeans, a T-shirt with a leather jacket over it and had his bag slung over his shoulder. Fuck, he looked good.

Lane was in nothing but a pair of sweats, the sweat cooling on his bare chest making him shiver. “You want a cup of coffee?”

“I do. I was hoping you’d invite me in, too.”

On the Home Front by Jambrea Jo Jones
Peter ‘Bulldog’ Jakes stood at attention in front of his CO’s desk. They had just returned from a training mission in parts unknown and now he was hearing that his mother was dead.

Fuckin’ murdered.

How was he supposed to react? He should have been there, but no, he’d been off having fun. Most might not see it that way, but he loved everything about the Army and his position in the Special Forces. It was his life and a way out of a boring nine-to-five existence or the welfare train his brother was on.

“Your leave will start now,” Lieutenant Colonel Mills finished up.

It took a second for Bulldog to focus on his LT.

“Leave, sir?” He looked down at the LT sitting at his desk before going back to attention.

“Yes, Jakes—leave. Once you’re home and get a sitrep, let me know when you’ll be back.”

He didn’t lose his bearings this time. “I don’t need—”

“This is not a request, First Sergeant.”

“Yes, sir.”

Bulldog turned and left the room—he’d been dismissed and there was nothing he could do about it. He’d just been given a direct order to go home. Fuck. He shouldn’t be upset at the LT for making sure he was in his right mind—if he wasn’t, he could get people killed—but he didn’t want to go home and face his past.

Bulldog bumped into someone—it could have been anyone, but was it? No, it was Moby, a man he really didn’t want to see right now. If he’d been on his game, that wouldn’t have happened, but right now everything was off.

“Hey, Jakes, what’s doin’, man?” Moby Edward grinned.

It seemed that was all the Master Sergeant ever did. The man was happy all the time. Moby even smiled while disarming a bomb. Not that Bulldog could blame him—being in Special Forces was a dream come true and they might all be just a bit nuts. You had to love it to do what they did. It was one of the things Bulldog really admired about Moby—not that he’d tell the man he had any feelings in any kind of way because Moby would jump all over that. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell might have been repealed, but there were just some things you didn’t let happen…like having sex with a guy in your unit. Even if Moby did have a really great smile that reached his dark brown eyes…

Who Dares Wins by Lily Harlem
It’s the dreams that are the worst when Jack is away. They start off pleasant enough—me riding a bike in the woods, a picnic spread on a blanket with the sea breeze ruffling my hair, my handsome soldier-lover talking of our plans for the future—but they always turn dark, these dreams. Before I wake there’s a plunge into blackness, an abyss, like falling from a plane without a parachute and flailing for something to hold on to—reaching out and finding nothing.

When I do wake I’m left with this gut-wrenching breathlessness, my heart is racing and my limbs are heavy. Often it’s this one section of the night that lingers with me, it’s a sensation of running but not getting anywhere, putting all of my efforts into reaching Jack, battling uneven terrain, steaming uphill, fighting enemies. But my limbs are leaden, my efforts not rewarded.

I’m standing still.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to decipher the meaning. I’m just a deputy manager of a small town garden centre and I can figure out the symbolism.

When my partner Jack is away on a mission and I’m left at home in our little Cornish cottage, I’m utterly helpless. Oh, not that I can’t get up in the morning and get on with my day. That’s fine. I’m just not part of his terrifying world. If something happens to him, then yes, they’ll tell me eventually, but not until it’s too late, not until it’s over for him. If he needed me, was shot by enemy fire, captured and tortured, I’d never know until his ordeal was history.

Until he was history.

“Morning, Ken,” Mary said, rattling a trolley of begonias past me.

I glanced up from the vegetable seed stock chart I was double-checking. “Hey, Mary. How are you?”

“Great, thanks. Busy though, boss. We’ve just had another delivery.”

I grinned. “Good, now stop slacking and go and earn your money.”

She stuck her tongue out, then smiled and carried on towards the aisle of sweetly scented border plants.

Working at Bedding Beautiful was a godsend. Not only did it take my mind off the scary times when my gorgeous Master was away on duty, it also provided me with a kind of pseudo family. Everyone knew and accepted that I was gay and that I was sometimes teetering on the edge of my nerves. They didn’t know what Jack did exactly, that was confidential information, but they knew he worked away and I was left home alone.

An Act of Duty by Elizabeth Coldwell
Mark watched a man in a tiger onesie cycle past him on a rickety, black-framed bike, and knew Ozzy would have really loved Amsterdam. He’d barely been in the city for half an hour, yet already he was falling in with its relaxed vibe. This was a place to chill, to leave your worries behind for a while. As he looked at the tourists strolling along the cobbled pavements in the September sunshine, it was almost possible to forget that halfway across the world, good, honest men were dying in their efforts to bring stability to the basket case that was Afghanistan. Good, honest men like Ozzy.

He paused to consult the foldout map in the back of the tourist guide he’d bought at the airport. If he took the next left, it should bring him out right in the heart of the red-light district. Whenever they’d talked about visiting the city, that had always been the area Ozzy had wanted to tour more than any other. Forget the canals and the historic gabled houses, some so old they leaned at odd angles and appeared in danger of toppling into the water at any moment. Ignore the Rijksmuseum, where you could admire paintings from every Old Master Holland had ever produced. No, Ozzy had simply wanted to have a few beers and get his end away.

On one of their monotonous desert patrols, he and Ozzy had made a pact to come to Amsterdam on their next spell of leave. They’d never discussed what would happen if one of them wasn’t around by then, even though the fear of death was never far from either of their minds. Making this trip had seemed to Mark like the right thing to do—a way of honouring the memory of the man who’d been the best friend he’d ever had. No, they’d been closer than that. Gary Osmond, known to everyone in the regiment as Ozzy, had been like the brother Mark had never had, and he couldn’t help wishing the guy were here with him right now. He felt a tear threatening to spill down his cheek and blinked it away, glad his eyes were hidden behind dark glasses.

Turning a corner, he found himself confronted with the sight Ozzy had always hoped to see. In almost every ground floor window of the buildings that lined this stretch of canal stood a woman in her underwear, smiling and beckoning to the small groups of men who passed by. Here and there, thick burgundy drapes were pulled across one of the windows, indicating that its occupant had company. The sight of so much exposed female flesh didn’t rouse Mark’s desires, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate beauty when he saw it. He wondered which of the girls would have caught Ozzy’s eye. The peroxide blonde in the bright yellow bra and panties, maybe, or the brown-skinned, almond-eyed sylph in a PVC corset and thigh boots?

Trusting the Army Captain by Noelle Keaton
It isn’t fair!

The words resounded over and over in Patrick Bosworth’s mind until he grew sick of them, but the irritating chorus wouldn’t stop. It isn’t fair! It isn’t fair!

Signalling a passing waiter for another drink, Patrick slumped farther in his chair and wondered when the relief that a scotch and soda usually provided him would take hold. He’d had two already, but still felt as miserable as when he’d first come into the bar. It might just be that it wouldn’t take the edge off this disappointment—the bitterness of being passed over for promotion to major ran way too deep.

By most measures, Patrick knew he’d had a very successful military career, making it to captain while still in his early thirties. But when measured against the standards of the rest of his family, he felt like a total failure. Every Bosworth male since his great-great grandfather had served in the army with distinction, including an ancestor who had been a member of one of the first graduating classes at West Point. Patrick’s grandfather had held the position of Vice Chief of Staff of the army, and his father had risen to the rank of lieutenant general. And his older brother, Greg, showed every promise of following in their distinguished footsteps with his recent promotion to lieutenant colonel.

Patrick had tried his best to live up to the legacy. Although he hadn’t elected to go to West Point like his brother, he’d graduated summa cum laude from Yale University, and immediately enlisted in the army. After serving two tours in Afghanistan, he’d returned to America to work in military intelligence, and had seen his career plateau ever since.

A waiter placed a fresh drink in front of him, and Patrick gulped it, still wondering what, if anything, he could do to get his career back on track. He wished he could turn to his family, but he knew they would most likely counsel patience. But the only thing he could see patience getting him was a permanent place as captain in career purgatory.

“Now, how did I know I’d find you here?”

Patrick looked up to find his superior officer, Jake Moretti, standing over him with a sympathetic expression on his face. “Mind if I sit down?”

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do, Patrick wanted to say, preferring to be alone right now. But he gestured for Jake to take a seat, which he did in an opposite facing chair. “How many of those have you had?”

“I don’t have to report in until oh-eight hundred Monday. I’m not doing anything wrong.”

“Touchy, touchy. Obviously, you haven’t had enough of them. Give me a sec.” Jake got up and came back a few minutes later with a tray that had four shots lined up on it. “If this doesn’t loosen you up, nothing will.”

Letters to a War Zone by Lucy Felthouse
After clicking all the available links on the website to find out more about it, Bailey decided to go ahead and sign up. He’d never know what it was really like unless he gave it a go.

He’d read about the site in an article somewhere, about how it linked people with serving soldiers, pilots, marines and sailors in order to write to them. It had been proven that receiving mail—even from someone they didn’t know—improved military morale. It sounded like a damn good use of time to Bailey, and it would be interesting, too.

He began typing his details into the online form. Of course, the chances were that he’d be paired up with a man, given the ratio of males to females in the forces. It didn’t matter, though. He could still exchange letters with a guy, become friends. It seemed like such an old-school way to communicate with someone, given how technology had come on over the years, but at least it was different. Perhaps it would give him something in his life to look forward to, something other than getting up, showering, going to work, coming home, eating, watching television and going to bed. The watching television—and even the eating—were occasionally replaced by nights out with friends or seeing family. Weekends were spent cleaning, washing clothes, gardening and odd jobs. Dull stuff, in other words.

He had an utterly mundane life, and Bailey knew it. It wasn’t even as if his job was exciting. Insurance broking was hardly thrilling, game-changing, or going to save the world. He didn’t expect having a pen pal to change his entire life, but it would certainly break the monotony. Hopefully.

He went through the various steps to fill in his details and create a profile, then continued right through to the information on actually writing and sending the letters. It looked straightforward enough.

His mind made up, Bailey immediately went in search of a pen, some nice paper and an envelope. Armed with a print out of exactly what to do when the letter was finished, he settled down at the kitchen table. Instantly, his mind went blank. What the fuck was he meant to say?

Author Bios:
Sean Michael
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.

Jambrea Jo Jones
Jambrea wanted to be the youngest romance author published, but life impeded the dreams. She put her writing aside and went to college briefly, then enlisted in the Air Force. After serving in the military, she returned home to Indiana to start her family. A few years later, she discovered yahoo groups and book reviews. There was no turning back. She was bit by the writing bug.

She enjoys spending time with her son when not writing and loves to receive reader feedback. She’s addicted to the internet so feel free to email her anytime.

Lily Harlem
Lily Harlem is a best-selling, award-winning author of erotic romance. She lives in the UK and writes for several publishing houses including HarperCollins, Totally Bound, Pride Publishing, Evernight, ARe and Sweetmeats Press. She also features in numerous UK and US anthologies, some of which all proceeds go to charity.

Her books are a mixture of full length novels and short stories, some are one offs, some are sequels or part of a series (all can be enjoyed as stand-alone reads). What they all have in common are colourful characters travelling on everyone’s favourite journey — falling in love. If the story isn’t deliciously romantic and down and dirty sexy, it won’t be written, at least not by this author. So with the bedroom door left well and truly open you are warned to hang on for a steamy, sensual ride - or rides as the case might be!

Elizabeth Coldwell 
I am Rotherham’s foremost (okay, only) writer of quality erotica and erotic romance. Though I’m now based in London, family and football take me back North on a regular basis. Indeed, if you’re ever at a Rotherham United match (I know, what are the chances?) and you spot a small blonde with a large ‘London Millers’ flag, that’ll be me.

For twenty years, I worked on the UK edition of Forum magazine, for most of those years as editor. In that time, I built up the fiction side of the magazine, and was responsible for publishing the first stories by lots of now well-known and established erotic authors – most notably Portia da Costa and Lindsay Gordon, who was until recently Black Lace’s series editor.

However, I love writing even more than I love editing, and I’ve finally taken the plunge to write full-time. I’ve had stories published by Black Lace, Xcite Books, Cleis Press, Circlet Press, Mammoth, Ravenous Romance, Total-e-bound and more, and my collection of three gay erotic novellas, Wild Rides, will be coming out as a print book from Xcite in 2012. And I’m happy in my work…

Noelle Keaton
Noelle Keaton has bounced around the United States, including stays in California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, but she now resides in Florida. Although she works as a tax associate for a large corporation, her first love is writing. When she isn’t jotting down ideas for new stories, you can probably find her reading a book from an ever growing stack, debating politics and current events with friends, or experimenting with new recipes. Noelle’s vices include watching bad reality television and eating the white chocolate KitKats she keeps swearing she’s giving up.

Lucy Felthouse
Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women's Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter.

Sean Michael

Jambrea Jo Jones

Lily Harlem

Elizabeth Coldwell

Noelle Keaton

Lucy Felthouse
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