Kimberly Reviews: Next Time I Fall by Jeff Erno

Title: Next Time I Fall

Author: Jeff Erno

Publisher: Ai Press

Pages: 162

Characters: Eric, Steve, Drake, Felix

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary

Kisses: 4 

Blurb:

Eric Daniels has a habit of falling for unattainable men. For the past two years he’s pined for a man younger than him who has no interest in a relationship and just wants to use him. When Eric suddenly finds himself alone and again jilted, he swears it will never happen again. Then he meets Steve. Steve Warren has recently started his job as associate pastor of the local Baptist church. While canvassing the neighborhood to promote the church’s vacation Bible school program, he encounters a man who sticks in his memory. Though he doesn’t catch his name, he recalls the man’s black Labrador retriever, Drake.

Steve has a dog of his own, a boxer named Felix. And when they bump into each other again, not only do the dogs hit it off, but so do the humans. A friendship begins. Steve suddenly finds himself facing the harshest reality he’s ever endured. He’s been aware of his attraction to men for a long time, but his religion teaches homosexuality is an abomination. How can he reconcile his feelings for Eric with his faith? If he comes out as gay, what will it do to his career, his family, and his church? But he can’t go on forever using his religion as a shield to hide behind. Living a lie is bearing false witness, so he must find a way to be true to his faith while following his heart. Is there any way to move forward without hurting a lot of people he loves? 

Review:

I am a fan of stories involving men falling in love, especially when they have to overcome adversity, and it’s an extra bonus if they have pets that strike up a quick friendship. And that means Next Time I Fall hit all my buttons! Erno provides us with a storyline that makes the reader consider what defines us and how to be true to oneself.

Both Eric and Steve were portrayed realistically, with all the baggage that comes along with life. While Eric’s struggles were a bit simpler, balancing the sure-thing ex-roommate with the forever-love that he has building with Steve, the preacher has a whole lot more on his plate as he comes to terms with who he is and who he loves. I appreciated how Erno approached the issues of strict religious ideals with the various interpretations different churches have with doctrine. And what surprised me a little was the way Steve’s parents reacted to his coming out, or more specifically who supported him and who took a bit longer to come around. But in the end Steve was true to himself and that’s what mattered.

The ongoing storyline with Luke was quite good and helped reflect what Steve must have been going through during that time in his life. I liked that Steve was able to guide Luke and help him find acceptance, rather than leaving him to deal with the condemnation that the original church might have brought upon him. It’s okay to be gay, and the sooner a child can find that acceptance, the better off he or she will be.

For me, the only drawback to the novel was that the POV wandered between Eric and Steve, and sometimes even jumped over to a secondary character for a brief bit. While I could follow it, and the changes did happen on section breaks, I do tend to prefer sticking with a single POV in stories. But that’s a personal preference on my part and doesn’t detract from the overall writing or plot that Erno provided us.

So, if you’re looking for some self-reflection, a bit of falling in love, and two pups who are fast friends, you should pick up a copy of Next Time I Fall. And I will await the next release by Jeff Erno. 

Reviewed By: Kimberly

Click HERE to purchase Next Time I Fall by Jeff Erno

Kimberly Reviews: Loose Ends by Jeff Erno

Title: Loose Ends

Author: Jeff Erno

Publisher: Ai Press

Pages: 183

Characters: Tucker, Ivan, Jaydin

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary

Kisses: 4 

Blurb:

Homicide detective Tucker Brown hasn’t always made the right decisions, but one thing about his life he’ll never regret is his son Jaydin. While at the hospital for his four-year-old’s tonsillectomy, he encounters Jaydin’s nurse, Ivan Ramsey. Tucker is taken aback, however, when he discovers he’s been assigned to investigate the potential murder of Ivan’s mother.

Ivan Ramsey is a pediatric nurse, and he loves his job more than life. Raised in a devoutly religious family, he’s not yet out to a lot of people, but on the very night he chooses to come out to his mother, she dies tragically in a house fire. Devastated by the news, Ivan all but falls to pieces, and to make matters worse, a cocky, know-it-all police detective shows up asking nosy questions. The cop implies his mother’s death might not have been an accident and even infers a family member might be responsible.

Tucker and Ivan at first clash. Their strikingly different personalities are oil and water, but soon they begin to work together to determine the real cause of Ivan’s mother’s death. In the process, sparks begin to fly and a romance ignites. Ivan falls hard, not only for the sexy detective but also his adorable son. Tucker, equally smitten, has made some discoveries he can’t yet reveal to his lover. There are so many loose ends and unanswered questions for both of them, and when the truth finally comes out, it just might tear them apart. 

Review:

I have long been a fan of Jeff Erno’s works, as well as kid-fics, so Loose Ends was right up my alley. Combining a budding romance with a criminal investigation made for an exciting and satisfying journey as we saw the main characters go from bristling to kissing. And I’m left wondering where Tucker and Ivan will go next.

The characters in this novel, from the main to the secondary, were all fleshed out very well and presented as three-dimensional people with flaws and all. I like when an author achieves that in their writing, because it makes it all the more real and allows me to align with the characters better. And because the POV switches between characters, which initially I was not a fan of, we get an inside look at what they’re feeling and thinking as they navigate this wild adventure.

We saw how Ivan and Tucker’s backgrounds were different in the way they dealt with their sexuality, and also how misconceptions between the two of them might have cost them a relationship before they even got started. Ivan doesn’t like gay men who hide their sexuality and marry women as a cover, which he seems to assume Tucker did. But, as Tucker explains, he wasn’t using his best friend-turned-wife as a cover, since he hadn’t been true to himself at that point either. Tucker’s ex-wife and his son also played a nice role in welcoming this new love into their family dynamic, which I enjoyed. No need for romantic drama when there was plenty of legal drama in play.

I appreciated that Tucker had to balance his emerging relationship with Ivan against his duty as a police officer, investigating the murder of Ivan’s mom. The mystery was a bit easy to solve from the reader’s point of view, but Erno managed to show how the case evolved with all the clues being put into place. Admittedly, Tucker sometimes blurred the lines just a bit and did things that weren’t strictly unbiased because of his love for Ivan, but in the end he managed to solve the case and get the guy. I’d say that’s a win-win all around.

If you’re looking for a feel-good story with a bit of mystery, this is the book for you. 

Reviewed By: Kimberly

Click HERE to purchase Loose Ends by Jeff Erno

Lydia reviews: Surviving Elite High: The Next Generation by John H Ames

31931520Title: Surviving Elite High: The Next Generation

Publisher:  Ai-Press

Author: John H Ames

Pages: 184

Kisses: 5++

 

 

 

Blurb:

Seventeen year old, blond-hair, blue-eyed and adorable Robbie Carroll, orphaned at a young age and mysteriously never adopted, has finally found his dream family. Nick Hawking and John Ames, now married, wealthy, and powerful, make Robbie their son, defying the young man’s past- one that Robbie himself has no memory of- that has scared all other prospective parents away. Now, Robbie has great parents and a hot brother, Nicky and beautiful sister, Lily, who take him into their midst and make him part of their tight circle of friends who all go to Elite High.

 

One of those friends is Tim Mercer, a gorgeous football player at Elite High. Tim’s dark looks and simmering eyes capture Robbie’s heart at first sight. But Robbie can’t be sure that Tim feels the same way, or even if he’s gay too. Moreover, even if Tim is available, there are some people around him who don’t want Robbie to get close to him, and will go to ANY lengths to keep him away. Why? What do they want with Tim? What is the secret that Tim is harboring? And who is that strange man in Robbie’s visions, who haunts his life and his dreams? Find out here!

 

Review:

Have you ever wondered what happens to  Nick and John, or the rest of the gang we met in book one of the Surviving Elite High series?  If you have then you really need to  pick up this newest addition to the series.

The book starts out by introducing Robbie, a young boy who has spent most of his time in a group home for unwanted boys.  Theres a bit of mystery surrounding Robbie, one that causes perspective parent to run the other way.  Luckily Allison, his case worker, has finally found the perfect home for him.  Soon Robbie finds himself in a home with loving fathers, Nick and John, older sister Lily, and brother Nicky.  He’s a little nervous but his new family goes out of their way to make him feel wanted and loved.  However, while Robbie is trying to settle in he’s also having flashback’s that terrify him.

The author really pulls you back into the world he created with this new story and in no time i found myself feeling for Robbie.  I wanted to hug him when he found himself crushing on his new brother, and when he started to wonder about Tim, i found myself holding my breath wondering what was happening.

Tim is the son of Johnny Mercer, who fans will remember being Nick’s biggest football rival.  Now a days the two are friends and Johnny’s son attends Elite High with everyone else.  Like his dad was, Tim is a BMOC with the perfect girlfriend.  Only things aren’t what they seem and the relationship is slowly tearing Tim apart.  When he finally has enough and leaves his girlfriend for Robbie, things spiral completely out of control.

Tim and Robbie take their time with the new relationship they find themselves in.  See how much Tim cares for Robbie is really something and it is easy to see that this relationship has the earmarks of becoming a forever love like Nick and John’s.

I love how the author was able to bring back former characters in a way that is believable, allowing fans to catch up on all their favorites.  I also like that the author continues to show the teens in a realistic fashion, instead of them being overly perfect.  That Nicky becomes a bit of an ass during the story, and is properly punished for his actions is a refreshing change from what we normally see.

Through everything that is going on in this story, the mystery surrounding Robbie’s parents and their death gets lost in the shuffle.  I can’t what to see how this is resolved and from the glimpse we got in Surviving Elite High: Next Generation, I am a little worried as to what Robbie went through.

Those new to this series need to know that the books must be read in order. 

Reviewer: Lydia

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Submission call: high quality m/m romances in all subgenres and lengths. A short synopsis including story to the end as well as heat/ kink level explanation and first chapter welcome. Email to sedonia.guillone@gmail.com. Terms: Monthly payments of 50% e-book (including webstore and all resellers) and 10% trade paperback, NO options clause in contract. Compassionate business philosophy. If you would like to see the webstore: http://www.ai-press.net

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Forever Fearless by Jeff Erno


Title: Forever Fearless
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Ai Press
Pages: 157
Genre: Gay/ Paranormal
Kisses: 5



Blurb:

The Forever Vampire saga continues…

In the aftermath of unspeakable slaughter, Robbie and Colt have escaped to the wilds of Alaska to face their immortal future. Things aren’t so certain for their sworn enemies, Dylan and Issa, Matarian soldiers sworn to hunt them down and slaughter them.

Dylan is poised to begin his first vampire hunt and wants Issa as his partner, but Issa is far more concerned with finding his brother and tracking down the blond boy who nearly died on the battlefield. The entire cast from book one reunites in this thrilling continuation of their story, joined by a host of new faces–friends and foes–whose lives somehow weave together as they cross paths in their efforts to battle evil and attain their own happiness. Humans, Shifters, Daywalkers, and Purebloods confront each other with the guidance of three enigmatic sisters–one a Maenad, one a necromancer, and the other a human witch. Plot twists and surprises mark the paths of these diverse characters, forever fearless in their quest to cling to all they hold dear.

Review:

If you have read Forever Young and was shocked as I was by the ending, you will get your answers from this sequel.

Forever Fearless begins at the ending of the first book and yes it is a jaw dropping, page turning good book!

Mr. Erno has written this story from several POV’s and it works, because this story has so many sides to be told. The Matarian’s want revenge for the innocents killed. The Wolves want revenge for the wolf killed, and the day walkers just want to love their mates and the pure blood Raoul just wants Shadi’s brother Issa.

The plot is well thought out and the time was taken to tell where everyone stood in this spectacular story. Jeff Erno is a great story teller, and these two paranormal stories are two of his best!

I highly recommend Forever Young and Forever Fearless and I will be keeping my fingers crossed that we will be seeing more of this series.

Reviewed by: Cheryl

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Forever Young by Jeff Erno


Title: Forever Young
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: AI Press
Pages: 158
Characters: Robbie, Colt
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: M/M, Vampire, Shifter
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

In less than a summer, shy and introverted Robbie Myers goes from eighteen and never been kissed to the passionate intensity of first love that could last forever. Literally…

Eighteen-year-old Robbie Myers has difficulty talking to people. Not only is he shy, but he seems to say the wrong thing every time he opens his mouth, especially to the mysterious, handsome stranger who shows up at his supermarket job, defends him from an aggressive colleague and then asks him on a date. He can’t believe a hot, worldly badboy like seventeen-year-old Colt Abernathy is actually interested. Yet he can’t deny that the ardor burning in Colt’s dark eyes is just for him. In the space of one breath, Robbie is launched from his plan to attend community college while living at home with his mom and saving up for a car to the tender yet passionate exploration of intense first love. Little does Robbie know…

Brought across during the height of the Civil War, Colt has remained trapped in the body of a lonely seventeen year old. When he spots the slim, blond-haired, blue eyed young man, pushing a line of shopping carts across a parking lot, Colt knows instantly they’re destined for each other. There’s just one major problem: if he survives the impending battle between vampires and the Matarians – an army of brutal vampire slayers – he’s going to live forever. Robbie isn’t…

Review:

Jeff Erno has created a story that I was pulled into and immersed in from the first line. Robbie is so painfully shy that you hurt for this young man. His mother is very loving and so over- protective you can’t help to care for her but cringe at the same time.

Colt looks to be young but has a self confidence about him that speaks of maturity beyond his years. I love these two as a couple and seeing Robbie coming out of his shell with the attention Colt lavishes him with. I grew to care for Colt’s father (maker) Richard and his husband Brendan, who truly love each other.

When Brendan disappears and trouble visits Richard’s home, they have to flee, taking Robbie with them, and try to find Brendan. We meet two Matarian’s who start their own love story while being trained to kill Vampires.. I would highly recommend this story and was so thrilled to see the words To be continued…..

Reviewed by: Cheryl

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Surviving Elite High: Loving James by John H Ames


Title: Surviving Elite High: Loving James
Author: John H Ames
Publisher: Ai Press
Pages: 50
Characters: James Gordon and Jacob Ashmore
POV: 1st Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age, Series
Kisses: 4.5


Blurb:

Surviving a normal high school is hard enough. Surviving Elite High? Close to impossible! Not until you learn the difference between love and obsession…

Sixteen year old James Gordon has it all. He’s rich, studious, and bears quite a strong resemblance to Justin Bieber. So, what’s stopping him from being a normal kid in high school? The deadly jocks. They torment anyone who’s gay or possibly closeted; even though Nick Wild Hawk, star of the football team and the love of his life, John, came out to the whole school in previous years and made being gay at Elite High just another walk of life.

However, even though the jocks have bullied James nonstop and made his life a living hell, he can’t help but fantasize about the king of the jocks, Nathan Parker. Nathan is rugged, straight and the most popular guy in school. When fate intercepts and places James and Nathan under the same roof, James’ torture really begins. And yet, through it all, James hopes that that his steadfast love for Nathan will change the jock into a lover rather than an abuser. Unless a certain hot, loyal, guy in the background can find a way to show James he is really, truly loved, and has been for a long time. Before it’s too late…

Review:

Surviving Elite High: Loving James is the third book in author John H Ames’, Surviving Elite High series. While it is a short story, it is so packed that the reader will feel as if they have read a full story.

This new book centers on James, who readers have met in the previous books. He is a shy, geeky student who comes from a well to do family, but while everything on the outside looks great, inside he worries about what his father and best friend will think if they found out he is gay. James also worries about the bullies who are once again showing up at school.

With all the insecurity James is already feeling, it is understandable that he does not take the news of his father’s remarrying well. As I read this part of the story, I could not help but think that James’ father was to blame for some of his son’s behavior, due to the way he told James he was getting married, without giving him any real time to adjust to the news. When it is revealed who will be James’ new family, I could not help feeling bad for the young man. Right away I worried that the abuse James’ was getting at school would soon be carrying over to his home life. What follows may be rough for some readers to read.

Due to the bullying and abuse that James goes through the story has a bit of a dark feel to it and I wondered just when the feel of Surviving Elite High: Loving James would change. Readers may be surprised to see who comes to James’ rescue. When Jacob appears in the story it was easy to see that there is some kind of connection between the two young men, but with everything going on in his life, James has a hard time seeing it.

Surviving Elite High: Loving James is a fast read that will hold the reader’s attention from beginning to end. While it covers some dark topics, I found the story to be well written, and fans of the first two books will want to make sure they don’t miss this one. I hope this is a series the author plans to continue and can’t wait to see what else he has planned.

Reviewed By: Lydia

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Surviving Elite High: Senior Year by John H Ames


Title: Surviving Elite High: Senior Year
Author: John H Ames
Publisher: Ai Press
Pages: 115
Characters: John Ames and Nick Hawking
POV: 1st Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age, Series
Kisses: 4.5


Blurb:

And you thought last year was full of drama, suspense and romance? You ain’t seen nothing yet!
After a summer of love, hard work and…ahem…cohabitation, Nick and John are beginning their senior year. However, putting the memory of last year’s turbulent events at Elite High behind them proves harder than ever. Mysterious notes begin to appear inside John’s locker. Something is definitely wrong since the writer of the notes is none other than Matthew Ward, the homicidal student who nearly killed John. Is Matthew now free to finish what he started?

As if that weren’t bad enough, a new girl at school has an obsession with Nick that makes her do terrible things, things that threaten to tear Nick and John apart at every turn. Will Nick and John ever find happiness and stability together? Or will they end up going their separate ways?

Review:

Surviving Elite High: Senior Year is one of those stories that are hard to review. Not because it is a bad story, it’s not. In fact it is a very good follow up to the first book and wraps up the story between John and Nick wonderfully. The problems is that it would be very easy to give away too much of the storyline, there by spoiling the outcome for future readers. The book picks up shortly after the end of Surviving Elite High. Nick and John are on their own, finishing up their last year of high school and planning for the future. While things start out well, they soon take a turn when the author introduces a new secondary character that causes the two young mens’ lives to change.

Nick and John’s relationship has grown even stronger, and the maturity they show, at times, made me forget that they were just teenagers still in school. They are adjusting to being on their own, juggling school and work, as well as finding time for each other. The story that follows is intense and the secondary characters play an important role throughout. While there are a few new ones introduced, some that the readers already know return. One of those is Jacob, who readers will be surprised to see has changed greatly from when we first meet him.

There are a lot of twists in this second story, and the way the author wraps up the issues plaguing the boys blew me away. Readers should know that there are some things in here that may be difficult for some to read.

Surviving Elite High: Senior Year
is a well written story. The story line flows as well as the one in the first book, allowing readers to pick up right where they left off. This is the type of story that would easily find its way onto someone’s favorite pile. It is important however to know that before reading this book, however, you must read book one.

Reviewed By: Lydia

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Feed. Prey. Love. by DH Starr

Title: Feed. Prey. Love.
Author: DH Starr
Publisher: AI Press
Pages: 177
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Paranormal
Kisses: 5





Blurb:

At Whispering Hills where mortals and paranormals coexist peacefully – and romantically – love really does bite!

Talib Eldridge is a vampire who lives with guilt. 100 years ago, he accidentally turned a human to a vampire and has been afraid to get close to anyone for fear of ever losing control as he once did. When he meets Conley Berillo, his commitment to living in isolation is challenged. Immediately drawn to the human, he can’t help but fall in love.

Conley has always felt out of place. Never fitting in with others, he too has lived in isolation. When the existence of paranormal creatures is finally acknowledged, he feels an immediate affinity to the outcasts, still feared and hated by humans. Moving to Whispering Hills in Providence, Rhode Island, he knows immediately that he belongs to this new world. When he meets Talib, that conviction is only solidified.

When Jonah Townsend, the human Talib had turned about a hundred years earlier, re-enters the picture, Talib and Conley’s newfound happiness is threatened. Conley becomes the tool that Jonah uses to get back at Talib and Talib is forced to make a choice. Fight for his own happiness and risk Conley’s life, or put Conley’s safety first and sacrifice what he’s searched and struggled for over two hundred years!

Review:

Paranormal and D.H. Starr go together amazingly well. This author took me on a journey I wasn’t so sure I was ready to take but somehow or another managed to keep me hooked from the beginning, through the middle right until the last page, leaving me wishing I could reach out to hug him for a story well done.

He had called him special. “Whatever you wish to teach me, I am willing to learn” And due to this one sentence, you know something more is going to happen, something is happening and sure enough, young Talib is turned by the one man, his own teacher, who he trusted with all of his young innocent heart. “Yes, but I am more. Will you allow me to show you what I am? May I introduce you to the world I live in, one quite different from the world you know?” This is when the rabbi took advantage of the young man, he did what he did because he was tired of being alone. Poor unsuspecting and trusting Talib is thrown into a life he knows nothing of, but knows what the rabbi did was wrong and he will never forgive the other vampire. “Talib, I am a creature of the night. You have a choice to make. I have drained you to the point of death. You will die if I do not feed you, but if you accept my gift, you will become what I am, and we can spend our lives together, for all eternity.” Of course he elects life, if that’s what you can call it. However, he hates what the man has done to him, he’s a creature of the night and with that knowledge he tells the rabbi there is no way in hell he’d spend his life with him, not even when the man begs him saying he’s so lonely. And that line is important to the whole story.

Talib runs, he runs far, knowing he can’t disgrace his family or see them again. He’s a monster and promises not to ever do what’s been done to him to anyone else. However, after a failed relationship with one man, he loses control with another, Jonah and turns him but when he sees the pure animal in the other man he runs again, swearing off men for the rest of his vampire life, that is until he meets Conley through a mutual friend where they live The Whispering Hills apartment complex.

This is a place and time where humans are aware of paranormal beings and learn to co-exist with one another. There is a vampire counsel to keep up with and help to control out of control vampires. There are also elves and one of my favorite characters in this story. He’s very convincing and demanding and somewhat…elfish. He doesn’t stop until he gets what he wants and he’s almost 100% certain that Talib and Conley belong together, so he arranges a party for them to meet, he serves a drink to bring Conley’s guard down a bit, as he is somewhat shy and very lonely.

Eventually the rue works in the elf’s favor however there is some pain when Jonah shows back up to reclaim his love of Talib, and he threatens Conley’s life by biting him to draw Talib out and to walk away with him. What a lot of angst there is I have to say. I feel bad for Talib, terribly so, and then Conley, wow, that poor man just has no idea what he’s in for.

I really enjoyed my time with these characters and it’s the start of a series! I can’t wait for the others to show up. I highly recommend this read for a mix of vamp and human love.

Reviewed By: Michele

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Feed, Prey, Love New Release by D.H. Starr

Ai Press:

Amazon:

All Romance:

Barnes and Noble:






Blurb:

At Whispering Hills where mortals and paranormals coexist peacefully – and romantically – love really does bite!

Talib


Talib Eldridge is a vampire who lives with guilt. 100 years ago, he accidentally turned a human to a vampire and has been afraid to get close to anyone for fear of ever losing control as he once did. When he meets Conley Berillo, his commitment to living in isolation is challenged. Immediately drawn to the human, he can’t help but fall in love.



Conley


Conley has always felt out of place. Never fitting in with others, he too has lived in isolation. When the existence of paranormal creatures is finally acknowledged, he feels an immediate affinity to the outcasts, still feared and hated by humans. Moving to Whispering Hills in Providence, Rhode Island, he knows immediately that he belongs to this new world. When he meets Talib, that conviction is only solidified.



Jonah


When Jonah Townsend, the human Talib had turned about a hundred years earlier, re-enters the picture, Talib and Conley’s newfound happiness is threatened. Conley becomes the tool that Jonah uses to get back at Talib and Talib is forced to make a choice. Fight for his own happiness and risk Conley’s life, or put Conley’s safety first and sacrifice what he’s searched and struggled for over two hundred years!

Labor of Love

I’m thrilled to announce the release of my newest novel, Feed. Prey. Love. which is available through Ai Press, but can also be purchased at amazon.com, Barnes & Nobles, and All Romance. While you may suspect I’m thrilled to announce its release because I want you to run out and purchase it (which I wouldn’t complain if you did) that is actually not the case. This is actually the first book I’ve written where I truly don’t care if it sells beautifully or if people don’t like it that much. This book came from someplace deep inside and it reflects a huge amount of work, self-exploration, and frustration.

Paranormal stories are probably my favorite genre. The world-building, suspension of belief, and sheet creativity are amazing to me and I find it much easier to get lost into those tales. But writing paranormal is nothing like reading it. The worlds which others seem to create effortlessly, tortured and teased me. Each round of edits revealed a new hole which needed to be filled (naughty people I’m talking about gaps in the creation of my world…LOL).

Then, once I thought I had ironed out the kinks in my world, created just the right blend of the contemporary feel with rules governing the co-existence of paranormals and humans, new plot holes emerged. Well, not so much plot holes, but elements my publisher wanted to have fleshed out or further developed.

With each new round of edits, I found myself becoming more and more frustrated, but I trust my editor with all my heart and therefore, pushed myself to move forward. I’ll admit, as I have to Sedonia Guillone on many occasions, that her pushes drove me a bit batty at times, but she’s a pro and she gets what I love to write.

I had walked away from the manuscript for about 9 months, just too darn tuckered out from trying to make it work. It wasn’t until I took a trip down to Asheville, NC and visited with my good friends Eden Winters and Ally Blue, that I broke out the story and started reading the opening to them. To my utter surprise, they were transfixed and told me this book must be shared with the public. So, I buckled down and began the arduous process of re-reading the entire document with new eyes. The break was probably a blessing in disguise because new twists emerged and fresh ideas of how to handle my characters and their stories seemed to materialize out of thin air.

What has resulted is a story with the rich characters I love to write and their tortured angst as they struggle to find their way to happiness. But something more has evolved from this process. I’ve come to better understand the nuances of merging believability into stories which have unbelievable elements. As challenging as it was, the end result is a book I am extremely proud of.

The world I have built is set in contemporary times. I have created a residence called Whispering Hills. It is the first of its kind where paranormals and humans live together in harmony. In this place, paranormals can feel accepted and humans, the ones who have always felt on the fringe, finally have a place where their differences are celebrated. This story is planned to be a 4 story arc. The next installment will be The Omega’s Mate.

So, with that being said, here are my guys and an excerpt teaser for you. I provided Thorny with the full prelude and with the beginnings of a scorching hot sex scene and I’ve left it to him to decide whether to post the tame one, the hot one, or both.


Excerpt book opening. Not terribly erotic, but sets the stage for one of the main characters.
Prelude
Palestine, 1798

Talib, meaning seeker of knowledge, had been named after his late grandfather. His father was filled with pride when, at only eighteen, Talib was accepted to Beit Rabban, the house of the teacher, to serve as an apprentice under Rabbi Elder. It was a bittersweet moment when Talib left his meager village, proud tears streaming down his father’s cheeks. Although Talib inherited a dark complexion and angular, strong features, his frame was slender. Nothing like the muscular build of his father, who served as a commander in the Ottoman Empire army. Yet for all of his father’s size and military success, Talib had never questioned his love. While Talib might never be a military leader, he could show leadership in his own way and planned to open a school house once he finished his own education and pilgrimage. In the meantime, he relished his “special” relationship with his master. Only that eased his great homesickness.

He had been at Beit Rabban for nearly six months and missed his family dearly. The longing for home would have been unbearable had it not been for Rabbi Elder’s mentorship. More than a teacher, Elder had been an older brother of sorts, a friend to confide in and a man to emulate. The fact he seemed to be no more than ten to fifteen years Talib’s senior was simply another attribute to admire about the man. Rabbi Elder had to be truly great to attain his position at Beit Rabban at such a young age. Each day, Talib gazed at Elder’s sandy blond hair, the curls of his payot framing his face perfectly to accentuate his cheekbones while hiding a sharp jawline, and was amazed that such a great man would devote so much attention to Talib’s academic studies and studies of the flesh.

The creak of his door each night was a welcome sound, one he had grown to long for over the past few months. He had lost count of the number of times Elder had climbed into his bed. At first he was shocked, having studied in the scriptures that the pairing to two men was a sin against God, but Talib quickly reasoned that his mentor and nightly lover knew best. Who was Talib to question a man who knew the Talmud far better than he?

Rather than dwell on his notions of right and wrong, Talib relished the spark Elder ignited within him. Longings Talib had felt, but never dared explore, became a reality as he and Elder discovered each other’s minds and bodies. To know that a man as worthy of respect as Rabbi Elder wanted the pleasure of another man filled Talib with a sense of wholeness. That Elder had chosen Talib over all the other students at Beit Rabban filled him with a sense of pride, a belief that everything within him was true and right.

Rabbi Elder padded softly across the stone floor of Talib’s dormitory room. While there were other students, each received his own sleeping quarters. The accommodations were sparse, walls of stone, a cold and harsh atmosphere, but that was all part of the learning. Sacrifice of personal luxury helped students to better learn to empathize with those less fortunate. Yet as hard as the thin mattress was, the warmth of Elder’s body and the give of his muscles pressed against Talib’s own blocked anything else from his senses.

“I’ve missed you, Rabbi.”

Soft lips pressed against his own, capturing him in a kiss which began gently but quickly became fevered. Something was different about the kiss, a hunger which wasn’t normally present. As if Elder had a greater need than usual. Once he pulled out of the kiss, brown pools seeming to glow with an amber fire stared down into Talib’s eyes. “I’ve told you, when we lie together, you are to call me Elder. The lines of master and scholar do not exist when we are joined like this.”

“I’m sorry, Rab…I mean Elder. It’s difficult for me to remember. I look up to you so.”

Elder’s eyes softened, the fire dimming as he stared down into Talib’s. “It’s all right, my love. Tonight is going to be a very special night for the two of us.”

Heat washed through Talib, beginning in the pit of his stomach and radiating outwards. The waves of sensation burned from within yet left an electrified chill along his skin, causing the hairs to rise. His lover’s words incited Talib. Excitement warred with anticipation as he waited for his mentor to continue.

“You know how much I love you, don’t you, Talib?”

The words filled Talib. He would have thought he was floating if not for the weight of Elder’s body on top of his. “Yes, I do. And I love you, Elder. You have given me a gift greater than knowledge; you have given me the gift of awareness.”

Elder brushed his fingers through Talib’s black hair, pushing his payot aside so they splayed on the pillow. He lowered his head to Talib’s neck and pressed his nose to the skin, inhaling deeply. The intimacy of the act caused Talib to shiver. In a husky voice, Elder whispered into Talib’s ear. “There are things I have not yet taught you, but I would like to.”

“Anything. I am a vessel for you to fill.” Talib smiled thinking of how many times Elder had filled his vessel.
Elder laughed. “You are playing with your words, but yes, you are my best and favorite student. Yet there are things not written in books which I must…no…which I desire to teach you. I have become…attached to you, and I wish to share everything I am with you.”

The way he phrased his comment sent Talib’s mind soaring skyward. Elder wanted him, was attached to him. He had called him special. “Whatever you wish to teach me, I am willing to learn. You are a brilliant teacher. A highly skilled scholar. A man of great knowledge.”

“Yes, but I am more. Will you allow me to show you what I am? May I introduce you to the world I live in, one quite different from the world you know?”

There was mystery behind the cryptic words, forcing Talib’s breath to quicken, each intake shallow, uncertain. But Elder had opened Talib’s eyes, led him down paths which had frightened him, and Talib’s world was brighter and fuller as a result. If his mentor and lover wanted to share something with him, he would gladly receive the gift. “Yes, of course. Anything.”

Elder smiled, but it wasn’t a smile of happiness. Rather, his lips curled up into a grin revealing some other emotion Talib couldn’t identify. Only in the last moment did Talib realize Elder wore no smile. He drew his lips back, exposing teeth which seemed to have grown longer. Fear not were the last words Talib heard before Elder descended, clamping down on his neck.

Razor-sharp teeth penetrated his skin. With a piercing scream filled with pain, shock and pleasure, Talib gripped at Elder’s head, trying to escape but to no avail. Blood flowed from his neck and into Elder’s hungry mouth. A sickeningly sweet iron odor filled his nostrils. Along with the sensation of blood flowing from him, each lick of Elder’s tongue brought excruciating pleasure, Talib could also feel Elder’s arousal pressed against his thigh.

Time seemed to slow. The space between Talib’s heartbeats lengthened. The flow of his blood coursed slower and slower.
After what seemed like hours, Elder drew back. Crimson blood stained his lips and dripped from his still-elongated fangs. While the bite had been painful, Talib longed for Elder’s mouth to return to his neck, to continue to draw blood from him. Although it was difficult to focus, Talib was able to make out the expression of lust and hunger in his mentor’s eyes. Elder’s arousal continued to drive against him, and his own hardened shaft pressed back. He’s something other than human. How can this excite me?

“Talib, I am a creature of the night. You have a choice to make. I have drained you to the point of death. You will die if I do not feed you, but if you accept my gift, you will become what I am, and we can spend our lives together, for all eternity.”

Through the haze of his faint consciousness, he could make out the earnest expression on Elder’s face. Thoughts flittered through Talib’s mind, disconnected, difficult to comprehend. “A creature of the night? A golem? Not real…only stories.”

Elder caressed his forehead, hot fingers burning against his cold skin. “I assure you we are not lore. I am not a demon or possessed by a dybbuk. I am real and I wish to give you the gift of eternal life. Will you share your love with me for all time?”

Darkness crowded in until he could barely see or hear. It wasn’t until the warm drops of thick liquid hit his lips and dripped into his mouth, quenching a thirst he hadn’t realized he’d felt, that his answer came to him. Gripping Elder’s wrist, he pulled the torn flesh to his mouth, sucking with all his might, drinking life’s essence back into himself with each pulse of Elder’s heart.

As if waking from a dream, Talib became aware of each of his senses. Sights, smells, scents, sounds, everything coalesced with great clarity and sensitivity. The fear emanating from a fly trapped in a spider’s web entered his nose. I can smell fear. Along with the coppery, iron flavor of Elder’s blood, he could taste the wine Elder had drunk at dinner. Disconnected thoughts flew through his mind. How can I taste the wine in his blood? Golem are real?

Sensation upon sensation filled him, only to come to a screeching halt when he heard something he never expected to hear. I have turned him. He’s now mine.

“What? What do you mean you’ve turned me?” Talib was sure he had misheard. It had to be the result of his loss of blood or perhaps the fear coursing through him. He had broken so many rules, he must be possessed by a dybbuk, the spirit of a dead man who’d violated the laws of Torah. Perhaps he had been wrong in believing what he and Elder shared was right. Was God punishing him for breaking His laws? An image of his home, his father’s proud face, flashed in Talib’s mind. Shame and panic swirled within him, making breathing impossible. He had shamed himself and his family. He had turned on his God, on his religion. All because he had trusted Rabbi Elder.

Elder’s eyes widened and his mouth opened slightly, only to clamp shut once again. Disbelief, no, shock, settled on his face. “I said nothing, my love. You must still be weak from the transformation.” It can’t be. He couldn’t possibly have heard my thoughts.

“But I do hear you. What is this? Have you deceived me in some way?” Fear shifted to anger and hurt. He’s betrayed me. He’s led me down the path of sin, knowing I could never return to the life I’d dreamed of. He’s forced me to act against my God…so I could be…his? The sense of foolishness closed in and around Talib, and he pushed to free himself, to stand, to take in deep breaths of cleansing air. With little effort, he flung Elder across the room, the teacher’s body hitting the wall with enough force to kill a man.

Even in the dim light of his bedchamber, Talib saw the color drain from Elder’s face. “But how…how do you know the thoughts which run through my mind?” He mustn’t ever find out I did this so I won’t have to be alone any longer. I need a companion. Isolation has left me starved.

It took Talib a minute to get over the shock that Elder had not been hurt from his crash with the wall. Talib could hear everything, every truth Elder had failed to tell him. He had not offered Talib eternity out of love. His motives had been selfish. Talib could hear it in Elder’s thoughts, for the man could not lie there.

Talib was no longer human. He knew this in the deepest reaches of his being. The change had occurred. He was a dybbuk and worse, a golem. He had broken every rule there was to be broken short of killing. There was no turning back. The truth filling him caused Talib to retch, thick red jets of blood erupting from his mouth. When he could speak, he scowled at his former master, the man he’d loved, had given his heart and body to. The man who’d deceived him in the most wretched way. “You did this to me because you wanted a companion?” While the words formed a question, his tone carried all the anger and accusation coursing through him.

Raw emotion lifted Talib from the bed. Before he realized what was happening, he was hovering in the air before Elder, defying gravity and laws his human form had to abide. He glided effortlessly, slowly closing the distance between himself and the deceitful man who had irrevocably changed his life. Instinctually, he reached out with his mind, linking it to Elder’s, forcing him into helpless paralysis.

Elder cowered, but was unable to avert his gaze. Talib could feel the will seep out of Elder as his weaker mental abilities gave way to Talib’s strength. He could sense the urge to fight back within his former mentor but could feel the weakness radiating toward him. Elder wasn’t as strong as Talib. Talib was more than Elder, different. What have I become?

Hatred swelled within him as he prepared to strike, but he stopped, released Elder and lowered himself to the ground until he once again stood on his own two feet. “I will not kill you, nor will I remain with you. You may have taken the life I planned to live from me, you may have turned me into a golem, but you can never take my humanity. I may not be able to return home—I wouldn’t bring that kind of shame to my family—but I won’t stay here with you.”

Elder rushed forward. Kneeling before Talib he wrapped trembling arms around Talib’s bare waist. Fear radiated from his very pores. Talib could taste it, smell it. It burned his nose and tongue like acid. “Please. I’m so lonely.”

Talib pushed him away once again, not as hard as the last time, but hard enough to make his point. He had no idea what his future held, only that it had been changed. He could not undo the things he had done against God, but maybe there was a way to reverse the evil coursing within his body. Maybe he wouldn’t have to live an eternity, as Elder had said. Maybe he could become what he had always been, pious, a man of God.

Disgust filled him as he turned to face Elder. Looking at the weak, pathetic man cowering on the floor, hands raised up in defense, Talib shook his head, a single, sad laugh escaping him. “And so you shall remain, for I must leave you.”

Pretty hot sex scene stopping right before the heavy action gets going.

Without waiting for the server, Talib deposited a twenty on the table and grabbed Conley by the arm, yanking him into a standing position. “Let’s go.”

The walk up the hill involved far less talking than the trip down to breakfast had. By the time they reached the front doors of Whispering Hills, Conley was winded. “Hurry up,” Talib said, leading the way into the building.

Once the door to his apartment closed behind him, Conley grabbed Talib and pressed him against the wall, sliding his hands along the vampire’s taut stomach and chest muscles, pinching Talib’s nipples until they hardened under his touch. He dipped his head into the crook of Talib’s neck and inhaled, taking in the fresh scent of soap which remained on his skin, and then he sealed his mouth to a cord of muscle, running his tongue in circles along the smooth flesh.

Talib moaned, an ahh escaping his mouth, causing his neck to vibrate under Conley’s tongue. “My God, I can feel that all the way down to my toes. You found the most sensitive spot on my body.”

Conley pulled away from Talib’s neck only to whisper one incredulous question, “The most sensitive spot?”

Talib responded by placing his hand on the back of Conley’s head and forcing his mouth back to his neck. “Yes, the most sensitive spot.” He then reached down and grabbed Conley’s ass, pulling them together so straining erection rubbed against straining erection.

After several minutes of kissing and grinding, Conley pulled away from Talib, taking him by the hand and leading him to the bedroom. Pushing him flat onto the mattress, Conley stood and started pulling off his own clothes, stopping only long enough to stare as Talib watched him undress. “What the hell are you doing? Strip.”

“Don’t want to. Enjoying the show too much.” Conley smiled and continued taking off his clothes. As he pulled his shirt over his head, he allowed his body to torque and twist, accentuating each muscle to its fullest. The Adidas pants had an elastic band, so he slid his thumbs underneath the material and slowly worked it lower on his hips.

Talib reached down to rub at the growing bulge at his groin, but he never diverted his eyes from Conley. Encouraged, Conley continued. Rotating his hips like a belly dancer, he used the motion to lower the pants inch by inch while turning at the same time. Once his back was to Talib’s front, he lowered his pants the rest of the way, exposing his ass and the sweet pink center that Talib had used the night before.

The time between Talib’s gasp and his hands gripping Conley’s hips seemed instant, an impressive task since Conley was stripping from six feet away. “The show just got too hot. I’m an audience volunteer. Is there anything I can do to assist?”

Conley chuckled, stepping out of the pants bunched at his feet. Turning in Talib’s arms, he felt his mouth pull up into a smirk and leaned in to give a gentle kiss on the lips. “Yes. Put on a show for me now.”

Talib locked gazes with him, ice blue eyes burning with desire. It took every ounce of willpower Conley possessed to turn and walk toward the bed. Even then, he could practically feel those eyes boring into his back as he took the few steps to his destination.

Safely on the bed, he folded one hand behind his head to prop it up on the pillow and reached down with the other to stroke his now exposed, hard cock.

Talib’s eyes followed the motion of Conley’s hand for a split second then a smile tugged at his lips. Starting with the shirt, he lifted the hem slowly over his torso. While Talib was not bulky like Conley, the cords of muscles interweaved, forming and disappearing in an intricate design along his abdomen and up and down his sides, feeding the fire raging within Conley.

Taking in each new sight, Conley gasped as Talib’s face disappeared beneath the fabric, leaving his entire upper body exposed. The ridge where his pecs connected was accentuated since both of his hands were over his head, yet even stretched out, the perfectly formed chest expanded with Talib’s breathing, the creamy-coffee colored nipples pebbled, standing at attention.

Once again, Conley needed to use all of his energy to keep from dashing off the bed and taking those hard nubs of flesh into his mouth. When Talib finally removed his shirt he had a slight flush to his otherwise alabaster skin.

Silky black hair gently swept Talib’s collarbone, framing his angular face, a perfect complement to his brooding, dark good looks. Conley’s cock lurched in his hand, now fully hard, as a single pearl of precum escaped from the tip. Rubbing his thumb over the clear fluid, he slicked the head and began to run the moisture in circles around the glans. Each pass of his finger sent shivers through him, causing his toes to curl.

Once again, Talib’s eyes darted to Conley’s cock, but he quickly continued the show, fanning Conley’s arousal. With painstaking deliberateness, Talib popped the top button of his jeans. A faint wisp of dark hair appeared on his skin, not quite making it up to his navel. When he opened the second button the dark hair fanned out, cresting at the base of his cock, now visible. Conley followed the line of Talib’s bulge, from the revealed base down his pant leg where the confines of his jeans forced it to lie.

When he looked back up at Talib’s face, he was caught once again by a piercing gaze of blue fire. Stepping forward, Talib pushed his pants over his hips. Once they passed over his ass, they fell to the floor.

Conley gripped the base of his cock, straining almost to the point of pain, afraid he might come from the sudden vision of beauty before him. Talib’s body was a work of perfection, each muscle perfectly aligned to form a square frame. A combination of strength and delicacy. The slight cant from shoulder to waist, the subtle bulge of ass, rounding into upper leg gave him the appearance of strength and masculinity. The expanse of smooth thigh muscles naturally led the eye down to admire solid calf muscles, legs like a gazelle, designed for speed and beauty. That was Talib. Strength and delicacy, all wrapped in one gorgeous package.

Talib smiled then pounced, and Conley found himself pinned on his back, staring up into Talib’s eyes. Before Conley could say or do anything, Talib lowered his head, sealing their lips together. Conley opened, mouth invaded by a hungry tongue, slick and purposeful, massaging, feeding his desire and need.

Pulling out of the kiss, Talib caught his breath then lowered his head once again, placing gentle kisses to Conley’s cheek, neck, collarbone, and then further down, capturing one nipple in his mouth.

The sharp scraping of teeth against his skin caused Conley to lift his head and stare at what Talib was doing. When he saw the lust in those blue eyes, his cock surged up between them with renewed energy. It was the sight of fangs, ever so slightly descended, that caused Conley’s heart to race. “Oh my God. That is so fucking hot. Nibble at me again.”
Talib lowered his head and bit down on Conley’s nipple once more, careful not to draw blood. He then released the taught flesh and gazed at Conley, his fangs shrank back to their normal length. “I can’t feed on you. If you want a shot at me blocking your thoughts, I can’t feed on you.”

For a moment, a debate raged within Conley. The idea of Talib feeding on him was so arousing he thought his skin would catch fire, but he didn’t want to begin a relationship where every passing fancy traveled directly to his new lover. “Okay, I understand.”

“But there are things I can do which are just as good.” Talib lowered his head once more and kissed a trail down Conley’s abdomen, hot breath washing over his skin. When soft lips touched his cock, Conley thought he might come just from the anticipation, but Talib lightly gripped the base, squeezing tightly to prevent his impending release.