Saturday, August 13, 2016

Night Watch by Josh Lanyon

Three years ago investigative reporter Parker Davidson barely survived a brutal attack by his psychopathic ex-boyfriend. It’s given him a dim view of romance.

When Parker’s ex escapes from a maximum security prison, LAPD Lieutenant Henry Stagge is tasked with making sure that Parker doesn’t end up a victim a second—and final—time.

Most cops believe Parker got what he deserved, but over the course of a few very tense hours, Henry begins to wonder if there’s more to Parker than he thought.

Second chances happen in the strangest places—and at the strangest times.

We're not always given a second chance so when it shows up on your doorstep, never take it for granted.  Night Watch is a short story/novella centering on just that very theme.  Parker may have been duped, nearly died because of it, and vilified afterwords but he was still the victim and now it's Henry's job to keep him safe.  It's no wonder that Parker has a dim view on the idea of  romance but as it often is with Cupid's Arrow, it happens when you aren't looking for it or even wanting it.  The story might be shorter than my usual read but a Josh Lanyon is still a Josh Lanyon, no matter the length. This was a great surprise to find.


How could you not know?

That was the question everyone asked. Friends. Family. Reporters. The cops. I think even Ricky may have said it the night he tried to kill me.

It was the question I continued to ask myself three years later.

How the hell could you not have known?

Because I didn’t want to know?

Because by the time I began to wonder, it was already too late?

A sudden gust of wind hit the unmarked police sedan, shaking me out of my thoughts. I took note of the distant snow-dusted mountains. Sharp-edged blue silica and granite outlined against darker blue skies. Not much farther now.

I glanced in the side mirror. Caught a slice of my own reflection: dark hair, dark sunglasses, dark and unshaven jaw. The road behind us was empty except for the small speck of an RV we’d passed minutes earlier.

“That’s the turnoff up ahead?” Lt. Stagge asked, double-checking the directions recited by the mechanical voice of the GPS.


A flash flood had taken out the faded, bullet-riddled sign over a year ago. The road department never got around to replacing it. Nobody lived out this way. Not even the deer that Deer Lane had been named for.

“Beautiful country,” Lt. Stagge said, and I laughed.

He looked away from the road, a trace of surprise on his face as he met my disbelieving gaze. “I grew up in Lompoc. I like the high desert,” he said.

“Sure.” I stared ahead at the worn and fading highway. Grayed and pitted asphalt, edges crumbling away to sand and sagebrush. The morning sunshine cast luminous golden light over the stark and unforgiving landscape.

Out of the corner of my eye I watched Lt. Stagge. Not that I suspected him of anything; it was just hard to tune him out.

He was about my age. Late thirties. Medium height, compact build. Light eyes that could have been blue or maybe green. Gray? Square shoulders, square jaw. The kind of haircut that only looked good on a marine. Which, he’d probably been before he’d joined LAPD.

He had that kind of blunt, serviceable attractiveness you see in a lot of those Died in the Line of Duty photos.

I did not want Lt. Stagge dying in the line of duty protecting me.

Enough people had already died thanks to me.

That’s what happens when you fall in love with a psychopath.

The first time I ever saw Ricky Barbour, he was testifying in court against another inmate who had assaulted and nearly killed a prison guard.

Ricky was in his early twenties then. Blond and bearded, with soft brown eyes. In addition to being handsome, he was polite and well-spoken. A very different animal from the predators he was speaking out against. I was impressed by his courage.

Pretty white boys don’t do well in the prison system, and his guts and integrity made me curious about his case.

What I learned was not encouraging. Ricky was starting a life sentence for second degree murder. The woman he’d been living with had come at him with a broken beer bottle, and in the struggle, he’d accidentally killed her. His lawyer failed to get the charges reduced to self-defense or even manslaughter because the girlfriend had placed a couple of domestic violence calls previous to the fatal incident. Worse, Ricky was strongly suspected in the death of his girlfriend’s ex-husband.

There hadn’t been enough evidence to charge him in the husband’s death. And there was a good chance that if he was guilty, he hadn’t acted alone. If he’d had an accomplice—assuming he’d been involved at all—she was dead now. In the case of Mariah Evans, the evidence against Ricky was mostly circumstantial, but there was a lot of it. Enough to convince a jury.

You get cynical covering the crime beat. But I kept thinking of how Ricky had acted to save that guard—and then how he’d spoken up in court against vicious offenders he still had to live with. He had to know he was risking his own safety, but he had done the right thing. I couldn’t forget the quiet dignity he’d displayed despite the way the defense had tried to discredit him.

I went to see him at the Central Men’s Jail in Orange County.

“You want to stop?” Lt. Stagge asked, breaking the silence. “You need to stretch your legs?”


No, I just wanted to get to where we were going. I did not want to admire scenery or make conversation. I did not want the lieutenant feeling like he had to be courteous, to pretend this was anything but an unwelcome assignment.

What was his story?

Not that I really cared. It was just my natural curiosity.

Or maybe my unnatural curiosity.

My mother was a big fan of the TV show The Hardy Boys when she was growing up. Particularly of Parker Stevenson, which was how I ended up with the first name Parker.

Being named for a prime-time sleuth might even explain my unhealthy interest in other people’s business. During the trial—the second trial—some clever asshole at the Times had referred to me as “Nosy Parker,” and the other papers, including my own, had picked it up.

Anyway, aside from a tendency toward small talk, Lt. Stagge seemed professional and competent, and that was all I needed from him. That was all I had needed from any man for a long time.

Joshua trees, twisted and spiked silhouettes, flashed by in the bright spring sunlight. Despite the ongoing drought, gold and purple wildflowers supplied startling bursts of color in the otherwise bleached landscape.

Another jackrabbit darted out across the road. The last time, Lt. Stagge had veered slightly, and the rabbit lived to endanger other motorists. This time a jeep was coming from the opposite direction, and Stagge never swerved. The rabbit hit the tires with a grim thump, the jeep zoomed past, and we sped on our silent way.

Author Bio:
A distinct voice in gay fiction, multi-award-winning author JOSH LANYON has been writing gay mystery, adventure and romance for over a decade. In addition to numerous short stories, novellas, and novels, Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews awards for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner and a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist.



Saturday's Series Spotlight: The Untold Stories of Neverland by KR Thompson

Series: The Untold Stories of Neverland #1-4
Author: KR Thompson
Genre: Fairytale/Fantasy

***Content Warning: Suitable for ages 13 and up. This is a darker series, showing how the characters in Neverland came to be. This isn’t your Disney variety of Neverland, it is more like the television series Once Upon a Time.***

Pan #1
Neverland has always been their sanctuary—until now.

Magic is dying in Neverland. Only one pixie is brave enough to search the human world for someone to believe. Tink finds a desolate boy flying in the night, peering in windows, searching for the life he once knew. But can she convince him to abandon his quest and save Neverland?

Discover the untold story of the boy destined to become Peter Pan.

***This is a short story depicting Pan's arrival in Neverland. As Peter is a main character, his adventures continue on throughout the rest of the series.***

Hook #2
Sitting in the dark corners of the print shop, Archie Jameson dreams of adventure, never imagining it will find him.

A twist of fate lands him beneath unfamiliar stars with a small pixie to guide his way. What new adventures lie in Neverland?

Discover the untold story of the man destined to become Captain Hook.

Nerida #3
Thespa, queen of the water sprites, has brought her own Lost Ones to Neverland. As the mermaids and mermen arrive, the magic returns once again to the Never Sea.

But with these newest inhabitants, something darker and more dangerous than the crocodile lies in wait below the surface.

Discover the untold story of the mermaid destined to become Neverland's sea witch.

Jack #4
Memories are fading as the pirates forget the life they once knew. Only one has managed to remember his life before Pan whisked him away to Neverland--and he's determined to find a way to escape in spite of Hook's need for revenge.

Seeking a way to restore the memories of the Jolig Roger's crew, Jack crosses paths with a mermaid searching for her own answers to Neverland's secrets.

Discover the untold story of the Lost Boy who was destined to grow up and the mermaid who will steal his heart.

Pan #1
THE TINY PIXIE flew over the dark rooftops to the crumbling tower in the center of the town. Zipping to the top, she chose her usual spot and greeted the gargoyle perched on the edge of the roof. Taking one final look to make sure she had the best view, she plopped down on the tip of the monster’s nose and settled in to watch the boy fly from house to house.

Back and forth, from one window to the next he flew, staying at each only long enough to peer through the panes of glass…searching…

At least he was taking his task seriously, she decided, watching him raise up on his toes in an effort to gain a better look inside one darkened, upstairs room. Some guardians were lazy, but this one was not, which was just as well, she noted, as the small, shadowy figure of a child exited through the window and joined him. A few seconds later, the two flew off into the night sky. The children of humans could be a handful—the ghosts of them even more so, especially when they realized they were no longer among the living. It only made sense to appoint another child to deal with their sorrow and accompany their spirits to the other side.

The source of her attention currently gone, the pixie idly kicked into the open air. Small bits of dust sprinkled each time her feet touched the open mouth of the monster she’d been making a seat of. She glanced down, noticing his bottom teeth now sparkled like gold in the moonlight, giving him an even more ferocious look.

The poor thing looked dreadful, with long curling teeth and bulging eyes—nothing at all like her own pretty, golden self. She gave him a bright smile. Likely, that was the only kindness ever given the monster forever stuck up here on the edge of this roof, so she reached down and gave his hard cheek an affectionate pat before turning her attention back to the sprawling town below. After all, she hadn’t come to save this monster. She’d come for the boy and soon he would need her—but not nearly as much as she needed him.

Hook #2
AN ETERNITY PASSED before Big Ben tolled five bells. They were heavenly peals to Archibald Jameson, who began to wonder if time had somehow gotten stuck or if the gigantic clock across the square was broken. Stretching out his long legs, he stood up from the desk and scooted around the corner, taking care not to bump the towering mountain of paper at the edge. Naturally, it was the largest stack in the entire room—the work that he had yet to finish. If he was even a fraction as meticulous a man as his father—the very man who left him the shop—he would have stayed, locked the front door, and remained into the wee hours to finish the work, however long it should take.

But he was not his father, and he had no intention of pretending to be so. While he was very good at running the print shop, it wasn’t something he enjoyed. It was only what he must do to ensure his survival. Remaining any longer than necessary just wasn’t going to happen as far as Archie was concerned. His inheritance should have been a blessing since he was the youngest of four sons. Without the steady work the shop provided, he might as well have lived out on the street, begging for what scraps could be found. To him, the feel of the paper and smell of ink felt like a prison where he was trapped day in and out. His only release came in daydreams. As he pondered another life or another world, the work piled up before him. He spent hours upon hours each day, dreaming of adventure, of places and people that always made those in his life seem dull in comparison. Those daydreams made his life bearable.

But even the daydreams wouldn’t hold him there once Big Ben chimed its fifth peal. He never stayed a second longer than required.

He blew out lamps and turned over the sign in the window, then pulled on his frayed, black frock. He took one last glance around, then slapped on his hat and stepped outside. Chilly air greeted him as he pulled the door shut, listening to the muted sounds of the doorbell. He turned the key in the lock and jiggled the knob.

Odd, he thought. The tinkling sounds he heard earlier sounded nothing at all like the brass bell on the frame of that door. Odd, indeed. Perhaps it was the remnants of his latest daydream, for the door had never sounded that way before. Still pondering the bell, he turned and rammed directly into a young boy, who let out an audible oof, as he landed on the side of the street.

“I do beg your pardon,” Archie said, offering both his apologies and his hand to help the boy up. The lad flashed a smile, showing a unique set of small, pearly white teeth, before he took Archie’s proffered hand and replied, “Quite alright.” Without waiting for Archie to say anything more, the boy took off, disappearing around the bend.

Hunching over against the cold wind that sent leaves dancing about his legs, Archie shoved his hands deep into his pockets, and made his way down the bricked street, no longer in the rush he was in moments before.

“Mary, I don’t see how we can afford to keep her.” The booming voice was startling. Archie glanced up at a window, which was open in spite of the chill. “Let’s see, two pounds nineteen…”

“George, dear…”

“Now, Mary, hold on a moment. I have the tally right here. Do you think we might try it for half a year on say, five five three? Only half the year, mind you. Oh, drat, I forgot to figure in colic.”

The voice of the man and his wife argued back and forth as Archibald stood, rooted in place, wondering at their strange conversation. As this was his normal route home, he walked by No. 27 every evening. He half-hoped this financial dispute might possibly involve their dog. If it did, he would be more than willing to step up and offer to solve their financial dilemma. He lived alone and the thought of the trim Newfoundland he had seen carrying in bottles of milk from the front steps bolstered his spirits.

The talk of colic, however, kept him from knocking on the front door.

“Shall we say one pound? Yes, that is what I’ll put down. But what of mumps? I’ve heard that can be quite taxing. I daresay that should be twenty shillings there. Don’t give me that look, Mary.”

It was at this point a sharp cry of an infant pierced their conversation and Archibald was quite certain that Nana the Newfoundland was most assuredly not the topic of money, colic, mumps, and their current distraught state. He shook his head, wondering about the sanity of the Darlings in No. 27 as the silhouette of a woman he presumed to be Mary shut the window and the voices muted.

Poor Nana, Archibald thought, to be stuck with people such as that.

He didn’t even want to think about the child whose fate rested on the odds of her contracting whooping-cough and so he openly wished the inhabitants of No. 27 would not be so lucky as to have any additional offspring. He voiced exactly that, and in that same instant, heard that funny peal of bells again. This time it sounded suspiciously like laughter.

Nerida #3
THESPA, QUEEN OF the water sprites, and ruler of all the Never Sea, returned to the human world with a profound sense of dread. As the leader of the watery half of Neverland, not much worried her.

At least, it hadn’t until the humans began forgetting about magic and the sprites began dying.

This trip back to the human world wasn’t one she had made out of choice—necessity brought her here. She’d come to find someone to believe in her, possibly several someones, depending upon how successful her quest proved to be. Then, she’d bring them back with her as a sort of insurance so she’d never have to come to this wretched place again.

Fish won’t do, she decided, staring at the wide-set eyes of one particularly ugly pufferfish. She stood on a wide piece of coral, deep beneath the waves of this warm human ocean, and looked around. More unintelligent fish, crabs, and other sea creatures milled about, none looking particularly pleased or excited to see her. The only ones who showed any interest in her at all were the ones who stopped just long enough to see if she was a small, sparkly bit of food.

This could take forever. Her wings dipped down in dejection. I wonder how long it took the pixie to find that flying Peter-boy?

One of the golden pixies, Tink, had been the first to bring someone to Neverland. When that proved successful, she’d brought a handful more. Her Lost Ones, the pixie had named them. They were, Tink explained, the ones the human world wouldn’t miss.

Thespa crinkled her nose in disgust. As a creature of the sea, she didn’t care for humans. Though they resembled water sprites and had legs to walk about on, they lacked a graceful set of wings that could take them through both water and air. And they most certainly didn’t have any magic. Humans were meant to be above the sea, not below it. Still, the idea of taking someone or something to Neverland that wouldn’t be missed did appeal to Thespa. She sighed, wondering again how long it took Tink to find her Lost Ones.

She started to fly from her perch and try a new place when something stopped her. Literally.

Thespa looked down and scowled, kicking the errant strand of seaweed that had twisted itself around her foot. The bit of green plant gave way at her vicious kick, but left a long green streak of slime down the length of her leg as a parting gift. This, of course, did absolutely nothing to improve her mood.

She was so aggravated that something extremely important had escaped her notice—the gaping jaws of an eel headed directly at her. Her anger disappeared in a fleeting second, but it was too late to move.

Then, a hand wrapped around her an instant before the monster’s teeth snapped.

Nonplussed at missing its small, sparkly appetizer, the eel swam off in search of another easy, unsuspecting meal.

Once the hand opened, Thespa let out an uneasy breath and looked up into a pair of wide, silver eyes, framed by long locks of blond hair.

At first, she thought she’d been saved by a human, but then she spotted his long tail and realized he was as much a creature of the sea as she—and he was exactly who she’d been searching for.

Jack #4
It was doubtful the mermaid who had saved him the day before was going to be there to guide him again today, but the unexpected thought of her made him want to peer into the water in hopes of seeing her beautiful face.

He shook his head. It wouldn’t do to get preoccupied with her now. He glanced over his shoulder and spotted a crooked wooden sign hung precariously on one jutting rock at his left. Shallows. Ye be warned, it told him. Each time the pirates had a mishap, they’d gone to making some sort of sign to warn others in the crew. Being as the pirates were a suspicious sort, there were such signs scattered across the island. Jack had seen many of them. Some of them were legitimate, while others were a matter of opinion. Once he’d seen a sign at the bottom of a tree, an arrow pointed up at the branches where a honeybee’s nest sat.

No worth it. Ye be warned. The maker of that particular sign had been Bob Murphy, who had fallen out of said tree and suffered a broken finger.

The thought of Murphy made Jack turn his attention back to Patch and Beetles. In a few more strokes, they would be at the shore, and were clear of all signs of the rocks. The taller boy seemed lost in thought, oblivious to everything around him. Beetles, on the other hand, was staring directly at Jack. “The one Pan brought isn’t right,” he said finally.

The boy startled Jack so badly he nearly dropped an oar. “Beg your pardon?”

“The mother Pan brought today. She isn’t right,” the boy said again. He crossed his arms and hugged his middle, as if he had suddenly gotten cold. “I remember my mother…” He stopped and glanced over at Patch. “…and he does too. Our mothers didn’t look like her.” His gaze locked onto Jack’s. Knowledge and understanding gleamed in his eyes. “We remember who we were when he found us. We know why Neverlings don’t grow up.”

Patch’s voice cut in, quiet yet accusing. “And we know why you did.”

Author Bio:
K.R. Thompson writes paranormal stories with a bite and fairytales with a twist. An avid reader and firm believer in the magic of books, she spends her nights either reading an adventure or writing one.

She still watches for evidence of Bigfoot in the mud of Wolf Creek.

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Pan #1

Hook #2

Nerida #3

Jack #4

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Piece by Piece by Kelly Moore

Title: Piece by Piece
Author: Kelly Moore
Series: Broken Pieces #3
Genre: Adult Romance
Release Date: July 16, 2016
After losing his leg when his plane crashed during the war, Steel closed himself off from everyone. He secluded himself in his fortress and was happy being a loner until his captain from the Air Force hires him for a rescue mission of a girl Steel once loved. He left her behind for his love of planes and now she is in trouble. Will Steel risk his way of life to help her and expose his greatest fear?

Adyson was once a sweet innocent girl in love with a man who chose a different way of life. Heartbroken, she seeks out someone that is nothing like Steel. She marries a man that becomes her worst nightmare. Now being hunted in the jungles of Guatemala by drug lords, she needs a way out.

She is stunned when Steel shows up as her rescuer. Their old heat reignites for one another. His insecurities hold him back, but he craves her like no one else. Her secrets may very well kill them both. The question becomes who rescues whom?

I place my hand on Steel’s thigh. “What’s the next part of the plan?”

“If your hand stays where it is, my plan is to rock this hummer.” He laughs

“He can hear you,” I whisper

“This is military grade. Soundproof.” He slides his hand between my legs. “He can’t see us either.” He winks at me.

I climb on his lap and straddle him. “Good, I want to have my way with you before all hell breaks loose.”

“I like the way you think.” He starts unbuttoning my blouse and kissing down my throat. He shreds my panties in seconds.

“You don’t ever need these when you are with me.” He kisses that spot just below my ear that starts my wetness flowing. He pulls me closer.

“I will never be close enough to you,” I whisper in his ear.

“Tell me what you want baby.” He licks at my lips.

“I want an extraordinary lover.”

“I want sleepless nights with a storm of passion.”

“I want to be intoxicated by the sight of you.”

“I want endless conversations.”

“I want to feel my body shiver at your touch and I want the world to disappear when we are together.”

“But mostly, I want all your shades of blue.”

I get so lost in him that I really don’t care that there is someone sitting in the same vehicle with us.

He moans into my mouth and roughly finishes pulling my clothes off.

Author Bio:
Kelly Moore was raised in Mt. Dora, Florida, a true southern girl with a sarcastic wit. Gypsy traveling nurse by day and romantic author by night. Loves all things romantic with a little spice and humor. Loves two characters who over comes their pasts to fall in love and have a happy ending. Wife, mother, grandmother and dog lover. Travels the US in a fifth wheel making memories and making friends.


Piece by Piece #3

Broken Pieces #1

Pieced Together #2

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