A new opening six for #RainbowSnippets

1RainbowSnippetsBiFlagHola Snippetteers and welcome!

I’m sharing from a new story today, the one that will hopefully become BH#6–the last book in my Buchanan House series. Which might explain why i’ve been stalling working on it. I’ve loved writing this series and don’t really want it to be over (even if it will be nice to write something completely different).

Here are the first six lines. Hopefully posting them will help light a fire under me to get this story finished before deadline. It has a lot of heavy lifting to do where the series is concerned.:)

 

Chase watched as more figures appeared behind the mourners standing around the mouth of the open grave, huddled under their umbrellas. The new group wasn’t dressed for the weather, they wore shorts and sandals, their hair hanging in long unruly strings and obscuring their faces. He found it harder and harder to breathe, and to act like he wasn’t watching.

Garrett might stop drawing if he felt everyone’s attention on him and Chase didn’t want that to happen. The plain brown paper covering the table at Brewfest could use more than the standard “X Loves Y” and “Kilroy Was Here” type of graffiti but the real reason was that he loved to watch Garrett work. Even when his work veered into dark places as it was obviously doing.

 

Thanks for reading!

To find links to more snippets, visit the Rainbow Snippets FB Group. It’s a public group and everyone is welcome to join. Have a lovely weekend!

If you’re looking for a short (and free) read for your weekend, Buchanan House Book Two, Pride Weekend, is always free at the Dreamspinner store and All Romance eBooks.

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Book Blitz & #Giveaway : Complexity by Harper Miller!

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AboutTheBook

Complexity CoverTITLE: Complexity

SERIES: Kinky Connect Chronicles

AUTHOR: Harper Miller

COVER ARTIST: Taria Reed Digital Artist

LENGTH: 140 Pages

RELEASE DATE: July 8, 2016

BLURB: Fairy tale endings weren’t made for people like me. Happy for now usually ain’t in the cards, either.

The dents on my wall from where my headboard kept knockin’ against the same spot was the first clue that I needed to calm my ass down. At the rate I was racking up notches and plowing through hookups, I wasn’t ever gonna find nothing real. Guess I kinda jinxed myself. I created my circumstances. You can’t get what you want if you keep falling back into the same pattern of bad habits. But then things changed. I stumbled onto somethin’ I never in a million years expected to happen. You gotta understand, I’m never the guy who wins. It was supposed to be just sex, but that shifty, rhyming and scheming bastard, Cupid, pulled a fast one.

I may have changed some stuff to protect a couple of people. But before you go believing the tabloids, make sure you understand that you’re gettin’ the lowdown straight from the source.

I needed to get this off my chest and it’s only fair that you at least get my side of it all. At some point, I might regret telling you any of this, but for now, you need to know.

*Disclaimer* This is a novella. Not a short story, novelette, or novel. This tale features an M/M pairing. If gay erotica/erotic romance is not your cup of tea and you are offended by same-sex relationships or crass language, you should bypass this story. Content is intended for a mature audience, 18+.

Complexity is the fourth installment in The Kinky Connect Chronicles. The Kinky Connect Chronicles are short erotic stories/novelettes all wrapped up in neat little bows. These stories are standalones. No cliffhangers in the lot!
Excerpt

Could we be more different? Him: famous, rich white dude. Me: Latino entrepreneur who stocked up on ramen noodles and peanut butter when Key Food had a sale. This dude was so beyond my scope but he didn’t act any differently than a hookup I would’ve scored downtown at one of the gay bars in Chelsea.

Honestly, I didn’t know if me taking this shit with Christopher to the next level was a good thing or a bad thing. I held my own. I had my own business and made money legitimately doing shit I loved. Some days were a struggle, and I fell on hard times every now and again, but I woke up with a sense of purpose. Maybe I was overthinking things. I knew this was just about sex, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I was some sort of pity fuck or if Chris had a Latino fetish. He seemed genuinely attracted to me, but you know, there’s always somebody on the web lookin’ to get their rocks off with that token piece of ass.

I needed to stop with the assumptions and just take the moment for what it was, because an opportunity like this wouldn’t ever happen again.

Stayin’ in my head was gonna fuck everything up, so I focused on the twinkling lights near the waterfront seventeen stories down. “Good, I don’t bareback either. If rubbers aren’t required, we ain’t fuckin’. Seems like it’s a little too late to be having this discussion, but I’m clean. I get tested every six weeks. Got a copy of my results in my wallet if you wanna see.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Every six weeks? Sleep around a lot?”

I laughed, pulling off my polo. “I like sex. I like safe sex. I like to be certain I stay safe, so if that means gettin’ tested more often, I’m cool with that.”

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AuthorBio

Harper Miller is a thirty-something native New Yorker. She’s traveled the world and lived in a variety of places but always finds her way back to the Big Apple. A lackluster love life leaves time to explore new interests, for Harper it is writing. The Sweetest Taboo: An Unconventional Romance is her debut novel. In her mind, the perfect Alpha male possesses intellect, humor, and a kinky streak that rivals the size of California.

When she isn’t writing, Harper utilizes her graduate degree in the field of medical research. She enjoys fitness-related activities, drinking copious amounts of wine and going on bad dates.

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Torque, my most unconventional love story yet

Torque Cover

This post about my Bi/Ace/Trans poly love story, Torque, first appeared on Elin Gregory’s blog. You can see the original (and her lovely blog) here.

 

Torque is a ménage but it’s a little different than most of the poly Romances I’ve read. I’ve read MMM, MMF, and FMF, but the books I’ve found have featured three (or more!) cisgender players. Torque is MMF with a bisexual man (Mick), a man on the ace spectrum (Scotty), and a trans woman (Mercy).

I didn’t set out to write this exact story. Torque started out as Mick’s story. I liked the idea of a mechanic and a welder getting down and dirty together but had no idea Mercy would drive her truck into a scene and become such an important character. In fact, pretty much everything that happens in her first scene surprised me. I love it when that happens!

However. My first impulse was to force the story back in the direction I originally thought it would go—Mick and Scotty finding their Happily Ever After with each other. Except once I got to know those two I realized how difficult that would be. Neither of them had ever been in a real relationship and neither are big talkers. If I’d left them to their own devices they might still be circling each other trying to figure things out. Or worse, they easily could have butted heads enough to set Mick back on the road. As much as I wanted it to be true, Mick and Scotty didn’t make a believable couple on their own.

Once I got that far I considered giving Mercy some POV time, letting her have her say on the page. Mercy is such a charismatic character she could have easily taken over the story (and Scotty had already come close to doing that). I love Mercy, but had to consider whether putting readers inside her head would make Torque a little too different for many LGBTQ+ Romance readers. I love pushing boundaries with my fiction but there’s no value in that if nobody is interested in reading the stories once they’re written. My incredible editor helped me find a middle ground—at least I think so! I’m anxious to find out what readers think, so if you take a chance on this unconventional ménage I hope you’ll let me know!

(ETA: And if you’d like to work with a crackin’ editor, she’s available freelance. I can hook you up. :))

 

Torque CoverSometimes letting things get complicated is the best way to figure it all out.

Mick Randall is on the run, from the biker culture he grew up in and his impossible vision of love. Alaska should be far enough to escape his old life—until he rolls into a wrecking yard and gets lost in a pair of pale, bottle-green eyes.

Scotty Bell has spent years learning to channel his fiery temper into the heat of a welding torch. His sexual heat has always been slower to ignite, but one look at Mick rouses confusion alongside desire. In all his life, he’s only been attracted to one other person—his best friend, Mercy Taylor.

Mick lands a temporary job at the yard, and finds an uneasy crash pad at Scotty’s place…where the ragged ends of his emotions get tangled up in Scotty and Mercy’s relationship.

But when Mick hears a Harley engine from his past bearing down on him, his first instinct is to go back to the half-life he’d been living. Lest his secrets destroy the only two people who’ve ever made him feel whole.

Warning: Contains references to abuse, subversive ideas about sexual identity and gender expression, and a free-range bisexual on a mission.

Read a steamy excerpt at the Samhain store, or any of the usual distributors.

Samhain

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Cover Reveal & #Giveaway: Werewolf’s Tale and a Druid’s Sword by Lexi Ander!

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Lexi Ander reveals the beautiful cover art of her next book titled WEREWOLF’S TALE AND A DRUID’S SWORD coming out from Less Than Three Press.
It releases on August 31, 2016.
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BLURB
After he’s kicked out for being gay, still reeling from being abandoned by the man he loves, Jude goes to live with his brother Beck, who thankfully is more than happy to take him in. But Jude has other secrets he’s yet to share, for fear that even Beck will reject him, leaving him well and truly alone.
Then he draws the attention of werewolves, and discovers that everything he thought he knew about Levi, the man who abandoned him, is a lie. But one lie leads to another, ending in a vast conspiracy that threatens to destroy everything Jude loves—and that doesn’t even begin to include the challenges that Beck is facing.
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PRESENTING
 
Cover Art by Aisha Akeju
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TEASER
 
If fairytale beings walked the earth and there were humans who had extraordinary abilities, then what he saw could be something along those lines. Perhaps he wasn’t such a freak. Could there be a place for him where people believed him, where he could fit in? Even though he was reticent to share that part of himself, Jude did want to tell Beck and Diego, but how did he prove something no one else could see? 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.
 
||  Website  ||  Blog  ||  Facebook  ||  Twitter  ||  Email  ||  Amazon Author Page  ||
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Winner’s Prize: $15 Amazon Gift Card
Runner Up Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Runner Up Prize: $5 Amazon Gift Card
 

Book Blast & #Giveaway : A King and a Pawn by Liv Olteano!

Excerpt:

“Would you take me in as a trophy, Bert?” he asked, smiling oddly, a sort of indulgent look in his eyes.

I wasn’t going to outsmart him, that was for sure. Luckily I didn’t think I had to.

“I wouldn’t be taking you in at all. You and your kids would simply accompany me. I’m sure you can find something of value to offer me so I’ll be willing to go that way. And then you’d find something of value to offer Weiss and the Council to give you guys, say, political asylum?”

“You’ve thought of everything, haven’t you?”

I shrugged. “I’m sure you did. I don’t think you’re a fool, Will. I’m sure you’re not, in fact. So I’m giving you the courtesy of not treating you as one. A courtesy I hope you’ll give me too.”

“Implying that I have not so far?” he asked, stepping toward me again.

My pulse spiked. “I wasn’t implying that at all.”

We were face-to-face, a step apart at most. My mind stuttered over the few stray thoughts I managed to recognize. It was unusual someone’s presence would affect me this much, this soon. Was he that special? Was our chemistry that special? Or was he using some sort of spell on me? I didn’t think that was beneath him. Magic wasn’t beneath any magic-wielding fey, just like changing into a wolf wasn’t beneath me as werewolf. It was a natural part of who we were. I just wasn’t that used to his natural part, and the very idea made me smile.

“What could I offer you that you’d like to have?” he asked as his breath touched my face with every word he uttered.

“Oh, I could think of several things,” I replied.

He leaned toward me. His lips brushed against mine now when he spoke. “I could think of several things I’d like to offer you as well.”

I gulped. Shit, I couldn’t think with my dick. Not now at least. I so wanted to. It would be so easy to whisper it sweetly: “Fuck my brains out and I’ll be on your side.” But I wasn’t here for shits and giggles, so I couldn’t. There was no reason I couldn’t hope I’d get a fuck out of the situation somewhere down the line. The more time we spent together, the better chance of that happening. That was pretty solid motivation to spin things in a way that would benefit us all in the end. There. I wasn’t doing this for my selfish fuck-greedy self but for the greater good. I was a fucking humanitarian, feyitarian, whateveritarian.

“I’ll only ask for one small thing for myself,” I whispered softly.

He brushed his lips against mine. The touch sent little fiery thrills down my nerve endings, from the skin of my lips right to the pulsing muscle of my heart. I felt his breath hitch at the contact, and the idea it might affect him almost as much as it was affecting me sent a shiver down my spine. We could have been faking it, both of us. This was a negotiation of sorts, and now was the time to bring on our top game. But I felt it in my gut that this connection was real, that it wasn’t bullshit for either one of us. I just knew it in the pit of my stomach. I wondered if he knew it too, as clearly as I did right in that instant.

His scent didn’t assault my senses since he’d been hanging out in my personal space for a while now. My senses were bathed in his scent already. But I could feel the pounding of his heart as I deepened the kiss; I could feel his muscles clench and unwind with sensual tension while my body sang with it. Fuck me sideways, I wanted him right now. I wanted him so bad it almost gutted me. The feel of him languidly moving his tongue against mine made my blood turn into liquid fire, scalding my insides and bringing up my body temperature to heights I didn’t think I’d felt before after just kissing. Everything in my body screamed, This. This is it. This is what you’ve been waiting for, for so fucking long!

“What do you want?” he asked after he pulled back, his forehead leaning against mine.

Fuck, fuck it, fuck! “I want all the information you can get from the Archives on a certain topic.”

 

Buy the book:

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon

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Rafflecopter Prize: One winner will receive the first two books of the series!
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Tour Dates & Stops:

30-Jun

Parker Williams, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Happily Ever Chapter, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, The Jena Wade, The Dark Arts, Book Lovers 4Ever, Velvet Panic,Charley Descoteaux, Alpha Book Club, Molly Lolly, Oh My Shelves

1-Jul

Bayou Book Junkie, A.M. Leibowitz, BFD Book Blog, Full Moon Dreaming, My Fiction Nook,Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Havan Fellows, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat,EE Montgomery, Gay Media Reviews, Kirsty Loves Books, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words,V’s Reads

 

Meet the author:

Liv Olteano is a voracious reader, music lover, and coffee addict extraordinaire. And occasional geek. Okay, more than occasional.

She believes stories are the best kind of magic there is. And life would be horrible without magic. Her hobbies include losing herself in the minds and souls of characters, giving up countless nights of sleep to get to know said characters, and trying to introduce them to the world. Sometimes they appreciate her efforts. The process would probably go quicker if they’d bring her a cup of coffee now and then when stopping by. Characters—what can you do, right?

Liv has a penchant for quirky stories and is a reverent lover of diversity. She can be found loitering around the Internet at odd hours and being generally awkward and goofy at all times.

 

Where to find the author:

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/LiviaOlteano/

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/LiviaOlteano

Website: http://liv.liviaolteano.com/

Blog: http://blog.liviaolteano.com/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/zZ7T9

 

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30232294-a-king-and-a-pawn

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: AngstyG

Pages or Words: 234 pages, 82,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Mystery, Parnormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Wolf Shifters

Series: Leader Murders

Release Date: June 17, 2016

 

A sweet, lingering snippet…

RSMMmed

Hello Snippetteers and welcome! It’s nice to be back after deadlines and Pride monopolizing most of my last two weekends. I’m looking forward to making the reading rounds later.:)

 

In honor of almost having the cover art completed for BH#4 I’ll be snippetting from that story today. We’re in Brandon Smith’s POV, he’s at a communal table at Buchanan House having dinner—sitting next to someone else readers of the series will recognize. Bran has just asked how long Kyle stayed on the beach after he was called away earlier that afternoon.

Sorry if that intro is overly cryptic—the snippet is edited, so there’s that.😉

“About another hour or so. The wind picked up, or I would’ve finished this—” Kyle leaned over and swiped the screen twice to reveal the side where the dragon had been. He had gotten a friend. The dragon was cool, a little cartoony but not too silly, and when Kyle paged through the pictures, he also leaned against Brandon’s arm. The silvery-gray shirt was thin, and Bran felt the lines of a muscular chest beneath it. Kyle was slender but obviously not skinny—still, Bran hadn’t expected him to have defined pecs any more than he’d expected Kyle to press them against his arm. A quick glance said Kyle knew exactly what he was doing, and the effect it had on Brandon. After a sweet, lingering moment in which Bran’s face pointed at the screen but his mind was full of the desire to run his hands over Kyle, to feel the hard body beneath what was probably a soft and touchable shirt, Kyle moved back into his chair.

 

Thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to hop over to Facebook for more links to snippets of LGBTQ+ fiction. The Rainbow Snippets group is thriving and we have members writing all sorts of lovely stories. If you’re not a member and would like to be just ask, I’ll be around all weekend to welcome new Snippetteers!

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My Q&A featured today at TRR’s Sizzling Summer Reads party!

Today’s the day my Q&A is featured on The Romance Reviews’ annual summer party, and since it’s officially 6/23 on the East coast the question is live right now! All you have to do is log in and answer the questions for a shot at a boatload of prizes. The answer is hidden somewhere on my site but if you’ve read the Buchanan House books you might already know.:)

Click the pic above to get to the event page and have fun. Good luck!

onlytherose

Book Blast & #Giveaway : Hector and Steele by A.C. Katt!

Excerpt:

Hector Gomez answered what he thought to be a domestic violence call. The neighbor who called it in sounded hysterical. As the Sheriff of Sandoval County, he took too many calls for domestic abuse. They usually involved alcohol or drugs but something in his cop’s gut told him this was different. He pulled into the driveway, got out of his Explorer, and saw a wild, glassy-eyed man standing on the rock-strewn lawn, waving a gun, and beating a ten-year-old kid about his body. The man wasn’t drunk, he was high. He had the kid on the ground, kicking him in the ribs, groin, and legs with steel-toed boots. The gun waved threateningly in the child’s face, which the kid tried to protect with waif-thin arms.

The man and the youngster appeared to be of Hispanic origin. The boy had rolled up in a ball in the front of the house, clothed in nothing but holey blue jeans and a thin T-shirt. Although only mid-November, New Mexico was experiencing an early cold snap due to the enormous El Nino build-up in the Pacific. He jumped from his Explorer and quickly shouted at the man to step away.

“I’m going to kill you, you little faggot.” He pulled the trigger as the boy tried to roll away. He fired the gun a second time, barely missing the boy.

Gomez’s backup, Deputy Edwards, fired a warning shot. The man turned to Edwards and pointed the gun. Hector shot the weapon out of his hand. The man fell next to the boy and spit in the kid’s face. After Edwards helped him separate the man from the boy, Hector instructed him to call a bus and the Children, Youth, and Families Department

“Take him to UNM Sandoval. After the medics are through with him, book him and hold him for arraignment on attempted murder, child abuse, child endangerment, resisting arrest, and anything else you can think of to throw at him.”

While waiting for the second bus so the EMTs could take the kid to the hospital, he got a blanket from his trunk and draped it around the boy whose chest heaved with sobs.

“What’s your name, son?” Hector knelt and put his arm around the boy’s shoulders.

“Matteo. Matteo Pena.”

A woman at the storm door shouted obscenities in Spanish, prominently featuring the word maricón, a derogatory term for gay.

Suddenly, a small boy of about five came barreling out of the house and threw himself onto the older boy. “What did he do to you? Are you okay? You can’t leave. You can’t leave me alone with them.” He sobbed as he held on tight to his brother.

“I demand that you let me take my younger son back into the house. Felipe, come.” She grabbed the kicking and screaming child, gave him a casual slap, and dragged him back through the door.

“Matteo, Matteo, please. You can’t leave me here.”

The brother, clearly fearful and still sobbing, raised his face to Hector. “What do I do? She’ll take this out on Felipe, and he isn’t strong enough to handle her or him.”

Hector put his arm around the kid’s shoulder again. “Your father, such as he is, will be in the county lockup, at least for the night. We can figure things out in the morning. I won’t let him hurt your brother.”

“But she will. She isn’t as strong as him, but she’ll use the belt to hurt Felipe for coming out of the house.” The boy’s chest heaved as tears ran down his cheeks unchecked. “Why was I so stupid? Now Felipe is going to get punished, and it’s my fault. They weren’t supposed to be home.”

The kid turned his head toward the little boy still crying at the door. “Felipe, don’t get into trouble. I’ll come get you. I won’t leave you alone for long.”

 

Buy the book:

Decadent • Amazon • ARe  Smashwords

 

Rafflecopter Prize: Both books in the New Mexico series
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Tour Stops:

Parker Williams, My Fiction Nook, Bonkers About Books, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews,Bayou Book Junkie, The Jena Wade, V’s Reads, 3 Chicks After Dark, MM Good Book Reviews,A.M. Leibowitz, BFD Book Blog, Full Moon Dreaming, Outrageous Heroes, Book Lovers 4Ever,Happily Ever Chapter. Molly Lolly, Making It Happen, Charley Descoteaux, Dawn’s Reading Nook,Havan Fellows, Alpha Book Club, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Oh My Shelves, Kirsty Loves Books

 

Meet the author:

AC Katt was born in New York City’s Greenwich Village. She remembers sitting at the fountain in Washington Square Park listening to folk music while they passed the hat.  At nine, her parents dragged her to New Jersey where she grew up, married and raised four children and became a voracious reader of romantic fiction. At one time she owned over two thousand novels, until she and her husband took themselves and the cat to New Mexico for their health and its great beauty.

Now, most of AC’s books are electronic (although she still keeps six bookcases of hardcovers), so she never has to give away another book. AC is a late bloomer, however, she claims to have found her niche writing LGBT romance.

She hangs out at ACKatt.com and ackattsjournal.com; where she keeps her blog.  To get snippets of new releases and Works in Progress subscribe to AC Katt’s Kattery by sending an e-mail to mlhansel@gmail.com.

 

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AC-Katt-62628106022/?fref=ts

Twitter: @ackatt

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ackatt/

Website: www.ackatt.com

Blog: www.ackattsjournal.com

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2893673.A_C_Katt

Publisher: Decadent Publishing

Cover Artist: Lex Valentine

Pages or Words: 54,033 words

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

Series: New Mexico Series

Book: Two

Can be read as a standalone

Release Date: June 21, 2016

 

 

A little shameless flirting…

1RainbowSnippetsBiFlagHola Snippetteers and welcome!

Hope you’re all staying cool (or warm, depending on where you are :)). Today’s snippet is from BH#5 again, a few lines after last week’s. We’re still in Ryan’s POV. The head chef has just arrived to work (late) and warned that the specials will be different due to supply issues. Not big news to Ryan since it’s his first day on the job, but Glenn has an opinion–as he does about everything.

Please squint when you read so the unedited nature of this snippet won’t hurt your eyes.:)

 

“Again?” Glenn sounded annoyed, but when I looked at him he winked. “Don’t worry, I’ll show the new guy the ropes.”

“Ryan has as much experience as you do, Glenn. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

“I’m sure he will be.” Glenn shot a long, appreciative look my way. “But I’ll still show him where everything is.”

Flustered, I gulped, and by the way Glenn’s shoulders shook he must’ve heard.

 

Thanks for reading!

To find links to more snippets, visit the Rainbow Snippets FB Group. It’s a public group and everyone is welcome to join. Have a lovely weekend!

If you’re interested in grabbing a copy of Tiny House click the banner to go to the new Dreamspinner website.

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Book Blast: Casto, Gods of War by Xenia Melzer

SERIES BLURB 

All is fair in love and war. Or is it?

On the world called Ana-Darasa, the gods of war engage in a desperate search for their lost hearts while waging a battle against the Good Mother for supremacy. But theirs is not the only struggle as dominant men, powerful rulers, and demigods clash, fiery passion erupts, and destinies are shaped on the battlefield and in the bedroom. In a war between pride and love, no victory is ever simple.

 

BLURB 

All is fair in love and war. Renaldo has lived happily by that proverb his entire life. But he has finally met his match, and he’s about to discover how unfair love and war can be.

When demigod and warlord Lord Renaldo takes a beautiful stranger captive during an ambush, he is delighted to have found a distraction that will keep him entertained during the upcoming siege. Little does he know, Casto is keeping more than just one secret from him. Slowly, Renaldo gets sucked into a turbulent roller-coaster relationship with his mysterious prisoner, one that begins with hatred and soon spirals into a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. And when it seems that things can get no worse, an old enemy stirs right in the heart of his home.

Determined to keep Casto by his side, Renaldo has to find a balance between the capricious young man and his own destiny as a ruler and god to his people.

Excerpt

  1. Captive

“Renaldo, you won’t believe what we just found!”

The desert brothers, Kalad and Aegid, approached their god with broad smiles on their faces. He looked at them expectantly.

“If I won’t believe it, then you better hurry up and tell me before I run out of patience.”

“A caravan! And right now it’s taking a break at the oasis we discovered yesterday. You know, it’s not even an hour from here. We could go there, get the quarry, and be back before anybody misses us.”

Lost in thought, Renaldo observed their camp that was set up in a dip beneath the hill where he had waited for Kalad and Aegid. Renaldo’s brother, the powerful Wolf of War, had sent them on patrol to make sure the area was entirely safe. So far, they had not come across any danger, which meant that it was all right for them to have some fun. His brothers-in-arms looked at him eagerly.

“Well, there’s no harm in having a look, is there?”

Kalad’s lively brown eyes overflowed in happy anticipation. “No, definitely not. We’ll show you the way.”

The other members of the patrol led by Noran—like Aegid and Kalad, he was an Emeris, a chosen counselor of Renaldo and Canubis—were ten of the best and most experienced mercenaries in the service of the warrior gods, and they lined up behind the desert brothers. The group rode sharply toward the oasis that had quenched their thirst only a day ago.

Between the trees there was indeed a caravan with thirty camels, every beast burdened high with merchandise. It was not only the traders who delighted in the fresh water from the spring; the warriors also spied some heavily armored men patrolling the goods. Renaldo shot Kalad a slightly poisonous look. Kalad had obviously forgotten to mention this small detail, but the desert warrior just shrugged. There weren’t enough enemies to get them into any serious trouble.

At that moment the people at the waterhole stirred.

A man wearing a floor-length cloak led a pitch-black stallion to the spring. Although the stranger was clothed in white, as was sensible in the heat, he radiated an intimidating arrogance that surrounded him and the steed like a shield. The traders, as well as the mercenaries, hastened to make room for the exceptional pair. Renaldo’s eyes lit up. Never before in his long life had he seen a horse like that: its mane and tail sparkled in the sunlight like polished blackwood; the noble head with the big, intelligent eyes sat on a muscular, proudly held neck; the long, clean legs with hooves as hard as flint carried the powerful body with elegant, elastic movements despite its mass. The long silky tail trailed like a banner behind the proud beast. Then the stallion bent down to drink, and the man leading him followed his example.

Renaldo watched this scene in fascination, purposely ignoring his fighters’ imploring looks. He had to have that horse, no matter the cost.

The horse’s small ears were nervously flicking back and forth, and then suddenly the noble head reared up and snorted a warning.

The hooded man jumped into the saddle, drawing his sword in one strong, fluid movement while his eyes scanned the oasis, searching for intruders. “Danger!”

His voice echoed through the loosely scattered date trees like a melody, causing panic among the traders and priming the mercenaries to fight. Renaldo couldn’t suppress a satisfied nod. Those men were highly professional and definitely worthy opponents.

He turned to his men. “Let’s go!”

They left cover in a semicircle, each attacking their chosen mercenary. Renaldo had planned to go after the hooded man and his steed, but two of the enemy bore down on him from the sides. On his periphery he could see one of his men going against the stranger and being swept out of the saddle for his trouble. Then Renaldo lost sight of the man and the horse he so wanted.

 

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About the Author

Biography Xenia Melzer
Xenia Melzer was born and raised in a small village in the South of Bavaria. As one of nature’s true chocoholics, she’s always in search of the perfect chocolate experience. So far, she’s had about a dozen truly remarkable ones. Despite having been in close proximity to the mountains all her life, she has never understood why so many people think snow sports are fun. There are neither chocolate nor horses involved and it’s cold by definition, so where’s the sense? She does not like beer either and has never been to the Oktoberfest – no quality chocolate there.
Even though her mind is preoccupied with various stories most of the time, Xenia has managed to get through school and university with surprisingly good grades. Right after school she met her one true love who showed her that reality is capable of producing some truly amazing love stories itself.
While she was having her two children, she started writing down the most persistent stories in her head as a way of relieving mommy-related stress symptoms. As it turned out, the stress-relief has now become a source of the same, albeit a positive one.
When she’s not writing, she teaches English at school, enjoys riding and running, spending time with her kids, and dancing with her husband. If you want to contact her, please visit either her website, http://www.xeniamelzer.com or write her an email: info@xeniamelzer.com .