.

6th Grave Release

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tempt ME Tuesday #81 by Mad Hatter Reads

Tempt Me Tuesday  
Happy Tuesday everyone!!! Ready for this week’s temptations? Good! I think I found us some good ones this week :) Enjoy!
 

Black Water by Faith Hunter

A Jane Yellowrock Collection
Black Water (Jane Yellowrock #6.3)Three stories from New York Times bestselling author Faith Hunter, starring shapeshifting skinwalker Jane Yellowrock.
In Snafu, a young Jane shows up for her internship with a securities firm. But before she even gets her foot in the door, she’s accosted by two street toughs and is forced to draw on her new-found Beast-magic to defend herself.
In Black Water, Jane encounters a dire situation involving an escaped prisoner and endangered hostages. With a helpful—and oddly sane—werewolf, Jane goes after the criminals, but can she stop them in time to bring the kidnapped women home alive?
In Off the Grid, Jane goes on what looks like a simple mission for the Knoxville blood-master—finding a missing Mithran. Her search leads Jane to a young woman named Nell, a woman with a scarred past and a strange power, a woman who may hold the key to saving the missing vampire, if Jane can convince her to assist.
Includes an exclusive preview of the Jane Yellowrock novel, Broken Soul, coming October 2014 from Roc!
 

Hell On Heels by Robyn Peterman

Hot Damned, #3
Hell on Heels (Hot Damned #3)Where does a Demon go when she gets deported from Hell?
Kentucky. Eden, Kentucky to be more specific—where nothing is exactly as it seems.
My name is Dixie. I’m a Demon—a lousy Demon. I’m a twenty-one year old virgin and I have a battery operated boyfriend. My magic is iffy at best and downright dangerous at worst. Leaving Hell to represent my race is not high on my list of things to do.
Hell was exact. Hell was simple. All I want to do is get to home base with the hotter than Hades Demon of my dreams and work on my dark side so Satan, my dad, will get off my ass.
Instead I end up in Kentucky looking for the Balance of Chaos, avoiding pole dancing classes with Mother Nature and finding out my invisible friend is a silver skinned destructive weather pattern.
And if that isn’t craptastic enough, the damn Sword of Death is missing again and who ever has it wants the King of the Underworld dead. Seriously.
With new powers emerging daily, keeping my Demon side, horniness and general disgust under wraps doesn’t make it any easier to fit in with the humans. Thankfully my priorities are in line; get laid…save world…try not to blow up kitchen appliances…and get laid again. I was ready to rumble.
All I want to do is go back to Hell, but with the balance of good and evil in my hands, I’m stuck in the garden of Eden. Oh well, what the Hell. Someone has to save the world before there’s no world left to save. Might as well be me.
 

Once Haunted, Twice Shy by H.P. Mallory

Peyton Clark, #2
Once Haunted, Twice Shy (Peyton Clark, #2)Sassy, spirited Peyton Clark is back—and she’s not alone!
After agreeing to let the spirit of Drake Montague inhabit her body, Peyton soon discovers that the twentieth-century French policeman may be dead but his lothario longings sure aren’t. Now she has to find a way to explain to her sweet, sexy boyfriend, Ryan Kelly, that a spirit has taken up residence in her head, whispering French words of affection day and night.
While Peyton is torn between her love for a living man and her growing affection for one deceased, supernatural activity in New Orleans spikes—and something wicked this way comes. With the help of her friends (and a little voodoo), Peyton learns that the demonic spirit of the Axeman may still dwell in her home. To stop bloody history from repeating itself, Peyton will have to travel back a century to confront the Axeman at his roots, with the help of a certain handsome—and suddenly flesh and blood—police officer in the Big Easy.
 

Outfoxed by Love by Eve Langlais

Kodiak Point, #2
Outfoxed by Love (Kodiak Point, #2)Don't moose with his fox!
A bullheaded moose doesn't stand a chance when a fox decides to make him her mate.
Boris left to defend his country still a boy. He came back a changed man. A damaged man.
But Jan still wants him.
A man of few words, Boris has a firm way of saying No, but this determined vixen knows he's her mate. Despite some less than subtle overtures, Jan has not had much success in getting her bullheaded moose to notice her, but all that changes when her life is put in danger.
Suddenly the damaged soldier keeps finding excuses to come to her rescue, but as far as Jan is concerned, her mate is the one in need of saving.
It will take some subtle maneuvering to outfox her moose into admitting he loves her, but this wily vixen is more than ready for the challenge. And if that doesn't work, momma's offered to loan her the shot gun used for her own engagement.
Welcome to Kodiak Point, where the wildlife might wear clothes, but animal instinct rules the heart.
 

Siren's Song by Dana Marie Bell

Gray Court, #5
Siren's Song (Gray Court, #5)A crescendo of evil could destroy their perfect harmony.
Oberon is well and truly lost, with no memory of who he is, where he came from, or where he’s going. One woman makes his palms sweat and his heart race, a woman with turquoise eyes and a beautiful voice. Instinct tells him she’s the only one who can save him.
Cassie knows the truth—he is the High King, her truebond, the one man born to be hers and hers alone. Restoring his memory and keeping him out of the Black Court’s clutches is her mission, though success means losing him. Yet to give the world back its High King, she will make that sacrifice.
As soon as Oberon’s memory comes crashing back through his mind’s closed door, he makes one vow. Though beset by enemies, chased and attacked, he will return to his rightful place with his Queen by his side.
Except when he makes good on his vow, all hell breaks loose. And when Cassie's life is threatened, the fae world will bow before the High King or pay the price in blood.
Warning: This title contains explicit sex, graphic language, fishy shenanigans and royal naughtiness.
 

Tall, Dark and Paranormal Anthology

10 Thrilling Tales of Sexy Alpha Bad Boys
Tall, Dark and Paranormal - 10 Thrilling Tales of Sexy Alpha Bad BoysCRESCENT MOON - From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Lori Handeland A cryptozoologist travels to New Orleans to investigate whispers of a wolf in the Honey Island Swamp.
SPELLBOUND by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Opal Carew What is Lucinda, a tenth level wizard, to do when Destiny pairs her with a man who is utterly domineering, overwhelmingly masculine, incredibly irresistible and, according to her most trusted friend, extremely dangerous?
FOREVER FREED by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Laura Kaye A reclusive, empathic vampire falls in love with a woman he planned to kill, and must fight his ancient guilt, bloodlust, and an old vampire rival who threatens everything he holds dear.
SINS OF THE FLESH by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Caridad Pineiro Vampire Reborn: Vampire Ryder Latimer must decide between becoming human again or protecting his new wife and baby.
SPELL BOUND by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Julian A born warrior. A young witch who needs his protection. A dangerous desire neither of them expected. If the heat consumes them, it could destroy the very things they've vowed to protect.
HAUNTING A COWBOY - A Brand New Story from USA Today Bestselling Author Randi Alexander When a ranch foreman hires a ghost whisperer to handle the spirit that’s haunting him, the attraction between them is…supernatural.
HUNTRESS FOR HIRE by USA Today Bestselling Author Terry Spear He's bound to get her killed, so why does the huntress desire the vampire-turned hunter more than life itself?
DEAD SEXY by USA Today Bestselling Author Paige Tyler
ASMODEUS: DEMON OF LUST by Bestselling Author Sara Humphreys ASMODEUS: When Kai Kelly discovers an unusual ring in the attic it leads to much more than she bargained for. She may not realize what she has in her possession, but the boys in Hell sure got the message.
BEAUTY AND THE BEST by Bestselling Author, Judi Fennell Jolie Gardener's new boss, reclusive widowed artist Todd Best, hasn't produced anything since the death of his wife. When he shows up buck naked on her first day on the job then asks her to pose for him - in the nude! – then discovers she's an aspiring romance novelist, he throws her out of his life and his heart. What's a girl to do? Fall in love, of course!
 

The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato

Clockwork Dagger Duology, #1
The Clockwork Dagger (Clockwork Dagger Duology, #1)Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened.
Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers—the Queen’s spies and assassins—and her cabin-mate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy aboard the airship may reach the crown itself.
 

The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

The Elemental Trilogy, #2
The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2)After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.
Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknow

Monday, September 15, 2014

Release Day Blitz: Mine To Have by Cynthia Eden


Mine To Have
(Mine Series, Book #5)
by Cynthia Eden

Blurb:
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Cynthia Eden continues her sexy “Mine” romantic suspense series with…MINE TO HAVE.

Is he a hero…or the villain?

When Elizabeth Ward sees Saxon Black rushing into the backroom of The Blade—a low end bar in Miami—she isn’t sure if he’s there to save the day…or just to raise some hell. But she’s being held hostage, and he’s her best hope of survival. Within minutes, she’s away from the jerks with the guns and riding fast and hard on the back of Saxon’s motorcycle. 

Death stalks them.

Saxon has been working undercover for far too long. When he finds sexy Elizabeth—with a gun to her head—he knows he will do anything to keep her safe. But once he gets her away from her abductors, the threat to her isn’t over. Someone has put a price on Elizabeth’s head, and if Saxon can’t keep her safe from the danger stalking her, then she’ll be dead.

Their lives are both on the line.

As their enemies close in, Elizabeth and Saxon must go on the run. And the longer they are together, the hotter their attraction for one another seems to burn. Saxon vows not to let anyone hurt her, no matter what he has to do, because he’s falling fast for Elizabeth. He’ll stop the killers on her trail, and then he’ll have her. Forever.

MINE TO HAVE.




Available for purchase at

         


Excerpt



“You can let go now.” His voice was the deepest, darkest rumble she’d ever heard, and it actually took a few seconds for his words to sink in.
            When they did, she was horrified. Her hands flew away from him and she shot off that motorcycle. A bad move, really, because her thighs were still shaking from the ride, and Elizabeth hit the ground. 
            Smooth move.
            She pushed up fast, though, and staggered to her feet. Elizabeth tossed away her helmet and ran.
            Unfortunately, she didn’t get far.  A big, strong hand caught her shoulder and spun her around. In the next breath, her back was being pushed into the nearby brick wall, and Saxon had her hands pinned above her head. He held her easily, her wrists trapped in one of his hands. 
            “Didn’t we cover this?” he muttered, and his voice, if possible, had gone even deeper. “No screaming, no running—”
            “No fighting,” she whispered back to him. “You said no…fighting. You never said I couldn’t run.”
            He laughed then. A sound that was as deep as his voice and sent shivers racing over her body. 
            A man wasn’t supposed to laugh when a woman was terrified.  She knew nothing about the guy except for the fact that she’d seen him shoot two men and beat the crap out of at least two more.  And he’d said he…wanted her.
            For an hour.
            “Please, let me go.” Elizabeth wasn’t above begging, not then. She just wanted to survive that night. To get back to her apartment and pretend this whole terrible nightmare had never happened.  “I won’t go to the police, I promise. I won’t tell them anything about you.” 
            His head came closer to hers. She couldn’t discern much about him in that moment, it was too dark, but she’d seen plenty in that terrible little room.
            Saxon. He’d been huge, filling that doorway. He had to be at least six foot three, and his shoulders had been so wide, his arms heavy with muscles.  He wore a faded t-shirt and loose jeans. He’d fought with a cold, vicious fury, and he hadn’t even broken a sweat when he’d taken down his enemies.
            I thought Kurt was scary. He’s nothing compared to this guy.
            “I don’t want to let you go.”
            Those words terrified her.  No, he terrified her.  He leaned even closer. She could feel the light stir of his breath against her cheek. She had a flash of being tied in that chair and looking up—and into a pair of dark and deadly eyes.
            And I asked him for help?  A desperate woman would do anything.  And she was desperate right then.  

About the Author

USA Today Best-selling author Cynthia Eden has written over twenty-five novels and novellas. She was named as a 2013 RITA® finalist for her paranormal romance, ANGEL IN CHAINS, and, in 2011, Cynthia Eden was a RITA finalist for her romantic suspense, DEADLY FEAR.
Cynthia is a southern girl who loves horror movies, chocolate, and happy endings.  She has always wanted to write (don’t most authors say that?), and particularly enjoys creating stories about monsters–vampires, werewolves, and even the real-life monsters that populate her romantic suspense stories.

Cynthia’s foreign sales for her books include translations to Japan, Germany, Thailand, Greece, and Brazil.
(Back in the day…) Cynthia graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Alabama where she studied Sociology (because people interest her) and Communication (because she likes to write about said people).  Cynthia has worked as a college admissions counselor, a teacher, and as an editor. But now, Cynthia is thrilled to be spending her days making up stories.

You can find Cynthia at

          







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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: "Rules of Ascension" by Suzy Knight





Rules Of Ascension
By Suzy Knight

Blurb: 
As a child, Lady Elsabeth Durnfir dreamed of marrying a prince, but after seeing her elder sister’s personality make a complete 180 degree turn after her engagement to Crown Prince Henry of Estoria is announced, Elsabeth has traded in her childish hopes of a fairytale wedding for the equally unlikely hope of inheriting Durnfir Manor and the surrounding land.

Life at court is not something she is interested in, or good at, but in order to help prepare for her sister Alicia’s wedding, Elsabeth must live at court for an entire year. As well as trying to fit in at court while living up to her sister’s reputation, Elsabeth has a secret to keep. But, court is full of secrets that are all about to come to light.
How will Elsabeth survive court without destroying her family’s reputation—and how can she get Prince Frederick, the renowned rake, to stop teasing her?



Available for purchase at

   

Excerpt


The high table had never been so full. The king and queen sat in the center, as always, with Georgiana on the queen’s left and Henry on the king’s right. However, Alicia was in Frederick’s normal place at Henry’s side, leaving Frederick no choice but to sit between Elsabeth and Georgiana, not willing to subject one as innocent as Elsabeth to Georgiana’s stern gaze of disapproval.

Food was served within moments of him sitting down; the kitchen had pulled out all the stops tonight. Frederick watched as his plate became laden with thick cuts of roast beef; golden, crispy potatoes, and thick gravy. The servants knew his habits well, giving him only the smallest helping of greens but loading him with still-warm rolls of bread and the thickest of the beef slices they had.

Not long after Frederick demolished his first roll, the king called for a toast to the happy couple. This was a precedent that would set the theme for the evening, for every few minutes there was yet another toast. Frederick sipped at his wine, sometimes only pretending to drink, knowing the evening meal was going to be long the toasts were not likely to stop, and he hadn’t quite recovered his head from the night before. However, after the fourth or fifth toast, he noticed Elsabeth swaying a little in her chair as a servant dashed forward to refill her wine goblet. The flush in her cheeks confirmed his suspicions as another lord stood to toast the couple. The prince leaned in to Elsabeth and whispered in her ear. “Pace yourself, sip the wine or simply pretend to drink. If you get too drunk, you’ll fall out of your chair, and then what would Lissy say?”

Elsabeth hiccupped, her big blue eyes staring at him from under her dark, long lashes. Seeming to have to concentrate on her motions, she nodded and put the cup down, glaring at it suspiciously. A smile tugged at the prince’s lips as he watched her frowning at her cup as though the cup itself were to blame for her inebriation.

Georgiana leaned past Frederick to glower at the young woman. “Is she drunk?” she hissed, eyebrows knitted tightly with judgment. Frederick felt that same knot in his stomach that he had felt earlier when Elsabeth had floundered under the queen’s questioning. It was almost a protective feeling, which didn’t make sense, as he didn’t know her at all. Besides, I never go after innocents—I only ever pursue women who understand that I’m not promising anything.

Nonetheless, he turned in his chair and rested his chin on his hand, careful to position his elbow quite obviously on the table, blocking Georgiana’s view. His distraction worked. “Get your elbow off of the table at once! Are you a heathen?” Georgiana’s whisper could cleave wood, the tone was so sharp. With a flash, she hit Frederick’s elbow with the bottom of her fork, causing him to curse and rub at the offending body part.

“Jeez, Georgiana. Is there really a need to turn to violence?”

“It’s all you men seem to understand.” She sniffed and turned away, focusing on her own meal once more.

New to the castle, the servants played it safe by putting a little of everything on Elsabeth’s plate. But, Frederick noticed her request second helpings of everything except the gravy. If the way she gazed longingly at the steaming tureen was anything to go by, he suspected her refusal of the gravy was in accordance with her wish to lessen the chance of spilling on herself.

Frederick sighed and sat back in his chair, watching Elsabeth play with the food on her plate. He felt himself smiling again as he watched her keep dropping her potatoes, her coordination suffering greatly from the amount of alcohol she consumed. There was something endearing about her, but it’s not like he could bed his future sister-in-law to get her out of his system.

“Will you tell me something?” he asked, leaning forward to take her fork from her slack grip. She pouted at him, following the fork with her gaze.

“Sure,” she mumbled, watching as he speared a golden potato and waved it tauntingly before her.

“Why were you so floundered by my mother’s question? Surely there are things you enjoy doing?”

“Of course,” sighed Elsabeth, gaze still focused on the potato he held out. “But I promised Alicia I wouldn't tell about the embroidery and nothing else I do is very ladylike.”

“What do you mean by ‘not very ladylike’?” He fed her the potato and speared another.

“Well, I teach the village children to read, and in return they teach me dancing. Alicia says I shouldn’t dance like a commoner. I like to walk through the gardens while the dew is fresh, but it ruins my dresses. I don’t much care for fashion, but I like sewing.” She opened her mouth patiently, expecting a reward for her answer. He obliged, holding out the second potato. Spearing a third, he twirled it while he contemplated his next question.

“Why can’t you tell anyone about your embroidery? That’s a very ladylike hobby. You must have seen how much my mother enjoyed the piece Lady Alicia made.”

Elsabeth shook her head and wobbled slightly in the chair. “I have a secret. Lissy made me promise.”

“I won’t tell anyone, I promise,” he whispered, leaning closer and teasing her with the potato, touching it to her lips and pulling it away before she could bite. A swipe of her tongue across her lips almost made him forget why he was trying to get information.

With a moan, Elsabeth nodded. “Okay, but you can’t tell anyone! Lissy can’t sew at all, so I can’t tell anyone that I can, or they might notice that my work is identical to the work that Lissy claimed as her own.” With a triumphant grin, she leaned forward and snatched the bite of potato, chewing happily.

Frederick sat back in his chair, watching Elsabeth as she reclaimed her fork and enthusiastically attacked her vegetables. Why would Alicia lie about that? It’s not as though Henry would care if she were able to sew or not. Yet she made her sister promise to keep it a secret? Frederick didn’t think Elsabeth was lying, but it gave him something to think about. He knew how the court worked, a skill with embroidery got you close to the queen—could Alicia have planned it all in order to get herself close to Henry? He shook his head clear of such thoughts. Henry is cautious, and Georgiana is like a hawk. There’s no way anyone would be able to trick their way into the royal family.

He focused on Elsabeth once more, smiling as he watched her eating with such exuberance. She seemed completely at ease, now that her inhibitions had melted away. It was hard not to laugh at her disastrous attempts to feed herself, her coordination having suffered greatly, but he didn't think he could feed her again. Not if she was going to moan in pleasure with every bite.

When the meal was finished, it was time to dance. Queen Charlotte and King George followed Lady Alicia and Crown Prince Henry out onto the floor. Georgiana had disappeared again, which left Elsabeth with Frederick. He helped her out of her chair, trying not to let others notice how heavily she leaned on him. At least she isn't tripping over her dress anymore. The music started before they reached the floor, where the tables had been pushed aside to make a dancing area. Other couples joined the royal family, giving Frederick the chance to pull her in closer than was appropriate. Only because I need to be able to hold her upright, that’s all there is to it, he told himself, ignoring the curious glance Henry shot across the room.

Their fingers were entwined and his other hand rested on her lower back, his thumb gently rubbing small patterns. He was careful to move slowly and not to turn her too often, but he couldn't help the grin that spread across his face as he watched her bite her lip in concentration. “Are you doubting me again, Ellie?” he whispered, making her head snap up. She glared at him.

“My name is Elsabeth. And I've never once doubted you, so there.” She stuck her tongue out at him, and he struggled to quiet his laughter. He tugged her closer so her hips were pressed against his.

“I’m sorry, Elsabeth, I’m glad to be thought of so highly by such a discerning young lady.” She shivered and looked up, her eyelids fluttering with the effort to keep them open.

“Are you teasing me?” she said, her head tilted to one side like a curious puppy.

He smiled, his gaze locking with hers. “Never.”


About The Author

Suzy Knight is an average English girl, who after completing a degree in boring business management decided to travel halfway around the world to the land of kpop and kimchi to be a teacher.
 
Whilst in Korea, Suzy rediscovered her passion for writing and managed to write the novel Love and War in between working at her academy and volunteering with animal rescue. Two years later and she’s back in England with her rescued Korean puppy, Panda.
 
Now she is working on her next novels, while training Panda to be less nervous. 
You can find Suzy at
 
         

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Americana Fairy Tale by Lex Chase



 Americana Fairy Tale 
(Fairy Tales of the Open Road #1)
by 
Lex Chase

Blurb:
Modern fairy-tale princess Taylor Hatfield has problems. One: He’s a guy. Two: His perfect brother Atticus is the reincarnation of Snow White. Three: Taylor has no idea which princess he is supposed to be. Four: Taylor just left his prince (a girl) at the altar. Despite his enchanted lineage, Taylor is desperate to find his Happily Ever After away from magic, witches, and stuffy traditions. Regrettably, destiny has other plans for him. Dammit.

When word reaches Taylor that Idi the Witchking has captured Atticus, Taylor is determined to save his brother. He enlists the help of rakish and insufferable Corentin Devereaux, likewise of enchanted lineage. A malicious spell sends Taylor and Corentin on a road trip through the kitschy nostalgia of roadside Americana. To save Atticus, they must solve the puzzles put forth by Idi the Witchking. As they struggle, Taylor and Corentin’s volatile partnership sparks a flash of something more. But princesses have many enemies, and Taylor must keep his wits about him because there’s nothing worse than losing your heart… or your head.




Available to purchase 





Excerpt




“I’m getting a shower,” Taylor said and quickly shuffled into the bathroom. In the silence, Taylor pressed his back to the door and slid to the floor. He clamped both hands around the crotch of his shorts and hissed through clenched teeth, “Stop, stop, stop, please, stop.”
He had to stop thinking about his dream. And thinking about Corentin in that way. Corentin wasn’t even his type! And Corentin’s type was clearly not a raging homo-sheckshual. By all of Taylor’s understanding, Corentin’s breed of redneck was of the misogynistic racist variety. Taylor paused. Was he just telling himself that? Taylor mentally felt around the edges of the dream. He flinched with the dirty feeling.
Shower. He needed a shower. Now.
He picked himself up off the floor, then staggered to the tub. The enamel had seen better days, with that lovely rusty ring around it. The shower curtain seemed to be a repository for all assorted natures of DNA. Taylor gingerly touched it in an effort to move it just out of the way enough to turn the faucet. Scuffed up and mottled with rust, even the faucet made him wince. He ripped off a sheaf of cheap toilet paper to use to turn the faucet on. First the water belched into the tub, then after a few rude bubbling gurgles, ran in a steady stream. It wasn’t particularly warm, however. Taylor surmised he didn’t really need a hot shower anyway.
He disrobed, dropping his clothes in a heap on the floor. But on second consideration, he didn’t have anything else to change into. What he had on his back was it. Like his cum-stained cargo shorts. Yuck. He scooped his clothes off the floor and hung up his shirt on the towel rack. He’d have to do something about his shorts, because they’d smell and get uncomfortably crusty. He chuckled. He would never have predicted how contentious he’d become about cleanliness until he only had one change of clothes for the foreseeable future.
As the tub faucet ran to get some marginable level of lukewarm, he cranked the faucet in the sink. He let the water run over the crotch of his new shorts and scrubbed them as best he could with the questionable cracked soap bar.
Corentin knocked once on the door. “Come on, man. Gotta pee.”
“Hold your horses,” Taylor huffed. “Let me get in the shower first. Great Storyteller Almighty.”
Taylor hustled and wrung out his shorts. He hung them also on the towel rack and finally hopped into the shower before poor pitiful Corentin could have an accident on the floor. Some self-reliant huntsman he was. Couldn’t he go out back and take a piss on a tree? Of course, there would likely need to be some nature of tree on the premises.
Taylor jerked the curtain across the tub for privacy and instantly regretted taking a fistful of it in such haste. “Okay! It’s safe.”
“I heard princesses were prissy, but I didn’t think it applied to male princesses,” Corentin said as he walked in.
Taylor could see the outline of his body through the haze of the shower curtain. He pushed himself back against the far wall to gain some distance. A small gap remained between the curtain and the shower wall, and he carefully peeked. With a familiar clanking of a belt buckle followed by a zipper, Taylor instead sent his gaze upward to Corentin’s face and his bare shoulders. Corentin had done away with his shirt, and Taylor’s face heated with the view. Corentin was lean, like a panther, his tattooed skin pulled tight over his biceps and hard abs. He finished, flushed, and turned away to zip his pants. Taylor pressed his fingers to his lips at the sight of the rise of Corentin’s tight rear as he shifted to the sink and washed his hands.
He studied himself in the mirror while Taylor stared through the shower curtain.
Corentin swung open the door and called behind him, “Don’t use all the hot water.”
“O-oh-okay,” Taylor croaked, his face hot from gawking.
The door shut with a click, and Taylor sighed with the relief. He looked down at himself in disappointment. Taylor was filthy from dirt, sweat, and whatever else was lurking in Corentin’s disgusting truck. He turned, reaching for the cracked soap bar. The blacked grooves in the soap made him reconsider. He reached for the mini Johnson & Johnson shampoo bottle and uncapped it. After a careful sniff, he tried to make sure it wasn’t rancid and questioned if it was possible for shampoo to go rancid. Figuring he would chance it, he scrubbed himself down with the terrible No More Tears formula.
He breathed one more time, trying to cope with the lukewarm water, and then decided it was time to face the reality of a nasty motel room with a man he didn’t trust who made him blush. He shut off the water and carefully maneuvered out of the shower without touching the petri dish that served as a curtain.
Taylor considered his clothes. His shirt could use airing out, and his shorts were a definite no. His only option was a towel around the waist. He didn’t even like that option in high school, let alone in the middle of nowhere with the current company. Ringo was there, though. That made it better. Ringo would save him.
Covering himself, Taylor took a breath. On a mental count of three, he turned the doorknob.
And the chill of the overworked window unit hit him square in the bare chest.
Fuck,” Taylor gasped and scuttled to the bed. He immediately wrapped himself in the threadbare blanket, which didn’t help at all. He had a string of curses on his tongue when he finally glanced up and saw Corentin.
More specifically, saw Corentin’s tattooed torso.
Corentin, on the other hand, busied himself with making notes in his monstrosity of a book. His brow would furrow every time he underlined something with a determined gesture across the page. He seemed not to notice Taylor’s open staring at the intricate black ink of an oak tree drawn in the style of Gustave DorĂ©. The trunk of the tree was a full sleeve with the roots growing from Corentin’s left wrist, and at his shoulder, the branches twisted in a windblown manner across his collarbone, shoulder blade, and a few branches even curled at the base of his neck.
Taylor swallowed. At least it explained why Corentin was so covered up for June weather. But something was strange about the tattoo. There were seven boughs, but only one had leaves.
Corentin kept making notes and didn’t look up. His brow furrowed into an even angrier contortion, and he wrote faster. When he apparently ran out of space, he flipped his book to sit horizontally and wrote in tiny print in the margins. He hesitated, tapping his pen on the paper.
Taylor pulled the blanket higher on his shoulders. The steam from his body captured under the blanket helped in making the chill of the room bearable.
Corentin scribbled again in his book. He frowned and scribbled in a repeated gesture. He shook his pen with a flick of the wrist and tried again. He grunted and threw the pen. “Fuck,” he said and went fishing in his messenger bag. He feverishly reached around, looked in, and then reached around again. He puffed a sigh and upturned the bag onto the carpet.
A palm sized bottle of liquid bounced across the floor and Corentin scrambled to snatch it midtumble. He glanced at Taylor and offered a smile. “Hand sanitizer. Can’t go anywhere without it.” He quickly shoved the bottle into a side pocket of his bag.
Taylor said nothing, merely watching the bizarre display as Corentin poked through the crumpled receipts, hair ties, old cracker wrappers, and various unidentifiable crumbs and wadded-up trash. He also flipped through a collection of condoms in shiny magenta wrappers and printed with hearts and lips. Taylor tightened his grip on the comforter and his face heated. Well, at least they were cherry flavored or something?
Corentin shook the bag again, and Taylor remained silent.
As a roll of duct tape tumbled out.
And then zip ties.
Taylor’s eyes snapped wide. Corentin had fucking huntsman death tools on him at all times. He shivered and scooted back on the bed. He judged the distance from the bed to the door in case he needed to run at a moment’s notice. Obviously a naked guy running down the interstate would get some attention. But he hadn’t seen any cars on the interstate since they ended up here. He nibbled at his lip. Maybe if he stole Corentin’s truck? That seemed like a good idea.
“Ah!” Corentin said, clearly relieved he apparently found a pen, and ignored the zip ties and duct tape. He resumed his furious scribbling.

About the Author

Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting too. 

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love. 

Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn't last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending. 

Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle. 

She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them and welcomes feedback.


You can find Lex at

               

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