Blog Tour: Fool of Main Beach by Tara Lain

Fool of Main Beach
(Love of Laguna Series, #5)

Genre: M/M, Contemporary Romance


Synopsis:

Merle Justice wants to reach for the stars, but it’s tough to get respect when playing a teenybopper vampire on TV. Then he meets a famous director anxious to give him all he thinks he wants—and maybe a bit more. Everything’s looking up until a life-threatening encounter with some homophobes on Main Beach puts Merle face-to-face with a Sasquatch-sized hero in a pink puffer coat.

Tom Henry defies description. As unsophisticated and simple as an angel, he walks through life content with who he is and asking for very little except to care for his sister, Lily, and the dogs he loves. Then he meets Merle, the embodiment of dreams he barely knows he has. Merle knows the people who hold his future in their hands might love Tom—but they’ll never understand Merle and Tom together. Tom knows it too. With lives this far apart, who’s really the fool of Main Beach?

The unlikeliest of lovers. The sweetest of loves.

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Excerpt

Tom sat on the side of the double bed that Merle kept for company. “This is nice.”

“I’ll have a better place when my house is done. The bathroom is across the hall. The towels are clean. I’ll see if I have an extra toothbrush.”

Tom looked up with those big eyes. “Thank you for saving me.”

“I’m just glad you called.”

“I didn’t know who else to call. I was thinking maybe Billy if I couldn’t get you.” He looked at his hands folded in his lap. “I figured you’d be with Renee.”

“No. We left right after you did, and I came here.”

Tom glanced up quickly and then back down.

Merle swallowed a little too loudly. “I might have some pajama bottoms that will fit you, but they’ll be way too short.”

“That’s okay. I’ll wear my undies.”

“So, uh, sleep well.” He turned and practically raced to his own room before his nobility faded.

Tom stared at his hands some more. Merle sure did want to go back to sleep. I must have bothered him. But I’m still happy he came to get me. I didn’t want to fuck Aaron or even suck his cock like he said.

Tom stood and walked to the bathroom across the hall. He glanced toward the other door just a little way away. That’s where Merle is. Light still showed under the door. Not asleep yet.

No toothbrush. Merle forgot. But Tom found some toothpaste in a drawer and put some on his finger and slid it around. After rinsing, he peed, washed his hands and face, and went back into the bedroom, stripped to his boxer briefs, and hung his jeans and shirt and jacket on hangers in the closet.

He pulled back the covers and found nice white sheets, then crawled in and flipped off the light beside the bed. Wonder if Merle’s asleep? I hope the boys are okay and don’t miss me too much. He almost never left them overnight. Mrs. A. wouldn’t like it if he did it very much. The boys wouldn’t like it either.

He sighed and stretched his hands behind his head. I shouldn’t have said I’d go dancing with Aaron. Why did I do that?

He followed the patterns of headlights streaking across the wall through a gap in the curtains. I like to dance. His lips compressed in a line. I wanted to dance, but not with Aaron. I wanted to dance with Merle. He smiled. I got to and it was rad. Merle’s the best dancer ever. 

Oh boy. He shook his head. I really like Merle. I never should’ve said I’d go with Aaron when I wanted to go with Merle. That was dumb. And not very nice. He blew out his breath in a long stream and felt it tickle his chest. But Merle didn’t ask me.

Flipping to his side, he stroked the soft sheets. But maybe Merle wants me to ask him. When I called him, he came right away like—like nobody ever has. What would he do if I just told him?

Review: 5/5 Stars

I loved this book. I am ashamed to say that I only read the first book in the series a while back, and I absolutely loved that book too. I definitely need to read the rest of the books in the series, one because I want to, and two because the other couples show up on this book as well.

Tom as Joel Lowenstien said is a breath of fresh air, and I mean that as he isn’t like your typical leading MC’s and I loved that about him. He’s innocent and loving and he just burrows his way into your heart. And his love for dogs is truly adorable. Now who I didn’t like in connection to Tom is his sister Lily. She worked my nerves when she was first introduced into the book, but as you go on she grows on you and you begin to understand her more. Tom also believes that he isn’t good enough for Merle, which is bonkers.

Merle is a famous tv actor who doesn’t believe that he is truly talented which is kinda hard to believe with all the adoring fans he has, and him being nominated for an award when the book first starts. I think it has something to do with his parents and them basically telling him he’s an okay actor, which they could just bite me to be honest.

Merle and Tom meet and I don’t want to say love at first sight, but they warm up to each. They also send each other mixed signals out the wazoo. I’m not going to lie, I got lost somewhere along the way, when they stopped seeing each other, but I got back on track when things started to smooth out. And by that I mean, everything was good, then next thing you know their avoiding each other.

This was a great read, and I will be catching up on the other couples of Laguna Beach.

Love in Laguna Series

Bk #1

 

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Bk #2

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Bk #3

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Bk #4

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About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in gay romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 40. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Romantic Suspense, and more. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

               

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Release Blitz: Stolen Wishes by Jennifer Blackstream

Stolen Wish
(The Blood Realm Series #5)
Genre: M/F, Historical Romance
Synopsis:
PRIDE MAKES HIM BOLD ENOUGH TO COVET HER
Ali is a notorious thief, skilled enough to steal whatever his heart desires—except what it desires most. Anara. His fellow criminal would never let him get so close if she suspected he knew who she truly was. But a man can only resist temptation for so long…
PREJUDICE CANNOT HIDE PASSION FOREVER
Princess Anara is a tiger shifter obsessed with redeeming her race. With fierce determination, she’s stealing back the sacred objects of her people, the loss of which cost them the ability to safely convert their mates. Nothing and no one will stand in her way—not even a relentless thief who sees more than he should, and says more than she’s ready to hear…
DUTY AND LOVE BOTH DEMAND SACRIFICE
A dark sorcerer inadvertently gives Ali the leverage he needs to demand Anara’s hand in marriage. He’ll get the wife he’s coveted for so many years, and she will get the chance to finally explore the passion that she’s denied herself for too long. But even with a djinn’s magic at their fingertips, happiness is no guarantee. That which is easily gained is just as easily lost. If they want a future together, they’ll have to fight for it…
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Excerpt:
The cool night air stung her shame-warmed cheeks as she melted into the darkness and pulled the veil from her face. She wanted to stand there and take the time to center herself, let her heart calm to its normal beat, but she didn’t have that luxury. A thief who lingered at the scene of the crime risked losing her hand. Or worse.
With shaking hands, she took up the handles of the cart she’d left against the support wall of Malik’s home, hidden between two sprawling cypress trees. After one last deep breath to calm herself, she pushed the carpet-laden contraption out of the alley and down the road. The few merchants still out at this hour nodded to her as she passed, but no one paid her any mind. After thirty yards, her shoulders relaxed.
“Allow me to escort you.” 

Every nerve in her body tightened, shock stealing her voice. She gaped at Ali as he fell into step beside her, but managed not to trip over her own feet. No one snuck up on her. Certainly no human. Had she been that distracted? That careless? The snarl of warning she expected from her tiger never came. Instead, the beast watching Ali from inside her tilted its head with a strange interest. The thief had managed a perfect ambush and her beast was…impressed. 

Anara gritted her teeth, refusing to give him the satisfaction of asking how he’d caught up to her. “No thank you.” 

“I insist.” He put a hand on his chest as if he would offer her a bow, then reconsidered. He fidgeted a moment, his lips twitching as if trying to smile, but failing. His shoulders slumped. “I upset you. I didn’t mean to, but I did. You must let me make it up to you.” 

“You are drawing attention to us. Go away.” She looked ahead, concentrating on her progress instead of the pleading tone in his voice. 

“Not as much attention as a beautiful woman walking home alone at night with a cart full of unsold wares. Really, you should have chosen a smaller inventory. People will think you’re a poor businesswoman.” 

Again he fidgeted, and this time Anara spared him a look. Ali wasn’t usually this restless. Her attention caught on a bulge under his caftan and she froze, anger seizing her spine. “Idiot,” she bit out. “You have no wish to escort me home. You only want to use me and my cart as cover for that obvious bulge in your clothes.” 

The grin that spread over his mouth then was equal parts amusement and mischievousness. When he spoke again, his voice was lower, suggestive. “It is a noticeable bulge, isn’t it?” 

Anara inhaled slowly, holding on to her temper only because making a scene would bring more scrutiny. “Please, go away. I haven’t planned this event with such care only to have a petty thief ruin it by traipsing after me and calling all manner of attention.” 

“I am no petty thief,” Ali corrected her. He swept into her path, forcing her to bring her cart to a halt as he gave her a wink from behind a curtain of black hair. “I am a prince of thieves.” 

She started to answer that boast with an appropriately scathing retort, but something about the way his attention kept falling to the lower half of her face distracted her. He’d been staring at her lips from the moment he’d stopped her. Why— 

Realization dawned. 

He’d never seen her mouth before. Until now, she’d always escaped the heist before he mounted a pursuit, plucking her treasure from its hiding place and vanishing before he’d made his haphazard selection. But this time he’d followed her. Worse, he’d caught her. 

Her lips tingled under his scrutiny. No man looked at her unveiled face. Certainly no man was permitted to gawk in such a blatantly…aroused way. Now that she’d noticed, she became painfully aware of the desire perfuming the air between them. She was used to that, used to the interest his body showed her even though he’d never spoken of his attraction in more than a few flirtatious words—light, playful banter. But as he stared at her, his arousal thickened, becoming more real than it had been inside. Or perhaps it only felt deeper because he was looking at her bare face. 

Again she waited for her beast to show some sign of anger at his audaciousness. He was little more than a pickpocket—and a human. His bold attention should have been an affront to her beast, an insult that he would put himself forth in such a way, dare to court a Caspian, the rarest of the tiger shifters, blessed with the gift of changing shape by the gods themselves.  

But once again, her tiger just stared. Watching. Studying. 

Considering.

The Blood Realm Series
Author Bio: 
 
Jennifer Blackstream is a USA Today bestselling author of fantasy/paranormal romance. Urban Fantasy will soon be joining her repertoire, and if she doesn’t get hold of the insidious roving gang of plot bunnies, there’s going to be steampunk sprinkled in there too…
To date, Jennifer has two series:
BLOOD PRINCE SERIES (COMPLETE):
Book 1 – Before Midnight
Book 2 – One Bite
Book 3 – Golden Stair
Book 4 – Divine Scales
Book 5 – Beautiful Salvation
Bonus Adventures in the Blood Prince World:
Book 2.5 – What Big Teeth You Have (free when you sign up for mailing list mentioned below)
Book 4.5 – The Pirate’s Witch
Book 5.5 – Dead to Begin With (available only between Thanksgiving and whenever Jennifer takes her Christmas tree down)
BLOOD REALM SERIES (IN PROGRESS SPIN-OFF OF BLOOD PRINCE SERIES):
Book 1 – All for a Rose
Book 2 – Blue Voodoo
Book 3 – The Archer
For news, new releases, and a free copy of What Big Teeth You Have, sign up for Jennifer’s mailing list.
Jennifer has unfailing affection for the authors who have influenced her, including Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, and the sorely missed Sir Terry Pratchett. Her books include humor, romance, and action, with enough darkness to keep things very interesting.
When Jennifer isn’t writing, she can be found re-watching Boondock Saints, Noises Off, or Gross Pointe Blank. With one of those classics in the background, she might also be searching Amazon for something she wants, but doesn’t need (Is there any such thing as a kitchen gadget that isn’t an absolute necessity? And don’t even get me started on office supplies…).
  
         
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Cover Reveal: Fool of Main Beach by Tara Lain

FOOL OF MAIN BEACH,

 the fifth book in the Love In Laguna Series arrives 

August 21, 2017! The unlikeliest of lovers. The sweetest of loves.

 

Fool of Main Beach
(Love of Laguna Series, Bk #5)
by Tara Lain
 
Synopsis:
Merle Justice wants to reach for the stars, but it’s tough to get respect when playing a teenybopper vampire on TV. Then he meets a famous director anxious to give him all he thinks he wants—and maybe a bit more. Everything’s looking up until a life-threatening encounter with some homophobes on Main Beach puts Merle face-to-face with a Sasquatch-sized hero in a pink puffer coat.
Tom Henry defies description. As unsophisticated and simple as an angel, he walks through life content with who he is and asking for very little except to care for his sister, Lily, and the dogs he loves. Then he meets Merle, the embodiment of dreams he barely knows he has. Merle knows the people who hold his future in their hands might love Tom—but they’ll never understand Merle and Tom together. Tom knows it too. With lives this far apart, who’s really the fool of Main Beach?
Pre-Order your copy now at
Also available to pre-order in paperback
Release Date: 
August 21, 2017
Excerpt

Merle stretched out the measuring tape and got the dimensions of the huge family space, then paced it off into dining and living areas. Once he had enough measurements to buy rugs, he wandered past the big island into the kitchen and opened each cabinet. His mind filled in the spaces with dishes and pots and pans—yeah, a lot of stuff he didn’t have. His current apartment in Santa Monica was still a transition space from starving-actor digs to TV-star quarters. TV star? He snorted softly. More like vampire of the month. Of course, he’d been lucky enough to be vampire of the month for two years.

I’m killing time. Go down to Ru’s studio and take him to lunch.

“Want part of my sandwich, Merle?”

He looked up into the truly pretty face smiling at him from the other side of the island. “I don’t want to take your lunch, Tom. I’ll go get some.”

“It’s okay. I made two sandwiches, so there’s lots.”

I should go, but—“Sure, I’d love half of your sandwich. What kind is it?”

“I’ve got peanut butter and I’ve got avocado and cheese.”

“Which kind do you like best?”

“I like them both.”

“I’ll take avocado.” He looked around the big room still covered in drywall dust, nails, and wood shavings. “Where shall we sit?”

Tom made a waggling motion with his finger.

Merle cocked his head and walked around the island to where Tom stood, towering over him. Suddenly he was flying through the air and made a little gasping sound as Tom sat him on top of the island, then grinned and easily hopped up beside him. Merle laughed. “No fair.”

“Oh, didn’t you like it?” Tom looked serious.

“I’m teasing you. I just meant it’s funny that you’re so much bigger than me.”

He shrugged. “I’m much bigger than anybody—except Billy. I’m just a little bigger than him.” He handed over his half sandwich. It was on some kind of multigrain bread and appeared to have cheese that wasn’t American.

“This looks delicious.”

“Mrs. Allison taught me to make it.”

“Who’s that?” He took a bite and was very happy he did.

“The lady I live with.”

“Oh, you live with a lady?” Duh, Merle.

“She owns the house, and I rent a room from her.” He chewed his peanut butter, which also looked like it might have some organic roots. “I help her with stuff, and she helps me too. Like teaching me about food and water and how to feed the boys.”

“Boys?”

“My dogs.”

“How many dogs?”

“Two. Fluffy and Tigger. I got them from the shelter where I work sometimes.”

“Most landladies don’t let you have dogs.”

“Mrs. A. is really nice. She doesn’t want me to have big dogs, though. Wish I could.” He chewed thoughtfully.

“You could probably get an apartment or house with enough space for bigger dogs if you want them.”

He shook his head matter-of-factly. “No. Can’t afford it.”

“I guess rentals in Laguna are pretty high.”

“Yeah, but Billy pays me good. I just need the money for my folks to take care of Lily.”

“Your sister.”

“Right.” He grinned like he was happy Merle knew her name. They chewed companionably. “You’re on TV, right?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t see TV much, but I’m going to watch this week. Mrs. Allison said I can.”

Why did his saying things like that wring Merle’s heart? “Do you like movies?”

“Oh yes. I go to movies sometimes.”

“What kind do you like?”

“All kinds. Except the ones with the words. I’m not so good at that.”

Merle’s glance snapped to Tom’s face, but Tom didn’t seem to be complaining or confessing. Just stating a fact. “Do you have trouble reading?” He tried to ask it with great nonchalance.

“Yes. That’s how Billy and I got to be friends. He doesn’t read so good either.” He grinned. “But we’re better now.”

“May I ask you a personal question? You don’t have to tell me.”

“Sure, Merle. You’re my friend.”

Again, that thump on his heart. “I know you passed the electrician’s exam. Billy tells me that’s really hard. If you have trouble reading, how were you able to do it?”

“Mrs. A. read it to me.”

He looked up from licking his fingers clean of avocado. “What?”

“I gave her the tests that were like samples, and she read them to me. And she read all the handbooks too. Then a nice guy named Burt read me the questions on the test, and I said the answers out loud.”

“So you learned everything when Mrs., uh, A. read it to you?”

“Um-hm. I remember really good.” He finished the last bite of his avocado. “Most people don’t, you know?”

Merle grinned. “Yes, I do know.”

“Do you like being on TV?”

“Yes. It’s a good job. Long hours, but I get time off sometimes. Like now.” Funny. He wanted to tell Tom. “I might have a chance to make a movie.”

Tom’s whole face lit up. “That would be really good, right? Would you like that?”

“Yes, it’d be a step up in my career. And the guy directing the movie is very well-known and respected.” He glanced over. Did Tom have the slightest idea what he just said?

“Do you like him?”

Merle smiled. Leave it to Tom to get to the heart of the matter.

Love in Laguna Series
Bk #1

 

Available for purchase at
                 

 

Bk #2
Available for purchase at 
 
                    

 


Bk #3
Available for purchase at
                      

 

 

 

 

 

Bk #4
Available for purchase at 

               

Pre-order your copy now!
About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in gay romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 40. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Romantic Suspense, and more. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

 

You can find Tara at Lain
               
  
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Blog Tour: Fast Balls by Tara Lain

Fast Balls
(Balls To the Walls Series, #4)
Synopsis:

Can two men with skewed self-images see their true reflections in each other’s eyes?


Jerry Wallender—firefighter, surfer, and occasional nude model—knows he’s no rocket scientist. So why does he keep choosing intellectual guys who make him feel dumber? He worked his buns off to overcome his reading disability and pass the firefighter’s test, and he loves everything about the job. Well, except for Mick Cassidy, the big, blond, hunky homophobe who harasses Jerry for being gay. But Jerry is smart enough to realize it’s not hate driving Mick, but the pain of a very unhappy upbringing.


Mick Cassidy, Firefighter Assist and Search Team, fights fires, but he can’t fight his attraction to the kindest, most generous—and sexiest—guy he’s ever met. Does that make him gay? If it does, he just might get himself killed by his gay-hating preacher father—and take Jerry down with him.

This is a re-release
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Excerpt

Mick wrenched the bag from Straight’s hands. The guy tried to pull back, but he was so off base. No one, certainly not this pipsqueak white trash, was keeping Mick Cassidy from trying to save the kindest, best man he knew.

Mick threw an arm toward Straight, and the guy fell backward on his ass. Get out of my way.

He crouched, focused, breathed deeply, and hurled himself through the flames. It felt like a mountain of fire. Please God, let there be another side.

And there was. The solid wall of burning hell thinned, and Mick fell through.

Jerry.

Quiet, still, broken like a rag doll. One of his long legs lay at an odd angle.

No. No. No.

He scrambled to Jerry’s side, pulled the respirator from the bag, and pressed it over his face.

“Breathe. Breathe, Jerry.”

A new hot spot flared up beside him. Damn!

He looked over his shoulder, back the way he’d come. Wall of flame. No exit. Embers rained and a chunk of the ceiling fell a foot away. He leaned over Jerry’s still body to shield him and felt the heat closing in. So this is it.

He stared down at the closed eyes of the man he had rushed to save. No question. No hesitation. Funny. It felt like a choice. A choice that had been no choice.

He looked up. Was God up? Up in that flaming ceiling? Up in the roof that now opened to the sky?

He took a deep breath and bowed his head. Okay, God, I spent my whole life hearing what you love and what you hate. According to my father, you hate the man who’s lying here, and I should hate him too, and leave him here to die. If he’s not already dead.

He looked up, and sparks lit up a disintegrating beam. It would fall real soon.

The thing is, God, if you hate this man and love my father, your priorities are screwed up. And if that’s true, I guess I don’t care so much about dying because I’ll be going to hell, and I know it will be full of people I like. People like Jerry.

I sure wish I could have saved him, though. The world is better with him in it.

He looked down at the man who had said he cared about him. That and being a firefighter were about the only things he could think of that amounted to much in his life, but they were a lot. He lowered his head to Jerry’s chest.

Review: 5/5 Stars

Fast Balls is the fourth book in the Balls to the Wall series and Miss Tara does not disappoint in this story. We follow Jerry Wallender and Mick Cassidy to there happily ever after and boy is it a journey.

Jerry is that fun loving guy that you want to see happy and isn’t surprised to see that he sees the good in somebody who every body hates. and if you’ve been following the series then everybody should know who Mick is. He’s the asshole, I’m sure everybody wanted to give a piece of their minds. I know I sure did, but Miss Tara gave Mick the redemption he so needed.

You get a glimpse into how Mick was raised and what was expected of him, and I swear you will want to have a few choice words with his father and the other two firefighters who thinks it’s cool to be pricks, but Mick starts to think for himself and becomes his own person with a few struggle along the way.

Jerry and Mick will have you saying awe, and that’s so sweet. And the intimacy between the two is scorching. (Definitely had to throw that in there.) I can’t wait for the next installment in this series. Please let there be another book in the series.

The Balls to the Wall Series

Volley Balls #1
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Fire Balls #2
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Beach Balls #3
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Prefer paperback?

The first and second book are now available in paperback! 

Author Bio:

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

               


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Blog Tour: Fire Danger by Claire Davon

Fire Danger
(Elemental’s Challenge Series, #1)
Synopsis:
All her life, a faint memory of her parents and fire has glowed at the back of Rachel Quinn’s mind. With her parents long dead, there is no one to clarify what it means.

When a gorgeous winged man rescues her from a pack of werewolves, something flares to life inside Rachel. Suddenly she can see the paranormal world around her, a world unseen by mortals. And far more complicated.

When Phoenix’s massive orange-and-red wings erupt from his back, he knows his Challenge-an age-old battle against his Demonos counterpart-is upon him. Heeding Rachel’s cry for help adds a layer of complexity never seen in any previous Challenge.

Rachel, they discover, isn’t entirely human. Like Phoenix, she commands fire. Fire calls to fire, and soon they are succumbing to a fierce attraction. As the Challenge bears down on them, though, Phoenix must discover what the Demonos has in store for mankind. If he doesn’t succeed, the entire world will be swallowed up in darkness-and Rachel along with it.

Buy Links:
        
Excerpt:

“I could drown in his eyes,” he heard her say, and he chuckled. Rachel flushed. “That is still taking some getting used to.”

“Yes.” His fingers laced through hers and his grip firmed, squeezing gently. He kissed her, his lips grazing hers, and pulled her against him, tucking her head against his shoulder.

He could hear his heartbeat, slow and steady, in her mind. She radiated uncertainty, fear.

“It’s crazy to let someone see who I am,” she said. “You’re going to see my ugly side and never want to know me again.”

“I am not those people. I am not one of your mortals to be so easily scared by a few dark secrets. I have more than my share.”

She sighed and relaxed a little bit more. The scent of fear and adrenaline was acrid in his nostrils. A part of him that hadn’t felt anything for a long time surged to life.

“I want to know,” she said. “I can feel something shifting inside me, like a dam breaking. I don’t understand who or what happened, but I want to know.”

He swallowed, cupping her face in his hands. “Let me in and let me see if I can discover what you really are.”

Her reluctance was plain in a fearful look in her eyes. He hated that she wasn’t meeting his gaze. He hated that she was afraid. But there was no way to avoid the process. They needed to do this.

“Okay.” Her voice was tremulous. When she met his gaze, to his relief there was strength lurking in the blue depths.

He took both her hands in his. Then he opened his mind to hers all the way, leaving himself bare to her. Her shields went down, the small ones she had erected only recently, and the deeper, instinctive ones she had carefully locked around her innermost self.

Images. Her parents at the water. He saw the world through Rachel’s child eyes, and he worked on orienting himself. That memory was only a fragment, and he went deeper, searching her mind for the answers there.

Dark memories. Images of petty crimes. Stealing a candy bar as a child. Taking toilet paper from her employer when she was so low on money she didn’t know how she was going to eat after she had fed JT. Deep sexual needs, hard, fast, more than her partners could give her. A horrifying loneliness, soul deep, when she realized that nobody loved her. Nobody but the cat she had rescued from death in a dumpster, anyway.

Before he could think, he mind spoke. “You are not alone anymore.”

She shuddered.

He went deeper. There it was. A thread, something not human. Phoenix followed it. He sensed something deeply buried, a power banked that had not yet been revealed. It licked at him like flames, like his own ability to manipulate fire under certain circumstances, but different. Very different. This was focused, somehow feminine. There was no question her gift came from the maternal side.

Images. Her mother bathed in the flames from a campfire, out in the Sierra Nevadas. Her father enjoying the view of his woman, seeing but not seeing the glow of the red fire.

Images. Lightning sparking and touching down near them, not as close as it seemed but feeling close enough to touch. Her mother laughing while her father looked on with fear, watching her reach out to the energy.

Images. A small Rachel looking up at a furious father, who was holding a scorched teddy bear.

Images. A dream this time, Rachel tossing and turning in a stormy night, dreaming, dreaming, dreaming of revenge on all the children who mocked and pointed at her. Of the foster family who only took her in because of the money, and made sure she knew that every meal she ate was begrudged. The dream took the form of the movie Carrie, with Rachel sending fire down the hallways and corridors of the school and into the master bedroom at home, setting everyone ablaze.

That fateful night. A ten-year-old Rachel running from the car as it erupted in flames. There was a large…something…behind them, and it spat fire at them.

Memory jumbled and she was away from the burning car, her overnight bag in one clammy hand. Inside she could see the skeletons of her immolated parents. A big winged figure, like a page from the Arabian Nights, was hovering out of sight of another, smaller one. She wasn’t sure how he managed to be unseen, but he did. The large person spared her a look, and she heard, “Run, Rachel, run. Now, granddaughter.”

Her feet were moving before she was aware of it. In the distance there were sirens, their sounds indicating they were getting closer. Someone must have seen the fire. She could stay, she could go back…maybe her parents were still alive…

“They are not. Run.”

It was the only thing to do. Tears on her cheeks, Rachel had run. As she did so a blanket descended over her mind, something that protected her even while it took her memories.

She came out of it with a cry, still clinging to Phoenix.

About The Author
Claire can’t remember a time when writing wasn’t part of her life. From the time she was a pre-teen, she wrote stories, most of them romances. She used to write stories with her friends, with each of them choosing a famous person or a character from their favorite TV series, and model the novels around that. One of her earliest stories, unfortunately lost to time, centered around the 1970s series Starsky and Hutch (she was partial to Starsky).Although she read primarily fantasy and science fiction as a teenager, it didn’t take long for Claire to discover Harlequin romances and their happily-ever-after endings.
Claire has many irons in the fire, including short stories across a multitude of genres to go along with her romances, from contemporary to paranormal. Originally from Brookline, Massachusetts, Claire now lives in Los Angeles. In addition to writing she has an office job she loves, does animal rescue, reads, and goes to movies. She loves to hear from fans, so feel free to drop her a line.
        
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Presented By:

Cover Reveal: Fast Balls by Tara Lain

FAST Balls, book #5 in the 
BALLS TO THE WALLS series 
got a gorgeous new cover! 
Fast Balls
(Balls To the Walls Series, #5)
by Tara Lain
 
Blurb
Can two men with skewed self-images see their true reflections in each other’s eyes?
Jerry Wallender—firefighter, surfer, and occasional nude model—knows he’s no rocket scientist. So why does he keep choosing intellectual guys who make him feel dumber? He worked his buns off to overcome his reading disability and pass the firefighter’s test, and he loves everything about the job. Well, except for Mick Cassidy, the big, blond, hunky homophobe who harasses Jerry for being gay. But Jerry is smart enough to realize it’s not hate driving Mick, but the pain of a very unhappy upbringing.
Mick Cassidy, Firefighter Assist and Search Team, fights fires, but he can’t fight his attraction to the kindest, most generous—and sexiest—guy he’s ever met. Does that make him gay? If it does, he just might get himself killed by his gay-hating preacher father—and take Jerry down with him.
This is a re-release
Re-Release Date: 
July 12, 2017
Available for pre-order
Excerpt

“My mom says fire is scary. I had bad dreams.”

Jerry smiled and leaned forward on the folding chair toward the kids sitting on the big rug in front of him. Mick sat beside him on another chair, looking like someone had thrown him into a swamp full of alligators. He’d said something about kids making him nervous on the drive over, and he hadn’t been kidding.

Jerry nodded. “Your mom is right. Fire can be real scary. But remember, it’s good too. How else would you get hot dogs and s’mores?”

All the kids laughed and echoed him. “Yeah, s’mores.”

“Now you guys did really good yesterday when you exited your building.”

“What’s exited?”

Jerry smiled at the little girl with cocoa skin. “It means when you marched out the door just like in your fire drill.”

“Ohhh.”

“And because of that, Firefighter Cassidy and I have been authorized, uh, I mean we’ve been told, we can give each one of you an Honorary Firefighters Badge.”

“Yayyy.”

“Wow!”

“Can I have two?”

Jerry laughed. “But first, tell me all the stuff you know about how to handle fire.”

The kids stared at him.

For the first time, Mick moved. He leaned forward and said real soft, “Matches.”

One little boy nodded authoritatively. “Ohhh, yeah. Never play with matches.”

“Don’t touch matches.”

Jerry looked at Mick and gave him a wink.

The guy looked down at his hands. Jeez, he’s weird.

He looked back at the kids. “And what else can you tell me about fire?”

The children all looked right at Mick. His ears turned pink, but he got into the game. “Fireworks,” he whispered.

One little black-haired boy rolled back on the carpet. “Fireworks are great!”

Jerry laughed. “Right, but where do they belong?”

Once again, all eyes turned to Mick. He held up his hand beside his mouth. “In the city fireworks display.”

One redheaded boy threw his hand in the air. “Ciddy firewooks!”

Jerry nodded. “Right! Never, ever pick up fireworks or buy them at the store. They can hurt you, and they’re not allowed in Laguna Beach. You know where that is, right?”

Heads nodded.

“Okay, good. Now Firefighter Cassidy and I will hand out your badges. Remember, fire is good most of the time, but you have to use it right. Never play with it—and do your fire drills regularly. Ready for your badges?

“Yes!”

“Yayyyyy!”

He took the plastic badges from a box and handed some to Mick. As the kids flocked around him, the big guy smiled and looked kind of happy.

A little Hispanic girl grabbed Jerry around the legs. “Thank you, Fireman.”

He knelt down. “Thank you. What’s your name?”

“Antonia.”

“You enjoy your new badge, okay? Show it to your mommy and daddy.”

“I only have a daddy.”

Jerry’s breath caught. “Well, I’ll bet you love him very much.”

She nodded. “Yes. He makes me sandwiches, and we’re in it together.”

Jeez, should he laugh or cry?

“Do you have a little girl, Fireman?”

He smoothed her inky hair. “No, but I wouldn’t mind having a little girl just like you someday.”

“I hope you find her.”

Heat pressed behind his eyes. “Oh, I hope so too.” No crying, man. He hugged Antonia’s tiny frame. “Thank you for letting us come to your class today.”

Big wide eyes. She nodded. “Thank you for coming.”

He smiled. When he looked up, Mick was staring at him.

The Balls to the Wall Series
Volley Balls
Bk #1
Available at
 
      
Fire Balls 
Bk #2
Available to purchase
      
Beach Balls
Bk #3
Available to purchase
         

About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
You can find Tara at Lain
               


Presented By

Excerpt and Review Blitz: Midnight Rose by Dani Hert

Midnight Rose

(Midnight series, #1)

By Dani Hart

Blurb:

My grandfather had once told me that life was an unpredictable beast—one moment calm with a full belly and heavy eyes, and the next, digging its paws in the dirt, snarling just before it took down its next victim. Until recently, I would argue with that notion, listing all the reasons why my life was as predictable as the tides coming and going. While I listened, I was young and never put much thought into a lot of the things my grandfather told me, but all that changed when the Hunters moved back to Sandpoint. More specifically, Wes Hunter. That was when the impossible became possible and the predictable became unpredictable.

As Abigail Rose looked down on her new world, she couldn’t deny the things she had seen and all the things she had learned. There were days she wished she could go back to her old life, but she had changed. Evolved. She was no longer a love-struck seventeen year old. She was a chosen leader and her path was undeniable. The black and white was fading to gray, and the only thing between mortals and immortals was her.

 

 

   
Excerpt 

Kendra blended in around the fire with the college kids. It was so easy for her. She was a social butterfly, whereas my toes couldn’t even graze the soft granules of sand only inches away. This wasn’t healthy. My palms were sweating just by being here.

The lights of the pier shone brightly in the distance. It wasn’t too far away and sitting here was driving me crazy, so I twisted through the trees, the sounds of the party becoming distant. The quiet was soothing.

The bistro was tucked between a row of shops and restaurants just before the pier. The lights inside were visible from where I stood at the far end of the pier. Shadows crossed the windows from inside, and I imagined Mr. Hunter shuffling around, cleaning up and Penelope drowning her sorrows in her playlist as she rolled silverware. It was silly, but I envied her because she was inside there with Wes and I was out here, alone.

The waves rippled softly against the pier, rocking it gently, my body swaying with it. Being here didn’t seem so bad—so debilitating. I wasn’t ready for the beach. Not yet. Every once in a while, laughter would drift from the party, momentarily breaking the peaceful silence.

“Do you feel safe over here all by yourself?”

My body stiffened at Elijah’s sudden arrival. Was he asking, or threatening? It was hard to tell. I refused to let him intimidate me, so I firmly planted my elbows on the railing as I admired the glimmer of the moon dancing over the water. “Shouldn’t you be with Kendra?”

“No. I believe I’m exactly where I should be.”

“Is that right? Is that why you cozied up to my best friend? To get to me?”

“Maybe.” His eyes lit up confidently.

“You could have just asked me out.” I crossed my arms, feigning courage.

“And what would you have said if I had asked?”

“No,” I said firmly.

He chuckled, seemingly unaffected. “Well, then maybe I like your friend.”

My heart skipped a terrifying beat as his footsteps creaked under the give of the wood planks, bringing him closer to me. I could see his breath in the chill of the night as he made himself comfortable next to me.

“Do I make you nervous?” He looked over to me.

“A little, honestly,” I replied quietly, not turning to meet his gaze. My voice trembled slightly.

He leaned over, sweeping my hair behind my shoulder, his touch trailing euphoric sensations around my neck and shoulder, and whispered into my ear, “I’m not the one you need to be afraid of.”

My body stiffened with dread.

Then who do I need to be afraid of?

 A chill replaced the warmth of his breath on my neck, and when I braved a glance over, Elijah was gone. I spun around quickly, searching the pier and the trees beyond, but he was nowhere to be found.

Do you feel safe? No, not anymore. I rushed off the pier and back through the trees, flinching at every noise I heard.

“Abby, what happened to you?” Kendra bounced up to me upon my return.

“I went for a walk on the pier.”

Concern was evident in her eyes. “You’ve been gone for over an hour. The pier is less than five minutes away.”

How could that be? It felt like I had only been gone for a few minutes. Moments of time had been lost standing on the pier with Elijah.

A wave of nausea hit me suddenly, causing me to grimace.

“Are you feeling okay?”

“Can we go home?”

“Of course. You don’t look so good. Elijah disappeared anyway. The jerk.” Kendra wrapped her arm in mine.

My legs were wobbly and my mind was hazy, so I gripped her arm tighter to keep from falling. When I glanced up beyond the bonfire, I spotted a pair of eyes fixated on me.

“Is that Ben Hunter?” The boy’s hair was jet black just like Ben’s, and the eyes seemed familiar even from this far away. My head was starting to pound, and my vision was getting blurry.

“The devastatingly gorgeous guy with black hair and irresistible eyes? Yes, I believe I heard someone call him that. He’s one of the twins, right?”

“Yeah.” I stumbled a bit, my eyes still on Ben.

“He’s weird,” Kendra added, holding her grip tighter around me.

My stomach was doing flips.

“I think we’re better off without boys.” She snickered.

“I think so.” My legs suddenly gave out, but before I hit the ground, a pair of arms wrapped around me. I expected to see Kendra above me, but instead, Ben cradled me, my flesh burning under his touch. He handed me over to Kendra quickly and, without a word, went back to the party.

“What was that?” Kendra tracked him, awestruck. “Are you okay, Abby?”

“I really need to lie down,” I begged her as all my weight leaned into her.

She hugged me close and helped me as I stumbled through the parking lot.

“You’re going to have to drive,” I mumbled when we made it to the car.

She took my keys and helped me into the passenger seat and buckled me in. My head sank into the headrest, feeling heavy against the leather. My thoughts swirled with confusion, not understanding what happened on the pier. Elijah’s words echoed in my thoughts. Safety had been replaced with fear, no matter how irrational it seemed.

 

About The Author
I have always been drawn to words. They have this enchanting magic to touch my soul when I need it the most, whether through reading or writing. My love for writing started as most little girl’s with a diary. It evolved into a big girl journal and then transformed into a notebook of poetry during the dark days of high school. I followed my dream to USC (University of Southern California) to study theatre, creative writing, and screenwriting. Finally, I understood how to take the stories in my head and commit them to paper. I was fortunate enough to sell my first professional script during college and have been writing ever since. In 2013 I took to self-publishing. I realized quickly that my passion resonated across many genres, so currently I have published young adult, fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, new adult, and women’s fiction. With both of my kids in school full-time now I am able to immerse myself in my passion more and when I’m not writing I’m enjoying the short time I have with my babies and my husband.
“I write what my heart sings.”
You can find Dani at
            
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