Touches is a collection of four contemporary gay romance short stories following the same cast of characters. They can be read in any order, but to better immerse yourself in the characters’ lives, reading them in order is advised.
Sometimes a single touch is enough to change everything. Physical or emotional, a touch can tilt the world on its axis and shift your entire life. It can lead to hell, or it can lead to paradise, but things will never be the same…
A TOUCH GLAMOUR
Tudor has big plans for New York City.
Ditch his homophobic colleague. See a musical. Definitely check out the go-go boys.
Meeting one Phantom on Grindr wasn’t in the script.
Tudor gets caught up in a whirlwind when his favorite musical character steps off the stage and into his life.
A TOUCH OF PARADISE
Hauled to work in Hawaii, Tudor has little time to enjoy the island paradise.
His obnoxious friend Radu has it much easier, using his free time to set Tudor up, dangling a willing Hawaiian beauty in front of him.
Having been burned by long-distance relationships before, Tudor stubbornly resists Kahoni’s advances.
But can Tudor be worn down enough to enjoy a touch of paradise?
A TOUCH OF KINK
A moody and angry Tudor follows his friend, Radu, to the airport to pick up a client.
Despite Radu’s efforts, he’s still sulking over his boyfriend, Kahoni, not being able to fly over for his birthday.
But the airport only opens up the door to a stream of steamy surprises for Tudor. Will his mood improve?
A TOUCH OF GAY
Radu has always joked with Tudor about his friend’s gay rubbing off on him. Neither of them has taken that joke seriously until Radu’s meltdown and crazy confession: Radu thinks he might be gay.
Despite Radu’s insistence that Tudor’s gayness has helped him figure out his own, there’s more to that story of discovery. Charismatic, sexy, and all around amazing Marius, the man Radu has been crushing on for months, pushed the loud-mouth, offensive Radu into exploring who he truly is.
Figuring out he wasn’t all that straight is the easy part. Getting enough courage to talk to Marius, that’s a whole different challenge, as Radu seems to turn into a stuttering idiot around Marius. Will Radu learn to be confident enough to pursue Marius? Or will Marius act faster and challenge the confused Radu too soon?
With a noncommittal grunt, Tudor turned around and walked toward the door. Radu could follow or not, he didn’t much care. He went straight to the reception area and asked if there was a place to eat nearby. They were exactly five minutes from Times Square, so he expected fancy, expensive, and not necessarily the best food ever. The guy at reception was their first guardian angel in this city and told them about a nice little diner down the street from the hotel. Tudor moaned his approval and saw the teen swoon a little. He thanked him with an unnecessarily wide grin, just to make him feel good about himself and headed through the door.
“So we’re eating greasy diner food?”
“Radu, most of your lunches at work are either KFC or McDonalds. Don’t tell me you’re suddenly worried about your health and what goes into your mouth.”
“Well, no, but I’d expected you to be… you know?”
“Be what?” Tudor said, stopping in his tracks and shoving his hands into his jeans’ pockets.
“You know!” Radu insisted, a sleazy grin twisting his face. “All about health and your looks.”
Tudor chuckled and shrugged, then continued toward the diner he could now see. He licked his lips in anticipation—diner food was one of his many, many very guilty pleasures—feeling a tingle of delight in his gut. On his last trip to the US, he’d eaten every meal of every day in a diner, until he was so sick of the stuff that he needed a break. A short one, half a day, to be exact, and then he’d started it all over again until he went back home.
“No, seriously. I did not expect you to eat anything that was not healthy and tasteless,” Radu whined as they were shown to a booth in the rather large diner.
“That’s because you have misconceptions about a lot of things,” Tudor hissed through his teeth. “Healthy food does not mean tasteless. It just means healthy. And while I do work out a lot and generally take care of myself, I pretty much eat anything. I just don’t indulge often in all the crap you gulp down every day.”
“Is that because the boys wouldn’t want you anymore?” Radu asked, grinning wolfishly, as if he’d finally gotten an official come-out speech. For a second, Tudor worried if they had some sort of betting game at work, something like how many days it would take for him to either come out or kill Radu. Then he realized they surely did, most likely on both counts.
“Well, I do enjoy being attractive, it makes it easier to get whoever I want into my bed. That’s not the only reason why I prefer healthy food though. I’d been on the school’s volleyball team throughout high school and have been taking karate lessons since secondary school. I just got used to eating like that.”
“So you’re a black belt and can kill me with your fork or something?”
“I don’t need any weapon to kill you, Radu,” Tudor said, lowering his voice and smiling sweetly at him. He was delighted to see Radu’s eyes pop out and his breath hitching. Yeah, fucker, you should be afraid.
About the author
Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and even won awards in local competitions. She has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm, which explains her deep love for vampires and is also to blame for this trilogy.
Site & Blog: http://alina-popescu.com
Title: Two Weeks to Life
Series: Fated Soulmates
Author: John Charles
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: March 15, 2017
After thirty years on the force, Detective Carl Bellwin thought he’d seen it all. He had developed a protective shield around himself, keeping the rape, murder, drugs, and other crimes compartmentalized and away from his emotions. He didn’t have time to date, didn’t have time to socialize, and didn’t have time for hobbies. The force was his life, but his protective shield was crumbling.
An innocent girl was missing. Her single mother grieved, wondering if she would be planning a funeral. The seedy part of Clarkesburgh had become the hunting ground for a gang that kidnapped teens off the street, forced retailers to launder money and sell their drugs, and victimized anyone who stood in their way. Carl, at whits end, had no leads.
Elijah Quinta traded one high stress job for another. Purchasing a bankrupt Inn and developing it into a five star resort became more than his full time job: The Bliss Inn became his life. Though he tried, anyone he dated accused him of having a mistress. They were right; he was married to the inn.
Carl never thought attending his nephew’s wedding would change his life. For the first time, he realized what he was missing. Everything he thought was important faded into the background. When he met Elijah, Carl’s life took on a new meaning.
Could he turn Two Weeks To Life? Could he let go of the only world he had ever known?
Larry Thomas aka John Charles spent his youth struggling with reading. Not until his late teens did he discover the cause - dyslexia. Only then, with guidance and professional help, did he learn to read. From that point forward, he discovered his love for the printed word.
Ironically, as a father reading to his children his desire to write was born. Reading to his children was a nightly ritual. "I wanted them to fall in love with books."
Writing was always part of his professional career, but not until he retired did he move from creating marketing and technical materials to writing novels. Now, as a full-time author, Larry writes Romance / Mystery / Thrillers using the pseudonym John Charles.
His books can be found on Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.
TimeLabs Inc is a collection of six science fiction short stories, all with a romantic theme. Now available for purchase on Amazon for 99c! Enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.
“Welcome, Mr Reese and Mr Connor... I trust your special day was all that it was cracked up to be? And what better way to compliment your union than with a honeymoon across time, eh? We here at TimeLabs are the premier time travel company and our guides are highly trained. Anything you want, anywhere you want to go... The possibilities are very nearly endless...”
Sam and Zak take a Time Tour for their honeymoon, visiting some of the events through time which have captured their interest, including the very first Olympics. A five-star time machine for transport, luxury meals, fine wines—what could be more perfect? TimeLabs Inc.
Tom loved his master, his job and the wonderful society he lived in—until one day, somebody hacked his tattoo and his world changed forever. Tattoo
Kel meets his first alien and falls in love with her. Except... Alien Love Story
Evan and Joey step through a door and find themselves in a whole new world where mythical creatures are as real as they are. Love Spider
General Parker Rodriguez didn't believe for one second in the existence of flying saucers with little green men conducting random probes, but he still knew that Aliens were out there. And when they came, he would be ready. E-Contact
And My Day At The Beach
Purchase from Amazon here.
Gay Sci-Fi. Not explicit. Suitable for both teens and adults.
About the Author
After thirty years of working with the unemployed, coping with threats, tears and broken lives (and these were only from fellow staff), LV Lloyd decided it was time to make her escape. And what better place to go than the world of m/m romance? She started writing Dangerous Tension, her first ebook in the Aurigan Space Saga, years ago, but put it aside due to work and family commitments.
In 2012, she dusted off the foolscap pages stored under her bed, finished the story and turned it into a book. Since then, she has written five more ebooks in the Aurigan Space Saga series, and numerous short stories. Her latest work, Gothic Romance is a venture into a new genre, Historical Romance.
LV Lloyd lives in Adelaide, Australia, with her family and two cats. In her spare time she enjoys fishing and visiting the many local wineries.
You can visit her at www.lvlloyd.com
Title: Step by Step
Author: K.C. Wells
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Jamie’s life is one big financial mess, and it really isn’t his fault. However, the last thing he expected to find in the library was a Good Samaritan. He might have been suspicious of Guy’s motives at first, but it soon becomes apparent that his savior is a good man who has been lucky in life and is looking to pay it forward. Guy being gay is not a problem. Jamie’s not interested… or so he thinks.
Guy is happy to help Jamie, and the two men get along fine. But when Jamie’s curiosity leads him from one thing to another, Guy finds himself looking at the young man with new eyes. What started out as a hand up is now something completely different….
K.C. Wells started writing in 2012, although the idea of writing a novel had been in her head since she was a child. But after reading that first gay romance in 2009, she was hooked.
She now writes full time, and the line of men in her head, clamouring to tell their story, is getting longer and longer. If the frequent visits by plot bunnies are anything to go by, that’s not about to change anytime soon.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
I can tell you I’m pretty boring; I live in rural Maine, work from home, and love to travel, read, and gardening. The most exciting thing in my life is what goes on in the movies inside my head.
Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
Ardent is the story of two young artists in Renaissance Florence falling in love and solving a murder. I’ve always thought the artists’ workshops during the time of the Medici would be an interesting place for fiction—the setting anyway, has been on the back burner for years.
Do you have any genres you prefer reading, and if so what are they? What book are you reading at the moment? What other novels do you adore/ writers you follow? Do you have a favourite genre that you like to write in? What book do you wish that you had written?
You know, I’ve never written anything Regency or Victorian, yet I absolutely love to read fiction set during those periods in history. I love the 18th century, too. A few months ago, I picked up the first book in a series that had been on my mind for a long while, Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson. Good Lord, it was excellent, a labyrinthine murder mystery in Georgian England with two sleuths of totally opposite temperaments, except when it comes to murder. I whipped through the series, then the standalone, The Paris Winter. Then on to the excellent Julian Kestral Regency mysteries series by Kate Moss, who sadly died of breast cancer after the fourth book. I just finished the second book of the old Captain Lacey series by Ashley Gardner, and finished the first of Deanna Raybourn’s new series. I’m smack dab in the middle of the Sebastian St. Cyr series by CS Harris, and I’m trying to pace myself. I’m waiting on more KJ Charles and Cat Sebastian, but I also have to poke around some more to find that exquisite balance of strong and sophisticated writing, labyrinthine plotting, vivid setting, and romance, whether it’s the plot or subplot.
What are your writing and personal goals for 2017 and beyond?
This year is meant to be a year of change for me, both writing and personally. Recently, I came to the decision to write more of what I deeply love, which actually isn’t Romance. I love historical mysteries and a couple of ideas sitting on the back burner have pushed their way forward, demanding to be heard. I’ve got an idea for a Reconstruction America mystery series, and I’d love to try my hand at something Victorian or Regency, either mystery or Romance.
And I need to eat better and get stronger—too much sitting behind the computer and not enough exercise. I have to actually do it this year and not give up.
What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
Right now I’m working on a story for Thianna Durstan’s brainchild the Knights of the Black Order, a multiauthor shared universe story from Dreamspinner Press. The novel is called William, but this is Hector’s, the love interest, point of view:
Modern day, Brazil
The emerald carpet of the rainforest below Hector appeared endless, the sky spotless blue. From the plane window, the landscape filled his mind, pushing out his worrying thoughts. He glanced down at the sinuous Amazon River snaking through the land below. The unbeatable view was worth the case of nerves he’d nursed all week.
It wasn’t just the view and hurtling in a metal tube across the sky distracting him from the open botanical journal on his lap. He closed it with a snap and shoved it into the pocket of the seat in front of him. He rummaged around in his messenger bag and pulled out the folder with the notes for the paper he was going to present at the conference tomorrow. He’d spent the past year interviewing a noted ethnobotanist, now retired, and helped him write his memoirs. A trained tropical botanist himself, he’d written an introduction for the memoir and been asked to present it at the conference. As he settled down to re-read it for the zillionth time, the airplane coughed, as if they had gone over a speed bump in mid-air. He and his fellow passengers shouted in fear, and a babble of languages filled the small cabin.
The two flight attendants raised their voices to reassure the passengers that all was well, but an acrid stench began to seep into the air. Smoke billowed out from the right wing, obscuring Hector’s view.
“Christ!” He pulled the strap of the messenger bag over his head, adjusting it on his shoulder in case they had to evacuate.
The world blew apart.
Pain woke him—from head to toe he ached, but the more brutal ache in his head shrieked at him, and he opened his eyes. Wetness blurred his vision, and he rubbed his palm across his face. Blood. He fingered the deep gash on the side of his head, wincing. Buzzing insects had been feasting on him. In a panic of loathing, he pulled a bandana from his pocket and covered his head so nothing could lay eggs in the wound.
Gradually his awareness returned. The emerald of the rainforest he’d been flying above was now a hundred shades of green suffused with a low amber light. The hush, as if the forest held its breath, confused him. What happened? Why was he here and alone?
He looked down and found he was still strapped to his airplane seat, the messenger bag caught in the belt. Some scattered debris surrounded him—likely what had hit him in the head.
“Oh, fuck,” he whispered as he disengaged the buckle. “Hello!” His voice was hoarse. He needed water—he cleared his throat and spat. “Hello!”
A sleepy-sounding bird answered.
The forest was too quiet, as if in the aftermath of something big. The scent of burning hung in the air. The plane falling from the sky likely had frightened away the inhabitants, if not outright killed them. He had to find out if there were other survivors—maybe they needed help. Hector stood and stepped away from the broken seat. He gazed down on it. Someone had been sitting next to him, in front of him, and behind him. Trembling, he looked up.
Fell out of the fucking plane and still alive.
A weird hysteria gripped him, and he laughed wildly until the tears came. He sat again, rocking back and forth, chanting, “Ohshitohshit,” until he calmed.
Author: Heloise West
Publisher: Manifold Press
Release Date: February 1st 2017
Genre: Historical MM Romantic Suspense
In the village of Torrenta, master painter Morello has created a color that mimics the most expensive pigment of all, the crimson red. Master Zeno, from strife-ridden Medici Florence, tells him the color gives him a competitive advantage – but Morello must be careful. Fraud is ever-present in the dye and pigment markets.
As they work together in Torrenta, Morello falls hard for Zeno’s assistant, Benedetto Tagliaferro, a young man of uncommon beauty and intelligence. Benedetto is still fixed on his old lover, the master painter Leo Guisculo, and cannot return Morello’s affections.
But when Leo dies in a terrible accident, it’s to Morello that Zeno and Benedetto turn for help. And Morello soon finds that in Florence, every surface hides layers of intrigue.
Find Ardent on Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Manifold Press | Kobo
The village of Torrenta, Tuscany, June 1475
The sun thrust warm fingers into the ancient Tuscan earth. The gray-green leaves of the olive trees shimmered, and the woods beyond beckoned Morello to abandon the painters’ workshop for their cool refuge.
In the growing heat the apprentices inside settled into an afternoon nap, curled on benches in dark corners behind him. The harsh fumes of linseed oil and varnish had irritated Morello all morning, and he was unable to sleep in the miasma. Perhaps before their visitors from Florence arrived, he might escape the heat. A long tramp in the woods pulled at his bones.
He reached for the walking stick behind the door, but a horse’s whinny stopped him, and a man’s voice called out. When no one stirred within to answer, he cursed the sleepers and stomped back through the shop, thwarted. In the lane in front of the workshop, two men removed packs from their horses.
“Good day, Master Zeno!” From the doorway, Morello called to the older of the two. “You made good time!”
At the sound of Morello’s voice, the apprentices roused themselves from sleep and peered around him.
The gray-haired master raised his hand and smiled. “Good day, Master Morello.”
Master Zeno’s companion, a tall young man with flowing golden hair, took the older man’s pack for him and shouldered the straps of both.
“Take their horses to the stable and fetch Master Franco,” Morello ordered the apprentices, and they hurried to obey.
Master Zeno’s journeyman brushed dust from the sleeve of his sweat-stained linen shirt, slapped more dust from his long thighs, and ran a forearm across his brow. His smile was uncertain as his glance met Morello’s.
Donato stood at the window yawning and scratching his stomach. He shaded his eyes for a better look into the misty glare of the afternoon. “Who’s the beauty with the master?”
Donato’s fellow journeyman Primo jumped to his feet and crowded against Morello in the doorway. “Can it be? He’s brought Tagliaferro?”
Donato groaned. “The man you’ve been mooning about since you last went to Florence, Primo? You’ve only just finally shut up about him.”
Morello ignored them. His irritation over his interrupted walk had vanished. Primo’s garlic- and onion-laden breath on his neck registered only remotely. He gazed out at the man from Florence, who, in Morello’s memory, had once been a long-legged boy with a head of yellow fluff too big for his skinny body. Morello stepped out into the sunlight that appeared to pour itself over the grown man, and stretched out his hand in greeting. Maintaining frank eye contact, Benedetto Tagliaferro adjusted the packs and took his hand.
When flesh met flesh, Morello stumbled – at least, his heart did. As if the wind from the beating wings of the love-inspiring putti he had painted just that morning pushed them toward each other.
“Do you remember me?” Benedetto asked with the shadow of that boy’s grin.
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About the Author
Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mayhem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance of all flavors. She travels and gardens with her partner of thirteen years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.
Links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Goodreads
Come join the The Romance Reviews Year End Splash Party 1-31 March! Play games, join the fun and win prizes. Don't forget to register so you can play the game. It's free and easy.
I'm giving away an ebook copy of Cat's Quill today. Go here to enter, and in to win - the next book in the series is out later this year!
This snippet comes from Comes a Horseman, book 3 of my WWII Echoes Rising series, which is being published by DSPP Publications later this year. I’ve gone for something a bit lighter this week as the last few were angsty.
He shuddered. “I still have nightmares about my parachute not opening, and I swear that experience is the cause of all my gray hairs.”
“You don’t have any gray hairs.” Ken rolled his eyes, but had enough sense not to be looking at Liang when he did it. “And no, I don’t want to look for them. Thanks for the offer anyway.”
Br0th3rly, book one in #gay #romance series Famous on the Internet, by Alina Popescu is FREE for five days on Amazon.
This spring promotion is valid from March 1 to March 5 so grab your copy right now http://amzn.to/2laYs9K
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Tristan’s love life has one simple rule: his brother, Trevor, is off limits.
To fight his relentless love for Trevor, Tristan left for college at sixteen. A new city, building a new life for himself, and making new friends weren’t enough to give up what he considers sick, twisted feelings. Tristan even started an anonymous blog to cope with his love for his older brother. It made him famous on the Internet, but it wasn’t enough to get over his obsession.
Every time he goes home, a quick glance at Trevor brings it all flooding back.
When commitment-phobe Trevor introduces his serious boyfriend on one of Tristan’s rare visits home, things get a whole lot more complicated for the adoring kid brother. How far can Tristan run this time before he runs out of places to hide from his feelings?
Disclaimer: the main characters in the story are not blood relatives, the two boys were only raised as siblings.
When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
When I was 8 or 9. And pretty much right away. I remember writing the first page of a new story in 11th grade and taking it to my English teacher, confident she would shower me with praise.
She read it, looked up at me with a little smile, and said “It’s a good start.”
Talk about damning with faint praise. :)
When did you start feeling at ease interacting with fans?
Um, when I start getting some? * grin * No, I do have a few, and I love them. They’re just people, after all. And for some strange reason, they’ve decided to like my work – as they say, there’s no accounting for tastes. :P
Where do you as an author draw the line on erotic content?
I’ve always believed that sex in a story should be there to further the plot. If it doesn’t, it’s out. And I tend to be a fade-to-black writer, not because I’m a prude, but because graphic sex scenes don’t usually forward the story I am telling.
That said, it also depends on the audience. If I am writing more on the romance side, sure, there may be some (short) sex scenes. More on the sci fi side? There may be no sex at all.
Where do you like to write?
It varies. Most of the time, either at my desk, or if I need fewer distractions, in the bedroom, hanging out in bed. But I also sometimes go to Peets Coffee with Mark where I write and he beta reads. It’s nice to get out of the house sometimes.
Would you visit the future or the past?
The future. I’ve always been a bit annoyed that we only get a hundred years or so (maybe less) to be a part of the story. I want to see what comes next. I tell Mark I want to live forever, and he shakes his head, muttering something about old age and disease. But I do. I wanna see where we go from here.
My new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines my love of sci fi and secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Authors: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Length: 85K, 244 pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 2/17/17
Genres: sci fi, mm romance, gay sci fi
Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.
Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.
Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.
Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.
Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.
His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.
The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.
A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….
He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.
Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.
The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.
For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.
When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.
“You’re still here.”
“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.
Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.
The man frowned. “I thought—”
“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”
The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.
I really have become a bastard, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.
He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”
Dreamspinner - eBook: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/b
Dreamspinner - paperback: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/b
Amazon - kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Skythane-J-S
Amazon - paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Skythane-J-Coats
Barnes & Noble – paperback: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/skythan
Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.
Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him "the only one stopping you from writing is you."
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories - some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.
I love science fiction and have been reading it for years, and I think Skythane is a great addition to the genre.
The world building is detailed, not just with the descriptions of the world, but in its rich history. I felt as though I was stepping into a fully formed world when I began reading. The world is also a complex one, with Oberon’s inhabitants consisting of its original colonists who evolved into the Skythane, those who came afterward, and a hint of at least one race which is very definitely other. As the story progresses, the world building expands still further as an impending disaster reveals a secret only known to a few. I enjoyed this part of the plot, and that the story was far more than the heroes getting together, overthrowing bad guys and getting their HEA. Reading Skythane reminded me of peeling an onion—each layer reveals more depth, both to the story and the characters.
Kudos to the author for his naming of planets—nicely done and very apt, especially considering what happens. The hints from Midsummer Night’s Dream made me smile, and then nod with an exclaimed ‘of course!’ when the [sorry, spoiler] is revealed.
Although I always appreciate good world building, what really sucks me into a story is its characters. I became invested in Jameson and Xander very quickly, and not just because I wanted them to get together, but because I loved the way they grew and developed in the course of the story. I liked the way the author showed the metamorphosis into fully fledged Skythane and that it wasn’t just about sprouting wings and instantly gaining full control of them and being able to fly. Having to learn how to use them, and grow into the ability quite literally, and the physical issues that came with that, was very realistically written.
I also enjoy reading about strong female characters in my MM books, and Quince had her own detailed back story, difficult decisions to make, and nicely segued from past to present, providing the links between the two. Morgan was also a very interesting character, and although I would have liked to have seen more of him I thought the explanation worked well. Given his role in the story, suddenly having an information dump, or everything revealed, rather than have the other characters figure out who, and what, they think he is would have taken away from why he was there. Heroes can’t know everything with certainty or they get boring really fast, and these guys still have a long road ahead of them. Although Skythane gives them a satisfying HFN, and brings this part of the story to a close, it is far from over, and I really hope there will be a book 2 as I definitely want to read it.
I’d recommend Skythane to readers who like science fiction with complex plots and world building, engaging three dimensional characters, and a story that is difficult to put down. 5 out of 5 stars.