Saturday, October 10, 2015

Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake #3) Review

Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #3)   

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Publisher: Berkley
American release date: January 2, 2007
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/paranormal/drama/303 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

The big question of the day—at least the one people keep asking Anita Blake—is who is the Master of the City? Anita’s not telling anyone, although she isn’t entirely sure herself why she even wishes to protect Jean-Claude. Some things just don’t bear thinking about.

A phone call from the police leads Anita to a crime scene in Arnold, south of St. Louis. It appears the victim was killed by more than one vampire, as in a mass feeding. Was this the work of one of the two master vampires in St. Louis? Or is there a newcomer they’ve been unaware of?

Anita leaves a message for Jean-Claude that she needs to see him, and he sends word for him to meet him at the Circus of the Damned that night. On arrival, she’s taken up to his office in the midst of the big top. There she meets Yasmeen and Marguerite… and Richard. What’s a nice guy like Richard doing in the middle of all this?

Anita is two marks away from being Jean-Claude’s human servant, although damned if she intends to let that happen. But there’s a new player in town who has designs on having Anita fill that role for him, and she realizes she’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. What to do now?

Anita tells Bert she needs more help at Animators Inc, and she gets it in the form of fresh-faced Larry, an innocent who has no real idea what he’s getting himself into. But his innocence is about to go by the wayside when he pushes himself too far and loses control of a zombie he’s raised.

And then there’s Edward, who’s determined to learn who the Master of the City is and where is his daytime resting place… and he’s willing to kill to find out.

The action never stops in this third installment of the Anita Blake series. I admit there are times I don’t care for Anita, times when I don’t understand her. Especially when it comes to Jean-Claude. I keep thinking it’s in her best interest to become his human servant, and it’ll be good for both of them. I also happen to think Jean-Claude is damn sexy.

And now we’ve got Richard to add to the equation. Anita is undoubtedly drawn to him, but can he be everything he appears to be? And why does Jean-Claude seem to be throwing Richard her way?

I love the worldbuilding that Laurell Hamilton does to create this alternate St. Louis, populate it with vampires and other creatures that go bump in the night, and make it entirely credible. I also love reading about locations that I recognize, which is pretty cool.

The race is on to see who can finish marking Anita first. I totally loved this book and can’t wait to read more. A very worthy addition to the series, maybe even my favorite so far.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Virtual Book Tour: Otter Chaos

OtterChaosEbookCover1200x1800 Author Name: P.D. Singer Book Name: Otter Chaos Release Date: October 9, 2015 Blurb: Otter Chaos (includes Tail Slide) Lon Ewing snowboarded in and turned economist Corey Levigne’s life upside down, introducing him to a world he didn’t know existed. Corey’s still adjusting to a boyfriend who shifts into an otter and raids the koi pond—and now Lon says Corey’s department chair is a werewolf? Wolves at the university, wolves in the bank—across Lon’s desk sits Professor Melvin Vadas and his hench-wolves, demanding a construction loan for the pack’s new lodge in the mountains. There’s just one little problem: the proposed building site is home to a breeding population of rare fish. What do wolves care for stupid human rules, an otter who’d barely make a good snack, or one pesky human determined to protect the environment? Once they’re snout to snout with Corey and Lon there’s more than silverscale dace on the Endangered Species list. Includes Tail Slide (the short that kicked off otter madness) Fresh powder snow and running water in the Colorado back country call Lon like the moon calls the wolves. Belly-sliding to a good time on the weekends makes up for a workweek at a desk, and meeting Corey adds a whole new level of fun to snowboarding. It’s easy to slip away for time alone in the woods without raising suspicion, but how’s Lon to entertain himself when bad snow and a worse spill force them off the mountain too early? Never give an otter a box of Cheerios.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Rose and Thorne #6 and Moving Forward #6

Happy Hump Day everyone! If it's Wednesday, it must be time for some flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! Every week we bring you our best flash fiction, short stories from 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts! You never know what you'll get with the Wednesday Briefers, but you know it'll be something good!

Last week, as you'll recall, Vinnie and Ethan acquired a temporary guest in the form of the Pekingese from the park. They settle the pup into their motel room and give him a name. Find out what that is in this week's Rose and Thorne. Then , in Moving Forward, find out who fired that gun, and is there more hell gonna shake loose? Then check out what the other Briefers have been up to! Their links follow my tales!

Rose and Thorne #6 (2.2)

The gravitational pull of the bed grabbed me, drawing me in, and I didn’t have the will to resist. I stumbled blindly in the direction of bliss, and nirvana, and mind-numbing nothingness. But before I had the chance to collapse into its loving arms and close my eyes, the yipping of the pup brought me back to reality. He was awake, and no doubt hungry.

“Okay, okay, I get the message. C’mon, let’s feed you, little man.” I ruffled his fur, and he didn’t bite me. Score one for me.

“Are you sure he’s a he?” Ethan asked. He opened the mini-fridge and slid the bottle of wine onto a shelf, followed by the subs. He turned quizzical eyes to me.

“Are you sure he’s not?” I countered.

“Easy way to find out. Hey big guy, are you a guy or a gal?” He took the Peke and held him up, examining him with a critical eye. “Yep, this boy’s a boy.” The pup gave an indignant yip, and Ethan hastily restored him to my arms.

“You know who he reminds me of?”

“He reminds you of someone?” Ethan must know some strange people.

“My uncle Benny. The one that did time.”

This was news to me. But then again, Ethan never talked about his family, so this tidbit was enlightening as well as interesting.

“No shit? What did he do?”

“Armed robbery.” Ethan scratched the pup under his chin and was rewarded with a licked finger. I guess he was growing on the little guy. “Nice Benny,” Ethan sing-songed. “There’s a good boy.”

“Jeez, don’t call him that. He’s not your Uncle Benny reincarnated or anything.”

“He can’t be. Benny’s still alive.”

I rolled my eyes. “Did you get a dish for his kibble?”

“Yeah, right here.” He pulled a yellow plastic bowl from one of the bags, followed by a small bag of doggy chow. “How much food does he eat?”

Why did he think I was some kind of expert on the care and feeding of dogs? Never had one in my life. “I dunno. Just throw a handful in for now. Not like he’s taking up permanent residence with us. We can take what’s left to his owner.”

Ethan had unloaded the rest of the bags. Besides the bowl and the dry food, I saw a can of wet food, a brush, and something that resembled a bone except it was a garish neon green. “Did you buy out the whole pet section, Ethan?”

“I wanted to make sure he had everything he might need, that’s all.”

“What about a water bowl?”

“I didn’t see one.”

I started to make a wisecrack, something to the effect that another food bowl would have served the purpose, but bit it back at the last minute. Ethan had been more than considerate. I didn’t need to be a bitch about it. “That’s okay. We can find something just for tonight. We have plastic cups that should do the job.”

“Yeah, good idea.” He pried open the top of the bag, scooped out a handful of food and tossed it into the bowl. “Where do you think we should do this?”

I glanced around the room, trying to determine a spot which would be least likely to result in a mess. “Bathroom,” I decided. It would be easier to clean something from the tile floor than from the carpet which lined the rest of the room.

“Gotcha.” Ethan carried the bowl into the bathroom and set it in a corner where it was out of the way of both sink and toilet. I followed him to the doorway. Just before I set the pup on the floor, I remembered what I’d wanted to know. I rolled him onto his back, curiously eyeing his tag. Damn.

“What’s it say?”

“According to this, his name is Spot.”

“Spot? Are you serious?”

“As a heart attack.” I wondered what kind of moron his owner was. I began to rethink my idea of a happy reunion between them. How happy could the little guy be with such a horrible name? But that wasn’t my problem. And he wouldn’t be my problem for much longer.

I set him on the floor, and he made a beeline for the food. While he ate, I filled a plastic cup with water and set it beside the food bowl.

“Good Benny,” Ethan praised him. He stood in the doorway, arms folded, watching the pup.

“Don’t call him that. It’s bad karma. Plus it’s not his name.”

“You gonna give him some of that canned stuff too?”

I searched among the items Ethan had bought, but in vain. “Not unless you’re gonna chew the can open with your teeth,” I told him.


“No can opener, genius.”

Ethan laughed. That man laughs at almost everything.

Shaking my head, I approached the dresser and opened the bottom drawer, eyeing it critically. I removed the few things that were in there, set them into another drawer. “I think this will fit him just fine. Get me a towel from the bathroom, willya?”

Ethan ambled over to me, bringing the requested item. I fluffed it into a makeshift bed. “He should be comfy here, and since we’ll be right there in the bed, he shouldn’t get lonely.” For some reason, I thought it was important that the pup not get lonely. I remembered what that was like, before Ethan.
Benny—I mean, the pup—trotted up to us, a contented look on his face, his tongue hanging out, dripping slightly. Obviously the water experiment was a success. I lifted him into the drawer. He sniffed around, exploring all the nooks and crannies, turned around a few times, then settled down and closed his eyes.

Speaking of which…

“These shoes are coming off. Now,” I declared. I stumbled toward the bed and flopped down onto the edge. Instantly, Ethan knelt at my feet, reaching toward one foot.

“Let me help,” he offered.

to be continued

Moving Forward #6 (2.3)

Instant silence filled the room, and no one moved a muscle. Roy held his gun over his head, his steely gaze raking over the crowd until he was sure he had everyone’s attention then he lowered it. “We are not going to do this. If y’all want to fight, then you need to take it outside. But I don’t really see there’s any need for that, do you?” He turned toward Al, who seemed a lot less belligerent than he had before.

Al held one hand over his streaming nose. He pointed the other at Lee. “He had no call to do that!” he protested.

“Be grateful he didn’t do worse, after what you said. ‘Sides, you hit him with a pool cue. I’d say that about makes you even. Other than the damage you owe Partners for the cue. Unless, of course, Marshall wants to press charges for what you did to him. Then that’s another matter entirely.”

“He can’t do that.” Al didn’t sound entirely sure of himself. He narrowed his eyes at Marshall. If his intention was to scare him, it wasn’t working.

Marshall was tempted to do just that, to teach the asshole a lesson about what was and was not acceptable behavior. But he wasn’t sure how closely he and Lee might be investigated as part of the process, and he didn’t want to find out. Still, Al didn’t need to know that.

The crowd began to part as a man pushed through them, excusing himself as he went, until he’d reached the eye of the storm. Marshall recognized Jeff, one of the bouncers. Jeff was familiar with Roy and Lee and their whole crowd. He’d seen them there often enough. Marshall knew Jeff would at least listen to what they had to say, and wouldn’t jump to conclusions. He also knew Jeff recognized Roy was a lawman.

Jeff was big, blond, and brawny, standing over six foot and built like a linebacker. Not many people at Partners were stupid enough to give him trouble. The few who tried found out in a hurry that he was as solidly built as he looked.

Jeff sized up the men who seemed to be in the middle of everything before he nodded to Roy. “Was that your gun I heard?”

“Yep, it was. Just tryin’ to keep the peace before World War III got started.”

“I see.” Jeff didn’t ruffle easily. He’d probably dealt with a lot of such situations in his time. “The rest of y’all—whoever isn’t involved, you can go on about your business.” He folded his arms across his broad chest.  His very stance said he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

The crowd began to slowly disperse, with backward looks and low murmurs, but no one argued with the bouncer. Finally, the only ones left were those belonging to the two sides: Marshall and Lee and their supporters, Al and his. Al seemed decidedly nervous, Marshall thought.  He kept glancing in the direction of the entrance to the game room, as if maybe he was considering a quick getaway.

“Roy, you want to tell me what’s going on?” Jeff asked.

“Naturally you start with their side,” Al lashed out. “Your buddies.” His voice sounded nasal, the words a little slurred.

“Maybe it’s because I know you, Al.” Jeff arched his eyebrows at the man.

“I can tell you what happened.” Marshall stepped forward. “Since it happened to me.” He wasn’t a child. While he appreciated everyone’s support, this was something he needed to do himself. “That man”—he pointed toward Al—“came into the men’s room when I was in there and started beating on me. I told him I didn’t want any trouble, but he wouldn’t listen.”

“Did he give any reason for hitting you?”

“It was because I didn’t want to dance with him a second time.”

Jeff shifted his focus back to Al. “Is that what happened, Al?”

“It wasn’t quite like that,” Al mumbled. He stared down, as if he saw something very interesting on the floor, never meeting Jeff’s gaze.

“Then tell me what it was like,” Jeff encouraged him. Al maintained a stony silence. “Yep, pretty much what I thought. You didn’t get what you thought you were entitled to, so you used your fists. I’ve warned you about that before, haven’t I? This isn’t the first time we’ve had this conversation.”

“Don’t remember.” Al raised his head just enough to glare daggers at Marshall. “Little prick tease—”

Marshall felt Lee stir beside him, and he knew what his intention was, but before he could act, Roy stepped quickly between Lee and Al. He pulled out his wallet and flipped it open to reveal his badge. “I have the right to arrest you right now, so I suggest you keep that smart mouth of yours shut, if you know what’s good for you.”

“This was your last chance, Al,” Jeff said. “You’re barred from coming in here ever again. The way I see it, you have two choices. You can stand there like a dumbass and get arrested, or you can do the smart thing for once in your life and just get the hell out of here and never come back.”

Marshall noticed Al’s so-called supporters had drifted away. He guessed they knew Al too well to want to get involved in a mess of his own making. Al looked around him, probably drawing the same conclusion.

“He’s not worth it. If you wanna let him whore himself out, it’s no skin off my nose.”

Before anyone else could react, Jeff reached for Al’s shirt, twisting it between his fingers as he lifted him bodily from the floor until his legs dangled in the air. Al struggled, but to no avail. “Apologize,” Jeff told him. “Or I’m gonna let Lee deal with you.”

Lee took a menacing step toward Al.

“You can’t do that,” Al protested. “That’s… that’s illegal.”

to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers have whipped up for you!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Rose and Thorne #5 and Moving Forward #5

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, it must be time for some flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers. Every week we bring  you our best flash fiction, from 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one or more of our prompts!

In Rose and Thorne, Vinnie and Ethan have had a long night, and are heading back to the motel for some rest, with their newly acquired temporary guest. After all, tomorrow is another day, right? And in Moving Forward, it's time to confront the guy who assaulted Marshall in the men's room. Payback's a bitch, but is it the right thing to do? Find out in this week's episode. Don't forget to check out what the other Briefers have been up to. Their links follow my tales! Enjoy!

Rose and Thorne #5 (2.1)

The pup fell asleep in my lap on the way to the motel. We had an apartment in Richmond which was our central command post, and which the government footed the bill for, but that was two hours away. Since we’d expected to be in Roanoke for at least a few days, we’d found something local we could temporarily call home.

I remembered an all-night convenience store located not far from our motel. We’d put it to good use in the wee hours of the night for such essentials as beer and potato chips and chocolate cupcakes. It would serve my purpose now. “Pull in,” I directed Ethan at the last second, just as we were about to drive past.

“Yes, dear.” He quickly signaled and turned into the parking lot without missing a beat. I have to admit Ethan’s a pretty good driver. But I’d never tell him so, or let him know I think he might be better than I am. If I did that, not only would I never hear the end of it, I’d also never get to drive. I hardly get to drive as it is.

“You hungry, Vin?” The store was lit by garish fluorescent lights which spilled obnoxiously out into the parking lot, casting odd-colored shadows over Ethan’s face and hands. Maybe they’d had security problems at one time.

“Not really.” To be honest, sleep sounded a lot better than food. First a hot shower, something to wash away the night and put it behind me. “But I’m sure this little guy will be ready to eat when he wakes up. Do you mind going in and getting him something? I hate to move him, or I’d go myself.”

“Not a problem, baby. What brand dog food should I get?”

What was I, a dog whisperer? “I don’t think it matters. Besides, a store this small, you probably won’t get much choice, if any. Just make sure it looks nutritious. Maybe something with tartar control.” I used it for my teeth, couldn’t hurt the pup any to add some to his diet.

Ethan laughed. “I’ll do my best to find something that’ll build strong teeth and a healthy coat. You sure you don’t want anything?”

“Naw, all I want is right here.” I gave him a look so he’d know I meant him and nothing else. He leaned in and kissed me, and he tasted like hot sauce. I lifted an eyebrow.

“What did you eat?”

“A taco. Some guy was selling them in the park.”

“You bought food from an unlicensed vendor?”

“Sure, why not. He looked legit.”

“I would have thought you knew better.”

“Guess not.” He kissed me again, and the taste wasn’t quite as strong as before, more Ethan-flavor.
He was halfway out the door when I thought of something else. I crooked a finger and he leaned in, listening. “I have an idea. When we get back home, how about I make us some of those tacos you like so much.”

“Ooh, the ones with the ghost peppers? It’s been a while since you did that. I like that idea. Like it very much. Maybe I should lay in a supply of antacid while I’m here?”

“Only if you’re a wimp.”

“Not me, seƱor.” He closed the door and headed into the store. I turned my attention to the dog. His small body rumbled in contented sleep. He was sure cute. I wondered what his name was, but I didn’t want to lift his tag and wake him just to find out. Drat. I should have told Ethan to get him a brush while he was at it. Guess it didn’t matter. I was sure his owner had one. They’d be reunited, maybe even as soon as tomorrow. And then he could get back to his normal routine, whatever that might be.

I leaned back against the headrest, just closing my eyes for a minute, protecting them against the bright light. The sound of the car door jarred me awake. Ethan had several plastic bags in his hands. He tossed them into the back seat and started the engine. A long skinny bottle looked suspiciously like wine.

“What did you get?”

“A bottle of moscato. It was on sale. And I got us a couple of subs, in case we get hungry later. Some of the sour cream and onion chips you like. And all the stuff you wanted for the dog. I even found a brush too.”

I swear he can be the sweetest man sometimes. He makes me all gooey inside. Another secret I keep to myself. He already thinks I’m soft, don’t need to add fuel to that fire. “You done good, Eth.”

“I know.” He gave me a self-satisfied smile, at the same time patting himself on the back. I just rolled my eyes.

The motel had two floors, and each room had an outside entrance, which meant we didn’t have to sneak the dog in past some nosy night clerk. Our room was on the first floor, on the farthest end from the office. It afforded the perfect view of the parking lot. Better safe than sorry. We parked beneath a light standard for the same reason.

Ethan gathered the bags, while I lifted the pup into my arms.

“Hang on a sec, Vin.” He came around the side of the car and opened my door. I stepped out carefully, trying not to turn my ankle. Boy, I couldn’t wait to get out of those shoes. My feet were killing me. Maybe I could talk Ethan into a foot massage. Wouldn’t that be heaven?

We reached the door of Room 115. Ethan balanced the bags while he fumbled the keycard into the slot. He cautiously pushed open the door. Moving into the room ahead of me, he quickly glanced around. “All safe,” he said, and I entered just behind him, kicking the door shut.

Damn, that bed looked good.

to be continued

Moving Forward #5 (1.5)

They returned to the table to find everyone standing about, literally chomping at the bit. As soon as they saw Marshall and Lee, they started to surge toward them, everyone talking at once. Lee held up his hands and they fell back as he cut a path through them, heading toward Denver’s cousin.

“Where is he?”

“He’s with a group of guys in the game room,” Dustin said. “I didn’t say anything, and he never noticed me. Too busy playing pool.”

“All right, then. Much obliged.”

“No problem. I don’t like bullies,” Dustin said simply. His eyes met Marshall’s, and Marshall was torn between annoyance at what he’d said and gratitude for his support.  He gave Dustin a curt nod before he turned away and followed Lee. He knew without looking they were being followed by the others. He knew better than to think they were about to sit this one out. They were his and Lee’s friends, and they were damn loyal.

Inside the game room, the sound level was high, between noisy conversations and high tech electronics. Mostly occupied by men, they were engaged in shooting pool or playing darts or testing their skill at pinball. Three pool tables sat in the middle of the room, and each held a row of quarters, people waiting to play. Marshall immediately recognized the man who’d assaulted him. He stood beside the farthest table, cue in hand, and he didn’t look happy. Maybe he’d missed his shot.

The man glanced in their direction, and his scowl seemed to turn uneasy. The next moment, his expression went blank as he watched them approach, his eyes flickering between Marshall and Lee. He tightened his hold on his pool cue. A man standing beside him gave him an irritated shove. “Move your ass, Al. You missed, it’s my shot.” When his companion didn’t respond, he swiveled toward them and fell silent.

“Whaddya want?” the man addressed as Al said belligerently.

“I want to talk to you.” Lee’s voice was steely but controlled, but Marshall new what lay beneath his apparent calm.

“What about?”

“About why you thought you could hurt my partner and get away with it.”

“Al, what’s he talking about?” The question came from the man who’d been trying to get in his shot. He looked from Al to Lee.

“Nothing. He must have me confused with someone else.” Al started to turn away, but Lee grabbed his arm.

“No you don’t, you’re going to stand there and face the music.”

“He doesn’t have you confused with anyone,” Marshall spoke up. “It was you. Just now. In the men’s room. You got mad because I didn’t want to dance with you again. You did this to me.” He pointed to his bruised face.

“I saw the whole thing.” Dustin appeared at Marshall’s side, fists clenched.

“That’s ridiculous,” Al bluffed. “You’re nothing but a little boy with an overinflated ego. Why should I waste my time on you or your boyfriend?” He tried to pull out of Lee’s grasp.

Lee released his arm and grabbed him by his shirt instead, twisting the fabric. “Nobody hurts Marshall and gets away with it. Why don’t you take a shot at me if you’re so damned brave? Pick on someone a little closer to your own size? Afraid you might get hurt?"

Several other men began to form a group around Al. “What’s going on here, Rudy?” one of them asked the man standing beside Al.

“This guy’s looking for a fight.” He gestured toward Lee. “Says Al hurt his boyfriend or something.”

A disgruntled murmur ran through the newcomers like a wave. Lee ignored them.

“You afraid to face me in a fair fight?” Lee taunted Al. “Afraid I might hurt you? You know, I just might at that. But I’ll tell you what. You admit to what you did, and apologize to Marshall, and just maybe I’ll let you walk away from this untouched.”

Al laughed, but it was nervous laughter. “Me afraid of you? I don’t think so. Why should I apologize to that piece of shit anyway? He’s nothing but a cocktease—”

Lee’s fist smashed into Al’s face. Al yowled in pain and covered his nose with his hand. Blood streamed through his fingers.

“Goddammit! You broke my fucking nose!” Al’s voice came out in a nasal whine.

“I’ll break more than that, you son of a bitch. Are we going to take this outside and settle it like men or do you intend to start crying for your mama?”

Marshall noticed Al tensed, and his first thought was he intended to hit Lee.  The hell he will. 

Marshall took a step toward him, with the intention of swinging at him. From the corner of his eye, he saw Dustin was also in motion.  Al started to turn away from them. Maybe he was retreating after all, the coward.

Without warning, Al whirled back around. He raised the pool cue he still held over his head and brought it down forcefully on top of Lee’s head. Lee twisted away at the last moment, deflecting the blow onto his shoulder instead. He staggered back, almost losing his balance. He was propped up by Roy, who helped him keep his feet.

“Why, you no good sonofa—” The rest of his words were lost in the furious outcry from Slim and Rye and the others who surged forward en masse. Equally angry shouts came from the other side. Marshall was sure a full-blown melee was about to break out, but he was more concerned about Lee.  He started to reach for him just as he felt a tug at his arm.

To his annoyance, he found Dustin was trying to drag him away. “C’mon, let’s get you out of here.”

“The hell with that.” Marshall yanked his arm out of the other’s grasp. “I’m not leaving Lee. You get out of here if you want.”

Just then a shot rang out.

to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers have been up to!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Virtual Book Tour: Fugly

Please welcome author Mimi Jean Pamfiloff, who is here to discuss her new release, Fugly. The author will be awarding 5 winners via Rafflecopter a signed copy of Fugly + Fugly tote + Key Chain, Magnet, Bookmark,  and Bumper Sticker. The more you enter, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!

by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff


GENRE:  Contemporary Romance



My name is Lily Snow. I am twenty-five years old, and despite being born with an unattractive face, I have never doubted who I am: smart, driven, and beautiful on the inside.

Until I met Maxwell Cole.

He’s handsome, excessively wealthy, and the owner of Cole Cosmetics. It’s been my dream to work for this man for as long as I can remember. The good news is he wants to hire me. The bad news is he wants me for all the wrong reasons. Ugly reasons.

In exchange, he’s offered me my dreams on a silver platter. The job. The title. A beautiful future. But this man is as messed up and ugly as they come on the inside. I’m not sure anyone can help him, and he just might take my heart down with him.



“Be here tomorrow morning. Keri will show you your office,” he said flatly.

“You—you’re serious?”

He turned and frowned at me. “Don’t go backpedaling on me now, Miss Snow. Not after you’ve just shown me your pretty little teeth and sharp claws. We might make a CEO out of you yet.”

I shook my head no. “Not. Back. Pedaling.” Just wondering where the nearest exit was. Now I really felt like an idiot. I’d just proposed to my future boss that he have sex with me in exchange for my acceptance of his offer.

Wasn’t it usually the other way around?

And what was that other feeling? It was…shock or excitement or something connected to that little spot in my brain that controlled my sexual fantasies.

“Good,” he said. “Have your ass to my house Friday at eight p.m. sharp. And bring your running clothes.”

Today was Wednesday, so that meant I had two days to get psychiatric help. Wait. You’re not doing this. You can’t.

“You okay?” were the words he asked, but his tone and expression accused me of being a spineless coward.

I stared at him, trying to comprehend what was going through this man’s mind. Honestly, I was confused as hell. Possibly frightened, too. He, on the other hand, looked like he’d been given an injection of piss and vinegar. He also looked sort of…happy? Okay, maybe not happy, but excited or determined, like challenging me turned him the hell on. But that couldn’t be right.

“Why aren’t you sweating anymore?” I asked.

He blinked as if startled by himself. “It seems you’re already having a positive effect. Too bad it’s your ability to piss me the fuck off that’s doing the trick.”

Speechless, I turned for the door again and grabbed the handle. I needed to retreat. I was way over my head with this situation.

“Oh, and Miss Snow?”


“Do me a favor, would you? Fire Craig on your way out. He’s the one waiting for me out there.”

I blinked. “Sorry?”

“It’s your first lesson in running a company: You’ll have to come down off that pedestal of yours and get your hands dirty.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling Romance author, host of the radio talk show, Man Candy, on

When San Francisco native Mimi Jean went on an adventure as an exchange student to Mexico City, she never imagined the journey would lead to writing Romance. But one MBA, one sexy husband, and two rowdy kids later, Mimi would trade in corporate life for vampires, deities, and snarky humor.

She continues to hope that her books will inspire a leather pants comeback (for men) and that she might make you laugh when you need it most.

She also enjoys interacting with her fans (especially if they're batshit crazy). You can always find her chatting away on Facebook, Twitter, or saying many naughty words on her show MAN CANDY on !

Find out more about Mimi and upcoming books at

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Virtual Book Tour: Beauty and the Beast

Author Name: Sean Michael

Book Name: Beauty and the Beast
Series: Fairytale Shifters
Book: One

Release Date: September 3, 2015
As a rhino shifter, Tromp knows that he’s not the sexiest beast in the world. In fact he’s clumsy and he can’t see very well, and that’s whether he’s in his human or animal form. Still, he enjoys going to the bar and watching the other shifters hooking up, especially the dancers. Then he sees a slinky kitty dancing on the little stage and he’s immediately smitten. He knows a sexy beauty like that would never go for him, but he’s happy just to watch and fantasize about what could be.
For his part, panther shifter Pepper might be gorgeous on the outside, but he knows most people see him as nothing more than a piece of meat and he’s had a hard past. There’s something in the way the big rhino shifter looks at him while he dances, though, that makes him feel special. So when his stint on the stage is over, he heads right to the rhino’s table.
Can Tromp and Pepper ignore the world’s expectations and find what they need in each other?

Pages or Words: 10,500 words

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Tromp got his beer at the bar and made his way over to the table in the corner where he usually sat. It was an out of the way booth and afforded him a good view of the rest of the place. His thick bottle-cap glasses improved his poor vision enough that from here he could watch the pretty people hooking up—the slinky twinks finding each other or handsome older men to dance and laugh with. He was a bit too lumbering for dancing. Too clumsy and grumpy for easy pickups, too. In short, he didn’t really belong. Hence the out of the way table.
The music was loud and thumping, vibrating up from the floor, and his beer was cold. It was all he really needed after a long week of walking around the three warehouses he worked security on. He’d stay and watch for a while, then head home to the peace and quiet of his little cottage just outside the city.
Someone came out onto the tiny stage, one of the performers who danced in stretch jeans and open-front shirts. This guy had waist-length black hair, golden skin, and sharp features.
Tromp watched, utterly fascinated. He usually didn’t do more than admire the beauties who were out of his league, but there was something about this guy, something slinky and sexual that made him want in the best way. Or worst way, given that he never had a chance with the beautiful ones. Still, he could look his fill, couldn’t he? After all, that’s what the dancers were all about—looking but not touching.

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Meet the author:
Often referred to as "Space Cowboy" and "Gangsta of Love" while still striving for the moniker of "Maurice," Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to "Chicago."
A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.
Barring any of that? He'll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

Where to find the author:
Twitter: @seanmichael09

Publisher: Sean Michael
Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Tour Dates & Stops:

Rafflecopter Prize: PDF copy of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ by Sean Michael
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Virtual Book Tour: Where the Grass is Greener

Author Name: Debbie McGowan & Raine O’Tierney

Book Name: Where the Grass is Greener

Release Date: September 28, 2015
Mistakes were made, thats for sure. But was it the night of passion? Or walking away afterward?
Thats the question Seamus Williams must face when he gets a late night phone call from someone he never expects to hear from again.
I miss you, Shay.
Chancey Bo Clearwater is a cowboy through and through. He spends his days finding work on whatever ranch will take him and his nights at the pool hall. Hes always done what needed doing and never thought much about what he wanted. Til that drunken night with Seamus.
A world of problems now stand between Seamus and Chancey exploring what might have been, the least of which being the Atlantic Ocean. On one side theres Chanceys daughter who mood swings from angel to demon in two seconds flat; on the other theres the new lodger, hogging Shays telly and his cornflakes, and making private Skype time hard to come by. 
Is this relationship doomed before it ever begins? Or can a surprise announcement from Seamuss brother be enough to help the two find their second chance?
Where the Grass is Greener features Seamus Williams the older brother of Patrick from Leaving Flowers.

Pages or Words: 75,000 words

Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Western/Cowboy

Youre quiet today, Seamus. Whats up? the landlord asked.
Just tired, is all. Got a leaky roof and the fecker was drippin all the damn night. And didnt I get up this morning and kick the bucket?
You look alive and well to me, so you do. I say wellyou look like shite.
Yeah, thanks very much. Think Ill go join the lads, see if I cant get a few more insults thrown at me.
Seamus gave the landlord a wry grin and went over to the others, who were already well into the first of the three games they got in every lunchtime. He watched one of them take a bad shot and accidentally pot the black, the clunking of the ball as it rolled its way through the machinery of the table setting Seamuss teeth on edge. John was right: he was dog-tired and probably did look like shite. Hed barely slept after the missed call, trying to decide whether to return it or not. His mind played tricks on him, one minute convincing him it was urgent and he should call back, the next telling him to stay strong. Hed made the move. Hed come back to Ireland. Thats what hed wanted all along.
He had wanted it. Ever since Mam died, his sights had been set on coming home. Hed only stayed for Paddys sake, and now Paddy had Aidan there was nothing to keep Seamus in the States, although he was no further away from his brother now than he had been in Kansas. Never mind that hed already made the decision before he knew Aidan even existed. No. It was a good decision. He was just
He already knew, before he pulled his phone from his pocket: same Kansas number, same caller. His thumb hovered over the red button. Reject the call. Reject the call.
He answered.
Seamus Williams.
At last! I thought I was calling a wrong number. Man, its so good to hear your voice.
Er, yeah. Yours too. Whats up? Has something happened?
Nothing new. I just…”
The rapid-hard thump of Seamuss heart filled the pause, two seconds, three, four, and more. He drew breath to speak, but there was nothing to be said. Or nothing he should say.
I miss you, Shay.
The first call had been a drunk dial. Thank the heavenly father that Seamus Williams hadnt picked up. Lord, the shit that might have come tumbling out of Chanceys mouth. Now he was dead sober, but only slightly more composed. Had he really just said hed missed Seamus? He tried for a laugh. It sounded as fake as it felt. Well he had missed Seamus. Nothin wrong with that.
You gonna say somethin? He knew he was putting on the accent. Drawing out his vowels, droppings his gs. His grandmotherwho was from south Texas and who had an accent so deep it was digging itself a hole to the centre of the Earthused to yell at him when hed get lazy with his words.
You jus sound ignrant, Chancey Bo Clearwater. Full name, cue snickering cousins, and young Chancey sank down low in his chair, ashamed at the way he sounded despite the fact they all talked just alike. The accent followed him when he moved to Oklahoma, where he picked up a whole set of strange Os, and even having lived in Kansas now for the better part of his life, it was still there underneath, just waiting to crop up in stressful situations.
I didnt expect to hear from you, thats all.
Surprise. He was trying for friendly, for calm. Trying to keep the I wanna put my fist through the wall and did you really mean to let me find out through Lulu? out of his voice.
Isnt this call costing you a million dollars?
Skype. On my phone. I bought minutes, yknow?
Is that right then?
But I didnt think. Its probably charging you too.
Its fine.
Is it? Seamus sure as hell wasnt saying much. There was a long pause as Chancey considered his next move. Hed called because hed wanted to talk. Not talk. Not like that. Nothing to say on that front. Seamus had made it all as clear as crystal dropped in the mud when hed left his parting message with Lulu down at the pool hall, Rack Em. In a last-ditch effort, Chancey said the only thing he could think: Boss Tina asked after you the other day when I went around for work.
That got a laugh out of Seamus, which gave Chancey more relief than he cared to admit.

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Meet the authors:
DEBBIE McGOWAN is an author and publisher based in a semi-rural corner of Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven, realist fiction, celebrating life, love and relationships. A working class girl, she ran away to London at seventeen, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At twenty-five, she went back to college to study social science tough with two toddlers, but they had a stay at home dad, so it worked itself out. These days, the toddlers are young women (much to their chagrin), and Debbie teaches undergraduate students, writes novels and runs an independent publishing company, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can.

RAINE O'TIERNEY wants to change the worldone sweet story at a time.
Known as "The Queen of the Sweetness" (well, a few people have said it anyway!) Raine loves writing sweet, character-driven stories about first loves, first times, fidelity, forever-endings and...friskiness? In addition to her solo works, shes one half of a collaborative team with author Debbie McGowan.
When shes not writing, Raine is either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. She believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers.
Contact her if youre interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or discussing which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!

Where to find the authors:

Debbie's Social Media Links
Facebook: and

Raine's Social Media Links
LGBT Author Interviews:

Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Cover Artist: Debbie McGowan

Tour Dates & Stops:

Rafflecopter Prize: e-copy of one Debbie McGowan title and an e-copy of one Raine O'Tierney title (winner's preference of file type and title)
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