Designs of Desire

Artist James Bryant has forearm crutches in every color from rainbow for fun to sleek black for business. He even has a pair with more paint splatters than metal. After his family’s rejection and abuse from a man he thought loved him, James only just gets through the day by painting. He lives in constant fear that he’s not worthy of anything, let alone love. More »

Simple Desires (part of the Grand Adventures Anthology)

Part of the Desires Entwined series – Ideally read between Designs of Desire and Bound by Desire. When James Bryant and Seth Burns head to Kenosha College to meet with Kenneth and Dane about their gay sports program, Hearts Goals, James’s endurance is tested by a hellion driving a golf cart and a crazy bird. Luckily for James, his work is a hit, and Kenneth and Dane inspire more of his unique, erotic art. More »

Bound By Desire

Part of the Desires Entwined series – Ideally read between Designs of Desire and Desires’ Guardian Despite his past abuse, James has come to terms with his relationship with his Dom and lover Seth. Seth treats James with all the trust and love his sub desires. There is only one thing left to do to make it all complete: Seth needs to put a collar on James. More »

Desires\' Guardian

Most people see Chase Manning as the party-boy twink he seems on the surface. Only James, Chase’s BFF, knows the depth of his loyalty and the extent of the wounds Chase carries inside. When Chase meets Rhys Sayer things don’t go well, but he can’t shake his attraction to the huge, sexy man. More »


The Sleepless City… Series Spotlight

Thanks, Tempe, for hosting us Smile

The Sleepless City is a contemporary urban fantasy series which is a joint project between Anne Barwell and Elizabeth Noble. It is set in the fictional city of Flint, Ohio.



Book 1: Shades of Sepia by Anne Barwell

A serial killer stalks the streets of Flint, Ohio. The victims are always found in pairs, one human and one vampire.

Simon Hawthorne has been a vampire for nearly a hundred years, and he has never seen anything like it. Neither have the other supernaturals he works with to keep the streets safe for both their kind and the humans.

One meeting with Simon finds Ben Leyton falling for a man he knows is keeping secrets, but he can’t ignore the growing attraction between them. A recent arrival in Flint, Ben finds it very different from his native New Zealand, but something about Simon makes Ben feel as though he’s found a new home.

After a close friend falls victim to the killer, Simon is torn between revealing his true nature to Ben, and walking away to avoid the reaction he fears. But with the body count rising and the murders becoming more frequent, either, or both of them, could be the killer’s next target.

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“Cool. I knew you guys were like the Justice League or something.”

Lucas laughed. “I was going more for the Legion of Super Heroes, actually.”

“Yeah, but the League has Batman in it,” Blair began, “and the Legion is—” Luckily, whatever he was going to say was interrupted by the sound of a telephone ringing. Once he and Lucas started on one of their comics conversations, they’d go for what seemed forever.

“Aren’t you going to answer that?” Forge asked Simon.

“What?” Simon glanced around for the source of the ringing. He didn’t get telephone calls and had presumed the noise was coming from wherever Blair was.

“You’re the only one around here who insists on that horrible ringtone,” Forge pointed out, “so it’s obviously your phone.” He’d complained about it ever since Simon had explained—quite logically he’d thought—that if he was to carry a telephone, it made sense for it to at least sound like one.

“Try your pockets?” said Lucas helpfully.

“Oh, right.” Simon fished his telephone out of his pocket. Its screen was flashing with the name of the caller. Simon stared at it.

“You’re supposed to answer it, not stare at it,” Forge said. “Or have you forgotten how to again?”

“I know how to answer it.” Simon poked at the appropriate button, then held the telephone up to his ear. “Simon speaking. How can I help you?”

Forge snickered. Simon glared at him, thought for a moment about retreating to somewhere more private, then realized it would be a waste of time. Damn vampire hearing. Not that werewolves and ghosts were much better.

“Hey, Simon. It’s Ben.”

Perhaps he was calling to say he’d thought twice about meeting for coffee. But why would he take the time to do that? Surely if that were the case, he’d just not contact Simon again at all?

“Hello, Ben.” Simon took a couple of steps toward the door, half turning his back on the other occupants of the room.

“I rang to apologize,” Ben said, his words tumbling out over each other.

“Apologize?” Simon frowned. “Why?” If anyone should be apologizing for the way in which their conversation had ended, it should be him.

“I obviously upset you, and I’m sorry.”

“You didn’t,” Simon reassured him. “I overreacted. I do that sometimes.” He reached for his glass of milk and took a long drink. Feeling a little calmer, he collected his thoughts before breaking the silence. “Would you still like to meet for coffee?”

Lucas and Forge high fiving was something best ignored, as was the smug expression on both their faces.

“Yeah, sure, that would be great,” Ben answered very quickly. “When and where? I’m working a long shift tomorrow so that won’t work, but I don’t start until eleven on Thursday.”

After mentally consulting his calendar, Simon nodded. “That would be fine. I don’t have lectures on Thursday mornings. Do you know Hunter’s on West Thirteenth Street? We could meet there at nine.”

“I haven’t been there, but I’ll find it,” Ben said. “See you at nine then on Thursday?”

“Yes. Good-bye, Ben.”

“Bye, Ben,” called out Lucas.

“Bye….” Ben trailed off. “Hey, who is that?” His voice took on a rather suspicious tone. “Simon, is there someone listening in on us?”

“Unfortunately, yes,” Simon said. “I share my… building… with some friends who don’t understand the concept of privacy. That was Lucas. I’ll explain on Thursday.”

“Okay. Bye.”

“Good-bye,” Simon said again, this time to a darkened telephone. He shoved it back in his pocket.

“He sounds cute,” said Lucas. “I like the accent.” He grinned. “Can I come too? I want to hear how you explain me.”

Book 2: Electric Candle by Elizabeth Noble

When a vampire finds his soul mate, the bond is forever. It’s love at first sight. Or is it?

Flint, Ohio Homicide Detective Jonas Forge has been a vampire for nearly two hundred years. He’s fought wars, seen life go from the simple but hard colonial days to the modern high tech world. He’s evolved with the times, adapting with each new era, blending into each new life. The one constant is his best friend and lover, Declan.

Until Forge’s soul mate tumbles, literally, into his life.

Even though they’re not fated to be together forever, Forge and Declan are perfectly happy. Despite the pheromone attracting him to his soul mate, Forge isn’t thrilled with the guy, and the feeling seems mutual. While trying to adjust to his clumsy soul mate and equally awkward feelings, Forge is on the hunt for the serial killer who’s leaving a trail of bodies, and who witnesses can’t identify. But Forge better watch out. When his work collides with his love life, things really heat up.

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No one was there, yet Forge couldn’t shake the feeling he wasn’t alone. He wandered down the beach a few yards. Water splashing against the shore and spraying up made him go closer for a better look. The lake’s edge here wasn’t gently sloping sand but a sharp lip of concrete. Hunkering on the ledge, Forge leaned over for a look.

The wall ran a good half mile in either direction. He could see large spots that were darker than the surrounding area. Forge had read about the secret rooms constructed all along Lake Erie during Prohibition. Illegal booze and guns were stashed in them. One could only access the rooms by going under water. At high tide, many of the outer parts of the rooms were completely submerged. He’d never been in one.

More than likely he’d have to get wet to justify the expense of divers. Forge was still contemplated getting a dive team in when he heard shouting.

“Stop. Wait!”

The voice sounded familiar, but Forge couldn’t place it. That always made him nuts. Turning, he looked up at the top of the stairs. Then he squinted and shook his head. Who belonged to the voice made him stare in a type of horrified wonder, like one looked at a train wreck.

The fact his cock picked then to persistently remind him of its presence and give a few twitches and throbs didn’t help.

It was a man, though the horror Forge was feeling might have been less if it’d been a woman. He wore what appeared to be homemade steampunk goggles with dark lenses, a long sleeved black shirt, and black jeans.

“Sweet mother of God, is that a cape?” Forge muttered and took a few steps forward. “No, stop, don’t—”

It was too late. The oddly dressed man began to run down the steps—the slippery, wet steps, waving his arms. He’d gone about three steps when his feet slid out from under him and his rear hit the stone stairs. The man yelped, and Forge’s cock gave another twitch. He had the fleeting thought of how disturbing on several levels that was.

Book 3: Family and Reflection by Anne Barwell



As long as Lucas Coate can remember, werewolves have been taught to mistrust vampires. Lucas is an exception—he has two close friends who are vampires, friends whom he trusts with his life, just as they trust him with theirs. The werewolf pack in Flint—and their leader, Jacob Coate—have made it clear that Lucas’s friendship with vampires is something that is barely tolerated, and another transgression will be his last.

When Lucas finds out about the plague of werewolf deaths in the area, he wants to help. Can he discover a cure before it’s too late and his pack’s future is ripped away? Or is his own life already in danger?

Declan has been away from Flint for ten years, but isn’t surprised upon his return to learn that the internal politics of the Supernatural Council haven’t changed for the better. When a series of burglaries hit close to home soon after he arrives, Declan—a professional thief—is their prime suspect, although for once, he isn’t responsible.

With the council keeping secrets, no one is safe. Time is running out and for both Lucas and Declan everything is about to change.

Declan turned the page of his book, read the first paragraph and then shook his head. He wasn’t sure why he’d bothered as he couldn’t for the life of him remember what had happened on the previous page, let along the last few chapters. He closed it with a thump, got up from the table, went over to the fridge and opened it.

He wasn’t hungry, but if he had been, the mould covered plate on one of the shelves would have put him off whatever else had taken his fancy. Someone really needed to have a word with Lucas about leaving his science experiments to breed. Declan lifted the plate somewhat cautiously and sniffed it, then wished he hadn’t. City coroner or not, this wasn’t… normal. Normal people cleaned out their leftovers before they got the chance to become strange new life forms.

Even if, this case, his definition of normal was a werewolf.

But, despite his reaction, Declan couldn’t bring himself to throw the— whatever it was— away. To him it might be disgusting, but to Lucas it might be some new discovery crucial to whatever he was currently working on. And Declan didn’t want to upset Lucas. In the short time they’d know each other, he’d become quite fond of Lucas, and enjoyed the time they spent together.

Declan sighed. He returned the offending thing to its previous resting place, ignoring the visions of reanimated zombie leftovers creeping up the stairs to attack him in the middle of the night, and instead got a wine glass out of the cupboard. He poured himself a decent sized glass of his favourite red beverage and settled back down on the chair he’d recently vacated. As much as he enjoyed a good vintage wine, there were times when one had to quench one’s other thirsts. He sniffed the glass and savoured the aroma before swallowing.

Hmm, not bad. It was amazing the standard of blood that was available to purchase through the right sources. It made it so much easier to feed than it used to be, and less messy too.

He heard the light step on the stairs and the human heartbeat long before Ben reached the kitchen and stood awkwardly in the doorway. “Hello, Ben,” Declan said. “Don’t worry, you’re not disturbing me.”

“If you’re sure?” Ben Leyton ran one hand through his thick dark hair. He looked tired. “I couldn’t sleep so I thought I’d make a milo and see if that helped.”

“I heard Simon’s nightmare earlier.” Declan got up and filled the kettle. “He never did sleep well on anniversaries.” He’d known Simon Hawthorne a long time; Forge had introduced them shortly after Simon had been turned. Declan had also helped Simon through a dark part of his life which had been triggered by the events he suspected had prompted this particular nightmare, given the time of year. “I also don’t mind if you turn the light on.”

Although Declan didn’t need much light with which to see, especially with the full moon casting its glow into the room, Ben was human and would appreciate rather more illumination.

“Yeah well, they’re the worst times for most people, I guess.” Ben flicked on the light switch before walking across the kitchen. He reached into the cupboard and brought down a green can. “Do you want some? It’s a chocolate drink.”

“Thank you but no.” Declan indicated the glass in front of him.

The loud howl made him jump, the sound of it sending a shiver through him. He almost jumped, only years of practised self-control stopping him from doing so. Even so, Declan’s hairs stood on end on the back of his neck.

Lucas howled again. Frustration, anger and loss all rolled into one note of sound that was pure wolf.

Declan knocked his glass, spilling its contents. Without thinking he moved at vampire speed, catching what was left of the in his palm and drinking deeply.

The glass fell to the floor, smashing into tiny pieces. He ignored it, and finished the blood, wiping the back of his hand across his mouth. A low growl escaped his lips. He knew his eyes were completely green. They tended to do that when his fangs extended.

When he looked up Ben was staring at him, his eyes wide. “I’ll clean up the mess, shall I?” he said hurriedly, already heading for where they kept the broom.

“Don’t worry,” Declan said. “I’ll do it. Make your chocolate drink, mon ami. It’s my mess so my responsibility, yes?”

Book 4: Checkmate by Elizabeth Noble



Chaos reigns in The Sleepless City and it’s really beginning to piss Detective Jonas Forge off. He’s got inner demons to joust and a life to build with his new soul mate. Nothing is going right and he already feels the universe is conspiring against him when a turn of events he never saw coming flips his world upside down.

While he and Declan confront horrors from their shared past, Simon learns a terrible truth about his kind, the vampire, he never knew or could even imagine.

Forge chuckled and Blair gifted him with another eye roll as they took up their place in the cafeteria line. He put his most charming smile on his face when a girl picked up a tray and joined the line right behind them. “Hello.”

Minor irritation skimmed the surface of Blair’s emotions, and Forge felt it plainly. The girl cocked her head to one side and flipped her hair. “Are you new here?” She asked and brushed her hand over Forge’s.

“I’m visiting.” They moved along the line and he picked up a few dishes.

“She’s a student,” Blair whispered.

Forge leaned closer to Blair, dropped his voice an octave and said, “I don’t work here.” He used what Lucas liked to refer to as ‘Forge’s fuck me’ voice.

“Oh,” the girl said. “Even better.”

Forge basked in the tidal wave of heat, desire and jealousy that swirled away from Blair to surround him.

Blair grabbed one of the dishes from Forge’s tray and put it back. “Don’t eat the mystery green stuff, it’s not broccoli.” He leaned around Forge, forcing him back a step and spoke to the girl. “You’re really barking up the wrong tree. He’s gay. He’s mine. And it’s spectacular.”

Forge shrugged and picked up his tray. “Good luck with school.”

“Table. Over there,” Blair growled.

Trailing behind him, Forge feigned innocence. “I distinctly remember you telling me to be nice to the students.”

Blair dropped his tray onto a table. “Yeah, be nice. Not use that tone and your—badge—in the way that makes them want to undress.”

“You love me for it.” Forge sat down and surveyed his food. “We could go to the new pizza place.”

Blair’s chin dropped to his chest for a second. When he looked up his eyes twinkled and he smiled. “You are a very lucky man. I don’t have time to go for pizza. It may be orgasm inducing but they’re slow. Dinner there? Just you and me?”

“Oh, now you want a date.” Forge returned the mischievous and warm smile Blair wore. “And some of this spectacular stuff.” He waved one hand down his chest and laughed when Blair kicked him under the table.

The school food was possibly some of the worst Forge had ever had, but he decided this had to be a regular thing. He liked meeting Blair for lunch. Being Blair’s soul mate ensured their love, it was liking each other they had to work at.

Their meal finished Forge walked Blair back to his office. Blair unlocked the door and at the same time Forge was doused in another wave of lust and something he could only describe as partnership. Most vampires experienced this sort of bond and empathy for one another during their initial mating. He’d understood with the majority the ability to feel each other so strongly diminished after one of them was marked. For them it only seemed to increase. Forge knew he was indeed a very lucky man.

Blair used his hand on Forge’s chest to shove him through the door and shut it softly. One of Blair’s hands cupped the back of Forge’s neck. Blair pulled them together, kissing Forge slowly, his tongue slipping into Forge’s mouth and his fangs nipping his lip. Blair wasn’t usually the aggressor, and Forge liked when he was.

He put one hand on Blair’s ass and held them close, kneading the firm flesh of Blair’s buttock slowly. All too soon Blair broke their kiss. They leaned against one another, panting. Blair trembled against Forge. “I have a late class,” Blair whispered. “Will seven be okay?”

Forge pulled in a deep breath, kissed Blair’s forehead and nodded. “I will be there.” One more sweet kiss to Blair’s lips and Forge added, “I’ll call you later.” He dipped his head at the door and at the same time cupped Blair’s face, running his thumb lightly over his cheek. “Keep them in line. I’d better get back to work.”

“Bye,” Blair said quietly and Forge thought he sounded a bit wistful.

Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.




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Elizabeth Noble

Elizabeth Noble started telling stories before she actually knew how to write, and her family was very happy when she learned to put words on a page. Those words turned into fan fiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M romance fiction. Being able to share her works with Dreamspinner is really a dream come true. She has a real love for all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural and a bit of an unnatural interest in a super-volcano in Wyoming.

Elizabeth has three grown children and is now happily owned by an adorable mixed breed canine princess named Rosie, and two cats, Murphy and Yeti. She lives in her native northeast Ohio, the perfect place for gardening, winter and summer sports (go Tribe!). When she’s not writing she’s working as a veterinary nurse, so don’t be surprised to see her men with a pet or three who are a very big part of their lives.


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Interview with Mistress Anya, from Blood Marked by Áine P Massie

Hello ladies and gents, Áine here. Let me start by thanking Tempeste O’Riley for graciously allowing me to take over her site for this special event.

Blood Marked
(The House Millar series, Book 2)
by Áine P Massie

With their romance only beginning to take root, the trio, Anya, Nicholas and Declán set forth to enrich their fledgling relationship. Having survived the explosive consummation should have set forth a downtime of sorts, instead, near death tragedies strike all around.

That should have been the worst of it, but toss the green-eyed monster of jealousy and all bets are off that anyone will survive the fire consuming them all.

Can Anya protect her lovers, find peace within herself, and lead the House Millar from tragedy to peace? Or will those waiting in the wings to strike them down win?

Come take a walk with our loving family and witness the strange turns and twists as life, love, and passions collide with greed, politics, and evil.

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Interview with Anya Millar

A lovely young woman, I believe her name was Peony, led me out onto the veranda of the beautiful home that is the House Millar. The charming Mistress Anya was already waiting on me. She even though of my human needs – a snack and drink were laid out on the small table beside the empty chair. Once I was settled Anya offered me tea as I thanked her for this rare opportunity.

Thank you for allowing me this inside peek into what makes you, you.

You are quite welcome. I don’t mind speaking to others as long and they remember the rules. *wink* Though, you have to by default, being human and all.

True. I’ll start off with an easy one. You’re a vampire?

Yes. Though I’m an aberration in my world. I refuse to kill humans just to live. I am not fluffy though – so do not underestimate me or those you see that live here. We are lethal when we need to be but humans are off the diet.

What do you do for a living?

For a living? Hum, well… I am independently wealthy thanks mostly to my beloved, Nicholas, who took care of all my finances while I was away for about three decades. I also head the House Millar, though that doesn’t exactly bring me money.

Are any other people living with you? Who are they?

Ha-ha. Of course there are. I have a House not just a house. Declán and Nicholas live upstairs with me. Also, Jonathan and Amber, Geoffrey and Peony, and most recently Louie and Simon stay in the house. I used to live with Star, my adoptive-mom, but she didn’t move to New York with us. She does visit though. *smile* We have two human friends that do not live with us but that are under our protection – Kayla, Declán’s twin sister and her girlfriend, Skye.

One of your numbers here is a human, correct?

Yes. Declán is human. Well, a Guardian which is a type of human I suppose you could say. He is soft and warm, though more lethal than most would imagine. He and Nicholas are my guards as well as my loves.

Normally I would ask you about your childhood and development but as I understand it, you have no memory of such things. Is that true?

Yes. Due to a depraved series of events I have, as Jonathan explained it, trauma based amnesia – exceedingly rare for a vampire. I occasionally have memory flashes where I do regain bits and pieces of who I was but trust me, not knowing is far superior to those flashes! I could happily not have another as long as I exists and be perfectly happy.

*Noting the pain in Anya’s voice and face I try to redirect for a moment* What makes you happy now?

Nicholas and Declán! I could not have dreamed up two better or loving men. They are everything to me. Each has different things about them that attract me but I am so truly blessed by the gods to have them in my life and heart.

Do you have an unusual ability? One that is unusual to other vampires?

Yes. Well, I’m unusual in many ways but the main one you are inquiring about – I think – is my voice. Nicholas says it’s drastically different and more powerful now than it was when he knew me the first time.

What is your greatest fear?

That would have to be losing Declán. I know it will happen, problem of being a human, but he puts himself in danger by being around all of us. Worse though is that he is a Guardian, a vampire hunter, and that tends to endanger his continued existence.

Would it be easier if you knew you would see him grow old naturally and die peacefully?

No. In theory it should but losing him no matter the circumstances is horrid to me. Nicholas is just the same though he tends to deal with Declán’s combat training and use better than I – or at least he pretends to… I wonder some days.

What about the fact you have two loves? Are they involved also?

Yes, I love both Nicholas and Declán. If you want to know more about our relationship you will just have to read ‘Blood’s Voice.’ Sorry.

As to their relationship… you will have to ask them. While I do know the answer, a relationship, no matter what kind, should only be spoken about from one of those involved.

Fair enough. What would you change about yourself if you could?

Most would think I would say my vampirism but in truth, I’d rather change my mental instability. I don’t actually mind being a vampire, even with all the pain and torment I receive for being an aberration in my world.

What is one thing that you have never told anyone?

Well now, if I tell you that it would mean it’s no longer available to answer. *grins* Seriously, I don’t really keep secrets from those I love so if you’ve read my story so far in ‘Blood’s Voice’ you already know what’s inside me. Well, as well as I even know myself, that is. Being without a memory and slightly twisted means I don’t always know quite what I’m thinking.

One last question then. Based on your morals being so strict about not killing, how do you feel about what you’ve done either while in a memory flash or while rescuing your one love? Thankfully you didn’t have to rescue them both!

I don’t like to kill. It’s part of why I’m looked down on in the vampire world. The catch to that is I am very good at killing. With rare exception I do not feel guilt about the death I have caused because they were not worthy of life, in my opinion. That is a bit harsh, I know, but seriously… how can I feel guilty for stopping someone that kills indiscriminately and revels in causing others pain? But even with that said, I am only dangerous to those that would harm humans or my family. As you will find out in the next book Áine is writing about my House, I can play nice with others, when they keep their fangs to themselves.

One that note I think I will retire. I can see your loves waiting, patiently, for you at the edge of the veranda. I know you have things to do. Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with me and those that would like to know more about you.


The pleasure was mine. Declán will walk to out. While none in my House would nibble on you, there are others out there that don’t have the best manners. *wink*

*Also, Blood’s Voice is on sale this month, in honour of Blood Marked’s release!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Áine P Massie is originally from Florida, she now lives in Wisconsin, where she works on her House Millar series full-time while raising four children (the term herding cats comes to mind). Her major in College was Childhood Education (specializing in ages zero to five) with a minor study in Deaf Culture/ASL. She is also a Wiccan priestess dedicated to the gods, family, and love.

Áine is a proud member of the Rom-Critters, the Romance Writers of America®, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Áine has always had a particular fascination with vampires, mythology, and the unusual. When she can escape from her children and books, she enjoys… oh yes, reading, playing, ritual, a good cappuccino, and working with her healing stones.

Her first published work came in high school where she was part of a writing and drama group. However, she’s been reading the likes of Shakespeare and Poe since late elementary school and enjoys most forms of fiction.

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Hope and Love Anthology…

Did you know I’m part of an anthology releasing in September? Yep, it’s true! It’s a donation anthology; all proceeds go to the MKE LGBT Community Center in Milwaukee, WI.

To stay up to date and to check out the other great authors, visit

Release Day Hop: Blood Marked by Áine P Massie

Hello ladies and gents, Áine here. Let me start by thanking all the great blogs that have graciously allowed me to take over their sites for this special event.

So, what’s so special about today? It’s the official release day for Blood Marked from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing! I’ve got the first chapter of Blood Marked for you, along with a little about the story, and even a giveaway for two lucky commenters.

There’s also a special treat for you all tomorrow. The release party! Yep, tomorrow from 2 pm CST until 5 pm CST you can stop by the Facebook event to win prizes, get more excerpts, and just plain have fun. (click here to join the event)

First, let me start by sharing the book that started it all, Blood’s Voice.

Blood’s Voice is a new adult, LGBT, fade to black, paranormal romance set in modern-day USA, and chronicles the lives, loves, and adventures of Mistress Anya, a unique and powerful vampire with no memory, and her loves, one another vampire and the other… a natural-born vampire hunter.

Blood’s Voice, House Millar book 1 is available through Amazon, both as an ebook and in paperback.


The House Millar is an unusual family of vampires. Not only do they refuse to hunt and kill humans, but they are led by a vampire with no memory of who she is, how she became a vampire, or what her powers can do. Of the three issues, it’s the last that’s the true problem for her.

She’s also hunted by one of the Elder Houses, sought after by others of her kind to use as a weapon, as she tried to bond her little ragtag family together, protect the humans and vampires within, and learn how to deal with the cravings of her body, both the lust for blood and her loves.

Now, that sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Of course it does! In Blood Marked, the triad—Anya, Nicholas, and Declán—move forward as a House and as a family, though things never go as hoped. Between Anya’s past, Declán’s very existence, and Nicholas’s jealousy, Anya’s got more than enough problems. Then add her ex, a new rival, and a group of human, wannabe hunters, and things quickly hit a boiling point.

Now, you might ask how I came up with the story or maybe it’s the names that you’re curious about. Maybe it’s why I love vampires or why mine are gentle instead of the hunters they’re meant to be. For those answers, you’ll have to tune in for the little tour I have planned starting next week ;)

As for the other, oft asked question of late… Will there be more, and when…? Yes, this is much more to come in the House Millar series. In September, you will find a short in the Hope and Love Anthology (100% of proceeds go to support the MKE LGBT Community Center in Milwaukee, WI). In February, Glamour Blade comes out and will be the first in the series not from Anya’s POV. Later in 2015 Soul Blade will follow, which is the sequel to Glamour Blade.

So for those who already love, or will soon love, my unorthodox spin on vampires, don’t worry, you will have many more journeys with the quirky, deadly, and fiercely protective House Millar and their friends!

And now… Meet the book of honour: Blood Marked!

With their romance only beginning to take root, the trio, Anya, Nicholas and Declán set forth to enrich their fledgling relationship. Having survived the explosive consummation should have set forth a downtime of sorts, instead, near death tragedies strike all around.

That should have been the worst of it, but toss the green-eyed monster of jealousy and all bets are off that anyone will survive the fire consuming them all.

Can Anya protect her lovers, find peace within herself, and lead the House Millar from tragedy to peace? Or will those waiting in the wings to strike them down win?

Come take a walk with our loving family and witness the strange turns and twists as life, love, and passions collide with greed, politics, and evil.

Amazon | Goodreads

I stripped my clothes off after climbing into the shower, taking a strange pleasure in watching the rivulets of blood slough off my body and swirl down the drain. This wasn’t a shower for pleasure or comfort though; I wanted to escape what had just happened. I turned up the heat again, hoping to burn the sick feeling of their skin and blood off me. I couldn’t seem to calm completely. I wanted, craved more of an outlet for the frustrations. Holding in my power all the time wore on me, but what else could I do?

Growling in frustration, I punched the wall—not the smartest thing to do considering. The beautiful tile cracked where the wall dented in around my fist. Great, now I have to have the shower wall fixed. With a heavy sigh I slid down the back wall into a sitting position letting the water crash down over my head taking with it the proof of my out of control violence.

Ma dame? Louis’s voice intruded cautiously on my solitude, but considering the sound the punch had made, I wasn’t surprised really.

Don’t worry, Louie. The only danger in here with me, is me.

Yes, Ma dame. Let me know when you’re finished. I have fresh clothes for you. He’d slipped back into servant mode, which was strangely comforting.

Thank you, Louie. Soon. I spent a little longer working through my frustrations and hair. With hair so long and thick it took a while to get all the blood out.

When I finally felt sane enough to join the world–and the water was going cold on me anyway—I let Louie know I was out. He came into the room with not only my clothes but several thick, warm towels. He set down my clothes, but brought a towel with him as he approached and began drying my hair gently. Moving to my shoulders and back he continued until I was dry and warm both from the towels and from his attentive care. I moved toward my clothes, but he reached out for them first bringing me one of my favourite light, gauzy sun dresses. Seems he’d decided for casual comfort for me after the fight. Interesting thought.

After assisting me with my dressing, which was an extraordinarily erotic sensation, he looked me over carefully. “You look much refreshed.” He quirked a playful smile. “More relaxed and like yourself. The others are eager to see you, especially Nicholas.”

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Áine P Massie is originally from Florida, she now lives in Wisconsin where she works on her House Millar series full-time while raising four children (the term herding cats comes to mind). Her major in College was Childhood Education (specializing in ages zero to five) with a minor study in Deaf Culture/ASL. She is also a Wiccan priestess dedicated to the gods, family, and love.

Áine is a proud member of the Rom-Critters, the Romance Writers of America®, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Áine has always had a particular fascination with vampires, mythology, and the unusual. When she can escape from her children and books, she enjoys . . . oh yes, reading, playing, ritual, a good cappuccino, and working with her healing stones.

Her first published work came in high school where she was part of a writing and drama group. However, she’s been reading the likes of Shakespeare and Poe since late elementary school and enjoys most forms of fiction.

Site | Blog | Facebook ~ House Millar | Facebook ~ Author

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Appearances Sneak Peak Hop

Hello everyone, Tams here (TM Smith) let me start by saying thank you to all the bloggers that are hosting me today for this special event! 
Welcome to the Appearances pre-release blog hop, sneak peak and giveaway! Today I’m going to share the first two chapters of Appearances with you, a little behind the scenes while writing this book as well as going over my process for choosing some of the names in the series. And, there might be a little giveaway, maybe. The best part is, this is an all day event on Facebook as well, so be sure to join the event and check back throughout the day as I’ve lined up some pretty amazing authors and bloggers to help me host who will be having giveaways of their own. {click here to join the event!}

Schedule (all times are CST central standard time zone)
Author TM Smith: 8-10AM CST
Charlie Cochet: 10-11AM CST
Alina Popescu: 11AM-1PM CST
Angel Martinez: 1-2PM CST
Author TM Smith: 2-3PM CST
Lucien/Raven: 3-4PM CST
J. Scott Coatsworth: 4-5PM CST
Crystal Marie: 5-6PM CST
Author TM Smith: 6-7PM CST
Carly Rose: 7-8PM CST

Lets start with the book that started it all, Opposites.
Opposites is an adult dystopian majorly M/M series set a few centuries in the future in a society where to be gay/lesbian is the norm. To be straight labels you an Opposite and makes you the outkast. 

Opposites, book 1 is available now through Amazon, ARe and Smashwords.
The Library, an Opposites novella, is available now through Amazon, ARe and Smashwords.
*WARNING* Opposites is an Adult Dystopian series that contains explicit sexual content and relationships between gay, lesbian and straight couples.

Something that I’ve been asked a lot over these last couple years, “How did you come up with the names for your characters?” I knew straight away that this was going to be an epic sort of story, even an author friend that read an early draft commented it was like a gay Game Of Thrones. So I knew that with all the names I’d have to remember already, I did not want to use last names as well. In that aspect, I took on a Dune quality where as everyone is known by their name and their house. 
Another question I’ve gotten is why so similar. I thought I was helping readers with that as well, but it may not have come across accurately. Take House Gaeland for instance. Fathers; Rian and Cirian. Mothers; Amaya and Amelia. Children; Aiya and Aiyan. There is a similarity in the names that made me think, these are all from the same house. I guess it didn’t translate as well to some of my readers, sorry about that. 
I also tried to use names that were specific to that culture for certain characters. I researched popular and historic names of each culture and that is how I came up with Nadi, Kaden, Theresa, Taryn, Tanis and a few others. There were some names I knew I wanted to use before I even started outlining the story. I chose the name Aiya after hearing it on a sci-fi movie many years ago, it always stuck with me. Adding the ‘n’ to it for her twin brother was easy. Rian was a spelling I’d read in a book and I loved the uniqueness of it. One of my favorite movies is ‘In A Child’s Name’. The mom in that movie was Theresa, with an ‘h’, no one ever really spells Theresa with the ‘h’ anymore and I’ve always liked that more classic spelling. 
I wanted to pay respect to my family name, grandparents things like that somewhere as well. Gilley was my late Irish grandmother’s maiden name, so it was a given that the house in Ireland or that part of the country would be called House Gilley. Dr. Anthony Smith… my grandfathers, Robert Antony and William Smith. I write under the name TM Smith not because I don’t want people to know that Tammy Middleton is the author, but because it’s the name my parents gave me. Tammy Michelle Smith is way to long to print out so I shortened it. 
{For a listing of names, Houses and their meaning, head over to TTC Books and more}
And now, meet the guest of honor today, Appearances…
Appearances, can be deceiving.

Raven and Tanis are trying very hard to merge their vastly different lifestyles, but Tanis’s issues with his own past could prove to be more than their fragile relationship can handle. Is their love for each other strong enough to weather the oncoming storm?

Aiya and Sawyer have fought hard to be together in a world where Opposite relationships are generally forbidden. Yet, they are still forced to keep their relationship a secret while they are outside the walls of House Gaeland.

Everyone assumes that the only threat lies outside their walls, the group of rebels led by Cillian. But something is happening within House Gaeland, something that hasn’t happened since GWI. And with all the attention focused on that, their guard is down. An evil that was under their nose all along strikes, and someone will make the ultimate sacrifice to save another.

At the end of Opposites Cirian shared a secret with his children, the identity of the person known to them as Gorilla Man. Everyone was coming to terms with the relationship that was developing between Aiya and Sawyer, and Tanis proposed to Raven. 
Now it is time for Aiya and Aiyan to travel to their spouses homes and meet their people. But that is more the backdrop of this story, as this book concentrates more on the ever growing relationship between Raven and Tanis. The Priest from House Gaeland and his warrior from House Orion. Raven is wise but slightly naive. He never gave much thought to a family or a husband, not that it’s forbidden, he just never thought he’d share his heart with anyone but God. But the inked upped, muscled upped man from Greece that Raven describes as all attitude, muscles and ink… well he rooted his way in there under the radar.

While the relationship between Raven and Tanis doesn’t seem to be moving any faster than the twins, in actuality it is. Aiya and Aiyan have known about their matches for years, they know them even if only on paper. These two young men are learning about each other as they go. And once they get to Greece, Raven learns that the description of his fiance from before they met, “A man in every port”, well there wasn’t ever a truer statement. Tanis had always been promiscuous, and now it may come back to bite him in the ass, so to speak.

More secrets will be revealed and a new threat will emerge. But the root of everything that keeps these people and these relationships strong, their love and faith in one another, is the constant that will keep them all alive. 

I’m still hoping to release Appearances on August 31st, but right now that is a tentative date. I’ve had some personal issues these last several months, one of those being Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I’ve now had the surgery on both hands, but it has set me back quite a bit with my writing. So I wanted to let you all know that I am moving forward as fast as my body will allow, and also share the first two chapters with you. An appetizer, if you will. Do remember that this is still a work in progress and while it has gone through BETA and a round of editing, there is still some clean up to do before release. So ignore any mistakes and enjoy this exclusive look into Appearances. 
1 ~
Aiyan walked through the garden, violin
case in hand, heading toward the bench that sat in the center. Sitting, he
removed his violin and stroked the strings. He hadn’t played in days and needed
to feel the instrument in his hands as he poured his pain into the music. It
was the only outlet he could think of at the moment that wouldn’t cause someone
else bodily harm.
His life had changed drastically over the
past several months. He met and married his match who, thankfully, turned out
to be his soul mate. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loved Kaden
like no other almost from the minute he laid eyes on him. He realized just how
much and how much he stood to lose when Kaden was kidnapped by his uncle. An
uncle he didn’t even know he had until after they’d rescued Kaden and brought
him back home where he belonged.
He heaved in a deep breath and brought the
instrument up to rest on his shoulder, running the bow across the strings a few
times to adjust the tone. Then he closed his eyes and let it all go, let all of
the pain and anger flow out of his body and into the music. He thought of Kaden
inside the palace, in their room packing for their impending trip to House
Devi. He thought back to the first time they’d made love after the incident.
How loving, tender and gentle he was with his husband; who was still broken and
bruised from his captivity.
For a moment he felt the anger seeping back
into him as his thoughts strayed to Gorilla man, his uncle, and the violin
screamed out a note in agony. He released a breath and regained his composure,
moving his thoughts back to Kaden and how they’d leaned on each other in those
days and weeks when they first returned to the palace. The melody leveled out
as Aiyan stopped trying to control the emotions and just let them flow freely,
the insanely beautiful whine of music filled the night air.
Kaden closed the last suit case and lifted it
off the bed, carrying it over and sitting it by the door with the others. He
stood upright when he thought he heard a shrill cry coming from outside their
bedroom window. Their bedroom was just off one side of the garden when you
looked out the window, which made sense as the garden was Aiyan’s favorite
place to be. Kaden walked over and threw the window open, closing his eyes and
smiling when he realized what it was he’d heard.
Kaden quickly made his way out of the
palace and out into the garden, hell, he would have just jumped out the window
to make the trip quicker if he thought he could do it without hurting himself.
Kaden rounded the corner and stopped, soaking in the sight of his husband,
completely oblivious and completely sexy.
Aiyan’s eyes were closed and the tip of his
tongue just barely escaped his mouth, as his head jerked to the side
occasionally with certain notes of the song. Kaden could see how relaxed he was
surrounded by the things he loved most. The garden that captured so much color
and beauty, and his violin that shared not only the color and beauty inside of
Aiyan, but the talent he held as well.
Every emotion Aiyan was feeling played
across his face as he felt them, Kaden just stood still and watched. The
emotions blended flawlessly with the notes; anger brought on a loud shrill note
and a scrunched up face; happiness brought on a flowing, sharp squeal and a
slight smile; and then sadness was the lightest note of all as a tear trickled
down Aiyan’s cheek.
Aiyan’s eyes opened when he heard a low
crack as Kaden moved toward him, stepping on a twig. “Oh, sorry, I was just
letting off some steam.” Aiyan said, moving to put away his violin.
Kaden moved quickly over to him, “No,
please… don’t stop. It was beautiful my prince, please play more for me.”
Kaden slid onto the far corner of the bench, smiling slightly as Aiyan smiled
back at him.
“You like to beg, don’t you?” Aiyan said
playfully, that crooked grin taking over his face. It was true, Kaden had said
those exact words to him the night they met, here in the garden, the first time
Aiyan kissed him. “No, please…
don’t  stop.”
Aiyan put his
instrument away and then just sat there, silent, staring at the ground. Kaden
could not only see, but feel the war of emotions raging inside him. The bond
they had seemed to have been there since that first meeting, when they saw the
same vision of them kissing on the bed. And it only grew stronger when they
were separated. Truth be told, their bond had saved Kaden’s life when Gorilla
man had thrown him down that well.
Kaden reached up and pushed Aiyan’s hair
back behind his ear, stroking the lobe with his fingers softly as he did. “My
prince, tell me what troubles you.” Aiyan didn’t speak, didn’t look up at him, he
didn’t even flinch. Kaden scooted a little closer and ran his hand down Aiyan’s
arm, joining their fingers together. Still, Aiyan didn’t so much as squeeze his
hand back, not even acknowledging Kaden’s attempt to placate him. Kaden brought
himself around in front of Aiyan, wedging himself on his knees on the ground
between Aiyan’s legs, staring up at him, refusing to be ignored.
They stared into each other’s eyes for
several long, intense moments. Kaden toyed with the right words to say, and
decided words weren’t what was needed right now. He leaned up and kissed his
husband. He just held his lips to Aiyan’s briefly, not attempting to deepen the
kiss. When he pulled back Aiyan’s eyes remained closed and he took a few shallow
“Don’t shut me out Aiyan, not now, we’ve
been through too much for you to give me the silent treatment.” That crooked
grin was trying to make an appearance Kaden thought, as the corner of Aiyan’s
mouth twitched slightly. “There is nothing you can’t tell me. I know you want
to deal with these emotions and this anger you feel on your own, but that is
the problem Aiyan. Have you thought that the reason you can’t get past this is
because you are trying to do it alone? You aren’t alone Aiyan, I am here, right
here in front of you, begging you to…….” Kaden didn’t get the rest of his
sentence out before he was grabbed and hauled up into Aiyan’s lap. Aiyan’s lips
came down on his hard and fierce as Aiyan attempted to tongue fuck him right
there on the bench.
Aiyans fingers dug into Kaden’s shoulders
and he poured everything he was feeling into the kiss. Kaden moaned into his
mouth and melted into his touch as the kiss ignited a fire inside him. The
combination of his own hunger coupled with Aiyan’s left his head spinning.
Aiyan pulled back, gasping for breath, when he opened his eyes Kaden saw that
they’d turned gold around the rims and he smiled. Aiyan leaned forward until
their foreheads were touching, still breathing heavy.
“Okay Kaden, okay. Let’s go back to our
room and talk.” He panted out between breaths.
“Just talk?” Kaden whispered. Aiyan barked
out a laugh and smacked his ass, which caused Kaden to yelp.
They barely made it into their room before
Kaden quickly divested them of their clothing. He pushed Aiyan back against the
door and climbed up him, devouring his mouth. Aiyan spun them around as he
lifted Kaden up off the floor, and slammed him up against the unyielding wooden
door. Kaden wrapped both legs around Aiyan’s waist and thrust his hips up.
Aiyan threw his head back and gasped when Kadens thick, hard cock rubbed up
against his own. Aiyan kissed him again, his lips as unyielding and hard as the
door Kaden was pressed up against. Then he proceeded to fuck Kaden into
oblivion, right there up against the bedroom door.
Kaden woke in their bed with the soft touch
of Aiyan’s fingers, trailing down his back and over his ass, then tracing back
up the path they’d just taken. “Are you awake?” Aiyan whispered.
“I am now.” Kaden just chuckled.
Aiyan didn’t speak again for a while. He
just ran his hands along Kaden’s skin, setting it on fire. Finally, he let out
a ragged sigh, “I’ve never felt the kind of anger I feel toward him Kaden, and
it scares me. I swear sometimes I feel like the hatred will consume me. I want
to kill him, I want him to suffer. What does that say about me Kaden, for
Christ sake, he’s my uncle?!” Even if the touch of Aiyan’s fingers on his skin
hadn’t gone from gentle to rough, Kaden could feel Aiyan’s anger inside him
through the bond they shared.
Kaden rolled over onto his back and Aiyan
laid his head on his chest, he ran his fingers through Aiyan’s hair comforting
and calming him all at the same time. “It says that you are my husband, my
partner and you will do anything to make sure I’m safe. I would do the same for
you. Do you feel better, now that you told me this?” Aiyan nodded but didn’t
speak. “Then that is enough for now. I love you Aiyan and we will deal with
this together. Everything, always together.” Aiyan smiled and Kaden could feel
the curve of his husbands lips on his skin, which made him smile in turn,
Those three words took Aiyan back to the
past, to the night they decided to get their named tattoos. When Aiyan first
broached the subject just days before their Mehndi ceremony, Kaden had balked
at the idea. But then when Aiyan and Raven showed Kaden drawings of what Aiyan
was suggesting they do, Kaden couldn’t deny the sentiment in the gesture.
want to get our names tattooed on our arms, here.” Aiyan spoke softly to Kaden
as he withdrew his fingers from where they’d been wrapped in Kaden’s and rolled
up his sleeve, showing the spot on his upper arm.
scowled at him, “Don’t you think that is a little grandious, my prince? And
what would they say? Aiyan and Kaden, respectively. Or M’anam and My Prince?”
Aiyan turned that wickedly sexy crooked grin on his partner before he answered.
think our given names, and in a calligraphy style of writing with maybe a
celtic border?” Aiyan presented his answer as a question, it would seem he had
put a lot of thought into this venture. Kaden still wasn’t convinced, until the
next day after lunch, when Raven found him and Aiyan in the library and showed
them the drawings he’d made in a likeness of what Aiyan wanted the tattoo’s to
that’s really simplistic. I was expecting something more… just, more.” Kaden
was pleasantly surprised with the simple, uniqueness of the designs. He had no
ink anywhere on his body, having never found anything he wanted to permanently
place on his skin. But this, this was a representation of his commitment to
Aiyan, a way to show everyone he belonged to this man. So when Raven told them
he could do the tattoos right then, Kaden didn’t allow himself time to
reconsider, he just nodded in agreement and followed Aiyan and Raven.
was a given that Aiyan’s tattoo would be placed on his left upper arm as he
already had a large eagle, and a dragonfly on his right upper arm. Kaden
thought his should go on his left arm as well, not only to mirror where his
future husbands ink would go, but it was also the hand where their wedding rings
would be.
followed as Raven led them to the area of the palace where the guards slept.
“The Guardai and The Order are housed in this wing of the palace. And while
Raven’s room is in the main area of the palace with the family, he still keeps
a room here as well. He has artwork, instruments, some swords he’s collected
and his tattoo equipment here.” Aiyan told Kaden as they walked through the
never ending hallways within House Gaeland.
and the collection of bibles.” Aiyan stopped mid stride and turned to face
Kaden. “There are bibles dating back to before Anthony’s time, Raven has, what
a dozen or so?” Aiyan turned to Raven who just nodded his response, before
turning back to Kaden. “I’ve read several of them. It’s so interesting to see
the different translations, how they are all different, and yet… the same.”
entered the room they’d stopped at and Aiyan and Kaden followed him in. The
walls were covered almost floor to ceiling with art and drawings, some of which
Kaden was certain Raven had created himself. There was a small bookshelf that
indeed held a dozen or so bibles, a rack that held several swords and in the
corner sat the oddly made chair that could be molded and shaped to hold a
person’s body in the correct position for whatever ink they would be getting at
the time. Raven motioned for Aiyan to sit as he opened the case with the tools,
“You first Aiyan, so Kaden can see what I’m doing and how, since this is his
first tattoo.”
watched as Raven took the wax paper he had drawn the design on and held it over
Aiyan’s arm. His gaze continued to roam over Aiyan’s bare chest, those hard
muscles and defined abs, up to his adams apple and then landed on that crooked
grin. When their eyes met, Aiyan’s dominate brown eyes sparkled, full of love
for only Kaden.
done!” Raven stated, turning and grabbing a towel from the table next to him.
He ran the towel over the design and then applied some type of ointment from a
jar. He noticed Kaden watching his every move, a question in his glare. “It’s
just a precaution, some healing herbs mixed with the oils from the allive
plant. Can you believe they used to apply tattoos with needles, driving the ink
into the skin, and there was so much blood. The risk of infection then was much
higher than now, the laser pretty much cordarizes the skin as I draw the image,
so no risk of infection. But, better safe than sorry, right.”
smiled up at him and twisted his body, holding his arm out for Kaden to see.
There on his lovers arm was his name, Kaden, in a fancy script with a border
across the top and bottom of the words that was somewhere between the design of
barbed wire and a trinity knot.
turn.” Raven waved his hand motioning Aiyan out of the chair and all but pushed
Kaden into it. Kaden closed his eyes and rested his head on the back of the
chair. He felt the tight grip of Raven’s fingers, digging into his arm to hold
it still, the heat from the laser as it traced each letter into his skin.
A.I.Y.A.N and then the faint trace of the border, but it was never
uncomfortable or painful. He opened his eyes when he felt the brush of the
towel on his skin.
pulled him up and into his body and they were chest to chest, Kaden had to hold
in a gasp when their naked nipples brushed together. Aiyan leaned down and
kissed him, running his fingers over his name that was now permanently inked on
Kadens arm, keeping time with his tongue that brushed over Kaden’s bottom lip. Aiyan
pulled back but kept his hand on Kaden’s arm, gently tracing the letters of his
name, “Everything, always together.” He whispered.
Aiyan raised his head and smiled down at
him, moving his body up and over Kaden’s. His smile widened when Kaden groaned
and thrust his hips up, rubbing their groins together. They were both already
impossibly hard, again. “Ready for round two? Want me to fuck you into the
mattress this time?” Aiyan said, leaning down and running his tongue along
Kaden’s collar bone. Kaden just laughed and rolled them on the bed where he was
on top of Aiyan.
“Oh no my prince, I’m going to fuck you into the mattress.”

2 ~
Cillian sat at the table pushing the food
on his plate around in circles, more interested in reinforcing his men than
eating. The encampment he’d found shelter in wasn’t much more than a stones
throw away from the palace, but in hind sight, he thought this would be the
last place his family would look for
him anyway.
He sat and listened to one of the elders
telling some of the other’s of how proud he was of the man one of their own had
become. This Sawyer, son of Adam and Anna who were proud Outkasts. Apparently
Sawyer’s mother died during child birth, and then his father died in a fire
here on the grounds just over a dozen years ago. Sawyer was basically adopted
by the Ambassador’s of House Devi, the house of that bastard Indian filth that
his nephew had wed.
Apparently his niece who was wed to the
feisty little bitch from the greek house was, in fact, in love with Sawyer. He
tucked that little morsel of information into the back of his mind for a later
date. Soon, Cillian would have to weed out how many followers he had here, and
if it was even worth staying or moving on to the next group of Outkasts.
Cillian held his knife in a tight grip, jaw
clenched, drawing on every ounce of reserve he had to stop from climbing over
the table and cutting the old man’s tongue out of his mouth. If for no other
reason than to see him bleed. A gruff voice to his right drew Cillian out of
his murderous thoughts.
“If you ask me, the whole lot of them
should be burned at the stake. I mean, who are they to tell us who we should
love. That I can’t have the same liberties, freedoms and opportunities they
have because I’m a man that likes women.”
Cillian stole a glance at the stranger
beside him. He was a big man, with arms the size of tree trunks, long dark hair
pulled back in a ponytail with a weathered grin plastered on his rugged
featured face. Next to him sat a smaller but toned younger man with redder hair
than Cillian had ever seen in his life. “And who’s that, your girlfriend?”
Cillian nodded in the red heads direction, drawing a snarl and a glare from the
smaller man.
The big man threw his head back and bellowed,
a full laugh that was so loud and boisterous, it shook the table. “No, Augie
here is my best mate, a damn fine lad, even if he does prefer the company of a
man to that of a large breasted female.”
“You know who I am?” Cillian questioned.
“Ah, yes, the bastard child of Kiernan and
Gabriel. The former Ambassador’s to House Gaeland, and the current Ambassador’s
to House Gilley. Dumped off here with the outkasts just hours after your birth
when you failed your mapping test. Does that about sum it up?” the big man
stated in a gleeful tone.
“Well, it seems you have me at a
disadvantage. You are?”
“Hell’s Bell’s, how rude of me, names
Robert!” the big man thrust his hand toward Cillian, who grudgingly shook, then
reached over and shook the red head’s hand as well.
“So what can I do for you fine gentlemen
today?” the clipped tone Cillian spoke in assuredly shown his patience was
wearing thin.
“Word travels fast among those that are
loyal to your cause Cillian. We should talk, but not here, somewhere more
private. A group of us have a place a mile or so north of here where we prefer
to spend our time, we just come here to the main camp for food, supplies and
occasional company. Meet us at the stables in an hour and you can follow us
there, meet the rest of our group, and… get to know us a little better.” Robert
stole a glance at Augie and Cillian couldn’t help but be curious at what they
were offering. He also had a niggling feeling of recognition in the back of his
mind every time he met Augie’s green gaze.
Cillian simply nodded once in reply, to
which Robert nodded in agreement before he and Augie stood and left the tent. What
harm could come from hearing them out, Cillain thought. His mind ever wary of
trusting anyone played out the various scenarios. Perhaps they were allies to
his cause, but perhaps they weren’t and they meant to capture him for his
brother. Just the thought of Cirian and his charmed life made Cillian’s blood
No, Cillian brushed the thought aside,
there was something in the red headed mans stare, an anger that swayed Cillian.
His gut told him the men were sincere and that he could at least trust their
intent. Appetite renewed, he quickly downed his food before leaving the tent
virtually unseen, to go and meet his new friends at the stable.
Did that wet your whistle? Anticipating the full story? Well just you wait! As it is right now I’m at 26 chapters (52000 words aprox) and there is still a bit more to add. So, again, I’m hopeful I can still bring this to you on August 31st, but I will definitely keep you all up to date on the official release date. 
Thank you all for stopping by today and continuing to support my efforts with this series. And a huge thank you to all the bloggers that are posting this today, I couldn’t do it without all of you! Be sure to stop by the event today on facebook, I’ve lined up some pretty amazing authors and bloggers to help me celebrate and they are giving away some goodies throughout the day as well. And above all, remember, Love is Love!

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Blog Tour for Living Again

Blog Tour for Living Again

Hi all,

I’m enjoying my blog tour so far, and have gotten a fair number of responses for my give away. If you haven’t seen any of my other stops on this tour, here’s how the giveaway will work. Comment below, and go to as many sites listed in the blog schedule listed here and comment there as well. Each blog you comment on will earn you one entry for my giveaway. Three prizes will be given. One signed paperback copy, and two electronic copies of Living Again.

Now to talk about other things.

How do you all handle bad reviews? I had gotten only good reviews for Haunted, and even for all those fan fiction stories I wrote before trying my hand at original fiction, so, when I got a bad review for Living Again, it threw me for a loop. Now most every review I’ve seen for it has been positive, and I have received several glowing comments via Facebook, and email; but I got a couple of bad ones on Good Reads. Just from commenters, nothing official, but one bad review has pretty much taken a bunch of people with it. There are several people who have argued with that review because they liked Living Again, and many more who rated it with four and five stars. But, I’m finding that this one bad review is really getting to me.

Their biggest complaint is that there is no explicit, hard-core, sex on the page. But, there was none on page for Haunted, either, and I didn’t get any reviews less than three stars. With each novel I write, I’m inserting more and more sex scenes, but I really don’t want my stories to be just about sex. I like to create emotional connections between the male characters, not just physical ones. Now, I love reading stories with lots of sex scenes, and I’ve read very well written stories that focus on physical connections instead of emotional ones, but that’s not what I write.

The commenter also said that they don’t like that the men have multiple conversations about their hang ups, but the blurb hints at that. Real people often have the same conversations in different ways at different times when a hang up is so deep seated. I want my characters to be real, and real people don’t usually solve their problems with just one conversation. There are misunderstandings, misguided attempts at helping the other get over their hang ups. There are misinterpretations of the other’s actions based on the character’s own past experiences. That’s how real relationships often progress.

Intellectually, I know that no writer can please everyone all the time, and bad reviews are part of the deal. I ultimately write for myself, and I told the story as the muse told it to me, but I find it’s still affecting me. Somehow the comments feel like a personal attack. Now, I know that’s not true. They basically are just saying they don’t like the story (even if they are pretty explicit about it), and that’s certainly their prerogative. I’m concerned, though, that people seem to be jumping on the bandwagon without even reading the story. It doesn’t seem fair somehow…but then, I found out long ago that life usually isn’t.

I’ll get over the shock and the mild depression caused by the negative comments, and I’ll try to focus on the many positive ones. But I’d love some input from other authors.

How do you all handle less than stellar reviews? Have you ever had comments vary so widely from “love it” (5 stars) to “hate it” (1 star)? Has it ever affected your mood? How did you handle your first bad review? Please comment below and let me know. I’m still sort of new to all this, and would love any and all advice.

Below is my Blog Schedule. Thanks so much for stopping by today. Please pay a visit to these other blog sites as well. Don’t forget, the more you comment, the greater your chance of winning a copy of Living Again.

Blog Schedule:

Blog Stop

Date of blog

Name of Host (or Name of Blog)

Address of Blog



Jessica Davies



Grace Duncan



Emma Tett



Tara Lain



Charlie Cochet’s Tea House



Lex Chase



Anne Barwell






JP Barnaby



Tempest O’Riley



Kit Moss



Michael Rupured



Shae Connor



Charley Descateaux



Elizabeth Noble



Grace Duncan

Living Again

Daniel Larson has walled himself off from any possibility of romance since his lover died violently five years ago in Afghanistan. The same bomb that ended his partner’s life took the lower part of Daniel’s left leg. The only support Daniel has, his Uncle Lawrence, is dead-set against anything homosexual, including Daniel.

Now, a popular language teacher at the local university, Daniel’s suffering from a car accident that broke his one good leg. His uncle, who is much better at throwing money at things than offering emotional support, provides a rented power chair and a private in-home nurse. Unbeknownst to his uncle, the nurse comes in the form of a man named Jonah Thacker.

Instantly attracted, Daniel and Jonah fight their mutual feelings in favor of professionalism. They become friends anyway, and Jonah shares his life with Daniel, including his handicapped son, Ethan. As Jonah and Daniel grow closer, Daniel becomes more involved in Jonah and his son’s lives, even being there for Ethan when his medical conditions worsen. But when Daniel’s uncle finds out the nurse he’s hired is male, he uses all of his resources to keep Jonah and Daniel apart.



Brynn’s Bio:

Brynn Stein has always loved to write. Fan fiction, original fiction, whatever. While Brynn wrote in numerous genres—everything from mystery, to contemporary, to supernatural—she had always tended toward strong male characters. And then she discovered “slash,” male/male romance, and all those strong male characters were finally allowed to express their love for one another. It seems that there are always at least two characters clamoring to tell Brynn their story.

Brynn lives in Virginia with one of her two two-legged children, and two four-legged ones. Her supportive family encourages her writing and provides a sounding board for fledgling stories. When she isn’t writing, Brynn teaches children with special needs. In free time, when such a thing exists, she reads anything she can get her hands on, and haunts bookstores. She draws and paints, and enjoys the outdoors—especially if she can get to the beach—and is always thinking about her next story.

Please feel free to contact Brynn at any of the following:


“Chasing Sunrise (The Darkmore Saga: Book One)” By Lex_Chase Release Day Blitz

Chasing Sunrise
(The Darkmore Saga, Bk 1)
by Lex Chase

On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Sevon copes with the unrelenting abuse by dressing in women’s finery and casting an image of graceful nobility. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, he possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.

On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.

Available for purchase at

Jack shuddered against the cold bite of his shackles. The iron cuffs held him upright, and his arms were stretched tight over his head. Gravity pulled him sloping forward painfully against his bonds. His umber hair swayed in sweat-slicked strands and clung to his face. The humidity hung like milky fog visible against the gray stones. He could smell the herbal traces of algae glazing the walls. No moans, no cries for release, not even a rattled chain sounded throughout the dungeon. He deduced he was the only prisoner—or the only one currently living.
It had happened so fast. He was at the shoreline of the lake when two figures shot from the water. Shrouded in black, the demonic men yanked him into the lake. Jack had expected his end. But he didn’t expect a dungeon, and not just any, but Darkmore’s dungeon. He knew it as well as any ghost story. He had teased Sevon mercilessly for crossing his fingers and turning in a circle three times as he walked by the entrance.
Jack’s heart softened. Sevon, sweet Sevon. It had been exciting for Jack when he was a cub to have a special friend outside of Priagust. One who was not a shifter at all, but something different. He was Jack’s treasure, and he would guard their memory.
But the men had taken him and tossed him in this dank cell. It had to be a mistake. Darkmore was Priagust’s sworn protector. King Louis would never wrongfully imprison a shifter. Jack spit a speck of grit. Was Louis alive? Did he survive the storm? What of Anna Maria? Surely she’d know.
But Jack wasn’t sure. He had been just a child when he saw Louis die, and all childhood memories were fallible. He could only hope it was a misunderstanding. He squinted with the painful pull in his shoulders, and the realization sank in. This was far more than a mere misunderstanding.
Jack’s pupils flexed into pinpricks when the sound of distant footsteps announced someone’s approach. He jerked his chin toward the sound to get the first look at his host.
An ethereal, earthbound spirit drifted into the dungeon. Pale as Winter Mother’s snow and with a brilliant bloom of golden curls to rival Father Sun’s rays, the woman captivated him. Dressed in layers of the midnight sky and coal, her skirts swirled in a trail of goldfish fins behind her. The unusual ladybird settled at the cell door, tossing a lock of spun gold over her shoulder. She waited.
“What do they call you?” she coldly demanded.
A peculiar tenor tone in her voice made Jack choke on his breath. A man. The strange, colorful bird was a man.
By the way he glared at Jack as if he were of no consequence, Jack decided that whatever the case, he had to be on guard. Jack sniffed and mentally discerned a more masculine scent under the perfumed oils. But there were two masculine scents, this beautiful man’s and someone else’s. He licked the salt on his lip and smirked. He had nothing left to lose.
Jack lifted his head, and he panted against the searing pain in his back. He focused on the curious little meadowlark shrouded in flimsy frippery. He had never seen such an unusual hue of hair before, but he knew one thing for certain.
“You’re not the king,” Jack said.
Something came over the strange man as he quirked his thin brow in irritation. “Yes, I am the king,” he growled in warning. “Your name, creature.”
Jack evaded the question and changed the subject. “The king of Darkmore would never show a shifter such hostility,” he spat. “Go, little meadowlark. Fetch him, now. You are of no concern.”
The supposed king recoiled on his booted heel as if he had been burned.
“Excuse me, you maggot?” he growled and his temper flared.
Jack squinted at him. He looked so much like Anna Maria, as Jack remembered her. Perhaps her son? Perhaps Sevon? Jack swallowed. He had to keep it to himself. He had to find out what he was dealing with first, if he survived that long. He thought of his brother, Kaltag, back in Priagust, probably wondering where he was and if Jack was still staring over the lake, waiting for the day Sevon would appear.
Jack’s heart thumped.
“Louis is gone. I am the king now, and you will answer to me. My sources tell me you’re a spy from the shifter land of Priagust,” he said. The accusation did not bode well for Jack.
Jack took his stand against his captor. He strained against his shackles and grinned through the searing pain in his shoulder blades. “Your sources are clearly mistaken. I was only fishing when your men emerged from the lake and tried to drown me. Which—” He glanced around, and his shackles rattled. “This is some level of hell, correct?” Jack watched him, still puzzling his way through recollections. It wasn’t possible he was Sevon. Why would Sevon become this? He hissed a laugh and kept up a brave face. Jack turned his gaze up. He smirked when the king leaned away from the hammered iron bars of Jack’s cell in disgusted horror. “You are a very fussy bird. You’re no more than a chick, peeping for nourishment.”
“You will answer my questions, shifter…. Or you will be forced to answer them.”
“What kind of king do you think you are?” Jack asked. “Do you understand the scope of what you are doing by holding me like a criminal?”
“Pardon me for not rolling out the red carpet and most lovely courtesans,” he said sarcastically.
“A little bird that pecks. I like that.” Jack chuckled.
Crossing his willowy arms in irritation, the king nodded to the stocky dungeon guard.
The guard loped forward on his gnarled legs and slipped the heavy key in the iron padlock. With a protesting shrill, the bolt popped from its moorings with a loud echoing clank. The cell door swung open with an antiquated creak, and colorful bird of a man slipped into the cell.
Jack’s heart thumped, and his face heated. It was Sevon. His Sevon. He had never been so sure. In the twenty-two years between then and now, the boy Jack had so longed for no longer existed. Confusion swirled through him, but Jack had to keep it within. More parts of the puzzle would fall into place if he just gave it time.
His heart wouldn’t stop racing; all the while he maintained his arrogant grin.
“I’d curtsey, but as you can see, I’m a little tied up,” Jack apologized.
This new Sevon cocked his hip in irritation and snorted. “For a vicious animal, you don’t look like much.”
The term hit Jack hard, but he wouldn’t cower.
“Funny.” Jack chuckled. “For a king, you present yourself quite a bit like a whore.”
Before he could blink, Sevon was upon him. He yanked Jack by the scruff of his hair, tilting his neck painfully backward on its stalk to meet him eye to eye. Jack’s eyes rolled wildly to focus on the glacier blue of Sevon’s. His scent stabbed into Jack’s nose, jabbing cruelly into his brain. The delicate floral became an unrelenting assault on his mind and body. The damning confirmation sank into Jack’s stomach. It was a matter of survival not to show fascination or fear.
“Listen to me, you worthless shit-eating maggot!” Sevon snarled in his face. “You don’t get to call me a whore! Do you understand? I will leave you here to rot in this dank cell until even the rats find you too foul and putrescent. You will be thankful we don’t outright kill you. You will be appreciative of your accommodations.”
Sevon relaxed his grip and his harsh tone eased. “You will be eager to answer our questions. You will make yourself very helpful. Or I will have you skinned alive and your flesh made into jerky.” Sevon snorted a breath through his nose, and Jack’s hair fluttered. The beautiful blond man smiled like a content feline. “Now, do we have an understanding?”
Channeling the bravest parts of himself, and locking away the heartbreak, Jack laughed with a crooked, toothy grin. If this was the game, then he would play it until he was the last one standing. Finally, he had sorted the second male scent, and his thoughts sparked with devious delight. “Did I ruffle your feathers, meadowlark? Does the man whose scent you’re slathered in get to ruffle more than your feathers?”
Sevon shoved him away with a wail of disgust. Jack’s head bounced against his chest, and his manacles creaked at the added pressure. Sevon’s offended squeal was the only warning as a hard, echoing slap cracked across Jack’s cheek so forcefully that his vision blew out into whiteness for a moment.
With several flustered breaths, Sevon sharply pivoted and then stormed out of the cell. He nodded to the stocky guard. “Have him questioned about the nature of his people and land. I don’t care how you do it, or to what ends. Use any means necessary to milk him dry.”
The guard bobbed his head and bowed.
Turning back, Sevon regarded Jack one final time.
Jack noted the confusion mingled with a semblance of fascination. He forced a smile through his blood-tinged teeth. “See you soon, Your Majesty,” he purred.
Jack clung to a scrap of hope, and listened to the whispers of Sevon’s skirts as he left Jack in the darkness.
The rats chittered.

About the Author
Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting too.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.
Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle.

She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.

You can find Lex at



Signed Paperback of Chasing Sunrise

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Presented By

Guest Book ♥ Project Fierce Chicago

Project Fierce Chicago       
Aeris Alessandra Ebulu Andrea Speed B. Snow Blaine D. Arden C.J. Anthony Caitlin Ricci Dianne Hartsock Jana Denardo Kayla Bain-Vrba Kenzie Cade Layla M. Wier Leta Hutchins Lor Rose Piper Vaughn Rin Sparrow Sophie Bonaste Talya Andor Vicktor Alexander Xara X. Xanakas
Anthology – 165k words
Contemporary, Fantasy, Gay, Genderqueer, Lesbian
Pairings: M/M, F/F, genderqueer
LT3′s Project Fierce Chicago charity anthology includes 20 short stories
Content: Contains no explicit content
Available: July 16, 2014

Nobody deserves to be without a home. In collaboration with several authors, Less Than Three Press offers up an anthology of stories about young people who find that home and family are not always where you expect to find them.

All proceeds from this charity anthology will be donated to Project Fierce Chicago.

Project Fierce Chicago’s mission is to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness in Chicago by providing affirming, no-cost transitional housing and comprehensive support services to homeless LGBTQ young adults. PFC also aims to encourage community-building and civic engagement through cooperative living and youth leadership development.

Less Than Three Press

Homelessness and the Project Fierce Charity Anthology

Thank you Tempeste for having me over! I wanted to talk a little bit about homelessness today and the Project Fierce Charity Anthology, in which I’m very happy to say my story SAMMY is part of.

Less Than Three Press has done a few charity works in the past, mostly for relief efforts for natural disasters. It’s something they’ve always wanted to pursue further, but with more emphasis on the LGBTQ community, so when they were asked by one of the participating authors if they’d be willing to back an anthology for Project Fierce, it seemed like the perfect starting point to making a concerted effort in that direction.

Nobody deserves to be without a home. In collaboration with several authors, Less Than Three Press offers up an anthology of stories about young people who find that home and family are not always where you expect to find them.

10501409_10202223192916588_964860767_nAll proceeds from this charity anthology will be donated to Project Fierce Chicago.

Project Fierce Chicago’s mission is to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness in Chicago by providing affirming, no-cost transitional housing and comprehensive support services to homeless LGBTQ young adults. PFC also aims to encourage community-building and civic engagement through cooperative living and youth leadership development.

LT3′s Project Fierce Chicago charity anthology includes 20 short stories from Aeris, Vicktor Alexander, Talya Andor, C.J. Anthony, Blaine D. Arden, Kayla Bain-Vrba, Sophie Bonaste, Kenzie Cade, Jana Denardo, Alessandra Ebulu, Dianne Hartsock, Leta Hutchins, Caitlin Ricci, Lor Rose, B. Snow, Rin Sparrow, Andrea Speed, Piper Vaughn, Layla M. Wier, and Xara X. Xanakas

10490209_10202223193356599_126928322_nPairings: M/M, F/F, genderqueer

Content: Contains no explicit content.

Release: July 16th, 2014

Buy link: Less Than Three Press:


Homelessness has devastating effects on children. Children that lack stable housing experience chronic stress and trauma from frequent moves, inconsistent relationships, and from witnessing domestic violence. The stress and trauma is physically, emotionally and cognitively damaging to them.

According to The National Center on Family Homelessness’ 2010 America’s Youngest Outcast Report, children experiencing homelessness:

  • 97% move up to three times within one year
  • Have experienced  abuse and neglect along with the stresses associated with the loss of their home, safety and sense of security
  • Go hungry at twice the rate of other children
  • Have three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems, such as anxiety, depression, sleep problems and aggression
  • 40% attend two different schools in a year and 28% attend three or more different schools
  • Have four times more likely to have delayed development and twice as likely to have learning disabilities
  • Are 16% less proficient at reading and math than their peers
  • One-third repeat a grade
  • Have little or no positive interaction with adults


Chicago Public Schools identified 2,512 unaccompanied youth attending their schools in 2012-13, teens who were homeless and living without parent or guardian. There are only 360 youth beds in Chicago.

Homeless youth face daily challenges while living on their own. They need to secure food and shelter, find a job or return to school. The choices many make in order to survive are often not good for them and can affect their adult life.

Consequences of youth experiencing homelessness:

  • 32% have attempted suicide
  • Victims of rape and assault at 2 to 3 times higher the rate than their stably housed peers
  • More than one-third of homeless youth engage in survival sex (when sex is exchanged for money, shelter, food or other basic needs)
  • Only one in four graduate from high school
  • Greater risk of suffering from chronic health disorders like asthma and diabetes
  • More likely to suffer from anxiety disorders, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder

Project Fierce Chicago is a grassroots group of youth advocates and community members working to create housing for homeless LGBTQ youth in Chicago.

Everyone deserves a safe and stable home!

Sammy: My story in the Project Fierce Anthology

At fifteen, Sam inadvertently comes out to his parents, but instead of the support he hopes for, they send him to live with his uncle. Unfortunately, the man is even less tolerant of his uniqueness. Rather than change to please his family, feeling unwanted and misunderstood, he runs away to find a better life.

But the crowded city isn’t kind to a young man with no home and no prospects of work. When this story opens, Sam has been on the streets for several years when one of his ‘regulars’ begins to take more than a business interest in him. For the first time Sammy dreams of more than a bleak lonely future, but does he dare hope that someone like him could find their happily ever after?


John tossed his apron in the hamper then slipped out the back of the shelter into the dark alley and hurried around to the brightly lit street in front. Couples were enjoying the last of the day’s warmth on the waterfront and he envied them as he headed toward his apartment complex. His pulse sped up as he neared the Morrison Bridge. Though it was after nine, traffic was still heavy on the bridge and also along Naito Parkway.

Passing under the bridge, he glanced down the bike path running alongside it, searching  for Sammy. His heart leaped to his throat on seeing the familiar figure huddled on the grass, arms wrapped around his knees, looking alone and dejected. John ached to go to him, but would Sam want to talk to him? They weren’t really friends. John paid for his company.

A soft sob floated on the night air and plunged straight into John’s heart. He hurried over to Sam, then stood biting his lips, not sure what to say.

“What do you want?” Sammy’s voice sounded tired, rough with tears.

“Do you need help? Can I do anything?”

Sam raised his head, blue eyes shimmering at him through wet lashes. Recognition sparked in the beautiful depths, then they widened. “You.” Sam struggled to his feet, hugging his bare arms across his chest against the chill creeping up from the river. “Sorry, I have to cancel on you. I’m closed for the night. Try again tomorrow.”

He brushed past John and started down the bike path. John’s heart thumped painfully. “Sam?”

The young man stopped and swiveled abruptly. The lamplight caught his expression, a hint of fear, anger; the light clearly showing a cut lip and the dark swelling of a bruise on his ivory cheek. John clamped his lips shut on a murmur of pity, noting he held his left arm as if it hurt.

Helplessness swept through John. “Let me help you. I can make you a cup of coffee at least. And dinner, if you’re interested. I make great spaghetti.”

Doubt crossed Sam’s pretty face and the end of his pink tongue nudged the cut on his lip, twisting John’s heart. Impulsively, he touched Sam’s arm. “Did someone hurt you?”

Sam stared at his hand, not answering. John was grateful he didn’t yank his arm away. Finally Sam nodded.

Anger flashed through John, but he didn’t want to scare Sam off with questions. “Come home with me,” he urged softly. “I won’t ask anything of you. I want to help and… I could use the company tonight.”

Blue eyes glanced upwards, vulnerable. But then Sam blinked and mischief curled his lips. John winced at his false bravado. “Whatever you say, hon.” Sam hooked their arms and started along the wide path following the riverfront. After only a few steps in the chill evening air, John shrugged out of his coat and put it around Sam’s shoulders. Sam looked amused but pulled the coat tighter around his thin cotton shirt. “Thanks.”

John’s heart pattered. He liked Sam’s arm linked with his. A few people gave them curious glances, but for the most part, they were ignored. He wished the circumstances were better, that maybe Sam was his boyfriend and they were walking home from the movies. They reached his street and his pulse quickened when he led Sam to his apartment.


99¢ Today Only at Dreamspinner Press!

99¢ Today ONLY at Dreamspinner Press!

Artist James Bryant has forearm crutches in every color from rainbow for fun to sleek black for business. He even has a pair with more paint splatters than metal. After his family’s rejection and abuse from a man he thought loved him, James only just gets through the day by painting. He lives in constant fear that he’s not worthy of anything, let alone love.

As CEO of his company, Carrington Enterprises, Seth Burns is a take-charge kind of guy, and he is instantly smitten by the artist helping with his newest project. When he witnesses James suffer a panic attack, a protective instinct he never knew he had kicks in. He truly believes nothing is unobtainable—including James—if he’s willing to put in the time and effort.

James is shy and confused by Seth’s interest in him as a person. With Seth’s support, can he work through his fears to finally find the true love he deserves, or will someone finally land the crushing blow he won’t survive?


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