Thursday, February 28, 2019

Audiobook Release-Review & Giveaway: OUT IN THE OFFENSE by Lane Hayes, narrated by Michael Pauley

Now Available in Audio!

Out in the Offense
Series: Out in College #3
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Narrated by: Michael Pauley
Original Release Date: January 10, 2019
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Bisexual, College romance, Football, Coming out

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Christian Rafferty is a talented quarterback with a big secret. He’s determined to make the most of his final season on the football field, and if possible, avoid any confrontations with his conservative parents about his future. It shouldn’t be difficult; he’s become adept at keeping his public and private lives separate. However, when a math class threatens to derail his plans to graduate on time, he realizes he may need outside help.

Rory Kirkland has a reputation for being a tough guy. He’s a former wrestler and recent college graduate who needs a real job. Until he finds one, tutoring is a decent temporary gig. Luckily, his brain is his biggest asset. Rory is a genius. He credits his sport for helping him deal with angst and rumors about his sexuality when he was younger, but he doesn’t care what others think anymore. He likes his new status as an out and proud bi man; and he recognizes something of himself in Christian. But Rory didn’t count on falling for him. When an unlikely friendship collides with intense attraction, both men begin to realize that coming out on offense just might be the surest path to love.


"Can I do anything to help?” I asked, setting my backpack on one of the two barstools at the narrow counter space.

“Nope. As soon as the veggies are sautéed, we’ll be ready to eat. Want something to drink?”

“Yes, please. Water is fine. Where’s Buttons?”

Rory pulled a water bottle from the small fridge behind him and handed it over, then pointed at a basket next to the sofa.

“She’s hiding behind that basket. She’ll make an appearance if she decides you’re worthy. In the meantime, there’s bread in that basket on the counter next to your bag. Help yourself. I’ll bring dinner out.”

I thanked him, then twisted the cap from the water bottle and took a generous sip before rounding the corner in search of the bread. I was ravenous. I bit into the baguette with gusto before turning to check out my surroundings.

Rory’s apartment was tiny. Probably half the size of mine and much older. But unlike the rough exterior, it was…pleasant. Surprisingly so. A short wall delineated the narrow kitchen from the main living area. There was just enough room for a sofa, an ottoman, a TV console, and a smallish television. Two barstools were tucked under the small peninsula by the cut-out in the kitchen wall. The palette was basic “dude”…dark leather against stark white walls, though a large red throw rug anchored the room and provided a nice splash of color. It was simple—but tidy and very clean.

“Your place is cool,” I commented when he entered the room, carrying two plates and a large bowl.

“Thanks. Let’s sit on the sofa. We have more room to eat there,” he said decisively as he set his burden on the coffee table. “Help yourself. I’ll get some forks, napkins, and extra veggies.”

I obeyed and quickly got to work, scooping chicken fettucine Alfredo onto both plates. Rory joined me a minute later, handing over the silverware before taking a seat next to me. I shot a bashful sideways glance at him as I reached for a napkin.

“Do you eat like this every night?”

“It’s really nothing special. I make sauces in bulk and freeze them. Then it’s just a matter of adding protein and veggies. By the way, this Alfredo is a healthy version. If you want to drown it in parmesan, feel free. I won’t be offended. Cheers.” He tapped his water bottle against mine and winked.

“Cheers. And thanks again. This is incredible and very unexpected.” I smiled as I twisted the pasta around my fork.

“You’re welcome. You sounded anxious, but you said we’re cool. Are we?”

“Of course.”

Rory tilted his head and shot me a challenging look. “Then kiss me.”


“Yeah, now. The other night could have been a fluke. Instead of wondering, let’s get it over with. One kiss should be enough to tell. C’mere,” he commanded, leaning sideways.

I set my fork down and met him halfway until our noses brushed. Then I waited for him to make the next move. He stayed stubbornly still. When I couldn’t stand the growing tension, I pressed my lips to his. And wow…amazing.

Rory was a great kisser. He had the simple art of give-and-take down to a science. He molded his mouth to mine and gently pushed his tongue inside. The connection was sweet but bold. It was more about discovery than possession. I hummed as I snaked my arm around his neck, pulling him closer. He sucked my tongue, then bit my bottom lip playfully before pulling back.

“Definitely not a fluke," he said with a devilish grin.

Listen to an Excerpt & Purchase at Audible

Carra's Review

Take one hot closeted college football quarterback, add one hot, out-and-proud tattooed former wrestler who’s also a crazy smart math whiz, toss in some solid secondary characters and the obligatory intolerant, controlling parent, and now you have Out in the Offense.  Okay, there’s more to it than that…but that alone was plenty to pique my interest, particularly since it’s a Lane Hayes book and I’ve really enjoyed the other books of hers I’ve read previously.  And while this is the third book in the series, you don’t have to read the others first before starting this one.  It does feature characters from the other books, so it was nice to get a glimpse of them again here.

Christian is well-liked by pretty much everyone.  He is a shining example of the classic college quarterback, though he does have that one secret—you know, the closet.  And while I really liked his character, I adored Rory even more.  Everything about him was irresistible to me since I’m a sapiophile who can appreciate a hot, tatted up former jock…I may be just a bit jealous that Christian got him.

The ease with which the two of them became friends and then more without things being rushed was definitely something I liked.  The banter between them flowed easily, the chemistry was electric, and they felt comfortable as a couple even when things weren’t public.  The story was relatively angst-free, just a tad showed up when the closet door started opening but things were handled well without a bunch of discord.

Out in the Offense fits perfectly in the series, and was a truly entertaining read.  This one was a solid 4-star read for me, and one that I recommend to all M/M romance fans, particularly those who like the college setting as well as coming out stories.  This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

The narration: Michael Pauley did Christian and Rory a solid with this one.  I really liked the differentiation in character voices, not just for them but for all the supporting characters as well.  He easily made the story come alive, and honestly of the audiobooks that I’ve listened to that he’s narrated, I think this is my favorite so far in terms of voice characterization.  5 stars for the narration!

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |Amazon

Meet the Narrator

Michael has well over 50 audio book titles currently available for purchase on He is versed in multiple styles and genres including fiction (novels and short stories) ranging from romance to science fiction to crime dramas to thrillers; business strategy books; health and wellness books; and even an occasional children's book.

Fans of Michael's narration are welcome to follow him on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

If you are interested in working with Michael to produce your next audio book, you can contact him directly at


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New Release & Giveaway: HELIX by Anna Martin

Buy Links: 

Length: 61,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press


When high school student James has trouble with his truck, Dylan, who is studying to be a mechanic, comes to the rescue. James thinks he hides his immediate attraction well, but is happy to be wrong when Dylan asks for his number. Since James is new to romance, they take things slowly, and because Dylan is in college, James keeps the budding relationship secret from his overprotective dad.

Across town, Mark, a teacher and single father to James and his sister, Frankie, meets Steve at a bar for what both believe will be a quick hookup. Mark doesn’t see any reason to tell his kids about Steve or press Steve for details about Steve’s adopted son…. It’s just sex between them. Isn’t it?

Two very different love stories grow side by side, each hidden from the other. But all of that changes at a family barbecue, when Mark decides it’s time for his kids to meet Steve and for him to meet James’s boyfriend, who none of them realize is Steve’s son, Dylan. The inevitable explosion means the two couples have some explaining to do to soothe the hurt feelings of their families—and lovers.

Author Bio

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the southwest of England and now lives in the Bristol, a city that embraces her love for the arts. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything that's put under her nose.

Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.


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New Release & Giveaway: TOUCH OF A YELLOW SUN by V.L. Locey (Colors of Love #2)

Buy Links: 

Cover Design: Designs By Sloan
Length: 88,600 words approx.

Colors Of Love Series

Book #1 - Lost In Indigo - Amazon US | Amazon UK


It's been a rough couple of years for Marek Hafer, roaming hockey protagonist and pugilistic expert. Ending up in Berger Lake, Pennsylvania, on a financially unstable minor league team might just be the ending his wretched career deserves. On the other side of thirty, Marek knows his time on skates is dwindling. His goal now is to spend a few quiet years playing for the Berger Lake Badgers, knock a few helmets together as needed, and then call it quits before his salty personality gets him booted out of hockey permanently.

After a bloody encounter his first night on the ice, the Badgers coach suggests that Marek find a way to lower his violent tendencies before he’s sent packing yet again. That decree leads Marek to knock on the door of his next-door neighbor, Shey Pierson, the owner of Sun Touch Yoga Studio. Shey ticks every box Marek has with his soft blue eyes, flowing golden hair, and long limber legs. The only problem is that Shey is yin to Marek’s yang.

Can a man famed for throwing punches find serenity in the arms of a man known for his tranquil ways?

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.


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Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Pirates, Palmettos and Poltergeists

By Morgan Brice

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is the setting for my Badlands urban fantasy MM paranormal romance series. The newest book, The Rising, just came out, and its got vengeful spirits, looming storms, a haunted mansion, and true love.

Here’s the short recap: A big storm is brewing, there’s a killer on the loose, and the ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless. Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his sexy cop boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato have their hands full when rough tides bring up the wreck of an old pirate ship and men from prominent local families end up dead. Vic and Simon race to stop the murders, but can they save the intended victims without getting trapped themselves?

The Rising is book three, but it can be read as a stand-alone. Obviously, if you start at the beginning, you’ll see how Simon and Vic meet and their relationship grows, but story-wise, you can pick up anywhere. 

Simon and Vic are in an established relationship, both at home and at work, where Simon is an official police consultant with his psychic medium abilities, helping Vic track down killers who have a supernatural angle. It’s been so much fun seeing Vic and Simon grow into their love for each other. I’ve also had a good time seeing both men gain an appreciation of the risks and rewards that go with each other’s professions and learn to deal with that. They face very different kinds of dangers, and that conflict is at the heart of The Rising.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, each book in this series is named for a Bruce Springsteen song, because Vic is a huge fan of The Boss. 

I love Myrtle Beach and have gone there on vacation for years, so it’s also a lot of fun for me to write about the area and share my favorite things. Many of the locations mentioned in the books are real, so if you’re familiar with the area or you go for a visit, you won’t have any difficulty finding your way around! 

I’ll be a Featured Author at Coastal Magic Convention in Florida at the end of February, and at GRL in New Mexico in October. I hope to see you there! 

Thanks for reading! Here’s a link to a free Valentine’s Day short story featuring Simon and Vic—I hope you enjoy it!

About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Other books include Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers, Badlands and Lucky Town. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Cover & Blurb Reveal: INDULGE ME by Beth Bolden (Kitchen Gods #4)-Includes Excerpt!

We are thrilled to be able to present to you the cover and blurb reveal for the fourth book in Beth Bolden's Kitchen Gods series, INDULGE ME!

We've all been excitedly anticipating Kian and Bastian's book...and this cover was certainly worth the wait!

by Beth Bolden
Kitchen Gods Series #4


Throughout the restaurant industry, Chef Bastian Aquino is a notorious control freak. For two very long years, Kian Reynolds has worked for Bastian as his special assistant, doing whatever he and his restaurant needs. The toughest part isn’t even all the impossible tasks he expects Kian to complete flawlessly—it’s the hopeless, endless love he feels for his older boss.

Falling for someone so far above him might be agonizing, but at least his feelings aren’t unrequited. Bastian fell in love right alongside him, but at the very beginning, they made the choice to abstain for logical, smart, professional reasons.

But love isn’t logical, it isn’t smart, and it definitely isn’t professional. It defies containment, even by Bastian. While he watches Bastian struggle with their attraction, Kian finally comes to the conclusion that he’s done.

He’s done standing off the side, done not getting any of the credit, done letting Bastian define the boundaries of their relationship. Most of all, he’s done waiting.


On the last Sunday of every month, Bastian tested recipes, and from the very first time Kian joined him, it was something special they did together.

This wasn’t the first time or even the tenth, but somehow, the miracle of creation never failed to excite him. And sometimes, if Kian was very lucky, Bastian would let down his guard a little, and Kian would catch him staring at him, as he went about his tasks. Something that Bastian would never do when others were around, because Kian knew he was terrified of anyone finding out that the Bastard had feelings, even if they were primarily sexual feelings.

“What about the butter?” Kian asked, holding the buttery, lemon-dill reduction out towards where Chef was bent over a plate, tweezers out as he settled the garnishes onto the plate.

They were trying out a new langoustine recipe, and Chef had asked Kian to put together a butter sauce for drizzling. Except that instead of drizzling it, Bastian had moved right onto the garnishes.

“Oh, shit, yeah,” Bastian said, glancing up. “Maybe around the edge of the plate?”

When they’d first started working together on Sundays, Bastian definitely hadn’t asked Kian’s opinion. But slowly, as their time together progressed, he’d begun to ask a question here or there, until, in the last few months, the sessions had started to actually feel collaborative.

Kian looked at the plate Bastian had chosen, and knew the sauce ringing the edge of the plate would be a messy proposition at best.

“Let me taste it first,” Bastian demanded, and Kian passed over the pot. He dipped a spoon in, licked it clean, and let the flavor of the sauce linger on this palate. Chef tasted a hundred things, every single day, but the recurring thought of, that should be me, and the automatic denial was second nature to Kian by now.

“God damn that’s good,” Bastian said fervently. “The little spice on the end, that’s glorious.”

“Thank you, Chef,” Kian said formally, but he was smiling. Nothing ever felt better than a compliment from Bastian, mostly because compliments were so scarce, but also because you knew he meant them.

Unceremoniously he dumped the langoustine in the trash, sliding the plate down near the rest of their dirty dishes. Dishes Kian would probably end up washing, since Jorge wouldn’t be in until later, and he’d have his hands full.

“That sauce needs to be the focal. Which means, a new plate.” Bastian prowled over to shelving unit that held his plate selections, and picked one, then another, and then a third.

They clattered as he deposited them on the counter in front of Kian. “You pick,” he said.

This was new. Sometimes Bastian asked his opinion, but he’d never been given control of a decision before. And plate selection was huge. It determined plating and garnish and Bastian had told him a thousand times, those often determined the ultimate success of a dish.

Kian examined each one carefully, envisioning in his mind the langoustine, the French beans, the sauce, the garnishes. Only one stood to him as the perfect choice. He glanced up at Bastian, who was watching intently.

“Go on,” Bastian said, making a little shooing gesture with his hand, the other tucked up under his armpit. A fierce look of concentration fell over his face as he watched Kian plate the langoustine.

When Kian was finally done, and wiped the plate, Bastian spent a long time looking at it from every angle.

He’d poured the sauce into the bottom of the curved bowl, curled the langoustine in a loose spiral, nestled the beans upright, letting them fan out, and in a final touch, used the eyedropper to dot the surface of the yellowy cream sauce with basil oil.

“You’ve been paying attention,” Bastian said finally.

Kian was almost offended. Was there anyone who assumed he hadn’t been?

“All it needs,” Bastian continued, “is one final touch.” He abruptly turned on his heel and headed in the direction of the walk-in fridges. When he came back, he was holding something nestled in his hands. Carefully he leaned down and nestled one of the miniature Anaheim peppers they’d just got into one of the langoustine folds.

“Visually, it’s right,” Bastian said, but he gave a sigh of frustration. “But if any idiot eats that, it’ll overwhelm the shellfish and the sauce. What else do we have that’s red?”

“What about a single slice of radish?” Kian suggested. “It’s a nice vibrant red, but the flavor is fairly neutral.”

“Let’s try it,” Bastian said, and Kian went back to the walk-in, grabbed a radish, then his fish deboning knife, very sharp and very flexible and carved a single, nearly paper-thin slice. The edges were bright red, and the starkness of the white was a good contrast to the yellow and green base. He swapped it for the pepper, and knew it was right when Bastian sighed again, but this time in satisfaction.

He reached over and clapped a hand on Kian’s shoulder.

They didn’t always touch. It always felt a little like Russian Roulette, touching, especially in the sacred confines of the Terroir kitchens. But once in a while—Kian was never sure if it was because he’d done something good enough to be rewarded or if Bastian was so impressed he couldn’t help himself anymore—he’d reach out like this with a brief clasp of his shoulder.

This time, though, he lingered and Kian’s heartbeat accelerated. He couldn’t stop it and he couldn’t slow it down.

He looked up to see Bastian looking at him, intently. There were a thousand dangerous things brewing in that dark gaze, and Kian trembled.

“You are so . . .” Bastian broke off and dropped his hand, his earlier frustration magnified.

About the Author

A lifelong Oregonian, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. She still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to start a chapter of Keeping Durham Weird.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published eleven novels and four short stories, with Indulge Me, the last book of the Kitchen Gods series, releasing in spring 2019. 

Start the Series now to get ready for the release of INDULGE ME!

All on Amazon and available in Kindle Unlimited too!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Spotlight-Excerpt & Giveaway: YEAR OF THE DEMON by Tara Fox Hall (Unhallowed Love #2)

Series: Unhallowed Love Book 2
Genre: Paranormal, Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Melange Books
Publication Date: February 19, 2019
Will a demon-hunting priest and a wizard bent on world dominion end Shaker's happiness with his human Mistress Debbie?
CEO Debbie and demon Shaker's first year of partnership was a smashing success for both Pandora Productions and their own new intimate relationship, ending with the announcement of their engagement last New Year's Eve. Shaker now inhabits a human host, Pandora's rising action star Jett Black, putting the possibility of a family within Debbie's tentative grasp as the couple pledges their love at the altar. But as before, one crisis after another ensues, beginning with Titan's push to assimilate Pandora and the death of Debbie's father, bringing her back together with her estranged family, and into the sights of a demon-hunting priest, Father Matthew, who will stop at nothing to not only send Shaker back to the Hell he came from, but also ensure Debbie is free of sin...permanently. When Shaker is sent back to Hell, Debbie is left bereft, her team of allies decimated, her best friend in a coma, she must decide if she will succumb...or rise from the ashes and fight ruthlessly for everything she loves, no matter the cost.


“I’ve thought about what Triss said, about how we need to be ready for more than our fair share of struggles,” Debbie said care fully. “I know what you are, Shaker, and most of the time, I accept that. I really enjoy our time together, but—”
“But you’re having second thoughts?” Shaker said, stripping his shirt off. He stalked toward her in only his jeans, his muscles moving like a great cat.
Trying to distract me with your killer abs won’t work. “Stop,” Debbie said softly, putting her hands out before he could touch her. “I’m being serious.”
“I see that,” Shaker said, disgruntled. He sat on the bed, keeping his distance. What is it? Speak to me mentally, so we can’t be overheard.
Debbie shivered, knowing that the reason he was asking was because he worried his hellish master might be listening. Is there anything we can do, so we don’t have to struggle as hard as last year?
“We’ve got a good team, and we’re doing everything we can to forge a path of least resistance,” Shaker soothed, sliding closer. He put his arms around her shoulders loosely. No. You can’t buy off the Heavenly Host. Even if Pandora donated ten percent of its earnings to churches, it would buy us no favors. We can’t stop whatever’s going to come, for good or evil.
“Thank you for what you’ve done. Rack is a great asset.” Can you look ahead then, see what’s coming? The future’s not set, right?
“I’m a greater asset,” Shaker teased, but his eyes were serious. Yes, but sometimes that’s a can of worms, getting glimpses of the future. I may see just enough to decide to change plans only to give us a worse result than if we stayed with the original plans.
“You’re a greater ass, anyway.” Please do it. What we don’t know might hurt us.
“You come over here!” Shaker growled, reaching for her. Debbie shrieked and tried to get out of bed, but he grabbed her to him, molding his body to hers. She felt the press of his erection as his lips sought hers, his soft mental I’ll do it almost lost in the sensations.
Debbie’s hands clawed at his jeans, then pulled his erection free, the organ throbbing in her hands as Shaker went rigid with a groan. She straddled him, then began to ease down.

Book Tour Schedule

Follow the book tour from February 22 - March 7, 2019.
Visit each tour stop daily and discover more features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and more! To check the latest tour schedule, visit the Year of the Demon Book Page at Book Unleashed.
Year of the Demon Tour Graphic

About Tara Fox Hall

Tara Fox Hall's writing credits include nonfiction, erotica, horror, suspense, action-adventure, children's stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series, the paranormal romantic suspense Unhallowed Love series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice. All of her published children's stories to date are free reads on

Tara Fox Hall's Email


Year of the Demon Giveaway Graphic
Prizes up for grabs:
1) 3 sets of paper coasters
2) Diary
3) 10 Bookmarks
4) $66.60 Amazon Gift Card
Contest runs from February 11 - March 7, 2019.

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Friday, February 22, 2019

New Release-Excerpt: SLAMMED INTO YOU by C.M. Valencourt (Coffee & Cardigans #1)

Slammed into You
Author: C.M. Valencourt
Length: 52,000 words


They were like two hurricanes, touching down on the same shore.

Amir is a rising slam poet who wants to make it big. While he works a day job at a café, he writes poems like his life depends on it and performs at a local poetry slam every week.

But then Landon comes to a slam, and he’s not impressed by Amir. When he joins the slam team, he jeopardizes Amir’s chance to go to Nationals, all Amir’s been dreaming about for the past year. He vows to show Landon that he is the better poet.

As Amir and Landon clash to get the last spot at Nationals, their bickering and attempts to undermine each other quickly turn into angry lust. Amir’s priority is to win, but he can’t seem to get Landon out of his head...

Purchase on Amazon


He wasn’t expecting to find Landon in the hotel room when he unlocked it. But there he was, pacing back and forth in front of the beds, his footfalls heavy. Amir quietly closed the door behind him, and Landon didn’t notice as he stepped into the room.

He had unbuttoned the pink shirt, revealing a heather grey muscle tank underneath. His shoes were still on and there was no doubt he was bothering the people in the room below them. But as he turned on his heel again, this time facing Amir, he could tell he was absolutely livid.

“You okay?” Amir asked, his voice surprisingly small.

Landon stopped pacing and looked up. His eyes narrowed. “Yes, Amir. I’m fantastic.”

Amir felt anchored to the spot. “Look, I’m sorry that happened-”

“No, you’re not,” Landon bit back. “You just want to hear me say it. That’s why you followed me back.”

“Say what?”

Landon chuckled darkly. “That you were right! That I shouldn’t have done that poem at all!”

Amir looked right at him. He tried to be diplomatic. “I think it can serve as a learning experience.”

Landon shook his head. “God, just tell me off already!” His voice was growing louder with every word he spoke. “Blame me for crushing your dreams. I can take it.”

“You need to chill the f*ck out. I’ll leave.” But Amir didn’t move.

“No,” Landon said. “We need to deal with this. It’s gone on too long.”

Amir almost asked what, but he knew what he was talking about. The constant conflict between the two of them, the way they were at each other’s throats all the time. But Amir didn’t really think Landon was in the mood to build bridges.

“Fine. Here it is. Maybe if you’d just listened, you wouldn’t need to be so pissed off at me! You could have done your other poem, and we could have won the whole damn thing!”

“There we go!” Landon yelled. “I knew you blamed me.”

“Who else would I blame?” Amir asked, feeling his own temper begin to build. “Everyone else got decent scores except for you!”

Landon took two steps forward towards him. “I know. I should have listened to the All-Knowing Amir! If only you’d shown me the way!”

Amir stepped forward, too. They were only about a foot apart now. “But you can’t deny I was right! You weren’t confident in that poem, didn’t know it as well. You didn’t even know it well enough to remember the goddamn words!”

Then Landon’s finger was jabbing into his chest. Amir was surprised that the distance between them had closed. Despite himself, he could feel how close Landon was, thinking of the scene at the club.

Without even thinking about it, he leaned in and kissed him, the need too great. Landon was still so warm, though this time it was probably from righteous fury. Landon was stock still for a few seconds before he pushed him backwards, just enough so their bodies were no longer touching.

“F*ck you,” Landon said, but this time he wasn’t yelling. His voice was almost a whisper.

Then he grabbed Amir’s shirt collar and pulled him back in, kissing him roughly.

Author Bio (pronouns are they/them)

C.M. Valencourt is a new m/m romance author. They started devouring queer fiction when they still had to smuggle it into their parents' Catholic household, and dreamed of writing books about queer people finding love ever since. They like figure skating, ghost hunting shows, and Carly Rae Jepsen. 

You can find out more about their books and learn about upcoming releases at