The Midwest Series – Sale & New Release!

Midwest Series Promo Out Now

It’s an exciting week for me! Touch & Go, the third book in The Midwest Series is live on Amazon and you can buy it now!

To celebrate, Bully & Exit, the first book in the series, is on sale for $0.99. But only until October 1st so grab it before the price goes back up!

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Buy Bully & Exit Now!

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Buy Push & Pull Now!

Here’s a little teaser from Touch & Go:

“Then what’s stopping you?” Micah rubbed a little, teasing him with a promise of how good it could be if he said yes.

“My career, mostly,” Justin muttered.

“Hey,” Micah softened his tone. “I get it. I really do. I have everything to lose. I’m going to be working as hard as anyone to be sure no one finds out about what we’re doing, okay?”

“I know. But I’ve got a shitty poker face, Micah. What if I give something away? What if our involvement clouds my objectivity and I can’t give you the best care?”

“I’m not saying it’s going to be easy,” Micah admitted. “But are you telling me you don’t get lonely on the road? You aren’t horny and worked up and want an outlet?”

Justin remained silent.

“Look, if you don’t want me, I get it. But this seems like the perfect arrangement to me. We both know the risks, and we’d go into it with clear eyes.”

“You’re very persuasive, you know?” Justin said with a wry grin. “Ever thought about becoming a lawyer instead of a ballplayer?”

“Nope.” Micah grinned back. “So, does that mean I’ve won my argument?”

“You’re getting close.”

Touch & Go Out Now Promo

Buy Touch & Go Now!

 

 

New Release/Freebie – A Tidal Series Short: Southampton Sea Breeze

If you’ve read the Tidal and Speakeasy series, you already know Carter Hamilton and Riley Porter-Wright. Their books, Wake and Calm, were published in the summer of 2017, and we put together a short story to mark that anniversary.
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Southampton Sea Breeze is FREE to download from Pride Publishing:
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This short story can be read on its own, but it certainly has ties to the Tidal books, Behind the Stick, and the other Speakeasy books, so if you haven’t already, we suggest you enjoy them all!
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Guest Post – Deanna Wadsworth and “The Boyfriend Cruise”

Deanna Wadsworth and I have taken part in several Pride events in the past few years together and she is one of my favorite people! So when she asked if she could do a guest post on my blog to promote her latest release of course I said yes.

I haven’t read “The Boyfriend Cruise” but she consistently writes books that are both funny and steamy, so I hope you’ll take the time to read her post and check out her new novel!


Thank you for hosting me, Brigham! I’ve brought along a super special, extra sexy scene to share with your fans.

THE BOYFRIEND CRUISE is the first Pride of the Caribbean Getaway, and a must read for paranormal and contemporary readers. Imagine a gay-friendly cruise ship where paranormals hide in plain sight!

Think LOVE BOAT meets SUPERNATURAL with some steamy love!

And of course a happily ever after!

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THE BOYFRIEND CRUISE

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The Pride of the Caribbean is a cruise ship unlike any other. Paranormals working on board the enchanted ship hide in plain sight, under the benevolent protection of a demigod captain and his fairy husband.

And this is a shipboard romance unlike any other.

Josh Gilbert’s well-meaning family booked a gay-friendly cruise for Christmas in order to find Josh a boyfriend. Hoping to escape the constant parade of bachelors—and the collapsible fishing rod dangling mistletoe his mom keeps in her purse—Josh takes solace in a growing friendship with the ship’s photographer, Nathan. Though Josh is falling for Nathan, he worries it will never be more than a shipboard fling.

Nathan recently became aware of his incubus heritage and has finally learned how to control his demon side. But Josh has awakened more than just the demon’s need for orgasms—Josh has awakened Nathan’s heart. What’s developing between them is the real thing, but can Josh ever accept Nathan’s promiscuous past… and love a sex demon?

Amid lush tropical settings, family hilarity, holiday costume parties, sexy snorkeling adventures, gingerbread martinis, and mythical creatures, will Josh get his Christmas wish and finally find the true love he’s wanted for so long?

Special Excerpt:

“Wanna come back to my room? Aaron’s at the costume party… and, well….” Josh left it hanging.

Squeezing his hand, Nathan grinned. “I’d love to.”

Innocent man, indeed.

Nathan hadn’t expected Josh to be so bold, especially without Nathan’s incubus lure in play. But he held his demon in check. Might cause an unfixable scandal if Nathan followed through with the scene playing out in his mind right there in the bar…. Nathan dropping to his knees to drink the delicious nectar from Josh’s cock, milking him with his tongue and mouth until the heady power of the man’s orgasm fueled Nathan’s demon soul.

Nothing better than the high of draining orgasm after orgasm from a man. The high he’d get from Josh’s orgasm would be sweet, because willing orgasms had a power unlike any other.

Anxious and ready to feed, Nathan set down his empty glass. “Ready to go?”

The scent of Josh’s hunger spiked, and Nathan caught his breath.

“Yup.” Josh nodded, and they left the lounge, hand in hand.

Josh had him so off-kilter, Nathan hoped he could contain his energy and keep himself from coming when they had sex. The power might frighten Josh, but it would also turn all the fairies on board and anybody nearby into sex-crazed fiends.

No, Nathan would have to make sure Josh came first. The power from Josh’s orgasm would give Nathan the strength to think clearly—an ability he seemed to have lost in Josh’s presence.

“I’ve never done this before,” Josh said. “Invite a stranger back to my room.”

Nathan gave Josh’s hand a gentle, reassuring squeeze. “We don’t have to,” he heard himself say, and his demon side screamed in protest.

Why am I giving the guy an out?

Josh faced him, wide-eyed and cheeks flushed. “I want to. If you do?”

Relieved, Nathan stepped closer, their chests all but touching. He kissed Josh on the lips. Though a tiny kiss, something electric and shimmering went throughout Nathan’s entire body. His power thrummed in want, and for the first time in all his life, he had a sudden desire to bite.

Not like a blood thing, but he wanted Josh so much, his predatory instincts were on high alert. He wanted to make this man his. To mark him with love bites, taste his release, come deep inside him….

Josh closed his eyes and held very still, as if poised for another kiss.

“Does that answer your question?” Nathan whispered.

“Uh-huh,” he said, nodding, then slowly opening his eyes.

Still holding his hand, Nathan cinched his other arm around Josh’s waist and pulled him close. His warm body pressed to Nathan’s was sheer nirvana.

Josh placed his free hand on Nathan’s chest. “I’ve never done this before.”

Nathan dipped his head close to his ear. “Then let’s make it special,” he whispered, leaving a tiny kiss below his lobe and delighting in the full-body shiver he got out of Josh. Nathan could taste Josh’s desire, like the rich, mouthwatering aroma of fresh-baked cookies. His stomach all but growled for Josh’s orgasm. Josh’s wanting gave Nathan a renewed strength.

If Nathan felt stronger just from Josh’s desire, how much would Josh’s essence strengthen him?

When Nathan kissed Josh, the man’s pheromones intensified even more. Eager, Nathan kissed him deeper, drawing on the power of Josh’s unchecked desire. While he had not inherited demon immortality or the need to drink blood, his need to bring others to orgasm was a vital part of his being.

If it just so happened to be pleasurable for both parties, all the better.

After all, what was the whole point of being on this rock if you didn’t want to enjoy it? Traveling and soaking up the riches of life had been one of the driving reasons for Nathan to leave home on his eighteenth birthday.

That and all the tension his demon had caused within his family.

Nathan withdrew, catching his breath. Not wanting his past to cloud his future tonight, he ran the back of his hand across Josh’s cheek. He needed to slow down before he took Josh right in the hallway.

“Oh my,” Josh whispered, his eyes fluttering open.

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THE BOYFRIEND CRUISE

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Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and a couple adorable cocker spaniels. She has been spinning tales and penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010. She has served multiple board positions for different RWA chapters, including President of the Rainbow Romance Writers in 2017. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. An avid reader, she also loves gardening, cooking, music, and dancing. Often she can be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the interworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.

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You can also find her young adult alter ego, K.D. Worth FacebookTwitter

Buy Deanna’s books at Dreamspinner Press, Decadent Publishing or at any reputable eBook seller like Amazon

 

Looking Back at 2018

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This past year was a productive one for me. I released a poly novella, took three short stories I’d previously released as a novella and turned them into an mm novella. I released an mm novel and a short paranormal mm story with K. Evan Coles. Released an mm solo novel, took two novels and turned them into a single very long mm novel, re-released a mm holiday short story, and wrote an mm YA holiday short story.

Am I tired? Well, yeah. My brain is pretty full these days and the hours I put in are long.

But it’s been an interesting year. Since I began the writing full-time journey in mid-2015, my sales have steadily declined. Some of it was because the market had changed and my divorce took me away from that at a critical time. I needed time to recover emotionally and then I took some more time to take care of myself better physically. But even once I got back to writing, it wasn’t working anymore. I had missed so much and I felt like I could never get back on track.

Book releases were flat and disappointing. Nowhere near where they’d been before and not even close to allowing me enough to move out of my parents’ house. I’ve been here for three years now, far longer than I thought I’d be. Several times I’ve reached a point where I seriously considered throwing in the towel and finding a new career. Nothing I tried was working.

I got progressively more and more frustrated until about August. I knew I wasn’t as organized and focused as I needed to be. I complained to someone I was dating at the time and he said, “I can help.” His career requires him to manage a ton of projects with shifting deadlines and multiple stages of work–pretty applicable to being an author.

So we sat down and he helped me create a paper calendar with color-coded sticky notes that’s infinitely flexible. I organized current projects and also laid out a plan for which books to tackle next. It’s glorious. And as I moved forward with that, I stopped feeling like I was flailing around with no focus. I had a plan and a way to achieve it.

I decided that this was it. My final shot to see if I could make a living at writing.

I wasn’t thrilled about putting books in Kindle Unlimited. I’ve never loved the idea of being exclusive to Amazon, even if it’s only a 90 day period, but I had to decide which I felt more strongly about. I could live with putting books in KU. I couldn’t live with giving up on my career.

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So I did a shitload of research and threw everything at the wall to figure out what worked. Since September, I’ve put five books in Kindle Unlimited, organized two PW giveaways to build up the following for my newsletter with K. Evan Coles, started experimenting with BookBub and Amazon ads, ran a Kindle Countdown Deal promo, took part in a ridiculous amount of Facebook events and group takeovers, and generally pushed myself as hard as I possibly could without burning out.

Some of it fizzled, but you know what? Overall, it worked. Sales have dramatically increased since September.

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Now, it’s all relative. It’s still a fraction of what I made working for a hospital in a relatively low paying job. I’m still wildly below the poverty line. But it gives me hope.

I finally, finally–for the first time since I quit that hospital job–feel like I’m on the right track again. It gives me hope that as long as I keep writing and releasing books on a regular basis (I have a plan for that!) and trying new things, I have a chance of getting there.

Being a full-time author is a fucking hard job. I’m not going to sugarcoat it in any way. The hours are long, the amount of time I spend working and thinking about what I need to be working on are ridiculous.

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That meme is painfully accurate.

But I love what I do and I’m going to fight to keep doing it. I love creating characters and stories and making them come alive. I love the feedback from readers and the connections I make with them through my books. I love that I have the opportunity to keep trying to support myself. It’s an amazing feeling to check my dashboard and see that I am reaching more readers. My books are finding their way to more people. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.

So I want to thank all of you who helped me get there. K. Evan Coles, my co-author, has done so much to help me. Enough I could write an entire post about, but there isn’t time for that. So I’ll just say I’m deeply grateful for her. I’m thankful for my parents allowing me to live with them rent-free while I struggle at this. I’m thankful for all my friends who let me vent. For the bloggers and reviewers and organizers and every single person who shared my book releases and helped me do this. I appreciate my beta readers and my editors. And I appreciate you readers. Because your joy in my stories is what keeps me going.

I’m ending a very tough year on a high note and a lot of hope.

I don’t know what next year is going to bring and I know I have a shitload of work ahead of me. But I have a plan and a renewed sense of determination that 2019 will be better than 2018.

And I can work with that.

 

New Release – Seeking Warmth

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“Seeking Warmth” is live everywhere!

Four years ago, I did a holiday blog hop.  The rules were to write a flash fiction with a winter holiday theme and a bad boy character. There was a black and white photo of two young men embracing in what looked like a gift shop.

I wrote about two thousand words and posted it on my blog, but I knew that someday I’d want to expand it. At some point in the past few years, I did start to expand it, so when I got the itch to write a holiday story, I knew I had something solid to start with. In the end, it came in around twenty thousand words, which makes for a perfect short story length.

I really loved telling Benny’s story and I hope you enjoy it too.

Title: Seeking Warmth

Summary:

Benny Fuller is on his way to rock bottom. He’s seventeen, fresh out of juvie, homeless, and desperate to find a job.  His dad’s in jail and his drug-addicted mom is in no shape to take care of his sick sister, Angel. A run-in with his ex-boyfriend, Scott Sullivan, makes Benny feel even worse. He’s a thief with no future. Scott is smart, with plans for college and a great future ahead of him. Benny knows Scott can do so much better than him. Because no matter how hard Benny tries, he can’t seem to find a job or a way to take care of Angel.

The further Benny falls, the more he needs Scott’s help. Benny will have to let go of his pride and trust Scott and the Sullivan family in order to get the Christmas miracle Benny and Angel so desperately need.

Reader Advisory: This is an older (15+) YA story with themes of homelessness, drug use and prostitution (off-page), neglect of minors, and foster care.

Excerpt:

People hurried past Benny Fuller without seeing him. They were bundled up warmly against the snow, clutching their holiday shopping bags and packages. They were too intent on their destination to see the kid they pushed past. Now that the sun was going down, the crowds were beginning to thin. The wind picked up and the fat, fluffy snowflakes grew smaller and sharper. They stung his cheeks and made his hands ache. It had been early spring when he went into juvie. He’d had a hat stuffed in his old, beat up Army-style jacket but no gloves.

When the caseworker picked him up at the juvenile detention center and drove him to a foster home, she frowned at his bare hands. She said something about making sure he had a pair of gloves—and a warmer coat and boots—but she got a phone call a few minutes later and apparently forgot. He hadn’t said anything to the foster care lady about it either. So now the slushy snow soaked into his shoes as he walked and he still had no gloves or winter coat. He’d have to make do. But that was nothing new for him, was it? Benny had been doing that for a while now.

He kicked at a piece of torn, soggy cardboard on the sidewalk as he passed it. It did nothing to relieve the gnawing hunger in his stomach or the cold air that crept down the collar of his jacket and numbed his fingers.

It was satisfying though. Something to do to let out all of the frustration and fear boiling inside of him. His job search had amounted to nothing. Everything amounted to nothing. There were no opportunities for kids like him.

He’d been wandering the city for a week. Ever since he left the foster home they placed him in. It hadn’t seemed bad at first. It was clean and there were only two other kids there, both younger. But one of them was a nightmare. Benny had never seen anything like it. The boy screamed and tried to hit the little girl all the time. The foster mother did nothing to stop it. The little girl had bruises on her arms and legs from the boy and it made Benny sick to watch it happen. Within the first day Benny was there, the boy bit Benny hard enough to draw blood, but Benny was the one who got yelled at by the foster mother for provoking him. Benny hadn’t done anything but sit down next to the kid.

Benny had tried to help out, thinking maybe the woman was just overwhelmed, but she yelled at him for interfering. The day after he got there, the little girl had to go to the doctor for pinkeye. Benny was left home with the boy. It was a nightmare. After the boy screamed and hit him and acted like a little monster all day, Benny couldn’t handle it anymore. As soon as the woman got home with the girl, Benny crawled out the bedroom window and left.

He went straight to his childhood home, even though there was no one there waiting for him. He collected his car and a few belongings, but he knew he couldn’t stay or Child Protective Services would just drag him out of there and back to a foster home.

But once he left his old house, he had nowhere else to go. He had a car though, thankfully. It had sat, unused, while he was in juvie. It was still registered, thankfully, although the insurance on it had lapsed. He’d have to hope he didn’t get pulled over, or he’d be in big trouble.

With no home and no job, what else could he do now but wander? Sit in his car and feel sorry for himself? Even if he wanted to, he didn’t have any money for gas so he couldn’t do it for long. He tried to run the engine as little as possible. Just enough to keep himself from freezing to death. At least when he was up and walking, his blood was flowing.

He wasn’t warm, but at least he wasn’t dead. That was something, right?

Up ahead, a brightly-lit storefront spilled yellow light onto the snowy sidewalk. Its warmth beckoned Benny to come closer, but as he approached, he recognized the building and scowled. Sullivan’s Fine Gifts, the sign on the window read. Damn it. His wandering had taken him to the last place he should be.

Stupid. Why did I come here? He wondered. It wasn’t like he could go in and see Scott Sullivan. God, he wanted to though. Scott was the only person Benny had ever trusted. The only one who really knew him. Scott was the best thing that had ever happened to Benny. Too bad Benny was the worst thing that had ever happened to Scott.

Benny stood in front of the gift shop long enough for the snowflakes to settle on his too-thin jacket. His breath fogged the window and cold and hunger faded away as he stared into the store owned by his ex-boyfriend’s parents, mesmerized by the cheerful lights and decorations. It advertised home and family.

Warmth. Security. Love.

All the things Benny didn’t have.

Buy Links:

Available for FREE with Kindle Unlimited and for $2.99 on Amazon.

Click the Books2Read button below for the universal link.

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New Release – Push & Pull

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“Push & Pull” is live everywhere!

I am SO excited to share this story with you. Three years ago, I wrote the first book in The Midwest Series. I loved writing Nathan and Caleb’s story in “Bully & Exit”. But as I wrote it,  Caleb’s roommate, Lowell, started talking to me, His voice got clearer and clearer and he started flirting with Nathan’s roommate, Brent. Now, Lowell flirts with everyone. But I loved how flustered Brent got by it and it was clear that there was some mutual attraction there.

As the book wrapped up, I realized that Brent was supposed to be going on an epic road trip with Nathan. Since Nathan had just reunited with Caleb, he didn’t want to leave him for the summer.

This gave me the perfect opportunity to create a little conflict and set the scene for “Push & Pull”, which pairs Lowell and Brent together as they travel around Lake Michigan. Of course, both books set the scene for the third book, which will feature Micah Warner. Micah’s story, “Touch & Go” which will be released in 2019.

Why did it take me three years to get “Push & Pull” done? Well, my divorce happened, for one. I lost a lot of the momentum I had. And, apparently, Lowell didn’t like being ignored for a few months because he started to act up. Writing the story was like pulling teeth. Lowell wasn’t talking to me. Brent was being an asshole. Ugh! So frustrating. But after many, many drafts and even more long hours, it finally came together.

I am so proud of the way it turned out and so pleased with the story. I hope you love it as much as I do!

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Title: Push & Pull

Tagline: When is it time to stop living in the moment and think about the future?

Summary:

Brent Cameron has been dreaming about a road trip around Lake Michigan for years. When his best friend, Nathan, ditches him to spend the summer with his boyfriend, Caleb, Brent is pissed. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, he reluctantly agrees to take Caleb’s best friend, Lowell Prescott, instead.

Brent is a former hockey player and recently out of the closet. Lowell is an in-your-face gay guy who rebels against the limits people put on him. Tempers fly and sparks flare as they hit the road, which leads to a hot night they both regret in the morning. Despite the rocky start, Brent and Lowell slowly begin to realize they have a lot in common. As the miles disappear behind them so does their animosity. Casual hook-ups aren’t Brent’s thing, and Lowell doesn’t do relationships, so they agree to focus on their friendship.

By the time they make it to the shores of Lake Superior, their feelings have deepened past simple friendship, but neither of them have the guts to admit it. When the past intrudes, will it derail the trip and the possibility of a relationship?

Excerpt:

“Do you really mean to tell me you don’t want to get to know me in all sorts of ways? I don’t believe that. I’ve seen the way you look at me.” Lowell reached out and dragged a finger across the black fabric of Brent’s T-shirt before circling his nipple. Brent flinched again, backing away, even as the skin tightened and his nipple hardened to a pointy little nub.

Flustered and irritated by the reaction, Brent pushed Lowell’s hand away and crossed his arms. “You’re nuts if you think I’m taking you with me on this road trip.”

Lowell’s lips curved upward in a playful smile. “Oh, sweetheart, that’s what you think.”

The smile and words only served to make Brent angrier. He looked back at Nathan, feeling used. “Have you all just been cooking up this plan while I’ve been gone?”

“We’ve been talking about it for a couple of weeks, yeah,” Nathan said softly. “Trying to figure out the best solution.”

“What the FUCK? You couldn’t be bothered to mention this when we talked?”

Nathan’s uneasy look deepened. “I thought it might be better if we could discuss it in person.”

“You could have fucking called me and said, ‘Hey, can we meet in person? I need to talk about the trip with you.’ Don’t I at least get a say in what happens with the next two months of my life? Jesus, you guys are unbelievable.”

Nathan opened his mouth but Lowell spoke first. “Look, Brent, I get that you’re pissed, but you don’t have a lot of options at the moment. Frankly, you’re between a rock and a hard place right now, and I’m your only solution. Either you cancel your trip and lose money, which sucks. Or you change your plans and go by yourself, which also sucks. Or you take me. I also suck, but in much more enjoyable ways.” Lowell winked.

Brent gaped at him for a moment. Lowell stepped forward and put his finger under Brent’s chin. “Unless you’re offering to do something useful with that gorgeous mouth, I suggest you close it.”

Brent snapped his mouth shut fast enough to rattle his teeth. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

Lowell’s eyes twinkled. “Well, there’s this thing gay boys do, it’s called—”

“I know what sucking cock is,” Brent yelled, confused and annoyed by the pretty twink with the big eyes who always made him feel off-kilter and out of control.

“Good to know, sweets, good to know.”

“And make all the jokes you want, but this isn’t fucking funny. My whole summer is ruined.” Brent turned to Nathan. “And you. You’re a complete traitor. You’re right though, I have no choice but to put up with him.” He jerked a thumb to indicate Lowell. “So fuck you, Nathan. If you think I am going to forgive you for saddling me with that cock-hungry twink for two months you have another thing coming!”

Nathan made a sound of protest. Brent scowled and held out his hand to Lowell, ignoring Nathan completely. “If I’m stuck with you, then we’re taking your car. And hand over the damn keys. I’m driving.”

Series and Number: The Midwest Series, #2

Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press (Indie/Self-Published)

Publication Date: October 24, 2018

Word Count /or Page Number: 91,409 words/275 pages

Formats/Price: eBook – 4.99

Paperback (Coming soon)

Buy Links:

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Add on Goodreads:

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Paperbacks are Available!

*throws confetti*

I dragged my heels on getting the paperback out for “Between the Studs” *hangs head* but I got it done along with “Corked” so they are both available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! Just in time for Pride events!

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Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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Barnes & Noble

 

Anyone interested in signed copies, please contact me directly at brighamvaughn@gmail.com or send me a PM on Facebook or Twitter.

I would be delighted to sign a copy (of any of my books) and send it your way!

 

 

 

 

Brigham’s Recommendations – “Double Dutch Courage” by Helena Stone

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Sudden changes require great bravery. Can both men find the courage to be true to themselves and each other?

Blurb

Ronan Collins has spent most of his life in Dublin hiding who he really is. Coming out would hurt his mother, and Ronan isn’t going to be the second gay man to do that. When he receives news the father he has never known has died, leaving him both a house and a business in Amsterdam, he jumps on the opportunity to get to know the man who fathered him and to discover what he’s been denying himself for years.

Lucas Brandt thought he had it all when Paul Kelly offered him a job and rooms to live in. With Paul deceased he fears he may be about to lose both. He didn’t even know Paul had a son, and now this stranger is on his way from Dublin to pull the rug out from under Lucas’s feet.

The two men don’t expect to like each other, never mind feel attraction. With numerous reasons why hooking up would be a bad idea, why does giving in feel so much better? And is Ronan’s back story really as he’s always imagined it to be?

Excerpt:

Ronan seemed to search Lucas’s face for something, then lowered his gaze until Lucas was convinced he was staring at his lips. He mused that the sunshine had to be getting to him as the afternoon took on a dreamlike quality. Ronan licked his lips, the tip of his tongue tempting Lucas, teasing him. When Ronan leant forward Lucas wondered what was happening, whether he was imagining things. Surely Ronan wasn’t about to —

The soft press of Ronan’s lips against his elicited a sigh from Lucas. He would have been embarrassed about his reaction if he hadn’t been lost in the moment. It was the second time Ronan had taken him by surprise in this manner, except on this occasion he didn’t appear to have any intention of pulling back.

With so many reasons why this was the worst idea ever, it didn’t make any sense that the overriding thought running through his mind was more.

He cupped Ronan’s neck, keeping the pressure light, barely there. Ronan reacted as if Lucas had used force and pressed his lips firmer against his, parting them in the process.

Lucas was helpless against the onslaught. It had taken him days to stop obsessing about Ronan’s mouth after that quick, shy kiss a week earlier. There would be no coming back from this. He had no doubt he would end up hurt. Even as he had the thought, Lucas parted his own lips, slipped his tongue through the gap and tentatively caressed Ronan’s mouth.

“Oh.” Ronan’s soft exclamation meant his lips parted farther and Lucas took advantage. Fuck being sensible. Fuck worrying about tomorrow, or next week, or six months from today. He was here, now, and the tongue hesitantly exploring his was nothing like what he’d expected and everything he wanted it to be.

The kiss transported him back to his teenage years, to the first boy he’d ever kissed. Clumsy and with clashing teeth, it had been as awkward as it had been exciting. Pretty much as it was now, except this time it didn’t make sense.

He pulled back until the tips of their noses were the only parts of them still touching. Ronan’s lashes fluttered before he opened his eyes. They widened and he lowered his gaze.

“That bad, eh?” Ronan directed his words at the grass beneath their knees.

“Not bad.” Lucas tried to figure out what to say. Not sure what he was reacting to, he didn’t know which words to use either, so the truth would have to do. “It just brought back a memory of something I hadn’t thought about in ages.”

“Oh?”

Ronan still wouldn’t look at him and Lucas didn’t like it. He lifted Ronan’s chin with his index finger. “It reminded me of when I was fourteen and me and Hans, my best friend back then, decided to find out what the big deal about kissing was.”

“It was like your first kiss?” Ronan still tried to avoid meeting Lucas’s gaze.

“Yes.” Lucas smiled. He couldn’t believe Hans had slipped his mind. They’d done a lot of exploring together before Hans decided he was interested in girls after all. He got so lost in his reminiscence he almost missed the words Ronan muttered.

“Makes sense.”

It hit Lucas like a ton of bricks. Here was yet another reason why getting involved with Ronan was the worst idea ever. If he was right, he would be Ronan’s first in everything. The thought that Ronan’s inexperience might include kissing hadn’t crossed his mind until this moment. He wasn’t sure he could make that journey with Ronan without getting emotionally involved. He had to know for sure.

“I’m your first?”

The combination of shame and defeat Lucas read in Ronan’s expression tore at him. He didn’t need an answer. He also didn’t need to think about what to do next. Yes, he would end up getting hurt, but he’d deal with it. It wouldn’t be the first time or, in all likelihood, the last. He could be Ronan’s first and make it a good, a memorable, experience.

“I want to be your second, too.” He didn’t wait and pressed his lips back against Ronan’s before he could respond.

 

 

Kopstootje Meme

 

Review: 

I’ll be the first to admit, I am totally biased when it comes to Helena Stone’s books. We’re friends. I was staying at her home in Ireland when I beta read “Double Dutch Courage”. But biased or not, it’s a wonderful story.

“Double Dutch Courage” follows Ronan Collins from Dublin to Amsterdam as he learns about an inheritance left to him by his absent father, Paul, and begins to take the first steps toward being open about his attraction to men. Lucas Brant, Paul’s business partner and flatmate, helps guide Ronan along that path.

The author deftly weaves in Ronan’s discovery of Amsterdam through the story and it plays such a large role in the book, it needed to be mentioned. It’s wonderful and vivid and makes me want to travel there (more than I already did)!

This is a quiet story. Ronan’s journey doesn’t have huge, wildly dramatic twists and turns, but the gently unfolding self-discovery is no less compelling. The attraction between them and the building relationship is skillfully done and you’re rooting for them as Ronan overcomes those final obstacles and moves forward into the kind of future he’s always dreamed of.

“Double Dutch Courage” has wonderful characters, a fantastic setting, and a sweet romance. What more could any reader want?

Buy Links:

Amazon

New Release – Famiglia (Italian)

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For over a year now, I’ve been working with Quioxte Translation (formerly Francy et Alex Translations) and I can’t speak highly enough about them. They’ve been a joy to work with.

In spring of 2016, I released Compromessi, the Italian translation of “Equals”.  Last November I released the second book, Partners (apparently there’s not a direct translation for the title in Italian).

Because the third book is set around the holidays, we decided to wait until this December to publish the third book. It is now live!

After much internal struggle, I decided to release it on Kindle Unlimited. I’ve avoided doing that with any other books. I’ll be honest, I have a lot of concerns that long-term, KU devalues books and harms authors sales.

But sales are down all over and when the people at Quioxte Translations strongly suggested I enroll Famiglia in KU, I decided to take a gamble. They know far more about the Italian market than I do and I’m looking at it like an experiment. I’ll see how the book does and go from there.

So for the next three months, Famiglia will be exclusively available on Amazon. Click on the image below to grab your copy!

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Calm – General Release

“Calm” is available for general release today!

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Here’s a little teaser from the book.

Jesse licked his lips, appearing to consider his words before speaking. “I know you agreed to meet me here tonight—I mean, you messaged me back, which I took as a sign that you were willing to spend some time with me.”

It was Carter’s turn to frown. “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.”

“Are you sure?” Jesse asked gently. “Because I can’t help feeling I’m making you incredibly uncomfortable.”

Carter’s chest ached at Jesse’s earnest words. God, he was so fucked up.

“It’s not you.” He paused, then laughed with relief when Jesse grinned and broke the awkwardness between them at last. “I’m sorry. It’s a bit early to be spouting relationship clichés, especially when we hardly know each other.”

“Hey, I’m just glad you don’t look like you’re about to bolt,” Jesse told him, head cocked as sat back in his seat.

“I’m not,” Carter assured, “and you’re right. I wouldn’t have messaged you back if I didn’t want to see you again. I’m just out of practice with dating.”

“What makes you think this is a date?” Jesse’s eyes twinkled and he picked up his menu.

“Honestly, nothing. I’m a bit hopeless in social situations lately.”

Jesse dropped one corner of the menu to reach across the table and lay a hand on Carter’s.

“Relax. I asked you to dinner because I enjoyed spending time with you last week. I thought there was something between us worth exploring. But whatever happens depends on you, too. Tonight isn’t about business and I don’t want you to feel as though you’re being forced to be here.”

“I don’t.” Carter struggled to smile through his lingering guilt. “I meant what I said before—I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be.”

Jesse’s megawatt smile lit his face once more. “Then let me buy you dinner.”

Things between them were easier from there. Carter and Jesse fell naturally into conversation, ranging through various topics rather than focusing on any one thing. They shared oysters on the half shell and tuna tartare to start, then moved on to NY strip steaks for the main course, with another bottle of wine.

Carter relaxed as they ate and talked, even while his attraction to Jesse increased. The idea of acting on the impulse appealed, but it worried Carter too. He was out of his depth when it came to fooling around with men. He’d been dating, but hadn’t gone beyond a few kisses with any of the men he’d seen. Jesse, so confident and assertive, was on a whole other plane from any of them, even when Carter included Riley in the mix.

Then again, he didn’t really know Riley anymore, did he? When it came down to it, Riley had more in common with Jesse now than he did with Carter. Maybe that has always been the case, Carter thought, and his stomach dropped with the realization.

Pride

Amazon US 

Amazon UK