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New Release -The Scholar’s Heart by Antonia Aquilante

Title: The Scholar’s Heart

Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Three

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: July 13, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 108082

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Romance, fantasy, family-drama, suspense, gay, bi, court intrigue, kidnapping, abduction of a baby, friends to lovers, hurt/comfort, magic users, cat shifters

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Synopsis

Though he is the youngest son of a royal duke, Etan is a scholar at heart, happiest in a library surrounded by his books. He contentedly juggles his work for the prince’s government with his studies of the history and legends of Tournai, a subject of particular interest to him because he shares the secret magical Talent that runs in the royal bloodline. However, Etan’s peaceful world turns upside down when his best friend—the man he secretly loves—unexpectedly marries someone else.

Tristan is the oldest son of a wealthy merchant, raised to shoulder responsibility for the family business one day. That day comes far sooner than anticipated, and he makes a deathbed promise to his father to marry the woman his father chose and become head of the company and family. Tristan values his friendship with Etan and has always been attracted to him, but he can’t forsake his duty to his father, even if it means giving up the possibility of having Etan as a lover.

A year later, Tristan is a widower with an infant daughter and a mother who demands he marry again quickly—something Tristan resists. Circumstances throw Etan and Tristan together again, but even as they succumb to the desires they’ve always harbored, Etan battles his feelings, wary of being cast aside once more. When the unimaginable happens, Etan and Tristan must come together and support each other through the ordeal…and maybe beyond.

Excerpt

The Scholar’s Heart
Antonia Aquilante © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
One year earlier

“There you are!”

Tristan’s musical voice made the simple sentence something special, or perhaps Etan’s feelings made it seem so. Etan smiled as he looked up from his book, a glow of warmth and welcome lighting him up inside.

Tristan strode into the small room Etan had claimed for his own in the palace’s labyrinthine library. He had a desk in the university library as well, but these days, out of necessity and preference both, he conducted most of his work in this cozy little room. Obscure history books filled the shelves lining the walls. The table in the center of the room held Etan’s notes on his studies and projects, all neatly organized so he could find anything he wanted quickly. But this morning he slouched on the comfortable couch instead, book propped in his lap.

He sat there, book forgotten as he watched Tristan, the morning sun streaming in through the window and glinting off Tristan’s bright gold hair. Tristan seemed to bring the sunshine into the room with him, brightening what had been an ordinary morning until that moment.

“Good morning, Tristan.”

“Good morning to you.” Tristan sent a flirtatious smile in his direction and skirted the table, coming closer.

“It’s good to see you.” He probably sounded ridiculous, but he hadn’t seen Tristan in a few days and, well, he’d missed him.

Tristan’s smile warmed, turning a bit softer. “You too.”

Etan frowned as Tristan flopped on the couch at Etan’s side. Not at the action, but at the look in Tristan’s eyes. The brilliant blue seemed shadowed somehow. “Everything all right?”

“Fine. Why do you ask?”

“No reason. You just seem a little…” Etan shrugged. He couldn’t quite put a word to it, and he couldn’t very well say he didn’t think Tristan’s eyes sparkled as much as they usually did. “Troubled, maybe.”

Tristan was quiet for a moment and then scooted closer and rested his head on Etan’s shoulder. “I’m fine. A little tired. What are you up to?”

“Doing some reading.”

“For work or pleasure?”

Etan suppressed a shiver at the way Tristan’s voice shaped the word pleasure. Certainly, it had to be unconscious on Tristan’s part, but it put ideas into Etan’s head he didn’t want there, not yet, not when he and Tristan hadn’t spoken of feelings between them beyond friendship. But he could see those feelings were there. Perhaps he should just come right out and kiss Tristan. Tristan seemed to be over what feelings he’d had for Amory, Tristan’s lifelong friend who was now married to Etan’s cousin. Etan didn’t see any of the emotion or longing he used to in the glances Tristan sent Amory’s way. Maybe Etan had waited long enough.

He’d certainly paused long enough before answering. “A bit of both. Want me to read to you?”

He’d read to Tristan before, many times, sometimes with Tristan sitting as he was now, snuggled up against Etan’s side, sometimes with Tristan lying with his head in Etan’s lap. Tristan seemed to like when Etan read to him, seemed to enjoy the legends and histories Etan habitually occupied himself with, seemed to even enjoy when Etan forgot himself and ran his fingers through Tristan’s soft hair as he read. Etan hadn’t read to anyone before except for his youngest sister, Meriall, but reading to Tristan was a far different experience from reading bedtime stories. He liked it, liked having Tristan close and hearing Tristan’s comments and reactions.

“I’m not sure I can sit still today. I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right.” He’d realized early on in their friendship Tristan was an athletic person who enjoyed being active and outdoors. Etan came to treasure the moments of stillness and quiet, when he saw Tristan’s intellectual side and his softer side in equal measure, but he enjoyed sharing the other more active times with Tristan too. Tristan always made the rides through the countryside and the hikes along the cliffs and the rambles over the beach fun. “What would you like to do?”

“Will you go for a ride with me?”

He thought briefly of the work awaiting him in the office he shared with Cathal, of his plans to spend the morning with his books and his studies before he returned to that work. And tossed it all aside with one glance into Tristan’s eyes. As he always did. His books would still be there when he returned to them later.

And he wasn’t convinced Tristan really was all right.

“Of course. Shall we go now?”

When Tristan agreed, Etan set his book aside and tidied away a few papers. On the way to the stables, they stopped in Etan’s suite so he could change into riding boots, but they didn’t dally otherwise. Stable hands saddled their horses quickly, and they mounted up. They rode together out of the palace gates and through the city, an easy conversation flowing between them. Once they left the city, Etan let Tristan lead. When Tristan took the road leading out to the cliffs, Etan knew his suspicions about Tristan’s state of mind were correct. Tristan seemed to prefer a gallop along the cliffs when he felt he needed to escape something, some pressure in his life. He talked to Etan about it sometimes, at least a little, but only after the ride.

As Etan expected, Tristan veered off the road as they neared the cliffs. The path he chose wound through some trees until it ended in the meadows overlooking the sea. Once they were through the trees, the view opened up before them, with fields dotted with wildflowers and a rocky precipice tumbling down to the vivid blue of the sea. The area was one of Etan’s favorites. He’d rather walk along the cliffs or picnic at the top so he could better appreciate the view, but riding was exhilarating too. Well, any ride with Tristan was. Tristan was a skilled and fearless horseman, who ended each ride flushed and smiling. Etan always wanted to grab him close and kiss him when he saw Tristan that way, to see if he could make Tristan breathless for another reason entirely.

Maybe today he would.

He put the thought out of his head as best he could for the moment as Tristan urged his horse into a gallop and took off parallel to the cliff edge. Etan hurried to follow. If he thought about it too much, he risked falling off his horse, which would certainly end any chance of kissing Tristan today.

Instead he concentrated his thoughts outward to the sea- and flower-scented wind blowing in his face, to the sunlight warming his skin. The day was perfect for spring, a little cool early in the morning but pleasant as the sun climbed. The sky was clear, the sea calm. There would be fishermen out in their boats, working to bring in the day’s catch. But they weren’t close; no one was close enough to intrude on his solitude with Tristan.

He watched Tristan, slightly ahead of him. Tristan really did ride well, better than Etan did, but then Tristan had probably spent most of his childhood trying to get on a horse while Etan had spent his sneaking off to the library. Or using his Talent to change himself into a cat and climbing trees. But, most often, the library. And given where Tristan had found him this morning, not much had changed. But he did come out when Tristan asked. Unlike when he was a child and his brothers would come and pounce on him and drag him from the room.

If Tristan wanted to pounce on him, it would be another story entirely.

After a while, Tristan began to slow his horse, and Etan followed. Upon reaching the point, they paused to take in the view and then turned back for home, riding side by side at a much more leisurely pace. Etan expected Tristan to be more relaxed, even laughing, after the long gallop as he so often was, but if anything, he seemed more pensive.

Etan let Tristan have his silence, even though it pained him to do so. He wanted to help, to make whatever it was right again. Tristan had cheered him up often enough, and they’d bolstered each other’s strength through bad times. But Tristan had to speak in his own time, and he’d never actually ask for help even when he did.

Tristan didn’t speak until they were almost all the way back to Jumelle. “My father wants me to marry.”

Etan’s brain stuttered. He had to have heard wrong. He whipped around to look at Tristan, but Tristan was still staring straight ahead. “What? Did you say he wants you to marry?”

“He’s dying, Etan,” Tristan said in a small, quiet voice that made Etan hurt.

“Tristan. I’m so sorry.”

“Thank you.” Tristan glanced up at the sky for a moment, and Etan gave him his privacy to pull himself together, or what passed for privacy when they were riding side by side. “He wants me settled, since I’m to run the business when he’s gone. He wants the business settled too.”

Tristan’s family business was the largest shipping concern in Tournai, and as Tournai was a country rich in trade, owing in part to a quirk of geography, the business was a prosperous one. Etan could understand somewhat Tristan’s father wanting him to be settled down if he was to be both the head of the business and the head of the family. Old-fashioned, perhaps, but there was probably some real concern for Tristan in his father’s desire too.

Etan worked himself up to suggest perhaps the two of them could wed. Not right away, but they could make an agreement and use a betrothal period to see if they would suit. Etan believed they would, but he was already thinking of ways to convince Tristan and Tristan’s father, if necessary. Etan’s own father would be difficult, he was sure—as a duke, his father would want Etan to make a more advantageous marriage to a lady of noble birth—but he could deal with Father later.

But all those thoughts—all the hope that came with them—screeched to a halt when Tristan spoke. “I’m to marry a daughter of a friend of Father’s, Dariela. They think it will be good for the business.”

“You already know—you’re marrying a woman? That woman?”

Etan had no idea who she was—she might be a perfectly lovely person—but he couldn’t understand Tristan marrying her, or marrying any woman. Tristan preferred men, the same as Etan did. Etan had hoped Tristan might just plain prefer him.

“Father thinks it’s best. For the family and the business.”

“Yes, but—what about you? What do you think?”

Tristan shrugged. “I must live up to my responsibilities to the family and the business. I have to run everything as Father would want. He shouldn’t be dying so young.”

“I know he shouldn’t. It’s awful.” Etan scrubbed a hand over his face. “He’s been to see the healers? I’m sure Jadis would see him if I asked.”

“He has, and Amory already had Jadis examine him. This illness has gone on too long undetected and untreated. His heart is too weak now.”

“I am so very sorry, Tristan.” He wanted to pull Tristan into a hug, to hold him and try to bear some of the pain and grief for him, but they were on horses. And Tristan was about to marry someone else. “Are you sure about this marriage though?”

“I don’t see a reason not to marry her. Do you?”

The statement was a stab of pain to his gut. He had to bite back a gasp, it seemed so real, so physical. He managed to murmur something that might have been an agreement, because what else could he do? If Tristan didn’t see a reason not to marry this woman, Etan could hardly give him one.

By the time Etan arrived back at the palace, he felt as if a yawning, empty hole had opened inside him. His head was buzzing, and he couldn’t seem to think quite straight. His feet carried him to his office. But when he walked into the empty room, he just dropped down into his chair and stared at the polished top of his desk, clean of papers since he’d tidied up yesterday.

Tristan was getting married.

He and Tristan would never be anything other than friends, and Tristan obviously wanted it so, was fine with it. Perhaps Etan had been wrong about Tristan’s feelings all this time.

“Etan?”

Etan looked up, but it took him a moment to understand what he was seeing. He hadn’t even heard the door open. “Cathal.”

Panic, an emotion he seldom saw in his stoic older brother, flooded Cathal’s face. “What is it? What’s happened?”

“Tristan is marrying.” Pain spasmed through him as he said the words, but he had to say them, had to get used to hearing them. Tristan was marrying, and all chance Etan might have had with him was gone.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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Release- Spell of the Werewolf by J.R. Loveless

Title: Spell of the Werewolf
Author: J.R. Loveless
Cover by TL Bland
Release Date: May 29, 2020
Word Count: 34k+
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Enemies to Lovers
Keywords: werewolves, unexpected attraction, enemies to lovers, hybrid werewolf, human, immortality, cursed, sword fights, hunters, monsters, creatures, horror

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Buy Link: at Amazon here.

————
Blurb:
Two centuries ago, Justin was turned against his will into a werewolf – a mindless, angry beast three nights a month. Ever since, he has done everything he can to atone for the blood on his hands, even going so far as to hunt his own kind. The burden of carrying on is heavy and unforgiving, and he’s reached the point of not caring if he lives or dies.

Vincent is a hybrid, half-werewolf and half-human, spending his days, and nights, hunting werewolves. Vincent may be half-monster, but he lives and breathes by his human half. Hunting werewolves and taking down as many of the creatures as possible is all he can see.

A chance meeting changes everything. A deal struck between them, a threat to humanity, and their mutual attraction combined brings them together in an explosive way. Vincent has found the one who can break down the walls around his heart – will he now be able to carry through on his promise to end Justin’s torment, or will Justin live to see another moonrise?

Excerpt:
The crunching of bones breaking and mending echoed off the cement walls and metal cage surrounding him, while his gasps of pain mingled with the excruciating change until Justin lay there a panting, trembling mess. He curled into a fetal position, staring at the bars and wondering how much longer he could continue to live through the unbearable transformation. Every full moon he became a monster with no thought of anything except feasting on flesh, human or otherwise. He’d lock himself in a steel cage lined with silver in the basement of whatever house they were renting to stop himself from hurting anyone on the three nights he couldn’t control himself.

“You’re back to normal, I see.” A low voice came through the darkness.

Justin closed his eyes against the brightness of the light flicked on and Kara, his best friend and caretaker, stepped toward the cage with keys in hand. She unlocked the door, then the chains, and helped him to his feet. After handing him his clothing, she went back upstairs without another word. Kara was the only person in his life who knew about the beast inside of him. She’d been a loyal friend and his only family for the last ten years. But before her, he’d spent almost two hundred years on his own, merely surviving.

Despite his outward appearance of an eighteen-year-old young man, he’d actually lived for two hundred and eighteen years. He stood at an even six foot with a wiry, lean build, which never changed no matter what he ate or how much he exercised. Black hair, as dark as a moonless night, just brushed his shoulders when he didn’t keep it tied back. Most humans found it hard to stare into his eerily light blue eyes. Maybe because they could sense the evil lurking beneath the surface, or perhaps they could see the creature pacing inside him, waiting for the nights it could be free.

In the time since his life changed forever, he’d seen many wonderful and horrible things: the invention of trains, cars, and airplanes, wars, slavery, death, and blood. The only cure he knew of to end his torment was either death or to kill the one who’d bitten him. His desperate search led him here, to Japan, where he spent every waking hour not working trying to find word of the bastard’s whereabouts.

Justin made his way upstairs to the kitchen and found Kara cooking breakfast on the old stove in the house they’d rented. He watched her as she moved about the tiny kitchen. Petite at five-foot-two, she had beautiful auburn hair that hung down her back to her hourglass waist. She kept it in a ponytail most of the time. Bright green eyes complimented the light dusting of freckles across her nose. He cared for her a great deal, even loved her in his own way, but he knew it wasn’t the kind of love she wanted from him.

Thirty-five now, she’d found him ten years ago lying in the bushes in her backyard the morning after a full moon. He’d had large wounds all over his body from a fight he’d been in with another werewolf in the area. She’d tended his injuries and taken care of him until he’d regained consciousness. When he’d awakened, she’d demanded the story from him; she said it was either that or she’d call the police. So he’d told her everything, his past and the monster hiding beneath his flesh. They’d been together ever since, moving from place to place in search of the one who could break his curse. They both worked odd jobs during the day to support them as they moved from city to city and country to country. It’d been her idea to build the cage lined with silver and secure it to the ground wherever they were.

Setting a plate on the table for him and another for herself, she slid into one of the chairs. “You were overly anxious last night. More so than usual.”

Justin looked at her and then away. He picked up his fork but didn’t begin eating immediately. “I don’t remember anything, you know that, Kara. Maybe there’s another werewolf close by.”

There were many malevolent creatures in the world that humans remained unaware of, or they chose to ignore the obvious signs, writing off anything unexplained as animal attacks. Mostly, his kind stayed away from one another unless they felt threatened. “Tonight’s the last full moon, for this month at least. I don’t know how much longer I can take this, Kara. I want it to be over.”

Kara studied him for a long moment before replying, “We’ll find him, Justin. You just need to have patience.”

“How much more patience can I have, Kara?” Justin snapped. “It’s been two hundred years. Another hundred and I’ll go insane!”

She looked at him sadly but didn’t say anything. They sat in silence for the remainder of breakfast. Justin barely touched the scrambled eggs, attempting a bite or two to appease Kara, but he couldn’t stomach the idea of eating. He knew she meant well, and she couldn’t really understand why he wanted to die, but her words only served to reinforce why he couldn’t continue to live like this.

After breakfast, Kara washed the dishes and then grabbed her purse. “I’m on my way to work. I’ll be back before the sun sets to lock you in.”

He watched her leave, staying at the table even after she’d gone. The night he’d been bitten played in his head like a mini movie, almost as if it were someone else’s reality. It was 1802, and he’d been out drinking at a local tavern, celebrating the birth of his best friend’s baby. When the owner finally kicked them out at two in the morning, he started toward home, weaving along the street in his drunkenness. Most people were tucked in their beds asleep. No noises could be heard other than the odd stray cat in the alley garbage bins or the lone bark of a dog in the far off distance. A loud crashing sound echoed off the cobblestones and in between buildings just before a large heavy weight slammed into him. He flew through the air, landing with a thud on the unforgiving street.

He realized a huge animal, something akin to a wild dog, lay on top of him, pinning him to the ground. Before he could react, the animal sank his teeth into his shoulder. Justin remembered screaming in pain as blood poured from the torn flesh. He heard a gunshot as someone came running down the street, yelling to scare off the dog. The animal let go and ran off, leaving him lying in a pool of his own blood.

The man who’d saved him had taken Justin to his home and rung the doctor. The doctor stitched him up and bandaged his wound. Justin returned to his own home the next day and went about his normal life. The wound healed in a miraculously short amount of time, and he’d begun to notice strange things happening to his body in the following weeks. He found himself abnormally attracted to the scent of blood, and he could smell things from several hundred feet away. His eye sight and hearing grew sharper, and his strength increased three fold.

The first full moon came a little over three weeks after he’d been bitten. He was out chopping firewood for his parents when it started. He thanked God every day since then that he hadn’t been home when it happened. He remembered dropping to his knees as a sudden pain gripped his entire body. His screams of anguish filled the forest behind his home; the snapping of his bones breaking was the only thing louder than his cries. Hair sprouted along his hands and arms; his jaw elongated into a snout. He could still feel the terror he’d felt during his first change. He lost consciousness afterward or so he’d thought. He figured out the next morning that when he became the monster inside, he lost all control of his awareness and the beast took over.

The only thing he remembered was waking up covered in blood the next morning. He’d vomited at the grisly sight beside him. A mutilated body of a man lay near him. He couldn’t even identify the face of the man, to know who he’d been, because his face had been torn to shreds and then gnawed on by some great animal. He’d gone to the nearby river to wash the blood away the best he could and made his way slowly toward home, where he’d snuck into his room to pack some of his things. He left a note for his parents telling them he was sorry, but he could no longer stay with them. They weren’t safe with him. He’d saddled his horse and left for good.

He’d been running ever since. The only person he’d gotten close to in the last two hundred years was Kara. Even after ten years he still feared for her safety, but she never let him take off alone no matter how many times he tried.

Bio:
J.R. Loveless began her adventure in writing romance at the young age of twelve. Her foray into creating her own worlds and telling her characters’ life stories was triggered by her own love of reading. She currently resides in South Florida with her dog and two cats, volunteers for an animal rescue in her spare time, and works as a manager for a financial lending institute. Someday she hopes to begin writing as a full-time career and bringing more of her ideas to life.

Her journey into gay romance began in 2005 when she began posting her original fiction on a forum for feedback and readers’ pleasure. In 2010, a good friend urged her to submit to a publishing company, and the day she received the acceptance and contract was the best day of her life. Since then, she has been noted to be one of the most purchased audio books after Fifty Shades of Grey on Audiobook.com, received best gay romantic fiction for Touch Me Gently in the 2011 TLA Gaybies, and even received an award for Chasing Seth in 2012.

J.R. adores her fans and loves hearing from them.

Website: http://www.jrloveless.com
Blog: http://www.jrloveless.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjrloveless
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrloveless
Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/jrloveless

Release Day -No Sacrifice by Grace R. Duncan


No one gets to live your life but you.

Out now at Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited!


 
You can find No Sacrifice here.
 

About No Sacrifice:

Patrick has taken his acting talents from high school all the way to a role in a major television show. But as the show progresses, his life of absolute certainties crumbles when he finds himself reacting to the kisses of his male costar. He refuses to accept it, reminding himself he’s happily married to a woman and has a sweet son, Avery. So, straight. Right?

One night he goes to drink his worries away and meets the gorgeous Chance Dillon. After too many drinks, Patrick spills his problems to Chance, who helps him realize he’s probably bisexual, and the new understanding helps him sleep better. It turns out Chance is a sound technician on the same set, and the two become fast friends.

Their friendship grows, Patrick’s marriage ends, and he returns from his family’s home in Hawai’i with Avery who captures Chance’s heart. Patrick and Chance’s romance blossoms, giving both dreams of a life together as a family of three. When Patrick is outed by the press to his unaccepting mother, he pushes Chance away to spare him the mess Patrick’s life has become. By the time he realizes his mistake, it may be too late.
 
About the author:

noh8Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

As someone who loves to travel and see new places, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

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New Release-Ghosts, Gangsters and Garland

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My latest is now out. Check it out. I had a lot of fun with this one. It’s set in my old stomping grounds.

Blurb
Zia, Dolores and Kane all possess the magic to fight monsters but all they want now is a nice Christmas break. Partners in life and at work as monster-slayers for a group known as the Clipeum, they’ve been risking life and limb keeping humanity safe. They’ve won their hard-earned vacation their boss has set up for them: a week in a small hotel in upper Wisconsin. Their boss mentioned in passing it used to be a gangster retreat in the heyday of prohibition.

Married for some time, Zia and Dolores were surprised to have Kane in their life, first at work and now in their hearts. They’re looking forward to their first holiday today as a threesome and the ladies can’t wait to see their first pagan Yule celebration with Kane. All they want is some quiet relaxation. What they get is something entirely different.

Gangster ghosts, would-be witches, over-enthusiastic children, animated snowmen and a century old former gangster moll who has a little spark still in her add up to a not-so-restful Christmas. Zia, Dolores and Kane trade comfy clothing and relaxation for spellcasting and ghost wrangling. Still they might just be able to rescue themselves a Merry Yule from all the chaos.

When Holidays Attack

Release Date: December 10, 2019

Word Count: 20,000

Editor: Jude Dunn

Cover Artist: Catherine Dair

Buy Links

Mischief Corner Press

Amazon

Kobo

Apple Books

New Release- Double Six by Brenda Murphy


Title: Double Six
Series: Rowan House, Book Five
Author: Brenda Murphy
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 18, 2019
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Female/Female, Female/Female Menage
Length: 63500
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, Contemporary, romance, BDSM, interracial, ménage, switch, edge play, knife play, pain play, extortion, kidnapping, Oslo, Norway, Isle of Skye

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Synopsis

Elaine MacLeod, the most feared and revered Mistress of Rowan House, is frustrated. Overworked, still hurt and angry over the departure of her long-term lover, she refuses to admit Rowan House needs another Mistress to accommodate their guests. Unconvinced anyone will be able to meet her high standards, Elaine grudgingly agrees to audition the sole applicant, Petra Grendhal.

Robin Broadacre would do anything for the woman who rescued her from certain death at the hands of her previous employers. When she volunteers to assist Petra with her audition, Elaine is forced to reckon with her desire for Robin. Drawn to Petra’s fiery strength and icy demeanor as well Robin’s devotion, Elaine finds herself torn between her passion for both women. When Petra disappears on a trip to Oslo, Elaine and Robin’s search leads them to menaces from Robin’s past and a fight for their lives.

Excerpt

Double Six
Brenda Murphy © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
“Are you sure this is what we need?” Elaine lowered the hairbrush and shifted her gaze to Martha’s face, reflected in the dressing table mirror.

Martha quirked her mouth. “We’ve been over this. Just give her a chance. You can’t keep up with our client requests.”

Elaine tossed the brush on the top of the dressing table. “Because you and Lucia don’t help.” She swept her titian hair back and up into a high ponytail.

Martha handed her an elastic. “We’re not having this argument again. Lucia and I are finished with that side of the business. We can’t keep putting people off or they’ll find other houses to visit.

Elaine knotted a hunter-green ribbon in her hair. “Oh please. Like they could find anyone like me. Or what we offer here.” She shoved away from the vanity and turned to face her sister. “Fine. We’ll see how she handles herself. But the timing sucks.”

Martha placed her hands on her sister’s shoulders. “We had to work with the dates she gave us. Lucia thinks she’d be a good fit. We’ve had our trip planned for a long time. We trust you to make a good decision.

Alone. Again. “I’m not worried about making a wrong decision. Who’ll sub for her? Benita and Fallon are on holiday. No one else likes heavy pain play.”

Martha grinned wickedly at Elaine. “Maybe you could give it a go?”

Elaine rolled her eyes at her sister. “The switch gene is not in me. Go on, go on your holiday. I’ll figure it out.” Somehow. Damn, I miss Roxy.

Lucia and Myfanwy stood next to the car, their breath visible as they chatted in the frosty gray morning. Millie loaded the last of their luggage into the trunk and closed the lid gently. Martha placed her hand on Elaine’s forearm. “You have our itinerary. We can return if it’s an emergency”—she straightened to her full height and squared her shoulders—“but we are not to be disturbed unless it is.”

Elaine rolled her eyes at her sister. “Yes, sister dear, goddess forbid I interrupt your honeymoon. Like you haven’t already had one. I won’t bother you.” She let the devil show in her eyes. “I expect you’ll be tied up.”

Martha settled her fedora on her head. “I’m not going to waste my time replying to that, and please for the love of all that’s good, try to get along with Petra. We don’t have any other candidates.”

“So we should settle?” Elaine placed her hand on her hip.

“No one is saying settle. What I am saying is do not make a snap judgment. Or piss her off so much she leaves.”

Elaine shrugged. “If she can’t stand the heat…”

“Martha, we need to leave now.” Lucia spoke over Elaine, her voice a soft command. “I’m sure Elaine and Petra will sort things.”

“See, even your Miss agrees.” Elaine smirked at Martha.

Martha smiled at Elaine, not giving her the argument she craved. “Try it some time. You might find you like it.”

“Ha. A cold day in hell. Go now or you’ll miss the ferry.”

Martha gave Elaine a quick hard hug before she hurried down the steps to the car.

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Meet the Author

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows, and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not swilling gallons of hot tea and writing, she wrangles two kids, two dogs, and one unrepentant parrot. She writes about life, books, and writing on her blog Writing While Distracted.

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