Wednesday, January 31, 2024

New Release-Excerpt: SKIN AND BONES by Sophia Soames (London Love)


(London Love)

Author and Publisher: Sophia Soames

Cover Artist: Christina Stern

Release Date: January 31, 2024

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Hurt/Comfort, Grumpy/Sunshine

Themes: Eating disorder, domestic violence, hotel setting.

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 92 000 words       

SKIN AND BONES is best enjoyed if read after TASTE.

It does not end on a cliffhanger.


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

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Hugo Burrows has life under control.

He's got a decent job, a long-term relationship and a flat in Canary Wharf.

It's all under control. It's just becoming a little problematic trying to hold everything together. Keeping the bruises on his skin hidden away. A smile plastered on his face. Controlling the calories he allows his body to consume. And now his boss is on his back with too many questions, and the grumpy French head chef keeps staring at him like he's a freak or something.

Everything is under control. It has to be.

Ben Desjardins may be the Head Chef at the Clouds Hotel but he definitely hasn't got anything under control. His relationship with his best friend is crumbling and simply turning up for work seems to automatically cause never ending chaotic disasters. Yet there is something about the new concierge that has crawled straight under his prickly skin.

Ben doesn't need more complications in his life. The last thing he needs is to inconveniently, and reluctantly... fall in love.

SKIN AND BONES is best enjoyed if read after TASTE.

Reader Advisory. This book contains the following topics: Eating disorders, OCD, domestic violence and sexual assault. Please look after yourself and take care if these topics could upset you.


So, the new concierge, his name was Hugo, and he was tall and skinny—far too skinny if you asked me—with a head full of bouncy blonde curls, thick, dark eyebrows over deep-set eyes, sharp cheekbones and plump, puffy lips. He seemed like a nice bloke, stood up for himself. Finn moaned about him, saying something about the guy being great at his job but an untidy bugger. The floor around his desk was always a disaster zone of scrunched-up pieces of paper and torn-up leaflets. Finn wasn’t wrong. I could see stuff on the floor from where I was, while Hugo gave directions to some guests, arms flailing, his phone miraculously still pinched between his cheek and his shoulder. He smiled at something. I smiled too. He had that kind of smile.

Dropping my cigarette on the ground, I squashed out the embers with my shoe. So sue me. I was French. Had grown up there, then moved to England with my mum in my teens and had to adapt to being Ben instead of Benjamin after my arsehole dad kicked us out. I didn’t take sh*t from anyone.

It hadn’t been bad. Just…my life hadn’t become quite what I’d expected.

I strode back through the lobby with confidence, smiling politely at our maître d’hôtel, who pursed their lips at me. Yeah, I was a d*ck. I had tomato juice down my front, and my apron was covered in cooking fat. I looked a state and shouldn’t be anywhere near paying guests. I knew it. Mabel knew it. I actually liked them. A lot. Today, our super-efficient restaurant leader rocked a shocking-pink dress and sky-high heels with a face full of make-up. Some days, they presented as a stunning bloke, other days, like today, they wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of a women’s fashion magazine, and they knew it too.

“Looking good, Mabs.”

“Oh shut it, Ben.” They grinned and blushed while giving me a full head-to-toe inspection. “You really need to go change, babes. Honestly, you’ll give Mark a heart attack.”

“You mean I look that good?” I laughed, enjoying another of Mabel’s many smirks.

“You look like sh*t, babes. How are you ever going to get laid when you walk around looking like someone has dragged you face down through the walk-in fridge?”

“Bah,” I huffed and left them to it. I washed my hands and ripped off my apron, dropping it in the laundry chute and grabbing a fresh one from the shelf before glancing over the line. All under control. Nobody panicking.

“Watch the liquid,” I commented to one of the trainees as they flipped a tray of mushrooms into a serving dish and splattered juice all over the hot plate. Yeah. Newbies. They had to learn, usually the hard way, and there wasn’t much I could do other than show them how to do it the right way, remind them to watch the bloody timings, let them make mistakes and hope they didn’t kill themselves in the process.

I looked down at my own battered hands. I had too many scars to count. Cuts, burns. My hands had survived years of being battered on the rugby pitch, which was nothing compared to getting fingers stuck in blenders and close encounters with sharp knives.

I blamed my mum, getting me into cooking when my hand-eye coordination had been blasted to hell. I had to concentrate, not be stressed, keep focused for my mind to function the way it was supposed to, not that it ever did, and this was a working kitchen. My entire shift was always one huge, stress-induced, disaster-prone trial.

“You all right?” Mark appeared next to me in his immaculate suit, his hair up in a tidy man-bun and eyebrows tightly knitted. Arms crossed, he surveyed our little world. Him and me, we were brothers, partners in crime, a duo of idiots who should have known better, but we worked well together, and there was nowhere else I would rather work than here with him by my side.

“All good,” I said, mirroring his pose.

“The boys out there,” he said conspiratorially. “They’re placing bets on who can get a hook-up with Hugo. There’s good money involved.”

“Hell.” I sighed, rolled my eyes harder than Mabel. “He gay then?”

“I went over and asked him. He just laughed, so yeah. Between you and me, he lives with his long-term boyfriend down in Canary Wharf, so I think all the boys are barking up a dead tree, but I’m not going to tell them. Are you?”

“Nah.” I laughed. I wasn’t. As long as they did their job and made my food look good, I wasn’t getting involved with anything. And anyway, this Hugo? None of my business.

Rolling up my sleeves, I plonked my arse down by my little office set-up and logged into the laptop. I had orders to sign off, menus to plan, things to do. A life to live. Mark shook his head and disappeared back out to the restaurant.

This Hugo? God help him.

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 dogs are too.

She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in her native 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.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

New Release-Excerpt & Giveaway: GAME ON by Amy Aislin (Vancouver Orcas #3)

Author and Publisher: Amy Aislin

Cover Artist: LC Chase

Release Date: January 30, 2024

Genre: Contemporary M/M hockey romance

Tropes: Roommates, forced proximity, hockey, slow burn

Themes: taking risks, trusting yourself

Length: 69 000 words / 275 pages

Heat Rating:  3 flames

 It’s book three in the Vancouver Orcas trilogy, but can be read on its own.

It does not end on a cliffhanger.


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When he broke off his engagement to his team captain's brother the day before their wedding, Jamie Jamieson swore he'd never get involved with anyone associated with a teammate again. Getting traded to the Orcas is a chance at a fresh start, but one glance at his new housemate, and Jamie knows he's in way over his head. 

Dorian is his new coach's cousin. And his team's social media coordinator. And his housemate. 

It's the trifecta of bad ideas.

Dorian Shore doesn't do hockey. He's lived by that rule for years, ever since a season playing as a kid left him with emotional scars. But his new housemate—a big, buff, beautiful athlete who gets under his skin—makes him seriously consider doing a hockey player.

It’s not a good idea.

They live together.

They work together.

When the sparks between them ignite, will it be game on or game over?

Start the trilogy with Game Plan (Vancouver Orcas 1) 

for only $0.99 until February 4


It was Jamie’s own bad luck that Dorian looked like a walking, talking version of his every wet dream. He was tall—more or less Jamie’s own height of six two—and slender but toned, with a pointed chin and a small nose. His skin was winter pale, several shades lighter than Jamie’s more naturally tan tones, and it contrasted sharply with the two days’ worth of stubble on his jaw and upper lip and the rich brown hair that looked thick enough for Jamie to grab onto.


“Where’s the rest of your stuff?” Dorian peered around him. “Still in the car?”

“Nah, this is it,” Jamie said, forcing his mind back on track. “I’ll head back to Charlotte at the end of the season for the rest of it and have it shipped to a storage unit so I don’t clutter up your home.” Assuming Jamie hadn’t found a place to live by then.

“You don’t have to do that. I’ve got the space. We can store your stuff in the basement.”

“I thought you were putting Jamieson in the basement,” Coach piped in, arms crossed over his chest. With his height, thick beard, and broad shoulders, it made him look imposing as f*ck.

“There’s no bed down there,” Dorian said.

“You could’ve gotten one.”

“Uh, I’d really rather have a bedroom than a basement,” Jamie interjected, picturing a lone bed among exposed pipes, insulation, and spiders. The stuff a kid’s nightmares were made of.

“Oh, it’s finished,” Dorian said, waving a hand. “There are three bedrooms down there, as well as a full kitchen and a separate entrance.”

Three bedrooms? In the basement?

“Exactly,” Coach said. “Had you put a bed in one of the rooms, Jamieson would’ve had his own apartment.”

Dorian crossed his arms over his chest, matching Coach’s posture, and glared, his eyes going all fiery. “Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose? You’re the one who said you didn’t want him in a sterile apartment. Trust me, my basement is very f*cking sterile.”

Jamie had just come from a team where he’d been treated like a pariah after his breakup with the team captain’s brother, and now he had two men arguing over what would make him most comfortable.

He didn’t quite swallow a laugh. His aborted chuckle drew the gaze of both men.

Rolling his eyes, Dorian huffed a breath. “You’re right. We’re being stupid.”

Now Jamie laughed outright. “I didn’t say anything.”

“Your face said it all.”

Well. That was probably true.

About the Author 

Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.

An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram, or sign up for her infrequent newsletter.

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Friday, January 26, 2024

Spotlight-Excerpt & Giveaway: THE SCEPTRE OF FIRE by Alex Stargazer (The Magical Instruments #1)

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The Sceptre of Fire
By Alex Stargazer

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The Magical Instruments, Book 1

The Sceptre of Fire is an old school fantasy romp: it’s got elves, dwarves, orcs, necromancers, and a campy mage. But there’s a twist—a pretty big one. The orcs? They’re not really the bad guys. The necromancer? Yeah, he’s got history. And the knights in shining armour aren’t always noble…

The necromancer was once a pretty decent guy: he killed pirates on the high seas and did his duty as an Empire subject. But he loved another man, and for that, he had to be punished. Now driven by an insatiable thirst for revenge, he has turned to dark magic—and enlisted the help of orcs. The orcs have their own, very good reasons to hate the Empire. Driven out from the Empire lands and into a freezing, inhospitable land, the orcs know that hunger is a stronger motivator than most.

Opposing him are Radu, a mad mage with a penchant for boys and fashion, along with Haraldur—a talented dwarven mage smith. At first they care little for a distant conflict, but things escalate once the necromancer, in desperation, makes a pact with an ancient entity…

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The elf saluted them and rode off. Radu took note of his physique, which was muscular and toned, especially his legs. All that riding surely required good physical training.

“Oh, Radu, you’re insufferable,” Ainhoa said, with some amusement. “Even at times like these, you’re thinking of boning that young man over there.”

“Guilty as charged, my dear.”

She rolled her eyes. “Come. We should talk to the Council.”

“Yes, but first I must find the young dwarf, Haraldur. I’m sure I left him somewhere.”

“He is your student, is he not?”

“It’s not that formal. I simply give him lessons once a week.”

“You must have seen some potential in him, to bother. It is unusual for a dwarf to learn from a mage.”

“You’re right—Haraldur is unusual, and very talented. Now let us make haste.”

As it turns out, our young dwarf was at that moment standing at the top of a very tall tree, for he was next in line to jump. Several elvish youngsters had already gone before him, hooting in delight. A young elf by the name of Vran was behind him, goading him on.

“Come on Harald,” he said encouragingly, a wicked smile plastered on his mischievous face. “You can do it!”

Haraldur knew that, in theory, he could fly, but the reality seemed very scary. Then again, Frigg was at the bottom of the tree, watching. It would not do to disappoint her—he would never hear the end of the teasing. So, like many foolish young men before him, he jumped. He activated the sequence in mid-air. The experience was exhilarating. His mind took control of the spell, effortlessly bending the magic to his will. He raised his arms, using them like wings—though of course that was totally unnecessary—and really flew. He soared over the tree tops, circled, then dived down. As he neared the ground, he flattened out, landing hard, certainly not as gracefully as the elves (he was still a dwarf after all).

The elves applauded, while Frigg smiled, pleased by his antics. Haraldur’s heart gave a strange little flutter that was not related to the flight.

Then the adults arrived. “Haraldur! There are you are! I was just looking for you,” said Radu.

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Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of The Sceptre of Fire, Alex is giving away a signed copy of the release and a bookmark and 2 signed bookmarks with eBook.

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About the Author:

Alex Stargazer – writer since age 14 (yes, really). Writes by night, daylights as a data scientist. #ownvoices

Catch up with Alex:


Thursday, January 25, 2024

Cover Reveal & Excerpt: TOUCHED BY DESTINY by Jessamyn Kingley (Arcane Havoc #1)

Touched by Destiny 

(Arcane Havoc #1)

Author and Publisher: Jessamyn Kingley

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson of Mayhem Cover Creations

Release Date: February 8, 2024

Genres: MM Paranormal Romance

Tropes: Fated mates

Themes: Love, resolving the past

Heat Rating:  3 flames     

Length:  97 000 words

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads Profile  |  Amazon Profile

Without risk, finding a soulmate is impossible. 

But Gabriel and Eric quickly discover that the first step was the easiest.


Gabriel Wolfebrier believes his honor is forever tarnished. For the first fifteen years of his resurrected life, he did whatever his necromancer told him. They were friends. Family. So, Gabriel asked no questions as he helped bury dead sorcerers he was told were enemies. Too late, Gabriel learns he’s been duped. But somehow, he is offered a second chance.

Born with the mark of a skull on his hand, Eric Marwood has special talents. Unlike other necromancers, he can speak to the dead and help them find their way home. He is dedicated to two things—nurturing his skills and dreaming of a life with Gabriel. But not everyone reveres his gifts, and destiny-touched men and women like him are hunted. 

The Marwoods consider Gabriel one of their own, but his past is a heavy burden he cannot forget. Which is why it annoys him each time he notices how beautiful Eric is or how much fun they have together aiding ghosts. 

Sex is the only way to find a soulmate in their world, and Eric is determined to seduce Gabriel. As for Gabriel, he is desperate to ignore his own urges. Life has a funny way of changing in an instant, and neither man truly knows what the future holds.


Eric nodded at his brother, and his eyes locked with Gabriel’s. There was too much distance between them to gauge the necromancer’s thoughts. That full mouth painted a glossy pink curved, and something inside of Gabriel snapped. Gone was the cautious voice demanding he steer clear of his lust and adoration of the man sinuously walking toward him. His blood thundered in his ears as he grew harder. His thoughts grew reckless, and he wondered—envisaged—what it would be like to take Eric.

What did he have left to lose? Would Gabriel go to the grave without one taste of him? 

“Gabriel,” Eric said as he stopped in front of him with mere inches separating them.

Too consumed with lust to even find his tongue to speak, Gabriel gave a brief nod of his head to let Eric know he’d heard him. Those dreamy blue eyes were dark with need, and Gabriel’s c*ck jerked in response.

“Can I speak with you privately?” Eric asked, his voice no more than a raspy whisper. 

It was an invitation. Gabriel was under no illusion about Eric’s intent. He’d declared it a night to toss away his inhibitions, and for some reason, he’d chosen Gabriel as the target for his desires. He knew he shouldn’t accept. If he were smart, Gabriel would insist Eric return to the dance floor. But Gabriel was apparently short on intelligence because he held out his hand instead. The other guards would figure out where they were going and likely why, but they were paid to be discreet.

As soon as Eric slid his warm palm into Gabriel’s, they left the private club at a fast clip. There were plenty of other inspirits around to ensure Richard and Maribeth were protected, so Gabriel didn’t worry about the other young Marwoods. His sole focus was on Eric and how fabulously his lanky frame was showcased in his tank and those pants highlighting the delicious curve of his pert ass.

“Where are we going?” Gabriel asked huskily.

Eric tugged a hotel key out of his pocket and handed it to him. A quick glance told Gabriel it was for a room on the first floor. They wouldn’t have to find an elevator, and Gabriel refused to give himself a moment to contemplate the stupid decision he was making. But as he unlocked the door and shut himself and Eric into the quiet space, he acknowledged that he’d been waiting years for this moment.

Gabriel reached for him, and suddenly there was a horny necromancer plastered to his front. Their mouths met, and Eric’s kiss was charmingly clumsy. He tasted of strawberries. Gabriel mused that those pretty boys he’d dated hadn’t had a clue how to please him. With a little gentle coaxing of his tongue, Eric relaxed, and their embrace grew languid and impossibly hot.

Clutching Eric’s round ass, Gabriel intended to give him an experience the necromancer would never forget. Long after Gabriel was dead and buried, he wanted Eric to recall his first night of passion. Gabriel shifted so his d*ck rubbed against Eric’s length. Eric groaned and tore his lips free to gasp loudly.

Taking advantage of his exposed neck, Gabriel sucked at Eric’s tender skin. His thoughts grew darker as he worked a hand between them to find Eric’s zipper, and he hoped none of Eric’s future trysts would compare to the passion exploding between them. No one had ever pushed Gabriel so close to the edge with such little effort.

A few sexy kisses, a couple of moans, and Gabriel’s balls were ready to empty. The last thing he wanted was to give either of them any time to think or put any space between them, but Gabriel shoved Eric away long enough to rip the tank top over his head. The smooth skin of his hairless chest was damp with sweat from dancing and the desire building between them.

Gabriel trailed his fingers down between Eric’s pectorals, and the muscles of his belly jumped as Gabriel moved lower. Shoving Eric’s pants over his hips revealed a small scrap of black that served as his underwear. The tip of his ruddy c*ck had defied the waistband, and Gabriel’s mouth watered with anticipation of his taste.

About the Author

Jessamyn Kingley has published over forty titles and refuses to pick a favorite among them. With an extraordinary passion for her characters, Jessamyn eagerly crafts new tales and avidly re-reads them whenever her schedule allows. Jessamyn shares a home in Nevada with her husband and their three spoiled cats. When she is not writing or adding new ideas to her thick stack of beloved notebooks, she is gaming with family and friends.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

New Release-Excerpt & Giveaway: CHASING THE LIGHT by Mal Trevino (Granite-Glacier #1)

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Chasing the Light
By Mal Trevino

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Granite-Glacier, Book 1

Aiden Marsh is nobody. After his long-ill mother dies, he's left longing for an escape from the bills, the end of their apartment lease, and the loneliness of the city. When the internet friend he's been crushing invites him on a trip to photograph the northern lights, how is he supposed to say no? There's just the tiny little fact that he's been lying about his life for the last year. But everyone lies on the internet, right?

Russell Merritt had it all. Had. Past tense. A meteoric rise to photographer fame: a storied freelance career and his own show on World Wild. What else could he want? Then it all came crashing down, and that's exactly the question he has to answer. What else could he want?

Now, Russell and Aiden are taking on the wilds of Granite-Glacier--Russell's old, forsaken hometown--on a photo excursion that lets them both forget the mess of their lives. But even their growing attraction can only keep reality at bay for so long. They're going to have to drag all their secrets out into the light.

Chasing the Light is a sweet, all-vibes MM romance set in a small town. For fans of secret identities, forced proximity, the wild outdoors, and internet-friends-to-lovers.

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The first thing I see of Granite-Glacier is my name scrawled on a handmade cardboard sign.

AIDEN!!!, it declares. Three exclamation points and all, drawn in black ink, and as the Greyhound bus creaks and rumbles closer, my heart feels like those exclamation points. Spiky and excited in my chest, cavalier and airborne and ecstatic. The feeling holds on with tired fingers for a few elongated moments before evaporating.

That’s fine. These days, I’ll take what I can get.

It is night, and the sign is bathed in orange streetlight. The whole main drag is dotted with those washed-out sodium lights, narrow cones of glowing warmth that illuminate exactly how abandoned the town is.

Granite-Glacier is definitely not Chicago. Not even close. And that might be exactly what I need right now.

It takes me a moment longer to notice the man holding the sign.

Russell Merritt catches my eyes almost immediately, and that familiar grin dawns on his face, broad and handsome and bright enough to outshine every neon light in the city I left behind me. and sets me on fire.

I’ve seen it hundreds of times over the last few years. First, on my TV screen and then, somehow, inexplicably, selfies and video chats. It’s different in person. My exclamation-point heart clangs in my chest, and I drag my sleeve across the bus window to clear a streak in the fog. From those hazel eyes to the streaks of silver in his dark hair, he is every selfie he’s ever sent me, the saturation dialed up until I can’t look away.

I’m startled to find myself smiling back. I haven’t had much to smile about for the last few months. The realization dampens the grin on my face, but only for a moment. I’m meeting my hero-slash-celebrity-crush in person for the first time. I can let myself be happy for a few days. I can, at the very least, let myself be not-sad.

The Greyhound comes to a stop, announcing its arrival with an agonized mechanical groan.

Tucked away into the steep, rocky hills of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Granite-Glacier is the very end of the bus line. Thirteen hours into my trip from Chicago, there are only two other travelers. We shed the rest along the way, hugging Lake Michigan’s shoreline.

Slinging my heavy backpack over one shoulder, I follow the others down the steps and onto the street.

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Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of Chasing the Light, Mal's giving away an e-set of the Romance in Iron Range Series (5 eBooks). This series is the previous series to this new release and is set in the same world!

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About the Author:

Mal Trevino writes small-town romances about guys who really like to work with their hands. The Romance in Iron Range series follows the love stories of members of a local rallycross team based in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Friends-to-lovers, class differences, and second-chance romances abound–along with sweet laughter and high-heat couplings.

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Monday, January 22, 2024

New Release-Review & Excerpt: THE RED DRAGON OF OXFORD by Joy Lynn Fielding - Includes Giveaway!

The Red Dragon of Oxford

Author and Publisher: Joy Lynn Fielding

Cover Artist: Miblart

Release Date: January 15, 2024

Genre: M/M Paranormal Romance

Tropes: Fish out of water, mutual pining, shifters

Themes: Self-acceptance, empowerment

Length: 66,000 words

Heat Rating:  4 flames

It is a standalone story (the first in a new series) and does not end on a cliffhanger.


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Dragons aren’t real. Or so I used to think.


Oxford isn’t exactly what I’d imagined. Sure, the colleges are romantic, and everyone is brilliant enough to trigger my impostor syndrome. I expected that

The dragon, however, was a big surprise. 

I saw him on my first day. The beautiful beast spoke to me, then disappeared. I’ve been looking for him ever since. 

But when I’m not on a wild dragon chase, I spend my time in the library. I’d like to think I’m only there to study, but who am I kidding? 

I’m there for him

Rufus Mortimer is the world’s hottest librarian. He’s strict, enigmatic, and sexy. He makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.  

But he has a secret. One that could destroy everything

So now, all I have to do is find a dragon, earn my doctorate, and try to not to let my new romance burn my life to the ground. Easy, right? 

I wish…

The Red Dragon of Oxford, book 1 in the Wings Over Albion series, is a sweet and spicy paranormal m/m romance with a guaranteed happily ever after. 


“You can’t take those.” The voice was deep, male, and came from very close behind me.

I spun around, heart hammering. The guy standing there was big—broad-shouldered, and muscular as if he worked out. His blue shirt pulled slightly over his chest, reinforcing his build. Rich brown hair fell past his shoulders, and his eyes were velvety brown in a face that left me breathless. His jaw was defined, his nose straight with slightly flared nostrils, and the firm line of disapproval his lips were pressed into failed to hide their sensuality. He belonged in Hollywood, not an Oxford library.

He was so close to me that it was intimidating. Moving back a few steps gave me the opportunity to take in allof him, and he was well worth it. The softest-looking faded jeans I’d ever seen outlined thick muscled thighs that had come straight out of my dreams. Callum was cute. This guy, though. This guy had me wanting to go to my knees for him. I was practically drooling.

Unfortunately, he was glaring at me and showed no sign of bending me over the nearest table and having his way with me.

I wrenched my mind back to the fact he’d said something to me. “Sorry, what?”

“You can’t take those books.”

“I’m a research student.” I tore my eyes away from his face long enough to thrust my library card at him. “I was told I could take up to twenty books out at once.”

“Well, you can’t.”

“It says so in the library rules. I live in college, so I wouldn’t have far to come if I got an alert saying someone else wanted them.”

“I don’t care. That’s too many books to take out of here.”

“Okay.” The intensity in him was something else, and I backed down. “How many am I allowed to take?”

He glanced over them. “Four,” he said, and it sounded reluctant.

My face must have shown my incredulity because he pointed out, “You can only read one at a time.”

Anger stirred in me. These weren’t novels, to be read one after another. They needed to be compared and cross-referenced as they were read. It was why I’d applied to Mortimer in the first place—the college’s collection of scarcely remembered German theologians was unrivalled and precisely what I needed for my dissertation.

“Sorry, who are you?” It finally occurred to me to ask. If he was just another research student throwing his weight around with the newbies, I’d tell him where to go. Surely he couldn’t be a tutor because he was only about thirty.

“The librarian.”

Holy crap, and I’d tried to argue the rules with him. “Good to meet you,” I said weakly and tried to smile at him. “I’m Mark Stevens.”

He nodded and folded his arms. His shirt’s valiant attempt to cope with his movement resulted in acres of silky material clinging to his muscles. I was staring again.

“Sorry, I don’t know your name,” I said when it was clear he wasn’t going to speak. He was still watching me as if to check I only took four books.

“Rufus Mortimer.”

“Like the college!” It was a stupid thing to say, but it was better than telling him I wanted to lick him.

He looked unimpressed. “Choose your four books. I’ll replace the others.”

The guy was kind of a prick, though I wasn’t sure what he could have said to my comment.

Once I'd found the four texts I most wanted, he gathered the remaining books into his arms. “Don’t forget to scan them,” he said as he moved away. “And don’t keep them long. They belong here.”

Until he said that, it hadn’t dawned on me that there was a way to keep access to all twenty books. And so many more. “I could have them all out on my desk if I stayed in here?”

“Of course.”

The way he said that nagged at me. It reminded me of something, but I didn’t know what. “In that case, please don’t shelve them,” I said. “I’m going to get my stuff from my room and work here.”

“Okay,” he said, but he didn’t put them down. He watched me leave, holding the books close, cradling them like they were his babies.

Carra's Review

This was the first book I’ve read by this author, and I thought it was a great start to a new series.  I really enjoyed the overall concept, setting, and characters.  Dragons, libraries, and Oxford?  Yes, please!

Mark may have been too surprised by seeing a dragon to question it in that moment, but I thought his ready acceptance and his sense of wonder later on once he discovers who the dragon is is wonderful.  

Rufus is perfect in his librarian role, I love how he saw all the books in the library as part of his own collection…or rather an extension of his collection.  He and Mark fit well together, and I thought Rufus’s need to include Mark in his protection of his collection was a great touch.

This story has the romance, the intrigue of dragons that humans don’t know exist, plus a bit of excitement centered on the dragon lore of this specific world—so there is plenty to keep readers engrossed in the story.  I liked the idea of red dragons being “different”, with even Mark’s dragon not realizing exactly what is unique about himself.  Sorry if that seems vague, but I don’t want to give it away ;-). Suffice to say though, it is always enjoyable to see the status quo turned on its head.

There are some great secondary characters, even those who we don’t see much in the story.  Mark has a good group of friends who are supportive of each other.  Rufus has his family, with his brother Nate being the standout among them (can’t wait to read his story once it is out!).  And there are also some dragons who come along that no one was expecting, causing the excitement and acting as a catalyst for the turnaround I mentioned.

Overall The Red Dragon of Oxford was a 4.5-star read for me, and I would recommend it to any M/M paranormal romance fan.  Like dragons?  Read it.  Like stories set amongst books and libraries?  Read it.  Just like a well-written book with great characters?  Yep, read it…it has all these bases covered.  Looking forward to more in this series, there is definitely plenty of potential here!

About the Author 

Joy Lynn Fielding lives in a small English market town, where she indulges her passions for vintage aircraft, horse riding and gardening (though not all at the same time).

Joy tends to wax lyrical about the fascinating facts she discovers during her research for books. Thankfully, she has a very patient Labrador who has a gift for looking interested in what she’s saying while he waits for the food to arrive.

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