Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday Morning's Menu: Candy Canes and Cappuccinos by Elizabeth Coldwell

Candy Canes and Cappuccinos
Kyle is struggling to run his coffee shop on his own after his partner walked out on him. He has his eye on Steven, who comes into the shop each day, but hasn’t worked up the nerve to express his interest. When Steven asks Kyle to help out with Christmas lunch at the homeless shelter where he works, Kyle is too exhausted to agree. He donates his tips but still feels he’s blown his chances with Steven and made himself look like a selfish jerk.

On Christmas Day, Kyle sees a way to make amends—to both Steven and the needy people depending on his kindness. It’s the right thing to do, and Kyle hopes he can clear up the misunderstanding and show Steven the type of man he really is. Maybe then they can consider some dessert when the lunch at the shelter is over….

Part of Dreamspinner's 2017 Advent Calendar Daily - Stocking Stuffers

Kyle's been working himself ragged trying to run his coffee shop by himself after his partner took off.  He may have his hands too full to do anything extra but that doesn't stop him from wanting to get to know one of his patrons better.  When the opportunity to do so occurs, Kyle finds he's just too tired to help and when he watches Steven walk out the door he's left feeling selfish.  However, fate has other plans but will it be enough for Kyle to reach out and make amends?

Candy Canes and Cappuccinos is a delightful little holiday novella/short story.  Its easy to understand Kyle's conflicted feelings of exhaustion and selfishness, lets face it we've all had that moment when the clock/calendar just doesn't let us help the way we really want to.  We also know that as this is fictional holiday tale and fate always has a way of making things right so its no real mystery that Kyle will be able to help in an even bigger and most welcome way.  Could Candy Canes and Cappuccinos been better with more pages?  Perhaps knowing what awaited Kyle and Steven after the holiday season would make it more HEA but sometimes we don't need tons of words to get the message out, especially when Christmastime is involved.  If you are looking for a fun holiday ditty that will make you smile, than Candy Canes is definitely one for your list.


FAIRY LIGHTS twinkled in the windows of the coffee shop, their colors warm and inviting. Seasonal music played from hidden loudspeakers high in the walls, a familiar, jolly tune loaded with tinkling sleigh bells. The aroma of freshly ground arabica beans mingled with a blend of warming spices—cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. From behind the counter, I was unable to spot a free seat in the place, and couldn’t resist a little smile of satisfaction.

When Peter had told me he was leaving, walking away from the life and the business we’d been building together to move in with Dale, I’m sure he’d expected me to crumble, confident I couldn’t make a go of things without him. And sure, for the first couple of weeks, I’d wanted nothing more than to curl into a ball and hide until the pain of his betrayal went away, but after that I’d vowed to prove him wrong. He might have been the financial brain behind Cool Beans while I’d been the friendly face who took customer orders and baked all the cakes and cookies we sold, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t do the things he’d done.

It had been a sharp learning curve for me, discovering how to balance the books and deal with suppliers. And Peter could have made things much more difficult. I’d been afraid he would demand I buy out his half of the business, knowing full well I didn’t have anywhere near that kind of money and might be forced to sell the coffee shop to pay him off. But cash wasn’t an issue for him now he’d moved out of our snug little apartment in Hartsvale to go live with Dale in his swanky condo in the mountains. Dale, who ran a private dental practice and earned a six-figure salary for whitening teeth and fitting braces. Dale, who I’d come to regard as one of my closest friends, never knowing until way too late that all the while he and Peter were fucking behind my back.

Doing my best to push the hurt to one side, I’d worked hard on making Cool Beans a success: a spot where folks wanted to hang out with their friends or grab a coffee on the way to work. The growing number of regular customers seemed to indicate I was doing something right, and now, with Christmas only a couple of days away, I felt as if I’d finally begun to get my life back on track.

Then Peter walked through the door.

Author Bio: 
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…



Release Day Blitz: A Different Light by Morningstar Ashley

Title: A Different Light
Author: Morningstar Ashley
Series: Begin Again #1
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: December 17, 2017
Cover Design: Kelley York at X-Potion Design
Photographer: David Velez Fotografia 
Model: João Pombeiro
Bennett Cole had lived next door to Mitchell “Mac” Campbell, III for eighteen years of his life, in the small town of White Acre. They’d never gotten along, never seen eye to eye, and never understood one another…not that they’d ever cared to try.

But when Bennett’s so-called buddies ditched him at a party in the woods where he was assaulted and left for dead, Bennett pulled through. The emotional scars rendered him too terrified to go back to school and face his “friends” or his attackers. With little choice, his family packed up and left town.

Ten years later—at the request of his mother—Bennett returned to the place he’d grown up and the home he’d once felt safe, to oversee the repairs before his childhood house was sold. The contractor? None other than Mac, the once annoying boy next door, who still lives there in the home his parents gifted him.

Being in such close proximity—working together every day, to repair the Coles’ family home—Bennett and Mac’s contentious relationship goes from bad to worse as their personalities continue to clash. But their heated exchanges may not be as antagonistic as they seem. And when new information is revealed, can the men begin to see each other in a different light?

Mac was so close he lost his train of thought. So close that Bennett could reach out and grab what he wanted all week, but he was so weak with want, he couldn’t get his mind to cooperate to move his limbs.

“You don’t want a reward for your hard work?”

Mac’s hand came up as if in slow motion. At first, it was just his fingertips, gliding against Bennett’s waist. A shiver rushed through him. Then Mac’s palm touched, warming, moving around his side until it settled at the small of Bennett’s back. Mac slowly pulled him to his chest. He could feel Mac’s heat seep through his own shirt. “There’s nothing you can think of that you’d want?”

Bennett’s breathing picked up. His mind raced. His balls tingled and tightened. He knew Mac had to see the pleading and want through his eyes. Bennett couldn’t hide it, not then, not so close to Mac, feeling his body against his and his breath wisp across his lips as they stared into each other's eyes. It felt big, like Mac wasn’t just staring into his eyes but into him, searching for something.

Then Mac was closer, so close he could feel the words against his lips. “Because I think you deserve a kiss for being such a good boy. You want that kiss, Princess?”

All Bennett could do is close his eyes and nod. Speaking was beyond his abilities at that point. When did Mac become so sensual, so full of sex, and radiate desire so easily? Bennett loved sex, the tease, the lead up to the physical explosion of pleasure. But Mac brought it to a whole other level. Using words and small innocent touches, turning it dirty and provocative.

“B, open your eyes.”

Bennett listened. As hard as it was to not just stay floating in the place of just feeling, he opened his eyes. What he saw made him moan. The want, the need in Mac’s eyes matched what Bennett felt coursing through his own body. He couldn’t think of anything else, because as lost as he was in the sensations Mac had him feeling with his eyes closed, he was just as lost in the heat that poured off the man now.

“What did you think would happen, B? Coming out here all flustered and angry with just a t-shirt and those cute boxers on?”

At first, Bennett had no idea what he was talking about, but then he remembered. He slept in his ‘Particle Physics Gives me a Hadron’ boxers and had been so lost in his anger that he’d never put on pants.

He swallowed, trying to loosen his tight throat so he could speak, but Mac leaned in, lips touching Bennett’s ear, and the only thing that came out was a whimper. He never whimpered. Fuck.

“Nothing turns me on more than you in full on Princess mode with your geek on full display.” And to prove that, Mac pulled them tighter together with the hand that still sat in the small of his back. Bennett could feel Mac’s hard length pressed against his. The barrier of the worn jeans that Mac had on and Bennett’s boxers was like paper between them.

“I’ve been good this week too. Not kissing your sweet lips, not touching your body, not taking you against any and all surfaces when you were so goddamn sexy with the paint splattered all over you and your shirt sticking to your body, soaked from your sweat. So, maybe I deserve a reward too.”

“Oh, god, yes.”

Mac pulled his face back just enough so that Bennett could look into his eyes again. He had that cocky grin playing at his lips but this time it didn’t annoy Bennett, it lit him on fire.

Mac’s eyes dropped and stared at his lips, making his nerves come alive. He licked his lips and Mac moaned. That sound. God, that sound went straight to the center of all that swirled around them.

Bennett remembered his moans from that blowjob, the sound doing just as much that night as seeing Mac on his knees soft lips wrapped around Bennett’s cock. And hearing it again brought those memories flashing through his mind taking an already heated moment and making it hotter and more.

“Please.” He didn’t know what else to say. It’d felt like they’d stood there frozen forever. Simple touches doing more than any amount of foreplay Bennett had ever experienced.

“I like when you beg me, B.”

Author Bio:
Morningstar Ashley is a transplant from the Yankee-controlled territory of New York, and now finds herself in the heartland of cowboys and longhorns—Texas. Armed with her imagination, wit, and trusty sidekicks in the form of her two crazy kids, devoted dorky husband, big lap dog, and rambunctious cats, Morningstar spends her time reading the books she loves, crafting her own characters, and arguing the merits of hot chocolate over the bitter brew known as coffee (Hot chocolate wins, FYI.).

Morningstar loves graphic design, so much so she returned to school for a degree and regularly tromps her exams and maintains a stellar GPA that occasionally leaves her confounded and pleased. She can while away the hours on new designs, and perfection isn’t too much to hope for when it comes to her art.

Her ideal career would be full-time artist and author, and so far, she hasn’t come up against anything to stop her on her journey. A fierce and devoted friend, Morningstar tries her best to always be kind, always be learning, and always improving. Giving up isn’t an option, and her greatest talent may be in her ability to convince others not to give up, either. After a lifetime of trying to get people to realize her first name wasn’t Ashley, Morningstar decided the best way to settle the debate was to put her name on a book cover. An avid reader and fiction reviewer for the blog and site Diverse Reader, Morningstar harbored a dream to one day join the ranks of her heroes, and she sweeps into the contemporary gay romance genre with her debut novel, LETTING GO. With plans to conquer gay, lesbian and LGBTQA+ romance, Morningstar has her gaze set on the horizon, her determination her own guiding star.