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Forbes Mates Rerelease Celebration

Forbes Mates Rerelease Celebration
Grace R. Duncan
find her website here.

devotion_1800X2700

Everyone’s got one… But can they keep them?

Join us in celebrating the rerelease of the Forbes Mates books! The celebration tour has a $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway and lots of fun excerpts from the books. You can follow the tour find her website here. hope you have fun!

Blurb Will Tanner realize he’s wrong and claim his mate before Finley’s devotion is gone?

Finley Cooper is tired of waiting for his destined mate to be ready to claim him. In deference to human laws, he’s already agreed to wait until he’s eighteen. But now his birthday has come and gone—and his mate has a new set of excuses. Finley doesn’t understand it any more than his wolf does, and he’s beginning to wonder if fate made a mistake.

Tanner Pearce wants nothing more than to claim his mate, but he worries that Finley is too young. Tanner will never forget what happened when his best friend mated at Finley’s age, only to have that mate end up feeling trapped and breaking their bond. While rare, it can happen, and the fallout Tanner witnessed as his best friend tried to deal with the break has haunted him for years.
When Finley finally has enough, he threatens to find someone who will claim him if Tanner doesn’t, and Tanner realizes he needs to come to terms with his fears or risk losing his mate forever.

Excerpt

Excerpt from Devotion, Forbes Mates book 1

“Phone’s dead.” Tanner sighed.

“Shit.”

“That sums it up pretty well.” He glanced up at the moon, but couldn’t really gauge the time well from it. “Unless we want to walk all the way home in wolf form, we need a phone.” He looked down the hill at the small collection of buildings at its base, then up the road to the larger cluster that made up the town. “I guess we’ll have to go up to one of the buildings.”

Finley made a face. “How do we explain being naked?”

That thought made his wolf want to bite something. Hard. There was no way in hell Tanner was letting his mate walk into someone’s house naked. “I’ll go. I’ll tell them I lost my clothes and raft in the river or something.”

He was nearly knocked off his feet by the blast of jealousy he got from Finley through their bond.

“You’re not going into someone’s house.”

Tanner blinked at him. “Fin?”

“No.” He crossed his arms, face set.

Uh-oh. “Uh… someone’s got to. And you sure as hell aren’t.”

Finley raised his eyebrow. “So, you’re allowed to, but I’m not.”

“Of course.” Something in the back of Tanner’s mind tingled, telling him he shouldn’t pursue this, but he ignored it.

“I’m supposed to be okay with you going into a strangers house, naked, while I sit out here and wait like a good little mate—is that it?”

The tone should have warned him. The mild words should have clued him in. Tanner, however, didn’t pay attention to either. Neither did he pay attention to the distinct lack of emotion coming across their bond. If Tanner had been thinking, that would have scared the shit out of him way more than if he was blasted with fury. “Yes. Well, you’re not little,” he remembered to say.

“No, that’s true, I’m not,” Finley agreed.

It finally dawned on Tanner that he was about to get himself in really hot water. The problem was, he had no idea what to do to stop it. “But—” He cut himself off at the look on Finley’s face. He stared at his mate, trying to figure out what to say. He really was not going to let Finley go in somewhere naked. He licked his lips and glanced around, as if he could divine some wisdom from the surrounding trees.

Instead, he found salvation on the road a short distance away.

“A pay phone!” he blurted.

Finley blinked at him, then looked over his shoulder and down at the road. “You are so lucky,” he muttered, throwing a glare back at Tanner.

Tanner was too busy being relieved. “So, I’ll go—”

“The fuck you will,” Finley said, succinctly.

“But—”

We’ll go.”

“Oh hell no. You stay—”

“I. Will. Not. Stay. Put. Like. Some. Child.” Finley reiterated each word with a poke to Tanner’s chest. “And you, my dear mate, are going to take your Neanderthal bullshit and shove it up your ass.”

Tanner realized he’d dug himself in deep. He thought the best plan of attack at this point might just be to… shut up. He tried not to wince over the pure fury now pouring through their bond. At least Finley wasn’t silent, but in truth, he was not entirely sure if knowing about the fury was better, after all. He didn’t think he succeeded. “So, uh, how do you think we should proceed?”

When the fury abated somewhat, he patted himself on the back.

“It’s simple. We both go. The phone is in a dark enough part of the parking lot. I’ll call. You watch for anyone to approach.”

“B—” Tanner stopped and gulped at the look Finley sent him. “Uh, sounds good. We’ll, err, shift after the call.”

Finley smiled, but Tanner knew there was no happiness in it. “That will work until they get here.”

Tanner simply nodded, deciding discretion was the better part of valor. And now that he could have Finley in his bed, he needed to figure out how to not jeopardize that. He thought he might have a lot to learn.

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To go along with the Celebration, Devotion (book one) is 99¢ for the duration of the tour! This will be a great way to get started on the series!

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New Release – Unraveling by Rick R. Reed

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 13, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 68300

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, deep closet, coming out, men with children, virgin, #ownvoices, humorous, EMT

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Synopsis

Randy Kay has the perfect life with his beautiful wife and adorable son. But Randy’s living a lie, untrue to himself and everyone who knows him. He’s gay.

Marriage and fatherhood, which he thought could change him, have failed. He doubts if anyone can love him for who he really is—especially himself.

With his wife’s blessing, he sets out to explore the gay world he’s hidden from all his life.

John Walsh, a paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department, is comfortable in his own skin as a gay man, yet he can never find someone who shares his desire to create a real relationship, a true family.

When Randy and John first spy each other in Chicago’s Boystown, all kinds of alarms go off—some of joy, others of deep-seated fear.

Randy and John must surmount multiple hurdles on the journey to a lasting, meaningful love. Will they succeed or will their chance at love go up in flames, destroyed by missed connections and a lack of self-acceptance?

Excerpt

Unraveling
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
RANDY

I have my death all planned out.

Unlike the thirty-two years that have gone before, I want my passing to be peaceful and free of the discord and pain I’ve lived with for as long as I can remember. I want it to be easy. Effortless. Guilt-free.

Whether it’s any of those things remains to be seen.

I’ve rented this hotel room at a small boutique hotel off Michigan Avenue. The Crewe House has been standing on this same ground on Oak Street for at least a hundred years. The rooms are small, fussy, and charming, with flocked wallpaper, four-poster beds, and claw-foot tubs and pedestal sinks in their black-and-white bathrooms. It’s charming, and I deserve something nice to gaze at before I close my eyes for good.

I have some sandalwood-scented candles lit, and the fragrance is warm, enveloping. Their soft flicker is the only illumination. Outside, the winter sky darkens early. Dusk’s cobalt blue makes silhouettes of the water towers, train tracks, and buildings to the west of the hotel. Near the horizon the sky is a shade of lavender that mesmerizes me, makes me think of changing my mind. If a sky like this can exist, with its electric bands of color, maybe the world isn’t such a horrible place.

Maybe I can go on.

No.

What else have I done to ease my passage into whatever comes next? I have a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, my favorite champagne, uncorked and resting in a silver ice bucket, filled with melting ice. A flute stands next to it, waiting.

I’ll wash the sleeping pills down with the bubbly.

Before getting into bed, I’ll turn on the cassette I have in my boombox, Abbey Road. I have it queued up to “Golden Slumbers.”

I’ve been carrying this weight for such a long time.

I long for smiles.

At last, I’ll undress and stretch out on the four-poster. I’ll pull the eiderdown duvet loosely over me and close my eyes.

The plan is I will slowly slip under, my brain becoming a soft velvety fog, and I’ll simply fall into the arms of a comforting—and obliterating—slumber.

I will not dream.

It won’t take long.

And I’ll leave a beautiful corpse.

That’s the plan, anyway. Some of my research into this method of offing myself runs counter to this gentle fantasy, but I don’t want to consider the downside of overdosing on strong barbiturates.

I want to go to sleep.

I want to forget the impossibility of being able to become the man I know I should be.

Husband.

Father.

I blink back tears as I sit on the bed, staring out at the deepening twilight. They don’t deserve this: what you’re going to leave them with. I know the voice inside, the one that’s always made me do the right thing, at the expense of my very being, is right. And even though they don’t deserve it, you know they will hurt, of course they will, but in the end, they’ll be better off.

Who wants a husband and father who can’t seem to make himself straight, despite trying therapy, the Catholic Church, the Buddhist faith, self-help groups, and self-help books. A group of pathetic married men meeting once a month and thinking they can change. Nothing works. If I could change, I would.

And since I can’t change, I’m left with three options:

Accept myself as I am. How can I do that? I’d be a failure as a husband, a father, a son, a brother. I’d go on wearing this suffocating mask. I’d continue to live a life that’s essentially a lie.

Everyone who loves me doesn’t even know me.

They love a façade, a projection, a mirage made of wishes, impossible hopes, and self-hatred.

No, acceptance is not an option. It never was.

Second, I could resist. I could knuckle down and brace myself against the attractions I feel, the dreams that pop up in my sleep despite my desperately not wanting them there. I could hold myself back from falling prey to the temptations I feel on the streets, the subway, the locker rooms—everywhere I encounter a beautiful man.

The reason I find myself here is because I can’t resist. Not anymore.

And the third option is simply the one I have to choose—remove myself from the pain. Remove myself from existing as this broken thing that God nor man can fix.

Yes, Violet and Henry both will find a way to move on, and they’ll be happier, more anchored in life without me.

Who needs a gay dad? Or a husband who, deep down, doesn’t want what his wife has to offer? Or worse, a dad who contracts the death sentence of AIDS?

Enough of the grim thoughts. They were not part of my plan. Tonight, I go out peacefully. I’ll shut my eyes and remember things like my joy six years ago when Henry was born and seeing him take his first breath. I shouted, “We got a boy!” and fell into the deepest, most effortless love I’ve ever felt. I’ll remember proposing to Violet when we were both college sophomores and the thrill when she accepted the cheap diamond-chips ring I gave her. Things will be okay now, I remember thinking. I can change.

I really believed that. And I know I love Violet as best I can.

It’s sad when your best simply isn’t good enough.

I reach over for the bottle of sleeping pills on the nightstand. There are thirty of them, and I intend to take them all, two or three at a time. If it takes the whole bottle of champagne to get them down, well, things could be worse. No?

I tip the bottle and look at the tablets against the dark wood, so innocent, yet so lethal.

I’m just reaching for one when there’s a sudden knock on the door. Loud. Forceful. Urgent.

“Randy? Randy? Open up, please.”

The door knob turns as Violet’s voice penetrates the heavy wood of the door, making her sound muffled.

I close my eyes. I could ignore her, hope she goes away.

How did she find out where I was anyway?

She wasn’t supposed to know until she got the letter, the one neatly folded and an arm’s length away on the nightstand.

Pounding. “Please!” Violet calls.

I gather the pills, shoving them back in the bottle, then hide the container in a nightstand drawer.

How will I explain?

I get up, cross the room, and open the door.

Purchase

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Meet the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix.

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New Release: Lord of Thundertown by O.F. Cieri

Title: Lord of Thundertown

Author: O.F. Cieri

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 6, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 64800

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, LGBT, fantasy, monsters, magic, New York, contemporary, urban fantasy

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Synopsis

In the movies, Thundertown was depicted like a real town, with boundaries, Folk-run businesses, and a government. In real life, Thundertown was a block here or there, three businesses on the same side of the street, an unconnected sewer main, or a single abandoned building.

When an epidemic of missing person cases is on the rise, the police refuse to act. Instead, Alex Delatorre goes to Thundertown for answers and finds clues leading to a new Lord trying to unite the population.

No one has seen the Lord, and the closer Alex gets to him, the farther Alex gets from his path home.

Excerpt

Lord of Thundertown
O.F. Cieri © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
Sam was tired. All day long, she moved furniture in a small, dirty room in a warehouse in Brooklyn. She got on the train to go home. The conductor announced service delays, and Sam got as comfortable as she could in the glossy plastic seat.

There was no flash of lightning to signal a change. The insidious thing about the Aether was that humans were ill-equipped at handling it. Children had a better chance of being aware of it during a power surge, although they usually experienced it in migraines and blurred visions. The Folk handled the Aether best, and usually very judiciously, because the Aether was a force of nature that couldn’t be reasoned with to respect private property or the sanctity of life. It activated when called and filled the parameters set out for it, and any gap in logic released a flood of unintended consequences. The only sign of something going wrong came from the lights in the subway shutting off abruptly.

Even then, Sam didn’t panic. There were electrical surges all the time, and the lights usually came on in seconds. Instead, she remembered taking the subway with her elementary school class and shrieking with the other girls whenever the lights flickered, thrilled by the shock.

The train hit a hard bump, but rather than rocking back onto the track, the train lurched and tipped erratically. She couldn’t see the other passengers, but she could hear the impact as they thudded against the far wall. Sam managed to hold her grip as a long-empty soda can flew past her head and empty sunflower seed shells rained past. Her heart gripped in her chest as she came face to face with the fact that she’d cast her shot and landed the one-in-a-billion chance to climb aboard a train as it tipped into the river. She was only surprised by how dark the sky was.

The Aether, according to scientific inquiry, does not exist. It can not be touched, seen, smelled, tasted or heard, nor can it be weighed or measured in any other way with tools. The Aether is completely undetectable by any means except the brain; and not clearly.

The train twisted, and so did Sam’s grip. Her wrist popped as gravity wrenched it in an unnatural direction, and she fell, landing feet first on the seat she’d flown out of. Pain shot up her ankles, but the sharp jolt barely distracted her from the rattling of the carriage shaking across a hard surface. The high-pitched scream of sharp edges scraping across metal echoed throughout the train, and then suddenly ceased.

Humans have always shared the earth with Folk. There are records as early as the Kingdom of Ur, which mentions Other Lands that exist parallel to the common one. There are records as early as the written word of Great Beasts and supernaturally gifted nobility.

Sam turned on the flashlight of her phone. The windows were broken, and the foot of the train punctured through the floor near the door to the back. Someone was on the floor, trying to pull themselves up by climbing the train seat but not finding the friction, somehow. Another body sat upright, one shoe off. Slowly it raised its head and looked down at a hand that dangled lifelessly off their wrist. There was a guttural sob of pain.

When ancient kingdoms annexed new territory, they would often discover hostile members of the Folk. The ruler of the invading army would have to choose whether to destroy them, or bribe them. Soldiers throughout history have been immortalized for slaying Great Beasts in the service of their King, and similarly, simple farmers and fishermen were elevated to nobility by accepting the ruler’s authority, and recognized as the Lord of the Forest, or Lady of the Lake.

“Are you ok?” Sam asked. The words slurred in her mouth. She couldn’t be sure she was understood. She tried to stand, but her weight pitched in a direction she didn’t expect and she stumbled. She pocketed her phone and dug out a small keychain light instead. More durable, she thought. Better use of battery power. “Are you ok?”

The Lords were meant to be the arm of the state regarding the Folk, any Aetheric or ‘magical’ phenomenon. However, reports of erratic or unpredictable behavior lead Government officials to tap more amiable outsiders for traditional Lordship roles.

It still sounded like she was drunk. There was a click behind her, and the rattle of the door between the train cars sliding open. The carriage was bathed in a dim orange glow. When Sam looked behind her, she saw the train conductor holding a construction lantern. She was an older black woman, gold braids disheveled.

“Is anybody hurt?”

None of this affects the quality of life for everyday Folk. Many preferred to live in the country where private property and building laws allowed them to maintain their own standards. While cities serve as hubs of commerce, the practical effect leaves many at the mercy of a standard of living, including enforced daytime activity, above-ground dwellings, little access to fresh or saltwater, and little tolerance for symbiotic parasite bonding. As a result, many of the Folk engage in creative means to maintain their health and well-being.

“Yeah–” Sam began.

A voice cut her off, shrill and panicked. “What’s going on? What’s happening? Why aren’t we moving?”

The conductor raised her hand and tried to quiet the shouting passenger. “Calm down, please. I don’t know, but before we find out, I want to get everybody off the train. Is anybody hurt too bad to walk?”

“No,” said the person with the broken wrist. They sounded like they were in tears, muttering through chattering teeth; “No, no, no, no, no–”

“Good,” the conductor spoke slowly and calmly. “Everyone, please follow behind me in an orderly line.”

Thundertown is a well-known example, arising from an illegal settlement dug into an outcropping of Manhattan Gneiss in New York City. According to records, the Thundertown population was predominantly immigrant, with few English speakers in its first few decades.

The conductor walked down the aisle of the train, balancing against the wall for support. She led a trail of dirty and terrified people behind her, inching along as if huddling for warmth from the glow of the lantern. As she passed, Sam saw her holding a twelve-year-old girl to her waist, clutching her hand tightly. The small girl looked calm and supported the older woman’s elbow as if carrying her gently above the crowd.

The City of New York has repeatedly dissolved the Thundertown settlement.

A pair of doors hung open a few carriages in. The conductor dipped her light outside and pressed her toe down, testing to see if it was safe to leave. She clutched the side of the train door as she lowered down, her foot swinging out blindly for something to anchor itself to. Slowly, she touched down on something, and slowly she shifted her weight off the train and onto the ground beneath. The ground was flat, uniform, and unremarkable.

Unfortunately, the area is too well-known to remain closed for long.

There were no train tracks.

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Meet the Author

O F Cieri lives in New York, where she spends most of her time thinking about anything but what she’s doing at the moment. Her favorite parts of history are the fight scenes. Lord of Thundertown is her first published work.

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New Release: All the Way to Shore by C. Jane Elliot

Title: All the Way to Shore

Author: CJane Elliott

Narrated by: Tim McKiernan

Publisher: Self-Published

Original Release Date: 11/23/16

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

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Synopsis

What happens when a cruise ship romance crashes on the rocky shores of reality?

Poor-little-rich-boy Jonathan Vallen is the heir to Vallen Industries, but is more interested in music and gardens. He clashes with new CEO Marco Pellegrini, a self-made man and rising star in business, who is brought in to salvage the company. Jonathan gladly leaves Vallen and moves to Cape Cod. When they meet again on an LGBTQ Caribbean cruise, Marco doesn’t recognize Jonathan, who has spent a year transforming from an ugly duckling into a very sexy swan. After Marco shows interest and sparks fly, Jonathan reluctantly assumes a false identity, egged on by his cousin Anthony. None of them expect a shipboard fling to deepen into true love.

Back on land, the romance crashes when Marco discovers his perfect man is not only a lie but the son of his boss, Frederick Vallen. Jonathan resolves to win Marco back, but Frederick takes vengeful action. Jonathan and Marco must battle their own fears as well as Frederick’s challenge to get to the future that awaits them on the horizon.

Excerpt

The strains of a steel band mingled in the air with the tantalizing aroma of meat on the grill. Jonathan was thinking about getting something to eat when Anthony suddenly clutched his arm.

“Jonny! Over there!” Anthony practically hissed the words as he jerked his head to the right.

“What?” Jonathan took another sip of his sangria, not too concerned. Anthony got worked up about everything.

“I think that’s Marco Pellegrini!”

He lifted his head and stared in the direction Anthony indicated. A tall, dark-haired man in glasses stood surveying the crowd next to a younger woman bearing a strong resemblance to him. Both were stunningly good-looking. The man’s tousled curls were longer than Jonathan remembered Marco’s being. But when the breeze lifted them from his face, his Roman nose and defined cheekbones were unmistakable. So was the amazing body clad in a tank top and shorts ensemble that managed to combine elegance with sexiness. Damn. It was Marco. “On this cruise? I thought he was engaged or something. And straight.”

“Guess not. I knew that guy was gay!”

“I think you mean bi.” Jonathan’s mouth grew dry as Marco squinted in their direction, and the humiliation of their past encounters rose in his mind. “Oh, damn, damn it, Tony. What’s he doing here?”

He was about to turn and flee to their stateroom when Anthony said, “He’s staring at you, Jonny. I think he likes what he sees. Stop fidgeting! Let’s go over and say hi.”

“Are you kidding?” Jonathan whispered. “I never want to see that guy again. And he for sure doesn’t want to see me!”

“No? Then why’s he walking over here? My God, the man is gorgeous! If you don’t want him, I get him.”

“You—” Jonathan cut himself off because Marco was indeed strolling in their direction, the woman at his side.

Anthony grabbed Jonathan by the arm and all but dragged him closer, then beamed at Marco. “Hello, there!”

While Jonathan tried not to die a thousand deaths, Marco smiled and said, “Hello.” He showed no recognition that he’d ever met Jonathan before. What he did show, shockingly, was a rather blatant interest in him, running his eyes up and down Jonathan’s body before saying, “I’m Marco.” Jonathan had never seen Marco in shorts or a close-fitting tank before and was having a hard time breathing at the sight of his tanned shapely legs and muscled shoulders.

The woman, who had to be his sister or cousin, nodded at them and smiled warmly. “And I’m Sophia. We’re also known as the Pellegrini twins, only we’re not really twins. Just sister and brother.”

Before Jonathan could respond, Anthony jumped in. “Nice to meet you! I’m Andrew Arrington, and this is my cousin, Jonah Rutledge.”

Jonathan felt his mouth drop open. Then he gave a weak smile, still poised to flee, sure that Marco was going to recognize him any moment. “Um, hello. Where are you from?” After they got through this fiasco, he planned to kill his cousin

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NOW AVAILABLE on Kindle Unlimited HERE

PURCHASE an Ebook at the preorder price of $1.99 HERE

Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.

In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop. Be sure to check out CJane’s new Facebook Group!

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New Release – The Hunt by Sarah Elkins

Title: The Hunt

Series: Psychic Underground, Book Two

Author: Sarah Elkins

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 30, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 82100

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, psychic ability, shifters, captivity, law enforcement/FBI, fantasy, medical personnel, shifters, paranormal

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Synopsis

The Facility is undergoing repairs after a chaotic failed escape attempt by several psychic test subjects some months ago. Neila and Henry’s mission is to locate potential psychics for the scientists at the Facility to study, but they have other ideas.

Neila can’t shake the idea of Nikola Tesla from her mind, and it’s getting worse as bizarre things start happening to herself and Henry. As they hunt for more about Neila’s possible past life, they aren’t sure if they will find answers or if they will become the hunted.

Things are not peaceful back at the Facility as troubling secrets come to light, and the Psychic Underground may never be the same.

Excerpt

The Hunt
Sarah Elkins © 2019
All Rights Reserved

The repair work on the Facility was slow going, but the director refused to forego using her office. The ceiling was still missing. New modern cameras, a phone, and internet were being installed: the works.

Director Lianne McClaine sat behind her desk with her elbows on several paper files while she read the results from her last checkup with her oncologist on her tablet. The cancer had vanished. Out of nowhere. Gone. Her doctor was sure there had to be some sort of error with her previous tests. Cancer didn’t just go away.

Not the type she had.

The newly installed landline phone rang on her desk.

“Director McClaine,” she said, leaving her answer vague. A director could be in charge of all sorts of things. No need to out their secret operation because of a wrong number.

“Director, you wanted to see us?” Agent Henry Anderson replied. She remembered him saving her life. The painful feeling of them being temporarily linked; her bullet wounds healing at his beckoning. He had hijacked her body with his shapeshifting ability, but it had saved her life. She wasn’t sure how to feel about it. Despite being grateful to be alive, she also felt violated. The director tried to put the latter feeling out of her mind.

“Yes. You and Blackbird report to my office.”

“Yes, ma’am.” The call ended.

The director glanced over the two paper files once more before she put them back in the bottom drawer of her desk. Agent Henry Anderson’s blood work and DNA tests had the same error the other shapeshifters at the Facility had. The results read as if he had just had a minor blood transfusion from multiple donors. There were traces from more than one blood type. The sort of errors that are normally attributed to contaminated samples. She should have noticed the pattern, even if the doctors hadn’t made the connection. They still hadn’t, but no denying it, he was a shapeshifter.

Henry’s results weren’t the only ones with the error. Besides the known shapeshifters, there were two others with the same anomaly: the pyrokinetic, Wallace, who had been killed by Shorty four and a half months before and “Blackbird” Neila Roddenberry, who had killed Shorty after he had almost succeeded in killing everyone in the Facility.

The whole incident had been a complete clusterfuck. Shorty, a telekinetic ex-con who, sick of being a prisoner and test subject in the Facility, rallied the rest of his test group of four men, Blue Team, to lead an escape attempt. The only reason anyone survived was because Henry had joined forces with several other test subjects.

Three members of Green Team, the shapeshifters, used their powers to help the perpetually disoriented group of telepaths and several doctors escape, bypassing the Facility’s biometric scans by copying Lianne’s own DNA. Green Team’s efforts weren’t what put an end to the assault though. Shorty had his eyes on another test subject, the only other one down on paper as an agent, Neila Roddenberry. The woman had more than one ability and the skill to use them.

After a vicious fight between members of Shorty’s Blue Team and the Facility’s surviving pyrokinetic, a nonbinary person named Lor, that wrecked the hallway leading to the Facility’s solitary holding cell, Henry managed to free Neila from the holding cell. Lianne wasn’t entirely clear on what happened afterward, but the two men Shorty sent to reach the Hole were soon very dead.

Not long after, Shorty and his remaining team member found the director, killed her guards, and almost killed Lianne just before he brutally broke Neila’s leg and dragged the small woman away by her hair.

Director McClaine was surprised she hadn’t been handed her ass on a platter by her superiors. They wanted an excuse to privatize the work the Facility was doing. The vultures circling the Facility had only grown in number since the incident. Defense contractors were interested in taking over where the clandestine government agency had continually failed. Private companies like White Rook and HUGO Defense had personnel trained to use the abilities most people assumed were utter bullshit, such as psychic powers like telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis, shapeshifting, and God knew what else. The federal government was behind the private sector and had been for years. All Director McClaine had left was one more strike, just one more mistake, and she’d disappear into another dark hole somewhere. And even God wouldn’t have a clue what would happen to everyone else at the Facility.

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Meet the Author

Sarah Elkins is a comic artist and writer who nearly had to give up art entirely due to a form of ossifying tennis elbow that forced her to be unable to use her dominate hand for nearly a year. She spent much of that time writing novels with her left hand as a means to deal with the pain and stress of possibly never drawing again. Thanks to a treatment regimen she is able to draw again albeit not as easily or quickly as she once did.

Sarah enjoys reading science fiction, horror, fantasy, weird stories, comics of every sort, as well as any biographical material about Nikola Tesla she can get her hands on (that doesn’t suggest he was from Venus.) She has worked in the comics industry since 2008 as a flatter (colorist assistant,) penciler, inker, and colorist. She contributed a comic to the massive anthology project Womanthology. Currently she (slowly) produces a webcomic called Magic Remains while writing as much as her body will allow.

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New Release – Testament by Jose Nateras

Title: Testament

Author: Jose Nateras

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 30, 2019

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 51400

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, Chicago, paranormal, supernatural, thriller, Latinx, #ownvoices

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Synopsis

Gabe Espinosa, is trying to dig himself out of the darkness. Struggling with the emotional fallout of a breakup with his ex-boyfriend, Gabe returns to his job at The Rosebriar Room; the fine dining restaurant at the historic Sentinel Club Chicago Hotel. Already haunted by the ghosts of his severed relationship, he’s drastically unprepared for the ghosts of The Sentinel Club to focus their attentions on him as well.

When a hotel guest violently attacks Gabe, he finds himself the target of a dark entity’s rage; a rage built upon ages of racial tension and toxic masculinity. Desperate to escape the dark spiral he’s found himself in, Gabe flees across the city of Chicago and dives into the history of the hotel itself. Now, Gabe must push himself to confront the sort of evil that transcends relationships and time, the sort of evil that causes damage that ripples across lives for generations.

Gabe must fight to break free from the dark legacy of the past; both his own and that of the hotel he works in.

Excerpt

Testament
Jose Nateras © 2019
All Rights Reserved

I pulled out my phone and checked the time. I needed to be at work at six thirty, and unless the train started moving within the next five seconds, I would be late. A commute that usually took thirty minutes, door to door, was stretching closer and closer to taking forty minutes. Still, the train sat there, idle in its dark underground tunnel. There’s nothing worse than being late and getting stuck on a delayed train car at six fifteen in the morning. Fuck.

I rocked back and forth impatiently, a loose rivet in my seat clicking arrhythmically in its socket. Most of the Chicago Transit Authority’s train cars were in some state of disrepair. This car in particular had maps of the train lines missing overhead, cracked lighting fixtures, fractured chrome, and unsecured hardware. The homeless man stretched out asleep across the seats at the other end of the car didn’t seem to care. Neither did the middle-aged nurse sitting kitty-corner from me, listening to music on her phone through bright-pink earbuds.

I took a deep breath to stop my agitated rocking. The thick smell of synthetic flowers wafted along the length of the train car. An otherwise pleasant smell, in the enclosed space of the train car the scent was overwhelming, almost sickening. It had to be coming from the nurse. How’d I not notice the strength of her perfume sooner?

It occurred to me, if I puked on the ‘L’ right then and there, I’d have no excuse but to call in sick. It wouldn’t be the first time someone threw up on the Blue Line. I wouldn’t even have to actually vomit. I could just call in, hop off the train at the next stop, and grab the next one headed back toward my apartment. Tempting, but I could practically hear the voice of my manager Leslie. “Really, Gabe? What the fuck? Aren’t you just coming back from an extended leave of absence, Mr. Espinosa?”

With the sound of metal grinding on metal, the train started to move. I closed my eyes, allowing the momentum to build and hurdle me toward the misery of employment in the service industry.

Maybe misery was an exaggeration. As the train came to an abrupt stop at the Monroe station, I tried to remind myself there were worse fields to work in. Six blocks stretched between the train platform and the Sentinel Club Hotel. More specifically, six blocks stretched between me and the hotel’s restaurant, the Rosebriar Room, where I worked as a host. Walking so far would typically take around nine minutes, and at 6:25 a.m., I only had five minutes to do so. Officially late, I somehow found the energy to hustle up the stairs from the underground train platform and race out into the November chill.

I found myself caught behind a herd of Chicago commuters: business-bros and cubicle drones trotting to their respective jobs scattered across the Loop. Dodging between the office workers drowsily heading to work, I sprinted through the concrete canyon of downtown skyscrapers.

It was still dark. Only after I made it to Michigan Avenue, across from the green expanse of Millennium Park, could I see the first streaks of orange in the dark-gray sky. I pulled out my phone again. 6:31 a.m. “Shit.”

Speeding through the front doors of the hotel, I hurried to the service elevator. With no time to stop at the staff locker room down in the basement, I headed straight up to the thirteenth floor.

People often say hotels are naturally creepy places. I hadn’t really thought about it one way or another until I started working in one. It was true. The Sentinel Club Chicago was creepy, and being one of the oldest buildings in the city only made it all the more eerie. Before becoming a boutique hotel, the SCC was a historied private men’s club, and the Rosebriar Room, now the hotel’s wood-paneled fine-dining restaurant, once served as the private dining room for the club’s most elite members.

I’d been working there for a year and a half or so, and things I hadn’t noticed at first had started to weigh on my mind. More and more I found myself aware of the creepiness of the place. A laugh echoing in quiet, empty rooms. A flicker of movement out of the corner of an eye. A shadow on a wall with no one there to cast it. The feeling of being watched.

The prospect of spending my morning in such a place sounded pretty miserable. Perhaps I hadn’t been so far off in describing my job as a “misery” after all.

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Meet the Author

Jose Nateras is a Chicago based Actor, Writer, and Director who’s worked extensively on stage and screen. Having trained at The Second City, The British American Drama Academy (Midsummer at Oxford ’09), Jose is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago. Having graduated with his MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), he’s a resident playwright with ALTA Chicago’s ‘El Semillero’ (residing at Victory Gardens). Jose has written a number of shorts, pilots, and full length films, and is a contributor for The A.V. Club and elsewhere. He’s also been known to play the role of adjunct professor and teaching artist around town from time to time as well.

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New Release – Forbidden Bond by Lee Colgin

Title: Forbidden Bond

Series: They Bite, Book One

Author: Lee Colgin

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 23, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 54100

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, vampire, werewolf, paranormal, supernatural, slow burn, alpha, college, interspecies

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Synopsis

Vampires and werewolves are historical enemies. When the Peace Accord that imposes an uncomfortable armistice between the species is threatened, the entire supernatural community must respond.

Young vampire heir Sinclair Davis successfully petitions the council for permission to attend a werewolf dominated university. Surrounded by a pack of unwelcoming wolves, Sinclair’s first meeting with their alpha doesn’t go well. The handsome wolf hates him.

Alpha wolf Mitchel Edgehill is furious when the university sends a vampire to be housed among his pack, even if he is cute. But there’s nothing he can do since the paperwork has been signed. They’ll have to find a way to coexist.

As tension rises within supernatural society and violence escalates between vampires and werewolves, an uneasy truce develops between Sinclair and Mitchel. The pair attend a peace conference in hopes of preventing war, but when a rogue group of humans attacks, Sinclair is kidnapped and held for ransom. Can the alpha wolf work with vampires to save Sinclair, or will war break out after all?

Excerpt

Forbidden Bond
Lee Colgin © 2019
All Rights Reserved

SINCLAIR

Sinclair stood outside his father’s door, collecting his thoughts. This wouldn’t be easy. To get what he wanted, he’d have to remain calm and focus on the part of his plan most likely to benefit the Vampire Council, over which his father, Luther Davis, presided. Sinclair could do this; he just had to stand his ground. One last deep breath, a polite knock, and he stepped inside.

“Hello, Dad.”

“Sinclair.” His father welcomed him with a nod. Seated behind a large desk cluttered with papers, he looked busy as usual. Having been Turned and preserved at the young age of twenty-two, the fair-haired, sharp-featured vampire could be mistaken for Sinclair’s younger brother, not his father. Sinclair was twenty-six, but only twenty-six. His father had centuries on him, not that you could tell by looking. “What brings you by this evening?”

Okay, here it goes. You can do this. “Dad, I’ve decided to attend Borson University for my PhD this semester,” he said in a rush. Slow down, Sinclair. “I know you weren’t expecting this, but Borson is the best school for Historical Supernatural Studies. I was accepted last fall and I’ve already registered. No other vampire in the council has this degree; I would be the first.”

Sinclair prepared to continue, but his father spoke first. “Son, that’s a werewolf school.” His golden brows drew together. “It’s too dangerous. What’s the degree even worth, coming from Borson?” His stern voice matched his expression.

“I understand your concern, but it’s safer than you realize. I’ll be part of an exchange program. It’ll be good for the council to have a delegate at Borson. It’s a quality academy with a fine reputation, werewolves notwithstanding.” Sinclair talked to fast when he felt nervous.

Luther stood. At nearly six feet, he stood taller than his son by several inches. “The answer is no, Sinclair.” His father approached. “You’ll attend Moore as planned, and I do not appreciate you addressing this at the last minute either. Did you think that by waiting until now, you’d stand a better chance?”

“Um, yes, actually,” Sinclair responded, a stubborn edge to his voice. “Dad, I’m an adult; I don’t need your permission. I need the council’s permission, and I think they’ll grant it. I told you first as a courtesy, the petition has already been submitted, so the discussion will happen at tonight’s meeting. Moore doesn’t offer the courses I require, and the council doesn’t need another finance major; it needs a historian.” His point made, some of the tension drained away.

With an irritated sigh, his father’s gaze drifted to the window. “You’d do this to your mother? You know she will worry. At least accept the transition first, so you won’t be vulnerable. Let us Turn you. You’ve delayed too long. There are no other Living vampires your age.”

Their eyes met. Sinclair felt both guilty and defensive. Guilty because he didn’t want to worry his mother. Defensive because he wasn’t ready to die for immortality. He liked his living, breathing body, eating food, and little things like not burning to ash in the sunlight. He’d hold on to it as long as he could, thank you very much. Being a Living vampire had its advantages, even if his father was too ancient to grasp them.

Sinclair ignored the tired issue. “I’ll keep in close touch with Mom, I promise. I won’t let her worry. Look, Dad, this is a rare opportunity. Vampires don’t get accepted to Borson. Think of how much I’ll learn. It would be impossible without the exchange program. Only four students are selected. It’s an honor.”

When his dad didn’t respond, he continued, “I have to go. I’ve already accepted. There’s no alternate to take my place, and it would be rude to refuse now.”

“So you have me in a corner then, don’t you?” His dad’s gaze settled on him. Sinclair fought not to flinch. His father was not a harsh man, but everyone had their limits, and the head of the Vampire Council didn’t tolerate werewolves lightly. “Why bother to ask at all?”

“I was hoping you’d come to a different conclusion. I thought maybe you’d be proud.” Sinclair’s gaze dropped to his feet.

His dad came closer and took Sinclair by the shoulders, giving him a small shake. “You frustrating boy, of course I’m proud, but this is an unnecessary risk. I wish you’d reconsider.”

“I’m going to go, and it’s going to be fine. I promise.” Sinclair accepted the cool embrace with relief.

“We’ll see what the council has to say,” his dad conceded and ruffled his hair.

Some hours later, the Vampire Council voted unanimously to let Sinclair attend Borson.

Sinclair knew that, in the end, this meant even his father approved. Ultimately, a Doctor of Philosophy in Historical Supernatural Studies would be beneficial to the species. In a society full of forward thinkers and finance managers, Sinclair alone would be studying the past. He’d learn what had brought them to war, what mistakes had been made, and he’d prevent them from repeating those blunders.

There were supernaturals, even now, whispering the beginnings of another war. Sinclair’s work among the werewolves would be crucial.

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Meet the Author

Lee Colgin has loved vampires since she read Dracula on a hot sunny beach at 13 years old. She lives in North Carolina with lots of dogs and her husband. No, he’s not a vampire, but she loves him anyway. Lee likes to workout so she can eat the maximum amount of cookies with her pizza. Ask her how much she can bench press.

If you enjoyed this book, pick up Lee’s debut novel Slay My Love to find out what happens when you’re attracted to the very person who want to kill you an enemies to lovers 56,000k novel available now.

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