Wrap-Up | October

Another month has gone by, and this time we’re doing the Wrap-Up Wednesday on a Tuesday because we’re having a guest tomorrow. I haven’t had time to read much toward the end of the month, but I did carve out some reading time for myself at the beginning.

Pressure Head (The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries 1) by J.L. Merrow

I started the month with a re-read. It’s been many years since I first read Pressure head, but I enjoyed it a lot, maybe even more this time than I did the first. Tom is a great character.

Pressure HeadTom Paretski’s not just a plumber with a dodgy hip courtesy of a schoolboy accident. He also has a sixth sense for finding hidden things. Called in by the police to help locate a body near Brock’s Hollow, he’s staggered to encounter Phil Morrison, his old school crush—and the closeted bully whose actions contributed to Tom’s accident.

Phil’s all grown up now, and Tom’s unwilling attraction to him is back with a vengeance. Phil’s now openly gay—and what’s more, he’s interested in Tom’s personal charms as well as his psychic talents. As a private investigator called in by the dead woman’s parents, Phil is sceptical about Tom’s unusual gift, but nevertheless quick to spot its potential to aid him in his work.

The further they go with the investigation, the less they can ignore their shared past, and the more the pressure and the heat build between them. But Tom isn’t certain he wants to know the secrets he’s helping to uncover, while there’s a murderer on the loose who won’t hesitate to kill again—and this uneasy couple is moving right into his sights.

https://books2read.com/PressureHead

Forsaken Fae: Book Three (Forsaken Fae 3) by R.A. Steffan

Look at me finishing a series!!! With Fae and BDSM. Actually, now I feel like reading more books with fae. I haven’t read many MM fae stories at all. I’ve read some MF, but it was many years ago.

Forsaken FaeSome people just want to watch the world burn.
Unfortunately, those people seem to be in charge right now.

Trapped at the mercy of a corrupt Fae Court, Len and Albigard must overcome their harshest challenges yet in order to stop the Wild Hunt and retrieve their friends’ lost souls.

Albigard’s father seeks to use his estranged son as a weapon against their enemies, the demons. And apparently, he’s not bothered by the idea of entire worlds becoming collateral damage in his endless war.

Meanwhile, the pair’s only potential allies reside among the dregs of Fae society. The Forsaken—outcasts condemned by the Court—carry a terrible secret regarding the magical imbalance decimating the Fae realm of Dhuinne.

If the three worlds are to survive, Len and Albigard must tame Dhuinne’s dark heart before everything around them falls into ruin.

https://books2read.com/ForsakenFae3

Dangerous Ground (Dangerous Ground 1) by Josh Lanyon

This I read by mistake. I scrolled past it on my reading app, sure I’d read it but couldn’t remember it, so I opened it. I hadn’t read it. With Lanyon, you know what you get, but I was a bit confused at times with this one.

Dangerous Ground

It’s complicated…

Special Agents for the Department of Diplomatic Security, Taylor MacAllister and Will Brandt have been partners and best friends for three years, but everything changed the night Taylor admitted the truth about his feelings for Will.

Taylor agreed to a camping trip in the High Sierras — despite the fact that he hates camping — because Will wants a chance to save their partnership. But the trip is a disaster from the first, and things rapidly go from bad to worse when they find a crashed plane and a couple of million dollars in stolen money.

With a trio of murderous robbers trailing them, Will and Taylor are on dangerous ground, fighting for their partnership…and their lives.

https://books2read.com/DangerousGround

Slippery Creatures (The Will Darling Adventures 1) by K.J. Charles

I picked up the audio of this from the library, yay! I get so happy when I find something I want to read at the library. I enjoyed it, not my favourite K.J. Charles story, but great all the same!

Slippery CreaturesWill Darling came back from the Great War with a few scars, a lot of medals, and no idea what to do next. Inheriting his uncle’s chaotic second-hand bookshop is a blessing…until strange visitors start making threats. First a criminal gang, then the War Office, both telling Will to give them the information they want, or else.

Will has no idea what that information is, and nobody to turn to, until Kim Secretan—charming, cultured, oddly attractive—steps in to offer help. As Kim and Will try to find answers and outrun trouble, mutual desire grows along with the danger.

And then Will discovers the truth about Kim. His identity, his past, his real intentions. Enraged and betrayed, Will never wants to see him again.

But Will possesses knowledge that could cost thousands of lives. Enemies are closing in on him from all sides—and Kim is the only man who can help.

A 1920s m/m romance trilogy in the spirit of Golden Age pulp fiction.

https://books2read.com/SlipperyCreatures

The Carpenter’s Secret (Family Secrets 1) by Noah Harris

I don’t know where or when I got this, and I was afraid to read it, to be honest. As long as I only saw the cover and the title, it was fine, but then I read that the series was called Family Secrets and I feared I’d manage to download a pseudo-incest book or something. I’m terrible when it comes to reading the blurb, and in many cases, it broadens my horizons, but incest – pseudo or otherwise is my biggest NO. Then I read it was a werewolf story and I heaved a great sigh of relief LOL. I liked the story, but if you’ve followed me for some time, you know I’m allergic to epithets and there were way too many ‘the man’ for my liking.

The carpenter's SecretDean Matthews leads a normal, boring life. Until that is, he finds a long-forgotten letter that changes his life forever. Leaving behind his respectable career, Dean returns to his grandfather’s farm to restore it to its former working order and to steward the land that’s been in his family for generations. It’s a choice that leads to a host of complications, including what to do about Mikael Reed, the hot carpenter with a dangerous secret.

The predictable life that Dean used to lead couldn’t have prepared him for Mikael or the complexities of his past. Their easy friendship soon turns into more, but eventually, echoes of family legends rear their heads and a decision must be made.

In this paranormal gay romance, you’ll be intrigued by family mysteries and the secrets that emerge. What happens behind closed doors can be spine-tingling, sometimes hot and sometimes sinister as Dean’s digging results in the illumination of shadows from the past and things that go bump in the night.

https://books2read.com/TheCarpentersSecret

Findley Black and the Ghosts of Printer’s Devil by Amy Spector

We have to have some spooky reads in October, it’s a rule! There is one huge perk with having author friends and that is that you sometimes get to read stories before anyone else does. This story will be released tomorrow, and Amy is the guest who’ll be here 😊. I enjoyed this short story a lot – the book shop is to die for.

Findley Black and the Ghosts of Printers DevilStarting over at thirty-four is harder than Owen Key expected. Lonelier too. There’s Bella, and the odd assortment of kids he’d inherited when a father he barely knew left him Printer’s Devil. But his bookstore employees and his cat aren’t much good when it comes to getting laid.

Findley Black says a lot of things. At least according to everyone at the store. When Owen runs into him for the first time during one of his ghost tours, with his leather jacket and flirtatious looks, Owen finds himself more than interested in what he has to say.

Owen may have been hoping for a one-night-stand, but when Findley asks to stay the remainder of Halloween night in the Printer’s Devil in hopes of seeing the ghost of a serial killer, he finds it hard to say no.

Halloween is a time for ghost stories and trick or treat. But running out of candy is a bad omen, and it’s hard to get lucky when something otherworldly seems determined to ruin your night.

https://books2read.com/Findley-Black

Honey Witch by K.L. Noone

A short, sticky FF read about a princess and her witch. I won’t reveal anything about the plot, you get to figure that out by yourselves. (Last I checked, it was free over at B&N)

Honey WitchWhere does a princess go for advice? In the kingdom of Rosewood, the answer’s simple: ask the honey witch.

Ursula has grown up knowing she’ll inherit the throne, and she’s devoted to her land and her people. But she wonders about her future, whether she’ll be happy, and whether she’ll marry for love. Beautiful earth-witch Esmerelda promises answers, divined in magical honey … and one smile from her has always made Ursula’s heart race.

Esme has loved Ursula silently for years, despite knowing a common earth-witch can’t hope to marry a princess, especially one so generous and passionate and worthy of a royal marriage. But when Ursula comes to her with a question about love, Esme can’t resist introducing her princess to the sweetest magic of desire … and some even sweeter uses for enchanted honey.

https://books2read.com/Honey-Witch

Release Day | Ghost Dater

Trick or TreatIt’s release day!!! 🥳 Ghost Dater is a short story about Thad and Sandy from Soul Eater, but when I told JMS Books that I was gonna write a story for their Trick or Treat call, I meant to write it about Jaecar and Elijah from Mind Scrambler. When they weren’t cooperating, I figured I’d better let Thad and Sandy have a story instead. 

It’s been ten years since Sandy was killed and one year since he was brought back. Thad thinks it’s something worth celebrating – Sandy does not.  

Sandy has been moping for about a week, and Thad has had enough. Since all stories should be either about a trick or a treat, I decided to have Thaddeus trick Sandy into believing they’re having a party. Sandy isn’t pleased. 

Here’s the beginning of the story: 

Excerpt:

Thaddeus Esax was a sorcerer extraordinaire—or not extraordinaire exactly. He was of mixed race which was considered taboo in most, if not all, wizard families. Growing up, he’d believed he was a lousy mage, but then he’d brought a werewolf back from the dead and kept his ghost alive. Not only alive, but the stupid wolf was also a talking, thinking, sometimes solid asshole. It had to mean he wasn’t completely useless. He hoped. 

The werewolf in question, Sandulf—Sandy—Hunter, was Thad’s mate—or so he had believed. Sandy was the biggest jerk he’d ever met. The hottest too, but telling him that only went to his head. Stupid wolf. 

Thad glared at him. “Are you gonna mope all day?” 

Something had happened a little over a week ago. Thad didn’t know what, but Sandy was keeping a distance between them, and it fucking hurt. He’d believed they’d be together till the end of time, but Sandy hadn’t touched him in days. Shifters were known to want to touch. All. The. Time. Mates were never far apart, but Sandy hardly looked at him these days. Last night, he hadn’t even come to bed. 

“I’m not moping.” He ended the sentence with a silent snarl. 

Sandy had been in ghost form most of the week—as he was now. Thad could see him; a washed-out version of the strong, virile man he had been when alive. 

Should someone enter the room, they’d only see Thad, though. 

If Thad were to flood him with energy, Sandy would grow solid and appear alive to the people around them, but since he’d stayed a couple of feet away for an eternity, Thad hadn’t touched him. 

He didn’t need to touch him to send energy his way, but why pollute the world with a grumpy werewolf when he could keep him invisible to those who didn’t need to suffer the sulking? He was doing the world a favor. 

For days, Thad had walked around feeling hurt. Was Sandy acting like this because he didn’t want Thad anymore? It was his biggest fear, that he wasn’t enough for Sandy. 

But Sandy couldn’t leave him, they were tied together. Thad had involuntarily forced him to stay close to him at all times. They couldn’t break up, or he guessed they could, but then it would mean Sandy would go back to being dead for real. 

He hoped Sandy didn’t want to break up. What if there would be a day when he chose death over having to spend every second of every day with Thad? 

At the same time… Sandy was a werewolf, and he claimed Thad was his mate. It should mean Sandy would want him forever. He didn’t want to believe Sandy had lied to him, and why would he? 

Thad tried to push away the hurt in his chest. It was as if Sandy was withdrawing from him—from the world. And it scared the crap out of him. What would he do without Sandy? Who would he be without Sandy? Where could Sandy go? Theoretically, Thad could put his ghost to rest, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t kill Sandy. Some might claim he wasn’t alive at all, that he had been killed on Halloween ten years ago—and he had, but Sandy was alive. He was a talking, feeling, thinking being, and Thad loved him—when he wasn’t being a stupid werewolf. 

But after a week of hurt and worry, Thad was rapidly growing angry. He’d had enough. 

“Great!” He’d meant to smile, but it came out as a sneer. “I have things to do today, so we’re leaving.” 

“You are off from work.” Sandy crossed his arms over his chest. 

“I’m never off.” Not true. He was a cop, so if something were to happen, Jaecar, his boss, would call and demand he come in, but they didn’t have any major cases at the moment, so he’d most likely have the day off. 

Sandy scowled, and anger flared in Thad. Energy rushed to his fingertips, but he curled his hands into fists to prevent it from escaping. “I’m going shopping.” 

“Shopping? You went shopping yesterday!” 

“That was grocery shopping. Now I’m going shopping shopping.” 

Sandy hated shopping. If he was in solid form, he could undress and put on whatever clothes he wanted, but as soon as he faded, he was back in his T-shirt, threadbare jeans, and bare feet. Thad wasn’t planning on going clothes shopping though, but he didn’t tell Sandy that. Right now, he didn’t think Sandy deserved that kind of information. 

He grabbed a jacket and walked out the front door, slamming it with more force than needed. He used magic to lock it and stomped toward the car. Sandy would kill him, or try to at least, but he hurried into the driver’s seat and turned the key. 

As he accelerated, the prickles on his skin grew more intense, meaning Sandy would soon be yanked to him. He prepared to be snarled at, so he pushed the gas pedal harder. The prickles intensified, and he slammed the brakes right before the swoosh pulling Sandy to him happened. 

“What the fuck are you doing?” Sandy snarled, as predicted, and climbed off—out of—Thad. It was a good thing he didn’t weigh anything when in ghost form. 

“Going shopping.” It was their first Halloween in their new house and Thad wasn’t going to let Sandy’s foul mood ruin it. Sandy might claim to hate all holidays ever invented, and he might scoff at Thad’s decorations, but the house would be properly decorated. He pursed his lips as the wheels spun in his head. He needed to do something to cheer Sandy up or this Halloween would be dreadful. 

A date! They’d never been on a proper date. Going to a restaurant was out of the question, but they could have a dinner date at home… only… Sandy couldn’t eat. 

“You couldn’t wait two minutes until I was ready to go?” 

Thad narrowed his eyes. There had to be a way to make it so Sandy could eat, if only for an hour or so. 

All Hallows’ Eve was when the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest. There had to be some spell or rite or something he could perform to get Sandy to be more alive than he was. Sandy would never let him try, though. They’d both seen what could happen when you played around too much with the dead. But if he tricked him somehow… How would he get away with cooking and stuff? Sandy would notice if he did more than the quick meals he usually did for himself. 

“What? You needed to make yourself pretty before you left the house? I told you we were leaving.” Thad did his best not to let any of his plans show. Sometimes he believed Sandy was turning into a mind reader. 

Blurb:

ghostdaterThaddeus Esax has a grumpy werewolf problem. For a year, he’s been mated to Sandulf Hunter, a ghost werewolf he brought back from the dead without meaning to. It’s been great. Thad’s been happy, and he believed Sandy was too. But Sandy has been sulking for more than a week, and Thad fears their relationship isn’t going as well as he believed. 
 
The problem with being mated to a ghost is that said ghost never can leave your side, and therefore it’s extremely hard to keep secrets. Thaddeus wants to surprise Sandy, to cheer him up, but to do that, he has to trick him into believing they’re doing something they’re not. 
 
Telling Sandy they’re having a Halloween party doesn’t go over well, but how do you trick a ghost? By making him believe he’ll be dressed up as a pirate for an evening, of course. 

Buy links: 

Gay Paranormal Romance: 9,376 words 

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/GhostDater 

Guest Post | Nell’s Autumn Moodboard

Guest-Post

Hi again, I’m back. But this time I’m not here to talk about a new release because the day job is kicking my behind and I’m struggling to find time to write which means no new releases for me until December. But Ofelia, being the lovely human being that she is, invited me anyway, saying It doesn’t have to be a new book, you can talk about something old. And she’s right. The older books don’t cease to exist just because a new book comes along, so here I am.

I bring three of my older books that have one thing in common: they all take place in the fall. The leaves are just turning in Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings, while the last crumpled leaf falls from the trees at the start of In My Arms Again. In Us Again, the leaves are yellow on the ground as two men finally get what they want.

Fall is my favorite season and by that, I mean the cozy part of fall, not the ghosts and Halloween. I want warm sweaters, hot chocolate, and apple-flavored anything. The wooly socks and knitted scarves. Give me changing leaves and crisp air. Hearty stews, red wine, tea, and reading by the fire. You get the picture, I’m sure

And if you don’t: I made a mood board. Wanna see?

Fall moodboard

He’s cold. I’d give him all my warmth if he would just open his eyes and smile at me and call me Care Bear again.”

Us Again

Second chances :: size difference :: oh-my-god-you-almost-died :: hurt/comfort :: reunited :: difficult past :: gentle giant :: meet cute

Will a late-night phone call lead to a second chance at love?

When Alex gets a call in the middle of the night, telling him his ex-boyfriend is in the hospital, he only hesitates for a second before rushing to Sammy’s side. But the Sammy in the hospital bed is fragile, and not the same man who told Alex to leave seven months ago.

Alex wants to help Sammy get better and is desperate to find out what went wrong between them. Maybe even get a second chance with the man Alex hasn’t been able to get over.

But will Sammy let him back into his life?

M/M Contemporary / 9511 words

Buy links:

JMS Books :: Amazon

Yes. I’m used to being watched, but never like this. It’s different when I feel his heart beating next to mine, and his breath as though we were on the bed with our limbs entwined and his mouth next to my ear, instead of across the table from each other.”

In My Arms Again

historical fantasy :: fated mates :: star-crossed lovers :: finding home :: lone wolf :: hurt/comfort :: age difference :: pegasus

Trapped in a growing sense of restlessness, Oxen the hunter is lonely. Feeling like he’s waiting for something—or someone—he’s unable to focus on getting ready for winter. But when a handsome and very ill stranger collapses on his doorstep, everything changes.

The stranger, Vinge, is from a Pegasus family but has never been able to transform. As soon as he awakens, both men feel an instant connection, and it grows deeper as Oxen nurses him back to health. Something profound within each man calls out to the other, but neither of them knows what it is.

The questions surrounding Vinge and their deepening relationship are many. Why is Vinge so familiar to Oxen when they clearly have never met? Why are they both reluctant to take the first step to a real commitment?  And what will it take for the true depth of their connection to be revealed?

M/M paranormal historical fantasy / 21809 words

Buy links:

JMS Books :: Amazon

He rests his cheek against mine. I draw a sharp breath. I expected a kiss, but somehow this is even more intimate.”

Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings

bisexual representation :: finding home :: 40+ :: instalove :: family :: communication :: mature men :: non-bitchy ex-wife

Sometimes love finds you even when you’re not looking for it.

At 47, Oren Walker isn’t looking for love. When he knocks on Pete Higgins’ door, all he wants is to thank him for helping his mom after she broke her femur. He never expected that one look at the man would make his knees weak and heart flutter.

Pete is happy—albeit a bit lonely—after divorcing his wife of 20 years and isn’t looking to replace her. But when Oren shows up, all grateful and handsome and in that fancy suit, the longing for the deep connection of a relationship flares up inside him.

As the leaves turn yellow, Oren and Pete spend a lot of time in honest conversations. Their attraction grows. Will the two men recognize the promise of new beginnings, and take the chance to find the happiness they both deserve?

M/M contemporary / 17809 words

Buy links:

JMS Books :: Amazon

About Nell

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bonafide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.

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