Tuesday, April 30, 2024

New Release-Excerpt & Giveaway: JAGGED ENDS by Thom Collins (Jagged Shores #5)

Jagged Ends

by Thom Collins

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Cover Artist: Kelly Martin

Release Date:  April 30, 2024

Genre. Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Suspense, thriller, small town

Themes: Second chance, revenge

Length: 61 912 words/ 248 pages

Heat Rating:  4 flames

It’s a standalone romance that forms part of a wider series 

and does not end on a cliffhanger.


Buy Links

Publisher  |  Universal Amazon Link  |  Kobo

Jerico is about to meet two figures from his past. 

One filled with love, the other consumed by vengeance.


The coastal town of Nyemouth is the perfect location for celebrity chef Jerico Osman to fulfil a lifetime ambition. With it’s stunning harbour and brisk holiday trade, there’s no better place for him to open his first restaurant. It’s a dream that has been a decade in the making. But there’s another attraction in Nyemouth, one Jerico was completely unaware of.

Andy Quinn is content with his life. He has a great job managing Quay House, the popular waterfront hotel, and a peaceful home with a cat called Patches. Andy spent his twenties working in the cruise industry, exploring the world and has finally settled in his home town of Nyemouth. Those years at sea were a time of adventure and discovery, including a ship bound romance with a young Jerico. After fifteen years, Andy doubts the famous chef will even remember him, but from the moment they reconnect, the time they spent apart falls away. 

Andy isn’t the only figure from Jerico’s past. A week before the restaurant is due to open, an act of reckless sabotage puts everything he cares about in danger, including Andy. Jerico has made an enemy, someone who will stop at nothing to see his long-realised dream become a nightmare. As a plan for vengeance is played out, who will survive until the end?

Fall in love with compelling new characters and rediscover some old favourites in the fifth and final instalment of the Jagged Shores series.


The evenings in Nyemouth were beautiful in the summer, when the blue sky was transformed to the most startling shades of purple, pink and red. It was Andy’s favourite time of the year, and tonight, it was even better, as he walked the South Point cliff with Jerico.

“It reminds me of all those sunsets we saw when we were at sea,” Jerico remarked.

Andy nodded his agreement. “I come up here a lot when I have the time, if I get finished at the hotel early enough. It helps me to relax. At this time of year, there’s nothing I like more.”

“It seems like you’ve always been drawn to the sea.”

“Mmm, probably. I grew up at the coast, worked on ships. I can’t imagine ever being far away from it.”

He was aware of Jerico watching him and tried to keep his gaze on the path ahead, though the temptation to turn and feast his own eyes was huge. Instead, he filled his lungs with the salty air coming from the water. Up here, the sticky heat of the hotel and the town centre was forgotten.

“What did you do?” Jerico asked. “After we lost touch. You have me at a disadvantage. You can find out about me online, everything I’ve ever done is there. But you, apart from your professional CV, there’s nothing.”

Now Andy could not resist looking at him, raising a bemused eyebrow. “So, you’ve been cyber-stalking me?”

“Doesn’t everyone?”

His brown skin looked glorious in the evening light. Andy’s mouth was dry. Jerico looked more handsome than he’d ever known him. How had they come to be here, after all this time? Andy knew he wasn’t dreaming. This was very real.

He wet his lips. “It’s a similar story to your own. I kept working at sea until I was around thirty.”

“Doing the same as before? Excursions and tours?”

“For a while, yes. But when I moved to another cruise company, an opportunity arose to join the hotel management side of the ship, and I found I enjoyed that even more. I became Deputy Hotel Manager after just two years. I loved being on the ships. I’m so glad I did all that. For a young guy in his twenties to travel the world and see all those places, how many people are lucky enough to do that?”

Jerico nodded. “It was great, though I don’t miss the force-eleven gales and ten-metre waves.”

Andy laughed. “Yeah, I think I’ve pushed those to the back of my mind and just remember the calm waters and sunsets.”

“I remember some really bad nights, trying to sing and dance while the stage was going up and down beneath my feet.” He gave a dramatic shudder and chuckled.

“But look at it now,” Andy said, gesturing to the peaceful North Sea. Tonight, there wasn’t even a white cap to ruffle its surface. “When I see it like this, I do miss being out there.”

“Would you ever go back? To working on the ships?”

“Nah. Been there, done that. I’m happy here. I’ve got my dream job and my family close by. I’ve seen almost all the world has to offer, so now I’m content to stay home. How about you?”

“I’ve done a couple of themed culinary cruises in the last few years—guest speaking and cookery demonstrations, that kind of thing. It’s a lot different on the other side. The guest staterooms are a lot nicer than those tiny crew cabins we had to stay in.”

“I’ll bet. That’s something I’ve never done, experiencing a cruise ship from a passenger perspective. I imagine it’s a different world from what we were used to.”

“Yeah, but when you’re young, you don’t care, do you? You just need a place to sleep and shag. They could have put me in a cupboard, and I’d have been happy.” He gave Andy a flirtatious wink.

“I remember what you were like, all right.”

They paused and stood side by side and looking out to sea together. For a moment, Andy lost himself in those memories…of standing on the deck of a ship or the shores of exotic countries with Jerico. Were those the best days of his life? No, he decided. The best days were still ahead of him. Be positive and keep moving forward.

It had gone eight o’clock. “I’m getting hungry,” he said. “Do you fancy something to eat?”

“Starving,” Jerico said. “What do you suggest?”

Check out the other books in the Jagged Shores series

About the Author 

Jagged Ends is Thom Collins’ tenth novel. As well as the Jagged Shores series, he is the author of the Anthem Trilogy andCloser by Morning. He has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and cat. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a dislike of flying that gets worse with age. Since 2013 he prefers to see the world by sea.

Check out his website for news updates and a free ebook The Night.


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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: FULL SERVICE by Cora Rose (Franklin U Season 2 Book #5)

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Full Service
By Cora Rose

Full Service Cover

Cover Designer: Natasha Snow
Model: Samuel
Photographer: Xram Ragde

Coming July 5th

Franklin University Series Season 2, Book 5

In all of my years as a professor, never did I imagine I’d end up getting a lap dance from a student. But I did. What’s worse? He’s my new TA. And the icing on top of the cake? I can’t stop thinking about it. Can’t get him off my mind.

I’m Dr. Silas Sinclair. Respectable educator and a man with his head on his shoulders. I don’t break the rules. I don’t cross boundaries. And I certainly don’t stalk students.

Or at least I didn’t until him. Everly Winslow is bad news waiting to happen. He’s everything I should stay away from, but I can’t. The flirting. The taunting. It’s constant, and it’s too much.

I’m only human and it’s only a matter of time before I crack and give in to my desires. When all is said and done, will I be able to maintain my respectable career or will it all crash and burn?

Pre-Order Universal Link

Add to Goodreads

Check out the other books in the Series

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Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate the next season of Franklin U & this cover reveal, we are giving away 2 advanced e-copies of Full Service!

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About the Author

Cora Rose loves any kind of romance and consumes way too many books each year.

She currently lives in the U.S. and spends her days daydreaming about the characters inside her head. Her books have swoon and steam with character you'll fall in love with.

Connect with Cora:


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Spotlight-Excerpt: REUNION OF THE THREE by C.S. Harris (The Ring of Worlds #1)

Reunion of the Three

by C.S. Harris

Publisher: A New Reality Publishing

Cover Artist: Christopher S. Harris

Release Date: February 29, 2024

Genres: Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, space opera, polyamory 

Tropes: Lovers reunited after a long separation, heroes

Themes: Reunion, coming together, being free, being authentic, self-discovery

Heat Rating: 2 - 3 flames

Length: 95 000 words/320 pages

It is not a standalone book. It is book 1 in the Ring of Worlds series.

Book two is out on April 25, and book three this summer.


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK

Love, Longing, Great Magic, and a Fat Orange Cat.


Foreseeing the annihilation of Gaea by the Tèng Empire and the demonic Sogma, Alexander Eldred and his allies, Imara Inanna and Sirenī Adamma, marshaled their magic to thwart the calamity. Their triumph brought them back to their homeland of Demurria, only to be sundered by a government edict citing their immense combined strength as a threat: Alex is a magical prodigy and never forgets a spell once he's seen it written or cast. Imara hears the universe as a symphony and can control reality with her voice. Sirenī is blessed with fatal beauty, a power so great it can compel into obsession any who behold her.

After fifty years of enforced separation, compelled by a fresh premonition, Alex challenges the mandate to reunify with Imara and Sirenī. This time, the peril extends beyond Gaea, endangering the entirety of the Ring of Worlds, threatened by a formidable necromancer's dark influence. To prevent the spread of this malignant corruption across myriad planets, the trio must reunite and elude the Unified Government's grasp, racing against time to safeguard the future.

Please note: The central narrative follows a group of main characters engaged in a polyamorous relationship. Initially, the relationship comprises one man and two women, evolving to include an additional man, forming a balanced quartet where each individual shares a deep, equitable connection with the others. Although the story is rooted in the genres of epic and urban fantasy, rather than romance, it includes moments of intimacy that encompass a spectrum of orientations and identities, including interactions among women, men, and supernatural beings such as vampires. Additionally, the narrative features a secondary character who identifies as non-binary. The same gender relations are blatant.


Barefoot, Alexander left the primary bedroom and walked through the quiet halls of Eldred Manor. He descended to the first floor and passed the library on his way to the workroom. Once there, he stepped through the large double doors and shut them.

The room was massive and had Spaera Mystica—arcane circles for conjuration—etched into the floor in varying sizes. He stepped over to a small one and held out his hands with his palms facing up. An orange-red glow flared around them, and he began to chant in his natal tongue.

Within moments, mist began to swirl above the sigils etched into the floor. He continued to chant until a hemispherical dome flared into existence, shimmering with striations of faint color like a rainbow. He turned his palms down and changed his chant.

Now the ancient syllables of Darhavil rolled from his lips, and mist filled the Spaera Mystica. Alexander finished his spell, dropped his hands to his sides, and waited. It took several minutes for a figure to appear in the mist, insubstantial and amorphous but irradiant.

“Alexander,” the figure said. The voice had a tremulous quality but was easy to hear. “Why have you reached out to me?”

Alexander bowed his head briefly. “I apologize, Valas. I have been feeling something, a sensation at the back of my mind. The only thing I could think to do was contact you.”

The agglomeration of colors spun like fluid inside the mist-filled hemisphere of the magic circle. The flashes of light occasionally suggested a beaked head, wings, and a long, feathered tail. Alexander watched the manifestation patiently. Subtle anxiety had been building in his mind, urging him to action.

“The patterns suggest an inflection point formed sixteen million years before this moment. Beginning now, the probabilities unravel,” the figure told him.

That was interesting information. Opaque but interesting. What is the inflection point? Was it related to the events of my dream? Can I recover them with a waking dream enchantment?

The Grade Five magic was only as reliable as the ephemeral threads of the mind—so not very.

The sorcerer bowed his head again. “Thank you, Valas. I appreciate your willingness to communicate with me.”

“You are welcome.” The figure began to dwindle; the light faded at the edges into eldritch sparks that winked out as they drifted toward the floor. “I would add one last thing: the time is upon you. You cannot wait.”

Alexander froze. “Are you certain?” he stupidly asked.

Valas Amris is a celestial being. Of course, it is certain! he thought scathingly.

The figure faded until only the mist on the floor remained within the Spaera Mystica, but Valas murmured one last sentence.

“Yes. Complete your work with Skawen’na’há:wi. You are close.”

Alexander took a deep breath as the mist drained into nothing. He released the magic circle with a snap of his fingers and stood there for a long time. His thoughts were jumbled and raced in circles. He felt excitement, anticipation, nervousness, and fear.

After several minutes of stillness, he stirred and turned from the symbols carved into the floor. He retreated from the workroom and planned to return to his bedroom. Instead, he detoured into the library and sat in his favorite chair. Around him were more than a thousand books, including tomes, treatises, and grimoires. He looked at them with unseeing eyes, wrapped in his thoughts. They ran to the two people he loved most: Imara and Sirenī. He hadn’t seen them in a long time, but that was about to change.

Once he finished his training, of course.

Alexander remained in the library until dawn. He blinked when the sun shone through the windows and stabbed his eyes. Turning his head, he cracked his neck and looked around. He'd contemplated and discarded a dozen plans in the few hours it took for the sun to rise.

What is the best way to make contact? he wondered.

Imara lived in Louden, Sirenī in Glendale. He drummed his fingers on his thigh, brow furrowed. Nothing came to him.

Still, he left the library with a bounce in his step. In his heart, he felt excited by what was coming. For almost fifty years, he’d had a lump of stone in his chest, but now he felt it begin to soften and pulse once more.

About the Author 

I'm an artist and author who's been crafting stories since my childhood. My debut series, 'The Ring of Worlds,' is inspired by my love of high-fantasy and science fiction. When I'm not writing, I enjoy gaming, reading, and exploring new worlds—real and imaginary.

Blog  |  Website  |  Facebook

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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: PARADISE BOUND by Deanna Wadsworth (Pride of the Caribbean #4)

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Paradise Bound
By Deanna Wadsworth

Paradise Bound Cover

Pride of the Caribbean, Book 4

Sailing aboard the Pride of the Caribbean for yet another wedding, still-single tattoo artist Marcus Rodriguez is determined to enjoy himself, his friends, and spend some overdue time sketching and drawing for himself, rather than creating awesome flash for his clients. He certainly isn’t going to spend all his spare time searching for an elusive man named Dane who he can’t seem to get out of his mind.

Dane has had a rough life since the fall of the Royal Fae Court, but at least he’s finally free from the clutches of his evil captors. He’s living with his king and other paras aboard a magical sanctuary ship in the Caribbean. But just when this fairy thinks he could finally be safe and happy, the Goddess drops another bombshell.

The missing piece of his soul and the key to fixing his broken magic is human.

The Pride might be paradise bound, but there won’t be any smooth sailing on this cruise! Between conniving gargoyles, mysterious drawings, missing paras, and evil warlocks, if Marcus and Dane don’t work hard to make their bond one of love, they’ll be bound in a relationship they can’t escape.

Coming May 21st

Pre-Order Universal Link

Check out the Series on Goodreads

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To celebrate the cover reveal of Paradise Bound, Deanna is away 5 e-copies of Book 1: The Boyfriend Cruise!

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Be sure to check out all the stories in the
Pride of the Caribbean Series so far

Universal Series Link

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About the Author

Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and adorable cocker spaniels. She has been spinning tales and penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. An avid reader, she also loves gardening, cooking, music, and dancing. Often she can be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the innerworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.

Join Deanna’s Facebook Group HEREWebsiteBookBubAmazonFacebookTwitterGoodreadsInstagramPinterest Newsletter

You can also find her young adult alter ego, K.D. Worth AmazonTwitterBookBub

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Monday, April 22, 2024

Series Spotlight: THE CHRISTOPHER BOOKS by Stephen G Hardy - Includes Excerpt!



by Stephen G Hardy

Follow Christopher as he explores various types of relationships and the impact he has on the lives of others.

The books need to be read in order.

Overall Heat Rating for the series: 1 flame



Search for Complete

Cover Artist: Ryan Mulford

Length: 80 127 words /335 pages

Release Date: June 4, 2023

Genres:  Contemporary LGBTQ+ Fiction with speculative elements.

Tropes: Friends to Platonic lovers

Themes:  Interpersonal relationships, Conversations as Catalyst for Change

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


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US   |  Amazon UK


“Why do I get the feeling that Christopher is the type of man that would make the perfect husband for any woman and, at the same time, the perfect wife for any man?” Laura says shortly after Christopher begins his new job at the TV station. Laura’s statement would turn out to hold more truth than she could imagine. No one who meets Christopher, especially not Laura, as well as David, a gay man he meets at a party, understands what it is about him that draws them to him. They also don’t realize that Christopher is searching for something, a search complicated by their desires for him.


The Price of Happiness

Length:  84 447words/330 pages

Release Date: November 24, 2023

Genres: LGBTQ+ Contemporary Literary Fiction

Tropes: Love and loss

Themes: Parenthood, interpersonal relationships, finding oneself.

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


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US   |  Amazon UK


As Search for Complete left off, the birth of his twins had just completed Christopher. However, though he has what he had searched so long for, he now must deal with the associated costs, namely the unraveling of his relationship with Laura, the mother of his twins. The birth of the twins should have brought Laura joy, yet, instead, she finds herself on an intense emotional rollercoaster. Laura resents Christopher's happiness—resents that he is a better mother than she is. But most of all, Laura resents that the twins are Christopher's spitting image—nowhere does she see herself in them. Christopher fears his happiness in becoming a father has become Laura’s undoing. As he tries to help her adjust to the reality of their situation, Laura struggles to find herself in the tangled mess of their relationship.

In The Price of Happiness, Stephen Hardy has created a profound and moving novel on the themes of parenthood, identity, love and loss—and the cost of getting what we want.


When the Sun and Moon Touch

Length:  87 639 words/353 Pages

Release Date: March 29, 2024

Genres: LGBTQ+ Contemporary Literary Fiction

Tropes: M2M relationships

Themes: Finding oneself, forgiveness, love

The stories need to be read in order. This  book does not end on a cliffhanger.

Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US   |  Amazon UK


Christopher has settled into life as a single father to his twins, Loren and Christine. Content with his life, he is contemplating the imminent return of their mother Laura, who has been traveling through Europe for nearly a year, when he meets Benjamin, a direct descendant of the sun. Suddenly, his contentment is upended as he tries to understand the reason for their meeting. Despite what Benjamin says, that they are meant to be together, Christopher initially tries to hold Benjamin at arm's length, believing that he is only to be for Benjamin what Joseph was to him—a friend and mentor.

Excerpt from Book 1

I began to question accepting Laura’s invitation when I heard the noise coming from the backyard as we approached the house. I disliked crowds, and it sounded like an immense crowd was on the other side of the gate.

People were everywhere—seated on lounge chairs scattered around the patio or at the rectangular dining table or milling about in various groups—talking loudly over the blaring music. Laura’s voice broke through the noise.

“I don’t see Peter anywhere. He might be inside. Shall we find him?”

“By all means. I would feel uncomfortable attending his party without meeting him.”

I followed Laura into the house. As we passed through the living room, my eyes fell on a few framed photos of a handsome couple on the wall.

In the kitchen, a solitary male figure was removing a tray of croissants from the oven.

“Hello, Peter.”

As he turned around, I recognized Peter as one of the men in the photos. Tall and slender, with dark hair and a mustache waxed into handlebars, there was a dapperness to him that I found pleasing.

“Hey, Laura. Lovely to see you!”

After setting the hot tray down, Peter hugged her.

“Peter, I want you to meet Christopher. He just moved here from Seattle and works with me at the station.”

“How do you do, Peter?“

Having grown used to the reaction my presence caused, I smiled patiently as Peter, unable to speak right away, shook my offered hand.

“I hope you do not mind my crashing your party. Laura assured me that you would not object to her bringing me.”

“No, of course, I don’t mind.”

The words tumbled out one on top of the other.

“Is there anything we can do to assist you?”

“No, I have it all under control, thanks. Please help yourself to the food and drinks out on the patio.”

“We will. Thanks,” Laura said, taking my arm and steering me back through the living room.

“Peter is very nice,” I commented as we stepped through the doors and headed towards the drinks table. “Can I make you something?”

“A mimosa, thanks. Yes, Peter’s a sweetie.”

We stood sipping our drinks as I scanned the crowd of mostly men, a mix of young and old, before Laura took me around, introducing me to the people she knew.

I instinctively searched their eyes for the essence of another while ignoring Laura’s scrutinizing gaze.

Laura needed to use the bathroom, so she left me standing under the large Ficus tree where we had sought shade from the sun. Within minutes of her departure, I was surrounded by a large group of people vying for my attention. Carrying on multiple conversations was challenging, but I did my best to make each person feel they had my full attention.

He caught my attention on the periphery of my vision: tall and well-built, resembling the small statue of the god Mars that sat on the table in Joseph’s shop. Our eyes met, and I felt my heart skip a beat, seeing something flash in his eyes. Smiling hopefully, I extended my hand to him.

“Hello, my name is Christopher Dunn.”

As he shook my hand, I took the opportunity to search his golden-brown eyes. My initial hope turned to disappointment, for while something was there, it was not another’s essence. Though disappointed, I was intrigued.


He slurred the two names into one in his haste to get the words out.

As I gazed into his eyes, the feeling of a purpose to our meeting appeared—first Laura and now David.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, David Martelli,” I said, saying his name distinctly.

David blushed attractively, causing a twinge in my heart.

“Can I get you a drink?”

He looked so crestfallen when I held up my cup that I was tempted to down my drink and ask him for another.

“Oh, you have one.”

 “I do, but I appreciate you asking.”

I gave him a smile to back up my words. It was apparent that David was struggling to find something to say, the frustration evident in his handsome features. I wanted to get him away from the people surrounding us and talk to him alone, but I did not see how I could do so without offending everyone else.

Conscious of the eyes watching us, David blushed again and backed away.

For some reason, I knew that this behavior was out of character for him. Watching him walk away, I hoped we would meet again as I wanted to discover what I saw in his eyes.

About the Author 

Stephen Hardy was born in the San Francisco Bay Area but grew up in the Pacific Northwest. His career as a fashion designer took him back to San Francisco before he headed to New York City, where he met his husband of twenty years. Tiring of the hectic pace of the fashion industry, Stephen gave up his career to become a stay-at-home dad for his and his husband’s two adopted sons and a quiet life in Connecticut. Now residing in Phoenix, Arizona, and with the kids grown, Stephen returned to university, where he rediscovered his love for writing. His focus is on contemporary fiction, examining social issues regarding gender, sexuality, and relationships. Search for Complete is his first novel.

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram

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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Spotlight-Excerpt: GODSPEED, LOVERS by TQ Sims (Lovers Universe)

Godspeed, Lovers

by TQ Sims

Release Date: Friday, October 20 2023

Publishing Company: Archway Publishing

Cover Artist: Joel Luna and Fritz Westenberger

Primary Plot Arc: Speculative Fiction

Main Genre: Sci Fi Fantasy (with heavy romance subplot)

Story Type: Novel (>50k)

Word Count: 167K +


Lovable loner Casey Isaac thinks love isn’t for him. Not since extraordinary events left him with supernormal powers and a great deal of trauma. But when Oscar Kenzari looks at him, he can’t help but change his mind.

As Divinators, Casey and Oscar have used their psychic powers to defend humanity from sentient, extradimensional storms for one hundred years.

But a storm more powerful than any before is brewing. MaalenKun, prince of the maelstrom, conqueror of countless realities, plans to turn the tables by infecting Casey’s mind.

MaalenKun is not the only threat.

Casey and Oscar must determine who they can trust: the eccentric trillionaire keeping them in the dark, the independent contractors with secrets of their own, or a seemingly helpful extradimensional being shrouded in mystery.

As Casey works to defeat threats around and within himself, he must open to love for his chosen family, for Oscar, and for himself to unlock a transformative power capable of banishing MaalenKun. And Oscar must make a difficult choice that could cost him the future he dreams of.

Can Casey and Oscar’s love break the storm?

"It's fantastic to have such an emotional, thoughtful, and at times really sexy story to enjoy and identify with. I love books that take characters who are usually shoved to the margins and make their stories, their struggles, fears, hopes, tragedies, and triumphs the focus--which is exactly what this book does." –Doug Spearman, Actor/Activist/Writer/Producer/Director, From Zero to I Love You

“From the title page onwards, I was unable to put this book down. With excellent worldbuilding and rich, dimensional characters, T.Q. Sims' Godspeed, Lovers skillfully weaves a world that is equal parts fantastical sci-fi, spirituality, and queer joy. I can't wait to see where Casey and Oscar go next.” –Colette Bennett, Author, Enter the Meta


I realize that without assistance nearby from Casey, I would not be able to maintain the psybridge alone. I send him waves of gratitude and he nods at me. No one has to do this all on their own. It occurs to me, then to both of us. His special divination, his unique attainment, is empathic. He gleans from other divs that he syncs and replicates their capabilities. This is a new skill he is tapping into. He smiles with a hint of surprise and amazement before a hint of fear shows in his eyes. We both know the ability he is beginning to unlock through Four is incredibly rare and powerful. I nod at him, signaling my confidence in his abilities. 

“Ready, Div Kenzari, Div Isaac,” Murtagh speaks and transfers her message to ensure we are tuned into each other in body and mind. “Prepare for mass heartstar turning.”

Murtagh stands in the pontiff suite at the metaglass bow of the yacht. She lifts her hands to the heartstar shining brightly in her chest. Casey does the same. Through the psybridge Murtagh’s voice is mighty as she addresses hundreds of divs ready to level up. Everyone, steady. 

Murtagh and Casey turn hundreds of heartstars, locating within each the light-thread connecting each Div to MaalenKun’s energy. The sound of a bass drum echoes throughout our connections, and a low steady AUM builds as glowing mandalas expand and turn around Casey’s mudras. Hundreds of light-threads pour through the psybridge, glistening through space, and funnel through the mandalas. The array reaches into the crystal chamber and pins MaalenKun down just as Vasif breaks through, tearing away an entire end of the crystal before flowing inside and descending onto the immobilized Haddyc. 

Now! I shout through the psybridge. 

All the divs, all the Sages create space with and through their light-threads. Casey channels it into the trapped storm being enveloped by Vasif’s radiance. Vasif expands like rolling fog descending onto the darkened storm cloud. The force pushes against the Haddyc’s body within Vasif. As planned, the force steers the crystal closer to the rift. 

Vasif roars like breaking timber as MaalenKun screams the sounds of bending metal. With fast moving vines, Vasif pulls MaalenKun into its body. A flash of purple-black lightning is quickly disarmed within Vasif’s expanding luminous body. The dingy cloud that is MaalenKun explodes into sprays of grey light and ash which slam against the interior of the crystal chamber and knock us onto our knees. The violent bursts of grey give way to explosions of white light before the explosions become invisible light, seen only psychically. As Vasif’s luminous body rips apart the Haddyc’s storm, sounds of metal bending and breaking reverberate through the crystal’s cracked surface. 

The cracks grow and spread as the crystal chamber moves toward the rift.

Yahima looks back toward Mira and Liam. “Signal Vasif!” 

“Hurry!” Mira urges. “Vasif is struggling!” 

Yahima slides the ornate cover away from the coffer and hands it back to me.

The misty leaves which merged with the golden festoon within the ring shine brightly as they peel away. The leaves stretch long and thin. They become a film of glowing colors which psychically reaches towards Vasif. The EDB has shifted its shape as well. It has become a luminous whirling pale mist stretching toward the rift. A flash emerges from within the ring and a high-pitched peal pours from it. The rift crackles before a low hum reverberates from it. It is unlocked. The Helixx Corp drones zoom forward into the rift. Their flashing lights drift into the half-lit interior and disappear. Hundreds of divs work to immobilize and dull MaalenKun, and Vasif consumes the Haddyc. Vasif stretches itself into the dull half-light of the rift and expels the shredded body of MaalenKun and all of the Haddyc energy it had consumed and contained back 

Through the psybridge, the sounds of hundreds of divs reaching new Levels builds. An ebullient music of their emotion swells and cascades around us. Joy bubbles forth from within and rolls like a wave through us, uplifting us all. 

The unstable crystal shatters! 

Vasif begins to drift. Luminous thin mists stretch from its body, and it clings to the open space around it. 

From within the rift, a bolt of purple-black lightning rushes out, sizzling the space around it. As it moves past us, several of our gear functions are affected. I try to call Ops through the comm but hear only my voice reverberating in the helmet. My HUD flickers and faintly indicates that all of our thrusters are offline, but I swear I hear their quiet whistle through a looped sensation.

Casey drifts into the rift first. Yahima slings the coffer containing the ring back, away from the rift, as they sail into the half-light. Through our psybridge, I hear Liam and Mira and Carmel screaming as the two prescient divinators who could not see this coming disappear into the rift. Mira and Liam drop away from my psybridge. Carmel panics.

The music of the levels becomes discordant. Joy is torn away. The nimbuses grind against each other as they fall out of sync. There are so many. Even the Sages cannot hold them in place.

Vasif catches the coffer and begins to shapeshift into its more human-like body. I drop the ornate coffer cover, and it floats away. Misty vines wrap around the cover and the clear box containing the ring.

Behind me, a bright, fiery light grows as the purple-black lightning breaks the shields and pierces the wings. The psybridge is filled with wailing moments before the low boom of exploding deep space V’s reaches me. It all fades into muffled distortions as I drift helplessly amidst broken crystal and empty space.

My thrusters come back online, and I right myself.

Realizing my intentions, Thiia cries out.

Without pause, I fly into the rift.

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About the Author

TQ Sims writes stories that center Queer characters in supernormal situations. In their first novel Godspeed, Lovers, two men fall in love while using their psychic powers to battle sentient storms and an evil corporation that wishes to control them. Godspeed, Lovers is a story about mental health, post-traumatic growth, and found family.

TQ’s story "The Ritual" was a finalist in competition at the Tennessee Williams and New Orleans Literary Festival in 2022. Their work has appeared in Louisiana Words, Beyond Queer Words, and The Queer and Trans Guide to Storms. They live in New Orleans with their partner and a growing number of cats.

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