Lyssa Dering

Erotic M/M - Intense & unexpected

PRE-RELEASE SAMPLE: How to Love a Monster

July 25, 2017

CONTENT WARNINGS (highlight to read): The following excerpt depicts characters using a fictional drug and having sex under the influence. It also includes brief descriptions of involuntary medical procedures.

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“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.”

—Werner Herzog


Sera

I’m pretty sure they finally killed me, but if this is Heaven, I’m not on board. It’s dark here, and wet. I’m back-first in a frigid puddle, and I’m shivering it’s so damn cold.

I push myself up, the asphalt rough against my palms, and catch a whiff of rot from a nearby dumpster.

Nice. I’m in some gross back alley. It’s probably swimming in cigarette butts and the gunk from the bottoms of people’s shoes.

I launch to my feet and hug myself, grimacing. I’m not dressed for this type of weather. Skin-tight jeans, white sneakers, a leather vest, nothing else. Maybe I’m not really here. Last I remember, I was lying on an operating table, blinking languidly as the anesthesia pulled me under, so this could be a dream. Maybe right now, the surgeons are messing around with the part of my brain to do with fashion because I’d never fucking wear this. I know how to dress for the elements; I know how to prepare for the worst.

If this is a dream, though, I should be able to use my abilities, even if the whole point of the surgery is so I can’t. Right?

I glance around and don’t see anyone. Still, I shuffle into the dumpster’s shadow before I close my eyes. It’s habit. Even though my power presents invisibly most of the time, sometimes it’s the littlest things that tip off those government goons.

I take a deep breath and focus on my neurons. I speak directly to my brain: I’m warm. Stop sending signals to make me shudder. Stop the numbness in my fingers, the goosebumps, the chill at my back. I can taste it, the warmth. I can almost feel the kiss of heat over my skin, like a hug—

“Aaaah!” I double over as a terrible ache throbs through my whole head. My ears, nose, teeth, scalp—they all ache. It’s like countless angry fists slamming into me from all sides, and the pain hits six unbearable times before subsiding. In its wake, it leaves me gasping and dizzy enough to lean against the grimy side of the dumpster.

I’m still freezing, shaking uncontrollably, but the blood trickling out of my nose and tickling my upper lip is warm. I wipe it away. Staring at the dark smear on my white fingers, I realize this could still be a dream. Universe knows I’ve had enough nightmares, waking and sleeping, reliving the needles, monitors, tests, and drugs even as more await me. Reliving the moment the goons finally got me.

But even though I’m no precog, my regular intuition tells me I’m not on Earth anymore. I’m not on that operating table in the cold, white, government building where I spent…I don’t know how long. Years, probably.

I’m here. But where is here?

Am I free? Is this the place Wish said he’d make for us? A dimension for every special where we could be powerful and whole and savoring of life instead of always hiding and afraid?

Standing in this alley just as dark and dank as any I’ve ducked into while outrunning goons, I can’t see how this could be that place. Wish spoke of pink-blossomed trees, blue skies, green grass, clean air. We’d never have to worry about money or food, and whenever we wanted to go somewhere new, he’d simply make it for us.

I remember sitting with him on the roof of some building at night talking about cupcakes. He said he’d like to make us a cupcake shop. And I asked him to make me a single red velvet one, because I knew he had the power to do anything he wanted, and weren’t we alone? Just one little cupcake, cream-filled, please. But he wouldn’t do it. He said I’d just have to wait until we met in Wish City, which was what he called the dimension he promised us as a joke.

My fingers, smarting from the cold, pull me from the memory. I tuck my hands into my armpits and cautiously stumble out of the dumpster’s shadow.

My power is gone. I can feel it now, like a dark spot in my head, or maybe it’s locked up somewhere I can’t reach. Blocked by something they did to me in that operating room. So this can’t be the place Wish was supposed to have waiting for us when we lost the fight. Because in that place, I’d be whole. That’s all I know for sure.

My throat tightens. The government must have finally done what they were trying to do. They broke me. They ruined the best thing about me.

I make my way down the deserted alley. Up ahead, I glimpse the glowing pink outline of a rectangle as a dark door opens then closes, snuffing out the glow. Maybe I’m dead—maybe this is Hell. Still, my instincts tell me to get somewhere warm. That glow… It seemed hot. And none of the shadowy corners around me are jumping out as invitingly.

I reach the door. It’s made of weather-beaten, tarnished metal, with no knob or handle. Gritting my teeth to keep them from chattering, I knock.

No one answers.

I’m about to knock again, but then the door swings open. I squint at the interior’s pink light. As my eyes adjust, I notice the girl. She has neon green hair and red glasses.

“Looking for some Love, sweetheart?” she says.

I can’t keep my teeth from chattering and talk at the same time. “I’m c-cold.”

She laughs, her gaze crawling over me, and something about her smile is off. “That’s ‘cause you’re dressed like a hooker.”

As pitiful as I must look, trembling and dripping, I do my best to give her a confident stare.

After a few more seconds, she steps back and motions me into the light.

The door closes behind us with a thud. The heat licks me like a loving pet, taking some of the tension from my needy body as I take in the small, bright space. Pink neon strips, shapes, and letters cover every surface of the vestibule, with most of the signs spelling “LOVE” in various fonts and sizes. It’s dead quiet in here. But from somewhere else comes moaning and panting layered over the slick sounds of body parts squelching into orifices. I fix my gaze on the doorway ahead. That must be where the sounds are coming from, but I can’t see for sure; the doorway’s covered in glittering, crystal beads.

“Are you a Love whore, sweetheart?” says the girl with the neon hair.

I tear my eyes from the doorway. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I bet there’s somebody here who’ll give you a hit.” A dimple appears in her cheek as she purses her lips to the side. “Otherwise, you’ll have to go back outside. Those are the rules.”

I rub my fingers, which throb as the chill leaves them. I don’t know what kind of hit she means, but I know my power’s gone, and I don’t want to be cold. I don’t want to be anything, actually, don’t want to think about where I am or how I got here or the newly off-limits shadow in my brain. “Okay.”

“I’ll be right back.” She splits open the beads, and I focus on the resulting shadowed triangle, trying to get a glimpse of what’s happening in there. But it’s gone too fast. The girl drops the beads, and they swing and click together.

A few minutes later, she comes back out again. Behind her follows a man. He’s almost naked, his muscled body clothed only in tiny, skin-tight shorts, their holographic surface iridescent in the pink light like a puddle of motor oil.

With an emotionless expression, the man looks me up and down.

This is a little different than when the girl examined me. I’ve always been attracted to masculine people, and this guy has a body like a god. Somehow, despite being so cold a few minutes ago, my cheeks grow hot.

“Yeah, I’ll take him,” the man says. Abruptly, he grabs my arm and yanks me with him through the beads.

Instinctively, I pull back. My stomach turns at the lack of control; this echoes the moment the goons finally captured me, their unfeeling fingers digging into my biceps, and the countless times they snatched me from my cell and forced me into laboratories for more torture.

As I should expect by now, my efforts to get free from the man’s hold are fruitless. He is much stronger than me; my power has never been in my limbs, and I’m not that heavy. I give up pulling but still struggle to get my bearings as he tugs me through the big, dark room full of bodies writhing together like snakes. The scents of sweat and sex assault me. Instead of neon signs like the vestibule, the walls and ceiling are covered in glow-in-the-dark murals depicting giant, fuchsia blossoms. Syringes filled with a similarly colored and phosphorescent liquid dot the room. That liquid must be what I’m about to get a hit of. It’s a drug.

The man stops near the back wall made of painted brick and finally lets me go. The back of my neck prickles uncomfortably as I realize I’m most likely about to end up like the other people in this room: shamelessly fucking and getting fucked. It’s not like I’m some angel—I had sex with a lot of people while I was on the run—but I was always stone cold sober when I asked them to screw me. And there was usually a little more preamble than an intense look and “I’ll take him.”

“What does that stuff do?” I ask, referring to the drug, even though it’s obvious it makes people horny.

The man doesn’t answer. He’s fiddling inside an open duffel bag, and a moment later, he pulls out a glowing syringe. He sits down against the wall and positions his legs in a “V.” Then he stares up at me, eyebrows raised expectantly, like I should know exactly what comes next.

“What?” I ask.

He slaps the floor in front of his metallic crotch. “Sit.”

I fold myself awkwardly down between his legs, my back bumping up against his hard chest. My groin pulses with automatic arousal; my body knows what pretty much always follows being this close to a half-naked guy.

“You’re wet,” the man whispers against my ear, his breath playing along the shell.

I lick my lips. “I woke up in a puddle.”

A few feet to my left, a girl screams as a man’s hips pound her into the concrete floor. My man slides his hand down the outside of my bare arm until he gets to my wrist. He opens up my fingers and sets the syringe in my palm.

“Hold this,” he says.

I close my fingers carefully. They don’t ache anymore.

The man picks through the duffel again and comes out with a rubber tube. I swallow hard. Subconsciously, I knew this was coming, but the sight of that sallow tourniquet really brings it home. It’s not the needle itself that bothers me, but the painfully fresh memories of the callous nurse behind the needles, the cold metal table supporting my forearm, my blood pouring into a tube.

My breath trembles. “Can you speed this up?”

“Relax.” The man ties the rubber tube snugly around my arm. As the familiar pressure of trapped blood sets in, my breathing gets shallower.

“Deep breaths,” says the man. “Make a fist.”

Deep breaths are easier ordered than done, but I clench my fingers tight as the man presses into the crook of my elbow, searching for a vein. No rubber gloves. No cooling swipe of an alcohol swab. But if this is Hell or a dream, I can’t get sick, can I?

Sure I can, says all logic, if I can get a nosebleed and a semi-erection, and if I can shiver and ache from the cold.

The man takes the syringe back. The tip of the needle tickles my skin. I’m on the cusp of resisting, of telling him I’ve changed my mind, when he finally pierces my vein. Then he depresses the plunger, causing me an uncomfortable sting.

The man empties half the syringe. As the drug seeps into me, the injection site warms. My veins actually glow beneath my pale, translucent skin.

“Wow,” I whisper reverently, then a comfortable, heavy sensation washes over me. My eyelids droop, and I lean back against the man. Blood-borne illnesses apparently aren’t a concern for him, because he injects himself next using the same needle, sans tourniquet. It takes him multiple pokes before he finds a vein, but I figure it’s not ‘cause he doesn’t know where to find them—it’s ‘cause they’re shot, probably.

“You ever had Love before?” The man tosses the empty syringe into his duffel bag. He wraps his arms around me and bites my earlobe, roving his hands over my bare chest and torso.

I lean harder into him, my nipples stiffening. “No.”

“You’re gonna get butterflies.” He holds his hands in front of my abs and wiggles his fingers together like hummingbird wings, buzz, buzz. “Bad butterflies.” He kisses my neck, and I shudder. He tweaks my nipples, and I moan. The butterflies hit me as he’s unzipping my jeans, like a torrent of punches to the gut, and oh Universe, he wasn’t lying when he said bad.

This is how I felt when I first saw Wish. I was fourteen, a freshman in high school, and he was a senior on the varsity football team. Out on the field, he took his helmet off, and I lost it. He was gorgeous. With those blond curls, backlit by the sun, and his strong, solid body, he belonged in the Pantheon, fighting tigers, eliciting cheers from a more bloodthirsty crowd.

I lied. These butterflies are worse than that. I’m doubled over with them, riding sick and euphoric waves as my cock punches up against my open fly and sweat breaks out all over me.

Does this hurt, or does it feel good? I can’t decide.

The man’s grabbing at me. I turn around, giving into his hands, and eat his mouth. I would have let him fuck me, drugs or not. But this urge is different, stronger and more twisted. I need him to touch me or I’ll die. I’ll suffocate. I need him inside me, deep under my skin, like a lover I’ve known for years and thought I’d lost or who’s been away too long.

Like he’s Wish.

This man touches me like I always hoped Wish would. He grazes hot palms over me like I’m a delicate treasure, like a million guys haven’t already had me, and he’s being way gentler than I need him to be.

The monstrous butterflies flapping in my gut demand release. They need to be fucked out. They need to leave my body and cut into this man’s. As I try to pull him away from the wall, I wish I had more to grab onto than his bare, slick skin. Talking’s too sophisticated for my animal instincts. I growl my frustration at him. Finally, he pushes me onto my back.

I expect him to come tumbling down with me. I need him! But he’s in that stupid duffel again, rummaging for who-knows-wha—

A blade. No—scissors. They gleam in the glow from the murals as the man pounces on me. For holding something sharp, he’s moving way too carelessly, but Universe help me, I don’t care. Maybe he’ll accidentally stab me in the stomach, and the butterflies will fly out.

He hacks at my jeans. He cuts them deftly, like he’s had practice, and my nerves come alive. I’m free! I’m naked! I knock the scissors from the man’s grip, sending them skidding into the brick wall. They’re gone; they’re out of the way. I yank the man’s head down and kiss him deep.

I put all my ferocious need onto this stranger. He peels those stupid shorts off, and we tangle like the other snakes in the room—panting, moaning, digging, scratching. Time breaks. I am nothing but sweat-slick skin and the pressure in my belly as I slide my most sensitive parts alongside his.

I know why they call this drug Love. This is what love feels like. Pleasure, enlightenment, clarity, and confusion with a heavy side of ache. I’m doing my damnedest to tear this man in my arms to pieces as we rut and rub, but it isn’t enough.

“Fuck me.” I pull on his dick, trying to show him where I’m empty. My voice is raw, words tumbling out that I can’t pretend I don’t understand. “Pound me. Kill me, kill me.”

He backhands me. “Stop it.” His eyes are ruthless coals as he shoves my hands out of the way.

I don’t mind the rough treatment. I need it. The sting blooming over my face is just another way to the temper my fire.

I bend my legs up. The man positions his cock. His tip nudges my hole, and I know this is going to hurt, but I don’t care. He shoves. His cock is too big, and it burns a little. But it’s going in, slowly but surely—that’s all that matters. I need to be filled and fucked. I need him to ruin me.

Time goes nonlinear. I’m here, being fucked with a hot, blunt object as my body drowns in sensations, my stomach rolling—nervous, happy, sick. But I’m also in Wish’s hideout a few years ago, the windows covered with threadbare blankets, my stomach empty. He’s kissing me. His tongue is the softest, gentlest thing that’s touched me since I left home, and he’s so careful with my clothes because he knows I don’t have much that fits anymore. He’s so careful with me.

Tears well in my eyes—not there, here—and one drips down my temple into my ear. The huge pink flower petals on the ceiling imprint themselves on my retinas as the man drives into me over and over with punishing hips. Wish twines our fingers together and worships me with his mouth, kissing down my neck, collar bones, and chest, sucking on my nipples until they’re red and tender. This is all new to me. This is incredible. Everybody says you’re supposed to hate your first time, but mine was better than every time after, and I’m feeling it again, right now, in heart-stoppingly vivid detail.

I thought I’d lost this memory. I used to my power to clear it from my head, to scrape it from my cells so I wouldn’t have it dogging me whenever I saw Wish, making being in the hideout so damn painful I couldn’t stand it. But it was just buried, locked away. I still have it.

When the flying half of me falls hard back into the present, maybe minutes—maybe hours—later, I’m fever-hot, shaking, nauseous, and alone. No. I curl into a fetal position and groan my anguish. I don’t want to be back.

Where’s Wish? I clamp my eyes shut and try to remember his hands on me, try to put myself wherever we were, but I can’t see it. It’s gone.

I scream at my brain: Remember! It only smarts in response—throb, throb, throb, throb—and blood drips out of my nose.

The truth hits me again like I’m ground and it’s a crashing plane: You’re broken. My past with Wish is the least of my troubles as I recall the operating room, the surgeon’s cold eyes above his face mask as I went under anesthesia, and the puddle I woke up in. I remember trying to tell my brain I was warm and ending up slumped against that grimy dumpster, dizzy and still cold.

I hope with every damaged bit of me that I’m really dead. And if I’m dead, I want whatever black hole I fell into when I left Earth to suck me right back up again. I need to be home. I want to be back in the energy that made me, and I don’t want to be reborn. I want to die. For real.

“First comedown’s the hardest.”

The words force me into the concrete world, into my body. Oh Universe, I hurt. All of my muscles ache, and my skin stings where I’ve been clawed—I guess by the man? But my hole is the most sore. I clench it in some misplaced instinct to try and see if I’m torn and end up whining embarrassingly. I try to sit up, but it’s too difficult.

The man is by the wall, preoccupied in his duffel bag again, but I make out a light, the pink glow emanating from between the open zipper and reflecting onto his naked skin.

“More,” I croak. I need water; my mouth is a desert. But I just know if the man shoots me up with more drugs, I won’t need it. I’ll be with Wish again. “Please.” There’s enough liquid left in my body to make tears, at least.

“Shh.” The man shuffles over to me, syringe and tourniquet in hand. “I’m gonna take real good care of you.”

Fiend

Ah, yes, my favorite night of the week! I make my way into City Hall at a run, the soles of my boots squeaking against the marble floor, and I only slow once I get outside Wish’s room. I stroke the outer space mural painted on the closed door with reverent fingers as I catch my breath.

Wish is in there. My prey. My meal—caught, immobile—in the spider’s web.

I press my thumb to the door’s sensor. “Welcome, Fiend,” says the sensual robot’s voice as the lock disengages.

I fling open the door. “Wish!”

As always, Wish lies on his back in the hospital bed, his perpetually shiny curls fanning out against the pillow beneath his blond head.

I take my seat in the chair at Wish’s bedside and prop my legs up over his shins. Across from the bed, a large window provides a nighttime view of the fountain in the center of City Hall’s little courtyard. If we were in a taller building, it’d be glinting skyscrapers cloaked in fog.

“You’ll be happy to know that Love production is as efficient as ever, Wish. I had to eat the manager of the South plant, but his replacement is just perfect.” I pat Wish’s hand, jostling the plastic pulse oximeter clamped over his index finger. “I have to thank you, you know, every time I see you, for giving us such a wonderful flower.”

Wish can’t tell me “You’re welcome,” of course; he’s in a coma. But the uptick in his heartbeat makes me think he knows I’m here. He hates me, but such is the inevitable relationship of a child (though Wish is a man now) and his monster.

It’s a shame I must keep him like this, but I have to if I want to stay real.

“I ate your friend Thisbe, by the way.” I peer coyly at the heart monitor as Wish’s heartbeat jumps to an unhealthy level. “Now, now, you know I give them all peaceful deaths!” This does nothing to calm my prisoner, so I change the subject. No need to torture him with the details of just how her brain matter felt on my tongue (though I must admit, it’s tempting; she was delicious).

I’m about to launch into an anecdote about my favorite soldier, Neisha, and the stray dog she found in the alley behind her building when my phone jingles. It’s her. “Think of the devil!”

I tap the screen.

URGENT: Possible specimen sighting

Boss, my girlfriend (she works the door at the Love house on 9th) snapped this pic last night of a guy she said seemed lost and disoriented. Is he one of the ones you’re looking for?

I open the picture and squint at it. It’s dark and a little blurry, but the facial features are unmistakable.

I squeal, jump to my feet, and whiz over to Wish’s head. Holding one of his eyes open, I show him the picture. “Look! It’s Seraphim. Isn’t he beautiful? But you know that.” Because Wish knows everything I know, at least if it has to do with before we came here. I try my utmost not to think about that time, however, when I was locked in the cage of Wish’s subconscious, half-forgotten and half-real.

I gaze down at the picture of Seraphim and can’t help myself; I press a kiss to the screen. Then I pet Wish’s curls. In Wish City, he doesn’t have the shaved head or the incision, but I know where the latter used to be. I part Wish’s hair where I felt them slice us. I trace my tongue along the white scalp line. Those doctors, they were so, so cruel, taking Wish’s Earth brain out to play with. Wish probably thinks I’m cruel, but I would never hurt him like that. I’ve only put him to sleep.

“It’s terrible,” I whisper, “how badly I hunger for your beautiful brain. You deserve so much more for how you make me suffer.” I kiss his forehead. I wonder as I wonder endlessly if the brain he has here, in Wish City, is healthy or tainted like Thisbe’s was, the desecration coming through as an unfortunate, coppery aftertaste. I can only assume such damage was due to whatever the doctors did to her in that facility in Chicago. Any experiments they performed on Wish’s brain happened after they extracted it, however. My mouth waters at the thought of finally digesting my due, but it may never happen.

I message Neisha. Where is my specimen?

Still at the Love house. I’ve got eyes on him now. Should I bring him to you?

I chew on a nail and tilt back and forth. What to do, what to do…? No, I’ll come get him. Is he high?

Yes.

Well peel him off whoever he’s fucking and shoot him up fresh. I’ll be there in a jiffy.

I made them hydrate and transport Thisbe before I made my acquaintance, but like Wish, I am of a certain persuasion, and Seraphim is the first male specimen to cross over into my kingdom (aside from Wish himself, of course). Why not have a little sordid fun with Seraphim before I put his brain on a plate?

“I have to get going,” I tell Wish with genuine regret. “Try not to miss me too much for the next six days.” I, for one, will miss him horribly, but if I allow myself to see him more than once per week, I’ll end up curled up on him like a leech, aching and yearning and crying for his brain, which I can’t eat because of what his mother told us when he was five: “But honey, you made him. If he eats your brain, he’ll die, too. Do you think he wants that?”

Gritting my teeth against the unsavory memory, I whip around and storm from the sickroom, my hands in fists.


Enjoy this sample?

How to Love a Monster will be available on Amazon on August 15. In the meantime, you can add it to Goodreads and become a VIP to get the opportunity to read and review an Advance Reader Copy.

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Review: FORBIDDEN BLOOD (IRONWROUGHT #1) by Anna Wineheart

July 5, 2017

About the Book

Forbidden Blood CoverGenre: M/M Paranormal Romance, Vampire Romance

Since he killed a vampire eight months ago, Oriel has been on the run. The coven wants him dead, and the feds want his blood to eradicate the vampires. Exhausted, he sneaks into an obscure mansion, rummaging for food. What he doesn’t know: a vampire lives there.

Three centuries ago, a human lover betrayed Seb, selling him to the hunters for some quick gold. When his chef quits, Seb is left hanging… until he finds the thief in his garage. He captures Oriel, only to discover that Oriel needs protection. And the one thing Seb wants? A purpose to his life again.

Oriel sets one condition when Seb hires him: Seb cannot drink his blood. Except Oriel’s blood tempts him from a distance, tempts him in bed. If he tastes it, he’ll be addicted, completely dependent on Oriel. And the hotter Oriel kindles his desire, the harder it is for Seb to stay away.

Forbidden Blood is a standalone erotic gay romance novella. No cliffhangers, no cheating. But there definitely is a Happily Ever After.

My Review

Forbidden Blood (Ironwrought #1) by Anna Wineheart
My rating:

Oriel has been on the run due to his blood, which for reasons unknown the everyone makes every vampire wild with addiction within just thirty seconds of tasting it. As a result, he’s had to kill multiple vampires, and both the Vampire Coven and the human federal government (they want to use his blood to hurt vampires) are after him. Homeless and hungry, Oriel takes refuge in the garage of a mansion in Minnesota, only to learn the mansion belongs to centuries-old vampire Sebastian.

This is one of my favorite types of reads. Give me a submissive in need and a dominant caretaker, and I’m hooked. Though this was hurt/comfort with a bit of angst, it wasn’t too heavy and made for a nice read. The strong third act was riveting and had me reading late into the night.

My only gripe is that the characterization and sex scenes (though hot) didn’t have much depth to them. The relationship was fast-moving, and the connection didn’t feel very strong. But Seb and Oriel’s story ended on a satisfying HFN, with some open threads that I’m sure will carry over into future books.

I’d recommend Forbidden Blood to fans of vampire erotic romance who don’t mind suspending some disbelief for the sake of sweetness.


Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


About the Author

Anna has been scribbling since she was fourteen. She has a soft spot for dorky guys who are perfect for each other, and she’s a huge fan of stories with drama, angst and bittersweet tension. And pretty words.

She is currently living on the west coast of the US with her husband. She also collects tiny glass globes and glass atlases, massive stacks of notebooks and paper, and is on a never-ending hunt for state quarters missing from her collection.

WEBSITE: http://annawineheart.com

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Review: ROGUE WOLF by Elliot Cooper

June 30, 2017

About the Book

Rogue Wolf CoverGenre: M/M Science Fiction Romance

Exiled from his home planet for loving an enemy, Vince turned to space piracy aboard the Cygnus. Disguised as a human thanks to his species’ shifting abilities, Vince feels secure. But he’s not safe from memories of his murdered lifemate—or from a growing attraction to Trent Rolston, the ship’s captain, he feels honor bound to ignore.

Trent, though, is determined to prove to Vince there’s nothing wrong with becoming more than friends. But Vince is surprised by his species’ mating call, despite being deep in space and far from home.

Just as their relationship begins to evolve, the Cygnus comes under attack from hunters determined to destroy Vince and his chosen family.

(Author’s note: this title was previously published under another pseudonym. This version has been heavily updated and includes 5k additional words plus a brand new ending!)

My Review

Rogue Wolf by Elliot Cooper
My rating:

Rogue Wolf is the story of Vince and Trent, members of a little misfit crew on a pirate spaceship. Vince is a Fenrite—a wolf shapeshifter—who was exiled from his home planet and now poses as a human. But when Fenrite Hunters threaten Vince’s crew, Vince is forced to wrestle with his feelings about the past, his identity, and Trent, his captain and long-time partner in space piracy.

My favorite part about this book was Vince’s emotional journey. It felt authentic, pulled me in, and had me shedding a few empathetic tears. If you’re looking for a sex-driven romance, this story isn’t it, but it isn’t fade-to-black, and the relationship between Vince and Trent was quite sweet (though it plays second fiddle to the action-based external plot). I also loved the other members of Vince and Trent’s crew, even if I had trouble telling two of them apart for the entire story. The external antagonistic force required a lot of suspension of disbelief, but the story wrapped up nicely in the end. I’d recommend this to fans of sci-fi M/M but would caution those of shifter stories that though Rogue Wolf has some classic shifter tropes—mating season and knotting—they didn’t feel fully indulged or explored.


Buy Links: Google Play | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Amazon US | Amazon UK


About the Author

Elliot Cooper writes speculative fiction featuring queer characters. His novels and novellas come with hopeful and happy endings, though his short fiction runs the gamut of styles and genres. He strives above all to make his readers feel, while also increasing positive representation of LGBTQ characters and their stories.

WEBSITE: http://www.elliotcooperwrites.com

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COVER AND BLURB REVEAL: How to Love a Monster

June 16, 2017

Today I’m excited to share the cover and blurb of my next project: How to Love a Monster. The concept for this book (which will be my first full-length) has been haunting my subconscious for quite some time, and I’ve finally gotten up the courage to write it. It’s a little bit on the weird side—it’s speculative fiction, after all—but I hope those looking for something different will be interested in reading it.

The release is scheduled tentatively for late July or early August 2017. It is not yet available for pre-order, but you can add it to your to-read shelf on Goodreads HERE.

The Blurb

Dying at the hands of government goons was always going to happen. Waking up in a dark and twisted afterlife? Not the plan.

Seraphim has the superhuman ability to control his own brain. Or at least, he used to, before his government-mandated brain surgery. The surgery killed him, but life isn’t over yet. He’s just woken up, shivering and alone, in the rain-soaked alleyway of a city he doesn’t recognize.

Fiend is a childhood monster. Dreamed up by Seraphim’s friend Wish, he was imprisoned in Wish’s subconscious until the birth of Wish City, a place for people with superhuman abilities to take refuge after death. Now Fiend is free—and in charge—and he’s on the hunt for anyone with abilities once they cross over.

Eager to play with his new toy, Fiend quickly makes contact with Seraphim. Lost and injured, Seraphim lets Fiend slither into his heart. But under the aching pleasure the two find with each other is a hunger that can’t be denied, and lurking in the shadows of the neon city are truths neither man nor monster is ready to face.

How to Love a Monster is a gay erotic horror romance featuring twisted and kinky M/M sex, a diabolical love interest, and an HEA ending.

Expected word count: ~50,000

The Cover

Review: MAX by Bey Deckard

November 5, 2016

About the Book

Max CoverGenre: M/M Contemporary Psychosexual Thriller

Fresh out of school, Dr. Crane takes on a new patient who both intrigues and unnerves him. Charming, manipulative, and amoral, Max has exactly the sort of mind Crane finds himself drawn to with fictional characters.

As Max weaves himself into Crane’s life, Crane realizes that while fiction might be safe, Max certainly is not.

When the professional line between them thins, who gets to define where one man ends and the other begins?

My Review

Max by Bey Deckard
My rating:

Married and “straight” Dr. Crane is fresh out of school when he takes on Max, a psychopath, as a therapy patient. He’s immediately intrigued by him, and it’s not long before he’s leaping over every line to go “down the rabbit hole” with him. One sexual encounter leads to an entanglement that turns Crane’s life upside-down, threatening his marriage, his job, and his freedom.

I was blown away by this. There were two issues I had with it that prevented me from giving it a full five stars. For one, I am getting very tired of the “gay-for-you” trope and wished Deckard hadn’t included it here. In my opinion, it didn’t add anything to the story and could have been removed. For two, I had to suspend my disbelief a lot to accept the fact that a therapist would act as unprofessional as Crane did and so quickly. However, these two things didn’t tamper my enjoyment of the story. I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end. Deckard’s talent is clear in the characterization of Max, who comes across as both delectably charming and a believable psychopath. I was in awe of the unreliable narration coupled with the intricacy of the plot. But my favorite thing of all was the ending. The whole time I was expecting something tragic, but the plot threads wrap up neatly and left me nothing but satisfied. Max and Crane get the ending I always hope for but never see. The transgressive nature of this book reminded me of Bret Easton Ellis’s Less Than Zero, but while it is disturbing, provocative, and a thriller, it is also a romance. I’ll definitely be reading more of Bey Deckard’s work.


Buy Links: Smashwords | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | All Romance | Amazon US | Amazon UK


About the Author

Artist, Writer, Dog Lover.

Canadian indie author Bey Deckard wanted to be many things when he grew up: veterinarian, vampire, paleontologist, crane operator, sniper, ophthalmologist, brain surgeon, marine biologist, lawyer, forensic anthropologist, set designer, underwater archaeologist, mortician, rock star, philanthropist… but writer was not on the list. Artist wasn’t there either because he’d been drawing and painting since he was a tot and figured that made him one already.

Freelance graphic design paid the bills while Bey leveled up with a BFA in Art History (minor in Anthro). However, he landed in the tech world where the degree was worth FA, and stayed there for over a decade before leaving, thoroughly sick of working for The Man. That’s when the writing started, and Bey still can’t believe it wasn’t on that list above because he absolutely loves doing it and can’t really imagine doing anything else.

Bey’s books aren’t quite romance and aren’t quite erotica, and they jump from genre to genre, but they’re all character driven and he likes to think they’re interesting.

These days, if Bey’s not writing or working on graphics, you’ll find him posting pics of his best buddy and constant canine companion Murphy, cooking up some tasty vegetarian eats, hanging out on facebook, or sitting back to watch a movie with a drink (or many).

As a reader, Bey’s usual staples are biographical works, medical research papers, all sorts of history books (nautical, medieval, and medical being his favourites), science fiction, fantasy, horror, KGB/CIA thrillers, and graphic novels.

WEBSITE: http://beydeckard.com

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Review: 7 WITH 1 BLOW by Caraway Carter

October 3, 2016

About the Book

7w1b_coverGenre: M/M Contemporary BDSM (Non-Romance)

When Taylor Little, who styles himself “Dom Seven,” is unwillingly taken into custody by the Cadre, he is put between a rock and a hard place. Either he will go to jail for his abuses against the local BDSM community, or he will accept retraining from the bottom up, learning to be a slave before he ever lays a flogger on another human being again.

In this tale of redemption, Taylor must face his demons as he learns to accept his status with mouth, mind, and heart.

WARNING: This story contains scenes of sexual intimacy and BDSM.

My Review

7 With 1 Blow by Caraway Carter
My rating:

Taylor Little is a bad Dom. The distinguished members of his local BDSM community are fed up with the way he abuses his slaves, so they kidnap and blackmail him into going through a rigorous slave training program, one that will teach him how to properly treat a slave and show him the path to redemption.

As someone who’s been active in the BDSM lifestyle, this book was a refreshing read. All too often when I’m reading about BDSM in fiction, especially romance (which this is not), it’s clear that the author has no idea what they’re talking about. Caraway Carter, on the other hand, does know what he’s talking about. Some parts of this story were slow for me. I was reluctant to root for Taylor because I’ve known bad Doms like him in real life, and I personally find service submission unappealing. However, by the story’s climax, I was all in with Taylor, hoping and praying that he would succeed in facing his demons and finishing the training program. If only such a program existed where I live (though I wonder if that was the inspiration for this story). I also struggled with the descriptive passages. Each time the author described a setting, I found myself re-reading the passages several times over, trying and failing to make a mental picture. Less description would have been better for me personally because my mind conjures up full-fledged settings from very little prose. Others may have less trouble here. Overall, the story was well-written and well-structured, and the BDSM scenes read as authentic. The ending had me tearing up in a good way.

By the warnings and blurb, I was expecting more non-con and sexually explicit material, but there were only a few truly graphic scenes. The characters in power in this story are not abusers. Though 7 With 1 Blow gets dark at times, it is at its core a story of hope.


Buy Links: Beaten Track Publishing | Smashwords | Kobo | Nook | All Romance | Amazon US | Amazon UK


About the Author

Caraway Carter has worn numerous hats. He’s been a furniture salesman, a dresser, a costumer, an actor/waiter, a rabble rouser, a poet and most recently a writer. He has lived his tagline, it’s never too late for love because he married his husband on Halloween at the age of forty-nine and they are the loving parents of an adorable cat, named Molly. He loves words and stringing them together, he loves sex and sexy men, he loves seeing how far his muse will take him and he’s looking forward to entertaining you.

WEBSITE: http://www.carawaycarter.com

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Writer Resources: Podcast Recs

September 14, 2016

For some reason, I’ve been under the impression that everybody knows about the podcasts I know about. I keep finding, however, that that isn’t the case. So here’s a list of my favorite podcasts, all of them centered around fiction and/or the publishing industry.

Indie Publishing

The Creative Penn Podcast
Joanna Penn is single-handedly responsible for me being an indie author at all. I’d never listened to a podcast in my life when I came upon her interviews on YouTube. She publishes a new episode every Monday and interviews a variety of folks in the publishing space, including cover designers, lawyers, other authors, etc. It really runs the gamut on whatever she’s interested in learning about at the time, and we get to learn along with her. Each episode, she also shares publishing news.

Rocking Self Publishing
Each Thursday, Simon Whistler interviews a successful self-published author and gets them to reveal all their tricks. His questions are insightful, detailed, and useful for anybody involved in or looking to become involved in the indie publishing space. The interviews can also be inspiring as hell. Many of the authors he’s interviewed have started from uncertain, stressful places. As a plus, his voice is quite pleasant to listen to (he does some audiobook narration as well).

Sell More Books Show
Updated every Wednesday, the Sell More Books Show with Bryan Cohen and Jim Kukral brings you top publishing news items and book marketing tips. Sometimes Bryan and Jim will have a “lab segment” where they bring on someone who’s had recent success in the industry. I learn a lot every time I listen, and I often find myself laughing out loud because Jim especially is hilarious.

Dead Robots Society
DRS has been going forever, and they’ve changed hosts and format several times, but essentially, it’s a show about indie authors talking about being indie authors. It usually has a science fiction/fantasy/speculative slant. Currently, Paul E. Cooley and Terry Mixon host. I’ve always loved the banter on the show (especially when Justin Macumber was involved), and I still listen pretty much every time they update, which is frequently.

The Self Publishing Podcast
To be completely honest, SPP is hit or miss for me. I’m not a huge fan of the considerable banter at the beginning of every show, so I don’t listen very often. But Johnny, Sean, and Dave are fixtures and trailblazers in the indie publishing space. I prefer the interview episodes, but maybe you’ll like listening to just the three of them more than I do.

The Author Biz
This has a similar set-up to the Rocking Self Publishing podcast and is just as rich with information. Stephen Campbell interviews authors and other publishing professionals about marketing strategies, the author lifestyle, and more. He’s also recently started putting the interviews on YouTube as well.

Craft

Story Grid Podcast
Tim Grahl is popular in the indie publishing space as a marketer, but now he wants to write fiction. Somehow he’s convinced Shawn Coyne, veteran editor and author of the Story Grid book, to have a super long phone call with him every week where he mentors him and answers all his questions. I just started listening to this, and I’m going through every single backlist episode. I don’t agree with everything Shawn Coyne has to say, but the dynamic he has with Tim is great. Their discussions are detailed, entertaining, and thought-provoking. I…kind of ship them? Anyway.

Genre-Specific Fiction

The below podcasts feature interviews and discussions about specific genres. They all have a fiction focus, but The Horror Writers Podcast especially has started discussing a lot of movies and T.V. lately. Unless they are featuring an author, I don’t listen, but definitely check out the backlist episodes.

The Hopeless Romantic (Queer/LGBT)

The Horror Writers Podcast (Horror)

Smart Podcast Trashy Books (Romance)

The Grim Tidings Podcast (Grimdark)

My favorite podcast app is Pocket Casts, and all these are available there. However, Pocket Casts does have a one-time fee. Pretty much all of these podcasts will also be available on Stitcher and iTunes.

Happy listening!

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COVER REVEAL: Breaking Hell’s Rules

July 10, 2016

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve got a genderqueer demon romance in the works. It will be available for pre-order very soon with a release date slotted for October 10, 2016. Scroll down to see the cover!

About Breaking Hell’s Rules

When succubus Reth finally meets their soul quota and gains freedom from Hell, they decide to take up residence in New Orleans. Immediately they discard the body they’ve been wearing since 1952 and slip into something a little more virile, pleased to find they get a nice car and a nice apartment for their trouble. Too bad the apartment has a joint lease with their body’s ex-boyfriend Jude.

Jude is walking around with a black eye and a bad attitude, and when Reth tries to explain things, Jude doesn’t believe them. Plus, he refuses to move out. Reth doesn’t want to take Jude’s soul, and they really like this body and this life. So they show him some succubus action minus the soul-grabbing, hoping to scare him off.

Technically they aren’t supposed to do that, however, and they never expected Jude to like having sex with them. They also never expected to take a liking to the mortal. When Hell catches wind of Reth’s indiscretion, they give them an ultimatum: Take Jude’s soul or be bound to Hell for eternity. With no desire to leave the human world behind, Reth sets their sights on Jude’s soul, but can they secure it without destroying the affection between them?

The Cover

rethcover