Sunday, February 3, 2019

Week at a Glance: 1/28/19 - 2/3/19

Sunday's Short Stack: Gay Noir by Olivier Bosman

Inspired by the pulp fiction novels of the 1940's and 50's, the novellas in this anthology emulate the dark, thrilling, sensational and taboo breaking stories of the post war era and gives them a gay twist.

The Honeytrap
1950’s London. Felix Stone is an openly gay P.I. He is approached by a mysterious woman who pays him to shadow her husband. What at first seems to be a run of the mill adultery case, soon turns out to be much more serious. When the people involved in the case suddenly start dying around him, Felix finds himself embroiled in the world of cold war espionage and his own life is put in danger.

The Deluded
1949. The East End of London is still recovering from the blitz. Fitzgerald O’Sullivan is a young man with romantic notions of living like an impoverished writer. In an attempt to escape his past, he abandons his life of privilege and rents a room in the East End. There he meets Roy Parker, a chirpy Cockney with a working-class charm. Roy asks Fitz to write a story about how he saved the lives of two Jewish ladies during the war. What follows is a far-fetched tale filled with lies and exaggerations. This is is a noir thriller where nothing is what it seems. A dark tale of love, bitterness and vengeance set in the chaotic aftermath of the Second World War

1950´s L.A. Sixteen year old Henry Blomqvist is the son of an aspiring actress and stepson of a millionaire businessman. He is an embarrasement to his parents, a useless layabout who is constantly getting arrested for cruising the parks. But his vices pale in comparison with the dark secrets in his parents´ lives. The kidnapping of Henry´s stepfather triggers a series of events which expose the skeletons in his parents´ closets and which finally give Henry the chance to step up to the mark and show what he´s really made of.

This collection of three novellas is brilliant!  Do they stack up or as good as the author's DS Billings Victorian Mysteries series? No but they are still incredibly entertaining and deserving of the "noir" in the book title Gay Noir.  There isn't really much I feel willing to divulge in the way of plot for any of the trio of mysteries however they all kept me in a desperate page-turning need.

I have to say that I found The Honeytrap to me favorite, followed by Estranged and then The Deluded.  Don't get me wrong, just because I placed Deluded last don't think it wasn't good because it was but I will say it took me a few pages to get into the story.  Deluded is told with flashbacks which not every author is able to pull off but Olivier Bosman has, it just took a little bit to get into the feel of the story but once I did I was definitely eager to discover the whos, whats, and whys.

As I said above, all three mysteries definitely fit the noir genre which alone makes this an entertaining collection to lose yourself in but there is more to each one that really kept me on the edge of my seat.  Most people who think of "noir" picture Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe, at least I know I do, but there is so much more to the genre.  I can't say I picture any of the characters being Bogey I loved that there was a certain something that made each story's characters their own and not just the typical garden variety cookie cutter detective who blurs the line of right and wrong to get the case solved.  Now that's not to say they are squeaky clean and won't cross that line but Olivier Bosman doesn't just follow a noir recipe to tell these stories.

Gay Noir is a win-win from beginning to end that left me wanting more.


The Honey Trap
Six hours had passed since I crept onto the sofa in my office to get some sleep. I’d been awake for five of them. I kept trying to think of the name of the man who was snoring beside me. Was it Jim? Or Jack? Or Jeffrey? Anyway, it started with a J, I knew that much. Where had I got him from? Was it from the Apollonia? Or the Bird Cage? Or had I picked him up off the street?

The lock of the office door turned. It was Joanie. Punctual as ever, come to open up. I should’ve jumped up and rushed towards her. Detained her for a few minutes with stories of my wild, debauched night. Given ‘J’ the chance to get dressed and make himself decent before Joanie came barging in. But I was still groggy from last night and I couldn’t be arsed.

The door to the office swung open and Joanie came marching in. Oblivious to my presence, she walked towards the blinds – in that brisk and efficient manner of hers – and opened them up. A horrible flood of light rushed into the dusty office and finally woke ‘J.’ He popped his sleepy head above the bed sheets and squinted and rubbed his eyes.

“Morning,” I said, addressing both him and Joanie.

They turned to look at me, surprised and confused. I could understand Joanie’s confusion – after all, it’s not every day that a secretary walks into the office and finds her boss naked on the sofa with another man, but what was ‘J’ so confused about?

Joanie put her hands to her mouth and shrieked with embarrassment. ‘J’ pulled the sheet over his head and curled himself into a ball.

“Oh my God, Felix,” Joanie said, shaking her head and frowning. “You might have warned me you had company!”

“I was sleeping,” I lied.

She looked down at ‘J’, who was still cowering under the sheets. “I’m sorry to have alarmed you,” she said. “Don’t worry, you’re not in any trouble. I’m used to this sort of behaviour from Felix.”

‘J’ finally popped his head above the sheet and looked at her sheepishly. He was blushing.

“What’s your name?” Joanie asked him.

‘J’ was still too shocked to respond. She turned to me for an answer.

I shrugged. “Something with a ‘J’, I think.”

“My name is Michael,” ‘J’ said finally, giving me an indignant look.

Joanie frowned again and shook her head at my callousness. “Hello, Michael. I’m Joanie,” she said to him. “There’s a shower in there.” She pointed towards the bathroom. “You had better get dressed. It’s eight o’clock. We’ll be opening soon. I’ll go outside and make you some coffee.”

‘J’ barely had three sips of his coffee before he rushed out. He couldn’t get away fast enough. Well, who could blame him?

“You really are quite disgraceful,” Joanie said to me after he had left. She was sitting on the edge of my desk, sipping from her coffee cup. “I don’t know why I’m friends with you. That poor chap.”

“You’re friends with me because I’m disgraceful,” I said, taking the sheets and blankets off the sofa and folding them up. My clothes still lay on the floor, and I wore nothing but my boxer shorts. I could tell that Joanie was trying very hard not to look at me as she kept her eyes fixed on her coffee cup.  

“Isn’t it time you got your own flat?”

“This is my flat.”

“This is the office, Felix. We’re supposed to work here.” She turned away from me and looked out of the window.

“Work?” I said. “There is no work.” I opened the cupboard and placed the sheets and blankets on the shelf. “Anyway, I can’t afford another flat. I’m four months behind on the mortgage of this one as it is.”

“There’s a woman standing outside,” Joanie said. “Do you think she’s for us?”

I joined her by the window and looked out. An elegant woman stood outside the building, with a calling card in one hand and a cigarette in the other. She kept looking from the card to the door. She seemed nervous.

“Good Lord, do you think she could be a client?” I asked. “We haven’t had one of those in ages.”

 There was no need for Joanie to answer, because just at that point the doorbell rang.

“You had better get dressed,” she said. “I’ll go let her in.” She rushed towards the door.

“I suppose you must have heard these kinds of stories a million times before.”

Mrs Celia Skinner spoke with a crisp, cut-glass accent. She was wearing a dark blue cashmere twin set. Her cardigan was left unbuttoned in order to display her pearl necklace, with which she kept fidgeting as she spoke. Her light brown hair was tightly permed, and the little pearls in her ears were just the right size to give her face a little sparkle. Although she wasn’t sparkling now. She kept looking down at the desk, unable or unwilling to meet my eyes.

“It’s about my husband.” She crushed her cigarette out on the ashtray and rummaged in her handbag for another. “He’s having an affair, and I want a divorce. I need you to provide me with proof.” She popped the cigarette in her mouth and lit it.

“Who is your husband?” I asked.

“Mr Raymond Skinner.” She blew a ring of smoke into my face. “He works for the admiralty.”

I raised my eyebrows.

“Oh no, there’s nothing impressive about it.” She frowned. “He’s just a lowly civil servant. He’s been in the same post for five years. He’s been passed over for promotion a thousand times. My father warned me about him. I should never have married him.”

“Why do you think your husband is having an affair?”

“What else would he be doing when he doesn’t come home at night?”

“There are numerous things he could be doing.”

“He’s having an affair, Mr Stone. I know he is. He hasn’t touched me in years.”

“Where do you live?”

Mrs Skinner hesitated before answering. “Wimbledon,” she said eventually. “We live in Wimbledon.”

There was something not right about this dame. She acted suitably nervous and uncomfortable while talking to me. And so she should be. After all, the dirty streets of Spitalfields were far removed from the lush green suburbs of Wimbledon. But all the fidgeting with her necklace aside, there was something about her eyes that suggested the opposite of unease. She seemed strangely confident.

“Why did you come to me, Mrs Skinner?”

She looked confused. “What do you mean? You’re a private detective, aren’t you? This is what you do, isn’t it? Chase after cheating husbands and try to catch them at it?”

“But why did you come to me? Where did you get my details from?”

“The telephone directory.”

“I’m not in the telephone directory.”

She frowned again. “Well, what does it matter. I’ll pay whatever you ask. I just want proof so that I can correct the terrible mistake I made in marrying that man six years ago.”

“What I’m trying to get to the bottom of, Mrs Skinner, is why an elegant and well-spoken lady like yourself would travel all the way to Spitalfields to speak to a private detective when there must be dozens of detectives closer to your home. Especially when money appears not to be an issue.”

“You were recommended to me.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Recommended? By whom?”

“By my maid, if you must know. She saw the sign outside your building. I came here precisely because it is out of the way. I wouldn’t want to be bumping into a nosy acquaintance prying into my personal life. But what I’d like to know is, will you help me?”

“It’ll cost you two hundred pounds,” I said. That was much more than I’d normally charge, but I wanted to see how she would react.


“Two hundred and fifty to cover expenses.”


“Three hundred if I employ any of my associates.”

This time she paused, wondering whether she was being conned. “Fine,” she said. “I’ll pay whatever you ask for, Mr Stone, but only if you provide proof in the form of photographs.”

“In that case, I’ll need another fifty pounds in advance to buy new camera equipment.”

She looked at me sceptically.

“The last one got smashed by an angry husband,” I explained.

“Fine,” she said and opened her handbag. “But the photographs must be clear and irrefutable.” She took a fifty pound note and handed it to me. “You must catch him in the act, if you know what I mean. I don’t want anything that he can explain away.” 

“I do know what you mean, Mrs Skinner.” I took the fifty pound note and stuck it in my shirt pocket. “You can trust me. I’ll get you that divorce.”

Author Bio:
Born to Dutch parents and raised in Colombia and England, I am a rootless wanderer with itchy feet. I've spent the last few years living and working in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sudan and Bulgaria, but I have every confidence that I will now finally be able to settle down among the olive groves of Andalucia.

I'm an avid reader and film fan and I have an MA in creative writing for film and television.


Release Blitz: In His Sights by LA Bryce

Title: In His Sights
Author: LA Bryce
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: February 2, 2019
Publisher: JMS Books

Meet two men who need each other’s help but don’t realize it until it’s almost too late.

Noah is gay and terrified someone might find out. So much so that when he was blackmailed with pictures of himself with another man, instead of coming clean, he left his SEAL team without a word.

The other man is openly gay Mason, a former Marine and now part of the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task force. It takes eight years after their first meeting in the desert for a chance event bring the two men together again. Now Noah must decide if he’s ready to accept who he is or if it’s easier to cut and run. Can they navigate the obstacles in their path to build a relationship? And why does the thought of that scare them more than investigating a group of terrorists?

Nausea racked his body again, but this time Mason couldn’t ignore it. He jumped up and ran to the bathroom. He made it just in time. Puking his guts out with a raging headache was the last thing he wanted to be doing, but he wasn’t given much of a choice. Every time his thoughts went back to what had happened, he ended up perched over the toilet. It hadn’t taken long for all the ingredients in his stomach to be lost to the porcelain gods, followed by the dry heaves that kept him in a bent over position. As he wallowed in self-pity, he heard something that had him standing straight, positioned ready to fight. Someone was in his house.

His hand moved to his holster, but it wasn’t there. Dammit. He looked toward his closet, then at his bedroom door that now hung partially open. If he went to get his gun and anyone came down the hall, they’d have a clear shot at him at his safe. He couldn’t risk it. He needed to be on the offensive. He looked around the room to see if he could find a weapon. Shit. It wasn’t the best, but it’d have to do. He picked up the plunger from behind the toilet. He’d use the rubber part as a grip.

His abdomen cramped as he moved. He took a deep breath and held the air in for a second. The pain subsided. He crept to the door, sliding it open enough to secure a better view out. He hadn’t spotted anyone or anything that appeared out of the ordinary. But right then, whoever invaded his home made their presence known. Mason couldn’t believe the intruder hadn’t heard Mason puking up his guts. But the fact they weren’t trying to stay quiet said they thought they were alone.

Mason slipped out of the bedroom door. He held still, checking if his opening the door wider had alerted anyone to his presence. Reassured he had gone unnoticed, he continued to the end of the hall. Once there, he peered into the living room. The area stood empty, and again, nothing seemed out of place. He paused to listen, all his senses on alert. The noise came from the kitchen. Mason tiptoed toward the room. Once at the door, he stopped dead. He could see the person’s shadow. But that’s not what made him stop. What rendered Mason immobile was the fact the culprit in his kitchen was now singing. Singing. What the fuck? Rob a house, sing a song? It hadn’t made sense. He hadn’t cared. Again, he took a step and froze waiting until the shadow got closer -- then he attacked -- slamming the wooden stick toward the head of the intruder. He came in contact with skin and bone and the wooden handle broke and fell to the floor. The man shouted, and Mason recognized the voice. His stomach roiled and nausea burned the back of his throat.

Instead of running for the bathroom, he opened up the French doors and ran outside. He made it to the grass just in time. It surprised Mason that something actually came out, but before long he was back to the dry heaves, his stomach cramping. Before realizing Noah had moved, he stood outside next to Mason. Noah placed his hand on Mason’s back and rubbed, and Mason body went rigid. What the hell was he doing there? Why couldn’t Mason remember? Part of him wanted to know, and the other wanted Noah to just leave. Mason knew that thought was bullshit before it fully formed. Deep down, he was glad Noah was there, no matter the reason.

Mason pushed himself up, closing his eyes while the blood rushed to the rest of his body. Cinderblocks crushed down on his head. Noah helped hold him up. Mason wanted to shake Noah’s grip off. But he also wanted to grab it and wrap it around himself. Mason stayed still and did neither.

Author Bio:
LA writes m/m romance with a splash of suspense. She loves her men to work hard, play hard and love hard. It doesn’t matter what their walk of life, although she has a special place in her heart for Military heroes, those that put their life on the line every day to keep us safe, trouble always seems to find them—whether it’s a homicidal maniac, someone with a grudge against the country, or an ex who’s seeking out revenge—LA’s guys aren’t always faced with just fighting for love, they often have to fight for their lives.

LA has always lived in the North East and has recently stretched her boundaries and moved further North—the more relaxed life style giving her more time to write—in theory anyway.

Among the things she loves besides writing and her family are her friends, those she writes with and those she writes about, reading, games (the kind with boards, not in love), playing poker, her dogs, Nutella and Bok Choy, and of course, the men and women from the Military, past and present, who keep us safe.

When she finds herself stuck at the keyboard, her fingers refusing to move, her characters refusing to talk, she likes to take a break, blast some music, and dance like no one is watching her or sing her heart out into her hairbrush microphone.

She’s living her happily ever after and wants the same for all her characters. LA believes love comes in all different packages and each should be wrapped in a ribbon and cherished.


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Release Blitz: The Selkie Prince's Fobidden Mate by JJ Masters

Title: The Selkie Prince's Forbidden Mate
Author: JJ Masters
Series: Royal Alphas #4
Genre: M/M Romance, Mpreg, Paranormal
Release Date: February 2, 2019
Cover Design: Megan Parker of EmCat Designs

Secrets, lies and a forbidden bond that could change the fate of a kingdom.
Marlin, Selkie prince and fourth alpha-born son of the King of the North, desires someone he shouldn’t. While taking a human lover is not quite forbidden, the one who caught his eye happens to be his brother’s scorned former lover. Nevertheless, every time Marlin’s around the man, he finds Nic hard to resist, even though his attitude can be frustrating. However, Marlin likes a challenge, and Nic’s a challenge he’s willing to tackle.

Nic has been bitter ever since the firstborn prince, Kai, broke off their affair abruptly years ago. To become involved with Kai’s younger brother could be just as heartbreaking because Marlin, like Kai, is obligated to find his fated mate and produce heirs. Something Nic can’t do. However, neither can fight their mutual attraction.

When a traitor escapes, Marlin’s skin is stolen, and danger ensues, it’s Nic who becomes the prince’s hero. And it’s at that very moment that Marlin can’t deny their fate, whether it’s forbidden or not.

Note: A 60k-plus word m/m shifter mpreg story, this is the fourth book in the Royal Alpha series. Due to the “knotty” times in this book, it is recommended for mature readers only. While it can be read as a standalone, it’s recommended to read the series in order. And, like all of my books, it has an HEA.

Marlin, Selkie prince and fourth alpha-born son of King Solomon, and, not to mention, complete utter fool, stood staring up at the little cabin in the woods.

He closed his eyes for a moment and inhaled the aroma of the forest surrounding him. That didn’t slow the runaway train that was his heartbeat.

Nor did it help his cock that flexed in his pants at the anticipation of doing something so wrong, but also so... desired.

It wasn’t necessarily wrong for a Selkie to find pleasure with a human... as long as that human was willing. But what made this feel iniquitous was that the man who lived in that little cabin in the woods was the former lover of his oldest brother, Kai.

His heartbeat went from racing to thumping loudly in his ears as the front screen door opened and the subject of his recent inappropriate dreams stood staring back at him while leaning against the door frame.

Dominic. Nic for short.

He was long and lean, his body built like a normal human. His shoulders were broad, his hips narrow. Even from where Marlin stood, he could see Nic’s dark hair appeared to be a ruffled mess, which made him even more attractive.

Maybe Marlin had disturbed the man’s afternoon nap.

“You just going to stand there? Like a stalker?”

His voice was deep, smooth, and all that delicious goodness swirled around Marlin, pulling him forward like he was a marlin being reeled in on a fisherman’s line. He wanted to fight it, but he couldn’t.

He couldn’t because he was exhausted from doing just that... resisting his desires. There was something about Nic...

Maybe it was his expressive brown eyes, and his attitude. Strong-willed, sometimes crass, but definitely sensual at other times.

Like that little bit of time Marlin spent with him the last time he was here. When his brother Zale was searching for his omega, when Nic had hid Finn in his home. While Zale was sneaking around inside the cabin searching for his mate, Marlin had kept the human occupied.

And it was then that he knew he was doomed. Knew he’d eventually show back up on the man’s doorstep no matter how many times he told himself it was wrong.

Plenty of other humans or betas were willing to take care of Marlin’s needs. But he didn’t want any of them.

He wanted Nic.

Even if it was just once. Just a simple taste. Maybe them spending a night together would exorcise the man from his system.

For the last few weeks, he couldn’t sleep through the night. No, he’d wake up in a sweat after dreaming about taking Nic, pleasuring him, making him come, then giving the human his knot.

Which never should happen.

Human males weren’t physically built to take Selkie knots. Not like an omega.

So, giving Nic his knot would only ever remain a fantasy. One that—when Marlin would wake up with a raging erection—would fuel his own release so he could go back to sleep.

But now it was happening every night. And, even worse, during the daylight hours thoughts of Nic would drift through his mind.

These thoughts of the male, the one standing on his porch and watching him intently, were interrupting his life and Marlin needed to get them to stop. Out of his brothers, he was the next prince in line to find his omega. His fated mate. Though he was in no rush, he knew the Presentation Ceremonies might begin at any time. Or at least as soon as the Selkie Seekers could find six appropriate omegas to present to him. So, he needed to concentrate on doing his duty and finding the right mate to produce pups, he should not give in to his base desires.

While Nic could never be Marlin’s mate, nor become pregnant with his heirs, he could be simply a temporary detour.

And the man did seem to show some interest the last time they were face to face.

“Marlin,” Nic called from the porch. “Why are you here? Is something wrong? Did you royals lose another omega?”

Author Bio:
J.J. Masters is the alter-ego of a USA Today bestselling author who writes hot, gay romance filled with heart, humor and heat. J.J. became fascinated with mpreg romance as soon as she figured out what mpreg stood for. She loves to write about "knotty" men!

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Forbidden Mate #4


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