Parker Williams

Man, it’s been busy!

Okay, let me get you caught up on what’s going on for me.

#1: Lincoln’s Park, the first book in the ‘Links in the Chain’ series is coming out October 13th. Here’s the cover and an excerpt.

#2: I wrote a ghost story! Believe it or not, I’m trying something new. The Spirit Key is due out in January or February. I don’t have a cover yet, but here’s the blurb:

When he was eight years old, Scott Walsh died. Paramedics revived him, but he came back changed. Ghosts and spirits tormented Scott for over a decade until, thinking he was going mad, he did the only thing he could. He ran—leaving behind his best friend, Tim Jennessee.

Scott’s had five normal, ghost-free years in Chicago, when the spirit of Tim’s mother comes to him and begs him to go home because Tim’s in trouble and needs Scott.

He isn’t prepared for what he finds when he goes home—a taller and sexier Tim, but a Tim who hasn’t forgiven Scott for abandoning him… a Tim whose body is no longer his own. The ghost of a serial murderer has attached itself to Tim, and it’s whispering dark and evil things. It wants Tim to kill, and it’s becoming harder for Tim to resist. To free the man who has always meant so much to him, Scott must unravel the mystery of the destiny he shares with Tim.

#3: Yesterday I got a contract for Galen’s Redemption, book two in the ‘Links in the Chain’ series! This one doesn’t have a cover or blurb, but this is what I sent with the submission:

Galen Merriweather loved the power that came with being the son of the man who owns Primal Imports. Brokering deals was his life’s blood, and he always thought he was damn good at it. The day his father tried to pay his brother’s lover to leave him left him cold, and for the first time, Galen wondered at what he was doing. The biggest blow came when his father insisted Galen retrieve a check for a quarter million dollars that had been given to a charity.

Robert Kotke has been serving the homeless community since he was a child. He doesn’t understand how people can ignore their plight. When he’s given a check that would solve many of his problems, he knows someone will come for it, so he puts it away. When Galen shows up, Robert gives him back the money.

The two meet again in a bar, and Galen is terrified Robert is going to out him. But Robert does something even stranger. He invites Galen out for chili. Galen’s beliefs are thrown into turmoil, and he’s not sure which way is up. When the time comes for Galen to make a decision between Robert and the job he’s always dreamed of, which will Galen choose?

#4: I’m currently working on the third and final book of the Links in the Chain series. This one doesn’t have a title yet, but here’s a rough idea of what you can expect.

Tom Kotke met Brian Chen twenty-five years ago, and Brian stole his heart. The two married, and had plans for a long life together. That came to a crashing stop when Brian got the diagnosis of terminal cancer. Given less than a year to live, Brian surprised everyone by hanging on for five years. But no force of will can hold back the inevitable forever, and one night, in Tom’s arms, Brian passes away.

Unknown to Tom, Brian left instructions with the family that accepted him, telling them that Tom needed to get out there and fine love again. Though Tom protests, he’s dragged out of his shell and forced back into the world. One day, while sitting in Lincoln’s diner, he meets Aiden, a friend of Noel’s. Something about the young man calls to Tom in a way no one since Brian has.

Aiden Dawson struggles to be independent. With his screwed up legs, he’s always had to depend on things and people. When his parents kicked him out, Aiden’s sister steps up and raises him. And he loves her, really, but he wants a chance to experience life. He knows that no one is ever going to look twice at him, though. They’ll only see his wheelchair. But the day he meets Tom, that changes. Tom doesn’t even look twice at the chair.

A man who swore he’d never love again, and another who thought he’d never find love come together and bond. Is it possible to find love after loss?

Maybe.

#5: In November I’ll be once again working with K.C. Wells on book four of the Secrets series. This one doesn’t have a title yet, but the men meet in a bookstore! I’m looking forward to working on this one. Now, I don’t have a lot of details, but I can give you a totally unedited excerpt. Remember, this might change or may even end up on the cutting room floor, so don’t fall too much in love just yet.

Heath Snow walked to the large wooden door with the glass that held the etched glass logo of Wordsmith Books. He turned the sign to ‘Closed’, then slumped against the heavy wooden frame. If the receipts were right, and they always were, It had been a decent day. Nothing to write home about, of course, but still, he’d made enough money to pay the rent and do some grocery shopping this month. He chuckled to himself. He’d come a long way in the last sixteen months. From reading stories to owning a bookshop. He checked the time. Almost nine. There hadn’t been a customer in over an hour, but he’d decided to stay open, just in case someone decided they needed a last minute read.

He stepped behind the counter, picked up his copy of A Gentlemen’s Agreement, then walked up the stairs to his flat. It was nice not having to go far to get home after work. He chuckled to himself, a little giddy after too little sleep last night. And he’d need to get up early in the morning in order to restock the shelves, place an order, clean up the little messes in the common area. All that stuff he hated to do, but damn, did he love the way the store shone when he did it.

After putting a pie in the oven, he took a seat so he could continue where he’d left off. Master Byerly was just getting ready to put his submissive, the cute, pug-nosed Malcolm, through his paces. Heath’s chest heaved as he read about Byerly paddling his boy’s ass, turning it a brilliant shade of red, not unlike a glass of merlot. Deep, rich, and so ready to be sampled. God, Heath loved Byerly and Malcolm together. They tore up the scenery with every encounter. This was their third book, and Heath found himself ordering one to read after the shop closed, when he could sit up in his room and fantasize.

“You’ll take it, because I require it, boy. Do you understand?”

Malcolm drew in a breath. “Yes, my lord.”

Byerly greased his prod, then spread Malcolm’s cheeks. He groaned loudly as he entered his boy, the tightness gripping him like a velvet fist.

Heath reached down to adjust himself. It had been a long time since he’d gone home with anyone, and that didn’t even qualify as a one-night stand. More like a half an hour of some guy grunting while he took Heath, who grew bored after the first few minutes and began putting together his todo list for the morning. The man had no style or technique. It was obvious he only wanted somewhere warm to stick his cock, and since the bar had announced last call, and Heath had needed to get off, he’d accepted the invite from the portly gentleman with the three wisps of gray hair the hung over his forehead. Well, Heath hadn’t been needy again after that. Slipping into a book, pretending he was Malcolm, with Byerly mounting him from behind, taking what he wanted. Fuck yes. Better than most of the sex he’d had in his twenty-six years.

His erection was starting to ache, so Heath unbuttoned his trousers, and slid a hand down them. He gripped his shaft, which strained at the fabric. He glanced over at the timer on the oven. The pie still had thirty minutes to go, so he could definitely make good use of the time.

“Do I please you, my lord?”

Swat. An open hand came down on Malcolm’s arse, causing him to squawk.

“You know better than to talk,” Byerly grunted, thrusting into Malcolm in one swift stroke. “You speak when your Master wishes it, not before. Do you understand?”

Before Malcolm could reply, another hard swat found its target.

“Yes, my Lord.”

Byerly shoved his turgid length into Malcolm over and over, each time causing his stableboy to grunt or moan. Whether it was with pain or pleasure didn’t matter. All that Byerly cared for is his own needs. If—when—Malcolm satisfied those, then Byerly would see to his boy’s.

Fuck, Heath loved this book. Hes tightened the grip around his shaft. He moved his hand up and down, slowly stroking himself as he imagined his lord, Byerly, using Heath for his pleasure.

“Yes, my Lord,” Heath gasped. He stood on the edge of the precipice, waiting for Byerley to tell him he could step off, and plunge into ecstasy. So close. So fucking—

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

“Shit. What the hell?” Heath scowled as he looked at the time. Almost nine-thirty. Who would be knocking at his door at this hour?”

He shoved his straining shaft back into his pants, straightened his glasses, pulled the pie from the oven and put it on the counter, and then grabbed his book before he tromped downstairs, ready to give whoever it was a piece of his mind.

The knocking continued, annoying Heath even more. He could see the silhouette of a man standing huddled in the doorway. Heath put his book down at the register, then went and yanked the door open. As soon as he did, the man turned in his direction, and all words fled Heath. Standing there was an insanely sexy man, with a sheepish grin. If Heath would have described Byerly, it would be the man before him. Dark hair, not quite as long as he thought Byerly would have, and intense blue eyes. Though he couldn’t be certain with the jacket the man wore, he imagined he had a good build. Not too muscled, but not overly soft either.

Heath swallowed hard. “Can I…help you…uh…sir?”

So there you have it! What’s shaping up here for the future. Thank you for stopping by to read all about it.

Serving him by L.M. Somerton

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Serving Him – The Retreat #1

Author: L M Somerton

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Cover Artist: Cherith Vaughan

Genre/s: MM BDSM

Length: 57,670 words/151 pages

It is a standalone story 

Add on Goodreads 

Buy Links

Pride Publishing

Global Amazon link

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Blurb

An escape from the real world can only ever be temporary.

Rowan Stanton knows he is submissive. He loves to look after people but the country hotel he works at can’t quite fulfill his need to serve. When he succeeds at getting a new role as houseboy at The Retreat, an exclusive BDSM hideaway in the New Forest, he believes it’s his dream job. Inexperienced in many ways, he soon realizes he’s not as prepared as he thought for the demands placed upon him.

Lorcan Wilder is young, rich and successful. He’s also haunted by nightmares and has sacrificed a decade to his business. Selling it gives him the freedom to explore his Dominant side and four weeks at The Retreat are the start of a new life. He doesn’t expect the young submissive employed to serve him will have such a profound effect on him. Exploring and pushing Rowan’s boundaries is exactly what Lorcan needs to separate himself from his past.

Lorcan makes full use of The Retreat’s facilities, from the genuine dungeon to the secret toys concealed in every room. He rediscovers his energy for life and gradually re-engages with the world. However, his efforts to compartmentalize the past ultimately fail and he comes to realize what he’s always known—that true submissives have an inner strength he can only envy.

By the end of his stay, Lorcan can’t let Rowan go, though he thinks he must. What will convince him that he’s allowed a happy ever after, and will he find the courage to accept it?

Day of Wrath by Anna Butler

DAY OF WRATH

The award-winning Taking Shield series comes to its shattering conclusion in Day of Wrath.

About The Book

In less than a week, Bennet will finally return to the Shield Regiment, leaving behind the Gyrfalcon, his father, his friends… and Flynn. Promotion to Shield Major and being given command of a battle group despite the political fallout from Makepeace the year before is everything he thought he wanted. Everything he’s worked towards for the last three years. Except for leaving Flynn. He really doesn’t want to leave Flynn.

There’s time for one last flight together. A routine mission. Nothing too taxing, just savouring every moment with the best wingman, the best friend, he’s ever had. That’s the plan.

Bennet should know better than to trust to routine because what waits for them out there will change their lives forever.

Title: Day of Wrath

Author: Anna Butler

Series: Taking Shield

Necessary to read previous 4 books? Yes

Wordcount: c106,300

Category: Sci Fi, Gay mainstream.

eBook Publication Date: 28 June 2018

Paperback: Available now from Amazon or direct from Anna’s website

Publisher: Glass Hat Press © 2018

Editor: Val Selby-Wolfe at Scarlet Tie

Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas

Goodreads Link

More information and background on the Shield Universe here

Buy Links

Day of Wrath is available at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and iBooks.

Link to a digital bookstore near you

Giveaway

Rafflecoptor giveaway to win one of three prizes:

– 25$ (or equivalent) Amazon gift card

– signed copy of Gyrfalcon, the first Taking Shield book

– your pick of an eBook from Anna’s back catalogue

Rafflecoptor code
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Excerpt

(choose one of the following three excerpts)

Excerpt One

A laser bolt sizzled past him. Shit! They were after him. The scanner was still suffering from Maess jamming, but Flynn could make out four Maess fighters behind him. Another laser bolt flashed past, his scanners showing it blood scarlet against the blackness of space.

Flynn’s scanner picked up Bennet rolling his Hornet to one side. A laser bolt missed him by only a few feet. Close. Too close. There had been all too many of them in the last hour. They’d done nothing but dogfight Maess fighters since they found Jilly and Bennet took back command for their share of the battle.

“Wingover loop,” Bennet ordered. “Best chance we’ve got.”

Good call. They had to get the bastards off their afterburners.

Flynn flung his Hornet up into a vertical curving quarter loop, still at top sub-light speed. He flat-turned at the top and dived down into another quarter loop to flatten out. They were facing the Maess full on, now. The abrupt change caught the Maess by surprise. The four Maess fighters scattered as Bennet and Flynn zoomed at them.

Flynn pressed his thumb onto the firing button and kept it there. Clipped one of the Maess and sent it spinning off to one side, but Bennet got another one head on as they flew through, the lucky bastard.

“Wingover to give chase,” Bennet said.

Flynn repeated the wingover, flat turning to change direction through 180 degrees again, only a few hundred yards from Bennet’s left wing. They were bloody smooth, moving as if they were connected by wires, coming up on the Maess from behind. Best pilots in Fleet, they were. Had to be. Along with Cruz who, as Flynn had expected, was out there with her pilots on Bennet’s starboard flank. He hadn’t had time to do more than greet her on their arrival and try to keep as much of an eye on her as he could spare from watching Bennet’s back.

Flynn centred a Maess fighter on the targeting screen and fired. Hit it. Damaged it enough to bleed its shields, not enough to kill it. Another second to be sure of his aim, and then again, the weapons array had the target centred. Another shot, and Flynn was suddenly flying through a miniature asteroid belt of Maess fighter parts, all bouncing off his shields and making the Hornet rattle.

Best bloody noise in the world, that.

(c 400 words)

Excerpt Two

The sharp ringing of the bell on the bar cut through all the conversations and laughter. The bartender could yell too. “Quiet! Lieutenant Flynn has an announcement to make!”

Bennet turned his head and jack-knifed to sit upright. Oh, the bastard wasn’t—

“All right, boys and girls!” Flynn was almost bouncing on his toes, grinning. He always did like being the focus of everyone in sight. “We’re here tonight because of mindless military tradition—in our case, getting traditionally mindless on good liquor as we welcome our newest ensigns—but I don’t think they’d mind if I crash their party for a few minutes. Everyone got a drink?”

A host of glasses were waved at him. Bennet tried to choke down a sigh. The bastard was, damn him.

“Excellent! I like to see our old customs embraced with such fervour. We have another custom, if you remember. If someone gets promoted they buy drinks for the entire OC, am I right?”

Flynn was completely at his ease, the damned treacherous sod.

“You all know that we’re kicking the captain off the ship at the end of the month and sending him back to Shield. But what you don’t know is that Fleet’s put such a polish on the man, such a lustre, that when Shield gets him back they’re punting him up a rank. I reckon that’s worth at least two drinks each. What do you say?”

Bennet put his head in his hands. Someone’s hand connected painfully with the area between his shoulder blades as surprised silence fractured into cheers, yells and foot stamping. Pilots jumped up and down, waving their glasses at him. Another thump to the back and Carson was pulling him to his feet and into the most astonishing hug, yelling in his ear.

Bennet had to laugh. It was that or commit murder.

Flynn let it go on for a moment or two, before getting the bartender to ding that bloody bell again.

Bennet was half-enveloped in hugs, half-deafened by shouted good wishes. Yelling her delight, Cruz flung her arms around his neck, and the smacking kiss to the cheek had his ears ringing. His face felt as if it were on fire.

“Flynn, I am going to hurt you for this.” He smiled in a way that he hoped suggested pleasant anticipation. It was hard to stop grinning and laughing, but he tried. “I’m going to dangle you out of an airlock by your favourite appendage.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Flynn waved a dismissive hand to a chorus of laughter and catcalls. “You always promise me that and so far, you’ve never delivered. There’s only so long a man can hang around waiting. Point is, while we’re sad to see you go, Bennet, we’re delighted that you’re getting promoted. We’ll miss you, and Shield are damn lucky to get you back. Right, people?”

More cheers and yells that died only at the insistent ringing of the bell. Flynn raised his glass. “Charge your glasses, and let’s hear it for the captain—no! For the Shield Major elect. Shield Major Bennet!”

The roar should have split open bulkheads. Bennet yelped and fell back in a scrum of a couple of dozen pilots and more were heading his way. The breath was knocked out of him with a whoosh that could probably be heard parsecs away.

Gods. He’d kill Flynn when he got hold of him. Kill him.

At least, that’s what he promised himself until Flynn fought his way through the scrum to deliver his own bone-crushing hug, and Bennet saw Flynn’s eyes were bleak and that his mouth was drawing down, just as his own wanted to do, and he said nothing. There really wasn’t anything he could say.

(c620 words)

Excerpt three

The storeroom was empty and Flynn had long ago learned how to over-ride the door mechanism and lock it from the inside. He did so now, not wanting to be interrupted.

And, of course, now that Bennet was back and he had the privacy he wanted, Flynn’s rehearsed speeches vanished from his mind and tongue. Which was annoying. “I don’t suppose you can tell me what you were doing back home?”

“What do you think?”

Flynn managed a creditable laugh. “That I’m playing for time.” He gestured to the back wall, where piles of new uniforms made a comfortable seat. They sat side by side, leaning back against the wall. “I took a leaf out of your book and I’ve been practising what I want to say. Trouble is, I’ve forgotten my lines.”

“Keep it simple then.” Bennet’s grin was lopsided. “I’m running on fumes right now, anyway. I can’t handle complex.”

Flynn nodded. “Well, ‘simple’ is that no matter what I might have said when I was mad with you—and the gods help me, I was so mad with you I couldn’t see straight—you are the most important person in my life. I kinda think you always will be. But we are where we are. You’re going, I’m staying here. You’re Shield, I’m Fleet.” He forced another laugh, but it didn’t sound quite as credible. “Doomed. We were doomed from the start.”

Bennet’s laugh wasn’t any better than Flynn’s. He slipped his hand into Flynn’s. “We were.”

“Star-crossed, I said when you left to go back to Albion.”

“Yeah, and that sucks. Because, you too. No one more important.”

“It sucks balls the size of planets. Galaxies.” Flynn tightened his grip on the warm hand in his. “We only have a few weeks, and I know better than to think things can be different just because of that. We’re still star-crossed. Except, maybe, at the end…?”

He hated that he sounded so unsure, but then Bennet’s mouth curved up a fraction.

“Maybe.”

It wasn’t much of a promise, but he’d take what he could get. Flynn leaned his head back against the metal wall. An instant later and Bennet copied him, rolling his head to one side until he was almost touching Flynn’s. A better outlook than Flynn could have hoped for, even a couple of weeks earlier.

Flynn let the deep, mostly subliminal hum of the Gyrfalcon’s engines soothe him. “I don’t suppose we could stay in here and never come out?”

“They’ll come looking for us.”

“Yeah.” Flynn had to concede that. “So, did you get the Hyperion back?”

“No.” Bennet pulled a face at him. “They bumped me up to major. I’ve got a Shield battle-group to look after. Three Shield ships to command.”

“A promotion? Seriously?”

“Yeah. Not formally until I step off this ship, but yeah. Shield Major.”

“We don’t have majors in Fleet,” Flynn said.

“Well, I’m not Fleet. And the Shield Regiment doesn’t have that ‘regiment’ tacked onto the name just because someone thought the two words sounded well together. Shield started out in Infantry centuries ago, and Infantry does have majors.”

Flynn made a tchtching noise. “Some people have no shame, confessing to low origins like that. But seriously, that is brilliant news!”

“It would be brilliant if I didn’t have work going on with the Strategy Unit again. You know, I’m seriously thinking that I’ll give it a year, then I’ll get out.”

Flynn blinked. “That’s a bit drastic.”

“It’s a family tradition that we all serve, Flynn. But some days I reckon I’ve done enough. More than enough.”

Flynn couldn’t hold back the derisive snort. “Only if you have that sense of duty surgically removed.”

Bennet stared at him, mouth turned down at the corners, his lips pressed tight together. After a moment he blew out a noisy sigh and lifted one shoulder in a slight shrug. “I know. It’s a fantasy that I have choices.”

“You said it yourself to the kids, Bennet. Stand and fight.” Flynn found his grip on Bennet’s hand had slackened. He glanced down at them, his brown hand curved around Bennet’s long white fingers. He used his thumb to make little smoothing motions over the back of Bennet’s hand, relishing the almost imperceptible shiver Bennet gave. “If you did leave the military, what would you do? The history thing back at the museum?”

“Maybe. But what I’d like to do some front-line archaeology. Trace our route back to Earth and do some star-mapping and exploration, run a few digs when we find something worth investigating. Never stay anywhere long, just keep moving. I’d like that.”

Flynn saw that for the first time in a long while Bennet’s expression was relaxed, open; that the fine, tight lines of tension around his mouth and eyes had eased. “A ship of your own? You’ll need a crew.”

“Do you want to sign up?”

“Well, there won’t be any fraternisation rules, will there?”

Bright eyes glanced at him sidelong. “No. There won’t.”

“Pay?”

“A pittance. You do it for academic glory.”

“I prefer cash.” Flynn smiled at Bennet’s amused snort. He was silent for a few minutes. Beside him Bennet relaxed. “Well, I like the idea of wandering around and exploring stuff and having adventures. That sounds exciting. The digging part of it sounds more like hard work than I’m strictly comfortable with.”

“It never killed anyone yet.”

“I’m gonna have to see the medical studies before I take your word for it. It’s beside the point, anyway. I have delicate hands and shouldn’t ruin them with a shovel. But all in all, it sounds like a reasonable job.” Flynn smiled at Bennet’s profile. “I’m on—if I can sign up as First Mate.”

Bennet tilted his head until it was resting against Flynn’s. “The job’s yours. Until I get a better applicant, of course.”

“In your dreams.” Flynn let it all smooth away, slip into a comfortable silence. He had less than four weeks of this before Bennet was gone again, and he wasn’t going to waste any of it. Not one second.

He brought his other hand across to enclose Bennet’s in both of his, and let his eyes close.

(c1000 words)

About Anna

Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She lives with her husband in a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside. She’s supported there by the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo, who is assisted by the lovely Mavis, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several sizes larger than she is but no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.

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The Necromancer’s Reckoning by SJ Himes

 The Necromancers Reckoning Tour Banner

THE NECROMANCER’S RECKONING

THE BEACON HILL SORCERER, BOOK 3

S.J. HIMES

GAY URBAN FANTASY ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 05.27.18

Necromancers Reckoning 

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

 

COVER DESIGN: Kellie Dennis of Book Cover by Design

 

BLURB

Every action has consequences.

For a decade, Angel Salvatore has been the most powerful sorcerer and only necromancer in all the Northeast. Never one to ask permission nor apologies, he has acted with near impunity for years.

Until now.

The High Council of Sorcery has come to Boston, and Angel is their target. Charged with numerous violations of practitioner laws, his freedom and family are placed in jeopardy.

If found guilty, Angel’s apprentice Daniel will be imprisoned to serve out the remaining years of his apprenticeship. Isaac, his brother, is too vulnerable to be left unguarded, and Angel fears for his sanity and health. And Simeon, Elder vampire and Angel’s mate refuses to see Angel convicted under the laws of the Council and his actions to keep Angel free threaten to start a war that could destroy their world. And Angel faces the severest of punishments—the castration of his gifts.

The Council has never cared for the people of Boston, and Angel doubts their motives. They have come for some insidious reason, and it has nothing to do with upholding the law and everything to do with Angel.

Dealing with an impending trial, a wayward ghost, and a grave robbing ring of thieves leaves Angel on the edge. He thinks he may have a handle on things until violence erupts across the city, and a stranger comes to town…a stranger with his own dark powers of necromancy.

This is book 3 of a series, and the previous books should be read first for full enjoyment. Trigger Warnings are on the Copyright Page and can be seen using the Look Inside feature or by downloading a sample of this book.

 

reckoning 3

reckoning 4 

 

 

 

EXCERPT

“What do you mean, I got a letter?” Angel held his smartphone between his ear and shoulder, fumbling with the keys to his office. It was still dark, and he huffed with impatience, blinking a small orb of hellfire into existence over his hands so he could find the right key. Inserting it into the lock, he opened the door and dismissed the orb, flicking the light switch by the door.

“It was delivered by courier about ten minutes ago,” Daniel replied, his apprentice talking past food. “I had to sign for it. The courier almost didn’t leave it with me until I told him I was your apprentice.”

Angel grumbled to himself, tossing his keys on his desk and grabbing his phone, rubbing the back of his neck. He left his apartment not even ten minutes before, which was only a couple blocks away, so the courier must have shown up right as he was leaving. He frowned, thinking back to the pre-dawn street, and he didn’t recall seeing anyone—not even a car or taxi.

“Well, go ahead and open it,” Angel said, tapping his phone to put it on speaker. Daniel made a happy sound past whatever he was chewing, and Angel snorted out a laugh. He booted up his laptop, looking for the appointment he had that morning at the ass-crack of dawn. Why in the world he thought it would be a good idea to have a private consultation so damn early on a Monday was beyond him. Which was why he decided on waking up everyone he lived with so he could share the misery. Though it was only Daniel since Isaac was at Nevermore and Simeon was at the Tower.

A sharp yelp and swearing came out from the speakers, and Angel laughed. “Papercut?”

“No! It shocked me!” Daniel gasped out, cussing under his breath. “I can’t open it!”

“What do you mean you can’t open it? Just rip it open.”

“I’m trying! Ouch!” Daniel yelped again, and the sounds coming from over the phone were parts hilarious and alarming. “I’m not risking my fingers. You can open it.”

“Who is it from? It might be warded if a courier brought it.”

“Now you tell me,” Daniel muttered, and Angel grinned as he found the appointment time. Daniel was finding his courage and picking up sass lessons from Isaac. His shy apprentice was learning all about sarcasm in the Salvatore household. His appointment was in about five minutes. No time to run back home and get the letter that was singeing his apprentice’s fingers. Daniel recited the address on the letter, “It says, ‘To Angelus Raine Salvatore, Necromancer of Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts. From’…Oh, wow.”

“Who’s it from?”

“The High Council of Sorcery, Bucharest, Romania.”

Angel stood up straight, hands falling away from his laptop. He stared at the phone, the quiet in his office somehow loud, heart pounding in his ears. He looked up at the door as if any second one of the Council enforcers would blast through the doorway, ready to take him into custody for crimes sundry against international sorcery laws. He breathed in, breath shaky, and flexed his fingers. He reached out with his mind, cautiously testing the wards around his office, and there was nothing.

“Angel? Angel!” Daniel squawked over the phone, and Angel snapped free of the tension that held him frozen and snatched up the phone.

“Daniel, my appointment is any minute. Can you bring the letter here? Just hang out in the main room until I’m done if we’ve started when you get here. Wake up Eroch and have him come with you.”

“Um, okay…wake up the fire-breathing lizard, he says.”

“Just pick him up and carry him with you if he doesn’t wake up. He was sleeping on my pillow when I left. Don’t walk over here alone. I’d say hold on to it until I get home, but I have a feeling I need to read that letter as soon as possible.”

“Okay. Can I take a shower first?”

“You better,” Angel chuckled and hung up. Twenty-year-old men needed showers for the sake of everyone.

A knock sounded from the front of the office, and Angel took a deep breath, calming his off-center nerves before heading to answer the door. He was still cautious, sending out his awareness, his wards humming in the recesses of his mind, unmolested. There were two people on the small landing outside his door, their auras muffled by the panel, but they were both practitioners.

Angel opened the door, a polite smile on his face.

“Angelus Salvatore?” asked a tall, bulky man in a dark coat, his face set to glower. Angel lifted a brow, unable to see the person behind the big man. He could see a flash of red hair and a small bit of alabaster skin before the big guy shifted.

“I am,” Angel replied, opening the door wider, stepping back and gesturing them inside. His wards were set to allow strangers inside, but they would dampen any magic cast in this space by strangers or those he blocked. Came in handy when dealing with young sorcerers and unexpected guests. They could still cast, but his magic permeated the space, claiming even the ambient magical energies and stifling spells cast by interlopers. Not much use against a practitioner who used their own reserves, but the more dangerous, higher-ranked practitioners tended to reach outside themselves first before casting.

A tall woman was behind the big guy, slim and covered head to toe in black, from her leather high-heeled boots and ankle-length black pea coat to her black silk scarf and a jaunty, tiny pillbox hat atop titian curls. She was familiar, but the shadows were still dark enough Angel was having difficulty determining her identity. He led them back to his office, gesturing at the chairs in front of his desk. The woman sat, unwinding her scarf, her escort taking a stance beside the office door. Angel turned on the lamps as dawn was taking its time arriving and the room had shadows in inconvenient places.

The woman removed her scarf, putting it on her lap before shrugging from her coat. Her escort stepped forward, taking it from her before returning to his spot by the door. The woman, dressed in a thin black wraparound dress that hugged every slim curve and long line of her body, smiled at Angel. She was pretty, in a very human way, nothing of the fae about her in face or form. Dark green eyes, nothing at all like the brilliant emerald of Simeon’s eyes but arresting enough in their own merits, gazed back at him, glistening with wry humor.

“Lady Kensington,” Angel acknowledged after a moment’s pause, surprised. The recent widow was a wizard and a skilled apothecary who owned and ran Nightshade Apothecary not far from where they sat in Beacon Hill. Angel would see her occasionally in the neighborhood or when he needed supplies between scheduled deliveries. Her husband, Lord Greyson Kensington, died of a heart attack three months ago while shoveling snow off the front stoop of their shop one chilly winter morning.

“Call me Heather, please,” she said, voice melodic and rich, smooth as hot chocolate with a shot of whiskey. Her chin rose as if she was expecting argument. What Angel could remember of her husband, the man was a stickler for propriety and demanded to be addressed by his title, even to friends.

Angel never liked the man.

“Heather,” Angel agreed with a grin, surprising her into smiling back at him. “What can I do for you? And why so early? I would’ve come to the shop.”

“I’m afraid this matter requires a measure of discretion,” Lady Heather replied, twisting her scarf in her fingers. “It’s regarding my late husband.”

Angel paused, thinking. Usually when the recently bereaved came to his door, they wanted either the impossible, like a resurrection, or more commonly, a summoning of the departed spirit. He rarely acquiesced as nothing good could come from repeatedly dialing in to the Other Side. It kept the living from moving on and tormented the souls he would be recalling to this plane.

She must have seen some of these thoughts on his face, as she held up a dainty hand, forestalling his coming denial. “I don’t want you to summon him from the Other Side,” she said, tears gathering on her lashes. Angel waited, curious despite himself. “I want you to find him for me.”

“I’m sorry, I’m not following,” Angel said warily, hoping she didn’t cry. Isaac or Daniel breaking down he hated but knew what to do, a near stranger crying left him awkward.

“The shop was broken into three nights ago,” Lady Heather said quickly, words tumbling over themselves as she hurried to explain. “I heard the commotion from my apartment upstairs, but by the time the police arrived, it was too late.”

“What did they steal?” Angel was trying to follow along, he really was, but he had no idea what a burglary would have to do with her deceased husband.

“They stole him,” Lady Heather said, digging out a handkerchief from her tiny black purse. She dabbed at her eyes, miraculously not smearing her mascara.

Angel frowned. “I’m going to need you to spell this out for me.”

“The thieves stole Greyson’s ghost. I need you to find him.”

reckoning 2

AMAZON US – THE BEACON HILL SORCERER SERIES

AMAZON UK – THE BEACON HILL SORCERER SERIES

SJ Himes Logo

I’m a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I’m at the best part in a book. I write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with occasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that’s perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), The Wolfkin Saga, and the epic fantasy romance series Realms of Love. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on…. I’m a nomad, and I’ve yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SJHimes/

Website: https://www.sjhimes.com/

 

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A visit with Jed & Jonty from Owned by the Sea by LM Somerton

“Marmite, stop slobbering over the nice man. He doesn’t have any food for you, he’s here to ask Jonty and me a few questions about our new book.”

Marmite gave his owner an aggrieved look before spreading out on the floor, tail thudding.

“We’ll go to Kelly’s later, okay?”

Marmite snuffled his approval. A ball of white fluff approached him and they rubbed noses.

“You keep an eye on Doodle.”

Marmite curled around the puppy who settled against him, just as Jed pulled Jonty close, a protective arm around his shoulders.

“So, Parker…what would you like to know?”

“I wanted to ask Jonty where he gets the inspiration for his paintings.” Parker held twitchy fingers over his keyboard.

A pink flush stained Jonty’s cheekbones. “Wouldn’t you rather talk about lifeboat heroes or something?” He leaned against Jed’s much bigger frame.

“Nuh uh. My readers want to know about you.” Parker blinked.

Jonty licked his lips. “Well, I kind of get lost in my surroundings. The light is so perfect here in Cornwall, so clear. Everywhere I turn an entire palette of colour is right there and I just want to get it on canvas. Does that make sense?” He turned to gaze at Jed as if seeking reassurance. Jed bent down, planting a firm kiss on Jonty’s lips.

“And what will your next work be?”

“I’m…um…trying my hand at a nude portrait series.”

It was Jed’s turn to blush.