Monday, July 16, 2018

Thief Of Hearts by Ruby Moone - Release Blitz with Excerpt and Giveaway



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

Length: 72,000 words approx.

Blurb

It’s 1806 and aristocratic, bastard born jewel thief, David Lambert has few rules in his life. Never bed the staff, never bed a man more than once, and never kiss. In the space of one weekend, all his rules are shattered by a stunning, violet eyed footman with a secret.

Jeremy Naylor thought he had found the man of his dreams. Thought he had found the one person that might, just might, understand him. But in one shocking moment his dreams are destroyed, and he is forced to run for his life.

When Jeremy is flung into Newgate for a crime David committed, it’s a race against time to get him free and David is forced to face up to his past, his family, and accept that he might have a future if he has the courage to fight for it.

Excerpt

David hammered on the door of Charnley’s Grosvenor Street mansion and, finding the door unlocked, let himself in. He strode through the hallway, boot heels ringing on the marble floor, and was met by a flurry of agitated staff.

“Get me Charnley. Now.”

The butler emerged and addressed him in condescending tones, but David brushed him aside. “Where is he? Study?” he stalked across the hallway and headed for the study door with the staff flapping behind him. He threw open the door, but there was no-one inside.

“Charnley!” he bellowed. “Get out here now.”

The flurry of footmen was swiftly replaced by burly, determined looking grooms, so David pulled out a brace of pistols from the back of his breeches and aimed them.

“Hold it right there,” he said, and the men stopped. “I have no quarrel with you, but I will see Charnley. Anyone who tries to stop me will be shot. Those of you who know me know I will do it.” He raised the pistols and waited. No-one moved.

“So, where is he?”

“What in God’s name is going on?” Charnley appeared, leaning over the gallery balcony, then running lightly down the stairs wearing only his shirt sleeves and waistcoat. “Lambert, why are you causing ructions in my home? For God’s sake, man, put the pistols down.”

“First, call off your lap dogs.”

With a flick of a hand, the staff were dismissed, but David held onto the pistols. “Shall we?” he asked, nodding towards the study. He slammed the door shut behind them with his boot.

“Get him out. Whatever you want from me is yours, just get him out.”

Charnley frowned. “What the hell are you talking about?”

David stalked across the room, gun in hand and put the muzzle against Charnley’s chest. “You have until the count of three to tell me you will get him out. If you do not, I will shoot you and get him out myself.”

Charnley staggered back and held up both hands. “What … who are you talking about? Get who out of where?”

“One.”

“Lambert, I do not know what…”

“Two.”

“God… man will you … Oh Christ. Not Naylor?” A look of genuine shock on Charnley’s face surprised David.

“Three. Yes.” He pushed against Charnley’s chest.

“Yes, yes… of course I will help. Just put the fucking gun down.”

David lowered the pistol slowly, and Charnley backed away, one hand going to his throat. Sweat stood out on his brow.

“Get your coat, get down to Newgate, and undo whatever lies you told to put him in there. Now.”

Charnley lifted both hands. He was a little taller than David, and heavier having a few years on him, but he was treating him with a healthy respect. “Now, listen to me.”

“I’m listening. Get your coat.”

“David, I will do everything in my power to get Naylor out, but we have a serious problem here.”

“Which is?”

“He is not there because of anything that I did. I did not order his arrest.”



My name is Ruby Moone and I love books. All kinds of books. My weakness is for romance, and that can be any kind, but I am particularly fond of historical and paranormal. I decided to write gay romance after reading some fantastic books and falling in love with the genre, so am really thrilled to have my work published here. The day job takes up a lot of my time, but every other spare moment finds me writing or reading. I live in the north west of England with my husband who thinks that I live in two worlds. The real world and in the world in my head...he probably has a point!

Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/RubyMoone/?ref=bookmarks
Twitter - @RubyMooneWriter
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rubymoone/




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To Love & Protect His Omega by Quinn Michaels - Release Blitz with Excerpt

RELEASE BLITZ


Book Title: To Love & Protect His Omega

Author: Quinn Michaels

Publisher: Enticed by Books Press

Cover Artist: Pebbles Davis

Genre/s: Mpreg Romance, Mpreg Mystery, omegaverse

Length: 65 000 words: 

This is the first of a new series but each book will stand alone. 




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Blurb

Gunnar swore to serve and protect, but he couldn't save the omega he loved. Will a sick kitten give him a second chance at love?

Police Detective and single dad, Gunnar Justice swore an oath to serve and protect, but he couldn't save the omega closest to him. Now he's raising his 8-year-old daughter alone. But when his daughter adopts a sick kitten, will a hot veterinarian with his own secrets offer a second chance at love?

Pursued by a relentless stalker, omega veterinarian, Liam Chandler, packs up his entire life and moves across the country to start over. He has lost faith in romance and instead devotes his time to saving his animal patients. But when a handsome alpha detective and his daughter come into Liam's exam room with a kitten who needs a miracle, will Liam give romance a second chance?

Can these two men overcome their pasts to make a family together? Even as a final threat from Liam's past threatens not only their relationship but their lives.

To Love and Protect His Omega is a single dad Omegaverse romance with mystery, action and all of the feels.

If you love Omegaverse m/m romance that keeps you turning pages into the wee hours of the morning, start reading To Love and Protect now!




Excerpt


Gunnar pulled the car into an empty parking space two cars back from the bus stop and unlocked the doors. "Get out on the curb and cross with me," he said.

Normally, Olivia would've grumbled about being told the rules again, but this time she just nodded, her lips tight and her face pale. "He sneezed," she said.

Gunnar nodded. If he was sneezing, at least that meant he was alive.

Gunnar took the carrier with one hand and Olivia's hand with his other as they crossed the street. It was 8:05, and a young guy, with blond hair and glasses bent down on the ground between the inside door and a partially opened gate as he picked up a white metal box with a red medical symbol on the side.

"Excuse me, sir, are you the vet?” Olivia asked, slipping inside the gap where the gate was partially opened. Gunnar grabbed OlivIa’s shoulder to keep her from bowling the guy over as the man looked up. His nose twitched, and his eyes widened as his gaze rested on Gunnar.

Gunnar smelled it too, the subtle sweetness of an omega mingling with his own alpha musk. Adam had been cinnamon chocolate. This man was more cream and mint, with a hint of... caramel? It was attractive, and Gunnar ruthlessly crushed the sudden desire to get closer and identify that third, underlying scent.

Gunnar didn’t want to be attracted to another omega. Adam had only been dead for a year. This slight stirring of interest – and it was barely interest - felt like a betrayal.

Olivia said, “Puff is very sick."

"Puff?" The doctor stood. Getting a better look at his face, Gunnar estimated his age upward. Late twenties, not mid, closer to Gunnar’s own age. Worse, the man was handsome, in a boyish way, his blue eyes bright and magnified a bit too large behind the lenses of his glasses as he ran a hand through his wavy blond hair. He wore a stethoscope around his neck, and thankfully his tone was warm and businesslike as he said, "I'm Dr. Chandler," looking only at Olivia.

"We adopted Puff from the shelter on Sunday," Gunnar explained, holding out the carrier over his daughter’s head so that the doctor could see.

Dr. Chandler looked into the carrier, and his lips tightened as the smile faded from his face. He held out his hand. "Come with me." He opened the inside door. "Carolyn, my tech, is running late, but if you two don't mind letting me take him into the back, Pam will get your paperwork started while I take a look at Puff."

“Whatever you have to do for him, do it,” Gunnar said.


About the Author 

From Quinn: I love fantasy, werewolves and M/M omegaverse romance! My goal is to write action-packed adventures of romance, self-discovery and second chances, all served up with a hefty helping of sweet, sexy Omegas and hot, determined Alphas who will do anything to cherish, love, and protect them. It’s so exciting to be able to share my characters and worlds with you, and I hope you enjoy them (and the sexytimes!)

Social Media Links





 

   
RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE



Badlands by Morgan Brice - Blog Tour with Excerpt and Giveaway


BLOG TOUR


Book Title: Badlands

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Natania Barron

Genre/s: urban fantasy, MM paranormal romance





Buy Links







Blurb 

Simon Kincaide owns a boardwalk shop in Myrtle Beach where he runs ghost tours & does seances and private psychic readings, a fresh start after his abilities cost him his lover and his job as a folklore professor. Jaded cop Vic D’Amato saw something supernatural he couldn’t explain during a shootout several years ago in Pittsburgh and relocated to Myrtle Beach to leave the past behind, still skeptical about the paranormal. But when the search for a serial killer hits a dead end, Vic battles his skepticism to ask Simon for help. As the body count rises, Simon’s involvement makes him a target, and a suspect. But Simon can't say no, even if it costs him his life and heart.






What Amazon reviewers are saying about Badlands:

"...steamy, complicated and totally engaging."

"Highly recommend this one."

"An excellent well written book..."

"A brilliant story that has you invested in the characters and guessing what will happen next."

"Can't say enough good things about this book!"


Excerpt 


“Bikes are a big deal here,” Simon said to fill the pause. “I’m always amazed at how many come through for Bike Week.” Several major motorcycle events each summer turned the Grand Strand into a cavalcade of the hottest cycles on the coast.

Cop Dude shrugged. “I always liked Born to Run. Springsteen fan. What can I say?”

“Sir?” the voice called from the counter, making Simon turn away. “You’re next.” Simon had never been less happy to get to the front of the line.

“I’ll have a Dread Pirate Roberts,” he mumbled, not wanting to look like an idiot to the guy he was trying to impress. He handed over the money, took his change as she rang him up, dropped a one dollar bill in the tip jar, and moved down the counter to wait for his drink.

“I’ll try that, too,” the cop said, flashing him a grin. “What the hell? Live life on the edge.”

Le Miz baristas were fast. Simon knew he needed to come up with a way to extend the conversation without looking like a creeper or lose the connection, maybe forever. Just as the barista handed both of them their drinks, a deafening thunderclap sounded, rattling the windows, and the rain came pouring down.

“Want to grab a table?” Simon asked, nervous enough that his throat felt tight. “We’ll drown if we go out there now.”

“Sure. Why not.”

Simon led the way through the crowded outer room where the tables were all taken to the back room where there was once a display of pirate doubloons and recovered sunken treasures. The room kept its murals of sailing ships and scruffy pirates, along with the odds and ends left behind by the previous owners—a beat-up old chest, a pirate mannequin everyone called “Mo” and a bedraggled stuffed parrot on a perch, dubbed “Percy” by Le Miz regulars.

“You must come here a lot to know there’s a second room.”

“Told you, I take my coffee very seriously,” Simon teased as he sat down. “I’m Simon, by the way.”

“Vic,” the man replied. “So what’s in this mystery drink?”

“Do you like the smell?” Simon asked.

Vic leaned over his cup, took a deep breath, and his eyes fluttered almost closed. Simon's heart did a little samba, instantly imagining what Vic would look like blissed out and debauched after sweaty sex. Simon’s erection strained at the fly of his jeans, and he was insanely glad they were seated at a table where Vic couldn’t see how aroused he was.

“Good?” Simon asked, hating that he sounded a little breathless.

“Yeah,” Vic replied, with a little moan that made Simon painfully hard.

“Glad I could turn you on to a good thing,” Simon replied, hoping he hadn’t read the signals wrong since he was blatantly flirting.

“Much obliged,” Vic replied, and maybe it was Simon’s imagination that the man’s voice dropped a little lower, a bit huskier, than before.

“You’ve been here before, you said?” Simon asked, finding that his pick-up skills were as woefully rusty as his ability to make polite chit-chat.

“A few times,” Vic replied. “I haven’t gotten to the boardwalk as much as I’d like.”

“I try not to overdo the special coffees,” Simon said with a self-conscious smile. “I know the sugar adds up. But you’ve got to do something to make yourself feel good now and then, right?” Oh lord, that sounded really bad. I can’t believe I said that.

A wicked twinkle came into Vic’s eyes. “I’m all for feeling good,” he replied, and his foot bumped into Simon’s beneath the table.

It’s just his foot. Doesn’t mean anything. Could have been an accident,Simon told himself, but Vic didn’t move away, and Simon hoped his smile looked encouraging instead of merely nervous.

“So are you in town for business or pleasure?” Simon asked, and cringed internally. What’s wrong with me? I’m never smooth, but I didn’t used to be this awful at picking up a date.“I mean, are you a local or just visiting?”

Vic’s full, sensuous lips quirked in a smile. “Neither,” he replied.

Simon tried and failed at not staring at his lips and imagining them around his cock. Get a grip!Shit, that only changed the mental image to a hand job. So not working! Don’t fuck this up.That didn’t help at all.

“Moved here not too long ago, so I don’t feel quite like a local, but definitely not a tourist,” Vic added.

“You can still take in the sights, even if you live here. Most people don’t take time to enjoy what’s in their backyards. I’d love to show you some of my favorite spots.” Oh, just shoot me now. That sounded like the worst line from a cheap porno. I totally suck at this. No, don’t think about sucking…

“Sounds fun,” Vic said, and Simon was so lost in his embarrassment that he almost missed it.

“You would?” he asked, then cleared his throat. “I mean, that’s great,” he failed miserably to cover his awkward reply. Simon was just about to ask for Vic’s number when Vic’s phone went off.

The ringtone sounded odd, and Vic’s manner shifted in the blink of an eye, going from casual and relaxed to tense and alert. “I’ve got to take this,” he said, without even glancing at the number. “I’m sorry. It’s work. Confidential—need to step away.” With that, he got up and headed toward the service corridor that went toward the men’s room, taking his coffee with him.


About the Author 

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. 

Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions Morgan Brice will be a Supporting Author at Gay Romantic Lit convention and a Hosting Author at RomCon in October.

Social Media Links







Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of three $10 Amazon Gift cards.




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Friday, July 13, 2018

Tight Quarters by Annabeth Albert - Blog Tour with Excerpt and Giveaway


“Sexy, sweet and heartfelt, Annabeth Albert's Out of Uniform series is a fresh take on Navy SEALs that will delight and entertain romance readers.”

--Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.   


Title: Tight Quarters

Series: Out of Uniform  #6

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: ebook: July 9, 2018 | print: July 31, 2018

Subgenre: M/M Contemporary Military Romance


Book Synopsis: Petty Officer Bacon, a navy SEAL and ace sharpshooter, has been on the front lines of more than his fair share of dangerous ops. Yet when a minor injury relegates him to the beta team, he’s tasked with what may be his riskiest assignment yet: the silver fox journalist he’s babysitting is the hottest, most charismatic man he’s ever encountered.

Award-winning journalist Spencer Bryant may have been named one of Pride magazine’s most eligible bachelors of the year, but he’s not looking to change his relationship status. He’s a consummate professional who won’t risk his ethics or impeccable reputation by getting involved with a source. Even a sexy-as-hell military man. But while Spencer can resist his physical attraction to Bacon, he has less control over his emotions—especially when the mission goes sideways and the two men are trapped alone.

Getting out of the jungle alive turns out to be easy compared to facing the truth about their feelings for one another back in the real world. And whether or not they can build a future is a different story altogether.

This book is approximately 82,000 words



One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!




Excerpt:
"Meet Spencer the Silverfox Reporter Hero"

As he followed Bacon out of the dining facility, he didn’t regret being open about Greg to the team. He’d never really been in the closet, but he’d spent too many years when he was younger watching his words, worrying about what others might think. Screw that. Life was far too short to hide, and besides, it was bound to come up at some point the next few weeks. Better to just get it out in the open now.
But Petty Officer Bacon did not seem to agree, all but glowering as he stomped ahead.
“You okay with walking or should I get a Jeep?” he barked at Spencer. Damn. He’d thought Bacon was the open-minded one of the group, but he was sure as hell acting put out.
“Totally fine with walking. Listen, if you have a problem with me—”
“I don’t.” A muscle worked in his jaw.
“You don’t like me,” Spencer said bluntly. Speaking of getting things out in the open, they needed to address this now. If Bacon was to be his handler, it benefited them both to not have an actively hostile relationship.
“I’d like you a lot better on any team other than mine,” Bacon shot back as he sped up his walking pace. “And at the risk of inflating what has to be a Super Duty size ego, I’m a fan of your writing stuff. But you’re the last thing my team needs.”
“You’re a fan?” Spencer couldn’t help but smile.
“Knew that would be the part you focused on,” Bacon grumbled. “You’re not a bad writer, okay? But we don’t need a reporter—any reporter—potentially fucking up our mission. And if you tell the LT I said that—”
“I won’t,” Spencer promised before Bacon could finish his threat. “I get your reservations, I do. But just give me a chance, okay? I’m not out to make you or your buddies look bad.”
“Why do you want this assignment anyway?” Bacon demanded. They were passing nondescript buildings and carefully manicured grounds, but Bacon didn’t slow down and point out the sights to Spencer, instead marching on.
“My book about injured vets sold well. My publisher would like to see more like that from me, and this was an easy freelance pitch to my old paper for the feature piece, so there’s that.” Spencer tried for light, which only made Bacon glower more. He was going to just leave it at that, let Bacon frown himself into next week, but then some of the truth spilled out. “I saw a number of spec ops guys in my research at Walter Reed. It got me intrigued about how modern warfare operates out in the field. And then one of them died last year. Felt like maybe I owed it to him to pursue this story, jump through all the PR hoops to make it happen.”
“He died in the line of duty?” Bacon sounded marginally less combative.
“No. Suicide.” The word hurt, almost like it scraped his throat on the way out, and his voice was unnaturally rough. Bacon went pale and slowed his pace.
“Fucking sucks,” he said with far more feeling than Spencer would have expected.
“Yeah, it does,” Spencer agreed. It did fucking suck, no two ways about it. Even now, his back went slick with sweat, stomach full of guilt and dread, as he remembered that awful phone call from Harry’s wife. But nothing would be served by telling Bacon how Harry’s death had utterly gutted him, so he kept his voice even. “But he saw things that few people ever do. And those stories, they feel…significant.”
Bacon was silent a long time, plodding along, looking down at his feet.
“I get it,” he said at last. “But not gonna lie, wish they’d assigned you elsewhere. Rangers, maybe.”

About Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.  The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ  romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series.
To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Connect with Annabeth: Twitter | Facebook  | Facebook Group | Newsletter | Instagram | Website


Rafflecopter prize and code: Reader’s Choice of any Out of Uniform book in paper + surprise swag pack!

Smoke In The Mirror by Aimee Nicole Walker - Release Blitz with Excerpt and Giveaway


SMOKE IN THE MIRROR
A ROAD TO BLISSVILLE STORY
AIMEE NICOLE WALKER
M/M ROMANCE
RELEASE DATE: 07.12.18


COVER DESIGN: JAY AHEER/ Simply Defined Art
COVER PHOTOGRAPHER: WANDER AGUIAR
MODEL: TRAVIS



BLURB

Memphis Sullivan thought he was coming to Blissville to help his cousin out, but instead, he gained three meddlesome females, a tribe, and a permanent home. More than a year later, he owns a popular comic book and vinyl record store and doesn’t think his life could get any better. That all changes when the star of his favorite television show and bad-boy fantasies rides into town and spices up his vanilla world. 

Lyric Willows’ decision to visit an old friend in Blissville will change his life in ways he never dreamed possible. The paranormal investigator is immediately drawn to the mysterious disappearance of the town’s founder in 1850 and rumors that his former home is haunted. More alluring to Lyric than the history of Bliss House is the immediate connection he feels to the adorably geeky owner of Vinyl and Villains, who also happens to be his friend’s cousin.

Lyric becomes Memphis’s houseguest when he decides to stay in town to conduct a paranormal investigation. Tight spaces lead to sexy encounters, and before long, ghosts aren’t the only things that go bump in the night. The more they unravel about Anthony Bliss’s disappearance, the more tangled in one another they become. How is it possible for two virtual strangers to feel like they’ve known each other for their entire lives? Was their love written in the stars, or is it nothing more than an illusion?

Smoke in the Mirror is the fifth book in the Road to Blissville series. Each book can be read as a standalone book or part of the series. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older. 




EXCERPT

Three weeks passed with no word from Lyric. I would’ve taken it personally if he was communicating with Maegan during that timeframe, but she hadn’t heard from him either. I’d shamefully looked online for answers, but he had pulled another disappearing act. I accepted he’d changed his mind and moved on to a different town and haunted house. I’d kept my house spotless during the first month of waiting because I wanted to make a good impression on the man when he arrived, but I gave up on tidiness at the same time I gave up on him showing up on my doorstep.

            That’s why I was masturbating at eleven o’clock on a Saturday night instead of scrubbing the bathroom and kitchen when his truck rumbled into my driveway. I didn’t realize he arrived right away of course because I was fingering my ass with two fingers from my left hand while stroking my dick with my right. What else would I be doing on a Saturday night? I was about to shoot my load when I heard Gigi growling low in her throat in the hallway. At first, I thought she was pissed because I locked her out of the bedroom since I couldn’t jerk off with her judgmental eyes watching me. Then the growl became a full-out squeaking bark about the same time I heard voices downstairs. My stroking hand stilled as panic flooded my body.

            “What the fuck are they doing here?” I whispered out loud. The Matrons were nosy as fuck, but they’d never unlocked the door and let themselves in. Then I heard a fourth voice join them, one so deep and raspy with the perfect amount of southern drawl, and it sent electric thrills coursing through my body. The slightest jerk with my right hand made me come hard enough for my toes to curl and my eyes roll back in my head.

            “Memphis is probably sleeping,” Gertie said loudly from the bottom of the steps. She was the oldest, and mother of Sandra and Clara. Sandra was the one who owned the house I rented, and it was mostly furnished with her belongings. The only things I moved in were my clothes and my bed. Sandra moved in with Gertie after her husband’s sudden death a few years prior. Up until that moment, I felt exceedingly lucky to find such a nurturing landlord and two additional ladies to fuss over me.

            “Fuck!” I whisper-yelled, jackknifing off the bed and grabbing the closest pair of sweats off the floor. I grabbed a T-shirt too, but instead of pulling it over my head, I wiped the cum off my chest and tossed it in the direction of the dirty clothes basket.

            “Surely not,” Sandra said. “It’s a Saturday night. He’s most likely busy doing something else.” Fuck me! “We were all young and single once.”

            “Who needs to be young or single to masturbate?” Gertie asked her oldest daughter.

            “Mom!” Clara admonished. She was the softest spoken and most demure of the three, but that wasn’t saying much.

            “We love your show,” Gertie said, changing the subject. “Memphis is a big fan too.”

            “Is he now?”



I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I’m a girly tomboy who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees. I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever- after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.



GIVEAWAY




Pursuing Happiness by Jessie Pinkham - Blog Tour with Excerpt and Author Interview


BLOG TOUR


Book Title: Pursuing Happiness

Author: Jessie Pinkham

Publisher: Jessie Pinkham

Cover Artist: Katia V. Michelet

Release Date: July 12, 2018

Genre/s romance, contemporary, gay

Length: 53,000 words 




Blurb

A repressive childhood casts long shadows.

Growing up in a reactionary religious household left Matt Aldridge socially inept and woefully underprepared for life in the wider world. He’s still trying to figure himself out when he meets his hunky new neighbor, Collin Moravec. Matt likes him at first sight, and miraculously, Collin feels the same.

When his cousin Levi shows up needing a home, Matt doesn’t hesitate to take him in, even as it throws his own world into disarray. He’s determined to save his younger cousin some of the struggles he faced. But taking on this responsibility brings up old anxieties, and in his terror of failing Levi, Matt pushes Collin away. He has to move beyond his fearful upbringing once and for all, or he’s going to end up miserable – and alone.


Buy Links




Excerpt

“Now, about that sexual to-do list. I’m dying to know what’s on it.”

An adorable blush blossomed on Matt’s cheeks. “I think there’s a lot of potential for fun with a can of whipped cream.”

“I’m completely on board with that.”

Finally Matt relaxed. “You’re a very good boyfriend,” he remarked.

Collin figured that meant he’d said the right thing. Good. He took Matt’s hand and laced their fingers together. “So are you, and if I hadn’t already known that my coworkers made sure to tell me yesterday.”

“How did the grant application turn out?”

“Well, it doesn’t scream ‘thrown together at the last minute,’ so it could be a lot worse.”

“I know nothing about grants,” said Matt, “but I have plenty of personal experience in the red parts of the state, where you said you want to do outreach. Maybe this is weird pillow talk, but…”

Collin interrupted. “Our pillow talk can be whatever we want.”

“Okay. Have you considered how much tougher it will be to go out and talk about LGBT acceptance with people in very conservative areas? I mean really thought about the ruling mindset there?”

They certainly weren’t going in blind. Regardless he wanted to hear Matt’s opinion, if for no other reason than to understand his boyfriend a little better. “We expect to be called a lot more nasty slurs.”

“That’s obvious. It’s not just the insults, though. The thing is that a lot of these people – not all, but a definite majority – are not even going to consider what you have to say. The religiously inclined, which again will be a good percentage, will consider it a given that you’ve been deceived by Satan. So there’s no reason for them to even consider what you have to say, see? Anything they don’t like can easily be written off as inspired by Satan. It’s a very neat system if you don’t like thinking too hard. And it makes us very easy scapegoats for anyone, religious or not, who doesn’t like how the world is changing.”

“There are going to be some people who remain homophobic no matter what we say or do,” acknowledged Collin.

“Some might become more tolerant with personal contact, when the LGBT community isn’t something abstract and instead they know someone who isn’t heterosexual. Then there are the people like my family.”

“Bastards. But we know that. What we want to do, at the very least, is give some hope to LGBT people who feel isolated.”

“They certainly need it. Here’s the thing, though. It’s easy to be anonymous in the city. People can go to Ted’s Place without anyone they know having a clue about their visit to an LGBT center. In rural areas it’s not the same. If somebody stops to talk with you or takes pamphlets or whatever you’re doing for outreach, they’ll be recognized and before long half the town will know. The smaller the community, the worse it gets in that regard.” Matt sighed. “I’m not trying to discourage you, I’m just being realistic. I would never have dared talk with anyone doing LGBT outreach. Far too dangerous.”

“That’s depressing. It’s good to know, though. Obviously this has to factor into our plans.” He lacked ideas on how to work around this very serious roadblock. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Collin would share this perspective with his colleagues and go from there. “Any suggestions for us to get around that?”

“I’m afraid I don’t have any brilliant solutions. The internet is good. My family was unusually restrictive in that area, but it probably helps a lot of other kids. Just keep in mind that in some of these conservative areas, you’ll be entering enemy territory.”

“War metaphors?”

“Not a metaphor. They will literally see you as the enemy. Inspired by Satan, remember? It’s spiritual warfare and you’re the advanced guard. That’s how a lot of people will see you.”

“Damn,” said Collin. He imagined an army wearing sparkly rainbow uniforms, armed with lube and condoms, maybe doing something stereotypical like singing show tunes. “Here I thought I just wanted people to live in a way that makes them happy, and now I find out I’m in Satan’s gay army.”

Matt frowned. “I’m serious, Collin.”

Oops. His last comment had clearly been too flippant. “Sorry. I was going for lightening the mood with humor but clearly missed the mark. This is important to know. And honestly, it speaks to how strong you are that you were able to escape that.”

“I’m not sure being kicked out counts as escaping.”

“You could’ve gone to conversion therapy, pretended to be cured, and lived the rest of your life miserable and accepted by your family. You chose the harder option.”

“True,” said Matt. “Totally worth it.”

Collin traced random patterns on his boyfriend’s chest. “I’m glad to hear it. If you didn’t think it was worth it after that blowjob, I’d have done something terribly wrong.”

This time Matt let him lighten the mood. He winked and said, “No worries there.”

“That’s a relief.”

“You know that saying about praise going to your head? They’re talking about the head on top of your neck.”

“How do you know?” countered Collin.

Matt opened his mouth to protest, then paused. A second later he admitted, “That’s actually a good question.”

Score one for being a smartass.

About the Author

Jessie writes M/M romance and loves a rich fictional universe as much as a good happy ending. Her published works include the novel Survivorsand the Tea and Empathy series, and her work has been included in anthologies by Evernight Publishing and JMS Books.

She's usually writing more than one new book at a time, and frequently rushing out at the last minute because she got lost in her own fictional world.


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Author name: Jessie Pinkham


The figure from history you would most like to buy a pie and a pint…

So, nerdy history grad alert here. I’m going to say Otto von Bismarck. He was such an accomplished and somewhat enigmatic statesman, and he had a huge influence on late 19th century European history. What he pulled off is truly astounding, and I always love to learn how and why the world got to be the way it is now.

The piece of wisdom you would pass onto a child…

I would say not to worry about what other people think. I wasted a lot of time in middle school trying to get the popular kids to like me, and they weren’t even nice girls. However, this is hardly new advice, and I think everyone has to learn it for themselves, judging by how many of us failed to heed this wisdom coming from our elders.

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again…

I’ve never lost something so irreplaceable that I’m still pining for it. However, when I was a kid one of my Little House on the Prairie books vanished, and I could never find a replacement with a cover as nice. (Mary had a bright purple dress which I loved. Odd the details which stick with us.) Years later I’m still perplexed as to where it ended up.

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it…

Hmm, this isn’t going to turn into self-incrimination, is it? If I could somehow hack into all databases and erase every last record of student loan debt, that would be amazing. It’s a huge albatross around my neck and the necks of so many others, and it’s draining billions of dollars which could otherwise be entering the economy.

The philosophy that underpins your life…

It’s too short to compromise myself to keep other people happy. I grew up in a family where that was expected, and I’m so over it. I enjoy my life much more now that I’m living it for myself, not conforming to someone else’s expectations.

The character you enjoyed writing the most…

I loved writing Collin in Pursuing Happiness. He’s fond of smartass comments, which are a blast to come up with. Sometimes it took a while to get the remarks perfected, but it was a fun process.

The character you found difficult to write…

Matt was all over the place in terms of how easy he was to write, and parts of his story were difficult because it was like holding up a mirror which magnified my own flaws. I actually took a break from this manuscript for many months and let it sit while I wrote less personal tales.

So, some passages came very naturally because they were me pouring out the challenges of moving on from religious abuse and a toxic family, and other parts were much harder as they required me stepping back and looking more objectively. At some point a story has to become its own entity, distinct from whatever experiences may have inspired it, and that detachment can be tricky when a character is very close to the author’s heart.

The book you enjoyed planning/writing the most…

Planning, hah. I am a pantser through and through; if I had to have a complete outline before I started writing, I’d never have finished a single story in my life.

My short story “$250,000 Love,” part of Evernight Publishing’s Lawless Anthology: Manlove Edition, was a blast to write. I’d never even considered creating an antihero before, so I started writing the story as a challenge to myself and a way to push my boundaries as an author. It was a useful exercise in that regard, because I think it’s always good to take steps out of our comfort zones. Once I came up with the premise, I had a lot of fun with my unrepentant mobster MC, Mal, who thinks laws are for people too weak of will to protect themselves any other way.

And the promo…

Pursuing Happiness is, at its core, about a man wrestling with his demons. Matt was raised in a reactionary religious, homophobic environment, and that kind of upbringing has a lot of lasting impacts. It’s an entirely different mindset, and not easily abandoned. You don’t go right into happily ever after when you have such a childhood, and I wanted to explore the process of moving beyond a repressive childhood to a fulfilling adult life.

My hope, beyond telling a compelling story, is that readers come away with a little more understanding about how a reactionary and isolating childhood can play out, and how fear serves to paralyze people who might otherwise abandon that lifestyle as adults. It’s not just the religious aspect in and of itself which is problematic; it’s also the lack of social interaction. Matt is inept when it comes to interpersonal skills because he didn’t grow up interacting with anyone outside his family. This is a massive disadvantage in life.

From the beginning it was obvious to me that Matt would have a pet, but it took some time and research to decide exactly what animal. I didn’t want him to have the usual cat or dog. His pet needed to be less common than those while still friendly and happy with human contact. Plus, it couldn’t be too exotic and expensive, because Matt is on a limited budget. I decided a bearded dragon fit the bill. They’re sociable and like to interact with humans, even if the care is more than I’d want to take on. This was confirmed not long ago when I took my nephew to the insectarium and we saw a bearded dragon chowing down on live roaches. (Great for a little boy, if something Aunt Jessie could’ve lived without witnessing.) They are fascinating creatures, though, and I think Dex is perfect for Matt.


I love the cover for this book. While Pursuing Happiness isn’t a sweet romance, it’s not all about the sex, either, so I wanted a cover which would convey romance and personal growth, not a half-naked hunk conveying “read this for the sex!” Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a nice half-naked hunk very much, but it’s not this book. I think it helps that the artist read the first draft, so she knew the feel of the story and captured it beautifully. 

About the Author


Jessie writes M/M romance and loves a rich fictional universe as much as a good happy ending. Her published works include the novel Survivors and the Tea and Empathy series, and her work has been included in anthologies by Evernight Publishing and JMS Books.

She's usually writing more than one new book at a time, and frequently rushing out at the last minute because she got lost in her own fictional world.

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