Phases of Moon — Part 3 – Chapter 1 — J. Alan Veerkamp #freereads #paranormal #mmromance

Hello, everyone!

I have a new free read to share! Welcome to Phases of Moon, a new paranormal tale where I delve into my own version of werewolves that’s been sitting on the back burner for longer than I prefer to admit.

This story will be part of the flash fiction group, Wednesday Briefers. Every Wednesday, I’ll be posting a chapter with a maximum of 1000 words, giving you an ongoing taste of this serial. The short format keeps me committed to regular posting and continuous story telling. A win-win for everyone!

This installment continues outside of the Wednesday flash fiction so I don’t have to shorten the end of the chapter. (It won’t end neatly right now.) Wednesdays will be set for 1000 word installments.

Jimmy’s hunt continues…


 

Moon Phases banner

Part 3 – Chapter 1

continued from part 2…

The receding fur exposed the skin in gradual patches, and the sick sound of bones popping and crunching filled the night. Legs straightened and extended back into human and the arms evened out. The snout shrunk back into the face and eventually a dead man lay before him. The only remaining visible damage were the two bloody gunshot wounds and a suspicious bite mark at his neck and shoulder. An odd scent emanated from the body. A mix of what should have been, he understood what it meant, but mentally filed it away for the future. There wasn’t time to investigate in more detail.

What a waste. Jimmy stared into the lifeless eyes and swallowed down the guilt threatening to rise. He didn’t recognize the young man before him, but it wasn’t what this was about. There was nothing personal in this hunt. The creature was uncontrolled and feral. Trapped between forms, it had to be in agony. This kind of pain would make anyone crazed, man or beast. Travesties of nature had to be put down. He’d done what was necessary and required, but it didn’t mean he had to like carrying out his duty. 

Blood dripped off his burning arm into the dirt, looking blackened in the low light, but he ignored it as best he could. More important things needed to be done before he could call this job complete.

The moon was still high, leaving him with several hours before sunrise, but it didn’t lessen the urgency. After gathering his rifle, he tracked back to his truck, stowed the weapons, and collected a blanket and shovel. Putting it in neutral, he pushed the target’s car deeper into the trees to temporarily hide it. He’d drive it to a secluded location after he was finished. Jimmy had driven this road enough to know it wasn’t popular. At this time of night, it could be hours before another vehicle passed by.

Finding the path back to the dead man was simple enough. Blood still seeped out of the target’s wounds, by force of gravity rather than heartbeat, marring what would have been a strong, firm man. It was hard to look at him as Jimmy stripped out of his clothing, laying it all into a neat pile. There was plenty of dirt on his clothing from the hunt, but getting the target’s blood on them could come back to haunt him later. He could rinse himself off in the nearby creek a mile or so south of his location once his work was finished.

It felt good to be free of the garments. He stretched out his limbs, always believing the hardened slabs of powerful muscle were better off being kissed by nature. The sensation helped corral the moral weight of his actions. They burdened his massive shoulders as he wrapped the limp body in the dark cotton blanket. No matter how many times he performed this duty, it never became easier to swallow down.

But who else could be trusted with the task?

With the shovel in one hand and the bundle hoisted over the other shoulder, Jimmy trod deeper into the clearing, his powerful physique bearing the body with only a hint of strain. Under the grace of the lunar aura, perhaps this poor soul could find some peace. Jimmy was unlikely to find the same any time soon.

Resting the carpeted evidence nearby, Jimmy broke ground with the shovel, digging hard through stone ridden soil. He slaved with a fierce determination, powering below the surface, refusing to rest. Hours drifted by as the dirt mixed with perspiration, mud staining every sinew and crevice of his naked flesh. Wet clumps caked and pulled on the hairs on his chest and legs, but he ignored the pinches and the slices on his arm. There wasn’t time for such nonsense. Six feet deep was a long way down into the earth. By the time he finished, the top of his head barely rose above the edge.

He tossed the shovel out and took measure of his work. This would be sufficient, but he felt no satisfaction or pride. He wondered if it should be himself at the bottom of the hole instead of trading places with the poor soul wrapped above ground. 

But then someone else would be forced to do the job and he couldn’t live with himself over the idea.

After climbing out, he placed the body back at the bottom of the makeshift grave, taking care not to drop the bundle. Jimmy stood, looking down at the unmoving roll. How unfair this was. The man inside had no chance really. His fate was sealed the moment the bite shared its curse. There had been no choice.

“Please, forgive me,” Jimmy whispered. 

Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath and paused. This duty was unwelcome, but it was something he had a talent for. It gave him a place in the circle he needed ever since he left Louisiana.

With a ragged exhale, he gripped the shovel and started the slow process of filling the hole. The sound of dirt raining into the grave cast a shiver down his spine. He couldn’t look at the bundle as the earth closed over it. Hopefully, there could be some salvation after all the questionable acts he’d committed. If not, his future was bleak indeed.

The huge mound of soil mocked him as he finished piling on the last scoop of dirt. Time and elements would reclaim this area long before anyone discovered this untouched clearing. No one would ever know where this young man lay, whatever his name was. Unknown and damned, that was his sad fate.

Shame swelled his chest and he released the shovel; the metal clattered against a series of freshly exposed rocks. This shouldn’t have happened. It was a violation of the natural order, bringing an innocent to ruin. Jimmy couldn’t wash the blood off his filthy hands if he tried.

A moss covered log made a makeshift seat for Jimmy to settle onto. His head dropped forward as exhaustion began to suffuse him even through his muscles were still strong. Every inch of skin felt filthy and unkempt with more than simply his efforts. Staring at the wet dirt painting his feet, he raked his muddy fingers through his thick locks and across his scalp. Stray hairs tugged, snagged in the harsh stubble along his jaw.

As he said a silent prayer over the unmarked grave, his eyes filled with anger and regret. Pushing his mud soaked hair from his face with his dirty hands, Jimmy glared at the moon, its beauty a fickle mistress in her power. The ancient icon cast its spell on all the creatures of the night, a force of something more than tides and reflected light. The moon whispered to her wayward children when she was full, and the call was unmistakable. Some weren’t strong enough to resist her seduction. Some no longer wanted to. Jimmy threw back his head and let the pull from her take hold.

His body began to shiver as his flesh contorted, the skeletal shape shifting underneath. Throwing himself forward onto all fours, his bones reformed and distorted. Fur sprouted from every pore as his face elongated and sharp teeth thrust out, filling his jaws. Sharp pains lanced every inch of him and his thoughts retreated to protect themselves, leaving him underneath the fearsome wolf shaking out its grey and brown coat.

The unnaturally large wolf sniffed and stepped around the grave’s perimeter until sitting before it, facing the voiceless moon. Titling its head back, he let loose a terrible howl filled with agony and mourning into the night sky. It would be heard only by the silent wildlife.

 


 

Stay tuned … Chapter 2 begins next Wednesday!

Phases of Moon — Part 2 – Chapter 1 — J. Alan Veerkamp #freereads #paranormal #mmromance

Hello, everyone!

I have a new free read to share! Welcome to Phases of Moon, a new paranormal tale where I delve into my own version of werewolves that’s been sitting on the back burner for longer than I prefer to admit.

This story will be part of the flash fiction group, Wednesday Briefers. Every Wednesday, I’ll be posting a chapter with a maximum of 1000 words, giving you an ongoing taste of this serial. The short format keeps me committed to regular posting and continuous story telling. A win-win for everyone!

This week, Jimmy continues his dangerous hunt…

So sit back and let’s see where we go from here.


 

Moon Phases banner

Part 2 – Chapter 1

The dread welling in his chest tried to claw its way into his throat. The faint whisper of hope he’d clung to had disintegrated into rotting bits of discarded cloth.

Not far ahead, a small clearing bathed in moonlight was visible through a break in the trees. It had to be close. It had to be here. The seductive lunar glow should draw it right to this place, a midnight siren song impossible to resist. First night of the full moon.

Jimmy crept towards the clearing and paused when he heard a faint growl mixed with something else unnatural. An insidious chuckle, no human being should be capable of making.

The sound echoed around him through the layers of trees, coming from all directions at once. Fringes of panic sparked from the hackles on his neck to the base of his spine, which he promptly stomped out. This wasn’t his first hunt and wouldn’t be the last. Gripping the rifle in both hands, Jimmy widened his eyes and strained his hearing outwards. 

Where the hell was the target?

A soft breeze wafted through the forest, blowing a few strands of hair away from his face. Shit. He was downwind. Stupid.

Jimmy spun, too late to stop the weight slamming into him. It shouldered him off his feet and into a nearby log. He flailed his hand out for his rifle, the strap across his chest the only reason it didn’t go flying. Jimmy bolted up onto one knee and aimed his weapon. Ignoring the new ache down his side and back, he twisted in a complete circle, seeing nothing but hearing the demonic laughter bounce around him once again.

It was toying with him.

The rustle of the underbrush barely gave him warning. He whirled, and it grabbed the muzzle forcing Jimmy to fire into the sky. Staring into its uneven eyes, he smashed the gun’s stock between them with all his strength. The satisfying crunch made it jump back with a snarl, slashing Jimmy’s arm in its wake. Its retreat scattered the leaves and moss, before racing to one side, drawing a circle around him.

The target was quick, far faster than he’d been prepared for, making Jimmy’s pulse race. He tried to keep the rifle barrel in front of the sprinting shadow, but the pain flashing down his arm shook his hand, slowing his aim.

Jimmy lost sight of his prey as it rounded behind a group of bushes, but he could hear the patter of its feet on the soft dirt and the subtle brushing of limbs and foliage as it stalked him through the growth. It wasn’t trying to completely hide its movements anymore. The rushed cadence of his breathing made it more and more difficult to track. 

Who was the predator now? 

A searing fire raged through his arm. It unsteadied his aim, meaning he was probably bleeding like a stuck pig, and the damage was bad. With his back stiffening from the first strike, he was at an unfamiliar disadvantage. It was all he could do to focus on the unnatural growls and footfalls trying to herd him. He’d underestimated his quarry, and if he couldn’t rally himself and bring an end to this quickly, he wouldn’t be the only casualty of the night.

The urge to run and create some breathing space splashed into his thoughts, but he quashed it. Turning his back on it was the stupidest idea possible. It would chase him down and rip him in half. Running would get him killed. Running was how prey got caught. Running was how prey got killed.

But it might be the only option he had.

Jimmy measured his breathing and waited, playing the game and letting it continue to  until it was right where he needed it to be. 

“Come and get it, bitch.”

He sprinted towards the clearing. The thundering steps came to life behind him, and he whirled and pulled the trigger. Fire and thunder erupted as one into the night. The target let loose an agonizing yelp and Jimmy leaped to one side as it crashed into the ground with a painful roar, spitting a cloud of dried leaves and dirt into the air.

Struggling to keep his rifle trained due to his injured arm, Jimmy edged closer as the dust settled. Its growls were diminishing into wet, gurgling, gasps for air. 

Fortunately, Jimmy had always been a good—or perhaps lucky shot.

What lay sprawled in the dirt in front of him was male but wasn’t a man. Not exactly. Covered in mangy fur, its face was contorted with a short muzzle filled with sharp, uneven teeth. The powerful wolfen hind legs were exaggerated in size compared to the distorted torso. Its arms were two different lengths of corded muscle, one more canine than the other. Scraps of threadbare fabric matching the clothing he’d found earlier still sat tangled around its limbs. It wasn’t human and wasn’t a wolf. It was a sad mangled creature stuck somewhere in between. A personification of rage and agony that never should have existed.

Blood, dark and glossy in the pale light, continued to seep into its fur. The weakened beast clawed at the ground as it tried to steady itself. Foamy saliva drooled from the twisted mouth, as its eyes, one human and one canine, focused on Jimmy. Its pained whines were caused by more than the bullet wound in its chest.

“I’m sorry. It shouldn’t have to be like this.”

Lowering the rifle to the ground, Jimmy pulled his pistol, closed in on the creature, and put one more bullet in its head.

The creature slumped to the ground, its chest deflating. When all of features sagged, he checked for a heartbeat. Nothing. The forest was once more silent except for Jimmy’s harsh gasps as he waited for what came next. Caught within the moon’s mystical pull, the lifeless body began to twitch and shift.

…to be continued


 

Stay tuned … more story to come tomorrow with a new chapter next Wednesday!

Until then, check out the other weekly posts at the Wednesday Briefs

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Phases of Moon — Part 1 – Chapter 1 — J. Alan Veerkamp #freereads #paranormal #mmromance

Hello, everyone!

I have a new free read to share! Welcome to Phases of Moon, a new paranormal tale where I delve into my own version of werewolves that’s been sitting on the back burner for longer than I prefer to admit.

This story will be part of the flash fiction group, Wednesday Briefers. Every Wednesday, I’ll be posting a chapter with a maximum of 1000 words, giving you an ongoing taste of this serial. The short format keeps me committed to regular posting and continuous story telling. A win-win for everyone!

This week, we’re starting off fresh. No expectations…

So sit back and let’s see where we go from here.


 

Moon Phases banner

Part 1

Acrid with a touch of carbon and sulfur, burnt rubber carried its oily scent into the air. Fresh skid marks marred the asphalt, highlighted by the harsh glow of the full moon, drawing an unmistakeable path to the red taillights shining in the night. An abandoned metal beast along the side of the quiet country road. 

Climbing out of his piano black Ford F-150, Jimmy Coutreau crept closer, keeping a firm grip on his loaded sidearm. Peering inside the driver’s side wide open door, the overhead light dimly showcased the empty interior. Local radio banter overlapped the car’s annoying seatbelt chime. The tire streaks on the road were roughly straight from a hard breaking, and the car had no visible impact marks, having stopped well short of the tree line. Unmanned in the dark, it sat just off the shoulder in the dirt. 

The license plate matched. It was the car he’d been searching for.

Without making any additional noise, he took a wary scan of the area as he thumbed the safety off his weapon. The welcome moonlight may have been shining bright, but black shadows littered the area. No traffic in the distance. No rustling in the trees. No crickets. No active wildlife to be heard. Footprints in the surrounding sand were scattered and frenzied, leading off into the looming forest. The engine was still warm and running, so they likely hadn’t gotten far.

And he knew he was being watched.

He pulled the key from the ignition, bringing a newfound silence to the area. No hint of sound, the whole forest was on edge and alert. The car was less visible shut down, but Jimmy knew time and luck could be fickle. He pocketed the keys in case he needed to move the vehicle and strode back to his own truck.

After a decent drive from the site, he pulled off the road and backed his truck up into the shadowed tree line. He didn’t need locals hassling him with questions he couldn’t answer right now. It wasn’t safe for anyone. 

Under the cloak of an outcropping of trees, he keyed open the reinforced lock box in the cab. He strapped his hunting knife to his thigh, slung his rifle over his shoulder, and stowed his pistol in the holster under his left arm. Loaded and ready, he locked up and double-timed it back to the site on foot before he lost the trail and something horrible happened.

Nothing about these jobs ever sat well with him.

Dirt crunched under his boots as gently as possible despite the urgency. No need to announce himself more than necessary. Scant minutes passed before he came to a stop at the abandoned car once again.

Jimmy took one last longing look at the full moon, its silver caress an unfair tease this evening. Low and dominant in the sky, a man could see in all directions from the ethereal shine, giving an unnatural life to the shadows. He should be reveling—celebrating—the sultry magic of the moon’s cycle with prayers of abundance instead of charging ahead into this seedy mission. But there was no one else to do the job, so here he stood waiting to be swallowed by the forest.

Moonlight glinting off the gunmetal in his hands, Jimmy plunged between the trees, following the haphazard trail of footprints into the deep dark.

Other men of his size would have made more sound stalking into the forest, but growing up, Jimmy had learned how to be one with the wild Louisiana outdoors. He knew how to treat the land. Step quick and lively, yet leave no trace, no trail for outsiders to find. A cautionary motto ingrained into him since he was a child.

These, however, were not the forests of his youth, and the danger hidden within would become far worse if not contained.

Stiffening with sweat, the tips of his wavy dark hair itched the skin along the collar of his snug, black t-shirt. Although the summer months here were nothing like the sweltering heat of his old home, Jimmy had been surprised the northern Michigan nights could carry this kind of humidity. Was it the weather slicking his skin or his growing sense of alarm with each passing step? 

Jimmy cast his hearing outward to find nothing. No insect chirping, no scurrying nocturnal life to be heard. Only the rustle of leaves brought on by a soft, muggy breeze sieved through the trees. The forest’s life sat still as death, the way nature does in the presence of a vicious predator. Instinct told him, for once, the predator wasn’t him. He may not have been able to see or hear it, but the target was still in here with him.

Even with his excellent night vision, the scant moonlight filtering through the treetops made tracking easier. Foot-wide scatterings of leaves and reckless broken branches carved a sloppy path into the dark. He caught sight of something that didn’t belong at the base of a nearby tree. A piece of tattered cloth. The fabric was too clean to have been there long. Jimmy picked up the sad remnants of a short-sleeved linen shirt, catching the subtle hint of men’s cologne.

Dropping it, he made a wide circle, looking and listening for more evidence. Nothing made itself known, but he could feel it out there. 

Waiting.

So he continued.

No effort had been made to hide the trail. It could have followed it in pitch black by an amateur. Nothing had been obscured. A pair of casual shoes unsuitable for hiking laid just outside the trenched moss, the brown leather exploded out in ragged shards, the sole barely hanging on. Moments later, he came across a pair of shredded jeans. Like all the rest, the denim appeared to have been stretched to its limits and lost the fight. The seams bound the remaining scraps together by a mass of threads.

…to be continued


 

Stay tuned … more story to come next Wednesday!

Until then, check out the other weekly posts at the Wednesday Briefs

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Happy Re-Release Day! — Innocence & Carnality #mmromance #steampunk

It’s official! Innocence & Carnality is back up for sale!

IC Veercamp ereader scene

It was a difficult decision to self-pub my book. Pulling my rights back after Dreamspinner Press’ lack of payment—I’ve been paid only approximately 10% ofd everything they owe me—it was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. The financial trouble they were having only came to light for me after I & C originally released last year.

I wanted to believe they were making strides to make things right. Pay back past due royalties, rebuild author relationships, and get back to proper business. Dreamspinner was one of the big boys, so of course things were going to right themselves.

Unfortunately, they didn’t. The situation depressed me so badly, I barely wrote last year. Another author had gotten legal advice and shared how if Dreamspinner went bankrupt (which was a definite possibility) the contract language to revert rights wouldn’t supersede bankruptcy law when they seized assets. For a publisher, assets are the books. I wasn’t going to lose my book for however long it took for the courts to unwind the mess we were in, so I asked for my rights back in December.

It didn’t take long, but I was able to re-publish Innocence & Carnality through Amazon as the sole owner of my story, and it’s now available to read through Kindle Unlimited, or you can purchase your own ebook or paperback copy.

 

Project X by Cheryl Headford – #mmromance #excerpt

I’m so happy to announce the lovely Cheryl Headford has a new release!

Project X hosted by eXtasy Books!

Cheryl has been kind enough to beta read for me int he past and her instincts are spot on and well thought out. When this came out, I was only too happy to help spread the word.

Take a look at the details below, including an excerpt to give you a taste as well an option for the prequel story at the bottom of the page. Follow the links to the eXtasy Books website for purchase.

Click and enjoy!

Project X – eXtasy Books

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https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1980-6-project-x/?search=cheryl%20headford&sub_category=1

Blurb

Morgan Bentley is a bastard. Matthew knows this absolutely—until he doesn’t.

Matthew and his friend Cory are thrilled to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the UK. On their pre-entry visit, they met Morgan Bentley and his stuck-up friends. Matthew takes an instant dislike to the arrogant, conceited, self-obsessed, beautiful, intelligent, and charismatic boy. Throughout the next year, Matthew harbours his dislike, never missing the opportunity to complain to his best friend, Cory, what a bastard Morgan is.

Then, an unexpected turn of events catapults Matthew, Morgan, and Cory into a nightmare, and all the things Cory had said about Matthew’s true feelings about Morgan come crashing down on his head, and he realises that what he thought was hatred and anger was, in fact, growing attraction and begrudging admiration. But when the deadly nature of the elusive Project X is revealed, it seems their budding romance is doomed before it begins, as one of them is unlikely to survive.

 

 Author Bio

Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her family and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created in play.

Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller was the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son, dog, bearded dragon and cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art, with a healthy smattering of magic and mayhem

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Excerpt

Morgan Bentley was a bastard. An utter, complete, A-one, cut-glass bastard. He was arrogant, selfish, cold, standoffish, cruel, and completely heartless. His history was peppered with broken hearts and broken people attesting to the fact. There was no doubt about it—he was a bastard.

Morgan didn’t have any friends. What he had was an entourage: people who cared less for the person he was than for the prestige his company brought. At the moment he had a girlfriend, the undoubted Alpha Female of the university, a bitch called Charlotte Lethbridge, whose father owned half of Mayfair. The relationship wouldn’t last, though. They never did. And next week it could just as easily be a boyfriend.

No one ever said no to Morgan. No one outside his circle of “friends” ever said anything at all unless he invited them to, which he rarely ever did.

Cory often said Morgan was sad—he had to be. He had to be lonely and sad because he had no real friends, no lasting relationships, no one to share with. Not like us. Sometimes I had to stop myself laughing when he said that. Morgan Bentley sad? Not bloody likely. He had everything. I mean everything.

His father was a research chemist, heading a huge multinational corporation. They manufactured drugs and engaged in research projects, sometimes for the government. I think that’s why Cory was so fascinated with Morgan. He was getting a degree in biochemistry and wanted to be a researcher himself. Cory was awesome…but he had flaws, and his fascination with Morgan was one of them. Personally, I wouldn’t care if I never saw his smug face ever again. Hell, I’d have been so much happier if I hadn’t.


 

For a different perspective on how Morgan felt about that initial meeting you might like to read the Prequel. This gives away spoilers if you haven’t read the book, but is a nice, currently free,  introduction to the boys and how their different perspectives work.

Project X – Prequel

https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1983-7-project-x-prequel/?search=cheryl%20headford&sub_category=1

 

New Release! Aria – Upstaged Book 4 by S.L. Danielson & Cheryl Headford

Be sure to check out the exclusive excerpt below!

Note: You can read this as a stand alone but there will be a lot of referral back to previous books

Published By: eXtasy Books

Authors: Cheryl HeadfordS.L. Danielson

ISBN: 978-1-4874-2523-4

Page: 344

Word Count: 114271

Estimated Publish Date: 12thJuly 2019

Series: Upstaged #4

Heat Level:

Categories: ContemporaryLove StoryGayGLBT,

Aria6x9

You think you’re holding someone close, but if you’re not paying attention, they could slip right out of your arms and fall.

Asher and Erik are getting married, but Asher isn’t happy about the pressure being put on him by their families and unwittingly by Erik himself. Issues that have plagued him for a long time come bubbling to the surface and threaten to overwhelm him. Although he cries out for help, no one hears; instead they write it off as Asher throwing a tantrum again. Only Angel sees the cracks, but it’s too much for him to handle on his own, although he tries.

The pressure builds, and even though there are breakouts, still no one sees the extent of the problem until the night before the wedding, when Asher is confronted by Erik in front of all their family and friends, and bolts.

Fortunately, Asher is rescued by Vince’s Uncle Tony, who makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

The Band heads off to London for a three-month tour, and not everyone is happy about it. Vince is stressed out and worried that Angel is not being entirely faithful. Should he say something? Then Connor meets an old friend, just when he starts having doubts about his relationship with Angel, and the fur starts to fly.

Will any of the couples survive?

 

Excerpt

“I don’t want to get rid of you,” Asher said, jerking his chin out of Erik’s hold and turning away. He was gazing at the sunset, but he didn’t really see it. “I just…” He sighed deeply. “This wedding is driving me crazy, Erik, and I don’t mean just frustrated crazy. It’s all been building up, and I’ve been…” No. He’d been about to tell Erik, to get everything out in the open. Should he have? Should he? If it blew them apart, maybe it was better it happened now. But the fact was he really wanted this. He desperately wanted to be Erik’s husband, to have someone to take care of and to take care of him. He needed it. And if he told him, if he told Erik the truth… Well, he didn’t think Erik would stick around. He had to manage it on his own. He had to find some way to push it all down again, bury it deep. It would be easier when the wedding was done. All he had to do was wait for the wedding. When it was finished, things would settle down again. They’d be okay. He’d be okay.

“It’ll all be over soon, I promise. By the end of the week we’ll be done with it all and get back to our lives, our house, and have fantastic memories. Things will calm down.” Erik took Asher’s hand. “Do you believe me at least a little bit? I’m not pulling your leg. This is not worth going batshit crazy over, okay? It’s a wedding. If I could, I’d marry you right here, right now, but I don’t have the ring with me.” He tried to garner a smile at least. “It’ll all be over soon, baby. I promise you.”

Over soon? I don’t think so. I don’t know if it will ever be over.“It’s not that I don’t believe you, Erik. Things will get better after the wedding. I know they will. But I don’t think you understand. The stress is making me crazy, really crazy. And after the wedding, there’s the tour with the band, which you know is going to catapult you right up there with all the craziness that’ll bring. Then there’s the exhibition. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done. It’s unbelievable, and yes, it’s exciting…yes, it’s career-making…yes, it’s going to make us enough money to get the house properly finished but… It’s all stress, Erik. There’ll always be stress, and I don’t know if I can—”

“I know it’s all stressful, I hate it too. I’ll be here for you every second, Asher, you know I will. We got through the shit in London, I know we can do this.” He kissed Asher’s hand. “You have a support system here, you know that. We need to lean on each other, not dig into each other, or your sister either. This makes me nuts, too, but I just think of the big picture. We will survive. Just…” He let out a sigh and looked out over the yard. “Just talk to me. Don’t shut me out. We can do this.”

Asher took a shaky breath. His hand shook as he moved the charcoal over the page absently. Maybe this was the time. Maybe he should stop shutting Erik out. “I want to. I really want to, Erik. It’s just—”

Footsteps made Erik look up and Asher followed suit.

 

Biographies

S.L. Danielson began writing at the age of six. She knew it was her calling from the moment she put pen to paper. In her teens, she began writing alternative works, and the genre stuck. She also wove more elaborate tales and finally, in her college years, began to weave her new love of male romance into long novels.

She is classically trained in business, accounting, and education, holding both undergrad and graduate degrees. Her other hobbies include painting, gaming, and spending time with her husband and two cherished cats.

Contact S.L. at:

ladyauthorsld@gmail.com

or follow her blog at:

http://www.ladyauthorsld.blogspot.com

 

Cheryl Headford was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was sixteen, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden, and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry, and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews, and cousin, and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re-enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller, the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and two cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close.

Website: http://cherylheadford.com/

Blog: http://nephylim-author.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nephylim.author/

 

The Upstaged Series also has it’s very own Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/Upstaged-153971548762625/

 

And if you want exclusive snippets, gossip, more information about the group and what our boys look like as Sims then you can have an exclusive Backstage Pass

 

 

Innocence & Carnality – Release Day! #steampunk #lgbtbooks

It’s here! Finally!!!!

Come play in my new steampunk MM novel from Dreamspinner Publications. Suspense, drama, and sexiness abound as our hero learned to survive in unfamiliar territory.

Details and links below!

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Innocence is his only currency.

The gilded cage of propriety where Nathan grew up as a member of the Deilian aristocracy became a true prison when, at fifteen, his homosexuality came to light and created a terrible scandal. His parents see only one way to preserve their reputation amongst the other noble families: fit Nathan with a chastity belt to increase his value to a potential partner and marry him off as soon as possible.

The recipient of that prize is Lord Rother Marsh Delaga III. After a hasty wedding, Rother whisks Nathan away to the strange and seductive land of Marisol, where Nathan will begin a new life, free to explore the pleasures of the marriage bed, though his life is still not his own.

But Rother’s Delaga House is a place of secrets, dangers, and depravity Nathan can scarcely comprehend. Where friends are few and peril waits around every corner, Nathan must employ all the manipulation he learned from high society, along with his talent for clockwork. Most of all, Nathan must adapt, compromise to survive, and cast off the preconceptions of his homeland.

Because only he can orchestrate his freedom, and it’ll come at a cost.

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BUY LINKS:

Dreamspinner Publications / Amazon

Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Google Play

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