NICOLAS is 30% off!

ds-saleNICOLAS

Dreamspinner Press

Betrayed by a lover, Jamie rents an isolated cabin on Lake Huron, wanting only to be left alone. Instead, he is pulled from his solitary existence as an artist and tumbles headlong into the legend of Saint Nicolas.

As a young man, Nicolas accidentally killed a man intent on murdering three children, only to have the man’s malicious spirit rise up against him. Fleeing through the centuries from the Krampus, the evil troll-like creature that dogs his steps, Nico finds refuge with the young artist who takes him into his home and bed. But Jamie has questions. Who is Nicolas, and why does the Krampus want to destroy him?

When the Krampus begins to torment and torture anyone Nico comes in contact with to punish him, Jamie’s life is put in danger. And Jamie isn’t sure whether he can help Nico defeat his nemesis or if he’s merely a pawn in the Krampus’s game.

NicolasFSExcerpt:

Jamie startled awake. “What?”

He had trouble breathing, the crushing weight on his chest seeming to have followed him up from his dreams. But that couldn’t be right. He’d rented the cabin for its isolation. No one should be there. Did he still dream?

A warm breath brushed against his cheek, sending a shiver of dread and strange anticipation through him. “Easy, baby,” a silky voice whispered in the darkness. Sharp teeth nipped his earlobe and pleasure and pain sparked along his nerves. His eyes adjusted to the moonlight filtering through the sheer curtains, and he stared in amazement at the man gazing at him with wild green eyes, long pale hair, high cheekbones and a slender neck he craved to run his tongue along.

The stranger laid his weight on him, driving the air from his lungs and making Jamie struggle for every breath. Shifting position, the man sealed his full lips over Jamie’s, drawing a long groan from Jamie when an impossibly large cock slid against his. In sudden panic he reached to shove his unknown visitor away and touched hot skin and lean muscles. Of their own volition his hands roamed lower, following the curve of the stranger’s back to the rounded swell of his ass. He drew a quick breath and the man laughed into his mouth, pushed his tongue deep, thrusting inside to match the movement of his hips as he ground against Jamie’s aching dick.

Heat pooled in Jamie’s stomach. God, what was happening? The thing in his bed looked like a man, but his every instinct shouted otherwise. His skin was warm when it should have been cold from being outside. And how had he gotten in? All the windows and doors were locked tight against the winter storm. It was as if he’d just materialized in Jamie’s bed. “Who—”

He cried out when a hand pushed between them and grabbed their cocks, stroking them together until he lost the ability to think. So close! He grabbed onto the man’s firm ass and yanked him tighter against him, rising up to shove into his strong grip.

The triumphant hiss in his ear shot ice through his veins. “So naughty.”

“No!” Jamie struggled to sit up, scrambling back against the headboard. He blinked, finding himself alone in the room, only his ragged breaths disturbing the silence of the cabin. A forgotten anxiety knotted his stomach. Naughty. He hated that word, tossed about by the boys he once knew in school. The ones he’d suck off behind the gym, desperate for a gentle hand in his hair, balm against his loneliness. He’d been terrified his parents would find out he was different, that he liked girl things and found boys much more exciting than he should. They would know he was gay and there would be hell to pay for their freak of a son.

He scrubbed a hand over his face. God, that had been ages ago. The last shreds of the dream dissipated, and he reached for the bedside light, fumbling in the darkness for the switch. Low light stung his eyes and he blinked at the empty bedroom, unable to believe the attack hadn’t been real.

He flung off the heavy quilts and slid to his feet, clinging to the post at the foot of the bed as a wave of dizziness struck him. Laughter from the other room jolted him. Heart pounding, he bolted for the door and it crashed into the wall as he flung it open. The reddish glow from the banked fire on the hearth lit the main room of the cabin, though the kitchen area remained in shadows.

Jamie’s gaze swept the rooms, focusing on the dark corners.  No one jumped out at him. Nobody sat on the couch. His coffee cup remained undisturbed where he’d left it on the hearth. Of course. The cabin was isolated, miles from the nearest neighbor. Who would bother to come way out there, especially with the threat of another snowstorm on the way?

He ran a trembling hand through his hair, pushing the sweat-drenched bangs from his forehead. Christ, the dream had seemed so real. The cold of the great room finally registered, creeping up from the hardwood flooring. Shaking, he crossed to the fireplace and stirred up the coals, adding another log.

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BIRTHDAY PRESENTS! #booktour #goddessfish

BirthdayPresents-tour

BIRTHDAY PRESENTS

Join the tour for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

December 4: Erotica For All
December 4: Fabulous and Brunette
December 5: Christine Young
December 6: Straight From the Library
December 7: Lock That Door!
December 8: Sharing Links and Wisdom
December 11: It’s Raining Books
December 12: Romance Novel Giveaways
December 13: Long and Short Reviews
December 14: Readeropolis
December 15: Emily Carrington – review only

BirthdayPresents-4For Tracey, life has become a nightmare. Kidnapped from a nightclub in Boulder, Colorado, brutalized and raped by the killer known as Crimson, he’s held captive alongside Kyle, a young man Crimson keeps chained to his bed and is slowly torturing to death. Though Tracey manages to escape with Kyle’s help, he is forced to leave Kyle behind.

Gene has never stopped looking for his brother Kyle, abducted from a nightclub seven months previously. The case breaks open when Tracey comes forward, claiming to have knowledge of the whereabouts of Crimson’s hideout.

A manhunt begins, but Crimson’s birthday has come and gone, and he will kill again.

Less Than Three Press        Amazon 

 

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CALLUM’S FATE is out!

callum's fate nspCALLUM’S FATE

Amazon     NineStar Press

BLURB:

In 1780, Scotland, following a harsh year of drought, Callum Mackenzie is forced from his father’s farm in the hopes of finding work. But as fate would have it, Callum is lured onto the moors by the will-o-the-wisp. Lost in the dark, he falls into enchantment, encountering faeries and nymphs, until he stumbles into the arms of a licentious Barrow-Wight who lays claim to his soul.

Hearing his silent pleas, Donal sends Liam the gruagach (faery) to rescue Callum and bring him to his farm, a place of refuge from the Fae. Callum is happy working on Donal’s farm, slowly falling in love with the beautiful, silver-haired gruagach.

Yet there’s something wrong in the nearby forest… Despite Donal’s warnings, Callum is lured into the forest and becomes tangled in its magic, easy prey for the Barrow-Wight. Will Liam be able to strike a deal with the Barrow-Wight to save Callum’s life, or has Callum found his last resting place instead?

EXCERPT

Callum ran until his lungs burned, every breath ragged and painful. Fear spurred him on, though fog began to cling to the rough mounds of the barrows, making such flight dangerous. Stones stabbed through his worn boots with each footfall, but he daren’t stop. There had been voices in the shadows…

Exhaustion slowed him, his chest heaving as he fought for air. Dusk spread its dark mantle on the landscape, and he shivered as a finger of dread traveled up his spine. Perilous to be on the moors at night without shelter. He cursed the misfortune that had sent him this way, but he was hungry and ill. He’d followed the will-o’-the wisp, thinking they were the lights of a farmhouse. His brothers would crudely have called them swamp gas and continued on the road, but Callum had always been the fool.

An owl hooted in the semidarkness, making his skin crawl. “Sweet Lord,” he muttered, heart thumping. “Protect me—”

He stumbled on a loose stone and fell heavily against a dark mound of earth. Oh, God! The ground caved in under him, and he dropped into the barrow in a shower of dirt.

“Save me!” he sobbed as he scrambled to his knees.

Sinewy arms reached up from the blackness and twined around him. Callum screamed, but no sound escaped his throat, choked with terror. He was yanked against a hard chest and hands ran over him, disembodied in the darkness.

“Soft. Sweet,” a voice sliced the silence, and a cold breath washed over his face. He gagged on the waft of rot and decay. The tip of a dry tongue scraped along his jaw, and he shuddered against the body under him. “Nice strong bones to gnaw,” the voice continued. “Sweet marrow to suck and swallow. Shall I eat you, my lovely one?”

Callum whimpered as the low tones wound through his head. The mists parted, and moonlight filled the barrow, showing him the creature. He gasped at the cold beauty of its face. Eyes dark as pitch burned into him and brushed against his soul. Lush lips, dripping honey, overripe, took his mouth in a kiss that sent his pulse into a riot of hunger and desire.

A vague warning sounded in his head, urging him to run. The wight slid its hands down Callum’s back and squeezed his ass, and Callum groaned as he was rocked against the long, hard length of the creature’s erection. His own cock grew heavy, aching as it rubbed along the impossible thickness of the ghoul’s shaft.

Nimble fingers pushed against his balls and sensitive hole through his clothing, and Callum’s deep moan spilled into the lush mouth sucking his tongue. There’d been a boy back home he’d touched on occasion, but they’d never… He never… Even so, the thought of the wight’s huge cock sliding into him, stretching him open, filled him with a wild lust he couldn’t control.

He trembled and sobbed with need as the creature masked as a man trailed kisses down his neck. It moved his long hair aside to nibble at his collarbone. The thing reached a hand between them and clutched Callum’s cock, and pleasure, hot as fire, swept through him.

The wight returned its plump lips to his ear. “Stay with me,” it whispered as it stroked and squeezed him into a frenzy of bliss.

Callum fought to catch his breath, dizzy. “Yes.” He panted. He’d promise anything to keep the creature stroking his dick. The wight snaked its other hand into his trousers and tugged his balls, and he cried out as he came, his orgasm ripping through him in waves of ecstasy. His seed spilled in a warm gush into the creature’s hand. Even when he was spent, the thing continued to pull on his sensitive cock, sending unbearable sparks of bliss through him. He fell weeping against its chest, begging to be let go.

“Mine.”

The wight’s whisper nudged Callum from the dream into which he was falling. What?

“No!” He pushed up in a panic. What had he sworn to do? Large hands reached for him, but terror gave him strength and he scrambled for the ledge above him. Catching hold of the crumbling lip, he swung his legs over and rolled from the barrow. The wight’s screech of fury chased him across the glen. Running in terror, he skirted the remaining mounds and fled onto the moors.

Merciful Lord! He’d been with a barrow wight, allowing the wicked thing to slide its tongue into his mouth and touch his cock. Was his soul now tainted by this ghost guarding a long forgotten grave? Was he doomed?

Mists closed around him and hid the moon in a veil of cold gray. He came to a stumbling halt, fear pounding through him in time to the wild beat of his heart. As he caught his breath, he heard the unmistakable sound of flowing water, perhaps a creek winding through the heather. Callum gnawed his lips. Danger lurked on the water’s edge for an unwary man.

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Once Upon a Rainbow with Sidney Blackburn!

Good morning! I’m very excited to have the lovely Sidney Blackburn on my blog today talking about her stories. Take it away, Sidney!

*  *  *
OnceUponARainbowVolOne-f500Once Upon a Rainbow was just released on Monday, and I’ve already spoken a little about the inspiration for my story in the NineStar Press anthology during the release party on Facebook. Apart from very obviously being inspired by Aladdin, “Morning Star” also incorporated my addiction to history and all things Morocco. Some of the names and incidents referred to in my story are real, but I used my artistic license to weave in so many fictional elements, the story is pure fantasy. (Visiting Marrakesh is on my travel bucket list, though!).
The anthology contains so many good stories, it’s grand company to be in!
My fascination with m/m takes on fairy tales didn’t start with writing “Morning Star,” though it remains truest to it’s inspiration. It all began…(wavy lines as we FLASH BACK to A COUPLE YEARS EARLIER:)
prince_revI was reading a story about a king who arranged a marriage for the crown prince–his heir–to another prince in a neighbouring kingdom. Which on the surface is cool, but the whole thing with kings and kingdoms and crown princes and heirs is that heirs generally don’t come from same sex unions. The story never addressed this, never mentioned if the king himself had a same sex marriage and if so where his son the crown prince came from, etc, and that detail… well, it bothered me. Stuff like that gets in my head and worries at me, like the pea under all those mattresses.
I wrote Prince of the Stable as an exploration of a prince marrying a man with no expectation of heirs. It has fairies and a curse, but isn’t based on any particular fairy tale.
 
Then I wrote City of Dreams for Less Than Three Press. Funny story, I wrote it for acityofdreams400 specific, fairy tale themed anthology and…was rejected. I revised it and resubmitted it for another of fairytale anthology and… was also rejected. However it was accepted for publication as a stand alone short story in a collection of other urban fantasies. The setting of City of Dreamsis more modern than most fairy tales, more 17th century than 10th century. It’s an attempt to progress a society from the tenth century in an alternate world where magic is a fact of life. Also a love story. Because that’s what I do.
(wavy lines as we RETURN TO PRESENT: )
I love the idea of taking fairy tale subjects and turning them around. I did a Cinder-fella (who hasn’t though, really) and I’m currently working on a m/m version of Snow White and a steampunk m/m take on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Nightingale. (Hold me accountable! My muse is fickle…)
I want to thank Dianne for letting me on her blog to blabber on and on, she’s an amazing person!
 
 

— 

Sydney Blackburn

“I was hoping for more drama and speeches. I do love villainous speeches.”
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Little Match Girl is out!

My story Little Match Girl is out in the Once Upon a Rainbow anthology!

OnceUponARainbowVolOne-f500Once Upon a Rainbow, Volume One 

Author: Sydney Blackburn, K.S. Trenten, Riza Curtis, A. Fae, Dianne Hartsock, J.P. Jackson, Donna Jay, A.D. Song, Mickie B. Ashling

Release Date: November 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947904-29-3

Format: ePub, Mobi, PDF

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Category: Romance

Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Word Count: 147100

Sex Content: Ranges from N/A to Explicit

Pairing: FF, MM

Orientation: Ace/Aro, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian

Identity: Cisgender, Genderqueer, Intersex, Trans

Warning: Depictions of non-con and attempted assault.

Purchase Links: 

NineStar Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/once-upon-a-rainbow-volume-one/

Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/30w43j

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1127395428

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/757123

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/once-upon-a-rainbow

Blurb:

Christian can’t help himself. He’s fallen in love with the sweet, sometimes effeminate guy who’s been coming into the sandwich shop for the past several months. But Dani is also the Little Match Girl, the ragged queer selling candles on the street corner Christian’s been avoiding all year, going so far as to cross the street to avoid walking by him. Ashamed, he wonders if Dani can ever forgive him.

Losing his mother to cancer, Dani has spent the last year in a haze of grief and loneliness, selling Mother’s candles like they always had, giving himself to any man who can pay, saving him from having to go home to his father’s brutality. Desperate for a place to belong, he sets out with Christian to find his mother’s family. Christian helps, wanting Dani to be happy, though the cost might be losing his sweet lover forever.

Excerpt:

 

Chapter Two

Dani approached the run-down house, relieved to find the cellar windows dark, even though it was still relatively early. He retrieved the burlap sack he’d hidden in the bushes and eased open the door to their apartment, listening carefully in the stillness. Maybe Carl—he would never again call him Father—had already passed out. Hell, he was afraid to hope that.

The door creaked as he closed it, and the anxiety that accompanied his days spiked. “Hello?” he called. Carl expected a greeting before Dani could escape to his bed in the back. No answer. He tiptoed across the stark room, the few pieces of furniture black silhouettes. The cold air smelled of onions from Carl’s dinner, and candlewax. Maybe Carl had gotten some work done.

Dani snorted. Fat chance. The candles he peddled had been made by him and his mother. Carl spent his days at the local pub. His nights—a shiver ran through Dani. Mother had died of cancer the year before, God rest her soul, and Dani wished with all his heart he could have gone with her. Carl, his goddamn father, hadn’t been right in his mind since. He’d always been a brute to them, but now…

He set the bag of candles on the scarred kitchen table and drew a few crumpled bills from an inside pocket of his coat. He made sure Carl got the money he expected from the sale of the candles, Dani only keeping what he needed for dinner. If one could call coffee and a half sandwich dinner. Just think of the meat pies the rest of the money could buy! But the sandwich shop was a place out of the cold. And Christian worked there, the beautiful man who always had a kind word for him. He thought he’d met an angel that first night he’d gathered his courage and entered the shop, drawn by the warm glow of the fire.

Hot blood rose in his neck, burned his cheeks. If he had sold even one more candle today, he could have gotten his own food and not suffered Christian’s charity. That had been humiliating. Christian had spoken of payment, but how stupid of Dani to think the man wanted him, too thin and bony, his clothing so threadbare he washed them by hand rather than risk having them fall apart in the washing machine they shared with the rest of the tenants.

He couldn’t go back there. Not after this. Heart sore, shaking in the cold room, he hurried to the far end of the cellar apartment. He took a second to glance into his father’s room as he passed. The bed was rumpled but empty, minus the quilt, and a sick dread knotted his stomach. He didn’t have a room of his own, just an old mattress and a blanket behind a stack of crates at the back wall.

His limbs were heavy as he approached his bed. Sure enough, a dark form lay tangled in the covers. Carl claimed to sleep with him for warmth, but lately there had been straying fingers and a hot breath on his neck. A hard shudder left Dani weak. He needed to get out of that house.

Defeated, his shoulders slumped. Where would he go? Who’d hire the boy who had sold candles on the street corner with his mother for years, and now stood out there alone, pale and hungry, shivering in his thin jacket?

A loud snort broke the silence, making him jump. Balling a hand into a fist, Dani went back to Carl’s room. Stepping inside, he listened intently, reassured by the muffled snores floating to him. He nudged the door closed and crossed to the large dresser beside the bed, the one piece of nice furniture in the apartment. It had been his mother’s, the only thing she had brought to the marriage from her old life, with roses carved into the oak around the mirror and on each drawer.

She never talked about that time, though the bits of lace and a pair of fine gloves spoke of wealth and happier days, before she had married the local candlemaker. Dani didn’t know why she’d done it, but she had been young and pretty and romantic, probably swept off her feet. Carl had been handsome, once. Their single wedding picture proved that. Before he began to drink.

After lighting the candle on the dresser top, Dani pulled open the heavy first drawer, careful not to let it squeak. Carl used the other drawers, but this one had been his mother’s, her clothing in neat piles, smelling of the lavender sachets she favored. Dani smiled despite his tears at the scent. He’d loved his sweet mother so much.

A small box in the corner held some trinkets and cheap jewelry. Dani picked out the hair comb she always wore, covered in bright plastic beads and ribbons. Pushing his hair back on the left, he slipped the comb in place, letting the ribbon curl against his cheek. He did resemble her a little, the glittering bauble softening his features. The candlelight made his eyes seem wider, softer. He bit his lips to redden them.

“Would you like me like this?” he asked his reflection, thinking of Christian, imagining his delighted gaze on him. Pain stabbed his heart. Mother had understood his moods, knowing somehow when he needed gentleness, chatting merrily while she brushed out his hair. Let him play with her jewelry.

Wistfulness touched the expression in the mirror. “But who could love a beast?” He paraphrased a line from the fairy tale Mother used to read to him. He’d loved that story, imagining the man who would one day see his beauty. But he was too thin. Too queer. Even if Christian liked men, Dani wasn’t one half the time. Besides, Christian had already rejected him. He didn’t think he would risk that again.

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Once Upon a Rainbow with A. Fae

Good morning! Today I’m very happy to say I have the fabulous A. Fae on my blog talking about her story Sleeping Beauty in the Once Upon a Rainbow anthology. Take it away, Ashley!

 *  *  *

OnceUponARainbowVolOne-f500Once Upon a Rainbow is an anthology of twisted fairy tales. It’s full of amazing short stories that allow people like me to see themselves in the stories we’ve been reading since childhood. What an amazing adventure!  

Sleeping Beauty was interesting to write. Initially, I was writing blind because I only vaguely knew about being intersex or transgender. It took a lot to make the characters accurate. But I thought it was important to give them an opportunity to live a fairy-tale life just like the originals did.  

I was a bit concerned since I was unfamiliar personally with the biology of being intersexed like my character, Princess Talia. And I wanted it to be correct, so I did quite a bit of research. The thing I ran into is that so many people don’t learn they’re intersexed until much later in life: Princess Talia knew at birth. So, I tried to build a semi-futuristic world. In this world, babies undergo a complete body scan at birth. This allowed the parents to know immediately after birth that their child was intersexed.  

Princess Savannah, born Prince Sebastian, was my butterfly. She knew from a very young age who she was. Again, I had to investigate what it was like to transition like she did when she was eighteen. The entire process made me aware of the struggles young people go through when they’re born in the wrong body. Being able to help Princess Savannah make that correction was a huge pleasure for me. 

I think I learned a ton from these characters about others in my community. I truly enjoyed bringing them and their stories to life. I hope I did them justice. And I truly hope you enjoy reading about them.  

Sleeping Beauty by A. Fae 

Two royal births: one born into the body of a prince and the other a princess, bodies betraying their true identity. They grow to be inseparable, both deciding to become their true selves as soon as they are able. But an ugly curse by a wicked godmother brings them to the brink of disaster. And only through true love’s kiss can they be united. 

Purchase Links: 

NineStar Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/once-upon-a-rainbow-volume-one/  

Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/30w43j 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1127395428 

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/757123 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/once-upon-a-rainbow 

a faeA. Fae
NineStar Press Author
a.fae@yahoo.com
@AFae711
A. Fae lives in Texas with her two chihuahua children. Daily she bugs her daughter who just went off to college, thankful for FaceTime. When not writing, she is spending time with her best friend—her mother—watching TV/films or reading whatever she can get her hands on.
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The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson

-In case some of you don’t know the story

LittleMatchGirlThe Little Match Girl

Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening– the last evening of the year. In this cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet. When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but what was the good of that? They were very large slippers, which her mother had hitherto worn; so large were they; and the poor little thing lost them as she scuffled away across the street, because of two carriages that rolled by dreadfully fast.

 

One slipper was nowhere to be found; the other had been laid hold of by an urchin, and off he ran with it; he thought it would do capitally for a cradle when he some day or other should have children himself. So the little maiden walked on with her tiny naked feet, that were quite red and blue from cold. She carried a quantity of matches in an old apron, and she held a bundle of them in her hand. Nobody had bought anything of her the whole livelong day; no one had given her a single farthing.

 

She crept along trembling with cold and hunger–a very picture of sorrow, the poor little thing!

 

The flakes of snow covered her long fair hair, which fell in beautiful curls around her neck; but of that, of course, she never once now thought. From all the windows the candles were gleaming, and it smelt so deliciously of roast goose, for you know it was New Year’s Eve; yes, of that she thought.

 

In a corner formed by two houses, of which one advanced more than the other, she seated herself down and cowered together. Her little feet she had drawn close up to her, but she grew colder and colder, and to go home she did not venture, for she had not sold any matches and could not bring a farthing of money: from her father she would certainly get blows, and at home it was cold too, for above her she had only the roof, through which the wind whistled, even though the largest cracks were stopped up with straw and rags.

 

Her little hands were almost numbed with cold. Oh! a match might afford her a world of comfort, if she only dared take a single one out of the bundle, draw it against the wall, and warm her fingers by it. She drew one out. “Rischt!” how it blazed, how it burnt! It was a warm, bright flame, like a candle, as she held her hands over it: it was a wonderful light. It seemed really to the little maiden as though she were sitting before a large iron stove, with burnished brass feet and a brass ornament at top. The fire burned with such blessed influence; it warmed so delightfully. The little girl had already stretched out her feet to warm them too; but–the small flame went out, the stove vanished: she had only the remains of the burnt-out match in her hand.

 

She rubbed another against the wall: it burned brightly, and where the light fell on the wall, there the wall became transparent like a veil, so that she could see into the room. On the table was spread a snow-white tablecloth; upon it was a splendid porcelain service, and the roast goose was steaming famously with its stuffing of apple and dried plums. And what was still more capital to behold was, the goose hopped down from the dish, reeled about on the floor with knife and fork in its breast, till it came up to the poor little girl; when–the match went out and nothing but the thick, cold, damp wall was left behind. She lighted another match. Now there she was sitting under the most magnificent Christmas tree: it was still larger, and more decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door in the rich merchant’s house.

 

Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon her. The little maiden stretched out her hands towards them when–the match went out. The lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher, she saw them now as stars in heaven; one fell down and formed a long trail of fire.

 

“Someone is just dead!” said the little girl; for her old grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and who was now no more, had told her, that when a star falls, a soul ascends to God.

 

She drew another match against the wall: it was again light, and in the lustre there stood the old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so mild, and with such an expression of love.

 

“Grandmother!” cried the little one. “Oh, take me with you! You go away when the match burns out; you vanish like the warm stove, like the delicious roast goose, and like the magnificent Christmas tree!” And she rubbed the whole bundle of matches quickly against the wall, for she wanted to be quite sure of keeping her grandmother near her. And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day: never formerly had the grandmother been so beautiful and so tall. She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety–they were with God.

 

But in the corner, at the cold hour of dawn, sat the poor girl, with rosy cheeks and with a smiling mouth, leaning against the wall–frozen to death on the last evening of the old year. Stiff and stark sat the child there with her matches, of which one bundle had been burnt. “She wanted to warm herself,” people said. No one had the slightest suspicion of what beautiful things she had seen; no one even dreamed of the splendor in which, with her grandmother she had entered on the joys of a new year.

-Hans Christian Andersen

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Monday’s #flashfiction! -the dance

ff1“Oh my God, Roger!”

“I know, right? And did you see that hair? Looks like rats have been mating in it.”

Keith fell back in his chair, hiding a giggle behind his hand. Adorable. Roger had worked hard for that laugh, keeping the champagne coming while Keith’s twin danced with her new husband, the man Keith had secretly adored for years.

Roger took a sip of champagne. He shouldn’t feel so happy when Keith’s heart was broken, but he couldn’t help the flicker of hope inside. Maybe he’d finally have a chance with his best friend. Keith gave a tipsy hiccup and Roger’s heart melted. He couldn’t look at him, afraid he’d give into the impulse to run his hands over his blond hair, the fresh haircut making him so damned handsome Roger ached.

The music changed to a slow song, the happy couple taking the tiny dance floor with other twosomes. Keith’s small breath of pain undid him.

“Dance with me,” he demanded, grabbing Keith’s hand. Maybe it was the champagne, but Keith followed him through the tables. He put his hands tentatively on Roger’s shoulders, but Roger pulled him close. This might be his only chance to hold Keith’s sweet body in his arms. Keith resisted, but suddenly relaxed, dropping his head to Roger’s shoulder.

They swayed to the music, everything fading but the length of Keith’s warm body against his, arms twined around his neck. The pounding of Roger’s heart. He wanted it to last forever, longing bringing him close to tears.

The song flowed into another one but Keith didn’t move away. Breath hitched, he raised his head, startled, eyes wide as they searched Roger’s face.

“Why didn’t I know?” he whispered, pulling Roger closer, his smile turning beautiful. Roger’s tears fell then and he leaned down for their first kiss.

Find other flashes HERE!

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SWEET WILLIAM is out!

SweetWilliam-2Sweet William

Nine Star Press

Amazon

Format: ePub, Mobi, PDF

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Category: Romance

Genre: Historical

Word Count: 15800

Pages: 51

Sex Content: Explicit

Pairing: MM

William Wilkerson leads the life of the privileged rich. Head of his father’s shipping business, he indulges to his heart’s content in the pleasures of the flesh with Boston’s finest young men.

That is, until he reunites with Fredrick: his former tutor and the one man who captured his heart. But William’s father has declared Fredrick off limits. And Fredrick, himself, believes he’s beneath the attention of the Wilkerson heir.

After having lost his current pupil to graduation, and with no prospects of a replacement, Frederick is homeless, hungry, and easy pickings for the men on the docks. When Frederick is shanghaied into service on William’s own merchant ship, will William discover his plight in time to rescue him?

Excerpt:

Fredrick held up his glass and stared at the candle’s flame through the amber liquid. He took a sip and savored the rich, biting taste on his tongue, welcoming the burn down his throat. This was the very last drink he could afford, and he had to enjoy it.

A giggle erupted from someone out of sight on the back staircase, and a smile tugged his lips, despite the dire state of his wallet. The laugh had been carefree, joyous, naughty. Fredrick shifted on the cushioned bench. The lunch hour had passed, and he was the only customer in the dining room. He wondered if the innkeeper up front would notice if he adjusted his cramped cock as it throbbed in sympathy with the bright laughter that reminded him of his own ardent affair.

Rather than risk it, he watched the fruit vender outside the window beguile a customer. Another giggle and stifled moan floated down to him and he grinned, even though the laughter emphasized his own loneliness. It had been far too long since he’d had someone in his bed.

Fredrick looked up at the clatter of footsteps, distracted from his memory of lush lips, white skin, and wide hazel eyes. He caught a glimpse of red hair and an embarrassed cheek before the gentleman crammed a hat on his head.

“Damned Wilkerson,” the man muttered as he passed him, face averted.

With conscious effort, Fredrick loosened his hold on his glass, but he had no way to stop the wild hammering of his heart. Wilkerson? Could it really be…? Perhaps not, but the Wilkerson family he knew had strong ties to Boston. At least, the father often traveled there. But did William come now? He had to know. Before he lost his courage, he stood and swallowed the last of the brandy and then crossed the room to the staircase.

He shook his head at his eagerness. It had been three years, after all, and they’d parted in anger. Would William acknowledge him? A man stepped onto the landing and Fredrick allowed his gaze to travel up the white spats and checkered trousers. Blood heated his face when he found the silk vest and shirt open at the throat to expose soft white skin.

A sigh brought his gaze up to the attractive face that stirred his dreams. Rich brown curls surrounded lovely hazel eyes and full, pouting lips. Panic swept the pretty face, and then a delighted smile revealed the even white teeth that had nipped his collarbone on more than one glorious occasion.

“Freddie, is it you?”

He hasn’t forgotten! Fredrick stored away the joy to visit later. God knew his pleasures were few and far between these days. “How are you, William? I had no idea you came to Boston.”

“On occasion.” William stepped off the landing, only a slight sway in his lean body betraying his inebriation. Fredrick’s heart skipped. The top of William’s head barely reached his shoulders—perfect for Fredrick to rest his chin on if he gathered him close. To his surprise, William didn’t hesitate, clasping Fredrick in his arms and stretching for a light kiss. Fredrick’s hold tightened instinctively, but William didn’t seem to mind, winding his arms around Fredrick’s neck. He licked Fredrick’s lips, his sweet tongue seeking entrance.

Fredrick laughed, breathless with the need that swept him, but moved his head back, denying the kisses sure to topple the defenses he’d built against this man.

He chuckled wryly at William’s delicious pout. “You promised not to tease me.”

“That was years ago. I made no promises today.” William nibbled at Fredrick’s lips, but eased away when he resisted.

 

 

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BIRTHDAY PRESENTS is out! #newbook #excerpt

BirthdayPresents-4BIRTHDAY PRESENTS

Less Than Three Press

For Tracey, life has become a nightmare. Kidnapped from a nightclub in Boulder, Colorado, brutalized and raped by the killer known as Crimson, he’s held captive alongside Kyle, a young man Crimson keeps chained to his bed and is slowly torturing to death. Though Tracey manages to escape with Kyle’s help, he is forced to leave Kyle behind.

Gene has never stopped looking for his brother Kyle, abducted from a nightclub seven months previously. The case breaks open when Tracey comes forward, claiming to have knowledge of the whereabouts of Crimson’s hideout.

A manhunt begins, but Crimson’s birthday has come and gone, and he will kill again.

EXCERPT

Gene stared at the golden brown liquid swirling in the shot glass as the bartender filled it yet again. Maybe he’d had enough. God, he was tired. He rubbed his gritty eyes, the techno music blaring through the crowded room throbbing in his head.

 

He turned on the stool to the small dance floor and watched a young man gyrate to the pounding beat. Strobe lights caressed the man’s pale skin and dark clothing. The sleek body twirled with flowing, sensual movements. With a graceful twist, the guy’s black hair swept like silk across his white cheek. Achingly young and beautiful. Gene noted the men standing back, drinks in their hands, watching the dancers. His suspect could be any one of them. Or none.

 

He picked up the shot glass and held it up to the flashing lights. How many nightclubs just like this one had he been in these past six months? It felt like hundreds, with him no closer to finding Kyle’s abductor. If he’d even been kidnapped.

 

Gene put the glass to his lips and tossed back the whiskey, savored the burn in his throat. Most members of the police force believed Kyle had been bored with his life and simply walked away. He was nineteen, after all. Even Craig had backed off the search as more pressing cases took precedence.

 

But Kyle would never have done that. Gene knew his brother. Sweet and shy, Kyle would never had gone willingly with a stranger, without a word to his family, leaving his parents in this nightmare.

 

“But he never told you he was clubbing, either,” Craig would remind him.

 

Gene set the glass on the sticky bar, and after a brief hesitation, motioned the bartender for another. It was Kyle’s birthday and maybe the alcohol, if only for a few hours, might numb the helpless certainty and horror that Kyle was held captive in some sadist’s basement. The fear of every cop in a kidnapping situation. Besides, he wasn’t on duty. Had never officially been on the case in the first place.

 

Leaving the new shot untouched, he swiveled back to the dance floor, allowing his gaze to wander the sea of young bodies writhing to the thumping music. Kyle had been in a gay bar like this one when he’d been taken, the couple of witnesses that came forward claiming he’d left with an older, hot as hell, dark haired man. But even that was sketchy. They’d all been drinking, after all.

 

He sat up as the young man who’d been dancing earlier caught his attention. The guy stood on the edge of the dance floor, his gaze fixed on a man leaning against one of the pillars staring back at him. Gene caught a glimpse of the man’s face, cold and beautiful, before the dancer stepped between them, swaying seductively toward him, clearly bent on arousing the man’s interest.

 

On instinct, Gene collected his credit card and moved to a spot along the wall where he could watch them. The older man kept his eyes on the dancer and, holding his gaze, reached down and stroked the bulge in his pants. Oh, he’s good, Gene thought. And he fit the description of Gene’s suspect. The young man’s eyes widened, startled, interested.

 

A new song erupted from the speakers and Gene pushed off the wall. The older man’s gaze flickered to him, returned. Gene knew he looked good, the tight jeans and cropped shirt clearly showing his intent for a hookup that evening. The dancer scowled as he came up to them, but flounced away to join the crowd as the older man’s eyes slid appreciatively over Gene. He smiled a secret smile and motioned him closer, placing his hand on the small of Gene’s back. He leaned close to his ear to be heard over the pounding music. “I’m Crimson. Would you like a drink?”

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