Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Brush with Darkness by Erastes

Florence, 1875

After making a grisly discovery one night, I needed proof that there was still goodness in the world. I never dreamt it would come to me during my next commission—with a subject whose very name means light...

Yuri was glorious in his otherworldly beauty, surrounded by a bright halo of iridescence, but I detected a fierce darkness lurking underneath the surface. Sketching all night, I could hardly wait to capture his likeness in a painting. For Yuri has stimulated not only my creative urges, but my sexual ones as well.

His very presence infuses me with joy and passion, but what will happen if my patron should discover our trysts? Dependent on his good graces, I can't afford to lose his support. But I fear the time will soon come when I must choose between restoring my family's fortunes and obeying the temptation of the muse before me...

This novella by Erastes has a little bit of everything I love: historical, paranormal, love, and mystery.  I won't tell you just what Yuri is even though it's not much of a surprise once it's revealed, at least I was able to guess it.  A well written tale that is chock full of intriguing characters, both good and bad, that had me hooked from page one.  It was a little shorter than I would have liked but it is also one of those that probably would not have been any better than it already is with addition of extra pages.  A great addition to both my paranormal and historical libraries.


Florence, 1875

Now I think back on it all, it's ironic and yet so very apposite how I always associate him with light. It seems impossible to think of him in any other way but surrounded by a bright halo of iridescence—the bright yellow glare of candles, or the greener glow of the gas lamps. Light shrouds him, an impossibility he manages to achieve. Perhaps the light is jealous of him, or perhaps it misses him and clings to him where it can. Like a lover, or a second skin. A never-ceasing wonder to someone like me, who lives his life through every hint of light and shade. Even in the dark he is never entirely obscured but seems to shimmer with a phosphorescence all his own. Even his very name means light.

There was no wonder, and little enough light, in the alley at the back of the Pitti Palace. This story probably began there, although it is always hard to decide that kind of thing when one is in the eye of the storm.

I'd been prowling the streets of Florence late at night. Even a newcomer to the city such as myself knew it wasn't a sensible thing to do in some areas, even in daylight, but my muse had deserted me and I was driven to it by desperation. If I didn't paint, my patron—the unctuous and two-faced Signor Bettano—would soon think twice about supporting me and my family.

The shadows on the walls of my bedroom, so often an inspiration in their shrouded beauty, were nothing but the flickerings of the candle flame and the promise of little else. They failed me when I needed them—they gave me neither inspiration nor joy. So I dressed in the dark and slipped down the creaking staircase in stockinged feet, shoes in hand. Past Bettano's rooms and out in the musty cool of the Florentine night, charcoal in pockets, a sketch pad optimistically tucked beneath my arm.

I knew little of my surroundings. The city was unfamiliar to me, but as I slid into the stream of the night—joining a small drift of others who, for their own reasons, also found solace in the shadows—I felt a peace that had recently eluded me, shut away in the top of my patron's house.

I moved aimlessly by the Arno. The river poured by, black and swift. The moss-dank stones of the river's path were cool, slippery and slick to my touch, like drowned flesh beneath my hands. For an hour or more, I sat on the muddy edge of the empty riverbank, getting myself chilled in the process, watching the yellow moon rise above the black edges of the city. Pregnant and gibbous, she cast her sickly reflection in the water beneath.

But nothing spurred me to take my charcoal in hand, and even under the bright light of the moon, I did not feel moved to commit anything to paper. I saw nothing to inspire me. For all the glamour of my relocation from Fiesole to Florence, for all the excitement I'd felt—and yes, some trepidation too—at leaving my family behind to restore our fortunes in the city, I saw only water, light and stone. And that was nothing I couldn't have seen at home, despite the buildings that towered over the river and me.

The moon had moved above the buildings and was perched overhead, hanging like a huge yellow apple on a tree I couldn't see. I was considering walking back to my rooms and drinking the remainder of my wine in an attempt to sleep when I heard a scream and voices raised in consternation. The human reaction is to run towards these cries of distress, it seems—however unwise—and without a thought I found myself running along the bank, up the narrow cobbled streets, towards the inhuman cries.

Author Bio:
Born in Essex, England in 1959, Erastes attended Southend High School for Girls.

Erastes is the penname of a female author who lives in Norfolk, UK. She drew her inspiration to write historical fiction from works such as Gaywyck by Vincent Virga and the novels of Mary Renault. Erastes was the Director of the Erotic Authors Association for two years and is an active member of the Historical Novel Society. She is the moderator of Speak Its Name, an influential blog dedicated to gay historical fiction.

Erastes has been writing since 2003, and details of all her books and short stories can be found on her website.

Her second novel, "Transgressions," was one of the flagship releases by Running Press in their M/M Historical Romance line which is being marketed directly at the existing romance market and was shortlisted for a Lambda award in 2010.



Release Day Blitz: Oxygen Deprived by Lani Lynn Vale

Title: Oxygen Deprived
Author: Lani Lynn Vale
Series: Killgore Fire #3
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: August 4, 2016
Cover Photographer: Furious Fotog
Cover Model: Gary Taylor
No take-backs.
That was the motto that Drew lived by in all things, including his love life.

He’s a player, pure and simple.

He’s learned the hard way that women aren’t all hearts and flowers.  Sometimes their sexy bodies and beautiful faces are just a pretty shield to hide the crazy, and he’s so freakin’ over crazy.

Been there, done that.  He has the divorce papers to prove it.

Karma hits like a bitch.
Aspen needs a break.  A long one that doesn’t include anything with a Y chromosome.  Not even one as tempting as her new neighbor who just moved in across the street.  Men are trouble with a capital freakin’ T, and she has the ankle monitor to prove it.

The last man she gave her heart to was a police officer. A man whose life was dedicated to protection, and he was supposed to protect her heart—not break it.

She decides right then and there that she’s done with being the better person.

Everything happens for a reason.

A rash decision—undoubtedly regrettable, undeniably unforgettable.  In the heat of the moment, Aspen’s actions with a tire iron and her ex-boyfriend’s brand new SUV land him in the ER getting stitches and have her seeing the inside of a jail cell for the first time.

It’s just her luck that the whole town is there to witness the result of her poor decision, including her police officer brother and the neighbor that already made it more than clear she was more trouble than she was worth.

House arrest never looked so good.

Hide your crazy.
Drew enjoyed the show, though. For the first time in a year, he’s thinking about his life, and how it would be a lot more enjoyable with a woman like Aspen at his side.

Maybe crazy isn’t so bad after all.

I slammed my fingers down on the keyboard, insanely annoyed that I now had to tell how fun the product was, despite the fact that the person I’d had the fun with was a douche bag.

A knock sounded at my door and I turned to glare at it.

“Who is it?” I yelled.

“You know damn well who it is. It’s the same person that’s been knocking at your door for the last twelve hours,” Drew growled.

I shrugged.

“Go away,” I ordered him.

I could hear him sigh through the door.

“In my eyes, the marriage Constance and I had was over,” he started.

I picked up the nearest thing to me, which happened to be a half finished water bottle, and then launched it at the door.

“Go away!”

He left, but not without one last parting comment.

“I still have a few things left in that box that I want to try on you. When you’re ready, let me know.”

I glared at the box he’d just spoken about, and went back to my review.

If you’re looking for a fun, awesome thing to do with your significant other, this is the thing for you. It offers many benefits; but most importantly, it gives you time with your significant other. And, might I add, it’s totally fucking worth it. I’ve used it three times in the last two days. It’s like he’s here.

On a side note, the vibrator is not very proficient. It offers about two hours of battery life before they need replaced.

Not that I used it for two hours or anything.

Oh, who am I kidding?

I would’ve used it longer if I hadn’t run out of batteries.


Author Bio:
I’m a married mother of three. My kids are all under 5, so I can assure you that they are a handful. I’ve been with my paramedic husband now for ten years, and we’ve produced three offspring that are nothing like us. I live in the greatest state in the world, Texas.

B&N  /  KOBO  /  iTUNES

Oxygen Deprived #3

Shock Advised #1

Flash Point #2

Controlled Burn #4(Pre-Order October 5, 2016)

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