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Friday, May 07, 2021

 

Author: Stephanie Burke

Title: The Coven

Series: Gargoyles' Song #1

Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 302 pages

Genre

Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Science Fiction, 

paranormal romance, pansexual & multisexual, multiple partners, 

murder mystery, alien encounters, action adventure

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: 7th May 2021

Synopsis

Cyprus Reid is an enigma who courts the spotlight while carefully maintaining her mystique, intriguing legions of fans with her stylistic lyrics and a voice that brings many to tears. Even more intriguing than her all-male entourage is the fact that people are dying to get to her… literally. 

To ex-Navy SEAL-turned-government intelligence operative Jason Giles, Cyprus is either a victim of an elaborate conspiracy, or the most fiendish killer since Jack the Ripper. Sure, the victims had shady pasts and shared a connection to a strange incident at Mount McKinley some fifty years ago, but that doesn't mean they deserved to die, seemingly drained of life while engaged in acts of wanton carnality.

Jason is sent to discover the truth, but what he finds is more seductive, more intriguing, more enticing than a mere boy in a dress. What Jason finds is the existence of The Coven. And once they discover you, there is no going back.

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Excerpt

All rights reserved. 

Copyright ©2021 

Stephanie Burke 

“Ms. Reid? Over here!”


“Ms. Reid, you are looking perfect tonight. Look this way, please!”


“Ms. Reid! You are an inspiration! I love you!”


“Ms. Reid! Ms. Reid! You are a goddess!”


“You are a dirty tramp, and you seduce men into worshiping you, you nasty slut!”


“You stole my husband, you bitch!”


“I hope you rot in hell!”


And Cyprus, as usual, ignored it all.


The flashing bulbs temporarily blinded her, but she ignored the minor inconvenience as well, as she moved with her customary style and grace down the wrinkled red carpet that had been rolled out for her visit.


She turned and flashed one last mysterious smile at the gathered crowd, both the hateful and the adoring fans, and silently made her way into the safety of the hotel.


“Ms. Reid?” She looked up at the oh-so-proper, British-accented voice, realizing absently that it was the hotel manager.


She paused, giving the short, balding man her full attention, noting how he flushed a little at her scrutiny.


The doors behind them closed with a <em>whoosh</em>, muting the noise and shouts of the crowd, though bulbs continued to flash as paparazzi desperately tried to get that winning shot of one of the world’s most beautiful and renowned vocalists.


“Um.” He cleared his throat, tugging at his collar as he shifted from foot to foot, more like an adolescent than a grown man. “Security has been tightened on your floor as you requested. Also, you are the only occupant of the twenty-seventh floor, though we can easily accommodate you and your entourage in the penthouse suite.”


“Thank you and that will be all,” a tall, long-haired man spoke, towering over both the manager and Cyprus. “Though we appreciate the hospitality you and your staff have provided thus far, Ms. Reid does not prefer the penthouse or any of the presidential suites. The twenty-seventh floor is perfect for our needs.”


The manager froze, staring at the man as if suddenly noticing his presence and that the sheer aura surrounding Cyprus had rendered the world blind to anyone else around her.


But then, that was part of her mystery.


Cyprus Reid never traveled with fewer than five men, five painfully handsome, dominating men.


How anyone could ever <em>not </em>notice them was a complete mystery, but usually they managed the neat theatrical trick of fading into the background. Once they decided to be seen, however, a blind man couldn’t miss them.


Each stood over six feet tall -- five perfectly formed men, each unique and differently beautiful in his own way, who made it a point to surround and protect Ms. Reid from any and all activities that could be considered dangerous, especially keeping any unsavory fanatics at bay.


The one who spoke to him -- Unus, he had discovered -- the one with long, dark hair, appeared to be the spokesman for the rest of the group. If there was anything to be settled, this one was the one to do it.


He stood before the manager, his perfectly cut Savile Row suit doing nothing to hide the raw masculinity and barely leashed savagery that seemed to glow from his eyes.


The other four, all mystery men of different ethnic backgrounds and styles, moved in closer, alert to any trouble that might develop.


“V-v-very g-good, s-sir,” the manager stuttered, growing nervous now that all that male power was directed toward him. He reached into his pocket, then took a quick step back as all the men moved forward, hiding Cyprus behind a wall of muscle.


“It’s just the electronic key card,” he quickly explained, sweating under his collar as if suddenly fearing for his very life. “Just the key. No one else besides our head of security has a copy.”


“Your head of security?” the man asked, leaning forward, getting closer so that the manager could make out small, very fine tribal tattooing along his hairline, down in front of his ears, and down into the collar of his shirt.


“Jason Giles,” the manager explained. “Very good, comes highly recommended. He is securing the twenty-seventh floor as we speak. Ms. Reid’s safety is our chief concern.”


A slim, dusky hand reached between the two of them, halting any movement the tall man might have made and pulling him back into line.


“Very good.”


He conceded to the smaller female whose hand now rested on his arm, nodding once. “Ms. Reid is exhausted…”


“Oh, excuse me!” The manager snapped back into host mode and hastily directed the small party to the private elevators. “These only stop at executive floors, like the twenty-seventh,” he explained, while placing the card against a small scanner.


The doors immediately opened, and he quickly ushered them inside. The men immediately surrounded Cyprus protectively. Within seconds, they were whisked to the proper floor, and all exited into the plushly carpeted, brightly lit hall.


“As requested, Ms. Reid’s room is in the center. The rooms on either side of her are prepared for occupancy and can be accessed only though the interior doors that are in Ms. Reid’s main suite. All others are closed off and locked, both electronically and by physical means. This floor is as safe as Fort Knox.”


That said, he led them to a door where another man, one with nearly white-blond hair, stood at attention.


Instantly, the men were once again on high alert, their bodies tensing as they formed a barrier between Cyprus and the unknown man.


“This is Jason Giles,” the manager introduced. “He is head of security, hired exclusively for your safety during this visit.”


“An honor.” Jason spoke softly, his eyes going to the odd collection of men who surrounded the artist.


“We thank you.” The long-haired spokesman for the group eyed the strange male carefully. “But your services, though appreciated, are not needed.”


There was steel in that voice only a dead man could miss. The undercurrents flowed strongly and were rife with testosterone.


“Be that as it may,” Jason replied, “I remain your first line of defense. If something gets out of hand, I will do my best to quell it before it even makes it this far. And if you have any issues, no matter how minor, be sure to let me know. Any extra security is a must. We all have to protect the beauteous Ms. Reid,” he added, with barely veiled sarcasm.


“If you think --” the now disgruntled leader of apparent party-toy men began, but a slim hand pressing against his arm stopped him again.


Huffing and visibly fighting to control himself, the man nodded and stepped aside.


And Jason got his first glimpse of the real-life Cyprus Reid.



Purchase

Changeling Press LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Stephanie is a USA Today Best Selling, multi published, multi award-winning author, Master Costumer, handicapped, wife and mother of two. 

From sex-shifting, shape-shifting dragons to undersea worlds, sexually confused elemental Fey and homo-erotic mysteries, all the way to pastel-challenged urban sprites, Stephanie has done it all, and hopes to do more. 

Stephanie is an orator on her favorite subjects of writing and world-building, a sometime teacher when you feed her enough tea and donuts, an anime nut, a costumer, and a frequent guest of various sci-fi and writing cons where she can be found leading panel discussions or researching varied legends and theories to improve her writing skills. 

Stephanie is known for her love of the outrageous, strong female characters, believable worlds, male characters filled with depth, and multi-cultural stories that make the reader sit up and take notice.

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Monday, May 03, 2021

Author: Mell Eight

Title: Justified

Series: Magnified, Book Two

Heat Level: 1 - No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 53,900 words

Genre

Pararnormal, LGBTQIA+, magic, mage, werewolf, 

werepanda, vampires, supernatural creatures, new adult, 

interracial/intercultural, gay established couples, lesbian romance

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 05/03/2021

Description

The world of vampires and werewolves is in upheaval. The magical community is under attack by a great evil force set to destroy them all and Aaron, their strongest fighter, is oblivious to all around him, his nose glued to his spell book. Yani has given up hope in getting Aaron back on track. He knows he instead has to focus on his own future and the lives of those he loves, even if it means losing Aaron, the love of his life, forever.

But, Yani’s life isn’t the only one in flux. As the battle heats up and lines are drawn, the rest of his friends must fight for their own survival in a world with no answers to the terrible magic attacking them.

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Excerpt

Justified
Mell Eight © 2021
All Rights Reserved

The library was one of the largest rooms inside the Supernatural Coalition of the Northeast’s headquarters. The mansion itself was enormous, sprawling across acres of land with dozens of above- and below-ground bedrooms, lounges, and more. The library took up what Yani thought was an entire floor. The librarian was a lamia, and thanks to her extra senses, she could keep track of which book went where. Yani was clueless, since the library didn’t use the Dewey Decimal System or have any sort of searchable catalogue.

He chose an aisle and walked slowly along the stacks, reading any titles that happened to catch his attention. Nothing really jumped out at him, so he stopped at a random shelf and read all the titles on it. We Survived looked less boring than anything else on the shelf. Yani pulled the book down and headed back to the sitting area closest to the main door.

“I found one,” he said triumphantly to Aaron, but Aaron had his head buried in his own book and didn’t answer. Yani sighed and turned away to sit on an overstuffed armchair situated nearby. He didn’t bother trying to engage Aaron in conversation again. It wouldn’t work—at least, not anymore.

Yani opened the book and started reading, hoping it would help pass the time and distract him from the difficulties in his life. It was a short book, only a hundred pages with fairly large print. It wouldn’t take too long to read, hopefully just long enough to fill the time before the hearing.

*

Esther wasn’t really a special girl. She wasn’t overly intelligent or particularly strong. However, she was beautiful, and she understood that her beauty could be used to compensate for what she otherwise lacked. Luckily, Esther wasn’t vain. She had been orphaned as a young girl and brought up by her cousin Mordechai, who had kept her grounded in the Jewish faith. Still, he knew how important a chess piece Esther’s beauty could be.

“All the beautiful maidens across the land of Persia are required, by dictate of King Ahasuerus, to come to the palace!” The town crier was insistent, repeating the latest dictate for the entire marketplace to hear. Persia was a vast land full of beautiful people, but King Ahasuerus demanded only the best for himself. He needed a wife, Mordechai knew. His last wife had been banished during the full week of drunkenness at the king’s recent party. Mordechai didn’t know the entire story, only the rumors that circulated the marketplace, but he had seen the now exiled Queen Vashti once before, and only Esther compared to her beauty. King Ahasuerus wouldn’t accept anything less.

Queen Vashti, the rumors said, had been asked by the drunken king and courtiers to attend to them wearing only her crown. Garments were not allowed. Vashti had refused, and in a drunken rage, the king had stripped her of her rank and exiled her from Persia. Now sober, King Ahasuerus was apparently having second thoughts.

The crier started to repeat his call, so Mordechai hurried from the market, heading back to his house in the Jewish sector of the city. He had to take a circumventing route. He was Jewish and well known as a leader of the Jewish community. People like him were not welcome in the more affluent areas of Shushan, the capital of Persia that Mordechai called home.

Esther was waiting for him outside the house she shared with Mordechai and his wife and three children. Teres, the man who had run to Mordechai to tell him about the crier’s announcement, was standing at her side.

“We have much to speak about,” Mordechai told them both. He led the way into the house as he spoke. Esther and Teres followed quickly. Teres sat with Mordechai at the table in the kitchen while Esther made tea.

“The king will want a bride as beautiful as Vashti was,” Mordechai insisted. “Women across the land will be traveling to see that they are made the new queen, but, Esther, I think you have the greatest chance.”

Esther blushed and shook her head even as she pulled teacups out of the cabinets.

“Mordechai, I doubt he’ll choose me. I can hardly be the most beautiful woman in all of Persia, and besides, King Ahasuerus won’t choose a Jew for his wife.”

“He doesn’t have to know you’re Jewish,” Mordechai replied immediately. “Jews have held their religious ceremonies in secret before. You can certainly do that again in the palace as the new queen.”

“You are definitely beautiful enough,” Teres added as she leaned over to pour his tea. Mordechai frowned at Teres and made a mental note not to invite Teres over again while Esther was nearby. Teres was a good, learned man. He worked hard for his family and still found time to study the holy texts in the evenings, but he was not the right man for Esther. Mordechai had honestly started to despair ever finding a man who would love Esther for more than her pretty face, but perhaps her pretty face could land her the position of queen. That was worth more to Mordechai and Esther than just finding her a good man to marry.

And so it was settled. Esther left her cousin’s home and moved to the palace, where hundreds of beautiful women from around Persia and even beyond were slowly starting to gather. Esther found that she did not enjoy the experience. Women were petty and often cruel.

One by one, the women were paraded across the throne room for King Ahasuerus and his advisers to judge. Esther was in the middle of the very long line of women, and it was days before her turn arrived. She had seen what some of the women had done to others in order to enhance their own chances. Acid in the mercury drops that blinded them horribly, poison in the rouge that had some swooning helplessly and therefore unable to attend their time in front of the king. These were only a few of the horrors Esther had encountered, and she wanted to avoid them all.

On her day to see the king, she refused the fancy makeup and chose a simple robe. The other women who shared the day were covering themselves in makeup, jewels, and fancy silks in order to enhance their beauty. Esther did think about joining them, but when one woman was bitten by a snake hidden in her wardrobe, Esther decided it was better to simply leave the dressing room and join the guards who were waiting to escort the women to the king.

It wasn’t too much longer before all the women were ready. They were led to a lavish waiting room, and one by one their names were called. Esther was sixth in line, and as her name was called, she stood and walked behind the guard as they left the room. Whispers followed her about her terrible fashion choices, but she ignored them. King Ahasuerus would see Esther how she was without all the extra frippery, and if he liked her, so be it. Esther would much prefer to be back in Mordechai’s house, and perhaps that was the real reason she eschewed the fancier options available to her.

Esther walked slowly across the throne room. She stopped in front of King Ahasuerus, curtsied gracefully, and turned to leave. A gasp rang through the room, and she turned back to see King Ahasuerus’s scepter held out to her in invitation. She reached out to touch the tip of the scepter, showing her acceptance of the king’s choice.

They would be married with all fanfare within the week.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

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