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OUT TODAY! My New Book ♥♥ FATE IN SUSPENSION ♥♥ Release Day is FINALLY HERE!

 

Guess what? It’s Release Day for Fate in Suspension, my first new book in 3 years!!!

 

 

Purchase from any major online retailer!
AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKoboApple Books… and more!

 

Genres: Paranormal romance, urban fantasy, high fantasy, BDSM romance
Series: Horn & Haven
LGBTQIA+ identities: Gay, Pansexual; M/M relationship

Quiet. That’s how he likes life, no drama to clean up…

Tai Xen-Vorsy leads a straightforward life: work, time at the local clubs where shapeshifters like him can play without fear, and the comforts of home with a cat that’s more than half attitude. After breaking up with his last submissive, he’s even taking a break from Dom duties.

Meeting Gates changes everything, and when Tai’s childhood home is destroyed, his simple life goes up in flames.

The Callensdale haven was his refuge as an orphan, a hideaway that saved his life. Now it’s time to return the favour. Bringing in the Fluff Brigade Brotherhood would make all the difference… if he could just get them back together. Tai won’t give up—he’s not that kind of unicorn. But can he reunite the brotherhood and keep his new relationship with Gates kindled at the same time?

The darkness is dragging him into the shadows, one case at a time…

Helping others is all Gates Colfaethe wants to do, being mostly unicorn shifter with a splash of Faerie. But years as an agent on trafficking cases leave him fearing just how far he’ll lose himself in the job before he burns out completely.

A random hookup with Tai might be the very change he needs. A new Dom means new rules and the chance to create safe distance from work—until his worlds collide in a twist Gates should leave well enough alone. What he knows is bad enough, but running headlong into danger could kill him.

Content notes & trigger warnings: Fate in Suspension contains explicit content, including BDSM scenes and activities, all of which is meant for adult readers and takes place within safe, sane, and consensual guidelines.

This story also touches on matters related to mental health, including PTSS/PTSD. There are references to death and murder, references to the death of a character’s parents, mentions of various sorts of trafficking, and references to missing persons, captivity, and torture. There is some physical violence and depictions of the aftermath of a violent attack. There is also the use of blood in a magical way.

The BDSM activities in this story include bondage and discipline with physical implements, spanking, and orgasm denial.

Please note the story uses gender-neutral pronouns for certain characters. These are not mistakes; they are the deliberate pronouns of those characters.

 

*Are you on Goodreads? Add it to your shelves!

•••

And here we go! It’s finally out!!

This is one of the projects that’s kept me company these last couple years. It wasn’t planned — really just dropped in my lap quite randomly — but it was perfect to work on during the pandemic. I’m really looking forward to working on the rest of the series, seeing where all of the brotherhood ends up… It’s going to be one heck of a ride.

Though it’s so funny thinking back on all of the influences and things that ended up in this single book, and how those influences are going to spiral out into the rest of the series. Somehow, my love of The Last Unicorn and Star Trek just… fell together. I’ve grown up with both of them in my life, from when I was pretty young. The amazing movie version of The Last Unicorn is the very first fantasy film I remember watching, and I watched it over and over and over and over again. I just loved it SO MUCH. And Star Trek: The Next Generation was my first memorable exposure to science fiction, with a cast I still love to this day.

That’s not to say Fate in Suspension follows either one of these. Rather, there are homages to both, very much in the details of the story. Sometimes it’s in a name, the technology, one of the themes, or whatever else popped up. I’m *still* working out all of the subtle connections that slipped in when I wasn’t looking! 😉

There’s also the addition of the BDSM element, which is something I’ve wanted to explore in a couple of my books for a few years, but those books have been pushed down the line due to other projects. But this one happened! And I’m so excited to say it’s here! Tai and Gates have been really fun to work with, and I hope readers love them and their connection.

There’s a whole lot more to come where this brotherhood is concerned — book #2, Shifting Surety, is already underway! So keep an eye out for that. Once I have scenes/chapters written, I’ll start posting them over on my Patreon, so patrons can read the second book as it’s being written.

For now… Here’s a link to the playlist for Fate in Suspension (... I used sooooo many songs…) and there’s also a book tour scheduled for September that’s currently taking sign-ups!

I’ve also included a little, itty bitty excerpt below. Thanks for stopping by! ♥

 

•••

Now for an Excerpt…

 

Tai didn’t spare a look at his reflection before he washed his face, scrubbing away his eyeliner and the gritty layers of sweat and body glitter. He’d feel better once he got sleep. Everything would—

Shit!

Agony slammed through him, exploding from ear to ear. No warning. No—

He doubled over, out of breath and paralyzed over the sink, gripping just to stay upright.

Scream for him. Scream for help—

Fuck, the mirror. Movement in the glass. Shadows creeping through, threading down the porcelain—

Tai!

That was Molly Rey’s voice.

Molly, haven, so far away

—But she was shouting as if she was close. So close she was inside him, punching his soul. Touch the mirror, now. Dammit, Tai!

Fires, his head. Was he dying, bleeding out without seeing a drop of it?

His hands—he could move those. And his neck. Just a bit. Raising his head, though, raising up through the hit…

The mirror. She was in the mirror.

Teeth grinding, Tai fought to raise his gaze, head slowly following suit. Molly Rey was caught in a fog—no, smoke. Surrounded by smoke. Flames—flames in the background, eating up the curtains… the darkness… taking away the darkness.

She wasn’t alone: Natire floated by Molly Rey, a ghost of the in-between; a patron spirit of the haven. One of three. One of their protectors.

But the burning. That awful burning…

Molly Rey touched the mirror, her palm and fingers darkened, almost rotten. Tai! Now!

Tai slapped his hand to the mirror.

His fingers sank into the shadows, the glass hot to the touch. The past crashed through him, misery from top to bottom, searing on a deluge of memory. Blood magic—it coursed through their veins, his and Molly Rey’s, the mirror a conduit to connect them. The magic dragged and stumbled, fighting him for every step, tying them together over the vast distance.

Emotions filtered through—panic at the top, on the boil with Molly Rey’s anger, her desperation becoming his. And the stench. Gods, the stench of it all, bleeding through their connection, burning wood and ash as heat devoured the stone walls. Noise too, screams rising up in the not-so-distant distance… bangs… the crash of a beam behind Molly Rey—

Tai gasped, his hand burning where Molly Rey’s hand was black as night. Hurt. She’d been hurt—

Tai!

Molly Rey’s shout shook him with its violence. He nearly collapsed, her voice so loud in his head, it shamed amps on full blast even with the sink taps still on, water swirling down the sink.

“Tai, we’re under attack. The fire—” Molly Rey startled. Peered behind her. Terror seeped through Tai—his or hers?

 
 

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Updates + Pre-order “Fate in Suspension”!

 

New book, new series — and it’s almost here!!

 

COMING June 30: Fate in Suspension, the first book in my MM+ paranormal romance series, Horn & Haven. IT’S HAPPENING!!! And pre-order links are available RIGHT HERE!

 

Fate in Suspension COVER (450x720)


For a quick primer on the book, here’s the cover reveal post, where I talked a bit on what to expect from the story. Fate in Suspension kicks off an ensemble series about the Fluff Brigade Brotherhood, a family of friends that met as kids and bonded closely, but then drifted apart — and now they’re about to find out what being family as adults means… assuming they don’t get taken out in the process. QUESTIONABLE THINGS ARE AFOOT!

There’s plenty of things going on with this story…

– Unicorn shapeshifters
– Faeries, mages, wizards — helloooooo magical world!
– A Very Serious Mission
– ROAD TRIP
– Family, family, family
– More family
A cat that cats
– Siblings that can’t help but “help”
– Some… creative choices when it comes to a piece of cake on a near-disastrous date
– Something sweet, something sexy, and something bound to get messy.

 

This story has been in the works for a couple years now, and it’s almost *this close* to being ready to go — I’ve got some last editing to do, then it’ll be ready for formatting and uploading. For now, the book is up for pre-order on all the major online retailer sites: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Smashwords, etc. Here’s the direct link ~~> https://books2read.com/fateInSuspension

And if you use Goodreads, it’s over there too.

 

So that’s the biggest news here! It’s been a few years since I last released anything brand new, and I’m hoping folks enjoy it. It’s a story that I hadn’t planned on writing — it very much showed up randomly and took over my to-do list during the pandemic, which pushed other projects aside. BUT! After this book comes out, I’ll be returning to the other projects I have on the go, including After the Harp Sings and Rebel Call. I might even finally make it to starting on the dragon shifter story that’s been patiently waiting on the sidelines! Maybe. Depending on how the muses roll. I’ve got A LOT of WIPs on the go right now, at various stages of development/writing, so it’s anyone’s guess at the moment. But more to come on that on the other side of release day!

 

For now… here’s a little taste of Fate in Suspension:

_____________________

EXCERPT

_____________________

 

The vibration of a heavy stomp on the ground had Tai turning back to Gates, only to lose his breath.

Even in the darkest of nights, he’d recognize a unicorn.

The crushing pull on his heart wasn’t the only thing that dragged him closer to Gates right then, but it may as well have been for all the devastation it wreaked inside him. It’d been years since he last saw one of his own in their other form, and this…

He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t even stop blinking back what was gathering in the corners of his eye… Dust, he was sure of it. Maybe. If he was lucky.

“Hey.” Hand outstretched, Tai stilled as Gates’s nose pushed into Tai’s palm in a gentle nuzzle, the hot huff of a breath playing along Tai’s forearm. Gates, who stood taller than him now by several hands, dark blond hair traded for a long, kinked white mane and dark eyes Tai couldn’t tell the colour of, though he’d wager they were of the darkest wine. Up close, he smelled lightly of musk and earthy sweetness, a hint of vanilla laced through the scent.

He was gorgeous in this form, too, all of the human lustre stripped away. Moonlight caught on the sheen of Gates’s pale cream-coloured coat and the glimmer of his spiralled horn. Gates’s muscles twitched and flexed beneath Tai’s caress up his shoulder, his coat even softer than his mane, stirring memories long buried. It’d been so long since Tai hadn’t cared; when he’d taken to being nothing but a unicorn and ran whenever he wanted, for however long he wanted. The haven had not only given him the freedom, but the joy, nothing held back, nothing locked down, and not a single worry about being snitched on—

Gates huffed and mouthed at Tai’s shirt, only to step back before ramming his forehead against Tai’s hand.

Tai chuckled. “Still know what you want,” he teased, stroking Gates’s mane. Gates drew close, one feathered hoof stopping just shy of Tai’s foot. “I’m almost tempted to join you.”

Gates paused before butting his snout against Tai’s chest. A second gentle shove nudged Tai back.

“Really?” Tai grinned and held his arms open wide. “Tell me again.”

With a snort, Gates shuffled back, then tramped towards Tai and butted him hard enough to send Tai to the ground.

Tai’s burst of laughter sent the Faeries into a scattered frenzy around the clearing. A handful swooped over him in circles of gold and silver light, leaving trails above his face. “Got the point, gorgeous. Got the point.”

_____________________

 

More updates to come! Stay safe and keep hanging in there, folks. ♥

 

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“The Scars That Bind Us” by Michele Notaro || Book Tour, #Giveaway & Character Interview + Excerpt!

 
Michele Notaro has a new MM urban fantasy out: The Scars that Bind Us. There’s also a giveaway, an AMAZING cover from Natasha Snow, and a fun character interview with one of the fellas from the book!! Check it all out below.
 
 
COVER - The Scars That Bind Us
 
 
Title: The Scars That Bind Us
Author: Michele Notaro
Series: The Magi Accounts (Book #1)
 
Release date: February 22, 2022
Genre: Urban fantasy, Gay (M/M) romance
LGBTQA+ characters: Gay, bi, demi, non-binary (a secondary character)
Length: 115,631 words
Publisher: Michele Notaro
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
 
 
Sometimes the worst scars are the ones you can’t see.

Growing up in the magi compound was far from easy. I didn’t think I’d ever get out of that horrid place, but eighteen years ago, my world changed. I was allowed freedoms I’d never had before, although, even today, I was still at the Non-Human Specialties Operations’ beck and call.

Which is how I find myself on a team with my best friend, five shifters, and a human.

Now, I have to figure out a way to work with others—with shifters. I’ve never been one to trust easily, and I don’t see that changing, but this shifter pride has a way of getting past my walls. Unfortunately, all that means is now I have even more people I need to protect against the evils of this world, and I really don’t know how I’m gonna do it.

All three species have been at odds for more than a century, but maybe Cosmo—a lion shifter—and I can put aside our differences to work together and keep everyone safe. And if I’m secretly crushing on the guy, well, I think I’ll keep that to myself.
 
The Scars That Bind Us is a 115K word novel and the first book in the MM urban fantasy series, The Magi Accounts.
 
 
*Intended for adults only. Warnings: Violence, mentions of past abuse, hints of past sexual assault (nothing on-page), oppression of magi and shifters.
 
 

Available at these retailers!

Publisher | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Universal Buy Link

 
 

You can also add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

 
 
BANNER - The Scars That Bind Us
 
 

•  •  •  •  •  •

 
 

GIVEAWAY:

 
 

Michele is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour::

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 

{Or paste this link into your browser: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47226/?}

 
 

•   •   •   •   •   •

 
 

Excerpt

 
MEME1 - The Scars That Bind Us
 
 
“That sounds nice.” I hesitated, then added, “I’ve never been to a cookout before.”

He froze. “What?”

My brow furrowed. “Uh, I’ve never been to a cookout. It’s not like we had anything like that at the compound, and every mage I know who lives off-base is in an apartment.” I shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal even though I knew it was. Cookouts were a normal thing for humans and shifters. I’d seen enough of them in movies and shows, and read enough about them, to know that I’d love to go to one someday. But that wasn’t really in the cards for me.

“You’ve seriously never been to a cookout? Not even once?”

“Uh, nope. Pretty sure I’d remember something like that.”

A strangled sound came out of his throat before he rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. “Madeo…”

“What?”

“I… Jesus, I don’t even know what to say to that. I’ll have to have a cookout and invite you, Jude, and Logan.”

My eyebrows rose. “Really?” Despite myself, a strange flutter of hopefulness flitted around my chest. Which was stupid. People said things like that all the time. It didn’t mean they’d follow through.

Cos smiled softly and shoulder-bumped me. “Yeah, cat lover, really.”

I smiled up at him before entering the sandwich shop. I knew what I wanted, so I ordered, then gestured to Cos, saying, “What do you want?”

He was staring at the menu as he ordered a shit-ton of food. When he finished, paid—even though I’d tried to pay for both—and we sat down to wait, I asked, “Are you trying to feed your entire pride?”

He snorted. “No. I’ll finish it all.”

My eyes widened. “How? You’re a big guy, but you have like zero fat on you, and I’ve never seen you eat that much.”

“You’re asking me that? You’re a mage, and you just ordered an extra sandwich for yourself and a bucket of fries that I have no doubt you’ll finish off.”

“I like to save half of the second sandwich for tomorrow.”

He shook his head. “I have no idea where all this food goes on you. But for me, it takes a lot of energy, burns a ton of calories, to shift, and since I shift at least once a day, I eat a lot. I shifted a couple times yesterday and already once this morning, so I need the calories.”

“Gotcha. That makes sense. I wonder if my magic burns up some of the calories I eat?” I shrugged. “Whatever. Doesn’t matter.”

He grinned. “What are your plans for the rest of the day?”

“This is literally the only thing I have to do all day. I’m wide open. Except I don’t want to stray too far from Jude.”

He nodded. “Can I ask you a couple questions about your bond with him?”

“Uh, sure.”

“Can you feel him all the time? Even when you’re far away from each other?”

“Yes. He’s my focus, so we’d be able to find each other anyway, but it’s more than that, too. We’ve been bonded since I was three days old, so it’s completely normal to me to, uh, carry someone else in my chest.” I patted my chest where my heart was. “It’s like I can feel his heart beating right beside mine. And if he has a strong emotion, I feel it there. It’s… kind of hard to explain.”

“That was a pretty good explanation.”

I grinned. “If you say so.”

“I do.” He scratched his cheek. “Are you and Jude… involved in any other way?”

I stared at him for a few seconds, not understanding the question at first. But then I got it, and my eyes widened in horror. “Ew. Are you fucking serious? That’s… that’s… ew. No. Not even a little bit. Not ever. He’s my dyad. He’s the other half of me, and I… I wouldn’t want to date myself, right? Goddess.”

He laughed. “Okay, okay. Sorry. I didn’t realize.”

“So fucking gross.”

“Okay, so you two aren’t romantically involved. Good to know.”

“No, we’re not. Fucking duh.”

He snorted. “Alright, you don’t have to be an ass about it.”

“Pretty sure you already know I’m always an ass.”

With a grin, he reached across the table to flick my hand.

I snatched it away. “Not cool, jerkhole.”

He snorted again, then gestured to the counter. “Looks like our food’s ready. I’ll go grab it.”

“Thanks.” I watched him walk to grab the two trays of food—no way would it all fit on one—and my eyes accidentally-on-purpose strayed down to his ass.

It was a good ass. Like the rest of him, it was muscled and firm. Round. Bitable.

Thinking about biting his glorious buttcheek made me hum in appreciation out loud. And of course, Cos chose that moment to turn around. I didn’t even get the chance to look away and pretend I wasn’t ogling him before he caught me.

He had a huge grin on his smug face when he sat down and passed me my food. We started eating in companionable silence, and I thought he was going to let me get away with it without saying anything.

But then he opened his mouth and said all casual-like, “So you’re an ass man, huh?”

I almost spit out my food. “What? No. Nope.”

“Uh-huh. Real convincing, cat lover.”

I glared. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, kitty cat.”

He just grinned that smug grin at me.
 
 

•   •   •   •   •   •

 
 

Guest Post: Character Interview!

by Michele Notaro

 
 
Madeo is the main character from The Scars That Bind Us: The Magi Accounts 1 by Michele Notaro.

 

Author: So you’re a mage, right?

Madeo: *rolls eyes* Pretty sure you can tell that from the red tag in my ear… damn government making us register and tagging us like cattle.

Author: Uh… yeah, that’s really… unfortunate.

Madeo: That’s a nice way of putting it.

Author: Okay, so… let’s get back on track. You’re magi, but you’re also a dyad, which means you’re magically connected to another mage, right?

Madeo: Yes. Jude is my dyad, and he’s basically the equivalent of a magic wand for me.

Author: Very cool. So magi don’t get along with humans, clearly, but I hear they don’t get along with shifters, either.

Madeo: More like no one else wants to associate with us lowly magi, but yeah, in general, we don’t get along.

Author: Does that make it hard to work with them?

Madeo: Uh. *clears throat* This new team Jude and I were put on isn’t so bad.

Author: That’s good to hear. Have you been working for the Non-Human Specialties Operations for a long time, Mads?

Mads: Since I was a teenager, yeah.

Author: How old are you?

Mads: Wow, hit me where it hurts. *sighs* I’m 34.

Author: Nice—

Mads: You’ve been talking to me forever. When are you going to get back to writing?

Author: Uh… in a few minutes?

Mads: Good. You’ve gotten me into a sticky situation, and I don’t know how you’re gonna get me out of it.

Author: …yeah, neither do I.

Mads: *rolls eyes* Of course you don’t. Why don’t you—

Author: I’m supposed to be asking the questions here.

Mads: Ugh. Fine.

Author: *narrows eyes at problem character* Why are you fighting your attraction to the lion shifter, Cosmo, so hard?

Mads: What? What attraction? I’m not attracted to anyone. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Author: Is that really what you’re going with?

Mads: I’m not attracted to anyone, let alone Mr. Big Bad Alpha Lion. Nope.

Author: He doth protest too much, methinks.

Mads: Jude! Get your ass over here so I can blast her in the face!

Jude: *yells from the distance* Nope.

Mads: Come on, Judikans.

Jude: I agree with her!

Mads: *gasps* Traitor!

Author: Is it because he’s a shifter?

Mads: *glares at author* No comment.

Author: Oh come on. You agreed to this interview.

Mads: Don’t you have a book to write?

Author: *sighs* You’re a pain in the ass.

Mads: *smirks* I know, but you wrote me this way.

Author: *groans*
 
 

MEME3 - The Scars That Bind Us

 
 

•  •  •  •  •  •

 

Author Bio

AUTHOR LOGO - The Scars That Bind Us - Michele Notaro

Michele is married to an awesome guy that puts up with her and all the burnt dinners she makes—hey, sometimes characters are a bit distracting, and who doesn’t plot when they’re supposed to be cooking? They live together in Baltimore, Maryland with two little monsters, three-legged and four-legged fiends, and a little old man (aka their two sons, their two cats, and their senior dog). She hopes to rescue another cat soon, and if her hubby wouldn’t kill her, she’d get more than one… and maybe a few more dogs as well.

She loves creating worlds filled with lots of love, chosen family, and of course, magic, but she also likes making the characters fight for that happy ending. She hopes to one day write all the stories in her head—even if there are too many to count!

Author Website: https://michelenotaro.com/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013432570194

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/author.notaro/

Author Instagram: https://instagram.com/michelenotaro.author

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16187122.Michele_Notaro

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/michelenotaro
 
 

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

 
 

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The Unbreakable Soldiers Trilogy by Megan Derr || Book Tour, #Giveaway & Guest Post + Excerpt!

 

the unbreakable soldiers trilogy banner

 
 

The Engineered Throne

Unbreakable Soldiers Book 1

by Megan Derr

Genre: LGBTQ Fantasy Romance

 

Lord Vellem is desperate to escape. His father hides from his problems in alcohol, his mother hides from her misery in drugs, and his brother fled to the relative safety of the royal palace. Vellem found solace in the Royal Army Corp of Engineers, but true escape from a life of violence remains out of reach.

Then his brother provides him with an unexpected chance: marriage to a prince of their country’s oldest enemy to help bring about peace once and for all. The marriage promises Vellem not just a fresh start in a new land, but a challenge to his famed skills in building roads and bridges.

But before he can settle into his new life, tragedy strikes, and Vellem isn’t certain he’s up to rebuilding the ruin left in its wake.
 

Add to Goodreads!

 

Available at these retailers!

Amazon | Books2Read

 
 

The Painted Crown

Unbreakable Soldiers Book 2

 

Prince Istari has spent his life reviled: his parents wish he had never been born, the royal court of Belemere avoids him for fear of angering the king, and everyone else is kept away by his notorious reputation as a deadly sharpshooter. Now a hostage of peace in Tallideth, he is subjected to their hatred as well—even that of Regent Vellem, who once considered him a comrade in arms.

Unexpected solace comes in the form of Lord Teverem, a sad, quiet lord who assumed the title when his brother was killed in the explosion for which Istari’s father is to blame. He is kind and sweet and a sorely needed bright spot in Istari’s life—until Istari meets his family and learns of a dangerous family secret with unexpected ties to Istari’s past, a secret that could drag Tallideth and Belemere right back into war…

 

Add to Goodreads!

 
Available at these retailers!

Amazon | Books2Read

 
 

The Stolen Court

Unbreakable Soldiers Book 3

 

Bertin is a liar and a thief. Once an orphan on the street stealing purses, his life was forever changed when he saved a boy’s life—and then became that boy to the rest of the world. But one lie always leads to another, and life as a Belemeren spy planted in the Engineer Corp has led him to the role of liaison in Ruemri, a kingdom he helped Ruemri’s enemies steal.

His primary duty is to watch King Sesta, which means he is himself watched by the whole of Ruemri’s royal court. For a man used to being overlooked and ignored, the situation is a living nightmare. That situation is further worsened when he receives word of an unspecified terrible event that is going to take place—and then the last person he expected arrives, bringing Bertin’s past and secrets with him.

 

Add to Goodreads!

 
Available at these retailers!

Amazon | Books2Read

 
 

unbreakablesoldiers - excerpt

Unfortunately, apprising Kestel was easier said than done, as the party was reaching its peak, and Bertin couldn’t just walk up to Kestel and say ‘your pretend mother is tied up in a parlor’ without drawing a lot of attention. At the very least, people would notice a whole slew of guards disappearing.

When he stepped into the ballroom, he was left not quite gagging on the overwhelming combination of sweat, cologne and perfume, sex, and substances he didn’t want to know too much about. Thankfully, Kestel was still sprawled on his throne, indolent, heart-achingly beautiful, and completely untouchable. What would it cost to touch the sun?

More than Bertin would ever possess, more than he could dream of possessing.

Not that he wanted to touch—he didn’t. Not sexually, anyway. He just…

Oh, who knew. Not him. Most days he wanted to be able to strangle the infuriating bastard.

Shoving his rambling thoughts aside, Bertin took a deep breath of the relatively fresh air by the open door and then waded into the fray. He fought his way through the room, valiantly ignoring all the groping, fondling, and lewd suggestions spoken in roars rather than the sultry whispers the speakers were probably going for. When people got too grabby, he gave them shoves that they promptly forgot about as their crude landings gave them something new to play with.

By the time he neared the dais, he was ready to go to bed and stay there the rest of the year.

“There you are,” Kestel said, unfolding sinuously from the throne and sauntering down the steps in a way that put every other effort in the room to glaring shame. “I was starting to think I’d have to dance with someone else.”

“Dance? What? Did someone slip you something?” Bertin said. “No, Your Majesty, there’s something important—” Bertin broke off with a grunt as he was snagged and dragged by his shirt collar to the middle of the dancefloor. Kestel offered a hand as the strains of a waltz started up, quieting the rest of the room. Well, somewhat quieting it. Hard to completely muzzle a ravening horde.

Biting back his frustration, and all the crude words he’d like to use to express it, Bertin placed his hand in Kestel’s and allowed himself to be pulled into the waltz. His stupid heart pounded in his ears, and he didn’t like the fluttery feeling in his chest one single bit, twice-curse his own stupidity.

Kestel, of all things, smiled. “Here I thought you’d have to be taught how to dance. Seemed like something that would not interest you and that one-track brain of yours.”

“Dancing is important, even to cockroaches living in the streets,” Bertin replied. “I also had a great deal to learn in order to pass as a gentleman, or at least moderately civilized. Wouldn’t do for me to get caught, would it? I’d have found myself in jail, and nevermind the world of trouble it would have caused my father and the real Bertin.”

“You dance far too finely for it to be that simple,” Kestel said, and pulled him closer, improper and distracting. “Stop holding back, cockroach. It’s all right to admit to me that you like dancing. I won’t tell anyone your secret.”

“Louse,” Bertin retorted, hating how pleased he was that Kestel laughed.

Hating himself more for giving in and throwing himself full measure into the waltz. For letting himself forget about all the problems pressing down on them, all the threats they faced. The dance wasn’t popular anymore, but back in his youth, as he learned to live a lie so well no one would ever suspect the truth, it had been the dance. His first time witnessing it, outside of lessons anyway, had been at a wedding reception. He’d been more entranced by the romanticism of the whole affair than he would ever admit.

In his weakest, most pathetic moments, he daydreamed about such things. A proposal. A marriage. Picking out what he’d wear, the colors, the flowers, the food, who they would invite, where it would take place, the music to be played… dancing that first time as a married couple, a union that was about more than money and power. Stupid, fluffy, rich people nonsense that he was usually, but not always, smart enough to waste time thinking about.

Weddings like that, romances like that, weren’t for people like him. He was a spy. A thief. A watchdog. A killer. He was blessed to have all that he did and would never insult the Moons by daring to ask for more, no matter what his heart secretly wished.

So he danced with a bewitching king in the middle of a debauched masque, while spies and killers waited to be arrested down the hall, tucking the best moments away to heavily revise later in his dreams, where they’d hurt no one, not even him, because he probably wouldn’t remember the stupid things when he woke.

As the waltz came to an end, a strangely intense, pensive gaze fell over Kestel’s face, his beautiful eyes full of brooding as he stared at Bertin. In the weak, multi-colored light, he looked like a storybook king of myth and magic, who stole mortals away with dual-edged promises and mind-melting kisses. It wasn’t fair that one person could contain so much… much.

“I don’t know what thoughts filled your head, but I think I like them,” Kestel murmured, and drew Bertin in close, as though for a kiss if Bertin’s mask weren’t in the way. “You’re as far away in there as the Guardian Moon you’re pretending to be.”

Bertin rolled his eyes. “I’m not pretending to be anything; simply wearing what you gave me.”

“What if I gave you nothing? Would you wear that?”

“Stop it,” Bertin said, cheeks going hot. “No, and right now we have more important matters.”

“There’s that one track mind again,” Kestel said with a sigh, and led him off the dance floor as the other revelers took over, dancing to a waltz far less accurate than the one they’d just finished.

 
 

unbreakablesoldiers - guest post

Music, Music

by Megan Derr

 
It’s not really a secret that writers rely heavily on music and other media for inspiration and motivation. Art tends toward creative feedback loops. I’ve had songs that inspired entire books, and I’ve had songs that appeared right as I got stuck and provided what I was missing and enabled me to finish a book. They can also alter a character, a scene, and more. I wouldn’t be where I am without the music that kept me company at my computer, at coffee shop tables, on the bus, and all the other places where I wrote or pondered.

When I wrote The Engineered Throne I’d intended (as I so often foolishly do) for it to be a one-off. The only story in my head at the time was for Vellem, and his initial story was meant to include a dam. My entire inspiration for his story was the breaking of a dam. But as the story unfolded, the dam wound up having to go, replaced by a portion of the palace where most of the story takes place.

Readers and music inspired the two books that wound up following, The Painted Crown and The Stolen Court. So here I’ve listed the songs that drove this trilogy. Normally I’d make a Spotify playlist, but I’m not supporting them anymore after recent events. Instead, I’m just linking to youtube videos and everyone can pick their flavor of music site if there’s a song they like. Since I’m Apple, I’ve also linked a playlist there.

Breath of Life by Florence + the Machines

Cut the Cord by Shinedown

State of My Head by Shinedown

One More Night by From the Ash

All Around Me by Flyleaf

The Mountain by Three Days Grace

My Fight by From Ashes to New

Iconic by Ledger

Natural by Imagine Dragon

 
 

Megan is a long-time resident of queer romance and keeps herself busy reading and writing it. She is often accused of fluff and nonsense. When she’s not involved in writing, she likes to cook, harass her wife and cats, or watch movies. She loves to hear from readers and can be found all over the internet.

 

 
 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$20 Amazon

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

{Or paste this link into your browser: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/23d974a93315/?}

 
 

 
 

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Cover Reveal!!! ♥ FATE IN SUSPENSION ♥

 
Surprise! It’s a cover reveal for my new soon-to-be published book!

It’s been a long couple of years, but I’m happy to announce that something is finally coming out of it. I’ve been working on two books during the pandemic, which I last talked about in 2020. The fairytale, After the Harp Sings, is still in the works — it hit a bit of a snag, so I need to do some thinking and rewriting. But it’s very close to being finished!

The second book, however, is on its way shortly! I’ve been working on edits for Fate in Suspension, and it’s reached the copyediting stage, meaning it’s not far off from publication. Fate is my first foray into writing shifter paranormal romance, where a friends-as-family group of unicorn shifters is the main focus of the series. This book is the first in Horn & Haven, a series of MM+ romances that’ll focus on the stories of this found family while they’re trying to resolve The Big, Scary Problem that’s hit them all as hard as their childhoods and left a terrible scar on them, as well as other magical beings like them. Welcome to the Fluff Brigade Brotherhood, where life is never easy, nice, or done reminding them how quickly their entire lives can be upturned and destroyed.

If shifters, mages, Faeries, wizards, and all sorts of fantastical and paranormal beings are your jam, this series might just be for you! Sometimes it’ll be sexy, sometimes it’ll be sweet, and sometimes it’ll just be plain messy. For readers that like something kinkier in their romances, a few of the books in the series — including this first book — contain BDSM scenes. I’ll go on about the book and the series more later, but for now, I can promise there’s a whole lot of things on the way! Magic, check. Ridiculous things they get into, check. Dramaaaaaaa, check. All in the name of family, love, and survival.

And for those that want to read part of it RIGHT NOW… the first 17 chapters are available on Patreon!

Patrons get to read along while the story unfolds and get monthly updates. The first two parts of After the Harp Sings are also available there for reading, commenting, and asking questions!

So with that said…

IT’S COVER REVEAL TIME!!!!!!!

Now introducing…
 
 
 
Fate in Suspension COVER (450x720)


 
Publication date: Spring/Summer 2022 (expected release date: May/June)
Genres: Paranormal romance, urban fantasy, high fantasy, BDSM romance
Series: Horn & Haven
LGBTQIA+ identities: Gay, Pansexual; M/M relationship
Cover artist: Ashborne Stardust Editing & Design
 
 
Quiet. That’s how he likes life, no drama to clean up…

Tai Xen-Vorsy leads a straightforward life: work, time at the local clubs where shapeshifters like him can play without fear, and the comforts of home with a cat that’s more than half attitude. After breaking up with his last submissive, he’s even taking a break from Dom duties.

Meeting Gates changes everything, and when Tai’s childhood home is destroyed, his simple life goes up in flames.

The Callensdale Haven was his refuge as an orphan, a hideaway that saved his life. Now it’s time to return the favour. Bringing in the Fluff Brigade Brotherhood would make all the difference… if he could just get them back together. Tai won’t give up—he’s not that kind of unicorn. But can he reunite the brotherhood and keep his new relationship with Gates kindled at the same time?
 
 
The darkness is dragging him into the shadows, one case at a time…

Helping others is all Gates Colfaethe wants to do, being mostly unicorn shifter with a splash of Faerie. But years as an agent on trafficking cases leave him fearing just how far he’ll lose himself in the job before he burns out completely.

A random hook-up with Tai might be the very change he needs. A new Dom means new rules and the chance to create safe distance from work—until his worlds collide in a twist Gates should leave well enough alone. What he knows is bad enough, but running headlong into danger could kill him…
 
 

Content notes & trigger warnings:
Fate in Suspension contains explicit content and BDSM content, all of which is within safe, sane, and consensual guidelines. The story also includes references to murder, the death of a character’s parents (in the past), various forms of trafficking, and missing persons.

 
 

You can add this book to your Goodreads shelf!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59118607-fate-in-suspension

 
 
In the meantime, if anyone has any questions about the book, let me know. I’m always happy to answer! ^_^
 
 
 

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“Cherish” by Lexi Ander || Book Tour, #Giveaway & Guest Post + Excerpt!

 
Happy New Year! The amazing Lexi Ander has a new LGBTQ+ space opera out: Cherish, book #4 in The Valespian Pact series (which includes Ace, Demi, Bi, and Poly representation).

There’s also a great giveaway, plus don’t miss out on her wonderful guest post about this Prequel That Can’t Prequel! (Congrats, Lexi!!  ♥)
 
 

 
 
Title: Cherish
Author: Lexi Ander
Series: The Valespian Pact (Book #4)
 
Release date: December 1, 2021
Genre: Sci-Fi, Space Opera
LGBTQA+ characters: Asexual, Demisexual, Bisexual, Poly
Length: 197,000 words
Publisher: Lexi Ander
Cover Artist: Yvonne Less
 
 
Saving a life can change the course of history.

Destin is torn away from his chicks and his bonded when the Terrens invade Aries 7. Experimented on in Terren labs, and made to work their mines, the GyrFalconi struggle to survive. Destin becomes their caretaker, endeavoring to save as many as possible, despite the emotional toll. Amidst the battle for survival, the universe shines on him and he bonds with not one but four people who give him a reason to keep fighting. When Valespia sends its Legions to the GyrFalconi’s aid, Destin and his bonded are eventually freed, only to face new cruelties from their own people.

Freedom comes with its own trials, though, as a divide forms in GyrFalconi society between the winged and the wingless. Destin and his bonded are given a chance at true happiness and they keep what they claim, no matter what.
 
 
Content & trigger warnings: Violence, captivity, experimentation/not shown, physical trauma, death of unnamed character/not shown, talk of suicide, suicide not on page, death of chicks when eggs go cold.
 
 

Available at these retailers!

Amazon | Tolino | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Liminal Fiction | Smashwords

 
 

You can also add it to your shelf on Goodreads

 
 

 
 

•  •  •  •  •  •

 
 

GIVEAWAY:

 
 

Lexi is giving away three $20 Amazon gift cards with this tour:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 

{Or paste this link into your browser: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47219/?}

 
 

•   •   •   •   •   •

 
 

Guest Post

by Lexi Ander

 
 
Thank you for having me today! I’m absolutely thrilled about Cherish’s release.

Cherish is an odd duck. It is the prequel that can’t prequel.

Sounds weird, right? Cherish covers the Twenty-Year War where the Terrens invade the GyrFalconi homeworld Aries 7, more than one hundred years before the beginning of Alpha Trine. You would think that it would be set as The Valespian Pact Book 0.5, but it’s not, and it can’t be. Cherish is very firmly the 4th book in the series and should be read in this order because it contains spoilers.

When I set out to write Cherish, I had several reasons behind the decision. The most prominent one is that Axis is going to get his own book. Writing an origins story would negate the need to write flash backs because readers would already have access to the history. Destin had been talking to me about his chicks while I was writing Constant, and I was chuffed to be writing a ‘fluffy’ story. (The Muse just ugly snorted with deep sarcasm.) This would also give me the opportunity to show the aftermath of the Terren occupation. In Alpha Trine, the disgust the crew of the Oethra 7 have for Terrens is well earned. Before they spent time in Milky Way among the Terrens looking for the Fal’Amoric, everyone in the Valespian Pact knew what the Terrens did. Planetary leaders had sent starships with aide to the GyrFalconi, and helped them rebuild. I mean, when the Terrens buckled under the Andromeda Galactic Legion, they agreed pay an astronomical retribution fee to GyrFalconi for 400 years. That is how bad the damage was caused by Terrens. Then the crew of the Oethra 7 saw and heard some terrible things while in on their mission for the Galactic Imperials, which further tainted their image of Terrens. And this is why the Muse laughed, because I thought I could write a fluffy story in the aftermath of that war. I completely believed that I could do it, but then when I was writing the story, it became obvious that the story I wanted to write could never be. I started over and backed up the timeline, turning Cherish into this serious story. It still has its moment of utter cuteness with the hatchlings, but there were several parts where I cried while writing. It changed so much that I needed to add trigger warnings.

To date, the biggest trigger warning I have ever needed to use is violence. But this is a different kind of story compared to my swashbuckling ones. But as I was writing, several things I had been concerned over, series-wise, became clearer, providing answers that I have been searching for. The changes also ensured Cherish’s placement within the Valespian Pact series arc was firmly set as book four. It wasn’t a fluffy side story but had some easter eggs for me to find. So Cherish is the prequel that can’t prequel. 😊

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you found this intriguing and fun! Check out Cherish and don’t forget to enter the giveaway. 
 

•   •   •   •   •   •

 

Excerpt

 

 
 
Dashing tears from his eyes, he finished packing a small but heavy satchel. Alaina and Paxx waited for him in the receiving room holding large, overstuffed bags. At least they were not flying any great distance. The door was open to the balcony and the sight beyond confirmed their reality like nothing else could. Transports large and small zipped between the tall spires of this residential quarter of Skylight. The buildings were hundreds of floors tall with every roost boasting a balcony or three for landing. Usually, municipal transports flew above the spires, but these originated from the base of the buildings where the personal transports were stored.

The aircraft were not the only traffic. GyrFalconi flew everywhere, either singly or in small flocks, and there was a lot of swerving and near collisions, the people too panicked to pay attention. A lead weight formed in Destin’s stomach and a sense of urgency whispered that they needed to hurry. At least his parents’ rookery was only a couple spires over.

“Stay close to me,” he warned. The fledglings’ eyes were round with dawning fear as they observed the chaos. Paxx and Alaina nodded vigorously.

Clutching the pack to his chest, Destin sprinted and leaped off the balcony, his wings spread as he tested the air for a wind to glide on while he waited for his fledglings to catch up. They carried more, so they dropped quicker and had to flap hard to reach him, their burdens clutched to their chests. Destin spiraled down to the building’s lower floors, hoping that the air there would be less travelled, and he was right. As long as they stayed above the storage levels, they would not cross many individual flyers.

A few minutes later, they reached his parents’ building. Destin searched for his mahen’s storage garage where she and his dahen would be waiting. All the bay doors were open and the interiors empty. He did not need to read the labels, since his mahen, Akela de la Zudora, stood in the opening to her bay watching for them. Her golden-brown feathers were streaked with a darker brown that made her look severe when her feathers were clapped tight to her crown. Her brown-ringed black eyes held a wealth of worry as well as a touch of fear, which abated when her gaze landed on them.

Destin circled around behind his fledglings and made them land first. Both immediately went to Akela when their feet touched the floor. She wrapped them in a calming embrace as she clicked her nose-plate to theirs. His dahen, Imrie, rushed from the transport when Destin set down. Imrie’s long, sweeping gray-tipped pink feathers were ruffled in the strong breeze that pushed into the bay. The pink contrasted beautifully with his ebony skin. Of all the Aries collectives, Destin thought his dahen’s feather coloring the prettiest. His own were red feathers dusted with the broody black of Aries 1. When he was much younger, he’d wished he had the pretty pinks of Aries 4 like his da. Destin had outgrown such vanities and he was content with his coloring, though he still thought the red and black was somber.

Imrie grabbed his face and clicked his hard yellow nose-plate against Destin’s. “Where is Dena?” he asked softly enough that the chicks did not hear.

Destin refused to answer, not wanting to bring to the fledglings’ attention that he and their mahen were at odds. Imrie’s blue eyes narrowed with comprehension, and Destin did not envy the dressing down that his dahen would give Dena when he saw her next.

His parents’ personal transport was a modest five-person pipit. Glancing inside, food stores were crammed into every available space, leaving just enough room in the back for Destin’s fledglings. They would be holding their overstuffed burdens in their laps since there was no other room to store the bags.

“I think we can make room for you,” Mahen said, coming up behind him. But they could not and still eat. There were questions about whether the sky-cities receiving refugees would have enough foodstuff to feed everyone. Destin would not have his family going hungry when there was a seat for him on another transport.

“Dena made arrangements for me,” he replied. Akela pursed her lips, sweeping her gaze over him and the fledglings as if to say, ‘yes, my son, I can see the accommodations your bonded has made.’ He forged on. “Speaking of, they are waiting on me. I am already several minutes late.”

His chicks made frantic noises. They were all talk about building a nest of their own, but here they were, not wanting to be separated from him. It warmed Destin’s heart more than it should have. Perhaps Dena was correct, and he was holding onto the fledglings too tightly. He wrapped each chick in his arms, reminded of how much larger they were when he tilted his head up so they could click their nose-plates against his.

“Do what you are told and help your granden and granhen with what they need. They will rendezvous with your bondeds’ families. Together, they will all work to keep you safe.” Destin waited for them to nod before he stepped away.

“When will you and Dena be joining us?” Mahen asked, pushing the fledglings toward the transport.

“The de la Bao flock are meeting up with some of their extended family. I will make my way to you once we stop,” he replied, hoping that the fledglings did not notice he said nothing about their mahen. The fact was that he did not know what her plans were, especially after their argument.

Imrie pulled out his data pad and demanded Destin give him the location where he would end up.

“I will come and get you myself once we have settled Alaina and Paxx,” Akela stated, her expression telling him not to argue with her. Destin nodded, saying hurried farewells to his parents before sprinting to the open bay door and leaping into flight.

He was not exaggerating when he said he was late. He owed the neighbors many apologies when he arrived. They were kind, patient people but the stress of fleeing to safety could make anyone terse, especially when waiting on someone who delayed their safe departure.

The weight of his bag seemed heavier than before, which Destin was sure it was just in his mind. There were more individual fliers clogging the airways. With great care, he dodged a couple of near collisions before reaching the correct building. The bay door was open, and Destin pulled up from his dive to land on the edge… of an empty storage slot. He double checked the name and number to make sure he had arrived at the correct place. This was where he was supposed to meet up with the neighbors.

Destin stared at the bare floor, his mind stalled for a few precious seconds as he tried to comprehend what it meant. Again, he double checked the ID to make sure he was at the right location, and he was, but they were gone. They had left. He was only a few minutes late, but the bay was not even warm from the aircraft’s engine, so they had been gone much longer than he was late.

Had Dena cancelled his seat, thinking he would be travelling with her? He could not imagine the neighbors leaving without him. They were close friends of Destin’s and if they were leaving, they would have contacted him, and there were no waiting messages on the data pad. If Dena told them he did not need the seat, then why did she not say something to him? Did she forget since they had fought? Was—

Destin shook his head, trying to clear his mind. This was not the time to allow emotional turmoil to take over. He would broach the questions with her later, after he reached safety. He considered flying back to his parents’ bay, but they were probably gone already, and he could not waste the time. He would have to fly.
 
 

 
 

•  •  •  •  •  •

 

Author Bio

A two-time Rainbow Award recipient, Lexi has always been an avid reader and started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch) at a young age. She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a notebook, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in North Carolina with her Yankee husband and her 80-pound puppy named after a vacuum cleaner.

 
 
Author Website: http://www.lexiander.com

Author Facebook (Personal): http://www.facebook.com/lexi.ander.9

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Lexi-Ander-1808012509319412/

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LexiAnder1

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexi.ander.9/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6521302.Lexi_Ander

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/lexi-ander/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/lexi-ander/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lexi-Ander/e/B009PT22GM/

 
 


 
 

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* FATE in SUSPENSION * — New Unicorn Shifter Serial Available @ Patreon!

 

Welcome to August 1, everyone. I hope you’re still hanging in there. *hugs*

I’ll be honest: I’ve just had the third-longest July in my entire life and I’m REALLY glad it’s over. I’ve been mostly writing my way through the pandemic so far, though it was a rough month, especially with all this humidity. So to shuck that ughness off, here’s an announcement:

 

My brand new serial, Fate in Suspension, has started! I’ve officially branched out into writing about unicorn shifters!

 

Yep, it’s finally happening! This is the first book in my unicorn shifters series, Horn & Haven, which is a mash-up of MM paranormal romance + urban fantasy + high fantasy with some technological elements, but not quite sci fi. In short, it’s a whole casserole of things, including shifters, faeries, the Undead, and BDSM/kink elements on top of I don’t even know what else. This series is just throwing itself together, pulling a bunch of different elements into it. It might just be its very own black hole. There’s 9 books planned for the series, so that’s plenty to work with! 😉

Chapters 1 & 2 are now available on my on my Patreon account! BUT it’s available only to Patrons due to explicit/18+ aspects (Patreon’s rules).

HOWEVER, I’ve set the bar to the low level, so for as low as $1 per month (for however many months you want), you can access ALL of the book posts and update posts, in addition to all of the free posts and other things that come up. I’m expecting to post one chapter/scene per week, and judging by the length of the scenes, the whole thing will probably be 130,000 words or more. So if you like reading serials, come on over and check it out!

Here’s the blurb:

Quiet. He likes life most when it’s quiet, the trouble contained and no drama to clean up…

Tai Xen-Vorsy leads a straightforward life: work, time at the local clubs where shifters can play without fear, and the comfort of coming home to Estrel, the cat who fills Tai’s life with attitude.

When his childhood home is attacked, Tai’s simple life is brought to its knees. The Callensdale Haven is a refuge for lost and orphaned shifters—one that must be protected at all costs, even if it means reuniting the Fluff Brigade Brotherhood to defend it. No one attacks their haven without paying the price. He’s just not that kind of unicorn.

 

The darkness is a powerful adversary, dragging him into the shadows one case at a time…

Helping others is all Gates Colfaethe wants to do, being mostly unicorn shifter with a splash of faerie bloodline. But years as an agent on trafficking cases leave him fearing just how far he’ll lose himself in the job before he burns out completely.

A random hook-up with Tai might be the very change he needs. A new Dom means new rules and the chance to create safe distance from his work—until his worlds collide, the haven a twist Gates should leave well enough alone. What he knows is bad enough, but running headlong into danger could get him into far more trouble.

 

 

Also available… After the Harp Sings, a FREE-to-read Serial!

 

 

This one is still available to read on Patreon, even though it’s gone on ice for a little while. This is the fairytale I started posting a couple months ago, based off a rather old folktale. A rather large chunk of the story is up for reading by anyone who’s interested! This one is free to read since it’s PG-13. You can read all of Parts I and II right now, and the first scene of Part III.

Again, this is a story I’ve been posting as it’s being written. For both this story and Fate in Suspension, I’m looking at finishing up the first drafts before the end of the year and getting them onto market in 2021, this year permitting!

 

So that’s what I’ve been up to! Keeping busy, getting these projects off the ground. Though The Republic has been calling again, several characters bugging me to get to their stories *ALL AT ONCE*… Welcome to the life of a writer. :S

All my hopes to you and yours as we navigate these uncertain times. Keep with it, giving what you can to every day, and you’ll get through. ♥

 

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“Secrets of Milan” by Edale Lane || Book Tour & #Giveaway!

 

Edale Lane has a new FF alternative historical fantasy out, book #2 in the Night Flyer trilogy: Secrets of Milan.

 

 

Title: Secrets of Milan
Author: Edale Lane
Series: The Night Flyer (Book #2)

Release date: May 28, 2020
Genre: Historical, fantasy (alternative historical)
LGBTQA+ characters: Lesbian
Length: 75,000 words
Publisher: Past and Prologue Press
Cover Artist: Enggar Adirasa

 

The Night Flyer had brought Florentina and Madelena together but now threatens to drive them apart. While Florentina searches for a mysterious underworld organization that has attempted to murder the woman she loves, Maddie struggles to deal with the danger Florentina is courting. Her brother, Alessandro, has become the most prominent merchant of Milan, but the Night Flyer uncovers a secret so shocking it could destroy them all.

Secrets of Milan is the second book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like drama and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and a romance that deepens into true love, then you’ll want to continue the Night Flyer saga. Order your copy today!

 

Content & trigger warnings: Fighting and battle violence

 

Available at these retailers!

Past and Prologue Press | Amazon | BookBub

 

You can also add it to your shelf on Goodreads

 

 

 

To discover other books by this author, visit https://pastandprologuepress.lpages.co!

 

 

“Every time you look in the mirror and see that scar, remember that you were given a second chance.”

“It is no small thing to save the world.”

“You may not love me anymore, but I am still devoted to you.”

“I should almost get blown up more often.”

“Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.”

 

 

•  •  •  •  •  •

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

Edale is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

{Or paste this link into your browser: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47123/?}

 

 

•  •  •  •  •  •

 

Excerpt

 

 

Turning her attention back to the pulpit, Maddie determined to listen to the homily. When they returned home, she would invite Fiore to her room to try to explain the emotions she had been struggling with and to reassure her and ask forgiveness. It was time to put everything right and stop letting fear rule over her life.

Madelena had just cleared away the mental replays to concentrate on the service when a most unusual occurrence diverted her complete attention. Florentina had scooped up Betta and Matteo and was pushing her out of her seat toward the aisle. “Run,” she commanded fiercely as she jerked her chin at the door.

For an instant Maddie was too stunned and confused to move, but for only the blink of an eye. Florentina–the Night Flyer–had the most excellent instincts and if she was bolting out of Epiphany Mass, imminent danger surrounded them. “Get out now!” Florentina shouted as she continued to push Maddie down the center walkway.

There were likely murmurs and stirring among the congregation members at the outburst, but Madelena, heart racing, dashed ahead with a glance over her shoulder to see her tutor with one child under each arm a mere step behind her. The sudden noise was deafening, but it was the shock wave from the blast that sent them all flying. Maddie hit the floor hard amid screams and the sounds of breaking glass and crashing bricks. Smoke began to fill the chapel, and someone stepped on her hand in their haste to evacuate.

“Remain calm!” a tenuous voice intoned as panic broke out in earnest.

“Mama!” Maddie pushed up to her scraped hands and bruised knees and turned toward Betta. The wide-eyed, frantic child clutched her arms around her mother’s neck.

“I’m here, baby; I’ve got you,” she comforted and reached a hand to Matteo. “Are you both alright?”

“Florentina saved us,” Matteo said in astonishment. “We aren’t hurt; don’t be afraid, Mama.”

“Keep moving,” Florentina insisted as she stumbled up to the trio. “Out the door, now.”

Madelena did not argue, but with somber eyes fixed on Fiore’s gave her a nod. Carrying Betta in her arms, she forged on through wreckage and stampeding parishioners toward the open doorway. Florentina followed, holding tight to Matteo’s hand. Once past the archway, they collapsed on the steps.

“Are you injured?” Florentina’s voice was drowned in concern. They were all covered in pink brick dust with small scraps of debris having showered over their hair and clothing.

“No, just some bruises from falling. What about you?” Maddie turned her gaze to Fiore who sat an arm’s length away leaning against the exterior wall of the church.

“I’ll live,” she replied queasily. “My back feels as if it’s on fire and my head is pounding like a chorus of drums.”

“My children,” Maddie uttered in disbelief. “You saved them, and me.”

With smudged face and disheveled hair, Florentina raised radiant eyes to hers. “Si. You may not love me anymore, but I am still devoted to you and to them. I would lay down my life to save any of you without hesitation.”

Panic of a different sort grabbed hold of Madelena’s soul, threatening to undo her. “Is that what you think?” Grief clouded her verdant gaze, and her mouth fell into a gape of horror.

“What am I supposed to think?”

“I am so sorry!” Tears swam in Maddie’s eyes. “That is not the problem; it never was.” Quite the opposite, she thought.

“We love you, Florentina!” Betta declared and left her mother’s lap to hug her tutor. “How did you know the church was going to fall down?”

“It didn’t just fall down,” Matteo stated as he took his turn to embrace his mother.

“No, it didn’t,” Florentina confirmed exchanging a look with Madelena and then it clicked.

Even greater shock swept over Maddie’s features, turning them pale as death. “A bomb? Someone bombed the church?”

“Someone did indeed, and I need to go back and help. People are injured and some may even be dead.” Florentina started to push to her feet but collapsed on the step again with her head in her hands. “Seems I’m a bit dizzy still.”

“You don’t have to do everything,” Maddie said and reached a hand to tenderly stroke her head. “Look, some city watchmen have arrived and the fire brigade will be here any minute. You alerted everyone and saved lives, including ours. How did you know?”

“Paying attention,” she answered with difficulty. “Knew something wasn’t right, then glass breaking, saw the bomb… was on our row… two of them.”

“Fiore, don’t try to talk now,” she instructed. “I’ll secure a carriage to drive us home and then I’m going to inspect you for injuries.”

“It’s only a few blocks,” Florentina dismissed. “I can walk.”

“That may be, but we aren’t sitting here waiting for tomorrow, and that’s about when you’d be able to walk home,” Maddie declared.

“I’m scared,” Betta said in a small voice as she snuggled back against her mother again. “Church is supposed to be a safe place.”

Matteo took her hand in his as he settled on the spot between Florentina and Madelena. “Don’t be scared, Betta,” he said with assurance. “I’m right here.” Then with his other hand he patted Florentina’s shoulder. “Thank you. I’m glad you are the smartest person in Milan and that you’re with us.”

“I’m glad I’m with you, too, Matteo,” she replied and offered him a weak smile.

Maddie could tell by her pained expression and weakness that Florentina had absorbed some measure of shock from the blast. She was also certain that without Fiore’s lighting reflexes they would all be seriously wounded or dead. Feet rushed past the spot where they sat; men called out, women screamed, children cried. She looked around, between those coming and going, to see a gigantic hole in the side of the brick facade, broken windows with smoke trailing out, and a body lying on the ground. She closed her eyes and swallowed hard.

“Make way for the fire brigade!” a man shouted.

Madelena pushed to her feet and reached a hand for Fiore. “Come now,” she instructed. “We have to move out of the way. Let’s get you in that carriage and home.”

 

 

 

•  •  •  •  •  •

 

Author Bio

Edale Lane is the penname used by Melodie Romeo for LGBTQ fiction novels. She is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in History from the University of West Florida.

Ms Romeo is a retired school teacher who currently travels the country as an over the road truck driver. Her first book, Vlad, a Novel, an historical thriller, was published in 2002. She has had short stories published in anthologies by Seventh Star Press, Charon Coin Press, Alban Lake Press, Less Than Three Press, and Past and Prologue Press.

Edale Lane’s first novel, Heart of Sherwood, is an historical retelling of the Robin Hood story supposing that the hooded outlaw had been a woman:

https://pastandprologuepress.lpages.co/heart-of-sherwood1/

In addition to driving and writing, Melodie is also a musician who plays the French horn, composes, and has spent many years as a choral and instrumental director. She aspires to be a successful enough author to quit driving and devote herself to writing fulltime. Melodie resides in Utica, MS with her longtime partner, Johanna.

Some of her works can be found at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00WFFFEA4

In 2019 Melodie founded Past and Prologue Press. Please visit her website.

 

Author Website: https://pastandprologuepress.Ipages.co/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/melodie.romeo

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/edalelane

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melodieromeo/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Edale-Lane/e/B07GRFPDRZ/

 

 

 

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After the Harp Sings — New Fairytale Serial, Free to Read on Patreon!

 

For Prince Efferas, the plan was simple: marry his love, Prince Loren, and live happily ever after, their kingdoms of swan-kind and human-kind united for a bright and prosperous future.

But when the cruellest of betrayals takes it all away, Efferas’s life is anything but simple. Getting stuck between death and life is bad enough, but being turned into a magical harp is an entirely new disaster. Condemned to a fate of song and verse, how could things possibly get any worse?

To Loren, the answer is clear: he must restore Efferas’s life and take back their future, no matter what—even if it means facing the impossible with every chance of failure.

 

•••

 

My new novella, After the Harp Sings, debuts today! It’s a free-to-read serial during the pandemic lockdowns, now on my Patreon account.

This is an MM fairytale/high fantasy novella I’m working on while we’re all stuck at home. I’ve had this story on the back burner for the last 5 years, but my muses decided it was a good time to work on it now, since it’s shorter and different from what I usually write. I’ve never written a fairytale before! I’m also not used to writing stories based on folk stories or traditional fairytales, so this is quite the challenge.

I wanted to share something with folks while the lockdowns are on — something new, fresh from the manuscripts, that people can read without having to pay anything. So for the next couple months or so, I’m going to be sharing weekly installments of After the Harp Sings, which is inspired by an old folk ballad called The Twa Sisters, among other names. This is an MM version of that, with several twists and a whole new ending, complete with HEA.

Some notes about this story:

  • These scenes have had some light editing done, but it’s nowhere near the level of editing I’ll do when I put it out to market. I apologize now for any mistakes I may have missed.
  • It gets morbid in some places like fairytales of old. The original ballad is morbid, so I’ve tried to keep its essence. BUT! This story ends with an HEA where the original story does not — this is a fairytale & romance, NOT a tragedy.
  • Since I’m posting this in installments, I’m going to do my best to put trigger warnings on the posts that need warnings, depending on their content. Look for those going forward.
  • Content notes: There is no explicit content in this story. This is basically PG-13. I’ve also tried to keep it from getting too graphic.
  • Trigger warnings for the story as a whole: Drowning, fratricide/siblicide, death, body parts taken from a corpse, grief.
I apologize to anyone who can’t carry on with the story due to the trigger warnings. I’m planning on writing something else after I finish with this, which should be the end of May, and that new story will be something that doesn’t fall into this category. That something will be 18+, though, so there are going to be some logistics that have to change in order to share that.

BUT, if you’re still interested in this new story, here is the very first scene! (The next installment to come next Friday.)

 

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Updates, COVID, and a Free Serial On the Way

 

Well… 2020’s been one heck of a ride, and certainly one most of us wish we could have avoided completely.

First off, I want to send my love and best wishes to everyone during this time. Things are rough for us all right now, and there’s a lot being asked of us (understatement of the year). It’s going to take a lot of effort to push through this, for however long it lasts. But do your best, for you and your family, and stay safe! You can do this. Hang in there. ♥♥♥

Things have been quiet on this front because of where the world’s at right now. The last couple of years have kicked us around and dumped awful upon awful on our shoulders, and these last few months haven’t been any kinder. And now, my partner is one of those people working on the frontlines — her post is literally at a COVID-19 testing centre, putting her closer to the illness than we’d like. The last month has meant changing routines and doing everything we can to keep from getting sick. We’re also worried about our grandparents, including both of my grandmothers who live on their own in senior-focused dwellings. Needless to say… we’re stressed but pushing through. My daily motto these days is very much “we do what we must”.

To that end, things have changed on the writing front. My plans for this year are being shifted around. That means projects are being pushed aside, while other projects are being pulled forward. Actually, it’s quite a change that’s happened, so we’ll see what comes of it.

 

An Update On Book Stuff

Okay, so, let’s talk books!

Originally I’d thought about putting my books on sale/for free during the quarantine situation, and I did for all of a couple days… until I reflected further and realized that maybe it wasn’t the best idea, given certain things in certain books. How I forgot that the MC of Of Kindred and Stardust goes into quarantine, I HAVE NO CLUE. I was so sold on the happier aspects of it, I forgot that part. There are also references to a plague in a couple of The Republic books, and that’s on top of the angst that I love writing, so… again, not a great choice. Which is why if you’re looking for my stuff to be on special sale right now, they won’t be.

BUT!

If these are stories that do speak to you at this time, since different people need different distractions/coping mechanisms, I AM offering them for free to those who ask me for them during the COVID-19 quarantine/self-isolation time period — basically for the weeks/months it takes for us to get through the national lockdowns. Just contact me and tell me what book(s) of mine you’d like out of the following, all currently on the market (the links take you to their pages where you can view the content notes and trigger warnings!):

A Question of Counsel
Four
Blood Borne
Soulbound
Of Kindred and Stardust

Again, if you’re stuck in quarantine/self-isolation and you’d like a book of mine, give me a shout! Just please be aware of the content notes.

 

For the Clan: On Hold for Right Now

Right, so FTC… I’d been expecting to work on this shortly, but it’s being put aside for the time being, just until things calm down a bit. It’s a very angsty book that I’m not sure I can work on right now. There’s a lot of violence, fight, and health-related issues in it — things I’m not really sure I want to work on at this time. It’s something I’m not so sure I want to put out there right now. My heart’s just not in it at the moment, so I’m putting it aside until I can focus on it and fix it up properly.

I’m so sorry to readers who were expecting this to come soon. I had all the plans laid out for it, but since the beginning of March, things have really snowballed into a mess of strange and worrisome, so some things have had to change. I’m hoping to get to this when I can. Hopefully my brain will switch onto it before the end of the year. 😦

 

But Hold On! There’s Stuff in the Works!

I might not be working on the WIPs I thought I would, but I am working on a couple of projects — both of which I’m looking at opening up to readers as free-to-read serials during the pandemic. Since I’m not putting my books on sale during this time, I want to offer readers all new material, fresh from the manuscripts, which can be read for free.

 

* After the Harp Sings *

An MM fairytale I’m working on diligently, starring a swan-kind prince and his true love, a human prince who has to go on a quest to save him. It’s nearly 1/3 done and could possibly be finished by the end of May. I’ve never written a fairytale before, so it’s quite the challenge. It’s also based off an old folk ballad, The Twa Sisters (aka. The Two Sisters, Binnorie, The Bonny Swans, and a bunch of other names), which is a centuries-old murder-ballad with a delicious bit of justice at the end. It’s rather morbid, which automatically puts it right up there with the fairytales of old.

This is a story I’ve wanted to work on for the last 5 years but hadn’t found the time. Though with all this quarantine stuff going on, my muses have decided now’s the time to work on this. It’ll be short — only about 42,000 words or so — and while its first half is built on the foundation of the old ballad, the second half is all new stuff and very heavy on the happenings of the fairytale land. There IS an HEA to this, though. This isn’t a tragedy. It gets a little morbid — kind of like watching the TV show, Once Upon A Time — but there’s still that necessary HEA!

I’ve decided I’m going to post this story for free on my Patreon account so people can read it as the manuscript moves along. I’m going to post it as a serial, with weekly installments, so watch this space for more info about it! My plan is to post the first installment this coming week. 🙂

 

* Horn & Haven *

So while I’ve been tinkering around with After the Harp Sings, I’ve also been working a little bit on this new series, trying to get it sorted so I can start on book #1. THIS is the series that goes along with another series I’m supposed to be working on — Cinder & Scale, which is all about dragon shifters. I should’ve been working on those dragons right now, but The Thing happened, and the dragons are sleeping for a bit. SIGH.

On the other hand, The Thing That Happened has now woken up the unicorn shifters that belong in that same world… leading to the second series that is supposed to run alongside the other one, set in the same universe. And they really want to come out to play. Like… really, REALLY want to get out and about and wreak havoc. And when I say unicorn shifters, I’m not talking sweet, innocent, and all that cuteness. These are the trouble-causing sort — sexy, kinky misfits among their kind, and some of them can be rather badass. This is a darker side of unicorns, and they’re getting very antsy.

I’ve been working on the series in little bits, trying to sort out the world-building. And I FINALLY have an idea of what the first book looks like. Up until a few weeks ago, I had ideas for books 2+ but not #1. The characters got tired of that, though, and decided to sledgehammer their way into my plans, so now I’ve got a bunch of notes for that first book. I just need to get them structured out and started.

I’m considering working on this like Harp: I write some stuff and post it (or at least parts of it) for folks to read for free during the pandemic. Once I work through more of Harp, though, I’ll have a better idea of what’s going to happen.

 

So there we go — that’s what’s up. I’ll post an announcement about these stories as I get through them, so if you’re interested, keep tabs here, on my Twitter, or on my Patreon!

All my hopes to you and yours as we navigate these uncertain times. Keep with it, giving what you can to every day, and you’ll get through. One bit at a time. ♥

 

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