Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #66 (16.3)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Ryan learns some disturbing information from Marge, while interviewing her for the book about Salvation, concerning the band's former manager. There are things that don't make sense to him. See what's going on in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them!  Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #66 (16.3)


Ben’s mother was once Salvation’s manager? Ryan couldn’t even begin to wrap his head around that idea. It had never occurred to him that Liza might ever have had anything to do with the band. Did that have anything to do with why Ben never talked about her?  Did they argue about the band, or Ben’s career, or something else? Questions crowded his mind, even as an unpleasant sensation surged through him at the thought of his one-time stepmother. He tamped it down, unwilling to spoil such a perfect day.

He reached for his bottle of water, hoping Marge wouldn’t notice he’d become momentarily unnerved. No use in asking anything else in that vein since Marge had obviously never met Ben’s mother. Those questions belonged to Ben… should he decide to actually ask them. Which was not likely. After all, what came before Salvation was past history, nothing that needed to be brought up again. No need to stir up unpleasant memories, or take a chance on causing Ben pain.

“So, had you ever heard of church metal before you became their manager?” He deftly changed the subject.

“Oh hell no.” Marge’s laugh was deep and warm and comfortable, wrapping around him like a security blanket. “I’ve heard lots of bands in my time, honey, and I know most every type of music there is, but that was a new one on me. Got me interested in them even more, you know?”

“I can imagine.” Ryan nodded.

“They have a new sound, but it’s also old, if you know what I mean. Kinda timeless. Like it sometimes reminds me of being in church, but it’s more than that.”

“I think I know what you mean.” Ryan glanced up from his keyboard. “Kind of classical but modern too. Like when you’re listening, everything sort of resonates, and their sound fills you, almost like a religious experience.”

“And that’s why you’re the writer,” Marge said. “Because you have the words I don’t. Couldn’t have said it better myself.”

Ryan felt his face go warm at her compliment. “Thanks, Marge, I appreciate that.”

Once she was started, Marge didn’t need prompting to keep talking. She discussed Salvation as a band—their hopes and dreams, her plans for propelling them to stardom, including their recently released self-titled CD. She gave him her observations on each of the members of the group, which were all pretty good. Ryan could see how much she loved them, as if they were her children. There didn’t seem to be anything she wouldn’t do for them. And she totally believed in them, in their ability to make it big in the music industry. Coming from Marge, that was impressive, as she’d been in the business for a long time and had seen a lot of groups come and go. She confided to him that of all the bands she’d managed, Salvation was her favorite.

Ryan’s fingers flew over the keyboard as he dutifully recorded everything she said. Even so, now and then he found his attention would stray to the pool, although he never stopped typing or listening. Ben hadn’t moved from where he’d last seen him, still in conversation with Aiden and Abby. He looked so comfortable and at ease with them, which made Ryan smile. At that moment, Ben cocked his head, his glance falling directly on Ryan, and he flashed him his megawatt smile. The one that caused Ryan’s heart to race as if it had just received a jolt of adrenaline. When Ben blew him a kiss through the air, Ryan melted inside.

A rumble of thunder diverted Ryan’s attention to the sky. When had it started to grow dark, and where had those clouds come from? Looked like Abby had been right with her warnings. They should probably get inside before the deluge.

He turned his head in time to see Marge rise from her chair. “Looks like we’re about to get rained on,” she said. “You might want to put that up”—she waved a hand at his laptop—“before it gets wet. I’ll see you guys at the club tonight.”

“See you later, Marge.” Ryan hastily saved what he’d just written and shut down his laptop. Might as well charge it when they went back to their room. Ben should probably rest before tonight’s performance, too. He wasn’t sure how long they’d be playing. Some of these clubs were open well into the wee hours of the night.

He zipped his laptop into its case, picked up their towels, then headed toward the pool. Some of the other swimmers seemed to have the same idea as Marge, hastily exiting the pool, Ben and Aiden and Abby among them.

He bundled one of the towels about Ben’s shoulders, fussing over him like a mother hen. “Let’s get you inside and dry you off,” he said. “I don’t want you to catch cold or anything.”

“Yes, dear,” Ben said almost meekly, which produced a titter from Aiden. Abby thwacked him in the back of his head, but Ryan didn’t mind their banter. He knew it was well-meaning.

“We’ll text you later,” Ben said. Ryan couldn’t help but notice the twins’ knowing smiles as he and Ben headed to their room.

to be continued'

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers!





Sunday, August 18, 2019

Book Review: Blue Morning, Vol 6 by Shoko Hidaka


Blue Morning, Vol 6       

Author: Shoko Hidaka
Publisher: SuBLime Publishing
American release date: September 13, 2016
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Yaoi/250 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Katsuragi has become uncertain, both of himself and his relation with Akihito. He thinks himself weak and useless because Akihito no longer blindly obeys him—so what purpose does he serve? While dressing the morning after, at Akihito’s hotel, he notices ragged garments in the closet and wonders why they are there. And why won’t Akihito get the haircut Katsuragi keeps telling him he needs?

Akihito meets with Ishizaki at a hot pot restaurant, which irks Ishizaki because it’s a hot day. Akihito says he is about to retire to Kamakura, under the pretense of his fake illness. Much has changed since the evening at the Moriyama’s, and thanks to the reporters Katsuragi arranged for, is common knowledge. For example that Ishizaki has become the Kuze house guardian. Madam Kayoko’s trip to France and her estrangement from her husband. Akihito’s “lung illness.” One reporter asked Akihito about the importance of producing an heir, but that won’t happen, not while he has Katsuragi. Ishizaki muses that things would be easier if Katsuragi were a woman.

Master Ishizaki informs Katsuragi that he has purchased a mill and wishes him to become the president and make a profit. He accepts the position. When he tries to drop off some papers with Amamiya, the new Kuze butler insists he deliver it to Akihito himself, and also deliver something from Katsuragi’s brother, Takayuki, who Akihito has entrusted with the financial affairs of the Kuze house. Katsuragi goes to the hotel and wakes Akihito, informing him the government railways have finally given their approval. Now Akihito can set up a railway in the old fief.

Ishizaki returns home from a late night out to find Katsuragi in his room. Katsuragi tells Ishizaki to not see the geisha he’s been seeing, and if he must continue the relationship, then he must allow Katsuragi to buy her out of bondage in his own name. Akihito meets with Katsuragi’s brother, who also remonstrates with him about his unruly hair. Akihito reiterates that he will be leaving for Kamakura, as planned. When Akihito says that he wishes Tomoyuki and Takayuki, as brothers, were closer, Takayuki responds with the comment that they are not related by blood, to which Akihito enigmatically replies, “Do you really think so?”

Katsuragi calls on Saionji and catches up with him. It seems his former lover knows him pretty well, including the fact that he loves Akihito. Saionji is happy himself, with his wife and new baby. Saionji gives Katsuragi some advice on what he should do. Later, Katsuragi goes to the mill. His employees are apprehensive about what their new boss will be like, fearful they will be blamed for past failures and be let go, but Katsuragi is not what they expected.

Even as Akihito makes plans to study abroad, he is concerned with Katsuragi, knowing he wishes to know about his origins, whether he voices his desire or not. Akihito and Amamiya visit Kiku’s old house, and Amamiya wonders what might have been, know that he knows about Akihito and Katsuragi. Akihito confides his plans for the future, once the railway is in place. Despite what Katsuragi may think, he does have the best interests of the Kuze house in mind, as well as his future with Katsuragi. Will he be able to persuade Katsuragi to come with him to Kamakura?

Each volume of this series is wonderful, I can’t get enough of these characters, even as I am left on the edge of my seat, wondering when they will finally be in sync with one another. The only way I will be happy is if they end up together at the end, nothing less will do. The artwork is superb, both men are very handsome, especially Katsuragi. She is very expressive in portraying their emotions in their faces. I can see the lust that glazes Katsuragi’s eyes, feel Akihito’s own wonder and joy as he gazes at the man he loves during their intimate moments. As to who will end up with the house of Kuze, I would not venture a guess. There is a whole lot going on, and the plot just keeps on getting deeper.

Can’t wait for the next one, one of the best yaoi manga ever!


Saturday, August 17, 2019

Book Review: The General's Bride by M.F. Sullivan


The General’s Bride       

Author: M.F. Sullivan
Publisher: Painted Blind Publishing
American release date: August 14, 2019
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Sci Fi/LGBTQ/293 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

After the debacle in Jerusalem, Dominia finds herself in a place between worlds, walking with Lazarus and Valentinian to Cairo. As if that isn’t strange enough, every night, she finds and enters her father’s study and converses with the Hierophant as if that were the most natural thing in the world to do. However, there is an unnatural element at work here, a chimera that is coming to resemble Dominia’s late wife Cassandra more and more, to Dominia’s dismay. Is she upset because this creature is an insult to Cassandra’s memory, or is that she fears she won’t be able to resist the temptation of well-remembered flesh should she come to resemble Cassandra more strongly than she can bear?

Every morning, a knock comes on the Hierophant’s study door as Valentinian comes to retrieve Dominia. He returns her to the journey she is on with him and Lazarus. Sometimes she just looks at him, unable to believe he and Basil are one and the same. Dominia’s conversations with her father are both confusing and enlightening. Although she doesn’t entirely trust him, she doesn’t entirely distrust him either. And he’s oddly more forthcoming on many subjects than her enigmatic traveling companions. Sometimes she thinks Lazarus couldn’t give her a straight answer if his life depended on it. Her father warns her that her desire to resurrect Cassandra is not practical and that she is being lied to, and sometimes she just doesn’t know which way to turn – except  away from the creature which seems to resemble her late wife more and more.

Dominia isn’t sure who to believe or who to trust—everyone has their own agenda, including her. She wants to get to Cairo to retrieve Cassandra’s diamond from Miki Soto. Lazarus and Valentinian claim they want to save mankind by sending the martyrs to the far away planet of Acetia. But how can it be right to condemn an entire people for the actions of a few? Did the Hierophant come from there? There is evil on both sides, but which is the true evil?

Dominia’s journey to Cairo will be a long one, and certainly not straightforward as she finds herself in strange places, among strange people and begins to doubt everyone and everything she knows. If they are her friends, why aren’t they with her, to save her? Why does it sometimes seem as though her Father has her best interests at heart? It seems as though Dominia can only rely on herself, but will she be enough to see her through what is to come?

The General’s Bride is every bit as riveting as The Hierophant’s Daughter as Dominia continues her journey to Cairo to retrieve the remains of her wife, held in a diamond which was stolen by Miki Soto. This is indeed a mindblowing story of people and worlds and forces beyond the ken of most of us, forces that defy and shape the very laws of physics and reality. Dominia has choices to make, most of them not easy ones, and she learns that her own wishes aren’t necessarily in her own best interest and aren’t necessarily the right path to take. People aren’t necessarily what she thought they were, and there is indeed a blurred line betwixt good and evil. Even the Hierophant straddles that line, and it’s impossible to hate him as unequivocally as she thought she did for sometimes he says the most remarkable things.

Although I love Dominia, my favorite character is still the Hierophant, so I rejoiced every time he appeared. M.F. Sullivan’s writing voice is superb. She blows your mind with descriptions of metaphysical worlds and ideas, asking questions which make you truly think about what you know or think you know. Her characters are so well-drawn that you feel as if you’ve known them forever as she sucks you into the trajectory of their lives. I wish this journey could go on forever, but I know there’s only one more book, and I’m fearful that it will contain the death of the Hierophant. Nonetheless, I look forward to it and I’ll hope for the best until something else happens.
This book is every bit as good as the first one. I highly recommend it.





Friday, August 16, 2019

Book Review: Soul Eater 3 by Atsushi Ohkubo


Soul Eater, Vol 3
Author: Atsushi Ohkubo      

Publisher: Yen Press
American release date: March 3, 2015
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/192 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Soul is hospitalized, following the fight with Ragnarok, unaware that some of the creature’s black blood has mixed in with his. What they are all unaware of is that the witch Medusa has become a doctor at the hospital! That can’t be good! A depressed Maka blames herself for Soul being hurt, but as she leaves his hospital room, she finds her father waiting for her. She goes up to the roof with him to watch the sunset.

Black Star balks at the remedial lesson he’s been assigned by Sid—he’s charged with cleaning and straightening up the library. Not sure where to begin, he runs across the library’s collection of manga, to his delight. When he expresses his joy a little too loudly, he draws the ire of Death the Kid, who is also there. Not accidentally, as Black Star assumes, but very much on purpose. Death tells him he’s looking for a book about a legendary blade, call the “holy sword” known as Excalibur. Dr. Stein weighs in and tells them even he could not draw Excalibur. So naturally Black Star and Death the Kid want to twith hiry their hand at it! Although, perhaps this isn’t quite the adventure they were looking for.

Tsubaki accepts an assignment to deal with the Uncanny Sword Masamune, even though Shinigami-sama warns her it will be a hard fight. But she feels compelled to do it, mostly because Masamune is her older brother! She and Black Star head to the village she came from. Black Star is his usual loud self. But when a villager notices his tattoo and recognizes it for what it is, Black Star’s story begins to come out. When they find Masamune, Black Star battles him, using Tsubaki. But the fight is ultimately Tsubaki’s, and she’ll do what she must, even if that includes getting into her brother’s head.  Black Star sets up a vigil beside Tsubaki’s body and vows to wait for her as long as it takes.

In the hospital, Soul confides to Medusa about his strange dream, which has a disturbingly Twin peaks vibe and ends in the same disturbing way—with him coming out of Maka’s stomach! Medusa tells him not to worry about it. On his release, Maka throws a party for him at their apartment, and Blair gives Make and Death the Kid quite a shock. Suddenly, Maka is startled at the realization that there is a presence in Death City that should not be there.

I especially enjoyed seeing more of Tsubaki in this volume of Soul Eater. She doesn’t usually get as much attention as Black Star, probably because he’s a hog for the spotlight and she is much quieter. Her interaction with her brother is touching. I also liked watching Black Star and Death the Kid in their quest to draw Excalibur from the stone. The cover, featuring Death the Kid and the Thompson sisters, is great. As usual, I love the artwork. I liked seeing a more tender, Dad side of Maka’s father. Too bad I don’t think it’ll last. He always manages to do something wrong sooner or later.

Another great volume, looking forward to more of the same!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Virtual Book Tour: Loved by the Beast by Anya Summers

Good morning! Please welcome author Anya Summers to Full Moon Dreaming. She is here to tell us about her newest release, Loved by the Beast. Anya will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour via Rafflecopter. The more you comment, 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!




Loved by the Beast
by  Anya Summers

~~~~~~~~~~~~~



GENRE: Paranormal Erotic Romance

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Anna has plans for her life. This fall, she will be heading off to medical school, well on her way to becoming a doctor. But first, she and her besties head to Ireland to celebrate.

Nowhere did her future plans even include serious dating, let alone becoming mated to a man who can turn into a freaking beast with wings. Nor did she reckon with being sucked through a portal onto another planet while on her way home from a great night out.

Yet from the very first time her new mate touches her, Anna wonders if this could be the real deal – as in: the big L. The only problem is, her mate says his kind do not love; they protect, they pleasure, and they provide. Can Anna really kiss goodbye to all her plans for the future, and agree to spend the rest of her existence without love?

Publisher’s Note: This steamy paranormal romance, while the third in the Alcyran Chronicles series, can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT:



His nose caught a whiff of sweetness on the breeze. The potency and flavor reminded him of dragonsbane wine. Being surrounded by the foreign stench, his beast wanted to roll around in the familiar scent.

He scrutinized the pavement below.

Then he spotted his prey. The women walked three abreast down a deserted lane, swaying slightly as they trod. He inhaled a giant whiff, needing to be sure. His people needed him to finish this task and succeed. Rhiannon had been correct. Their scent held trace amounts of Clovis blood, mingled with that of the people of this planet. It confused his internal sensors, made him want to call them Clovis—but they were not. They had far too much of Earth inside them. Their Clovis scent was so faint and diluted, if he had not been searching for that in particular, he would have missed it.

He swooped down near the trio. His senses were on high alert. He homed in, soaring near their location. One of the women, a black-haired wench with hair that fell to her waist, glanced skyward, lifting her face toward his position, and emitted an ear-piercing scream.

That face. Even in the dark he could discern her beautiful porcelain features, the arched brows, slim upturned nose and pouty lips that were presently drawn in abject terror. A lightning bolt of energy struck D’Vorak’s system. His wings stretched. His dick woke like a sleeping giant, straining against the confines of his leather britches. His entire being bellowed: mine. That, at long last, he had found his mate.

The urge to rut until his seed emptied into his mate’s sex and his staff became flaccid surged through him. It overrode his every thought. He had to claim her, bind her life force with his and plant his offspring in her belly.

The thought of being with his mate after believing he was doomed to walk alone made his head swim. He was exultant. Desire thundered through his veins. His blood roared.

And then his mate and the other two women sprinted away. D’Vorak snarled. How dare she run from him? She belonged to him, now and until the end of their days. Like they could outrun him.

He shot after them, weaving his great wings between buildings as he flew, speeding closer and closer. He grinned when they took the dead-end with the entrance to the portal. Rhiannon had said the women would be drawn to the magic of the vortex, that their blood would recognize the magic and it would act like a tether, leading them to it. The trap had been executed to perfection.

D’Vorak looked at the woman, his mate. She was a sprite of a thing, lush where it counted, and he felt himself nearly coming out of his skin at the sight. She was his mate, all right. His body and being exhibited all the signs. His feet touched down upon the firm, stone ground. Not breaking his forward momentum, he stalked forward. Voracious need battered his every footstep. He wanted to shake himself. It had been hundreds of years since any of his kind had found their mate. They slaked their lust on their harems full of concubines to quell the rising madness within. Every aspect of his being bellowed that he must take her, bind her to him at once.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. (http://www.maggiemaegallagher.com/) A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

Visit her website here:
www.anyasummers.com

Visit her on social media here:
http://www.facebook.com/AnyaSummersAuthor  
Twitter: @AnyaBSummers https://twitter.com/anyabsummers?lang=en
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15183606.Anya_Summers 
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Anya-Summers/e/B01EGTVRKC/
Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/anya-summers
                        Instagram https://www.instagram.com/anyasummersauthor/
Newsletter https://anyasummers.com/newsletter/

Don’t miss these exciting titles by Anya Summers!

Dungeon Fantasy Club Series

Her Highland Master, Book 1 https://www.amazon.com/Highland-Master-Dungeon-Fantasy-Club-ebook/dp/B01E9UB8SO/

To Master and Defend, Book 2 https://www.amazon.com/Master-Defend-Dungeon-Fantasy-Club-ebook/dp/B01FNG23HI/

Two Doms for Kara, Book 3 https://www.amazon.com/Doms-Kara-Dungeon-Fantasy-Club-ebook/dp/B01GXGOAK0/

His Driven Domme, Book 4 https://www.amazon.com/Driven-Domme-Dungeon-Fantasy-Club-ebook/dp/B01IIUY8Y2

Her Country Master, Book 5  https://goo.gl/YWhLqm

Love Me, Master Me, Book 6  https://goo.gl/QlTE9u

Submit To Me, Book 7  https://goo.gl/Or8pYr

Her Wired Dom, Book 8  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRJY9TF/

Pleasure Island Series

Her Master & Commander, Book 1  https://www.amazon.com/Master-Commander-Pleasure-

Island-Book-ebook/dp/B06Y5SVVB9/

Her Music Masters, Book 2  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711R9D1H/

Their Shy Submissive, Book 3  https://goo.gl/ufyJLn

Her Lawful Master, Book 4  https://www.amazon.com/Lawful-Master-Pleasure-Island-Book-ebook/dp/B073SRDNNT

Her Rockstar Dom, Book 5  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075VSGP8Q

Duets & Dominance, Book 6  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075TG9RYC

Her Undercover Dom, Book 7  https://goo.gl/HKhVba

Ménage In Paradise, Book 8  https://goo.gl/qce2BD

Her Rodeo Masters, Book 9  https://goo.gl/HDZw6v

Cuffs & Spurs Series

His Scandalous Love  https://www.amazon.com/Scandalous-Love-Cuffs-Spurs-Book-ebook/dp/B079GBB57Z

His Unexpected Love  https://www.amazon.com/His-Unexpected-Love-Carter-Beginning-ebook/dp/B07C2NBGLQ

His Wicked Love  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B661RP1

His Untamed Love  https://www.amazon.com/Untamed-Love-Cuffs-Spurs-Book-ebook/dp/B07D9ZDHMH

His Tempting Love  https://www.amazon.com/Tempting-Love-Cuffs-Spurs-Book-ebook/dp/B07HYT1GVQ

His Seductive Love https://www.amazon.com/Seductive-Love-Cuffs-Spurs-Book-ebook/dp/B07KXP3MMF

His Secret Love https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKN5Y2S

His Cherished Love https://www.amazon.com/Cherished-Love-Cuffs-Spurs-Book-ebook/dp/B07SBDTVMV

The Alcyran Chronicles

Taken by the Beast  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYNT21L

Claimed by the Beast https://www.amazon.com/Claimed-Beast-Alcyran-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B07Q3HNP26/

Loved by the Beast https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W3QFLJW/ref=sr_1_1



~~~~~~~~~~~~~


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #65 (16.2)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

A beautiful day in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and the boys have new swim suits and time to kill! Pool time!  See what's going on with everyone in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #65 (16.2) 


The complimentary breakfast was actually pretty good, with an assortment of hot food and cold, including make-your-own waffles and a decent selection of fresh fruit. Everyone enjoyed their fill of the free food as they exchanged the usual banter while they ate. Afterward they decided to change and meet at the pool. Abby had checked the weather forecast and warned them if they waited too long, they were taking a chance on being rained out.

By the time Ben and Ryan got out to the pool, carrying their colorful new beach towels, the members of their group were already there, as well as a few hotel guests. Ryan was reluctant to leave his laptop poolside while they were in the water, but Ben came up with the perfect solution. Since Marge wasn’t interested in swimming, they asked if she’d mind keeping an eye on their stuff, including the laptop, and she cheerfully agreed.

 Ben took Ryan’s hand in his. Ryan noticed he was in great spirits, despite having been awakened in the manner they had, his blue eyes shining.  Not to mention, he looked fantastic in his yellow swim trunks—sexy but not too revealing. “C’mon, let’s get in,” Ben said.

Ryan felt a qualm of guilt, thinking they should spend at least a few minutes with Marge instead of just dumping their items on her and running off. But when he offered, Marge just laughed and shook her head.

“Go on with you, have some fun.” She snorted a laugh. “I remember what it’s like to be young and in love. We’ll have plenty of time to talk afterward.”

 “Thanks, Marge, you’re the best. I do need to get some input from you for the book, too,” he admitted.

“I’m not sure what I can tell you, but you’re welcome to ask me anything. Now, shoo!”

Ben tugged on his hand, and Ryan gave in. The water looked too good not to indulge. Besides, it would have been a shame not to get some use out of the swim trunks Ben had insisted on buying for him, claiming he could write them off as a business expense. He’d found a pair of aqua trunks that appealed to him, somewhat similar to Ben’s. Leaving Marge to her own devices and a cool drink, they found an unoccupied spot in the deep end of the pool and jumped in.

Ryan couldn’t remember the last time he’d had so much fun. They played around in the water, challenging each other to races.  Some of the guests even joined in. Laughter filled the air as everyone enjoyed themselves.  When they’d gone shopping, they’d found a large inflatable raft, big enough to hold two people, and bought it. Now Ryan and Ben floated together, hand in hand, until, after a while, they gave it up so Deacon and Keanu could have a turn.

Ryan thought this would be a good time for him to talk to Marge, see if she needed anything. “Want to come with?” he asked Ben.

“I’m just going to hang out here, I think,” Ben said. “Don’t want to cramp your style.”

Although Ryan protested that would hardly be the case, Ben was adamant, so Ryan kissed him and left him floating near Aiden and Abby. Abby’s coral-colored swimsuit looked great on her. She’d drawn a little attention from some of the guests, but nothing disrespectful.  Nonetheless, Aiden was sticking close to her side, very much in protective twin brother mode.

Marge was sipping on something fruity when Ryan reached her table. “Pull up a chair,” she welcomed him and he complied.

“You guys look so cute together,” she said. “I’m glad he’s got you, Ryan, you know? Now, when they make it big, he won’t have to worry you’re just after him for the the fame or fortune or whatever.”
“I would never—” Ryan began to protest.

“I know, I know.” Marge held up one big hand as if to ward off his arguments. “That’s what I’m saying. You’ve known Ben since you were kids. You’ve loved him for a long time, am I right?”
Ryan nodded. “Yeah, a very long time. I thought I’d lost him when his mother moved them away. And then to suddenly find him again…”

“Sounds like a plot from a romance novel.” Marge’s eyes twinkled. “Maybe you should write it someday.”

Ryan laughed, a little self-consciously. “Let’s see how the book about Salvation does before I worry about other books.”

Marge gave him a sharp look. “Honey, I don’t think it matters about the book as much as he lets on it does. I think it was always about you—about getting back with you.”

Ryan felt his cheeks go warm. “I… I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, I want the book to do well and everything. I know it matters to him. To all of them.”

“But you matter more.” Marge leaned toward him and patted his cheek gently. “Ben’s a very talented young man, and I see great things coming his way. But the greatest of them all will always be you.”

Ryan felt his eyes prickle with tears, his heart swelling at Marge’s words. Everything was so right, life was perfect. He couldn’t ask for anything more. But right now, he needed to focus on what he was doing before he started crying. He busied himself with opening his laptop and pulling up a new document.

“So, how long have you managed Salvation?” he asked.

“It’s been almost a year now, I think. Before they were Salvation, they had this other band called Primary Wisdom. When they disbanded that and formed Salvation, they hired me, and I’ve been with them ever since.”

“Didn’t they have a manager for that other band?”  He wondered why they found a new manager if they had one.

Marge took a long sip of her drink. “Yeah, they did. I never met her, but I heard she’s Ben’s mother.”

to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!






Saturday, August 10, 2019

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 5 by Tite Kubo


Bleach, Vol 5          

Author: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: February 2, 2005
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

When Ichigo first encounters the Quincy, Uryu Ishida, the oblivious Ichigo is totally unaware that Ishida is in his class. In fact, he’s top of the class. But not only is Ishida aware of Ichigo, he knows that the substitute soul reaper is following him home. Ishida challenges Ichigo to a game to decide who is superior—a Quincy or a Soul Reaper. Meanwhile, Rukia has gone to see the shady shopkeeper, Kiskue, to see if he knows anything about a Quincy.

Ishida proposes to draw Hollows to the area and then see who can kill the most, but Ichigo is against this idea, as it will put the people of Karakura in danger. But it’s too late, the heedless Ishida has already dispersed the Hollow bait and they are beginning to converge. Then Ishida drops another bombshell—Hollows are drawn to anyone with any spiritual energy. As Ichigo races toward his home, Ishida thinks they aren’t the only ones close to Ichigo who possess spiritual gifts.

Ichigo sends Kon to retrieve the phone from Rukia, who is still at Uruhara’s store. She suddenly starts to receive Hollow reports, but they end almost as soon as they begin. What’s going on here?  When her phone begins to blow up, she realizes something sinister is going on.

Meanwhile, Chad senses something shimmering and he knows it isn’t good, so he tells his friends to run before he punches it.  He decides to lead the thing, whatever it is, to a vacant lot where he can fight without hurting innocent bystanders. There he encounters Ichigo’s sister, Karin, who is practicing soccer. Oddly, she seems to be able to see the creature that is following Chad, although her teammates cannot. She yells at them to go away. Maybe, if she and Chad team up, they can do something about this creature.

Chizuru and Tatsuki constantly vie for Orihime’s attention, and Chizuru makes no bones about her attraction to her. Suddenly Orihime announces she wants to hurry home to watch a TV show, but the truth is she’s seen something on top of the school building and is trying to get her friends to safety. This doesn’t work, to her dismay, and she finds herself facing the strange creature. But she is about to discover powers she was unaware she possessed.

In this volume of Bleach, we are getting a better grasp of who’s who in this world, and their growing importance to Ichigo and the story. Bleach is full of hilarious moments, and this volume is no exception. I love Kubo’s sense of humor, as well as the diversity of his characters. There is a lot of action as the people Ichigo cares about find themselves in peril. Although I do prefer watching the action scenes in the anime, they are still fund to look at in the books.

Another great volume, looking forward to more of the same.