Sunday, January 7, 2018

Week at a Glance: 1/1/18 - 1/7/18





























Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Surrendering for Two(Soul Match #4) by Morticia Knight


Summary:
Strength is found when surrendering to destiny.

Graham has suffered so much at the hands of the Nall. Ever since he was enslaved after the invasion, he’s been raped and tortured by the Alasharian Supreme Commander and his cohorts. Condemned to die by hanging for his part in the human rebellion, Graham gives in to the inevitable, no longer caring if he lives or dies. But an unexpected event occurs and at the last moment, Graham is saved.

Balor is a guard to the Nall, but he’s also a part of the growing rebellion among the Alasharians. When one of the Nall’s advisors enlists his help in getting a human prisoner to safety, Balor comes to his aid. Startled by the soul match hum that sparks to life when he touches Graham, but unable to do anything about it, Balor is determined to protect his human match at all costs. When Advisor Oman arrives on the scene to rescue Balor as he helps Graham to escape, it becomes clear that yet another alien/human triad is forming—even if Graham may never accept being bonded to two aliens after the trauma he’s endured at the hands of Alasharians.

The time has come to depart to the secret military complex located in the Rocky Mountains where the human and Alasharian allies will stage their final assault against the Nall and the Void. Families are reunited and others torn apart as they prepare for battle. But the biggest question that remains is where Chris has gone. The allies fear what will become of them all if the special human Sha Sha Ar chose to lead them spiritually is no longer there to guide them.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of battle violence, and mentions of rape and torture.


Graham huddled with his dad and brother on the warm concrete surface of the desert park’s amphitheater. Their hands were bound in front of them with a thick, scratchy rope and a curtain separated them from the stage where whatever preparations were being made for the show that was about to take place. Show? Our execution. He pressed his lips together, stifling the cry that threatened to burst out. It amazed him how he could still be shocked or terrified by the actions of the sadistic monsters who had taken over Earth.

It’s better this way. Better that I die.

Ever since he’d been captured during the initial invasion, his existence had been nothing but a series of events that had kept him in a constant state of fear, had scarred his body or had fucked with his head. The aliens who had conquered their planet were too strong—they’d easily beaten down the Earth’s military forces in less than a month. What point was there in continuing as one of their sex slaves? And anyway, now that he’d been recaptured for being a part of the human rebellion, his sentence had been made clear.

Death by hanging.

He peered up at his brother, Paul. As he gazed into his petrified eyes, Graham wished he could have somehow saved him and their dad. They’d never given up on their resolve to take back the planet. By comparison, Graham was weak. Once he’d gotten away from the aliens the first time, he hadn’t wanted to fight anyone. He’d begged them to leave the city with him, to find somewhere in the wilderness where they could live in safety and peace. His father had taken him by the shoulders, had shaken him and destroyed what little hope he’d had left when he’d told him that such a thing wasn’t possible.

‘That’s where they captured so many of the others, in the foothills, far from anything. We barely escaped the round-ups there. We can’t hide anymore, not for good. We take back what is ours however we can, no matter the cost.’

Graham swallowed hard, his heartbeat picking up a quicker pace at the sounds of a crowd forming, the noise building on the other side of the divider as it became obvious that he and what remained of his family were drawing closer to the end. Graham sniffed, glancing at their surroundings. Three huge Alasharian guards watched over them as he, his brother and his father awaited their fate. The Nall—the Alasharian version of their king, as Graham had come to discover—was likely due to arrive at any moment. Why else would they have been removed from their cages and brought to the Palm Desert Civic Center Park, then had their clothing ripped from their bodies right before their wrists had been tied together?

Graham couldn’t hold back a sneer as he caught the eye of one of their guards. The alien’s large eyes darkened, narrowing in clear anger. He didn’t give a shit. Beaten to a pulp or strangled by a rope, it hardly made a difference. As he continued to stare down the guard, he noted that the sparkling, prismatic quality of the Alasharian’s eyes that he’d found fascinating when he’d first been captured had seemed to dull as time had gone on. At least for some of them. Strange.

Paul and his dad had managed to evade capture for a while and they’d never been used as sex slaves. Graham was glad that at least they’d been spared that humiliation. From what he’d been able to ascertain after his capture, his brother or father wouldn’t have met the criteria as an alien sex toy anyway. All the human men and women he’d seen at the cages, or after he’d been sent to the Nall’s residence, had been smaller and slender. The type of human sex slave they seemed to prefer ran contrary to the build of the large, muscular aliens.

Paul nudged Graham in the side with his elbow. Graham had sort of drifted in his mind. The horrors of what he’d been enduring over the past few weeks wouldn’t release their hellish grasp on his thoughts. He made himself focus on his brother, his eyebrows raised in question. They’d both been smacked across the face the last time they’d tried to speak to each other.

It was difficult to get into a comfortable—or even reasonably non-painful—position, so they’d been using each other as support. Graham laid his head on Paul’s shoulder, angling it to one side to be as close to his brother’s lips as possible. Paul’s breath blew past the shell of his ear as he whispered, “We need a diversion. Something to distract them so we can get away.”

Graham closed his eyes, sighing. His first instinct was to just shake his head then leave it at that. But he couldn’t. He’d seen the anguish in Paul’s expression, knew his brother wasn’t ready to die. He might have given up, but Paul hadn’t. He owed it to him to at least try.

Graham cleared his throat softly, turned his head more until his face was almost buried in the side of Paul’s neck. “How?”

Paul whispered again, “You’re the closest to the curtain. If we keep shifting like we’re adjusting our positions, but continue moving in that direction, once you get to the point where you can yank it down—”

“Quiet!”

Graham cried out in pain as a guard’s boot connected with his ribs. He instinctively curled into a ball to protect himself while Paul was backhanded by a different one. His dad yelled out for them to stop and Graham watched in horror as his father was punched so hard by the third Alasharian that blood gushed from his nose before he slumped onto his side.

“Dad!” Paul rose on his knees and was smacked again. He landed with a grunt on top of their father, and they both struggled together, raising their tied wrists in front of their faces to fend off more blows the best that they could.

“Halon!”

Graham gasped, rolling away from the tussle, shocked at the outburst from the female Alasharian who had rushed in waving her arms before shoving at the guards. Maybe she doesn’t want us too damaged for the show. He recognized her as one of the aliens who would show up at the Nall’s residence then disappear with him into another room with similarly-attired aliens. They would all wear the same bland, beige robes, a stark contrast against the Nall’s grander ones. Graham assumed she had to be part of their government in some capacity.

His move had caused him to become separated from his brother and dad so that the guards and the female alien stood between them as they argued over something he couldn’t understand. He found himself on the outer edge of the backstage area, with a grassy expanse of the park extending beyond the amphitheater toward the college. He gazed at it with longing, his heart beating high in his throat, the idea of freedom a tease that his mind had latched on to. Graham licked his lips then turned back to the confusion. Not without Paul and Dad.

The female rushed toward him and he cringed. One of the guards grabbed her shoulder right before she reached him and she whirled around, punching her fellow Alasharian hard in the face. The alien’s head snapped back and he flew into the two other guards, knocking them down. Paul cried out and Graham stretched his neck to see what had happened, but all that was visible was a confusing mass of alien and human bodies flailing on the ground.

Graham squeaked as the female yanked him up by his upper arm. She got right in his face, growling through clenched teeth.

“Run! Get out of here. Now!”

“Wha…?” He shook his head in confusion, his body shaking uncontrollably from the adrenaline coursing through his veins. “But…my brother, father…”

“I’ll get them, but you have to run right now. It will create more of a distraction if they go after you, but you have to go!”

She shoved him away from her right as another guard who had surged to his feet grabbed her in a chokehold. She jerked her head back, whacking him hard with her skull, and their grappling began anew. Graham stumbled down the two small steps, landing on his knees and sucking in a sharp breath from the sting of his flesh where it had been scraped away. The chaos of shouting and fighting echoed behind him, but he didn’t stop to look. Run. Now. A distraction.

Graham used his elbows and restrained hands to propel himself upward and scrambled to his feet, running as far and fast from the amphitheater as he could, not daring to glance over his shoulder. The stretch of grass behind the concrete structure was thankfully free of the Alasharian crowds. A line of bushes along the sidewalk next to a grouping of trees seemed as if it would be a great place to hide while he caught his breath and assessed who might be after him. I don’t want to lose Paul or Dad either. They’ll be coming this way any minute.

He dove into the cluster of trees, ignoring the scratchy hedges tearing at his skin while he squinted toward the direction he’d come from. It’s too dark. While there had been plenty of light near the large gathering, the rest of the vast area was only illuminated by the occasional streetlamp shining along the roads that wound between the college and park. He wiped at the sweat that ran in rivulets down his face using his forearms. Have to get this fucking rope off somehow.

Right as he began to ponder why the female alien would want to help them, he was grabbed from behind, a large hand covering his mouth before he’d even had the chance to scream. He was held tightly against the massive form of the alien who had captured him. He fought with all that was in him, kicking backwards, jabbing with his elbows as he tried to twist his body free.

“Hush! We don’t want them to catch us.”

Us?






Author Bio:
M/M Erotic Romance author Morticia Knight enjoys hot stories of men loving men forever after. They can be men in uniform, Doms and subs, rock stars or bikers - but they're all searching for the one (or two!) who was meant only for them.

When not indulging in her passion for books, she loves the outdoors, film and music. Once upon a time she was the singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She is currently working on more installments of Sin City Uniforms and The Hampton Road Club, as well as the follow-up to Bryan and Aubrey's story from Rockin' the Alternative.


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EMAIL: MorticiaKnight@gmail.com



Surrendering for Two #4

Series

Blog Tour: 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
Summary:
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?


Bennett Cole thought his friends were true and would have his back despite what the boy next door, Mac Campbell said.  He was wrong and Mac was right.  After a horrendous and bigotted attack, Bennet and his family leave their home in White Acre but ten years later he returns to fix up the family home so it can be sold.  He wasn't counting on the boy next door still living there and being the contractor his parents arranged to do the work he can't.  Will they still have the same contentious comradre they had as kids or will adulthood mature them into a new relationship?

I always love giving new authors a read, whether they're new to me or to the publishing world as Morningstar Ashley is, the adrenaline rush I get from wondering "will they be worth my time?" always spurs me on.   Well, I can safely say that Morningstar Ashley is definitely worth my time.  Authors are always learning and growing, frankly an author that doesn't think they have anything to learn is not an author I want to read, so when my first experience with one is as wonderful as Morningstar's A Different Light is I am on a natural high just waiting to see what future stories lurk in her imagination.  This is the author's second book and I have not read her first, Letting Go, but I will most certainly be going back and giving it a read in the weeks to come as I wait for her next one.

A Different Light is an emotional ride that will leave you breathless.  I really loved how Bennett is a Sheldon Cooper-like character that is slightly better at the social aspect of relationships/connections.  Having compared him to Sheldon, don't think that this is a straight up romantic comedy.  There is definitely some humorous moments, the camping trip from hell comes to mind.  A Different Light is a story about romance obviously but its also about friendship, overcoming past trauma and misunderstandings, going home, and second chances.  Mostly though it is about life. I certainly wanted to whack the two men upside the heads at times but I also wanted to bundle them up in bubblewrap that I had left over from Christmas deliveries.  Morningstar Ashley writes her characters in a way that will confound you and leave you screaming "UGH!!!!" at their stubbornness but also leaving you sighing "AWWWWW" with all the heart she's put into their journey.

A brilliant must read that I know will be on my re-read list for years to come. 

RATING: 


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.”

What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre?
My biggest influence is absolutely reading. When you read such powerful stories, in this genre, that stay with you by some amazing authors it’s hard to think of writing anything else. It’s almost as the story finds you and will not let go until you write it and even then, it’s still lingers. 

When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process (outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
I would have to say outline and plotting. It’s such a creative part of the process. It allows you to figure out the characters, their personality, and their back story which also leads to their motivations. Then ultimately plotting their story which is as much creative as it is a challenge. The challenge is never easy but sometimes it just takes turning off what you think and listening to what the characters think. 

Also, for me, it’s like getting to know a new friend. Just happens to be one I get to give a happy ever after to. 

When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
The genre would be the one I write in. Gay romance is one that we get to see a level of emotion, even in the most fun and happy stories, that after a lifetime of reading I never felt and experienced before. The connection between two men or even two women is an amazing journey. I think this genre reminds people that men are just like any other person. They cry and fall in love, get angry and hurt, laugh and lose the same way the rest of us do. Add to that the numerous sub-genres like sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal and I’m hooked! 

If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
Oh my, you ask the hard questions! For me it would have to be someone I know, that’s who I would have to go with. Being creative in this way is opening up a part of who you are to someone else so to share that experience with someone else they would have to be a friend. 

Have you always wanted to write, or did it come to you "later in life"?
I‘ve always had the desire. I used to write short stories when I was much younger that never went anywhere. Part of my issue was not believing in myself and my ability, so years went by and I stopped trying, and I stopped believing that I could. So, I read. A lot LOL. And then I started to review and each review I got better at expressing my feelings about a book, which actually changed how I read books, and then it gave me more confidence writing my college term papers. Until finally a friend or three pushed and said you gotta do it. Write the story and get it on paper. It took eight months to write the first one but even as hard as it was I loved it. A Different Light was much easier and more fun to write because I stressed less about things then I did the first time around. I hope it gets easier like that each time I do it. 

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.


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Release Blitz: Lost in Time by AL Lester

Title: Lost in Time
Author: AL Lester
Genre: M/M Romance, Historical, Time Travel
Release Date: January 6, 2018
Publisher: JMS Books
Summary:
Lew’s life is pleasantly boring until his friend Mira messes with magic she doesn't understand. While searching for her, he is pulled back in time to 1919 by a catastrophic magical accident. As he tries to navigate a strange time and find his friend in the smoky music clubs of Soho, the last thing he needs is Detective Alec Carter suspecting him of murder.

London in 1919 is cold, wet, and tired from four years of war. Alec is back in the Metropolitan Police after slogging out his army service on the Western Front. Falling for a suspect in a gruesome murder case is not on his agenda, however attractive he finds the other man.

They are both floundering and out of their depth, struggling to come to terms with feelings they didn’t ask for and didn’t expect. Both have secrets that could get them arrested or killed. In the middle of a murder investigation that involves wild magic, mysterious creatures, and illegal sexual desire, who is safe to trust?


The Gate
Summary:
It's 1918, and Matty returns home to the family farm from the trenches only to find his brother Arthur dying of an unknown illness. The local doctor thinks it might be cancer, but Matty becomes convinced it's connected to the mysterious books his brother has left strewn around the house.

Matty confides his suspicions in his friend Rob, a hired hand on the farm and potential lover. Rob has found something that looks like a gate of some kind, something Arthur referenced in his papers which may rest at the heart of his illness. But a gate to where?

This short story introduces the world and characters in A.L. Lester's novel, Lost in Time.


A. L. LesterAuthor Bio:
A. L. Lester likes to read. Her favorite books are post-apocalyptic dystopian romances full of suspense, but a cornflake packet will do there's nothing else available. The gender of the characters she likes to read (and write) is pretty irrelevant so long as they are strong, interesting people on a journey of some kind.

She has a chaotic family life and small children, and she has become the person in the village who looks after the random animals people find in the road. She is interested in permaculture gardening and anything to do with books, reading, technology and history. She lives in a small village in rural Somerset and is seriously allergic to both rabbits and Minecraft.


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Lost in Time

The Gate
💫👍Free short story👍💫




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