Welcome to another edition of Marvelous Monday Reads, darlings! Today I’m featuring H.K. Carlton and her delicious new re-release If You Can’t Handle the Heat, now available from Amazon and other purveyors of fine online romance. Take it away, H.K.!
Thank you for inviting me to your blog today. I’m doubly excited to share not only the re-launch of, If You Can’t Handle the Heat, but this re-release is also my first self-publishing venture.
This story was previously published with the title If You Can’t Stand the Heat. Though there is a little bit of added content, the story remains relatively the same.
In this erotic story, two very different professionals are brought together as celebrity judges on a reality-based cooking show. Sesto Théodore—the celeb chef that the show is built around—meets walking cliché, Syn Fully, erotic novelist. Though there is an immediate conflict in personalities, there is also an instant sizzling attraction. A classic clash and burn.
An unlikely couple is brought together as celebrity judges on a new reality-based cooking show.
Sesto Théodore, is an arrogant yet well respected American-Italian chef, with several five-star restaurants.
Once bitten, twice shy, Syn Fully, is a jaded author of erotica, rocketing her way up all the best sellers lists.
From the moment Syn and Sesto meet, their personalities clash, yet behind the scenes sparks fly. Getting together would be a recipe for disaster, but hot sex with no-strings couldn’t hurt. At least not until real feelings get involved.
But just when Syn considers opening her damaged heart to the cocky chef, video of rather personal content is leaked online. Sesto immediately jumps to conclusions and accuses Syn of the privacy breach.
Can the arrogant chef forgive and forget, or will his pride leave him out in the cold?
Somebody’s about to get burned…
Possible Triggers: Please note one scene contains borderline bdsm and dubious consent/forcible confinement. Also in this story intimate video is obtained without the knowledge or consent of the participants involved, and later distributed online
Author’s Note: This erotic story has been previously published with the title, If You Can’t Stand the Heat. Though there is a little bit of added content, the story remains relatively the same. It has been re-edited and re-formatted for re-release, and has a sizzling new cover thanks to Studioenp.
Sesto took the opportunity to turn his wrath on Syn. “May I speak to you out in the hall, please!” he demanded, shooting to his feet.
“Of course,” she responded, haughtily, as though she hadn’t just been giving him the initial stages of a hand job under the table.
Sesto allowed Syn to take the lead. He was momentarily captivated by her long shapely legs, as she stalked across the space, confident and oh-so fuckin’ sexy in those red stilettos. Sesto pulled level with her and couldn’t resist the urge to place his hand to the small of her back, left bare by the severe cut of her dress. If he wasn’t mistaken, she’d trembled at the contact. Or was it his hand that quivered?
In the corridor, Syn rounded on him, at the same moment he blurted, “What the fuck do you think…”
The words died on his tongue, as she once again stroked his shaft through his trousers. Her gaze settled on his mouth. Her breathing was shallow.
“Where’s your dressing room?” she asked, backing him up.
Sesto grabbed her other wrist and dragged her into the green room, before slamming the door behind them.
He yanked her hand, above her head and forced it against the door. He half-expected her to fight. What he wasn’t prepared for was the brazen little smile that hooked her sinful lips, as she raised her arm to join the other. With both hands stretched above her head Syn arched toward him, thrusting her beautiful tits, right in his face.
“What the fuck are you doing?” he asked again. “We don’t even know each other.”
“I know. Isn’t it wicked, how our bodies want to though.”
He groaned, shifting uncomfortably foot to foot, yet he couldn’t focus on anything but her lovely breasts.
“Go ahead, Théo, set them free,” she tempted, her voice barely above a whisper.
Where to Buy
About the Author
H K Carlton is a multi-genre Canadian author of romance, with over thirty titles in publication. From naughty to nice, historical to contemporary, time travel to space travel, and everything in between.
Variety is creativity’s playground—It’s where you’ll find me. Join me for the ride:
TGIF! Let’s kick off the weekend with Maia Dylan’s hot new paranormal romance His To Protect (An Alpha’s Claim 2). Take it away, Maia!
Thank you for hosting me for His to Protect – An Alpha’s Claim, 2. This book released in November with Evernight Publishing. If your readers would like to they can post questions to me on Twitter tag me using @MaiaDylanAuthor and I will answer them as I see them.
Kaea Hemopo was a man on a mission. He planned to kill the bastard who killed his grandmother, and nothing was going to stop him. He had the man lined up in his sights, his finger on the trigger, and was prepared to die to get it done, but then Kaea found out that he was following the wrong man.
Xavier Mulligan had been stalking his own prey the night he met his mate. He’d been shocked to discover that Kaea was not only there to kill him, but thought he was the asshole who’d murdered his own father. Xavier would just have to make his mate see him for what he was, and accept his very nature. How hard could that be?
Can Kaea and Xavier find a way to work together to avenge those who were taken from them, and retrieve that which was stolen from Kaea’s family, or will Xavier’s need for control be the one thing that could tear them both apart?
Kaea moved a little beneath him, and Xavier had to bite back a groan as his hips nestled a little closer to his.
“Do you—wait, am I naked?” Kaea asked incredulously, and Xavier couldn’t hold back a grin.
“That you are, my lovely. You were damp and dirty from being out in the forest and trying to kill me. I couldn’t very well pop you into bed like that, now could I?”
Kaea frowned as he leaned slightly to the side and looked at Xavier lying on top of him. “And you’re naked because…”
“I was in the shower.” Xavier shrugged. “Again, not somewhere where clothes are necessarily all that helpful. I came out of the bathroom when you woke up. Didn’t have time to go throw any clothes on.”
Kaea nodded, and a delicious red heat swept over the dark skin of his cheeks. “That makes sense, but you could let me go, get up and throw some clothes on now that I no longer want to hurt you, right?”
“But I like it where I am. Do I gotta?” Xavier had never pouted in his life, but he tried in this moment just to have fun with his mate.
Kaea’s laughter was quick and genuine, and had Xavier’s heart doing strange somersaults inside him. “Yes, you do. Come on, it’s very distracting having you lying on top of me.”
Xavier grinned, and knew it was just as wicked as he felt. “I love that you find me distracting, love, because the feeling is most definitely mutual.” Kaea’s eyes darkened, and Xavier knew he liked that particular revelation. “But, you’re right. I’m hungry, and healing this gunshot wound I seemed to have acquired recently has taken a lot of energy.”
Xavier pushed up from the bed, and grinned when he watched Kaea’s gaze wander down his abdomen, but shot back to the puckered scar of the wound on his shoulder. “Crap. Did I apologize for shooting you?”
Xavier resettled the towel around his hips. “No, you did not, and that was very remiss of you. I’ll expect you to make that up to me very soon. Repeatedly.”
Kaea’s soft laughter followed him as he stepped toward the back of the room where he’d put his bag. He grabbed a pair of sweats and pulled them on under the towel, then dropped it to the floor. He turned back toward the bed and laughed himself when he saw Kaea up on his elbows as if to get a better view.
“See something you might like, love?”
Kaea grinned at him, and Xavier could have sworn he felt his heart stutter in his chest. “Maybe, but I’m not a man who gives all his secrets away when he’s just met a man. I prefer a slow build up to a quick flash that’s over too damn soon.” Xavier scowled. “What’s put that look on your face?”
“I don’t like to think of you with other men.” Xavier heard the possessiveness in his own tone, but wouldn’t apologize for it. He was a dominant Alpha bear, and one who did not play well with others. Kaea needed to know and understand that. “I don’t share. You’re mine.”
Kaea arched a sardonic brow in his direction, and it irritated and aroused him at the same time. “Yours?” Xavier could practically feel the temperature in the room fall. “I don’t remember ever being asked if I’d be yours, or even if I wanted you. You presume too much.”
Xavier growled, his anger rising within him. “It’s not a presumption when I could feel your fucking arousal just as sure as you could feel mine, Kaea.”
Where to Buy
About the Author
Mother, wife, author, and all around crazy…
I write the kind of books that I love to read. Love stories between strong men and their independent soulmates. Usually, their path to Happily Ever After is a bumpy one, but there is always a Happy Ever After.
In the world’s I create there is someone (or two, or three) for everyone! Love comes in many forms and I believe it is all beautiful and should be celebrated!
I live, love and write in New Zealand, married to my husband of fifteen years with two beautiful children who I truly believe were sent as a blessing, but sometimes to try my patience, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Happy Wednesday, darlings! Today I’m here with Elodie Parkes and her hot new M/M romance Snowflake Wine, now available from Encompass Ink and other online sellers. Take it away, Elodie!
Thank you for inviting me to your blog with new release, MM romance, Snowflake Wine.
The story is contemporary gay romance with an edge of fantasy, especially written as a sweet but sexy Christmas treat.
Jamie Snow and Nathan Bloom, my characters are as usual, dear to me.
Jamie has battled all his life with his strange, fantastic gift. His is the character that brings the element of fantasy to the story. The inspiration behind the creation of this character came, weirdly enough, in the summer, when I visited a ruined abbey. In the grounds were flowering shrubs that I’d never encountered before. From a distance, the flowers looked like frost, and as I drew close, into my mind came the idea of Jamie, a sprite who loves cold, ice, frost, and to comfort himself in the warm weather, he decorated the shrubs with frost flowers.
Nathan Bloom is the perfect partner for Jamie—gorgeous, calm, loving and open. He’s looking for love. He’s onto Jamie’s gifts long before he lets Jamie know it. This is a love story—romantic, sexy, hopeful.
Hunky Nathan Bloom works late for the company putting up the town Christmas lights and decorations.
Gorgeous, enigmatic, Jamie Snow works late forecasting the weather from his desk in the meteorology office.
Nathan sighs over the prospect of a holiday season with no one to love.
Jamie wonders if he’ll ever find a man to love who will accept his mysterious origins and talents.
One cold night, as Nathan finishes hoisting the wreath lights up the building where Jamie works, they meet.
The brilliant festive lights aren’t the only things to sparkle as the two men connect on a deep level.
Be delighted by a delicious, contemporary, gay romance with an edge of fantasy this season.
Sometimes being different is awesome.
Jamie Snow sat alongside Nathan. He glanced across at the man who stirred his frosty heart. He’s so attractive. Jamie hadn’t loved in a long time. He felt more than ready for it—longed for it on lonely nights. He wasn’t about to give up on the chance that this man might want a lover, that he was gay wasn’t in question. No straight guy looked the way he had at another man.
“My name’s Jamie, Jamie Snow.” He softened his voice as he spoke. The man beside him inspired tenderness and he felt a little prick of guilt. Using the weather to flirt with him had been inspired but maybe a little naughty.
Nathan drove the truck into a wide car lot that Jamie hadn’t known existed behind the furniture store on the end of the main street. “Here we are. The store allows us to leave the bigger rigs here every year. Jamie Snow—that’s an interesting name for a meteorologist—mine’s Nathan Bloom.”
Jamie’s smile infused his tone. “Yes. People tease me sometimes at work, they’ll know we’ve forecast it and as I walk by they’ll say, ‘here comes the snow,’ but I don’t mind. I like this name.”
“You’ve had others?” Nathan asked with a laugh.
Jamie didn’t want to reply. He waited. I won’t be lying to this lovely guy if I don’t answer.
Nathan turned off the truck engine and twisted to talk to Jamie. “It’s a cool name. Where do you live?”
It appeared he’d forgotten his question.
Happiness trickled into Jamie’s soul that the attractive man beside him liked his name, and used the word, cool. Eagerly, Jamie told Nathan his address on the outskirts of the town.
Nathan grinned, his eyes reflecting Jamie’s emotion. “I know it well. I live a couple of streets south from there.”
Where to Buy
About the Author
I’m a writer who is in love with happy endings, currently based in southern UK. I write for Evernight Publishing, Siren, Hot Ink Press, Encompass Ink, and eXtasy Books.
I love music, art, flowers, trees, the ocean. I work with antiques by day and words by night. Like a vampire, darkness is my friend, that’s when the silence is only broken by an occasional hoot of owls in the woodlands opposite my home, and I write.
Welcome to another edition of Marvelous Monday Reads, darlings! Today I’m featuring London Saint James and her delicious new romance Destiny Happened, now available from LSJ Romance and other purveyors of fine online romance. Take it away, London!
Of course, I noticed Mr. Shirtless. With a bod like his, who wouldn’t? But his hot-factor didn’t matter. What did? My asshat ex and the need to make him jealous. So, I strolled up to the panty-melting stranger as though I knew him and laid one on him, hoping said asshat would see I’d moved on just fine without him. Only, he never saw me kissing another man.
I spotted her—honey-blonde hair gleaming in the sun as she came my way. I’d flirt. Smile. Maybe get her number. I sure the hell didn’t expect her to toss her arms around my neck, mashing her body against mine, and kiss the ever-loving shit out of me. Then, she stopped. Stepped back. Blushed. Whispered “Sorry” and blended into the crowd. I never got her name that day. Or her number. However, fate had other plans and Destiny happened…again.
Pops quickly flipped a line of sizzling sausages with his heavy-duty tongs as I carried an oversized cooler past him. “Those better be more brats for the grill since these babies are sellin’ out fast.”
“I wouldn’t leave you hanging, old man,” I said, sliding the container next to the boxes I’d placed under the canopy a few minutes earlier.
He bobbed his head. “Know it.”
There was affection and perhaps a little pride in my papaw’s tone.
“I’ve got another couple of coolers to bring over, so we should have enough brats to get us through the rest of the day.”
While having a food booth at Oktoberfest was an annual money-raising activity, allowing us to give a nice sum to a local charity—as well as excellent advertisement for Caldwell Trucking and Repair—hauling stuff to and from our venue and fighting the traffic and crowds wasn’t my favorite thing.
Glancing around I asked, “Where’s Joe?”
“He called a little while ago. He should be here any minute now.”
“You actually answered your cell phone? I’m impressed.”
Pops flipped another bratwurst. “Don’t give me shit, boy.”
“Just happy to see you giving in.” I chuckled. “It’s about time you moved out of the stone age.”
“Yeah, well,” he grumbled, “I miss the good old days when a person wasn’t reachable twenty-four-seven. When my ass isn’t planted in my office chair, then I’m out. No one gets the concept of being away and unavailable anymore. I don’t need to be interrupted all the time.”
I couldn’t help but grin at his usual rage against the machine. Everyone knew if Pops was out of the trucking office, odds were good, speaking to him probably wasn’t happening.
“How about Cray?” I asked.
“Haven’t heard from him.”
“That asshole better not pull another no show. It’s his turn to do clean up.” With a shoulder lift, I swiped sweat from my face onto my damp, gray t-shirt.
I’d much rather work fifteen-hour days at the shop—which, let’s be honest, I did often so I could catch up on the paperwork end—than to deal with the daily vendor set up and nightly clean up.
“You know your brother, Kash.”
Shit… I’d be doing my younger brother’s job later because Crayten would do what he always did—leave me high and dry.
“Yeah, Pops, I do.”
We were only two days into this four-day event, and I wasn’t happy. Adding to my piss poor mood was the damn heat. It might have been October, but it was still hot as hell and even hotter standing behind our commercial-sized stainless steel grill where I would eventually be to give Pops a break. But come on. Four days of organized chaos and three-hundred-thousand festival goers could drive a man to drink. Although, on a positive note, I didn’t have far to go if I wanted to tie one on. The entrance to the beer garden was only a few feet away.
“Hey.” Joe strolled up, man bun in place—hipstered out in his skinny pants, a blue shirt with red suspenders, and a big goofy smile on his bearded face. “Did you catch those bar wenches?”
We did our standard fist bump greeting. “I’ve been too busy hauling shit to notice anyone.”
“Joe”—Pops motioned with his tongs—“I’ll never understand why you want to do that crap to your poor ears.”
That was Pops for you. His grousing way of greeting one of our best mechanics while at the same time giving the guy crap about the shiny black plugs protruding through his lobes.
Joe tugged on his right ear good-naturedly. “All the ladies love my accoutrements.”
“Accoutrements is it?” My papaw snorted. “Fancy.”
“Pops, stop busting Joe’s balls,” I said.
“All right, all right,” he rasped. “Glad you’re here, J.”
“Thanks, Mr. Caldwell. I’m happy to help,” Joe said—humor in his tone. He glanced back at me. “Still have stuff in your truck?”
“I’ll give you a hand.”
I reached over my shoulder and yanked my shirt up, tugging it up and off my head. “Appreciated. Just give me a sec.”
Balling the cotton material, I swiped the driest section over my sweaty chest and stomach, glad I’d thought to toss a couple of clean t-shirts with our shop logo onto the passenger seat of my pickup that morning. I’d need to put on a fresh one.
A section of the milling crowd parted, and a few whistles snagged my attention. No. The whistles weren’t directed at me. They were for some dark-haired woman who was tossing her hands in the air and shaking her ass.
I’ll admit, she was attractive in a Jennifer Garner kind of way. But the woman next to her, shaking her head and smiling—long, honey-blonde hair gleaming in the sun—was a fucking knockout. A knockout who looked my way. A knockout who stared at me, then glanced past me—eyes narrowing—her porcelain-doll face going serious as she started in my direction.
Maybe it was the way she held herself. The biting of her luscious bottom lip. The gentle sway of those shapely hips. Or maybe it was the hip-hugging jeans and white, scoop-neck, long-sleeved tee showing off all her curves that did it. But she had this combination good-girl-next-door with a hint of wild-in-the-sack vixen vibe going on.
Filthy images of what I could do to muss her up raced through my head at supersonic speed.
I was ready to give her my best smile. Flirt a little. Maybe get her phone number. And I was just about to do all of that when without hesitation she stepped up to me, popped up on her tiptoes, tossed her arms around my neck, pressed those soft, full tits into my hard chest and smashed her plush, pink lips against mine.
All right. I’d had my fair share of women hit on me, and do that shit hard, but a woman literally throwing herself against me and taking charge without so much as a hello? Well, that was a first. When it came to the fairer sex, I took the lead. Regardless, though, I wasn’t stopping her. In fact, screw introductions. I didn’t need any.
Groaning, my right hand grabbed the back of her neck—fingers tangling into the strands of her silky hair. My other hand, still holding my wet shirt, went to her ass and pulled her even tighter into me.
She made a little mew of sound which turned into a throaty moan—her smaller frame melting into me as I plunged my tongue into her mouth, tasting an explosion of cool mint and womanly desire.
Yeah. I was full-on frenching someone I didn’t know—deep penetration style—while in front of Pops, Joe, and the entire swell of weekenders at Oktoberfest.
Obviously, I didn’t care.
Both my brain and body agreed. It was time to get down and dirty. This became apparent when all the blood I possessed rushed to my dick, and I ground myself into her pelvis. It didn’t matter where we were. It didn’t matter the woman in my arms was a stranger. Nothing in the world did but the feel, smell, and taste of her.
I needed more. More touching, tasting…just more.
Awareness seeped into my ‘need woman now’ mindset when she let go of me and pressed a palm to my bare shoulder, attempting to push me away.
Definitely get her number became the thought overtaking me as she stopped our rigorous game of tonsil hockey and stepped back, breaking my hold.
Staring down into the most exquisite pair of navy-blue eyes, I was struck mute. That was new as well. I’d never before been tongue-tied over a woman. Not only was I silent, but it also seemed I lost my ability to move.
Part of me understood I probably looked like a complete dumbfuck, standing there in front of our booth with a raging hard-on, shirtless, and goddamned speechless, but I just couldn’t pull my gaze from her.
A rosy hue started at her chest, crawled up her neck, and swept across her cheeks. She placed her fingertips on her kiss-swollen lips, whispered “Sorry,” spun around, and took off like the devil and all his minions were on her trail.
Her leaving so abruptly snapped me out of my stupor, and all my faculties crashed back in place with a jolt to my system. Rebooting me.
“Hey! Wait!” I called out, reaching. “Don’t go. What’s your name?”
All I caught was thin air and a peek of her shoulder as she blended into the crowd.
Where to Buy
About the Author
London Saint James has lived in many places but never felt ‘at home’ until she met the real-life man of her dreams and settled down in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. London lives with her husband and their fat cat who thinks he owns them.
As an award-winning, international bestselling author, London is living her childhood dream. She knew all the scribbling she did, that big imagination of hers, and all those clamoring characters running around in her head would pay off someday.
A complete list of London’s books can be found on her website http://www.londonsaintjames.com. You can also e-mail London with any questions or comments at London@londonsaintjames.com. She loves to hear from her readers.
Would you like to know more? Join her mailing list for her monthly newsletter http://eepurl.com/6P2on. Or, join her book group on Facebook, Slip Between the Pages with London https://www.facebook.com/groups/SlipBetweenthePageswithLondon/
Woohoo, I’m kicking off 2019 with a double re-release! My first publications in January will be two novelettes I originally wrote for Evernight Publishing back in 2013; the rights reverted back to me in 2018, and I’m currently in the process of re-editing them and putting them together for release with Belaurient Press.
The first story, A Boon by Moonlight, is my “boy meets Sidhe/boy asks Sidhe for boon/Sidhe asks for night in boy’s bed” piece. This one has a special place in my heart because I dearly want to go out drinking with these two (Zach could be our designated driver, and Jerrek would throw back vodka like it was water and provide running snarky commentary on everyone else in the bar. It would be great). The re-release will also include the unpublished short story “Snow Day” featuring Zach and Jerrek housebound antics during a polar vortex, so there’s some added value there. It should be out on 1/15 so if you’ve never read this one before you can pick it up then.
And may I just say that I’m freaking in love with this new cover? It screams M/M fantasy romance to me (I still can’t believe I’m writing fantasy romance, but my God it’s fun). Finding the stock image of the model in fantasy garb was a real gift, and the other model works with him extremely well. I may do a couple more tweaks to the image before release day, but what you see here is primarily the finished product.
Oh, funny but true story about the cover — I sent it to a couple of writer friends for feedback. One of them writes SF/fantasy and said, “This is for a fantasy romance story? Because the woman on the right looks like a Vulcan.” I had to explain about Jerrek, after which she said, “Ohhh. In that case, it looks great.” *grin*
The other re-release is Grading the Curve, my “hot for teacher” novelette. Whereas I can get Boon out next week, Curve won’t be out for another two weeks because 1) hoo boy, I learned a lot about characterization and backstory in the last five years, which means 2) this 13K novelette is about to become a 30K novella as I gleefully apply both the Editorial Machete and the Storytelling Spackling Knife with a freaking vengeance (seriously, I re-read the original MSS and was deeply grateful that it sank without a trace. It’s not horrible, mind you, but it was clear I had no idea how to write a good, solid MF romance at that time).
The eagle-eyed among you may have noted the extra name on this cover and want to know who the heck Natasha Stark is. Well, she’s me — as of 2019 I’m using that nom de plume for all of my contemporary romances (and yes, there will be more of them — I’ve got at least four romcoms in mind), and this is my way of introducing her. It’s mainly for marketing purposes, since there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of overlap between contemporary romance readers and SF/fantasy/PN romance readers. I want to make it easy for people to find (and ideally buy) what they want to read, so SF, fantasy, or paranormal romance readers can stick with Nicola’s books, and contemporary romance readers can focus on Natasha’s books.
Oh, God. I’m going to have to set up a totally separate website/social media presence at some point for Natasha, aren’t I? I need a drink…
Meanwhile I’m also working on King of Blades (Two Thrones 4) and Natasha’s next romcom, tentatively titled Screen Kiss, so those should be out in March or so. So many books to write, so little time…
No, I’m not going to pass along any tips for making your life better in 2019. You’re perfect the way you are, and besides, those tend to be somewhat condescending. Nope, I am just kinda croggled at the way I’m starting off 2019.
For one thing, there’s a reason why I went dark in December. I was frigging exhausted from finishing Iron Cross and getting it out to Romancelandia, and after taking a crack at a holiday romance (which I will finish for next year) I decided, “Screw it. I’m tired, my brain hurts, and I need a break. I’m taking the rest of the year off.” So I did, and man, that was a good choice. Not only did I recharge my creative side by diving into various non-writing projects that have been hanging around for years waiting for me to get to them, but I also drank the Kool-aid and joined the Great British Baking Show cult. I absently stumbled across S2E1 on Netflix, and by the end of it I was frantically scoping out the rest of them and launching into a bingewatch of epic proportions.
By the time I watched all five seasons, the Beginnings eps, the holiday shows and all the masterclass eps, I had made jam tarts, mince pies, fruitcakes, Italian Christmas cookies (at right), spinach puffs, Cherry Blossom Kisses, Winter Kisses, Paul Hollywood’s Christmas Leftover Chelsea buns (upper left), and had bought a dizzying array of bakeware. I now own pie weights, I’ll have you know. Plus I have my eye on a rolling pin with attachments that lets you control the height of the dough you’re rolling out, and I’m probably going to make runzas/bierocks this weekend by special request of Ramón, who has pointed out that having little savory things that he can grab between meals would be a very nice change from having to grab chocolate or cookies.
Other shows I binged were The Expanse (holy God, that was good), Altered Carbon, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Forever, and various comedy shows that had been recommended to me over 2018, and while I watched them I worked on this absolutely gorgeous hue shift knitted afghan. It’s extremely cool, using mitered corner squares with alternating stripes, and seeing as I bought the kit two years ago it’s nice that I’m finally putting it together. When I wasn’t baking, watching Netflix, or working on the afghan, I read, caught up on bills, played with the kitties (Jessie and Jeremy are losing some much-needed weight thanks to the new food regime the vet suggested at their checkup in early December and Jessie’s back to being able to jump up on counters and tables), cleaned (I actually cleaned my oven and my freezer fold-out bins. Somewhere, my mother is astounded), and decorated the house for Christmas.
But what was most notable was that I pretty much stayed off social media because I wasn’t on the laptop for hours at a time. I’d check FB and Twitter a few times a day, but I didn’t spend nearly as much time as I usually did on it. And that was a good thing because I soon realized I felt much more relaxed and centered without constantly being thrown into rage cycles by the endless political idiocy making the rounds on SM. So one thing I’m going to do in 2019 is continue that habit — I’ll check in on Twitter and Instagram for business purposes, but I’m seriously going to curtail my FB time. Not only do I not like their business practices of scraping every piece of data they can get about me and selling it to companies, but I’m just happier when I’m not on FB.
One final and very major change in 2018 was me starting on CBD oil. I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and PCOS, which not only screw with my metabolism and make it hard to lose weight but also encourage inflammation. At this point in my life I inflame at a harsh word, and for the last couple of years it’s been affecting my ability to walk because both of my Achilles bursae swelled up to painful proportions, making it difficult to flex my feet and balance. The tipping point was December 20 — my good knee had gotten strained while I was in bed, of all places, and hurt like hell, my bad knee was, well, my bad knee, and I was literally hobbling around like an arthritic 90-year-old. Worse, NSAIDs weren’t really working anymore and I was getting very little sleep because I was hurting all the time.
I’ve had CBD oil recommended to me by friends with similar issues who had incredibly good results with it, so I did some research and found the Cherry Apothecary in Oak Cliff. I hobbled in, had a consult with a very nice young man who listened to my pain issues and suggested that I try sublingual tinctures. After some more discussion I settled on a bottle of 250 mg CBD oil with orange flavor, headed home, took the recommended half dose (he said to start low and slow — apparently the endocannabinoid system in our bodies that is affected by CBD needs time to load the chemical to a level where it will help. You can take more, the man said, but you’ll just pee it out, which is a waste of money and oil), and prayed.
Twenty minutes later, I was able to walk without hobbling. My ankles were flexing, and the pain in both knees was reduced — still there, mind you, but manageable with an NSAID. It felt like a frigging miracle. I now take a half dose of CBD oil in the morning and a half dose at night, and not only do my legs feel better but I also feel calmer, more focused, and I’m sleeping like a top. Best of all, I can see the swelling in both Achilles bursae going down — my left heel is almost back to normal and my right heel (which was horrible) now looks like my left heel at its worst, which is a significant improvement. With walking so much easier, I’ve been able to clean, shop, and move around a lot more than I have been in the last couple of years, and man, that is fantastic. I’m now getting on the treadmill every day, and once I’m over the mild cold I caught from Ramón I’m going back to the gym and starting weightlifting again.
So, yeah, that was a decent personal end to 2018. Right now my goals in 2019 are more walking and weightlifting, completing four novels (King of Blades, Uncertainty Principle, and two romcoms) and three novellas, doing smart promo for myself, continuing to cook and bake more stuff from scratch, working on meditation techniques and yoga, reducing our debt as much as possible, and generally trying to help more people out and enjoy life. Oh, and play with the kitties, because that’s an important part of Casa Cameron.
So, yeah, let’s get started!
Hello darlings, and let me send a big shout out to Cameron Allie for organizing this wonderful blog tour! Today I’ll be giving away copies of my Olympic Cove series (Storm Season, Breaker Zone, and Deep Water) as part of the festivities, so don’t forget to leave a comment here or on Cameron’s blog and tell me what’s your favorite thing about the holidays!
- What is your favourite Christmas song?
All I Want For Christmas Is You
- What food do you most look forward to over the holidays?
Proper homemade fruitcake, soaked in dark rum – it’s delicious!
- Do you have a holiday beverage you like? Alcoholic or non-alcoholic?
My mom used to make an alcoholic holiday liqueur called glögg — we used to call it Swedish Rocket Fuel. My BIL had a big glass of it and wound up sleeping through Christmas. As for non-alcoholic bevvies, eggnog is always a favorite.
- Is there a book you like reading at this time of year?
No, but I do like listening to the Patrick Stewart version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL while I’m cleaning.
- Do you participate in Boxing Day shopping? Is Boxing Day a tradition in your country?
The husband is English so I know what Boxing Day is, but we don’t really have it in the States.
- Do you get your shopping done in advance or leave it to the last minute?
I try to get it done in advance – that way I can focus on trying to finish up projects before the end of the year.
- What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
- When do you decorate your house?
It depends – sometimes it’s the day after Thanksgiving, but last year was insanely busy and I didn’t decorate the house until a few days before Christmas, and that was only at the husband’s prodding.
- When you were a child what was the best Christmas gift you remember receiving?
A Barbie Dream House. That was awesome.
- Is there a unique holiday tradition your family keeps?
- When do you open Christmas presents?
- What’s your favourite outdoor winter activity? If it doesn’t snow where you live what makes it feel like Christmas to you?
I live in northern Texas so we don’t get a lot of snow. Favorite outdoor winter activity is raking the leaves.
Happy Wednesday, lovelies! Today I’m here with my sister from another mister L.D. Blakeley and her hot new M/M fantasy romance Shadowy Pines, now available from Evernight Publishing and other online sellers. Take it away, L.D.!
A few years ago I went sightseeing in my own backyard and fell in love with a beautiful area just a few hours outside of Toronto called the Kawarthas. It’s the kind of place where I could imagine buying a cottage, or even picture moving to on a more permanent basis one day. You see, it has a vibe. I know – how very woo. But it does. It’s magical, almost otherworldly. And I knew in an instant I was going to create a fictional universe based on this bewitching region in Ontario, Canada.
When an over-educated, underemployed millennial is called home to help with the family business, he jumps at the chance to leave his crap job, crappier love life, and the city behind.
But moving to Shadowy Pines isn’t quite the idyllic life change Finn Parks imagined.
How the hell do you cope when you find out magic – actual magic – is real? Or that you also happen to come from a long line of powerful witches? And that handsome man with all the sizzle? Yeah, he might be trying to kill you.
“You’d be surprised how easily swayed I can be by a handsome face.”
Not for nothing, but Finn was fairly certain that was a come on. It had been a while, but he did remember what one sounded like. This one was … nicer, somehow. It still had the promising lilt of innuendo, but it didn’t sound like it had been rehearsed or lifted from bad porn dialogue.
“My aunt says you’re new in town, too. What’re you here for?”
“Business. Boring family business.”
“How vague,” Finn teased.
“Seriously. My father sent me back here to check out a vineyard. He’s interested in adding it to the wine brewing facility we already run, the Sharpe Wine Butler on the outskirts of town. You know it?”
“Can’t say I do, but it sounds more interesting than why I moved here.”
“Why are you in Shadowy Pines?”
“Jude and Poppy needed my help, I had nothing worth holding on to in the city, so—here I am.” Finn shrugged. “Now that’s boring,” he added with what he hoped was a charming smile.
“You don’t give yourself enough credit, Finn.” Owen pulled his chair closer and placed his hand on Finn’s knee. “Feel that?”
Of course he did. It felt as though a live wire had been placed against his bare skin.
“Yes.” Finn cursed the breathy, needy tone his voice had taken on. “What…” He wasn’t sure how to phrase his question so it wouldn’t offend. “What is that? I mean, I get the concept of electrical attraction, but this? This isn’t normal.”
When Owen didn’t reply right away, Finn prodded, “Right?”
“No, not really.” Owen’s fingers were slowly caressing Finn’s leg and inching their way up his thigh “Not for most people.” Owen leaned forward and took Finn’s face in both hands and brought their lips so close Finn swore he could taste him. Owen’s eyes visibly blazed in a way that barely seemed human. Finn froze, his breath catching in his throat.
When Owen finally pressed their lips together, Finn felt another jolt of electricity arc through his entire body and he gasped at the sensation. Owen’s fingers at his nape trailed delicious sparks across Finn’s skin as he licked at the seam of Finn’s mouth. Finn opened eagerly and nipped at Owen’s bottom lip. Never had a kiss made him so crazy with want. He needed to touch, wanted to crawl inside of Owen and feel him from the inside, out. But as Finn reached out a hand, Owen pulled away, his breathing every bit as labored as Finn’s.
“We’re different, Finn.” Owen licked at his lips and watched Finn’s eyes follow the tip of his tongue. “You’re different. You know that, right?”
Finn had no response. None that made any sense. Right now all he wanted was to tear at Owen’s clothes and taste every last inch of the man. But for some reason, Owen had put on the brakes and wanted to discuss—what, exactly? Finn was at a loss. And his dick could have cut glass.
“The woman in the grocery store. You mentioned that wasn’t the first time you’d seen her, right?”
“Right.” Finn’s voiced faltered slightly. Not sure where Owen was going with this, he gestured for him to continue.
“I think she saw you for what you are.”
“And what exactly is that?” Finn asked, not sure he wanted an answer.
“You’re a witch, Finn.”
Owen’s face was so serious, so earnest, Finn almost believed him for a split second.
He threw his head back and laughed uproariously. He laughed so hard, he could feel tears well up in his eyes. Well that’s an effective way to kill an erection.
But Owen’s expression hadn’t changed an iota. He simply sat and stared at Finn.
“Are you—oh, god, you’re serious aren’t you?”
Dammit! He knew there was a reason he’d established his dating embargo. He certainly could attract the crazies.
Where to Buy
On sale at Evernight Publishing → $3.99 $2.99 until Dec. 12
About the Author
L.D. Blakeley is a pragmatist with a romantic soul & a dirty mind. She loves horror movies, hot sex, and happily ever afters. She’s easily distracted by shiny things, and is a slightly neurotic, highly ambitious dreamer who enjoys dabbling in photography & pretending she can carry a tune.
In another life, L.D. was a newspaper reporter, an entertainment & music writer, travel writer, website content editor, and a marketing shill. Now she prefers to spend her time writing hot, steamy fiction (with a healthy dose of romance) about intriguing, sexy men. Although she dreams of living some place isolated with an endless supply of wine and an infinite number of titles on her eReader, she currently lives in downtown Toronto with her husband and their rock star cat.
Find L.D. online:
TGIF! Let’s kick off the weekend with E.D. Parr’s hot new MM romance String of Pearls, now available from Evernight Publishing. Take it away, E.D!
Thank you for inviting me to your blog today with new release MM romance, String of Pearls
The story is set in the same SciFi fantasy city as last year’s release, The Dreamboat.
Indigo Vaughn, the warlock head of security, features in the story along with a new cast of characters. When I wrote The Dreamboat, I already had the new characters in my head along with their story. Tobias Mars and Dante Pepper, the elite space pilots for the royal court, very nearly made an appearance in The Dreamboat, but because that story is about Indigo at last finding love, I decided they needed their own story.
Once upon a time Dante and Tobias were close to becoming lovers, but Dante met Viridian and fell in love. Tobias has yet to meet his love when String of Pearls, opens. He’s a man of high integrity, handsome, caring, but also longing for love and sex. String of Pearls is his love story.
Handsome, elite space pilot Tobias Mars is completing a special mission when on a water planet recently ravaged by space pirates he discovers Dreft Hann hiding and injured in the sand dunes.
There’s instant attraction between the two men, but honorable Tobias believes the fact Dreft is in his care precludes him from showing his growing love for the young man. What’s worse is his shocking discovery of Dreft’s real identity. Even so, Tobias can’t deny his feelings for Dreft.
When head of royal security, powerful warlock, Indigo Vaughn discovers Dreft’s secret, he anticipates trouble. As beautiful Dreft falls in love with Tobias and dreams of joining the elite pilot squad, trouble is brewing from someone in Dreft’s past.
Will love finally win with so many obstacles in Tobias and Dreft’s path?
Tobias Mars gazed at Dreft lying on top of the bed in room ten of the infirmary. Hari’s treatment had worked wonders and not only on Dreft’s wounds. Hari had cleaned Dreft up. His hair, now a dirt-free glossy hazelnut brown was brushed back to show off the handsome planes of his face. Hari had replaced Dreft’s strange boy-like clothes with the infirmary’s grey cotton pants and t-shirt. The man was, as his colleague, Dante, put it, deliciously pretty. For a fleeting moment, Tobias wondered what it would be like to kiss those perfect lips and hold that muscular body to his own. He shook the thought away.
Dreft opened his eyes and a shy smile spread on his mouth. As Tobias neared him, he shuffled up the bed to sit. “Thank you so much for helping me, sir.”
Tobias pulled a chair beside the bed and sat. “My name’s Tobias, Tobias Mars—no need to call me sir. How are you feeling?”
The handsome man’s eyes held gratitude. “I’m so much better. Thank you. I noticed the insignia on your jacket, sir.”
Tobias grinned as his fingers went to trace the gold and blue embroidered crest. “I’m one of the queen’s pilot explorers. I guess you could call us the elite unit. All the same, call me Tobias. I’d like that.”
“I’ve heard that you have to be aristocracy to be chosen for the unit. Is that true?”
A little frown creased between Tobias’s eyes. “Have you? Where’d you hear that?” A spike of worry prevented him from answering with the truth. His intense security training from the warlock, Indigo Vaughn, threw a question into his mind. Could Dreft be a rival court’s spy or even assassin?
“Sorry. I mean no harm. I heard a lot of things during my years as a slave.” Dreft’s voice held anxiety. His blue eyes clouded.
Witnessing Dreft’s unease, a wave of kindness softened Tobias’s look and tone. “How long were you a slave?” He remembered Hari’s description of the scars on Dreft’s back.
Sadness passed in Dreft’s eyes. “Five years—I’ve been a slave since I was stolen from my home when I was eighteen. I, I’d become desperate, hence the leap from the ship when we cruised reasonably low to take water from the lake on the planet where you rescued me.” His voice cracked a little.
Tobias watched fear replace the sadness in the young man’s eyes. He wanted to lighten the mood. “Hey, are you hungry? I bet Hari hasn’t given you breakfast and I’ve not eaten yet. Do you feel up to a little walk? My home isn’t far. I have loads of food—fruit, pancakes, savory pastries, and coffee. What do you say?”
Dreft gave him the most endearing look. “I’m very hungry.”
Tobias stood and pushed the chair away from the bed. He held out his arm for Dreft to take and helped him stand. “Hang on. You have no shoes.” Tobias left Dreft perched on the side of the bed. He went to the closet inset at the end of the wall and brought back a pair of felt slip-ons for Dreft.
Dreft pushed his feet into them. “Thank you. I think the medicA threw away what I was wearing.”
“Hari is the best medicA available. I trust him implicitly, but he’s a hygiene fanatic. He probably burned what you were dressed in.” Tobias laughed. “Can you manage or will you take my arm. It’s a gesture of support.”
Dreft’s gaze raked Tobias’s face and he smiled softly. “I know the clothes you found me in probably gave you the impression I’m a pirate’s plaything. I’d like to explain—”
“You don’t need to—” Tobias hurried to assure Dreft.
“I want to.” He held Tobias’s arm.
“After you’ve eaten, then.” Tobias led the way from the room, along the corridor and out of the infirmary door. His villa was two doors down from Dante’s and he walked slowly favoring Dreft’s halting steps.
“I’m limping but Hari said my legs were only bruised under the abrasions. Sorry. I didn’t expect them to hurt so much. My ribs don’t and they were broken.”
“Hari fixed your ribs and administered slow release pain reliever at the site. He fixed your abrasions somewhat, but it’s good to heal naturally where possible. He wants you to rest.” A smile sprang to Tobias’s lips. “If he sees us, he’ll probably say to me, ‘Sir, you got Dreft Hann up too soon.’”
Where to Buy
About the Author
E.D. Parr loves the countryside where story ideas spring to mind easily. A romantic, E.D. sees beauty in most things.