Mistreated, left to run wild on the wrong side of the tracks.
Bad enough to be a boy, but not bad enough to be a man.
Threatened with losing everything, I’m forced to reevaluate.
Poor life choices, with a chance to turn things around.
Second chances are a luxury, to everyone except for me.
The day I turned seventeen, my best friend picked me up from juvie.
I have a habit of taking things that don’t belong to me.
One look at his father, and I knew… I was going to take him too.
About the Authors
Ally Vance is an International Bestselling Author who writes in the Dark Romance & Horror genres. Ally has been writing since she was a teenager, and it had been a long-time dream of hers to finally become a published author. Ally lives in Kent, in the United Kingdom, with her husband, son, and their two crazy kitties; Kian and Declan.
Yolanda Olson is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author. Born and raised in Bridgeport, CT where she currently resides, she usually spends her time watching her favorite channel, Investigation Discovery. Occasionally, she takes a break to write books and test the limits of her mind. Also an avid horror movie fan, she likes to incorporate dark elements into the majority of her books.
An unexpected collaboration between two authors that’s hot enough to spark a fire...
After an excruciating loss, I’m desperate for a fresh start.
Away from the painful memories.
Away from everyone I know and anyone who knows my story.
That’s how I end up in Eagle’s Landing, Pennsylvania.
As a bestselling author, my main reason for moving to a remote mountain cabin is to overcome the writer’s block that crushed my creativity for the past two years. My hope is to rediscover my words in the quiet, small town where no one knows me. Or my past.
A place where I can blend in enough that I become invisible.
Even though Chase, one of my favorite authors, insists he wants to be left alone, I refuse to let him wallow in whatever’s drowning him.
As a local bookstore owner and author myself, I’m intrigued by the man who’s a master of the written word. Unfortunately, his social skills could use a lot of work.
Even so, I’m determined to pull the irritable and frustrating man out of the dark pit he’s fallen into and back to the surface, no matter how hard he fights it. I only hope dragging Chase down that fiery path just might reignite his spark and that I don’t get burned in the process.
Note: Please check the content warning before reading or purchasing. It can be found at the beginning of the book (accessible by Amazon’s “look inside” feature or by downloading the sample) as well as on my website. This standalone gay romance has a guaranteed HEA, no cheating and no cliffhanger.
I paused my fork halfway to my mouth. I had only made a small dent in the diner’s belly-busting breakfast special so far. It was criminal how much food the server had delivered for five bucks.
Five freaking bucks. On Long Island, it would have cost me at least fifteen.
And for only two more dollars, the coffee came with unlimited refills. If I could mainline that welcomed caffeine right now, I would.
My whole body ached and I was exhausted, not only from sleeping like sh*t in the motel, but from tackling the seemingly endless job of cleaning the cabin from top to bottom. I didn’t want the furniture I purchased down at a mom-and-pop store in Picture Rocks to be delivered until the place was completely spotless and all my unwanted roommates had been effectively evicted.
While I liked bats and knew they were beneficial, I just didn’t want to share the same space with them. If they returned to sleep in the rafters today, then I needed to find how they were getting in since I had covered the broken window with plastic-sheeting.
But all of that wasn’t what made me pause my eating, it was the man across the diner who wouldn’t stop staring.
Like me, he also sat alone, but unlike me, he seemed to know everyone in the diner. A local just like everyone else there.
The first morning, all eyes had turned in my direction as soon as I walked through The Eagle’s Nest’s door, but now the waitresses were used to seeing me since this was my third day eating in the diner, for both breakfast and a late dinner.
The food was good. The prices and attentive, friendly service even better.
Even one of the thirty-something-year-old waitresses had tried flirting with me. She had no idea she was barking up the wrong tree. Even if I was on the dating market, she was playing on the wrong team. While I had the utmost respect for women, I simply didn’t want to sleep with them.
However, the man who kept staring at me was most likely not on my team, either.
Was he staring because I was simply a stranger in a close-knit community, where everyone apparently knew everyone?
It couldn’t be because I was gay. While I had never hidden it, I also didn’t flaunt it and most women, when I broke it to them gently, were shocked to find out the truth.
Most men, too.
I’d heard, “My gaydar must be broken,” more times than I’d ever wanted to.
Even so, dating wasn’t on my agenda anytime soon. Or ever, since I had no plans on dating anyone ever again.
Life would be easier that way. Plus, at this point, being a team player didn’t matter, I preferred to remain a free agent.
Ignoring the man, I finished shoving the forkful of scrambled eggs into my mouth, hoping the guy would get bored staring at me.
Still ignoring the man, I stabbed a piece of sausage, also shoving it into my mouth and chewing, hoping the guy would lose interest in whatever had caught it in the first place.
Continuing to ignore the rude man, I sucked down half a cup of black coffee, hoping the guy would simply f*ck off.
Finally, unable to ignore him anymore, I dropped the fork on my plate with a clatter, tipped my head down and rubbed my forehead. I steadied my breathing in an attempt to lower my quickly rising blood pressure.
I only wanted to eat in peace. I wasn’t here to make friends, or even enemies.
I only wanted to be left the f*ck alone.
But of course that wasn’t going to happen.
This was exactly why I left Long Island, everything I knew and everybody who knew me.
I wanted to live somewhere no one knew me or my backstory. I had gotten to the breaking point, swallowed up by pity on one hand, or people thinking it was time I “got over it” on the other.
I’d never get over it.
Not f*cking ever.
“F*ck!” screamed through my head when the dark-haired man rose from where he sat at the counter. After throwing a few singles next to his plate, he turned and headed away from the entrance and toward my booth.
Of. F*cking. Course.
Dread rose from my gut into my throat and began to choke me. The man might have recognized me somehow.
Lifting my coffee cup, I peered over the rim to keep an eye on the approaching man. My muscles and spine stiffened more with every step taken closer to where I sat. Trying to mind my own business.
Trying to eat breakfast.
Trying to exist in peace.
About the Author
JEANNE ST. JAMES is a USA Today, Amazon and international bestselling romance author who loves writing about strong women and alpha males. She was only thirteen when she first started writing. Her first published piece was an erotic short story in Playgirl magazine. She then went on to publish her first romance novel in 2009. She is now an author of over fifty contemporary romances. She writes M/F, M/M, and M/M/F ménages, including interracial. She also writes M/M paranormal romance under the name J.J. Masters.
I promised myself that this was going to be the year to finally buckle down. I'm a junior, and I’ve settled on a major. I've got focus and determination. The one thing I haven't figured out yet? How to deal with the massive crush I've been harboring on the guy in study carrel six.
I don’t know his name and some of my friends think it’s time for me to move on, but he has this whole sexy, broody, dark eyes, and messy hair thing going for him. And yeah, he seems like he could be my polar opposite. The kind of unapproachable, serious type who doesn’t smile much, but I’d like to think he’s all rays of sunshine underneath his stormy expressions and disheveled demeanor. All that intense energy… I dig it.
I want to know him.
I’ll have to find the courage to actually introduce myself.
The college experience is supposed to be parties, drinking, and fun with a few classes mixed in. It sounds pretty amazing, right? For me, it turned out to be endless lectures, avalanches of homework, and copious amounts of caffeine. The study carrel might as well be my dorm room. And that guitar under my bed? It's got two years of dust growing on it. But this is the life I have to lead if I’m ever going to help my dad.
Pre-med isn’t for the weak.
The problem? Loneliness holds me hostage.
If only I could find someone willing to break through my ever-present cloud bank, and remind me what it’s like to have fun again.
Amanda is an award winning and best selling author of LGBTQIA and contemporary romance and fiction. She lives in Utah with her family where she moonlights as a nurse on the weekends and hikes in the mountains as much as possible.
If she’s not busy with her three munchkins, you’ll find her buried in a book or behind the keyboard where she explores the human experience through the written word, exploring all spectrums and genres.
She's obsessed with all things Hockey, Austen, and Oreos, and loves to connect with readers!
Cal and his brothers turned their backs on the family business over a hundred years ago – but Hell is tired of waiting for them to return.
I’ve never wanted a relationship – especially not with a human. With my father demanding my return to Hell and a demon leaving dead bodies in my bookshop, now is not the time to be losing my heart. But one look in Oscar’s broken eyes and I know I’m in trouble. Oscar’s been hurt before and everything in me is screaming to keep him safe. How can I do that when I know being with me will only put him in more danger?
More importantly though, am I strong enough to walk away from him?
After escaping my last relationship with broken bones and an anxiety disorder, I’m tired of living half a life. My world revolves around my classroom, flat, and best friend. When fate throws Cal in my path, he seems too good to be true. Not only does he look like he’s been pulled from my fantasies, but my baggage doesn’t scare him. Ok, so there’s the tiny issue of him being a demon, but I’ve dealt with far scarier.
I’ve been broken once before, and I don’t think I’d survive it again. Can I pull down my barriers enough to let Cal in?
Devil’s Mark is a thrilling high heat, hurt/comfort, M/M contemporary paranormal romance with a HEA and no cliff-hanger. It features a possessive demon and the broken teacher who captures his heart. ‘Devil’s Mark is the first in The Reckless Damned series but can be read as a standalone. Each book focuses on a different couple and will have a HEA.
Trigger warning for emotional abuse and domestic violence in a previous relationship, anxiety attacks, and descriptions of violence.
Tossed on the floor in front of the romance section, the crumpled corpse was ruining my new Venetian rug. I suppressed a sigh. I’d only replaced the sodding thing yesterday after the last unwanted delivery.
And why always in front of the romances? If I were to dump a body in a bookshop, I’d try to be more poetic. True crime, war, even biographies would provide a delicious touch of irony. But no, these morons always chose the romance section.
Perhaps I wasn’t giving them enough credit. Maybe they believed romance was dead and thought this was a nice nod to that idea? It was a philosophy I wholeheartedly believed in…but I doubted whoever was sending me these messages was that intelligent.
They wouldn’t have decided to play with me in the first place if they were. My brothers and I had spent the last week trying to track down the culprit, but whoever it was had covered their tracks too well. I wasn’t concerned though. They would slip up sooner or later.
Dealing with these little gifts first thing in the morning was becoming irksome. Toeing the corpse with the tip of my dress shoe, I wrinkled my nose. As with the others, there was nothing to distinguish who they were. All I could tell was that he was human and male.
Oh, and headless.
The gaping wound at the neck was still leaking, ensuring my rug was well and truly ruined. Satan forbid whoever dumped them in my shop could wait until they finished bleeding out first.
Rubbing a hand over my tired eyes, I decided my guest could wait until I had been sufficiently caffeinated. I trudged to the coffee machine behind the counter and began to whip up a latte, my hands moving through the actions automatically. I’d initially scoffed when my brother, Harlow, had it delivered. After all, I’d survived a millennia without succumbing to such mundane stimulants as coffee to get through my day. I’d left the gargantuan chrome-and-steel beast to collect dust on the shelf.
And that’s exactly what it did—until I brought home two very enthusiastic twinks from The Closet, the club owned by my brother, Mori. Faced with choosing between another round in the sheets or grabbing a few hours’ kip, I made the only sane choice for a demon.
As I’d ushered the boys out my door at sunrise, honeyed lies pouring from my lips—Yes, my darlings. I promise I will call you—I received a message from Mori about a coven of vamps making threats. Suddenly regretting my choices, I turned to Harlow’s gift with a scowl. After watching several YouTube videos, I wrestled the monster into submission and taught myself how to make a semi-palatable coffee. It took several burns to get there, but I was raised on flames hotter than anything that blasted machine could throw at me.
That had been five years ago, and now I was hooked. I couldn’t even fathom starting my day without stopping for a coffee first—dead bodies or not.
Enter the Giveaway:
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Lark lives with her family in southern England. An obsessive romance fan, she loves nothing more than a Happily Ever After – especially if there’s a good plot and a hefty amount of spice along the way. When she’s not reading or writing, she can be found hiding from adult life in escape rooms, travel, and the MCU. As a Bi woman with OCD, Lark is a fervent supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community and an advocate for mental health awareness and support.
People talk about the marriage of true minds, but Alexander doesn’t think this is what they meant.
After a cruel experiment binds him to the soul of Rota, an old god, Alexander has one mission: find Rota’s body. Having a godly boyfriend is great, but it would be better to have one that he could actually touch. Unfortunately, even Alexander’s ability to command Rota’s divine power hasn’t helped.
A rare book of poetry may finally provide the answer. The expertise they need translating it brings them to Oleander Logue, a young man with plenty of problems that seem at odds with his cheerful nature. Ollie is happy to help, but he’s in trouble with a gangster who demands that Alexander and Rota solve a series of murders first.
Desperate, Alexander and Rota accept the case… but it’s not that simple. The gangster’s threats to Ollie’s safety disturb them both, but is that because they’re both growing more attracted to Ollie… or because he’s a potential host for Rota? If they can’t solve these murders, they may never find out.
“Thank you!” Ollie gushed. “That was so cool! You totally just kicked Nathaniel’s ass!”
Alexander swallowed a squeak and forgot how to work all of his muscles. Ollie was so warm, and he smelled like alcohol, cigarettes, and patchouli oil with a hint of vanilla.
“Seriously, that was amazing!” Ollie turned Alexander so he could beam down at him, still hugging him close. “I mean, okay, it’s kinda your fault he got in here, but thank you.” He smiled wider. “Whoa. Your eyeballs are turning all pink.”
Alexander was torn between pushing Ollie away and melting into his arms. The simple affection was making his knees weak, having for so long only experienced physical touch that was designed to hurt. His brain refused to cooperate, and all he could do was stutter, “Y-yeah, they do that.”
Who was that man, Ollie? Rota asked.
Alexander slipped away from Ollie, mourning the loss of contact the second he did. He scrambled to get another cigarette. “Yeah, and what was he? I’ve never seen magic like that before.”
“His name is Nathaniel Ware.” Ollie fidgeted and dipped back into the kitchen, still talking. “He is so not f*ckin’ human. He’s, like, a troll dude with tusks and a long tail.”
An Absola? Rota sounded intrigued. Here on Aeon?
The gods had created many monstrous creatures before mortals, including a troll-like race of beings called the Absola. They, along with the other so-called everlasting people, were said to have gone with the gods into the dreaming, and neither Alexander nor Rota had heard of any living in this world for thousands of years.
“Yeah, but not, like, all the way?” Ollie mused. “He’s like a diet Absola.”
“But the Absola don’t control time or space,” Alexander pointed out. “The Faedra do.”
“Whatever! Look, he’s a freaky monster guy, and he works for Sullivan Stoker. Do you know who that is?”
“No.” Alexander grabbed the book to put back in his pocket and followed Ollie. Unsurprisingly, the kitchen was as much of a disaster as the rest of the apartment.
Ollie was pouring red wine into two glasses as he explained, “He’s a crime boss. Like, this big drug lord. And okay, so I may have had a tiny drug problem before. When I first got the eyeballs of Yeris, I had trouble dealing with it.” He thrust a glass at Alexander.
Ollie poured it into his glass and sipped off the excess. “I made okay money translating, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with my habit, so I started taking product on credit. Like, so much. And I kinda owe him a lot of money, and he’s very unhappy with me. I’ve been trying to make payments, and he’s been chill ’cause my uncle is a cop, but—”
“He’s tired of waiting and he’s sending goons after you?” Alexander finished.
“Yeah. Damn. You should be a detective.”
“How about this?” Alexander crossed his arms. “I’ll keep the criminal scum from hounding you in exchange for you translating the book?”
“I, I guess that could work.” Ollie frowned. “Will you…. Will you stay here? I need some time to figure out how to deal with Stoker, and, and I’ll find a way to make the translating work, okay?”
“Okay. I’ll put new wards up, and if anyone is stupid enough to come back, I’ll—”
“Where are you gonna sleep?”
Ollie scratched his head. “My bed is kinda small, but I guess we could share—”
“Your couch is fine.” Alexander blushed miserably. He could not handle the mere thought of being anywhere near a bed with Ollie right now. He had to be going insane. That’s all it was. “Once it’s cleaned up, of course.”
You should take better care of your home, Ollie. It’s quite a mess.
“I know.” Ollie sighed. “It’s so damn bad. I just never have the energy, and I’ve been really depressed. Like, forever depressed. I died a little, my ex is getting married… it’s been a whole thing.”
Alexander had the inexplicable desire to reach out for Ollie. It was obvious he was upset, and Alexander wanted to feel his arms around him again. He stayed where he was, taking a step back for good measure, as if the distance would quell the urge.
So, you’re single?
“Rota!” Alexander barked, angrily chanting inside his head, Shut up, shut up, shut up!
“Yeah. Duh.” Ollie snorted and slurped more of his wine. He swayed and leaned against the counter, eyeing where Rota was hovering behind Alexander. He grinned. “Okay, wait. Are you hitting on me?”
I believe we are, yes. We’re not very good at it, but we’re making an effort.
“No, we’re not!” Alexander gritted his teeth. “Hey! You look good and drunk. Book. Now.”
“Please,” Alexander hissed.
“Okay, okay, sure thing.” Ollie was still grinning. “You know, if you were hitting on me, I would have to tell you—”
A portal opened up and a hand slid through, snatching Ollie so fast that he dropped his wine. The glass hit the ground, shattering as the portal closed.
Just like that, Ollie was gone.
About the Author
K.L. “Kat” Hiers is an embalmer, restorative artist, and queer writer. Licensed in both funeral directing and funeral service, they worked in the death industry for nearly a decade. Their first love was always telling stories, and they have been writing for over twenty years, penning their very first book at just eight years old. Publishers generally do not accept manuscripts in Hello Kitty notebooks, however, but they never gave up.
Following the success of their first novel, Cold Hard Cash, they now enjoy writing professionally, focusing on spinning tales of sultry passion, exotic worlds, and emotional journeys. They love attending horror movie conventions and indulging in cosplay of their favorite characters. They live in Zebulon, NC, with their husband and their children, some of whom have paws and a few that only pretend to because they think it’s cute.
Whose brilliant idea was it to build university housing next to one of Franklin U’s most notorious party frats?
I’m a real student—the kind who actually came to college to learn, not some dumb frat bro who sees Franklin U as a four-year challenge to consume the most booze and throw out the best pick-up line.
Their all-hours lifestyle is driving me crazy. Not to mention, the jerks keep taking my assigned parking spot.
But the worst offender might be Cory Ingram. Sure, he has a smile that could melt a polar ice cap, but no way will I ever be one of his minions. I’m pretty sure I made that clear when I blew my top at him. So I have no idea why he’s suddenly everywhere around me, turning on the charm like I might actually fall for it.
Nope. Not gonna happen.
From the first day I set foot on Franklin U’s campus, everything has been golden. I have a ton of friends, endless parties to be the life of, and whoever I want in my bed on any given night. Sure, I’m a shameless party boy, but I’m not a jerk. Ask anyone. Seriously.
Even the crotchety old groundskeeper waves and smiles at me when I pass.
Then there’s Spencer Crow. I’ve never seen a guy’s face get so red over a parking spot. Even when I try to make it right, he proceeds to give me the tongue-lashing of a lifetime—which is about the moment I notice that, in addition to being irrationally irate, he’s also crazy hot.
My friends think I’ve finally met the one person I can’t seduce…
Neve Wilder reads promiscuously, across multiple genres, but her favorite stories always contain an element of romance. Incidentally, this is also what she likes to write. Slow-burners with delicious tension? Yes. Whiplash-inducing page-turners, also yes. Down and dirty scorchers? Yes. And every flavor in between.
She believes David Bowie was the sexiest musician to ever live, and she's always game to nerd out on anything from music to writing.
And finally, she believes that love conquers all. Except the heat index in July. Nothing can conquer that bastard.
Love is an earthquake that relocates the centre of the universe.
Oakley Hoffman is a walking, talking natural disaster. Not only does he seem to be the only functioning adult in his family, but he also stomps around creating irrational earthquakes with every badly thought-out ridiculous move he makes. He barely survived lockdown, and with life returning to something that vaguely resembles normal, Oakley has landed himself an inconvenient infatuation with his former best friend. Well, if he’s totally honest, he’s probably nursed that crush for years. Yet, this time around, infatuation has brought a bad streak of jealousy to boot.
Force Majeure is a 32K novella featuring childhood friends to lovers in adulthood, with explicit content intended for mature readers. No trigger warnings.
Force Majeure refers to a clause that is included in contracts to remove liability for natural and unavoidable catastrophes that interrupt the expected course of events.
The clinking of the lock to the Demircis’ apartment kicks me out of my daydreams, and my heart jolts as I jump to my feet, almost tripping myself up in an effort to not look like I’m loitering.
“I could hear you a mile off,” Cem says, shuffling out into the hall, shivering despite the duvet draped around his shoulders like a royal cape. “You need to go to work and stop trying to scratch my head through the walls.”
He sits on the step. Too weak to fight the pull of his presence, I plonk down beside him, probably bruising my arse in the process, because I know I’ll get what I’ve been craving. Cem has always needed contact, and here I am, being squashed against the wall as he leans his body against mine and his head falls heavily on my shoulder.
“I’m a d*ck,” he says, bang on with the self-reflection.
“Yeah,” I want to shout at him, scream in his goddamn face, shake him until he gets his head in gear and sees how he has shattered my world. But I don’t. I can be a calm, reasonable person, and I have far too much self-control to fall apart in front of Cemil Demirci.
“I got carried away at the weekend,” he continues. “There was a party, and then I stayed over with friends, and time just kind of evaporated, you know?” Excuses. Always excuses.
“You have an exam today,” I say. If I sound angry, it’s because I can’t help myself.
“It’s under control.” He sighs deeply and turns his head so his nose is pressed into my shoulder. That’s something else he does to reel me in. Why do I let him so cheaply buy my forgiveness? “I studied all week, so I’m good. It’s all in here.” His hand pokes out of the duvet to point at his head. “I’m not worried about the exams.”
I’m not worried either. Cem is too clever for his own good. He’ll read a book and memorise every line, quoting it back at me in long, rambling sentences I barely understand. Nor have I ever seen him use a calculator. He scribbles down numbers at frightening speed on whatever surface he can find and then does the calculation in his head.
Cem knows stuff. Far too much stuff.
“I miss you,” I whisper without meaning to. Even shielded by all the jealousy and anger I feel, knowing I’m slowly, irrevocably losing him again, it’s the truth. He is the calm to my inner storm, and I will forgive him for anything and everything. And I hate myself for it.
About the Author
Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over TV shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-) glamourous real-life job.
Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The Au Pair just sighs.
She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia.
Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever, and she hopes it may long continue.
Find me on social media @sophiasoames on all platforms
Christina Stern is a Russian based artist. Quick sketches and portraits drawn in pencil are what she likes to do the most. Her work can be found on @christinastern on Instagram
Aurelia Morris is a cover artist, photographer, Photoshop wiz and eternal fangirl. She works in many mediums under more aliases that she can keep track of.