It’s giveaway time!
Where did July month go? I feel like it just started, and now I’m behind on everything LOL
At the beginning of each month, I run a giveaway of the books that were published during that month in previous years. So, now that we’re in August, I’m giving away an ebook copy of all my backlist books published in August to one lucky winner.
I’ve messed up release dates by re-publishing most of my books, but this year we’re going by the first release day.
How does it work?
I’ve created a giveaway over at Kingsumo, so hop on over there and write your email address – you’re not subscribing to any email lists by doing so – and in a week, Kingsumo will draw a random winner who I’ll contact through the address they typed.
Okay, this month, we have four books – It Doesn’t Translate, Banger Challenge, Cup o’ Sugar, and Quinny, Focus! A good mix of sci-fi, contemporary, and paranormal 😀
It Doesn’t Translate is about Max who has a burger joint in space. There he meets scary aliens and space pirates, but also a cat alien who loves ice cream. I always meant to write a sequel to this one, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Banger Challenge, I love Banger Challenge, but it’s not a book that’s sold many copies – could be the cover, could be the blurb, could be the title, I don’t know. It’s about Zen and Fred who goes on a road trip in a junk car and competes in a charity race.
Cup o’ Sugar is a paranormal tale about a werewolf who’s found his mate in a coffee shop, only he hates coffee. He still goes there every day to have a cup just to be close to him. This is also a story I meant to write sequels for.
Quinny, Focus! Ha! Quinny makes me laugh. This was written for an in-house call for JMS Books where we should write short stories about dating during lockdown. Dear Quinny isn’t the most observant of men LOL.
Max walked up to the table, once again praying no one could hear his heart banging in his chest. He kept his face neutral—some species interpreted a smile as aggressive—placed the first cup in front of a purple-haired male with a large flat nose. Piercings adorned his face in more places than Max had believed possible, not that he looked directly at the guy, but he had a hard time not peeking when the gang came and went. He always treated Max like he was invisible and that was alright by him.
Moving on to the next person, he didn’t recognise the jacket, and he didn’t dare look at the man’s face. As he put the cup down the man reached for it, grazing the back of Max’s hand before he could snatch it away.
“Sorry.” The man’s voice was a low purr. Max put some distance between them, but he couldn’t look away as large hands closed around the cup, making it look ridiculously small. He hadn’t seen those hands before, they were dusted with black hair all the way out on the fingers, the pads were broader than the rest of the digit, and there were no visible nails. That didn’t mean there weren’t claws hidden in there somewhere. Max had seen sharp tips coming out after he’d convinced himself a customer was a harmless species. But, for some stupid reason, it pleased him that the creature had five digits on each hand.
The number of fingers didn’t matter though; he was one of Bair’s men—a recruit from the looks of it. He only hoped the guy wouldn’t do anything to prove his worth in here. Shaking his head ever so slightly, he placed the last cup on the tray in front of the quiet man in the corner, the only one who was as small as Max was. Not that Max had considered himself small until he’d arrived here, he was average in every way according to human standards—okay maybe a little shorter than average, but not short short.
The quiet guy always sat in the corner, he never took part in any conversation, he never ate anything other than vegetables, and never drank anything other than black coffee. Max had no idea what species he was, though unless they were Reptoid or human he wouldn’t. His skin had a soft yellow-brownish tone with some dark spots, and it looked almost human in its texture—always nice.
A quick escape took him back to the counter, and he was cursing his shaking hands as he placed Bair and the rest’s cups on the tray. He briefly met Quam’s gaze before heading towards the table again.
In slow-motion he took the few steps bringing him up to the gang. He passed Bair and served the man closest to the wall first. For each cup he put down, his pulse picked up, all too soon he only had Bair’s cup left. It wobbled slightly on the saucer and Max cursed. Bair chuckled too close to his ear, and he steeled himself for another burning onslaught.
Max startled at the purring voice, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw Bair do the same. It was all he needed to be able to take a couple of quick steps out of Bair’s reach—not that it would stop him if he wanted to do something but at least Max could breathe a little easier.
“Yes?” He hoped the men didn’t notice the relief in his tone.
“You don’t happen to have any cream-based desserts, do you?”
Before Max could stop himself he met the man’s gaze, realised what he’d done, and quickly looked down at his worn sneakers. He had yellow eyes with vertical pupils, but the way the eyes had narrowed made Max aware of having overstepped his boundaries—or he’d probably taken more liberties than was expected of him. A flat nose, and a wide mouth…with lips—it was always nice when a face was human-looking. He was probably taller than Quam and broader too, but hey, five fingers, what more could a man wish for?
Max took a calming breath and cursed himself for spacing out.
He forced his mind to focus on what pastry he had to offer. Few species tolerated dairy products. “I…erm…I have vanilla ice cream.” Max kept it for himself. He liked eating some on those nights when he felt heartbroken, unwanted, and alone. Ice cream might not help that, but he still kept it for those nights.
“You do? Could I have some, please?”
Max was as stunned by the polite manner as he was of the request. “Of course, sir.”
Fred watched the man, Zen Zeppelin Cave, while trying not to be too obvious about it. He’d been too upset in Nortown to look at him properly. His eyes were dark, his beard almost black—or maybe beard was the wrong term for it; it was more like a week’s worth of stubble—and his hair was hidden underneath a black cap with a burning skull on it.
His jeans were black and worn, his T-shirt, black with a black car on it—the text: White Trash Millionaire printed underneath it. The black motorcycle boots he wore looked far too warm for the weather. He was an inch or so taller than Fred, average build, and Fred would say about his age so somewhere between thirty-five and forty.
“I can give you a lift to get coolant, or, I have some at home you can use for now.” He pointed at the road leading into the woods, his heart beating hard. He waited for Zen to sneer or say something unpleasant, but he didn’t.
Instead, he squinted at Fred and looked down the road. “How far is it to your place?”
“Not far. It’s just down the road to the turn, about the same distance past it, and you’re in my yard.” It wasn’t far. It would take about six minutes to walk, at a leisurely pace. The forest blocked the view of his house from the freeway, and Fred pulled in a deep breath, smelling the calming scent of the forest, listening to the twitter of the birds instead of his thudding heart.
“Sweet! I could do with a walk.” Zen pushed the rag he’d been holding into his back pocket and began walking.
Fred forgot how to breathe. What had he done? Invited a stranger to come to his home? He never brought anyone home. His home was his safe place. The place where no one judged him.
“Ah… eh…” He nodded and hurried to catch up. He was sweating underneath his uniform, and while he wanted nothing more than to get out of it at this point, he’d have an even harder time dealing with Zen if he did.
If he took off his uniform, he’d be nothing more than a blushing geek who stuttered and faltered on every other word. He’d have no authority at all.
“Have you lived here long?”
Fred opened his mouth, shut it, nodded, and shook his head. “Four years.”
“Yeah? Do you like it here? In Whiteport, I mean?”
Fred blew out a breath. “Technically, we’re not in Whiteport.”
“No? Shit, I don’t know where I’m going today. I’m taking wrong turns left and right.” He shook his head. “So where are we?”
“Waterside Cross. If you follow the freeway for another fifteen minutes, you’ll reach Whiteport.”
“So… Which is the best way to Minwall? Follow the freeway?”
Fred nodded. “You can do that. The country road is much nicer, but if you’re in a hurry, go with the freeway.”
“Do you want to come with me to Minwall?”
Fred blinked, trying to understand exactly what Zen was asking. “We have coolant in Waterside Cross, and if we didn’t, Whiteport is much closer than Minwall.”
Zen laughed, low at first then louder. Fred’s cheeks burned, and he tried to hide it, but he realized he’d already been rosy from the heat so what did a little extra matter?
“Nah, I mean, would you like to be my navigator?”
Go with a stranger to Minwall? And not in the line of duty. What would they do in Minwall? Fred didn’t look forward to three weeks alone in his house, but he didn’t know Zen, and while Fred had learned long ago not to judge people by how they dressed, Zen didn’t come across as the gentlest of people, and Fred—as his mother often put it—didn’t do well with honest people. Fred would call them bullies. But what did he know?
“I-I… don’t know.”
Zen tilted his head to avoid getting the sun in his eyes as he looked at Fred. The laughter had died out and what remained, was a soft-looking smile that had Fred’s heart speeding for a totally different reason.
He looked away. Finding himself attracted to someone like Zen wasn’t something he wanted to put himself through.
“You can think about it while we fix the coolant. As a cop, I bet you know all the best roads.”
He did, but he should stay away from Zen. For his own sake. “What are you gonna do in Minwall?”
Zen grinned. “I’m gonna walk into Oakland Keep before 6 p.m. tomorrow and I’m gonna have a beer at the bar.”
He hadn’t more than taken a sip, struggled to suppress a shudder as he swallowed the bitter fluid when Sam showed up. He was paler than normal, and he was always a little too pale in Roarak’s opinion. Not that he didn’t look good, Roarak loved the way his light brown hair seemed to have a life of its own, how his large hazel eyes looked bigger next to his delicate nose, but he always looked scared half to death. And more often than not, Roarak smelled fear on him. He’d always figured it was him causing it, but today Sam’s gaze bounced around the cafe, the sour scent growing in intensity long before Sam noticed him.
Roarak almost choked on his coffee when Sam instead of scurrying back into the kitchen came toward him. “Sir, you need to leave.”
“Sammy!” The woman glared at them and claws prickled at the skin on Roarak’s fingertips. No one snapped at his Sam.
“Be right back.” Sam’s singsong voice was all wrong, it was too bright, too melodic, and at the same time his heart was speeding up. “You have to leave.” The words were hardly audible, but Roarak had good hearing, far better than any human.
“It’s not safe here.”
The beast inside of him growled. “And why is that?”
Sam shook his head and edged away. Roarak snatched his wrist. “Why?”
“I-I don’t know. Something bad will happen, soon.”
Roarak couldn’t tell if Sam was guessing, if it was fear talking, or if he had information about something going down. “I’ll be right here enjoying my coffee.”
“No.” The desperation in Sam’s eyes almost made him want to leave, but there was no way he’d abandoned Sam if there was a threat.
“You have to leave. If you stay people will get hurt.”
“Me in particular or if anyone stays?”
“I know it doesn’t make sense.” He was hissing, the words coming so fast Roarak had to focus to make sense of them. “But you’ll become a monster if you stay and people will be injured, most likely killed.”
Roarak bit the inside of his cheek. Was he joking? No, the fear was real. “How do you know?”
Sam groaned and snatched his hand back. Roarak wanted to kiss him so bad it hurt.
“Same way I know you don’t like coffee.” He gestured toward the display shelf of cakes. “Or any of the cakes, pies and cookies.” Sam’s eyes glazed over, becoming unmoving and unresponding. With a frustrated groan, he blinked in rapid succession.
Roarak wanted to ask what had happened but didn’t. “You’re right, I come here for other reasons.” He winked while cursing his own stupidity. Flirting wasn’t why he came here. He’d convinced himself he was all right with settling for pining from afar for the rest of his life. Talking to Sam had never been the plan. Plus he should be worrying about the monster comment and that Sam knew him coming in for coffee was a ruse.
“We do serve juice, you know? And tea.”
“Don’t call me that!”
“Want me to take you on a nice date? I can do nice dates, I have done nice dates, but I’m not gonna waste my fireworks on idiots I don’t want a serious relationship with.”
For a second, Quincy was lost for words. “You want a relationship?”
“Of course not! Have you seen the offering out there?”
“You hang around the wrong places.”
“I haven’t left my apartment in months.”
Quincy bit his lip. “True, but when all this is over. Do me a favor and don’t go to The Blue Horse to hook up.”
The Blue Horse was a small pub with rainbow wallpaper and sculptures of two huge, blue horses by the entrance and a few blue horses, though smaller, inside. Subtle it was not and the clientele matched the decor.
“Why? If I want to score, I know I will if I go there.”
“Yes, but it’s a risk going there without wearing hazard clothing.” Quincy shot to his feet as there was movement in the window across the yard.
“Sweetheart, right now you need hazard clothing wherever you go. Do you have a face mask matching your outfit?”
Quincy squinted, the sun was reflecting on the glass, but was there someone else in Will’s apartment?
Quincy raised a hand to shield the sun, but it didn’t help the reflection.
He jumped. “Yes, sorry, I’m here.”
“Ty, I need to go. I think there’s someone in Will’s apartment.” He was about to disconnect when Ty shouted at him.
He held the phone away while trying to see what Will was up to. When Ty had quieted he brought it back to his ear. “What?”
“Don’t do anything stupid! I swear to God, you have the brain capacity of a four-year-old.”
“I do not.” Though he pouted like one. “And what if I do? I like my men a little older than me.”
Ty snorted. “Older? Will is twenty-nine.”
The sigh traveling the line made Quincy frown.
“If you Google his address, it lists his birth date. He’s twenty-nine. You’re twenty-six, love.”
“Yes, but I look twenty-two.”
A breath-long silence followed, then Ty spoke again. “I give up.”
“What, no, you can’t give up on me.”
Ty chuckled. “Don’t do anything stupid, Quinny.”
“Stop calling me that.”
Ty made a noise, could be affirmative, but Quincy didn’t dare hope. “Does he know you live across from him?”
“I assume…” Did he, though?
“You haven’t told him?” Ty’s voice grew in volume.
“Well, I assume… I know who he is, he must know who I am. There aren’t many people named Quincy Dean in the world, he has to know it’s me.” He frowned for a second then shook his head. Of course, Will knew it was him he was talking to. “Who flirts with strangers online?”
Ty laughed. It started like a surprised chuckle, but it grew and grew until Quincy wanted to tell him to shut up.
“Oh, dear. You are priceless.”
“Okay.” Ty blew out a breath. “Do me a favor and don’t do anything that will give him cause to call the police about a stalker in the neighboring house, okay?”
“I’m not stalking him, I just want to know if he has company over there. Why would he allow anyone inside his apartment?” He pressed his nose against the window glass and squinted at the light. “I think it’s a woman. Sure looks like long hair.”
“Quinny! Stop it.”
“But it’s soon time for our three o’clock coffee.” Was Will having coffee with someone else today? He hadn’t mentioned it when they’ve talked over breakfast.
“Sweetie, maybe it’s his sister, maybe something happened, maybe it was a surprise visit and—”
“They’re not six feet apart! He’s giving her a hug.”
Ty sighed. “As I said, maybe something happened. Maybe, there was an accident, someone in the family might have gotten…sick.”
Quincy swallowed. Shit. “Yeah, you’re right.”
“I know, I am.”
Maybe something had happened, and Will was comforting his sister. Quincy would have to be there for him now.
Noir Kioko had only ever seen one human before his undercover work brought him to the diner at the Luna Terminal, and that was at a distance. Humans are rare, most of them disappear without a trace, and he hopes hanging around the restaurant will give him a lead on the smuggling ring he’s investigating. There was no way he could’ve known the human would turn out to be his mate, and no way he can let it show without putting his mate in danger and possibly jeopardising his mission.
Max Welch is the proud owner of the only restaurant within a light year’s distance. He left Earth four years ago to create a better life for himself, but he hadn’t considered the possibility of scary alien pirates making his restaurant their favourite hangout spot. As a measly human there isn’t much he can do about it, but as one of the pirates starts coming by almost every day he has to come up with something before he loses all his customers. That the giant cat man is rather nice to look at changes nothing.
When rumours of another human arriving at the space station start to circulate, Noir’s species trafficking infiltrate and observe only mission may need a revamp. But will Noir be able to protect his mate and another one of his rare species?
Fred Munson likes his job as a traffic cop. He’s good at it. It’s his personal life that could use some improvement. With no friends, and being too shy to talk to anyone while out of uniform, when Fred is forced to use some of his vacation time, he has nothing to fill his days. At least not until he comes home to find his driveway blocked by a stranger with car troubles.
A month after losing his father, Zen Zeppelin Cave has also lost his place in the world. The only thing holding him together is focusing on a charity junk car race to raise money for cancer research. And he’s crossing that finish line even if he ends up replacing every part of the car along the way.
Zen had planned on completing the race on his own, but a spur-of-the-moment decision changes that when he invites the adorable, blushing police officer whose driveway he’s blocking to tag along. Going with a stranger on a road trip is completely out of Fred’s comfort zone, so when he accepts the invitation no one is more surprised than himself.
Together, Zen and Fred are heading south. But will the old junk car hold together long enough to reach their destination? And will crossing the finish line mean the end of the road for a budding romance, or will they find there’s more to their journey?
Roarak Halfhide of the Halfhide pack understands his duty. He’s found his pack a home, now he just needs to keep them safe and fed. It doesn’t matter that Sam, one of the workers at Cup o’ Sugar, makes him want to shirk his duties and spend his time sipping coffee in one of the booths.
He doesn’t even like coffee.
But things don’t always go as planned, and when there is a threat to Sam, Roarak can’t pretend to be just another coffee-loving customer. He has to protect his mate.
Quincy Dean is one lucky guy. After months of virtual flirting, he’s convinced the man of his dreams is living next door. True, they’ve never spoken face-to-face, and William Johnson has never posted a picture of himself, but how many William Johnson’s could there be?
Quincy is positive the two of them would be great together. But if he’s ever going to get the chance to convince Will of that fact, he’s going to need to do it before his perfect man figures out he’s too good for Quincy’s little corner of Whiteport and disappears from his real life forever.
But how do you woo someone when you have to stay six feet apart? Direct messages are great, but they aren’t very romantic. And when Quincy begins to notice that Will’s messages don’t always match up with what he’s seeing through his blinds, he worries that even online he and his dream guy are drifting apart. Six feet or not, it might be time to ask Will out on a date.