Monday, October 2, 2017

Monday Morning's Menu: Working Stiffs & My Boyfriend's Back by Elliot Cooper

Working Stiffs
Dennis’s manager has either set him up for failure or a chance to become lunch for the first zombie in the office. But as the days creep by, he finds sharing a cubicle with the undead isn’t what he expects.

My Boyfriend's Back
After losing both of his parents, Academy of Magecraft student Steven Durant doesn't want to see anyone else lose a loved one before their time. Traditional resurrection methods, however, only create mindless, flesh-hungry zombies; they're no cure for death. He's certain his unique brand of necromancy—using alchemy and blood magic—is the only answer.

When his boyfriend, Dax Everhart, has a fatal accident, Steven sees no choice but to use his experimental Lazarus Elixir. Dax comes back wrong, but the more humans he consumes, the more human he becomes.

With the help of his best friends, his ghostly aunt, and her living doll homunculus, Steven fights to regain normalcy and repair his shattered relationship with Dax. But with Dax openly embracing his monstrous nature, Steven shoulders the guilt of assisting in a murder spree that could lead the mundane and magical police right to their door.

Working Stiffs
What a brilliant short story!  This is not a romance but I do think it falls under the category of budding friendship.  Since it's a short story I won't say much but it had me hooked from beginning to end.  Sometimes things just have a way of working out in ways no one could ever imagine.

My Boyfriend's Back
My mother has always loved zombie films while I am not, so you can imagine I grew up watching them anyway.  Now I do enjoy Shawn of the Dead and The Walking Dead(although if I miss an episode its not a loss) but beyond that, not so much.  I mention this because I couldn't help but be reminded of my love for uniqueness of Shawn of the Dead while reading My Boyfriend's Back.  Yes, Steven has turned his boyfriend into the undead when he falls and breaks his neck but Dax doesn't exactly return the way he expected.  Ensue the madness.๐Ÿ˜‰

Elliot Cooper has brought just the right amount of humor to this paranormal party to make it stand out.  Now as a not-so-much fan of zombies, I can't really compare it to other books of any sub-genre that features the flesh-eating walking dead but as a book by itself, I loved the humor, the ghost, the "normality" of the paranormal world, but mostly I loved the friendships between the different characters.  Dax can't deny his new nature, Steve can't help the warring within himself between wanting his boyfriend back and the consequences in the task, Catrina the ancestral ghost, Hattie the homunculus, Ams & Murphy the supporting mage BFFs, they all come together to create a very interesting world that hooked me way more than I expected it ever could.  Who knew zombies could be so endearing?


My Boyfriend's Back by Elliot Cooper
Catrina skipped through the garden, her bangs fluttering below the neat braid pinned across the top of her head. Her hair was darker than the rest of her unearthly blue-green form, the yard partially visible through her translucent skin and clothes. She flopped down on the ground in a way that made her appear to have mass and then poked at the fetid opossum corpse until she managed to flip it to its belly.

“Told you so,” she said matter-of-factly. “You didn’t use enough.”

Steven ignored her and kept digging. She didn’t have any idea what she was talking about. Catrina had admitted to him multiple times that she’d never dabbled in necromancy in life; she’d been too young to get much further than simple charms and potions. Back in her day, they hadn’t even had the local campus of the Academy of Magecraft, which meant she’d been homeschooled by his great-great-grandmother.

“Did you run it over yourself?”

Steven huffed in annoyance and jammed his shovel into the earth. He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose with one gloved hand and glared at the little ghost.

“No. I found it. I’m a necromancer, not a murderer.” He looked down into the hole he’d made, judged it to be deep enough for the poor animal, and then gently lowered the opossum body into the ground.

The potion hadn’t been potent enough, which wasn’t entirely his fault. Several of the ingredients were out of season and expensive. His little herb garden was already done for the year with the cooler fall weather turning the trees in his yard gold and umber. Steven didn’t like to waste any of his potion supplies and didn’t think it was a fault to be conservative with his elixirs.

Only maybe he’d been overly cautious. Maybe he needed to take a cue from his boyfriend, Dax, and get overzealous with his potion making and application rituals.

Steven’s mouth screwed into a sour frown at the thought as he shoveled the pile of dirt back into the hole.

“Is it really smelly?” Catrina peered up at Steven from her seat on the grass. She plucked at the hem of her dress and pulled it down over her knees.

“It’s not too bad.” Steven shrugged one shoulder as he tamped down the loose dirt with the flat side of the shovel. “I can’t even smell it now.”

“So that’s your ‘I just thought of something that offends my Stevie senses’ face.” Catrina pursed her lips at him and then skipped off toward the house.

“Don’t call me that!” Steven called after her. Catrina was the only one who called him that, and she’d done so since he was little enough to want to play games with her. But he’d outgrown the nickname a long time ago. It was a child’s name, not the name of a future world-renowned mage.

He heard Dax’s car pull into the driveway as he put the shovel and gloves back in the shed with the rest of his gardening equipment. At least Dax wouldn’t get all holier than thou about his failed attempt to raise roadkill from the dead. Again.

“Hey, babe!” Dax called to Steven as he walked around to the front of the house. “You wanna help me with these groceries? I got you a little something special.” He waggled his dark brows and grinned but then noticed his jovial expression wasn’t catching. “Everything all right?”

“Opossum number three was not, in fact, the charm,” Steven said with a shake of his head. He let out a sigh and sidestepped Dax to reach into the car for the bags.

Author Bio:
Elliot Cooper is a creativity addict who prefers writing stories that embody adventure, a hint of the taboo, and shadows that are deeper than they appear at first glance. All the better if romantic or erotic elements are key.

Elliot also enjoys video games and knitting, and lives in the southern US with his human and feline family.


Working Stiffs

My Boyfriend's Back

Release Tour: All I Want for Halloween by Marie Harte

Title: All I want for Halloween
Author: Marie Harte
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Tonight, she plans to let go.

Dressed up and anonymous, Sadie Liberato feels powerful, sexy and free. Where better to lose herself than a masked party?

Gear Blackstone's cheating ex and scheming best friend have managed to spin his life into a serious downward spiral. At least with a mask on he can cut loose for one night. And cut loose he does―with the sexiest, snarkiest chick he's ever met.

After a scorching-hot encounter, Sadie and Gear are desperate to find each other in real life. But can the heat last when the masks come off?

“Harte pens a sizzlingly sexy romance that is both playful and meaningful, exploring real and metaphorical masks, perception, and reality.” KIRKUS

She nodded. “Totally weird.” She poured them both some cider, than added the molasses and cream cupcakes she’d brought home for him. Working at Sofa’s was both good and bad. Good, because she got to take home a lot of their creations, sampling new ideas to see what worked and didn’t. Bad, because if she didn’t constantly work out, she’d weigh a bazillion pounds.

Not that Sadie cared so much about her looks, but twenty pounds over her fighting weight turned her into a slug and made it difficult to sleep. And Sadie prized her ability to sleep anywhere, in any condition.

She led Gear to sit with her at her dining table just off the kitchen. “So give me the details.”

He sat without protest and sipped from his mug. “That is damn good. Tell Elliot he’s a master.”

“He knows he’s good. Adding to his colossal ego gives me nothing but headaches when he starts bragging.” She nudged him to eat a cupcake. “Tell me if you like it.”

“What’s in it?”

“Imagine a soft Mary Jane rolled around cream and touched with caramel.”

He nodded, looking hungrily at the treat. “So like Bit-O-Honey and a Cow Tales?

“No. I said Mary Jane.” She looked down her nose at him. “Quit acting like you know your Halloween candy to impress me and take a bite.”

He did and moaned, and his food-gasm was as sexy as Gear wearing no shirt. Yum.

“Can I have yours too?” he asked as he licked his fingers.

She blinked. “Did you even chew? It’s like watching a dog gobble down a treat.”


She slid the cupcake his way and watched him down it with pleasure. Sadie had always liked watching people eat her creations, but seeing Gear enjoy them made it even more satisfying.

“Last bite’s for you.” He held out a small piece. “And trust me, I’m not really wanting to share. Hurry before I change my mind.”

She ate it off his fingers, licking one clean of the creamy frosting.

His gaze darkened, but he merely wiped his hands on a napkin.

“It’s good,” she agreed.

“It’s delicious. But you need better decorations. That’s too plain to add to Sofa’s Halloween treats.”

“I’m going to make spiders out of them. Or big ghosts with lots of cream cheese frosting.”


She sat sipping her cider, waiting for Gear to talk. They watched each other in silence, each starting to smile more, until they both started laughing.

“I like our staring contests,” he teased. “But I won that one.”

“Like hell you did.”

“You blinked.”

“I did not.”

“Yep, you did.”

“So is this your way of avoiding talking about the fight?”

He groaned. “No. But it’s more fun staring at your face then taking a fist to mine.”

“Man. Who’d you let hit you?”

He laughed. “I totally did. I took a page from your book. If it was self-defense, they can’t come after me later. Except it turned into an all-comers brawl. I went to pick up the box Smoke told me about. I had a few things left I wanted. A cup Iris gave me, some papers of my brother’s he wanted back. Nothing major. Stuff I could have let go, to be honest.”

“But you wanted to see the shop,” she said for him.

He nodded, his look one of grim satisfaction. “It looks terrible. All the girlie posters are down. They have Honda posters up. That’s sell-out material right there.”

Author Bio:
Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. 

She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. 



Brought to you by:

Promo Tour: 29 - The Series by Nancy Pennick

Titles: 29, 29², 29°, & 29∞
Author: Nancy Pennick
Series: 29 #1-4
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Release Dates: 29 - November 3, 2015
29² - June 7, 2016
29° - November 22, 2016
29∞ - September 19, 2017

29 (Twenty-Nine) #1
Allie Sanders thinks life in a small town can’t get any more dull and boring. She plans to escape after graduation. After a bad break-up, she wants to sail through junior year without distraction. Then the mysterious loner sits down in front of her in AP English. He’s the guy she noticed last year desperately trying to stay invisible. She wants to know his secrets. Suddenly her much older military brother, Doug, makes a rare appearance. He takes a special interest in her life. Suspicious of his motives Allie holds back, never really trusting him. Doug wants what she wants—the boy she has come to love. No way would she let that happen. She’d go against family and friends to protect him—and his secrets—even if it ends up breaking her heart.

29² (Twenty-Nine Squared) #2
Nineteen-year-old Allie Sanders is a student at UCLA. She’s done everything she can to forget Lucas Montgomery and move on with her life. Her goal is to graduate early and live far from home, a place that holds painful memories.

Fate intervenes and her structured life topples. Lucas returns, or was he ever really gone? Her brother Doug still hunts them, and he’s become darker and more sinister than before.

Sometimes a girl has to resort to drastic measures to protect those she loves, and Allie feels forced to make a choice … one she hopes she won’t regret.

29° (Twenty-Nine Degrees) #3
After a wonderful celebration in Hawaii, Allie returns to the Niner community in Montana and learns her brother Doug plans to run for a seat in the U.S. Congress. As he is already head of the private security team, the STF, Allie is unsure of his motive, but is determined he must be stopped. She plans to go back to Virginia to sabotage the campaign, no matter the reason he’s running for office. This is just the beginning of another battle between brother and sister, but by the time this ends, it will affect more than just the Niners and Allie. It may change the world.

29∞ (Twenty-Nine Forever) #4
Allie has done all she can to protect her family and the Niner community from her brother, but it never seems like enough. Her brother’s dream of creating a new America happened at lightning speed. Doug Sanders, now President of New America, took the country and his sister by surprise. That won’t stop Allie from sabotaging his strategy of expose, divide and conquer. She plans to defeat her brother regardless of the odds against her. Who will be the winner in their greatest battle yet?

29 (Twenty-Nine) #1
Our hands touched briefly and a tingle traveled up my arm and back down my spine. He quickly pulled away, handed me the folder and continued to pick up the rest of the mess. I didn’t know if I should say sorry or thank you because I couldn’t take my eyes off his gorgeous face.

As he placed the pile on my desk he looked directly at me, straight through to my soul. “You’re welcome.” His dark hair hung over his eyes and those chocolate orbs burned right through me. A slight smile crossed his face. Then it was over, and he turned back in his seat, pouring over that important book.

I brought my hand to my chest, the one he touched. It still tingled. Funny, I never felt that way with Josh. I never experienced anything when we held hands. Josh may have been a teenage crush but this felt like something more—more like danger and romance could be right around the corner.

I blinked and noticed my schedule still lay on the floor close to Heathcliff’s desk. I debated if I needed it, but didn’t want it in someone else’s hands. I leaned to the side and tried to extend my leg out into the aisle to pull the paper toward me. The schedule lay just beyond my reach. I slipped from my seat into a squatting position, praying no one watched. How embarrassing if anyone saw me. Super powers would be really great right now. Wishing for invisibility, I wiggled a few inches forward and picked up the paper.

As I scooted forward, I couldn’t help notice Loner’s sandals. I had the sudden urge to tell him he had good fashion sense. I caught my breath as I spotted something on the arch of his right foot. I couldn’t make out the whole thing. Part of the foot was covered by the sandal strap. Pen marks? Letters? A tattoo? My blood ran cold. I began to feel dizzy and steadied myself on my desk. I saw something I wished I hadn’t. Loner had a tattoo on the arch of his foot. I couldn’t make out the whole thing but what I saw was enough to send a chill down my spine—I-X.

29² (Twenty-Nine Squared) #2
“Will!” I acted more shocked than I should.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you. I know you have to work but wanted to stop by and see you.” He kissed the tip of my nose. “I’m not staying, you like your space and all.”

“Are you going to be around later?” I reached for his hand. “I have a break at three. We can do lunch.”

“You probably haven’t eaten anything. Can you wait till then?”

I pulled a breakfast bar from my bag. “I’ll be fine.”

Will ran his hand through my hair. “I want you to take care of yourself, Allie. Sometimes I feel like you’re going through the motions just to get through life.”

That was profound. I needed to start seeing Will for who he was, not as a distraction. He leaned in to kiss me. I backed away, the Lucas sighting still fresh in my mind. “I’ve got to get going.”

Guilt spread through me when I saw the expression on his face. I cleared my throat and shifted my bag to the other shoulder. “I’ll see you,” I said as I continued on to the library’s main desk. “Three o’clock, our usual place.” I called.

I shelved books and helped people find the section or book they needed during my shift, but my mind kept drifting elsewhere. I saw a place of hope and love and even a future. I wanted to slam the door shut on it and get back to the robotic existence I lived for almost two years. Life would be much easier. I hurt no one, and no one hurt me. But Will managed to push through that door.

Suddenly, a feeling of nausea swept over me. My legs trembled as I steadied myself against a bookshelf. I didn’t know if I could do this. I wanted to put the brakes on this new relationship, all because of Lucas—the man I could never have or see again. Darn! Why did I think I saw him at Nate’s, then here? Did I want him to secretly follow me?

29° (Twenty-Nine Degrees) #3
Nate and Lucas stood in front with the minister. They both looked so handsome in their white linen shirts and khaki pants, but in contrasting ways. Lucas’ dark, good looks caught my eye but I was sure Ashley only noticed Nate’s reddish-blonde hair giving off a golden cast in the setting sun. His tall, lean body had a relaxed stance, not a sign of nervousness. Ashley let out a breath of air, and I smiled knowingly.

Staff members inconspicuously moved around the venue to make sure everything ran smoothly. When they spotted us, soft strands of Hawaiian Wedding Song began to play. On cue, Mr. Donovan rose from his seat and met us under the floral arch. He nodded at me as he slipped by to get in place next to his daughter. “It’s a wonderful day,” he whispered.

I fought back the feeling of dread that I took everywhere these days. Wonderful day? Would I truly ever have one again? My eyes searched the grounds for Doug. He’d always be with me, no matter where I went or what I did. I’d come to terms with that. But for today, I had to set that aside.

I placed my foot on the white runner and locked eyes with Lucas. A smile crept across his face. I felt like we were the only two people on the beach. Tears filled my eyes as I replayed our history in my head. Nate and Ashley had been a part of it all. We were a team, and nothing, or no one, would break us apart again.

29∞ (Twenty-Nine Forever) #4
Parker waited at the door and stepped through when he saw me. “Come on.” He gestured for me to follow.

Once outside, we hugged for what seemed like forever. “I thought I’d never see you again!” I cried.

“And I thought the same!” Parker lifted his glasses and wiped his eyes on his sleeve. The heat was oppressive, and it made a person begin to sweat within seconds. “You didn’t get breakfast, did you? Although you were never fond of it, if I remember correctly. I know a great place to get coffee.”

As we walked along, I caught Parker up on my life. He seemed to know more about me than he let on. Maybe he’d become close with Carol. I tilted my head. “What’s going on?”

“Well,” he whispered. “Greg isn’t really sick. I called him in sick and volunteered to take his place. I needed to talk to you.”

Shocked or surprised, I couldn’t figure out which I felt. Dear, sweet Parker had to see me? “About?”

“The Underground.”

“Where the subways are?” I wrinkled my brow.

“No, silly, the movement,” he whispered. “Will assured me he’d told you about it.”

“No-o-o.” I shook my head. My mind flashed back to yesterday. I’d slipped unseen out of Doug’s SUV and into the art museum. Carol had whisked me to her office to clean up and change clothes. Will, my old college boyfriend, who was now living in New York working as a model and Carol’s new guy, was also there. He had mentioned some people didn’t believe in Doug and weren’t going to blindly follow him just because he said there was a threat, but had said nothing about an Underground.

Parker glanced at me. “Are you sure?”

“He said something like, ‘There are a lot of us who don’t agree with being herded into big cities for our safety.’ And he made air quotes when he said safety, like he didn’t believe in the threat.”

“Well, there you go.” Parker threw out his hands. “He was practically telling you he was in charge of the movement.”

“What?” I came to a dead stop. “There’s a movement, and Will’s in charge of it? Why am I just finding out about it?”

“We had to see where your loyalties lie, Allie. Remember the Art Gala? Carol was given the task.”

My whole world spun around me. From the outside looking in, I was Doug’s sister. Why wouldn’t I be loyal to him?

Nancy Pennick Author Bio:
After a great career in teaching, Nancy found a second calling as a writer. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, she currently resides in Mentor, OH. Ohio is her home, but she loves to travel the U.S. Now Scotland is on her bucket list as a place she’d like to visit. Nancy is married and has one son.


29 (Twenty-Nine) #1

29² (Twenty-Nine Squared) #2

29° (Twenty-Nine Degrees) #3

29∞ (Twenty-Nine Forever) #4

Brought to you by: